Artworks: I got my friend, Monkey, to do a few pictures of Yoriena, Hikatori in sealed form, and an Autumn Fire Omake. You can link to it from my FanFiction profile page, or go to my deviantArt gallery (username's Shadow-Countess).

Disclaimer: Bleach and all related concepts belong to Tite Kubo. I own nothing save this plot and my character from Autumn Fire, Soroki Yoriena.


Hime no Shizukana Namida
Silent Tears of the Princess

Every girl enters this world to be a princess to her parents and the guy she will eventually love. Where she comes from, be it the slums of Rukongai or the noble houses of First District, does not matter if it is true love she and her man feel. It is a girl's life, fate, to be spoiled and pampered by the one who loves her so.

These are tales of meetings, either planned by fate or by family, that bring about a lifetime of love and delight for the princesses of their men's hearts. These are tales of tears shed by princesses as they learn to embrace their futures, their fears, their joys, and their loves.

Let the tale begin.

~.~.~.~

It's Okay, My Dear
A Shihouin Yoruichi & Urahara Kisuke One-shot

By Shadow Countess

~.~.~.~

Imperfection can be infinitely more beautiful than perfection can ever be. Because what a heart truly desires is not perfection, but rather, warmth and love. When he tried to bake her a cake, the failed cake did not dim her smile, but rather, brightened it, for the knowledge that he cared enough to try was all she needed.

~.~.~.~

One long finger played with his white and green bucket hat while the other fiddled with his cellphone, flipping through pictures of delicious looking cakes. Each looked so enticing, so beautiful, so perfect...

Just like her.

He let his hat drift from his fingers, onto the ground. It was something he would not have permitted had he been paying the slightest bit of attention: dust and dirt repulsed him, and having it on his prized possession made it every bit worse.

With a sigh, he reached out a lazy hand to snag a pad of paper and a pencil from his desk. One finger caught a spare rubber and sent it bouncing on the floor, drawing a frustrated groan from him. All things unrelated to fighting or experiments would go out of their way to make life difficult for him.

A couple of muffled curses later, Urahara Kisuke, former taichou of Twelfth Division as well as the founder and first president of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, started out with his work of designing a cake. Deft fingers moved the thin mechanical pencil, expertly shaping the detailed outline of a three-tiered cake.

To him, designing a cake was every bit like crafting an invention. There were the fine points to note, the flawlessness to achieve. Every experiment he had completed was harder than making a cake, three-tiered or not. Every equipment he had handled was more complicated than an oven. So why did he feel so unsure of himself?

He soon found out why.

~.~.~.~

Brows furrowed; she tossed her cellphone towards the couch with a casual swing of hand. Topaz eyes watched as the silvery piece soared through the air in a perfect arc before hitting and bouncing on a cushion. A quick glance at the clock hanging on the wall told her it was past nine, nearing ten.

So where was he?

She had been waiting to surprise him with the cake ordered from a bakery and a romantic candlelight dinner, but he was nowhere to be found. The steak she had popped into the oven a while ago had cooled and hardened. She had tried calling him but he was adamantly ignoring his phone. Chances were ten to one that he was engrossed in an experiment of some sort—the guy never knows to rest.

Air tickled her lips as she exhaled deeply. Why she had fallen for a guy like him was beyond her. They were so different, like day and night.

Yet she, Shihouin Yoruichi, loved the mad scientist named Urahara Kisuke.

Love...It was such a short, simple word, but so strong and so true. She was certain there was no other words to describe the feeling she held for the sandy blond man, no other reasons to explain why she had tossed her everything away just to save him from the cruelties of Central Forty-Six a century ago. She had abandoned her positions, betrayed her family, shattered her friends' hearts...

All for him.

Sure, she wouldn't have let the rest die, but it was him who had filled her with the adrenaline, the impulse, and the resolve when, for the first time ever, she found herself lacking the strength to obey her heart and not her mind. After all, she was sacrificing so much—an entire lifetime of work, to be exact.

And now, it was the oh-so-horrifying thought of him working to his death on his birthday that made her determined to pay him a visit instead of waiting for him to answer her call and come to her apartment. She might end up being the one dying—from boredom—if she hung around any longer.

