I was saving this one to post on Mother's Day.
It's NC17 but one could choke on the fluff.
A sequel to Life is Trying
Warnings: het, IshiHime, lactation
We Forgot to Have Sex
Disclaimer: Kubo Tite invented the characters of Ishida and Orihime in his manga Bleach. I write fanfiction and make no money off the following story.
Description: NC 17, IshiHime. Ryuuken has some advice for his son. This story continues a one-shot I wrote called “Life is Trying.”
Warning: Het sex, no manga spoilers unless you don’t know who Ryuuken is.
for neko_in_blue who suggested this story. Thanks!
“You’ve been so tired lately,” Orihime called from the bathroom. “Take a nap before the lecture.”
“I’m not tired.” The voice sounded despondent, weary, and somewhat pitiful, but it told the truth. Ishida wasn’t tired; he felt powerless.
Ishida remembered true powerlessness but he didn’t like to think about it. The inability to summon a bow, protect the innocent, or show off his skill--he had mourned these things like he would fallen comrades. No hidden weapon he could reach for, no spirit capsule he could throw, and no low-level kidou he could chant compared to what it felt like to hold the bow and shoot the arrow. Even the rationalization that he was still a Quincy by blood hadn’t helped.
For those brief weeks that Ishida’s powers were gone, he wasn’t a Quincy.
He sat on the floor outside the bathroom and admitted the grim reality of his current situation: It’s been past the six weeks already, and we’re still not having sex.
What could be sadder than not having sex with your own wife? What could be more debilitating?
Not that Ishida wanted to compare sex to Quincy powers; it was just that a mere five years ago his identity was defined entirely by his Quincy-ness, but now his identity also rode on being the man who shared Orihime’s most intimate moments. If he could only hold her again and--
Ishida hung his head. What was he doing now--comparing Orihime to a bow? Was his sense of powerlessness as petty as that? Physical intimacy with his wife was on a par with holding a weapon?
Maybe it was.
“Uryuu, you look awful.” Orihime emerged fresh-faced and smiling from the bathroom. She was carrying Tsuyu in one of those Native American slings that were popular among new mothers these days. A handy-dandy way to free up a mother’s arms, Ishida agreed, but the damn piece of daisy-patterned linen (not to mention the large black-haired head of his lovely three-month-old daughter) covered his view of Orihime’s breasts.
“You look beautiful,” Ishida said. He spoke those words every day and meant them.
She smiled at him fondly and kissed the top of Tsuyu’s head as if it was the state of motherhood that Ishida was complimenting and not his wife’s good looks.
But Ishida was talking about the good looks.
Orihime’s post-pregnancy body was gorgeous. Giving birth and nursing had only enhanced her voluptuousness. Her hips were wider, more in symmetry with her large breasts--which surprisingly hadn’t distended like balloons. “Some women just don’t get engorged,” the lactation nurse had said. “And they feel unlucky because they wanted bigger boobies.”
As much as Ishida wished he was seeing more boobage in a non-nursing situation, he didn’t think that Orihime’s gorgeous-ness depended on her chest. He thought her strong but sweet character enhanced her looks, of course, but each physical attribute contributed to the plain fact that his wife was a knock-out. She had fine legs--oh they were long and they went all the way down to precious little pearl-colored toes. She had skin so smooth and bright it looked doll-like and fake. Only it wasn’t. Her sweat could taste vaguely like ice cream. Could run down her neck and into the space between her breasts….
Ishida allowed himself this reverie. He had nothing else these days.
“Uryuu?” Orihime gave him a concerned look.
“Don’t start. I can’t skip tonight’s class.”
“You have those raccoon thingies around your eyes.”
“You’re the one who needs to rest. If you want, I can watch her while you take a nap.”
The words were out before Ishida could take them back. Tsuyu could be a challenge. Only Ishida referred to her that way, though; everybody else called her a screaming baby.
“I’m not sleepy,” Orihime sighed. “It’s just that…” She looked around the badly lit small apartment. “I feel like I haven’t been outside in years and years. I haven’t seen the sky for a while.” She smiled again. “I wonder if the clouds miss me.”
There she was… his effervescent and social Orihime … picking a knot out of her tangled hair.
“I’ll devise a way for you to get out more,” Ishida said. “Give me a day or two and I can rearrange my schedule--”
If there was a way for Orihime to get more sunshine, then there had to be a way for Ishida to get … just a smidgen of sex? It was because of his pride that he couldn’t broach the topic with her. And it felt like sacrilege to touch her in a way that said he wanted her sexual attention. She was busy, she was tired, she needed her rest. And Ishida felt … powerless.
