Rating: PG for language here, NC-17 for romantic smut later.
Warnings: Wacky humor, mild angst, M/M explicit sex later. Minor references to moderate kink. This story is set in the future and has elements of A/U.
When Ishida's apartment becomes unlivable, he turns to his friend Chad for a place to crash. And Ishida discovers many new and exciting things about his strong, silent friend...
Ishida Uryuu stood in the middle of his one-bedroom apartment with arms crossed and brows knitted together in carefully controlled fury.
“Huh,” said the building super as he hitched up his belt. “Looks like a leak, all right.”
Uryuu shifted his weight and the carpet made a wet, squelching noise beneath his sneakers. He refrained from commenting on the other man’s astute powers of observation.
“Started in the bathroom?” asked the super, making a soggy path over to Uryuu’s small table, which was currently sitting up on blocks of wood to keep it off the carpet.
“Yes,” Uryuu said evenly. He’d explained all this in his initial, frantic phone call and really didn’t enjoy repeating himself. Coming home to find water running from beneath his apartment door did bad things to the Quincy’s patience.
“Huh,” the super – Rick – said again. He flipped up a piece of paper on a clipboard and scribbled something. “Well,” he said after a second or two. “That’s no good.”
Scowling darkly, Uryuu rather thought he’d like to introduce this man to a few spirit arrows and see how “no good” that little scenario might be.
“Did it mess up anything of yours?” Rick asked, looking over at the vibrating Uryuu. The Quincy blinked and pushed his glasses up on his nose.
“You mean other than my futon, furniture, a box of books, a collection of manga, and several towels?” Uryuu pretended to consider. “No. Nothing comes to mind.”
Rick pursed his lips. “Huh,” he said.
Uryuu wanted to punch him.
“Well, we’ll cover the damages and reimburse you for the lost property.”
“Now, look, kid, it’s not my fault that your sink sprung a leak. I’m just happy you’re on the ground floor. Otherwise it could have leaked down into other apartments.”
“Oh yes,” Uryuu said, shifting his weight again and ignoring the moisture seeping into his Nikes. “I’d hate to inconvenience another tenant with my little monsoon.”
“I’m sure,” Rick replied dryly. Then he sighed. “Look, you probably already figured this out, but you can’t stay here for the next few days. We can’t technically force you out, but you won’t want to be here while we try to fix this. Got to rip up carpet, put down fans to dry things out, make sure the sub floor gets good and dry so mold doesn’t grow…” He paused to rub the back of his neck. “Might have to tear up the tile in the bathroom, too. How long were you gone before you found the leak?”
“Nine hours,” Uryuu said bitterly. Enough time to attend his classes, study at the library, run to the grocery, and then come home to find his apartment completely unlivable. The sack of groceries sat on the counter in the kitchen, and no doubt the ice cream was melted.
Rick whistled. “Yeah…tile’ll have to come up.” He eyed the young man. “You got family in town? Friends?”
“Friends,” Uryuu answered immediately. In a flash of bitterness, he thought his father’s solution to this would be to set him up a room in the hospital. Cozy thought.
“I’d call one of them and just leave this. We’ll dry everything out that we can, get it cleaned up.” Rick picked up his clipboard and squished over to Uryuu to have him sign the top copy. “I’ll call you as soon as it’s livable.”
Uryuu signed his name in a scrawl with the super’s pen. “Do you have a guess as to how long that will be?”
“Probably a week or so.”
With a sigh, Uryuu clicked the pen and handed it and the clipboard over. He was really, really pissed about the books and the manga. But truly happy he kept all his sewing supplies in plastic containers on the top shelf of a closet. Being a design major specializing in costuming and fashion would be a tad difficult without his collection of fabric and materials. Not to mention his design books and sketches…
“I’ll leave you to it, then. Got to go make some calls – and for what it’s worth, I am sorry.”
“Thank you,” Uryuu managed, turning to head into the bedroom to fetch a suitcase.
Rick left and Uryuu slid open a closet door and stared at his Samsonite for a long moment.
Who in the hell was he going to call?
Ichigo was out. His apartment was like a Shinigami train station – even after all the years of whining about it.
