Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all the characters find themselves in. Everything else belongs to someone else with lawyers. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.
The End Results
It was a beautiful night for a walk, Renji thought absently to himself. A perfect night for a romantic stroll with that special someone you just couldn't do without. Unfortunately his special someone was in no condition to enjoy their beautiful surroundings and was barely conscious as it was. Of course it was sort of romantic to be carry Rukia home in his arms, she was snuggled up against him with her arms around his neck after all. But again, thanks to whoever had spiked the punch at the wedding, the romance of the situation was lost on his girl. And even if it wasn't Rukia was edging towards being drunk and therefore was completely off limits anyway.
"It was a beautiful wedding, wasn't it, Renji?" Rukia asked sleepily, unaware that this was the third time she'd asked him that question since they'd returned to their world.
Doing his level best to find the whole situation amusing Renji smiled as he nodded. "Yeah, it was beautiful." He agreed. Again.
"Small weddings are good." She continued as she nuzzled her face against the soft material of his robes, enjoying the appealing scent of his skin and clothes. "I like small weddings better than big weddings. When it's small only the people who really matter are there. At big weddings the room's usually filled with people you don't know who are there because they have to be or they just want the free food."
"The food tonight was pretty decent."
Rukia rolled her eyes at the sentiment, though it didn't surprise her. She might be mostly drunk, but she still had enough brain cells working to know that men just didn't get weddings. They showed up and that was pretty much it. Which was probably for the best, but still…
Thinking it best to keep the girl awake and conscious Renji looked for a way to keep the conversation going. "So you want a small wedding when it's your turn, huh?"
A phfft sound was Rukia's response to that. "Like I would have that option, Renji. I'm a Kuchiki. My wedding is going to be massive. The talk of the decade. The century maybe. And I'll have about as much say in it as I do over the weather. I'll be like the groom. I'll just be expected to show up and do what they tell me."
"You aren't tough enough to make them do things your way?" Renji teased, even while he silently acknowledged that he wouldn't want to go up against her grandmother either. "What kind of Kuchiki are you?"
"Hah. Fine then, when we get married you can try and talk them into making it a small one. Good luck with that, you numbskull." Ending on a low yawn Rukia was fast asleep by the time Renji's brain cells had regenerated enough for him to frantically ask her what she meant by that.
Comfortably curled up against Jushiro's chest Nemu placed her hands over top of his. It was very nice to feel connected and bonded to someone, the lieutenant thought with a content sigh. It was hard to believe how much her life had changed since she'd first approached the man about becoming her lover. Not just leaving her father and division, but finding someone who made her so happy. She hadn't known what it was to be happy until now.
She liked the feeling very much.
Lowering his head Ukitake placed a kiss on her shoulder, the taste of her skin against his lips bringing a blush to his cheeks as he remembered his earlier talk with Captain Unohana. "You seem deep in thought." He said to take his mind off his thoughts. "Something happen before you came home?"
Home. She had a home now, Nemu thought to herself with almost childish glee. Not just a place to sleep and keep her few meager possessions, but a place where her presence was needed and wanted. Where she was a part of something indefinable but that most people probably took for granted. She never would though. "No, nothing bad happened. I'm just thinking about how my life has changed since you've become a part of it."
"No. I very much like the changes." Was her matter of fact reply.
All was quiet for several moments before she spoke again, her mind having turned to their future together and the plans that had yet to be made. "Jushiro…how many children do you wish to have?"
He'd been in the process of slipping into comfortable slumber but Nemu's words drove all thoughts of sleep from the captain's mind as Ukitake's eyes all but flew open. It took considerable effort on his part not to stutter as he chose his words very, very carefully. "What do you mean?"
"Well I'd like to use some of the rooms here to make myself a small lab. I don't want to infringe on your office space unless I have to. And I find my experiments to be very relaxing, I'm used to being able to work on something in the night if I can't sleep. That's why I need to know how much space we need to set aside for the children. How much room do children require, do you know?"
Ukitake had to smile, even as he marveled at how easily she threw his world off its axis without even trying to do it. He never really knew what was going to come out of her mouth next, and figured it was probably always going to be that way. And strangely enough, that thought suited him just fine.
"You can have as big of a lab as you want. We can always add on to the house if necessary."
Isane couldn't see how things could get much better in her life at the moment. She was stretched out on top of her man, both of them warm and naked under her covers. Snoopy was snoring away at the foot of the bed; they'd taken him for a long walk before turning in that had worn the little guy right out. Which had kept her dog from interfering with their late night fun, Isane thought with a small smile, which only grew wider as she felt her lover start to stroke her back.
