Part two! Huzzah! Yes its taken a while to update, but that cant be helped :(
Disclaimer - I dont own bleach.
Two figures ambled along the pavement, at a rather sedate pace, as if whatever was at the destination could wait. One slab followed on by another, the grey sea, the pair walking not quite next to each other, a short distance separating them at all times.
As they walked the hind companions overall facial expression grew closer and closer towards the physically impossible. The pace set by the one in front being rather too slow, causing him to catch up, their bodies almost colliding and required constant effort to prevent it from occurring. Having to concentrate whilst doing something as simple as walking was not the best thing for a relaxed mind.
"Oi Ishida, are you sure you know where you're going?"
There was a slight pause in motion as Ishida stopped, considered Ichigo's question and then simply started up again.
It was a stupid question really, Ichigo was fully aware that Ishida knew where he was going.
Agonisingly more concrete inched by, Ishida obviously content to keep quiet.
"My feet are getting bored of walking along at this pace." The Shinigami whined.
Again, Ishida ignored Ichigo. Ichigo twitching a little, in much the same way an institutionalised nut case would, when put under a little pressure.
"If you don't pick up the pace," Ichigo tried again, "I'm going to have to start dancing or something to keep them entertained."
This image caused Ishida's mouth to curl slightly at the edges.
'Ichigo dancing?' he thought and chuckled a little inside, still moving terribly slowly.
"Oh by all means, don't let me stop you Kurosaki. I've always wondered what you would look like doing a Scottish jig, care to entertain the idea?"
The traces of amusement occupying the words didn't escape Ichigo and he stamped on the floor.
"Damn it Ishida, I know when I challenged you to get us to Urahara's I was doing it for a joke, in case you had somehow forgotten where it was, but this is ridiculous."
"Not as ridiculous as you would look in a kilt." Ishida broke in.
"A Kilt!? What has any of this got to do with a kilt?"
"You know?" Ishida insisted back " for when you do your Scottish jig, I hope you will do it properly and wear the correct attire."
"What the hell you on about? We're supposed to be in Urahara's destroying things with our awesomeness, yet all we have managed, is to walk half way there."
It was true that Ishida had secretly been stalling; possibly it would get too late, before anything could even begin, and therefore his lack of powers wouldn't be an issue. But still, when Ichigo had asked him to lead the way, Ishida had wondered how the orange haired boy would react to his 'deliberate' stalling. Now however, he thought he was pushing it a little, after all he still wanted Ichigo's company, but just what on earth was he going to do when they finally got there? Well whatever, something would hopefully figure itself out.
Deciding enough was enough, Ishida stopped, stylishly spinning around to face Ichigo, his hair flailing out as he went, and coming to rest with a swish as his eyes met his target. A solitary finger readjusted his glasses in an attempt to look menacing. It half succeeded, the other half appearing more like he'd turned a little too quickly, having to prevent his spectacles from falling off. Ichigo simply looked a little confused.
"Ok then, you win," Ishida declared before turning around again, marching off. "Lets pick up the pace a little."
"What?" Ichigo said loudly in disbelief, almost struggling to keep up with the speed the Quincy was now moving at.
"What did you say? I WIN? I win what exactly? I wasn't aware there was a competition."
"Hmm." Ishida replied with an air of self-righteousness, as if to say he knew something the Shinigami didn't. This also didn't escape Ichigo as his face almost met the colour of his hair.
"You are SO getting your arse kicked when we get there… you hear me Ishida?? Arse. Kicked!"
In what seemed like the blinking of an eye and the fastest Ichigo had ever run for an extended period of time, the two boys arrived outside the Urahara Shouten, panting heavily.
"Has something happened?" perked up a little voice over by the stores entrance.
"Yeah, you look as if you've busted a nut getting here." Came a cocky, addition.
"Ururu, Jinta." Spoke Ishida, gently tipping his head in turn to each.
"No" grunted out Ichigo, chest still heaving, slightly pissed to see how quickly Ishida had recovered. "No problem, yet." Ichigo grabbed Ishida's wrist. "But there might be in a moment." And he pulled hard, dragging them both off into the dark store.
"Whaddya think that was all about?" asked Jinta, as the premises behind them shook ever so slightly.
"I've no idea," replied the small girl, looking a little worried as a roofing tile crashed to the ground. "But I hope they will be alright."
