So I'm not dead, I promise you! I just haven't really had much time lately. I'll be updating some of my stories soon, it's just there has been so much going on. Anyway, the idea for this story came to me on my way home from work the other day. I drafted it a few times in my notebooks an decided I liked it, so here it is. As always I don't own Bleach or anything of the like.
Isshin sighed as he looked toward the door to their house. It had been just over a week since Kisuke had brought Ichigo to his home, unconscious followed by the boys friends. He had been expecting it, had known this was exactly what would happen. He had to pretend like he hadn't though. He pretended he didn't know who Kisuke was, that he didn't know what happened to his son, that he hadn't seen Rukia and the red haired Shinigami with them. There really was no need to pretend any longer since Ichigo knew, but for Isshin he wanted to keep this knowledge a secret for now. It wouldn't do for the Soul Society to know the former tenth taichou was also hidden in Karakura Town. However after he showed up on the battlefield he was sure that ship had sailed.
Each day after school, Orihime, Sado, Tatsuki, Keigo, and Mizuiro came to visit. Rukia and the red haired boy he learned was named Renji came too, but he didn't acknowledge them until they began wearing gigais. They would come over, visit with his comatose son for a bit, and then go home. Isshin didn't mind them there, and at this point they hardly even knocked. The one that bothered him was the final boy.
Ryuken Ishida's own son, Uryu.
Uryu came every day as well, but where the others would come in, Uryu never did. He would stand outside, sense out Ichigo's presence to make sure he was still alive, and then leave. He always hid his reiatsu and Isshin doubted the others even knew he was there. It bothered Isshin to no end. However what bothered him wasn't the fact that the boy came, but the fact that the boy never came inside. It was like he was afraid.
Knowing what he did, Isshin suspected that was exactly what was going on. He remembered the day Misaki had died. He had sensed it the moment her life vanished from the world. He was sure Ryuken had too. Isshin had ran across the street to get the Arisawa's to watch the girls, saying he got an emergency call, before running to the location he had sensed Misaki vanish. Misaki was lying in the rain, soaked in her own blood, and Ichigo sat beside her crying. Isshin was relieved that Ichigo hadn't watched her die, but rather was unconscious when it happened. He had called an ambulance for the hospital, already knowing there was nothing that could be done. He and Ichigo went to the hospital together and were told by a strange doctor that there was nothing to be done.
What had surprised Isshin was that it wasn't Ryuken that tried to save Misaki. For a moment he was furious and demanded to see the hospital director, but the doctor hurriedly explained Ryuken had a family emergency. Isshin had to bully it out of the man, but he found out that the family emergency was Katagiri suddenly falling into a coma. It was in that moment he put together that whatever happened was Quincy related. After talking to Kisuke he knew how this would end, and he knew Ryuken knew it as well.
Isshin was rather surprised when he got the phone call three months later from Kisuke that Katagiri had died. It wasn't the fact that she had died that surprised him, after all the holy selection that the Quincy King had used was meant to take her life. No, what surprised him was the facts that it took so long for her to die coupled with the fact that hers and Ryuken's son, a Quincy that should have been killed as well, was alive. He figured Ryuken had tried everything he could to keep Katagiri alive, but that only caused more pain for himself and his son. Isshin couldn't even imagine what it would be like to sit by and watch a loved one for three months, never knowing if that day would be their last. He thanked the small mercy that allowed Misaki's death to be painless for her and quick for them all. At least the prolonged suffering and the never knowing was something his family had been spared.
Now however Uryu was having to relive the same experience all over again. A person who was very important to him has suddenly lost all their powers and fell into a coma. Isshin knew Kisuke had explained it to them, the fact that Ichigo was in a coma so that whatever was left of his reiatsu could stabilize, and that he would wake up as soon as that happened. However he knew it did little to erase Uryu's fears and doubts. He had been powerless when he watched his grandfather die, had been powerless when he watched his mother die, and now he was powerless to do anything for Ichigo.
Isshin wanted to curse Ryuken, blaming all this on him. He knew Ryuken's way of raising Uryu was done in order to teach Uryu not to rely on others since they would not always be there in the future. Yet this made Uryu feel like he couldn't go to anyone and had to endure all the suffering alone. No one should have to live like that.
Isshin decided this was ending today. He had everything set up for when Uryu arrived today, and now he was going to act. Getting up he grabbed the full bag of trash sitting next to the front door, and walked outside like he was taking the trash out to be collected. Uryu looked at him in surprise, clearly not having expected anyone to exit the house.
"Oh, Uryu right?!" Isshin asked, smiling and acting like he hadn't been waiting for the teen to arrive. Uryu quickly nodded, turning a little red at a slight embarrassment. It was probably from being caught.
"Kurosaki-san. I'm sorry I was just passing by on my way home from school." he said. Isshin had to force himself not to laugh at that. He couldn't reveal to Uryu that he knew that Uryu's apartment was no where near his home, nor was any path between his home and school. Uryu had gone very much out of his way to come check on Ichigo.
"Is that so? Why don't you come in then? You haven't been here since Ichigo was brought in." he said. Uryu quickly shook his head.
