Categories > Anime/Manga > Bleach

Friends at Your Back

by Lady1Venus 0 reviews

Always surrounding himself with drinking, finally gets stopped when his friends comes to his aide

Category: Bleach - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Published: 2015-06-30 - 3667 words - Complete

Since the day his Captain betrayed his trust and loyalty, he often found himself drinking, trying to bury his head into forgetting. Of course the next morning he would wake with a headache but after taking some medication to get rid of the headache, he would move on with his day, doing his best to lead the men as best as he could. There was no Captain now, but that didn't mean his group couldn't still function. That was what a Lieutenant was for… to do jobs when his or her Captain wasn't around. And now he was doing all that he could. Although where there was no Captain, the other Captains picked up the slack when it came to paperwork. But they even had their own jobs to deal with and with three Captains now gone, it made life complicated for everyone. With having three less Captains, those Squads were never handed down assignments anymore and they were never given any new recruits either.

Sitting down in tavern, alone, Izuru Kira began to do what he did every night. But just as he was about to take a slug of his Saki, a hand covered the cup.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," a voice responded.

Looking up, his eyes widened in surprise, there before him stood Captains Jushiro Ukitake and Shunsui Kyoraku. Shunsui had his hand over the cup.

"Captains?" he nearly fell over backwards. "What do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"

Anticipating the Lieutenant's reaction, Shunsui had grabbed the cup just before the man fell backwards. In his eyes, it wasn't good to throw away such good tasting liquid. He took a seat opposite of the blond man, removing his hat. Jushiro too, also took a seat on the opposite side of the table.

"We have been told of your frequent visits here, only later go home drunk. You know that never solves anything," responded Jushiro.

Fixing his posture, Izuru looked down, his hands now resting in this lap. At that moment, he was glad only one eye was completely visible to the men before him. "I know, but it helps me to forget. I was so foolish!" he berated himself.

"Izuru," Shunsui shook his head, speaking informally. No one was on duty so it stood to reason to use first name basis. Besides Shunsui was comfortable in speaking informal to others. Although no one would ever dare to try and call the Captains by their first name, except for those who were close to him or her. "It's understandable in your position."

"No you don't. I defended my Captain when Momo accused him of killing Captain Aizen. That is something I will never forgive myself for."

"You were doing what any Lieutenant in your position would have done in that situation," Jushiro disagreed. "You defended your Captain. It's not your fault you were betrayed and Aizen's death was a ruse. We all were betrayed. We had trusted those men. No one knew of Aizen's power."

"Yes but not defending Momo, my friend, she's now in a coma." Izuru then whispered. "Her own Captain…"

"Yes," Jushiro nodded. He wished there was something he could do for the Lieutenant. "She was delivered the worse betrayal than anyone. Being nearly killed by the man she loved is very difficult to take in."

Izuru looked up suddenly. "Love?" he blinked.

"Don't tell me you didn't know," Shunsui snorted lightly. "All the Captains could see that and he used her affections to his advantage. He exploited her… humiliated her. When she wakes, she will be a complete mess. Squad 5 has no Lieutenant nor a Captain right now."

Izuru felt like he was just slapped in the face. The two Captains before him were right. Momo was used and now Squad 5 was in worse condition than Squad 3 or 9. He lowered his head once again. "I never thought of it that way."

"And she nearly died because of it, thanks to Aizen," Shunsui added.

Jushiro looked at the man before him. "Lieutenant, there isn't anything we can do for what has happened except to be more careful and try not to let it happen again. Aizen has been a high-ranking officer for over 100 years. As it is now, we now know he framed many people and had them either banished or killed."

"Yes, I've heard," Izuru answered, still with remorse. "He framed former Captain Urahara and now he resides in the World of the Living and still works for the Seireitei as help to the Soul Reapers when needed. I'm told he was the on who helped Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends to get here."

"Yes," Jushiro nodded. "You need some…" Whatever Jushiro was about to say was lost as his name was called.

"Captain Ukitake!" blurted a voice.

Jushiro didn't have to look to know whose voice that was. He could recognize her voice anywhere. It was none other than one of his favorite subordinates, Rukia Kuchiki. He turned to greet the short girl with a gentle smile.

"Rukia, what brings you here?" he asked. Beside Rukia happened to be Lieutenant Shuhei Hisagi of Squad 9. The numbers '69' clearly visible on his face. He had those numbers etched on his face as a reminder of the one person who inspired him to become a Soul Reaper.

"Forgive me Captain Ukitake," Shuhei responded, seeing Rukia rarely ever stepped foot in the tavern. "I came upon Rukia on my way here and we heard you were here."

Jushiro raised his hand up, silencing the man. "It's ok Shuhei." He turned his full attention to the petite woman.

"I wanted to talk to you sir," Rukia answered, slightly nervous. She didn't want her brother to catch her in the tavern. He didn't approve of it because of her status and in the evening after shifts were over, men got drunk and he really didn't want his sister to see them drunk, though he knows she has seen them before intoxicated.

Shuhei took a seat beside Izuru. Without so much as a word, the Lieutenant of Squad 9, gave the blond Lieutenant a big whack in the shoulder. "Will you quit acting like an idiot!"

Jushiro, Rukia and Shunsui were quick to glance to Shuhei at his boldness.

Izuru nearly fell completely over if not for bracing his hand and only doing so far as moving his legs out from under him to prevent the full fall. He glared at the Lieutenant. "What the hell was that for!?" he snapped.

Shuhei crossed his arms. "Now that's more like it. As soon as you stop wallowing in self pity, perhaps you can start doing your job better."

"I am doing my job," Izuru defended.

Shunsui too crossed his arms. "Really? Well it doesn't look like it right now. It looks like you're wanting to get drunk."

"Well… I…"

Rukia continued to get less comfortable. Sensing her discomfort, Jushiro stood and turned to his friend. "Why don't we take a walk?"

"Sure, Captain," Rukia agreed, grateful into getting out of that situation. She rarely saw a Captain speak so informal to others and not reprimand others for doing what Shuhei just had done was something she never saw before.

Captain Ukitake and Rukia easily stepped out of the tavern and began walking down the street together. Jushiro had his arms resting behind his back as the two walked. As usual his Zanpakuto rested within the sash on his left side. "Now, what would you like to speak with me about?"

"Well… I first would just like to say that it's good to see you out of bed. The last I had heard, you were very sick." She continued to walk, keeping him walking as well.

"Yes, I was and in a sense still am, but thanks to medication, I have it under control for the time being. You must be very relieved to be free once again."

"You have no idea," Rukia sighed in relief. "I never thought Ichigo would come to my rescue and at first I was upset that he did, but now…"

"Now it's different," Jushiro finished. "He saved the entire Soul Society for his selfless act. He risked our wrath to save you against something he felt was unfair only to learn we were all deceived about your execution."

Rukia stopped, turning away from her Captain as tears surfaced. Her Captain was a kind soul who was born and raised in the Soul Society. Unlike Rukia who once was a human, but her life was short lived when her and her sister died when she was just an infant and the two came to live in the Rukon District, where it was then her sister abandoned her because of survival.

From knowing the man before was of high stature, not a great noble, but high enough, she really didn't want him to see her cry. She kept her face away from seeing his eyes. "I owe so much to Ichigo, I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay him."

Knowing she was silently crying, he rested a hand on her shoulder. "Rukia," he replied softly. "I think you did repay him and in fact he probably repaid your debt."

"What do you mean?" she blinked; lifting her head but still didn't turn to him.

"You said yourself you saved his life on the night you lost your powers, correct? And you continued to protect him even after you could no longer use your powers. He has even told me you protected his siblings from harm."

"I did. He has two younger sisters and quite the obnoxious father. While I was staying with them, they didn't know I was there, I learnt Ichigo's mother was taken by Hollow six years ago. He was so determined to kill that Hollow who took his mother, but the Grandfisher got away.

With a shake of his head, he removed his hand. "Yes, that is a tough one. But after everything you have done for Ichigo and his family, he returned that favor by risking his own life to save you. He went up against Captain Kuchiki and even Captain Zaraki and defeated them both."

"My brother is still reeling over that. Captain Zaraki wants to have a rematch, at least that's what Ichigo told me before he left."

Stepping away from the short girl, Jushiro decided to give the woman beside him a moment to recollect herself. He would never admit he knew her weakness.

"Perhaps you can sometime return there," he said, breaking the silence.

"But sir… Look what happened to me while I was there. What if that was to happen again?"

"We are well aware what happened between you and Ichigo could happen again and if that does, there is nothing we can do. We know now that you did it to save Ichigo's life. It will be said to all Soul Reapers that if they lose their powers, they are to immediately inform the Seireitei." He gazed at the night sky. "Thanks to Ichigo, we can still look at the sky and see how beautiful it is."

Rukia looked to the evening sky. "Yes, the sky is beautiful. In Ichigo's town in some areas the lights of the city's buildings overpower the glowing stars. But from certain locations it's very beautiful."

"It is, but I don't think that is the reason you wanted to speak with me about," Jushiro stated as he turned his attention back to the small woman.

"No. My brother has requested for me to take leave while I continue to recuperate from my loss of powers. I may be able to do Kidos but I still have not received the ability to use my Zanpakuto and without that…"

"You can not return to duty," he finished for her. "I already know of Captain Kuchiki's request. He has already advised me of it this morning."

"Oh…" Rukia didn't know what to say.

"Rukia, don't ever think you can't talk to me about anything. I may be an old man, but I do have friendly ears."

Rukia lightly blushed. "I wouldn't go as far as to say you're old. I know you're one of the oldest Captains here, but you look quite young compared to Head Captain Yamamoto."

Jushiro lightly laughed. "That is a very nice compliment."

"I'm sorry to have disturbed you. Please don't tell him I was here. He doesn't like it when I get near the tavern."

Jushiro nodded. "Byakuya will not hear it from me." He knew whom she was referring to. He watched as she turned away from him, heading off in the location of the Kuchiki manor. Throughout the Seireitei, there were four great noble clans. And the Kuchiki's happened to be one of them.

When she was no longer insight, Jushiro made his way back into the tavern where he came upon the two Lieutenants in some sort of glaring contest.

"What did I miss?" asked the Squad 13 Captain.

Shunsui chuckled. "Shuhei has challenged our young Lieutenant here to a staring contest. Who ever loses can not touch sake for an entire month."

Jushiro chuckled. "This sounds interesting. Both of them love to drink."

"Yep," Shunsui took a drink from the cup Izuru was about to drink from. "And I might as well not let this go to waste."

Jushiro shook his head. "Sometimes you're just as bad as they are."

Shunsui smirked. "Someone has to keep these young fighters on their toes."

The two Lieutenants ignored the Captains as they spoke to continue their glaring match. Izuru did not want to lose and he was trying his best but as he continued to stare, his eyes began to burn and water. Shuhei was having the same difficulty but he had done this many times and won and he wasn't about to lose to a young fighter like the Lieutenant of Squad 3. He could see Izuru's eyes were beginning to water.

For another two more minutes the two continued until finally Izuru no longer could take and he finally blinked, falling backwards in exhaustion.

"Ha!" Shuhei grinned as he immediately blinked to and rubbed his eyes. "I win."

"From the looks of things," Shunsui said with his lips nearing the cup once again. "If Izuru held on another five seconds longer he would have won."

Izuru jerked forward. "I lost by only five seconds!"

"But you still lost," Shuhei joked. "And now you can't drink for the next month."

Izuru groaned as he stood up. "Guess I should leave then." Izuru bade the Captains farewell as he left the tavern, heading back to Squad 3 barracks. He looked into the Captain's office and felt himself wanting to drink again. But knowing his comrade, he would have Izuru watched to be sure he didn't drink. And Izuru thought himself to be an honorable man. He wouldn't break the deal no matter what. He wasn't that type of person.

With a sad sigh, he turned away from the office only to bump into one of his comrades. His hands immediately reached out to steady the person just as the sound of a female's voice gasped in surprise.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said. She looked up and gasped. "Lieutenant!"

Focusing his eyes, he looked at her. "Zelina!"

"I'm sorry Lieutenant," she apologized. "I wasn't looking where I was going."

"No, it's my fault." He released his hold on her arms. "What brings you here anyway?"

She lowered her head. "Two days before Aizen's betrayal, I signed a letter for transfer."

"Transfer? Why?" This surprised Izuru. "I thought you were happy in this Squad." He couldn't help but notice how her bangs covered her right eye like his did with his left.

"I was… but…"

He noticed she was really uncomfortable, but was it from him or from the room he just exited. "Did you want to go someplace to talk?" he offered.

She nodded. "Yeah… perhaps that is a good idea."

The two walked away, going straight to her favorite place to hang out. Izuru knew, since the academy days, she loved to hang out on top of buildings, especially at nighttime. It was the one place she could get away from people and not be found if she didn't want to be. Upon reaching the roof, it didn't take her long to plant her butt on the rough surface. Once he saw she was secured, he took a seat beside her. The two were now sitting on top of the Squad 3 barracks house.

