Title: Furry Guests
Part of the 7 day challenge going on at the IchiRuki FC at BleachAsylum. In honor of Ichigo's birthday, we are having a fic/fanart challenge where we must follow certain themes every day. For day 1, our theme is "kitten".
It was surprising how quickly both girls reacted to this one simple word with a sad pout and glittering puppy dog eyes. Almost as if they were expecting this...
"But...but...Ichi-nii...how can you say no to them? Look at them..." Yuzu pleaded, pushing the moldy cardboard box in front of Ichigo's nose. He sighed and looked at the litter of kittens that poked their head through the box, staring at him with the same sad expression as his sister, which was just creepy.
"Yeah, Ichigo, you can't be this heartless! We found them abandoned and in the rain, all alone," Rukia's pout intensified.
"You're fighting a losing battle, Ichi-ni," Karin drawled from the back, holding onto one of the kittens wrapped protectively in a cloth to keep it dry from the rain.
With a sigh that meant utter defeat, the girls rushed past him victoriously and into the warmth of the Kurosaki house. Ichigo followed them as they set the box gently on the floor and began pulling each of the kittens out. "You know, you can keep them here for now but we need to find them another home once the rain stops." he muttered as he crossed his arms, his tall form leaning against the door frame.
Yet he might have had better luck talking to the wall as his words were drowned by the laughter and squeals of the girls as they immersed themselves in taking care of the kittens.
Shaking his head, he made his way for his bedroom in hopes of getting some work done now that the girls were completely distracted. His exams were drawing very close and it was hard enough to concentrate with his shinigami duties and now this.
Closing the door quietly, he was able to drown out the last bit of sound coming from downstairs as he made his way to the desk. The rain continued to patter against the window as he concentrated on the task in front of him. Muffled voices could be heard on occasion downstairs, but all in all he was glad that the kittens were at least a distraction for them.
It had been only half an hour when the door opened softly. "There you are. We were wondering where you went."
Ichigo's craned his head to the side and found Rukia standing in the doorway with one of the kittens in her hand.
"Ah", he nodded. "Thought I might as well get some studying done for the exam next week."
Rukia's face fell slightly at the thought, but quickly brushed it aside as she walked over and sat down on the side of his bed. "There is time until then, so I will study later."
"Sure you will," he muttered quietly, flipping the pages absentedly while avoiding the obvious glare of the petite shinigami next to him. He heard her clear her throat in an attempt to keep her patience as she continued. "Anyways, I wanted to show you this one. The girls and I agreed that he reminds us of you, so we named him...Strawberry."
"What?" Ichigo growled and turned to look in Rukia's direction. In her hand was a very fluffy kitten with bright orange fur that looked rather angry at that moment. Or at least it seemed he was since the hair on his brow was a much lighter shade of orange and made it looked like his brow was permanently furrowed. It made a small irritated meow as it made a swipe towards Ichigo.
"Ha ha," he muttered sarcastically as Rukia laughed.
"You're no fun," she teased as she lifted the kitten towards her and began playing. Ichigo sighed and shook his head, turning back to his work.
The next hour went surprisingly well as Rukia kept her voice to a minimum so that he could study. Once or twice, Ichigo's eyes turned slightly to see what she was doing. He couldn't help but just marvel at how much her face had suddenly lit up as she played with the kitten, a smile radiating her face that made his heart beat faster. Smiling to himself, he turned back to what he hoped was more peaceful silence.
Or maybe not, he thought sourly as his head swiveled to the closet where Kon stood shocked.
Rukia blinked as fresh pools of tears came down the plushie's cheek, his paw pointing to the kitten in her hand. "What...what is that?!"
The kitten was watching in interest as Kon made his way to Rukia. "How could you choose him over me, Nneeessaannn??"
"Oh, Kon," Rukia sighed as the plushie inched forward. "Its a kitten we found outside. Ichigo agreed to let us keep them with us for a while. See, doesn't this one look like him?"
Kon scoffed and crossed his arm. "I'll at least say this one is cuter then that one," he muttered, pointing towards Ichigo.
"Hey!" Ichigo yelled, before getting smacked on the shoulder by Rukia.
"Aren't you supposed to be studying?!" she scolded as he turned back after unleashing a frustrated growl.
"Boys..." she muttered before the cries of Kon turned her attention to him. Or at lease the little thing that she thought was him that was running back and forth on the ground with Strawberry chasing after him. "Neesan, he is trying to use me as a chew toy!" he yelled, running around in circles.
Ichigo snorted. "I'm liking the cat already."
The soft knock on the door halted the plushie and he fell limply to the ground as Strawberry tackled him, gnawing on his ear. Yuzu's small head popped in as she looked around the room until she spotted Rukia.
"Rukia-nee, there you are. Where should we put these kittens?" she questioned, motioning towards a group of them by her foot.
"Oh no..." Kon muttered quietly as the kittens' eyed Strawberry with interest and ran over.
"Stop being such a pain, Kon," Ichigo growled as he placed the last stitch on the torn plushie's ear. "This should hold up until I get Ishida to stitch it back properly."
