On The Importance Of Proper Underwear

Ichigo would have been freaking, except that men didn't freak. Even men who had -- oh shit, this couldn't be happening to him. This couldn't have happened to him. It was a bad dream. It was a nightmare. It was impossible. If he ignored it it'd go away.

Rukia slapped him across the back of his head. "Stop whimpering," she ordered. It was weird to hear her voice dropped to a bass register like that. "Pull yourself together, Ichigo!"

Ichigo kept his eyes shut. "Is Zangetsu still there?" he asked tentatively. His voice sounded strange in his own ears. Probably because it was an octave or so higher.

Rukia sighed. "Yes, Ichigo. Your sword is still there."

"And he hasn't turned into something wimpy with white ribbons?"

The boot to the base of his spine knocked him sprawling. "Do not insult Sode no Shirayuki," Rukia hissed. "She is beautiful and perfect and just because she is temporarily --"

"Laughing like a maniac in the back of your head?" Ichigo asked bitterly. "Because that's what Zangetsu's doing in mine. At least now we know why none of the Captains wanted to fight this Espada."

Rukia grunted. "We must deal with the situation like proper shinigami."

"Maybe it's all one of Aizen's illusions," Ichigo said hopefully.

"No, it isn't."

"A really strong illusion."

"No, Ichigo, it isn't."

"A really detailed and focused illusion that makes me think I'm --"

Rukia took Ichigo by the shoulders and shook him. He opened his eyes in shock, and saw the two great bumps on his chest bouncing. "No," he whimpered.

Rukia sniffed. Then she suddenly looked alarmed and let go of him, turning away.

"Is something the matter?" Ichigo asked.

"Nothing at all!" Rukia snapped. Really, it was hard to tell from behind with her that there had been any change. She looked the same as ever if you couldn't see that her breasts (what a horrible word, breasts) were gone and her face was a bit squarer.

"Are you injured?"

"Nonsense! I just require some bandages!"

"Bandages?" Concern for Rukia overtook Ichigo's need to hide in a corner and whimper. "Look, if that Espada got a hit in on you . . ."

"I require bandages," Rukia snarled, "to tie down this -- this protuberance. I was not aware that it would react so vigorously to your bosom."

"I haven't got a bosom," Ichigo said automatically.

"Well, I wish I didn't have one of these things," Rukia said.

Curiosity (not to mention the urge to see if it was as big as his, or god forbid, bigger) drove Ichigo to peer over Rukia's shoulder. He got the uppercut straight in his nose.

"You shouldn't hit a girl!" he protested from the ground.

"You shouldn't leer at my temporarily masculine parts," Rukia sniffed. "Just because you currently look more like Matsumoto-fukutaichou than anyone else --"

Ichigo stared, cross-eyed, at his bosom again. (He still hadn't mustered the nerve to look any further down.) It stood out dramatically. Proudly. It quivered. It demonstrated cleavage.

Rukia's lower lip quivered. "How will I face my honoured elder brother like this?" she groaned. "I have disgraced the Noble House of Kuchiki. No Kuchiki has ever been caught cross-dressing before . . ."

"But shinigami outfits are fairly unisex," Ichigo pointed out, "so how are you cross-dressing?"

"I am a man clad in female undergarments," Rukia muttered. "I feel that protuberance pressing hard against my silk thong -- Ichigo, is something the matter? You have a nosebleed and it is dripping onto your breasts." She swallowed. "Your proud, jutting, marble-pale breasts . . ."

"Well of course I have good breasts," Ichigo said, deciding to go for the route of totally insane pride. If he was going to be turned into a woman, then he supposed it wasn't surprising that he was dramatically sexy and stunning. Better than someone like Ishida would have been. "What did you expect, a breadboard like you?"

Rukia tried to glare at him, but her gaze was fixed on his bosom. "I need bandages," she whispered. "Lots of bandages."

Ichigo inhaled smugly. "It can't be that bad, can it?"

Rukia twitched. She turned round and stared desperately at the middle distance.

Ichigo sauntered forward. "Oh come on, Rukia. Surely it can't be that bad just to look at my breasts. Hey, if I pull my bankai coat open a bit I can --"

There was a drift of cherry blossom petals, and Kuchiki Byakuya and Kyouraku Shunsui abruptly flash stepped out of nowhere in particular. Their eyes fixed on Rukia. Then on Ichigo. With rather different expressions.

"-- can run away really fast," Ichigo finished in a tiny voice.