Chappy

Yuzu likes to think that she knows the people she cares about better than anyone. Maybe it's because of the maternal role that she assumed in the family ever since their mother was gone, but she had always felt a responsibility for knowing exactly what it is that her makes her loved ones happy. Secretly, she also feels a bit of pride in this.

Ichigo is no exception to this unspoken rule. Despite his reserved personality, she knows of things that most people would never guess at: his sweet tooth for chocolate, his love for Shakespearean works, his preference for tight clothing… She pays attention to it all. It is no surprise that she is typically the best gift-giver in the Kurosaki household (although she would never assert so verbally- she is also the sweet one, after all).

But through seventeen years of living with him and taking note of all his little preferences, Yuzu never would have guessed that her older brother has a thing for rabbits. In fact, she wouldn't have thought to associate him with small and furry animals of any kind.

She was, however, forced to reevaluate her assertion when one day, -after agreeing to go help her grocery shopping (meaning that he would be going to carry the numerous bags)- the two of them were met with a couple of men selling the adorable little pets right outside the supermarket. Naturally, she had squealed in delight at the sight of them and rushed over for a closer look. Ichigo had -seemingly- reluctantly followed, and stood by her as he waited for her to finish her ogling. She had, at one point, turned to him expecting to see his trademark scowl heavily in place, and maybe even hear some annoyed grumbling about 'hairy rodents' as well. Instead, she found herself looking at a very rare sight.

Ichigo had been smiling. Not one of the cocky smirks that she is used to seeing, even if those themselves weren't all that common; no, it was something else entirely. His lips were just slightly bent upwards, the crease between his eyebrows had almost disappeared and all his facial features were more relaxed than she had seen them in too long. His eyes, especially, which she has always loved for their expressiveness, were soft and held an affectionate look. It had taken a moment for her to realize that his expression was for none other than the sweet bunnies in the cardboard box.

Though it was odd and almost out of character for the Ichigo she had always prided herself in knowing so well, from that moment on Yuzu added a love for rabbits to the list of Ichigo's characteristics. She never mused about it to anyone else, knowing that he would probably not be too happy about how it would affect his reputation, but secretly she thought it was actually very cute that he had a soft spot for them.

When, during the spring cleaning of the house, she found a leftover doodle that she recognized immediately as having been done by the petite woman who had shared a room with her and become something like an older sister during her stay, she was eager to show it to Ichigo for more than one reason. It had been during a time that he had been a little more under the weather than usual, and she thought that it would cheer him up to see the drawing by his friend, especially because of what said drawing was: a rabbit.

Ichigo's reaction to that had not been exactly what she'd expected. At first, his eyes had widened in surprise and then his face had fallen. His eyes looked almost dejected for a moment, and there had been another emotion swimming in his brown orbs that she couldn't quite place. As quickly as that look had come though, it was gone and he was scoffing, complaining something about the 'drawing skills of a five-year-old'. However, just a few weeks later she had been cleaning his room while he was busy at work and stumbled upon the carefully folded drawing sitting in his closet. Though she had to wonder why he would choose such a place to keep it, the fact that he had confirmed that, however he might act, the eldest Kurosaki sibling did actually have a special liking for the cute animals.

Her conviction of this new-found quality did not wane later on, and it was so that when Ichigo's birthday came around that summer, Yuzu had the perfect gift for him. For those who haven't guessed it, it was a rabbit plushy. Sure, he wasn't a plushy-loving person per se, but she hadn't thought he would appreciate the responsibility of the real thing. Still, she couldn't help but feel some measure of disappointment at his reaction when she gave him the present. He had looked genuinely confused, and gave her an uncertain "Uh… thanks, Yuzu", along with a ruffle of her hair. He had smiled at her afterwards, and she saw him take the plushy to his room along with his presents from Karin and Dad; but he hadn't shown her the smile that she had been hoping to see. She had wanted him to smile like he had when he saw those rabbits in front of the supermarket, with that uncharacteristically soft expression she had rarely seen him wear.

Yuzu didn't get to see that expression again… Not until now. She knows it is wrong of her to spy on her brother, and he would probably be pretty annoyed if he finds out, but she can't help her curiosity. It's only natural, she justifies to herself mentally, after seeing him walk into the house with none other than Rukia Kuchiki by his side after over a year of her being absent. Now she and Karin, who was just as curious as she, look on in amusement just as they hear Rukia happily squeal "Chappy!" and pull out a white rabbit plushy -which Yuzu recognized immediately- out of the closet in his room.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Yuzu wondered at her brother's apparent liking for saving things in his closet, but more pressingly she finds herself fixed on a sight that she had been yearning to see before. As Rukia hugs the plushy tightly to her chest, looking at it with proverbial hearts in her eyes, Ichigo looks at her. And his lips are just slightly bent upwards, the crease between his eyebrows smoothed, his eyes unguardedly soft…

Then without warning, the scowl returns to govern his features and he reminds the woman with no small amount of annoyance that the rabbit is his; but the softness hasn't left his eyes.

Yuzu has to stifle a giggle and she decides that they've taken advantage of their brother's lack of awareness enough, and walks away from the threshold of his room, pulling her not-so-willing sister back with her. When they reach a safe distance, she turns to her twin with a bright smile.

"I told you Onii-chan likes rabbits!"

Karin looks at her incredulously for a second before she shakes her head and smirks, giving Yuzu a sly look and pat on the shoulder before saying,

"I don't think it's the rabbit that he likes."