So, let me fall,

If I must fall.

I won't heed your warnings

I won't hear them…

-Let Me Fall, Cirque du Soleil


"So… this is what the people here wear?" She fingered the short skirt that barely covered her thighs distastefully, a dubious brow lifting as she studied the pleated article. "It seems a little impractical."

Kisuke smiled and shrugged, secretly liking the fact that the skirt was just a little short than was probably acceptable at school. There was only one reason why he had a school girl uniform in his shop, and it was not so that Ururu could play dress up. But Miss Kuchiki didn't need to know that. "Fashion usually is, or at least that's always been my observation," he replied amicably, tipping his own fashion faux pas lower over his eyes. "Just be mindful of bending over and you'll be fine."

She snorted and a wry smirk tried to make itself known on her lips. "Oh, I don't know," she mocked, settling her hands on her hips and giving him a rather mischievous look. "That could work to my advantage; distract everyone with an illicit shot of my panties and run for it while they're all in a stupor."

That… was an intriguing notion. He could just imagine the mayhem that would ensue when the newest student in school suddenly gave everyone an eyeful of her Chappy printed underpants. Yes, he already knew what kind of panties she was wearing. He'd been the one to acquire them for her, after all. She hadn't been too comfortable with the notion of him finding her panties, and he'd initially been reluctant to inform her that the only underwear in his shop was, regrettably, the kind with Chappy the Rabbit printed squarely on the ass. But the minute she'd spotted that rabbit's face (and saw that the bra matched the panties), her eyes had lit up and she'd all but ripped the articles from his hand to put on.

He wasn't sure if it was interesting or disturbing that she seemed to have a fetish for smiling, cartoon rabbits. At least it had made her more agreeable to the, ah… slightly short skirt. And he had to admit that the uniform did look good on her. It was practically a crime against nature that those legs were typically hidden underneath baggy hakama.

Kisuke took a deep breath and released it slowly, watching her as she twisted around in front of the full length mirror he'd had Tessai pull out of storage for her use. She was definitely more active than she had been the night before, which was a very good thing. She'd come dangerously close to figuring out that the gigai he was loaning her wasn't, in fact, normal at all. He hadn't lied to her when he'd told her it was custom made to mask the reiatsu of the user. It did… but it worked in conjunction with the hogyoku that was now safely hidden inside her. The gigai acted as a buffer for spiritual energy while the hogyoku slowly broke that energy down and converted it into another matter; life. And, once all that energy was converted… the hogyoku would cease to exist.

He wasn't ashamed to admit that when she'd commented on how the gigai didn't feel right, his stomach had done a really nauseating back flip. Fortunately though, it was just a simple matter of untwisting the reiatsu rather than her picking up on the hogyoku's presence. Any differences in the way she moved or the lack of spiritual energy she could draw upon was now apparently being blamed on shoddy craftsmanship. It hurt his ego something fierce that she didn't know just how very well made the gigai was… but he'd just have to suck it up and sulk in private. The supply closet in back was a good place for that sort of thing.

Kisuke reached inside his coat and pulled out some neatly folded documents from the inside pocket. The movement had caught her attention, causing her to stop tugging futilely at the back of the skirt to keep it from rising up. She frowned as he unfolded the documents and passed them over to her. "You'll need these," he explained as she looked the papers over curiously.

"And what exactly are these?" she demanded, leafing through the papers as she scanned them over quickly.

"Documentation to get you into the school of course. You've got everything you'll need right there; transfer papers, transcript of grades, proof of tuition… Everything."

Miss Kuchiki nodded thoughtfully, her features softening a little as she continued reading the details. "So… a black market dealer and a forger," she mused, sparing him a look over the edge of the papers. "Anything else you want to add to the list?"

"There's nothing black about my market, thank you very much. And you forgot to mention incredibly handsome, wonderfully intelligent and witty."

"When those are traits you actually possess, I'll add them on."

Oooooouch. Kisuke winced, pressing a hand to his chest as if his heart were about to shatter into a million pieces. All that act did was make her smile widen. She was truly heartless. Sighing dismally, he handed her two small cards, both of which were laminated. "Here, you'll need these as well. School ID and proof of citizenship."

She took them from him absently, all her attention focused on one of the papers he'd given her before. Eyebrows pinching together as a dark scowl turned her lips downward, her blue eyes flashed angrily in his direction. "This says here my mathematics are below average."

