There's not one Mashiro story! Not one! For shame!
Beware of lots of long, almost run-on sentences, crack, innuendo, fluff, angst, and more tokusatsu than you can handle. Also, since there's no telling if 100 plus years in Soul Society is the same in the living world, some cultural references to events may be totally inconsistent.
Disclaimer: Of course I don't own Bleach, or else Kensei and Mashiro's bickering in chapter -104 would have been totally R rated. Number 18 was inspired by an awesome lj comment.
Moths and Hurricanes
He was a punk, she was a ditz; and from the moment she first inadvertently insulted him and he had the first urge to strangle her, their fates began to revolve around one another.
Kensei blinked, wondering where he was and what he was doing; then he caught Eishima's worried look and remembered that he was trying to forget that his newly appointed lieutenant had asked that he show her what his tattoo meant since he wouldn't tell her.
She had been on her knees, surrounded by Hollows and completely separated from her squad and zanpakuto when she suddenly found herself in the middle of raw power and swirling chaos; then she caught the look in her captain's eyes as he ran towards her, zanpakuto released, and decades later she still felt like she was in the eye of that storm whenever their eyes met.
Judging from the expletives Mashiro wasn't sure whether or not her captain was pleased with her late arrival to the battle; then he brushed past her, barking orders to the others, and though the touch was small and likely didn't mean anything she felt like she'd been burned.
No one knew that Kensei's often violent outbursts towards his second-in-command were really a front for the awkwardness that came over him after witnessing the contrasting facets of her personality; one minute a total moron, the next highly observant and matter-of-factly.
"…Idiot, why didn't you just say so?" he mumbled even as he moved aside to make room for his teary eyed lieutenant, unable to ignore her shaking form as she curled up fearfully against him ; and he eventually resigned to loosely wrapping an arm around her, listening to mutterings of 'monsters' and 'mother'.
After he wrote the wrong kanji for the tenth time on his report, Kensei's vision colored and he ranted and raved, destroying his desk in the process, knowing without a doubt that he was in fact distracted by what had been painted on someone's perky, pouty lips.
He opened his eyes and glanced at his lieutenant again, his gaze lingering as he noticed that in scratching herself her top had come loose, nearly exposing a tantalizing mound of something he totally should not be thinking about while on this mission.
He didn't want to admit he enjoyed what he saw, and this wasn't the time to get worked up over that; so he told himself as he reached over anyway for the tiniest brush of skin and pulled her collar closed.
As soon as Kensei saw Todo fall and warned Kasaki he screamed her, for once not wanting her at his side in battle but somewhere far, far away.
When he finally found Mashiro on a remote hillside in Karakura, rather than curse her out Kensei stilled as he noticed she was kneeling silently in front of three, empty makeshift graves; after a few moments he clenched his fists, bowed his head and joined her.
The seconds stretched into minutes, and the minutes piled on into hours, drawing out the sickening knot in his stomach as he watched her maintain that form with eerie calm.
"I'd be surprised if the bitch could even make me flin-" Kensei began but was abruptly cut off when he received a vicious kick to the head that sent him and his senses reeling.
Mashiro wondered why Kensei was giving her that nasty look as she handed him another cold compress for that awfully big bruise on his head.
During the 1970s Mashiro seemed to be constantly glued to the TV screen, engrossed in shows that had something to do with cheesy special effects and ridiculous looking monsters and in particular some bug-masked do-gooder; but judging from the glow on her face that seemed have been absent since coming to the living world, she had found her niche, and thirty years later Kensei couldn't complain since she always wore that suit.
"Stop giving me that look, Kensei, of course I'm wearing something under this suit."
He contemplated the horrendously orange scarf in his hand, knowing it wouldn't be cheap and that he would have to look at it every day, but slammed it down on the counter anyway and barked for the store clerk.
"Wow, Kensei, I thought you were wearing that apron for show but this is actually pretty good!" Mashiro commented, not missing the way his ears turned pink before he yelled for her to shut up as he continued cooking the group's dinner.
"Wh… What are you up to?" Kensei demanded, suspicious of the little package Mashiro was holding out to him; and his instincts were proved correct, his right brow twitching upon seeing those damn pink gloves that he wore anyway.
Stupid Kensei, he should have gotten them tighter or something, thought Mashiro vehemently, but though she huffed and puffed and threw hissy fits out of frustration every few minutes she continued dirtying her pristine white uniform as she carefully made her about on all fours on the dusty ground of the training room, looking for the missing earring.
Lisa had told her once that her mask resembled a moth, and it only took a few seconds for Mashiro to put two-and-two together – so THAT'S why she tried to roast marshmallows over Kensei!
It occurred to her in the middle of watch duty one night when Kensei came to relieve her that she wouldn't have it any other way; she would stay and whine and endure just to see that scowling face every day, and the realization made her throat constrict, her eyes water – and yet Mashiro still managed to call him a dirty, dirty pervert.
It took a few hours of pestering but when Kensei finally let her ride on his shoulders, Mashiro turned her face up to the heavens and spread her arms; of course he wouldn't understand that she could only soar with him beneath her.
He had said he didn't remember about Mashiro's insane accomplishment when she first materialized her mask, but the truth was that he didn't want to be reminded of that thing he felt when he realized he missed the ditzy expression hidden behind the monstrosity they had all come to rely on.
