I stood facing the now empty dorm room. Of course it was still empty; I shouldn't have been so surprised to find out the occupant left school after "recovering" in the hospital. I hadn't been the one dying and I was bombarded with questions on a daily basis. This would have been hell for the kid. A pungent smell antibacterial and air-freshener remained in the air. It was as if the school was trying to hide from the next dormer that someone tried to kill themselves in same room. A dark chuckle bubbled from my lips; that sounded like a bad, cliché plot for a horror film. Shaking the slightly humorous thoughts from my mind, I looked back into the empty room, a slight pang piercing my gut.
It had been two weeks since I opened the door to the same room for the first time. Now that I stood staring at the room, I couldn't remember the look of the occupant's belongings that once resided in the room. The only thing made its way to the forefront of my brain was the orange-haired man who was lying in a puddle of his own blood. The night in the hospital followed quickly, the sounds of the machine, the soft glow of the monitors brightening his head of orange hair, the cold touch of his skin when I grasped his hand unknowingly. The thing that stuck me the most was not the cold look in his eyes when I asked him why he did it, it was the lack of response that he gave me as he turned his head and closed his eyes. A shiver ran through my body and I forced myself to turn and walk next door to my room.
"You were doing it again, weren't you?" Kira didn't even look up at me as I entered the room.
"Yeah." I sat down at my desk, picking up one of the articles that I was supposed to be editing for the school news paper.
"I don't see why you do that. It's not going to change anything." There was a soft rustling sound and I knew Kira had turned to look at me. That and I could feel his eyes boring deep holes into my shoulders. "I heard he had problems, but that does not mean you have to go fixing them Shuuhei. This isn't one of your articles that you can just look at and edit out everything that you don't like."
A deep sigh made its way out of my body as I placed the paper back down on the desk, not that I had read more than one sentence anyway. "I know. It's just…I can't help it. When I walk by, I have to stop. What if I hadn't gone into his room? What if I hadn't…"
"Shuuhei…" Kira paused, and I turned in my seat to look at him. His face had taken on its typical tired and worried expression. "Why can't you just move past it? You hadn't known the guy. It's not like he was your friend or anything…"
The words were quiet, and it surprised the hell of me to even hear the slightly ungrateful words tumbling out of my best friend's mouth. He probably noticed by how wide my eyes had gotten, but decided not to say anything, favoring in chewing his lip instead. A tense and heavy atmosphere fell over us as his words hung in the air. I shook my head and stood up, suddenly not wanting to be in the same vicinity as the blonde hair man who stayed seated, staring at the chair I had just gotten out of. Without a word, I grabbed my bag from the floor and walked out of the room, letting the door slam behind me.
My feet lead me on their own as I pushed the door open to the stair case so I could take the short flight of stairs down to go to the room of a person who would have answers. Kira was right, I didn't know the guy and it really wasn't my business to meddle, but since that night my brain had been plagued with images, thoughts, feelings all revolving around that damn orange-haired guy who tried to kill himself next door. No matter what I did that's all that surrounded me: thoughts of him, and him alone.
I shook my head when I noticed the black bandana that had been wrapped around the doorknob. Despite this, I lifted a hand to knock on the door I was now standing in front of. There was a sound of something crashing, followed by a few select curse words, before the door knob turned revealing the tall red head who was pulling up a pair of sweats. By the disheveled state of his hair, and the dark haired senpai I had seen around campus but couldn't place a name to, there was no question to what the man had been doing prior to answering the door. I could feel the heat race up my neck and behind my ears as honey brown eyes stared down at me.
"Hisagi, this really isn't a good time." Renji looked over his shoulder, and I noticed the long haired man on the bed was shuffling under the covers that pooled around his waist. From the movement it looked like the man was trying to pull some pants on.
"I just have a question." I tried to ignore the pale form that was moving in the corner of my eye.
"Abarai, should I come back another time?"
We both turned around at the sound of the noble voice that had emitted from man that was now standing by the bed clad in his boxers and a pair of jeans. Once the man was standing, fixing his long black hair, I realized that the man was the captain of the kendo club, Byakuya Kuchiki. I flushed slightly, knowing that Renji had been pining after the man ever since the two had entered college. I noticed Renji's eyes go up in panic as he stepped back into the room, placing a hand on the man's pale shoulder as he pushed him back onto the bed.
"No, this won't take long."
