Warnings: Wacky humor, mild angst, language, 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...
The next morning dawned through windows only half-covered by the maroon curtains, and Uryuu woke up like someone kicked him. His heart pounded for a couple of seconds, and he had to tell himself where he was and that everything was okay.Chad’s gay.
Uryuu rolled his eyes at his own mind, ever-so-grateful for that reminder. He shifted on the couch and saw that the bed was empty. Uryuu didn’t hear any noise in the loft, and found himself grateful that he was alone. He grimaced a bit at the impressive morning wood between his legs, and tossed back the covers to head to the bathroom so he could sort out bladder and erection and shower.
Yawning, Uryuu rubbed one hand over the back of his neck – a little stiff from sleeping oddly – and casually adjusted himself with the other hand. The pajama pants didn’t do a very decent job of being discreet, and Uryuu made a mental note to find some sweatpants just as the bathroom door opened and Chad stepped out into the loft. His hair was still damp from his shower, and Uryuu could smell soap and toothpaste.
“Morning,” he said, looking at Uryuu with…was that amusement?
“Uh…” Uryuu said intelligently.
Chad’s eyes flicked down and then back up, and the minute movement was not lost on Uryuu. Be cool, be cool…oh, damnit! Why me?!
“Excuse me,” Uryuu said, stepping to one side to indicate he needed the bathroom.
“Breakfast?” Chad asked, not moving.
“Coffee,” Uryuu answered immediately, rather proud that he sounded so normal. Voice might be a little high, and his cheeks might be a bit pink, but otherwise he was the picture of No, This Isn’t My
Cock Straining the Front of My Pants.
Chad didn’t say anything else, and Uryuu managed to step into the bathroom and shut the door with normal force. It was all so stupid, and Uryuu kicked himself good and hard as he went about brushing his teeth and turning on the shower. Both men, old friends, for crying out loud this shouldn’t be so fucking awkward! Was it just Chad’s calm stoicism that made it that way? The embarrassment from last night? The new information regarding Chad’s preferences? Uryuu still felt strange being the only one who knew that bit of insider knowledge. And he felt stranger about how hot it’d been to watch Chad kiss another man.
Dismissing that as hormones and unimportant, Uryuu found he had no idea what one thing was making this uncomfortable. He thought it was some combination of all those factors plus his continual irritation of having to rely on someone else to help him since he was still out of his apartment. He didn’t like being dependent on anyone, and…well…Chad’s gay. AND hot. And this changes the game, now doesn’t it?
With a silent snarl, the Quincy got into the shower and was mostly through shampooing his hair when he realized he didn’t bring any clothing with him into the bathroom.
He cussed through soap suds and wondered if everyone would find this so awful or if it was just him.
That afternoon found Uryuu and Chad at Urahara’s shop with the usual crew: Ichigo, Kon, Orihime, and the kids. Tessai made sandwiches and served them to everyone while Ichigo and Urahara discussed the state of the other worlds. Everything was relatively calm, and Uryuu found himself a little upset about that. A nice crisis would be a blissful reprieve from all the irritation of flooded apartments and his continual embarrassment around Chad.
“Hey Chad – when’s the next gig?” Ichigo asked around a mouthful of food.
Uryuu nibbled on one half of his sandwich and looked at his benefactor, curious himself.
The big man shrugged one shoulder and casually reached over to remove the top piece of bread from the other half of Uryuu’s sandwich.
“Not sure,” Chad said as big fingers carefully removed a slice of tomato and put it on his own plate. Uryuu found himself transfixed by the way the smooth skin on the back of Chad’s hand moved.
“You’ll have to let us know!” Orihime said happily. “Tatsuki and I want to come show our support! And I’d be happy to bring snacks for the band!”
Chad nodded once and his eyes rolled to look at Uryuu as he popped the slice of tomato into his mouth before returning the top piece of bread to its original position. Uryuu met Chad’s gaze and then looked down at his plate, chewing thoughtfully. It was absolutely not the first time Chad had openly stolen tomatoes from him. The Quincy wasn’t crazy about the things, and so Chad usually chose his sandwich or plate to pilfer, which was fine by Uryuu.
