It was a day like any other day.
Or at least it should have been. But Ukitake Jyuushiro was unbelievably bored. That shouldn’t have been possible, thanks to the huge stacks of paperwork on his desk. At the moment, however, Jyuushiro was pretending that it wasn’t there. After two thousand years of the same documents, he was a bit tired of seeing them.
Idly stretching his arms over his head, he contemplated faking a fit, if only to escape the humdrum atmosphere of his office. Honestly, where was a Hollow attack when he needed one? They hadn’t seen any sign of threat recently. Shouldn’t that have been a cause for concern? Perhaps he needed to investigate it right away.
As he pondered, the door to his office swung open without any notice whatsoever. Kiyone had forgotten to knock again. Somehow, Jyuushiro wasn’t surprised. Thank kami, he wasn’t doing anything… well, embarrassing. Not that he usually did illicit acts in his office in the middle of the day or anything. But it was the principle of the matter.
Clearing his throat, he fixed one of his two third-seats with a warning look. “Kiyone, did you forget something?” he asked as he watched her stumble in, burdened by a huge bag of some sort. White edges could be seen poking out of the top.
“Oh, right. Knocking,” she replied with a faint pant, struggling to breathe under her burden. It plopped onto his desk with a defining and rather disturbing thud, sending his paperwork flying in all direction. “I’m sorry, Ukitake-taichou, but this was so heavy and-”
He cut her off with a raised hand, lifting one brow at the huge sack on his desk, eyes wide with confusion. “What is this?” Jyuushiro gestured pointedly to the bag.
She grinned, her shoulders sinking in relief that she would not be immediately chastised. “Fan mail!”
Jyuushiro blinked. “Fan mail?”
“Fan mail,” she confirmed with a nod. “And for once, your stack was bigger than Kuchiki-taichou’s.”
Well, that was pretty damn odd. Jyuushiro couldn’t remember ever receiving fan mail before. In fact, in two thousand years, he couldn’t recall reading a single letter from these so-called “fans.” Cautiously, he reached forward and pulled on the drawstring, loosening the lid of the sack. It resulted in a domino effect.
The bag sagged to one side and flopped open, spilling its contents onto his desk. Envelopes scattered everywhere, many dropping to the floor and covering it in paper of different shades. He selected a pink one and gave it a sniff, only to wrinkle his nose in surprise. And different smells apparently.
In front of him, Kiyone danced from foot to foot, practically brimming with interest. “Are you going to open them?”
Jyuushiro considered it for all of a moment before deciding that his so-called fan mail would be far more interesting than paperwork. Besides, he would have to dig through it to get to the important documents anyway. And that was the story he was going to tell Genryuusai-sensei.
“I am sorry, sir. But I couldn’t turn in my paperwork on time because my fan mail attempted to eat it.“
Yeah, he could really see that going along so well.
Cracking his knuckles, Jyuushiro got to work. “In the interest of finding my paperwork,” he replied loftily as he lifted the pink contraption that smelled strongly of sake, “I will read these letters. Purely for the paperwork.”
Kiyone nodded eagerly, her little busybody nose twitching. “Of course.”
Shooting her a look, he turned his attention to the first one, using his letter-opener to slice open the envelope. Drawing out a piece of pink stationary, he quickly read the rather short message within.
“Dear Ukitake-taichou,” the letter began politely. “Are you and Shunsui gay or not? The world must know!” And it was from Pretty in Pink.
His eyes widened, even as his cheeks colored. Kiyone choked in front of him. Abruptly balling up the letter, he threw it over his shoulder, one finger scratching nonchalantly at the side of his face.
“Eh, heh,” he replied, looking around nervously. “I can’t really answer that one right now.”
He quickly moved on.
This envelope was standard white and unadorned on the outside. It, too, smelled of sake and freshly cut grass strangely enough. Jyuushiro pulled out a plain note card, the message inscribed in a looping English script. He thought he recognized it immediately.
“Dear Jyuu-chan,” the letter chirped happily, “Did you forget about our plans. You know the ones with-”
He stopped reading aloud at that point, the blush on his cheeks darkening even further. This, too, joined the pink contraption behind him on the floor. He chuckled uneasily.
