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...
“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” Uryuu asked, taking off his glasses and pressing the back of his wrist to his forehead.
“Your bathtub went through the floor,” Rick said again, somewhat patiently and with a tiny hint of amusement. “It landed on top of a generator in the basement. Quite the mess.”
“And how, exactly, did that happen?”
“Weakened floor. Poor construction. Floor wasn’t meant to carry the weight of a solid porcelain tub, and they didn’t think about that when they updated these apartments with fancier fixings.”
“…but it’s a floor
,” Uryuu said uncomprehendingly. “You walk
on it. How could a…but…I mean…?”
Rick chuckled. “Believe me, son: I understand. The crew I’ve got working on your place is starting to circulate rumors that the building’s jinxed. And while we’re on the subject of good news: the tile came in.”
“Well, that’s something,” Uryuu said, putting his glasses back on.
“Oh, it’s something all right,” Rick said, sounding highly amused. “It’s something bright bloody pink.”
“What?” Uryuu deadpanned.
“Wrong tile. The entire pallet was the wrong damned tile. I mean, at some point, kid, you just got to laugh at the situation because there’s nothing else to do.”
Uryuu refrained from commenting on that.
“’cause now we have wrong tile, a hole in the floor, a crushed generator, and flying pigs.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Rick sighed. “Nothing. Just a joke, kid. Look: we have to completely rebuild the bathroom, reorder tile, and I don’t even want to tell you when it’ll be done because I can’t make a guess anymore. Sometime between now and Christmas.”
Uryuu sighed. “I trust the building will cover the rent?”
“Oh yeah, we’ll cover it. And there’s a check waiting for you at the front office to cover the cost of damages to your personal possessions. I’m just happy we got most of that stuff out of here and into storage before the floor collapsed.”
“Truly,” Uryuu agreed.
“Well, I have to go. The contractor’s calling me on the other line. Probably going to tell me the ceiling just caved in or maybe they found buried treasure in the damned closet wall. I’ll keep you updated on progress.”
“Thank you,” Uryuu said, resigned.
Rick hung up and the Quincy set the handset down on the shelves under the windows of Chad’s apartment.
It was official: Uryuu was never going home.
Resting his forehead against the glass, Uryuu sighed. It was Saturday morning, and the sun gleamed on the water of the river next to the warehouse. On the other side of the glimmering flow was a little park, and Uryuu could see mothers with their children and couples walking dogs. It was nice to see such simple happiness; it took Uryuu’s mind off Rick’s words and made him feel a little less helpless.
Next Tuesday would mark an entire month of Uryuu living with Chad, and while his friend showed no sign of being annoyed with that arrangement, Uryuu lived day to day waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Everything was so damned complicated and yet so amazingly simple. Living in the loft with Chad allowed the Quincy freedom to keep his schedule as he liked, work on school projects, use Chad’s treadmill when he felt a little cagey, and generally live as he would alone.
Except, of course, that Chad was there, too, like a semi-pleasant weight in the back of Uryuu’s mind. He would go along and sort of forget that he was imposing on his friend only to be reminded of it when he was changing for bed, (which Uryuu still did in the bathroom despite the fact that Chad dropped the pretense entirely and often walked around completely nude. Uryuu had nearly sewn his fingers together on more than one occasion because of that little distraction) or cooking dinner or some other random moment. Such times made Uryuu distinctly uncomfortable and guilty because Chad seemed affected by them, too. When the Quincy got nervous or uneasy, Chad echoed those emotions with tensing shoulders and shifty glances before he left to go practice in the warehouse and leave Uryuu alone in his discomfort.
But other than those few hiccoughs, Chad seemed content with their living arrangement. He never complained, often told Uryuu that he could manage dinner or laundry or the cleaning so that the Quincy could focus on schoolwork, and he genuinely didn’t seem to mind the long hours spent just watching TV or reading on the couch. Uryuu was getting very good at understanding Chad’s subtle tells to indicate mood, and he knew that Chad was comfortable and only occasionally on edge.
And God, but those edgy moments were aggravating. Sometimes they came out of the blue without rhyme or reason. But sometimes they followed an accidental touch or similar awkward moment. And every time such an event happened and Chad would get that look
– like he was holding back, just barely containing something, trying to keep his mouth shut or hands to himself – Uryuu would be thrown into a whirlwind of trying to figure out what he felt and then second-guessing what his friend may or may not feel.
Because goodness knew Chad didn’t talk
about such things.
Uryuu scowled, stalked over to the desk, and sat. He picked up a pencil and mindlessly traced lines on his sketchpad. It wasn’t like he was any better about voicing what he felt, and Uryuu knew that. But at least he would let a compliment slip on occasion or sometimes purposefully say something that could be taken two ways.
But Chad never said anything.
