The next morning, when Tōshirō returned back to his home, he was confused to find that his brother had done the deadbolts on the door. He sighed and grabbed his phone, knowing that if Jūshirō had done them, he had been having a bad night and wouldn't answer a knock on the door.

Jūshirō answered the younger's phone call in a tired voice before he got out of bed and made his way over to the door. He unlocked it and let Hitsugaya in, giving him a big hug, before he returned back to his bed.

Tōshirō was confused; it was unusual for his brother to act like this. Had something happened on his date that upset Jūshirō? He knew that they had only been dating for a little under three months, with a two week difference between he and Rangiku, and he also knew that they hadn't progressed to anything other than cuddling and holding hands. Maybe Byakuya had moved too fast for Jūshirō?

"Nii-san," Tōshirō called as he entered his brother's room. He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge, seeing the way the sheets were messed up as if the bed's occupant had tossed and turned all night. He reached out and put a hand on the man's shoulder that was currently burying his face underneath his pillow. "Are you okay?"

Jūshirō pulled the pillow back enough so that Tōshirō could see his face and offered a small smile. "I am. I'm sorry if I worried you."

"Is everything alright with you and Byakuya?" Tōshirō asked.

Ukitake nodded. "Everything's great, Shiro-chan. We... kissed last night. That's all."

"Oh." Tōshirō smiled and kissed his brother's temple. "I'm really happy for you."

"I am, too." Jūshirō threaded his fingers through the boy's hair, deep in thought. "I am, too."

They stayed like that for a few minutes before Jūshirō sat up, reluctantly dragging himself out of bed. "I'll make you breakfast, Tōshirō."

The boy nodded and followed the older into the kitchen. He waited patiently as Jūshirō worked on the porridge and, when they were both seated at the table together, spoke calmly with the white-haired man.

"Are we doing anything today?" Tōshirō asked.

Jūshirō bit his lip, looking down at his bowl. "...I... need to visit Shunsui... But I need to talk to him in private, so... W-will you be okay here by yourself? I-I'd much rather you go to a friend's house, but if you can't, I can –"

"Jūshirō." Tōshirō's voice was soft, sensing that his brother was about to have a panic attack. "I will be just fine here. There are locks on the door and lots of people around. It's an apartment complex, remember?"

Jūshirō nodded, his hands clenching in anxiety. "...Okay... I will be leaving shortly..."

Tōshirō nodded, returning back to his porridge. As usual, he finished before the older male could even make a dent in his food and went to his room, preparing himself for the day.

Jūshirō left a little later, walking the twenty minutes it took to get to Shunsui's own apartment. He had been adamant in wanting a home close by Shunsui's, refusing to live any further than he could walk without feeling safe.

When Ukitake knocked on the door, there was no answer. He sighed and knocked again, knowing that both Shunsui and Nanao were home because their cars were in their designated spots in the parking lot.

"Shunsui!" Jūshirō called as he knocked again. After another moment of silence, he dug through his pocket and pulled out the spare key he's had for many years. He unlocked the door and stepped into the apartment, looking around. With no one in the kitchen or living room, there was only one other place they could be. Jūshirō blushed as he made his way to the bedroom, knowing that he was intruding upon something personal but not being able to stop himself.

Jūshirō knocked on the bedroom door, waiting for a reply. "Shunsui?"

Jūshirō heard low voices from behind the door and a lot of rustling. He placed his hand on the doorknob and opened the door once Shunsui had called for him to come in. The man blushed darker and looked down as Shunsui yawned and lazily pulled his clothes from the ground while Nanao was trying to go back to sleep, not bothering to cover herself up.

"I'm sorry for interrupting..." Jūshirō mumbled.

Shunsui waved a hand dismissively as he stood up as naked as the day he was born, picking through the various clothing items he had left on the ground that had built up over the past week. He grabbed random pieces and redressed himself before he walked out to the living room with Jūshirō.

"What's bothering you?" Shunsui asked as they took a seat on the couch. "Is something the matter?"

Jūshirō nodded. He fumbled with his hands as he thought about where to begin. Shunsui stood up and moved into the kitchen, putting the kettle on and pouring himself a glass of sake. He knew to give Ukitake space so that he could collect his thoughts.

A few minutes passed before Shunsui returned, handing the younger male a cup of tea. He sat back down and took a sip of his sake, waiting patiently.

"...Last night..." Jūshirō begun, clearly still unsure of how to begin, "...I had a date with Byakuya..."

Shunsui nodded, signalling for him to continue talking.

"...It went well, and we had our first kiss together..." Jūshirō smiled at the memory, his face heating up. "...The thing is... Byakuya was tired, and so I insisted I would walk home..."

Shunsui frowned; he knew that this was leading to nothing good. "You should never walk home by yourself at night, Juu-chan."

"I know, but..." a single tear dripped down Jūshirō's cheeks as he thought about what had happened. He wiped it away and took a sip of his tea before he continued. "...I-I didn't want to bother Byakuya... He said he didn't mind, but... It was so far out of his way..."

"Please, don't do that again," Shunsui said softly. "It worries me to know you'd do that."

"I'm sorry..." Jūshirō whispered. He ducked his head and started to cry before he pulled himself onto Shunsui's lap. "I-I won't do it again... I was so scared, Shun..."

"What happened?" Shunsui asked in a gentle tone as he ran his hands through the white locks. He could tell that something had gone wrong.

