A Bleach Fanfic
I don't own any of the characters in this story.
Tatsuki and Hanatarou
Rated T - for 11th Division bullying and language.
There were days when Hanatarou wished he had not joined the Fourth Division.
It wasn't because of anything wrong with the unit itself. Unohana was among the most beloved captains in all of Soul Society, and Kotetsu Isane held the same position amongst the lieutenants. Hanatarou occasionally felt a swell of pride in his medical skills when he walked down the streets of Seireitei and saw a random Shinigami pass by, only to remember a time when he had healed said Shinigami from an otherwise mortal wound. Hanatarou liked knowing all the secret corners of the Seireitei, all the underground passages and secret rooms, and that fifteenth lab in Kurotsuchi-taichou's compound that technically didn't exist. He liked the fact that he was not expected to lead his comrades into battle against Hollows who would happily rip him in half, given even a single chance.
But sometimes Hanatarou wished he wasn't in the Fourth Division and it was mostly because of the Eleventh Division that he thought this.
Case in point – the six big, burly, very drunk Shinigami who were blocking his way into the sewers that he was due to clean today, simply because he was in the Fourth Division.
It just went on like that.
Hanatarou mentally began going through his medical supplies and remembered that he was short on gauze. Hopefully these guys would not make him bleed too much. He knew from long experience how hard it was to get blood out of the white inner kimono.
"Please, I just need to get into the sewers," Hanatarou said quietly.
There was a sneering silence and Hanatarou realized he had said the wrong thing.
"Oh, sure," drawled the one who seemed to be the leader. "You can get into the sewers. We'll even help, right guys?"
Oh, this wasn't going to be pleasant.
Sure enough, Hanatarou found himself dangling from his medic pack while the tile blocking the ladder entrance to the sewers was pried open. When the way open was clear, he was moved over the hole and, with much sniggering and heart wishes of "Do a good job down there!", tossed down the hole.
…At least they hadn't stolen his supplies this time.
Lying flat on his back, Hanatarou stared up at the bright sunlight through the square hole, where six heads leaned over and laughed at him. The stink of alcohol was drowned out by the odor of garbage and filth in the canal next to him, but Hanatarou could imagine it well enough.
Hanatarou sat up and rubbed his head, gently applying pressure to determine how serious the damage was. What came back was reassuring. He wasn't going to have a concussion, at least.
And then something very disconcerting happened.
It was so disconcerting that Hanatarou had to double-check his evaluation of his head trauma before he acknowledged it as reality.
The Eleventh Division members had stopped laughing.
They had not drifted away, leaving their laughter to quiet with the passing of distance. They had not started whispering up a new plan, which would have been audible, if not understandable. They had simply stopped laughing.
There were, to Hanatarou's knowledge, only three people who would make a group of laughing Elevenths stop laughing by mere presence alone. The first was Zaraki-taichou, but Hanatarou would have felt him coming. The second was Yamamoto-soutaichou, who Hanatarou truly doubted would come to this low level of the Seireitei unannounced. The third was Unohana-taichou, who inspired maternal fear in everyone who crossed her.
Hanatarou didn't know why his captain had come, but he was very grateful.
And then the snarling started.
"What the hell are you drunken fuck heads doing?! Your shifts started two hours ago and Madarame-san sent me out to find your worthless asses!"
The voice was female, no question. It was also definitely not Unohana-taichou.
"Uh, we were just… uh…."
"…Why the hell are you crowding around a sewer ladder?"
The square of sunlight, which had been vacated by the six heads around the time the laughing stopped, was suddenly occupied by a featureless face that was topped with a mess of spiky hair. Hanatarou blinked.
There was a new silence then. It was not the sneering silence, nor was it the contemplating silence, and it sure was not a comfortable silence. No, this the silence you hear when you are holding a silver vase that you intend to steal from the hoard of a sleeping dragon, drop it, and listen to it clang around noisily for a good ten seconds. It was the silence that came before the growling and the flames and the teeth and the screaming. It was the silence that you knew was going to end in a very unpleasant crunching sound. It was not a happy silence.
