?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Bleach Fanfic: Pineapples and Rain

Title: Pineapples and Rain
Pairing: Shinji/Hiyori
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: T
Status: One-shot
Contains: Spoilers for the Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc.  Foul language.
Summary: Shinji must tell Hiyori about the offer he's received, and what he intends to do.  Written for the challenge at [info]hyouhakuzai_fic here.

He could hear her breathing from the hallway.  Shinji was glad about that; although her breathing was still labored, at least it was strong.  In those first days after the battle at Karakura he’d had to strain to hear her breathe, and had spent hours watching her chest expand slightly, painfully, holding his own breath until he was certain hers was still flowing.

“Are you going to creep outside the door all day?”

“Hiyori.”  She sounded better today—not good, she still didn’t sound the way she had before Gin cut her apart—but better than yesterday.  “I didn’t know you were awake.”  He grinned as he strolled to the chair at her bedside.

“Whatever.”  Her eyes slipped to a glass of water on the table beside the bed.  He lifted it immediately, bringing the straw to her lips.

“Where’s Lisa?” he asked, swallowing his guilt as Hiyori swallowed water.  Guilt was his constant companion now, no matter how he tried to rationalize it away.  It roiled in his stomach when she struggled to use her hands; it crawled up his throat when she tried and failed to move even one toe; it seeped out of his pores when he saw the raw wound under her bandages.

“She went to get some stuff for dinner.  I told her that I’d be fine alone, so don’t yell at her.”  She pressed back against the pillows, trying to find a more comfortable position.

He reached over and shifted the pillows.  “She wasn’t supposed to leave you alone.”

“I told her I’d be fine, and here I am, being fine.  I didn’t manage to die in the twenty minutes she’s been gone, so shut up about it.”  There was a sulky tone to her voice now.  “She’s going to get pineapples for me.”

“Pineapples?”  He tipped his head to the side.

“Tonight I’m having pureed pineapple for dinner.”

“That sounds nasty.”  He wrinkled his nose at her.

“I’m bored, Shinji.  Lisa thought pineapples would add an ‘exotic excitement’ to my day.”  She rolled her eyes a little.

“Maybe I’ll have some, then.”  He hesitated.  She deserved to know what was happening, but how could he tell her what he was thinking of doing?  In an hour or so he’d feed her pureed pineapples because she still lacked the strength to feed herself.  She was in no condition for bad news, and it would certainly be bad news to her.

“Where did you go today?”

“Huh?”  He blinked at her.

“Where did you go?  You, Kensei, and Rose—you were all gone for hours.”

His eyes slipped to the bedspread.  “What makes you think we went anywhere special?”  He sounded defensive to his own ears, but perhaps she’d hear annoyance.

“Dumbass.  Do you think because I can’t leave this bed I’ve lost all my senses?  I can always feel you, Shinji.  You left today.”  She didn’t name the place, but the quaver in her voice gave her away.

“Yeah, you’re right.  We went to Soul Society, at the old man’s invitation.”  He kept his face smooth, even when a tiny shiver went through her.

“What did he want?”

“He wanted to give us his deepest thanks, and tell us that he applied for full pardons for us with the Central 46, which were granted.”  He wagged his eyebrows at her.  “It was pretty delicious.”

“But what did he want?” she snapped.  “All that other crap could wait.  He wanted something from you.”

“He asked us to fill the vacant captain positions.  He asked us to return to the Gotei 13.”

“And you told him no, right?  You told him to go screw himself, didn’t you?  Shinji,” she said, her voice rising into near-panic.  “Shinji!”

He was silent.  Her eyes squeezed shut and she turned her head away.  Tears glistened on her cheeks, but she made no sound.

“Hiyori.”  He laid a hand on her cheek.  She flinched away and he drew his hand back.  “The Fifth Division was mine for a long time.  I knew what Aizen was, and I brought him into my place, among my people.  I thought I’d watch him, limit him, but you know what actually happened.  He broke the Fifth, and he broke that kid he’d made his vice captain.  I can’t leave it like that, Hiyori.  I just can’t.”

She said nothing.  Rain was falling on the roof of the warehouse, soft and slight.  “I want to go outside,” she whispered.

