Excessive Wit

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.

A/N: A prelude to some smut for this pairing that I can't seem to summon up the heart to write. A tsundere is a female stereotype (archetype?) in anime—she has two sides; the 'tsun-tsun' part that acts bristly and says things like "Who would like you!" and a 'dere-dere' part that is soft and says things like "B-but don't think I like you!"

I can't think of an example of one in Bleach. D:

x.x.x.x.x.x

Kuchiki Byakuya was just this guy, you know? Yea tall, dark haired, good-lookin', wealthy and powerful… could've stuck a fork in him; he was done.

Except he hadn't been done since his wife snuffed it (tact, what tact). It wasn't, obviously, because no one wanted him. Even the straight guys and gay girls wanted Byakuya to some extent. Any new recruit that wasn't taken by Jyuushiro's candy-sweet act inevitably dropped their panties for Byakuya's frozen body. Some hit on him. Exposure to his responding Glare of Doom beam either withered all soft feelings on the spot or created a new and exciting fetish.

Yoruichi sat at his desk and pinned him with a gaze that could enable a paraplegic.

"Byakuya-bo, do you think your virginity's grown back yet?"

When she'd returned to Soul Society, Byakuya had had a sudden urge to add security to his office to prevent break-ins exactly like this one. Not going with his gut instinct seemed pretty stupid now.

"Get out."

"I've asked around, Byakuya. It's not healthy for a big boy like you to keep your feelings bottled, you know."

"I will call for someone to evict you if you don't leave."

"It'll build up to dangerous levels and explode out of you at unfortunate junctions of life. Imagine waking up to find you began to hump, say, your vice-captain in your sleep! Talk about your strained work environments."

Byakuya held a phone in his hand and connected to a speed-dial number. "Hello, Soifon? Ah, Omaeda-fukutaichou… please send your captain to my office immediately. A stray cat has made its way in."

Yoruichi raised an eyebrow, violet stands of hair outlining her face. "That's a low blow. Soifon hates me with you. I'll go, but you should know that we're very worried."

"We?"

"Kisuke and Kuukaku and I. It's reached the point where Kuukaku's offered to retrain you."

"…Explain."
"She's offering you her body, Byakuya-bo." But Yoruichi's eyes looked contradictory to her careless tone, like she wasn't too happy about that.

"Demon cat, get the hell out."

And she did, but not before stealing a kiss. A quick peck on the nose, the kind a sister-figure would give to her junior. Nothing…provocative. Byakuya raised a few fingers to his proboscis, and then Soifon rapped on his door.

"Yoruichi-sama! Yoruichi-sama, please open the door."

Byakuya slid the screen open, and dispassionately took note of the small, smoldering brunette.

"When seeking entry to my quarters, doesn't it seem appropriate to address me?"

Soifon snorted softly before barging in. She took in the low table, the open windows, and the fading scent of Yoruichi's perfume before glowering accusingly at Byakuya.

"She's left?"

"She's working very hard to avoid you."

The captain of the 2nd Division actually stamped her foot, the thought bothered her so much. "Milady is doing no such thing!" She paused. "Why was she here?"

To her surprise, Byakuya looked actively disgruntled. Walking around her and seating himself with his usual aplomb, he closed his eyes and smoothed his robes.

"Wasting my time, as always."

Soifon bristled at the insinuation that anyone would consider Yoruichi to be anything short of a goddamn miracle, and then her porcupine quills lay flat. She sat opposite Byakuya and watched him for a while.

"What is it?" asked the brunet, somewhat unnerved.

"You have a better bond with her than I do," the brunette said shortly, somewhat still miffed. "She left us both for Urahara Kisuke, but she regrets leaving you more. (If she regrets leaving me at all.)I know it."

The whole city knew it; Byakuya didn't know what Soifon was getting at. He and Yoruichi were both head of their respective families, and when their supernatural tag games exceeded the threshold of their individual estates (as almost always happened) the whole of Seireitei would know the chase the prince and princess were indulging in. Soifon had every right to be jealous, and he told her that.