“That has nothing to do with this fic,” he stated with determination, shooting his subordinate a look that fully expected her immediate cooperation in never speaking of this again.
Kiyone nodded fervently. “I should just… go lead a patrol. Shouldn’t I, taichou?”
He picked up another envelope, distracted by the lovely feather design around the edges of it. “That would be best,” he agreed and was glad for the privacy when she excused herself. Who knew what other sordid things were in the other letters?
The feathered envelope revealed paper with more feathers decorating each corner, elegant and beautiful. He could have sworn that he saw it sparkle in the light of his office, making him wince. In fact, Jyuushiro considered that he might need sunglasses.
“Dear Ukitake-taichou. Is that your natural hair color? And what do you use to make it so shiny and flowy?” It had been signed with an official name, but that had been scratched out to be replaced by the rather childish looking Frilly-Brows.
He blinked at what appeared to be a rather normal letter. “I didn’t even know flowy was a word,” Jyuushiro commented, setting that letter off to the side. “And no, it is not natural. It is an unfortunate side effect of this illness.”
He sighed in remembrance. He used to have such beautiful black hair.
The captain moved on to another nondescript envelope. But when he opened this one, a small dusting of white sand spilled across his desk. Lovely, he would have to sweep that up later. Or at least, Kiyone would.
“Dear Ukitake-san, do you have any advice you might offer to a fellow commander of men about how to deal with annoying subordinates? Sincerely, Glasses-chan.”
Jyuushiro furrowed his brow. “Have I suddenly become Dear Abby?” he questioned aloud, shaking his head. “Buy earplugs is the only advice I can give, and really, they don’t work so well.”
The next letter he didn’t even bother to read. One glance at the envelope with its familiar insignia, and he threw it away. Another marriage proposal. Jyuushiro wasn’t so desperate that he would agree to an arranged marriage. He preferred to find his leading lady – or man should that prove likely – on his own.
The next letter smelled faintly of antiseptic, and it had crisp, clean lines. As though it had been pressed into every fold. The text was typed onto pure white paper in stark even lines, and there was little arguing with it.
“Dear Ukitake-taichou, this is a courteous reminder of your physical fitness appointment this Friday afternoon. Please, do not forget again.”
It wasn’t signed, but then, it didn’t need to be. Jyuushiro could feel her pleasant smile glaring at him from across five divisions. He carefully set that note aside somewhere he wouldn’t forget it. Never a good idea to upset his doctor. She had the good drugs. Besides, it was Shunsui’s fault he had forgotten his last appointment.
Randomly selecting another letter, he found an envelope with the twelfth division symbol stamped in the corner. Rather curious as to why Kurotsuchi would be sending him letters of all things, Jyuushiro opened it, the paper somehow managing to give off a slight scream in protest. He nearly dropped it.
That was disturbing.
Blinking, he scanned the actual contents. “Ukitake-taichou,” it began rather demandingly and in Kurotsuchi’s usual hurried manner, “it is in your best interest that you agree to partake in these experiments. I can guarantee the minimal impairment necessary to com-”
He threw it over his shoulder. “No,” Jyuushiro stated firmly, pretty certain that he had told the other captain this before. “Just… no.”
Rubbing his fingers over his head, Jyuushiro looked at the additional envelopes scattered across his desk and wondered if there was anything at all interesting within them. A pale blue one caught his eye, standing out from the traditional white. Interest perked, he snagged the envelope and dragged it near.
He was immediately disappointed.
“Warning,” it announced in big red letters. Underlined twice. “Final notice. The following books have been registered as vastly overdue: The Art of War, The Grapes of Wrath, Winnie the Pooh Adventures (abridged), Internet Dating for Dummies. Please return them at your earliest convenience.” And then, a few lines down. “Preferably, right now.”
Guiltily, dark eyes glanced at his bookshelf where every one of the aforementioned literary marvels were gracing the ledge. He’d had them for so long he had nearly forgotten about them. He put that letter with the fourth division reminder, another one that required his attention.
