Hisagi Shuhei walked down the street. The wind picked up and he pulled the hood on the blue and green jacket up to try and keep some body heat from escaping. It got chilly and the sky was so full of thick black clouds he was expecting it to start pouring any second. He had no way to escape the coming rain however, so he tried not to worry about it. Since he was in a gigai in Karakura town with no gikongan, he had no means to use shunpo. He was also no where near the Urahara Shop, not that he would go back there even if he could.
About a week and a half ago Shuhei had gotten called to the Suotaichou's office. He was informed that there was a possibility of arrancars that still supported Aizen escaping Hueco Mundo to the Human world and was ordered to a month long mission in Karakura town to help the Quincy in case any of them arrived. At first he was thrilled to be going on a mission, with the assurance that some of the other taichou's would help his seated officers run the division in his absence. Shuhei was to stay at the Urahara shop for the duration of his mission and report to the shop keeper every evening after his patrols. He was supplied with a gigai and gikongan. However after a few days Shuhei began to get suspicious.
Not only did it seem there was no chance of arrancars appearing, but there wasn't even any hollows to take care of. The Quincy was more than capable of keeping them out of the town. Shuhei would go out on patrols with nothing to do but wonder around town. It also became apparent that the patrols weren't a priority to the shop keeper since he would send Shuhei on errands for the shop, or find other ways to interfere. Shuhei began to feel like this mission was a farce to get him out of seiretei. So this morning he had decided to confront Urahara about it.
Urahara didn't even try to hide it. In fact he said he was surprised it took Shuhei so long to figure it out. He admitted that Yamamoto and himself organized a fake mission with the other taichou's as a way to force Shuhei to take a long vacation. Shuhei was outraged and lost is composure, however Kisuke was not a person he could intimidate. Shuhei had almost forgotten that the man was a former taichou, but he had no problem reminding Shuhei of that fact. He had slammed Shuhei to the ground and held his cane over the boys chest. Shuhei could feel the zanpakuto hidden inside crying out for his blood. After that he gave Shuhei a lecture about how he was acting like a child. Shuhei hadn't realized just how much he had worried the people around him. Kisuke proceeded to tell him that they wouldn't have had to go to such measures if he had just taken care of himself like an adult should have. As soon as Kisuke backed off Shuhei excused himself to go outside on patrol. He hadn't fooled the shopkeeper for a second. They both knew he fled. He had gone in such a hurry that he forgot the gikongan.
The wind picked up even more. It was almost blowing the young man over. Then the rain came. It started out light, but then got heavier. Shuhei was soaked in no time. At first he tried to cringe away from the drops, like he would stay dry longer if he did. After a few minutes he gave up trying and just accepted the rain fall. He thought about returning to the Urahara shop, but decided that wasn't a possibility at the moment. He had been humiliated and embarrassed by what happened and felt he couldn't face Kisuke at the moment.
A soft sound caught his ears and he looked over to see a calico kitten sitting under a small shelter, trying to stay out of the rain. Shuhei walked over and knelt down in front of it. It wasn't a feral cat, or even remotely afraid since it just sat there watching him. As soon as he knelt down the kitten decided to investigate and walk over to sniff at his pants. He smiled as he reached down to pet him. The kitten meowed and started to purr as it rubbed up against him. Then the kitten made a strange sound and darted off. Shuhei was confused, then he felt the rain stop.
He looked forward to see that it was in fact still raining. He could see and hear the rain drops, yet strangely he couldn't feel them. He looked up to see a clear umbrella over his head. In confusion he followed the umbrella down to an orange finger less gloved hand holding it. He followed the hand to an arm and up to a torso to see it was a male wearing a purple a-top under a white jacket. The followed the body down to the ground to see the male was also wearing blue jeans and black boots. He then started to look up, wondering who the man was. The man had white hair with brown eyes and piercings in his left ear and eyebrow. Shuhei stopped breathing for a second as he recognized the man. Muguruma Kensei.
Kensei sighed as he looked down at the black haired male. "Your an idiot." he said. That wasn't the first sentence Shuhei would have liked to hear from his hero in their first conversation in a hundred years, and the second conversation they ever had. He suddenly felt like he was a little child all over again, getting scolded for doing something he shouldn't have done. Kensei reached out with he right hand and gripped Shuhei's right upper arm. He yanked Shuhei up to his feet and turned the boy so he was facing the same direction. Then he grasped the boy's other arm, as if he didn't trust Shuhei to walk beside him and started walking somewhere, half dragging Shuhei behind him.
