Anyway, this is a long one-shot. I got carried away one day when I was trying to read other things and avoid thinking about Bleach. I have some illustrations from my darling Eny coming.
The End of Perfection
Blessings to Nehalenia who is such a thoughtful editor and an honest friend.
Hugs to partner-in-many-crimes @mags-duranb who is illustrating this fic.
This fic was inspired by ideas from Neha, Mags, @gunnerpalace and many others.
This fic is dedicated to elena (formerly @deathbympreg), @mizulily, @teodoralovesteo, @sequencefairy, and any others who have been harassed by Church Ladies for writing adultery fics post the Bleach 686 final chapter. My heart supports you, my tongue is my cheek, Ishida’s Uryuu’s tongue is everywhere.
Warnings: Sex sex sex, adultery, post-structuralism, implied homosexuality, swearing, character-death.
This fic has an actual plot with sword-fighting, rise and fall of action, and consequences. NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE POST-STRUCTURALISM. Questionably “fix-it” fic. I prefer to call it personal therapy. IshiHime (adultery), IchiRuki (theme of destiny), IchiIshi (almost?), appearances by Kazui, Hiyori, Mayuri, Urahara, Ryuuken on cell-phone, and someone else. I apologize for Chad missing. No really, I do.
“Ah ha!” With a cheery flourish, Orihime spread the last dab of raspberry meringue on her freshly baked cake. She was so proud of the skills she’d acquired in the bakery shop over the years. Observing the chief baker had taught her much, but applying simple chemistry to cooking had been her great revelation. Meringues turned out better in copper pots because the metal helped stabilize ions. Adding too much sugar in a cake made starch molecules form; thus the cake became lumpy and hard as it cooled.
Some customers were picky about cakes. Ichigo and Kazui ate anything, never commenting on particulars.
Ishida-kun noticed whenever Orihime changed the tiniest ingredient in her hand-kneaded bread sticks. He inspected her new wagashi creations, holding them close to his glasses before nibbling.
The doorbell rang, and Orihime put her hand over her heart.
This was the Orihime who Yhwach had abandoned in the perfect timeline of happiness. The God of the Quincy had sought to destroy some willful teenagers in their happiest moment in the future, and as the Almighty had seized ribbons of possibility in search for one happy hour, he had neglected the currents of unhappiness that precede such a time. In a dying God’s dream of perfection, he had forgotten the fact that even in the picture of joy, memories of suffering persisted. He had never learned what mortals paid for their hours of happiness or that every victory held its own antithesis.
Orihime would never describe herself as unhappy. Unsatisfied? Lonely? Doubting her worth as a wife? Ichigo had grown more distant over the years, more sullen and peculiar.
Ishida-kun was dutifully taking off his shoes and shaking his trench-coat off at the door. A light summer rain was still falling, the sound of it a comfort to many of Orihime’s troubles.
Right away the young man said, “It’s not me you should be talking to about these things.” His eyes were deep blue and sad. “Your husband. You should be talking to your husband.”
Orihime’s smile dissolved. She bowed her head. “You know how it is. You know how hard he is to reach.”
They sat down for tea and cake as they often did during the doctor’s lunch hour. He was busy; he cancelled appointments for her; he had flown to her home at the speed of hirenkyaku through rain and sleet before and been late for board meetings; he could never say no to her.
He was at her side because Ichigo so often was not; over ten years ago her husband had blamed himself for so much of the destruction of worlds around him, refused a position in the Gotei, and started arguing with Rukia. Orihime and Ishida had both tried to reach him—the latter with logic and Orihime finally with her touch. The boy who had denied himself so much for others responded to her love like a tired child falling into his mother’s lap. Orihime had been overjoyed. There had been three nights of awkward courtship, sweet fumbling kisses and then one passionate moment on Orihime’s futon; Ichigo was a kind and sensitive boy, but his lovemaking didn’t fit her fantasy. What sort of writers created stories where first times were pure delight, as important as wedding cake—these writers were liars!
It had hurt; Orihime healed herself without a word, watched Ichigo open his mouth in pleasure as sweat ran over sinews of his straining neck, and that sight itself was enough to mildly arouse her. Nice, promising. The old fantasy broke, and a new one grew in her heart; Ichigo would marry her and all doubt would be gone.
Orihime became pregnant right away. The first person she told was Ishida-kun.
