Pero (peroxide_fic) wrote,
Pero
peroxide_fic

Bleach- "Pretty Faces"

Title: Pretty Faces
Universe: Bleach (Police AU)
Theme/Topic: First times, AU
Rating: PG-13 for language and innuendo
Character/Pairing/s: IkkakuxKira, Ikkaku and Yumichika broship, mentions of YumichikaxShuuhei and unrequited IkkakuxMatsumoto
Spoilers/Warnings: loosely through Soul Society Arc (though this is AU). Also, there are probably about a billion incorrect representations of Japanese law enforcement organization and procedure in this, just saying.
Word Count: 8,700
Summary: Ikkaku is a sucker for a pretty face and Yumichika is the worst (except when he’s not).
Dedication: For live_with_love’s 2013 Rarepair Fest request! I’ve always wanted a Bleach police AU, live_with_love, so I hope you don’t mind that I used your lovely, open-ended request as an excuse to make myself finally sit down and write one. The fact that I got to practice some IkkakuxKira in the meantime was also awesome, because it’s been a long time since I’ve written or read this pairing. Original post here.
A/N: I wrote about a page of this in July and then in the midst of it I had to surprise move and then live without internet for half a month. Let’s just say that this was the closest I’ve ever come to defaulting on an exchange. ;_; But man, I will also say this was a good way to force me to write because after the July/Aug I’ve had so far I probably would have curled up in a corner and been completely unproductive until school started. Which would be BAD, considering I’m going to grad school to write.
Disclaimer: No harm or infringement intended.



As cliché as it was sometimes, Ikkaku wasn’t too proud to admit that he was a sucker for a pretty face. In his defense, it was basically a personality trait that came prepackaged with admittance into the 11th Precinct’s Vice Squad, like an unwritten requirement right next to ‘must enjoy beer’ and ‘can either take or throw a decent punch (but preferably both).’

This was also why most of Vice Squad’s officers were always falling all over themselves catering to Yumichika’s every wish and desire, in the hopes that Ikkaku’s infamously pretty-boy partner would flash them a grateful smile or a flirtatious laugh or even a few absent words of praise if they did whatever he wanted when he wanted it done. If not for some extraordinarily good luck on his part, Ikkaku knew he might’ve been one of the poor suckers riding on the Detective Ayasegawa Fan Club bus too, except thankfully, Yumichika wasn’t his type by a long shot (mostly because he was kind of a smug bitch and Ikkaku knew him too well after almost seven years of partnership to still fall for any of his ridiculous eyelash flutters). Captain Zaraki was the only other person in the unit who was similarly unmoved by Yumichika’s charms, but only because he was too busy being wrapped around the little finger of his adorable kindergarten-aged daughter to bother paying attention to other pretty faces.

That being said, Ikkaku liked to think that while he enjoyed good looks as much as the next guy on his team, it was in a completely objective way, like admiring a nice piece of art in passing but not really lingering on it after the fact. If someone was going to make a lasting impression on him, there were a couple of other things that he needed to see in that person first.

He liked someone who knew their way around a gun, for one, and for another, he absolutely needed a girl (or guy) who could hold his or her own in a fight (physical, verbal, psychological, or all of the above). The idea of somebody strong like that was just incredibly sexy in his book, even though Iba tried to sell him on the advantages of delicate flowers more than once and Renji was always singing the praises of a good old fashioned damsel in distress. Ikkaku liked a nice smile too, and some brains (to make up for his own lack thereof), and most of all, he knew he could fall hard for a person who had the ability to bounce back quickly from whatever the world threw at them, mostly because after years of working this job, he knew that the world tended to throw a lot of shit. Someone who couldn’t deal with it gracefully was out of the damn question. Other than that, Ikkaku also had a thing for blonds (because he was no gentleman, dammit), though that was probably the only criterion on his list that he was willing to be flexible with if push came to shove. The other ones, not so much.

Yumichika thought this short but strangely specific list of requirements just made Ikkaku some sort of trope, like a private detective from one of those old noir films who always ended up getting played by femme fatales with pretty faces and deadly backstories. Yumichika thought it was hilarious and sad, but mostly hilarious. Ikkaku thought Yumichika was a dick.

As if sensing the uncharitable turn of his partner’s thoughts, Detective Ayasegawa chose that precise moment to make his grand re-entrance into their shared office by firmly whacking the crown of Ikkaku’s head with his open palm on his way through the door, sending Ikkaku reeling in his chair.

“What the hell, Yumichika?” Ikkaku growled, though it came out more like a nasally yelp as he tried to stay balanced in his swivel chair while keeping his head tilted backwards at the same time. He felt cold blood from his nose leaking down his sinuses as he spoke, tasting foul in the back of his throat when he swallowed.

His partner just arched an exquisite eyebrow down at him and put a hand on either side of Ikkaku’s face. Then he smiled evilly and yanked Ikkaku forward, in the opposite direction of where he was trying to lean. “Like this,” Yumichika sniped primly, before pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket. “For nosebleeds, you have to tip your head forward, you idiot.” Then, without any ceremony whatsoever, he yanked out both halves of the slightly greasy, wadded up McDonald’s napkin currently shoved into Ikkaku’s nostrils and replaced them with his cleaner, much softer handkerchief instead. Once done, he tossed Ikkaku the ice pack he’d fished out of the break room fridge before gracefully taking to his chair like it was any other Friday afternoon and Ikkaku wasn’t bleeding to death through the nose in front of him.

Ikkaku glared at his partner as he shoved the ice pack up against his face, but remembered himself at the last minute and grunted out a slightly muffled, “Thanks.”