But something about the simple, slow act gave Uryuu pause this time. Maybe it was in light of what he now knew of Chad; maybe it was something about the way his friend moved slowly and deliberately as if asking Uryuu’s permission to take his food. Whatever the anomaly, Uryuu found himself wondering if Chad – for lack of a better term – liked him. As more than just a friend or fellow fighter.
It was an easy thing to dismiss or to rationalize away, Uryuu thought as he munched on bread crusts and lost himself down illogical rabbit holes. Chad had never said or done anything to indicate such an interest. He’d been a friend to Uryuu, but no more than he’d been a friend to Ichigo or Orihime or, hell, even Renji or the other Shinigami. Chad was even bloody considerate of Kon for Chrissakes.
Nothing in Chad’s behavior had really changed that Uryuu could tell. Not really. So, Uryuu thought as he nodded at something Ichigo said without taking the time to understand him, if it wasn’t Chad showing interest or changing, did that mean…Uryuu
was the one whose perception was changing? Did he…have feelings for…
No. Of course not. That was just…
“Hey, Quincy!” Ichigo half-yelled, amusement lighting up his voice. “You swallow a bug or something?”
Uryuu blinked and shook his head, realizing that the table was staring at him. “What was that?” he asked, scowling a little at being the center of attention.
Ichigo rolled his eyes and kept talking strategy interspersed with news from Soul Society. Uryuu didn’t really remember the rest of the conversation later, but he did know that somehow he neglected to mention that his apartment was flooded and he was staying with Chad for the time being. It just never came up, and Uryuu didn’t want to appear like he was complaining. That would be…uncool.
Uryuu had no idea how he was going to get everything done. He had a portfolio review in less than a week, three designs to mock up, an exam in the damnable anthropology class he took to fulfill hour requirements, and he just spent four hours in the design building using a sewing machine that made dirt look young.
Add in the emergency meeting at Urahara’s last night to discuss a nasty surge of Hollow activity that had Ichigo away and everyone else on alert, and Uryuu was really and truly exhausted and overwrought.
Throwing his Honda into park, Uryuu got out and grabbed the leather portfolio case from the backseat. None of this would be as problematic if he could work on his own machine back in the comfort of his own apartment. Uryuu’d been at Chad’s for ten days, now, and while the couch was comfortable and there was plenty of space for two people, Uryuu still had difficulties dealing with the impromptu roommate situation.
Ever since what Uryuu thought of as the Morning Wood and Tomatoes Incident, he and Chad kept their distance from one another. Chad seemed occupied with the band – getting ready for another gig - and there was talk of an agent who wanted to pass on a demo to a studio. Everyone was thrilled at that prospect, though Chad remained his usual reserved self as he spoke of the news. Uryuu was relieved that Donovan never reappeared, nor did any other potential make-out candidate. They never spoke of what happened, preferring to keep to their quiet routine of dinner, TV, and sleep when their schedules matched up and allowed it.
Aside from music and his time with Uryuu, Chad appeared to be training and exercising a lot. Not that Uryuu ever actually saw him use the home gym, but Uryuu took it upon himself to do the laundry, and he found plenty of work-out clothing in the sorting.
…he also found more than one pair of black silk boxers, but he tried not to think about that. Laundry was just another way he could repay Chad the favor of letting him stay, and since it looked like his apartment wasn’t going to be ready anytime soon, Uryuu felt a strong need to repay said favor.
Rolling his eyes, Uryuu opened the door the warehouse and trudged up the stairs. First the flood…then the tile…and now, apparently, there was some problem with the seal around the toilet. It had to be repaired in full, and the tile wouldn’t be in for at least another week. Rick and Uryuu were barely civil to one another these days, but Rick did tell him that the building would cover rent for the weeks Uryuu lived elsewhere.
