Of all the things to draw your ire during your time at Urahara Shoten the rain has to be the worst. Not the Hollows, or Arrancars, or the random spirit passing by wailing to the heavens like it's the end of the world. No, you would take those over a rainy day cooped up inside under a roof that carries the heady scent of candy and mysterious lies. The worst part? Being trapped, alone with the enigmatic store's owner.
You can hear the man humming through the entryway to the kitchen, accented by the rattle of what you assume is a teapot as he fixes his favorite drink. Even with the children and Tessai no doubt waiting out the dreary weather somewhere in town, Kisuke has been in an obnoxiously good mood despite the quiet and near suffocating boredom.
Almost like he enjoys spending the time alone with you given that it happens on such an infrequent basis. Damn if he'll ever admit it outright.
You're sitting at the front door, watching the rain tumble down into puddles, when he emerges into the main room carrying a tray. You offer nothing more than a glance as he places it down, the motion followed by his body as he takes his favorite seat on the upraised section of floor.
"Care to join me?"
"Only if you know some version of kido that can affect the weather."
"It's only been raining for a few hours. Don't be so dramatic."
That coming from the King of Drama.
Aside from the sudden bout of boredom you do enjoy your time here. For more than a year now you've helped with minor things around the shop like dissatisfied customers, deliveries, and dealing with hollows that stray a bit too close when he and Tessai are away. Little things to earn your keep and in return he has given you a home and people you consider family. A fair enough trade in its own right but falling in love with the often times insufferable bastard? Well, that was unexpected and not altogether unwanted.
It's an affection that has been left unspoken, not out of embarrassment or fear of rejection, but simply because it doesn't require words to make it real. You're not so blind that you haven't realized his own feelings. The brief moments he finds to step just a little too close, or the worried touches that linger a few seconds longer than they should when you return injured. Small moments in time that can mean a great deal more than blunt and fleeting words.
You know. He knows.
And that's enough.
"I was going to talk to Orihime today," you inform, more for something to say to fill the quiet than thinking that it might interest him.
"Oh? Something wrong?"
A spoon tinks against the inside of a teacup, the sound familiar and more calming than it should be.
"She worries about things she shouldn't. Typical teenager things but still," you say with a slight shrug, "I wanted to check on her."
"You've been spending a great deal of time with her these past few weeks."
"I thought you could use a break," you say, suppressing a smile. " I know my company intimidates you."
"You can be rather...overbearing."
That earns him a glare, his own smile one of nervous apology. "And by overbearing I mean charming. Absolutely delightful. A national treasure."
Rising to your feet, you cross the small space only to sit again, this time at his side. You do so because it irks him, leaves him unable to study your expressions without being obvious and as a scientist he loves to analyze every minute detail about all things. Whatever gives him the upper hand.
"Don't pretend you don't know about the training," you say, taking the tea cup he offers. There's a slight ripple in the steaming liquid, the only tell that your words surprise him. "You act like your head is in the clouds but your nose is actually in everyone's business."
"Such slander! I'm wounded!"
"You're about to be," you mutter as you cradle your tea, lifting it so that the steam warms your nose and lips.
Silence for a time except for the patter of rain against the roof. Boring and uneventful but not as unpleasant after all.
"You could have told me." The words are quiet, his eyes shadowed by the brim of his hat.
"You could have asked," you counter, taking a sip.
"Touché~. I take it everything is going well?"
"She's eager to learn," you reply, careful with your words. "A lot stronger than I expected but I can understand her not wanting to be a burden."
"Is that what you think you are?"
Though there is a teasing tone in his words, there is a serious one lying just under the surface. Placing your tea back onto the tray, you pull your knees up, feeling a bit small so why not look the part?
"Tessai had to save me. I'm not exactly proud of it. If the children had been here..." You allow your voice to trail off, not imagining Uruuru or Jinta getting hurt but coming to your rescue in their own way, having seen first hand what they're capable of. You should be strong enough to take care of yourself even with the Arrancars not being the enemy you're used to.
You don't pay any attention when he sets his cup next to yours, nor when he sighs from the deepest part of his diaphragm, your mind too busy replaying the battle from two nights ago when you had almost lost an arm.
You do notice when he stands, the warmth beside you suddenly gone in a flourish as he rises on bare feet while straightening his hat.
"Then I guess it's finally time."
"Time for what?" you scowl, craning your neck to look at him.
"To test your abilities, of course."
For the passing of a second or so you aren't sure if he's even serious. Not until he turns to open the secret trap door just a few steps away.
And you find that your mouth has gone dry despite the tea still simmering in your stomach.
"Come on now~ I don't make these offers lightly."
You swallow...hard, blinking at the hand he offers to help you up.
So much for a boring, rainy day.
I don't own Bleach or any of its characters.
Author's Chapter Notes:
For about a week now I've been trying to find fanfics about this wonderful man. They are few and far between much to my surprise, and in most of those he is either OOC or the readers act like Hammy from Over the Hedge. So, now I'm pretty ticked off and craving him with an almost great desperation. The Bleach world intimidates me but I no longer care. This is my lame attempt to please myself. (Har Har) It will be short. Two chapters, maybe three depending on where my muse goes. Reader's background I leave to you other than she is an ex-soul reaper.