_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,

Fanfic: IchiIshi "Pretend Love," NC17 PART ONE

Oh lord, this may have been the sappiest yaoi I've ever written. I really need to write about an Arrancar orgy next.

Disclaimer: Kubo Tite created Bleach. I don’t own the characters of Ichigo and Ishida; I share them with an entire fandom.

Sequel to “Real Sex.” Now that the universe is destroyed and Ichigo and Ishida have realized their feelings for one another … well, something should happen next, right? P (some) P. IchiIshi.

NC17 yaoi. Romantic romance, Ishida cries again, angst, mention of character death, jokes teenagers think are funny, and some sex of course. Also, this fic is 11,000 words long. You won’t understand it unless you’ve read “Real Sex.” This story may not be as good as the first one (my sequels never are).

for Quaedam who wanted me to write an IchiIshi in the first place and for Parfait who told me “You should write more IchiIshi.”

Pretend Love
by debbiechan

Kubo Tite created Bleach. I don’t own the characters of Ichigo and Ishida; I share them with an entire fandom.
Sequel to “Real Sex.” Now that the universe is destroyed and Ichigo and Ishida have realized their feelings for one another … well, something should happen next, right? P (some) P. IchiIshi.

NC17 yaoi. Romantic romance, Ishida cries again, angst, mention of character death, jokes teenagers think are funny, and some sex of course. Also, this fic is 11,000 words long. You won’t understand it unless you’ve read “Real Sex.” This story may not be as good as the first one (my sequels never are).

for Quaedam who wanted me to write an IchiIshi in the first place and for Parfait who told me “You should write more IchiIshi.”

Part One

“I am myself plus my circumstances.” ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

For a moment there, Ichigo thought that he had killed Ishida.

If Ichigo hadn’t surprised Ishida with that kiss, then Ishida wouldn’t have fallen over backwards and hit his head so hard on the ground.

Ishida had started to act weird right after that. He was brain-damaged--there was no other explanation. Maybe, like people get in those t.v. shows Rukia watched, he had been stricken with amnesia.

Yes, that was it. Ishida’s brain thought he was someone else. Someone whose arms could cling around Ichigo’s neck. Someone not ashamed to show fear and sadness.

Or maybe it wasn’t brain damage but insanity. Ichigo never expected that Ishida would be the first one to lose his mind in this hole; Ishida was the patient, reasonable, practical one. Ichigo had been the one losing his shit here.

Ichigo leaned over Ishida’s body and felt for a pulse on the neck. The boy had been sleeping peacefully on the ground for some time, but Ichigo still wasn’t sure that the kiss hadn’t killed him. After saying “I want to go home” in that plaintive voice and pressing against Ichigo’s chest, Ishida had made struggling breaths that sounded for all the world like crying, and then Ichigo’s arms had rocked him to sleep.

Ishida crying? His face didn’t look all wet-streaked and puffy like someone whose shoulders had been heaving and whose throat had been making all those sobbing noises, but there had been no mistaking the emotion. Worse than when Yuzu lost the head of her favorite doll and realized that the trash truck had taken the head away.

Oh yeah. This place doesn’t let you piss or sweat much. Maybe it doesn’t let you cry.

Ichigo uncrossed his legs and stood up. He was aware of his raging erection, but he didn’t know if he was going to be able to bother Ishida for sex for a long while. He would feel too guilty about it. It had all been going so great, and then Ichigo had kissed him, and Ishida had lost his goddamn mind.

“I fuck everything up,” Ichigo whispered.

At those words, Ishida opened his eyes. He swallowed. “What did you do now, Kurosaki?” He looked perfectly normal and not insane.

Ichigo felt a swell of sympathy and horror for the nude boy lying on the sand. If he remembers crying, he’s going to be so embarrassed.

“You okay, Ishida?”

Ishida sat up, touching the back of his neck. “Fine, fine. The blood’s clotted. I told you. I’m fine.”

“I mean….” Ichigo’s eyes met Ishida’s. Ishida had never been the world’s cheeriest person, but now those dark blue eyes looked like absolute grief.  Not insane but overwhelmingly sad.


Ichigo might as well face the truth; Ishida was freaked out because Ichigo kissed him. The whole demonstration-of-affection thing had been too much for his Quincy pride to bear. Or maybe… was something physically hurting him? Had Ichigo splatted one of his organs while tossing him around? Broken something while shoving his heavier pelvis against Ishida’s skinny bones?

