Wow, it's been ages since I last posted an Ichi/Hitsu fic. I clearly haven't been doing my Bleach OTP justice. I'm so ashamed. x_o
Here's a rather quick, simple fic - I'm afraid it's all I could write while I'm so busy (my classes have started up again, and I have so much study to do) - but I hope it will suffice. Oh, how I've missed writing this pairing. ♥
Title: Simple Exchanges
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Pairing: Hitsugaya x Ichigo.
Word Count: Approximately 2,842.
Notes: Cross-posted to ichihitsu, asterisk_plus, bleach_yaoi and kurosaki_clinic.
FF.Net Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3701875/1/Simple_Exchanges
Disclaimer: Not mine – otherwise this pairing would be canon.
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 makes the mistake of crossing Seireitei’s youngest captain and lands himself in an inevitably sticky situation.
The argument that exploded outside the Tenth Division gates was so loud that Toshiro wouldn’t have been surprised if half of Seireitei heard it.
It was Kurosaki’s own fault, technically. Toshiro had warned him from the beginning that he didn’t like public displays of affection. He had already made clear that he didn’t want to be held or touched when they were out in the open. It just wasn’t who he was, to flaunt relationships like a giddy school student or to be openly couply in any manner. It wasn’t something he’d do.
But Kurosaki, being who he was, didn't take any notice of these complaints.
It had only been a simple arm around Toshiro’s shoulders and the uttering of usual teenage hormone-driven innuendo in his ear which saw the young captain’s face redden as the two of them walked down together to the Tenth Division; it was made even worse when the substitute shinigami reached over with his other hand to nudge him playfully and Toshiro had misinterpreted the gesture. He thought that he was about to be groped right there on the street, where anyone could see them.
He’d smacked Kurosaki so hard out of reflex that he startled even himself.
The substitute shinigami had staggered back and blinked at him. Toshiro blinked back. There was a short, uncomfortable moment in which the two of them looked at each other, utterly speechless. And it was straight afterwards that everything blew up so quickly that nothing could’ve stopped it.
‘Ow!! What the hell was that for?!’
‘I told you I don’t like doing that kind of stuff in public,’ the captain hissed. ‘Serves you right.’
‘Doing what kind of stuff? Prodding your arm with my knuckles is considered too sexual to be seen in public?’
‘A likely story. You were trying to grope me!’
‘Grope you?’ Kurosaki practically yelled, incredulous. ‘How little self-restraint do you think I have?’
‘You never have self-restraint! I told you more than enough times, I don’t like displaying or flaunting private things in public!’
The substitute shinigami snorted. ‘You think I don’t have any self-restraint? Says the one who misinterpreted an innocent gesture for groping. You must’ve had something on your mind if you wanted to think that I was going to grope you, so don’t accuse me of being the one suffering a hormone kick!’
The chill of reiatsu that suddenly radiated off Toshiro was so overwhelming that it would have cleared out anyone who hadn’t already vacated the area.
‘Excuse me?’ he growled, his voice threateningly low.
‘You heard me,’ Kurosaki huffed bravely. ‘You owe me an apology.’
Toshiro could barely believe his ears.
‘…I owe you an apology,’ he repeated.
Kurosaki hardly had any time to nod before the gates to the Tenth Division slammed in his face and he noticed that the captain wasn’t standing with him anymore.
It took Toshiro more than an hour to be able to focus on his paperwork. After he’d silently fumed and seethed and glared at his documents and gone on furious walks and scared away his subordinates, his annoyance at the whole ordeal finally subsided enough for him to sit down at his desk to actually do some work. The office building seemed quiet. The captain was glad that his subordinates knew him well enough to leave him alone when he was in such a mood.
He had scarcely picked up his inkbrush when he heard a knock on his door.
‘Come in,’ he said off-handedly, grabbing the first document.
The door opened and Hinamori strolled in, a warm smile on her face, and a plate of watermelon slices in her hand. Toshiro looked up at her, puzzled, as she set the plate down on his desk.
‘I thought you could use a snack,’ she said, her eyes twinkling at him. ‘Your Seventh Seat was warning everyone to stay away because you weren’t in the best of moods.’
‘Which is why you decided to not stay away?’ he couldn’t help retorting, raising an eyebrow at her.
She laughed and reached out to ruffle his hair, but he dodged her hand, frowning.
‘Naturally. Anyway, I only came to deliver the watermelon, and I can see you’re busy, so I better leave you to it. Oh – and I should probably tell you, Kurosaki-kun is outside your gates. He seems to be in a pretty bad mood too, and he keeps saying that he wants to speak to you… but the guards won’t let him in?’
‘I know,’ Toshiro sniffed in an entirely nonchalant way; however, he couldn’t help feeling a secret upsurge of smugness at hearing this. ‘I ordered them not to.’
Hinamori tilted her head to the side.
‘Lovers’ spat?’ she asked curiously.
She knew well enough to apologize and shuffle out when the usual dirty look crossed the captain’s features.
Toshiro had barely finished writing up half a page of his report when he heard another knock on his door.