Like a shadow, the slim woman slipped out of the apartment he had bought for her when they had first arrived at Karakura and headed for his seemingly small shop. Rich purple hair fluttered in the gentle breeze. Catlike eyes pierced the darkness in search for hidden assailants.

As she strolled past rows of shops, she spotted her student dining with Shinji at an adorable Italian restaurant. Lips tucked into a smirk. Ever since those two lovebirds got together, they had eaten out more and more often. When questioned, Yoriena had shoved all blame to Shinji. The vizard had merely smiled good-naturedly and explained that he wanted her to try all types of food seeing Seireitei was 'so damn old-fashioned'.

When she passed by their table beside the window, Yoriena suddenly tilted her head and offered her the most annoyingly knowing smile she had ever received. Yoruichi huffed at the arch of brow the younger girl offered at the cake box she was carrying. If it wasn't for the glass between them, Yoriena would be in for a good lecture, that too-smart-for-her-own-good brat.

Ever since her love problem—problems—with Hirako were solved, Yoriena had been decidedly more cheerful. Soifon was actually grateful to him for making her Little Phoenix smile again. Yoruichi found it irritating, not that she minded much, since Yoriena realized she greatly enjoyed teasing her teacher and Kisuke.

Shihouin cast a playful grin and a suggestive tip of head in Shinji's direction, prompting a faint blush from Soroki. Being on the receiving end of boundless teasing didn't mean she didn't enjoy dishing them out. The fukutaichou of Second Division was just too cute when paired with Fifth Division's former taichou.

With one last exchange of mischievous smirks and waves of farewells, she departed, all the while wishing she could vanish using shunpo. Flash steps suited her better, being much faster than walking. Damn her heels, and the dress.

She groaned upon stopping before Urahara Shouten. Lips pulled into a scowl; eyes of molten gold narrowed and glared. Every shutter was drawn and the door was shut. There was no sign of anyone in the vicinity. So where the hell was he?

One slender hand rested on the wooden door. Brows furrowed when it swung open with a gentle nudge. It was unlocked, yet there was no one around. Hard heels clicked against the wooden floor as she entered the building.

Feline eyes scanned the rooms and corridors despite the inky blackness. The cake was placed on the living room's table before she continued on. Fingers ran along the wall in search of a light switch...

A crash reverberated through the lonely building. She winced at the clear shattering of glass that followed. Ears pricked, noting the direction of those noises. Body moved gracefully towards it...

...And halted before the kitchen. Of all places to be in, he had chosen the most dangerous one. A sense of dread and foreboding gripped her. With a deep intake of breath, she dared a quick peek around the wooden doorframe.

Up lifted an eyebrow. Lips coiled with amusement. Like everyone else, she knew that Urahara could be trusted with anything and everything but cooking.

Back in Seireitei, he had either dined in restaurants or at her home where meals were prepared by family cooks. Though division barracks came with a simple kitchen for extraordinarily brave or talented souls, she knew he had kept clear of it.

In the human world, Tessai took care of his meals or he would eat out with her. Never once had he stepped into the kitchen to do something other than rummaging through the fridge for a midnight snack. Never had he touched a pot or stove, for everyone knew of the disaster that would ensue if he did.

And they could not be more right.

How a splatter of brown ended up dripping from the ceiling surpassed her wildest imagination. Neither did she want to find out more about the oven with its torn out doors, or the blackened, charred mass of unknown dangling out of it. A smile played across her features; she leaned against the wall, marveling his demise.

Fragments of crushed eggshells littered the ground. Egg white, with a slight tint of yellow yolk, dripped from a metal spoon onto the countertop. Pots and pans cluttered the sink and every flat surface available. Whitish substance was smeared onto the countertop, cupboards, taps, and even, his hair.

Amusing. Eyes strayed to him.

His back was to her, giving her a full view of the disgusting splotches decorating his green coat. His hair was messier than usual—a huge accomplishment—and his hat was nowhere to be found. Which was weird considering she had seldom caught him without it, except when they were being naughty.

She watched as he stirred a pot with a long wooden ladle before tossing the entire mess down the sink. Silently, stealthily, she crept forward. Hands covered his eyes while she ghosted a kiss along his neck. She could feel the bunched up muscles beneath her lips.

"Guess who?" she questioned impishly, drawing a low chuckle from her lover.

