Rated T for the language. There's no LisaxNanao Yuri pairing. Mentioned slight, or maybe a bit more than slight, ShunsuixNanao.
Disclaimer: Even if aliens existed, I sadly would never own Bleach and the characters.
A woman with red-frame eyeglasses was sitting on the rooftop of an abandoned warehouse which was hiding under a barrier. The night sky was a clear dark, and she could see millions stars that were twinkling above her. She looked up at the sky and sighed.
"You'll catch a cold, you know that?"
She didn't even turn her head to see who was coming. "Piss off, Rose."
"What? I'm being a nice gentleman here." He sat near her, looking at the woman with his usual smile.
"No, you came here to borrow my magazine."
He grinned. "Well, you're right. I'm here to borrow your dirty porno magazine." He waited to hear her usual comment, but the only sound coming was just the soft rustle from the touch of wind and leaves. He glanced at his friend. "You okay, Lisa?"
"I'm fine." She sighed. "Take what you want under my bed. Choose anything you like."
He looked at her with a confused face. "You're really not okay, right? Where's your 'it is not dirty magazine, it is a healthy magazine for my very healthy mind'?"
"If you're already deaf, I'll say it once more. I am fine." She refused to look back at his concerned eyes.
"You are fine and we don't have hollow mask. That's a very clear truth." He said sarcastically. "Sky is too beautiful for mourning time, Lisa. You can burden me with your story, you know?"
She let out a heavy sigh and gave a long pause before reluctantly replied. "It's been twenty years."
Rose, slightly frowned, answered her shortly. "It has."
"I have been twenty years too late." He almost could catch the hint of painful memories that stabbed his Visored friend.
He watched her frame; she did not look like in a broken in a glimpse, but there was this pain in her voice that made him shuddered. Never in his life, before and after the hollowification, he ever saw her sad. She was always the one with the stern and stoic expression, even when she knew that they have been hollowfied 20 years ago, or everyday when she read those magazines of hers. She would keep her emotion for her own, and probably only let out the feelings she had when she was alone. He knew he was watching her fragile state right now, the side which she rarely showed to anyone. Trying to be a good friend, he kept silence, giving her a moment to breathe and burst out her problems from her lungs.
"Today Rose, in this day twenty years ago, I made a promise to someone who I care about badly. I made a broken promise, and I'm afraid I couldn't fulfill it anymore." She wrapped her legs with her arms and clutched her bare knees with her nails. "I promised her that I would read her a new book I found, and then we would stay up and talk all night about the book. She said, she said she wanted me to braid her hair like mine," She made a hurt chuckle, "which was impossible for her rather short hair."
"You know her, Rose." She turned her head slightly at him. "She was the one who followed me every time I brought paperwork for your division."
"The petite girl with glasses and short black hair? The one who resembled your appearance and always stared at you with eyes filled with admiration?" He made a small laugh to ease the atmosphere. "Yes, I remember her."
She drew a small smile on her face. "She's Ise Nanao, the youngest member in our division at that time. Never underestimate her ability, Rose, she was so young but she was the finest one among the new recruits. Not the best with her Zanpakutou, but pretty destructive with her Kido. Always willing to learn, I suppose that was why she was better than most of her seniors."
"I've heard it from one of my division's member, Shibazaki, if I recall. Her Kido had made him unable to move a muscle without screaming a pain for at least two weeks."
"He insulted her petite body and played with her glasses. He clearly underestimated her, since he was the one who challenged her with his Zanpakutou."
"She told it to you?"
"No, I watched the whole incident with my own eyes. She almost didn't tell me anything. She just ran to an empty warehouse after other members brought him to the Fourth. She curled in the corner of the room and kept muttering 'I am sorry' for hours until I came to pick her up."
"You watched it and didn't do anything to stop her?" he saw her unbelievingly.
"What can I do? I'll do worse anyway if I was in her feet." She shrugged nonchalantly. "But she still had mercy. She still so young, sometimes she lost her temper, but always tried to keep her head straight. She was terribly regretted the incident. People kept underestimating her, which annoyed her so much. She rarely trusted people, I probably was the only soul she had around, the only person she gave her trust, and yet I couldn't even fulfill a promise."
"I must say that it's still pretty hard to me for imagining you acted as her guardians, her mentor. I never saw you had an interest in taking care younger member." He chuckled, trying to distract her from another current of regret.
