Disclaimer: This belongs to me. Bleach doesn't.
Notes: Does Rukia write a diary? Who knows. Please read it and enjoy!
Renji stared at the little white notebook he held in his hands.
It was Rukia's birthday today and Renji wanted to surprise her with his gift when she returned. So hiding her gift in her wardrobe seemed like a great idea since it was and as he was contemplating how to aesthetically position her gift, he spotted that white little notebook at the top shelf. In comparison to the rest of the things she kept away at the top shelf, the notebook was oddly clean, which meant that she often took it down, or at least have taken it down not too long ago. Even for his height, he would not put the book in such an inconvenient place and so it just made him more curious why she, a relatively small-sized woman, would chose to place it there. Unable to resist, he had reached up for it and took it down.
And now as he scanned through the book, he realized it was a diary. Who would have thought that someone like Rukia would keep a diary? And now that he was certain what it was, he knew he should probably put it back from where it was taken. Yet now that he was certain what it was, he knew he could not just put it back. She had seemed rather distracted these days and her diary may provide him an idea of the reason for her preoccupation recently. Well, at least that was the excuse for his curiosity.
He did a quick calculation of how long Rukia would take to get back and he decided he had well over an hour to just glance through her entries. Yes, glance. He was not going to do more than that. He was just going to glance.
Not a very innovative way of starting an entry… but anyway…
There are some things that I never want to forget. So I will write down those memories. I know writing dates for each entry is a convention, but dates are of no importance. Cos memories are eternal and I do not want to measure them in terms of year, day, date or time. No, those are not important. Time holds no meaning for me.
At least not now.
Renji raised an eyebrow. That was a strange point of view. But Rukia was always kind of an odd-ball in that way.
There was a drawing of some unidentifiable object at the bottom of her first entry. Truth be told, he had never seen her drawings before and now he understood why. Her drawings were either really hideous, or just really abstract. He scrutinized the drawing for a while but gave up shortly and moved on to her next entry.
Do you understand how it is to watch someone from a distance, to admire how the sun reflects off his beautiful striking hair, how the shadows further defined his chiseled features, how his lanky body moves with such unbelievable grace, how his lips twitch in annoyance at me, how his eyebrows were in a frown even when he smiled… And those fierce, passionate eyes that looks back at me…
I think I can keep staring at him forever.
Renji smiled. He turned the page.
It's strange. I came crashing into his world.
And it took me a long while to realize that he had come crashing into mine too.
He remembered their first encounter. He and three other buddies had stolen water and were running away from this slobbering, mean-faced man when Rukia just appeared out of nowhere and sent that man's face smack right into the ground. Indeed, she came crashing into his world at full force. That arrogant, tom-boyish child who had an elegant dignity.
How long has it been? Seventy years? A hundred? A hundred and fifty? He had long lost track of time, but boy, she did took a long time to realize he was there.
He was yelling at me to get down the tree today. He's such a moron. He looks so pissed it's nearly funny. Of course, I got down and then kicked his ass, telling him to shut up. He looked like he was going to yell at me again. But he didn't.
Then he walked away and I followed.
Rukia had always loved to climb trees as a child. And so many years have passed and she still loved to climb to all those high places. He would always have to go through a lot of trouble to find her. And he would always be really mad at her for doing that disappearing act and she would always act all haughty in her usual manner. But he could never stay angry at her for long.
I fell today. It was stupid. And humiliating. But he reached down and offered his hand to me. Without a moment's hesitation, I took it. His hand was so large in comparison to mine. So warm and so secure.
In the past, I would have been angry at myself if I did something as silly as that. But these days, I realize that the more time I spent with him, the more I felt my wall falling away. Somehow, I no longer feel the obsessive need to protect myself against everyone and everything. It's like, when I fall, I know he would be there to catch me.
Well, even if he does not catch me in time, he would be sure to pick me up.
I feel my control slipping away and it frightens me, but at the same time, it's exhilarating. It's a crazy feeling.
When he pulled her up when she uncharacteristically fell, he felt that he saw something different in Rukia's eyes. And that was the beginning of their strange relationship.
