Sleight of Hand @babykitsune_9
Chapter 31

Steve blinked at the two of them, opened his mouth, closed it for a second and then shifted a little bit out of his fighting stance and then finally asked, "Whatcha got there Buck?" As if he couldn't see the girl or the fact that she was holding him pretty much bent over backwards.

No- Steve looked just a tad bit amused to find him in this awkward position. And that sucked to no end. The jerk. He thought as he opened his mouth to say lamely, "I got a girl."

At which point said girl decided to give him a squeeze that left him wheezing as he then tacked on, "Correction, a girl who's doing her best impression of a boa constrictor. Ow!" He yelped when that squeeze somehow turned into a painful tug on his metal arm.

Steve did his best to not laugh aloud. He could see that very plainly.

But the fact that he could hear the rumble emanating from the man's chest meant that he failed miserably at not laughing at him as the girl suddenly released him and let him fall the the floor at her feet with a thud and a startled yelp.

Which only had Steve laughing a bit louder at him as he quickly scrambled to his feet and glared at the girl as he moved over to stand next to the punk.

He'd say this for Stark's niece, the girl may be pretty, but she was also fucking mean.

He also couldn't help but wonder if that was something that she inherited? From her uncle maybe? I mean, he knew that he didn't know Stark very well, but given how things had happened in Siberia...he really wouldn't put it past the man to send his niece here to kick his ass a few times. Not even while he was supposed to be MIA.

Though it was sort of a low blow to send a girl to do the man's dirty work. It rankled since he worried about what would happen if he actually tried to hurt-hurt her.

Finally Steve managed to pull himself together enough to finally wipe the amused look off of his face and actually try to ask what the hell had been going on before he'd come in.

Ichigo's answer was short and very much to the point.

Bucky tried to drug her so she had had a PTSD episode and beat the hell out of him.

Steve of course was utterly appalled by the fact that he'd tried to drug her with god-knew-what and didn't even give him time to explain himself before he shot him a disappointed look that had him bristling in offense, and almost snarling that it wasn't like that.

While the punk introduced himself to the girl and then asked her to sit down and explain just how she had managed to get there.

"So she's really okay?" Happy asked the four newcomers anxiously for what must have been the umpteenth time in the past ten minutes.

"Yes. She's fine." Ukitake said again, wondering if maybe the man was ill or something.

He kept asking the same question over and over again no matter how many times he told him that Ichigo was well. So naturally he was beginning to grow concerned since this couldn't possibly be normal for a human.

Especially since to his knowledge human memory didn't go quite that quickly unless there was something wrong with the person in question. Of course he also wasn't well versed in human behaviors and anxiety disorders either.

So maybe he was wrong?

Although...Unohana didn't seem bothered by hearing the same question over and over again.

In fact she was as patient as he was about it. And as the group's doctor, she would likely know more than he did. So he'd have to take his cues from her in this instance and tried not to make a comment when the man asked them the same question again.

Fifteen more times before he was finally silenced by Pepper giving him an odd look, and then asked them who Aizen was. Because that was apparently the question that was weighing most heavily on her mind at the moment.

And he totally blamed Unohana- that sly, evil woman- for even mentioning the man's accursed name in the first place. After all, he seriously doubted that Ichigo would care overly much for that particular conversation to take place. Much like she wasn't going to like the fact that they had let the red haired woman and her friends hear the recording of the explosions and screams attached to her living will.

He felt a chill of dread shoot down his spine as Unohana smiled her devious smile while Toshiro let out a loud growling sound that easily put the dog to shame.

However before he could even think of anything to say, Rangiku decided to do the talking for him this time. "Ichigo hasn't actually told you anything about how she met us. Has she?" The woman asked curiously.

"No." The three said in unison.

"Then we'll have to fix that while she's away." Unohana said cheerfully.

Too damned cheerfully for it to bode well for any of them. While both he and Toshiro sputtered and tried to tell the women to shut the hell up before someone- a particular girl who should remain nameless for the moment- returned to smite them all.

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