Yumichika remained unimpressed as he logged into his computer. “Matsumoto is out of your league and you should give up,” he said flatly, obviously taking Ikkaku’s gratitude as the go-ahead for unsolicited relationship advice. Then he grinned and added, “If it makes you feel any better, I have it on good authority that she didn’t mean to break your nose when she punched you.”

Ikkaku looked incredulously at his partner. “Then what the hell did she mean to do when she punched me in the face?” he demanded. Also, how the hell was that knowledge supposed to make him feel any better?

Yumichika’s smirk just grew facetiously pleasant. “You’re right. I’ll remind her to use a rolled up newspaper instead of her fist the next time the puppies behave poorly then,” he countered, before giving up the pretense of work and leaning back in his chair. He examined the state of his nails. “And now Iba owes me a round of drinks at the West Gate next month. He really thought you had it in the bag this time, poor dear.”

Ikkaku very maturely flicked a paper clip in Yumichika’s direction in response. It skittered to a stop (lamely) in the crack between where the edges of their desks were pressed up against one another. Yumichika didn’t bother acknowledging it. “She’s gonna say yes one day,” Ikkaku assured his partner instead.

“Maybe you should lead with, ‘would you like to go out with me this weekend,’ instead of ‘hey baby, you wanna screw in the break room during your ten’ then,” Yumichika responded airily, pausing to look at Ikkaku with a mixture of pity and mockery as he did.

Ikkaku shrugged helplessly, tenderly pinching the bridge of his broken nose with one hand. “Seemed like the kind of thing she’d be into,” he said in his own defense. From various rumors he’d heard around the force, Matsumoto was only interested in playing fast and loose these days, after her one long-term relationship with Captain Ichimaru back in their academy days soured her to any intimate relationships that lasted beyond a weekend. Ikkaku wasn’t going to say it out loud as his excuse though, mostly because if he’d acted on rumors and hearsay before confirming them one way or another with Yumichika (the force’s self-proclaimed crossroads of all gossip), his partner would likely have his head on a platter for failing to do the proper legwork before taking the field.

Besides, he was pretty sure the reason Matsumoto had punched him had nothing to do with the suaveness of his approach (which had been pretty damn suave, if he said so himself) and everything to do with the IA investigation into the force that was currently underway, after one of Captain Kuchiki’s well-connected CIs had intimated that there were some dirty cops in high places within the city’s police department. In the last few days, Captain Ichimaru was amongst the handful of rats the investigation had eventually flushed out, and according to sources and speculation, the man was currently in deep hiding, on the run somewhere in the Tokyo underground with Captains Aizen and Tousen.

So really, it wasn’t about Ikkaku’s methods of romancing so much as his timing. To be fair on that count, he’d flushed any details about that fiasco from his mind the minute word got out, mostly because anything that wasn’t directly connected with his work in the 11th wasn’t something he kept on active loop in his brain. Yumichika always said he didn’t have enough power up there to process more than a handful of things at once, and irritatingly enough, it was true more often than not. So it wasn’t until the offer for a Friday afternoon lunchtime quickie in the janitorial closet was well out of his mouth (and he’d paused to see the horrified looks everyone else in the 10th was giving him) that he’d bothered to remember what had just happened to Rangiku’s ex at all. He’d meant to apologize once he realized, but then there was punching and broken noses and he suddenly felt a whole lot less charitable towards Lieutenant Matsumoto.

He was also maybe a little bit in love now. She threw a mean right straight, which definitely fit one of the criteria on his list. The next time he saw her, he’d be sure let her know. Hopefully she wouldn’t use it on him again though.

After correctly reading the dopey look of anticipation currently on Ikkaku’s face, Yumichika rolled his eyes. “You need to get a different type,” he advised with a sigh. “One that punches you less.”

Ikkaku wanted to snort at that, but restrained himself, mostly because of the blood still in his nose. Instead he sneered a little. “I’m flattered, man, but it’s never gonna happen. You’re definitely not my type.” It was a fact he liked to rub into Yumichika’s face as often as possible.

Yumichika just laughed this time. “I’m everyone’s type,” he answered without missing a beat. “You on the other hand, need to stop trying to title outside of your weight class all by yourself. Yours is a face that can’t afford to get any more disfigured than it already is,” he added, folding his hands under his chin and batting his eyelashes in false sympathy.

Which was the exact moment that Captain Zaraki barged into their office. He looked at them both for a moment like that, Ikkaku bloody and well on his way to being raccoon-eyed while Yumichika sat batting his eyelashes for no apparent reason and looking incredibly gay. It took about one and a half seconds before the force’s most intimidating captain gave the equivalent of a mental shrug and tossed a file folder at each of their heads.

“Commissioner Old Man wants us on babysitting duty,” Zaraki grunted disinterestedly at his two lead detectives, somehow managing to come across as both bored and irate with the circumstances all at once. “Seems that members of the 3rd are movin’ in with us ‘til they get their headquarters fixed.” Pause. “On account of it blowing up,” he added, clearly for Ikkaku’s benefit. Ikkaku scowled at his commanding officer.

“Yeah, I remember that,” he snapped, because Christ, it was an explosion. Apparently Ichimaru tried to take out all of his own damn people on the way out. Lucky for the poor bastards in the 3rd that Hitsugaya was poking around the office that day. He’d found the device in time to get everyone out and everyone counted it as one more victory for the NPA’s golden boy.

Zaraki bared his teeth at Ikkaku’s petulant tone. “You can remember shit like that but you can’t remember to fuckin’ duck when someone punches you.”

Yumichika snorted in laughter while Ikkaku glared and threw the new file folder open without really looking at it. “So?” he grumbled, ignoring the comment about his poor reflexes. “They’re movin’ in. Why the hell do we gotta babysit them while they’re here?”

Zaraki shrugged one shoulder absently. “Fuck if I know. Not like I listened to Unohana at the meeting,” he said. “They’re comin’ in Monday. We’re integrating for a coupla months. Support, resources, something about psychological services, blah, blah, blah.” He gave a disinterested wave of his hand over his head like those were actually the words he’d heard at the captains’ meeting this morning. Then he turned and strode out of the office, barking, “I guess we gotta hide the beer now,” in a long suffering sort of way to the inhabitants of the bullpen. “Aramaki! Hide the beer! But make sure we can still reach it.”

This was why Zaraki was the best damn captain on the entire force.

Meanwhile, Yumichika cleared his throat. “You’re reading the file upside down,” he pointed out smugly.

Ikkaku glared and slammed the stupid thing shut before tossing it, unread, into a desk drawer. Yumichika laughed at him for a whole five minutes over the damn thing.

And this was why Yumichika was the worst human being on the planet.

*****

Detective Kira Izuru showed up at the 11th the following Monday a good hour before he was scheduled to start. From there he was happily offered the prime desk right outside of Ikkaku and Yumichika’s office by the north facing windows because Aramaki was a pushover and Kira had one of those pretty faces that helped bend the will of the men at the 11th to its whims in the same way that Yumichika’s did. The only difference was Kira seemed to do it in a much more unintentional way than Yumichika did, which was good, because that way Yumichika couldn’t hold Kira’s accidental trespasses on his territory against him. Well he could, but not with any real hostility because that would be petty, and being petty was ugly. Yumichika hated anything ugly.

As for Ikkaku, he only absently noticed that the 3rd precinct’s young homicide detective was another pretty face on the long list of pretty faces that seemed to populate the NPA these days, but wasn’t too affected simply by the aesthetics of it. He liked a little more substance after all, if the bruising around his nose and eyes was any indication.

Once he was over the pure aesthetic quality of the newcomer’s features, the second thing Ikkaku noticed about Kira was that the poor guy looked miserable and small somehow, shoulders curled in on himself like some sort of beaten dog as he sat uncertainly at his new desk.

Which Ikkaku supposed was the sort of posture that understandably came from having your former commanding officer exposed as a dirty cop, right before you found out he was trying to blow you and your entire team to kingdom come for no good reason. Plus the IA investigation the 6th was conducting right now pretty much guaranteed all of the 3rd’s cases under Ichimaru’s command would be reopened and reinvestigated to uncover just how deep the former captain’s ties with the Arrancar family and their illegal trafficking of the designer drug Hollow went. It was probably pretty disheartening for Kira to think that the cases he built his entire career on could all suddenly be deemed worthless just because of one guy’s predilection for dealing drugs and taking payouts.

But hey, it could have been worse.

He could have gotten blown up after all.

Ikkaku grinned and congratulated himself on his very convincing sunny-side up philosophizing as he balanced the Starbucks tray holding the two coffees, three sugars, three creams, and four napkins that it was his job to fetch every morning until forever since he lost that damn bet with Yumichika during the first case they ever worked together. If he didn’t hurry, it would be cold, and Yumichika would make him go out and get a replacement. Ikkaku sped up his pace through the almost haphazard maze of desks in the bullpen at the thought, keeping an absent eye on the serious-faced new pretty boy as he did.

Rumor had it that Detective Kira had insisted on being the last one to leave his former precinct after they’d discovered the bomb, waiting until every single member of his team had been accounted for and moved to safety before he’d even step out of the doomed old building’s doors. The gesture was the perfect mixture of ballsy and dumb that made Ikkaku think he and this young homicide detective could maybe be friends one day.

This magnanimous idea lasted exactly as long as the seven seconds it took for Ikkaku to get to the other side of the room, close enough to see exactly what Kira was working on at his chair.

The homicide detective was very obviously reading a report if the open file folder on the corner of his new desk was any indication, but the fact that he was doing it while calmly field stripping and cleaning his service weapon was what made it feel like Ikkaku was suddenly watching porn in the middle of the office.

The good kind of porn too. The kind you had to pay a monthly subscription to some filthy internet site for while hoping no one would ever check your credit card statements or your browser history and see, because then you’d have to explain yourself and it would probably take hours and you’d still come out of it looking like a pervert.

Needless to say, it was in that moment when Ikkaku felt the first flutter of possibility that meant he might entertain something other than friendship with Kira after all.

He stuttered to a halt at the sight of the meticulously laid out, pristinely kept pieces of Kira’s .38 caliber Smith and Wesson as the blond (the blond!) calmly flipped to the next page in his report before dabbing solvent on a fresh cleaning patch and sweeping down the barrel in smooth, practiced motions.

Ikkaku couldn’t help it when he mentally checked off two of the things on his list in that moment alone. The room was suddenly starting to feel kind of warm. And the homicide detective had gorgeous hands.

So naturally, Ikkaku did the most logical thing he could in the situation.

He stared.

Before too long, Kira must have felt like he was being watched, his cop’s instincts suddenly flaring warning and making him look up even though Ikkaku hadn’t made a sound. Kira subsequently came face to face with Ikkaku for the first time, while the vice detective’s nose and eyes were still ringed with ugly purple bruises and he was staring at the newcomer like a creepy, broken-faced stalker.

Kira’s eyebrows darted up slightly at the sight, but to his credit, it was all pretty subtle compared to a lot of the other looks Ikkaku had gotten since his nose collided with Matsumoto’s fist last week.

