Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over 'Bleach' nor am I profiting from this.
Warning(s): characters have an extremely high age gap and will be facing ethical dilemmas considering they're a boss/employee. Characters will also be dabbling in fetishes which might make some uncomfortable. I will not be giving any further warnings for the story. I hope you enjoy.
Yuzu raises her pencil towards her mouth, a nervous habit which neither her father nor Karin can completely break. Someone must've made an error. Three people going over a budget just raises the possibility for errors. Karin has never faced difficulties even with the toughest math problems, though, and her father viewing everything as a challenge means no losing.
"I can look again," Karin says. "We've gone over these three times now, though."
"I know," she mumbles. "We've gone over these three times now, and we somehow spent more than we made."
Isshin nods, hums, and rubs his chin. "I've seen us through worse financial situations and this is minor."
"We don't even have a crisis," Karin says. "You can see that everything was covered. we just pull from savings."
Yuzu doesn't respond. Her throat becomes thick and her mind jumps from one horrific thought to the next. What will be sold first? Would Karin have to sell her beloved soccer ball? Would anyone even want that?
She could always clean houses. But she would probably be a pushover and Karin might get her fired because she stood up to her boss.
No one could ever pay her enough to watch some of the children around here.
Their father would probably go into slavery first to protect them. Ichigo would follow and pretend everything is fine. Karin would try and forbid her from knowing anything about their living in slavery. For now, her solution is to give her a rather harsh elbow nudge.
"I can feel and see you panicking," she says. "I'll bet the neighbors can feel it too. Is it a rational panic or unlikely scenario that panic created?"
"It could become a rational panic. it might not be a crisis right now, but what happens when our budget doesn't balance? We pull from our savings more and more until we start selling our possessions, slavery, and then who knows what else?"
Isshin and Karin have a long stare down. His nod receives a sigh. Her sigh receives an eyebrow arch and more aggressive nod.
"I never want our finances to be a worry for you," he says. "I know you took on several responsibilities meant for adults and someone could argue their benefits. I promise we will be okay, though."
Yuzu nods and does not pull away when he places his hand over hers. "I don't mind helping with the finances."
"You might feel better with a part-time job outside the clinic, one that can actually pay. I will not force you, though, and how you use the money is your choice. I only ask you make sure it does not interfere with school."
Her chair screeches against the floor and her pencil clatters to the floor. Yuzu dashes around the table, pausing to give them each a hug around their shoulders and exclaiming on the potential work opportunities.
Her excitement is short-lived.
Everyone either politely declines her offers to clean, because someone already comes in once a week, or claims she could never learn their meticulous routine. Yuzu visits the polite families with typically well-behaved children, the ones who recognize her as the nurse who calmed their daughter/son who received stitches, but already have an established babysitter. Pet-sitting is not even considered due to a feral cat incident from her childhood.
A three-week search which yields no results begins sapping her excitement. Another week begins draining her hopes.
"I need work," she whines. "I actually suffered nightmares last night. Everything was overdue, and we attempted exchanging desserts, but dad helped us make them and no one would touch them."
Ichigo continues with his homework. "Dad doesn't know how to make any desserts, and nothing is overdue. I can get you work, though."
"Is it something dad and Karin would approve? What're the hours? When can I interview?"
"You don't even have to interview." Ichigo shrugs. "Mister Hat-and-Clogs owes a few favors. Besides, I doubt Jinta would object. I can have Tessai meet you after school and take you to the shop tomorrow."
Yuzu unleashes an earsplitting squeal, again rushing around the table to give him a hug around the shoulders. Yuzu hovers a moment, resting her cheek against his head until he reaches up and pats her arm, a silent: are you okay?
"Everything will be fine," she says. "I don't know that. I always tell patients that whenever they're scared and it seems to make them feel better."
"Do you feel better?"
Whether her nightmares return tonight will be a strong determinant on the 'okay' and 'better' scales. Her panic has given up fantasizing over the what-ifs her nightmares have been producing. It's focusing now on having work, and just what will happen should something go wrong tomorrow?
Tomorrow is disappointingly uneventful from her panics viewpoint, though, and her scale tips closer and closer towards okay. For every attempted panic spike, she glances over the page in her notebook where Ichigo has written down a description for Tessai: gigantic, muscular, tan, and looks extremely threatening, but prepare for an extreme mother hen.
A gigantic, muscular, tan, and extremely threatening looking man aren't difficult to find among the students pouring from school. People either cluster in tight groups to discuss said man or rush past him as if worried he might go for the slowest ones. Yuzu gives her friends a quick wave goodbye, ducks her head, hurries towards him, and does her best to ignore the rising chatter.
"Hello, Mister Tessai." Yuzu smiles. "Please don't consider their actions too rude. my brother received the same reactions when he used to pick us up."
"I take no offense," he chuckles warmly. "I imagine Kisuke will be eager to put you to work, but I always insist on Jinta and Ururu eating before work. I should've asked your bother to send a list including favorite foods and potential allergies."
Objection seems useless, especially against an extreme mother hen. Instead, she gives him a brief list and promises to bring a more detailed list on her next 'official' shift. Satisfied, he begins politely grilling her on her organization skills, when can she work, how long can she work, and promises she can stay for dinner should a shift run late. Her stomach tightens and her throat clenches as the shop nears closer and closer. Her scale tips back and forth between okay and better.
A man, Mister Hat-and-Clogs, she supposes sits outside. Yuzu thanks her clinical experience as she and Tessai approach the shop. Burns, blood, and even bones sticking out because their clinic was closer than a hospital no long phases her. A scar sits directly below his eye. It moves across his cheek and towards his jaw.
Her scale tips heavily towards better. Her nurse experience silently crows 'it could be worse'.
"I didn't know our new employee was going to be so cute," he says. "I should've asked Ichigo to send her over a long time ago."
Her chest, cheeks, and neck flare bright pink. Her embarrassment recieves a broad grin and he leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. Tessai shakes his head and moves her towards the shop.
"Miss Yuzu, I apologize for his behavior," he sighs. "I assure you, Kisuke is harmless."
Yuzu glances over her shoulder, and despite his reassuring tone, she finds something not quite harmless in his stare.