JxJ’s Week of Birthday Fluff - Day 1 (You Found Me)
Thursday - March 16 - 10:13am
‘Straight. Right. Straight. Left. An early birthday present…for me…’
And on and on it went, changing directions or going straight, she let her heart guide her to where Jushiro-san meant her to be. That and the romantic trail of purple and white petals he laid out for her somehow. She can only imagine how early he’d woken up to set this up before he left on his mission to the world of the Living. If choosing men was like purchasing a scratch off ticket, then she won the 100 million yen prize. She woke up to a note placed beside her, explaining that he planned a week of birthday surprised for her to make up for his absence. She was overjoyed. She was ecstatic. She was the luckiest girl! However…
There was one teeny little problem…
“I wanna to throw it! It’s my turn! Give it here, pachinko-head!”
“AGHHHHHH!!! GET THIS 3 FOOT PIRANHA OFF OF ME!”
…And it took on a very big form whose back you were obligated to follow. Him and friends, of course. With the two characters of comedic and immature traits, both whom would give Urahara Kisuke a run for his money, they ran circles around your little group, Jemma’s romantic little petals appearing to now form a bizarre satanic circle, looking to bring about the gay lord of hell.
“For 5 minutes…can you both not be yourselves?” Jem asked, trembling in annoyance. “FOR FIVE MINUTES!”
“Thank you. Kenny, take the damn basket…”
~*5 Minutes later…*~
Somehow Ikkaku managed to keep his patience as the little pink monster nibbled on his head before moving to braid flower crowns for the 3rd seat and her captain. It looked good on them. If you were into the whole Mafia-turned-hippies-by-the-Boss’-daughter sort of look. Then absolutely!
As they all walked, Yumichika was dutifully studying a paper of what looked to be a map of the Seireitei. Meanwhile, Kenpachi continued to grumpily toss petals (if doing so was even possible) behind his back for her to follow. At this point, she failed to see the purpose as she already caught them in the act when she first began following the trail. But hey, if he enjoyed being the flower girl, who was she to stop him?
Jemma held back stifled laughter as she imagined him in a white kimono, throwing petals down an aisle.
“Uh…captain. We’re going the wrong way.” Yumichika had finally spoken up.
Thank goodness. The man reading and being quiet was beginning to worry her. Normally, she couldn’t get him to shut up about his tips to 'improve herself’. It took all the strength her husband had to restrain her from wringing his skinny neck.
“What?” Kenpachi growled.
“Ukitake-taicho said this way.”
“I was going that way.”
“You were going the opposite direction…..” That remark earned him a fist full of petals thrown into his so-called lovely face.
“Don’t tell me what I already know. I was checking to see if you were paying attention and you passed. Let’s go.” He grinned a smug, raunchy grin and changed course.
~*20 minutes later…*~
[In front of the White Road Gate - Jidanbo’s gate]
“Well this can’t be right…” Yumichika spoke as he stare at the tall stone gate.
“You peacock! Give me that map!”
“I want to see! I’ve got a great sense of direction!”
“Shut up, midget. You’re about as useful as a broken compass.”
Jem sighed as the quartet entered into another quarrel. At this rate, it would take all day. 'Honestly, Jushiro-chi…when it comes to petal tossing, the expert is obviously Nanao-san.’ After all, it’s not like she does it for a living, given her taicho. Note the heavy sarcasm. At random, she glanced at the sconces to the right of her. What was normally supposed to hold a torch for when it got dark for guards on duty, now held a lovely, pink hued lily in its hold. She lightly gasped and gently took the lonely flower from its grasp and pressed it to her face. Attached to the torch bracket was a folded piece of paper. Looking over her shoulder to see the group still growling at each other, she removed it and read the carefully written words. It was done neatly and professionally, something only her perfectionist husband would be capable of producing.
“My precious Jem,
By now, I am sure they’ve taken you for quite the 'adventure’. Forgive me. I initially had a much better choice. A more competent Nanao, to name one-”
“Called it,” she smirked and continued reading.
“…but she had other duties to perform. So though you may be driven to the brink of insanity, please try to bear with it and accept this flower. A small token of my affection for you and a promise of good things to come. I also gift you with this poem. Read it and see how it compares to my love for you, my beautiful dream.
'I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)’
By E.E Cummings
How does it compare? Enjoy your day, my love. And the many more that is sure to come. I’ll be home to you soon.
