A/N: Welcome to what will be the home of any plot bunnies the drabble fairy choses to give me. Conspiracy theories, crack couplings, and random humor will abound. You have been warned. Also, oh my wow, I am so happy right now. I've discovered the wonder that is Veoh and I'm watching Bleach subbed in French now, which effing rocks. Huzzah! I can actually understand what they're saying, even if I can't understand what's going on with the silly filler arc.
And on an unrelated note, visit my forum, Urahara Shoten, for Bleach celebrity deathmatches, a Mary-Sue bashing popcorn game, humorous topics, and an overall super happy fun time.
Rated for: language, excessive drinking, and inneundo. You know you love it-- I mean, I don't condone any of these activites. Nope.
Summary: A fox and a floozy walk into a bar...
Couplings: Komamura/Matsumoto friendship
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, the claimer is dis'd. Happy now?
DD 1- The Fox and the Vixen
"The Red Fox is most active at night and at twilight. It is generally a solitary hunter." -Wiki, God of all knowledge.
For once, the weather in the Soul Society sucked. A chill had swept over the city, engulfing it in an unusually thick blanket of fog that obscured anything more than two feet away. In that bleak fog, in a sorta-reputable-but-still-shady part of the Rukongai, the neon sign of the Yoku Inari bar let off a hazy halo of light that promised warmth and lots of alcohol to anyone who could afford it. Inside, it was handsomely decorated in rich (if somewhat faded) shades of red and gold that glittered when the dim lights hit them like the paint had been made of tropical sunsets. Or, you know, the blood of the interior decorator's enemies. This is the Rukongai we're talking about. At any rate, the now-shabby bar had been a hotspot a few hundred years ago when the Seireitei captains weren't as serious and busy as they'd become, and it had been all but forgotten after Captain-General Yamamoto's disastrous half-century of prohibition. And so, despite the optimal drinking-weather, the bar was less than a quarter full, mostly because the people who lived in the area didn't have the money to spend on an escapist luxury like drinking. Nonetheless, the bar had attracted some rather profitable regulars, the most notorious of whom happened to be Vice Captain Rangiku Matsumoto and her drinking posse. On this particular night, the bender she was on was unhealthy, even for her.
Yes, Matsumoto had had too much sake. And being an olympic-class lush, she was quite aware of how drunk she was. She knew it from the way the room seemed to be set on fast-forward and by the warm pleasantness that was stealing over her and making her sway slightly to the tune of some unheard music. She could tell because everything seemed kind of pink. She could certainly tell because she wasn't thinking of that bastard Gin. Granted, those memories and the angst that went along with them would return in about three more drinks when she was completely plastered, but luckily she frequented this particular bar and they had a nice, (relatively) safe set of plastic-tipped darts and a dartboard with Ichimaru Gin's face on it for when that time came. Besides that, she could tell because Hisagi had gone off with some girl, once again using the enigma of his '69' tattoo to pick up chicks. Plus, beside her poor little lightweight Kira had stripped to a loincloth and subsequently passed out in a pool of his own vomit hours before. Gazing down on him, she idly hoped that the stomach acid wouldn't eat away his pretty emo face. Mainly, though, she could tell because she couldn't pick up her sake cup anymore. Matsumoto, on her pride as a vice captain, however, was not one to give up so easily. She narrowed her eyes and glared at the disobedient container, concentrating harder than she ever did on paperwork. Finally, when she deemed she had gathered enough reconnaissance on its coordinates, Matsumoto launched her attack. She lunged in the general direction of the precious sake, not realizing just how precariously she was perched on her bar stool. She wobbled wildly, then crashed to the floor and landed uncomfortably on a piece of the now-splintered chair.
"Why do they make the cupsh sho little?" She whined, sure that if the sake cup could speak, it'd be laughing at her, "I'LL GET YOU NEXT TIME, YOU CLEVER FIEND!"
Matsumoto struggled to get up but failed, mainly due to her top-heaviness.
"Dammit, boobsh, you're thwarting me again! Shtop it!" she cried, trying to flatten her enormous chest, still stuck on her back like an upside-down turtle.
This, naturally, drew the attention of the shadier men in the bar, who began to advance toward the apparently helpless strawberry blonde, which showed what newbies they were.
The bartender of the Yoku Inami, a tall solidly-built redhead, sighed and made a little note on her tab. That made eight pieces of furniture brutally murdered this week alone, only four from the all-time record. Of course, she never charged. That'd just be bad business, between all the sake Rangiku drank, the bets the other patrons put on the shinigami's shenanigans, and the security of having a vice captain as a regular. Still, one day Matsumoto was going to get too drunk and things would get out of hand, which is why she had insurance. As the horde of slavering men surrounded her best client, the bartender reached for Insurance, her patented oak whumping stick, and took an authoritative step forward. Matsumoto noticed and grinned ferally as she finally made it to her feet.
