The real problem here, Hitsugaya decided, was the fact that the only restriction on how the Eleventh Division ran was that the work got done. Eventually. Because really, this was the fundamental core of the trouble when you thought about it; all of the things the Tenth Division's captain could name that were wrong with this situation stemmed from there.
Like there complete lack of organizational skills. Because if they had any sense, they wouldn't have sent their most competent officers on a mission in the Living World at the same time that their captain was, on Captain Unohana's request, on a mandatory "vacation". Zaraki was apparently supposed to "be able to relax for a while, so he can learn how to control his anger and get in touch with his inner self."
No one quite knew what she meant by that, or why one had a strange chill run through one's spine when she said it, but when Zaraki was released every day around the end of office hours he was reported to be seen twitching spasmodically and muttering about "god damned crazy-ass she-demons" and shuffling around in the exhausted and paranoid manner most often seen in mental patients in between sessions of electroshock therapy.
The main problem with this, along with the minor problem of Zaraki's state of mental health and the uneasiness it left in everyone else, was that it left Vice-Captain Kusajishi Yachiru in charge.
This was recognized to be a mistake after one day. She managed to not only throw the entire division into chaos, destroying at least two buildings in the process, but also hospitalize her own Third Seat.
Another two days in which their Fifth Seat took charge, and it was realized that without Zaraki Kenpachi around Yachiru was catastrophic: a hyperactive pink-and-black maelstrom of chaos, leaving despair and inconceivable destruction in her wake.
The Eleventh Division's inability to manage their own vice captain became clear, and it was decided that she would be supervised by the Gotei-13 themselves, where she was least likely to be a liability.
In other words, the entirety of the Eleventh Division were morons, so now Yachiru was being passed around between the captains for daycare duty on a daily basis.
Today was the Tenth Division's turn to babysit the little anarchist, and Hitsugaya was about to lose his mind.
It took forty-five minutes for him to realize that she was extremely obstinate, and that ignoring her would only make her try even harder.
He was running out of ideas. The trial-and-error process had been exemplified by the previous division's attempts to restrain her, which did save a lot of time and energy, but also left him with very few options.
So far, there were only a few tactics proven to be effective. There was paying attention to her at all times, but otherwise continuing work work as normal.
Also, distract her by drawing all of her attention to one's self, thus not only saving everyone else from torment, but also utilizing the opportunity to teach her constructive information under the incentive that that she would be taught new and interesting things, as this was something she was rarely exposed to and therefore kept her sufficiently occupied. (Actually, Captain Unohana had been the only one to tell her she might actually be learning; the others for whom this tactic worked just asked if she wanted to hear a story or see a neat trick.)
The final tactic was to bribe her- but so far the only successful example of this had been by the Sixth Division, and no one had since figured out how Captain Kuchiki managed to satisfy her for an entire day just by taking her out for ice cream.
Hitsugaya already knew that none of these strategies would work for him- she seemed to have ideas of her own, and none of them were based upon the idea of her being babysat by boring, stuck-up adults who don't know how to have fun like everyone else she'd tried to play with that week.
He was getting pissed. The first person to decide he was an equal to them since he had become a captain, naturally, had to be a hyperactive and slightly morbid little girl. Glorious, really.
Quite generally, Hitsugaya was on his last straw, and Yachiru was proving to be no less persistent.
"C'mon, Shorty! You've GOTTA play with me! No one else will and I'm getting reeeaaally bored! 'Sides, everyone likes my games! You gotta stop being so stuck up!"
The young captain scowled and glared down at the notably smaller girl. "Do you really have any right to be calling me 'Shorty'?"
She cocked her her head a little and frowned in an adorably Shirley Temple-esque fashion. "But that's what everyone else calls you."
He started twitching at that, and Yachiru sensed that he was mad. While him flipping out would probably be pretty fun in itself, it would also mean that her chances of getting him to play with her would go down. She decided to humor him. "Well then, what name should I use?"
He did seem calmed by this, but not by much as he snapped out a stiff reply of "Captain Hitsugaya Toushirou."
Yachiru scoffed. "Yeah right, like I'll even remember that!" She cocked her head again, this time in what seemed to be contemplation.
Quickly, though, her face brightened and she beamed "I know! How about 'Shiro-chan?'"
She was expecting a scowl, and possibly more yelling, so she was surprised when he averted his eyes with an almost sad frown. "That's what Hinamori calls me."
At this her proud smile vanished. "The Mousy Girl calls you that? I'll have to think of something else for sure, then."
Her petulant rejection confused him. She didn't seem like the type to care about what anyone referred to anyone else as, so this left him a little uneasy. "Because of Hinamori?"
Yachiru nodded resolutely. "Yup. I don't want to be the same as her in anything."
He frowned. "But you already have the same rank in similar conditions. You already have a lot in common- what's wrong with being the same as her in anything else?"
Yachiru looked more serious than Hitsugaya had ever seen her. Granted, that still wasn't very much, but considering that he hadn't ever seen her serious about anything before, it was still something. "I don't care about having things like that the same. Those don't mean anything- I just don't want to be like her."
He had a strange look then, almost like he was hurt by her words. "Do you dislike her that much?"
She shook her head again, and seemed frustrated that he didn't understand. "No, I like her just fine- she's one of the only people who who'll actually play with me, and sometimes I even had fun just talking to her. I just don't want to be like her." She frowned more, and seemed to be trying to figure out how to put her words together. "I don't want to be as weak as she is."
He looked angry then, but the vice captain stood her ground. "Weak? How can you say such a thing? She attained the rank of vice captain in-"
She cut him off with a fierce "No, no, no! You still don't get it! I mean, like, her personality or mind or whatever. When Glasses ran off with Foxface and the blind guy, she just... I dunno, broke or something. I mean, stopped fighting for anything, not herself or anyone else, and just locked herself away. I tried visiting her in the hospital, and she looked like she was scared of the whole world. I don't want anyone to think that I'm that weak too, just because we're the same in so many other things."
At this declaration, he only faltered a little. "Her reaction is completely understandable. To be betrayed by the person she trusted the most like that, it can do horrible things to a person's spirit. How would you react?"
The look on her face at that question was almost ominous. "Me? I'd make sure to kill him with my own hands." She immediately brightened. "But I don't really have to worry about that- for one thing, I don't even think Ken-chan's smart enough to be part of some secret plot. He can't betray my trust because I already know exactly how he thinks, so I'd know what side he's really on before he does anything."
He just stared at her for a little while, almost disbelieving. When it didn't seem like he was gonna say anything, she decided to take things into her own hands and switch the subject to less depressing things. "Oh! And don't tell anyone about me calling Ken-chan dumb, okay? I don't want anyone else to think he is."
He scoffed a little, and it was probably the closest thing to a laugh that she had heard from him. "I really don't think that my calling him dumb would affect anyone else's view on the man."
She smiled. "Oh, good! So, are you gonna play with me, or what? 'Cuz I've got this really great idea for something, but I can't do it by myself so I really really need your help, 'kay Toushou-chan?"
He sighed in resignation. He clearly wasn't going to win this battle, it was time for a tactical surrender. "Okay, let's hear this idea of yours, then." He paused. "Wait- did you just call me 'Frostbite?'"
She looked absolutely elated. "Really? You'll do it? Yay!" With a short little victory dance consisting entirely of jumping up and down, she she quickly sped off into an indeterminable direction with the words "I'll be back in a sec, kay?"
He barely had time to stop long enough to figure out what this could possibly mean, when not two minutes later she was already back in front of him, clutching what appeared to be a bundle of crayon drawings and poorly-written instructions written on the back of several division assessment forms.
"Okay, I got most of the plan figured out, and it's all written here, but I think some things we'll have to make up as we go."
He looked at the makeshift blueprints with her, and she explained what the hell most of it meant, and slowly began to feel a sense of awe at the creativity and ingenuity of the little hellion sitting beside him.
"Kusajishi... This is... Brilliant."
She grinned up at him. He couldn't help the devious smirk his own lips were pulling themselves into.
Soi Fong was not pleased. If, of course, by 'not pleased', one actually means 'burning fiercely with the rage of a thousand and ten supernovas', anyway.
She had been on her way back from a training session with some of her newest recruits when she stumbled upon the Eleventh Division's vice-captain. When Soi Fong asked what she was doing in this area, it had started.
"I'm playing hide-and-seek! But What are you doing right here, Lady Bitch-Ninja? I thought you were in your room."
She ignored the nickname (for now, promising herself she'd hunt down whatever idiot in the Eleventh taught Yachiru that name at a later time) and asked why Yachiru would assume she was in her quarters.
"Well, 'cuz there was someone in there when I passed it a little while ago, so I figured it must be you. Who was in there, then?"
"I don't know, but I'm certainly not going to allow this. How long ago?"
"I dunno, how long does it take to flash-step from here to there? It seemed like they were in a hurry, whoever it was."
The captain of the Second Division didn't wait to hear more. She was gone in an instant.
Her room seemed, for the most part, exactly as it should be. But she wasn't captain of the Special Ops. Corp. for no reason- she remained calm, and assessed the situation.
And, true to her nature, was able to name the culprit without even leaving her room. When she realized that what was out of place was her underwear drawer, and discovered that all of her panties had been stolen, she channeled her rage into careful investigation.
And found, to both her fury and great satisfaction, a single, long, bright-red strand of hair.
Abarai Renji was more than a little confused.
He had been on his way to Captain Hitsugaya's office in the Tenth Division. Earlier, he had run into the captain and been told that he had something to discuss with Renji about something that came up in the excursion to the Living World a while ago. Hitsugaya asked to meet him in his office around noon (and, cringing slightly, told Renji that he should work on his hygiene as he appeared to be shedding, as he picked something off the older man's shoulder with distaste.) .
He was in the hallway leading to his destination when everything came crashing down on him.
First, Yachiru sped by, pausing briefly to hand him a bundle of cloth with the instructions "Here, hold this for me, Kay? Gotta go now, bye!"
