Title:

Rating:

Pairing / Characters: Kyouraku Shunsui / Ukitake Jyuushirou, Yamamoto Genryuusai Shigekuni

Word Count: 1, 119 words

Warnings: Nothing so far (a little shonen ai in later chapters)

Summary: They're legends among Sereitei's captains. This is where it all started

A/N: shun / uki forever!!!!

FOR ESSY, FOR WHOM THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. PS: WHERE'S MY PICTURES???

Yamamoto Genryuusai Shigekuni watched his prize students sparring, a wistful smile on his face. Truly, they outclassed anyone, including their teachers, at the academy. They were both so young, yet so incredibly gifted, light years ahead of their fellow students.

'A decade, perhaps less,' he told himself. 'Just a decade and they'll be the first of my captains…'

Yamamoto was never to realize how prophetic his words were to be.

Ukitake Jyuushirou was quiet, reserved, yet open minded, with a serious side that made people want to confide in him for the comfort of his presence. Despite a wicked sense of humor, he was gentle with others, and kinder than many people his age was.

Kyouraku Shunsui on the other hand, was outgoing where Jyuushirou was not. Loud, always spirited, Shunsui was able to see the truth of any situation, and people flocked to him for his generosity and attitude to life in general.

Their differences did not end there – Shunsui was as dark as Jyuushirou was fair, broad where Jyuushirou was slender, Shunsui's hair dark where Jyuushirou's was white. Although the same height, Jyuushirou seemed smaller than Shunsui, more fragile, even though the opposite was true.

Both of them were equally popular with their fellow students, but the similarities began – and ended – there.

Although they were on opposite ends of the personality scale, it was their differences that initially drew them together, and firmly cemented a friendship that would later span more than twenty centuries…

Ukitake Jyuushirou sat in the front row of the theory of spirit class, taking down the morning's exercises. Pausing from his diligent note taking, he heard a faint scraping at the window, and glanced around to see one Kyouraku Shunsui heave himself up into the classroom, warily glancing around before heaving a sigh of relief at not seeing his sensei anywhere near the classroom.

Jyuushirou rolled his eyes as Shunsui dropped into the chair next to his, humming cheerfully as he too, took down their work.

'You know,' Jyuushirou hissed under his breath, 'if you weren't out so late last night you might have been on time.'

Shunsui winked at him. 'Aw, don't be like that. We're young, we're supposed to be having fun!'

Jyuushirou snorted. 'Right. And learning figures where into that equation?'

Shunsui just grinned. 'Somewhere.'

'Unbelievable,' Jyuushirou muttered. 'Totally unbelievable…'

Fortunately the remainder of the class passed without incident, as did the next set of classes they shared.

As Jyuushirou walked down the hallway, greeting various classmates, his eyes narrowed when he saw Shunsui sneaking into Genryuusai-sensei's office. Wondering what he was up to this time, for Shunsui was notorious for pulling pranks on students – and some unsuspecting teachers – Jyuushirou casually glanced into the office as he walked past, blinking when he noted that Shunsui had his head underneath the ancient shinigami's table.

'Crazy fool,' Jyuushirou muttered, and disappeared out into the grounds, heading for his favorite sakura tree.

Less than fifteen minutes later, a bellow of pure rage echoed across the grounds of the academy.

'Kyouraku Shunsui, get back here this instant!'

In sheer astonishment, Jyuushirou nearly fell out of the tree, clinging to the branch he was sitting on, and parting the leaves with one hand to see –

One Yamamoto Genryuusai Shigekuni chasing after one Kyouraku Shunsui, brandishing his walking stick like a club.

Jyuushirou laughed aloud at the sight of the near panic on Shunsui's face, before he decided to take pity on him.

'Psst! Up here!'

Shunsui was swearing under his breath as Yama-jii tore after him. Stupid, stupid fool, he berated himself. The one day the old man had meetings, I had to go and try something like that on him… I'll never learn…steal his damned schedule next time and plan ahead…

He was running out of places to hide. As he ran past the sakura trees, he heard a voice from somewhere above him.

'Psst! Up here!'

Shunsui froze in shock, and the unseen person clicked his tongue impatiently before a slender hand yanked him upward with surprising strength.

'Fool,' the voice muttered.

When Shunsui regained his balance, it was to see Jyuushirou leaning back against the wide trunk, arms folded across his chest, a mock stern expression on his face, brown eyes alight with laughter.

'Shirou!' he exclaimed.

Jyuushirou winced at the familiarity. 'What did you do to him anyway?'

Shunsui rubbed the back of his head, a sheepish expression gracing his lean features.

'I replaced the seat of his chair with a dish and filled it with water,' he admitted. 'I didn't realize he had a meeting today…'

Jyuushirou chuckled. 'Next time, steal his day planner. That way, you can avoid the meetings.'

Shunsui's eyes widened. 'You know, I was thinking about that. What are you doing here anyway?'

Now Jyuushirou's expression was sheepish. 'I come here after class sometimes. It's peaceful. I can see this tree from my window, and well, it looked perfect…'

'You're right, it is,' Shunsui said lazily, captivated by the way the sakura petals danced in the breeze.

Jyuushirou grinned suddenly. 'Yeah…'

'Hey, how do you know about the –'

Jyuushirou clapped his hand over Shunsui's mouth as the general stomped past the tree, swearing about scrawny first years who had the impudence to play pranks on high level shinigami.

When he had stomped off into the distance, both boys burst out laughing.

'Didn't I see you in sparring class a few days ago?' Shunsui asked suddenly. 'You were sparring with Yama-jii – you fight very well.'

'Thanks, so do you – elegant for someone of your size.'

Shunsui's eyes bulged. 'I beg your pardon?'

Jyuushirou laughed. 'I'm only joking, Shunsui.'

Shunsui glared at him. 'You'd better be or I'll throw you out of your tree.'

Jyuushirou raised a slender white eyebrow. 'Really? Then he'll know exactly where you are.'

'Nah, he won't.'

'Yes he will, because I'll tell him.'

Shunsui looked horrified. 'You wouldn't dare!'

'Try me…'

Shunsui lifted his hands in surrender. 'I give up, I give up. You win…'

Jyuushirou's grin widened. 'So easy… almost too easy.'

'Hey!'

For a moment, there was silence as both boys enjoyed the fresh air blowing through the leaves, and the faint scent of cherries.

Jyuushirou eyed Shunsui and then said slowly 'you know, Shunsui, if you're going to insist on playing pranks on the general, you have to take me with you.'

'Whatever for?'

'To keep you out of trouble,' Jyuushirou told him with a quick grin.

Shunsui elbowed him playfully in the ribs and in surprise; Jyuushirou lost his balance and fell out of the tree with a yelp.

Shunsui's eyes widened. 'Jyuushirou? Are you all right?'

His only answer was a long, drawn out groan.