Hanatarou could not see the face of his supposed-rescuer, but the sudden unleashing of a monstrous amount of reiatsu let him know her mood easily enough. The spiky head pulled back and Hanatarou could hear snatches of low, deadly orders being given. The words that drifted down were filled with intent to maim most thoroughly.
"Stay… nation you will undou…. ot tolerate… messing with other Shiniga…," and last, but definitely not least, "…and if you run away, I will find you."
A moment later, a thin and lithe form dropped down from the square opening and landed lightly next to Hanatarou's sprawled form. The medic blinked. When he heard the feminine voice, he'd pictured Soi Fong-taichou or Matsumoto-fukutaichou, or at least someone like them - tall, strong, beautiful and obviously not to be messed with.
The only thing this girl shared with those two women was her confidence. She had just bullied half a dozen Eleventh Division members, each one twice as big and three times as heavy as her.
But the rest of it….
The girl was short, even to him. Her prettiness wasn't the spectacular striking kind that Matsumoto possessed. She wasn't reserved and tense like Soi Fong. Hanatarou wouldn't have believed her getting her way with those bullies if he hadn't heard it happen himself.
"Hey, you okay?"
Her voice made him blink and he saw her offering him a hand up.
"Oh… yes, thank you," Hanatarou responded.
He took her hand and was surprised again when she yanked him right to his feet without effort. It was covered in calluses.
"I'm sorry about those idiots," the girl apologized. "I've been trying to get Zaraki-taichou to make them all knock it off, but he thinks it is as funny as all Hell. Heck, sometimes even I get a laugh outta it."
"Oh, you're… you're in the Eleventh?" Hanatarou asked, and then mentally kicked himself. That had come out sounding very wrong.
Evidently the girl had noticed. She bristled and once again, Hanatarou could feel that thundercloud of power waiting just beneath her skin. "You think girls can't be good in a combat division, or something?"
"No, no! Not at all. It's just that… um… you're nice. And…"
"…And most of the Eleventh guys you meet aren't?"
"Why didn't you just say that?"
"Anyway," the girl said. "Get back up topside and see to that bruise you probably have on your back from falling down here."
"Um, thank you, but no. I was supposed to clean the sewers here anyway, so I suppose those guys could have done worse than dropping me down here."
The girl looked at him, and Hanatarou stifled the 'eep!' that badly wanted to come out.
"What's your name?" She asked.
"Yamada Hanatarou," came the reply.
That had an unexpected reaction. The girl blinked, and then a flinty look crept into her eyes. Whatever anger she had held before, it had just doubled.
"You're Orihime's friend," the girl said.
And just like that, Hanatarou knew who the girl was.
Arisawa Tatsuki had quickly fallen alongside Kurosaki Ichigo and the rest of small group from Karakura in making an instant name for herself. After graduating from the academy with her fellow students, she immediately went to the Eleventh Division compound and signed up, becoming one of the very, very, very few females in that particular section of the Gotei 13. Supposedly, she had turned down offers of seated positions from both the Second and Seventh Divisions.
Rumors of harassment immediately began. No one cared that she was a girl, but the Eleventh had an unspoken ban on kidō and, while she wasn't much good with healing or utility spells, Tatsuki excelled at hadō, destructive spells. No one quite knew how it happened, but one day there was a massive fight and Tatsuki was right in the middle of it. The fact that she managed to beat down seven senior Shinigami who had centuries of combat experience over her - without the use of hadō - brought her acceptance into her chosen division, and the harassment stopped.
After only a year of serving under Kenpachi Zaraki, she made a grab for the fourteenth seat when the position opened up. Due to the Eleventh being a combat squad and Zaraki being… Zaraki, she had to do battle with another seated officer to claim that title.
