Chapter One: The Butterfly Effect
Pairings: MashiroxKensei, ShinjiXHiyori, LisaxRose
Disclaimer: I do NOT own BLEACH, nor do I claim to. If I did own it do you honestly believe I would be writing fanfiction about it?
Special Thanks: My twin brother is responsible for the fight scenes as well as contributing several ideas and editing for me. He is most awesome and I can't thank him enough. Also I'd like to thank my friend PhoenixSong4232 for being an amazing and inspiring writer. If you are a fan of HitsugayaxHinamori stories then check out her alternate universe story "Frozen Secret". It is an amazing read and she's a diligent updater.
When she'd first been transferred into his squad he'd known instinctually that she would be trouble. Captain Kensei Muguruma's squad wasn't known for having many females in its ranks. Then one day a green-haired girl popped in on first-day training for new recruits wondering loudly when lunch would be provided. She was so random and unexpected at first he hadn't even been able to work up what would become a steady annoyance for his plucky subordinate.
He'd simply been walking down the line of recruits eyeing them up and down with his best appraising glare and making each one shiver in his sandals until stopping at a fidgety female. She was dancing in place looking around in exaggerated poses and pouting her full lips. "When is lunch?" she asked him without getting any permission to speak freely. She just looked right up into his face with her river rock colored eyes and cocked her head to the side.
The collective gasp that went up into the air echoed in the silence that followed as Kensei stared at her in disbelief.
She continued to bounce in place before a loud gurgle erupted from her stomach and she put a quieting hand over it. Her expression turned dismayed and where most women would've been horrified in her situation she just looked annoyed. "See?! I'm starving! How long do we have to stand here? I need foooooooooood!" she whined loudly, placing her other hand over her stomach and doing some sort of spastic shimmy.
"What's your name?" the confused captain asked of her, finally finding words and thinking he had an answer to the enigma that was this girl. She had to be in the wrong headquarters. She probably belonged in Kyoraku or Ukitake's squad: Certainly not his. Squad Nine wasn't a place for women. He drilled too hard and expected too much. No right-minded female would want anything to do with his Spartan training and expectations.
She stood at attention, then, as she had been expected to be standing the entire time. A stiff salute followed by a cute hip shake preceded her introduction. "Cadet Mashiro Kuna, ninth squad new recruit, specializing in hand-to-hand combat... Though I use my legs more than anything. Wanna see? You look like you want to see" she said, smirking and bending over to lift the hem of her robes.
An all new uproar broke out as men scrambled to see the flesh of the spritely young woman's legs. Kensei himself got a flash of long creamy columns toned and defined by hard work before he'd abruptly reached over and pulled her robes back down. His face was nearly purple from embarrassment and rage. He had to step back and breathe, sending a mighty glare that had everyone back neatly lined up in their ranks pretending they hadn't just broken up to get a glimpse.
"Ooooh, Captain, you pervert! You're face is bright red... You're a leg man, huh?" Mashiro teased, grinning and seeming to forget the horrible hunger that had been plaguing her before.
Kensei's palm made its way over his eyes as he continued to try and remain calm. This girl was more than trouble, she was a pest. And it didn't seem to help that she could see right through him. He'd always liked long legs on petite women, both of which the female fit the classification of. Sadly what he liked in their appearance was about the only thing he knew about women. He had no understanding of their thoughts and personalities having never taken enough time in a relationship. Still, if he had gotten to know a normal woman he was sure she wouldn't be quite like this, though he did respect Mashiro's oomph, as misplaced as it was in the situation.
A chuckle at Kensei's side alerted him of the presence of his fourth seat, Shinobu Eishima. The long-haired man was smiling genuinely at the unruly cadet before looking up at Kensei. "Captain, maybe we should have the cadets run drills" he suggested, "It appears that a few of our new recruits may be hungry and the faster evaluations are run the sooner they get to eat". The amicable man looked innocent enough but in reality he was expertly trying to cut off Kensei's explosive temper.
All of Kensei's seats were familiar with their captain's sometimes borderline homicidal rage fits and it seemed that the only female in ranks was going to test his trigger. Even Kensei himself knew that Mashiro Kuna was going to be a challenge. He was thankful for his seats around to help manage everything. "DRILLS!" he shouted, sending everyone scrambling for the training yard, though Mashiro remained buzzing around like an annoying insect. "That means you, cadet" he snapped, pointing in the direction everyone had gone.
