By Sapphire of Autumn
Disclaimer: Don't own Bleach. Has anyone ever had a fanfic removed just because they didn't have a disclaimer? O.o
Notes: This is one of the many drafts lying around my house, waiting to be edited and typed. Yeah. And I think it's probably going to be the longest oneshot I have ever written. REMINDER: It's PRE-Soul Society Arc. So Soul Society is in piece, all the captains are their, and they have no idea who Ichigo is. (Actually, some of them probably do. Cuz his dad was a captain, right?)
The stars flickered in the night sky. On the streets of Soul Society, a big festival was going on. Shinigami gathered in clusters, talking and laughing, drinking sake, and socializing with other squads.
Normally, around this time of day, not very much would be going on. But today was the Sakura Matsuri, the festival to celebrate the beginning of spring. All sorts of things went on during festivals. Each one had something of significance happen, something that would make that particular festival stand out from the rest.
But some were more than just that. Some festivals would be remembered for decades to come, to be talked about, laughed about. The festival in 1763 was one of those. No one who went to that Matsuri will ever forget Yamamoto-taichou slipping on a banana peel "accidentally" dropped on the ground by Kuchiki-taichou. Even if you didn't go, it was legendary.
'Ah, yes,' Ukitake-taichou and Kyouraku-taichou recall, 'the face on the 1st division captain was something to remember.'
Byakuya Kuchiki has yet to make a comment on this incident.
Today could be the new legend of Soul Society. If not, maybe next year. Or the next. A few years weren't much for souls to wait.
And something was bound to happen, whether it became legendary or not.
"Ken-chaaan!!" a pink haired girl called out, waving her hand in front of a large, muscular man.
The 11th division captain grunted, saying nothing.
"It's so black out here, isn't it?" Yachiru continued excitedly, zooming around her captain.
Kenpachi responded with yet another grunt.
"It's just like our robes, isn't it?" the pink haired girl exclaimed.
The pink-haired girl(or the brat, as Kenpachi would say) seemed to be lost in thought for a second. "It's just like our robes…." she echoed.
"Why are our robes black?"
For the first time in that conversation, Kenpachi looked up at his lieutenant. Or rather, down at his lieutenant.
"I don't know."
Yachiru pouted. "But Ken-chan, you're so smart, you must know!!"
Kenpachi answered that with a grunt.
"Ken-chaaaan!!!" Yachiru whined.
"Yachiru. Go ask someone else."
Yachiru took a small breath and smiled wide. "Ken-chan, you're so smart! I never would have thought of that!"
"Come on, let's go!"
The lieutenant ran off towards another cluster of shinigami. Sighing, the 11th division captain got up to follow her.
"Baldie-chan! Funny Eyebrow-chan!"
The two 11th division shinigami glared at the short and annoying girl.
"Are you making fun of me?!?!"
"This eyebrow is not funny!!! It's a piece of art!!!!!!"
Ignoring their annoyed comments, Yachiru got straight to the point.
"Why are our robes black?"
"The hell? What kind of question is that? You damn brat! How would I fucking know that?" the 3rd seat shinigami yelled in response to this random question.
"Ikkaku. Do not cuss in front of Yachiru. Or else," Kenpachi said menacingly, cracking his knuckles.
"Y-Y-Yes!" Ikkaku cowered under his captain's parental glare.
Yumichika watched this, amused, then replied to the girl.
"Well, black robes are in fashion in Soul Society. Isn't it obvious? Everyone is wearing them."
'Idiot.' Kenpachi had to stifle a laugh at his 5th seat's stupidity.
"Hmmm," Yachiru pondered "Funny Eyebrow"-chan's words. "I don't think that's it…"
'Well at least she has some common sense', Kenpachi thought approvingly. 'I've raised her well.'
"If you don't believe me, then go ask someone else!" Yumichika retorted, an indignant look on his face.
"You're brilliant, Funny Eyebrow-chan!! I would've never thought of that!!" Yachiru squealed. "Come on, Ken-chan, we're gonna ask someone else!!!" She zoomed out of sight.
"Oi! Yachiru! It ain't safe to run off alone in the night! You might get kidnapped or something!!!" Kenpachi yelled and ran off after her.
The indifferent look on the 6th division taichou's face couldn't have changed to annoyance faster. Kenpachi hid a smile at the look on Kuchiki's face.
"What is it, brat?"
"Bya-kun, why are our robes black?"
"I don't know."
"But Bya-kun!!! You must know, you're so smart!!" Yachiru wailed.
"I will repeat this once more. I. Do. Not. Know."
'There she goes again.' Kenpachi sighed.
"Kusajishi-fukutaichou, if you wish to discover this information, I recommend you pursue Yamamoto-taichou and interrogate him for the appropriate intellect that you wish to acquire."
Yachiru blinked. "Huh?"
Byakuya sighed. "I shall put it in simpler terms for you, brat. Ask Yamamoto-taichou."
"Oh!" Yachiru exclaimed, "Couldn't you have just said that, Bya-kun?"
Yachiru blinked. "Why not?"
"It doesn't sound cool."
And with that Byakuya strode off, his scarf and hair fluttering behind him.
Yachiru and Kenpachi stared after him.
"Come on, Ken-chan, let's go see oldie-chan!" Yachiru said after a moment of awkwardness.
