Title: Unrequited Love

Author: Tara Kitaide

genre: romance/angst/humor

Pairing: Ichigo/Renji

Disclaimer: Wouldn't it be so cool to own bleach? Unfortunately, I don't. If I did, there'd be hot yaoi smut every chapter.

Warning: Yaoi, language, fantasy violence

Rating: M for yaoi scenes

-/-/-/-

"ICHIGO!"

Renji burst into the house with a loud bang of the front making contact with the wall. He looked around the living room and there was no Ichigo, no Isshin, no family. Meaning Ichigo was home alone. Great.

After Renji had tracked and destroyed the hollow, he ran back to the school, slipped back in his Gigai, and ran to Ichigo's house like his ass was on fire. He was sure Ichigo had gone because there really was no where else he could have gone. And if he wasn't there then Renji had to assume the worse and that Ichigo...

Renji shook his head and shunned the thought. No, Ichigo wouldn't. He would never hurt himself. Not now. Not when they were finally together.

Renji ran in, slamming the door behind him in his haste and bolting up the stairs. He knew Ichigo wouldn't hurt himself but there was something pulling at the back of his mind, urging him to hurry and making him believe (if only slightly) that there was a slight possibility Ichigo would do something to end up in the hospital again. And this time, it wouldn't be an accident.

In what felt like forever, Renji finally reached Ichigo's door and hesitantly put his hand on the handle. He stopped for a moment and wished with all his heart Ichigo would be fine just behind this door before opening it quickly but not hastily as he had to the front door.

"Ichigo!"

He stopped.

Ichigo was sitting on his bed, his knees pulled tightly to his chest, while his arms lay on the sheets to both sides of him. There was a blade in one hand, Renji noticed, but it didn't look like he had used it. There was no blood, no cuts, no sobs, just Ichigo. Ichigo sitting completely still, broken, mortified with his head resting on his knees so his face was hidden.

Renji couldn't help but feel a bit relieved. He thanked what ever higher power that was out there that the boy hadn't hurt himself and calmly walked over to Ichigo, sitting quietly next to the boy and putting a comforting hand on his back.

"Ichigo..." He called for the third time, his voice now calm and slow.

Ichigo didn't say a word or move. If Renji didn't know any better, he would think Ichigo was dead but he could feel the movements of the boy's breathing so knew it wasn't the case.

"Ichigo... Were you--?"

"I don't know what to do anymore, Renji."

Renji stopped and his eyes widened slightly. Ichigo shifted as if he was going to lift his head but he stopped and his head remained in it's down position. The boy sighed heavily and Renji felt him begin to tremble, obviously crying.

"I don't want to live but I don't want to die ether." Ichigo said dryly. "I'm sick of all this shit but I'm too much of a coward to take my own life and... and then there's you..."

Ichigo's head came up slightly before lifting completely and looking into Renji's crimson eyes, his own beginning to sting with tears. "I can't leave you, Ren... I love you so much... all I wanted was for us to be together, happy... I never wanted this shit to happen!" Ichigo's voice was cracking as a tear slid down his cheek and his chin quivered. "When I found out... that you loved me, it was the happiest I'd ever been. But then... you tried to warn me, tried to stay away but I... I was just too stubborn and now...!"

Ichigo let a sob escape him as Renji wound his arm around the boy's back and pulled him into him, holding his tightly in his arms. Ichigo's legs slowly slid out of their folded position and one of them hung off the edge of the bed. "I'm so sorry, Renji...! You tried to warn me but... I just wouldn't listen and now you're getting hurt because of me...!" Ichigo's face twisted in anger and sorrow as his grip on the blade tightened and he tossed it across the room, it hitting the wall and falling to the floor with a soft clang. "I never should have taken the chance and told you! We'd be better off, going our whole lives without knowing! That pain would be nothing compared to what this is! I can't take it any more, Renji! I just can't take it!"

Renji's grip on Ichigo tightened. Ichigo moved closer to him, wrapping his arms around Renji's waist and neck, letting the man hold him in a tight embrace. Renji sighed heavily, tears began to sting his own eyes as Ichigo's words rand through his head.

"I don't want to live..."

"I never should have told you..."

" I just can't take it..."

Renji felt all the pain, all the hurt and sorrow from the last few days in those words. He could feel Ichigo's regret, his confusion, his love, his inner turmoil. He could feel all the pent up frustration and want and need and it was enough to make him cry. He stroked Ichigo's back to sooth the boy as tears slid down his own face.

"Ichigo..." He called again, his voice barely coming through. "My Ichigo... My poor Ichigo..." Renji moved his free hand to run through Ichigo's hair and hushed him, whispering softly in his ear. "You're alright now, you're with me, you're safe. There's no need for tears now, you're stronger than this Ichigo, you can make it through this."

Renji continued to stroke the boy's hair and took a momentary pause to kiss his forehead before continuing. "Ichigo, I need you to promise me something."

Ichigo pulled away only enough to look up at his lover and wipe away a few of the tears before responding. "Y-Yes...?"

"I don't want you... to ever do this again." Renji said holding up Ichigo's formally injured wrist. The wound may have healed but the scars were fresh and noticeable.

Ichigo looked into Renji's eyes again, his own widening slightly. "What do you mean? I thought we already--"

"I'm not finished."

Renji released Ichigo's wrist and the boy fell silent, waiting for him to continue.

"I don't want to hear you say things like, "I want to die" or "I don't deserve to live". You know I would die with you if it would truly make you happy, but I don't want to. I don't want you to die Ichigo. I want you to live happily. I want you to enjoy life. I can't stand to see you suffer like this." Renji put a hand on Ichigo's cheek and wiped away the remaining tears with his thumb. "Please tell me what to do... How can I make you happy?"