"Well…"

"My math skills are not below average!"

Rubbing and hand along the back of his neck sheepishly, Kisuke shrugged and offered up an apologetic grin. "I apologize, Miss Kuchiki, but my colleagues and I didn't have enough time to completely forge the documents. We had to… borrow someone else's academic information."

Miss Kuchiki's eyes narrowed as she clicked her tongue disapprovingly. "Great. So now I have to pretend to be an idiot," she said tightly.

"Not completely. I mean, your language skills are above average at least."

"Then I'm an idiot with a big mouth. How wonderful."

Kisuke hung his head heavily and let out a soft groan. He couldn't win for losing some days. Rubbing his eyes wearily, he repeated more firmly, "We did the best we could with such short notice, Miss Kuchiki. If you'd given us one or two more days, we could have had documentation more suited for you. Seeing as you were insistent on finding this boy right away… this is the best we can offer."

Her lips twisted ruefully as her grip on the papers tightened ever so slightly. Then, with a haughty tilt of her chin, she folded the papers and tucked them into the pocket of her blazer. "Well, it isn't like this is going to be a long term situation or anything. I suppose I can make do."

His brow arched slowly at her confidence as he flicked the rim of his hat back just enough for her to meet his gaze. "I don't make it a habit of being pessimistic, Miss Kuchiki, but this isn't something that can be resolved in only a couple days. Spirit energy is a very fickle, delicate thing."

She folded her arms across her chest and gave him a distinctly displeased looked. "Then what do you suggest?"

He shrugged and rubbed his jaw idly. Two days worth of growth scratched against his knuckles, reminding him he should probably shave today. There were ways to separate the reiatsu from a person, but none of them would work in this situation. For one thing, from what he understood of the situation it sounded like this boy acted almost like a vacuum for spiritual energy. He had taken a lot more of Miss Kuchiki's energy than she'd anticipated, which meant he had some of his own to begin with. Separating it from him forcibly could do damage to his own reiatsu.

Then, of course, there was also the fact that Miss Kuchiki was no longer capable of containing reiatsu. Without her, the energy had nowhere else to go.

Naturally, he couldn't explain all this to her so instead he said slowly, "My advice would be… wait and let it return naturally. He can't hold you power forever, after all. It's your spirit energy. But to forcibly remove it from him would be extremely dangerous. At best, the reiatsu would dissolve completely. At worst, the boy could die. It is a possibility… but do you want to attempt it?"

She didn't even take a moment to consider his request. She pinned him with a scathing look and bit out curtly, "Of course not! I didn't save his life just to risk killing him again! What's the logic in that?"

Even though he knew the topic wasn't very funny, he couldn't help the light chuckle at her indignant outrage. Plucking his hat from his head and holding it to his chest, Kisuke bowed deeply to her. "Well answered, Miss Kuchiki. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to simply wait it out until your powers return."

"Any idea on how long that could take?" she pressed, still glaring at him. It was good to see she had such a healthy respect for life… but did she still have to look at him like she had half a mind to knee him in the groin?

Letting out a long, low breath that ruffled the hair falling into his eyes, Kisuke shook his head, his arms rising away from his sides to indicate he didn't have the answer. "It could be a week. It could be a year. There's no real way to gauge something like this since there are so many affecting variables." This time, his answer was completely true. The only thing she didn't know was that her reiatsu wasn't going to return at all.

Miss Kuchiki made a humming noise that was part speculation and part displeasure at his response. After several seconds of mulling the situation over, she finally sighed heavily and murmured, "Very well then. I'll just have to make do."

Smiling as reassuringly as he could, Kisuke crooked his finger at her, beckoning her to follow him. "I do have a couple more items for you, Miss Kuchiki. Though, unlike the paperwork… I'm afraid I will have to charge for these."

He heard her give a short, dry laugh as she followed him from the living area into the back portion of the shop where all Soul Reaper business was conducted. "Put it on my tab," she replied sarcastically, causing him to grin over his shoulder at her. She had a fantastically quick wit. It was a shame things had to be the way they were though. Finding someone to exchange clever repartee with was such a rare thing.

