Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. If I did, Gin-Gin wouldn't be a bad guy and Hiyori wouldn't be split right now.
A/N: It's Copper's Birthday and I did not know that before this morning. So this is what I came up with today. I've been toying with some of the plot points in this fic for a while, but this is the first time it's on paper.
HAPPY B-DAY COPPER!! -hands over a very large and wrapped box- BE careful when you open that, it'll be cranky. -ignores the muffled shouts coming from the box-
An exhausted Captain Kurosaki Orihime pulled the pen up, and fighting the little blue men making her eyelids droop, signed her name with a tired flourish. She sighed and placed the paper in her out-box. Today had been rough, considering that she had been in charge of three skirmishes with some Arrancar and had healed six of her own fighters. It didn't help that it had been her vice-captain and two of her three third seats had been called out to go to Tokyo to handle a near Arrancar crisis there.
She rose, yawning widely and began gathering her things back into the messenger bag she carried as a purse. She then walked to the door and flipped the lights off, exiting into the hall-way.
It was late, almost midnight, and the office doors leading off from the hall were empty. Each one had a plaque on the wall beside it, stating the name of worked there. Her own shone oddly in the dim hall light and she smiled at it as she closed her door.
Captain Kurosaki Orihime
Vice-Captain Kurosaki Ichigo
It had been four years since her wedding to her Knight of the Black Bankai, as Rukia had dubbed him, and she still couldn't believe some days that her name was Kurosaki as well. Her smile widened and she stepped towards the stairs.
Her division, the newest division of the Gotei 13, now 14, in centuries, was an oddity at best. It was comprised of outcasts and former enemies, people that though Soul Society did not like, herself and her husband trusted with their lives. People who owed them more then they could ever repay.
The hierarchy of the 14th Division was also odd. Though the members were placed as seats, the chain of command was a little twisted. Only two people were absolutely obeyed every time without argument and that was the Captain and Vice-Captain.
The 14th Division also was not centered in Soul Society either, another oddity. It's place of rest was in Karakura Town, the offices themselves over a lovely restaurant named Masquerade. The reason it was located there was simply because the 14th Division owned and ran Masquerade.
It had been Orihime's and Ichigo's idea to have a front for their division. Soul Society had not been pleased with the way the 14th had gone and sometimes, the budget was a little tight. They both knew how well Urahara had done with his shop, so they had wanted something as well. A restaurant had been the best way, simply because Urahara would've done something nasty to them if they had become competition for him.
Orihime walked out of the stairway, into the kitchen of the restaurant. A few of her subordinates were milling about, having finished their cleanup from the dinner shift. They waved her over when they saw her.
"Evening, Captain," Neliel Tu said, leaning on a mop with a small tired grin. Beside her, Lisa Yadomaru was seated on the top of the counter, her waitress uniform smudged with some unknown substance, reading a book that was not her norm. Orihime noticed it and raised an eyebrow.
"Stark's work before he left," The bartender, Grimmjow, muttered, noticing the glance. "He bet Lisa couldn't read an actual book that wasn't listed as porn."
"Ah," Orihime nodded, grinning. She watched Lisa studiously ignore them and her grin widened. "How did tonight go?"
"Not bad actually," Nel answered, straightening and leaning the mop against the counter between her and Lisa. "Other then the fact that Kensei nearly had a coronary when someone sent back their steak. Hachi had to contain him in a barrier, he was so ticked."
Orihime frowned and she sighed. "He needs to work on that."
"Oh, he calmed down after Tia came storming in here. She threatened to chop his head off and from the way he paled, I don't think she meant the one on his shoulders." Nel said with a light laugh. "That woman is hell on heels if you ask me."
"Some days," Lisa said, slipping a bookmark to mark her place. "I have to say that she is an excellent manager. She keeps the idiots like Grimmy and Kensei in line."
'Grimmy' glared darkly, his lips curling in a snarl. "Keep it up, girlie," He growled menacingly.
"Shut it, Pussy-cat," Nel ordered, placing emphasis on the word. Grimmjow looked offended and angry, but quieted. Orihime grinned widened.
Her division was made up of all the Vaizards and a few of the old Espada. This was one of the reasons that Soul Society was not pleased with them, but she and Ichigo hadn't cared. She had saved Grimmjow's live, and had brought the other three Espada in her group back to life. Neliel had helped rescued her from Aizen's clutches and Orihime and Ichigo had adopted her as one of their own. The Vaizards had adopted Ichigo a long time ago and they would follow him to ends of the earth if they had to.
