1. Alarm Clock
Byakuya never thought of himself as a man who would enjoy being pushed down by other men. But that was until Kurosaki Ichigo shoved his palms against Byakuya’s shoulders and pinned him down to the soft mattress. Warm lips and teeth proceeded to attack his throat with a passion, and heat skittered down his spine and devolved his voice into something that better resembled a moan more than a protest.
His own hands were no less busy, sliding up under a sweater to splay his fingers over the warm, taut muscles of Ichigo’s abdomen. A knee nudged between Byakuya’s legs, applying a wonderful pressure to the arousal building in his groin. He throbbed within the confines of his uncomfortable clothing. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to the garb of the living world. It was so… constrictive.
Byakuya slid a hand up Ichigo’s chest, finding a nipple in his quest and brushing his fingers across the pebbled nub. The sudden intake of breath was his reward, and he just knew Ichigo’s cheeks were flushing an alluring scarlet.
Ichigo’s lips wandered from Byakuya’s throat back to his lips, the kiss hungry and consuming. Byakuya wasn’t surprised. Privacy for the two of them was incredibly rare, making time for intimacy without chance of interruption even rarer.
Ichigo’s hands slid from pinning Byakuya down, one shifting for balance to the mattress as the other nudged between their bodies, heading with intent for the button and zipper of Byakuya’s uncomfortable jeans. He pushed his hip upward and encouraged Ichigo to continue on his lusty path.
And then a shrill, ear-splitting noise rang through the silence, loud enough to rattle in Byakuya’s ears with startling volume. Ichigo rolled off him in an instant, body springing into a defensive position. The captain himself was barely saved from an embarrassing show of startlement, instantly shooting into a sitting position as his fingers twitched toward the gikongan.
Only there was nothing to attack. At least, there was no one.
Byakuya felt his eyes narrow into very annoyed slits as his lover’s face flushed with mortification and not arousal. Ichigo shifted awkwardly as he reached past Byakuya for the jangling object on his bedside table. Seconds later, the shrill noise ended and bathed the room in blessed silence.
“Eh… sorry.” Ichigo winced. “Must’ve set that to PM rather than AM this morning. Heh.” He rubbed the back of his head, the perfect picture of apologetic mortification.
Byakuya resisted the childish urge to roll his eyes. “Are there any other loud surprises in waiting?”
“Not that I know of,” Ichigo said, voice lowering at the end.
And just like that, a switch was flipped. His eyes were impossibly dark as they looked at Byakuya. For his part, the captain wasn’t immune to the look cast his direction, and he felt his body heat once more.
“Back to business?”
There really was little reason to protest.
2. Barrier Device
Byakuya stared. And stared. And stared some more.
The red on Ichigo’s face spread from his cheeks across the bridge of his nose to the tips of his ears. This blush was in complete contrast to the scowl of embarrassment that twisted Ichigo’s lips as he dangled the foil packet in front of his lover.
“A condom,” Ichigo repeated. His eyes skittered away as he obviously struggled to finds words. “It’s… uh… for protection. From, ya know, pregnancy and AIDs and shit.”
Byakuya blinked. “Pregnancy,” he repeated flatly. “Ichigo… is there something you’re not telling me?”
He didn’t think it was possible for Ichigo’s face to become any redder. However, judging from the purplish hue it had taken on, Byakuya was wrong.
“I don’t…. I’m not… Gah!” Ichigo threw up his hands, and the foil-wrapped packet went flying into the air and flittered softly to the floor. “Bastard, you know good and well what I meant.”
Casting an askance look at the fallen object, Byakuya’s brows attempted to mate with his hairline. “How else do you expect me to respond when you say something so ridiculous? I fail to see how we need to attempt to prevent pregnancy in this particular situation.”
Ichigo seemed on the verge of another explosive outburst. But then, he suddenly cocked his head and narrowed his eyes.
“Wait a minute, can Shinigami even get diseases.”
Byakuya sniffed disdainfully. “Not your human diseases.”
“Hmm.” A peculiar gleam rang in the Vizard’s eyes. “You know what, forget the condom. We don’t need it.”
Then, he pounced.
They hit the bed with a grunt on Byakuya’s part and a surprised yelp on Ichigo’s as one of his legs missed the mattress and went skittering out to the side. The captain allowed the indignity of the tackle to fall by the wayside since his lover was no longer thrusting square packages in his direction. And when Ichigo’s hand crept toward a small packet plainly labeled personal lubricant all thought of protest vanished as well.
Finally, something that made sense.
Ichigo was flushed and hot, eyes dark and drugged with pleasure. His hands fisted in Byakuya’s collared shirt, dragging him closer and closer for each soul-stealing kiss. Byakuya groaned into his mouth and tasted Ichigo on his tongue. He grinded against his lover, who was trapped between himself and the impossible to move door.