When Ichigo spoke again, his voice was stern. “Why were you crying? Tell me.” When there was no answer, he pleaded. “Please. This is too weird. You never cry.”

Ishida touched the circles under his eyes as if looking for evidence. “I was right. This place inhibits the discharge of tears.”

Ichigo was a little amazed to hear Ishida so readily admit to crying. He searched Ishida’s face again for signs of insanity. “You look like somebody died.

Ishida looked away. “I wonder … the Winter War … one has to wonder…”

Ichigo knew what Ishida was getting at. He shook his head and went to him. He put his hand on Ishida’s shoulder and gave it a gentle shake. “Stop it. You’ve got to believe that everyone’s doing fine without us. They can beat Aizen. I mean, Urahara-san alone is probably capable of doing that. I’m sure he came up with a plan.”

Then Ishida did an amazing thing. Not only an amazing thing within the context of whatever personality Ishida had shown the world since Ichigo met him but also something that was bizarre for the glowing den. This fantastical place where time seemed suspended. This weird place where he and Ishida had been sucking one another’s dicks and pounding one another’s asses (well, there was only that one time for Ichigo, and he would be damned if he did it again). Ishida did something Ichigo never imagined he’d see.

He took Ichigo’s hand.

The sky could’ve fallen down. The ceiling of the Arrancar den and all its tons of sand could’ve fallen down and Ichigo would not be more shocked.

“Don’t look so worried about me,” said Ishida in a sleepy voice (Did anyone else in the world have such a sexy, musical voice?). “I think it’s all hit me at once. It’s a lot to process. It’s….”

Still holding Ichigo’s hand, Ishida lay back down on the sand. He put his arm under his head and closed his eyes.

“What? You’re going to sleep again? See, this means you’ve got brain damage, doesn’t it.”

“It just means I’m tired,” said Ishida without opening his eyes. “If I die, just think--you’ll have fresh meat to eat since forever. After you’re rescued, you can sell the film rights for the story about cannibalizing your best friend.”

Disregarding the troubling “best friend” appellation (wouldn’t Ishida call himself a red-faced, fur-coated snow monkey before saying he was Ichigo’s best friend?), the lame cannibal joke calmed Ichigo. It meant Ishida still had a sense of humor.

“Meat? You don’t have enough meat on your bones to roll into one nori leaf.” Ichigo struggled to make his voice sound crotchety. “And we don’t have appetites here, remember? I’d probably let you rot. You wouldn’t taste like anything.”

That last part wasn’t true--Ishida tasted like light salt when Ichigo lapped between his legs. He tasted like ginger spice when Ichigo swept his tongue in his asshole, and then there was that tenderness on Ishida’s nipples and neck. Warm like a cookie, sweet like a cookie. No wonder Ichigo had wanted to kiss him--he’d tasted every other part except the inside of his mouth.

Why, why did I kiss him? I’ve pushed him over the edge. How am I going to survive down here without him keeping me in line?

As Ishida drifted into sleep, his fingers went limp in Ichigo’s hand and Ichigo tried to whip up some optimism.

I’m alive. Ishida’s alive. The Desert Brothers said they’d return. All we have to do is wait. That’s right. Just wait.

The more he thought about it, the more Ichigo believed in an immanent rescue. For the first time in eons he felt a sense of purpose returning. Protect Ishida, save Ishida.  He couldn’t design some elaborate, super-scientific escape plan like the one he’d been hoping Ishida would eventually devise, but Ichigo could kick some sense back into the idiot. Work on finding that lost mind.

He remembered their first hours in the Arrancar nest--when he had tripped Ishida and wanted to fight him and the Quincy had been so even-tempered and composed…. Then Ichigo looked at the long-fingered hand cupped against his palm.

It’s not that he’s lost his mind. He’s lost his hope.

Even though Ichigo’s reiatsu sensing-ability had never been keen, he was always aware of the strong force extending miles below, miles around, and miles above. He swept his gaze around the glowing cavern where he and Ishida had already spent months (years? eons?) and knew that the Arrancar reiatsu packing the walls of sand was impenetrable as ever.

Who wouldn’t lose their hope here?

Ichigo snorted as he answered himself: People who aren’t stuck here.

