Three years had passed by and Tōshirō's eighteenth birthday had come around. He had moved in with Rangiku back when he had first asked the woman, his brother having said that it was fine. They were celebrating in the backyard of Matsumoto's home with the boy's friends and family. It wasn't a large party; Tōshirō didn't care much for large gatherings and only wanted to be with his most important people.
Tōshirō and Rangiku were sitting at the table underneath the shelter at the back of the house, eating their lunch happily as they conversed, looking around at the people who had arrived. Ichigo, Renji, and the rest of their school group had shown up and were sitting in their own corner, seemingly talking about the present they had bought for Tōshirō.
Lisa, Tōshirō's therapist, had come, showing not only her support for the boy, but also how proud she was of how far he had come from the scared little child she used to know. She was standing by one of the other tables, talking to Shunsui and Nanao, holding the child the two of them had had together. Starrk stood a little further away, talking to Lisa's blond partner, Rose. The brunet was waiting for Jūshirō to arrive, having been invited personally by the white-haired man.
"She's very pretty," Lisa said softly as she admired Shunsui and Nanao's two-year old daughter.
Shunsui smiled brightly, his child being the centre of his world. "Her name is Ururu(1)." The brunet's hand travelled down to his fiancée's stomach, rubbing gently. "We have another one on the way."
"Congratulations." Lisa smile back. "You both must be very proud."
"We are." Nanao rested her head on Shunsui's shoulder, sighing happily. "We've been trying for years."
Lisa looked back down at the sleeping girl in her arms. She saw that the child had black hair and, unlike her father, it was straight and short, reaching only to the small of her back. Her face was round like her mother's, and Yadomaru had a feeling she would grow up to resemble her mother the most.
"Why isn't Ukitake-san here?" Lisa asked, pulling a plastic chair out from under the table and sitting by Shunsui's side. "I thought for sure he wouldn't miss this. Is he ill again?"
Shunsui shook his head, his eyes glinting with such happiness, it was uncommon even for the brunet. "He'll be here soon with Byakuya; they have to... pick something up."
Nanao smile softly at these words, nodding. "Yes."
Lisa nodded, wondering what the two males could have needed. She didn't question it and instead continued talking with her friends.
Back with Tōshirō and Rangiku, the two smiled as they overheard snippets of the other adults' conversation. They were excited about what Jūshirō and Byakuya would be bringing here and they almost couldn't wait.
Tōshirō stood up to stretch, smiling softly at Rangiku. He still had not grown very much at all within the past couple of years, his full height reaching only up to the beginning of his brother's chest, and Jūshirō was a bit over six foot.
"I'm going to see Ichigo and the others, okay?" Tōshirō called over his shoulder to Rangiku as he started to walk. "Are you coming?"
Rangiku grinned and followed her boyfriend, always eager for socialising. The two made themselves comfortable within the circle the others had made, not knowing what they were talking about, but joining in anyway.
"I've seen that movie," Tōshirō said softly, overhearing the title of a newly released movie. He smiled softly when attention turned to him.
"Really?" Orihime smiled, scooting closer to her friend. "What was it like?"
Tōshirō shrugged. "I saw it with Jūshirō last week. I didn't really like it, but he did. I found it to be rather boring."
Rukia laughed. "That's what nii-sama said. He didn't like it either."
Rangiku smiled. "Then I guess I know not to go and see it myself."
Ichigo and Renji nodded before they argued over who got the last sausage roll, neither of them willing to give it up.
"I had it first, Ichigo!" Renji snapped, tugging at the food that was trapped in both of their hands. "Give it back!"
"No!" Ichigo growled. "I had it first! It's mine!"
"There's more inside..." Tōshirō said softly, a hint of disapproval in his voice. "Don't fight over everything."
As if ignoring the last part of Tōshirō's sentence, the two older boys raced inside, their competitive streak taking over.
"Idiots..." Tōshirō mumbled to himself as he shook his head. He froze when a familiar voice spoke from behind him before a huge grin crossed his face.
"Surely you can't be talking about me, can you?" Jūshirō said from behind his brother.
Tōshirō spun around with an excited look on his face. He grinned when he found his brother and Byakuya standing behind them, their arms full and tired, yet happy, expressions on their faces. "You have them?!"
