A/N: It seems life has gotten in the way and I am terribly sorry for not updating in centuries. This chapter is a short one because I'm still getting used to a sort of different writing style than before. Hopefully, I can update every two/three weeks or so, seeing as I have college stuff to get on with. Sadly, Anime/Manga is a phase I am outgrowing but fear not for KenMayu is and will forever be my top 1!
And forgive me for my mistakes; I'm lazy to read through everything again.
Yachiru looks back and her face seemed to glow brighter when her eyes land on her Ken-chan who was currently under the care of Braidy-chan. Eyes twinkling with pure love at her best friend and role model, she looks up at the frowning face of the scientist. She pouts and debates to herself if she should tell him a secret, one that could benefit clown-chan and some other person she dearly loves. Making up her mind, she tiptoes and pulls on the slightly pink-from all the blood earlier- sleeve of the Captain.
"Waa-?" Mayuri's sudden outburst gets everyone's attention and he finds himself slightly leaning down and staring at the lieutenant's wide eyes. "What do you think you-"
"Shh, it's a secret, clown-chan." She giggles and whispers so softly that only the two of them can hear.
"Ken-chan will help you if you ask nicely."
An unsettling silence wafted around the odd group in the desert, an occasional grunt and shifting of cloth the only things breaking it for a few seconds. Unohana could only sigh at everything that had transpired. She shifted her eyes to her lieutenant, quietly watching as she fussed over the downed Kurotsuchi. It was a strange relationship, she mused. She could never recall a moment, in which both lieutenants shared something more than professionalism and the occasional chatter, but maybe that was probably why the bond was so strong. Behind all that simple conversations was an understanding that both women had grown for each other.
Unohana's sharp senses catch the small phrase, from the Quincy boy, she thinks, and is surprised at the hate that dripped off of it. She looked at both young men, boys to her eyes, and was filled with distress at the look absolute fury that graced the younger man's eyes. It was understandable, really. To hate the man who had basically ordered the massacre of your kind, had killed your grandfather, mocked about it in battle, and had tried to kill you himself were certainly reasons enough to have abhorrence for the man. But for it to be such a young man, a kind one at that, was utterly disappointing for the 4th division Captain.
She observed both men, both huddled close together, whispering in hushed tones. Ishida's wounds seemed to be healing already and his resolve, Unohana worries, to hate the masked man seemed to be on full force. He kept looking at Mayuri, his fists tightening, lips bearing for few seconds before going back into their conversation. Renji, however, looked calm compared to the Quincy. He still looked awfully hesitant in answering Ishida, as it seems that a wrong choice of words can agitate him more, but Unohana was impressed at the intelligence lurking beneath the usually loud lieutenant. The 6th Division, particularly their Captain, was quite lucky to have such a terrific man as a companion.
"Unohana-Taichou." Her lieutenant says from beside Nemu, grey eyes meeting hers. "Do you, do you believe Kurotsuchi-Taichou?"
Her eyes widen at that. Isane seemed to have convinced herself that Mayuri was nothing but a monster and to hear her so uncertain, the usually strong woman unsure, it made Unohana's mother instincts flare.
"Isane, there are more to," She pauses, searching for words that would make Isane understand. "Monsters than hate and cruelty. He may seem to be only such but I do believe that there is still a man underneath."
This appears to satisfy Isane for a time being because she stops and goes back to caring for Nemu. Unohana watched her silently. Nemu's wound was almost unsalvageable, she thinks back to the all the panic before, but it was her rare chemical make-up that had saved her. The wound had started healing itself, albeit slowly and almost unnoticeable, before they had even arrived. But what had surprised her most was that even though she had a chance at survival Mayuri did not see this outcome. From what she had seen earlier, the man had obviously gone mad because he thought that his daughter was dead.
"Curious." She blurts out, surprising even herself. Isane looks up at her and tilts her head. "What can you see, Isane?"
