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That’s Some Convenient Memory Loss, Sir

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Urahara Kisuke thinks it’s ridiculous he has to be the voice of reason and finds it even more ridiculous he’s arguing in favor of sparing a war criminal and the poor object of his obsession. He’d much rather save the latter of the two, but sadly, they came in pairs, no questions asked, and all fights provided. Until that’s resolved, the more reproachable one was temporarily allowed to live.

What Kisuke finds thrice-most ridiculous is having to provide room and board for them. What was he? A nanny?

Kisuke scratches his scraggly beard as he stares at the sight in front of him. He’s in his living room—or what constitutes a living room, since he doesn’t really keep a nice house… Anyway, he’s staring at two people sitting at his low table.

“The fuck?” Kisuke demands, gesturing to them with a hand. He raises his eyes and glares at the person who dropped them off, who also looks like they don’t know what to do about the situation either.

Captain Ukitake shifts from one foot to the other. It is odd to see him without Captain Kyōraku around, but they weren’t that inseparable, okay? And there was no reason for him to be there.

Ukitake clears his throat. “Well, I agree with you, Urahara-san. Which—heh—makes me the only one.” His words trail off into a mutter, but then he picks up what he wants to say again. “Anyhow… Thank you for graciously watching over them.”

“I didn’t agree to it,” Kisuke mutters to himself. He shakes his head and goes from looking at Ukitake to staring at his two new house ‘guests.’

Ichigo’s eyes are kinda big, Kisuke notes. Wide open, staring innocently at him with a look that says, ‘Please don’t kill me!’

How could Kisuke say no to that?

He couldn’t, that’s why.

Now, Aizen on the other hand, is a much different story. Even amnesiac, Aizen is an asshole. He sat in Kisuke’s home like he owned the place, and that it was a sacred law of nature for Kisuke to serve him.

Aizen peacefully sips the tea he personally brewed after he discovered Kisuke’s technique to be…reprehensible. His eyes were shuttered, but he peeks one open to peer at the two Shinigami men standing around.

“Hmm,” Aizen murmurs. He sets down his cup with deliberate slowness. “From what I understand, your organization is stuck at a moral impasse.” There’s a slight pause as Aizen’s brows wrinkle. “What I am confounded by is the apparent display of morality. I may not possess my memories, but my instincts remind me that none of your lot has cared much for honor.”

“Even with memory loss you’re an asshole,” Kisuke immediately replies.

“Hey!” Ichigo cries. “Don’t say that about him!”

“Why are you on his side!?” Kisuke demands.

That’s what he wants to know the most. What the hell happened? Had Aizen corrupted Ichigo in the last possible moment? Kisuke doesn’t think so, even if that’s the most convenient reason to believe in. The only reason Kisuke’s convinced otherwise is because he was there, and he didn’t see shit. This was all memory loss and confabulation.

“Err…” Ichigo pauses, confused. He raises his hands to stare at them. “I don’t know how to put it into words. It’s just…something inside me remembers him the best, and I don’t know what the feelings are, but I know I have to stay close to him.” Ichigo puts his hands down, looks at Kisuke, and says something that makes Kisuke’s soul wither and die a little.

“I… I don’t know what it is about him, but he makes me feel fluffy.”

“Fluffy,” Ukitake repeats with a murmur.

“Mmmm,” Aizen agrees. He sips his tea, eyes closed serenely like some sage lord.

Kisuke sighs, wanting to throw them both out on their asses into the cold, unforgiving world.

“Anyway,” he says dryly, turning to face Captain Ukitake, who was staring at the pair with raised brows.

“You’re telling me,” Kisuke continues, frustration mounting with every word he utters, “that the damn nobles have somehow decided to forgive these two and just…let them go?”

“No…” Ukitake replies slowly. He tucks his hands into his sleeves as he regards Kisuke. “I wasn’t privy to the meeting, but the Sōtaichō returned with orders to leave the pair be for now and to observe them.”

“Ridiculous,” Kisuke remarks immediately. “Those idiots think they can control Aizen?” Honestly, it was nearly impossible for Kisuke to ever guess how the nobles thought. They were a bunch of idiots, and stupid people were the hardest to estimate. He thought that perhaps they would’ve gone straight for Aizen’s neck, Ichigo’s fate be-damned, but—

This alternative is worse.

Kisuke’s eyes cut back to the pair. Aizen has reopened his eyes, but he’s completely blowing off the standing Shinigamis to look at Ichigo.

“Mm,” Aizen hums shortly. “Did you forget how to keep yourself tidy too?” he asks waspishly, then picks up a napkin nearby to clean the corner of Ichigo’s mouth.

“No,” Ichigo replies in a small voice. He looks appropriately chastised and embarrassed, but lets himself be subjected to Aizen’s admittedly tender actions.

Kisuke’s eyes slide back to Captain Ukitake, who looks invested. “You’re kidding me,” Kisuke says to no one.