Renji walked back towards me, pushing me rather hard into the hallway as he partially closed the door behind him. Renji glanced around the hall before finally locking eyes with me. He sighed, which I could only mean that he realized what I wanted and why I had sought him out in the first place. Although it wasn't strange for me to come around, considering recent events there was only one explanation of why I had chosen to ignore the universal signal of "do not disturb" that was still wrapped around the doorknob. Renji opened his mouth to speak but I lifted a hand and cut him off.
"I just want to ask if you know where he is." I looked him straight in the eye, noticing the conflicting emotion that was currently raging within the depths.
Renji was the one who broke the eye contact. I saw a swirl of sorrow before he turned away. "I can't tell you that."
"And why not?" Anger started to form in my gut, something that was very unusual to feel toward my red-headed friend.
"I just don't think it's a good idea. He left this place to get away from the questions. You showing up to the door may disturb whatever progress he's been making."
Renji turned back to look at me, a pleading look in his eye. For as long as I have known the other man, I had never seen him look so…tame, toward a person. This guy, this Ichigo, was clearly something special to the red-head and I felt something flash through me that I couldn't put a name to. Whatever it was made me want to prove Renji wrong, all I wanted was Ichigo's well being.
I dropped my head, staring hard at the floor. The next words came out in a whisper that shocked both Renji and I. "I just need to see that he's alright."
"Why?" Renji's voice came out as a soft growl, something with a protective edge hidden in the background.
"I don't know. Every since that night, he's all I think of. I need…I want to make sure he's okay." I looked up, noticing the soften features on Renji's face. "Please, just…just let me see him, even if it's only once."
Renji sighed and ran his hand through his long locks before scrubbing his face. He looked up and down the hall again. He was stalling, I had seen the man do it before, but this meant he made a decision, which would either make me want to kill the guy or make me want to hug him. Renji locked eyes on me, hard with no playful fire that I had seen in the hues in other circumstances. He scowled and I felt my heart sinking, the man really wasn't going to tell me how to find Ichigo. I took a deep breath and prepared to walk away when I heard him let out another side, words forming on the tip of his tongue. I turned and give him a questioning look as I let him voice his decision.
"He moved back in with his dad." Renji leaned against the door frame and crossed his arms over his chest. "His dad's a doctor, so the hospital recommended that Ichigo moved in with him. He lives in the small suburbs, about a thirty minute bus ride from here. Ya got a pen?"
My eyes widened at the information, truly surprised that Renji was giving me such vital facts. I reached into one of the pockets of my bag to pull out a pen. He took my hand as he wrote down simple directions on the inside of my forearm. He let go of my hand and gave me back my pen before turning around and opening the door. The kendo captain was sitting on the bed flipping through a magazine when the door opened, staring at us with a questioning glare. I cleared my throat and began to walk way.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder and saw that Renji was still standing in the door way watching me. "Thanks…I mean it."
"Tch." Renji picked up a lock of hair and stared at the ends. "It's fine. But if I hear anything about you disturbing his recovery, I'll personally kill you." He didn't say anything as he turned into his room, slamming his door behind him. As I was leaving I could hear the faint sound of the door locking.
Sitting on the bench as I waited for the bus, I could feel my heart pounding deep within my chest, threatening to burst out of its confines into the open. My eyes trailed down my air to the messy scrawl that was going to lead me to the orange-haired man that had managed to turn my life into a complete mess in a mere night. But, as I was sitting there, my mind began to race, thoughts coming at me a mile a minute. Why was I so damn determined to see the man? Was it because I wanted to make sure he was alright? Was it because I have such a need for order in my life that I won't allow loose ends to exist? Is it because I wanted to see the outcome of the man's health? Or was it because the lost look in his eye kept me captivated? A look that made me want to help him…to save him from whatever terrors were haunting him.
I was no knight in shining armor. I could barely get past my own skeletons that I tried to keep hidden in the deep depths of my closet, so how come I was rushing to the side of someone who was clearly more damage than I was? There was no answer to that question. I couldn't help Ichigo if I didn't know what was wrong. So was that why I wanted to see him? Because he hadn't told me why he wanted to kill himself?
"Are you getting on the bus, or you just gonna sit there?"
The sound of the voice snapped me out of the reverie that I had fallen into at the recess of my brain. I stared up at the brute man that was seated behind the big steering wheel. Realizing that everyone had boarded the bus already, I got up from my seat and walked into the vehicle, taking a seat in the back. Once situated in my seat I slipped on my head phones, allowing myself to fall into another deep train of thought as I waited to arrive at my destination.
