Disclaimers: Me no own, you no sue. 'Extraordinary Girl' is performed by
Green Day and owned by Reprise/WEA Records.
Dedication: To Vor, who requested "Renji/Tatsuki, keyword: watching from the gallery". (grrr...revenge.)
Summary: Well the fight is on! But why are certain parties having second thoughts and their friends aren't helping a bit. Is Renji really turning into a drunken pansy?
She's an Extraordinary girl..
In an ordinary world...
And she can't seem to get away..
He lacks the courage in his mind...
Like a child left behind...
Like a pet left in the rain...
"Tatsuki-chan? Tatsuki-chan are you all right? You seem exhausted! Are you sure you don't want any of my banana and leek surprise?" Orihime asked worriedly.
"Eh, that's okay Orihime, I'm just really tired. I've been training really hard this past week and need some more sleep I guess, don't worry 'bout me 'k?" Tatsuki answered, trying to cover a yawn.
Orihime scowled cutely, "Mou! Don't tell me I need to go to Soul Society to have a good talk to Zaraki-san about overworking you! My Tatsuki-chan needs her rest too!"
Tatsuki managed a chuckle, "No need to go to that trouble Hime. It's not Zaraki-tachiou's fault. I've been pushing myself lately." At Hime's concerned look, she decided to change the subject, "So how are you and Ishida-kun?"
Orihime blushed. "It's wonderful," she answered softly, "We…we are thinking of moving in together after graduation."
Tatsuki smiled genuinely for the first time in what felt like forever, "I'm so happy for you both. I feel better knowing someone is there to look out for you now that I can't be here."
Orihime hugged her best friend, "Oh Tatsuki-chan! I've missed you! I'm so glad you could talk Zaraki-san into this visit. It's not been the same since you…your..."
Tatsuki chuckled, "Since my death?"
Orihime flailed, "OH! Tatsuki-chan I'm sorry! I didn't mean to bring it up!"
Tatsuki tried to calm her down, "Its okay Orihime. I'm okay with it now. I've made a lot of friends in the 11th now and because of Urahara-san's training before, I could become a shinigami that much sooner to visit you. So everything is alright."
Orihime gave Tatsuki one last squeeze, "I'll go make us some tea!"
While Orihime was puttering around in her kitchen, Tatsuki took the time to notice how things had changed in her apartment. Her brother's shrine was still there of course, but now there were little odds and ends that bespoke of her new life with Ishida-kun. An extra sewing kit for him, some of his laundry in the basket, new curtains on the window that he had made for her, lost in thought, Tatsuki startled when Orihime set her tea cup in front of her.
"Here you go! Green Chai, your favorite!" Orihime exclaimed happily, "You know, Tatsuki-chan, I'm so happy with Uryuu-kun….maybe it would be good if you found someone for yourself! There are plenty of available men in Soul Society!!
Tatsuki sputtered and spit out some of her tea. A dark blush came creeping up her neck and onto her face. Honestly, she was going to get Orihime's advice on this topic sometime during her visit, but leave it to her to go diving right in and not know it.
Orihime slapped Tatsuki on the back, "OH! Are you okay Tatsuki-chan? Is the tea too strong? Do you not like Green Chai anymore now that you're dead? No one said that your tastes would change when you di-"
"No, no Hime," she said as she got her breath, "its not that, the tea is wonderful. It's….um….the other thing you said….about the ….um…finding someone that likes you …er... thing?"
Orihime cocked her head then grinned widely, "TATSUKI-CHAN! You mean you have someone who likes you?! That's wonderful! I'm so happy for you! Who is it? Tell me all about it? I have to know details!"
Tatsuki rubbed the back of her neck uncomfortably, "Er…it's not that simple." And she began to explain the events of one week ago to her best friend, watching Orihime's face grow more and more confused as she continued. Finally she finished, telling Hime the fight was tomorrow and Zaraki-tachiou had all but run her out of the 11th to visit Hime, this time to save the rest of his division from her training.
Orihime scowled at her friend, "Tatsuki, that wasn't very nice to hit Renji-kun like that. It sounds as if he really cares for you and you are not being kind at all. Why are you fighting him? It didn't sound to me as if you didn't like him. Why don't you call it off Tatsuki-chan and just talk to him."
Tatsuki looked down from Orihime's scolding, "Even…even if I was having second thoughts," Tatsuki sighed, "I'm a member of the 11th and we never back down from a fight. I can't let down my division for something that even I'm not sure of."
Orihime shook her head and sighed with her friend, "Oh Tatsuki-chan…"
Renji stared morosely into his drink as he sat in the seedy bar. Realizing he was out again he banged it on the counter, "OI! Barkeeper! More here!"
"Che! Rukia wasn't kiddin'. You are a pathetic sight." a disgusted voice said from behind him.
