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, except for the original characters.  I make no money from the publication of this work.

A Need To Be Here

She felt empty. 

That was how she felt.  Since Gin had walked away from her the final time she had tried to suppress her emotions completely which in turn made her feel empty.  Encountering Captain Kuchiki and accidentally kissing him had changed nothing.  Gin's desertion, for whatever reason, had inflicted a wound so deep on an integral part of her, she doubted any man could change heal it.  Time might, but so much time had passed and still the emptiness remained.

Now she was facing the truth, she admitted for a few minutes hope had plagued her, forcing her to admit the slightest possibility of seeking love once more.  It wasn't for her.  Love only brought brief pleasure but ongoing pain and misery as she sought to forget but never did.  Falling in love with a man like the 6th Division Captain was foolish.  He was cold, aloof, proud, uncompromising and appeared to have the sense of humour of a bunch of rotting flowers. 

In spite of her heartbreak she still laughed and would continue to laugh, tease and frolic.  Becoming involved with any man was a mistake and one so humourless was a disaster she didn't wish to experience. 

"Okay.  Fine, Toshiro.  I will 'assist' Captain Kuchiki in finding a bride, though I still fail to see why Rukia can't help him.  She will have to live with the woman when they marry." She felt bitter in accepting this responsibility.  "I pity any woman joined for life to that husk of a man," she muttered.

Her Captain showed no sign of hearing her.  "He states she is having trouble understanding the requirement.  You read the letter."  Toshiro pointed to the brief sentence regarding Rukia.

Then she realised he'd quoted part of the letter at her earlier and didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  "Captain, I do not think it was fair of you to use part of the letter against me."

Was he feigning innocence or was it an honest mistake.  "What are you talking about Matsumoto?"

Biting her lip, she hesitated and then goaded by a spurt of anger said, "You said 'age does not guarantee wisdom' and Captain Kuchiki said 'While age and experience do not necessarily lead to wisdom'!  That is not fair!"

Toshiro looked bewildered for a brief time and then looked at her steadily.  "If I did so it was unintentional.  Matsumoto, I don't wish to force you to do this, but I don't see any other option.  Do your best, work with the nakado and Captain Kuchiki to determine the characteristics he requires in a wife."

She rolled her eyes.  "No woman could ever meet that man's requirements."

"You don't know that."

"I do."

"You don't," Toshiro said,  then put up his hand. "I do not want to argue about this, Matsumoto.  Nor do I wish to hear any of the details.  I trust you will maintain secrecy about this process as it can be very sensitive."

"Sensitive.  Captain Kuchiki is about as sensitive as a cactus."

"Cacti have feelings too, Matsumoto.  I will send word you will assist.  In future the arrangement of matters will be between you and Captain Kuchiki."

Once again his tone indicated there would be no further argument or even discussion of the matter.

"Yes, Captain Hitsugaya," she sighed and wished he didn't take his responsibilities so seriously.  Too many of the Captains seemed to believe that laughter was inappropriate at any time and having to spend time with a mirthless man after her normal duties was a prospect she did not relish but then a thought struck her. "Why does he use the word 'potential' in every sentence?"

Toshiro raised an eyebrow and scanned the letter again.  "It isn't every sentence, Matsumoto.  The word is used five times and he uses the word because he is well aware nothing is guaranteed.  There is more than one family in Soul Society who would welcome such an alliance."

"Five times is a lot.  I potentially have to work to find his potential bride who has to supply him with potential heirs for potentially replacing him as head of his house when he potentially dies."  Her voice rose slightly as she said the final words.

A small smile quirked Toshiro's mouth.  "Very droll, Lieutenant.  I will compose a brief note to Captain Kuchiki to inform him of your acceptance of his offer."

"Grudging acceptance," she said.

"No.  Acceptance.  Once it is sent we will have lunch."

In spite of her intentions she watched Toshiro write a polite note of acceptance which he sent via the appointed messenger.

