This was a oneshot written when I was in the midst of my other fic called 'Walking with Beasts' (read: shameless plug). Lately I've been trying to explore and expand on Komamura's character since so few people do. The other fic has a very serious and dramatic tone, so I found myself having to write this one to put all the cuteness and fluff somewhere.
Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo. Puppies belong to Komamura.
None. Totally fluffy, family fic. Just a tiny, microscopic amount of yaoi if you squint near the end.
Kenpachi Zaraki heard the footsteps before he could see them. He had a keen sense of hearing and could identify another captain by the sound of his or her footfalls. Even so, it was impossible not to associate the thunderous noise approaching around the corner with the arrival of Sajin Komamura, the only captain who was larger and heavier than himself.
However, the dog captain's walk sounded a little different today. If anything, it sounded even heavier; if such a thing was possible without causing the wooden floorboards to snap under his enormous weight. As he lumbered into view, the reason became apparent. Under one arm, Komamura carried Momo Hinamori, who raised one hand to salute Kenpachi awkwardly from a near-horizontal position. Atop his shoulders sat the lanky figure of Kira Izuru, who glanced at Yachiru (occupying the same position on Kenpachi) and curled his lips into an uncharacteristic, dopey grin. Komamura's free hand rested on the shoulder of Hisagi Shuuhei, who walked alongside and waved solemnly at the 11th division leaders. Tetsuzaemon Iba brought up the rear. At first he appeared to be simply walking respectfully behind his captain, but a closer look revealed that he was grasping something hairyin his hand. It was Komamura's tail; and it was wagging. The strange convoy rumbled happily into the other arm of the T-junction before vanishing from sight.
Kenpachi stood quietly for a second, pondering the implications of what he had just seen. Finally, Yachiru squealed the most obvious explanation into his ear from a distance of about five inches.
"They're Koma-koma's PUPPIES!!!"
Let us rewind events somewhat in order to see where this tale began. A long, long time ago, General Yamamoto accepted Sajin Komamura into the Gotei 13. The grateful Komamura looked upon Yamamoto as his father and saviour; and the only person apart from the blind Tousen who accepted him despite his monstrous appearance. He was not lonely anymore. But being treated as human didn't change an important aspect of Komamura's nature…he was a big, fuzzy dog at heart; and if Yamamoto was his father then the 7th division was his pack. When he acquired Iba, the lieutenant was his son. He was not so naïve as to think that everyone shared his view, but a dog had to have a family to make his life complete; and it wasn't like there was going to be a Mrs. Sajin around for him anytime soon. After a while, Tetsuzaemon Iba realised this and settled into a cordial relationship with his captain; even if he felt he was being treated like a child sometimes.
First there was one…
When Aizen took Gin and Tousen with him, it affected their lieutenants severely. Even though he was heartbroken over the loss of Tousen, Komamura still felt, but could not verbalize his primal disgust for the act of abandoning one's children, let alone attempting to kill them. He'd been closest to Shuuhei since Tousen was his captain; and decided that he was probably the most mature individual between the three abandoned pup…no, lieutenants. After all, he'd trained the other two.
So it didn't surprise Komamura when Shuuhei confided that Izuru was often depressed and spent more time with him in the 9th division. After a while, Izuru began sleeping over occasionally too; and Shuuhei tried to keep him company. When Hinamori recovered from her coma, she would go to seek solace from her senpai as well. Between looking after one suicidal and one homicidal emotional wreck (respectively) as well as shouldering Tousen's workload, Shuuhei was getting worn thin. So Komamura generously declared that if Shuuhei ever needed the help of the 7th division; or simply wanted a break, he was totally welcome to look for him.
One evening, there was a knock on Komamura's door and there stood Hisagi Shuuhei, almost stumbling with fatigue. Due to Tousen's blindness, Shuuhei had to translate several months of paperwork from Braille to Japanese in order to even begin taking over his captain's duties. He needed Komamura's help to understand some documents too. So Komamura let Shuuhei use the desk in his bedroom while he sat on the bed and answered any questions that the tired lieutenant had.