Kisuke pulled a small ring of keys from the hidden pocket inside his sleeve as they approached one of the many locked doors lining the hallway. This part of the shop was essentially a giant warehouse that stored all of the items his otherworldly clientele wanted. Some of the items were inventions of his that had been tested and deemed fit to sell. Other items were obtained from the Soul Society itself by… connections. It wasn't quite the black market that Miss Kuchiki had stated, but it certainly wasn't completely in the white. He liked to think of it as being a medium-ish shade of grey.

He found the key he was looking for and undid the padlock. The padlock was there to keep any human customers from poking around in his affairs. It certainly wasn't enough to keep out a determined Soul Reaper. That was what the wards just inside the doorway were for. Anyone who didn't know how to unravel them would be lucky if getting their brain fried was all that happened.

Kisuke slid the door open and put out his arm to stop Miss Kuchike when she made as if to enter. "Careful now," he cautioned as he knelt in the door way and began drawing on his own spiritual energy. "Don't wanna set off a booby trap, now do we?"

She gave an irritated huff but remained where she was standing while Kisuke slowly traced a finger along the edge of the entry way. Undoing a warding kido was a little like unraveling yarn that was twisted and knotted up on itself. One wrong tug and there'd be an unfixable problem. Right now, he was trying to find where the end of that thread was. It should be on the floor near the entrance… but that was never a guarantee. It all depended on who had entered the storeroom last.

Triumph was his when he found it tucked neatly in the right hand corner, exactly where he'd left it. As soon as his finger connected with the thin line of energy, it reacted as if he'd suddenly charged it with electricity. A slightly thrum of energy surged from his finger up his arm, an odd sensation of being tickled and pinched at the same time. There was a slight whoosh as the entire entry way lit up in pale blue-white light. That light raced from the point of contact between him and the kido, tracing each and every curve and twist as it crisscrossed over the doorway.

He heard her gasp from behind him and glanced up at her with a small smile as her eyes tried to keep up with the flow of energy. There was no rhyme or reason to the pattern, nor did the strands stay fixed in one place. They constantly swayed and shifted, tightening and loosening the knots as it moved. Gaps that would have been big enough for Ururu or Jinta to crawl through were there for the blink of an eye and then gone again as the blue lines filled it in.

Kisuke couldn't help feeling a little pleased with himself as Miss Kuchiki continued to gape at the intricate kido in surprise. "And now, for my next trick…," he quipped, just as he unleashed his reiatsu into the tangled web. Immediately, a reddish tint began to weave its way over the blue, turning the threads an ugly purple color before the red sank in fully. Wherever the red traveled, the cords began to unwind themselves, hissing like silk against stone when they touched. Once unwound, the red strands pooled in a neat pile near his knees, coiling itself neatly and laying completely still.

It only took a minute to undo the kido and she stood there watching it the entire time with an open mouth. The last of the ward fell down completely, leaving a neat little bundle of glowing red on the floor. Kisuke stood up with a sigh as he shook out his hand a little to lose the lingering tingles from where his energy and the kido's had clashed. He stepped over the now safe threshold and reached over to flick on the overhead lights. Halogen bulbs flickered a few times before coming up and bathing the room in a dull glow. Yes, he saw the irony of having a top-notch security system and really poor electrical. But all the warehouses in the movies had shady lighting, so why should his be any different?

Kisuke had only taken a couple steps into the neatly organized room before he realized his customer hadn't followed him. Glancing over his shoulder, his eyebrows rose as Miss Kuchiki continued to run her fingers over the doorway. "I assure you, it's completely safe," he called to her, causing her to jump.

"I've never seen a binding spell like that before," she commented softly as she hurried into the room after him. "You didn't have to verbalize it either! That's incredible!"

The amount of awe in her voice actually made a touch of heat come to his cheeks. Clearing his throat lightly, Kisuke bowed his head in her direction and said, "You're being far too kind, Miss Kuchiki." There were far better kido users than him in the world, two of which he was very good friends with. If she thought that was something, he couldn't imagine what she'd do if she ever witnessed Tessai giving it his all.

"Still… It was impressive," she insisted. "Just who are you again?"

"Urahara Kisuke, a humble shopkeeper." He grinned at her when she rolled her eyes. In a way, it was a little sad she hadn't heard his name mentioned before. He'd at least thought the Soul Society would have used him as an example of what not to do. How disappointing his 'truant' behavior was no longer being talked about.

"With skills like that, you'd be very useful in the Soul Society. You might even be good enough to make second seat."

