It was a normal day. In fact, it was a day so normal, it was almost strange; after all, most days have at least something out of the ordinary happen. To have a day where everything goes to plan is odd, and almost enough to draw suspicion. But even under scrutiny, nothing was found. It seemed to be just your average, run-of-the-mill Tuesday.
Except it was Wednesday.
"Ugh, it happened again," Rangiku Matsumoto moaned, dropping her bag inside the door as she walked through. Rain soaked the parts of her clothing the umbrella couldn't protect, and usually soft red hair had become a tangled mess below her shoulders. A pout clouded an otherwise attractive face as she turned and faced the living room's sole occupant.
"Which it? The guy with the hook for a hand?" Toshiro Hitsugaya asked, pushing his glasses back up his nose. The thirteen year old grinned at the sour look on his sister's face.
"No, thank goodness. I swear, if he tries to hook my underwear one more time, I'm going to bury that thing in his eye!" she fumed, flopping on to the couch and kicking off her heels. "No, I lost a day. Again. I could have sworn today was Tuesday."
"Yesterday was Tuesday," Toshiro offered absently, staring at the papers in front of him once again.
"I know that now, genius," Rangiku snapped half-heartedly. "I was on the wrong dance schedule all morning. Isshin yelled at me, said I was messing up his choreography. As if anyone even cares; as long as half-naked women are dancing, men aren't paying attention to the choreography."
"I'm not gonna comment," her brother answered.
Rangiku chuckled. "Smart kid," she said. "What are you working on?"
"Next month. If we keep the way we're going, we'll be about $50 behind our rent."
"Can't we take that out of food?"
Toshiro shook his head. "I've got us on two meals a day already, and you need to stay healthy to keep dancing. Dad still gets his allowance…"
"Which means sake," Rangiku grumbled.
"… and he stays in his room. I'm mowing lawns for Mrs. Ellis, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Lewis this next week. Which means the only thing left to take money from is…"
"No, Toshiro." Rangiku cut him off. "We aren't taking it from our savings. There's barely enough in there to send you to a community college as it is."
"We need the money," Toshiro insisted, facing his sister once again.
"And we'll get it. Don't worry, I'll figure something out. I always do." She gave him a lopsided grin, tussling his short white hair. "One of us has to make it big."
Toshiro looked down, and Rangiku put her arm around his shoulders. "Look, Toshiro, it will be fine. I always take care of us, right?"
"You always take care of me and dad," he answered bitterly. "Who takes care of you?"
Rangiku paused for a moment, taken by surprise and unsure what to say.
"My loverly child'ren!"
Rangiku closed her eyes in exasperation. "Is he drunk already? It's only six!" she whispered Toshiro.
"I don't know! I thought I found all the bottles we hadn't locked in the fridge! He's good at hiding them," he grunted in response.
"What're we doin', what're we doin' over here?" Shunsui Kyoraku asked, stumbling towards the table. Rangiku jumped up and supported him under one shoulder.
"Dad," she said sweetly, "Did you start drinking early again? I thought we weren't going to do that anymore."
"'m not drunk! Jus' sick of bein' cooped up, s'all." Glancing down at his soon, the father's face softened. "How's my genius doin'? You aren't gonna follow yer' sister n' become a stripper, right?"
Toshiro turned red, and Rangiku jumped in before he could speak. "You're right, dad. He's going to college, he'll be a big business man. He's much too smart to end up like me."
"Damn'ed right he is," her father stated with conviction. "Ev'n now, he's doin' the whole money thing, with our bills. Smart boy, smart boy."
"Yes, dad, he is. But dad, it looks like we're not going to have enough money," Rangiku continued, turning her father to face her and holding his shoulders for support. "Do you think we could use some of your allowance for rent this month?"
Her father's face crumpled, and tears began to fall from his eyes. "I spent't all already, I was thirsty. I'm sorry," he blubbered. Rangiku let her head drop, fighting back her own tears of frustration. When she looked up, her smile was back in place.
"It's okay, dad. We'll be fine. Why don't we go into the living room so you can watch the game?"
"I'm a terrible father! I've got a son, who'sa genius, slavin' away, and a stripper-daughter. I'm such a terr'ble father," Kyoraku wailed and moaned, allowing his daughter to lead him to the couch and lower him down. It wasn't more than a few minutes before his snores could be heard from the kitchen table.
Rangiku walked back in, massaging her temples. "It's going to be hell when he wakes up with that hangover," she muttered. Seeing Toshiro's expression, she brightened. "Hey, it's okay. I'm gonna find out how to get us that extra $50. Just let me clean up a bit."
Head high, she walked down the hall into the bathroom. She rummaged through the drawers until she found the small plastic bottle she was looking for.
"These had better work as well as they claim," she muttered to herself, taking the prescribed amount and tilting her head back to swallow it.
"Just make sure this one doesn't hit you."
Rangiku jumped at the voice and spun to face her brother. Neither said anything for a moment, and she eventually let down her guard.
"I guess you figured it out, huh?" she asked, holding up the bottle of birth control pills.
"Your make-up was good. But I know a black eye when I see one. I've gotten a couple myself," the small boy grinned slightly.
Rangiku smiled and pulled her brother into a hug. They stood for a long moment before Toshiro spoke again.
"It's not worth it. Me going to some community college is not worth what you're doing."
Rangiku cringed at his voice; so distant, it sounded as if he might be in a daze. Pulling away from him, she bent until she was looking him in the eye.
"Yes, Toshiro, it is. You're smart; you can make it big. Don't worry about me; I'll be fine." When he didn't answer, she grinned. "Just remember, some day when you're big and famous and rich, who helped you get there. Just some stripper."
Toshiro's eyes watered, and he pulled his sister into a hug again. "You're not just some stripper. You're my sister."
Rangiku was silent a moment, contemplating his words. Then she chuckled.
"You always were the genius. Come on, let's get to bed. Another average Tuesday, huh?"