Title: Ball and Chain
Universe: Bleach
Theme/Topic: Yachiru's birthday fic
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing/s: Kenpachi, Yachiru, Byakuya (if you want you could see bits of KenpachixByakuya)
Warnings/Spoilers: None I can imagine, just the usual crack and OOC.
Word Count: 1,445
Summary: Byakuya and Kenpachi team up (sort of) to give Yachiru the best birthday ever.
Dedication: All the sane people left in Bleach fandom. All five of them. You know who you are. XD
Uuuhm, talk about a last minute "just throw something together quick!" fic. Tell you the truth, it's been a bad weekend for Bleach all around, so I'm kind of lackluster about it. But you know, gotta show love for Yachiru on her birthday either way. ;;
Disclaimer: Not mine, though I wish constantly.
Distribution: Just lemme know.

"You hospitalized my clown."

Kenpachi blinked and looked up at the sound of another voice suddenly disturbing his blissful quiet, only to be met with the steely gaze of Kuchiki Byakuya, who was standing in the doorway of Zaraki's office, looking all ruffled and perturbed and other such words meant to describe rich-boys whose panties were in a twist.

A moment.

And then, "I…hospitalized your clown?"

"As I said," the nobleman sniffed, and strode in, stopping just short of Zaraki's desk rather imperiously. "There's no time to book another one before the party."

Kenpachi stared at Byakuya some more. "The party?"

"Yes, the…" And then Kuchiki Byakuya abruptly trailed off, blinking at Kenpachi in what might have been a mixture of horror and disbelief. "You forgot. I informed you a month ago that if you weren't going to do anything for Yachiru's birthday—properly—then I would do it instead."

"I don't forget nothing," Kenpachi grunted. "Sometimes I just choose not to remember, is all."

Byakuya sighed and rubbed at his temples with his fingertips. "It is Yachiru's birthday today."

Zaraki was on the verge of being insulted by the tone the bastard was taking with him. "Well I know that. I gave her the damn thing after all. Bought her a new whetstone and everything. She liked it just fine."

A beat.

"It is Yachiru's birthday," Byakuya repeated, slower this time, "and you have hospitalized my clown." He paused then, and gave Kenpachi a look that might have translated to something along the lines of: "do you understand now, you Neanderthal?" if only the other man's features were actually expressive enough to convey that sort of message.

As it was, Kenpachi just blinked and then grinned. "That explains a lot I guess," he admitted after a moment. "I thought I was havin' some sort of drunk nightmare when I saw that rainbow-haired freak show wandering around in the courtyard."

Byakuya gaped—internally of course, it wouldn't do for someone of his breeding and status to stare slack-jawed at anything, even a person who was as ridiculous as Zaraki was. "So you saw the clown and your first reaction was to engage in battle with him?"

Zaraki scoffed. "I just whacked him around a little bit to make sure he wasn't a mirage or something. Not my fault bastard can't take a hit." Pause. "Besides, you doin' all this plannin' without tellin' nobody anything and whatnot… ain't like I can be expected to read your mind, Kuchiki-hime. Or that you'd do somethin' as fuckin' weird as hiring a clown."

Byakuya frowned at that. "Children love clowns."

"And kids love eatin' dirt too, don't mean it's to be given to 'em. Not like they know any better at that age."

"A child's birthday party should have clowns," Byakuya insisted, frostily. "And ponies and cake and a piñata. I did my research on the issue and put in the necessary effort. Unlike some people here."

Kenpachi groaned at the mention of ponies. "I ain't cleanin' up the horseshit in the yard after this fiasco, you hear me?"

Byakuya ignored him. "There remains the matter of the clown," he insisted with a haughty little sniff, and was speaking in such a manner that Kenpachi had to do a double-take, just to make sure they weren't suddenly in some bizarre alternate dimension where he'd accidentally married Kuchiki-hime without his knowing. Because as far as Zaraki knew, the only person on the face of the planet who would have cause to talk to him like that would be his goddamned wife and hell if he recalled being made an honest man of yet.

Especially not by Ice Queen Kuchiki herself.

