Before the fic, a little bit of speculation about 264.
Going against popular opinion here and saying that this Kaien goofball still isn't blended with his Hollow. It will just be so tragic if Rukia has to kill him all over again. I predict that the nice Kaien part will prevent the evil Kaien part from killing Rukia. Also: no Rukia ban kai. It's not going to happen.
GIN AND ULQUIORRA! SQUEE ON THE JEALOUSY! It's like watching my own fics. I hope we see more snark and competition between these two
Now the story. It fits in with the rest of the Real Sex series but I have no idea if the little resonances come across. Maybe they don't need to. Whatever....*sigh*
I feel naked sending these things out without a beta. Any corrections or comments very much appreciated. I can't tell if the series is winding down or if I've written all I can write about these two. I'm really in love with them.
Not the End of the World
Description: NC17 A sobering thought occurs to Ishida. Fifth and (maybe) the last story in the “Real Sex” series. IchiIshi.
A/N: I can’t give these boys up; they are so adorable and fun to write. I had this one more idea regarding the IchiIshi relationship and put it in Ishida’s angsty brain.
Warnings: Yaoi, fluff, Yoruichi. Also, no no NO m-preg although the story seems to be leaning in that direction for a frightening moment.
To understand your parents’ love, bear your own children ~ Chinese proverb
Someone had died.
That’s what it felt like, even though no one was dead.
Ishida brushed his teeth and zipped up his pajama top. The bathroom still smelled like semen, so Ishida took a shot of peppery mouthwash, spit, and wiped the sink thoroughly with bleach and a hand towel.
His housekeeping had gone to hell lately. Training, sex, and college entrance exams. War tactics, blowjobs and pre-calculus. There was no time to spiff up the apartment to his standards, and laundry hadn’t been done for days.
I need to clean. This whole place smells like Kurosaki pissed in it.
The smell wasn’t like piss really, and it wasn’t bad. The curtains and sheets held stray tangents of another person’s insistent and robust reiatsu, and for so long Ishida had been used to spending nights alone.
He’s the person with whom I’ve shared terror and blood, glory and defeat, countless school lunches and bodily fluids. I should be able to tell him.
It felt like someone had died.
There was nothing Ishida could do about it, so why mention anything to Kurosaki?
Ishida pushed his glasses up his nose.
He doesn’t know what he’s going to eat for lunch tomorrow and he doesn’t know what he’s going to study in college. How can he stretch his brain into another generation? He sets the alarm clock and that’s his entire concept of the future.
Training, done. Sex, done. Time for pre-calculus.
Gathering his workbook and pencils, Ishida couldn’t shake the feeling that someone had died.
No one had died but the dilemma had been born, and there was no stopping his mind now. Ishida needed to be alone with it, to sketch out its parts like a math problem and to find the one immutable true answer.
There had to be an answer. Wasn’t there always an answer?
“Why do you wear pajamas?” Ichigo lay nude on the couch with his head on an armrest and his feet on Uryuu’s lap. “Is it because you want to look stylish for me or something?”
Ichigo thought that Uryuu was the only male above the age of twelve who still slept in pajamas. From movies and television and the less reliable word of other boys, Ichigo had gleaned that most boys gave up pajamas around puberty--that’s when boys hung an invisible “No Mothers Allowed” sign on the bedroom door. Mothers kept buying their sons pajamas, but sons quit wearing them. The tops were for girlfriends who spent the night, and the bottoms made good pull toys for dogs. This, Keigo said, was common knowledge. Real men slept naked or in boxers.
Ichigo couldn’t remember owning a single pair of pajamas from age nine on. Soft cotton elastic pants with matching wide-armed shirts reminded him of his mother, so maybe that’s why it bothered him that Uryuu wore them.
“I wear pajamas because….” Uryuu didn’t raise his eyes from his book. “I always wear pajamas.”
“Sometimes you sound like a four-year-old. Why this, why that.”
Ichigo wondered how Uryuu would know what a four-year-old was like. Uryuu didn’t have younger siblings.
“Did you make those?” Ichigo asked.
True, they looked store-bought. If Uryuu had made them they would be sillier and have blue crosses on them. These were plain white, a little big on Uryuu, and not particularly sexy. Uryuu had probably sewed zippers into them; he sewed zippers into everything.
“I don’t see the point of pajamas.” Sex would happen a few seconds sooner if Uryuu didn’t wear them. “Why do people bother?”
Uryuu breathed in and out with deliberation, closed his book and looked Ichigo in the eye. “Why do people wear pajamas? The same reason people wear clothes. To express their tastes--”
“You express your tastes in the dark when no one’s around?”
“Yes, and you didn’t let me finish. Pajamas have functionality. They’re warm, they keep away stinging insects and…. ”Uryuu’s eyes were slits and his jaw was firm, but Ichigo knew he was only pretending to be mad. “In case of a fire,” Uryuu continued, “I’d rather be dressed like me than like you among the gawking neighbors.”
“You’d look nice naked in the firelight.” Ichigo tapped Uryuu’s book with a big toe. “Naked and pretty….” He searched for other romantic adjectives. “Pretty and naked.”
Uryuu returned to his book. “We’ve already done it twice this evening, Kurosaki. I need to--”
“No you don’t. You could’ve aced entrance exams two years ago. You don’t need to study anymore.”
“And when are you going to stop calling me that?”
“And when are you going to stop asking me that? I’ll call you whatever I want.”
“Pissy uke.” Ichigo tossed the familiar insult into the air and waited for Uryuu to lob it back (lately Ichigo had become more complaisant about assuming certain positions), but Uryuu gave Ichigo a deadpan look and returned to his book.