"Don't worr', Inari-kuuun! I got thish covered. Now, what's my zanpapa-- zapoku-- zaponan-- aw hell, what'sh my shwordsh name? I know it remindsh me of kitty litter..."
The ring-leader, a man with blond hair so greased and gelled that it glistened like a crunchy helmet, motioned to his lackeys and they advanced simultaneously, as if they had learned how to be gangsters from watching West Side Story.
"Listen girly, we don't wanna get physical... except in one way." he leered, the epitome of creepy cheesiness.
Meanwhile, across the bar, a lone patron who had been nursing a single strawberry daiquiri for at least an hour got to his feet and strode ponderously towards the fray. Even sitting, he had been an imposing figure, but at full height, he was downright frightening. And foxy, but not in the damn-girl-you-look-as-foxy-as-Foxy-Brown way. In the oh-grandmother-what-big-teeth-you-have-way. To be fair, though, the intimidation wasn't so much due to the fac that he was in essence an anthropomorphic fox, it was more that he was a captain-class anthropomorphic fox with menacing muscles and an intense spiritual aura to match. Inari measured out a double shot of her strongest liquor, gulped it down, and prayed fervently that the damages bill wouldn't get too out of hand.
Because the pseudo-gangsters weren't complete idiots, they started sweating as the man drew nearer. Only the leader had the guts (and stupidity) to step forward and try to halt the captain's advance.
"H-hey, buddy." he spat with quaking venom, "This isn't your fight. Why don't you get go relax and sip on your girly drink, huh?"
Komamura ignored him completely.
"Matsumoto-fukutaicho, I don't believe that the situation warrants such an extreme measure of force." Komamura intoned, looking pointedly at the grip she had on the hilt of her sword.
Matsumoto sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Aww, Naruto-chan, you're such a downer." she pouted, removing her hand from Haineko, "But you do have a point."
In an unusual display of emotion, Komamura winced and ground his teeth.
"I've requested that you not call me such a demeaning nickname. On eleven separate occasions, if I recall correctly. I may be cursed, but I certainly don't have nine tails, an annoying catchphrase, or teen angst."
"Doooooownnnneeeerr!" the inebriated woman sang tauntingly.
The rookie gang leader, insulted at being disregarded, cut in.
"Oi, don't think you can just ignore us!"
He never saw the first ferocious punch to the solar plexus coming. He did, however, notice the red manicured nails on the next vaguely-fist-shaped blur before he passed out. His cronies prodded his prone form and panicked.
"That chick just KO'd Takezo-san!" lackey number one gulped.
"No way! Snap out of it, Kensei!" lackey number two insisted, nudging his leader.
"Aw, shit! Let's get outta here!" lackey number three said, giving in to the flight part of the fight-or-flight-instinct.
Upon hearing the exchange, Inari glared at the minions fiercely, daring them to skip out their tab. They gulped and threw down some money, then scurried out the door.
"Hmm. Guess you were right, Inuyasha-kun." Matsumoto said, daintily wiping the blood from her knuckles with her robes, "It was less messy this way. But now I'm sober."
Coming from her lips, sober sounded like the worst kind of swearword. Upon hearing it, Inari mentally grinned. A sober Matsumoto meant a full cash register.
"Yeah, but they left their Big Boss." the bartender muttered to herself, half-considering another drink. "He's gonna be hard to scrape off the floor."
Komamura, meanwhile, remained stoically silent as he suffered from the emotional wound inflicted on him by the cruel tenth company vice-captain.
'Seriously, Inuyasha?' he shuddered to himself, mortified. 'Too harsh, Matsumoto.'
The truth was, though he tried to seem blase, Komamura loathed his curse. He hated how he could never tell if people were talking about him or Gin when they said "foxface". He hated how, before even knowing his secret, Matsumoto had always teased him about how he must be a real beast under his bucket. Yes, lurking behind the fearsome exterior was a soul as insecure and self-conscious as a schoolgirl. As such, he decided to order another drink to calm his nerves. Unfortunately for his ego, Matsumoto took one look at the appletini in his hand and burst out in loud peals of laughter.
"That's... so... cute, Kurama-kun!" she gasped, nearly suffocating on her giggles.
Aware of the captain's growingly rabid look, Rangiku turned to Inari and lowered her voice to what she thought was a conspiratorial tone.
"D'ya think he has a girly rose-whip hidden somewhere? The yaoi fangirls in the companies would go crazy."
Komamura harrumphed and glared at Matsumoto as he took another sip of his abnormally green, barely alcoholic concoction.
"You better not let them too close to your ears either." Matsumoto grinned, downing another shot of sake.
Komamura took another sip. Matsumoto took another shot.
"Can you spin your tail to fly like a helicopter like Tails?"
