Tite Kubo owns Bleach. I just borrowed the characters.

Snack Time

It was night. One of those summer nights when it is difficult to go to sleep. The temperature is too warm and the air is humid making the bed uncomfortable. Then the pillow becomes a hard mass under the head and the sheets cling too closely to the body. The air feels stale. There's no breeze, no relief to the general discomfort. Noises seem amplified by the humidity. Joints and muscles ache, because they can. Even the mind works against all efforts to find rest. Summer. Urgh!

What do people do when they find it difficult to sleep? Some read, some watch television, do yoga, exercise. Others play games, surf the net, have sex, drink or lie there more determined than ever to sleep. Those who cannot find any way to distract themselves, have nasty little spats and arguments that end with both people feeling even more hot and uncomfortable with a grudge to hold.

Other people snack.

Midnight Pizza

Ichigo was having trouble trying to sleep. After his recent return from Soul Society he felt slightly guilty about not telling his family the truth and it was hard to adjust to his normal life. And he missed Rukia.

Well, he missed her presence in the cupboard and the rustle of the pages as she read her stupid manga. She had no taste in manga. She could have been reading something good, like One Piece, or Naruto but she insisted on reading those stupid horror ones. As if her life did not have enough horror to face. He tried to get her to read Death Note once, but she made fun of the Death Gods and said that they looked nothing like Shinigami. They resembled the demons that inhabited the 7 or was it 9 Hells, except those demons were cute by comparison. And she thought Light was an idiot. Then she really began to tell him all the other things she thought were wrong and as the list grew he wished he'd never shown her the stupid book. He just didn't understand her sometimes. He missed her stupid comments and hoped she would come back.

Kon was of no assistance. He whined on and on about how he missed Rukia and that Ichigo should have taken him to Soul Society. Or he'd repeatedly state that Ichigo should have brought Rukia back, he should have done this, and he should have done that, over and over. Ichigo had put him through the washing machine, gave him to Karin to play (with who promptly gave him back), gave Kon to Yuzu (but Kon escaped), pounded him until the stiffing started to come out. Kon complained even more. Finally, in an attempt to partially placate the mod soul, he asked Uryu to mend Kon. By 'accident' he left Kon with Uryu but it didn't work. Instead of waiting until the next day, Uryu returned Kon to Ichigo the same night, late. He didn't want to hear all the complaints either.

"I would almost prefer to converse with Keigo," he told Ichigo before hurriedly leaving.

No, Kon was no help.

Kon was another reason Ichigo was having trouble trying to sleep. Even though Uryu had stitched Kon's mouth closed, Kon was still mumbling through the stiches. Probably he was trying to impart more unwanted advice or complaints. Ichigo had tried to muffle the sounds but the mumbling was annoying. Ichigo was not going to take out the stiches. Not for a few days at least, maybe longer. Even though he could still hear the mumbling, it was preferable to hearing Kon talk.

All of these factors contributed to the reality that Ichigo was not comfortable. His bed was in turn too hard or too soft, but it always remained too hot. He lay on top of the sheets, trying to find a cool place in the bed. There was no cool place. He got up and lay on the floor. Yes it was cooler, but the floor was hard and it was closer to where he had placed Kon. The mumbling was louder. He couldn't sleep on the floor with the annoying vibrations.

Ichigo sat up and checked the clock. 12.30 am. He had school tomorrow and a test! He hated sadistic teachers who decided to give tests with one day's warning. He had studied, or course, but it still seemed unfair to have a test 3 days after they returned to school. It made it even more important that he slept; otherwise he might be too tired to think properly. This time he wanted to beat Uryu, though he knew he had little chance. For a second he let his mind show him the imagined look on Uryu's face if he beat him! It would be sweet.

Sitting here, staring at the clock and thinking about the test weren't helping him go to sleep, either. He got up, unlocked his door and went to the bathroom and then back to bed. Still he couldn't sleep.

Maybe he was hungry. Yes, that was it! He was hungry. His father had pounced on him saying that he had dropped his guard again. Ichigo was so tired of this sort of stupidity. While he was avoiding one of his father's jumps, he had knocked over the table. Yuzu and Karin had finished their meal, but the rest of the food had fallen to the floor. That stopped the fight but Karin stopped Yuzu from making them something else to eat.

"They were being stupid and they ruined your cooking. If they want to eat, let them cook", Karin said. "Anyway, don't you have that assignment to finish by tomorrow?" As she spoke she gave her father and brother her normal disparaging look.

"Yes, I only finished the draft last night and it will take at least 2 more hours to finish,' Yuzu said. She yawned. "I'm tired. I woke early this morning because I had to go shopping for groceries."

Isshin had tried to convince Yuzu to cook, but with no success. She was busy with her assignment and Karin told her father to get lost. Then Karin and Yuzu both locked their doors and ignored their father's knocks and pleas.

"I'm hungry. I worked hard today and I need food. Yuzu, take pity on your poor father who loves you," he yelled at her door.

