———— unless you’re planning to ѕтαy, don’t.
"Ishida’s pretty fit for a nerd. Though he’s kinda small…"
Well golly miss molly you know what’d be really swell for a birthday treat?
A boyfriend who didn’t stab my back.
GIVE YOUR BOYFRIEND A BIRTHDAY KISS
[/Provides Kurosaki with an (early, though substantial) birthday gift.]
I’ll do [ anything ] for the sake of protecting you
If I must become ＥＶＩＬ, this is something I will do.
He knew he should be flattered, but Ichigo could not help but feel wounded at the blatant display of their concern. It was his pride, come to rear its ugly head. A smile, wary but true, curved his lips upwards to mask the hurt. They had all been through so much for his sake; he would not turn them away with an undeserved scowl. But as they shifted from his room back out to the entrance, there was a lingering weight that he could not shake.
“Thanks for coming by, but you guys don’t need to worry.”
Fingers combed through messy tufts of hair. A few more kind exchanges and they would be gone; then could he finally be alone, left to his own thoughts. As rude as it sounded, Ichigo meant it in the nicest way possible. Chad was the first to leave, raising a hand in silent farewell before ducking out the door. He paused on the sidewalk, waiting for Inoue to say her own goodbyes. Warm hearted as she had always been, Inoue left a stock of sweet buns in his cupboards. Yuzu would appreciate them most, and Ichigo made sure to give her a more acceptable smile. She always had an eye out for their group. As she joined Chad beneath the stars, they seemed hesitant to leave. Their eyes cast back inside. Ichigo caught a brief wave, signaling for the others to go on ahead without their Quincy companion.
”What’s up, Ishida? Don’t look so glum. I said I’m fine.”
Truthfully, Ichigo felt as though the other had suffered even more during these last few months. But Ichigo didn’t want to dwell on that. It was a bitter taste to swallow. Instead, he offered soft laughter-fake and hollow. But Ichigo had a sneaky suspicion Ishida knew. He was the most intelligent of the bunch. And his smarts had saved their asses on multiple occasions.
Though not nearly enough—
The moment in which the day’s events drew to a close; tentative footsteps traveled carefully upon the threshold. Try as he might to ignore such obvious factors; both the ones laid out for his eyes to see, and the ones voiced aloud for his senses to hear — it was, unfortunate that the others’ carelessness guided searching thoughts further into the light.
You’re a terrible liar.
Watching as one by one, the individuals whom all but consumed the Kurosaki residence exited in order to depart to their respective housing; it was with each word exchanged, greetings given - that the others’ blatant evasion of the unavoidable truth that only seemed to urge him further into his current state of mind. Judging; albeit silently, as though he hadn’t done that to begin with.
"Don’t flatter yourself, Kurosaki." Finalized speech prompted the archer onwards. Flitted, feathered lashes glided partially against their frames. Allowing his eyes to close momentarily, it’s within this new found obstinacy that he takes this moment to adjust that which lay still upon his nose. Stalling, if only for this moment, frameless lenses glide with each motion of deft fingertips.
Perhaps it’s now or never.
Lips pursing, fingers clenching, a thin line is soon to grace the archer’s features. Gaze returning onto that which stands before him, the subtle smile - the false laughter; though somewhat believable, are annoyingly clear. Waiting for the moment in which the door would close - the barrier shielding them from the outside world; it’s then and only then do reflective lenses gleam - the subtle movement as the teenager’s face turns to guide him prompting such.
"I merely waited to ask you a question. Though it seems your actions alone prove as further evidence towards my assumptions."
[ ɴᴏᴛʜɪɴɢ ]
you do not know of the ｂｕｒｄｅｎ
that lies upon my shoulders;
— nor the ᴘᴀɪɴ
that i carry in my нєαят.
”What the hell, Ishida? I thought we were
"Don’t be ridiculous, Kurosaki.”
If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it.
ɪ’ᴅ ɢᴏ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ɪɴ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄʜᴀɴɢᴇ ɪᴛ,
B̸͚U̢͈̦͕T̷̳ ̴͚̬͚̬̘̙̺I̵͍͙ ̭̼
I don’t「care」what you
【 do】 to mE,
⊰say⊱ to ME,
Just leave ＴＨE Ｍ out of it.
❝The right to choose life or death lies with the victor.
And the victor of this battle
Smoke lifted, coiling in translucent wisps.
The urge to cough teased beneath his breast, tickling smoldered lungs. It was a familiar sensation, years wasted upon the practice were of little benefit. The reason did not require any special knowledge and it wouldn’t be found within the medical texts lining his shelves; it was far too obvious. The air was bad, cooking away the final few years of life. And his organs naturally fought against the carcinogen. Ryuken had little care for the biological impact of his past times-what was the loss of one year, two? He was healthy enough, currently. There were far worse things.
