A/N: Hello everyone. Here it is! The final chapter. I want to thank all of those people that reviewed. You really motivated me in my time of need – this chapter was the most difficult to write (it gave me migraines ) I hope that you like it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach
It was lunch time and Ikkaku was tired and hungry. He had spent the earlier parts of the morning searching the Rukongai for a futon similar to the one that Yumichika had, and then returned to the Division where he couldn't help but notice that everyone gave him a wide berth. Everywhere he went rumours followed him. All of the Eleventh Division was abuzz with the scandalous details of his fight with Yumichika that were making the rounds via the brave gossip mongers. Being the private person that he was, Ikkaku found it necessary to shut them up about the talks of 'The Third Seat is love sick over a man' and 'The Fifth Seat is a weak pansy fainting over heartbreak from Ikkaku-san'. He did it the only way he knew how – by beating them into submission. By noon that day, Ikkaku was tired, but at least he was not going to hear anything from those Eleventh Division members anymore, since most of them would be out of commission for a few months and in serious need of dental surgery. But despite the fact that the rumour mill had stopped turning (at least in his presence) Ikkaku still did not feel like being around people, yet he was not in the mood to go back to his room, where the mistakes of his previous night with Izuru loomed large. He weighed his options. Stay in the canteen and ignore the stares that he got or go home and relive every moment of his errant ways. Che. Enough sake would dull his memories, but not his sight. He decided to go home for lunch and took a bottle of sake with him.
The bottle of sake was doing its job of dulling his memory of Izuru, but did a piss poor job of dulling his memory all together. Ikkaku kept drudging up long forgotten memories.
After their initial kiss it took Ikkaku and Yumichika almost two years again before they moved onto anything further than that. It frustrated Ikkaku to no end to know that he was lying in bed with the most beautiful person in Seretei and all he got for it was a nice, warm hug. But he didn't complain and in some ways it helped him as he soon channelled all of that pent up frustration into his battles and thus, quickly made a name for himself as a ruthless force to be reckoned with in the Eleventh Division. No, he wouldn't have dared complain or try to force Yumichika into something that he was not ready for. He and Yumichika shared a lot about themselves, but Ikkaku soon realized that there were certain aspects of Yumi's life that were out of boundaries and simply not discussed. If Ikkaku ever brought it up, Yumichika would simply use his powerful talents of misdirection with the result being that most of their conversations on Yumichika's past went something like this:
"Exactly what did you do before I ran into you in the Rukongai?"
"I didn't have quite an active life like you, Ikkaku. I mean, just look at the battle scars you bear. How did you get that half-moon shaped one on the back of your neck?"
"Heh. Well actually, that was a pretty tough battle between me and these three thugs..." And away he would go. Poor Ikkaku usually didn't realize what happened until the next time he tried to take their relationship further and was stopped in his tracks. But one night he came to understand a part of the problem. It was only a small, brief insight into the problem, but it was better than nothing.
Ikkaku heavily lay down on the futon, his body aching from his last mission. He sank into the soft mattress that enveloped his body and felt his body relax. He loved Yumichika's futon – nothing was softer, except maybe Yumi's hair. It was the best bed for sleeping (especially since he didn't do much of anything else in it!), but that was not a complaint. He would never complain about their sexual (or rather lack of sexual) activity since Ikkaku would much rather be in a chaste relationship with Yumichika by choice, than be in no relationship with Yumichika and be celibate by force.
"You were gone for an entire week while you chased that rogue in the Rukongai. Did you miss me?" Yumichika asked as he sat next to Ikkaku on the futon.
"What's there to miss?" Ikkaku said with a mischievous smirk as he closed his eyes.
"This." And Yumichika bent down to kiss him. The soft, gentle touch of his lips set Ikkaku on fire. He grabbed Yumichika behind the neck and pulled him in closer, begging admittance to more kisses like that as his tongue brushed past his lips. Yumichika humoured him for a while, letting Ikkaku run his hands through his hair and letting his hands roam freely. Ikkaku hardened and further pulled Yumichika into him to feel his need, but the gesture seemed to put Yumichika off, for he gave Ikkaku a soft tap on his shoulder and pulled away.
"Yumichika, why do you tease me so?!" Ikkaku ground out.
"I don't do it on purpose Ikkaku!" Yumichika screamed at him and turned his back to Ikkaku.
There was an awkward silence that erupted between them. Ikkaku felt frustrated; not so much because of the lack of sex, but more so because something was bothering Yumichika and he refused to share what the problem was.
"Listen, if you want it so badly you can just do what you usually did when we were in the Rukongai. You can go visit those whore houses that you liked so much and be with a different person every night." Yumichika said after a while. It was supposed to be a scathing remark, but Yumi's voice sounded too defeated for it to have much bite.
The comment momentarily stunned Ikkaku. Yumichika did not trust him and was only waiting for him to slip up and hurt him. A brief indignant anger rose up inside of him, but soon fell into an overwhelmed sense of understanding.
"Che. Ya know, you would think by now that you would realize that I'm not with you for the sex. I'm not getting anything and I'm still with ya! If you don't want to do anything, fine by me. But don't think that I'm gonna go looking for it someplace else. You can trust me on that one. I'll never disrespect ya like that."
Yumichika chose not to respond, but his actions let Ikkaku know that he was considering Ikkaku's words as the truth. He turned around to rest his head on Ikkaku's chest. Ikkaku put his arms around Yumi and pretended to not notice Yumichika's tears. Ikkaku would wait. He would prove to Yumichika that he could be trusted.
Ikkaku sighed. It took him two years to prove his trust to Yumichika, yet that trust was not returned. Yumichika was lying to him about his zanpakutō during all that time. Yet in the space of three weeks Ikkaku kept breaking promises like they were plates at a Greek wedding. Who was wrong and who was more wrong? Maybe he should brace Captain Mayuri for some sort of drug that could dim his memories. Ikkaku paused. Did he just consider asking help from that freak?
What the fuck?!
"I am never drinking again!" He stated as he threw the sake bottle into the bin.
"Well that's good to hear."
Ikkaku jumped up from his seat on the tatami mat to see Yumichika standing near the door.
Ikkaku knew that he should be feeling happy that Yumichika was back, but instead all he felt was a sickening sense of anxiety. Yumichika of course looked like his usual stunning self, but Ikkaku could see that his lover was still not well. He was braced against the door frame trying to master his breathing as surreptitiously as possible His eyes were a bit red, puffy and dark but Ikkaku knew better than to bring that up, unless he wanted to receive a severe kick to the groin. Instead he tried to act as casual as possible.
"You wanna go sit outside?"
Yumichika instantly picked up on Ikkaku's casual tone. It was the way they usually dealt with all of their arguments. They might not speak to each other for days, but after a casual start of conversation they would slip in an apology and all would be right with the world again. Yumichika wanted so badly for everything to be right again, so he too tried his best to be his usual self.
"Aren't you afraid that the sun will reflect off your head and create a glare so strong that it will burn like a laser and take the garden down in flames?"
Ikkaku turned to look at Yumichika who was wearing the largest, most devious smirk that Ikkaku couldn't help but smirk too.
"If I'm lucky, it'll hit you instead." Ikkaku retorted.
"Well you're usually quite lucky, so I better watch out."
The awkwardness in the room went down several degrees as the two men realized just how much they missed each other during the past few weeks. Ikkaku moved forward to close the distance between him and Yumichika. But the closer he came to the beautiful man's face, the stronger the guilt in him returned and even though he was now close enough to feel Yumichika's breath on his face, Ikkaku couldn't bear to look him in the eyes, as he wondered whether Yumichika noticed that there was a third scent in the room – a scent that belonged to neither of them. Instead he just turned and headed toward the back veranda and tried to ignore the burgeoning guilt that developed when he noticed the weak steps that Yumichika took to follow him.