"Then stop jumping Ichigo all the time, especially at dinner," Karin had opened her door and yelled back at her father. "It makes me think that you've missing something important, Dad, like common sense. Now, be quiet or Yuzu won't make breakfast either."

Beaten, Isshin stopped trying to persuade Yuzu to feed him. Instead he tried to convince Ichigo that he should cook.

"You knocked my dinner off the table. You should make me another meal," was his first attempt.

"You started it. If you didn't insist on attacking me before meals, this wouldn't have happened. You should cook dinner for me", Ichigo responded. His stomach growled in agreement.

This caused his father to try to fight him again. Ichigo gave up and went to his room to study, locking his door and ignoring any knocks or pleas, putting on his headphones and concentrating on the subject of the test. No wonder he couldn't sleep; he was hungry. It was all his fathers' fault! He would go to the kitchen for a snack. Yes, he felt like snacking if he couldn't sleep.

Carefully, he opened his door and looked into the hallway. No lights were on. It seemed quiet, well as quiet as it could get with his father snoring. That man was loud in everything he did. Still he did try; he tried to keep the family together in his own way. Not the way a normal person would, but what family was normal?

Ichigo quietly went down the steps, trying to avoid the squeaky step. Yes, he missed it, but the next one decided to squeak loudly. Maybe it would have been easier to go out the window but then he would have had to find a way to enter the house quietly. It was too much trouble. Pausing, he waiting to see if the noise woke anyone. His father stopped snoring for a few seconds, but turned over and started the gobbling sounding snore. How Yuzu and Karin could sleep through that, he did not know. He did not hear any sounds from the other rooms.

Hurriedly Ichigo descended the rest of the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. Closing the door, he turned on the light and opened the fridge. Was anything there? He poked amongst the milk, the tofu and vegetables. There was no prepared food. Yuzu liked to prepare things fresh, most of the time. He quickly opened the cupboards. There was some Pocky, but he did not feel like sweets. Packets of rice, beans other foods that required preparation. He wanted something more substantial than Pocky, but easier than really cooking. It wasn't so much a snack if you had to work.

He quickly looked in the freezer. Success! Some frozen pizza that he could heat in the microwave or the oven. Definitely the microwave. The oven would take too long, and he wanted to get back to bed. Reading the instructions he put the pizza in the microwave and waited. Watching the minutes count down he decided he was thirsty as well. He turned to the fridge and poured some juice. At that moment the microwave finished and made the familiar beeping noise. Oh no! If he hadn't got distracted he could have stopped it before it made that noise. Maybe as he'd shut the kitchen door the noise would not have woken anyone.

Waiting a few seconds he heard no movement. Relieved, he removed the pizza from the microwave and started eating.

Suddenly, the door burst open. Looking up, Ichigo saw Karin was there, waving her softball bat, trying to look brave.

"I'm warning you, whoever you are. I'll hit you with this bat if you don't leave immedia…. Ichigo! What are you doing? Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" She spoke loudly at first but became even louder when she saw it was only her brother.

"Shhh. Gee you're loud. I'm hungry. I didn't get any dinner, remember. Our idiot parent made sure of that. I can't sleep, so I thought I'd eat something. And I'm not wearing a shirt 'cause it's hot. Put down that bat before you hurt someone."

"Is there enough pizza for me?" Karin asked her eyes on his plate as she licked her bottom lip.

"Heat up your own. There's plenty in the freezer. But close the door or you'll wake up the other two and I don't want another fight while I'm trying to eat. I just want to finish this and go back to bed. I have a test tomorrow."

Karin bustled around getting her pizza.

The door opened again and slammed against the wall, jarring the wall. Both Yuzu and Isshin appeared, Isshin looking more alert than he normally did when he woke up in the middle of the night. He also looked angry. Ichigo was suddenly pleased he wasn't an intruder if it meant he had to fight a man who looked as angry and imposing as his father. He'd never seen him quite like this before and Yuzu looked worried.

"You scared me. I hear noises and checked your bed, Karin. You weren't there and Ichigo's room was empty. I thought someone had kidnapped both of you. Then I heard the noise downstairs. I woke Dad…. Why aren't you wearing a shirt Ichigo? Are you eating pizza? Is there enough for me?' Yuzu said.

Isshin rubbed his face and the imposing figure disappeared, replaced by the joking features of his father as he also demanded pizza.

"Make it yourself. And make me another one," Ichigo demanded hoping his father would take the hint.

Of course Yuzu ended up preparing the food. It was fortunate that she had gone shopping that morning because by the time everyone had finished snacking there was no frozen pizza left.

It was 1.30 am before anyone got back to bed.

Once more in his room, Ichigo lay down on his bed. Kon must have gone to sleep as the muttering had stopped. It was late. Maybe he could go to sleep he thought, just before sleep found him.


Author's Note;

Fun to write. Silly idea. Written for my amusement.

Please review if you like it.

MS