He gave me a flower today. I wanted to tease him but he already looked so utterly embarrassed that I decided not to hurt his ego any further. You have no idea how huge an ego he has! So I just smiled and said thank you.
He has done a lot of sweet things for me, things that he probably didn't even noticed, but this was closest to being the most romantic thing he has ever done for me. And that silly little lopsided grin he gave me after I said "thank you" was one of the gentlest, most innocent expression I have ever seen on his usual hard face. I know that that is one of the rare faces he would only show to me.
Renji was egoistical. He knew it and Rukia knew it. So it took A LOT of deliberation before he decided that he had to do something that was at least partially romantic. He did not want to appear sappy so he just gave her a red daisy, instead of the usual red rose that most people would give. When she smiled at him that day… it was beyond description. Who knew a stupid smile could be so powerful?
He thought Rukia would never notice that he would only truly loosen up when he was with her, but now he finally knew she always did notice. Rukia was always so hard to read. She was crude yet refined. She was forthcoming yet reticent. She was tough yet delicate. Perhaps that was what he loved about her. Her enigmatic character.
I always acted really nonchalant when I am around him. Even when he is opens up to me, I always tend to push him away. I see his kindness, I see his affection, I see his love, but sometimes I am so afraid of what it means.
And then I think he finally got mad today. I could see it in his eyes; the doubt that he had harbored within him for so long. He did not understand why I was always so erratic, sometimes hot, and sometimes cold. And then he did the most unexpected thing. He leaned in and kissed me.
The first instinct was to slap him, to kick him or something violent of that sort. But I didn't. All I could do was to reciprocate his kiss and I felt myself melt into his warm embrace and then desperately pulling him closer to me.
I asked myself so many times, was it love? IS it love?
I can't believe it, but truly, I think I've found my answer.
I need him.
I think I've found the love I've been waiting for.
A subtle blush suffused across Renji's face, as he remembered himself doing that impulsively. He had absolutely no idea how he had found the courage to do that. And he really had thought Rukia would hit him, but he was pleasantly surprised when she did not. Her aggressiveness when she pulled him into a tighter embrace had quite surprised him.
But who could have guessed that she actually felt that he was the love she had been waiting for? No one could have ever guessed. Her eyes never revealed much about her inner thoughts. Although he had been bothered by her elusive feelings, he had gotten used to it. He could not force her to change. And he did not want her to change.
I woke up this morning, staring at his face. Even when he is asleep, he looks so strong. He's always loud, always crass, always stubborn. But when he sleeps, all those goes away and all that is left is a gentle strength he keeps for the things that are important to him.
I did not want to wake him by getting up as he wakes easily, so I just lied on the bed and quietly watched him breathe, observing how his chest rose and fell with each slow steady breath. Who knew watching the one you love could be so calming?
I realized that I always want to wake up with him beside me.
The redness in Renji's already blushing face deepened as he thought of the days that he had woken up with Rukia lying beside him. He had always thought she woke later than him, but now he knew that she just did not want to wake him up as she knew he was a light sleeper. She was considerate that way.
One day, he is so definitely going to catch her while she watches him sleep.
Could I? Is it right for me to love him? Is it right for me to be loved this way? This isn't right. I don't deserve to be loved…
At least that was what I thought. But time and time again, when he reached for me, I felt myself reach back for him.
I can't love him. No, it isn't right. But I can no longer stop myself from loving him…
His eyelids lowered a little as he thought of how Rukia always tried to escape his gaze when he looked at her. He could only guess but he never did fully understand her masochistic self-flagellating actions and thoughts. She was always struggling with her emotions, wearing an armor of forced strength to hide her constant insecurities.
She always felt that she was not deserving of the things that she had. He had a hard time convincing her that she was too hard on herself. She kept denying the love he offered to her. She was always like a butterfly, fluttering close then fluttering away again. She was indeed a difficult person, but boy, how he loved that silly little woman.
He said, "I love you."
That was all she wrote. He never knew those three words would be so important to her. If he knew, he should have said it earlier. He remembered it had so casually slipped out of his lips that he surprised himself and he no longer why he took such a long time to say such a simple sentence.