One stomp by one and Ichigo thundered, truculently, through the store, his hand still tightly gripped around Ishida's wrist, dragging the currently helpless Quincy after him. Urahara was going to intervene – really he liked his store to be neat and tidy - but on sensing how erratic Ichigo was, thought it better to give him a wide birth. Adolescent teenagers were one thing, adolescent teenagers with a reiatsu off the scale were another.
"Right." Ichigo announced fiercely, once they'd stopped and pointed to a hole in the floor. "Down there."
Ishida looked over the edge, pulling away quickly; he had never been one for heights.
"You want me, to go down there? What if I fall?" he said with an air normally associated with aristocracy.
Ichigo sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Then I guess you will go splat at the bottom, and Urahara's will have a new, red, Ishida shaped rug. Now are you going to go down there, or am going to have to carry you on my back?"
There was no decision to make; Ishida was not going to be carried, least alone by Kurosaki Ichigo. Slowly he lowered himself over the edge and started down the ridiculously long ladder, attempting to keep his eyes from the ground below. 'Seriously' he thought as he descended, trying to avert his mind from thoughts of 'how far away the ground was.' Why not just install a lift? Like any sensible person would.
A moment later and the pair stood at the bottom, Ichigo having slid elegantly down the ladder in a matter of seconds, much to Ishida's chagrin, the two of them parted slightly, facing each other.
"So what now?" questioned Ishida anxiously.
Ichigo grinned mischievously. Ishida looked even more concerned.
"First you need to change out of your uniform, it's not half flexible enough and we don't want you splitting any seams. Even though I am sure you are more then capable of fixing it, if you do." Ichigo said as one of his hands danced around mocking a needle at work.
Ishida crossed his arms across his chest, looking rather belligerent.
"And what, Kurosaki, do you suggest I am to wear? Or are you expecting me to create something, right here, on the spot?"
"I thought you could wear this." Ichigo retorted throwing a garment that looked rather similar to his own Shinigami one. "But don't let me stop you making something. A kilt perhaps?"
"Hn." Ishida grunted, catching the fabric and wondering where exactly Ichigo had managed to produce it from, choosing to ignore the mention of the kilt. He'd have Kurosaki in one if it was the last thing he did, preferably in public with everyone watching. Of course a massive gust of wind would also happen to pass by, Ichigo doing the traditional thing of leaving all his underwear at home and would get a chilly surprise. Then be laughed at. Or perhaps Ichigo would be rather well 'filled out' and instead of laughs, become wanted by every female in the area and envied by every male.
"Well go on then." Prodded Ichigo.
"Go on what?" Ishida answered back, blushing slightly, realising he'd been caught thinking of Ichigo's genitals and wondering if he had missed something important.
"Get changed." Ichigo replied simply, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, Ishida starting to look uncomfortable.
"You mean, right here? Right now? Just strip right down? And what are you going to be wearing then?"
"This." Another short simple response, as his body dropped limply to the ground, leaving behind his Shinigami self. "Now hurry up and change, we have lost enough time already."
Quickly, for it was quite cold you see, and not because Ishida was embarrassed, the Quincy removed his school uniform and tugged on the item Ichigo had given him. The garment fitted him quite well, he didn't fill it out as well as Ichigo would have, but at least he wasn't tripping over the material.
As he was changing, Ishida swore he was being watched. Damn that Kurosaki for making him feel even more uneasy then was needed, and damn that butterfly for fluttering around somewhere else.
Just as he was finishing with the waist cord, giving himself the once over to check he'd put it on right and Ichigo appeared in his face offering him something.
"Here, take this."
Ishida glanced up, having just managed to put his shoes back on, and wrapped several long slender fingers about the hilt, taking the item into his possession and then staring incredulously back at the orange haired boy.
"A sword Kurosaki? What am I supposed to do with a sword?"
"Well," Ichigo started sarcastically, "Usually you swing them around, in the direction of your opponent. But if you had something else in mind?"
"Idiot. I don't use something as crude as hand to.."
He was cut short, however, as Ichigo bellowed "On Guard" and took a swing at him, forcing him to block.
Ichigo said as he continued his flurry of attacks, pushing Ishida further and further backwards.
Another few feet back.
"You could do with…"
Just how far back did this training complex go?
"Some close combat training, just in case something jumps you."
And to highlight his point Ichigo lunged forcefully, overpowering Ishida's defence and bringing their bodies close together. Their eyes locked, Ishida looking almost terrified, Ichigo with his sword pressed gently into the Quincy's neck.
"Wouldn't want anything to happen ne? If something came at you like this and you couldn't defend yourself."
