"I pity you, Shunsui."
A month had passed since Captain Shunsui Kyōraku had employed his exceptionally talented Vice Captain Nanao Ise and he had no regrets as the other captains suspected he had. Her friend Rangiku Matsumoto also became a vice captain within the same week as his Nanao. She had chosen to join 10th Division as it suited her better and she preferred Captain Yūzō Uzuki than the other bumbling fools. Those bumbling fools were still looking around for someone to become their vice captain at that very moment. Vice Captains happen to the be the subject the had run into as some of the captains sat in a bar after the morning's captains meeting.
"How so?" Shunsui asked amusedly.
"She's a cold-hearted shrew," exclaimed Yūzō.
"I don't think so. She's a sweet loyal and obedient angel in my eyes." He sipped his sake but paused for a moment as he reflected on their comments then smiled as another thought came to mind. "I'll prove it. Let's each one of us send for our vice captains and whoever's 2nd is most obedient and comes first when called for shall win the wager."
"Fine, what's the wager?" Kenpachi asked. The 11th Division captain was still pissed off by the teasing he had received three weeks ago. It was rumoured that he had spent an extra two hours every morning to spike his hair and fix the bells.
"A weeks supply sake," Yūzō said.
"A week? I'd wager that amount on any of my subordinates. But twenty times that on my lovely Nanao."
"A year then," Kenpachi replied.
"Content," Jūshirō replied, though he rather the wage wasn't for sake but he was confident in Kaien.
"It's settled!" Shunsui exclaimed happily.
"Whose up first?" asked Yūzō.
"I'll send for Yachiru."
Kenpachi shouted to one of the 11th squad subordinates to fetch the vice captain. It took several minutes before the subordinate returned with no vice captain and a look of fear as he approached his war-loving captain.
"Where is she?" Kenpachi growled.
"She says she's not coming because you didn't get her candy yesterday," the subordinate stumbled of the words which he feared would mark his death.
"Zaraki, how dare you forget to buy candy for your vice captain!" Shunsui laughed heartily at the angered captain.
"Evil little bitch!"
"You'll get no better," Yūzō said to Shunsui.
"Ask my vice captain, Kaien Shiba to and come see," Jūshirō asked the subordinate who looked surprised at being addressed by a captain from another division but was given a nod by his own captain and so went off to obey the order.
Another few minutes passed before the subordinate returned with no vice captain in tow.
"He says he will be along shortly but his wife had called for him at the same time."
"Lost to his wife," Yūzō laughed.
"You would have received the sake anyways," Jūshirō said turning to his friend.
"Please ask vice captain Rangiku Matsumoto to spare some time," Yūzō asked the subordinate who more quickly left to fulfil the request.
"Spare sometime for her captain? Surely she'll could?" mused Shunsui as he sipped his sake.
The subordinate returned with a blush but no vice captain.
"She says she's too hung-over to come but asked if you could come too her."
"Maybe not. She was drinking more than usual last night. Please tell my sweet Nanao to come to me," Shunsui said calmly sipping more of his sake.
"I know her answer," Kenpachi growled.
"What?" Shunsui asked with a mix of surprise and curiousity.
"No." Yūzō burst out laughing.
"Then I would be the greater of the fools."
Just as he said this the laugh stopped. Nanao had appeared with a huge book under one arm and gave low bow to the captains.
"You are shitting me," Kenpachi exclaimed and received many confused looks from the bars occupants.
"What is your will, captain?" Nanao asked obediently.
"Go fetch your friend Rangiku but be gentle; Kaien, you may have to drag him from Miyako and Yachiru who you'll have to bribe with candy."
She bowed once more then shunpo'd out the bar.
"That did not just happen."
"It did. But what does it means?"
"It means Shunsui has won the wager."
Nanao was back with a few minutes followed by a very ill looking Rangiku, a miserable Kaien and a very happy Yachiru who stuffed her face with sweets. There was a groan from the two elder vice captains who complained about being removed from their beds… for different reasons. Their completes were both quietened by an threatening glance from their parade guard.