“It’s locked,” Ichigo explained in between kisses. His teeth took a nibbling path over a pale collarbone as his hips twitched in Byakuya’s hands, which held him in place for a sensual grind.
Heat worked its way through Byakuya’s groin, doing a perfect job of firing all synapses and blinding the rest of him. Normally capable of rational thought in any situation, Byakuya suddenly found himself inept in comprehending the words.
“Locked?” Byakuya repeated and slid one hand around to mold his fingers around the curve of Ichigo’s backside.
Ichigo really did have a nice behind. Especially when he wore these particular pants, a pair of form-fitting so-called jeans. And not even Byakuya was sure how Ichigo had gotten into them. Not that it mattered. He was more concerned with the method of extracting Ichigo from them.
“With a key,” Ichigo elaborated and gasped as Byakuya bit gently on his ear before tickling the underside with his tongue.
“A key,” Byakuya parroted and pushed Ichigo up against the door. An answering hardness met his own with delightful aftereffects that shuddered up and down Byakuya’s spine.
A bed would be good right now. Not that it was necessary, just nice. Though really, if he wanted, Byakuya could use a wall or this convenient door right here.
“The key in my back pocket,” Ichigo continued, and there was a bit of a growl to his voice. A rather sexy growl actually, one that just made Byakuya harden further in the confines of his slacks. Made him mouth more at Ichigo’s throat.
Groping fingers discovered that there was indeed something in Ichigo’s back pocket. It was thin, flat, and hard. It did not, however, feel like a key.
Byakuya ignored the piece of plastic and concentrated on what was really important: a flushing, squirming, aroused Vizard trapped between him and the door.
“The key?” Ichigo prompted.
“There is no key,” Byakuya countered.
“What the--” Ichigo made a frustrated sound with his mouth as he knocked his head back against the door. “Yes, there is. In my pocket. Get it.”
Ichigo obviously didn’t have his full mental capacity. There was no key. Just a piece of plastic.
Byakuya ignored him, returning to what was more important. Sliding his hand under the clinging fabric of Ichigo’s shirt and getting better acquainted with his flat, muscled abdomen. Ichigo’s skin was hot, thinly bathed with sweat. Little urgent noises built in his throat. Byakuya understood all too well, his own need becoming rather impressive.
And then, Ichigo shoved an elbow between them, working a hand free to reach into his own pocket and remove said piece of plastic. Byakuya watched as Ichigo jammed the square into a slot on the door, causing it to beep obnoxiously before a light turned green. The door clicked open.
“That does not look like a key,” Byakuya retorted, refusing to admit defeat.
Rolling his eyes, Ichigo grabbed the captain by the collar and dragged him into the hotel room. The door slammed shut behind them.
Byakuya nodded absently, thumbing through one of many magazines that was scattered over the Kurosaki coffee table. Most of them seemed to be focused on Home Economics, which baffled Byakuya. As far as he could tell, only Yuzu-chan seemed interested in such things. There were also the requisite publications on a sport called football as well as several well-thumbed copies of Shonen Jump.
“Coke, all right?”
“Anything is fine,” Byakuya answered the voice from the kitchen. He frowned as an article on “How Best to Please Your Man” popped up at him from a magazine titled Cosmopolitan. It seemed to be filled with nothing but pointless drivel about hair styling products and tips for sexual intercourse.
His lover wandered back into the living room, attracting Byakuya’s attention because it was hard to ignore someone like Kurosaki Ichigo. Especially since he still leaked reiatsu everywhere he went despite stringent lessons from Unohana-taichou and practically tasted of power. It helped that Ichigo was ruggedly handsome, well-built, with a scowl that seemed built to charm rather than to frighten.
An oval-shaped thing was thrown his direction, and Byakuya’s senses were too well-tuned to ignore the flying object. He easily caught the metal cylinder, blinking as it felt incredibly cold against his fingers. There was colorful writing printed all over the side, most notably reading Coca-Cola with a white and red flourish.
Byakuya turned it over and over as Ichigo flopped down on the couch next to him, noisily slurping from his own container with the same markings. The older man’s cylinder, however, had yet to open of its own accord. He frowned, abandoning his magazine in an attempt to ponder this mystery. Obviously, one had to discover the secret of the contraption before being allowed to consume this concoction.
“Need some help?” Ichigo asked with amusement coloring his tone.
Byakuya shot his younger lover a glare, refusing to allow the heat threatening to stain his cheeks. “No,” he said stubbornly. “I will solve this device. I simply need another moment to consider it.”
Ichigo made a noise of agreement in his throat but waved for him to continue. Byakuya turned the cylinder in all directions, examining it from every angle. There was a strangely shaped marking on one end of it, raised from the metallic surface. And condensation was gathering on the outside, making it quite slippery to grasp. There was no knob, no button, no latch…
Byakuya grew frustrated.