Shuhei was really confused. Where was Kensei taking him? "Uhm..." he started, but Kensei shot him a look that read 'shut up.' The younger fell silent and just let the man pull him. They began to approach a warehouse and Shuhei felt a wave of anxiety. Why was Kensei taking him here? What was he planning? Shuhei really wanted to know what was going on, but the man didn't look like he was going to explain. In stead he pushed Shuhei up to the door before letting him go to reach around him and open the door. Then he put the hand on the boy's back and pushed him inside.
Shuhei nearly tripped over a frame he didn't see. The warehouse was darker than outside and it took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust. When they did he saw he wasn't the only one in the giant room. He could see it was furnished like a living room, and seven pairs of eyes were all starting at him in confusion. He recognized all of them. The green haired girl was Mashiro, the fukutaichou that Shuhei replaced. The other six were the people who arrived to help them in the winter war against Aizen. Kensei then came into the warehouse, having stayed outside long enough to close the umbrella. He shut the door behind him and put a hand on Shuhei's back. "Move." he ordered. That was the only warning Shuhei got before he started to push the boy forward. Shuhei had no idea where he was supposed to go, but started walking forward as Kensei steered him.
He was pushed up a flight of stairs and nearly into a door. "Get a shower before you get sick. Why the hell you were walking around in the rain I'll never know." Kensei growled from behind him. Then the hand was gone. Shuhei turned around to ask him what was going on, but the man was already halfway back down the hall. Shuhei was so confused and lost. His hero just pulled him off the streets and took him to what looked like his place. The man didn't even ask Shuhei who he was, but he seemed to already know. Shuhei decided to just do what he always did when he was confused, follow orders.
He went into the bathroom and took a shower. He was actually rather grateful for it since he wasn't freezing anymore. When he got out he found clothes waiting for him in a folded pile. There was a green dress shirt with 'Shinji' written on the tag inside, a pair of tan cargo pants with 'Kensei', a pair of white socks, and black sneakers. Shuhei quickly got changed. He wanted to know what was going on figured he'd have to go talk to the others to get those answers. He went downstairs where he remembered seeing the others.
Two of them were talking about a magazine that they were holding. One had black spiked hair and the other long wavy blonde hair. There was a large pink haired man petting a cat that was sleeping in his lap. A black haired woman who looked a lot like Nanao was reading a swimsuit magazine. Mashiro was watching as the blonde girl and a man with short blonde hair were arguing. Shuhei felt really out of place. The man with short blonde hair looked over. "Oh good, it all fits. We thought it might, but we weren't sure." he said. Shuhei shifted nervously.
"Where..." he started, wanting to know where Kensei was but not knowing how to ask.
"Where's Kensei? Probably in the kitchen making dinner. I wouldn't go in there right now though. He hates it when people bother him when he's cooking." the man said. Shuhei sighed, he probably wasn't going to get an answer now. "I'm Shinji by the way. Hirako Shinji." he introduced himself.
"Hisagi Shuhei." Shuhei said, figuring it was the polite thing to do. After all he was invading what looked like their home. However Shinji waved the introduction aside.
"We know." he said. Shuhei was surprised. There was no way Kensei remembered him from all those years ago. After all he was just one kid that Kensei saved on a random day. Even if Kensei did remember him, there was no way he would have connected the crying child to the fukutaichou he was now. It was true he saw Kensei during the winter war, but Kensei never saw him. So how did they already know who he was? Did someone else tell them?
"How?" he asked. The blonde girl looked over and scowled.
"I'd say that's not your business." she napped. Shuhei was a little taken aback by her attitude. After all, he didn't ask to come here.
"Don't be such a bitch Hiyori. That's Hiyori by the way. The others are Love, Rose, Lisa, Hachi, and I'm sure you already know Mashiro." Shinji said, pointing to each of them in turn. There was that assumption again. That he already knew who Mashiro was even though he didn't tell them anything. He figured the tattoo on his face helped tell them a little bit, but that would just imply that he met Kensei. Hiyori meanwhile threw a shoe at Shinji's head.
"I don't want to sound rude, but why am I here?" Shuhei asked. Now all seven were looking at him, but it was more of a look like he asked something stupid instead of being confused, like they were when they first saw him. He suddenly felt really small again. Shinji looked like he was about to speak, but Kensei came into the room, wearing a white apron.