He reached for her, arms snaking around her waist, and pressed her to his back. She rested her cheek on his sturdy frame, quietly enjoying the sound of his soft, steady breaths.

"Who else?" was his retort, a mischievous smirk in his voice.

Lean shoulders shrugged as she thought it over. "I don't know. Your secret lover?"

"I didn't know our being together is still a secret," came the simple reply.

She retracted her hands and wound them around his waist. "Mmhmm, you're right. It's hard to keep things under locks and keys with a student like Yoriena. She spreads rumors a tad too fast for my liking."

Smoky orbs of blue rolled. "Or maybe, just maybe, it was you accidentally revealing it to Lisa that did the damage." He pulled away and turned, just in time to see her make a face. He graced a kiss along her jaw as she whined.

"Let me have my fun with that brat."

He chuckled. Yoruichi loved calling her only student a brat; it was a habit she had recently acquired, though everyone knew of the tight bond she, Yoriena, and Soifon shared. Those three crazy assassins...His eyes were trained on her, watching her tilt her head and assess the damage.

"Care to tell me what happened?" She didn't care if curiosity killed the cat. When she wanted to know, she asked. At her question, he averted his gaze uneasily. She stretched out a hand and tipped his face to look her in the eye. "Yes?" she prompted.

"I was trying to...um...bake you a cake."

Beautiful eyes of liquid daffodil blinked at his almost inaudible mumble. Full lips curved into a sweet, pleased smile before parting to sound a chuckle. A finger tapped on his nose. "Bake me a cake? Kisuke, don't you remember it's your birthday today?" She suppressed the urge to sigh when he turned a look of pure surprise to her. He was so hopeless, but so sweet, working on her present on his birthday.

She pressed a palm onto his chest. He covered it with his hand. Fingers entwined.

"I forgot," he confessed dolefully, "I was too caught up with designing your cake." He nodded at the paper spread out on the table, weighed under a kitchen timer.

She moved over for a better look and laughed, despite the affronted glare shot her way. Nimble fingers darted and smoothed the creased surface. "Kisuke, you're designing a cake, not a rocket." Nose scrunched. Other than it being white, it resembled the other blueprints she had spotted in his laboratory.

He uttered a sigh and ran a hand through his shaggy hair. "I know..."

She crinkled her brows at the stark resignation in his tone. It wasn't his fault; he had tried his best. Crossing the distance between them, she laid her arms around his neck and caught him full on the lips. The few inches of height given by her heels made it easier for her to kiss him. No longer did she have to stand on tiptoes.

Her tongue licked his warm lips, easing the tension in his frame. She could feel him smiling as he nibbled on her bottom lip. Heavenly. Arms encircled her waist, hands resting on her lower back, and held her tight. Tongues tangled, wrestled, for dominance. With an unwilling moan, they broke apart.

"Thank you for trying even though we both know you can't cook." A coy giggle and a light squeeze of his shoulder followed the insult.

He answered with an easy grin, trying his hardest to ignore the tempting shivers crawling over his flesh. He could taste her delicious scent of strawberries on his lips...But even he knew it was wrong to violate a girl on her birthday, though they would both be in their birthday suits if let to him.

"I wanted to surprise you at midnight." A pout, the whiny side of him emerging.

She smirked and flicked at his hair, pushing them away to look into those gorgeous eyes. "I am surprised, though not the way you planned. But that's okay. It's the thought that counts," she assured with a warm smile that tingled his nerves. "I was waiting for you to answer my call and come to my place. I had dinner prepared but the steak's all cold by now." A tongue stuck out at him.

"You hungry?" Her stomach rumbled an answer. He smirked and patted the tight muscles. I guess that's a yes, no?" She grinned and arced a brow when his growled as well. Fingers pinched his skin teasingly. "What do you want? I've sent Tessai out with the other two."

Yoruichi couldn't help but touch a kiss to his cheek. He sounded so pitiful. Head canted; fingers drummed on his chest. An evil smirk tugged at her lips. "You know, students aren't kept for nothing. I'll ask her to bring something over."

"You mean slaves?"

She shrugged nonchalantly and fished his cellphone out from the inner pocket of his coat. It was switched to silent mode. "Same difference. Let's leave this mess for now. I'll get those the brat to clean up for us."

