Huzzah - I'm so relieved that the number of people who put The First on their faves list has finally reached 20. *__* Okay, okay, some of you might think that 20 is quite pathetic, but considering I'm a nobody-author whose work is rarely recognized, and considering the fact that Hitsugaya/Ichigo is much rarer than it should be, I consider it at least some sort of achievement.
So, for your reading pleasure, I've written a new fic. To be honest, this fic is a little more light-hearted in nature (so it provides quite a different tone to The First) but I hope you'll enjoy nonetheless. ^^
Title: Upper Hand
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Pairing: Hitsugaya x Ichigo.
Word Count: Approximately 2,049.
Disclaimer: Not mine – otherwise this pairing would be canon.
Notes: Cross-posted to ichihitsu, asterisk_plus and bleach_yaoi. Thank you so very much to Silver and keiji_miashin for coming to my aid (when I was semi-desperate) by pointing out errors and giving me very helpful concrit. I'm extremely grateful.
FF.Net Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3594705/1/
Feedback: Very much appreciated, as I would like to write much better Bleach fics. Your concrits mean a lot to me, especially when it tells me what you think of the story and what I can do to improve. Please and thank you.
Summary: Ichigo should never think that he would always have the upper hand – especially not when dealing with Hitsugaya Toshiro.
Ichigo couldn’t help but think how adorable Toshiro was.
He knew that Toshiro hated it, but that wasn’t going to stop him thinking it. Part of the immaculate adorableness of it all, Ichigo knew – under risk of a frozen death – was the fact that the captain was so young and short; it was almost impossible to even fathom the idea that Toshiro was technically years upon years ahead of him, because Ichigo would never stop thinking of him as anything other than pleasantly endearing and innocent. And Ichigo often expressed this view, teasingly; predictably, it was always met with a hard and icy glare. But nothing, not even such a dirty look, could stop it from being true.
Then again, even the dirty look was adorable.
And of course, everything else contributed to the package: the way Toshiro hardly ever called him by his given name; the way Toshiro was always so strictly dedicated to his duties and responsibilities; the way Toshiro was always so outwardly grumpy… even with all that professionalism and that hard edge, he was really so appealingly elegant, so delightfully graceful. There was always the way Toshiro would subconsciously brush his hand against Ichigo’s palm whenever they were standing next to each other; the way Toshiro’s nose wrinkled whenever Ichigo pecked him on the cheek; the way Toshiro always hated public displays of affection because he was so embarrassed – not that he would ever admit that that was the reason.
All of this automatically led Ichigo to that final conclusion that his lover was probably the most adorably refined thing he’d ever known. The captain was naive in a few ways that, sometimes, made him fairly predictable. Ichigo couldn’t help but think this, even as he was sprawled on his back on the couch in Toshiro’s office, with his head resting on the palms of his hands. He simply gazed at the captain affectionately, which seemed to annoy him, much to Ichigo's secret amusement.
‘Can’t you find something more useful to do?’ asked Toshiro rather grouchily, not even looking up from the documents in his desk drawer that he was sorting through.
Ichigo shrugged at this, and answered, ‘Not really. I’d rather just hang around here.’
He meant it. And the answered silence from the young captain was what Ichigo had expected. He smirked, knowing that he’d won.
He couldn’t help liking having the upper hand with things like this; he liked that he was one of the only ones - perhaps the only one - able to affect or reach such a hard, infallible captain. Toshiro was not someone who looked like he could always be touched only by saying the right words. But these days Ichigo understood him well enough to know how he'd behave or react to certain things, especially to things Ichigo himself said or did. And that made Toshiro all the more delightful, the substitute shinigami thought interestedly.
He stretched his arms lazily, shifting himself slightly.
‘When will you be finished?’ he asked.
The captain sniffed, still rustling busily through his papers. ‘Sometime shortly. I’ve just got a few left to do.’
‘Sure. Can’t wait.’
It was then that Toshiro finally looked up, his eyebrows furrowed. Ichigo made sure that he had some kind of mock-innocent, mock-confused expression displayed on his own face. He knew that Toshiro had caught something laced in his words and in his tone.
