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Chapter Nine:

~ The Last Words ~

Ahem, once again I have wriggled a secret entry into Shunsui's work, do forgive me but I do rather desire to get my point across as well. I am a little out of practice however, so do bear with me while I find my footing... Here goes.

I believe an apt place to pick up his story would be a little while later, a skip of 9 months to be exact. To be explanatory I will add that in the duration of which I am skipping to, our powers grew more and more advanced as did our ability to fight with Yamamoto-Sensei in his lessons. We learned more and more about what would be expected of us when we became Taichou and we sat several exams to ensure that what we were learning was going into our heads. We excelled further in Zanjustsu, the basic sword fighting technique which includes using our Zanpakto; in Hohô which is the high speed combat movement which utilized Shunpo this would be manipulated greatly by Division Two and the Stealth Force when it was finalised; although Shunsui excelled best in this, we both improved greatly in Hakuda which is the unarmed fighting style which makes use of one's own body, and finally Kidou which was my forte.

We also got to command a small group of fellow students twice a week to improve our command skills and get us used to working in a position of authority. We both enjoyed that bit a lot. Especially when we were allowed to go into battle with each other's team and see whose tactical and strategic minds were the best!

Oh, and in that time Divisions One, Two, Three, Four, Six and Thirteen had been completed and construction had begun on Five, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve. It was now just a matter of finding suitable Captains to run them! Of course, Yamamoto-Sensei would take One, the Shihouen Noble Clan would be taking Two, Four had become a healing station with a hospital and healers, Six had been taken by the Kuchiki's and Division Thirteen had been promised to me, which I was very excited about!

And thus, before I get totally carried away, I will now commence the time skip of 9 months.

~ The Last Words ~






The two youths continued this pattern as they tried to land a successful hit on their sensei, it was that time of the week again and they were both already exhausted from the hour long battle which they had been roped into; they had both been able to get much closer to Yamamoto but neither of them had actually managed to hit him yet. It appeared that he had been going easy on them from the beginning and he was releasing more of his power as they grew stronger, which made for good practice and meant that they were constantly being challenged to push themselves further and harder.

Sweat was rolling off their faces and soaking through their clothes as they continually rushed at the bearded man and were cast back aside. Their breathing was laboured and their muscles aching, but neither of them relented in the slightest.

Jest was abandoned as they rushed him from different sides, both flitting between his attacks which they had come to know very well as they got inches closer and were then knocked away again.

They landed in a heap together, limb sticking in awkward angles, bodies nearly skewed by Zanpakto and minds nearly numb from overuse.

"How... The hell... Are we...Meant to... Fight him?" Shunsui panted as they detangled themselves, "He's a machine!"

"I have... No idea!" Jushiro replied, gasping for breath and wheezing slightly, "He doesn't... Have any weaknesses at all!"

"Water would... Be a good weakness... And someone who... Who moved really... Really fast..." the brunet noted as he sat up, his chest still heaving.

"Neither... Of which we have!" the other retorted, flopping down on the grass to recover.

"Good point..."

Shunsui looked at the two swords he was holding and sighed as he used them to help him stand, "Why don't we give that a go?" he asked.

"But we haven't practiced enough, against Katsuki it was fluke! If it goes wrong we'll be in Division Four's hospital for a month!" he protested.

"Yes, but on the plus side we might stand a chance of actually defeating him for a change! Come on Jushiro!"

"Alright..." he complained and stood up as well.

They lifted their dual weapons at the same time and pointed them both at Yamamoto, "Wave becomes my shield! Lightening becomes my blade! Sôgyo No Kotowari!"

"When the flower wind rages, the flower god roars. When the wind of heaven rages, the god of the underworld sneers: Katen Kyokotsu!"

As their reiatsu rose and twinned together, flaring and spitting at Yamamoto's growled in response and the elderly man smirked very slightly, lifting his sword in preparation for the barrage of pain he was about to experience.