A draft slipped beneath the windowsill, chilled air caressing the nape of his neck. The manor was never easy to keep heated, especially in the winter months. It was far too large, the expansive size holding little-if any-practical use. Despite the discomfort, Ryuken never put forth the effort for extra maintenance. He preferred the cold to heat; found it was easier to sleep at night in a cooler environment. He’d curl in, thick covers pulled close-his body worked to find warmth instead of fueling his thoughts. There were always many of those. A vast portion of his inner musings were traced back to Ryuken’s work; did the described symptoms lead to a clear diagnosis? And the constant updates within the medical field were never ending; though complaints of such were best kept internalized.
But that was not all which plagued his mind.
The manor was quiet, almost disturbingly so. It was an entertaining notion, that one man occupied such a space alone. The servants had long since been dismissed, if not deceased by now. But more importantly Uryu, barely a legal man, supported himself in separate housing. Agreeing to the estrangement was no harder than batting a lash; it wasn’t as though his words would weigh heavy on the ears of his son. Uryu had never listened well, filled to the brim with dreams and fantasies of things far beyond his comprehension. Most would be proud; Ryuken was not. At least, not for any obvious reason. It was no use to save the dead; not when the living possessed a heartbeat. Death was irreversible, unlike the frail threads connecting souls to life.
And Uryu never learned. It was so frustrating. There was only so much Ryuken could do before he was at a loss of patience. Parenting the boy became a waste of time; he seemed set on guiding himself, throwing aside his father’s efforts. Regardless Ryuken could not fully relinquish his grasp, keeping a sharp and covert watch on his son and only child. No doubt the Kurosaki boy had rubbed off a poor influence on Uryu. And Ryuken blamed himself for not having take more precautions. It should have been more obvious that Kurosaki’s children would possess high levels of spiritual pressure, drawing Uryu like a moth to the flame. It had only been a matter of time.
And speak of the devil.
Lips parted, silver tendrils wafting out. His cigarette loosened momentarily between fingers,and Ryuken gave a grunt before putting it out. The impending reishi was unmistakable, but what was the fool doing on home turf? In the clearing smoke, Ryuken waited without moving a muscle. He left the doors unlocked, Uryu would have no issue entering. Had he forgotten an item? Certainly, if proven the case, it was not of any great importance. He had departed long ago. Ryuken inhaled. From her frame on the desk’s outskirts, Kanae’s eyes burned into his skin. But he held stubborn, willing Uryu to come to him.
What an unexpected twist in events
Blunt nails scrape against pale flesh; biting, scratching— digging into skin long-since used to instinctive behaviors. Allowing white fangs to pierce fragile tendons: unexpressed behaviors in the form of thoughts are kept as such: restrained.
Why had he bothered? The more he stood there, still before the very house - not home (no, it could hardly constitute as such) - he had once turned his back to (departed from, abandoned, call it what you will) — the more ridiculous it seemed.
Perhaps desperation, accompanied by an overwhelming sense of uncertainty clouded his judgement, preventing him from thinking clearly. Or maybe he had misunderstood, foolish - as he were so deemed - in thinking Ryuken could possibly harbor any such emotions other than disinterested selfishness. Whatever the case, the moment in which that unmistakable pressure flickered curiously - he understood with it’s settlement that he had not escaped the others’ notice. In fact, had he not known any better - he’d assume the other was bating.
No… It was safe to assume such. For not only was his presence something easily targeted; the fact that Ryuken remained as he were - immobile and seemingly disinterested: it only seemed to further urge the hand forward, tipping fuel into the fire.
Certainly, he was frustrating.
An exhale. Lips parting effortlessly as the silence surrounds him, their sudden release enables harsh breaths to flow from their captive.
And there’s a pause.
The moment in which deft fingertips extend, reaching up to adjust straying lenses which glide down the bridge of his nose; he falters.
A sudden wariness boils deep within the pit of his stomach. Manicured brows furrow - creasing in pulling towards one another. A certain pink slip - though nearly unnoticeable, flutters briefly with autumn’s breath as it glides from the mailbox. Allowing his arm to extend in response to such - the object is captured: grasped, held between fingertips as optics scan textiles.
For heavens sake—
Of course. Feeling a vein pulsate - threatening to burst; his temple aches with an oncoming headache as those same fingers constrict. Crumpling the very paper unintentionally at best, cerulean depths slide to a close in their impending frustration.
Of course. Leave it to Ryuken to disregard all responsibilities known to man. Something so simple such as checking one’s mail should be anything but a foreign concept - though clearly, it’s not. Biting back sarcastic comments, it’s all too clear that Ryuken’s teasing game is not based upon superiority and inferiority; but general lack of knowledge. Had he kept up to speed with social aspects as any regular human being would - he would have noticed the growing pile of mail. The increasing weight of packages. And, eventually, the slip of paper indicating Uryu’s obvious return to the homestretch. Though he had not.
Teeth grinding in response to such, his mind willing him to turn back - to leave - he refrains. Opening his eyes and glancing forward, it’s with boiled determination does he raise an arm tediously and press knuckles to flecks. Forcing himself upright and his posture to stiffen; it’s in allowing himself to succumb to such innocent actions does he push himself. Harder.
Only Ryuken could be this dense.