“Don’t rearrange your schedule just for me. That sounds like work in itself.” She was searching the cupboards for ingredients. Orihime could make all sorts of tasty meals if she followed a recipe.
It was a study afternoon for the both of them.
Ishida rose from his defeated posture on the floor. He sat at the kitchenette table while Orihime thumbed through The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook. He tried to think about how to organize his Clinical Pathology 1 notes, but he was distracted by the allure of an unkempt woman. Orihime’s hair being pulled into a ponytail for neglect of brushing showed off her pretty face. After an extended nursing session, her droopy, slanted eyes looked sexy. Oxytocin, the nursing hormone, was called the “cuddle chemical” at med school, but why didn’t it make Orihime want to cuddle with him?
Sex had been taboo for the first six weeks after birth and that had been fine with Ishida. He’d been too dizzy with the challenges of new fatherhood crashing against the rigors of medical school to miss the sex. But every now and then, when he had woken up to a disheveled mother who’d been up all night with a fussy baby, he’d thought: Hmmm, what ever happened to that other sort of dishevelment? Twisted bedsheets, clothes on the floor, panties tossed over a lamp….
Tsuyu the newborn took precedence over any recreation of that sort.
For a while, Ishida was obsessed with charting Tsuyu’s developmental milestones such as gurgling, smiling, and rolling side to back. (Tsuyu was a genius, Ishida had said, because she did these things early. Ryuuken had given him a condescending look and stated that Uryuu had reached milestones late). Eventually, Ishida’s tension and fear that something would go wrong lifted. He accepted that there was no known baby-endangering disease in the world that Orihime would not be able to heal. He even stopped measuring his daughter’s head circumference every morning. He wasn’t needed. Orihime had everything under control. Ryuuken had all the pediatrics expertise and came over often to dispense it.
The alone-ness Ishida had felt for the larger part of his life returned. The loneliness before Orihime.
“She’s asleep.” Orihime put her finger to her lips and whispered, “She’s started taking one nap a day--usually forty minutes.”
Only forty minutes--that was all the respite the poor woman got from a day of diapers? “Please go out,” Ishida said. “Get some sunshine. I’ll watch her.”
Orihime bit her bottom lip. “Maybe … the 31’s is just five minutes away… I could…” Her voice became delighted and loud. “I’ll get ice cream!”
“Sssshhhh,” Ishida reminded her.
“Here.” Orihime slipped the sling over her neck and handed the sleeping baby, still in its denim cocoon, to Ishida.
“It’s not right of me,” Orihime whispered. “You never get to lie down at school, but I’m in bed all day.”
“You’ve got cabin fever in your eyes,” Ishida said. “Hurry. Only forty minutes.”
“Classrooms should have cots for those students that pull all-nighters.”
This time Ishida agreed with one of Hime’s crazy ideas. “Go,” he said.
“If she starts to scream, get me.” She shot a last maternal look at the bundle in Ishida’s arms. “And Uryuu, sweetness-pie, I know she’s wearing something store-bought and polyester right now, but don’t change her clo-”
The door shut and Orihime’s skipping steps could be heard down the corridor.
The school notes were gathered in piles on the table and Tsuyu lay in Ishida’s arms. He never used the sling--not because of some gender issue but because he hadn’t yet styled and sewn one that would be appropriate for a new father (Maybe denim broadcloth with white Quincy crosses?) Ishida could easily look at the notes over his daughter’s head, but Tsuyu, even asleep, was more interesting.
Daughter, daughter, thing that I helped make.
The joy was still new, and Ishida could spend long minutes staring at his daughter’s face to find some resemblance to himself. Besides the black hair, Tsuyu didn’t look like an Ishida. She was round and elfin-faced but she didn’t quite look like Orihime. Maybe it was the baby’s character that contributed to her appearance. Orihime’s face was usually calm and happy, and Tsuyu, asleep or awake, knotted her black eyebrows and curled her fists as if ready to punch whoever dared to try rocking her to sleep and whoever dared to wake her up.
Tsuyu the Screamer wasn’t always a challenge, though. Sometimes she woke up happy. She would laugh at funny faces people made (except Ryuuken’s--Ryuuken’s attempts at goofiness made her scream), and sometimes without protest or commotion, she dozed off in Orihime’s sling. Most of the time, in fact, Tsuyu wasn’t screaming.