Her words were both amusing and painful at the same time. She had no idea that he'd been just a little higher ranked than second seat, nor did she know the circumstances that had changed that. She didn't know how much it still hurt to think he would never be able to return there again.

Before she could go any further with that line of conversation, Kisuke said in a convincingly collected voice, "If you intend to have this boy act in your role, you're going to need two things; a pager and a means to separate his spirit from his body. I'm currently all out of gikongai, so you'll have to use something else."

"Which is…?"

Smiling, Kisuke stopped at a row of shelves and pulled out a thin, white box. He lifted the lid and removed the item from inside, handing it to her to inspect. "I'm sure you've seen one of these before."

Miss Kuchiki grimaced and nodded as she tugged the leather glove in place on her hand. "They used these at the Academy for gigai training. Will this actually work on a human?"

"It should. You might have to smack him a little harder than usual to get it to work, but it should do the job."

She nodded slowly as she pulled the glove free and tucked it into one of her pockets. "This is fine for now, but if this takes longer than one week I'll need you to order some Soul Candy."

Cringing at the use of the term 'Soul Candy', Kisuke nodded once. "I'll see what I can do."

"Also, if it's possible… I want a Chappy dispenser."

Again with the rabbit… Sighing, he repeated, "I'll see what I can do." While he didn't understand everyone's fascination with the white creature, he did understand the concept of supply and demand. The higher the demand, the more the supply. Sometimes though, it was impossible to maintain an even balance between the two. And that was exactly the case with Chappy the Rabbit; so many people wanted him that keeping up with demand (or acquiring the supply) was difficult. He hadn't even been able to procure the Chappy plushie for Ururu's birthday a few months back. He doubted he'd be able to get a dispenser… but he always did like a challenge.

A satisfied smirk came to her lips as she crossed her arms over her chest once again. "And the pager?"

He motioned for her to continue following him. "This way. It's last year's model, I'm afraid."

"Nothing a little more… new?"

"Sorry, no. Getting a hold of the latest is a little tricky, and the few that I did have in stock have already found nice homes. However… I did manage to tweak the old ones so that they're at least comparable in function. The detection time is now between point-four to point-six seconds of Hollow appearance, which is just about where the newer model is at."

She didn't look entirely pleased to be using a rigged model, but she took it anyway when he handed to her. Kisuke kept the friendly look on his face as she turned the device on and began fiddling with the buttons. If he weren't convinced that he was already going to hell before, he certainly was now. How many lies had he told her? Well, whatever the number was it needed one more added on. The pager was an older model and he had done a customizing job on it, but it went a little further than simply increasing the detection time. That particular pager was the same one he gave to Ururu and Jinta. It not only detected Hollows but also acted as a homing beacon that he could use to track the carrier.

Now, he'd know exactly where she was, every minute of the day. While he was fairly certain the hogyoku was safely hidden away inside her, there was still the chance that trackers from the Soul Society could show up any day and reclaim her. Considering someone from Soul Society was after the orb to begin with, he wasn't taking any precautions concerning its safety. Miss Kuchiki was not only the means to destroying the hogyoku but she was also serving as bait to lure out whoever tried to take it to begin with.

Kisuke's attention was drawn to the door as Ururu shuffled into view, her wide eyes studying the floor timidly as she folded her hands in front of her. "I don't mean to interrupt," she said softly, causing his customer to whirl around in surprise. Ururu flinched a little at the sudden movement but she recovered quickly and gave a polite, if hurried, bow. "I-I'm sorry. But, Mr. Urahara… She's here to see you."

That made his eyebrows shoot up in surprise. "Really?" he drawled, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well… This is certainly a pleasant surprise." Then, turning to Miss Kuchiki, he touched the shady brim of his hat and motioned for her to proceed him. "I'm truly sorry, Miss Kuchiki, but this is a rather… special client."

"Is that so?" she questioned tightly, giving him a disapproving look. "Please, don't let me keep you from your business." The way she said the last word made it obvious she thought he was entertaining a woman, and not in the polite host sense either. Most people would have been offended of that assumption. He, thankfully, was not like most people.

A slow, teasing smile spread across his lips at her misunderstanding as he met her gaze steadily. "You're welcome to join us if you want, Miss Kuchiki. I'm certain she wouldn't mind in the least," he drawled, putting just the right amount of purr to his voice to substantiate her false assumption. Really, how could he pass an opportunity like this by?

