I consider this chapter fairly boring, sorry about that. I hope the fact that I consider chapter four great will appease you while reading this. XD Thanks for the reviews and helpful tips though guys, it's appreciated!
"Oh Princesses! Daddy is home and he's brought your brothers!" Isshin screamed as he opened the door of the Kurosaki Clinic.
The door opened into the brightly lit kitchen area of the house. Isshin glanced back and forth for a moment, wondering just where his youngest children could be. Peaking out from behind the kitchen door, Yuzu smiled brightly. Quickly she ran into the kitchen and threw herself toward Isshin.
"Daddy! You're late!" She admonished slightly as she wrapped herself around the man's torso. The time was exactly 10:02 pm, and Isshin had told the two girls that he would return near 8:00 pm or 9:00 pm.
"Yes, but I'm home now! Feel Daddy's love, Yuzu!" He said while grabbing Yuzu and cuddling her small body in his arms.
Ichigo stood behind the happy pair, watching as Isshin mauled Yuzu and kissed her face gratuitously. Rolling his eyes he pushed at his father's back.
"Move outta the way, geeze." A rather sardonic voice came from behind the man and the little girl. Looking over her father's shoulder Yuzu saw Ichigo trapped outside behind their father. Leaning forward a bit more she could make out the figure behind Ichigo, Hichigo?
"Ichi-nii! And is this my new brother, Hichigo-niisan!?" Yuzu squealed as she squirmed out of Isshin's tight grip, forcing her way back to the tiled floor. Quickly she ran past her father toward Ichigo and Hichigo, leaving the older man to wonder just what had happened.
"It's very nice to meet you Hichigo-niisan! My name is Yuzu and I hope we'll get along really well!" Yuzu shouted happily as she held out her hand to shake Hichigo's. He stared down at her hand for a moment, almost as if wondering what she wanted him to do. After a few seconds, however, he returned the greeting limply and shook her fingers.
"Yeah, uh, nice to...see you too," He responded in a rather tired voice.
At about that moment Karin entered the room, "About time you guys got home; Yuzu was worried sick over you." She snapped toward the men, a rather annoyed expression planted on her face.
"Karin!" Isshin shouted loudly as he attempted to hug the little black-haired girl–now a master of evasive maneuvers to her father's 'love'. Stepping swiftly to the side, dodging her father's attack, Karin crossed her arms and looked skeptically at the two orange-haired boys in front of her, as if not quite sure what to make of them. She had never known Hichigo, at least not from what she could remember. It was odd seeing someone look so similar to Ichigo, and it was especially odd to see someone with the same hair-color.
Hmm, they'd be almost identical if not for the length of their hair... In that old picture Yuzu had I couldn't even tell them apart, Karin thought as she processed the sight before her. Ichigo had one hand stuffed in the pocket of his too-tight jeans and the other hanging by his side, he seemed to be annoyed with the situation entirely. While Hichigo had his arms crossed tightly across his chest and was looking downward, as if he didn't feel comfortable.
"I'm Karin," she decided to try, "Ichi- nii told me that we met at least once before, but it was a while ago." Karin spoke calmly as she leaned back against the kitchen wall near the door to the living room. Her large blue eyes pointed directly at Hichigo. He looked up, nodded in agreement, and looked back down.
Karin frowned a bit as she watched him. He definitely wasn't comfortable, but there was something else too. There was something that she just couldn't see but knew it was there. Pulling her baseball cap down a bit over her eyes she sighed loudly. She didn't like it, and her father and Yuzu seemed to be just a bit too happy with the new arrangements.
"Hey, Yuzu, I think 'Ghost Bust' might be back on now...I'll finish watching it with you if you really want."
"'Ghost Bust'!?" Isshin yelled excitedly from his place near Karin.
Yuzu stepped away from him, removing herself from the creepy atmosphere that Karin felt around Hichigo. It wasn't natural, and she was immediately relieved when Yuzu had moved.
"Huh, okay!" Yuzu yelped happily in surprise. Her sister never wanted to watch 'Ghost Bust' with her!
"Oh, but..." Yuzu stopped, looking back at the three men in her kitchen, "...what about dinner?" She asked, after all, they probably hadn't eaten in a long time and a home-cooked meal was better than any fast food.
Karin grimaced a bit as she watched Yuzu fret, "They'll be fine, we already ate and they can just warm up the leftovers for themselves."
Yuzu hesitated, but reluctantly agreed. There was a really good episode on tonight! After a moment, Yuzu followed her sister back into the dark living room to finish watching her favorite television show.
"Wait, I want to watch it!" Isshin yelled, running after his two daughters. Just before running into the other room however, he caught himself. The older man turned around with a happy, yet more serious expression upon his face.
"Hichigo, would you like to watch it with us? Ichigo doesn't like it, but you might!" He smiled, trying to encourage his other son to come and watch the 'family' television show that he and Yuzu adored so much.
Hichigo looked at the man with a small frown, "Ah–no, I don't like it either."
Isshin shrugged one of his shoulders and waved back to his two son before running to meet his daughters on the sofa.
Ichigo looked over at Hichigo for a moment, narrowing his eyes. The guy couldn't be trusted. At all. Shaking his head a bit he decided to fish out some of Yuzu's leftovers for himself.
Walking over to the refrigerator he opened the door and stuck his head in, trying to decide where the leftovers could be. Spotting them, he pulled out the large bowl and placed it on the counter. Removing the saran-wrap from the top he noticed that it was only miso stew. He removed a bowl and chopsticks from their respective cupboards and filled it with the stew, making a slight face at the prospect of reheating the dish.
Looking up from his work he noticed that Hichigo seemed to be watching him intently with a sour expression on his face. Ichigo glared back, hoping that the other would stop looking at him–it didn't work.
"What?" Ichigo asked plainly as he popped his stew into the microwave for a minute.
Hichigo's glare only seemed to gain strength from the acknowledgment.
Ichigo turned away from Hichigo, deciding it would probably be better if he just watched his soup go in circles through the microwave door. What is his problem, anyway, Ichigo asked himself angrily. Looking over his shoulder, Hichigo was still looking at him.
Ichigo narrowed his eyes, turning back around.
"What is it? Did you want some?" He asked, pointing to the stew on the counter. He really couldn't deal with someone acting like that for no good reason.
Hichigo, if possible, glared harder. He removed his arms from their place across his chest and put them down at his sides in closed fists.
"No." He answered, looking back at Ichigo, almost challenging him. Although, he couldn't quite place what he was challenging him to.
Having had enough of Hichigo's behavior, Ichigo sat down his chopsticks and leaned over the counter to face him.
"Then what is your problem?" Ichigo growled, looking directly into the eyes of his brother.
Huffing at the words, Hichigo hunched forward a bit more toward Ichigo, meeting the challenge in his eyes.
"My problem? You're my problem, Ichigo," He dared, waiting for Ichigo to retort, to say something.
Ichigo glowered across the counter-top at his twin brother.
"Don't say my name like that Bastard, we're not close." He countered. It was odd that Hichigo would use his first name, perhaps if the two were on good terms it wouldn't have mattered to Ichigo that he had been addressed by his first name alone, but Hichigo was practically a stranger to him and they had never been close in the first place.
The crooked smile spread a bit wider over Hichigo's face as he watched the unease pass over Ichigo's features. There was a certain satisfaction taken in making his brother angry or uncomfortable. There always had been, though in the past it seemed he didn't even have to frown. Shaking his head slightly, smile still firmly in place, Hichigo continued on with the conversation.
"Fine, fine, whatever," Hichigo waved off,"anyway, I'm not hungry. I am curious though as to where I'll be sleeping...?" He asked, cocking one of his eyebrows slightly.
"Dad has a bed set up for you in my room; room's upstairs, won't be too hard to find." After giving the terrible directions, Ichigo turned away from Hichigo, silently ending the conversation.
Snorting softly, Hichigo took that as his cue to leave the room. Wandering out of the kitchen and into the dark living area of the house he found the rest of his so-called family on the sofa. Isshin and Yuzu leaned forward in excitement as they watched the rather eccentric-looking actor laugh at something. Karin was curled up in one of the cushions near Yuzu with a scowl set firmly upon her face, but she was still there, watching it for the sake of her family.
For all the faults in the picture, they all seemed happy. Hichigo glowered at the sight before him. It seemed all too normal, all too close. How easy it seemed for them to be able to forget the world around them and submerge themselves in the program. It was so easy for them to coexist with one another in a happy peaceful way. The way that they lived...without him. For so long they simply forget that he existed. They held tightly to each other when it seemed so easy for them to simply let Hichigo go.
Giving the happy (at least semi-so in Karin's case) trio a last look, Hichigo looked forward and spotted the stairway. Padding his way across the hardwood floor Hichigo made his way to the stairs.
Feeling along the wall for a moment, Hichigo found what he had been looking for: a light switch. He blinked as the brightness of the lightbulbs hit him, opening his eyes, he took in the sight before him. Atop the stairs the orange-haired boy was met with a small hallway with two doors on either side.
Bastard, one of these has to be his room, Hichigo thought as his face contorted in a frown. Turning to the first door on the left side of the hallway, he decided to open each door until he hit one that resembled what he thought a teenage boys room should look like.
Opening the door, he realized that he was definitely not in a boys room. On one side of the light-colored room were two beds and two night stands. On one of the beds sat a small group of stuffed animals and on the other were a few small hats and a hairbrush. Closing the door he made his way further down.
The next room that he hit happened to be quite lucky. The room directly next to what he assumed to be Karin and Yuzu's bedroom happened to be what he assumed was Ichigo's bedroom. Flicking the light switch near the door he noticed that it was rather small in size–definitely a great deal smaller than the girls' room. Two beds fit well against one wall, but only one night stand fit between them. It was a neat room however, and would at the very least serve it's purpose well.
Walking further into the room the orange-haired boy noticed a closet on one wall. Walking toward it he noticed the hard floor underneath his feet, evidently no one cared to carpet the place. Opening the closet Hichigo was slightly surprised. It was big, almost big enough for a small person to comfortably sleep in if they so desired. Upon the floor of the closet was a large pile of blankets and changes of bedding; even an extra pillow for whatever reason.
The clothes hanging in the closet, Hichigo decided, were very nice. There were a large variety of jackets, t-shirts, and jeans. Not much else, but various accessories were hung on the back wall of the closet behind the clothes. Vacantly he wondered if he would go shopping and buy his own clothes, or if he would simply be forced to share Ichigo's clothes. Evidently Isshin hadn't made any preparations for him beyond that of a bed.
Snorting, Hichigo closed the closet and perused the rest of the bedroom. He noted that there was only one dresser with six drawers. Peeking into them the saw that only two were filled, and assumed that he was allowed at least three of the dresser-drawers.
Turning his attention back to the bed, he examined it. There was a blue comforter adorning the top and one pillow with a white case over it. Upon closer inspection, he found a picture next to the pillow. With a small glare he picked it up and glanced over it. His breath hitched slightly as he recognized the faces.
The picture itself must have been taken long before the two girls' were ever born. There was his mother smiling with all her beauty, arms wrapped around his shoulders, Ichigo was standing next to him with Isshin's arm around his shoulder. A family picture. Feeling his pulse rise a bit he sat down, pulling his knees up as he looked at the picture closer. It was old, that was certain, and looked dirty and stained. It was still easily recognizable, however.
"Mom..." He whispered as he looked at it. How long had it been since he'd actually seen her face? He had been unable to attend her funeral because the doctors had decided that he was too hysterical to leave his room, let alone the hospital altogether.
After that Ichigo had only visited him twice more that year, and stopped coming. He remembered Karin and Yuzu being very young and only visiting him a couple of times after that as well, and Isshin had never brought them again either. When his mother was alive though she made it a point to stay with him as long as she could at the hospital. She played games with him and brought him homemade food and chocolate, even though she wasn't supposed to.
Sighing as the memories resurfaced, Hichigo leaned over the side of his new bed, placing the picture just underneath of it. Returning to his former, sitting position, he bounced carefully. The mattress was springy and didn't creek. Of course, his bed at the Institute didn't creek either, but the mattress was thin and uncomfortable, and the black straps that were occasionally used on him kept him discomforted. Occasionally he wondered if when he woke up he'd be strapped down. It happened once, actually, apparently he was having night terrors.
Shaking his head, Hichigo allowed himself to lay down on the bed. It seemed so much larger than anything he'd ever slept in before, even though it was just a simple twin mattress. The pillow was soft and comfortable too, he noted. It was a nice room, however, he couldn't get over the gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach that things would be bad.
He couldn't get over that living with Ichigo would be a bad thing, that having Isshin around would be bad. They probably didn't really want him there anyway. After all, could a loving parent that wanted him leave him in a lonely, painful place such as the Fujikawa Institute? He'd thought about this question a thousand times, and the answer he always came up with was no, he was not loved. The answer didn't bother him nearly as much as it had when he was younger, though. No, it almost didn't bother him at all.
When Ichigo went to bed that night he found Hichigo curled into a small ball upon his bed. At first he wasn't certain if the boy was sleeping or if he was just lying there. The light hadn't been shut off and he hadn't bothered to change his clothes from earlier, so Ichigo wasn't certain. Coming closer, however, he found that Hichigo was indeed sleeping.
Looking over the face for a moment, Ichigo frowned, Hichigo looked so different. Instead of the ever-present scowl, that all too often found its way to Ichigo's face as well, there was a placid look. His eyes were closed softly and his mouth was slightly open, taking shallow breaths every few seconds. He didn't seem quite as easy to call demon as before.
Taking a sharp breath, Ichigo turned away. Just because he didn't look like a demon didn't mean that he wasn't one. And looks were all too often deceiving, he reminded himself. Walking back over to the light switch near the bedroom door, Ichigo flipped it off, and walked back over to his own bed. Trying to get a good night's sleep.