This is it, folks! I present to you, the ending of Dangerous Intentions.
"Please love me."
Yumichika's words were like a physical force; they latched onto Shuuhei's heart and twisted it, threatening to crush it, and there was nothing he could do about it.
"I can't, not like this," Shuuhei panted, struggling to get his body under control. It was a losing battle, and he knew it.
"Please." Yumichika's voice was shockingly calm, detached.
"Not like this," Shuuhei repeated, then he voice trailed off into an involuntary moan. No, no, not his mouth, no... Desperate, he threw his head back and banged it against the wall to distract himself from Yumichika's very skillful tongue. Bursts of pain made his vision go dark, but it didn't work, his body was completely under Yumichika's control.
Shuuhei gasped in relief when Yumichika suddenly released him. He tried to tell himself that this was over, but he knew it wasn't, Yumichika's eyes told him as much. The man held Shuuhei's gaze, then without a word, began to undress.
"Love me," Yumichika said, flinging his robes to the side. A single tear leaked from the corner of one eye, and Shuuhei followed its trail down his friend's cheek. "Just this once."
"This is not love," Shuuhei said. He needed to do something, anything. He could see that Yumichika was on a determined path to self destruction, and he refused to let his friend hurt himself. He owed it to Yumichika. But one look at his friend's face told him that it was too late.
As Shuuhei watched on in horror, Yumichika climbed into his lap and straddled his hips. The man began to stroke him again, bringing him to full erection, then, he raised his body and hovered over Shuuhei.
"No no no no..." Shuuhei begged, bucking his hips in a desperate effort to shake his friend off. But with his limbs rendered immobile, coupled with Yumichika's weight, he could not get enough leverage to raise his hips more than a few inches off the floor. So all he could do was twist his body and struggle. "Stop, stop, sto—"
Yumichika slammed himself down, taking all of Shuuhei in a single stroke.
"No!" Shuuhei screamed.
But it was too late. Yumichika's pained cry echoed off the walls in the small room. It was a sound torn from the depths of his throat, filled with anguish and sheer, heart-wrenching agony.
Yumichika's mind reeled as searing pain shot up his spine. After his first cry, his body went rigid and his throat tightened, silencing any sound that was to follow. Then, after a few seconds, as if someone abruptly let go of his windpipe, he let out a loud gasp of pain and toppled over onto Shuuhei's chest.
Shuuhei grunted as his breath was knocked out of him as Yumichika landed on him. "Oh shit, oh shit," he whispered. "Ayasegawa-san, Ayasegawa-san!" Without the use of his arms, he could only stare helplessly at the body lying prone against his chest. Yumichika lay still, face turned to the side, hands limp on Shuuhei's sides. He was certain that Yumichika had passed out, but then he began to feel light trembling against his body and realized that his friend was conscious. And crying.
"Ayasegawa-san," Shuuhei called softly despite the loud hammering of his heart. The dry friction had been extremely uncomfortable to him, even bordering on pain—he could only guess what it did to Yumichika. "Get up, please..."
For the longest moment, Yumichika was silent except for his quiet sobbing. Then, he looked up into Shuuhei's eyes and whispered in a broken voice, "I love you."
Shuuhei was going to answer, but before he could say anything, Yumichika abruptly pushed away from him and lifted himself up. With a muffled cry, Yumichika slammed himself down on Shuuhei. And again. And again.
"No! Stop! Stop!" Shuuhei screamed desperately, wriggling his body even though he knew it wouldn't make any difference. "No!" Tears welled up and streamed down Shuuhei's face as he continued to scream.
Yumichika didn't stop. Blood trickled down from his mouth where his teeth had broken the skin of his lower lip from his efforts to muffle his own screams. The pain was extreme, mind-numbing, but he found himself welcoming it now, not because it's pleasurable, but because each time he impaled himself, he could feel Shuuhei in him. And even though Shuuhei kept telling him that this wasn't love, it didn't matter to him—he had convinced himself with his own twisted logic that he was showing Shuuhei that he loved him, and that was all that mattered.
Shuuhei's voice had gone hoarse. He felt his stomach turn each time Yumichika's thighs landed on his hip, and just as he thought things couldn't get any worse, he suddenly realized that the friction was no longer dry. "Stop," he croaked. "Please...stop. You're bleeding."
Yumichika made a sound that sounded like a whimper, but he didn't stop.
"Stop!" Shuuhei yelled and bucked his hips vigorously, trying to somehow fling Yumichika off of him. He couldn't let this go on, he had to stop Yumichika from hurting himself—no, he had to stop hurting Yumichika.