She followed his chuckle softly. "That was what Shunsui told me. I don't know, probably it was her appearance that interested me. She, you know, looked like me in a glimpse. I was always wondering if we probably had the same bloodlines in our previous life as human."
"Who knows?" she rested her chin on her knees. "But that was not the reason why I was so attached to her, just like how people saw her attached to me. She was like a younger sister, a sedative when I was on my worst mood, one of the people who I felt comfortable to show my flaw and weaknesses. She was… I don't know, persistent yet shy, strong yet fragile. She's a soul who always tried to satisfy people around her, hardly thinking about herself. She rarely showed her feelings toward other people, but when you looked closer, she was the most caring and gentle person you've ever met."
"Sounds like you. The caring and gentle part, I mean." He needed to admit that it impressed him more when she talked a lot like this. Again, this was one of the rare opportunities.
She continued without acknowledging his comment. "You know how was I did my job as Shunsui's vice-captain, right? With the laziest drunkard as my captain, I had to do all the paperwork by my own. And that was the day when I felt so damn tired; I had a rough time with a seated officer from Tenth the night before." He could not help to not smirk hearing her words, knowing what she meant as rough time was something involved bed. "I slept in my office during office hour among stacks of paperwork. When I woke up it was already nightfall, and there was a blanket covering my back. I growled as I remembered the amount of paperwork I had to do, and there was a Kido training in the afternoon I need to teach. I didn't realize that she was there, and she startled when she heard me growling. And I, I was deeply impressed and grateful when I saw her doing my paperwork, and surprised when I realized she had done most of them."
"You're kidding me. There's no way an unseated and a new recruit could do that, considering her age too." His voice showed a clear surprise.
"I've told you to not underestimate her, Rose. She read a lot; it only needed a few hours for her to understand how to do it." There was a hint of proud in her voice. "And that was not all. She also had informed my third seat to take over my class for the day. She even prepared a dinner for me. She said she was about to collect the paperwork when she saw me sleeping, so without giving a second time thinking, she covered me with blanket and did my job."
"I'm impressed, Lisa." He could not see her face from his place, but he was sure that she was smiling. "I understand how and why you are so attached to her."
She sighed. "Like I said before, she was fragile. She could break down easily sometimes, but during those times, I was there with her. And now, I'm afraid she didn't have anyone else to keep her stand on her feet. I, I think it's better if she forgets me. Well, probably she had forgotten about me." She smiled wryly.
"I know Hiyori and Shinji hate shinigami a lot, and I do too, recalling what they've done to us." She clenched her fist. "But I couldn't make myself hate them too deep. If there were shinigami who I still trusted, they would be Shunsui and Nanao."
"I always wonder, what was your relationship with him?"
She chortled. "What? You think that I had this romantic relationship with Shunsui? Well, I can't blame you for that, a lot of people thought the same way too." She grinned. "We gave them a good reason for assuming that way anyway. Both of us were always this pleasure hunter, talked openly about dirty things. But no, things will never work for us. I admit there were nights when I crawled to his bed or he to mine, but there was no such romantic feeling. So we just continued our relationship like before, only coming to each other when we needed. But we are a good friend."
"I see." He gave a brief pause. "Don't you think that Shunsui will take care of her on your behalf?"
She did not answer, making another pause between them. "I, I don't know. Shunsui, despite of his appearance, he was a great man who cared deeply about his subordinates and friends. I hope he didn't fall to the hell of sorrow too. He might feel that it was because of him I was exiled. He sent me out alone, and I was hollowfied. Cut my head if he didn't blame himself for that."
"He had Ukitake-san, right? That man always knew how to cheer him up somehow."
"I hope so. And it would be relieving if he did take care of her. He at least will not break a promise."
Rose glanced at her figure. She was still avoiding eye-contact, so he just could manage to see her right side. "You know, I couldn't see any reason why she wouldn't forgive you. We, even though we're not shinigami anymore, still have a very long age. I'm sure someday you can fulfill your promise to this girl."
"I don't know, Rose." She raised her face, looking up to the starry night above them. "We don't even stare on the same sky anymore."
"You want to talk about something, don't you?" The brown-haired man asked her.
She had been standing near him for at least fifteen minutes after some healer from Fourth finished bandaging their wound. He was sitting on the pile of building, eyed his former vice-captain questioningly.
The Winter War had been ended. Or at least that was what those in Fake Karakura Town heard from the Fourth Division members that came in a hurry after they heard that the betrayer captain had been lost to the young shinigami representative. Kurosaki Ichigo had beaten Aizen. The lost one was taken to the prison immediately, while Kurosaki, who suffered severe injuries, was taken back to the Real World by his friends after healed by Orihime Inoue.
