charmedfears: (ichi ishi grrr)
[personal profile] charmedfears
Title: Anatomy & Physiology
Author: [ profile] sainnis
Series: Bleach
Pairing: Ishida Uryuu/Kurosaki Ichigo
Rating: Mostly R with a dash of NC-17
Warnings: Contains angst, fluff, action, blood, language, domesticity, h/c, and pre-med jargon.
Word Count: 13,261
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite, who also has amazing taste in modern acrylic furniture. All characters depicted in sexual situations in this post/fanfiction/fanart (including material in the comments) are fictional and are intended to be and considered to be by the author of said material of the legal age of consent in the United States state of California, regardless of what age these characters may be in the material they are derived from.

Summary: AU Collegefic, but with a nod to recent canon events (i.e. Fullbring arc). Uryuu reluctantly takes on Ichigo as a roommate for one semester while they both take Anatomy and Physiology I.
Notes: This fic is for [ profile] kiyala who writes beautifully and is fun to squee with over I/I. The prompt she gave me was jealousy. I never took so much as one bio class in college, so all medical facts are very suspect.

Unit 6: Digestion
The often unpleasant feeling of hunger originates from the hypothalamus releasing hormones that target receptors in the liver. Although a healthy, well-nourished individual can survive for weeks without food intake, the sensation of hunger typically manifests after only a few hours without eating and is generally considered to be unpleasant.

Uryuu limped for a few days after the attack, but Ichigo was relieved to find that by the time a week passed, he was moving with the same ease he always did. Ikkaku had done a marvelous job with patrolling during their midterms week, and he’d had even managed to convince Yumichika to come with him. They didn’t report any sightings of the spined Hollows, much to Ikkaku’s dismay.

Ichigo almost asked Ikkaku for another week, but he decided against it. Uryuu insisted he was feeling fine, and Ichigo didn’t want to press the issue. His roommate had been acting strange lately—or at least stranger than usual—and any attempts on Ichigo’s part to talk to him was met by curt responses.

Lecture today had been rough; the professor gave a pop quiz, and while Ichigo was pretty certain he’d done well since he had actually gotten through all the reading last night, he knew that Uryuu would be unbearable tonight. It was bad enough they hadn’t gotten their midterm grades in yet, but not having that pop quiz grade would be enough to push him round the bend.

Ichigo gathered up all his books, slinging his backpack over his shoulder as he crossed the room to find Uryuu. The professor had changed up their lab partners recently after giving them a big research assignment, and to Ichigo’s dismay, she put them both with other students. Ichigo had been matched with some scrawny boy named Hoshu; it wasn’t all bad, since Hoshu’s grades were good, but the kid smelled weird and had a nervous habit of picking his teeth.

Ichigo approached Uryuu, who stood talking with his lab partner. The guy’s name was Fuyu, and Ichigo didn’t know him very well, except that the guy was on the fencing team.

“Ishida, you heading back to the apartment?”

“Yeah.” Uryuu gave Fuyu a wave, and then followed after Ichigo.

“God, lecture sucked today,” Ichigo said, pressing his hand over his stomach. “And I’m freaking starving. Do we have anything to eat for dinner?”

Uryuu looked up, startled. “What?”

“I said I’m starving. What do we have to eat?”

“I don’t know.” Uryuu picked up the pace, walking home even faster.

“What’s the hurry?”

“Nothing, I just want to get home. It’s chilly out.”

“Okay, but don’t you think that we should stop at the market? I ate all the shrimp and I don’t think we have much left in the fridge for supper.”

“Why don’t you go and get what you want? It’s your turn to buy anyway.”

“You don’t want to come with?” Uryuu was usually so particular about what kinds of food they needed to have around that it was rare Ichigo would go without him.

“No, I have a lot to do tonight. Going to the library. Probably be there until late. Just eat without me.”


“Sorry. I ‘ve got to run! So much to do. You know. Studying.” Uryuu gave him a wave, and then took off, heading back to the apartment.

Ichigo shook his head, watching him go. Something was definitely up with Uryuu, but he didn’t know what. Ever since the attack, he’d been a little more distant, and if possible, a little quieter. He holed up in his room, typing on his laptop endlessly, and when he was around, he was glued to his phone, checking it all the time. At first he thought it was because Uryuu was still recovering from his injuries, but he’d caught a glimpse of Uryuu’s arm and saw the marks were completely gone.

He thought about heading over to the market, but then remembered he had a few cans of soup left, and probably some stale crackers. Replacing Uryuu’s ruined shoes had been an unintended expense, and he didn’t have a lot left in his budget for food this week. Soup would be fine. He headed back to the apartment, and took the stairs up to their floor.

He came around the corner and nearly collided with someone, and was shocked to find it was Uryuu.

