A.N. Ummm... So... Yeah. This is my first crack at a fanfic. For me, its a case of long time listener, first time caller. This came to me a few days ago and wouldn't leave me alone until I posted it. So I typed it up, signed up, smacked my head against the wall when I discovered the two day waiting period for new users to publish anything, waited, and now here we are. Personally, I feel this is a bit unpolished and isn't so much funny as amusing, but I tried, which is all you can do. I apologise in advance for any OOCness (ooohhh, look at me, using fanfic terms) and for my attempt at using a past tense narrative without using heaps of flashbacks. Also, my possible missuse of the letter s and apostrophes, I never could get them right in any of my english classes...

Oh yeah, I don't own Bleach, but wouldn't it be funny if Tite Kubo looked up fanfiction for ideas when he's in a creative rut.


Babysitting Duty

Ichigo Kurosaki sat uncomfortably on a wooden bench just outside the barracks of the eleventh division. You would think the hero of the winter war and the man who took down Aizen (A.N. we all know its building up to that) would have little to be nervous about. Yet here he was, sweating, a mixture of heat and being a bit apprehensive at the thought of what he "volunteered" to do yesterday. Kenpachi had threatened him with a one on one-division duel, with him personally leading the attack, so Ichigo had wisely chosen to "volunteer". Ichigo sighed. You'd think he'd be allowed at least one enjoyable trip to this place.

It wasn't like he couldn't take them, Ichigo thought smugly, it just wasn't worth the hassle and scarring such an encounter would cause. That and he wouldn't have to suffer through a lecture from Gramps about destroying property. As an added bonus, he would avoid the fourth altogether. Nothing against Hanatarou, or that silvered haired girl who was surprisingly nice- (if somewhat weak...) -despite the way they met- (honestly, one hit, and he wasn't even armed). No, last time he was there was after a fight with Renji. The stupid pineapple had been bragging to the midget about how great his bankai was. All he had done was point out that if it was so great how come he couldn't beat Byakuya with it. In Ichigo's opinion, his reaction had been completely unnecessary... and violent. Ichigo had no idea what he was trying to prove, but it had landed him in the fourth. If that wasn't bad enough, Captain Unohana had come in to personally check on them. As she read their charts, she had reminded them of the need to set a good example for the other soul reapers and to not fight over such trivial matters. Especially when it caused unnecessary work for her subordinates.

The only thing that Ichigo took away from that was the cold feeling he got when she smiled at him towards the end. Ichigo shuddered, that was one creepy ass smile. Ikkaku would later comfort Ichigo, telling him there was nothing to be ashamed of for feeling that way.

"I mean, she is the only one in that pansy division Captain actually respects."

That said a lot right there. All in all, avoiding her seemed like a great idea.

Which brings us back to Ichigo's current situation. As a soul reaper, even of the substitute variety, he was obliged to do certain things. Apparently, babysitting Yachiru at some point was one of them. He asked Ikkaku about it over lunch yesterday.

"Think of it as an initiation." Ikkaku sniggered "We've all been there."

Ikkaku neglected to mention that it was never by choice and anyone with brains had some excuse ready for when the Captain came-a-knockin. Yumichika for his part had decided that sniggering would be most unbeautiful. Instead, he settled for giving Ichigo the most heartfelt look of pity he could muster; without causing undue wrinkling to his perfect features.

Needless to say, Ichigo soon realised he was in over his head.

So he figured forewarned is forearmed and spent yesterday afternoon asking around. Looking back, he may have been better off not talking to anyone and hoping for the best. First off, he had decided to seek advice from Rukia, his usual source for all things soul reaper. As he was heading over to the thirteenth, he had bumped into that weird looking Captain Uryuu didn't like. Back on his bench, Ichigo shook his head ruefully. He now regrets having ever asked him about Yachiru. One minute, the guy was calm, the next he assaulted Ichigo with killing intent so potent, it would have made Yamamoto sneeze.

"That.. That.. That little HELLION!! THAT PINK HAIRED SPAWN OF EVIL! HOW I LOATHE HER. I WANT TO CUT HER UP UNTILL SHE IS NOTHING BUT DUST. IF I EVER CATCH HER I'LL..."

