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Whispered Chaos


An Alternative Universe

Bleach Yaoi Fanfiction Novel


Sōsuke Aizen/Ichigo Kurosaki


Beverly L. Anderson



Table of Contents


Author’s Notes: From Beverly…With Love

Chapter One: Chaos in the Fall

Chapter Two: Family Chaos

Chapter Three: Chaotic Truths

Chapter Four: Chaotic Beginnings

Chapter Five: Chaos in Reality

Chapter Six: Changing Winds of Chaos

Chapter Seven: Chaos Unfolding

Chapter Eight: Resulting Chaos

Chapter Nine: Chaos Unwinding

Chapter Ten: Entrenched Chaos

Chapter Eleven: Matters of Chaos and Order

Chapter Twelve: Fettered Chaos

Chapter Thirteen: Quieting Chaos

Chapter Fourteen: Shelter from the Chaos

Chapter Fifteen: Holiday Chaos

Chapter Sixteen: Unraveling the Chaos

Chapter Seventeen: Breaking Chaos

Chapter Eighteen: Before Chaos Ends

Chapter Nineteen:

Chapter Twenty: Blissful Chaos

Resources


Author’s Notes

From Beverly…With Love

With SapphireTou


This is an alternative universe fanfiction. Characters are placed in a world of my own creation. In some cases, the characters and their personalities have been altered to fit the situation.


Synopsis


Sōsuke Aizen left behind a private counseling practice in Kyoto to teach at Karakura University, where he had graduated a couple years before. He was looking forward to quiet, and less stressful situation so he could deal with his own personal problems he was going through. Then, he comes face to face with someone that strikes the deepest chord inside his soul. He wants to help, but Ichigo Utagawa is not interested in anyone's help. Sōsuke finds his way into a story of intrigue, drugs, violence, and blackmail, and somehow, along the way, the person he just wants to help survive, works his way into his very heart.

Warnings


This is a hardcore yaoi fanfiction. This is rated MA. This contains explicit sexual content. This story includes humiliation, sexual torture, and rape. This story also contains graphic violence, depictions of human trafficking, drug use and sale, and physical/mental torture. This story is not intended to be read by individuals under the age of 18.


Disclaimer


I do not claim ownership of any part of the Bleach universe or of the Bleach characters. Tite Kubo owns this amazing world; I am simply playing within it. Original elements do belong to me. There is no copyright infringement intended and I in no way make money from writing or posting this work of fanfiction.





Chapter One

Chaos in the Fall


Maple leaves were falling in a raining cascade all around the campus as he approached on his first day of work. He paused and stared at them. Such beauty in the seeming unstructured nature of it all, he wondered. He always found the beautiful trees to be one of the best things of Karakura University when he’d attended. The buildings were relatively modern, mostly brick, but there were some aspects that seemed old. The school itself had been built in the seventies, so it wasn’t terribly old, and had only recently had the celebration of fifty years. He smiled softly, and brushed the slightly curling brown hair from his face as he entered his building. He’d been away a few years, and now he was coming back home it seemed.

Sōsuke Aizen was a new assistant teacher this year, teaching Introduction and Abnormal Psychology classes with his mentor and friend. He’d left his position as a junior counselor in a large counseling group in Kyoto a few months earlier. Sōsuke had graduated his master’s program at twenty-three, having attended an intense program that combined six years of school into five. Sōsuke’s specialty was in counseling psychology. He’d ended up taking the additional extra seminars to become certified in both trauma counseling and sexuality over the time he had been with the counseling practice. He had left the practice due to issues with his own mental health. Through his various connections, he’d picked up an assistant teaching internship with his mentor and counselor Jūshirō Ukitake. Jūshirō has suggesting that one of the ways working through his anxiety and depression was to try his hand at teaching while he worked on his own doctorate degree with him.

He settled into the large desk and waited for the first class to arrive. Each of the rooms was equipped with about twenty-five small desks with chairs and one large teacher’s area in the front of the room. They still had old style green blackboards underneath the projector white screens that could be pulled down over them. Some of the newer rooms had white boards or smart boards, but for the associates and junior teachers, they often used the oldest rooms in the school.

It was the intro class so it would be a the larger of his two intro courses. His Monday/Wednesday/Friday abnormal psychology had eleven in it. Jūshirō taught the regular sized classes, but had decided rather than co teaching, he wanted Sōsuke to fully run two smaller classes. The students all began to file in and chatted idly. He really didn’t pay much attention what they talked about. He knew that being new to the school he would be a topic of conversation. He was worried, however, of course. He feared that there were things that someone would bring up from his past that he would have to explain. Considering why he had left Kyoto and come back to Karakura, he wasn’t sure how he would handle it. It had been several months, and he had been working with his mentor and counselor at that time. Still, the thought that he was going to have to explain things bothered him a bit.

“Good morning! My name is Professor Sōsuke Aizen, your teacher this year for the introduction to psychology. I’d like to welcome you to a fun and interesting semester,” he said, pushing his black wire framed glasses up his nose as he leaned back against the desk. “Now, since I’m new to this school, and many of you are as well, we’ll have a bit of introduction. I did, however, graduate here, so I do know a lot about this school and the city in general. So, we’ll start here at the front row, and give your name, major, why you’re in this class, and one fact about yourself.”

Sōsuke pointed to the first student. “Um, Rukia Kuchiki, Language major, um, it’s a requirement to graduate, and…um…I’m not interested in business at all.”

Sōsuke’s face nearly showed the sudden rush of emotion at the name. He wondered if Jūshirō realized who Rukia’s brother was. He smiled and pointed to the next student behind her, a red headed young man with facial tattoos and some running down his arms.

“Yo, Renji Abarai, I’m a business major, and I used to date this midget,” he said, kicking the back of Rukia’s chair. She looked back and glared at him. He laughed at her and winked.

