Title: Parenting Made Easy with Zaraki Kenpachi
Universe: Bleach
Theme/Topic: N/A
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing/s: Kenpachi, Yumichika (mentions of ByakuyaxHisana, Yachiru, Rukia, and Ikkaku)
Warnings/Spoilers: minor spoilers for Byakuya and Rukia's backstory, as well as Kenpachi and Yachiru's.
Word Count: 2,149
Summary: Kenpachi has no respect for amateurs.
Dedication: for kaeruchan's birthday! I hope you like, m'dear!
This is kind of rambly, but for some reason Kenpachi's voice was coming to me like this today. I have no other excuses. LOL I also know it's a bit hard to read, but I'm telling you, it's the only way the stupid thing would come out.
Disclaimer: Not mine, though I wish constantly.
Distribution: Just lemme know.

When Zaraki Kenpachi heard about Kuchiki Byakuya's little sob-fest of a past regarding his dead wife and her angsty cry-baby tale of terror and woe-is-me, it may or may not have hit a very slight, very faint chord of familiarity with him, and as such, he found himself uncharacteristically trying to think back on his own, similar life experiences, to see if he could relate to what the two Kuchiki had been through at all.

And for his efforts, he got a big fat nothing.

All he could really conclude when it came to the whole stupid matter was that the story sounded like it was made up of exactly all the namby-pamby type of retarded shit one would expect from people-who-were-so-pathetic-they-had-to-make-their-own-problems-up-and-then-blame-the-world-for-them-afterwards.

Maybe the reason he felt that way regarding Kuchiki Hisana's story had something to do with the fact that he couldn't respect what the woman had been through, not even a little. Everyone else might have sympathized, might have shed a tear for her and her poor richer-than-god beau when they heard about what the couple had been through, but to Zaraki Kenpachi, it all read like a whole lotta bullshit.

And he could say that as very well as he damned pleased— had more right to than anyone else he knew.

Because he'd been there and done that, had bought the damned t-shirt and then promptly gotten it thrown up on, drooled on, pissed on and then ripped to shreds.

It was a little thing he liked to call unplanned parenthood.

The one thing in this whole wide world that he might have had in common with the Kuchiki clan.

And while he would agree that it hadn't exactly been easy maybe, he also knew that it had never been so hard that he'd ever considered quitting right in the middle of it all, like some sort of panty-waist loser.

Right or wrong, ethical or not—whatever—all Zaraki knew about the whole thing was that carrying a baby on your back through even the worst parts of rukongai wasn't completely impossible.

And that was all he needed.

Hell, looking back on it now, it hadn't seemed all that hard a lot of the time either, so long as you understood something about kids.

Just took some figuring out, was all.

Funnily enough, the first and foremost thing he'd been forced to figure out was to never underestimate a baby, no matter how small it was. It was time people realized that kids were a lot more goddamned resilient than most people gave them credit for.

Hell, he'd learned that little lesson during the very first day he'd had Yachiru, after he'd dropped her a fair number of times during a fight on account of not being used to her added weight on his arm. She'd survived all those tumbles well enough, and on top of that, eventually learned to hold the hell on all by herself. And sure, even after she'd learned that she'd still taken a few beatings in some of their earlier encounters with rukongai bandits and the like regardless, but the scars had mostly healed since, and eventually she'd even figured out how to not get hit (i.e. by hitting the bastards first) without too much prompting from Zaraki.

Given all that, he didn't think it was all that difficult to suss out the other stuff kids needed either, so long as you paid attention. Because in all reality, there were a shit ton of clues that the little fuckers gave you regarding exactly what they needed and when they needed it (and truth be told, it wasn't like they were subtle creatures or anything). Just having a kid around in the first place was like owning a goddamned living manual that told you what you needed to do, and so long as you weren't retarded you'd do best to look at the signs and read the clues every now and again.

For example, Yachiru had cried when she was hungry, so Zaraki fed her. And she'd cried when she was gassy, so he'd patted her 'til she belched. She'd also cried when she'd crapped her diaper, so he'd changed her, and when she cried for reasons that involved none-of-the-above-problems, he'd glared at her and told her to suck it up unless she was dying. Eventually, she'd gotten over herself and gone back to sleep.

In addition to those simple-type, straightforward sort of clues regarding what she needed, Zaraki—with some practice— also learned to read the more complicated ones that Yachiru threw at him as well, figured out that the stuff she did that wasn't just crying and screaming were all also signs that she needed something, even if they were a little harder to interpret. From there he learned that everything a kid did—not just the crying and the screaming bits— was for some sort of purpose other than to annoy-the-hell-out-of-you. As he'd said before, it was all there right in front of your eyes, if you took the goddamned time to stop worrying about yourself and look at 'em for a bit.

Like whenever Yachiru used to put random filthy shit in her mouth over and over and over again even after he'd told her to knock it the fuck off, Kenpachi took it as a sign that they didn't have enough goddamned food.

Or when she shivered and squirmed more than usual, he took it as a sign that she was cold even if he wasn't, and just tucked her under his arm a little closer when he carried her 'til she stopped.

When she tugged on his sleeve just 'cus, he took it as a sign that she wanted some attention, so he looked down at her and asked, "What the hell do you want?" while she gurgled up at him and blew spit bubbles until she was satisfied he'd paid her enough heed for the time being.