"Do not insult me," growled Soifon, "Jealous, I? That dolt Omaeda would be hard pressed to spew more ridiculous things. I'm only reminding you that Yoruichi-sama cares more about you—you, then, should reciprocate."

If it was anyone else speaking to him like that, the proud fuck would deny liking Yoruichi even a little bit, and maybe ruin that person's life. With Soifon, it was useless. They'd watched each other go mad in her absence, a little, and had returned to a functional state of sanity at around the same time. Byakuya buried himself in paperwork before answering.

"I care about her plenty."

"Learn to show it better."

I do show it. Subtly. I won't stoop to losing my dignity over it."

Soifon made what Byakuya thought was an exaggerated noise of dissatisfaction. She stood, and he hesitated. She raised a palm in farewell, and walked herself out. Left with solitude, Byakuya let his own dissatisfaction play freely on his face. Showing Yoruichi open affection would cause him to lose face among his peers faster than he could say 'Zaraki Kenpachi', because Yoruichi would return his advances with oppressive enthusiasm. Like a cat leaving dead lizards on its master's bed to show proof of its devotion, Yoruichi would ruin Byakuya's life.

No thank you.

No, thank you.

000

The next morning, he lit his customary stick of incense at his dead wife's altar. Hisana's pale face in the photo frame smiled at him in honeyed hues, and his heart jerked out of habit. He turned and it jerked again with shock as he found himself nearly tripping over her younger sister.

"Oh! Ah…sorry, nii-sama, to surprise you like that," Rukia took a few steps back guiltily (she'd only recently been plucking up the courage to enter his rooms rather than calling out reports from the entrance) as Byakuya asked himself how long he'd take to get used to Hisana's baby—no, wait: she was his baby sister now. Hisana and Rukia's faces were so alike…except the eyes. The vast differences in the sisters' personalities shone through those indigo eyes.

"Good morning, Rukia," Byakuya said. Under his intense study of her features, the dark haired girl went red. The younger Kuchiki sibling was the only woman Byakuya knew that a blush didn't suit…but then he thought of Yoruichi. A blush would seem bizarrely out of place on her arrogant face, too.

"Ukitake-taichou asked me to go on patrol," Rukia said, "I'm leading a team! Um. I won't be home for the next few days. I thought I should say good bye. "

He smiled and put a hand on her shoulder, happy to let her appreciate the full warmth of his fondness for her. After all, she was no cat. She was a fucking tigress.

"Good. I'll be waiting for you. Fight well, Rukia."

"You don't have to worry on that count, Byakuya-bo. Rukia-chan is just as good as you were when you were her age." Yoruichi walked into his inner sanctum like it was hers, arms crossed over her chest and golden eyes glittering. "Although if we assume that to be true ,she'll need to work on her flash steps."

"When I was her age," Byakuya coldly said, "You weren't around—so how would you know how strong I was? Rukia, leave us."

The young aristocrat bowed to them both and smiled at Yoruichi before doing as he asked. Byakuya turned the full force of his glare on Yoruichi, who couldn't quite look away.

"I know I hurt you when I left. But I had few other choices, and I'm trying to make it up to you now. It doesn't help for you to be passing barbed comments about what I missed."

Byakuya was incredulous. "Make it up to me? Make the last hundred and some years up to me? You must be joking. You and I will never get those years back."

Yoruichi stepped closer. "We'll get the next hundred years, and the hundred years after that."

"And then you'll probably leave again," Byakuya said in a deceptively light tone, "Because someone else will need you to rescue them. Because that man Urahara will find new miseries to inflict on the world. Because I will never be the most important thing in your life."

"Was I the most important thing in your life?" Yoruichi curled her lips into a sardonic tic, "Before I left?"

