Disclaimer: Bleach and all associated characters materials are property of Kubo Tite and Shonen Jump.
By: Nanaki BH
Jyuushiro twirled his umbrella beneath his thumb and fingers and peered up at the dark sky from beneath its cover. It was a little like being inside an unfamiliar universe; a place that looked a little like home and felt entirely separate. The clouds had come quickly and a storm soon swelled, relieving the dry earth with thick, heavy drops of rain. They danced in the garden's pond, the raindrops falling to splinter the surface over and over. The flame within the stone lantern at the center remained miraculously alive. Jyuushiro found himself normally taken to a bright day, yet something amid the tumult intrigued him greatly.
Unfortunately, it became uncomfortably easier to think in his garden during a storm, he realized; moreso than during the day when it was still nice out. He didn't want to think. Contemplation was good, but a wandering mind was an awful thing.
Shunsui. Ill-mannered, obnoxious, gorgeous Shunsui. Jyuushiro would've rather been thinking about his impending, tuberculosis-induced demise than thinking about his best friend in that way. They were partners. Not partners. Shunsui was just... friendly. Perhaps.
And yet it was that closeness that made Jyuushiro uncomfortable.
He wasn't sure how long it had taken him to recognize the lust buried in Shunsui's gaze or how long it had taken him before his own heart began to beat faster whenever he saw him walking through the halls outside. It had certainly taken a while. And it was obvious; blatantly so. But he didn't want to admit how hesitant he was to begin a relationship with him. He was weak. Physically... And emotionally. He couldn't explain why, but the thought of being with Shunsui was more than a little daunting.
Maybe he was afraid he wouldn't be able to return his love quite the same way. Maybe he was just intimidated by Shunsui's forward approach. Whatever the matter, it made his heart ache.
A warm palm came to rest upon his shoulder, startling him out of his reverie. The large, masculine hand undoubtedly belonged to the object of his deliberations.
He came with no umbrella, nor the usual straw hat to protect his head from the rainy onslaught. Just a smile to shelter him from the dark that closed in around them.
"What are you doing here at this time?" Jyuushiro asked, trying not to let the uncertainty he felt pervade his voice.
"I could ask the same of you, shiro-chan," he purred, his voice having an audible rumble behind each word. His palm slid from his shoulder to the back of his neck to the opposite shoulder. Jyuushiro shuddered despite himself, enjoying the warmth on his clammy skin. "You really shouldn't be out here, the way you are."
"The way I am?" he scoffed. "Oh, Kyouraku, please." Though, it was precisely the reason he felt unfit to love him.
"You know it's true. You're risking your health out here like this. Come inside where it's warm with me." His other hand slid to where the first hand been and they traveled to his chest where he held him and consequently found shelter beneath his umbrella. Jyuushiro could no longer suppress the sigh that had been begging to escape. He leaned back in his embrace, his head tilted slightly.
"Admit it already, won't you?"
"Admit what?" Shunsui cooed innocently.
Grip firmer than ever on his umbrella, Jyuushiro turned in his arms and looked up into the other Shinigami's expectant gaze. Throwing caution and rational thinking aside, he decided it was best to try. After so long, after so much thinking, none of it would serve him any bit of good unless it was tested. That wavy haired tramp had been the one haunting his every heated dream for months – he had to know. Gently, he placed his unoccupied hand against Shunsui's chest and before he could mutter even a word, he was kissing him; light, delicate, there just long enough to know that Shunsui wouldn't force him away.
It felt strange yet familiar at the same time. The darkness around them felt as if it had brightened considerably when Shunsui returned his kiss. His strong arms encircled him and protected him from the biting cold, the umbrella held steadily between them. They broke apart slowly and Jyuushiro kept back his shame. He wanted to be confident despite everything; despite his weak body, despite his own morality. If Shunsui was truly as confident as the smile now on his face implied, then he had to be strong. If he couldn't hold up himself, then the least he could do was uphold their love.
"I'm sorry," Jyuushiro whispered, surprised to hear the words fall from his own mouth.
Shunsui's arms fell from around his shoulders and at first, Jyuushiro was afraid that "sorry" was the wrong thing to say. He continued to watch him silently though, his eyebrows turned up in a furrow. Shunsui's fingers tangled in his own hair until they came away with his pinwheel hairpin. Jyuushiro didn't protest as he gathered his hair and secured it with it. It was the only expensive thing his friend wore. That would've been answer enough.
"I'll admit it," he said, face surprisingly serious. He put a warm hand under his chin and drew him forward until their lips met again in a chaste, magnificent kiss. "I'm in love with you."
Jyuushiro still didn't look entirely pleased, if only to express how frustrated Shunsui had really made him.. "Then you should've told me sooner, you know." He glanced sidelong and heaved a sigh. "Now tell me that again over a cup of tea."
Author's Notes: I'm a terrible person for leaving it there, I know. But just be happy you got what you did. This pairing receives next to no love. Besides, I thought it sounded relatively unique compared to what I've seen. Hope you enjoyed reading!