Ichigo/Ishida. This is slash, yaoi, BL, shounen-ai, H/C, trigger-warnings for mentions of rape, depiction of PTSD
Midnight to Daybreak
Disclaimer: I don’t own Bleach or its characters; Kubo Tite, Shueisha and others do.
Ichigo/Ishida. NC-17 or M, trigger warning for mentions of PTSD, rape, abuse. Psychological H/C though. Sequel to the one-shot “Sun and Rain, Love and Pain.” This is BL. Don’t like BL or shounen-ai, don’t read. Last ficlet in “Leichtigkeit des Seins” series.
Another thank you to nehalenia for the prompt for this one and her invaluable support of my writing.
Kurosaki lay spread-eagle, nude, gazing directly at the ceiling fixture in Ishida’s bedroom. The low-watt bulb was bright enough to highlight sweat drops and orange hairs on his body. His half-shut, drowsy eyes gleamed with contentedness. Then white teeth appeared as his mouth formed a smile.
“That was good,” Kurosaki said. The vague assessment bothered Ishida a little, but then Kurosaki repeated himself like a fool: “That was good,” and Ishida figured that the words were meant as the highest superlative and that Kurosaki lacked the vocabulary with which to better express himself at the moment.
Ishida was sitting at the foot of the bed, already wrapping himself in a blanket. The curtains were drawn, but the sun must have set in the sky; the colors in the room seemed artificial and sharp. There was no warm light seeping from the large windows.
Black pieces of Kurosaki’s shihakusho were strewn about. Ishida resisted the urge to pick them up and fold them on a chair. The room was cold, and maybe he should adjust the thermostat or switch off the light? It seemed rude to move from the bed at this point, but really, the air conditioning should not be running at this hour--the hum it made throughout the mansion told of wastefulness, pride, and loneliness.
Ishida sat up, and Haschwalth’s hair, which was not there because Haschwalth wasn’t, brushed against Ishida’s face, swept against his shoulder and vanished like the phantom hair it was--
“What’s with the face?” asked Kurosaki. “Are you sick? I knew you couldn’t hold your drink. The way you shot back those two cups of sake--”
“I’m fine,” Ishida said. “I thought I heard the door. I told you my father was supposed to be home within the hour.”
The way Kurosaki said his name was ominous. Ishida felt that he was about to be told a grave secret, but as it was, no such revelation came.
“We were downstairs on the couch when your dad called,” Kurosaki went on. “I guess you didn’t hear the message because you were moaning like the North Wind getting his dick blown.”
“Ryuuken--he called? What did he say?”
“Ha! I knew you were too far gone to notice. The message was something about emergency surgery. Your dad is going to be out all night. We have the whole mansion to ourselves.”
Kurosaki’s post-coital high spirits were a little disconcerting. Hadn’t he looked sleepy a moment ago? Was he going to want to do it a dozen times because he had that sort of reiatsu?
“I didn’t hear the message at all,” Ishida said, not amazed that he’d been too distracted by earlier goings-on downstairs but sorry that he didn’t know sooner about Ryuuken’s plans. He’d been listening for Ryuuken at the door all evening. The tension had set him on edge … which meant he could relax now, and so Ishida waited for his body to relax … but it didn’t.
Kurosaki was still smiling stupidly at the ceiling. Maybe this was what other people were like in the aftermath of sex, but Kurosaki had always been a bit of an idiot so his reaction could be unusual. Regardless, Ishida’s own feelings seemed a little too apprehensive for the occasion. Ishida didn’t know what his unease had to do with, precisely. Other than being discovered by Ryuuken, there was no danger here. The universe was in balance once again and not going to funnel itself into oblivion as had been the case during the recent war; neither were any of Ishida’s friends likely to be maimed or killed on this quiet summer night. Maybe Keigo would be tortured by last-minute finals cramming, but Karakura Town was safe.
Kurosaki caught Ishida’s gaze and raised an eyebrow.
“Nothing, nothing, I’m fine.” Ishida said. “If you’re wondering if it’s okay for you to stay the night here, then I suppose so. Ryuuken usually sleeps at the hospital if he has a long shift.”
Kurosaki eyed the jar of petroleum jelly on the bedside table. “Your turn?”
“Yeah,” said Ishida and got out of bed, wrapping the blanket around him like shawl. “Excuse me while I go adjust the thermostat… and I need some water. Fucking a disembodied spirit in my bed takes a little out of me, believe it or not.” Ishida was out the door and in the hallway. “Be right back.”
