Sorry for the lack of updates. Remember I am English and this isn't typo's – those are more frequent and obvious! ;-)


We're heading back into this story with a flashback…

"Don't be stupid." Isshin stood restless from his place on the sofa suddenly unable to look Ichigo in the eye.

"I'm not stupid." The walls of the family home suddenly felt hostile & closing in on Ichigo. He felt his nerves sweat on his palm and forehead. He rubbed his hands together and wiped them over and over on his knees.

"Well saying your gay is stupid. You've had girlfriends." Isshin's shoulders were tense, his agitation showing as he moved to lean against the back of dining chair and tap with frantic fingers on the sides.

"Because I didn't want to let you down, I was worried about you throwing me out." Ichigo knew this conversation was going to be uncomfortable and he hoped he could steer this away from an all-out row.

"So now you just decide that you want to be gay when you were straight before?" A wild gesture of his right arm had Isshin reeling around to Ichigo his whole demeanour was angry, confused, & confrontational.

"No dad, I've always been gay."

"Why now then why now are you saying this."

"Because I've met someone." Ichigo replied quietly, his thoughts thinking of a tall powerful man and his ambiguous smile.

"A man?" Isshin looked a little flabbergasted, denial in full throttle.

"Yes dad. A gay man like me. We love each other." Ichigo's eyes were the same as those he'd used as a child growing up pleading for a big chocolate ice-cream, only this time they were pleading for understanding and approval that stuck in Isshin's guts, twisting like a red hot knife.

"How do you know it's not just a phase."

With a shrugged sigh and a scrub of his spiked hair Ichigo replied. "Just because."

"Because? What fucking shit it that? You're not gay." The tone and pitch of his father's voice was raising now, his tolerance reached, his rational thoughts suddenly beginning to fail him.
"Dad. I'm gay, always have been and always will be."

"I don't get it. There must be something wrong with you, we'll see Ishida tomorrow, he'll talk some sense into you."

"Dad…"

"No. This isn't right; it's not right men liking men. And sex… oh god the sex…its wrong dirty. Do you know about all the diseases you can catch!"

"It isn't dirty!" Ichigo found his voice to protest.

"Don't raise your voice to me."

"Just meet him please, see that he's a nice guy."

"I don't want to meet any fucking faggot." The revulsion was seeping through now.

"I'm a faggot dad."

"It's his fault isn't it? He forced you into this." Of course that had to be the answer, there was always a reason, Ichigo had always been such an impressionable child.

"No dad. He's not my first."

There was an uncomfortable silence as Isshin digested this bit of news his face paling with realisation. "Oh god, you've been fucking men under my roof haven't you…Haven't you!"

"Does it matter?"

"Course it fucking matters! It's disgusting!" The bearded man spat back, almost at a shout, getting so angry now he was shaking and waving a clasped fist in Ichigo's face.

"Please dad, please calm down." Ichigo stood with the universal gesture of open raised palms trying to sooth the situation.

"Don't you tell me to calm down, you stand there telling me you're a raging fucking poof and you've done those disgusting, vile things in my house…MY HOUSE!" Isshin shook his head denial turning to anger. His shoes began to wear a hole in the carpet. "I don't know. I don't know what to think…you have to stop. Stop it now."

"Stop?" What? What on earth was that?

"Stop or get out." It was said with finality, clarity dawning on the older man's face.

"So you are gonna throw me out?"

"You think I want a son like you? A son who… who…" The trembling anger now reached Isshin's voice as it broke mid-way, his mind refusing to supply him the terms he wanted to spit out. The phrases he never thought he'd ever have to use. Takes it up the ass, sodomise, buggery.

"Makes love with someone he cares about? It's no different to you and mum!" Ichigo felt his own anger rise and the need to defend Sosuke. But it seemed like it was a red rag to a bull and the air became thick with violence. Ichigo was grabbed by his shirt and shaken harshly.

"Don't you dare say that! Don't you dare sully her memory! Its vile, disgusting, horrid…tarnishing your mother's name…just…just get out…" Isshin threw his son towards the door way with force, the ginger head barely missed bashing into the wall. Shaken and very much unnerved by his usually supportive father, Ichigo, turned back towards his dad, tears welling in his eyes, ready to beg for forgiveness.

"Dad! Don't do this please." Ichigo made to hold onto his father's clenched hand, but the older man was having none of it, he punched Ichigo in the jaw, snapping the kids head to the side and releasing all his energy into a fierce torrent of pure hate.
"NO GET OUT. NOW!" He wanted nothing more to do with this piece of filth. He wasn't his son, he wasn't the child he brought up alone. He wasn't his Ichigo who would never have shown such utter disregard for how he'd toiled all those years alone.

