So I saw a questionnaire on Cuzosu's profile and thought I'd take a stab at them. One of the questions was to write a summary for a Ukitake/Urahara fic. My answer was this:
Juushiro remembers the awkward, nervous gait of the blonde former shinigami when he was first promoted as a captain. The man had been young, almost innocent-looking, then. But now, hardened by decades of exile, Urahara Kisuke is anything but innocent. Juushiro aches to lift the striped hat off and run his fingers through the shock of blond hair, to look deeply into those intelligent eyes, to assure Kisuke that he can trust him, that Jyuushiro would not abandon him like the rest of Gotei 13 had. Yet, as he looks into that guarded face, he knows that it will be a long, long time before Kisuke would ever allow himself to open his heart to believe anyone again.
To my surprise, Cuzosu suggested that I try my hand at this fic, and I thought, why not? Here's an expanded version of a potential Ukitake/Urahara story. Nothing racy just yet.
The Winter War was over. Finally, Aizen had been defeated and sealed away, and shall remain so for as long as Soul Society still exists. Seireitei, however, was still coming to terms with its casualties, the painful cost of the war. Every division in the Gotei 13 had lost people; good, brave warriors who gave their lives to protect and defend Soul Society and the world of the living. It would be a long, difficult path to recovery, but Ukitake Juushiro believed that they will, one day, look back to this day and feel proud of themselves, of the people who had sacrificed their lives to secure the future.
How ironic, though, that the person who ultimately took down Aizen was the one man that Soul Society had banished more than a century ago. An outcast, a brilliant scientist, former captain; Urahara Kisuke had been the most critical key to their victory in the war. Given, he was the man who invented the hogyoku in the first place, but despite the treatment he had received from Soul Society, he remained an ally and fought by their side.
The new Center 46 had lifted the restrictive order on the man, and he was now free to enter Soul Society if he wishes to, but Juushiro knew that Urahara Kisuke would not take up the offer to return to the Gotei 13. He was now a free man, why would he want to be bound to such an old, stifling organization again?
"Ah, so many years have passed, and you still have the same faraway look in your eyes, senpai," a smooth, melodious voice interrupted Juushiro's thoughts. The white-haired captain turned to find the very man he was thinking about standing behind him, watching him with curious eyes and an upturned mouth.
"Kisuke-san," Juushiro said warmly. "Old people tend to look like that."
Kisuke laughed. "You have not changed one bit," he commented, taking in the older captain's long white hair, lean and graceful frame, and boyish eyes.
Juushiro noted the movement of the younger man's eyes, and surprised himself by feeling a slight flush on his own face. "And you've grown up," he replied, his voice laced with a touch of pride.
If Kisuke had noticed Juushiro's blush, he did not show it, nor did he protest the playful jab. Instead, he simply looked away and stared into the expansive lake before which they stood. The surface of the water gleamed under the evening sun, as if every sparkle of light was a promise, a promise of a better tomorrow. Juushiro found himself looking at the face of the man now standing next to him.
Juushiro remembered the awkward, nervous gait of the blonde former shinigami when he was first promoted as a captain. The man had been young, almost innocent-looking, then. But now, hardened by decades of exile, Urahara Kisuke was anything but innocent. Juushiro ached to lift the striped hat off and run his fingers through the shock of blond hair, to look deeply into those intelligent eyes, to assure Kisuke that he can trust him, that Juushiro would not abandon him like the rest of Gotei 13 had last time. Yet, as he looked into that guarded face, he knew that it would be a long, long time before Kisuke would ever allow himself to open his heart to believe anyone again.
"I know you fought for us," Kisuke said quietly, his voice deep and thoughtful.
The sudden unspoken display of gratitude caught Juushiro by surprise. Yes, he had fought for them. Back when Hirako Shinji, Muguruma Kensei, and the others were first discovered as unknown hybrids of shinigami and hollow, back when Central 46 wanted to execute them, Juushiro had pleaded for their pardon. As had Kisuke. But their pleas were stubbornly denied, which ultimately led to the Vizards' escape and Kisuke's exile.
"I only wish I could've done more," Juushiro whispered, remembering the anguish from a century ago.
The younger man chuckled under his breath. Juushiro heard a hint of wistfulness, perhaps a little regret, and even guilt in that one soft sound. "Trust me, you have done enough." He lifted a hand to adjust his hat as he peered across the lake, as if he wanted to see what's beyond it. His brows furrowed against the sunlight despite the hat.
"My cottage is just a few minutes' walk away," Juushiro found himself saying. "The cold air is, I'm afraid, not good for me." He tried to sound nonchalant, fully expecting that Kisuke to decline the subtle invitation.
To his surprise, the blonde-haired man turned to him with a smile. "I wouldn't mind a cup of tea," he said.
Was it Juushiro's imagination, or was that a small glint of delight and relief in the man's eyes? "Certainly," Juushiro said, and spread his arms in a welcoming gesture. Pulling his hat lower—so low that Juushiro could no longer see his eyes, Kisuke nodded and followed.
As the sun cast its final rays onto the smooth surface of the water, the two men walked.
I've been writing Shuuhei and Renji all this while, this feels kinda refreshing, so I might actually expand it a little. Thoughts?