“He hasn’t even spoken to me for three days.” She had sobbed over a perfectly moist cake. Salt ruins a cake—there’s no taking back the taste of tears. Orihime had pushed away the plate. “He won’t marry me. He doesn’t love me.”
Ishida-kun had been smiling gently the whole while. “You will be such a wonderful mother.” He had taken her hand in his, and his touch had startled her with its intimacy. Had he ever touched her like that before? Why was he so happy? “Kurosaki will be thrilled. Tell him. Inoue-san, I swear to you that he will be so glad.”
And so it was. Ichigo was delighted. For a while he seemed happy. The wedding was small, and friends were there. Tatsuki even wore a dress. No one from Soul Society came. Orihime did not know if anyone had been invited; there was lingering animosity; she was sure it would be healed, like all things were, with time. A baby was a promise. Wasn’t a baby the ultimate hope for the future?
But Ichigo got depressed again. He would seem to get better sometimes, but then he always got depressed.
Orihime served cake to Ishida-kun on the china starter set she’d received as wedding gift from a distant aunt. Two plates, a pattern of paired white doves, meant for a bride and groom.
“This meringue is just the right amount of tart and just the right amount of sweet,” The fork still had plenty cake on it, and Ishida-kun held the fork high near his chin. The review usually came with the first taste, and it took him at least two bites to eat a forkful of cake. He took such tiny bites of her food, not in fear of her cooking as people once had, but because he liked to savor it. He had told her once that in medical school he’d learned to eat hurriedly, for the sake of efficiency, because there was always something more important to do, but he’d recently reacquired his sense of taste, among other things.
His jawline was just the right sharpness to look masculine and just the right softness to look like it belonged to an otherworldly angel’s. His lips were fuller than Ichigo’s, tinged with raspberry. His eyes were thoughtful. His attention was on her cake.
Orihime had been spent years now imagining what sort of a lover Ishida-kun would be. Ichigo was kind; he tried not to be rough but he was quick and distracted. Orihime had never had an orgasm with her own husband, only a few months ago by herself.
An early morning, after the child was gone to school, before she had dressed herself for work at the bakery, Orihime flopped on her own bed and ached to talk about her sadness. She considered calling a friend—Tatsuki, maybe the pork bun girl at work, maybe Ishida-kun. A different flavor to this sadness. Yuzu wasn’t home anymore; the clinic had been closed for months since Yuzu had found gone to nursing school in Shizuoka; Ishida-kun’s father had found some job for Ichigo’s father at the hospital, something to do with juggling and performing magic tricks for sick kids. The loneliness had gone from a pang in her heart to a stillness all around the house.
And the suspicion that her husband didn’t love her grew. That morning, the worry had turned to anger to sadness to anger again. There were fleeting thoughts of Ishida-kun—his handsome face, his soft lips. With one hand she had pinched her right nipple—a gesture of anger-- and with the other hand in a fury of utter lust—she had rubbed the nub between her legs.
She hadn’t even understood that the spot was the ticket to gratification, only that Ichigo had sometimes thumbed the area and aroused her to frustration. When shudders came, like a fit of high fever, it was Ishida-kun’s long fingers she’d been imagining; they slid across her entire body, petted the drenched lips between her legs. Arched to a sitting position, she climaxed that morning with a sense of shame, grief and perfect revelation.
Orihime put down her own knife and fork, placed her palms in her lap and looked at Ishida-kun with the pleading expression she knew always worked. “I need to know something.”
His eyes didn’t realize the seriousness of her request. His lips were parted, still tasting the raspberry. Orihime’s heart felt like it was going to thump right out of her chest and land on the table.
“I know that all of us ….” She didn’t know how to start. She had not practiced this at all. “It seems so long ago that all our friends shared something so special. A bond. A set of experiences. We were all so close at one time. I know Ichigo cares for me but….”
“Of course he cares for you,” Ishida-kun said like he’d said dozens of times.
“I know what I know,” Orihime said. “He doesn’t want me like a woman.”
Ishida-kun put down his fork.
“If we’re going to discuss Kuchiki-san again….” He looked so uncomfortable. “I told you—I think it’s best you talk to your husband about this.”
“He doesn’t want me like a woman,” Orihime repeated, “but I need to know—do you?”
