And thus forth I bring my first Urahara/Yoruichi. This was written for Gold Berry of IchiRuki fame. Enjoy! I'm new at this pairing, and still pretty new at Bleach fan fiction, so please let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite. I'm making no profit from this story.
Quotidian – a daily, reoccurring fever.
By Gundam Girl
"It's been four weeks now, Yoruichi-san." The voice didn't have far to travel across the small, round table that was empty but for two cups and a bottle of sake. Urahara tipped back his odd, striped hat and poured more of the rice-wine into his guest's cup. "That's a little long."
"Is it?" The golden-skinned, purple-haired woman showed a lack of the grace Urahara used and practically tossed the alcohol into her mouth. "I guess that's why you're letting me drink your bad sake, eh, Urahara?" She slanted a look at him with her amber eyes, the look in them slightly accusing.
Urahara sent her an apologetic smile. "Sorry, Yoruichi-san. I'm afraid Jinta-kun sneaks into the liquor cabinet a bit much." A corner of his mouth quirked up at his flushed cheeks. "But you seem to like it anyway."
"Kuukaku didn't share the last time I visited," she muttered. Lifting a fine finger, she pointed at him. "And don't call me that. You know I hate it, Urahara-san."
"Okay, okay, sorry." Leaning back, he supported himself on his hand, away from the table. "Where have you been?" he asked casually.
"Oh, here and there. I was in Kyoto last weekend. You should go, Urahara. Plenty of pretty geisha who would like a nice businessman's money."
"Is that so? Why do I need geisha?" he wanted to know. Yoruichi was looking out the window at the sunset, and he watched her over the rims of the glasses he wore.
"You just need some fun," she insisted without looking at him. "You and that big guy you keep here. He should use those muscles for more than just cleaning every once in a while."
"Ah." That was a mental image the former Twelfth Squad Captain could have done without. "You think so?"
They drifted into silence for a moment.
"What happened while I was gone?" asked Yoruichi, leaning on the table and tipping her empty cup this way and that.
He lifted one shoulder and let it drop carelessly. "Not much. Ichigo still trains. Mostly on his own, but sometimes with the Quincy and that Sado-kun."
"Heh." The chuckle was just breath rushing out than an actual laugh. "I meant with you. You're too quiet."
He'd been dazed by the movements of her occupied hand – left, right, back forth. He's been studying how her tanned fingers contrasted with the white porcelain. He'd been...somewhere else completely.
"It's seems I've become boring," Urahara replied at length. "Too boring," he added softly, "for you."
At that, Yoruichi's hand stopped moving. She lowered the cup as she lowered her head. "Don't, Kisuke."
This time, he was the one to look out the window. Night had fallen, he noticed as he reflected on how long it had been since she had called him by his first name. "Why? When it's true?"
"You're my friend," she said, somewhat defensively. "Friends don't get boring."
He was silent. He passed his hand over his cane, deliberating over picking it up and leaving. "There's no sense in you coming to visit if you don't want to be here. We both agreed long ago that we have our lives." He pushed himself up and sat with his legs crossed, staring down into his lap.
Yoruichi's eyes were narrowed at the sight of his hunched shoulders. "Why are you saying this?"
"Why," he retorted quietly, "aren't you saying what you feel?"
Her lips parted as though she meant to. Then her mouth shut again, like a closed-in cave that held secrets treasures.
"It hasn't been the same since you came back from Soul Society with Ichigo and the others," he furthered. "You go to Tokyo, you go to Kyoto."
"You could too," she murmured. Guilt kept her voice soft. She hadn't felt this badly since Soi Fong had cried to her. It seemed to Yoruichi that she was always doing something to hurt someone else.
"I need to stay here," he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. Without warning, he brought his eyes up to hers. Yoruichi started, as though he had moved to strike her. A jolt went through her at his expression, a look that was too solemn and profound for him. She wasn't used to it. "You could too," Urahara went on.
The notion, and his blatant mocking of her, made her frown. "No. Kisuke." In two slides of her long legs, she was beside him. He was only a few inches taller than her, but it was enough to force her to look up to meet his shadowed eyes. "You know I can't stay in one place too long. I tried. I tried a hundred years ago and it became too much for me."
"Ever the black cat." The words were barely audible even though she was sitting right next to him. A small smile was on his lips, but there was no humor in it. "You're bad luck, Yoruichi."
"Oh, I know I am." Mistaking her best friend's comment for lightheartedness, she laughed. "I probably have the worst luck, too. It rained so much in Kyoto, I—" She cut herself off with silence with Urahara stood up. "This isn't fair, Kisuke. You treat me like I've done you personal harm, and you don't tell me what. How do I know how to fix it?" Her tone was swift and slightly defensive again, but Urahara saw in her eyes a rare show of self-consciousness and something inside him quivered, shaking loose some of the compassion he'd tried to harden.
