Subject: HELL-O!

3/10/10 12:43pm

Hey Bee.

Damn girl, did you see the new guy in charge of the Kuchiki project? Mmmm, I love blondes with brains. Will be down in a bit to sign those papers you needed and discuss weekend plans.

Ciao bella,

Y.

Subject: Hahaha – NO!

3/10/10 12:47pm

Yoruichi,

You fool no one. Don't you dare scare off our new head architect – it took us ages to get someone of Kisuke Urahara's calibre here. And, just in case the sound of my face-palm didn't reach you in the level above, I am perfectly aware that you'll only be down to sign those things you've spent weeks avoiding because my office is opposite the current headquarters of the Kuchiki project planning centre.

Woman, you're transparent. And I'm bringing the papers to you.

So there.

Soi.

P.S. Who's the other guy with him? Please tell me we haven't actually hired the guy with bright blue hair. I could have sworn we had standards.

P.P.S. You are not dragging me out this weekend. I'm still recovering from the last one and, since it is now Thursday, you owe me big time. I will never understand what it is with you and tequila. It never ends well.

Subject: No fun

3/10/10 1:05pm

Bee, that's just cruel. The man has grey eyes – like glass for Kami-sama's sake! I'm a sucker for that, and you know it. Hell, he looks like my dream guy – can you blame me for wanting to find out if he's sufficiently snarky and amusing like my dream guy, too? It's been waaaaay too long. Don't you want to help your lovelorn boss find that special someone?

P.S. Uh, will you hate me when I say we have? He's part of Kisuke's team, and we hired them all. It was the only way to get him on board. 'Sides, what standards? We hired Renji and Kenpachi, and they look way scarier than this guy.

P.P.S. I don't think so, Bee. We're going out Friday night and tearing it up. I'm picking you up at nine, whether you're willing or not – you know I can totally take you in a fight.

Subject: Standards and Shihoun Constructions – apparently mutually exclusive

3/10/10 1:11pm

No. I don't. What I want to do is ensure that Shihoun Constructions still has a half decent architect on the team, without the potential issue of having to deal with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Aimed at the company president.

And blue hair? Really? I have certain standards I insist on in the people I work with:

They must have two thoughts to rub together

They must be aware that rubbing those two thoughts together won't make a third

Given that this guy literally walked through the door, leered at me, told me, and I quote, "that I dig naughty secretaries", and tried to angle himself so he was peering down my shirt while I gave him directions, I think that's a no in his case. Ugh. So he's with Kisuke? I can't fire him? Or, for that matter, strangle him?

Also, Yoruichi, just how big a team are we talking about here? We do have a budget to stick to, in case you'd forgotten.

P.S. What kind of fight are we talking about? Pillow fight? Otherwise, I call buuuuullshit.

Subject: Someone's got an admirer

3/10/10 1:18pm

Awwww, shucks Bee. I think he likes you. You have to admit, they're a good-looking pair, but I'll let you have blue hair since he's already shown an interest.

I'm nice that way.

And no, you can't fire him or kill him. We have to keep this one.

There are four of them – Kisuke, Blue Hair, a cute redhead (bit too young for us, though) and the woman who threw her shoe at Shinji when they first arrived. Of course, given that it was Shinji, I expect she was kinda justified. He'll have that effect on people. And yes, I am perfectly aware we have a budget, however the Kuchikis wanted this team especially. If they're willing to fork out the cash, I have no problem with it.

It helps that Bya-bo seems to have hired very pretty people. He always did have impeccable taste. After all, he's still friends with me.

P.S. Of course you're coming out. We'll find me a man to help me not consider seducing Kisuke Urahara, and we'll find you a man to help you…

Well, let's just focus on finding a man who can handle you. Or a good shrink.

Subject: Milady's generosity

3/10/10 1:21pm

Ugh.

No, just no.

Engineer-boy is all right, but too nerdy looking for my tastes – much more up your alley (please don't turn that into innuendo). As for the other, only if I get to receive a frontal lobotomy first - he didn't strike me as a scintillating conversational partner. And I don't do jailbait ginger, before you even start. I do not need you messing with my love life.

And for the last time, if you set me up with a woman I will end you. As I explained to the entire freaking company when those rumours went around about us, I like men.