This morning, while he was sleeping, I said, "I love you."
Rukia was such a dense person. She told him that she loved him when he was SLEEPING! Sure, he was a light sleeper, but that did not mean that he would surely hear everything she says when he is asleep! He had been dying for her to say it to him ever since he said those three words to her for the first time. Each time he said "I love you", he had allowed himself to be just satisfied with her unchanging reply, which was, "Me too."
He was absolutely going to force her to say "I love you" even if it meant having the crap beaten right out of him after she realizes that he had read her diary. Well, though technically speaking, he only planned to glance through it and never intended to read it…
Do you know how much it hurts when you see the one you love fighting for you so desperately? He was so strong for me. A Hollow appeared today as we were out and the Hollow was unusually strong. He pushed me aside fiercely and fought with the Hollow. It was like a déjà vu…
I felt so useless. I did not want to be the one being protected all the time! I know I am not talented as a shinigami but I have always tried my best! If only I could be stronger…
It is wrong. All these are wrong. How could I love him? But my heart is not listening to my head…
He gave me a ring today. He said it represented that we were bound together no matter what happens. I took the ring and I started to cry. I did not want to cry! But… I love him so much! I do not know what to do!
Renji's hands were starting to tremble as he continued.
I asked him why he was willing to hold on to this relationship. And he told me, "Because you said you love me."
I thought he had not heard me that morning. But he did.
And I cried again. And he kissed the tears away.
Renji wanted to close the diary, but his hands continued to turn the pages and his eyes kept reading the words.
I need to do something now. This relationship has dragged on long enough. Even if it means lying to him…
x x x
He said nothing. Absolutely nothing. There was only sorrow in those eyes. I told him I found someone else. And I've grown tired of him. That he was only one of the game pieces in my long life.
Why didn't he say anything! I wanted him to tell me not to leave…
I'm such a moron.
I want him to say those words even though at the same time I know he shouldn't.
He knew I was lying.
And then he saw me cry. Again. And he just kissed my forehead.
I love him so much. So much. So much…
x x x
Even when I lie in someone else's arms, receive someone else's flowers, return someone else's kisses, wake up in someone else's bed, all I see is him. My heart still belongs to him.
Renji's grip on the book tightened. The words were starting to blur into a whole mess of dark ink, but he forced himself to keep reading. He needed to read on…
He had to know.
Nearly two years have passed and again I meet him, unexpectedly. He looked a little different, his hair was a little longer, his build was a little larger and his clothes were a little different from what he used to wear. But it was him.
I cannot even begin to explain what happened. I tried to strike up a casual conversation but he must have seen the pain in my eyes. And he must have seen the love for him that never died. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into his arms and pressed me firmly against his chest as he told me to just shut up. Those words were so comfortingly familiar, I broke down. All the feelings that I had forced away once again welled up and took over. The tears wouldn't stop.
He said he missed me. He said he still loved me. And he asked me to take him back.
The worlds that should have never crossed have met once more. And I could no longer find the strength to push him away.
x x x
I can no longer let go. The love that I've waited for has returned into my arms. How can I let go now?
I love him.
Renji slapped the book shut. He heard something drop and the reflection of the light off its polished surface quickly directed him to where the object lay. He bent down and picked up the ring. Engraved clearly were the words "Ichigo Loves Rukia Loves Ichigo Loves Rukia Loves Ichigo…" The four words were positioned strategically to form an eternal sentence of their love proclamation for each other.
Renji's shaking fingers closed around that tiny ring. It was difficult but he forced himself to find the place in the book where the ring had fallen from. Then his eyes rested on the final page, which had his name written on it.
I've decided to leave Soul Society. Urahara will give me a new body that will allow me to live as a human with Ichigo.
I have to tell Renji. I know it's going to be hard because I've been so unfair to him by treating him like some sort of Ichigo substitute.
I'll tell Renji tonight.
I'm running late! The love of my life is waiting for me:D
Ew! I sound like some love-struck moron! But I'm just so excited! I'm finally going to be with Ichigo! He said he had prepared something special for me!
Yikes! I've got to run!
