title: Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice..
time line: In the future
word count: 2100
Ishida Ryuuken was a model of what a proper man should be. He was a top ranked doctor, one of the finest in Japan and a world renowned expert in his field. He was a wealthy man who had founded his own hospital where people constantly came to marvel at his genius. He kept no personal life, endowing all of his talent to science.
He was also a handsome man. He eat a strict vegetarian diet, maintaining a properly muscular physical apperance and his bodily functions were at peak. He kept his schedule rigorous, his personal life austure and his body functioning at peak.
He admitted he lacked perfection in his personal life. According to the world’s view, his wife had died mysteriously, and he had no relationship with his rebellious son. He had tried to make a strong boy out of him, but the stubborn fool had persisted in being difficult. Still, Ishida Ryuuken had been a model of proper discipline.
Then came Inoue Orihime who had the ability to turn everything upside down. First, she came without money, breeding or class. Her parents had been wastrals and she lived alone. She giggled innapropriately, babbled when she should remain quiet and no ability to conduct herself as the girlfriend of the heir to Ryuuken’s vast fortune. She wanted to earn her own way, she wanted to enjoy life, she wanted to be independent. But that he could forgive.
Then she had encouraged his son to leave medicine and become a fashion designer. It was true that his boy had become an enormous success and taking in enormous amount of money as he had become the darling personal stylist to the stars. It was completely unmanly. How could any heterosexaul male become so…effeminate? But that he could forgive.
Then she had gotten it into her head that getting her claws into his heir wasn’t enough. She had to bond with him. Ryuuken didn’t bond. He prefered to have interns live in terrror of him and his investors in awe of him. He had no need of her endless meals brought to his office, the muffin baskets delivered cheerily to his office, her endless questions about how he was feeling. That he could forgive.
But he could not forgive the Sunday dinners at the apartment those two crazy children, when she had insisted he come and refused to leave until he had given his word that he would attend. And instead of properly austure traditional Japanese food, she made French breads and rich creamy Italian sauces and thick cookies called Rugulak, which she claimed was a tradtional recipe from a pen pal in Louisana. Each of the meals was more than his caloric needs for a month. And he couldn’t stop himself from consuming every morsal, it was so delicious. That he could not forgive at all.
When he looked in the mirror, he was distressed to see his formally svelve physique melt into this geriatric model of an old man, something he had sworn would never happen to him. He hoped to be hit by a car before his waistline expanded.
“Isn’t she wonderful?” Uryuu kept saying, completely lovesick over her, acting without a shred of dignity or self discipline.
He also couldn’t forgive his son’s snide remarks when he reminded him of that fact. “So, Father, am I having a new sister or brother?” Uryuu asked impudently, pointing at his once flat stomach, which might have bulged out slightly more than he would have liked.
Ryuuken’s lip curled. He remembered a time when his son had been respectful and obedient. Of course, that changed once Uryuu was too big to go across Ryuuken’s lap, a terrible trick of nature that allowed sons to grow up and actually be able to kill their father’s through high blood pressure caused by rampent isolence and idiocy. “I don’t recall asking your opinion. Perhaps the fat has gone to your already thick head?” he said, giving his son a death glare.
“At least my hair isn’t white and falling out. Soon you’ll be a fat old man, an old grandpa sitting in a rocking chair,” Uryuu said, looking quite pleased with himself. ‘You are no longer as young as you used to be. You should rest, take it easy, enjoy what’s left of your old bones.”
“I will ignore your childish behavior, you idiotic excuse for a son,” Ryuuken said with dignity. “You don’t have the talent to insult me, considering you’re a frills outfitter for a living. No better than a woman. And the cooking is catching up with you too, I don’t remember you having a bosom.”
Uryuu’s eyes narrowed. “You’re just a washed old man who is too bitter to even be polite. That glare won’t frighten me anymore,” he said, putting another piece of poundcake into his mouth defiently.
“Is that your knees knocking or is it just the flab?” Ryuuken asked icily. “You have no discipline. I have always told you that, but nothing ever gets through to that thick head of yours.”
“So why do you keep coming?” Uryuu asked snidly. Ryuuken wondered if he still had that wooden spoon he had once used. Uryuu had always been much better behaved under strict discipline. “Is it just your deep affection for me?” he asked.
Now that was a low blow, if he ever heard one. “If you’ll excuse me,” Ryuuken said. “I would like to step outside for a smoke.” He didn’t actually indulge in the vice, but it was an excellent last resort to getting out of conversations he couldn’t glare his way out of.
Of course, he had the other vice. The vice of being truly willing to die for his son, actually feeling a burning affection that made anything else in his life seem trivial. He had never thought having that dark haired plump little infant put into his arms would make him well up with emotions he had never felt before. He remembered standing by his son’s bed, watching that little chest rise and fall and feeling irritating tears falling down his cheeks. If it was possible, he would have locked his son away from the world entirely.
But that would be a disservice. He would not spoil his son and ruin him forever. He would make him strong for the world. He would not be selfish and allow this boy to waste his potential, just to make the relationship stronger. That would not be prudant.