P.S. I do not need to be handled, even by a shrink. And fine, I'll go. We're finishing early, though.

Subject: Judge much?

3/10/10 1:25pm

I can't mess with something that doesn't exist, right? I guess that makes your love life safe.

Seriously, Bee, you need to get some. Maybe this guy is the answer to all those prayers you won't admit to saying every night.

He mightn't be so bad, really shitty first impression aside. I did a quick flick through of his file. The name's Grimmjow Jeagerjacques (there has GOT to be a story there), and he's the relatively sensible architect to Kisuke's deranged creative. Kisuke claimed he was essential.

And Kisuke's a smart guy.

P.S. It's a deal then.

P.P.S. I take that, when you say we finish early, you don't mean early the next day?

Subject: The nature of intelligence

3/10/10 1:29pm

I'll grant that Kisuke Urahara knows architecture – Kami knows, the awards he's picked up are proof of that. I refuse, however, to make conclusions about his intelligence based on your opinion that, I remind you, was formed during a half hour interview where you spent more time ogling than questioning.

And figures. Architects are always the arrogant ones. Put forward a theory like that again, and you'll be the one who'd better start praying.

P.S. No. No, I do not. Not that I think my objection will be noted.

Subject: Unfair!

3/10/10 1:35pm

C'mon Bee, the guy is my type to a T. I'm allowed to ogle. Speaking of which, I'm about to head out to your office to suggest a late lunch and –

Dammit, you've been chatting on your blackberry on the way up. It's you at my door now, isn't it? Anything to stop me getting to gaze longingly. Hang on; I'll buzz you in.

P.S. That's the spirit.

Subject: Damn straight.

3/10/10 1:36pm

Got it in one. And I brought lunch.

Love,

Bee.

xXx

As Soi Fon's heels tapped across the hardwood floor, she slipped the Blackberry into her pocket and held up a brown paper bag. Raising an eyebrow at the woman behind the desk, she simply queried, "Burrito?"

From her perch on the over-large armchair that dominated the back of the room, Yoruichi Shihoun groaned, clutching her stomach.

"I haven't eaten since dinner last night", the exotic-looking woman explained. "I just thought you should know, you have never looked more beautiful to me than you do now."

Soi Fon snorted, dragging up an office chair to sit across from her best friend and boss. "You say that to me whenever I bring you food. Especially when you're hung over. In fact, the last time you called me 'the goddess of the golden arches'."

"Huh." Yoruichi frowned as she fished a burrito out of the bag. "I don't remember that."

"No", Soi Fon replied witheringly, "which is why I want to take it easy this weekend. No matter how much I may need the drink."

Through a mouthful of food, the older woman murmured, "Sowaessssachok?"

Soi Fon blinked, before muttering, "You know, if you'd told me that a company vice-president's duties involved watching you eat like that, I think I would have passed on the job."

She was rewarded with a rather disgusting grin, and the statement, "Oooo wuv mwyeee."

Rolling her eyes, Soi Fon threw her boss some napkins and grumbled to herself, "Kami knows why." To Yoruichi, she added, "Chew, swallow and then try again."

For once, she complied. "So, he's a jerk."

"Of the highest order", Soi Fon growled. "And he's sitting right across from me, being infuriating the whole damn time, and I can see the whole thing because you insisted on glass cubicles!"

"Ok, firstly, you insisted, remember? You wanted to cut down on office hanky-panky." Yoruichi grinned. "Whereas I'm all for the hanky and the panky. Secondly, how is he infuriating?"

Soi Fon considered this. "You know that story parents tell kids? The old 'if you keep poking that face, then when the wind changes you'll be stuck with it forever'?"

"Uh huh."

"Well, Jeagerjacques must have spent his childhood with a half smirk, half leer, because it seems to be the only expression he has, and I just want to rip it off his face and beat him to death with it!"

Yoruichi observed her friend closely, noting the flaring nostrils, the sparking black eyes and the clenching and unclenching of fists. "Hmmm."

Soi Fon's gaze snapped back to her companion and her eyes narrowed. "What?"

"What do you mean?" Yoruichi feigned innocence.

Soi Fon glared. "That wasn't just a 'hmmm', there was meaning behind it."

Wide-eyed and carefully nonchalant, Yoruichi simply stated, "You simply sound somewhat… frustrated."