And here, still standing on whatever remained from the Fake Karakura Town, was Yadoumaru Lisa. She eyed the Captain of Eighth Division with her stern glance, but the captain understood her better to tell that there was a great hint of concern behind those eyes.
"I'm fine, Lisa-chan, as good as you are." He grinned at the bandage that covered her upper body.
"Shut the hell up, I'm not asking your condition." She snapped.
He chuckled. "So was there another question?" He then eyed her with a sad smile. "For me, Lisa-chan, there are a lot of questions I want to ask, and a ton of stories I want to share."
She didn't answer him. To be honest, she could understand how he felt so much. That was how she felt too, anyway. But for now, there was this one question she wanted to ask and yet too afraid to hear the answer.
"When you kicked my head a while ago, I knew you wanted to ask something more important than just a greeting, Lisa-chan."
She snickered softly. "You're saying that I wanted to ask you something that was more important than killing that bastard?"
He smiled. "Indeed. Aizen was only the reason why we couldn't have a chat back then."
From the knowingly smile on his face, she could not help to not heave a sigh. Even after a hundred years, Shunsui was still the one who could read people's heart in a glimpse. "And what is this important thing I wanted to ask you again?"
He glanced at her for another minutes, still hoping she would spit out the question herself.
"She is fine, Lisa-chan. She's not here because I wanted her to stay in Seireitei. Don't want the same thing happens twice." He gave her an apologizing smile.
"Idiot." She said harshly.
He chuckled. There was a brief silence before he continued. "She is my vice-captain now."
She turned her head to him, was surprised by the unexpected news. "Really?" There was no trace of lie in his face. A smile slowly appeared on her face.
"It happened thirty years after you were exiled," he said, a regret tone appeared in his voice when saying the last word. "She had achieved her shikai years before, I myself trained her." He looked proud of himself. "But it needed more years to convince her to take over your seat."
"You need to know that after you, there is only one person who sits on your seat." He gestured her to sit beside him, which she refused. He pouted, and continuing his story. "Yama-jii told me to have a new vice-captain soon, but I kept telling him no. But still, with that ugly paperwork and my laziness, our division was in chaos. The third and fourth seat gave their best to handle the division, but even so we always late to collect the paperwork."
"Your fault. You know you didn't have a very dedicated vice-captain anymore and yet you still thought that paperwork will sign itself?"
"I couldn't help it. Honestly, during the earlier year of your disappearance, I couldn't imagine to have another vice-captain but you. I didn't even know how to survive the day. But then there she was. Like coming from nowhere, she walked to my office when I was in drunken stupor and started to do the paperwork. She even tidied my wrecked office, preparing a lunch and a rose tea for me. I remembered her vaguely as your little shadow and the girl who ran onto me the night you were disappeared. And when I wake up and tried to thank her, she scowled me, scolding me for being so damn lazy and let whole division in a mess. She was even scarier than you."
She made an amusing laugh. "She did?"
"It was funny for you since you didn't see her expression. But, what awoke me back then was not only that. She, she cried, you know. After yelled at me for god knows how long, she began crumbling. She fell to her knees, covering her eyes with her hands, and she, she begged to me. She begged me to be more diligent and more responsible, because if I didn't become so, sooner or later, whether I wanted it or not, Yama-jii would send a new vice-captain for me. And she said she didn't want anyone else to take over your place. She promised me to do anything, even doing all of division's paperwork; all I had to do was just stay sober and pretending that the division was running well. She begged me, so the vice-captain seat would remain empty until the day you would return. Oh yes, Lisa-chan, she always believed that someday you would come back."
She realized that her jaw was open, showing her surprise and the emotion she hardly could define. She felt…touched, and more. She quickly closed her mouth and fixed her facial. "She shouldn't do that."
"But she did that. And she was not just talking rubbish. She really did all paperwork in our division. And not long after that I found out that she was always crying all night after your disappearance, every single night, Lisa-chan! And it was already four months after that horrible day. And the third seat told me that in every first of the month during those four months, she sneaked to your office with a book in her hand, she would stay there went out before dawn. The third seat knew this, but he pretended to not know anything. Everyone missed you, but world knew better that I and her would be the one who hurt the most."
