Gentle Wind

Kazeshini sighed quietly, leaning back against the wall. Shuhei said that they were waiting for the others to return from dealing with the sword fiends. He wondered grumpily why they were taking so long. It was too quiet, and it felt awkward to sit here next to his master, who he had spent the better part of the last week trying to slaughter.

That, and he was exhausted. Blood dripped from his injuries onto the ground, and the battle with Shuhei was taking its toll on his body. He didn't have the energy left to regenerate by himself. Still, Kazeshini grit his teeth and remained still. He refused to simply sleep, to return to a single blade in the hands of his master, even if that would mean healing his wounds. He wasn't that weak!

Idly, to distract himself from the insistent pain of the gash on his back, he wondered if he'd ever see his kid again. The thought that the little one was ok made him happy. He couldn't hear crying anymore.

Man, he was bored! With a low growl, Kazeshini shifted again, wincing inwardly at the renewed pain and stubbornly pretending he felt nothing.

Shuhei, predictably, wasn't doing anything interesting. The lieutenant seemed content to stand with his back against the wall, waiting for the others to come back. He was also predictably silent, which Kaazeshini wasn't sure how he felt about just now. It wasn't like he wanted to talk, quite the contrary, really; it was just that it was so frustrating to just sit here. However, instead of standing completely still, a habit that frustrated Kazeshini to no end, every so often Shuhei would glace over at him where he sat, almost as if pondering whether or not to say something. Kazeshini ignored him for the most part because, invariably, Shuhei decided not to and turned away to look back out at Rukon. However, the twelfth time this happened, Kazeshini began to get annoyed. It wasn't like his master to be indecisive, or quite this stupidly annoying.

Again Shuhei glanced over at him, and Kazeshini growled. Enough! "What the hell do you want!" he roared, meeting Shuhei's eyes with a growl. The sharp movement caused yet another jolt of pain, and this time he wasn't quite fast enough to hold in a low snarl. Hopefully Shuhei would assume it went with his statement, rather than his injuries.

Shuhei regarded him silently for a long moment, looking slightly surprised at the outburst. Like hell I wouldn't notice, Kazeshini snarled to himself, watching with narrowed eyes. He didn't let Shuhei look away.

After a long moment, instead of answering the question, Shuhei stood up and walked over to Kazeshini. The sudden, unexpected movement startled Kazeshini and he tensed instinctively, on some level forgetting that they were once again symbiotic souls.

Which hurt, curse it all. It was all he could do not to snarl again as Shuhei crouched down next to him. Not where he wanted him at all.

Shuhei was pulling something out of his belt. He reached out towards Kazeshini, and only then realized just how tense his Zanpakuto was. Kazeshini was taut as a bowstring, obviously ready to be halfway down the road if he had to.

Which meant he thought he might have to.

Shuhei stopped, watching blue eyes cautiously. He hadn't meant to scare him…

Kazeshini belatedly realized he was baring his teeth, hackles raised like a wild animal. His bad arm was shaking, painfully. Being this close to anyone while injured was not something he did well. Being close to someone he had tried to kill much less so.

Damn it, he wasn't afraid!

After a long minute, Shuhei relaxed his hand. He crouched there next to his sword, moving back a little and watching Kazeshini carefully. Then he presented what he was holding so Kazeshini could see it. Bandages.

Shuhei waited until he saw Kazeshini blink in confusion. "You're bleeding. Give me your arm."

Kazeshini stared for a moment, confusion written all over his face. His expression seemed unable to decide between surprise and skepticism. Shuhei stayed where he was, waiting.

For a long second Kazeshini didn't move, looking at his master. Could it…no, no way, Shuhei couldn't be serious. Not after all the times Kazeshini had attacked him. Taking him back, alright, there was at least an explanation for that. Shuhei needed his power to fulfill whatever his stupidly noble goals were as a shinigami.

To protect people…

But he would never act like he was happy to have Kazeshini as a Zanpakuto. He'd said it himself. They disgusted each other, hated each other. Shuhei hated Kazeshini's nature and they both knew it. Leave him alone to heal his own wounds, and only call upon him when it was completely necessary and there was no other way.

Right…? But then, why the hell…?

Shuhei was still waiting. It wasn't like him to make jokes like this. Kazeshini didn't know what to do.

They had been born of one soul, but they didn't care about each other. He knew that. It wasn't like he cared what happened to his master, nor did he receive any consideration in return. It had always been like that.

Hadn't it?

Without a word, Kazeshini slowly held out his bleeding arm to Shuhei, watching the shinigami carefully.