This is easy. She’s fast asleep. This is a break, really. All I have to do is hold her until Orihime comes back.
But Ishida’s legs felt awkward--he wanted to stretch them.
It felt better to sit on the floor. He would be closer to the ground on the rare chance that he would fall asleep and drop her. His head and shoulders could rest against the wall.
Carefully, soundlessly, Ishida made his way to the place he wanted to sit. He knew better than to use hirenkyaku with Tsuyu--he’d tried once and she’d screamed.
“I’m not jealous of you,” Ishida told his daughter. He talked to Tsuyu often. He wasn’t sure that she didn’t understand him. “But I do wish I saw Okasan as often as you do.”
There was something soothing about confessing to a baby. “Part of my discontent is my own fault. I’m so busy. I could be less busy…” Ryuuken would have my head if I even suggested a break from training.
Ishida dared to put one hand on his daughter’s head. He wished, the way he knew a child would wish--without faith or doubt but just to put it out there in case the gods were listening--he wished he could hold his daughter like this more often.
Before she grew up too much.
And he wished he could have sex with Orihime before he forgot all his best techniques.
The hum of a familiar car sounded, along with the hum of a familiar reiatsu. As the gravel in the driveway crunched, Ishida thought, Uh-oh, he’s landed.
Ryuuken never called ahead but his son and daughter-in-law could always detect the subdued but not hidden reiatsu approaching in a stylish but practical car. The car usually flew an imperceptible centimeter over the road on spiritrons. Even though Ryuuken was careful about people not discovering his Quincy-ness, he would arrange spiritrons into a kind of car-surfboard to save wear on his tires. He didn’t see why he should live daily without the benefit of his powers.
Dr. Ishida and his car blew aside spirit threads whenever they took to the streets. Dr. Ishida directed a hospital and owned the world. His unquestionable authority resonated in his knock.
Ishida waited for the knock, and when it came, he was annoyed that his father was interrupting his time with Tsuyu. “Ojiichan better not wake you up,” he whispered to her. Ishida hadn’t expected this babysitting session to be special, but this baby, when not screaming, inspired heart-bursting fondness.
Ryuuken walked in without waiting to be asked.
“Why do you never call but always knock?”
“You haven’t figured that out yet?” Ryuuken took obvious notice of his son sitting on the floor but made no comment. “First year can kick the skill of deductive reasoning right out of a med student’s mind. Next year, when the weaklings have been weeded out, your professors will loosen up. Too much, I think--”
“Ssssh,” said Ishida. “This is her only daytime nap.”
“Uryuu.” Even at a whisper Ryuuken’s voice sounded commanding. “I don’t barge in here because I’m an inconsiderate oaf. The telephone here makes an obscene ringing noise and for some reason Orihime is constantly losing her cell or ignoring it when it’s set to vibrate.”
Orihime says it tickles her and she doesn’t want to laugh and wake up the baby.
“So I don’t call this number. I don’t want to wake up Tsuyu.”
“And you think knocking won’t?”
“She hasn’t reacted violently to any of my visits yet, has she? She senses my presence and is at ease--but if the phone rang, she wouldn’t know it was me.”
Don’t make a face, please. Don’t blow a raspberry at her.
Ryuuken knelt beside his son and looked at Tsuyu with the happy pride that was typical of all grandfathers. The half-smile looked very strange on Dr. Ishida; his son still hadn’t gotten used to it. Until Tsuyu’s birth, tender looks had not been in his father’s repertoire of expressions.
“If I didn’t come over so often, Orihime would have to drive all the way to the hospital for well-baby appointments.”
Ryuuken pretended that, as Tsuyu’s unofficial pediatrician, he had the right to bring over his otoscope every few days and look into his granddaughter’s ears. Ishida didn’t mind his over-concern, but he wished his father would admit that he wanted to play with Tsuyu more than he needed to check for ear infections.
Still, coming over unannounced was presumptuous, even for Ryuuken.
“I think calling ahead could save yourself a car-ride if….” Ishida didn’t know why he wanted to press the issue now. “You know, Orihime and I could be really busy with ... I don’t know….”
“You would lock the door if that were the case. I still don’t understand why you people don’t lock your door.” Ryuuken looked relieved to have found something to scold his son about. “Don’t assume that your powers will protect you against every imaginable human threat in your hallway.”
“I’m the one who forgets to lock the door. Orihime always locks it.”
