Ichigo could feel hands running over his body, and despite the pain that spiked everywhere he was touched he felt very relaxed. Those hands were soothing as they danced over his skin, winding bandages and cleaning and taping his wounds. Fingers pressed gently at the bruises beginning to swell on his chest and stomach, lingering for a little longer than was necessary over the curves of defined muscle. He felt hyper sensitive after the rough treatment and now every gentle touch sent sparks of heat flying across his skin. He was burning up beneath the cool touch, beneath the calloused fingers that skimmed his skin, working their way up to dab cream to the bruises on his chest.
"Are you awake, Ichigo-kun?" There was that voice again, laced with a humorous edge that made Ichigo feel like he was being mocked. He groaned as the sound dragged him from the depths of his sleep, eyelashes fluttering open as the world was brought hazily into focus.
He discovered that he was lying propped up on a couch, in an unfamiliar room that almost overwhelmed Ichigo with stark colours. The walls were a pristine white and the floor a matching white laminate topped by a thick black rug. Decoration was sparse, the black leather couch upon which Ichigo lay was joined only by another matching sofa directly opposite, with a black and white coffee table in between the two. There was no television, just row upon row of black bookcases which lined the walls; the different colours of the spines of the books standing out against the minimalist black and white colour scheme which the rest of the room conformed to.
He blinked in confusion, caramel eyes widening in shock when he realised that the person running hands along his half-dressed body was none other than his English tutor.
"H-hey! What the hell do you think you're doing!" He snapped, more out of shock then actual anger, blushing yet again as he realised his lack of upper body clothing. It was then he noticed that the whiteness of the floor was marked with patches of dark dried red. As he struggled into a sitting position he couldn't stop himself from groaning at the blunt pain that ached in his limbs. "Is that my blood?" he asked.
"Yes, you made quite a mess on my floor." The amused tone was still evident in Aizen's reply as he recapped the antiseptic lotion that he had been applying to Ichigo's injuries. The redhead scowled but remained silent, not quite sure how to act in this situation. His skin still buzzed from the tender touches of the older man and he was worried that his feelings would not go unnoticed.
They remained at a stalemate, each regarding the other with wary curiosity and both thinking and feeling the same thoughts and emotions without being able to admit it to each other, or even to themselves. It was Aizen who broke the silence,
"I didn't think you were the type of boy to go around picking fights." Ichigo's heart lurched in his chest, great, now he had given completely the wrong impression of himself; Aizen probably thought he was some sort of hooligan.
"I'm not." He muttered in a hurt tone of voice. "There was… They were bothering a little girl."
"A girl?" Aizen raised an eyebrow. "There wasn't anybody else there Ichigo." He reached for Ichigo's wrist and instinctively the boy flinched away, hissing in pain at the sharp discomfort that flared in his wrist as he did so. "It's sprained." Aizen murmured, his voice softer now and almost compassionate. "Let me bandage it for you."
Ichigo hesitated for a moment and they had another short staring contest, Aizen waiting patiently for Ichigo to adjust to the situation. He eventually relented, muttering 'alright' and presenting his wrist to be bandaged. Aizen took Ichigo's hand in his, the redhead's cheeks flaring desperately as he felt those rough fingers caressing the soft skin of his wrist. He took a breath and let his eyes slide shut beneath the gentle touch.
Aizen watched those auburn eyes slide shut under the touch of his fingers and had to resist the urge to mimic the boy's actions. He'd never imagined that the rough-around-the-edges teen would have such delicate and tantalising skin. He'd had to take off Ichigo's shirt to tend to his wounds but the minute he had done so he knew he'd made a mistake. The sight of him bare chested and bloodied was almost too much, the lean muscles and defined chest that quivered beneath his fingers, purple marks already swelling beneath the surface of that beautiful skin. He'd had to desperately resist the urge to lean in and place his own wet mark upon the boy's chest, the desire to claim him as his own was almost overwhelming. He'd lost himself in tracing patterns on his skin with the ointment, and if the boy had not awakened when he did Aizen was not sure how much longer he would've been able to resist leaning in and pressing his own lips to the cut and bloodied ones of the young man beneath him.
Even now, when all he was doing was holding the boy's wrist he still felt the warm beat of the blood beneath the skin, the pulse of such life that drew him in until he couldn't think to function correctly anymore.
