A/N: Okay this was written for the contest over at the Bleach Asylum's UraYoru FC
The theme was Friends to Lovers
Be warned: the theme is included here but pretty subtly and it isn't really the main part of the story….lol I strayed a little but give it a chance and read anyway^^
Oh and this is dedicated to PrincessSprink at the BAfor her great love of UraYoru and her posts on the FC many of which helped inspire some scenes in this story xD
Kisuke Urahara wasn't one to pay much attention to his surroundings during a battle except to analyze their advantages and disadvantages. But this battle was unlike any he had fought before. He allowed himself to look around at the destruction and despair all around him. Fatally wounded bodies lay scattered on the pavement like crumpled dying leaves fallen from their trees just before winter.
It was a gruesome sight indeed, and to think that all of it was thanks to one man…
He didn't linger on the injured bodies of his once-comrades, and instead let his gaze wander to his violet-haired partner.
Yoruichi looked back and met his gaze with her own golden eyes. Bruises and blood covered her from head to toe, and he was sure he himself was no better.
"Are you ready, Yoruichi?" Kisuke asked, his tone and expression uncharacteristically serious.
She nodded once. Her eyes didn't leave his. They both knew any time now he would appear, and the time for communication would be over.
Kisuke looked deep into her golden orbs, as he had so many times before. Sometimes he felt he had spent his entire life gazing into that familiar shade of gold. He didn't mind.
His mind flashed back into the first time he looked into those unusually bright eyes, a long time ago…
Eight-year-old Yoruichi Shihouin ran.
She darted down the streets of the Rukon District Number 4, ducking under various unsuspecting stranger's legs and darting past multiple fruit carts and stands selling all sorts of food and products. She didn't pay them any mind though.
She glanced back behind her for a second without stopping, and a huge smirk tugged up her lips as she saw no signs of her pursuers.
She finally slowed down to a leisurely walk. Hardly anyone had even bothered to look up at a running kid on the streets without any guardian, so there wasn't any commotion. She looked at her surroundings and wondered what to do next in this huge place all on her own at last.
"There! I see her!"
"Uh-Oh." she said aloud, seeing the guard pointing at her from the end of the street, a moment before four more of them ran up behind him and set in pursuit again.
Yoruichi sprinted off again. It was a good thing she was fast and small, so she was hard to spot in the crowd of people, but still, she didn't want to spend all day running. She had to get away.
Darting around a corner were a couple of men sat on the floor playing some sort of card game, she caught a glance of something. She slowed down and stopped to get a good look at it.
There on the next seemingly abandoned street, was a small wooden boarded up house. It didn't look like anyone was in it…And she didn't think anyone would care if she by some accident slipped inside…
Looking to each side to check no guards were watching, she quickly trudged over to the seemingly abandoned space. The boards blocking the windows on the side were disheveled and crudely placed. There were empty spaces in between them; a grown person would never fit tin there, but Yoruichi should fit just right.
"I think I saw her come this way,"
Someone shouted not too far. She hurried and stopped thinking about it, she just used the cracks between the boards to climb just high enough so she could get a good ankle on the biggest looking hole.
"Hurry up! She can't be far."
Quick and agile as a cat, Yoruichi swung herself inside and landed almost silently on the floor, immediately raising a dirty dust cloud beneath her.
She coughed as she breathed in the offensive dirt and waved her hand to try and dissipate it.
She instantly froze.
They found her! But how? She was sure no one saw her come inside…
"Show yourself!" The voice said again, it seemed to be coming from a corner at the end of the dimly-lit house. "I am not afraid of you!"
That's when Yoruichi noticed the voice sounded oddly high-pitched for any adult…
"Oh yeah?" She called out into the darkness. She crossed her arms over her chest. "Well why don't you show yourself?"
She let her eyes scout the area. There were plenty of empty old barrels thrown carelessly around in this place, along with some other junk.
"I-" the voice seemed to tremble a small bit now, beginning to sound unsure. "I don't need to show myself to you! This is my place!"
Yoruichi followed the direction from which the voice was coming from, taking slow quiet steps, keeping her eyes open for any movement.
"Your place?" she scoffed. "This dump?"
Out of nowhere (well, technically out from behind one of the clusters of barrels to her right) a figure popped up. He looked angry and was pointing accusingly at her.
"This is not a dump!"
Then he jumped at her.
It was so unexpected and fast, Yoruichi actually didn't see it coming. He tackled her down to the floor and glared at her angrily.
But Yoruichi wasn't about to be beat that fast.
"HYAH!" she yelled as she used her own body to flip the boy over so that now she was pinning him down.
The boy's gray eyes were wide and shocked underneath her. For the first time she could study him. He had shaggy blond hair and looked no older than herself.
"Please don't hurt me!" he whimpered pleadingly at her.
She scoffed as she got off of him and stood up. "That'll teach you to mess with me." then she dusted herself off and offered the fallen, startled boy her hand.
"My name is Yoruichi." she told him as he took her hand and she helped him to his feet.
"I'm Urahara Kisuke." The boy said, his gray eyes examined her closely. She was beginning to feel like she was some sort of creature being observed by the way he analyzed her.