‘…Are you sure you can’t find anything better to do?’
‘Of course I’m sure,’ Ichigo answered in a casually good-natured way. ‘You didn’t even need to ask.’
The captain frowned in response. ‘You’re distracting me, Kurosaki.’
‘That’s hardly my fault,’ the substitute shinigami raised a slender eyebrow, the tone of his voice teasing. ‘You just can’t resist me.’
Toshiro snorted, and went back to his filing.
‘Says the fool who can’t do anything more useful than hanging around wherever I am. And staring, at that.’
Ichigo tilted his head to the side, a faint hint of playfulness in his eyes. He had, after all, been expecting that answer; Toshiro wasn’t hard to guess in the least, especially when it came to things like this. They'd had these entertaining debates numerous times, and Ichigo understood that underlying it, although it could barely be seen, there was always Toshiro's own version of affection. It was no wonder that he loved having these little bantering sessions with the young captain.
‘How adorable. Are you sure you’re not flattering yourself just a little?’
Toshiro looked up at Ichigo again, and they stared at each other for some time. Ichigo already had an adequate guess of Toshiro’s next retort: You were the first to flatter yourself, stupid bastard. Just thinking about it filled him with amusement and fondness at the same time. Their fun back-and-forth remarks usually followed the same, foreseeable patterns.
He didn’t tear his gaze away from Toshiro, who seemed to be thinking fast. It seemed like a very long time before either of them moved; but after a while, the captain closed the desk drawer and straightened up.
‘Are you sure I am?’
Ichigo was caught off-guard. He definitely hadn’t been expecting that response.
Toshiro’s expression didn’t change, but Ichigo suddenly noticed a faint gleam in his eyes – something that had a hint of smugness or satisfaction; something he had rarely seen in the captain. Everything predictable that he had thought Toshiro would say unexpectedly slipped from his mind. Ichigo propped himself up on his elbows, slightly confused.
He stared, tensing as Toshiro slowly walked over to the couch with his chin lifted. They did not break their locked gaze, even though something about it was making Ichigo slightly wary. Soon enough, the captain was standing over him, straight-backed, with his arms crossed; he had one pale eyebrow raised, as if in challenge.
‘Are you sure I’m just flattering myself?’ he repeated.
Before he could say anything else, he was surprised by Toshiro bending forward, leaning over to him. There was a strange simultaneous presence of a subtle heat and a slight chill that mingled. The tip of Toshiro’s nose brushed softly against Ichigo’s cheek. Ichigo’s chest felt suddenly constricted, as though he had held a breath for a little too long.
Slender fingertips ghosted over his wrist; Ichigo could almost feel goosebumps appear where Toshiro had traced these lines, as though the touch was icy. He didn’t think Toshiro had ever really behaved in this way before, and he couldn’t tell whether or not he thought that was a bad thing. But one thing was sure: this was new. This was definitely new.
‘…Everything alright, Kurosaki?’
Ichigo blushed hotly at the feel of Toshiro’s mouth moving against his ear as he said this.
‘Of course,’ he said indignantly.
‘Really? Because you’re not answering my question.’
The fingertips fluttered up his forearm, and Ichigo couldn’t move at all. He didn’t know why his body had gone numb.
‘…What was… the question…?’
His neck and his cheek felt warm from Toshiro’s breath. An audible sniff sounded in his ear. And then, in a low voice: ‘You’re a complete moron, Kurosaki.’
And Ichigo felt Toshiro’s weight suddenly heavy on his stomach, and he knew that the captain had climbed onto him, and he all but died.
He couldn’t believe how utterly stupid and speechless he had been rendered in just the blink of an eye. He felt a soft nibbling at his earlobe, and could barely get his voice to work anymore. This was the adorable, predictable Toshiro, whom Ichigo had always known how to tease, whose buttons Ichigo always knew how to press. He was the frosty captain who secretly melted under Ichigo’s warmth, who was not powerless against any kind of heat except Ichigo’s. It was difficult for Ichigo to comprehend how the refined, grumpy Toshiro, ever-icy, had driven something inside him to burn so fiercely now.
