A/N: Evening all, (well it's evening here anyways.) Here's another chapter, like I said there'd be. it's not my best work, but it needs writing otherwise it will never get done. I'm probably not going to update again until after 26th November. I have a huge essay deadline to work for and It's 30% of my module mark. Gotta prioritize, even if the character's aren't happy. Thank you to Cuzo, noname12321 and S. Rune for their reviews. It means a lot.
Rei had a rule when she worked. A rule she stuck to meticulously. One rule: Never kiss on the mouth. A kiss on the mouth means romance, it means love and passion and all the things that were nothing to do with her work. It's a rule she never broke.
She didn't often let her feelings get in the way. Shuuhei was an exception but she usually didn't. You can't get attached to clients; that's what she always said.
She continued to push the t-shirt up, over his head; making sure he fingers stroked his back, gently. When he shivered a little at the touch she smiled.
She threw the t-shirt off to one side and leaned into his back, running her hands down the muscles on his back. She reached around to the front of his sweats and kissed his shoulder-blade, using just the right amount of teeth to make him gasp, but not to hurt.
She wasn't expecting him to grab her wrists and fling her around so she was up against the wall next to the basin, with him pressed up to her, his forehead resting against hers and his hands gently holding her arms.
"You…you don't have to say thank you like this, Rei." Kenji whispered to her.
She looked up into his eyes. His hair had fallen forward slightly. Rei smiled and touched his chest, "I know Kenji. It's up to you what we do now."
He looked down at the young woman against the wall. It wasn't that he didn't want it. He was hard and could hear the blood pumping in his ears, but it felt wrong somehow, like it always did. He shouldn't be taking this from her, even if she was willing to give it. She was more to him than that.
He leaned in and kissed her, gently on the mouth, waiting for her to react. At first she stiffened but Rei didn't fight, it was like she was trying to work out what to do.
After a few seconds Rei relaxed and returned the kiss. Kenji smirked when the broke apart, and grabbed her around the waist and carried her from the bathroom.
Shuuhei felt queasy when he opened his eyes. He was laid on something harsh and unforgiving. Pavement. He took a deep breath and rolled his eyes as he recognised the smell of wet tarmac. It was cold. The air he'd breathed in was so cold it made his chest burn.
He sat up slowly and opened his eyes. He wasn't where he expected. He was expecting the train station. He was expecting snow or sleet. He was expecting something different.
It was a city, some skyscrapers in the distance, but he was surrounded by old buildings that had been there for centuries, lining either side of the street of which he now stood. One particular building stood on the corner of an intersection. It was made of orange brick, with concrete and sandstone covings and ledges. There was an old clock on one of its sides, maybe a floor up. The pavement beneath his feet was made up of small paving stones, mostly beige, with grey ones, making a huge diamond pattern all across the street. It was similar to a place he'd seen in the living world.
Everything was wet and cold. The sky was grey, but it wasn't raining. The wind was blowing but it wasn't strong. It was as if the world was numb.
"You woke up?" a voice said from behind him
He turned to see Kazeshini sat on the floor, leaning against a lamp-post. The Zampaktou spirit wasn't shining like he usually did. His red aura was dull and lifeless, the spirit looked limp. The two scythes he was rarely ever parted from, were laid on the floor next to him.
"How are you feeling?" Shuuhei asked the spirit, looking around the empty street of his inner world.
"Head hurts." Grunted the Spirit in reply.
"What's going on?" Shuuhei asked turning back to look at the spirit.
Kazeshini shrugged causing Shuuhei to scowl. The spirit could be very dense at times, even if they didn't hate each other anymore. When he realised the shrug was all he was going to get, Shuuhei rolled his eyes and went for a walk.
He couldn't work out why everything was so cold. It was never cold here. Not since Kensei…
Shuuhei stopped dead.
What had happened? Was he alive? Was he all right?
Shuuhei turned around to look at the still for of his Zampaktou and decided not to ask anymore questions for now.
Kensei… thinking about the man-made his chest ache with longing. He felt sick and nervous and scared. Kensei was ill, something was wrong and there he was stuck in his inner world, with no idea how to get back to the Living World and Rei or Kensei. He sighed.
Shuuhei sat down on the kerb of an intersection and started to think about when his inner world had begun to change. It used to be a black and red chaotic mess, filled with sharp edges and dangerous corners, which represented his repressed Zampaktou and his fear of the angry, vengeful emotions he held deep inside.
