Characters: Yumichika, mentioned Ikkaku
Rating: PG-13, perhaps? Nothing smexy or gruesome.
Word Count: 375
Disclaimer: I own neither Bleach nor the characters therein.
Losing Ikkaku was something Yumichika had been expecting since they’d first met up that day in the back alleys of the 78th division. Nobody asked, but if they had, that’s what Yumichika would have told them, and every word of it was true.
The chair across from Yumichika’s at the bar didn’t stay empty for long; soon it was occupied by new young officers who wanted to see if the rumors that Ayasegawa-san had reached bankai were true. It’s just a chair, Yumichika said, nothing special. Doesn’t matter who sits there. The explanation seemed to satisfy Iba and Renji and Shuuhei when they started drinking with him again, even though they wouldn’t meet his eyes for the first three weeks. And everything he told them was true to a fault.
It was quieter on the practice grounds now that Ikkaku was gone. Yumichika didn’t go practice with the others any more. It was the worst kept secret in Seireitei that he’d reached captains level; Yumichika just let them think he practiced alone so they couldn’t catch him doing bankai and promote him. And this, too, was true, as Yumichika certainly did not want to be promoted any more than Ikkaku had. What he didn’t tell the others was how, when he stepped on the grounds and listened to the others sparring, all he could hear was Ikkaku’s “Wasn’t even worth shikai,” see the grin he’d flashed as the hollow disappeared, then the short, startled look on his face as the arrancar impaled him, hear the little gurgle his throat had made when he finally died ten minutes later.
But the others didn’t need to know that. Losing Ikkaku the comrade was an unfortunate matter of course, and, though his loss would be stoically mourned, there were always more hollow to kill, and Yumichika would dress up and kill them and drink just as much beer and practice like always until the day came that he died himself. That was the truth, and Yumichika was sticking to it. Even though saying it was just lying through his teeth.
Because, to tell the truth, losing Ikkaku the friend was like being ripped apart from inside out, and Yumichika was never going to get over it.