"Of course you were." Byakuya looked royally pissed. Yoruichi looked startled. "You were the crux around which my life revolved—until you left, and for a while after that, too! Ask Soifon. Ask her how we used to react if someone said your name."

She had an utterly foreign expression on her face, one that was moving Byakuya to heartbreak. She made as if to move into his arms, but he stepped back.

"Not anymore."

His dark blue eyes blazed at her suddenly bruised ego.

"In this last century I've fallen in love; I've lost my wife. I lost grandfather. I found Rukia, I lost my parents; I've somehow become Yachiru's favorite toy and my mansion has somehow become her clubhouse—and amidst all the intervening emotions, I didn't have any to spare for you. I stopped caring."

She seemed distraught. "You don't mean that."

"You don't know what I may or may not mean because you didn't spend your time by my side! You missed my growing up. Here's news for you, Shihouin Yoruichi: I'm not your Byakuya-bo. Stop calling me that." He regained his calm, or a shadow of it. "Stop trying to turn back time. I don't know who you are. Stop acting like we're…" he faltered. What were they, again? Yoruichi didn't give him time to figure it out. She restlessly took two paces towards him—thought better of it—made a snarling noise deep in her throat that sounded like frustration—and exited.

000

Kisuke was beyond the city gates, in Shiba Kuukaku's house. They were baking something that was supposed to be cake but had somehow turned into a batch of muffins. Kuukaku was poking through her pantry for icing to convert them to cupcakes, and Kisuke was rinsing the dishes they'd used when suddenly his arms were full of Yoruichi.

"Yoruichi-san? Where did you come from…Yoruichi-san? Are you okay?"

She said nothing, but tightened her arms around his neck and threw more of her weight into his chest. He staggered a little; Kuukaku found the icing. Smacking Kisuke upside his blond head with it, the queen of Rukongai said:

"What a stupid question to ask. Yoruichi, the hell happened?"

The hair on Kisuke's neck stood on end as she muttered darkly into his shoulder, "Byakuya hates me."

Her brother from another mother squeezed her in sympathy, but her soul sister rolled her eyes.

"Sure he does. And Ganjyu rides a horse. Ever since he was a bean sprout and you were baiting him the punk's been head over heels for you—he's just kinda tsundere. So whatever he said to you—it's the tsun-tsun speaking. "

"He said I wasn't the most important thing in his life anymore."

"No shit, you've been out of his life long enough. How does that translate to hate? Kisuke, let her go. Those pots and pans aren't going to clean themselves."

He released her at once. Some amount of time later Yoruichi sat on the counter, a coffee mug in one hand, a cupcake in the other. Kisuke sat by her side, and Kuukaku—that messy-haired, tattooed beauty bursting at the seams with wisdom—stood between her dangling legs.

"Alright," Yoruichi admitted, cooler than earlier, "He doesn't hate me. But he's not crazy about me right now either."

"He's upset," Kisuke agreed.

"Woo him back," Kuukaku compounded, "Remember when you were young and he'd get pissed and you'd steal his hairtie and make it worse? Eventually he used to run out of steam and shut the hell up."

"He might not work that way anymore. He says he's grown up." Yoruichi tossed her head back. "Gah, this is so annoying! Why do I have to think so hard to get along with him?"

Kisuke looked at Kuukaku, who snorted. "Kuchiki Byakuya, grown up? That's about as likely as Kisuke falling into bed with Tessai. Believe me, Yoruichi: the brat's still the same. He's just had a long time to cover it up with his fancy noble ee-dio-sin-crazies."

"You have a way with words," Kisuke said admiringly.

Yoruichi bit into her cupcake, and the blond science guy wiped icing off her mouth. Chewing thoughtfully, she said, "Byakuya doesn't wear a hairtie anymore, though. Also, this cupcake tastes like dead rat. Blehhhh. "

Kuukaku said, "Damn it, not even Yoruichi would touch these?"

Kisuke said, "Not a hairtie. He's got something more elegant in his hair these days."