Uryuu was dressed impeccably in tight black jeans and a fitted gray button-down shirt, his silver Quincy bracelet catching the light at his wrist. He had his soft woolen peacoat in one hand and his phone in the other.

“Kurosaki,” he said, surprised.

“I thought you were going to the library,” Ichigo said, confused.

Uryuu exhaled, and then pressed his lips together. “Look. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but I’m going out for dinner with Fuyu.”

“Oh.” Ichigo was surprised at how quietly his voice came out. “Yeah.”

“I didn’t know how you’d take it, so I didn’t want to say anything.” Uryuu looked a bit nervous, and it made Ichigo’s stomach clench.

“It’s fine, Ishida. Seriously. Just go and have fun. You look really—“ amazing beautiful hot gorgeous fantastic handsome incredible like everything I ever wanted “nice.” Ichigo took a step back, giving him room to pass. “Listen, I can handle patrol tonight. Don’t give it a second thought.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“No, really. I’ve got it.”

Uryuu’s phone buzzed, and he glanced at the screen. “I’m sorry, I have to go.”

“You go. Have fun.” Uryuu nodded, already texting as he headed down the stairs.

Ichigo opened the door to the apartment, and then closed it behind him, leaning on it for support. “Fuck.” He pushed himself away from the door, dropping his things on the floor. “No, Ishida, just go and have fun. Have fun with Fuyu the fencer. Have a great time. Have a fabulous night with someone who doesn’t know what you are or how you kill Hollows in your spare time. Enjoy your evening with someone who didn’t just fucking save your life.” He pressed his hands over his eyes, trying to stop the pressure building inside his head. This wasn’t supposed to be like this. Ishida wasn’t supposed to like anyone. Ishida said the only thing he had time for was school. He wasn’t supposed to have dinner with some stupid fencer from Anatomy lab.

He wasn’t hungry anymore. Ichigo stalked into his room, pulling out his Shinigami badge. He watched his physical body sway, falling onto the bed as it did nearly every night. He held tight to his zanpaktou, enjoying the bite of the handle against his palm. There was only one good way to deal with this, and that was killing as many Hollows as possible. He headed out onto the balcony and looked out over the twilit city for a moment before jumping out into the sky.

Unit 7: Respiration
Unconsciously, breathing is controlled by specialized centers in the brainstem, which automatically regulate the rate and depth of breathing depending on the body’s needs at any time.

Dinner, by all accounts, was going very well. Uryuu didn’t have much to compare it to, since dating had never been very high on his priority list, but Fuyu seemed cheerful enough. He wore his wavy blond hair a bit long, but it suited his more laidback style. There was no question that Fuyu was attractive, and Uryuu felt the eyes of several patrons in the restaurant glancing over him, as if to say that hot guy with that skinny guy? Really?

“So you’re Dr. Ishida’s son. That must be a little awkward.”

Uryuu shrugged, sipping at the coffee Fuyu had ordered at the end of the meal. “He has high standards. It’s not always easy, but he has good intentions.”

Fuyu laughed a little. “Sounds like a diplomatic answer.” He held his coffee cup between his palms, the steam rising up towards his face. “Is there any chance you might want to come over tonight? It’s not that late and I hate to cut this conversation off.” He laughed again, sounding a bit more nervous this time. “I’ve got plenty of coffee if you want more. Unless you’re doing something else tonight.”

“No.” Uryuu drank more coffee to give himself courage. “No, I’m free.”

Fuyu insisted on paying the bill, even though Uryuu made a valiant effort to at least pay for half. They headed out into the evening air, surprised to find it had started to rain.

“The one day I don’t check the weather,” Uryuu grumbled, but Fuyu reached for his arm, pulling him forward.

“Come on! My apartment isn’t too far away.”

By the time they reached Fuyu’s building, they were partly drenched, but for some reason, it was hilarious. They took the elevator up, and right after Fuyu pushed the button, he leaned in, kissing Uryuu on the mouth.

Uryuu froze, and a moment later, Fuyu pulled back, his expression apologetic. “Too soon?”

“Not at all.” Uryuu took a step forward, and slipped a hand behind Fuyu’s neck, pressing his mouth against Fuyu’s. It was a warm if somewhat sloppy kiss, but Uryuu’s heart beat faster nonetheless.

“This is my floor,” Fuyu said, leading Uryuu down a nondescript hallway to his apartment. He looked a little embarrassed as he opened the door. “I cleaned up just in case you stopped by.”

His apartment looked much like he did; clean, attractive, and earthy. It smelled like something woodsy. He took Uryuu’s wet coat and hung it by the door, and then shook his damp hair, grinning. He reached out, touching Uryuu’s arms. “See, you’re not too damp.”

