Title: A Peek In The Garden
Beta: incandescens Thank you.
Spoils: Parts of the Soul Society arc.
Summary: Ukitake gardens by the koi pond.
Word Count: 468
To everyone else in Soul Society, Ukitake Jyuushiro gardened by the koi ponds in the compound of the Thirteenth Division.
To Jyuushiro, that sentence conveyed nearly nothing of what his experience was on the ground.
His reiatsu, honed and grown for two thousand years, spread quietly out from him, bringing back the positions and detailed emotional states of hundreds of souls. The Thirteenth Division was running smoothly, dynamically, shifting with the circumstances around it. Each soul so unique and different from the others, each in the place he'd put them to develop their best capacities into something even stronger. He would never equate his Division to a clockwork: it was more like his garden.
The bamboo, from the garden of his old long-gone mentor, provided shade for the mossy rocks and shade-loving irises and violets, as cool and strong as Rukia. The spreading trees Shunsui loved napping in overshadowed and cooled the stream, giving the koi comfort in the heat of summer. The purple wisteria, as strong and unruly as Kaien, fell in sweet-smelling cascades of flowers, entwining the bridge that crossed the water to the island, where the white chrysanthemums that Miyaku had so loved survived deep into the winter. The weeping golden bell flowers bloomed beneath the sakura, the play of deep gold against white making both colors stand out. The gold reminded Jyuushiro of the color of the eyes of the last three Shihouin heirs. The wild orchids, with their hidden message of defiance of unjust authority, would grow only on the rockiest of faces, so they filled the stylized mountains of the rock garden with their blatant come-hither.
Each in its place. Each left to its own strengths. Each trailing its own ghosts.
Jyuushiro weeded out everything that did not belong with the same ease of decision-making he brought to the battlefield. The two sides of his soul, weighted by two thousand years of such decisions, made the deciding what mattered even more than the consequences. With a decision everything could move forward, he would not leave his people hung on the horns of a dilemma. He decided between these small lives and deaths far more easily than he breathed; for his breathing was one of those factors he had to consider when the consequences were much greater.
That he had, in the past, decided wrongly didn't deter him. He did grieve, but he could not regret, for after two thousand years the past always and forever remained the past. There were always the storms of events, ripping and destroying all his careful work; and all he could do was that which was right in front of him. There was always another year, another century: with or without him, the wheel would turn again. But the fact that he would not always be there for his people defined how he acted, and he built his Division so that it could function, would function, without him.
He took comfort in sensing his Division thriving, growing, and working all around him as he gardened alone. So Ukitake Jyuushiro gardened not just in the dirt, but in the lives of those around him, and no one else was the wiser.