Bleach Fan Fiction ❯ A Woman Behind These Clothes ❯ Chapter 4 ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
A Woman Behind These Clothes

Summary: After concealing her true gender for years, Juushiro Ukitake thought she had the art of hiding mastered...but then Ichigo, in all his brash glory, happened to stumble across her secret. Is there a way to keep the loud orange-hair substitute soul-reaper quiet? Probably not...

Pairings: Most likely Ichigo/Ukitake, Kyouraku and Ukitake friendship and Renji/Byakuya yaoi.

Disclaimer: Don’t own any of the characters associated with the Anime of Bleach.

Warnings: Juushiro Ukitake is dictated as a female in gender in this story. Yes, I am well aware that he is male in both Manga and anime, but work with me here. Yaoi is featured in this story as well. Don’t like? Then back out now...

AN: Hello again, everyone. Let’s see, pairings... I’m leaning more towards Ichigo/Ukitake for this fic. As much as I love Kyouraku/Ukitake, I wanted to try something different. Besides, the IchiUki pairing is pretty rare and Kyouraku interfering as only a best friend could was too great to pass up.

Comments, suggestions and advice on how to improve are always welcomed. Don’t be afraid to let me know what you think. Thanks in advance and I hope you like this chapter.


Chapter 4:

The heat from the sun was quite powerful today, Ukitake noted as she held her shopping bag closer to her chest. After speaking with her oldest friend Kyouraku, receiving the money she won from their bet and convincing him to return to his Division, Ukitake did a small bit of shopping. She needed to restock her candy stash as well as get some treats for the others to surprise them with. They would go all wide eyed and blush lightly before taking their gift and scurrying away, thanking her profusely while doing so.

They were so cute! Especially Kira-kun.

Although, Toshiro didn’t have that reaction, unfortunately. He was a little too proud and ‘matured’ for that. That why she loved giving him candies.

She loved buying little things for her ‘kids’ as she so affectionately called them, but only in her mind as Byakuya and Toshiro wouldn’t like it very much.

They were all younger than her anyway, so she had every right to call them kids.

Rukia didn’t seem to mind, though. She was such a sweet girl. Rukia often presented her with pieces of her artwork, some of them with Ichigo in, which she loved seeing. They were always so cute and fluffy. She liked cute and fluffy things.

Hmm, that reminded her that she had a packet of colouring pencils back at home to give to Rukia. She complained that Ichigo kept stealing hers for some reason.

She had brought Kyouraku a bottle of sake with the money she won as well. She didn’t have too, but she wanted to. She often made bets with her old friend, nothing cruel or anything like that, merely observations they see from the younger soul reapers. So, as tradition, they would buy a little gift for the other with the money they got, so either way, they both won something in the end.

And poor Kyouraku was going to need a stiff drink after Nanao-kun was through with him for skipping out on paperwork yet again.

Stepping into the cool shade of the Ugendo, Ukitake breathed a sigh as she wiped her brow with the back of her hand, removing a thin layer of sweat. Summer was going to be extraordinary hot this year, if today was any indication.

Stepping further into her abode, Ukitake felt the familiar tickling sensation of a strong spiritual pressure and she recognized the owner immediately.

Ichigo was here again.

Opening the door to her tea room, a smile immediately presented itself to her lips when she saw the familiar colour of orange and black on a youth as he sprawled out on his side on the matting, staring out into the waters that surrounded the building, his head resting in his hand as he leaned on his elbow. He looked so casual and laidback, which was not something he usually was after spending a few hours running to save his neck.

“Oh, hello Ichigo,” she said as she stepped into the room and shut the door quietly behind her. “Kenpachi didn’t find you again, did he?”

Turning around to face her, rolling onto his back, Ichigo shook his head as he sprawled out to stretch his long frame, resting his arms behind his head. “Nah, not this time,” he said as he grinned. “Just thought I'd stop by for a visit.”

“Oh, that's nice of you,” Ukitake said as her expression visibly brightened as she liked getting visitors when she wasn’t sick and sat herself down near her tea table, placing her shopping bag upon the piece of furniture. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Nah, I'm cool,” Ichigo replied before shifting his eyes over to the bag on the table, causing him to sit up and looked at it more critically with curiosity. “What's that?”

“Hmm, just a bit of shopping,” Ukitake explained as she, too, shifted her gaze onto the unsuspicious looking bag. “You see, I had a bet with Kyouraku that Renji and Byakuya would get together one day. As you can see, I won.”

A flicker of amusement appeared on Ichigo’s face as he sat up properly, crossing his legs and folding his arms over his chest. “How did you convince him? You didn't tell him I told you, did you?”

Ukitake had to release a small chuckle at the small hint of fear underlying Ichigo’s voice before she shook her head. “Don't worry, he won't tell anyone.”

“Good, because Renji can be rather protective when he's mad,” Ichigo muttered as he scratched the back of his neck, his grin taking on a grimace type motion.

Again, Ukitake had a small chuckle when she thought about this morning’s events. “Besides, I saw them myself.”

Ichigo tilted his head to the side in slight confusion. “Eh?”

“I was on my way to see Kyouraku when I stumbled across the two of them embracing each other,” Ukitake related with a soft smile and a gentle look in her gaze. “They looked so sweet.”

“Eh?” Ichigo once again muttered as he scratched his head before turning his head to the side. “Must be a girl thing,” he murmured more to himself than to her.

Girl thing? Oh, that was right! Ichigo was aware that she was really a girl. Hard to believe she almost forgot about that. Speaking with Ichigo was different than speaking with Kyouraku, who often made statements about her feminine appearance. Ichigo spoke to her like she was just one of the guys.

Oh, well, that was good, right? He didn’t feel awkward around her.

“That's right,” Ukitake said as she remembered something and turned her attention on her shopping, opening the bag and rummaging around for a moment. “Here,” she said as she pulled out a light green box that had lime-lemon drops written on the front. “I got you something.”

Again, Ichigo took on a curious appearance. “What is it?” he asked as he moved closer.

There wasn’t any trepidation in his voice, which was surprising from how he acted with the other soul reapers as he was often weary of the other captains or lieutenants, especially Rangiku and Mayuri slipping him something foreign.

He flat out refused to take anything from Yoruichi. He may trust her with his life, his dignity on the other hand...

“Rukia tells me that you like these,” Ukitake said as she handed him the candy drops. “Are these the ones she was talking about?”

Ichigo blinked, stunned, for a moment before taking what was offered to him in his hand and gazed down at it. “Yeah, that's right,” he said softly with a hint of smile in his voice and curled his fingers tighter around the package.

“That's good,” Ukitake said as she felt intense relief and turned back to her shopping once again. “I also got something for Rukia, Kiyone, Sentaro, Kira, Renji-”

She would have continued prattling off the list, but Ichigo interrupted her with an amused look and a small, “Hey.”

Ukitake paused and blinked at him. “Hmm?”

“What about yourself?” he asked her as his expression held a sense of warmth. “This is the money you won from a bet, right? Shouldn't you be spending that money on something you want?”

Again, Ukitake blinked blankly at him. “But this is what I want,” she told him in a way that seemed like she didn’t really understood his question.

If at all possible, the amusement in Ichigo’s gaze grew and he released a small chuckle. “I see,” he muttered lightly before leaning his elbow on his knee and resting his chin in the palm of his hand. “Hey, since we're talking about treats, what's your favourite?”

“Now that's a hard question,” Ukitake said as she clapped her hands in front of her, smiling at the memory of all the wonderful food she had the chance to enjoy. “Hmm, I guess my absolute favourite is actually from the human world. It's Cadbury Milk Chocolate, I think it's called. It's pretty rare here, so I don't get to have it often.”

“Is that so?” Ichigo said slowly, giving Ukitake the distinct feeling that he was up to something. What it could be, she didn’t have a clue, but intrigued her nonetheless.

“Captain Ukitakeeee!”

The sound of her name being called by one of her subordinates gained Ukitake’s attention and she quickly climbed to her feet, wondering if her two third seats were once again in competition with each other and want her to choose which one she liked the best. She loved all her Division members equally and no matter how many times she had explained that to them, they would always seek out her declaration of the better person.

It was so annoying sometimes.

With an apology on her lips, Ukitake spun around with the intent of sorting whatever the problem was quickly as possible. She was having a good day and didn’t want to spoil it with unnecessary fighting.

However, she wasn’t even able to make her way to the door before her vision suddenly grew very dim and fuzzy, the room seemingly taking on a sickly tilt before everything went pitch black. There was only a mild state of alarm from her that lasted for what felt like a second or two, before realizing that was probably just experiencing a head spin, something that happened often when she pushed herself from a sitting position to standing rather abruptly.

She blinked open her eyes, expecting to find herself lingering near the door, but instead found that she was no longer standing at all, but was sitting upright with support from something wrapped around her back.

“Hey, Ukitake!”

That voice, it was clearly Ichigo’s, but why did it hold a sense of concern in it?

Tilting her head back, Ukitake quickly found herself staring into Ichigo’s sharp brown eyes and realized that his face was pretty close to hers. She then realized that Ichigo was the one supporting her, literally cradling her in his arms and up against his chest. He had one arm wrapped securely and tightly around her shoulders, his other hand entangled within her hair on the back of her head.

“Ich-Ichigo?” she actually stuttered as her face felt uncomfortably hot.

“Don’t move too much,” Ichigo ordered as he tightened his hold on her. “You had a black out. Take a second to compose yourself before trying to move again.”

“I’m sorry,” Ukitake apologised when she realized that must have lost consciousness for a moment and Ichigo caught her before she hit the floor. She was quite literally lying in his arms, he kneeling on the floor as she was pressed up against his chest. She placed her hands on his chest and swallowed thickly, not understanding why her heart was suddenly beating rapidly in her chest. It was making her feel really breathless and dizzy.

She wasn’t getting sick again, was she?

“Damn, you’re as skinny as a rake,” Ichigo muttered darkly. “I can feel your rib, even through your clothing.”

“I’m not that skinny,” Ukitake started to protest. She already had Kyouraku and Unohana on her back about her weight; she didn’t need to add Ichigo to that list as well.


The door to her tea room suddenly flew open and a certain dark-haired third seat stood there, breathing deeply yet looking smug as if he just became victorious from a heated battle. He opened his mouth, ready to relay some important information but halted and blinked a few times in rapid concession.

Ukitake unconsciously pressed herself further into Ichigo’s arms, resisting the urge to bury her head into his chest in effort to hide from her subordinate’s shocked and confused gaze.

“Sentaro-” Ukitake started to speak, but her voice seemed to snap the young man out of his trance like state, and he immediately bowed and spouted off several verses of apologies before then slamming the door shut and making a quick getaway.

Oh no...he was probably going to tell Kiyone what he saw, who was going to tell her sister, who most definitely tell Nanao, who will tell Kyouraku...

She didn’t even want to think about it anymore.

“You can let me go now, Ichigo-kun,” Ukitake said as she tried to push herself away from his chest, frowning to herself when she thought about how warm and comfortable it felt sitting like this.

“Yeah right,” Ichigo muttered as he took to his feet, his form towering with a sense of intimidation over her on the floor.

A sigh passed her lips as she thought to herself that she will have to speak with Sentaro and Kiyone after and explained to the two of them that what Sentaro saw wasn’t anything scandalous of the sort.

Yet another awkward conversation for her to endure.

Suddenly, Ukitake found herself no longer on the floor and immediately made a noise that was a mixture of surprise, protest and embarrassment when she suddenly found herself hoisted into the air by a pair of strong arms and wrapped her own lithe arms around Ichigo’s neck upon reflex.

He...he just picked her up in his arms like she was a bride or something!

“What are you doing?!”

“You have a fever,” Ichigo informed her bluntly as he held her in so easily in his arms that he made her appear almost weightless. He had one arm under her knees, the other wrapped around her back, his large hand sitting on her waist as he pulled her against his chest.

He then shifted her more comfortably in his arms, moving her just so he could look into her face. He seemed to smirk at her shock before his brown eyes narrowed in critical concern. “And you blacked out for a moment as well.”

With her arms still encircling his neck, Ukitake found herself blinking at him in mild surprise. A part of her felt somewhat privileged that he was so concerned for her wellbeing, but then a more rational part of her felt sheepish that she was being mothered by a human child.

“I just stood up too quickly and experienced a head spin, that’s all,” she protested verbally, yet made no effort to remove herself from his arms as her head was still slightly fuzzy and she feared that she would only make a bigger nuisance of herself if she demanded to be placed on her feet only to fall over again.

It happened many times before.

However, Ichigo’s eyes only narrowed further, causing Ukitake to feel significantly smaller than he, even though she was a captain and had seen many terrifying things.

Who knew Ichigo could be so intimidating when he was worried?