You would think the place was fascinating if you were just visiting and had a way out. Even though there was so much empty space, the place looked busy. It made Ichigo think of the inside of a shopping mall seen through squinted eyes. It dazzled.

Sometimes the glow caught dust specks and turned them into swirling stars. Folded in a far corner, Ishida’s glasses flashed at random moments, and glare from the lenses bounced everywhere.

Most of the time the sand seemed clear but sometimes it became pink or gold or one of the many different colors of sand that Ichigo had never known existed.

One could be stranded in a less pretty place.

Ichigo lay down, his face next to Ishida’s. Like white sand, Ishida’s paleness would reflect the Arrancar reiatsu. The perfect skin was yet another kind of prettiness in the cave.

Keigo--or maybe it was Mizuiro--had once described Ishida Uryuu as being “cadaver-white,” but Ichigo had seen enough newly dead people in his father’s clinic to know that Ishida’s skin was way too shiny and wholesome-looking for a corpse.

He’s beautiful.

Just look at those pink lips.

And he’s always looked fine and healthy here, not insane at all. 

As Ichigo stared and stared, he noticed that Ishida’s black lashes did look a little bit wet--not much, but enough to stick to those ethereal cheeks instead of curling over them. Other than that, there was no evidence that Ishida had been wracked with emotion in his arms.

Ichigo looked away from Ishida’s face. Sandspecks twinkled on the ceiling.

Sometimes it feels like….

Ishida had kissed him back after all. He had rocked back and forth with Ichigo in a timeless embrace.

Sometimes …. 
Ichigo closed his fingers around Ishida’s hand in his palm.  Sometimes it feels like we’ve died and gone to heaven.


When Ishida woke up, he still felt emotionally exhausted. He put one hand on the shoulder of the boy staring at him with strange zombie eyes, and Ichigo startled like he’d been zapped by a lightning bolt. Wait a minute. This was the guy who’d been having a fit of tenderness earlier?

“Shhhhh. I didn’t mean to make you jump.” Ishida leaned forward to rest his upper lip on Ichigo’s lower one. This moment was going to be no different from moments before except that now there would be kissing, and Ishida anticipated the usual sex and subsequent wordless communication.

Ishida waited to be kissed back. Kurosaki had seemed to know how to do this earlier, but now his lips wouldn’t budge. Ishida pressed and the tip of his tongue emerged and his mouth opened against Kurosaki’s mouth.

I’ve never initiated a kiss before. This is my first time kissing anyone. Okay, that’s good, Kurosaki, open up.

Even as Ichigo’s mouth was acquiescing, it mumbled something about how it was this was what had made Ishida freak out last time so why was Ishida trying it again?

“It’s different, that’s all,” Ishida whispered. “It’s not bad.”

It would be impossible to explain what had bowled him over so much.  It wasn’t the kiss. Or maybe it was the kiss--maybe the kiss had started a chain reaction of exploding thoughts and feelings.

His skull had felt caught inside something inescapable. Kurosaki’s soft lips had touched the front of his face and then the back of his head had hit hard ground. Being held like a baby, a feeling of just giving up, a despair that sank into the mercy of Kurosaki’s just being there--

Ishida shut his eyes as Kurosaki palmed his nipples and kissed his throat. This. What had really gotten to Ishida was Kurosaki’s unprecedented tenderness--

Freaked out? Ishida was more than freaked out. He was in love.

In Soul Society, if anyone had told him that he would be Kurosaki Ichigo’s lover, Ishida would’ve barked something like I wouldn’t sleep with Kurosaki if we were the last two humans left on Earth. Now here they were, in Hueco Mundo but the only humans alive anywhere because Aizen had rearranged the universe. Aizen was God now, and everyone else was--

Kurosaki had the most aggressive tongue. Ishida would have to get used to it being in his mouth instead of other places. Sex seemed less charged, though. More dream-like and indulgent. Slower. Kurosaki seemed to be taking care not to shove Ishida too roughly against the sand.

No, Ishida would not reveal to the simple-minded, already half-mad Kurosaki what he’d figured out. That by the circadian body cycles of sleep and wakefulness, enough time had passed for the Winter War to be fought several times over. The Desert Brothers should have returned to let them out of this prison. Someone should have returned. The reason no one had returned was because Aizen had won. Hadn’t that been that more likely outcome since the beginning?

