Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach
What the hell is this? New The Substitute. I'd been expecting bedtime in Kurosaki land part two, but instead this week has 'Substitute Fashions.' It's a couple of pages long, showing me, looking trim in basic black, oh, I've accessorized with a large cleaver-like sword here, adding a touch of color with a simple red chain. Good good, wouldn't want to be over accessorized - austerity is my middle name. What's on this side - oh, evening wear. Yes, looking dapper here too, swapped the basic basic black for a snappy black coat, suitable for any formal bankai occasion. Formal sword too, attractive slimline number with a mangi guard. Damn, I do dress for success, don't I? Always dressed for the occasion. What's over here?
Oh, not so good, dressed from my first fight with Grim. Looking beat up here, awful beat up and not so good - moving along-
What the hell? My sisters again?
Why is Karin dressed like Soifon? With bloomers? Soifon doesn't wear bloomers, she wears like a thong or something - but these are definitely bloomers, the caption says so. And she's looking fierce.
This has got to be a joke - this page has Yuzu tricked out in Yoruichi's standard gear, minus the orange jacket. There's an arrow pointing at her behind that says 'little bum' and -
-she's got Hello Kitty on her chest.
Well, at least they got that part right.
Another smaller picture beside, this time Yuzu in the same Yoruichi rig with one of those vests like Hisagi wears.
Cute. But a little unlikely.
Well at least that's one thing I don't have to worry about. Captain Unohana will take good care of my sister.
Yuzu looked in the full length mirror, studying the effect.
"What do you think?" Asked Yumichika. He looked pleased with himself.
The young eighth seat considered her reflection.
"It makes me look fierce."
Yumichika had given her a makeover, something more in spirit with eleventh company attitude. Yuzu's hair had been greased flat against her head, it looked wet even though it was a little dry. He'd powered her face white and painted tiny black tears at the corners of her eyes.
Yumichika prompted "And fierce is?"
"Appropriate for eleventh division," parroted Yuzu politely. Yumichika had been very firm about that. Daddy wouldn't like her wearing bright red lipstick, but her superior officer insisted it was either bright red or black.
"What a good girl you are," said the mentoring Yumichika. "Now for the last part. In Eleventh Division a good girl wears?"
"Things that make her look fierce," recited Yuzu.
"Excellent! I'm so pleased Yuzu."
Yuzu turned back to the mirror, shifted a little to the left to study the whole effect. She wore her punk rock kunoichi uniform, with her Yoruichi leggings and her little ninth division vest. Yumichika had torn off the sailor collar she'd stitched on and used a strange kido to change the Hello Kitty she painted across the back into the angular skull logo that Ichi-nii sometimes wore. And bright red lipstick. She felt very fierce, but a little naughty too.
"I'm not so sure-" said Yuzu. She made a little kissy face in the mirror to study her bright lipstick. "It's sort of wild, isn't it?" She touched at her hair. "Greasy."
"I know you want to be a good girl, Yuzu-chan, but in Eleventh being a good girl means being fierce."
So I'm chilling under my tree with Sei and Morisato and Seymour. We're just digging out, Morisato with his Manga, Seymour and Sei with their books, me just lazing with my eye shut.
I always have multiple patches on me. Maybe I should get one for my good eye for times like this...
Daydreaming. Of good times in the past, a day a lot like this one, where my head was on Rukia's lap, and Uryu was dozing against a tree. Even Chad had kicked back, stretched out and relaxing on a warm summer day in the park. Only Orihime and Rukia were fully awake, Rukia stroking my hair and Orihime being Orihime.
And that was good. Before everything went bad.
Orihime was happy that day, happier then usual, and that was a joy to behold. I'd began to find her chatter soothing. There I was, like today, on the edge of sleep, head pillowed on Rukia's lap. And Orihime said-
"Wake up, fucktard."
Orihime didn't call me a fucktard, I'm pretty sure of that. Some dickstain must be trying to interrupt my daydream. I-
"I said, wake up, fucktard."
And here I'd been hoping he'd go away.
"Leave him alone!" that was Sei.