Then Komamura went to the bathroom. When he returned, Shuuhei was lying in his bed, fast asleep. The lieutenant had decided to take a short break when Komamura was away, and did not wake up. The giant bed was made for someone of Komamura's size however and Shuuhei only occupied one corner. Komamura curled up in the centre of the bed, his tail against his nose. He watched as Shuuhei's chest rose and fell as he lay on his side, exposing his facial tattoo.
The dog captain decided to let sleeping perverts lie.
Then there were two…
A few hours later, there came another knock on the door. It was Izuru Kira, dishevelled and swaying on his feet. He'd gone over to look for Shuuhei in the 9th division. On failing to find him, Izuru took out his sake bottle and proceeded to drown his sorrows.
Then a passing shinigami from the 7th division discovered him vomiting in an alleyway nearby and helpfully mentioned Shuuhei's whereabouts. Under ordinary circumstances, the standards of orderly behaviour expected of a seated officer, let alone a lieutenant; would have placed Izuru in detention for a week, but most people were sympathetic to his plight.
Komamura always thought that Gin's lieutenant was skinny even when he was at his healthiest; but even he could tell that Izuru had lost even more weight since Gin's departure. Intoxication and loss of appetite contributed to his now-sunken cheeks and protruding collarbones. Komamura fetched Izuru a large plate piled with dinner leftovers and refused to converse with him until he had something to eat. So Izuru ate; first out of politeness, then out of pure hunger. When he reached for his bottle, he found that someone had deftly removed it from his possession, but he was too apathetic to care. He rambled to Komamura about Gin, about the horrors in the Chamber of 46…and so on. Halfway through the dessert of red bean pudding, he suddenly remembered the reason why he was there. He got up in alarm, apologising profusely to Komamura. That's when his brain finally surrendered to exhaustion and drunkenness and the lieutenant toppled forward onto the floor with a graceful thud.
Komamura couldn't just leave him like that. With a deep sigh, he bent over and picked up the comatose Izuru, carried him to his room and plopped him next to Shuuhei. The captain himself lay down on a bed that was now a little cosier.
Then came the third…
Just after midnight, Momo Hinamori arrived. Toshiro Hitsugaya was out hunting hollows, and Shuuhei and Izuru weren't in. She tried to tell herself that she wasn't depressed, wasn't distraught; so she could be strong and lead her division…just like Aizen…She bit down tears at the memory, not sure what to think or do or feel. As she was walking back from the 9th division, she spotted a shinigami mopping the floor of an alleyway in almost pitch darkness. Not even the 4th division had to clean at that hour. Obviously said shinigami knew the place well enough to not trip in the dark.
As it turned out, he was from the 7th division; and a certain Izuru Kira was responsible for the stinking mess he was trying to mop up. Said lieutenant was last seen dining with his captain. Hinamori thanked him and went to the building that he directed her to. She knew it was rude to barge in on another division at this hour, but surely if Izuru was there than surely she could at least look for him.
She saw light streaming out of a window and peered inside. Komamura was carrying off Izuru, who appeared to be unconscious. Not quite knowing what to do in this situation, she circled the building and heard the creak of mattress springs as the bulky captain eased himself into bed. Silently she crept up to the window and looked within. From her vantage point, all she could see was Komamura's sleeping form (Shuuhei and Izuru were on the other side). Long, white scars marred his skin where Aizen had mortally wounded him just minutes after he had impaled her – the areas were bare of fur. Despite her own unvoiced distress, the kindly lieutenant couldn't help feeling for him as well.
As she watched, the captain's eyes flew open and immediately focused their gaze on her. Surprised, she drew back from the windowsill; but instead of a reprimand, she heard a quiet voice.
"Go to the front door, Hinamori."
Unable to do otherwise, she obeyed. Komamura was already there in his kimono. He stood in the doorway as the lamplight behind him cast long shadows on the ground. He could see the barely-withheld tears in her eyes.
"Come inside and stay for as long as you like. You can talk to me about anything."
In the end, she didn't mind how much their embrace resembled the one she had with Aizen when he stabbed her. Komamura held her close as she dampened his fur with her tears. This captain's scars were as deep as her own. He kept her clasped to his chest as he carried her off to bed as well.
