A/N: All right, another Bleach fic. Let's hope this one's as great as the others. Rangiku X Nanao pairing this time. Should be cute. If you're not paying attention, thats a yuri pair, if you don't enjoy yuri you probably won't enjoy this story. This story will also at some point contain sexual material (M rating), be prepared for it. Anyway, let's begin.
DIsclaimer: I don't won Bleach, nor do I onw it.
Nanao Ise sighed as she finally walked out onto the roof of the Division Eight building. There he was. After a full half hour of searching, she had finally found the correct roof. She rushed forward, an anger building behind her eyes, a book held firmly under her arm, ready to dish out some pain if it had to.
Her captain, Shunsui Kyoraku, was neglecting his work again, lazing about like an idiot with his hat in his face. He looked asleep at first glance, but as Nanao approached, he proved otherwise.
"What can I do for you, my sweet Nanao?" Kyoraku inquired idly, not moving in the slightest or even removing the hat so as he could see his second.
"Captain! That stack of forms awaiting signatures is still untouched on your desk. You know the Head-Captain is expecting those in by the end of the day," Nanao authoritatively answered, making it clear she was low one patience.
"Ahh, that can wait, my dear Nanao. Days as pleasant as this are meant to be enjoyed," Shunsui said with a low chuckle.
"Captain! Can you honestly be so irresponsible? This is important! It's imperative we don't linger here anymore," Nano started to fume, scowling heatedly.
"Come now, my little Nanao, some stuffy old pieces of paper can't truly be of such importance. Not when there is a breeze so cool and relaxing," As Shunsui said this he sat up slowly. Smiling and adjusting his hat he pulled out his sake cup and filled it using a nearby bottle. He didn't even look at the girl as he began to drink.
"Captain! What are you doing? This is no time to be drinking! You have work that needs to be done!" the bespectacled woman scolded.
"My my, you seem high-strung today, my sweet Nanao. May haps you'd care to join me for a drink to ease your nerve?" the man suggested in a peaceful voice. Nanao promptly let her book find the top of his head.
"Idiot! If the reason I'm angered is your drunken indolence, why in the world would I wish to join you at it?!" Nanao shouted angry words.
"But my cute little Nanao--" Shunsui started. another blow to the head cut him off though.
"And quit with all that nonsense! I am Nanao, simple plain Nanao, not your little anything," Nanao couldn't believe herself. She was going all the way today. Usually she had some tolerance for her slovenly captain, but today her patience was at a bare minimum.
"My, you really are serious today, Nanao. I better do my work; I don't know how much I could take," Shunsui said with a dramatic flair and a nervous smile as he continued to rub at his head where it had been assaulted. Downing the last of his sake he grabbed his cup and bottle and proceeded to stand. He slunk inside languidly, humming slightly.
Her mission accomplished, Nanao sill didn't see a reprieve in her anger. She was damn tired of it all. She was tired of having to babysit that man, regulating his division, doing most of his work, all while he napped atop rooftops. She was tired of his laziness, his drunkenness and his constant flirting. She desperately needed a break from it all.
Nanao kept the frown on her face as she started walking. Now that her shiftless Captain was on task, she could go about her own personal duties. As it was, a meeting was being held for the Gotei 13's lieutenants shortly. Now she was free to attend.
She sighed once more. She was tired of this tried routine.
Rangiku Matsumoto, dozed softly in a corner of her office. After a hard day of ignoring her duties, drinking sake from her stash and day dreaming, she was needless to say, tired. And, of course, a woman as beautiful as her needed her rest.
"Lieutenant Matsumoto, what are you doing!" a familiar firm yell hit her ears. She snarled at the disruption, then gave a deep yawn.
"Hey, Captain, you need something?" she asked lethargically, stretching to such an extreme as her ample chest bounced prominently.
"Do you even have to ask? You've got nothing done the whole day! It's inexcusable. You do realize the Head-Captain has called you for a meeting in a half hour?" the young man chided in a heated tone.
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Rangiku yawned indifferently as she rest her head back down on her desk.
"Matsumoto! Behavior such as this is intolerable for a high ranking officer of the Gotei 13! You must be focused, alert and always stay on task," Hitsugaya continued his lecture. Usually she had more tolerance, but today his nagging was already becoming irritating.
"All right, I get it, Captain," Rangiku said in a sharper voice, trying clearly to dismiss the issue.
"You obviously don't 'get it', if you continue to lie there like that! Do you honestly think we can remain so idle in these times of crisis? You must realize that the arrancar, Aizen, Ichimaru, they could all attack us at any time." Rangiku's tone had obviously hit a nerve with her Captain. Now it seemed as if he was actively trying to just piss her off.