And that meant Uryuu spent far too much time weighing and calculating his actions. For instance: was it a sign of something more than friendship that Chad kept bringing things from Uryuu’s apartment back to the loft? At first glance, the answer was, “Yes.” However: Chad drove a truck, had more free time than Uryuu, could lift much heavier things, and none of the items were frivolous. Chad brought Uryuu his desk chair after the Quincy commented that Chad’s sat too low to the ground to work with the sewing machine. And he went by and found two bolts of fabric in the storage building the day after Uryuu mentioned he might need the cloth for a school project.
Again – perhaps these actions could mean more, but then Orihime would call and ask Chad to come over just to try a bite of a new recipe, and off Chad went like it wasn’t a big deal to drive across town for a nibble of food. So Uryuu would reset the scale and start all over.
Letting go of a little groan, Uryuu put his head down on his sketchbook. It would be so much nicer if Chad would just tell him: “I don’t have Donovan or any other man over or go out because I want to kiss you
.” Or maybe, “Yes, I’m just as aware as you are that I sit a little too close on the couch when we watch TV because I want to pull you to me and hold you while Adam and Jamie work out fact from fiction on Mythbusters
“Never going to happen,” Uryuu muttered, and he damned his own hesitation for the millionth time. But he just couldn’t make the first move on a friend. Not when he was still unsure; Uryuu just didn’t have that sort of confidence in the dating realm. Or the physical realm, for that matter. And it didn’t help that about the time that he was desperate enough to do something
, his mind would start making a list of things that supported and denied that Chad might return Uryuu’s desires, and well…
It rendered the Quincy frustrated and unable to act.
And so here he was: stuck in living-in-the-loft limbo and continually trying to put all that shit out of his mind so he could focus on his work and training and trying not to set Chad on edge. Uryuu was still here by Chad’s good graces, after all, regardless of his hypothetical ulterior motives.
The door to the apartment opened, and immediately Uryuu sat up and started sketching. Chad didn’t say anything – but that wasn’t unusual. Instead, Uryuu tracked the familiar noises of Chad’s shoes hitting the floor and then his footsteps heading to the bathroom. Probably going to take a shower. Chad bathed an inordinate amount, the Quincy noticed.
Sighing a little, Uryuu went back to work. Chad and his band had a gig tonight, and Uryuu and the usual cast of suspects were supposed to go and show support. Uryuu looked forward to it, actually: he liked watching Chad play and often wished the man would practice in the loft instead of down in the warehouse. He lacked the confidence to ask Chad to change his routine, however, so he contented himself with going to the shows.
But he needed to get some things done if he was going to take a night off for the gig. The portfolio review had gone very well, and he was clear to start putting his pieces into production as part of the final exam in his design class. It was a lot of work, but manageable.
Ten minutes later the landline began to ring. Uryuu looked up but didn’t move to answer it; Chad often ignored calls to the apartment phone as they were sales calls. And despite the weeks of living with Chad, Uryuu was still fairly sure their friends were unaware of their arrangement. He didn’t know why, exactly, he felt the need to keep that on the down low, but there it was.
The answering machine near Chad’s bed picked up after the fifth ring.
“Yo – pick up the damned phone ya overgrown bastard!” a familiar, growling voice called through the speaker of the little machine. The loft tended to carry sound, and Renji’s words were shockingly loud. Uryuu kept tracing a line on a piece of fabric.
There was a sigh over the speaker. “Aw, fine. Yer probably gettin’ ready for the gig tonight, huh? Bet yer gonna spend an extra twenty minutes pickin’ out the right shirt that might finally hook ‘im in, huh?”
Uryuu blinked and stopped working.
Renji rumbled a laugh and when he next spoke, his voice was mocking and high. “Oh, Chad – you look so handsome
in that floral pattern! I could just eat you alive!”
Okay…this was just strange. And entertaining. Uryuu spun a little in his chair to face the phone and behind him, the shower turned off.
“Well,” Renji continued, dropping his voice to a bad impersonation of a bass rumble. “Why don’t ya get down on your knees and show me a good time, bitch. I been waitin’ for yer pretty mouth ‘round my ginormous cock for years, my pretty, pretty Quincy.”
Uryuu’s mouth fell open and he sat frozen with one hand in the air like he wanted to ask a question, eyes wide.
!” Renji’s voice went high again, and from behind Uryuu there came a loud thud. The Quincy turned just in time to see Chad throw open the bathroom door and brace himself in the doorway, eyes crazed and chest heaving. He wasn’t dry, and his jeans were spotty and damp over wet skin. He looked absolutely and completely panicked.
“I’ll suck ya sooo good, baby,” Renji continued and then made a terrifically obscene slurping noise.