“Uh, morning,” Ikkaku managed lamely, after a beat. He told himself to stop staring. (He didn’t.)

To be fair, Kira didn’t stop staring either, even though it was clearly for other reasons. Eventually he remembered himself and stood, offering a hand. “Um, good morning. Kira Izuru reporting for duty,” he said, back straightening instinctively as he made the introduction. “Thank you for agreeing to house us here, however temporarily. We’ll do our best not to get in your way, Detective.”

Ikkaku couldn’t help but think the guy was kind of adorable, with his manners and his big blue eyes, and the clean, flawlessly pressed lines of his standard issue grey suit. He’d also lost that beaten dog posture of his pretty quickly, like all he needed was to not be left alone long enough to dwell on things and he’d be fine.

Ikkaku was so busy looking him over and cataloguing every little detail from top to bottom like this that he didn’t actually register Kira’s hand waiting to be shaken until it was too late. Kira coughed awkwardly and withdrew it just as Ikkaku finally noticed, the blond rubbing the back of his neck with his palm instead. Ikkaku wanted to kick himself in the face when he realized.

“Madarame,” he said instead, looking sheepish. “But call me Ikkaku. Er, I’m the senior vice detective here in the 11th.”

Kira nodded. “I know,” he said. Then quickly amended it with a, “I mean. I’ve heard a lot about you and your partner.” Pause. “Mostly from Hisagi.”

Ikkaku winced slightly at the mention of his partner’s on-again-off-again boyfriend (currently off-again). “Er, well, I hope it wasn’t all bad,” he said, only half-joking.

Kira shook his head quickly. “No, Shuuhei didn’t…” he paused and flushed slightly in embarrassment. “Mostly he didn’t have anything bad to say,” he amended, truthfully. The through his unmanly tears need not be said.

Ikkaku told himself he’d buy Hisagi a beer the next time he saw the poor bastard, because if the Organized Crime Squad’s second in command hadn’t said all the bad things he could have given his history with the 11th, the guy was clearly up for sainthood. Yumichika had a bad habit of chewing his various boy toys up and spitting them out in ways that should have gotten the guy arrested for crimes against humanity. Detective Hisagi was no exception.

Kira seemed to be thinking the same, but quickly put aside any personal feelings he had on the issue. “Besides, professionally speaking, your team’s record speaks for itself,” he said with a small smile.

Ikkaku’s chest puffed slightly at the praise. He grinned. “Well. Nice to finally meet you then, Detective,” he said. Then winced. “I mean, uh, officially. Of course I’ve heard things about you too and stuff, but since we don’t cross paths much…” he trailed off with a truly lame shrug. He needed to shut the fuck up now. Christ.

Kira only nodded in understanding. “Well technically, I did see you last Friday,” he admitted after a moment. “Er, in the lobby of the 10th. When uh…” he trailed off and gestured at his own face to indicate Ikkaku’s bruising.

Ikkaku groaned. “You saw that, huh?” Because of course he did. Ikkaku wanted to hide his head in his hands, or beat himself into unconsciousness with them, except he was too busy still carrying the damn coffee tray.

Kira nodded. “I’ve sparred with Matsumoto before,” he offered after a beat, not unkindly. “She’s fast. And freakishly strong for someone so small.” Pause. “Though she’s usually not petty enough to go for the face.”

Ikkaku chuckled. “Well, I guess the week she was having, she needed to punch someone in the face,” he blurted without thinking.

Kira’s expression instantly sobered at Ikkaku’s callous remark, his shoulders curling in on themselves again minutely at the accidental reminder of Ichimaru’s betrayal.

Ikkaku winced. “Shit,” he muttered out loud, instantly apologetic and mortified at once. “Sorry, I didn’t…”

Kira held his hand up to stop him. “Of course you didn’t,” he said, like he was rocking back from a physical blow and just needed a second to get his bearings and recover from the shock. “It’s….it’s fine.” He took a deep breath, and then seemed to have his equilibrium back, in as much as he could get it back after what had happened to his squad. “It was… a rough week for all of us,” he allowed evenly, back straightening again.

Talk about understatement.

“Right. Sorry,” Ikkaku repeated, because he couldn’t help himself. He was, however, really impressed with how Kira was handling this. From what he’d heard, some of the others weren’t doing nearly as well. Apparently Lieutenant Momo was full on in the psych ward as of this morning and Hisagi was on an unprecedented leave of absence considering what a workaholic he was.

Kira just offered a small smile. “You’re not the one who should be apologizing to me, Detective,” he assured Ikkaku determinedly. “The one who should apologize will do it one day, hopefully while looking down the barrel of my gun after I’ve broken my hand on his face.” His expression was bland but perfectly sincere as he said it.

A beat.

Ikkaku realized he might be staring again.

To be fair, he was kind of turned on right now. That, in combination with Ikkaku’s complete mortification at inadvertently sticking his foot in his mouth and the blond’s casual mention of firearms and bloody retribution had Ikkaku thinking that this was pretty much the recipe for every single time he’d ever fallen in love since fourth year of primary school.

Kira seemed to take his silence as approbation for his comment though, and he ducked his head a little, eyes focusing somewhere in the middle of Ikkaku’s plain black tie. “Excuse me,” he said quickly. “That was probably inappropriate for work.”

Ikkaku shook his head to get it back in order. “No, not at all. Sounds like a damn fine plan to me,” he assured the homicide detective honestly. “And er, if you don’t mind me saying, it also sounds like you’re gonna fit in around here just fine,” he added, because he couldn’t help himself.

