Genre: Bedtime story
Characters: Hanatarou and Byakuya
Summary: Little Hanatarou gets an unexpected invitation to the big fight...
Rating: PG for... uhm... being Bleach?
Word Count: under 1000 words
A/N: Requested by gogoangelgunboy "Hanatarou and a surprise". chuchacz was inspired enough by the results to do the illustration for it.
Disclaimer: I don't own or make money off of Bleach. This is entirely fictional.
One upon a time there was a little seventh seat in the Fourth Division who worked very, very hard as a drudge cleaning up the messes that other shinigami made all around the Gotei 13. He was a cute little guy and very, very nice and always polite to those about him.
He swept and washed and picked up and ran about with all the supplies and cleaning and laundry for the other Division and he never complained and mostly stopped to thank people when they surprised him by being kind of nice to him for his work.
Every once in a while he'd be surprised by a battle, and he'd get called into the Fourth Division's infirmary and he'd work on the injured to help clean them up and put them back into working order. Little Hanatarou was very, very good at healing people up and even his zanpakutou, which he couldn't always find, preferred healing people to cutting into them, though, really, it did both.
He wasn't that surprised when people bullied him, as he was small and skinny and not nearly as strong as the big guys in the 11th.
He was very surprised when the two ryoka, who had invaded Soul Society, were actually nice to him. So nice to him that he surprised himself and stood up for Rukia-sama when her stuck-up, beautiful, very noble, and powerful brother was going to just kill her himself on that bridge. He never quite forgot that he could surprise himself like that.
Even as he swept and cleaned, cooked and washed, Hanatarou thought.
Then had come the invitations to the battle at Karakura and Hueco Mundo, both prongs of the all-decisive war that Yamamoto was heading. No one was surprised when all the remaining Captains were invited and most of the Vice-Captains as well. Those that had done the earlier mission to Karakura were no surprise either. But what did surprise everyone was that Hanatarou got an invitation to the battles when nearly no other Seated personnel (well other than Yumichika and Ikkaku, but they were... well... them) were.
So he'd gone, and was terribly surprised to find that it was that same stuck-up, beautiful, very noble, and powerful Kuchiki-taichou that had requested him. He'd gone. And he'd had to watch that same Captain sacrifice his own limbs as he tried to get Rukia-sama away to safety, but then, under the control of those strange eyes that had attempted to control the Captain, she'd cut Hanatarou down.
Isane woke him up, and they'd patched up Rukia, but the Captain was no where to be found. Hanatarou went out into the endless fortress to find him, thinking that for all that Kuchiki-taichou was so powerful, he still had to find it hard going with three limbs dead. Little Hanatarou dodged Hollows, ducked behind rocks, and finally found the beautiful Captain, making his slow way towards the center of Las Noches.
He remembered facing Kuchiki-taichou on the bridge, and so he faced him in the unwavering dark. "Kuchiki-taichou, you must let me heal your wounds."
Those dark eyes looked into his own, they lidded closed for a moment, and then Byakuya nodded his consent. "As long as you do it speedily, Yamada Hanatarou."
Hanatarou drew Hisagomaru, and said, "Hisagomaru, fulfill!"
Byakuya's eyes went wide as the little Seventh Seat struck. Steel struck sparks on steel as Senbonzakura slid in the way so quickly Hanatarou hadn't even seen the blade move. Even the little Healer could see when Byakuya checked the impulse to just skewer what now seemed to be his opponent.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm sorry... I should have explained. Hisagomaru needs to strike your wounds in order to heal you. It will hurt like a sword wound, but my zanpakutou then will heal all the wounds it strikes. It's very fast," Hanatarou said, breathless.
"Yamada Hanatarou, I have drawn Senbonzakura. Do you honestly expect me to let you hit me in a contest of swords?" Kuchiki-taichou said, chillingly.
"But... but... it's not a contest, Kuchiki-taichou," Hanatarou squeaked. "I'm..."
"You are attempting to strike me, Yamada Hanatarou," Kuchiki-taichou said firmly. "If you wish to do so, you must do so."
Hanatarou looked into those dark eyes, pulled back that feeling he'd had on the bridge. Knowing the Captain might counterstrike, might kill him even without his other limbs, Hanatarou took all his courage in his hands. And Hanatarou swung his blade with his conviction that he could and would heal Kuchiki-taichou, drawn blade or not.
And that is how little Yamada Hanatarou got the surprise of his life, when he actually hit and healed the uselessly hanging arm of the stuck-up, beautiful, very noble, and powerful Kuchiki-taichou.
"Good. Very good," said the Captain, and then collapsed gracefully into Hanatarou's arms, unconscious, allowing the little Healer the opportunity to heal the rest of the man's wounds. And, ever after, Hanatarou remembered that he had gotten past the defenses of a real Gotei 13 Captain.
Magical or not, who knows? But the little shinigami got bullied rather less when it got bandied about that a certain little healer had actually beaten Kuchiki-taichou in a straight draw. Though, given that Hanatarou had never told a soul, he sometimes caught dark eyes watching him over the slightest of smiles, and he wondered.