What Mayuri would do, Ichigo will never know because during that little rant he slowly backed away. He frowned as he still felt a little bad for leaving that chick there to deal with him, but she seemed content to let him vent. Maybe this had happened before and she knew the best way to handle it.

Arriving at the thirteenth, Ichigo found Rukia polishing her shiny new Lieutenant badge. She beckoned for him to come in. Once inside, she took her place next to Captain Ukitake and those two idiots who follow him around. This was great. Ichigo had only meant to ask Rukia, he hadn't even thought of Captain Ukitake, surely he could help. He and Rukia exchanged their usual greeting of an insult- ("Captain Ukitake, Lieutenant Midget") -and the traditional kick to the shin- ("OW! Damnit Rukia"). After briefly pondering how such a small girl could kick so hard, Ichigo asked them if they had ever babysat Yachiru.

Silence.

Ichigo remembered taking stock of the situation. Tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum had stopped arguing and were shooting worried glances at their Captain. Said Captain seemed to have turned a light shade of green. Ichigo's gaze shifted to Rukia, who looked like she had just swallowed something nasty.

May I present the people in charge of the division co-ordinating real world soul reaper assignments.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh... well, Lieutenant Kusajishi called my art bad and said Chappy was stupid" Which it totally isn't.

Ichigo liked living so he refrained from agreeing. Something in his expression must have betrayed him though. He soon found himself on his ass outside and still had no idea what to do. As he considered the reactions he had witnessed, he didn't notice the angry looking lady with glasses and a lieutenant's badge walk right passed him. He did notice her coming back and muttering angrily to herself. Something about tracking down "irresponsible, good for nothings" and someone "taking their position more seriously." Ichigo decided to follow her, having nothing better to do and hoping she would lead him to some more people who could have babysat Yachiru. Lieutenant what's-her-name- (Ichigo made a mental note to learn the names of all the important people) -didn't seem to care he was following her. After a bit of walking, he realised he had followed her to a bar. He looked around and saw an outrageous pink blob he recognised as Captain Kyoraku, a likeable enough fellow, sitting at a table. Anyone who had Chad's respect was alright by him. With him were that blonde guy who always looked like his puppy just died and that guy with the black hair and dirty tattoo on his face- (yep, really should learn those names). Captain Kyoraku looked over at them.

"Ahhh... My lovely Nanao!! Have you finally decided to take up my offer to treat you to-"

SMACK!!

Ichigo shuddered at the memory. How in hell had she managed to move that heavy looking book so fast? Had she always had those forms on her? The ones she waved in Captain Kyoraku's face. In response, Shunsui seemed to shrink in on himself.

"So cold Nanao."

Ichigo had stood there until he felt two soft, round pillows on his arm. On a side note, anyone who walked past the bench right now would be treated to the sight of a blushing Kurosaki as he remembered this little interaction from yesterday. Just like the tipsy Rangiku was after she hugged his arm and whispered his name in his ear. It had taken a lot of willpower to school his face back into its trademark scowl, albeit a little pinker than normal.

"Aw, Ichigo, how are you supposed to handle little Orihime if you can't handle me. Last time I checked she had developed into quite the young lady, have you asked her out yet?"

Back on his bench, Ichigo slumped and was scowling like a brat who didn't get the toy he wanted. How had he responded to the question? He had blushed worse than before and stuttered like Hanatarou that time he had to treat Captain Zaraki. Why would he ask Inoue out? As if she could ever like a punk like him. Ichigo slumped a little more. And even if she could, it's not like Tatsuki would ever approve. He reflexively shielded his boys, just imagining what Tatsuki would do to him if he ever tried. Still, in the end, Ichigo felt he had sufficiently deflected the question. He smirked as he remembered how.

"Does Toushiro know you're here? Last I heard the tenth was backed up with paperwo-"

"So what brings you here? Care to join us for a drink? You know Izuru and Shuuhei right?"

