Oh wow. Is this an epilogue or another chapter. Ah, who cares. Apologies in advance for any OOCness and grammar/spelling errors, I did my best. Also, can I reccomend that anyone reading this read the 1st chapter if they haven't already done so. It will make more sense if you do. I spose this chapter could be loosely interpreted as Ichiruki... ok maybe more like there is some light stuff but whatever. Constructive criticism is welcome.

Thank you to Blue Wolf Miko, The Morbid Stilettos and "Chris" who have reviewed my first chap. Cheers people.

Oh yeah, I don't own Bleach, nor can i be assed coming up with some lame joke to say I don't.


Ichigo Kurosaki sat at the bar, emotionally numb. Siting for Yachiru had been… taxing… Physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Just seeing what the brat was capable of had shaken him to his core and made him question the existence of a god. In fact, the only coherent thought going through his head right now was:

"I am so glad I brought that cup"

Said cup was still in his pants. Call it strange, but Ichigo found its presence to be oddly comforting. Probably a good thing it was there, who knows how his idiot of a father would react if told that Ichigo was no longer capable of having kids.


Meanwhile, in the real world…

Isshin Kurosaki looked up from his chair and felt the strangest urge to prostrate himself before the poster of his wife. Once there he could complain about how he is cursed with such a weak and ungrateful son who may now never provide him with grandchildren. Shaking it off, he went back to his latest scheme for embarrassing Ichigo. Now where did those baby photos get to…

At the same time, Karin Kurosaki felt the need to find her father and clobber him for being an idiot. Shaking it off, she got back to her soccer game.


Back to Soul Society…

Ichigo stared moodily at the bottom of his cup. In the back of his head, he knew he shouldn't be drinking, but eight near-death experiences had left him a little edgy. It was one thing to go out in a fair fight, but Ichigo Kurosaki refused to subject his family to an obituary that read "death by flying ham…" Hmmm, perhaps he should get Renji a ham. Did getting someone a ham say "sorry I made your boss think you were doing things with his sister in his own home"? Maybe sake would be a better gift. Ah, the trip to the sixth, Ichigo thought nostalgically. Now that had been entertaining. Of course that had been before things got out of hand. Ichigo wasn't totally certain when she had left, but when she came back with that empty pot of super glue... Hopefully, the fifth division had some decent solvent.

Back to Renji, Ichigo thought he was being a bit of a baby. Okay, so Senbonzakura is a deadly zanpakuto. Especially in the hands of an upset big brother. But still, Ichigo took worse wounds fighting Byakuya. But Ichigo had to admit, watching the one-sided massacre had been a little painful. If only Renji had the balls to stand up to Byakuya. It's not enough to just be brave when your childhood friend/crush is set to be executed; it needs to be a twenty-four seven commitment. Even worse, Rukia had decided it was his fault that Renji was enjoying the fourths hospitality. It's like she expected him to control what Yachiru says, and based on his afternoon's experience, one does not control Yachiru, at best, one attempts to direct, and even that can be risky. Seriously, Rukia needs to relax.

"ICHIGO YOU STRAWBERRIED IDIOT."

Speak of the midget. Ichigo made a show of looking around curiously above her head before looking down as if just noticing her. Not the smartest thing he could have done as Rukia turned the colour of, ironically, a ripe strawberry.

"Oh, I didn't see you down there."

WHAM!

"Dammit Rukia!"

"Serves you right fool. Do you have any idea what you have done?"

Ichigo plastered an expression of uncertainty on his face. He knew damn well what he had done, but antagonising her is way more fun. Besides, she's already angry, may as well go for broke.

"Rukia, I sat for Yachiru today. A lot of things are likely to be blamed on me; you need to be more specific."

"Oh gee, I dunno Ichigo, maybe, just maybe it has something to do with you and the pink brat convincing my brother that I was doing inappropriate things with Renji!"

"Well, what were you doing?"

"Why do you care?"

That hit Ichigo. Why did he care? In fact, why did he get a small, sick sense of satisfaction at seeing Renji get beaten for being associated with Rukia and 'noises.'

"Ugh, it doesn't matter; we were moving furniture if you must know. Shove over Ichigo."

Then with grace and dignity befitting a woman of the noble Kuchiki house, she took her place on the barstool next to Ichigo. The effect was somewhat ruined by the very unladylike elbow she gave him to make him move over.

"You could have helped him, it wouldn't be the first time you fought a captain for a stupid reason."

"Are you kidding, Kenpachi would never leave you guys alone if he heard that I fought someone over beating up a friend."

"True. Hey, how did your sitting go? You're not in the fourth so it wasn't too bad was it?"

The dark look Ichigo gave her told her otherwise. Her expression softened.

