Disclaimer/Authors Note: I don't own Bleach. Beta'd by Murasaki kaida. This is an AU fic, which is just composed up of a few drabbles. The idea came to me when a friend of mine, Murasaki kaida and I were talking and I sent her a song that I thought would make a good Kenpachi/Retsu song. From there we developed a soundtrack for the two and Kaida said the fist song made her picture the two in the coffee shop. Which prompted me to write these drabbles. So this fic is for Murasaki kaida. Read and Enjoy!
Retsu Unohana sat at the stool behind the counter, her chin being propped up by her hand as she watched the occupants of Healing Vision. Healing Vision was a small time coffee shop that she'd just recently opened. It had taken a while to get her vision right and work out financial details, but it was finally open and it was all hers.
It was a small family oriented shop, its open area furnished with plush couches and wooden coffee tables where magazines had been placed; it looked like any home living room. The chairs were comfortable and the atmosphere was light and calming. The building itself wasn't on a busy street but the coffee shop was doing very well, considering where it was located.
The smell of coffee and baked goods filled the air inside, which Retsu always found soothing as she window watched for a few minutes. There weren't that many occupants inside the small coffee shop –a few people on early morning dates, some college students from the local university and a few business men sitting in front of their laptops working away. It was a specific couple that held her attention, a polite well dressed businessman with a charming smile.
A prince charming, she thought, her eyes glancing over the woman sitting opposite of the man. She was dressed nicely and smiled innocently enough. She also had no idea how much of a wolf her prince was.
It was always the same with the couples she watched. The man always looked perfect but in reality it was such a lie, hiding behind the whole prince charming facade. The same man had been in here quite a few times, always with a different woman, almost like he was trying to find the perfect princess. All of the women had been different in some little way, she noticed, but never seemed to meet his expectations. This was why she decided she didn't want a fairytale prince –she wanted someone real.
Letting out a small sigh, she shook her head, bringing herself back to the here and now. She could think about princes later —now she needed to work. Getting off the stool she returned to filling the bakery shelf, with scones, bear claws and turnover. All freshly made and just taken out of the oven, no pre-baked goods for her store. She made her pastries from scratch, which she enjoyed and it made her coffee shop uniquely unique. She tended to sell those in the morning, and when it got a little later she would start baking different kinds of cookies to put on display. Of course this did make her work day a little more difficult but it was the way she liked it, and she wouldn't change any of it, especially now that she'd hired another helping hand to be her assistant.
Her assistant, Isane Kotetsu, was quite a blessing. She was a rather charming woman as well and always eager to do anything Retsu asked. Isane had been down on her luck trying to find a job, when she'd come into the coffee shop. Since she had been alone and looking down, Retsu had brought her tea and handed her a cookie. That was how they met and Retsu had listened to her story. Isane was a culinary arts student, specializing in baking but so far she hadn't been able to find a job good enough to pay the rent on her apartment. Hearing that, Retsu had offered her a job at the coffee shop. Business had picked up and it was beginning to be a little much for just one person to handle. Isane had been ecstatic, and started immediately after that day.
At this moment she was in the back, most likely getting things cleaned up and ready for them to start baking cookies. The woman was a genius in the kitchen, so their dynamics worked out perfectly. Retsu made the coffees and teas; they had a wide selection of each, while Isane did most of the baking. After checking on Isane, Retsu climbed back a top her stool next to the cash register and continued her people-watching. There wasn't much work she could do this late in the morning, but she knew during the lunch hour it would pick up like it always did. Once again she found her thoughts drifting to Prince Charming and his date. Watching them, she almost felt sorry for the woman, whose face flushed with happiness. She'd seen this plenty of times; the girl was so stuck in her fairytales of love and soul mates that she wasn't seeing beyond the surface.
Her daydreams where broken by the sound of the small bell above the door ringing. A charming man with short black hair walked in, with his two companions trailing after –actually the bald man was dragging the other much larger man in. She could hear his complaints from where she sat. Several occupants looked up from what they were doing, but the man in the foul mood paid no notice. While the first man and the bald one who looked nice enough, it was the third man who caught her full attention. He definitely wasn't a prince charming. He had a long face with sharp cheeks, a scar ran down the left side of his face, and he had a strong chin. He was quite startling, and tall….very, very tall.
