Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or the 11th Division. WOE.
AN: First Bleach fic! I have not given up my other fics, but RL has been crazy, is all--as in, I left college, moved across the country, got a job, and found an apartment CRAZY.
Sorry if this sucks. I've just been itching to write Bleach for days, and this is what happened. Whoops.
Five Things Yumichika Doesn't Talk About
No one who knew the senior officers of the 11th ever thought Yumichika would be the first among them to go, except--perhaps--Unohana Retsu.
Yumichika, on the other hand, knew it all along. There was a desperate, stark sort of beauty in being the last man standing, certainly, but grief was an ugly emotion, and he wanted no part of it.
Everyone agreed that Hisagi was the logical choice to replace Captain Tousen, but no one understood why Yumichika was the first one he asked to be his lieutenant.
Well. Zaraki wasn't as surprised as most--he'd suspected for a good long time that the only reason Yumichika never tried for third seat was because he was afraid he'd actually win it. And it was a captain's business to know what his subordinates were up to, especially when they returned unscratched and frickin' sparkling from a fight with someone ranks above 'em, so the thought had crossed Zaraki's mind, more than once, that his fifth seat would be in pretty high demand once the other captains found out about Yumichika's real shikai.
Ikkaku didn't hear about the offer until days after the fact, when he and Shuuhei went out drinking and the other man muttered something resentfully about mindless loyalty and stunted ambitions. He asked Yumichika about it the next day, after the hangover faded and his memories of the previous night slotted themselves back into place. "Heard you turned down a pretty sweet deal," he said around a mouthful of bread.
Yumichika sighed. "Table manners are not your enemy, Ikkaku, and you really needn't make your food beg for mercy."
Ikkaku swallowed before pressing the point, because it was too freakin' early for one of Yumichika's bitchy little lectures. "You coulda been a lieutenant, Yumichika."
"But not in the 11th," Yumichika replied shortly, and that was the last he had to say on the matter.
As far as the rest of his division was concerned, it was explanation enough.
Yumichika threatened his captain exactly once during their years together in the 11th, and that once was enough to ensure that Zaraki never, ever told Ikkaku just who'd decided a shiny bald head would make the perfect teething toy for Yachiru.
Ikkaku nearly died more than once before the whole Aizen affair came to an end, and even Retsu thought, once or twice, that he wasn't going to pull through.
Yumichika never said a word to Unohana about it, never asked her to hold her tongue--but she was nearly as versed in silence as she was in healing, and no one else ever found out just how much time the fifth seat spent at his friend's bedside, hands folded neatly in his lap, half-lidded eyes staring into the middle distance, watching something terrible and invisible and inevitable.
She knew it bordered on ridiculous, but Retsu sometimes imagined it was relief slackening Yumichika's unconscious features, whenever he was the one to end up in her care.
Yachiru asked the question once, and only once, because it turned out that even Yumichika could look kind of scary when he was pushed too far and too hard.
"Hey, hey, Weirdo! Remember that time your hair exploded?"
...And One Thing He Does
"I really am looking quite beautiful today, am I not, Ikkaku?"