While they ate from the supplied bento boxes, Matsumoto thought of this new development.  Avoiding Captain Kuchiki  was no longer possible and she was being forced to spend time with him in an enclosed space.  So not fair!

Before they finished eating the messenger appeared bearing a note.  Toshiro read it and passed it to her without a word, his expression unreadable.

She soon saw why.  The Captain had asked her to meet with him at his home after work.  The body of the letter read:

"Thank you Captain Hitsugaya.  As this matter has been outstanding for some time I request that Lieutenant Matsumoto attends my house after work today  so we may work out the initial requirement.  A meal will be supplied and I will make certain the Lieutenant is returned home at a hour suitable for her to obtain the rest she requires before the working day commences."

Her mouth dry, Matsumoto said, "Tonight?  It has to be tonight?"

"Apparently so.  Think of it this way.  If you help him find a bride quickly you may only need to help for a week.  A month at the most."

"A month!" she was aghast.  A whole month of seeing the man on a regular basis.  Sitting there while he spoke to well bred young women who had a gentle upbringing and all the female accomplishments required by a noble house.  Watch while they talked and tested each other to see if they would suit and all the while she would feel older and less desirable seen in company with young, well dressed and restrained girls.  Without realising what she was doing, she stood, placing her bento box down on the floor.  "Captain, may I refuse?"

He sighed and looked at her with the expression she knew too well.  "No, Matsumoto.  You may not."

"May I leave work early, Captain," she said hurriedly before he could add anything further.  "I need to dress appropriately."

"What is wrong with your Shinigami uniform?  it is a uniform of which to be proud."

She stood there, not sure what to do. 

"Lieutenant?"

She didn't answer, biting her lip against all the words that wished to rush out of her mouth.

"Lieutenant Matsumoto.  Kindly reply." Toshiro's voice was sharp and she reacted in shock, her foot shooting out and knocking the bento box across the floor. 

She ran across the floor, pleased to be able to avoid replying for the time it took to collect all the items together and then collect Toshiro's box and place them in the kitchen.  She glanced at his face in passing, hoping he wouldn't notice, and noticed he seemed disturbed.

"I am proud to wear the uniform, Captain.  But I'd like to bathe and change into a clean one before I assist Captain Kuchiki," she said when she finally returned to the room, less flustered now she'd had the time to work out a response.

Instead of the argument she expected he simply nodded.  "You may leave work 15 minutes early to tidy yourself, Lieutenant.  No more."

15 minutes was no time, but she knew if she argued in this instance he might decide she didn't require any time at all.

"Thank you Captain.  Do you wish me to file the completed paperwork?"  A mindless task might provide her with time to consider what to do.

"A good idea.  Please do so without singing, sighing or hugging."

The afternoon passed as she tried not to think about the evening.  She even forgot to hug Toshiro before she left.

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Byakuya was astonished at his behaviour.  While it was true he was seeking a bride, he'd been doing so for some time, with little urgency.  He couldn't lie to himself.  He was engineering this whole thing to spend time with a woman no one would approve of so he could work through the disturbing lust that coursed through him when he thought of her.

Why had he sent the letter?  It was not something he would normally do.  He never sought favours from others, preferring to follow his instincts in matters or considering how his grandfather would act if faced with the situation.

Then why was he delaying making the choice of his bride?  Many of the young women were perfectly adequate.

Adequate.  He didn't want adequate, though it was logical, sensible.  The way the head of a noble house would act.  In all other ways he was prepared to act like the head of the house of Kuchiki, except in the choice of a bride.

He wanted something more, a spark.  An instant of liking.  Some common ground where he felt he could converse with his wife about more than the circumscribed topics.  Most  of the women to whom he'd been introduced  had little interest outside the home or were obsessed with the trivia of other peoples' lives.

He remembered the very brief conversations he'd had with Lieutenant Matsumoto.  She was different.  She seemed to enjoy life, even when she was arguing.  Despite her appearance she didn't appear stupid. 