"What?" she snapped.
"Hmm." The boy said, putting a hand to his chin as if deep in thought. "There's something strange about you." he declared.
"Oh?" she could feel her eye begin to twitch. "And what would that be?"
The boy, Kisuke, ran those clever gray eyes over her again. "Did your someone ever spill too much grape juice on your hair?"
A vein visibly throbbed on her head.
"OW! OW! OW!" Kisuke wailed and waved his arms around frantically as Yoruichi mercilessly yanked on his ear, pulling him down into a sort of mock bow.
"WHAT. DID. YOU. SAY. ABOUT. MY. HAIR?" she tugged harshly on his ear.
"YYAAH! Thatit'!" It all came out in one breath as he frantically waved his arms around.
"That's what I thought you said." Yoruichi said, finally releasing her hold on him.
Kisuke rubbed the pained spot and looked at Yoruichi hesitantly, as if afraid the wrong move would cost him an earlobe. Smart boy.
"…So, what brings you here?" he asked casually.
Yoruichi shrugged. "Hiding from my guards."
His gray eyes widened. "Guards? What did you do?" Curiosity brimmed in his eyes.
"I was born into the wrong family." Yoruichi suggested. When Kisuke looked at her questioningly, she added "They're supposed to be watching me to make sure I stay out of trouble. They're sort of like babysitters."
"Oh. So you ran away from them?" He deduced.
"Pretty much." Yoruichi confirmed, then she studied the boy before her. "What about you? Who are you hiding from?"
"Me?" He pointed to himself with feigned innocence. "Why would a humble, good-looking kid like me need to hide from anyone?"
Yoruichi rolled her eyes. "So, you're not hiding?" she asked skeptically. "You're just here to enjoy the atmosphere?" she scrunched up her nose at the humid smell and dirt for emphasis.
"Eh…Well, I might be here to be able to conduct my experiments more privately…" he said, smiling sheepishly.
"Experiments?" Yoruichi raised an eyebrow in mild interest.
Kisuke's eyes lit up. "Yeah! Come on I'll show you!"
The next thing she knew, he had taken her by the wrist and dragging her behind him towards the stack of barrels he had been previously hiding behind. They went around and to the back, and Yoruichi saw a set of glass tubes and oddly-shaped beakers full of dark-colored liquids.
Kisuke motioned excitedly to the mess. "See? I was working on a project to make a drink that will make whoever drinks it able to shape-shift into an animal!"
Yoruichi thought about it. "So, if I wanted to turn into, like, a lion or something, if I drink that I could?"
Kisuke scratched the back of his head. "Well, not yet. I still need some important ingredients, but when it's done, yeah, you could turn into a lion or any animal."
"Hmm…" Yoruichi considered it. "I like it." she finally said.
Kisuke's face brightened visibly.
"What are these ingredients you need?" she asked.
"Well you see, the thing is they're really rare and valuable… I don't know if I can get them…"
"Oh? Well how about if we borrowed them?" Yoruichi said with a mischievous glint in her eyes. She definitely would have something to do now.
Kisuke seemed to catch her train of thought and his lips curled into a smile. "I guess we could…"
"I know a place with a bunch of weird stuff were they're bound to have what you're looking for. I could take you there."
"That would be very convenient." Kisuke returned her mischievous look with an air of complicity.
"Okay. But first," she said sternly. "I want to know that I can get a taste of this drink when it's done."
"That can be arranged."
"And we'll have to sneak around. I don't want my guards to find me."
"That's okay! I know a way where we can get from here to almost anywhere without being spotted." he promised, eagerly.
"Is that so? Perfect, then. We have ourselves a deal." Yoruichi declared, grinning wickedly.
"Then let's make it official." Kisuke stated.
Kisuke answered by raising his hand with every finger curled into a fist, except one; the tiny pinky finger was raised expectantly. "Pinky promise."
Yoruichi looked at him dubiously.
"It's not official until it's a pinky promise."
Yoruichi shrugged and lifted her pinky as he had. Kisuke immediately reached forward and hooked his pinky with hers.
His gray eyes met her gold ones with a grin.
"Alright, let's go for it."
That was the beginning of a friendship unlike either of them could have ever imagined.
Kisuke blinked himself back to reality, half-expecting to see an eight-year-old Yoruichi standing before him.
Instead, he saw the woman Yoruichi had become. Strong and confident, the one person he could always depend on, from that first time they snuck out to her manor and stole the Shihouin family's research facilities' materials. Her long violet hair blew in in the wind in her custom ponytail, and the dark skin on her bare toned arms and back glinted with beads of sweat from the fighting she'd already done.
He stood just a little behind her as they tensed for what was about to come. And not a moment too soon.
Just then, in a flash of white Aizen was behind him, sword ready to strike. It would have been a fatal blow to any lesser man, but Kisuke Urahara was no ordinary opponent.
They engaged in battle once more. Their moves were so fast it was hard to follow them at all; any ordinary person would only see a green/white blur.