He finished his work on Ichigo's wrist, deftly tightening the bandage to provide the correct amount of support for the damaged joint, and he rose quickly from his position on the couch next to the boy. He had to get away or he would lose control. Ichigo's eyes snapped open again at the sudden loss of the cool touch and the feeling of weight being lifted from the sofa, and he saw Aizen standing now, regarding him with that same intense stare that he used in class, making a shiver run through Ichigo's body.
"That first aid should suffice." He said, never breaking the gaze. "You need to rehydrate before you go home though… Do you drink tea?"
"Y-yes." Ichigo stammered, feeling himself melting under that stare.
"Good. Wait here, I'll be back in a moment." He turned to leave through one of the two doors in the room, stopping before he stepped through to glance backwards over his shoulder and smirk, "Oh and, Ichigo?" That devious hint had crept into his voice once again. "You can put your clothes back on now." He turned and left, leaving Ichigo sitting on the sofa with a crimson face and a mouth hanging open in surprise and embarrassment.
After a moment he recovered himself, and swore a little at the various aches and pains that flared as he pulled his t-shirt down over his head. There was a mirror hanging on the plain wall and he pulled himself up to make an examination of his appearance, winching as he gingerly touched his swollen cheek. They'd done a number on him alright, but Aizen had done a surprising good job of patching him up. On his face there were several sticking plasters covering what he assumed were cuts and scrapes he got from hitting his face off of the ground. His bottom lip was split and also slightly swollen, and he could taste the acidic tang of blood in his mouth. Dried blood cracked underneath his nose, and when he touched it he was glad to see that it was only bruised, not broken. Black and purple shading was already creeping in underneath one of his eyes. He looked a right mess but it could've been worse.
It would've been worse if not for Aizen showing up. And what the heck had happened there anyway? Those guys had them both outnumbered and they'd already beaten him to a pulp, so why would they turn tail and run all of a sudden when faced with one English teacher? Surely Aizen must know those thugs somehow but how could a man such as he be associated with a bunch of lowbrow gang members? Any way you looked at it, it just didn't make any sense, and it was only making Ichigo's head ache worse to think about it.
Aizen stood in the kitchen, bracing himself against the kitchen counter with both hands. He took deep breaths and waited for the kettle to boil. He had almost lost control, seeing those thugs hurting Ichigo like that. Every nerve in his body longed to smash their bones and tear out their eyes for daring to lay a finger on his Ichigo. It had been so difficult not to give in to the swelling fury within him, but somehow he had managed it. Taking care of the boy took priority, and so it was a good thing for those punks that he had Ichigo's wounds to distract him with, though taking care of those only made that anger flare up more than ever, along with another unwanted emotion that he was becoming unable to deny.
He wanted the boy. He wanted him so badly that he couldn't stand it. This incident had only served to intensify that feeling, he'd been secretly so impressed by the way in which the boy handled himself in that fight, sure he had lost but that was to be expected. It was an unfair fight and in a fair match he was sure Ichigo would have emerged victorious. Aside from that there was the overwhelming desire to protect something, to protect Ichigo. This feeling was like that which he had not experienced since she died, and one he thought he would never experience again. To bind yourself to another person in that way was to leave your heart open to attack, and he had learned the hard way never again to let that happen.
The kettle screeched for attention and Aizen obliged, pouring the boiling water into two spotless white mugs and letting the teabags steep in the water for a few moments. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the window and took a moment to compose himself, smoothing back his hair with a perfectionist's precision before giving the teabags a quick stir and removing them from the water. Taking the steaming hot mugs in each hand he took a deep breath and, readjusting his emotional mask, headed back through to the living room.
Ichigo turned his gaze from the ground to lock eyes with Aizen as he reappeared through the doorway.
"I'm sorry about your floor." He mumbled, embarrassment painting his face.
"It's okay." Aizen expressed an unusually gentle smile. "It's laminate. The blood will just wipe off. Here's your tea" he handed the steaming mug to Ichigo, the boy accepting it with a courteous nod. Aizen sat himself down on the couch across from Ichigo, setting his mug down on the coffee table with a soft click. A heavy silence hung in the air, neither man sure what to say to break the quiet.
"Thank you." It was Ichigo who broke the silence. "For helping me." He mumbled, his embarrassment increasing as he apologised. Aizen raised an amused eyebrow at that still present blush.
"I thought you said you didn't need any help?" he teased, reminding the boy of his earlier remark.