Sōsuke smiled, going to the next person behind the loud redhead. This student had very long blonde hair pulled back away from their face. “Shinji Hirako, um, I’m a Sociology major, senior, and I’m in here because I kept putting off the class and I want to graduate in December.”

Sōsuke nodded looking to the student sitting next to him, a shorter girl with blonde pigtails. “Hiyori Sarugaki,” she said, glancing at Shinji. “I’m undeclared now, and I will punch anyone that says something about my height.” Shinji rolled his eyes.

“Okay, next?” Sōsuke said, moving to the next student in front of Hiyori. “My name is Cirucci Sanderwicci, I’m a theater major, and I’ve been cast in a local production of Midsummer Night’s Dream as the fairy queen.”

“That’s wonderful,” Sōsuke said, smiling. “I heard that the school was putting on Shakespeare this year. “Next?” he said point to the next student, a girl with dark hair in long pigtails.

“Name’s Loly Aivirrne, I’m an art major, graphic design, and I hate cheese,” she said with a smirk. There was a collective giggle about her fact. Sōsuke smirked and moved to the girl in front of her with short blond hair.

She smiled and nodded and spoke very softly. “Um, I’m Menoly Mallia, and uh, I’m in the creative writing program, and I want to be a teacher.” Sōsuke nodded and indicated the boy with black hair and glasses sitting next to her.

“Oh, um, Uryū Ishida, Fashion Design major, requirement to graduate of course, and I have been sewing since I was six years old,” he said with a smirk.

“The fashion design program is new to me, they didn’t have it when I graduated, how have they been doing?” Sōsuke asked him thoughtfully.

Uryū nodded. “So far I am enjoying it.”

“Good, good, next?” he said, pointing to a girl sitting behind him with short dark hair and bold eye makeup. “Emilou Apacci, I’m a business major, so I have to put up with that red headed brat over there in most my classes, and I’m a committed lesbian in a very long-term relationship, so I will punch anyone that hits on me.”

Sōsuke smiled. This was perhaps one of his favorite things when teaching. He’d taught a couple classes at a small college in Kyoto, and getting to see some of the students and their personalities during introductions had always been the thing he liked best. He pointed to the student behind Emilou and nodded. He was a shorter young man with platinum blond hair that might have been dyed silver.

“I’m Toshiro Hitsugaya, I’m a senior international studies major, and I live with my grandmother and take care of her cats,” he said, not really looking up as he spoke. Sōsuke nodded, seeing that the last boy in this row was sitting with his head down. “Ah, next, you there, in the hoodie?”

A pair of brown eyes looked up from the inside of a tattered gray hood. Sōsuke had noticed him when he came in, head bowed and avoiding contact of any sort with his fellow students. At first, Sōsuke had thought he might simply be shy or introverted. Sōsuke’s brows knitted as he waited longer than the others for Ichigo. The boy swallowed nervously.

“I-Ichigo Utagawa,” he said, almost too low to be heard. “I’m a psychology major, so I have to take the class, and um…” he stopped, thinking about what kind of fact he could share. “I have a big family,” he muttered, putting his head back down. Sōsuke moved on, marking the behavior in his mind.

“Yes, next?” he said to the student in the end of the next row, a young bald man. “Yeah, Ikkaku Madarame, I’m a criminal justice major, and I’m planning on being a police officer.” Sōsuke smiled thoughtfully. Such a lot of variety in this class. There was only one more in this row, close to the middle, a young man with long black hair and a baseball cap. He also appeared to have red tattoos, quite an unusual choice, Sōsuke thought.

“Abirama Redder, I’m undecided on what I wanna do yet, and I…uh…I’m helping my dad run his mechanic business,” he said, smiling wanly.

“Yo, dude, you should totally come over to the business side,” Renji piped up from across the room. “We are fu…fun!” he said, glancing at Sōsuke.

Emilou glared at him. “You would say that, Abarai. You are a pain in every single class we’re in.”

Renji stuck his tongue out at her, which Sōsuke saw had a tongue piercing. He arched a brow because the type of piercing it was, a large ball in the center. “Now, now, let’s not argue,” Sōsuke said. Next?” he asked, pointing over to a shorter boy with blond hair and rather vacant expression.

“Name’s Di Roy Rinker, everyone calls me Di, and I’m a football player, so I’m here on sports scholarship, and ah, sorry Prof, but don’t plan on doing work except to pass.” Sōsuke nodded. “Well, thank you for being honest, Di. Next?” he said, pointing to a shorter boy with dark hair.

“I’m Ggio Vega, and I’m a chemistry major, and I want to be a forensic analyst,” he said with a nod.

Sōsuke nodded, gesturing to the next one up in the row, a young man with short blonde hair and an eyepatch. “Tesra Lindocruz,” he said softly. “Ah, I am in the program for medical sciences, and I don’t like public speaking.”

Finally, Sōsuke pointed to the last student in the middle of that row, a young man with facial tattoos, one of which was a 69 on his cheek. “Shūhei Hisagi, I’m a music major, and I have my own band.”

Sōsuke smiled and nodded. “Alright, thank you so much. As far as myself, I introduced myself, and I’ll say that I completed the accelerated bachelors to masters counseling program here a few years ago, and my fact is that I used to be in private practice until I came back. My specialty was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m here working on my doctoral dissertation with my mentor, Dr. Ukitake.”

He glanced around, seeing most his students looking at him. Only Ichigo seemed to avoid looking up at all. He was staring at the notebook he was scribbling notes into from the text. Sōsuke cleared his throat, went through everything to do with the class for the semester, including the syllabus, and major tops they would cover. He had the students fill out note cards with their names, phone numbers, email and addresses so he would have the information at hand.

