This is a request for BookMaggots. I would have had it out earlier, but it was actually written on my school laptop – while I was home and with my OWN internet – because my personal laptop is a bully, but the school blocked me from logging into my account even while at home because they also are bullies. Bullies. Bullies everywhere. Especially with technology. :)

It was rare for two Captains with such different capabilities, thought patterns and ideals to be paired together for a mission – especially when one Captain was a sadistic mad scientist and the other was the gentle, peace-loving pillar of strength in the Soul Society.

Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Jyuushiro Ukitake had been sent on a mission to the Living World in order to investigate a possible Hollow infestation related to the three traitors of the Soul Society, the amount of Hollows congregating together alarming and possibly overwhelming for just one Captain.

While Ukitake didn't mind working together with Kurotsuchi, said scientist was annoyed, not wanting to have to work with another Captain – it made him feel as if his abilities were being doubted.

"Isn't this nice, Kurotsuchi-taicho?" the white-haired male smiled brightly at his comrade, his kind personality shining through in his words. "I don't think we've ever worked together before."

"Just don't get in my way," Mayuri growled, irritation in his tone. "I don't need you for this. Hollow extermination could be done by a simpleton with skill."

The ill Shinigami laughed merrily, taking no offence whatsoever to the man's words; he knew the younger Captain was like this to everyone.

"I'll try not to." Jyuushiro hummed happily. "It will be difficult at first as we are not familiar with each other's fighting style, so it would probably be best for us to separate."

Mayuri mumbled to himself at these words, his pace quickening unconsciously. He didn't want to spend any more time than was necessary with the Thirteenth Squad Captain, wanting to be back in his lab and working on his newest experiment.

The two made their way to the mission location together, Jyuushiro talking happily while Mayuri mostly ignored the slighter man. As always, the sickly Captain didn't let it get to him, far too happy to let something so petty bring him down.

When at last they arrived, they were met with an empty field somewhere in the outskirts of Karakura Town. There were no humans around, nor any Hollows. Nothing but the trees blowing in the wind.

"These are the right coordinates?" Ukitake asked, thinking that there may have been a mix-up in the details.

"Impossible," Mayuri disagreed. "They were given to us by my own squad members – they wouldn't make such a silly mistake."

"Then maybe – behind you!" Jyuushiro grabbed his sword, sensing something behind them at the last second.

The two Captains jumped away, turning in mid-air to come face-to-face with several Hollows, ones that seemed to have been able to mask their presence until they went in for the attack. The Shinigami held their Zanpakuto out in front of them, not knowing what else to expect – these were no ordinary Hollow.

"Kurotsuchi-taicho, some is not right here," Jyuushiro said quietly, getting into his battle stance. "Do you think this could have been a set-up?"

"Possibly."

"Let's release our Zanpakuto, just in case." Ukitake put both hands on the hilt of his blade, preparing to release his katana into Shikai. "All Waves, Rise Now and Become My Shield, Lighting, Strike Now and Become My Blade. Sogyo no Kotowari!"

Kurotsuchi sighed before he followed the more-experienced male's actions. "Rip, Ashisoji Jizo."

Standing back-to-back, the Shinigami watched as they became surrounded, knowing that they were outnumbered. There had to be more than one hundred Hollows, and Menos Grande were off in the distance, approaching at a steady pace. To make things worse, these Hollows were stronger than any others they had ever fought.

While the Twelfth and Thirteenth Captains were both extremely powerful in their own rights, they were a very bad match, they had come to learnt; Ukitake, with his already-debilitating lung deficiency, couldn't afford to come near his comrade let alone fight in a wide space, lest the poison from Ashisoji Jizo provoke him into another attack, leaving him with very little room to fight.

Jyuushiro was off in a corner, fighting in what little air was free from the poison, but it was clear he wasn't travelling well – with limited room, he could not avoid or attack as easily as he could with free range.

Mayuri, however, was so focused on the Hollow in front of him, he didn't even notice the one behind him that had masked its presence. Ukitake did, and he knew what was going to happen.

Without thinking, the white-haired male cut down the Hollow blocking his way, breathed in the poison and – once said substance had caused his lungs to constrict severely – dropped his Zanpakuto as he half-fell, half-threw himself between the scientist and the Hollow.

Mayuri only turned at a pained whimper from the taller male, and he was shocked to find that the Hollow had clawed through the frail Death God, blood dripping down onto the grass beneath them. The creature's claws had sliced through the fragile body, leaving a mangled heap behind.

Jyuushiro's eyes were clouded in pain as he fell to the ground, his green orbs fixed on the younger. His breathing was erratic as he tried to speak, but only blood made its way out of his mouth.

"Why...?" Mayuri couldn't understand what had possessed the slighter male to do what he had done and, even when back-up had arrived in the form of Toshiro Hitsugaya, Sajin Komamura and Retsu Unohana, he still hadn't figured out what had happened.

It was no secret that Ukitake was a selfless man, but Kurotsuchi had never expected that it would be him of all people the kind male would have sacrificed himself for.

Komamura and Hitsugaya had taken care of the Hollows and Unohana was trying to heal her patient's wounds, having injected them both with the antidote to Ashisoji Jizo's poison she had grown used to carrying around – it was not an uncommon occurrence for someone to be admitted due to poisoning.

"Will he be alright?" Komamura asked as he and the young Captain arrived by the medic's side.

