Title: How in
the Hell Did I Get Stuck With You?
Pairing/Character/s: So I'm laying the stones for possible future IkkakuxKira in this, and there is of course, barely-there ShuuheixYumichika
Spoilers: Whole Soul Society Arc
Word Count: 3,011
Time: 2.17 hours (minor edits)
Summary: Companion arc to the one that began with "How in the Hell Did I Lose to You?"- Ikkaku gets reassigned, Kira gets promoted.
Dedication: Ann… I KNOW I owe you different fic but this idea just sort of hit me today and it won't get out of my head so…yeah. This for now, but I WILL FINISH YOURS DAMMIT.
A/N: I don't know where I get ideas like this, but I wanted to parallel the ShuuheixYumichika arc I did but with one of the other two captain-shafted teams. And thus… Kira. As for Ikkaku, well, Kira needs some thug love after all the manipulation love he got from Gin. And that's all the justification I need. YES. It's OOC, it's kind of stupid, and there's probably no chance in hell of it ever happening. But THE PLOT BUNNY ATE MY LEG. And this is just for my own entertainment, really, so um…ignore me. ;; I know, I'm such a selfish bastard aren't I? Writing for myself so shamelessly. XD
Disclaimer: Not mine, though I wish constantly.
Distribution: Just lemme know.
Shuuhei crossed his arms and regarded his kouhai with a careful eye. "Are you sure you're up to this, Kira?" he asked, not wanting to demean the other man's obvious skill, but too concerned about the other shinigami's current mental state to avoid the subject altogether.
The blonde smiled shakily and nodded. "I can do it. I think."
"That's the spirit," Shuuhei drawled, though not unkindly. The recently appointed ninth division captain looked sternly at Izuru. "It's tough," he explained, having been promoted earlier than the blond. "It's a lot more work than even I thought."
Kira swallowed, pallor paling even further, though he tried his best to look resolute. "Um…"
"It's not going to be easy, Kira, especially rebuilding after what Ichimaru did to you and your division," Shuuhei continued, noticing the younger shinigami's slight cringe at the mention of his former captain's name. "But…"
"I think you can handle it."
"Oh." Kira offered a watery smile. "Thank you, senpai."
Shuuhei smiled back. "So…we're both captains now," he mused, reaching out to ruffle the blonde's hair fondly. "As long as we work hard, everything will be all right."
Kira's eyes, full of hope, shone back at the older officer at the vote of confidence. "I'll do my best!" he promised.
Shuuhei looked at Kira and decided that while the other man still had a long way to go in healing from the ordeal with their former captains, he seemed to be well on the road to fully recovering himself from the trauma of Ichimaru's influence. He seemed less inclined to cry lately, seemed like he wasn't still waiting for Gin to come back for him any more. It might not have seemed like much to an outside point of view, but Shuuhei thought that it was a thousand forward steps for Izuru, thought that it meant the blonde would make it after all.
It made Hisagi glad.
"Now…for the most important thing," he started, in his most stern voice.
"Important thing?" Kira looked hesitant again.
Shuuhei winked to dispel his underclassman's uneasiness. "Obviously, finding you a good vice-captain!"
Ikkaku Madarame frowned and looked up at the big doors marked "Three", wondering if it was a bad idea to have let Yumichika talk him into this.
But, his opinion had pretty much become moot point the moment Ayasekawa had somehow, managed to convince Kenpachi that letting go of Ikkaku was a good idea. The persuasive bastard had cited that it would be like the advent of some sort of eleventh division takeover of the whole Gotei-13 as members that loved Kenpachi and his style of leadership began to infiltrate other divisions in seireitei and teach the rest of the wimpy shinigami how to be real warriors.
Zaraki had liked the idea of course, and had slapped Ikkaku on the back, telling him to go try out for vice-captain standing since the third division required someone to fill the role as soon as possible.
Ikkaku had gone on orders, thinking nothing would come of it, politics being what they were in seireitei and he being one of the more unconnected parties.
Except, imagine his surprise when he discovered newcomer captain Hisagi Shuuhei on the promotion board for the third division.
