“Prince Ichigo, you have a visitor,” the page said. Ichigo looked up from the book he was reading. A pointless book. One of tales and stories….
No, even if he didn’t have magic anymore, Ichigo was still the firstborn child of a royal house. He needed to know what may happen to the future. His kingdom was his to protect, and Ichigo would do it in any way he could.
Plus, it gave him something to think about other than his father’s less than subtle hints about potential marriages. And the empty echo in his chest.
A year. Just over a year. Since he woke up in the tower, with an empty hollow in his chest where his magic used to curl. Since Urahara had leaned over him, face pale and full of guilt.
Since his magic had been taken away from him.
Standing, he put that behind him again. He had a guest. And it was obviously someone important, as Isshin had been really careful about who had access to his heir. So Ichigo didn’t hesitate to follow the page to wherever this guest was at.
Along the way, they crossed paths with Isshin. The older man stopped his son for a moment.
“If you don’t want to deal with him, feel free to walk out.”
There was only one ‘him’ that his dad could be referring to. Ichigo almost turned around and walked off then.
He had not spoken to Urahara since he had woken up and realized that the man had stripped his magic away. He had come home and refused all messages from the man. That he had pulled out something that was so vital to Ichigo without even asking….
There was no way he could handle being around Urahara and all that magic after having his own taken out.
But he wasn’t going to let the other drive him from his own home, and Ichigo stomped into the room. Behind him, a guard closed the door, but Ichigo ignored that. All of his focus was already on the man inside. He frowned in the general direction of the other man, not meeting his eyes. “Wizard Urahara,” Ichigo greeted, not meeting the man’s eyes. He just couldn’t. “What do you want?”
There was a long moment of quiet, then Urahara bowed. “My apologies for this, Prince Kurosaki.”
The tone of his voice made Ichigo actually look at him. It was...unexpected. Utterly professional, nothing like the cheerful tone that Urahara usually adopted.
The man looked tired, thin. What had he been doing to make him so worn out? Why did Ichigo care? He shouldn't, this man had stolen his magic. But there was still a twinge in his gut at the sharpness of Urahara’s cheeks, the thinness of his wrists.
“I return what was taken.”
Ichigo’s eyes shot up to meet Urahara’s, the grey carefully blank. Then Urahara moved, startling a yelp from Ichigo as he backpedaled automatically. But he couldn’t avoid the sudden blaze of light that formed into a small blade and pierce his chest.
Everything burned, and he cried out. Behind him, he heard the door burst open with a shout from the guard. Ichigo’s attention was on his chest. There was a burning pain there, but behind that….
He felt like he could breathe again. Power flowed into him, a swirl of blue energy that had been missing in his life.
Around him was shouting, and a red glow that told him Urahara was doing magic. Gasping for air, he straightened, a hand catching his shoulder to both help him stand and pull him back. Ichigo let it help him up, but he shook off the attempt to get him out of the room.
In front of him, Urahara was standing behind a glowing crimson shield, eyes on the guard who was between him and Ichigo. Another guard stood beside Ichigo. Ichigo ignored the guards, his attention on Urahara. Who also appeared to be ignoring the guards, his eyes moved to Ichigo as Ichigo looked at him.
The blankness in his eyes flickered a moment. The sheer relief that appeared before vanishing again caused Ichigo’s breath to catch. “I returned what was lost,” he said finally. Then he flexed his magic. Ichigo almost cried about the fact he could see it again. He didn’t recognize that spell until Urahara slashed the air with his sword and vanished, crimson shield shattering as he did.
Ichigo silently cursed. He hadn’t realized how much he had missed Urahara until he had seen the man again. He wanted to know what happened.
“Did it work?”
Turning, he saw Isshin in the door. The man was studying him. “Well?” the king asked. “Did he return your magic?”
“You knew?” That was a surprise to Ichigo. The way that his dad talked about it, he was pleased that Ichigo had no more magic. There had been a few fights before Ichigo had simply got tired of it. Now, Isshin glanced away.
“You were unhappy. Masaki would have hated seeing you like that.”
Just like his dad, hiding behind the memory of Ichigo’s mother when he actually did something that was emotionally nice.
“Your grandmother helped. Both of them.”
Isshin gave Ichigo a once over, then caught the guards attention. “No need to go after the wizard. He was righting a wrong he caused.” Neither guard seemed pleased, but with the King being the one to say it, there wasn’t much they could do.
Ichigo just soaked in the idea he could see again, breath again. Around him, the little dance of blue sparks seemed to be growing. “What did he do?” he asked his father, voice shaky with how -relieved- he was. For the first time in a year, he felt good, not drained.
“I don’t know,” Isshin shrugged. “But it’s had his focus for a while. You would have to ask him.”
If that wasn’t permission to go do just that, Ichigo didn’t know what was.
When he had gotten to the tower, Tessai had met him at the door. For a moment, he didn’t think that the larger man was going to let him in. There was a feel of disapproval that rolled off Tessai, but the man eventually moved.
“He’s in his workshop,” he said finally, moving out of the way. It was the coldest the man had ever treated Ichigo. Shivering a moment, Ichigo slipped up the stairs. His feet found the path up easily. How many years had he taken the same stairs? Always going up to meet Urahara for some training or just to hang out. And, in the last few years, for other things as well.
Which was why it hurt so much when he had woken up to find out Urahara had stripped his magics away from him. He hadn’t done anything to deserve that. But he woke up without power and Urahara looked far more guilty than Ichigo had ever seen him.
Ichigo had wanted a fight, and Urahara had not given him one. Which just made him angrier. So he had left and not come back. He had spent the year learning how to live without magic. Learning how to live without Urahara.
Then Urahara had come back with a blade of light and gave him magic once more. Now he wanted to see if he could have Urahara back as well. That might take more work. Ichigo had been the one to turn his back on them. If anyone was going to have to
He slipped into the workshop and paused. It looked like a storm had gone wild in here. Papers were scattered around the room, writing all over the floors and walls. Bits and bobs of random materials. Signs of some serious ritual work were all over the place.
And, on the desk in one corner, was Urahara, head pillowed on his arms.
The man had a bed. Why did he so rarely use it?
But it gave Ichigo a chance to actually look at him.
Even asleep, he looked exhausted. The shadows under his eyes weren’t just from his hat, and he was as thin as Ichigo had thought he would be. Plus, the man was even more stubblely than normal. Whatever Urahara had been focusing on, it had caught all of his attention.
Something guilty curled in Ichigo’s belly. Had the man been working on fixing Ichigo’s magic? Without a hint of anything that Ichigo wanted anything else to do with him?
He reached out and lightly touched Urahara’s shoulder, ready to move. Which was just as well, as Urahara swung out with a blade in hand.
Someday, Ichigo was going to find out just what it was the man did before becoming a full time, morally dubious wizard. He was pretty sure it was going to be an interesting story.
Grey eyes blinked at him, sleep still caught in them as Urahara registered it was Ichigo there.
“Ich….Prince Kurosaki,” he started, obviously still waking up. “What are you…?” The question was stopped by a yawn, quickly covered.
“Ichigo,” the younger man said, reaching down to pull that dragger from his hand before Urahara stabbed himself. “I came to ask….” His voice trailed off as he dropped the blade on the desk. There were so many things he wanted to ask.
“Your magic had to be cleaned. We weren’t sure if it would work.” Urahara said quietly. “I couldn’t get your hopes up.”
Ichigo frowned. But, now that he was here, he realized how much he had missed seeing the wizard.
Reaching out, he took Urahara’s hand and tugged. Strangely obedient, Urahara stood.
They were almost eye to eye. Ichigo had not realized how much he had grown in the last year until he didn’t have to look up as far to meet Urahara’s eye.
“I have questions,” he said. “And I’m going to want answers.” He met Urahara’s eyes, watching the confusion there. “But…. For all that you are shit at -talking- to me, you did fix the problem.”
Another tug of Urahara’s hand as Ichigo stepped back. The blond continued to follow quietly.
“First, we’re going to take a nap. Then we are going to talk. Okay?”
A pause, and then Urahara smiled faintly.
“I suppose a nap would not be a bad idea,” he said, as if he hadn’t just been asleep on the desk. Then he paused, eyes a little wide as he looked at Ichigo again. “We?”
“It’s been a long year.” Urahara nodded in agreement. Ichigo wondered if it had been just as long a year for the other man as it had been for Ichigo. “So a little bit of rest sounds good to me as well.”
Another tug, and he slowly moved them towards Urahara’s room, the other following quietly. It was almost unnerving. But once they hit Urahara’s room, the blond didn’t hesitate to tip both of them onto his bed, then curl around Ichigo.
Ichigo had lived with a cold and empty chest for a year. The magic had filled him again, and that was good. Now the cold seeped away as Urahara wrapped his arms around Ichigo. Ichigo found himself pulled back against Urahara’s chest. Even thinner than normal, the older man was solid against Ichigo’s back. There was something soothing about that.
Closing his eyes, Ichigo sighed and relaxed. Maybe it wasn’t just magic he missed. Which would be completely his own fault. He’d have to do something to make it up to Urahara.
Because, given the way Urahara was quietly clinging, Ichigo probably wasn’t the only one who had been missing something. Something that they could fix now. He pressed back against the other, curling his fingers around Urahara’s wrist where the man’s arm settled around him.
They’d talk more later. Right now, a nap sounded amazing.
It wasn’t happily ever after, but Ichigo was pretty good with happily right now.