Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle..."
A light voice began for the millionth time, drifting through it's cell-like area and to the other occupants of the Maggot's Nest. Just another day there, wandering around listlessly in search of some sort of purpose here. Well, except for the wandering part, for one person.
"The cow jumped over the moon."
The sound of a door opening; far away. Probably just that caretaker again, whoever they were. Nobody paid them much mind here, where time simply didn't exist. Not for them, anyway. Not like half of them were...sane...enough to remember the passing of time. Some pitied them. Others just envied them. But they were all quite mad, and that's why everyday could be seen as kind of like a party for some occupants. The three figures advancing through the crowd seemed to part the residents in waves, and they advanced on the source of the voice in the back of the area.
"The little dog laughed to see such a sport..."
The door was unlocked and opened, and the three visitors came upon a cell in the back room, where a thin shaded figure lounged against the back wall, continuing to mutter nursery rhymes to pass the time. Flat yellow eyes rolled over to observe the three, bright interest flickering in their depths. Long whitish grey hair hung at their waist, matted and unkempt, and was flicked out of their face with a twitch of their head as the prisoner turned to look at the three people at their cell gate.
"And the dish ran away with the spoon. Good evening, gentleman. And madame." The woman in the cell greeted those three she didn't recognize, a subservient looking young woman, the normal caretaker and an odd, masked man wearing a Captain's haori. He was staring holes through her, and she stared right back. Crossing one leg over the other, the prisoner leaned back against the walls with the interest in her eyes dying out, as they returned to a dull, listless yellow.
"To what do I owe the pleasure? I hope it's not for a walk of some sort, considering that I'm just a bit hampered." She jerked her left leg a bit, showing the chain running to the wall and the clasp running through the bone of her ankle. The clown-looking Captain seemed to be appraising her, before speaking to the terrified caretaker.
"Any reason why the chain is heading directly through the bone? This will weaken it, and I don't want her lame." He barked, and the man seemed to take a moment to gather his bearings. The woman within just explained for him.
"Oh, I'm crazy, you know. They don't trust me after that little incident." She explained a bit, before the Captain saw her eyes regain their fiery glow of mad interest.
"I was a bit bored, you see, and so I wanted to see exactly why she had one eye a different color than the other. The last caretaker, I mean. They really didn't look like false eyes, neither one of them, and so I had to pull them out to make sure. She just threw a bit of a fit is all. They chained me up well after that one." The glimmer in her eyes died as the caretaker just gave a rehashed version of what she'd just said, except less insane and more stilted. The Captain listened very little to the stutterings of the man trying to explain, instead looking the chained woman over, judging her worth. A direct transfer order, to his division. She had better be worth the trouble.
"Very well. We're taking her, so prepare her and send her to Twelfth." The masked Captain spoke, before turning away and walking through the door without so much as a word to the captive. "Come, Nemu. Move it, you idiot!!" He snapped at the quiet woman, what the caged resident of the Maggot's Nest recognized to be a Lieutenant Captain. She responded with a quiet "Yes, sir" and left, following obediently. The prisoner stared after her, before looking over to the caretaker staring at her in an almost terrified way.
"Aw, I don't bite. You've gone and drugged me up enough to be sluggish in my movements anyway, and it's been about five hours since my last sedative dose. So you have about an hour, I'd say, before my system neutralizes the sedatives and my system returns to normal." She muttered, yawning a bit after she finished. The man ignored her, mainly, only tossing a shinigami's shihakusho through the cell bars and to her. She caught it, feeling the fabric under her fingers and yawning again. "Been awhile." She told the article of clothing, before the caretaker cut her off.
"By order of First Division, you have been transferred from captivity in the Maggot's Nest to Twelfth Company for immediate service. You will start out at the rank of fifteenth, as your powers have gone untested for many, many years." He narrated, recalling it from memory as a key was tossed to the woman. She smirked, catching the thin silver key.
"So they need me again? And to think, these are the people that left my mind to rot in the Maggot's Nest. Though I don't know for how long they left me in here, I bet it's been a long, long time."
The caretaker ignored her as she unlocked the chain and took note of the gaping hole going through her foot. "Need to get the bone reinfoced, probably some steel supports." She muttered, as he went on.
"You will leave as soon as possible, Fifteenth seat Koushokkan Uzumaki." He spoke, turning just to see her drop her clothes right then and reveal to him her panties and her bare chest, considering she wasn't given a bra to wear. The young man yelped something or other and turned his back to her as she took to pulling on the shihakusho, having a bit of trouble with tying the obi again after not doing it for so long. When it was done and Koushokkan was dressed, she patted her hip where her Zanpakuto should be.
"Where is it? And don't call me Koushokkan, it's too long. Say Kou." The woman ordered him, as he gestured to the open cell door. "It's back in your new Captain's office. That was him just now, with his Lieutenant." He told her, as Kou stepped out of the cell and used the wall for support, at least until she got used to walking on her weakened foot again. "And what is his name? I've been out of touch with the world for a very long time, I don't know any of the young whippersnapper Captains now, most likely."
