It's the ever-present little arms wrapped around his shoulders that keep the large man grounded. Written for bleach_contest at LJ (week 5: embrace).
There is a name that, to him, is more important than all of those. Forgetting this one would be near impossible. It's the name of the one person who followed him from the slums of the toughest district into the hallowed halls of Seireitei and the white kimono jacket of captain-hood. It was that captain she was currently clinging to as they moved through those very halls. It was what identified her pink hair, her big bright eyes, her ever-present smile. It was her name he whispered every night as he tucked the little girl into bed beside him: Yachiru.
At the moment, they were heading towards another meeting of the Gotei 13, in which they would all undoubtedly make no progress and end up wasted while watching the full moon rise and set. In other words, a typical business day for them all. He had already seen Yachiru pocket her trusty black marker in her hidden satchel, so Zaraki knew that sooner or later a certain angry bald shinigami would wake up from a drunken stupor to find washable graffiti all over his scalp. Fun times were to be had, Zaraki thought with his typical smirk.
A skittish looking understudy from Nanao's section - nerd with glasses, Watanuna or Watakuni or whatever, his eyes always kept to the floor - passed by Zaraki in the hallway and the two men bumped shoulders. For a split second, Zaraki's hand strayed by the handle of his zanpaktou, and his mind went over the possibilities of perhaps cutting into this little whelp, this kid who thinks he could just bump into the great Captain of 11th Division and get away with it. The smell of blood. The wood floors once clean, now slick with red and black. A laugh in the night.
Then he felt a tiny pair of arms tightened ever so slightly around his broad shoulders, and caught a flash of pink in his peripheral, and he removed his hand from his blade's sheath, and slowly relaxed the muscles in his arms. No, not today. Not here. Once again, the touch of her brought the indomitable Zaraki Kenpachi to his senses.
He did, however, shoot the young man a quick glare as he turned the corner. He scurried out of his sight, lest Zaraki killed him with his looks. Yachiru just smiled and hummed a song under her breath as they made their way to another meeting, another drinking party, another thing to remember.