"Are you nuts?" Yoruichi pouted. "That hair ornament—the kenseikan—is a helluva lot more secure than a ribbon holding up his ponytail. I'd need a week to free it from his hair."

"Yeah, Kisuke," Kuukaku said with some disgust, "Go eat a cupcake."

"Please, anything but that."

"Yoruichi," Kuukaku opined, "Figure the rest of it out yourself. Do I look like a fucking self-help book?"

The dark skinned delight threw the rest of her confection at the pyrotechnic. Kuukaku blinked and grinned scarily. Kisuke lifted the cup of coffee from Yoruichi before his two best friends fell into their regular, loving bout of play fighting.

At least the cupcakes didn't go to waste.

000

Byakuya felt a bit like a jerk.

Sure he was mad at her, and sure he was unforgiving but he was also unforgivable. Present for the last hundred years or not, Yoruichi still knew him best. She still cheered him up fastest and badgered him most efficiently. She was the bane of his existence, but a much beloved bane, if that wasn't too weird. Telling her all those horrible things, voicing all those horrible feelings in him had been too cruel.

He put down his pen as Renji brought in his lunch. The redhead usually ate with the troops in the cafeteria, but it was not beneath Byakuya to request his company during mealtimes some days. Today was a cafeteria day for Renji, though. He could tell by his captain's face. Byakuya wasn't going to socialize at the mo'.

The great man rubbed the nape of his own neck gingerly, trying to ease the stress buzzing there. He was unforgivable for putting his feelings forth to Yoruichi, but he was miserable because he hadn't put forth all of his feelings.

The rest of it…

A hundred years ago, Byakuya had been barely pubescent. When Yoruichi surprised him with her stealth-boobs and a hug like she was so fond of doing, it was a little warm and a little irritating. Byakuya, whose mother hadn't been prone to exuberant shows of affection, merely enjoyed the novelty of the gesture. And then, as we've agonized over so many times already, she'd left. Yoruichi went missing, presumed dead. All through his adolescence he had half-worshipped her as a memory too sacred to even mourn. Now she was back, and they were both adults, and Byakuya felt something wholly unexpected when she hugged him these days.

The deep thrill of attraction.

Besides her hair, Yoruichi was about the same. He was infuriated by the unfairness of it. Had she suffered no pangs of separation when distanced from him? What he'd said so scathingly—that he was never the most important thing in her life—was it true? His insides boiled with maddening mingling of aggravation and injured pride. Had he seriously just been a play mate to her? A fucking game?

Talk about unforgivable.

Byakuya would cast around for mental locks to seal his thoughts, to keep himself from wanting her—but he already knew: there were no such locks available. Age, status, society, propriety…nothing stopped him from making a move on her. Yoruichi was ripe for the taking, and yet he wondered if he could take her. Relationships spoiled meant friendships soiled. Could he really run the risk of losing her again, this time forever, while having she in plain sight? Not that she'd stick around much at all even in a relationship—she'd confessed that the nomadic lifestyle she'd been leading in the human world was less an addiction and more her favored mode of living.

A new recruit on grunt work duty came to clear his untouched lunch, and he sent the kid away. Fingering three different kinds of forks (it was Pasta Week in the kitchens of the 6th), Byakuya stabbed his fettuccine with a viciousness it didn't deserve. The unfortunate dish was almost fully consumed when Yoruichi burst in.

"Byakuya-bo! I'm here to reclaim my place in your heart. "

He dropped his fork; his eyes widened. Hadn't they, like, just fought? A smudge of white sauce on the corner of his mouth attracted her attention.

"When will you learn how to eat?" she complained, leaning in on her knees. Something burst in Byakuya as she licked it off with the tip of her tongue. He hoped it wasn't his spleen.

"What is this I don't even…"

"I'm serious, Byakuya. I'm not going to take no for an answer. I won't let Rukia steal you away." Her eyes were too close for him to see the veracity of her words, but her actions were speaking loud enough. She grabbed his hands and pressed them to her heart. "Feel that? It's yours."

