Uwah, I'm doomed x_x I've been procrastinating all day (and I have a project due tomorrow! ARGH) but I can't help it. Writing fanfic is always so much more enjoyable than studying. XD
Title: All Along
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Pairing: Hisagi Shuuhei/Kira Izuru.
Word Count: Approximately 1,660.
Disclaimer: Not mine – otherwise this pairing would be canon.
Notes: Fulfilling materia_indigo’s prompts ‘thunderstorm’ and ‘early breakfast’ as part of a celebratory thank-you in the wake of the ShuuKira community’s opening. Cross-posted to shuukira, asterisk_plus, bleach_yaoi and kurosaki_clinic.
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: ‘There was something about his unshielded expression, something that made Izuru ache.’
Izuru looked at him and wondered how he was always so composed.
One arm was slung over the blond’s shoulder; Hisagi gave half his weight to Izuru, dragging his feet along silently. He was quiet. Cold air bit at their skin, surrounded them, and the rain splashed upon them both. Izuru could feel the droplets soaking through his uniform, dripping into his eyelashes, drenching the long strands of his hair. Beside him, Hisagi was as calm as he always was – obviously ill, consequently wordless.
‘Are you alright?’ Izuru asked under his breath, concerned. It must have been at least the tenth time he’d asked.
Hisagi nodded once, slowly, but said nothing.
It was remarkable enough that rain fell in Soul Society, that it paralleled the weather of the real world. It was simply strange, however, that every day for almost a week now – after the sky had opened up its mouth and swallowed three of Seireitei’s captains – it would start raining in the afternoon, continuing all throughout the night until morning. Winds, storms, thunder; the sky wept over the shinigami every evening, and the shinigami mourned in turn, as grey as the roof of clouds above them.
Hisagi must have been among the most selfless of all of them, being one of those who allowed himself the least time to grieve. Izuru worried for him. The dark-haired lieutenant sorted his priorities, and worked, and never stopped, even in light of Captain Tousen’s very recent treachery. He remained strong, steadfast, for everyone else. He worked hard to show no weakness when almost everyone else gave in to it.
Izuru had found him slumped against the wall at the gates where he had been stationed for duty, leaning lifelessly there on his feet in the pouring rain.
So the blond helped gather the other shinigami together, and they walked in the endless downpour, towards Third Division. Izuru could feel a strange pulsing in Hisagi’s reiatsu – waning faintly one moment, rising in wake the next – and he knew almost immediately that his friend had really worked himself to a point where he had become ill. Going on long periods of duty in the rain… it was a foolish idea, but Izuru knew Hisagi, knew how selfless he was, knew how he would do it if it was needed.
‘We’re here, Hisagi-san,’ Izuru said, pushing at the gate to the Third Division with one hand. ‘Hold on.’
The arm around his shoulders tightened slightly, as if in thanks.
Izuru’s lodgings were cold when they arrived, even after he had shut the door behind them; the air swirled through its corridors and rooms, and made the water that was dripping from both of them feel even colder. He felt himself shivering – and Hisagi, too. He kicked off their footwear and led them both further into the corridor, and all the time, the dark-haired vice-captain said nothing.
‘Are you alright?’ Izuru couldn’t help but ask again.
When they got to the bathroom, Izuru sat him down in front of the bathtub, and proceeded to move off to find some dry clothes. His feet dragged, squelched; he dripped on the floor all the way to his bedroom. He felt dreary, as dreary as the weather outside. Traces of faint rumbling were beginning to echo, and he knew, disappointedly, that it would escalate into a storm soon.
After redressing himself in something warm and dry, and putting away his soaked uniform to be washed, he returned to the bathroom with a spare yukata in his hands. Hisagi, unmoving, only sat there and gazed at him as he walked in.
‘I’ll help you?’ the blond offered in mild concern. The corners of Hisagi’s mouth curled upwards slightly.
So Izuru knelt in front of him, and proceeded to undress him. His own fingers were trembling faintly. He untied the white obi, slowly, carefully; Hisagi remained still, allowing him to do this, just silent, just watching. There was something about his unshielded expression, something that made Izuru ache. He then set the obi aside, and his hands reached over, opening Hisagi’s sleeveless shihakusho, and he slid it away, gently, from the broad shoulders.
The dark-haired lieutenant bent forward, and lifted his arms slightly. Izuru slipped the sodden fabric off from them; his fingertips brushed against Hisagi’s skin. It felt damp, and very cold.
Hisagi shifted slightly when Izuru proceeded to move forwards to slide off his hakama. That hidden ache, at seeing the submission in Hisagi’s face, suddenly returned. The blond had never seen him like this, so defenseless, so open. Loyal, strong Hisagi, always stalwart, always unwavering… he was never this vulnerable. The wet black material stuck to his legs, and Izuru went to peel it off. Hisagi let him. It was strange, how personal this was between them; there was something about it that was oddly consoling, comforting, but at the same time, simply heartbreaking.
