Characters: Ichigo and Renji
For: cmc42 for her birthday, her prompt was "Lettuce"
Word Count: 1472 words
Summary: Ichigo and Renji go for take-out and see someone doing something crazy with a head of lettuce, the dead and hijinxs ensue, as usual.
Disclaimer: I do not own nor make money off of Bleach.
A/N: Uhm... yeah, this is the first time I've written Ichigo... uhm... ever. *laughs* Thanks, cmc42 for the opportunity. It's not beta'ed so all the mistakes are mine.
A Bleach Fanfiction with Renji and Ichigo
"Lettuce? Why's that guy hangin' lettuce in front of his shop?" Renji asked, squinting up at where the shopkeeper of a Chinese roasted meats shop was on a ladder, hanging what looked like a head of lettuce and a red envelope from a red velvet ribbon off the overhang in front of the shop.
Ichigo cocked his head and shrugged. "It'sa Chinese custom for the New Years. Dad said it's traditional for the various martial arts schools to send out Lions on New Years. They collect the cabbage, lettuce, whatever's green, with the money, and give the shops good luck."
"But that's nearly four meters off the ground!" Renji sounded impressed. "For a human, that's pretty high up."
"Yeah, well, the Lions are made up of two people, usually martial artists."
"They get on each others backs?"
Renji growled, "Like Yoruichi gets on ours..."
The two of them had been sent off on a very important errand by Yoruichi, only to find that it was to a restaurant for take-out food. Both of them had groaned, but she said she just had to have it, and had shoo'ed them out the door.
"Hey! What happens when two Lions meet?" Renji asked.
"Uhm... I think they get to fight it out for who takes the cash."
"Yeah! That's more like it." Renji chuckled. "Look!"
Sure enough, a red Lion danced in from the north, while a white Lion bobbed and wove in from the south.
Suddenly Renji straightened. Ichigo groaned. "What? A Hollow here?"
Renji shook his head, looking puzzled. "It doesn't... it doesn't feel like a Hollow... more like..." He frowned, facing the white Lion, that Ichigo had originally thought just had a great paint job. "I think it's just a ghost."
Ichigo blinked. Both of them moved closer toward the white Lion as it snaked along the sidewalk towards the shop and the hanging lettuce. They could hear the huffed breathing behind them of the guys in the red Lion, but there was nothing like that from the white, instead there was the chime of loosened soul chains.
Ichigo sighed. "Yeah, my alarm didn't go off. Renji, we need to lay it, though, before it becomes a Hollow."
Renji nodded and the two men went right up to the white Lion. Ichigo now realized that it was translucent, and he reached out and said, "Stop."
It ignored him, and danced around him. That was when he saw the four human feet under the Lion, all threaded with ghost blood; and as it swept past him, he saw that one cloth side was soaked in blood.
"What happened?" he asked, quietly, instead. The Lion didn't hesitate, but instead of going on, it circled him.
"Tell us," Renji added. "What d'ya need to move on, guys?"
The Lion's head nodded in the direction of the red Lion and then up at the lettuce, and then bumped against the parked car on the side of the road. The car alarm went off, which startled both shinigami. They moved away from the car and a man came out, angry and muttering, from one of the other shops and gave what he thought were two delinquent teens the evil eye.
Renji rolled his eyes, while Ichigo frowned.
"Was it a car accident?" Ichigo asked.
The huge head nodded.
"While you were gonna fight 'em for the green?" Renji asked.
Another nod and the back end of the Lion danced about in glee.
"So ya need ta fight 'em and then go?"
A slower nod came this time as the round ears drooped.
"You can't fight 'em 'cause yer a ghost, huh?" Renji patted the white head.
The whole front end flopped, the head forward over the outstretched feet.
"Howd'ja do that?" Renji sounded impressed.
"But they can't fight the live people, 'cause the live people won't be able to see them there," Ichigo growled.
"Well, why don't we fight 'em?" Renji asked. "Maybe they'll let us borrow their suit?"
