Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo. This story is based, and relied, on the wonderful, romantic, lovely idea by G.M. Thank you for allowing me to add my own touches to your ideas. I hope you enjoy how it turned out. :) And of course, the Greek mythoi are actual Greek mythos, which if you're unfamiliar with, please, go read some. Especially the stories of Medusa, Cupid and Psyche, Echo and Narcissus, and of course the "real adventures" of Hercules. Enjoy and thanks for reading.
"The rains are coming…" Jushiro whispered, inhaling deeply. He could feel Shunsui's warmth behind him and he smiled as Shunsui's large, strong arms wrapped around him.
"Hmmmm… yeah, I suppose it's time. But not until tomorrow, we still have one more day." Shunsui murmured, pulling Jushiro's body closer to him. "Are you feeling up to this today, Mr. Handsome?"
"Are you kidding?" Jushiro laughed, his voice low in his throat. "Do you know how far in advance I had to book you, Kyoraku-soutaicho?"
"I apologize, my secretary is a slavedriver." Shunsui breathed, nipping gently at Jushiro's ear. He imagined Ise Nanao's face at being called a secretary and nearly laughed aloud. He kissed the top of Jushiro's head, letting his soft, white hair tickle his lips, "Let's go, then."
Rukia Kuchiki rushed across the courtyard, the heavy rain beating down on her. She made it to the crowded restaurant and sighed, searching for her lunch date in the chaos. Surely, Ise Nanao had to know what today was. Surely, someone as clever as Ise could realize how Rukia would feel today. Rukia hastily found Ise in the mess and took a seat at the small table, avoiding the calls from the nearby table of male Lieutenants. "Nanao-fukutaicho, you summoned me?"
"I'm sorry for disturbing you, Kuchiki-fukutaicho. I understand that you requested a personal day today, as well. I will only take up a moment of your time." Ise spoke quietly, adjusting her glasses on the bridge of her nose. Her eyes were red and puffy and Rukia realized she had been crying. "Do you know the story of Hyades?"
"Hyades?" Rukia repeated slowly. "No, but why?"
"Look at that big, fat one there chasing after the pretty, white one." Shunsui laughed, his feet dangling into the pond lazily. It felt good, cool and refreshing in contrast to the thick, sticky air. He eyed the fish he had indicated before turning to Jushiro, a sly smile twisting his lips. "Do you think that's how other people see us?"
"Nonsense." Jushiro said dismissively, his green eyes a stark contrast to his pale hair and skin. "You're a man. You're shaped like a man."
"How'd you get so smart, Shiro-chan?" Shunsui asked, giving a playful wink.
"I've always been smarter than you." Jushiro teased, a small chuckle escaping his lips. "You know, Shunsui, you are entirely too charming for your own good, it'll get you into trouble one day."
"One day?" Shunsui lay backwards, throwing an arm under his head comfortably. "I knew I was a goner back in the academy. A pretty little thing caught my eye. I could never recover."
"Yep, you bet. You may even know him, Jushiro Ukitake?"
"I've heard of him…" Jushiro replied quietly, his pale face blushing a bright crimson. "He must be some sort of fool to associate with a womanizer such as you."
"Womanizer?" Shunsui clicked his tongue in denial. "Now don't believe half of what you hear, and even less of what you see."
"Oh?" Jushiro repeated simply, loving to tease his playful paramour.
"Aye. All my friends are women of the highest caliber." Shunsui chuckled, lifting his finger into the air pointedly. "And I only have eyes for one man."
"Hyades, they are a sisterhood of nymphs from ancient Greek mythos." Ise continued, stirring her tea slowly.
"Okay." Rukia replied lamely. She closed her eyes and rubbed at the pulsing vein at her temple. Today was not a good day to be stuck listening to Ise Nanao recount something she read from one of her favorite books. "I assume that this isn't what you called me for."
"Hyades are rain nymphs," Ise added quickly, pointing a finger towards the outside, as if that served some explanation. "The legend is that when their brother died they were so full of grief that they wept a flood."