“It’s too chilly to bring you outside.  Hacchi would roast my ass.”

“Shinji.”

“It’s raining.”  She didn’t move, didn’t look at him.  The bed was new, made for a single person, but she was tiny in it; two more of her could have fit in the empty space.  He’d brought this bed into the room after Karakura.  He slept in the chair, or sitting against the wall; their futon hadn’t left the closet since they’d come back.  Somehow he couldn’t face sleeping in it alone.  “You’ll wear a coat with a hood and two blankets, and no whining about it.”

They didn’t speak while he dressed her, worked her feet into shoes and her hands into mittens.  He wrapped her in a wool blanket, and then added a second one that he thought would provide some water resistance.  She was too light in his arms.  He carried her cautiously, as if she might break if her toes brushed a wall.  “Does it hurt?  Are you warm enough?”

“Shut up.”

He sighed heavily for her benefit.  They reached the roof in short order, although he’d walked slowly to avoid any jarring.  He sat down on the slanting roof, angling Hiyori in his lap to avoid the wind.

She stared out at the town spread before them.  “That’s it, then?  After a hundred years, after everything, you can just forgive the shinigami so easily?”

“It isn’t like that.  I understand why they acted as they did, and yes, they were dicks, but Aizen was always pulling the strings.  Aizen moved all the pawns; he manipulated everyone.  I can forgive them, because I know that.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to go back.  You don’t owe them anything.  You can forgive them without returning to Soul Society, Shinji.”

“I know.  But would it be so bad?  We’ve lived as fugitives for a long time now.  Returning to Soul Society is like returning home for some of us.”

“So you’ll be a captain again, like nothing ever changed.  But what about the rest of us?  Our positions are filled, and if you think I’d work under that bastard at the Twelfth anyway, you’re losing your mind.”

He chose his words carefully.  “I don’t know exactly what will happen, but the old man made it clear that concessions would be made to us, and that we’d be accommodated.”  She stared down at her red mittens.  “And he’s guaranteed large quarters for us, near enough to the Fourth that Unohana-san has promised to personally treat you four times a week, and to send one of her ranking officers on the other days.  She can heal you, Hiyori, better than Hacchi can.”

“Shinji.”  She closed her eyes.  “Even if you can go back, I don’t know if I can.  I know that Aizen was at fault.  I know it.  But I can’t stop feeling betrayed and abandoned by people who were our friends.  I feel it, and it hurts so much.  It’s like what happened with Aizen—”

“Hiyori—” he rushed to cut her off.

“No, let me finish.  I rushed at him because I was so angry, and it hurt.  I felt too much to be smart about the battle.  That’s why I’m stuck in that bed every day and night.”

“I should have seen that it would be overwhelming for you.  I should have stopped you.”  His guilt spilled out into his words.

“Don’t be stupid.”  She turned her head to meet his eyes.  “I’m responsible for what happened to me.  Not you.  Gin is responsible.  Aizen is responsible.  Not you.  Do you get that?”

He sighed.

Her small hand smacked him in the chest.  It was a weak gesture, muffled by blankets, but he smiled anyway.  “If you can forgive the shinigami, then you must have a bucket of forgiveness hiding in your scrawny body somewhere, so splash some of it around.  Forgive yourself.”

He ran his knuckles over her cheek.  “You’re such a pain in the ass.”

“Don’t lie.  You need me to kick you in the head when you’re wrong.”

“You’re right.  I do need you.”  Her eyes widened with surprise.  It was rare for them to be sentimental with each other.  He scratched the back of his neck.  “But you kick me without any reason all the time; I’m usually right, anyway.”

She made a disdainful sound.  “You’re dreaming.”

They watched people moving through the streets of Karakura.  “It won’t be as hard as you think, Hiyori.  At least some of the other Vizards will come back with us, and the people in Soul Society that were our friends before will probably be our friends again.  You’ll heal faster there, and you’ll be up and kicking me soon.”

“I don’t know if I can go back with you, Shinji.”  For once her voice had no combativeness or fire; instead it was heavy with sadness.