That's when he knew it was all some giant conspiracy, Yumichika using his connections with lover-boy to rope Ikkaku into the position for whatever reason, the sneaky asshole. He'd been going on and on for days about how the third division needed someone like Ikkaku as an officer to compliment the new captain, and how it would be a step up in pay for the same work Ikkaku was basically doing as a third chair in Kenpachi's division, given that Yachiru wasn't really built for paperwork. Then the little fruit had gone off about how attractive the vice-captain insignia was and Ikkaku had stopped listening then because it would be a cold day in hell before he paid any heed to the other man when it came to fashion tips.
But regardless of that, it was Hisagi Shuuhei who'd had the power to make things happen for real, the big wimp probably having been pressed by Yumichika's big doe eyes into agreeing with his crazy scam. Three days later and Madarame had gotten the notice that he was the prime candidate for vice-presidency of the third division and that he should make contact with the new captain as soon as possible in order for final approval of his promotion.
Which was why he was standing at the gates this very morning, wondering if he should knock or just breeze in, being that he'd been waiting outside for a good ten minutes now without seeing one shinigami pass in or out of the doors. It was already mid-morning, which meant that any self-respecting division would be up and at work and making some noise, but as it was, the third division headquarters sounded dead to the world.
Frowning, Ikkaku eventually lost patience and pushed the doors open himself, storming in and expecting to harass some wimpy, low-level shinigami into telling him where Captain Kira Izuru's office was.
As luck would have it, he didn't need to go that far because two steps into the door and he caught sight of a lone shinigami sweeping the floor of an otherwise empty seeming division headquarters, the man's head bowed as he worked sullenly in the shadows. Frowning, Ikkaku made to grab the supposed low-ranker and demand to know where the captain's office was, but as he made to do so, the mystery shinigami turned, exposing, unbelievably, the sleeve of what was unmistakably a new, white captain's coat.
Kira jumped about ten feet backwards at the sudden appearance of Ikkaku, dropping the broom he'd been cleaning with and falling flat on his ass.
Ikkaku watched it all like it was in slow motion, a certain level of incredulity making it impossible to move and catch Kira when he very well should have.
"Um…Madarame-san… I um… you're here sooner than expected!" Kira greeted in a small, surprised voice, hands clutched at his heart as he tried to hail the newcomer as politely as possible while still looking like a sickly, beaten kitten that'd just gotten the life scared out of him.
Ikkaku stared openly. He couldn't believe that this guy had made captain. Not in a billion years. The new Center 46 was crazy.
"Um…hi," he managed after a second. And then, "Why the hell are you sweeping?"
"What? Oh…I'm sorry! I had planned to finish before you'd gotten here but everything was such a mess and I must have lost track of time cleaning…"
"I didn't ask about the mess," Ikkaku reiterated, moving to hold out a hand to help Kira up.
When the blonde flinched like he was going to be struck instead, Ikkaku quickly withdrew his hand, frowning severely.
"Sorry," Kira apologized again, eyes cast downward. "I was um…cleaning, because it was a mess?"
Sighing, Ikkaku sat down on the floor across from the embarrassed captain, because talking down to him like he had been just now seemed rather inappropriate, somehow.
"Look, stop apologizing, would ya?" the bald death god asked, crossing his legs and resting his head on his hand. "It was just a question."
Kira slumped lower. "Sorry. I always do that."
Ikkaku couldn't believe this. "Look, just don't say sorry anymore, okay? I was just wondering why you, the captain, was sweepin' the floor. That's like, the job of an eleventh or twelfth chair, ain't it?"
Kira blushed a little, somehow looking very small in his great big captain's coat as he did. It figured that only Kira Izuru could make a custom tailored jacket look like it didn't fit.
"Well," the blonde began, "I thought that since I was the first one up I might as well…"
"The first one up? No one else is even awake yet?"
"Um…well, they weren't a little while ago, but maybe now…someone's…"
Madarame slapped himself in the forehead. "I don't believe this."
Ikkaku snarled to himself. "Goddammit, Yumi that bastard…he knew argh…"
"What's the matter, Madarame-san?"
The eleventh division shinigami huffed and looked at a nervous Kira Izuru out of the corners of his eyes. "You're really pathetic sounding, ya know that?"
