A Woman Behind These Clothes
Summary: After concealing her true gender for years, Juushiro Ukitake thought she had the art of hiding mastered...but then Ichigo, in all his brash glory, happened to stumble across her secret. Is there a way to keep the loud orange-hair substitute soul-reaper quiet? Probably not...
Pairings: No real pairings, only if you squint and tilt your head just right. Also a brief mention of Renji/Byakuya.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters associated with the Anime of Bleach.
Warnings: Juushiro Ukitake is conveyed as a female in gender in this story. Yes, I am well aware that he is male in both Manga and anime, but just work with me here for the sake of it.
AN: Hello there, everyone. This is my first attempt at a Bleach Fic, and I'm fairly new to this fandom as I've only seen up to episode 68 so I'm writing my fic from there, ok? I'm using 'dub' words like captains and lieutenants so forgive any crappiness of this fic. This is an experiment, so bear with me, please.
Also, this will most likely be a two shot fic, so either way; I hope you find a little bit of entertainment from something...anything?
Comments, suggestions and tips on how to make this uncrappy are greatly appreciated.
"You must learn to take it easy once in a while, Captain Ukitake," the ever soothing voice with a hint of scowling from Unohana causes a certain white haired captain to blush ever so softly and drop his head in embarrassment. "You were lucky that was only a minor attack."
A wryly grin appeared on Ukitake's lips as the words 'minor attack' drifted through his mind. It was quite disconcerting whenever he would have a coughing fit that didn't bring vast amounts of blood to his mouth was considered minor.
Either way, his coughing would bring immediate attention to anyone within hearing shot and he would promptly find himself sitting on a bed with Unohana fussing over him. There was many a time where he couldn't even remember the journey to squadron Four, and some journeys he wished he didn't remember.
Being flung over the shoulder of Kenpachi as he paraded him through the streets of Sereitei was neither amusing or comfortable.
"Only a few drops of blood this time, Unohana," Ukitake replied helpfully.
"It was extremely fortunate that your third seats were able to get you here so quickly, is it not?" Unohana asked with her usual gentle expression.
The mention of his third seats brought a smile to Ukitake's face. Kiyone and Sentaro are two great kids and even though their constant bickering is troublesome, he wouldn't trade them for the world.
"I must say, Ukitake," Unohana interrupted his thoughts. "After all these years, your third seats still have no idea that they are serving a female captain, am I right?"
Those words caused a blush to darken Ukitake's usually pale face, a small smile gracing her lips when she realizes that her old friend was right. It had been...decades, centuries since she starting binding her chest and only a handful of her fellow soul reapers knew of her real gender. Unohana was one, of course. She is one of Ukitake's dearest friends and her personal doctor at the same time. There was no way in this world or the world of the living can anything hide anything from their doctor.
The other people who know are of course Kyouraku, her best friend and Captain Yammato, her sensei.
The other person was Kaien, but he...he's no longer here with her anymore...
Kyouraku found out in their academy days together; she had suffered a quite vicious attack while they were sparring together and he had carried her back to their shared room, where he found the bandages while trying to take care of her. He was quite rightly shocked by what he found and she had to explain to him that she was hiding for two different reasons; one was the bandages helped with her TB, and the other because she was the oldest of seven kids to a family she vowed to take care of no matter what. For countless centuries the oldest Ukitake child had always been male...until she came along. So, to continue the tradition, she wore those bandages to make her family proud of her.
From that day on, Kyouraku took to the flirtious habit of calling her 'handsome' and liked to flirt with her, as a male, in front of his ladies, prompting them to coo and squeal at them like a group of...what did Rukia call them again? Yaoi fangirls?
Honestly, some women are weird.
Kyouraku's flirting would increase whenever he had a little too much sake, which was more often than having too little. She loved her best friend dearly; she just wished that his hands would not become so friendly when he was drunk. He had returned to work many a morning sporting a hangover and a bruised cheek from where she had to actually slap some sense into him.
"I'm as surprised as you are," Ukitake replied as she lifted her hand and curled a strand of her pure white hair behind her ear. "After all, they are very...enthusiastic, aren't they?"
A motherly smile slipped across Unohana's lips as she considered her words and nodded her head once. Enthusiastic wasn't the word she would use, but then again, Kiyone and Sentaro do take rather good care of Ukitake whenever she suffers from an attack, so she can't really complain about them too much at all.
"It's not like I'm hiding from them on purpose," Ukitake said as she began to tighten her clothing, ready to leave and head back to her private quarters on the suggestion of getting more rest. "The bandages just help me breathe a little bit easier."
"Of course," Unohana replied gently as she inclined her head forward just a little. "Now, you must get some rest, Ukitake, another attack like that and I'll be force to emit you under my care, understand?"
"Yes, I understand," Ukitake quickly replied as she repressed a shudder from taking physical form. It's not that being under Unohana's gentle healing was anything bad, it's the thought of being cooped up in one room for days on end, confined to a bed that made her skin crawl.
"Don't worry about me too much, I'll be fine," she said as she made her way to the door and to her freedom. "I won't be a bother, I promise."
