Toshiro feels his eyebrow twitch as yet another snore reaches his ears.
Lying on the couch, with an arm over the edge of the cushion, legs propped up on the armrest, is none other than his lieutenant. Sleeping away, as if nothing is out of the ordinary. As if there isn't any work for her to do. As if he isn't even there.
It's been over an hour. He had returned from his captains' meeting - which had been rather uneventful, with the Captain-Commander discussing the funds of the Seireitei and whatnot; stuff that he isn't concerned about - and already she was asleep. He had told her to at least get some work done before he comes back but, since he was up against Rangiku, he didn't expect much.
And he didn't get any.
And so, Toshiro finds himself once again at his desk, mulling over paperwork and documents that he just wants to soak in Rangiku's sake and shoot a fireball out of Hinamori's zanpakuto and burn the hell out of them.
But despite how much he wants to, how tempting it is to just throw Rangiku into the fire to burn her alongside the papers, he doesn't. He's calm, collected; he's the cool captain that everyone is familiar with. Nobody knows what's going on within him; he doesn't let anyone know.
Another snore, and however much Toshiro tries to stay calm, he finally snaps. He leaps to his feet, pushing his chair back so hard that it crashes against the wall behind him, and marches over to the couch.
She looks so peaceful, her head resting on her arm, lips slightly parted, and for a moment there, Toshiro stops himself.
But the prospect of having to go through those huge piles of paperwork overcomes him.
With a growl, he kicks the couch as hard as he can, releasing all his fury onto the poor piece of furniture, and Rangiku immediately gives a start, a small cry leaving her lips. She's dazed for a moment, but upon the sharp snap from her captain, she turns to regard him with a puzzled stare.
And then she grins. "Hey, captain, good morning! How was the meeting?"
"It was fine, thank you," he hisses through gritted teeth, fists clenched, "but Matsumoto, didn't I tell you to get some work done before I return? Did you sign any reports? Did you look through any letters of complaint?" He can feel the steam coming out of his ears now. "Did you do anything besides drinking yourself into oblivion while I was gone?"
Rangiku blinks, then purses her lips, a flash of guilt crossing her face as she looks away.
"I thought so." Toshiro, seething, marches to the door, but before he turns the knob, he looks back at her. "Why can't you be like other lieutenants, Matsumoto? Hard-working, diligent, obedient - truth be told, Hinamori does a better job than you."
And with that, he walks out, slamming the door behind him.
He's only a few steps away from the office when he pauses in his tracks. He recalls his words, running his fingers through his hair. Now that he really thinks about it, that had been a relatively harsh treatment. Never did he explode like that before - as far as he can remember.
He shakes his head and tilts his face up to the sky, trying to smooth out his jumbled thoughts. He's never one to apologize, and it will be like admitting defeat, submitting, if he goes back in and tells her that he's sorry.
But it's her fault to begin with.
Toshiro clasps a hand over his forehead and, against his own will, turns around and strides back. He pauses outside for a while, wondering what he's going to say, but before he's even ready, he opens the door.
And finds Rangiku at her desk, eyebrows knitted together in concentration, scanning a piece of rumpled paper while writing on another. Her wrist flicks deftly, the brush strokes smooth and confident.
Immediately, Toshiro closes the door and leans against it, eyes wide. That really isn't what he had expected to come from Rangiku.
Maybe he's just imagining things.
Mentally giving himself a kick, he enters again. And again he sees her bent over her work, nose almost touching the paper, squinting to read some horribly written passage.
Toshiro stands transfixed in the doorway.
Rangiku finally looks up and, upon seeing the shocked expression on her captain's face, gives him a fond, apologetic smile.
It takes a minute or two, his eyebrow twitching, but when Rangiku returns to her work, he allows a smile, relieved and grateful, to grace his features.
And for the rest of the day, captain and lieutenant enjoy a peaceful, quiet atmosphere in their office, heads working together – for once – to solve black and white nonsense.