She hesitated, looking up at him closely as if trying to figure him out before pursing her lips and running off, shouting "The sooner this is over the better, I'm still hungry!" over her shoulder at Kensei and Shinobu.
Again Shinobu laughed, watching her go. "She should be an interesting addition" he mused, beginning to walk after her only to be stopped by Kensei's heavy hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at him with puzzlement. "Captain?" he asked, curious as to his superior's thoughts.
"Keep an eye on her. She's the only woman here and some of the cadets might be tempted to make trouble. Until I get ALL of them whipped into shape she's going to need protection. I won't have anything uncalled for happen to a member of my squad, understood? As long as she's in squad nine she's a priority case" Kensei stated gruffly.
Shinobu nodded and grinned. "Such a chivalrous softie our captain is" he teased gently. Shinobu had trained with Kensei as they both rose in ranks during school and were still friends after graduating. While Kensei had always been serious and mature Shinobu took the lighter approach to things and used his heart more than his head. He was also very popular with women for being sincere, sensitive, and charming.
His reply was Kensei grunting at him and stomping toward the yard, muttering curses under his breath. He knew Shinobu could be trusted to watch over Mashiro and would make fast friends with her, hopefully reigning in some of her wild streak. He had a feeling he'd need all the help her could get when it came to the unnerving woman.
"What a pest" he grumbled.
Kensei had come to the harsh conclusion that he would never understand women, Mashiro Kuna in particular. She had surpassed his every expectation and quite spectacularly blown his mind. He had no idea that a woman so small could have enough power to take down so many opponents, not to mention of higher rank, and with nothing but her legs. He could feel his jaw hanging dumbly somewhere around his collar bone when she looked up and gave him a bright smile.
"Am I done now? Can I go eat?" she asked, wide-eyed and innocent looking even when surrounded by four prone male bodies, two of whom were twice her size. She just hopped in place looking pleased with herself. "C'mon, pleeeeeeeeease?! I'm so hungry! Don't be a mean captain!" she huffed, her hands finding their way to her hips and a pout coming to her mouth. "I'm HUNGRY!"
"I think we'd better let the girl eat" Shinobu chuckled, patting Kensei on the shoulder. The Captain hadn't been the only one surprised. Every man in the training yard had stopped what he was doing to watch Mashiro's evaluation sparring. They'd been expecting tears, complaints, possibly grave injury. What they got was a huge surprise. The fourth seat seemed to be the first to recover from the shock and set about taking care of the duty assigned to him.
"Kuna-san? I believe you've earned yourself a nice lunch. Please follow me to the cafeteria" he called over to the whining girl, getting her attention. The smile he got made more than just his heart skip once as it was undeniable that Mashiro was an attractive, and powerful, young woman. Many of the squad seemed to already be under her spell.
Kensei dismissed the both of them with a nod so that they could go eat, unable to say much more. Heizo Kasaki, Kaname Tosen, and Todo Gizaeimon filed in around him silently, awaiting their own orders. "Kasaki, get her opponents to the fourth squad and report back to me with their status. The rest of you make sure these lazy punks are actually fighting instead of gossiping like housewives. EVERYONE ELSE GET BACK TO TRAINING!!!" the captain ordered, feeling drained but no less in charge.
He watched and took notes as he walked through the yard, trying to fairly judge where each man belonged as well as designating what higher ranks needed to go back to basic training. The four Mashiro had taken down were already on the list for basic training since it was impossible that she could've struck down well-trained shinigami so easily. In Mashiro's presence he'd hardly felt any spiritual pressure at all and it was doubtful she knew how to mask it since the skill wasn't even taught until after basic.
His mind continued to ponder over the small woman. He'd simply set her up to spar with one of his best hand-to-hand users since he wanted to get her out before she got seriously hurt.
The monster of a man the Captain chose had walked into the arena with a comparatively small mouth, bowed reverently, and spoke in a soft, but nonetheless commanding voice. "I promise not to hurt you too much, alright, miss?"
Mashiro simply laughed, and bounced lightly on her feet. "If you say so!" She said through a laugh. Todo signaled the start of the fight and Mashiro immediately began running forward. The man didn't move, but prepared for the coming dodge and counterattack, a simple tactic that worked surprisingly well. But as he began to move through his stances, he caught a flash of green hair and a sharp pain to the back of the head, and, before he could even process what had happened, he found himself on the ground, his mouth packed full of dirt, a collective gasp of the crowd drowned out by the ringing in his ears.