Kurosaki was huffing over him. Kurosaki who had always saved the day. Kurosaki who had was always so stupidly confident about his own powers that he could realize the impossible…. Kurosaki who for months had been degenerating into a lethargic, constantly napping, desperate-eyed person.

How long could they keep fucking on the sand, fucking away the terror like this?

Ishida clutched his partner’s forearms and could not orgasm. He reached to finish himself, but Kurosaki was already there.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Ishida.” Kurosaki’s hand worked a frenetic pace while his mouth landed dry, quick kisses against Ishida’s neck. “Everything’s going to be okay.”


And for a while things were okay. The boys did not mention Ishida’s episode of uncontrolled emotion again, and neither talked about the change in their relationship. Ishida noticed that being touched was liberating because he didn’t have to bother being vigilant about not being touched. Ichigo seemed happy that Ishida enjoyed being kissed, petted, even bear-hugged--although the bear hugs sometimes got a grouchy brush-off.

Against the sameness of their surroundings, the novelty of kissing sustained them--even though they got the hang of it faster than they had other physical acts. Sex was rough, sex was tender. Ishida learned to squat over Ichigo, take his cock inside, and work himself while Ichigo stared, panting. Ichigo didn’t mind being the bottom this way. Ishida felt no shame, no fear of looking the fool, only absolute trust. Emotional intimacy was as arousing as those first blowjobs had been.

The den had always been very warm and the boys had long ago given up clothes. They slept entwined--arms and legs thrown over one another and chests pressing. Even when awake, their bodies sought touch. Being more than a millimeter apart from one another meant losing some crucial life-affirming heat.

Time had been jump-started, and although Kurosaki Ichigo seemed relieved that one moment could be different from the last, Ishida Uryuu was grimly aware of time’s passing.

“Kurosaki, if you knew for a fact that we were going to be stuck here for the rest of our natural lives, would you consider suicide?” 

Kurosaki was doing sit-ups. He’d begun exercising again and was on Ishida’s case to join him, but Ishida didn’t see the point.

“Suicide? Never.” Kurosaki didn’t miss a beat. He didn’t ponder the question. He didn’t stop exercising to look into Ishida’s eyes.

If he had, he would have seen how serious Ishida was.

Ishida lowered his eyes and wrote his own name in the sand. It apparently wasn’t time to discuss things like suicide yet.

It was many circadian cycles later that Kurosaki did a double take. The two were lying sleepily against one another, and Kurosaki startled like he’d been hit with a piece of sky.

“Uryuu! That suicide thing you mentioned--you’re not really thinking about it, are you?”

Kurosaki called Ishida by his first name now. In a passionate moment, he had breathed it in a sequence of purring r’s and rolling u’s and ever since, it had been Uryuu this and Uryuu that. Ishida himself didn’t want to drop Kurosaki; it seemed wrong to call him anything else--not to mention less special. Everyone called Kurosaki Ichigo.

“Don’t give yourself a coronary,” Ishida said. “It was a hypothetical possibility, that’s all. I speculate all the time. I don’t look away from any possible endings to our situation.”

Kurosaki was quiet. He looked profoundly irritated. Finally he said, “Do you think my brain just turns off like a television when I’m not talking to you? Did it ever occur to you that I’m thinking too?”

Ishida wanted to say something cruel, but he checked himself.  It wasn’t worth it. Kurosaki would pout for days if Ishida made fun of him, whereas before that damn kiss, nothing Ishida teased him about had seemed to matter at all.

“Alright then.” Ishida was skeptical. “Tell me some of the things you’ve been thinking about.”

“I’ve been thinking about you,” Kurosaki said without hesitation. “I’ve been thinking that before you, I wanted to protect the people in the most selfless way possible.” His voice got louder. “I’m--I’m so selfish about the way I care about you. I need you here.” Kurosaki was shouting now. “You can’t leave me.”

The words and the fact that they were spoken in such a high-drama loud voice rankled Ishida. There was an etiquette that while together on the floor, neither would speak very loudly. Pillow talk, even though it happened on sand, even though there was no one else to hear, was a whispered interaction.

“If you killed yourself, I would die,” added Kurosaki, as if his meaning hadn’t been clear enough.