…and then the last one.
Komamura was deeply asleep when Iba silently swung open the bedroom door. He'd heard the same door opening and shutting many times during the night and got curious. His eyes widened in surprise as he noted the three lieutenants lying in a row beside Komamura. From left to right were Shuuhei, Izuru, Hinamori and his captain, all dead to the world.
Ordinarily, the sight of a captain sleeping with one, let alone three lieutenants would be a very disturbing one in Soul Society. But to Iba, the scene in front of him was almost appropriate. Everyone knew how much his captain yearned for a family of his own, and Iba realised that he couldn't resist taking as many of the smaller shinigami as possible into his care. Their captains were gone, so why not? Shuuhei had been a poor kid from outer Rukongai. Izuru was orphaned by natural causes. Hinamori's kin consisted solely of Hitsugaya and her grandmother.
Having known his captain for years, Iba couldn't help but think that his captain actually looked more contented now than he'd ever been in a long time. In the darkness, it looked like he was lying beside three black puppies. It would have been a perfect scene of canine domestic bliss, if it weren't for one last detail.
Iba snorted. If lieutenants from three different divisions could find their way into Komamura's bed, what about himself? He carefully climbed in as well. With great care, he gently pushed Hinamori aside and lay down next to Komamura; going 'its not yaoi… its not yaoi… its not yaoi' in his head, until he fell asleep too.
Then a strange thing happened. Komamura uncurled and pulled Iba closer in his slumber. Hinamori rolled in her sleep towards Iba in order to keep warm, since Komamura did not use a blanket. Izuru felt a sudden draft and followed, and so on. Then Komamura and his strange brood lay still, finally at peace.
To say that total awkwardness reigned the following morning was an understatement as three of the bed's occupants struggled to remember how they had ended up there. Komamura only smiled dreamily as the four lieutenants made an arrangement to all follow Komamura closely or not at all; at least until the commotion the incident caused died down or Komamura chased them off.
As it turned out, the former didn't happen because nobody in Sereitei could imagine Komamura in a sexual relationship with any of them, or anyone with that matter. Komamura was a big dog, and friendly dogs liked lying next to people. Even Hitsugaya simply scratched his head and left it at that. Most people did. And the lieutenants kept up the act admirably; it gave them companionship and something to do other than mope; even if their surrogate father's parental instincts were rather overwhelming at times.
The latter obviously didn't either. Judging from the constant tail-wagging and the joyous 'look-at-me-I've-got-puppies!' look on the captain's face, it would be a long time before he would part with his litter. That was the trouble with puppies…you couldn't have just one.
Sajin Komamura was totally oblivious to Yachiru's shout. Of course they were his puppies. My puppies…. Under his care, Shuuhei had gone from dragging himself through Braille documents to being nicknamed Captain 69 by the admiring members of his division. Izuru gained twenty pounds of lean muscle and spent more time training for bankai than drinking. And the members of Hinamori's division were making bets to see who would end up killing Aizen – her or Ichigo.
The training hall was not far away now. Today he and Tenken were going to play with them. They wouldn't remain puppies forever, so he had to seize whatever chance he had. Someday they might become captains; or they might even die…but until then, they were his to train and nurture. Quite apart from that, fighting four lieutenants at once was an interesting tactical challenge that he was looking forward to.
There was just one, last thing needed to complete his happy family. As Komamura watched his little ones unsheathe their zanpakutous, he wished his mate was there as well.
He prayed that Shuuhei's father would return.
A/N: Ok, that was a rather…no, very offbeat fic. I know it's probably crack/fluff but the concept was irresistible and original, so I tried to make it realistic. I have a strange attraction to unusual ideas.
'Tenken' is the name of Komamura's zanpakutou.
For those who don't know, Braille is the script (made of groups of raised dots) used by blind people to read and write, and would very likely have been used by Tousen. You would have likely seen it at some point, such as on the buttons of handicapped lifts. It's usually based on French; which makes Shuuhei's job even harder.