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Bleach - The Beautiful Lie - Int 9: Year Zero

a/n: Special thanks to azardarkstar, who wrote all of the interludes including this last one. She deserves all of the praise!

Title: The Beautiful Lie
Pairings: Urahara/Ichigo, Aizen/Ichigo, Shinji/Nel
Rating: M
Warning: Spoilers for recent chapters, Character death, Yaoi-ness, Post-war fic, Violence
Description: Years after the painful end, the echoes of war still prove their influence, and Ichigo discovers a dead man in his kitchen.

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Interlude Nine: Year Zero
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Shinji’s the one to pick out her dress, but Nel supposes it’s okay since she picks everything else. Including what Ichigo will wear when he marries them. The only one she isn’t dressing is Sousuke-san, but she actually trusts his judgment.

It’s a strange thing really. To be on such familiar terms with the man who for all intents and purposes is her creator. At least the man who made her what she is. A thinking Hollow. An Arrancar who’s so human now her mask is almost gone and her hole is vanished.

Of course, there’s a difference between familiar and familial, and if Shinji has his way, Sousuke-san will be both along with the rest of their not-so-little and ever expanding group. Lisa has already paired off, and don’t think that she doesn’t see all those butterfly messages that Hachi’s been getting. Not to mention Ichigo and his love triangle.

Their family just keeps growing, but being part of a family means knowing and loving the members no matter what. It means seeing their faults and looking beyond them.

That was easy with her brothers, her first friends. Once, she’d been lonely but strong and had protected them and been loved in return. Then, she’d been weak, so weak, and they’d shielded and cherished her.

It’s a twinge harder with the Vizard. It isn’t that they used to be Shinigami because Ichigo is part Shinigami too, and Nel loved him from the moment they met. It’s that they were so… well, not bitter. Jaded perhaps. World-weary and tired in a way that not even sentient Hollows were.

Hachi’s too quiet. Lisa too lusty. Hiyori’s angry at the world and everyone in it. Rose can’t forget; Love doesn’t want to. Shinji, sadly enough, is the most stable one.

And now, with their new members, Ichigo is tired. Sousuke-san isn’t happy unless he’s plotting against someone. Kisuke-san can’t be without a secret.

It’s a recipe for disaster, but somehow, it hasn’t been that much of one. No more than the rest of their lives. More than everything else.

Nel’s glad. She wants it to work out. She wants them to all be together and not be reaching for swords in the process. She wants them all there. Ichigo and Sousuke-san and Kisuke-san, too.

And really, she only bet that Sousuke-san would win because he honestly needs more people on his side, but she rather thinks it’ll be a different outcome now. Nel suspects it’s Lisa’s doing, but she’s too thrilled for them to care. And really, they do make Ichigo happy.

He deserves it. He deserves to be happy. To be loved and cherished and treasured.

He saved Neliel. He’s how she met Shinji. How she survived the loss of her brothers.

And now, she’s getting married. She’s getting her happily ever after.

She wants Ichigo to have the same. She wants him to relax, to enjoy life. To realize that everything’s not just going to be okay, it’ll be fantastic.

She’d do just about anything to see it done. To see it happen.

But maybe now, she won’t have to.

o0o0o


Lisa knows what they say behind her back.

Yeah, she’s free with her affections and even her body. Does that make her a slut? Probably. Does she care? No. Never has. Never will.

Her real lover, her number one guy on a long list of them, doesn’t seem to either. But then, Lisa supposes, being over two thousand years old does tend to make one secure and confident with themselves.

Or maybe Jyuushiro really is that generous with everything he owns. She honestly wonders about that. Wonders if he and Shunsui really did share everything. Including Shunsui’s wife. She has her suspicions.

But not everybody is as liberated as she is. Well, truth be told, most people aren’t. And they aren’t as understanding as her past lovers either.

Even to Sousuke, sex is a commitment. Lisa had known that going in, but it had ended so quickly between them. Had barely lasted a year. And in all honesty, Sousuke was the one to call it quits. He’d known she wasn’t satisfied being tied down, and he’d had plans on his mind even then.

And yeah, she’d been furious with him for nearly a century when she realized just what those plans were and that she’d been nothing but an accidental victim. Turn her into a Hollow if he had to. Stab her in the back if he had to. But at least do it on purpose.

But now, that anger’s fizzled and died, and Lisa can actually look back and think that Sousuke is still a cute little freshman that her captain all but flung her at. Kisuke, of course, is better than the man-whore bastard he was those few times she’d slept with him.

Pity that she’ll never get to try Ichigo. But he has enough problems juggling two people, and as much as Lisa likes sex, she likes having friends and being able to look herself in the mirror more. Sleeping with Ichigo, seducing him, would really hurt him. Not just a little. A lot. Maybe irreparably.

Best leave him to his two guys and let the three of them settle it.

Leave it to Ichigo the king. The knight in shining armor. The owner with two very different pets – men – vying for his attention.

Sousuke, the cat. Doing his own thing while people usually have to resort to bribes to get him close. But occasionally, he’ll deign on his own to give his affections.

Kisuke, the dog. Always waiting for master to come home. To show him a scrap of affection. To love him like he loves them.

Though admittedly, the master has changed. It’s not Yoruichi anymore but Ichigo. And that’s definitely several steps up for him. At least, Ichigo loves him back, even if he’s in love with someone else at the same time.

Bummer that one.

It’s the least Lisa could do for their fearless leader to help him out with his so-called problem. Though Lisa really can’t see what’s wrong with two hotties panting after her. She has fantasies like that; they’ve yet to come true.

Double bummer.

Jyuushiro just laughs when she tells him that night. Which is right after she tells him that Ichigo is safe and not to worry and can he please just relax for a few hours before they go in tomorrow?

“You cheated,” Jyuushiro accuses, but there’s a smile both in his voice and on his face.

Yesterday, when Ichigo had gone off on his own, he’d been all worry and concern. Now though, he’s light and happy and maybe a bit flirty as he unbraids her hair for her.

She shrugs. “I helped,” Lisa corrects. “He needed it. Badly. And he needs them. Both of them, I think. He’ll be happier this way, and so will they.”

“Eventually,” Jyuushiro puts in, but he’s still smiling as his hand creeps up her arm to her shoulder. He pulls back her collar just enough to place a soft kiss on her neck that sends shivers down her spine.

“This way, everything works out and no one gets left behind. Who cares what everybody else thinks?” Lisa dismisses and shimmies out of her underwear before anything else. That way it’s like Jyuu is unwrapping a present.

“I suppose,” he acknowledges, now working at the ties to her top. “But you just want to win the bet.”

Lisa scoffs at that and helps him out of his haori. “I’m the one running it. Shinji and Nanao are the ones who said he’d take both of them.”

“I’m sure that everyone else will be so disappointed, too.” He laughs and sneaks a kiss to her cheek and then her mouth. “But you’ll still make a killing on all the people who lost.”

“You’re just mad you didn’t put any money down yourself,” she shoots back, already reaching for his pants.

“Just so I know who’ll come knocking down our door, screaming bloody murder,” he puts in drolly, and Jyuushiro steals another kiss to shut her up. Using the opportunity to lower her to the bed and settle on top of her.

There’s isn’t much talking after that. More like moans and grunts and the occasional scream that’s sure to traumatize all their neighbors. Her poor division is already traumatized enough. His isn’t far behind.

“Does it bother you?” Lisa asks after they’ve finished and are curled together. Her head is on his shoulder, and her left leg is between both of his.

“Does what bother me?” he questions back, brushing hair from her face.

She knows he isn’t this dense, but sometimes, she really wonders. No one can be this good. This nice. This perfect.

Can they?

“That I still fuck everything that moves,” she replies bluntly.

He honestly seems puzzled at her tone. At the question. At the whole conversation.

“Why would it?” he returns and tilts his head just so.

Lisa swallows. She doesn’t cry. She won’t. But her eyes burn.

Jyuushiro just runs a hand up and down her back until she can control herself. And Lisa knows then that commitment isn’t nearly as scary as she used to think. That tying herself to someone doesn’t mean that it has to be a stranglehold.

Loyalty isn’t the same thing as monogamy, after all, and neither is love. Lisa’s glad that they’ve so quickly come to an understanding. She’ll be his love and his lady and maybe someday his wife. But no matter whose bed she finds herself in during the day, it’ll be his she sleeps in every night.

And that’s just the way it should be.

*****

a/n: a/n: Just an epilogue to wrap things up to go, and perhaps a FAQ tacked on the end for those niggling questions that I didn't answer and anything that might have confused. Also, I will be compiling all of the chapters and putting them into .pdf format for anyone who is interested. I need to see about making some kind of cover...

Ahem. Please direct all feedback to azardarkstar. She will greatly appreciate it (and see it if you post it here as I will forward it all to her).

This entry was originally posted at http://dracoqueen22.dreamwidth.org/145158.html. Feel free to comment wherever you find most convenient.
Tags: bleach, the beautiful lie
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