Title: Only Losers Cry Deal
Author: Eeevee
Genre/Rating: General/PG-13 for language
Disclaimer: Bleach still isn't mine
Challenge: None
Warnings: set in Academy Days; there shouldn't be any spoilers
Notes: This is a pick-me up for my beta, a surprise, so it's not beta-ed. J, go get 'em, you'll do fine!

"Get your shoulders back."

Renji violently shrugged off the teacher's hand that was pressed between his shoulder blades.

"Stop slumping like you're still in the slums." The teacher barked, giving another, not-so-gentle smack to his back. "It is natural to keep your shoulders back, not rounded. Your backbone should be straight."

Out of the corner of his eye, Renji could see Kira and Momo sniggering and flicking amused glances at him. Oh how fucking wonderful for them that they could tie themselves into fucking pretzels.

"Now, let's begin the Sun Salutation. Begin with the Mountain and remember your breathing!"

Obediently, Renji centered his feet, remembering to spread his stupid toes and press his heels down. Dragging the air into his abdomen, he raised his arms and started the sequence.

Whatever had possessed him to take this torture session?

Oh yeah, he was a moron. Only suckers and fools took dares this ridiculously.

Just because Rukia had said he was less of a man for denouncing this dumb, over-exaggerated stretching exercise… he was an idiot. And now he was stuck with this stupid class as his last PE credit to graduate. And he had to pass. Had to.

"Get your shoulders back! Your hands should be based under your shoulders, not your ugly face." Oh yeah, and the teacher was a total asshole. That certainly didn't give Renji hope for the exam. There'd be no wheedling some slack from that strict old man. The yoga had turned him into a sour pickle.

Renji's stomach gurgled pitifully, and he glanced longingly toward the cafeteria.

"Are you a girl?" The ugly face was shoved up in Renji's and it was all the young man could do not to spit. "Where's your upper body strength? You're shaky as a newborn lamb and twice as useless. Don't let your elbows bow out! That is completely unacceptable."

"Yes, sir." Renji ground out, his eyes narrowed and his lips twisted into a frustrated snarl. He dutifully tucked his elbows in so that they touched his ribcage and adjusted his heels so that they stretched down further. It hurt like hell.

"Psst, Renji."

The red head spared a baleful glare for his blond friend and grunted as he shifted on the mat impatiently.

"You're doing it wrong."

"The fuck if I care."

Kira paused, looking positively gleeful at his ineptness, "You don't look like a downward dog; you look like a downed dog. Get your butt up in the air."

Momo snickers turned into choking and both boys looked at her as she sputtered and turned red, "…S-sorry, that was fun-funny." And then she wouldn't explain it, trying to regain her breathing.

"You two," The teacher's gnarled finger pointed at Renji and Kira. The blond gulped and instantly tried to say it wasn't his fault, "Get up to the front. You will give the class an example on the proper way to complete the Sun Salutation."

Reluctantly, the two shambled up to the front and glanced around nervously.

"The Mountain."

Kira easily completed the pose, looking completely relaxed and confident about it. Renji awkwardly imitated him, shuffling his big feet for a few seconds before settling.

"Go on."

Slowly, Renji raised his hands up and accidentally smacked Kira in the face. The blond kept his balance but only after flailing madly. In turn, he managed to whack Renji back, who apparently wasn't nearly so grounded. He landed on his ass and managed to hook his foot across Kira's left shin. One tug was all it took.

"Oww, Renji!"

"Get out of my class." The teacher said quietly with a blank look leveled solely on Renji, "Obviously, hooligans like you can't begin to have the discipline or gumption to complete this course. I suggest you go take something… simpler. I will grant you a 'W' without penalty."

Sure, how fucking generous, and damn it all if he didn't just lose the bet.

----

Of course, Rukia teased him mercilessly for his failure. Kira was overly apologetic, saying it was his fault that Renji got kicked out; Momo insisted on making a woof sound and giggling, no doubting thinking downed dog in her mind.

And Renji himself… he was pissed.

----

This was the third and final try to pass the examination and everyone felt the pressure. So far there had been some students who were close, but no one had actually passed.

Kira blinked and turned his head to get a better view. Momo stopped in mid-sentence and joined him in staring. Slowly, a hush fell over the class as they all turned to look.

The teacher was looking down into his notes, no doubt considering who he thought might fail, so he didn't notice the arrival of Renji.

"Who would like to begin the examination?"

"I will, teach." Renji smirked, a sure sign that he was cocksure and up to no good at all. He sauntered up front and stood balanced on the mat, eyeing the teacher with a broad smirk. "Ready when you are."

The teacher glanced up coolly, "Young man, I believe you have wandered into the wrong place. Lunch is being served in that building over there."

"Yes, sir, I do plan to eat lunch. As soon as we are done here." Renji countered, his smirk turning into a somewhat maniacal grin he sported when he was enjoying himself too much. "Are you ready?"

The old man sighed, "Fools are so tiresome. Go ahead, look like the idiot you are."

Renji slid fluidly into the motions. Each one was synchronized with his breaths and angled perfectly. It was awe-inspiring to see the klutz do something so beautifully, and Kira was actually kind of jealous. He was nowhere near that level and he'd been attending class religiously the whole time. It almost wasn't fair.

The teacher watched the young man without expression, his pen held still over the grade sheet.

Renji finished the Sun Salutation and ended without twitching so much as a muscle.

The girls were speechless and drooling at the bare top and the thin sheen of sweat from the morning sun gathering on his tattooed chest. The guys were stunned at the display, although mostly because they couldn't get their minds around how he got so good.

"Heh, how was that?"

The teacher nodded in acceptance, "Practically flawless."

"Practically? It was perfect!" Renji yelled, losing his composure and breaking the spell on his classmates. "It was genius! I busted my ass to get that right."

"As I said, it was practically flawless." The old man held up his hand, "However, you are not part of this class any longer. Also, your shoulders were slightly rounded."

Renji turned bright red with fury until his face matched his hair and whirled.

"Next."

Everyone sat mortified at having to follow up Renji's display.

And only Kira saw Renji's self-satisfied smirk as he strolled off towards the cafeteria for his promised lunch. Oh boy, Rukia was going to be furious at losing the bet, because technically, Renji had learned yoga and passed the exam.

A/N: I am, but no means, an expert in yoga. I've had a whole 4 class periods so far this semester, so all we've learned is the Sun Salutation and a few other basic asanas. Aside from the yoga part, there's a million glaring tiny errors that I'm not going to fix, so nyah.

Apologies for the formatting; I know it sucks. FF wouldn't allow dividers or line breaks