This would have been his cue to click his heels together and dance to victory, only he had an inkling that this wasn't as romantic as he'd like to think it was. Gotei 13's favorite captain snatched his hands back and squashed the flush threatening to rise in his cheeks.

"How disturbing. You never did have a sense of appropriate behavior. Go profess your love to someone who returns the sentiment."

"Like you don't?" her unshaken confidence shook him. "Of course you do. Come with me."

Instead of snapping 'no', Byakuya asked, 'where?'.

And in that moment, he was lost.

000

There was no immediate civilization outside the city's Southern Gate—the Rukongai didn't start till much, much further away. Dry bronze grasslands curled away from the two of them as they stood side by side. Yoruichi had his hand in a grip that he kept futilely trying to break. Creamy yellow sky was smeared with hazy wisps of cloud—in the distant lows there were clusters of cypress trees, and the lethargic meander of Kamo River.

"Wanna race, Byakuya-bo?"

"Decidedly not."

Yoruichi turned to look at him, lifting one hand to shield her eyes against the sun. "That's right, you've grown." A quick, wicked laugh. "You'd only be interested in adult games now."

He avoided her eyes. "Demon cat, that's disgusting."

"What, don't wanna play?"

It was unthinkable that such a cheesy metaphor would get Byakuya's blood up, but it was Yoruichi saying it and Yoruichi, as Byakuya was rapidly coming to terms with, was sex in a sweater.

"What's the matter, Byakuya-bo? Going red?"

Under a considerable amount of pressure to respond, and with wit eluding him, Byakuya took a final, instinctive option. He flash stepped.

One second Yoruichi was leaning into him, here—later that same second he'd displaced himself three hundred feet further down the gentle slope. His face was splotchy with the force of containing himself (because Kuchiki Byakuya would not be broken in a meadow like this, by a woman who wasn't even trying seriously). Trust her to shatter the ineffable poise he'd taken the better part of a century to perfect. He'd never live this down—this would be his shame forever—stupid, stupid, stupid Yoruichi…

"Byakuya?"

She leaned into him again, concerned. He stepped away a second time. She was taken aback for only a moment when he fled like that. An incorrigible excitement bubbled in her, the unprecedented thrill of a chase where she had to catch him. Yoruichi belted out that breathy laugh of hers—the one that had been riling him up since he was a kid.

"God of Flash Step, Shihouin Yoruichi: remember whom you're trying to leave behind, Byakuya-bo!"

Byakuya half intended to swear at himself for being forced into a childish game of supernatural tag with her, but smirked instead, stepping further—faster—to the side instead of predictably continuing downhill. An old, reckless thrill was singing through him. The purple haired princess was hard on his tail, often grazing his fingers before he moved to the next location: nearly a mile away. The world was literally a blur; he stepped so ruthlessly that even the wind didn't have time to strike his face. It continued like that until, careless with checking topography, Byakuya flash stepped directly into the mellow current of Kamo River. The shock slowed him, and the instant he felt wetness attack he threw his scarf way into the sky. Yoruichi saw that—felt his presence too—and stepped into the river with him.

"You're—it—Byakuya-bo!" she laughed, throwing both arms around him and pulling him underwater. They resurfaced soon, Byakuya using careful puffs of reiatsu to nudge his landward-bound scarf to the river bank where it would be dirty, but dry. Yoruichi was still chortling in his arms (how come his hands were on her hips like that?) and gasping for breath in a way that made his insides melt into slop. A vile little voice in him muttered something about how nice a segue this could be into a kiss, and Byakuya firmly pushed her away.

"Hmm?" Yoruichi let her wet hair down and smiled at him. "What's wrong, Byakuya?"

He just scoffed and went ashore, dripping ludicrously and wondering what to do about it. Yoruichi made her way to his side, still sort of breathless. A snarky comment was begging to be uttered, so he uttered it.

