Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach
Dedicated to DelMarch, because she's a Yumi fan, too.
AN: AU NanaoxYumichika fic from me.
He hated the smell, sound, and everything of the subway. From the first moment he descended the steps into the subterraneous city to the moment he left the suffocating, body-pressing tincture steel box some people called transportation. It was disgusting what he'd seen people do on the subway and he'd seen it all. Sex, drugs, murder, childbirth, robbery, the homeless eating scraps out of the trash. He'd been groped more times than he'd ever wished to and was disgusted by every soul that was part of the underground railway.
He disgusted even himself some times.
But, at least at night it wasn't so bad.
The violence went up, but the number of people went down. There were rarely more that three or four people in his car when he left work for the night, so he was able to sit by himself in a corner seat with his eyes closed as the train came to a stop to let on a few more passengers at the Sengoku station. It was always the same.
"Excuse me," a female whispered quietly, and Yumichika's eyes fluttered open as she leaned forward and kissed him. He sat up in surprise, starting to protest but the girl only climbed into his lap and straddled his hips the best she could. She left his heart beating wildly as she pulled away and ducked her head into the crook of his neck. "Please forgive me, but those men over there have been following me since I got off of work and I was scared. I'm sorry."
Yumichika didn't need to look for the men to know she was telling the truth. Her hands were shaking against his chest so much that is seemed obvious.
"Please calm down," he whispered, taking her hand and scooting over so she could sit in the corner next to him. He casually leaned against her, offering her his shoulder. With a small smile she leaned against him, hand still tucked inside his.
He studied her for a few moments, noticing the slight shimmer of sweat across her forehead and high cheekbones. Her eyes were closed behind thin wire-framed glasses and her black hair was pulled out of her face with a few carefully placed bobby pins.
"You are lovely," he whispered, making her blink in surprise. "I'm not surprised anyone tried to follow you home."
"You lie," the girl blushed, obviously not used to being complimented in any way.
"Never," Yumichika assured her. The train started to roll to a stop and Yumichika squeezed her hand. "This is my stop. Do you want to get off with me?" He could help but invite her along at the worried look on her face.
"You don't mind?"
"No," Yumichika assured her, standing and helping her to her feet. The doors slid open and they stepped out of the car. Yumichika frowned as two men followed them out. He sighed and put his arm around her waist, guiding her up the steps. "I can't just leave you there to wait for the next train," he reasoned, shoving his free hand into his pocket. "They look dangerous."
The girl fidgeted, as if unsure of going with him, but he did seem safer than the men in the station.
"Ise Nanao," she said quietly after a few minutes of silent walking, uncomfortable with being indebted to a stranger.
"Ayasegawa Yumichika," he replied, then pulled his cell phone out of his jacket pocket. "Would you like to call someone and explain that you will be staying at my place tonight and why?"
"I can't do that," Nanao stopped.
"Well, I'm certainly not going to leave you alone on the streets with those filthy predators," Yumichika admonished. "Anyway, we won't be alone at my apartment. I have a roommate. Now, please, be reasonable."
Nanao took the phone. "Are you sure your roommate won't care?"
"Ikkaku?" Yumichika laughed. "I'm sure he'll be fine with it."
"Thank you," Nanao said softly, looking down at the phone. "I'll call when we get there, okay? It will look less suspicious."
"Well, I never thought you'd be the one to bring a girl home," Ikkaku said approvingly as Yumichika let Nanao inside their two bedroom apartment.
"Don't be foolish, Ikkaku," he elbowed the larger man out of the way. "It's not like that. Excuse his manners, Ise-san. He was raised by pigs."
"I may be mistaken, but weren't you raised in the same part of town I was?"
"You're right," Yumichika sniffed. "But thankfully I was able to overcome their foolish teachings."
"Shut up," Ikkaku muttered halfheartedly.
Nanao laughed behind her hand as Yumichika motioned for her to sit down on the couch. He sat down on the arm. "I want you to call someone and tell them you're safe, okay? Then, I want you to sleep in my room. There's a lock on the door."
Nanao nodded, looking stunned. Ikkaku frowned, and shrugged. "I'm going to sleep. You kids have fun." Yumichika threw a throw pillow at him.
"The bathroom's right through there," Yumichika pointed as he stood. "I'm going to change."
"Yes, of course," Nanao nodded dumbly, watching as he disappeared through the door. The door shut and she picked up the phone, dreading making a phone call to anyone she knew, but incase he checked she'd have to. After a few seconds of thought she punched in her house phone and let it ring a few times before hanging up. She set the phone down on the coffee table in front of her and closed her eyes.
A pile of fabric fell on her lap and she opened her eyes in surprise to see a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt, both folded neatly laying across her knees.
"In case you didn't want to sleep in that," Yumichika explained, pushing his hair over his shoulder. He seemed almost embarrassed as he moved out of her way.
"It'll be fine, thank you," She blushed again, looking away from him as she stood up and managed to trip over her own feet. Yumichika caught her against his chest and she stared at him for a second before sliding past him as quickly as possible. "Um, goodnight," she murmured, heading into his bedroom. She shut the door behind her and carefully locked it.
God, why did he have to be so beautiful?
It would just make it that much harder.
She'd been watching the nearby subway stops for the past week trying to find someone menacing who got off the same car he did. Those two oafs didn't even know she existed, let alone were following her.
From what she knew Ayasegawa Yumichika was twenty-three years old and was currently employed as a bartender at the Shinikaketeiru Mukau bar. He had an underlying interest in music and was currently a student at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and was working his way through it. He was raised in the suburbs of Tokyo and had a nondescript childhood. She had no reason to care whether he lived or died. He was no one.
She didn't know why she was letting it bother her.
She flipped off the light and lay down on his bed, resting her head on one of the soft pillows. She'd have to wait until he was asleep.
He seemed so nice, too. He didn't kiss her back on the train and when she'd purposefully tripped, he hadn't taken advantage of the moment.
Nanao fiddled with her glasses. Maybe he didn't like the sweet, intelligent look. Men were fickle like that. She wouldn't have dressed so plainly if she had any idea.
She was genuinely surprised when he said she was lovely on the subway. Most men didn't hand out comments like that. Not sincerely at least.
She discarded the glasses on the nightstand and let her hair down. After a moment of debating she stripped down and pulled on the clothes he provided for her. He was slim so they weren't too unflattering. The pants hung a little loose, but the shirt hugged her curves just enough to be noticeable.
She padded across the bedroom and let herself out of the door. The only light still one was coming from the kitchen. Yumichika was sitting at a small table studying. He glanced up at the sound of her footsteps.
"Is something the matter, Ise-san?" he asked, starting to stand.
"No," Nanao shook her head and sat down across from him. She shrugged slightly. "I couldn't sleep."
"I'm sorry," Yumichika closed his book. "Would you like some tea or something to eat?"
"Some tea would be nice, thank you," Nanao accepted without a second thought. It'd give her some more time to study him.
He had changed out of the jeans and sweater he'd been wearing on the subway and into a strangely formal pale gray yukata. He'd tied his hair back after she'd gone back to his room and it hung down to his back in a loose ponytail.
Nanao couldn't help but find him more than slightly appealing, but from the lack of response earlier, she couldn't see him responding to her now. She didn't know what she was thinking anyway. Getting involved with him now would just make it that much harder.
"Ayasegawa-san," Nanao touched his arm as he set the teapot down on the table. "Can I ask you something?" She had the courtesy to look uncomfortable.
"Of course. Is something bothering you?"
There was that worried look again—the slight slope of thin eyebrows and narrowed violet eyes.
She was beginning to hate it.
"Kind of," a rosy blush coated her nose and cheeks. She looked down into her tea, watching the steam rise from the light green ceramic. "I'm so frightened that those men are going to appear at the window and it's kind of you to let me sleep in your room, but it's so unfamiliar. I'm afraid I can't sleep by myself...I'm sorry."
"There's no reason to apologize," Yumichika chided, unsure of what exactly she wanted him to do about her situation. His window had bars on it, so it was unlikely those men could get inside and they had disappeared blocks before Yumichika's apartment building, so they didn't even know where she was anyway. He personally thought she was being a little irrational, but that's how women were. He frowned a little, gazing at Nanao carefully. "Do you want me to sleep in there with you?"