"Dinner's done. You better be eating too! I didn't make extra food for it to go to waste." Kensei growled at Shuhei. The boy nodded quickly as the others passed him to go into the kitchen. Shinji patted his shoulder as he did. Still a little confused, Shuhei followed. They all sat at the table, and Shuhei took the empty spot between Mashiro and Kensei. Shuhei usually at alone, the only time he was really ever with others was when they were drinking. So to have dinner with such a large group was different. They were like a family. Lisa, Love, and Rose were discussing some new manga series. Kensei scoffed at them, then yelled at Mashiro for making a mess as she ate. Hachi was eating quietly, but Shuhei noticed it was only to keep attention off of him as he secretly slipped food down to the cat. Hiyori and Shinji were going at it again, and Shuhei was trying to figure out if the two were ever civil with each other.
"You alright Shu-chan?" Mashiro asked. He looked over at her, not knowing where the question came from. The others looked over too, wondering if something was wrong.
"Why would you ask that?" he asked. She looked at his plate and he realized it was because he hadn't eaten anything.
"Kensei won't like it if you ignore his food." she warned. He felt something ominous on the other side and glanced over at Kensei's very angry expression.
"Damn right! There is no wasting of food in this house!" he snapped. Shuhei quickly took a bite of food to show that he wasn't ignoring it. It was good, maybe a few seasonings Shuhei wouldn't use, but good. That seemed to passify the others and they went back to their own conversations. Although for the rest of the meal Kensei kept glancing at the dark haired boy to make sure he was eating. As soon as dinner was done the others left and Kensei started gathering up dished. Shuhei decided to help, not knowing what else to do.
"What are you doing?" Kensei asked. Shuhei felt like he did something wrong again.
"I was trying to help you." he said a little defensively. Kensei rolled his eyes.
"Don't need it, out." he ordered, pointing to the door leading to the living room. Shuhei looked down a little.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked timidly. Kensei crossed his arms.
"No, I'm busy." he said. Shuhei felt a trickle of anger rise up in him. Kensei dragged him here and wont even explain why! Honestly Shuhei had so much that he wanted to say, so much that he had planned on telling Kensei if he ever saw him again. Yet the man wouldn't even give him a chance! Kensei had taken control of the entire situation and was running it to how he wanted.
"Why did you bring me here?!" Shuhei asked. Kensei glared.
"I said out." he said. Shuhei didn't want to give up though.
"Did I do something to make you mad?! Why won't you explain to me what's going on?" the boy tried again. Kensei unfolded his arms to grab the boy's arm and steer him towards the door.
"I told you I'm busy, go bother Shinji." he said. Deflated, Shuhei left to the other room. As soon as he entered, someone slung an arm across his shoulders and leaned against his side. He looked over to see it was Shinji.
"Don't worry, that's just how he is." Shinji said. Shuhei looked down.
"Did I make him mad?" he asked. Shinji scoffed.
"Uh, no. Trust me, you'd know if you did." Shinji laughed. Shuhei didn't look convinced. "Kensei is just grumpy." he said, then he poked Shuhei's cheek. "In the meantime, why don't you tell us about this." he said. Shuhei looked at the ground.
"Not much to tell. I was a kid about to be killed by a hollow and a taichou showed up and killed it." he said. Shinji laughed.
"Really? No one copies someone's tattoo on their face just because the person saved their life." he said. Shuhei looked up to see the others were watching him, wanting to hear the rest of the story too.
"I was a kid in the higher districts. No one cared if we lived or died. That Taichou was the first person who made us feel like we were worth anything." he said. Shinji nodded.
"I see, so that's why you idolize him." he said. Shuhei started to turn red. He wouldn't say idolize. He just looked up to the man really highly. Ok, so maybe that was idolizing him. Shuhei had had a rough childhood. No one ever looked twice at a kid in the higher districts. They all just worried about themselves. People didn't have a purpose for living, they just went through life feeling empty. Kensei made him feel like he was worth something, that he could have a purpose. So he decided he would repay the man who did that by serving him in his division. He got the tattoo to remind himself of that fact.
"Was I there?" Mashiro asked from the couch. Shuhei nodded. Mashiro thought for a moment.
"Was there four other people there too?" Love asked. Shuhei again nodded. He never did find out who the four of them were. He was too focused on Kensei. He probably wouldn't have remembered Mashiro if not for her bright green hair and the childish way she acted for an adult.
"I see. It was Kensei's main combat unit." Rose said. The others suddenly looked solemn. Shuhei wanted to ask why, but Shinji tightened his hold so that his arm hooked around his neck.
"Come on Shuhei, let's play poker." he decided, pulling the boy over to the couch where Love started shuffling cards.
