Kiss and Control

BY : Orionshadow
Category: Bleach > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 8539
Disclaimer: Tite Kubo owns Bleach and the characters depicted therein. The characters in this story are not mine. Payment is not received for this work.

Tite Kubo owns Bleach and the characters depicted therein. The characters in this story are not mine, and I make no money from this work.


Incidental and Accidental

He seemed to be ignoring her.

Her cheeks were flushed, the colour summoned by the difficult admission she'd made to her Captain. It was unlikely her appearance would please him, even if she were wearing a formal kimono and had a bag over her head. The man didn't like her. It was evident.

She was uncertain how she felt about it and the way he was appearing not to notice her. He'd ignored her greeting and walked past her almost as if she didn't exist. Would he be acting like this if he had come to complain about her to Toshiro? Captain Kuchiki didn't seem the type of person who would postpone punishment, if he felt he'd been wronged. It might be possible that he'd approach Captain Yamamoto in the first instance to lodge a formal complaint, or write a letter outlining the issue and explaining the situation and requesting for her to be suitably reprimanded. What would the punishment of kissing a senior officer be? Execution? Imprisonment? Banishment?

What was she thinking? It was only an accidental kiss. Incidental and accidental. Any punishment for it would have to be small. Perhaps she would be deprived of sake for a week and that didn't bother her. Sake and hanging out with friends passed the time, but nothing removed the sting of memories and the continued agony of regret.

Now she regretted kissing the Captain of the 6th Division. She'd regretted it from the moment it happened or rather when she woke up and she had to face what she'd done.

Yet, if he was a noble and supposedly given to observing all the forms of courtesy, his attitude toward her was rude. Nobles! They spoke of honour, duty, respect and courtesy and in an instant would ignore all of the obligations that lay behind the words if it suited their needs. Maybe different rules were applied to the treatment of other nobles to those people designated as being common. Like her. Like Captain Zaraki. Like Renji.

Yet he didn't seem to be treating Toshiro with the thinly veiled disdain he commonly showed. Did this mean he wanted something, or saw some use for her captain? Toshiro hadn't been a gutter rat, living on the streets and fighting for survival, but he was not of noble blood. He had earned his right to his position and it hadn't been easy.

No one was allowed to use her captain unless he used them back, or she got something out of it. Early on, when he was new in his captaincy, she guarded him carefully to make certain he was not being manipulated, but he quickly grasped the fact that others saw him as young and easy to influence. Often he would sit quietly, watching and listening to the suggestions made to him, assessing the person making the offer and calculating the subtle or hidden consequences. Rather than agreeing quickly he might on occasion discuss the request with her, relying on her knowledge of the other Shinigami and the continual struggle for miniscule gains of power within the Seireitei. Often he voiced his thoughts about how the games seemed pointless and didn't improve anything aside from the winner's ego. None of the captains required an ego boost, but they often sought it.

"Please sit down, Captain Kuchiki. Matsumoto, bring some refreshments and don't dawdle." Toshiro was displaying his understanding of proper courtesy.

Deciding to show she too knew the proper method to act, she bowed and left the room. She was going to make the tea properly, and serve it with dignity. That would show both men her ability to ignore her emotions while performing simple tasks.

Why did she care what the 6th Division Captain thought? She didn't.

She did.

While making the tea it was possible to overhear snippets of conversation, but the small noises involved in setting the tray and preparing the beverage, made it impossible to hear everything. She caught the word 'Hollow'. Maybe the Captain had come to discuss tactics and not to complain about her mistaken kiss.

As she carefully carried the tray she heard clearly the last two comments exchanged.

"At first I wish to talk to you about your observations. I've been informed of your ability to assess situations quickly."

Was the man paying her captain a compliment?

Toshiro cleared his throat. "If I didn't know you don't indulge in flattery, I'd think you were trying to manipulate me."

After placing the tray on the table she picked up the teapot. "Do you wish tea, Captain Kuchiki?"

"Yes."

No please; no acknowledgement. The man was rude.

"Tea, my Captain?" Keeping her voice gentle wasn't easy, but she did it anyway.