"I could grow a beard, if I so wished!" Jushiro said defensively, rubbing his hand over his freshly shaven jaw. "It just gives me shivers, makes me feel like Sensei."
"Uh, yuck." Shunsui said, giving a playful shudder. "I don't know if I could wake up next to Yama-jii! No matter how much I miss the old man…"
Jushiro nodded wordlessly, his fingers brushing against the smooth wooden bridge beneath him. He wriggled his feet, laughing softly as a carp tickled his toes. "I miss him too. I miss so many people."
"Hmmm…" Shunsui sighed in agreement. Jushiro slumped forward unexpectedly and Shunsui sat up. "You okay, Shiro-chan?"
"Shiro!" Shunsui repeated loudly, his heart beating wildly in his chest.
Jushiro tilted his head towards Shunsui, pieces of bulrush, or cattails, jutting from his mouth comically, giving him the appearance of a catfish. "Whiskers!"
Shunsui exhaled, shaking his head. He tried to maintain his passive exterior, but failed, Jushiro simply looked so adorable, so foolish, like a giant cat. "You are ridiculous. How old are you?"
"I am older than plumbing but younger than Retsu Unohana, approximately." Jushiro responded losing a few stems of bulrush as he spoke. He smiled wide, dropping the rest from his mouth. "Ahhhhh!"
"What? What's wrong?" Shunsui questioned, panic enveloping his heart once more. "Are you… hurt? Ha ha! Oh, that's too bad!"
Shunsui chuckled loudly, patting his knee. Jushiro's green eyes narrowed as he reached out for his hair, currently in the mouth of a large carp.
"Help me! It's eating my hair!" Jushiro cried out, trying to support the weight of the large fish to ease the pressure on his head.
"We've got dinner!" Shunsui teased freeing Jushiro's hair at last. He tossed the fat carp back into the pond and turned towards Jushiro, an affectionate smile on his face. "Ready to eat?"
"Sure," Jushiro said with a matching grin. "Rukia-chan made us some of her famous rolled omelets."
"Sentaro-kun, did he make his spring rolls?"
"Of course." Jushiro replied, setting a blanket down in the grass.
"With or without bean sprouts?" Shunsui questioned, arranging the picnic basket and sitting down with a grunt.
"With bean sprouts and without tofu."
"He is after my heart." Shunsui sighed happily.
"Well, I am mentioning it, because it was in a book that Lisa Yadomaru used to read to me," Ise continued. "A book given to her by Jushiro Ukitake."
"Captain, was always fond of Lisa-san." Rukia said, clearing her throat and adjusting in her seat.
"I wanted to give you the book, Rukia." Ise admitted, passing the book to Rukia.
"Really? But certainly it has more value to you than I?" Rukia exclaimed, shocked by the gesture. Ise Nanao simply worshipped Lisa Yadomaru.
Rukia flipped through the worn pages, pausing for a moment at the image of young lovers in embrace, a dark presence shadowed in the background. "Who is this, Ise?"
"Oh, that is Orpheus and Eurydice, the most tragic love story ever told."
"I'm not familiar with it." Rukia admitted, flipping to the next page curiously.
"I had fun today…" Jushiro sighed, removing his shinigami robes and shrugging his kimono over his shoulders. "It was perfect."
"Not quite." Shunsui murmured. He hungrily kissed Jushiro's neck, before dipping his kimono down, biting gently on his shoulder. "At least, not yet."
Jushiro groaned, heat shooting up from his groin and staining his cheeks. He reached his arms behind him, pulling Shunsui closer, pressing their bodies together. Shunsui's hands caressed his waist, gently encouraging him forward, toward the large futon. "Excellent news, I even went to the trouble of getting Sentaro-kun and Kiyone-chan babysitters."
"Good," Shunsui said with a laugh, lowering Jushiro to the futon gently. "I still haven't forgiven them for barging in and yelling at me the last time."
Shunsui looked down at Jushiro. He was beautiful, truly. A well-built frame, impressive, lean muscles, a strong chin, gorgeous eyes, delicate skin. Delicate, Shunsui thought bitterly.
