Title: Kamaboko and Strawberries

Pairing: Ichigo / Isane

Rating: T (Subject to change)

A/U: No

OOC: Slightly

One-Shot: Yes (Subject to change)

Plot: Ichigo defeated Aizen without having to use the Final Getsuga Tenshō. After a grueling battle for the ages, Ichigo awakens in the 4th Division Barracks at night to the sound of a frightened scream.

Kamaboko and Strawberries

"Ahh!" someone screamed.

Ichigo awoke to a frightful scream, "Ugh, where am I?" he thought aloud while looking around as he lay in bed.

The room was rather plain; nothing was recognizable or gave any hint of familiarity.

Ichigo closed his eyes, took slow and even breaths, before he concentrated to discern where he was and what was going on.

"I'm in Soul Society…in the 4th Division Barracks. I remember defeating Aizen…I must have passed out" he mused.

Ichigo slowly lifted himself up, surprised that the pain wasn't as excruciating as he imagined, given what happened between him and a hollowfied Aizen.

He slowly trudged through the hallway, walking towards the direction of where he had heard that panicked scream, his resolve to always protect ever so present in his thoughts.

Ichigo eventually came upon a room that overlooked the outside portion of the barracks, and to his surprise, there was a young looking woman sitting down staring at the outdoors.

She heard his footsteps approach and looked at him, revealing her soft and beautiful face, and short silver hair.

"Are you okay?" Ichigo asked worriedly, "I heard some screaming not too long ago."

The young woman stood up quickly and was by his side in an instant, "You shouldn't be standing, let alone walking, Ichigo-san" she spoke with concern.

"Oh I'm fine, you don't have to…" he said as she placed her hand around his waist to help support him.

"Let's get you back to bed" she said.

"How about we sit down for a bit, I won't be able to sleep as long as I know something is wrong," Ichigo argued.

The woman hesitated slightly before turning them around toward the open room and helping him sit down next to her.

They sat in silence until Ichigo spoke up, "What's your name?"

"Kotetsu Isane, Lieutenant of the 4th Division" she replied looking down at her hands with nervousness.

"Umm, have we met before? I'm not very good with faces," he asked.

"We met at Sōkyoku Hill for Kuchiki Rukia's execution" she answered.

Ichigo scratched the back of his head at the awkward situation, "Oh yeah. Sorry about that, you know, back then," he stammered.

Isane laughed nervously, "It's fine, I understand why you did it."

"So, why did you scream earlier?" he asked while looking over at her.

She rubbed her hands together until she gathered enough courage to trust her voice, "I had a nightmare."

Ichigo's eyes softened and a small smile lit his face, "What was it about?"

Isane met Ichigo's eyes before she quickly looked back down at her hands, "Well…" the paused, hesitant about speaking any further and then she continued, "a kamaboko as tall as a skyscraper was chasing me, and it was crushing bowls of porridge with its feet."

Ichigo deadpanned for a moment before his smile turned into a wide grin.

After a few moments of silence, Isane looked up curiously to see why he hadn't responded, and she was met with him looking directly at her with a softened expression and warm smile.

Isane blushed wildly as her cheeks reddened and quickly concentrated on the wooden floors.

"When I was just a kid, before my mother passed away, I used to always have nightmares of strawberries the size of boulders tumbling down a hill while I ran for my life" Ichigo said quietly.

Isane slowly glanced up and stared at him as he spoke, who had a faraway look as his eyes set off to the distance, "The nightmare would always end in the same way, I could never outrun the strawberries, and I would awake with a scream. My mother would come running into my room at my bedside, gently take hold of my hand, and tell me the same thing every night: Those oversized strawberries can't harm you" he said with a small chuckle.

Isane shared a smile with Ichigo as he told his story, relating to the amusement of their bizarre nightmares.

Ichigo turned back and looked at Isane with caring eyes, slowly took hold of her hand, and whispered, "Those oversized kamabokos can't harm you."

The End