He flicked a finger at her forehead and chided, "Never knew you were this bad."

She offered him a waggish grin. "It's never too late to find out." She placed a finger on his lips, shushing him, and listened to the dial tone from his phone's speaker.

"Hello, Kisuke-san." Yoriena's voice was fuzzy, blurred by the stream of chattering surrounding her. "Shinji, can you do me a favor?"

"Anything, ba—" There was a pause as he hurried to cover the 'babe' with an 'anything'. Yoriena hated being called a 'babe', or any terms of endearment, for that matter, and everyone knew that.

"Shut up for a minute. You're driving me nuts."

"It's my phone you're hogging, and I know you love my voice."

"I don't, so shut up. Sorry, Kisuke-san, Shinji was being an idiot."

Yoruichi rolled her eyes. Maybe takeout was a better choice. "Why are you using his phone?"

"Sensei?" A pause. "Mine ran out of battery, so I diverted it to his."

"What restaurant's open now?"

"You. Stay. Away. Mmhmm...Let me see? You two are actually eating out?" The wicked teasing in her voice was only too clear.

"Nah, you're bringing food for us."

"Sure. Do we knock before entering?"

Damn that girl. She sounded a little too eager. "Brat..." Yoruichi growled, "we're starving to death here."

"Should I let you die?" There was a quiet giggle. "We'll be there in fifteen minutes. Is pasta fine with you? Or do you want something of candlelight dinner quality?" Yoruichi tipped her head at Kisuke, mutely seeking his opinion.

"Pasta's fine," Kisuke called out...to dial tone. Yoriena had hung up on them with a hurried goodbye. He groaned, "Shinji's really bad influence. What happened to that sweet, endearing girl she was when she first came?"

"Brainwashed away. You go change; I'll wait for those two," Shihouin ordered. Urahara exhaled deeply, letting warm air tickle her lips.

She giggled and dusted her lips across his cheek. "Be good." She ran her tongue along his jaw, licking till the spot of vanilla cream was nothing but a delicious memory.

"Bad kitty," he scolded. His gruff voice sent tremors of delight down her spine. Even after all those years, decades, he still made restless butterflies flutter in her stomach. That guy...She yelped in shock when being lifted off her feet and hauled over his shoulder, her face facing his back. A firm smack landed on her rear when she struggled to kick him in the face.

"Kisuke..." she growled, "you let me go. Now." Hands wound around her knees, locking them, to stop her kicks. She pummeled at his back, but to no avail. It was like hitting a rock. She pinched his skin, only to earn a wicked chuckle from him. Damn.

She was about to resort to shunko and blast him away when he unceremoniously dumped her onto the couch. Yellow ears glared as he sat down next to her. He turned towards her with an casual grin of innocence and pulled her onto his lap.

"It wasn't easy convincing them, especially Yoriena, to celebrate our birthdays together tomorrow," came a slurred mutter. "But once she heard I'll be with you today, she did the persuading for me."

Urahara laughed, tugging at her plum-colored strands while she sighed contentedly. "That girl's too sharp, no?"

Yoruichi nodded, cheek rubbing against his shirt the way she rubbed her cat form against his legs. "I wonder how Little Bee put up with her for so long." She tilted her head towards the door as footsteps sounded. Detached voice drifted in.

"I mean it, I really can't stand you."

A sigh, a whack, and a mock wince followed the jibe. "So says the one who swore he loved me."

"I was drunk. And I don't love you," Shinji retorted without missing a beat.

"Then prove it, Hirako"

Yoruichi arced a slender brow. Sometimes, with increasing frequency as time passed, she found herself missing the days of Yoriena subjecting Shinji to silent treatment; those were good old quiet ones.

A moment later, the shinigami strode in with a bag clutched in her hands. "Happy birthday, Kisuke-san. You too, sensei." A smile. Silvery-touched eyes of green threw a sidelong glare at Shinji as he entered the room, an aloof, nonchalant expression clouding his features.

"Happy birthday to you two," was his sole greeting. "We'll pass you your presents tomorrow at the warehouse." A nod. "C'mon, babe, let's head back. These two needs time to themselves, and I need to prove to you."