"Thank you, Matsumoto." She didn't glance at either of them, concentrating on pouring the tea. Is she looked at Toshiro she might start giggling and the other Captain might cause her to blush if he looked at her, or make her face flush with anger.

Toshiro, direct as he often was, asked the question which included her in the conversation. "My lieutenant also has experience with the Espada and Arrancar. Do you wish for her to remain and offer her observations?"

Carefully cool and revealing little the reply from the 6th Division Captain was deliberately insulting. "If you will vouch for her powers of observation and if the lieutenant can add anything of value, then her input might be of some merit."

She gasped but a stern glance from her Captain prevented any outburst.

"My lieutenant is a fighter and regularly makes very clever observations; otherwise she would be swiftly replaced." Once again Toshiro had proven he was the man who was truly of noble spirit.

She smiled at him, warmed by his care. The he had to spoil the moment by saying, sharply, "Sit down Matsumoto. I hate it when you hover over me."

"Yes, my Captain." She sat, not paying much attention as to where. Sitting would assist in placing her on an equal level with the two men.

"You encountered a new type of Hollow?" Captain Kuchiki asked. Toshiro had told everyone of this more than once. When he rolled his eyes, she had to stifle a laugh.

"More than one type. Arrancar and Espada. "

Captain Kuchiki nodded and swiftly asked, "The Espada are elite Arrancar and both Espada and Arrancar forced their way through to the human world. Why that time?"

She answered this time. The man hadn't listened to anything he'd been told it seemed. "They wanted Orihime Inoue. I'm sure that was the reason. She wouldn't go with them willingly, I know she wouldn't."

"Matsumoto, recollect where you are," Toshiro reminded her. It didn't seem fair.

"You know her too, Captain. She wouldn't go unless she was forced to do so."

A glare warned her that her Captain didn't wish her to continue. Biting her lip, she stopped talking.

"Is there anything special about the girl?"

Surely Rukia had talked to her brother about Orihime. They were friends.

"She's very young, sweet and innocent. Her healing powers are amazing." It was hard to keep the admiration from her voice.

There was a slight pause and glancing briefly at the 6th Division Captain she noticed his normally smooth brow was furrowed by a frown. Why was he so interested in Orihime? Did he like her? The next question was a logical progression, she supposed.

"Can she fight?"

The problem was Orihime wasn't good at fighting. It was her major weakness, but Matsumoto didn't want to admit it. If she had been able to fight, she might have been able to defend herself, but the two Shinigami who accompanied her had failed to protect her.

Toshiro answered and she knew he was trying to be fair. "Not really. Her attacks are weak. However her shields can withstand some attacks."

"We don't know what she can do. Your sister might, as she trained with her." If he was so interested in Orihime, he could talk to Rukia. She was determined not to look at him. The last time her eyes had moved from his forehead to his mouth and it disturbed her. If she looked at him again, he might notice and get the wrong idea about her. He might even imagine she liked him!

"Take notes, Matsumoto," Toshiro said, obviously feeling it was necessary.

"Why? We know what we're talking about," she replied. They were the ones who fought the Espada and Arrancar after all, and they'd submitted a full report to the records department. Her fingers ached at the memory of being cramped after helping with the massive amount of paperwork it generated. For once Toshiro had not permitted her to nap or slope off and had even forced her to improve her calligraphy. He said 'improve' but she didn't agree as it stripped out all the pretty curls and flourishes and now her writing was plain, plain, plain!

"Matsumoto, take notes," Toshiro was repeating himself and it meant he expected her to obey.

"My hand hurts," was her next attempt to be excused from the task.

"Then use your other hand," Toshiro instructed her bluntly. She frowned at him.

"I'm not ambidextrous." Why was he being so stubborn and unpleasant? Then it became obvious. Remembering who was witnessing this interchange, she followed his order, unwillingly, sighing under her breath. If Captain Kuchiki had not been there she would have argued further, or tried to persuade Toshiro to request a voice recorder. They'd seen them in the human world and it would make the whole thing less tedious. She might even be able to delegate the task of writing up the notes to someone else.

A small cough brought her attention back to the continuing discussion. Giving a small smile to her Captain she flexed her fingers and picked up the brush, making small notations of the valuable insights and barely having a chance to lift her eyes from the page on which she was writing. Her fingers began to cramp and she hoped that the meeting would soon end so her hand could rest. Why did Toshiro insist on so much paperwork? Didn't he know that no one read it after she'd gone to all the trouble of writing it? Instead of being a problem, this meeting was proving to be less stimulating and embarrassing than she's thought. No mention of their encounter under the trees, not one word about kissing, but lots of discussion about strengths and notes about possible weaknesses. Those were few and mainly guesswork. Who could tell if the Arrancar or Espada they'd encountered were strong or weak? Some of the conflicts mentioned stung, in light of her being grabbed and almost killed by one pervert with a fetish for sharp pointy things. Even though he'd managed to capture some of the other Shinigami and they hadn't managed to free themselves, the telling of the story by her Captain made her squirm. Fortunately he didn't reveal too much detail.

The small silence that followed was broken by the soft brush of fabric against wood as the 6th Division Captain rose to his feet, gracefully. Why was he so smooth in all his movements? It made her feel ungainly and clumsy to observe the strict control he maintained over even the smallest gesture. "I will arrange for all of those who went to the human world to meet," was the offer he made.

The size of the group would be small and what use would it be if they only swapped stories amongst those who were there? They were under threat of was with these beings and the sharing of knowledge might benefit everyone. She kept her voice quiet and her eyes downcast as she asked: "Why not invite all the Captains and lieutenants?"

"Not all, Matsumoto. Only the ones who are prepared to listen and learn. We don't need to involve those who show no interest." Without meaning to, she smiled. Her Captain hated wasting time, except when he was telling her what to do. For that he was prepared to spend as much time as possible, but she had a habit of falling asleep in self defence. It was also an excellent method of avoiding paperwork.

Her attention was drawn back to the 6th Division Captain who seemed to be having difficulty deciding whether he was going to sneeze, yawn, cough, or something. At least this was her guess as he had his hand in front of his mouth and his eyes seemed to be, could it be? Were they bulging slightly? Having been in the position of needing to sneeze, yawn and cough at the same today she wondered if she'd looked like that. Next time she'd cover her whole face with her hands.

"Are you in need of assistance, Captain Kuchiki?" Her Captain had a modicum of concern in his voice.

A short cough emerged and the 6th Division Captain swallowed noticeably. "I believe a cup of tea is necessary."

She touched the pot and noticed it was cold. Without needing to be told she picked up the tray and retired to make more tea. Fortunately she had refilled the kettle and returned it to the heat so the water was boiling. Within minutes she had made fresh tea, wishing she had the time and inclination to go through the rigours of the tea ceremony. Carrying the tray back to her Captain she again refused to look at the man she had accidentally kissed, but noticed he was once again seated.

Accidents happened, didn't they? She hadn't meant to kiss him, nor had she even considered kissing him, ever. After Gin and the realisation of his deception she only played with the idea of having a long term relationship with a man. They were easier to deal with if she kept it simple: no relationship, no emotional investment, no hurt and no expectations. Simple. Plain. Fun.

It was lonely, but she had been lonely with Gin; almost lonelier than she was now. Loving a person and sensing an absence within them, no echoing return of love and the curt dismissals and instructions to address him correctly placed more and more distance between them. He had left her long before he left the Seireitei and she had held onto her foolish hope.

Pouring and serving the tea assisted in keeping her eyes focused on something other than Captain Kuchiki's mouth. Were his lips pursed in disapproval, or turned downward, expressing his inner dissatisfaction? A quick, unintended glance showed his mouth again drooped. Did he always look so unhappy in repose? Without a word of thanks he picked up the cup and sipped the tea, nodding reluctantly in approval. To her surprise he emptied the cup quickly, appearing not to notice the heat of the beverage and held the cup out to her to be refilled. Obediently she poured the tea and saw him again drink the contents with speed. Either he was very thirsty or his mouth and throat were immune to the heat of the drink.

After draining a third cup he rose gracefully to his feet and bowed slightly. "The conversation was stimulating and the tea unpredictably good. Thank you for your hospitality, Captain Hitsugaya. I will advise you of the details of the next meeting."

Toshiro got to his feet and bowed in return. "The pleasure was mine, Captain Kuchiki. I look forward to our next meeting. Matsumoto, see the Captain out."

The request startled her and a quick glare at her Captain drew no response. Knowing it was normal, but resenting it, she preceded the Captain to the door and opened it with due deference. Her bow was grudging and she shut the door with a feeling of satisfaction. The man didn't attempt to address her, thank her or even look at her. She walked back into the office, finding the atmosphere still unsettled and unlike the normal relaxed environment where she avoided work and teased her Captain. How could the presence of one stranger for a period of time change it so drastically?

"Are you certain you kissed him, Matsumoto? It wasn't a dream? You have some peculiar dreams." Toshiro has a slightly teasing expression on his face.

Once more she glared at him. "It happened. But why did he want to see you? Preparing for the war should be the responsibility of every Captain of the Seireitei, particularly Yamamoto."

A guarded expression came over her captain's face. "True. Very true."

Struck by a silly idea, Ran giggled. "Maybe he's feeling lonely and wants a friend."

The suggestion made Toshiro smile in return. "He could befriend Renji, except he's common. I've never thought Captain Kuchiki wanted or needed friends as he always appears so self contained and distant."

"He has Rukia," Ran said softly.

"Only recently," Toshiro reminded her with a reflective look on his face. Was he thinking about Momo still lying unconscious in 4th Division?

She grinned at him and tousled his hair, trying to distract him from his thoughts. "You can't be lonely. You have me."

He grimaced half seriously, half in jest. "How could anyone be lonely if they had you as a lieutenant? Though sometimes a bit of loneliness, or even privacy, might be nice."

She poked her tongue out at him and laughed. "Privacy is over rated. Loneliness is a state of mind."

"Privacy is a state of hide."

She laughed at his unexpected pun. It wasn't funny, but it showed he was trying to dispel the strange atmosphere that seemed to linger even after the 6th Division Captain had left.

The conversation turned to other matters and resulted in more paperwork.

When she eventually returned to her quarters she sat, staring at the darkening sky, observing the clouds drift over the face of the sky while she sipped a single cup of sake. Her limbs felt weary and she recalled she needed to do more training. The coming war made it essential she improved her strength and abilities, but the work required was boring. The same exercise over and over again, sweat pouring from her pores and dripping down her face, her hair escaping from whatever restraint she used to keep it off her face and the ache of her muscles both during and afterward. It would be more fun if she had someone to work with but if she asked a male there might be expectations she didn't want to deal with and a female might not have similar ambitions. Finding someone of her height and weight to pit herself against would be nice, but most of the other females in the Seireitei were shorter and of slender build, or petite, as they preferred to call themselves. Captain Unohana was the closest physical match, but as she hardly knew the 4th Division Captain, it seemed daunting to make the suggestion.

Thinking this way wasn't helping so she prepared for bed, determined not to remember the unexpected visit by the 6th Division Captain. He was not her concern; he would become as absent in his life as he had been previously. The accidental kiss was in the past and possibly he had forgotten it, or dismissed the incident from his mind as beneath his notice. For a moment it was as if she could feel his lips against hers, the weight of his body pressed onto her and felt a flicker of desire only to shock her out of the sensation. Thoughts like that were dangerous and might lead to even more perilous actions.

A dalliance. Would that answer her current situation?

Briefly she considered the possibilities but none of them appealed. Brooding Kira who would mourn about anything he couldn't change and depress her as he agonised over whatever peculiar idea he was harbouring at the time. His looks did not compensate for the huge drag of his personality.

Hisagi who seemed often to view her as competition as much as anything else. He was attractive, but the stupid 69 tattoo on his face seemed like too much needless boasting and sometimes he displayed as much humour as his former Captain: none.

