A/N: m/m situations, don't like don't read.
i do not own the characters of this story. and all mistakes are mine alone.
bleach is owned by tite kubo
Shunsui's speed still managed to take him by surprise; either that or he just hadn't been paying attention.
One moment he was in his office doing paperwork and the very next instant he was being held in an embarrassingly bridal style before he could even blink. Jyuushiro Ukitake found his breath literally taken away from him.
"Shunsui?" he managed to gasp, "What're you doing?"
"We're going for a little walk," clearly this wasn't the case as the ground clearing shunpo was proving.
"But...but I have work to catch up on." he practically wailed. He was just now beginning to get work back under control after that freak, arrancar monster had punched a hole through him.
Ukitake came to two conclusions as they sped along: one, he recognized the path they were on, one he hadn't been on for quite some time. Two, shunpo while upright and doing it yourself was completely different from being carried. The landscape whizzing by had a nauseating effect. He buried his face in the fabric covered chest, trying to quell the rolling of his stomach.
Just as he was about to plead to be released, Shunsui came to a halt and gingerly let Ukitake's feet touch the ground. He grabbed onto the pink kimono covered arm as he fought to gain control over the swirling in his stomach. He coughed several times and Shunsui's eyes grew wide with concern.
"I'm fine...now!" Jyuushiro smiled weakly at his friend. "Lets never do that little stunt again, alright?" Shunsui nodded quickly.
Using the side of his balled up fist: Jyuushiro Ukitake slammed the upper part of Shunsui's arm, hard enough to make the big man groan in pain and rub at the abused area, a wide grin crossing his handsome face.
"Is that payback, then?"
"Partly." Ukitake grinned back.
"Ready to enter the lion's den?"
"Of course!" the building they stood in front of was enormous and very old. Shunsui always called it a cabin, but from Jyuushiro's point of view it was a mansion. "Though I can't believe you still come here."
"It's one place where I feel free to be me."
"Gee thanks for that Kyoraku," the pale man deadpanned, "Then who are you when you're with me?"
"Jyuu...you know what I mean." using the gentlest of touches Shunsui slid the pad of his thumb across Ukitake's prominent cheekbone, tsk'ing quietly.
Reaching out Shunsui knocked several times then entered the building. "Hey I'm here." his hand flashed out just in time as something white flew across the room, saving Ukitake from getting splattered by a hot steamed bun.
"Your eyes must be getting worse; you missed me completely"
Ukitake reacted instinctively as another flash of white sailed across the room, this time he caught the bun before it hit Shunsui's face.
"Ha! You missed again." Shunsui taunted.
Annoyed grumbling came from the next room, "You'd best be getting your bulky self in here and give me a proper greeting Shunsui Kyoraku" Shunsui's smile grew even wider.
"Come on Jyuu she's in a really good mood today," they entered the bright room together. "Don't tell me I'm gonna have to come all the way down there to give you a hug."
"You wouldn't have to if you weren't such a great hulking, hairy troll."
"I wouldn't have to if you weren't such a gods-forsaken midget" he countered back. They grinned at each other.
Ukitake shook his head in amusement. It was still the same thing every time they came here. He could almost repeat it word for word. Even after being absent from this scene for such a long time. Blinking several times, he found much to his surprise that the tiny figure in front of Shunsui made an amazing leap upward, grabbing his ears and pulling him down to her level: kissing his scruffy cheeks several times. Shunsui surrendered and hugged her tightly.
The tiny form then stepped up to Jyuushiro "You haven't changed all that much." she stated, tiny fists planted firmly on each hip. "Do I gotta grab ya too or are ya gonna be polite and bend down here for a hug?" Shunsui was chuckling from his spot on the floor and she glared at him.
"Umm...oh!" Ukitake bent down to receive his hug.
"Your hair's gotten longer, but ya still ain't got no boobs."
"I beg your pardon?" he glanced at Shunsui who looked like he was going to turn inside out from laughing so hard.
Jyuushiro held up a hand to stop her, "I heard what you said, but I'm a guy, I'll never have 'boobs'"
The woman was laughing almost as hard as Shunsui "He's still fun to rile up, ain't he?"