The blonde immediately turned his gaze downward. "Sorry, I… it's all so… difficult," he admitted with a sheepish laugh. "I mean, before…I was okay with just m-me and taichou, but ever since…"
"I'm sorry!" Kira apologized instantly, though he didn't know what he'd done wrong that time.
Ikkaku sighed. "I'm not mad at you, stupid. I'm just gonna kill Yumi later. Che. Just 'cuz he's become a vice-captain the bastard must think it's fashionable or something, tryin' ta get everyone to give it a try… tricky asshole."
"I um…I don't quite follow…"
Taking a deep breath, the bald shinigami leaned backwards, putting his hands on the floor to push himself back up to his feet. "Yumi just knows me too well is all," Madarame admitted with a defeated laugh.
Kira blinked, a combination between confused and afraid. "Too well?"
Ikkaku smirked. "He knows the sorta things I can't pass up, I guess," he explained, slowly extending his hand to Izuru. "Hai…c'mon… on your feet, taichou."
"Um…thanks," Kira responded softly, tucking a lock of hair behind his ear before tentatively taking Ikkaku's offered hand.
Madarame wondered if a guy that had the same intimidating aura as a neurotic rabbit would be okay as captain.
He supposed that was what he was here for.
Helping Kira to his feet, the bald shinigami looked him over speculatively. After a moment, he put one hand on Kira's shoulder and the other at the small of his back.
Ikkaku ignored him and gave a little shove, forcing Kira to stand up straight. "That's better. Now that thing looks like it fits," Madarame announced, stepping back to regard his handy work. "Stay like that from now on, 'kay?"
Kira blinked in bewilderment. "Eh?"
Madarame rolled his eyes at Kira's lost expression. "Che, quit with the puppy eyes, would ya? All I'm sayin' is, stand up straight once in a while. Ya don't look so damn small that way."
"Oh… um, okay."
Ikkaku didn't know if that was an agreement or capitulation out of fear.
He decided it didn't really matter, at least for right now.
That being done, the newcomer took a real good look around for the first time, and determined that that it not only was it a little bit dirty in here, it was also kind of dark and creepy too. Vestiges of the previous captain, undoubtedly. He wondered if it would be cruel and unusual punishment to rouse the whole division awake this morning and first and foremost, make them clean obscenely high windows all day so that they could get some light in the building.
"We oughta wake everyone up," he posed after about a minute of serious deliberation.
They were shinigami. They'd get used to cruel and unusual punishment in no time. Because Ikkaku was gonna make it normal.
"Um, then I suppose we'll do that?" Kira agreed awkwardly, heading quietly down the hall towards the barracks.
Ikkaku followed gamely, clearing his throat. Upon reaching the darkened hallway, Kira moved to knock on the first door.
Ikkaku just yelled at the top of his lungs.
"OI, WAKE UP YA BASTARDS! THE DAY'S HALF GONE AND THERE'S STILL A LOTTA WORK TO DO! LAST ONE UP GET'S TO BE MY OFFICIAL BITCH FOR THE MONTH, YA HEAR? LET'S GO!"
Kira nearly jumped out of his skin.
But no other sound was heard in response to the noise save for the division captain's wildly pulsing heartbeat.
Ikkaku blinked as his own voice bounced down the empty hallway and back up to him, not one of the doors to the bunks opening to answer his call.
"Oh, so that's how it is, eh?" he growled, scowling to himself at the incredulity of it all. Now that he knew exactly what Yumichika had meant. This place really did need him. That being said, Ikkaku put his hands on his hips and looked around, coming to a decision. As much as he didn't want to…
"Well, taichou, it looks like you and I really got to clean this place up some huh?"
Kira smiled back, a little timidly, if sadly. "Sorry… it's um, been like this a lot lately," the blond apologized on behalf of his division, not quite getting Madarame's meaning. "I uh, think they're all just sad about… you know, everything that happened. They're just… not motivated?"
"Che, not for long. 's what you got me here for, ain't it?" Ikkaku assured the sheepish captain, reaching out to pat him on the back firmly.
"It…it is?" Kira stammered, managing not to fall over under the force of Ikkaku's enthusiasm.
