PIMP JUICE (spikykun) wrote in ninjasofawesome,

Light For The Deadvine: Chapter 5


Chapter 5


Shunsui was thinking in metaphors again. It always happened when he got really drunk (well, that or being completely childish and running his mouth). There was a fine line between a drunk, smooth-talking ladies' man and a drunk, weepy old man, and Shunsui was just grateful he thought in metaphors rather than getting into bar brawls.

It had been twelve hours since the incident in the woods, and the team was back on the road.  Truth be told, Shunsui wasn't as certain as he'd made Ukitake think that he was stable enough to ride a horse, let alone storm some damn mansion and carry out a rescue mission.

Twelve hours before, he hadn't even believed he could. Yet when he'd staggered out of the bar and Ichigo nearly punched him, cursing him out for being a 'useless drunk', Ukitake had actually told Ichigo to 'fuck off', and Shunsui nearly cried out. Maybe something had changed that night.
Now he was strapped to his saddle so he wouldn't fall off, and thought about how Ukitake looked like candlelight as he rode first—so easily extinguished, yet it would burn you if you tried to put it out before its time. Right then, in the semi-darkness with Hueco County and an end to all this ahead, it seemed like Ukitake was leading him to his salvation.

You are a weepy old man.


"Good to know where our money's going," Ukitake muttered.

"And he wants to extort Byakuya whatever for more?" Ichigo asked.

Shunsui just whistled at the giant house that belonged to Aizen, located smack in the middle of Hueco County. He had certainly never seen anything like it. Even when he had visited the county back in the day, or what Starrk had described newer stories, it hadn't been that big and awe-inspiring. 'The Hollow Palace', they called it, so white it looked like a skeleton.

Shunsui had thought they would meet more of a resistance on their way there, since even back in Severed Town they'd gotten ambushed, but it was a quick, uninterrupted ride through the seemingly barren county. It was suspicious. Maybe they shouldn't have decided it would take too much time to stop and take a look around, or listen in on some conversations, to check if Aizen was even home.

The Palace was only a few minutes away, and they'd decided to go on foot the rest of the way, knowing sneaking in would probably be wiser than a full-blown attack. Though really, with Ichigo's and Ukitake's hair and Shunsui's shirt, he knew that if anybody was watching, they had already been noticed.

It didn't matter. Even if they got caught, they would either have to win a fight and continue, or lose it and be led to the Palace—which was their destination anyway. Maybe they would even meet Ms Rukia and spare some trouble. Maybe it would be smooth and quick and Shunsui would be able to go home.

Ukitake didn't even have to raise his hand or turn around to make Shunsui halt—he could tell something was off just by the sudden shift in his friend's body language. Shunsui instantly looked around, crouching slightly. They were in the middle of a street, which meant good cover—for both them and possible… friends.

"The doors, Kyouraku," Ukitake whispered.

Shunsui's eyes turned to the big, oak doors at once. They were wide open. Ain't that funny. "I was wondering where our welcoming party was."

Ukitake glanced over his shoulder at Shunsui. He looked… worried, and tired, and Shunsui could only hope they would get out of there in one piece. "Do you think they're waiting for us inside?" Ukitake asked.

Honestly, Shunsui just didn't know what the plan would be with Aizen. Half the reason Ukitake and he were good at what they did (and why Shunsui liked to gamble) was that they were quick in reading situations, and mostly, people. Aizen Sousuke was so inscrutable; Shunsui more than once suspected he was not a person at all.

"Either that or he forgot his keys," he replied, causing Ukitake to smile wearily.

"And she's in there?" Ichigo asked, right hand on the grip of his gun. Going by the thumping between Shunsui's ears that might have been his raging heartbeat, he deducted the situation was dangerous enough for him not to rein Ichigo back.

"Yes. There are detention cells there, I'm sure of it." He looked down, clearing his throat. "But, Ichigo, we don't know whether she's—"

"I don't wanna hear it," Ichigo cut him off, not sparing him a glance. "She's alive, we get her to safety, and I go back to normal and forget about you old farts. End of story."