“This behavior is a compelling argument in favor of sparing their lives,” Ukitake supplies his judgment helpfully. It makes Kisuke wither on the inside a little.

“What? Househusband Aizen is what gets the nobles to give him a slap on the wrist and be like, ‘Oh, no worries, we’ll forgive you even though you tried to—” Kisuke abruptly pauses and glares at Aizen, who had ‘subtly’ tuned in. He clears his throat, then continues, facing Ukitake’s amused face again, “—Doing the things he did,” Kisuke finishes lamely.

“Househusband?” Ichigo repeats. He brightens up while facing Kisuke, making him feel like a stone fell to the bottommost pits of his stomach. Is this what it was like to feel hope fade and die in real time?

“Er, Ichigo, now wait a minute…” Kisuke tries.

Alas, Ichigo had whirled to face Aizen again with a wide, innocent smile on his face. He seems utterly delighted as he grabs Aizen by the arm and shakes him gently. “I knew it! We’re married.”

“I thought that much was obvious,” Aizen replies smoothly, as if he also hadn’t suddenly lost all his relevant memories.

Kisuke hesitantly broaches an important topic. “Do you… Do you two remember anything?” Please?

“You already asked us this,” Ichigo replies with an exasperated sigh. “No, I remember nothing. I don’t even remember where I live.”

“I’m surprised we recall how to speak,” Aizen says. “Well, some memories swim frustratingly close to the surface. I recall”—Aizen tilts his head—“great displeasure every time I face you, Houseowner-san.”

Kisuke’s hand twitches as it slowly rises to grasp his unequipped sword. Nearby, Ukitake can’t muffle his laughter in time, so he ends up snorting slightly as he covers his mouth.

“Hey,” Ichigo whispers loudly and pats Aizen on the arm. “Don’t pick fights with him! He’s being really nice and giving us a place to stay, and he’s trying to help us remember.”

“You give too many people the benefit of the doubt,” Aizen parries immediately with a chiding tone and equally chastising look.

“He most definitely does,” Kisuke deadpans, gazing flatly at Ichigo. “That he does.”

There is an awkward pause as everyone looks at Kisuke. He doesn’t quite shift uncomfortably, but his eyes dart around. Kisuke clears his throat. “Anyway, I—This is bad. What the hell am I supposed to do with them?”

“You own a supply store, don’t you?” Ukitake pointedly replies.

Unexpectedly, he rummages through the front of his Shihakushō and pulls out a small object. It’s pentagonal, has a skull ominously etched onto it, and shines in the light because it is made of metal. “I thought maybe having something familiar might jog their memory.”

When Ukitake hands the substitute Shinigami badge to Ichigo, he merely stares at it, nonplussed, and nonreactive.

“Nope,” Kisuke says. “Guess that’s a no go. Maybe we should hit them on the head to help them remember?”

Ukitake frowns. “That is violent,” he chides with a finger wag. “And we don’t want to risk it.” He gives Aizen a pointed look, figures the man is smart enough to figure things out anyway, even if everyone tried to tip-toe around him, and keeps saying, “It’s better if Aizen doesn’t remember.”

“That’s mean,” Ichigo says, put off. “And cruel. Don’t we deserve to remember our pasts?”

“Maybe some things aren’t worth recalling,” Aizen says, surprising the people within his vicinity. “It’s hard for me to place my emotions and I am still conflicted about it, but I believe a large majority of my inner conscience prefers this alternative.”

“It’s because you get to live,” Kisuke replies acerbically.

Aizen clicks his tongue like living and dying wasn’t a thing that really affected him. “That is not the major contributing factor,” he says. “I know I am a difficult being to kill.” He raises his head to leer down his nose condescendingly. “What matters more to me is Ichigo’s presence. I would be…immeasurably upset if something were to happen.”

“When did you get so overprotective?” Kisuke demands. “I don’t understand! What happened!? Were you always like this? I refuse to believe that is the answer!”

Miffed, Aizen replies, “I have always cared about Ichigo’s person.”

“No way,” Kisuke growls. He’s left to continue to grapple with that horrid revelation by himself.

Ukitake takes over by gently pushing Kisuke aside. “As long as you two behave and don’t try silly things like mass genocide and world domination, there will be no problems and we’ll leave you two be.”

“What?” Ichigo asks, eyes becoming saucer-like in his utter innocence. “W-Why would we kill so many people?” He whips around to stare dolefully at Aizen and grips his ‘husband’s’ arm. “You wouldn’t do either of those things, would you?”

Aizen hesitates.

Perhaps one neuron in Ichigo’s brain reawakens, and he receives a moment of lucidity, because he suddenly frowns, raises his hand, and slaps Aizen. “Get a hold of yourself!”

“You would dare—” Aizen begins. His hand lashes out and grips Ichigo by the shirt, but he’s not exactly violent—simply more affronted.

“Honey,” Ichigo says, surprising himself and everyone else around him, “that felt weird. Never mind, we’re revoking that word.” He clears his throat, shakes his head, and resumes his onslaught. Ichigo’s still gripping Aizen by the arm, and the hold tightens. “No murder.”

Aizen looks sufficiently crushed once he hears that. His disappointment was immeasurable. “No…?”

“No.”

With a sigh, Aizen’s shoulders slump and he folds.

It’s blowing Kisuke’s mind. “What the hell?” he hisses, demanding answers from any source. “It can’t be that simple…”

Ichigo looks displeased as he faces Kisuke. “Um, yes, it is. It’s called open communication, you idiot. Aizen’s a good man. He wouldn’t do that. All you had to do was fuckin’ ask.”

There’s a long pause as Ukitake and Kisuke glance at each other, clearly disagreeing.

“Hey!” Ichigo cries, indignant. He wasn’t that daft. He could see it in their eyes.

Aizen reaches out and rubs his ‘husband’s’ back. “Not to worry, darling,” he says, further disgusting (?) and flummoxing the two Shinigamis nearby—and noting it—“I promise. And I won’t break this promise to you.”

Ichigo looks immensely pleased. So much so that his broadly grinning mouth and the rest of his face (and head) leans toward Aizen and kiss him fondly. And Aizen, goaded by Ichigo’s behavior, returns the favor.

And now it was no longer polite to continue looking at them.

“I’ve—I—” Kisuke takes a breath. “I hope they never remember.”

Ukitake shakes himself out of his stupor and stumbles away with a stuttered, “U-Until next…time…”

• • •

A few months have passed with no hints of either Aizen or Ichigo regaining their memories. That doesn’t mean people learned to fucking relax, but the feeling of floating on pins and needles gradually lessened. There has yet to be an order to execute Aizen (and Ichigo by extension), so…

Life has settled for the ‘married’ pair. For everyone’s sanity, people that were once part of Aizen’s and Ichigo’s life were introduced slowly and in a controlled manner.

And also given a run-down of their dynamics before going in.

And most weren’t allowed to directly air their grievances with the more stuck-up of the two. They could only talk about it in vague hyperbole as Kisuke looms in the background, glaring at them to make sure they behave.

During all that, nobody ever thought to tell Aizen what his given name was, so by the time it came up, he was already used to being called ‘Aizen’ and rejected the notion of ‘Sōsuke.’ Ichigo had merely shrugged at the time and agreed with his spouse.

By all rights and purposes, Urahara Kisuke could (and should) return to a life in the Seireitei as a Shinigami officer, but he personally feels like he should remain on Earth. Now that Aizen and Ichigo live with him, that choice was no longer even on the table. And, if Kisuke is truthful with himself, he thinks he much prefers life as a rogue Shinigami anyway.

…Though, he might reconsider that stance.

His candy shop has somehow become a real candy shop and not just a creepy place that people avoided, while Kisuke uses it as a front to smuggle and provide spiritual-related merchandise.

In that regard, Kisuke would unapologetically—and angrily—blame Aizen.

See, in the beginning, the pair didn’t know what to do with their lives. After things calmed down—which only took like, two days, because Aizen was eerily unflappable and distressingly good at handling Ichigo—there was not much to do.

The world wasn’t falling down around their ears. Nobody especially malicious has magically popped into being. And to leave someone like Aizen idle? Terrible idea. Kisuke needed a distraction, and the fates had given him one…though he still wasn’t sure how much he appreciates it to this day.

Kisuke owns a candy shop, and he suddenly has two able-bodied men on hand who are bored out of their minds. It was natural for Aizen to immediately discover that the candy shop is all a lie, drag Ichigo into the mix, somehow involve Tessai, order a large shipment of wholesale candy…

Kisuke’s candy shop business is booming as much as his soul-smugglery business, and it was mostly thanks to Aizen. Aizen and his fucking face. And, if tortured, Kisuke might also confess it is Aizen’s personality that contributes to the success too.

Aizen’s ‘natural charm’—the very same one he used to woo the Seireitei before betraying and fucking them over—came to be inflicted on the masses at large. Kisuke was appalled at the amount of people that flocked to his store to ostensibly buy candy.

He knows better. The true reason doesn’t even need to be stated. There is, apparently, just something riveting about Aizen and Ichigo’s partnership that attracts onlookers to come and stay as long as possible in their presences.

Some nights, Kisuke wonders to himself if Aizen has somehow redeveloped his Shikai into something else. It’s an absurd notion, which is why Kisuke entertains it.

He catches sight of the pair as they flit around the shop and clicks his tongue. Ichigo sees him first, glares at him, and demands, “Oi! Don’t just stand around! Help out!” He flits off before long as he’s being pulled by the hand by a small child.

That’s right. Kisuke’s candy shop attracted all the parents in town and their kids. This was definitely not his preferred clientele.

With a pained smile, Kisuke plods over to assist a parent-child group.

It could be worse, he supposes.