Kira seemed relieved at that, while Ikkaku came to an impulsive decision and grabbed his own cup of coffee out of the Starbucks tray. He plunked it, along with two of the sugars and two of the creams, onto Kira’s new desk. “So, uh… welcome to the 11th, Detective,” he said simply, before turning and heading to his office before he made even more of an idiot of himself falling over the newcomer with the big blue eyes and the nice smile and the flawless gun maintenance. “I’ll see you around.”

Kira looked surprised again as he regarded the coffee sitting on his desk, but recovered quickly, because apparently homicide detectives had brains that turned faster than the average vice thug. “I look forward to it,” he called after Ikkaku politely, and Ikkaku felt himself go a bit pink at the tips of his ears at what the words, even casually thrown out like that, did to him.

Not trusting himself to respond verbally, Ikkaku only managed a silent, backwards wave over his shoulder before closing his office door behind him with a well-placed kick.

Yumichika was already inside, typing away at some report or another that Ikkaku probably forgot was due today. The bastard didn’t even bother to look up from his screen as he reached one hand out for his coffee and declared, “Way outside your weight class, my dear,” blandly. “You need help.”

Ikkaku handed him his coffee. “Shut the hell up,” he said, still pink in the face.

Yumichika, of course, ignored his request. “Former paramedic. Top of his class at the Academy, personally recruited by Ichimaru to join the 3rd three years ago. Once wrote an award winning poem for a local publication. Still contributes every once in a while, but hasn’t officially entered a competition since.” He turned and arched an eyebrow at Ikkaku. “From what Hisagi said, Kira’s a decent drinker, a secretly brilliant strategist, and he isn’t above fighting dirty to win.”

Ikkaku’s pink flush turned positively crimson at Yumichika’s thoughtful, somewhat appraising tone. He knew what that tone meant. Yumichika didn’t often sound appreciative of characteristics that didn’t involve muscles and lots of muscles, but Ikkaku knew him well enough to know that Yumi liked a cunning mind almost as much as he liked a well developed Trapezius.

And well. That was just not going to happen. Not on Ikkaku’s watch, anyway. “Dibs!” he yelled quickly, and loudly enough to rattle the blinds in their office at the same time.

Yumichika gave him a long, slow look. One that said he both pitied and despaired of everything Ikkaku right now. “Of course,” he murmured after a breath, and went back to staring at his computer screen in a way that was somehow glamorously nonchalant.

Ikkaku slouched into his own chair and breathed a sigh of relief.

*****

On Tuesday morning, Ikkaku got Kira coffee again, slipping it onto the blond’s desk while he was on a phone call with what sounded like Commissioner Yamamoto. Kira’s face lit up at the sight of it and he managed a little nod in thanks. Ikkaku grinned and started to maybe ask Kira if he wanted to join him for lunch later today, except he didn’t manage to do it before Yamamoto said something on the line that made Kira’s brow furrow as he swiveled to look back at his computer screen. The moment to ask was gone just like that.

Ikkaku sighed and headed into his office, where Yumichika judged him with his eyes because he was a jerk.

*****

On Wednesday morning, Ikkaku brought coffee and a pastry this time, and was met with an empty desk and Yumichika’s crossed arms and pitying tsks as he informed Ikkaku that homicide had gotten a call this morning about body parts found in a ramen restaurant’s dumpster.

Ikkaku grumbled at his luck and halfheartedly offered Yumichika the pastry instead.

Yumichika, predictably, turned his nose up at it. “Really? Carbs are your master plan to woo him? Are you trying to make him so fat no one else will want him? Because that won’t work. He’ll still have nice eyes.”

Ikkaku flushed. “Shut up,” he muttered, and tossed the little brown bag with the blueberry muffin in it into the trash.

“You need help,” Yumichika hummed absently, and plucked his coffee out of the tray in Ikkaku’s hand before turning and flouncing into their office. Yumichika was the worst person ever.

*****

Generally Ikkaku and Yumichika’s preferences in partners didn’t overlap a lot, mostly because Ikkaku was equal opportunity when it came to the sexes while Yumichika was pretty squarely into the realm of men with shoulders you could build houses on. Every once in a while though, there was some freakish outlying variable of a guy who caused the otherwise parallel planes of their wildly different tastes (as Yumichika put it) to intersect.

Over the years, this rare occurrence resulted in the two of them having to work out a special system to get through it, most notably in order to avoid situations like the Summer of 2008 from happening ever again. (The Summer of 2008 was an ugly three week period that had deteriorated into progressively pettier and pettier prank wars until Zaraki had been forced to knock both their heads together and point out that if they couldn’t come to a consensus on their own he would simply cut the poor bastard they were fighting over in half and let them deal with their favorite parts in the aftermath.)

The system they worked out between themselves after that particular fiasco was pretty much kindergarten in nature, but serviceable for their needs as a whole. It short, it said that of the two of them, whoever saw the person of mutual interest first was allowed to call dibs on them, and from there, the dibs caller had an (as of yet) unspecified number of days (Ikkaku liked to give about three, while usually, Yumichika more patiently allowed five or more) to make progress with their quarry. After said (as of yet) unspecified time frame, if no significant progress was made, the other party could then step in and make a play on his own behalf without interference or complaint from the first party. Ikkaku called it the Rule of Dibs while Yumichika called it giving Ikkaku a goddamn chance.

