Characters: Ikkaku, Yachiru; mentions of former 11th Division, Kenpachi & Yumichika
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
Ikkaku spends almost as much time fixing things in the 11th Division quad as he does fighting and sleeping. When his repair sessions coincide with Kenpachi's afternoon naps (and they often do), Yachiru watches him work.
When Ikkaku builds her a scooter for her birthday, Yachiru takes it apart and puts it back together before putting it through its paces. She knows how to build her own scooters now (though they're usually not as smooth or sturdy as her first) and doesn't feel so bad when they break. After all, Ikkaku always has wood lying around and she knows where he keeps his tools.
They started a treehouse together. Ikkaku only works on it when Yachiru is with him, though he's often tempted to finish it off himself. It's a long process; he intends to make it Yachiru-resistant and to teach her, at the same time, how to build herself a strong foundation, set up sturdy walls and a watertight roof. Yachiru is a fast learner; once he shows her how to lay down the planks, how to mark, score, measure and cut the wood, she plunges enthusiastically into the project.
Their blueprints are a mess of scrawls on the backs of old reports. Yachiru knows exactly what she wants, and made damn sure that Ikkaku understood too. Her demands are surprisingly reasonable: room enough for a chest of candy, a little table and a tatami mat (in case she wants to sleep in the treehouse), a stand to keep her zanpakutou on, and hooks to hang lights on.
All Ikkaku has to do is some scaling (she doesn't, after all, need a box two meters tall and three meters wide for candy) and additions that Yumichika had demanded (windows, shelves for books, and cabinets for candy so she can keep other things in the little chest he plans to make her).
Captain Zaraki knows about it, seems amused whenever he sees Ikkaku fix a mistake or straighten a plank Yachiru had put down and she doesn't start chewing on his head. Even if she gets frustrated, Yachiru doesn't take it out on Ikkaku; after all, they have yet to start the roof and she doesn't know how to do that. Besides, he might lose interest in the house (for weeks!!) if he got angry enough.
In all matters but the treehouse itself, Yachiru has the final say. Ikkaku double-checks and triple-checks every piece of wood, tests the soundness of each section they finish. He fits the windows with glass, knots a rope ladder (that Yachiru doesn't need, but had demanded anyway) that can be pulled up inside the house through a trap door in the floor, and makes damn sure that every hook is secure.
They finish the roof in a single day. Yachiru already knows how to build tables and chairs (the first time she tried, she failed, so she kept trying until she got it right, then never built another one) and Yumichika helps them drag up everything she wants. Ikkaku dozes off on the floor while Yachiru and Yumichika rearrange the furniture and when he wakes up, they're both asleep on top of him.
Yachiru knows how to build treehouses; the thought fills all the soul reapers of Seireitei with a certain amount of dread.
Though she never did end up building another house, she has set up platforms in several trees in Seireitei. Some on Captain Kyouraku's favorite cherry blossom trees (though he does think the platform is easier to lounge on than a branch), and others in fairly random places. Ikkaku doesn't know when she figured out how to attach the platforms to walls, but when he runs nose first into the struts of one in the training quad, he recognizes it easily as Yachiru's project.
Kenpachi orders her to take it down, and charges Ikkaku with the task of teaching her how to build obstacle courses so she could actually make something useful in her spare time.
They end up constructing a wooden castle complex in the main training grounds-- that is, in the space on the edge of Rukongai left clear for captains to spar with each other.
Yachiru claims it as her territory, sets Kenpachi, Yumichika and the rest of the 11th Division on defense while Ikkaku and anyone willing to fight alongside him lay siege to it. He had invited Iba and Renji to join his forces, and they arrived with their own divisions in tow.
To simulate actual battle conditions, of course.
Yumichika and Kenpachi intercepted Renji and Iba as they approached. Ikkaku, meanwhile, had made his way to the 'inner courtyard', where Yachiru promptly knocked out his entire squad and ran circles around him. By the time the sun had set, the castle was in splinters and every single member of the siege was bloody, bruised, high on adrenaline, and remembered that day as the best training session ever.
It's a tie. After all, the offensive forces could barely stand by the end, but the castle had fallen.
Yachiru clings sleepily to Ikkaku's neck on their way back to the 11th quad. He grumbles about it, but Yumichika knows that he secretly doesn't mind at all.
When Yachiru breaks a toy and, for the first time ever, doesn't demand that Ikkaku fix it (because she can do it herself), he takes a nap and congratulates himself. Renji and Iba buy him drinks that weekend, and he tells himself that he never has to fix another goddamn toy ever again (while they, for some reason, spent much of the night telling him that just because she can fix her own toys now doesn't mean that Yachiru won't want him around anymore). He doesn't remember much of what happened.
When she presses a sad-looking wooden doll and pieces of its broken leg into his hands and insists that he replaces the leg, Ikkaku complains that she can do it herself but can't quite squash the feeling that all is once again right with the world.
At least, until Yachiru discovers the swordsmiths responsible for crafting zanpakutou blanks and drags him off so they can learn to make swords together.