In the bathroom, Ishida turned the faucet on full to cover the sounds of his own panicked breathing from himself. He filled a glass with water and drank in gulps.
I had sex with Kurosaki. This can’t be un-done.
It wasn’t supposed to go this far. Kurosaki had dropped by to hound him, had made it clear that he wasn’t going to leave until Ishida came clean about what really happened in the Shadow Realm, and in order to finish the battle with a decisive blow, Ishida had drunk two cups of dessert sake in quick succession and kissed Kurosaki full on the mouth.
Somehow Ishida had started out wanting to intimidate and spook him, but … stupid Kurosaki. He’d reacted much in the same way Ishida himself had when sex, that most irresistible of human enterprises, had been flung at him and his teenage hormones by Jugram Haschwalth; Kurosaki had liked it, of course. His body and emotions had gone full tilt. Somewhere between his first and second cup of sake, Ishida may have decided to provoke exactly such a response, but Ishida’s original intent was unclear to him now.
Cold water roared out of the faucet. Ishida was alone in this huge drafty house with a horny shinigami.
“You really want to know what they did to me? They taught me to do this,” Ishida had pronounced before the kiss, not thinking then about the consequences as much as the dramatic impact of his words. Then somehow a few kisses later, Ishida had found himself caught in another competition with Kurosaki--this time for who could get whose clothes off first.
Ishida’s pulse was racing and his breathing was uneven. On the couch, he’d trusted Kurosaki with secrets he’d never thought he’d speak aloud. The intimacy had seemed natural, even pleasurable. It wasn’t like he still didn’t trust Kurosaki--the idiot was many things but he was never one to betray a confidence or be careless with a friend’s boundaries. Kurosaki knew exactly how much Ishida’s own pride mattered to him, so no, it wasn’t Kurosaki Ichigo himself who was making Ishida anxious right now--
Ishida stooped, put his forehead down on the cold marble edge of the sink.
Breathe. This is really happening. There’s nothing to do to but keep breathing.
Suddenly, Kurosaki was in the bathroom, and his hand was on the blanket on Ishida’s shoulder. He hadn’t used shunpou to move here; Ishida hadn’t noticed Kurosaki until he touched him.
“It’s the sake,” Kurosaki said. “You’re sick.”
“I’m not,” Ishida responded, not bothering to raise his forehead from the sink. “I’m having a panic attack.”
Ishida was planning a medical career; he knew what a panic attack was. He’d never had one before, but it was easy to diagnose: rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, feeling chilled, full of dread, expecting some sort of crisis when there was, obviously, no imminent threat anywhere.
Ishida waited for Kurosaki to ask the inevitable “why?” but Kurosaki said nothing. Instead, the hand on Ishida’s shoulder pressed a little. Ishida didn’t mind. He was busy trying to focus on his breathing. It wasn’t difficult to enforce the order steady, steady to his heart and lungs; Ishida knew how keep composure in battle, so he had already begun to reign back his runaway pulse and now needed to breathe in, breathe out, in time with the passing seconds.
There was a tingling in his face as he began to reorient himself.
“There you go,” Kurosaki said.
Ishida didn’t appreciate being spoken to as if he were a child, but any rush to anger might bring back the breathlessness so he let Kurosaki off on this one. Ishida lifted his head, rose from his crouched position, and faced his reflection in the bathroom mirror. So who was this pale person shrouded in a blanket and why was there a completely naked orange-haired man standing behind him?
It’s come to this. He’s seen me at my worst.
Kurosaki had not let go of Ishida’s shoulder. Ishida shrugged the hand off as gingerly as he could. “I’m fine.”
“You seemed fine for a while there but--” Kurosaki lowered his voice. “It’s okay, Ishida. If you want to talk, if you want to go to sleep, if you want to go back downstairs and study--it’s all okay. I’ll do whatever you want to do.”
“You turned off the air conditioning?” Ishida felt warmer. A little fuzzy.
“Yeah. Your dad sure keeps it really cold in--Ishida!”
Ishida steadied himself by grabbing onto the bathroom counter with one hand. He’d stumbled from light-headedness after taking a first step towards the door, and Kurosaki had seen him falter.
