Blood, Honor and Beauty ProductsFandom:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/BleachRating:
I have no rights or claims to the Bleach or Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise, trademark, copyright, or characters. This is fun, not profit.Summary:
Members of the Eleventh Division are selected to reap in the mortal realm only as a matter of last resort. Yumichika is sent to Sunnydale, California. He is unimpressed... until he is.Additional Notes:
Written to fill autumngr's prompt for Wishlist 2011.
Every division of Soul Society is officially tasked with the collection of souls. This includes the Eleventh Division. However, the captains of the other squads long ago decided that it will almost never be the Zaraki Squad's turn to go collect souls in the mortal realms. When it can no longer be avoided and members of the Eleventh Division must
be sent to the mortal world, they are assigned to reap in places like Gotham City, Cleveland and Sunndale where no one will notice a little more destruction and chaos.
The Eleventh Division's fifth seat, Yumichika Ayasegawa is assigned to reap souls in Sunnydale, California.
He is not pleased.
Sunnydale is a boring little town with little in the way of shopping, fashion or spas and even less in the way of entertainment. People are killed so frequently that Yumichika would probably be unable to enjoy the amenities even if they existed. With all of those souls hanging around, Yumichika expects there to be a least a small horde of Hollows for him to relieve some of his boredom on. But all of the souls he collects are perfectly nice and pathetically grateful to pass on to whatever afterlife is waiting for them. In short, the assignment is all work and no play.
Yumichika swears some terrible and subtle vengeance on all of those he can even remotely blame for his predicament. (In actuality, this means that he has sworn vengeance on the third and fourth seats of his division. Captain Zaraki tends to kill his challengers and Lieutenant Yachiru tends to make her challengers wish they were dead. But Ikkaku and whoever is warming the fourth seat when Yumichika gets back are going to feel his petulant wrath!)
He discusses this with a blond girl in a white dress just before he reaps her.
She nods very understandingly and tells him to accept beauty products as tribute.
"What?" Yumichika demands. Offended, he rears back from the beastly girl. "Are you saying that I'm hideous?"
"No, no, of course not," she hurries to say. "It just... Well, it's pretty obvious that Sunnydale's been running you ragged. Your forehead's flaking a bit and I think there's a pimple coming up on your chin."
Yumichika slaps a hand to each of the insulted areas. His forehead is rough and a large flake of dead skin wedges itself under a nail. The pad of his other forefinger lands on a very tender bump to the right of his chin.
There, under his own hands, is the damning evidence.
"I'm ugly!" Yumichika wails. "My ethereal beauty is ruined! Look away! Such ugliness shouldn't be your last memory of this realm."
The girl tenses as if she is going to flee.
Yumichika tenses too. It's better to catch them in the first five steps. After that, his hair is wrecked.
"Last memory?" she asks as a pair of men come to stand over her body. They seem to be arguing. "This realm?"
"Surely you didn't think that you were going to hang around here for the rest of eternity?"
"I... never really thought about it," the girl admits. She frowns at him. "Aren't angels supposed to have wings?"
The girl leaps back from him. It's an impressive leap. It's the sort of leap that a shinigami would make.
Yumichika has a terrible feeling that this girl is one of those annoying souls who exists
to wear the uniform. She's probably the reincarnation of a captain or, gods forbid, a Zaraki.
Yumichika lunges at her.
He's prepared for her to leap or flee. He is not prepared for the small fist that hits him in the nose and sends him sailing
backwards. Yumichika nearly falls through one of the cave's walls before he manages to first right himself and then stop his momentum.
He skids to a stop and eyes the girl narrowly.
She is already in a ready stance with her eyes narrowed and her fists clenched.A fighter, then.
Yumichika smiles as he loosens his sword in its sheath. This is going to be the most fun I've had in months.
The fight is short but vicious. Yumichika is just thinking, It's too bad that she's still just a human
, when the girl literally dives
into her dead body. Her soul chain reattaches itself with an audible pop as her body chokes up water, sits up and gasps for breath.
Yumichika gapes (attractively!) and stares because he has never
seen or heard anything like it.
When the girl storms off to kill her killer, Yumichika trails after her. He expects that he'll be seeing the girl again soon enough.
He sees the misshapen soul of the girl's killer first.
Yumichika absently slaps his seal against the soul's forehead then watches with interest as Hell's Gates appear to claim it's newest inhabitant.
He follows the girl to a dance and assesses his facial blemish in the punch's ladle while the girl who should be dead instead dances with her friends. The girl - Buffy - seems to have no memory of Yumichika. That's all right because Yumichika will most certainly remember her.
"I'm here to assess your crush," Ikkaku says by way of greeting when he touches down next to Yumichika. His sword is on his hip and he is holding a duffel bag over one shoulder. "Captain's orders."