Years and years, and the unspoken was finally being spoken. The color in the room seemed to change from fluorescent light to lurid purples. There was a clap of thunder. The rain fell harder. Suffering itself felt muted, as if it were being written by an author in another room in another timeline, by a sadist with a mysterious agenda.
Ishida-kun’s expression was naked with despair. His chest was heaving.
“You don’t even have to tell me,” Orihime said. Her voice was tiny and trembling. “I’ve always known.”
There was another long silence, and Orihime could not bear his look so she cast her gaze to her plate.
Why was she always doing things like this? She didn’t think things through. Had she hurt him? She hadn’t wanted to hurt him. But hadn’t she always done that?
“How long have you known?” His voice came across very plainly, without any hesitation or anxiety, so Orihime raised her eyes to his face again.
“Always, I think.” She was trying to suppress tears. She felt one bloom in her left eye and die when she blinked. “In Hueco Mundo, I knew. I didn’t care. I was so in love with Ichigo. I saw all that you sacrificed for me, and I didn’t care.”
She stood up from her chair. She put her hand over her heart. “Here, I swear. I loved you like I loved him all that time, when you were my friend, before and after the baby, now, when you talk to me. But I---“
“Please,” he said. “You don’t have to. I understand.”
“No!” She surprised herself with how loud she exclaimed the words. “No! No! You don’t understand!”
She standing before him in a moment, hitting the table so the dishes rattled, her hands on his shoulders. His head tipped backwards in amazement and Orihime saw an expression of utter helplessness at her hysteria. Ishida-kun was paralyzed.
“I’m selfish.” Was that her own voice snarling those words? She wanted to run her hands through his hair, so she did. It was as smooth as she’d imagined. “I’m selfish,” she continued in a voice that was softer, hoarse, and desperate. “I need to know what it’s like to be made love to properly. I’m so sorry. I want you to make love to me. Please.”
His eyes neither widened or narrowed but seemed to acquire a faint glaze.
Orihime put her hand on his chest and felt the unnatural rise and fall there. “Please.”
When he put his hand on her upper arm, it did not feel like an attempt to push her away. Then she saw that his mouth was trying to say no to her, so she kissed him. He could never say no to her.
It was a mild kiss, like taking the tiniest taste of flavor one anticipated would be too strong, so their lips touched then parted then touched again. She heard the smallest moan in his throat and this time his mouth opened and his tongue brushed her upper lip. The forbidden line had been erased. Their hands swept past where that line had been, and Orihime found herself sitting in his lap and holding his face. His kiss deepened in a way she did not know was possible; his breath was hard on her cheek and his fingers pressed into her ribcage.
He kissed her cheeks, her jaw, her neck, and the way he palmed her breasts made Orihime think he must have done this a thousand times in his dreams. “This isn’t wrong,” she whispered and began to unbutton her blouse.
“Yes, it is.” With those magical fingers of his, Ishida-kun undid the entire blouse and tossed it behind him before Orihime could take another breath. The snaps on the front of her bra came undone, and although her body felt hot, his fingers burned where they touched her.
He circled one nipple with his tongue.
“Don’t stop.” Those were words from the fantasy books; she had never spoken them. She was truly afraid he would stop. Her ears were pounding and her thighs were stuck together with wetness. She wondered, while it rained and lightning flashed, in this heightened sense of unreality, if he had ever been with a woman. He was always so busy. He was shy.
The shy Ishida-kun took the whole of Orihime’s areola into his mouth. The strong sucking sent such pulsing pleasure through Orihime body that she forgot herself for a long time.
When she started to remember herself again, it was because she was cold, she was on the sofa, completely naked—had he carried her there? There was the scent of raspberry cake in the air still, and the storm had calmed to a light downpour. Ishida-kun was over her, fully clothed—had she torn that shirtsleeve herself? Orihime’s flushed thighs were on either side of his hips and he rested his palms on her knees. He tossed his long hair out of his eyes---his glasses were gone. What a beautiful face, so unafraid.
“Is this what you want? It will destroy your husband if he finds out.”
“He doesn’t have to know. Would you tell him?”
Ishida-kun shook his head.
“I want this so much,” Orihime, arching her back involuntarily as the space between her legs frothed in corroboration of her words. She blushed that Ishida-kun could see that. “Do you?”
He leaned forward, and she was expecting a kiss but he yanked her hairpins out. “These!”
“These guys can’t see anything, can they?”
