Looking at the prince, Urahara nodded to himself. Well, he was about to piss Isshin off. There was nothing else for it. Not if they wanted Ichigo to live as himself, not trapped as a beast.
The story he was about to invoke was not the best. With Ichigo being male, it was hopefully going to confuse Tradition to the point he might be able to tweak things hard enough to make the story take a better path.
He took a breath and walked to where he knew Isshin and the girls were waiting for his response to this. Putting on a scowl, Urahara threw the door open.
“I have come to claim my prize,” he purred, feeling the Tradition pressing against him to act a certain way. That did not keep him from feeling creepy. Even for him, this felt icky.
From the way Isshin twitched, he felt the Tradition as well. Not a surprise. It was going to be pushing at everyone involved.
“What…?” the king spluttered, eyes wide, hands clenching and flexing in reaction to the pressure.
“You stole from my garden to feed your wife. Theft, pure and simple.” Urahara was absorbing as much of the magic as he could. It was rare that he could still attract the Tradition directly, and wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to refill his own stockpiles of magical power.
“When I confronted her, you and she both agreed to gift me the child she carried.”
Urahara saw Isshin’s eyes go wide, mouth dropping.
“That...that was a joke,” he protested. “Masaki suggested it….”
A flick of his wrist caused Urahara’s blade to appear from nowhere. He pointed it at Isshin, who froze. “It was a binding agreement. I have come to collect payment.” Grey eyes burned with magical power, and Urahara felt himself shiver.
This only worked because he was on that borderline of light and dark. When he and Masaki had come to this idea, she sent Isshin to ‘steal’ a bit of food from Urahara’s home, and Isshin had thought it a game. He should have known better. If Urahara had been a dark wizard, one of the bad ones, he could have done a serious mischief with what Isshin had done as a game.
Now he was going to use it to save Ichigo’s life.
“My claim has precedence over what that upstart Aizen tried,” he continued, hoping that Isshin figured out what he was implying. “So I will take my prize and go.”
Isshin took a step forward, and Urahara brought his blade up and then slashed down. It split the air with a flash and a crack, and he triggered off a stored spell. Had been spending plenty of time working it out, so the second he felt a change of material under his feet, he flung his sword aside and lunged forward.
Just in time to catch Ichigo as he appeared and fell.
He felt the Tradition roil around them, and Urahara had to sink to the ground, cradling Ichigo against his chest. His senses were being overwhelmed a bit, feeling the changes the Tradition was making. Outside the tower, he felt new growth starting. Vines and rose bushes, ones he reached out and twisted with his magic.
No man killing rose thorns for him. No, he was going to make sure that while he had roses, they were the types that came with small thorns, not ones that were inches long.
The Tradition did not fight much. The child, payment for stolen food from a garden, was in a tower surrounded by thorns.
Urahara looked at Ichigo, and then let out a sigh.
Ichigo’s hair was already longer, already brushing his shoulders. The magic that Aizen had cursed him with weakened. Not gone yet, but as Urahara watched with interest, Ichigo’s innate powers were… eating the magic that Aizen left, along with Urahara’s own power.
It was fascinating. But Urahara had no idea how it was going to affect the prince. He had been born with odd gifts. Masaki had implied part of it came from her line, but Ichigo was the grandchild of a fey queen. There was no telling how his powers were going to present themselves.
Watching for a moment, Urahara felt a wave of exhaustion rolled over him. There was still plenty of power from the Tradition to take in, and he made a mental note to set up his devices to fill the reserves up. But he was mentally tired, as well as physically. Doing magic on the scale of teleportation was hard.
Taking a deep breath, Urahara stood, Ichigo still cradled in his arms. While it was oh so tempting to just take the other back to his bed to sleep, he couldn’t do that quite yet. Ladderlocks went to a room at the top of the tower. For now, that was where Ichigo had to go.
Nothing said he had to be up there alone.
Spinning out a small spell that would inform Tessai that he was back and needed some space, Urahara headed to the staircase. It took a bit of work, but he got them up the stairs without hurting either of them.
The room was already prepared, a just in case scenario that Urahara hoped not to use.
Oh, he hoped to have Ichigo living in the tower at some point.
Just not due to a curse.
But this room was ready, and he set Ichigo on the bed there. He moved and ran his fingers through Ichigo’s hair, the strands already longer and thicker than before.
It wouldn’t take long for the hair to be long enough to annoy the other man. Urahara would apologize for that later.
Right now, he just shifted Ichigo over, and then fell into the bed next to him. He curled up against his partner, arm draping over the sleeping prince.
He’d hoped to wake up without Ichigo deciding to just preemptively stab him in the morning.