I'm not a fan of ByakuyaxYachiru pairings; in fact, I think Byakuya is to good for anyone. Be that as it may, I was reading Wasurenai by Empatheia and this story stuck in my head. Now it's un-stuck.

This is my first time writing fiction; please send honest reviews and criticisms.

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. If I did, it would have lots of lemons :P

Hindsight

In hindsight, he supposed, he should have known it would end this way.

Ever since he first caught sight of that mop of shockingly pink hair, riding high atop the giant shoulders of that spiky-haired menace into Seireitei so many years ago, bouncing around and waving madly to him, seemingly without a care in the world, he had been doomed.

It had always started the same way.

"Byaku-chan, can I try on your hair curlers?"

"They are kenseikan, and no, you may not."

Or, "Byaku-bo, can I have some more candy?"

"Kusajishi-fukutaichou, please stop swinging your legs against my desk, and no, you have already had enough candy today."

The ending to such exchanges was just as predictable as the beginning. He always ended up giving her more candy, or letting her touch his kenseikan, or, albeit somewhat reluctantly, allowing her to drag him from his desk outside, to enthusiastically show him whatever new, exciting and more often then not, dirty thing she had found on her adventures that day.

So this morning should not have come as a surprise to him, given their history, he figured.

It was just another typical morning Captains meeting, Yamamoto-taichou droning on about some new ordinance passed by the Seireitei road builders union, and how the workers would only work 8 hour days now and other worthless drivel.

He had watched Kusajishi-taichou out of the corner of his eye, wiggling a little in her third division captain's chair. She had matured a lot since he had first met her, he mused. The small, pink, loud, fearless and very annoying girl with a seemingly endless supply of questions had become a slightly less small, but still very pink, spicy-tongued, fearless and only somewhat less annoying woman, who was now more likely to have the answers to your questions then to ask questions herself.

Watching her squirm in her seat, Yamamoto's incessantly long and boring spiel seemingly nowhere near an end, he smiled to himself.

The war with Azien had lasted for decades, many good friends had been lost, many more irreparably damaged, their minds and bodies broken and twisted by the losses they had suffered. Over the war she had grown up, coming into her own and proving herself to be an intelligent woman, more then capable warrior, a highly respected leader and a loyal friend.

Still, watching her now, engaged in a glaring contest across the table with Hitsugaya-taichou, who at 6' 2" no longer qualified as short, was oddly comforting. Despite all they had been through, it was nice to know some things never changed.

Which was why, he guessed, when Yamamoto-taichou's long-winded speech had finally come to an end and the Captain Commander asked if there were any questions, Yachiru's raised hand hadn't set off any warning bells in his head. At least, not until she leaned over Unohana-tachio and inquired in a completely earnest tone:

"Ne, Byakuya, will you marry me?"

His brain had frozen then, and he blinked somewhat stupidly at her for a few moments. If he hadn't known her so well, he would instantly thought it a joke, but because he did know her so well…

When his brain finally kicked in, his first thought had been, 'I should have known'. And the second thought, following almost instantly on the heels of the first, and voiced aloud, was,

"I need time to think about it."

As Yachiru debated out loud how much time she would give him, and Zaraki gave him the evil eye from across the table, thoughts chased each other in dizzying circles around his head.

'Did I just say I'd think about it?' 'Tell her no, right now!' 'But of course, if you say no, it'll only delay the inevitable.' 'Are you insane? No, No, NO!' 'You always give her what she wants, it's only a matter of time and you know it.' 'Noooooooooo!' 'You already know what your answer will be, don't you?'

And he did know. By the time Yachiru had decided to give him 6 weeks time, because "That's your division's number, Byakushi, and besides, I think that's plenty of time", he had already come to his conclusion.

Which was why now, instead of taking a long, peaceful walk after dinner, as was his custom, he had retired to his study and was currently pouring over various accounts, rather then enjoying the night breeze.

He sighed to himself, his eyes slowly scanning over the rows of numbers, and silently uttered a curse. 6 weeks just wasn't enough time to plan a wedding.

Review, please.