Rangiku shifted her grip on him as she dodged the question and was leading Ichigo to the table. The boys nodded to him in greeting and Ichigo nodded back as he took a seat. Shunsui turned away from Nanao- ("Don't ignore me!") -took a swig from the bottle, turned again, grabbed Nanao by the waist- ("C-C-Captain!") -and pulled her onto his lap. Lieutenant Ise was momentarily stunned by the PDA and settled for quietly blushing. Kyoraku took the opportunity to engage Ichigo in small talk. That had been funny, Ichigo smirked.

"Ichigo, how have you been? How's life in the real world? What has Mr Yatsutora been doing with himself? More importantly, have you taken Miss Inoue out yet?"

At this point Matsumoto was shooting him a self-satisfied I-told-you-so look. Damn, do these people know something I don't? Ichigo responded by mouthing the word paperwork. Much to the amusement of the table, Rangiku huffed and looked away.

"Dearest Nanao said you followed her from the thirteenth. How did she find me from there? Did Juu-Juu rat me out?"

The mock seriousness had been amusing, but the question reminded Ichigo why he was there in the first place.

"Actually can I ask you all something?" At the nod of their heads, he continued. "Have any of you done Babysitting duty before? I've got it tomorrow. What's it like?"

Ichigo paused in his memory and took a second to re-analyse the reactions around the table. Once again, he didn't know if he should be amused by, or scared of, the reactions shown.

Kira had started rocking back and forth. Matsumoto was covering her breasts self consciously. Kyoraku had adopted a scary serious look on his face. Nanao just looked very tired all of a sudden while Hisagi was murmuring about bubblegum... too much bubblegum.

Seriously, these were the ranking officers in charge of protecting and serving Soul Society and its interests.

"Nanao, would you please get us another bottle... or three."

"Yes sir."

"You poor bastard."

"Do not let her have too much sugar in any form."

"Keep her away from anything shiny."

"My girls still ache when I think about it."

"Or anything fragile"

"Small amounts of sugar can be okay as long as they are only for distracting her."

"Or flammable."

"So much gum..."

"Ignore any directions she gives."

"If she's quiet for longer than three minutes and sixteen seconds, that's exactly how long it takes her to plan something that will likely come back and bite you in the rear."

"In some cases, literally."

"..." Kira continues to rock quietly.

"If anything happens to her, Retsu is the only person who can treat her without it ending in an explosion."

"Remember what I said about flammable things."

"It took us a week to fix the barracks sleeping quarters."

"How long do you have her till?"

"Till' five..."

"We'll all meet back here then for your recovery. We're all friends here Ichigo, we'll help you get through it."

"Ummm..." Well that had been confusing and strangely ominous. "I have to go..."

"Here take this."

"No thanks, I don't drink."

"You will."

On his bench, Ichigo sighed. Perhaps talking to them had been a bad idea. Surely she isn't that bad. So she's a little hyper and has an unhealthy fixation with fighting and candy. She's still just a little girl.

After leaving the bar yesterday he went for a walk and asked around. He got similar reactions and advice to before. However, the two useful things he learned from yesterdays walk were that Byakuya was considered a master in "Yachiru Sitting" and that he should invest in full body armour. Or at the very least, a cup. Ichigo, on the bench, knocked his crotch and was rewarded with a hollow "nock." There was no way he was taking any chances where his balls were concerned.

So with nothing else to do, he had headed over to the sixth division offices. If he got bored, he could always annoy Renji. The red head in question was writing away, doing his paperwork like a good little subordinate. Although, not quite as aristocratically or nobly as Captain Kuchki could. Ichigo chuckled at the memory. Only Byakuya.

Then with his usual disregard for authority, protocol and general manners, Ichigo had barged right in and demanded attention.

"Oi! Byakuya, Pineapple, I need your help"

"Piss off Strawberry. Unless it's official business, we're busy."

"What'd you just say Pineapple? All I heard was 'I'm a weak little bitch whose crappy bankai looks like the baby of a monkey and a snake that did it on a skeleton and is nowhere near as cool or useful as Ichigo's.'"

