All written works displayed are (C) K.E. Wright, excluding the poetry.
Ichigo: The school week had drug on a few more days –it was Wednesday now– yet I was in a surprisingly good mood. Unfortunately for me, my friends weren't exactly oblivious to my lifted spirits, and it was only a matter of time until assumptions and rumors would be made. "Hey, King. What's got you so happy? Is there some new gorgeous girl in your life?" my friend Keigo asked. Now, in all honestly, Keigo was a good friend. We'd been friends for a long time, and he was one of the few that had stuck with me since elementary school. Regrettably for all of us, Keigo was the worst kind of gossip-monger. So since I preferred to not have the whole school aware of my gender preference or my infatuation with the class president, I glowered at him. "What gives, Keigo? I can't just be in a good mood?" He shook his head. "Not you, Ichigo. You don't normally have moods: you just have one, and it's usually angry." I fought the urge to rub the back of my neck. He did have a point: that was the only mood anyone ever saw from me at school. "Fine," I relented. "I like someone, and they are kind of… out of my league. But they talked to me." Keigo's expression immediately changed into some-sort of awestruck expression. "Aw!" he exclaimed. "Ichi, you're so innocent it's adorable!" I raised my brows at him. "I'm not near as innocent as you think, Keigo. Trust me." Of course, there was no way in hell I was telling Keigo about things I had gotten up to with another of his close friends. Renji might take it all in stride, or he just might take that sword he loved so much and impale me on it if the whole school found out about that. Although, our fencing instructor did insist that a sword existed to be bathed in the blood of our enemies. However, Mr. Zaraki was far from all there. He was a brilliant swordsman, but that didn't make him sane. Either way, I could hardly correct Keigo when he looked at me and scoffed. "Yeah, right, Ichi. I've never seen you even look at a girl." It took every ounce of strength in me to keep from saying, That's because I'm gay, you moron. "So who is your mystery chick?" "Someone who will remain a mystery, Keigo," I returned, glaring at him. "Someone who doesn't usually associate with the likes of me, that's for damn sure." If Keigo realized that I never specified a gender, he didn't let on. "Psh. All the girls in the school know it's an honor to go with the King. Well, unless they're into that bespectacled class president," he said with a cruel curl to his lips. "Hey. I happen to think he's a nice guy, so cool it, Keigo," I growled at him. Yeah. Not gonna get that answer you want out of me if you inadvertently insult the person I like, Keigo, I chastised him in my mind. Considering how long he had known me, he knew exactly what that tone meant. So he backpedaled –fast! "I-I just mean that you are two completely different types of people. He's smart, introverted, unapproachable…" "Yeah, I can see what all we don't have in common now, Keigo." I returned wryly. "He's a wimp!" Keigo protested. "Have you ever seen him at the archery range, Keigo? That boy can outshoot all the adults that visit." I worked at the archery range part time and I'd never seen anyone who could outshoot Uyrū Ishida. Mizuiro slapped his hand over Keigo's open mouth. "Don't mind him, Ichigo. He hasn't realized he's digging his own grave with his tongue yet," he informed me pleasantly. "How are you today, Ichigo?" "Well, I was in a good mood until this moron decided to interrogate me," I told him. "Oh, please don't let him spoil your mood. He's an idiot." Keigo was now trying to bite the hand over his mouth, since Mizuiro had called him an idiot. "Well, I suppose I can't be in a good mood all week," I told Mizuiro, a smile pulling at the corner of my mouth. "He likes someone!" Keigo declared from behind Mizuiro's hand. It was muffled, naturally, but this was a frequent enough occurrence that I could interpret his garbled speech. "What was that?" "He said, 'He likes someone'," I told Mizuiro, "and he's right. I do like someone, but I won't tell Keigo who." Mizuiro suddenly shoved Keigo toward Tatsuki. "Here. Take him out and beat him or something," he told her vaguely. Now, Tatsuki wasn't one for taking anyone's instructions usually. Unluckily for Keigo, however, she had been itching to beat him up ever since he'd called her a bitchy lesbian a few weeks ago. So instead of telling Mizuiro to fuck off, she took it all in stride and drug Keigo out the door. "So, who is this mystery person, and does it have anything to do with why you were chewing Keigo out for talking shit about the class president?" Mizuiru asked now that the hallway was empty but for us. Well, shit, I thought, wanting to shake my head. "Am I really that obvious?" I asked Mizuiro. "To someone who doesn't know you well? Not at all. To someone who's known you since elementary school and has half a brain? Extremely." The good news was, at least I could trust Mizuiro to keep it to himself. He certainly knew what things were to remain between friends. "How long have you known?" I asked him. "How long have I known what?" "That I'm gay." He choked, but recovered quickly. "I had figured bi, but since the first year Renji was here." I gave him a wicked smile. "Oh, it took you that long? Renji wasn't my first, you know." Then I walked away, leaving my friend to lean against a locker and attempt to catch his jaw.
Uryū: By the time fifth period English rolled around, five people had relayed one version of the rumor and another five had relayed different variations of the same story. I was sure there were some more risqué versions that no one dared bring to me, which was a shame: I figured I would enjoy the imagined relationship between Ichigo and myself. Ichigo, who'd been in a rare good mood most of this week, walked into the classroom with a scowl on his face. I took it to mean that he'd heard the rumors, as well. He spotted me and a smile pulled across his lips for a moment. My heart-beat mimicked the fastest arrows that I had ever released from my bow. Oh, you've got it bad, I told myself wryly. "Have you ever wished you could just send out a group email to correct a stupid rumor?" he asked me, sliding into his assigned seat, which was the seat on the left side of mine. I laughed. "All the time, but you know they would just twist that and make it worse." I cocked my head at him. "So, how much of it is true?" "That depends on which version of the rumor you heard, Uryū." His voice was a warm amused rumble. Was it bad that butterflies began to play in my stomach when he said my name like that? "I've heard around six different versions," I told him, shrugging. "All of them began the same way, pretty much. Someone was running his mouth and you defended the honor of the subject matter." He winced. "That part's true. Keigo was running his mouth about… someone I'd like to think of as a friend, and I chewed him out for it." I thought it was adorable, the way he danced around admitting that I had been the person that his friend had been talking about. "What happened after that, Ichigo?" I inquired. "Mizuiro distracted me and shoved Keigo at someone else he had insulted in the last month. He told her to take Keigo out and beat him. For once in her life, Tatsuki did what she was told to." He winced. "I probably shouldn't have let it happen, but he did call her a bitchy lesbian, so I thought her vengeance was fair enough." "So why, then, is Mizuiro wandering around looking just as shell-shocked as Keigo?" I inquired. A wide grin crossed his lips. "Oh, I just… informed him of something he should have guessed a long time ago." Rukia always had accused me of being a cat, since my curiosity frequently got the best of me. "What was that, may I ask?" "You can ask, Uryū, but I don't have to answer," he informed me, something mischievous in the tone of his voice. The bell rang, interrupting our conversation. I was more upset that I wanted to admit at losing my chance to wheedle the answer out of him. There was something about the way he had said it. It had seemed like something important. But I liked that he could tease me and dodge my probing questions. You really have it bad. It had come as a surprise at first when I had realized a few days ago that my fascination with him wasn't just a fascination. Despite the amount of trouble I'd had coping with it at first, I'd come to terms with it fairly easily. I mean, I could talk to him and see him five days a week. If it was nothing more than lust, it would die away. If it was that other 'l' word I didn't even want to think about… well, I'd have to cross that bridge as I came to it. Miss Souma cleared her throat. "Alright, everyone. Settle down. We're going to start with our literature texts, so take them out and turn to page 352. We'll be continuing our unit on sonnets today by looking at three examples, one from each of the major types. Kurosaki, can you tell the class what the three types are?" There she went, singling him out again. Ichigo was smart, and he'd already admitted a liking of Shakespeare. I wished Miss Souma could just accept that he wasn't an average delinquent, but she seemed stubborn to the notion. "Petrarchan, which is the Italian school; Spenserian, named after Edmund Spenser; and Shakespearian, named after the Bard himself. Of course, the major difference between them is rhyme scheme and the presence or location of the vuelta." Ichigo's tone was very bored, like this was all very basic knowledge everyone should already have. Miss Souma looked like she was going to choke. I supposed she hadn't expected him to be so knowledgeable on the subject already. "V-very good, Kurosaki. Thank you." she turned her attention to the rest of us. "Have you turned to the first poem already?" she nearly snapped, apparently off-kilter because Ichigo