Title: Lithium

Songfic: Lithium- Evanescence

Paring: Ichigo/Renji

Rating: R for drug use, drinking, implied past sex, swearing

Warnings: Angst. Because Ichigo knows it best. And everything I said up there. Mentioned character death. (Not Ichigo or Renji) And mentioned past Rukia/Renji (yes in that order) and implied past (still?) Hichigo/Ichigo.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or its characters, or the song. Bleach belongs to KT and the song to Amy Lee and her band.

Summary: After a one night stand with Renji, Ichigo realizes he wants something deeper. But being the messed up teenager that he thinks (truly?) he is, he can't bring himself to ask Renji for more.

COMMUNITY DISCLAIMER: All characters depicted in sexual situations in this post/fanfiction/fanart (including material in the comments) are fictional and are intended to be and considered to be by the author of said material of the legal age of consent in the United States state of California, regardless of what age these characters may be in the material they are derived from.

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.
Oh, but God, I want to let it go.

It wasn't something he was proud of. If his father ever knew (God, he fucking hoped he had no clue), he would never be able to live with himself.

But was he really living with himself now? What kind of dumb shit gets himself into meth? A nineteen year old Shinigami war vet who's hopelessly love sick, that's who. He knew he was better then this. He had saved many people during the war, and in turn killed many as well. He had his shellshock, and yes, he was still getting through it. But that wasn't what this was about. This was about him and how he couldn't have him, no matter how hard he wanted it. They had had their one time shot, and it obviously didn't mean as much to him as it did to Ichigo.

The man didn't bother to ask the red haired Shinigami if he wanted anything more. He already knew his answer. Who wants a screwed up human male teenager when there were so many better choices in Seireitei.

So he lost himself in the drugs he knew could kill him. It was that unknowing of what was actually in them that made it just feel right that it was so wrong. Self pity was such a disgusting thing sometimes.

Come to bed, don't make me sleep alone.
Couldn't hide the emptiness, you let it show.
Never wanted it to be so cold.
Just didn't drink enough to say you love me.

It had happened during the war. They had been drinking almost every night since Rukia's death. It was the only thing other then fighting that could keep them from going insane, if they hadn't already. Things were normal, as much as two drunken Shinigami can be, until Renji started talking about how he was going to miss Rukia's touches and loud voice. Ichigo knew the two had something going, but it was more of a one sided thing. Renji loved Rukia, but only as much as a brother would for his sister. Rukia had wanted more, like Ichigo wanted. The orange haired man didn't know what had gotten into himself, but he sobered right up when he realized he was kissing the vice captain. Said Shinigami was kissing back, too. Things got heated, which was different for Ichigo (he was used to cold touches) and it wasn't until morning that Ichigo had reflected on his feelings. He had thought at the time that it was only the alcohol that made him want more then Renji had given him. Renji didn't bring it up again, and the Shinigami representative could only wonder if the vice captain thought that it was a mistake that should be forgotten.

I can't hold on to me,

Wonder what's wrong with me.

Ichigo thought he would be ok with that then. But as time passed, he realised he needed more. It wasn't the sake. And that it wasn't something he could easily have.

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

A year passed slowly since that time. Renji had not once made any indication he remembered that night. Ichigo wasn't going to push it. He thought he knew Renji well enough to know the man probably wanted to forget it. Who wants to remember awkward sex with a drunken teenager? No one, most likely.

But Ichigo couldn't forget it. His dreams were haunted with the touches and the feeling of warmth that he could never give him. Yes, he wasn't happy with the way the orange haired man cared for the other Shinigami. But this was none of his business. They had ended it. Ichigo couldn't handle two substances corroding his mind. He couldn't live, or love, something he kept locked within himself. He wanted what he couldn't have.

Don't want to let it lay me down this time.
Drown my will to fly.
Here in the darkness I know myself.
Can't break free until I let it go.
Let me go.

So he found his release. It wasn't a good one, or a cheap one, but it worked for the time being. It was something he could addict himself to to try and forget. If it made him weak, so be it. He knew he was giving up, but what did he have left to fight for? Nothing was left. Maybe that was the drugs talking. He could never tell.

He sickened himself with the way he was. He wanted to just let go of everything. Just stop everything and move. He needed to move out of this… this rut. He needed it to let him go.

Darling, I forgive you after all.
Anything is better than to be alone.
And in the end I guess I had to fall.
Always find my place among the ashes.

And then it happened. Renji had shown up in the real world to do a mandatory check up on how things were progressing. Ichigo had not seen the red head for almost five months, and now the man wanted to stay with him for a few days? Things were going down hill fast.

"You… shouldn't."