There was no warning before they moved, in perfect unison; both of their blades spinning like whirlwinds towards him, coordinated and deadly. He narrowly escaped with having the tip of his beard cut off before he was attacked again and he was forced onto the defensive under the bombardment of blows.

"Bushogoma!" Shunsui exclaimed, snapping his Falchion blades around and whipping up a dual blast of wind and reiatsu which sent Yamamoto reeling right into Jushiro's waiting attack.

The white haired youth appeared in a flash and hooked the thick rope which linked his swords around his sensei's waist and yanked him back against him, wrapping his arms and legs around him before he pressed a hand against the older man's chest, "Carriage of thunder, bridge of spinning wheel. With light, divide this into six. Byakudo 61: Rikujokoro!" he shot away as soon as the Kidou formed completely and prevented Yamamoto from moving and appeared beside Shunsui again.

"Ye lord! Mask of flesh and bone, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! Truth and temperance, upon this sinless wall of dreams unleash but slightly the wrath of your claws! Hadou 33: Soukatsui!" the two students yelled together, two pairs of hands pointing directly at their captured Sensei as two sets of untendered lightening fired towards him, obliterating whatever came before it.

They both winced as there was a cataclysmic explosion which knocked them both off their feet, caused their Zanpakto to revert to their katana forms and showered them in a plume of thick dust; they wondered momentarily if their attack had been a little too ferocious, but as Yamamoto suddenly appeared in front of them they were set at ease.

"Very impressive boys," he nodded, sporting an impressive gash on his arm and several large scorch marks, "I am astounded by your progress in such a short amount of time. Keep up with your studies and you will be ready in no time. From now on, these extra lessons will be cut down to three days a week, and we will focus further on your social understanding than your battle tactics."

"Thanks Sensei," they grinned sheepishly at the news.

"Don't think I won't still test you sometimes, we'll need to ensure you continue to grow. But at the moment I am content with your progress. Run along, I need to organise the repair of this training ground..." he trailed off as he looked around at the devastation the pair had caused and shook his head.

Shunsui and Jushiro shared a look before flash-stepping off as fast as they could before he changed his mind and pounded them into the ground again.

"That was amazing!" Jushiro exclaimed as they raced each other across the rooftops.

"Told you it would work, but I am still surprised that it did! We make a hell of a team!" the brunet replied with a huge grin, "We should celebrate! Sake all around!"

"No chance! We have another exam tomorrow! We are revising!" the white haired youth responded with a shake of his head.

"Ah yeah... I forgot about that..." he sighed, "Alright, maybe just a treat of hot chocolate with marshmallows then?"

"Mm... Are you buying?" Jushiro beamed like a child in a sweet shop.

Shunsui sighed and laughed, "I walked into that one... Alright, come on, we'll pick up two mugs and head back to our room to do some revision like you want."

"Yes!" he punched the air and sped up, jumping down from the rooftops as they reached Rukongai.

Five minutes later, they exited the cafe with to steaming mugs of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and squirty cream; the owner had become so used to them making stops that he let them leave with his mugs because they always brought them back and they were polite to him.

They sipped the sweet drinks as they walked and before long they had arrived back at the student accommodation; they headed up to their room quietly and slipped inside, both plonking down on Shunsui's bed as they continued to slurp at their drinks eagerly.

"Mmm! It's so good!" Jushiro half purred as he swallowed several semi-melted mallows.

"It is pretty darn good." The other agreed happily as he finished his drink quickly and set the mug on the side.

The paler of the two stared, "You can't have finished it already?! Whatever happened to preserving it?"

"What good does that do? If you wait too long the chocolate goes cold the mallows stick together."

"Meh... I like savouring it." He pouted.

Shunsui laughed and leaned over, wiping his friend's cream moustache off his top lip; he paused suddenly with his hand cupping his cheek and he looked at him, searching his eyes. Jushiro on the other hand, had pinked at the cheeks and was staring a little dumbly at him; his eyes were wider than normal and the last few sips of his hot chocolate forgotten as his breath hitched and his heart pounded roughly in his chest.

