Shunsui x Starrk, sort of

Brevity of Fantasy

You must be
Living on wildfires
That's why your eyes
Are smoke and ash
Josh Ritter

He could imagine him naked.

Not that that was an uncommon thing for Shunsui- he imagined a lot of people naked, after all. Most of the people that he met, in fact: strangers on the street, people who served him in bars. He thought about his friends all the time, male and female. He thought about his subordinates in his division, and he thought about the subordinates in other divisions as well. He thought about enemies and allies, youthful and aged, although there were always a few that he managed to avoid letting his mind rove over (such as the Captain Commander, the thought of which only made him shudder, or Captain Unohana, because it just felt strangely wrong, as if she'd know what you were thinking).

But still, this man he had no problem with, and from the picture that his mind was coming up with, it wouldn't be an unpleasant sight to behold, either.

He snapped back to attention at a tight noise of annoyance from Katen Kyokotsu, who was unusually tense. Normally she put up with his perversions- often, she joined in, filthy little minx that she was. He supposed it was fair enough that today she did not approve though- this really was one of those moments that Jyuushiro was always talking about, where it would be better all around for everyone if he actually was listening and not messing around playing silly games or drinking. It wasn't like he thought that there was nothing so important that it took precedent above such childish and irresponsible activities- it was just that they would have to be really, really important to do so.

The old man was talking, still with that self-important air that Shunsui had grown to respect and dislike simultaneously over the many, many years.

It looked like people were listening to him, but Shunsui supposed that they could just have been pretending. All except Jyuu-chan of course- he was always the epitome of responsibility.

Shunsui glanced back at the figure that had caught his eye just before, who was now rubbing the back of one calf with the arch of his foot, hunched over slightly with his hands thrust into his pockets, obviously not listening either. Ah, a clear comrade in the war against boring speeches, it seemed! His hair was dark and hung loose and long-ish, though not as long as his own. The jacket of his uniform made his waist look disproportionately narrow- Shunsui had a suspicion that it was wider than it looked, though only broad because of muscle. The dark hint of his hollow hole was just visible, emerging from the white of his collar in stark contrast, the light tan of his skin not dulling the effect between the two.

If Shunsui had seen him in a bar, he'd have bought him a drink, had he not already found someone to interest him that night or been too incapacitated though alcohol consumption for anything to register- if he hadn't been, though, the man looked like he would be able to hold a decent conversation.

Shunsui liked people like that, people that never repeated tired anecdotes and boring queries- he found himself helplessly frustrated when people told him the same story over and over again that hadn't been particularly interesting in the first place, without realising that he had heard it before, though he always hid such annoyance with an ambiguous smile and a tilt of his hat. He supposed that's why he liked Nanao, because she was so ruthlessly efficient that she never forgot anything, and why his friendship with his dearest Jyuushiro had lasted so long, because the other man always had something new to say, some new way to make him laugh, some new method of captivating him. Some people were like that- he had liked Urahara, too, back before he had run off to whatever place he was hidden away in. Mind like a firework, that one, always sparking.

The best sorts of people, those.

His eyes flickered to the man's companion, a girl - no, Shunsui, they're arrancar, remember? You've gotta start thinking of them as the bad guys, not as people - she was pretty tiny, and had just turned to tug on his sleeve to make him look down at her. She was cute in a young way- too young for his tastes though. The girl looked almost pre-pubescant, and even if she had been to his liking he wouldn't have had to try hard to picture her naked, the miniscule amount she was wearing. She was an odd companion to the man - arrancar, Shunsui - not at all the sort of person that he'd have put him down to being a friend.

The girl - arrancar, bad guys! - was saying something to him, but he was too far away to be able to tell what it was, and her head was tilted so that he could not see what shapes her mouth was forming- a shame, considering the fine art that he had got lip-reading down to, after all the practise in noisy bars.

Then, without warning, the man turned to look at Shunsui, straight in the eye.

Shunsui's breath hitched in his throat.

Now, those eyes really were something.

There was something wild about them, even from this distance- a darkness that was not of evil or malicious intent, but rather of one who had suffered and had become too disillusioned with existence for him to care too much about the outcome of this whole scenario. That was why he wasn't listening. He just didn't care about any of this. Someone like that had to have the assurance of power, of great power. Intelligence suggested that the three here would be the strongest yet, but which was the best? Shunsui did not want to wonder about that- he just wanted to see those eyes a little closer.

He couldn't tell what colour they were from here, but was certain that they were not blue or brown- not bright enough for the first, not dark enough for the second, but somewhere in between the two. He ached, suddenly, for the order to move- to single him out, and to get close enough to find out what colour those wonderfully eyes exactly were. They had him enthralled- the sort of eyes that made him want to trace pitted and hardened fingertips across the lids, underneath them, to try and wipe the shadows away.

He blinked. Had he really just thought that?

