a/n: Brand new fic guys, and it's very different from my usual fare. All I can say is: READ THE WARNINGS
Warning: Non-explicit noncon, foul language, speculation, nonconsensual drug use, flagrant alcohol use, possible slash, het, or femslash, NO romance/no pairings
Description: For all he can't remember, this is something that he'll never forget.
Buyer's Remorse – Part One
Ichigo wakes to the brightness of the morning's sun as it beams directly into his eyes. He flinches, turns away with an audible groan, and squeezes his eyes shut. He feels drowsy, exhausted, like he's spent the entire night fighting Hollow after Hollow. His mouth is dry, tastes fuzzy, and he wants nothing more than a cold glass of water to wash it down.
The futon is lumpy. The futon is not his bed.
Ichigo's eyes pop open, and for a minute, he can't remember where he is. The room is barely decorated; it's definitely not his bedroom. But the thrumming, idle sense of reiatsu surrounds him like a murmur in the background.
Oh. Right. He's in Seireitei. In Renji's spare room, so graciously lent to him.
And he's naked.
Ichigo bolts from lying to sitting up in the space of half a second. The sheets pool around his waist and help to outline the fact that he's well and truly nude. There's not a scrap of cloth on his body, and he feels clean, too clean.
Ichigo doesn't sleep naked. He never sleeps naked. After spending his entire life with little sisters and a father who likes to engage in early morning combat, Ichigo has learned to always wear something to bed.
But he's naked right now, and for the life of him, Ichigo can't remember why.
Swallowing thickly, Ichigo glances around the unfamiliar room. The only other pieces of furniture are a single chair and a small dresser. On the latter is where he spies his clothes, which are neatly folded in a little stack.
Ichigo has never made a habit of folding any time before. Much less before bed.
Something cold twists in his belly, something that makes him draw up his knees and frantically try to recall the night before. A smell filters to his nose, a light whiff of musk and sweat. Even Renji, with his sporadic attempts at housekeeping, wouldn't make Ichigo sleep on a futon with dirty sheets.
He can't remember what happened last night.
One hand rakes through his hair as Ichigo fights down a rising tide of panic. His reiatsu slips loose, rattling the walls, and he forces himself to reel it back in.
Just breathe. Breathe.
He remembers why he came to Seireitei. Ichigo remembers that last night was his birthday party. That pretty much all of his friends and acquaintances were there. The bar and restaurant were packed with people going in and out all night, drunken and sober. Alcohol flowed freely, but Ichigo knows he turned it down. He's still only nineteen after all, even if the authorities would never know.
He recalls being at the party, laughing and joking and making fun of a very drunk Ikkaku. He remembers Yoruichi-san and Lisa offering him a striptease and then having his face shoved in Matsumoto-san's chest followed by a chorus of catcalls. He even recollects an awful prank that turned Shinji's skin blue by mistake and Urahara-san practically wetting himself with laughter. But Ichigo can't remember how he got back to Renji's place. He doesn't know why he's naked, why he's clean, why his sheets smell faintly of sex.
Ichigo can't remember a goddamn thing.
He bolts from the bed, standing nude in the middle of the room, hands clenching and unclenching at his side. There's a mirror hanging on the door of the small closet, something Ichigo finally remembers. And he moves toward it and stares at his reflection, but he doesn't look at his face, unwilling to see his own building panic.
For the most part, there's little to see. Ichigo spies a few scratches on his belly, just raised lines that'll fade in a few hours. He has a bruise on his right shoulder, like he'd bumped into something, and another on his left thigh. They are small and light, something else destined to fade before tomorrow.
Ichigo shifts experimentally. He's not sore anywhere, not in the slightest. At most, he's exhausted, drained, feeling like he could lay down for a few more hours and still be tired. His limbs feel heavy; his mind is fuzzy.
He's really starting to worry. All the signs are pointing to a very uncomfortable realization, one that Ichigo doesn't think he's prepared to deal with.
Naked. Clean. Smelling like sex. Mind empty of memories that he knows couldn't be caused by alcohol…
Suddenly, Ichigo feels a hell of a lot like throwing up. The sensation churns in his belly, and he feels the color drain from his face. He slams the closet door all the way shut, hand pressing over his mouth, and tries to force down the bile.
How in the hell did this happen? This kind of shit is not supposed to happen, not to him. All the Shinigami powers in the universe, and he wakes up not remembering a thing.
Who the fuck…
Ichigo chokes, finds himself coughing as his heart thuds in his chest, harder and harder. He scrambles for the change of clothes he'd brought with him, suddenly uncomfortable with his nudity. It feels like eyes are around him everywhere, watching without his consent.
He thinks of ghostly fingers wandering over his body, nails scratching his flesh. He thinks of foreign lips and a foreign tongue. And damn, he can't even put a face to whoever did this. He doesn't have a fucking clue.
His reiatsu rattles the walls again, and Ichigo knows that he's losing it.
He's frantic as he searches the room, looking for an answer, a clue, anything to fill in the blanks. He breathes a sigh of relief when he finds Zangetsu, untouched, unbothered, and is glad that he hasn't been taken. In fact, Ichigo still has all his belongings. Nothing is missing, but nothing foreign has been left behind either.
If it wasn't for the huge gaps in his memory, Ichigo could almost believe that he'd just had a really vivid wet dream. If it weren't for the fact he woke up naked and on clean sheets that smelled like sex, he might be able to convince himself he was imagining things.
He has to get out of here.
Swallowing once more, Ichigo grabs Zangetsu, returns the blade to his rightful place, and throws open the door. Renji's place is almost completely silent, but the door to his bedroom is cracked open with the sound of snores drifting through.
Ichigo hesitates, unsure of what he should do.
Logic screams at him to run to the police immediately, but here in Seireitei, the police are the Shinigami. And the last thing Ichigo wants is for anyone to know what happened. Fuck, Ichigo doesn't even know what happened.
Scratch the police. Ichigo needs to figure out just where his night went so utterly wrong. He needs to fill in the gaps.
He needs to talk to Renji.
Without giving it further thought, Ichigo storms to his best friend's door-
Wait. He pauses, mid-stride, eyes widening.
What if it was Renji?
That thought crops up before he can stop it. And then, Ichigo shakes his head. Almost thinking to slap himself in the face.
No, it wasn't. Renji would never do that. Not even in Ichigo's worst nightmares would he believe that. It's just not something Renji's capable of doing. He's an idiot and an asshole, but he's not a ra- he's not that kind of bastard. And now, Ichigo himself is being an idiot.
Squaring his jaw, Ichigo resumes his course and flings Renji's door open with little finesse. It slams into the slot with a loud bang. One that makes Renji burst into a semi-coherent state with flailing limbs and a jumble of words that make no earthly sense.
"Renji," Ichigo says, and his voice enough to cause the bleary redhead to look his direction. "What the-"
Here, he pauses. He can't very well ask what happened last night because Renji can't know he doesn't remember anything.
His friend groans, flopping back down on his own futon and pulling the blanket up over his head. "I'mreallyfuckin'hungover," he mumbles, though it takes a moment for Ichigo to translate that.
Ichigo words his question carefully. "What time did you finally leave the party?"
"Late," Renji mutters on a slow exhale, sounding like he's about to go right back to sleep. "Long after your wimpy ass called it a night."
"So you saw me leave?"
"Fuck no!" Renji grumbles, and the covers rustle. "I didn't even notice ya'd left until after ya were gone."
Ichigo should've known better than to get a coherent answer out of Renji, but he tries anyway. The panic inside of him demands answers.
"That doesn't make any sense."
One hand emerges from the nest of covers, waving at Ichigo as though trying to encourage him to leave.
"Look, kid. My head's poundin', and I might just get sick on ya. What do ya want me ta say? I think I drank half the fuckin' bar."
This isn't helping.
"Fine, asshole. Go back to sleep," Ichigo mutters and whirls on his heel, leaving Renji's room and making sure to slam the door behind him.
If Renji has anything to say in response, Ichigo doesn't hear it, nor does he care to. He stands in the middle of the main room, seething and frantically trying to rack his brain. He skittishly avoids the blank space where last night should be, forcing calm where he doesn't have it. He can't break; he can't afford to break. Ichigo knows he should be stronger than this.
He is stronger than this.
Almost the entire Gotei 13 was there last night. Over four dozen of his closest friends and acquaintances were in attendance. Surely, one of them remembers when he left and who he might have left with.
But then, one of them has to be the culprit.