"Come to me…" Jushiro breathed, staring up at Shunsui, his eyes wandering over every inch of tan, chiseled muscle and flesh. "I want you beside me."
Shunsui crawled onto the futon; his skin grazing Jushiro's, releasing sparks of electricity at the contact. "Always." Jushiro reached up, entangling his hands in Shunsui's long, dark curls. He tugged Shunsui's hair gently, leading him into a kiss. They kissed deeply, Shunsui's mouth hungrily sucking on Jushiro's lower lip.
"Forever." Shunsui promised, breaking their kiss for only a moment. Shunsui's hands roamed over Jushiro's hips and thighs, moving his untied kimono to the side. He licked his lips, kissing down Jushiro's chest and stomach, pausing to nip playfully at his navel. Jushiro's manhood twitched against his chest and he smiled, moving downward slowly. "I haven't forgotten about you, either."
"Oh, baby," Jushiro moaned as Shunsui's tongue licked his hardening member teasingly. His green eyes fluttered shut and he exhaled heavily. It felt so good. Shunsui smiled against him, teasing his tip with his fat, tongue, letting his hands feel his gooseprickled flesh.
"Do you like that?" Shunsui's voice rumbled in his throat, vibrating the sensitive flesh underneath it.
"Don't tease me." Jushiro pleaded, his toes curling up, his fingers resisting the urge to force Shunsui's head further down on his member.
Shunsui obeyed, taking Jushiro's length into his hot mouth, bobbing his head up and down, letting the shaft graze against his thick tongue. He looked up, smiling around the intrusive organ, as Jushiro pulled his hand into his, squeezing tightly. It was a small gesture, but it said words that neither of them would ever be able to say. It explained a thousand feelings, a million thoughts. Holding Jushiro's hand was pure bliss. A gesture that was forbidden for so long, a happiness that was dangled just out of reach.
"Orpheus was the son of Apollo, and according to legend created song and art." Ise explained in between spoonfuls of miso soup. "He wandered around playing his lyre until he come upon Eurydice, and they fell in love at first sight."
"Typical." Rukia groaned, sitting with her head in her hands, miserably.
"Of course, it's a love story, Rukia." Ise snapped impatiently. "But another man had fallen in love with Eurydice, Aristaeus. He was driven mad by jealousy and decided to kill Orpheus and claim Eurydice as his own."
"Typical and sexist." Rukia groaned.
"He threatened the couple as they walked home through the dark woods." Ise continued, ignoring the interruption. "Orpheus grabbed his new bride by hand and ran as fast as he could. He, at long last, lost grip of her hand, and turned, seeing she was already dead."
"What?" Rukia sputtered, spitting a mouthful of tea back into her cup. "How? Was it a hollow?"
"She had stepped into a nest of snakes." Ise explained sadly. "She was bitten by a cobra."
Jushiro's long white hair tickled Shunsui's chest as he leaned forward, his hands placed on either side of Shunsui for support. His long, muscled legs tucked down next to Shunsui's. God, I love when he's on top, Shunsui thought, his brain overheating from the loss of blood flow. His entire body was on fire, and Jushiro, bouncing lightly on top of him, was almost too much to handle.
"Shunsui…" Jushiro moaned, pushing up on his knees before grinding back down on Shunsui's rock hard and slippery wet member. God, I love when I'm on top, Jushiro thought, moaning in pleasure as Shunsui's hands roamed all over his body, pinching his nipples, and then his thighs. The heat in his stomach grew in intensity and his body tensed, he was so close. "Shunsui, baby, I'm going to cum."
"Right there with you, Shiro." Shunsui grunted, using his hands to push and pull Jushiro down onto his aching cock. He felt the familiar tickle in his stomach and he pulled Jushiro closer, their lips meeting for a kiss.
"Well that sucks," Rukia said softly. "Sounds Greek."
"Oh, I'm not finished." Ise said, arching a trimmed black brow. "Orpheus cannot accept the death of his lover and instead pleads entrance into the Underworld. To reclaim her."