Orihime didn’t have the room. She and Tatsuki lived in a little place barely large enough for the two of them and between Orihime’s cooking supplies and Tatsuki’s training equipment…Well, there just wasn’t a lot of extra space.
Not to mention that while Uryuu loved Orihime, the thought of staying a week with her, the cooking, and the love-struck looks between his friend and her girlfriend left him a little ill.
No way in hell was he calling Urahara. Oh fuck no.
And that left Uryuu with exactly one option: Chad.
With a massive sigh, Uryuu dragged out his suitcase and opened it up. It wasn’t that Uryuu didn’t like or trust Chad: quite the opposite. They’d been to hell and back again – sometimes quite literally – many times. Chad was a trustworthy man, a kind person, and someone whom the Quincy wanted at his back in a fight.
But despite all the years of fighting side-by-side, all the drinking games with Renji and Shuuhei, all the strategy sessions in Urahara’s shop, and everything in between…Chad remained an enigma.
Carefully folding a shirt, Uryuu thought about what he knew of Chad. His real name was Sado, but he seemed to almost prefer Chad, now. Mixed heritage. Bad temper calmed by a fierce, determined, stubbornness and loyalty to a good cause. Hit like a wrecking ball. Liked bad Hawaiian patterns despite the Quincy’s attempts to convince him they were hideous. Uryuu could count on Chad to eat any and all tomatoes off his salad or sandwiches – the man had a real soft spot for them. And he tended to chew on peppermints because he didn’t like gum and apparently the big man was fixated on nice breath.
And last but not least, Uryuu thought as he folded a pair of jeans, Chad was the bass guitarist in the band A Lovely Death. Their recent run of successful gigs allowed him to move into a new place across town. The band was good – Uryuu and the rest of the gang regularly went to their shows – and definitely deserved their fan base and success.
But somewhere between the love of tomatoes and floral patterns and the strum of the guitar, Uryuu still felt a little lost when it came to Chad. Ichigo wore his heart on his sleeve. Orihime confided in the Quincy and often told him too much. Hell, he even knew Renji well in comparison to the big, quiet man.
Which led to the next question: would Chad welcome such an intrusion as a Quincy on the couch? Just until his apartment managed to drain?
“Of course he’ll let me stay,” Uryuu chided himself out loud over the squish of his footsteps back into the living room and kitchen. He left his cell phone on the counter next to the ruined groceries. “I’m his friend, and he’s…nice.”
It occurred to Uryuu at that moment that for all he knew, Chad could host orgies in his home every Saturday night when he wasn’t called away by band practice or a Hollow emergency and none of his friends would be the damned wiser.
And then it occurred to him that he was being ridiculous and he dialed Chad’s number.
“Hello,” Chad’s deep voice said pleasantly after the third ring. The lack of question at the end of the greeting made Uryuu smile a little despite the damp smell beginning to emanate from the carpet.
“Good evening,” Uryuu replied, feeling oddly compelled to be formal since he was going to ask a favor. “Is this a bad time?”
“…right. Ah, well, I have a bit of a problem, and I thought-“
“What’s wrong?” Chad’s voice took on a few notes of concern.
“Oh! Nothing serious!”
Around Uryuu, the apartment dripped in its wet and unhappy chaos.
“Well, not too serious,” Uryuu amended. “There’s no death involved or Hollows or-“
“Uryuu?” Chad interrupted.
The Quincy coughed. God but he hated asking for help. “My apartment flooded. Apparently there was a leak under the sink in the bathroom, and I was gone all day so the water managed to make a lake in my absence.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Uryuu picked at the corner of the soggy grocery bag.
“And the super says it’ll take a week or so to get it back in order. They need to place fans and dry out the-“
“You can stay with me.” Calm, even, perhaps a little relieved it was nothing more serious.
“I can?” Uryuu said disbelievingly before he could stop himself.
“Yes.” Patient, decisive.
“Oh.” He rather thought it would take more convincing for whatever reason. “It’s for a week, so the super tells me. And I’ll need to bring some supplies for school…or I can leave them in my car and just take out what I – “
“It’s fine,” Chad said and Uryuu heard a dull noise in the background. Maybe a door opening?
“I really appreciate it,” Uryuu said with a sigh of relief.
“Do you need help with your things?” Chad asked, voice a little distant from the phone.