“Now, students, we’ll pair up and continue with our first day activities for the last fifteen minutes of class,” he said, smiling and pairing the students by row. He was left with one extra, so he had one group of three. He grouped up everyone and paired Uryū and Ichigo together.

“Now, get together and figure out three new things about your partner or partners. And no groaning, this is a psychology class, so there will be a lot of interactions between you all.”

Everyone paired off and he went back to planning the rest of the week’s lesson plans.

Uryū looked up at his professor and nodded at getting put into a group with this boy he hadn’t met before named Ichigo. He moved and sat down by his partner and blinked thoughtfully as he nodded at him as they sat together. Uryū smiled. “So, um, Ichigo, right?”

“Yeah, um, let’s just do this, okay?” he said. “So, three things about me, I’m adopted, I hate the nickname Strawberry or any variation of it, and I like to be alone.”

Uryū blinked and stared at the notes he was taken. “Um, okay, ah, I’m estranged from my father, I want to be a fashion designer, and I am going to design gender neutral clothes.”

Ichigo nodded, taking down the information. Uryū still didn’t get a good look at him until he reached up to scratch the back of his head under his hood. Uryū blinked thoughtfully for a second because his hair...his hair looked horribly familiar to him. A long time ago he’d known an Ichigo.

“So yeah, you said you were adopted, do you remember your name before then?” he asked, trying to sound casual about it.

Ichigo glared at him, brown eyes nearly glowing inside his hood. “Not your business,” he muttered as he glanced at the clock. “Class is over,” he said, standing.

Uryū winced at the odd smell that came off his clothes. It wasn’t a bad smell, but he couldn’t quite place it. Like smoke, but not cigarette smoke.

Uryū watched him leave thoughtfully, but didn’t catch his teacher staring after him as well. Both knew something was strange about the young man, but neither could put a finger on what it was.

-oooooo-OOOOOO-oooooo-

Ichigo stood outside the large house and could tell the night was going to be bad. He could hear the laughing and yelling from the inside as well as the thumping music. This type of thing never boded well for him. Especially if a certain guest was there. However, he was supposed to be in jail. He looked out into the yard, but didn’t know any of the cars. He would know soon. If he could get in the door and down to the basement without being noticed, chances were, he’d be fine, and so would the rest of them. Once they all go drunk and high, they tended to forget that Ichigo and the others existed.

Ichigo sighed and looked away and knew he could run, he really could. It would be so simple to just not go home. It would be easy, to just not go inside that house. How hard could it be to just walk away? He swallowed thickly and felt his heart in his throat. He could…he could just go and never ever come back. Or he could go to the police. He could tell them the truth. But his head drooped at the thought. It wouldn’t work. They wouldn’t touch them. She had too much on too many people. And if he ran, then the others…the others would suffer. He closed his eyes. It was his choice to stay. He had to protect them as much as he could. If he left, there would be no one between them. He sighed, glancing back at the road again. How many times in the last year and a half had he done this? Stood here and wondered about what would happen… But the sharp memory that reminded him what would happen if he left surfaced. He still had scars. So did the others.

Ichigo sighed and opened the door even though the idea of leaving was attractive. Then again, who would have anything to do with him anyway? He was nothing, nothing at all. Even going to school was a farce. He’d finally convinced Yoshi to let him go this year, telling her that if he went to school, maybe he could make her contacts. It wasn’t like it cost them anything; his school was paid for by the state. Of course, the guy that had come by over the summer to “check in” on how he was doing since he’d left the system had encouraged her to keep up appearances, especially since the twins had left.

Mabashi slammed him against the wall as soon as he shut the door behind him. Mabashi almost had hair the color of Ichigo’s but it only served to make him more interested in Ichigo. Ichigo grunted, dropping his bag to the ground, both out of shock and pain. He could tell Mabashi was already high. He always got more violent when he was on hopped up coke.

“Hey, Strawberry,” Mabashi said, slurring thickly as he spoke. “I woulda thought you’d have gone while I was gone, babe.”

Ichigo sighed a bit because he was also drunk. He could smell the booze on his breath, but the smoke on his skin and hair made him gag. Opium smoke had such a distinct smell to it, somewhat sweet and slow, and it was something that had started to make him nearly sick. Mabashi himself didn’t smoke it, but the smell permeated most the rooms in the house. He only really noticed it when someone got in his face anymore.

“Mabashi,” he said, looking at him and chewing his lip. “Long time no see,” he said, knowing Ryō would have a fit if he was rude to one of his “guests.” If he was upset, he’d tell Yoshi. Then Yoshi might do something to him. Or worse she would do something to the others.

“Heh, got locked up for a few months, so you know what that means, I’m fucking horny as fuck, ya know?” he said, blinking blearily. Ichigo winced. “And I heard that yer pop got some nice, fresh ones in the last couple months. I’m surprised yer still here, ya know,” he breathed on him.

“Ah, I can’t leave my family,” Ichigo said, swallowing hard. “I didn’t…I didn’t want them to get hurt like when Ho and Ban ran away…”

“See, I saw that prissy little girl earlier. She’s a pretty little thing, what’s her name, Momo?” he said, still crowding him against the wall. “And that little thing, Rin, was it? He’s a ripe one. He’s about the age you were when I got you for the first time, isn’t he?”

Ichigo reacted before he thought. “Don’t touch them!” he shouted his back straightening and then he gasped, seeing Mabashi’s eyes go wide. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t…” he started. Shit.

Mabashi moved so damn fast, even when he was high like this. His fist connected Ichigo’s chin solidly, sending him to his knees.

“Did you just fucking yell at me?” he said, his voice less slurred now that he was angry.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he muttered, feeling the blood dripping from his mouth already.

Mabashi reached down and grabbed him by the back of his hair and yanked him up, dragging him through the entry into the first bedroom. A couple others were sitting around with opium pipes. Ugaki and Ryō were sitting in the large chairs on the side of the room as Ichigo was tossed into the floor.

