Disclaimer: Bleach is Kubo Tite's, the song "Because I Want You" is Placebo's
Warnings: Angst and sex (I know, awesome combination)
Rating: PG17 to R - much more cussing in this one than in "Fall Into You," plus sex.
Notes: Basically a sequel or follow-up of "Fall Into You." I started writing this and then got mad at myself for being so emo and angsty, so Shizuka started an RP with me with her playing Ichigo and me playing Renji. Basically, where Ichigo comes in in this is where Shizuka started - so yes, I incorporated our RP into this, which is why the writing style may be weird. Other than that, it's practically unbeta'd.
Words: 3390

Afraid to be Alone
Stumble into you, is all I ever do.
My memory's hazy,
And I'm afraid to be alone.
Tear us in two, is all it's gonna do.
As the headache fades,
This house is no longer a home...

It wasn't the pain – it was the cold. He'd felt pain before – excruciating amounts of pain. It wasn't the pain. It was the cold. Not just the numbness of having been stagnant for so long, the chill of his skin from the exposure, but the cold, empty feeling inside. The loneliness – the loneliness that can kill a man.

Oh lucky was he in his immortality. Only two things were a danger to him – only two things could kill. But several other things – things emotional, things psychological – could make him wish he were dead.

Glass shards digging into his palms, tearing through spiritons of skin was not one of those.

But how to describe the cold? He knew the phrases, the metaphors – he knew them all, and still none could come close. There was no way to describe it. It wasn't just his heart that felt missing, but everything else inside of him. Everything he needed to function was numb and unresponsive. Why could he not just die already?

Resigned and mechanical, he pushed himself up, bracing himself for the pain. But there was none. There was no feeling anywhere. Glass shrapnel in his hands he could see, but he could not feel, as if the hand was not his own. But it was, of course, because it could respond to his commands. Lift hand, turn over, wiggle fingers, clench fist – more blood ran down, but that he could not feel, either.


And where was the throbbing in his head? A hangover was a hangover, human alcohol or not. If nothing else, he should be pained from the way he'd passed out. But like the glass in his hand, there was nothing. No pain, but nothing else, either. Nothing.

No wonder he didn't notice the tears until he witnessed them dripping onto his cut hands, salt water swirling into bitter blood. Obviously it wasn't from the pain – there was no pain to be felt. The absence of pain. Who knew it could hurt so much worse than pain itself? But it wasn't pain – it was fear. The ever-cried question of why came back echoed and unanswered.


He tried to tear his eyes away, see something other than the damage that he did not feel, but he couldn't. Torture or masochism – who could tell? More tears fell from open eyes, diluting blood red and thick as it dripped to the ground, leaving stains. Inexplicable, ghost story stains.

And then he felt it. After the vacuum of nothing, he jerked back, surprised, caught off guard. The touch was soft, brushing away the tears he did not feel. Even after his reaction, the touch came back, tentative, as if afraid to scare him again. This time, he didn't recoil, but tried to look up, to see what it was he was feeling, to see what was breaking through the bubble of the cold, numb feeling. But there was nothing.

He opened his mouth to speak, to ask, but found that he could not form words. Gently, the touch coaxed his eyes closed, and somehow he knew it didn't matter.

"What the hell, Renji…"

The disapproving voice snapped him back. His eyes opened, but not to the dawning sky. He was under a roof – Urahara's, if he had to guess. As soon as that registered, so did the pain. Sweet, welcome, grounding physical pain. His slashed-up hand, bruised body, and throbbing head slammed into him at once, but there were no tears. No fear.

But the cold seeped in again when he saw the shinigami substitute sitting by his side, disappointment clear in his brown eyes, masking concern. It froze him, but he didn't go numb, because the pain was there to make sure he could still feel. He was still grounded, and he was still himself. "Fuck – one fuck-up and you're pissed. Like you haven't wallowed in angst before," he growled as he sat up. He hated the condescending look in Ichigo's face. Even worse, he hated himself for indulging in something so childish.

Ichigo snorted and looked away. "Just don't go diving into vodka bottles anymore."

"I blame you for that." He cursed inwardly – Ichigo wasn't supposed to know. The alcohol was probably still messing with his judgment.

"Me?! You were the one passed out on a roof!"

"You were the reason why!"

"What the hell did I do?!"

Renji winced, more from the migraine forming than from knowing he'd gotten in too deep. "…Nothing," he snapped. "Ya did nothing."

Ichigo huffed and folded his arms across his chest. "I ain't letting ya get away with that shit. Tell me what's buggin' ya."

"You are what's buggin' me. Yeralways buggin' me," Renji growled.