Yours forever more,
If the sky was blue and water was wet, than her heart was the raging wind, for it beat fast and furious. A warm blanket coated her innards and spread to her face as she read the sweet words over and over again. Her feet absentmindedly walking back towards her guides. They were waiting once they noticed her distant form 5 minutes ago. It was obvious the letter was from the taicho who sent them on this quest, evident from the flower, which resembled the petals they threw and the large grin that graced her lips. Jemma spoke softly, “I think this is what we came here for.” A sudden force focused her mind and she clutched the paper to her chest. “We have to keep going. There may be more!”
Everyone stared at her.
~*4th Division, 10th Division and 8th Division Baracks (current location) later…*~
“I foooouuuunnnnddd it!” Yachiru screamed from Kenpachi-taicho’s shoulders.
“Oh, Yachiru, thank y-…why are you wet? You’re bleeding!” Jem stopped and stared, her jaw partially open. They’d been running in circles (for which she is ever grateful) around the Seireitei, looking for similar tokens, like in front of the Western gate. Jushiro did not make it easy for any of them. He was having way too much fun with this particular game. Though she did admit, he was one hell of a romantic.
“Oh, it’s not mine. I had to teach baldy a little lesson after he pushed me in the pond. That’s where I found the last flower. Lookie! It came with a letter this time!”
Jem excitedly took the flower and the letter. It was a lavender daisy. The ones before had been a lavender gilly flower and a deep blue irises. It made a lovely bundle all together, the wonderful shades of purple and blue complimenting each other. Quickly, she opened and skimmed the letter. Her face tinted a light pink, she lowered the letter and partially folded it.
Yumichika, with Ikkaku over his shoulder, called out, “I’m going to the 4th before this fool loses too much blood and dies. Not that that would be a loss on my part but I wouldn’t want to ruin the beauty of this courtyard. Precious Jem, I hope you find what it is Jushiro-taicho left for you.”
Oh. It occurred to her that Yachiru was staring expectantly at her. Sort of like a, 'Where to next?!’ Kenny was just standing with an incredibly bored look on his face and she wondered how her husband employed him for this task in the first place. She smiled, thinking that it no doubt had to do with the substitute soul reaper, Ichigo Kurosaki. “Ichigo this” and “Kurosaki that”. As much as she wanted to say it, she dared not utter aloud that it sounded like a teenage school girl’s crush on the most popular guy in school.
“Um…why don’t you guys go with him? I…I think I’m supposed to finish this alone.”
Before she could even finish blinking, Kenpachi was behind her, dragging a moaning and screaming Yachiro. You’d think he was carrying her around by a noose. Within the minute, he turned the corner and was gone.
'Well, geez…you could at least show some hesitation about leaving…’
She continued walking and followed the path of petals that were carefully laid out, incomplete, by the only man romantic enough to start it. Jemma already knew where it lead to. But the gesture was so sweet, she took her time memorizing every petal, every scent of the different flowers, and the coolness of the wind this day. Cool and calm and gentle…
Just like her Jushiro…her captain…her love…
“Hello again, my sweet Jem,
I’m sure by now you must be at your limits running around like this. I just want to thank you for taking the time to humor. I have been truly blessed to be gifted your affection. You’ve managed to fill a hole in me. Before, my life was scattered and a bit disorganized. It was beautiful, of course, and I never once regretted my life. When I became a shinigami, everything seemed to come together and I was able to support my siblings much easier, despite my illness. But still, it felt like something was…missing. Then you came along and suddenly…everything tied in together. The happiness you bring me is the most effective medicine I’ve ever been given.
Now I ask that you fulfill this old man’s last request for today and go to the lieutenant’s assembly. Don’t ask how I managed to take it over. I haven’t. What I’m doing is completely unauthorized. Tread carefully, my dear!
All my love,
[10 minutes later - Lieutenant’s Assembly]
Jemma stood in front of the door to the lieutenant’s assembly room. What she didn’t expect was Nanao to be waiting for her…holding a single flower. To think he managed to rope in the 8th division’s uptight Lieutenant into this scheme…she decided to tease.
“Well, well, well, Nanao-chan…you? I mean, your captain, sure, but, who knew you were such a sucker for romance?” she smirked as Nanao stood with a blank face, clutching her clipboard to her chest with her left hand and holding out the purple Matsumoto aster in her right. Others may have taken her more seriously…but it’s hard to do just that when the fukutaicho had a cute blush across her across, covering her face and reaching the tips of her ears.
“Is he finally rubbing off on you?”
“A-A-A-Absolutely not! That’s ridiculous! This is a favor to my captain’s best friend!”
“Right, right. Is that a flower in your hair?”
The flower was gone as soon as Jem brought it up. “What flower?”
'Jushiro…you clever fox…only she would do this sort of thing without a price.’ Jemma rolled her eyes. “All right, Nanao. We’ll play it your way. What’s in the room?”