Funnily enough, the last time they fought, it had started with a similar comment and as amusing as it was to see his lieutenant turn a deeper shade of red than his hair, Captain Kuchki decided to interfere before objects started flying and he had to intervene. So he turned to Kurosaki and stated in his usual bored drawl:

"Kurosaki, I assume you came here to do more than just annoy my second seat."

"Oh yeah, someone said you could help me."

Both ignoring Renji's indignation at being so casually, well, ignored, Byakuya raised one eyebrow slightly, indicating he should continue.

"I have Babysitting duty tomorrow"

SNAP!

Damn. And that was one of my favourite brushes too. Byakuya sighed, disappointed in his little outburst and lack of control.

Renji meanwhile had stopped being angry and was giving Ichigo his most heartfelt look of pity; undue wrinkling be damned.

"How long do you have her till?"

"Till five..."

"I'll be at you recovery."

Yet another fine example of ranking officers.

Yay déjà-vu.

Byakuya stood up and started talking in his I-know-more-than-you-so-shut-up voice.

"Kurosaki, the most important thing you can remember is that while she is in your...care...you are responsible for her and everything she does. With this in mind, I would advise you visit Captain Ukitake. The man has an endless supply of sweets so I suggest you stock up. I assume someone told you about distracting her-"

"Yeah"

"- So I want you to observe my technique. Renji come here and start talking"

"Yes Captain. Blah, blah, blah, blah, bla-Ummph"

Ichigo laughed at the memory. As Renji was making noise, Byakuya had shoved a sweet bun from out of his coat into his mouth. Maybe that could work on the midget in the future...Nah...She'd just hit me. Ichigo sighed for what felt like the millionth time and checked his pockets. Sweet buns? Check. The glaze has melted a little and become a bit sticky- (hey, is that pocket lint?) -but he doubted Yachiru would care. Last time he attended post-hospital-discharge-dinner at the eleventh mess hall, he had seen her drop her ice cream on the ground. It even rolled a little, not that it seemed to matter to Yachiru, who picked it up, put it straight back onto her cone and kept eating as if nothing happened. Ichigo never said anything at the time because no one else seemed to care. He got the impression she did it all the time.

Wouldn't surprise him, given what he's heard over the last twenty four hours.

Byakuya's next pearl of wisdom was to keep company and keep moving.

"Intelligence like this travles fast, so people will likely be expecting you at some point tomorrow. I'm warning you now, no one will be happy to see you. The point is other people are a sugar free distraction, but this can be a double edged sword... Are you aware of the three minutes-sixteen seconds rule?"

"Vaguely" God, it was like a military briefing on a war criminal.

"Good, the downsides of people being distractions is wrapped up in this rule. The more people she is exposed to, the more people she is likely to involve in her plans. You would be surprised at how elaborate her plans can be."

Do these people realise they are talking about a little girl?

"And finally, do not show fear-"

Apparently not.

"-I cannot stress this enough. Lieutenant Kusajishi can smell fear and she will tear you apart if she gets even a tiny whiff of it. I believe Lieutenant Kira still shakes when you mention her name"

He did.

Perhaps even sadder was that Renji had been sagely nodding his head behind Captain Kuchki the entire time. Kinda like he thought that everything he was saying was the most practical and enlightening advice he had ever heard. In regards to the pink monster, it was.

"To be fair Captain, Izuru was ganged up on. Former Captain Ichimaru used to help her pick on him for his own amusement."

"I'll concede that point. That concludes my advice Kurosaki. You may leave now. I have to notify the fourth to prepare for a Code Pink."

"... Renji, what's a Code Pink?"

"Code pink is a fourth division thing so they know to prepare for a possible onslaught of patients with unusual injuries. It's usually issued when Yachiru gets someone inexperienced or incompetent as her babysitter. Haven't you ever wondered why Ikkaku shaves his head? He's not joking when he says he isn't naturally bald. Ask Hisagi or Matsumoto about their code pink experiences, their ones were probably the least dangerous and least likely to cause a traumatic response... While I think of it, don't ask Kira about any of his. Now I'm busy so if you would just go, I'll see you tomorrow afternoon, and don't you dare bring that little demon here."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

Back on his bench, Ichigo checked his itinerary for the day and circled the words SIXTH with a big red marker. Ichigo sighed yet again as he recalls leaving the sixth division a little confused. He'd follow the advice because it was better to be safe than sorry, but still, weren't they being a little dramatic. He could believe that Yachiru was prone to getting into trouble, but still... Well, he'd soon find out as he saw some eleventh division peon head his way with Yachiru on his head. Ichigo noted that the guy didn't seem too impressed with this arrangement.