Suddenly, the cylinder was plucked from his hand.
“You know,” Ichigo commented as he curled the tip of one finger beneath the raised piece of metal and pulled on it; a loud pop filled the room. “For all that you and Rukia aren’t blood related, you two sure are a lot alike.”
He handed Byakuya back his drink without any flourish, the sound of fizzing and popping accompanying it. The captain frowned at the dark, bubbling liquid. He wasn’t even sure it was safe to drink. The last thing he’d seen bubble like that had been in Urahara’s lab, and it had exploded.
Ichigo rolled his eyes. “Just try it. You might even like it.”
“It doesn’t look healthy.”
The Vizard shrugged. “It’s carbonated sugar. What do you expect?” He grinned. “It won’t kill you at least.”
That was a small comfort.
Byakuya considered setting it aside rather than take the risk. But the look in Ichigo’s eyes was half-dare, taunting him for being alarmed by a small cylinder can that could possibly have the ability to explode.
Byakuya was not afraid. He was cautious. There was a difference. Besides, he was a high noble of Seireitei’s court. He could not be goaded like some juvenile into doing--
“You’re not even gonna try it, are you?”
“I am,” Byakuya insisted and then scowled when he realized he had fallen into Ichigo’s trap. He noted as the Vizard smirked at him, watching and waiting.
Byakuya’s scowl deepened as he looked at the cylinder of “Coca-Cola” which was quite possibly poison of some kind.
“Wait, Kurosaki Ichigo. I will be finished in a moment.”
The Vizard blinked, taking the last stair and stepping into the main room, wondering what the hell Byakuya was doing that had him so distracted. Swiping a towel over his head, Ichigo left it dangling around his neck as he rounded the corner and stopped dead at the sight before him.
Byakuya was sitting on the couch in front of the television. Not altogether unusual as the Kuchiki noble had grown quite interested in all that the device had to offer him. However, it was Byakuya’s choice in programming that had Ichigo baffled.
Was he… was he watching Days Go By? The most insipid, tawdry, shallow soap opera that television had to offer?
Ichigo wondered if this was what it felt like for his jaw to hit the floor.
“What… what are you doing?” Ichigo demanded, gaping in the face of sheer what the fuckery that seemed to have invaded his home.
“Hush,” Byakuya put in without turning around, eyes glued to the screen. He was even pitched forward, elbows on his knees. As though he didn’t dare miss a startling second of the vivacious redhead’s poorly acted moment of epiphany.
Byakuya reached forward, grabbed the remote, and hit the volume higher. Well, he certainly learned how to use that pretty quickly now, hadn’t he?
The wails of the redhead onscreen seemed to echo around the room as she threw herself into the arms of her lover – ahem, lovers as in plural it seemed –and bawled her eyes out. And in the background, a mournful mix of piano and violin played today’s choice in romantic music.
There was a sniffle.
It did not come from Ichigo. If it had, it would’ve been a cry of pure distress over being forced to watch that utter garbage.
Ichigo looked at Byakuya. Fierce proud noble of the Kuchiki. Feared bearer of Senbonzakura, whose stare was cold enough to rival Hyourinmaru on the scale of frostiness.
And… and … was there a sheen in those grey eyes?
“Are you… are you crying?” Ichigo demanded, fingers coiling around his towel in abject disbelief.
Byakuya squared his jaw. He threw Ichigo one of those famous and feared glares.
“It was a very emotional moment,” he retorted, adding a haughty sniff and prissy swing of his hair as if that would make Ichigo believe him more rather than less.
“Riiiiiiiight.” Ichigo smirked, dragging out the word. “I’m sure the redhead was really broken up with finding herself the focus of two attractive males.”
“It wasn’t like that.” Byakuya puffed all up, like one of those rabid fangirls who thought her favorite character was the next thing to god. “Suzume did not wish to choose between Kazaya and Tomohiro. She loves them both dearly and so was courting both at the same time. They are rich, powerful, attractive; it’s easy to see why she couldn’t choose. And then, when they discovered the truth about each other…”
Byakuya was talking. But all Ichigo could hear was “blah, blah, blah.” He couldn’t even be sure when he started tuning the captain out.
Though to be fair, Byakuya was rather cute like this. Less stick-up-the-ass noble and more calm and relaxed regular guy who happened to love television. That was normal… Right? Okay, so maybe getting obsessed about sports was more the status quo, but Ichigo was willing to concede the difference of worlds here. Byakuya wouldn’t know anything about football if it reached up and bit him on the ass.
Now there was an image.
Smirking to himself, Ichigo made appropriate listening noises and sunk down into the couch. He could at least pretend to listen, if only to sit here and watch Byakuya being cute for a little while longer. It was such a rare occurrence, and Ichigo loved to indulge.
