For The Princess
A Bleach Fanfic
I don't own any of the characters in this story.
Tatsuki and Soi Fong
Rated PG – For Soi Fong's depressed swearing and moping, and violent imaginings toward Urahara and Ichigo.
Urahara's sake, Soi Fong decided, was way too good for an outlaw shop owner like him to have.
Everything was too good for him.
'Stupid, grinning, princess stealing, Seireitei ditching, ryoka aiding, freaky stuff inventing, over pricing asshole,' Soi Fong snarled internally.
She might have been a little drunk.
She might have been very drunk.
Wandering out of the spirit world and into the living world, hoping to find Yoruichi-sama and just straighten things out, maybe get a fraction of their old relationship back, or something new, Soi Fong didn't care. All she knew was that there was suddenly a great gaping hole in her chest just like there had been a hundred years ago and she had tried to fill it with accomplishments and titles and 'Soi Fong-taichou', but it had only taken one quick fight with her old mentor to have all the carefully constructed blockades that may as well have been made of rice paper be ripped away.
Yoruichi-sama could not be replaced or forgotten.
Sad thing was, she could not be held onto either.
Soi Fong really kind of hated her for that.
The cat woman who entranced and led and inspired and who Soi Fong would have done anything, fucking anything, for had just up and left everything and everyone behind for one Urahara Kisuke, bastard extraordinaire.
And then came the years of trying to put her memory away, of trying to become Yourichi-sama and hoping that maybe, one day, it would hurt a little less.
It did not, of course.
In fact, Soi Fong, the only time she really had felt good, felt right, was when she had made her choice to follow Yoruichi-sama again, as she was meant to do and as she should have done when the woman left in the first place. It didn't matter that she was technically betraying Sereitei. Hell, she hadn't even thought about that factor until the whole thing was over.
Yoruichi-sama had asked Soi Fong to fight with her.
And she had…
Fuck, what else?
A hundred years or a thousand years, it would never matter. Forever and ever, she was Yoruichi-sama's bodyguard and servant and friend and she would have done anything for her.
And then Soi Fong had blinked and Yoruichi-sama was gone again.
Which led to here and now – Soi Fong, captain of the Second Gotei Division, sitting on Urahara's porch with a jug of expensive liquor, waiting for the princess to come home.
And playing the sympathetic ear to some schoolyard brat who had trudged out of Urahara's basement a few minutes ago and started rambling about how everything was going wrong in her life lately.
Misery really did love company, it seemed.
Said brat was small, skinny, and far too much like what Soi Fong remembered being when she was a child. She was dressed in one of those obscenely short skirts that the female youths of the day were required to wear for their schooling. Soi Fong personally thought it was more for the old men who taught the girls.
"…one, again, and I'm still here in Karakura, again, and no one is telling me anything, again. At this point, I'm seriously considering stapling Ichigo's feet to the ground when he gets back and poking him with a red hot iron until he tells me what I want to know," the brat finished.
"Splinters under 'is fingernails," Soi Fong slurred, and then regretted it. Interrogation techniques were not usually well received by civilians.
"….Would broken glass work just as well?"
Soi Fong, with some great effort, pried the liquor bottle away from her mouth and turned her head to get a better look at the brat next to her.
The girl was dark haired and dark eyed, a traditional Japanese girl, unlike that orange headed brat and the giant who followed him and the bimbo with her fairy hairpins. There were scars and calluses on her bare hands, unlike Kuchiki Rukia's dainty fingers. Her hair was, in its own way, as wild as Abarai's, but it was nothing a good comb would not fix.
Soi Fong wondered why the girl was in the group. There was not that much special about her.
Reaching out with her spirit, Soi Fong brushed up against the girl's soul and felt it. The pulsing of reiatsu that hummed beneath the skin. The girl had a fair sized amount, surprisingly. Nothing like the Kurosaki kid, but she definitely had potential. No actually training though, judging from the way she let it flow loose in her body. Again, though, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. She seemed to be unconsciously reining some of it in.
"You a martial artist?" Soi Fong asked, feeling a whim of curiosity.
"Huh? Oh, yeah. Top of my class," the girl said.
Well, that explained it then. That kind of discipline went to the core.
Soi Fong huffed and took another swipe of Urahara's sake.
"Well, when he gets back, just pound his head in," Soi Fong advised and silently willed that the girl let the one sided conversation go at that.
"I already punched his head through a window," the girl said. "That didn't help any, not really."
Soi Fong choked suddenly, liquor and laughter flying from her mouth in equal amounts. Wiping the spittle away from her mouth with one hand, she turned to stare the girl in the eye.
"This I have to hear," Soi Fong grinned.
"I already told you. Weren't you listening?" The girl asked, annoyed.
"Nope," Soi Fong replied with the shamelessness only a drunken captain can hold. "Go on kid, tell me. Maybe I'll get another laugh out of it."
So the brat told her story from the beginning. As she went on, Soi Fong felt her brief good humor die out. She felt the ache in her heart that the sake had only started to numb deepen. And by the time the girl had finished, Soi Fong knew that there really was a god for everything, because only the god of irony could have dropped the punk into her lap.
Soi Fong was quiet for a long time after the girl stopped talking. She kept staring at her reflection in the drink through the opening in the jug. Then, abruptly, she poured it all into the dirt by her feet.
Damn stuff wasn't helping, anyway.
"'Kay," Soi Fong said with the tone of having decided something. "What's your name again?"