The caretaker sighed, walking with her to the front of the Maggot's Nest. The other residents stared at the woman oddly as she passed, usually only for a moment before wandering off and forgetting about her existence entirely. "That was Captain of Twelfth Company, Mayuri Kurotsuchi. You've been in cell number two for as long as anyone can remember. He spent time in cell one, if I recall. I'm the newest caretaker, after all. Haven't been around that long." He spoke, and Kou sighed. "That's right, I'm a relic. Been here for...hell, I don't even know how long. Tell me, kid, what year is it?" She queried, and he began to open the door before them while speaking.
"Two thousand and one, I believe." At this, he heard Kou sigh deeply, almost exhaustedly. "Shiiiiiit. That long? Dear god, I've been here for ages. That sun is gonna kill me. There is a sun still, right?"
The caretaker sighed, opening the door and letting the heat of the bright sun shine in upon Koushokkan, illuminating the near white skin that hadn't seen sun in many, many years. She hissed under her breath, as her eyes adjusted to the light. And she opened her mouth a bit, as if she were preparing to scream-
And Koushokkan sneezed.
"Ugh, I always do that with walking into the sun. That didn't fade either, seems." She muttered, seeing that there still was, in fact, a sun. Her hair was graying, she'd need to dye it back to a color that didn't show her age. Damn. Good thing the people of Soul Society aged incredibly slowly, or she'd be looking like a corpse by now. A living, breathing, sneezing corpse. She glanced around the area a bit, not seeing anything familiar at all.
"Uh...hey, could you-" Koushokkan began, before the door slammed behind her and she was left alone. At least, she thought so. "Fifteenth Seat Uzumaki." A feminine voice was off to her left, and Koushokkan glanced over to its owner. The compliant woman with a long black braid, and the Lieutenant's badge on her arm.
"Oh, you're that Lieutenant Captain." Kou muttered, blinking rapidly in the bright light. She quickly remembered that this was her superior, and corrected herself with a bow in the woman's direction. "Erm...greetings, Lieutenant Captain. You'll have to forgive me, I'm just a bit...rusty." Kou muttered, before turning her head up to the woman. She didn't seem perturbed, angry, or anything at all. Almost like a doll.
"Captain Kurotsuchi instructed me to escort you to Twelfth Company headquarters, as you've been detained for many years and are therefore unfamiliar with recent developments in Seireitei. My name is Lieutenant Captain Nemu Kurotsuchi, for future reference." The doll-like Lieutenant began to walk, and Koushokkan followed behind her wordlessly. After a few minutes of silent walking, Koushokkan spoke.
"You probably already know, but I'm Koushokkan Uzumaki. Been a long time since I was around, looks like." Kou spoke, and Nemu didn't even look back as they reentered Seireitei. "Yes, I know. And yes, it has been a very long time since you were in service. You would do well to review some new adjustments to the way the Seireitei is run; things have changed from your time." She spoke, before they fell into silence once again. Kou's step had a very slight limp, though she mainly hid it well and instead hid her marvel at the new things added while she was gone. All new people, all new shinigami wandered around and did things that Kou could never have gotten away with in her times. They passed each division, from one all the way up as they went. One seemed very business-oriented, as usual.
"First Company's Captain is the Head Captain Shigekuni-Genryuusai Yamamoto. They handle the direction of orders to the different divisions." Nemu narrated, and Koushokkan nodded. "Very nice looking division building." Kou muttered, as they passed it. The next building was narrated to be Captained by Soi Fon, and was the secret remote and black ops squad. Basically, they were ninjas. Third was Captained by Gin Ichimaru, and they looked to be a relatively normal division. Koushokkan got a glance at the man wearing the Captain's haori, and noticed an eerie smile that he didn't seem to lose for even a moment as he directed the men around his division. And then she noticed that he had turned to watch them pass. Koushokkan just waved, not intimidated in the least. There were worse looking things out there than smiles.
Next was Fourth, and it looked very...peaceful. Captain was Retsu Unohana, and Koushokkan smiled a bit at the name. "Captain Unohana's still around, eh? Good to know, good to know. We gotta catch up sometime." She was speaking more to herself than anyone else, and they went through the rest of Seireitei unremarkably. Well...until they walked along the outside of Eleventh, actually.
They had been heading past, in silence (Nemu just randomly stopped giving out the Captain's names, probably because she decided that it was taking up too much time), when a man happened to fly over the wall and hit the ground in front of Nemu and Koushokkan, crumpling a moment before staggering to his feet, giving the gray-white haired woman a glance, nodding his head to Nemu and then running back inside with his Zanpakuto at the ready. Now Koushokkan was a bit more interested than usual, peeking inside the division when she could to see what was happening. A division-wide sparring match, it seemed, but with one man obviously towering above and dominating the rest. His hair was spiked, he wore the haori of Eleventh division's Captain, and was currently sparring with at least half a dozen men on his own. Koushokkan looked him up and down as she walked by, seeing the sheen of sweat on his skin, noticing his eyepatch, and feeling his powerful reiatsu jumping about randomly.
