Title: Beautiful Friendship
Author: Celeste
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: (yes!)
Pairing: still only lightly RenjixByakuya
Spoilers: Post Soul-Society Arc, but not really any strong mentions of it in this fic.
Summary: Drabble-esque companion piece to "Captain, My Captain"- Byakuya knew that Renji was a bad influence.
Word Count: 883
Time: Uh… an hour or two, though I was going in between this one and the following piece, and a One Piece story I should also finish, so it's not really definite. I didn't really edit either. --;;
A/N: So yeah, this was supposed to be an actual yaoi story, but ended up being practically gen-fluff, which kind of vexes me and at the same time makes me wonder how I'm going to pull off the rest of what I've got planned for these two. Though I shouldn't be thinking about it because I've got two essays to write this weekend and a test to study for, and a film school application to finish, and a costume to finish, and work to go to…and…ARGH. Okay, I'm done complaining. I am.
Dedication: Yo-chan, cuz he's also a bad influence and teaches me Japanese stuff that they will never teach me in class. XD
Disclaimer: Not mine… if it were, I wouldn't have such a hard time getting the merchandise. ;; Well, theoretically.
Distribution: Just lemme know.

Abarai Renji wasn't, as Kuchiki Byakuya constantly reminded him, very competent at following protocol.

In the past, such an accusation might have set the vice-captain's pride on edge, making him apologize promptly if rudely to his superior. He might have said something like, "Be sure to work on that in the future, taichou, thanks for lettin' me know," only half sarcastically.

But since they were what one could call friends now, he knew when it was just Byakuya being exasperated, but in a fond way.

You couldn't tell just by looking at him, with that set-in-stone face of his, but Renji could pretty much pick up on it now with the help of all the little hints, like how Byakuya didn't consider it a serious enough offense to look up from whatever paperwork he was doing as he said it.

So Renji grinned back and quite slyly, responded with a, "that's what I've got you for, eh taichou?"

Byakuya actually did pause to look up at that particular statement, the expression on his face reading equal parts confused and disgusted by Renji's lack of pride. "I can't always remind you of appropriate procedures," he responded evenly after a moment before returning to his missives.

Renji, sprawled out on the tatami with his head propped up on his palm, just chuckled and watched Byakuya work, being happily lazy on this, their day off.

Of course Byakuya would be catching up on paperwork when they were supposed to be vacationing. All amount of pleading and wheedling had landed Renji absolutely nothing in the ways of 'fun' and 'relaxation' with the other man, but he'd been permitted to sit in and laze about as his captain finalized some important paperwork, so it was close enough.

The subject of their stilted conversation?

Renji's atrocious mission reports.

Really, Byakuya couldn't quite fathom how someone who couldn't be bothered to spell 'zanpakutou' correctly was allowed to wield such a powerful one. If the Kuchiki heir wasn't such a perfectionist at heart, he was sure he would have given up on proof-reading Abarai's written accounts months ago.

Sighing, the captain finalized the ink on the last paper in his current stack and set his brush aside momentarily, watching patiently as the ink dried on the page.

Renji groaned. "Oi, taaaichou… that's the last one, yeah?"

Byakuya arched an elegant brow and let his eyes shift towards a stack of contracts neatly piled on the shelf to his right.

Renji sighed. "Vacation, Kuchiki-taichou. Vacation. You know what that word means, don't ya?"

"I do, Abarai-fukutaichou. Do you know how to spell it?" he queried coolly.

Renji snorted. "Asshole."

Byakuya stifled both a smile and the rather unbecoming rejoinder of, "dumbass" that had immediately flitted into his mind.

Really, how uncouth.

Renji was obviously a very bad influence. The textbook unrefined, unkempt little boy that Byakuya had never been allowed to play with growing up.

Eyeing the redhead, who was now on his back and staring up at the ceiling in abject boredom, it wasn't hard to picture him in the role of a small child itching to go outside and run around now that school was out for the weekend.

It was several types of cute all at once, and Byakuya was made to frown at the fact that such ill-bred behavior could be made to look so appealing by his vice-captain.

Really, there was something to be said about dignity.

When he was sure Renji wasn't looking, Byakuya let himself chuckle silently and shake his head before picking up his brush and moving on to his next self-assignment.

The family would surely disown him if they knew he harbored such tender musings towards someone who embodied all of the traits they'd ingrained as beneath his station.

They'd undoubtedly, strip him of his title and cast him to the street without a second glance.

Suspecting his and Renji's often awkward, yet somehow fulfilling friendship as the culprit, Byakuya was almost surprised to discover how little he was beginning to care about his family's expectations in light of things.

Looking at the still unfinished stack of paperwork, he frowned to himself, eyes shifting between his obligations and the restless, irresponsible mess of vice-captain staring up at the ceiling like having to stay inside today was comparable to being told he was suffering from some sort of terminal illness.

A moment later, Byakuya set his brush down, letting it purposefully clack against the pristine wood of his small writing table to disrupt the quiet.

Curious, Renji turned at the sudden sound. "Taichou?"

"Lunch, Renji."

The vice-captain broke out into an unreserved grin and jumped to his feet, suddenly filled with endless energy at the prospect of capitalizing on what remained of their day off. "Sweet."

The line of Byakuya's mouth was expectedly neutral at the childish exclamation, but he allowed his eyes to smile back at Renji as he followed him out the door.

With a certain anticipatory dread, the pride and joy of the Kuchiki family wondered if the next lesson he would learn under Abarai Renji's bad influence was that art of disregarding protocol, which the other man had so effortlessly mastered.

Picturing his parents' faces at such a prospect, he couldn't quite stifle his laughter.

It felt wonderful to laugh.