"Hmmm." Rukia sat thoughtfully, her head beginning to pound. "I hate tragedies. Isn't life hard enough?"
"Hades grants his wish, though, on one condition, that he must not turn around to look at her until Eurydice is returned to the sunlight."
"You mean he couldn't make sure she was following?"
"No. He could hear her footsteps, but could not turn around."
Rain poured down on the roof, the sound pleasant after months of absence. Shunsui pulled his kimono around himself, the temperature had dropped considerably. He checked Jushiro's legs, they were icy to the touch, and he frowned, covering him up with the blankets. Shunsui poured two small cups of coffee, adding copious amounts of sugar and milk to his own "You gonna wake up? I've already made the coffee, and reheated it, twice."
Shunsui smiled, rubbing a sore muscle in his back, it had been worth it. He pulled a rolled omelet from the picnic basket and popped it in his mouth, not overly concerned with safe food temperatures. "Shiro, baby, I already let you sleep in more than I should have. I'm becoming indulgent in my old age."
Shunsui brought his coffee to his lips, slowly before sitting it back down, untouched. Something wasn't right, he could feel it. "Shiro…. Jushiro…"
Shunsui approached the futon, turning Jushiro from his side to his back. His face was covered in blood, his body cold and waxy to the touch. "No, no, no, no, no!"
"So did they make it out?" Rukia asked, already knowing the answer.
"No, as soon as Orpheus reached the sun, he turned, seeing Eurydice for only a moment, still in the shadow, before she disappeared forever."
"Do you know what today is, Ise?" Rukia asked, fidgeting with her gloves uncomfortably.
"Yes, Rukia. That's why I wanted to speak with you, so badly."
"Panicking does nothing, Kyoraku-soutaicho!" Hanataro Yamada breathed, his own voice full of equal panic.
"Everyone step aside. Shunsui-kun, if you want to do something, get some blankets, he needs to keep warm." Retsu Unohana instructed calmly, her gentle aura seeping into the room like sunshine. She placed her hands on Jushiro's chest for a moment before lifting them, a small noise escaping her lips. She turned towards Shunsui, placing her hand ontop of his as he laid the blankets on top of Jushiro. "Shunsui, I'm sorry, he's already gone."
"It's been one year, to the day." Rukia whispered, her throat suddenly tight. "He's been gone."
"I know." Ise said quietly, reaching a sympathetic hand out for Rukia's. "Rukia, to me it seems the sky is weeping."
"Yeah," Rukia murmured, her voice being drowned out by the noise of the restaurant.
"Kyoraku-soutaicho is gone."
"He disappeared last night." Ise whispered, leaning in closely to Rukia. "The last place he as seen was near the carp pond, by Jushiro's grave."
"Does Central 46 know?" Rukia gasped, unable to contain her shock.
"I alerted them immediately, of course." Ise snapped defensively. "They have several Captains out searching now, but they want it to stay hush hush."
"Who was the last one to see him?"
"Unohana-taicho." Ise answered quietly, her hands folding in front of her.
"Where did he go? Where could he have gone?" Rukia asked hurriedly, casting suspicious glances towards the other tables. "Why did you bring me this book?"
"Hyades, the rain nymphs, wept a flood, but in the end, they were all reunited in the stars, becoming part of the constellation of Taurus."
"What does that mean?" Rukia nearly growled, impatiently wanting to understand.
"We won't find my Captain." Ise clarified. "Wherever he is, he is with your Captain."
If I told you, that I was behind you, would you believe me? Would you have enough faith to keep walking forward, to keep on the path, even though you could not see me? If my footsteps echoed in the darkness, would that be enough? Would it urge you forward or would it ensnare your fears? Would you make the same mistake as Orpheus? Would I forever be enslaved in the Underworld? Alone for all eternity?
"No…" Shunsui whispered, draping his kimono over the top of the gravestone. He pulled off his haori, the proud insignia of the First Division emblazoned on the back, and laid it over the top. He smiled, kneeling in front of Jushiro's grave for the last time. "I'm walking and I expect you to follow."