"Yes sir," Rangiku grumbled mutedly, lifting her head. It was precisely because things could escalate at any moment, that there might not be any peaceful days ahead, that she wanted to rest and enjoy herself while she could. Still, she was in no mood to argue with her superior today.
"Do not keep the Head-Captain waiting," Hitsugaya addressed coldly as he turned to leave.
Once he was gone, Rangiku stood. She shook the sleep from her eyes as she looked around her office. Her Captain could be a little much at times with his strict and overbearing manner. Usually she could keep most of it in check through some casual teasing; he was a child after all. Today she hadn't felt like teasing, not that he had provided her an opportunity.
She removed the sake bottle from a compartment in her desk and took a swig before replacing it. She supposed she'd attend this meeting and see what the Head-Captain wanted. As Rangiku made her exit a nostalgic longing for the peaceful days of the past swept across her.
She sighed. She was getting rather fed up with it all.
Nanao stood straight as she waited for the meeting to begin. The rest of the attending lieutenants wee already assembled. All that was left was for the Head-Captain to start. After a few moments, just that occurred.
"Lieutenant officers of the Gotei 13, I have called you here today to ask for your aid in an important assignment," Yamamoto began, his intense, age worn voice at full boom.
"Assignment? What kind of assignment?" Lieutenant Iba of the seventh asked.
"Since roughly a day ago, areas of the human world have been under attack by hollows. Arrancar seem to be leading the operation," the old man explained.
"So, it's Aizen then. That bastard..." Hisagi of the ninth growled.
"Is it Karakura Town again?" Lieutenant Kotetsu of the fourth division asked, a faint sense of concern in her voice.
"No! Karakura Town is being ignored by this wave of hollows!" Yamamoto said; most seemed surprised. "These hollows are spread out; they have been attacking locations all around the human world, seemingly at random."
"It's an obvious diversionary tactic. Aizen want us to deploy en masse to combat this effort. The more widespread they make the attacks look, the more we'll deploy he believes. Once he gets three or four lieutenants, or even a captain to leave to meet this threat, he'll use the opportunity to strike Soul Society or Karakura Town while our forces our weakened," Nanao gave her analysis. It seemed a strategy almost too obvious, but also one almost impossible to combat effectively.
"Your Captains and myself have already reached this conclusion," Yamamoto assured. Nanao was surprised. Captain Kyoraku already knew about this then, and he still behaved so laxly? She swore, that man really was a fool.
"So, what, we're still gonna go even knowin' it's a trap?" Omaeda of the second asked, scratching his head.
"Don't you see we have to? It is the duty of we as shinigami to protect the human world from the threat of hollows. Even if we know this is a trap, that does not give us an excuse to turn our backs on humanity," Kira of the second division argued soberly.
"Couldn't we just throw a whole bunch of seated officers out there? They could meet the enemy and you wouldn't have to send out any of us," Matsumoto suggested, coolly. Looking at the woman, she had an almost sad air about her. It was different from how she usually appeared in Nanao's eyes.
"That would be ideal, Lieutenant Matsumoto. However, you must recall that, among this force of hollows, are arrancar," the head-captain reminded. He added, with a certain bitterness, "We have already tried to address the situation with a force of officers from the sixth division and the eleventh division. After engaging one of the arrancar leaders we lost five shinigami. Ten were wounded and the rest were forced to retreat."
"Oh. I was unaware," the strawberry blonde woman replied somberly. Uneasily, she added, "From experience I can understand, that those arrancar might be too much for someone who isn't a lieutenant."
"But Baldy kept saying how he beat an arrancar, and he's not a lieutenant," the childish lieutenant Kusajishi said, cheerfully oblivious.
"You're jokin' if you think ol' Madarame's weaker than any of us," Iba said with a smirk.
"Still, even if some lower seated officers exceed the levels required of them, on average, they are far beneath us in terms of ability. We can't take unnecessary chances; casualties must be avoided. It must be lieutenants who are sent to engage arrancar," Hisagi wisely stated.
"That is the decision that was reached," Yamamoto said in a low voice.
"So how many arrancar are there in this force exactly?" Kotetsu asked earnestly.
"Through tracking technology developed by my Master, we have deduced that there are two mid-level arrancar and 10 menos among an army of roughly 500 regular hollows," the soft-spoken lieutenant Kurotsuchi of the twelfth division finally spoke up.
"Wow, that seems like a big force. So what, you gonna send out, five, six of us?" Matsumoto asked with eyes wide.
"According to the calculations of Captain Kurotsuchi and the strategic advise of Captains Ukitake, Unohana, Kyoraku, Hitsugaya and myself, to maintain a marginally adequate defense in case of a full out attack by Aizen and his Espada, we can spare only two of you," Yamamoto forthrightly announced. Everyone went silent.