Ichigo groaned. "Have you ever been in a Lion costume?"
"Nope. But I'm NOT going to be your rear end."
The two dancers in the red Lion thought they were nuts when they explained about the ghosts; but Renji pulled out a 5000 Yen note and that got their respect. Then one of them said that his grandmother used to lay ghosts as well, so thought it wouldn't hurt to let them give it a try.
"It's just for this one shop, right?" The slighter of the two men asked.
"And you'll give us the money from the envelope, too?" The bigger man asked, sounding incredulous. "How are you going to get up there? We've been training for months for this."
"Don't worry 'bout that." Renji's confidence convinced them.
They were kind enough to help them into the suit, show them the controls for the eyes, mouth, ears, and the handle for the head.
They also reinforced Ichigo's preference.
"The slighter man goes in front, because he'll have to go up on your shoulders for the lettuce, and he'll have the weight of the head on you, too."
"Uh... right." Renji said, and then whispered to Ichigo. "Why don't we just shunpo up?"
"That's cheating, it won't lay 'em if we cheat."
"There aren't any handles back here," Renji said, peering at the blanket of the back end.
"No, you just hold onto the edges."
Ichigo, who was holding up the heavier head, just shrugged. "I can do heavy."
The white Lion had been circling, waiting for them patiently, head bobbing as the tail end whirled back and forth. It would sometimes flow by the two men that had gotten out of the red Lion, making them shiver as they waited. It took a little while for the two shinigami to get coordinated; but they did, with some swearing and kicked shins between them.
They circled the other Lion, three times, under the mildly incredulous gaze of the two dancers. Then Ichigo made the head bow to the other Lion, which followed suit.
That's when Ichigo started hearing drums and the clash of cymbals. Bumpatabumbum pumpatabumbum clash clash clash, fast and high and hard.
"Where's that comin' from?" asked Renji.
Ichigo grinned and moved the Lion's head to the beat and said, "Try to keep up, Renji."
They flew into battle. Bumped shoulders, then they exchanged shin swipes. Yoruichi's hand-to-hand training made far more sense all of a sudden to Ichigo, as the flurry of jumps, kicks, and body-to-body bumps escalated and quickened.
The two live humans moved back, eyes wide.
The first thing Ichigo realized was that the head was a liability. A nuisance, even, especially when the white Lion's head fighter tossed his head up in the air, and hit Ichigo with three body blows before the head came down. He staggered, but realized that two could play that game.
"Ngh!" Ichigo threw his head in the air as well, and landed a good blow to the other Lion's shoulder. It knocked the ghost Lion sideways, but both of the ghosts under the cover flipped to the side, rolling the Lion disguise over them, before their Lion came back again, this time head-to-head with Ichigo. He felt something crunch in the head of the red Lion as the two heads rammed together.
"What?!" Ichigo squawked when an arm came out of the white Lion's mouth and punched him. He growled, and opened his Lion's mouth to punch back; but the white Lion leaped, landing on Ichigo's shoulders and in a coordinated move, the backend jumped for Ichigo's shoulders when the other Lion's head landed on Renji.
Renji swore as the ghost landed on his shoulders and then jumped for the lettuce hanging from the red ribbon.
The white Lion snagged the lettuce in its huge mouth, pulling the ribbon in as well... and before it landed on the pavement, it faded away.
The head of lettuce hit the concrete with a splat, leaves flying in all directions. The red envelope shone bright in the middle of the smashed greens. The head fighter of the red Lion walked over to it slowly and gently picked up the envelope.
"If I hadn't seen that with my own eyes, I'd have never believed it," he said quietly, and then walked over to where Ichigo and Renji panted.
They examined the red Lion suit together: the right eye had been smashed and the jaw joint on that side was a little tight.
"Sorry about that, man," Ichigo offered.
"We can fix it pretty easily with what you gave us."
Both men bowed to Ichigo and Renji, who bowed back.
"It's not every day we get to say our Lion costume laid ghosts for New Years."