Arc: Twin Souls
Beta: incandescens -- without her this would be impossible.
Warning: A very vivid nightmare. A man on man kiss.
Word Count: 1640
Summary: Ukitake and Kyouraku try to get a good night's sleep.
Disclaimer: I don't own or make money off of Bleach. It's all fictional. Really.
Jyuushiro awoke in the infirmary.
It was a familiar place, so when he opened his eyes he relaxed back into the warmth of the futon and studied his surroundings quietly.
It was dark out, the paper walls showed no daylight. When he closed his eyes again, he could hear, faintly, the chirping of crickets and the whisper of the wind.
He wondered mildly what had woken him. It had felt comfortably familiar, like the gentle bumping of a child against his side. A child making sure he was still there, while they were sleeping or dreaming or just needing reassurance. But surely not in here?
Then he felt it again. Almost shy, like a child watching him by the bed, not wanting to wake him up but... needing something. That need underlying the not-touch made him open his eyes, half expecting little Haru to just be kneeling by his futon, staring at him.
Nothing. No one.
Just the breathing of Shunsui as he slept in his infirmary futon a few feet away. He was shifting in his sleep, moaning under his breath. A nightmare?
Jyuushiro tried to go back to sleep. The touch came again, and this time he realized that it was Shunsui's reiatsu, fanning out, as thin as a thread, but still... reaching out to touch him even while Shunsui slept.
He wasn't going to get much more sleep this way.
Jyuushiro thought about it as he felt that tentative hope for reassurance brush once, twice more, gently against his resting reiatsu. It felt like a stray cat brushing against a leg and then leaping away in fear of getting kicked.
Jyuushiro groaned softly as he threw back the quilt and slowly levered himself up out of the futon. Slowly, painfully sore, he pushed his futon so that it lay right next to Shunsui's. He flopped back into the futon and lay on his front and struggled a bit with the quilt until he managed to get it back over his shoulders. His back protested every damned twist and turn. He shivered with the pain and the cold of being out of bed, until he warmed everything back up. Then he relaxed and studied the sleeping Shunsui on how best...
Ah... the reach happened again. When it found him so close it seemed to curl back on itself and then fluttered close again. Shunsui was also lying on his front, no surprise that, and his right hand had curled around the edge of his futon. Jyuushiro studied that hand for a moment and then gently wrapped his left hand around it.
The reaching reiatsu flowed and then quietly synced with his, and Shunsui sighed in his sleep and relaxed. Jyuushiro smiled and relaxed back into the warmth and comfort of his bed.
He fell back asleep.
Jyuushiro woke again when light had touched the paper walls of the infirmary. Before he even opened his eyes, he knew that he would see Shunsui watching him quietly. He kept hold of Shunsui's hand, even so.
He opened his eyes and saw the quiet regard. Shunsui looked back and then said softly, "So that's why."
Sleepily Jyuushiro asked, "Why what?"
Shunsui thought a moment and winced as he tried to give a small shrug. His voice turned light, careless, "There's a recurring dream I have had ever since I was a kid. It was always the same, you know? Just a childhood nightmare... where my dad would wrap me in funeral cloths, throw me in a coffin, and then bury me alive. I'd always just wait for him to dig me back up, and after a while I'd start screaming and trying to get free of the cloths. I'd get partially free, but just enough to bang on the wooden lid of the coffin. Get splinters in my hands... break a few bones. And I'd hear nothing. No one. Then the air would turn bad, and I just couldn't resign myself to dying... until the very end. And when I blacked out in the dream I'd wake up... usually tangled up in my covers."
Jyuushiro watched Shunsui's impassive face and listened.
Shunsui cocked a crooked grin, "It was different this time, though... Dad threw red hot coals into the bottom of the coffin, first. Then laid me, bound, on them." A rough laugh, "I guess the stripes made an impression even on my dreams. And when the air got bad, and I started to cough... well... I thought of you. Of how you fight to breathe even when your body won't let you." Shunsui took a slow breath. "So, in my dream, instead of shouting for my dad, I shouted for you. For you to save me, help me... something... I had no reason to think you could hear me through six feet of dirt. Nothing at all to base a hope on. But I just started calling your name."