But Yoruichi was no ordinary person. Her eyes followed the fight anxiously. She wanted to jump in and help, but couldn't find an opening where she wouldn't get herself or Kisuke hurt in the process.
She cursed. Her fists tightened as her mind drifted to where she had swore to herself it wouldn't go until the battle was over.
The fighters disappeared and reappeared just a few feet away from her, in the middle of vicious sparring.
Yoruichi caught a flash of gray eyes as Kisuke took an instant to glance sideways and meet her eyes.
The look in his eyes was once she had seen before.
Without meaning to, she felt herself remembering that look from once, what seemed like ages back;
Kisuke sat on the grass against the trunk of a bulky tree, his head leaned back and his eyes closed as he enjoyed the cool breeze under the shade of the tree. He had one knee propped up and had lazily resting on top of it, while his lips curved into a subtle smile.
It was a relaxing summer afternoon at the Soul Reaper Academy. The sounds of students chatting freely after class filled the area; it was a space just behind the main school building, full of grassy plains and lots of trees and vegetation. It was sometimes used to recreate a general environment for training to fight hollows in the real world, but most of the time students used it as a recreational area for socializing.
Kisuke sat on his own, enjoying a few rare moments of solitude.
"Someone looks awfully relaxed."
Well, that didn't last long.
The voice that broke him out of his reverie was as familiar to him as his own. Lazily, he opened one eye to peer at the purple-haired girl that stood with one hand on her hip, looking down at him. "You're lucky I'm in feeling lazy and decided not to wake you up with a knuckle sandwich."
Kisuke opened both eyes now and grinned up at his friend. "Really? I prefer to think I'm lucky you're still sore from that beating you took last night." he teased, referring to their latest sparring session down at their underground training area.
A vein throbbed on her head. "That was a draw!" she hissed.
Kisuke chuckled but knew better than to pursuit further. "So, what brings you to these lovely parts, Yoruichi? Come to keep me company?" he inquired, allowing himself to raise his eyebrows suggestively at his last question.
"Don't flatter yourself." Yoruichi said with an expression of mock annoyance. "I was going to tell you that Kuukaku invited us over to her place." she said, pointing her thumb in the general direction in which she figured the Shiba residence was from here. "She's getting a study group together."
Kisuke's interested piqued a little higher. "Study group, eh?" he quirked an eyebrow. The smirk he gave Yoruichi suggested he knew better.
Yoruichi mirrored his knowing look. "Yeah, you know how everyone's been saying that Level Six Hado exam is going to be a real bitch…"
Kisuke's smirk grew into a grin. "Absolutely. We should definitely prepare ourselves properly."
She grinned back at him. "My thoughts exactly."
Kisuke pushed himself off of his comfortable spot on the ground then and dusted off his standard uniform blue hakama pants before looking back at Yoruichi, who was clad in her own uniform, a red version of his.
"Shall we race then?" he asked.
Her grin widened and her golden eyes sparked.
The next thing anyone knew, the two friends were invisible as they flash-stepped with a speed and accuracy that excelled their years, racing each other away from the school grounds and towards the elusive Shiba residence.
The woman who went by the name froze momentarily, before…
"Everybody SHUT UP AND LOOK RESPONSIBLE!"
The people around her didn't need to be told twice, and they immediately assumed their 'Study Group Positions'.
"-and if you keep your palm open like this, it helps the reiatsu flow when-Oh!" Kuukaku exclaimed, looking surprised as she stopped in the middle of stretching one of the guest's arms and opening his palm while giving hints for a more effective kido attack. "Aniki, I didn't hear you come down!" she greeted her brother with leaking innocence.
Kaien scowled as he stood on the stairway to leading down to the basement where Kuukaku and her peers had congregated, with his arms crossed and his teal eyes narrowed. "…Sure…" he said with an edge to his voice that indicated he didn't trust a thing she was saying. "Anyway, some more students arrived for your study group." he emphasized 'study group'. "The Shihouin girl and Ura-something…" he scratched behind his ear absentmindedly.
"Oh yeah, let em' in!" Kuukaku told him.
"Oookay." Kaien started turning and going back up the steps before looking over his shoulder and glaring suspiciously. "Just…Make sure you keep it down. Ganju is upstairs sleeping and I hope it stays that way. And you better be studying there Kuukaku or I swear-"
" Yeah yeah," she waved him off. "You'll make sure I wear a prosthetic arm the rest of my life. I know." she said in a bored manner.
"Better keep that in mind." Kaien said with narrowed eyes before heading back up to ground level.
A few seconds later Kuukaku heard footsteps and voices coming downstairs-
"I almost beat you that time."
"Yeah right! Keep dreaming."
"Deny all you want, Yoruichi. I'll beat you in a race one day."
"Pfft. Good luck beating the goddess."
Finally, two figures were visible at the end of the staircase.
Kuukaku grinned. "Well if it isn't my partner in crime!" she exclaimed in a good-natured greeting looking at her dark-skinned friend. "And her ever-present sidekick." she added looking towards Kisuke, purposely pushing his buttons with the comment.
"What are you talking about?" Kisuke asked, his brow furrowing.
Kuukaku and Yoruichi shared a laugh at his expense and they all proceeded to join the rest of the guests.
Most, like Yoruichi and Kisuke, were still clad in their red and blue school uniforms, having come to the social gathering straight from school. Kuukaku and a few who lived nearby though, had already changed into casual clothes.
The young crowd sat at varying spots on the wooden-boarded floor. Multiple bottles of sake were passed around and served carelessly, often splashing the beverage on the floor. There was lively chatter as everyone busted jokes and enjoyed their drinks.
"Decent party, Kuukaku." Yoruichi commented as she observed the room with her arms crossed.
"I thought so." The black-haired woman agreed.
Kisuke looked at the two women, marveling at how similar and how different they could be at the same time.
"Hey, Kisuke," the rough voice of Kuukaku snapped him back. "When you're done ogling, why don't ya come join us for a little game, eh?"
"Eto…" He scratched the back of his head. Kuukaku's games were known to come with several health hazards…
"Come on, Kisuke." another voice said. Yoruichi gave him a look. "Aren't you up for some fun?"
He couldn't stop the smile that took over his face. "Alright, if you're that interested in me joining you, there's no need to beg." he said humbly.
And received a pair of right hooks -one on each arm.
Rubbing his soon-to-bruise arms, he made his way to sit in a corner where roughly one third of the occupants of the room had gathered in a circle.
Kisuke flopped down on the floor in between Kuukaku and Yoruichi.
"All right," Kuukaku started, her voice immediately silencing the chatters around the circle. "We're going to be playing a little game of Spin the Bottle today." she announced.
She was met with several blank looks.
"Spin the what?"
"What kind of game is that?"
"Why do we have to spin a bottle?"
"…Is there a bathroom near here…?"
"SHUT IT!" Kuukaku yelled over the curious questioning lot. "Allow me to explain. It's a game commonly played in the Human World, or so I'm told." she grinned as she was about to give the details of the game. "The game consists of a group of people sitting in a circle," she looked around their circle for emphasis. "One person spins a bottle in the middle, and said person must kiss whatever person the bottle points to. Any questions?"
A dark-haired guy raised his hand shyly. "Um, where do we get the bottle…?"
Kisuke noticed that the guy had his other hand clutched around a sake bottle that sounded like it was almost empty as the liquid sloshed around in it when he moved it. Kuukaku must have noticed too, because she quickly smirked and with one well-placed fist, the guy lay on his back, unconscious, and Kuukaku now held a bottle in her hands.
She looked down the mouth of the bottle and examined its remaining contents. With a nonchalant shrug, she emptied the leftover liquid on the passed out man who had previously held the bottle, staining his white and blue uniform.
"Okay, now that we have a bottle, let's get started." She set the bottle down on its side in the middle of the circle. Then she stood with her arms crossed and looked around the circle, "Who wants to spin first?" she asked enthusiastically.
Imaginary crickets answered her as everyone looked at each other, unsure.
"Oh?" Kuukaku's eye twitched. "What's this? I seem to have brought only a bunch of NINNIES to my party!" She glared around the circle. "Are all of you too cowardly to take the first turn?" she asked icily.
"Well," a voice broke the silence. Kisuke looked to his left. "If no one else is up for it," Yoruichi was sitting Indian style while resting back on her elbows. "I guess I'll be the one to break the ice." she finished, rocking forward off of her elbows.
She leaned forward reaching out for the bottle.
Kuukaku grinned approvingly and went to sit back down next to Kisuke.
Kisuke watched with interest as Yoruichi made the bottle spin rapidly until it was no more than a blur on the floor.
Many people on the circle inched forward. They watched anxiously as the bottle kept spinning, not showing any signs of slowing down soon.
"…Yoruichi, I think you spun it too hard…" Kisuke observed. "Ow!" he yelped, going immediately to rub the spot on his head where he had been whacked. "Okay, okay, I'll shut up now!"
With that, he let his gray eyes fall on the rotating bottle once more. Vaguely, he noted how many of the male individuals looked a little too interested in the bottle's direction, each holding their breaths when the tip of the bottle pointed to them…
He tried not to pay attention to it and focused back on the bottle. It was finally showing signs that it was beginning to loose speed…
Multiple people held their breaths and crossed their fingers as the bottle slowed down. It was beginning to inch to a stop. The tension was unbelievable.
Kisuke's hands gripped the cloth of his hakama tightly as the bottle inched in his direction. His gray eyes were wide as he watched the bottle's trail, not sure if he wanted it to stop or go…
Finally, the bottle seemed to have come to a stop.
One inch from him…
People gasped as the bottle pointed to… "Kuukaku!" he heard himself exclaim.
"Hm?" Yoruichi muttered with vague interest. "Now what?" she asked, looking at her friend across from Kisuke.
Kuukaku shrugged. "We kiss."
Half the men in the circle fainted. The other half had their eyes jump out of their sockets and their noses bleed profusely. They obviously couldn't believe their luck.
Kisuke's gray eyes widened to tennis balls as Yoruichi gave a light shrug and complied; the two females fell forward on their hands and, on all fours, inched towards each other… Right across Kisuke's lap.