Yumichika took his seat next to Ikkaku on the veranda and couldn't help but observe that the awkwardness level had returned, despite his best efforts to make things as casual as possible. It was there for a brief moment and disappeared suddenly. He sighed and remembered Hisagi's words. He needed to apologize. He was wrong. He needed Ikkaku.
"Ikkaku..." Yumichika said after a while. He was never good at apologizing and this moment filled with its discomfiture and high emotions reminded him why. But he cleared his throat and continued forward. "I've been speaking to Hisagi-san a lot recently, or rather he's been speaking to me because if it were up to me, I would not be speaking to him. I don't care what he says about being in love with me, he is one sadistic bastard and I know that he just enjoys making my life a living hell." Yumichika let out a huge sigh. "Anyway, I digress."
Ikkaku stiffened. Did Hisagi already know what happened between him and Izuru? Did he tell Yumichika? And what was that about him being in love with Yumichika? He looked at where Yumichika's hands were. They were resting comfortably on his lap, but Ikkaku knew he had to keep a close eye on that. He had to be ready for when Yumichika would strike him down in one blow. But in the meanwhile, he would try to act calmly.
"Mmhmm," Ikkaku responded, prompting Yumichika to continue.
"Yes, well he let me know in no uncertain terms that I was wrong for letting my pride get in the way of us. I think he called us asses. Yes, he's not the most eloquent, but I must admit that he was right. Not about the ass part, but about me letting my pride get in the way. He's the ass if you ask me, and I know that nobody did, but I'm telling you anyway. Hisagi is a fool. A smart fool, but a fool nonetheless."
"What the hell are you talking about?!" Ikkaku shouted as his patience thinned. It was obvious that Yumichika did not know about what happened last night. Right?
"I was the one that was hospitalized, yet you're the one having trouble following a basic sentence." Yumi smirked, as he gave Ikkaku a sideways glance. Ikkaku opened his mouth to retort something nasty, but refrained.
"What? You think that I'm the only one that looks good all riled up?" Yumichika responded coyly making Ikkaku blush. But then the guilt settled on him again. Once he let Yumi know what happened between him and Izuru, Yumichika would never look at him, much less touch him again. But then again, that would be the least of his problems after Yumichika killed him, Ikkaku cynically thought.
The mood again changed from light to heavy as Yumichika noticed the worried and pained look on Ikkaku's face. He wondered if Ikkaku was thinking what he was thinking. Could their relationship survive after something like this? Yumichika didn't know, but he had to try.
"Ikkaku, we have known each other for too many years to count. I respect you," Ikkaku's stomach flopped at the unconscious guilt trip Yumichika was sending him on, "and I respect the Eleventh Division. You and this Division mean everything to me. I know that I should have trusted you enough to tell you the true nature of my zanpakutō and I'm sorry that I did not, especially since you have proven to me that I can trust you completely,"
Nah! He had to be doing this on purpose, Ikkaku screamed in his mind. He must know what happened and he was using his mind fuck games again. Right? Right? Ikkaku was never more confused as to what was going on in Yumichika's mind.
"Ikkaku, everything that I do is for you. I wanted to tell you, but I knew how you felt about zanpakutō that are not direct attacks. I was afraid that I would lose you. Do you have any idea what it feels like to have that fear that you would lose the only person that ever mattered to you because of something that was beyond your control?"
Ikkaku considered Yumichika. Here was a man that was willing to do anything for him and his relationship. He would rather let himself be killed by some unworthy opponent than risk the chance of disappointing his lover or his Squad. Yumichika gave his all to this relationship, so much that it physically pained him when Ikkaku left. Ikkaku looked at the slightly trembling hands that rested on Yumichika's lap and the guilt hit him full force. He had been careless with a delicate man. He had broken promises and he broke the trust that their relationship was built on. If he confessed his mistake now, he would break Yumi beyond repair and lose the only person that ever mattered to him.
"Ya don't have to apologize, Yumi. I understand what you mean. I really do. If anyone should be apologizing it should be me."
Ikkaku brought Yumichika in for an embrace as he rested his head in the crook of his neck and inhaled his scent. "I'm really, really sorry. I truly am."
Yumichika was stunned. He knew Ikkaku and this was not like him. He expected a 'Che. Don't worry about it' by way of apology. That was Ikkaku's usual apology. It never got as sentimental as this. Something was off.
"Ikkaku, are you alright?" Yumichika tentatively questioned.
Ikkaku pulled back to look Yumichika straight in the eye and Yumichika couldn't help but notice the five different kinds of guilt on Ikkaku's face. Ikkaku leaned in and kissed him gently on the lips. Yumichika instantly pulled away.
"What's wrong?" Ikkaku asked, his confusion mirroring Yumichika's.
"The last time you kissed me like that, two days later you were standing over my bed asking me why I lied to you about my zanpakutō. What's wrong with you?"
Ikkaku tried his best to hide the truthfulness behind Yumichika's suspicions. He was not going to lose Yumichika over one fuck up.
"So, now you're paranoid? I kiss ya and ya think that I'm up to something. What did they do to you over in the Fourth? They slip you something? I never trusted those freaks."
Yumichika sighed. Hisagi was getting to him. The bastard. Hisagi and his cryptic words had crept up into his head like a thief in the night and planted the evidence of doubt. I'm going to kill that brute the next time I see him, Yumichika swore. Instead of being happy that his problems with Ikkaku were over, Yumichika was busy doubting Ikkaku's sincerity and nearly ruined everything. Yep. Hisagi was so dead.
Yumichika leaned in and kissed Ikkaku the way he knew he liked to be kissed – hard and with passion. Ikkaku broke away only to surface for breath as he tore off Yumi's orange neck apparel and trailed kisses down his neck. Every kiss, every touch reminded Ikkaku of exactly what he had. He had the best. A friend that would listen to him and never judge him. A lover who incited his passion like no other. A partner whom he could trust with his life. There was nothing that could make him give that up and he simply refused to give it up. A genuine sense of understanding for Yumichika's decision to lie to him was achieved through the mistake he made with Izuru. He now knew what it was like to have that fear hanging over you. This was his possession. He could feel Yumichika's body aching to share his breath and he pulled him up as he nibbled and sucked on his neck, causing the man to let out a throaty moan as he led him to the futon. But as soon as they lay down on the futon, Yumichika pushed him off of him and violently shot up from the bed as if something had bitten him.
"What the heck is that?" He screamed like a banshee.
"What? What?" Ikkaku asked in utter confusion as he looked at his body wondering if he had suddenly grown lobster claws on his stomach or something.
"That." Yumichika pointed to the bed, "What did you do with my mattress?"
Oh fuck, of course he would notice that, Ikkaku thought. Yumichika was like the Shinigami Princess and the pea.
"I burnt it." Ikkaku answered, retro-wishing for once in his life that he was not so bloody straightforward.
Yumichika simply stared back at Ikkaku and when he didn't ask him why, Ikkaku had that sickening sense that things were slipping away from him. He could see Yumichika making connections in his head. His lavender eyes slowly moved from the mattress on the floor to the few, stray blond hairs that caught the sunlight that streamed in from the open screen doors. Then his eyes moved out to look outside where the blackened ash from the futon still lay fresh on the grass in the garden. Ikkaku watched Yumichika inhale deeply as he finally placed who owned that foreign scent that was in their room. He heard him mutter phrases "you never say the words I'm sorry", "pride is not the only thing fighting to come between the two of you" and "he is not like me; he would not make the choices I would." A tight knot developed in Ikkaku's chest.
"Ikkaku," Yumichika said after a while, his voice soft, yet controlled, "this is a yes or no question and you have to get it right the first time. Did you sleep with Izuru Kira?"
"Last night. It was only once. I didn't mean to. It didn't mean anything." Ikkaku rattled off, but soon realized that Yumichika was not listening. He wasn't even hearing anymore. He had a strange calm look on his face. It was a look that comes right before someone realizes that everything will not be alright. Yumichika backed up against the wall and looked at Ikkaku as if he had never seen him before. Ikkaku bolted off the futon and approached Yumi, who looked faint. But as he neared him, Yumichika looked him directly in the eyes. As usual Ikkaku felt nearly paralyzed by the stare. This time he saw not just hurt, but something a lot more dangerous – he saw murderous intent. He hadn't noticed it before, but Yumichika's reiatsu was climbing.
"Yumichika, listen to me –" Ikkaku started as he reached out to touch Yumichika's face, but his hand was fiercely slapped away. "Don't touch me!" Yumichika hissed at him and Ikkaku felt like he just got burnt. The way that Yumichika reacted made Ikkaku felt dirtier and lower than he ever felt. But he knew he deserved it. A silence filled in between them and threatened to drown the both of them, when suddenly Yumichika spoke up in a surprisingly calm, almost chipper voice, but Ikkaku could still hear the pain under the veneer.
"Maybe you should go back to work, Ikkaku."
Ikkaku looked at Yumichika. He looked normal, but his eyes said something different. There was something wild and dangerous lying behind those infamously beautiful lavender eyes. Ikkaku paused for a moment, but decided to comply. Maybe a little bit of space was all Yumichika needed to calm down and then they could talk.
"Yeah, yeah. I think that's a good idea. I'll come back later and we could talk about this."
Ikkaku had made it all the way back to the main offices of the Eleventh Division before he realized that he should not have left. He had just left Yumichika tottering over the edge of a dangerous precipice. He remembered Yumi's eyes. Ikkaku slapped his head hard at the stupidity of his actions. He shunpoed home in record time, but Yumichika was no longer there and try as he might, he could not sense his reiatsu.
Izuru stood looking out into the rippling water of the river in front of him. So many things had gone wrong in his life lately that he was beginning to wonder what was his real purpose.
"Lieutenant Izuru Kira. It took me hours to find you."
Izuru spun around completely shocked to see Yumichika standing a few paces behind him.
"Fifth Seat Ayasegawa-san, I did not notice you there."
"I didn't expect you to. I was doing exactly what you are doing now: purposely hiding my reiatsu."
Izuru considered the Fifth Seat. It was dark where they stood near the river, but Yumichika was standing in the direct path of the moonlight with the effect that he looked ethereal as the pale light glowed against his skin. He wondered if Yumichika had planned where he would stand before he made his presence known. He would not have been surprised. That had the narcissistic Fifth Seat written all over it.
"Why are you hiding your reiatsu Lieutenant? Are you depressed about something? Oh never mind. Silly question. I should be more specific. Are you depressed that things didn't work out with you and Ikkaku?"
There was a sharp bite to the way Yumichika spoke his words and Izuru instantly became uneasy. He did a quick scan of the environs. They were near a river, more an overrated stream really. They were far from the road and would definitely not be seen since the thick, heavy underbrush did a fantastic job of hiding them. A light rain had fallen earlier so the ground was a bit soft, but not soggy. But the moon was out and beaming brightly giving enough light to see properly in a battle in case it was needed.
"You can remove your hand away from your zanpakutō. I already know what Wabisuke is capable of, so obviously I would never fight you with my own zanpakutō." Yumichika exposited.
"You have no reason to fight me Ayasegawa-san. Your relationship with Ikkaku is safe." Izuru said and his heart literally hurt as he remembered Ikkaku's indifferent attitude toward him earlier.
"I never said that I was here to fight you. Don't put your ugly words in my mouth."
"Then why did you go through all the trouble of seeking me out? If it's for an apology then I'll give it to you right now. I am truly sorry Ayasegawa-san. I never meant for things to get so out of hand."
Yumichika's expression was that of stone – cold and unreadable. When he finally spoke, his voice was controlled, but haughtier than ever.
"While I was in the Fourth Division, I had quite a few visits. Ikkaku's visit upset me the most. Hisagi's visits were the most annoying and they overshadowed the visit that you paid to me. I considered it an unbeautiful, depressing and seemingly innocuous visit; much like my general thoughts on you."
Izuru didn't bother to feel insulted since he already knew that Yumichika was never fond of him and he definitely had no expectations of the Fifth Seat being fond of him now, especially in revelation of recent incidents. So he said nothing.
"When I replay that visit in my mind, I realize just how careless I was with you and how calculating you really are. You preyed on my fears, so by the next time that I saw Ikkaku, whom you obviously knew was on his way to see me, I would be in no mood to forgive or apologize. I'm sure you took advantage of Ikkaku last night too. Ikkaku is an alcoholic, but he's not a stupid or blind drunk. You manipulated and took advantage of a situation. You told Ikkaku about my zanpakutō and watched from a distance when everything crashed and burnt, so that you would be there to pick up the pieces. You were relentlessly heartless and strategic. Am I correct?"
"Right you are, Ayasegawa-san."
"How beautiful. You accept your actions like a man." Yumichika said and tilted his head to the side, as if seeing Izuru in a new light. The compliment however, made Izuru nervous. Something was really off with Yumichika. Izuru knew that it was only a matter of time before Yumichika found out what happened and he had braced himself for a fierce battle with the Fifth Seat who was known to have a short temper. But here stood a man that was unnaturally calm as he quietly made deductions about the attempts to sabotage his relationship. It was highly unnerving.
"You are in that way," Yumichika continued, "and that way alone, better than me. Obviously you fail in every other respect," he flicked his beautiful hair as if to add measure, "It took me a long while before I could admit that I was wrong for lying to Ikkaku. I don't like admitting that I am wrong. My pride keeps getting in the way. But I did and thanks to you, Ikkaku recognizes why I would lie. He understands what it is like to fear losing the only person that you really care about because of something that really was beyond your control. So I guess, Yay! You made our relationship all the more worthwhile. Thank you very much." Yumichika added the last past in a tone dripping wet with sarcasm.
"Ayasegawa-san, I truly am very sorry. I never meant to hurt you. You say that pride keeps getting in your way, but envy kept getting in my mine. I am depressed because I yearn for what you have. I envy that love that you have with Ikkaku-san. I wanted that for myself and the only way to get that was to show him that I could love him better."
"That could never happen since I am the best. You can never be as beautiful as me. You can never be better than me. If you had let me know what you were up I could have saved you the trouble of such an ugly experience."
"You should be a motivational speaker." Izuru mumbled in a sotto voice causing Yumichika to laugh out loud.
"Loves the sarcasm. It fits your depression well." Yumichika said with a smile that made Izuru very tense. Yumichika may have been standing directly in front of him, but Izuru felt like Yumichika was a tiger in the jungle waiting to pounce at the unexpected moment.
"You should save your reasons, Lieutenant Kira," Yumichika continued, "Unlike Ikkaku or Hisagi-san, I have no sympathy toward you. You may have inadvertently convinced Ikkaku to forgive me, but you blasted such a big hole in our relationship that I don't know if it will ever be fixed."
Izuru saw the hurt that was in Yumichika's eyes and the remorse weighed him down until his lungs felt stifled. The inadequacy of any apology that he could possibly say expanded in his brain, effectively stifling his voice. Yumichika took it as an opportunity to continue.
"You ruined my relationship. You strategically ruined my relationship. You played on my pride and now my relationship has fallen because of you. You ruined my relationship!" Yumichika screamed at him. Izuru could see the man's hand shake with fury as his reiatsu bristled the leaves around him and the tears that shone in his eyes. This was what Izuru had been expecting. But just as suddenly as Yumichika became undone, he just as abruptly centred himself and smiled at Izuru. It made him feel extremely nervous.