Orihime grabbed the pins and tossed them to the farthest side of the room. “Not if I don’t want them to!” The words were no sooner out of her mouth when Tsubaki leapt to the ceiling, wings raised high, black eyebrows menacing.
Orihime had never heard Ishida-kun curse before.
“Tsubaki, get out of here right now!” She raised her naked body on her elbows on the sofa and tried to explain to Ishida-kun. “He’s my will to destroy. When I get mad---when I get---I— “
“DO something about that little flying squirrel!” Ishida-kun yelled
Tsubaki torpedoed to Ishida’s head, grabbed the longest lock of hair and held on fast while Ishida tried to pry the fairy off his head with both hands. “Get this stupid … goddamn barrette off me! I don’t want to hurt it!”
“Tsubaki!” Orihime’s heart directed her fairies, not her words.
“Shut up, lover-man,” Tsubaki spoke clearly from behind his little mask. “I’m just here to give you a warning and to make sure you don’t leave.”
Tsubaki released the lock of hair. Ishida’s hands dropped and so did his jaw in amazement. He turned his face to Orihime for explanation, but she had none.
“You give her an orgasm the way that moping, disrespectful husband of hers never could,” grumbled Orihime’s killing intent. “You’re a doctor. You know how a woman’s body works, right? You’ve only had the hots for her for thirteen years, so don’t fuck this up.”
The way Ishida looked, Orihime was afraid Tsubaki had killed the mood.
Then Tsubaki went on: “She wants to tie you up, you know. I can help. She’s imagined it, night after night. She’s pictured you refusing her, being the wimp-ass gentleman you are. Well, in the event that happens, lover-man, you don’t have any power against what I can do.” Ishida opened his mouth to protest, but he was too in shock to talk. Tsubaki flew to the other side of Ishida’s face, fully in command of his malevolence. “I am all her strength to do wrong in the world. I could hold you down. Oh how I’ve laughed because she’s wanted that—to see you defenseless, crying like a little girl while she rides your dick.”
All the color in Ishida’s face left, and Orihime’s face could not flush any hotter.
“Please, Tsubaki, leave him alone.” She started to cry. “It’s true. I’ve had fantasies about you. But he makes it seem—so ugly.”
Tsubaki was at Orihime’s face in a split-second, and he kicked her cheek with his tiny foot. “So you want the lover-man tonight or do you want him to be your bitch?”
“Please, please, Tsubaki. We’ve got this. I’m doing ok. Honest I am.”
“I’m out. You’re disgusting.”
And with that, Tsubaki vanished.
Orihime had started to tremble from the cold and excitement.
“He’s back in the hairpin?” Ishida-kun asked.
“He won’t tell anyone what happened here this afternoon?”
She shook her head.
Ishida-kun shook his too, as if shaking off a bad dream. “Your powers. I’m not sure I understand them, but please relax. My fingers move fast, that’s all. Let me know if it feels ok. Tell me if it doesn’t, promise?”
Orihime was a little concerned that her skin was blotching white and red from hot and cold and that it was goose-pimpling from anticipation. “Promise,” she whispered.
Ishida-kun lifted Orihime’s thighs with his palms and pressed his lips to her clit, gentle kisses at first. Orihime forgot all about her killing intent and started to feel like she was melting into a puddle of lust. Then Ishida’s lips began to inhale and release the tender nub with gradually increasing greed. Her first orgasm hit her as surprise. Her breath hitched, and her vulva smashed into her lover’s face. There was no drop-off in pleasure; her entire body was still warm with anticipation. The second and third shudders made her moan, and still, there was no end to this ecstasy.
“You like this,” he spoke into her wetness. His not sucking anymore was torture. He was saying something else? What? No, please, DON’T STOP. She grabbed a fistful of his hair, and he put a finger inside her, rubbing the inside and the outside both at the same time with that magical speed of his.
Her head was turning this side, that side, as she stifled screams, vaguely aware that there were neighbors in this universe, even if the universe as she knew it was done away with, destroyed forever, this was the end of her life.
And when it was over, there was a pang she remembered from childbirth, a feeling of longing in her womb even as waves of joy were washing over her body.
Sunlight was coming through the windows. Ishida-kun, still fully clothed, was reaching for his cell-phone in his pants pocket. “Please cancel my afternoon appointments. My father is on call in the event of an emergency.”
