Yay, new story time!
Here's a little, fluffy oneshot because I was struck with the sudden idea to do another domestic-life IchiHitsu fic :)
Ichigo was a strong man. That was a well known fact. It was because of him that the Soul Society was still in one piece, and Aizen had been thrown away to rot in Muken – the deepest level of the Soul Society prison. It was partially Ichigo's strength that had drawn Toushiro to him – also Ichigo had been almost annoyingly persistent about dating. He was just as strong as – if not stronger than – any of the shinigami captains, Toushiro included. But the man pushed himself too damn hard. He was careless with his own health and safety precisely because he was strong. So, Toushiro had not been surprised when something as small as a common cold had completely knocked him off his feet.
Toushiro had come home that night to find his boyfriend passed out on the couch, huddled in a fleece blanket, and shaking like a leaf. Ichigo never went to bed before Toushiro got home, made him dinner, and then had his hand forced for a goodnight kiss. So, finding him asleep was, in itself, odd. With a frown Toushiro walked over to the couch, ignoring Ellie as she would herself around his feet while purring happily, and Olaf who was barking from the kitchen; begging for his dinner. Ichigo was a light sleeper, contrary to popular belief, but, here he was, sleeping through the animals' noise. He knelt down in front of the couch and placed a hand on his shoulder to gently shake him awake. It was only then he noticed that the redhead's cheeks were flushed and there was a fine layer of sweat on his brow.
Toushiro let out a soft sigh and placed a hand on Ichigo's forehead. Sure enough the man was burning up with a fever. Toushiro gently patted his shoulder and stood up to peel back the blanket. As comfortable as their couch was, Ichigo would be better off in a bed.
He stirred when Toushiro pulled away the blanket, and looked around with hazy, brown eyes before realising what was going on. He pushed himself up and rubbed his forehead.
"Didn't mean to fall asleep," he mumbled. He sounded congested and coughed as if to clear his throat.
"It's okay," Toushiro replied softly, "I think we should get you to bed; you don't look so well."
"I'm fine; it was just a long day at work." He smiled and leaned forward to peck Toushiro on the cheek.
"No, you're burning up." Toushiro sighed, jerking away.
"Yes I know I'm hot, I always have been thank you very much."
Toushiro rolled his eyes but looked at his boyfriend in morbid amusement when he plucked a tissue from the box on the coffee table and blew his nose forcefully. He sounded like he was going to blow his brains out. But his point was proved; Ichigo had a cold.
"I rest my case," Toushiro stood up and smoothed a few ginger strands away from Ichigo's forehead.
"Just a little stuffy; no big deal."
Toushiro folded his arms across his chest. "You are sick, Ichigo Kurosaki, so you better march your pretty, little ass to the bedroom this instant."
Ichigo's laugh turned into a fit of wet, chest-wrecking coughs in a matter of seconds. "I'm fine, I promise you... or I would be if that dog – Olaf, shut it!"
Olaf began to whine in frustration, but stopped barking instantly. Toushiro rolled his eyes at the animal's antics.
"Ichigo, I'm serious; get to bed."
The redhead bowed his head in defeat. "What; no dinner?"
"I'll make you something to eat in bed, now go. I will carry you if I have to."
Ichigo didn't doubt that he could; he was a captain for a reason, after all.
Once his stubborn boyfriend had left the living room Toushiro headed over to the kitchen to start on dinner. Ichigo probably couldn't handle anything too heavy, so he settled on making some chicken and rice soup. Olaf was waiting for him with his food bowl in his mouth, looking for the whole world like he was starved. Toushiro knew that that Ichigo had given him a few treats when he had gotten home from work, but Olaf's love for food was amusing to no end. He shook his head and smiled, taking the bowl from the black dog and scratching him under the chin. His tail instantly began wagging with speed to rival and electric fan and he did a victory lap around the kitchen, nails scraping against the tiled floor. Then, seeing Olaf get his dinner, Ellie began to meow impatiently for her own. Toushiro rolled his eyes; a sick boyfriend and two hungry animals, what a night this was turning out to be.
Once dinner was ready – the human kind – he placed a bowl of soup, a dinner roll, and a cup of tea on a tray and brought it to the bedroom. He suppressed a smile as he saw Ichigo slumbering on the bed, a damp towel around his neck and Ellie sleeping on his chest, leaving white hair all over his shirt. Olaf, not one to be far from the action, was lying at the foot of the bed. Ichigo woke with a start when Toushiro gently touched his leg placed the tray of food on his lap. He shooed Ellie away and she resumed her slumber curled up against Olaf.