"Why not? We are friends aren't we? You got something to hide, or whatever? What makes you all snobby all of a sudden?!"

"Renji it's… nothing you need to know. You can stay, I guess. I just have to… leave every now and then, so you know, I am not home all the time to entertain you."

"Who said I need entertaining?! I am not a little kid!" The red head looked around calmly. "So… do I sleep on the floor in your room?"

Doomed. Ichigo knew Renji was stepping close to that invisible line that only Ichigo could see. He needed to get out of that room now.

"That's… not a good idea."

"Why not?"

"I can't-."

"Can't WHAT?! Handle seeing another man sleeping? Ok. I will try not to sleep naked, just for you, Ichigo."

The man winced at the dry humour. "Please don't joke about that."

"What? You gunna do something about it if I don't?"

"I don't think I can hold myself back if you continue this conversation, Renji."

"You are REALLY starting to piss me off you know, Strawberry! I just came down here to say hi and see what you were up to, but suddenly you found a stick and shoved it up your ass, and you're now acting like a complete bastard! I just wanted to see you-."

Renji didn't register Ichigo's lips on his until the man had pushed him away and ran for a door. He just… stared. Stared at the orange haired Shinigami as he disappeared behind the bathroom door, locking it.


"Go. You need to go, now."

"I… won't. You obviously need to talk to someone."

"That some one can't be you! Don't you understand? My problems are because of you! Because I want something that I can't have, because you have to be so painfully you." Renji heard what sounded like drawers opening and closing and his heart started to race.

"What are you doing in there?!"

"None of your business! Why should you care anyways? Look, I have accepted the fact we can't have anything. I have found something to ignore the pain."

"What are you talking about?! Ichigo, are you even well?"

"I haven't been sane since that time, Renji."

"I didn't say you were insane, bastard! Listen to me. You can't make assumptions on your own all the God damn time!"

Ichigo had fallen silent, and Renji looked around for something to help him. Everything in the man's apartment was so neat, everything stacked nicely. There was a muffled grunt and Renji panicked. Kicking the door in, he spotted the orange haired Shinigami on the floor, a needle inserted into his arm. Renji didn't need to know what was in there, only that Ichigo was hurting himself because of something stupid. That was all Renji needed to rush at the boy, grab the needle from him, and toss it into the sink. Ichigo looked up at Renji, hazy eyes trying to focus a glare. The punch came seemingly from no where.

"What are you DOING to your self?! Don't you have any more will to live?!"

I can't hold on to me,

Wonder what's wrong with me.

"WHY?! Why can't I have a distraction?! Why can't I keep my self from thinking about you?! Why can't I keep myself from hurting?!"

"Because you love me, you idiot!"

Chocolate eyes blinked behind tears. "I… what?"

"You love me. God, I should have seen this before. It's so blazingly obvious! You, Kurosaki, love me, Abarai Renji. For what of the reason, I don't know that."

"Are you… fucking making fun of me?!"

"No, I am stating things bluntly. Because you obviously need everything said straight forward to you. I care about you, you idiot. You are all I got left, after Rukia. You can't go pulling this shit and think you are the only one that is hurting from it!"

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside.
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without...
Lithium ...stay in love with my sorrow.
I'm gonna let it go.

Ichigo stared at the vice captain, hands visibly shaking. Whether from the methamphetamine or from what Renji was saying, the red head was not sure. "Why… would you tell me that?"

"Because we are friends Ichigo. Friends look out for one another."

"But I want more!"

"I know. I know that… now. I am glad you are trying to be selfish for once, but you need to tell me these things, stupid. Relationships aren't a one sided conversation!"

Ichigo couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You… you led me to believe you… you didn't care. After that night… why didn't you say anything after that time?!"

"Because I wasn't sure of myself at the time, as I am sure you weren't. I was still shaken up by Rukia's death, and I thought you were just trying to help comfort me. And after that, I didn't want to push anything on you, you know? You had your shellshock, just like I did, and I didn't want to start something that could hurt you or mess you up even more."

The Shinigami fell silent; staring at the man still slumped against the wall. He looked miserable and terribly confused. "What about now. Do you want me now? Do you want a screwed up brat? I won't blame you if you don't-."

"Ichigo, you are not screwed up. Sure you have your put offs, but doesn't everyone? We will get through this, alright?"

Tear lines were visible on booth sides of his pale cheeks as Ichigo looked up into Renji's eyes. "Together…?"

A warm smile nodded. "Together."


note: Lithium metal is used as a reducing agent in some types of methamphetamine production, particularly in illegal amateur "meth labs." So that is where I fit Lithium into the story. P daaang it's angsty. Next one will be too. A little… P