“You blacked out for five minutes,” Ichigo stated slowly and firmly. “Blacking out for any reason is never good. So, in other words, you’re going to get some rest and I mean right now.”

He was glaring at her.

He was actually glaring at her, which surprised her greatly. But what really shocked her was her reaction; she actually nodded and replied with a small, squeaky ‘kay’. She didn’t - couldn’t - protest or demand that she be placed back on her own feet, salvaging a fraction of her disembodied dignity and stalk over to her bed under her own will.

She hated being fussed over, really loathed it as she felt she was only distracting others from more important things to do, taking away their precious time.

However, with Ichigo, she felt that if she protested too much, he would get really mad at her and a worried Ichigo seemed easier to deal with than an annoyed one.

“Good,” Ichigo said as a somewhat smug grin appeared upon his lips and he effortlessly held her closer against his chest as he made his way over to her bedroom, thankfully being mindful so that none of her Division Members would see their captain in such a vulnerable position.

Not to mention scandalous. If the gossip mongers of the Soul Society get wind of this, they would have a field day!

No, wait...word of her being in Ichigo’s arms was probably already circulating through all of the Seretei now!

She soon came to the realization that there was no way for her to argue with the substitute soul reaper, Rukia informed her once that he was a stubborn individual and when someone was in a spot of bother, there was nothing he wouldn’t do to help them. If he had you in his sights, the best thing to do was not to struggle.

With a sigh, she rested her head upon his shoulder, her brow furrowing when an unfamiliar scent touched her nose. She drew in a deep breath and found herself unwillingly relaxing in Ichigo’s arms, a sense of weariness making its presence known to her.

Odd, that smell must be Ichigo’s scent, Ukitake mused to herself as she felt her eyes drift shut on their own accord. It’s oddly comforting.

She was pulled from her thoughts when she felt Ichigo shift her in his arms again and then carefully place her down upon her bed delicately, as if she was made of fragile glass. He leaned over her as he laid her down, his face impeccably close to hers as he slipped his hand from her waist to trail up her spine and then to the back of her neck, cradling her head as he helped her to lean back against her pillows.

Surprised, but then again, not overly so, by his consideration, Ukitake let her hands linger on his shoulders for a moment before reluctantly removing them, her bandages around her chest suddenly feeling tight when Ichigo pulled away.

No one had taken the time to place her so gently upon her bed before.

Slowly, Ukitake tried to sit up, but Ichigo wouldn’t allow that. He placed his hand on her forehead, under the snow white tresses and tenderly coaxed her to lie back down without saying a word. She once again released a sigh of defeat and plopped back down onto the bed, lifting her hand to place against her forehead.

Her illness was such a nuisance.

“Sorry for being such a bother to you, Ichigo-kun.”

A small smile appeared on his lips as his eyes took on a sense of warmth. “Nah, you’re not a bother,” Ichigo said before adding with a light tone. “You’re fun to take care of.”

Ukitake didn’t know whether he was serious or joking, but she pushed that aside to smile up at him to show her appreciation that he wasn’t fussing over her in an over the top manner, unlike her two third seats...

“Ah, well, I better get going,” Ichigo said as he stretched his tall, muscular frame before relaxing and scratching the back of his head.

“Oh?” Ukitake said with a small frown, finding herself feeling a sense of disappointment that he was leaving.

She, however, quickly scolded herself for feeling something so selfish. Ichigo obviously had better things to do with his time then waste it watching over an old, frail and sickly woman as she took a nana nap.

Pushing aside her desire to spend a moment longer in Ichigo’s energetic presence, Ukitake smiled up at him. “Where are you heading off to, now?”

“I'm going to visit Rukia and Hanataro,” Ichigo replied as he gave a careless shrug, a smile tugging on the corners of his lips when he thought about his two friends. But then a grimace flickered across his face and he seemed to deadpan. “And steer clear of Kenpachi and Ikkaku, if I can.”

“Sure, best of luck with that,” Ukitake said as she felt her eyes slowly drift close again. “Say hi to the others for me.”

“I will,” Ichigo said before he made his grand exit through the window, his gaze shifting back and forth with anxious suspicion before nodding to himself that the coast was clear and slipped away.

As his presence slowly faded away, Ukitake couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed, yet there was a sense of joy as well at how well he seemed to handle her ailing health.

Funny, she didn’t mind being fussed over by him.