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Title: Moon Rose Shosagoto
Author: goat_dono
Rating: T (yaoi, shūdo, angst, H/C, mushyness)
Word count: 1447
Summary/Prompt: springkink March 13 - Bleach, Ukitake/Rose: romance- Ukitake never forgot the music.

A/N: Apologies for late fic. This pairing was a helluva challenge.

Disclaimer: Bleach is the property of Tite Kubo. I do not use its characters, settings and/or events for any profitable purpose.

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Though here I lament,
Can it be the moon at fault
When grief lies heavy?
Yet still, as though in reproach
I lift up my tear-stained face.


—Saigyō Hōshi (1118-1190)


Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.

—Confucius


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Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi began his afterlife huddled cold and alone behind a brothel in the Rukongai pleasure district. Upon taking him in, the manager of the neighboring theater quickly discovered that the astonishingly beautiful boy had a natural gift for music and dance, and Rōjūrō was soon swept up into the sordid world of yarō kabuki and child prostitution.

It was here that he first attracted the attention of the Thirteenth Division captain.

Jūshirō Ukitake had taken to visiting the pleasure district after his ninth wakashū, Tessai Tsukabishi, left to take command of the Kidōshū. The captain was intrigued by the young onnagata’s natural grace and fluidity of motion; his very soul was imbued with music, and his body had become his most practiced instrument. For years, Ukitake tried in vain to buy the boy's freedom, but Rōjūrō was one of the district's most popular and valuable entertainers, and his owners would not let him go. Eventually, Rōjūrō grew tall and broad-shouldered and unsuitable for the oiran roles that had made him famous. Only then was Ukitake able to free him of servitude and become his patron. And so it was that a Rukon kagema came to learn the ways of the sword and of love at the hands of one of the greatest captains the Gotei 13 had ever known.

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From the very start of his training, it was clear that Rōjūrō’s intuitive artistry would translate into swordsmanship. Thus, it came as no surprise that when he eventually achieved his highly theatrical shikai, the release was structured like a musical composition, and contained the power to utterly captivate the psyche of his opponents, just as he had his audiences.

After graduating from the Shinigami Academy, Rōjūrō was placed in the 8th seat of the Thirteenth Division and continued to reside at Ugendō. His skills were unquestioned, but he was far better known for his music than his sword, having mastered several stringed instruments and kept his youthful, angelic voice. Ukitake was particularly enamored of his jiuta-style shamisen playing, though he secretly longed for his apprentice to return to the dance, having never forgotten those intimate performances in the hushed theater.

Despite his emotional nature and his deep affection for his captain, Rōjūrō, like his predecessor Tessai, was at heart an ambitious and practical man. When he was offered the position of lieutenant of the Third Division, he accepted, and Ukitake reluctantly released him from their formal relationship.

Shortly after Rōjūrō's departure, Ukitake suffered a prolonged and serious relapse of his childhood illness. His lieutenant, Ashido Kano, was called upon to lead the division for an extended period of time, a situation that the highly responsible captain found profoundly distressing.

As a result, Ukitake couldn't sleep, which weakened him further and ensured that his subordinates would remain burdened; and he seemed poised on the brink of a spiraling despair that could end his life.

In desperation, his family sent a request for Lieutenant Ōtoribashi to return to Ugendō with his shamisen, to play and sing for the captain and soothe him into rest. Rōjūrō took leave and came at once, dressed in an elegant kimono with a long-sleeved, distinctly feminine style, and sat in the open doorway of the summerhouse on the lake as he had done so often in times past. He watched the moon dance on the water and recalled the experiences of his youth, and filled the still air with haunting jiuta melodies in the hope that they would return his former captain’s thoughts to those nights at the theater years ago, when he was strong and well and deeply in love.

But that night, though he played and played, Rōjūrō’s musical spell would not work. Ukitake remained wide awake with distant and troubled eyes, his mind consumed with concern for Ashido, gone for days on a dangerous mission to the forest of Menos. Rōjūrō knew also that Ukitake pined for the most recent object of his affections - a beautiful boy of the Shiba clan, just coming of age, that he was in no condition to pursue.

Rōjūrō laid his instrument aside, relinquishing the moon’s captive audience to the bullfrogs on the lakeshore. He stood to retrieve a tasseled Chinese fan that lay on a shelf, and knelt silently in the shadows just outside of Ukitake's field of vision.