He had fallen? To that girl? That wasn't just impossible that was… Unnatural! And furthermore, she was making a complete fool out of him in front of the entire squad! "You… Bitch!" The man shot to his feet and began charging at the girl, pulling his fist back and preparing a devastating punch.
"Stop!" Todo started as he began running forward. "The fight is over!" Mashiro looked over at the incoming sixth seat and giggled. "No worries, Headband-kun!" With that, she jumped high into the air, did a quick somersault over her opponent's head, and extended her leg, spinning a fast yet powerful kick straight down onto the crown of the ensign's skull, spiking it into the ground. Mashiro jumped back, landing gracefully nearly fifteen feet away. She glanced over at the unconscious man with a serious look, before turning to the witnessing Captain, and with a shake of the hips and a joyful leap, screamed "Hooray! Mashiro wins! Take that, Meaniepants!" She stuck her tongue out in front of the face-down man five yards away. She had won the first round.
Next in line for Mashiro's evaluation was the highest-ranked kido user among the ensign group. Granted, the title "God of Kido" was a little ostentatious, but if he could get Mashiro to give up early by using physical combat's weakness, it would keep her from getting too hurt by introducing her to kido when she was exhausted.
Mashiro greeted her opponent in the same manner she did her last foe, bending forward at the waist and holding her hand high with a friendly wave. "Be careful, now!"
The man simply smirked, pulling off an arm-length black glove from his right hand, tossing it aside. "You shouldn't be worrying about me, sweet-cheeks. Hey, start the fight already!"
Todo sighed, raising his hand to signal the match's beginning.
The self-proclaimed God of Kido wasted no time. As he held out his hand, his palm began glowing red. "Hado thirty-one! Shakkaho!" A large ball of red light shot forth from his hand, straight towards Mashiro.
Shinobu nudged Kensei in the side, pointing towards their fight. "A level thirty-one Hado with no incantation. We might have to keep an eye on him, eh?"
Kensei shook his head, pointing back to the same thing Shinobu had. "Look again." By the time it reached where she was the girl was already halfway across the distance towards him.
"Fine, a broader attack, then." The kido king jumped backwards, pulling his other glove off, and holding both hands out towards the dashing girl. Mashiro jumped high into the air, but the man's hands followed her. "You've just cornered yourself, hon. Sorry!" His fingertips began emitting blue light. "Ye lord! Mask of flesh and bone, flu-" He didn't even have a chance to finish the incantation.
Mashiro's jump hadn't been aimed towards him, but rather at the tree overhanging the fighting ring. She twisted as she jumped and kicked off a branch when her foot hit it, sending her rocketing down at him. Her ankle collided with his outstretched fingers with a loud crunch, and as the man drew his arms back in pain, Mashiro's other leg came spinning around, colliding with his cheek. She landed daintily on the ground just as he left it for a more horizontal direction, landing a few feet away, quite insensible. Mashiro held up two fingers, grinning with childish accomplishment. "Victoryyyyy! Two for two!"
At this point, Mashiro's fighting expertise had gone beyond the mere proving of prowess in the eyes of Captain Muguruma. She must have been sent from another squad, where she had a decently numbered seat, just to mess with him. Perhaps that tomboyish Shihoin captain was behind it. That must be it. The reason he hadn't seen her before was because the Onmitsukido members were always covered head-to-toe in that ninja getup. Well, that were-cat had had her fun. It was time for his squad to regain its standing.
He pointed to two nearby men. They had both finished their examinations, and were each already guaranteed at least a 7th seat. "You two, you're in." The men began to protest, but were quickly silenced by one of the captain's signature glares.
As they stepped forward onto the field, Mashiro let out a cry of protest. "Awwww, c'mooooonnn!!! I'm never gonna get to eat at this rate!" As if joining her in protest, her stomach let out another loud gurgle, and Mashiro hugged herself and let out a self-pitying whimper.
Todo grimaced, but nonetheless began the fight.
One of the two stepped forward, and wasted no time in unsheathing his zanpakuto. "Call forth the Twilight…" His blade warped and shifted, until its form settled on a monk's staff with the sound of a gusting wind. "Mirokumaru!" The second of the men fell to his knees, placing his outstretched hands on the ground. "Bakudo twenty-one, Sekienton!" The two were immediately obscured by a large cloud of red smoke, leaving Mashiro standing confused.
"What are you two doi- Ahh!" She jumped out of the way as a large vortex of air fired from the cloud, catching her foot and sending her spinning through the air. However, rather than panic, Mashiro simply let out a loud "Wheeeee!" as she fell, before once again landing gracefully on her feet. She looked at the cloud, specifically at the hole left by the wind vortex's emergence, and waved. "I seeeeee yooouuuuu!!!!" She called before running straight into the dissipating cloud.