Renji inwardly cringed. He was afraid he knew that voice. When the owner of it sat on the barstool beside him with his customary frown between his brows, Renji just sighed and attributed it to his run of rotten luck.
"I don't remember askin' for your company, nor your 'pinion, Ichigo." Renji replied tiredly.
Ichigo grinned widely, "Now what kinda friend would I be to let you mope here all by yourself! Plus, I wouldn't miss tomorrow for the world! Rukia came and got me special for it."
Renji turned to him and scowled deeper, "Why don't you go and play with your pint-size girlfriend and leave me the hell alone."
Ichigo wasn't fazed by Renji's attitude for once. The news of Renji and Tatsuki's problems had put him in too good of a mood. "Can't, she cut me off until I beat you out of your funk and gave ya a talkin' to. But before I talk to you I gotta know one thing," Ichigo said seriously, "Are you playin' around with Tatsuki? 'Cause if you are, I don't care if you are Rukia's friend or not…"
Renji looked down at the bar. How could he explain how he felt about Tatsuki? When did he start feeling this way? Even he didn't know for sure. He knew that it kind of started even before she died. They were friends, teasing each other and arguing all the time. He started to suspect his feelings went deeper during the final battles with Aizen, after her training by Urahara. They definitely became plain to him on the day of her death. That was the day he could claim for sure that he stopped running away from them. Since then he had been waiting, almost watching from the gallery, for any sign from her. Then this whole situation had blown up in his face. But Renji couldn't tell Ichigo all of this girly shit, so instead he said, "Che, 'course not. I like her. I'd never do somethin' like that..."
Ichigo answered, "So, do ya want my advice on Tatsuki or not?"
Renji knew then that he had to be too drunk to even consider getting any advice on women from Kurosaki Ichigo. "Alright, I'll bite. What is your so called 'advice'?"
Ichigo scowled, "Don't say it like that! I know I don't know anything about girls, but I know plenty 'bout Tatsuki. Hell, I've known her practically all of our lives. And the very fact that you are here, sitting, breathing and talking to me is proof enough that she must like ya a little."
Renji looked at Ichigo confused, "What the hell you talkin' about?"
Ichigo smacked Renji in the back of the head, "YOU! You great big idiot! Do you honestly think that Arisawa Tatsuki would let anyone kiss her, the way Rukia said you did and freakin' LIVE? Think about it with whatever is under that ugly hair of yours! Rukia even said she kissed you back! Stop actin' like a freakin' pansy."
Renji paused for a moment to process this information, "But why would she wanna fight me like that? Why is she still runnin' away if she likes me?"
Ichigo shrugged, "Oh hell, I don't know. This is the first time Tatsuki has acted like a chick to tell ya the truth. It's kinda creepy for me. That's just something you'll have to ask her. I was just sent here to stop you from moping before Rukia run you through with her zanpaktou and put you out of your misery."
Renji turned back towards his drink and finished it quickly. He had some more thinking to do and didn't want to do it there….
The day of the fight dawned clear and cool. Both opponents had risen early, prepared the best ways they knew how, and then headed towards the 11th division yard. When they both arrived the yard was already full. Most of the 11th had turned out, except for Zaraki who had stated if "blood wasn't gonna be spilled what was the point". Rukia and Ichigo were also present, seated beside Ikkaku and Yumichika. Yumichika was the first to speak, "Well, if everyone is here, I guess the happy couple can start their little spat now!"
Tatsuki just rolled her eyes and went to the middle of the yard. Across from her, Renji did the same. Her hands tightened on her bokken in anticipation. They had decided the day before it was going to be a straight fight. No kido or shunpo allowed. So she had to call on all of her knowledge to help her not embarrass herself or her division. "You ready, Abarai?!"
Renji just smirked, "More ready now than ever." He just hoped his plan worked…..
Tatsuki strengthened her stance ready for anything when, did Renji just drop his bokken?
"What the HELL are you doing Abarai? Pick that back up!!"
"No, I'm not gonna fight ya. I can't fight the one I love." Renji hollered across to her.
Tatsuki's mouth dropped open, "You…you great big IDIOT!! PICK UP THAT BOKKEN AND FIGHT ME DAMMIT!!"
Now Renji was full on grinning. "Make me," he replied, taking a casual stance.
Ichigo groaned and face-palmed. Good-bye Renji, nice knowing you.
Tatsuki was caught between being stunned and being livid. Her temper won out. Making an impressive move towards him, she brought her bokken up….only to be caught from behind by Renji. "HEY! No shunpo! We agreed!" she said struggling to free her wrist.
Renji twisted her arm, making her drop the bokken, then trapped both of her arms. "The rules have just changed Tatsu-chan," he whispered in her ear. Then they were gone.
After the dust settled, Rukia turned to Ikkaku, "You owe me one picture for the calendar."
Ikkaku groaned and put his head in his hands. Yumichika spoke up, "He looks best in red!"
Tatsuki decided not to struggle right away as she figured falling while Renji was flash-stepping could be very painful. Plus…she had to admit it felt really nice being held here in his arms…NO! BAD TATSUKI! She was still pissed! Yes! She was not some girly girl to be coddled and carried. She was in the 11th! She was woman! Hear her roar!
Finally Renji stopped at a grassy hill overlooking a beautiful lake with the buildings of the Seireitei in the distance. He set Tatsuki down and she scrambled away from him taking a defensive stance. "Just what the fuck was that all about, Abarai?!" she seethed up at him.
Renji slowly began to make his way back towards her, "I just thought we needed to talk a little more, in private, seeing as how we haven't had the opportunity. Besides, you never did tell me why you are running away from me, Tatsuki…"
Tatsuki's eyes widened, "YOU! You stay over there. Don't…don't come any closer!" she said backing up.
Renji smirked and stopped, "You're not afraid of me, are you Arisawa?" he said sarcastically.
Tatsuki blinked then fumed, "You jackass. I'll show you afraid." And she launched her fist at him.
Renji dodged quickly and caught her fist. He pulled her to him hurriedly, trapping her dangerous appendages at her sides. Tatsuki struggled and tried to wiggle free, "You great big tattooed idiot! Let me go!"
Renji tightened his grip before leaning down to nuzzle her ear and gently whisper, "Why? Just tell me why you need to run from me? It's driving me crazy."
Tatsuki stiffened and shivered, "I…I don't know what you are talking about…"
Renji ran his lips along her jaw, "Don't lie Tatsuki. Why the fight? What are you afraid of?"
Tatsuki shuddered and began to relax in his hold, "I…I'm just..afraid, I guess. Of getting hurt and of hurting you. I've never had anything like this happen to me before or anyone say these things to me. I've never been the kinda girl to get any attention, ya know?"
Renji brought his face up to look into hers, "All those human guys sound like idiots and assholes. But then again, that makes it all the better for me, don't it?" then he crushed his lips to hers.
Tatsuki's eyes fluttered closed as she returned his kiss. She realized this one was different than the two previous ones she had received. The first could barely be called a kiss, just a peck. The second one was so….thorough. This one was as if Renji was trying to show her all of his feelings through it. Renji had loosened his grip on her arms so Tatsuki brought them up to his shoulders, standing on her tiptoes to reach. That's when she felt her feet leave the ground as Renji lifted her up and she automatically wrapped her legs around his waist for support.
Renji groaned when Tatsuki began returning his kiss. He almost sighed in relief that his plan worked and without any bodily harm to himself. But when he felt her wrap her legs around his waist and rub up against him, all thoughts of anything other than 'Tatsuki, legs; Tatsuki, lips', flew right out of his head. He growled and deepened the kiss, one arm wrapped around her, the other loosening her robes and sliding them off her shoulders.
Tatsuki melted as Renji deepened the kiss. She ran her hands up his neck and into his hair, trying to loosen it from its tie. Getting impatient, she broke it and ran her hands through his lovely hair. Renji broke their kiss and began nibbling at her collarbone, moving to her shoulder. Tatsuki shuddered and scraped his scalp, awed with the new sensations he was giving her. But it was when his large hand slipped inside her juban to palm her breast that she froze.
Renji felt Tatsuki freeze and could've kicked himself. He knew he needed to be careful and take it slow with her. He decided he needed to take a step back to get control. He carefully set her down on her feet, although still keeping her within arms reach. He let Tatsuki right her robes before pulling her back. "You won't run away anymore?"
Tatsuki blushed, unable to meet his eyes, "No…I…don't guess there was ever a good reason." She gained some confidence and snickered, "But we do owe our friends and my division a fight."
Renji cocked his head and smirked, "Oi, I thought all of that fight talk was over with. Besides I don't wanna have to hurt ya, Tatsu-chan."
Tatsuki narrowed her eyes, "What do you mean, 'you don't wanna have to hurt me, you conceited prick. How do you know you're not the one that's gonna be hurt?"
Renji snickered, "Come on Tatsuki, we both know how the fight today would've turned out. I wouldn't have hurt ya too bad, bu-"
The loud sound of fist meeting flesh entered the clearing, along with the pained yell of the red-haired lieutenant, followed by a string of curses. In the bushes by the lake, four figures watched the goings on with amusement. Ikkaku turned to Rukia, "HA! Now you owe me a bottle of sake. You too, Yumi! Kuchiki, I want yours before that damn picture shoot!"
Ichigo just sat amused by all the proceedings, his girlfriend's arguments with Ikkaku and Renji's screams from the clearing. He thought not for the first time, that death sure wasn't what he thought it would be…