Rating: PG-13 for language. This is Zaraki we're talking about here.lol
Summary: While undercover in the living world, Zaraki has to go to a parent-teacher conference to discuss Yachiru's interesting take on a class assignment.
Disclaimer: Kubo Tite owns Bleach and the crazy nuts known as Kenpachi and Yachiru.
Zaraki looked in the mirror and rubbed his hand across his straight hair not liking it. What he disliked even more was the green v-neck sweater he wore. At least Yumichika let him wear black jeans and a black leather jacket though that didn't have as many silver studs as he would've liked. The metrosexual of the 11th Division told his captain that Zaraki didn't want to come off as being too intimidating.
"So no eye-patch then?"
Ikkaku laughed. "Oh yeah, that would really go over well with the teacher."
"Ken-chan! You look just like somebody's daddy," Yachiru said hugging her life-long friend tightly around his neck. To quote Yumichika, she looked 'darling' in her powder blue dress.
"Shut up. I'm supposed to be your daddy."
The small terror nuzzled his neck and giggled.
Zaraki looked at their reflection. They had no genetic relation but there was no mistake that they were family.
"Let's hurry up and get this over with, Yachiru."
At the elementary school, a short severe-featured woman greeted them in front of a small classroom. Zaraki couldn't tell if she was young or not. He was leaning towards not.
"Mr. Zaraki, I'm so glad that you were able to make it. We have much to discuss."
"Hmph. Yeah." Why was the woman being so polite? The letter the school sent to his temporary residence said it was all but mandatory to attend.
"Please have a seat," the woman said, indicating a seat in front of her desk.
Zaraki hadn't sat in the chair for five seconds before the teacher started in on him.
"Sir, what exactly do you do? Yachiru wasn't exactly forthcoming with that information."
Zaraki pulled at his leather jacket. "I'm a trucker."
"Really? I imagine that you're separated from Yachiru for quite awhile."
Zaraki looked down at his small partner in crime. "Sometimes but we're usually inseparable."
The teacher adjusted her glasses. "Who watches her while you're gone?"
Zaraki hadn't prepared himself for all the questions.
"Y'know," he shrugged his broad shoulders, "daycare."
"But she's in school for most of the day." The teacher furrowed her brows not quite buying what the large man was selling.
Zaraki looked down and Yachiru again and mouthed, "What's with all these questions?"
His ward shrugged her shoulders.
The teacher cleared her throat. She was getting annoyed with the man's blase attitude.
"Daycare, nightcare, all that matters is she's being taken care of, right?"
"I would like to know the name of this daycare center, Mr. Zaraki."
"Dang, why do you need all that? Are you the police or somethin'? Geez."
"Like I remember that... it's just a--"
"It's called "Yumi's Daycare Center," Yachiru said, bailing Zaraki's ass out of the fire. "It's really fun there," she added, giggling.
"Oh, what's so fun about it?" the woman asked, turning her attention back to her troublesome student.
"Well, we get to tell stories and sometimes Baldy, I mean Mr. Madarame does funny dances. And Yumi let's us play dress up with makeup and everything."
Zaraki nodded his head and smiled encouragingly though people who didn't know him well would say it looked menacing.
"Is Yumi a nice lady?" the teacher asked.
Yachiru's expression turned serious. "Oh, no."
The teacher leaned towards the girl and cocked her head to the side. "If she isn't nice how is it that you like it there?"
A brief laugh escaped Zaraki's mouth before he played it off by coughing.
Yachiru rolled her eyes in exasperation. "What I'm sayin' is Yumi's not a lady. He's a dude!"
The teacher's eyes widened. "Really now? That's very interesting." She got a pen from her desk organizer and began jotting down notes. Zaraki observed her for a moment and wondered what type of crap she was writing. He didn't feel like sitting there and being judged or having anyone else in his division judged for that matter. Some folks in Soul Society tried to pull the same stunts and look where it got them. Beat down.
The 11th Division captain knew he couldn't go smacking people around in the living world, especially not teachers who are instructing your Vice Captain who's pretending to be a first grader. Well he could but then there would be a lot of paperwork to fill out. The less time he has to sit on the other side of the annoying woman's desk the less chance he had of giving into temptation.
"I'm a busy man, I have to make a delivery in a few hours. What is it you need to discuss with me?"
The teacher put down her pen and clasped her hands over her desk calendar. "Well, Yachiru is very popular with the other children. She is also a very bright and clever child..."