The bright burst of pink across her pale cheeks made him chuckle under his breath. Her mouth opened and closed several times as she tried to find her voice again. Ururu, who was still standing in the doorway, remained completely oblivious to the slightly inappropriate exchange. Thank goodness for the innocence of youth.

Still chuckling, Kisuke pulled his fan out from his sleeve and began walking toward the door. "If you'll excuse me, Miss Kuchiki, I have a pussy that needs attending." He flicked the fan open with a quick motion and ignored the indignant sound from the woman behind him. "Ururu, will you please get Miss Kuchiki situated with school books?"

"Oh! Yes, Mr. Urahara," the girl said as she stepped hastily out of his, her eyes down turned to study her bare toes. She looked up though when he patted her head kindly, a happy, bashful smile just barely curving her lips. Kisuke smiled and winked back as he moved passed her. If there was one thing he really loved in the world, it was seeing that girl smile.

Kisuke swung Benihime idly as he walked down the narrow hall of the storage area back into the main housing portion of his establishment. He didn't need Ururu to tell him where she was waiting. Even if he hadn't already know, he'd become so intoned to her presence that he would have sensed her anyway. There was no way Shihouin Yoruichi would ever be able to hide herself completely from him, not even in her cat form.

As he'd suspected, she was right where he knew she would be. He leaned against the doorframe to his room and grinned at the black ball of fur curled up in his rumpled sheets, purring up a storm in the warm sunlight coming from the partially open window. She looked like she was sleeping, but he knew she wasn't. Yoruichi was waiting for him to make the first move.

"So… It's been seven months, twelve days and thirty-four hours since you last graced me with your presence," he said in greeting. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you didn't like me."

Slowly, one golden eye opened to regard him dryly. "You're assuming I liked you to begin with," she replied before breaking off into a wide yawn that showed off painfully sharp teeth to perfection. She held his gaze steadily, her eyes reflecting the same defiant mischief that he was used to seeing in human form. Slowly, she arched her back and stretched her paws out in front of her… and purposely sank her claws deeply into his nice sheets. She gave a couple tugs just for good measure before sitting upright and flicking her tail back and forth over his pillow.

Kisuke frowned at the new snags in his sheets and sighed heavily as he rubbed a hand down his face. "Are you mad at me, Yoruichi?" he questioned, hoping that the answer would be no. The last time she'd been mad at him she'd disappeared for seven months, twelve days and thirty-four hours… after leaving a host of dead mice in his hat. At the time, he'd been more upset over the hat than her leaving.

"No, not yet. But that can always change. Why do I smell Soul Reaper all over your bed?"

"Is that jealousy I hear?"

"Is that avoiding the question I hear?"

Laughing softly, Kisuke ventured over and dropped onto the bed beside her, smirking as the force of his landing nearly toppled her over the side and onto the floor. Yoruichi gave him a dirty look, which he ignored in favor of picking at one of the snags she'd made. "I had an unexpected guest, that's all," he replied honestly, purposely leaving off any of the details. He already knew what she was going to say about it and he didn't feel like explaining he really had no choice.

Yoruichi rearranged herself on the bed, tucking her tail safely under her stomach and curling her paws toward her chest. Her eyes drifted closed once again and she immediately began purring when he scratched under her chin lightly. After several seconds in which neither of them said anything, she cracked one eye open and said in a lazy, contented tone, "Let me rephrase that; how did an unexpected guest from the Soul Society find their way into your bed, and just who is this unexpected guest?"

Sighing, Kisuke tugged his hat down to cover his entire face and mumbled reluctantly, "I found her last night on the Miyasuki Bridge. She'd just fought off a Hollow and in the process she'd been stripped of her power." He couldn't see it, but he could feel that both golden eyes were now open and watching him suspiciously. "So… I brought her back here and gave her a gigai to borrow."

"Kisuke… you didn't." Her voice was a mixture of aggravation and horror. She was no longer purring and was now so still that he knew he was about to get a vicious swipe if he wasn't careful about what he said.

He rolled over onto his side, his hat spilling off his head to roll across the bed behind him. As casually as he could, he pulled his hand out of striking distance and gave her a hard look that matched the one she was giving him. "It was an opportunity, Yoruichi. Possibly the only one that we would have had."

