Bleach – Strawberry flavor

Summary: When Rukia offers Ichigo some sort of strawberry flavored dessert, how will the boy reacts when he discovers what exactly is it? Hint: Not something edible, but too precious to throw away.

A/N: many thanks to anGeL Hinaningyou who pointed out the mistake on the last line. Feedback is appreciated!

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Ichigo had received many questions from Rukia about the convenience of the modern world. He wonders about the girl's senses sometimes, how she manages to send souls of the modern world and doesn't even try to understand their way of life until she's forced to live like one. He's completely aware about her being workaholic and all (he has bruises to prove that), how she divides the people of being plus and hollows, and Ichigo thinks that it is too simple.

The first problem is about juice packs and straws. The second is a can of soda. The third is the remote controller. (Yup, he still wonders how she uses that cell phone for her work.) The fourth is computer. The fifth is condoms.

Yeah, you heard it right, Condoms. And strawberry flavored to add.

It happens on a calm Wednesday evening after dinner, when everything simply seemed to be in order. Keigo has this annoying tendency to borrow his homework right before every class, and as he places his textbooks and stationery on his desk, he feels somebody tapping his back. Glancing over his shoulder, he sees Rukia looking back at him, scooping up whatever's left on her plate. Tonight's dinner is curry rice, and as he sees her licking her spoon clean, splotches of curry on her mouth, Ichigo considers that maybe Soul Society is a really bad place to survive. "Do you want dessert?"

Ichigo shrugs. "Maybe later, after I finish this."

"You like strawberry?"

"Well, I don't really have a sweet tooth, but it's okay once in a while," Ichigo says, opening his book and spreading it on his desk.

"Say, do you know how to eat these?"

Getting impatient, he spins his body around to get a good look on the dessert Rukia mentioned. Ichigo is ready to snatch whatever juice packs or canned food or drinks, but he stops dead track when he sees what Rukia is holding in her hand, hanging a mere two inches off his face. His first thought is: What the fu--?

"...Where the hell did you get those?" Ichigo asks after a long moment of silence.

"I bought it at a convenience store nearby," Rukia beams with delight, blushing a bit at her own bravery. "Well, it has quite an appealing logo. The cashier guy even complimented my choice."

There on the floor, lies a box of PlayBunny condoms, labeled as strawberry flavored. It takes Ichigo less than two seconds and a glance to the packaging to completely understand what made Rukia buy the stuff. The logo, indeed, is of a rabbit's head wearing a bow tie. He can only watch as Rukia starts tearing off the plastic wrapping, and pulls out the thing inside. It's dangling right off Rukia's hand, and the girl stares at it with a furrowed brow. The disappointment in her façade spells it downright: she had expected bunny shaped biscuits filled with strawberry cream, not... the object in her hand.

"How do you eat this?" She turns the thing upside down, flips it inside out, and pulls it to stretch it even more. "Wow. Very...elastic. It must be hard to chew on this."

Ichigo watches all of this without blinking and with a somewhat unclenched jaw.

"Hey, Ichigo, do I just put this in my mouth?"

He almost screams when Rukia dangles the thing high over her open mouth. "DON'T EAT IT!"

Ichigo scratches his head awkwardly as Rukia stares unknowingly at him, and he tries futilely to fight off the blush that starting to occupy his face. "I mean, you can't do that. That thing is...not food."

His answer only makes her brows twitch even more, and her eyes shout 'LIAR!' at him. "But it says strawberry flavor on the box," Rukia replies.

D'oh! "Yeah, well, but..."

"Didn't you give me that yogen, rogurt, what's that creamy pink thing inside a plastic cup we eat last week?"

"True, we eat strawberry yogurt last week, but-"

"And that cold food on the crispy cone?"

"Strawberry ice cream, yeah, but they're edible!" Ichigo points the thing indignantly. "This one's not!"

She stares at Ichigo for a while, and turns her attention to the thing in her hand, as if expecting it to start wriggling to life and prove Ichigo's a big fat liar. "If it's not edible, then why do they make it strawberry flavored?"

"Er, well, that's-"

"And we eat fresh strawberries with cream. And those crispy stick things, that...ducky?"

"...Pocky?"

"Yeah, they made them strawberry flavored to eat!" Rukia counters vehemently. "Then how come you're telling me this one's inedible!"

"Don't yell! Somebody's gonna hear you!"

Rukia clamps her mouth hurriedly, and steals a quick look at the bedroom's door. The rest of the family is still watching TV downstairs, and she can hear Yuzu and Isshin's muffled voice through the rifts, imitating Don Kanonji's obnoxious laugh. Ichigo recoils for a second, and sighs at Rukia's stubbornness. Sure, she has learned about the modern things at a well enough pace, but this one is just...ARGHHH! Rubbing his throbbing temples, he stares back at her. "Listen, they don't make those things...those condoms for eating. It's for another purpose."

Rukia raises an eyebrow. "Such as?"

Now this is one question he just can't bear. Explaining it will take a decade out of his life, and he's afraid that if he avoids this question, Rukia will run to Keigo or Mizuiro who will gladly help her...and will explain it with an example. Ichigo shudders at the thought. At this point, he feels ready for anything—even banging his forehead repeatedly to the wall if that will end the ludicrous questions. Sighing heavily, he turns his chair fully to face Rukia.

"First, pay attention to the shape of that thing," He points the thing curtly.

"Yeah?"

"Does it resemble anything to you?"

"Hmm...it's long, slim and elastic."

"And?" Please understand, pleaseunderstandpleaseunderstandpleaseunderstandpleaseunderstanddammit!

Rukia places a finger over her cheek and looks up. "Banana?"

"No."

"Cucumber?"

"Definitely not."

"Carrot?"

"Wrong."

"Turnip?"

"Guess again."

"I give up."

"This isn't a freakin' game, you know!"

Rukia stares back at him, defiant. "If you're not telling me, I'm gonna ask somebody else who knows," With that, she shoves the thing inside the open box. And inside of him, Ichigo can feel it, hear it, his teenage life crumbling slowly to ruin.

Feeling defeated, Ichigo finally replies under his breath. "They make it for...love making."

It takes a moment for Rukia to register this in her mind, and as a result, she stops dead track. "But they make this strawberry flavored," she finally mutters, after a long dumbfounded period.

"It's...to prevent...pregnancy," Ichigo answers again, this time almost a whisper.

"...But they make this strawberry flavored."

"ARGGHHHH!" Ichigo yanks his hair impatiently, as if pulling out his hair can also diminish his anxiety. "Don't ask me why! Can't you figure it out on your own!" Turning his chair furiously, the substitute shinigami goes back to his homework.

But Rukia sees how Ichigo tries to hide his flushing cheeks with a hand over his face, and she turns back, realizing that she still has the item in her hand. When the realization strikes her for the second time, she yelps out a small squeal and the thing lands inside Ichigo's school bag. Perfectly.

Little does Ichigo know what Keigo will do when he finds the thing inside Ichigo's text book tomorrow...