An Unexpected Christmas Gift
Summary: Rukia appears fidgety, distracted even, which leaves Ukitake feeling concerned. Ichigo is somehow involved, but not the way Ukitake expected.
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters associated with the Anime of Bleach.
Warnings: Juushiro Ukitake is dictated as a female in gender in this story. Yes, I am well aware that he is male in both Manga and anime, but work with me here.
AN: Hello again. Just thought I'd try my hand at a Fem!Ukitake oneshot, just something a little bit different. Spawned when ironjaw oh-so subtly hinted that there needed to be more Fem!Ukitake fics. You know, you're right. There should be!
A big thank you to everyone who had reviewed, faved and placed "A Woman Behind These Clothes" on their alert lists and communities. It's so good to see it so popular. I'm so very happy.
I suppose you could say that this is an early Christmas present from me to you as I won't be able to update until sometime next year. So, I hope you enjoy this fluffy, but otherwise pointless oneshot. And Merry Christmas to all my fabulous readers!
It was almost hard to believe that it was that time of year again. It was Christmas time in the Seireitei and Ukitake was so utterly grateful for the festive season, bringing back smiles and laughter back to the streets during these troubled times. It never failed to put a smile on Ukitake's face when others are having a good time.
And, as usual, long time best friend Kyouraku had already drank himself into drunken stupor and will now miss the majority of the next day sleeping off his enormous hangover with a less than sympathetic Nanao-chan.
Of course, he would always sing a merry Christmas before passing out, forcing Ukitake to help carry him back to his room as he drunkenly whisper compliments about being a good friend to him for all these years and hopefully for many more years to come.
"A beautiful lady like you shouldn't be hiding, Juu-Chan!" Kyouraku would say in a drunkenly, sing-song voice and he would say that each and every year.
Yes, the famous Captain Juushiro Ukitake of Division Thirteen was actually a woman.
It wasn't like she was hiding on purpose; the bandages around her breasts helped enormously with her illness, reminding her constantly not to over strain herself where her breathing would be affected. At first she tried to tell everyone who called her by the male equivalent that she was in fact a woman, but that got really tiresome fairly quickly, so left it be.
It's been two thousand years, after all. You'd get sick of repeating the same thing over and over again, too.
Her Division members, however, were well aware of her true gender. She made sure to warn them before hand about her illness and about the bandages, so in case she suffered a violent attack, they won't be too concerned by the bindings around her bust.
Serving a female Captain as oppose to a male one was not an overly big deal at all, even all those many years ago. Within the Soul Society, saved for a few noble families that are still very much involved with honour and tradition, females and males are equal. It's not about one's gender, but strength, intelligence and skill.
And the fact that she was trained by the Commander-General himself also helped a great deal.
She's not entirely sure who outside her Division was aware of her true gender and who wasn't. Everyone called her 'sir' at one point, so it was hard to tell. They either didn't care that she was a woman or simply didn't know.
She was definitely sure that Kyouraku (he could spot a woman from miles away), Unohana (she was her doctor after all) and Sensei knew, but everyone else either heard it through the gossip or simply didn't know. It didn't matter to her either way, but she was a tad curious.
However, she also knew that one Ichigo Kurosaki knew, but he wasn't told. No, he had to find out first hand (literally) that she wasn't sporting a male chest, but rather a slightly endowed female chest. He was being chased by Kenpachi (as usual) and was desperate to get away (again, as usual), but he had stumbled over a stray piece of debris and threw out his hand to steady himself. Unfortunately, he just happened to be running past her at the time and...well, you get the picture. She squeaked, he freaked and Kenpachi used a distracted Ichigo to his advantage.
That was a little bit embarrassing, more so for Ichigo than herself.
After that, she thought that Ichigo might try to avoid her out of embarrassment, but thankfully he didn't. After some explaining, he accepted it and that was it.
Ukitake will admit that she liked Ichigo. Ok, she liked him a lot, something she didn't realize until Kyouraku pointed out the fact that she appeared younger whenever he was around. He teased her relentlessly after that, saying she was like a school girl with a crush but he also told her that, perhaps, it was time for her to find her own sense of happiness.