Shunsui didn't even take a step forward before Ukitake smacked the back of Ichigo's head. He did think about what the kid had said, though. He is blind to all the things that could go wrong and might have gone irreparably wrong already, but what has seeing those things ever given me?

"Let's move forward," Ukitake calmly said, with the same nerves of steel.

Can I do that?

"Alright then! Let's make it count and get a drink for Nanao afterwards!" Shunsui said, falling into step with Ukitake as they slithered along the stone walls and sneaked into the Palace.

The entrance was connected to the inside by a long passageway. It was just as fancy as it had looked on the outside: white walls; white floors that made him grimace when his boots made an echo; the distinct lack of furniture making the place look like the county itself—untouched and in the making, like a chessboard before a game.

As he inspected his friend's face to know if there was anything to worry about, he tried to imagine what was going through Ukitake's head in those moments. He knew Ukitake had forgone the chessboard analogy in favor of the fact they would barely have cover when the shooting began.

Now all their pistols were out and they began moving, all three, toward the light at the end of the white hallway.

"Where are we goin'?" Ichigo whispered, bringing up the rear. There was no need to look sideways for any unfamiliar faces—just one long corridor, and Shunsui wasn't too keen on entering a room just yet.

"Down," Shunsui answered. "She'd have to be kept in a cellar of some sort." A thought suddenly came to him. "You know this is rotten business, right?"

Ichigo rolled his eyes, the brat. "Of course I know it's wrong."

Shunsui would have shrugged. "Young people with their impressionable minds. Maybe you did accept this as the way you're supposed to run a place. You know—"

"Shut up, both of you," Ukitake hissed, quickening his pace.

They were out of the hallway before they knew it, and oh, Shunsui knew he would miss those walls. Because once they were out, they were standing in a vast room, with six other people standing in a half-circle and pointing their guns at them.

They immediately raised their own pistols (Shunsui and Ukitake just the one—using both right off the bat was a disadvantage), getting back to back so they could aim at all sides.

"Welcome!" someone said, stepping closer to them. He had long, black hair and wasn't wearing a shirt, which presented the winding red tattoos all over his torso and around his eyes. Just from his expression, Shunsui could tell they would have to fight this one—losing didn't mean a detention cell, it would mean death.

Still, he tried to avoid conflict. "We had to piss and there was nowhere else to go," Shunsui attempted.

The man who had spoken snorted at him. "Now now, Shunsui Kyouraku—give me a good reason to break into Sheriff Aizen's home."

Shunsui froze at the use of his name, his heart a useless lump in those moments. They had been waiting.

"Just let us through and no one will get hurt," Ukitake said, but Shunsui was close enough to hear the pistol being cocked.

The man's eyes snapped to Ukitake, dangerous, and Shunsui couldn't help wanting them back on him, just like five years ago he would have taken any hit for Ukitake. He knew. It didn't matter how angry he was, all the hurt and betrayal he felt. What mattered was that Ukitake was with him right then, and he didn't want to lose him.

The man clicked his tongue. "Put more effort into it! Yell! Like a real man! Prepare to fight! Don't you Seireitei people know how to kill?"

A gunshot was heard. That was Ichigo.

And after that first gunshot, all hell broke loose. A scream from the blond man Ichigo hit, some yelling from the other five people, a pair of catlike eyes Shunsui was sure he'd seen before—yes, in Starrk's office. So he was right in thinking Aizen had Seireitei under his thumb, back then. Shunsui thought it would be more of a significant discovery, but it wasn't when he was too busy finding cover behind a large pillar and making sure Ukitake and Ichigo were with him.

More gunshots were heard, hitting the stone pillar, going by the vibrations. He looked behind it to see the six men advancing quickly, and didn't waste a second before cocking his Colt and shooting the one with tattoos that had taunted them when they entered.

He missed by an inch, which was quite alright when there were that many enemies, as the shot hit the man behind his target instead—a huge guy with green markings on his face. The man barely grunted when the bullet ripped through his arm. It didn't even make a dent in him. That was when Shunsui began worrying.

At least Shunsui had two people by his side.

"Fuck this," Ichigo yelled, emerging from behind the pillar and emptying his cartridge at all six—hitting two of them; one in the stomach and one in the shoulder (the same one he'd hit with the first shot, poor bastard).

