A lot of credit goes to my beta, Cassandra, for helping me out with sentence structure and just all around grammar (from the Hichigo/Shirosaki/Anti-Ichigo Livejournal community, go there). I hope you enjoy it!
The room was a crisp, clean white, the only variation being the black of the bed straps and the silver of the various pieces of equipment. The orange-haired boy looked to his right, watching the sunlight from the barred plexiglass window as it shone through and glinted off of the plastic tray sitting on top of his bedside table. He didn't see the sunlight in his room often, due to the large buildings surrounding the Institute; only when it was midday and the sun was high in the sky could he see anything. The room itself was rather sad, completely devoid of warmth or personality–it had been his home for over eight years.
The nurses fluttered around the room, gathering his things. Brown eyes watched from behind crossed arms as two incredibly cheery women worked their way around the room and gathered the very few things that he had been able to call his possessions over the years. There weren't many things that he actually owned, after all, in a mental institution there are very few things that it was ok for patients to have. There was a teddy bear that he had ever since he could remember. It hardly meant much to him though; he hadn't held it for years and looking at it occasionally made him angry. He also had a few other knick-knacks that Isshin had given him over the years for birthdays or other such trivial things. Hichigo glared at the chipper women as they finished packing his items into a small 'complimentary' black duffle bag.
"Maa, Hichigo-san, are you very excited to see your family? You get to go live with them! Isn't that exciting Hichigo-san?" The young brunette nurse bent over near him, smiling while talking, the way one would speak to a five-year-old child.
He turned his head away from the exuberant woman, refusing to look her in the eye. It
simply wasn't worth the effort.
"Whatever," he responded, pulling at the white tank top that the Institute had given him to wear home. His typical wardrobe consisted of a hospital shirt that tied in the back or a tank top with a pair of light blue hospital pants–today was no different.
Watching the door wearily, he waited for the man he had once known as 'father' to arrive. He'd stopped calling Isshin his father at some point after his tenth birthday; Hichigo had decided that he simply didn't deserve the title. After all, he usually only saw the man around his birthday, due to the money that it cost to make his way to the Fujikawa Institute so far away from his home in Karakura. Usually he visited a few days before or after his birthday; couldn't have precious Ichigo missing out on his father's love on their actual birthday. Rolling his eyes slightly at the memories, he pushed his chin-length orange hair away from his face.
"Ohh Hichigo!! Daddy's here!!" a voice sang in an obnoxiously high tone from the hallway outside of his room (which was amazing due to the extraordinarily thick, almost completely soundproof walls that all of the rooms in the Institute had). It was followed by several of the nurses voices complaining about noise and one loud shriek, most probably from another patient in fear of the loud man.
"Hichigo!!" Hichigo's eye twitched slightly as the noise pierced through his thoughts.
It figures...he won't even give me a moment of peace before barging in here, Hichigo thought to himself as he straightened out his legs from their position near his chest. Time to go, it seemed.
"Hichigo!" The door burst open as the eccentric middle-aged man waltzed through. As expected, several nurses were surrounding him, hushing him and trying to hold him still to refine his manner.
"Oh, you finally showed up, hm?" the boy asked, removing himself from the pristine hospital bed and making his way over to the man. Moving revealed that his body was thin in a sickly way from being inside most of the time and never doing much of anything; even his skin had a pale tint of grey to it from the lack of direct sunlight.
"Ah, yes!! And guess what, I have surprise in the car for you!!" he called as he quickly grabbed the small black bag from Hichigo's former bed.
"Che, I can hardly wait," the orange-haired boy responded in a sarcastic tone, following his 'father' outside to his so-called freedom. He wasn't optimistic about this turn-around of events.
Ichigo sat in the back seat of the taxi, tapping his leg nervously with his hands. Why the hell had his father dragged him out here anyway? Oh, his brother. The one that hated him and had been in a psycho place for at least half of his life. He could already tell nothing could possibly turn out well. There was just no getting around it, but only Ichigo himself seemed to see the flaws.
If his father owned a car it wouldn't be nearly as awkward for the little 'family reunion', however. Ichigo didn't think a fat cabby dripping a hotdog down his shirt that he had pulled from his side-door pocket was a very welcoming first sight. It would be awkward enough as it was without any outside help. He hadn't seen his twin brother in years, and Hichigo probably didn't want to see him anyway.
We don't even like each other, he thought irritably as he watched out the window, waiting for his father to return with his brother. Ichigo's eyebrows furrowed into a deeper frown than before as he thought about Isshin and Hichigo.
Looking up at the foreboding building, he felt a slight chill go down his spine. The Fujikawa Institute for the Mentally Handicapped. It was an awful name, he thought, after all, Hichigo wasn't so much 'mentally handicapped' as he was 'explosively violent.' The name didn't seem to fit; he supposed, though, that his brother's problem could sort of could be considered a mental handicap, and left it at that.
Brown eyes glanced in one direction and then the other. Isshin hadn't been thrown out on his face yet, so it seemed to be going well at least. Looking forward he noted that the cab-driver had finished his hotdog and was currently wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his green jacket. The orange-haired boy winced in disgust at the sight. Slightly sick from the view in front of him, Ichigo diverted his eyes back to the window, watching the clear front doors of the Institute for any movement.
After another moment or so – after what had seemed like an eternity – he watched as the doors opened slightly. Breath hitching in his throat, he strained to see the figures behind the doors, beyond the bright glare of the sun. Out strolled his too-excited father carrying a small black bag and what seemed to be a large manila file, and what seemed to be...his brother. His eyes widened as he took in the sight.
The two were walking toward the yellow vehicle, but Ichigo couldn't look away from Hichigo–it was almost like looking into a distorted mirror. They were basically still the same, it seemed. Their faces still looked almost identical, with the same brown eyes placed in the same frown, and lips slightly pursed in annoyance. He wondered to himself if he looked exactly like that, exactly the same.
Orange hair almost the same shades, although Ichigo's was slightly bleached near the top from spending time in the sun, which it seemed Hichigo had neglected to do altogether. His skin was a sickly pale with almost grey colored edges, and he looked thin and underweight. The white hospital outfit wasn't doing much to cover the fact that he was scrawny and possessed little-to-no muscle. Ichigo winced slightly at the boy before him, before running his hand through orange spikes and telling himself not to worry.
Breathing out one final breath of nervousness, he decided that everything would be fine. They wouldn't have let him out of that place if he weren't better, right? Of course, they were a well known clinic with intelligent men and women working there; no way they would let someone leave that wasn't ready.
Ichigo looked away as his father grabbed Hichigo's arm, which was roughly pulled away, and started to wave hysterically to Ichigo–the cabby responded with a wave of his own and a crooked, yellow smile.
Looking back up he noticed that Hichigo had caught sight of him. He'd been right, the other boy didn't seem happy to see his older twin brother at all if the death glare being shot at him was any indication. Isshin seemed none-the-wiser to this and continued on toward the ugly, beaten vehicle.
"Isn't it a beautiful thing? When two brothers can see each other after having been away from each other for so long?" Isshin smiled as he tossed the little black duffle bag in the backseat on Ichigo and stepped out of the way for Hichigo to climb in. He seemed unwilling.
"Hello." Ichigo acknowledged him, nodding slightly in Hichigo's direction. He was returned a deeper glare.
"Hello," Hichigo finally responded, taking in what he was seeing. Had this been the 'surprise' good ol' dad had been talking about? Ichigo? His eyes narrowed slightly as he took the other boy in.
Ichigo looked fine. Perfectly healthy and if not for the crease in his forehead, he would probably be happy, too. He seemed to have a nice build and a good complexion. Hichigo hated him again already. Not that he had ever stopped hating him from childhood, but it had lessened with time. However, that hate seemed to be back in full force now that he could see him again.
"C'mon Hichigo!" Isshin pushed the boys back. "Get in! We have many things to do!" He smiled as he himself leapt into the front seat of the car.
Climbing tentatively in the back seat, Hichigo avoided contact with Ichigo as much as possible. He climbed only to the rightmost seat and sat with his forehead leaning against the window.
"This is really a beautiful moment, you know." The cabby sniffed from his place in the front-seat, wiping at his eyes.
"I agree! It's so wonderful when families are reunited!" Isshin sang as he grabbed the arm of the emotional cab-driver.
"Idiot, it's not like he was lost or anything." Ichigo rolled his eyes, staying near the leftmost seat with his elbow perched near the window, allowing his head to lean on it.
Hichigo snorted softly as the words went on around him. Ichigo...he hated Ichigo. Ichigo probably had a perfect life with a dozen friends, he probably had a beautiful girlfriend and was probably popular too. He didn't look nerdy or anything; grudgingly, Hichigo admitted to himself that Ichigo looked cool. Bastard, Mr. Soccer star or something too, probably.
He didn't deserve the fame. He didn't deserve anything at all. Not when Hichigo had to endure that hell just because he was a little angry. The psychiatrists had told him that his parents had sent him there to help him. Help him? How could being locked in a room and strapped to a bed help anyone? he fumed silently, irritation growing with every moment.
Ichigo deserved what Hichigo had gotten. He deserved to be locked up like a common criminal and have needles jammed in his arms whenever he got a little rowdy. He deserved to be strapped down and spoken to as if nothing was amiss. He deserved unnerving silence and loud sobs from adjoining rooms at night. He deserved to cry, and feel pain, and hurt inside. He deserved everything that Hichigo himself had gotten. And Hichigo, naturally, deserved whatever Ichigo had. It wasn't fair! They were the same, why would their parents only send him away?
Ichigo looked out the corner of his eye at Hichigo. His head was still leaning against the window, arms crossed. He didn't even appear to acknowledge Ichigo's presence. His eyes narrowed a bit at this. Finally away from a hospital and all he does is pout, Ichigo thought bitterly as he watched the other boy with a skeptical expression. Suddenly, however, his thoughts were interrupted by his father.
"Oh, you'll be so excited when you get home Hichigo!" The man turned around in his seat, smiling that happy, lopsided smile he always had.
"You'll get to see Karin and Yuzu! Your little sisters!" he yelled exuberantly, taking no notice that Hichigo hadn't even looked in his direction since the long car ride began.
Digging around in his pocket for a moment, Isshin seemed to find what he was looking for. From his right coat pocket he pulled out a rather tattered looking brown wallet. From the wallet he pulled a large collection of papers.
"Look," he grabbed a photograph from the mess, "this is Yuzu," he pointed to the small blonde, "and this is Karin!" He pointed to the tomboy with black hair.
"Aren't they just the most beautiful girls you've ever seen!?" he asked, trying to hand the picture back to Hichigo.
Tentatively turning his head, Hichigo regarded the picture with composure. Slowly he removed the picture from Isshin's large hands and looked at it himself. His sisters...he'd only seen them for a short while when he was very young and a couple of times in the Institute, they were very small then, however. Yuzu, the blonde, seemed to have their mother's face already, odd hair, but their mother's face. And Karin, he supposed, was the only one of the four children that resembled Isshin.
He glared slightly at the picture. They looked too happy, too sure of themselves. They looked between the ages of seven and ten, which was near the age that he was carted off and thrown in an asylum. How long before Karin or Yuzu get a little too angry and are shipped off to the same fate? he wondered bitterly. It was true that he didn't particularly care for the girls, as he hadn't known them at all, but the thought was still there, and the bitterness seemed to grow.
Upon returning the picture to the black-haired man, he noticed that Ichigo was glaring at him. Smirking a bit, he narrowed his eyes toward Ichigo.
"Something you don't like?" he asked, cocking his head to one side as he smiled at his twin.
Ichigo continued looking over at the boy. It seemed that he still had that cocky, no good smirk. It was insane, the way he smiled. Hichigo had always had a large smile, which was fine unless he was angry, in which case it made him look crazy. Ichigo didn't allow his face to reveal his feelings, however.
"Yeah, there is." He turned toward Hichigo a bit, as if daring him to say one more thing. He hadn't liked the way that he was looking at Karin and Yuzu's picture. It was unsettling.
Hichigo glared back, the ephemeral smile fading to be replaced with a glare. Snapping his eyes away from Ichigo, he turned back to lay his head against the warm glass and watch the expansive buildings pass by.