Kensei looked into the blur, straining his eyes to see what was happening. But once he made out the form of a spritely young girl standing among two rolling male-looking shapes on the ground, he grit his teeth, muttered a short "Dammit," and clenched his fists.
His mood was made no better by a rogue voice from the crowd, shouting admirations and asking how she did any of it. As the red smoke dissipated, Mashiro giggled, pushed a stray bang from her face, and simply stated, "The streets are tough!" before thumbing her nose and sticking out her tongue at the nearly-unconscious men laying around her.
The defeated men crawled away with quiet groans, only to end up at their Captain's feet.
Kensei reached down, grabbing the one who had released his zanpakuto by the collar, and pulled him to his feet. "What the hell happened in there?" The ensign simply shook his head, muttering under his breath.
"I… I have no idea, I just saw a blur. She grabbed the front of my robe, and then I heard him go down." He pointed a shaking finger at the second man, who had since passed out, a large purple welt forming in the center of his forehead. "She was like a snake, Captain. I've never seen anybody, man or woman, with that kind of flexibility. It was…" He stuttered for the right word for a few moments, before letting out a wistful sigh. "…sexy…" At that, Kensei let out a disgusted groan, and let the man go, letting him crumple under himself as he fell unconscious.
She was a fighting prodigy, not exactly rare, but she was. She'd already passed the evaluation with flying colors and the next day would judge her kido skills, even though her hand-to-hand was so impressive that if she could barely manage a basic blast she'd still be assured a good rank. Tactics would follow and in the meantime with all the testing she'd be judged on how good of a soldier she would make. The recruits called it 'Hell Week' but Mashiro seemed to see it as a game.
Kensei just couldn't wrap his head around it. What the hell was this girl? If he stepped back and thought about it from a detached perspective he could admit he found her fascinating but in the meantime he was just pissed off. He didn't know where to put her or what to do with her and as a captain he had to be involved. If he let Shinobu do everything than his fourth was better qualified as a captain than him.
Tosen, (Who had an assistant do his writing for him from dictation), and Todo handed him their evaluation sheets, watching him closely. They knew better than to say anything, sensing their captain's foul mood. After flipping through and skimming over what they had to say, paying special attention to comments about Mashiro, he decided the circus was over. "DISMISSED" he announced.
He watched as almost everyone filed toward the cafeteria and wondered what the men wanted more, food or another glimpse at Mashiro Kuna.
A meeting had been arranged by Kensei with his third through sixth seats and Mashiro Kuna. A unique problem had arisen in the form of what her sleeping arrangements would be. Every ensign and low rank had been more than happy to accommodate a female in their barracks but Kensei wouldn't even try to imagine how horrible being surrounded that much testosterone would be for the spritely girl.
"We could always let her use the lieutenant's quarters. You still haven't picked a second seat and it would give her the privacy deserving of her situation" Shinobu suggested from his spot at the meeting room table next to Mashiro. He'd been the only one to sit anywhere near her, the rest of the manly men a bit put off by her.
"Hell no. That would give those feminists in the second division a field day on favoritism and sexism. I love a good battle but that is one fight I doubt I could win. Besides I ain't giving her a room that she can decorate. She'll probably paint it pink and fill it with lace and crap like that" he groused.
What the captain didn't mention was his nightmarish daydream of walking in on inspection day to be confronted by stacks of feminine hygiene products, makeup, dresses, and other things unsightly to someone as masculine as himself.
"I like pink!" Mashiro announced, not helping her case in the least and causing a tic in Kensei's left eyebrow.
"She'll have to stay with one of you. I can't be bothered to babysit" he finished, looking at his trusted companions expectantly. He imagined someone would gladly volunteer. The girl wasn't that bad.
"Have her share with Tosen. He can't see anything so there's no worry that he might see something inappropriate while changing. Besides, he needs something to keep him busy. All he does is camp out in his room all day. It's not healthy" Heizo suggested, causing everyone to look at the resident blind man hoping he'd take up the responsibility.
"No" came the deadpan reply as the room seem to get several degrees colder.
"Captain, you might as well just give her the empty room. If you're that worried about what the second division will say I'll go speak with them and field all complaints" Shinobu said, losing patience. He couldn't see what was so wrong with a little bending of the rules.