Honestly, he wasn’t even sure he’d read them all.
Pausing, Jyuushiro moved the note to a different pile. Best to keep them a bit longer then. Just in case. He would just give them another good read and would return them. Earliest convenience, after all.
He searched the stack for another one that stood out from the rest. It was impossibly thick, and when he picked it up, it was heavier than it should have been for a simple letter. Kami, it was big enough to have a book inside of it. There was also a pull-tab on the outside of the letter. And when he gave it a good yank, the envelope opened itself.
A piece of paper fell out, and Jyuushiro watched it unroll, hitting his desk and continuing to roll as it left a trail of paper behind it, all connected to the one in his hand. It wheeled off his desk and onto the floor, heading straight for the door. Jyuushiro leaned to the side a bit and watched as it kept going, rolling across the entryway to his main office, beyond the reception area, and out the front entrance that someone had helpfully left open. He suspected it would stop somewhere around the second division. Maybe.
Jyuushiro sighed, not even needing to look at the words on the paper he still held. He knew what it was.
“Shunsui’s bar tab,” the captain muttered to himself, sticking his end of the receipt on his desk with a paperweight on top of it. “They know it’s the only way it’ll ever get paid.” He supposed his friend couldn’t help it, forgetting those tiny details.
The next envelope was nondescript, plain, and he had grabbed it by accident when reaching for one that was a lovely shade of green. So he took both and opened the plain one first.
A piece of paper fell into his lap, weighted down by the strangeness of the note within it. The words were colorful but only because each letter had been cut out of a different magazine and pasted to the paper. It obviously looked like a threat. And Jyuushiro thought he recognized the first “S” as coming from Shinigami Monthly.
“Stop handing out the candy,” it declared without so much as a greeting, “We don’t want it.” And unusual for threats, it was signed, “Cool as Ice.”
Jyuushiro grinned and set that one aside for his special folder. “Honestly. If Toushirou didn’t want the candy, he should just come out and say it.” He made a mental note to order something for Shiro-chan to be delivered right away.
Amused, he moved on to the green envelope. It smelled sweet, like candy. And when he opened it, a small paper fell out, resembling a business card. A distinctly familiar symbol graced the corner, and he wondered how an exile managed to get fan mail delivered to Seireitei. Then again, he should have known better than to question that man’s abilities to do… well, anything.
“This is an official invitation to join me for a beach getaway. I’ll even make the tea. Smooches. Your Lovable Ki-kun!”
It was the first letter he seriously considered, an interested smile on his face. “I do so love the ocean,” he murmured, tucking that note into his main desk drawer for later perusal. “But only if I don’t drink his tea. Seriously, they could use it as an industrial solvent.”
Heart warmed by the invitation, Jyuushiro decided he would answer one last letter before penning a response to Ki-kun. He thought he might just take him up on his offer.
“Senpai,” it began.
Jyuushiro smiled. He so rarely received anything from his kouhai. This was sure to be a real treat.
“Thanks to a gross error in my subordinate’s abilities to read – most specifically an address – I have received your letters for the past six months.” The words were positively chilly and filled with disdain, though not for Jyuushiro himself, and he lifted a brow. “So I shall return them to you. Please, forgive Abarai-fukutaichou’s sheer stupidity. The matter has since been handled, and I assure you it will not happen again. Most regrettably, Kuchiki Byakuya.”
Jyuushiro winced, not sure he wanted to know what had happened to poor Abarai-kun. And then, he furrowed his brow and brought the letter up to his nose. It indeed smelled faintly of cherry blossoms. Byakuya-kun must have been quite perturbed.
He set down the letter and glanced at the stacks of envelopes that remained, a thought occurring to him. Just how late were some of these letters? Like the friendly reminder of his doctor’s appointment. Or the fact that his library books were late? Or… gasp! Kisuke’s invitation?
And then, he realized an even more disturbing trend. Most of his letters were from men. Did he have no female admirers? And where in that was fan mail? The closest he had come was the letter from Frilly-Brows with the blinding sparkles. Even then, it had been more interested in his hair.
Really, it wasn’t fair at all.
And he was still bored.