“Nonetheless if you and Orihime were engaged in some very private business there would be a spike in reiatsu evident and I wouldn’t interrupt you. I’m sure your neighbors get an earful with these thin walls and what I imagine is your wife’s enthusiasm, but trust me, I would be nowhere near here. How indelicate do you take your father to be?”
“I’m--” Ishida lowered his eyes. “Sorry. I didn’t want to insult you.”
“You’re blushing like a virgin,” Ryuuken said. “But seeing that Tsuyu exists, I’m going to presume you’re not.”
More blood rushed to Ishida’s face.
Ryuuken narrowed his eyes.
“Excessive modesty past a certain age isn’t very becoming on a man, Uryuu.”
Ishida wanted to change the subject. Not only did talking about sex with his father feel wrong, but the images that had entered Ishida’s mind when Ryuuken said very private business--Ugh, was it decent to cradle a little baby girl and think about doing it with your wife doggie style?
Ryuuken stared at his embarrassed son. “I saw Orihime on the sidewalk.”
Ishida could imagine Orihime waving wildly at the passing car.
“You two aren’t taking advantage of baby naps the way I thought you would.”
Ishida braced himself; his father was going to make another sex comment.
“Of course you may have mastered the art of the quickie by now so that’s why your wife looked so happy.”
“I’m a medical doctor and your own father.”
For a second, Ishida considered passing Tsuyu to Ryuuken to see if he could talk about sex while holding his granddaughter. He didn’t want to wake her up, though. “Orihime always looks happy,” he mumbled.
“Is Orihime well?” Ryuuken did not look concerned so much as he looked displeased. “I can find another obstetrician for her if she doesn’t like Dr. Soga. Postpartum visits are very important, and she’s missed two in a row now.”
Ryuuken had gotten so interfering since Tsuyu’s birth. Ishida wondered if his attachment to family was going to be as intense as his detachment used to be. Sometimes it was hard to remember the cold, disapproving father and why Ishida couldn’t stand him.
“Dr. Soga may too conventional for her. After all, a patient with her own healing abilities--”
“Orihime’s alright. It’s just that with my schedule and her correspondence gourmet cooking work, we barely have time for one another let alone time for unnecessary appointments. If Orihime were sick, don’t you think she’d know?”
“Correspondence cooking course,” said Ryuuken flatly. “The very concept.”
“She loves the class,” Ishida said grouchily.
“Son, it’s really important that your wife have proper postpartum care. I understand that these little stolen moments of ecstasy are important to you, but certainly you can give up a little sex to make it to a half-hour appointment.”
“We’re busy is all,” Ishida knew his voice sounded flustered. “Orihime’s alright, Tsuyu’s alright…”
I’m the one who’s not alright, Ishida thought, and he was sure his despondency showed on his face.
The following silence lasted too long. The apartment was deadly quiet and Ryuuken was inside it--thinking, deducing, plotting ways to embarrass him.
“Are you showing signs of postpartum depression?” Ryuuken finally asked.
“Please be serious.”
“You look like a dog at the door in the rain,” Ryuuken said. “When men get discouraged like this--” He froze. He had the revelation. “I’ve seen patients look like this when--”
Ishida wondered if his blushing had given him away. Was his father so clever as to have figured out that his son was a worthless man who couldn’t even ask his own wife for sex?
“Don’t tell me that not only have you lost your capacity for deductive reasoning…” Ryuuken stopped himself. His days of demeaning his son were over. His sternness relaxed. His face wasn’t exactly agreeable, but Ishida heard the effort in his voice. “Well, Uryuu … men are always reticent about admitting sexual dysfunction, even when they know that pills exist to remedy--”
“No!” Ishida was horrified. “It’s not that!”
“Ssssh,” Ryuuken reminded him, but the baby in Ishida’s arms hadn’t even broken the rhythm of her breathing.
Then, much to Ishida’s alarm, he saw that Ryuuken’s face was assuming that ominous cruel look that Ishida recognized as paternal love.
The father leaned closer to the son, and Ishida could feel Ryuuken’s breath on his face. “Tell my why you’re moping around like a adolescent, then.”
Ishida could never lie, but he didn’t want to tell.
“Tell me, or I’ll pick Tsuyu up, put her in a safe place, and then knock your head into this wall. I’ll pay for the damages, but I’m going beat you like a rented mule unless you tell me what is wrong with you.”
Ishida stared into his father’s face. Ryuuken was not a person given to exaggeration. “It’s just that…” He couldn’t do it.
“Your head. I’ll break your head.”