"No. Dammit! Whoever stays in that room has to earn it! I'm not going to let some greenhorn get special treatment just because she's a girl. It's unfair to all of the hard-working men in my squad that she just waltzes in and throws order out the window!" Kensei barked slamming his fist onto the desk in front of him to illustrate that there would be no negotiation.
"Let the girl earn it then".
Everyone looked over at Tosen in shock, more that he spoke than because of his words. He looked right back at them with his unsightly metallic goggles before standing and heading for the door.
Kensei let him leave, knowing that was about as much help as they'd get from the fifth seat anyway. He thought over what had been said and truly pondered the words, as everyone else did.
"That could work. Just have her fight Heizo and if she wins she gets promoted. It's the way we work anyway: Accept all challenges and defeats with pride. It'd be no different if one of our current ensigns challenged him. If they won they'd be second seat until a new challenge gets issued and haven't you been waiting for a call to go up for second seat?" Todo asked, having caught on and elaborated upon Tosen's thought.
"I'm not going to fight a girl. She's too small. I'd break her!" Heizo snapped, looking at Mashiro with worry. "I won't have a dishonorable win hanging on my conscience like that. I like you, girl, you've got spunk…I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I managed to hurt you".
"Heizo-san, don't tell us you're scared of the pretty girl?" Todo mocked, earning a glare from everyone in the room but Mashiro.
"Don't worry. You won't hurt me and I'll be able to live with myself if I break you" the only female present chirped, grinning at Heizo and striking a battle pose in her seat.
"If it's really that much of a concern I'll share my chambers with Kuna-san. After all… My intentions toward her are nothing but noble" Shinobu offered, looking at Mashiro pointedly.
The look didn't go unnoticed by Kensei and he felt a rush of anger surge through his veins. "We all know what your intentions are, Eishima" he growled, shaking his head and giving a venomous warning glare.
"I'll sleep with you!" Mashiro offered, thinking she was solving everyone's problems. She had grown to like the attractive man that seemed to fight for her best interests. Unfortunately she didn't take notice of what would be inferred from her words. Or she did and wanted to watch everyone squirm.
Shinobu blushed and cleared his throat, unable to look in her direction any longer.
Todo was covering his mouth with both hands trying to stifle his laughter.
Heizo looked morally affronted by her statement and his moustache seemed about to fall off from shock.
Their captain had turned purple yet again from the familiar mixture of rage and embarrassment that she evoked from within him. "WATCH WHAT YOU SAY!" he hollered, shaking his fist at her. "You WANT people to get the wrong idea about you, you moron!? How stupid can you get? And aren't you the least bit worried that one of these sweaty bastards are going to try and take advantage of you?! Do you have a shred of self-preservation in you at all?!" he demanded angrily.
Everyone else had shrunk back in their seats from Kensei's outburst but Mashiro just smiled at him. "You're so stupid" she informed the head of her division to everyone's shock and mortification. "I can take care of any big bully that comes my way! Really no need to get all worried about me" she laughed.
Kensei saw red.
"I'M NOT WORRIED ABOUT YOU!" he defended, though it was a plain-faced lie they all saw straight through. "I'm WORRIED about my division! About my reputation! I am not worried over some idiot little girl that doesn't have a lick of sense in her whole empty head! Go; get yourself hurt or worse… I don't care!" he ranted before standing up so fast his chair fell onto the floor and storming out.
"Meeting adjourned, I'd guess" Todo said with a forced humor as he and Heizo left to patrol the corridors on their nightly rounds. Heizo left watching Mashiro twiddle her thumbs with apprehension on his mustachioed face. Todo reached back to shut the door behind them after shooing away a gaggle of eavesdropping ensigns that scattered like roaches.
Shinobu turned to Mashiro and cleared his throat, still slightly pink. "You really shouldn't test the captain like that" he gently chastised though he was smiling warmly.
"His face turns purple a lot" Mashiro notified him as she stood up and headed for the door. "Where is your room, anyway? Oh hi guys!" she greeted, opening the door to see the same group of 'cockroaches' smiling up at her with mock-innocence.
They returned her greeting, standing up and again scattering as Shinobu walked over to stand behind her. "This way, please. You know you really put on quite a show today. The captain was impressed. I don't think we've ever had a prodigy join our ranks before, let alone a girl. Do you like division nine?" he asked, making conversation as they headed to what would be their shared chambers.
"So far I do. The captain is pretty funny but kind of an idiot. I like him" his companion laughed, suddenly flapping her arms and zooming down the hall and then back to his side as if she were a child playing airplane.