He didn't know what to do. Should he move back? Give them their space? They didn't seem to mind going over him… Should he just relax and enjoy the spectacle?
After all, it wasn't everyday that he had the chance to witness hot girl on girl action…and be right in the middle of it!
But this was his best friend! Sure he found her attractive, who wouldn't? But this seemed like crossing some sort of line… This was…!
Since when have I cared about crossing lines?
The thought just suddenly popped into his mind. It was all he needed.
Yoruichi and Kuukaku inched forward and right in front of his face pecked each other on the lips.
He heard the sounds of most of the remaining conscious men pass out with a thump.
Yoruichi and Kuukaku went back to their original positions like nothing had happened.
"Hey, are you alright?" Yoruichi asked him, seemingly oblivious to the circle of unconscious men.
Kisuke swallowed. "I-err, you, yeah…O-of course." he tried to regain his composure. It wasn't easy, he was a hormonal teenage male by all means! What he just witnessed had the potential to render unconscious lesser men!
Yoruichi raised an eyebrow but didn't question him further, thankfully.
"Guess it's my turn now." Kuukaku announced, leaning forward to spin the bottle.
Kisuke was still recovering himself from his previous position, barely paying attention to the spinning bottle. The bottle stopped on some guy who was just recovering from the previous scene, and Kuukaku wasted no time to keep the game going. He wasn't focusing on the game or the people spinning and standing to kiss whoever the bottle directed them to. So, he didn't even notice when a blonde girl wearing the red school uniform spun the bottle with an expectant smile on her face; much less saw when said bottle came to a stop until someone muttered loudly enough to be heard, "Damn lucky bastard."
It was then that he bothered to look down and see the bottle was pointing right at…him.
"Hmm." Kuukaku looked curiously at the bottle which pointed at him. "Well look at that… Kisuke, looks like you got lucky, eh?" she smirked at him.
Kisuke tried to catch up to what was going on. The blonde sat at the other side of the circle, a light blush was tainting her cheeks and she smiled shyly at him. Kisuke's own face reddened as his eyes fell towards the blonde's more generously gifted areas…
The girl giggled as she noticed his straying eyes. Someone next to him scoffed loudly. He turned, surprised, to see Yoruichi sitting with her arms crossed and her jaw tight, her brow furrowed in a deep scowl. He knew that look, but he hadn't expected to see it now of all times…
He was about to ask her about it but was interrupted by a hand shoving him forward with surprising force. "Get your ass over there already, Kisuke!" Kuukaku prompted loudly. She was met with approving howls and a few catcalls addressed to Kisuke.
Cornered, he stood up and dusted himself off. He lifted his gaze and saw that the blonde was also up. He noticed that she was indeed very attractive. Normally, he'd be jumping at the chance to kiss such a girl, but he felt something holding him back…
Almost subconsciously, his eyes drifted backwards to his best friend.
She still sat with her arms crossed stubbornly, her face set in a harsh scowl, her lower lip protruding slightly in what was almost a pout. Her eyes glared daggers at an unfortunate wall.
Then his eyes settled back on the blonde before him. She had light blue eyes and her full lips were set in a smile, and she used one hand to nervously push some of her long hair behind an ear. "H-hi, I'm Mika Sato." she introduced herself. "We took a class together last year, I don't know if you remember me…" she said nervously.
Kisuke racked his brain for any memory of the girl. "Uh, yeah! Miki! How could I forget? Hehe…"
"Um, it's Mika." she corrected.
Kisuke smiled awkwardly at his mistake. She didn't seem to mind to terribly though.
"…So…" she started, avoiding his eyes.
"Oh get ON with it!" someone said impatiently behind them.
"Yeah, the rest of us want to get some action too!" another person added. Multiple grunts of agreement were heard.
"I think we should…" the blonde said.
"Yeah," he agreed, though his eyes slid back again to the purple-haired girl scowling on the floor. What was he looking for? Approval? Maybe…she was his best friend after all. But…
Suddenly, a pair of golden eyes flashed at him.
The look she was giving him…It was a glare mixed with-
He reluctantly snapped back to the blonde's attention, though his eyes hesitated for a moment before looking away. "I know, I know." he forced a pleasant smile. Then he leaned forward slightly; a sign to go on.
The blonde girl immediately took her approval and inched forward almost eagerly.
Kisuke swallowed, preparing for their lips to meet. He pressed his eyes shut and pushed himself to move forward to meet her.
He was surprised; the distance between them should have been closed by now, but he still hadn't come in contact with anything but empty air…
His eyes flew open and what he saw couldn't have been more unexpected.
His mouth fell open in a similar manner to most of the audience, not just in the circle around him, but in the entire basement area.
There with her back facing him, instead of the puckered up blonde who had been about to kiss him, stood the very opposite of her- dark skin, violet hair… Her arm was still stretched out before her and her hand remained in a tightly clenched fist. At her feet kneeled the blonde girl, her hands covering her right eye, pained tears spilling down her cheeks.
No one could believe their eyes.
