Disclaimer: Bleach is © Kubo Tite, Shueisha Inc., Studio Pierrot, etc. This is a fanwork and should not be viewed as making a claim. That said, please don’t plagiarize.
Fair Hair, Frogs, and French Cuisine
by Fushigi Kismet
Yuzu flung herself across the kitchen table and sobbed into her arms.
Rukia turned from where she was stirring a pot at the stove, a small tasting saucer in her hand, to look in alarm at the younger girl. “Yuzu-chan, what’s the matter?”
“Oh, it’s that new teacher Hirano-sensei again,” Karin said in disgust, throwing down Yuzu and her schoolbags and seating herself next to her sister.
“Well, whatever is she doing to make Yuzu so upset?” Rukia asked, carefully setting the saucer down on the counter and pulling out a chair across the table from the two girls.
“Sh-She . . .” Yuzu hiccupped, looking up at Rukia with a tear-streaked face before burying her head in her arms again and crying with renewed gusto.
Karin glanced at her sister with ill-hidden concern before turning back to Rukia and taking it upon herself to explain. “Hirano-bitch-from-hell is bothering Yuzu about her hair.”
“Ah,” Rukia said, vaguely remembering Ichigo mentioning having some trouble over his own hair color when he was younger.
“We’ve explained to her SEVERAL TIMES that it’s her natural color, but she refuses to believe us. She’s always picking on Yuzu in front of the entire class and saying things like, “This is a decent institution Kurosaki-san. I don’t know what they teach you at home but dyed hair and indecent behavior is not permitted nor is the type of delinquent behavior you no doubt engage in!”” Karin unpinched her nose and Rukia clapped at what seemed like a spot-on impersonation to her, though she’d never met the apparently nasally-sounding woman.
“That sounds terrible.”
“Yuzu’s never had any problems before, but she’s making her out to be some kind of loose delinquent and somebody even called her a slut today! Of course, I beat the hell out of them,” Karin added quickly, but her voice had dropped off and she seemed to be internally seething.
Yuzu’s sobs were slowing by then and she said miserably, “But you shouldn’t have, Karin. Now they’ll start making fun of you too.”
“Well, let them! What the hell do I care?”
“Shouldn’t somebody talk to this woman?” Rukia said reasonably, pulling out a handkerchief and handing it to Yuzu.
“Sure, but she’s obviously not going to listen to us, and it’s not like we can tell DAD.”
The three of them pondered that for a moment before shaking their heads.
“Oh, I can just see it now,” Karin said, sarcasm dripping from her voice, “BIG SCANDAL! COLLEGE FRESHMAN CAUSES SCENE WITH HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER. Not to mention she’d probably call Ichi-nii a delinquent too. Probably even blame it all on his influence or some crap like that.”
“Well, I’ll just go talk to her then,” Rukia said, determined to take care of the matter.
“Really, Rukia-oneesan?” Yuzu asked her brother’s live-in girlfriend hopefully.
“No problem! Where does this teacher of yours live?”
“Well, all the teachers have a weekly faculty meeting Wednesdays after school so she should still be there.”
“Oh, good. Well, can you watch the soup for me then?”
“Hey, Rukia-nee,” Karin said, curiously. “What are you cooking anyway?”
“Why are you cooking THAT?”
“Training!” Rukia declared.
“The television said that in order to be a good bride one has to be a gourmet show off exotic dishes from around the world as part of your repertoire!”
Yuzu wiped at her eyes with the handkerchief. “You don’t really. Besides, Ichi-nii’s not particular about that kind of thing. I’m sure he’d be happy with your regular Japanese cooking.”
Rukia frowned. “Really?”
“Oh good,” she said in relief. “I was wondering how I’d work up the nerve to pull the legs off all those frogs.”
“Frogs?” Karin and Yuzu repeated.
“They’re in the bathroom. I had to keep them fresh so I’m letting them swim around the bathtub.”
“Okay,” Karin said, picking up a bucket which she suspected had recently been full of frog, “I’ll take care of the frogs. Yuzu, you make sure that soup is edible and frog-free.”
Rukia blinked. “I guess I’ll go talk to Hirano-bitch-from-hell-sensei now.”
“Are you going to be okay, Rukia-nee?”
“Oh, I’ll be fine. I’ll just have a nice, civil talk with her like a reasonable and well brought-up member of the Kuchiki family.”
There was something a little scary about her smile.
After she had left Yuzu turned to Karin who was busily scooping escaping frogs back into the bucket and asked, “Do you really think she’ll be okay?”
“Who? Rukia-nee or Hirano-sensei? Because Rukia-nee’s going to be fine. The question you SHOULD be asking is: what are we going to do with all these frogs?!”
The next morning, Hirano-sensei came to class late. She was extremely pale and her hair was vividly white.
“Love the dye job!” someone called. It might have been Karin.
Hirano-sensei didn’t reply. In fact, she barely said anything the entire day. Not even when a large green frog jumped on top of her head and Yuzu shot Karin a worried look.
The next day the class heard that she’d taken a long sabbatical to “settle her nerves.”
Yuzu and Karin bought Rukia an apron which read “Kiss the Cook” in English. They assured her that it would be MUCH more effective in the long run than French cooking since she’d never managed to get past the soup anyway. Besides, wasn’t Ichi-nii studying to be an English teacher?
If Ichigo was a little disturbed by the sudden feeling of overwhelming female solidarity in the household he knew better than to question it. Especially when Yuzu was all smiles and Karin was all smirks and Rukia was all “what does “kiss the cook” mean?” He just rolled his eyes, smiled, and went with it.