”’Are you happy’? What do you mean by that, Anonymous-san?” Ishida ignores the other oddly shaped figure by impulse and on purpose. He doesn’t want to disclose how he feels about anyone or who’s posts he’s liked the most for sheer privacy.
With his hand still clenched tightly into the thin fabric of Ishida’s shirt— Ichigo’s heated gaze faltered slightly as Ishida began to speak; only for his shoulders to tense and him to strengthen his stance. The differences between him and Ishida, were so very wide and far apart— however, no matter what excuses or reasons either he or the Quincy would give, no matter what, it still boiled down to two very similar, lonely boys; thriving for attention, recognition, as well as affection and understanding that they both needed.
Ishida was the last of his kind, and had to witness his grandfather— the person he loved the most, being taken away from him, in front of his very own eyes. As did Ichigo have to witness, and be the cause of the death of his mother— the person that he admired the most as well, in the entire world.
Ichigo knew, on some level— that Ishida and his father didn’t get along. No, he didn’t dare think they were anywhere on the same levels with his dad, but he still could tell, nonetheless, that Ryuken wasn’t exactly a ‘loving’ father. And, somewhere inside of him— Ichigo wished he could have given Ishida his family, not for the sake of understanding Ishida, but so that Ishida would have at least one other person in the world that he could love, and share his secrets with.
Ichigo had no right to judge Ishida when it came to who’s life was the worst; because, in so many ways— in so many different sections, one would beat the other and in the end they would turn out the same. But… Even though he knew this, it didn’t mean he wanted to admit it. Ishida was his friend, after all. And although the Quincy would never admit it, Ichigo didn’t mind in saying that he, himself, cared very much for the archer— and only wished his pain and suffering would stop, and that Ichigo could take back all harsh words he had ever spoken to the younger teenager.
Clenching his hand once more into the folds of Ishida’s shirt— he trailed his gaze upwards and faltered once more as he met watery blue irises with his own, chocolate ones. Beneath the Quincy’s frames, he could almost see a younger boy, wanting nothing more than someone to hold, praise, and be there for him— just like Ichigo had always wanted before.
Swallowing thickly, Ichigo’s hand slowly loosened in Ishida’s shirt, to the point where he let go completely. Without himself, in any way holding Ishida now; he truly looked down to get a better look at him, before closing his eyes and doing the unexpected.
With one step closer to Ishida, Ichigo reached out and wrapped his arms around the teen’s smaller frame. He didn’t care that Ishida would most likely yell, hit, and lash out at him— because really, an outlet right now was something the other probably needed. Instead, Ichigo would remain, locked in place as he held the teen— a hand reaching up to hold the back of the Quincy’s head; so that he could show Ishida that he wasn’t the only one hurting, wouldn’t be— but he was also showing Ishida that he did have someone here, who would be there for him— and share his pain.
What, really, had occurred between them? What had happened? They’d just had one of their first real fights—real arguments where neither of them had meant what they’d said, but had been thinking at one point or another during the spanse of their ‘relationship’. It wasn’t a friendship, but a mock relationship where they simply tolerated each other—where they were alike, in the sense that they’d gone through the same things.
They weren’t twins, but they were alike, and that was what kept them together, kept them interested, as far as ‘friendship’ went—but when one or the other was a broken mess, which was rare, they weren’t sure what to do. Nobody was. The group of friends all had one another to support, but Ishida and Ichigo, they were different when they handled things like this—together. Ichigo let go of Ishida’s shirt, though.
Ichigo moved forward and— and he held him, and Ishida had no idea what to do, so instinct was first what made him react— anger. He balled his fists up, he shouted, but that— that too eventually faded off into hoarse sobs that came, somewhere, from deep inside of him as he slumped foward and curled his fingers into the orangehead’s shoulders, his body racking.
The little boy that Ichigo saw was burying himself as far as he could into the shelter of him, a man, a mature man who could ‘father’ him the way he’d never been— could take care of him and love and care for him. That void would never fill by itself, but this moment, a small part of him healed when he flooded over like this— when he was cemented to the ground, damp parts of his hair clinging to the sides fo his face.
Everything had been taken from Ishida. Everything— even his pride, his will. He’d never fully realized that that scar had never healed on its own. He’d never realized that he’d been seeking for someone to need and that when he showed off, when he tried to ‘look cool’ in front of his friends, what he was really saying, what he was whispering under his taciturn mask was ‘Love me. I’m here, love me, notice me.’