The resulting battle was still vivid in Hanatarou's mind not only because the smoking holes in the ground were visible all the way from the Fourth Division barracks, but also because Zaraki himself had walked into the medical ward holding a recovering and victorious Arisawa Tatsuki to tell her, "You got the fucking job. Now get off your ass."
He then exited the room through a wall, deciding that a door was too much trouble to squeeze through a second time.
So, Tatsuki became the second woman in Soul Society history to be an officer in the Eleventh Division.
Hanatarou had inside information on all of this by way of Inoue Orihime, who had joined the Fourth Division. The orange-haired girl was absolutely wonderful to be around and Hanatarou enjoyed spending time with the girl, on or off duty. He had no idea Orihime had felt the same way, but she had judged it to be of enough note to confide her long time best friend.
"Get up to the street," Tatsuki growled. "I'm going to show those bastards why you don't mess with the guy who cleans your sewers."
…It wasn't glee. Hanatarou was far too mature, not to mention mellow, for part of him to feel intense, giddy glee at the thought of some of his long time bullies getting some of the misery they gave him thrown back in their faces.
Hanatarou followed Tatsuki up the ladder, blinking as he emerged back into the bright, sunlit street. Tatsuki had her semi-drunken subordinates lined up by the sewer entrance.
"I have been trying to make this clear to you all," Tatsuki told them, "but none of you seem to listen. Don't mess with other Shinigami when they are on duty. Do you want to know why I tell you all that? Huh? Because each division has their own specialty and if that doesn't get done, then the others suffer for it!"
"This guy," Tatsuki pointed at Hanatarou, "was supposed to clean the sewers in this sector today, but now he can't. Any guesses as to why? The reason why, gentlemen, is that you inebriated dumb-asses decided to screw with him. Now he can't do his job, and the plumbing in this section will get clogged up."
That wasn't precisely true. Hanatarou was more than skilled enough to heal the simple aches the fall had given him, and the regular cleanings wouldn't allow for a major clog because of one missed maintenance run, but he decided to keep quiet. Tatsuki was on a roll anyway, and Hanatarou didn't want to derail the first nice Eleventh Division officer he had ever met. Ever.
"So guess what we – and by we, I mean you – are going to do. You are going to do Yamada-san's job for him, and then you can explain to Madarame-san just why you are late, and reeking of sewage and beer."
There was an outcry that lasted all of three seconds. Then Tatsuki narrowed her eyes, and seemed to loom ten feet taller. That shut them up.
'I think I'm beginning to understand why they call her the Eleventh's Dragon,' Hanatarou thought.
"Any questions? Any protests?! Great. Get down the fucking hole and start scrubbing."
Four days later, two Eleventh Division members who were holding a massive slingshot, a bucket of tar, and a feather pillow approached Hanatarou. There was a gleam in their eyes that any Fourth Division member could have understood as an excuse to run away. Instead, Hanatarou stood his ground and smiled at them.
"Now, I'm sure Arisawa-san wouldn't like this."
They were magic words. Yamada Hanatarou looked upon the sight of rapidly fleeing Shinigami and saw that it was Good.
Seriously, what's up with all the Shinigami getting drunk during daytime?
Someone complained about me using capitals where there shouldn't be any. I have my reasons for this. First of all is effect. Like the last line in this fic.
'They were magic words. Yamada Hanatarou looked upon the sight of rapidly fleeing Shinigami and saw that it was Good.'
It is for emphasis in a situation where I think it would look better than italics or bold. Another reason is because I think it actually IS a good idea to use capitals. For instance, Shinigami. Most of the death gods came from Rukongai, but they didn't get called Shinigami until AFTER passing the academy exam. So, I see Shinigami as a title and not the name of a race, like humanity.
And for those of you who wondered, yes, I do plan on doing more Tatsuki one-shots. Lots more, in fact. She is my favorite Bleach character.