Ichigo was looking for a fight. Fights made for better sex. He and Uryuu had been training so much for the upcoming war that they didn’t have sex with the hormonally saturated regularity that they used to. Uryuu was often sullen and less-than-horny returning from his father’s hospital, and sometimes Ichigo would fall asleep on the Kurosaki family couch from tiredness and never make it to Uryuu’s apartment to … “study.”
Once, after what Ichigo had believed to be a breathtakingly fierce fuck, Uryuu had mentioned that their relationship seemed stalled. For a moment, Ichigo had been afraid-- until Uryuu explained that daytime training and mental preparation for merciless battle gave them little time to talk and “to love with loving intent.” Uryuu had this way of making the most lovey-dovey phrases sound matter-of-fact, but when he said that, the racket of what the hell repeating in Ichigo’s brain didn’t let him hear anything further. “Love with loving intent?” Ichigo hoped he wasn’t required to know what that meant in order to have sex.
Calculating and unspontaneous as he seemed, Uryuu wasn’t unromantic. He seemed to want to talk about “the relationship” a lot. Uryuu said love often. Ichigo didn’t know why he himself didn’t--maybe he retained an adolescent’s queasiness about the word or maybe he was worried about saying it at the wrong time or in the wrong context. Uryuu used words better. Ichigo, a physically expressive person, liked to throw Uryuu to the ground to show him what was what.
What was what was love, right? Maybe Uryuu thought that the sex was routine these days, but Ichigo still felt woozily, happily, heart-explodingly in love. Uryuu wasn’t as goofy about his feelings, but he did always say he was disappointed when he missed an evening with Ichigo, and Ichigo never doubted his partner’s affection. So how could the relationship be stalled?
“You don’t need to be studying.” Ichigo was bouncing his big toe against Uryuu’s book again. “Me and you could be trying to un-install our relationship or whatever.”
“We should be studying together.” Uryuu closed his book and this time his frustration seemed genuine. “Isn’t that what you tell your family when you spend the night? That I’m tutoring you into a coma? Let’s look at some algebra. There’s a test coming up--”
Ichigo raised his feet off Uryuu’s lap and swerved to sit on the couch. “Man, that test isn’t for two weeks. Why do you have to strain yourself so hard? Life’s not that hard, Uryuu.”
Uryuu was about to say something then paused. He looked thoughtful--a little sad too--as if he’d considered Ichigo’s statement too many times, and Ichigo felt a sudden twinge of intuition. He was getting better at this sort of thing; Ishida wasn’t the only one who could read the other’s eyes.
“Something happened at your dad’s.”
Uryuu’s getting up right away told Ichigo that he’d been on the money.
“Something always happens at my father’s.” Uryuu bookmarked his history textbook with a torn piece of paper. He put it in its place on the shelf. Nothing ever was set in the wrong place in Uryuu’s world.
“Are you going to tell me?” Ichigo followed Uryuu into the bedroom. “Did he--I told you that if he ever does anything to mess you up, I’m going smash that smug face of his inside out and make him eat his cigarettes.”
Uryuu was under the blanket. “Stop talking like some gorilla seme and come to bed. If you’re sleepy tomorrow, you can’t train well--doesn’t your father tell you that?”
“You called me a seme.” Ichigo was rather pleased with the assignation. Uryuu, who was opposed to sexual distinctions on principle, had never called him that before. “If I’m seme, that makes you--”
“Shut up before I kick the Shinigami right out of your body.”
Uryuu could do it too. When both boys had started serious training with their respective fathers last month, Uryuu--a long range, intellectual warrior--couldn’t touch Ichigo in hand to hand combat, not even when Ichigo wasn’t Shinigami. Amazingly, now Uryuu could keep up. With his speed and smarts, he sometimes managed to land a decent kick to Ichigo’s head. Between Isshin and Uryuu (not to mention Rukia who occasionally came back from Soul Society where she was training with Inoue), Ichigo figured that his chin got the best workout of his whole body.
After his cock, that is.
“Uke, uke, uke,” Ichigo whispered. He spooned against Uryuu and shoved a hand past the pajama elastic. “If you don’t tell me what happened with Ryuuken today, I’m going to make you tell me.”
“If you keep doings things like that, (Ichigo was running his fingers up and down the cleft of Uryuu’s ass), I won’t be able to tell you a thing. I’ll be incoherent.”
“Fine with me.” Ichigo brought his other hand to Uryuu’s front and found him already hard. He was going to pump but hesitated. He didn’t want to be bothersome, but why was Uryuu insisting on sleep? Night had just fallen. He couldn’t be that tired.
Ichigo could feel Uryuu deliberating inside his stupid pajamas--should brush his lover off and make a snotty remark or…?
Uryuu made a throaty noise of submission; then he turned around and opened his mouth over Ichigo’s mouth.
Soft lips. Soft pajamas. If anything was loving intent, it was what Uryuu was doing with his hands. Ichigo forgot all about being successful with the intuition thing, and not until tomorrow evening would he remember that Uryuu had confirmed “something happening.”
Grief never goes away. It doesn’t hurt at some point, but if you lose a friend or a body part, the loss stays. If you lose your powers for a little while or lose a tri-district physics rally, the loss cuts into the other bigger holes and makes them larger.
In the bright white room under the hospital, Ishida took off his shirt, wiped his face with it, and put on another shirt.