Ishida stood stock still, that damned butterfly was back; Ichigo's eyes? Or was it the sword at his neck? He guessed it was a bit of both, but before he'd realised it Ichigo was looking at him, concerned.
"You ok? I didn't mean to startle you." he asked, genuinely worried.
Ishida noticed and was bothered that he'd reacted the way he had, showing such weakness, even if he was touched by the sentiment.
"Yes." He bit back, regaining his composure. "I'm great."
With that Ishida took a stance, to prove he was more then capable, and charged at Ichigo.
For a few moments steel clashed valiantly with steel as Ishida relentlessly struck out, driving the weapon with all his might. He had to regain his dignity somehow and this way felt good. Unfortunately, for his arms had started to ache forcing him to stop, he realised that Ichigo was standing exactly where he had been prior to the attack, with a stupid grin on his face, Ishida's blood began to boil.
"Something funny Kurosaki?"
The look that had now taken place over the Quincy's face could have frozen over even hell itself, Ichigo didn't want to face that today, maybe tomorrow, but for now it could wait.
"No, no." He coughed slightly, bringing his hand up to meet his face in an attempt to hide his obvious amusement.
"But." He continued.
Ishida twitched, his eyes narrowing.
"But, what?" the Quincy growled out between clenched teach..
"You're doing it all wrong," Ichigo went on, "you have no grace, no style."
Ishida looked like might pop at any moment.
"You keep swinging that thing at me like a berserk Neanderthal. The sword is supposed to be an extension of your own body, not some 'thing' you swing around. Here you're supposed to hold it like this."
Ichigo picked his feet gingerly off the ground and padded slowly over, till he was inline with the fuming Ishida and then took the sword from his pale hand. Carefully he repositioned Ishida's arm and replaced the weapon.
"Now, stand like this."
Ichigo took on a pose. Ishida tried to copy it, flexing his joints as his body accommodated itself to the alien position.
"You mean like this?" he asked, bobbing from side to side as he tensed and relaxed the muscles in his legs.
"Yeah, yeah just like that!" Ichigo beamed back, pleased Ishida had picked it up so quickly. Said Quincy blushing faintly at the unfamiliar praise.
"Now you look as if you mean business," Ichigo continued "and not like some crazed baboon wobbling around."
'A baboon' thought Ishida, 'A wobbling baboon. Do baboons even wobble? And not only that its crazy too.'
"Now." Said Ichigo, breaking Ishida from his complex thought process. "Take the sword and come at me again, but when you swing it, imagine it as an extra part of your arm, instead of the two being separate entities."
"Hmm, I'll give it a go." .. 'A wobbling baboon?'
Holding everything in mind, Ishida kept himself poised and slowly started to take practise shots. One after the other, coming into contact with Ichigo's own formidable weapon and gaining confidence with each swing, his body becoming more fluid with each motion.
Gradually the realisation that Ishida was actually getting somewhere with this caused a grin to start spreading across his face, this was fun! Then he was suddenly reminded of the time he had managed to shoot his first spirit arrow, the thought should have caused him some grief, but for some reason it didn't. Here he was being taught something similar, by someone he now realised, he respected and all he could do was look back fondly. Comparing the two situations to one another.
"Damn this is hard work." He broke off after another couple of minutes. "How do you manage to fight for so long, without your arms dropping off?"
Ichigo grinned again; Ishida decided he liked Ichigo more when he grinned, rather then that constant scowl.
"Practice." The other boy responded. "D'ya wanna stop? Too much and your arms will be aching for days."
"No." Ishida commanded. "Just give me a minute or two."
"Alright, but this time I'm going to attack, rather then just defend."
'Attack?' thought Ishida, 'He's going to do what now?' then it suddenly dawned on him that, yes, Ichigo hadn't been attacking. 'Well damn.' Ishida started to feel slightly nervous at the prospect of having to guard himself and attack at the same time.
"You ready then?" asked Ichigo, noting that his sparing partner had stopped breathing heavily.
"I suppose." Responded the Quincy and got into position.
Both stood, composed, waiting, and then waited some more.
"Go on then." Bit out Ishida, slightly annoyed. "Attack."
"Tch, I'm waiting for you to make the first move, dumb ass."
'Dumb ass eh? A crazy, wobbling, dumb ass, baboon. I'll show him who's a dumb ass.'
And with that Ishida charged at Ichigo, the red head easily deflecting the blow, counterattacking by dipping down and tickling Ishida's side.