Meeting in the middle, their lips melded and Jushiro's mug was removed from his hands and set aside before Shunsui's bolder hands returned and clasped around his friend's lithe waist, pulling him closer as they kissed.

He had been good since that kiss in the hospital, not wanting to pressure Jushiro; not wanting to make him uncomfortable and ruin their friendship for a second time. But he could no longer hold back, it had been months since he had even cast his eye at another woman; he had his eyes fixed on Jushiro alone, wondering if he would ever get a chance to explore his body again, to cleanse it in the most final way of Katsuki's poison.

Jushiro was surprisingly malleable under his hands, already flushed and whimpering from the simple but suggestive touches; full moans and gasps were swallowed by Shunsui's accepting mouth as he slowly laid him back on the bed and leaned over him, running a hand down his chest and untying the blue obi around his middle; he threw it aside and pushed the cream kosode open to reveal the smooth; flawless alabaster torso.

He ran his hands down his chest, his tanned skin in stark contrast with his friends paler skin; he freed their mouths from their lip lock and began sucking and nipping down his neck, smiling slightly at the keening whines which escaped the kiss bruised lips of his friend.

Shunsui stopped suddenly when Jushiro began coughing, a disgustingly wet sound emanating from his throat and chest; despite the pleasure coursing through the small youth's body there was no mistaking the pain which flashed across his face as the coughing refused to relent and he ended up curling up on his side under Shunsui's warm body, shaking and jolting with the force of the coughing fit he had been subjected to.

The brunet half flew off the bed and grabbed a glass of cold water; he rushed back over and helped Jushiro to sit up, still trembling with the strength of the coughing. Guiding the glass to his shaking lips, Shunsui watched in concern as his friend's eyes glazed over and, if humanly possible, he grew exceedingly ashen and weak.

The water did nothing to sooth the thick, wet sounding cough and Shunsui was beginning to panic. His eyes widened as he watched bright red blood dribble from between his friend's fingers and he stood up, intent on getting help.

"J-Just sit here and... And I'll be right back... With help, someone; anyone would can help. Stay calm and... And stay here..." he stammered, throwing the door to their room open before he half sprinted down the corridor.

He swore fluently when he rounded the corner and was knocked to the ground by another person coming the opposite way; he looked up and paled as he saw it was the highly terrifying Unohana Retsu, their fellow student.

"What are you doing running around like a crazed animal, Kyoraku-san?" she asked in a sweet tone, her expression anything by sweet.

"I... I'm trying to find someone to help Jushiro!" he exclaimed as he picked himself back up and tried to pass her, only to have her arm cut off the exit.

"What is wrong with Ukitake-san?" she asked her tone no longer sweet but concerned instead.

He stared for a moment before speaking in a rush of words, "He's had this cough for months now, ever since that whole thing with Katsuki... But now it won't stop; I got him some water and it didn't help and now he is coughing up blood!"

"Take me to him, please." She commanded.

"What? No I need to go and get help!" he protested.

Her expression changed instantly and she smiled, "Kyoraku-san, please take me to Ukitake-san."

He trembled at her expression and swallowed, smiling shakily, "Ahh... Of course ma'am... This way..."

They rushed back down the corridor to Shunsui and Jushiro's shared room and the brunet male pushed the door open, revealing the state his roommate was in.

Jushiro was on his hands and knees on the floor, blood was dripping down his front as his cough gave no signs of letting up and he was trembling from head to toe; his eyes were streaming from a mixture of fear and pain as his chest rattled and his head spun from the increase in his blood pressure.

Casting aside the books she had been carrying, Retsu rushed over to him and knelt down, cupping his face and looking in his eyes before she held her long black hair out of the way and listened to his chest and his laboured breathing; she sat back and held up her hands, a pale apple green glow simmered into life and she pushed it into his chest.