He was expected to show himself out. Ryuuken didn’t do hellos and goodbyes. Nonetheless, Ishida always said “See you later” to his father who was seated at a desk making notes--maybe about Ishida’s performance that day, maybe hospital work. Uryuu didn’t know. Who knew anything about Ryuuken?
When Ishida was in the hospital proper, he walked fast through the corridors so people wouldn’t stop him to ask after his father. Ishida didn’t know what excuse Ryuuken had given for his absence from work or how Ryuuken managed to leave the hospital without his colleagues seeing him.
A glance at the clock. Three more hours left for dinner, sex, and studying. If he didn’t get some sleep tonight, Ryuuken would notice tomorrow.
Alone in the elevator, alone with his dilemma, Ishida couldn’t relax enough to think, and it bothered him that he didn’t have time to sew.
Sewing. Counting stitches and measuring fabric. Sorting needles by size in tiny containers and feeling apart enough from the world to think.
I’ll have to crunch the schedule but if Ryuuken thinks I’m taking an afternoon off for something school-related, he won’t bitch at me.
Although the cruel discipline required to prepare for war and the similar mindset necessary to excel at entrance exams dominated Ishida’s hours, leisure moments belonged to Kurosaki. Although Ishida needed physical contact with Kurosaki like he needed water and sleep, he also needed time alone.
Before Kurosaki there had been uninterrupted evenings of solitude that most people would’ve called loneliness. People who didn’t like to be alone, Ishida believed, didn’t have imaginations. How can you stand it, they would ask him. How can staying at home by yourself be interesting? Ishida never bothered to answer, but for him being alone meant creating. Pillow shams or an attitude. All-weather capes or a life strategy.
Soon after leaving school and starting all-day training, Ishida had completed all his crafts commissions (not exciting jobs--mostly dolls for collectors and plushies for high school girls) and was now thoroughly dependent on his father for income. Ryuuken paid the rent. Ryuuken brought the snacks to training sessions. Ryuuken was the one person Ishida saw most often, and the last thing Ryuuken would’ve wanted to see was his son embroidering doll clothes during water breaks.
But sewing helped Ishida think….
Ishida stopped to drink from a water fountain. He was especially tired because today Ryuuken had been yelling at him not to rely on hirenkyaku to escape hairy situations. “Conserve your reiatsu,” Ryuuken had emphasized in that voice that was cold even when it was yelling. “Run. Use the muscles in your body. They’re there for a reason.”
Today had been rough but at least Ryuuken hadn’t talked strange things.
What had gotten into Ryuuken yesterday? Had he been reading women’s novels? The words had sounded so much like Sensei’s peculiar “When you know what you want to protect, you will understand your father” but those words had been hopeful. Ryuuken’s had sounded foreboding.
It had only been one inexplicably fatherly and cliché phrase, but Ryuuken wasn’t given to unimaginative sayings so it rang with strangeness among the usual insults.
“Get up, Uryuu. Don’t be useless….” A string of the usual. “It doesn’t hurt. Don’t be an infant.”
Ishida had been on his knees, gasping, his shoulder popped out of joint and shouting at Ryuuken: “Why are you such a bastard?”
“Get up.” Ryuuken’s voice had been neither kinder nor colder. “When you have a son of your own, you’ll understand.”
A son of your own…. The remark could’ve been interpreted as a sign of paternal affection, but Ishida had skimmed that implication and zoomed to a thought that had never occurred to him before.
I’m never going to have a son of my own. The Quincy line ends here, with me.
Ishida stood at a streetlight and felt his sleeve for his cross.
No more Quincy people. No more Quincy and it would all be Ishida’s fault.
It was the biggest hole of all. Bigger than past deaths. Those people had died proclaiming their Quincy pride, and for what? For Ishida to take up a homosexual life and murder the Quincy line once and for all? That was something not even the Shinigami had done.
Ishida needed to be alone with that concept. That of all the beautiful things a human could create, he would not create a child.
Pillow shams, not a child.
“Run. Use the muscles in your body. They’re there for a reason.”
Finding one’s purpose was the essential question, of course. One’s reason for living, fighting, and dying. Until yesterday, Ishida had believed that pride in being a Quincy was the most important thing of all.
He crossed the street before the signal and walked right into a confusion of cars before he noticed the travesty he’d committed. A horn honked, and Ishida lowered his head.
“When you have a son of your own, you’ll understand.”
Ishida felt tired. He walked the porch-steps up to his apartment. It only made sense; Ishida had never expected to understand his father.
Ichigo was waiting for Uryuu behind the door. When Uryuu was inside a couple steps, Ichigo tackled him.
“Got you!” he said in a happy voice.
“I saw you coming,” Uryuu said wearily.
Ichigo composed his face into the best expression of tenderness he could manage (it felt unnatural sometimes to unfurrow his brows) and beamed at his victim whose glasses had been knocked askew. Uryuu really needed to get those fitted by a professional; the frames were always sliding down his nose.
He brushed black hair away from Uryuu’s forehead. He set the glasses right. “I love you,” Ichigo said. “I know I haven’t said that in a long time.”
Uryuu looked completely unfazed.
“I just said I love you. You’re supposed to melt and want to be fucked.”
“In a minute.” Uryuu pushed Ichigo off and rose to his feet. “I love you too, but I have to take a shower first.”
“Are you sore?” Ichigo said from the floor. “Is it your shoulder again? My dad taught me a little shiatsu. I’m probably bad at it but--”
“I just need to shower, Kurosaki. I left the hospital early and didn’t do it there.”
It wasn’t until after the water had been running a long time and Ichigo was looking for a snack in the refrigerator that he remembered Uryuu being odd yesterday.