"You can't stop me," Yumichika whispered, looking at Shuuhei through heavy-lidded eyes. Then, he reached back behind him.
Shuuhei's eyes widened when Yumichika's hand reappeared, holding Ruriiro Kujaku.
"Oh no...no...no..." Shuuhei murmured in dismay as understanding dawned on him. Then he felt it; it was hardly noticeable at first, but slowly but surely, he began to feel sluggish. He recognized this feeling—it was exactly how it felt like on the rooftop. "No..."
"I'm sorry," Yumichika said, sobbing.
Shuuhei groaned as his shoulders sagged. It wasn't painful, but in a way it was much worse; he knew exactly what was happening but could only lie there helplessly while his life source was literally being drained. "Stop..."
"I'm sorry," Yumichika repeated. He leaned forward and clutched Shuuhei's top, which had not been removed, holding it so tightly that his knuckles turned white. He didn't want to hurt Shuuhei, but why was Shuuhei being so stubborn, why couldn't the man see that he needed this?
"Aya...se..." Shuuhei gasped. His lungs refused to cooperate, he was feeling weaker and weaker with each passing minute, and he couldn't breathe, couldn't struggle anymore.
"Can't you call me Yumi? Just once?" Yumichika asked, tightening his grip on Shuuhei's shihakusho. "Just once?" He had stopped moving his hips. Shuuhei was still inside, but he could feel the man beginning to soften as he became weaker. So he stayed still, determined to keep Shuuhei there.
"Yumi..." Shuuhei whispered, eyes sliding close. "Stop..."
Yumichika froze. Finally, finally after so long, he finally heard his pet name from Shuuhei's lips. It sounded so sweet; it didn't matter that it was forced out of Shuuhei, just the fact that it was in Shuuhei's deep voice was enough. The rest of the tears he had been holding back spilled down his face.
"Stop..." Shuuhei's voice was hardly audible now.
Yumichika fell forward and pressed himself against Shuuhei. "I'm sorry, I can't stop," Yumichika whispered in Shuuhei's ear. "It's too late."
Shuuhei meant to ask "what?" but only managed a weak grunt, but Yumichika seemed to understand. "Ruriiro Kujaku has gone past the point where I can stop it. The flowers are almost in full bloom now, can't you see? It's almost done, and once they bloom, everything will be over."
What? In desperation, Shuuhei found a sudden burst of energy to struggle anew. Did Yumichika's shikai have this power last time? He'd never mentioned it! But as he fought against the vines, he found himself wondering...if Yumichika was telling the truth and this was almost over, why did he still have energy left, even if it's just barely? In fact, now that he thought of it, his condition hadn't gotten worse since he called Yumichika by his pet name...he looked around, and his heart sank.
Around Yumichika's forearm, was a vine from his zanpakutou.
"I'm sorry," Yumichika's whispered. He was tired and in pain, he just wanted to sleep, to lie there and sleep with Shuuhei's warmth against his body. It would be a romantic final resting place.
"Yumi, no, no!" Shuuhei cried, twisting his body. "Wake up, get up!" He was frantic; he knew that once the flowers reach full bloom, they would turn all the collected energy onto the victim and deal the final blow. In their condition, neither of them were likely to survive the hit. And Yumichika had covered Shuuhei's body with his own to take the blow for both of them.
Just before Shuuhei fell into unconsciousness, he thought he heard a maniacal battle cry, and he was certain he caught a flash of moment. That voice...he thought groggily.
Then, there was darkness.
For the second time that night, Shuuhei woke up confused and disoriented. Blinking, he tried to sit up, but his head immediately spun, and he fell back onto the ground with a groan.
"Yo," came a familiar voice.
With some effort, Shuuhei managed to twist his body around to get a look at whomever it was who just spoke. "Madarame!"
"Head still attached?" Madarame Ikkaku asked with a smirk that could rival Renji's. His robes were torn in multiple places, exposing bruised and cut skin, but his trademark bald head was as smooth and shiny as ever.
"What?" Shuuhei was finally able to prop himself up on his elbows. "Ayasegawa-san, how's he—" He stopped. Yumichika was lying in Ikkaku's lap, still unconscious. Several layers of robes and blankets wrapped his lithe form, making him seem fragile. With his eyes closed, he looked almost child-like.
"What happened?" Shuuhei asked. It didn't escape his attention that one of Ikkaku's arm was wrapped protectively around Yumichika's body, almost cradling him, while the other hand was brushing Yumichika's dark hair, untangling the knots and whisking the stray strands away from the man's tear-streaked face.
"Let's just say that if I hadn't gotten here when I did, this idiot would—" Ikkaku's arrogant voice faltered slightly, then he coughed and averted his gaze to cover his brief display of emotion. "—he'd be dead."
"You..." Shuuhei let his sentence trail off, allowing Ikkaku to either acknowledge or deny the suspicion that had begun to form in his mind.
"The idiot doesn't know," Ikkaku said gruffly, and Shuuhei couldn't help smiling at the man's effort to maintain his "manliness" even under such circumstances.
"How long?" Shuuhei asked.
Ikkaku shifted awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable with this conversation. Just as Shuuhei was going to take back his question, Ikkaku sighed. "Since before we joined Gotei 13."
"That's a long time," Shuuhei said.
"Yeah," Ikkaku replied with a chuckle. "Idiot's too wrapped up in himself to notice. By the time I thought I could, you know, drop more hints, he went and..." He paused. "He went and, you know, liked you and shit."
Shuuhei nodded and kept silent. He could tell that Ikkaku hadn't finished his story.
"Yeah, so I figured, what the heck, as long as he's happy," Ikkaku continued, still too embarrassed to look at Shuuhei as he talked. "When he became more and more obsessed, I didn't know what to do. It wasn't healthy, but I couldn't...I didn't know..." His eyes closed as he struggled to go on. "I just kept watch, and...thought I could protect him if things got out of control."
Shuuhei nodded again. Things getting out of control was an understatement for what happened that night.
Ikkaku fists clenched tightly when he went on. "I should've...I should've known that it would happen, but I had to go and get drunk and..." A sound that sounded suspiciously like a sob escaped his throat, and he promptly turned it into a growl, but not before Shuuhei noticed.
"You got here in time, that's the only thing that matters," Shuuhei said. Then he cringed. Well, in time for saving Yumichika's life, but not...
"It's not your fault," Ikakku said immediately.
Shuuhei wanted to nod. Of course it wasn't his fault, and he knew it, but he wasn't able to stop it from happening, and that made him feel just as guilty.
"Listen," Ikkaku said fiercely when Shuuhei didn't respond. "Don't you go around blaming yourself. We have enough idiots in this room already without adding you to it."
Shuuhei opened his mouth to speak, then just at that moment, a small moan came from Ikkaku's lap. The bald man immediately jumped. "Yumi!"
"Ikkaku..." Yumichika whispered. His voice was scratchy from screaming so much earlier, but it was so thick with emotions that it didn't matter. Ikkaku and Shuuhei could understand him perfectly fine, and they knew, then, that Yumichika had been listening.
"Don't talk," Ikkaku said. There was a slight tremor in his voice which he didn't bother concealing. Yumichika was alive and conscious—that's the only thing that mattered to him now.
"I'm sorry," Yumichika said with a sigh.
Shuuhei and Ikkaku looked at each other. He didn't specify to whom he was apologizing, but they both received his message, and that was enough.
"Are you going to tell Abarai?" Yumichika asked, finally turning to look at Shuuhei.
"No." Shuuhei was initially unsure about that, but the distraught face in front of him made the decision for him. "Nobody outside this room will know."
Yumichika laughed softly, wincing in pain at the same time. "Soldier's honor?" he whispered wistfully.
Shuuhei reached and clasped his hand over Yumichika's. "No," he said with a smile. "This is a promise to one of the most precious people in my life."
What transpired in the room after he left, Shuuhei did not know. He had stayed to help Ikkaku with some healing kido, then left, knowing that the two of them had a lot of catching up to do. He knew it would not be easy for both of them, but he knew that Ikkaku was not one to give up easily. The man had made it clear to Shuuhei.
"I've waited for more than five decades, I can wait for a few more," Ikkaku had said when Yumichika passed out again as they healed him. Shuuhei had gripped him on the shoulder then, and, even though neither said a word, they both knew that a new kinship had been forged between them, a bond they now shared through their care for Yumichika—different kinds, but love and care nonetheless.
I chose to leave Renji out of the ending, as I think this is something really private to Yumichika, Ikkaku, and Shuuhei. Perhaps one day, when Yumichika has finally healed and moved on (hopefully with Ikkaku!), it may be shared with Renji, but for now, it remains just among the three of them.
And, of course, I took the liberty to "expand" the ability of Yumichika's zanpakutou. ;)
Thank you all for reading and accompanying me through the story!