had surpassed her meager expectations of him. Everyone in the class hurried to turn to the right page for fear of her rage. "Sonnet 31", the heading read. The author was noted to be Sir Philip Sidney. "Ishida, if you would be so kind, would you read the first poem aloud to the class?" Miss Souma inquired, suitably recovered. In all honesty, I wanted to refuse it. I didn't want to become a spectacle in my class because I happened to know the correct way to read a sonnet. Turning my head, still wanting to turn it down, I caught Ichigo's eye. He looked at me and flashed me a small smile before mouthing "Go ahead!". Suddenly, I found myself unable to refuse. "Of course," I found myself murmuring. Taking a deep breath, I looked down at the text and began to read,
"With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies! How silently, and with how wan a face! What, may it be that even in heavenly place That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
"Sure, if thou long-with-love-acquainted eyes Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case. I read it in thy looks, thy languished grace, To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
"Then even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me Is constant love deemed there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they above love to be loved, and yet Those lovers scorn whom that love doth posses? Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?"
The whole class stared at me as though I might have grown a third head –well, aside from Ichigo, who simply gave me an incredibly soft smile that made me feel like something about how I'd read it had touched his soul. Miss Souma simply seemed incredibly pleased with my reading. "So! What can you tell me about this sonnet?" she inquired of the class. "He's talking to the moon," one student piped up. "Correct: this poem does address the moon. That's called apostrophe, which is a poetic devise where a poet speaks to a non-human entity. What else? Can anyone tell me who the 'busy archer' is?" "Cupid." The answer was out of my mouth before I could stop it. "According to the ancient Roman myths, Cupid was the god of love. Whoever was pierced with his arrows would find love." Ichigo's lips titled into a half smile once more. "Correct, Ishida. Can anyone tell me what this poem means?" "Would you like a full summary or stanza by stanza?" Ichigo asked suddenly. "Whichever suits you, Kurosaki." She steepled her fingers and watching him expectantly. "In the first quatrain, he greets the moon and asks if perhaps Cupid is the reason behind his wan appearance. In the second quatrain, he tries to place himself on the same level as the moon, observing that the moon is well-acquainted with lovers and that it can tell if love is truly that or lust. Then he states that they have the same emotions. The next two lines are the vuelta, where the poet begins to ask the moon questions on the basis of their similarities. Is constant love called a lack of intelligence where the moon is? Are the beautiful haughty and vain? Do they adore the feeling of being loved yet mock the ones that love them? 'Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?' " he asked softly, quoting the last line of the poem verbatim without ever looking at the page. I felt my heart squeeze in my chest as I registered the pain in his voice as he quoted that line. Who had hurt him so much? I wanted to know –mostly because I wanted to shoot them full of arrows, and a little bit because I still wanted to know everything about him… alright, fifty percent to each, but still! He took a deep breath before looking at Miss Souma again, who seemed startled to have heard that same pain in his voice. "The poem is about how society looked at lovers during the Romantic period. They gloried in the idea of love, but called lovers fools." All eyes were on him for a moment and I couldn't help but notice how much their stares unnerved him. Clearing my throat, I added to the information. "The rhyme scheme is Petrarchen. It's divided into three stanzas: the first and second contain four lines each, but the last contains six lines." Miss Souma looked back to me. "Thank you, Kurosaki, Ishida. Is there anything else that someone cares to add?" "Yeah: when did King become an expert on sonnets?" Ikkaku asked. "Shut up, Ikkaku," Yumichicka told him bluntly. "Asking such a question is totally unbeautiful."