Isane blinks for a few moments before letting her gaze travel, landing on the small group of three farthest from them. She narrows her eyes and focuses. From her position she could clearly see the profiles of both powerful Capatins, Kenpachi lounging on the makeshift chair he had cut down from a rock, Mayuri sitting cross-legged a considerable distance away from him –also from a makeshift chair, she muses– and a bright cheery Yachiru sitting beside the smaller Capt-
"Oh." Isane huffs, audible only to the woman talking to her, and wonders. "He is not pushing her away."
Unohana smiles, proud at her lieutenant for being so quick and intelligent, and replies, "I do not agree with many of Kurotsuchi's actions, Isane."
"Hardly anyone does, Taichou."
"But do believe that behind all that monstrosity and chilling exterior lies a heart of a broken man." Unohana says, her eyes shifting from both Captains.
"Unohana-Taichou?" Isane whispers. "What do you mean?"
"Can't you see it, Isane? It is right in front of us." She pauses. "Had been since the beginning."
She looks back to both men and leaves her lieutenant to think on her words. It really was an interesting sight. Kenpachi was perched calmly on his seat, unconsciously scratching against the bandage covering his wound and silently watching his adopted daughter have a conversation –an actual conversation, she notices with amazement– with the painted scientist beside her.
"Baldy's thought about hair." Yachiru absentmindedly swings her legs back and fort and looks up at golden eyes with her hazel ones. "D'you think you can make him hair?"
"It's not worth the effort, brat," Mayuri grunts and waves a thin hand around. "Nor worth the money."
"I bet it'd be really funny seeing Baldy's reaction. But I guess it's a good thing you don't wanna. I mean, Pretty-chan already likes him the way he is, maybe because he can use it as a mirror whenever he wants to." Yachiru smiles, bright and wide, and waves at Kenpachi, whispers, "But hey, I guess we just like the weird things, huh, Clown-chan?"
Kenpachi raises a brow at him and he frowns in return, Unohana observes with utter curiosity. She only wishes that she could hear whatever they were saying but for now, she was content to simply watch the exchange.
"I would undoubtedly regret even asking but," Mayuri sneers, looks down at the pink haired girl and pokes her in the forehead with a bony finger, ignoring the way Kenpachi's eyes seemed to burn holes into him. "What strange thing does the brute like?"
He was hoping for a great blackmail material, one that would give him the upper hand in the future against the 11th Division. But instead of receiving just that, Yachiru perks her lips and giggles, tugging at his coat and forcing him to crouch nearer.
"You're pretty weird, Clown-chan."
Mayuri turned away in surprise, making everyone pause and watch him with scrutiny. He growls at the bigger man in front of him and ignores Yachiru's giggling, letting his mouth run off before his brain could ever catch up.
"Get her away from me, Zaraki, before I strangle her myself!"
In a second Kenpachi was standing, looming and imposing, in front of him, a dark shadow covering the smaller man. He growls, much more menacing than his own, teeth bared, and his jaw tense.
"How about we repeat that and let's see what happens, eh?" Kenpachi says, hand twitching beside his katana, and the smaller man fights the urge to stab the man. Again.
"We're gone for but a minute and this is what greets us? How disappointing."
A warm titter startles everyone. They pause and look back, eyes going wide at the sight of the newcomers.
"Kyouraku." Mayuri snarls, an obvious dislike tinting his voice earning a huge sigh from the receiver, but respectfully bows to the other man. "Ukitake."
"A delight seeing you too, Kurotsuchi." Kyouraku chuckles and gestures to the gateway, morose at the wounded but cheerful with hope, a huge smile gracing his handsome features.
"Now, would everyone like to resume things in Seireitei?"
A/N: Thank you so much to those who have supported me in my terrible punctuality. I apologize because I cannot name names, there are those I remember and those I don't, and it would be such an insult if I forget to mention anyone. PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU PEOPLE ARE AWESOME, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, AND YOUR UNENDING SUPPORT HAS HELPED A TOOOON.