This fic is very, very long overdue; started it two months ago, slaved over it all this time. Quite relieved to have finally finished it, certainly. Also, this is my tenth Bleach fic! As someone who's only been in the fandom for a few months, I'm happy for that achievement. :) Hope to climb my way up to the twentieth faster.
Without further ado:
Title: Sense of Normalcy
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Characters/Pairing: Kira (Hisagi/Kira, one-sided Gin/Kira)
Rating: M 15+
Word Count: Approximately 2,925.
Disclaimer: Not mine – otherwise this pairing would be canon.
Notes: Rated for mild lemon. Thank you so much to Silver who helped me look over this fic when it was giving me relentless headaches. 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: Kira can’t stop himself from surrendering to the too-perfect illusion, even though he wishes so desperately that he could.
It’s the firm arms cradling his body that stirs him, wakes him up.
He slowly opens his eyes. Everything around him is hazy, unclear, and he can’t really make out where he is or what’s going on around him. It’s only the faint pang of something that feels like loneliness that he remembers. Izuru stares through half-lidded eyes, and distantly sees the cup of water being brought up to his lips.
You’re finally awake. You look awful, Kira. Drink.
He wants to, but he’s too tired to open his mouth, and the water wets his lips, but doesn’t reach his tongue. His throat is parched, and his stomach heaves, and he feels as though he would be sick if he said anything, so he remains silent. He stays close to the warmth of the broad chest against which he knows his head is resting. A grunt reaches his ears. Izuru sees the cup being taken away.
Rangiku-san, he’s not drinking the water.
An indignant huff, somewhere further away. Don’t fuss, Shuuhei. Let him recover. He’ll be fine.
He doesn’t hear the garbled discussion that follows between those two voices. He closes his eyes and wills the confusing thoughts to slide away from him. A wave of nausea sweeps over him, and he bites down on his tongue, and swallows. Only moments later, he feels a warm hand brushing aside the long strands of hair over his face, moving to cup his cheek.
He can imagine Captain Ichimaru’s face, smiling as always, looking down at him with interest. He fleetingly wonders if everything had all just been in his imagination, if his captain has really returned here to save him again.
‘No, Kira.’ An almost-indistinct murmur, a breathing in his hair. ‘It’s me. Hisagi.’
But even though Izuru hears this, it doesn’t really register. His last thought before he surrenders himself to slumber is how comforting the arms around him are, how unlike Captain Ichimaru it is to give him consolation in this way.
‘Ya look good with it on, Izuru.’
The blond looks up, feeling his cheeks go warm, and instinctively touches the vice-captain’s badge on his arm. He stays momentarily silent, watching Captain Ichimaru walk towards him. The Third Division courtyard is wide and empty; it doesn’t feel as though they are entering a potential wartime, to defend themselves in a possible ryoka infiltration. Especially not when his captain is there, smiling in a self-assured way, as always.
‘It’s been a while since we’d been asked to wear it, Taichou,’ he answers meekly. ‘That’s how bad things have become, this ryoka business?’
The captain tilts his head to the side, observing him with mild interest. ‘Looks like somethin’ big’s gonna happen, doesn’ it?’
It makes him slightly uncomfortable that he’s filled with so many insecurities when Captain Ichimaru looks so confident and casual. And it embarrasses him even more when the captain’s expression turns into something that looks like sympathy, as if he knows full well what he is thinking. The vice-captain opens his mouth to answer, but is interrupted by the hand unexpectedly landing on his shoulder.
‘How much d’ya trust me, Izuru?’
The rare physical contact distracts him; he is filled with a mixture of hidden pride and fear. And even though the general thought crosses his mind almost every moment of every day, this is one of the only times that he yearns to please his captain as strongly as when he first became his lieutenant. The captain says nothing more, only looks at him with a calm anticipation, and Izuru knows his answer already, knows how much he wants to serve and protect this man. He already knows he would do anything.
‘Wholly, sir,’ he replies. ‘I always trust you.’
It is obvious that Captain Ichimaru is pleased with this answer. He takes a step forward and gazes his vice-captain full in the face.
‘If things get real tough, how far would ya go for me?'
It seems like an odd question – there is a strange sense of finality within it – and that, along with the open gaze, heightens Izuru’s fascinated curiosity. But he has always held utmost respect and admiration for his captain, and he has always trusted in him, so he answers: ‘I’d do whatever you needed me to, Taichou.’
He doesn’t even realize that he has reached out slightly to his captain’s side to touch Shinsou’s hilt, until cold fingertips suddenly trace a line over his knuckles. The blond jumps in surprise; his hand has only just started to recoil when Captain Ichimaru catches hold of it, and the gesture is something unusually private between them, something which, too, surprises him, awakens something strange in him. Izuru feels his hand being slowly pulled, guided back to the smooth hardness of the zanpakutou’s handle, underneath the soft cover of the white haori. The tremor in his own fingers is telltale. There is something about the hand closed over his: it almost makes his skin prickle delightfully.
‘I don’ punish reverence,’ Captain Ichimaru says in a silky way, almost serpentine, his breath brushing hotly against Izuru’s face. ‘Ya can touch it as ya like, if ya wanted a feel.’
Izuru can’t tell whether it’s the captain’s words or his tone of voice that makes him feel as if he has just been slowly laid bare, undressed. He is suddenly aware of how small the distance between them really is, and it crosses his mind how disrespectful he must be to wear his emotions that openly to a superior whom he so fiercely admires. He takes a step back even though he doesn’t want to, and the hand over his lets him go, and a part of him misses the touch already.
‘No. It’s – it’s okay,’ he blushes. ‘Sorry.’
The captain looks at him in amusement.
‘How very cute, Izuru.’
Izuru watches his captain turn and walk away from him. It isn’t the last time.
In the weeks following the betrayal, the friendship between Izuru and Hisagi changes unexpectedly, and Izuru has no way of fully understanding how it has come to pass.
Except that his senpai is always around, always there. Asleep in the chair at his bedside when Izuru had woken up in the Fourth Division Infirmary after his over-eager drinking session; checking occasionally into the Third Division offices to ask if Izuru is in need of any help; inviting him to supper if he has no time to cook. And no, none of it is the least bit unwelcome. Izuru knows that Hisagi is thinking about other people before himself as always, being honestly concerned as always, and he is no less than extremely grateful for the dark-haired lieutenant’s presence.
And then, whatever lies between them just – changes. It changes in a manner neither of them had truly come to expect, a deepening, but it’s a change which both of them agree is for the better. It’s a solace that they both accept, something they both sincerely want. And they tell no one about it, and no one seems to sense that anything is different; and if they do, no one says anything.
Matsumoto is the only exception. She says to Izuru: ‘You’ve been spending an awful lot of time with Shuuhei lately.’
He has always known that there is a possibility that someone might speak up. So he gives her the answer that he has already long prepared: ‘After everything that’s happened, Matsumoto-san, we appreciate each other’s company more. We’ve always been good friends. Why waste time fearing – right?’
It isn’t a lie. At least, he’s sure it isn’t.
She shrugs dismissively. ‘As long as you’re careful around him,’ she purrs, and it surprises Izuru that there is a touch of seriousness to her tone that belies the vague, bouncy woman he is used to. ‘His selflessness often makes it easier to forget that he also lost his captain. He tries to be strong for everyone else, and sometimes doesn’t realize it’s okay to give in to a bit of weakness, too.’
The pang of shame returns to Izuru at hearing this. He has often been so clouded with his own thoughts that he knows that he is growing more frequently ignorant to the fact that Hisagi, too, had been left behind. And Matsumoto is right: no one has ever seen the Ninth Division vice-captain properly grieving. Following the betrayal, Hisagi had spared no time in resuming his duties for Seireitei, to help it get back on its feet after it had fallen.
The blond doesn’t want to think about weakness, so he answers nothing.
‘You look concerned about something,’ Hisagi will sometimes say, so honest, the simplest invitation for Izuru to talk about anything he needs to. He notices that Hisagi says this a lot, these days.
He’ll joke back: ‘No. Don’t I normally look like that?’
And the dark-haired shinigami will smile faintly; he will wrap an arm around the blond’s shoulders and lean in to kiss him, and Izuru will let him, because it’s a comfort that he knows they both long for. It always happens this way, always. Hisagi, so steadfast, so dependable.
Izuru returns the kisses with his eyes closed each time, and it chills him that the face in his mind’s eye isn’t always the one it’s supposed to be.
The smooth, cold hardness of Shinsou’s hilt has been engraved into the memory of his fingertips.
Whenever he so much as thinks about it he always finds his hand wandering downward – swerving by the few threads of his resolve – and meeting Wabisuke, to trace his fingers along his own zanpakutou’s solid hilt, the cleanly cut shape of its guard, the tautness of its scabbard. The feel, of course, is always different. But he still relives the shape of Shinsou beneath his hand; sometimes he regrets never having the chance to touch the blade.
At the times when he passes his captain’s deserted office, he can’t help but to stop at the doorway to gaze, even if for a moment. The first thing that his eyes always fall upon is the space on the wall where Shinsou had often rested. It’s a little unsettling, now, seeing it empty, knowing it will remain that way.
But there is always a faint residual presence he never fails to sense. He can almost swear that he feels his own body humming in answer to it.
The last traces of the reiatsu of the room’s former owner remains, lingering in the musty space between the walls.
Izuru will only let Hisagi take him from behind because he can’t bring himself to look at his face.
He knows what he’s thinking is wrong. He knows what he’s doing is wrong. But Izuru feels the firm fingers at his thighs, and the sliding wetness of the tongue teasing into his entrance, and he finds himself clenching around it, his hands clutching so tightly at his discarded obi that his palms go quickly damp with sweat; he bites down on his own tongue, savors the taste of the muted thrill rising within him – it’s just what he’s hungered for, to be taken and owned by someone who knows how to control him. There’s a faint tremor in his legs and he’s so hard that it makes him whimper in frustration, but it feels anything but wrong.
He can feel his own breath shuddering in answer to the flutter of teeth brushing against the skin of his cheeks. He can’t see the face or the body behind him, which only strengthens his illusion. And Hisagi is perfect to maintain it: teasing enough without being too gentle, fervent enough without being too rough – just like he would’ve been.
‘Hisagi-san,’ Izuru hisses under his breath.
The illusion is just perfect, too perfect, even though he wishes so terribly that it wasn’t. Even the last of the tongue twisting in him, slithering out of him, flickering against him, reminds him of something perversely, perfectly snakelike. He has to wonder for a moment whether or not he’d said the right name, and it makes him even more disgusted at himself.
But it’s obvious that Hisagi, wordless, isn’t thinking too much about anything, and Izuru chooses not to think anymore, either. He feels the rawness of the blunt fingernails dig into his hips and he readily parts his thighs more when he senses the other shinigami shifting, moving over him; it’s taking so long, too long, but Izuru sucks in a breath when he feels the welcome hardness pushing into his body, and the taut pressure and the pain that accompanies it washes away any other ache that he might have harbored. The throbbing hurt is pleasant, more pleasant than it should have been.
‘Please—’ he begs in a whisper, impatient, barely coherent, and the body behind him complies, hot and firm and everything he has been waiting for, everything he has craved.
Ya never disappoint me, Izuru.
The blond closes his eyes and stops trying to fight with himself. He distantly wonders if this is what it would have felt like.
He catches Matsumoto in the Third Division office building one day, bringing a vase of flowers and some neatly folded white fabric to Captain Ichimaru’s office. She doesn’t see him; he watches silently from the doorway of his own office as she places the flowers down on the desk, rearranges them for what seems like hours, runs her fingers over the freshly washed spare captain’s haori that she had brought, brings it up to her face to smell it, runs her lips gently over the soft fabric.
He realizes then that he isn’t the only one.
He finds it strange that, when he's alone, he seems to do things differently to when he’s with others – just like Matsumoto. Maybe that’s why he seeks more and more time with Hisagi: to take refuge in him, to keep some sense of normalcy. Still, at night, when he’s alone in his own home, his own room, he knows how much more vulnerable he becomes. He’s left only with his own thoughts; he tries not to think, because whatever crosses his mind will never fail to make him revolted at himself, but he can’t stop himself thinking them, even though he wishes so desperately that he could.
Now, when he finds his hand wandering downwards, he doesn’t even bother swerving.
‘You’re not even here anymore,’ Izuru will whisper unsteadily to himself in the darkness of his bedroom, closing his eyes tightly. ‘I love Hisagi-san. You’re not even here.’
But his fingers will still fumble to untie his obi, and slide into his hakama, and he loves and hates the jumble of faces in his mind’s eye every time.
I can’t forget him. I keep imagining him, thinking about him.
When it comes to the point that Izuru thinks he’s tried everything, done everything he could to purge himself of his unwanted thoughts, he can’t bear to hold it in anymore.
‘I need your help,’ he begs of Hisagi, and almost nothing has ever made him feel more ashamed, more foul, than the thought of hurting him. ‘Please. I can’t stop.’
I’ve become obsessed with him.
The dark-haired lieutenant stares at him with almost a confused, disbelieving expression on his face, and Izuru has never felt colder than in the wake of that glance.
‘I’m sorry,’ he rasps, and he can’t tell whether he’s pleading with himself or with the other shinigami; all he knows is that he’s revolted with himself, and he hates his own thoughts, and he clutches on the fabric of Hisagi’s uniform so tightly that it hurts, but it’s the only way he can feel like Hisagi won’t desert him. ‘I’m sorry, Hisagi-san. Please don’t walk away from me. I don’t – I don’t know if I can – please—’
It surprises him into silence when he is interrupted by the other shinigami’s arms wrapping around him, without question, without reserve, and it’s unbelievable how much more sickened it makes him towards himself. Izuru can’t remember a time since they’d known each other that Hisagi has ever been selfish, or turned a blind eye to anyone’s honest need for support. He can feel the hard protrusions of his own bony joints pressing against Hisagi’s body in the close embrace, and it makes him feel awfully clumsy.
‘Don’t worry,’ a voice utters softly in his ear. ‘I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.’
But Izuru can hear the unmistakable disappointment clearly laced through Hisagi’s voice, and it’s then that he realizes how much he’d really let down the only one in this twisted mess who had been honest all along. It’s then that it hits him how blindly he had become fixated with one person who meant that much to him, at the cost of another. He wants to keep apologizing, pleading, to say anything to gain Hisagi’s respect and trust again, but he knows that such words will do nothing.
So he doesn’t say anything more. His arms encircle Hisagi’s shoulders and he holds the dark-haired shinigami tight against him, because anything otherwise will make him feel as if they were worlds apart. In spite of this, Hisagi still feels so far away, and Izuru already misses him terribly.
He holds him close, and doesn’t let go, because there’s nothing else he can do.
But even then, he knows he’s on his own, alone with only the unrelenting memory of a smug, fox-faced smile.