Completely revamped: 2011-09-01
Behind the heavy double doors to Shihouin Yoruichi's spacious office, an unusually heated discussion between said Squad Captain and Urahara Kisuke – Division Third Seat, resident mad genius and much longsuffering friend, among other things – was sending shivers of fear up and down the spines of the Shihouin's motley crew of loyal underlings.
"You'll like it, I promise. Think about it, it even sounds good!"
"Why are you looking so upset? It's not like I'm putting you away in the Nest for the rest of eternity, though I'm seriously tempted to lock you up for being so careless about your own future!"
"But what? I understand if you're overwhelmed by my incredible kindness, grace and beauty, but you're not making any sense."
"Have I told you lately that you're being such an idiot about this?"
"You have, multiple times. I'm just trying to be realistic."
"Yoruichi, I'm serious!"
"And what makes you think I'm not?"
"For the last time, I really don't think—"
"Oh come on, live a little! Are you a man or aren't ya?!"
"I know what you're trying to do, and I can tell you now that it's not going to work, still I wouldn't call this a question of—"
"Call it what you want, just say you'll do it already!"
"What do you mean 'no'?"
"It means exactly what it sounds like. I refuse."
"You can't refuse – it's an honour to even be considered! Why are you being so stubborn?"
"I learnt from the best."
"This isn't good enough. I want an explanation."
"And I gave it to you, twice. I'm very, eh, flattered, but this sort of thing isn't me."
"Kisuke, you know how I've always tried to be your friend first and Captain second—"
"I know. And I'm grateful."
"That's nice. But as I was going to say: even so, I'm prepared to make an exception just this once."
"Yoruichi, you can't make me accept."
"Why not? I went through a lot of trouble to make this happen, you know!"
"I can imagine. But if you had bothered to talk to me first, then we wouldn't be having this argument in the first place and we would both be much happier people for it!"
"Look, the bottom line is that you serve in MY division and live under MY roof. Yeah. You think about that."
"That's low. Even for you."
"So what if it is! Somebody needs to look out for you, because you're clearly won't! Besides, you forget who you're talking to. I'm a Shihouin; it runs in the family, and you've known me for too long to care anyway."
"So what do you say?"
"Thank you, but no thank you."
"I can't accept that."
"What do you want me to say? 'I'm forever in your debt, Highness. I'll do anything you ask'?"
"Actually, I'd rather like that."
"I'm hopeless? You're the one—"
"Yoruichi, STOP! I'm NOT changing my mind, so would you please—"
"YORUICHI-SAMA! How shall I dispose of this low-life for you?"
"I think she means you. Soifon, don't make such a racket!"
"B-But Yoruichi-sama! Such disgraceful conduct—"
"And what about the damage to my door, eh?"
"I wouldn't worry about it… It really doesn't look too bad. Nothing Fourth Division can't fi—"
"SILENCE, YOU! Yoruichi-sama didn't give you permission to speak!"
"You're being noisy."
"M-My sincerest apologies, Yoruichi-sama!"
"Forgive my insolence! It won't happen again!"
"This is a private conversation."
"O-Of course, Yoruichi-sama! Immediately, Yoruichi-sama! I'll just be nearby in case you... need me."
"What was that all about?"
"Who knows. She's lurking again."
"Then I take it that this happens a lot?"
"I forget that you spend your days holed up, conversing dangerous elements, and that you don't get out very often... yes, repeatedly. I think it has become a habit."
"Charming. But I'm glad that you've noticed that I take my job seriously. Not that I mind; dangerous doesn't make anyone degenerate, usually. They're interesting in their own way."
"So you tell me."
"Who was the girl? She's a new face."
"Kisuke, if you're trying to change the subject…"
"Not at all. I'm genuinely curious."
"You're always curious."
"I investigate things for a living. What do you expect?"
"Fine. But Soifon is hardly a new face. In fact, she has been with me for several years now."
"Yes… I thought she might be Special Forces. A member of the Fon clan, I presume?"
"Not bad. Lucky guess?"
"Basic reasoning skills."
"Soifon is their last, apparently."
"She's still very young."
"They always are. But I put this one in my personal guard, so I can keep an eye on her."
"My, my… That's not like you, Yoruichi."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"I was just referring to the blatant favouritism."
"Hah, don't be stupid! There is more potential in that girl than in all of her brothers put together. When I'm done with her, she'll be good, Kisuke. Very, very good."
"I don't doubt that."
"Eh? What's with that face? Are you laughing at your superior, Urahara?"
"I never thought that I would see the day when you took on a student of your own. I mean, who swore on her zanpakutou never to become one of 'them'?"
"That was a long time ago. And unless I'm mistaken, it's a girl's prerogative to change her mind."
"You're not a girl."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You've never been 'just' a girl. You've always seemed to know what you wanted, even back then."
"I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice. It was either this or getting married."
"Ah, such are the problems of the rich and famous…"
"Save it, Kisuke. It's harder than you think."
"Well, I hope it didn't pass you by how Soifon had absolutely no idea of who you are."
"Most people don't."
"…and that doesn't bother you? Not even a little? You're a THIRD Seat!"
"I'm not a limelight kind of guy, you know that."
"If I do…! Urahara Kisuke, what on Ginrei-san's sacred kenseikan am I supposed to do with you?"
"I wasn't aware that you were obliged to do anything."
