Author: L.Lawliet13 PM
Renji is laid up after a Hollow attack in Karakura Town; when he wakes from his medically induced coma Byakuya is there to comfort and nurse him back to health. Renji can't understand why the noble suddenly cares but when a secret Renji has kept hidden for many years is revealed, Byakuya realises why Renji once hated him, why the redhead fears the emotions growing between them.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Byakuya K. & Renji A. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,575 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 35 - Updated: 03-21-13 - Published: 02-19-13 - id: 9028585
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
(Re-edited Version; Chapter Two will be ready soon!)
The steel grey eyes of the Head of the Kuchiki Household remained focused wholly on the unconscious redhead who was laid so stiffly in the Division Four bed, bundled in bed sheets and extra blankets to combat the deathly pneumonia and hypothermia combination the younger man had contracted.
He hadn't moved from this seat in five days, ever since Renji had been returned from Karakura Town, half frozen solid in a casket of ice and half bleeding to death from an ugly wound which stretched diagonally across his chest from his left shoulder to his right hip.
Overwhelming panic and concern had flooded his mind the moment he had learned that Renji had been injured, and when Unohana-Taichou had informed him that Renji's heart had stopped three times on the journey back... He thought for a moment that his own heart might stop.
Refusing Unohana-Taichou's offers of regular update, Byakuya chose to remain in the hospital beside his Fuku-Taichou, as his Fuku-Taichou had done when he had been hospitalized after Aizen's betrayal and revealing. He wasn't going to abandon him now, even less so when Renji had only been in Karakura Town because he had been too busy to go thanks to a ridiculous clan meeting.
If Renji died because of that coincidence he would never forgive himself. He had sat through Hisana's steadily declining health and he had never left her side until she passed over; though he desired a more fortuitous outcome for the flame haired youth, he would sit with him throughout this ordeal. And when Renji woke, and he would wake this Byakuya was certain of, he would be there still, offering him a place to stay until he was fully back on his feet. It would be pleasant to have the mansion ringing with the tones of one who had hailed from the Rukon District of Inuzuri, the 78th District where Hisana and Rukia had both come from, one who had not lost their inner connection to the place they had been born such as Renji.
His Fuku-Taichou had grown greatly; it had taken him far too long to see it though, he had missed that monumental day when Renji had achieved Bankai and instead the first time he had even known about it was when it had been used against him in battle. The achieving of Bankai was supposed to be a happy time for both Fuku-Taichou and Taichou; it showed a level of maturing for the Shinigami who had achieved it and it suggested that the Taichou had trained and helped the Fuku-Taichou to flourish.
For them it simply meant that Renji had despised him enough to push himself to his very limit in his attempt to prove himself and reach the moon. It was a glum recollection.
But since that time, Byakuya had felt himself change, he was no longer cold to Rukia and he took an active interest in her life; he trained with Renji more and they sometimes shared a bottle of sake after a hard day's work; they had even bathed together in the lake in Division Six and had washed and dried each other's bodies.
He couldn't be sure when these more amorous feelings had begun to uncoil in his heart, but he was cautious of them and very nervous of opening himself to such pain again. He cared little about what other people would think Renji was strong; handsome and brave; he protected the people he cared about and his tattoos... Byakuya flushed a little at the memory of the brief flashes of sun-kissed skin in the changing rooms before and after training and what he could see now while his Fuku-Taichou was laid in bed naked under the sheets. His eyes roamed over the black ink, exotic and wild like the man himself; he loved looking at him and his tattoos. He wanted to run his fingers over them, commit them to his memory and watch them rippling under his touch.
Sighing softly as he sipped his millionth cup of tea of the day, he observed the sleeping man, his heart fell into an unsteady rhythm as he imagined falling asleep beside him, their arms and legs entwined and his head nestled under the chin of the redhead, his masculine scent washing over him and making him feel warm and safe.
It was a foolish dream; Renji probably still hated him for taking Rukia from him and for refusing to stop her execution. Even if he didn't hate him anymore, who was to say that the redhead was even interested in him in return? There were so many variables and so many questions. This was the thing he had always hated about trying to discover love. It was so complex.
He looked around as the door opened and Unohana-Taichou stepped inside the room and closed the door behind her again.
"Good evening Kuchiki-Taichou. Are you still here?" she smiled in that stern and disconcerting way that scared everyone in sight.
"Yes, Unohana-Taichou, I did tell you that I would not leave his side until he woke and told me to go home himself." He replied calmly.
She seemed to sigh inwardly but also conceded, "Very well, I will say no more about it. However, that maybe sooner than you think as we have decided to bring him around from his coma today."
"Truly?" he asked, trying to keep the eagerness from his voice, "Is he ready?"
"Indeed, the newest scans have shown a total reduction in the swelling on his brain and the antibiotics have cleared up what there was of his pneumonia. The after effects of the hypothermia are still lingering and he will have to be kept warm constantly to prevent a relapse but I am more than happy to wake him up, and if he is as well as his results suggest then he may be discharged as well." She told him as she double-checked Renji's medical file.