"That he is. Just don't go pointing it out to him so much. He has a pretty bad temper" Shinobu chuckled. He'd sensed the angry captain in the corridor just off to the side of the hall they were walking down and he had a gut feeling Mashiro did too. He grinned feeling a spike it Kensei's reiatsu as they both lightly badmouthed him.
"No can do. I call them like I see them" Mashiro informed him cheerfully. "I'm not going to change just because meanie head is sensitive. I'm not afraid of him or his big bad temper".
They reached Shinobu's chambers quickly enough and he lightly steered the woman in with a gently press of his palm to her lower back, looking over his shoulder before shutting the door to smile at Kensei's once again purple face. His lip curled into a half-smile, and he let out barely a chuckle, but that was enough of a laugh for Kensei to know exactly how "pure" his fourth seat's intentions were. With that, the man shut the door, leaving the ninth division captain alone in the hall.
Of course Shinobu had only been teasing his captain in a subtle revenge for a past transgression. Having been put in charge of paperwork for himself and Tosen because Tosen's aide had been out on a mission for a week hadn't settled well with him. In all honesty he planned on being an absolute gentleman to Mashiro, though he did harbor affection for the strange woman that went deeper than a friendly admiration.
He just wanted to rankle his captain. He had a feeling that Kensei wasn't telling him something in regards to the squad's female member. Something important.
Mashiro hopped around his room admiring every little thing about the sparsely decorated space. "Don't get any ideas, pretty boy" she suddenly said, turning to look him straight in the eyes with her hands on her hips. The look in her golden-grey eyes was piercing and unnerving.
"I wouldn't dream of it, Kuna-san" Shinobu said as he went over to his storage closet and pulled out his futon. His one futon. "Oh right… I forgot we'll need two of these" he laughed, knowing he wasn't helping his case.
Mashiro raised an eyebrow and took the mattress from him, setting it down and taking the sheets and pillows so she could make it fit for sleeping. "I'll wait for you to get back with one then" she said with a pleasant smile.
Shinobu nodded and left, heading to the storage area and managing to find the things he needed. He hoped Mashiro would understand that he was the only one to sleep on his futon. He'd gone out of his way to find the right one and spent a small fortune on it. Anything else gave him terrible back pain.
As he opened the door he noticed several things at once. The first thing was that Mashiro's robes were folded neatly on the floor along with her sandals and socks. The second thing was that there was a loud and heavy breathing noise punctuating the air that was almost a snore. The third was that a very feminine form with green hair was sleeping very soundly in his bed.
Shinobu frowned. Part of him wanted to wake her up so she'd move but she looked so peaceful and she'd had a long day. Therefore he made up the spare futon, changed into his sleeping robes, and laid down atop the lumpy futon.
About thirty minutes later of tossing and turning and listening to Mashiro mutter and snore he reminded himself that chivalry might as well be dead and got up to carry Mashiro from his bed into the spare. Pulling back the covers was a bit of a surprise and he quickly averted his eyes.
She'd kept on the white under-robes of her uniform but in her sleep the top had become loose and her bindings were neatly folded on the floor by her things. He bit the inside of his cheek to stay strong but at the precise moment he scooped her up bridal style she made a noise that had him nearly dropping her in shock.
Apparently it wasn't enough that she snored and spoke in her sleep: She also let out very provocative moans.
"Oh God" Shinobu whispered, cursing the fact that he was male as he tried to filter out everything but getting from point A to point B with Mashiro. Halfway there she moaned again and he let out a colorful curse, something unexpected from the mannerly fourth seat. By the time he'd tiptoed his way over to the other mattress Mashiro's voice was getting louder.
"If the Captain didn't have the wrong idea before he probably will now" he fretted as he tried to gently lay down his companion on the bed. His endeavors were successful and he felt proud of himself up until Mashiro reached up and started to scratch her chest, involuntarily pushing one of her sleeves from her shoulder.
Shinobu practically jumped to the other side of the room, turned his bed so that it was facing the wall, and climbed in, turning off the light as he fled. All night the same image pervaded his thoughts and the young woman's enticing voice broke through the silence of the night. Even a pillow over his head wouldn't drown it out and Shinobu spent the entire night wide awake and suffering in a bed he didn't feel was worth anything anymore.
The shrill cry outside of the captain's door woke the lone inhabitant. Kensei crawled out of bed feeling groggy and disoriented from a fitful sleep. Usually he slept like the dead but his mind had been preoccupied by the newest nuisance in his division.
"Kensei! Captain Kensei!" came the distressed sounding female voice from outside of his door.