Shunsui smiled when he saw she threw her blushing face from him. "Since I found it out, I began to compose myself more. Not only for the promise that I had with her, but also because she had awaken something in me that made me so deeply ashamed of myself. I promised that I would protect her; I'd be the other you. The you that she could count on. The you that she always admires. I would make her smile and happy again. But well, it didn't turn out to be as what I expected. I became the one who depending too much to her. In the end, it was me who was, is, happy. My Nanao-chan took me from my deepest regret and she made me into the happiest man in the world."
Lisa noticed how he called her name dearly. She could not help to not make another amusing smile.
"And after years, Yama-jii still forced me to find a new vice-captain to help me running the division, and I thought that probably there was someone who can take your position. And you should see her when I told her that I would make her as my vice-captain. She blasted a deadly Kido to me the second I told her the news. And then she kept shouting 'You lied to me! You lied to me!' and also 'how can you make me take over Vice-Captain Yadoumaru's position? It is hers and belongs to no one else but her!' Seriously, I thought I'd be dead if Ukitake was not on his visit. He helped me to calm her down.
"I let her alone for a week, and when I thought it had been a while, I braved myself to talk to her once more. Apparently she had thought about the idea too, and she looked calmer when I came to her. Well, she shot me a death-glare, but no more Kido. You probably had figured out what she said to me, Lisa-chan." He glanced at her not-too-stern-anymore face. "She said that however disgusting she felt to take over your seat, she would endure it. She would do it, so one day when you came back to us, she could give you the vice-captain's armband by herself."
She closed her eyes, squeezed them to hold the watery things on her eyes from falling down. "Did you infect her with your idiocy? How could she say something as foolish as that?"
He smiled warmly. "She is a very brilliant woman. Dedicated and loyal. Charming and caring. Sometimes I wonder what good things that I've done to get her as my vice-captain." He rubbed his hatless head. "I also, sometimes, envy you. She never sees me the way she saw you. You are so precious to her. There is no admiration, no amazement in her eyes when she looked at me. I am so jealous, you know."
"And why does she have to look at you that way? So you could bring her to your bed and then wreck her heart so easily?" She felt relieved that her voice did not lose the harsh tone.
"So cruel to think that way about your beloved friend." He pouted. "I will never break her heart, Lisa-chan. I'll kill myself if I ever made her sad. And well," he sighed, "I haven't won her heart yet."
"Really? So she hasn't lost her mind yet, I see. I'm proud of her, then." She opened her eyes and placed her hand on her hip, gaining her composure quickly.
"Really? You are proud of her only for that?" he studied her face, and then chuckled softly. "You still love to play stupid, don't you?"
She ignored him. "I bet Nanao is the only woman who still has the straight mind after spending years with your stupid antics."
"And that one is mean. Don't you know how to cheer a broken hearted friend? Moreover when the cause is you."
"Oh, so it's my fault now that she rejects you?" She snarled.
"Well, I admit that half of the reasons are mine. Womanizer, drunkard, and whatever idiocy I've done that always gave her a hard time. But half of them, Lisa-chan, is yours." He mocked an accusing face. "Because my beautiful Nanao-chan thinks that we were romantically involved in the past. You know now how she reacted when I made her as my vice-captain. So how will, you think, she will react if I confess her about my feeling with that very wrong idea in her head?"
"She will close herself from you. There's a high chance that she won't look at you anymore." She whistled. "My womanizer bastard friend is desperate to win my little protégée's heart."
"Not funny, Lisa-chan. I'm serious in here." He pouted.
"You never tried to clear out her misunderstanding? Never declare your feeling, dear my lovesick patient? It doesn't sound like you a bit."
"She didn't want to believe me. And I tell her that I love her everyday, but thank god—or no, she never takes it seriously."
"Just take it as a token of your exes' grudge." She said coldly.
He wrinkled his face "So cruel."
They let a pause slipped between them, taking the chance to exchange friendly look.
"Thank you, Shunsui." She made a slight smile. "Thank you for taking care of her so well."
"No, I thank you, Lisa-chan, for letting me know the loveliest Nanao-chan better. I was afraid that you would against our relationship, you know."
"What relationship?" she snorted. "And I don't have the right to choose who will she love, stupid."
"But once you said you against us, she would accept it. God, she worships the ground you walk, Lisa-chan. You are so dear to her, to the point where I feel so deadly envious."
She gasped a little, but not saying anything in return.
Then his face became more serious. "Will you meet her, Lisa-chan?"