The little girl smiled at this.
"But sometimes her imagination can lead to very... interesting stories. Stories far beyond what the other first graders come up with."
Zaraki nodded his head in a way that said, "And the problem is?"
The woman coughed delicately. "When I say interesting, I mean disturbing. For example here is a piece of work that Yachiru turned in for last week's assignment in which students had to create their own version of a bedtime story covered in class."
She handed Zaraki a thin homemade book made from notebook paper that was folded in half and then stapled. The coarse captain recalled Yachiru lying on the floor coloring furiously the previous week. This must've been what she worked on. He didn't see how anything that Yachiru did would deserve the red F emblazed on the top right corner.
"Lemme take a look at this." He noticed that Yachiru was looking up at him and appeared somewhat anxious.
The title said, "The REAL Goldilocks and the 3 Bears." Real was capitalized and underlined twice. Beneath the title was a drawing of a blonde girl yelling--"AHHHHHHH!!" was in a speech bubble-- surrounded by three bears. One of the bears was significantly smaller than the other two and had red smeared on its mouth. Zaraki had a feeling it wasn't strawberry jam.
He flipped through the pages, taking in the story as it unfolded in a style that could only be Yachiru's.
When he got to the line, "The dumb girl had the nerve not to like the food she found in the house she broke into." his mouth quirked.
The teacher cleared her throat in disapproval.
When Zaraki got to the end of the story he returned to the book to the teacher.
"What's the problem?"
"'What's the problem?' The question should be, "What isn't the problem?"
Zaraki shook his head in irritation not understanding what was wrong with the book. He just didn't get it and voiced as much. "The coloring is good and the story is finished, isn't that what you're looking for when you're gradin' them?"
"Yes, that's true but Yachiru's take on the tale was not very conventional."
"That's good, right?" Zaraki asked. "Thinkin' outside the box and all that crap." He patted the girl on the head and that made her perk up like a drooping plant that received the sunlight and water it needed.
The teacher sighed. "Thinking outside of the box is all well and good but in a situation like this, I don't think that it is necessarily a positive thing. It hints that something could possibly not be right in Yachiru's life. Why would she turn the story in this direction?"
Right about now the first grade teacher thought that Zaraki was one of the worst parents she ever had the displeasure of encountering.
"I'm not really familiar with the original story she based this on. What goes on with this blonde and three bears?"
Yachiru started laughing, not helping Zaraki's case at all.
"The hell-- I mean the heck are you laughing at?"
The teacher was so stunned with Zaraki never hearing the overplayed bedtime story that she didn't reprimand him on the way he spoke to her student. "You've never heard of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?"
Zaraki closed his eyes momentarily and opened them giving the woman a harsh look. He didn't feel like counting to ten as Captain Unohana suggested for him to do when people got on his nerves.
"That's pretty much what I just said, isn't it?"
The woman quickly gave a rundown of the original story.
Zaraki listened and when it was over he scoffed and said, "That's a dumbass story. I like 'Chiru's much better. It made more sense."
Yachiru jumped out of her chair in her excitement that her friend understood her vision of the tale.
"Yeah, that was my 'spriation. When we read the story in class I thought it was real stupid. How is this girl going to walk into three bears' house and not get gobbled up?" She looked up at her teacher and shook her head. "I remember when Ken-chan--I mean Dad took me to the zoo and I wanted to play with the bears because they were so cute but the safari dudes said I couldn't because the bears would try to hurt me. I figured if they would try to hurt me then they would definitely eat this Goldie chick. She ain't nothing special."
Zaraki nodded his head. The girl was no fool. Crazy but no fool. He turned his attention to the work on display around the classroom and found himself unimpressed. Zaraki was one to speak his mind.
"I'm looking at the other kids work you got posted on the boards and stuff and it's not even that good. They got stick figures and Yachiru's got bears with fur and," he tried to think of one of those artsy-fartsy words, "depth. Hell, she even stayed in the lines, which is more than I can say for half of these kids."
Zaraki took Yachiru's book from the desk and flipped to a page that featured Goldilocks. "Look how she added all that detail on her hair. It's like she's implyin' the sun is shinin' on the girl's head."
The teacher sighed again. She was sure that this child and her father caused more sighs in the past fifteen minutes than anything else had… ever. "Yes, I see that but the head has been severed from the body and is lying in a pool of blood."
"But that's real. You can't expect to walk into a bear's house let alone three and not get mauled." Zaraki noticed the teacher's disagreeable expression.