"Looks good." Ichigo smiled.
"Mmhmm, now eat up. I'm going to take a shower and that better be all gone by the time I'm done."
Despite Ichigo's affirmation when Toushiro re-entered the bedroom only half of the soup was eaten and a few chunks were bitten out of the roll. Ichigo had gone back to sleep and the two animals were eyeing his dinner. Toushiro was thankful that the two of them were trained well enough to know not to steal the food, or things could have turned out very messy. He felt guilty waking Ichigo up again but he needed to get him to take some medicine and to take his temperature. Ichigo was good about doing that part, though.
Ichigo did not sleep well that night, so neither did Toushiro. He woke up delirious and disoriented several times and had nightmares when he did sleep. Each time he woke up, fighting with the sheets, Toushiro rolled over and held him gently until he fell back asleep. Despite the medicine he had taken earlier his fever worsened during the night. So, sometime around one in the morning Toushiro held Ichigo down, put a cool, damp cloth on his forehead, and gave up on sleep in favour of fighting to keep the redhead's temperature down. Ichigo never did anything in moderation; he pushed himself to be the best at everything, and unfortunately that meant being sick as well.
Ichigo woke up the next morning at the time he usually would to get ready for work. He was somewhat lucid and attempted to get out of bed. Toushiro growled and forced him back down.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded.
"Work," Ichigo mumbled.
"No you're not; you're calling in sick today."
"I'm not sick."
"Ichigo, please, you're fever got worse last night. You're not going anywhere."
He placed a hand across his forehead. "I feel fine."
Toushiro sighed forcefully. "No, you're really sick. So, stay in bed please, for me."
Ichigo removed his hand from his face and looked up at Toushiro. "I'm a mess, aren't I?"
Toushiro leaned over and kissed him gently on his sweaty forehead. "Yes, you are."
Toushiro called Rangiku later that morning to tell her that he was staying home to take care of Ichigo.
"Aww, what's wrong with him?" she asked.
"It's a really bad cold; he can't even get out of bed."
"Poor Ichigo. I know; I'll come over late to check up on him!"
"No Rangiku, you don't have to-"
"Nonsense, Captain, I have the perfect remedy for the cold."
"Sure, sure. Just don't burn down the division while I'm gone."
She giggled and Toushiro wasn't sure if he should be worried or not. Ichigo didn't give him the option, however, since he quickly sunk back into a feverish daze. Toushiro was able to force some more medicine down his throat, as well as a light breakfast, but after that he drifted in and out of sleep. When he was awake he mumbled incoherently and whimpered until Toushiro lay next to him. Then he hugged him like he was a teddy bear and fell back into a fitful sleep. Toushiro had been kneed and elbowed in various positions over the course of the morning, but he let it slide only because Ichigo was sick.
Toushiro shook his head and patted his boyfriend's chest lightly as he drifted back to sleep, his breathing got heavy as he was still very much congested. "Ichigo, you big baby."
The man was startled awake and even in his delirious state he locked eyes with Toushiro and smiled.
"Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?" his words were slurred.
Toushrio smiled. "Yes, many times."
"Oh." He frowned slightly. "What about how much I love you?"
"Yes, every day."
"Okay." Ichigo blinked slowly, his eyelids suddenly appeared too heavy to stay open. "Good."
He was silent for a few minutes and Toushiro thought that he had fallen back asleep, so he attempted to get up. Ichigo grabbed his hand and pulled him back down, however.
"Yes, Ichigo? I'm here, don't worry."
"Will you marry me?"
Toushiro paused, blinking slowly. He turned his head to look at Ichigo, unsure if he really had asked that question, but the redhead had fallen asleep. He shook his head and got up from the bed.
"Idiot, ask me that when you're aware of your actions." He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on Ichigo's temple.
"M' kay," he whispered, surprising Toushiro so that he jerked back.
Ichigo's fever had broken sometime around mid-morning and Rangiku was knocking at the front door minutes later. Toushiro quickly downed the rest of his green tea, scalding his throat. He was beginning to feel the effects of staying up all night, and fretting over Ichigo for most of the morning, so he was secretly wishing for a moment's rest. Olaf's booming bark alerted him to Rangiku's presence long before she had arrived on their doorstep, so he had time to mentally prepare himself for the whirlwind that was his lieutenant.