"Hachi, if you ever tell anyone that I made this cake I swear I'll fuckin' knife you."
"I just wanted to see you do it once!" she cried, wiping some of the mess from her eyes; Kensei, soaked from his recent 'shower' of lime green paint, was not amused.
"Quite the endearing melody they make," Rose sighed, lazily plucking his guitar as he listened to the latest bout of bickering between the former heads of the 9th Division; nearby, Love hummed in agreement.
Years and years later and Kensei still couldn't shake the feeling of dread and melancholy that came over him at seeing his fallen squad and Tousen's blade protruding from him; Mashiro knew this as she saw him gazing vacantly over the city, frowning, still angry and still mourning.
City lights stretched out for miles from where he could see atop that building, and for a moment he felt small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things; but there was that feeling, Mashiro's back resting against his, and he knew that however small and insignificant they may be they would be standing side-by-side until the very end of whatever awaited them.
She stilled her tongue for once, soaking in the temporary peace of the world around her and the feel of Kensei resting on her abdomen, thinking that even breathing too loudly would shatter this moment.
As Kensei growled and pushed her up against the sealed door, Mashiro smiled against his bruising kisses and mentally gave herself a high-five for hiding the key to the janitor's closet.
"So, anyway, if ya really wanna see whether or not gigai function completely like real bodies, be my guest," Shinji concluded, completely deadpan though mentally he was pointing and laughing his ass off at Kensei's horrified expression.
"Oh, and before you tell me, just so you know mine is be on top, eating mochi off your chest and singing 'Sakura' twice before I let you come," Mashiro said quickly before he could answer – but Kensei didn't, his mind having turned to complete fizz that rendered forming a coherent response impossible.
More than snow or green tea ice cream or an early morning February breeze, Mashiro loved most the refreshing chill of Kensei's piercings on her flushed skin to cool her down.
It started as a tic, and soon grew into a full-blown throbbing vein on his head as Kensei glared incredulously up at Mashiro who was leaning over him, pouting and giving him that look, begging for something that he was too damn tired to do at this time of the night.
"But Kenseeeeiii, in order for us to unite as one we have to do it right!" Mashiro whined while rolling about and kicking her legs, but he would be damned if he did that fusion technique.
With her head propped up on one hand, Mashiro trailed the fingers of her free hand over Kensei's form, curious about how something so tough and firm could be so soft and squishy on the inside; she was on her twentieth poke when he grabbed her hand and told her to cut it out.
Now, Kensei could argue that his silver hair was brought from stress due to a certain highly annoying, totally childish and possibly insane wanna-be super sentai little slip of a girl – but in the over century long period in which he had known her, he had never, EVER figured out how her hair was thatdamn naturally green.
Mashiro sat perfectly still, barely moving or blinking and not daring to move her eyes one tiny bit, lest she get distracted – because Kensei told her if she could just be patient for a few damn minutes while he got everyone's bento, he would finally show her what his tattoo meant.
It occurred to him in the middle of dinner one day while Mashiro was blowing raspberries at him that it would always be like this; that infuriating and hopelessly endearing girl would never leave his side yet he didn't mind – and Kensei was sorely tempted to pound his head against a rock.
"…you too, Kensei…" Mashiro murmured, and not knowing that she was awake, he tightened his hold on her from behind and growled, "I didn't say anything, go back to sleep."
Since the dummy couldn't make up his mind, Mashiro decided to officially announce their relationship status to the rest of the Vizard by slapping his ass just before he went to spar with Love.
Kensei looked at his gloved hands, recalled Mashiro's, and briefly thought that if he did it no one would even notice; he scowled, dashed those thoughts and continued on his way past the jewelry store.
"They need a lot of cowbells, right?" Mashiro answered when Shinji reported that there was an epidemic spreading through Karakura; there was a smacking sound as Kensei's palm met his forehead.
Everything around him blurred into nothing but streaks of lights and there was the wind whistling in his ears – and sure, Mashiro's squeals too, but so what – and Kensei couldn't have been happier, revving the motorcycle engine so Mashiro clung to him even tighter, riding forward and onward to Hell, to victory, wherever the road of their crazy lives led them.
It was strange, the clouds looked like they were moving up really fast along with a stream of blood that came from who knows where, he couldn't feel a damn thing, and why the hell was Mashiro screaming?
It was Kensei, plummeting through the air and leaving a trail of far too much blood in his wake and not responding to her screams of get up, get up oh please no no no thisisn'thappening GET UP.
It was a surreal, supernatural event for the Vizard seeing Mashiro – silly, childish, ditzy, sweet Mashiro – scream a battle cry, don her mask and charge Tousen alone, slashing away like a mad woman.
"Look, Kensei," Mashiro said quietly, holding his broken form and ignoring her own profuse injuries as she watched a hole open in the sky, Ichigo and that girl bursting through in a brilliant shower of light, headed straight for Aizen who had just raised his hand to extract the souls around them, "those kids are here, we're gonna win… you can open your eyes now…"
This was their lives on the line, because if he died now there was no 'we' or 'us' and she had no reason or purpose without him there to annoy and frustrate and stay by and – finally, there it was, a tiny puff of air against her hovering lips; I'm not leaving you either, idiot.