Shunsui was her friend and Nanao would object if anyone came between her and the man she attempted to control. Her efforts made Ran smile. Shunsui would appear to agree, lazily grin and then do as he wished. Since he had accepted her as his lieutenant, he had become much more circumspect in his sexual liaisons. Ran viewed the man more like a brother than in any lustful terms. Ukitake was sweet, but his illness was an impediment. Kurotsuchi wasn't even a slight temptation (urgh). While she liked her men wild, having the appearance of one was not a turn on. Nor was blubber or arrogance of the lieutenant of the 2nd Division. It would be dangerous to form any entanglements with 1st Division. Iba and his dark glasses tried too hard and it struck her as more sad than sexy, as did hit attempts at forming the Shinigami Men's Association. Renji was always drinking, fighting or boasting and again he had tattoos which she didn't like.

As for 11th Division? Kenpachi was either completely insane or signing the contract any day, Yumichika was too pretty or she didn't like sleeping with someone who used as many products as he did on his skin. Ikkaku was violent and pretty; not for her. Toshiro was like a younger brother, so again not much chance. Who was left? Who was a possible candidate?

Her mind once more provided an image of Captain Kuchiki, highlighting the sadness in his eyes, the droop of the mouth, the clear complexion matched with the long dark hair. She'd felt his body briefly touching hers and knew the Shinigami uniform did not conceal the beginning of a paunch. Muscles, she remembered the muscles under the fabric. His lips had felt smooth, insistent and pleasant against hers. "Don't even think about it," she said aloud as she slipped into her bed, determined to fall asleep and forget these idle fancies.

Her dreams that night were full of erotic imagery, long dark silken hair brushing against her skin; cool breath fanning her face as her body relaxed in a long, naked embrace; the heat of a pair of lips pressed to her neck, then parting as they drew some of the tender flesh into the mouth. Face flaming, her chest heaving, she awoke, stimulated but without satisfaction. All the dreams had stopped short of her actually achieving completion and she ached. Wanting the touch of a lover who would please her and allow her to please him. Was it so wrong to desire the contact?

Before she could take any action, a knock at the door made her rise and quickly check her appearance in the mirror before she opened the door. Her eyes were bloodshot and her cheeks red while her hair was tangled and evidence of her restless night. Quickly she repaired what damage she could and opened the door. Given the dreams she'd had, briefly she wondered if it was Captain Kuchiki, ready to proposition her into a liaison with no future. In her current mood her inclination would be to accept. Hands shaking slightly, she opened the door. No tall figure was waiting outside. With a small sigh, she lowered her gaze and tried to smile at her Captain.

"Toshiro? Is there a problem?"

He answered her question with a scowl. "You're late again. I sent a Hell Butterfly but it couldn't wake you and none of the messengers had any luck either. Were you drinking last night?"

The accusation stung. "Only one cup of sake, Captain. I was tired and didn't sleep very well."

"Come with me, now Matsumoto. Work is waiting and I grow impatient."

"Toshiro, let me wash, dress, have a cup of tea," she pleaded. Her skin felt dry and tight against her flesh. He stared at her and slowly nodded. "10 minutes. I will wait here to remind you." She gasped. "You were the one to remind me of the importance of privacy."

"Privacy is earned, not given."

Grumbling she gathered her clothes, making her way to her washroom. 10 minutes was barely enough to brush out her hair and wash her face, but knowing someone was waiting impatiently provided the spur which meant she was dressed, but not necessarily presentable by the time the expected knock came on the door.

"By the way, I received a note from the 6th Division Captain. I think you should read it," Toshiro said once she answered his summons.

The news did not provide any comfort in a day which had commenced badly and promised to become worse.

A.N.

This is once again dedicated to Kashima for his birthday. It has taken a long time to write due to events over which I have no control and don't result in anything as pleasant as kisses. Happy Birthday Kashima! With any luck the next chapter won't take so long and some members of my family might take a very, very, very long walk, or migrate to Libya.

Soundtrack

Recurring theme songs: 'Kiss and Control' AFI; 'What You Will' Dreaming Genies (Matsumoto's song for Byakuya). This song is now on YouTube under the username Orionshadows. 'Edge' Cicada

'Tea-House Moon' Enya

'Dreams Call Out To Me' Evermore

Review. Reviews sometimes amuse.



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