Seven hours had passed since Ikkaku had last seen Yumichika. He wanted a drink so badly, but refrained since lately his drinking had been seriously compromising his mental capacity and he had a feeling that he needed all of his cognitive processes to deal with Yumichika in his current state. It was wretched sitting there wondering and even more guilt seeped into Ikkaku (if that was even possible since he felt like he was water-logged with guilt) as he realized that this was most likely how Yumichika felt when he had left him in this same, dark room more than three weeks ago. Where could he be? What was he doing? Was he going to come back? The questions resounded in his head. They were juxtaposed to how could I be such a fool and why didn't I just do things differently. He couldn't feel Yumichika's reiatsu. He concentrated so hard that now he had a migraine to add to his back pain that he got from the new mattress. It was truly a horrible and stiff mattress. The ugliness of that alone must have sent Yumi over the edge, Ikkaku reasoned. He tried to distract his thoughts by wondering where he could purchase a better futon when the door suddenly opened and there stood Yumichika.
Blood was splattered all over Yumichika's uniform and face and under different circumstances Ikkaku would have complimented him on how incredibly sexy he looked that way. But instead all Ikkaku could wonder was whose blood was that. Yumichika paused long enough to leave his zanpakutō in the same place that he always kept it – beside the futon – and ignored the pointed stares he got from Ikkaku.
"Whose blood is that?" Ikkaku finally asked.
"A Hollow's." Yumichika answered but did not stop before he crossed over to the bathroom and quickly shot the door behind him.
Ikkaku stared at the shut door and wanted to reply that Hollows don't bleed,* but refrained because he was not sure that he wanted to press Yumichika for an answer.
An hour and a half later Yumichika came out and sat next to Ikkaku on the futon like he did so many nights before. But that night was different. There was an intense, solid silence between them and neither Ikkaku nor Yumichika knew how to break it. They sat there staring straight ahead. But after a while the tears began to fall down Yumichika's face. At first hesitant after he was viciously pushed away earlier, Ikkaku pulled in Yumichika closer and rocked him. Still unsure of what to say, Ikkaku remained quiet.
"Ikkaku, we have to start over. We have come full circle. I have hurt you and you have hurt me." Yumichika said after his tears had dried and his sniffling subsided. "We have to start over our relationship. No secrets, build the trust, keep our promises."
Ikkaku felt like a heavy weight was lifted from his chest and he could breathe again.
"I can do that. We can do that."
Neither knew when the other fell asleep but sometime around midnight they were awoken by the clacking sounds of the alarm ringing through the Seretei. A Hell butterfly floated into the room and Ikkaku put out his hand to receive the message.
"What does it say?" Yumichika asked a bit drearily.
"Emergency meeting. Lieutenant Izuru Kira was found dead. Apparent suicide, but investigations are continuing."
Ikkaku turned to look at Yumichika who avoided his gaze and said, "hmmph," as his only comment.
"Is there something that ya wanna tell me, Yumichika?" Ikkaku asked as he remembered that crazed look behind Yumichika's eyes and the inexplicable blood on his clothes.
"Yeah," Yumi replied with his back turned to Ikkaku, "I really hate this new futon."
"Remember what you said. No secrets." Ikkaku patiently reminded him.
Yumichika turned around to face Ikkaku, his stunning lavender eyes were full of such pain that Ikkaku already knew the answer.
"Don't ask me, what you already know. Everything that I do is for you, Ikkaku."
"I know, I know." That's why I love you, Ikkaku finished in his mind.
It would be a long while before either of them could say that they loved each other again, but it didn't matter as long as they were together and they knew that the love was there.
* I wasn't sure whether Hollows bleed blood or not, but I had to make it work in this story.
A/N: Yay me! My first ever finished fanfic. I know the end is bittersweet, but this was an Angst story, so the ending would not be totally happy. As to whether or not Yumi killed Izuru; I leave that up to whatever you choose to interpret. Thank you for reading and reviewing and adding this story to your faves, etc. I truly appreciate your support.