Olaf was a giant sweet-heart to most of their visitors, but his sheer size was intimidating. His shoulders were level with Toushiro's ribs and he had a tendency to enjoy jumping on people to greet them. He frequently managed to knock Ichigo over when he came home from work, but he could simply stretch his head to lick Toushiro's face, so the white-haired man didn't have to worry about that. Still, Toushiro held his collar firmly when he let Rangiku in. He strained against his grip for a while but gave up when he realised that Toushiro was not going to let him go.
"Hi Captain!" Rangiku sang as she bounced inside and Olaf promptly began sniffing her feet. "Oh wow, he's gotten so big, he was just a puppy when I saw him last."
Toushiro deemed it safe to let go of Olaf's collar then. As soon as he was free, however, he jumped on Rangiku, bracing his front paws on her shoulders and began sniffing her face. She giggled and scratched behind his ears.
Toushiro rubbed his temples. "Olaf, down! Sorry about that, Rangiku, he's a bit too friendly."
The dog licked her chin before obeying the order.
"That's okay, Captain; he's cute," she beamed, "How's Ichigo doing?"
He led her to the bedroom, remembering that he had brewed a cup of tea for Ichigo as well and grabbed it from the kitchen. "His fever just broke so he should be sleeping soundly for the rest of the day." He quietly opened the door and poked his head inside the room. Ichigo was indeed sleeping soundly, but Ellie had curled up under his chin. "Damn these animals," he muttered, going over to pick the cat up and set the cup of tea on the night stand. "No, Ellie, he's sick; go nap somewhere else."
Rangiku smiled and stretched her hands out to take the cat. Toushiro handed her over, but Ellie promptly wiggled out of her grasp and slunk away to another part of the house. Rangiku began to pout in response.
"Don't take it personally; she's like that with everyone." He closed the door, so Ellie would not be able to get back in and led Rangiku back to the living room. She plopped down on the couch and stretched her arms along the back rest.
"Why are you even here?" he sighed, leaning against the wall and watching as she made herself comfortable.
"I came to check up on Ichigo, of course. I mean, he had to be in a terrible condition for you to take time off work."
Toushiro folded his arms across his chest. "You think I'm incapable of taking care of a sick person?"
"I didn't say that, Captain. But the only thing that stops you from getting to the office is death, so..."
"That's not true; I take breaks. I would take more if my second in command wasn't so useless."
"Captain! I'm offended; I came to check on you and Ichigo, after all. That must count for something."
He sighed heavily. "Okay, Rangiku. Can I get you anything to drink?"
"I don't suppose you have any sake lying around."
"Okay fine, no alcohol."
He headed over to the kitchen to scavenge something for her to drink. He mainly drank tea, and Ichigo wasn't too fond of alcoholic beverages either. So she would have to make do with whatever he had to offer.
"Your house is really nice, Captain," Rangiku called from the living room, "I'll have to come visit more often."
"Please warn me before you do."
She laughed and Olaf took it as an invitation to come over and nudge her knee. She scratched his head and he dropped a leash in her lap before starting to whine softly.
"Is Olaf bothering you again?" Toushiro asked.
"No, but I think he wants to go for a walk."
Toushiro swore and rushed back into the living room. "I've been so busy with Ichigo this morning I forgot all about him." He usually took Olaf out before he left for the Soul Society, but Ichigo's cold had been at the forefront of his mind and Olaf hadn't seemed to mind the few extra hours of sleep he was granted. He grabbed the leash and the Great Dane began jumping up and down in excitement. Rangiku offered to take him, but knowing that Olaf could be hard to handle, he decided that was not a good idea. After grabbing a few plastic bags and quickly checking on Ichigo he and Rangiku were on their way.
"It's kind of funny to see you like this, Captain." Rangiku said as she watched Olay sniff around a light post.
"What do you mean?"
"Well apart from your dog being almost the same size as you, your life here is so normal... well, not including fighting stray hollows, of course."
"I was kinda shocked when you told me that Ichigo was sick; he never gets sick."
"Tell me about it. He doesn't do anything half-heartedly either; I was up all night trying to keep his fever down. He was delirious most of the morning too – Olaf no, drop it."
The dog whined but after seeing Toushiro's face he dropped the empty bag of chips he had been attempting to devour. Toushiro bent down and picked up the empty bag, pocketing it until he found a rubbish bin.