"At least she knocks" he muttered right before the door was flung open and a visibly upset Mashiro Kuna came running into the room wearing nothing but a loose white sleeping robe. He felt a spike of rage when he saw that her appearance was rumpled that masked over instantaneous worry.
"What happened?!" he demanded, hurrying over to hold her by the shoulders so she'd stay still long enough for him to examine her. More anger boiled inside of him at the sight of her distraught expression and trembling lip.
"He moved me into a different bed after I was asleep!" Mashiro cried, her lip protruding in a formidable pout. "I was fast asleep and then I felt him touching me but I was too tired and.. and…" her explanation was cut off as Shinobu tore into the room looking a mess.
"It's not what it looks like!" he yelped. However he too looked as if he'd been up to more than sleeping in his wrinkled night robe that was open at the chest to expose defined pectorals and a six pack. His hair was tangled and stood up at odd angles around his face. "I swear I didn't do anything inappropriate to her!"
Kensei didn't hear a word of what Shinobu said through the ringing in his ears and the red haze in his vision. He just stormed over to his fourth seat and punched him in the jaw so hard that his victim was sent into the wall across the hallway. "YOU BASTARD!" the captain shouted as he stomped toward Shinobu to finish with the disciplinary ass kicking.
"Captain! Wait!" several voices were trying to get Kensei's attention but he was too focused on justice. It wasn't until after he was held back by three ensigns plus Todo and Heizo that he calmed down.
"Captain Muguruma, Eishima-san is telling the truth!" An ensign stated before yelping at the withering glare he got from Kensei.
Heizo was sweating a bit worrying over Kensei's next actions and looked at Todo from the corner of his eye, silently telling him to stay near in case he went after Shinobu again. "Perhaps, Captain, we should listen to what the ensign has to say" he suggested.
The cadet waited until Kensei nodded at him to continue before speaking. "Eishima-san didn't do anything to Kuna-san" he said, looking over at Mashiro who was leaning up against the wall with her arms over her chest pouting and tapping her foot impatiently. "Last night I and a few others were wandering through the halls to get a midnight snack… We're so sorry! We know it's forbidden to leave our rooms after light's out but we were very hungry!" he interrupted his explanation to bow several times.
"Please continue with the story. You're breach of conduct will be discussed at a later time" Todo encouraged the shaking man.
"We were passing Eishima-san and Kuna-san's room when we heard… Noises" he blubbered, blushing a deep red. "A-at first we thought that Eishima-san and Kuna-san were… err… fraternizing and uh… We wanted to make sure Kuna-san was safe!"
Shinobu rolled his eyes and groaned, hiding his face behind his hands and letting the back of his head hit the wall behind him a few times in exasperation. It was so obvious that the cadet and his friends were peeping toms that came at the right time.
"So we opened the door a crack so we could be sure and we saw Eishima-san carrying her to the other futon. Kuna-san was still making the sounds but nothing was happening. And even after Eishima-san went back to his own bed she was still making the noises. Kuna-san is a very noisy and active sleeper… It's very cute how she thinks she's fighting something in her sleep. So violent but her expression was so serene and-".
"Get on with it!" Kensei snapped, realizing he'd made a horrendous mistake by jumping to conclusions. He sent an accusatory glare over to Mashiro but she was too busy making shadow puppets against the wall in the morning sun to notice.
"Right. Of course. So sorry! Eishima-san put a pillow over his head and tossed and turned all night but otherwise nothing happened. Kuna-san was just unhappy that she was moved from Eishima-san's comfortable bed onto the horrible loaner futon".
"I see. Gizaeimon, go get Kaname and decide with him what punishment is fitting for voyeurism. Eishima and Kasaki, bring your evaluation reports to the meeting room and wait for me there. Cadets, go back to your rooms and stay there until one of the high seats comes to get you" Kensei instructed, earning nods of understanding from everyone addressed.
As they all dispersed he caught a head of bright green hair trying to escape in the crowd. "MASHIRO!" he barked, getting satisfaction out of watching her freeze, turn around, and walk back to him.
"Yes, Kensei?" she asked, cocking her head to the side in an exaggeratedly cute expression. She was fidgeting under his gaze and wouldn't meet his eyes.
"Next time think before you start to say anything… And call me 'Captain'. I am your superior and will be addressed as such" he growled, unable to say much more. He was too drained by everything that had happened.