While it stopped those two, it made the other four run toward them. Shunsui grit his teeth and aimed at the one closest to him, but when the shot fired it wasn't from his pistol—it was from Ukitake's. Shunsui glanced to his side, and it looked as though Ukitake had mimicked his position. Again, he thought, they fit.

Another scream ripped through the air, and with the way Ichigo just stood there, reloading his gun, Shunsui knew there would soon be more screams, this time familiar ones. Alright then. Showtime.

Shunsui came out from behind the pillar and shoved Ichigo behind it, pulling out his second pistol and shooting with measured precision—short guy at the front, a guy with purple hair, the one with the tattoos, and Vega; the one he remembered.

It must have been a miracle that Shunsui wasn't properly hit himself (an insistent, yet ignorable pain blooming in his upper arm told him he was hit), considering all four of the enemies were shooting furiously, or maybe it was just that Ukitake was helping him, and the more blood spilled on the enemy side, the less aimed the shots were becoming.

Shunsui wasn't going to leave it to chance anyway. He retreated to the pillar again, loading up his pistols. He saw from the corner of his eye that Ukitake was staring at him, at the blood running down his arm, probably.

"It's okay," he murmured, cursing how damn long that process took and the footsteps he heard from behind them. "I already got the guy who shot my arm. They're down to three men, and we got more guns. It shouldn't take very long now."

There. He was about to step around the pillar and commence the next round when Ukitake grabbed his hand. It nearly made him drop his gun.

He looked up at his friend, and thought his heart would break all over again just because of the look in Ukitake's eyes. He didn't have to say a word before Ukitake uttered, "I'm sorry."

Not now, no, no. Shunsui ignored everything that raced through his mind, every emotion that he felt soar at that simple statement. They were in the middle of a fight, and though Shunsui lived by emotions, he knew when it was hopeless. He'd known it five years ago, too. "Don't apologize for dragging me here; you know I wouldn't have if I hadn't wanted to."

Shunsui realized that wasn't what Ukitake had meant, and he thought Ukitake knew it, but he must have caught the urgency Shunsui felt to change the subject, because he didn't press on the matter.

"I'm goin' out again," Ichigo yelled all of a sudden, and Shunsui was sure he heard an actual thud when the teen's boots hit the floor—of course he just jumped right in front of the makeshift firing squad. By the sound of it, all he did was shoot at everyone again, and Shunsui was tempted to close his eyes at the aftermath.

With each attack like that the enemies' reaction was quicker, and this time, the second Ichigo jumped out there a thunderous bang was heard as all four men fired at him, and a couple hit—right arm and right leg and blood, but Ichigo didn't scream. Shunsui was astonished by the strength the kid had in him. Maybe he wasn't shooting aimlessly, maybe he just decided he was not going to die, and simply acted accordingly. And if you couldn't die, what was a little pain compared to a clear target?

Ichigo hit one man in the chest, causing him to fall, and another man in the throat. Shunsui didn't wait to see what happened to that one—he remembered all too well what happened after you got hit there, and knew it was anything but pretty.

Trouble came once Ichigo was out of ammo again, but instead of finding cover to reload, he tossed his gun to the floor and charged forward, tackling one of the two remaining men to the ground, kicking and screaming. It would have been comical if it weren't for the profusely bleeding arm Ichigo was only agitating by throwing punches.

Shunsui knew he wouldn't last very long like that, and felt movement to his right, proving Ukitake thought that same. He saw Ukitake approaching the enemies, carefully shooting the man Ichigo was wresting with and yelling at the boy to go and find her while Ukitake made sure the enemy wouldn't get up and make use of the gun he'd dropped in his surprise.

Shunsui decided to go out as well and shoot the sixth and final man before the man would surely shoot Ukitake, but when he stepped out, there was no other man. Cold panic flooded him. Before he could even yell to warn Ukitake—we lost Vega, get back under cover, do something, Jyuu—another gunshot was heard, and Shunsui had already learnt they only sounded that loud when they were doubled with pain.