"...I-I... I got attacked..." Jūshirō sobbed harder as he remembered what he had gone through the previous night. "...They... There were three of them, and they... T-they held me down... One of them... put himself in my mouth..."

Shunsui held his friend tighter at these words, angry at the younger male's attackers. How could someone want to hurt such a sweet person like his precious Juu-chan? It was so wrong! When Jūshirō stopped talking, he gently coaxed the smaller man into continuing. "Do you want to talk about what happened after that, Juu-chan? We can stop if you want to; it's okay."

Jūshirō shook his head. He looked up at Shunsui with such a frightened expression, it broke the brunet's heart. "I-I... They would have... done worse, but... S-starrk... He came along and... he saved me..."

"Starrk?" Shunsui asked. He knew he had heard the name somewhere before but he couldn't quite think of where. Then it clicked; he had been an associate of Aizen. "Coyote Starrk?"

Jūshirō nodded. "...He was walking his dogs, and... He took me home..."

"Jūshirō, we're going to the police right now." Shunsui stood up, his serious voice startling Jūshirō. "That bastard could have hurt you, and now he knows where you live!"

"S-shun, I..." Jūshirō shook his head, refusing to get up. "Shun, it's not like that! He... H-he was... the one who looked after me back when... when..."

"I know you think that, but look at how he met you!" Shunsui grabbed his car keys from the coffee table in front of them. "He's going to hurt you, Juu-chan, and he knows where to find you!"

Jūshirō started to cry harder and stamped his foot on the ground. He had a frustrated look on his face as tears streamed down his cheeks. "You don't know anything, Shunsui! You weren't there when Aizen had us! You have no idea how every time that door opened to our room, I was hoping it was him because he was always the one to stop the others!"

Shunsui put his hands on the younger's shoulders, trying to calm him. "Juu-chan, I know I wasn't there, but look at what that place did to you!"

"Starrk never once hurt me or made me feel unsafe!" Jūshirō continued on. "It was all the others who treated me like a... like a sex toy, and a punching bag! And last night, he saved me again! How can you ignore what he did?!"

"What's going on?"

Jūshirō and Shunsui turned to the bedroom to find Nanao walking out, a robe covering her petite figure. She looked at Jūshirō and then turned to her partner.

"Jūshirō is being unreasonable." Shunsui muttered.

Jūshirō stamped his foot again, a loud sob escaping him. "He won't listen to me!"

Nanao rubbed her temples. She was silent until she was standing next to them and, with the flick of the wrist, had them both sitting down.

"What happened?" Nanao asked. "Start from the beginning."

Shunsui told Nanao exactly what he had been told, with interruptions from Jūshirō, until Ise was eventually caught up. The woman shook her head with a sigh.

"You're the one being unreasonable, Shunsui," Nanao said as she fixed a dark look onto Shunsui. "He's your best friend; you should understand what he's trying to tell you. He clearly trusts you enough to tell you this, despite knowing that you wouldn't understand."

"But he –" Nanao cut Shunsui off with a whack to the head with the book lying on the coffee table.

"No." Nanao turned and smiled at Jūshirō. "I'll make sure he doesn't do anything you don't want him to, Jūshirō-san. Do you want to keep talking about it with me?"

Jūshirō nodded and looked down. "I-I... I wanted Shunsui's advice, though..."

Shunsui sighed. "Jūshirō, look; I'm sorry for how I acted, but I love you too much to be able to trust this man with you after everything that's happened."

Jūshirō nodded. "...I understand..."

Nanao moved to sit beside Jūshirō and wrapped her arms around him. "What else do you have to tell us?"

"..." Jūshirō rubbed at his eyes. It was clear that he was afraid to continue talking by the way he kept biting his lip. "...I-I... I don't understand..."

Shunsui's thumb wiped away the tears staining the pale face as he rested his head on the younger's shoulder. "You can talk to us."

Jūshirō's hands trembled as he brought them up to rest his face in. His voice wavered as he spoke, confusion prominent in the tone. He whispered, "...I-is it wrong that I feel more for him then I do my own boyfriend...?"

Shunsui didn't speak; he just stood up and stormed over to his bedroom, punching the wall as he kicked the door open. The door was slammed shut behind him, leaving Nanao and Jūshirō alone.

"Shunsui!" Nanao shouted after him. She sighed when the brunet didn't come back and gathered the now hysterical Ukitake into her arms. She rocked him back and forth, whispering to him. "Shh. It's okay. It's okay."

"S-shunsui hates me!" Jūshirō sobbed as he pulled at his hair. "He hates me because I don't understand what I'm going through!"

"He doesn't hate you," Nanao whispered. "It's alright. I promise. I'll talk to him; I'm sure he's just upset and very worried. It'll be okay; he loves you very much."

Jūshirō's hand clenched the pale blue robe Nanao was wearing as his body shook violently with his sobs. Nothing she said could comfort him, and he eventually cried himself to sleep in her lap.

Nanao sighed and laid him down, fetching a spare blanket from the linen cupboard. She draped it over him and sat with him, knowing that Shunsui needed to be alone in order for him to process his own thoughts.

Running a hand through the pale hair comforted Nanao greatly as she worried about her lover; she knew there was only so much he could take concerning Jūshirō. She hoped that their friendship would be strong enough to pull through this as it had everything else. They had known each other since Jūshirō's first day of school, and had been best friends for well over twenty years. Hopefully the memories they had together would be enough to get them through this.