“It’s just that Orihime and I have not engaged in marital relations since the baby was born.” Ishida’s words came out in a rush. “I want to talk to her but she must not be interested if she hasn’t brought up the issue herself and I feel selfish--” Ishida had wanted to get it all out in one breath, but his voice failed him. “It’s selfish,” he concluded in a voice lower than a whisper. “It’s selfish of me to want something from her that she’s not ready to give.”
Ryuuken backed away. “Is that all?”
Ishida wished that Tsuyu would wake up and start screaming.
“When that wife of yours gets back, you and I are going away to have a little talk.”
“Don’t give me that look. Don’t you trust me to help you with this sort of thing? We’re going to have dinner at some decent restaurant, and I’m going to help you get back your Quincy pride.”
“I have class tonight.”
“Skip it. Your masculinity and your marriage are at stake.”
Ishida looked down at his sleeping daughter and wished he could be as oblivious to Ryuuken’s orders. Ishida had never once complained that he and Ryuuken didn’t have father-son talks; he liked it that way.
But the man was knowledgeable and maybe he had the answer.
“Ok,” said Ishida. Curiosity had overcome his fear of being ridiculed by Ryuuken. “Orihime thinks that you and I don’t spend enough time together. She’ll be happy that we’re going out.”
“That’s not all she’s going to be happy about,” Ryuuken promised.
A considerate, helpful husband, a happy baby in a sling, a banana loaf for dessert tonight. My life is good, Orihime insisted.
Then she beat the dough a little harder than usual. Flour puffed into the air, and Tsuyu sneezed. If my life is so good then why do I feel so yucky?
Every now and then the thought had passed through Orihime’s mind that she was being selfish. Then she told herself that she didn’t care; selfish was what she was going to be if it meant more time with Tsuyu.
Orihime’s volunteer work at the hospital had included holding premature infants, laughing with tonsillectomy patients, and seriptiously healing the critical cases. She visited the children’s ward until the day before she gave birth. Then she just completely forgot that she worked there.
Tsuyu was everything. All of Orihime’s urges to care for the whole world had been fulfilled. Her life’s mission--to heal, protect, and nurture--had been distilled into caring for one little person.
One day the mail brought a luxury spa certificate and a card signed by patients, staff, nurses and doctors. After Orihime read the card, her concerned husband expected her to do something noble and ridiculous like going back too soon. To his surprise, Orihime told him that she was not going back at all. Of course, she wanted to be called if there was a case the doctors couldn’t handle, but she had a new job now.
She knew perfectly well what fate she was deciding for many children who would enter the hospital with terminal diseases. But maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be. The doctors take care of their own; Orihime takes care of her baby.
Had she worked at the hospital only because she couldn’t stand to see children in danger and pain? Had she held babies covered with plastic tubes only because her own hormones made her arms ache to hold them? Had all the volunteering been to alleviate her need to be needed?
Her own feelings and motives had mattered though, hadn’t they? Wasn’t she entitled to them now and then?
Orihime kissed the top of Tsuyu’s head. “You, my baby, will always come first. I will never be selfish with you.”
Still, her thoughts changed shape as often as the dough on the kitchen table. Maybe she should have accepted the nurse that Ryuuken had wanted to send on the very day Tsuyu was born. No, that would’ve been admitting failure at the very beginning of the game.
Ryuuken had offered the nurse’s services again a couple weeks ago. Again, Orihime had said no. And still, she kept running out of diaper pins, leaving the stove on, and forgetting to take a shower.
I’m not handling this … and … and …
Orihime lay down her rolling pin and wiped a tear with a flour-covered hand. Tsuyu rocked in the sling and gurgled happily.
Not only had she been neglecting personal hygiene, her hipbones seemed to have displaced themselves further apart from one another, she still hadn’t lost her pregnancy weight, and her feet were … enormous.
“Don’t expect to ever wear your old shoe size again,” Mrs. Arisawa had told her. “But don’t worry about that. You’re always gorgeous.”
I look like I’ve been run over, Orihime would think. She didn’t get the usual compliments when she was out. And Uryuu….
He doesn’t even touch me anymore because I’m ugly.
“What the hell are you wearing?” “Is there a parade somewhere?” “Don’t tell me that this is what first years have to wear when they graduate.” “You look like a very dressy lab assistant.”
Ishida put his head up. “I sewed this myself. It’s based on traditional Quincy clothing.” He adjusted the cord on his cape. “The style of the cape was co-opted by the French military some years ago, but it originated with the Quincy.”