Either way, the Rule of Dibs was their mutual agreement that their friendship with one another was, ultimately, the most important relationship they would probably ever have in their sorry lifetimes. As such, they’d always be bros first and foremost, no matter how hot the guys they were squabbling over might be. As far as Ikkaku was concerned, his partnership with Yumichika was worth more than a dozen rounds in the sack with Matsumoto. There would be no more Summers of 2008 between them ever again. (Thank God.)

In short, bros before hos.

That being said, it still kind of sucked to watch his partner move in on dibs that he had clearly called first, even though it had been a couple of days already, which was well within the rules of the game. They really needed to hammer out that (as of yet) unspecified time period thing.

Ikkaku scowled through the glass window of their office on Thursday morning, coffee in hand as he squinted to see through the slats in the angled blinds lining the office windows. Yumichika was in the midst of predatorily perching himself on the edge of Kira’s desk at that moment, taking care to make himself appear at only his best angles before he easily and naturally engaged the homicide detective in friendly conversation that had them both grinning like idiots after all of five minutes. Kira was even flushed slightly pink, his usual unflappable-seeming demeanor turning both shy and interested at whatever Yumichika was saying to him in those few moments of disarming chitchat.

Once sensing that his prey’s guard was down, Yumichika, the bastard, took the opportunity to pounce, whipping out his phone and programming what looked like Kira’s phone number into it. This was confirmed a moment later when Yumi dialed and Kira’s phone started to vibrate on top of his desk, from where it was resting next to the cup of coffee Ikkaku had brought the homicide detective earlier. Even though he didn’t have to.

Ikkaku gritted his teeth and fought the urge to swipe his partner’s untouched Americano off of his desk and into the trashcan out of spite. He managed not to do it because liquids in the trash receptacle were a bitch and Yumichika would simply force him to walk back down the block and get him a fresh cup the minute he noticed.

Instead, Ikkaku counted backwards from three and sunk lower in his chair, telling himself it didn’t matter. He’d seen Yumichika’s pickup artist ways at work more times than he could count, and if Kira was another one of those dopey jocks that always fell for it, then all was for the best. It wasn’t like Ikkaku had invested a whole lot of time or effort into wooing the new detective over the last few days or anything. As it was, he was only out a few lousy cups of coffee and a blueberry muffin. Okay, and maybe one hot-sauce stained button up as well, after he’d tripped over Aramaki’s rolling chair yesterday afternoon, when he’d been trying to walk, balance his lunch, and watch the homicide detective bend over the office’s malfunctioning copier all at the same time. These things were hardly significant signs of his pursuit or interest. Besides, he was still totally going to get Matsumoto to go out with him once his face was all healed properly.

The thought only seemed to cause his nose to ache all over again though, and by the time Yumichika flounced into their office and picked up his coffee, Ikkaku was face down at his desk hating everything because he had no chance in hell of winning this round of dibs against Yumi at the rate he was going.

“I’m pretty sure that’s not helping your face,” Yumichika chimed in unnecessarily as he took Ikkaku in, before ripping open a packet of sugar and sprinkling it into his Starbucks. “And you need all the help you can get.”

Ikkaku flipped him off. “You’re the worst,” he grunted.

Yumichika ignored him.

*****

Kira stopped Ikkaku in the hallway later that morning, looking oddly nervous. “Hey,” Ikkaku said awkwardly. Then took a step back when he realized that Kira’s hair smelled awesome. This was why he lost dibs battles to Yumichika. He was a creep.

Kira just gave him a strange look. “Um,” he began, and then shook his head and squared his shoulders in the same way that some people liked to do before they punched Ikkaku in the face. It made Ikkaku take another step back, for different reasons this time.

Kira pushed on. “Yumichika invited me out with you guys tomorrow night. He said Friday nights at West Gate is a thing you do there a lot?”

Ikkaku stared incredulously at Kira, who didn’t notice, mostly because he was, for some reason, staring determinedly at some unspecified spot over Ikkaku’s shoulder. “Is it okay for me to come?” he asked, softer now. “I don’t want to impose on any traditions you two have without your permission.”

The words took a moment to click in his head, but once they did, Ikkaku decided he was going to choke Yumichika to death the first chance he got. In the meantime, he gritted his teeth a little and said, “Yeah! Sure! We usually just get some drinks since West Gate has got happy hour all day Fridays.” Which was mostly true, except that they did it maybe once a month, tops. The two of them had already gone and met Iba and Renji there two weeks ago for beer and darts and pool, so as far as Ikkaku knew, there was nothing going on this week. Which meant that Yumichika was clearly using the age old, 'we’re going out as a group and then you and I are going to be the only ones who show up,' ploy. It was a Yumichika classic. And highly effective, at that.

The thought made Ikkaku feel like he was chewing glass.

Kira’s shoulders relaxed at the same time Ikkaku became tense, right between the shoulder blades. But then Kira flashed a little smile that made Ikkaku forget about being angry at all, just for a moment. Mostly because the guy looked more relaxed than Ikkaku had ever seen him, which had to be a good thing, no matter what the reason behind it was. Ikkaku didn’t have the heart to ruin it for him with the truth, and managed to force out what must have been an awkward, crazy-looking smile through his clenched teeth as he played the perfect wingman to Yumichika’s impending victory. “And of course you’re totally welcome to come, man,” he said.

Who knew, maybe Yumi and Izuru would totally hit it off on Friday and then they’d date and move in together and end up actually really making each other happy or something. What right did Ikkaku have to mess that kind of potential up? One day they’d laugh about this, some time in the far future when Ikkaku was godfather to their adopted kids and had baby vomit all over his shirt. Maybe they’d even name one of them after him.

It was the saddest thing he ever imagined.