Nemu glanced back at the Fifteenth seat, to see her ogling Captain Zaraki very unabashedly. She growled a bit, though it wasn't in anger and more in appreciation of his physique. "Well, I wouldn't mind wrapping my legs around his neck." She spoke under her breath, as Zaraki continued to fight with total disregard for his own well-being. Seeing Nemu's stare, Kou laughed a bit. "I've been locked up for a very, very long time, Lieutenant Kurotsuchi. Plus, I'm such a slut for the fighters. Always have been."
Nemu merely returned to staring ahead as Kou kept staring at all the shirtless men fighting like crazy, really liking this new Eleventh Company. Well, she was probably older than most of the men she was ogling...so that probably made her a cougar, then. Ah well, nothing wrong with wanting a good tousle with a good-looking man, even if he is centuries younger than yourself. What did happen to slow the two of them down, however, was when Uzumaki leaned over the wall of the division and made sure to wolf whistle loudly, getting quite a few men's attention. Hell, even Zaraki stopped and glanced over at the gray-white haired woman wolf whistling at the sparring men in his division, looking quite content with ogling the shirtless Ikkaku who was standing near the wall she was leaning on.
"Lookin' good, boys. Oughta wear shirts less often, I'm liking what I see." She purred, before laughing at their confused faces and dropping off the wall and out of sight. Ikkaku looked over at Yumichika, standing back a bit and looking a little perplexed himself.
"Who the hell was that?" He asked blankly, as Ayasegawa shrugged. "I have absolutely no idea. She seemed to be ogling you though, Ikkaku." He told his bald friend, who shrugged as well. "Eh, whatever. She had some nice tits though." He mused, as the sparring began again. Where Uzumaki had been leaning and he had been standing, Ikkaku got a good look right down the front of her shihakusho.
Nemu and Koushokkan moved very easily through Twelfth Company's building, down to their Captain's office. The various things on stainless steel tables and in jars did catch Kou's attention more than once, and she had trouble tearing herself away from what could be inside. They did, somehow, make it to the office in the end, and Koushokkan stood at attention on the other side of Kurotsuchi's desk.
"Officer Koushokkan Uzumaki reporting, sir." She lost all bits of the easygoing woman ogling shirtless men in the Eleventh courtyard, immediately going to a long unused persona of the obedient soldier. Though, she had to admit, reporting to a Captain felt a bit odd to her. Kurotsuchi had been watching her walk in, saw that she seemed to be hiding her limp very well.
"Hm...yes. Head Captain Yamamoto has told me of your...history. He decided that you would be best suited to work within the Department of Research and Development, and I see no problem in it. I will be giving you absolutely no favors because of your former position, and with one more mistake like the one that put you within the Maggot's Nest, you will be going to the Shishinro instead." He spoke very curtly, his words clipped and delivered as if he thought he had better things to do. Koushokkan silently agreed that he probably did have better things to do than induct her to his division.
"Yes sir, I understand. May I have my Zanpakuto back?" Kou queried, before Kurotsuchi stared quite crazed at her, obviously disappointed or angered. One or the other.
"I didn't say I was finished, did I, Officer Uzumaki?" The Captain spoke quite tersely, and Koushokkan bowed her head. She wasn't fazed by the dangerous look in his golden eyes, and her flat yellow pair only reflected a dull blank stare. "Forgive me, Captain. A bit rusty, and not accustomed to new regulations." She spoke quietly, and Kurotsuchi offhandedly began tapping his long nail on the desk. "No excuse for an insubordinate tone, Uzumaki." He snipped back at her, and she kept her head bowed respectfully. "I never said it was an excuse, Captain. Only an explanation."
A bit of silence passed between them, Kurotsuchi offhandedly seeing how long she'd go on silent with her head bowed. It was like that for at least ten minutes, Koushokkan never moving an inch from where she was positioned. After that span of time, something heavy was tossed at her and Koushokkan caught it without even needing to look up. Her hand closed around the sheathe of a familiar blade, one that resonated warmly at her touch. It was good to have her Zanpakuto back in her hands after all these years.
"Dismissed. Your duties begin at six AM, I suggest you prepare for them." Kurotsuchi finally told her, and Koushokkan nodded her head before lifting it.
"Yes, Captain. Understood." She muttered, before slipping out of his office and hunting for the barracks. She found them, with instructions from a few passers-by, and quickly set to having a shower. In the morning, Koushokkan Uzumaki would build her life back up again, brick by bloody brick.
((First thing's first: No, she's not named after Naruto. Koushokkan having the surname Uzumaki is a homage to one of the scariest damn manga series I've ever read. (Should be glad I didn't name her Mai, except for the fact that that particular series just squicked me out to no possible end. There were never enough D: faces). Second, I'm out of town for the next three days, so this is sort of a present to those who read my other works. Thanks again you guys, and yep, I can handle this many stories. I do better multitasking anyway. Thanks again.))