"How did it go?"

Rather than respond verbally, Ichigo pulled open his shirt and showed Rukia his previously covered chest. After mentally slapping herself for staring, Rukia tried to distract Ichigo from what felt like an obvious blush by asking the obvious questions.

"That's not permanent is it?"

"Did you know Rukongai has a temporary tattoo place."

"Oh really?"

"I had to agree to matching ones to avert her third scheme"

"Matching huh. Is hers-"

"No, on her forearm."

"Does Kenpachi know they're temp-"

"I assume so, the guy seemed to know her, even asked if she wanted the usual."

"Oh. Why clowns?"

"We walked passed a circus five minutes before."

"Did you walk past a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker by any chance?"

"Yep, that's why they're eating steak sandwiches by candlelight."

"And they're ninja clowns because…?"

"Yachiru read some ninja comics that morning. I tried reasoning with her that ninja clowns wouldn't be very practical in battle. She argued they would and she would prove me wrong. On that note, Soi Fon and half of her ninja spy guys are upset with me. If you see any rainbow afros sneaking around, please let me know."

"You know where you went wrong?"

"I tried reasoning with her?"

"Not what I wanted to say but accurate I guess."

They sat in silence for a while before Rukia was struck with a thought.

"…Ichigo, you wouldn't happen to know anything about the group of clown pirates running around would you?"

"Yachiru decided that to prove clown ninjas are superior, she should have them fight something. So she went out and got the ninja's natural enemy."

"Did the ninjas win?"

"Of course they did, everyone knows ninjas are better than pirates."

With that said they fell into a comfortable silence and enjoyed their drinks. Once they finished Ichigo turned to Rukia.

"Hey Rukia, wanna go and get something to eat?"

"What? Now?"

"I'm sorry, is there an echo around my knees?"

"Ichigo, I'm pretty sure you're not meant to insult the person you're asking out"

Ask out?

"…WHAT? Why, who-bu, ummm, wh-who would ask out a stupid midget like you"

Shock! Scandal! Outrage! Slightly hurt feelings...

She got right up in his face.

"STUPID MIDGET! Screw you Bozo the Blade!"

"Who the hell is 'Bozo the Blade'?"

"Ugh, obviously I was making reference to that ridiculous tattoo on our chest."

"...What a stupid name, I shouldn't be surprised considering your drawing skills."

"You leave my art out of this Ichigo Kurosaki!"

"Oh my, are we interrupting? We can come back if you like."

Ichigo and Rukia leapt apart as if stung. Standing in the doorway were Rangiku, Hisagi, Kira, Kyoraku, Iba, Ikkaku and Yumichika.

"Clown ninjas and pirates... Really Kurosaki? You know, me and Izuru spent the last two hours with our divisions rounding them up"

"Oh quit whinging Shu, at least you got out from behind the desk."

"Since when have you needed a reason Ran?"

"Makes Captain less pissy when I have a legitimate excuse for skipping... By the way, nice tat Ichigo, I'm guessing you went and saw Mike in the Thirty-Third district."

Everyone went over to the table to admire Mikes work. Ikkaku ordered a round of drinks and proceeded to compete in the seven way rock-paper-scissors contest to decide who payed next.

"I trust you handed your responsibility beautifully. We noticed the lack of fire on the way over."

"Before you ask, did anyone notice how there aren't any clams lying around?"

"Is that why you have the tattoo?"

"Nope, that's why I'll be making a quick trip to the real world for as much candy as I can carry. I got the paintjob to avoid Yachiru using the weather modifying machine she ordered Emu to retrieve from the twelfth."

"Her name's Nemu."

"Whatever. The point is it isn't raining lollipops right now. That could change at any minute though. I'm concerned at how readily Nemu followed Yachiru's orders."

"It's an SWA thing."

Iba shivered at the mention of his hated enemy.

"I made so many deals and promises today to avoid the widespread chaos and destruction she apparently is quite capable of."

Kyoraku gave Ichigo a hearty clap on the back.

"We appreciate it, we've all been there."

"Oh yeah Kurosaki, my captain wanted me to thank you for finally convincing her that giving him a doggie treat is not sufficient incentive to make him roll over."

"What's the story behind that one?"

After a few more rounds and some more horror stories, Ichigo was actually feeling a whole lot better about his day. It was good to laugh and commiserate with people who understood. Maybe it was just the buzz he was getting from the drinks. Or maybe it was because he somehow ended up with Rukia's hand in his own.

"Hey guys, where's Renji?"

Cue painful squeezing.

THUNK, THONK, THUNK, THANK, THONK, THUNK.

Ichigo looked out the window and sure enough, it was raining lollipops.

Damn, where'd that buzz go?