He looked at her in the eye. She glanced at him back with an unreadable expression before she turned away without answering his question.
"How're you doing?"
Lisa had jumped to the top of the building where her Visored friends and some wounded captains and vice-captains were treated. The green haired petite woman in question opened her eyes slowly.
"Mashiro is fine, heheh." She smiled; the right side of her face was bandaged.
"Good. Take a rest now. We'll get back once Hiyori is strong enough for us to hold her up."
Mashiro nodded and once again closed her eyes. Lisa sat beside her and look at her former captain who was still sitting on the pile of buildings below.
He was looking at her too. She could not see her face from her place, but she was sure that he gave her that look. The look which said, "Don't run away. There's nothing to be scared about." Oh hell, she knew him so well. It was certainly that look.
He broke the contact when another Senkai Gate opened, and some shinigami in black Shihakusho and pink Shihakusho came out from it. She saw he fixed his gaze to one of them, even from the distance she could see his wide smile when a woman in black Shihakusho rushed her way to his place.
Oh, that bastard. Only a couple of minutes after he said he loved Nanao so bad, now he was opening his arms widely to that woman with her black haired in a bun. Damn that bitch. She did not fall to his embrace, but she placed her hand gently on his bandaged chest. He said something to the woman, and then she leaned her head slowly to his chest, and the bastard caressed her hair dearly.
Later, Lisa said to herself, before they got back, she would smack that womanizer bastard with her Haguro Tonbo. Mask on.
Lisa turned away from the disgusting scene below her and closed her eyes tightly. That damn man, just when she thought he had done something good for Nanao, now there he was, flirting with another woman. She regretted that she thanked him back then.
"Are you feeling better, Yadoumaru-san?"
She opened her eyes as she heard the gentle voice belonged to Unohana Retsu calling her. After Kyouraku and Nanao, this woman in front of her was probably another shinigami she could not hate. Unohana had taken care of Hiyori and the others so well, even though she still did not feel comfortable on how Unohana called them as 'allies'. "I'm fine." She replied flatly.
The healer smiled warmly. "I see. May I check your wound for a second, Yadoumaru-san? You injured quite deep, I just want to make sure that there's no infection, since we came to bandage you a bit late." She said apologetically.
"I'm fine, Unohana-san. Visored heals pretty quickly." But she let the healer slid a glowing Kido over her bandaged body. Lisa closed her eyes; the Kido was relaxing her muscle, and she could feel the wound on her chest recovered slowly.
There was a soft rustle of fabric behind Unohana before a familiar voice greeted the captain. "Captain Unohana, Captain Kyouraku wanted me fill him in about the other captain's condition."
For the second time in a couple minutes Lisa snapped her eyes quickly as she heard that familiar voice. Her gaze was searching for the owner of the voice, looking for the petite girl with neck-length black hair she knew. No one. There was no one there matched the description she had on her mind.
Lisa sighed. Of course Nanao would not be in here. She was safe in Seireitei, Shunsui told her so. And that voice was not really sounded like her anyway. Well yes, it was familiar in her ears, but that voice earlier had this stern tone which she never heard from the timid little girl.
"Please wait a minute, Vice-Captain Ise. I just need a few more minutes to heal Yadoumaru-san."
Just like a lightning struck in front of her, both Lisa and the woman with a tight bun behind Unohana called after each other name in the same time.
"V, Vice-captain Yadoumaru?"
When Shunsui asked her earlier to meet Nanao, she felt that it was not a good idea. She had been exiled from the Seireitei, there was no chance for her to see her protégée. She hated to admit that to anyone, since it would sound like pitying herself. She was a Visored, and the place she called home in the life before was not her home anymore.
But, god, no matter how she said to herself that she hated shinigami, she could not lie that she missed her friends there. Especially a little girl in particular.
Lisa used shunpo to jump to another roof of building. She looked over her shoulder to make sure that Nanao followed her steps behind.
"So," she began when the woman with hair held in hairclip appeared a few meters in front of her. "You are really Ise Nanao-chan?"
Lisa held her gaze to capture the new Nanao. Her loose black Shihakusho had no wrinkle. Her black hair was in the tight bun neatly. Her blue-violet eyes looked back at Lisa's jade ones unbelievingly. "You've grown up." She saw her shifting uncomfortably. "And Shunsui wasn't joking when she described you as a beautiful woman."
Nanao blushed after the comment. Lisa smiled teasingly. "But it would be better if you wore a short skirt than those ugly hakama."
