"It was a cold, bitter morning in Seireitei, during a captains meeting scheduled for 11am exactly, when Ukitake Jyuushirou passed away. It had been halfway through, Yama-jii talking about some new maneuvers they were to execute in the living world, when the 13th division captain started to cough violently, unable to stop.
His chest heaved erratically, the dry, hoarse noise of his illness echoing around the chamber for a minute unnoticed. This was such a common occurrence with his everyday colleagues, myself included, that we assumed it would pass in a couple of moments."

"However, when a spray of crimson erupted from between his fingers, splattering the floor, and his fit didn't stop, Unohana-taichou started.
She moved swiftly to his side as he sank to his knees in weakness, the puddle of blood growing steadily larger as the other captains stared.
His already pale skin grew ever whiter, a small streak of perspiration trickling down his face from his temple. This was only one indication of many that the pain he was going through was incredible.

However, he didn't look scared, nor afraid.I know this, because I have never met someone of stronger will or fierceness of heart as that man. His memory should be an example to us all."

"I stared at him as Mayuri-taichou to my left started to snicker callously, though the sound never seemed to reach my ears. Kyouraku-taichou moved to Ukitake-taichou's side in horror, unwilling to believe the scene slowly unfolding before his eye. He laid a hand on Jyuushirou's back, seemingly reassuring himself more than Ukitake, his gaudy pink haori slipping to the floor carelessly.
The coughing didn't stop. Ukitake's white hair shook violently every time a new round started, and the floor, his hand, and Unohana–taichou's haori were all now stained with the blood he had heaved up from his lungs."

"Shinsui was questioning Unohana constantly, asking her what was wrong, what they could do.
He was obviously dying. His face is so pale; his entire being, in fact. As he bent down to the ground then, feeling limper and weaker in Shinsui's arms, now holding him securely around his torso, you could see him looking at something that wasn't in the room.
And the blood kept coming. There was so much of it, it was starting to disturb the younger members in the room."

"Yama-jii had resigned himself to the fact that his first student and foundation of the Gotei 13 was about to die, watching the scene in a reverent silence."

He paused presently, thinking back, and then took a deep breath as if it was hard for him to say.
Things were never hard for him to say.

"Unohana looked up briefly, her crisp white haori looking like she had just been counterpart to a massacre, and started to talk over the sickening bubbling of liquid that we all could hear exiting Jyuushirou's throat.
She said, at best, she could prolong his life for a few minutes if anyone wished to say anything to the dying captain.
By now, Ukitake was resigned to his end, and as Shinsui helped her rest Jyuushirou on his back, staring blankly up at them, he smiled faintly, his normally warm and friendly face marred by the red stains on his chin."

"Kyouraku-taichou started to break down his calm exterior now, holding his old friend and colleague as he slowly died. He talked of old memories to him; of days at the academy, stupid things they had done together, stupid things Shinsui had done alone to be caught by him.
How they had grown to be such good friends.
How Shinsui didn't want him to leave.
His expression was one of a broken man- one would think their
friendship had grown into some form of platonic love."

"He leaned aside, still clutching at Ukitake's yukata, not wanting to let him see the pain now crossing his face; and so others may have their chance to talk."

His eyes narrowed at the piece of paper he was holding.

"Yama-jii remained silent except for saying he had been an excellent student and at the same time, a royal pain in the ass. This the man on the floor chuckled at, droplets of blood spraying out of his mouth as he did so.
Hitsugaya-taichou seemed unable to speak, choosing instead to stare in a steely eyed resolve not to let his inexperience in death show in the form of sadness.Soi Fong followed much the same path, her fists clenching and unclenched absently as she watched, a habit she had adapted when she had no idea what to do in situations she came across.
I stood still, unmoving, as the other captains stayed where they were or hovered over Ukitake and Unohana."

"Mayuri-taichou was uninterested in the entire thing; though Komamura-taichou wasn't too far beyond Shinsui; his emotions unreadable under the permanent mask he wore.
Kenpachi-taichou looked vaguely concerned, but was unmoved by the current happenings, being surrounded in death constantly. Yet, as the minutes ticked by, I was still unable to do anything despite how much I felt I should."

The man paused, looking down with a frown on his face as if he was appraising his own actions back then.

"As silence started to fall and it was clear neither Unohana could continue, nor Ukitake could hold on, the white-haired captain rolled his head to the side and looked directly at me, as if now, in death, he could see so much clearer than I could.

Weakly, he raised a trembling hand and waved me over, and my body reluctantly followed."

"He seemed to be waiting for something, his hand still outstretched, and I placed mine in his dumbly, still numb.
He was smiling though. Accepting. And as his piercing gaze penetrated me, he whispered;

'Just because your senpai is going away... doesn't mean you can let your guard down yet.'"

"A thousand years seemed to pass in the time he stared at me. It was only when his eyes started to close and his hand go limp in my grasp that I knew he had finally passed away.
Everything seemed to stop.

No-one moved. No-one spoke.

It was merely the end."

Byakuya looked at the paper he had been reading from with a melancholy expression, and then frowned, as if he had reverted back to his 'normal' personality.
He paused for a few seconds, and then screwed up the paper and cast it aside.

He should never have taken Unohana-taichou's advice to write down what had happened in the hope of grieving less.

Some things should just be forgotten.