What Happened In the Next Breath

or

Matsumoto Is A Sly Cat


….Wait, why was he standing outside his office again?

Oh, right. Paperwork. Or something.

She had kissed him.

He slid the door aside and reached automatically for the lights. He could handle just about anything right now. Bring on the Arrancar, the Hollows, an army of invading ryoka –

-the lights were already on -

"Well, he- llo, Captain Hitsugaya."

The sing-song greeting rang in his head, bringing him sharply back to reality. He closed his eyes and managed to not groan aloud, but it was a near thing. I take it back, he muttered to Hyourinmaru. I meant I could handle almost anything.

The almost was sitting (sprawling) at his desk, one shapely leg draped lazily over the surface of the desk itself, chin propped on one hand as the other fanned her chest with what appeared to be a complaint from one of his seated officers, the one that was always whining about a lack of propriety in the division. Hitsugaya took a moment to appreciate the irony, and gather himself for the attack.

"Matsumoto," he replied evenly, "Good evening." How much exactly, he wondered with a sense of impending doom, of that whole conversation did she hear?

"I was wondering when you'd come in here," the busty blonde smiled, showing just a few too many teeth for his liking. "I mean, I figured you were off with some of the other nutty old farts, but still, you've never been one to shirk the work!"

It is possible, Hyourinmaru mused, that she heard quite a lot.

Hitsugaya willed his face to cool and moved purposefully towards his desk. He was not going to rise to the bait. Maybe she would get the hint, and chose to be tactful. "How much have you actually managed to accomplish in my absence?"

She rose gracefully, twisting to stretch the kinks out of her back. "Oh, you know, a little here, a little there." She stopped mid-twist and flashed that toothy grin at him again. "But you know, it's such a soft, sweet night, and I just kept thinking that I could use a little company to match–"

"Matsumoto – " he said warningly, glowering at his vice captain, who would not be so very hard to replace, now, would she?

"I've pretty much got the soft covered, but maybe someone sweet –"

"Matusmoto!" Very easily replaced.

"Wouldn't that just be perfect, Captain?"

"You," he said bluntly, grabbing the back of the recently vacated chair and pulling it sharply towards him, "smell of sake." And he sat down with all the dignity he could muster, refusing to meet his probably-wouldn't-be-missed vice captain's eyes.

"Why, Captain, you look flushed. You aren't upset about something, are you?" she leaned over and pointed at his forehead. "Or do you just have a bit of a fever? I hate to ask, but really, you're a very hard man to understand sometimes."

"Boobs off the desk," he said flatly.

"Maybe I should get Captain Unohana to check on you, Captain. I didn't know people with your complexion could achieve that particular shade of red."

Clearly she was not overly concerned about the dangers of provoking her captain. Damn job security. Alright, if grouchy wasn't going to accomplish the mission, Hitsugaya would opt for world-weary. He let out a heavy sigh. "Matsumoto, either be helpful, or leave me in peace." He let a little of his genuine exhaustion show in the way he reached for the stack of reports. Maybe he could appeal to her sense of pity.

Nope. "Captain, if you're tired, you really shouldn't push yourself to get it done right now. You know Hinamori often tells me that there's nothing so nice as enjoying a well-deserved rest in a nice, soft bed."

He couldn't help it. The sultry purr in her voice conjured up in his imagination a variety of half-formed thoughts involving combinations of the words Hinamori, soft, and bed. He tried to freeze the flinch halfway through it, but too late. The toothy grin grew wider, and she closed in for the kill. "After all, you never know what's going to happen in the next breath, sir."

That did it.

"Get out, Matsumoto. I have work to do."

"Well, if you really don't need me, maybe I'll pop over to Captain Kyouraku's for a few drinks, or, ooh," she leaned down on his desk, tapping her chin as if she'd just had the most spontaneous thought in the world, "maybe I'll go to Yoruichi-san's place for a nightcap –"

He slapped the paper he was attempting to read down on the desk. "Damn it, Matsumoto, I don't care who you chose to plague, or how you chose to do it, just do it elsewhere!"

She was already out the door, laughing heartily. "Good night, Captain!" For one brief moment, he slumped a little in relief, but then the brightly-colored hair and the evil little head it was attached to popped back through the door. "Don't work too hard, Captain! I will look for you tomorrow morn-"

"OUT!"


I R A Dork. And I missed this place. As frightening as that is.