WARNING: Shonen-ai, M/M, AU, probably a lot of OOC
COMMENTS: Just a little something that got into my head and wouldn't leave me alone.
all mistakes are mine alone, beta'd by sammich.
DISCLAIMER: Bleach and all it's characters are owned by Tite Kubo, I make no money from the writing of this story.
I should have taken that left turn
This was not how it was suppose to go.
Looking back, he realized he should have just turned around and returned home at the first hint of trouble. But being routed to a different airport due to weather was not that big of a problem…normally.
There was no driver to pick him up, so he had to rent a car. The agent had assured him that with the very up to date, modern GPS he could not possibly get lost. And the car was brand new; there was no way it should break down.
Yet here he was – lost in the middle of nowhere USA, glaring at this marvelous wonder of modern mechanics – that had ceased to be wondrous or mechanical hours ago.
He should have just stayed home.
He had agreed to do a limited lecture tour. It was easy enough: fly in, give lecture, and fly out. He was grateful the museum was footing the entire bill. But this was to be his first lecture and he was suppose to be there in two hours, only here he sat at the side of the road with a useless mechanical marvel (steaming away pitifully), a full four hours from his goal.
He wanted to hit something, to kick something, to yell and scream at the unfairness of it all. Instead he glared with impotent rage, fighting back tears of frustration.
At first he thought he was imagining things, but the sound of a growling engine drew closer and closer.
He was a little shocked and intimidated at the sight of a burly, long haired man on monster motorcycle. But rescue was rescue after all.
"What seems to be the problem, cutie-pie?" The man's voice sing-song'd at him.
"My car broke down, and I'm lost."
"Hrummp." Was the reply. "I'm not sure I can fix that thing, it's too new."
"Oh!" the stranded man said with a slight pout. "Well I won't keep you then."
"I could give you a lift."
"I wouldn't want to be a bother."
The man gave a warm chuckle, "Staying out here," he made a sweeping gesture with his hand, "that's just asking for trouble, doll."
"Dammit!" he burst out angrily, "I'm a man, not a female."
The other man started to chuckle again, "Look I'm sorry, but you're kinda pretty so I just assumed." That earned him a fierce glare.
"Now do you want a ride or not?"
"See that wasn't that difficult." He held out an extra helmet, "Can't be too careful, and by the way, the name of your rescuer is Shunsui Kyoraku."
"Juushiro Ukitake," he replied. "Can you take me to the closest phone? I'm supposed to be at a lecture shortly and I should let them know I won't be there."
He told him the location and slipped the helmet over his silver hair.
The cycle owner turned partly around to glance at him, "Easy ride, wanna give it a shot?"
"You can't be serious; it's at least four hours away." The man made a dismissive noise and revved the bike. "You'll be breaking all kinds of laws, I can't have that on my conscious," he stammered nervously. "Just get me to a phone, please."
"Nonsense, hold on tight." Without further warning the motorcycle lurched forward and gained speed quickly. He had no choice but to wrap his arms around the bigger man's torso and hang on for dear life.
Somehow or another they made it, no tickets or problems and a full ten minutes early. But he was dizzy from the harrowing ride so he went to the restroom to splash some water on his face in order to calm down and pull his racing thoughts together.
He was still a bit out of sorts when the lecture was over and realized it was quite awhile since he had eaten last. He looked around for someone to who might be able to point him in the direction of a good restaurant. Instead he encountered the man and the motorcycle once more.
"Why… What are you still doing here?" he questioned.
"You're still without a ride aren't you?"
Juushiro frowned, "I could have easily called a cab."
"You're joking right?" The man named Kyoraku had a lopsided grin on his face. "The minute I stopped to help, you became my responsibility."
"I take that seriously." He added.
"You made sure I arrived at my location, all responsibility ended there." The only thing that happened was the spare helmet was thrust into his hands again, and somehow he was on the back of that bike once more.
"You're probably hungry, at least let me take you somewhere to get food," that grin widened. "You look really wiped out."
Sighing deeply, Ukitake gave up and agreed that he was hungry, and tired.
"Welp! Lets get you fed and into bed then." The bike took off at a much more sedate pace this time around. "Anything in particular you want?" The question floated over the man's shoulder.
"Just a decent restaurant, please." He found he didn't have to cling as tightly – didn't have to yet did anyway. "Do you know if there's a quality hotel near here too?"
"Hotel …yes, quality? I'm not sure I'd call it that." They pulled up in front of a chain hotel that had an attached restaurant/café. "It's not fancy, but they have decent food."
Ukitake slid off the back of the bike and sighed, "I guess, since this is a small-ish town I should have expected as much." He blushed deep red when his stomach grumbled loudly.
Kyoraku let out a loud, braying laugh as he held the door open, "After you, sweetheart."
Ukitake pinned him with a vicious glare, "Will you please not refer to me in those feminine terms."
"Sure thing, princess." the man had the gall to wink. "And since I'm so aggravating, I'll even buy the food."
"Absolutely not!" Juushiro nearly shouted, his emerald colored eyes flashed angrily. "You're being entirely to familiar, you barely know me."
The man chortled, "I don't see that as a bad thing, quite frankly."
Ukitake followed him into the restaurant and slid onto the bench seat of a nearby booth. "I'll have to trust you on your recommendation of what to eat, this isn't my normal type of place."
"Hmm, well some don't have the luxury of being picky," his eyes were scanning the menu, "personally I'll eat nearly anything that doesn't try to eat me first."
A petite young woman with long braids approached the booth, notepad in hand. "Are you ready to order?" She appeared to only be addressing Ukitake.
His gaze shifted uncomfortably between his companion and the girl. Eventually she rolled her eyes and sighed. "I already know what he wants, and it's disgusting." An amused snort sounded from the man in question.
"My lovely guest probably only eats healthy, balanced meals—OW, DAMMIT!" Kyoraku nearly climbed up onto the back of the booth seat; he had just been the victim of a well placed foot-to-shin kick.
Juushiro smiled innocently, "Well he did say he was buying so I'll have a steak – medium rare – baked potato and creamed spinach, with a salad on the side," he stopped to think for a second, "and a very large glass of ice tea, please." The girl wrote it all down, nodded and strolled away into the kitchen area.
"Pretty strong kick for a pretty boy," Kyoraku scratched at the side of his nose. "I guess you're not the delicate flower I thought you were."
"That's what happens when you make assumptions."
A tall, dark-skinned woman approached them, tapped Shunsui on the shoulder and said "There's a call for you in the office." The man nodded and apologized to Juushiro.
"Sorry... I've been waiting for this call." He strolled away.
The woman slid into the now empty seat, "So are you his latest stray?"
She nodded and fiddled with the sugar packets on the table. "He's got a habit of picking up helpless people and giving them a helping hand." Her eyes gave him the once over. "You're a bit different from the norm."
"He does this all the time you say?" He felt a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach, and folded his hands on his lap as the plates of food were set on the table.
"Yeah don't worry about it, he's a good guy," she took a couple of french fries off the plate in front of her. "Like I said he gives people a helping hand all the time," she made a wide sweeping gesture with her hand, "take this place for example."
Juushiro looked around curiously, it looked like an ordinary every day restaurant. Not seeing anything particularly special he glanced back at the woman.
"He made this all possible," she twirled a fry, "he practically built this town."
"What?" Juushiro was honestly shocked.
"The place was a real cesspool before he came along."
The subject of the conversation made a reappearance and slid back into his seat, giving the woman a hip bump to slide her over further. "Talking about me again kitty cat?"
"Always, " she said with a feline like grin, "you're such a fascinating topic."
Ukitake shook his head in disbelief as he watched them wink at each other.
"Sorry to make you wait like that."
"It's alright." Finding his appetite restored, Juushiro began to dig into his food. "So you really help out people who're down on their luck?"
Shunsui took a big bite of the hamburger in front of him. "Yep, like these guys here," he pointed to the woman and girl. "The three of them were living in a shitty van in the bad part of town," he stuffed several fries in his mouth, "since I had just bought this run down dump, I kinda tossed them into it."
"Three of them?"
" Yeah kitty here, little bee that took the order and the guy in the kitchen." He evaded the well-aimed pen that flew at him in a practiced move. "She really hates being called that." He grinned. "I simply couldn't let them continue to live like that, so I gave them a place to live and work."
"He really has done that for a lot of folk in this town." The woman swiped one more fry before she slipped across Kyoraku's lap, giving him a pat on the cheek in passing. " Is this the car guy then?" She gestured in Juushiro's direction.
"Yep, that'd be him."
"Car guy? Wait… how do you know about that?"
Kyoraku nodded, "Yeah the Ken's are working on it now."
"Oh good, they'll have it done in no time." She waved as she walked away.
"Now wait just a damn minute here," Ukitake growled. "What's going on?"
The big man just blinked at him. "Oh! your car is being repaired."
"... How..? Why?"
"As soon as I saw your car on the side of the road I contacted my friends to come pick it up." He continued to eat calmly as if it was no big deal.
"But it's a rental, won't that void my contract?"
"Not to worry, they're certified by all rental branches in the area."
"You're some kind of philanthropist aren't you?"
The man just continued to eat his meal and simply nodded. "Some kind, yes."
"Now eat your food." He nudged Juushiro's plate. "it's good."
They chatted back and forth for quite a long time. Ukitake was amazed by how this man had taken a run down, backwater hole and made it into the next up and coming hot spot. Including the museum that he had lectured at earlier.
The woman that Kyoraku had teasingly called 'kitty' came back with a key to the largest guest suite in the hotel and placed it next to Ukitake's hand. "I hope you get a good night's sleep, just call down to the desk if you need anything." With a backwards wave, she strolled away.
They walked together to the room he had been assigned. "I really would love to kiss you right now." The dark haired man leaned in close.
Ukitake began to breathe hard. "I... I'd..." He stammered.
Kyoraku laid a hand on his shoulder, "… But I won't, I don't do that to people I've just met." he patted the trembling shoulder and turned to walk away, "Have a good rest princess."
"I'm not a girl." Ukitake said loudly. He clicked the lock closed after he entered the room, looking around in wonder at the suite he had been given, even his luggage was here.
He was startled when the telephone rang.
"Oh thank god I finally got you." The voice on the other end called out. "I'm so glad you're safe." It was the director of his lecture tour. "When we lost contact with you, we were frantic."
"I made my lecture on time, so there's no need to worry about it."
"Good, good, I'm so glad we hired that man to find you."
Ukitake blinked at the receiver of the phone. "That man?"
"Yes, he was our only hope of finding you."
"Well yes I'm fine, but really tired now, I'll talk to you in the morning." he hung up without another word.
He was confused, had Kyoraku been sent to find him? Had 'that man' actually just been hired to look after him? That sinking feeling was ebbing upward again. He quickly stripped out of his clothes, showered and crawled into bed. He made a vow to himself to confront 'that man' in the morning.