Disclaimer: Bleach is not mine. Shocking, huh?

A/N: Sorry this took so long. I have this problem with commitment, you see.


Sometimes Yachiru seemed more alive when she was asleep. Kenpachi wasn't sure what to make of it. The kid slept like an animal, curled up into a ball with her hands tucked close to her face, yet she was far from motionless. Her foot would kick and her nose wrinkle up; she glared and laughed and pouted in turn. She slept as though the waking world were a dream instead of the other way around, and seeing her Kenpachi could even believe that was the truth of things. Night after night he'd sit awake and polish his sword, watching as a slumbering Yachiru twisted and giggled, chasing after figments he doubted he'd ever been young enough to see. He'd examine his blade for dried blood by the moonlight filtering through the trees and listen as Yachiru flopped around in the dirt like a beached whale.

No, more like a koi out of water, Kenpachi would think, and then snort in amusement at himself. He'd slip his sword back into its sheath and pick Yachiru's blanket off the ground, shake out the dust and drape it over her once more. Then he'd lie back against a rock and close his eyes.

If Yachiru was a koi out of water, then what did that make him? Kenpachi didn't know and he didn't much care. He didn't need a metaphor to define himself. He was strong and he was determined. He had his will and his drive and his skills; those were all the things that were necessary to reach his goal. He'd lie in the dirt with his arms across his chest, the rock cold beneath his skull, and think there was nothing else he needed in life.

Then he'd hear Yachiru laugh across the darkness.

He supposed he needed a few more things after all.


A/N: Okay. That's the last one. It began with sleepy-good-nights and ends with them, too. Now that's what I'm going to go do!

There is an accompanying fanart for this over at deviantart. It is linked in my profile.