thinking about the future

The last night they spent together before all hell broke loose, Gin rolled onto his side of the bed afterwards and lay there staring at the wall.

Rangiku draped an arm over him and ran a finger over his chest. "Don't sulk," she said. "It makes you look petty."

"Awww." He didn't turn over to look at her. "But I am petty, Rangiku-chan. Don't ya know? Just ask anyone else who knows me, they'll tell you. That Ichimaru Gin, he's a petty petty man and he gets all petty on the ass of anyone who gets in his way."

"Do you want me to make a bad joke?" she asked. "I could if you want me to."

He laughed faintly, a whisper of air that moved his chest under her hand. "Figure you've already got enough of those to last you a lifetime."

She snuggled up against him. "I'm not one to pry," she said. "But if it'd help to talk about it . . ."

"Naah. Not really." He laughed again. "I guess I'm just thinking 'bout the future."

"Mm. So where do you go from where you are? Ichimaru-soutaichou?"

That sparked a choke of genuine laughter. "I'd have to grow a beard for that."

"Make it a good beard," she advised. "Can't see myself kissing you if it's scratchy."

"Oh? So is Yamamoto's beard scratchy?"

"Well, how would I know?" She blew against the back of his neck. "It's not as if I go kissing Yamamoto-soutaichou, is it?"

"Does anyone?"

"Probably not for a couple of thousand years." She yawned. "So in another thousand years, right, when you're Ichimaru-soutaichou --"

"And you're Matsumoto-taichou and you've got yourself a cute little vice-captain to do your work for you --" he chimed in.

She giggled. "And you'll call us all in for meetings and I'll be lounging around with a wine-jug and all the new Captains will be trying to get a view of my cleavage --"

"Here's to another thousand years," he said abruptly, and rolled over and kissed her fiercely, breaking the conversation there and letting it hang unended between them.

When she kissed his lips again, she remembered.

Two children together, struggling to find food, to find shelter, to find anything. There had never been enough. He had bitten his lips when he was nervous, and she remembered it now; the time she had kissed his lips then, the slight coarseness, the aftertaste of salt and desperation.

She ran a finger across the side of his mouth, and felt the shadows of their past. "Gin," she said. "Don't worry."

"Guess you'll stop me worrying, won't you?" She could feel the ironic twist to his mouth, hear the automatic edge to his tone.

"I'm here, aren't I?"

"Yes," he said. He took a long breath. "Yes. You are."