Melancholy


Disclaimer: Don't own BLEACH. Tite Kubo does and several relevant media do.


Summary: Ichigo feels depressed over something and Uriya scolds him by telling him that melancholy and depression aren't his things. Slight IchiRuki. Short drabble post 'Alive' when both Ichigo and Uriya have become 5th division taichou and fukutaichou respectively.

A/N: Can't get the idea off my mind—kind of.


Kurosaki Ichigo flopped down on the grass just under the big ash tree that was located at the backyard of the Shinigami Academy.

When he wasn't busy with paperwork and training his men, he always sneaked a chance to visit his friends in academy; the group of friends he recently befriended with as he joined the academy five years ago. He almost always had the time to do so, since Uriya, being a diligent and brilliant person he was—not to mention, a strong and reliable fukutaichou—had decided to slave himself in paperwork even more than Ichigo did. As a result, most of the division's paperwork had always been done by the time he arrived in his office; the rest of the paperwork was settled neatly on his desk. Only a stack at that and it wasn't even many in the first place. So Ichigo silently worked on his few portion of paperwork and used his spare time to either train or walk around Seireitei.

Sprawling on the grass, Ichigo let his mind wander. He had felt somehow depressed lately.

He didn't know why, but he had a suspicion that he was depressed over his death—which happened a week ago.

Yes, the mighty Kurosaki Ichigo had died in the living world and the reason he died wasn't even much extraordinaire in the first place.

He had died because of a car accident.

A mere fucking car accident.

He had been careless when he drove home that night. He barely ran an errand for his father, going to the hospital and buying medicines, bandages, and things like that; when suddenly his car slipped on the wet asphalt. That night had been raining, true. Next thing he knew he had already wrecked the street border and come face to face with big truck approaching from the opposite way. Veering sharply, he still couldn't avoid the crash though.

A second later, he had already found himself floating out from his totally broken body.

Ichigo fingered his chain of fate, wondering why he still had the thing even when he was already a shinigami in the first place. He peered down sadly at his broken body. His body was beyond repair now; not even Inoue could fix it in time.

So he did the most reasonable thing he had to do: he phoned his father and Urahara. Fortunately, his phone wasn't a normal phone to begin with; it was Urahara's invention anyway. Even after the mighty crash, the thing didn't even chip a bit.

Both Isshin and Urahara's reaction were immediate as they rushed to the site. Due to his sighting at Ichigo's broken body, Urahara only sighed and looked at him solemnly. His father asked him whether he wanted to be konsoed by him or Urahara. Ichigo shook his head no and answered that he wanted to be konsoed by someone else. They complied in silence.

Ichigo followed his father home and almost winced when he saw Karin's shocked expression. His heart plummeted down his gut when he saw Yuzu's pained expression and her tears after. He hated to see his sisters sad. Especially not when he was the reason why they were sad and sorrowing over him.

Karin, being a shinigami herself—she followed his step and became substitute shinigami after they found out that she unintentionally developed a zanpakuto from her reiatsu excess—asked him if he wanted to be konsoed by her of all people.

……

"Ichi-nii, do you want me to konso you? That chain is a bit annoying, it seems." Karin asked him.

Ichigo laughed a little and shook his head. "No, sorry, Karin. I want to be konsoed by someone else."

"Who?"

Ichigo smiled softly. "Rukia."

Karin smiled back. "Do you want me to call her? I have my SoulPhoneTM too, you know. Barely got this afternoon and it's blue."

"Yes, I would like to. And please say that you didn't pay even one single yen to that sneaky shopkeeper for his stupid phone."

"Puh-lease! I kinda threatened him to give me the phone freely, you know."

"…Good."

……

So Karin phoned Rukia in Soul Society.

Which in turn, the latter dragged Uriya; who, instead of using conventional Senkaimon, had decided to rip open a garganta to reach Ichigo's place. It was quicker that way, it seemed.

When they arrived, Ichigo could see that Rukia was practically, totally livid. He smirked sheepishly at her—only to get a very nice kick on his face. He reeled backward, but quickly regained his footing.

Yelling and cussing profusely at her—she spat back as viciously, if not somewhat fiercer—he didn't miss her tears at all. So he stopped yelling and cussing; and stretched his arms to pull her into his embrace.

……

"…I'm sorry, Rukia…" He uncharacteristically whispered.

"…Ichigo, you asshole… Why do you always be in trouble whenever I'm not around?" Her voice was quavering.

"…I was also in trouble whenever you were around."

"…That's beside the point, you jerk."

"…I know."

Silence ensued between them as they were satisfied to be in each other's embrace. Ichigo was the first one to break the silence, though.

"…Rukia?"

"Hm?"

"Konso me."

