"Mah!" Gin blinked, at least as much as he usually did, and tilted his smile at Renji, who was supporting the unconscious Grimmjow. "That was a trip!" He looked around at the stunned expressions of the others; even Byakuya looked ragged around the edges.
Rukia leaned against Shuuhei, nursing a twisted ankle. Sado was standing over the newcomer, holding an icepack to the back of the snow-white head; the dent in the wall above them indicating he'd been flung into it. Ishida was cuddling Orihime, who's fur stood on end and eyes darted around the room wildly. The only one with any sense of calm was Ulquiorra, but looking closely, his claws were dug tightly into the cushion of the couch near Byakuya.
The last figure in the room was kneeling in the middle of the circle, panting heavily, his hands dug into the carpet, fisting and relaxing in time with his breathing. His hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat, and all of his muscles twitched; fingers and toes curling, biceps jumping, the column of muscle around his spine bunched and tight, and a puddle of blood, sweat, tears and ejaculation staining the carpet under him. His horns were gone, his tail nonexistent, claws retracted, hooves had become feet, and the only sign of his wings was again the torn back of his tee shirt.
He had no idea how, where, what or even why he was kneeling in the middle of his living room, surrounded by the closest members of his Coven, and embarrassingly hanging out of his jeans. He didn't remember opening his pants. He didn't remember coming home. He didn't even remember leaving the club.
After catching his breath, he looked up. The first thing he saw was blue. Fear shot him upright and he whipped his gaze around the room. A cold, crawling feeling entered his stomach as he took in the off-balance faces around him. It only grew deeper when he saw Gin, and bottomed out when he saw the white-haired newcomer scowling at him with his own face.
In a very quiet voice, he asked, "I went feral didn't I?" He refocused his attention on the floor beneath him.
"Yeah, ya did, Aibou." The newcomer's voice was soft, and sad. When he didn't get an answer, the white-haired male crawled over to Ichigo to put a hand on his shoulder. "Baka."
Ichigo waited for the blow that didn't come. When he looked up he met the equally gold eyes of his clone. Relief flooded him when he saw nothing but irritation reflected back at him. "Thanks, Shii."
"Heh." The reflection sat back, crossing his arms over his chest again. He eyed Ichigo for a moment, then reached out and clocked him upside the head.
"HEY!" The orangette grabbed his temple, glaring. "Bakamono! What'd ya do that for!?"
"Fer throwin' me inta a wall, dipshit!" The white head threw back.
And then the two were on their feet, forehead to forehead, fists clenched at their sides, growling. They really were reflections. From the way their hair spiked, to the lines of their muscles, to the scowl on both faces.
"Yanno if ya go feral ya can't control yaself!" Ichigo's diction even slipped to mimic the other's.
"Yer the bakamono fer lettin' it git this bad! Ya should've jumped 'im the night ya found 'im!" Pale knuckles cracked and black nail polish was chipped as he clenched his fists tighter.
"I was doin' fine! I didn't need ta feed! I could still control it!" Ichigo growled.
'Shii' scoffed. "Yah, right! That's why I come 'ere an' yer catatonic on the couch. I didn't think ya was stupid, Aibou!"
"What d'ya know?! Ya sit up there in Ma's mansion where the food's brought ta ya!" Ichigo bared his fangs.
'Shii' mimicked him. "Ya could've had that too, yanno! But NO, Ichigo's gotta see the world, gotta find somethin', gotta 'live', he says! Ya took off! Don't blame me it ain't easy!"
"Ya've been on me 'bout that fer years! Let it go! Ya could've come with me!" The orangette shook his head, grinding their foreheads together.
Both reached for the other at the same time, white interlocking with tan, black nails digging into tan skin, clear nails digging into pale skin. Both growled louder, their aura's coming into play; gold on gold.
"I can't stand the sun! Ya know that! I've always hated the sun! And ya wanted me ta do what!?" White pinched tan.
Tan pushed back. "I know! But Damnit! I couldn't just let them give it all ta me. Just cuz it's ours doesn't mean we earned it! We used ta work tagether!"
White growled. "We still do!"
"I know!" Orange roared.
Then without warning both grinned and the grapple became a fierce hug filled with insane laughter and both fell to the floor to the side of Ichigo's mess, which had somehow had a towel placed over it during their argument.
"Kami, Shii, but it's good ta see ya!" Ichigo grinned, leaning against the other.
'Shii' answered the grin, "Yah. We gotta do this more often."
"Uh, somebody wanna fill us in on what's going on, Ichigo?" Renji was the first to intrude on their moment, as he was still holding the unconscious Grimmjow.