Yumichika, who is loitering in front of Buffy's house and waiting for her to start her nightly patrol, shoots his oldest friend a highly affronted look.
"It's not a crush.
Is that bag for me?"
Ikaku grunts. He swings the duffel bag over his shoulder and holds it out to Yumichika.
"You don't pack light."
Yumichika cuddles the bag like the lifeline to beauty that it is.
When Buffy shimmies down down the tree next to her window, Ikkaku arches his eyebrows at Yumichika.
"It's not a crush,"
Yumichika grits. He might be more bad-tempered about Ikkaku's assumptions but Ikkaku had packed his favorite brand of moisturizer and that sort of consideration deserves some consideration in return. "Wait and see. She's the human equivalent of Captain Zaraki."
Ikkaku looks at him like Yumichika has lost his mind."Captain Zaraki?"
Yumichika deigns to do something so unlovely as to scowl at Ikkaku. It's only because Ikkaku is his oldest friend and has seen him at his ugliest.
"Just watch her."
They follow Buffy through forty-two church yards and thirty-seven cemeteries. There are not many of her chosen prey out and about but she is tenacious in her search.
Ikkaku admires that. He also admires the way she handles a stake and kicks a vampire in the face.
"I bet she breaks a lot of soul chains," he muses as they trail Buffy down Revello Drive.
"She does," Yumichika says fervently. "You should have seen her last week during the Battle of Parent Teacher Night."
After Yumichika finishes describing the battle - with only a few embellishments for style's sake - Ikkaku eyes the girl assessingly. She is scampering up the tree outside her window.
"I wonder if she knows how to use a a sword."
She also knows how to twist a vampire's head off with her bare hands.
The Captain and the Lieutenant approve. Loudly.
By that point, the Eleventh Division (under their Lieutenant's enthusiastic commands) has appropriated video equipment and a geek to work it. (So far, the Twelfth Division seems unaware of the fact that they have lost a member to forcible detainment. Less enlightened people might term such a thing as kidnapping.) A pair of unseated squad members follow Buffy around with something called a camera. The camera transmits images back to the recently installed big screen in the division's mess hall. And after Buffy's fights, the pair of shinigami dispatch the fallen's souls.
The Eleventh is getting used to seeing Hell's Gates appear to claim its own.
"I'd have to get a gegai," the captain says, "but she may be worth fighting."
Research and Development say that they're swamped and cannot possibly fabricate a gegai for the captain at the present time. When the captain graciously offers to use one of the ones they have laying around, the technicians shudder and assure the captain that none of the ones they have in stock could possibly dampen his spiritual energy enough to render him safe for mortals.
The captain is grumpy for weeks.
When a man like Captain Zaraki is grumpy, mind-numbingly dangerous Hollow are hunted down and slaughtered and things gets broken. Lots of things. Expensive things like administrative buildings and the entire Ninth Division. The Eleventh Division spends three months rebuilding things that their captain has broken. What is produced is clearly not the work of entirely sound minds but it is deemed useable anyway.
When Captain Zaraki is unhappy, Lieutenant Yachiru is unhappy. There is a mysterious spat of drawings appearing on walls in the other divisions' headquarters. It coincides with an increase in the number of people seeking therapy from the Fourth Division. They whimper about the pink
and tiny terrors and the pain
but Captain Zaraki says, with an entirely straight face, that their traumatized ramblings could apply to lots of people.
Captain Unohana looks thoroughly disbelieving.
The captain gives the lieutenant a sucker, ruffles her hair with one of his enormous hands and tells her to go do her worst to Kuchiki.
Yumichika winces and feels only slightly bad for the Sixth Division's captain. It could always be worse. Captain Zaraki could have unleashed the lieutenant on his own division.
A gambling culture grows up around the Buffy Transmissions.
At first, they bet on whether this or that will finally be the thing that kills her. Insulted on her behalf, Yumichika always bets on her survival. He spends his winnings on beauty supplies, spa days and crisp new uniform parts. Buffy would approve.
Later the bets turn toward how long it will take her to kill this or that, how many blows will be exchanged, if her opponent will hurt her. The money is not quite so easy but Yumichika still does well for himself.
Buffy is the lieutenant's second favorite bedtime story. (The captain is her favorite.) When the division is too noisy during a fight, her hot, bright spirit energy lashes through the room. It scalds those it touches and terrifies those it passes over.
For himself, Yumichika is in agreement with the lieutenant. Why dirty something as beautiful as Buffy during a fight with coarse commentary and discussion of money?
"I cannot believe
those bastards ruined her boots!" Yumichika seethes as he savagely beats down the current fourth seat. "She loved those boots!"
"Uh huh," Ikkaku drawls from the sidelines. "Better watch out or you're
going to end up as the fourth seat."
Yumichika stops rubbing the fourth seat's face in the dirt. Four is an unlovely number and Yumichika would rather not be saddled with it.