Shunsui nodded and wiped at the tears streaming down his face, "Yeah he is! Jyuu-chan'll never change."
The subject of the teasing huffed quietly to himself. "No it's you two who'll never change." they giggled several more times then calmed down.
"Ukitake-kun? You've lost some weight again, I hear you've not been well."
Taking a deep breath and letting it out with a soft sigh, Jyuushiro nodded, "Yes ma'am, but more than the usual ills that keep me down."
"So I've heard." she brazenly pulled open his uniform and stared at the scar. "It's a nasty one alright."
"It didn't feel too good either," he pulled his clothing back together.
Shunsui had an awful scowl on his face. "I really thought I was gonna lose him that time."
"But you didn't," Ukitake said softly. "I'm still here."
Following his usual pattern Shunsui changed the subject. "So...where's the old grump?"
"Bah him!" the tiny woman spat out with a flip of her wrist. "He's out huntin' with your Pa again."
"Escaping again huh?" Shunsui's eyebrow twitched.
"Of course, I only wanna use the hot-spring once a month and that damnable man knows that."
"Well than I guess it's a good thing you've got a big strong grandson who doesn't mind helping you." Shunsui's smile beamed brightly. "Just let me know when you're ready Gran"
She turned and glanced at Ukitake, "You're coming too aren't you?"
"Wouldn't miss it."
The routine was the same as it always had been: Shunsui carried his grandmother up the hill to the hot spring and Jyuushiro would follow with the bathing supplies. It wasn't a long walk or even a steep climb, it was just to much for the elderly woman to do on her own.
Shunsui had been doing this for his grandmother for as long as Jyuushiro had known him. And later on he found out that his friend had been doing so since he was a boy, as no one else in the family seemed to be the slightest bit interested, and it wasn't as if it were her only source of getting clean: the cabin had it's own modernized bathroom.
The hot spring was just as he remembered; steam drifting upward, surrounded by fragrant pine trees. It looked inviting as always.
The two men stripped down and dipped into the steaming water with a deep happy sigh.
"Make sure you don't peek Ukitake-kun."
"Ewww Gran, trust me he don't wanna see your wrinkly, saggy old granny bits." Shunsui teased as he moved forward to help ease her into the water.
He was suddenly covered in the hot liquid as she splashed him the second she was in the water. "Mind your tongue, ya brat."
"What'd I say?" he sputtered, wiping the water off his face.
"Just watch it." she wagged a bony finger in his direction.
Some time ago some kind soul had placed large boulders in the hot spring; making easy places to sit and relax, while sitting in the hot water.
They sat side by side, intertwined fingers hidden under the water.
"So Ukitake-kun..." the grandmother started out. "When ya gonna marry him and make an honest man out of the big lug?"
Shunsui sputtered violently as Ukitake blinked owlishly not completely understanding what she had meant.
"I think you might have mistaken me for a female again."
She ignored both of them as she sunk further under the water. They could hear muted chuckling coming from her direction several times.
The sudden howl of a dangerously close hollow took them all by surprise, especially the two seasoned shinigami who should have been able to sense it's presence. They glanced at each other, nodded once and Shunsui leaped from the water, pulling on his hakama only and grabbed his swords on the run.
Ukitake pulled himself carefully out of the hot spring and got dressed. "We should get back inside, it's not safe out here." he held out a hand to help Shunsui's grandmother out of the water.
"Don't you think we should wait here for him?"
"No, no I don't, as I said it's not safe and Shunsui would be very mad at me if anything happened to you."
After she redressed they cautiously made their way back down the hill and into the sturdy structure. They set out several heavy quilts near the fire to warm and filled a large-ish tub, that had been set up outside to wash off anything that Shunsui might be covered with when he returned from slaying the hollow.
On the way back to the cabin it began to snow heavily and Ukitake was very concerned for Shunsui's health; fresh out of the hot water, wearing only the bottom half of his uniform.
"Don't worry about that one," the old woman pointed out, as if reading his mind. "He's to damn bullheaded to get sick."