Nanao grunted quietly but do not say a word. Her head was down, but her eyes looking for her timidly. "Vice-Captain Yadoumaru?"
"Nope." Lisa answered. Nanao raised her head quickly to see Lisa's face. "It is just Yadoumaru Lisa now."
"Long time no see, Nanao." She smiled. She then sat on the floor and gestured Nanao to sit near. "Come here."
She followed her order and sat close to her. She looked at her mentor with watery eyes. "You, you really come back. I'm glad you come back."
"Stupid. If you are glad, then why are you crying?"
"I'm sorry, Vice-Captain Yadoumaru. I'm just…"
"You can call me Lisa, Nanao." She chuckled when Nanao's eyes widened in surprise.
"I couldn't call you by your first name, Vice-Captain Yadoumaru."
Lisa hit her head lightly. "Always so stubborn, aren't you?" She sighed softly. "But I can't blame you either. It's still hard for me to recognize you as the same Nanao-chan who snuggled to my quarter in every stormy night."
A slight pink appeared in Nanao's pale face. "It's been a hundred years ago. I was still a little child back then."
"I know, I know. But well, during those years I couldn't help to not wondering how you coped with that fear. Oh, don't tell me you came to Shunsui's?" she teased.
"Of course not!" she growled. "I, I can manage it now. Time helped me to over my fear."
Lisa studied her face. "You haven't settled it yet, have you? You're never able to lie in front of me, Na-na-o."
"No, really. I have learned to sleep during stormy night. I'm not…lying."
"Sure, sure." Now that she met this girl—woman, she felt her tongue tied. There were too many emotions to describe, too many stories to share, too many questions to ask, and she did not know how to start it.
"I always know that we are so alike, but I couldn't imagine that someday I'll look at you like looking at my own reflection." She poked the hairclip playfully. "If you braid your hair like mine, people might think we're twins."
Nanao kept silence. "That's one reason why I don't braid my hair. People, especially those who know you, tend to look at me as your substitute." Nanao focused her gaze at her hands on her lap. "I mean, I know I am, but it would be nice if they would see me for who I am."
"It must be hard for you, right? I'm sorry for not being there to kick those bastards' asses."
Nanao twitched her face a bit, but then made a small smile. "It doesn't a big matter actually, I'm fine with those staring eyes, but I just could not bear it when they started to compare me with you. They said that the division ran better when you were the vice-captain, that most of our seated officer worked more diligently when you were there. " She made a sad smile. "I grew up to be this perfectionist woman, Yadoumaru-san. I realize that I would not win against you. So when people started to compare us, and I know very well that they were right, I feel insecure."
"God." Lisa rubbed her forehead, as if had a headache. "His idiocy is really contagious." She met the blue-violet eyes with a serious glare. "Nanao, do you really not aware what did I do to make those stupid officers worked their asses?"
Nanao shook her head, flustering.
"Well, probably you never saw nor hear about it." Lisa smirked, eager to see the expression on the younger woman face as she spitted out the answer. "I fucked them."
"I fucked them, dear my little Nanao-chan. I fucked them and I threatened to tell about our little naughty thing to their girlfriend or fiancée if I saw them didn't work as hard as I wanted."
Nanao opened her jaw and quickly covered her mouth with both of her hands, eyes widened in surprise. Her face was red. "You, you fuc—had sex with all of our seated officers?"
Lisa turned her big laugh into a chuckle and a cough. "Not all of them. I didn't fuck with those who already had wife. Really, do you think I was that evil, Nanao? But well, at that time the only married man was only Takahashi-san, our third seat, and he was a dedicated nice old man, so I didn't need to threaten him." She grinned. "So, since you know how did I do it, will you try it too, Nanao?"
"Of course not!" she growled, face all red. Lisa laughed.
Nanao watched her laugh with a frowned face. The blue-violet eyes woman then reached the armband on her left arm; she opened the knot and held it in her hand. Her eyes looked at the insignia with a soft gaze and slight smile.
Lisa stopped her laugh immediately. "Don't you dare, Ise Nanao."
"Shunsui had told me about your promise. And don't you dare think that there's any chance I will take that from you." Lisa glared her.
"You won't take it from anyone, Yadoumaru-san. I will give it to you." She gave the insignia forward to Lisa.
"And that is why I won't receive it." She snarled.
"Because it's yours, Nanao."
"It's not mine. Don't you hear me? I'm your substitute temporarily, so when you are back now, I give you back what was yours."
"It is not mine. And you are not a temporarily substitute!"
"I am, Vice-Captain Yadoumaru." Nanao screamed, almost sobbed. "God, why don't you just take it?"
"I don't wanna."
"You should! This is the reason why I became vice-captain. This is what I live for for these seventy years. To give you back this position."
"I don't… damn." She glared at the petite woman icily. It was funny how the conversation changed rapidly during their talk. To be honest, this was not what she wanted as their first meeting after a century. "Fine then. I take it. I'll be Shunsui's vice-captain once more. I'll take back what I had." She grabbed the insignia from Nanao's hand. "So what are you going to do now? You're no longer the vice-captain of Eighth, whose division are you belong to now?"
"I, I," Nanao stammered. "I will send a proposal to join Eighth Division once more. Then I, I—we could perhaps do what we did, reading together or whatever. I'll do my job as the unseated officer fine, really. I will…"
Nanao shed tears that falling on her cheek.
"You'll be the vice-captain and I'll be the unseated officer, Yadoumaru-san. Just like the old days."
"Yeah, and how's better is that with your present days?"
"Old days were so much better."
"What a great liar you are." Lisa laughed sarcastically. "Don't you love your days as vice-captain of Eighth, Nanao?"
"I, well yes I enjoy it. But I always long for the days when you were there. I was so lost when you were disappeared from my life. It was like losing a light and I was walking in a deep darkness. Everyone told me that you wouldn't come back anymore. Do you have any idea how miserable I felt at that time? With no one to hold on, no place to go, I greedily convinced myself that you would come back, and those people were all wrong! And the thought, the thought that you would be the vice-captain again someday if I did this was how I survived the days. Don't you get me?"
"Listen to me, Nanao." Lisa held the petite shoulder, oh yes it was still petite in her hands, and gazed Nanao seriously. "I no longer belong to the Eighth, no longer belong to Seireitei. I was exiled, and I couldn't turn back the time to change the fact. And that is one fact you had to accept." Nanao sobbed.
Lisa continued. "There are things in this world that we couldn't change. And moving on to turn back what have been changed would not be a good choice anything. Believe me."
"I have thrown away my past, Nanao." She breathed deeply. "I am now is not the same who I am a hundred years ago. You heard about this right?" She put her mask on. "Even though perhaps someday Seireitei allowed us to come back, I will not, I don't want to, come back as the old Yadoumaru Lisa."
She put off her mask.
Lisa softened her gaze. "This insignia, Nanao, along with the position, is yours." She knotted it back to Nanao's left arm. "I've trashed my insignia and my Shihakusho a hundred years ago."
"So, you won't…come back?"
"If there's a chance if I could go back, I will not go there as whom I was."
Nanao bit her lower lip.
"I, I always wonder how life would become if you were never exiled, if you were still the vice-captain."
Lisa smiled softly. "Let's see. We'd have our nice reading time every month. I would drag Shunsui by the short hair to make him do the paperwork," she glanced at Nanao to see her expression, "threatened the seated officers. And in five or ten years you'd be one of the seated officers, and you'd be my very diligent little right hand. Once you started growing up and showing more curves, some men tried to chase after you. But before they touched you, Shunsui would tear away their limbs. And every day I needed to kick Shunsui when he started trying to kiss you on the office. And then I'd probably…"
"W, wait a minute." Nanao startled. She was crimson in frown and embarrassment. "How come Captain Kyouraku involved in this?"
"Because with me there or not, I am sure he would be crazy after you."
"No, Yadoumaru-san, please don't…"
"Whoever told you, Nanao, they're stupid. There's no such romantic feeling between me and that silly drunkard."
"Why should I care?"
"Because your beloved captain loves you and you love him back?"
Nanao blushed crazily. "I don't…"
"Well, I must say that I'm surprised by how things become between both of you," she laughed, "but this is interesting too."
Nanao looked at her with a very hurt look.
"Yadoumaru-san." She nearly trembled. "I have taken your position from you. Whatever you say, I just can't help to feel that way." She raised her hand when Lisa tried to interrupt. "And I can't take anything that belongs to you anymore."
"Shunsui wasn't, isn't, and never mine." Lisa rolled her eyes. "I've told you. And I don't want to make him mine either"
"You think I don't know, don't you? Yes, I was still a little girl at that time, but even on that age I could vaguely understand what it meant when a woman came to a man quarter in the middle of the night, and didn't come out until the morning."
Lisa frowned a bit. "You saw?"
"Yes. I was reading a book you borrowed me at my window. And I saw you came into Captain's quarter, and then I saw you again left his quarter around six."
Lisa blinked. "I'm impressed. You're awake until six a.m just to read a book. You must like the book a lot."
"That's not the point in here."
"I know, I know." She heaved a sigh. "Isn't it clear?"
Nanao brought her eyes to the floor. "It is. Both of you are lover."
"Oh no, it isn't clear for you. God, and I thought you were more brilliant than this. Nanao, you know me right? What do you think was I doing on my captain's quarter?"
"We just had a damn sex. That's all."
"It's not just."
"There's no love involved. You know me better right? Now that you've grown up and probably realized what I did? I always did it to anyone. Well, I better admit that there was one two times when I thought it would be nice if we could fall in love. But in decades we were together as captain and vice-captain, Nanao, there's no such thing came between us. Not that I regret that of course."
"Mind you that he was great in bed…"
"Anyway, judging from what I saw when you were rushing to him a while ago, and from the reaction you gave me every time I mentioned his name, I bet all my magazines that you love him back. A lot."
Nanao fidgeted to hide her face.
"Call me once you accept him."
"N, no way…"
"Or if you need some help in your bed life with him."
"But, most importantly," Lisa smiled. "tell me if he ever make you cry. I'll kill him shortly."
Nanao returned her smile softly.
A pregnant pause slipped between us.
"I'm sorry, Nanao."
"For not being there as I promised. That day, when I was hollowfied, I promised you that we would read together again, right? And you wanted me to braid your short hair." She chuckled painfully. "That was one of my biggest regret when I decided to leave my old life forever. I'm sorry."
Nanao kept a silence for a second. When she looked up, Lisa threw her gaze to anywhere else but her blue-violet eyes. Nanao sighed quietly. "I went to your quarter that night, and Captain Kyouraku told me that you had a mission. So I decided to wait for you in front of your quarter's door. I was there until sunrise came."
"I'm sorry, Nanao."
"When I woke up, Takahashi-san told me that you were… exiled. And at that second, I could see my world crumble down."
"But even at that second, Yadoumaru-san, I knew that you didn't mean to. I knew that it was not your fault. I knew that if I wanted to blame someone, it wasn't you. So, I don't understand why I should forgive you." She smiled and placed her hand on her predecessor's arm gently. "You don't have anything to apologize."
"But still, I should apologize."
Nanao sighed once more. "I see that we also share this same stubbornness." She smiled. "I'll forgive you, in one condition."
"And that is?"
"Do you mind if I come to your place at least once a month?"
"So how did it go?"
Lisa answered with a shrug and a slight smile.
"It's good, I suppose." Rose nodded.
They were on their back to their warehouse in the Real Karakura Town with shunpo. The captain of Twelfth Division had sent back the town to its place, and in a few minutes the townspeople would be conscious.
"She'll come to our warehouse anytime she wants." She informed Rose, but let the others heard it too. "And no perverted brain around." She shot a glance to Shinji and Love.
"Now look who's talking." Love hissed.
Rose paced down slower, motioning Lisa to follow him to move behind the others.
"You're okay with this, Lisa?"
"What do you mean?"
"I know that among all of us, you are the one who missed Seireitei the most. That girl and Shunsui. You…"
"You want me to get my position back as Eighth's vice-captain?" she knitted her brows. "It sounded terrible."
"It shouldn't always work like that." Rose shrugged. "You know, when you were talking with that girl, that Genryuusai old man talked to us that he would do his best to convince Central 46 to take back that exile order. Shinji said that there's no way he would come back to that dull place. Neither do I. But well, probably you…"
"I don't want to be Eighth's vice-captain, Rose. Not if Nanao is the vice-captain. And Shunsui would kill me first if I dared to do it."
Rose smiled. "That old man sounded pretty sure. I bet he'll be busy. You know, with only ten captains and this many ruckuses. Not to mention that some divisions still have an empty captain seat..."
He grinned at her widened eyes. She grinned at him back. Jade eyes twinkled as she got his point.
"There're still three empty captain's seats."
She swung her Zanpakutou playfully.
And that's all! Thanks for reading it until the end. I know it's pretty long. I wrote this in the night to make me falling asleep, but once I started my fingers didn't want to stop typing, and before I realized it'd been almost dawn and I had written this long.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And please don't forget to review