Maybe. But with Ichigo, a human child? Sure, he was stronger than anyone she ever met, but he was so much younger than she was. He needed someone a little bit more about his age; or at least looked like his age.
With so many potential suitors to choose from, she didn't have a hope. But, she could live with that. He deserved to be with whoever he wanted and she was pretty certain he only admired her for being his elder. The happiness of others was more important to her.
And that belief led her to her current predicament.
It all started with her concern directed to her young subordinate, Rukia. The younger Soul Reaper didn't seem to be herself as of late; sure, she wasn't always so open with her feelings, having gotten much better after befriending Orihime, but she had never been this fidgety.
She had been like this for a few days now, directly after she returned from visiting Ichigo in Karakura Town. She seemed to be pondering something, and it must have been something rather important as there were a few times where she attempted to approach her, to talk to her only to chicken out and making up an excuse to see someone before scurrying away.
It was as if she was distracted by something, and as a Soul Reaper, that was not a good combination.
However, even though Rukia's behaviour was somewhat baffling, Ukitake was pretty certain she knew what was distracting her as every time they speak, Ichigo would come up in conversation. Rukia even asked once for her opinion on the substitute Soul Reaper.
So, she told her. Ichigo was a handsome, powerful young man with a heart of gold. He'd make a good catch to anyone who managed to snag him.
Rukia seemed pleased from hearing those words and Ukitake thought it was the end of the matter, but a day or so after their conversation, Rukia was still fidgeting.
"Is there something wrong, Rukia-kun?" Ukitake asked when Rukia brought in her tea, setting it down carefully in front of her. "You seemed distracted."
Rukia stilled in her movements for a moment before settling herself upon the mats, placing the tray she used to carry her tea on her lap. "Ah, well, it's Ichigo."
That was no surprise.
"I thought so," Ukitake said in an understanding tone, tilting her head ever so slightly forward in a nod. "Is there a problem?"
"Not really, it's just..." Rukia replied with a light shrug, taking a moment to consider her words before blurting out, "I don't know what to get him for Christmas."
"Yeah, you know, a gift?" Rukia went onto explain further, her fingers playing nervously with the tray on her lap. "You know what he's like. I ask him what he wants, but he refuses to answer, even after I place him in a headlock, he won't tell me. And when I-"
She was rambling. Ukitake couldn't help but chuckle a little. "I see."
Somehow, Ukitake was overcome with the feeling that Rukia wasn't worried about finding Ichigo a present as much as she was claiming. She was distracted with something else, or rather, seemed distracted by Ichigo himself.
Of course; it was bound to happen sooner or later.
But what Rukia asked her next took her by surprise. She was expecting for Rukia to ask for advice on what to get Ichigo, but not this.
"Could you go talk to him for me, Captain?" Rukia asked her hurriedly. "I know it's asking a lot, but-"
"Talk to him about what, Rukia?" Ukitake found herself asking in her surprise. "About finding him a gift?"
"Ah sort of..." Rukia trailed off, looking a little uncomfortable, restless even. "Could you just talk to him? Please?"
"Alright, I suppose I could do that," Ukitake relented, secretly happy to have an excuse to see Ichigo on Christmas Eve.
Rukia's expression immediately brightened into this happy, yet self-satisfied smile as she bowed her head low and immediately sprung to her feet, clutching the tray to her chest. "Thank you so much!"
That was how Ukitake found herself in Karakura Town a few moments later, sliding open the window to Ichigo's bedroom and slipping inside as silently as she could. The window was always unlocked as Ichigo often received unexpected visitors during both the day and night and they will not be ignored.
He learnt the hard way to keep it unlocked when the always unpredictable Ikkaku smashed through the glass in order to get inside. There wasn't an emergency; he just wanted to get inside.
Sliding the window shut behind her, Ukitake turned to survey the room, immediately noticing a form of the certain young male she was looking for slumped over his desk, his head resting on his folded arms as he slept.