"What the hell?" yelled back the dark haired boy, slightly flustered. "What the hell was that, you. You tickled me?!"
Again Ichigo grinned, the butterfly returned.
"Would you rather I hit you instead?
Ishida paused, and then spoke.
"I would rather you, hmm I don't know, but just don't tickle me! I don't like being tickled."
Ichigo stuck Zangetsu into the ground and sidled up to his corporeal form, feet crunching against the gravel as he went. He then fished around in one of his trouser pockets and withdrew a handkerchief, looking back over to Ishida, waving the object around like a flag.
"What if I use this then? Instead of hitting you, or tickling you, I'll hit you with this cloth."
'Good idea' thought Ishida. 'Just as long as its not been used.'
"Okay, and I will use this." The Quincy replied, having already walked over and taken a piece of fabric from his school bag.
"Lets try again then." Said Ichigo as the two met back at their previous location, standing ready to fight.
"Right." Came Ishida's response as he leapt forwards, trying to catch Ichigo off guard. It failed of course, but it felt good, just like everything else, Ishida hated to admit it, but he was enjoying this.
For what only seemed like five minutes, the two sparred a deadly dance, moving all over the training complex. Every now and again a large flash was produced as Ichigo released a burst of energy, never actually aimed at Ishida, but the effect was always the same. The Quincy would cower slightly when the blast was released, his shoulders tensing up, bringing his sword up as a shield for his face. Every time muttering something about stupidly large reiatsu, as the blast subsided, taking a few seconds to get a grip back on reality.
Suddenly, just as he was about to deliver a strike, another flash whipped by his head, a little too close for comfort. Ishida knowing full well what the destructive force of the energy blasts were, Ichigo having already carved up half the landscape.
"Kurosaki!" he bellowed through the settling dust. "Do you have to keep doing that?"
Ichigo wandered closer and waved his free hand around in an attempt to help clear his vision.
"No, I don't have to, but I think you look…" Ichigo paused, he was going to say 'cute when the blasts overwhelm you' but felt rather silly about saying it. He thought Ishida looked cute, well that was certainly a revelation, since when did he think of Ishida as cute?
"Kurosaki?" Probed Ishida, curiously.
"Huh?" Ichigo replied, a blush creeping up his cheeks.
"You were going to tell me why you keep firing those blasts, then you spaced out.."
"Oh, yes!" Ichigo remembered. "It's all about practice, those things take a lot out of me and the more I do them, the less energy they take. Urahara says that if I get good enough, I may be able to do them up to one hundred times before becoming exhausted."
Ishida hummed to himself in disbelief; that was most certainly not what Ichigo was going to say.
"Oh heck, would you look at the time." Ishida commented as his gaze landed on his wristwatch in the awkward silence. "We've been here for hours and we have school tomorrow."
Ichigo looked relatively surprised; as if it was unbelievable the time had passed so quickly and wandered over to his body to check.
"Gee, you're right," he confirmed after finding his own watch. "I guess we should get going. You go get changed back, I'll 'change back' then we can leave."
This time there were no complaints as the pair reorganised themselves and were standing at the bottom of the ladder in a few minutes, looking exactly the same as they had a few hours before, only now both were sagging a little under the evenings activity. Neither one of them escaping the fact they had that ladder to climb, both looking at the millions of rungs above them with much detest.
"So you going first or shall I?" asked Ichigo, placing a hand against his brow and squinting in an effort to see the top.
"You go first." Replied Ishida a moment later, after removing his glasses and giving them a good clean. "I don't think you'd appreciate it if my arms suddenly decided to fall off and I ended up sitting on your face. We'd probably fall to our death. That is if we made it that far up. My arms could choose to fall off after the first few rungs, in which case it would be far less painful, but just as annoying, or amusing depending on how you look at it. Well, I'd be looking, you wouldn't be able to see very much, what with my arse being in your face." Ishida suddenly gawped upon realising what he'd just said.
"Anyone ever told you, you babble when you're tired?"
"Huh?" came Ishida looking perplexed.
"Oh nothing." Said Ichigo, shaking his head and grinning at the floor.
"Okay, might as well get this over and done with, up we go then." Ichigo spoke, starting to climb.
Ishida had never liked heights, so naturally one would assume he didn't particularly like ladders either, what with them usually being associated with things higher then ground level. Never though had Ishida thought, that he would grow to despise the things, but now he was climbing up one, and this one in particular being far longer then was needed – Sure if it wasn't quite so tall then he would never get out, or get in, not unless you were suicidal, and he really thought Urahara's looked fine without a human rug. But damn it why did it have to be this hard.