"Look Maki Maki, Ichi's here! Hiya Ichi!"

"Hey Yachiru"

WHAM!

Yachiru leapt off Maki Maki and launched herself to land on Ichi's back. Impressive when you consider that Ichigo was facing her the entire time.

"ICHI!! It's been soooo long since you came to play with me and Kenny! Why didn't you come visit?! Where's Pencil? And Jiggles? And Muscles, where's Muscles Ichi? And don't forget Monkey and Kitty. I wanna go see Kitty. Then we can go to the park and play on the swings. Then we're gonna go beat up some wimps. Then we should go to the beach and build a huge sandcastle. Then we'll fight some hollows. Then we should go have candy! YAY! I love candy. What's your favourite flavour Ichi? Is it strawberry? I love strawberry. Not as much as Cherry though... Ooohh, you know what else is good..."

At this point Ichigo began tuning her out. He sent a pleading look at "Maki Maki" and in return all he got was a "she's your problem now" look. Ichigo made a mental note to kick his ass later, who knows; maybe he'll be a good fight... Hmmm, what a Kenpachi like thought. Ichigo realised he'd been having those for awhile now. He continued to muse on this as he began walking in any old direction. Thinking about people based on strength, picking fights out of boredom, hanging out with the eleventh more than other squads. Hell, he even had Yachiru on his back at the moment giving him bad directions to the near...est can...dy sto...res... OH HELL NO!! He realised then and there that he was an eye patch and bell-topped hairdo away from being Kenpachi Zaraki. This thought made him a little uneasy.

He thought he heard something about the Kuchki Manor, Rukia's bedroom and weird noises so he stopped. Yachiru looked at him curiously wondering why.

"Could you repeat that last bit?"

"You mean about Tattoo Face and Ru-Ru?"

"Yeah."

"Well the other day when I was stealing some fishies I went passed Ru-Ru's room and I heard funny noises and voices."

Oh really.

"What were the voices saying Yachiru?"

"Oh, well there were these weird scraping noises. Then I heard Ru-Ru complaining about how hard it was and that it would never fit because there wasn't enough space. Then Tattoo Face was grunting a lot and telling her it would fit if she'd just relax and let it happen. Then there were more scraping noises, maybe they were moving furniture... Ichi? Are you okay? What's so funny Ichi?"

By now, Ichigo had his knuckles shoved into his mouth in a vain attempt to muffle his laughter. It took him a few to calm down enough to answer Yachiru intelligently.

"Nothing, don't worry about it. You know, if there were weird noises at his place, you have to tell Byakuya, in case something's wrong."

"!"

"You're so right Ichi, there must be a problem if Tattoo Face couldn't make it fit. He might even break something."

Ichigo bit his lip so hard he drew a little blood.

"Let's go Ichi!"

As Ichigo began to head over to the sixth's offices, he thought about what he just learned. There was sure to be a perfectly reasonable and innocent explanation for what happened. In fact, they probably were moving furniture. Still, it'll be fun to see what conclusions Byakuya makes. Especially if he can get Yachiru to tell that story again just right. Watching Renji fast talk his way out of this one will be quite the show. Maybe if Ichigo got lucky, he could watch Byakuya kick the crap out of Renji. That was bound to be entertaining. Hmmm... Maybe being Yachiru's minder won't be so bad after all...

"Ichi, before we get there, we're gonna need a few things. Get me a blender, a CD player, some ham, a suitcase and exactly twenty-two yellow balloons. Not green, not red, yellow..."

Then again... Code Pink anyone?


That's that. I have an idea for a Naruto fic bouncing around in my head, so any helpful criticism to help with possible future work is welcome. I think I understand now why authors like getting reviews.