After a moment, Omaeda spoke loudly, "That sounds pretty stupid to me. How the heck's two shinigami gonna beat that many hollows."
"Well, obviously, Yamamoto is planning to send a force of lower ranked officers along with the two to help with the lesser hollows. Even still, two arrancar against two lieutenants leaves little room for error," Nanao said uneasily.
"The captains all have faith in your abilities. You will be permitted to use your full power for the duration of the mission. Fifty shinigami to be selected from all divisions shall accompany you," the head-captain conveyed in a solemn voice.
"So which of us is going? Are we s'posed to decide?" Kusajishi asked, tilting her small head to a side.
"That is correct. I have assembled you here to come to a decision as to which two of you are up to the task at hand. It is dangerous, there is no doubt as to that, but considering the likelihood of Aizen attacking during the mission, combat shall not be avoided if you stay," Yamamoto strong voice was somewhat chilling. Nanao, despite her somewhat peremptory personality wasn't a very apprehensive person. Even so, after being so clearly reminded of the danger they faced, she was honestly a little frightened.
"I'll do it. I'll fight this army. I'll subdue this threat," Kira said in a low, dark voice.
"I'm not sure either of us should go, Izuru. Our division's don't have Captains right now. If Aizen launches a full scale assault, it would be better if we were here to coordinate things," Hisagi reminded the blonde coolly. Nanao could relate to these two. She pretty much had to coordinate an entire division herself as well. She couldn't go anywhere.
"I suppose you have a point," Kira admitted in a sort of growl.
"I shall be most useful serving my Master in my usual capacity," Kurotsuchi said in her typical sad voice.
"And I don't want to be separated from Kenny!" Kusajishi raised her hand and jumped up as she gave her response. Nanao certainly had less in common with these two, blindly revering their captains; she'd have no part of that.
"Lieutenant Sasakibe shall remain here, continuing to serve as my assistant," Yamamoto conveyed. Sasakibe gave a nod.
"So with Renji goin' off who knows where, and Hinamori still outta the picture that leaves me, Matsumoto and Omaeda as the possibles," Iba said thoughtfully. Nanao's brow furrowed at the man's omissions.
"Excuse me?! I believe you're forgetting some people," Nanao scoffed.
"I know, but you and Lieutenant Kotetsu can't fight on par with an arrancar," Iba argued.
"I beg to differ. I can fight if I have to. Lieutenant Kotetsu is quite capable as well." Nanao glared at the man through her glasses.
"Honestly, I'd rather stay here anyway. I'd be more useful as a healer than fighting on the front lines," Kotetsu gave a nervous laugh.
"Considering your Captain, I'd think you'd have more than your fair share of special duties as well, Nanao," Matsumoto said with a cool, relaxed smirk. The soft laugh that followed was enough to unnerve the woman. So it had just become her place to do everything in her division? Even the other divisions joked about her now. Kyoraku was the captain. There was no reason she had to do all his work. He could do it all himself.
"I don't know what you're talking about. In fact, I'd like to volunteer for this mission!" Nanao said in a very intense, deliberate voice, anger clear in her eyes. Most seemed surprised. Nanao was even a little surprised to hear herself volunteer to lead a charge against a large enemy force. Well, she had wanted a break from her usual routine...
"You sure, you can fight an arrancar, lieutenant Ise," Hisagi asked with some concern in his voice.
"I am," Nanao sternly replied.
"Are there any objections to lieutenant Ise, being one of the leaders of this operation?" Yamamoto asked in his typical humorless fashion.
Iba opened his mouth to say something but didn't. Everyone else remained still.
"So who will accompany her?" the head-captain now asked.
Omaeda seemed ready to mumble out a response. Before he could, another happened to speak, "I'll go. I have experience with them."
Nanao was surprised to see Rangiku Matsumoto step forward. Matsumoto's personality made her a vaguely infuriating woman. But after thinking about it she concluded that the Omaeda or Iba would be equally unbearable or perhaps even worse.
"Fine with me, we'll just leave it to you ladies then," Iba smiled at Matsumoto.
"Very well, the two of you shall be fully briefed tomorrow before you leave. Make sure you are well prepared," Yamamoto cautioned. Nanao nodded in understanding; Matsumoto did the same.
Very shortly after that, the meeting was brought to a close.
Rangiku Matsumoto smiled as she walked down the open Seireitei street. The next day she would be leaving on a mission to the human world, and this time, her captain wouldn't be there to ruin the fun. It was perfect. She'd finally have some time to herself.