"You okay down there, lazy bones?" Ichigo hollered from the top, about ten fathoms away, ten fathoms too far.
Ishida cursed slightly, 'the hell did he expect him to do? FLY?'
"Yes Kurosaki, I'm having the time of my life."
But somehow the sound didn't seem to travel far enough, probably something to do with being out of breath and strained against some steel spoked monster.
"What was that?" Ichigo bellowed back, cupping his hands behind his ears. "I didn't quite hear you, something about being some ones wife? Maybe you should rethink the kilt and just make a dress."
Right, that was it, Ichigo wasn't going to wear a kilt, without any underwear, and with gale force winds. Oh no, a pink, backless, halter-neck, miniskirt would do marvellously, and a pair of high heels.
Somehow the malicious intent to kill said Shinigami was all it took to get Ishida to the top, the driving urge to mess up that pretty face, doing far more then any amount of rest could provide.
"Hola!" Ichigo beamed far too enthusiastically, down at Ishida as he collapsed at the top of the last rung and rolled himself to the side to catch his breath. All the while mumbling something about, stupid, pretty, Shinigami.
Apparently, cheerfully gushing out a hello wasn't enough, as Ichigo stood over Ishida, glancing down at him with a look of sly amusement on his face.
"So." The redhead started, humour lacing his words. "Have fun?"
If Ishida could have mustered the strength, he would have tackled the boy to the ground and attempt to cause him much pain and anguish. However, because his arms refused to cooperate, very little actually happened.
"Kurosaki are you going to stand there all day, grinning at me like a giddy leprechaun, or are you going to make yourself useful and help me up here?" said Ishida, just about managing to lift a hand off the ground.
A moment later and they were stood in the shadows outside Urahara's, daylight having died a while ago, both now illuminated by the glow from the store.
"So, where do you live then?" Ichigo asked nonchalantly, as if it was an everyday question.
"Kurosaki, I fail to see, how you knowing the location of my accommodation will add the situation."
'Stupid Quincy' Ichigo thought as his brow returned to normal.
"I've got it!" said Ishida very matter of factly on noticing the scowl appear once more.
"Got what?" said Ichigo.
"Why you scowl all the time."
'This should be good.' Thought Ichigo, gesturing for Ishida to continue.
"Its because you're lazy."
"Pardon? My scowl is there because I'm lazy?"
"Yes, apparently it takes more effort to smile then it does to frown, hence you're lazy."
"Am not!" defended Ichigo.
"Prove it then."
Ichigo forced a smile, it wasn't a natural look at all, in fact somewhere in the distance Ishida swore he heard Ururu scream. Ishida laughed.
"See, even when you try to smile you still manage to scowl."
"Bastard." Ichigo swore, "Now where do you live."
Ishida let out an irritated sigh.
"I thought we had been over this already."
"Idiot, I'm not letting you walk home, in the dark, with arms of jelly, all by yourself. Now where do you live? Or should I just follow you?"
Ishida did have to agree, it was late and he was beyond the ability to defend himself, with or without his powers.
"Okay then." He surrendered. "Follow me."
The trip to Ishida's went by silently, all their energy having already been spent, and of what remained being focusing into movement.
"I live over hear." Said Ishida tilting his head in the direction of a small apartment block, not too far away from the Kurosaki clinic. Ichigo looked around the entire area, taking it in, the location looked nice, lots of trees and bushes.
"Which number?" he demanded after looking about.
"Kurosaki I don't need walking to my front door."
"Perhaps not, Ishida, but I refuse to walk you this far, for you to be assaulted outside your apartment. Now, which number?"
Ishida gave in again, really it was easier this way, Ichigo's demands weren't unreasonable and he was tired, tired and hungry.
"Its number five, the last one on the right."
As the pair approached, a security light blinked on, blinding them for second, revealing a small wall in front of the premises that was surrounded by a thin strip of grass.
"This one?" asked Ichigo pointing at the door with the number five on it and leaping over the foot high wall.
"Once again Kurosaki, your observational skills never cease to amaze." Ishida used the small gate instead.
"Hey, it might not have been the right one, maybe, somehow." Ichigo trailed off.
Ishida reached for his keys that were dangling on a chain, attached to his trousers, set them into the lock and turned them with practised ease. Click. Ichigo peered inside.
"Looks nice." He commented. "This whole area looks nice."
"Its really not that much." Said Ishida as he stepped in, flicking the lights on.
"Well." Spoke Ichigo to no one in particular, the obligatory opening before the inevitable ending,
"You can come in if you like." Ishida offered. 'What?' His brain caught up, 'You just invited someone into our apartment?' Ishida stood there slightly open mouthed, where had that come from?
Ichigo seemed to notice and was a little startled by the hospitality of the other. Ishida was mostly a private person, yet here he was inviting him in.
Before Ishida could back out, or Ichigo think of a way to decline, his subconscious decided it was best not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and accepted.
"Sure. I've always wondered what your place looks like." Ichigo had never actually thought about Ishida's apartment, but now the offer was there, he found he was more then a little intrigued.
"Okay." Responded a still slightly dumbstruck Ishida, more to himself in confirmation of what he'd just done, then to Ichigo, neither of them moving anywhere.
"Okay," he repeated, sounding a little more confident and walked into his apartment, motioning for Ichigo to follow.
Ishida wandered around from here to there, turning things on, or turning things off, before walking into what was the kitchen. Ichigo kept quiet and followed him around, not wanting to upset anything, happy to just look at everything. Ichigo decided he rather liked Ishida's small flat, it may not have been fancy, or large, but everything was there, his mind settled on the word 'cosy'.
"You hungry?" asked Ishida, as he set about filling the kettle with water.
"I, wouldn't.." Ichigo started but was cut short.
"Stupid question, we haven't eaten for what now? Six? Seven hours? Of course you're hungry, you can't not be, I'm starved."
"Okay then." Ichigo answered back, "Now that you mention it, I am hungry. But I can always reheat something when I get home, Yuzu always cooks too much."
"Its okay, there's some soup I made yesterday, there should be enough for both of us." Ishida tapping a spoon he had just picked up, against the side of a metal pan. "Now, what would you like to drink?"
"Tea is fine." Said Ichigo, having spied the large container on the side, with "Tea" written over it in bold letters a minute before.
"That's two for tea then." Ishida hummed mainly to himself, whilst putting a light under the pan on the stove. "Stir this for me would you?" he asked, handing Ichigo a wooden spoon, "and I'll sort the drinks."
Ichigo took the spoon hesitantly. "I warn you, everything I try to cook, either gets burnt or ends up so far from the original recipe, you'd have trouble recognising it as food."
Ishida laughed quietly, plopping two bags into a teapot. "I'm sure it's not that bad and besides you're only stirring something that's already cooked."
"Yeah, not that bad." Parroted Ichigo, "You tell that to Yuzu, last time I tried to cook, the pan had to be thrown away, for fear of contamination."
Ishida laughed again, but this time slightly louder, grabbing two mugs and pouring the brew into each.
"Here, the tea's ready." He said handing one of the steaming mugs to Ichigo. "How's the soup doing?"
"I dunno." Replied Ichigo. "It smells good though."
"Lets see then." Ishida said taking the spoon and having a taste. "That'll do. Open the second cupboard on the left and get out two bowls please."
Ichigo obliged, noticing the two large spoons already on the counter. "These ones?" he questioned, holding up a bowl, similar to the ones they had at home.
"Yup, those ones, two of those and we're good."
Ishida turned off the heat and tipped the contents equally into each bowl, using the spoon to coax the last few remains, too stubborn to simply pour out, from the bottom of the pan. "There, looks like it should be enough." He said looking pleased.
The Quincy placed one bowl, plus spoon, into the Shinigami's outstretched hand, and walked out of the kitchen to what appeared to be the living room, switching the lights out as he went and descending them into darkness. He heard Ichigo gasp at the sudden change and smiled to himself. Then fondled around with the wall until he found another switch, flicking it, illuminating the other room with a soft glow.
"Make yourself at home." Ishida said pointing with his mug towards the couch opposite the television, before sitting down, choosing to sit on the floor at the foot of the couch, leaning against it as a backrest. Ichigo sat in on the sofa.
The other rooms Ichigo had seen, had been rather simple, choosing functionality over luxury, almost utilitarian in their design, but this room was different. Again, inline with the rest of the place, the room still wasn't very large, but it was certainly the biggest of the lot.
The room was oblong in shape, having two small windows, each on the wall opposite to where Ichigo was sitting, one on either side of the television. Both now had curtains drawn in front of them, Ichigo hadn't seen Ishida close them, he just guessed they were windows, but knowing the Quincy they could easily be wall hangings. Over to his right sat a desk and chair, Ichigo assumed Ishida used for working at, although it looked remarkably bare for something that should have got frequent use. His desk was a disaster, one mess of books followed on by a disarray of crumpled paper, but then he figured Ishida would be tidier then him. Then to his left sat a bookcase with what looked liked another desk that folded out, and when it was not in use, acted as more storage. This item puzzled Ichigo, it looked like and antique, or at least gave off the impression of being very old, the appearance being at odds with the rest of the décor.
Then in the middle of the room lay a large sheepskin rug, which Ichigo admitted looked glorious and wondered what lying on it might feel like. If it was as soft as it looked, who'd need a bed? Just roll up in the rug.
Finally, the whole ordeal was gently lit by three small lights in the ceiling, each firing directly into a shallow dish of frosted glass that caused the rays to diffuse out, the effect, in combination with the colour scheme, left a feeling of pleasant warmth over the area. Ichigo had thought it seemed cosy before, but now, lost somewhere in the generous cushions of the couch, his weary body couldn't think of anywhere else it'd rather be.
"I hope you don't mind." Uttered Ishida after they had both got comfortable. "But there is a program on that I want to watch."
"Oh, go ahead." Answered Ichigo. 'As long as its not some stupid show on clothes.' He added mentally.
Ishida twisted around, sticking his hand down the side of one of the cushions on the couch and fished around for a moment, before twisting some more, to get a better angle, and rooting again, coming up empty handed.
"Kurosaki, could you fidget around the cushions next to you and see if the remote is there? I know it's in there somewhere."
Ichigo handed his half empty bowl out for Ishida to hold and proceeded to have a good rummage.
"This it?" he asked after finding something which was obviously 'it'.
"Yeah, thanks." Said Ishida, both of them swapping back, remote for bowl.
A moment later and the screen was filled with some of the cutest little creatures Ichigo had ever seen, the narrator called them Pika, apparently the whole program was dedicated to the adorable little things. 'Well' thought Ichigo, after watching them run around carefree for a few minutes, 'this certainly isn't bad,' placing his now empty soup bowl on the small table next to the couch.
The pair of them sat there, just watching the program and remained mostly quiet, apart from when one of the pika would do something amusing - like falling off a rock backwards - when both would laugh. Out the corner of his eye Ichigo kept noticing that Ishida would periodically rub at his shoulders and readjust his position, it was as if he couldn't get comfortable. Ichigo couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt, as it was him who had thrust the sword into Ishida's face, without so much of an option, although he had said they could stop whenever Ishida had wanted, so he couldn't blame himself that much. Still no matter what he came up with, it didn't stop the fact that Ishida was now in obvious discomfort from having used his arms too much.
Timidly Ichigo moved his position, inching closer and closer to Ishida. What if he reacted badly? I mean he did this all the time for his sisters and on occasion, father, when he needed it. Oh the hell with it he thought and seated himself right behind the dark haired boy, causing the cushion beneath him, and the one Ishida was leaning on, to compress, pushing into the Quincy's back. The dark haired boy chose to ignore it, even though it made him feel apprehensive, what was Kurosaki up to?
Having got where he wanted to be, Ichigo made the final step and scooted his legs out, placing them down, gently along Ishida's sides, almost holding him in place.
He may have been a little bit anxious as to what Ichigo was doing, but when Ishida saw those long legs stick out by the sides of his head, he nearly had a heart attack. 'What the hell was Ichigo up to?' he thought, as he lost sight of the legs and realised where they were headed, now Ishida was nervous and slightly with anticipation wondered what was going to happen next, then he felt Ichigo's hands on his shoulders, he shuddered involuntarily to all the close contact.
"I hope you don't mind."
Ishida could hardly speak, let alone mind.
"But I couldn't help notice you rubbing your shoulders. I give the family massages all the time at home, Dad to relax him, Karin after sport and Yuzu just because she likes them."
Ichigo didn't wait for a reply before starting his hands in motion, pressing and kneading into the muscles beneath his fingertips, searching out any areas that were particularly bad and tending to them first.
Ishida sat there, still slightly in awe at what was going on.
Ichigo just continued to do what he'd done a thousand times before.
The pika pups – currently forgotten - frolicked around with each other in the morning sun.
Slowly Ishida began to relax, his body was tired, partly a wreck and what Ichigo was doing felt far too good, he simply didn't care about what this meant. Ichigo was giving him a massage, something there sounded slightly wrong, but damn it, if it felt this good, as long as those fingers continued to do what they were now, then it didn't matter. His shoulders for one would never forgive him for putting up any protest.