Her eyes closed as she took a deep breath. "Much better," she breathed. "I don't know why but every time I pass by the Captain's office, I feel like I can't breath."

"I know what you mean, but Gin Ichimaru is no longer here."

"Which means you're in command now, until a replacement Captain can be set. But with the knowledge of the deaths of Central 46, the other Captains have much on their minds. They need to replace the members of Central 46 but right now they are very concerned on Captain Aizen's next move…"

"Zelina, don't ever mention the word Captain before Aizen's name," Izuru replied, slightly insulted by the word to the man. "He betrayed us all, as did our own Captain. They both have lost the respect to be referred to as Captains."

"You're pretty hung up about this," she remarked, resting her head on her knees.

He snorted. "You try defending your Captain from a good friend only to later learn he's a betrayer and has been for a very long time."

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I heard you and Momo fought but were stopped by Captain Hitsugaya. I'm sure he's also pissed about that as well. The fact he had you both arrested."

"Yeah…" Izuru trailed off. Boy did he ever want to have a drink.

"So why aren't you out drinking with the others in this time of downtime?" she asked, changing the subject.

"Shuhei made me a bet and I lost. I can't drink Sake for the next month."

Zelina giggled. "Any witnesses?"

"Captains Ukitake and Kyoraku," he admitted in shame. "They heard I've been drinking a lot and came over to stop me from drinking tonight."

Zelina reached over to rest a hand on her friend's shoulder. "They may have their reasons," she added. "We all are very worried about you. Yes, you perform your duties well but…"

"But I'm not worthy to be Lieutenant anymore," he argued.

Zelina looked at her Lieutenant. "Lieutenant! That's not…"

He turned to her. "It's true. Cap…Gin Ichimaru gave me the position. I never felt like the position was mine in the first place."

Zelina shoved Izuru's arm. "I'm ashamed that you say that!" He knew she was angry. She stood up as tears threatened to fall. "I was so happy the day I heard you were promoted to Lieutenant."

"Zelina…" he breathed.

"No…" she moved away from him. "You stop this damn nonsense right now. You are the best man for the job."

Izuru looked at Zelina with surprise. He had no idea what to say. He turned his head away from his friend. "You're just saying that because we're friends."

"You dumb ass!" she snapped. "Do you seriously think because we went to the academy together, I can get away with things like that? Quit acting like a stubborn mule!"

He turned back to his friend again with surprise. "But…"

"No buts," she countered. "You keep this up, I'll go to Captain Zaraki and ask if some of his men can kick your ass and maybe you'll stop trying to come up with excuses. Any other Lieutenant in his right mind right now would be snapping back at me for insubordination." She turned to him, getting her face close to his.

His breath suddenly hitched into his throat as he could feel her breath on his face.

"I'm cranking on you as your friend, yes. But I'm also saying you're hell of a good Lieutenant because you are. I'm not kissing ass here. I'm just pointing out the facts. Gin Ichimaru chose you for the position and don't you dare say anything. If you were not that good, why are you still Lieutenant?"

He never thought of it that way. If he truly weren't good for the job, he would have been removed by now. He lowered his head. "I'm sorry," he said shamefully. "Zelina, I'm just so lost right now. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing now."

Zelina quieted down, anger draining. She cuddled closer to her friend. "It never hurts to talk to a friend. And it never hurts to ask for a hug."

He looked at her and saw she was right. Reaching over, he then pulled her into a warm embrace. Her arms went around his neck as she held him close.

"Thank you, Zelina. I'm glad we're in the squad together," he whispered into her shoulder, arms around her back.

"Anything for a friend," she whispered back.

The two stayed in the embrace for several moments until both of them realized they were going to soon kink their backs. The two pulled away and for several silent moments afterwards, the two just sat there. The silence wasn't awkward it was actually quite comforting. They remained on the roof top for a few hours, just talking about anything but what was really bugging them most, which was their former Captain. Eventually they decided it was time to part ways.

This was the first night Izuru was going to bed sober and for once that didn't seem so bad. He enjoyed his time with Zelina. It allowed him the chance to remember their academy days and how much fun they had together. During those days, he had developed a crush on her. But he was too shy to pursue anything with her, afraid she didn't feel the same. But at least he had her for friend.
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