In later years, when Yachiru asked him a question he didn't know the answer to, he lied because if he didn't already know the answer, it was stupid shit anyway and she wouldn't need it to survive. 'Sides, he'd figured out that when that sort of shit happened, all the kid really wanted was some sort of answer—to be answered—and it didn't matter what he said or if it was right or wrong, so long as he just said something back to her.

Everything she did need to know he just made sure to tell her right off, and let her do with it what she would. When she didn't listen to him, she got beat up in fights sometimes, and when she did listen to him, she got beat up less, and when she figured out the correlation, she listened to him a whole lot more.

When Yachiru wanted to play he told her to try the "see-if-you-can-drag-that-deer-that's-standing-over-there-over-here-so-we-can-have-some-goddamned-dinner" game, and she ended up having fun and getting their dinner for them all at the same time.

When she asked him what those funny squiggles on those signs meant he taught her to read them as best he could, and when Yumi came on board Zaraki made him do it, since he was so smart and didn't ever let nobody forget it.

It was really a pretty simple equation when he looked back on all of it now. Read the signs and respond—just like watching your opponent in a fight. Didn't take a fuckin' genius to get a clue, and Kenpachi stood by the fact that babies were tougher little fuckers than most people were willing to believe they were.

Easy as all that, really, and if he could do it he was pretty sure some girl could have done it too, given the fact that from what he could tell, girls were supposed to have a knack for that sort of thing anyway (Yumichika was a prime example—he'd taken to Yachiru like a fuckin' fish to water).

Too hard to take care of a baby and survive in rukongai at the same time?


All you had to do was try.

Hell, Kuchiki's little lady hadn't even had to do that much—the kid still made it out on her own all right. Imagine that.

"Stupid fuckin' shit," he muttered to himself, and leaned back in his chair, sipping beer and hoping the rest of seireitei would get over their juicy (retarded ass) gossip soon, because he was sick of hearing about it over and over and over again all day every day.

"Is something the matter, taichou? You've got that frowny V in-between your brow," Yumichika questioned, suddenly breezing into the captain's office to change out the flower bouquets from last week with fresh ones. After he did that he pulled the curtains back to allow more light inside, and cracked a window to air the room, all without asking his captain if it was okay or not. "So musty in here," he mused, to himself.

Kenpachi eyed Ayasegawa. His own personal whirlwind of rainbow-colored gay sparkles. "Nothin's the matter. Just thinking. I don't like those goddamned flowers, stop tryin' to gay my office up."

"Thinking? Well clearly that means something is amiss," the fifth seat twittered, and then perched himself on the edge of Zaraki's desk without so much as a how-do-you-do. "And the flowers stay. They make this dreary office of yours considerably more hospitable."

Kenpachi sighed, and figured it wasn't worth arguing about.

Yumi read the look correctly, and beamed, before reaching out and patting his captain on the shoulder. "Now, this thing that you're thinking about… it doesn't have anything to do with the latest very romantic little tale of death and intrigue circling the gossip mills of the court, does it?"

Kenpachi grunted noncommittally, and wondered why the fuck such a fruitcake had to be so damn perceptive and gay all at once. Too much to take in sometimes. "Maybe."

Yumichika's eyes gleamed. "It's a rather delicious story, don't you think?" he mused, crossing his legs and resting his folded hands on top of his knee all prissy-like. "Just the sort of thing great drama is made of. I expect a movie sometime next fall."

"Some stupid ass shit, you ask me," the eleventh division captain said, and still didn't get what all the intrigue was. "Sick of hearin' 'bout it every time I turn left in this stupid town."

Yumichika blinked. And then, after a while, figured out where Zaraki was coming from on the whole thing. He chuckled to himself and allowed his captain some sort of reluctant concession, granting the pardon with an airy little wave of his delicate hand. "Well, I suppose only you have the right to say that."

"Damn straight."

The fifth chair pointed a perfectly manicured index finger right in his captain's face then (and really, the asshole had no respect sometimes). "But, to be fair, you can't hold everyone to the same standards that you hold yourself to, taichou."

"The hell not?"

The fifth seat chuckled and turned his gaze towards the now open window, glancing out across the courtyard to watch the midday training drills as Ikkaku led the exercises and Yachiru disciplined anyone not keeping up properly. "You shouldn't hold others to your standards because," he began, and tossed his hair, "that would make all the things you do the norm. And what a strange world we'd be living in if that were the case."

Kenpachi didn't follow (but to be fair, it was hard to follow much of anything when so much of that rainbow sparkly gay shit Yumi was famous for was being thrown in his face all at once). He blinked. "The fuck're you tryin' to say?"

"What I'm trying to say is," Yumichika began patiently, gaze still trained on the little vice-captain running around the yard, "I'm of the opinion—as are many others—that you, taichou, should forever remain one of a kind."

"Oh," Kenpachi said, and supposed that was okay too. "I guess that makes sense."

In the courtyard, Yachiru slammed the face of a 6'6, 350 lb slacking new-recruit into the dirt and laughed at the funny gurgling sounds he made while she admonished him for being a lazy-daisy.

"Well, maybe two of a kind," Yumichika amended, after a moment. "At the very most."

Kenpachi grinned a little to himself as he watched Yachiru continue to step on the fella's head for a little while longer, and supposed that for today, he ought to take his fifth seat's advice and go ahead and forget all about what losers the Kuchikis were after all.

Instead, he listened to Yachiru's sweet laughter as she drew a few more strangled cries, and congratulated himself on a job well done.

It was probably for the best that not everyone could be just like him.