"I said so, didn't I? I'm your new vice-captain, whether you like it or not! You guys obviously need all the help you can get," the bald shinigami boldly announced, though the fact of the matter was he wasn't vice-captain officially until Izuru submitted his final approval.
But that wasn't important. What was important was fixing this division up. And the captain too. "You and I are gonna make this place great, ya hear me, Kira?" He turned and looked the blonde straight in the face. "That clear? Here on out, things are gonna change around here. And I'm not lettin' you wimp out on me no matter how tough it gets."
Izuru looked saddened by the remark. "Sorry I'm such a…" the blonde trailed off apologetically, rubbing the back of his neck. "I uh…"
"Yeah, yeah you never had to do stuff like this with Ichimaru. That ain't your fault," he assured his new captain, if somewhat exasperatedly. He supposed he couldn't expect to see huge results right away. These things would take time, after all.
But there was plenty of that.
For now, Ikkaku took a deep breath and straightened his shoulders so he stood taller. "All right! Never mind all that stuff. It's in the past, right? You and me, we're gonna fix this place up in no time! The future's gonna be great!" the (former) eleventh division third chair declared, cracking his knuckles like he was about to do battle with a real life physical enemy as he peered down the ghostly halls of the third division headquarters, an almost psychotic enthusiasm in his eyes. "I'll show these lazy bastards how we do things in the eleventh division!"
Kira frowned slightly at the sound of that. "Um…I-Ikkaku…I um…"
"What's that, taichou? Can't hear you! Tryin' to say somethin'? Mind speakin' up? Hard to hear mumblers, ya know!" Ikkaku cried, causing his voice to echo down the corridor and making Kira jump again.
The look Ikkaku threw the blonde captain was nothing short of a challenge.
Kira, feeling embarrassingly small beside a presence as large as Madarame's, straightened his back a little more too, just to keep up. "I was er… going to uh…"
"What's that sir? I'm losin' you, sir… little louder, if ya please…"
Izuru took a deep breath and stilled himself. "I was going to say… I think… that we're not going to be just like the eleventh division, Ikkaku. I um, don't want that?"
Ikkaku eyed him critically. "Ya what?"
"I um… don't want that!" he declared. And then blinked a bit to himself at how loud he himself could be if he gave it a try.
Madarame managed to hold back a satisfied smile at the noticeable, albeit small change in Kira. Instead, he asked, "Ho, that so? Then, what do ya propose we do instead, huh, taichou?"
Kira unlike Ikkaku, didn't hold back his sudden enthusiasm. With big, hopeful eyes, he told his new vice-captain, "We'll be a real third division, Ikkaku. That's what I want."
"Aye-aye sir! You are the captain after all sir, whatever you say, sir!" Ikkaku saluted, pausing to grin at Izuru briefly before marching down the corridor. "All right then, let's get to work taichou! Just sayin' that ain't gonna do anything."
Watching his new, too-loud, uncouth, honest vice-captain stalk down the hallway looking for lower seats to terrorize, Kira decided that even though it was a bit startling at first, he was beginning to kind of like the way sound bounced off of the walls in the third division, a warm, alive, connected sound that he far preferred to the lonely, ghostlike presence of years before as the shinigami had quietly slinked about to avoid the sly perusal of unpredictable Ichimaru-taichou.
And as he walked with Ikkaku, who was now forgoing knocking completely and simply kicking the doors open to the bunks and demanding that the lower ranks come out to properly greet their new vice-captain right now, Kira stood up as straight as possible and thought that maybe he would be able to wear his new jacket like it fit after all, as long as there was someone by his side to remind him of what it meant to stand tall. Walking side by side with a vice-captain that was the polar opposite of himself, Kira felt safer than he ever had, even back when Gin would smile eerily at him and pat him on the head.
This was definitely different from that time. He could stand up straight now. He could walk like a leader, because Ikkaku, crazily enough, really seemed to believe that it was as easy as that.
And as he thought about it, Kira supposed that now was as good a time as any for a strong wind of change. Maybe he did have it in him.
Or maybe he didn't. But for now, he couldn't think about that, not really. There wasn't time to be afraid. There wasn't time to doubt himself or dwell on the past.
Most importantly, there wasn't time to miss Ichimaru Gin anymore.
He and Ikkaku had a lot of work to do.