Ichigo had never been so affected by Toshiro in this way before.
‘…How… you… this… never…’
He almost gave up. His presently non-existent brain was getting nowhere. He felt Toshiro's tongue flicker wetly at his jaw; he took a deep breath and grasped Toshiro’s arms.
‘Toshiro, how come…’ he started again, with barely any more resolve. ‘You have never… been so…’
‘I thought you said that I was possibly just flattering myself,’ the captain uttered. Ichigo vaguely felt Toshiro’s hand on his stomach. He closed his eyes, feeling frustration building up within him.
‘I know that,’ he protested. ‘But I didn’t think…’
He paused. His eyes opened wide.
‘…That you… were…’
And he came to a complete stop as the rest of the words got caught in his throat. Slender fingers were already creeping into the waist of his hakama. A persistent knee pressed its way between his thighs. Toshiro withdrew slightly from him and looked into his face, that gleam still strong in his eyes; the corners of his mouth twitched.
‘Sorry. You were saying?’
Ichigo bit down on his lip and scowled. This was the first time Toshiro was able to so easily make him fall to pieces like this. It had always been the other way around; being wholly unable to guess what Toshiro was going to do next was definitely not what he was used to. But now that he knew what it felt like – this unpredictable surrender of control to the proud captain – it was incredible to realize how much he wanted it.
He felt his face go incredibly hot as he took firm hold of Toshiro’s sleeve.
‘If you’re going to do it,’ he muttered, unable to believe his own words, ‘then do it.’
A brief flash of what seemed like surprise crossed Toshiro’s features. However, Ichigo couldn’t really tell, because the young captain’s face instantly went impassive again.
‘Am I actually hearing you say that, Kurosaki?’
Ichigo glared at him in half-embarrassment. ‘Are you going to make me say it again?’
In silent response, surprising the substitute shinigami once more, Toshiro’s mouth slid into a faint, barely-there smirk. Ichigo held his breath; an expression like that on his lover had always been very rare. He was not entirely sure what was coming. He tensed when the young captain straightened himself up to a sitting position and lifted his chin superiorly.
And then, to his astonishment, Toshiro suddenly climbed off him and stepped down from the couch. He began smoothing the wrinkles out of his uniform; he was holding himself high in a way that completely belied what he had been doing only seconds before. He looked entirely nonchalant and unruffled. The substitute shinigami's eyes widened in absolute and utter disbelief.
‘…What are you doing?’ he demanded. ‘You can’t leave me like this!’
Toshiro turned to look at him neutrally.
‘It’s almost time for dinner, you know.’
Ichigo leaned forward in frustration. ‘How could I possibly go to dinner when you’ve got me all distracted like this?’
‘That’s hardly my fault,’ shrugged the captain in response. ‘You just can’t resist me.’
Ichigo, stunned into silence, stared speechlessly as Toshiro made his way over to the door. He didn’t have time to say anything; and even if he did, it wasn’t like he really knew what to say. The substitute shinigami had just started trying desperately to think of something when Toshiro opened the door and turned around, beckoning for Ichigo to come along.
‘Come on and get something to eat,’ he said. ‘I’d expect you’d at least want something to devour.’
And Toshiro walked off without another word, automatically expecting him to follow.
Ichigo kept staring at the doorway, his eyebrows furrowed. His mouth lay half-open in unfinished protest, unable to believe what had just happened. His mind was flooded with thoughts of how utterly and completely unfair it was that Toshiro somehow knew how to draw responses out of him like that, that Toshiro somehow knew how Ichigo was going to react to certain things he said and did. The most unbearable part of it all was the fact that Toshiro had so sneakily and so cleverly teased him and left him to his own frustrations.
He unwillingly got up off the couch and made his way to the door in a huff.
To his own annoyance, he couldn’t help but think that Toshiro was still adorable.