"Dad…" Ichigo dabbed his bleeding lip, tears streaming fully down his face, his voice frightened and timid.

"NOW!" Isshin wanted to punch him again, wanted to strike forcing Ichigo, persuading him with brutality to rethink his orientation. Instead of unleashing such carnage he twisted his face in a grotesque way, the red rage barely held back, his whole body shivered and shook with the effort. Ichigo grimaced at the hand that clenched his upper arm propelling him out of the room to the front door and then physically out into the street.

Ichigo stumbled and fell to his knees on the damp night covered paving. He scrambled back upright, trying to force his way back in the house pass the wall of a man determined not to let him step foot in the house again. The young man was desperate, distressed and so clearly clinging to any shred of hope for restoring the relationship. "I'll call t..t…then shall I? T..T…Tomorrow or something?" His voice hiccupped and sobbed his fingers clenched his father's shirt as the other put equal force in pushing him back away.

"I don't know you anymore. I don't know that I can believe anything you say to me now… It's best if you just leave us alone… don't come back." Isshin hated the fact that tears were now dripping down his face too. He was crying in grief for a lost son.

"Ichigo?" The youth turned to the sound of the softly spoken voice. God he hated this darkness even more with each passing day. "You're crying?" A soft hand cupped his cheek and it was then Ichigo felt the wetness being wiped across his skin. He hadn't realised that he was crying. It was then that the shock of what he'd just been remembering hit him. That row had been the last time he had seen his father. The last memory of actually seeing his father's face was one of hate and rejection.

"Sosuke!" Ichigo whimpered.

"I'm here." The older man embraced him and wondered for the reason that his previously improving mood had suddenly taken a nose dive. It wasn't what he had been expecting to walk into the apartment and find Ichigo standing in a defeated stance, before a window he can't see out of and music playing in the background. To then see the tears falling unhindered down the beautiful face, skin paler than normal and signs of fatigue beginning to show. "What is it? What upset you?"

"Dad…my dad."

"You've spoken?" Sosuke frowned.

"No…I just remembered that last time…the last time I saw him." It was pitiful to hear the boys raw emotion. Sosuke rubbed his palms over Ichigo's back whistling shushes rhythmically as he kept his young lover tucked into his body. "He hates me."

"Course he doesn't."

"You didn't see it." He hiccupped. "And he hit me." Sosuke knew that, he'd seen the bruise and all this turmoil before.

"Upsetting yourself now isn't going to help you." Aizen took him by his shoulders and pushed him towards the seat. "Now listen to me." Ichigo took a wrist over his eyes trying to wipe away his regurgitating feelings. "This is nonsense. Water under the bridge and it's not time to focus on your past. You've a future to build and all you are doing is holding yourself back."

"But…"

"No. This is an excuse to stay like this, feeling miserable and tearing yourself apart. I just won't watch you do it."

"Sosuke, my memories are all I have to look at. The last memory of my father…" Ichigo shook his head as he felt new tears welling up. "I might never speak to him again, never build that bridge or change how he sees me…I've lost my family. They might as well be dead." Ichigo sobbed a fresh.

"Ichigo, Ichigo, Ichigo." Aizen captured the smaller body under the arms and knees and whisked him into the air. "I can see that I need to take drastic action."

"Whahhhh!" Ichigo let out a surprised and curdled yell as he was thrust rudely into the shower cubicle and cold water followed a squeak of the shower handle. Ichigo began to battle against the strong arms holding him under the jet.

"What the fuck!" Starks voice bubbled through the water to Ichigo's ears. It sounded as if the man had been crudely awoken. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Don't question my methods." Sosukes hardened voice carried back with the echo of the bathroom as Ichigo continued to battle from the water that bit into his skin as it seeped through his clothes.

Ichigo didn't quite know what happened next but he could guess when he felt the arms on his suddenly release him to fall onto the shower floor and a loud crack bounce around the room.

"I told you not to interfere." Sosuke spoke in a tone Ichigo rarely heard.

Stark gathered himself from the floor watching the poor kid crawl shivering out of the shower with a look of anguish on his face. "Yeah. You also wanted me to look after Ichigo." He passed his hand over his split lip and swore under his breath at the sting.

"Well you are released." Aizen turned his back on the shaggy haired man to gather towels in his hand.

"What!" Ichigo's shivering voice grew from the floor as he too struggled onto his feet.

"I was merely interrupting your pattern of behaviour."

"Interrupting…" Ichigo felt a thrust of anger as his clothes began to fiercely be torn from his body. "Stop!" He pushed away at the hands. "I'm not a kid!"

"Then toughen up." Sosuke dropped a towel over Ichigo's sopping locks. "You think you are the only person in the world having a hard time? Do you think that if I just caved into my emotions when I felt like it I would have achieved anything?"

"I lost my family!"

"Have you met mine? Have you heard of Starks?" Ichigo grimaced under the towel as it was scrubbed hard over his head. "You won't move forward if you keep looking over your shoulder."

"Ichigo ain't like us. Being alone made us strong, but having family is what worked with him." Stark sighed sitting on the closed toilet seat. "One rule don't work for all."

"What are you still doing here?" Aizen refused to turn towards the outspoken ex-employee and again began to unfasten Ichigo's clothes, whipping a damp shirt over the kids head.

"Giving you my opinion." Stark snorted. "Ain't like you can fire me twice now is it."

"What Ichigo seems to be forgetting is that he has a family. He has me."

"Yeah, one who wants him cooped up here in this posh prison or under the constant eyes of a watchful guard." Stark figured he'd might was well be in for a pound if he was already in for a penny. "You didn't hire me to train Ichigo up. You hired me like you always hired me and that was as a man with a gun."

"That might have been a consideration; best of both worlds if you like. But you did tutor him just the same."

"Appearances and all that hey Sosuke."

"Its Aizen to you." The man looked around and pierced the eyes peering from under the shag pile. "Where were you when I arrived?"

"Sniffing."

"For what?"

"Trouble."

"Has it arrived then?"

Stark shrugged in answer. "Just a hunch."

"Hey, if you don't mind…" Ichigo hugged his naked body and both men turned their attention back to him. "You both can just fuck off."

"You're language is appalling." Sosuke wrapped a large towel around the protesting young man and began scooting him towards the doorway. "Stark, tea for Ichigo."

"You're not my boss anymore remember." Stark smirked.

"If you want to leave this apartment with your kneecaps intact…"

"Yeah yeah, I get it." The lanky form unrolled his body to stand and sauntered off the opposite way along the hallway towards the kitchen as the couple made their way into the bedroom. He licked his lips and hissed as he crossed over the slashed skin and tutted at his own stupidity. Pausing in the doorway of the kitchen he pushed his hands into his pockets and looked at the room before him. Normally it was a spotless example of household hygiene, but now it seemed to resemble an all-out war against organisation and order. There was not a single surface left clear with every cupboard emptied onto the space.

"What ya doing?" His voice drawled over the cabinets to the female form crouched over a basin and cloth.

"Spring cleaning." Momo answered as her arm worked with force against the invisible threat of germs in the lower cupboards.

"Like tha bedroom?" He asked still unmoving.

"It was getting messy." She answered with grin determination on her face.

"Was it?" He dropped the sides of his mouth and nodded disbelieving.

"Yes." She looked up with her deep brown eyes and frowned at him. "What do you want?"

"Tea."

"I'm not your slave."

"Nope, but seems like you're the only one who knows where anything is in this place anymore."

"That's because I am the only one who cleans it."

"Tell me honey."

"Not your honey thank you." She said smartly and went back to her work. Stark wondered at why the girl had suddenly grown a pair.

"Yeah…Tell me sweety." He sniggered at her huff of annoyance. "How's the boyfriend?"

"Great thank you. Not that it's any of your concern."

"What was his name again?"

"You asked me that already."

"Cos you didn't answer."

"Why must you know?"

"Small world is all and I might now him."

"I doubt that. He likes things clean, he keeps fit and he doesn't ask stupid questions. He looks after me."

"And makes ya stand up for yourself?"

"He says no one should work like a fool for a fool."

"I wouldn't let Aizen hear you say that."

The bed was warm, the covers tucked around Ichigo kept the air warm and his body was finally beginning to regain its heat.

"…in future, focus on us, yes?"

"Everything you say of late is like an order."

"Because I know what you need."

"Sosuke?" Ichigo responded to the light touch of lips on his own. "Starks right, I do need to get out of here."

"You have your classes."

"All I am is blind, all I do is about being blind. If life goes on…well mine doesn't."

"You want me to take you out more?"

"But your busy." Ichigo was resigned to the fact that now his lover was in the media eye now, he would naturally shy away from showing up with a lover who was a man.

"I have a dinner this evening. A very dull affair, but there will be music and dancing. I was going to take Gin with me, but he can be even duller than the business men who want favours from me." The elder man smoothed the drying whisps of orange with his fingertips. "Would you like to come?"

"Really?"

"Really." Sosuke smiled. "But you get some rest now, it will be a long night otherwise."