The note was simply a device to prove what he felt was lust.

It was desire, lust, yearning, an itch he wanted to scratch with someone else.  It was purely driven by his body which he found infuriating.  His mind was meant to be the primary organ and in control of all the other, lesser parts but his lust was dominating his life.  If he spent time with her it might help.  In his house he would be quickly persuaded she did not suit him at all and would not fit into his house, his life or his particular social group.  She drank sake, a fact which still shocked him; not in the privacy of her own home, but with her male friends.  Her clothing exposed her cleavage to all; the white firm flesh which promised to respond to the touch of a male she found attractive.  What would it feel like to cup them in his hands, taste them with his tongue.

Shocked at the base manner of his thoughts, he looked around quickly to make certain he was alone in his office.  Abarai was still on an errand, and no one was there to notice any of his irregular behaviour.

When would he receive a response to his letter?  Would Captain Hitsugaya see the sense of his request and insist his Lieutenant assist in this matter? 

Some might say it was unprofessional to mix his personal and business life, but as Rukia was not helping and the nakado didn't seem to grasp his requirements, he didn't have a great deal of choice.  Marriages might end in divorce but his family didn't approve of a marriage ending except in the death of one of the parties and they also frowned upon murder.  If he married, it would be for life.  It was essential this time he chose the right woman, one who gave herself fully to the marriage while retaining her own ideas.  An obedient wife who knew all the social graces.

Not a woman with flowing amber hair, a bewitching birthmark beside her mouth and eyes that seemed innocent and knowing at the same time.

No, someone with smooth dark hair, carefully arranged, who could wear a formal kimono and make it look comfortable.  A woman who could sing, play a musical instrument and paint.  One trained in the correct way to enter a room or teahouse, rear a child and run a well regulated household.

Not a woman who laughed without covering her mouth.

To his astonishment he found he was staring out the doorway.  He didn't recall rising to his feet and moving there.  His thoughts had distracted him considerably and this was not the sort of action he normally undertook.

How long before he received a reply?  It was fast approaching the normal time for luncheon, though he had no appetite. 

Walking back to his desk he sat down once more, picked up his brush, preparing to write a reply to some request of other and stared at the paper.  There were words on the paper he didn't recall writing.  Something about amber fire and sex.  He stared at the characters, finding it difficult to believe these words were real and he'd written them. 

Looking around the room he quickly grasped an empty dish, placed the paper inside and burned it until it was ash.  The ash was then thoroughly mixed and thrown into the garden which led from his office.  In the garden, he lingered listening to the soft sounds of running water and the gentle' thunk' as the Shishi-odishi (Japanese water fountain) emptied the water.  While some found the sound sharp, he found it comforting, remembering his grandfather teaching him chess in this garden.  They'd used the noise of the fountain to signal the end of their turn, each of them waiting patiently to make the move the moment the noise was heard.  His grandfather had explained this was good discipline and gave time to assess all the moves available.  While some people held speed to be the best way to play chess the time spent staring at the board and deciding moves had been relaxing and a time when he could meditate without fear of interruption or other tasks or learning demanded of him.

The grass around the fountain was very green and looked soft to walk on.  Again he was reminded of the past when he would take off his foot coverings and walk in the soft grass, wriggling his toes in delight in the cool softness.  It was a secret pleasure as his grandfather usually didn't approve of him being barefoot in public.  The urge to remove his sandals and again feel the cool of the grass on the soles of his feet visited him but he repressed it harshly,  He'd already acted unwisely today.  To keep indulging his fleeting desires would only make it more difficult to  be firm and not allow his discipline to bend.  He stood there, listening and relaxing, breathing in the scents of the grass and the Snowball viburnum shrub which was currently flowering.  Renji had expressed his belief that the flowers produced no scent,  Byakuya knew better. The scent was subtle and often overpowered by the other scents produced by the soil.  The flowers were gaudy, but at least they were white and provided a pleasant contrast to the green of the bush.