The students in the hallway stared as Ishida passed. He felt proud that he was making an impression, and whenever students asked what a Quincy was, Ishida scoffed at their ignorance and told them to consult an encyclopaedia because he was in a hurry.
Ishida had had no choice but to dress at school if he wanted to surprise Orihime at the door. Married Student Housing was only a couple blocks away from his last class, so instead of racing home on spiritrons, Ishida decided to walk and let the campus wonder why he was wearing such spectacular garb.
He never would have imagined Ryuuken encouraging his to do this.
“Dressed up?” Ishida had been skeptical. “You mean dressed up as in a suit and tie?”
“No. You’d look like a sweating teenager at a dance.” Ryuuken had leaned back into his chair and snapped his silver cigarette lighter. “In what clothes are you the most good-looking? Which one of your … creations (Ryuuken had strained at the word in an attempt not to insult his son’s hobby) do you think makes the greatest impression on people?”
It had been no contest.
Ishida walked regal steps up to the third floor of the student apartment building. He hadn’t worn these clothes for some time. His simplest outfit, really. The short tunic with a weapons belt and plain white trousers. The only thing that distinguished the outfit was the cape--and maybe the white shoes with a cross on the arch.
He didn’t have the usual reason for displaying his Quincy-ness. He wasn’t setting out on an adventure to shoot malicious spirits. The world was safe and all was at peace within his new family. He was the Quincy who protected them from Evil.
She seemed to jump at the very word, and when she turned around, her face looked alarmed. “Uryuu, what’s happening? What is it?”
He was at her side right away, his voice no longer dramatic. “No, no, nothing’s wrong. I’m not wearing these things because I’m going away.”
She was relieved. “I would hug you, Uryuu but I have flour on my hands.”
“Not to mention we’d squash Tsuyu.”
For a second there, because he’d scared her, had she forgotten the baby? Then he realized: she doesn’t hug me because she’s wearing the baby. It’s the baby between us. When’s the last time I got a full body hug from her?
“Why are you wearing it then?” She stepped back. “Not too close. I’ll get flour on your cape.”
Ishida raised his chin and spoke proudly, “It’s a commemorative occasion when a man announces he’s going to re-woo his wife.”
Orihime didn’t get it.
Ishida got down on one knee. For anyone else, this would’ve been too much, but Orihime had always squealed in delight when Ishida acted chivalrous.
He bowed his head. “Orihime, for too long now I’ve failed you as a lover. I didn’t treat you like the beautiful, sensual person you are, because I knew how tiring Tsuyu was.” Ishida heard her catch her breath. He went on, “I can understand your lack of interest in … me.”
He could see her ankles. How was it that no one else had sexy ankles? Orihime was turning one foot inside, in that way that flirty girls do, and the skin over the rumpled white socks looked smooth and inviting. Ishida was stricken with an urge to kiss her feet;
He didn’t, though. He went on with his declaration. “I’m going to pursue you and attempt to recapture your romantic love. I hope that one day we can truly call ourselves lovers in the fullest sense of that world. Orihime--”
Ryuuken had said she’d giggle. Ryuuken had said she be tickled and happy.
Orihime was crying.
Ishida gritted his teeth. I didn’t fuck this one up. This is all Ryuuken’s fault.
She was hiding her tears behind one hand when Ishida rose from his cavalier pose and took the hand away. Yes, those were serious tears. The kind only Orihime could shed. Big as coins and running one after another down her face.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t cry. I didn’t want you to start crying.”
The baby in the sling made a happy noise. “Bwuah, bwuah.”
Ishida’s fingers were brushing her hair away from the tears. “I take back every word I said. I don’t want to pressure you--”
“No, no. Don’t take it back. It’s just that…” Orihime hiccuped. That meant more tears were coming. “I had a sad day and I was feeling lonely and tired and--”
“I’m so sorry. Forgive me.”
“No, no. You’re beautiful. You’re like a dream come true. I love you.” She gave his upper arm a half-hug. Her arm was covered to the elbow with flour, but Ishida didn’t care.
He didn’t know what else to do. This wooing thing was supposed to be carried out over a number of days. First, only gallant declarations, and then day by day rounding the bases as you would with a new girlfriend. Ishida had told Ryuuken that he’d never had a “new” girlfriend because Orihime had been his only one. He hadn’t told Ryuuken that he’d never rounded bases in his life; he and Orihime had fallen into sex from the very start.