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Just saying..." she was interrupted by the sound of someone walking up to the door. "Get ready, he's here." she opened the door and Shunsui blinked at them. "Hold still boy, you're filthy." tossing a bucket of warm water at him, she smirked as he bellowed.
"WHAT THE HELL OLD WOMAN?"
"You're not bringing hollow filth into my home, and that little dousing took off the worse of it. Now get into that tub and clean the rest off." she was pointing at the water filled tub near the door.
Growling and grumbling, he stripped and crawled into the small circle of water. "Dammit this is tiny, it must be your tub."
"Shut it smart ass."
"Yes Gran" he picked up the soap and a cloth and began to scrub. "There'd better be some warm compensation for freezing my ass off like this."
"I'll give you a great big hug and a kiss when you're done." she joked and dumped several buckets of warm water over his head.
"I'd rather some nice warm sake and a soft bed." he gave a small sideways glance to Ukitake who was standing in the door way and winked slyly.
"Bah! You're worse than a lovestruck teenager,"
Shunsui's laugh echoed around the building, "You may be old Gran but nothing gets past you, does it?" she winked in the same manner he had.
Ukitake shook his head, "You two can be very scary."
"That's why you love us." Shunsui and his grandmother said in unison.
"I'll leave this part to you Ukitake-kun," she brushed past him, as she returned to the cabin. "Just make sure to get him nice and snuggly warm,"
"Gran.." Shunsui sputtered, then looked at Jyuushiro who had blushed a deep, glowing red. "He always does."
"Shunsui...don't say things like that."
"What, the truth?" Shunsui grinned at him.
Ukitake glanced to the side as Shunsui stepped out of tub, "Don't give her anymore ideas than she already has." he flushed an even deeper shade of red when Shunsui came up behind him, and lightly kissed the nape of his neck.
"Weirdo," Shunsui's warm breath puffed through Jyuushiro's hair; causing him to shiver, "Gran's a lot like me, her mind's always working overtime on pervy stuff."
"You're the weirdo, Shunsui,"
"What a snappy comeback," the larger man teased. "So where's my nice warm up?" Shunsui asked; arms spread wide, standing nearly naked in the falling snow.
Jyuushiro threw a heavy woolen robe at him and walked back into the cabin.
Chuckling, Shunsui followed him inside, "What's the matter Jyuu-chan?"
"Nothing what so ever," his breath was stolen away as Shunsui kissed him deeply. "Shun...your grandmother.."
"...isn't paying us the slightest bit of attention." he threaded long fingers through the pale hair. "Don't worry so much, she's fine with us being together. In fact she's probably the only one in my family who's opinion remotely matters to me, so just relax my love." he held Ukitake in his arms.
Moments later when Shunsui's grandmother reentered the room; Ukitake overcome with a bout of shyness, pushed out of his embrace causing Shunsui to frown.
Clucking quietly she 'accidentally' bumped into Ukitake causing him to tip forward directly into Shunsui's waiting arms.
"Thanks Gran" he gave his prize catch a quick squeeze.
"What are you thanking me for, silly boy? I simply tripped."
Shunsui was making purring noises much like a large contented cat.
"You must be more careful ma'am," Ukitake stated, "You could get hurt if you trip."
She stretched up on the tips of her toes and patted his cheek, "It's sweet of you to be so concerned dear, but I didn't get to this age by being careless."
"Gods know you're older than dirt anyway," Shunsui chimed in. his teasing earned him a kick to the shin by his aging yet feisty grandmother. "OW...DAMMIT GRAN!"
"Don't shout at me, that's rude."
"Don't kick my leg, pipsqueak," grumbled Shunsui petulantly as he half hopped on his non injured leg.
She glanced upward at Ukitake, "I honestly don't know why you've put up with his behavior for so long, he's such a brat."
"Maybe cause he loves me Gran."
"He's not the only one my dear boy," her eyes got a little misty looking.
"Does mom still come around?" Shunsui changed the subject again.
"Oh my yes! once a week she shows up with some lovely cakes and lovelier gossip,"
"You two and your gossip," Shunsui said jokingly.