Well, odder than usual. Uryuu was always downcast after training with his father.
Son of a bitch.
Until learning what Ryuuken was like. Ichigo had loved but never appreciated his own father. Ichigo’s dad was a bit of a clown, but Ishida’s was a hard, cold, impossible bastard. Whatever Ryuuken did to Uryuu in those training sessions was counterproductive to battle--how can you tear down a person’s self-worth and expect him to fight for you?
The Quincy, the Quincy--Uryuu was always going on about the Quincy. Why did he throw his whole identity into being a Quincy? There were only two left in the world, and one of them was a dick.
Uryuu emerged in a bathrobe. “Melting now,” he called as he headed for the bedroom. “Come fuck me.”
“I don’t think so.” Ichigo was sitting on the couch with a jar of peanuts. “If you’re not in the mood, it’s no good for me.”
Uryuu turned to face him. “Maybe you can put me in the mood.”
The bathrobe was one he’d brought from Ryuuken’s house. It looked plushy and expensive and was probably comfortable as hell, but Uryuu wore too much clothing for Ichigo’s taste most of the time. Pajamas, bathrobes, stupid capes--who needed them?”
“You look tired. I don’t want you like that.”
“You don’t tell me how you want or how you don’t want me.” Uryuu’s voice was soft and apathetic--not combative at all. “You don’t call the shots here, Kurosaki. I’m not your whore.”
“Maybe later.” Ichigo patted the seat next to him. “You never told me what happened yesterday.”
To Ichigo’s surprise, Uryuu joined him on the couch. “If we don’t have sex now we won’t have time later because I’ve got this library book on hold--”
“Fuck it,” Ichigo said. “Aren’t you the one who said we need to talk about stuff?”
Uryuu perused Ichigo’s face. Ichigo felt certain that he would pass the earnestness test; he really did want to talk with Uryuu. Never mind the fact that whenever Uryuu took a shower he smelled fresh and … lickable.
Uryuu’s mouth opened. He said “uh.” He closed his mouth again.
“I know something happened at your father’s.” Ichigo was still proud of having figured that out yesterday. “You’re going to have to tell me sooner or later or it’s going to make me crazy.”
Uryuu half-smiled and both boys said in unison: “A crazy Ichigo.” No one wanted to see that.
Uryuu leaned back into the couch and Ichigo did too. The cushions seemed to have softened with Uryuu’s mood. Uryuu spoke first; he always did when it came to important matters.
“You know how we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together, right?”
“You’re so weird. You say something so lovey-dovey like it’s a death sentence.”
“I’m not trying to be morbid,” Uryuu said. “Just listen to me. Have you ever thought about the fact that you and I can’t have children?”
He stared some more.
“You’ve been studying too much. Last time I checked that was pretty obvious.”
Uryuu turned away. “Apparently you haven’t thought about it.”
“You want us to adopt kids? How about Nell? I don’t think either one of us is ready for an Arrancar kid.”
“I’m serious. And no, I don’t want an Arrancar kid. I don’t know if Shinigami can have kids, but Quincy are human and Quincy can….” Uryuu looked too sad about this. “Only I’m … I’m not going to.”
Ichigo got it. The things Uryuu put himself through. Why did he torture himself with the Quincy stuff? Ichigo could understand the loyalty to the kindly grandfather and the resentment of the bastard father, but Uryuu seemed stuck on the idea that the whole world should remember how super-fantastic the Quincy were. Wasn’t being a Quincy about protecting people? Wasn’t that all that mattered?”
“I’m the last one,” Uryuu said. “If I don’t have children, the Quincy line ends with me.”
“What about your father? He’s not old yet. Maybe Ryuuken could--”
“Right.” Uryuu gave Ichigo a look that burned. “My father wants to have more children. He cherishes his offspring.”
“Look, Uryuu, it’s not the end of the world. The Quincy aren’t really gone. You know nobody really dies when….” Ichigo thought back to his mother’s funeral and people telling him that the dead live on in our hearts. The phrase annoyed him to no end. “Can’t you train some little kids or something? Like, start a Quincy dojo so they can learn the basic techniques?”
“It doesn’t work like that,” Uryuu said. “Quincy are born Quincy. The ability to channel spirit matter from the living world is an inherited trait.”
“A Quincy can only teach another Quincy. If I tried to pass on the techniques to anyone else, it would be like a bird trying to teach a fish how to fly.”
“Oh.” Ichigo put the lid back on the peanut jar. Uryuu would complain if Ichigo left food lying around uncovered. “What does your father have to do with all this?”
“He said … something that made me think he expected me to have children one day.”
Bastard. Uryuu doesn’t need any more ways to disappoint his father.
There was a long silence. The sad fact lay in the center of the room, but Ichigo didn’t know how to get rid of it. He put his arm around Uryuu’s shoulder. He leaned to kiss his face but Uryuu bolted upright from his seat.
“I was wondering about Urahara-san,” Uryuu said. His eyes were shiny and far away. “He knows a lot about the Quincy.”
Ichigo wanted to be compassionate, but Uryuu was taking all this too seriously. He was staring into that weird mind of his. Who knows what he was thinking.
“Things my grandfather didn’t tell me,” Uryuu continued, “and things my father won’t tell me are things Urahara-san probably knows.”
No idea what you’re talking about there, Uryuu. Ichigo felt obliged to humor him. “You’ve going to ask Urahara something? What?”