The peace of the garden was a pleasant distraction but he should return to work.  There were always urgent matters awaiting his attention.  Before he could re enter his office, a Shinigami arrived, bearing a note.  Taking the note, he ordered the messenger to wait, then stared at it for a few minutes.  Mentally scolding himself for the delay, he opened it as quickly as he could without tearing the paper and read the contents.  Without noticing he walked back into his office.

His heart lurched.  It was difficult to tell if it was elation or fear. Her agreement was what he'd wanted but also didn't want.  Being in close proximity with the woman might be challenging and he may fall prey to his base desires. 

"I have to do this, to prove it is unimportant."

"You have to do what?"

It was then he realised he'd spoken aloud and his lieutenant had arrived back in time to hear him speak.  Thinking quickly he said, "I must go to see Rukia's Captain about this deployment.  The details she provided were vague at best."

Renji appeared to be preparing to say something but stopped.  His gaze strayed to the letter in Byakuya's hand and before any questions were asked, Byakuya said quickly, "A personal matter.  None of your concern.  Return to your duties."

Renji nodded and did as ordered without saying another word. 

Returning to his own desk, Byakuya began to write a reply. It was short, to the point and he sent it via the waiting messenger without reading it through more than twice.

Once it had been sent he was again conflicted by his actions.  Inviting her to his house without Rukia or the nakado being present might be an error.  He quickly wrote a note to his household to inform that there would be a guest for dinner and one of the maids should be in attendance.  Before he sent it, he destroyed the note.  Why was he worrying?  The servants were well trained and would not expect any sort of irregularity from him.  He didn't need to explain himself or his guest to anyone.

Instead he composed and sent a simple note requesting a plain repast for two be prepared to be left in his study. They could sit there in comfort and discuss the traits he required. He also requested fresh ink and paper be prepared for them to write upon.  It made the situation seem more like a business matter, which it was.  He'd made the request before and his servants knew not to disturb him unless summoned.

It was a business matter.  The woman was simply there to help him select a suitable wife.  The reasons he'd selected her were not important.  They would meet, discuss his requirements and the longer she was in his presence, the more faults he would discover.  These flaws were there and each one might lessen her attraction for him.

Not that he really found her attractive. 

Desirable, certainly, but not attractive.  She was too common.   Overstated.  Spoke too much.

Drank too much.

Had too many opinions about matters which were none of her concern.

She'd had lovers.

Extremely unsuitable.

More suited to his lieutenant.

An image rose before his eyes of the woman being embraced by Abarai. They kissed and Abarai stroked her cheek as he gazed at her lips.  His desire for the woman was obvious.  She smiled back, her lips parted slightly. Stiffening in anger he quickly dismissed the image.  He didn't love the woman but he didn't need to imagine her with someone else.

His reaction to a mental image was sexual jealousy?  This confirmed the correctness of his actions.  Time spent with Lieutenant Matsumoto was necessary to make it evident how unsuitable she was for him either as a sexual partner, unlikely at best, or as a wife, which was unthinkable.

For the rest of the afternoon he concentrated on the most difficult outstanding task which required his full attention.   While physical exertion was a preferable way to tire his body, it didn't occupy his mind fully.  Instead it made him think more about his past and the mistakes made and the inevitable sadness of loss or lust.  The exercise he'd done recently to tame his unruly impulses had taught him too much of reflections on life which never seemed to result in happy memories or resolutions.

Concentrating deeply, he was reminded of the time when Abarai interrupted.   "Captain, may I leave?"

Consulting a clock he saw the time was that which normally signalled the end of work, a few minutes late.

"Yes, make sure you are here on time tomorrow.  I will leave you to lock up," he said, leaving without a further look at his subordinate. 

