A New Picture Book

Title: A New Picture Book
All good things must come to an end.
-cringe- How long has it been? It's a bit short, but I hope you enjoy this last installment of the grand pirate saga.

The end came like the changing of the tides: inevitable, but almost imperceptible to the untrained eye. Captain Zaraki, as usual, was the first to notice. When Yachiru broke her hook and neglected to replace it, he didn't say anything to her about it. But he quietly canceled his order with the shipwrights, and told the next subordinate going to the mortal world to pick out few children's books while she was there.

The Eleventh Squad, finely tuned to their Vice-Captain's moods, worked it out when they witnessed her relative indifference toward Captain Ukitake's gift of a treasure chest full of gold coins—an indifference that instantly became unbridled enthusiasm as soon as the chocolate under the gold foil was revealed, of course. Never ones to miss an opportunity, they immediately began making bets with less intelligent shinigami in other squads.

The rest of Soul Society took a little while longer to catch on. Vice-Captain Iba was disappointed when Yachiru failed to turn up to Pirates and Marines, a game they'd played weekly since Yachiru donned her first tri-cornered hat, but having previously been in the Eleventh, he knew better than to take it personally. Captain Aizen's efforts at pirate speech, which Yachiru had previously encouraged, were suddenly met with open scorn, and it took his Vice-Captain the better part of a day to persuade him that it was just an aberration, and that he wasn't really bad with children. The Twelfth figured it out when she took down the pirate flag that had previously flown above the Eleventh's training quarters, the Fourth knew when she stopped pestering them about getting gold teeth, and in similar ways, the news gradually spread to everyone in Seireitei.

As a matter of fact, the last person to figure out that Yachiru's pirate phase was over was Yachiru herself. For her, it ended very suddenly, one night right before bedtime.

"Ken-chan, I'm tired of the pirate book. Pirates are boring now."

Captain Zaraki rolled his eyes. "It's about time, brat. What do you want to read about next?"

"Fairies! With big sparkly wings, and pointy ears, and all glowy like fireflies! And I can be the fairy queen, and Ken-chan, you can be the fairy king, or maybe Bya-kun, he looks more like a fairy to me…"

Sitting outside the door, Ikkaku put his head in his hands. "And I thought the last one was bad. I ain't wearing no wings, that's for sure."

"Hmph, who would want to put beautiful fairy wings on an ungraceful man like you?" Yumichika replied. "I, on the other hand, will be absolutely gorgeous. This one is going to be fun!"