She watched as he slumped down onto one of the couches and crossed his arms over his chest. He was facing towards the window and hadn't noticed her. Some of the customers around him got up and moved further away and he….he chuckled. She looked back at the other two as they walked closer to place an order.
"Good morning," she greeted, warmly. "What can I get for you today?"
"Umm," the bald man said, his eyes glancing around behind the counter almost as if looking for someone.
"I'll have a caramel latte and one of those apple bear claws," said the man with dark hair, who was nicely dressed in a button up shirt and black slacks. His hair looked like he spent plenty of time getting it just right, and he smelled strongly of cologne but not too over powering like he took a bath in it. She liked that. Retsu put in the order before going to make his coffee and place one of the bear claws on a plate for him. He said his thanks before taking the plate and cup of coffee and walking back to the other man. She took note that he didn't sit next to him, but in a leather chair adjacent to him.
"And for you sir?" she asked the man who was looking a little discontent.
"Just a normal cup of coffee and I guess a blueberry scone," he said, rummaging in his jeans pocket and pulling out an old beat up wallet. He paid for him and his friend. He of the two looked normal wearing just jeans and a shirt. The other man, well she wasn't quite sure what he was wearing. She'd been too distracted by his abrasive presence to notice anything else about him. After he paid, she handed him his order and sat back down on her stool and watched as the bald man sat across from the companion he had dragged in, even though there was plenty of room on the couch.
"Retsu," came Isane's voice before she opened the swinging door that lead to the back. "I can't find the chocolate chips; do you remember where we put them?"
"Why the hell did you drag me in here?" Kenpachi Zaraki asked for the seventh time. He was in a foul mood, since his two friends had dragged him out of the dojo this morning to get some coffee. Like he even liked the damn stuff, he'd rather have sparred this morning then sitting around. Kenpachi owned a Kendo dojo that was a few blocks away from the coffee shop. It wasn't very profitable but he liked teaching kids to become strong, and it helped him train when he wasn't competing in competitions.
"It will do you good to get out and enjoy life," Yumichika Ayasegawa dead panned, from his left. Which just earned him a scowl and a glare, but then again Yumichika was used to Kenpachi's behavior, being his agent. He promoted Kenpachi's main career of competing in different tournaments across the globe. So he ignored his boss and was watching Ikkaku Madarame, who was currently staring at the new woman who'd appeared behind the counter with a dream like expression. Ikkaku was one of Kenpachi's students that seemed to take what Kenpachi said to heart –he was also the only person who could spar with Kenpachi without being defeated within thirty minutes. So now not only had he become Kenpachi's sparring partner but also taught at the dojo. "You know drooling won't make a good impression."
That seemed to snap Ikkaku out of his stupefied state. "I was not drooling," he said peeved. "I was only …admiring."
"What was that?" Yumichika asked, with raised eyebrows. He was enjoying this. "I do believe you said you were admiring a woman?"
"That's why you two dragged me in here?" Kenpachi asked - almost bellowed. "You brought me in here so you could make goo goo eyes at some chick?"
"Excuse me, but could you please keep your voice down," said a woman's soothing voice from behind him. "You are disturbing the other customers."
"Like I give a shi…." He yelled, and turned to the source of the voice only to stop mid sentence. He hadn't noticed her before; he'd been too busy sulking about being dragged into the damn place. Now he was thinking it wasn't so damned anymore.
She was quite pretty, not beautiful like most women or even gorgeous like a model. She was one of those women whose intelligence and personality captured you, but it still didn't stop him from being stupefied by her appearance. She'd even smiled as he'd yelled at her, which he definitely wasn't used to. Most women shied away from him because of his appearance, and then ran for cover crying when he opened his mouth.
"Thank you," she said, still smiling as she left to go back behind the counter where the other woman was.
"I can't believe you did that," Isane said once, Retsu reached the counter. Isane was busy watching the man who was still staring, biting her lip. "You are so brave."
Retsu laughed. "I just asked him to lower his voice," she said, grinning. "There is nothing brave about it."
"Yes there is because I'm terrified of him," Isane admitted, turning her attention back to her boss, who was just shaking her head in amusement.