Of course, she was aware of the danger. This wouldn't just be a vacation. The threat the hollows posed was real. It would certainly be a break from the usual, but that didn't mean Rangiku's alone time would be peaceful. Even so, she was prepared to kill a few hollows. She wanted to get stronger anyway. This would be good experience.
Amidst her thoughts, the strawberry-blonde caught sight of someone. it was her partner for the mission, Nanao Ise. Honestly, Rangiku was more than surprised at this fact. She had never known Nanao to be one who charged into battle; she had never even really considered what Nanao's fighting capabilities may be.
"Hey Nanao! Isn't it great? Just the the two of us girls on mission together..." Rangiku approached with a playful smile, putting a hand to the other's shoulder. Nanao scowled at the excitement in her voice.
"Do you think this some sort of game, Lieutenant Matsumoto?" the woman icily asked, shaking the hand off. Rangiku's smile fell.
"No. It's serious, I know. Doesn't mean we can't have some fun while we're at it though," Rangiku said in a long sigh.
"I don't see what can be fun about it. It's going to be long difficult mission," Nanao stated strictly. It was reminiscent of what Captain Hitsugaya may say. Of course it didn't call for the same response, Nanao wasn't Rangiku's superior officer.
"It's because it's a long mission that there will be time for some relaxation. The enemy's spread out. It's not like we'll be able to get to them all at once. As I see it, this mission will be far less demanding than staying here and helping the Captain prepare for an attack would be" Rangiku said in a calm voice.
"I don't see what business you have volunteering for something like this, if you're just doing it to escape your captain's work schedule," the eighth division lieutenant said pointedly.
"Oh? And what about you, my dear Nanao? Didn't you just volunteer to teach your captain a lesson?" Rangiku smiled confidently as she looked at the girl's face, watching the authoritative expression there dissolve into a slightly nervous smile.
"I don't know what makes you say that," the bespectacled girl said very forthrightly. Rangiku could tell her expert analysis of the situation had left the other flustered.
"It really seemed to press you the wrong way when I said your captain might need you. I bet it can get pretty tiresome looking after someone like him, enough to make you want to escape it for a while," Rangiku said with a sly smile. Nanao blushed slightly.
"I-I don't see what's wrong with that," she replied nervously, pushing her glasses up.
"Nothing, I guess, so long as you're serious on this mission," Rangiku sighed again.
"'I'm serious?' SInce when has there been any doubt about that?!" Nanao was clearly taken aback.
"Hollows are one thing. Even in swarms, even the ten menos, at our full power they should pose a minimal threat. But these arrancar are another story," the strawberry-blonde was suddenly serious herself.
"You don't think I'm capable," Nanao deduced instantly.
"You can't really blame me there. I've never heard any rumors as to what your zanpakuto can do. I don't think I've ever even known you to leave Seireitei for as long as we've known each other."
"I hope to prove you wrong, Matsumoto," Nanao said in a low voice. It was a far more calm reaction than was anticipated.
"I'm sure you will," Rangiku laughed playfully. Nanao looked at her confused as Rangiku began to walk away.
Nanao Ise was an interesting woman indeed. This would be more fun than Rangiku had anticipated.
Nanao sighed as she finished signing the last in the large stack of paper work she had been planning to fill out over the course of the entire week. Perhaps this was a mistake. She wasn't the type best suited for a battle like this. it had been an impulsive decision.
Rangiku Matsumoto was not someone to rely on. She'd have to pull her own weight. Matsumoto was a hopeless layabout with a bad habit for flirting with others and drinking sake, but unlike Captain Kyoraku she wasn't Nanao's superior. Nanao knew that Matsumoto's strength couldn't carry her like his did.
Still, this was all already worth it just for the look on Shunsui's face wen she had told him she'd volunteered for the mission. She couldn't be scared. She had to prove herself. She was a lieutenant officer of the Gotei 13. She could be strong, just like the woman she respected in her youth who once filled her same job.
Standing and putting the stack of papers under her arm Nanao gave a soft, thoughtful smirk. She remembered how Matsumoto had read her like a book and that sadness she showed during the meeting. She was an interesting woman for sure; more than Nanao would have likely thought previously. She was beginning to think that, just maybe, this ordeal would end up being more trouble than she had bargained for.
A/N: Gah, finally done with this chapter. I really struggled starting this fic. A general direction didn't pop up for me like all the last ones. Even though I knew what themes I wanted, finding a story that connected it all was most difficult. I couldn't think up a great scenario to isolate the two together. With what I ended up with it seems like this will have a stronger action element then my last few (which is ironic since I have no clue as to how one of the protagonist's fights). Honestly, this seems like a bit of a rocky start (especially compared to the Death Note story I recently began), but I'm optimistic it will become more solid as a vision becomes clearer.
Anyways, go ahead and review.