Ichigo's eyes were wide now. The lose grip he had on Renji's shirt tightened as his eyes slowly, slowly narrowed. The hand that still lay still on the sheets next to him slowly lifted to caress Renji's cheek and wipe away the shinigami's tears.

"Renji..." Ichigo called, a small smile creeping across his lips. "I... I am happy..."

Renji smiled and quickly embraced Ichigo again, holding him tightly in his arms and kissing him like no tomorrow. Ichigo kissed back with the same intensity, feeling Renji's tounge slip and slide over him own, letting out a breathy sigh.

When their lips parted, they didn't separate or relinquish their hold by even a faction. Ichigo tucked his head under Renji's chin and Renji held him protectively.

They stayed like this for several moments, forgetting all their problems, all their worries, everything that had happened in the past week. Ichigo breathed deeply and slowly, breathing in deeply Renji's sent and calming down immensely.

"You always know what to say..." Ichigo smiled.

"Ah, I just know what you like to hear."

Ichigo chuckled and closed his eyes, relaxing into Renji's chest.

"Well, isn't that cute?"

Ichigo's, as well as Renji's, head snapped up and looked around. At first, they saw no one or nothing out of the ordinary. They looked around again and again until Ichigo noticed the "person" in front of them and his eyes furrowed.

"What the hell do you want, Kon?"

Kon scoffed and crossed his plushie arms, his almost non-existent eyebrows furrowing. "Geez, Ichigo I knew you were pathetic but not this pathetic!"

Ichigo grumbled and reluctantly pulled from Renji's arms to pick up the offending plushie by the ear and torture it.

"OW OW OW!! THAT'S MY EAR DUMB ASS, LET GO! LET GO!" Kon hollered, trying to punch Ichigo's hand away.

"Oh, shut up! You deserve it!" Ichigo said, using his other hand to tug on the other ear and threaten to rip the plushie's head in half.

"STOP IT, DUMB ASS THAT HURTS!!!"

"Then get out of here and go read some porn mags or whatever you do!"

Ichigo dropped Kon from the height at which he held him and the plushie hit the ground with a soft thump.

"Now get out of here! You're an eyesore!" Ichigo said, kicking Kon out of the room. He quickly slammed and locked the door before turning back to Renji, a frown on his face.

Renji stared at him, eyes slightly wide. Ichigo stared back, a frown still on his lips as he sat back down next to Renji, never breaking their eye contact.

"What?" Ichigo finally asked, after Renji had gaped at him for a goos ten minutes.

"You..." Renji stammered. "Your..."

"What? I'm what?" Ichigo demanded, a slight blush now on his face. "Renji, what are – mmph!"

Before Ichigo could say anything else, Renji's lips were on the boy's, his tounge darting out between his lips and forcing it's way into Ichigo's mouth. Ichigo gasped, only giving Renji further access and hesitated a moment before kissing him back.

"R-Renji what was--?"

"You're acting like yourself." Renji said, holding Ichigo's face in his hands. "Ever sense I'd come, you've so down that I nearly forgot what the real you was like." Renji let a small smile grace his lips and he kissed Ichigo's lips lightly once more before embracing him like before and kissing the boy's head. "But you're back. You're acting like your self again... I... I've missed it..."

Ichigo's face slowly relaxed from his still shocked face and he smiled, leaning into Renji's embrace. "So about what Rukia said... you don't think...?"

"Just because someone thinks something of you, doesn't mean it's true. I don't think you're pathetic at all, Ichigo. You're just pained and confused. Most people don't hold out as long as you have, Ichigo. If anything, this is making you into a strong person."

Ichigo looked up at Renji, smiling slightly. "Most people don't have you..."

Renji smiled back and kissed Ichigo's forehead. "You'll make it through this." He said as Ichigo tucked his head under his chin again. "No mater what it takes, we'll get through this."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

Ichigo sighed and wormed his arms back around Renji, nuzzling the older man's chest and closing his eyes. This is so nice... I can't believe it's real... Ichigo thought to himself. I don't deserve all of this... I don't deserve to be loved like this after dragging him so far into this and yet... Ichigo felt Renji kiss his head once again and this time his heart beat faster. I feel... wanted...

Ichigo felt as Renji's arms left him and he was gently pushed back onto the bed. His eyes snapped open and he tried to get up but Renji's hand held him in place and wouldn't allow him to move.

"You lay down and get some rest. I'll go make you something to eat. You're hungry, right?"

Ichigo put a hand to him stomach and for the first time noticed the hunger pains. He wined as his stomach growled loudly and frowned. "I'm not that hungry. Stay. Lay down with me." Ichigo said, grabbing Renji arm as he tried to stand.

"As tempting as that sounds," Renji chuckled "We both need food and we can't just stat in bed all day."

Ichigo grumbled and released Renji's hand, turning over on his side and muttering a small "whatever". Renji chuckled again and leaned over, kissing Ichigo's cheek softly before walking downstairs.

A/N: GAH! ZE FLUFFYNESS!! IT BURNS US!!! Hides under Foamy blanket

But seriously... there's so much fluff in this chapter, I can't believe I wrote it. It's not even that good ether! I guess I'm still stuck in dark emo mode from writing Forsaken and Deception. Hey, haven't you noticed almost all my story titles are completely dark and depressing words? Man, I need some rainbows! But... I have Zaxel so that's a sutible substitute. XD

I'm so sorry this took so long! I'm such a procrastinator and with a lot of other stories I'm workin' on... and then theirs high school... Speaking of which, I gotta be getting' to bed! I'm losing valuable sleepage over this SO YOU DAMN WELL BETER LIKE IT!

No more till next time! Toodles!