I don't own Bleach and never will. With that aside, let this begin. An old-fashioned love story with plot, funnies and fluff, rated for a little swearing and violence, set a few months after Aizen's defeat. Since the storyline has not advanced to that point at the time of writing, if things take a different turn then consider the fic AU. It is however, correct factually at least up to the current Hueco Mundo arc.
This is dedicated to my favourite straight pairing for Hanatarou – my favourite Bleach character. Come to think of it, I've not seen it done before…
The 4th Division's headquarters was a large and sprawling complex that contained not just the dormitories, offices and training rooms common to most Gotei 13 divisions but also hospital wards, examination rooms and other facilities dedicated to the medical care of shinigami. In one of its maze of hallways, a door opened slightly and a tall, slender figure stepped out. The tall, blond man was clutching a tiny cloth bag, which he slipped into the folds of his kimono. He sighed, looked about cautiously and set off down the corridor at a brisk trot. Izuru Kira took his prescription and left the building as discreetly as he came.
In the same corridor, Hanatarou swept the last of the dirt on the floor into his dustpan and finally turned around. Outside this building, even outside this corridor, he had no reservations about cheerfully greeting the 3rd Division's quiet lieutenant. But Kira had twice-weekly appointments at Clinic 26 – the mental health department. Long after the troubles with Aizen, Gin and their hollows were dealt with, the vice-captains they had manipulated and left behind still continued to deal with the psychological shock and the after-effects of having spent many decades of their young lives effectively brainwashed; not to mention the burden of their leadership responsibilities. And while all of Soul Society continued to offer them support, psychiatric conditions were still a very personal and embarrassing issue to deal with; and the 4th Division handled them with compassion mixed with healthy doses of tact, understanding and privacy.
The corridor was immaculately clean. Even without regular sweeping, it rarely got dirtied and almost never needed scrubbing. The patients here rarely had any contagious diseases, nor did they leak blood or bodily fluids which could end up causing infections in others. So Hanatarou's job was done within a few minutes, leaving him to ponder the state of the three affected lieutenants.
Izuru Kira presented a fairly straightforward case of clinical depression, coupled with a tendency towards alcoholism and insomnia. Sometimes he overworked to occupy his neurotic mind, at other times he was depressed and apathetic. Given the amount of time he had spent working with a creep like Gin Ichimaru, Hanatarou was still greatly relieved that the lieutenant hadn't ever considered self-harm and was still optimistic enough to enjoy sparring and socialising with his friends. Hanatarou decided that Kira had issues, but he would certainly recover.
Shuuhei Hisagi's captain had always acted with honour and had dealt with him with respect and total honesty. Tosen's defection was one spurred by conscience, not malice; for the blind captain had genuinely believed that Aizen's plans would lead to lasting peace. Hence Hisagi had only the sting of Tosen's misguided betrayal to live with; and he retained his own independence and high spirits. Hanatarou knew that the man was dealing very well with the situation. The healers only discreetly checked to see if he was able to cope with his workload. And they also firmly warned him against offering Kira any alcohol.
Momo Hinamori however, was a different story. Though he was probably the meekest shinigami in Soul Society, for the damage Aizen had done to her; Hanatarou had been angry enough to verbally declare his solemn desire to 'fucking shove Hisagomaru up Aizen's fucking ass and pee on his fucking grave'. The statement had been met with stunned silence by Ichigo and Renji, followed by cautious laughter. After all, the healer wasn't the sort who readily threatened anyone with aggression; least of all had the ability to actually carry it out; so an announcement of that magnitude spoke volumes. Once he returned the broom to its cabinet, Hanatarou shouldered his bag and made his way to the 5th Division's headquarters.
Hinamori shuffled uncomfortably in the office chair. It wasn't just that it had a high back and could not be adjusted to accommodate her diminutive size, nor was it the fact that her feet dangled several inches above the ground. The reason she heartily disliked sitting there was that it was Aizen's chair. The 5th Division's vice-captain had long since grown out of her cult-like devotion to him; but it would be a long time before she would truly be able to put the memories aside and see things in perspective. For now, her former obsession had developed into a smouldering hatred tinged with shame and regret. Hinamori tried her best to forget, and she decided to focus on the chair – a fairly innocuous piece of Aizen at worst. It was a completely ordinary wooden chair – Aizen had seemed like an ordinary man…no there she was thinking of him again…
She kicked backward, intending to pull herself and the chair towards the desk. Unfortunately, even when she stretched she was unable to get her toes to touch the floor in order to lever herself forward. Hinamori gave a high-pitched snort of annoyance and pushed herself off the chair, pulling it to the desk before climbing back into it. Memories or no, she would have to arrange to get the useless piece of furniture replaced; maybe Hisagi would have better use for it. She couldn't use her own chair – it now sat forlornly in several pieces after she destroyed it in her most recent fit of grief-induced rage. So with a more practical turn of mind, she commandeered Aizen's unoccupied old chair and took it to her desk.
But now a new problem presented itself. Hinamori's desk, like her chair, was built according to her height (as ordered by Aizen). Now her thighs were pinched between Aizen's high chair and her low desk. She was now thoroughly exasperated. Well, there was no hope for it. Hinamori had to use Aizen's desk as well. It was as if the former captain had conspired to make life difficult for her for as long as possible after his departure. Sighing, she took her stack of papers off the desk, heaved herself out of the chair, pulled the chair to Aizen's desk, and then sat herself there. Placing her papers on the desk, Hinamori bent over her work. It was nothing out of the ordinary. The 11th officer was requesting leave due to a minor injury. A form requested her signed approval for the purchase of forty new wooden naginatas for the training hall. A five day-old, crumpled copy of The New York Times kept her informed of developments in the human world. The 6th officer's report listed in excruciating detail the 18,745 soul burials and 309 hollows dealt with by his squad's members over the last month; could she please issue the appropriate paychecks. More paperwork lurked under the formidable pile, not including the fairly urgent order for another Hinamori-sized chair. When she wasn't performing soul burials herself or killing hollows, Hinamori found that acting as Aizen's replacement could be mind-numbingly dull.
She noticed an additional thing. Unlike her desk, Aizen's had drawers. Hinamori's concentration wavered. Dreading what she would find, she took a deep breath and pulled the first one open.
Contrary to popular belief, even the lowly 4th Division did not have to deal with the issue of garbage disposal. Thanks to an ingenious system of one-way portals installed by Kisuke Urahara during his period of command, the various divisions had transdimensional garbage chutes that emptied into appropriate places in the human world. Hence Hinamori's smashed chair found its way into a recycling bin in Scotland, where it would eventually see the light of day again as a stack of cardboard cartons. What the 4th Division had to deal with was rubbish that was carelessly left lying about. Yamada Hanatarou was no exception; for now he was sweeping the floor outside the 5th Division's head office. As he walked past a window however, he heard a feminine shriek and instinctively ducked. A small, shiny object flew out of the open window and shattered on the floor. Hanatarou bent over to have a closer look at it. Something stirred faintly in the back of his mind and suddenly he remembered and jumped back in alarm. Hanatarou let out a near-identical squeal himself, as if the object had transformed into a particularly vicious arrancar now bent on ripping him to pieces.
But it was just Aizen's old and completely un-magical spare pair of glasses lying on the ground.