“It’s done,” Orihime said, panting.
“Yes, it’s done,” Ishida-kun said. “We’ve ruined our lives.”
She felt unashamed of her nakedness, unashamed of anything, still selfish, still full of desires. “No one will be here for hours. No one has to ever know.”
Ishida-kun looked so serious. He always looked serious, but this time he looked like he did when he faced an enemy. Orihime wasn’t sure she wanted to be seen as an enemy. Didn’t he love her? He was untying his belt. It slipped off his waist to the floor.
“Not Ichigo’s bed,” she said.
“Ok,” he said.
Orihime was afraid of losing another man she loved. “What happens now?” She asked.
Ishida-kun gave her a look that was as tender as it was resigned. “What now?” He un-zipped his pants. “You make me your bitch.”
In stories written by authors with eyes on satisfying conclusions, people end up married to the people they love. Both Kurosaki Orihime and Ishida Uryuu knew enough heart-warming stories to have hopes for their own, but Yhwach had frightened them with the truth about choices. Their own powers could deny reality or reverse events, but the threads of time were spun from choices. Ever since that day the universe had been saved from perfection, everything had seemed to slide into the unhappiest of timelines. Ishida had dared to ask his lover one day over milk-bread and tea if she would ever consider leaving her husband to be with the man she loved, and she had stopped chewing, her cheeks full of bread. It had been long moments later, after much consideration and a gulp of tea, she swallowed and said, “I don’t know. The children. What about the children?”
Abarai-kun came to the Living World more often with his child, and Ichika and Kazui were playmates. Kuchiki-san rarely came; she claimed her captain duties kept her away. Kurosaki said the same about his work for the Unagiya shop, that it was terribly important for various overlooked and misunderstood members of the Karakura community for him to serve them, and no, he wasn’t going to argue about it with Ishida because Ishida was a damn hypocrite who had circles under his eyes from the ridiculous hours he kept at the hospital. “Your wife misses you,” Ishida had told him.
“Then you marry her,” Kurosaki had said. “She likes you a lot.”
In stories written by authors who love justice, when a man is betrayed by a good friend, there is yelling and accusation, the accused says “punch me,” and sometimes there is forgiveness. Kurosaki and Ishida both knew this script when one day, Kurosaki showed up at Ishida’s office in a rage, tears in his eyes and wearing bedroom slippers. It was past noon, and Ishida, long used to his friend being in depressed and volatile moods, paid most attention to the slippers. He waved away his receptionist who looked frightened and had followed Kurosaki into the office. “It’s ok, Minami-san. My friend will only be here for a moment.”
Kurosaki stood there for a while--for a count of five, maybe--unable to speak, his chest heaving, his eyes red and wild.
It was then Ishida became afraid.
“You back-stabbing lying degenerate…” Kurosaki had to pause to gasp for air. “You! You are diarrhea! All these years and no one knew what a sick bastard you really are!”
Ishida sat down in his chair. His chest felt cold.
The tears spurted fresh from Kurosaki’s eyes, and he wiped them with the back of his hand. “Look at you. All the way here I was hoping you would deny it. I was hoping that she was lying. Hallucinating. Something like that.”
Ishida glanced at the clock. He had a meeting in fifteen minutes. It didn’t matter. The world was coming to an end.
“What did she tell you?”
“All of it. That you two have been meeting in our house, my father’s house, where me and my sisters grew up, where….” Kurosaki seemed to choke for a moment. “For months? Months?” Kurosaki’s voice was more human now, the rage more formal. Sadness was allowing him to breathe and speak. “She told me… she told me she loves you.”
It wouldn’t help matters if he told Kurosaki that they all loved one another, would it? This wasn’t about love; it was about sex.
“I’m sorry,” Ishida said. “We knew it was wrong. We didn’t want to hurt you.”
“You smug cunt, what did you expect?”
“I’m sorry.” Ishida’s own voice cracked that time, and Kurosaki took notice. Ishida, who had never lost his instincts as a fighter, felt that Kurosaki’s urge to knock out some teeth vanished in that one moment.
"You’re a dick,” Kurosaki said without much enthusiasm and sat on the floor. “You never even had a girlfriend before.”
Ishida swiveled around in his chair, pressed a button on the speaker phone. “Give my regrets for the meeting and cancel my afternoon appointments. My father is on call in the event of an emergency.” He swiveled to face Kurosaki. “What did she say she wants?”
