All written works displayed are (C) K.E. Wright, excluding the poetry.
Ichigo: My addiction called out to be sated, so I found myself on the rooftop once more. Something inside of me hoped that Uryū would join me up here once more, but I knew the chances were slim. Monday had brought us a lot closer, certainly, but we had no standing lunch date, so I doubted he would seek me out. Still, as I finished that first cigarette, I found myself recalling the way his voice had caressed each syllable of that sonnet. It had been utterly enthralling to listen to his smooth voice speak of love, sweet and alluring to watch his lips carefully form each word and measure each cadence. Yet I was more enthralled with the way he'd looked to me when he had wanted nothing more than to run from the classroom and the way my encouragement had helped him continue. Not to mention the way he had dashed to my own rescue after my analysis. He continued to draw out my increasingly bashful smile by simply existing near me. And I liked that he was curious enough to ask about the rumors –I had heard some raunchier variations that would never reach his ears because the sycophants that treated him like a beautiful stature feared he was too delicate; yet I knew I had to be grateful to them, especially since some of those rumors were a little too close to things I dreamed of frequently enough– and curious enough to ask what had really happened. There was something about everything about him that made me think about my favorite sonnet by Shakespeare. Taking a deep breath and closing my eyes against the glaring noon sun, I recited the sonnet from memory:
"When in the chronicle of wasted time I see description of the fairest weights, And beauty making beautiful old rhymes, In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights, Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow, I see their antique pen would have express'd Even such a beauty as you master now. So all their praises are by prophecies Of this our time, all you prefiguring; And, for they look'd with divining eyes The had not skill enough your worth to sing: For we, which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise."
"That sonnet certainly isn't in our text," Uryū remarked dryly. "It's lovely. Who wrote it?" My eyes flew open, yet I turned leisurely, as though finding him here didn't set my pulse racing like a fight did. "Shakespeare. It's Sonnet 106, a favorite of mine." He smiled at me as he approached me and I about forgot my own name. Damn, he had a gorgeous smile! "It's certainly beautiful. Why is it your favorite?" "My father used to recite it for my mother, and I always thought it was the purest expression of how he felt about her. My mother gave me a book of poetry when she noted my interest, but this one has always been my favorite of the sonnets. It makes me think of someone special to me." I smiled winsomely, but fought hard to keep the blush at bay and to keep myself from blurting out 'It makes me think of you'. Admitting that, after how I'd just described the poem, would be just the same as confessing love to him. "You said your father used to recite it?" "Yeah. Mom passed away when I was nine, and Dad has never spoken the words of that poem again." I shook my head and looked at him. "Are you surprised I have an interest in sonnets?" "Not surprised by the interest, more… impressed by your knowledge of them. You seem well-informed on the topic." He smiled at me. "If you're interested, I could loan you the book." I was surprised by my own offer, but it felt right to offer it to him. "I am interested, but it was a gift from your mother…" "I have all of my favorites memorized," I interjected. "Someone else should turn those pages for a change, and I'd rather it be someone who would appreciate the sonnets." He nodded slowly. "Then I would love to barrow it," he told me, as though he knew arguing with me after explicitly expressing interest in it would get him nowhere. "I'll bring it tomorrow, then." The silence that fell between us was comfortable, somehow. "Can you recite another one?" he asked me softly. "Huh? Why?" I asked, startled. "You do them justice. There's a certain… reverence in your tone, and you know the rhythm matters." He sounded far off. "Alright," I consented softly. My eyes fluttered closed once more, and I began to recite:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no! It is that ever-fix'd mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his weight be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be in error, and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved."
"I love that one," he told me softly. "I like the notion of love that doesn't change, even if people do. Who wrote that one?" "Shakespeare again. Sonnet 116." I couldn't help but smile, though my eyes remained closed. Was it not fate that caused us to bond over century-old love poems? "I like how your voice sounds when you recite them. It's as though you feel every word of them." The comment was soft, but I felt heat rush to my cheeks. I wondered if I recited them that way because I felt every word in the density of my own soul. "Thank you," I told him. "Thank you for defending me to Keigo this morning." My eyes shot open, but I quickly tried to cover my shock. "No problem. He was out of line, anyway, and he knows better than to insult people I call 'friend'." I looked toward him, only to see some color in his cheeks. "Are we friends?" he asked hesitantly. "I would never have offered to loan you that book if we weren't, Uryū. You're stuck with me now." I gave him an impish grin. His lips twisted into a wry smile. "Perhaps it is you that is stuck with me, Ichigo." I set my hand on his arm. "Nope: you are stuck with me. Ah, can you hear the rumors? 'King' and the Class President." He groaned. "That's horrible. It sounds like some sort of cheesy story!" I laughed. "Don't worry. I'll protect you from the rumors, Uryū. It's the least I can do for a friend." His answering smile lit up his whole face and my heart as well. "I'll hold you to that."
