Ikkaku had thought that, since he had no business training those pansies he had for new recruits, it was going to be a rather fine day. The sun was already high up in the bright blue sky even though it was just past dawn, and the breeze that caressed his bald head mellowed his constant thirst for battle. Strange, what the weather could do to someone, and even stranger still when one came across a lone girl sitting out in the street with her forehead lying on her arms.
At the sight of the lieutenant of the Twelfth Division, Ikkaku stopped dead. Blinked once, twice, and turned his head to face the barracks. Imposing as ever, it seemed to be glaring down at her, the young woman's small frame insignificant to its high walls. Ikkaku quirked an eyebrow and, without much hesitation, approached her.
"Hey, kid, what'cha doin' out here?"
Nemu raised her head to look up at him. If she was surprised, even in the least, she didn't show it. He was always unnerved by how…emotionless she appeared to be, but he never really cared much for her. It was just out of curiosity that he stopped by to ask after her – if he didn't do it, who would? Not that madman, that was for sure. He'd rather her be cut open and displayed on the lab table than anything else.
Ikkaku shuddered at the thought, and shook his head, gesturing at the cuts on her arms and legs, the bruises at the sides of her face and her black eye. "Where'd ye get all that?" But he didn't need her reply to know the answer. "Kurotsuchi, right?"
Being the loyal servant, she kept her mouth shut and avoided his eyes. Ikkaku had thought as much. That man just didn't have it in him to care for his subordinates – not even in the slightest. Captain Zaraki, despite his utter fondness for outright violence, at least had the sense to indulge his own lieutenant's demands, making sure that she didn't stay up late past her bedtime, and that she was always well-fed. The brat was spoilt, very much in contrast to this young woman.
Ikkaku squatted before Nemu and examined her injuries. The cut above her right eye was pretty bad – it bled profusely, and she frequently had to wipe the blood away before it slipped into her eye and blinded her. Making up his mind, he sat down cross-legged and, placing his zanpakuto across his lap, took the cap off the end of its hilt and offered the ointment to her.
Nemu merely stared at it, expression as blank as could be. It irritated Ikkaku to no end to have her like this, and he took it upon himself to remedy her. Swiping a bit of the smelly balm with an index finger, he reached out to dab it on her skin, but with lightning speed, her hand shot out to grab his wrist.
"Whoa, now," he raised his other hand, palms now facing her, "I'm just tryin'a help ye, kid. Don't want ye bleedin' all over the place, is all."
Her eyes were wary of him, but eventually, after a moment of searching his face, his eyes, his expression for anything other than sincerity, she let him go. With a reassuring nod and grin, Ikkaku slowly and carefully dabbed the ointment on her wounds, starting from her legs to her arms and finally to her face. When he was done, he drew back.
"There ye go! Lookin' better already." He flashed her a grin, a thumbs-up, but all she did in response was bow her head in gratitude
Unused to such formalities, Ikkaku scoffed and rose to his feet. "Look, kid," he scratched the back of his neck, unsure of what to say, "if ye need anythin', don't hesitate t'ask, all right? If that crazy ass bastard beats ye up again, holler at me an' I'll fix ye up, hear me?"
"Right." And with that, Ikkaku left her to herself, ignoring the fact that his precious ointment was now more than half gone.