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Artist: Bleach OST - Song: Mysterious - Word Count: 416
Shunsui sat alone in his office, door closed, lights dimmed. His head was tilted back, and the large straw hat that he so often wore was propped atop his head, covering his eyes from the small amount of light remaining in the room. The desk in front of him was strewn with paperwork for various things, some confidential, others not so much. The couch across from him sat bare, although he often used it to sneak in an afternoon nap. It had been an eventful few weeks transitioning into his new job as captain of the fourth division though, and there had been little time for that.
Reaching his hand up to readjust his hat Shunsui lowered his head, now looking straight forward, and sighed. It was a sigh of contentment, one that would have left anyone hearing it with no doubts that at the moment he was deeply satisfied. He'd been sifting through papers all day and he'd finally come to a reasonable stopping point. Now that he'd finished up his work for the day the only thing he desired was a bit of peace and quiet. It was early in the evening, just beginning to get dark, but everyone else in the division had already set off to take care of their own things. That left him with the division headquarters to himself, and nothing left to do for the rest of his time in his office. The only things that could make this time off better was someone to make small talk with, and maybe something to drink.
It had been a long time since he'd been able to relax like this, and he was thoroughly enjoying it. He noticed that he'd left some paperwork out of place, so he began to shuffle it in an attempt to get the unruly mass into a somewhat more organized configuration. After a few moments he was happy with the results, so he put the papers in a folder and then stored that away in one of the drawers that lined his desk. Not good to leave sensitive gotei information out in the open, especially not when he was so tired. Although in reality it was very doubtful that anyone would have been able to steal anything from right under his nose, even when he was fast asleep. He had a knack for sensing new arrivals around him, even when he was out cold. Speaking of new arrivals... it seemed he was to have a visitor.
In the middle of the night, a shadow seemed to pass by unnoticed and unrestricted through the corridors of the 4th squad barracks. No soul could see the ominous darkness or the shadow casted by the surprise visitor, but fear not. The individual wasn’t there for any of the Shinigami already out and about. She was there for him.
The feminine voice would project strongly as the door to the Captain’s office opened. Walking in, a tall and fair skinned lady juggled a couple of large bottles of alcohol before placing them on the nearest table. The way she spoke, it sounded as though Aiko was simply greeting her dad as if she had just seen him earlier that day, though they had likely not seen each other for more than a few years. Heck, the girl probably met with her mother more often than she did with her father. And could she really be blamed? Both Shunsui and Aiko had duties that in one way or another kept them busier than they’d like to be. Were it up to her she would spend most of her time shopping, drinking, and eating. As it turns out, she inherited much more than brain and brawn from her father. Although her mother would argue that it was thanks to her that Aiko looked the way she did.
Coming closer to her father she would try and hug him with opened arms. There was a definite and obvious feeling of belonging and satisfaction when she pressed against him. It had been far too long, and though appearances did little to showcase the fact, she did in fact miss him. A lot.
”How are the Captain duties? I see you’re busy enough that you don’t even have company around.”
By that she meant other ladies of his squad. She made no attempt to hide the fact that her dad was a womanizer. And frankly, it seemed to bother most people more than it did her and her mother. They were both okay with it. Lisa was a bit of a sexual deviant by most people’s perceptions. And while Aiko wasn’t a saint, her years of living with the vizards and Yoruichi helped her have a more relaxed outlook for things that most found without tact. In any case, with a smile, she did a little twirl to show her dad her outfit. He must’ve known that for a while she had been working for the Soul King as part of the Royal Guard with the title of Master of the Realms. It was simply a form of mediator and peace keeper among the spiritual races with free passage across the worlds.
”You still have them here don’t cha? Yes you do!”
Reaching up and over a few set of books, Aiko pulled out a set of shot glasses. Their hidden location likely a secret to all but Shunsui and her. And taking a sit by the table next to him, she couldn’t help but smile with the brightest and biggest of grins. Even if she didn’t say it quite literally, she was extremely happy to see him.
Artist: Bleach OST - Song: Mysterious - Word Count: 403
Shunsui looked up with a smile on his face as Aiko slid the light-weight paper door aside and stepped into the room. He didn't often get the chance to see his daughter, even less so now than in previous years, so this was a pleasant surprise to say the least. He didn't fail to notice the drinks she'd brought along with her either.