Eventually, Ishida had completely melted to the administration, Ichigo methodically easing out all the knots in the muscles, having finished with the forearms and shoulders, moving onto Ishida's neck. Instinctively Ishida lowered his head, drooping forwards to look at the ground, although the ground in question remained obscured as his eyes were firmly closed, his hair parting at the back to reveal a patch of soft, creamy skin. Ichigo inched his fingers further up, proceeding to gently rub the tender area just below the jaw line.
Ishida seemed to like this and he let out an impossibly quiet whimper. Ichigo noticed the noise but didn't know where it had come from and he looked at the television; nothing but snowy white tundra, his mind absently wondering how the pika coped in the cold. Then it came again, this time a little louder, but still Ichigo couldn't quite work out where it was coming from, once again he checked the television; still the barren Iceland. The third time he heard it, his fingers also felt subtle vibrations at their tips and then the penny dropped.
Up till now Ichigo had been working entirely on autopilot, he could have done this blindfold, he didn't of course and paid much attention to what he was doing, but it never occurred to him once, just what exactly it was he was doing, treating Ishida like another family member.
'Ishida had just moaned,' Ichigo now thought, 'and not in a bad way. Ishida had moaned several times. He was giving Ishida a massage and it was causing him to moan.'
Ichigo felt very nervous all of a sudden, his hands becoming clammy.
'What If the noises stop? Does that mean he's not enjoying it anymore? Do I want him to be enjoying it this much?'
Then Ichigo became aware of what his hands were doing, he also noticed the delicate patch of skin beneath his fingers, feeling how soft it was and how reaching forwards and kissing that patch of skin seemed like a very good idea, just to see if it was a soft as his fingers told him it was.
'What!?' his brain interrupted brashly. 'You want to kiss Ishida's neck? What the hell he put in that soup?'
Mmmm, the soup had been nice, just like the noises Ishida was still making. And his neck, Ishida's long, smooth, soft neck.
'Right, that's it, I'm out of here.' Came his brain again. 'Just don't come complaining to me if you do kiss him and he turfs you out, wondering things like. "Will he be ok, and I wonder if he hates me."
Ichigo paid his brain no mind and started to fall forwards, hands still in motion, lips slowly getting closer to Ishida. The gap between them ever decreasing, mmm he could smell Ishida now.. then Bang! The program ended, the sound editors choice in music, something of a mystery, taking both boys by surprise and jolting them back to reality. Ichigo shot back, dazed, and folded his arms across his chest, pulling his legs up and crossing them defensively.
"Mmm." Said Ishida rubbing his eyes and stretching out. "That felt great, thanks."
"You're welcome." Ichigo stuttered, trying to make sense of it all.
"Hadn't you better get going?" yawned the Quincy and standing up, oblivious to what might have just happened. "It's getting really late."
"Oh, yeah, home." Ichigo got to his feet and shuffled on the spot awkwardly. "Well, thanks for the soup and, err, everything."
Ishida yawned again. Followed on by Ichigo.
"Don't do that." Complained Ichigo.
"Do what?" said Ishida sleepily.
"Yawn! You're making me yawn by doing it."
Ishida just sighed and smiled, picking up the dirty mug and bowl he'd brought in with him, far too content to bother arguing.
"Carry you're stuff into the kitchen for me?" he asked Ichigo.
"Oh, sure." The redhead replied, before following Ishida and plonking his dirty dishes into the sink, Ishida turning on a tap, leaving them to soak.
"Well, thanks again for everything. But you're right, its late, I had better be off." Ichigo said walking to the door.
"No problem." Ishida yawned once more and followed him to the exit.
Ichigo opened the door and was assaulted by a chilly gust of wind.
"Oh yes!" he perked up, his brain coming back online from the sudden rush of air.
'Oh no' thought Ishida, noticing the glint in Ichigo's eyes.
"I just remembered, you're going to love what I've got planned for next time." And with that Ichigo disappeared into the night.
'Next time? Next time what?' panicked Ishida, remembering the massage, 'Ichigo surely can't have meant!? No don't be stupid, its Ichigo, he cant have meant, and do you really want that to happen anyway?'
Then it was Ishida's brains turn to switch back on.
'Next time, oh, he means at the training complex.' This didn't do much to lessen the panic he'd felt before, Ishida all to aware that he'd narrowly escaped having to use his powers, and all by stupid luck on Ichigo's part. Would he be so lucky next time?