Byakuya had a dilemma.
Worse than that, he had an embarrassing dilemma that wasn’t easily solved. It wasn’t often that the Kuchiki heir admitted ineptitude in any matter, but this time he realized that he had no choice but to swallow his pride. If he ever wanted to have sex again, preferably with his boyfriend, then he was going to have to seek advice.
He supposed he could leave the matter to Ichigo and stoically pretend that he was not inexperienced or even slightly afraid of that fact. But as the older, more mature partner in their relationship… and probably the one with the most raging hormones given his fifty years of unexpected abstinence, it was up to him to find out all the answers. Not to mention, Ichigo was one of the most prudish men Byakuya had ever met and would never survive the sheer mortification involved in asking someone the mechanics behind homosexual copulation.
It was easier for Byakuya to think about it if he tried to maintain a purely scientific mindset. Not that it helped the images, and there were many of them. It made his cheeks heat just to think about it, despite all efforts to tamper down his lecherous thoughts.
With the fate of his unintentional celibacy hanging on the line, Byakuya took a day off work, much to Yamamoto-soutaichou’s surprise and Renji’s glee, and began his search for advice. To that end, he made his way to the thirteenth division headquarters with his head held as proudly as he could muster. Admittedly, he probably resembled a man heading off to his death. Only his libido granted him the courage to keep going.
Meanwhile, Ukitake Jyuushiro was having a rather good day, filling out paperwork and staunchly ignoring the noise of his third-seats, as well as Shunsui’s persistent attempts at cajoling him to skip work and come out to play. He was slightly afraid of what his friend had in mind for “play.”
When Byakuya was shown in, looking as uncomfortable as a man like he was capable of, Jyuushiro dismissed his third-seats and set down his brush. He always had time for the younger captain, still holding a soft spot for the man he had mentored those years ago.
“I apologize for the disruption,” Byakuya stated hastily, lowering himself to the mat in front of both senior captains. He tried to ignore the hint of embarrassment that was creeping into his expression and fought to maintain his usual impassivity.
Jyuushiro smiled pleasantly, surreptitiously elbowing Shunsui in the side in an effort to make his dearest friend shut up for once. “No need for that,” he responded gently. He cleared his throat and tried to make himself comfortable. “To what do we owe this visit?”
Despite his great efforts to appear completely unperturbed, two high spots of color stained Byakuya’s cheeks. “I require some advice,” he declared rather stiffly, his hands resting on his knees as he attempted not to fidget.
Shunsui lifted a brow. “Advice?” he repeated, ignoring the hushing looks being sent his direction by his best buddy.
He was extremely curious. It wasn’t often that the Kuchiki heir asked others for help. Not to mention that Byakuya looked faintly embarrassed, which made it even more interesting in Shunsui’s mind. He sat forward in his seat.
Byakuya nodded. “Yes,” he responded simply, then fell silent as if the right words had completely failed him. He shifted again, fingers twitching.
Faintly amused, Jyuushiro tried to remain dignified. “About?” he questioned, hoping to prompt his kouhai into finally speaking.
Gathering up all of his dignity, Byakuya took a deep breath. “Sex,” he said, though it came out a more of a squeak. He cleared his throat. “Specifically among two men,” he added, a bit rushed.
A cricket chirped.
The two older men gaped, exchanged glances with each other… and stared some more.
Shunsui coughed into his hand.
“I see,” Jyuushiro began slowly, obviously grasping for the right words. “And you came to me because…?”
Byakuya’s eyes flickered between the two of them, and suddenly, the reasoning became all too clear. Jyuushiro was not surprised. He and Shunsui had been fending off those rumors for centuries.
The thirteenth division captain sighed. “Byakuya-kun,” he began as politely and kindly as he could. “We’re not gay. We’ve never–”
“Why does everyone think that?” Shunsui cut in with a shake of his head as he sat back in his seat. “We’re just friends. Is that a crime?”
The blush that Byakuya had been fighting the entire time won its pursuit of victory and blossomed into a full scarlet bloom onto his face. He fidgeted again.
“I didn’t know,” he said, feeling absolutely mortified. The Kuchiki heir desperately wished that Aizen would suddenly and randomly choose to attack.
Great. Not only was his secret out, but he had offended two of the oldest and most senior captains in Seireitei. Perhaps there was a reason men like him deserved to be celibate.
Sensing that his former kouhai was becoming distressed, Jyuushiro sought to calm him down. “Have you tried speaking to Unohana-taichou?” he suggested gently, thinking if anything, a healer should have some sort of knowledge in that regards.
But by the look on Byakuya’s face, it was clear the Kuchiki heir did not consider that even a blip on his scale of possibilities. It was embarrassing enough to ask two men he had already thought were gay. There was no way in Hueco Mundo he was going to ask Unohana. Even if it was probably the wisest thing to do.
“Is there anyone else?” Byakuya managed to bite out through clenched teeth. At this point, he was taking any and all suggestions… except Unohana.
After all, he was socially awkward, not socially stupid. There was a difference.
Shunsui grinned, an idea occurring to him. “Well, you could always ask Sousuke-kun. He’s been rumored to dabble,” he commented thoughtfully, remembering the only rumor to rival the one of he and his Jyuu-chan in longevity. “But since he’s in Hueco Mundo… well, that adds a whole new level of difficulty.”
Byakuya actually considered it. His libido practically screamed for him to; otherwise, another dreadful fifty years would pass before he saw any end to his half-intentional and half-not celibacy. Finally, the sixth division captain sighed and rose to his feet, brushing invisible dust from his hakama.
“I see. I apologize for the mistake.”
Jyuushiro waved off the apology. “Perhaps if Shunsui wasn’t so flamboyant with his choice in wear, it would happen less often,” he remarked around a sip of tea, shooting his oldest and dearest friend a pointed look.
“I’ll have you know that I am by far the manliest of us, Jyuu-chan,” Shunsui replied with fake insult, lazily tossing a balled up piece of parchment in Ukitake’s direction.
The white-haired captain ducked smoothly, and it sailed ineffectually over his head. He regarded his companion thoughtfully, a retort on his lips, but Byakuya didn’t stick around to hear it. The conversation was quickly degrading into another one of their more famous debates, and while interesting, he had more important things to do.
He slipped out of the office, leaving the sounds of their banter behind him, and contemplated as to what he should do next. The fourth division was absolutely out of the question, and while he had the suspicion that Ayasegawa from the eleventh was gay, he had no intentions of seeking advice from the flamboyant man.
Torn, Byakuya was beginning to wonder just how hard it was to get into Hueco Mundo and find the missing traitor, act of treason or no. Then again, there was always Aizen’s partner in crime from all those rumors Byakuya vaguely remembered hearing about. And it would only take a journey to Karakura to meet with a certain exiled former captain. That was, if he were willing to subject himself to the man’s lecherous and likely gossiping nature…
Hueco Mundo was sounding more and more acceptable by the moment.
Fortunately, before he could even shunpo towards the nearest gate and ask directions, he felt a familiar reiatsu in his vicinity. Unable to stop the anticipatory tremor that attacked his heart, Byakuya immediately headed for a more solitary location to meet his lover… or soon to be lover since they hadn’t yet managed to cross that line.
An abandoned courtyard on the outskirts of Seireitei fit their needs perfectly. Byakuya appeared in a flit of shunpo just seconds before Ichigo landed right next to him, a grin splitting his face. It made the sixth division captain just a bit wary.
“My idiot dad might be worth something after all,” Ichigo said, waving an unidentified object in front of Byakuya as he drew nearer to his boyfriend.
Silver eyes watched the movement of what appeared to a book with colorful, if not cartoonish, pictures drawn on the cover. He was not impressed.
“A comic?” he questioned, lifting one imperious brow.
Gaze darting surreptitiously around as if to confirm they were alone, Ichigo still wasn’t that good at sensing reiatsu, the substitute Shinigami pulled an unsuspecting Byakuya into his arms in a very undignified manner.
“Not just any comic,” he replied smugly. “But a shounen-ai manga.”
Byakuya was still very much confused. “Explain,” he demanded.
Fingers dancing up his back, pressing against Byakuya’s spine in a very teasing manner, Ichigo’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “Better yet. I’ll show you,” he murmured, and closed the space between them before the captain could even put up an argument. Not that he tried very hard.
And suddenly, it all made sense.
Byakuya’s libido gave a ragged cheer of glee.
After all, he had taken the entire day off from work.