This night isn’t getting any better. Fuck not getting angry. Kurosaki had an arm around Ishida now. “Fuck off, Kurosaki,” spat Ishida, and Kurosaki knew well enough to remove his arm.
“Sure you’re not sick? I mean, look at you. You’ve lost weight, you’re--”
“Panic attack,” said Ishida in a cold tone. “It’s called a panic attack. It’s over, it’s fine, I’m fine. Just--”
“You’re obviously not fine if you’re having panic attacks.”
“You just did,” said Kurosaki. “About ten minutes ago.”
Ishida re-adjusted the blanket that had almost fallen off his body when he grabbed the counter, straightened his back, and gave Kurosaki a cool stare.
“You’re welcome to fuck me again if you think it will help,” Kurosaki said.
“I thought you said it was my turn,” said Ishida. He walked past Kurosaki into the hallway.
The naked shinigami followed, waiting for the next cue as to what to say or do. Despite being embarrassed and angry with Kurosaki for being so hovery, Ishida knew that Kurosaki was only being his usual caring self because he, Ishida Uryuu, had been nothing if not strange since the end of the war. Ishida had known everyone was worried. Ryuuken had made dinners laden with creams and calories under the pretense of teaching his son to cook European-style. Inoue-san had asked time and time again why Ishida was eating less and avoiding company, but her questions had been more easily brushed off than Kurosaki’s.
Ishida turned off the light switch as he walked into his room. When he lay down on his bed in the darkness, he thought he smelled blood.
It had been like that on some nights since the war. Other times he tasted the Quincy king’s finger in his mouth, the bitterness of blood or the saltiness of semen at the back of his throat. The blanket was soft, but it was not as soft as Jugram Haschwalth’s silky hair. The room was still chilly even though the air conditioning had shut off … the Ice Palace had been always been so cold that Ishida saw his breath in vague clouds. Only his own breath, though--the others breathed as the dead breathe. The blut inside the Quincy who lived there had been cold as the air.
Ishida didn’t protest when Kurosaki pushed folds of the blanket away and kissed his neck. The large hands on his body felt--how would Kurosaki put it?--“good.”
It was good to finally have something happening to break the dream of the past few months. Ishida didn’t crave fights the way Kurosaki did; he had never been a street-fighter like Sado-kun. He had always liked order and predictability and had avoided confrontation whenever possible, but one can only walk among shadows from a Shadow World for so long without wanting to punch something.
Fucking Kurosaki had felt better than fighting him ever had. Ishida had never thought about such a thing happening until it did, and even now, as Kurosaki was running his hands over Ishida’s body, kissing his belly and exhaling warm breaths on his cock, Ishida kept telling himself: this is really happening.
“You sure?” Kurosaki asked.
“Fuck me,” Ishida ordered, and Kurosaki reached for the night-stand. He opened the jar there and scooped out the white jelly with three fingers. He greased Ishida’s ass the way he’d been taught by Ishida earlier that evening and then wiped his hand on Ishida’s upper thigh. He massaged the jelly back and forth into Ishida’s leg until the spot was hot from the friction.
“You sure?” Kurosaki repeated.
Ishida answered by taking hold of Kurosaki’s cock and raising one leg around Kurosaki’s torso, pulling that broad chest closer towards him. Ishida was bent in half, his foot near Kurosaki’s face. The two couldn’t budge one millimeter closer or breathe without sliding into the inevitability of sex, but for a long moment they didn’t--it seemed to Ishida that they had been poised like this, awkwardly and on the brink of a terrible union, since the moment they met.
Ichigo opened his mouth to say something but Ishida kissed it to shut him up and then they were fucking, not leisurely at all but fast and purposeful, the penetration already deep, that sweet spot inside starting to burn with pleasure.
Sex was not thinking. Not thinking was not remembering. Or that’s how it had been earlier when Ishida had been on top of Ichigo in the throes of their first time. A rush of oblivion. This time Ishida was aware of other sensations besides the escalating pleasure; memories like cold hands touched him. The cold hands belonged to the Quincy king….
The room was dark and Ishida’s eyes had not yet adjusted to the darkness so no familiar objects identified the place as his bedroom; sex was really happening but it could have been happening in outer space or even in the past for how dark it was in the room.
It was at that moment that Ishida realized, in the middle of sex with Kurosaki, that since the war, he’d been purposely keeping himself from seeing things the way they really are. He’d somehow brought the Shadow World back to Karakura Town, but it was not here; the Ice Palace wasn’t here, the king and the Stern Ritter and their cold breath--not here at all.
Kurosaki, with his sweaty body and big hands, was here, and as Ishida’s eyes adjusted to night, he saw his desk, his jeans on the back of the chair, a small shape on the seat that was probably a pocket stapler or pencil sharpener.
Ishida hadn’t worn glasses in months, not since they were broken in the battle with Kurosaki--he’d never been that myopic anyway, and as days went by after balance was restored to the universe, he learned to appreciate the fuzzy peripheries of being in the world with less than perfect sight. No one had asked him why he didn’t wear his glasses. Because he’d broken his earthly glasses with Haschwalth, the last pair Ishida had worn had been made in the Shadow Realm …
Ishida let out a little exhalation at the memory. Kurosaki took the sigh to mean something else, kissed Ishida’s neck and pumped harder.
When Ryuuken welcomed his son back to the family mansion, he bought the younger Ishida new clothes, a computer, mentioned an appointment with the ophthalmologist a few times but then stopped nagging when it was plain his son wasn’t going to pursue a new prescription.
Ishida had brought the Shadow World to Earth by then and bites of even simple foods like apples had started to seep the metallic after-taste of blood.
“Ishida,” Kurosaki breathed and shoved inside Ishida so hard that they both moved forward on the sheets.
The Quincy king had been the first man inside Ishida and that--such a disaster. The power reassignment failed. The ceremony before the act had been so lulling in its unnecessary choreography--Ishida undressing the king then undressing himself then lying with his back arched and throat exposed to the mercy of a millennia of massacred souls. The king had grabbed the top of Ishida’s head and thrust inside like a cold blade. There had been choking coughs, a mess of reiatsu colliding, that sense of failure as blood ran down Ishida’s thighs.
While the king called the servant to fetch Haschwalth, Ishida had lain there wondering what was real and what was a lie or if the king’s words invented the truth the way he had invented the Quincy.
Kurosaki smelled like clean sweat, his mouth tasted as sweet as his intentions. He’d slowed the pace now, to prolong the good feelings, his hand at the nape of Ishida’s neck, fingering the hair there. The sounds he made were like the sharp ones he made fighting, when he exerted himself and punctuated blows with hard breaths--only here and right now, one hard breath followed another like the pulse of a song. “Ishida,” he’d whisper every few beats in his body’s cadence. Ishida was aware of Kurosaki’s lungs filling and emptying inside a chest damp with sweat, a slick torso rubbing against Ishida’s own. “Ishida.”
Ishida wanted this. He had told himself the same thing with Haschwalth. He’d felt his body respond the moment Haschwalth had first kissed him even if Ishida’s arms and hands had stayed at his side and his mind had been cool and collected. Haschwalth’s gloved hands had found places on Ishida’s body that had never known touch.
When he was with Haschwalth, the desire had seemed to come from somewhere outside Ishida’s body and settled over the surface of Ishida’s skin with no clear intent, no judgment. Desire had taught Ishida how fragile his own humanity was; Ishida had learned to cover his teeth with his lips while holding Haschwalth’s cock in his mouth. He had learned how to suck while the tip of his tongue made random thrashing motions under the cock’s shaft, to expect a moan that taught Ishida he enjoyed this kind of power over a man.
Haschwalth had said that entering Ishida’s body was the king’s privilege, so he hadn’t fucked Ishida until after His Majesty had done it. Haschwalth then had taught Ishida that sex can be a balm over a wound, that it can wash over anxieties with pure forgetfulness.
That long hair had floated like a shiny yellow blanket on the surface of the bathwater. The hair underwater had moved like syrup, the wet hair above the water’s surface had dripped on Ishida’s face. Forgetfulness and long hair, the streams of warmth in the Ice Palace pouring across Ishida’s body.
There was no forgetfulness now. Haschwalth was dead. There was nothing lulling and soft here. Ishida was too aware of Kurosaki’s now jagged breathing, the pace speeding up again.
“I’m going to come,” Kurosaki breathed. “Any second now--I can’t--” The announcement was so like him.
You know where you are with Kurosaki. He had always been that vivid a presence. Orange hair and a heat like the sun’s.
“You okay?” Kurosaki asked.
“Yeah,” Ishida said and shut his eyes. He allowed himself to release, feeling tired even as the surge of pleasure made his body tremble. He was glad it was over; he was glad it had all not been a stupid rush of feeling with no thinking like other times. He felt acutely aware of feeling a little sad. It was a relief to feel this way, though, not a burden.