That was how it’d always been.
Ichigo winced and tensed visibly as he heard the shout of Ishida’s voice. His hands slowly clenched into tight fists at his sides as his eyes narrowed and his eyebrows furrowed into a deep scowl in the middle of his forehead. Turning quickly, he stomped his way up to the other, reaching out and using the flat of his palm to push at Ishida’s chest.
“What do you know, huh?! Do you have any idea what it feels like to be the one everyone relies on? To be the one who has to be strong, to save not only your friends, family— but others you don’t even know?! Do you know what it feels like to have everyone’s disappointed faces turn to you when you fail, only to give you a small smile and a nod before they walk away when you succeed?! No, you don’t! You don’t have all that pressure put on you, Ishida! And I didn’t try and kill Inoue, you idiot!” Ichigo paused, his breathing going rapid as he closed his eyes and clenched one of his fists into Ishida’s shirt.
“MY HOLLOW NEARLY KILLED HER! Which, that’s another thing you don’t have to live with! Constantly battling someone in your OWN head, to be able to control your OWN body! When you have to go through all that shit and come out on top, then let’s talk. Other than that—”
“Shut the fuck up and enjoy what you have! You barely have any rights to brag!”
“Is that what it’s come to, Kurosaki? You…”
That was all Ishida found he could say. When he’d responded, Ishida listened to him— not as carefully as he could have been listening, but with cold fury that pumped through his veins, that anchored him to the spot, and everything he’d ever been meaning to say to him but had hidden deep within himself surfaced. In his mind, those words and those visions flashed before him, reflecting the agony that Ichigo dared to force him to relive. A child running through freshly cut grass to his father’s arms, still young, still a toddler, happy as he could possibly be, mother laughing in the distance.
“You, talking like that… YOU TALKING LIKE YOU KNOW ME! YOU DON’T KNOW ME AT ALL!”
You don’t know what it’s like. You have it so good with your perfect family, with your little sisters and your father and your friends— and you’re so high and mighty that you refuse to bat an eyelash at everyone else suffering around you even after your fights are over?! Is this all just a game to you!? You get to come home and sleep while the rest of us—’
A child with his tiny hands flattened out on cool glass, wiping fog and steam away to a snowy driveway where an empty space cleared the tar. As tears bubbled and poured down those flushed cheeks, so too did they roll down Ishida’s face, his brows knitting together with the pain that’d exploded through his body, fiery, to the tips of his fingertips. A child who wept at his grandfather’s casket and clung to his emotionless father’s leg. When he lifted his face, his eyes, from under his glasses, brimmed over, entire body shaking.
“I don’t think I’ve told you, have I? That man… ever since I can remember, he’s never been my father. You met him at the hospital, the director, the man who took care of me. He may have birthed me, but he will never be my real father. He doesn’t deserve a sense of entitlement like that. He was the only person who cared about me, and he’s dead, Kurosaki. Just who do you think I have? Do you think I enjoy being alone? Do you think I enjoy this!? Do you really think you’re suffering anymore than I am!? Anymore than Sado-kun, than Inoue—”
Face to face they were—and Ishida felt himself tense. At first, he hadn’t been able to gaze into those deep, chocolate eyes, take in the rage that he could feel from his friend— but then—…
Every part of his body stilled, became stone, words leaving him jerkily—as if he wasn’t himself, couldn’t hear himself, his chest clenching with the pain of their argument.
“Without ME, Kurosaki? Do you remember nothing?! WITHOUT ME, YOU WOULD HAVE KILLED INOUE LIKE THE UNCONTROLLABLE BEAST YOU ARE!”
Ack— and the berry dodges at the last minute; bending backwards so that the fist just barely grazes his cheek. “W-WHAT THE HELL?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT THE HELL?! YOU JUST TRIED TO HIT ME!” And then Ichigo reaches forward quickly and grabs both of the Quincy’s wrists. “I DON’T WANT YOUR PERVERTED HANDS ON ME, ISHIDA. SO JUST STOP IT.
“If this is how things are going to be, then from now on, don’t expect me to show up when you need to save the world. You’re no longer a person to me, Kurosaki. When I said I hate you and all other Shinigami… I meant it.”