"What? She was supposed to go in and make friends with the bears and have dinner and laugh about it?" He rolled his eyes and turned his head away from the woman. During the turn one of the pictures on the bulletin board caught his eyes because of the two gold stars stuck to it.
"Oh, fuck me," Zaraki breathed. That's exactly what this kid with the gold star paper drew. "I thought school was supposed to teach critical thinkin' skills. This just doesn't make any damn sense."
"These are lighthearted stories, Mr. Zaraki. They are not meant to be horrific tales. They are supposed to foster a child's creativity."
"That's exactly what it did for Yachiru and you're punishin' her for that. It seems to me that Yachiru has a lot more common sense than these other kids. Shouldn't you be talking to Mr. Goldstar's parents about how their kid seems to think a person can play around 3 bears and not get killed? This is ridiculous!
And while I might not be familiar with Goldilocks, a lot of these stories when you read the original versions they are bloody and gory and all that other good stuff. Cinderella's stepsisters cut off their toes and shit to be able to fit in those glass slippers."
Yachiru raised her hand and waved it around frantically. "Oooh! Ooh and the little birdies told on 'em! I remember that story Ken-chan—I mean Dad! That was a good one."
The teacher was taken aback. She knew that the Grimm's fairytales were dark but she wasn't expecting this man to have read them with his daughter. Based on his appearance he didn't seem the type that would take the time to sit with his child and read. It was a good thing that Zaraki didn't come to the conference wearing his usual gear because the woman might've gone into shock.
"The world out there isn't all…" Zaraki tried to think of soft things, "puppies and Gummy Bears, there's bad shit out there. It's true that we have to do our best to protect the little ones from that but they need to know what's going on out there too. We might not always be around and you want the kid to be able to fend for themselves." He looked down at Yachiru with a gaze full of affection that was returned in kind by the girl.
He returned his attention to the teacher. "Now, I'm not asking you to post Yachiru's work on the board because I know y'all are living with your heads stuck in the sand. What I'm saying is you give her the grade she deserves because she put in a lot of hard work into this assignment and she followed the instructions. She deserves at least three of them little gold stars."
The woman's mouth opened and it looked like she wouldn't be saying anything agreeable.
Zaraki knew that he had been behaving pretty well. Maybe he would have to tone down the "Mr. Nice Guy" act a little.
He leaned forward in his plastic folding chair that didn't even have padding and let some of the usual malice creep into his eyes.
"I'm not leaving until you do."
With a shaky hand the woman added a red line to the right side of the F turning it into an A.
Zaraki smiled and as the teacher added more stars his smile turned into a progressively wider grin.
"Don't you have to change what's in your record book too?" Zaraki knew that there was another step because of all the paperwork that he had to do in Soul Society.
The woman pursed her lips but took out her grade book and made the adjustment.
Yachiru's jaw dropped. Ken-chan got the mean lady to change her grade. She knew that he was amazing but she didn't think that he would be able to pull that off and without bloodshed on top of that.
"Can I have this?" Zaraki asked the teacher while pointing to the Yachiru's project.
"Yeah, why not," the teacher said. All the fight was out of her.
Zaraki took Yachiru's book and got out of his chair. Yachiru jumped down from her seat and grabbed her best friend's free hand.
"Well, bye," Zaraki said as he turned his back on the woman that remained sitting behind her desk blinking her eyes in confusion. This parent-teacher conference did not play out as she thought it would.
Once he and Yachiru were in the hallway, he said, "This was a damn good story. I'm going to hang this up on the refrigerator."
"Yay!" the girl yelled as she jumped up and down. She stopped her celebration when she thought of a question.
"What was your favorite part, Ken-chan?"
Zaraki cocked his head to the side as he thought about it. "I liked the part at the end when the papa bear said, 'I was tired of eating porridge anyway.' That was really funny." He chuckled which made his little companion laugh too.
"I can't wait to show Baldy and Feather Face! You think they'll like it, Ken-chan?"
Zaraki kept looking straight ahead. "I'm sure they will. Now let's go get some ice cream."
"Yay!" Yachiru yelled again. She always had more fun when Ken-chan was around.
A/N: Kenpachi and Yachiru are just too adorable and funny. Every time the two of them are in a scene in the manga or anime it's automatically awesome! I know that Yachiru and Kenpachi weren't in the living world during the time Renji and the gang were but I could see this situation happening.