Wait, did she just say oldie-chan?!!!
"Ken-chaaaaaaaaannn!!!!" Yachiru wailed, tugging on his sleeve. "Let's goooooooo!!!!!!"
Kenpachi grunted and allowed himself to be dragged away by the 11th division's short, pink haired brat of a fukutaichou.
"Oldie-chaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!" Yachiru squealed in delight, marching up to the old 1st division taichou.
"Oldie-chan, I have a question," Yachiru proceeded to ask.
"First of all, Kusajishi-fukutaichou, you are to address me properly as 'Yamamoto-taichou'. Being a child does not excuse you from that," Yamamoto said gruffly.
"Hai, oldie – I mean, Yama-chan."
By then a large crowd had gathered around them. After all, seeing the old, wise 1st division captain acting so childish was something to see. The 10th division captain, Hitsugaya Toshiro, was particularly enjoying it, knowing that he was not alone in the world of not being addressed properly. (cough Hinamori cough)
Seeing that this would go on forever (and the fact that he was embarrassed for being so childish), Yamamoto gave up and asked the annoying brat what she wanted.
"Yamamoto—," the old captain sighed, "Forget it."
"Oldie-chan," Yachiru continued, "Why are our robes black?"
She looked up at him expectantly. A hush fell upon Soul Society as they waited for Yamamoto-taichou's answer. It became so quiet you could hear crickets chirping it the distance.
"Um, well, you see," began Yamamoto, in a shaky tone. "Um, they're black, er, because, uh, well…" Flustered by this random question the 11th division lieutenant had thrown at him and not prepared with an answer, the normally calm and collected head captain became nervous and fidgety. This was a rare event and unfortunately, no one brought a camera.
Yamamoto was still in his state of anxiety and it didn't help that shinigami in the crowd had began wonder why their robes were black. Murmurs of "Why are they black anyways?" followed by "Yeah, why black?" were floating in the air, and poor Yamamoto didn't have an answer.
As the crowd became more and more inquisitive, Yamamoto became more and more panicked knowing that his reputation was in stake. If he couldn't answer this question, his position as the head captain would be questioned. But what was troubling him even more was that if he didn't give a suitable answer to the shinigami of Soul Society, they would want to change the color of their robes, causing an uproar and disrupting the peace in Soul Society he had worked so hard for. That could not happen. He would protect the peace in Soul Society even if it cost him his reputation.
Summoning up all his courage for his final resolve, Yamamoto began, this time in a firm, clear voice. "Well, our robes are black because—"
He was interrupted—or rather, saved—by a certain 8th division captain who had just drank his 187th cup (a Soul Society record) of sake. "Yeah Yamaji," Kyouraku sing-songed deliriously. "We should have more color in our uniforms. Everyone should wear pink kimonos and straw hats!" he rambled, then burst into a fit of giggles promptly.
"Bwahahahahahaha!!! Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!" The 8th division captain started to foam at the mouth. "Bwahaha—" Choking on foam, Shunsui crumpled into a heap on the ground.
"Kyouraku-taichou!" Nanao rushed to the scene, and slapped her captain a number of times. When he still remained in his very sober state she called for Unohana-taichou, after muttering "Damn captain" under her breath. The healer captain arrived with a stretcher from the 4th division and carried the drunk man away.
Although normally disapproving of Shunsui's drinking, Yamamoto was thankful for the 8th division captain's bad habit right then. His crazed state had given everyone something to talk about, causing them to forget about their agitating question. That is, until Yachiru reminded them.
"So, oldie-chan? Why do we have black—" she cut off at the sight of the 3rd division captain, Ichimaru Gin.
"Hello, everyone. Whatcha doin'?" he asked, that creepy smile plastered on his face. Nobody said a word.
His smile turned even more ominous. "Eh? Why ya all so quiet? I was on my nighttime stroll and dropped by ta say hello, and this is how friendly ya'll are? It's a festival even. C'mon, be a little more cheery, ne?"
The already mistrustful air became even more suspicious. Silence. Then—
"Gin…chan," Yachiru said, her voice indicating that she was not sure if it was safe to call this man by a cute nickname.
"Yes, Yachiru-chan," Ichimaru responded playfully, still smiling.
"Um, why…are our robes….black?" she said carefully.
"Huh?" he said, clearly surprised by what she had just asked. "Yachiru-chan, ain't that obvious? We're dead and black is the color o' death, right?"
"So our robes are black 'cause we're shinigami. Death Gods," he finished.
"Well, is that all ya wanted ta know?" Ichimaru asked.
Speechless, Yachiru nodded her head again.
"Well then, I'm gonna be on my nighttime stroll. Bye-Bye," he said, waving his hand back at her as he walked. (A/N The same way he did when he was saying "bye bye" to Rukia on the bridge after crushing her resolve.)
The crowd of shinigami stared at the smiling man in amazement as he continued his "nighttime stroll".
"Well, that explains it," Yachiru said cheerily, having recovered from her state of speechlessness. Shinigami through the crowds could be heard agreeing, saying things like "Yeah, that does." or "I see, that's why our robes are black!". The festive mood returned to Soul Society and everyone returned to what they were doing before.
The 11th division captain grunted, saying nothing.
"Why are captains' vesty thingies white?"