I don't understand Sei. I'm pretty sure in eight or nine months she's been hanging around with the group of us she's never actually spoken. I mean, to each her own, I guess, but if it weren't for Morisato I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even know her name.
She's a strange one.
So like, Hark. I detect unwelcome presences. A voice, a discordant voice, disturbs my rest.
"Is this him?"
Tatsuki. And several other people.
I didn't even open my eye. Maybe they'd think I was dead and go away.
"This is he, Tatsuki-sama."
"Doesn't look like much," Tatsuki said. She actually kicked my foot. "Hey, wake up."
"Fuck off." I didn't open my eye.
"Look at her when she's talking to you!" There was a chorus of "yeah!" and that sort of shit from Tatsuki's little fan club. Hardly intimidating.
Anyway, I framed up an appropriately diplomatic answer.
"Pal, you make me open this eye and I guarantee you'll regret it."
"Leave him alone!" Sei again? The mouse roars?
I opened my eye, Sure enough, there was Sei, red faced, defending me. Tatsuki looked shocked - the mouse was staring down the dragon.
"Easy Sei," I turned to look at Tatsuki's little gang.
"This ain't him," announced Tatsuki. "I'll admit he looks a little like Ichigo, but what would the vaunted champion of the winter war be doing here?" She laughed harshly.
I didn't much like the way she said vaunted and champion. Maybe I should punch her out? I eyeballed her fan club. It was actually pretty serious, there was a loser fourth year in it, and a few seconds and thirds, even if most were first.
Are you done whatever you came to do, Tatsuki? Then move along. I'm trying to sleep here, so piss off already.
They didn't move.
You know what? I could have said a lot of things. I could have done a lot of things. Here Tatsuki was, almost sort of maybe trying to cover for me, and without even looking at her I knew she wasn't going to walk away. Even though she'd made her point to her little friends, covered for me as she felt she had to. No, she wasn't leaving, now she was going to have some fun. How do I know that? I don't know how I know, I just do. Tatsuki was going to be just a little too difficult, push just a little too hard.
One of Tatsuki's girls was staring at Sei, a third year.
Okay, this is going too far. I leaned over, reached into my jacket and pulled out my Red Flower badge. This chick sees it and her eyes widen. Then I turned back to Tatsuki.
"This pack of douchebags belong to you? Then take them away."
"Tatsuki-sama isn't afraid of you-"
Somebody grabbed that guy, probably to tell him I'd survived gauntlet challenge by Chad last year.
It got tense for everyone else but Tatsuki and I, mostly because Tatsuki knew a beatdown wasn't going to result.
Staring contest. Given that I've only got the one eye I was at something of a disadvantage to Tatsuki.
"I don't like your attitude," said the girl who'd been staring at Sei. "Apologize to Tatsuki-sama now."
I think I've mentioned my nerves are shot. Tatsuki could have just walked away, but that wasn't going to happen, and today was not the day I was going to kowtow to Tatsuki. It just – wasn't –
"Take your little friends away please, Kouhai-chan. Leave Semapi and the big people and run along."
Kouhai-chan! Did Tatsuki ever look outraged at being called cute underclassman!
Then I said (I was looking for trouble, I'll admit it) "What's that strange smell?" I looked Tatsuki up and down and said "Could you stand with your legs a little closer together please?"
Oh that got her, Tatsuki snarled at me.
"You've got a real mouth on you, senpai."
"I certainly do."
One of the little friends tried to lean in from the side. "Don't you dare say something like that to Tatsuki-sama!"
Tatsuki and I are nose to nose at this point, the vibe was bad enough that her little friends are restricting themselves to comments.
"Go away or just plain go? You want to fight me all you have to do is start swinging."
"You go first," Tatsuki challenged.
"I don't hit girls," I growled back - all her little friends are telling her to attack me.
"Yes you do Ich-"
Wham! Slapped Tatsuki across the face. Nobody, and I mean nobody in her little coterie saw me do it, pressure up, pressure down in a millisecond.
It had stung, I could tell that by the look in her eye. I'd caught her flat-footed once but it wasn't going to happen twice.
"The lot of you, piss off. Now." I looked at the upper years with her. "Shit, you're pathetic. Winter war, so what? The important people left this tard behind."