Soi Fon groaned, dropping her head into her hands. "Not again. Please, don't start telling me I need to get laid. I'm getting really sick of that speech."

With a snort, Yoruichi replied, "Ok, I won't tell you. But from now on, whenever I think it, I'm going to have this expression, just so you know what I mean." She screwed up her face in a manner that was probably supposed to convey penetrating insight, and instead indicated that she should see a local doctor shortly. Soi Fon evidently thought the latter more probable.

"So you're going to think about my non-existent sex life whenever you're constipated? Classy."

She narrowly dodged the empty can of energy drink as it sailed past, frowning as she spotted it. "Yoruichi, I thought we had you weaned off those things."

"But this one has no sugar! It's much better for me." The company president nodded sagely.

Soi Fon rolled her eyes. "Sure, in the same sense that your appalling fast food order with a diet drink is better for you than that same order with the usual sugary crap. It's not much of a step in the right direction."

"But Bee, would you deny me my only vice?" Even Yoruichi couldn't keep a straight face, as she and Soi Fon started to chuckle. "Ok, don't answer that." Pulling herself together, the older woman scrutinised her friend. Soi Fon seemed to be in a better mood than she had been when lunch began, but there was still strain evident. "Was he really that much of a jerk?"

Soi Fon sighed. "He's an arrogant ass. I don't work well with arrogant asses, even if their arrogance is partially justified. But if the Kuchikis want the Urahara Group designing the hotel, I'm just going to have to roll with it, aren't I?"

Yoruichi smiled ruefully. "There is that. I'd be happy to change architects over a personality clash, but these guys were requested and, as much as Bya-bo and I get along, I don't think he'd be happy with my if I tried to alter things."

"I'll say", Soi Fon muttered. "That man invented the thousand yard stare."

She received her friend's quick grin in response. "I won't argue with that, but just remember, he's had a rough couple of years. He's a widower, after all, and his family… Let's just say that he's the most openly affectionate out of all of them."

Soi Fon shuddered. "That is a terrifying thought", she replied as she frowned, "but I liked his sister. She actually seemed to have personality."

"Rukia's adopted", Yoruichi pointed out. "She escaped the Kuchiki craziness."

"Lucky her."

"Anyway Bee", Yoruichi added, "We've strayed from the main point – Jeagerjacques."

"Yeah", Soi Fon muttered, "we did, and I enjoyed straying immensely."

Shaking her finger, her friend returned, "Uh uh, I don't think so. So, he thought you were a secretary and was a bit of an ass accordingly. What I don't get was why you gave him directions to his office so calmly." Yoruichi gave her a curious look. "At least, your email didn't mention any kind of response…"

Soi Fon had the grace to look sheepish. "Well, I wouldn't perhaps describe my manner as calm."

Yoruichi started to grin. "What did you do?"

"Well", Soi Fon started hesitantly, "I said I gave him directions. I didn't say they were to his office…"

Her boss' raised eyebrow and twitching lips were indication enough to continue.

"I flipped him off, and, uh, 'directed' him to sit on it and swivel. He just grinned more and said 'Kinky', which was when I noticed he was staring down my shirt." Soi Fon scowled. "Stupid bastard was tall enough to stand over me."

Yoruichi was now shaking with suppressed laughter, and motioned with her hand for Soi Fon to continue.

"Well, when I saw what he was doing, I grabbed the paperweight and it sort of left my hand…"

Yoruichi gave up on pretending not to laugh. Chuckling to herself, she managed to gasp out, "You threw a paperweight at his head?"

Soi Fon's scowl deepened. "No. At his crotch."

As Yoruichi burst into uncontrollable laughter, her friend spat out, "It's not funny! You know the worst part? The lousy freaken jerk dodged it! And now he sits in the cubicle across the hall leering at me! I swear if this project doesn't wrap up soon, I'll have committed a homicide."

Through her giggles, Yoruichi finally responded. "Oh Bee, it's moments like this that I am so glad I hired you."

"Fan-fucking-tabulous", Soi Fon muttered darkly. "Can I get that statement on a reference? I think I'd like to work somewhere less insane."

As she wiped away tears of laughter, Yoruichi shook her head. "No you wouldn't. You'd be bored in seconds."