Silence. Uryuu bent over and put his chin in his hands. He looked pretty cute that way. Too young and adorable to be worrying about things like--
Ichigo sat up straight on the sofa too. “Wait, wait. You don’t think that Urahara has some sort of device that can clone you? Or make you have a Quincy baby?”
Uryuu closed his eyes. “I can’t believe you said that.”
“It looked like you might go there.”
Uryuu leaned back into the couch and sighed. “No, no, no. This is a Life after Death issue, Kurosaki. Should be your area, but I doubt you or Kuchiki-san would be able to give me much information. I was wondering where a soul goes when a Shinigami dies in Soul Society. Where a Quincy goes.”
Ichigo hadn’t given the matter any thought since that moment he’d seen Rukia about to be crucified. She had explained once about how humans in Soul Society are reincarnated in the Living World, but Ichigo couldn’t remember if she’d said anything about Death of the Dead. It was probably complicated.
“Did the Quincy really die?” Uryuu’s voice sounded faint and worried. “Can their past be reborn?”
Now Uryuu was going to get metaphorical and Ichigo wouldn’t be able to keep up. He thought that Uryuu was going for the live in our hearts idea until Uryuu’s face assumed that look of absolute solemnity that made Ichigo nervous. A solemn Uryuu was a scary person.
“The Quincy aren’t really gone,” Ichigo offered. He would have to resort to sounding like a sympathy card because he didn’t know what else to say. “The Quincy are all in Soul Society.”
Uryuu gave Ichigo that steely warrior’s glare that Ichigo knew so well.
“There’s something I didn’t tell you about Kurotsuchi,” Uryuu said.
The room was too dark.
It’s early afternoon. It shouldn’t be this dark.
“Uryuu, Uryuu….” Kurosaki could sound so vulnerable sometimes. His eyes were closed and his chest was breaking into a new sweat. Ishida could sense the rush of sexual excitement from spirit movements in the air, even if he couldn’t see Kurosaki.
Kurosaki shallow panting was loud but his body, his face, even his bright hair were hard to make out. It was not night but so dark. Had the lights shorted out? Rainclouds in the window? Yes, a rainstorm. A stirring of leaves and the sharp smell of approaching rain. There had been thunderclaps earlier… maybe. Kurosaki’s mouth had been sucking somewhere, everywhere, and each slow suck had been thunderous pressure against Ishida’s own pounding, widening veins.
He hadn’t noticed when the lights went out.
Ishida looked around the blackened room and, even in the throes of sweaty fucking, realized that if the electric stove was out, dinner was ruined.
“Goddammit Uryuu,” Kurosaki grunted. “You’re a cruel little bitch. Speed up.”
It wasn’t his favorite position. It reminded him of doing push-ups in gym. Tonight, though, he wanted to fuck the future, fuck the past, fuck Kurosaki. There was an angry power in Ishida’s thighs. When the pleasure tightened, he would stop and lower his head over Kurosaki’s chest. Kurosaki would squirm as Ishida’s long hair brushed his nipples.
“Damn it, don’t stop.” Kurosaki fist held his own cock and his other hand clenched Ishida’s upper arm. “I was feeling it. Keep going.”
Not wanting to finish, Ishida resumed his premeditated pace. Each thrust slow and rough and deep. He groaned quietly with each one. He couldn’t… he wouldn’t come.
Think of something else.
But there was nothing else to think about it. The past was gone and the future was set. Ichigo was his and he was Ichigo’s. A Shinigami and a Quincy. The irony was elegant. Of all the things these rivals could accomplish together, the revival of the Quincy was not one.
You, I had to fall in love with YOU.
Faster, Ishida’s hips moved back and forth, against his resolve. Then his jabbing became frantic and directionless. He opened his mouth and no sound came out.
“Oh god, Uryuu.”
Strange how whatever smothered him as he emptied did not feel like pleasure. He felt caught, first his shoulders then his lower body struggling inside an invisible net. A beautiful, prolonged orgasm and one that weakened him.
Ishida realized that he was lying against Ichigo’s sweaty chest and large arousal. Ichigo was running hands through his hair. “Uryuu, Uryuu.”
It had seemed wrong at first to kiss after talking about what that insane Captain Kurotsuchi had done to his Quincy experiments. Ichigo had been horrified into paleness and his kissing Ishida had been meant as a gesture of sympathy.
Ishida had thought that Kurosaki didn’t understand the true horror--not that the Quincy souls had been tortured but that maybe each soul had died, never to be reincarnated. He tried to explain the concept, and Kurosaki had wrapped his arms around him. Not your fault. Not your fault, Uryuu. Ishida had kissed Kurosaki back to comfort him, to apologize for having freaked him out.
Then Ichigo tenderly undressing him. A sense of wrongness, a sense of inevitability. Then it had only seemed natural to defy cruelty and murder with the most intense, soul-gripping act in the world. The boys had found themselves fucking on the floor, and Ishida had thought, as linear thought became difficult: This is why, this is why. Fuck me, fuck you. No more Quincy. Forever and ever. Just me loving you.
But loving Kurosaki wasn’t the only reason that Ishida would be the last Quincy. Ishida tried to tell himself that Kurotsuchi Mayuri was the real culprit here. Kurotsuchi was the one who had slaughtered, in the most humiliating ways possible, each and every Quincy soul in Soul Society. He’d done experiments with souls. Even his own daughter was an invented soul (or was she a stolen one?). The Quincy had been murdered in the Living World and then murdered again in Soul Society.
Where did they go? Where were they now? Would Quincy be reborn as Quincy or ordinary babies? Or would they even be reborn at all after the things Mayuri did to their souls?
