I was inspired by the fact that Byakuya is smaller than Renji. Isn't that adorable?

Disclaimer: Nothing.

-Taller-

For once in his life, he was early, even earlier than his captain. It did not happen often though, he would much rather doze and suffer the reprimands for his tardy arrival than be even the slightest bit punctual. Everyone had their preferences. However, that morn, his internal clock rang earlier than expected and begrudgingly, Renji dragged himself out of bed. The warmth of the covers beckoned him to drown out his conscious thoughts in the usual over slumbering fashion, but he declined the invitation. He could sacrifice one morning, to set a good example of himself.

It was hard to look like a model (if only once in a blue moon) for the division, when even your captain was not present. Renji arrived at the division's office, over an hour before the lower ranks were expected and surprisingly, he was the first one there. The lieutenant was stunned when he stepped into a dark room but after a moment, he began to chuckle.

This was even better than being on time, for once!

Now, he could boldly sit at his desk, get a head start on his work and playfully jest Byakuya Kuchiki! Renji thought that perhaps he was still dreaming. No, he pinched himself just to be sure. His chance at a mocking comment arrived, along with his captain, but upon hearing the approaching footsteps, he… frowned.

It was Byakuya…but something sounded off. He listened carefully for a moment longer and when he hear a sound… (Byakuya never made a floorboard squeak, ever) Renji sat up straight. His captain was light on his feet and sometimes, Renji even wondered if he danced through the air. A second later, as expected, the stoic appeared and the door, momentarily open was silently slid shut.

''Renji.'' The redhead nodded to his superior and by the inclination in the neutral tone, all thoughts of humor or praise were now permanently forgotten.

Something was definitely wrong. The sign was but a mere sound that should not have been heard. No one else would have noticed the insignificance of a few off steps but Renji could see (or rather, hear) that Byakuya was off his perfect game, even if only by the slightest of fractions.

Byakuya had obviously not paid any attention to his uncommon punctuality. There was no positive reinforcing for his exemplary behavior or even praises. He was acknowledged in the same way, every morning, even when he was late. (The warnings always came later, when he least expected them)

He frowned for a while but the regard was disregarded as fatigue, when his captain spared him a glance, the curt way of indicating, good morning. Their usual behavior soon surfaced and as to be expected, Byakuya took on his stern composure, issued out orders and Renji began to slack off with the rest of the division.

The latter occasionally peered his head into the office, signed some paperwork, constantly pilling up on his desk and left again, for another hour or so. By mid afternoon, a hell butterfly fluttered its way into his shoulder and a message was relayed. Renji sighed quietly, excused himself from the card game and headed off, in a fast blur.

He recognized his captain's signal, which jumped from one rooftop to the next, in the same direction and he quickly caught up with the noble man. They had been summoned to attend a general meeting. Byakuya merely nodded to Renji, as they dashed, side by side. They knew it was routine. It was just a formality and mainly, a waste of time.

However, as their speedy steps lead them to their destination, the same strange sensation began to nag at the lieutenant. For starters, he deduced that Byakuya's speed had decreased. He could sense that this was not deliberate, just so that Renji could keep up with him. Nor was he stalling for time; Byakuya was always early. Moreover, Renji's hearing once again noted that Byakuya's steps were much heavier; thus, they created a much louder, resonating sound.

The same frown from the morn etched into his red brows. He wanted to ask his captain, what was wrong, or even deliberately drop hints at the topic, but after their meeting, they one again parted and not until their shifts were complete, did the two men see each other again.

Renji was signing out, when Byakuya entered the office. He glanced back at his captain, smiled and handed him the pen. Byakuya signed, as was required and he was well aware that during the entire, moment of silence, Renji was staring at him. He stood up straight, turned and faced the curious red eyes. Renji was about to speak, when he noticed something else, suddenly.

He and Byakuya were at eye level, with one another. Even if it was not by much, Renji knew himself to be taller than his captain. His pursed lips, instead of asking a question, parted and let out a string of laughter. He had figured it out.

''What is so funny?'' Byakuya cautiously asked, as the sudden outburst of laughter was uncalled for.

Renji kept chuckling, even as he tried to speak. ''You…'' Another giggle, but this time, it was snorted. ''You- You're taller!''

The captain's face began to scowl. ''And here I thought you were so inattentive as not to have noticed.''

Renj scoffed and contained his chortles. ''I noticed. I knew the second you walked in this morning that something was off about you. I could hear it in your footsteps. Then, when we were summoned, you were moving noticeable slower and louder than usual.''

His red eyes glanced downward, at his captain's feet and playfully; he tugged up on a pant leg. His hand was immediately smacked away, but Renji had seen Byakuya's new sandals. They were bigger than usual, with an extra platform, to elevate his stature. Renji began to laugh again.

''In the real world, those are called high he-''

With his new height, Byakuya found it much easier to silence Renji with a kiss. The sandals did have their disadvantages, of course, but he knew it would take time to adapt to them, just as it took time to adapt to Renji… and his eager tongue.

-EndE-