Her groan sounded a little like a growling purr as she covered her nose with one paw. "Why?" she moaned. "Why did the fates have to stick me with you?"

"Aww… I'm not that bad," he pouted.

The glare she flashed him said otherwise. A sharply exhaled breath made her fur covered cheeks puff out irritably. "Does this mystery woman have a name?" she grumbled, her tail lashing furiously across the sheets.

Ah… the one question he'd been hoping she wouldn't ask. Flinching in preparation for the pain he knew was about to come, Kisuke quickly mumbled, "KuchikiRukia."

"Pardon?"

"You heard me."

"You know damn well I didn't!"

"Perhaps we should have a vet check out your- OW!" Kisuke rubbed the fresh red marks on his hand and sulked. Yoruichi was growling under her breath as he examined his hand. No blood had been drawn, but the only reason he wasn't was because it had been a warning scratch. If he didn't answer her honestly, he was going to walk away from the discussion with shredded skin. Edging away from her further, Kisuke cleared his throat and said clearly, "Kuchiki Rukia."

There was a beat of silence before Yoruichi screamed, "Are you out of your damn MIND?!"

Kisuke rolled away quickly as sharpened claws went lunging for his face. His arms flailed wildly as he fell off the side and hit the ground hard, wincing as it jarred his back. "Yoruichi! Can't we talk about this in a civilized fashion?" he called as he just narrowly dodged another attack that would have hit him in a very painful place.

"We'll talk after I kill you," she snarled back, hissing fiercely as her hair rose from head to tail. "What in the hell were you thinking, Kisuke? A Kuchiki?! This better be another of your ridiculous plans that eventually works out in the end!"

"It is, I assure you," Kisuke placated calmly from across the room. Yoruichi remained on the bed, body tensed to pounce should he as much as twitch in a way she didn't like.

"Well?" she demanded tersely. "Let's hear this brilliant plan of yours!"

Kisuke's eyes slid away from hers, studying a point on the wall as he continued to hold his hands defensively in front of him. "To be honest," he said slowly. "I haven't quite planned beyond these initial steps. However-," and here he pushed himself up against the wall when she made as if to lunge off the bed for him. "The main objective to conceal and destroy the hogyoku has been taken care of. All we need to do is buy the time needed to complete the process."

To his relief, Yoruichi very carefully sat back on her haunches and regarded him coolly. She was still furious with him but at least her claws were sheathed… temporarily. "You do realize there's a very good chance Byakuya will be one of the ones sent to find her once it's discovered she's missing, correct?"

Shoulders sagging in relief, Kisuke slid down the wall until his knees were bent nearly to his chest. He draped his arms over the tops of his knees and nodded solemnly. "I realize this. But in all honesty, Yoruichi… who better than one of the Kuchiki lineage to act as a host for the hogyoku? She's smart enough to stay under the radar. She's not foolish enough to take unnecessary risks. I doubt I could have picked a better candidate myself."

Snorting dryly, Yoruichi's muzzle turned up in the equivalent of a kitty-smile. "Stop right there. Any more gushing and I'd be inclined to think you've fallen for this girl."

Kisuke grinned at her, relieved that he was back in her good graces. "Aww, you know that's not true! You're the only woman for me, Yoruichi."

"Yeah. Sure. How many other women have you said that to?"

He snickered at her joke and motioned for her to come closer. Feigning an air of grudging acceptance, Yoruichi hopped neatly off the bed and padded over, her muscles shifting and rolling smoothly under her sable fur. Cat form or human… Whichever she was in, Yoruichi was the epitome of grace. When she was close enough, Kisuke scooped her up and held her to his chest, ignoring the token protest she gave to being snuggled shortly before she arranged herself more comfortably in his arms. She was purring again, the vibrations moving through his chest soothingly.

"Listen," he murmured gently as he combed his fingers through her short fur. "Remember the last time I asked you to just trust me?"

"… It was during the war with the Quincys, wasn't it? You wanted half my division for a counterattack, as I recall."

"Mm-hm. And you let me have them. You not only trusted me with your people but with a strategy that, if it went wrong, would have spelt disaster for all of the Soul Society."

Yoruichi sighed grumpily and muttered, "Alright… I'll trust you on this. But when Byakuya puts your ass in grass for using a member of his family, I get to say 'I told you so'."