Had even their souls been destroyed?
Ishida took Kurosaki’s long cock into his mouth and twirled his tongue around the tip. Kurosaki was yelling at him for being a nasty little fucking teasing whore, but Ishida didn’t really have the strength to do more.
He touched the tight scrotum tissue with two fingers--two fingers, that was all--and felt the stream in his throat and the relief in Kurosaki’s thighs.
“Goddamn you, Uryuu.” Kurosaki was still panting. “Why do I love you so goddamn much?”
Ishida lay his head on Kurosaki’s belly and spoke against the slow undulations there: “I was thinking the same thing.”
Rain roared against the windows.
The pain wasn’t gone. It still felt like someone had died, but Ishida felt a sweet sense of awe within stillness of the moment. How could it be wrong for him and a Shinigami to do this? Sometimes sex felt like a sacrament. Sometimes Kurosaki, with all his goodness and strength, saved the day.
And sometimes Kurosaki saved Ishida.
It was a casual walk to the Urahara shop in the middle of the night. The patrons would be sleeping, but this was a Life or Death issue for Uryuu, and Ichigo was going to be with him every step of the way.
“I really haven’t thought this all through,” Uryuu was saying. “I’m not used to … sharing my problems.”
Ichigo shrugged. “Don’t expect me to come up with any ideas. What have you been thinking?”
“We could find a surrogate mother.” Uryuu frowned and fingered his chin. “Naturally, the usual places wouldn’t accommodate to a couple as young as we are. Maybe a nurturing giving woman like Inoue-san--”
Ichigo covered his ears. “La la la, not listening, la la la.”
Uryuu pulled down one of Ichigo’s hands. “I’m merely talking options, Kurosaki. We should consider them all.”
“I’m not considering any of the disgusting ones.” Ichigo shut his eyes and shook his head. “Now I can’t get rid of the picture.”
Uryuu tightened his lips. Ichigo knew what Uryuu was worried about now. They both knew that a jealous Ichigo was a crazy Ichigo.
“Picture?” Ishida spoke the words cautiously. “Of me having sex with Inoue-san?”
“No, of you and Inoue sewing baby clothes with blue crosses on them and you sitting in a rocking chair being all--what do call it? Sympathetic with her nausea and stuff.”
Uryuu blinked. “Why do you insist on putting me in this uke role?”
“Because you are an uke. Uke, uke, uke.”
“You want Seele Schneider shot into your ass?”
They had arrived at the little building that sold candies and Hollow bait and gigai and that housed very strange people. Ichigo had been introduced to all the weirdos but he still didn’t know who or what the hell they were. The Urahara Shop was a nerve-wracking place to be, but it was the place with all the answers. It only made sense to come here.
From inside the shop came a horrible screeching animal sound.
“Holy fuck,” Ichigo said. “She sounds just like a cat in heat.”
Ishida’s mouth dropped open. “What on earth,” he whispered with alarm, “is he doing to her?”
“Whatever it is, I think she likes it or she wouldn’t stay here.” Ichigo raised his fist to knock on the door but Uryuu grabbed it.
“Is this a good time, Kurosaki?”
Ichigo cocked his head. “Sounds like she’s winding down.”
“You make little noises like that sometimes, you know. These little uke squeaks. But not like a cat. You sound more like a baby mouse. You know that sound? Eee, eee, eee, fuck me, fuck me, Kurosaki.”
“That’s enough.” Uryuu looked unnerved. “They heard that.”
The door opened and there stood a dark-skinned beauty in a thin, shiny robe. You could see her nipples poking through the fabric but at least, thank the gods, she wasn’t naked. Ichigo still hadn’t gotten used to Yoruichi walking around unclothed and unashamed.
“Boys,” she said with a slanted smile. “I didn’t have to hear you. Kisuke and I could sense your strong reiatsu approaching. We were just finishing up so we could greet you.”
Even standing in the dark, Uryuu looked bright as a tomato.
There he goes again turning into the shy boy. Why did he come here if he knows how these people are? They’re going to embarrass him into non-existence if we stay too long.
“Good evening, Yoruichi-san,” Uryuu said with a polite bow. “I was hoping to see Urahara-san. I have a question for him.”
Yoruichi stepped away so that Ichigo and Uryuu could enter. “It must be an urgent question…. Stormy weather, middle of the night. You two should be tucked away, fast asleep.”
She insisted on waking up Tessai to serve tea. Uryuu protested and said it was only one little question and that then they’d leave, but before he and Ichigo knew it, Tessai was setting the table and Yoruichi was standing, combing her long hair with fluid strokes of her own fingernails and planning a menu. She called for Kisuke, and as she preened, the neckline of her robe opened and the drapery fell lower and lower. The robe didn’t drop immodestly open though, and Kisuke didn’t appear.
“Drink,” she ordered. “He’s looking through some files. He’ll be here soon.”
No sooner had everyone sat down than the proprietor of this strange place walked in waving a paper.
“I found it, I found it,” Urahara sang. “Shinigami wedding service! I have no clue about what Quincy ones were like but I’m assuming the usual human rituals.”
“What?” Ichigo usually took some minutes to get a half a clue as to what old Hat and Clogs was saying, but this time, he understood right away. “Where did you get this idea? Who’s get married?”
Uryuu looked wide-eyed and uncharacteristically scared.
“Why you two!” Urahara sat at the table and poured tea. “I’m afraid I won’t have a proper celebratory meal for after the ceremony, but one never expects those things at an elopement, right? We’ll improvise something…. Hmm, ice cream floats?” Somehow Urahara always managed to look perfectly composed while acting perfectly irrational. Why did everyone think this guy was a super-genius? “I wish I had champagne stocked.”
