TIMELINE: Post-canon; pre-relationship

"That's okay. I bought two."

To be honest, grocery shopping is an odd experience for Parad.

Considering that he doesn't need to eat much if at all, for him to be in a grocery store is a bit...odd. But he likes the experience all the same despite the fact that it's been years since he's stepped into a grocery store. In the six years he was separated from Emu, most of the time he just stole snacks from the cafeteria in Genm co. or scarf down some electricity whenever he gets too hungry.

Surprisingly, he finds buying groceries quite relaxing and tends to look forward to it.

Finding Emu where he left him near the entrance of the store when Parad volunteered to go get the cart, he gleefully rolls the cart to a stop before Emu with both feet propped on a bar of the cart until he has to take one down to use as the brake.

When the doctor raises a single amused eyebrow, Parad merely shrugs. "Could've done a wheelie."

"Next time maybe," Emu says, humouring him with a fond grin and goes up to him until their shoulders are pressed together so that they can push the cart side by side.

He nudges Emu's head with his nose. "Got the list?"

"Yep," Emu replies, rummaging in his pockets before taking out a folded up piece of paper of their shopping list. "Let's go clear this."

Parad smirks, ducking down so that their foreheads touch. "Betcha I can finish my half of the list faster than you can."

"You're on," Emu says, returning his smirk. "Loser has to take out the trash...and no telekinesis!"

He cackles. "Deal."

One of the best things about going grocery shopping is that he gets to spend time with Emu outside of their usual environment. It's also a chance for him to feel reassured in knowing that in the years of their separation, Emu has taken better care of his diet too— as evident from the constant checking and re-checking the quality of their food.

"This one...?" Emu mutters under his breath as he inspects an apple before grabbing another one from the pile. "Or maybe this one?"

It really amuses him to no end that since Emu is far more health conscious compared to his teenaged self, Emu always ends up losing their grocery race. Parad doesn't mind though since he's content to just watch his best friend being his usual endearing and clumsy self.

While they share possession of the cart, Emu has a tendency to keep walking as he's consulting their list, causing several near collisions with other shoppers and displays if it weren't for Parad managing to steer them out of the way with steady hands on Emu's shoulders or the small of his back. A lot of times, Parad also needs to be prepared to stop at a moment's notice since Emu also has the habit of doubling back without warning.

The first time it happened when Parad first moved in, Emu fell headlong into the cart. The whole thing had been so hysterical to him that Parad ended up joining Emu when he tipped over into the cart from laughing so hard.

They were lucky they weren't kicked out that day.

Although...that was probably because they looked too ridiculously sheepish and helpless that the staff just took it in stride. If anything, the staff members seem amused by the sort of shenanigans he and Emu always get themselves into whenever they visit the store. Parad can't blame them. Because well...as invincible as he and Emu are together; especially when it comes to games and battles, they are admittedly two big walking disasters in almost everything else.

Meh! You win some, you lose some.

He follows behind the doctor as Emu continues to inspect the fruits and vegetables with prodigious care, looking for nicks or bruises. When his partner spends several minutes turning different cabbages over and over in his hands, Parad surreptitiously gathers the rest of their non perishable groceries with his telekinesis and drops them into their cart.

The sound makes Emu turn around, gaping at their full cart. When the intern looks up to him, Parad gives him a cheeky wave.

"Game clear," he singsongs. "And before you ask, I only used my telekinesis on your half of the grocery."

Emu groans before rubbing his neck with a sheepish smile. "I got distracted again, didn't I?"

"Yep!" Leaning forward, he nuzzles their cheeks together. "Looks like it's your turn to take out the trash, Emu."

Emu chuckles, bumping their noses before pulling away. "Fair enough. C'mon, lets go get the rest of our groceries."

"Just make sure to say your goodbyes to the cabbages~!"

Emu gives his shoulder a shove at that, scowling with mock outrage. "Oi!"

As they make their way through the dairy section, he bickers with Emu over the different brands and qualities of milk, tries to restrain himself from doubling back to the freezers to grab more ice cream (which he epically fails) and searches all over the store with Emu when they realize they forgot the cart somewhere. Again.

Like he said: Two Big Walking Disasters.

Thankfully, they're incident free once they've paid for their things at the self-checkout counter. Grabbing half of their bags, he pauses when Emu places a hand on his elbow.

Curious, he turns to Emu and yelps in surprise when something cold is placed on his lips. Blinking down, he sees a pink popsicle and a quick lick confirms that it's strawberry.

Ooooh, favourite!

Humming happily, Parad takes the proffered treat. "Thanks." He twirls the ice cream between his fingers and frowns at Emu. "But I didn't get you anything though."

"That's okay," Emu says with a shrug before rummaging into one of the bags to fish out another popsicle, identical to his own. "I bought two."

Parad smiles. "Guess we still like strawberry, huh?"

"Yup." Giving a quick lick, Emu tilts his head in thought. "Kinda funny that we like the same things but most of the time, it's in different ways."

"Different?" Walking in tandem, he shifts to allow Emu to link their arms together. "How so?"

Emu nibbles on his treat, brows furrowed. "Well...like chocolate for example. We both like chocolate but in different flavours. I prefer white chocolate while you like dark chocolate and then there's the fact that we both like milk chocolate. That kind of thing."

"Ah..." Parad takes a large bite of his popsicle and smirks at the huff Emu lets out when he doesn't suffer a brain freeze. It's not that he doesn't get them; it just takes a lot more than a single bite to cause them. "We're kinda like mirrors, I guess— identical but opposites at the same time."

Emu chuckles. "Or Yin and Yang."

"Or that." Finishing his treat, Parad turns the stick over and grins in surprised delight. "Lucky~!"

Emu leans over. "You won?"

"Correction." Parad offers the stick to Emu. "You won."

Surprised, his friend blinks up at him. "It's your ice cream, Parad."

"Yeah, well. I know it's cheap but since I didn't get you anything..." Parad trails off with a sheepish shrug.

Emu shakes his head. "I wanted to treat you— mostly as a thank you for spoiling me all the time."

That surprises a laugh out of him. "I spoil you?"

"All the time," Emu grouses with laughing eyes before he shrugs, a bashful smile on his face. "And well, I just want to spoil you too, y'know?"

"You do," he reassures, bumping their shoulders together with a matching smile. "Everyday."

Emu rests his chin on Parad's shoulder, smiling softly. "Together then?"

"Together," he agrees, brandishing the stick to the air. "Let's go get our prize!"

Onigiri ends up being their dinner to make things easier for them to play the new game they won.

It might be the best grocery run they've ever had and from then on, they make it their little tradition to buy their favourite strawberry ice cream every time they have a grocery run.