Uryū: Ichigo was annoyingly, obstinately… irrevocably correct. Only a single day after we put a name to our strange camaraderie, and the rumors were already flying like birds released from a cage. I heard most of them in periphery, if I were to be wholly honest. No one dared to bring them anywhere near me, which I was pretty sure had less to do with Ichigo Kurosaki, King of the Delinquents, and more to do with the fact the rumors were about me, Uryū Ishida, Class President and Class Idol. Still, not even the rapid rabid rumor mill could eclipse my pleasure at being called his friend. It felt warm and comfortable, like a caretaker's embrace, like a hearth fire, like a lover's touch. Sure, there was still a lingering tendril of something close to apprehension, something that didn't like naming my infatuation "friendship", but for the most part I could ignore it. Lunch hour found me escaping my diligent fans for the quiet rooftop. Anticipation curled in my stomach as I mulled over the possibility that he might be waiting for me. However, I shoved it aside. Just because the rooftop haven always seemed brighter when he was there didn't mean that he always appreciated my intrusion on his few moments of peace. Somehow, he always seemed so happy to see me, which was a big thing for the man named Ichigo Kurosaki. He always liked to appear as though he only had three moods –those would be calm, angry, and pissed– when he was at school. I'd seen him in other places only briefly, yet he seemed to exhibit an entirely different set of traits for each environment. At his part-time job –he worked at The Quincy's Bow, the archery range that was practically my second home –he was friendly, diligent, unendingly polite, but he didn't ever smile. Well, he smiled, but they were rarely anything more than a twisting of his lips to appear polite. At the hospital where my father worked –where his father worked as well, as I had found out– he played the consummate flirt with all of the nurses, yet somehow he still managed to appear unbelievably innocent. He would gently tease and cajole, but that elusive smile failed to surface. At the candy shop he frequented –no, I promise I'm not stalking him: I just happen to frequent the same shop– he would act as the loving big brother to the two small children the owner had taken in. He'd tease their two part-times relentlessly. He also liked to antagonize the owner and steal his prized green-and-white striped hat, but he only presented the usual excuses for a smile –that patient, almost parental smile for Ururu and Jinta, and his signature smirk for Abarai, the woman he referred to only as 'Cat', and the owner who he called 'Hat-and-Clogs'. It seemed odd to me that as far as I knew, I was the only one to see that gorgeous smile of his. It warmed me through and through that it was my privilege, yes. However, I couldn't smother the worry and sadness that it summoned, as well. Was there really so little for him to smile about in his life? Shaking my head to clear the heavy thoughts out, I opened the roof access door, only to find that Ichigo wasn't there at all. With a weak, sad smile of my own, I walked to the railing and surveyed the school yard. I tried to keep myself from wondering if he was avoiding me, yet I didn't come anywhere near succeeding at it. I wouldn't blame him for avoiding me –not after the solid stream of rumors that had appeared almost overnight. Yet, I also knew that he wasn't intimidated by rumors at all –only aggravated. Perhaps he'd seen through my mask and noticed that I wasn't just feeling friendly affection for him. That was enough to make any red-blooded straight man head for the hills, right? Still, I knew that Ichigo had friends who weren't stereotypical heterosexual. I doubted that my sexuality would keep him from seeking me out. Perhaps he simply had something to do? After all, it's not as though you have a standing lunch date, taunted the voice in my head. I closed my eyes for a moment. If I really thought about it, it really was probably just that simple. I had to stop jumping to the absolute worst conclusions over nothing! I turned my attention back to the school yard. Not far from the building, there was a large gathering of students –well, upwards of thirty of them, all in a mass of charcoal uniforms and faces. It was a rather notable thing –usually, it was rare that a large enough portion of the girls were on good enough terms with each other to gather like that. They were also rather noisy and distracting in that right. But what stopped me dead was a very familiar voice. "Sweet Shiva Almighty, get off of me!" a warm baritone growled out angrily. "I don't see why I have any need to explain any of my actions to the lot of you. If you want me to explain that, you may as well have me explains something a little more interesting and mysterious –like, is this my natural hair color?" I could practically feel the glare from narrowed whiskey-colored eyes. When that full head of strawberry-blond hair appeared amid the mob of female students, I found myself suddenly entranced by the going-ons unfolding before me like some sort of scene from a lousy day-time soap opera. Sweet Mother of Shiva, he might just kill something. Or someone, depending on what gets in his way, I thought vaguely as I watched the group of girls shove him to the front. I really should have been quite alarmed by the thought, but I was just too enamored with that foul-mouthed delinquent who was so full of contradictions to notice anything but him, it seemed.