Shot from behind. Shunsui couldn't even discern which part of him was hit as his face met the floor and his gun slipped from between his slack and sweaty fingers. He tried his damn hardest to get up, or at least to roll over so he wouldn't choke to death, just bleed his way there, but he couldn't. He clung to the hope it was just the excruciating pain holding him down, and not that his spine was shot.

Hope was a very slippery thing. His eyes closed.


Shunsui couldn't quite put to words what it felt like to be intimate with a person. To anyone he'd just describe what he was doing, which was quite simple, ordinary, at that moment; he was taking a blonde from behind. If you'd asked him what he was feeling, though, it was mind-blowing.

There was a reason Shunsui was a great lover—he was attentive, he cared, and worked hard to connect so he could feel the most, get the most out of it. His reward was immense pleasure, like right then. Just for those moments, he was a different person, or not a person at all—he was a mere being made to indulge every impulse of his, every need of his partner, and all of his body's whims. Half the reason he drank alcohol was to be reduced to that, to not think so he could learn how to feel, but this was much better. This felt better than anything.

But that time was so different, because there was something else, something underlining the pleasure and carnal thrills; it was in his heart. He finally realized it when he opened his eyes—he felt lucky. His partner wasn't the same.

He leaned down and got hold of Ukitake's hair, tilting his head to the side so he could kiss him. It was the sweetest taste, Ukitake's mouth, and he was met with so much passion, so much want that he thrust faster, that he grabbed harder, that he kissed deeper, that he had to—

Wake up.

Shunsui fell off the bed so ungracefully it bruised his ego as well as his head. When he glanced at his bedspread he thought, well, shit.

The first time Shunsui realized he was attracted to his best friend was when his best friend had kissed him, but it was a bit blurry in Shunsui's mind, he only vaguely remembered the feel of Ukitake's lips against his own and getting aroused by the memory the next morning. The second time was after that dirty dream.

The former happened two months ago, and for two months Shunsui had been fighting it, but there it was, physical evidence, and he couldn't deny it anymore. He was attracted to Ukitake.

It was so unreal that even where he was supposed to fulfill his fantasies, in his dreams, it felt like an otherworldly experience. There was no way to shake Ukitake off; he kept seeing him, hearing him, smelling him even now, as though he were a trained hound and Ukitake were his prey.

To a certain level he was his prey; Shunsui had been obsessing about Ukitake since day one, as Nanao would tease him about time and again, but he honestly thought he was after his intellect, that he sought his friendship.

He never stopped to think about what it meant. That managing to get Ukitake's brightest smile made Shunsui feel fulfilled for the entire day, that hearing him laugh was always something to be savored, that though his nightmare had always been to become a lawman like his brother, he couldn't think of a better future for him than playing vigilante with Ukitake.

That he would ever wake up after jerking off to Ukitake's hair, to his lips, to his pale hips and slender back. It shouldn't have made sense—Ukitake was a man, for fuck's sake, they'd verified that at least three times by then.

Shunsui had never made a big fuss about whom a man wanted to bed, whether it was a woman or another man. His father liked to rant on about 'them filthy sodomites', and it might have been a part of Shunsui's instinct to prove the man wrong, but his views were more lenient.

It wasn't that he preached any of it—he never went looking for trouble—he just thought people shouldn't stick their noses in other people's business. Now that it was his business, that it was keeping him up at nights, Shunsui was at a complete loss.

He knew he had it bad, whatever it was, when it started affecting his everyday actions in the worst way possible. Truly, Shunsui felt like a teenager again, having to run off with erections when Ukitake had to remove his shirt or let his hair loose—even Ukitake's gun handling had him really hot and bothered.

The most important factor, he thought, was that Ukitake did remember kissing him. Ukitake was the one who fucking did it—Shunsui's kind and gentle and quiet friend leaned down and kissed him.

When he had woken up the next morning, still bandaged, in pain, and slightly drunk, Ukitake had asked him how he had been feeling. There was nothing else in his eyes—no hope or lust or anything to prove that the previous night hadn't been a figment of Shunsui's imagination, but there was also none of that shine that made him Ukitake. It had meant Ukitake either did a bang-up job at covering his feelings, or had abandoned all hope but the one that he hadn't fucked everything up.