"They should've replaced her boots!"
"Yeah," Ikkaku says as he rolls to his feet. He saunters onto the practice field. The fourth seat scrambles off of it and to the relative safety of the sidelines. "That was a real shame."
"It was!" Yumichika insists. He hates the indulgence in Ikkaku's voice. "Fashionable clothes are expensive!"
"Mhmmm," Ikkaku hums as he picks up the fourth seat's discarded bokkun. "You're not upset about the boots."
"You're worried about her," Ikkaku grunts as they begin exchanging blows. "You want to be the one who crosses her over."
"She's not going to lose!" Yumichika insists. "She'd never lose! Not when her sister's counting on her!"
"So if I said that Iba in the Seventh found an extra pass through the gates to the mortal realms.."
"I'd say it's mine," Yumichika grunts as their wooden swords clack against each other. "Is there such a thing?"
Ikkaku tries to look mysterious. He succeeds in looking more deranged than usual.
"There may be..."
an extra pass and in very short order it belongs to Yumichika.
He places a bet that Summers Buffy will defeat the hell god and survive the battle against some very steep odds then heads for the mortal world.
Yumichika is there when Buffy cuts her way through an army. He watches her defeat a goddess (and spare the goddess for being weak and boring. Captain Zaraki would approve.) Yumichika misses the next bit because he's busy subduing The Beast and sending her soul along but when he looks up, the problem is painfully apparent: everything or the little sister.
Yumichika knows the correct answer and, under the circumstances, he will make the choice for Buffy.
He's nearly to the top of the tower when Buffy jumps.
He watches her fall, watches the rip in creation seal itself shut and watches her soul pop out of her body.
Summers Buffy is dead. Again.
She saved everyone and everything.Because her sister was made from her,
Yumichika remembers as he joins Buffy on the ground. She's peering down at her dead body with a little moue of aggravation. Same blood to stop flowing.
"I don't think you can jump back into it this time," Yumichika says by way of greeting.
He keeps an eye on a pair of those scabby little demons. Their souls are still trying to struggle free of their corpses.
The girl tenses but all she says is, "It's pretty trashed. I don't think my body could breathe even if I was in it."
"I have been given to understanding that human bodies need intact internal organs to function," Yumichika agrees. He nudges her body's arm with his foot. It goes through her arm. That's for the best since her arm looks like skin wrapped around jelly. "I believe you've liquified your internals."
"I'm just a big old jellyfish now," Buffy agrees without looking away from him. "We gonna dance again?"
"I didn't think you'd remembered," Yumichika says with real surprise and just a touch of pleasure.
"I didn't when I was alive. But I do now."
"Aaahhh..." Yumichika shrugs. The first of the two demons kicks itself free of its body and rises on unsteady legs. "Well, better late then never."
The girl makes a 'come on' gesture with her fingers. Yumichika has seen her make it a thousand times to a thousand different victims.
"The only reason I'm here is to escort you to your afterlife." The second of the demons' souls pulls free of its body. "Excuse me."
By the time Hell's Gates have come and gone, Buffy is looking a little pale. Yumichika dislikes that. It's unflattering to her.
"Is that going to happen to me?"
"It's unlikely," Yumichika says. "You don't seem like the type to go to Hell."
"But you don't know for sure?"
"I'm just a shinigami," Yumichika says patiently. "I only open the ways. Each soul finds its own way to what comes next. What comes next only actively comes after demons. They've got a preexisting contract, you see."
Buffy nods. She takes a deep breath, lets it out and straightens her shoulders.
She certainly looks it. Her color is fabulous.
Yumichika hefts his blade. He hesitates.
"I don't suppose you'd consider making it interesting for me?"
Buffy blinks. Then, she smiles.
Yumichika hasn't played
in centuries. But he plays with Buffy for hours that night. Her mind is devious, her hand-to-hand techniques are flawless and she soon has a passable flash step technique. When her flash step technique is honed to excellence in the space of a few hours, Yumichika wonders if she will even have to learn how to pull her blade from her heart. Perhaps she will be born into the afterlife with it in her hand as others (Captain Zaraki, the Captain Commander, Ichigo)
are rumored to have done."Oh,"
she breathes when Yumichika's seal hits her palm. At that point, not even he can say if he hit her with it or she grabbed it. Either way, her soul is making the transition. "It's beautiful!"
The last glimpse of Summers Buffy that Yumichika has is of her wearing an expression of wide-eyed wonder. Her shoulders are relaxed as she leans towards something that only she can see. In that moment, she is truly beautiful.
And then Buffy is gone in a burst of white light and the sound of fluttering wings.
He suspects that she has gone on - either to the King's Court or Heaven - but Yumichika is selfish enough to hope that she ends up in Soul Society where he can see, talk to and exchange beauty tips with her.
Captain Zaraki will be heartbroken if she doesn't.