"Would you?" her head immediately lifted and Yumichika knew he hit the mark she was aiming for.
"Sure," he nodded, sipping his tea. He had no idea why women couldn't be by themselves for more than a few minutes, but he supposed that Nanao wasn't being that ridiculous given her current situation. "As long as you don't mind."
They fell into an awkward silence as they finished their tea. Nanao politely offered to do the dishes and Yumichika just as politely turned her down, saying he had a dishwasher and it could wait until morning.
He finally let out a little sigh and told her he was getting tired, even though he usually didn't sleep for a few more hours. Nanao seemed to realize something was amiss, but stood up and followed him into his bedroom.
Yumichika sat down on the edge of the bed and politely waited for Nanao to settle herself under the blankets before getting in himself. It didn't really seem that strange that he was sharing his bed with a stranger, but he did feel a little uneasy about the way she was acting.
Her performance just wasn't that good.
He didn't fall for her 'tripping' stunt she'd pulled earlier.
It was obvious she wasn't actually worried about those men on the subway. He was fairly certain they weren't even following her.
They hadn't even looked in her direction at all from what he'd seen.
He'd humored her enough to let her into his home.
He'd given her ample time to snoop around his personal possessions.
He'd even gone along with her silly ploy to get him into bed with her.
He was getting sick of playing the selfless hero because he knew he was going to be the one to end up at the bottom.
It was time to confront her.
"When were you planning to do it?" he asked into the darkness, listening as her breath hitched in her throat.
There was a pause.
"Planning to do what?"
The innocence in her voice was too much for him. He sat up and leaned over her. "You aren't stupid and neither am I. What are you up to?"
Nanao was surprised. He didn't look angry or upset and his face was excitingly close to hers. She didn't know whether to kill him, kiss him, or to tell him to the truth. She opted for a mixture of the three.
She held his throat tightly against the wall as she pressed her lips lightly against his forehead. "I'm here to kill you."
She felt his eyelashes brush against her cheek before he pushed her back, gripping her hands to keep them away from his body. "Why?"
"Because," Nanao shrugged, "I was told to."
"Names, please, Nanao."
"You work for him," he said slowly. Loosening his grip on her he leaned back against the wall. "If you leave now, I won't hold this against you."
"I'll be in trouble—"
"—if you don't kill me, yes." Yumichika frowned. "Go ahead and die."
"What are you going to call me a bastard now, too?"
"Yes," Nanao paused, staring at him, unsure of what to do. She had a gun in her purse, but...
"I thought you looked familiar, you know," Yumichika frowned. "You were there that night. At the bar."
"Yes," Nanao settled back into a sitting position.
"With Mr. Kyoraku and that other man," Yumichika looked down at her, his eyes full of disdain. "I wouldn't have recognized you if you'd left your hair up, but women seem to think they're sexier with it down. You probably wore it down for him that night didn't you? Too bad he showed more interest in that man than he'll ever show in you."
Nanao knew he was just trying to rile her up, but she wasn't taking the bait. Why did she care whether or not he knew she loved that drunken idiot? Many women claimed to love him. She wasn't any different, but at least she knew that he didn't want her and was perfectly fine with sitting at the sidelines and watching him with someone else.
"It's beneath you to say such things," Nanao reached down for her purse and contemplated what way to kill him. She had a few options...
"Why are you just sitting there?" She whispered harshly, tightening her hands on her purse. "Please don't just sit there."
"What difference does it make?" Yumichika blinked slowly, just for effect. "You're going to kill me aren't you?"
"Yes," Nanao said firmly, the thought still firm in her mind. "I'm killing for Shunsui Kyoraku. I would like for you to know that I hold no ill will for you at all. Quite the opposite really," she touched his cheek. "You seem like a decent man."
"Thank you," Yumichika replied dryly, settling himself more comfortably onto his bed. "Could you at least tell me what I did that merits my death?"
"You probably heard it all. The deal and the talk of those murders? Kyoraku has no sense to keep quiet about what he does. I always have to cover things up for him. Thankfully you were the only one in the bar that night besides us. If there had been any more people I would have had a very busy weekend."
"You spare your feelings," Yumichika laughed slightly, and turned his head to the side. "It's too bad you're so completely devoted to a man who takes you for granted."