“No,” Uryuu replied, shaking his head even though Chad couldn’t see him. “I’ve got a suitcase, and I can manage the other things.”
“Then you’ll be here soon?” He sounded slightly worried by that.
“Is that a problem? I can always go to the library on campus and kill some-“
“It’s not a problem. I’ll text you the address and see you soon.” Chad hung up.
The Quincy blinked and then clicked his phone shut. A second later, a text came through with an address and no other message attached.
Well, that was a little abrupt. And maybe a little strange. But then again, it was Chad: direct, polite, and mysterious.
It was going to make for an interesting roommate situation.
Uryuu killed the engine of his Honda and thought this had to be a mistake.
“You have arrived at your destination,” said Garmin.
“I’ve arrived at a destination…not sure if it’s the destination,” the Quincy grumbled, turning off the GPS.
The warehouse overlooked the river, and it wasn’t in the best part of town. Not the worst – but certainly not the best. There was a large apartment building across the street, and Uryuu thought maybe that was the right place as opposed to the large, black, imposing structure in front of his car.
Then again, there was much talk about redoing various sections of the city in an effort to improve the overall standard of living. Uryuu looked at his phone one more time to quadruple-check the street number, and he confirmed that it did, indeed, match up to the shiny numerals near the only door he could see.
Getting out of the car, Uryuu smelled curry and saw that there was an Indian restaurant on the ground level of the apartment building across the street. People sat outside in a little, fenced-in terrace, and seeing people eat and laugh relieved Uryuu’s worries somewhat about the part of town.
Uryuu left his belongings in the car for the time being and walked to the door to try the knob. There was no intercom or anything else indicating that this was a residence, but the door opened when Uryuu tried it.
Inside was a short hallway that ended in a metal staircase leading up. To the right was another door, presumably to the inside of the warehouse, itself. Letting the door to the outside close on its own, Uryuu quickly walked up the stairs, his weight making the metal creak as he went.
The stairs opened onto another hallway, this one wider and wrapped around to run along the length of the warehouse. Doors with silver numbers on them stood at uneven intervals, and Uryuu checked his phone again and began to look for number eleven.
Two silver ones marked the last door on the long hallway, and Uryuu knocked to discover the door was metal. The sound clanged and the Quincy’s shoulders rode up a little higher at the noise.
For a few seconds, nothing happened. And then the door yanked open to reveal Chad in all his gigantic glory. He wore a red and blue Hawaiian shirt with only two buttons done, an old pair of jeans with the knees ripped, no shoes, and a small smile.
“Hey,” he said, stepping back to let Uryuu inside.
Nodding, Uryuu walked into the apartment and found himself pleasantly surprised.
The loft was spacious – at least twice the size of Uryuu’s place – and the floors were a warm hardwood that looked nice with the stark-white walls. Directly across from the door leading inside was a closet with a sliding door. A coat rack sat to the door’s right, next to it was a rather nice armoire, and the rest of the loft opened up beyond the front wall, the ceiling easily twelve feet tall and open to expose ductwork.
There was another door to Uryuu’s right that he assumed was the bathroom. Running along the wall beyond the closed-in space for bathing was a kitchen of sorts: stove, sink, pantry, and storage all in a single line. There was a small table and two chairs in front of the line of appliances. A couch, TV, and giant chair sat in the middle of the room on a rug, and as Uryuu walked further inside, he saw that behind the supporting wall with the entry closet sat a desk with a laptop perched on top. In the very back of the apartment on the right was a treadmill, a set of weights, and a long row of half-sized bookshelves beneath a bank of windows that spanned the entire back side of the apartment. The shelves were full of books and movies and CDs, and the windows were covered in actual curtains, most of them drawn back currently.
But what interested the Quincy the most was the far left back corner. The entire space was occupied by a massive – simply massive – bed set on a diagonal from the corner. A wrought-iron headboard full of curls and swirls marked the head of the thing, and it must have weighed several hundred pounds. Surrounding the bed on two sides were gauzy, privacy curtains that hung down from tracks embedded in the ceiling.
The curtains were deep maroon, the rumpled bedspread matched, the gauzy things around the bed were paler versions of the curtains, and most of the furniture was also a deep, dark red.
