Author's Note: Takes place sometime shortly after chapter 8
Ueda's Ramen was a popular lunch destination in Seireitei, especially for Academy students and lower ranked officers who wanted a place to eat but didn't have a lot of money to spend. It was a lovely day outside—the sun was out, there was a light breeze and the sky was clear—which only made it that much more confusing that the tables outside the ramen shop seemed to be deserted. Well, not entirely. There was a lone shinigami sitting at a table relatively far away from the restaurant, shaded from the sun by the branches of a nearby wisteria tree and with a bowl resting in front of him. A safe distance away were located several bushes, which appeared to be rustling slightly and…talking?
"Is that…?" A hushed voice asked, seemingly coming from the bush on the far right.
"No way…" Another voice replied dubiously, this time coming from the bush in the middle.
"It's gotta be!" The first bush insisted. "Do ya know anyone else who looks like he bathes in coins every night and sleeps on a mattress stuffed with money?"
"Still though," a third voice interjected, coming from the bush on the left. "What the hell would Kuchiki Byakuya be doin' at a ramen stand of all places?"
"Maybe he's waiting for somebody?" The first voice asked. "I don't know…he looks kinda lonely, dontcha think?"
The bush in the middle rustled some more, before abruptly stilling. Those who cared to look might have seen something like a brief blur pass from the bush into the street behind the ramen stand. There was a slight pause, before two other blurs followed from the surrounding bushes.
A minute later, three shinigami with the 6th division insignia sewn onto their sleeves could be seen strolling down the street from Ueda's Ramen.
"The hell was that for, bastard?" Voice Number 3 asked, irritably. "Why'd you just take off like that?"
"I woulda thought that'd be obvious," Voice Number 2, seeming slightly surprised at having to explain this. "I'm gonna stock up on food, water and medical supplies, then hole myself up in a basement somewhere. Think about it, ya morons. Kuchiki freakin' Byakuya was just seen sittin' at a fuckin' RAMEN stand lookin' for all the world like he was stood up on a DATE. Don't know about you, but I'm not gonna wait around for giant meteors to start fallin' out of the sky or for the dinosaurs to come back before preparin' for the worst. One sign of the apocalypse is more'n enough for me, thank you very much."