Yoruichi was breathing hard; she slowly straightened and pulled back her fist.
Kuukaku was the first to recover from her shock. "W-well, I think that's enough Spin the Bottle for today. Party's over!" she announced loudly. "Everybody SCRAM!"
The room snapped out of their respective shocks and were unceremoniously shooed up the stairs by Kuukaku, who herded them up the stairs, following them outside.
In a matter of minutes Yoruichi and Kisuke stood alone. The floor was littered with empty sake bottles and full of puddles were people had spilled their drinks. Neither seemed to notice though.
Yoruichi stood with her back to Kisuke. He wished he could see her expression right now. He was just reaching out to her when turned around and faced him.
Kisuke was taken aback. She looked almost exactly the same as she had before; she stood with her arms crossed and her gold eyes narrowed. "Well?" she said. "Aren't you going to say anything, Kisuke?"
He looked down at her with surprised eyes. She was a head shorter than he was, but the way she looked at him always made it feel like they stood on equal height. "Uh, you punched that girl…?" He hadn't meant it to sound like a question but it did anyway.
Yoruichi rolled her eyes in response. "She didn't get on the floor all by herself, obviously."
"So…Why'd you do it?" he asked, honestly curious.
Yoruichi groaned. "You need to ask?"
"Err…" he looked around nervously…What was the right response to that?
While he tried to think of what to say, Yoruichi surprised him yet again;
"OW!" he yelped, clutching his nose as he wailed painfully. "I think you broke my nose!" he complained in a nasal voice muffled by his hands.
"Che. Quit whining." She scoffed, putting a hand on her hip and cocking it to the side. Then she started to walk away.
"Hey wait!" Kisuke called after her, forgetting about his pained nose.
"Come on, everyone's going to be wondering what we're still doing down-"
Kisuke cut her off by taking hold of her upper arm and spinning her around to face him in one quick motion. "Hold on!" he pleaded, meeting her surprised eyes. "Just tell me one thing, Yoruichi; why did you punch that girl?"
Yoruichi's eyes slowly lost their surprise and softened almost imperceptibly for a moment. But it was enough for him to notice. "Yoru-"
Now he was the one cut off.
It happened so quickly, he barely had time to process what was going on.
One second, he had Yoruichi by the arm, asking her why she had punched some girl who was going to kiss him; and the next, Yoruichi had slipped out of his hold expertly (years of sparring together probably helped), she put her hands on his chest and spun him so his back faced the nearest wall, and then she pressed him against it. Her hands clutched the white fabric of his school uniform as she kept him in place; her golden eyes burned smothering into his own. He gulped, quickly realizing their closeness, and the way she held him in place, with that look in her eyes…
Then her lips were roughly pressing into his.
They didn't ask for permission, they were demanding and unyielding against his own. Kisuke found his eyes closing and his lips slowly responding to hers.
Just as he leaned forward to her, she pulled back and separated their lips. Her golden eyes were wide and practically glowing. Kisuke was left panting for an instant before rashly and forcefully putting one hand on the back of Yoruichi's head and pulling her back into the kiss.
With her hands gripping his clothes, she pulled him down to her correspondingly, closing any distance left between them. He tilted his head slightly to adjust more comfortably into the kiss, then put both hands on her waist, gripping hard.
When Yoruichi began deepening the kiss, parting her lips and silently asking him to do the same, he easily complied. This time, he took control, running his tongue lightly over her lip before letting it run into her mouth. She responded quickly, and just as forcefully, battling him to regain dominance.
The initial shock and electric current that her lips had sent through him had now changed; it had increased until Kisuke felt every nerve inside him jump into brutal awareness. His eyes were closed but he had never been more aware in his life- he could feel Yoruichi's hands slithering from her grip on his clothes to the back of his neck, one hand at a time, sending shivers down his spine as they moved. He could feel her pressing their bodies tightly together, the warmth she exuded running into him welcomingly. He could smell her; the fruity smell of her hair, her own unique scent, not sweet, but rather a combination of sweet and sour, blending together to make an essence that was solely hers. And most of all, he tasted her. It was the greatest flavor he could ever think of; a feast worthy of gods.
He heard the low moan of pleasure that escaped from the back of his throat as if from faraway. He could hardly think of any moment that compared to this.
The moment would have lasted forever if it were up to him, unfortunately, his lungs had other plans. They were forced to break apart, gasping for breath.
"Yoruichi…" he looked down at her, as if seeing her for the first time. She was flushed from the kiss, her lips looked so soft and delicious… Her eyes were shining.
Had she always been so beautiful?
"Did that answer your question?" she asked.
Kisuke racked his brain to remember what question she was talking about, but it was difficult to stop his mind from going back to the moment when their lips touched, when their mouths moved slowly against each other in a dance of pleasure, in a battle for dominance in which both could only be victorious.
"Uhh…" that was all he could muster.
Yoruichi, having known him well enough to tell when he was being a little slow, said, "Why I punched that girl." she spat the word out, and Kisuke remembered what he had been asking before the kiss.