He stepped over his cane and moved to the window, feeling her rise behind him. "It's nothing you can fix. It's like an illness."
There was a pause, and she asked with control, "Shall I contact Uohana?"
"She wouldn't have the cure."
Yoruichi's hands fisted at her sides. "Are you trying to brush me off?" she demanded with some temper. "You know you can't."
It was all he needed. Though she hadn't meant it as a challenge, the words set Urahara off and he whirled on her, a hand falling hard on each shoulder. Yoruichi stepped back on reflex, her eyes wide. "Kisuke!"
Urahara had left his glasses on the table, and his hat had flown off with his sudden furious action. The eyes that met the ex-commander's were dark and fierce, uncharacteristic of the usually laid-back man that she had known for so long.
"Damn it, Yoruichi!" His voice was loud and unfamiliarly tempered. "I know I can't!" She would have flinched at his words and tone if she could have managed mobility at that second. As it was, Yoruichi stood frozen where he gripped her on the upper arms, staring open-mouthed up at him. "I know. That isn't the problem."
If it was a sparring match, Yoruichi would have flash-stepped out of his reach. But there was no fight in her, and they were hardly matched right now. The upper hand was by far Urahara's, although the pale-haired store owner didn't seem to realize it in the least.
"The problem," Urahara went on, voice edged with raw passion, "is that you don't know. You haven't known it for years!"
She felt something shake in her stomach. She made an effort to pull away, but Urahara held on. It soon became apparent that just because he hadn't fought in awhile didn't mean he'd lost his strength.
"Kisuke." Yoruichi was terribly glad for the steadiness that still remained in her voice. "What are you talking about?"
"You're like poison. No." He only stared into her surprised and perhaps half-insulted face as he amended his statement. "You're like the effect of poison."
"What, like I'm a rash?" Her brow creased in puzzlement.
The physical hold Urahara had on her tightened, even if the mental one didn't budge a millimeter. "You're a fever, Yoruichi. And it feels worse every day, being here…" He paused. For a moment his resolve seemed to lessen, and he looked down. She felt for the shortest instant like the absence of his spearing gaze allowed her to breathe. "Without you."
Yoruichi was submerged again, held down by a hand of emotions she couldn't escape from. Her overworked mind went for a new tactic, and she tried to grasp that instead. "I don't understand, Kisuke. We decided together over a century ago that we would choose our paths. You chose yours, and I've chosen mine. So why…" She found that she couldn't ask the question. When a moment passed, Urahara's hand slid down to her wrists. She felt a trail of fire left on every inch of flesh he touched, and Yoruichi was startled by it.
"But yours is no path," he murmured, his eyes still cast at the floor. "Yours is like a course on the sea – you try to get somewhere, but the wind blows you aside. And instead of changing some things to fight it, you let it steer you. You never make decisions. And you never drop anchor."
"What do you want from me?" she whispered. "I'm not for anywhere, Kisuke. I couldn't even stay in Heaven!"
"So you'd visit Hell."
His words sparked something within her now, and she ripped her left hand out of his hold to grab him by the elbow. "I live! I do whatever I can, damn you!" He had no right, no right to make her feel guilty or apologetic for her actions. "What is it you wish I would do, Kisuke? Stay here, in this little town, this little path you've got and just ground myself?" Her eyes went hot, and she swore. When the tears flowed past her lashes and down her cheeks, she clamped her teeth together.
Urahara looked up then to see her eyes squeezed shut. His movements were steady but not slow, and in one, fluid action he pulled her to him by the wrist he still captured. His free palm was against her jaw, fingers gently pressed to her temple, and he brought his mouth to hers.
Yoruichi froze, and her eyes flew open. She couldn't think. She couldn't remember the time, her name, his name. She couldn't even have been sure at that moment what world it was that she currently existed in, but she felt…
For just a few seconds, she felt that none of it mattered as long as this world held both her and the man whose lips now kissed her.
When it was over, it felt to her like everything, all of existence, fell into place like a Soul Slayer into a sheath. Yoruichi now felt like she'd been dragged onto the shore, panting. She also had the same feelings as a previously drowning person who couldn't believe they were alive.
When her eyes focused on Urahara again, something had occurred in him. The crazy sandal-hat man was smiling like his usually chipper self, if perhaps a bit overly pleased. "Now there," he said to his best friend. "That wasn't nearly so bad, was it, Yoruichi-san?"
Yoruichi stared. After a few stabling seconds, she turned her head again, feeling a grin spread over her mouth. "Heh." She looked at him out of the corner of her eye.
He stood with his body relaxed, a hand scratching his head. She stood with her feet planted and her arms crossed. They were the same as ever.
"It looks as though your fever's broken, Urahara."