Besides, it’d give him great ammo to supply Renji with later.
6. Public Transportation
“We could just shunpo,” Byakuya suggested.
Ichigo sighed. His eyebrow twitched.
“No, we can’t. Then we’d have to leave the gigai here,” he pointed out logically.
Byakuya felt himself nearly fidget as he looked between his lover and the crowded, smelly, tight quarters of the thing Ichigo had called a bus. He could hear the noise from here, and the poison the thing belched from its end did not endear him to the process in any way.
“It doesn’t look safe,” Byakuya insisted dubiously, resisting the urge to edge away from the hideous contraption that made more noise than one of Kurotsuchi’s less than successful experiments.
“Safer than engaging in battle against an Espada,” Ichigo said. And before Byakuya could offer anther protest, he grabbed the Kuchiki heir by the elbow and pulled him toward the rickety contraption. “Come on. Or we’re going to miss the movie.”
This so-called movie was another concept that Byakuya wasn’t yet sold on. He liked the television well enough, and Ichigo reassured him that the movie was the same thing, only longer and larger. It was the prospect of public, crowd, and noise that didn’t appeal to him. He’d much prefer a quiet evening spent in the privacy of Ichigo’s home. There were things Byakuya couldn’t do in public and openly grope his lover was one of them.
It would have been undignified, however, to resist Ichigo’s request, and Byakuya allowed himself to be hauled onto the contraption. He found he hated the experience immediately, a wash of smell and noise flooding his senses. Byakuya frowned, staring at his grimy surroundings with distaste, even as Ichigo tugged him toward an open seat. Byakuya couldn’t decide which was worse. Sitting down or standing up and holding on to the pole that was covered in questionable stains.
Byakuya wasn’t given a choice in the matter. Ichigo sat and all but yanked the captain down into sitting beside him. Annoyed, Byakuya treated Ichigo to his most disdainful sniff and shifted around until he was touching as little of the seat as possible.
Ichigo smirked. “It’s not that bad, your highness,” he commented as the bus lurched into motion, nearly throwing Byakuya from his precarious perch. “This is how normal people travel.”
Refraining from commenting, Byakuya tried his best to ignore the situation. Even if that disturbing creature across the way kept looking at him as though Byakuya were today’s tasty treat. And the little girl on his other side kept reaching for his shirt with candy-coated fingers. And the woman on Ichigo’s far side kept looking at the Vizard with a predatory gleam in her eyes.
But then, Ichigo leaned against him, all warm and smelling of a spicy-sweet cologne. His thigh pressed against Byakuya’s leg. His arm was a noticeable presence jammed between their bodies, reiatsu quietly entwining with Byakuya’s own.
It was actually rather… nice. Perhaps the idea of public transportation wasn’t so bad after all.
Ichigo woke suddenly to the feeling of ice cold toes on the back of his calf and a wash of chilly air floating over his uncovered upper body. He sighed, flinching away from the freezing feet that were inching their way toward the warmth of his body, and blindly reached a hand behind him. He grasped for some of the thick comforter that was supposed to cover his bed and then some.
Grabbing hold of the thick cotton, Ichigo tugged and was met with a low growl, one that he wasn’t entirely sure was completely conscious. The Vizard blinked into the darkness, giving the comforter another tug, just to be sure.
Another growl echoed low in the room.
Ichigo sighed again, let go, and rolled over. His eyes caught the dim shape of Byakuya, completely cocooned within most of the blankets and dead to the world. Except for his feet, which kept pushing toward Ichigo in a desperate bid for warmth.
“Oi,” Ichigo interjected, wondering if poking the sleeping noble would be anything like poking a sleeping dragon. “Greedy Kuchiki, mind sharing a little?”
No answer. He honestly didn’t expect one. Byakuya, like most Shinigami, had battle instincts that would wake him on a hair trigger at the slightest inkling of danger. However, Ichigo’s presence didn’t even blip on his radar these days, and Byakuya had given himself over to the concept of peace. The ability to sleep deeply had accompanied it.
Either that or he was faking. Ichigo couldn’t be sure which.
Rolling his eyes, he decided it was in his best interest not to poke the sleeping Kuchiki and nudged closer to the source of warmth in his bed. Byakuya didn’t seem to mind as it gave him perfect opportunity to tangle those icy feet with Ichigo’s legs.
Dark, soft hair tickled at Ichigo’s nose as he pressed closer, unashamedly stealing of Byakuya’s warmth. He wondered if this were the Kuchiki heir’s unconscious way to encourage cuddling, something Byakuya would not admit to desiring in their waking hours. The idea of it was amusing and just a bit cute.
But seriously, who would have ever guessed that Kuchiki Byakuya was a cover hog?
* * *