A/N: OMG another update! :) Hope you didn't get too impatient waiting for another chapter. Anyway, I started writing another chapter to this collection of oneshots, but decided it was crap halfway through and wrote this chappie instead. Enjoy!
Rukia had reached her limit. She could normally handle a fair amount of pain (pain-in-the-asses included), but this was getting to be too much. Every time she had a question, every time she wanted to get her two cents in, every single freaking time she felt the need to reprimand Ichigo for his constant stupidity, she had to look up. And her neck couldn't take much more.
"Damn you, Ichigo!"
The said boy blinked in confusion and glanced at the girl beside him. It wasn't like he had said anything to set her off. Hell, he wasn't even talking to her.
"What's wrong, Rukia-chan?" Inoue cocked her head, peering at her friend.
Rukia clenched her fists, her violet eyes alight with fury, "Why the hell are you so damn tall?! It hurts every time I have to look at you!"
"Probably for more reasons than one," Ishida couldn't resist jabbing the orange-haired teenager, what with Rukia providing such a nice opening and all.
Ichigo ignored the Quincy, turning to face her full out, folding his arms, "Listen, it's not my fault you're so tiny, Rukia."
"I'm not tiny! You're just overly tall!"
Now Ichigo was starting to get into the debate, sensing a time to one-up the shinigami, "Look around for me, will you?" he asked calmly, though a fierce grin spread across his face.
Caught off guard by the request—though for everyone else it was painfully obvious to see where Ichigo was headed—Rukia complied. She lowered her gaze from his face and trailed over the remaining friends: Chad, Ishida, and Inoue.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen," Ichigo turned to his audience. "Direct your attention to my hand." He waved his right hand, and then flattened it and put it about a foot away from Rukia's face, parallel with the ground and even with where her nose would have been, had she not been looking up. As everyone watched, he brought it up about another four inches, to where Rukia's nose really was. "As you can see by this demonstration, Rukia is required to look up about a third a foot to meet even Inoue's eyes. Now, if Inoue will look at one of us, we'll make comparisons."
Inoue looked surprised about being called on, and timidly raised her own eyes to meet Ishida's, who blushed slightly and cleared his throat. Ichigo ignored their little exchange, swiftly performing the same procedure with the redhead.
"Inoue only has to look about an inch. So," he clapped his hands in accomplishment, smiling smugly at the fuming raven-haired girl, "as you can clearly see, simply by doing the math, you—Rukia—are short."
Rukia didn't need to be tall to punch him in the head.
As Ichigo recovered and turned to watch her stalk off, Chad frowned, "Maybe that was a bit harsh."
"Eh," Ichigo shrugged nonchalantly. "She needs to learn sometime."
The next weekend, the group decided to pay a visit to Keigo and Mizuiro, who had managed to get jobs at the local amusement park as ride operators. About and hour after arriving, Ichigo managed to pull Rukia away from Inoue and Ishida—who were watching Chad win for a third time at the strength-tester—to spend some 'quality time' with the shinigami. She beamed at him.
"This car-a-vil is really fun!" Rukia kept pace with Ichigo easily, finishing up the last of her cotton candy.
He glanced down at her, "It's 'carnival', actually, but I'm glad you're having a good time." Because you won't be soon.
"Whatever. I want to ride on that big round thing!" she pointed to the Ferris wheel. Ichigo grinned.
"Whatever you want."
By the time they reached the Ferris wheel, Rukia was—put simply—stoked. She bounced up and down the whole time they were in line, and when they finally reached the front, she was too busy gaping at the size of the wheel to notice Keigo sneak up and put a sign beside the entrance. Then they walked forward to get on, but Ichigo held out his arm to stop her.
"Oh, sorry, Rukia," he stated somberly. "You can't get on this ride—you're not tall enough."
"What?!" Rukia turned to face the sign he was pointing at, and she glared as she realized what he said was true—her head fell just below the height requirements, measured by a dinosaur with gloved hands. "Who the hell decided that?"
"Federal regulation," Ichigo supplied, pulling her out of line. "Let's try the roller coaster."