Ichigo feels ill again. He finds the nearest chair and collapses into it, rubbing his forehead with fingers that refuse to stop shaking. His thoughts are a cluttered, jumbled mess; he can't seem to put them into a semblance of order. He wants a bath, something with hot water where he can scrub and scour his flesh with soap until he feels clean again.
Ichigo's eyes pop open, dread curling his belly. He hears Isshin's stern voice rattling in the back of his head, memory so fresh it echoes in his ear. Lecture upon lecture about safe sex and condoms and all the nasty little diseases one can get for a brief moment of stupidity.
He breaks into a cold sweat. Screw the police, what Ichigo needs is a doctor. Heaven only knows what he might've picked up. He has no clue if the Shinigami are susceptible to human diseases; it's not exactly a topic that comes up in casual conversation. His only relief is that there's no risk of being pregnant, but there's a hell of a risk for a lot of other things. Things Ichigo can only speculate about because he just doesn't know.
And it's the not knowing that scares the shit out of him.
Ichigo can't imagine telling anyone the truth, but he's also not a doctor. He doesn't know what to look for. He can't keep this to himself. He has to go to the fourth division, but the idea of telling Unohana-san anything makes him squirm out of sheer mortification. He doesn't really know that tall chick who always blushes or the other guy who talks to himself a lot. The only one he really knows is Hanatarou.
Ichigo chews on his bottom lip.
He can trust Hanatarou, he thinks. Yes, it'll be embarrassing to admit that something had happened last night, but he's pretty sure Hanatarou isn't the type to gossip. And he's a healer; he knows how to be professional. And admittedly, the fact that Hanatarou is a lot smaller than Ichigo and easily intimidated is comforting.
He can only hope that the guy is on duty today. Otherwise, things are going to get really awkward, really fast.
Ichigo feels jittery when he gets back to his feet, the languid sensation in his limbs fading away to be replaced by an anxious restlessness. He can't focus enough to rein in his reiatsu, so it vibrates around him with a low buzz. He knows he must be broadcasting and thanks whatever god is listening that he's in Soul Society and not Karakura where he'd likely be calling to every Hollow in existence.
He leaves Renji's place and steps into a bright morning that's already promising a sweltering, suffocating day. He turns in what he thinks is the direction of the fourth division, still a little confused by Serieitei's numerous streets, alleyways, and random buildings even after all this time.
Ichigo can't remember when he's paid so much damn attention to his surroundings though. Suddenly, it feels like there are eyes everywhere, and they're watching every move. He feels like it must be so damn obvious, as though it's painted on his forehead or there's a neon sign floating over his head that's pointing directly at him. Passing Shinigami stare, and maybe that's just because he's a familiar face, even if he has no clue of their identities. Or maybe it's because he's about to lose his mind and it shows.
It's already warm and muggy outside, but it does nothing to chase away the chill in Ichigo's bones. He hunches his shoulders, for once feeling unnecessarily exposed in his shihakushou, but he's never hated his hair so much as in that moment. Even with all the wacky colors available in Soul Society, it's still so damn noticeable. Any other shade certainly would've been better camouflage. Part of him wants nothing more than to disappear into the crowd. Another part cringes at the idea of people and so many other bodies close enough to touch. The thought makes him physically ill, and his stomach cramps.
Ichigo tries not to keel over then and there.
His heart crawls into his throat. Ichigo whirls, eyes ridiculously wide as he watches Yumichika approach him from behind, calling out with a large smile and a hand waving purposefully into the air. Not wildly, elegant as always, but just enough for Ichigo to notice him.
He has a moment of panic that Ichigo quickly stamps down. He's fine, he's normal, there's nothing to overreact about. Nothing happened. At least, nothing that Yumichika needs to know.
"I was looking for you," the fifth-seat says as he draws closer, all sparkles and sunshine, and Ichigo wonders how anyone can be up this early and be so cheerful. It isn't even midmorning yet.
Ichigo remains cautious, however. Especially since Yumichika's hands are behind his back.
"Why?" he inquires, almost skeptical about it all.
"Because you left before I could give you your present last night," Yumichika explains with a winning smile.
And before Ichigo can respond, the man thrusts a gaily wrapped package in his face. Complete with bow and ribbon and bright, sparkly wrapping paper.
"In fact," Yumichika continues as if not really hearing himself speak, "you left before half of us could hand them over."
"Did I?" Ichigo asks, warily accepting the gift.
Yumichika suddenly looks at him, head cocked to the side and purple eyes focused. "You did," he confirms. "I can't remember when you slipped out, but we were all pretty surprised that the birthday boy made himself scarce." He scowls, lips pulling into an annoyed moue. "Then again, if Ikkaku hadn't been trying to shove alcohol down your throat, you wouldn't have made a run for it. So unbeautiful that man is at times."
Ichigo's fingers press curiously against the wrapping. He's only able to tell that it was box-shaped though.
"Getting drunk seems to be a requirement for them," he comments distractedly, disappointed that Yumichika doesn't seem to know when he left or who he might've left with either.
"Considering how many dumb things he's gotten into, you'd think he'd know better," Yumichika agrees with a pointed roll of his eyes. He pats Ichigo on the shoulder and doesn't seem to notice when Ichigo cringes, already sliding into his next words. "Anyway, I'm glad I found you before I headed in to the eleventh. Apparently, I'm the only one not ridiculously hungover today."
Of course Yumichika looks pristine. Not a hair out of place, not a wrinkle in his shihakushou, despite the fact Ichigo distinctly remembers him consuming at least twice as much hard liquor as the rest of the eleventh in attendance.
"Apparently." Ichigo manages a half-smile that he doesn't really feel. "Thanks though."
Yumichika beams at him. "You're welcome." He whirls back the way he came with a flirty wave over his shoulder. "See you later. And happy birthday, Ichigo-kun."
Ichigo fights the bitter retort that seeks to spill past his lips. Some birthday this has turned out to be. He can't think of a way it could have possibly gone worse.
The fourth division is quiet, smelling strongly of antiseptic and the subtle perfume of fresh flowers. Ichigo fights the urge to fidget as he sits in one of the examination rooms wearing a robe that's far too thin and reveals far too much leg for his own comfort. It's a little chilly, despite the blazing heat outside, or maybe Ichigo's own roller-coaster emotions are making him shiver.
He can't know for sure.
A light knock on the door makes Ichigo's heart skip a beat, and he swallows to clear his throat.
A part of him remains on edge, until Hanatarou's familiar face is the one who appears. Only then does Ichigo relax.
Hanatarou tries for a comforting smile, but it's shaky, and really, it doesn't help. Ichigo doesn't think he's going to feel comfortable for a long time.
"I'd like to draw blood first, if that's okay," Hanatarou says, and there's a caution to his movements that Ichigo hates just a little.
He understands. It makes sense. But he hates that it's necessary.
Ichigo nods. He can handle his blood being drawn. That's no big deal.
He's quiet and patient as Hanatarou gets the necessary equipment. He doesn't even hold his breath as the tourniquet is applied and Hanatarou searches for a good vein, his actions clear and professional.
"Do you want to talk about it, Ichigo-san?" Hanatarou asks quietly, completely focused on the task at hand, sounding like the doctor Ichigo trusts him to be.
"Not really," he confesses, not even wincing when the needle pierces his skin. In the long run of punches and stab wounds and claw marks and cero, a little needle isn't even felt. "But I know I have to. Even if I can't remember anything."
Hanatarou nods slowly. "What do you remember?"
"The party," Ichigo answers and distances himself, some of the evening coming back to him with sharp clarity. "I remember being there and some of the gifts that were given to me. I remember people dancing and getting drunker. I remember a lot of noise and Ukitake-san making me wear that stupid hat…" He makes a face. "I don't remember leaving. I don't remember how I got back to Renji's place. And I don't know why I woke up... like that."
Ichigo closes his eyes because it's easier for him to speak if he pretends he's just talking to himself and not Hanatarou. If he just pretends Hanatarou's voice and questions are floating out of the ether and there's no real person there to hear his answers.
Blood acquired, Hanatarou gently applies a kidoh over the small puncture and unties the tourniquet. "What else was there?"
"My clothes were folded, and I smelled sex on the sheets." Ichigo feels his cheeks burn with embarrassment, even as he cringes from the truth. "But I was clean, like someone had wiped me down."
"Were you sore? Bruised? Hurting anywhere?"
Ichigo shakes his head, hearing Hanatarou bustle around the room. "No," he says tightly and lifts up his arm. "There was a small bruise here and one on... on my thigh. Along with some scratches on my stomach." He peels open his eyes, watching as Hanatarou looks over the purplish spot on his arm.
Big blue eyes, always so damn honest and now painfully concerned, turn to him. "Ichigo-san... would you be okay with me examining you?"
Ichigo knows that Hanatarou has to; it's practically in the guidebook for these kinds of situations. But that doesn't mean he has to like the idea of it.
He nods, not trusting his words, and wonders when the hell this torture will be over.
"It's a drug we use on unruly patients… and to interrogate prisoners," Hanatarou explains, looking as disgusted as Ichigo feels. "It's primary effect is to make someone pliable and then forget whatever happened."
The answers don't make Ichigo feel any better. In fact, he feels a bit worse now and wonders how close the nearest trash bin is. Just in case any of his meals want to make a reappearance.
Someone had slipped him the Shinigami equivalent of a roofie. He can't believe his ears.
"How could someone have gotten a hold of this?"
Hanatarou winces. "Anyone in the fourth would have access. As well as anyone in the second division or even the twelfth."
Ichigo's immediately glad that he's been allowed to change out of the thin robe and back into his own clothes. But he suddenly wishes for a thick, warm coat to swaddle himself in.
"So there's no one way to trace who could have done it?"
The apology in Hanatarou's eyes is almost as painful as his pity. "No, Ichigo-san. I'm sorry." He pauses, takes a deep breath, and Ichigo has the feeling he's not going to like what comes next. "Ichigo-san... I'm required to report occurrences like this."
The icy shards return to Ichigo's belly with a vengeance. "No," he says firmly, voice dead and final. "No way in hell."
"I have to," Hanatarou returns gently. "You don't have to be there. You don't have to say anything. But Unohana-taichou has to know."
It's like getting fucking... It's like this thing he doesn't remember happening is occurring all over again. He's still sitting here unable to stop it, watching a train wreck happen right before his eyes.
A part of him is tempted to beg.
"Hanatarou," he begins and pulls strength out of his ass, the same strength that got him back on his feet after Ulquiorra turned his chest into a window. "I don't want anyone to know. No one at all. Ever."
"No one's going to know," Hanatarou insists, leaning forward as though he wants to pat Ichigo on the hand but thinks better of it. "I promise. Unohana-taichou would never betray her vows as a healer."
Ichigo's on his feet before he can think to do otherwise. He's suddenly stifled in this small room with Hanatarou's concern filling up the small space. He wants to breathe, and he can't, not here.
"Fine." His restlessness makes his legs tremble. "You do what you have to do, and I'll do what I have to do."
Hanatarou looks troubled. He stands, too.
"Ichigo-san, you should stay a little longer. Maybe talk to someone...?"
Fuck no. But Ichigo doesn't say that because Hanatarou has helped him and Ichigo won't be unnecessarily cruel.
"No, thanks. I'm leaving."
He doesn't give Hanatarou a chance to convince him otherwise, just makes himself scarce from the fourth as quickly as possible. The place smells of antiseptic and fresh flowers. That scent has soaked into his nose, and his stomach won't stop churning.
Ichigo heads back to Renji's place, skittish from anyone who tries to approach him while attempting to look like it's only because he's in a hurry. Which is true but not for the reason that they might suspect.
He borrows Renji's private bathroom, thanking any god listening that Renji can afford an actual bathing room, and scrubs himself until his skin is pink and shiny. He throws on his clothes, packs up his shit, and makes a beeline for the gate. He has a sudden urge to be nowhere in Soul Society right now, and if he has his way, he won't be returning anytime soon.
All Ichigo wants is to go home to his own house and his own shower. A very hot shower with a full bar of soap and the biggest, loosest clothing he can find.
On the scale of shitstorm his life has become after discovering his Shinigami powers, this ranks up there on the same level of his mother dying and his inability to prevent Rukia from being taken. It's like someone has stolen something from him, something he can't get back no matter how hard he fights. Worse, there's no name to blame or face to hate.
Worse than that even, for all he can't remember, this is something that he'll never forget.
a/n: Very different, yes? So this fic has nine parts that I'll post in intervals. It also reads like a mystery. I'll tell you right now, the culprits will shock you and they are not: Aizen, Tousen, Gin, any Arrancar/Espada, or Mayuri. Aka, they are not the usual suspects.
Feedback is most welcome and appreciated. This is a new way of writing (and a new kind of plot) for me so I welcome any comments. Thanks!