"Please fetch some towels and a warm; wet flannel Kyoraku-san." She requested as she pushed her reiatsu into the pale male's body, using it to examine him and see what was wrong, just like her Sensei had been teaching her.

Shunsui was eager to comply, both to help his friend and to prevent the scary lady from smiling at him again, he returned with the towels and dropped them down beside her before he rushed off and got the wetted flannel; he carried it through and knelt down behind Jushiro, supporting him while he was examined.

"Rest the flannel on his forehead, we shall cool him down and then was the blood away." She told him and watched as he did as he was told before returning her full concentration to what she was doing.

Using her reiatsu, she was able to sooth his coughing until he began to calm and finally stop altogether, and she tried to eradicate the cause which seemed to be a severe case of Chronic Bronchitis which had been left to fester without treatment. As he stopped coughing, the young man fell back against Shunsui in exhaustion and trembled slightly.

"We should get him to the nurse or to Division Four as soon as possible, he needs antibiotics, I would think they would work best if they were given intravenously too so I would suggest Division Four would be the best place to take him." She said as she took the flannel from his forehead and began wiping his mouth and chest clear of blood.

"Okay, I'll take him straight away, thank you for helping." He said shakily.

"I will come with you, I have to see my Sensei anyway." She offered.

"Your Sensei?"

"Yeah, I'm going into Division Four when I graduate as Fuku-Taichou." She murmured as they made Jushiro fit to travel.

"Wow, congratulations." He murmured and scooped his friend up in his arms.

"My thanks, I hear the two of you are to be Taichou when you both graduate, am I correct?" she inquired as they walked swiftly down the stairs and towards the newly built medical Division.

"Yeah that's right." He confirmed.

"Well done."

They walked hurriedly and with purpose until the Division came into view and they relaxed slightly, Shunsui watched her as she walked, sensing great strength, and power within her which was hidden beneath her delicate appearance.

"What you did... It was really amazing, Retsu." He commented as they passed through the front gates.

"Is this another lame attempt at you 'chatting me up' Kyoraku-san?" she asked stoically as she led the way towards the hospital building.

"Huh? What? No!" he exclaimed, his arms tightening around Jushiro unconsciously, "No I mean it... I couldn't do that and it was amazing the way you took control and helped... I was panicking and I would have messed up otherwise..."

She glanced at the way he held the half unconscious male in his arms and smiled slightly, "Oh, my apologies for misjudging you. Thank you, I have been training hard with my Sensei and future Taichou, it has been gruelling work but most enjoyable and rewarding."

"It seems right up your tree." He agreed before falling silent as they entered the hospital.

Right away he felt a little anxious, the white walls; the clinical smell; the medical staff rushing around in aprons and latex gloves. A shudder ran through him as he strode alongside the black haired woman but he tried to ignore it and focused instead on the man in his arms who was still waxen and fragile.

Retsu brought them to a stop outside of an office room and she knocked on the door before going inside and gesturing for Shunsui to remain outside. He closed his eyes and listened to the muffled voices inside the room; she returned to few moments later and smiled.

"My Sensei agrees with my diagnosis from my description and has requested that we admit Ukitake-san for the night to administer antibiotics. Please follow me and we will put him in a private room so he can get some peace and quiet." She rested a hand on his shoulder and directed him down another corridor and into a small unoccupied room.

He laid his friend on the bed and stepped back so that she and the troop of nurses she had called could do their work hooking him up to intravenous antibiotics and fluids to keep him hydrated. He sighed heavily and sat down, knowing he should have forced him to get that stupid cough seen to sooner.

And rather annoyingly, he was still aroused from the idea of finally taking Jushiro again earlier. Fate was a bitch.

~ The Last Words ~

Shunsui blamed himself for a long time for my sickness, although I later discovered that it had likely been caused by Katsuki when he had been trying to eat my reiatsu. I still have bad patches where I get quite sick but when I do Shunsui is there to look after me.