Making his way as quickly as he could to his home he quickly bathed and changed into a fresh uniform and took a seat in his study.  The woman should arrive shortly and he gave instructions to his staff she was to be brought to the study immediately.  Sitting he calmed his thoughts and made certain he was sitting without any evidence of impatience or anticipation.  Picking up a book which he had been reading at some point, he opened it and ran his eye over the characters, attempting to find the place he had read to and these words drew his attention: 'One should understand that a woman is faithful to only one husband.'

What did that mean exactly?  Did it mean that women should not remarry or they could only be faithful to one man at a time?  Even though Rangiku had not been married to Ichimaru, was he in fact like her first husband and therefore would not prove faithful to any man afterward?

He stifled the continuing questions that rose in his mind and looked further down, finally finding the place where he had ceased reading.  He tried to concentrate on the ideas being presented.  The first time he'd read the book, he'd been astonished at the good sense displayed by the author who seemed to grasp the essential ideals of honour and protecting the important values of their society and culture but now many of the words seemed wrong and the sentiments untrue all because of one sentence.  He remembered the other part he'd once quickly passed over where a woman was charged with adultery as she had simply permitted a man to enter her house to relieve his bladder.  Being considerate led to her death on a charge of being unfaithful.  Did men distrust their wives so much that they thought they would fornicate with any man at any opportunity?  Yet the woman was married.

As he thought it through he became even more confused.  The woman was married to one husband, therefore by the logic of the book she was faithful to him. It contradicted itself.  Or was it a convenient way of ridding himself of a wife he no longer desired?

With a sigh he began to push the book aside and noticed the door was opening.  Quickly he turned the page to give the semblance of reading and only looked up when he heard a servant clear his throat. 

"Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto is here, Sir.  Should I bring her here?" The servant was kneeling before him.

"Yes, of course.  Those were my instructions."  Why couldn't his servitors follow simple instructions.  A quick glance also indicated that the simple repast he had ordered was not in place.  "Where is the food?"

The servant sank even lower.  "The cook did not want the hot food to cool or the cold food to become warm, master.  The weather is uncertain and he feared leaving it might taint it."

Byakuya could see the sense in this but was irritated that his simple instructions had twice been ignored.  "Serve the meal immediately and bring the Lieutenant here quickly. We have business to discuss."

The servant jerked at his tone and quickly rose and left the room.  Byakuya remained seated but decided to make some ink in order to record any important factors which arose from his discussion.  It provided some activity while he waited and would make it appear he was not waiting impatiently for his guest to arrive, because he was impatient.  He wanted to see Rangiku Matsumoto again, to gauge if he still felt something in her presence.

The door slid open and he immediately sensed it was her.  Perhaps it was the way the material slid against her skin, the subtle perfume of her hair or the sound of her step upon floor.  He tried to keep his eyes on the ink stone but without meaning to his gaze rose to meet hers.

Was that a spark of anger he detected in those eyes?  Why was she angry?  Was she angry with him? 

This interview might be more interesting than he had anticipated.  Few people ever displayed any anger at him and he could only remember one woman who dared, but Yoruichi had only let that emotion affect her once that he noticed.  Normally she was teasing or finding ways to make him feel inferior and yet here was this woman who was of a lower rank, indicating she had some reason to be angry with him.

He wondered why.

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A.N.

Delays and more delays.  Whatever.  Another birthday present for a special person.  Happy Birthday DKNK.  Hopefully the next chapter will be up before your next birthday.

The quote about women is from 'Hagakure’ by Yamamoto  Tsunetomo and it contains his views on the code of the Samurai.

The soundtrack is a little mixed this time.  Been listening to some very old stuff on vinyl and some more recent offerings.  Not sure how relevant they are.  Okay, maybe they're satirising the story a little.

Soundtrack

'The End' (Tommy Rework) Tommy Trash

'It Began With a Letter'  Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack

'If Saphir I choose to marry' from Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan

 'Garden of Paradise' Steve Hillage

'Sentence' Era

'Samurai' Juno Reactor

'Kiss and Control' AFI

Review.  Reviews sometimes amuse.

 

 

 



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