"…"

"Please."

"…Okay."

……

So, Rukia did konso him.

As the tip of Sode no Shirayuki's handle touched his forehead, light emanated from his body and a moment later, he was already standing there, clad in his black shihakusho and white haori, with Zangetsu slung behind his back.

……

"I still feel it's weird." He inquired softly.

"What weird?" Rukia asked back.

"I mean, instead of going to Soul Society in the flash of light, I manage to stand here, already in my shinigami form and all…" He trailed off.

"…That is because you're already a shinigami, you foolish trash." Undoubtedly, it was Uriya.

Ichigo smirked at his fukutaichou. "As blunt as ever, Uriya."

"…Hn."

"…Are you going to throw a temper tantrum at me too?"

"…Kuchiki has already taken my portion. So I settle to call you these…" He paused for a second before murmuring accusingly.

"…Trash, scum, trash, garbage, trash, rubbish, fucking trash—"

Ichigo did wince at that.

……

He stayed at home that night instead of going to Soul Society with Rukia and Uriya. They promised to go back in the morning, bringing other people to attend his supposed funeral. Ichigo smiled gratefully at them and told them not to overact by bringing all the Soul Society's inhabitants to his funeral. Both raven haired shinigamis only smirked.

He stayed at his old room for the night, memorizing every inch of his room into his memory. He wouldn't spend most of his time in this room anymore.

He was rather shocked when he felt a single tear rolling down his cheek. Wiping it away, he found himself unable to hold the sudden sadness; the empty and hollow feeling within his heart. And thus, he cried.

He cried and cried over night, trying to be as silent as he could muster. He was somehow thankful that his family didn't barge in when he was pouring his tears on his pillow.

He knew it was silly for him to cry over something as trivial as death. At least, for him it was a trivial matter.

There wouldn't be any major difference after his death; he would stay permanently at Soul Society, but he could go back to the living world, to Karakura, to his house just for a visit. He could still see his father, his sisters, and his friends. At least, Tatsuki, Keigo, and Mizuiro were aware about him being a shinigami; and a taichou at that. Ishida, Chad, and Inoue would be sad—well, maybe only the latter two would—but they knew they could see him again sometimes during his frequent visit.

There would be no problem at all …right?

Right. He just shifted life from once a human/shinigami/vaizard into a totally shinigami/vaizard. No problem at all. Hell, he should be happy that he could see Rukia every day and not every once a month.

But Ichigo couldn't help but cry. With his death, there was something missing from his life, or rather, afterlife. He missed his human life and mundane and trivial things in his supposedly ordinary life.

He knew he was being ridiculous—his life couldn't be considered mundane and normal after all—but still…

"…Why do you seem so depressed?"

Ichigo jumped from his lying position under the ash tree and spun around only to stand face-to-face with his ever-so-melancholic fukutaichou. The latter had his usual stance of stuffing his hands within his hakama's pockets and leaning against the other side of the same ash tree. His brilliant emerald eyes were fixed on the younger male before him; his gaze however betrayed nothing but slight concern.

"…Oh, it's you, Uriya." Ichigo sighed and flopped back onto the ground.

Shizu Uriya raised a brow analytically and followed his friend's lead. He gracefully sat on the ground beside Ichigo and leaned his back and head against the tree.

They were silent for some comfortable moments; but eventually Uriya broke the silence by repeating his question.

"…Why do you seem so depressed? It's not like you to be depressed."

Ichigo chuckled softly. "Not like me, huh? I guess it's true then; since people usually see me with my brash and loud demeanor."

"…Indeed."

They were silent again for some moment. This time, it was Ichigo who started the conversation.

"Ne, Uriya?"

"Hn?"

"…Do you remember your life before you died and became hollow?"

Ichigo saw Uriya stiffened at this very mentioning about his pre-hollow life and mentally kicked his ass.

Of course, he doesn't remember, you fool! Ichigo berated himself. Besides, even though he does remember, it must be a sensitive case for him. Damn, I'm so retarded sometimes…

"…I do."

Ichigo snapped his head at him and gaped. "Huh?" he responded intelligently.

Uriya stared at him evenly. "I do remember, somehow. Why do you ask?"

"…Nothing, just—I'm curious, that's all. Not that I want to know or what—so, I, well…"

"…You know, Ichigo. You've seen." The former Espada answered impassively. Ichigo let out a choked gasp.

"…Ah, that's—well, I can explain… Urahara—"

"…Ichigo, that's not the main problem, am I right?"

Ichigo swallowed thickly. "…Umm, yeah, I guess so…"

Uriya kept staring at Ichigo with his undivided gaze. Ichigo began to squirm under his scrutiny. Uriya's gazes tended to make their objects feel uncomfortable and bare in front of him; as if the green eyed man could see through their souls.