"Well, look who it is. Hey kiddo."
He stood, and met her a few steps in front of his desk. When she embraced him Shunsui happily returned her hug, patting her softly on the back as he did so. It had been a good deal of time since their last meeting, and he was pleased to see that she looked well. He'd always been protective of those close to him, especially the women. Even more so when it was his own daughter, but he knew she was capable of taking care of herself. Still, seeing her once in a while reassured him of the fact. After a moment he took a few steps back, then leaned against the back of the desk to support himself.
"There hasn't been much time for company since I became captain of the fourth division, this is actually one of the few moments of peace I've had in weeks. It's been pretty hectic around here lately, seems like I have some new invasion to investigate every day or two, and if it's not that then I'm filling out paperwork and examining regulations. Realm enforcement is certainly more of a job than I thought it would be, but I'm sure you have an idea of that."
Shunsui looked on and laughed as Aiko crossed the room and retrieved the glasses he'd always kept behind his set of field journals. They weren't his own journals, but reports that he had assembled into handy volumes for future reference. He smiled, wondering what the general opinion of his hidden glasses would be.
"I'm glad you came, I've just finished my work for the day, so we can catch up for a bit. What have you been up to? How have you been?"
As he finished talking Shunsui moved back around to his seat and made himself comfortable. He could tell from her expression that Aiko was as happy to be here as he was to have her, and didn't feel that much else needed to be said about it.
There was something about her father that always evoked respect from everyone around him. Despite some of his less popular antics, he was overall a dedicated, responsible, and dependable man. He could joke all the time and flirt all the time, and quite possibly drink all the time, but he was always respectful, and he always had tact. Beyond all the power he possessed as a shinigami, it was his worth as a person that made him invaluable. Those were the words of her mother though Aiko shared the same belief as well. Of course, that’s not something she’d ever tell him. If her mom found out she mentioned it…
”Dear god, that sounds tedious.”
As it turned out, the woman had inherited her father’s less than apt inclination for recurrent labor. It was ironic really, specially given her position, though she managed just as her old man did. Still, it seemed as though her father was really putting in the work and making an effort to be closer to his squad and his duties. In her early years at Seireitei, before the young girl was aided away in the escape with Yoruichi to reunite her with her mother following the hollowfication of the Captains and Lieutenants, her father behaved a bit differently. Sure he was still dependable and dedicated to his squad, but the large bulk of the duties usually fell on the vice captains. With a new turn in the spiritual world and the Gotei United, it seemed as though he had finally decided to be a bit more involved. In any case she supported him and his decision so long as it made him happy and he saw it as the right thing to do.
”Well, I resumed my position at the Royal Guard, so I’m once again tasked with keeping the peace between the realms.”
Not a lot of people knew about the fact that Aiko, a former shinigami of the Gotei was currently a member of the Royal Guard. In fact, quite possibly only Ibiki, Tsubasa, and Shunsui knew of the fact. After all, most dealings having to do with the Soul King were shrouded in secrecy, and reserved to a need to know basis. And for the business of the Soul King and the people that guarded him and his dominion, hardly anyone needed to know.
”I’m allowed free reign and travel into the different realms though I’m only tasked with keeping or facilitating relations and peace. Still, it allows me enough time to relax and come see my old man.”
With a large grin she pulled up a chair and sat down next to him, pouring the contents of a large bottle that read, Duchess Morgana on the label. She was told it was a very popular rum in the world of the living. The other bottles were of different kinds and brands of alcohol however. After all, much like her dad, the girl possessed an unnaturally high tolerance to alcoholic beverages.
Artist: Bleach OST - Song: Mysterious - Word Count: 628
As he listened to his daughter Shunsui raised his arms above his head into a long stretch, then locked his fingers and placed his hands behind his head. His body had become somewhat stiff after a long day of paperwork, and it felt good to move his muscles.
"Oh, is that so? It's funny that our jobs should end up being so closely related."
Shunsui closed his eyes momentarily while Aiko poured their glasses. He was lost in thought briefly, refining his plan to increase the defenses of soul society. He planned to visit the Captain Commander as soon as he got a chance to propose a meeting between all of the captains. They had big things to discuss, and he couldn't let it wait any longer. Opening his eyes once more he looked over to his daughter just in time to see her place the bottle back on the table.