"Nope. You called me 'Mashiro' so I'll call you 'Kensei'… Stupid" Mashiro grunted, crossing her arms over her chest. "You should listen to what I say! I can't believe you punched Shinobu for stealing my bed… What a mean captain" she mused, turning and walking away without paying any attention to Kensei's reaction.
The infuriated man dug his fingers in his short, silver hair and grit his teeth to keep from screaming or launching himself at the impertinent female; He'd done enough screaming and attacking for one morning.
A primal growl escaped him as he headed for the meeting room and he contemplated daydreams of putting Mashiro through the toughest Hell Week ever implemented on a new recruit.
Heizo and Shinobu were talking quietly about something when Kensei walked in. A pang of guilt stabbed him in the stomach as he saw Shinobu was holding a bag of ice over his swollen jaw. He was wearing his uniform and his hair had been combed but he still looked like he needed a few hours of sleep.
Kensei shut the door behind him and cleared his throat loudly, looking up at the ceiling. "I… Uh… My mistake" he said, trying to hide the small blush on his face from embarrassment. "I got a bit carried away".
"A bit?" Heizo asked with a twitch of his moustache, clearly displeased.
Shinobu just waved his hand. "No, no. It's alright. I baited Captain into thinking the wrong thing anyway. It's more my fault than anything. Besides, if the same thing had happened while Kuna-san was staying in Captain's room I would've hit him a lot harder. Let's just get on to figuring this whole mess out. As much as I enjoy Kuna-san's company I can't let her sleep in the same room with me".
Kensei was touched by his fourth seat's willingness to forgive. He cleared his throat again and nodded before quickly changing the subject to the problem at hand. "So, what do we do with the brat?" he asked, knowing something had to be done quickly.
Heizo looked fairly worried but after a sharp jab in the ribs from Shinobu's elbow he decided to speak up. "I'm willing to fight the girl" he said forlornly. "If she can beat me then she deserves to be lieutenant… I guess".
Shinobu smiled smugly and nodded to Kensei, showing he agreed wholeheartedly with the plan. "Her evaluations are spectacular and it would make our division look better. Plus it would get division two off our backs calling us sexist pigs. Besides, Kuna-san is… She'll be a breath of fresh air to division nine".
Kensei grunted so that the two would know he was listening as he picked up their evaluations and read through them to the areas regarding Mashiro. A long drawn out sigh escaped him and he rubbed the bridge of his nose to ease the tension mounting there. "The others?" he asked.
"They agree it would be fair if she wins in a fight with Heizo, she would have proven herself worthy of the rank of lieutenant. If she loses we'll see about sending her to a different division" Shinobu said, speaking for both Todo and Tosen.
"The injuries on the men she fought yesterday?" the captain asked Heizo.
"Several broken ribs, two concussions, a dislocated jaw, a broken nose, a few loose teeth… Tattered egos and broken hearts… Captain Unohana was very impressed by Kuna-san's work" Heizo explained, rubbing his palm against his bald head.
"You don't look like you want to do this, Kasaki" Kensei mused, noting the bald man was sweating profusely.
"With all due respect, Captain… I can't fight a girl" the man replied.
Kensei frowned. "As a soldier you must be prepared to face all opponents. Enemies take all shapes and forms. One day you may have to fight a child, a woman, even one of your allies… And you can't hold back. It is our duty to protect Soul Society and we aren't given the luxury of picking our battles. Am I clear?" he asked, his eyes narrowing.
"YES SIR!" Heizo stood and saluted.
"Good. Tomorrow evening after tactics evaluations we'll set up an exhibition match between you and Mashiro. Now we just have to break the news to the little pest and pray for-"Kensei's speech was cut off by a loud squeal outside of the meeting room door.
"Come in, Mashiro" he called out, not bothering to use honorifics, they were lost of the girl anyway.
"Yaaaaaay! I get to fight Mustache-kun!" Mashiro cheered, bouncing into the room fully dressed and perfectly groomed. Without warning she hopped onto Kensei's back and hugged him around the neck. "I'll be the best lieutenant ever, Kensei!" she announced gleefully until her stomach growled loudly. "Right after lunch! C'mon guys, let's eat!" she demanded, pointing her arm toward the door as if telling Kensei to mush.
Shinobu tried valiantly not to laugh as Heizo tried to explain to the girl that it was several hours too early for lunch, and Kensei muttered dark curses under his breath and tried to reign in his temper.
Author's Note: There you have it: The first chapter of 'Pest Control'. I hope you enjoyed it and please feel free to review as they inspire me and really brighten my day. I do not accept flames but constructive criticism is fine. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed!