A/N: Bleach isn't mine. Characters ain't mine. Idea is mine, but what the hey.

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Expectations

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"Why did they send this to me?" demanded Ayasegawa Yumichika irritably. "Is there a huge, blinking sign over my head that says, 'Give Me Nail Polish And Assorted Female Fripperies'?"

"No," answered Madareme Ikkaku, carefully shaving his morning stubble from his chin. "They are just in love with ya, Yumi."

"As if I need the adoration of morons." Yumichika tossed the gaudy purple-and-silver package into the garbage bin nearby. "Pass me the razor."

Ikkaku wiped off the lather and kissed his lover on his prickly cheek. Yumichika brushed him off, still stuck in morning grumpiness, and Ikkaku had to smile at the sight of a ticked-off Yumichika. The color was high in his face, the eloquent violet eyes were snapping with passion, and there was a stiff fire to his movements.

Ikkaku shrugged off his thoughts and went to pull on his attire.

How in all the worlds did he end up cuddling in the same bed with one of the most demanding and bad-tempered bastards in Soul Society? And why in all the worlds did he enjoy it so damn much?

Yumichika called out from the bathroom. "Ikkaku, breakfast is already prepped. Leave some waffles for me!"

"All right!" Ikkaku called back as he walked into the kitchenette. This was technically lieutenant Yachiru's place, but since that brat refused to separated too far from her Ken-chan, Ikkaku and Yumichika moved in. The bald shinigami sniffed. The sweet aroma of waffles drifted faintly past his nose. And there was also the savory smell of ham and bacon and eggs – artery clogging food that Ikkaku couldn't live without.

As he took the first bite of his bacon and Yumichika emerged freshened from the bathroom, Ikkaku grinned to himself. He knew the answer. A good cook, a great lay and an awesome fighter – the brunet had him satisfied in every single way.

Sometimes, Ikkaku thought contentedly, he had to have been a saint to have earned the karmic reward of Ayasegawa Yumichika.

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Many years ago...

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They met, as expected, in a bar.

It didn't take long at all for Ikkaku to know he wanted in Yumichika's pants. But that was way after he recovered from the knowledge that the only piece worth ogling in the rundown shack was male. He had been a lot more than disappointed – Ikkaku thought 'she' had the most dangerous eyes ever seen this side of existence.

Wild and unfettered, coldly detached, a barely-disguised sneer that proclaimed you were no more than the scum that stuck itself to cockroaches' feet. That aura drew Ikkaku like a moth to a flame. And to know that 'she' was a he... Ikkaku got drunk out of pique. And that had led to an expected bar brawl.

That was when he knew he wanted Yumichika.

Hell, that man with the Hime haircut had singlehandedly taken down three brutes without even breaking a sweat. Ikkaku himself laid out four, of course: there was no way he'd admit that a pretty boy could beat him in a bar fight.

That decided, Ikkaku had walked up to Yumichika, introduced himself, and got his ass handed back to him on a silver platter.

On hindsight, Ikkaku thought perhaps he shouldn't have started with "Hey, babe."

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The night Ikkaku almost died – for the first time – was the best night of his life.

He had finally found the one person whose defeat could be his goal and his aspiration. It felt nice.

It would be nice not to bleed to death too.

Yumichika, whom Ikkaku had built an uneasy friendship with, came and ripped his lovely kimono into long strips, bandaging the bald man as best as he could. There was no expression other than a tightness about Yumichika's mouth. The beautiful man hauled Ikkaku up – more roughly than he probably meant to – and lugged him to a hut for shelter. No mistaking that look: Yumichika was pissed.

Ikkaku did the only thing that made sense to him. He kissed Yumichika on the mouth to ease that tight anger.

"You bloody moron," whispered Yumichika after Ikkaku pulled away, grimacing in pain. "You can't wait to do that until we can actually fuck each other senseless?"

"I'm not all that patient, Yumichika," chuckled Ikkaku. He hurt all over, the wounds reopened in the passage from road to hut, but his heart felt like it was fifty times lighter and everything in his head was singing. He put it down to blood loss and also the coy yet irritated look on Yumichika's lovely face.

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When he finally recovered he thought he'd put into good use the new knowledge he had of his traveling companion. Ikkaku thought that, after walking across half of Rukongai's outer reaches, beating and killing any pathetic losers that challenged them, had a pretty good grasp of Yumichika. In fact, he thought he could read the younger man like a book.

Unfortunately, he only received the abridged version.

"I didn't say you're allowed to make any noise, 'Kaku," growled Yumichika, teeth on Ikkaku's nipple. "It's against the rules."

When Yumichika pressed the tip of his tongue against the hard nub, Ikkaku whimpered. He had never been this damn submissive to anyone before, and it was killing him.

"I said," warned Yumichika, eyes narrowing, "no sound at all." He sat up and ground his hips down. Ikkaku swore inventively in his own mind; Yumichika decided to add another deep bite into the underside of Ikkaku's arms – a spot Ikkaku never knew could be that fucking sensitive.

All night long, Yumichika had teased, bitten, slapped and fondled his captive in ways Ikkaku had never imagined possible, and by now Ikkaku was ready to sell himself and his own mother – if he knew where she was – to receive completion. Thrice he had nearly come, only to have his partner leave him and relax. While Ikkaku sported a hard-on, the brunette checked the ends of his hair for splits, filed his nails, and ate some fruit in a way that made Ikkaku wish he had been born a plant.

The ropes itched around his wrists. Yumichika knew his knots and there had to be something the brunet had done: for all his strength, Ikkaku couldn't break free. Eventually Yumichika slid on and straddled him the other way around, smooth back to Ikkaku's face, then slithered up Ikkaku's broad chest. The bald man wanted to scream at his partner for taking his own sweet time, but then just tried to keep from screaming when he felt a hot wet mouth swallow him completely.

Yumichika went leisurely, making sure the bald man he was sitting on got a clear picture of what he was in for, asking Yumichika to be his lover. There were many, many tricks up his beautiful and stylish sleeves.

Ikkaku moaned again, thrusting helplessly upwards, as nimble digits pushed into him and pressed and curled and explored, even as the sinful tongue and enticing mouth that Ikkaku couldn't see worked on his arousal.

With a soft 'pop' Yumichika sucked and pulled away from Ikkaku's cock. Then he reached back and removed Ikkaku's gag, conveniently playing with the hardened nipples on the way. "You still want me, Ikkaku?"

"Hell yeah," gasped the older man. When Yumichika slipped off his body, Ikkaku felt bereft for a split-second. Then he sat up a little and his mouth dried with desire upon seeing the dark-haired man on the other end of the bed..

Yumichika sprawled opposite him, playing with himself, eyes half-lidded and breathy whines driving Ikkaku's libido insane. A flurry of limbs and a pleased yelp, and Ikkaku had his Yumichika pinned. Without even a grunt Ikkaku had Yumichika spread beneath him, cock pounding in and out of the beautiful man, relishing the cries that came from that perfect creamy throat, his entire consciousness centered on the writhing and welcoming man under him.

It was much, much later, after many such sessions, that Ikkaku understood that Yumichika had got him addicted, with the incredible bonus of always being able to reach that euphoria of the first time.

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Many, many years later...

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Ayasegawa Yumichika.

Fifth Seat, Eleventh Division.

He fights damn fucking well.

The words were roughly carved on the stone, but Ikkaku knew Yumi wouldn't complain that the words were not beautiful. After all, Ikkaku had done them himself.

Kira stood behind him, an umbrella over Ikkaku as he hunkered down in the rain. With a florid gesture Ikkaku poured the rotgut they used to drink and swear at in large arcs around the tomb marker.

"Yumi, love," Ikkaku said quietly. He knew Kira would hear but that didn't matter. This concerned him too. "I found someone else."

Silence settled around them.

"It's Kira. We used ta joke that he was the only person nearly as beautiful as ya. Well, he's here now and I just wanna tell ya that... that I love you, and I also love him. It's different kinds of love, y'know. I din't expect ta – din't expect this ta happen. But after you left, he helped. A lot. So if ya think I'm doing somethin' wrong, please just come and gimme a kick in the head like you always did, 'kay?" Ikkaku took a deep breath. He had never said this much to Yumichika, nor said anything this openly. But both Kira and Yumi needed to know. They had the right to know. "So, um, wherever you are, I still love ya. Take care now, babe. Be waitin' right here."

Kira bowed and added a soft 'thank you' before they left.

Ikkaku didn't bother asking what that thank you was for. He knew.