“Port is fine,” Yoruichi said. “These boys aren’t used to strong liquor.”
“Wait, wait,” Ichigo said with measured patience. He sighed. “No one is eloping.”
“No elopement?” Urahara looked at the papers in his hand.
Ichigo doubted that Uryuu’s question would be answered any time soon. For all he knew, Urahara would start the wedding against all protests and have it turn into some freaky method for advancing spiritual powers.
“No elopement?” Urahara looked crestfallen.
“I know, Kisuke,” Yoruichi said. For someone who was a princess, she sat impolitely. Hunched over the kotatsu, elbows on the table, boobs half hanging out. “Middle of the night. Their expectant little boy faces. I thought the same thing.”
“But why?” Ishida finally spoke. “Our parents don’t even know about us.”
“Precisely,” Urahara said. “An elopement doesn’t require parental supervision. Don’t tell me that you dreamers haven’t thought about formalizing your relationship. It’s a noteworthy one, a Shinigami and a Quincy. Deserves an acknowledgement of ancient custom, don’t you think?”
Ishida was going to involve himself in a useless round of Urahara-speak if Ichigo didn’t step in. “That’s it,” Ichigo said. “No elopement, no wedding, nothing about me and him and ice cream and champagne. Uryuu just wants to ask Urahara one simple question that has NOTHING to do with all that.”
Yoruichi laughed. “So much for your omniscience, Kisuke.”
“No one ever said I was omniscient.” Urahara passed around the plate of rolls around the table. “It just seemed to follow. An unprecedented Shinigami and Quincy union would require--”
“Urahara-san.” Uryuu had adopted his battle voice. His eyes were narrowed, spitting energy like a blue fire. “I have an important question.”
Another Yoruichi laugh. “See, everyone thinks you’re omniscient.”
But Urahara didn’t even smile back at the princess. His blue eyes met Uryuu’s, matching them in severity and brightness. “I don’t think, Yoru, that these gentlemen are here to see the kindly handsome shopkeeper who sells candies. I think they want an answer to a mystery.”
Uryuu blinked; he couldn’t hold Urahara’s gaze. Ichigo threw up his hands, “I told you that’s what we were here for, Urahara. “Just answer Uryuu’s question.”
There would be no prologue.
“Captain Kurotsuchi Mayuri,” Uryuu stopped because Urahara startled at the name. “Captain Kurotsuchi, as you may or may not know, experimented on every last Quincy who came to Soul Society. He killed them all.”
“I didn’t know this,” Urahara said. He looked grim.
“What I want to know is … when a Quincy dies in Soul Society is he reborn with Quincy powers in the Living World?”
“I see,” Urahara said quietly. “You want to know if the Quincy will rise again as a prominent tribe of spirit-manipulators on Earth.”
It tore at Ichigo’s heart to see Uryuu’s expression. The boy couldn’t keep up the façade of being a man. His eyes were serious, but his bottom lip faltered. His entire identity was riding on this one answer.
“Shinigami, strong spirits that they are,” said Urahara, “are reborn in the Living World with the potential for greatness. Whether they are or not depends on whether their latent powers are tapped.”
“And Quincy?” Uryuu looked hopeful.
“Ishida-san, the truth is that I don’t know about Quincy.”
The words fell like a shroud over the room.
“What?” Ichigo was the first to respond. No one could piss him off like Urahara. “What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I don’t know,” Urahara-san. “When I led the department of research and technology, soul re-integration was Mayuri’s specialty--”
“Don’t say that name so lightly.” Ichigo was spitting furious now. “You know what that man did.”
“I do now,” said Urahara calmly. “Mayuri was never the reliable vice. I suspected that he wasn’t reporting all his findings to me, but you have to understand, Kurosaki-san, he may be the only one with the answer to Ishida-san’s question.”
“I wouldn’t ask him to answer it,” Uryuu said. He didn’t seem disappointed, stricken with grief or affected in any way by what Urahara was saying. “If I ever see that Shinigami again, I will kill him.”
“Of course.” Urahara made the gesture of putting a little more tea in Uryuu’s cup--even though the cup had been untouched.
Ichigo knew that the shopkeeper played his cards close to the chest and never revealed anything he didn’t have to. But this--what would be the advantage of lying about this?
“You really don’t know?” Ichigo felt defeated and his voice sagged. “Are there really going to be no more Quincy on Earth ever?”
“I really don’t know, said Urahara. “I honestly don’t.”
It was only a school shirt that Kurosaki had ripped apart once in the heat of his Kurosaki-ness, but Ishida pushed his needle in and through the fabric with a welcome sense of relaxation. No studying today. Ryuuken could just go to hell but there would be no training today either.
It hurt. It still hurt like a motherfucker that he wouldn’t have children and it bristled his nervous system to imagine that one day the questions would start. Why aren’t you dating? When are you going to find a nice girl? The essential dilemma, though, was still the one that had plagued him even before Kurosaki: Are the Quincy gone? Are the Quincy truly gone?
Ishida didn’t believe in a world without answers. He figured that he only had to live long enough to discover the important ones.
Kurosaki, miraculously, was lying on the couch with a social studies book. “I’m really trying,” he would say every few minutes, “not to say anything so you can feel nice and alone.”
With Kurosaki in his life, Ishida would just have to say goodbye to alone-ness.
But that wasn’t so bad. Sometimes the idiot arrived at answers before Ishida did. It bothered Ishida to admit this, even to himself, but without Kurosaki, he would have sunken into despair.