After she disappeared in a flash of pink and black, he looked at what she had given him, only to realize that he was now holding a large amount of women's undergarments.
That was when Soi Fong found him.
She had left her room, and started towards the Sixth Division's quarters. Seeing Captain Hitsugaya on her way there, she paused long enough in her tirade to make sure she was even going to the right place.
"Where is Abarai Renji?"
He looked a little taken aback by the passionate inferno of her rage, (or maybe that was because she forcibly grabbed him by the collar and hissed the question through clenched teeth. He could've been taken aback by that, too.) and answered carefully.
"I saw him heading towards my offices. I take it you're what it was he seemed to be running from?"
She didn't answer, but dropped him and changed course. Of course he wasn't in the Sixth Division- that was the first place she'd look! If you're going to hide, do it where you won't be looked for. She had to hand it to him, she wouldn't have thought of searching for him there- too bad for him he had been seen.
A few flash-steps later she located him. Currently red-faced and looking at her personal items in awe (or possibly surprise. But really, just because she was a professional didn't mean she couldn't have nice things! And she liked the lace. It was surprisingly comfortable, and so breathable she hardly felt like she was wearing anything at all! She was allowed to have nice panties, dammit!)
Her fury exploded then. "I knew it! I've caught you red-handed, you perverted thief!"
He looked at her, and the shock and horror in his eyes was almost as satisfying as the whimper he made when her first kick connected with his groin.
Around the corner, out of sight but not out of hearing range, Yachiru and Hitsugaya were congratulating themselves on their success, while trying to make sure they didn't laugh loud enough to be heard over the sounds of the beating taking place beside them.
Hitsugaya reveled in it. He hadn't done anything devious in ages, and the overwhelming success of their mischief was elating. He decided it was the subtlety in the plan, along with the combined efforts and perfect timing on the part of Yachiru and himself, that made this plan not only a tremendous success, but also deeply satisfying.
They managed to quiet themselves enough to hear the conversation that ensued when the ruckus abruptly paused. Apparently Soi Fong had actually decided to listen to his proclamations of innocence.
"Don't play dumb with me! I found direct evidence that you were in my room, and caught you with my underclothes!! There's no way to talk your way out of this!"
"For god's sake, you crazy bitch, Yachiru just dropped 'em on me and left when I was going to meet Captain Hitsugaya! Why the hell would I want the panties on a shrew like you, anyway?!"
"You son of a- Stop with this nonsense! Then why was your hair in my room, next to my dresser! There's no one else in SOUL SOCIETY with hair like that, and how the hell else could it have gotten there!"
"I don't know, probably the same way you happened to find me right when Yachiru shoved 'em in my hands!"
"Why would she have my things, you lout! And you couldn't have been on your way to meet Hitsugaya- he's the one who told me he saw you here! If you were meeting him, why would he being near the Second Division, all the way across the compound?!"
"I'm just telling ya the truth! And how'd you even find out someone'd been in your room, anyway!"
Their shouts had gradually been decreasing in intensity with each point brought up. At this latest comment, everything seemed to fall into place, because there was a pause in all activity. Dead silence, before and almost awed answer of "...Yachiru said someone had been in there... Who's turn is it to watch her today?"
And another slow, almost disbelieving response, "...It should be... the Tenth Divisions."
"And Hitsugaya asked you to be in his office, at this time?"
"Which is how he knew where I was when ya asked... Yachiru just happened to be near you, and just happened to know someone'd been in your stuff, coincidentally? Just like Hitsugaya happened to be in the area, and happened to have seen me, when you happened to ask?"
"Come to think of it, that comment about me shedding hair all over the place when he told me to meet him..."
"We've been had!"
It was then that they looked around the corner, and found Hitsugaya Toushirou and Kusajishi Yachiru, apparently trying very hard not to laugh. They looked at each other, looked back at Renji and Soi Fong, and took off running in two different directions, laughing all the way.
When Matsumoto came back to her captain's office later that evening, she saw what she decided was the cutest thing she'd ever seen.
On the couch she usually napped on herself, there lay her captain and Yachiru, fast asleep, surrounded by papers and crayons.
The fact that they looked like they'd been mauled by bears earlier in the day somehow managed to just make the entire scene even sweeter in her eyes.
She decided not to wake them up quite yet, and went about straightening the mess of papers strewn about with a soft smile.
And then she noticed that the crayon drawings looked more like blueprints than anything, and while she couldn't quite decipher Yachiru's hand she did manage to make out that there was apparently a plan involving a Cue-ball, Melons, and a bathroom, which seemed to require the alteration of what appeared to be a basket of laundry.
She squinted at the diagrams, trying to make out some of the less distinguishable drawings.
"Wait a minute- WHAT THE HELL IS THIS, YOU LITTLE BRATS?!"
AN: Okay, that's that. Brief note- I really wanted to take out that part where Yachiru was talking about Hinamori, but there were a few things I liked here and there about it, and I could not figure out for the life of me how to transition without it. So it's there. Ignore how out of place that rant is in a humor, becasue it's sort of stuck. That's pretty much all I remember wanting to say, so I'm not sure why I'm still typing...