It's getting a little ridiculous how long this pause has been between posts. I'm making myself sick with irritation. This is the brainchild of such feelings.

I don't own Bleach. I do own this little chocolate bar, though it'll be in my belly soon enough.

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Yumichika was exhausted. He had been training for two days straight with Ikkaku. Two days without a chance to check his appearance and wipe the disgusting whatever that was off of his robes. His skin was caked with salty sweat, and his hair was disgusting and plastered to his neck and jaw.

Yumichika was not only exhausted, but ugly. He hated when he felt ugly. He hated the way his pasty fingers slid open the door with barely enough strength. The tendrils that were stuck to his face were itchy and gross, and he knew if he didn't clean himself soon, his hair would have to get that special treatment he liked to save for special occasions. The left foot that he wanted to peel away from what remained of his beauty trudged across the threshold, throwing him inside the room he shared with his best friend.

"Damn," he muttered, slowly sashaying his way to the hallway. His hands started to remove his bits of gross clothing, literally peeling them away from his smelly flesh. At this point, it didn't matter if leaving his clothes lying on the ground wasn't elegant or pretty or perfect or neat.

He needed that stream of water to fall on his hair and bring him back to the sensation of beauty that he had grown so fond of. His sleeves crinkled and broke from their mold over his shoulders, and the orange collar was the next item to find itself discarded on the floor.

As much as the black-haired man hated to, he let out a weak whimper when he entered the bathroom, slowly undoing his hakama. The black fabric was splattered with blood and dirt, but the smell wasn't what repulsed him.

Yumichika had gotten distracted with Ikkaku again. He let himself become ugly and wild and rushed, if not for the one man he had been with for the past few centuries. How had that rugged baldy forced him to commit such a crime? Was the promise of practice what drew him in?

He wasn't stupid, the slender man reminded himself as he plucked off his fundoshi. The feeling of need and adoration towards the man with the red eyeliner had been chewing on the folds of his heart for a few decades now. But the pretty man sighed, removing his feathers softly and dropping them onto the counter. Somehow, he had convinced himself that keeping these feelings locked away was a sign of strength and steel willpower. After all, fawning over another person was hideous and loud and nauseating.

Loving from afar was the more elegant choice, and the route Yumichika had chosen to take. He padded into the shower, twisting on the water in a slightly broken movement, a repercussion of the swift jab to his arm he had taken to protect his front from Houzukimaru.

He let his jaw drop in his own privacy, the water spilling over his face and sliding down his body. Each droplet clung to a bit of his ugliness, carrying it down the drain and far away from him. He ran his hands over his face and down his chest, smearing away all signs of the past two days. Shallow wounds on his hip and arm were all that remained, and the bandages that were destined to cover them sat on the table in the living room.

The tiny beads stung his tongue and lips, but he let it run down his throat and clean his insides as well. Skin that covered every bit of his body was beginning to feel lighter, as if every particle of dirt and sweat and blood and whatever Ikkaku smelled like today was falling from it.

There was a special bar of soap he liked to use, and it was sitting within grabbing distance. It was part of his routine; his flashy dedication to his appearance included this blue soap. But the tease of his partner's scent was still thick in the air, and Yumichika closed his eyes to try and hone in on it.

It was… dark.

Dark and light, at the same time.

Rolling his eyes, he grabbed the bar of soap again, looking down at it. He was being stupid, trying to put words to the smell he had fallen in love with. This smell didn't need words for him to enjoy it; it was his tired and idle mind that was wandering to the musk again. Anything to keep on thinking about Ikkaku.

The piece of soap was placed back in its original position, and Yumichika tried to wash off the bits that had stuck to his hands. The thing about your own smell is that you get used to it after a few hours. It was boring, having a blank slate that only others could enjoy.

He wanted to like it, too. He wasn't being pretty for other people.

He just needed to be beautiful for himself; that's who he was.

But the man bit his lip as he ran a hand through his hair to wash the dirt from it. He did admit he would like if Ikkaku relished his beauty as well. To hold that part of Yumichika close to him wherever he went.

The knob on the shower was turned slowly until the downpour of cleanliness came to a halt. His eyes were glued to the drain, watching as the last streams of water dragged his ugliness away. The black-haired man could still smell Ikkaku everywhere, and it was starting to take its toll on his woozy mind. The love in his heart started to gnaw harder, demanding to see the object of his affections, to experience the beloved entity known as Madarame.

Inside the bathroom hung two thin and silky yukata.

Before he could stop himself, he was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, clutching the dull and worn one to his face and inhaling everything about it in gulps of air. The soft silk slid against his wet flesh as he tugged the robe on, pulling it as tightly as it would go to his own body.

If Yumichika used his imagination, maybe he could pretend that this soft cloud of the other man's fragrance were instead two strong arms wrapped around him. There would be a hot breath on his ear, and the sleekest of touches before Ikkaku roughed him up with squeezes and nibbles and-

"Yumi?"

"Ikka?"

It was like a dream. He was there, standing in the doorway in all his glory, peering down at the soaked man in his yukata.

"Didja leave me enough hot water?"

It was just like him to ask an indirect question like that. To avoid the situation at hand just because it wasn't something that would make him stronger.

"Of course," was the quick reply, and the yukata flapped open as Yumichika stood to fix his hair. If he said anything else, it would rip the feelings from his heart and splatter them on the wall for anyone to see. The revolting upchuck of feelings would drive him away.

His thin fingers were calm though, as swift as a hawk when they snatched the colorful feathers up and slid them into a shallow pocket. The black strands of hair had parted into place, and although they were wet, he couldn't help but smirk when he noticed they looked perfect.

Ikkaku was completely naked by now, as he had been already undressing himself when he appeared at the door. Looking over his shoulder, he snickered at the shorter man while shaking his head and turning on the water.

"Remember when you had that long hair?"

"Yes," Yumichika said, fixing his yukata before straightening and leaving the bathroom in a hurry. His best friend wasn't a man of conversation, he knew at least that much. The baldy was more of the reflective type, and eager to express things with few statements and many actions.

He started picking up his strewn bits of clothing from where they lie abandoned on the floor. Each piece was folded over his damp arm and brought back to the bedroom, where he tossed them into the dirty clothes hamper. After double-checking to see every piece of his uniform was accounted for, he fell face-first onto the wide futon that they shared. His pale heels stuck up when he bent his knees, popping his head up to nuzzle into a pillow. More of the scent filled his mind, and he scrunched his face in thought.

Dark and light.

Was that even possible, to have a smell that made one think of dark and light?

Apparently so, because at the moment it was the smell that Yumichika was drowning himself in. The room was already dark, and he wriggled under the blanket to lie on his respective half. The smooth yukata brushed against his thigh, reminding him that he had stolen something of Ikkaku's. A small smile formed on his face as his eyes fluttered closed.

He wasn't sure when, but at some point later when Ikkaku had finished his nightly routine and crawled into his side of the futon, he felt a warm body press itself against his back.

"Sleep well," the deep voice said, and a pair of rough lips kissed the nape of his neck softly before two thick arms pulled him into a muscular embrace. "We got more training tomorrow morning."

"Hmph."

Yes, it was immature of Yumichika to complain about something so trivial and had long since grown attached to. But with the fatigue falling onto his fuzzy mind and the way Ikkaku was caressing him, even his lips wouldn't react the way he wanted them to. The stiff body that held him close was breathing slowly, and the heartbeat that was heating his back was steady and soothing.

His best friend wasn't a man of conversation, he knew at least that much. The baldy was more of the reflective type, and eager to express things with few statements and many actions.

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Re-occurring theme much? This is the second piece I have where two people fall asleep with each other. Ugh, I'm so unoriginal. This is a sloppy, sloppy piece. But I hope you liked it. Please review and tell me what you thought, and what you want me to write next!