"Vulpix, I choose you!"
"Don't you think this incessant taunting is getting inane?"
As the fox-man reached down to drown his sorrows in his drink, he noticed that his absurdly tiny martini glass was empty. Glancing across the table, he also noticed that Matsumoto's sake bottle still had about one drink left in it. Desperate, he concentrated all his captain-class sneakiness and grabbed at the bottle. Used to the effects of booze, Matsumoto's reflexes were considerably faster and she grabbed her impaired colleague's wrist.
"Swiper, no swiping! Besides, I thought you didn't drink."
"Normally, you would be right. I don't." Komamura sighed, eyes still glued to the sake bottle, "But today's my anniversary. I always make a few... allowances on this day."
Matsumoto nodded understandingly.
"Ah. So it's a lady who's got you all maudlin? Chicks, man."
A deep, awkward silence engulfed the two, Try as she might, Matsumoto couldn't stop her girly gossipy side from taking over.
"Sorry, I was insensitive. Was it a guy? I know you were really close to Tousen..." she said pseudo-sympathetically, mainly to annoy her newfound drinking buddy.
She succeeded. Komamura turned an unnatural shade of purple (quite a feat for someone covered in fur) before regaining his composure.
"You were right the first time." he said coldly, "I've come to terms with the fact that my former best friend was an easily-duped megalomaniac douchebag."
Matsumoto grinned a wolfish grin and let out a loud bark of authentic laughter.
"Say, I like that phrase. Mind if I use it when I talk about Gin?"
"By all means. That is, if you're willing to part with the last of that sake."
The slightly sloshed shinigami shrugged and carefully poured the last of the bottle into an extra sake cup on the table. Komamura sipped at it daintily. Matsumoto face-vaulted and nearly cracked her front teeth in the process.
"No, no, NO!" You're doing it all wrong" Matsumoto whined. "Ya gotta shoot it. Allow me to demonstrate. Inari-san! Shot!"
Like magic, two shots appeared on the table. Of course it wasn't real magic, just a quick waitress and good business sense. Come on, be realistic. No one in Soul Society believes in magic. Really. Just because their swords change form and they can stand on air and travel by butterflies and don't die from chest wounds and stuff doesn't mean anything. Gosh. Besides, why would you want to make a bunny appear out of a hat anyways? Unless you're Rukia, I guess...
"They're on the house if you can get this guy to start spending money. I can't stand stingy captains." Inari hissed to Rangiku before sidling away sneakily.
The vice captain shrugged and picked up the glass of clear, pungent liquor.
"See, it's not that hard to master. Just throw it back, oh normally fearless one." she said, happily demonstrating with her share.
Komamura furrowed his eyebrows in concentration.
"Aren't you supposed to savor the flavor?"
It was times like these that Matsumoto wondered about just what kind of man Komamura was before he got turned. She had a suspicion he'd been lamer than Hanataro.
"NO. Just no. At this point of the night, the goal is to get wasted." Matsumoto groaned, suppressing laughter and simultaneously face-palming. "Also, that's what she said."
"Who is this 'she' you're referring to? Is she impudent enough to make fun of me?"
"Just do it already."
Komamura drank as instructed and then promptly made a face and started panting.
"It's worse this way!"
Matsumoto chuckled darkly. "Worse... or better?"
"Well, it gets better after the first few. Now order us a bottle and tell Matsumoto-chan about your problems and why you're drowning them.
For a moment, Komamura hesitated and Matsumoto suspected she'd never unravel the mystery of Komamura's appearance at a bar. His tail twitched peevishly and he quietly poured himself another measure of sake and stared into it a few long moments before starting his tale.
"It all started in the spring of my nine hundredth year. I was barely more than an adolescent, and had just finished my schooling in one of the customary finishing academies for nobles. "
Matsumoto sighed in boredom and her head hit the table.
"Wha? I'm up, I was just, err, resting my eyes. Yesh."
Komamura glared at the strawberry blonde. "I thought you were anxious to hear the explanation of my bender."
"I aaam... but could you make it a little less boring?"
"If you have a problem with my narrative ability, don't listen."
"Sorry! Jeez, I'll be good. Carry on."
Komamura shrugged and continued with a victorious smirk.
"Had my youthful nature been less mischevious, I assuredly would have been accepted into the advanced classes at the shinigami academy and would have likely become a seated captain in no time. Unfortunately, fate had some rather different plans for my destiny. Though I am ashamed to recall it now, I had gained a bit of a reputation as a Don Juan at my old finishing school--"
Unable to resist, Matsumoto let out a loud snort of laughter. The captain's eyes glinted fiercely at the interruption.
"I see you find this concept rather amusing. I, however, assure you that I'm not lying. I was as handsome and... popular... as Hisagi-fukutaicho."