"Look I'm trying to thank you here!" Ichigo snapped. "Can you not be an asshole for five minutes?" Aizen blinked in surprise, realising that the boy was more psychically and emotionally exhausted that he'd thought.
"My apologies." He murmured, his eyes never leaving Ichigo's golden brown ones. An expression of guilt filled those eyes as Ichigo realised what he'd just said.
"N-no, I'm the one who should be sorry." Ichigo averted his gaze to stare at the mug cradled in his hand. "I'm just a little tightly wound right now."
"So I see." Aizen mused. "I take it this is not the first time you have been in a fight like that?"
"Huh?" Ichigo turned his gaze back to his teacher. It was true, Ichigo was not inexperienced when it came to fighting with the local hooligans, but how did he know that?
"The scars on your arms and chest." Aizen indicated. Ichigo blushed again, remembering that his teacher had already seen his body and his battle wounds.
"Oh." He muttered. "Yea. I mean, jerks like them are always picking fights with me."
"Hmm" Aizen made a noise in the back of his throat. "Why, may I ask?"
"I dunno." He shrugged "Probably 'cause I'm… different." Ichigo bit his tongue. He was finding it so easy to talk to Aizen that he almost blurted out his secret. Nobody except his family knew of Ichigo's unusual ability, to see those which should not be seen. His sisters had a touch of this ability about them too, much to the dismay of his father who didn't, and wailed about this fact every time Ichigo came home with another spirit in tow.
"Different?" Aizen questioned, though his voice bore no tone of confusion.
"It's a little difficult to explain…" Ichigo paused as he considered what to say. "I don't really want to go into it."
"Alright." Aizen could see the boy was sensitive about this matter, so he let it be. He could see how the boy was different; he could see how he shone. Even now bandaged and bruised he still seemed like the most beautiful thing in the world.
Ichigo blushed deeper beneath his orange hair, there was that stare again, it was driving him mad and he just couldn't look into those eyes any longer. Diverting his attention to his tea, he tried to cover his discomfort by taking a large gulp of the hot liquid, forgetting just how warm it was
He coughed and choked as he felt the tea burn his tongue, struggling to keep a frim hold on his mug for fear of dropping it. Aizen sighed a little as he rose, coming round the table to lean over the redhead. Ichigo choked even harder as he realised the close proximity of his teacher's face to his own, his face growing even redder than before.
Aizen smirked as he took the mug from Ichigo, leaving the boy with free hands to cover his mouth as he coughed. He placed the mug down on the table next to his, before sitting himself down on the couch beside Ichigo. He patted the boy's back while he spluttered, feeling the vibrations in Ichigo's chest pass through his fingertips.
Once Ichigo had ceased his coughing he sat upright again and tried to regain his composure. That hand had not yet left his back and he felt Aizen still rubbing circles against the thin fabric of his shirt. His face was redder than ever now with the combination of choking and embarrassment.
Aizen let his hand linger on the small of Ichigo's back. He could feel the warm skin through the boy's clothing and he just couldn't bring himself to pull away. Ichigo was blushing again, the skin with the remnants of a summer tan now tinged with glorious red. He wouldn't make eye contact with him; his eyes were fixed firmly on his hands now clasped in his lap.
Aizen took a moment to once again let himself visually explore the boy's face. The heavy lidded eyes so bright and fiery, the shining ochre colour brought out all the more by the blue and purple bruise now swelling beneath his right eye. The flawless skin was still the smoothest and most beautiful that he had ever seen, even when it was marked with bruises and band aids. The fullness of his lips was even more pronounced now with the swelling from the attack, the split bottom lip just beginning to be touched.
Ichigo tried to swallow the lump in his throat, the feeling of the hand caressing his back was driving him insane. He wanted to feel that hand stroking his skin and not his clothes. He felt a gentle pressure on his back and turned his head to face the man sitting next to him, his ochre coloured irises met dark coffee brown and all of a sudden he found it hard to breathe. He'd never seen a more handsome being; dark eyes set in pale skin, framed by silver rimmed glasses, a few strands of chestnut brown hair falling in between his eyes and over his sharp nose while the rest was elegantly smoothed back in such a way that he could barely resist the urge to reach out to tangle his hands in that hair and mess it up. His gaze dropped slightly as he took in those lips, so soft looking in contrast to the rest of his appearance.
