Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
This chapter written on 07/18/2022
Opening Theme: Kuchibiru Kara Romantica by AAA
Ending Theme: Aitai Riyuu by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Fifth Division in the Red
Chapter Seven: A Prize
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION – THORNE’S ROOM
Shirahime wanted to roll over at block the light from waking her. She would have wanted to return to sleep. But if she did, a couple dozen roses thanks to some strangely dressed men would be waiting for her. No thanks. Only a little bit of insanity per day.
Kenpachi Zaraki looked up from her to Yachiru literally pulling her brother through the door with an exasperated look to Hanataro to follow along. Yachiru looked ready to jump up and down for the next fifteen minutes.
“Hello, kids,” Shirahime said as she slowly returned to consciousness.
Retsu Unohana stood a bit behind the kids watching them and wondering if there was now yet another reason to kill a certain madman.
Rangiku Matsumoto bit her lip, uncertain if now was the time to ask if anyone else had heard of Momo’s idea.
Yachiru rushed to Shirahime, embracing her and knocking back her cover just a little. Hanataro quickly pulled the cover back up a bit.
“Sorry, I haven’t gotten dressed yet. I can’t really come out and play like this,” Shirahime said.
“You should sleep a bit more, mom,” Daichi insisted. Don’t worry, Momo, Shinjiro, and I can take care of things for you.”
“If I go back to sleep, I’ll have more of those dreams.”
“Ooh, dream?” Yachiru asked. “Were you fighting a dragon?”
“No, dragons like me. I’m sorry Kosetsu can’t come out and play right now.”
“Where is Kosetsu?” Daichi asked.
“Chasing away some annoying fan who wants to marry me.”
“Well, go Kosetsu!” Yachiru cheered. “Only Kenny and maybe Shiro and Yumi get to marry you!”
“Hear that, taicho?” Rangiku asked to herself. “Even Yachiru and good ol’ reliable Kosetsu are cheering for you!”
Retsu looked at her. “You aren’t at all worried her actual zanpakuto is already chasing off suitors?”
“My taicho’s zanpakuto is a dragon. I’m sure it will be quite a match!”
“Eww, I’m not marrying dad.”
“Who said that?” Rangiku asked.
“I don’t think she was meaning with you,” a sassy woman’s voice said.
“Now who is -?” Rangiku asked again. “Wait, Haineko? Just who are you talking to?”
The others looked at Rangiku.
“Rangiku,” Shirahime said, “please stop giving my son the idea you’re going to marry him off.”
“What? I never said that Daichi -.”
“Mom’s talking about our older brother,” Daichi explained. “Kosetsu.”
“What?” Rangiku asked again.
Rangiku looked to the others, specifically to Retsu, Hanataro, and Kenpachi. “You all tell me you’re not confused?”
“Why would I be?” Hanataro asked.
“She’s Kosetsu’s mom,” Kenpachi said.
“Are you really that surprised?” Retsu asked.
“But he’s a -?”
“I’m all Kosetsu had,” Shirahime said. “Why wouldn’t I be his mom? He’s my good little boy after all. Number one dragon.”
Rangiku shifted her gaze to Retsu. “Like a dog?” she mouthed. “You know, Americans mothering their pets?”
Retsu raised a brow. The younger shinigami was a bit clueless on how she should not just be saying that sort of thing.
“Come on, woman,” Haineko said. “Don’t be insulting.”
“They can’t hear you,” Rangiku told her.
“Hime-sama and Kosetsu can. Just be happy Kosetsu is preoccupied. I don’t think he likes to be called a pet.”
“Ooh! Mom!” Yachiru exclaimed. “Can you pick another brother or sister for us? I promise to be the best big sister!”
“Well, technically, once upon a time, I was the best big sister. But after me, you come second. Now, why are my kids so impatient for another one of you?”
“What happened to surprise?” Daichi whispered to Yachiru.
“I was too excited!” She whispered back.
“Just play it down,” he suggested.
“Well, it’s just,” Yachiru tried to explain. “Well, I have the best little brother Daichi, and I really want another one, so where do babies come from and how can we get another one?”
Hanataro’s mouth dropped open. Reminder: don’t have Yachiru keep an important secret.