"My dear Yoruichi, not only will I allow you to say it, I'll even have it carved on my headstone." His joke earned him a louder purr, which meant she was laughing. Being mindful of the bundle in his arms, Kisuke pushed to his feet and went over to the bed to collect his hat once again.

"Do I get to at least see this girl?" she asked as they exited his room.

Kisuke fixed his hat in place again and stifled a yawn behind his hand. "Hm? Oh, sure. Tessai is going to be escorting her to the high school in a few minutes. Shall we go and see Miss Kuchiki off?" Without waiting for her to reply, Kisuke strolled casually out into the shop area, smiling at the patrons already wandering the aisles. Most of his clientele during the morning hours were housewives doing their grocery shopping but the occasional youngster could be seen poking at the candy shelves, obviously having decided to skip their first class.

Tessai, who was manning the register, looked up as Kisuke passed and gave a curt nod before stepping out from behind the counter. "Jinta, take over for a bit," the large man rumbled as he followed his boss out of the shop. The boy complied, though he did so with a fair bit of muttered complaining.

Outside the shop, the sunlight was just beginning to warm the air. Kisuke closed his eyes and took a deep breath, a happy smile teasing his lips as the faintly crisp air entered his lungs. It was going to be a beautiful day, he could just tell it. He looked to his left at the sound of Ururu's giggle and his smile widened as he watched Miss Kuchiki draw something in the dirt with the tip of her finger. She was being very careful about how she squatted in front of the younger girl, who was being just as mindful that she didn't get any dirt on her own skirt.

"Well, well, isn't this a pleasant sight," Kisuke called as he walked over to them, his grin widening as Ururu gasped in surprise and quickly excused herself to go inside.

Miss Kuchiki stood as well, a small flush of embarrassment at having been caught playing in the dirt crossing her cheeks as she hastily wiped her hands clean. Her gaze dropped to where Yoruichi was tucked against his chest and her eyes widened in shock before that blush deepened to a dark scarlet shade. Apparently, she hadn't forgotten about their earlier conversation involving pussy.

"Did Ururu find everything you need?" he asked as he slowly ran his hand repeatedly over Yoruichi's fur, silently letting his guest know that he hadn't forgotten it either.

Nodding stiffly, Miss Kuchiki oh-so-casually scuffed her shoe through whatever she'd been showing Ururu how to draw and said, "I suppose so. I can't believe students here have to carry around such heavy bags every day."

Chuckling lightly, Kisuke shrugged and said, "Think of it as endurance training. This is my assistant, Tessai. Since the owner of the shop has to stay here and make certain it doesn't go down in flames, he'll walk you to school today."

"We've met already," she stated grimly as she lifted her school bag to her shoulders. Then, hesitantly, she looked away and added, "If I can't find him…"

"You'll come back here, regroup and try again tomorrow," he finished for her. A small, grateful smile crossed her lips over that reassurance. "And if you do happen to get lucky and find him on your first day-,"

"-I'll keep you informed." Sighing as she rotated her neck to ease the tension from her shoulders, Miss Kuchiki flashed a confident smile and said, "Okay. Let's get this over with." Tessai grunted his agreement with that statement and motioned for her to walk with him away from the shop.

Grinning, Kisuke waved happily after them and called, "Have a good day at school! Play nice with the other kiddies, okay?" The irritated look both his client and his assistant shot over their shoulders only amused him further. He waited until they were out of sight before he glanced down at the cat in his arms and said, "So… what do you think?"

Yoruichi tipped her head back to regard him suspiciously. "Isn't that the skirt you were trying to get me into for years?" she asked curiously.

"Yes. I figured it might as well get some use, seeing as you refused to humor me."

"Huh. And you're keeping this strictly professional, right?"

Frowning at her, Kisuke gave her hip a good, hard pinch and recoiled when she moved to bite his hand. "Of course I am," he replied indignantly. "Why would you even ask such a thing?"

"Because I know you, Urahara Kisuke. And I know you could have found a proper school uniform if you'd really wanted to. You just enjoy ogling her legs."

"Well, if you would have agreed to wear it for my birthday, maybe I wouldn't have to –OW!" Kisuke dropped her quickly in favor of rubbing the scratches she'd raked across his face. He frowned as he watched her stalk off down the street and briefly entertained the idea of declawing her in her sleep before letting out a heavy, abused sigh and walking back into his shop.