He frowned. Were all the Tenth Division officers coming back? They probably knew that his bad mood had lessened. But that meant that he was going to get less peace and quiet than he’d hoped for.
‘Come in,’ he said anyway.
The door swung open again and in came Abarai, looking stunned. He bore the kind of expression that made him look as if he wasn’t really sure why he was there. Toshiro stared at him. Why would the Sixth Division vice-captain come all the way to the Tenth Division if he didn’t have any good reason to?
‘What’s the matter, Abarai?’ he asked curiously.
The vice-captain scratched his head. ‘I… I don’t really know, to be honest,’ he answered, still looking somewhat puzzled. ‘I ran into Ichigo during my break and he demanded that I come here. He insisted that I tell you to let him in, or for you to come out and, uh – ‘stop acting like a child’ as he put it.’
Toshiro could already feel the vein pulsing at his temple. He knew that Kurosaki was trying to rile him up; there was nothing the young captain hated more than being referred to as a child. Well, he wasn’t going to fall for it.
‘I didn’t say it,’ the redhead added quickly, seeming to have suddenly come to his senses about what he’d just uttered. ‘I’m only repeating what he said. He was adamant that I had to say it to you.’
The captain shook his head dismissively. ‘Don’t worry, I know. It’s something he would do. You can tell him that trying to stir me up isn’t going to make me let him in, Abarai. Is that all?’
‘I think so.’
‘Okay then. You may go.’
The expression Abarai wore as he walked out was as equally confused as the one he had on his face when he’d first walked in. He was muttering something that sounded suspiciously like ‘lovers’ spat’ under his breath. The captain noticed that he didn’t close the door behind him, either, and that mildly annoyed him.
Oh, well. He’d get up and close it later.
It didn’t feel like that much longer when Toshiro heard another knock on his door and looked up to see Kira in the open doorway, a bundle of papers in his hand.
‘What are those?’ he asked.
The blond took that as an indication for him to enter, so he swept inside and laid the documents down on the desk in front of the captain. ‘They’re the source documents that you’d asked to be copied last week, Hitsugaya-Taicho,’ he said respectfully. ‘Sorry about the delay.’
‘I understand,’ Toshiro answered. ‘You have a lot of work to do, now that you’re temporarily in charge of both vice-captain and captain’s duties in your Division. Thank you. Also – if you don't have any other duties at present, would you mind going over to the kitchens and tell them to bring me my lunch here, later on? I won’t be leaving my office when I have this much work lined up.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Kira nodded, and turned to walk off.
Toshiro picked up his inkbrush again, and drew one of the papers on his desk closer to him. He had barely had time to write one word when he noticed that the vice-captain had stopped at the doorway, with a look of awkwardness on his face.
‘What’s wrong?’ the captain frowned.
‘I… just remembered,’ Kira answered, turning to look at him again. ‘There’s something weird going on outside the gates. I just thought that you should know, that’s all.’
Toshiro took a deep breath and counted to ten.
‘…Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Kurosaki?’
He wasn’t surprised at all to see Kira nodding.
‘He was sitting cross-legged in front of the gates when I came,’ the blond explained. ‘He seemed to be having a staring match with the guards stationed outside. We had a brief conversation, and he told me that he wasn’t going to leave the gates until he was allowed inside. He didn’t care if he had to undergo a hunger strike.’
Toshiro began to massage his temples with his fingers, his breath hissing through his teeth. That bloody idiot.
‘…If I may ask, Hitsugaya-Taicho… lovers’ spat?’
As tempting as it was for his head to make contact with the surface of his desk, the captain managed to restrain himself.
The vein on Toshiro’s temple automatically popped again when another knock graced his door less than an hour later. He closed his eyes and took another deep breath.
‘Hitsugaya-Taicho,’ he heard Hisagi Shuuhei’s calm voice at the doorway, ‘I’ve come to tell you—’
‘Don’t bother,’ Toshiro cut in darkly, opening his eyes. ‘I don’t care. I’m not interested. Tell him to get bent.’
The Ninth Division vice-captain looked at him in bewilderment. That was clearly not the answer he’d been expecting. The captain was quite surprised at the force of his own words, too, but in his mind, he justified that he had a damn good reason for them. He looked at the other shinigami challengingly, daring him to come up with a retort.
But all he said was: ‘Uh… yes, sir.’
Hisagi moved off in what looked like a kind of perplexed daze. Toshiro could already feel his sour mood threatening to come back in full force. He got up from his chair once the vice-captain was gone, and closed the door.
He was surprised he could resist bringing his head into contact with it, too.
He had finally finished his work for the day and was just tidying up the pile of documents that littered his desk when he heard yet more knocking at his door. He immediately stopped in his tracks. A warning siren went off in his head.
‘Who is it?’ he asked warily.
‘It’s me,’ an irritated voice said sharply. Toshiro’s eyes widened; he swept over quickly to the door, his brain automatically moving to the idea of barricading it, but he had hardly reached it when he heard the knob clicking and it swung open.
