The girl wore a robe the colour of dying roses, rich against her dark skin. Vaulting up onto the back alley wall, she grinned down at him with bloodthirsty good cheer.
Seated on an old crate where he'd been waiting for fifteen minutes now, he returned the grin with a smile of his own.
"You're late," he observed, making no move to stand.
She dropped into the alley and began plucking jewelled ornaments from her hair, tossing them into a convenient barrel. If they were still there when she returned, she would bring them back. If they weren't, she'd simply have to track the thief down and then bring them back; it made no difference to her, though a thief would have been more entertaining.
"Sorry. I got," her grin widened, "distracted," she said, not apologetic at all.
"Starting the fun without me? I'm hurt," he mourned, not wounded in the least.
She smirked at him. "Oh, you didn't miss much. Just the old guards around the house. The night's barely started."
Far away in the city centre, the drums were booming into life, loud and insistent and frantic. It was the first night of the Mid-Autumn Festival; around them, the streets were brilliant with lanterns of every colour, flooded with people and noise, ablaze with laughter and dancing and gaiety and greed.
If the clan elders had their way, the Shihouin's young heir would be cloistered deep within the family compound, far away from the bustle, sitting through their long, elaborate, autumn ceremonies. Yoruichi personally held, though, that no heir worth the title sat through those ceremonies unless they (for reasons unfathomable) wanted to. Sneaking out was a matter of reputation.
Urahara thought she didn't need the excuse; she would have done as she pleased anyway. (She'd called him lucky, once; his family had far fewer means of getting in his way. She seemed to have fun with hers, he'd pointed out in return - how much of an inconvenience could they be? She hadn't answered, then, only grinned.)
She dropped the last comb with a clatter, shaking her long, heavy hair down her back.
"Done?" he inquired, just mild enough to hint at ever-so-saintly patience.
"Impatient already?" she asked, baring her teeth.
He stood, dusted himself off and smirked back. "Oh, never. How could I possibly grow impatient in your company?"
Her laugh was bright and careless; just another note in the cacophony around them. He'd barely blinked before she was behind him.
"Then you'd better keep up," she said, her breath warm on his ear.
He turned just in time to watch a flash of red silk vanish around the corner. His pocket had been relieved of his coin purse.
He spun a bracelet she'd neglected to remove around a finger. It would fetch a very pretty price in the markets, more than enough to finance an entire month of mischief. Yoruichi's extensive collection of aunts would also throw a fit if it was lost.
The night was young, as were they.
He chuckled, grinned, and followed.