Nanao held out the flower to her once again and moved to open the door. “Please. Look for yourself and read the P.S in the last letter he left for you.”
“I already read it.”
“You what?! That was supposed to be for…oh, never mind. Go in.”
The sliding door slowly slide open and the sweet scent of all the flowers she was given matched the bundle she held in her hand. It was an explosion of the senses, what she saw in there. And she felt herself begin to cry. “Jushiro…” Her mind drifted
'P.S Don’t read this part just yet. When you come to face Nanao, when you walk into the room, open the letter again. But knowing you, you’ll probably read it anyway.’
Of course she did. And it was all the better she did. She must have read that letter dozens of times before she got here. She stepped into the room and gazed around. Warm tears slide down her cheeks as she gazed at the flower filled room. Apple blossoms decorated the floor, scattered but done so thoughtfully and with ease. It’s pure white color highlighting the cool hues of the much bolder flowers above it. The gentle scent tickled her nose and lifted her heart. Banners of braided daises and irises hung all across the room. It looked like mother nature threw up, but still she saw the sweet and careful thought that went into this. She looked to the bundle in her hand. Every flower he had her find was right there in her hand…
'The scattered flowers represent the life I led before I came to be in the Seireitei. Before I came to know the treasure that is your love which captures me, your embrace in cold nights, and your warm touch on sleepy mornings. Everything before all that was…disheveled yet…there was still beauty in such a life. I was alive and somewhere in this world, you existed.’
Jem walked forward and hiccuped, unaware of all the people who helped her, even Shunsui, the 8th Division’s Captain, came to watch the glory. Although Yachiru biting on Ikkaku’s bandaged head killed some of the lovey dovey vibe, but it took more restraint than he thought he was capable of to hold it together.
Her eyes were suddenly drawn to the bouquet of flowers, encased in a beautiful and rich purple, the color of royalty. She cocked her head to the side and rubbed the tear streaks away. There was a part in the middle missing from the bouquet. She noticed that the bouquet, too, matched the flowers in her hand and she realized what cheesy intent Jushiro had meant.
'Stop being so…unbelievable…are you a dream?’
Fresh tears filled over and she knew she was dripping from her nose too. Jemma could only imagine Jushiro smiling sweetly and brushing her tears with a handkerchief and even blowing her nose. Does she even adult?
She was the missing bundle, she thought as she placed the flowers in the center of the bouquet, found all over the Seireitei, finding pieces of herself, of her life as a soul reaper with the friends she made, before settling with Jushiro.
'Place the flowers you have gathered in the place it’s needed most and you’ll understand what I mean…you are the missing piece. You complete the bouquet of my life and make it beautiful and worth living. You tied everything together. You made my world make sense. From the moment we met as friends, you’d been carefully braiding the flowers into a beautiful arrangement that we now live in. I can never repay the love you have shown me. But allow this old man the chance to try. And I swear my life to you.’
“Jemma-san! Are you all right?”
Nope. That was it. Her heart couldn’t take the sweetness. She’d have to go to the dentist. She couldn’t take such charming gestures. She’d need Unohana to restart her brain, given it hasn’t fried to a crisp from the overload of romance. She’d need Kenny to sock her in the face to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. Jemma’s knees wobbled and she clutched the table for support. Nanao ran over to place her hands on her shoulders, but she wasn’t paying her attention. Jushiro’s words kept replaying over and over again.
Jem was being led by the fukutaicho with the intent on going to the 4th.
“There we go, Miss Jemma,” Nanao murmured soothingly.
“I think she’s broken! She looks funny!”
“That’s enough, Yachiru.”
Before Jem even made it to the door, her mind immediately caught the little pink haired gremlin’s next words. “Well, if Jem-chan doesn’t want it, I’ll take it all! Mine, mine, mine!”
Her back straightened, her breath stilled and she grabbed Nanao by the shoulders, gently but firmly placing her just outside the room. Before Yachiru could lay a finger on even the apple blossoms, she was grabbed and tossed like an oversized bowling ball with her fellow soul reapers as the pins. Striiikkkkeeeee!
She stuck her head out and looked Yachiru right in the eye.
And proceeded to slam the door. The sound of furniture piling against the door suggesting that she planned to stay for the long haul.
'P.P.S I’m sorry, my love. I know I’ve come this far, but I can’t help but think…you don’t think all of this is a bit much, do you?’
The gruff voice of the Captain-Commander Yamamoto spoke through the other door.
“Open the door.”
“Jemma, you cannot stay in there forever.”
“Yes, I can.”