Everyone else was speechless.
Lights flashed in the room. Yachiru’s eyes widened as she watched Kosetsu – his image now a little boy with snow dragon wings – gesture his ideas on the best new brother or sister. Daichi, Yachiru, and Shirahime could understand his words. The others followed along as best as they could.
Shirahime reached out and patted boy Kosetsu on his head.
Kosetsu jumped up and down. In a shimmer of white, he now wore a t-shirt with the English phrase: “Thorne Family Reunion” printed on it.
Shirahime, Yachiru, and Daichi burst out laughing first. Kenpachi followed then Retsu and Hanataro joined in.
Haineko whispered to Rangiku what the shirt said. “I get it!” she exclaimed as she joined in.
“Wait a minute,” Rangiku interrupted, “what did he mean he’s not marrying dad?”
SOUL SOCIETY – FIFTH DIVISION
“Well, I think this at least establishes some ground rules,” Shinjiro announced.
“It does?” Renji asked.
“Sure,” Shinjiro insisted. “Far be it from any of us intrude on why Zaraki is Yachiru’s father versus anyone else, but let’s at least say the winner of this game’s got to be a good father.”
“It is fair enough,” Byakuya agreed. “After all, she’d kill someone who would be anything but a good father. However, Hinamori, wouldn’t you like to try this first?”
“Me -?” she stammered. “But the winner – the winner marries -.”
“You mean to tell me you’re not one of those girls who dreamed since the day she was born about her white wedding?” Renji asked.
“What do you mean ‘white wedding’?”
The four turned to Rukia Kuchiki who just arrived from the thirteenth division.
“Are you getting married, Hinamori? I didn’t even know you were engaged. I’m sorry, I guess I’m so clueless. Congratulations!”
“Actually, this is a contest to see who gets to marry her,” Renji explained.
Rukia’s jaw dropped. “Wow. I could be so jealous! All these men fighting over you.”
“Anyone in particular you want to fight over you?” Renji asked.
“Abari,” Kuchiki snapped.
“Well,” Momo admitted, “actually this is for taicho.”
“Hime-sama?” Rukia asked.
“I mean, I doubt so many people would want to compete for me in comparison.”
“You should not downplay yourself so,” Byakuya admonished.
“Though you’re right,” Shinjiro acknowledged, “are you saying that, Kuchiki Taicho, because you believe it, or because you really don’t want taicho to be on this show?”
“So,” Rukia interrupted. “You’re getting married, Momo, or is hime-sama?”
“My beautiful princess is getting married!” Shinjiro exclaimed.
“Your beautiful princess?” Byakuya challenged.
“Ha! I knew you were jealous!”
“A minor misunderstanding,” Byakuya insisted.
“I think every division should be represented. I’m sure my princess will agree. Tell me, Kuchiki Taicho, you don’t mind if Abarai here represents your division? After all, I’m sure someone of your noble blood will be too busy for such a contest.”
“I won’t mind,” Abarai assured.
“Well, considering your division is already contributing the prize,” Byakuya interrupted, “my division will have to contribute more. So, I will offer myself.”
“Did you just call taicho a prize?” Momo asked.
“Well, of course she’s a prize,” Rukia insisted. “She’s a rare, prized member of our Soul Society.”
“But he didn’t say it like that,” Momo complained. “He didn’t say it in a nice way. He said it like she’s a piece of property. Daichi hates that. I hate that. That’s it! We’re contributing ‘the prize’ alright. And I’ll be signing up along with our prize just to make sure no one puts a price tag on that prize. I’m competing!”
“But you are a woman!” Byakuya pointed out.
“So what? I can be a good father, too. Maybe it’s a complicated pledge or something. Taicho’s done it with Yachiru’s father; she can do it with me.”
Renji turned red.
“Momo’s right,” Shinjiro insisted. “In fact, we’ll both be competing! So, no need to go out of your way and involve yourself personally, Kuchiki Taicho.”
Preview of the Next Chapter:
Shinjiro and Momo start planning of their taicho’s new vacation – or should they call it vocation? Will Momo become so wrapped up in her new personal stake in this competition she forgets to charge the admission fee?