"Looks like the last hundred years took a toll on you. I can practically hear your heart overheating."

Without skipping a beat, she said, "You're right—it feels like it could burst. Maybe because I'm so close to you?"

He really should have seen that coming. Lacking a suitable comeback, he was reduced to lamely complaining.

"I'm soaking."

"Your own fault," she said cheerfully. It was alright for her. She had merely to turn into a cat then turn back into a human and she'd be dry as a whistle. Which she did. In front of Byakuya. Who went very pale then very red at the back-to-human leg of the transformation because he'd forgotten (had never known) she'd come back totally naked.

Swiveling to avoid the spectacle (and how!) she was making of herself, Byakuya muttered direly, "Unbelievable. Woman, where are your clothes?"

"Right here," she pointed with false wide-eyed innocence to the shod pile, "Aw, poor Byakuya-bo. I expect it's been too long since you last saw a naked woman. Want a better look?"

He gritted his teeth, even though an embarrassingly large part of him was screaming yes, please!

"Get dressed."

"Don't be stupid. Didn't I get out of them to be dry? They're still soggy."

"So you'll come back to the city…like that?"

"I don't mind, but Soifon might die of shock. No, I'll wait here till my clothes dry. You should get dry too—you'll catch a cold, you know."

A twinge of happiness, because that was exactly the same casual way she used to care for him when they were younger. A twinge of guilt because when Hisana had died one of the oaths he'd made was to ne'er have again another woman (a staggeringly stupid mistake in retrospect; even if he hadn't gotten jittery for Yoruichi how had he been deluded into thinking that the other clan elders wouldn't have him remarry?). Were these feelings for her an insult to his wife? He adjusted his thinking. His dead wife's memory?

"Byakuya-bo, you should get naked too."

Thoughts of remaining loyal to Hisana's memory vanished in a puff of smoke as Yoruichi turned him around, a snigger rising from her lips. Byakuya told himself squarely that he was a single man, and yet he couldn't bring himself to touch her.

"If you think for one second that I would go along with that then you're more delusional than usual. Has the river water numbed your brain?"

"Ahhh, you're so mean. I don't know about my brain but I'll go deaf from your harsh words." She tugged his robes this way and that, loosening them dangerously. "Just get out of these wet things. Stop being such a pain."

"I'm being a pain…? Yoruichi, stop." He jerked back, irate. She backed down. Byakuya pierced her with a seething glare, bravely disallowing his eyes to slip lower than her chin. "I have more dignified ways of doing this."

She crossed her arms across her naked breasts and jutted a hip out to show how unimpressed she was. "Oh? Show me."

Byakuya focused, allowing a suitable amount of reiatsu to coalesce close to his body. The thrumming energy he then released, and it burst every last droplet of water free of his clothes as it escaped. Yoruichi raised an eyebrow.

"Classy."

"Did you think every clan head was as tasteless as you?"

She gave him a long-aggrieved look that disclaimed association with his ignorance, and struck a pose, tossing her hair this way and that as if to say what, precisely, is tasteless about this?

Unfortunately, Byakuya agreed. His eyes trailed absently from the scooped-out dip in her neck to the dark, slow swells below…and then down to the taut territory of her stomach, crowned by a long navel—the upper border of the crests of her small hips…

"I'm lovely, aren't I?" Yoruichi asked pleasantly while he stared like an unchaste Romeo at her legs. He almost choked to meet her eyes. They were, perhaps predictably, amused rather than angry. "Goodness, Byakuya, I bet you're positively gagging for it."

Actually, he was gagging for her. But that was by the by. Right now he could only process one thing: she'd caught him looking.

"I…Yoruichi, I—"

"You want me," she supplied helpfully. "Quite badly," she added.

"No! I'm sorry."

"You're a liar."

God, why couldn't she be normal? Why couldn't she be mortified and accept his apology and run away screaming? Why did she have to such a hot tease?