Fuyu led Uryuu over to the couch, and they kept up the pretense of conversation for about five minutes before it turned into something else. Suddenly Fuyu was straddling him, Fuyu’s mouth on his throat, and Uryuu was breathless from the attention. Fuyu’s body was well-muscled and compact, honed from years of fencing, and Uryuu slid his fingers up Fuyu’s arms, appreciating every dip and curve of muscle. They’re like Ichigo’s.

Fuck. Stop thinking that.

Fuyu sat up a bit, kissing Uryuu’s palm and wrist. “What’s this bracelet? I noticed it at dinner.”

His Quincy bracelet sparkled in the light, and for a moment, overwhelming guilt swept through Uryuu. He should be out patrolling. He should be out doing his duty. Instead, he forced it down. “This? Oh. It, um, was my grandfather’s.”

“It’s beautiful,” Fuyu said, kissing his way up Uryuu’s arm until he reached his chest. “And so are you.” Fuyu started undoing the buttons of Uryuu’s shirt.

“Wait!” Uryuu’s hand flew to his throat, keeping the shirt closed. Fuck.

“What’s wrong?” Fuyu stopped, backing off a bit. “You okay?”

Uryuu bit his lip for a moment. He didn’t mind Fuyu seeing the bracelet, but he definitely wasn’t ready to explain the scar on his chest. “I’m…a little cold.”

“Oh. Sure.” Fuyu resumed the kissing, and Uryuu resumed kissing back, and everything seemed to make sense. Two bodies, both breathing hard, both touching and exploring. He felt Fuyu’s hand slide down to his crotch, and Uryuu writhed.

As he tried to control his breathing, suddenly a great amount of reiatsu beat against his senses, knocking him out of the moment. He tensed, trying to sense it properly. It was definitely Ichigo, and he was using an incredibly large amount of power. Shit. What if he’s up against one of those venomous Hollows, or a group of them? It wasn’t like him to go all-out on something mundane. Uryuu sat up, pulling away from Fuyu’s embrace.

“Fuyu, I’m sorry.” He rose up from the couch carefully.

“What’s the matter?”

“I just remembered something. I have to go.”

“I thought you were into it,” Fuyu said, sounding hurt.

“It’s my fault. I forgot.” Uryuu leaned down to kiss his temple. “Sorry to run out on you.”

Fuyu looked pissed as he walked Uryuu to the door. “You know, if you didn’t want to come back here, you should have just said so.”

“It’s not like that,” Uryuu said, feeling his stomach twist as he pulled his jacket on. “I have to run.”

The door shut behind Uryuu with a little more force than might have been necessary. He hesitated only for a second before running down the stairs and out of the building.

It was pouring now, and Uryuu huddled under a tree for a moment to get his bearings. Ichigo’s reiatsu thrummed and pulsated on the air, its origin about a mile away. Uryuu felt a little ridiculous using hirenkyaku in his regular clothes, but he let the power carry him up into the air, racing over rooftops. It was hard to see in the pounding rain, and his glasses were already streaked with water.

He cursed himself for not bringing anything more than his bracelet, but he hoped that would be enough to face whatever it was Ichigo was dealing with. Racing through the darkness, he pushed forward, aware of Ichigo’s reiatsu growing more insistent, more frenetic. What the hell is he fighting?

Up ahead, he saw Ichigo’s figure illuminated by the power coming off his zanpaktou. “Kurosaki!”

Ichigo spun defensively, his zanpaktou at the ready. He stared at Uryuu for a moment, and then frowned. “I thought you had a date.”

“I did, but,” Uryuu held up his hand as if it might lessen the impact of Ichigo’s reiatsu, “I thought you were in trouble. What’s going on?”

“I don’t need your help.” There was a hard, flat edge to Ichigo’s voice.

“Your spiritual pressure is insane. What have you been fighting with?” Ichigo didn’t answer, and suddenly Uryuu understood. “You’re lighting a fucking beacon for every Hollow in twenty miles of here.”

“Yeah, well, I was fresh out of that bait you always seem to have handy,” Ichigo said sharply, looking away.

“I did that one time!” Uryuu reached out to touch his shoulder, but Ichigo spun, smacking his hand away.

“I just want a good fight, okay? That’s all I want!” Ichigo scoffed, shaking his head at Uryuu. “Go back to your date.”

“The date is over.” Uryuu sighed, wiping rain from his glasses. “I was worried about you. Now, stop broadcasting your reiatsu before we end up being mobbed by Hollows.”

“I told you that I want a fight. I deserve a good fight.” Ichigo swung his zanpaktou around him.

“People are going to get hurt. Tamp down your reiatsu.”

Ichigo ignored him, and instead stared at the city down below, watching for any sign of movement.

“What the hell is your damage? Stop it, right now!” Uryuu touched his bracelet, and his bow sprang to life. “I’m not fucking around.”

Ichigo turned. “You’re pulling your weapon on me? Really?”

