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Title: a complicated plot
Author/Artist: incandescens
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Prompt: May 26 - Bleach, Ukitake/Shunsui: gardens and growing things, tending plants, natural beauty.
Word count: 1216


“I have a wonderful idea,” Shunsui said. He dropped his books on his desk and waited for Jyuushirou to ask what it was.

Jyuushirou put his books down more neatly. “What is it?” he asked on cue.

“I’m going to make you a garden,” Shunsui said.

It was too early for Shunsui to be drunk, so Jyuushirou had to assume that this was a genuine sober idea, rather than some alcoholic fantasia which would be regretted later. “That sounds nice,” he said cautiously.

Shunsui snorted. “Nice? Just nice? Doesn’t the idea of a quiet little arbour suit you? Somewhere out of the way, with willow trees trailing their roots in the water, and –“

“Shunsui,” Jyuushirou said quickly, before Shunsui could get down to details, “it sounds lovely, and it is a wonderful idea, but wouldn’t it take a lot of time and effort? And our work –“ He gestured at the books in front of them, and then at their zanpakutou. “We have a lot to do.”

Shunsui shook himself thoughtfully. “So we do,” he agreed, and flung himself down at his desk. But there was something in his eyes which made Jyuushirou think that the idea had not been abandoned, merely postponed.

---

Next month, there was a large package from the Kyouraku homestead sitting on Shunsui’s bed.

“Shunsui,”Jyuushirou asked curiously, “why has your mother sent you all those works about landscaping and drainage?”

“Something to do with studying up on our castle’s defences at home,” Shunsui said airily. “More tea?”

---

Several months later, it was the middle of winter, and Jyuushirou walked into their room, brushing snow off his shoulders, to find the floor covered with bulbs. Some of them were still wrapped in straw, while others had been uncovered for inspection.

“Shunsui,” he said peacefully, calmly, and with the inner control and balance of someone who really wasn’t going to grab his roommate by the collar and point out that they had an exam the next day and did he want to fail it, “why are there bulbs all over the floor?”

“I’m just inspecting them,” Shunsui said defensively. He began scooping them back into a couple of baskets. “Don’t eat them. Even the ones that look like onions. They’re not onions, they’re narcissus.”

Jyuushirou snapped his fingers in understanding. “Is this for the upcoming medicine examinations? You have to grind it with wheat flour paste, don’t you?”

“I’ll just get them out of the way while you put out the revision texts,” Shunsui said. “And I’ll make some tea.”

The thought of tea distracted Jyuushirou, cold as he was, and he never did get round to asking Shunsui about the bulbs.

---

“Now that is not the sort of movement I like to see,” one of their weapons teachers said later in spring. They were trying various forms of spear and glaive, and for once Shunsui was receiving low marks for style, rather than for recklessness, lack of effort, or trying to be cleverer than the teacher. “Kyouraku-kun, what do you call that low thrust? You look as if you were handling a hoe rather than a spear! Have you no memory of how you are supposed to use it?”

“I apologise, sensei,” Shunsui said, looking down at his feet, his cheeks crimson with embarrassment. “I was careless. Thank you for the correction.”

“Hnh.” The teacher snorted, glaring at him. She folded her arms, considering his stance and finding fault with it. “You will be staying after class, Kyouraku-kun. I am not having you leave this room until I am sure that you will not disgrace yourself like that again.”

“Yes, sensei,” Shunsui said, and bowed.

“Do I need to pass on apologies from you to anyone?” Jyuushirou whispered, in a break from sparring.

Shunsui shook his head. “No. Believe it or not.” He grinned, just a little.

“What, not even Akemi?” Jyuushirou was fairly sure that Shunsui had been bringing her flowers and sweets just last week.

“The beautiful Akemi-chan has forgotten me,” Shunsui said with a sigh. “Her heart belongs to Kuchiki Kaoru. I am merely a leaf in her path, lost on the wind, ow!”

The teacher walking behind them drew back her cane to strike again. “If you boys have time to speak, then you have time to spar. Am I wrong?”

“No, sensei,” Jyuushirou and Shunsui quickly said, and returned to proper and enthusiastic practice. And in the confusion of looking sincerely apologetic and energetic, Jyuushirou completely forgot to ask who Shunsui was seeing, and if not, why not.

---

“Shunsui?”

“Yes?”

“You’ve got new callouses.”

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies, Jyuushirou.”

“Should I worry?”

“No. You should definitely not worry. Have some more wine.”

“All right. Oh, just one thing.”

“Yes?”

“If you want me not to ask you any questions, you might want to hide that mysterious bag of heavy clanking wood and metal items which you bought at the market yesterday.”

“Right. Wine it is.”

“Wine is your answer for everything.”

“ . . . I fail to see a problem here.”

---

The sunlight was warm on his face.

Jyuushirou blinked sleepily. He had planned to sleep in that morning, since it was a rest day. But the sun was bright and clear, and the sound of birds –

Wait. Why could he feel the sun on his face and hear the sound of birds?

He sat up, pushing aside his cocoon of quilts. He was lying beside a small huddle of willow trees, on a little bank of ground that looked out over a small lake. Lilies floated on the surface of the water, and azaleas, hydrangeas, and lilacs crowded round the edges of the area in a brilliant confusion of colours. There weren’t any nearby city noises, so they must be on the edges of the built-up territory, out towards farming lands.

Shunsui was sitting at the water’s edge, dabbling his bare feet in the water. He turned at the sound of Jyuushirou’s movements, scrambling upright. “Jyuushirou, are you --?”

“It’s lovely,” Jyuushirou said. He should find some better words, something more artistic to say, more sincere, something that better conveyed what he felt, but all he could do was state the obvious. “Shunsui, it’s beautiful.”

Shunsui shook his head. “It isn’t quite how I planned it, and I couldn’t get anything else to come up at the same time as the narcissus flowers, and then it was raining that week and I didn’t want to show it to you then, and you wouldn’t believe how annoying the wisteria were, and –“

“You made me a garden.” Jyuushirou looked around at it again. “You made me a beautiful garden, and you did it all yourself. How can I thank you?”

“You don’t need to thank me.” Shunsui dropped down next to Jyuushirou. “You should just sit back and enjoy the morning sunshine.”

A bird sang in one of the nearby trees, dropping a string of notes into the air like a gift.

Sometimes all you could do with gifts was accept them. You couldn’t even do more than say thank you. But what you could do was enjoy them.

“It’s beautiful,” Jyuushirou repeated, and watched the dazzle of the morning sunlight on the water.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
laurose8
May. 26th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
This fic's beautiful, too. For one thing, every line spoken by both Shunsui and Jyuushirou is so well done. Thank you.
incandescens
May. 26th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

(I see Shunsui -- at this point, at least -- as being very fond of the grand gesture. To be fair, he does carry through with it.)
chomiji
May. 26th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)

Awww! This is beautiful.

incandescens
May. 26th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
genjyosgirl
May. 26th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
This is beautiful! Shunsui is so sweet to Jyuushiro. Aw. Thank you for this story.
incandescens
May. 26th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it, and thank you!
arman31
May. 26th, 2012 12:26 pm (UTC)
That is so sweet. I like these two together. Your stories are always something to look forward to.
incandescens
May. 26th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
lady_ganesh
May. 27th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC)
That's lovely.
incandescens
May. 27th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
theablackthorn
Jun. 26th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Simply lovely, a joy to read :)
incandescens
Jun. 26th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
theablackthorn
Jun. 27th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
My pleasure!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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