"…I'm just… thinking about my death." Ichigo confessed. Uriya didn't comment. "I mean… it was so lame, isn't it? Die by a car accident… I mean if it was somebody else, it could be considered as normal, but me of all people—"

"…Yes, it was lame," Uriya evenly remarked. "Very trashy way to go, at least for you."

Ichigo scowled and glared at him.

"…Anyway, you digress."

"Am not!"

"Thinking about the way you died back then shouldn't make you feel and look depressed right now. You've been dead at least twice before, remember? I killed you twice."

Ichigo sat up and frowned at his fukutaichou. He knew Uriya was right; he had been dead before—at least, supposedly dead. Twice. He was supposedly dead twice; done by the same person: Ulquiorra Schiffer a.k.a. Shizu Uriya.

But he survived. Those times were like hell for him, but he survived. He kept alive.

And now, he died because one single car accident. Fate could be such a bitch sometimes.

"…Stop it."

Ichigo looked at Uriya and responded intelligently, "…Huh?"

"I said, stop making that face." Uriya frowned at him. "It doesn't suit you, at all."

Ichigo huffed. "What face is suitable for me then?"

"Your usual and trashy face." The older man countered without losing a beat.

"AND which one is my usual and trashy face as per your standard?"

Uriya straightened his back, pointed at his makeshift scowl, and then he crossed his arms and frowned. "Just like Orihime has said before, your usual face and pose. Scowl and swagger and stuff."

Ichigo glared at his fukutaichou, but he couldn't keep his snicker as he saw Uriya's odd pose. His grim scowl lessened. "Hey! I don't do swagger! I scowl, yes, but I don't swagger! It's Ginjo's part!"

Uriya regained his usual pose of leaning against the tree, arms on his lap, and shrugged nonchalantly. "You two are so much alike for me."

"…Heh, everyone says so."

They were silent as they enjoyed the breeze of summer wind. It was already midsummer. Koheita, Kanzaki, and the others would face their preparation test next month. In early winter, they would face their graduation test. Next spring, they would have been graduated and appointed as recruits in which ever division they had chosen.

"…Your grim scowl is back."

Ichigo grumbled and faced away from Uriya. "Che, whatever."

Uriya sighed, suppressing a smile. "Melancholy doesn't suit you. It's not your element. Melancholy suits me better."

Ichigo turned to face his companion again. His amber eyes inquiring as he asked tentatively.

"…Why do you say that?"

"Because it's true."

"You're just making it up, because of your facial expression, right?"

"…Partially. The other reason is because of my life or rather afterlife; and my heartless-ness… compared to you, melancholy does suit me better. All my whole life and afterlife are melancholic, after all."

"…Your present afterlife isn't melancholic."

Uriya turned to regard Ichigo and flashed a faint smile, astounding the younger man.

"You're right, Ichigo. That's why I do hope you feel the same too."

Ichigo blinked at him, flabbergasted.

"I know you mourn your loss of normal life as human. You mourn for the loss of mundane, trivial things. You mourn for not being able to see your family everyday. You mourn for the entire normalcy of your human life.

It's normal for mourning over your death and loss. It's normal for crying when you feel sad. It's normal because you're human and humans have hearts.

Back then, I didn't understand the concept. Orihime explained to me, though just in the very last time, I did understand… that I still have a heart."

Ichigo stared at Uriya, observing how his eyes become glazed and slightly sad, how his usual frown cease and his rare, faint smile form in his face. Uriya was the embodiment of melancholy; Ichigo realized it was true. Even his usual monotone voice represented melancholy.

"…You know the real meaning of my name?" Uriya blurted out after some moments of peaceful silence.

"…No. I think I know but I kinda forget."

"…Your memory brain is indeed dysfunctional."

"Hey!"

"…The name 'Ulquiorra' is derived from Spanish, 'El Qué Llora'," Uriya murmured, deliberately ignoring Ichigo's outburst. "It means 'he who cries'."

Ichigo was speechless. So he opted gazing at his friend and found that his gaze was returned. They gazed unblinkingly at each other for some moment…

……

…before breaking their eyes connection as a wail approached them.

"Aaaahhhh, my test is sucked!" Koheita bawled as he practically tramped over the field towards the ash tree. Kanzaki and the others followed him, trying their hard to stifle their laugh at his antic.

Upon seeing the two figures lounged under the tree, however Koheita instantly mood-shifted and cried happily, "Kurosaki Ichigo-taichou-samaaaaa! Shizu Uriya-fukutaichou-samaaaaa!" and sprinted towards them in full speed.