His coming had aroused Kurosaki to the brink; Ishida sensed Kurosaki’s muscles clench, felt rather than heard his soft growl as the shinigami’s body pressed down. There was an elbow against Ishida’s upper arm, Kurosaki’s mouth falling open on Ishida’s forehead, the sense of being filled with hot fluid that gushed from a dead soul’s body--so strange to think of it but Kurosaki wasn’t the ghost here. The real ghosts, the king and Haschwalth, were standing in the back of Ishida’s mind--
How long would they live there?
Kurosaki was a good kisser. Still inside Ishida, kissing him deeply, he lifted Ishida by the shoulders to the center of the bed so that the couple sat upright there. Suddenly vertical, Ishida didn’t feel the hazy wake of sex. There would be no rolling over and going to sleep with Kurosaki.
He put his arms around Ishida as if he didn’t want to lose him to sleep, as if the bed were his competition. Ishida returned the embrace, not self-conscious of his arms at all, because other parts of him were still connected to Kurosaki.
“I’ll make you eat again,” Kurosaki said. “I’ll come back and visit all the time and make sure you’re eating. I’ll ask for a furlough and we’ll train in Urahara-san’s underground place and you can show me Quincy techniques I never heard of.”
“Yeah,” Ishida heard himself say. “That’ll be okay.”
“I’ll give you more panic attacks,” Kurosaki said.
“Probably,” Ishida said.
There was a long silence in which Ishida could sense Kurosaki hesitating to say something. Ishida imagined that Kurosaki knew that he didn’t want to talk right now, but once a thought was in Kurosaki’s head, it wasn’t going to sit there to rot. “Ishida?” Kurosaki finally spoke. “You know that what they did to you was wrong, don’t you?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Ishida said. He would let Kurosaki have his say and eventually he would stop pressing the matter. “It happened,” Ishida added, but he didn’t believe that at all. He always had agency in his actions. Things just didn’t happen.
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Kurosaki said.
“Whatever I did,” said Ishida flatly, “are things I take full responsibility for. I knew there would be consequences to--”
“I don’t think you know what I mean,” Kurosaki tightened his grip around Ishida’s shoulders as if Ishida were going to escape him then and there. “I’m going to stick around until you understand that no matter what happened in Wandenreichen, you’re … you’re still….” He paused, trying to find the word.
“You’re still a good person, Ishida,” Kurosaki said. “You’re not like them.”
But he had been lettered and counted among them. That much was fact. The rest he would think about later.
Ishida felt something like tiredness again, felt the closeness with Kurosaki fade but not disappear. He slid, quite naturally, out of the embrace and back on the bed. His eyes had adjusted to the darkness now, and his room looked peaceful and familiar.
“You need to call your family?” Ishida felt very aware of wanting Kurosaki to stay the night. He didn’t want him to leave. “Was Yuzu-chan expecting you for dinner?”
“Nah.” Kurosaki plopped next to Ishida. “I never told them I was leaving Soul Society. The truth is I came to see you. I’ll swing by my house tomorrow morning.” He raised himself on a bent elbow. “I’ll be gone before your dad gets here tomorrow though.”
“He should be here early in the morning, daybreak usually.” Ishida had closed his eyes. He was sleepy.
“I’ll be here until daybreak,” Kurosaki said. “Something about night-time. I don’t want to creep away in the night and have you think you dreamed me up.”
As if one could. For the moment, Kurosaki was one presence Ishida was sure would never turn into a shadow. It was as if through shut eyes, Ishida’s could still see that orange hair.
Even in the darkest midnight, Ishida thought as his mind drifted, there’s no mistaking you for anyone else.
And Ishida fell asleep like that, knowing Kurosaki would stay by his side from midnight to daybreak.
Written while listening to David Bowie’s The Next Day album, especially “Where Are We Now?” http://youtu.be/QWtsV50_-p4
Had to get the train
From Potsdamer Platz
You never knew that
That I could do that
Just walking the dead
Sitting in the Dschungel
On Nürnberger Straße
A man lost in time
Just walking the dead…
As long as there's sun
As long as there's sun
As long as there's rain
As long as there's rain
As long as there's fire
As long as there's fire
As long as there's me
As long as there's you
2013 ISO Records, under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment