He wished he could believe it was a bad dream – all of Hueco Mundo had been a bit like that: a strange, monochromatic nightmare with flashes of blood and pink hair. And the golden eyes in the stark, painted face had invaded his dreams before – more times than he wanted to admit – but never this close; never so close he could feel the chortling breath, and see the glint of dim light on the silver needle. He wished he could believe it was a dream, but the sting of the needle was real – too real – and then he couldn't see, couldn't breathe, and he started falling, so far and so fast that even the frantic voice calling his name -- Ishida! Ishida! -- couldn't remind him of who he really was.


"Taicho, are you sure? The dosage is very high."

"You dare question me? You dare question my methods?"

"No, Taicho, forgive me. I only thought... due to his size and weight..."

"Fool! This isn't a normal human, this is a Quincy, and he's stronger than he looks. I want the highest level of stimulation possible. Full dosage, and every nerve center, do you understand?"

"Yes, Taicho, of course. We'll prepare him immediately."

"Hmph. See that you do."


He can feel hands touching him – cold hands with an odd, slightly greasy feel, like embalmed flesh. Touching him, moving him, manipulating him. Poking and prodding and examining places he doesn't want touched, but even though a muted rage pulses in the center of his chest, he can't do anything about it. He can't seem to move, can't jerk his limbs away, can't even tell them to stop. He can't prevent them from doing what they're doing – strapping him down, attaching things to him, inserting needles and tubes. He can't even cry out when it hurts. There's fear – he knows who has him, he remembers what happened – but finally it's the helpless rage and frustration he can no longer endure, and he takes the only avenue he can. He tries to slip away, tries to ignore what's happening to him. Tries to hide.


He can't hide from it. Not forever. Kurotsuchi Mayuri makes sure of that.

If it was only pain, he could – he knows how to deal with that – but it isn't. It's worse than that. It's pleasure, wrapped in pain, wrapped in pleasure, wrapped in pain again until he doesn't know which is which. He only knows that the currents pulsing through his body are too strong to ignore; that they twist him this way and that, arch him up and send him crashing down until he wants to scream, wants to howl loud and long in protest and anger and pain, but he can't even do that. His teeth grit and his jaw clenches and his breath tears through his throat, but they've stolen his voice, and when he tries to cry out, it's just a weak shunting of air.


"Want to scream, little Quincy?" The voice is soft and oily, slithering over the frayed ends of his consciousness. His muscles twitch as a cold hand grazes his inner thigh and drifts down. Skeletal fingers prod him with a strange, clinical care – pinching, testing, adjusting.

"What will you give me if I let you, hmm?" The thin, icy fingers slip inside him, and all he can do is stop breathing, hold his breath, wait for the sickening invasion to stop, but the fingers push deeper, searching, and when they find what they're looking for, he does scream. The sound is ripped out of him, wild and ragged, like a piece of his flesh being stripped away, and he screams until his voice is really gone, and he's left sweating and heaving.

"Bah!" The voice sounds disgusted. "I still prefer a female's cries. Enough of that."

He shudders as the fingers are yanked out, and then replaced with something larger, wider, harder; something that presses even deeper inside him. It wants to tear him apart, but the reedy, snakeskin voice that coils around him is already doing that.

"There's nothing you can give me, Quincy," the voice sniffs in reproach. "I have your body. And when I'm done with that, I will have your soul. There is nothing you can offer me that isn't already mine." He hears the swish of a kimono as the voice recedes. "Feh. Continue. See how long he can stand it. Stop before he dies. If you can."

He hates his tears – hates to let anyone see him cry – but that's the only thing they haven't taken from him; and when the current surges – harder and deeper inside him, stuttering through his nerves, setting his head and his cock and his balls and his blood on fire – his tears sting and track down the sides of his face, and he doesn't try to stop them.


"Ishida! Ishida!"

The angry voice – enraged voice – is familiar, but he can't place it. He wants to remember – it seems important, somehow – but another surge of pain/pleasure/pain goes through him and drives all thought away.

"What the... What are you bastards doing to him? What is that shit! Get that stuff off of him, get him—fucking hell, get this out of him! NOW! Ishida! ISHIDA!"

"Stop! Stop! What are you doing! The equipment! Oi, stop that! Taicho will be furious!"

"Your 'Taicho' can suck my dick! You don't want your fucking tubes and wires cut? Then GET THEM OFF HIM! Ishida! Damn it, Ishida, answer me!"

He wants to answer, but he can't. He can't do anything but what the current tells his body to do. It's become more important than his heartbeat, than his breath moving in and out. It's been going on for so long that when it stops – finally, suddenly – it's another kind of pain. The sudden absence is like a gaping wound; a void that even his returning breath and pulse can't fill. He's trembling, shaking with the emptiness, and when his voice comes back to him, the sound is so pitiful that he doesn't want to claim it as his own.

"Ishida! What the—why's he shaking like that? What the fuck did you do to him? Ishida!"

"Here. This will help." A low voice, female; calm, almost mechanical. There's a sting in his hip, an injection, and whatever it is washes through him like a wave, filling the void for a little while, but sweeping him away, off shore. The voices are still talking – the calm female voice, and the angry male voice – but he can barely hear them, and what he does hear doesn't make much sense.

"... until the drugs are out of his system. Do you understand?"

"Yeah, I got it. ...whatever it takes. Hey, you're the fuku-taicho... gonna be mad?"

"...be angry in any event. I would rather... if it helps. Take him... go now."

Hands again, but warm and rough this time, gripping him hard, pulling him up. He feels something wrapped around him, but he's too messed up – too over-sensitized, too numbed – to know what. Still, it feels... protective.

"C'mon... getting you out of here..."

He feels himself suddenly lifted, like a boat caught by a wave, but then the dark water rushes over him and he hears, feels nothing more.


"...the fuck, Renji, you just let that bastard take him?"

It's the same voice, still angry, but not shouting this time. It feels like he's in a different place – somewhere smaller, where the voices don't echo off of chilly walls. He's not quite conscious, just enough to know he's lying down, his head pillowed on something very firm. His pillow shifts; muscles bunch and tendons move. His head is in someone's lap, on someone's thigh. He tries to move – to lift his head, even to blink – but it's beyond him. He's not even quite sure he's in his body. This doesn't trouble him as much as it probably should. He just wishes he could open his eyes and see.

"I couldn't move, damn it!" Another low, angry voice, but this one with a name. Renji. "You ever try to move with every one of your tendons cut? Look, I tried to call him off Ishida – didn't know what the hell he had in that needle – but he wouldn't bite. Asked him to heal me first, but no, he shot the kid up, then he and that little fuku-taicho of his toted him off and ditched me!"

"You didn't fucking tell anyone?"

"There wasn't anyone to tell until the Fourth Division got there! I told them, and they said they'd find him. I told my own captain, for fuck's sake! I told anyone who'd listen, and when I got out of Fourth Division, I went looking for him, just like you did!"

"Yeah, well, you weren't the one that found him. You didn't see what those freak bastards were doing to him." The fingers that dip into his hair are surprisingly gentle. After everything that's happened, it's a shock to be touched in that way.

"Don't tell me, all right? I've already seen enough shit happen to the kid. Hell, for that matter, we've seen enough shit happen to each other. Fucking Espada..."

"The hell with the Espada. Right now I'm a little more concerned about what that sick Shinigami fuckwad has been doing to him. Shit, look at him, he still hasn't stopped shaking!"

"I still say you shoulda taken him to Fourth Division. They'd get him healed up, and Kurotsuchi wouldn't dare lay a hand on him there."

"Oh yeah? Then why did Kenpachi have to pull the fucker off of Ikkaku, right in the middle of the Fourth Division?"

"Shit! You're joking!"

"The fuck I'm joking. Ask him yourself."

"Fucking hell. Listen, Ichigo... what if he comes looking for him? I ain't saying he will, you know, but Kurotsuchi... he's nobody to fuck with. If he comes here..."

"I'll carve his pasty ass into ugly sashimi if he does! He's not getting Ishida. Not while I'm alive. Besides, you think Shiba Kukaku's gonna give him a free pass inside? Shinigami aren't usually her favourite people anyway."

"Yeah, thanks so much for the warning...."

"I didn't know you were looking for us, dumbass."

"Well, if you're lucky, maybe Kurotsuchi won't come after him. Maybe he doesn't care that much. I guess he'd have to find you first, anyway."

He wants to frown at that, but can't move any muscles to do so. Have to find you first. There's something wrong with that. Something that worries him, but it's nothing he can grasp. There's nothing he can do but lie there and listen, vaguely feeling rough fingers slide through his hair and a thumb absently graze his cheek, until finally the voices begin to fade, and he forgets to think or feel; forgets to want to understand.


When he bolts awake, screaming and shaking, muscles convulsing and his nerves on fire, there are strong arms already around him and a voice making soothing sounds.

"It's all right, I've got you. I've got you now. It's gonna be okay." He must be wearing a yukata, because he feels a hand push cloth aside and wrap around his cock, which is so hard and swollen it's nearly an agony when the fingers close around him. He feels himself pushed onto his back, and a warm weight presses against him. He doesn't like being held down, especially not after being restrained for so long, but this feels different; a comforting anchor instead of a constraint.

Two fingers and a thumb glide up and down his shaft, pinching his foreskin over the sensitive head, and before he knows it, he's bucking up anxiously into that skilful hand and crying out as he comes. He whimpers a little because of the pain – the sting of his climax when the semen burns through him as he shoots – but the release is good. It's a relief. He falls back, breathing hard and clutching at the robe of whoever holds him.

"All right?" the voice asks, and he finally recognizes it.

"Kuro—saki," he sighs, winding his trembling fist in the front of the Shinigami's kimono and pressing his head against that hard, smooth chest. Don't leave, he thinks very hard, or maybe he says it out loud, because the wiry, muscled arms come around him again, and a clumsy hand pats his shoulder.

"S'okay, 'shida," Kurosaki says softly. "Not leaving. Gonna be right here."

"Don't leave," he whispers again anyway, and his fingers stay tangled in cloth even as unconsciousness swallows him once more.


"What's—what's wrong with me?" he groans when he wakes up for the seventh time, hard and sweating and desperate, writhing against Ichigo as the Shinigami flips him over and opens his yukata. "This—ahh!—this isn't right."

"It's from the drugs that bastard gave you," Ichigo tells him, touching him lightly, with more gentleness than Ishida ever would have credited. "That girl—Nemu? Said this would happen until they're out of your system." He strokes Ishida carefully, just moving his foreskin up and down, but even that is too much for his abused flesh.

"Oh—stop, Kurosaki!" Ishida pants. He wants to push him away, but his muscles still won't work right, he can't seem to control his limbs. "Don't. I can't—anymore. Too—ah!"

"Ishida," Ichigo sighs, letting his forehead rest briefly against Ishida's damp chest. "You've got to. Those drugs—it's the only way to get rid of them, understand?" Ishida groans and turns his head away. Tears of frustration sting his eyes, but he can't let Ichigo see that. The Shinigami fondles Ishida's balls, which aren't quite as tender as his cock, and then Ishida feels him moving.

"Kurosaki? What—ahh!" Something warm and wet and alive surrounds his cock, and he realizes it's Ichigo's mouth, taking him in until his lips close on the root of his shaft. His hips lift, unbidden, and his fingers fumble at the sheet beneath him as he feels Ichigo's tongue teasing him. He doesn't suck – he seems to understand that would be too much for Ishida to take – but just holds the swollen length in his mouth, cupping his balls and stroking Ishida's cock with his tongue.

Ichigo's head starts to bob, slowly, and Ishida bites his lip to keep from crying out as the tip of Ichigo's tongue pushes back his foreskin and explores his slit. It doesn't work – he cries out anyway – and when his hips jolt up, Ichigo's callused hands grasp him, thumbs at his hip bones, fingers digging into his buttocks and he growls around Ishida's cock. The vibration seems to hit every nerve, and his muscles start to clench at his gathering climax.

"Don't! Don't!" he pleads, one hand pushing vainly at Ichigo's head, but already he's arching up as his balls tighten and the contractions in his groin signal the inevitable. "I'm gonna—I can't—can't—ha-aah!" His awareness spins down to a single point – his cock spasming into Ichigo's hot mouth – then he falls back gasping, unable to say anymore. He feels his own come dribbling down his shaft as Ichigo releases him, turns his head and spits.

"Idiot!" Ishida says once he finds his voice. He can barely move but he aims a weak glare at Ichigo, who is wiping his mouth on his sleeve and scowling back at him. "If that's how the drugs are leaving my system, you could be affected! Did you think of that?"

"That's why I spit, dumbass."

Ishida's head falls back and he closes his eyes, feeling like a shadow of himself, so weak and stretched so thin. When he speaks again, his voice is dull. "Kurotsuchi. You don't know what he's capable of. You don't know... the kind of things he's done."

"I know what he did to you," Ichigo tells him plainly. When Ishida opens his eyes, he sees the other boy's thunderous expression, brows lowered like clouds over his dark eyes. They stare at each other for a moment. Ishida is the one who looks away. "I'll be fine, Ishida," Ichigo tells him. Ishida hears him sigh as he slumps down beside him.

"Why are you doing this?" Ishida asks softly, his face still turned away.

"Doing what? Helping you out?"

"I don't understand... why you'd want to. Especially like this. It's..." There are so many words he could use, but he settles on one. "Embarrassing. And gross. And..."

"Nakama," Ichigo says quietly.

"What?" Ishida isn't sure he's heard him correctly.

"Na-ka-ma," he repeats, emphasizing each syllable, as if Ishida is a small child. "You're my friend. You'd... I know you'd do the same for me. If you had to."

Ishida considers that in silence.

"And it isn't gross," the Shinigami adds softly, almost as if he's talking to himself. Ishida waits, but Ichigo doesn't say anymore, and after a few moments, he can tell his friend has returned to sleep.

"Nakama," Ishida whispers, as if feeling the word with his teeth and tongue. Ichigo is already snoring lightly, but sleep eludes Ishida for a long time.


He can see blood in his dreams: dark red blotches on the gray sand and white stone of Hueco Mundo. His blood, splattering from his mouth as he coughs. There's a burning below his heart, a wrenching pain where his stomach used to be, and he wants to throw up, but there's nothing there but blood. He hears Renji's angry howls, Szayel Aporro's tittering laughter, but he can't do anything but flounder against the broken rock.

Dream, he tells himself. Just a dream. I'm not there, we're not there, we were rescued, I was...

He sees the face again, gold eyes in the stark mask sliding over him like he's nothing, then the smug voice, speaking as if recounting some small victory over tea.

I infected his body with an uncountable number of bacteria for surveillance purposes.

He starts awake with a gasp, wrenching himself out of the vision. It's pitch black, so dark he has to keep blinking and shaking his head to banish the images behind his eyes, and he's still breathing hard when he feels something tighten around his waist and realizes it's Ichigo's arm.

"Ishida?" the Shinigami says blearily, lifting his head, his hand automatically moving to Ishida's groin.

"I'm fine," he pants, grabbing Ichigo's wrist, and even though he's lying, at least this time he isn't hard and aching. "It's nothing."

"You sure?" Ichigo grunts sleepily, his hand moving up to Ishida's hip. "You're shivering."

"I just... got cold," he lies again. He's on his side, turned away from Ichigo, staring into the darkness, and he doesn't move as the other boy sits up with a groan and fumbles for the quilt tangled at their feet. He tosses it over Ishida, then flops back down beside him.

"There," he mutters, patting the covers over Ishida's shoulder, and soon his breathing deepens as he returns to sleep.

Ishida doesn't. Now that he has remembered, he wonders if he'll ever be able to sleep again. He stares into the darkness, wondering if – when – one of the shadows will detach itself and reveal its true face; the face that he now knows is always watching him. He flexes his fingers, practices making a fist and releasing it. He wonders how long he was trapped in the 12th Division, and how long he's been lying on a futon in the Shiba clan's bizarre house. He wonders if the drugs are out of his system now, and how long it will take for his muscles to recover. He wonders how many days Kurosaki Ichigo has been hovering over him like a nursemaid; how many days he's been sleeping beside him, waking for every moan of pain, every drug-induced erection.

"Nakama," he whispers to the darkness, still opening and closing his fists, and as if the Shinigami has heard him, Ichigo mumbles something indecipherable, rolls over and flings his arm across Ishida's waist. Ishida tenses, waiting to see if Ichigo will wake up, but the other boy sleeps on, his warm breath now tickling the back of Ishida's neck. The quilt tucked around him, Ichigo's arm around his waist, Ichigo's breath warming his skin – if he could close his eyes and feel only these things, he thinks he could sleep, because these things make him feel safe; like nothing bad is going to happen.

Instead, he bites his lip, clenches his fists, tenses and tests his muscles. He closes his eyes – not in weariness, but in anger. Anger because no matter who is beside him, no matter what happens, he isn't safe. He will never be safe again.

And no one who is with him will ever be safe, either.


He has endured so many humiliations – his capture, the invasion of his body, his incapacity and loss of control – that leaning for support against one of the hideous giant arms that holds up the Shiba banner is just another in a long line of indignities; no worse, certainly, than lying to Ichigo about being hungry, then stealing his sandals and sneaking away when the Shinigami went to dinner.

His legs are trembling. Just leaving the Shiba dwelling and making it outside is the most exercise he's had since he and Abarai were fighting the Eighth Espada. He grits his teeth and silently curses his muscles, willing them to behave and wondering how his body could have deteriorated in such a short time. He breathes deeply, then pushes away from the giant arm thrusting out of the ground. This incarnation of the Shiba house is situated on a slight rise, and he can see a line of trees – a small forest, perhaps – not too far away. He starts walking, slowly but steadily, trying not to limp. He's not sure where he's headed, but he'll think about that once he gets to the forest. He just knows he has to get away – as far as possible – from the people who sheltered him. From Kurosaki Ichigo.

He is panting when he makes it to the grove, and slumps against the second tree he meets. He leans over, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. The moon is up and nearly full and he can see his white hands grasping the dark cloth at his knees, and his thin, knobby wrists. He stops breathing. The silver chain with his Quincy cross is gone. He straightens and brings his wrist up, staring at the place his bracelet used to be. Its absence doesn't affect his powers, he can still conjure a bow without it, but the pain of its loss gouges at his heart.

"Mayuri," he hisses, knowing who must have taken it, and his Seele Schneiders as well, now that he thinks of them. He knows that's not good, that the 12th Division captain will do something with or to them – probably already had, in fact. "Damn it!" He clutches at his wrist, feeling more hopeless than he had even in Kurotsuchi's lab, and almost misses the glint of silver as a figure steps out of the shadows.

"Looking for this?"

His Quincy cross flashes in the moonlight, dangling from a finger, and his eyes go wide. In a rush of adrenaline, he summons his bow but before he can shoot, he is slammed back into the tree, his wrists trapped, a heavy weight crushing him and an even heavier reiatsu banishing his bow and bearing down upon him.

"Did you think you could just walk away? Did you think I was just going to let you go?"

The weight and force of the hit carries them both to the ground, they roll and Ishida ends up on the bottom, struggling and kicking as his wrists are pinned.

"Stop it!" his attacker yells, straddling his waist and leaning over him, panting. "Ishida, stop it! It's me!"

"Kurosaki?" The moonlight reveals an angry but familiar face and the silhouette of broad shoulders and spiky hair against the stars.

"Who did you think?" Ichigo growls. "I know you felt my reiatsu. What's with you?"

"Let me go!" Ishida demands angrily. He doesn't want to explain that he was too surprised – too frightened – to recognize Kurosaki's reiatsu, and anger is the only way he knows to mask his fear.

"No!" Ichigo insists. "Not until you tell me what the hell is going on. What were you thinking, just getting up and leaving like that? Where the fuck did you even think you were going?"

"You don't understand! I had to—I can't stay there!" He tries again to throw the heavier boy off or to wriggle out of his grasp, but Ichigo just tightens his grip and shifts to put even more weight on him.

"Wanna tell me why not?"

"Kurotsuchi ... Mayuri!" Ishida gasps. He stops struggling because Ichigo's weight is making it hard to breathe. "Knows—where I am."

Ichigo is silent for a moment, digesting that. "How?"

Ishida turns his head aside. He finds he can't look at Ichigo and say it. "Spy bacteria. He infected me with them when we fought the first time."

"Spy bacteria," Ichigo repeats. He seems to consider this, then gives a small snort. "So?"

"So?" Ishida's head whips back around, glaring at him. His hands clench into fists, and he feels Ichigo tighten his grip on his wrists. "So? You don't get it, Kurosaki! He can see everything! Where I am, who I'm with, what we're doing! That's how he found us in Hueco Mundo, that's how he defeated Szayel Aporro! He knows where I am, he'll always know where I am! I can't..." Ishida trailed off, panting, staring up at Ichigo. "I can't be free of him," he finished angrily. "Ever!"

Ichigo's brows knit into an even deeper scowl. He doesn't loosen his grip on Ishida, but he leans down to stare right into Ishida's eyes. "So? he repeats, saying it like a challenge. This is too much for Ishida, who snarls in frustration and starts struggling again, wildly, desperately trying to get away from Ichigo.

"Don't you understand anything, you idiot?" he yells. "It's not safe! I'm not safe! And nobody who's with me is safe from him, either!"

"You're the one who doesn't understand anything!" Ichigo growls right in Ishida's face, and then Ishida's eyes go wide because Kurosaki is biting his mouth, no, Kurosaki is kissing him, and the shock of it is so great he stops struggling and tries to protest, but when his lips part, Ichigo thrusts his tongue inside and claims Ishida's mouth.

Kurosaki is kissing me! Ishida thinks, his head spinning and his heart beating fast. He's confused – he doesn't know why Kurosaki is kissing him – but in the next moment it doesn't matter, because when Ichigo starts to pull back, Ishida whines in protest and pushes up, unwilling to break the kiss, and he realizes that he wants it. Their lips part for less than a heartbeat, he hears Ichigo breathe something that sounds like "Yes!" and then Kurosaki is kissing him so hard, so deep it's like he wants to crawl inside Ishida, and Ishida wants to let him. The hands gripping his wrists loosen and slide up, their fingers entwining, clasping.

"Idiot!" Ichigo whispers, pulling his mouth away to kiss Ishida's cheeks and jaw and throat. "You think I'd let him take you? You think I'll let him even touch you again?" Ishida moans and arches up against Ichigo, who is no longer straddling his waist but shifting his body, moving down. Ishida feels the hard bulge in Ichigo's hakama press against his own awakening cock, and rocks his hips up as Ichigo slides one leg, then the other, between his thighs.

"Ahh!" Ishida whimpers, his fingernails digging into the back of Kurosaki's hands. Ichigo is sucking at his throat and it feels wonderful and strange. "Kurotsuchi," he pants, writhing under Ichigo, spreading his legs wider and hooking one of his legs over one of Ichigo's. "He's—ohh!—he'll see!"

"See?" Kurosaki rears up and stares at Ishida, his eyes just as wild as his hair. "Let him! I want him to see! I hope he's watching right now!"

Ichigo releases Ishida's hands, grabs each side of his yukata and rips it open with a growl, then starts untying his own belt, shoving down his hakama. Ishida pushes up on his elbows to watch Ichigo tearing off his pants, and when he sees Ichigo's scarred chest, the hard muscles in his stomach, and the even harder cock standing at rigid attention, he suddenly can't hear anything for the blood rushing in his head. Then he sees the way Kurosaki is looking at him, and it makes all the blood in his head flood to his cock until it's hard and pointing at the stars. Kurosaki grabs his legs and hauls him up onto his lap.

Ichigo is snarling something as he pulls Ishida onto his thighs, callused fingers sinking into his ass cheeks. "Are you getting this, you freak bastard?" Ishida is confused, but only for a second. Ichigo isn't talking to him. He's talking to Kurotsuchi. "Are you watching what I'm doing to him?"

Ishida is breathing too hard to say anything when Kurosaki throws his legs over his shoulders, spits on his fingers once, twice, and then pushes them into Ishida. He gasps and tenses up at the sudden invasion, but Kurosaki's other hand is pressing gently on his belly as the long, rough fingers twist inside him as if searching for something. Ishida doesn't know what Kurosaki is looking for, but he knows when he finds it, a place that makes strange vibrations run deep through his body, that makes him whimper and arch up as his head falls back.

"He's mine, you bastard," Ichigo hisses as he palms Ishida's cock and starts stroking. "You got that? Mine!" The fingers stroke inside him, then press up, firm and sure, and Ishida cries out, feeling like Ichigo has just opened up a floodgate inside him, and before he even realizes it, he's coming hard and his cock is jerking and spilling all over Ichigo's hand.

"Ahh—Kurosaki!" Ishida moans, his orgasm leaving him so slack and nerveless that his legs nearly flop off Ichigo's shoulders. Ishida can feel him scooping up the semen that fell on his stomach, and when he lifts his head again, he feels an impossible flush of arousal because Ichigo is gritting his teeth and fisting his cock, slicking it with Ishida's come. Ishida hears him groan deep in his throat, feels Ichigo press the broad, slick head of his cock against his entrance, then he's clawing at the ground and choking, unable to draw a breath as Ichigo pushes into him and sinks all the way to the balls in one thrust.

"Oh fuck!" he hears Ichigo panting, and he can feel hands – strong, sweaty, trembling hands – on his thighs, on his hips. "Oh motherfuckinghelldamn! Damn, Ishida!"

Ishida blinks and focuses on Ichigo's face. Even in the moonlight he can tell it's slick with sweat, that Ichigo's eyes have got that crazy light to them, and his mouth – for some reason, Ishida thinks his mouth looks wounded. His mouth looks like he's going to cry. Ichigo grunts and falls forward on top of Ishida, nearly bending him in half, but Ishida doesn't care. Ishida grabs him by the hair and pulls his face down and kisses that wounded mouth until Ichigo groans, and grabs the back of his head and starts moving his hips, starts to fuck him.

Ishida can barely move. Ichigo's cock has transfixed him, sunk inside him like an anchor, piercing not just his body but the center of his soul. All he can do is wrap his arms around Ichigo's neck, weave his fingers into the short, spiky hair and hold on as Ichigo thrusts into him.

"You feel that?" he's gasping, his hips rocking harder and deeper into Ishida with every stroke. "Can you feel how hard I'm fucking him? He's mine, you perverted fuckwad! And if you ever—fucking try to—touch him again—hurt him again—I'll chop you into—so many mother-fucking pieces they'll never put your ugly—perverted—carcass—back—TOGETHER! Oh damn, damn Ishida!"

Ichigo slams into him one last time, and Ishida feels him arch and shudder, hears him groan his name, just before he collapses on top of him, breathing like a racehorse. One of Ishida's thighs is pressed into his chest, Ichigo is dripping sweat on him and he can feel Ichigo's prick softening and come starting to seep out of him. He is uncomfortable in numerous ways, but when Ichigo huffs and tries to move off of him, he tightens his grip to keep him there.

"Uhnn... 'm crushing you."

"Don't care." Ishida's voice is muffled against Ichigo's neck. With a groan, Ichigo wraps his arms around Ishida and rolls to the side, keeping him close. His cock slips out of Ishida's ass, Ishida straightens out his legs, but they don't try to move beyond that. The night air is cool and starts to chill their sweaty skin, and when Ishida shivers, Ichigo lifts his head, tugs the other boy's torn yukata back around him, then pulls him close.

"I don't understand," Ishida says softly. Ichigo moves his head a little and looks at him. "Why you feel this way. Why... you did this." He pauses. Ichigo seems to sense he isn't finished. "Why I wanted you to," he adds. "I just don't understand."

"I don't either," Ichigo admits. "Not really."


"I just decided that understanding it wasn't that important," Ichigo tells him.

This makes a strange kind of sense to Ishida, but he doesn't really want to admit that.

Ichigo sighs and turns on his back, looking up at the stars. "I don't know how to explain it, Ishida. When we all got out of Hueco Mundo and you weren't with us, I guess... I kinda freaked out. It was so important to me that we all come back. I felt like I'd broken a vow."

"Kurosaki, we all took the same vow," Ishida points out. "To each other."

"Yeah, well. I can't explain that, either. I just knew I wasn't going back without you. I told myself it was a matter of honour, that I had to find you. And when I did...." Kurosaki trails off, obviously remembering, and Ishida's skin prickles, because he can't help but remember, too. "When I broke into the lab and saw you there, I just... stood there like an idiot because... I couldn't figure out what was going on. What was happening to you. At first, all I saw was that... you were naked, and strapped down, and breathing hard and thrashing around, and I just stood there, like I was frozen or something, because... I realized I was watching you come. And..." Kurosaki sits up abruptly, rubbing his neck and looking uncomfortable.

"And... what?" Ishida asks, sitting up as well.

"And... it made me hard. Watching you."

"Kurosaki... that's just..." Ishida isn't quite sure what to say about that. He knows he should probably feel appalled, but for some reason he doesn't. "That's just... weird."

"I told you I didn't understand it," Ichigo snaps at him. "Besides, I couldn't really see what was going on at first. The lights were all dim and everything. But then I went in closer, and... I could see what they'd done to you. All the...." Ichigo makes a helpless gesture. "All the fucking crap they'd put on you and in you and... I saw your face. Saw what they were really doing to you, and... I went nuts. I just started busting the place up; and all these weird-ass little scientist-type people started coming out and screaming at me, but I just kept breaking stuff, trying to get you... I dunno, disconnected, I guess. And then that girl came in. Nemu. She said since I'd ruined the experiment, I might as well take you and go. I think... maybe she didn't like what was happening to you, either, you know? She gave you some sort of shot and told me about the drugs he'd given you and...."

"And what?"

Ichigo pauses and scowls up at the stars for a moment. "She told me to take you and go, and... I almost didn't. I wanted to take that place apart. I wanted to find the bastard who'd done that to you and... kill him."

Ishida gives a small snort. "You're not the only one who feels that way, Kurosaki."

"You want to kill him because you want revenge," Ichigo says softly. "I wanted to kill him because... because he'd touched you. And I realized... I didn't want anybody to touch you but me."

Ishida can feel the heat coming from Ichigo, and knows he's blushing in embarrassment at his admission. There's a part of Ishida that wants to push back, to say something snarky and cut his friend down, to insist that Kurosaki doesn't get to say who touches him or not; but there's another part – a larger part – that is strangely pleased -- even relieved -- to hear him say it. He reaches out and touches the back of Ichigo's neck, running his fingers up into his hair.

"Same here," he says, and Ichigo turns to him with an expression that's both surprised and glad. "That goes both ways, you know," Ishida points out. "No double standards." Ichigo blinks at him, then grins in understanding. He reaches out, grabs Ishida's other wrist and brings it to his lips.