Ukitake watched with mild amusement as the two bantered back and forth for several moments. It was a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in the cabin, and it was refreshing to just let it wash over him.
He must have dozed off; when he looked around he saw that several plates of food had been placed in different locations around the room, and Shunsui and his grandmother were snacking on little tidbits as they walked around the room; arguing , gossiping and trading stories. This was also their habit as was having a plate full of sweets at his own elbow.
"So are the two of you going to stay overnight this time?"
"I don't think so Gran"
"But your uniform's not dry yet," her brow wrinkled in concentration.
"Well it's not like I haven't gone back to the barracks with a wet uniform before, 'cause I've been totally drenched." Shunsui grinned. "Oh I get it...you want to hear the hot man sex."
Ukitake's fist made a satisfying smack when it hit Shunsui's arm.
"Hey you moved pretty quick there handsome." Shunsui gave him a lopsided grin, that nearly caused his knees to melt.
"Don't say such things you idiot."
The tiny woman smiled at both, then left them thunderstruck. "Bah! it wouldn't be the first time I heard such a thing."
"I don't think I wanna know Gran"
"No you really don't," she countered.
"Only now I kinda do," Shunsui's eyes grew large.
"No. You. Don't." her tone was clipped and forceful.
"You don't mean...Gods of thunder ew, ew, EW," at that point Ukitake clapped a hand over his mouth, a few remaining muffled groans of displeasure leaked through, then Shunsui stopped; took a hold of Jyuushiro's hand and kissed it tenderly.
A cough of obvious displeasure cut into the rooms warmth and Ukitake watched as Shunsui shut down, he pulled back and became a shell of his usually buoyant personality. It usually happened when a family member was around, and when his strict grandfather turned up Shunsui lapsed back into resentful silence.
"We really need to be getting back to the Seireitei now." Shunsui left the room and came back shortly fully dressed in his damp uniform.
"Shunsui?" Ukitake never liked when this change came over his friend. Sighing softly he touched Shunsui's arm, "Indeed we do have important work to do and don't you have the training of some new recruits?"
Taking the sly hint Shunsui nodded, "Yeah I do, there's a lot of responsibility being a captain of the Gotei 13." he bent down and embraced his grandmother; giving her a kiss on the cheek. "You take care Gran, I'll see you next month."
"You don't have to wait a whole month you big oaf." she turned to Jyuushiro and smiled warmly, "It was wonderful to see you again dear, make sure to take good care of my precious grandson."
Ukitake bent down and gave her a light hug only to have her whisper in his ear "Make him remember what it's like to be loved." he blinked several times and nodded.
Before they left, they bowed formally to Shunsui's grandparents and walked proudly out the cabin door.
"Are we going to just walk all the way back?" Ukitake glanced over at his silent companion. "It'll take most of the night that way."
"Do you think you're up to shunpo by your self?"
Taking a few moments to think carefully Jyuushiro shook his head, "No! I don't think I'm up to that kind of distance on my own."
"But you got so ill when I carried you here."
"That was only a temporary thing, it passed quickly," he slipped his arm through Shunsui's, bringing the bigger man to a halt, "You'll just have to make sure to take me directly to my room so I don't make a mess in front of others."
Shunsui scooped him up and rushed them both back to Ukitake's quarters. After cleaning up, they curled up together under the warm comforters.
"That was a nice visit, wasn't it?" Jyuushiro murmured against Shunsui's throat.
"Yeah till Gramps showed up."
"Don't let that overshadow the wonderful time you had with your grandmother, Shun."
Shunsui hummed happily as Ukitake's fingers caressed his jawline. "As long as I have the two of you...I'll be forever happy and grateful, don't ever leave me Jyuu"
"Not if I can help it." he sighed deeply when Shunsui's lips met his. "But right now I'm just too exhausted to do anything more than lay warm and content in your arms tonight."
Shunsui made an exasperated little huffing noise. "Party pooper Jyuu-chan." his fingers combed through the soft silvery-white hair, once more purring like a large contented cat.
"There's always tomorrow, right beautiful?"
Ukitake nodded as he fell asleep.