“She doesn’t know. To do what’s right. To marry you. To save our marriage. One of the two—she hadn’t decided.” Kurosaki heaved a giant sigh. “I didn’t hear much after that because I thought that the right thing to do was to punch you in the face.”
They talked in the office for an hour about how Kuchiki-san and Abarai-kun had an intact marriage now, no matter what feelings between Kuchiki-san and Kurosaki had existed in the past. The topic had been broached before. Ishida had wrestled bits of history and regret from his depressed friend since the defeat of Yhwach. Always, the same conclusion. Kurosaki and Kuchiki-san--that was over; she had not visited for ten years. Kurosaki was married. Kuchiki-san was married. Byakuya had protested the Soul Society wedding but it had happened. Children had been born. Choices had been made.
“And then your wife and I had to mess everything up,” Ishida said.
“No, I did it,” Kurosaki said. “I’ve been a mess for years. Orihime’s a beautiful, perfect wife and I’ve treated her like shit.”
Ishida made Kurosaki call his wife and tell her that they were going back to Ishida’s apartment, for mackerel soup and to try to talk things over. “Don’t worry. Ishida is trying to make this work out for everyone.” Kurosaki tried to sound reassuring over the phone, but it somehow came off as sarcastic. “He’s a smart guy. I can see why you want him.” Ishida could hear crying on the other end of the line. Couldn’t Kurosaki hear the crying? He signed off without a goodbye.
“Maybe I want you for myself now.” Kurosaki tried to joke. “If you’re that great a lover. Maybe you can tell me all your secrets.”
If I’m that great a lover. Kurosaki’s wife really had no filter when she got emotional; there was no telling what she had said. Ishida was prepared to deal with whatever Kurosaki brought up as rationally as possible. But how rational could one be in the face of this much pain?
When Ginjou had stolen Kurosaki’s powers and the despairing human boy had wailed over his loss, Ishida had averted his eyes. When Yhwach broke Kurosaki’s ban kai and the universe was about to shatter, Ishida again had turned away from despair. This time Ishida himself was the cause of his best friend’s suffering and there was no turning away. Was this the price of saving Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, the Living World and all the other realms? This private, ridiculous grief? This sordid sex drama with the wife of the hero of the story?
“Fuck me,” said Ishida Uryuu and downed a shot of sake, a gift from one of the nurses. It was sweet and expensive and he didn’t really care for the taste, but the immediate effect was to dull pain. He had tried a cigarette once; cigarettes heightened senses that were dulled. The over-worked and disillusioned underclass abused cigarettes. One cigarette had smelled like pain and tasted like death.
There was the pack, stolen from his father’s desk a month ago, lying right on Ishida’s kitchen counter.
Kurosaki would be too upset to notice the cigarettes, so Ishida didn’t bother to put them away in a drawer.
“Fuck me also.” Kurosaki raised his cup in acknowledgement and swallowed his sake. “Hey, Ishida, what’s with the cigs? Don’t tell me you’ve started smoking because Orihime would— “
“They’re my father’s.”
Ishida Ryuuken’s fondness for a stimulant that increased the risk of dying from cancer made sense only after Ishida Uryuu realized that pain wasn’t what his father wanted to escape--it was life.
Maybe life was already over. Once upon a time, Ishida had been glad to have never had kissed the woman of his dreams because she would always stay a pure and perfect vision of adolescent fantasy. After kissing her, of course, fuck that dream, the real woman was a million times more satisfying, worth bleeding out his pride for, worth betraying a friend over, because she needed him and he would burn in hell to have her sit on his worthless face one more time, whispering his worthless name Ishida-kun, Ishida-kun, as his fingers clenched her soft bottom. Who was he to think he could hold onto her? He only loved her. Fate had chosen another path for him.
“Fuck me, I’m the biggest asshole on earth,” Ishida said. “You’re just a lazy guy who doesn’t go around being the hero anymore, but I dicked around my best friend, the hero of the universe, and another best friend, the most wonderful woman in the world. Fuck me.”
“How much of this stuff do you have?” Kurosaki asked when the bottle of sake was finished. The soup had been eaten, and Ishida went looking for another gift box. The nurses always gave him presents. Soaps, candies, oh yes—there was more sake. This brand was stronger.