Ishida was ready to drop the subject. “I told you it was a hypothetical choice. Do you understand the concept of conjecture?” His voice was a scoffing whisper. “I was just thinking about it; I wasn’t planning anything. Now go to sleep.”

“You’re going to do it.”

Kurosaki’s petulance was more than annoying. Why couldn’t he ever figure things out for himself? “How would I kill myself anyway?” Ishida let out a sigh of exasperation. “Beg you to break my neck? You wouldn’t do it. I could slice my jugular with a sharp rock but because you are staring at me all the fucking time, you wouldn’t let me do that.”

“Hell no I wouldn’t let you do that! But you could whip out that cross and turn your reiatsu on yourself.”

“That’s stupid. The energy would bring down the ceiling and kill you too.”

Kurosaki grabbed Ishida’s upper arm the way he did before kissing him ravenously, but this time his fingernails bit into Ishida’s skin. “Listen, you pathetic little quitter, kill yourself if you want but don’t bring down the sand and kill me. I still think there’s hope.”

Ishida was taken aback by the earnestness in that statement. Then the next moment he was surprised that he had been surprised. Of course. Suicide was an anathema to Kurosaki. He was the type who would never give up, even against ridiculous odds.

“My choice would be independent of your choice.” Ishida voice was calm now. He spoke with kindness, as one would speak to a lost child. “I wouldn’t make the choice for you if you still had the presence of mind to make it for yourself.”

Kurosaki shook Ishida’s arm free, sat up, and turning his back to Ishida, put the heels of his palms to his forehead.

That the choice was there at all was disheartening. Both boys knew that forever in this place meant insanity. Too often, Ishida had wondered if they would turn on each other, become murderous enemies as naturally as they had become lovers.

When Kurosaki spoke again, Ishida could barely hear him because his voice was low and his back was turned. “I’ve thought about it all, Uryuu. I know you think I don’t worry about this stuff but I do. I worry about things like--if it weren’t for the isolation, would this … thing between us ever have happened?  It feels real right now, but is it still going to be real when we get out?”

Ishida noticed that Kurosaki was assuming that they would get out.

“And sometimes….” Kurosaki’s words were soft but clearly spoken. “I can’t help but think that this … that this is some sort of big fakery we’re putting on so we don’t kill each other.”

Ishida had been staring at Kurosaki’s sword. It was leaning, wrapped in its loose linen, at the far side of the den--the area that used to be “Ichigo’s part.” Sometimes Ishida wondered if Kurosaki had forgotten about it.

“It’s real,” Ishida said. “It’s not fakery. It’s not pretend love.” Ishida was aware of his own breathing for a moment. It sounded nervous and staggering. “Even if it’s real, though, how long is it going to last?”

A last wall had tumbled down.

I used that word. I used that word before the over-demonstrative mass of melodrama that is Kurosaki Ichigo used it. See, I’m not afraid of emotions. I’m just cautious about identifying them and--

Kurosaki was on top of Ishida before he could continue that line of thinking. “Nobody knows about those things, Uryuu.” He kissed Ishida’s neck and lifted his thighs and pushed them forward so that Ishida was bent in half. “You’ve never watched girl shows on television, have you? Nobody knows anything about love. Everyone’s stupid about it.” He sucked his fingers and brought them to Ishida’s exposed bottom. He massaged the sensitive cleft there before putting two fingers inside the hole. “Funny. I thought I would miss television. It was on all the time at home.”

Does he ever shut up?

Ishida’s breathing slowed. He jerked forward when Kurosaki fingers teased the right spot. Fondling touches, no ardent pressure.

“This is good, isn’t it? Don’t you love this, Uryuu? Maybe we can just do this over and over, forever and forever.”

Ishida didn’t think so, but he had already entered the fog of lust. When he could no longer understand what Kurosaki was saying, he could still feel Kurosaki’s voice resonating against his neck.

Ishida would miss that. He would miss that those deep resounding vibrations against his skin if the dumbass ever did shut up.


Being bored in Ms. Ochi’s class was nothing. There had been a window. There had been a clock. Ms. Ochi was a nice person. She let people go to the bathroom even when she knew they didn’t need to.

Sometimes Ichigo thought he heard her voice droning about American literature just behind the walls of the den. Every single time he went to sleep he dreamed that he was at his desk and Ms. Ochi was at the blackboard. When he woke up, he was heartsick to find she wasn’t there. Even Uryuu’s arms around him did not alleviate the disappointment.