"Your mother? No, I can't say I've seen her lately. Hmm... Actually it's been quite a while. I'm sure you'll find her if you go looking though."
Reaching across the table he grabbed his own glass and swiftly drained it of its contents. Shunsui was quite familiar with the various alcoholic beverages that came from the other realms, and he'd had one of every type of drink, but this was one of the many brands that he'd never tried before. It was much better than the previous rum he'd tried, that was for sure. With a sigh of contentment he placed his glass back upon the table and began to tinker with something attached to the side of his uniform. A moment later the pouch that he'd just recently taken to carrying at his side came into view, and from it he pulled a long, thin, and elegant pipe. He held the pipe with one hand and casually filled it with the contents of the pouch, a fine tobacco that he'd retrieved from the realm of the living.
"This is a new habit I've just picked up recently. Don't judge too quickly though, it serves a practical purpose. See these two sagemono I wear at my side now? This one, as you can see, holds a pipe and tobacco. The other contains sake, and the lid acts as a small shot glass. Watch what happens when I smoke the tobacco."
Shunsui filled the pipe with the fine, dark brown tobacco from the pouch, then lit it with a match. As he did so smoke began to quickly billow from the head of the pipe. He added to it by blowing the smoke out of his mouth, in even greater quantities. The room was filled with a thick white cloud within moments. With a little effort he created a blast of air by exerting his reiatsu, clearing the room out just as speedily as it had filled.
"See? The sake, by the way, is poison. It only becomes active when I pump reiatsu into it. Otherwise it's an enjoyable drink. Neat little toys, huh? They add a bit of versatility I can utilize without revealing even my energy, if I prepare them in advance. Of course, it doesn't hurt that I've started to enjoy the tobacco."
Now that Shunsui was done showing off the smoke production had gone down drastically. It wouldn't do to fill the room with smoke for their entire conversation. Pleased with himself he poured a drink, leaned back, and began to down this one as well. This time though, he took more time to appreciate the taste.
"When did you pick these up anyway?"
Shunsui gestured towards the bottles sitting on the table as he said this. If they were recent maybe he'd see about getting his own. A little variety never hurt anyone.
It was indeed interesting, and a pleasant surprise to say the least. Throughout the years, specially during her childhood, everyone commented on how similar she appeared to her mom in regards to appearance. She was certainly Lisa’s daughter. From her tall, womanly figure to the shape and contours of her face, even right down to the way she behaved at times. In fact, not long before she became appointed to the Soul King’s Royal Guard, her standard attire used to resemble a sort of outfit that highly mimicked her mother’s. She still wore that outfit from time to time since she still owned several copies. However, recently it was more of an occasional habit when she traveled to the world of the living. For the time being, the look of her Royal Guard attire was pleasant and serious enough to strike a balance of pride and content both on herself and most who’d seen her.
”I’m sure I could, but I meant more for you. It seems like you could use her company, or anyone else’s for that matter.”
It was also in part the reason why she had gone in the first place. She knew her father was trying very hard to fill the shoes that old man Yamamoto left centuries ago. And while Shunsui was doing a great job thus far, he needed to be careful not to burn out. Regardless of position or strength, it was wise to allow others to take the burden, even if only momentarily, to regain composure and keep going. Aiko wasn’t particularly accepting of the advice herself, but she had more of a do as I say, not as I do mentality. And besides, it would do her father well to spend some time with a lady like he used to. Yea, his daughter’s company would have helped, but he needed something else, be it from her mother or someone else entirely. She could be wrong though.
Aiko had not said a word when her father pulled out the tobacco. Frankly, at first, she did sort of pass judgement if only ever so slightly. After all, while such an item should not be able to harm his health, she was aware that at least in the world of the living, it was widely thought to be a leading cause to terminal diseases. And while Aiko had always been one to live free, and wish the same onto others, at the same time she wished nothing but health for her family and those she loved. As he produced the peculiar smoke and explained what it did however, all her worries were gone. It stood to reason that such a particular item would have been crafted in rather particular ways. And it also stood to reason that with unnatural abilities, and an unnatural spirit energy, it would have unnatural results. There was little to no chance of the tobacco causing ill effects for her father, and that’s all that mattered to her.
