It was pitch black outside in the Seireitei by the time Tsukiro arrived at the Squad Ten barracks. After the long, exhausting battle against Aizen's forces in Karakura, Tsukiro had decided it would be best for him to return to the Soul Society.
Especially since Kita was there.
Not wanting to run into any of his fellow squad members, he had waited until nightfall to return. As he walked through the pitch black barracks with his reiatsu suppressed, he couldn't help but feel horrible. How long had it been since he had been back here? Since he left to go and find Yoruichi? Yeah, that sounded about right (except for Captain Hitsugaya's "funeral"). His stomach twisted in knots as he thought of Kairo. And when he thought of Lieutenant Matsumoto he had to stop and lean against a nearby wall until his head stopped swimming.
As he looked up, his eyes were met with the Juubantai insignia painted onto the top of the side of the building in front of him. He used to look at the painted cross inside the diamond and think that it felt strong. Now it just felt sad.
He sighed heavily and pushed himself up, heading towards his room in the back of the barracks. Right then, all he wanted to do was sleep. He would face everyone in the morning.
Tsukiro Ashimitsu had just returned from a long day off, spent with his best friend Kairo, running around the Seireitei, visiting all the best shops, stores and markets then hitting their favorite cafe for a late lunch. He stumbled up to the door of his room at the Squad Ten barracks, his arms filled with shopping bags and a take out container filled with what was left of his and Kairo’s meal. With a relieved sigh, he dropped his bags to the floor and pulled out his key. It wasn’t until he was about to slip the key in the lock that he saw it.
A note tacked to his door.
It was small and white, only the size of his palm. On the small piece of paper were four words and a name:
Come to my office
Tsukiro took the note off his door and read it three more times just to make sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him due to his long day of adventure in the Seireitei. After he was satisfied that his eyes were fine, he cast his gaze around the dimly lit corridor. He traveled back down the hallway and glanced around the corner.
There was no one to be found.
“Okay then. Kotaishi, what do you make of this?”
I suggest you put your new things away quickly and hurry your behind to your captain’s office, posthaste, Master.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, too,” Tsukiro sighed once more and unlocked his door.
He made quick work of dragging his bags into his room and piling them on the coffee table in front of his couch. He let out a tired huff as he dropped down onto his couch. He flicked at the note still in his hand. Then he scoffed and shook his head. Leave it to his captain to summon him to his office just as his day off was coming to a close.
“No rest for the wicked, eh? Go figure.” He read over the words on the note once more. “Wonder what he’ll hit me with this time.”
Kotaishi suddenly popped out of thin air in his human form and reclined on the other half of the couch. Kotaishi, in human form, was tall and pale-skinned with long, white and black streaked hair pinned up in a high ponytail by a sapphire jeweled hair ornament. He was wrapped in royalty style robes of white, lavender and blues. His robes and hair were decorated with chains, gems and rhinestones. The priceless gems sparkled, as did his bright, glowing ocean blue eyes. His feet, which were wrapped in pale blue cloth, landed in Tsukiro’s lap, his arms drawn back behind his head.
Tsukiro have a half laugh, half snort. “I should be so lucky.”
“Maybe he was impressed with your work on your last mission and now he wants you to complete another?”
Tsukiro whacked the zanpakuto spirit. “Don’t jinx me. I’m not in the mood to catch any more escaped experiments.”
The leopard laughed and stretched. As he did so, he yawned, his jaw opening wide to reveal pearly white, ivory fangs. “Well, whatever that runt wants, you’d better hop to it and get over to his office pronto, otherwise you’ll earn yourself an earful.”
Tsukiro gave his zanpakuto an accusing look. “And what will you be doing, might I ask?”
“That’s simple. Sleeping.”
Tsukiro rolled his eyes and stood up from the couch, leaving Kotaishi to doze off there. “Behave yourself. And don’t get too comfortable. Knowing Captain Hitsugaya, if it is another mission, he’ll probably want me to leave immediately.”
Kotaishi’s eyes snapped open at that. He leaped from the couch, transforming into his snow leopard form and trailed behind his master. “In that case, I’m coming with. Maybe I’ll get lucky and scare the white out of his hair when he sees me like this.”
“Yeah, as if.”
Hitsugaya was silently filling out today's paperwork which included: reading over mission, writing up new mission, going over things that needed to be taken care of in squad 5, building repairs, receipts, paychecks, and everything in between. To make his job go faster he had sent out a subordinate to leave messages to the ones he had missions for. Many had already come., he was just waiting on a few more.
Tsukiro made his way to the captain's office, Kotaishi prowling along at his side. He really wished that Kotaishi wouldn't walk beside him in his leopard form. However, he did want to see the reaction on Hitsugaya's face when he walked in with a huge leopard at his side.
When he arrived at the captain's office, he knocked on the door. "Eighth Seat Ashimitsu reporting in, sir."
"Ashimitsu, I have an assignment for you. It will be a rather long one, but you must do it in order." He looked up from his paperwork, sparing no glance at the leopard. "Your orders are simple, go to each division starting with First. They will have assignments that must be carried out. You are tasked to do so. After you complete the assignments from each division and are to make a report and turn it in to me. Are we clear?"
Tsukiro, although confused by this mission he was just given, nodded. "Hai, Hitsugaya taicho. I will go immediately.”
And that was the end of that. Tsukiro walked out of the captain’s office, Kotaishi trailing behind grumbling, “That was it? He wants you to be the other captains’ errand boy?! And he didn’t even spare me a single look! I’m insulted!”
Tsukiro huffed a sigh. At least it wasn’t some ridiculous mission like catching another escaped experiment.
“I don’t know why you’re surprised. It’s Toshiro Hitsugaya you’re talking about. He’s the king of cold fishes.”
“Still…” Kotaishi muttered as Tsukiro returned to his room to pick up Kotaishi’s sword. “Well, I guess we had better hop to it. We have twelve barracks to visit all across Seireitei, so we’d better hurry if we want to be back home before dark.”
“Woo hoo…” Kotaishi said unenthusiastically.
Continued To: Errand Run, Part 2