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This Charming Man: -4- In Repair

 Can I just say how much I'm enjoying writing this fic? Because I am. A lot.
Oh!! And now, you can find me on FF.net!! I am http://www.fanfiction.net/~jazztrousers.

Shuhei marched purposefully towards his friend's office, hands clenched in fists by his sides. I don't care if he says no. I don't care if he tells me to get lost, I just need to see him, see his face, make sure he's alright. Kurosaki Ichigo had just returned to the world of the living, and the Soul Society was in tatters. Three of its captains had defected- including Shuhei's. But that wasn't what concerned him right now. Because one of them had been Kira's, too, and he knew how Kira bent over backwards to please this man he so admired, time and time again. The betrayal of Ichimaru Gin seemed so much crueller, somehow.

Finally he arrived and knocked on the wooden door. "Kira."

There was no reply from inside, but he felt the less-than-steady thrum of the other's reiatsu from within the office. Shuhei took a deep breath, and entered.

Kira was sitting at his desk, head cushioned on a stack of yellow, stained papers. Tears. Sake. He was fast asleep. He looks so young, Shuhei mused. He gently cleared his throat, and the blonde lieutenant sat upright in his seat, startled by the small noise.

"Hisagi-san! I'm sorry, I must have—"

"It's fine." Shuhei rested a hand on his hip and gazed appraisingly at his friend. Go on. Just ask him. He needs this. "I came to ask if you wanted to come for a drink, but…" he eyed the empty glass bottle on its side, on the floor, next to the desk. "…How about a bite to eat? Might make you feel a bit better." He rounded off with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

Kira blinked in surprise at the invitation, and for a few seconds looked like he was going to decline. I'm busy. I have a lot of work to do. Sorry, Hisagi-san. Just like every time before. But there was something in his dark eyes that looked… beaten. Defeated.

"U-um… Yes." He nodded, voice faltering ever so slightly. "I'd like that."

The raven-haired shinigami was altogether stunned at the ease with which his plan had worked. Maybe Kira really was desperate for a friend right now. Hell, Shuhei was. The betrayal had hurt so many people, in so many ways. It had shaken the very foundations of their beliefs. So, maybe it wasn't such a shock that Kira understood the value of those left behind sticking together.
 
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Over dinner, Kira was largely silent. Shuhei did his best to keep the conversation flowing, the other just stared down at the table and picked at his bento, nodding every now and again or mumbling, really, oh, I see.

"Renji seems to be a lot better. He thinks he should be able to return to his duties in about a week or so." Shuhei volunteered.

Kira nodded and gingerly nibbled some rice. "That's good. I'm glad Abarai-kun is doing well." His reply was flat and irritatingly similar to all of his previous ones. The older of the two found himself clenching his chopsticks and inwardly getting annoyed. I'm trying to cheer you up, you miserable bastard. My captain left too, you know. Why don't you show a little courage and hold your head up instead of moping all the fucking time, geez…

As if he could hear what Shuhei was thinking, the blonde piped up shakily, "Thank you for inviting me over to your barracks, Hisagi-san. It's nice of you to try and cheer me up like this."

His annoyance receded like a gentle wave and suddenly Shuhei felt guilty for having such unkind thoughts towards his friend. You're here because he's having a hard time, he just isn't covering it up and lying like you are. His whole world just fell apart, and you're expecting him to be entertaining dinner company? You asshole. You're supposed to be there for him no matter what- he's your best friend.

"Y-yeah… Well, I'm your sempai. I've gotta look out for you, and Renji…" He frowned a little as he neared the end of his sentence. "…and… M-Momo…."

At the very mention of her name, Kira's head fell into his hands and his shoulders began to tremble.

"H-Hinamori-kun…."

Immediately the tattooed shinigami reached across the low table to comfort his friend, stroking and squeezing his bicep.

"H-hey, don't get upset, it's not your fault she got hurt! If she were awake, she'd tell you not to blame yourself. It was that traitorous fuck Aizen that put her in the Fourth Division, and it was Ichimaru that lied to you and made you—"

At this, Kira began to sob in earnest. Stop making it worse, you fucking dolt! You're supposed to be cheering him up, not making him cry!

Shuhei shuffled round the edge of the kotatsu table and slid an arm around the crying lieutenant's shoulders, speaking softly to him as he sat by his side.

"Hey, it's alright. Nobody blames you. You did the best you could, we all did, but in the end, we were deceived. We couldn't have questioned our orders, we could have died…"

Kira looked up at him, eyes red and streaming, but with venom in his voice.

"It never even occurred to me to question my orders… I'm so pathetic, I just went along with everything he said… Maybe if I wasn't so weak and spineless, he wouldn't have—"

"Stop talking like that." Shuhei tightened his grip around the smaller man. "You're not pathetic and there was nothing you could have done to stop him, even though you're an excellent lieutenant. If you'd tried to stand up to him, he wouldn't have thought twice about killing you, or anyone else that got in his way. You know that."

Kira nodded. "I g-guess…"

A small voice in the back of the brunette's mind whispered, I'm glad. I'm glad you're still alive, Kira.

"Good. Now quit crying and finish your bento."
 
**************************************************
 
By the time they were done eating, it was dark out. Shuhei decided he'd walk Kira back to his barracks, for no real reason other than he didn't especially like hanging around his own at the moment. The expectant looks from his subordinates, the whispered questions, they were stressing him out in ways he just didn't want to deal with. It was too dark, and too painful. He didn't know if Tousen-taicho was coming back or not. No-one did, and he was nervous of the new-found responsibility that had been foisted onto him. He'd effectively been made acting captain overnight. It was bittersweet, to say the least. And terrifying.

"Hisagi-san… I'm probably going to go and visit Hinamori-kun in Squad 4 tomorrow. You'd be… very welcome to join me. I'm sure she'd appreciate it, too. Maybe…" Kira mumbled this last part, sadness and guilt written throughout his expression.

Shuhei nodded stoically. "Yeah, I'll come. Thanks."

There was silence between them for a few moments, and then, before he could stop himself, before he even knew it had happened, Shuhei was hugging Kira. Squashing that unhappy face into his hard chest, desperately trying to transmit some positive feelings into the smaller man by osmosis, somehow, as if it could seep through his skin and warm his fragile, tired bones.

Kira tensed in his upperclassman's arms momentarily, before relaxing into the embrace, and loosely winding his slender arms around Shuhei's waist.

"….Missed you, buddy." The brunette mumbled against his shoulder.

He felt Kira nod against his collarbone, and then a muffled "I missed you too."

After a few more seconds, they parted awkwardly, and stood, staring away from the other. Shuhei cleared his throat nervously, and muttered a farewell before turning and leaving quickly. But not quickly enough to avoid noticing the pink flush that inexplicably decorated the bridge of Kira's nose and pale cheeks. No matter how hard Shuhei shook his head on his way home, he could not dislodge that image from his mind. Whatever it was that the two shared, it was getting harder and harder to just brush aside.
 
 
Next chapter, confession tiiiiime~!! Hopefully. If my muse suddenly dies on me, I will be mega-pissed.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ichibanseiken
May. 16th, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
Ooh, nice. I like the way Shuuhei recognizes the importance to stick together for those who were left behind, and the way you portray Kira's and Shuuhei's different ways of coping with the situation and expressing their feelings, if at all.
jazz_trousers
May. 16th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Thanks~! Every time two good looking men who are struggling with their feelings towards the other share an awkward hug, an angel gets its wings.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )