A/N: Inspired by a very interesting question one of my eL-Jay friends asked upon learning that Muraki/Ryuuken was my ship of choice: "When all the clothes are scattered about on the floor... and after that... how do they find out which clothes belong to who?" Here's the answer.

Warnings: Implied slash.

Disclaimer: Bleach is the intellectual property of Kubo Tite and all associated companies. Yami no Matsuei is the creation and property of Yoko Matsushita (please support her by buying the manga). No profit is being made from this story and all the creative rights to the characters depicted herein belong to their original creators.


These are not my pants

It was some time in the early morning when the midnight had long since passed, but the sun had not yet begun to rise. Heavy curtains covered the narrow windows, blocking the outside world from looking in, and a dim lamp by the only door of the apartment was the only source of light in it. Ryuuken and Muraki lay on the cold floor of a shabby hotel room, feeling rather spent after their strenuous activity that had ended just a few minutes ago. They had never made it to the bed.

The beeping of a pager near Ryuuken's head broke the silence and with a grunt of displeasure the Quincy doctor reached over to fish the obnoxious thing out of the pocket of his trousers. At least they looked like his, and somewhere in his memory there was this vague recollection of them being tossed that way.

"An urgent operation," he stated, taking a quick glance at the screen of the pager, and let his arm drop back down.

"For one of us," Muraki chuckled, propping himself up on an elbow and casting a look over the scattered white clothing on the floor. As if on cue, another pager started beeping.

Ryuuken sighed and ran a hand over his face. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

"Both of us now," he said as he sat up and reached for his clothes.

"Guess there's no time for shower, then." There was some sort of rue in Muraki's voice; possibly because he had planned to have another go in the shower.

Ryuuken cursed, pulling his pants on - hopefully his - and proceeded to quickly zip up his trousers. He would have to use Hirenkyaku to get back in time, as much as he hated using his Quincy powers. He spared a moment to look over the clothes and located his shirt, this time being very sure that it was his and hastily fixed his neck tie in place - also impossible to mix up because of the crosses printed on it.

Muraki was making a quick job of getting back into his suit. He pulled on his coat and looked around for his glasses. He found them under the bed and briefly wondered how they'd gotten all the way there. He inspected them for any scratches or dirt and finding none, cleaned them with the edge of the sheet from the untouched bed before putting them on. He ran a hand through his hair and checked his pager once more.

Ryuuken was already halfway to the door where he only stopped to ponder which shoes were his. He sat down to put the most likely pair on at the same time Muraki did and in a few seconds they were out the door, parting with one final grope until the next time. They headed in different directions, making sure to be out of each other's sight before one of them phased and the other - started threading air.

It wasn't much later, after the emergency operation he had been called out for, that Muraki realised that one of his shoes didn't quite fit him and that his glasses were too strong for him, to the point where he had acquired a light headache.

At almost the same time Ryuuken had come to realise that his vision was a lot blurrier than normal. In fact, one of the lenses barely had any diopters. Also, his trousers were somewhat loose on him and he had had to adjust his belt halfway to the operation room. And his pager was not his pager because he had received a message concerning a patient that wasn't his patient at all.

Sitting down in his office for a cup of well-deserved tea after a complex operation, Muraki pondered on what to do next, but he didn't do it for a long time because he was called out to another operation; one that, when he got to the operating room to find it empty, was not happening in this hospital.

So it was no surprise when, during a late lunch break that Ryuuken was having all holed up in his office with a mountain of paperwork, Muraki showed up for a visit.

"You have something that belongs to me," he said instead of a greeting, but with a polite and warm smile that bode nothing good. It was even more emphasised by the fact that he locked the door behind him.

"Likewise," Ryuuken replied coolly and put aside the document he had been reading at the time, before propping his elbows on the table and intertwining his fingers.

"I'm going to take it back now." For some reason that sounded like a thinly-weiled threat, all the more because Muraki placed his hands on the table and leaned over it, coming face to face with Ryuuken.
He smiled down at his old study friend, all good manners and pleasantry.

"I insist that you do," was the slightly amused reply. Ryuuken did not ask how it was that Muraki had gotten here so quickly; it was more than clear that they weren't exactly normal, the both of them. He removed his glasses and put them aside, then removed the glasses Muraki was wearing as well.

Quick as a flash, Muraki took a hold of Ryuuken's wrists and slammed them down on the table, pinning them among scattering paperwork.

"I'd tell you to brace yourself, but we've already been through this," the demonic doctor whispered just above Ryuuken's lips and the paperwork flew.

To say that they managed to sort out whose clothes belonged to whom afterwards would be a lie. It took them five times to give up on the matter and admit defeat in the form of Ryuuken sewing name tags to all of their garments, shoes included, while Muraki branded their initials onto their glasses, belt buckles, pagers and anything else solid.