"Tatsuki," the girl growled.
"Right, Tatsuki," Soi Fong said. "This is what happens – girl meets girl. Girls become friends. Girls get real close. Childhood friend of one of the girls stays close as well, not too bad at first, but then weird shit starts happening and you know he's involved and he's not telling."
"Right," Tatsuki nodded.
"Then, they both disappear."
"And you know that there's trouble, but you can't do a thing to help because you can't find them, and you're not sure what to do even if you do find them. Right?"
"Well then," Soi Fong said fatally. "You are fucked."
"That's that. She doesn't need you any more," Soi Fong announced.
"The fuck are you talking about?!" Tatsuki was on her feet and her fists were tightening.
"Sit down, girl," Soi Fong said. "You couldn't hurt me even if you tried."
Tatsuki did not agree.
To Soi Fong, the girl's motions may as well have been highlighted in neon orange. Soi Fong's hand came up, latched around the wrist that was attached to the oncoming fist, and twisted just so. The girl fell, but not before hurling herself forward as she tumbled, her head lowered to ram Soi Fong in the jaw. The captain leaned to the right and Tatsuki landed neatly in Soi Fong's lap. After locking Tatsuki's right elbow in place against her back, Soi Fong rested her head on the snarling girl's shoulder.
"There now," Soi Fong said condescendingly. "Didn't I tell you?"
"Let me go, you bitch!"
"Rude," Soi Fong intoned. "Here's the deal. It's not that she doesn't love you anymore, kid. She just doesn't need you. She's got him now, right?"
Tatsuki stopped screaming and went strangely still.
"It might be worse for you than it was for me," Soi Fong mused. "I never knew Kisuke that well, but you? Your best boy friend stealing away your best girl friend? That hurts, doesn't it? He's replacing you.
"Guardian and confident," Soi Fong breathed into Tatsuki's ear. "That's what you were and that's what he is now. He's stronger, right? Your best punch knocked him through a window headfirst and he was up in a minute, but a love tap from him brought you down. That's what you're up against, Tatsuki.
"But that's not the worst of it, is it? You'd forgive him for that, forgive her for leaving you, if they'd just talk to you. But they won't, will they?"
"…Said I should stay out of it," Tatsuki hissed.
"Because he doesn't want you getting hurt," Soi Fong finished.
"Fuck him," Tatsuki spat.
"Good," Soi Fong. "Anger is a good motivator. I should know."
Soi Fong let go of Tatsuki. The young girl rose to her feet and stared down warily at Soi Fong.
The captain grinned.
"Here's the most important part – she came back to you. Twice before now she has left, but she always came back. This time she didn't leave of her own accord. She was kidnapped yesterday, by the agents of one Aizen Sousuke."
"What?" The girl's voice was neither startled nor afraid. There was, instead, a sort of morbid wonder that anyone would dare touch the jewel of a dragon's hoard while the beast still drew breath.
"Let me guess," Soi Fong's voice was the throaty purr she learned from Yoruichi long ago. It brought to mind a cat surrounded by yellow feathers. "Your first thoughts were, in order, where is she and, second, where is Aizen? Am I right?"
"Yes." A monstrous sort of want filled the single spoken syllable.
"He's stronger than Ichigo, you know. Much, much stronger."
"How do you know that?"
Soi Fong told her.
There was a second silence in the conversation, but it did not last long.
"I don't care."
Soi Fong lifted an eyebrow at the child's declaration.
"If he took Orihime so she could repair that… that whatever it is, then, even if she gets rescued, he might come after her again, right? I won't let that happen."
"His weakest servants would crush you underfoot," Soi Fong stated.
"Then I'll chew their feet out from under them!" Tatsuki shouted. "Three times now –three fucking times – she's needed my help and I couldn't give it to her! She had to protect me from that mime and his giant sidekick! Do you have any idea how it felt to watch her get thrashed while I couldn't do a thing?! I said I'd always be there for her!"
"Kurosaki doesn't want you getting hurt. She doesn't want you getting hurt," Soi Fong reminded Tatsuki.
"Fuck! That!" Tatsuki snarled. "That's not her decision to make. If she doesn't want me to protect her, then fine, but I will not let her fight alone! And I still want to rip off Ichigo's fucking head and punt it across the city, that cocksucking asshole, HOW DARE HE HIT ME!"
'Yeah, I like this kid,' Soi Fong thought.
"It'll be hard," Soi Fong said.
"I don't care. I'll be there for her. No matter what it takes, I'm not going to get left behind again."
"You mean that?"
"Really mean it?"
"Yes!" Tatsuki screamed, breathing hard from rage.
"Then show me," Soi Fong challenged.
Alcohol burned out of her gigai's veins as adrenaline took its place.
History would not repeat.
Soi Fong would ensure it.
"Why are you crying? It doesn't help."
"This is our lady. One day, you will serve her with your life."
"Just give me a call, all right? I'll beat them up for you."
"I wanted to become strong. Stronger than anyone else."
"Not like that. You swing a sword like this."
"Not like that. You throw a punch like this."
"When will you be back?"
"If you want to do something, you should do it."
"What are you saying?"
"Where is she?"
"Where is she?"
"Tell me the truth!"
"Why didn't you take me with you?"
forever and ever
Seriously, Soi Fong and Tatsuki are so freaking alike that it's scary sometimes.
Will update my other stories at some point.