Title: Always There
Prompt: Anything. Whee...
Rating: Uhm... PG-13, I think... lots of old, vague death...
Word Count: 572 (I tried to keep it small for once)
Summary: Ukitake-taicho wants lunch and the Thirds get it together, as always...
Disclaimer: I don't own or make money off of Bleach. It's all fictional. Really.
"Thirds, would you please get me a lunch box? I need to work through lunch..." Ukitake-taichou sounded distracted.
Kuchiki-taichou's reiatsu spilled out into the hallway, powerful, cold, and sharp; it was as delicately beautiful as a cloud sakura blossoms on a biting early spring wind.
"Will you need a lunch for Kuchiki-taichou, too?" Kiyone asked as she peeked into her captain's office and saw the Captain of the Sixth standing looking at the door along with her captain.
"No, he's about to leave, but I need to finish some paperwork in peace and quiet, so would you two please leave it outside the door?"
"Certainly, sir!" Sentarou barked, "I will take care of your every food need, sir!"
"No way, I'll get him a katsudon and a umeboshi-chazuke and put it in a steam box so that it'll all stay warm!" Kiyone cried.
"Ha! I'll add a hot water bottle for tea and a tray of sweet treats for after as well!' Sentarou vowed as he turned to run.
The two of them raced off, together, down the hallway and skidded around the corner as they raced to the kitchen of the Thirteenth Division.
Kiyone loved the striving, because she was glad Sentarou was always there to strive against.
That Day had brought more shock to the then Fourth and Fifth seats of the Thirteenth than she'd thought she could handle. Sentarou had always been bigger but slower than her, so it had been a close thing in the original test between them. Still, both of them led their squads into the field when they heard the screaming.
That Day they buried team mates, room mates, and friends they'd worked with for the last century. When everyone found that Third and the Vice-Captain were all dead and that Ukitake-taichou was disabled by his coughing fit, they were the ones that had to gather the remaining shinigami and deal with the aftermath. The hole Shiba Kaien left was huge, but even bigger was the ragged rip through the whole Division, where combat comrades, friends, and lovers used to be.
All gone. All dead. All things Kiyone and Sentarou had been forced to deal with, together. When Ukitake-taichou had done the testing to determine which of them would get the promotion, everyone was shocked to find that they'd tested exactly the same on the overall scores. Ukitake-taichou had refused to divulge the individual test scores, saying that the overall results pleased him well enough, and there was plenty of work to be done to bring the Thirteenth Division back together.
There had been plenty of work to do. She had come to rely on the big man from Rukongai. She relied on the constant squabbling to keep her distance, still, to not be hurt the way she was hurt when so many had died. But he was always there. Always reacting to what she did, what she said. And when they did things together, they did things right. The vying always came up with something better, faster, more thorough than they could have on their own.
Both of them went back to the offices at a run, and right at the last few dozen feet, they dropped to a walk. Then, very quietly, they set the bento box with its steamer, the tea set with hot water, and the tray of sweets at their Captain's door.
"Thank you very much, Thirds," said their Captain's voice from inside his closed office. His reiatsu was calm and sea deep and quite alone.
"You're very welcome!" they cried together, in one voice. They looked daggers at each other and raced to see who would lead the Division's kendo practice...