“Bwuah, bwuah,” said the baby.
Ishida leaned over and kissed the side of Orihime’s forehead. It was meant to be a compassionate kiss and then he would pop up, but he lingered there--bent over awkwardly, his mouth half-open. He wished he could kiss her some more, but obviously this wasn’t the right time. His mouth traveled to her ear where he meant to whisper something but he forgot what it was.
He remembered that ear.
Orihime wasn’t crying anymore.
She didn’t hiccup.
After a few moments of breathing with more effort than usual, the pair pulled away from one another and made a rendezvous with their eyes. Soon, the next time possible, tonight in the bathroom if need be, they were going to have sex.
Then Orihime said, “I know.”
“I’ll be back in a minute. I’m going downstairs.”
“Mrs. Watasuki has been asking me every day if she could watch Tsuyu. I said no because she seemed like somebody who cared for babies weirdly. I mean, she’s old and everyone took care of babies weirdly once. They didn’t have slings back then.
Ishida had no idea why Orihime was talking about some person he’d never met.
“But Mrs. Watasuki’s nice. She’s always alone with her television. Tsuyu’s in a good mood right now, and she knows Mrs. Watasuki. We visit her all the time with pound cakes.”
“So you’re actually going to let someone baby-sit Tsuyu?”
“It’s about time, don’t you think?”
Ishida tried not to celebrate his good fortune too early. “Tsuyu might cry.”
“It will just be for five minutes, Uryuu.”
Ishida didn’t know whether to be happy or hurt by that remark. If they were going to have sex, then five minutes wasn’t really enough time.
She was out the door--floury arms and all.
Ishida stood for a while, wondering what had just happened. Then he took off his shoes with the Quincy design and put the shoes by the door. He hung his cape on one of the high utensil racks in the kitchen.
And he waited.
Mrs. Watasuki was delighted to see Orihime and didn’t protest when Orihime transferred both baby and sling to her fragile sixty-year-old neck.
It won’t be for long, Orihime told herself.
“I saw the husband on the stairway,” Mrs. Watasuki said with a broad smile. “Is it a special occasion?”
“Yes, yes, it’s special.” She was washing her arms in the kitchen sink. She felt hurried; she splashed water. “Oh I’m sorry.” The water was on her shirt and on the kitchen floor.
“Nonsense, nothing to apologize for. Water is water.”
Orihime got on her knees to wipe up the mess.
“That shirt’s so wet I can see your bra, Mrs. Watasuki said. “I’ll find you a kimono.”
Because Mrs. Watasuki was so small, the fancier ones couldn’t close around Orihime’s waist and the longest sleep kimono reached to Orihime’s mid thigh.
“You’re only going upstairs,” said Mrs. Watasuki. “At least it’s more modest than the wet shirt.”
But Orihime thought the mini-skirt kimono look was just right.
She didn’t hurry up the stairs on her way back. She groomed herself as she walked--taking the ponytail holder out of her hair, brushing through the strands with her fingers apart like a comb.
Outside her own door, she adjusted her too-little kimono at the collar so that she was showing more cleavage. Then she walked in.
Most men hate to be told to wait in any situation. They get grumpy and tense. Orihime had expected Uryuu to look a little less happy than when she’d left, but she hadn’t expected him to look so composed and noble.
He was standing in the middle of the room, not looking awkward or tense at all. He held his back straight, and his eyes looked deadly serious.
For a second, Orihime wondered if he was mad about something, but then he walked forwards, lifted her and the short kimono into his arms, and buried his face in her hair.
“I’ve missed you.”
“Uryuu.” Orihime didn’t know what else to say. Her heart was already racing.
He wasted no time carrying her to the bed, and as he lay her down, he said, “This isn’t going to be five minutes.”
Kisses in her hair, on her cheeks, in her ear (those were tickly but arousing), kisses on her neck and shoulders. She’s forgotten how decisive and strong his kisses could be. She’d forgotten making love like she’d forgotten the hospital. Only she had remembered the hospital and tried to atone for her absence with banana loaves. Uryuu she had completely ignored.
“She gave you this?” asked Uryuu as he untied the kimono.
“Yes, she’s so nice and really, you should meet her. She thinks that you’re shy--”
Uryuu raised her slightly and pulled her arms out of their sleeves. “Let’s keep it.”
He stood up and began taking off his own clothes. The items he sewed were always so easy. A zipper down the back and pulling off the pants. After Uryuu explained how buttons interfered with the motions of dressing and undressing, Orihime would never wear another button again.
