This story was written for karin-chan9473 who requested a one-shot with the theme of "contest", and Dreamergirl667 who wanted an overprotective big brother. I hope you like it!
Karin hated the summer. It was hot, sticky, and uncomfortable. Playing soccer was always much harder since you had to stop to take frequent water breaks or risk overheating. And the sweat just poured off of you, soaking your clothes, which clung to you, rubbing against your skin until it was red and raw.
But the thing Karin hated the most about summer was watermelon. Yes, you heard me right, watermelon. Every year for the summer festival organized by her school, Karin's class decided to run a watermelon eating contest. Several ideas were thrown around, but in the end, they always defaulted to the tried and true.
Which was why Karin was in a particularly bad mood today.
"Every single year!" she complained to Yuzu as they walked home together. "And there were actually some decent ideas this time! But no, 'everyone loves a good watermelon eating contest Karin!' God I hate this!" Yuzu tried to give her a sympathetic look but failed miserably.
"Come on Karin-chan," she encouraged, "watermelon eating contests are fun!" Karin scoffed.
"Not when you hate watermelon!" she said bitterly. It was true. No matter how many times she tried it, she just couldn't get used to the sticky juice that spurted everywhere and coated your face and hands, the flavor that tried really hard to be sweet but fell just short, the crunch that wasn't quite there, and the texture that was like a waterlogged, crusty sponge. Not to mention the fact that they were too enormous for a normal knife, so when you tried to cut one in half, you always ended up with an area in the center that just couldn't be reached with the blade and you had to twist the oversized thing, which you could never grasp properly, or rip it apart with your hands, which always ended up digging into your palms courtesy of the hard rind. And, to top it all off, it was pink. Enough said.
"We're home!" Karin and Yuzu called out. Karin removed her shoes and chucked her bag over a nearby chair.
"Karin! Yuzu!" cried a highly enthusiastic Isshin, bounding to the door to greet his daughters. "Welcome…" but he was cut short as his face collided with Karin's foot.
"Not today you idiot old man!" Karin barked. Isshin pouted.
"Oh, Karin, you're growing up too fast! You don't love your father anymore! Oh Masaki, what am I going to do with our troublesome daughter!" Karin rolled her eyes.
"Shut up," she said. "I'm going out." She walked back towards the door, but her path was blocked by Ichigo.
"Now what, Ichi-nii?" she asked in a tired voice. Ichigo eyed her suspiciously.
"You're going to meet him again, aren't you?" he asked suspiciously. There was no doubt in either of their minds who him was.
"And if I am?" Karin insisted. "What are you going to do about it?" Ichigo's face started to turn red with anger.
"I just don't trust that kid," he said darkly, then looked over to Isshin and Yuzu, who were fussing over something in the kitchen. He leaned towards Karin and whispered,
"I mean, what's a shinigami doing spending his free time hanging out with a human? I tell you, that boy's up to no good." Karin rolled her eyes again.
"You're too overprotective, Ichi-nii," she intoned, reaching around him for the door handle. "Now MOVE!" She pushed him with all her might, sending him sprawling on the ground, and seized the opportunity to race out the door.
"If he lays a single finger on you, I'm going to kill him!" Ichigo screamed after her. Karin's face widened into a huge grin. Big brothers are such a pain sometimes.
She ran to the soccer field, found a quiet corner, and sat down to wait. She didn't have to wait long.
A senkai gate opened right in front of her, and a white-haired, teal eyed taicho stepped out, clad in jeans and a black polo shirt over his gigai.
"Hiya Toushiro!" Karin said happily, cuffing him on the arm. Hitsugaya nodded in greeting.
"How are you today Kurosaki?" he asked politely. Karin rolled her eyes.
"Toushiro, for the last time, call me Karin ok! We're friends aren't we?!" Hitsugaya blushed ever so slightly at this comment, but didn't respond.
"So," he said impatiently. "Are we playing or not?" Karin smiled, then threw her soccer ball at him.
"Sure!" she agreed.
An hour later they were hot and sweaty from running around on the baking field.
"Stupid summer," Karin thought as they headed to relax in the shade of a tree.
"I hate summer!" she whined, collapsing on the grass.
"I do too," Hitsugaya said casually, sitting down beside her and pulling out a water bottle. He took a long sip, then held it out to Karin.
"Want some?" he offered. Karin stared at him.
"What?" he asked innocently in response to the look on her face. Karin contemplated saying something about sharing spit and whatnot, but decided that Hitsugaya probably couldn't handle the joke. It was too…awkward. So she silently reached out and took the bottle from him, taking a deep swig.
"Thanks," she said, tossing the bottle back to him. He caught it and nodded.
"So, what's new?" Karin asked casually, wanting to make conversation with the man who didn't like to use any more words than necessary.
"Oh, you know, normal division stuff," he said vaguely. "Nothing too interesting. What's new with you?"
"My class is having a stupid watermelon eating contest for the summer festival," she scoffed. "Again!" Hitsugaya looked at her confused.
"What's wrong with a watermelon eating contest?" he asked. Karin rolled onto her back, leaning against her arms.
