lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2006-05-16 09:00 pm

bleach/shaman king - sunday morning

For [ profile] tokyofish, who is evil XD

Supermarkets are full of ghosts.

Old ladies inspect the frozen food section, small boys cartwheel down the snack aisle, pervs oogle the porn in the magzine racks, middle-aged women haunt the chocolate shelves. They have to do something with their time in the space between dying and finding the afterlife - sooner or later, a ghost will find itself gravitating to the familarity of the local grocer. They pass in and out, and it's never the same set of spirits each time you're there.

Sunday morning on the brink of summer. Kuchiki Rukia, shinigami with a purpose, marching into the Karakura supermarket to find it strangely - empty. Of ghosts, if not people. She pauses, mid-march, in the entrance to frown. But there is nothing else, no other suspicious signs, just a surprising clarity to the air conditioned air. Frown still in place, she resumes her march, Ichigo's stolen wallet in hand.

Rukia had never considered how very little she knew of the human world before she'd found herself trapped here. She'd certainly never considered how very inconvenient such ignorance could be. But what was that saying? Every lining had a silver cloud? No, that didn't sound quite right. Nonetheless. Rukia would make the best of a bad situation. Perhaps Seireitei could one day be persuaded to realise how necessary it might be for shinigami to understand mortals and their strange ways. She will simply be prepared if that day ever arises.

She examines the money in Ichigo's wallet, all grubby paper slips printed in odd pictures and funny numbers, with determined satisfaction. Research, she thinks. That would sound well on a report.

Contrary to popular belief, Kyoyama Anna is a firm believer in the importance of exercise. And no, not just for other people. But unlike other people, Anna trusts herself to take her own exercise as necessary. Green plastic basket in hand, she studies the long aisles of the supermarket. A little more crowded than she would have liked, but the walk will do her good, she supposes.

Mortals sell the strangest things, Rukia thinks. Coming out of the instant ramen aisle and ignoring the dairy products section, she stops at the seafood section. A young man rattles his trolley past the displays of lobsters and fish and eels. A girl, maybe Ichigo's age, with hair bleached blonde under the fluorescent lighting, looks up from where she was examining a tank full of live crabs.

So this is why the supermarket is so empty of spirits this morning.

By now, Rukia has gotten used to Ichigo's uncontrolled spiritual aura and its messy tendency to spill into everything. But this girl's aura is different. It's focused, honed to a razor edge, and Rukia swallows as she considers the situation.

The girl's glance sharpens to a stare. For a moment, they stand motionless, assessing. Then the girl hefts the weight of her basket in her hand.

"You're not human," she observes, eyebrows only slightly raised.

Rukia narrows her eyes at her. "No. But you are."

"I'm an itako," the girl says, bored. "Your vessel is interesting. How did you get it?"

"A merchant sold it to me," Rukia says. If she thinks very hard, she can just remember hearing vague, ancient stories of mortals with spiritual powers, a rare and mostly forgotten breed now. There weren't enough of them left to be a threat, everyone said, so they were left alone.

This girl, Rukia thinks, is definitely a threat. She's just not sure to what just yet.

"A merchant?"

"He's a lying cheat and it was overpriced," Rukia tells her, and it's the truth. Urahara made a determined attempt at wiping out her savings when he sold her gigai to her - she's not forgiving him for that anytime soon.

The girl's eyebrows rise again. "Oh? Pity," she says, and turns back to the display.

Rukia follows her gaze to a pile of sea cucumbers. She blinks at them. "Humans sell the strangest things," she mutters again to herself.

"They're supposed to be good for your liver," the girl says, then pauses. "Or maybe it was the other one," she adds. "It's impossible to keep their names straight."

"You come here often?" Rukia asks.

"No." The girl bends over to examine a collection of fish eyes, then makes a derisive noise and straightens. About to stroll away, pointedly ignoring Rukia's scrutiny, she stops. "You're not going to make trouble, are you? Yoh doesn't need even more distractions."

Rukia stares, outraged. "Certainly not! I should be asking that question -"

"I never make trouble," the girl informs her, put out. "It's other people who make it for me."

It's a sentiment Rukia can agree with, if nothing else. The girl gives her a curt nod, then stalks off, and Rukia lets her for lack of a better course of action.

Humans, she thinks later, aggrieved, while Ichigo yells in the background about people who steal his fucking wallet to blow his pocket money on chocolate peanut butter. As if shinigami didn't have enough trouble keeping them safe from Hollows, never mind themselves.

Anna finds Yoh in the backyard, sleeping, and drops her grocery bags on his stomach. He wakes with a loud AURGH and rolls all over the sea cucumbers before she kicks him and he sits up properly.

"Anna!" He looks around him. "You went shopping?" he says, not at all appreciative of the trouble she's just gone to. He winces when she glares at him. "I know, I know, it's lunchtime. Um, maybe Manta can find a recipe somewhere for... these. What are these?"

"There was a strange ghost in the supermarket," Anna says, watching him inspect her purchases with a dubious air.

"Ah, really? What was it?"

"She had a vessel or something. She was pretending to be human."

"A vessel? Ghosts can do that on their own? I didn't know that," he says, looking up, surprised. "Why was she pretending to be human?"

"I don't know. She wasn't very good at it," Anna sniffs. Yoh, who values his kidneys, does not point out that Anna's definition of humanity is something of a minority opinion at best.

"Huh. I hope she's okay then. Maybe we'll see her again next time or something, a ghost with her own vessel sounds really weird."

Anna narrows her eyes at him. "She wasn't that pretty. And you have your training to worry about."

"OW, Anna, I didn't mean it like that, argh..."

(By lunch, the ghosts had returned to the supermarket. Not that there was anyone to see them by then.)


May 2006