"What are you thinking?" Hisagi murmured, caressing her back as he enjoyed the perfection of the moment and the smoothness of her skin. He couldn't remember being this relax and content in a very, very long time. At the moment he couldn't see how it could get any better.
Isane's cheeks flushed a little as she nuzzled her face against the side of his neck, hiding her embarrassment over her very girlie thoughts. "I was thinking there's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here with you, Shu. How about you? What are you thinking?"
"What you're thinking. Well that and the fact that I really need to become more self aware."
Shifting to prop herself up on her elbows Isane gave him a questioning look, the statement worrying her. "More self aware? Are you still feeling guilty over former Captain Tosen? That wasn't your fault, Shu. Nobody saw what he was going to do. Kira and Hinamori didn't see their captains deserting either."
"I wasn't talking about that. Okay, no, I was sort of talking about that, but you too. I mean I failed to notice that my captain was going over to the dark side, but I also failed to realize what I had in you. We've been together since we were kids, but we're only now getting together. I mean how could I miss that you're the one for me? If you hadn't punched the sense into me who knows what would have happened."
Isane leaned forward to press her lips against Shu's in a sweet, loving kiss, her heart all but singing at his words and the meaning behind them. "Don't worry, I've got no problem punching sense into you now that I know how great we are together." She assured him with a delighted laugh.
"Sounds like a plan to me." Hisagi agreed, rolling them over so that he could kiss her back with some more heat, savoring the feel of her lush body under his. "Now what's say you remind me why you're so great, preferably without punching me." He added, kissing the tip of her nose.
"I think I can manage that." She agreed as she leaned in for another kiss.
Lying in bed with a sniffer of whiskey in one hand, Byakuya wasn't even that surprised when the outside door leading to his room was slid open, a familiar forming stepping in before closing the door behind her. But at least she was in her big form, that was some progress, he mused thoughtfully, making no move to react as he sipped.
Marching over Yachiru's hands were already on her hips, looming over him threateningly. "My future sorta mother says there's nothing going on between you two. So who's the bitch you're screwing behind my back so that I can bitch slap her into the next century. I want a name. NOW."
"Your future sorta mother?" A raised eyebrow was all the surprise Byakuya showed. "Soifon? I see." So Zaraki had pulled it off after all. Good for him.
Yachiru's eyes narrowed threateningly, not liking his reaction one little bit. "You knew about her and Kenny."
"Unlike you I'm not blind."
Walking over to sit beside the futon cross legged Yachiru propped her head up on her hands as she watched him. "It's partially your fault you know. If you hadn't distracted me so much this last little while I would have put things together sooner. And DON'T say they had this thing going for a long time now, I don't want to think about that."
Sensing the misery behind her words Byakuya wasn't all that surprised. She was a rabid, pink haired menace to society, but she loved her captain more than anyone else in existence. And right now she was blaming herself for not realizing sooner that the big oaf was in love with the second division captain.
Pushing aside his covers the sixth division captain set aside his own glass and walked over to a nearby cabinet to retrieve another one, which he topped off himself before walking over to her, handing the drink over. "Don't gulp it down." He warned, knowing her well. "It's meant to be appreciated."
Yachiru sniffed at that but did as he suggested. "It's okay."
Amused by her Byakuya returned to his sit on his bed, his eyes widening ever so slightly as she got up and followed him, taking a seat beside him like she had ever right to just crawl into bed with him. Well technically she wasn't even under the covers, but she was still sitting on his bed like she owned the place.
And sensing his thoughts Yachiru smirked up at him, her eyes daring him to comment. "Try and kick me off and there's going to be liquor and glass all over your bedding."
"I'll kick you out when you're done with your drink then."
"You're welcome to try."
Slipping into companionable silence the two sat side by side and drank their whiskey.
It was morning already, and Matsumoto was pretty much dead on her feet. But she'd wanted to make sure that she wasn't spotted going to Nemu's secret lab by anyone. She'd felt the stares, listened to the prodding questions, and she wasn't an idiot. She didn't work with idiots as a general rule either, which was why she had to be extra sneaky so that none of them realized the secret she and Nemu shared. And for once she was very thankful that once upon a time she'd been a street kid, she and Gin forced to fend for themselves in the streets full of adults who'd been as dangerous as they were necessary to their survival. Not that she thought or sensed the presence of anyone or anything near the lab, but she felt better for being cautious and careful as she let herself in.
Letting herself into the lab room Matsumoto kept as quiet as possible, even though she knew to her bones that on some level Gin would be aware of her presence. No one snuck up on him. No one escaped his notice.
Walking over to stand beside the operating table that was still his bed, Matsumoto took comfort in the decrease of machines and tubes. He was getting a lot better it seemed.
Reaching out she stroked his scarred face, her man's features barely visible in the dim lights that encircled the walls of the room.