"Her goddamn party doesn't need a goddamned clown," Zaraki pointed out, feeling strangely defensive all of a sudden. "Doesn't need a party in the first place, she ain't four fer cryin' out loud. And besides, what's wrong with hangin' out with the fellas and playin' cards, anyway? 's what we've always done for her birthday up 'til now."

Byakuya was unmoved. Zaraki felt motivated to check his hand for that wedding ring again after all, because really. At this point it couldn't be anything else. He was pretty damned sure he'd never given Kuchiki leave to be all expectant like this around him, whether the issue they were debating had to do with Yachiru's fucking birthday or not.

He looked at his hand.

Still nothing.

So what the hell was with that look the princess was giving him?

He sighed.

"Look, hime," he began with unprecedented calm, "we'll get cake, and we'll have the fuckin' ponies, and hey, whackin' the shit out of some flamboyant-ass rainbow animal actually sounds pretty fun, even to me. But I gotta say, that clown of yours looked like something out of my worst drunk-hallucination nightmare, no joke. Don't need it. Hell, I'm savin' you some extra money right there by takin' it outta the picture. Why don't you go buy yourself somethin' nice with it instead?"


Kuchiki's face muscles didn't even twitch.


"There is still three hours left until the celebration is slated to begin, Zaraki-taichou," Byakuya said, with infinite (and blizzard-cold) calm. "We wouldn't want to disappoint her by presenting her with an incomplete celebration, would we?"

Snooty little bitch would play the guilt card with him. Make this his fault somehow.

Well fuck that.

Zaraki didn't move. "I said, we don't need no goddamn clown," he repeated, stubborn.

Byakuya continued to look at him.

Zaraki glared.

Byakuya remained impassive.

Zaraki wondered if he was going to have to bite the head off of a live chicken or something, to get the princess to back down.

Byakuya's eyebrow did end up drifting upwards in the meantime, but even still, the essence of the look (or the implications behind it) never changed.

And just as the room felt like it was about to hit negative one-hundred degrees, Kenpachi sighed and stood. Wasn't worth the effort, or something. And knowing the hime, he'd probably already talked up the clown to high heaven with Yachiru as it was, so she'd be expecting it. And then when it didn't come, Kenpachi would get the blame, get called all sorts of nasty things by everyone there, and Yachiru would probably sulk at him for the better part of a month for letting her down. He grumbled at the thought and rubbed his face, feeling headachy all of a sudden. "I think Ikkaku can juggle," he offered. "Maybe."

Tension immediately defused.

"I already promised her that there would be balloon animals as well. She was very excited, given that she's never had a real birthday party before. I'm sure she'll appreciate everyone's combined efforts," Byakuya felt the need to add, and seemingly satisfied with that, turned on his heel and left the room. Presumably to go oversee more of those party preparations, as Kenpachi wouldn't put it past some of the other eleventh division members to think that the ponies on their way over here were actually meant for tonight's dinner or something.

And as Zaraki watched Kuchiki Byakuya go, he growled and plopped back down in his chair, feeling at once steamrolled and absolutely gypped.

Married. He was fucking married and nobody even bothered to tell him. He shoulda figured Yachiru spending all that time with Kuchiki-hime was a bad thing, free food or no.

"Where's my fuckin' ring, you cheap bastard?" he felt the need to call out, shouting irritably at the other captain's steadily disappearing backside.

No answer.

Goddamned Yachiru. If he'd known she was so anxious for a fella to call mommy around here, Zaraki woulda straight-up gone and asked Matsumoto about it. Least that way this little birthday celebration of hers would have been guaranteed to have some decent booze on the premises.

But nothing he could do about it now, he supposed. He had to work on solving the problem at hand, or fucking Kuchiki-hime would come out of this the absolute winner.

Three hours. He had three hours left.

And as Kenpachi sat in his office trying to figure out just what the hell he was going to do about this whole ridiculous clown situation, he couldn't help but hope that Yachiru planned on having the fucking best time of her goddamned life during the big party later today.

Because if she didn't and he ended up doing all this work (i.e. putting up with the Ice Queen's absolute dictatorship) for nothing, he was going to kill the pink-haired pipsqueak himself, birthday girl or otherwise.

Kill her dead.

In the meantime, he wondered how Ikkaku would look with rainbow hair.