They lay side by side in Ishida-kun’s single bed passing the bottle and having a pity party.
“Dude, I didn’t even feel Yhwach’s reiatsu when it was near my own kid. What kind of captain do you think I would’ve made anyway? Shit-ass captain of the decade. Never deserved Rukia. Sure as hell never deserved Orihime.”
“Didn’t Urahara-san teach you it’s all about attitude? Kurosaki, why the hell did you show up at a public institution at 1 pm wearing bedroom slippers?”
Kurosaki took another swig. “She started talking as soon as we got up. I never had the chance to get dressed. The more she talked… We were having a late breakfast because she’d called in sick and said she had something to tell me. I was expecting to get bitched at about something, but she never ever bitches, and then she just said it. Ishida-kun and I have been doing something very bad. I thought it was something like making costumes for hamsters. She started to cry. She talked forever and ever and I couldn’t take it anymore and I figured it was important to beat you up.”
Urahara-san had also said something about how only fools drown in the river of fate. At this point, the rivers had long peaked and the bodies were bloated and running with the currents. There was really nothing else that could make matters worse. Ishida loved his friends; how could he have failed them both so miserably?
Kurosaki wanted to know how Ishida did it, how he pleased Orihime so much. Ishida begged him not to ask. Kurosaki said it was something a man needed to know. Kurosaki said he kissed her, he said he ate her, he said she never complained.
“Did you ever talk to her? The way you talked to Rukia?”
Kurosaki was half-wasted (it took a lot to get either of their super-powered selves truly intoxicated), but Ishida believed the man’s slurred words when he insisted he did try to talk to his wife. “Orihime’s so smart, she’s so kind, but … I don’t always get her.”
At some point Kurosaki demanded to see Ishida’s dick, to verify if it wasn’t tremendous or couldn’t rotate like a vibrator or something, so Ishida rolled his eyes, whipped it out, said it wasn’t anything special and put it away. “If you must know, my advantage is here.” He held up his hands and waggled his long fingers. “The sewing and surgical skills didn’t give you a clue? Hand jobs, Kurosaki. Any ass can do them if you just get the right spot; don’t press too hard and keep on rubbing.”
Kurosaki lay quiet for a while. “Oh my fucking god, the idea of you doing that to my wife is turning me on. I’m a total pervert.”
“Don’t sweat it, Kurosaki. Join the club.”
“I have bear claws for hands. I could never—what else did you do?”
“I can’t.” Ishida was starting to feel drowsy. There were only so many betrayals a man could rack up before dawn.
“You love her, don’t you? It’s not about her pussy.” Kurosaki threw half his weight on Ishida now; both men lay in bed wearing what they had been wearing in the office—Ishida, a dress-shirt and slacks, and Kurosaki, a t-shirt and pajama-bottoms. Shoes, bedroom slippers and socks had long been cast away. Kurosaki put his arm across Ishida’s chest—it was a narrow bed, and lying side by side had been precarious. “You love me too. If I asked you how to suck on a woman’s nipple, you’d show me, wouldn’t you? Hell, you would even demonstrate on my own fucking nipple. It wouldn’t make us gay. You’d teach me how to sew a doll and cook a fish ….” Kurosaki’s voice was trailing off. “You’ve already fucked me over, so you may as well bend me over and do it for real and make me love it.” He laughed in a way that sounded somewhere between a genuine laugh and a pitiful sob. “No one ever annoyed the crap out of me more than you, there’s no one I worried more about---except for Rukia—her, yeah. Rukia.”
He fell asleep with an erection against Ishida’s leg and the last name spoken being one he hadn’t brought up for hours. Ishida stared at the ceiling for a while and wondered if Kurosaki dreamed about her. Were dreams part of the other time-lines Yhwach had spoken about? Were nightmares? Did what we wish for, did what we plan for and what we feared always co-exist in all timelines? To what extent do the authors of our destiny mock us and what powers do we have against that destiny?
Ishida looked again at his own hand in the dim light of the bedroom lamp. What sacrifices would we be willing to make to change the flow of time?
Not much changed, of course. Ishida plotted for weeks about how he and Orihime could possibly use their respective powers to reverse timelines, reset the path so that Kurosaki did not take the fucked up route and part ways with Kuchiki-san, so that what should have been Kurosaki’s genius influence on Soul Society years ago could begin its true seismic changes in all levels of existence, but every time Kazui ran past the window, laughing in his little school uniform, Ishida remembered how much the boy’s mother loved him and how the child would not exist without Kurosaki Dumbass Ichigo’s having made every mistake he ever made from who knows when to this current state of fucked-up-ness.