Chad made a sound – sort of a growling yell from behind closed lips – and then he bolted from the bathroom door toward the back of the loft. Uryuu blinked as he watched 250 pounds of muscle and force barrel across the hardwood and run smack into the chair near the TV like he didn’t even see the piece of furniture in his way. Chad went flying and tumbling, and Uryuu stood up with one hand out, a warning caught in his throat.
“Tell me how ya like it, ya big, strong, manly man.”
“Goddamnit, Renji!” Chad bellowed, and Uryuu took a step back in shock. He watched as Chad got himself upright and left the chair askew. He staggered in a fast dance, hit a lamp, knocked it over with a brutal clang of metal to hardwood, and then scrambled with hands and feet in an odd crawl past Uryuu and to the curtain around the bed.
It only took seconds, but the entire scene played out in slow motion in the Quincy’s sights.
“I like it with you wearin’ that sweet little outfit a’yers and yer tongue on the underside of my dick, pretty boy. I got a thing for mixin’ my religions. You should see my collection of sacred relics sometime – it’s under my…bed
.” Renji’s voice paused to emphasize the word. “Next to the fuckin’ knitting needles.”Oh…my…God…
Uryuu’s hand covered his mouth as he watched Chad trip and nearly rip the curtains down from their racks. Then he paused – the phone wasn’t on the cradle. The little bit of rationale Uryuu had left told him that he should tell Chad to unplug the machine, but the words just wouldn’t untangle from his tongue.
“Where’s the phone?” Chad cried, voice loud.
“Bookshelves!” Uryuu called back, pointing and starting toward the handset himself. Chad’s insane panic was infectious, and Uryuu’s heart pounded in his chest.
“…wear that white thing with the collar and cape…maybe tell me to repent…yeah baby.” Renji made moaning noises interspersed with grunts. “Just like that! Make Daddy beg for it!”
Chad beat Uryuu by a mile and grabbed the phone to click it on, panting.
“Hey!” Renji’s voice said cheerfully from the machine. “Ya are there!”
Uryuu flew toward the offending machine, and Chad didn’t say a word as the Quincy’s fingers found the power cord and ripped it out of the wall hard enough to make the plastic whipcrack against the nightstand.
“I’m going to kill you,” Chad threatened in a half-growl into the phone and then hung up.
For a very long, tense moment, the only sound in the loft was fast, harsh breathing. Uryuu gripped the nightstand, back to Chad. His mind went completely blank and then in a few heartbeats was so full of questions and conclusions and jumbled reactions that he felt a little like screaming.
Footsteps behind Uryuu made him turn, and he saw Chad throw open the closet near the kitchen and grab a shirt. The Quincy was plenty perceptive enough to see that the trembling of shoulders was in sheer rage covering embarrassment, and Uryuu had absolutely no idea what to say or do. He crossed his arms and just watched Chad jerk on clothing.
“He teases me,” Chad said, voice deceptively calm as he spun and stalked toward the door. Uryuu followed feeling like he was swimming in the wake of Chad’s barely-contained fury.
“Chad-“ Uryuu started.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Chad nearly snarled as he yanked on his shoes. Uryuu had never seen him like this. He was anything but sure-and-steady Chad at the moment; he looked stripped and naked even fully dressed, and it made Uryuu ache all over.
“You need to work. I’ve got the gig.” Chad grabbed his bass from near the door and slung it over his shoulder without looking back at Uryuu.
“Later,” Chad said and threw open the door and then slammed it as he left.
“…angry,” Uryuu finished, one hand outstretched and reaching toward Chad as he stood amidst the chaos of spilled secrets.~*~
Uryuu didn’t go to the gig. It killed him a little to lie to Orihime and tell her he was sick, but he didn’t want to be there when Chad got on stage. Tonight was important: the agent from the label thinking about putting out A Lovely Death’s album would be there. Uryuu didn’t like the idea of Chad seeing Uryuu in the crowd, getting upset, and doing anything less than his best. The band was important to Chad, even though he didn’t say it. And as Uryuu sat sewing fabric together, he realized Chad didn’t need to say much at all for Uryuu to understand him these days.
So the Quincy also understood when Chad didn’t come home that night. Uryuu sat on the couch for a solid hour staring down at his cell phone and contemplating whether or not he should text Chad. “Are you okay?” seemed too nebulous. “I’m not upset” seemed too specific. “Let me know you’re safe” seemed like he was nagging. And “Should I leave?” hurt too much.
In the end, Uryuu went to sleep at three in the morning and woke up when the sunlight shone too brightly through the open curtains. Chad usually closed them before he went to sleep, and Uryuu forgot to do so. He immediately checked his phone and saw one text from Ichigo – “Show rocked; you should have been here.” – and then went about making coffee and breakfast. He made enough food for two, and then quietly put it in the fridge when Chad still didn’t show.