"Here," he says, slipping something over Ishida's hand. "This is yours."

"My Quincy cross," he breathes, lifting his hand to see it flashing in the moonlight. It's just a symbol, it doesn't augment his powers or anything, but still, it makes him feel whole. "How did you get it?"

"Renji brought it," Ichigo grins. Ishida just stares at him.

"Abarai? How did he...."

"Renji's the only one who knew what had happened to you, remember? He was pretty pissed off about it, too, but Fourth Division wouldn't let him out. He told Byakuya what happened, and well, it seems like he went and had a little chat with the 12th Division captain."

Ishida's mouth drops open. "Kuchiki-san... did that... because of me?"

"Well, I'm not sure it was so much for you exactly," Ichigo frowns. "Renji told him that you saved his life. That he'd have been dead long before the captains got to Hueco Mundo if it hadn't been for you."

"It's still hard to believe," Ishida shook his head. "That Kuchiki-san did that. That it worked...."

"Yeah, well, apparently there are a couple of people that actually scare that freaky bastard," Ichigo told him, "and Byakuya is one of them."

"Well, I guess that part isn't too hard to believe," Ishida admitted. He looked again at the silver crosss. "I thought I'd never see this again."

"He got back some other stuff of yours, too. Some sort of weird metal rods or something."

"Seele Schneider?" Ishida is up on his knees now, one hand gripping the shoulder of Ichigo's kimono. "He got back the Seele Schneider? Kurotsuchi doesn't have them?"

"Nope, not anymore," Ichigo tells him, getting to his feet and pulling Ishida up after him. "Not only that, but I got the impression from Renji that Byakuya told that freak to watch his step around you. So... I don't think you're gonna have any trouble from him. At least not for awhile."

"Baka!" Ishida snaps, shoving at Ichigo, then nearly losing his own balance. "Why didn't you tell me that!"

"You didn't give me a chance, you dumbass!" Ichigo retorts, grabbing Ishida's arm and yanking him close. "The minute you started to get better, you took off!"

"Why didn't you just tell me when you found me?"

"Because you were about to shoot me, you idiot!"

"You jumped me and disarmed me! You could have told me then," Ishida accuses. Ichigo frowns at him, then looks away guiltily.

"I guess I got... kind of carried away." He sneaks a glance back at Ishida. "I didn't... didn't hurt you, did I?"

Ishida wants to be mad at him, but he is remembering Ichigo's face in the moonlight, the feel of the strong hands gripping him, of Ichigo inside of him, and he can't keep hold of his anger.

"You didn't hurt me," he sighs. "I liked it. I ... wanted it." He feels Ichigo's arm wrap around his shoulders, pulling him into an embrace. Ichigo presses his face into the crook of Ishida's neck.

"You don't know how bad I've been wanting to do that to you," he confesses. "Every time you woke up hard and hurting... how bad I wanted to take you. Just... erase what that bastard did to you. Make you forget it ever happened."

Ishida feels himself melting into Ichigo's words, and his own arms come up around Ichigo's waist. He turns his head, places a soft kiss on Ichigo's neck, just below his jaw, and feels him shiver. It feels wonderful.

"You still can," Ishida whispers, and shivers himself when he hears Ichigo groan. When Ichigo lifts his head and looks at him, that wild light is starting to glimmer in his eyes again.

"Let's go back," he says. "Before Kukaku-san sends out a search party for both of us, neh?" Ishida knows that last part is just an excuse, but he doesn't care. "C'mon, I'll flash us back."

There's still a part of Ishida that wants to protest and say that he can get them back just as well, that hirenkyaku is faster than shunpo anyway, but he doesn't. Not this time, at least. Maybe Ichigo thinks he's going to do that too, because he seems surprised when Ishida wraps his arms around his neck and allows Ichigo to pick him up.

"Nakama," Ishida says when Ichigo has him battened in his arms. Ichigo blinks at him.

"Huh? What?"

"You said it was because we were nakama. Would you have done that for any of us? Any of your nakama?"

He's strangely pleased to feel Ichigo's face heat up in embarrassment, to see his eyebrows knit in that familiar scowl.

"If... if I had to," he admits reluctantly. "Yeah, I guess. But... it was different with you." He turns and looks critically at Ishida. "You're more than nakama to me. Does that make any sense?"

"Does it have to?" he asks, leaning his forehead against Ichigo's.

"Hell no," Ichigo grins at him, then claims his mouth.

Ishida isn't sure how Ichigo can use shunpo while he's kissing him, but he decides that's a question for another day.