"I did happen to over hear some of their conversation," Retsu said, walking towards the swinging door. She stopped when she was shoulder to shoulder with Isane. "It would seem one of them has a crush on you." Retsu walked into the back but could hear Isane's shriek before the door was pushed open again and went swinging until it stopped itself.
"A crush?" she asked worriedly. "Which one? Please not the one who was yelling!"
"No, not him," Retsu said finally taking pity on the girl. She looked like she was about to faint. "The bald man." That seemed to calm her down, as she went over to the door and stuck her head out to get a peek at who Retsu was talking about. She brought her head back in before responding.
"I've seen him before," she said, biting her bottom lip. "His name is Ikkaku, he came in a few days ago and I talked to him…he's really nice. I, well I kind of have a crush on him too." Isane had started to blush. "But I didn't think he liked me. I mean all I seemed to kept babbling about where my stupid dreams."
Retsu nodded. Isane had already explained that she seemed to have weird nightmares that kept her from sleeping most nights. She had been worried that, Retsu wouldn't have hired her because of her small problem, which she said she was seeing one of the University's councilors for.
"You should go talk to him then," Retsu suggested, as she turned to start helping Isane with making the cookies. "I'll deal with the cookies while you go speak with him."
"No! I can't! That man is still there," she practically yelled, her eyes glanced through the squared window. They hadn't moved so she let out the breath she was holding. "I mean, that other man scares me. I'd just make a fool of myself. Oh my god, he's walking to the counter. Retsu please don't make me go out there."
Retsu sighed and rolled her eyes. "Alright, just finish up with the cookies," she said, wiping her hands off on the small apron around her waist. She pushed the door open, and when she looked up the man who was yelling was standing at the counter. She hadn't realized exactly how tall he was until he was looming over her. Nor had she realized what he was wearing; a white jacket (which if she wasn't mistaken was a keikogi) and pants with wide legs –which if she was correct were called hakama. She knew that those were mostly used during kendo, so she concluded he either worked at a dojo or practiced at one. Based on his appearance it strangely suited him, she thought.
"Can I help you?" she asked, smiling. She liked tall men.
Kenpachi took a minute before he realized she'd asked him a question. This was a strange experience from cringing women, and he found he kind of liked it. "I don't like coffee," he said abruptly.
"I see," Retsu laughed. "I have quite a selection of teas and juices as well as water. Would you like something like that?"
He frowned when she laughed, no one laughed at him and if they did they didn't stay standing for very long. "What kind of tea do you like?" he asked, gruffly.
"Me? Well I personally enjoy our vanilla almond tea," she said a little surprised by the question.
"I'll take some of that," he said, pulling out a ten dollar bill and placing it on the counter. The small woman took his money and gave him change back, which he promptly placed in the tip jar as she made him his tea. He found that he enjoyed watching her work. She didn't seem so jittery like most people who worked at coffee shops were. And she was graceful, not once spilling a drop as she handled the bizarre looking machines. He liked what she was wearing too; a nice plain colored dress that wasn't so bright that it made his eyes hurt to look at, and it wasn't very revealing like most women wore now of days. It was just a plain crème colored dress tied off with an apron around her waist. Her long black as night hair was braided down her back.
There was something interesting about this woman, which compelled him to talk with her again. Her voice, he liked how it was soothing but had also held some command in it when she'd asked him to stop yelling. It told him she had a strong personality, that and she hadn't shown any sign of fearing him.
"Here you are," she said drawing him out of his thoughts.
"Kenpachi Zaraki," he said, scowling.
Retsu blinked her eyes at the sudden name being thrown at her. "Retsu Unohana," she answered, but still couldn't figure out why he was scowling. Almost as if it pained him to tell her his name, which was silly since she hadn't asked for it. "It's nice to meet you." She continued not sure what he was trying to do, but she felt that his name fit his behavior; it was just as startling as he was.
"Whatever," he grumbled taking his tea. She expected him to go back and sit down, but was surprised when he ordered his two companions up and walked out of the door. The two men frowned, but followed after him anyways. Everyone else in the building seemed to breathe a sigh of relief but she felt somewhat saddened. It wasn't until she was once again day dreaming, as she people-watched that she realized why she had felt a little sad at his departure. He wasn't a prince charming, and she laughed at that thought. No, he certainly wasn't, he seemed more of the evil knight or the chaotic type of character, defiantly not a prince charming and she couldn't be even happier.