“You could make a kimono that’s just like it.” Orihime wasn’t keen on the idea of stealing Mrs. Watasuki’s clothes.
Uryuu lay over Orihime and resumed his kisses. “I can make one better than it. But this one is special. Special because of today.”
Before Orihime could float into a meditation about how only Uryuu could make talking about clothes sexy, he kissed her on the mouth. It wasn’t a deep kiss. Orihime felt his lips hold hers as if to appreciate some long-ago girl who had never been kissed and whose first one with Uryuu had felt like smunching faces. Only this kiss was sexier; it was just the beginning.
Their tongues worked their way inside one another’s mouths, and Orihime ran her fingers through his hair. Had she ever been this wet before? Pregnancy--nursing--one of the two was supposed to have the opposite effect.
Orihime’s thighs rose to press his hips. Had it been five minutes? Had it been longer than that? What’s five minutes?
They kissed until the very concept of stealing time meant nothing and the expectation of “being wooed” dissolved. He was serious. He kissed her neck, her shoulders.
Orihime’s lust-narrowed eyes opened wide. “Wait!”
“Why should I?” he breathed between her breasts.
“Because.” Orihime felt a flush of embarrassment and this too made her wet. “Because I have milk in them.”
“I know,” he said and took a nipple into his mouth.
His mouth was larger of course, and it felt nothing like the little one that hung on her breast all day. He began with his tongue sweeping lightly, around and around, back and forth. Orihime knew that this touch was enough to stimulate lactation.
This is weird.
She dribbled enough for him to lick, but then her milk began streaming too fast. And there was too much. The milk ran into the crevice between her breasts, past her abdomen, pooled in her bellybutton and was just about everywhere.
Tsuyu eats this much? The other nipple that Ishida held out of habit was dry. She went “oh” when he tweaked it and “ahh” when he licked it and soon it was dribbling milk too.
He licked her body in as many places as he could reach. His lips inhaled milk close to her underarm, and the thrill made her gasp. He sucked now. Sucked at her shoulder, sucked at her throat. Sucked all over in such a gentle way that Orihime began to thrash--her arms flailing and her head tossing side to side. This pleasure was torturous. She panted; she hoped it would stop.
It did. But then he took her nipple in his mouth again and began to suck there. He began swallow there.
It was different of course. It was a strong motion and sometimes it broke pace and yanked. Even as she moaned, she wondered, Is there going to be enough left for the baby?
She could hear milk going down his throat. His other hand on her other breast clenched, and she knew he liked this.
“Uryuuuuuuuuu.” She was going to come. Back arched, mouth open, she waited for the agony to burst into that feeling.
He denied her that feeling. He kissed her down to her drenched dark hairs, parted her legs, and wouldn’t suck her.
No, the mean thing, he kissed her thighs, he kissed the far sides of her vulva, he waited until she was back from the altitude of before.
And then, finally, he kissed a place he hadn’t seen for three months. It was a reverent reunion, too formal and slow for Orihime, so she pushed her pelvis against his face. She said, “do it.” She rubbed his nose with the swollen parts and repeated like a bossy person. “Do it, do it, do it.”
He did it, and as Orihime was doing half sit-ups and making more noises than she had during her un-medicated childbirth, he stopped.
“Do you hear something?”
His voice panted, “No…no…that’s her. She’s screaming. It’s coming from downstairs.”
“Let her scream.” Orihime’s pulled Uryuu’s shoulders down with her legs, and he got the message. He sucked, without mercy, on her clit, and Orihime did scream. She screamed a tight desperate scream just before she came and she let out a less loud cry of approval as she did come.
How could she have forgotten all that?
She needed to thank him, to say that she was sorry for forgetting how his mouth made her feel. He kissed her before she could speak.
Sex makes babies but maybe that’s only now and then. Maybe its real purpose is to remind people that they love each other.
“She’s not screaming anymore.” Uryuu said.
“I never heard anything,” Orihime said.
There was no sound at all coming from downstairs.
“Maybe she was screaming but then the lady did something sweet and she stopped.”
“Uryuu, she never stops.”
Uryuu’s eyes without his glasses were larger and so blue. She saw the slight smile in his eyes before it happened on his lips.
“I’m not stopping either,” he said.
“Wait. We can’t be here too long. She’s doing us a really big favor.”
“Doesn’t she owe you a lot of pound cakes?”
Orihime didn’t speak after that.
And she totally forgot about how yucky she'd felt that morning.