But the women, they were different. Not in a way that would have impressed Ikkaku or any other of his woman-hungry subordinates. The women didn’t ask him on dates or try to seduce him or anything like that.
Instead, they baked him cookies and chatted pleasantly with him. Or offered to baby-sit Yachiru so that he could have more time with Kuchiki-hime. Not that he, you know, actually wanted to or anything… right?
They thought he was the cutest thing since Shunsui had declared his love for Jyuushiro on the top of the tower in a drunken stupor one bright and lazy summer afternoon.
It was simply baffling to Kenpachi.
He was a fearsome opponent. He wore an eye-patch! He had chiseled teeth. Didn’t that just scream fright and knee-shaking terror? Zaraki Kenpachi was not cute.
And they brought him other gifts as well. Shiny baubles, paintings, well-woven fabrics, as if he had any idea what he was supposed to do with them. He ended up tossing the jewelry to Yumichika, who sparkled excitedly, and shoving the fabrics into the bathroom to be used as towels. He wasn’t sure what to do with the paintings. Presently, most had mysteriously disappeared, usually right after Matsumoto visited.
He had bellowed “why?” at the last woman who had come bearing gifts, and she had blinked stupidly before smiling brightly.
“Because Zaraki-taichou likes pretty things,” she had chirped sweetly before shoving a vibrantly colored box at him and patting him on the cheek. Then, she had pranced away in a manner that terrifyingly reminded him of Yumichika.
There were even sparkles.
And remained bewildered.
Meanwhile, Byakuya sipped delicately at his tea, barely glancing at the eleventh division captain over the rim and only halfway listening to him rant. He had discovered long ago exactly why it was that Kenpachi was adored by the women of Seireitei, and he had no intentions of revealing it to him, however, finding it much more amusing to watch the bafflement spread across Zaraki’s supposed fearsome exterior.
It was days like this, with the other man seated close to him on the porch of his estate, looking up at a moonlit sky, that it became plainly obvious.
A heavy weight settled on Byakuya’s side, a head on his shoulder as a spike poked him none too comfortably in the ear. “You know,” Zaraki grunted. “Yer prettier without that high ‘n mighty look on your face.”
He could smell the sake on Zaraki’s breath, and he blinked. He supposed that in Kenpachi’s world that could be construed as a compliment.
“Bah,” Kenpachi continued, one arm attempting to slip around Byakuya’s body in a move that might have been subtle if it hadn’t been so very noticeable. “Much better than Yumichika’s crazy attempts at beauty, you know.” He tapped a finger directly above the corner of his eye. “What’s up with the feather, ne?”
The teacup settled down into its tea plate with nary a rattle as Byakuya turned to look into eyes just a shade lighter than his. “Perhaps the feather is his lovely item.”
The other man blinked in stupefaction. “Ya say some pretty stupid things, hime.” He grinned then, bearing his fangs. “But I like ya, anyways.”
After all, he was Kenpachi’s lovely item, and all of Seireitei knew it.
Not that Byakuya was vain or anything.