He had been harsh. He had sacrificed much. He had shown discipline and restraint and he supposed that his methods had worked…mostly. And any mistakes had been Uryuu’s fault entirely.
“You know, he has your spirit,” a voice said, as Ryuuken turned around to see a dark haired Shinigami staring at him, a faint smile on her face. “My little boy has grown up, hasn’t he?”
“Good to see you again,” Ryuuken said with a formal bow. “You look well, Shingami.” She was as beautiful as he remembered and he still felt that familier, unwanted stirring in his loins. He had to remind himself that he didn’t love her anymore, he had cauterized his heart.
“You do as well,” the Shinigami said. “Our son is happy, isn’t he? I sometimes watch over him, when I have enough energy to hide my spiritual pressure. He’s grown up so nicely.”
Ryuuken smiled, a smile that sent medical residents running for cover in sheer babbling terror. “Yes, he has. I have been a good father to him. I was there when he needed me and I made him strong,” he said with pride. “Any flaws can be blamed on you…and him.”
The Shinigami nodded. “I think he developed both our loves for sweets,” she said with a soft giggle. “His love for pound cake from America he gets from you.”
“I suppose he gets some things from me,” Ryuuken admitted. “But he has your eyes. I’ll grant you that.”
“He is a dear boy. He misses me so much. He still lights a candle in front of my alter every day.” She seemed quite sure that made up for abandoning them when Uryuu was a small child.
“He lights candles to the woman once called Kato Megumi, not you. As far as he is concerned, you’re just another Shinigami. You promised me, Uryuu would be mine. You surrendered all claim to him when you left us,” Ryuuken said angrily. She had taken everything when she had left, leaving his life in shambles. He had not forgiven her for that.
“And I agreed. I had to go and you offered to give him the life he deserved. But he is still my son, in my heart. And you are so cold to him,” the shinigami said softly, looking miserable. “Is it because he has my eyes?”
“No, it’s because he has your heart, a heart that always gets broken because you wear it on your sleeve?” Ryuuken said. “I will protect him from this spiritual realm that destroys life. Better I should break his heart than the world should do so.”
“You know why I did it,” the Shinigami said with dignity. “I couldn’t allow people to know we had a child together. They would kill our son, experiment on him, treat him like an animal.”
“You don’t have to explain it to me,” Ryuuken said softly. He had completely understood. He just wished she hadn’t broken his heart in the process. “I am content living apart. I have moved on. I have completely forgotten you. My son is better off without you. You would have only made his life worse.”
The Shinigami’s smile was as terrifying as a hurricane, something that nearly made him weak in the knees again. “I would not advise you to say such things,” she said pleasantly. “I may not have been the perfect mother, but that was beyond my control.” The words were said with enough chilling amiability to make himself doubt his own ability to control himself from grabbing her in a passionate kiss. She was still scrumptiouis and beneath that restrained façade was a woman who had made him howl in passion. “I’ve paid for it, quite dearly. Every single day when he doesn’t know my name, I have felt pain.”
“You haven’t changed,” Ryuuken said, taking her hand and kissing it gallently to appease her. “You’ve always been a force of nature.”
“Well, you have changed,” his former wife said softly. “You’re softer.”
“It’s all muscle. Just because that crazy daughter in law of mine thinks butter is a needed ingrediant in everything doesn’t mean I have gained weight,” Ryuuken said irritably.
His former wife laughed. “I didn’t mean it that way, and you knew it,” she said. “You’ve always been a prickly mortal,” she teased him. “I suppose that it’s why you never remarried. You couldn’t find another woman willing to put up with you.”
“And you? Did you find yourself a new person?” Ryuuken asked, wondering if he wanted to know the answer. The thought of her in love with someone else displeased him.
“I’ve had offers, you know. But I have my work and that’s enough for me,” his former wife said. “I’ve lived many lifetimes, and had gotten used to being alone.” She held her head high as she held out her hand. “As you did.”
“There was never anyone who could fill your place,” Ryuuken allowed, taking her hand. She was one of a kind.
“I love you, Ryuuken. No matter what, over all the lifetimes, I have known many men but…it’s you I have always loved,” she said, before fading away. “And someday, we will be together again.”
And Ryuuken sighed. “Retsu-chan…” he said softly. “Until then.” How bothersome she was, stirring up his feelings and making him all lovesick like his foolish son. He was supposed to be above that.
He wouldn’t forgive his lover for breaking his heart. He wouldn’t forgive his son for breaking his heart. And he wouldn’t forgive his soon to be daughter in law for the pain she would one day cause, somehow.
But he was beginning to realize he had no choice but accept reality, the reality that seemed to overtake his neatly made world and leave him feeling actual emotion, the thing he kept trying to escape.
“Dr. Ishida, dessert is ready,” said the girl who had stolen the next Ishida’s heart, the same kind of strange and illogical beauty that melted cold hearts and made them wonder what they were thinking.
He would have to have some more pound cake and ponder this.