Orihime and Ichigo had made their division even more informal then the 11th, making everyone feel as though they were family instead of co-workers. Very rarely did they actually call Orihime Captain, but Nel seemed to feel that it was necessary every time she addressed Orihime.
"Oh, and Emo is pissed, by the way," Grimmjow muttered. "Not that you can tell, but I'm pretty sure he is."
"Of course you can tell, Grimmy," Nel taunted, "You're the one who pissed him off!"
"What did you do?" Orihime asked, her voice slightly rebuking.
"Nothing," He said, his tone a little too innocent. Orihime sighed, knowing that she wouldn't get a proper answer.
"Don't you feel like a babysitter?" Lisa asked, a soft smile touching her lips. Orihime grinned back and nodded.
"A lot!" She chirped.
"OI!" A deep voice called from the dining part of the restaurant. "Whatcha lazies doin?"
"Talking!" Nel shouted back. "Come one, before his undies get anymore in a bunch."
"You shouldn't talk about Shinji-kun like that!" Orihime admonished. "It's not nice."
"Notice she never gets onto you for picking on Grimmy," Lisa pointed out, hopping off the counter and leading the way to the dining area.
"Why is that?" Grimmjow asked.
"She thinks you deserve it," Nel answered before Orihime could.
"No!" Orihime protested. "It's just that Grimmjow-kun can take care of himself!" She nodded at Nel who held the door open for her.
The dining room was a beautiful romantic scene. Tables were strategically placed throughout the area, booths lining the east and south walls. The north walls had curtained windows and the door looking out on the street. The west wall had a bar running half it's length, the back shelves made to look like crystals. Crystals hung from the ceiling, reflecting and refracting the light throughout the room.
During business hours, the tables were decorated with a crystal lamp in the center of the table. Everyone who worked in front of the customers were required to wear a mask. Of course, some of them kept it pretty close to their actual masks. The dress code was pretty formal as well, skirts or dresses for the girls, and slacks and buttons shirts for the men. Of course they all made it their own, but the color code was simple, black clothes and white masks.
Hirako Shinji, Orihime's official third seat, one of three, was putting chairs up on the tables, ready to start sweeping the floor and mop. Tia Harribel was seated at the bar, counting up the money and going over some calculations. Her business mask was sitting on the bar in front of her, as she wrote something in a notebook.
"Oi, Hime," Shinji said with a grin. "What's up?"
"Nothing much!" Orihime replied brightly. She turned to Harribel. "Are you almost done Tia-san?"
"Yes ma'am," Harribel said, not even looking up. "A little bit more."
"Okay. Anything I need to know about happen today?" She asked, looking at everyone in turn.
"Lilynette called," A monotone voice replied from behind the bar. Orihime glanced over to find Ulquiorra watching her. "They may not be back until late tomorrow, perhaps later. It is a larger problem then they anticipated."
Orihime sighed, "Do they need any more help?"
"Lilynette said that they could handle it," Ulquiorra said.
"Don't worry, Captain," Nel said with a grin. "Ichigo kicks ass by himself and Stark and Lilynette are backing him up. There's a reason they're the third seats."
"OI! I'm a third seat!" Shinji yelled, sounding injured. Everyone just laughed, except for Ulquiorra.
"Anything else?" Orihime asked.
"Not that I can think of," Harribel answered. "Today was quiet. Kensei and I had a disagreement but we solved it."
Everyone but Ulquiorra grinned, obviously knowing what the solving had been. Harribel was a firm woman with a calming disposition, but she was deadly when angered. Ulquiorra just stared at Orihime and the woman sighed.
"Well, I'm going home then," Orihime announced. "Paperwork is done and you guys don't need my help. I'll see ya tomorrow."
"I will walk you to your home," Ulquiorra said, stepping out from behind the bar. Nel and Shinji both gave him an odd look, both still un-trusting of him even after five years. Orihime just nodded.
Nel wrapped her arms around Orihime's neck and whispered in her ear, "Do you want me to go with you?"
"No," Orihime whispered back, smiling softly. "Thank you."
"No prob, Cap," Nel grinned and shot Ulquiorra a warning look where he was standing by the door. Ulquiorra ignored her.
Orihime smiled at him when he opened the door for her. She stepped out in the cool fall air, the full moon shining brightly around them. Ulquiorra began walking and she fell into step with him. They walked in silence for a while, before he broke it.
"You have not told him," The words were a statement, not a question.
"I don't know how," She said, her voice quiet.
"It is simple. Tell him."
"It's not that simple!" She protested, pulling up short. "How do I tell him?!"