"Shouldn't you be home about now, Ran chan? The wolves come out at night to feast on pretty little ladies like you."
"I'd say I eat wolves for breakfast, but I can't imagine them tasting very good."
The sound the man made might have been a chuckle.
"Nemu chan says it's only a matter of time before you're out and about again." Matsumoto said softly, unable to keep her fingers from stroking his warming skin. "What are you going to do when that happens?"
"I'll find a way to stay close, Ran." Was his simple, somehow poignant response.
"Break that promise and I'm breaking you, FYI."
General Yamamoto sat at his desk, feeling very old and tired as he stared off into space. His once proud and warrior Gotei had turned into a society of matchmakers. All his ranked officers were engaged in romantic entanglements with each other, which could only mean that for the foreseeable future they were all going to be more interested in each other than the work they were all charged with doing. Captain Kyoraku and Lieutenant Ise, and Captain Zaraki and Captain Soifon had all stopped in to officially notify him of their engagements. Which meant, the general thought darkly, that before long his Special Ops captain would be too distracted with wedding plans to do her job, and Lieutenant Ise too busy to keep Shunsui in line and doing his job.
Than there was the fact that it was only a matter of time before Captain Ukitake ended up posing the question to former Lieutenant Kurotsuchi, who wouldn't be a former lieutenant much longer if the head of his thirteenth division had anything to say about it. Lieutenant Kotetsu and Captain Hisagi were also involved according to the grapevine, which wasn't as bad, but still spelled trouble as far as the old man was concerned. Not to mention Lieutenants Hinamori and Kira had been spending a lot of time together apparently.
He needed their heads in the game after all, not up in the clouds with hearts and birds buzzing around their noggins.
At the knock on his door General Yamamoto looked over warily, mentally praying that it wasn't another 'happy' couple. Bidding his interrupter to enter the general breathed a small sigh of relief as Sasakiba stepped in. At least he could still count on his second in command, Yamamoto thought as he nodded in greeting.
"Sorry to interrupt, General. I just wanted to let you know that I was stepping out for lunch. Would you like me to bring you anything back?"
Yamamoto shook his head. "No need. I have my lunch with me. Thank you for asking."
The head lieutenant nodded his head back in acknowledgement. "You're welcome. I'll be going now. Captain Unohana informed me that she'll be bringing your medication with her, so there's no need for you to send someone to pick it up today. Enjoy your lunch." He added, waiting to be dismissed.
A bad feeling coming over his old bones the general watched his lieutenant carefully. "You're going out to lunch with Captain Unohana?"
"That is correct, Sir."
"A business meeting?"
Yamamoto stared at the man for several long, drawn out moments. "Et tu, Sasakiba?"
The other man's raised eyebrow was his only sign of amusement as he answered. "It's only lunch, Sir."
The general's face said clearly that he wasn't buying that for a moment. "Dismissed then."
"Thank you, Sir."
Being a very wise man Lieutenant Sasakiba didn't allow himself to smile just a little until he was out the door and out of his general's sight. Then, with a slight spring to his step, the older man headed out for his lunch with the forth division captain.
The general, meanwhile, continued to sit at his desk and brood over the whole mess.
Or he did until it occurred to him that with all his captains and lieutenants pairing up and getting married, he could expect down the road a whole broad of children who could in turn replenish the various divisions with new blood and high skill levels.
A child with Kyoraku's skills but Lieutenant Ise's work ethic and drive.
Another one with Ukitake's loyalty and strength of will, combined with Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's genius and indestructibility.
There was a rumor too, now that the old man thought about it, that suggested that Captain Kuchiki was seeing someone on the side too. He would definitely need some children from him, the general thought sagely. One could never have enough Kuchikis.
And just thinking about what sort of fighting machine Captain Soifon and Captain Zaraki would create between the two of them had the old general fighting back the urge to develop a happy dance.
Oh the possibilities, Yamamoto thought almost gleefully, battling down the urge to rub his hands together as he considered the recruits his captains and lieutenants could even now be creating for him. Of course he strongly disapproved of such things during work hours, but it was lunchtime after all. No time like the present to get on with the production of the next generation.
And wouldn't it just stick in Aizen's craw, the old general thought with a wide, foxy grin, if he knew that he had only himself to blame for the super shinigamis that were going to be after his traitorous ass before he knew it.
Yeah, today was a good day after all, Yamamoto thought as he leaned back in his chair.
And it was only going to get better as the years went by.
Thank you for reading, and for sticking with me for such a long time. I'm sorry I couldn't give you more, but the time for this story has passed. I hope these last couple chapters have tied up most of the major loose ends, and that you enjoy imagining what could be in the future for the cast.
Thanks again. CQueen