The boy scowled. "Well, if it's that bad, why don't you just tell me to fuck off?"

"Like you'd listen!"

"Well, you gotta mean it, dumbass! If ya really hate me being around, I'll just fucking go."

"I don't hate ya, dumbass! That's the fuckin' problem!" Renji was looking down at his own lap now. He couldn't look the boy in the eyes – not now. Not when he was kicking dust off the edge of the cliff that was Truth. So close, and it would probably break him worse than anything.

"You're not makin' any sense," Ichigo sighed.

"'S prob'ly a good thing…" Silently, the redhead thanked the gods that Ichigo was about as perceptive as a rock.

"Not when it makes me worry about you."

Renji felt something snap. "If you were so fucking worried—!!" He stopped, reigning in his temper with a deep breath. He shook his head, dismissing his outburst. "Nevermind."

Ichigo grit his teeth. "Look, bastard, I can't fix something if I don't know what I'm doing wrong. So either tell me, or I'm just gonna leave ya to moping like an idiot."

"Ya won't leave," Renji said as-a-matter-of-factly. "I know ya won't, 'cause you'll just worry that I'll do it again. And yer prob'ly right."

"Yeah, but me worrying obviously isn't gonna stop you from being a dumbass."

"Ever stop to think that maybe yer worryin' does more harm than good?" Renji snapped before he could stop himself.

An emotion close to hurt flickered behind Ichigo's eyes, quickly replaced by stubborn defiance. "I can't help worrying…about the people who are important to me," he said, almost strained, before looking away.

Renji's gaze lingered on him a moment longer before he, too, turned away from him. After a moment, he muttered, "Maybe you outta tell these people why they're so fuckin' important, coz I know at least one of them's got no clue why you care so fuckin' much…"

Ichigo looked up, caught off guard. "I…I—Why do I need a reason? I care because they're important to me, fuckin' important. And some freakin' loudmouth made me care so fuckin' much about what he thinks—I can't lose… Fuck."

Something close to hope swelled up inside the redhead, but he bit back a pleased smirk all the same. "You're an idiot, ya know that?" he said softly.

The younger man glared at him. "Well what does that make you then, huh?"

"Compared to you? A fuckin' genius."

Ichigo snorted. "Ya gonna tell me what brought all this on?"

"I told ya – you did.

He rolled his eyes. "So, what? Ya just wanted to guilt me into admitting embarrassing stuff?"

"You'd wanna say somethin' if ya knew it was gonna keep me from finishin' off a bottle of vodka on top of a building."

"Of course, idiot!" he snapped. "How many times do I have to drive it through your thick skull? I. Care. About. You. Dumb. ASS."

Renji kept himself from scoffing. "Ya also care about Rukia and Inoue and Chad and Ishida and all yer crazy friends at school. I already knew that," he said calmly.

Ichigo huffed. "What more do you want from me, then?"

Everything else. He wanted more. He wanted that special emotion, something that applied to him and him alone. But, of course, this was Ichigo. Ichigo did not play favorites. "If that's all you wanna give? Nothin'."

The boy practically pulled his hair out with an exasperated growl. "God, you're frustrating. Listen, Renji, ya gotta spell things out for me. You may not have noticed, but I'm not the sharpest knife in the box."

Renji frowned and mulled his options over for a brief moment. It was all or nothing now. "Fine. Ya wanna know why I was up on a roof, drowning in alcohol? Because you fucking blew me off, that's why. Why does it fucking matter? It fucking shouldn't, but for some fucking reason, you're the only fucking person I've cared this fucking much about since Rukia. And to be perfectly fucking honest, I'd like to think I maybe meant something to you, but obviously not. So, yeah, just…fuck off."

Ichigo's eyes went wide. "Shit, Renji…I—" His mouth opened and closed several times before he found his words again. "I didn't think, I mean… I figured, well… I—I didn't know…"

Renji scoffed this time. "Ya didn't fucking know. And ya never woulda fucking known if ya weren't such a fucking idiot. And all this woulda fucking blown over and we all woulda been just fucking dandy…"

Ichigo couldn't look Renji in the eye now. "Well, I'm sorry I just left ya like that, but Tatsuki caught up to me and you know how she is, and…I dunno." He sighed.

"Like I said, if ya weren't such an idiot and if you'd'a just let this all blow over, everything woulda been just fucking dandy."

The boy scowled. "How would everything be fucking dandy if ya kept feeling like this?! Sure, I wouldn't know what the hell was going on, but that wouldn't change what you're going through."

Renji spoke slowly as if to a small child. "It woulda been just fucking dandy because it's always been just fucking dandy. And now ya know, and now it'll never be just fucking dandy."