For this last entry, she wrote a date and a time. The entry was written this morning.
Renji slipped the ring back into the pocket that Rukia had sewn onto the inner side of the diary's hard backing. And not only had she sewn a pocket for the ring, she had sewn a compartment where she kept some photos of Ichigo and her. Some dated a couple years back, some in recent months. All of them showed him a Rukia he never had a chance to see. A Rukia he knew she would never show to him. A Rukia that belonged to Kurosaki Ichigo.
He waited for her all these years. He protected her for all these years. He loved her for all these years. And when he finally started to believe those wasted years were not wasted after all, he found out that he had lost her forever.
No, that was not the correct way to put it.
He never had her to begin with.
And he never would.
Quietly, he replaced the book in its proper place. He closed the closet door, the gift he had so carefully made for her still in his hands. Then he kept it back into his kimono. There was no more need for the gift, there was no more need for her birthday celebration, there was no more need for him.
There never was.
And he wandered out, passing the familiar streets of the Southern Rukongai, Sector 78. The trees they climbed, the stalls they wrecked, the places they roamed… And lastly, he stopped at the stream that Rukia and him used to play at when they were still children. He could almost hear her familiar easy laughter as the two of them, with three other good friends, ran along the stream playing tag. But that was all a long time ago. Much too long ago.
None of which had any meaning now.
He stood beside the stream and stared at the gift in his hand, his eyes devoid of all emotions he knew he should have. Anger. Sorrow. Regret. Anything. But there was nothing. Then he let it go and watched it fall unceremoniously into the rough waters.
In the rushing torrents, the gift disappeared, along with the ring in the gift box that had three words engraved on it.
"Renji Loves Rukia"
Words that no one would ever see again.
"Happy Birthday, my love," Renji smiled, a slow, sad, empty smile. "And goodbye."
- End -
I wrote this after hearing the song Diary by Bread (I love oldies D).
Extracts of the lyrics:
I found her diary underneath a tree.
and started reading about me
The words began stick and tears to flow.
Her meaning now was clear to see.
The love she'd waited for was someone else not me
Wouldn't you know it, she wouldn't show it.
I guess a lot of you might have guessed the ending already. Well, the ending is supposed to be quite predictable (even if it isn't really that obvious in the beginning), just to contrast how we, from a third person's point of view, understand the situation and saw the possibilities, unlike poor Renji who was too caught up in the moment to realize something was wrong. I love Renji, but I love Ichigo x Rukia more. I think it's quite a normal storyline, where poor Renji would always lose to Ichigo when it comes to Rukia's affection. But I really don't think Renji is romantically in love in Rukia or anything in the manga itself (personal opinion).
Blah, it's another story that I wrote early in the morning. And I finished it at 6.00am and ended up missing my morning class cos I couldn't get up! Haha... My crazy obsession...
Quality-wise, I think it's still quite questionable... but well...
My teacher told me that as non-native users of English, we have to take extra effort to convey our ideas, and I wonder how much difference does that extra effort make? Like, do you guys take much faster to type a story than I do? Like I took a relatively short time for this one, of this length, I mean, in comparison to my other chapters. I took about three hours (excluding editing). How long would you guys normally take?
Okay, I'm just digressing. This is the longest one-shot/story chapter I've ever written in one go! Anyway, I hope you like the story! Thanks for reading!
Post-Post Chapter Notes:
I edited the formatting after some suggestions from Wild Orchid. She said I could centered the letters (I assume letters to be the diary entries?) and so I did. I wonder if it is easier/nicer to read now. Cos before I just added horizontal rules, though I thought it looked ugly.
Oh yes, she mentioned adding the lyrics in between, but I didn't want to make it like a song fic (if that is what one would call it), but just a story inspired by a song. Although I really like the idea of adding the lyrics in.But seriously, adding lyrics in between my own lines and make it flow flawlessly like I wrote the lyrics myselfis WAY too challenging for me. Heh. Anyway, I'm yakking way too much.
If you read this post-post chapter notes thingy, thank you and hoped you liked my story!
Cookies for all who reviewed/will review!
Ooh, giving out cookies is fun!