Lips quivered with a suppressed smile, yet she demanded icily, "What did I say about calling me babe? See you tomorrow," she offered to Urahara and Yoruichi before walking past Shinji without so much of a glance. He too left with a quick bade of goodbye.

Golden eyes rolled. "God, someone tear them apart or something."

She wasn't fooled. Though Yoriena and Shinji's personalities were too alike to suit, she knew that their love was just as strong, if not as battered, as Kisuke and hers. Their little arguments were for personal indulgences, and to avoid casualties by preventing a real fight. That, and Shinji refused to stop acting like a playboy, and the cold, heartless fukutaichou within Yoriena refused to falter and die.

Yoruichi pulled two cartons of warm macaroni from the bag, and passed one to Kisuke along with a plastic fork. A purr of satisfaction rose as she opened the contained with a tweak of fingers. The contents were in her mouth before he opened his. "I'm ravenous."

He groaned inwardly. Being a princess—an ex-princess—had not improved her table manners. Though she did spend most of her time lapping up milk as a cat.

"They actually went to an Italian place to get us this?" His stomach gave a deep rumble of bliss at the feel of food entering its empty caverns.

Yoruichi shook her head and swallowed hard. "They were eating there; I saw them." Her plastic fork sneaked over to his carton and speared a meatball. She cast him a pleased glance, lazily popping it into her mouth. Body pulled into a stretch; back leaned against the settee.

The remaining sauce...She dipped a finger into her box and smeared red liquid onto his nose. Eyes crossed to keep her digit in sight.

"Hey Rudolph," she teased, trailing her fingers over his lips. He let her work on his face while he dabbled with hers, not caring till she laughed sinisterly. "Go take a look."

He carried her to his bedroom and into the bathroom to look into the mirror. Brows lifted. With his red lips, red nose, red-rimmed eyes, and yellow hair, he looked like a clown. Bad girl. He shifted her to let her peek into the reflecting glass.

She mewed, skimming the tips of her fingers over her three pairs of whiskers, her colored nose, and the thick collar with a heart dangling from her. A perfect kitty. Frame arched in his arms as she leaned and brushed her tongue over his nose, tasting the sauce. He held her closer.

Yoruichi shivered slightly, feeling his tongue graze her earlobes and trail down her neck. He tucked her hair behind her ears. She tipped her head upwards, towards him. He lowered till his lips caught hers in a tender kiss. She purred like a contented kitten before drawing her tongue over his bottom lip.

Lips parted. Her warm muscle slipped in and tickled the roof of his mouth. She could feel him laughing while retaliating. She whimpered ever so subtly as he carried her to the bed, placed her down, and laid beside her, shifting such that her body molded against his.

A hand stroked her shoulders. She nuzzled at the crook of his neck. Her fingers clasped at the back of his coat. It felt damp...That idiot.

"Happy birthday, you naughty kitten," he breathed into her neck.

She whimpered and mewed into his ears, "You too, you insanely stupid, blueprint-loving, cake-destroying scientist." Fingers worked to help him shed his coat. Her dress slid off and was tossed onto the ground as they readied for a perfect birthday night. One of moans, screams, and passion.

Outside, the moon seemed overly eager to show off, glowing in its enchanting, pearly way. Silvery strands of moonlight threaded and weaved through the buildings, bathing the town with its tender glow. Shimmering stars, willing to outdo their usual standards, lit the inky black skies. It was a truly beautiful, gorgeous, magical night. The ornate clock tower standing in the town square chimed eerily, striking once, twice...

It was midnight.


Authoress' Note: Happy birthday, Yoruichi and Kisuke!

I've been a diehard fan of this pairing ever since I realized that the cat's a female. They complement each other so well that it's creepy. That, and their birthdays come one after another. Though I think it'll be even better if they're born a second apart. Just imagine Kisuke being born on 23:59:59, 31st December, and Yoruichi at 00:00:00. Pure loveliness!

Hime no Shizukana Namida (HSN) is a series of Bleach fics, both novels and one-shots, I hope to write. The novels have interlinked plots while one-shots are purely for entertainment and do not follow the main plot. However, they do feature the same pairings, either between canon characters or with my own. The list of HSN fics is on my profile.

Feel free to review and criticize as you deem fit. I'm open to critiques so long they're objective and constructive. Anonymous reviews are welcomed too! Thank you.