After a few minutes, Ukitake's curiosity cut through his troubled thoughts. He rolled to his side to look about for his guest and was instantly transfixed by the sight of Rōjūrō, face hidden by the fan, seated in the opening pose of one of his most famous and erotic roles.

There was no sound save the distant frog's chorus, the occasional splash of koi, and the wind soughing in the trees, and these became Rōjūrō's accompaniment. Slowly he revealed his face, and his delicate gestures evoked the image of fallen leaves enticed by flowing streams of water, for such was the nature of love in the floating world of the pleasure-seekers.

As Rōjūrō began to dance, the turning, drifting fan guided the captain’s eyes to each expressive undulation of his body, subtly directing the classic narrative. An oiran, lamenting her dreary life confined to a house of pleasure, is stricken by heartache that is soothed by the arrival of the one she loves. Her sorrow turning to joy, she takes his hand and draws him close, and they lay down together to rest.

Ukitake watched in fascination as the tale unfolded. It had been so long since Rōjūrō had danced for him, he'd all but forgotten the power of this enchanting illusion to suffuse his entire being with desire.

Rōjūrō drifted down to the futon with his legs folded gracefully to the side, and drew Ukitake up to recline in his lap, carefully untying the captain’s obi and parting his juban. For a moment, Ukitake felt shame at his condition, but Rōjūrō did not react to the gaunt, pallid form, weakened almost to the point of helplessness.

Instead, his gentle fingers ghosted over the contours of Ukitake's ravaged body as if it were that of a beautiful lover in his prime of life, lying languidly in the embrace of his most favored courtesan. As if by magic, Rōjūrō's hands described a vision of graceful lines and curving planes, dense bone and smooth, hard muscle, skin as lustrous and richly textured as warm ivory.

Now the dance became a reverie of sensation, a rhapsody of skin and silk and breath and body, accompanying a waking dream of indescribable pleasure, all choreographed to the heady rhythm of Ukitake’s pounding heart.

Ukitake could not tear his eyes away from the fervent play of Rōjūrō's hands over his flesh. Rōjūrō's touch grew urgent and intense, penetrating him, consuming him, transporting them both back to the floating world of dance-drama and song, long nights and days of hedonism and intimacy, tenderness and lust, and Ukitake's rapturous moans rose high over the night sounds as his body reached its blissful climax.

Rōjūrō brought the dance to its conclusion, releasing Ukitake's spent body from its spell. Rising, he dampened a cloth in the basin and gently washed Ukitake's still-flushed skin, and by the time he'd retied his juban and pulled the coverlet back up, the captain had fallen into a sound, peaceful sleep.

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Ashido never returned from the forest. His loss was a devastating blow to Ukitake and the division, but the captain held his resolve and steadily recovered from his illness. With time, as always, Ukitake regained his full strength and capabilities, and resumed command of the Thirteenth. Flattered by his charm and prestige, the Shiba boy welcomed the captain's advances and proved to be an unparalleled prodigy who would eventually replace Ashido as lieutenant.

Rōjūrō remained on close but platonic terms with Ukitake, diligently respectful of his new apprentice. A few years later, he assumed leadership of the Third Division after his captain was struck down in the line of duty. A series of tragic misfortunes befell him in turn, culminating in his narrow avoidance of execution and escape to permanent exile in the human world. Ukitake acquired his left-behind shamisen, and kept it with the tasseled fan in the summerhouse on the lake. There, they preserved his memories of the music and the dance, and the unconditional, irrepressible love of a Rukon kagema that had soothed his heart and brought him back to life.

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jiuta – a classical style of shamisen playing
kagema – male prostitute
oiran – female courtesan
onnagata – a male kabuki actor that plays female roles
shamisen – traditional 3-stringed Japanese musical instrument
shosagoto – dance drama
shūdo – the "Way of the Young," traditional Edo-era pederasty
wakashū – attractive adolescent boy or young man
yarō kabuki – all-male kabuki theater


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
fenikkusuken
Mar. 20th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)

*iz in awe*

Lovely. Absolutely lovely. The sensual imagery in this was outstanding.
goat_dono
Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
thank you!
ninotchkadada
Mar. 20th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
"awe" is an understatement
It's rare to read something so well researched, much less a historically (within fandom's limits) accurate portrayal of a sub-culture that still retains a sensual and poetic beauty nested in the prose. Deliriously well done. You made my day X-D
goat_dono
Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
Re: "awe" is an understatement
:D

glad you like!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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