"Nanao, tell these lazy comrades of yours what duty they owe their captains," Shunsui asked flourishing his drink.
"I know my duty," protested Kaien, folding his arms in opposition.
"Do you indeed? Come on Nanao," he insisted. He could see at the corner of his eye the looks on the captains' faces who still expect resistance by 'cold-hearted Nanao'
"I don't need to be told," Rangiku stubbornly replied and looked like she was about to spew.
"Stop making those discontented faces," it stunned everyone as she finally spoke.
"And stop glaring scornful looks with your eyes." She looked disapprovingly at the gloomy vice captains.
"Your Captain is your lord, your life, your master." Her whole manner altered into warmth as she continued her speech stunning her audience into complete silence.
"He's the one will risk his life for you and his division
Before you have time to think what to do in the midst of a threat.
You never witness the painful agonies they endure in secret,
While all we do is do paperwork and order around the subordinates.
Or in some cases recover, flirt and munch on candy.
All he asks in return is loyalty, obedience and a little acknowledgement
Of what he actually does behind the scenes
Which is no payment for such a debt.
A vice captain who is lazy, too busy or childish
And not obedient to his will!
What are they but a waste time, energy and space!
A traitor to their caring captain! " she voice rose in such passion Shunsui couldn't help but stare at his amazing Nanao. He knew she had it in her but didn't expect her to show it so openly in front of so many.
"I am ashamed there are such seconds.
You should be prepared at any moment
To bow low before him if he asks
And grant him his will.
What is your will Captain?" she knelt down in front of her captain and bowed, waiting until he gave her an order.
There was stillness throughout the bar. He had never realised that was the way she felt about positions or her position under him. In fact he was shocked she didn't still see him as a lazy drunk but someone who was caring and looked after his subordinates. "You have fulfilled my wishes today and will everyday," he gave a lazy grin.
"Well if I am no longer needed here, I will return to the office to continue with my duties," she didn't smile as he hoped she would but rose to her feet.
"I am done her so it would be a pleasure to walk you back my loyal Nanao," he rose to stand just in front of her. She had to tilt her head straight up to look him the eyes and felt a blush at the intense look he gave her.
"You are very welcome," she turned towards the door then turned back to address the remaining captains. "Enjoy your evening captains," she bowed the left the bar followed closely by her captain.
The walked in peace for sometime until he was unable to compose himself anylonger.
"That was an outstanding speech my lovely Nanao," he looked down at her but she kept her eyes on the road ahead.
"Yes. Well, though I didn't express myself in a more eloquent manner as I would wish, it was never the less the way I feel towards the partnership between a captain and vice captain." The silence resumed for a few more minutes until she asked, "So what did you win?"
"Win?" he was shocked in to stopping.
"Yes. What did you win for my obedience?" she continued walking on.
"Three years supply of sake," he quickened his pace to catch up with her amused that she had known about the wager.
"Good. At least I don't have to put aside some of the budget for contributions to the sake fund."
"See what loyalty gains you, my sweet little Nanao."
"And another thing," he felt pain spread through his face as he watched her tuck the book back underneath her arm. "IF YOU EVER PULL THAT SHAKESPEARE 'TAMING OF THE SHREW' CRAP ON ME AGAIN, I'LL TURN YOU INTO A SMOULDERING PILE OF ASH. UNDERSTOOD!!!!" she screamed shaking her fist at him.
"I promise Nanao. Never again," he replied meekly as he tentatively rubbed his tender nose.
"AND STOP CALLING ME NANAO!"
A/N: Some people find it very difficult modernising 'The Taming of the Shrew' as its controversial attitudes towards the duties a wife has to her husband. Even harder still is rewriting 'Katherine's' (Nanao's) speech. So I apologise for the lousy speech but it was the best I could achieve and still make it relevant to the characters. Hope you enjoyed. At some point I am going to attempt to write more 'Shakespeare Bleached' but I get easily distracted with other stuff (for example, this is a distraction from writing another story). And thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing, I hope to hear from you in the future.