It would have been less disturbing to dream about his Hollow self. Ichigo felt for the Hollow from time to time, but he was dead. Ichigo had no idea what killed him. Boredom? If he wasn’t dead then he was deep inside Ichigo in a place Ichigo didn’t want to look.

Uryuu told Ichigo that one way to say sane was not to anticipate anything or remember anything.

Ichigo tried.

Reality was a fluid concept for someone who had seen ghosts all his life and who had been to Soul Society and back, so Ichigo had no emotional opposition to Uryuu’s proposal. Sure, construct timelessness. No big deal. No future and no past. This was it. He was alone with his lover in a glowing world of sand crystals.

The reality, though, broke down as soon as he started to believe in it. Another world sang to him. Pieces of memories still came to him in dreams and sometimes he deliberately conjured the past, even as he denied its existence.

How could he look at Uryuu and not remember their past?

The first time he’d seen him there had been this immediate fascination, this sharp attraction. Envy, disdain, something like hate. Then Uryuu had saved his life and Ichigo’s feelings had turned inside out. Was that when he’d started loving Uryuu?

Here, what he felt for Uryuu made past feelings seem infantile. Love like this had never been a priority for Ichigo. He was a teenager. He had always felt too sullen and fed up with life to seek people out. When Rukia had thrust her zanpakutou into his soul, his world changed. He didn’t think that life could change much more without his becoming a completely different person. He had been right. Life didn’t change him, but Death did.

His real body was somewhere else. Uryuu was in love with a Shinigami spirit.

He was a Shinigami and Uryuu was a Quincy. In the Outside World, that had seemed a real difference. Uryuu was male, and he was male. Would that have made a difference if Ichigo had fallen in love with Uryuu outside this weird cave?

Ichigo remembered “in love.” He had been in love with Rukia, hadn’t he? The last time he’d seen her he was awkward and afraid. The chasm between them had been so deep … deeper than this den below the surface of Hueco Mundo.

Vague sexual stirrings for that image or this one…girls on the periphery of his awareness… Inoue’s soft hair … Rangiku-san’s everything … Ichigo could keep his lust in check … once upon a time he had control. Once upon a time, no matter what Uryuu said, he had choices.

Here, the only choice was to love Uryuu or die.

“You’re doing it again,” Uryuu said. “Your pupils are getting small. You’re drifting away.”

“I’m not. I’m just thinking about stuff. Maybe I’ve learned to get into my head more--like you.”

But Uryuu didn’t seem to be inside his own head. He’d stopped playing solitaire with sand squiggles. He’d stopped combing sand out of his hair with his fingers every time he rose from the ground. He’d stopped cleaning dirt out from under his nails. Sometimes Uryuu’s head nodded and he jerked himself awake. Ichigo could tell that he was holding onto human consciousness with whatever discipline he had left.

“Why have you given up, Uryuu?”

“I haven’t.”

“Don’t lie to me.”

“Maybe you’ve fucked me senseless? It’s nothing. I’m just bored like always.”

“You’re moving more slowly,” Ichigo said. “You walk like an old man and your eyes don’t look right.”

“You should see yours.”

Time had ground to a halt again in this place with no night and no day, and Ichigo knew what he had to do. He had to jumpstart time and give Uryuu back whatever it was he’d given up on. He just didn’t know how.


Then he got an idea.

“It feels like years that we’ve been here, but…. I can’t tell these things. Maybe one year, you think?” He was going to assign Uryuu a project. “Um, you said you can tell time by circadian whatever, right?  Isn’t there a circadian calendar or something you can make? That might be interesting.”

Uryuu turned a dull face to Ichigo’s. No, it wasn’t that dull. He looked a little annoyed. Maybe if Ichigo could get him more annoyed--

“You still haven’t figured it out, have you, Kurosaki?”

“Figured out what?”

“Think about it, you moron. The war. The Winter War. It was supposed to happen in the winter, about two months after the Desert Brothers hid us here.”

Uryuu was staring at him. His eyes weren’t cruel. They weren’t annoyed. They were so empty that they weren’t even apathetic.

Ichigo felt a chill in the warm den. He felt the thought before he knew it. No, Uryuu, you have to be wrong.

It was at that moment that sand started to sprinkle from the ceiling. There was a rumbling sound far away, and sand started to fall in clots.