What was supposed to happen when I got to the boy's house? I hadn't really thought of plan that far, my thoughts only revolving around getting the guy to talk to me and I hadn't really registered the idea of how I was going to make that happen. What was I supposed to do if he ignored me? If he was pushed away and wasted an afternoon riding the bus to a part of the city I had never been to before. I pushed the negative comments to the back of my mind, in order to make this work I had to think positively.
Thirty minutes went by faster than I imagined it would and I found myself exiting the bus in a neighborhood that looked like the place where you could ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar. Glancing back down at my arm, I looked at the last set of directions, following them down the length of the street before making a right and looking for the house number that held troubled youth. Finding the house ended up not being that difficult at all, especially with the giant 'Kurosaki Clinic" sign that hung above what looked like a garage door. With hurried steps I made my way to the front door.
The sound of the doorbell echoed throughout the house, and with the hushed sound of footsteps caused my heartbeat increase. A droplet of sweat slid down my neck and my hand instantly snapped up in effort to wipe it away before the door opened. I could feel more sweat warming the skin around my hair line, nervousness quickly raking its way through my body as I tried to calm down when the door knob turned. He wasn't expecting for Ichigo to answer the door, but he was surprised to see a teenage girl that answered the door with a hard scowl on her face. Her dark black hair reached her shoulders and her face hinted similar features to the man I came to see.
Her gaze hardened as she took in my appearance. "Can I help you with something?"
"I'm…" I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly stupid for standing on the man's door step. "I'm look for Ichigo."
The girl's eyes widened in surprised before narrowing into slits. "DAD!"
I jumped slightly at the yell that had emitted from her. There was a rumbling sound coming from somewhere within the depths of the house, and I could hear someone running towards the door with the sound of something similar to cries.
"My dear daughter, finally calling out to her daddy!" A broad man with deep brown hair pulled the door open and stared down at his daughter with adoration in his eye. "Tell daddy what you want my sweet child. Anything you want!"
The girl turned sharply on the ball of her foot, staring hard at her dad. "He's here for Ichi-nii."
The man's demeanor changed drastically. He stood straight up and turned to me, his dark chocolate eyes staring at me hard as he took in my appearance. I could feel him taking in my face, the tattoo on left cheek and the scars on my right. I suppose my appearance was sudden, but the way he looked at me made me feel more than unwelcomed. There was an uncomfortable silence that fell between us and I wasn't sure what was going to happen in the following conversation.
I cleared my throat, figuring I might as well introduce myself. "Hello, I'm Shuuhei Hisagi. I'm here to see Ichigo."
The man's eyes narrowed as he continued to stare at me, his mouth a hard line. "I've never heard of you before. How did you get here?"
"I…uh, Renji gave me the directions. Sir." I added the 'sir' out of anxiety, not sure how to really address the man. He wasn't necessarily intimidating, but there was something about his demeanor that clearly hinted he was stronger than he let on.
"Renji did, now did he?" The man paused, staring at me with slightly softened eyes. It seemed like my red-headed friend was good in this man's books. "How do you know my son?
I was dreading this question before it was even asked. I figured we would get to this eventually, despite how much I wanted to avoid it that would only make me seem more suspicious than I already was. With a sigh, clenched my fist and looked him straight in the eye. My answer probably would throw him off course, but I came this far, I needed to see the orange-haired youth.
"I'm the one that found him…in his dorm." I looked down at the floor, staring hard at the ground underneath my shoes. The silence that had escalated between us was earth shattering.
My eyes widened as my head snapped up to look at the other man. "Ex-excuse me?"
There was complete rage in the man's eyes. "Get the fuck away from my house."
He said nothing else as he slammed the door, leaving me standing on the stoop like an idiot. My feet moved on their own as they led me back towards the sidewalk. I turned around and stared at the house, first at the door, and then at a window when I saw something move in the corner of my eye. I took a sharp intake of breath when I saw a shocking head of orange watching me from the window. My eyes locked at the brown ones, the man staring at me with curiosity. Not knowing what else to do, I lifted my hand to wave. His eyes widened before he closed the curtain quickly. I felt my heart rate decrease, not even realizing it had sped up until now. I turned back to the street and cussed at myself.
I'm not sure what compelled me to write this chapter, especially since I'm supposed to be studying for my history final.
Regardless, this morning I had this itch to write and this was what came out.
Sorry for the lack of Ichi/Shuuhei in this chapter but my mind would not let me let them meet again, just not yet.
Again, I'm not sure how frequent the updates for this will be, but I have some want to continue this, so hopefully my GrimmIchi writer's block will give me some time to update this :)
Hope you enjoyed for everyone who wanted me to continue this :D