Ukitake allowed a small smile touched with a sense of fondness to grace her lips as she paddled across the room to stand by his side. She didn't want to wake him as he looked rather handsome without that ever present scowl on his face, but sleeping haphazardly over a desk like that played havoc with your back and neck.
She would know.
Lifting her hand, Ukitake intended to place it on his shoulder in order to give him a very light shake, but instead, her fingertips brushed against the skin of his cheek before trailing up to flick a stray strand of stunning orange hair from his forehead.
He was indeed very handsome.
The gentle touch seemed to be enough to wake Ichigo from his sleep and Ukitake immediately pulled her hand away, waiting patiently for him to fully awaken. Ichigo mumbled something incoherent to her ears and lifted his head up to peer with bleary eyes up at her, his lips twitching into this rather cute frown at being awoken from his nap.
"Eh? Juushiro?" Ichigo murmured as sat up straight in his seat and he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
Ukitake found herself smiling softly when she heard her first name pass his lips. Unlike many others she won't name, she didn't mind someone referring to her by her first name; it felt personal and more open, that they were willing to talk to her beyond that of her captain status.
"Sorry to disturb you on Christmas Eve, Ichigo-kun," Ukitake politely stated as she lowered herself down upon the edge of Ichigo's bed, the only place where she could take a seat. Well, other than the floor of course, but she knew Ichigo would have a fit if she attempt to seat herself on the floor.
Upon her first visit to his room quite a while ago now, she attempted to kneel on the floor, only to have Ichigo literally bristle, grab her by the arm and practically throw her onto his bed. He then told her in a very stern voice to take a seat on the bed, it's more comfortable.
His reaction both shocked and amused her; no one other than Kyouraku had actually handled her roughly, yet at that same time, oddly gently before. Everyone else treated her like she was made of glass.
Which could be annoying; she was a captain for Heaven's sake!
"But Rukia-kun asked me to speak with you about something," Ukitake went on to explain as she folded her hands upon her lap, giving Ichigo her full attention.
Ichigo was silent for a brief moment, seemingly either still half asleep or was taking the time to wonder to himself what on earth Rukia would want for the two of them to speak about. Then, a look of recognition appeared briefly in his gaze before a scowl creased his facial features and he looked away abruptly, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like 'interfering midgets'.
A sense of accepting disappointment touched Ukitake's heart when she heard Ichigo's nickname for Rukia. Even though he said with a scowl, he still held a form of fondness in his tone, which quickly reminded her how close Rukia and Ichigo really are.
Rukia was probably trying to see if her captain will approve of Ichigo and when she did, try to help her get her brother's, Byakuya, approval. That would explain all their conversations regarding the human boy.
Oh well, there's no harm in trying to help her subordinate find a piece of happiness within troubled times, was there? Besides, if there was anyone who deserved Ichigo more, it was Rukia.
"I was just wondering if there was something I could do to help," Ukitake said as she tried to ignore the aching disappointment at the realization that she really didn't have a chance. "Rukia-kun has been awfully distracted lately."
"Distracted?" Ichigo repeated with a mumble as his scowl took on a confused expression.
"Yes," Ukitake confirmed with a slightly tilt of her head. "She says it's because you won't tell her what kind of gift you want for Christmas."
That disgruntled frown immediately made another appearance as Ichigo ran a hand through his hair. "I see," he mumbled as his hand moved from his hair to scratch the back of his neck. "Er, that probably is my fault, but not the way you're probably thinking."
Ukitake was a little surprised by that, her turn to look ever so confused. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you see...How do I put this?" Ichigo said slowly, appearing somewhat nervous and uneasy. Uncomfortable was probably a better word as he suddenly turned away to literally scowl at himself. "Argh, I suck at this!"
"Just take a moment to gather yourself, Ichigo-kun," Ukitake suggested helpfully, keeping her voice as understanding as possible, despite wanting to giggle just a little at Ichigo's disgruntled state. "I promise that I will not judge you, alright?"
