“How does it feel to be home?”
The question is innocent and well-intentioned. Kisuke fights back a snort, a callous snap that Seireitei hasn’t been home for a long time. Jyuushirou doesn’t deserve his vitriol.
“It’s different,” he answers, leaning against the windowsill and looking out, staring up at Soul Society’s blue sky that’s just as blue as that in Karakura’s. “It’s not the same as I remember.” And yet, it hadn’t changed and that makes Kisuke’s insides twist a little.
The captain of the thirteenth division chuckles softly and moves to stand beside Kisuke, brown eyes turned toward the same view. “Even we Shinigami are capable of change.”
And sometimes they are not and pathetically stay the same. But again, this is something that Kisuke keeps to himself. He’s been allowed back and pardoned, never mind the fact that it had never been his fault in the first place. That it was all Aizen’s doing. Seireitei and Chamber 46 don’t like admitting they had been wrong, that they had all been successfully manipulated by Aizen’s machinations.
So here Kisuke is. Back “home.” Except, it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. It’s not welcoming or inviting or comfortable. It makes him long for his shop in Karakura. There’s nothing here for him, not anymore.
“Urahara-kun….” Jyuushirou hesitates, sounding unsure, and if that isn’t a rarity, Kisuke doesn’t know what is.
He turns, lets his lips curl in the semblance of a smile, shifting to lean against the window ledge. “Since when have we reverted to such formalities, Ukitake-taichou?” Kisuke’s not wearing his hat; it’s sitting on Jyuushirou’s desk, and in that moment, Kisuke wishes for the concealment of it. He feels a little hurt, not that he’ll admit it aloud.
The tiniest flinch in Jyuushirou’s expression is smoothed away by a light grin. “I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. It’s been decades… Kisuke.”
A century, to be more precise, but Kisuke doesn’t want the reminder anymore than Jyuushirou does. There’s less than a foot between them, but the distance feels much wider.
Kisuke inclines his head. “Do you think my attentions so fickle?”
Relief warms Jyuushirou’s gaze. “No. But I wouldn’t blame you if they were.” He lifts a hand, offering it to the shopkeeper. “Welcome home, Kisuke.”
“It’s good to be back,” Kisuke replies, and this time he means it.