Uryuu looked surprised but no more than if Ichigo had stepped on his toe.

“It’s happening,” Ichigo said. “We’re being rescued.”

“Or it could Aizen’s army. It could be that the Espada finally found us.”

At those words Ichigo ran to his sword and unfurled the wrapping. He assumed a battle stance. “It’s the Desert Brothers,” he insisted in a loud voice. “Has to be.”

“Or it could be….” Uryuu’s voice sounded shaky now. “It could be that the ceiling is just collapsing naturally. Disembodied Arrancar reiatsu can’t hold up forever. Did you ever consider that? It might degenerate over a period of time.”

More sand and earth fell. A cloud of debris formed between Ichigo and Uryuu.

“Do I just slice away?”
Ichigo was yelling now. “This might be our chance. Do I just tear at the reiatsu? If it’s falling apart, then maybe we can rise through it. Tell me, Uryuu. Tell me.”

Uryuu was holding his arms before his face as pebbles struck him. So much sand had fallen on him that his hair was white.


“I don’t know, Kurosaki.”

“If it’s someone come to get us--” Ichigo coughed dust. “ We can meet them halfway. If it’s the world caving in, then we really have no choice, do we?”

At those words, Ishida’s bow materialized. Behind the blue light, Uryuu was looking at Ichigo as if stunned that the “dumbass” could think under pressure.

“Get directly in front of me,” Uryuu said. “I can give you a boost with hirenkyaku. Cut the ceiling and we’ll keep rising as far as I can push. Then I’ll give the word and you do your ban kai routine and throw Tensa Zangetsu above your head.”

“But--” Ichigo shook his head. “We can’t do that. I might kill somebody.”

“That’s what it might take to get out of here!” Ishida fired a low-energy arrow at the wall to emphasize his words, and sand exploded in a fury of sparkles.

Then it happened.

The spot Uryuu had shot continued to puff dust, and someone behind it announced himself:  “Stop! Don’t kill me!”

Time just … started again. It flowed forward like clear water in a fat healthy woodland stream.

Ichigo looked at Uryuu who could only stare at the wall. The wall shuddered. A slab of earth popped forward like a manhole on a city street, and indeed, there was a black tunnel behind it. Ichigo didn’t have time to speculate before a white ball rolled out at lightning speed.

“Aaaugh!” That was Uryuu. “Aaaugh!” He was gasping with excitement. He sounded like he knew what was going on.

The dust cleared and against the wall opposite from Ichigo and Uryuu had landed a white-armored humanoid Hollow. It was in a ridiculous position--waist bent and large insect eyes looking upside-down between thin legs.


If Uryuu hadn’t shouted the name, Ichigo would not have remembered the Hollow. Pesh. One of the Desert Brothers.

A Desert Brother. 
Not Aizen’s Espada, not the Arrancar nest falling apart, not the end of the world.

Ichigo took a deep breath and his sword dropped out of his hands. As it hit the ground, his fingers opened and closed like they could still catch it.

We’re saved.

“Ichigo, you’re alive!” The creature was looking at Uryuu. Uryuu wasn’t bothering to correct him.

“I’m Ichigo,” Ichigo said.

“Sorry we’re late,” Pesh went on. He had a thin, effeminate voice. “Are you molting?”

“WHAT?” Ichigo didn’t get this guy, but Uryuu apparently did.

“We took our clothes off,” Uryuu said. “Those clothes--” He pointed to a pile near Pesh. “They’re not part of our bodies.”

What the holy fuck is Uryuu talking about? Oh! I know!
Like the Adam in the Garden of Eden, Ichigo looked down and was aware of his nakedness. Bits of the story raced through his head--banishment, sin, something about fruit. Ms. Ochi standing by the blackboard saying something about fruit.

Then it registered. He was going to see Ms. Ochi again. He was going to see everybody again.

They came, they came, they came
. Ichigo stepped over his sword and ran through the rubble to embrace Uryuu. He half-laughed, half-cried against Uryuu’s neck, and he could hear the pounding of Uryuu’s heart against his own.

“Oh my,” said Pesh. He unrolled himself into a sitting position. “You two have gotten friendly while we were gone.”

Tags: desert brothers, ichiishi, pretend love, real sex sequel, uryuu, yaoi
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