Ichigo turned back around the face her and nodded his head silently. They then sat in silence for a minute or two as Ichigo mused with himself on the best way to explain what was ailing him.
"Well, the reason Rukia has been acting a little strange lately is because..." Ichigo said, trailing off at the end, still looking a little nervous, unsure on how he really should word it.
"Yes?" Ukitake pressed gently.
Ichigo opened his mouth but then snapped it shut, muttering darkly under his breath as he looked away. However, a split second later he snapped his attention back toward her, determination abundant in his gaze. "Can I show you instead?" he suddenly asked.
"Show?" Ukitake repeated, once again surprised by a question she was not anticipating. "Well, yes, I don't see why not."
"Good," Ichigo said as he pushed his chair away from his desk and climbed to his feet. "Could you come here?"
"Uh, sure," Ukitake said as she pushed herself to stand on her feet, taking a tentative step to stand directly in front of Ichigo.
Ichigo easily reached her height now, perhaps an inch or two taller, but she wasn't measuring, too busy wondering what had Ichigo so worked up and what it could possibly do to show her what was bothering him.
"Just don't react too badly to this, ok?" Ichigo asked her, appearing almost sympathetic.
Ukitake wanted to question what he meant by that, but before she even had the chance to part her lips to form words, a large hand was placed on her side as another grasped onto the back of her neck, pulling her forward abruptly. Then, as she fell forward, she found a pair of lips pressed firmly against her own, her eyes widening in utter surprise as she stared into Ichigo's face, his own eyes closed to the world around them.
Her body instinctively froze by the suddenness of her new position, but her mind was absolutely reeling.
Ichigo was actually kissing her. Her, of all people he could have chosen, her?
But she knew, deep within her heart, that this wasn't some kind of a joke, they would never be so mean to her. Ichigo never did anything he didn't mean, so that was enough proof to tell Ukitake that he was indeed serious about her, about this.
Did Rukia know this? That would explain why Rukia seemed so interested in her thoughts of the orange-haired male.
Placing her hands on either side of Ichigo's face, her fingers slipping into the spiky orange hair, Ukitake tilted her head ever so lightly to the side to participate in the kiss, allowing her lips to glide tenderly over his. She felt the hand on her side slip around to the small of her back, effortlessly pressing her closer to Ichigo's hard, strong body. The hand in her hair slowly trailed down to the back of her neck, lingering there for a moment as Ichigo's long, battle harden fingers played with strands of her silky white hair before moving rest on the side of her neck, his thumb resting just before her ear, his fingers entangled in her hair.
A sigh passed her lips as she leaned into Ichigo's warm hand, her own slipping from his face to rest on his chest, her fingers curling around the thin material of his plain t-shirt.
Ukitake felt a shiver tingle down her spine when Ichigo darted his tongue out to lick her bottom lip teasingly, sensually before closing the very little distance between them by covering her mouth with his own. Ichigo wasted no time slipping his tongue pass her parted lips, eagerly tasting and caressing every inch of her mouth, his talented tongue curling around hers, effortlessly causing her to fall boneless in his embrace.
As a very minor battle of dominance broke out, Ukitake couldn't help but moan lowly as she moved one of her hands from his chest to slip into his hair, pressing their bodies together from head to toe.
Where did he learn to kiss like this?
Finally pulling away from a kiss that left the two of them near breathless, Ukitake panted softly as a light sprinkling of pink danced across her cheeks as she gazed into his eyes, neither one attempting the move from their current positions. She can't even remember if there had ever been a time where someone held her so tightly before.
"I guess you could say this is was I wanted for Christmas," Ichigo said as his arm moved to completely encircle her slender waist effortlessly.
"I see," Ukitake said as she licked her slightly swollen lips as they curled up into a small smile. "So Rukia was trying to play matchmaker for us?"
"Did she succeed?"
"I think she did," Ukitake whispered as she wrapped both arms around Ichigo's neck as his strong arms wrapped around her body tightly, their foreheads pressed together. "This is what I wanted for Christmas as well."
Ichigo then wasted no time pulling her into another kiss.