Ichigo quickly shot up from his lying position and yelled back, "Koheita! I've said it before! Don't call me that!" and promptly evaded the other man's attempted hug (Koheita was just too much similar like Keigo, Ichigo dimly mused).

Kanzaki chuckled gaily, reciprocated by the others' snickers and giggles. "Koheita, you know for sure that you'll never be able to hug Ichigo-sama like that."

The said man pouted but didn't say anything. He plopped down beside Ichigo and sulked.

"Kanzaki, you too, what's with the honorific anyway?" Ichigo grumbled.

"Ah, Ichigo-sama, this is moderate you know." The puppy eyed man reasoned cheerfully.

"But –sama is rather …noble-like. I hate that. Sounds like Byakuya to me."

"You don't call him as Byakuya-sama either, Ichigo." Uriya piped evenly. "You like to rile him by calling him 'Byakuya'. You know how much Kuchiki-taichou loathes it. It's the same with Hitsugaya-taichou. Despite his emphasis for calling him 'Hitsugaya-taichou', you keep calling him Toushiro. Recently, you even call him Shiro-chan.

So in my opinion, you can't protest about the names others prefer to call you with either. It sounds just and fair to me. You reap what you sow."

Ichigo glared at him, flustered. "It's different, Uriya. I mean, it's natural they loathe to be called so casually, since they consider it as a dishonor. But those honorifics…" he scowled at Koheita and Kanzaki. "…they're embarrassing."

"You have to be thankful they don't call you 'Pretty Strawberry' instead." Uriya's monotone voice, however, didn't betray his inner mirth.

Ichigo instantly colored in several shades of red. Beside him and Uriya; Koheita, Kanzaki, Masamura, Yajirou, Mayu, and Asahi laughed loudly.

"Hey!"

"Or 'Sweet Strawberry'—" Another laughter.

"OY!"

"Or—"

"GAH! Stop it already!"

By now, a very flustered Ichigo had already stood up from his sitting position and stomped away from the spot, ignoring the occasional snickers and whines ("Aaahh, Ichigo-taichou-sama, don't go!" courtesy of Koheita). But before his feet could carry him away, a soft murmur followed by a loud snap successfully startled him.

"…Bakudou 1, Sai."

SMACK!

THUD!

"AAH!"

……

"Uriya! You sullen face! Release me NOW!" Ichigo bellowed as he was paralyzed and falling onto the ground. He tried to wriggle free from his confinement—to no avail. He could hear laughter and giggles coming from his friends. Shit…

Uriya stood up from his position and squatted before Ichigo, watching him wriggle and struggle with amused eyes.

"Uriya, I swear, if you don't release me then I will—"

"…I'm glad."

Ichigo stopped rattling and blinked in confusion. "…Huh?"

Uriya smiled sincerely, completely shocking Ichigo and the others. Ignoring Koheita's yells ("Shizu-sama's smiling!"), Uriya continued with soft voice.

"This face is more suitable for you."

After saying that, Uriya stood up and casually walked back to his previous spot under the tree. He sat down beside Masamura and leaned against the tree, pretending to nap.

"…Uriya…" Ichigo murmured as a slight, grateful smile tugged on his lips. "…Thank you."

……

"…At least, you could say that after you release this kidou, dammit."

Owari.


Omake:

Masamura dissolved the kidou which bound Ichigo after ten minutes—Uriya's bakudou shouldn't be taken lightly.

Grumbling, Ichigo returned to his previous spot and sat down Indian styled. Kanzaki smiled widely and offered his bento.

"Ichigo-sama, you want some?"

Peering inside the box, Ichigo frowned as he spotted a strange kind of food. He picked a slice of something yellow, white, and red tentatively—not to mention, cautiously. This looked so much like Orihime's concoction.

"…What's this?"

"Strawberry shortcake."

"A straw—what?"

Kanzaki shrugged. "My sister made it special for you. She heard that you like strawberry shortcake, just like your namesake—"

Ichigo face palmed. His namesake wasn't 'strawberry', goddammit…

……

Inwardly, Uriya laughed.

He was the one who spread the rumor that the great Kurosaki Ichigo was deeply fond of strawberry cake. Or any other food with strawberry.

Just like his namesake, indeed.


A/N: Okay the ending is a bit lame… I don't intend it to be a humor fic, duh… Ulquiorra is a bit OOC, but he has been OOC since 'Alive' so, I don't really care. The emo dude has regained his feeling, duh.

Ichigo is OOC, exactly. Period.

Oh well, so I kill Ichigo. And hopefully, I don't ruin my own timeline, hopefully…

Oh yeah, forgive me if I misspell the Spanish for Ulquiorra's name; I've read it somewhere and now the data is lost along with my broken computer...

See you next time.