"What about the chest wound?" Byakuya inquired.
She paused and walked around the bed, peeling back the gauze and had a look at the long; brutal wound, "I want to keep an eye on it, he had the beginnings of an infection but luckily the antibiotics we used for the pneumonia has cleared it up completely. I will recall him in three weeks to remove the staples and I will want him to visit a further three times to ensure that the wound is healing properly and there is no internal infection."
"That is excellent." He said with a tone of utter relief, "How soon today will you start the wake up process?"
"Ten minutes time. I need to go and get the medication to bring him around and I will need Isane to assist me." She smiled at him.
He nodded to her as she left and then looked back at the redhead; he sat forward and took one of his exposed hands, avoiding the wires which stuck into his skin, "You see? You're going to be fine, Unohana-Taichou is going to wake you up shortly, and then you will come and live with me in the mansion so that I can look after you until you are fit enough to return to your own accommodation." He murmured his voice unusually tender, "I won't let you go through this on your own. You were there when I was healing from Aizen's attack, and I will be here for you now that you need someone as well."
He pulled back quickly as Unohana returned with Isane and he was forced to move to the back of the room 'out of the way' as Isane had so politely put it. He watched anxiously as they busied around his Fuku-Taichou and began doing several different things, such removing the breathing tube from his mouth; changing the gauze on his wound and finally, injecting a pale blue liquid into the canular in the back of his left hand.
Usually so refrained and controlled, Byakuya found himself nearly gnawing off his thumb nail as he waited and watched for some sign that the redhead was coming around; his eyes were slightly wider and more childlike.
A soft gasp slowly seeped from Renji's parted lips and his eyes lids fluttered heavily, they slowly flickered open and searched the room blurrily; they seemed to linger on Byakuya's suddenly stone still form before glancing up to meet Unohana's face.
"Abarai-kun can you hear me? Blink twice if you can hear me." She commanded in a gentler voice than she usually used; it was a heart stopping moment but Renji blinked twice as she had asked, she smiled, "Very good, now, I'm going to put a straw in your mouth and I want you to suck on it. It's water which will moisten your throat and make it easier to speak alright?" he blinked twice in response.
Byakuya watched with his heart in his mouth as Renji sucked eagerly on the straw, finishing the cup of water in minutes before he drew a deep and ragged breath, "I feel... Like hell..." he said hoarsely.
Byakuya felt a smile twitch at his lips and his shoulders sagged in respite slightly, "You don't look so pretty either." The noble teased as he walked over to him and sat back down.
"Aww Taichou... Don't start picking on me already." The redhead replied in good humour, "How long... Has it been?"
"What do you last remember?"
"I was in Karakura with Ichigo, Rukia... A-a-and Matsumoto... but we were... Attacked by Hollows... I think... I think I got hurt... I don't remember... Very clearly..."
"It's alright, it will come back." Byakuya comforted, "You jumped in the way of Matsumoto-Fuku-Taichou and were wounded across the chest. Without a doubt you saved her life; Hitsugaya-Taichou wishes to thank you personally for your actions when you are well enough."
"It was... Nothing really... I'd do it for anyone I cared about..." he replied, looking around for more water.
"I will fetch you some. Don't go anywhere." He said as he stood up and grabbed the cup; he darted out of the room, but not before he heard Renji's retort which made him chortle to himself.
When he returned with water, Renji was napping again, he brushed the redhead's cheek gently and woke him tenderly, and offering him the straw and watching him slurp it up eagerly.
Setting the empty cup aside again, he sat down and leaned forward, "How do you feel?"
"Pretty sore; sorry for the inconvenience Taichou, it must be a pain to have to visit me like this..." he began.
"Renji, don't be stupid." He said sternly, "I am here because I want to ensure you are alright, not because it is my duty. In fact, as soon as you are discharged I would like you to come and live with me in the mansion until you are fit and healthy."
The redhead faltered, "W-What?! No! I couldn't do that! I don't want to impose on you!"
"You would not be imposing Renji; I am offering therefore I am content with it." Byakuya sighed and inwardly wondered how he had come to like such a stubborn young man.
He flushed slightly and smiled sheepishly, "Heh... Thanks Taichou, I'd... I'd like that..."
"Good. Unohana-Taichou may allow you home this very day so I will go and make some arrangements if you will be alright here?"
"Go ahead Taichou, I'm not going anywhere yet." He smiled.
"Very well... I will return when she sends me a message that you are being discharged." He told him.
"There's no need Taichou I'm sure-" he froze at the dangerous expression on his face and simply chuckled weakly, "Of course Taichou, thank you very much."
Byakuya flashed a small smile and brushed his hand with his fingers before he turned and fled the room, wondering what had made him do such a thing, why had he suddenly had the urge for such physical contact? Did Renji like it?
He sighed and shook his head, sending a Hell Butterfly ahead to the Kuchiki Mansion to inform the servants that they should prepare his room for an extra guest. If he was getting Renji to stay in his house so that he could look after him, he was sure as hell going to make sure he enjoyed it.
To be continued...