The Kidnapping of Kurosaki Ichigo: [Chapter 7: All for One and You for Me]
Pairing: Hichigo Shirosaki (Dark/Hollow Ichigo) x Ichigo Kurosaki
Disclaimer: I do NOT own any BLEACH characters
Shirosaki pulled the hood of his coat over his head; the early afternoon sun was strangely intense for this cooler season. He had taken Ichigo's place and was lying down in the coffin with his hands behind his head, enjoying the chance to stretch out and lie down on a flat surface and have a quick afternoon nap. Now that the trio no longer viewed each other as enemies, it seemed useless to confine Ichigo to the wooden casket anymore and the redhead was certainly delighted to be free from the damn thing. Now, he was sitting beside Zangetsu, the both of them jabbering away in French.
Tilting his head back a little, Shiro watched the prince talk, his arms twirling around in wild gestures and every so often, he'd rub his wrists as if suddenly remembering that he was no longer wearing the handcuffs. The pale teen gave a little smirk. He remembered the first time he'd been cuffed up; the unwelcome sensation of being bound, the rusty metal scraping against his skin, and the great sense of freedom that came from them being taken off. Being royalty almost definitely meant that that was his first time ever being handcuffed. Shiro rubbed his own wrists and felt a slight roughness of the skin. He didn't mean to brag, but he'd been cuffed (and subsequently escaped) more times than he could care to remember.
Shiro closed his eyes and sighed, contently feeling the slight sway of the cart beneath him and the sounds of hooves clopping against the compact dirt road.
He could feel himself slipping away, the pull of sleep getting too strong to resist.
"...Oi, Shiro!" Zangetsu turned and smacked the top end of the coffin, making Shiro bolt upright.
"What the hell do you want? I'm trying to sleep here." He growled.
Zangetsu gestured in the direction of the low lying terrain before them, "We're going to stop at the lake over there; the horses are starting to overheat."
Thank goodness I'm not the only one affected by this weather, Shiro thought. "Whatever."
The lake was stagnant and smooth with only slight ripples quivering the surface. The surrounding land was moderately flat with fields of wild grass coating the landscape and the only tree cover was a small thicket of forest that stood atop a hill across from the lake.
Zangetsu drove the cart off the path and smelling the water, the horses naturally headed in the lake's direction. The two horses were removed of their reins and ambled over to the lake for a drink, their muzzles sending thick ripples across the water. Ichigo followed them over and ran his hand over one of the horses' backs, muttering softly to them in French.
Shiro watched how Ichigo's hand smoothed over the horse's thick, black mane and thought about how similarly the redhead had reached out and touched Shiro's pale arm. He knew that his sudden freedom from the cuffs was enough to make him want to reach out to everything around him, but somehow it felt different. Ichigo didn't appear to think anything of it, but he seemed a little too comfortable touching someone who only days earlier threatened to kill him. Shiro let out a quick chuckle, Has Princey caught himself a case of Stockholm syndrome?
Just as he thought that, Ichigo looked over his way and frowned, "What are you laughing at?"
Shiro leant against the side of the coffin. "You look like you're fond of our horses. I'm just making sure that you don't try and escape on one of them."
As expected, Ichigo's frown deepened, "I've already told you, I'm not going to run off. I'm paying attention to your horses because I've never seen any so big before." He ran a hand over one of its legs, "They're so muscular and sturdy."
"They weren't bred for riding like the ones you see the Gendarmes on; these guys are draught horses, made for pulling and working." Shiro jumped down from the cart and walked over to the horses. "Would you believe that I helped raise them?"
Ichigo's eyes widened a fraction with interest, "You've raised horses? I've never even had a pet dog before."
"My father was a horse breeder and since I didn't exactly look like a normal kid, I spent most of my time with his horses. These two are Percherons, a breed that actually originates over here, but a lot were imported to England and America for the war. We bought a handful of them from an ex-soldier and it didn't take more than a year before two of the mares were pregnant. They were born within days of each other and I was allowed to raise them both together. I was probably only 8 years old at the time." Shiro rubbed his hands over the front of their faces, remembering how they looked as lanky young foals.
"Do they have names?" Ichigo asked.
"This guy here is Getsuga," Shiro gestured to the horse furthest from Ichigo who was as black as the night from head to toe. "And this one is Tenshō," this was the horse that Ichigo had been patting, was all black except for his face, which looked strangely like someone had dipped it in white paint. "They were the best horses we had and every time Zangetsu and I travel, we always take these two with us."
Ichigo patted the horses some more and watched as Shiro picked out the longest tufts of grass and held them out for them to eat. It was interesting for the Prince to see the usually snarky teen interacting so calmly with the animals. He could imagine a younger Shiro looking after the foals, feeding them apples and combing their hair.
Shiro looked over at Ichigo and a light blush coloured his cheeks. 'Oi, what're you smiling at," he frowned.
The redhead blinked - he hadn't realised that he was smiling. He cocked his head to the side with thought, "It makes me wonder, how does a simple horse breeder become a wanted criminal? Where's the link?"
"Link?" Shiro lowered his head and smiled bitterly, "There's no link. Just a shitload of bad luck."
Ichigo wasn't sure what to say. It was abundantly clear that Shiro didn't want to talk about it and there was probably nothing he could say to change that.
"Shiro! Ichigo!" The prince was glad to hear Zangetsu call them from the cart.
The pair walked back to the cart, leaving the horses to continue drinking from the lake. "What's up?" Shiro answered.
Zangetsu crossed his arms and looked over at Ichigo, "J'ai décidé d'être d'accord avec votre accord. (I've decided to agree to your deal.) We'll help you take down your kidnappers but only as long as you keep your end of the bargain."
Ichigo nodded, happy with the result, "Depending on how well this turns out, I may be willing to compensate your losses on the drug shipment."
Shiro smirked and hopped back up onto the cart. "That's quite a nice incentive, Princey." He stepped over the coffin, grabbed an apple from one of the bags and took a large bite out of it. "But will your principles really allow you to give that much money to a pair of Pommy thieves?"
The French royal nodded, "In this equation, you are the lesser of two evils."
"Aw, you think I'm evil?" Shiro waved his hand dramatically, "Please stop, you're making me blush."
Ichigo rolled his eyes and held out his hand, "hand me an apple so I can feed the horses."
"Fine," Shiro bent down and grabbed another apple for the redhead. Deciding to show off a little, he juggled the two apples around with one hand, a little trick he picked up from a circus performer in London, and stepped back over the coffin. Well, at least he thought he had. Since his concentration was elsewhere, he accidentally stepped on the edge of the coffin wall and tripped with a somewhat surprised expression spread across his face as he fell forwards.
Shiro's vision was suddenly compromised as a pair of arms closed around him and his face was buried into Ichigo's chest. His momentum kept him falling and the pair ended up sprawled on the ground. The two apples that Shiro had been holding rolled down the slight slope and into the water where the horses promptly gobbled them up.
The redhead groaned loudly, having taken the full force of the fall. "Je jure, tu vas être ma mort. (I swear, you'll be the death of me),"He mumbled bitterly.
"Eh?" Shiro pulled back to find himself sitting on top of Ichigo, who's face was scrunched up as he rubbed the back of his head. He smirked, "I apologise that I'm not as light and dainty as the maidens you're used to catching."
"But you sure are as clumsy as one," Ichigo rose himself up from the ground a little and was glad to find that his vision didn't get fuzzy. He'd had enough concussions to last a lifetime. The redhead looked Shiro over and his cheeks turned pink when he realised that the pale teen was basically straddling him. "... If you don't mind, would you please get off me."
Shiro blinked for a moment, before blushing a little as well.
Suddenly Zangetsu coughed loudly, making his presence firmly known.
Shiro stood up a little too quickly and turned to face his uncle with a frown. "The coffin takes up too much room. Since we don't need the damn thing anymore, I reckon we should toss it."
"Don't you think you'd be suspicious of a coffin sitting in the middle of a large field? No, chop it up and we can use it for firewood later." Zangetsu scrounged around in the back of the cart and pulled out an axe.
"Thank you!" Shiro swiped it out of Zangetsu's grip and ran his other hand down the flat side of the blade, "I can't believe you snuck an axe along in our baggage. What the hell were you planning on using this for?"
"Unlike you, I prepare for the unexpected. Now jump back up on the cart and help push." When Zangetsu turned to grab the base of the coffin, Shiro pulled a face.
With Shiro pushing one end and Ichigo and Zangetsu pulling the other, the trio slowly dragged the coffin out of the cart and down onto the grass. Suddenly, the back of the cart looked a lot roomier than Shiro remembered. Even though it was kind of obvious, he was surprised how much room a coffin takes up.
Shiro tested the axe with a hearty swing, a smooth movement that he hadn't performed in years. His farm-boy upbringing was still just as strong. Shiro took of his coat and rolled up his sleeves. Resting the axe on his shoulder, he smirked cheekily at Ichigo, "Sit back and watch, Princey, this is how the common folk do it."
"I think I'll stand, thank you." Ichigo put his hands in his pockets expectantly.
Zangetsu rolled his eyes at his nephew's forced display of testosterone, "I'll go look after the horses then…"
After a few test swings, Shiro started hacking away at the coffin, slowly but surely chopping it down. Ichigo watched with clear interest as the man who he'd always seen as a scummy vagabond villain turning more and more into just a regular, hardworking individual. Sure, his methods were still unmistakably illegal, but he was starting to see purpose behind the pale teen's ways.
Shiro's swings were smooth, but strong. The axe would stop just behind his head and come swooping down in an arc, burying itself in the wooden walls. As his arms moved, Ichigo could see that there was no fat to be seen. It was all tight, lean muscle that rippled resolutely under his skin.
It didn't take very long for the coffin to get broken down into manageable pieces in a neat pile. With his work done, Shiro felt quite chuffed with himself; He'd worked up a decent sweat and could feel his heart pounding away in his chest. He felt fit and strong. He tossed the axe back into the cart with a grin.
He then turned to Ichigo, ready to sing his own praises. "Now I'd like to see you manage that all dressed up and covered in jewel…." Suddenly a strong gust of wind rolled over the grass hills, picking up speed and sweeping over the group with a mighty blast.
Ichigo raised an arm up to shield his face from the sudden gust. His cloak flapped violently behind him and for a moment, nearly threatened to tip him backwards. As he blinked his suddenly dry eyes, he noticed Shiro staring at him with his mouth hung slightly agape. "… Is something wrong?"
"No…" The pale man managed, "I was just a little surprised, that's all."
Before the redhead could say 'surprised at what', a foul stench suddenly filled his nostrils. He grimaced and covered his face, "Mon dieu, quel odeur répugante. (Good god, what an awful smell.)"
Shiro raised a sweaty eyebrow and Ichigo figured out where the stench had come from. He grimaced, "You absolutely reek! When was the last time you bathed?!"
"Hey! How about you try and perform some manual labour and not come out smelling like this!" Shiro barked back in his defence. "And I doubt that you smell like a basket of roses either."
The prince took a whiff of his own shirt and was met with a similar (albeit less strong) odour of sweat and dirt. "Yuck, le cercueil sent probablement mieux que moi. (Yuck, the coffin probably smells better than me.)"
"I'll take that as a 'no'." Shiro remarked and sitting down onto the grass, started pulling off his boots.
The redhead looked at him, confused, "… What're you doing?"
He tilted his head in the direction of the lake, "I'm going swimming. I don't know about you, but the old man definitely won't let me back on the cart smelling like this." With his boots off he waggled his eyebrows at Ichigo, "Care to join me?"
The prince rolled his eyes, "I was going to whether you offered or not; I don't actually enjoy smelling this bad."
As Shiro headed over to the lake, Ichigo began disrobing. He put his cloak and shoes in a neat little pile beside the cart and followed Shiro. The two of them stood at the edge of the lake for a moment, taking in the atmosphere.
Looking at it up close, the lake was quite deep, it stayed shallow for a metre or two then quickly dropped off out of sight. Ichigo stepped into the shallow water and feeling it swirl around his feet, he smiled a little. In summer he would always spend hours in the nearest lake, having fun with his friends or keeping an eye on his sisters. He suddenly wondered how worried they must be, not knowing where he was, probably fearing the worst…
"Hurry up, Princey!" A sudden hard shove pushed Ichigo into the water with a loud splash. He was momentarily shocked as the cool water enveloped him. When his head rose back up to the surface, he glared at Shiro with as much intensity as he could muster.
Shiro threw his head back and laughed. He followed suit and jumped into the lake, showering Ichigo with more water. He was still giggling when his head appeared back up. "Don't look so grumpy, Ichigo. It was only a bit of fun."
"You're lucky I don't try and drown you," The redhead muttered.
Shiro held his hands up, ready to fight, "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"
The prince smirked, "comme tu le souhaite. (as you wish.)" He said and tried to grab the pale teen.
Shiro fought back and the pair tumbled around in the water, fighting to push the other under the water.
Despite himself, Ichigo was actually having a good time. It had been ages since he'd been so relaxed and even though he was sure that he wasn't supposed to, he was starting to enjoy Shiro's company.
During this time, Zangetsu had looked after the horses and had tied them back up to the cart. "We're going to leave here before nightfall!" Zangetsu called out to the boys. "So make sure that you have enough time to dry off!"
"We should probably get out now then," Ichigo said, panting slightly from their brawling.
Shiro nodded, "Give me a second, I'm curious to see how deep this lake is." He dove underwater as Ichigo made his way to the shallows.
The prince stepped back onto dry and was greeted with a soft breeze that while being a bit chilly, was pleasant nevertheless. As Ichigo was walking, he couldn't help but notice the feeling of his pants clinging to his body. It didn't take him long to realise that because of the high-quality of the material, Ichigo's pants were thinner and lighter than your average cloth so in their dampened state, they clung to his body, outlining nearly every curve of his lower half. This realisation caused a rush of blood up to his face in a blush of intense embarrassment.
At this time, Shiro had resurfaced out of the water to find Ichigo just a few steps away from the lake. His eyebrows nearly disappeared into is hair when he noticed the state of Ichigo's pants. While Shiro was stepping out of the water as quietly as possible, he noticed the redhead freeze and had to stifle a snigger. Princey had finally noticed.
Shiro cleared his throat, making Ichigo swiftly turn his head with surprise.
"There's no need to be embarrassed your Highness," Shiro gave the blushing royalty an obvious look over, grinning, "Everything looks good from where I'm standing." And for good measure, he smacked him on the ass.
Ichigo didn't think that his cheeks would get any brighter, but they certainly did. Before he could stop himself, he grabbed the pale teen by his soaking shirt collar and with a mighty shove, pushed him back into the lake.
Underwater, Shiro blinked vacantly, surprised that Ichigo had that much strength but also surprised that he liked Ichigo's expression. Shit, he found himself thinking, that was kinda hot.
Yes, I know I haven't updated in a long time. No, I didn't die. And no, I haven't abandoned this website :) I'll finish these stories even if it takes my whole life to do it.
Even after all this time, thank you so much to Fellmekke Cross Fire ( u/2731118) who is still happy to translate the French for me :)
Comments and reviews will be used to persuade Ichigo to forgive Shiro.