Something passed through Shuhei's eyes at the gesture, what was that? Kazeshini didn't know. But he watched, half-wary, half something else as Shuhei reached out and very carefully touched the blood-matted fur, parting it to get a better look at the injury.

Contact hurt, despite how strangely gentle Shuhei was being. Kazeshini hissed through his teeth.

Shuhei half glanced at him, almost as if to make sure he wasn't about to be strangled or anything. Kazeshini was amused by that thought and so stayed still, wondering with slight interest what the shinigami wanted to do. He'd never actually seen anyone take care of an injury the old fashioned way before. Shuhei wasn't a healer, not like his blond friend Izuru. Kazeshini negated any possibility of that all together.

Shuhei was surprised that Kazeshini allowed him to clean the injury. Kazeshini let him move his arm around, even wipe blood off his matted fur, just watching with interest each time Shuhei moved. Every so often, he'd glance up to make sure that the Zanpakuto was alright, but there never appeared to be reason to worry.

He didn't understand this cut, though. It was a clean cut, as if with a sharp sword, bleeding freely. But it didn't make any sense. He knew from experience that his sword was armed with both hands, fast, and near impossible to hit. This injury hadn't been from him. Something this deep…it was almost as if he had blocked a sword with his arm alone. Why would he have done that?

He didn't understand. Shuhei glanced up at Kazeshini as he bandaged his arm, careful not to bend the fur backwards.


Kazeshini had been watching the bandages wrap around his arm in an almost trancelike state. At Shuhei's question, he glanced up. "Eh?"

"Why are you bleeding?" Shuhei asked. He tied off the bandage. It stood out startlingly white against Kazeshini's dark fur.

Blue eyes met his for an instant longer than necessary. Then Kazeshini laughed. "You cut me, idiot. Are you really that empty headed?"

Shuhei's eyes narrowed. "That wasn't me. Your blades have much more finesse and power than whatever sword made that cut."

Kazeshini blinked, taken aback by the praise. One of the many things Shuhei hated was lying. He pulled his arm back away from Shuhei, looking at the bandages on it.

"Kazeshini, why were you hurt before our battle?"

A slight scowl set into Kazeshini's face. Blue eyes narrowed. "None of your business."

Shuhei scowled in response. "Anyone who cuts my Zanpakuto becomes my business."

Kazeshini started, looking back at the shinigami. Shuhei met his eyes steadily, the same scowl on his face. Kazeshini stared. That almost sounded…protective? What the hell?

Shuhei hated him, didn't he? Why was he angry someone had attacked him. It didn't make sense.

After a long moment of meeting his stare, Shuhei sighed. "Lean forward. I need to see your back."

Without a sound, Kazeshini did as he was told. He was still trying to understand. Shuhei's hands were very gentle against the fur along his spine. He felt the shinigami begin cleaning the gash there, the one that had allowed Shuhei to defeat him. It should have hurt a lot more than it did. He should also have been angry, or at least something. But some small part of him didn't want to. It wasn't that he was weak or soft or anything spineless like that. It was just…

Shuhei was taking care of him….


After a long moment, Kazeshini sighed a little, softly, hoping Shuhei hadn't noticed. "…..I don't get you." It…he didn't understand at all. Much as he hated to admit defeat in any way, shape, or form, there was nothing else to say.

There was a very soft laugh from behind him, making Kazeshini start. "That's fine. I'm guessing we'll have time."

Kazeshini stopped, staring at the sky in shock. Shuhei had…laughed? But Shuhei hadn't laughed since….well, since they had been betrayed by the captain. Geeze, his stuck up master rarely even smiled since then.

And yet…because of him, Kazeshini, Shuhei had laughed?

It was almost as if Shuhei were actually happy to have him back.

Kazeshini chuckled softly. Ridiculous. Babies, shinigami caring about their Zanpakuto. Absolutely ridiculous, the whole thing.

Protecting people. He'd asked Shuhei what would happen when he took him back.

We'll fight to protect someone.

Not I will. Not you will. We will fight.

Kazeshini smiled a little. He still didn't understand Shuhei. But, still. That "we" had to be worth something.

As Shuhei started to bandage up the wounds on his chest and back, Kazeshini sat still, seeing his shinigami moving around in his peripheral vision.

Yeah. My shinigami, I guess.

Pride should have forced him to correct that statement, my dead weight, my useless shinigami, at least something.

But he didn't really feel like correcting it right now.

A/N: Couldn't resist. :P Zanpakuto are so cute. :) Must do more of them. I just had to do something fuzzy with Kazeshini after that little baby, and Shuhei is so awesomely calm about everything. So...yeah. Here you go. Hope you guys like it.