Shunsui's light voice turned wondering. "And you came... you came calling my name. I heard your shovel biting into the dirt. I heard you swearing the whole time as you figured out where I was. When you hit the lid of the coffin, instead of trying to clear the whole lid to get me out, you did the smart thing and just shoved the edge of the shovel through the lid so that I could get air. But the air hit the coals, too, and they went up in flames. That's when I knew I was going to die anyway and gave up, resigned myself to the fire.
"But somehow you reached into the flames for me, to get me out, but my arms, my hands were still bound. Weirdly, I was feeling like I should be dead, you should have left me to my resignation to dying, not gotten yourself hurt by reaching into the flames. But you didn't wait for me to take your hand, you just grabbed me, grabbing flame and coals as well, somehow yanked me out of the agony of the burning and we were standing up top in a summer field of flowers under a night sky bright with stars.
"The burnt funeral clothes fluttered in the wind, still smoldering... my body had burned as well, and there was white bone and charred flesh, but I was standing. The burned cloths freed my hands, so you took my right hand in your left. You looked up at me and gently scolded me, 'Shunsui, you've made a mess of yourself.' You used your right hand and laid the flesh back onto my bones, smoothed my skin back on, and healed me of my wounds. And then..."
Shunsui's voice turned light again, half mocking, "... you laid your mouth on mine and breathed the life back into me. You ripped the last rags of the funeral clothes off me, laid me down on that field, under those astonishing stars, and you made me remember why it could be good to be alive."
Jyuushiro couldn't help it. He blinked at that. "Made you?"
The mockery in the voice turned into a curl of a smile on Shunsui's mobile lips, "Made me, and I was suitably grateful." He said it with a carelessness that made Jyuushiro blink again and blush at all the implications.
Jyuushiro frowned and thought a moment. Shunsui tried to take advantage of the lack of attention to pull his hand back. Jyuushiro let him pull it closer to himself, but Jyuushiro kept hold of it, letting his arm move onto Shunsui's futon. Then, despite his back screaming at him, Jyuushiro followed his hand... pulled himself up on his elbows and got right up close to Shunsui's face.
"Do you always make light of what's important to you?" Jyuushiro asked softly. His eyes searched Shunsui's, which, at the words, widened in surprise.
Then, on impulse, Jyuushiro leaned in closer and captured Shunsui's lips with his own. He heard and felt Shunsui's startled, almost shuddering, intake of breath. Jyuushiro pressed his advantage and kissed Shunsui hard and Shunsui melted, his breath out had the faintest vibrations of a moan and Jyuushiro breathed that moan in.
Of course, that's when they both heard the door open to the hallway of the infirmary. Jyuushiro swore softly and then swore harder at the pain as he got up out of his bed and pushed the damned futon back to where it used to be. He'd learned from the last time, so he slid into bed, pulled the covers up, and then rolled to his front. The heat of pain in his back made rolling onto his front a lot less uncomfortable than it might have been.
"Well," he said in a savage whisper, "it's not like we were in any shape to go anywhere with that anyway..."
He only got a chuckle and when he looked, Shunsui looked nothing more than sleepy, lazy, and still the recovering invalid. Jyuushiro knew he had a flaming blush, he cursed his light complexion, and he put his face into his pillow to try and cool it.
Then, as softly said as a cherry blossom laid on the wind, "Thank you, Jyuushiro. Thank you very much."
And the medical crew rolled in.
Story Index >> The Next Chapter >>
So the reiatsu stuff came, in part, from chunks of calmingeffects "Save My Soul" and Darth Ammonite's Smoke and Flowers. In both stories Ukitake and/or Kyouraku use reiatsu to track someone and their internal states. I figured if they were on equal terms, they might be able to track back as well.