"Why the hell does me knowing have to fuckin' change anything?"

"Because I was fine when ya didn't know!" Renji snapped. He took a breath, letting it out through his nose. "It…it was better that way."

"How was it better?"

"'Cause we were friends, dumbass. Everything was good. Ya didn't need to know. Now ya do, so just drop the fucking 'good friend' act and freak out like yer fucking supposed to…"

"Is that what you think I'll do?" Ichigo snarled. "That I'll just fucking abandon you, 'cause it's confusing or difficult? Who the fuck do you think I am?"

"I think…yer still a kid. And if all you're gonna do is sit there out of honor or duty or whatever fucking moral you live by, I'd rather you just fucking abandon me."

"And you're a selfish asshole. Duty, honor—what the fuck, Renji! You think I care about that shit? I care about my friends, my family. And I'm supposed to fuckin' give a shit if something happens to them. I'm supposed to be there…here. And I ain't gonna fucking abandon you over whatever goddamn reason you've got in your head that makes you think I should."

"I can only be so masochistic! I've gone this long not saying anything, dealing with it because you didn't know, so it couldn't be your fucking fault. But now you do know, and it is gonna be your fault, and after all this time of not blaming you, it'd kill me to start. If you really cared, you'd abandon me, because I can take that over nothing changing."

"I could try," Ichigo replied quietly, "but I just can't abandon you, Renji."

"Then do somethin' other than just sittin' there. Because if you don't run, I will."

Ichigo's eyes flashed with something akin to anger and he leaned in closer to the redhead. "So what? You're just gonna be a fuckin' coward?"

Renji smiled softly – of course Ichigo would pin the fault on him. Ichigo was innocent, always innocent. He subtly moved closer to him. "You'd prob'ly be surprised at how many times I've ran with my tail between my legs."

"For some reason, I just can't picture it."

"Then I won't try to make ya."

Ichigo sighed. "Quit being such a pain in the ass and kiss me."

A grin broke out on Renji's face before he closed the distance between them with a kiss. Ichigo responded by wrapping his arms around Renji's neck, making the older man smirk. "You kiss like a girl," he murmured.

"And you taste like vodka," Ichigo growled, though without any real heat. "See what I have to put up with? Don't complain." He cut off any response Renji might've had by kissing him harder and snaking his tongue out to taste Renji's lower lip.

Renji opened his mouth and touched his tongue against Ichigo's as the boy slid his hands from Renji's neck up to the loose red hair. The older man wrapped his arms around Ichigo's waist and pulled him into his lap, snaking his hands up the boy's shirt.

Ichigo tugged on Renji's hair a bit as he pulled back just enough to nip at the man's jaw. Renji let slip a small moan before his hands traveled up Ichigo's sides and pulled him down on top of him, pressing their body's together, making the boy gasp at the sensation. Recovering, Ichigo leaned up and licked and nipped at Renji's ear. The man suppressed a second moan as his fingers experimentally pressed against the boy's sides before running them down his back and shifting to press his thigh between Ichigo's legs. The younger man froze at the new sensation, panting lightly against Renji's cheek, his hands gripping tightly to his shoulders.

Renji kissed the corner of Ichigo's mouth. "Want me to stop?"

His voice seemed to kick the boy's brain back into gear, his thumbs absently stroking Renji's neck. "I don't… No… It's just…different," he stammered shyly.

Renji smirked. "Just tell me if you want me to stop," he said softly, cutting off any reply with another kiss, and effectively muffling any response as his hands slid under Ichigo's pants. Ichigo panted, breathless, as he pressed into the hand, his own hands slipping under the loose folds of Renji's top, his palms flat against the others toned stomach. Renji hummed softly, enjoying the contact, as his fingers pressed against Ichigo's butt, making him squirm. He slid his hands around, shivering as Ichigo retaliated by rubbing and teasing his fingertips and nails across Renji's nipples. Fumbling, Renji got the button undone on Ichigo's jeans and fondled him through his boxers. Ichigo moaned and involuntarily thrust his hips against the hand, feeling himself go weak against the man's body. Renji supported him, failing to hide his pleased grin, as both hands slid under the boxers, running teasing fingers along his member.

Ichigo turned his head and ran his tongue along the tattoos on Renji's neck in revenge, giving the man goosebumps. "Bastard…" he muttered as his body shuddered.

"You love it," Renji retorted, licking at Ichigo's ear and wrapping a hand around Ichigo's growing erection.

His hips twitched against his hand and a shiver shot down his spine. "Mmmm… You know me too well," he nearly purred before he bit down on Renji's neck between the two tattoos, sucking on the spot to leave a hickie.

