Tōshirō was quite content to stay by Rangiku's side as they walked through the shopping complex together, hand-in-hand. The Hitsugaya was short enough to pass off as a ten-year-old, so the cover story was that he was her son whenever anyone asked about them.
"I just want to have a look at some makeup, okay?" Rangiku smiled as she lead Tōshirō in the direction of the cosmetics store.
Tōshirō mumbled something inaudible as a pout crossed his face. He didn't understand why girls always obssessed over such petty things, but he didn't argue as he was pulled onto the escalator. He was silent as he stuck close to Rangiku, holding his dragon teddy close to him.
Said people turned as their name was called. They smiled as Rukia ran towards them.
"Hey, Rukia." Rangiku reached out and messed up her friend's hair. "What are you doing here?"
"Shopping with nii-sama." Rukia jerked her thumb over her shoulder as her brother approached them in a slow pace. "He said he'll buy me a rabbit today!"
Rangiku cooed in excitement at the idea of being able to hold a rabbit. She leant down and brushed hair out of Tōshirō's face. "Hear that, Shiro-chan? Rukia is getting a rabbit and I can hold it!"
"She never said you could hold it," Tōshirō corrected. "She merely stated Byakuya was buying her one."
Rangiku pouted and folded her arms across her chest. "Alright, Mr. Grumpypants."
A small smile crossed Tōshirō's face. He buried his face in against Rangiku's stomach as he wrapped his arms around her middle section.
"Good morning, Tōshirō-kun, Matsumoto-chan." Byakuya nodded his head politely at each of his sister's friends.
"I told you they were dating!" Rukia pointed an accusing finger at the two. "But you didn't believe me!"
"You are truly dating?" Byakuya raised a slender eyebrow at the two before him.
Rangiku nodded. "We are. We've been dating for about two weeks now."
Byakuya offered a small smile towards the younger ones, but a flash of pain briefly crossed his dark eyes. "Congratulations. I assume that Jūshirō is happy about this?"
Tōshirō flinched at these words. "…He… doesn't know…"
"Oh? Why not?"
Tōshirō shrugged. "…I… I just don't think he'd be happy…"
"Nonsense." Byakuya placed a hand on Tōshirō's shoulder. "He'd be overjoyed. He's told me that he fears the trauma has been too much for you. This news would mean the world to him."
Tōshirō looked up into the dark eyes. "Are you sure?"
Byakuya nodded before he straightened up and glanced at Rukia. "We need to get going. It was good to see you both again. Let's go, Rukia."
Rukia hugged her two friends goodbye before she chased after her brother. Tōshirō and Rangiku continued on their walk, happy to be with each other.
Tōshirō thought about Byakuya's words and if Jūshirō truly wanted such a thing for him. …Well, it did make sense…
"Rangiku?" Tōshirō tugged on his girlfriend's sleeve. He bit his lip in uncertainty as he thought about how to ask her what he wanted. "…Will you… come to my house tonight… You know…? So we can tell Jūshirō together…?"
Rangiku smiled. "Of course we can. When do you need to be home by tonight?"
"Jūshirō said he wants to have dinner with me, so around six will be good."
Rangiku nodded. "Alright. Sounds good."
Tōshirō smiled up at his elder, happy to know that Rangiku was going to be with him when he told his brother about his new relationship tonight.
"…Hey, Jūshirō…?" Tōshirō looked up from his plate and at his brother.
Jūshirō smiled at the younger. "What is it?"
"…" Tōshirō gulped as he thought about what he could say. He glanced at Rangiku who was sitting next to him. "…Well, first of all… Thank you for letting Rangiku have dinner with us…"
"You know it's okay, Shiro-chan." Jūshirō lifted a few strands of his spaghetti to his lips, chewing carefully so that it was easier for him to swallow. He glanced at Rangiku and smiled cheerfully at her. "Your friends are always welcome to come over."
Tōshirō smiled back. He glanced down at his lap as he tried to speak about what he truly wanted to. He sighed after a few seconds and, after making sure Jūshirō was still watching, he crawled onto Rangiku's lap and placed his lips over hers.
Jūshirō made a small noise as he smiled brighter than he had in a while. He waited until he had swallowed his food before he spoke, his voice much happier than it usually was these days.