Kensei had changed that, even before they got together. He made Shuuhei see that fear of his Zampaktou was unhealthy. To be wary and to respect ones Zampaktou was a better way to learn from it, to develop his relationship. Kensei had told him that for one hour everyday he should talk to Kazeshini. Once they managed to get a decent conversation flowing, Kensei let them spar together; teaching him to converse in battle and to not repress the emotions released in a fight, so that Shuuhei and Kazeshini could become more powerful and understand each other better. Kensei set about undoing the damage Tousen had done in his training.
When he and Kensei had started a relationship it was clear Kazeshini liked the presence of the man. Kazeshini would purr in the back of Shuuhei's mind, when Kensei stroked the hairs on the back of his neck. Shuuhei also learned, much later, that when he and Kensei made love, Tachikaze and the hollow, and Kazeshini could interact together, they fed off the other, their Zampaktou spirits and their reiatsu merged together. The four of them became a unit that worked together.
It was Kazeshini that suggested they left. It surprised Shuuhei, but it made sense to him when he thought about it. As Kazeshini said, it was his job to bring up the ideas Shuuhei unconsciously repressed.
Shuuhei sighed again feeling the spirit coming up behind him.
"It's cold here. It's never cold. Not since Kaze and the Hollow came." Kazeshini said, standing a little way back from him.
"It's because of what happened in Soul Society with Kensei… do you… is he alive?" Shuuhei asked the spirit, hoping he could offer an answer.
Kazeshini paused for a moment, before saying, "I think so. I can still feel them calling out to me, but it's like they're very far away."
Shuuhei sighed in relief. Kensei was alive that was all that mattered, right now.
"But I don't… I don't understand what happened…" Shuuhei said, looking at the spirit behind him.
"It's because they're here and I'm there." Kazeshini answered, "Because we can communicate even though we're apart, they were trying to reach us and we were too far away from them to find consciously, but we were drawn back to them."
Shuuhei nodded carefully, "So there's nothing we can do about it now?"
Kazeshini shook his head, "From what I saw, there's nothing we can do from here."
Shuuhei nodded again, cursing himself for leaving Kensei behind.
"I need to go and check on Shuuhei"
Kenji growled and tightened his arms around the young woman, making it perfectly clear he was not happy with this.
Rei sighed and turned to look at him, "I really need to check on him, and we could both do with a shower."
Kenji rolled his eyes at this but loosened him grip on Rei, allowing her to crawl out of bed. She had a few bruises on her body, some fading on her wrists, and on her legs, probably from overzealous clients. She was painfully thin. He could see the outline of her ribs as she moved around collecting her things from the floor.
"There's some clothes in the closet in the small room. They're from a while ago, but they're clean if you want them. It means you can wash what you've been wearing for the last few weeks. There's some of his stuff in there, so your friend can borrow that if he wants."
She turned around clad only in the underwear she'd picked up from the floor. She studied him carefully and then moved over to the bed and kissed him gently on the lips,
"Thank you Kenji."
With those whispered words she left him, to his thoughts. He ran his hand down his face and then through his hair. Kenji threw back the covers and walked to the bathroom. If he was going to start thinking deeply, he needed to have a shower. Thinking in bed was too difficult.
As she walked towards where Shuuhei was sleeping she managed to throw on her jeans and top, before she walked in to check on him. He was still murmuring in his sleep and his fever had dropped again. She smiled as she stroked his cheek gently.
She walked over to the closet and opened it to find everything neatly stacked. On one of the lover shelves, there were two piles of clothes. She searched through her pile first, knowing most of the clothes in it had belonged to her. She found a pair of jeans; a grey t-shirt and a black hoodie, that she was certain had belonged to a younger Kenji, before it passed onto his brother and then to her. She sighed and folded everything up before leaving it on the shelf, and searching through the other pile, trying to find something that might fit Shuuhei.
Eventually she settled on some jeans, and a t-shirt, both of which would be too big, but it meant he'd be able to wash his stuff.
While she was putting the things away, she heard Shuuhei shuffle in his sleep. Rei walked over and knelt beside him, testing his temperature again, with a hand on his forehead.
Shuuhei's eyes opened slightly, "Rei…?"