“Okay. Okay, good,” Kira said in the meantime, with this adorable little nod of determination. “Then I’ll look forward to that with you guys. Tomorrow.”

Ikkaku sighed internally and prepared for permanent godfather status. “Yup,” he managed tightly. “Sure. Right. Friday. Tomorrow. See you then.”

Then he spun on his heel and skulked off down the hallway, completely forgetting the copies he was supposed to make for Zaraki in the meantime. Yumichika was clearly ruining his life

*****

“What the hell are you doing?” Ikkaku seethed later that night, when he and Yumichika were walking through the dim hallways of an underground gambling ring they’d just successfully raided. There were still cowering cocktail waitresses and fat cat roulette players being led out to the squad cars.

Yumichika didn’t bother turning his head from his phone at the question, where he was furiously texting someone (probably Kira) as they exited the building and climbed into Ikkaku’s car. “All the things you can’t,” he answered absently, though his eyes glinted in this terrifying way that made Ikkaku’s balls want to shrivel up and retract up into his body.

“I hate you so much,” Ikkaku muttered, turning his 4Runner up the block and back towards the station. His knuckles were bruised from having to punch out one of the bouncers, who’d tried to make a run for it earlier. It had felt satisfying in its own way, but he was still pissed enough that he wouldn’t have minded thwarting several more attempted escapes with his fists.

Yumichika just smiled. “Liar.” Then he put his phone down for a moment and added, almost casually, “I invited Kira out to West Gate this Friday.”

“I heard,” Ikkaku grunted, and tried not to just slam his foot on the gas and send them barreling headfirst into a nearby tree.

Yumichika went back to texting and said nothing else. Because he was the worst. Officially.

*****

On Friday morning Ikkaku told himself he was going back down to the customary two cups of coffee that had been his MO for the past six and a half years. Yumichika could woo his new boyfriend without Ikkaku’s unwitting help, thanks.

The Starbucks cashier smiled at him in recognition when it was his turn to order and chirped her customary “Good morning, Detective!” in a voice that was too damn cheerful for this early in the morning. Ikkaku always let slide though, because she was this fucking adorable high school girl in pleated pigtails who worked hard all summer long and made him want to protect Japan with his life just by looking at her.

“Morning, Minami-chan,” he said back, and reached into his back pocket for his wallet. “I’ll take…”

“Three Americano, right?” she said brightly, and was already punching in the order without breaking eye contact.

Ikkaku sighed and looked heavenward momentarily. “Yup,” he said after a breath, because he was fucking lame, and pulled out an extra bill to shove into the tip jar for her as he did.

She thanked him with a bow and wrote his name on the cups before he stepped aside for the next customer.

Yumichika was right. Ikkaku needed help.

(Yumichika was still the worst.)

*****

He left Kira’s coffee on his desk that morning while the detective was on the phone, hoping to slip by unnoticed. Except that it didn’t work, because before he could make a break for his office, there was a small tug on his sleeve that made him whirl around. Kira waved at him without breaking stride in his phone conversation, answering and writing notes while somehow still managing to take a second to mouth 'thank you' at Ikkaku while looking right into his eyes.

Ikkaku’s heart did an annoying sort of flip in his chest at the sight of it, and he ended up glowering at himself in self-loathing because he was so lame. In retrospect he realized it looked like he was glowering at Kira instead though and the poor guy just became kind of bewildered at the sight of it, trailing off in the middle of his sentence on the phone. Ikkaku cursed to himself and gave a hasty, awkward sort of wave in apology before hurrying into his office before he could do any more damage.

Once inside, he gave Yumichika his coffee and hated his partner silently.

“You make me sad sometimes,” Yumichika commented blithely as he grabbed the cup, and Ikkaku took some satisfaction in the fact that Yumichika was sad. (It wasn’t a lot, which was the problem with also liking Yumichika so damn much while trying to hate him, he supposed.)

“I hate you,” he said to his partner out loud. “You’re the worst.”

Yumichika patted his head.

*****

When they got back from lunch a little while later, there was a pack of green tea Kit-Kats on his desk and a little note from Kira.

'Hope your day is going better than it was this morning?- Kira'

Ikkaku groaned and sunk into his chair.

*****

Obviously, the Rule of Dibs wasn’t something they’d ever hammered out any precision details to, mainly because a basic tenant of being bros was that the whole relationship remained mostly unspoken, since it would be pretty stupid if bros ended up talking about everything in detailed minutia like women did. That would be the exact opposite of what they wanted as bros, actually.

Even still, the more Ikkaku thought about it, the more it felt like Yumichika hadn’t given him enough time to get his own pieces into play on this one. He was convinced that he was well within his rights to veto Yumichika’s bid in this case, clearly because his partner had failed to do his due diligence in giving Ikkaku his customary five days to let him get his game on before interfering with his own play. (Ikkaku fully admitted that it actually took some time for his game to warm up to full power, kind of like a classic car).

Plus, when he looked down at the little post-it note and the wrapper of the green tea Kit-Kat that he’d shoved in his mouth as he’d eaten his feelings on the drive home after work, Ikkaku realized he really kind of liked Kira a lot more than casually at this point. He hit every single point on Ikkaku’s list, which basically hadn’t happened since he was six, and his list consisted solely of ‘smells nice’ and ‘shares crayons.’

Plus Kira was totally not Yumichika’s usual type like, at all. There weren’t nearly enough muscles. It would never last.

Basically, Ikkaku decided he was going to go ahead and run some interference on Yumichika’s bid. This would probably mean getting his bro-card revoked or something, but there were arguments that could be made for only a temporary suspension instead.

Also, there were no real specifics to the 'we’re going out as a group and then you and I are going to be the only ones who show up,' ploy either, so it wouldn’t be hard to plead ignorance that the ploy was actually in play when he showed up to crash Yumichika and Kira’s date at the bar.

Yumichika would probably make his life miserable for a while afterwards, but it also wasn’t hard to picture his partner readily accepting that Ikkaku really was that stupid sometimes.

At this point, Ikkaku didn’t mind looking like a complete idiot. Or dealing with Yumichika’s wrath, mostly because he knew his partner would always eventually forgive him, mostly because he would buy chocolate and fancy liquor and fancy food and hot stone massages until it happened.

Besides, they were grown ass men. Calling dibs was a stupid way of handling these types of things anyway.

*****

Ikkaku showed up early to the bar after he’d gone home and showered and changed into something slightly less rumpled and sauce-stained than his usual cheap suit and even cheaper tie combo. He slid into a small booth in the back corner of the West Side’s single room and camped out, mostly so that when Yumichika and Kira arrived they couldn’t throw him out on account of his being there first. While he waited he ordered a beer and some fries just to settle his stomach, which was churning nervously over the fact that he was actually pulling some sort of weird subterfuge on Yumichika, who was his fruity ass brother in arms for Christsakes.

He hoped Kira appreciated this one day, when it was old enough to just be another funny story about Ikkaku’s stupidity over the years. Maybe when they were sixty or something.

Before he could contemplate the greater ramifications of where his thoughts were going, he felt a hand on his shoulder and whirled around to find Kira standing behind him, looking kind of nervous but pleased at the same time. “There you are,” he said, having to raise his voice slightly to be heard over the crush of people beginning to gather inside the room. “Is Yumichika here yet?”

Ikkaku grunted. “Nope,” he answered, and hastily scooted over so Kira could slide into the seat next to him.

Kira took it and nodded like that was exactly what he expected to hear. “When I left him he said he had to finish up some reports that Captain Zaraki needed before the end of the day.”

Ikkaku’s eyebrows darted upward at that, because what? “He said my captain said that?” he blurted.

Kira nodded. “I guess even the biggest rebels on the force still need to turn in their paperwork.” He smiled wryly.

And while that was true, it didn’t mean said rebels actually ever had to do that paperwork. Yumichika was the one who did the final passes on all of the 11th’s written stuff before turning it in. In fact, Zaraki had just handed over his stamp to Yumichika and told him to hold on to it once he found out the guy knew how to read all the kanji. No one gave Yumichika paperwork deadlines in the 11th except for Yumichika.

Something was definitely off. Maybe Yumichika had somehow found out about Ikkaku’s intent to crash and was busy setting up what would be a bloody and horrible revenge once Ikkaku got home tonight. Yumichika was the worst, after all.

“Are you all right?” Kira asked after a beat, leaning in to peer at Ikkaku. “You look a little pale.”

“What? No. I mean, yes. It’s nothing. Just uh, just thinking about Yumichika staying late, poor bastard,” he covered, before shoving a menu at Kira. “You want anything?”

Kira nodded in thanks and studied the menu intently. There was a moment of silence at their table in the interim, juxtaposed with the slowly growing rowdiness of the general atmosphere as people’s weekends finally began in earnest. Ikkaku alternated between staring at Kira’s bent head and turning to look at the bar door behind him for whatever devious thing Yumichika was clearly planning to end his life with.

He was so engrossed in contemplating a suitable defense for his partner’s impending attack that he almost missed it when Kira’s phone chirped in his pocket.

Kira pulled it out and answered before Ikkaku could react, murmuring, “Yumichika? We’re here. Where are you?”

Ikkaku winced.

“Ah, I see,” Kira said after a beat. “Yes, that’s too bad.” And then he abruptly hung up without another word, cheeks tinged strangely pink as he did.

He looked at Ikkaku apologetically. “Yumichika is stuck at the office,” he admitted. “The reports needed more work than he anticipated.”

Ikkaku stared. His mouth was probably open a little bit too, rather unattractively.

Kira’s shoulders did that weird folding inward thing they sometimes did as he took in Ikkaku’s shocked expression, and he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, eyes going down to the slightly sticky table top. “If it’s too awkward for just us, we can reschedule for next time,” he said, brow furrowed.

“No!” Ikkaku said, possibly yelled, back quickly. “No that’s fine. We’re already here, I mean,” he added, forcing himself to sound less desperate. “Let me buy you a drink? Dinner?” Pause. “I mean, you know. Food. For dinner.”

Kira let out a small breath and smiled a little, somehow managing to look more relaxed even as he sat up straight again, the curl of his shoulders easing as he leaned back against the booth with picture perfect posture. “Okay then.” He cleared his throat. “Whatever you’re having is fine. And…an order of wings?”

Ikkaku nodded dumbly at that and fumbled out of his seat, shoving rather gruffly through the crowded floor in his haste to come back with lots of alcohol and food because he was pretty sure this was now a date.

Once he was at the bar waiting to get the bored-looking bartender’s attention, he felt his own phone vibrate in his jacket pocket, right against his chest.

When he pulled it out, there was a text from Yumichika.

It simply read:

'You needed help. You got me. You’re welcome.'

Ikkaku let out a startled snort at the sight of it, and for the first time since Thursday morning, grinned in a way that he usually only did after a successful bust or a looming fistfight. It was a smile he could feel from head to toe, knowing that someone he trusted was watching his back.

Yumichika was the best.

END

Tags: ayasegawa yumichika, bleach, ikkakuxkira, kira izuru, madarame ikkaku, zaraki kenpachi
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