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This article, Back From the Dead: Recuperation, is a short side-story entry in Bleach: The Coven War, set during Act I. The chapter takes place a short time following Back From the Dead: Kensei Muguruma!? and follows Kenji as the main POV character.

The tension that hung in the air in the waiting room of the 4th Division's barracks could have been cut with a knife. Kenji stood off to the side adjusting the black gauntlet strapped to his left forearm, whilst his former full-time students -- Kichō, the wild Ace and the studious Momoko -- sat chattering quietly amongst themselves. Mikado, as usual, could best be described as Kenji's shadow, for she was flanking him closely.

Only Ace broke away from the group to approach his teacher.

"Mikado described the scene to me." The doubt in his tone was clear enough. Kenji knew what he was going to ask before he even opened his mouth. "Was it really former Captain Muguruma?"

Kenji measured his student with a heavy crimson-eyed thousand-yard-stare but he eventually relaxed his features and exhaled long before he replied.

"Unless that bitch Sakae discovered the means of resurrecting the dead, then no, it wasn't Captain Muguruma."

"But it sure as hell looked, talked, fought and felt like him."

That, of course, Kenji kept to himself. Ace knew his teacher well however and knew not to push the issue; after all, Kenji had served under Kensei once in his career, and this served as just one more slap in the face he had suffered at Sakae's hands. Ace had likewise experienced the veteran Shinigami's drill-sergeant-like manner during his academy days.

Kenji fixed Ace with a pleading look.

"Look, I need a favour. I want you to head back to the barracks for me. Van wasn't scheduled to leave for his patrol until this evening, so he should still be there. And last I heard Captain Komamura was in a Captain's meeting. Tell Van I told him to try and stop rumours spreading amongst the Division."

"Yes, sir."

Ace didn't have to of course -- he was a member of the 11th Division, and its 8th seated officer besides, so he really didn't have to do anything Kenji asked him. But he was caught between a rock and a hard place and the look he threw his former teacher served to show it.

"You're a pain in my ass, you know that?" Ace answered.

But the way he said it, coupled with the playful way he punched Kenji on the shoulder, spoke of his intention to carry out his former teacher's request. The fact he avoided Kenji's reprisal just irked Kenji though. Regardless Kenji found his spirits lifted by the gesture.

"He wouldn't admit it," Mikado began, having born witness to the whole scene, "but he's still grateful to you, Kenji. We all are."

"Speak for yourself, Mika!"

Momoko disappeared back into the medical room to tend to Lieutenant Hisagi and stuck her tongue out at Kenji up until she was out of sight!

"You aren't that old that I won't slap your ears you ingrate!!" He roared after her.

His smile showed that he meant none of it. And he was quickly motioned to silence by surrounding nurses.

"I did nothing." He said at last to Mikado. Which wasn't true in the least. He was just trying -- and failing -- to be modest.

"Not true." Kichō chimed in. "We all owe you our positions. Or did you forget that I'm with the Onmitsukidō now? I have access to that kind of information. You pulled in a few favours to get us where we are."

"Don't let Van hear you talking like that or he'll start getting paranoid."

She looked around quickly to make sure no one was looking and quickly pecked Kenji on the cheek before slipping out the door and vanishing with an impressive flash step. In seconds she was out of view.

"Heh, all the young ones are after an old man now."

"You wish." Mikado answered.

"Hey, hey, hey! I'm still desirable. Most of the time." He sighed. "Okay, maybe not all the time. You can stop laughing anytime now."

"And here I thought you and Rin where getting along so well."

Kenji could've strangled her. "We where getting on swimmingly up until you told her I once said she had big babylons!"

Kenji continued to argue whilst Mikado laughed all the way back to the scene of the battle between Kensei, Rose and Hisagi. Given the involvement of a certain black-haired murdering harpy Kenji was determined to investigate the shit out of the area. With luck he might just get a lead on Sakae herself.

The End.
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