Behind them, Keigo grabbed the sign and took off, wondering if he really was helping Rukia-chan with her fear of heights, like Ichigo had said he would be.
Another hour later, Rukia was in a sour mood. She had been too short for the roller coaster. Then, surprisingly, she was also too short for the drop tower, the giant swings, the top-spin, and even the goddamn tilt-a-whirl. And Rukia was not pleased about that fact.
"What the hell am I allowed to ride, then?" she demanded angrily, loudly enough that a mother with two impressionable toddlers gave her a fierce glare.
Ichigo chuckled, "The teacups," he gestured towards the spinning plastic cups, where little kids ages five to eleven were screaming with joy and fear as the attendant gave every seat a good push when it rode by.
Just then, Ishida and Inoue joined Rukia and Ichigo, with Inoue smiling brightly and clutching a stuffed bear. At Ichigo's curious glance, Ishida smirked smugly, "I won at the archery table."
"What's wrong, Rukia-chan?" Inoue was the first to notice the raven girl's downcast face.
"I'm not tall enough to ride anything in this stupid place," Rukia folded her arms bitterly.
"Don't be absurd," Ishida surveyed her. "You're tall enough. They only use height restrictions for little kids, most averaging around three feet."
Rukia blinked, "But then, how come I couldn't—" She froze, jerking her head over to look up at her laughing companion. Everything clicked into place, and she narrowed her eyes dangerously. "Looks like the pickle's coming back out."
Ichigo's face paled.
Rukia let him live, but only so that he could fully appreciate her revenge.
It came suddenly, one day after school, smacking Ichigo full force. Literally.
"What the hell?" he cried, clutching his bruised forehead. "Who put this stupid board here?"
Karin—who had been keeping Ichigo occupied while Rukia worked—shrugged and surveyed the doorframe, where a regular two by four had been attached with very strong Velcro, acting like an extra extension to the ceiling, "Who knows? Could be dad. He's crazy—you know that."
"Dad's out of town today!" Ichigo seethed.
Karin shrugged again and walked inside, fitting quite nicely underneath the board. Ichigo grumbled again and ducked under it as well, straightening once he was in the safety of his living room. The front door closed behind him, and the board—which had been attached on the opposite side of the doorframe, so as not to stop the door from opening and closing—mocked him all the way to the kitchen.
Yuzu smiled, "Welcome home, Ichi-nee." She was cooking dinner: stew, from the looks of the vegetables strewn about.
"Yeah," he huffed, grabbing an apple from a bowl on the counter. With a casual wave, he left the kitchen, biting into the fruit. By the time he had made it up the stairs, he had completely forgotten about the mysterious board.
Which turned out to be a mistake, because another one knocked him to the ground before he could set a foot inside his bedroom. He cried out, more in anger and frustration than pain, and tore the board off of his doorframe. Then he entered his room and slammed the door shut.
But the boards continued popping up. One was in the kitchen when he went for dinner. Another took up residence just outside the bathroom, appearing sometime while he took a shower. And he fell for the one on his bedroom doorframe more than twice. The tricky part about the boards, however, was that there could be an empty door one moment, and the minute he turned away and back again, there one was, ready to reopen the now-bleeding wound on his forehead. But never before had he been forced to duck under doorways, and—he was finding out the hard way—it was a difficult habit to break in to.
Finally, when he couldn't take it anymore, he barreled into Karin and Yuzu's room, where Rukia had—according to the twins themselves—holed herself up to study for the approaching math test. She looked at the doorway when he arrived, and didn't even bother concealing her triumphant smile at his glinting eyes.
"Yes, Ichigo? Can I help you?"
"You can damn well help me!" he threw a board at her, and she instinctively caught it, her violet eyes now mocking him as well. "Why do these boards keep popping up in every damn doorway?!"
Rukia shrugged, "I don't know," she replied, too innocently. "But it sure must suck to be tall, huh, strawberry?"
A/N: I even brought in the last two chappies! Yay for connections! :D Please review if you liked this chapter! (I thought it was amusing)