The man looked away, back to his companion, and shrugged with well-practised ease and apathy at her. She, in turn, glared at him, the sort of glare that Nanao gave him when she thought that he was being an absolute idiot and needed to sort himself out good and proper. Shunsui found himself grinning a little at that, underneath the shadow of his hat. Well, actually, now he could see why that little girl might be his companion- the man certainly had that long-suffering look that he had caught on his own face from time to time when he was trying to escape the tedium of paperwork that she was constantly trying to force him to do.

Then, everything happened, and he found his feet moving almost ahead of his mind to plant themselves firmly in front of this new enemy.

His eyes were grey, and when he shaded his eyes to look across at his opponent they seemed darker for a moment, and looked more like the steel of a heavily overcast sky right before the clouds split and drench the world in volleys of rain. The sort of clouds that birth lightning, and rolls of thunder, and made you feel alive with the raw energy that permeates the air.

Shunsui swallowed.

He could imagine those eyes staring up at him from a nest of pooled sheets and rumpled pillows, long body stretched out underneath his own, skin hot to the touch. Uniform scattered without ceremony to either side of the bed, black mixing with white and the mitigating ties and loyalties of both discarded with the clothing, the divide of race as unimportant as the crumpled sashes. Their zanpakuto would be leaning against the wall, not quite out of reach so they could relax, this man's singular one resting between the two blades of his own Katen Kyokotsu; she would be humming contentedly in his mind the way that she always did when she was pleased with herself, and his zanpakuto… well, he knew nothing about it, yet, but he supposed that it would not be unhappy with such pleasurable developments, either.

He would be reeled into the depths of those changing grey eyes- for now that the man had lowered his hand, they seemed to have a blue tint to them, like the sea on an overcast day, when the normal colour of the water would be turned to a cadet colour, wavered with darker patches that betrayed the location of coral and rocks.

Why did this man make him think of clouds? There was something of that sort of presence about him, Shunsui thought- heavy and grave, without being either. It was strange, and it was fascinating, as if there were layers of personality behind the surface that he could experience, discover, emotions that could change and move, keeping him constantly surprised, just like the colour of those eyes.

They were corrosive, reeling him inwards to shrink him down so that all he might become was the small reflection of himself in those dark pupils, surrounded by a crown of changing grey. Now they were a silvered slate as he looked up to the sun, and the brightness of it caught in those eyes and reflected back outwards like flecks of cut glass, sharp enough to cut. What colours would come next? What shade would they turn if he were to stand in a garden or park, surrounded by green? Shunsui could see him- still naked, having slipped out of their bed to slide the door open to his own small, private garden- it was no way near as beautifully tended as Jyuushiro's, but it was well enough, and he would not be looking at the plants, anyway.

The man would reach to take a leaf between his thumb and finger, rubbing it until the surface left its scent on his skin, and he would come back to the bed to offer it to Shunsui- look, what is this? Lemongrass, he would reply, and the man would be astounded, for who knew plants such as these existed?

Why would you know, when all you had ever seen was the crystallised, barren trees of Hueco Mundo?

There were so many things that Shunsui would be able to show him, so many things that would astound him.

And he would take him to the dizzying heights of pleasures, and be taken there too, one and the same together. No rules, no set pace or position or one taking the lead- different every night, because this man looked like he would prefer it that way, the way that Shunsui did too, the way when there was nothing to ever bore you and make you feel tied down to a way of living that you hadn't signed on for. He could never make Shunsui regret the way that so many others had done.

For though Shunsui fell in and out of love with the passing days with every pretty face he saw, he always ended up regretting those who fell for him, because in the end, he would have to break those pretty, petty little hearts with all the delicacy and finality that he could imagine this man here breaking the stem of a piece of grass with.

But he... he looked too strong for such a thing. Too different. Too perfect for that.

His body would move with a tensile strength, sometimes underneath Shunsui, sometimes on top of him, depending on their mood that night, and Shunsui would be able to watch the ripple of muscle underneath the layers of skin that kept them from view. He would be able to tell whether that light tan was natural, or whether it was only where he had been exposed to sun where his uniform did not cover him, and he would be able to see what was underneath those gloves. He imagined the hands to be nimble, dextrous, with wide knuckles and skin that was softer than Shunsui's own, though not the softness of women (because although that was a beautiful feeling too, it would not do in this situation).

The man would be able to do wonderful things with those hands, and would look at Shunsui whilst he was doing them with eyes that were darkened to a charcoal grey with lust, and he would, and he would…

Shunsui shook his head, cursed himself.

He'd always had an over-active imagination.

Arrancar, Shunsui, not man. Focus, this is a war.

Katen Kyokotsu echoed the sentiment, applauding the sensibility of his mind that persisted in breaking through this most delightful of fantasies (it didn't happen all that often, she remarked snidely in his mind as his fingers danced lightly over the dual hilts of her sealed form). He sighed a little, to himself. It couldn't be helped.

He put the visual image that had quite got the better of him for a moment there to the back of his mind, and prepared to kill the arrancar in front of him. The arrancar that, for the briefest of moments, had stolen his heart.

This was war, after all.