The plushie sobbed. "I was a kitten meal."
Ichigo smirked and put him down as he swiveled back in his chair. "At least they all went to sleep, so you can get some rest too."
Kon sighed and shook his head, quickly getting on the bed next to Rukia and falling asleep almost instantly. Strawberry was also sleeping softly in her lap as she stroked the fur gently.
"Ichigo, we really can't keep them?" she asked quietly. Ichigo sighed and shook his head. "There are too many of them and there is no way we can take care of them. Besides, I'm sure there are a lot of people that would like to give them a good home, so its just best."
Rukia nodded as she stared at the small kitten.
Ichigo watched her for a moment and smiled. "You really like him that much?"
Rukia nodded, smiling. "I have seen cats before while on duty here, but never taking care of them like this. This one in particular reminds me so much of you though. While he certainly is more temperamental then the others, he can be very sweet and attentitive."
Ichigo smirked and crossed his arm. "I didn't know you thought of me as such. Is him reminding you of me the reason you want to keep him so much?" he teased, enjoying the blush that suddenly crept on her face.
"N-no," she stuttered, crossing her arm. "I just enjoy being able to care for him, that is all. You know, he started following me the moment we let them out of the box. We just bonded like that, I suppose. But I can't keep him."
Ichigo frowned. "Why not?"
She shrugged lightly. "Well, I am always going back and forth from Soul Society, so I can't care for him all the time. Your father allowed the girls to keep just one of the kittens, and they already picked another one. Besides you are right, they have a chance of finding a good home, so..." she trailed off, her eyes downcast as she continued to stroke Strawberry's fur.
"Hm..." Ichigo sighed, before the sound of Rukia's phone broke the awkward silence. Taking the phone in her hand, she flipped it open and frowned.
"I'm needed," she muttered, flipping it shut. She stayed still for a moment before finally lifting the kitten off her lap and onto the bed. "I better get going. I'll be back soon, okay?"
Ichigo nodded as she leapt effortlessly out of the window and into the stormy night.
It had been a nearly two day expedition that Ukitake had put her on. She walked silently back towards the Kurosaki house, exhausted. She had been offered to take some time off to recuperate, but she wanted to see if the kittens were still there. It was silly, but having them around her made her feel so happy and she just wanted to see them again.
Though Yuzu's saddened face when the door opened was enough for Rukia to know that they were no longer there. She was happy thought to know that they had been given to wonderful families, which allowed her to smile. The kitten that Yuzu and Karin had chosen was playing on the ground with Kon again as she made her way inside.
"Ichi-ni is still not home yet," Yuzu called out to Rukia as she made her way upstairs.
"Okay, thanks, Yuzu. I'm just going to go put my stuff away."
As she reached the top of the stairs, she was stopped by a soft meow that came from Ichigo's room. Walking very hesitantly towards the door, her eyes widened at the small pair of amber eyes that peaked through the crack in the door. Rukia swallowed as she quickly walked over to the room, and opened it gently. She gasped when the furry orange kitten came to her and sought for her to pick him up. As she lifted the him into her arms, Yuzu walked in and smiled. "Ah Strawberry, there you are! You are always hiding in Ichi-ni's room."
Rukia turned to her, surprised. "Yuzu? H-how? I thought your dad said you guys could only keep one??"
Yuzu nodded. "Yeah, but Ichi-ni convinced dad to keep Strawberry too. He said that he would take care of him and if Karin and I got to have one, so could he. He was very determined too..." she trailed off thoughtfully. "Maybe he really didn't mind having a cat that looked like him..."
The sound of the door downstairs and Ichigo's voice filtered through the house. Yuzu quickly made her way to the door. "Ah he is here! Come on, Rukia-nee, lunch is ready."
Rukia nodded and walked out and to the foot of the stairs. Ichigo was standing by the door taking his shoes off when his eyes wandered up to see Rukia with Strawberry in her hands. A small smile crept on his face as he took his eyes off of them and resumed his task. Rukia made her way quietly to him as he stood to face her.
"Ah, you found him? He is very troublesome, you know, so you better be-"
Ichigo went silent as Rukia smiled gently. "Thank you for keeping him."
He coughed lightly and scratched his head. "Well, I thought might as well, since Yuzu and Karin got to keep on. Besides, I'm only looking out for it when you aren't around, but he is your responsibility whenever you are here. And I will change his name..."
Rukia pouted. "What is wrong with the name I gave him?"
Ichigo snorted. "I don't like it. Besides, its my cat now. So I get to pick a name."
"But I will be taking care of it!"
"Not when it has to go to the bathroom!"
Rukia smiled and leaned up, placing a quick peck on his cheek. "Idiot...it stays Strawberry. Either that or Chappy."
With that, she quickly scooped up the kitten and ran off into the other room, leaving Ichigo standing in shock by the door. As what happened slowly begin to sink in, he touched his cheek gently and smiled. The sound of Yuzu's voice brought him back to where he was as he made his way towards the kitchen.
"Strawberry, it is."
Hoped you enjoyed my silly kitten themed fic. =D