That might have been true, but Soi Fon had no intention of admitting it. "Look, can we talk about something else?"

"Such as the very attractive head architect and why you won't let me at him?" Yoruichi suggested. "Why yes, yes we can."

"Ugh." Soi Fon shook her head. "It isn't that I don't like him, or that I even disapprove of your office romances. You actually conduct them fairly professionally, which would probably make them the only thing you extend that courtesy to. It's just that this project is huge. We can't afford to get distracted and we certainly can't distract the rest of the team too. This is the biggest thing we've ever done and we want it to go well. After all, what's the unofficial mission statement of Shihoun Constructions?"

Yoruichi smiled wryly. "Our aim is to rub my success in the noses of all Shihouns who said I couldn't run this thing."

"Precisely." Soi Fon grinned. "I can't think of a better way to do that than do a kickass job on this and maybe even score ourselves more contracts with the Kuchikis."

The other woman nodded. "Amen to that. Ah Bee, you're always the voice of reason."

"And that is why you hired me."

"Touché." Yoruichi nodded, even as her expression turned wistful. "All right, I'll keep my hands off. I make no guarantees for eyes, though. Kisuke is very pretty."

Soi Fon tried not to roll her eyes, with mixed results. "He's ok. If you like blondes."

Yoruichi's smile turned devilish. "Grimmjow's not too bad either."

"Who? Wait, Jeagerjacques?" She shuddered. "You have got to be kidding me."

Yoruichi shrugged. "He's good-looking, in a devil-may-care kind of way. You have eyes, you can't tell me you didn't notice it."

Now that she had to think about it, Soi Fon supposed that her antagonist wasn't entirely hideous. Sure, he'd been obnoxiously tall, but he'd also filled out his business attire in a way that wasn't exactly unattractive. His features had been sharp and very masculine, and his smirk would quite possibly have won over a lesser woman. She supposed that she could admit he was attractive, if you liked that sort of look.

Which she certainly didn't now.

"He was fine, I guess."

Yoruichi's grin had widened. "That was some pause there, Bee. Reconsidering the paperweight throw?"

"Not in the slightest", Soi Fon growled out, as her mentor laughed. "Look, Yoruichi, if he is good-looking by some deranged standard, then when is he leering at me? I'm no catch."

Yoruichi bit back the reply she knew would be scoffed at. True, Soi Fon wasn't exactly a perfectly traditional beauty, but her pointed chin and high cheekbones, coupled with pale skin and black hair and eyes, gave her an attractively elfin look when she let her hair down. The problem was that she didn't. Soi Fon cultivated an image that was so sharp you could cut yourself on it, from the tailored pinstripe skirt, to the crisp white shirt, its sleeveless design the only concession to the heat. Her hair was pulled back tightly into a braid, her face bare of any makeup and her general demeanour around men terrified most of them. Yoruichi loved her petite protégée but she had to admit, Bee could be forbidding if you didn't know her. She almost had to admire this Jeagerjacques for not bothering to let that side of Soi Fon concern him.

Well, she would have admired him if it hadn't been so obvious that he lacked any sense of self-preservation.

"Ok, I'll let it go. Still, you did at least throw your position as VP around after he started calling you secretary, right?"

Soi Fon blinked. "You know, I didn't actually think of that."

"That's all right", Yoruichi replied, in a tone that was anything but consoling, "you were too busy being dazzled by Grimmjow's good looks."

"Where's a paperweight when you need one?" Soi Fon was less than impressed.

"Drop-ping it", Yoruichi sing-songed. "Well, then how about a chance to call Jeagerjacques in front of the VP to be reprimanded about his behaviour?"

Soi Fon grinned. "That's diabolical. I love it."

"Excellent." Yoruichi grinned. "I'll call Kisuke into the office and have him set it up."

Soi Fon frowned. "You couldn't just email him?"

Yoruichi shook her head. "Ah, my young padawan, you have much to learn. See, if I call Kisuke in, I get to watch Kisuke walk away. Mmm-hmmm."

She only just dodged the drink can in time.

xXx

And so we have the start of my first AU. Like it? Hate it? Let me know, k? Also, belated disclaimer says I don't own Bleach. Excellent - arse covered.

Cheers,

vicioux.