The day stretched long and awful in front of Uryuu, and he found that he didn’t need time to think anymore. He knew exactly how he felt: worried and completely sure he had feelings for Chad. Rather strong ones, actually. And now that he suspected Chad returned them – because no way would he have been so upset if the teasing was unfounded – he could only wait for his friend to get back. It felt like the only thing to do, and so the Quincy went about the business of waiting. He finished six outfits, studied, and ate lunch. He looked out the window and watched kids play in the park. He cleaned the bathroom, watched TV, and did anything and everything he could do to distract himself.
Late afternoon found Uryuu staring at Chad’s bed.
“This is so, so wrong,” the Quincy said to himself in the silence of the apartment. His voice sounded odd from disuse and he swallowed.
After looking to triple-check that the door was locked, Uryuu carefully pulled back the sheer privacy curtain and kneeled down next to the bed. Renji’s words kept playing in his brain like some horrible song on repeat, and curiosity and need were overwhelming Uryuu’s senses of politeness and discretion. Hours spent alone and waiting had weakened Uryuu’s resolve as to how much he actually understood Chad. It was like he needed…one final piece of evidence – just one. And then finally – finally – it would tip the scales and Uryuu would know for certain.
Bending down slowly and nervously, Uryuu peered under the bed. Sure enough – there was a long, low, wide crate hidden in the shadows made by the box springs. Uryuu had to lie down on his stomach and slide half under the mattress to reach the thing, but eventually his fingers found a grip and he pulled the container out into the open. It was black, plastic, and completely nondescript.
Biting his lip and cheeks flushed a dark red, Uryuu carefully pressed his fingers under the lid and popped it off the crate. With a deep breath, he removed the lid and gasped a little at the contents.
“I got a thing for mixin’ my religions. You should see my collection of sacred relics sometime – it’s under my…bed…next to the fuckin’ knitting needles.”
It was…an odd mix. Anal beads, vibrator still in a box, a few battered copies of BL books, two batteries, and a few other toys that made Uryuu’s eyebrows meet his hairline.Clamps…cockrings…right.
But even though the toys were a little surprising – Chad just didn’t seem like the type who would…well, whatever – they weren’t half as shocking as some of the other items.
For example: one of Uryuu’s old capes lay neatly folded and stained with blood in the corner of the crate. He hadn’t worn that style in years, and he had no idea how Chad got his hands on that one. Uryuu’s fingertips brushed the fabric almost reverently before snatching his hand away like the cloth burned him.
There were other magazines and books in the crate, too, and those were far less innocent than a Boy Love book or three. Uryuu knew the porn industry prided itself on being simultaneously appealing to the masses and to niche markets, but until that moment he had no idea that one such niche market was for men who enjoyed…well…priests. Or religious men in general, it seemed.
Uryuu refrained from opening any of those magazines, but he did stare at one cover that showed a man dressed in blue-trimmed white robes holding a whip standing defiantly over a prostrated, naked man. It was insane in its kink, yes, but the outfit the religious man wore looked disturbingly like some in the Quincy’s own closet.
Uryuu’s heart thudded in his chest and ears, and he found himself extremely thirsty.
Pushing aside the magazine with a careful finger, Uryuu made a soft noise of shock as he uncovered possibly the most random find yet: Needlepoint for Dummies.
Uryuu blinked at the garish, yellow book and then saw there were a couple other reference books on sewing and knitting as well. They didn’t look well-used. Almost like they were bought and read once for…research.
Or because Chad felt he needed to educate himself with the passions of his long-term crush.
That thought swirled and floated and then landed with a heavy thud in Uryuu’s mind. He looked at the cape, the books, and the porn and tried to make sense of it; to categorize it. Then he pushed aside a reference manual on cross-stitching and found what he thought at first was a rosary.
But it wasn’t: it was a Quincy cross. Not the type that would call forth bows or power, but rather the quieter type his family used for meditation and reminder of their path. The thing was bent a little on one end, and Uryuu thought it looked like strong hands had tried to remold it back to its original form. Uryuu stared at that piece of himself lying on the bottom of the crate for a very long time.
Then he put everything back in order, snapped the lid back onto the box, and slid it across the hardwood and dust bunnies to its home beneath the bed.
It took a while for Uryuu to get up, pull the curtain back into place, and then walk over to collapse into the big chair that Uryuu had righted after Chad left yesterday. The box was all the damning and incriminating evidence he could possibly need. But what was both amazing and utterly terrifying was that said evidence did much, much more than confirm Chad might like him.
No, that box spoke of carefully-protected and long-guarded…love. Obsession, maybe. But the fact that Chad had never once in many years ever said or done anything to reveal such a strong tie to his friend and teammate made Uryuu feel that love was more appropriate than anything semi-dirty or dark like obsession or fixation.
Sighing, Uryuu leaned back in the big chair and stared at the exposed pipe work in the ceiling.
And he sat that way for a long while, eventually dozing off as he waited for Chad to come home and back to him.~*~