Kurosaki was right. Childlessness was not the end of the world. Ishida had lived through the end of the world with Kurosaki. Trapped for sixteen months under miles of sand in Hueco Mundo. Believing that Aizen had won. Believing that he and Kurosaki would turn on each other. Ishida, ashamed as he was of it now, had been talking suicide. Destroying a future before all the facts were in.
“I don’t know.”
They hadn’t known when or if they would be rescued. Clothes hadn’t mattered, library fees hadn’t mattered, all that had mattered was staying sane. And in trying to stay sane, they had fallen in love. Simple as that.
Or maybe not as simple as that. Kurosaki had set the ball rolling. The guy was strength and goodness going headfirst in one direction. Sometimes … Ishida put the shirt in his lap and winced at an ugly truth about himself. Sometimes he could be pretty negative.
Why did it still feel like someone had died?
Once, Ishida had believed that the whole world was dead--Quincy or no Quincy, all humans and spirits fallen to Aizen’s army. All said and done. Defeat. He had given up just like that and given up too easily.
Now, Ishida would have to learn a tolerance for not knowing. The war to come. Mysteries to be revealed. It made no sense to grieve when all the facts weren’t in.
“Urahara-san doesn’t think we’ll be together for all our lives,” Ishida said.
“Huh?” Kurosaki lay his open book over his penis. He was, as always, naked in Ishida’s apartment. “The guy tried to marry us, for god’s sake.”
“Maybe that was a ploy to get us to realize that we weren’t really committed yet. We didn’t snap to his bait, you see. We didn’t cheer his idea. So now he thinks that we understand how unprepared we are to plan … to plan for a certain future?”
“You think too much.” Kurosaki was obviously done studying for the day. He closed his eyes and lay his head back on the armrest. “You don’t know him as well as I do. The guy’s crazy. He thought we were eloping.”
“I don’t know….” Ishida’s voice trailed off.
“You’re hoping that he was faking about not knowing anything about the Quincy, right?”
Ishida folded the shirt into one basket and took up a new sewing project from another basket. “It doesn’t matter if he was faking or not. The fact is that we still don’t know anything.”
A long time of not talking passed, and Ishida started to feel the familiar alone-ness. Despite the fact that he was at his favorite creative task, little holes of blackness began appearing in his consciousness. Doubt, sadness, worry.
Grief never goes away. When you feel the absence of someone who is supposed to support you and love you, every other loss is magnified.
I hate my father. Ishida was thinking it before he realized he was saying it aloud. “I hate my father.”
“He loves you,” Kurosaki said. “He has to. All parents do.”
“He’s never said it. Not really.”
“That doesn’t mean anything. My dad says I love you to everyone on the street. He says I love you in this Hollywood way. He says I love you to pigeons and eggrolls and stuff. I love you doesn’t really mean….” Kurosaki struggled to find the words. “I love you doesn’t really mean I love you. It’s this phrase that people put too much importance on.”
Ishida shot Kurosaki a sour look. “You’re just saying that because you don’t like to say it.” Ishida realized he was on a downslope of negativity but it was hard to stop. “Anyway, my dad doesn’t have to tell me he hates me. He hates me.”
“You don’t know that.”
It was another one of the great mysteries--why Ryuuken was the way he was. Even before his wife’s death, something must’ve happened. He couldn’t have been born a bastard.
When you have a son of your own, you’ll understand.
“Oh he hates me,” Ishida held a pin between his clenched teeth and his words sounded fiercer than he intended. “I feel it. I can catch it in my hand like a spirit thread. It’s there, plain to the whole world. You don’t have to have special powers to see it.”
“With all your special powers, you know what you didn’t see for a long, long time?”
“What I felt for you.”
“Oh.” Ishida bit the thread off a knot. “True.”
While many questions could be answered I don’t know, there was no question that he loved Kurosaki, and Kurosaki loved him. Ishida could complicate the moment with futile questions such as do you think you could ever fall in love with someone else? If I had to choose between you and the Quincy all coming back as a proud tribe on Earth, could I make the choice? If my father really loved me, would he accept my relationship with you? Just as there were some questions that had no immediate answers, there were some questions that shouldn’t be asked.
“What?” said Kurosaki.
“You look weird.”
“Just thinking.” Ishida put down his sewing and walked to the couch.
Quiet moment followed quiet moment as Ishida sat on the edge of the couch. He lay his head against Kurosaki’s chest, and soft touch followed soft touch. Compassion spilled its unmistakable loving intent from flesh to flesh, and the name-less connection between two souls erased thinking, mitigated grief, and blurred the boundaries between rivals, allies, lovers.
“You’re getting on top again?” Kurosaki asked.
“This couch is too narrow,” Ishida said. “Let’s move to the bed.”
But it was too late; within seconds both were tangled in Ishida's school shirt, breathing hard and rocking against cushion springs that would not last the season.
It was a better past-time than sewing, a kind of creating unique to the universe, and the elevated power felt by Life as it restored Life.
No babies would happen but something new was born each time. Something new that struggled to define itself with the controversial, light and dark, and meaningless phrase.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
A/N: I’d always want to deal with some of the issues found in m-preg stories without resorting to a predictable and biologically unfeasible solution. I never would’ve thought that I’d write this story about Ichigo and Ishida.
More IchiIshi to come, in all likelihood, after I do some promised fics. Got a GinRan, an IchiRuki, and an Arrancar fic in the making, and they don't want to be short fics no matter how much I beat them with the delete key.