Shunsui had done what he thought was right to reassure him; all he could have done at that point, really—he grinned, nodded, and said, "Nothing could keep me down for long, you know that."

Ever since then they'd been ignoring the kiss, which was fine by him until this fateful night. As fine as it could have been, anyway, but now he couldn't help but wondering… If he hadn't been so caught up with all the changes occurring within him, would he have noticed something different about their friendship?

Maybe his heart wasn't straying on its own volition; maybe it was Ukitake's fault too. His fault for being drop-dead gorgeous. Shunsui suddenly came to realize that if anything did change, it wasn't Ukitake starting to seduce him, it was Ukitake being let down by him.

And the thought of hurting him like that was too much for Shunsui to bear.

Then came the practical thoughts: how much more time could he buy before he would have to face his feelings; how could he ignore them in ways that wouldn't end in alcohol poisoning; how could he keep looking in Nanao's eye while flirting with her when his heart wasn't in it; what people would think of him then; was he selfish enough to drag Ukitake further into his messed-up life?

Finally, there was only one question really worth asking. How bad could it be?

After he had come up with that one, it was hard not to answer the others. He should face his feelings now, he shouldn't have to lie to anyone—it took too much effort and Shunsui hated it. And really, what people would think? What the hell were they thinking now? He stopped bedding women since he and Ukitake had kissed, it felt a bit impersonal with his thoughts straying all the time, so what difference did it make? The "people" didn't know what he did behind closed doors, and it shouldn't affect Ukitake, either.

And finally… yes, he was selfish, and he knew he hurt Ukitake more by not doing anything. So really, how bad could it be?

Love can never be wrong, his poetic side chirped.

Overall, it took Shunsui four months too long to fess up. It happened at the most random of times, really. He had made a detour one morning by the spare room to offer Ukitake some breakfast, only to find a note scribbled at the bedside, saying Ukitake would return by nightfall and nothing more.

Obviously that wasn't enough for Shunsui, and Ukitake knew that (romantically or not, they were practically joined at the hip), which meant he wanted Shunsui to find him. Now, that was the kind of adventure game Shunsui was willing to play.

He snooped around the saloon, harassing Nanao until she finally spilled the beans. Shunsui was ready to bolt out the door when Nanao reminded him of breakfast, which really said a lot about Shunsui's passion for spending as much time with Ukitake as possible. He grabbed some dried fruit and left the saloon, mounting his horse in record time.

It was a rather long ride to his destination, but he found that when he reached it he was still just as excited, if not more. All kinds of scenarios played out in his mind, where or how or in what clothes Ukitake was waiting for him (which really made him feel like an overeager teenager). Finding Ukitake in the plains of the Shiba ranch covered in dirt was not one of those scenarios.

He immediately stiffened and snapped the reins to ride faster, wondering how the hell Ukitake had gotten in a fight and would he have been on his back in the dirt if Shunsui had gotten to him sooner? Whatever it was, someone was going to pay—

Ukitake turned bright eyes at him and smiled when Shunsui rushed toward him on his feet, which really made no sense whatsoever. The man read the concern in Shunsui's face quickly and waved his hand to calm him down.

"It's just little Kuukaku and Ganju. They thought it would be amusing to wrestle me to the ground and then run back home," he said, raising his head and seeming unperturbed by the dirt on his clothes, or the way he was missing a button. Which meant Shunsui probably shouldn't have been concerned either. Though, he wasn't sure 'concerned' was the right word.

For once, it wasn't his cock that was stirring; it was all the worry and—he couldn't believe… "Those kids are a menace. I didn't know you visit."

Ukitake was still smiling, but Shunsui detected a slight change in his expression. "I help around, since Kaien's…"

His heart clenched. Of course that was what Ukitake had been up to. It was so… like him, to want to take care of every single thing, to nourish the earth itself if he had to, to work half to death to make others happy…

"That's very inspiring of you," he said, grinning. Ukitake's expression was right again.

"Give me a hand?" Ukitake asked, reaching up. The mischievous glint in his brown eyes backed up what Shunsui had already deducted from the question—Ukitake could get up on his own. He was planning something.