“You—”  He coughed.  Even though he’d known Hiyori felt resentment and hurt toward Soul Society, it had never occurred to him that she might not return with him.  They were so much a part of each other now that he wasn’t entirely sure he knew who he would be without Hiyori.  Words like love or romance didn’t nearly span the perimeters of their relationship, and such words weren’t exchanged between them; he’d undoubtedly get kicked for spewing sappiness like that around her.  They were simply together, always, and they knew it without ever saying the words.

“Stop looking at me that way.  It’s the same look you had when you thought I was dying.  It’s really ugly.”  She looked at him with her brow creased and tears at the corners of her eyes.  “I’m not saying no yet.  I just—I don’t know.”

“I’ll make it good, Hiyori.  I’ll grab whatever concessions we want from the old man.  We could get a big parade, or make everyone in the Twelfth Division participate in Track Suit Appreciation Day.”  He smiled with some difficulty.

“Track Suit Day?”  The corners of her mouth turned up.  “But what are you going to do?  You pride yourself on your style, bad as it is, and it’s not like you can wear a tie with a shinigami uniform.”

“Watch me.”  He straightened the knot in his tie.

She laughed.  “That’ll look ridiculous.  Are you really going to do that?”

“You’ll have to come with me to find out.”  He stretched his grin, though there was a tightness in his skin, in his whole body, at the thought of being without Hiyori.

She hid her face against his neck.  Her nose was icy on his warm skin.  She sighed, and even her breath was only lukewarm to him.  “Fine, I’ll go.  But only because I need to take photos of you wearing a tie with your uniform.  It’s going to be so heinous, it has to be recorded.”

“It’ll look great.  My style is just beyond your understanding.”  Relief flew through him, making his fingers tingle.

“I’m not promising I’ll stay,” she said, and her normal combative tone was back.

“I know.  It’s enough that you’ll come.  But you’re freezing,  let’s go inside and have some pineapple.  I hear it adds erotic excitement to the day.”

“That’s exotic excitement, dumbass.”

“Same thing.”  Shinji rose, carrying her back inside.  He was smiling, although things were still just as complicated and rough as they’d been earlier today; but that was nothing new for their group, or for the two of them.  “I’ll put on some music to set the mood for our pineapple.  Jazz, I think.”

“Jazz doesn’t go with pineapple.  That’s obvious.”  Hiyori settled back into the bed as he removed her shoes and mittens.

“Jazz goes with everything.”  He picked out the music and put it on at low volume.

“Sit with me.”  She nodded slightly at the bed.  He hesitated for a moment, and then slid onto the single bed.  It was narrow, but so were they.

Lisa delivered the pineapple puree with a raised eyebrow and without comment.  He accepted the pineapple from her with a grin, and her brow went higher; she left with a swift turn of her heel. 

Shinji lounged on the bed, feeding himself and Hiyori bites of pineapple in turn.  “It’s good,” she said.

The pineapple was soft and sweet, with an edge of tartness.  The rain fell on the roof, blending with the jazz music.  Hiyori leaned against his side, licking pineapple off her lips.  “Yes, it is.  It’s good.”


Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
afteriwake
Feb. 16th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
This is fantastic. I love fic that explains the things we don't get to see. I want to make this part of my personal canon now.
r_dahlia
Feb. 16th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to consider it for your head canon.

*Spoilers for manga*

I was a bit sad in the recent chapter to see Hiyori in the Living World while Shinji is in Soul Society. I like the two of them together.

*End spoilers*

I might do a bit more for your challenge, if I can get the time - the parameters are appealing. I have a couple Shunsui/Nanao stories I'm working on that are being difficult, and your challenge is a fun break. ^_^;
flyssa
Feb. 17th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
ahsjkdak, this is just absolutely amazing

I nearly screamed when I saw Hiyori in the manga! Then I realized that she's apart from Shinji now, DEPRESSING. D:
r_dahlia
Feb. 17th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Yeah, I was thrilled to see Hiyori alive and well, and then very sad when I realized she was in the Living World, and not in Soul Society with Shinji. D.
vince_moon
Apr. 1st, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
Sorry I'm late, but this is a great story.

“Jazz goes with everything.” - Great line. :)
r_dahlia
Apr. 1st, 2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked this story. And it's never too late to comment. ^_^
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )