Title: To Hell and Back | Chapter 16 x Like Rust Upon Iron
Authors: furiosity & incapricious
Fandom: Harry Potter & Bleach
Genre: Crossover | Drama
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Disclaimer: JKR and Kubo own. We only play. You do not sue.
Length: 3000 words (this part)
Summary: In which Vagrant Darter has an idea, there is a flaw in Draco's cunning plan, Harry resorts to fisticuffs, Kihara has hermit crabs, and detention at the West Gate is hard on the knees.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
16 x Like Rust Upon Iron
Why, I do believe you're jealous, Vagrant Darter opined.
Draco scowled. Shut up. Who's jealous? She's a freak.
He had stomped away from the kenjutsu training field without waiting for Potter and Sugita. Ever since Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's ill-fated visit, Draco had been caught in the grip of increasingly graphic fantasies involving Potter. These fantasies mirrored Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's shameless propositions with painstaking faithfulness, only with Draco, not her, as their perpetrator.
He wished he'd put his hands over his ears when she'd shown up, but how was he supposed to have known she'd be so brazen? If there was a rule about upperclassmen not fraternising with their juniors, why wasn't there one about Shinigami not molesting Academy students? Sure, Potter had said it was against the rules, and while Draco was pretty sure Lieutenant Kurotsuchi wasn't actually going to ask the Headmaster's permission to sexually harass Potter...
He did look a little bit interested when she talked about licking his--
"SHUT UP!" Draco roared, his face burning. How could he ever face Potter like this? If this went on, if his traitorous brain continued to conjure up all manner of impossibilities, he'd walk around with a constant hard-on, and Potter would know. Even Hajime hadn't done this to him. Potter was Draco's weakness, always had been, and if Draco didn't do something, he would know. Everyone would.
I should just get back together with Hajime and get myself expelled, then run away before Potter can follow me.
You're an idiot, Vagrant Darter said. What would that accomplish?
I don't want Potter to know how I feel.
Why not? Maybe he likes you back.
Don't make me laugh. Potter likes Sugita.
So? Just dye your hair red, and he'll never notice her again.
...I am not taking this kind of advice from a fucking dragonfly.
He would just avoid Potter until he'd had a chance to calm down. He was just reacting strongly because the incident with Lieutenant Kurotsuchi had just happened recently; in a week or two, he'd be able to face Potter again without inappropriate thoughts.
You've never not had inappropriate thoughts about him, Vagrant Darter pointed out helpfully. Not since I've known you, anyway.
This is different, Draco snapped. I feel like I've got no control.
That's assuming you had any control in the first place.
"Stop acting like you know everything," Draco growled.
But of course Vagrant Darter did know everything when it came to Draco's innermost thoughts; that was one of the cornerstones of a zanpakutō's existence. Draco just wished he'd ended up with a zanpakutō that didn't flaunt his insights quite so often. Still, that didn't deter Draco from his plan to avoid Potter for a while. Maybe he would always have these feelings, but Potter would never reciprocate, so they were pointless and it was best to get rid of them.
The flaw in Draco's cunning plan became evident within a week of its conception: it was impossible to avoid a roommate completely -- especially after the bond between you and said roommate had become stronger than ever. He didn't want to avoid Potter, but every time Draco looked at him, he not only heard Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's laundry list of naughty things, but he also heard Potter's voice, sweetly earnest, telling him he'd follow Draco into expulsion.
Even if he woke and left for breakfast an hour before Potter, even if he skipped shikai practice, even if he stayed out until he saw the light in their dormitory go out, Draco couldn't avoid him. They were on the same track, so their classes were mostly the same, plus they had somehow managed to acquire a social circle -- consisting mainly of the two of them and Sugita, mind, so maybe it was more like a social triangle. If Draco began to avoid the both of them, people would talk. He couldn't ignore Potter when he spoke to him during lessons, and he certainly couldn't decline to be paired up with Potter for sparring. And Draco couldn't move to another room, either, because that was one of those things that Were Not Done. It was enough to drive a man to drink, but Academy rules forbade students from drinking alcohol, too.
The Academy made it impossible for a person to be alone -- sure, you could get away for a few hours, but staying aloof all the time took major effort. Draco did the best he could -- keeping his answers to Potter's questions short, for example. But Potter was just bursting with questions lately; he was rather like a puppy who's just discovered that its master will come running if it whines.
You could provoke a fight, Vagrant Darter suggested as Draco headed to taijutsu class one day. Piss him off so he starts avoiding you.
"Right," Draco muttered. "What would we fight over -- the relative weight of swordfish?" After four years in Soul Society, Draco and Potter had nothing to fight about. Their human lives with all their strife were long gone. He'd had excellent reasons to hate Potter once upon a time, but none of them made any sense in this place -- and besides, what Draco felt for Potter was pretty much the opposite of hate. He was sure about it now, because whenever he would start trying to hatch plots to put distance between them, some stupidly sentimental part of him balked at anything that would hurt Potter.
Is it you? he asked Vagrant Darter as he sat down in the taijutsu training area. Are you the one who doesn't want me to hurt Potter's stupid feelings?
Hey, I resent that remark, Vagrant Darter replied promptly. I love hurting people's stupid feelings.
"Ugh," Draco concluded and pulled out his history notes.
Twenty minutes later, other students began to trail in, many of them still yawning. Potter plopped down on the ground next to Draco with a long-suffering sigh.
"Why are you always here before me?" he asked. "For weeks now, in every class. And you're hardly ever around in general. I think I've seen Captain Kurotsuchi more often than I see you."
"Who knows?" Draco said, staring at Sugita, who was having yet another pointless argument with Kihara.
After Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's fateful visit, her captain had mostly stopped chasing after the two of them, but he would still turn up on campus more often than ever. Draco reckoned he was worried that they really would go to the Headmaster, and no one in Soul Society fucked with Takabe, captain's rank or no captain's rank. Rumour had it even the Captain General was wary of him.
Potter was staring at them with naked incredulity. "That's it? That's all you're going to say?"
The old Draco would have said something like what do you want me to say? but that sort of thing kept conversations going. So instead, he just shrugged and gave Potter the blankest stare in his arsenal.
Shirokawa strolled into the training area, her hair up in a high ponytail.
Please don't let me be paired with Potter, please don't let me be paired with Potter, please don't let me--
"Harry-kun, Draco-kun, it's been a while since you've sparred, so please pair up for today."
"Don't look so excited now," Potter remarked dryly as they headed to the spot Shirokawa had pointed at.
As expected, before long, Draco found himself pinned to the floor with no way to move. He didn't even see the point of pairing them up like this; Potter would always be better at this kind of thing than Draco, whereas Draco would always be better at Demon Arts.
"All right, you've made your point, now let go," Draco complained, struggling in vain to throw Potter off.
"C'mon, Malfoy, tell me. What did I do this time?"
Oh, great. Draco made a mental note not to put it past Potter to play dirty. "Nothing," he replied. "Let go already; Shirokawa's going to beat us up."
"Don't be like that. We're friends, right? You've been doing your best to pretend I don't exist; don't you think I deserve to know why?"
Draco made another attempt at throwing Potter off by trying to use his elbows for leverage, but it was useless.
Potter leaned down and lowered his voice. "Are you seeing him again?"
Draco flushed. His first impulse was to deny it, but then he realised this might be just the thing to piss Potter off. "My private life is none of your business," he muttered. "And I wish you'd get off me--"
Potter's fist cracked against the floor next to Draco's left ear. "You--"
"Harry-kun!" Shirokawa screeched above them. "Draco-kun! How dare you resort to such tactics in my classroom?"
"Me?" Draco managed. "I wasn't doing anything--"
"Detention, both of you!"
Because their offence had been fighting, Draco and Potter were required to do their detention together. After the taijutsu lesson was over, Draco hurried to Building 42 and marked them in for sweeping the West Gate courtyard.
He usually hated going into Seireitei for anything, certainly not serving detention -- the student uniforms often drew unpleasant attention from the Shinigami, some of whom seemed to take it as their duty to harass any Academy brats they encountered. Perhaps they thought of it as character-building. But today, Seireitei would be perfect -- traffic in the courtyard would at least prevent Potter from trying to talk to Draco.
"About tonight's shikai practice--" Sugita began to say over supper, but Draco shook his head.
"We've got detention, remember?"
"And whose fault is that?" Potter snapped.
Draco bristled. "Yours? You're the one who used your fist."
"Shirokawa's pretty anal when it comes to that sort of thing," Sugita said with a sympathetic expression. "What were you two arguing about?"
"Malfoy's a tit, that's what," Potter said, laying down his chopsticks. He had avoided Draco all day, for a change, and Draco would have liked very much to say that suited him just fine, except that it totally didn't.
He's just jealous you're having sex and he isn't. Vagrant Darter piped up.
But I'm not having any sex, Draco pointed out gloomily as he finished his rice.
Dumbass. He thinks you are.
"I'll wait outside," Potter said. "Hurry up." He picked up his tray and carried it to the back of the dining hall without a second glance.
"Looks like Harry-kun's pretty upset with you," Sugita said. "What did you do?"
"Nothing," Draco said. Sugita was okay. She asked too many questions, but she never made you feel like you were obligated to answer. "It's what he thinks I did."
"Sounds ominous. Don't tell me you're the one who put the hermit crabs into Kihara's bedding."
Draco snorted. "Someone did that? I wish it had been me."
"Shh, don't say it so loud," Sugita said with a conspiratorial look. "I heard he's paid off some underclassmen to spy on everyone in our class to find out."
"He should expand his search circle to the other years, too; heaven knows he's an equal-opportunity pain in the arse," Draco said, getting to his feet. "Sorry, but I'd better go before Potter gets too worked up about having to wait."
Sugita sketched a little salute and went back to her food.
The West Gate courtyard was mostly deserted, but Draco was fine with that, since he needn't have worried about Potter trying to talk to him, as it turned out. It was perfect, really -- he wasn't doing anything with Hajime, so he wouldn't get himself expelled, but Potter didn't need to know that. The longer Potter remained in a high dudgeon, the easier it would be for Draco to put the unfortunate Lieutenant Kurotsuchi incident out of his mind.
Who did Potter think he was, anyway? Acting all high and mighty, as though he had a right to tell Draco what to do now that they'd had their little friendship heart-to-heart.
Or maybe he's jealous--
Yeah, yeah. That I'm having sex and he's not; you need new lines.
Numbskull. I'm saying he's jealous you're not having sex with him.
Oh great. Let's just add "delusional" to the list of your shortcomings.
"They should be coming through soon; they're late already," said a voice above, and Draco looked up to see two Shinigami sitting astride the inner wall. One of them had a spike tattooed above one eyebrow, and Draco remembered Hisagi Shuuhei's face. What was it with Shinigami and their willingness to maim themselves? Draco had been a student for four years now, but he had never felt any insane desires to tattoo his face. He hoped he never would.
"What do you think will happen to her?" asked the unfortunately tattooed Shinigami.
His companion -- a bland-faced man in a red headband -- shrugged. "She's a noble, so probably not much. All she did was stay in the human world too long, right?"
"Didn't Naoya-kun say she got married to a human?"
"Don't be stupid, Rikichi. Humans can't see us."
"But if she's been using a gigai... do gigai come with all the, you know."
Rikichi's voice dropped, and Draco had to strain to hear him. "Parts. For the. You know."
"You mean like for having sex?"
"Don't say it so loudly, Fukuyama-senpai!"
Draco felt his uniform sleeve twitch. Potter was standing next to him, leaning on the broomstick and looking up. "What are they talking about?"
Draco looked away quickly. "Dunno," he said, resuming his sweeping. "Just gossip."
"Here comes the senkaimon," Fukuyama hissed. "Duck, Rikichi!"
Draco turned around to look: sure enough, a gate had appeared near the outer wall. Its doors slid open, and three Hell butterflies flew out of the blinding-white light within. Moments later, three figures emerged -- a tall man with dark red hair and tribal tattoos all over his forehead, a tiny girl of about sixteen, and a shorter man in a captain's haori.
Draco knew who he was instantly -- only one captain in the Gotei 13 wore kenseikan -- a white headpiece signifying his status. Kuchiki Byakuya, head of the most powerful of the Four Noble Families of Soul Society and captain of the Sixth Division. The red-haired man's armband displayed a lieutenant's badge, so he must have been the recently appointed Sixth Division lieutenant -- Abarai Renji or Kenji or something like that. Maybe tattoos were a prerequisite for becoming a Gotei 13 lieutenant. Draco wondered for a moment where Lieutenant Kurotsuchi's tattoo was, but decided he didn't want to know.
A windflower silk scarf trailed behind Captain Kuchiki as he walked past Draco, whose knees buckled before he even realised he was experiencing enormous spiritual pressure, of a sort he'd only read about before. It felt as though he were stuck in the middle of Apparition with no way to complete the spell -- air heavier than mountains that pushed and pulled at the same time. He heard a thud next to him, and dully registered that Potter must've felt it too.
Captain Kuchiki's face was expressionless, but he was clearly annoyed by something -- unless it was his hobby to topple unsuspecting Academy students for fun. It wasn't normal for a captain of the Gotei 13 to walk around with all of his spiritual pressure on display -- certainly not for someone as famously cold as Captain Kuchiki. Draco fell facedown, unable to even kneel any longer.
"Take her to the holding cell." A firm voice, low and even, carefully controlled. Unlike his damned spiritual pressure.
"Thirteenth Division, Captain?" Lieutenant Abarai's speech sounded like that of a Rukongai street urchin.
"No. Captain Ukitake is too soft on his subordinates, so she'll stay in our holding cell until the Central 46 decides what to do with her. I'm going to report to the Captain General."
The spiritual pressure vanished, and Draco flopped onto his back, panting.
"Dumb Academy brats," Lieutenant Abarai remarked. Draco looked over, but only in time to see him disappear together with the mystery girl.
He also saw Potter, lying on his back and taking great gulps of air. "What the fuck was that? Is he some kind of monster?"
"The most powerful of all the captains, or so they say," Draco replied.
You're just trying to make yourself feel better about falling to your knees like the sissy you are, Vagrant Darter said loftily.
I could've remained standing if I'd been expecting it. With Vagrant Darter released, he might have even been able to walk.
"Wow," Potter said. "We've still got a long way to go, haven't we?" His eyes were drawing Draco in like honey; he wanted to look away, but for some reason couldn't. He could sense Potter's hand less than an inch away from his on the courtyard floor, and he wondered what would happened if he touched it. He could pretend it was an accident...
"Are you really still seeing him?" Potter asked.
"No," Draco said with a sigh. "I just don't like impertinent questions."
He saw obvious relief on Potter's face, and his blood slowed. It was stupid, but apparently his stupid zanpakutō had got to him. Draco was hoping the relief was not over worries of expulsion. He was hoping Potter had felt jealous of Hajime.
He was so, so fucked.
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