Human holidays rarely interested Izuru Kira; they were either too cheery or too complicated. Yet, he still could not help but take up a particular pastime in Valentine's Day, which was very odd for him.
There was the celebration itself; a day dedicated to lovers, couples, and friends all around (very convenient for secret admirers). Then there was why he took notice of it in the first place. The blond was having a bit of a difficult time confessing his emotions to a certain vice-captain; in fact, the person he liked was a very close friend.
Izuru has had this feeling for more than half a century now, trying time and again to utter those three simple words, only to choke up, say something else, and be on his way. Once he caught word of the holiday, he thought it was the perfect scheme to tell Shuhei how he felt about him. To make things even more on him, he was currently on a mission in the living world, on the day before Valentines.
Dressed in his gigai, the lieutenant trotted around the town of Karakura gathering up ingredients for what he presumed to be a most suiting gift for his loved one. Just one more item to be checked off, then he could commence his baking. Though before he did, he stopped by a tree in the middle of a bustling outlet; pink and red were the only colors that decorated the small area.
Many shops advertised bears holding small red hearts that were stitched with an 'I love you'. He wondered if he should get one of them instead, but he knew something made by hand meant so much more than a store bought gift. Nervousness hit him hard when he realized how little time he had until the next day came, even worse… would Shuhei accept it? When the time came he'd know, so the thought was pushed from his mind; he could worry later.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, Izuru dipped a finger in the bowl of chocolate mix to taste the resulted product. After many trips back to the stores, and much baking, the blond finally conjured up a delicious batch of chocolate. Now all that needed to be done was bake it. He grabbed one of the trays that were placed just for the purpose, poured the mix in it, and placed it in the oven.
Sighing a breath of relief, Izuru removed the apron around his waist and sat down on the nearest chair. He really appreciated the fact that the substitute Shinigami let him borrow his kitchen. Both of his sisters were gone as was his father, so upon asking, Ichigo happily let him inside. Brushing blond locks out of his face, he sensed the former ryoka come into the kitchen area.
"So you finally got the chocolate right?" The teen breathed.
"Yup, and it only took four tries." The blond chuckled slightly.
He looked over to the substitute who pulled up a chair next to him, "Thanks again for letting me do this here. It must be a real bother to you, huh?"
"Not at all; the thing I really want to know is who you're making this for." Ichigo questioned.
The blond shifted a bit uncomfortably in his seat; he hadn't let anyone know of this, not even Renji. So telling someone he hardly knew about this… but it was only fair; Ichigo had let him use his kitchen.
"Well, it may take awhile but…" And so, the lieutenant explained to the substitute who he was making these for and why.
The whole time, he expected to see a look f of disgust or awkward atmosphere to haze over the two. Surprisingly, none of those things happened; the blond felt an almost understanding aura come from the teen. Once finished, the oven 'dinged!' signaling the chocolate was finished. He scurried from his chair he slipped on an oven mit, opened the oven, and carefully fished out the tray. He allocated it on the granite counter and just stared at it.
"Izuru, I'm sorry if I pried, I was just curious. Besides, I won't judge you on it. C'mon, let's start shaping them."
Being back in Seireitei felt relaxing; the phrase home sweet home was so true. The vice-captain had finished up his
report, turned them in and even more important, he had the gift for Shuhei ready to go. The only problem now was getting it to him.
'"Thank you for helping me Ichigo, it meant a lot." The lieutenant thanked for the umpteenth time. The substitute smiled.
"I thought I told you it was fine. Besides, you have more important things to worry about." He gestured toward the thin black box.
The blond blushed slightly, "I guess you're right. Thanks for the advice too."
"No problem, I hoped it helps later on."'
Izuru wondered if what he suggested would actually work…
Paperwork was probably the worst thing about being a lieutenant without a captain. At least with a captain by your side, you can split the work, but not without one. Shuhei had been struggling all day to get the giant stack of paperwork done, now, he was almost done. Only a few more sheets to go…
"Lieutenant Shuhei Hisagi, I come bearing a message from Izuru Kira." The messenger announced from outside his office.
'A message from Kira?'
"You may enter." He called.
A neatly folded paper was placed on his desk; the messenger bowed, sliding the door shut quietly. This was strange. Usually, a message would be told, then repeated it when delivered but… Shuhei eyed the paper suspiciously before reaching over and plucked it from the spot. He carefully opened it, and then slowly read its contents.
Meet me by the abandoned bridge in Rukon where we used to hang out. I have something important to tell you. –Izuru
Shuhei's eyes widened immensely upon reading the note. So many things raced in his head as to what his friend wanted to tell him; did he have a disease, or maybe... he couldn't even begin to think what to expect. The vice-captain decided work could wait, especially for something as important as this. But before he was out the door, Rangiku (drunk as always) came out of the blue, staggering to a halt in front of him.
"Shuhei! You gotta *hiccup* come to th' bar! Drinks on the *hiccup* house!" She slurred. Before he can respond, the drunken woman was already dragging him to the bar.
A couple of drinks couldn't hurt, besides, they'd probably help the uneasiness in his stomach.
Izuru was extremely nervous; why he had picked this place he didn't know why. It seemed fit for this type of occasion; it was a special, meaningful place the two had shared before. His body leaned on the railing of the wooden bridge; the air was cold, the water looked cold as well. Winter took so long to vanish, it was only really gone when the month of May was here.
The sky was beginning to darken, a lot. He was sure he had sent the note around noon, and here was, seven hours later, still waiting. From the beginning, he knew; two hours ago, he knew; a few minutes ago, he knew. He knew that Shuhei was not going to come.
How stupid to think that he'd actually show up to something as unimportant as this. His hands gripped the railing until his knuckles were a ghastly white; tears threatened to spill, but no. He would not shed a single tear for something like this.
Suppressing his emotions worked, until anger began seeping through; he took it out on the object nearest to him, which was the gift for Shuhei. With all his strength, Izuru threw the box down into the river. A satisfying splash was heard, but it also caused the blond to realize what he just did; a look of horror spread over his features. Without thinking, he jumped over the railing, into the freezing waters.
Shuhei had been so caught up in the free drinks, he completely forgot about his friend. He became a bit tipsy from the alcohol, so of course the worries from the note were forgotten, but he remembered just before his fourth drink. He hoped that Izuru wasn't mad, but that was stupid, of course he would be mad, it was nearly midnight and the note was handed around noon! Shuhei began to shunpo faster to the destination and in mere seconds, he was there.
Izuru wasn't at the bridge like he stated in the letter, but he could feel his reiatsu very nearby. Concentrate Shuhei, concentrate… He closed his eyes, focusing only on his friend's presence; he was right below him. Eyes snapped open, the vice-captain went below the bridge quickly; he searched the waters frantically, not seeing a body in sight.
He was about to go get help until; a flash of blond caught his attention. And there Izuru was, his body soaked to the skin, splayed over the shore.
"So what you're telling me is that you actually made these by yourself?"
Izuru nodded meekly, "Yeah, they took awhile, but I got them done, can I have them back?" He asked hurriedly.
Shuhei eyed him suspiciously; there was something Izuru wasn't telling him, and he was going to find out what. The box that the blond had nearly killed himself retrieving held a small collection of the human candy 'chocolate'.
They had soaked in the waters, so the shapes had become unnamable, but he didn't want to cause any mental harm to his friend, especially since he was bedridden, with a cold. He handed the box back to him.
He snatched it back; he shifted around on the bed until he was lying on his side, away from Shuhei's eyes. Clutching the container against his chest, he let a few tears fall from his eyes; he was heartbroken. His small morsel for the one he cared deeply for was ruined in the waters. Izuru thought there was nothing left to do until he recalled Ichigo's advice.
'"Me and Rukia rarely spend any time with one another, so it's hard to tell if she really loves me or not. But when our eyes meet, I can see that she feels the same way; I can see the love we hardly ever get to share together. Izuru, if you want to make certain that Shuhei feels the same for you, just stare into his eyes. If you can see someone else there, then you'll know. But if you can see yourself in them, then he does feel the same for you."'
"Shuhei, can you get in the bed too? I'm getting cold." The blond asked quietly. His face was flush, but it was the only way he could tell. \
It seemed that his friend believed he was cold and climbed into the bed next to him; the bed dipped down more with the extra weight added. None of them moved because it felt so awkward between the two. The funny thing was, Izuru really was shivering because he was still recovering from the cold he was in. Two strong arms snaked their way around his waist and was pulled into a warm embrace.
"Sorry if this feels weird, but I'm not about to let you freeze over." Shuhei whispered his breath a little too close to the nape of Izuru's neck. The blond didn't know how to respond so he hummed as an answer.
He had to do this before he fell asleep because he was beginning to feel tired from today's activities. After flipping himself around and pushing Shuhei off so he was lying down on his back, Izuru found himself on top of his friend. He knew he probably looked stupid but he needed to do this, just to be sure.
"Izuru…?" Shuhei questioned. But his voice was not heard, because all the blond was focusing on was Shuhei's eyes. Sure there was confusion in them, but that was soon replaced by a more caring, loving look, and sure enough, Izuru knew that he saw him and him alone.
Unfortunately, he became blissfully aware of what position he was in at the moment, and soon enough he tried to get out of it. But Shuhei had his hands locked on the thin waist, keeping the blond in place. He slowly sat up, their gaze heating up. The blond's eyes became half-lidded as he felt Shuhei's lips just barely graze his; god, he wanted to make the move right then and there but it seemed his partner needed to say something.
"Izuru, was that for me?" The vice-captain gestured toward the black velvet box sitting next to them.
Not finding any words to speak, he nodded.
That's all Shuhei needed to know.
He crushed their lips together in a passion filled kiss; their lips fit perfectly together, as if they were meant to be that way. Izuru let out a small moan, encouraging him to go further because he was enjoying this as much as the blond was. Shuhei slowly sunk back down on the bed so he was again, lying down on his back. His hands roamed the lean body, causing a small moan of approval from his partner.
It was funny how the older so easily accepted the fact that the blond liked him. He had to have felt the same if he didn't push away or did not give any objection. That reassured him all the better. (That AND Shuhei was buzzed. He could taste the alcohol).
Izuru came up for air, his face was flush a dark red, it turned an even darker shade after feeling something hard rub against his groin. That could only mean one thing: Shuhei wasn't planning on stopping unless the younger objected.
No, he wasn't going to say anything of objection; he had been waiting for over half a century, and here the moment was, his moment. Their moment.