"Oh, Shiro-chan, I'm so happy!" Ukitake wiped a single tear from his eye before he ran over and pulled the two younger ones into his arms. "I thought you would not want to have a relationship but I'm so happy that you're alright! And Rangiku-chan~ Thank you so much for taking care of my precious brother!"
Rangiku smiled and returned the embrace in a gentle manner, aware of the fact that Jūshirō got frightened if he felt like he was being restrained.
Jūshirō returned to his seat, rambling and asking questions about their relationship. Tōshirō was too shy to answer a lot of the time, so Rangiku filled the Ukitake in on just about everything they had done together since starting their relationship.
"Rangiku…?" And just like that, Jūshirō suddenly looked unsure of himself as his voice wavered. He fiddled slightly before he continued on, looking greatly uncomfortable. "…You have to promise me you'll never take advantage of him, okay…?"
"You have my word, Jūshirō-san." Rangiku reached over and took the pale hand in her own. "Until he decides he is ready – if he ever decides that – I will never do anything he isn't comfortable with."
Jūshirō smiled weakly. "T-thank you, Rangiku… I trust you with him."
Rangiku returned the smile. She looked down at the boy in her lap and ran a hand through his hair. "I should get going, too. Thank you for letting me spend dinner with you both, Jūshirō-san."
Just as Rangiku moved Tōshirō over to his own chair and stood up, ready to leave, a tiny hand gripped her sleeve, halting her movement. She turned back to face her young boyfriend with a curious expression.
"…Please, stay the night…?" Tōshirō sent a pleading expression her way.
"I don't know, Shiro-chan," Rangiku said in a gentle manner. "You've got to get some rest and I haven't got a change of clothes with me."
"Please?" Tōshirō stood up and wrapped his arms around the girl's middle. "Jūshirō, can Rangiku please spend the night?"
Jūshirō gave a soft look to his brother. "I know you want her to stay, but it's up to Rangiku, okay? I'm happy for her to stay the night, but you can't force her."
Rangiku finally gave in, unable to resist the puppy-dog eyes any longer. "Fine – but you owe me a glass of sake!"
Tōshirō giggled, pleased with the results of his begging. He pushed his plate away and grabbed his girlfriend's hand, leading her to his bedroom.
Jūshirō just sighed and looked down at his plate. He had to eat so slowly out of no choice of his own that he had barely made a dent in his food while Rangiku and Tōshirō had both finished their own dinner.
The white-haired male stood up and carried his plate to the bench. He covered it with plastic and placed it in the fridge before he turned to grab the two empty dishes. He filled the sink with water as he prepared to do the dishes, but his mind was focused on Tōshirō's news.
Jūshirō was truly happy for his brother, but it made him think about what Shunsui was trying to push he and Byakuya into. He wanted to say yes – he really did – but he was scared his brother would react negatively for his choices in sexuality.
Maybe… since Tōshirō had trusted him enough to tell him about his own relationship… Jūshirō could do the same.
Rangiku was fast asleep that night in Tōshirō's bed, said boy in her arms, when loud whimpers and cries awoke her. She blinked and sat up, knowing that it wasn't the Hitsugaya making them.
"Jūshirō-san…?" Rangiku mumbled to herself as she stood up and made her way out of the bedroom. She knew that Jūshirō had nightmares most nights because Tōshirō tended to lose a lot of sleep when he did.
The girl pushed the older male's bedroom door open and stepped in. Her heart broke to see Jūshirō thrashing in the bed with tears running down his cheeks, his mouth open in a silent scream. It reminded Rangiku of the scene in which Jūshirō and Tōshirō had been found after the kidnapping – something she had gone to numerous counselling sessions about.
"Jūshirō-san…" Rangiku reached out slowly and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, ready to jump back if he lashed out in fright. "Jūshirō-san, it's alright; no one's going to hurt you."
Jūshirō slowly relaxed under the girl's touch and soothing words, and soon enough, he was nestled in close to the warm body sitting on the bed with him. He mumbled something, but the only thing Rangiku could work out was that he had said Byakuya's name.
Matsumoto smiled as understanding crossed her features; her sweet Jūshirō had a crush on Byakuya.