"Take care," Unohana offered before she left the room completely.
Stepping out into the warm sun, Ukitake couldn't help but pause in her movements to draw in a breath of fresh air, her lungs only giving a minor hint of protest, but other than that, it felt good. Summer had finally arrived at the Sereitei and for that fact alone, Ukitake was pleased. No more cold winter days or nights where she had to worry about getting a minor cold that could turn into a potential life or death situation.
She simply loved the warmer months as she could spend many a lazy afternoon attending to her gardens and Koi pond. Kyouraku would often join her, sitting under the shade of the tree, sipping sake and falling in and out of consciousness.
A suddenly spike in spiritual pressure followed by a war car of epic proportions quickly drew Ukitake out of her thoughts and she whipped about to the sound of the noise, a sense of concern etching its way into the pit of her stomach. Not another attack on the Sereitei, surely?
However, her concern soon dissipated when the familiarity of those spiritual pressures touched her chest and she breathed a small sigh of relief before laughing softly to herself.
Hmm, seemed like Ichigo was paying a visit again. No one could make Captain Kenpachi give such a war cry for an impending battle quite as loud as Ichigo could.
A sympathetic smile slipped across Ukitake's lips as she thought about the vibrant orange-haired young man, suppressing a chuckle when she heard his voice in the far off distance tell Kenpachi to back off. And thus, starting the usual cycle; Ichigo would run away and Kenpachi would give chase. It was the same every time Ichigo entered the Sereitei.
He was certainly quite a character. How he manages to hide from that monster of a man every time he visits, she'll never know.
Since the young substitute soul reaper entered their lives so suddenly, things have never been the same. Things appear to be a bit more brighter now, like a sense of fun and adventure had somehow returned to the Sereitei, despite the recent going ons with Aizen's betrayal.
Removing herself from that train of thought, Ukitake continued her journey away from squad Four's building toward her place of solitude of her home. She was feeling a little tired and a bit yucky from her earlier attack, one that only brought a few spots of blood, significantly different than the usual waterfall of blood that soaked anything in front of her.
A nice warm bath should make her feel better.
After finally reassuring her loyal and beloved seats before retreating to her sanctuary within Ugendō, her family's estate. Slipping into the bathroom, she makes sure that the door is shut securely before proceeding further with the removal of her Captaincy robes, carefully folding them away.
Risking a quick glance in the mirror, Ukitake sighed as she began to carefully move the thick bandages of elastic material from around her chest, her ribs giving a small hint of protest. Her bust wasn't that large or profound, thank goodness, but still well developed despite countless years of binding. Her slender frame appeared somewhat frail and sickly, light scars from past battles littering her pale skin. She was scrawny, no doubt about that, a fact that Kyouraku can't help but tease her about as her robes practically swim on her. And the fact that she was quite tall for someone who weighted so little only added fuel to his taunts.
Speaking of clothes, Kyouraku had been trying for years to get her to wear that pink kimono he always wears, but she resists as she would look terrible in it, she was certain.
How on earth they were still friends, still the best of friends, she'll never know. But she loves him to death, anyway. She knows she would have been lost long ago had it not been for him, especially his comfort for when she lost many members of her squad and her most trusted lieutenant, Kaien Shiba.
Slipping into the steamy warm bathwater immediately caused a sigh of contentment to pass her lips and she shut her eyes, her body immediately relaxing into the enveloping warmth. It was always life's little pleasures that made Ukitake feel really alive and slipping into a hot bath was always her favourite. She could spend hours here, but that would only cause fear to ripple through her fellow soul reapers, all of them fearing that she'd had collapsed while bathing.
She always made sure that she removed herself from the bathroom long before she felt her chest tighten with the very familiar cough.
Ukitake was suddenly jolted out of her relaxation by the hairs pricking up at the back of her neck. A familiar spiritual pressure was heading this direction at a tremendous speed, yet he or she was not using a flashstep. They were moving so fast that she was unable to detect who they were from their spiritual pressure, yet it was very, very familiar.
A feeling of urgency consumed her and she managed to pull herself out of the bath and grab a single towel, wrapping it around herself when that spiritual pressure abruptly burst into her bathroom! Of all places she could have been ambushed, why in her own bathroom while she was half naked and still feeling the side effects of a previous coughing attack?!
The door swung open quite abruptly and then slammed shut, a very recognizable orange-haired young man leaning against the door, his large Zanpakutō in a death-like grip in his hand as he breathed heavily from his run.
"Finally lost him," he panted hard as he pushed himself away from the door and placed his Zanpakutō back where it belonged, his other hand moving to run through his spiky orange hair.
Ukitake immediately felt her heart sink into her chest and he heat on her skin increase. Why did it have to be him, of all people?
"Heh," he said with a self-pitying laugh and turned around to face her, a sympathetic grin on his lips, yet a tired expression in his eyes. "Sorry for barging in like...this..." he then trailed off, his eyes growing alarmingly wide.
"Ichigo...?" Ukitake found herself uncharacteristically stuttering.