“For all we know, Kazui is the new hero of the story,” Ishida said aloud on the Kurosaki doorstep one afternoon. He was fond of the boy, caught in the thought problem of how to save everyone even if it meant readjusting families into different spaces, different timelines.
“She’s right. The children matter more than anything.” Ishida rang the doorbell and walked into his cursed life.
Kurosaki was pet-sitting a Pomeranian at the moment for all Ishida knew, and fully aware that Ishida was still banging his wife during lunch hour.
They always had tea and dessert first, like civilized people. Conversation came naturally. “Do you really think Ichigo would have had sex with you If he got drunk enough that night?”
“Maybe.” Ishida was already in the process of putting the china plates and utensils in the sink. “I think he may still, dead sober. He’s alone. It’s like … there are no limits anymore. What we’re doing now is already depraved.”
Orihime put her handkerchief to her mouth. Her brown eyes were huge. “Are you saying you want him to join us?”
Ishida walked over to her, lifted her by the waist onto the kitchen table and hiked up her skirt. “I want you all to myself.” He flung her panties over his shoulder. “But whatever you say goes. You have the last word.” He kissed her neck. Her bra and blouse went flying in separate directions.
She unbuttoned his shirt. Her fingers moved in human time so he sucked softly on her ear as her hands traveled down his chest, palming bare flesh as she found it, unbuckling his belt and removing the rest of his clothes. When her hand covered the warmth of his crotch, she pushed her face into his chest and murmured, “I want you.”
She didn’t need to guide him because he was nothing if not precise about hitting a familiar target, but she held him at her opening which was always so ready—she became wet at the sound of his voice; her pulse raced if he mentioned anything vulgar. “I know it hurts Ichigo, and I don’t want him anymore. I only want you.” She teased Ishida’s tip over her clit. “Fuck me.”
He pushed inside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, pressing her tightly against him. She wants me, not him. He stood, rocking her on the table for as long as it took to lull himself into contentment over victory over Kurosaki, and then, chiding himself for his selfishness, remembered that what gave him the most pleasure in the world was giving her pleasure. He gave her a deep kiss. He swept his hand over her belly, past soaked hairs and began to rub his thumb over her clit with every thrust. He couldn’t quiet his pride, though; he was so happy that he possessed the delicate timing to drive her to perfect gratification. Let Kurosaki match this, eh?
Ishida knew that pride was his worst sin, but rationalization of selfishness was new to him. It burned him with its wrongness even as he measured his breathing, swimming in sex. She was everything he had once desired, and he had always been ready to give up the world for her happiness, but now? Was she telling him that he, Ishida Uryuu, was her happiness? What about the rest of the world? The needs of the helpless, the innocent, the hurt, the fallen—who could save Kurosaki now? Who could save them all?
When she was flat on her back on the kitchen table, covering her mouth with both hands, still in the first throes, Ishida left off rubbing; he lifted her legs and placed them high on either of his shoulders. As he thrust in deeper and drew closer to her, he made his proposal. Was it selfish and calculated timing? Of course.
Orihime pulled her hands away from her mouth and could only pant.
“We belong together. This way. Marry me.”
He was pounding her, hitting swollen parts he instinctively understood were aroused. Her cervix was the center of his life and his insistence was pushing towards the only answer.
She arched her back and said “yes.” As if to clarify that that the word was not just about the pleasure, she added, “yes, I’ll marry you.”
The moment required a romantic kiss, but their positions didn’t accommodate for one, and Ishida told himself he would tend to that later.
They were not even finished, many moments later, when she sensed the strong reiatsu, and halted, the rapture in her face changing to fear, the exhaustion of her last orgasm making her chest heave and words falter: “Ishida-kun, do… you … what? Someone?”
He hadn’t felt a thing, even though he was the sensitive one, but the panic in her face was warning enough. He bowed his head and emptied himself into her body, without the usual spasms of accomplishment. He coughed, his upper arms shook, his senses cleared.
Ishida lifted his head and in amazement identified the new reiatsu he sensed in Karakura Town: “Kuchiki-san…. Kurotsutchi…. Yhwach?”