where the bee stings

Yoruichi liked thunderstorms. Admittedly she liked them better when not actually out in them, but a good set of eaves and the right angle of wind could produce a spectacular view without a single drop of rain.

She liked thunderstorms even more when there was a jug of good wine to watch them by.

But best of all, she liked thunderstorms when she could watch them in the company of friends. Little Soi Fong was sitting next to her feet, just as she always had, and Kisuke was on the way up to their attic nook with some more wine.

Assuming he survived getting up to the attic. Little Soi Fong had been being playful again. It was so sweet. She wanted to tousle the girl's hair.

"Oh what a beautiful mooooorning," Kisuke carolled from downstairs.

There was a crash. At a rough estimate, to Yoruichi's trained ear, it was approximately five tons of iron going through a wood floor and hitting the cellar below.

A pause.

Yoruichi raised an eyebrow.

"Oh what a terrible tragedy," Soi Fong said, deadpan. "If only he hadn't tried balancing that blacksmith's anvil on top of the door."

More bouncing steps. "Oh what a beautiful daaaaaayyy . . ."

Soi Fong's left eyelid started to flicker in a little tic.

A heavy swish split the air, followed by a thud.

Another pause.

"Dear me," Soi Fong said in a tone of voice that could only be described as hopeful. "Well, if that man will insist on leaving crossbows lying around the place fully loaded and on a trigger-wire . . ."

Pad pad pad from downstairs. "I've got this glorious feeeeeeeeeeliiiiiiiing!" There was real emphasis and power on the -liiiiing, the happy tenor of a man who didn't care about anyone nearby criticizing his singing. If he'd been in the bath, it would have been even louder.

The tic in Soi Fong's eye got worse.

From the other side of the attic door came the unique and unmistakeable sound of a stairway crumbling, going down in pieces from the top to the bottom, rigged in such a way that anyone on it would be buried under the timbers. (Yoruichi should know. She'd rigged a few that way herself.)

"If only he'd spent as much on woodworm maintenance as he had on junk food and pornographic magazines," Soi Fong said wistfully, "perhaps he might be alive at this very moment -"

The attic door swung open. Kisuke was balanced on the very edge of the open stairwell, clinging to the door frame with his fingers and toes, cuddling the wine jug under one arm. "Everything's going my way!" he finished, holding the note for an extra few beats to really put some vibrato into it.

Soi Fong sniffed.

With a certain degree of smugness, Kisuke put the wine jug down in front of Yoruichi, and dropped down on the mats next to her, one-upmanship in every line of his body.

He rose vertically in the air, screaming.

"Oh dear," Soi Fong said innocently. "I knew I left my embroidery needle around the place somewhere. Thank you so much for finding it for me, Urahara-san!"

Yes, life was so much more entertaining for Yoruichi when her friends were being playful.