"It's not his fault," Nanao shrugged. "It's mine for not making him notice me." She shrugged and ran his fingers through his hair. He was really too beautiful.
"Could you please just kill me?" He closed his eyes. "I hate suspense and you aren't very good at it."
"Fine," Nanao agreed sullenly, removing her hand from his hair. "You could fight back, you know."
"Why? If you don't kill me, then eventually someone else will." Yumichika smiled. "I won't have anything to live for if I live my life in fear. It's not worth it."
"You can't honestly believe that," Nanao admonished, opening her purse and removing a few items. It was silent for a few moments as Yumichika watched her open the sterile packaging of a syringe.
"I do," he whispered.
"You shouldn't," Nanao said gently, rolling his sleeve up. "I don't think anyone should believe that."
"You're telling me that you don't?"
"I don't," Nanao shook her head. "I may not be living for myself, but I certainly don't live in fear. Even if I did, I'd try to live as long as I could."
"It's because you're afraid of dying," Yumichika held out his arm as she filled the syringe from a small vial. "I'm not. I've thought about dying before and I realized something; who I am to hold on to my life when there's someone perfectly willing to take it from me?"
"You can't really believe anything that stupid?" Nanao's eyes flashed. "Your life is your life. No one has the right to take it from you. I know I don't, so why can't you at least try to live so I won't feel guilty?"
"That's a funny thought," Yumichika chuckled. "You feel guilt. I wish that I could be as honest as you are, but something in my pride won't let me." He held his arm out to her again. "Now, please, I don't want you to be embarrassed by letting me live. I promise I hold no ill will towards you."
"This doesn't seem right," Nanao took his wrist and stared at the under skin of his arm for a few seconds. "I don't have any really choice, I think."
"Do what you want, Nanao," Yumichika looked at her sternly. "It isn't my problem if you go to hell. If you want to protect him, then kill me. It's all just a matter of who means more to you. Don't worry about thinking about that," He chuckled, drawing her hand to his arm. "You already know what you want to do."
"You're right," she couldn't resist the urge to sweep her fingers through that beautiful hair once more. "You'd probably refuse to work for him, wouldn't you?"
"There's no reason for me to risk my life for something I don't believe in."
"But you're willing to die for no reason?"
"There is a reason, you need me to die. That's good enough, isn't it? So, kill me. I won't hold it against you."
Nanao stared at him for the longest time, kneeling on the bed beside him. She took in a slight breath and finally slid the needle into his arm. They both paused as the icy liquid slipped into his body.
"I—thank you, Nanao," Yumichika said closing his eyes. Nanao gently pulled him to her chest and held him tightly.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, feeling his muscles clench and lock almost instantaneously as his heart spread the toxin throughout his body. He let out a small cry of pain, desperately trying to move, but his body wouldn't allow it. Sweat broke out across his forehead and he shuddered as the feeling in his body began to numb.
Nanao just stroked his cheek as comfortingly as possible. She should have used something less painful, like a bullet or knife, but she couldn't bring herself to ruin that beautiful body of his.
She almost felt relieved when she finally felt his muscles relax against her chest and the heavy breathing slow. She laid him down, taking one more glance at him before she quickly gathered her purse and clothes, slid on her shoes, and hurried out the door. She threw one last glance at the apartment door. It hadn't been a perfect murder, she'd left too many clues, the roommate had seen her, and she'd left her victim while he was still breathing.
If Ikkaku found him now, there might still be time to get him to a hospital. Nanao quickly rapped loudly on the door before heading down the hallway. One stairwell down and she was on the street in the dead of night, walking away from the building. She headed back towards the subway, intent on leaving the way she came.
Maybe she hadn't done the right thing, but Yumichika hadn't even tried to stop her. Her devotion to Mr. Kyoraku was a little extreme, she supposed, but there wasn't much of a problem with that. Yumichika was right. She loved him.
Yumichika had been a good man and deserved all the respect in the world.
As she slid her glasses on, a small smile graced her lips.
A siren rang out in the distance.
Well, that was kind of dumb looking back on it. Sorry, I starting writing this three or four months back and randomly decided to finish it today...without rereading it, so please let me know if there are any mistakes or if it doesn't make sense.