Word count: 764
Summary: Jushiro forgets to take his medications. Kenpachi berates him. AU.
A/N: Written for Table 12, prompt #5: (picture prompt), 5_prompts and prompt #61: snow, otp_100.
Jushiro wrapped his arms around himself, burying his face deeper in the white, high-collared coat he sported. Even the blue knitted scarf he had around his neck wasn't enough to keep out the cold, and he could still see his breath coming out in white mist as he exhaled.
Winter had come around rather early this year; Jushiro hadn't expected as much, and so he was left to scour through his wardrobe for old sweaters and thick clothing to keep him warm before setting out shopping. He really did need a few more coats, given how many of his old ones were covered with dried, stubborn bloodstains courtesy of his illness.
He could only thank his excessive income, as winter clothes of high quality came at quite ridiculous prices nowadays. He supposed that it was because of the shifting times, how the economy was changing – for better or for worse, he wasn't sure. All he presently cared about was some thick clothing to prevent himself from freezing to death this winter.
The strain against his chest grew with each step he took – trying to catch up with his companion was just asking for trouble – and soon he started wheezing. A hand came to grasp the front of his coat, the area where his heart lay, pounding hard against the walls of his ribcage, and he bent over, gasping for breath.
"Zaraki, please…wait." He felt the eager surge of bile rising through his throat, threatening to burst out, but he willed it down. Throwing up in the middle of a park, with all eyes around him, was the very last thing on his list.
"Useless bastard," Kenpachi muttered, descending the steps to stand before him. "See what happens when ye try t'act all high an' mighty? Told ye t'just stay home while I go pick Yachiru up, but what did ye do? Didn't care t'give a shit 'bout what I had t'say."
Jushiro was about to make a protest when his throat gave out, and he doubled over as the dreaded coughs wracked his emaciated body. He clasped a hand over his mouth, feeling the familiar heat and moisture of blood as it spilled down the sides of his lips.
The pain was excruciating, tearing through him like jolts of electricity – only worse. He should be accustomed to these attacks by now, considering just how many times he had to put up with them, but still he wasn't. Maybe at the back of his mind he just didn't want to believe himself to be sick.
He felt a rough hand grab his sleeve, steadying him and pulling him up once the hacking ceased. However hard he wished to hide it, the look in Kenpachi's eyes was one laced through with concern, and Jushiro flashed him a reassuring, yet meek, smile.
"I'm all right." He fished out a piece of tissue to wipe the blood away, but Kenpachi snatched it away and did it himself.
"Ye sure as hell should be." With the blood gone, Kenpachi stashed the tissue away in his pocket and held Jushiro's face in a hand, uncaring as to the looks they were receiving from passersby. "Did ye remember t'take yer meds?"
Now that Kenpachi mentioned it, Jushiro paled, recalling the rush he had gone through just so he'd be able to meet the man on time. One look at his face and Kenpachi gave a scoff, running a thumb over his bottom lip, pallid and chapped from the cold.
And he claimed those lips. It was just a soft touch at first, which turned into a deep one filled with longing as Jushiro, recovering from surprise, pressed closer. He wrapped his arms around Kenpachi's waist, leaning in, smiling at the warmth his larger body emitted.
But as soon as it began, it was over, and Kenpachi pulled away to climb up the steps.
"Take yer goddamned meds, asshole, or I'll have t'pound some bricks into yer head," he barked, hands stashed away in his pockets. "Ye hear me?"
Slightly dazed, Jushiro rubbed the back of his neck, allowing a small smile to creep up his face at the faint heat spreading across his cheeks. Taking a deep breath to steady the loud thumping in his ears, the pounding of his heart, he caught up with Kenpachi and dipped his hand in the other man's pocket, lacing his fingers between Kenpachi's.
He didn't object, and with that Jushiro brushed his lips over Kenpachi's knuckles, the two of them walking side by side in companionable silence as the gray heavens began to snow.