Uryuu didn’t say the, “Damned right you will!” that sprang to mind after Rick told him that, but being polite was getting harder by the day.
Mind whirling with an ever-growing to-do list, Uryuu found the door to the loft unlocked. It was just past eight, so perhaps band practice was canceled for the night. Setting down the portfolio, Uryuu toed off his shoes and noted the bathroom door was closed and that the shower was running.
Well, that explained where Chad was. Uryuu walked over to the kitchen area and contemplated the contents of the fridge. He needed to eat something, and Chad was always hungry. Looking over at the treadmill, Uryuu saw Chad’s Ipod and earphones dangling from the rails. Work out, shower…yeah, Chad would definitely be hungry.
Uryuu found something frozen and quick and began making dinner. After a few minutes, the shower shut off. But Uryuu was mentally going over the mock-ups in his mind and didn’t pay that much attention. He stirred thawing vegetables and it wasn’t until the bathroom door opened that he pulled away from thoughts.
“Hey,” Uryuu said. “Thought I would fix some – “
The Quincy paused at the sight of Chad wearing only a towel. A small towel, at that, though really the man would need a beach blanket for the towel-to-body ratio to work out properly.
“...dinner,” Uryuu finished, looking away. He was not going to think about the way Chad’s hair hung in his eyes and dripped. Nor would he think about the long, muscled expanse of hip and thigh revealed by the towel.
“Smells good,” Chad commented and padded across the loft. The storage options in the space were odd and limited, and Chad kept some of his clothing in a closet at the end of the kitchen. More clothing was in the armoire near the door, and there was another small chest sitting next to the bed.
Chad rummaged in the closet to Uryuu’s left, and the Quincy found himself sneaking glances despite himself. There was surprisingly little body hair to be seen, but Uryuu noted damp, dark curls that started just beneath Chad’s navel and disappeared under the red towel. His legs were covered in soft, brown curls, too – which Uryuu knew, of course – but now he noticed a distinct sock line around both of Chad’s ankles where hair stopped and smooth, tanned skin started. And even though Uryuu had seen them before, the abdominal muscles were sinful, and he rather liked the way they attached to the tendons and muscles of Chad’s back. Everything moved with a fluid synchronicity studied by thousands of artists and now one very distracted Quincy.
The skillet hissed as the vegetables began to stick to the pan, and Uryuu quickly poured in more oil and tossed the food. He felt warm all over and knew it wasn’t just proximity to the damned stove.
“Does this bother you?”
Uryuu looked over at Chad, who now stood facing Uryuu holding the towel closed with one hand and holding a pair of jeans in the other. He shook his head while Uryuu watched and flung back his wet hair. The shock of seeing Chad’s forehead and slicked-back curls left Uryuu a little speechless.Goddamn…when did he get so…tempting?
“N-no,” Uryuu said, knowing that Chad meant his break in the change-in-the-bathroom routine. “It’s your home. You should do what makes you comfortable.” And Uryuu believed that, and hated that he’d obviously interrupted Chad’s daily life.
“Good,” Chad said, sounding somewhat relieved. And he dropped the towel.
Oil splashed out on Uryuu’s hand and he used it as an excuse to hiss and curse, eyes wrenching themselves away from long lines of flesh to focus on a tiny red spot on his own pale skin. Good to know everything’s in bloody proportion.
Uryuu shook his head, firmly focused on the food, and ignored Chad moving in his peripheral vision.
Getting all flustered over a friend’s nudity was not allowed, so Uryuu refused to acknowledge his burning cheeks and attempted to keep his expression neutral.
“Your super called,” Chad said, voice closer. He leaned on the counter and watched Uryuu cook.
“What, called you?” Uryuu asked.
“On the landline.”
“Oh,” Uryuu said. “Right – I forgot. I gave him that number as a backup in case he couldn’t reach my cell.”
“It’s fine,” Chad said with a shrug. “He said they had to move some of your things to storage, and he wondered if you needed anything.”