“Ryō, this bitch is mouthy tonight,” he said.

Ryō looked at him with bleary eyes. “So, teach him a lesson,” he muttered, sucking the smoke in slowly. “He’s been going off to college still, thinking highly of himself, bring him down to the level he deserves to be at. I told Yoshi letting him go to college would be bad for the little shit,” he said, exhaling smoke slowly. “But she thought if he got to go off to college he’d stop whining and crying so much.” Ryō

Mabashi grabbed Ichigo by the hair again, pulling him up into Ryō’s lap almost as he sucked in a long breath from the pipe before puffing it out into Ichigo’s face. Ichigo, like always, tried to hold his breathe until the cloud dissipated. He hated that more than anything. He hoped they wouldn’t do what they usually did. He grunted and sucked in all the smoke around him as Mabashi punched him squarely in the ribs. He coughed as the opium smoke filled his lungs and then his head started to float.

“There you go, that’s better,” Mabashi said, feeling him relax against his hold. “So much better when he don’t fight as much,” he muttered before slamming his elbow into Ichigo’s face, knocking him backward.

Ichigo hit the ground with a thud; he didn’t even try to catch himself, after all there was little point. He tried to distance himself as Mabashi slammed his fists into his ribcage until he felt a sharp pain. He nearly sobbed as he felt himself being lifted again and thrown onto the single bed. He couldn’t move because of the pain, but also his arms and legs felt like lead as he stared at the ceiling. He felt his clothes being taken off but he didn’t care much. The world was spinning and he couldn’t stop it. He felt his right hip pop painfully and thought he might have pulled it out of the socket again. These days it came out of the socket rather easily, having had it pulled out several times. Mabashi was perhaps the more violent of the guests when he was high like this. He would rather it be him than Momo or Rin. Another gout of smoke into his face, and the pain just faded away. He lost track of time and who was there, and it didn’t matter, really, he couldn’t feel a thing.

He came around sometime later and he was still somewhat out of it, but he could tell he wasn’t upstairs on one of the good beds now. He heard panicked voices around him as his eyes fluttered open. He was looking at a very scared Hanatarō and Rin. He saw Momo and Ririn, and behind them Nozomi and Noba. The others had been watching him carefully. Between the damage to his ribs and the drugs, his respiration was far from normal.

“Ichigo, are you awake?” Hanatarō asked, putting a cold cloth on his head.

Ichigo smiled. “Hmm, fine,” he said softly.

“You aren’t fine,” Ririn said from the next cot. “Mabashi again? I thought he was locked up.”

“He got out yesterday,” Nozomi said quietly, not looking up from her hands. “Drug charges didn’t stick.” The fifteen-year-old girl didn’t speak much.

They had all been somewhat relieved for Ichigo when Mabashi had been picked up selling drugs to kids around the college. Unfortunately, after five months, just as the trial was about to start, the evidence vanished from the locker at the police station. No one really knew what happened, but without the evidence, or a witness that would talk, they ended up letting him go.

“Does this…happen much?” Rin said quietly. Rin had just been adopted a couple months before. “I thought they were good people, they said…”

“They buy out the staff at the orphanages, and whoever they don’t buy out they blackmail with us. They use us for money, and well, for other things,” Ririn answered, not looking at the younger boy as she spoke.

The fifteen-year-old had been adopted by the Utagawas when she was eleven. Noba and the twins, Ho and Ban, had all three been adopted the same year as Ichigo. Ho and Ban were gone; they’d left when they turned eighteen and no one knew where they’d been for the last couple years.

“Why don’t you leave, dammit?” Ririn said to Ichigo, tears collecting in her eyes. She’d already asked him so many times. He was nineteen. They all knew that he was in a dangerous position.

“He was gonna come for Rin or Momo…I couldn’t let him…” Ichigo said and reached over and put a hand on Rin’s cheek. “He’s too young,” he said, smiling goofily.

“I…I’m…not leaving you…someone hasta protect you from them,” he said softly, wincing as pain sensation started to come back especially in his hip.

Rin started to cry immediately. Momo turned away. Of them, only Rin and Momo had managed to go without being used to sate the perverted appetites of the house guests, and only because Ichigo would put himself on the line for them. It didn’t happen all the time, but there were some that took things far beyond smacking around one of them when they wandered too near their party areas. Mabashi was often one of the ones that enjoyed new fosters in the household, as he enjoyed breaking them into the life. Of course, the ones that had been there for a while knew that Mabashi had a thing for Ichigo, and had been singling him out for five years already. Ichigo faded off the sleep again, not really noticing when Ririn had Noba and Hanatarō help her put his hip back into place.

-oooooo-OOOOOO-oooooo-

Sōsuke so far was enjoying his classes. He liked the way teaching was engaging, but at the same time allowed him to distance himself from the students. Thursday came and he tried to remember names as they came in. He did a double take when the Utagawa boy came in with an obvious limp. He was bundled into his hoodie again, hood pulled down over his face. Uryū came in afterward and noted the way the other boy was sitting. Sōsuke saw that Uryū looked at Ichigo, and he had to wonder if there wasn’t a problem somewhere.

Sōsuke went around and passed out worksheets for them to complete on the chapter they were supposed to read before this class. It was the first of a series of worksheets on perceptions that he wove through the classes he taught. Relatively simple, but revealing as they moved through the semester.

As he passed Ichigo’s desk he stopped, and glanced down to get a better look at him.

“Hey, Ichigo, right?” he said softly so the other students couldn’t hear him.

“Um, yeah,” he answered and looked up at him. When he did, Sōsuke frowned. His face was bruised and he had a split lip that had just started to heal.

“You doing okay?” he asked.

“Fine, just…bike accident,” he muttered, shifting in obvious discomfort in his seat and looking down at the paper which he started to fill in.

Sōsuke nodded, catching a very sweet smoky smell from his clothes when he moved. He blinked, wondering where he’d smelled that before. He shook his head and moved on. A bike accident? He supposed that was believable. The class continued, and Ichigo didn’t speak any further. He saw a lot of signs that made him suspicious. Perhaps he was far too attuned to these things than he should be.

So far, he had seen that the boy was reclusive and quiet. By itself, those things weren’t warning signs or anything. He may have been shy and introverted, which would explain a great deal of the strange symptoms he seemed to show. However, what worried Sōsuke was that he was hapnophobic, anxious, and very jumpy when other people came close to him. While it could be the boy’s personality, he feared something else. He swallowed and then pulled the card from the file. He pulled up the family name on the computer to see what he could find.

Ryō Utagawa was apparently a child born into wealth. He used his wealth to take cases adopt older children that would otherwise be left in orphanages. He was known for making charitable donations to the orphanage that the children came from. However, the more he dug, the more he found that things didn’t add up.

Sōsuke looked up as his buzzer for the end of class went off and watched as everyone left. He was curious, even more now than before. However, what could he do? Unless there was something illegally wrong, it wasn’t like he could interfere in the life of a college student.

-oooooo-OOOOOO-oooooo-

Uryū stared at his phone for a long time before he dialed the number for Karakura General. He asked for his father and was connected quickly. Of course, he was connected quickly. He was asking for Dr. Ishida.

“Dr. Ryūken Ishida speaking,” came his father’s harsh voice.

“Father?” he said wondering if he’d hang up.

There was a long pause, then the voice came on that sounded somewhat bewildered. “Uryū?”

“Father, I am sorry to bother you at work but I no longer have your cell or home number since you changed it.” Uryū felt his chest tighten. “So, there was something I needed to talk to you about. This had driven them apart, after all. To bring it up again was a dangerous thing. He honestly was waiting for him to hang up at any moment.

“What is it?” came the terse reply.

“What happened to Uncle Isshin’s oldest child?” he asked quickly.

Ryūken didn’t speak for a long moment. “Why would you ask a question like that?”

“Because I think he may be in my psychology class.”

Another long pause occurred. “That’s impossible. Masaki and Isshin’s children were taken in by his cousin, Kaien Shiba and his wife after the incident happened. All three should all three be now be in Tokyo.”

“Father, there is a boy, my age, and he had obnoxiously orange hair and his name is Ichigo. I don’t know how many other people have that crazy hair color and that name,” he said, chewing the inside of his cheek and wondering if he would, yet again, be dismissed.

Ryūken started to dismiss indeed it but stopped. “That…would be unusual.” Another boy the exact same age with the exact same name and the exact same hair color? What were the chances?

Ryūken felt his heart ache just thinking about what had happened, and there was a big piece of him that wanted to just hang up the phone on his estranged son. Ryūken wanted to go back to his solitary, lonely, and quite uneventful life. However, something happened when he had answered the phone and heard Uryū’s voice again. But now, he realized that he missed his son. He wanted to see him again, and he wanted to fix what he’d done. The overly stoic and proper doctor had no idea where it had come from, because it was sudden and overwhelming. Ryūken had never imagined hearing Uryū’s voice would do this to him.

“As I thought. His last name is Utagawa, aren’t they some well off people?” Uryū asked.

“Yes, but why would he be with someone like that when he should be family?” Ryūken asked slowly. “He is a well-to-do man, and should be well taken care of if that’s the case.”

Uryū bit his lip again. “He’s messed up.”

“What?” Ryūken said. “What do you mean?”

“He’s messed up. Something is wrong with him and he stinks like an opium den,” Uryū said, having realized what the smell was when he smelled it again. More than once he’d smelled different drugs, mostly in the times he’d done costumes for some of the local clubs.

Again, there was a pause. “Um, son, perhaps we can meet for dinner and talk more,” he said.

Uryū blinked and was speechless for a long moment. “Um, yeah, sure, meet you at the café on fourth street?”

He almost heard the smile in Ryūken’s voice. “Yeah, sounds fine.”

“See you then,” he said, and waited for him to hang up. He stared at the phone for a long moment.

It happened almost ten years ago. His father, Ryūken, had a younger sister named Masaki. Masaki had married Isshin Kurosaki, and they had three children, a boy and then a pair of twin girls four years later. Ryūken had been incredibly close to his sister and then to Isshin and his nieces and nephews. Then, one night, Masaki was murdered in front of their oldest, Ichigo, who was also shot during the attack. Isshin had contacted his cousin, Kaien Shiba and told him that he wanted him to take his kids. He then had left a suicide note detailing what was to happen with his children and thrown himself into the sea. They had never recovered the body. Kaien’s wife, Miyako couldn’t have children of her own. Uryū had lost track of what happened, but he was very angry at his father that he didn’t care.

Uryū sat down on his bed with a thump. What could he do now?




Chapter Two

Family Chaos


“Father,” Uryū said as he sat down at the table. The place had met at was somewhere that, at one time, had been very special to both. It was just a small out of the way diner that served the best ramen in town. It seemed low brow for the doctor and his son, but there were many memories associated with the place.

The last time they had been at Daikoku Ramen had been a long time ago. That had been the day Ryūken had crossed a line with his twelve-year-old son that severed their relationship for good. It had been the day that Ryūken had completely missed Uryū’s play at school that he’d designed the costumes for. It had been so very important to the young man, but the last three years Ryūken had grown very distant after the murder of his sister and suicide of his brother in law. He’d dove into his work and rarely spoke to Uryū. The play had been the last straw. He called his grandfather to come pick him up and asked to stay with him. His grandfather had hesitated, but Ryūken had told Sōken to take Uryū and go, he didn’t want anything to do with family. From that day forward, he did not. Uryū had spent the years since then trying to forget that he had a father.