"Tell him." Ulquiorra raised an eyebrow. "Why are you afraid?"
"Because-" She started, then she stopped. "I don't know why, I just am."
"You are being foolish," Ulquiorra answered, his monotone voice slightly annoyed. He began walking again and she had to take a few quick steps to catch up.
"I have no clue why I told you!" Orihime almost shrieked.
"Because Neliel would have panicked and it would not have remained a secret. You attempted to contact that Tatsuki woman, but could not get through. Yoruichi could not be found. You do not trust the others as much as you do these three. For some reason, you also trust me as well." Ulquiorra looked puzzled for a moment. "Why do you trust me?"
"I'm not sure, but I do," Orihime said, sighing. "What am I going to do?"
"Tell him." He was completely unsympathetic at her look. "You will either tell him, or not tell him, but he will find out."
"Then tell him. You have been married to him for four years, why can you not tell him?"
"Panic?" She muttered. They stopped in front of her apartment and she looked at Ulquiorra. "Would you like to come in?"
"It's past midnight and your husband is not home." Ulquiorra said with a quirk of an eyebrow.
"I'll spend all night either working on the paperwork I snuck out, or making something," Orihime said with a shrug as she unlocked her door. "I haven't been sleeping well lately and Ichigo isn't here."
"I see," He answered and followed her into the apartment.
Silence reigned as she set a pot on the burner and he sat down in the dining room-kitchen area. The pot whistled loudly, and she made the tea. She handed him a cup and he nodded his thanks. She sat down across from him, her back to the door.
"How should I tell him?" She asked and he gave her an inquisitive look. "You keep telling me to tell him, yet you haven't got a plan?" Orihime fought back a smile.
"Just tell him," He replied simply.
"It's not that simple!" She said exasperated.
"From what I can tell, it is," He explained. "I do not understand much of this relationship business, but I have a feeling that Kurosaki would not be angry."
"But I can't just walk up to him and tell him, 'Ichi-kun, I'm pregnant! Oh, by the way, it's twins!" Her hands were up in the air.
Ulquiorra rose suddenly and she looked up at him in surprise. "I should take my leave," He said, nodding at her.
"What? Why?" Orihime asked, completely confused.
Ulquiorra flashed her an extremely rare smile, "Because I lied to you earlier."
"Lillynette did call, but she only wished to tell us that they were on their way home. Goodnight Captain." Ulquiorra then walked to the door, past a shell-shocked and exhausted Kurosaki Ichigo, to which he addressed with a "Goodnight," and left.
Orihime blinked at the door, staring at Ulquiorra's almost dramatic exit, and then to her husband.
"Hime?" He asked quietly. "Is it true?"
"Yes," She answered in an almost whisper. She watched his hand shoot out to the table next to the door to steady himself.
"Twins?" He whispered to himself. His eyes widened and then he threw himself from his place in the hall to her side. She gasped, and suddenly his lips were against her and breathing wasn't important.
"I guess you're not mad," She asked when they separated.
"Why would I be mad?" Ichigo asked, blinking. "How did Ulquiorra know?"
"I had to tell someone and, I'm not really sure, but he came to mind," She blinked herself. "I trust him for some strange reason. I can't believe he tricked me though."
Ichigo laughed and their lips met again. All Orihime could think was that she was glad to have her husband back in her arms.
She was going to have twins soon.
"Ichigo," Orihime poked her husband's sleeping side, listening to his quiet grumbling. "Ichi-kun."
"Wha?" He asked, blearily, lifting his head from his pillow. "What?"
"I was thinking," She started, looking down at his naked back. Warmth curled up in her stomach, and a soft blush dusted her cheeks, as she realized that he was all hers. She shook herself out of it and glanced down at his face. "What do you think about naming Ulquiorra one of the twin's godfather?"
Ichigo blinked and seemed to waken in a second, "You want to name the Espada that kidnapped you, killed me, and caused us no small amount of terror and pain, godfather to one of our kids?"
"Well, yes. He's different now," Orihime stated. "We trust him now."
"You're crazy," He replied with utmost certainty, and flopped his head back onto the pillow. "But it's fine with me," the rest of his words were muffled, but audible.
Orihime smiled. "Thank you,"
"Godfather?" Ulquiorra blinked at her, as everyone else seemed to stare in abject horror and simple shock.
"Yes, for one of the twins," Orihime said with a grin. Ichigo nodded, his mouth full of the celebration cake that he wasn't supposed to be eating yet.
"I would like that," Ulquiorra answered. "I have one question."
"Hmm?" Orihime hummed, her eyebrows raised.
"What is a godfather?"