It was, in a word, unexpected.
Not that Uryuu had any idea what he did expect. But this just wasn’t it.
While the smaller man gaped, Chad closed the door and wandered over to stand next to Uryuu with his hands in his pockets. It was then that Uryuu noticed that the couch – also oversized, but then, that made sense: Chad was not a small man – was made up with extra pillows and blankets.
“Do you have your stuff?” Chad asked.
“This is really nice,” Uryuu blurted and cursed to himself as he felt his cheeks tinge pink.
Chad didn’t seem to notice or be upset by the shocked tone in Uryuu’s voice. “Thanks,” he said, looking down at his feet. “Rent’s cheap and fixed.” He shrugged.
Uryuu looked down at his own feet, frowning at himself.
Cool, Ishida. Very suave.
Uryuu cleared his throat. “Thank you for letting me stay.”
“Need to get my suitcase,” Uryuu said, turning.
“I can get it,” Chad said, heading toward the door with long strides. “Did you park out front?”
“Yeah, but you don’t have to-“
“Keys?” Chad asked as he slipped on his shoes, cutting Uryuu off again. With a small frown, Uryuu dug out his key and tossed it to Chad who caught it without effort.
“Need to move it to the fenced-in lot on the side. Be back.”
And Chad left Uryuu standing in the loft. For a second, he felt exposed and misplaced: like he was definitely intruding no matter what Chad said.
“He said it was fine,” Uryuu muttered, turning to walk over to the couch for lack of anything else to do. He observed the folded blankets and thought the entire place was neat and orderly – another surprise. Not that Chad really struck him as the messy sort, but he was so careless about his appearance…strange clothes, hair that was forever too long…Uryuu assumed that the apartment might reflect the same carelessness.
But, in fact, the only sign of disorder was the massive bed which wasn’t made. From where he stood in front of the couch, Uryuu could easily see through the gauzy curtains and it looked like a herd of elephants had thrashed around on the mattress for a while. In addition to the other surprises of the evening, it appeared that Chad slept with his bass. The guitar lay on top of a sheet that’d been yanked off the bottom corner of the bed.
The door opening made Uryuu jump. Chad walked in carrying the suitcase in one hand and both containers of sewing materials stacked on one shoulder.
“Oh…” Uryuu said, moving to help. But Chad just set everything down like it didn’t bother him in the slightest.
Sometimes it was easy to forget the man could probably bench press a Buick.
“Thanks,” the Quincy said awkwardly, grabbing the suitcase handle. “I’ll be out to class and the like most of the time.”
“I’m glad you’re here,” Chad said simply, walking across the apartment toward the bed. He flicked the curtain back and grabbed his guitar.
“You are?” Uryuu asked absently, watching the big man grab a guitar case from behind the bed and pack the bass away.
“Sure,” Chad said. “We’re friends.” He snapped the case closed and looked at Uryuu. “Nice to have friends around.”
Uryuu smiled and nodded, thankful that Chad was being so gracious about this. For whatever reason, Uryuu felt bloody awkward and he appreciated Chad trying to make it easier.
“I’ve got practice,” Chad explained, slinging the case’s strap over his shoulder. “We play down in the warehouse. Place is pretty soundproofed, and the landlord likes to come listen.” Chad paused and smoothed one hand down the back of his hair. “If you need anything, that’s where I’ll be.”
“Thanks,” Uryuu said immediately.
Chad just nodded once and walked by Uryuu on his way to the door. “Oh,” he said, one hand on the doorknob. “Extra key’s in the drawer in the kitchen.” Chad pointed vaguely to the appliance-and-fridge section of the loft.
“Thanks,” Uryuu said again, thinking he must have said that word more times today than he had in the last week.
“Sure.” Chad left.
Uryuu blew out a puff of air and pushed his glasses up his nose. It’d been a long time since he’d shared space with anyone, and he found he was nervous about it. And about bothering Chad – which seemed slightly insane as to anyone’s knowledge there were very few things that actually bothered Chad. And most of them were the kind of bothers you killed.
But it was only a week, and really the place was nice. Uryuu would be his usual polite self and be gone most of the time, and Chad could remain of few words and many secrets and things would be…Nearly normal.