They had played two games by the time Kensei came back into he room. The apron was gone, so he must have finished cleaning all the dishes. Shuhei felt awkward, remembering how Kensei threw him out of the kitchen. "I think i'll call it a night." Shuhei decided, standing up. It didn't sound like it was raining anymore so he could walk back to the Urahara shop without getting soaked. Rose sighed dramatically.
"Already? But it's so early." he said. Shuhei nodded to show that he meant it. Shinji shrugged.
"Well if that's how you feel I'm sure Kensei can show you where you're sleeping for the night." Shinji said. Shuhei froze. Did they just imply he was staying the night? He didn't agree to that. Then again he never even agreed to come over. He looked at them all in confusion.
"Oh, didn't Kisuke tell you? He told us a week ago that he was going on vacation for two weeks and asked us if you could stay with us for the time. At first we said no because we didn't know who you were and we don't do charity, especially for Shinigami. But, he told us who you were so we decided to make an exception. Kensei agreed to be the one to pick you up." Shinji explained. Shuhei was internally horrified. First he added Kisuke back to his shit list. The shopkeeper never gave him a single clue about it. Then the reason they were all surprised to see him had nothing to do with him intruding into their home, but most likely because he was soaked!
"Come on kid." Kensei called. Shuhei nodded and followed the white haired male. Kensei led him upstairs and into a small room. There was a bed and a cot set up. Shuhei decided to try again.
"Muguruma-taichou..." he started, but Kensei rounded on him.
"I'm not a taichou." he said. Shuhei nodded to show he understood.
"Muguruma-san." the boy corrected himself. Kensei nodded to show he could continue. "Do you remember me at all?" the boy asked. Kensei scratched the back of his head.
"Vaguely." he said. Shuhei didn't know how to feel about that answer. He had been hoping that the man would say yes, but had always expected a no. This answer was somewhere in the middle.
"Thank you for saving my life." Shuhei decided to start with. Kensei's expression was unreadable. "I don't know what all you were told..." the boy started, and trailed off. He couldn't even remember what all he wanted to tell Kensei anymore.
"I heard you were Tosen's fukutaichou. That you graduated the Shino Academy with honors and was made a seated officer from your first day. That when Tosen betrayed the Seiretei you tried to arrest him, that you were the one to kill him in combat. That the entire division and the Seiretei Communication magazine has all fallen on you ever since. Kisuke mentioned that this would be your first vacation since all the shit started." he said. Shuhei felt a little sad at the mention of Tosen. "He also said your a brat who is scared shitless of his own weapon. That your a workaholic who doesn't know when he needs to stop taking care of everyone else and needs to start taking care of himself." Kensei's voice started to take an angry tone and Shuhei winced.
"That's not exactly true." he defended himself. Kensei crossed his arms.
"Really? Because Yoruichi told us that hardly any of the other officers have ever even seen your shikai. They don't even know it's name. They said the only time that you've used it in the last few years is the war against Aizen." Kensei said. Shuhei couldn't really argue with that. "However for a little brat to hold an entire military division together by himself while dealing with a lot of personal issues at the same time is rather impressive." Kensei said, and Shuhei felt a swell of pride.
"Tai...Muguruma-san, what happened? Why did you leave?" Shuhei asked. It was one of the many things he wanted an answer to. Kensei's face darkened and Shuhei immediately regretted asking.
"You're not the only one Tosen betrayed." he said. That was all the more answer he was going to give the boy. Shuhei gave a small nod to show he understood and would not be asking again. At least, not Kensei. The male looked Shuhei up and down, as if assessing him. "You seem to have grown up pretty well though kid." he said. Shuhei looked at the ground.
"Why did you come and get me today?" Shuhei asked, curious. Kensei chuckled.
"Curiosity I guess. Wanted to see what happened to the little crying brat." he said. Shuhei turned slightly red. That was two people who would always remember him for behaving like a child now. Kensei and Kisuke. At the reminder of the shopkeeper Shuhei had to wonder if he planned this. Had the man suspected that Shuhei was really falling apart and just needed to talk to the one who put him on this path in the first place? Is that why Kisuke chased him away today? "Maybe we'll spar before you go home, see how strong you really are." Kensei mused. Shuhei nodded. He'd like that. "You'll have to use your shikai though. If you don't you'll die. I'm not going to be nice just because you a brat." Kensei added. He'd like the spar much less then he thought.
This is a story I planned to write a long time ago. Since I had a little bit of free time, I decided to go ahead and write it. I was inspired by a drawing I saw of Shuhei petting a kitten in the rain and Kensei holding an umbrella over him. I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the artist, but it's what appeared in my head. Any way, what do you think. I don't own Bleach and have no rights to the art either.