”Those are actually really cool. I’m impressed dad.”
And she was indeed. The idea that potentially powerful items were disguised and used as everyday casual items was simply ingenious. It was the same principle behind her sealed zanpakuto. To the untrained and unfamiliar eye, it would seem as though Aiko was always without one, much like one of her former mentors, Yoruichi. Instead, most did not know that her zanpakuto was actually with her at all times. Disguised as the gloves she wore, they were a way to diminish the aggressive or daunting footprint she possessed, while still allowing her to be up and ready for any sort of potentially hostile scenario.
”By the way dad, anything new here…?”
The tone of her voice was strikingly different when she asked that question. There was even a little less smiling and a little more seriousness as she did. Of course, by here, she meant Seireitei. While the Royal Guard was kept in the know about most things that went on in Soul Society, the details were usually kept hidden to all but the Captain Commander and its Captains. Of course, Aiko wasn’t trying to get her father to divulge any secrets that were thought to remain as so. Instead, she was simply inquiring about details she may not have heard of but that could be of crucial importance. On her end, there were issues of her own. There was a force that rivaled and threatened the Soul King and the Royal Guard, and they were growing in numbers and power rather quickly. Unfortunately, in Seireitei, most did not know what occurred at the Soul Palace, and as such would likely be unaware of the most current and prevalent dangers and threats to the Soul King.
Artist: Bleach OST - Song: Mysterious - Word Count: 624
Shunsui placed his glass down on the table, swirling its contents gently as he did so.
"Like father like daughter indeed... Now that you mention it I guess I have been a bit holed up recently. I'm sure your mother would have contacted me if she wasn't happy with what she was doing now though. Anyone else come to mind?"
It would most likely be considered strange by most for Shunsui to ask his daughter something like this, but he'd always been a fairly open parent. There wasn't much he didn't share with her, unless his job absolutely called for it, that is. Of course, lately that hadn't been as much the case, as they'd seen very little of each other, but he hoped that would change for the better sometime in the future.
Shunsui grinned widely as Aiko complimented his new toys. He'd wanted to show them to her as many of the shinigami he'd shown them to already didn't appreciate them fully. They couldn't see the usefulness that he saw in them, and so they didn't understand why he'd gone through so much effort in crafting things that would generally be used by someone with no power of their own. Shortsightedness was what it came down to, really. There was never any telling what situation you would find yourself in. Perhaps his energy would be sealed, drained, or otherwise impaired. In that case, these tools would prove very useful. He was glad that Aiko saw the benefit of them, it showed that she was quick to get the point, and that she was capable of seeing the bigger picture.
He was slightly surprised when his daughter asked him in such a matter of fact tone about current events, but he adjusted quickly. Many times he still thought of her as his little girl, but he did realize that she was grown up now. She was fully capable of making her own decisions, pursuing her own goals, and finding her own information and drawing her own conclusions, all of which made him very proud. As their jobs were closely related it was likely inevitable that they would be working together in the future, so he'd be talking "business" with her more often now either way. Best to get used to it sooner rather than later.
"Well, there are a few things going on at the moment. First of all, I'm looking into further increasing the defenses of the seireitei and rukongai districts, as well as, at the same time, up-scaling most, if not all, of the current rukongai districts. There have been far too many invasions lately, and I just don't have time to deal with it all. As for the Rukongai... Those districts have been a shameful scar on the face of the Gotei for thousands of years. I feel that we can no longer allow those under our protection to live in such appalling conditions."
Shunsui paused for a moment, letting everything he'd said sink in. Picking up his drink once more he took a few sips before he continued.
"Then there's the deal with the hollow. I've been in contact with one of them who's plan is to bring a group of them under his control and sustain them on artificial souls. He wants an alliance with the Gotei as well. Perhaps alliance isn't the best word. A truce. Quite the interesting proposition."
Shunsui drained the rest of his glass, sat it back down on the table, and let out a sigh.
"Now you can appreciate how busy I've been. I also still have to take all of this to the Captain Commander, and then call a meeting of captains. What about on your end? What's going on up there?"