"Dammit, Yamamoto-sotaicho," Hitsugaya muttered as he staggered into the Captain's meeting. "Someone has to do something about that brat."
"What brat would that be?" Yamamoto asked, not looking up from his tea. There were muffled snickers from some of the other gathered Captains. Hitsugaya's face had been decorated with 'warpaint', although a daisy with delicately red spattered petals probably wasn't warpaint in any culture but that which Yachiru carried around in her head.
"Yachiru-fukutaicho!" Hitsugaya snapped. "She's out of control and rampaging through the other divisions again, with her usual cohorts."
"Keh. Just shows she's got leadership skills," Zaraki sneered. "Don't be such a wimp, frostbutt."
Yamamoto drained his cup and sighed. "Zaraki, you're excused. Get your Division under control."
"Why the devil do you always indulge that brat?" Hitsugaya demanded, accepting a towel that Unohana had found somewhere to start scrubbing off the paint. At least for now all it was doing was smearing the paint across his face.
"For the same reason that we all indulge you," Byakuya said, nursing his own cup of tea. "She's a prodigy and too powerful to be wasted, no matter how disruptive she is on occasion." He saw Hitsugaya's eyes narrow dangerously at the comparison and added coolly, "Well, there are some differences, I suppose."
"Thank you," hissed the shortest taicho in the Gotei-13, his face now a swirling mess of white, red and yellow paint.
"She's much more powerful than you," finished Byakuya.
"Really?" asked Reji from his seat next to Byakuya. He was still settling in as Taicho of the Fifth Division and this was probably the most interesting gossip he'd heard since he started attending the Captain's meetings. "Does that mean that Yachiru's mastered bankai?"
The incredulous looks he received only heightened his confusion until Yamamot cleared his throat. "Oh yes, you and Hitsugaya-taicho haven't been briefed yet, have you?"
"Briefed on what?" Hitsugaya demanded.
"Yachiru-fukutaicho achieved bankai at a very young age," the Sotaicho explained mildly.
"She still is at a very young age," muttered Hitsugaya. "Alright, so what's the big secret about then?"
"I don't believe that it would be advisable to let Zaraki know why he can't accomplish bankai," Yamamoto said smoothly. "He functions well, if occasionally abraisively, as taicho and we don't have so many that we can spare him, if the information spoils matters."
"I don't get it," Renji declared bluntly. "What does Yachiru's bankai have to do with Zaraki-taicho not getting his?"
Unohana cleared her throat. "I believe that the relevant point is, oh dear, well, Yachiru-chan's bankai..."
The two most junior captains eyed her nervously.
"...she calls it Ken-chan."