"I wouldn't want to intrude..." he started, but Isshin wasn't about to let him come up with some bullshit excuse. He dropped the bag in the recycling container and walked over, grabbing Uryu's arm. He could feel Uryu tense up and pull on his arm a little, but Isshin held fast. This kid needed someone to watch over him and if Ryuken wasn't about to do it then it would be up to him. Misaki would beat his ass otherwise. Uryu also gave up on fighting him pretty quickly. Isshin wondered if it was because the boy could sense what he was hiding or he just didn't want to fight him. Either way Isshin was getting the result he wanted. He pulled Uryu to their home.
"Yuzu, we're having a guest for dinner tonight." Isshin yelled as he let Uryu's arm go in favor of closing the door. Uryu looked horrified at the idea.
"I couldn't possibly..." Uryu started, looking for some reason to give them, but at that moment Yuzu came around the corner.
"Oh good, I accidentally made too much again since I figured someone would be coming but when no one did I was starting to get worried." she said. Uryu stopped in his tracks and Isshin allowed a triumphant smile to show on his face. Uryu was the type that would go out of his way to keep from inconveniencing others, and the way Yuzu said that made it sound like it would be an inconvenience to them if Uryu left now. Uryu was trapped now by his own limitations and had no choice.
"I can only stay for a little while." he relented. Karin came around the corner too.
"Do you want to see Ichigo? I'll take you up." she offered. Isshin felt proud of his daughters. They were probably more worried about Ichigo then anyone else, but the two of them had been kind and gracious, taking care of Ichigo's friends and trying to lessen their worry. While Ichigo's friends knew exactly what was going on, what had happened, his daughters were in the dark. He was sure Karin suspected but Yuzu hadn't the faintest idea. Misaki really would be proud of them for putting others first even when they had every right to be a mess.
"Thank you." Uryu said, and Isshin watched the two go up the stairs before turning back to Yuzu.
"Need any help?" he offered. He wasn't the best at cooking and judging from the grimace on her face assumed she wasn't about to let him try improving any time soon. At least not when they have guests over.
"I've got it." she said quickly, returning to the kitchen. "I'm almost done anyway." she called behind her. Isshin looked back up the stairs and on a whim pulled out his phone. 'Your son is here today. He's staying for dinner.' he texted. He didn't know why he sent it, it wasn't' like Ryuken and Uryu even lived together. Maybe he was trying to force Ryuken's hand. On some level Ryuken always saw Isshin as the heart of all the problems they faced. It was his arrival that caused the hollow attack to move to Karakura Town. It was his lack of strength that caused Misaki to go rescue him and nearly get killed in the end. It was his soul being tied with Misaki that took her away from them. Maybe if Isshin made him feel like he could steal the man's son too he would actually make an effort to be there when he needed him. Instead his phone lit up with a received text that read 'This does not concern me. Do not use this phone number for useless information.' Isshin didn't know why he expected anything different.
"Dinners done!" Yuzu called from the kitchen. Isshin went to yell up the stairs but Karin called back.
"We're coming." Isshin went into the kitchen and helped Yuzu set the table. A few minutes later Karin and Uryu returned. Uryu looked a little uneasy, and Isshin wondered if it had to do with him not having a family dinner for so long. After all, even if he didn't know it, the Kurosaki's were an extended family of his.
"Sit here Uryu." Isshin said, gesturing to a chair that was typically vacant, next to Ichigo's usual chair. Uryu nodded and sat down, glancing at Ichigo's empty chair.
"Here you go!" Yuzu said with a grin, serving some BBQ strips. Dinner was as lively as it usually was in the Kurosaki house. Isshin was trying to steal Karin's uneaten food, Karin was beating him back with both chopsticks and fists, Uryu was looking unsure and uncomfortable as Yuzu just dismissed them by telling them there was more food before serving the vegetables.
"Is it always like this?" Uryu asked Yuzu softly. Isshin glanced over just in time to see Yuzu nod with a smile.
"Usually. Dad and Ichigo fight a lot too, but it's always full of energy." she said.
After dinner Uryu went to leave. "You sure? You can always stay the night. It's not a problem and you don't have school tomorrow." Isshin said. It wasn't like they didn't have enough cots either, being a clinic and all. Uryu nodded.
"I wouldn't want to intrude any more then I already have." he said. Karin and Yuzu came up to stan by Isshin's side.
"Hey, Uryu." Karin called. Uryu paused and turned to the girls. "You're going to come back with the others tomorrow right?" Karin asked. Yuzu nodded.
"Yeah, It'd be more fun with everyone here." Yuzu agreed. Uryu seemed to think for a while before slowly nodding. Yuzu grinned. "Great, I'll make sure there's enough food for you too." she said, and turned and left before Uryu could change his mind. Uryu took his leave and Isshin closed the door behind him.
"Did you know?" Karin asked. Isshin wondered if she was asking about him knowing about Uryu's daily visits. He wasn't surprised she knew, she was rather in tune with reiatsu sensing.
"Yeah." he said. Karin sighed.
"At least he's not standing out there by himself every day." she said. Then she turned and went to bed. Isshin watched her and Yuzu go up the stairs before glancing back at the door, sensing Uryu's reiatsu getting further and further away. He supposed the young Ishida would be a guest for quite a while now.