“Shit,” Uryuu snarled, uncharacteristically rude. He tossed the skillet off the hot eye with a scowl. “When was that?” God but he didn’t want to go back out tonight. He had so much work to do, and things were quickly getting overwhelming. What with the to-do list and school and the nudity and all.
“Earlier,” Chad said vaguely. “I went and picked up some things.”
Uryuu’s head snapped to look at Chad with a small frown. “You what?”
Chad looked down and then gestured across the loft. Uryuu turned and followed the path of Chad’s arm to find two more suitcases, another crate of sewing material, a box of what appeared to be books and various other things, and a sewing machine that now sat on Chad’s desk.
Uryuu stared, dumbfounded.
“I didn’t know what you’d need,” Chad said quietly after a moment.
“My machine,” Uryuu said. Then he laughed a little. “You got my machine!”
Chad stared at Uryuu and then nodded slowly.
The Quincy brought one hand up to cover his grin. This was amazing – life saving, actually. He could get his work done without having to use the damned school equipment, and he could start tonight. That would save time and energy and put off Uryuu’s impending nervous breakdown.
Crossing over to the desk, Uryuu touched the suitcases and then the machine on Chad’s desk. Relief washed warm and welcome over Uryuu, and he sighed.
“Clothes?” he asked, looking back at the suitcases.
“Yeah,” Chad said. “Figured…you know.”
Uryuu nodded, finding it a little funny how he was adopting some of Chad’s speech patterns. But, as long as they understood one another…
The Quincy glanced down in the box of miscellaneous items and saw with no small amount of embarrassment an old, stuffed toy his grandfather made him. It was supposed to be a cat, in theory, but it looked more like a well-loved and long-worn ball of fluff with small black eyes and tail. Uryuu had rescued the animal off the ruined futon upon first arriving at his apartment, and apparently Chad had retrieved it from the windowsill. For slowly solidifying reasons, the fact that Chad saw that and recognized it as important was enough to double the warm feeling circulating in Uryuu’s veins.
“Thanks,” Uryuu said, looking back at Chad, who stood near the couch with his hands in his pockets and body tense. Muscles moved and rippled as he visibly relaxed, and he smiled at the Quincy.
“Looks like I’m moving in!” Uryuu joked, trying to break the tension and ease the flush on his face. Then he realized how that sounded. “Er, I mean…”
“Yeah,” Chad replied smoothly, letting it be just a joke. “Do you need more?”
Uryuu frowned for a second as he interpreted that. “No, I think I have everything I need here.”
Silence swelled and swayed between the two men, and Uryuu finally cleared his throat. “I have a review and need to make mock-ups. This really, really helps. I don’t know how to thank you.” He smiled at Chad, warm and genuine. “You’re a lifesaver off the battlefield too, apparently.”
Chad blushed bright red over tanned cheeks. Uryuu felt no small amount of satisfaction at that, especially since Chad’s bare chest and low-slung jeans were making it difficult to look at him without wandering eyes.
“Dinner?” Chad asked, half turning back toward the kitchen. “I’ll finish. You work.”
Uryuu opened his mouth to argue, but really, he had so much to do. And sometimes being polite meant letting someone else do the work.
“Fine,” he said good-naturedly. “I hope the sound of the machine doesn’t bother you.”
“It won’t,” Chad replied as he reached the stove.
Uryuu snorted a little as he got his portfolio and then began sorting through boxes. Chad’s unwavering surety about what he did and did not like and what he did and did not want was oddly comforting. But how he managed such a keen understanding of self remained a mystery to Uryuu. The Quincy found himself off-balance and more self-conscious than usual as of late, and he tried hard not to think about what that meant. He didn’t want to admit anything to himself just yet, because it would change things. And Uryuu didn’t really like change.
But as the Quincy sorted out fabric, he thought that Chad himself was becoming less and less an enigma as they spent more time together. And that, he thought, was really quite nice, indeed.~*~