"You're always blushing when I talk to you, Ichigo." Those lips spoke his name in such a tone that sent a shiver running throughout his body. "Just like a ripe strawberry." Ichigo gasped as his teacher reached up to run fingers along his lips. "I've been wondering, how exactly do you taste?" he murmured, his voice soft and heady as he brought his face closer to Ichigo's. "If I lean in to capture your lips, will they be as succulent as that fruit?"
Neither of them knew which one of them initiated the kiss; they both seemed to move simultaneously and before they knew it they were pressed up against each other, lips meeting in frenzy as Ichigo felt the hand on his back slip round his waist to pull him close, pressing him against the broad chest of the older man. Another hand slipped into orange strands, tangling in his hair as he caressed the boy's scalp.
Ichigo let his own arms sneak around Aizen's waist, relishing in the feeling of muscles and the warmth of his body. He felt a tongue run along his bottom lip and moaned a little at the touch, Aizen taking the opportunity to slip his tongue into the redhead's warm mouth, running his tongue along unblemished teeth. It felt better than Ichigo had ever imagined, pressed together like this, their lips touching and, oh God, that tongue caressing his own. He'd never thought that his fantasies would become reality, never imagined that he'd really be here like this with his teacher.
A pleasant heat was building in Aizen's stomach as their skin touched, electricity sparking through his body. He shivered a little, the boy's arms were stronger than he'd imagined. He'd seen those muscles first hand when he had been dressing his wounds and had been impressed, but feeling them wrapped around him was better still, knowing that the boy wanted him just as much as he wanted the boy, it was more than he could have ever hoped for. He'd never thought that his fantasies would become reality, never imagined that he'd really be here like this with his student.
He pulled back, their lips separating and their bodies protesting the loss of contact while their minds went blank with sheer horror. They stared at each other, both sets of eyes wide, a look of shock adorning Aizen's face that would've been comical in any other situation. Ichigo's throat and mouth were suddenly as dry as a desert as panic flooded his mind.
'What had they done?'
Ichigo jumped up from the couch, his mouth wide as he stammered.
"I gotta- I gotta go."
"Ichigo." Aizen rose from the couch but before he could take a step towards the teen Ichigo had already moved, grabbing his bag and jacket from the floor where Aizen had dropped them as he tended to Ichigo's injuries.
"I gotta go home." Ichigo reiterated, that look of panic still evident on his face as he fumbled for the handle of the door behind him. "My family will be wondering where I am."
"Ichigo!" Aizen spoke again, using his best tone of authority but Ichigo was out of the door quicker than he could move. He didn't even shout a goodbye as he slammed the door shut, leaving Aizen standing spurned in his living room, a look of confused shock still on his face.
He sank back down onto the coach, cradling his head in his hands and sighing deeply.
Just what had he done?
Ichigo slammed the front door open as he arrived home, adrenaline still coursing through his veins causing his whole body to shake even as he instinctively moved to avoid his father's flying kick.
"ICHIGOOO MY SON! YOU'RE LATE! YO- What's this!" Isshin recovered himself from his position on the floor, and gasped as he saw Ichigo's bandages. "You got injured again and you let somebody else bandage you up? OOOH MASAKI I AM A FAILURE AS A FATHER!" He wailed as he threw himself at the poster of Ichigo's late mother, bashing his head off of the wall and falling to the floor again.
"IDIOT FATHER!" Ichigo shouted, the usual hint of joviality absent from his voice. Isshin gazed up blearily from his position on the floor, and Ichigo saw the look of surprise on both his face and his sisters at both his injuries and his sudden outburst. "I'm going to bed." He muttered, turning and storming off up the stairs.
"What's wrong with Ichi-nii?" Yuzu asked, a look of concern painting her face.
"Did you upset him again Dad?" Karin scolded as she towered over her father. The puppy dog look on Isshin's face told her that he had. "Honestly, you always have to go and make things worse with him don't you?"
"WAAH MASAKI! WHAT HAVE I DONE!" Isshin wailed as he threw himself against the wall, again.
Ichigo dropped his bag on the floor and divested himself of his clothing before collapsing onto his bed, trying to ignore the throbbing pains that spiked all over his body as he did so.
He heard his father wailing from downstairs and couldn't help but find a bitter parallel with those words.
'What have I done?'
A/N: Okay, this chapter is a little shorter than the other ones but on the plus side it was a much quicker update :p
Not sure i'm happy with this one though... I might re-write it later.
Feedback would be really appreciated.