Title: Blood
Fandom: Bleach
Pairing/Characters: Yumichika, Ikkaku
Genre/Category: Pre-series, friendship
Rated: R
Word count: 998
Warnings: Violence
Spoilers/Setting: None
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.

Summary: Yumichika thinks blood red suits Ikkaku. Ikkaku doesn't care. One possible explanation for the red markings around Ikkaku's eyes.

A/N: Written in response to a list of prompts schokocchino gave me. The prompt was 'Blood'. Thanks, hon! 3
Feedback is adored, and if there are any mistakes, please let me know. Especially if the characterization seems off. Yumichika is a hard character to write.

Edit: A very minor change due to me having a) seen the anime flashback of Ikkaku's fight with Kenpachi, and b) realised how ridiculously obvious it was that I have no idea about formal/traditional Japanese clothing. *is embarrassed*


Yumichika smiled serenely as he severed his opponent's ugly hands. Honestly, the face was inoffensive enough, plain as it was, but the hands! Ungraceful paws, disproportioned, scarred and dirty – truly hideous.

The unremarkable man screamed in agony as he stared first at the stumps and then at he severed hands lying on the ground before him, one ugly appendage still clutching his weapon loosely, gaze jumping like a frightened rodent.

"Well, if you're going to be like that," Yumichika sighed in annoyance, and drove his katana through the man's gut. "Ungrateful bastard."

He withdrew his katana and watched as the other's knees buckled as he collapsed unto himself, dying in an undignified heap while his blood soaked the withered ground around him. Yumichika felt a bit peeved; there you went, liberating some poor soul from their own ugliness and how did they repay you?

Nothing to be done about it, he thought with another small sigh and looked over to where Ikkaku was happily slaying the last of their attackers. Yumichika felt his own mood lifting when he saw his friend's satisfied smirk as he delivered the killing blow, slashing his opponent's chest, blood spraying everywhere.

When the body hit the ground Ikkaku turned to Yumichika, a wild and pleased grin on his lips, and his eyes-

Yumichika's breath caught. A particular large drop of blood had hit the side of Ikkaku's eye and the effect of the red blood with the wild sparkle in Ikkaku's eye... Beautiful.

"Oi, what ya making that face for?" Ikkaku asked, sounding equal parts satisfied with getting to fight and annoyed at Yumichika for not sharing his joy. Yumichika ignored him, stepping closer to get a better look. How had he never noticed how much blood-red suited Ikkaku? The effect was mesmerizing.

"What?" Ikkaku snapped uncomfortably when Yumichika continued staring at him. He made to swipe at his eye irritably when Yumichika snapped out of his contemplation.

"Don't!" Yumichika blushed faintly when Ikkaku stared at him in exasperation. He cleared his throat to cover his hasty exclamation. "Blood-red suits you. It brings out your eyes." He glared at Ikkaku, daring him to make fun of him.

His friend stared at him a moment longer, nonplussed. "Right," he said, at last, "does it make me look beautiful?" he drawled mockingly and laughed when Yumichika glared at him, pissed. "Jeez, you're weird." He swiped the blood from his face with his sleeve. "Come on, let's go. It's gonna be dark soon."

Yumichika gritted his teeth in anger and embarrassment as Ikkaku checked the bodies scattered on the ground for money and other valuable goods, but he wasn't going to say anything else and dig himself in deeper.

But times like these he was asking himself why he continued traveling with an unappreciative and ill-mannered thug like Ikkaku.

-0-

"How about setting up camp here?"

"Hn."

Ikkaku growled low in his throat at the non-answer. Ever since they were attacked earlier that day Yumichika had been skulking. Ikkaku could count himself lucky when he got monosyllabic answers out of the vain bastard. He cursed.

"Look, whatever funk you got yourself in, snap out of it"

Yumichika glared at him icily. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

Ikkaku snorted in disgust. "Whatever."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Yumichika snapped, grabbing Ikkaku by the lapels. But when he pulled Ikkaku closer angrily, his eyes drifted to where hours before that drop of blood had landed and it dawned on Ikkaku what all this hassle was about.

"Jeez, you're not still skulking because I wiped that blood away, are you?"

Ikkaku could see Yumichika get more pissed off, even before he was shoved roughly aside. He stared after the vain bastard as he stalked away, repeating in that godawful haughty voice of his: "I have no idea what you are talking about."

Ikkaku scoffed and turned his back on the retreating figure, "Whatever."

-0-

Yumichika was sorely tempted to tap his foot in annoyance as he waited for Ikkaku to show up. Ever since their fight they had hardly spoken a word to each other and had separated almost immediately upon arriving in this town. They had managed to agree on staying in town for five days and to leave at noon.

It was past noon now and although Yumichika was at the arranged spot, there was no sign of Ikkaku, yet. As he waited, a small seed of worry began to take roots in his mind. What if Ikkaku had left already, fed up with him after their fight? That was ridiculous, of course, this wasn't the first time they had fought and at least this time, there hadn't been fists involved, but still...

A faint frown marred Yumichika's features when, finally, he felt a familiar presence behind him. Turning around relief flooded his body when he saw Ikkaku striding towards him. Yumichika cocked his head. His friend must have gotten into quite a number of fights during their separation, the area around his eyes was swollen and...

Yumichika started as Ikkaku got close enough for Yumichika to see the reason for the swollen tissue.

Ikkaku scowled uncomfortably and made to scratch near his eye. He winced when he touched the angry red skin and dropped his hand. "The guy said that'll stay swollen for a bit, despite his healing spells. Ought to get better in a couple of days, though." He very nearly fidgeted under Yumichika's stare. "It was the closest they had to blood-red. Guess it looks kinda ugly now, huh?" he asked irritably, averting his eyes, wincing again as the action jarred the sensitive skin.

A smile blossomed on Yumichika's lips as he continued to stare at the crimson tattoos adorning Ikkaku's eyes. "No," he said softly, "no, it doesn't. It looks beautiful."