Uryuu pulled off his soaked peacoat, letting it fall to the ground. “Let’s go. You want to fight? Fight me.”

Ichigo shouted something at him, but it was lost in the sickening roar of a massive Hollow appearing to their right, followed by another.

“God dammit, Kurosaki!” Both Hollows were the same kind of spined, reptilian beasts that Uryuu had fought, only these were significantly larger.

Before Uryuu could say a word, Ichigo was screaming, his zanpaktou cleaving its way through the darkness. He killed the first Hollow with one strike, and then spun and cut the second one down in another. He grinned, rain dripping off his nose and chin. “They don’t even make it hard anymore.”

Five more Hollows appeared, each bellowing upon its arrival. Ichigo jumped into the fray, taking on the two closest to him, and Uryuu spun, watching the one to his right as it began to charge. The belly was the weak spot, as he’d learned in the first battle, and the trick was to get under them, which was much easier to do from the air. This time his arrows found their mark, burrowing in the creature’s stomach, and the Hollow disappeared.

Ichigo had already killed two, but four more appeared to take their place. “Shit.” Uryuu could feel the air crackling with energy, and he realized that the fight was only making Ichigo’s spiritual pressure stronger. “They’re just going to keep coming if you don’t pull your reiatsu back down!” Uryuu shouted.

“I can fight these fuckers all night,” Ichigo shouted back, taking down another one.

The sky cracked open and another Hollow appeared, but this one was positively huge. It was covered from head to foot in deadly spines, and it moved much faster than the others.

“I got this one,” Ichigo said, charging off to fight.

Uryuu turned, using the opportunity to take out the last two of the smaller Hollows. They tried to evade his arrows, but he waited them out, and finally nailed them both. As soon as they vanished, he moved up to join Ichigo’s fight, which was clearly proving to be more difficult than the previous Hollows. Upon closer inspection, this creature had protective spines all over its belly, leaving only a small area at its throat where a weapon could get through.

“Let me,” Uryuu said, already leveling an arrow at the Hollow’s weak spot.

“I said I got it!” Ichigo launched himself at the Hollow, dodging its fierce attacks. He had nearly reached its throat when its snakelike tail whipped from behind, striking Ichigo.


Ichigo fell back, dropping down to land beside Uryuu. He was breathing erratically, a hand pressed against his chest. “Shit,” he wheezed, lifting his hand away to reveal a deep, bloody gash along his ribs.

Uryuu looked down desperately, spotting a rooftop nearby. “See that? Go there and wait for me. I’ll be right there.”


“For fuck’s sake, just go!” Uryuu gave him a push in that direction, and then leapt high up into the sky, training his focus on the small patch of skin at the Hollow’s throat. The air was rife with reishi, and he called it to him, soaking up every drop of power that he could, and then pushed it into his bow. The arrow blazed with light, pulsing with energy. The creature lifted its head for a brief moment, and Uryuu let the arrow fly.

There were times that Uryuu was pretty sure he’d hit his intended target, and then there were times he didn’t even have to look. This time, he knew he didn’t have to look, but he did anyway, watching the arrow strike the Hollow down. It roared, and then disappeared, the sound echoing in the night air for a moment before dissipating.

He raced down to the rooftop, where he found Ichigo lying on his back, his face pale. His reiatsu felt like it had collapsed. “Let me see.” Uryuu pulled away Ichigo’s robes, trying to get a better look, and ignored Ichigo’s whine as he brushed the edge of the wound. Uryuu exhaled; it wasn’t deep enough to hit anything vital, but Ichigo’s breathing was fast and hitched, and he looked up at Uryuu, panicked. “I can’t…breathe.”

“It’s okay.” He touched Ichigo’s chest, feeling for movement under his fingertips. “I think the venom paralyzed some of the muscles in your chest, but hopefully it won’t last long.” He pulled off his shirt, folding it carefully and then pressed it against the wound to stem the bleeding. “Just breathe slowly and try not to panic.”

“I wasn’t trying to…I really…fucked up…” Ichigo tried to speak, but his words were spoken through gasps of air.

“Don’t talk right now.” Uryuu lifted his head, grateful that the rain was finally stopping.

“Need to…explain.”

“No, you don’t. Just relax and wait for the venom to get out of your system.”

Ichigo pushed himself upright with both hands with a groan. He dragged a quick breath, and then gasped, “I need you to listen.”

“Whatever you have to say can wait. Lie down.“

“I’m…fine…” Ichigo closed his eyes for a moment, trying to steady his breathing, but failing miserably. “Want you to…understand…” He stopped again, and suddenly all of the color drained out of his face, and his body swayed momentarily before collapsing.

“Ichigo!” Uryuu tried to rouse him, but Ichigo wouldn’t respond. He leaned over Ichigo’s body, checking his breathing and pulse. Both were regular, although his respiration was still shallow and rapid. Uryuu sighed, wondering where the night might have gone if he hadn’t chased after Ichigo’s stupid reiatsu. It was starting to get cold on the rooftop, and even though the rain had passed, the air still held a damp bite. It wasn’t a great idea to move Ichigo at this point, but there was no way to treat his wounds here. He lifted Ichigo into his arms, struggling a bit to balance his weight. “This,” he panted, “is easier to do when you’re drunk.” He walked slowly to the edge of the rooftop, making sure he had a strong hold on his cargo, and then used hirenkyaku to get them back home.

He crossed the quiet city, grateful not to sense any more Hollows anywhere. The spiritual pressure of the landscape had settled back into its usual rhythm, but Uryuu knew that a conversation with Uruhara was in order. He wasn’t sure where these dangerous Hollows were coming from, but there was no question that they had to be stopped. Uryuu landed on their balcony, sighing with relief when he was finally able to get inside and put Ichigo on the couch. He debated putting Ichigo back in his body, but then he wondered if it might be a worse shock to his system to already be unconscious and then dumped into his physical form. Instead he took a few pillows and propped them under Ichigo’s legs, trying to get more blood to his brain.

Racing to the bathroom, he grabbed the bottle of green medicine Ichigo had used on him. There wasn’t much left, but he figured a little was better than none. He poured the liquid onto Ichigo’s wound, watching and waiting. After a few minutes passed, Ichigo groaned a little, his eyelids opening slightly.

“Hey there.”

Ichigo looked around the room, his voice a little shaky. “Did I…faint?”

“Pretty spectacularly.”

Another groan rose from the couch, and Ichigo’s fingers reached towards his chest.

“I just put the medicine on; leave it be for a second.”

“Feels… better.”

“This is great stuff.” Uryuu turned the bottle over in his hands. “If Uruhara hadn’t left it, we would have been in deep shit.”

Laughing weakly, Ichigo shook his head. “Or I would have,” he drew a slightly deeper breath before continuing. “Had to drag you to my dad’s.”

“Better him than mine, I guess.” Uryuu checked Ichigo’s wound, glad to see the bleeding that all but stopped. “How do you feel?”

“Easier to breathe. Helps.” Ichigo tilted his head back towards the ceiling, closing his eyes. “Uryuu, listen. I…” He paused, blinking. “I should have bought you dinner.”

Uryuu shrugged. “It’s no big deal. We still have some stuff in the freezer, I think. You can go to the market on the weekend.”

Ichigo made a strangled sound, and Uryuu looked down at him, concerned. “Are you okay?”

“Not what I mean,” Ichigo said, shaking his head. “This whole thing.” He measured his breath carefully, his voice quiet. “I did it on purpose…I knew you would come.”

“You ruined my date.” Uryuu frowned. “What the hell for?”

“I should have told you. Wanted to…” Ichigo winced, pressing a hand against his chest. “I was jealous of Fuyu. Wished it was me.”

Uryuu felt his own breath stop for a moment. “Ichigo, I—“

Ichigo’s gaze was fixed on the ceiling, his body tense. “Look, I know you don’t feel
the same…but—“

“Shut up,” Uryuu snapped. “Just shut up.” Ichigo stared at him, bewildered. “Let me get this straight. And don’t say a word. Just nod or shake your head, got it?” Uryuu waited for Ichigo to respond appropriately. “You’re saying that because you were jealous of the fact I was out on a date with Fuyu, you decided to freak out and have a Hollow party, because you knew that I would sense your reiatsu, leave the date and come pay attention to you.”

Ichigo’s expression was uncomfortable, but he nodded.

“And you’re saying that you have feelings for me, which you never mentioned at any point ever before until right now?”

Ichigo nodded again, looking even more uncomfortable.

“And you decided not to tell me because you think I don’t have feelings for you?”

Ichigo started to nod, and then stopped, forcing himself upright. He dragged a rough breath, and then spat out, “You don’t like me.”

Uryuu felt his heart beating in his throat. “Are you blind? Of course I do!”

The grey pallor that had come over Ichigo right before he fainted had returned, and for a moment Uryuu was pretty sure he was going to collapse again. Uryuu reached out, gently pressing on Ichigo’s shoulder to get him to lie down. “You need to rest. I have waited a long time to have this conversation and I’ll be damned if you faint your way out of it.”

Ichigo relented, sliding back down to the couch. “But I had to beg you to let me live here. You criticize me all the time. I make too much noise. I bother you.”

“You do bother me. You distract me.” Uryuu pressed his fingers to his temples, trying to figure out what to say. “I think about you constantly but I could never tell you. Because if you knew how I felt then you’d leave, and then I wouldn’t have you at all.”

Ichigo’s breathing was shallow again, but this time it didn’t have anything to do with the venom. “But what about Fuyu? I thought you liked him.”

Dropping to his knees, Uryuu let his chin fall to his chest for a moment. “After the Hollow attack, I realized that I’d been waiting for you for so long with no hope. I didn’t want to die pretending that I the only thing I wanted was a degree, that I never wanted something else. And then he asked me out. And he kind of reminded me of you. You know, the fencing thing.” Uryuu frowned. “Fuyu’s fine, but he’s not. You know.”

“Not what?”


Ichigo covered his face with his hands, groaning. “All this time.”

“All this time?” Uryuu scoffed. “All this time? You just figured this out and I’ve been dying over it for years! If you had any idea how many nights, how many--”

“I didn’t just figure it out!” Ichigo said, his voice sharp. “Okay, I didn’t know until I lost my powers. And then you were attacked and nearly died, and I saw you in the hospital, and I knew. I didn’t just want you to be okay, I…wanted you.” He reached his hand out tentatively, and Uryuu took it, curling their fingers together. “When did you know?”

“Before the Winter War. Why the hell do you think I fought so hard to get my powers back in the first place? Do you think I was going to let you go up against Aizen by yourself?”

“But…” Ichigo’s breath seemed to be coming a little easier, but it was still shallow and fast. “I nearly killed you.”

Uryuu shrugged, laughing a little. “My father wasn’t stupid when he told me to stay away from you.”

“I thought you liked Orihime, though.”

“Yeah, and I thought you liked Rukia.”

Ichigo gave Uryuu’s hand a tug, pulling his arm closer. “Can you…come up here?”

“Sure.” Uryuu climbed to his feet, and then sat down on the couch next to Ichigo’s legs. “Is that better?”

“I was thinking more like,” Ichigo stopped, gesturing towards himself and then patting the cushion.

“I’m soaked, though.”

“I don’t care.”

Uryuu took off his boots, and then stretched out next to Ichigo, careful not to bump him. His Shinigami robes were drenched with water and blood, and he smelled strongly of medicine and sweat, but his body was warm. Ichigo stirred, lifting his arm to give Uryuu space to get closer. It took a bit of scooting on Uryuu’s part to not fall off the couch, and he finally lay his head on Ichigo’s shoulder, overly aware of how fast his own heart was beating and how tense his muscles were.

There was a long stretch of quiet, and finally Ichigo broke the silence by laughing, his entire body shaking with the force of it. “Oh my God, we so suck at this.”

Ichigo’s laugh was contagious, and Uryuu couldn’t help but join in. “I know.” He suddenly pushed himself up on his forearm, and then looked down at Ichigo before leaning in to kiss his mouth. Ichigo’s body tensed for a moment, and then relaxed as he deepened their kiss. It wasn’t sloppy. It was a little awkward, at first. But it was hot and new and felt like a place that Uryuu had always wanted to go, and now that he was there, and he wasn’t sure whether or not to believe that it was real.

They broke apart, and Uryuu dropped a light kiss on Ichigo’s forehead. “We’re not bad at that, though.”

“True.” He shifted, letting out a small groan. “I can’t believe I was so stupid. I’m really sorry. I put us both in danger, I put the whole damn town in danger…”

“It was stupid. Like pretty high on your list, which is saying something.” Uryuu couldn’t help grinning. “But we dealt with it. And if you had to be stupid to get me to stop being stupid too, well, we’re probably even.” He lay back down, resting his head on Ichigo’s shoulder again. “Just promise me you won’t call down a whole Hollow army by yourself the next time you want to make a point.”

“I promise.”

Uryuu’s digital watch beeped four times, ringing out its warning from the coffee table.

“Shit. It’s really late.”

Uryuu sighed, giving Ichigo’s arm a gentle tap. “Come on. Let’s get you up and I’ll help you back into your body.”

“I don’t want to move.”

“You’re wet and kind of bloody and I would like to sleep in a bed tonight.”

Ichigo tilted his head. “You’ll stay with me?”

“Someone has to make sure you keep breathing.” Uryuu rose slowly to his feet, reaching out his hand. “Come on. It’s not that far.”

Ichigo smiled, letting Uryuu help him to his feet.

Unit 8: Nervous System
One study asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure.

It was raining again. Pouring, actually, by the drumming sound against the bedroom window. Ichigo blinked in the darkness, his mind slowly climbing out of the fog of an exhausted sleep to recall the events of last night. He reached up tentatively to touch his chest, feeling the gauze Uryuu had taped over his wound before they’d both crashed last night. His breath came easily now, and no pain lingered, though he felt the residual stiffness in his limbs that often came after a long battle.

A soft voice spoke next to his ear. “Hey.”

Ichigo murmured a response, closing his eyes as a warm arm slipped over his stomach. “Did I wake you?”

“No.” Uryuu yawned, curling up beside Ichigo. “I got a text. Apparently the storm knocked out the power in Main so Anatomy is cancelled.”

A triumphant laugh slipped out of Ichigo’s mouth, and any muscles in his body that had been tense only moments before gave up their hold. “No class.”

“No class.” Uryuu’s voice was warm, warmer even than the combined temperature of their bodies underneath the blankets. “You feeling all right?”

Ichigo nodded. “Yeah. Thanks to you.” He turned over, facing Uryuu. His hair was disheveled from sleep, a black halo around his head. Ichigo reached out, smoothing a hand over Uryuu’s head, and then he slipped his fingers around the back of Uryuu’s neck. “I can’t believe we could have been waking up every day like this since the beginning of the semester.”

Uryuu shook his head, leaning in to brush his lips along Ichigo’s jaw. “No regrets. All that matters is that we got here.” He moved in, touching the inside of Ichigo’s lip with the tip of his tongue, slowing kissing him. Ichigo deepened the kiss, savoring the warm softness of Uryuu’s mouth. Now that he’d finally kissed Uryuu, Ichigo wondered how he’d ever find interest in doing anything else. Uryuu suddenly swiped the roof of Ichgio’s mouth with his tongue, making a small pleased sound as Ichigo gasped against him.

“You like that?”

“Yeah.” Ichigo went back for more, pressing himself closer. Their kisses were getting a little rougher, and Ichgio let out a quick moan as Uryuu grabbed his bottom lip between his teeth, giving it a nip.

“You kiss like you fight,” Ichigo said, licking his lip.

Uryuu laughed wickedly, kissing Ichigo’s throat. “Are you saying that because I’m better at it than you?”

Scoffing, Ichigo pushed himself up and then straddled Uryuu’s hips, grinding a bit against him for good measure. “Everything’s a competition with you.”

Uryuu’s expression was hungry, his eyes dark. “Only the things that matter.” Uryuu stared up at him, his pale skin flushed. Ichigo ran a hand along the flat stomach beneath him, sliding up to touch the Quincy star in the middle of his chest. Uryuu’s breathing grew ragged as he traced each line with his index finger, and then leaned down to kiss the scar. It felt surprisingly soft, as if the skin had always been that way. He opened his mouth a bit, following one of the lines of the star with his tongue until he landed on Uryuu’s left nipple.

“Shit, Ichigo,” Uryuu hissed, his hips rocking hard against Ichigo’s.

There was no inch of Uryuu’s body that Ichigo didn’t want to touch, to kiss, to explore. He switched to the right nipple, lathing it with his tongue, and then gave it a slight nip just for revenge.

Uryuu let out a groan, writhing. Ichigo leaned forward, releasing a hiss of breath as their chests came into contact. “Is this okay?”

“God, yes.” One of Uryuu’s hands wrapped around the back of his neck, pulling him closer, and the other slid down his pants.

The feeling of Uryuu’s fingers grazing his cock was nearly enough to make him come right then and there, but Ichigo pulled it together, already panting. He reached down, feeling Uryuu’s erection through the front of his pajama pants. Pulling down the waistband of Uryuu’s pants, he freed his cock, palming it lightly.

Uryuu’s body jumped beneath him. He opened his mouth to speak, but he only moaned through gritted teeth. Positioning his hips in line with Uryuu’s, Ichigo brought their cocks against one another, sending shock waves through his own body. Every nerve ending seemed to catch fire as they started grinding against each other.

Uryuu’s hand slid down between them, and started stroking both of their cocks simultaneously.

“Fuck, Uryuu…” Ichigo felt the pressure rising inside himself, making his cock ache. He just wanted to come so badly, but then it would be over, and he didn’t want this to end. Uryuu stroked harder, increasing his speed, nearly in rhythm with his own panting breaths.

Ichigo tried to hold on as long he could, but the friction and the heat and the skin—oh the skin—was more than he could bear. “I’m gonna—“ he gasped, and then felt the blissful release of orgasm, his cock emptying itself between them. Uryuu followed only moments after, his lips loosing a low moan as he came. They lay still, both desperate for breath, afraid to move.

Dropping his head, Ichigo pressed a kiss to Uryuu’s chest, feeling the wild heartbeat beneath his lips. “That was…” he said, waiting for a bit more breath.

Uryuu’s head was tipped back, his eyes closed. “Amazing.”

Ichigo felt a little giddy, aware that he was grinning like an idiot. “You are the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Opening his eyes, Uryuu smiled back. “The feeling is mutual. But thanks.”

“Seriously, I don’t think you’ve seen yourself. You’re sex on legs.” Ichigo sighed, staring down at Uryuu’s body.

“Do you know how it feels to be able to touch you?” Uryuu traced Ichigo’s collarbone lightly, reverently. His voice was quiet, and Ichigo listened carefully to be sure he heard every word. “It’s like walking by a store window and seeing something inside that you want more than anything in the world, but the store is closed and you can’t come in. And then one day, years later, the store isn’t just open, they’re inviting you in. And now you have this thing in your hands, and you don’t even know what to do, because you’ve wanted it for so long, and you’re almost afraid of it, because this is all you’ve ever wanted.”

Ichigo let the words hang in the air for a moment, almost afraid to breathe for fear it would startle them both. What could he possibly say that could compare? Instead, he leaned forward, kissing Uryuu long and hard. When they finally pulled apart, he pressed his mouth close to Uryuu’s ear. “Don’t be afraid.”

A few minutes passed and their breathing slowed. He felt Uryuu shiver slightly beneath him, and he got up slowly, picking up a clean towel from his laundry basket to clean them both. After wiping away the sweat and come, Ichigo crawled back in bed next to Uryuu. “I think we should stay in bed all day.”

“Agreed.” Uryuu reached over onto the nightstand, putting on his glasses, and then looked closely at the bandage on Ichigo’s chest. “I should change this for you.”

Ichigo shrugged. “I’m sure it’s fine.”

Uryuu ignored him, pulling away the tape and gauze. He frowned, shaking his head. “You are a bastard.”

Ichigo strained his neck to see the wound. “It looks fine.”

“It’s already healed, you shit.” Uryuu elbowed him in the side, making an exasperated sound. “You don’t know how good you have it.”

“I do know, actually,” Ichigo grinned, running a hand along Uryuu’s hip, fingers barely grazing his ass. “Can we go again?”

Uryuu climbed out from underneath him, pinning him with a laugh. “I’m on top this time.”

Unit 9: Final Exam

Checking his watch, Uryuu stood outside the classroom, watching for the slightest movement of the door. It had been over two hours. He paced several steps forward and several steps back, the same track he’d been traveling since he’d finished the Anatomy exam. What the hell is taking you so long?

He pulled out his phone, checking his email and started playing a halfhearted game of solitaire. They’d stayed up all night studying. There were flashcards everywhere, and the whiteboard on the door to Uryuu’s room was covered with diagrams of cells and names of bones. They’d even drawn on each other with washable marker to remember the names of veins and arteries; he’d had to scrub his neck this morning to make sure the word ‘carotid’ wasn’t visible above his collar.

The scrape of the door against the floor made him look up, and Uryuu smiled slightly as Ichigo walked out of the classroom. There were dark circles under his eyes, and his steps were slow, but he held his head up the way he always did after a victorious sparring match. He saw Uryuu, and his expression brightened. “Hey.”

“How’d it go?”

“Kicked its ass.” He fell into step next to Uryuu, hip checking him affectionately.

“You look like shit.”

Ichigo scrubbed his fingers through his hair, which was even more unruly than usual. “Only in comparison to you, because you had a shower.”

“That’s because you wrote all over me, and I didn’t want to be accused of cheating.”

Ichigo leaned in, speaking softly in his ear. “I loved writing on you. Let’s do that again.”

“We can,” Uryuu said with a laugh. “This time at the end of next semester when we’re studying for Anatomy and Physiology II.”

Ichgio groaned. “Don’t talk about that now. We have three weeks before we have to start this all over again.”

They stepped out into the bright sunlight of the afternoon, heading away from Main and down towards the shops between the campus and their apartment building.

“Will you buy me a coffee?” Ichigo said, slipping his hand into Uryuu’s.

“Yes. A big one.” Uryuu dropped his voice. “I need you properly caffeinated if I’m going to fuck you sideways when we get home.”

Ichigo’s mouth turned in a secret smile. “So you’re letting me stay on as your roommate?”

“Yeah. Living with you has some unexpected perks.”

Uryuu bought them both giant lattes with extra whip, and they started off for home at a slightly faster pace than before.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you. Renji texted me during the exam; he’s taking patrol tonight. He said to say hi. Also, Uruhara left me a message. He said we shouldn’t have trouble with those Hollows anymore.”

“How so?”

“Apparently they got loose from Mayuri’s lab.”

Uryuu snorted. “Of course.”

“He said thanks for helping out.”

“Like we had a choice.” Uryuu sipped at his latte, breathing in the steam. “I guess in a way, though, I’m kind of grateful for those Hollows.”

“There’s nothing more romantic to Shinigami and Quincy than paralyzing venom.” Ichigo laughed, giving Uryuu’s hand a warm squeeze. “It’s the stuff of love songs.”

“We are weird together.”

“But good.”

Uryuu nodded, and he realized the smile on his face had nothing to do with the fact he’d just aced a massive final exam. “Very good.” He gave Ichigo’s hand a tug, pulling him forward. “Come on. Let’s go home.”

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April 2012

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