"And I shouldn't be! But if I don't, then you'll just keep drifting along year after year after year!"
"First of all, I don't 'drift'. Secondly, I am perfectly happy with the extent of—"
"Kisuke, I want you to listen carefully, because I'll only say this once. You're stubborn and annoying, and sometimes I wonder if it is your mission in life to drive me crazy, but you're better than this – I know you, Kisuke! I know that you don't like to admit it, but you're easily captain-class, and I know for sure that you have a bankai hidden up your sleeve somewhere; you have the brains and the leadership experience that most candidates could only dream of; and you're… well, you're half-decent, I suppose. The position is perfect for you, so stop being such a wimp and accept your fate already!"
"A fate you chose for me, you mean! Yoruichi, I appreciate your concern, I do, but I'm not the right person for this. And now if you would excuse me, I've got work to do."
"You're not going anywhere, Urahara! Not until your Captain has dismissed you."
"Then what? This is pointless. We won't reach a solution this way."
"Don't look at me. It's not my fault."
"…I never thought that it would come to this, but let's settle this in the usual way."
"That's fine with me – best of three?"
"I haven't got all day."
"Then it all rides on this one time and the loser definitely loses, agreed?"
"SAISHO WA GUU! JAN-KEN-PON!"
"HAH! Just as expected, I am triumphant!"
"Yoruichi, what is THAT?"
"It's a zanpakutou, and I'm pretty sure that it's sharper than your choki."
"…impossible! That's not even a legal—"
"Just accept it, Kisuke. According to the rules, the loser definitely loses. You lost."
"But it's cheating! There's no 'zanpakutou' in this! The game is 'jan-ken-pon', not 'jan-ken-pon-zanpakutou'!"
"It was your idea to play, nobody forced you. Besides, if you're stupid enough to wager your entire career on a children's game, then I think you kind of deserve it."
"Great! The final interview with Yamamoto is scheduled for tomorrow morning, okay? Try not to be late. The old man is a stickler for punctuality. It'll be a piece of cake, trust me... Don't look so worried!"
"That will be all, Kisuke. You may leave now."
"Wait… Wait a minute! I'm not going to—"
"Okay, okay! There's no need for that! I get it! In the morning, I'll be interviewed by the Head-Captain of all the Corps who I've never even seen up-close for a position I never asked for, and I promise not to be late. Happy?"
"Good boy, Kisuke."
"I don't like this."
"Would you stop complaining? You're making this into a much bigger deal than it actually is."
"…you're too much, Yoruichi. I have a meeting to get to. I'll see you at home."
"Actually, there is one more thing..."
"I'm invited to the Kuchiki mansion for dinner tonight, which means that we are invited."
"You don't think that Kuchiki-taichou should get a say in all this?"
"Nice try. Ginrei-san won't mind… and Byakuya really needs to learn how to socialize with people. I don't know what they are teaching him, but his manners are dreadful. The kid spends way too much time with training dummies, if you ask me.
"I'm not surprised. He has a lot to live up to."
"Pfft, Byakuya's main problem is that he takes himself so seriously! Did you know that he spent four hours chasing me around the gardens the last time I was over? And why? For stealing his hair tie. If I had made off with his zanpakutou or some priceless family heirloom, then I'd sort of understand, but it was a hair tie – a hair tie, Kisuke!"
"So you say, but I suspect that there's a bit more to the story than that."
"Of course not. But even if there was, it's not my fault that Kuchiki junior is a cocky brat when everyone knows that cocky brats make the best targets ever!"
"I knew it. You were trying to rile him up, weren't you?"
"I was educating him. Though it worked a lot better on Kai-chan. But then Shiba's got an actual sense of humour, while Byakuya… Still, I think you'll like him. Byakuya, I mean."
"I know I joke around a lot, but Byakuya is talented, Kisuke. I mean, really talented. He's still just a kid, but he'll be lieutenant-class one day, probably even higher. But you'll see for yourself tonight."
"That's a lot of praise coming from you."
"Shut up, I'm always nice and helpful. Anyway, make sure to be ready by seven, okay? Remember to dress nice."
"I don't suppose that I have much choice in this either."
"No, none whatsoever."
"I thought so."
"Don't look so glum, you'll get to see the stunning Shihouin princess decked out in all her glory! I really wish I didn't have to go all out, though – you know how I don't particularly like formalwear. It's heavy and it itches."
"How wonderful. I'm sure it will be an enticing evening."
"You know it. So, I guess we're done here… This was a lot easier than I had expected."
"Don't flatter yourself, Yoruichi. I still say you cheated."
"Come on, you'll like being a Captain! Squad Twelve would be such a good fit for you. I wouldn't have gone through all the work to nominate you for the position if I didn't think it would suit you, give me some credit here! Besides, now you'll have a chance to finally build that lab-thing you've been talking about since the Academy."
"And it's not just me. Nobody opposed the idea straight out, and Unohana-san and Ukitake-san even said that they were supporting my recommendation of you. So as long as you don't mess up your interview tomorrow, you'll be a Captain in no time!"
"But seriously, Yoruichi, it's the Twelfth Division of the Gotei Thirteen we're talking about here. It's an entire division – with people!"
"Don't worry so much, Urahara-taichou. You'll do just fine."
"What is it now?"
"I suppose it has a nice ring to it. 'Urahara-taichou'."
"Told you so."
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.