Jūshirō smiled and nodded, kneeling down so that his brother could see the child he had in his arms. It had silver hair tied back in a ponytail and wore a baggy blue sweater, a peaceful expression on its sleeping face. One that looked exactly like it was in Byakuya's arms as a small boy with chin length raven hair stood beside him, looking a bit anxious but nonetheless happy.
"What are their names?" Tōshirō whispered, not wanting to wake his brother's newly adopted child.
"This is Sogyo," Jūshirō nodded to the kid in his arms before he tilted his head in Byakuya's direction, "and that is Koto. They're twin boys, and they are seven."
"They're so cute." Tōshirō smiled at his brother, knowing that having that child in his arms would mean the world to Jūshirō.
Jūshirō flinched instinctively as strong arms wrapped around him from behind, but he relaxed almost instantly when he heard his best friend's soothing voice.
"So these are the children you wanted?" Shunsui asked, resting his chin on Jūshirō's shoulder in a lazy manner. He smiled down at the two boys being held before his gaze moved to the raven-haired boy by Byakuya's side. "Hello, Hanatarō-kun. How are you today?"
The boy named Hanatarō smiled shyly up at the brunet before he replied. "I-I'm good, thank you, Kyōraku-san. Byakuya and Jūshirō take good care of me."
Rangiku squealed excitedly as she looked at the twins. She reached out to take the one Jūshirō was holding, and she couldn't have been any more joyful than when Ukitake handed Sogyo over without hesitation.
"They're so cute!" Rangiku squealed again, hugging the twin tightly against her.
"The man who helped us with the adoption said that they are a handful." Jūshirō smiled as he moved to lean against Byakuya. "Byakuya and I had agreed to adopt one child first and see how we handled it before we adopted anymore. I had wanted the twins since I first saw them last year, but Byakuya said we may not be ready for twins just yet and, if we ever were, we would come back if they were still looking for new parents. Byakuya chose Hanatarō-kun almost immediately, and I have to admit that I wanted him, too."
"Hanatarō-kun is lovely, Juu," Shunsui said as he moved away from his friend and instead came to the boy's side, hugging Hanatarō in a friendly manner. "You have done a very good job on raising him, and I'm sure the twins will love you both."
"Thank you," Byakuya said quietly, reaching out to take his partner's hand. He looked at the two black-haired women who had arrived by their side, Ururu now back in her mother's arms, and Rose and Starrk were just behind them, talking about their interests.
Jūshirō quickly got to his feet and hugged Starrk tightly, thanking him for coming to his brother's birthday. He kissed the brunet's cheek before he pulled away, talking happily about the boys he had just adopted.
Starrk listened patiently, asking a few questions here and there. He nodded politely at Byakuya when Kuchiki came to Jūshirō's side, receiving the same acknowledgement from the younger man. He was just happy that Jūshirō was much better, the scars from his trauma still apparent, but much less severe than they had been.
Ukitake was still afraid of being alone, which was one of the reasons that had led to him and Byakuya adopting, and he still suffered Depression, but he hadn't cut himself or made any attempts on his life for quite a while now.
"Tōshirō is doing the cake now," Byakuya said softly, running his thumb across Jūshirō's pale cheek in affection. He reached down and took the frail hand in his, sending a soft smile Starrk's way as he lead the white-haired man away.
The twins the two had adopted were with Hanatarō, seemingly still uncertain about being around so many new people, but it didn't take them long to accept the others. They were running around, playing tag with Hanatarō, terrorising the cat Rangiku owned as they chased it around the backyard.
Jūshirō was the last to get a piece of cake, having hung back so that he could talk to Tōshirō. However, once they were alone, Hitsugaya was the first to speak between them.
"I'm glad you're still here, Jūshirō..." Tōshirō whispered, his eyes shining with pain as he smiled sadly. "I'm sorry if I was a bad brother when you needed someone to support you; I just didn't know what to do and it... hurt..."
Jūshirō carefully placed his plate down on the table and hugged his brother. He kissed the younger's cheek before he looked into the green orbs. "Shiro-chan... You're my brother, and I love you. I understand; I really do. Not everyone is cut out for caring for depressed people. And honestly; I, too, am glad that I am still here. I would have missed out on all of this if I wasn't."
Tōshirō buried his face into his brother's chest, returning the embrace. "No matter what... never leave me...?"
"I promise, Shiro-chan." Jūshirō whispered, intending on keeping that promise. "...I promise you, no matter what..."
1 – I don't really like putting OC's in if I can help it, so I've just added in Ururu to avoid that.