The vision that met him was exactly what he’d imagined. Kurosaki stood there, looking thoroughly pissed off. However, that did nothing to intimidate him; if hours of various lieutenants coming to distract the captain about Kurosaki didn’t sway him, there was no way in hell he was going to be swayed by this, either.
‘How did you get in?’ he demanded.
The substitute shinigami scowled. ‘Rangiku-san told the guards to let me in,’ he answered. ‘Are you satisfied with your childish game? You owe me a hell of a lot more than an apology, now, for being such an asshole.’
‘You deserved it,’ he retorted superiorly, his temper rising. ‘I'd already told you since the beginning that I’m not that kind of person. I’ve said countless times that I prefer our appropriately private gestures to be left in private. Serves you right for trying to grope me in public.’
‘I wasn’t trying to grope you,’ Kurosaki answered in frustration. ‘Don’t you ever listen to me?’
Toshiro swept up the watermelon dish and the rice bowl from his desk, and glared back at him. But the substitute shinigami wasn’t daunted in the slightest.
‘You overreacted. Admit it,’ he continued, narrowing his eyes. ‘You owe me an apology. And I’m not going anywhere until you give it to me.’
He walked over briskly to the couch in the office and sat himself down, crossing his arms irritably.
The captain was astounded at his daring. It would take someone with a deathwish to barge into the office of a Gotei 13 captain and demand something in this way. Furthermore, it would take someone who was completely out of their mind to barge into his office and demand something in this way: his reputation as the ever-icy Captain Hitsugaya was well-known to everyone in Seireitei, and they took this as a genuine warning. However, he knew that Kurosaki would never take it seriously; he made his own rules, and never abided by the natural ones set up by Soul Society. At this thought, Toshiro snatched up the chopsticks from his desk and made his way to the door.
‘Fine,’ he shot back, his eyes flaring. ‘I was leaving, anyway.’
And he marched off in a huff, leaving behind a scowling Kurosaki whom, he was satisfied to see, had a look of incredulity on his face.
A single figure sat still, his form rigid and determined.
An uncomfortable shift. A derisive snort.
‘Nope. Not going anywhere.’
If there was anything Toshiro expected when he returned to lock up his office much later in the evening, it wasn't to see Kurosaki still there. However, the first thing he laid eyes upon as he entered the door was the substitute shinigami curled up on his couch, fast asleep, and it caught him off-guard.
He stood there for a moment, surprised.
He watched briefly as Kurosaki snored softly with his mouth half-open. He felt something strange, seeing it. He didn’t know how something warm, something comforting, so suddenly filled him. It surrounded him, an unexpected feeling of contentment and peacefulness. Their full-day argument came back to his memory; it now felt so silly, so insignificant, somehow.
And Kurosaki really did stay in the room as he'd declared he would. A doubt began to niggle in Toshiro’s mind. If the substitute shinigami had been this determined to stay put in the room until he got an apology, he probably had been telling the truth, after all.
The captain strolled over slowly to the couch where the prone body lay, and bent over.
‘Fine. I’m sorry,’ he whispered. He couldn’t help adding: ‘Stupid bastard.’
He ran a hand softly through the orange hair, and leaned over more and brushed his lips against Kurosaki’s cheekbone. He decided maybe he’d leave the office unlocked, for now. He proceeded to straighten up, ready to leave.
He had barely turned around when a hand clasped his own.
‘I suppose that’s the best I’ll get. It’ll have to do.’
Toshiro looked down at Kurosaki, who was awake, looking back at him with sleepy eyes. The substitute shinigami slowly let go of his hand. A moment of content silence lay between them; that strange feeling of comfort surrounded them both, now, and Toshiro knew that Kurosaki felt it more strongly, too.
‘You so easily get on my nerves, Kurosaki,’ the captain uttered.
‘You say that like you don’t get on mine,’ Kurosaki retorted.
‘You’re too proud.’
‘You can talk.’
And something suddenly struck Toshiro, a thought that had never come to him before. This was his own way of showing affection, and always had been. Back-and-forth bantering, teasing insults and name-calling shared between them, simple exchanges... it was something that he had always taken part in, as something that had automatically been melded into his personality to match. For someone as icy as he was, who didn’t like displaying kisses or embraces in front of people, it was his own version of affection, and he had always displayed it towards Kurosaki in public – always.
On impulse, he slowly turned back, and climbed onto the couch where the substitute shinigami lay.
‘Change of heart, huh?’ Kurosaki raised his eyebrow.
Toshiro shook his head. ‘No. No change of heart. There’s no one here. We can do whatever we like.’
If his affection could be defined like this, if Kurosaki allowed him to define it in his own way, maybe public displays of them weren’t so bad, after all.
Kurosaki wrapped his arms around the captain; Toshiro did nothing to stop him, and he gave in to him.
O m a k e
‘I’m not sure he really wanted your special services award,’ Hisagi muttered uncertainly, looking incredibly uncomfortable. ‘I tried to offer it to him, but he said he didn’t care, and that he wasn’t interested. And, uh… he also… told me to tell you to 'get bent', in his words.’
Captain-Commander Yamamoto blinked at him.