Sleight of Hand @babykitsune_9
Chapter 30

Ukitake tried his best to smile and introduce himself to the obviously feral looking red haired woman, as politely as possible without flinching. However his eyes kept straying over to the poor man tied to a chair in concern.

Not to mention the head of the other person peeking up over the top of the dinning room table not too far from the first, who merely gave him a weak looking wave. Which was just a tad bit concerning in and of itself.

It was also difficult for him to miss the fact that the two men were watching the woman, warily as he shook her hand.

"Hello." He greeted as he adjusted himself to this situation. Wondering idly if this was normal for his lady's new family or if he and the others would have to do some hostage negotiating in a few moments.

"My name is Jushiro Ukitake, I am the Captain-Commander of the thirteen court guard squads. And a good friend of your young Ichigo." He said smoothly before then moving on to introduce the others.

Unohana, as usual was so well behaved that it was unreal.

But he also didn't miss the way that the red headed woman and his number one medic sized each other up as if they'd like to put each other in a coffin before quickly hiding their blood lust from everyone in the room. So...that was obviously a problem that would bear watching.

Especially since he wasn't sure what would happen if he left the two alone in a room together for more than two minutes. But he was betting it would be something bad that would displease Ichigo just as much as Chizuru's death had.

When Toshiro introduced himself to the woman, she shit him a sinister glare that nearly had him whimpering. Though Rangiku managed to distract her when she practically grabbed her hand and started to vigorously shake it while chattering away at the woman about her hair color, and how pretty she was.

And how she'd been texting Ichigo since she left Japan about how she should get herself a boyfriend or a sugar daddy.

Toshiro elbowed the air headed woman in the ribs hard enough to shut her up without actually having to resort to hurting her while the woman's eye twitched a little bit and she gritted out, "My name is Pepper Potts. I'm the current CEO of Stark Industries, and I live here. Those two over there are Rhodey- Ichigo's current legal guardian."

Said man couldn't wave since his hands were tied down. But he managed a nice finger wiggle and a head nod.

"And the other guy is Happy Hogan. Ichigo's bodyguard, and personal driver."

"Hi." Happy said with another, more animated wave that caused the woman to take one of her slippers off and throw it at him. It hit the table in front of his face and startled him into ducking out of sight as she growled,

"Too. Cheerful!" Everyone stared at her strangely for a moment as she muttered, "No one should be that cheerful so early in the morning. Not even after a hundred cups of coffee."

Ah, Ukitake though in bemusement. Perhaps that was why the woman was so grouchy? She hadn't had her morning pick-me-up yet. Now her temper was more understandable to him.

He tended to be a bit of a bear himself when he went without his usual morning beverage.

Finally she turned back to them and invited them into the room since standing in the doorway was not only unnecessary but irksome. People tended to need to get in and out of rooms to do their jobs, after all.

"Rhodey has finally decided to fill us in about the situation," Pepper said as she walked towards the kitchen. "Please have a seat, and you all can fill us in a bit more. Do you want something to eat or drink while we talk?"

"I'd like some coffee." Ukitake said politely. Rangiku seconded his response with one of her own. While Unohana decided to have tea.

Toshiro didn't want anything so he just seated himself at the table next to...Rhodey? And simply stared at the man for a moment before then asking why he was tied to the chair in the first place.

No one bothered to answer him up until a wolf-like dog wandered over to the white haired boy and settled a paw on his leg and then shook it's head. As if trying to tell him, Don't ask. You really don't want to know. As Happy was called over to help get everyone's drinks to them.

Everything took only a few minutes. After which Pepper seated herself at the table with a muffin and a cup of coffee before then saying, "Please, tell us what's going on."

Ukitake quickly set his coffee down and fished out his cell phone and then pulled up a video that Ichigo had instructed him to give to her new family if they asked about what was going on. Apparently she was keeping a promise to her guardian about keeping him updated- so he saw no harm in handing his phone to the woman and allowing her to watch the video recording.

However he nearly spit out his next sip of coffee in alarm when the first words he heard from the recording were, "If your watching this now...I'm likely dead-"

Everyone at the table went oddly still and quiet for about zero point two seconds before Unohana shot him a glare and then reached over and plucked the cell from Pepper's grasp before the woman could crush it with her white knuckled grip and then checked the date on the recording.

"Oh, no wonder." She said as she quickly pulled up the correct video and explained. "This was the outline of her living will recorded on the cell phone since she didn't want to write it down. It was done several years ago after the first war. Around the last time she fought Aizen, I think."

There was an explosion sound coming from the cell phone for a moment. Followed by a whole lot of loud and panicked screaming. And Unohana smiled and made a triumphant sound.

So apparently the explosion sound and the screaming verified what the woman had thought. Ukitake paled a little bit in his seat and tried to hide the fact that he was now sweating bullets.

Pulling the right video back up, Unohana then handed the cell back to Pepper so that she could try watching the recorded message again with a cheerful sounding, "Here you go, Miss Potts."

Pepper's eye visibly twitched again. But only the one time before she turned her attention back to the recorded message. Luckily it was the right message this time. Which was verified by Ichigo's voice saying each of their names before launching into explanations about various things.

Chizuru's death. The investigation. And what was going to be done about everything.

She explained a bit about the code 'The Substitute' and exactly what it meant.

Which was more than just a tad bit shocking to all of them since part of it was practically seizing power over the military unit that she had once worked for. Which meant that she was currently in command as a shadow Commander.

One who's reach was greater than anyone else's.

It was interesting to know that she had such influence over so many people. And even more impressive, was the fact that all of them held her in such high esteem that they would do as she wished without any arguments to the contrary.

She mentioned what information she had on the murderer already. But didn't say much else. Instead choosing to show them various people and state their ranks and such.

Seeing some of her friends were interesting. Especially the other kids that she'd worked with. They were all so young that it twisted their hearts viciously in their chests as she ended the video with a quick glimpse of what Thor, Bruce, and Loki were doing.

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