Genre: Bedtime story
Characters: Urahara, Tessai, Yourichi
Summary: Little Urarhara meets up with a trickster and learns something thereby.
Word Count: under 1000 words
A/N: Requested by morgainelefae "Urahara and the Trickster".
Disclaimer: I don't own or make money off of Bleach. This is entirely fictional.
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Urahara Kisuke and for all that he was the exact opposite of an orphan, he was still on his own.
But he was clever and he did have a best friend, Tsukabishi Tessai. Tessai was a big kid whose eyes couldn't see very well, so he wore glasses. Folks thought he was stupid because he was big. But Kisuke knew his friend could see what others wouldn't look for. He also knew that Tessai felt unlike anyone else. Tessai said that Kisuke gave off a feeling like a bonfire. But it meant that the two kids needed food.
In their District was a man with a table, cups and a ball. If someone wagered food, he would shuffle the cups and offer to let them guess which cup the ball was under. If they got it right, he would give them as much as they wagered. Kisuke never had anything to wager, but he watched as the man would lose a few and then win, nearly without fail, when the stakes got much bigger.
One day, after the man had lost a few, he had gathered a fairly large crowd. Then a skinny ragged dirty girl with purple hair and golden eyes came up to the trickster's table.
She seemed like any other District 57 street kid, but Tessai's eyes went wide and Kisuke could feel it too. She felt like warm sleek shadows gleaming, smooth and powerful, laughing even when still.
She laid a neatly wrapped bundle on the table. She opened the banana leaf and there were three rice balls. The whole crowd ooooo'd.
"I'll wager one of these," she said. "Show me your game."
"Sure thing, little missy. You can win, win, win." The huckster caroled as he eyed the little girl, and brought a matching rice ball up on the table. He showed her the cups and the ball and then proceeded to shuffle the cups quickly.
The golden eyes followed the motions, as quietly as a snake watching a bird.
When the cups stopped, she simply pointed at one of them. She didn't hesitate at all, didn't even pretend to guess. The huckster's eyes narrowed, and when he lifted the cup, the ball was under it as plain as could be.
The market place crowd had formed a little audience around the two. Some cheered, a few jeered, and one just said, "Wait until they get up to all her food, then we'll see how good the game is."
Kisuke saw the golden eyes flicker towards the one that said that last.
The trickster smiled sweetly at the little girl. "Wanna just leave your wager on the table or double it? I'll pay twice as much if you guess right again!"
"How about I take my one and wager all four against four of yours?" She said, wide-eyed and innocent.
"Uhm..." The trickster shrugged. "Sure thing, missy. Why not?"
She nodded. He popped the ball under a cup. This time the shuffling was very fast indeed, and sometimes he moved multiple cups at a time. During a particularly showy switch, Tessai whispered softly to Kisuke, "He threw the ball into his lap."
Kisuke sighed. Now little Kisuke was not exactly a good boy. He was more than willing to cheat or steal to get what he or Tessai needed, and hadn't really thought it a bad thing that the trickster cheated to get his food. But this little girl felt like them, and Kisuke didn't like the idea of someone like himself getting cheated.
Besides, if she won four more rice balls, she might share them.
So when the cups stopped, little Kisuke stepped forward and shouted, “Wait, wait… can I make this a little more fun? I’ll pay you back, little miss, if I get this wrong.” He turned to the crowd, arms wide. “Who here would agree that if I guessed both the cups that didn’t have the ball under it that it would be the same, but harder than if I’d tried to only guess the one with the ball?”
The little girl frowned at Kisuke for longer than he liked. But then she nodded, slowly.
The crowd ooo’ed and there were cheers and agreements. The trickster looked like he was going to try and kill Kisuke the next time he got a chance, but he managed to smile and nod. A single loss like this wouldn’t kill him, but being shown for a cheat might. The whole crowd was getting into the idea.
"Okay, okay, then... I'll pick... this one."
The trickster raised the empty cup to applause.
"And that one." The second cup rose, and everyone cheered on finding it empty.
Kisuke took his bows and a tighter than comfortable handshake from the cups and ball man.
The little girl carefully rewrapped her rice balls. "Take those," she said to Kisuke when the trickster offered her the bundle with his four rice balls.
The three kids walked away from the table together. Tessai's head came up after five steps. He murmured, "There are six... bodyguards?"
She gave the bigger kid a grin, "Hey, you with him?" She nodded at Kisuke.
Tessai nodded. Kisuke swallowed, suddenly nervous. Bodyguards?
"You two are strong. Maybe bringing you in will make up for screwing up the arrest," she said, musingly.
"What?!" the two boys chorused.
"I was supposed to arrest him for cheating, but you messed that up. The Shihouin are always looking for talented kids and you fit. I think I'll keep you." She smiled at him.
And Kisuke realized then that tricksters don't always look the part.