‘Don’t worry about me,’ Hisagi suddenly uttered croakily, and Izuru was startled. He hadn’t heard the dark-haired vice-captain speak all this time. It was odd, to hear his voice now.
But he shook off those thoughts, and frowned. ‘How can I not?’
He slowly eased off the last of the hakama, before placing it aside and picking up the dry yukata. Hisagi’s breath was warm on his collarbone when he moved closer to bring it around him, to dress him.
‘…I’ll be alright, Kira. Thanks to you.’
‘I should hope so,’ Izuru answered softly, running his hand tenderly across the other shinigami’s now-covered shoulder.
Hisagi reached out and touched his elbow, as if in a plea.
‘It’s not what you think,’ he said. ‘This isn’t… because of Tousen-Taicho.’
The blond didn’t know whether or not to believe him. After all, it had only been days: Izuru had done plenty of stupid things in the wake of Captain Ichimaru’s departure, himself. And Hisagi was someone who always tried so hard to avoid making other people worry if he could. Izuru didn’t know how to answer.
He secured the yukata shut, then stood up and helped Hisagi carefully onto his feet, before beckoning him to come along. They walked through the corridor together, one leaning against the other slightly in weariness, and made their way into the bedroom; from outside, the blond could hear louder claps of thunder. The rain was beating down on his roof more strongly, more persistently. It seemed merciless, unforgiving.
‘I’m exhausted,’ Hisagi admitted drowsily, as he sat down on the futon.
‘I wouldn’t blame you,’ answered Izuru, kneeling in front of him; he could see the tremor in the other shinigami’s shoulders. ‘With a fever like that.’
‘I’ll be alright, I promise you,’ the dark-haired vice-captain reassured softly, honestly. ‘We both will be.’
Izuru smiled faintly; Hisagi returned it, before slowly crawling his way under the covers. He lay down, and closed his eyes. His face was pale, sickly. His breathing deepened in slumber within minutes.
The blond waited for a few moments, before moving to join him underneath the covers. He had just laid himself down, too, and settled in, when the body behind him pressed itself against him, startling him; he felt the slight protrusion of a nose bumping into the back of his head, and a feather-light brushing of lips against his nape.
He didn’t move.
It was the softest whisper, the breath warming Izuru’s hair.
Izuru didn’t deny him, didn’t shift away; he remained there, right where he was, and closed his eyes.
He woke early in the morning, when the relentless storm had died away into soft drizzling. It was still fairly dark. Hisagi’s scent reached him, surrounded him. The sensation that it stirred in him was unfamiliar – strangely calming. He didn’t want to leave the futon; he was so warm, right where he was, with the other body still pressed against his back. What came with the sunrise was so icy in comparison.
But he moved anyway, grudgingly. He left the soft covers, the warm contact, and let the chill of the swirling air claim him. He folded his arms to ward off the cold, and shuffled sleepily into the kitchen to begin preparing breakfast.
He had just finished making some tea when he felt a familiar gentle stirring of reiatsu nearby, and light footsteps approaching. He turned around. Hisagi stood at the doorway; he still looked slightly sickly, and his hair was disheveled, but a little color had returned to his cheeks, and the smallest trace of a smile adorned his features.
‘Good morning, Hisagi-san,’ answered Izuru. ‘Do you feel alright?’
Hisagi nodded, and it was clear from his expression that he was incredibly grateful. ‘I slept well. Your futon’s so much better for this weather than mine. I feel – strangely really warm.’
Izuru handed him some tea; their fingers brushed as the cup was passed from one hand to the other, and it was yet another unexpected comfort between them. The blond’s eyes quickly turned away, to the partly open window, only distantly seeing the last of the bare droplets falling, and the sky paling with the first light.
You may as well have held me, he wanted to say in a joking tone. But it was fairly obvious that Hisagi didn’t and wouldn’t remember enough to know what he was talking about. The dark-haired shinigami was already pretty much asleep at that time, not to mention feverish.
Izuru bit down on his lip, trying to suppress that ache from rising within him again.
‘Are you making breakfast?’ Hisagi asked off-handedly, looking at him. ‘I’ll help you.’
I’ll be alright, I promise you. We both will be.
The blond looked into Hisagi’s face – so honest, so loyal – and willed his own lips to curve into a smile. He reached out to the other shinigami’s fingers and squeezed them; Hisagi seemed surprised and perhaps slightly confused at this gesture, but returned the smile anyway, and squeezed back reassuringly. Izuru suspected himself of being the vulnerable one all along when felt a wave of unfulfilled yearning wash over him.
But he said nothing. In spite of everything, he’d be alright. They both would be.