"Oh, nothing," she said lazily. "Except that I hate watermelon." Hitsugaya's eyes widened in surprise.
"What!?" he exclaimed. "I love watermelon! When I was little, I used to eat a dozen of them in a single sitting." Karin stared at him in disgust, then burst out laughing.
"Toushiro, no one could eat a dozen watermelons…" then she stopped as a thought hit her. Her mouth curled into a sinister smile.
"Toushiro," she said, sitting up. "Meet me in two weeks in front of my school at 5:00 sharp. Don't bring your gigai. You're going to help me with something." Then, before he had a chance to respond and ask what the heck she was talking about, she stood up and ran away towards home.
The students in Karin's class were bewildered. Karin was always dead set against their annual watermelon eating contest, but this year, she actually seemed excited. She kept going on about how she had learned to love watermelon over the past year and was going to win this time. No one really understood her, but then, no one ever did.
Hitsugaya was waiting impatiently for Karin to appear. He normally hated even approaching the elementary school building, but the fact that he wasn't in a gigai, and therefore no one could see him, comforted him ever so slightly. Finally, he saw Karin running gleefully towards him and suppressed a grin. Hitsugaya Toushiro doesn't smile.
"Toushiro!" Karin said excitedly. "I knew you'd come!"
"What was so important that I had to be here at 5:00 sharp?" he demanded. Karin grinned mischievously.
"You hungry?" she asked, a gleam in her eye. Hitsugaya glared at her. She sighed impatiently.
"You're going to help me win the watermelon eating contest!" she explained. "No one else can see you. Come sit next to me and help me eat! You know you want to!" Hitsugaya fought with himself. He knew this was a childish idea, but hey it was free watermelon, and Karin was looking at him with such hopeful eyes. He really had no choice.
"Ok, fine, I'll help you," he acquiesced. Karin beamed at him, then grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the area where they were holding the contest, trying to ignore the sensation in the pit of her stomach that had appeared when she touched his hand.
Ichigo was in a foul mood. From his spot in the stands he had a clear view of the entire area, but his gaze was focused solely on a single couple. Of course, he was the only one present who knew it was a couple. Everyone else just saw Karin.
"That little rat!" he sneered under his breath.
"What's that, Ichi-nii?" Yuzu asked sweetly beside him. Ichigo slumped backwards and crossed his arms.
"Nothing," he said mumbled, deciding he would murder Hitsugaya later.
The contestants lined up in rows. Each had five watermelons in front of them. Karin had spent the morning slicing the obnoxious fruit, as evidenced by the red marks on her palms. The judge stood up to explain the rules.
"When I say go," he boomed, "you are too eat as much watermelon as you can as fast as you can. The first person to finish all their watermelon is the winner. If, however, no one finishes, the person who eats the most will be declared the victor. Any questions?" He scanned the crowd.
"On your marks, get set, GO!" he cried, and the students attacked the watermelon with gusto. Karin picked up a piece and started nibbling, trying to suppress a grin as the towering stack of watermelon slices beside her seemed to evaporate into Hitsugaya's mouth. They were gone before anyone realized what was happening.
"I'm done!" Karin called out, and all eyes turned to her. No one had even been watching her, but there she was, plate empty, watermelon rinds littering the ground around her.
The crowd started whispering eagerly. How had she done that so fast? Is that even possible? But no one could deny the fact that her watermelon was gone, and the evidence of bite marks on the rinds proved to everyone (except Ichigo who was smoldering), that Karin had indeed downed five whole watermelons in less than five minutes.
"The winner!" the judge announced, and the crowd started cheering. Karin was thrilled. The winner was exempt from cleanup.
Amidst the confusion of the contest ending, Karin saw Ichigo fighting the crowd in order to get near her and give her and Hitsugaya an earful. She wasn't in the mood.
"Come on," she said urgently to Hitsugaya, grabbing his hand again and pulling him away from the throng. They went around to the back of the school, which was deserted as everyone was still at the festival. Karin released Hitsugaya's hand and turned to face him.
"Thank you so much!" she said with a smile. "That was so much fun!"
"For you maybe," Hitsugaya drawled. "Remember, I just ate five watermelons." Karin chuckled.
"You know you liked it, Toushiro, don't try to fool yourself." Hitsugaya looked at her and smirked. It wasn't a smile exactly, but it was as close to it as he ever got.
"So, what are you going to do in return?" he asked. "You owe me for helping you."
"What do you want?" she asked nonchalantly. Hitsugaya answered his own question by leaning forward and pressing his lips to hers. Karin was momentarily stunned, but after a split second's hesitation, decided she liked it and kissed him back.
"Oi, Toushiro!" shouted an angry Ichigo from somewhere far away causing Karin and Hitsugaya to break apart. "Where the heck did you hide my sister?!" Karin grinned mischievously.
"Ignore him," she said, grabbing Hitsugaya's head and pulling him in for another kiss. He tasted like watermelon. She loved it.
There you go, I hope you liked it! Please review and let me know what you think. Thanks.