Renji smirked, feeling the bruise. "Gotta mark me up and claim me as yours, don'tcha?" he teased affectionately.

"And to remind ya that I ain't goin' anywhere," he smirked in return as Renji cupped Ichigo's balls with one hand, the other running up his dick. "Shit, Renji—" He let out a half mewl, half moan.

Renji bit Ichigo's neck as well, matching the hickie on his own. His thumb swirled across the head of his cock, spreading the precum around the slit while the other hand massaged his balls, keeping them away from the body.

Ichigo's hands clenched tightly against Renji's chest, fingernails scraping skin, in reaction to the dual sensations as the tension coiled in a somewhat familiar pit. He pressed his body close against Renji's, panting, "Haaa… Ren…"

Renji smirked and kissed at the bruised skin on the boy's neck, his hands not stopping. "You wanna cum?"

"Stupid…question…" Ichigo nearly whimpered before biting his lip to fight back the rest of the noise. His hands plunged restlessly from Renji's chest to the front of the man's pants, pressing against the hardness there. "C'mon, Ren, move."

Renji gasped and bucked his hips up as his hands faltered momentarily, then he jerked him a bit roughly as he resumed what he was doing.

Ichigo's grin turned into a strangled moan as his head rolled back, his body arching, the tension coming to a peak and releasing against Renji's hand.

The redhead grinned and kissed him before bringing up a cum-covered hand and licking it.

Ichigo shook his head. "Pervert…" he murmured, still wondering how he was still supporting himself, but that didn't keep him from undoing Renji's obi and pulling the fabric loose to run his hand teasingly up and down Renji's navel, barely brushing his erect cock.

"Am I allowed to be super-corny and say 'tastes like strawberries'?" Renji joked as he tried to keep his hip from grinding up against the hand. Frustrated, he muttered, "Goddamn fucking tease…"

Ichigo smirked. "If you do, I can tell ya right now my hand won't go any lower…" He stroked his hand side to side, but he never moved any lower. His free hand reached up and pinched Renji's nipple.

"Oooh," Renji moaned. "Okay, not sayin' it not sayin' it – god, just fuckin' touch me…!" He shivered as goosebumps ran across his body and his hips tried to grind up against the boy.

Ichigo smiled. "You should talk like that more often." True to his word, his hands went lower, encircling Renji's hard member and giving it a few experimental long strokes, feeling it twitch in his hand.

Renji moaned again. "Fuck – I'll talk however you want me to if this is what it gets me." He chuckled softly before kissing him and thrusting his hips up.

Ichigo kissed back hard, thrusting his tongue into Renji's mouth, copying the motion with his hands as the picked up their stroking pace. Renji happily submitted to the dominance, his body twitching as the tension built up. Ichigo continued stroking underneath the head with one hand and the other snaked down and grasped his scrotum, rolling it in his palm. Renji's reaction was to moan deeply against his lips before breaking the kiss to pant for air.


Ichigo grinned, increasing the pressure and alternating between squeezing and stroking. "C'mon, Ren…"

Renji bit his lip to kill a building whimper. "God—I'm gonna—" His breathing hitched as the tension snapped and he spilled his release.

Ichigo kept stroking, drawing out Renji's orgasm, as he kissed his neck. "Mmm… Don't think I can lick it, though," he murmured. He drew up his sticky hand to examine it.

Renji smirked and darted his tongue out, briefly flicking it across Ichigo's hand. "I think yours tastes a bit better…"

"Well, you would know," Ichigo said with a chuckle.

The redhead pulled him close and kissed him softly.

The boy's eyes fluttered closed before he pulled back just enough to murmur, "No more vodka thoughts?"

"Mmm… At least not on top of a roof without ya?"

Ichigo chuckled ruefully. "I can't believe we just did…that in Urahara's house…"

"There are worse places, yanno."

"Yeah… Guess I shouldn't expect any romance, huh?" he smirked.

"You want romance? 'Cause I can do romance."

Ichigo cocked an eyebrow. "This I gotta see…"

"How 'bout an actual date, then?"

He snorted. "What did you have in mind?"

To this, Renji grinned. "It'll be a surprise. I'll pick ya up an' everythin'."

"As long as you don't let Rukia pick out your outfit," he said, settling against Renji's body.

"Heh, I think I learned my lesson on that front. But ya gotta dress nice, though, 'kay?"

"Are ya talking, nice no stains? Or nice tie and crap?"

"Nice…happy medium?"

"Alright…" Ichigo relented, very curious now.

Renji grinned and kissed him chastely, making him smile softly.