Of Bunnies and Men

Pops had told Ichigo a lot of things about love, marriage, and the glories therein over the years. More than he wanted to know sometimes, but even he could appreciate his dad's obvious love for his wife (not that he'd ever admit it.) He might even have called it cute if he was in a good mood and Pops was ever capable of being cute (which he wasn't.) One thing he'd neglected to mention was that even the one person you loved above all others could be freaking annoying sometimes.

He sighed as Rukia pulled on his arm. "Ichigo! Let's look at these." She yanked him over to the store window to press her nose against the glass.

"More Chappy shit?" He grimaced. This wasn't just more Chappy—it was Christmas-themed Chappy shit, with lots of happy rabbits smiling in ways dumb animals shouldn't. "Rukia, let's go."

"Why? Can't we get some?" She frowned. "It's a limited morning sale. Everything's much cheaper but only until noon."

"No! It's kid stuff, Rukia. You don't need any damn bunnies anyway. They don't exactly fit in at Soul Society and I'm not keeping them in my room for when you visit. Let's go."

"I don't know why you're in such a bad temper," she groused as she followed, grabbing the sleeve of his winter jacket to stick with him as they moved back into the crowds. "I can pay you back if that's the problem. Urahara will still exchange Soul Society currency for yen, even if he does charge a ridiculous premium."

His head throbbed and his nose was getting numb. "That's not it. Look, I just want to finish getting the stuff Yuzu wanted and get back home, okay?"


He continued walking, searching for the store his little sister had directed him to, when Rukia yanked on his arm again. "Look!"

He groaned. "It better not be bunnies again."

It turned out to be gloves—made with rabbit fur. He wondered if she saw the disconnect between loving the cute things and wanting to make use of their bodies but decided not to question it. "I'm definitely not buying those," he said. "That shit's expensive and I hardly have anything left this week. Feed your rabbit fetish with something cheaper, okay?"

He scowled as they moved on, not holding as tightly to his sleeve this time. "I was merely being sensible," she said. "It is colder out than I expected."

"It snowed a foot last night, Rukia," Ichigo pointed out. "How cold did you expect it to be?"

"My error, clearly. Still, if I am to accompany you on your errand—"

"You don't have to," he said. "I don't know why you wanted to come anyway. It's just picking up a few things. I would've been back soon anyway. And how can you be cold? You control ice!"

She removed her hand from his jacket. "Gigai have human limitations," she said stonily. "Don't let me slow you down. By all means, hurry with your urgent task."

He rolled his eyes. "Rukia—"

"Go." She shoved him. "I don't know why you're so—so pissy this weekend but I don't wish to be around you in this mood anyway."

"Fine then!" He stomped off towards the next store, now half a block away, even as a pang of guilt struck him. He shouldn't be this annoyed, especially with Rukia around when it had been a couple weeks, but things seemed to just eat at him lately. Finals and entrance exams, and that hollow that'd almost kicked his ass the other night, and Pops tormenting him unmercifully about Rukia's visit and the preparations a young man in the bloom of love needed to make, and the damn winter itself—none of it was very important, but it was like they'd all conspired to put him in a bad mood.

But none of that was Rukia's fault.

He sighed again and turned around. She was still following, but slowly. He stomped over, grabbed her hand, and shoved it in his jacket pocket. He started walking again—but slower this time.

She seemed to regard him thoughtfully. "If we turn around after this, there's still time to get Chappy."

"Shut up, Rukia."