Rangiku smiled softly. "That must have been a sight. I'm sure he said some entertaining things."
Toushiro snorted, "He asked me to marry him."
Rangiku gasped, "What did you say?"
"He was delirious; I didn't say anything."
"You're no fun. What if he was lucid? What would you say then?"
"Yes, of course."
Rangiku squealed loudly, "Oh Captain, you two are so cute!"
"Shut up, Matsumoto; we're not cute."
"Whatever you say," she sang and clasped her hands behind her back.
"I hope you did at least, some of your work today."
"I'm not totally hopeless; I assigned it to the third and fourth seats."
"Of course you did."
Olaf came bounding back to them, suddenly losing interest in whatever he had been sniffing, and tried to ensnare them in his leash. Toushiro knew what was coming so deftly stepped over the rope and passed it to his other hand. A part of him was glad he didn't warn Rangiku and he struggled to stop himself from smirking when she fell to the ground. The dog began slobbering all over her face and poking her with his nose and then for some reason he thought it would be a good idea to sit on her stomach.
"I take it back; you're not cute," she mumbled, sounding very much winded. "Captain, you and your dog are very mean."
"Good boy, Olaf."
"Toushiro, when's dinner ready?" Ichigo called from the bedroom.
"In a minute, Ichigo."
Olaf and Ellie were making a ruckus of their own dinner as well.
"Everybody needs to calm down," Toushiro muttered.
"Hurry up; I'm starving."
"I said in a minute."
The seafood chowder was just about done. He let it cool for a bit longer while he fed the pets then poured out two bowls for himself and Ichigo.
He rolled his eyes and ignored his boyfriend's pitiful call. Then he decided to wash and put away the dishes he had used to cook to spite the redhead.
"Coming, can you wait like five seconds?"
"No, I want you now."
"Well, tough luck."
He finished washing the dishes and tided up the kitchen. Then he set their food on a tray and headed to the bedroom. Normally he didn't like eating in bed, but since Ichigo was still recovering he made an exception. Ichigo was sitting up in the bed with his head thrown back against the headboard like a dramatic six-year-old.
"Are you really sulking, Kurosaki?"
"You told me not to get out of bed. What else am I supposed to do?"
Toushiro rolled his eyes and placed the tray on Ichigo's lap. Then he picked up a thermometer from the bedside table.
"Open up," he instructed.
Ichigo did as he was told and when the thermometer beeped Toushiro was pleased to see that his temperature was back to normal.
Toushiro quickly pulled on a pair of sweatpants and crawled under the covers. Ichigo handed him a bowl once he stopped moving then leaned down to softly kiss him on the lips.
"What was that for?" Toushiro asked once they broke apart.
"For taking care of me; you didn't have to."
"Of course I had to. You would have killed yourself if I didn't."
Ichigo chuckled, "I like having you take care of me."
"Don't get used to it; you'll be well enough to get out of bed tomorrow."
Ichigo scrunched up his face.
"Don't give me that, you baby."
The redhead grinned and nuzzled his boyfriend's neck.
"Eat now, cuddle later."
Ichigo still pecked his cheek before settling down to eat his dinner.
Later they were getting ready to go to sleep, snuggling under the comforter with Olaf at their feet and Ellie nestled on the pillow next to Toushiro's head. He had long since given up trying to keep the animals off the bed since Ichigo would just invite them back on when he wasn't looking. Ichigo grabbed Toushiro and pulled him into a tight hug. He returned it and leaned in for a kiss, but it was Ichigo who pressed their lips firmly together then gently nibbled on Toushiro's bottom lip. The smaller man let his mouth fall open and Ichigo deepened the kiss. Completely caught in the moment, Toushiro gripped him tightly and pushed their chests flush against one another and threw a leg over Ichigo's waist. However, Ellie decided that they were moving around too much and batted at their heads.
Ichigo chuckled and whispered, "I love you," when the broke apart.
Toushiro smiled. "I know."
The next morning Ichigo woke up with Ellie on his chest, Olaf crushing his feet, and Toushiro clinging to his arm with flushed cheeks and an incredibly high temperature.
I'm sure everyone knows by now how much I struggle with doing shorter stories, but I thought I'd have a whack at it anyway. The idea of these two having a bunch of pets was pretty adorable as well - mainly because I miss my dog.
Anywho, hoped you all liked it and as always reviews and feedback is welcome - even encouraged.