“Uryū,” Ryūken said, still in his suit and tie from the hospital. He looked…different, but Uryū supposed time had passed for both. His father seemed aged, but the look on his face was anything but stoic as he expected. There was emotion written there, which was perhaps the most telling feature of the entire experience.

Uryū looked at the ramen bowl on the table Ryūken had ordered for him already. “You remembered my favorite, after all these years.”

Ryūken sighed. “I’m sorry,” he said suddenly, looking up. “I want to start with that. I was sorry the minute you left seven years ago. I couldn’t say anything and I couldn’t do anything. There just was no way. My heart was pulled from my chest when Masaki died, and I lost everything she’d contributed to the world when Kaien to those children to Tokyo. I suppose in a way, I’d hoped that Isshin would have sent them to me, and that was a pain I couldn’t erase. I understand, of course, why, Kaien and his wife could offer a mother and a father, and I could only offer a father for them.”

Uryū was speechless. That, he did not expect. To be honest, he had been sure he would have been met by the same man from seven years ago. He had assumed he would be treated with dismissal and have everything he cared about given little value. He expected the man who had told him that designing clothing was a woman’s field, and he refused to participate in letting his son do something so devaluing.

“I’m sorry too; I should have understood what you were going through. Aunt Masaki was very important to you and…and I guess I forgot how close you and Isshin were. You grew up with him after all, I can’t imagine what it was like to lose both like that. I never thought about how much it would hurt that your sister’s children wouldn’t have come to stay with you,” he said thoughtfully, truly meaning it.

Ryūken nodded. “Yeah, I think we both could have done better.”

They sat and ate in silence, letting the memories of the place fill them. Uryū had more than once thrown ramen back and forth with his Uncle Isshin and his cousin Ichigo. He remembered the babies and how cute they had been. Ichigo had been seven when he fell out of the booth in the far west corner of the place and needed stitches in his chin. Uryū looked up.

“Father, Ichigo would have a scar, wouldn’t he? On his chin?” he asked.

Ryūken nodded slowly. “Yeah, when you and he decided to try and compete to climb the back of the booth and he fell out and busted his chin on the floor. It wouldn’t be very noticeable, I did the stitches, after all, but it would be there, just about here,” he said, leaning over and tracing a finger just over the right side of Uryū’s chin.

Uryū nodded. This was the first time he’d felt a touch from his father in seven years. “I can look. But father, what are the chances of there being another person like this age with that name and hair color?”

Ryūken shook his head. “Not very likely. So, I got information on the Utagawa family to see what I could find out.”

Uryū nodded. Ryūken reached into his briefcase and pulled out a file folder. “I looked up their medical records. Not strictly legal, but no one is going to find out and if they did, they won’t say anything. Most of the people at the hospital walk on eggshells around me.”

Uryū shook his head. That was his father, alright. “I guess some things don’t change.”

Ryūken looked up and him and gave subtle smile to his son. “I get things done faster than the other department heads,” he said as he opened the file folder in his hand.

“Anyway, the Utagawas take in foster kids and adopt them. They are usually older, ten to fifteen years old, so kids that rarely will be adopted and would normally stay in the system until they’re eighteen. Now, on the surface this seems like a good thing for these kids, but I got to wondering how they afforded so many kids and how they donated money to places like the hospital and the other charities. Well, something interesting came up. I did some snooping. Well I didn't do it, I had it done, but that doesn’t matter. Ryō Utagawa and his wife Yoshi were officially disowned and cut off from their families. Ryō handled his finances with such blatant irresponsibility, his father decreed that he wasn’t to have access to the family’s wealth. He had gone through his trust fund before he was twenty-two. The woman, Yoshi, it seems there are conflicting accounts. Some say she had a falling out with her mother, but there’s an arrest record for disorderly conduct and reports that she was incredibly violent. Another account listed that she’d nearly killed a maid in their household and that’s what got her disowned,” he said, frowning at the papers he’d been given by Chojiro Sasakibe.

Ryūken had known him for years, and if there was something he wanted found, Chojiro could find it. He was a private investigator that Ryūken typically employed when he needed something found quickly. Unfortunately, he knew now that if he had realized that something was going on like this, he could have had him working on it the entire time. Chojiro conducted himself in a very British manner, and was often much politer than many other he’d worked with.

“So, I was curious how they got this money and how they could take in kids. Well, look at this,” he said, handing a sheet to Uryū. It was a financial statement sheet sometimes required when there was state paid insurance like foster kids had. “The foster kids get income under their names. It’s supposed to be used to take care of them. They have upwards of six to eight kids in house at a time, and when they adopt they get a stipend and a continued payment, plus complete insurance coverage for them. So essentially, they earn income to take care of the kids. However, I’ll say it is nowhere near enough to account for the money they donate to other places. I don’t understand how this hasn’t come up, because they don’t list any income except for the kids they take in. This means that the large amount of money they have coming in that they donate to charities is coming from somewhere else, most likely less than legal since it is unreported,” Ryūken said pointing out that the numbers didn’t match between the listing of their contributions and their income. “I thought at first it was because they come from rich families, but knowing that they were both cut off, it seems more than a little suspicious to me.”

Ryūken moved the papers and pulled out a different folder of what looked like medical records. “Now, what I find interesting, they never come into the hospital. I looked them up in the system, and the only doctor’s visits the Utagawas adopted children and fosters have been the required checkups on a yearly basis, and even then, I think they’re forged or something.”

“Why do you think that?” Uryū said, looking over the collected papers. He paused. Ho and Ban Utagawa. That was the name of the boys that one of the other tenants at his fourplex took care of. Could it be them? How many sets of twins named Ho and Ban could there be? There were too many coincidences in all of this, he thought to himself.

“Because the reports are minimal, and there are never any problems that commonly occur with children of their ages,” Ryūken put away the papers after another few minutes.

“So, what does it mean?” Uryū said, completely confused by all this information. “What are they doing?”

Ryūken shook his head. “I have no idea, but nothing good, I’m guessing. Kids this age have accidents, broken bones, and there’s no reason for them not to. Something is going on with them, and if this is your cousin, we have to do something, for Masaki and Isshin. I can’t let their son suffer if what you say is true and he is in a bad state.”

Uryū nodded. “We have class Tuesday; I’ll see what I can find out from Yoshino. She said something about the Utagawas the other day, technically they are our neighbors, but I can’t think of what it was.”

Yoshino was like a surrogate mother to Uryū. She was a confidant and had always been there for him. When he had trouble dealing with the fact his father wasn’t around, she was the one he talked to. She had been there when his grandfather had passed, and had helped him learn how to do things for himself like pay bills and grocery shop. She had also been the one to put him in contact with his roommate Chad. She was more than a landlady to him. She would help him; he knew that for sure.

-oooooo-OOOOOO-oooooo-

Yoshino Sōma owned a very nice fourplex. The grounds around it were nice as well, Koga, one of her tenants, paid part of his rent by doing the yardwork and landscaping for her. They’d installed a small duck pond, a set of benches around the pond, and a large trellis where climbing flowers grew. They’d also planted several cherry trees a couple years before, and this year they should bloom and fruit. Koga did landscaping for a living, but because of the varied demand, he often had times he was short on rent. She also let him do most of the maintenance when needed in exchange for taking some off his rent. He needed the money for his two wards more than she needed it to pay the bills for the fourplex. She was sitting on the balcony of her apartment and watching below as Koga sat by the pond as his two charges played catch with each other.

Hō and Ban Utagawa were almost twenty years old, but neither one of them were capable of working, so Koga took care of them. Yoshino had her suspicions of what had happened to those two boys, but she had never confirmed it. When it came to the Utagawas, she quickly found out that asking questions caused a lot more problems than it solved. She knew Koga from before her ex-husband had been put away. Koga had been one of the few people that helped her when the bastard tried to pin a con on her. If it hadn’t been for him, she might not have turned the tables on Jin Kariya (she had taken her name back after the divorce was final, of course). She waved down at Koga who waved back as he was reading a paperback.

She saw that Yasutora Sado, one of the college boys that lived in the apartment underneath hers, was crouched under one of the cherry trees playing with the local cats. There was a pack of them that all had clipped ears. Everyone at the fourplex took care of them. The clipped ears meant they had been a part of the catch and release program to control the stray population, and were all neutered and spayed. Yoshino noticed that two of the regulars were missing. Her eyes went to the east, where the next house was just out of view. The next house belonged to the Utagawas, even if she never saw them. Her fourplex was on one side of a divide and their huge farmhouse on the other. A fence ran between the properties, and the road did not run through. However, sometimes the cats that lived around her place wandered over there and didn’t return. Considering she often heard gunshots, she had a good idea what happened to them.

She sighed and looked down at the young man, Chad as his roommate had nicknamed him. He was what she would call a gentle giant, and he adored the cats and the other animals that came around. His roommate was Uryū Ishida. Uryū was a rather dour looking boy, but he was a fashion design major who always wore impeccable clothing, and she tried to take care of him. She knew that he was on some quest to find his place in the world, especially after his estrangement from his father., She smiled as his car pulled into the parking area and he came out, waving at Chad.

He headed up to where Chad was sitting and spoke with him for a moment before Uryū looked up and waved at her. There was a bit more between him and Chad, then Uryū came running toward the building, scaring poor Hō and Ban nearly into the pond. He stopped and apologized to the boys and walked slowly this time. She smiled to herself. Whatever he wanted to talk about must be important. He seemed quite excitable.

A few minutes later he came onto the balcony and flopped into a seat beside her. He had a strange look on his face, somewhere between thoughtful and sad, but he had the flush of excitement on his face at the same time. She smiled at him. “So, you’re in an excited mood,” she observed. She couldn’t pin down his mood other than that, though.

“So, first, my dad and I spoke today,” he said with a slight smile.

Yoshino arched a brow. Uryū had lived in her place for nearly five years, his grandfather living there with him until he passed the year before and later when Chad moved in to help with the rent. In that time, she thought sure the rift between the two would never be sealed.

“What brought this on?” she asked, leaning toward him, her dark brows knitting.

“I called him because I think…I think my cousin is in trouble. And I need to know something. What do you know about the Utagawas? I know they live over there, and that you talk about them now and then, but his last name is Utagawa,” he said, looking up at her.

Yoshino paled a bit. “You’re sure?” she said, pushing her long dark hair behind her ears.

“Yeah, and Hō and Ban were named on some paperwork father had about the Utagawas…” he said, looking up at her.

Yoshino nodded. “Yeah, they were adopted there,” she said, glancing down at the pond where Koga was having to deal with a fight between the twins most likely one of them had one of the extreme mood swings they suffered now and then. “Something happened to those two there, but please don’t talk to them about it. You might ask Koga, but don’t ask them. They’re enough for him to handle as it is.”

Uryū nodded, looking down at the two. Sometimes they acted like ten-year-olds. He bit his lip. “Yeah, I’m gonna go down now, I’ll come talk to you if I find out anything,” he said, standing and kissing the top of Yoshino’s head.

He headed down the stairs and saw that Luppi and Wonderweiss were sitting on their deck. Luppi was painting and Wonderweiss was playing a video game. He was utterly silent and engrossed in a DS game, not looking up when Uryū approached. The blond-haired boy didn’t talk, and tended to make people uncomfortable. Uryū waved at them and wandered onto their porch and glanced at Luppi’s painting. It was, as usual, surreal and strange, with a lot of plant looking things. Luppi smiled at him.

