Characters: Kenpachi, Yachiru, Ikkaku
Word Count: 1,372
Summary: Kenpachi makes Yachiru stay at home while he goes out to hunt hollows. Naturally, she doesn't listen to him.
A/N: Written for prompt #8: leaving, Table 8 - Misc. B (12_stories).
As he stared at his own reflection, Kenpachi grinned. The sword that had so long been with him gleamed back with an ever promising sheen, its strained spiritual pressure weak as it submitted to its master's own. He slid it back into its sheath, the sound of the hilt hitting home reverberating throughout the room, and slipped on his captain's haori.
He turned and, out of the corner of his eye, caught sight of none other than the brat. She stood there in her pink pyjamas – that had come in a size too big for her – and fluffy pink bedroom slippers. Kenpachi forced himself not to grimace at the way the big, beady, button eyes of the rabbits as they stared up at him. They freaked him out a little, how those eyes seemed so lifeless and glazed over with polish, and more than he once he regretted ever getting those slippers for her birthday.
"Ye're supposed to be asleep, brat."
A beam lit up her face, so wide that the corners of her lips seemed to touch her ears. Kenpachi knew what was going on within her mind right then and there. He rose to his feet and shook his head, frowning down at her.
"No can do, brat. It's way past yer bedtime, and I don't want ye to go sleepin' in again tomorrow."
"But Ken-chan," she started, that high-pitched whine of hers grating on his nerves, as she rolled back and forth on her heels, "I wanna go hollow butt-kicking with you so I can see Baldy and Feather-face get their butts kicked and then I can help kick butts too!"
"There ain't no butts for ye to kick tonight." Kenpachi scoffed, but still found it rather amusing that she'd rather give up slumber to fight. Like what Ukitake always said, "She's her father's daughter."
Kenpachi, though he would never say that he was her real father – because he obviously wasn't – he'd never be able to argue with that. He was there to see her grow up into the little brat that she was now. Long ago, back in the days, she'd been so innocent, untouched by the horrors of the world. Now, though she still appeared a child, she was a child beyond her years. There was an aura about her that warned others not to fuck with her, and if her thread of patience were to snap, Kenpachi could see the roof of his division's barracks being catapulted off its base.
The thought made him smirk, but he held it down, unwilling to give her the wrong idea. She was still staring up at him, eyes wide and hopeful – the kind of hope that was always present whenever she asked for treats and bedtime stories.
"Bed," he pointed down the hallway, showing a bit of teeth to scare her off, "now."
She remained unfazed, unmoving. "But I don't wanna."
With a sigh, he squatted down and, with his broad shoulders hunched up like a hermit's, scrutinized her. "Whaddaye want, eh, brat? Want a story? Want some candy? Ice cream?" Mentally, he cringed at the thought of giving her sweets way into the night. He'd have trouble falling asleep, forced to stay awake with her using his stomach as a trampoline.
"I wanna kick butts."
"Ye can't kick butts."
'Cause ye're still too small. Kenpachi refrained from saying that, although he'd like to so that she could shut up. Though she exhibited spiritual pressure that could match up to the pretty-boy's – and maybe Ikkaku's as well – he had no interest in watching her being stomped to a pancake by some idiot hollow that was going to die anyway by his own hand.
"'Cause it's past yer bedtime, now go." He grasped the back of her collar, lifted her up, turned her around in the opposite direction, and dropped her to the floor. The rabbit slippers made a squeaky sound upon landing, and he growled on instinct. "Go to sleep 'fore I kick yer ass back to where ye came from."
She stood in silence for a moment, and then obliged and slumped down the corridor. Kenpachi watched her back as she faded into the darkness, heard the door close with a soft click, and stood up with a grunt. He was going to have a lot of sulking to deal with later on. At the back of his mind he wondered which situation was more tolerable: having to deal with that or a brat who wouldn't stop drooling on his stomach first thing in the morning.
Still, Kenpachi figured he did the right thing. She was, after all, still growing. He remembered reading one of those half-assed parental guidebooks some old woman back in the Rukongai lent him. Said it did wonders in the raising of a child, but Kenpachi had his doubts. Her teenage boy, who could only stutter and stare and piss his pants when he first laid eyes on Kenpachi, wasn't much of a motivation.
He knew that Yachiru never really left his side whenever they went off for a good hunt, but that was when she was still a baby. He was forced to bring her along to witness all the bloodshed, and although it wouldn't make much of a difference now to have her stay home unexposed to all the gore, he still wanted her to at least be independent. She couldn't be riding his back all the goddamn time – he too dreaded the idea of carrying her around when she was all grown up. For once, he actually gave a rat's ass about what old man Yamamoto would say.
Kenpachi shook his head, the corners of his lips quirking up slightly at the sound of the bells, and stepped out into the night. The members of his division who made up a party of four, including him, stood out in the courtyard, waiting. Ikkaku was keeping them busy, toasting with the hopes of a good, action-filled hunt. Once he caught sight of Kenpachi, Ikkaku grinned.
"I see ye can't wait to get it on." Kenpachi smirked, holding out his large hand for the sake bottle.
"Can't remember the last time I went on a hunt with ye, Captain." Ikkaku popped his knuckles and wiggled his eyebrows. It was obvious that the other two, an old, weathered veteran and a feisty young redhead, was in league with their senior. Hot-blooded, eager, always willing to get down and dirty in blood – that was what Kenpachi liked to have in his division.
Kenpachi grinned around the mouth of the bottle and tipped his head back, savouring the feel of alcohol as it coursed down his throat and warmed his insides.
But the sudden tackle that hit him in between his shoulder blades caused him to spit the last of the sake out, and Ikkaku was too late to shut his eyes to avoid it. And the squeal, familiarly high-pitched, made him wince and whirl around.
She grinned at him, the sort of grin that showed that she was in power, taking pride in her work.
"Back to bed," he growled lowly so as to not alarm his inferiors. Granted, they were already snickering behind his back – excluding Ikkaku, who was busy trying to clean off alcohol and Captain-spit from his face.
Yachiru stuck out her little pink tongue, and then climbed up so that she was sitting on his shoulders. With her tiny fingers she grasped his spikes and flailed her legs about, cheering with lyrics twisted with gore and violence.
"Go, go, Ken-chan!"
Kenpachi seethed, but was slapped out of his thoughts of murdering the child by a small hand to his forehead. "C'mon, Ken-chan, we ain't got all night." She patted the sides of his face and pulled at his cheeks, giggling. "Ya ain't gonna get rid of me that easy!"
"All right, fine." Kenpachi pushed through his team and marched towards the gates, grimacing as Yachiru shouted motivations and ideas and ninety-nine ways on how to decapitate a hollow, her fluffy pink rabbit slippers squeaking against his back.
But Kenpachi had to admit that he did quite like her suggestions.
He smirked to himself. "Her father's daughter" indeed.