The pair on the floor, still wrapped around each other, turned as one to look up at the crimson-haired human. Taking the sight in completely, Ichigo froze, his mouth working without making a sound. He unwrapped a hand from where it was bound up in the tangle with his reflection to reach out towards Grimmjow.
"I—I—I Marked him." He was stunned. In order to touch the blue-haired male he would have to leave his clone's embrace, and it wasn't something he was quite ready to do yet. So, he pulled his hand back, but it was obvious to the others that his fingers itched to touch his new Mark.
The midnight tattoo stood out proudly on the bare chest of the unconscious blunette. A narrow crescent moon, encircled with black flames and surrounded by eight 6-pointed stars. The flesh around each black edge looked wet, like the ink hadn't dried completely, and irritated. It gave the flames a bright red glow.
"Way ta go, Aibou." The white head nuzzled Ichigo's cheek.
"Heh." Ichigo looked dumbfounded. "I Marked him. Shii, I never thought I'd—I mean, you already—and I was—wow. I Marked him."
'Shii' chuckled. "Yeah, Aibou. I know."
A cleared throat brought the two's attention to the other side of the room, where Byakuya and Ishida had perched gracefully on the couch. "I don't mean to interrupt, Ichigo-san, but some of us would like to get some sleep today." Ishida adjusted his glasses, while absently stroking Orihime with his other hand.
"Indeed." Byakuya agreed with the tiniest of nods. "Some of us have yet to fully feed this night." His silver flecked gaze briefly flickered on the towel on the floor, and Ichigo flushed deeply mumbling something about being sorry.
"Hey! Stick-in-the-mud! Leave Aibou alone! 'E's had a rough night!" 'Shii' growled, holding Ichigo closer.
"No, it's alright." Ichigo grumbled. He hated it when others stood up for him. "This is Shirotsuyo; my twin." He kept his gaze averted to avoid the astonishment he knew was sure to come.
"You're twins?!" Rukia shrieked, hobbling over, favoring her ankle. Ichigo frowned at the damage, but kept his silence as she peered down into their faces, trying to see differences beyond coloration.
Ishida was the next to react, in an uncharacteristically uncontrolled outburst, "But th-that's impossible! Encantadas cannot be born as twins! Our very nature prevents it!" He was on his feet and slammed his hand on the coffee table, disregarding the tumble of Orihime onto the floor in his explosion.
Gin's laughter drew everyone back to themselves, including a very flushed Ishida. "Heh! Tha's what's sa great 'bout 'em! They weren't s'posed ta survive, but they did." All eyes turned to the Elder, who'd taken Renji's abandoned seat. "T'ain't my story ta tell. Boys?"
Shirotsuyo scoffed and simply turned his nose back into Ichigo's hair, holding his twin close and ignoring the expectant stares from all around. He hadn't been ordered by the Elder to talk, so he didn't have to. Let the dumbfounded bakas ponder it on their own.
Ichigo didn't agree though, and he sighed, fumbling with the edge of the towel. "Ma and Da were pretty powerful Encantadas. They had a mansion up in the old country. One of those big, classic types with too many rooms and not enough people to use 'em all. But somethin' went wrong. Ulquiorra could tell you better than I could, he was there, but they both went feral on each other." His voice caught, but he felt Shirotsuyo tighten his hold again. It gave him the strength to push ahead. "So, Ulquiorra and Tsu-" His voice hitched again, and again Shirotsuyo gripped him tightly, his pale nose buried deep in Ichigo's orange spikes. "Tsukishima—they saved us. They took us to this human couple, and they took us in, raised us, treated us like we were theirs. Goat Face and Kaa-chan were great." Ichigo's eyes were misty, but he refused to cry. Ichigo didn't cry! Ever! He could feel however, that the reason Shirotsuyo had turned his face away was to keep up his attitude by the way the back of his neck was wet. "So, when we came into our powers as Encantadas, Ulquiorra and Tsu—Tsukishima came back…" He trailed off, still playing with the towel.
Renji set Grimmjow in the chair in which he'd first been placed, and took a seat on the coffee table. "So, you were raised among humans?" Ichigo nodded, his voice caught.
"Wait a sec, who's Tsukishima?" Orihime had reclaimed her place on Ishida's lap when the dark-haired male sat back down.
"He was Ichigo's Familiar." Ulquiorra made his presence known again by padding down the back of the couch to perch, gargoyle-style, on the arm, as the orangette let his hair fall forward to hide his face. Ulquiorra cleared his throat. "He was my partner, and I couldn't leave Ichigo without a Familiar in the real world. So, I left my charge, Shirotsuyo, and went with Ichigo."
Byakuya raised an eyebrow at that. "It was explained to me that once a Familiar has chosen a charge that they cannot change charges until one or the other of them dies?"
"Ordinarily, yes, but in the case of twins there are some special rules." Gin spoke softly, drawing all of the attention again. "Look over Shirotsuyo an' Ichigo an' tell me if ya c'n tell where one ends an' the other begins?"
Rukia gasped. "Their auras are identical! They're seamlessly meshed. How can that be?"
"It happens because they are twins." Ulquiorra turned to look at the enthralled female, his tone implying that it should be obvious.
Sado, normally stoic and content to sit in the background, tilted his head. "This has happened before. With twins. Hasn't it, Kakka?"
Gin answered before Ishida could even finish swallowing whatever reprimand he was planning. "Excellent deduction, Sado-kun! I always knew ya was smart!" He looked around at the others, "Really! Why dun't ya Marks speak up more? They've always got great stuff ta say."
Shuuhei, emboldened by Sado's acceptance, cleared his throat. "So, what now?"
"Well, Ichigo and his Mark need some time to bond fully. Grimmjow will be unconscious for a while. Ichigo, you really drained him. Let us endeavor not to let it get that bad again." Ulquiorra gave the orangette the feline equivalent of a reprimanding raised eyebrow.
"Shii doesn't have to leave yet, does he?" Ichigo looked a little panicked between Ulquiorra and Gin, much to the surprise of the rest of his nakama.
"No, Aibou, I don't hafta leave til tamarrah." The white haired duplicate nuzzled his twin again, a very private gesture that those watching felt privileged to see.
With that Byakuya stood and gestured to Renji. "Then I and my own shall take our leave of you, Ichigo-san. Gin-dono." He bowed deeply, and left, expecting his Mark to follow. He was not disappointed.
"See ya, guys." Renji gave a low bow to Gin as well, and scurried after his Shujin.
"I guess that's our cue too, huh, Rukia?" Shuuhei asked, peering around the petite female's shoulder with a small smile. "We can come back after we sleep." It would seem as though their positions were reversed, but Shuuhei knew his Shujin. She'd never leave unless he said something.
She crossed her arms over her chest, and clearly pouted, wanting to stay and pry more into Ichigo's past. She was clearly fascinated by this twin that she'd never met before, and how he fit into everything and well, everything! She huffed, and simply stalked out the door after her Nii-sama, forgetting her manners in her displeasure. Shuuhei followed after her with a rueful smile on his face and a mumbled apology to Gin.
Ishida and Sado lingered a moment longer while Orihime gently cleaned her paws, deliberately trying to stay with Ulquiorra as long as possible. Gin laughed softly at the young Familiar, and the object of her affection rolled his emerald eyes tolerantly. He rewarded her by licking behind her ears a few times, but no one said anything to the pair still curled up together on the floor. They left right after that.
It was less than a minute later when Gin stood and crossed the room. He placed a hand on each boy's head, "Be good, boys." He gave them a grin, and a peek of red iris before taking himself out the door, locking it as he left.
Without another word, Shirotsuyo extracted himself to heft Grimmjow over to the couch. Now it was obvious what the difference was between the twins. Which made Ichigo cock his head to the side. "Shii, do you ever run as female?"
"Nah. Kenpachi might like it, but I know Tesla would die if I gave this up." He deliberately grabbed his crotch, making Ichigo roll his eyes and flush.
"Pft. You are such a pervert!" The orangette gathered up the towel from the floor, and tossed the mess into the laundry hamper.
"You're one to talk, Aibou. I'm not the one that went the whole evening with my fly undone." The white head laughed loudly as Ichigo scrambled to zip the offending opening closed, as if that would make up for having been indecent in front of his Elder.
Ulquiorra shook his head, chuckling lightly. The two boys never did notice him when they were together. So he curled up on Grimmjow's toned stomach for a nap. While it was true that it would be a while before the blunette woke, it would be better if he was not left alone, and the feline was certain that once the boys had cleaned up the living room they would be retiring to Ichigo's bedroom. Sure as the whiskers on his face, the twins finished what they were doing with more playful banter, and exited to Ichigo's bed without so much as a backward glance at either Grimmjow or Ulquiorra. The cat sighed and simply covered his nose with his tail.
A/N: The next chapter may be late, it depends on what kinds of inspiration I have over the course of the next week. I'm working with my partner, Silver Eternity, on a brand new collab that I'm hoping to have posted to our join account, Silver Rainbow Six, next weekend. Ja ne, minna!