“Hey Uryū, how was your first week at school this semester?” he asked, pausing to clean his brushes.

“Good, you’re taking abnormal psych with the new guy, that Aizen?” he said, smiling at the much shorter man.

Luppi nodded, dipping into his palate again. “Yeah, figured it might help understand my bipolar a bit better. Meds are working lately though, huh Wonderweiss?”

Wonderweiss nodded without looking up. Uryū smiled. The pair was unusual, but they were good neighbors. “Okay, I’ve got my own homework, so I’ll talk to you later!” he said, heading into his own apartment to see Chad had come in while he was upstairs talking to Yoshino.

“Hey Chad,” Uryū said, flopping onto the couch with a sigh.

“Are you well, Uryū?” Chad asked, coming to sit in the chair across from him.

“I don’t know. I just don’t know. If this guy is my cousin, what should I do?” he said, taking off his silver framed glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. “He might be in trouble, and I just…I can’t put up with drama right now, you know?”

Chad had been the first person he’d told, and Chad had encouraged him to talk to his father about it. Uryū had no idea who else would know anything because he’d lost contact with everyone since his grandfather had died.

Chad was silent a while. “If he is family, you should help him. I will help you, Uryū.”

Uryū smiled at Chad. “Thanks, Chad, I know I can count on you,” he said, and got up to head to his room. Uryū didn’t catch the strange look that crossed Chad’s face as he walked away.

“You can always count on me,” Chad muttered, turning and looking out the window.

Chad never spoke much, but since Yoshino had helped him by introducing him to Uryū, he’d become protective of his companion. He had seen Uryū suffer with the loss of his grandfather, and having lost his own a few years before, he had tried his best to help him. Chad wanted to help Uryū with whatever he wanted in life. Despite his attempts to ignore the budding feelings in his chest, Chad was finding himself more and more drawn Uryū. He was fragile in so many ways, and other people didn’t seem to realize it. Chad was the only one that Uryū confided it. He’d speak to Yoshino like a mother, but with Chad it was different. Chad had helped him through three failed relationships. He’d been there and helped Uryū when he didn’t have the strength to help himself. He didn’t think, however, that Uryū would ever realize that Chad felt this way.

The truth was, though, it didn’t matter. Chad wanted Uryū to be happy, that was all. So, he’d be her for him. He knew Uryū didn’t care about him in the same way, but that was okay. He was happy to be the person he came to when he needed someone.

-oooooo-OOOOOO-oooooo-

Sōsuke couldn’t concentrate on the papers he was grading. His mind kept spiraling to the troubled boy in his psychology class. He rubbed his head and wondered how he could help him. The first step to doing anything would be to get the student to talk to him. He wasn’t sure how to do that though. He had the sense that the boy was being abused in some fashion, because quite frankly, he didn’t buy the bike accident idea. Also, there were some startling things that seemed too familiar. He sighed and put his hand on the lower left side of his abdomen.

He got up and walked around the small apartment he’d rented just a couple weeks ago. He finally settled into the sofa and turned the TV on when someone knocked at the door. He frowned and stood up, considering that only a couple people had his address since he’d moved back to town. He opened the door to find the unlikeliest person, or perhaps he should have expected to find him there. Byakuya Kuchiki stood in a pristine suit and tie, and his usual almost emotionless face.

“’Kuya,” Sōsuke said, surprised. “Come in,” he said, letting the other man into his apartment.

“Sōsuke, I hope you’ve found things to your liking,” he said, walking in with his hands tucked at the base of his back.

“Yes, of course, ‘Kuya.” Sōsuke had called Byakuya when he needed help. Of course, Byakuya owned the building that this apartment was in, and had arranged to provide him a decently furnished one. “I assume your younger sister informed you of being in my class,” he said with a soft smile.

Byakuya nodded, looking around the small apartment. “She did. Of course, she doesn’t know who you are…or were…to me,” he commented, turning back to glance at Sōsuke’s forearm.

Sōsuke glanced at his arm as well and smiled softly up at Byakuya. He had his sleeves rolled up on his shirt, his tattoos exposed. Sōsuke went to the bar and poured a drink, scotch neat and clean, for Byakuya. If nothing else, Sōsuke knew very well how the stoic man took his drinks. Byakuya took it, and sat down on the sofa, glancing at the TV which was playing a random news show.

“I would hope not, ‘Kuya. I doubt you discuss your sex and romance life with your little sister,” he said, sitting down beside him with his own drink.

Byakuya sipped his scotch. “Well, yes, since my grandfather is dead now, I don’t have to keep my relationships a secret anymore. I’ve already inherited my shares of the Serietei, and they can’t be taken away at this point, unlike when we were in school together. Of course, besides that, I’ve made a name myself on my own. I no longer have to depend on the Kuchiki name to be recognized.”

Byakuya and Sōsuke had gone to undergraduate school together briefly. Sōsuke had been a seventeen-year-old freshman in college when Byakuya had been a business graduate at almost twenty-five himself. The romance had been…heated, to say the least. Byakuya had been a very needy partner, and Sōsuke, though eight years younger, had been the more dominant of the two of them. Byakuya, as a rule, preferred younger men, and the worst part was that he had to keep the fact he preferred men completely secret from his grandfather, or he ran the risk of being written out of the will. Byakuya had married a woman, a lovely girl named Hisana who had been Rukia’s biological sister. When Hisana had passed from inoperable lung cancer, Byakuya had taken in Rukia as his own heir. Of course, Sōsuke and Byakuya’s illicit relationship had come to an end when he married Hisana. Hisana, however, knew of her husband’s preference for men, and knew that the marriage was solely to appease the Kuchiki family. She, however, had not minded, and when she became sick, she had Byakuya promise to care for her little sister, which he had.


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