"I guess stranger things have happened..." she shrugged, refilling their glasses. Komamura paused.
"No, I think I'm overstepping a line. The nature of our relationship is not intimate enough for me to be telling you such things. It was only after several years of close friendship that I even told this story to Tousen-san."
"...And look what good that did you." Rangiku said, raising an eyebrow. "Come on, don't bottle it all up. That's sooo not good for your emotional health. Besides, I'm interested now. You can't leave me hanging!"
Not many men can claim to resist a pouty Matsumoto, and Komamura was no different. The cajoling and the extra liquor loosened the foxman's tongue and he continued his verbose yarn.
"Very well. As I was saying, I was widely regarded by the women in my class as a scoundrel, and shortly after gradution, I learned that one of my jilted liasons had informed her parents of our encounters. Unfortunately for me, my infatuated amante's father was an influential member of the Central 46 and he issued an ultimatum to my family. Either I married his daughter and made our union legitimate or he would use all his power to ensure our family name was suitably tarnished. Both outcomes seemed highly undesirable, so I took enough money to live on and abandoned my family, thereby renouncing my claim to noble status, and fled to the Rukongai. It was in the 17th district that I met her. The witch Nomae Tamamo. She had passed out in the middle of a crowded street from hunger and of everyone who passed, I was the person naive enough to stop. At first, I thought that it was just the reputed callousness of the Rukongai rabble, but when I got her out of the way to my small apartment, I found out my folly. She immediately snapped out of her "unconsciousness" and I soon found a knife to my throat, the victim of a scam aimed toward the rich buffoons of the Seireitei adventurous enough to set foot in Rukongai."
"Ah!" Matsumoto exclaimed, eyes afire with nostalgia, "The old spiritually-inclined-swooner trick. That was always a fun one. You know, I miss the old days sometimes."
Komamura nodded in agreement and drained his cup.
"Life in the Gotei 13 can certainly get boring. If there's one thing I have to give Sosuke and the ryoka credit for, it's preventing us from dying from boredom."
The bar had already emptied for the night and the hour hand on the clock above the bar was heading steadily towards two. Their sake bottle was even empty, but neither noticed.
"She was fiesty. I got kicked pretty hard when she found out how little I had. It's strange when I think back on it. I didn't know anything about her, but when she did that, I immediately fell in love with her. I must have secretly been a masochist. At any rate, to cut a long story short, we became a couple and for a while we were quite happy. Eventually, though, her wanderlust kicked in and knowing I was about to be tossed aside, I found someone meaningless to preempt her rejection. She found out and here I am, all Vulpes vulpes-esque. She told me when I matured she'd lift the curse, but I haven't even seen her since. I deserved it, I'm resigned to it, and that's all there is to tell." he finished with a shrug.
Although she'd never admit it, Matsumoto was slightly uncomfortable about how much a certain part of his story sounded like her and Gin.
"You know, you're not as boring as you act."
Sajin glared at her, then shrugged. Across from him, Matsumoto sat for a moment looking pensive, then she spoke up.
"There's one thing I don't understand, though. If you're so pragmatic about the whole thing, why do you go out drinking every year? And why here?"
Her drinking partner let out a low rumbling chuckle. When she heard it, Matsumoto decided he had a nice laugh and that he should use it more often instead of acting like a stick in the mud.
"Haven't you ever bothered to notice what this bar is called? Your friend has a good name. Inari was the deity of prosperity, luck, and foxes" he smirked wryly, "and protector of warriors. For desires, pray to Inari. Or so superstitious people say... Plus, they serve a mean daiquiri here."
Matsumoto rolled her eyes at the last part.
"Well, you want to know what I desire?" she purred.
She turned to the captain and batted her eyelashes seductively while rubbing his shoulders lightly.
"What?" Komamura said, strangely afraid of how forward the vice captain was. He slowly reached into his pack and clutched his rape whistle.
"I want to play me some Okami. Wanna join me? It's super-top-secret, but I smuggled a PS2 back from the human world on my last trip."
Komamura's eyes darted around the bar, filled with paranoia. If anyone saw what he was about to do, his reputaton would be ruined.
"To the barracks!"
A/N: Ok, so the whole point of a drabble is shortness, no? Well, it seems that I failed that part. Oh, the shame. Alas.
But if anyone caught the Heroes reference, I heart you.
Hmm. I just don't know how this made the leap from cracky to serious to cracky again. Strange. I think it came from the combination of reading Voltaire and then translating Carmen from French. Seriously, Voltaire was a crazy, crazy man and I love him.
Anyhow, reviews are very much appreciated and so is concrit, since I'm not quite satisfied with this.
Next chapter: I'll give you a Clue. It has to do with Aizen's death and narrowing down suspects. I say it was Miss Peacock in the drawing room with the candlestick!