"Because, those," she began answering, her eyes lowering to his lips as she did. One hand left its place wrapped around his neck and she used her fingers to slowly caress his lower lip as she finished: "Are mine." a smirk appeared on her face.
Kisuke looked at her for a moment. A slow smile of understanding curled his lips. "And they are yours to keep forever."
With that, he lowered himself and captured her lips, resuming their kiss with renewed vigor.
No more was said after that; there was no need for words anymore. They had forever to speak sweet words; right now, they had all they wanted in each other.
The loud clash of metal against metal woke Yoruichi from the long-ago memory. She had lifted her sword out of pure instinct to meet Aizen's. It had been a long time since she had last fought with a sword, but thankfully her skills did not seem to have rusted.
In the blink of an eye the fight went on.
Yoruichi and Kisuke went at it against Aizen, fighting together with a precision and synchronization that only centuries of partnership could achieve.
Kisuke thought maybe…
"You think you have a chance of defeating me?" Aizen asked, mockingly smiling as he parried an otherwise deadly blow with ease.
Kisuke narrowed his eyes, keeping Benihime ready to attack or defend as he examined his smug opponent. Aizen now had bruises and cuts along his body matching his own. The fight was even. A bit longer and he and Yoruichi will have pressed him down-
Aizen chuckled humorlessly.
"Urahara Kisuke." he said, almost teasingly.
Kisuke gripped his zanpakuto harder, still not letting his guard down. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Yoruichi standing, tensed and ready as he was, as Aizen went on speaking.
"A true genius. Former Captain of the Squad Twelve. Founder of the Research and Development Department. Creator of the Hogyoku." Aizen listed off his more notorious accomplishments.
Kisuke kept his expression carefully neutral. "I didn't know you were such a fan, Aizen-san." he said, wondering where the man was headed with this.
Aizen's expression remained calm. "Hardly." he said, his tone hardening almost imperceptibly.
Then his eyes slid away from Kisuke and landed on Yoruichi. Kisuke immediately tensed considerably, his stance angling now towards her automatically.
Aizen seemed to have noticed this subtle movement, because his smile suddenly widened. "I see." Aizen spoke, his eyes now going moving from Kisuke to Yoruichi periodically.
"Shihouin Yoruichi." Aizen said now, settling his gaze on her. "Goddess of Flash…" he trailed off, as if tasting the name on his lips.
Kisuke knew what would happen next a split second before it did.
It was too fast; she had no time to react, and even as he raced towards her, Kisuke knew he wouldn't make it in time.
White light engulfed everything.
Golden eyes scanned their surroundings.
Yoruichi had both hands on her hips as she inspected the all-too-familiar inside of the place she had spent so many countless afternoons just like this one.
The Urahara Shoten.
She let out a sigh, her eyes falling slightly as she looked over the shelves full of everything from books to accessories to candy.
Would she ever see the contents of this store again?
Yoruichi shook the pessimistic thought away, and turned, now glancing around looking for a certain blond-haired hat-and-clogs-wearing owner.
Where was that old madman?
"Oi, Kisuke," she called loudly enough for the sound to carry through the store. "Where the hell are you hiding?"
She thought she heard a muffled reply come from the balcony.
She followed the sound and as soon as she stepped out on the front porch of the store she saw his trademark stripped hat, the sandy hair sticking out beneath it.
He was sitting Indian style, resting back on his hands, his head raised slightly, and Yoruichi knew he was looking at the stars. He didn't turn to look at her, but she knew he was aware of her presence.
Yoruichi settled for leaning back against the wall, just a couple of inches next to the now-closed door to the store.
"So it's decided then." she spoke, crossing her arms as she followed Kisuke's example and looked up at the stars in the sky. "Tomorrow it begins."
She noticed from the corner of her eye that he shook his head lightly, and looked down curiously, quirking an eyebrow.
She didn't ask him out loud, but he knew to explain anyway. "This War started a hundred years ago." he said, still not looking at her.
Yoruichi knew the exact moment he was thinking about without asking; that night when so many lives changed thanks to Aizen and the Hogyoku…
"Tomorrow…" Kisuke went on, a sad and rueful note almost hidden under his calm tone; "Tomorrow it's finally decided."
There was an ominous tension in the air after he said that. Both stood quietly for a moment, each lost in thoughts of the past and the near future.
It was a couple of minutes before the silence was finally broken.
"Yoruichi," he spoke her name, his voice not too loud so as not to interrupt the tranquil night. A calm before the storm, Yoruichi thought dryly.
He didn't say anything, and Yoruichi understood his silence.
Without a word, she walked up and flopped down on the porch beside him.
They were close enough that their arms brushed together; a welcome warmth in the chilly night.
Yoruichi rested her elbows on her knees, and put her chin on her hands, keeping her gaze up at the night sky.
"Kisuke," she started, neither of them moving from their positions or taking their eyes off the stars.
He didn't respond but she knew he was listening.
"Do you remember when we were kids?" she asked, not looking at him to see any reaction. "When we would climb up the Kuchiki manor's roof and use that crazy telescope of yours to look at the stars?"
She wasn't looking at him, but she could tell how his mouth had curled into a soft, remembering smile.
"How could I forget?" he started, the smile in his voice even more evident. "The time Ginrei found us and I saw you beat the Head Kuchiki in a foot race was the first time I fell in love." he said teasingly.
Yoruichi grinned widely, remembering the accomplishment with glee. "Yeah, the Kuchikis still bear a grudge about that." her golden eyes sparkled mischievously as she looked at her friend. "I think I sullied their pride."
Kisuke turned to her, grinning at her joke.
For a moment they just sat there, their eyes never leaving each other's.
Then Yoruichi noticed Kisuke's fall ever so slightly.
"You know, it's my fault you were dragged into this mess in the first place."
Yoruichi snorted loudly. "I was head of the Shihoin Clan, leader of the Special Ops and Captain of Squad Two." she listed off, "Give me some credit. I would have been dragged into it anyway."
The smallest of smiles formed on Kisuke's face, but he didn't look at her. She knew what that look was; he figured she was just trying to make him feel better.
Her eye twitched.
"Hey, get off your high horse!" she smacked his head to better emphasize her point.
"Ow! You're so mean, Yoruichi!" he rubbed his head.
Yoruichi looked away from him, her face now serious again, staring forward. She bent one leg and rested an arm on her raised knee, keeping the other leg stretched out. "You know as well as I do that whether I had stayed in Soul Society or not I would have been as much a part of this as I am now."
"I chose to leave on my own and because I wanted to. I was perfectly aware of what I was doing."
He had dropped the smile, and was looking at her with wide gray eyes, surrounded under the shadow of his hat.
Yoruichi closed her eyes and exhaled. "You give yourself too much credit, Kisuke."
"Oh?" she heard the playfulness in his tone now.
"Yeah." she smirked, still not opening her eyes. "You think the world revolves around you, and so much has happened because of you." she scoffed. "As if."
She opened one eye a slit. She saw Kisuke looking at her with an odd grin.
"What?" she asked, opening both eyes now and raising an eyebrow.
Kisuke just looked at her and shook his head softly, chuckling a little.
Yoruichi let it go and they both sat in a comfortable silence, quietly enjoying each other's company under the starry sky.
Some time later, Yoruichi let out a long, wide-mouthed yawn, stretching her arms and legs thoroughly as she yawned loudly.
She groaned slightly as she started to push herself off her seat on the floor. "Well, I'm off to bed. Gotta get my good ten hours of beauty sleep to look presentable tomorrow."
Kisuke remained silent for a moment, and Yoruichi hesitated before going back inside the store.
She smirked, having guessed correctly about staying. She turned and crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for him to go on.
"I have something to ask of you." he said, looking over his shoulder back at her.
"I'm listening." she said before moving to sit back down beside him.
Kisuke turned to her. "Tomorrow will be dangerous." he said, his tone serious. Yoruichi looked at him, the ominous tension suddenly back in the air. "I want a guarantee that, no matter what happens, we…" he trailed off, seemingly at a loss for what to say. A rare case for Kisuke.
"We'll stick together." Yoruichi said, finding the words for him. "Whatever happens. Win or loose…If we go down, we go together."
She met his eyes and held them firmly.
Kisuke held her gaze unwavering. Then he did something unexpected.
Her eyes widened as she saw Kisuke raise his hand, closed into a fist with all the fingers rolled inwards except one: his pinky finger.
"You can't be-"
"Come on." he cut her off. "It's not official unless it's a pinky promise."
He smiled goofily as he said the words that brought on a pang of déjà vu. She glared for a long moment, not wanting to give in to his childish request. Then she finally rolled her eyes dramatically.
"Fine." she groaned before quickly raising her own hand and linking her dark pinky finger with his own light one.
They held each other's eyes.
Without unhooking his pinky from hers, Kisuke quickly pulled on their linked fingers and leaned forward at the same time.
Their lips met.
With their fingers still linked, Yoruichi and Kisuke deepened their kiss, the stars their only witnesses as they made a promise more binding and more important than any contract;
To stay by each other's side. Always.
Blood stained the pavement.
Kisuke watched as she slowly and painfully straightened up, only to fall on one knee. She huffed and huffed, but they both knew that last attack had done too much damage.
Kisuke flash-stepped to her side. He knew he was bleeding and hurt too, but he had only been grazed by the powerful incantation Aizen had shot. Yoruichi had been the one meant to get hurt…And he had succeeded.
"Yoruichi," he said urgently, gingerly placing one hand on her back as he kneeled down to be at eyelevel.
She was struggling to stay up, that much he noticed. Blood dripped from her mouth.
"You can't fight anymore."
She gave him a long, hard look. "Nonsense." she spat out.
Bracing herself for the pain, she pushed herself off her kneeling position and straightened up.
Kisuke looked at her with alarmed eyes, but didn't stop her.
They had made a promise, after all.
He gave one curt nod in understanding, and he stood up beside her.
"Win or go down," he said, raising his sword as Aizen smiled once more and prepared to attack.
Yoruichi raised her own sword and tensed in preparation, before finishing for him;
"We stay together."