Unohana smiled and nodded. "He will be fine. I've stopped the bleeding and I've repaired most of the damage. He'll just need bed rest and he'll be back on his feet in no time. Kurotsuchi-taicho, please investigate the area by yourself and then report back to the Seireitei."

Mayuri growled, ready to fight. "You are not the one who gives me orders, woman! I -!"

Unohana's smile widened, striking fear into the scientist's heart. "Please."

Kurotsuchi nodded before he left, not willing to get on Unohana's bad side; she was scary enough as it is. He knew that the other Shinigami had already gone after a few minutes of wandering, and he sat down underneath a tree as he recalled what had happened.

Ukitake had put himself between them. He had taken a blow that could have killed him with such a weakened body. Why would he do that? No – why would he do that for him? Why was he worth risking a life over? He wasn't worth it, surely Ukitake knew that. ...So why had he done it?

"So many questions, but no answers," Kurotsuchi mumbled to himself before he stood up and started walking again.

~~Soul Society~~

Jyuushiro was awake and well by the time Mayuri walked into the older male's hospital room. The deathly pale man smiled as if nothing at all was wrong in the world, despite being shirtless and covered only by bandages that were wrapped tightly around his chest, going down his stomach and disappearing beneath his hospital pants.

"Hello, Kurotsuchi-taicho!" Ukitake even sounded like he was the happiest person on the planet. "Kyōraku has just gone to get me some ohagi. It seems Retsu has not been able to stock up on them for when I am admitted. Would you care to join me for lunch?"

Mayuri rolled his eyes before he shrugged. He pulled out a chair from against the wall and sat down, staring at the taller male with accusing eyes. Jyuushiro's smile didn't falter in the least.

"Is something wrong, Kurotsuchi-taicho?" Jyuushiro's smile widened if that were even possible.

"Yes!" Mayuri couldn't keep the frustrated tone out of his voice as he threw his arms into the air. "Everything is wrong! What you did! Why would you take the blow meant for me? You are a fool, Ukitake!"

"I am no fool." Jyuushiro's voice was soft, his gentle expression never wavering. "I knew the risks, and with my health, I knew what would entail. If I may, Kurotsuchi-taicho, I was well aware of what I was doing, and I was so desperate to make sure you would be okay, I even stumbled."

"But why?!" Mayuri snapped. "Why for me?! I could understand if it were for Kyōraku – but it was for me!"

"Because I love you," Jyuushiro said quietly, for once uncertainty shining in his eyes.

Mayuri didn't know what to say to this – what was he supposed to say? "...What?"

"I love you..." Ukitake whispered, a hint of pain in his voice. "...The only one who knows this is Kyōraku... He discouraged me from telling you because he believed you would react negatively... But I want you to know... I love you... Kurotsuchi-taicho..."

"..." So many thoughts ran through Mayuri's mind at this – he had never had anyone proclaim their love for him before. He was used to being avoided, being labelled as a freak – and he had lived up to those labels, he knew that. But now... looking back on his interactions with Ukitake... the man really had been genuine every time... he had never avoided him or said a bad word about him – he never spoke badly about anyone.

"...You really... love me...?" It wasn't every day Mayuri was stumped for words – in fact, it happened so rarely he had forgotten what it was like to feel as if every word in your vocabulary had been forgotten within seconds.

Jyuushiro smiled warily as he gestured for the other to approach him. For whatever reason, Mayuri's feet carried him over to the older male and, as soon as he was within reach, hot lips were on his, kissing ever so carefully, almost afraid to press any harder.

Mayuri had never been so intimate with anyone before – so why did this... feel right...? As soon as it had started, the kiss ended, Jyuushiro pulling away with a shy red coating his cheeks. He looked down at his laps, a soft, uncertain smile playing on his lips.

"...I do apologise... I don't know what came over me..." Jyuushiro whispered.

Mayuri shook his head, reaching up to make the other meet his gaze. Jyuushiro's green orbs displayed a wariness that was never seen in them before, and to Kurotsuchi, this was all the proof he needed that Jyuushiro was being honest about his feelings – the man was not a liar, not a user; he was an honest gentleman.

Without warning, Mayuri lowered his face towards the other, his lips parted as he pressed against the other's own. He felt Jyuushiro's mouth open slowly after a few seconds of contact and, almost shyly, a hot tongue probed at his own.

Mayuri, despite having no experience, naturally knew all about acts such as sex and kissing – it was all part of being a mad scientist after all. He moved his own tongue to grace against the one tracing his wet cavern, battling it for dominance.

The Twelfth Squad Captain won, pressing harder with bruising force, as his tongue conquered the other, moving to taste every inch of Jyuushiro.

Ukitake moaned, reaching up to grip at the other's white haori as if to centre himself. His eyes were closed, his breathing unsteady but not posing current threat.

When they broke apart for air, Jyuushiro was the first to speak, his eyes staring directly into Mayuri's. "...Kurotsuchi-taicho... Will you... be my partner...?"

Mayuri nodded in reply, wanting to see what a relationship was all about. He knew that, if it were to be with anyone, Jyuushiro would be the best suited to being his first – the man was gentle and caring and would be patient with him as he discovered everything he had missed out on in his life.

Needless to say, when Kyōraku walked back into the hospital room with one arm holding much ohagi and the other swinging a white bottle of sake, he got the surprise of his life to find his best friend laying on his back in the hospital bed with the crazy Captain of the Twelfth laying atop him, their mouths conjoined in a passionate kiss.