Summary: Jyuushiro goes for a swim with Sougyo no Kotowari
Word Count: 606
A/N: From bloodthirstylt's prompt "Ukitake and something with water" Not really beta'ed, so the mistakes are all my own fault. Again, a monster drabble. *laughs*
Jyuushiro stripped down to his loincloth amid the dry rocks just beyond the reach of the tide. The stones were warm from the sun, but jagged and rough.
He left his sandals on and trod over mussel shells, broken sand dollars, and onto the slippery rocks hiding sea urchin, sea stars, anemone, and the mossy seaweeds that slicked the surfaces.
A wave rolled in over the rocks and he braced and moved carefully to his next foothold, and then the next and the next towards the deep hole he'd felt like he'd known forever. He'd found it as a child, growing up along this coast, when his hair had still been black and he'd been so small it was the waves that had taken him into it, not his own volition. Jyuushiro grinned at the memory.
Sougyo no Kotowari, please come out.
There was a flash of light and dark that arc'ed over the next wave into the deep, dark hole that swallowed even the waves that crashed over the rocks all around.
The water's fine, Jyuushiro. Come on in, there's no surprises today. The zanpakutou's tone was relaxed, calm as it nearly always was in the water. There'd been that time with the trapped shark where Jyuushiro had learned to send the zanpakutou spirit first. A simple precaution now that he'd gotten bankai.
Oh, good. Jyuushiro waited for the next wave to ebb and then he planted both feet to dive into the hole. He went in deep, the water a shock against his warm skin, but only for a moment. Then all the sound of the waves and gulls and air all cut off underwater, now the hiss and tumble of the water itself sounded against his ears. He slowed his legs, taking deep, slow, long kicks with his whole leg, going down amid all the life and color that was only here, underwater, in the life zone of the surf where water and air met and mingled.
Fish darted, plants waved in the wild motions of the water, he glanced up to see a wave break on the surface, all cream and whites against the glass greens. He swam out deeper, knowing at the far wall of the hole he'd be beyond the crashing surf.
Sougyo no Kotowari darted by him, in his merman form, his doubling less obvious under water, but still sleek and powerful.
Jyuushiro felt the pressure on his lungs, harder now than when he was small, so he lazily kicked his way up to the surface. He took a deep breath when he got there, and then lay back, floating, relaxing, letting himself breathe as he would. Eventually, he put his head up and with the same slow, lazy kicks he'd gone down with, he now stayed on the surface, bobbing gently up and down with the waves. Sougyo no Kotowari splashed further out and Jyuushiro just relaxed.
The water cradled him, cool and weighty, given that he was escaping, for a bit, from his family's reunion he enjoyed the solitude in the water. It had been odd to come back again, to grandnephews and nieces, cousins-dozens-removed, and mistaking far off relatives for his own siblings, who were all long gone on to the living world. It had been confusing, chaotic compared to the spare, absolute organization of the Gotei 13. While he'd enjoyed being welcomed back as the Captain of the family, he'd also felt set apart not just by his title, but by time.
But the sea was the same, always, as dependable as Sougyo no Kotowari or Shunsui, and that brought him a comfort he'd craved.