This Way and That

By

PND

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

AN: AU. Requested by my dearest DelMarch...and I guess dedicated to Hakkaisensei...who is Del's beta. It's also for a birthday apparently. From DelMarch to Hakkaisensei—Happy birthday.

Gee, this is kind of like shopping for the best author to write a present for a friend, isn't it?

Other info: Prompt by DelMarch. Hanatarou and Yachiru. "Balance".


"Stop that, you idiot! I'm going to fall!" Yachiru swung her arms, trying to regain her stability, failing miserably. She slid forward, her feet catching on the handle of the teeter-totter before she was pitched to the side. Yumichika caught her before she could fall off completely and helped steady her.

"Yachiru, that wasn't very lady-like at all," he chided playfully, straightening her skirt. "What would your father say about your behavior?"

"He'd probably tell her 'Good job, keep up the good work'." Ikkaku smirked from his position behind Hanatarou, holding the boy's end of the see-saw even in the air until Yachiru could get her footing again.

"You make her sound like some kind of employee," Yumichika laughed softly, dark hair shimmering in the autumn sun. "You ready, Yachiru?"

"Yeah," Yachiru had her arms slightly out, ready to steady herself.

"Ikkaku-san?" Hanatarou sniffed, looking a little dejected. He seemed to be having a lot more trouble than the little girl across from him was. "Why are we doing this anyway? It's kind of hard."

"We're doing this because little twerps like you two don't know the meaning of teamwork. The only way you'll master it is to figure out how the two of you can work together to achieve balance."

"Now you sound like some kind of yoga instructor," Yumichika giggled at the look Ikkaku gave him.

"Whatever," Ikkaku muttered, letting go of the boy's end of the teeter-totter.

Hanatarou's end immediately flew down.

"Go closer to the middle, Yachiru!" he shouted, trying to keep his balance.

"No, that's what went wrong last time and I almost fell!" Yachiru pointed at him. "You go closer to the middle! You're heavier!"

"If I go closer to the middle I'll weigh you down!"

"No you won't!" Yachiru rolled her eyes.

"Fine," Hanatarou looked doubtful, but took a few hesitant steps towards the center. Yachiru started to slide forward again. Hanatarou stopped. The little girl slid forward a little more and stopped. The sew-saw teetered, almost even. Yachiru took a cautious step forward. Her side went down. She paused, looking curious.

"You move forward," she commanded.

Hanatarou scooted forward. Yachiru went up again. He took a step back and the wood beam under their feet rested horizontally. Yachiru looked up at Hanatarou in awe. He offered her a small, self-conscious smile in return.

"Good job," Ikkaku interrupted their success of balance. "Looks like the two of you figured it out."

"Ikkaku," Yumichika interrupted. "Let's go get them some ice cream, okay?"

"Yeah, okay," Ikkaku looked a little confused.

"We'll be back in a few minutes," Yumichika sang to the two children as he fell in step next to Ikkaku. His friend had no idea how cute those two were going to be when they were finally old enough to like each other. He tossed his hair and glanced at the two children smiling at each other on the perfectly balanced teeter-totter. Yes, they would most definitely make an adorable couple.

End.