Oh well.

Shunsui found himself on his ass the next moment after a hard pull to the ground from his good friend, but the pain was all but forgotten when his instinct of tugging back had Ukitake lying against him, still shaking with laughter, practically wriggling on top of him.

There's your bright smile. Shunsui couldn't stop staring, he was… awestruck. Ukitake's marvelous hair had fallen around his and Shunsui's faces like a cover, but it was white enough for the sunshine to filter through, to light up everything. It seemed like Ukitake's face shone with it, a few inches from Shunsui's, so close he felt his breaths, felt his hands, felt his gaze, felt otherworldly.

It all came crashing down—the fact he loved this man so much his heart ached, and the fact that he really, really wanted to kiss him, and that was all that mattered.

So he did.

He finally got the answer to the only question worth asking. Not bad at all.


Ukitake's heart nearly stopped when Shunsui's eyes darkened and he crossed the few inches to press his lips against Ukitake's.

Playing with the children, Ukitake had finally almost managed to forget the nerves and fear that had plagued him for the last several weeks, ever since that drunken kiss in the bar. He knew he’d been acting odd around his friend since then, but he couldn’t help it. He was so afraid. Shunsui meant so much to him; he did not know what he’d do if Shunsui turned against him. But he'd been able to be unabashedly pleased when his friend had showed up; he was too relaxed and happy to be hesitant in teasing Shunsui.

He'd been brought back to reality with a sharp thrill, of pleasure or pain he wasn't sure, when he‘d ended up on top of Shunsui, warm body pressed enticingly against his, his familiar smell comforting and arousing at the same time.

But there wasn't time for him to really process this, no time for his too familiar doubts and self-recriminations to kick in, before Shunsui threw all thoughts out of his head by leaning up and kissing him.

Shunsui Kyouraku was kissing him.

Ukitake's eyes closed, and he pressed himself desperately into the kiss, needy, his fingers digging blindly into shoulders. Ukitake could feel Shunsui's light groan, and he shuddered.

Finally, they broke away for air, and Ukitake stared dazedly up at his friend, lightheaded, confused but hesitantly hopeful. "Shunsui... what are you doing?"

Shunsui blushed slightly, and Ukitake stared, fascinated. Shunsui was always the one that made him, blush; there had been very few times he’d seen Shunsui blush. "I don't... know."

Ukitake could feel himself tense slightly, and Shunsui quickly pulled him back down and kissed him again, this time slowly, lingeringly, leaving Ukitake with a strange ache in his chest. Shunsui broke the kiss, only to trail hot kisses down Ukitake's jaw and neck. Ukitake groaned, leaning into the touch. He'd been kissed before, had sex before, with both men and women, but this was Shunsui.

"I don't know what I'm doing, Jyuushirou," Shunsui murmured, his breath warm against Ukitake's neck. "But I do know that I want you, so badly. I can't stop thinking about you, about this. I don't know what I'm doing, no, but I want to try this. " He pulled back to look in Ukitake's eyes, his face earnest and serious. “That is… if you want…”

"Shunsui... I..." He swallowed, his throat dry, and realized that he was trembling slightly. He couldn't believe this was happening; it seemed so unreal.

"Jyuushirou?" Shunsui said softly, his eyes wide and... afraid.

"Yes!" He burst out. "Oh god, Shunsui, yes, of course, please!" His grip tightened on his friend's arms, and Shunsui gratefully relaxed, nuzzled Ukitake's neck. "I'm sorry... I couldn't believe it was real."

Shunsui huffed a laugh, and Ukitake closed his eyes. "I'm not that special, you know."

Ukitake turned his head and brushed his lips across Shunsui's cheek, feeling the stubble against his lips. "Shut up. We've had this discussion before." Shunsui turned too and met his lips, drawing him into another kiss. When they pulled away this time, they were both grinning stupidly.

"You know, we're going to be unstoppable now!" Shunsui said, wiggling his eyebrows. Ukitake threw back his head and laughed, feeling giddy. It was as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, leaving him lightheaded.

"That we will, my dearest friend. That we will."

Chapter 6
Tags: light for the deadvine

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