"Yoruichi…please…"

"Byakuya-bo. Do you wanna pop me?" she looked, frighteningly enough, perfectly serious in her question. He assumed pop was slang she'd picked up in the human world that stood in as a colloquialism for the act. Weirdly, her calm made him calm—whereas it more often freaked him out.

"It's not because I haven't…since Hisana passed on, I haven't. There's been no one. It's only because it's you."

The aura of seriousness around her dissipated and a grin stretched her mouth. Yoruichi looked more pleased with herself than when he'd grudgingly told her he liked a birthday present she'd once gifted him. Scary.

"For me too, Byakuya-bo. I'm hot for you. And that guy from the human movie Bad Shield 2, but that doesn't count, right?"

He wanted to be insulted, but there were posters of that guy and that movie in the city and Byakuya was glad to know he was on par. He nodded. She tugged him by the collar into a kiss. Her lips were rough from her life a as a vagabond, and her hands flexed on his shoulders, dragging him close until it would be plain rude to not hold her. He settled his hands on the small of her back, just above the curve of her bum. Yoruichi arched into him, sucking on his lower lip, and her tits pressed against his chest, lighting him up like a Christmas tree. He grinded her waist against his; her nakedness made him feel undressed. The irony was that he knew she was not the least flustered about being in the nude even now, even as their bodies were flush against each other.

Stupid, stupid, stupid Yoruichi…

She kissed along his queer, V-shaped jaw and brought her attentions to his neck. He was groping her desperately, shamelessly, intense shivers wracking his body as she dragged her tongue over a red bite she'd just given him.

"Byakuya," her whisper froze him, "Let's go home."

They did the neat trick with the drying on Yoruichi's clothes too, and Byakuya insisted she fold and carry his scarf. Apparently it was her fault he had to take it off in the first place, so it was her responsibility to clean it. Yoruichi grumbled as she got dressed, not entirely good-natured but too wired to honestly sulk. They flash stepped all the way back to the city, and this time when Yoruichi's fingers grazed his Byakuya happily looked forward to exploring those little explosions in his stomach. Inside the walls of Seireitei they had to proceed with agonizing civilian slowness.

At the Shihouin estate, no one thought twice about it (for now) when Yoruichi locked the door to her private chambers behind them. When you're having an affair in a house full of servants, truth will always out. But the first encounter could, perhaps, be kept a private and previous secret.

000

A full week later, Rukia sat at Kuukaku's island on a breakfast stool and listened in wide-eyed wonderment.

"The very day I left? Truly?"

Kuukaku sat on the island itself, licking clean a bowl of cake batter. Her servants, Kurohagenehiko and Shirohagenehiko, carried out two enormous cakes—one dark chocolate, the other vanilla sponge—out of the kitchen. Kisuke, as was quickly becoming usual, was on dish duty. The dark haired Shiba woman nodded vigorously.

"You betcha, kiddo. Yoruichi took, like, five minutes to get into his pants once she decided she wanted to be in them."

"I quite honestly don't know what to think about that. One part of me is so, so happy for nii-sama…the other part wishes he could've held out longer."

"Don't listen to Kuukaku-san, Kuchiki-san," Kisuke ululated, "Those two have had a long and simmering history of sexual tension. Byakuya-kun held out for a good long time."

"Tell the truth, Kisuke—if Yoruichi had set her cap for you how long before you dropped trou?"

"Me?" Kisuke looked thoughtful. "Oh, maybe five seconds. Probably sooner. Britches fall down fairly easily. Yoruichi-san simply leaks sex."

Rukia covered her ears. "I think I've had my fill of information."

"Sweetheart, you can't come into this house and not expect a little mental scarring. Do you know how I had the talk with Ganjyu?"

Rukia got to know shortly thereafter, and realized that as far as older siblings went, Byakuya –despite his whole weird thing about pride—was pretty much the cream of the crop.

x.x.x.x.x.x

Douglas Adams reference right off the bat! Catch it and feel learned, young grasshopper.