The man who had introduced himself to her as Ikkaku Madarame rummaged through the cabinets of the lieutenant's office at the 11th Division. The blonde, Koi, just sat there holding her sleeve over her arm and watching him. She couldn't get over what that other man had said to her. Sure, she was being a little cheeky, but she hardly ever was. She just didn't think he should make the assumption that a female couldn't survive in Kenpachi's squad. Well, that would teach her to speak up when she thought something was wrong. And why did he have to call her ugly? She'd been called that her whole life, she really didn't need to hear it from someone she'd just met. Come to think of it, he'd called her a bunch of things - "ugly" was just one of them. He'd called her stubborn, and basically told her she was weak. She didn't really care that he'd called her weak, because she knew she wasn't strong, but still.

Ikkaku turned around and sat beside her, taking her hand away. He was a little gentler than the other man had been, but not by much. 11th Division men weren't known for being kind and careful, from what she'd heard. "Let's get this cleaned up - if the others smell blood they'll come right for you and just make more of a mess." He began to wipe the crimson liquid away, exposing the almost alabaster skin beneath.

Koi kept her eyes down, her hands both clutching the wood underneath her fingers, as she was sitting on the lieutenant's desk. There was nowhere else to sit. "... That other man back there. The one with the violet hair and the feathers on his eye. Why does he hate me?"

Ikkaku didn't glance up from his work. "He doesn't hate you."

"You heard what he said, and you saw what he did. If he'd gotten any angrier he would have hit me."

"He doesn't hit girls, first of all. And look, about what he said... you know, I don't think he really meant it. I bet he's just jealous."

"Jealous?"

"He probably thinks you're prettier than him or something. Whenever he's jealous, he calls something ugly and/or breaks it."

"... Breaks it?"

"Yeah, there was this really pretty, really unlucky vase in Captain Kenpachi's office..." He chuckled, spraying something on a cloth and then pressing it to her injury. He must have seen her wince, because he sighed a little. "Sorry if it hurts. That's the medicine fighting off the germs."

"I know. Please continue."

"I'm sorry he was like that. He's usually not so... irritable." Ikkaku placed the damp cloth aside and began to wrap bandages around her arm. "I might be able to get him to apologize. He's just... well, I dunno how to explain it, really. He doesn't care if he doesn't know you - he'll still judge you. He judges everything by beauty. But I don't know why he'd say you're ugly. I think you're kinda cute. I'd always thought Yumichika would end up with someone like you - well, if he didn't turn out to be gay, that is. Nobody's really sure about his orientation..."

Koi had to giggle at that. "So that's his name? Yumichika?"

"Yep. Yumichika Ayasegawa, 5th seat of Division Eleven."

"Would you please tell him that my name is Koi Chikoto, an unseated officer in this division?"

"I'll make sure he gets the message. Didn't you already tell him your name, though?"

"He probably doesn't remember it."

"Alright then." Ikkaku tied one last knot in the bandage, not bothering to make it into a bow. "There. It's not too tight, is it?"

"No, it's fine." Koi hopped down from the desk. "Thank you for attending to me, Madarame-san. I appreciate it."

"By the way, here's your clipboard." Ikkaku handed it to her. "What have you got on there?"

"Reminders from Yamamoto-sama to Captain Kenpachi, as well as a recent bill from the 4th Division for... you." She flipped to a paper. "See? Apparently you got hurt last week and the fee still hasn't been paid, so I have to give it to Captain Kenpachi."

"Oh yeah. I remember that - me and Yumichika were horsing around and... ah..." He shook his head. "Never mind. You better scram then. I dunno if Yachiru's gonna be happy to find us in here..."

"Of course. Thank you, Madarame-san. Good-bye." She turned and left.

She really hoped Ikkaku could convince Yumichika to say he was sorry. She didn't want him to stay mad at her... and she wanted to say sorry too.


Ikkaku walked into the 11th Division break room to find Yumichika dozing on the couch, and Yachiru sitting on the floor eating candy that she'd probably gotten from Ukitake. He sighed; she really didn't need sugar. She was way too hyper normally without that hopping her up even more. Nevertheless, he went over and picked her up by the arm. "Yachiru, I have to talk to Yumichika. Why don't you go find Captain Kenpachi and maybe share some of your candy with him?"

The pinkette nodded, popping another piece of candy into her mouth before she scampered out of the room. "Bye-bye, Cue Ball!"

Ikakku growled. When the hell would she stop calling him that? He gave Yumichika a light punch in the shoulder. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty."

"Mmmf." Yumichika shifted and waved him away. "Five more minutes, Mom..."

"Oh, just get the fuck up, bitch!" Ikkaku took his knee to Yumichika's stomach. "I gotta talk to you!"

"Ouch!" Yumichika yelled, finally waking up and falling off the couch. He looked up and quickly rearranged the now-crooked feathers on his eyelash and eyebrow. "And what the hell was that for?"

"Hey, had to wake you up somehow, dude."

Yumichika let out a growling sigh and sat up, smoothing his hair. "What do you want? I was busy."

"Busy sleeping. Anyway, remember that blonde chick that you yelled at those guys for assaulting?"

"Oh yes. That ugly little thing," Yumichika sniffed, crossing his arms. "Why? Did you run into her again? I hope you made her cry."

"Uh, no. She started crying the minute you stormed off after calling her an ugly fatass."

"I never said fat."

"You may as well have. She's really upset - if she was the battle-loving type she'd have followed me back her swinging her Zanpakuto and hoping to land a hit on you."

Yumichika "hmmph"ed, lying back down on the couch. "Why should I care how she feels? She's a weak little nobody."

"Look, she's already got problems with her self-esteem. I went to bandage her arm after you went off in a jealous rage-"

"Jealous of that thing?" Yumichika snorted, rolling his eyes. "I think not. What would I have to be jealous of? Her stringy hair? Her knobby knees? The way she talks like she's afraid of everybody? Yeah, right. The day I'm jealous of her is the day Kenpachi agrees to let Yachiru put him in a dress."

"That day might not be as far off as you think," Ikkaku muttered. "Anyway, look. I think you, like, crushed what was left of her self-confidence. I went to bandage her arm, and we started talking... and she asked me why you hate her."

"Okay, I did not say I hate her."

"That's what I told her! I said you weren't in a good mood to begin with and... I kinda... promised her that I'd get you to apologize for calling her ugly."

"Well, what the hell did you do that for? I'm not gonna do it."

"Yeah, you are. We both know she's not ugly. She's actually really pretty. You can see that. Anybody with eyes can see that."

"She's not as pretty as I am, which makes her ugly."

"Well, if she was prettier than you, you'd be jealous."

"Ugly."

"Pretty."

"Ugly."

"Pretty."

"Just go apologize!" Ikkaku glared at his friend. "She complains to Kenpachi about it, you're gonna get both our asses fired! Now go!"