That got Tatsuki so mad she jumped at me.
I don't know what it is, something about Tatsuki just makes me so angry I can't control myself. It's the way she blames everything on me. I'd been trying to protect her, to protect them all. I did my best and she's livid because I didn't do a good enough job. Now she's extorting training from me? Insulting me and my friends? Letting her tame third year bully Sei?
No Tatsuki, you want someone to bully come bully my Bankai ass. I assure you, nothing wearing a student uniform scares me in the slightest. Come back when you've got a captain's haori. Matter of fact, come back when you've got a captain's haori and two friends who also have captain's haoris. No, better make that three friends, because by the time you're at that level it will take at least four captains to hold me back. Maybe more.
I shoved Tatsuki back.
"The lot of you, get the fuck out of here. Alternatively, go get a couple of wooden swords. Or better yet, go get your Zanpakuto. I'm game for whoever wants to fight me." My hand brushed my Red Flower badge.
Technically I'm not supposed to show it, but who's going to stop me?"
Tatsuki figured out I was perfectly serious, turns and walks away, leaving her crew to follow. Yeah, make all the little threats you want. All of you together don't scare me. And leave my friends the fuck alone.
One of these days some assclown will push me too far and I'll bring out the bloody mask. Yo, Hichi, deal with this-
"Shit," I growled at the retreating assclowns. Once in a while one of them would turn around, see I was still watching them. Your Shoujo dragon isn't going to cross me kids.
Morisato, Sei and Seymour were looking pretty impressed, which pissed me off because all I'd done was take the garbage out.
"They won't be back," I snapped. "If they come let me know. Winter War veteran or not I am not afraid of Arisawa Tatsuki. I-"
"Do you know her?"
"I-" What? That had come from out of left field.
Sei pressed me. She had a surprisingly attractive voice, I'd expected something mousy, like her.
"Do you know Arisawa-sama?"
"She's nobody's sama. And I don't have to know her, I've known people like her."
True enough, if you count Tatsuki as being 'like' herself.
"Sado-san," said Seymour. "She's supposed to be a hell of an opponent. Two of the captains of the Gotei are training her every weekend." That was common knowledge, but people tend to assume I'm not current with anything because I'm pretty apathetic.
"So what? She's a first year who knows somebody. All it means is she'll be treated better than us when she gets to the squads. In the West they'd say she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth or something. Or up her ass, I don't remember the quote."
"But Sado-san, the captains-"
Morisato looked at me as though something had just dawned on him.
"But you know Captain Ukitake. That's why you're not impressed!"
I'd forgotten that little detail. "Yeah, captains are people too. Don't get overawed of them. They'll just disappoint you."
They'd sure as hell disappointed me. Nobody said a goddamn thing when I got exiled.
"But she might turn them on you-"
"Soifon and Yoruichi on me? Unlikely."
Because Soifon would attack like a rabid dog and I'd have her head off her shoulders and tied to my belt by those damn braids. Yoruichi knows I would, she'd keep her little bee as far as she could if she had to incapacitate the other woman herself.
"News flash. That girl does what she's told. She does tell the captains to do anything, she certainly won't try to drag them into some private war with me."
Thinking about captains just made me mad. "Let's talk about something else," I said shortly.
It didn't end there, though I didn't figure that out right away.
Yuzu indeed felt very fierce with her new look. Huge Eleventh Division men with frightening haircuts bowed and cheered and said things like "Oh Yuzu-chan! You're adorable!"
Then the hallway darkened, as it always did when a huge shadow appeared to blot out the sun.
Captain Zaraki looked Yuzu up and down. And sighed.
"Yuzu, what did I tell you about letting Yumichika decorate anything?"
There wasn't very much Yuzu could say.
Yuzu remained fierce for several days, but it sort of petered out when Yuzu encountered Captain Unohana, who smiled warmly, patted Yuzu's sleek hair and tapped Yuzu's little nose with a fingertip.
"Very pretty dear."
Yuzu didn't feel very fierce after that.
I hate a bully. Someone in Tatsuki's crowd decided my Red Flower badge made me someone to ignore, but Morisato, Seymour and Sei were more tempting targets.