When I was awoken by the all to familiar clink of a hell butterfly on my window – I could not say I was impressed. However, when it perched on my finger and told me the news of your disappearance in Hueco Mundo, not even all the captains of the Gotei 13, if they tried, could stop me from going to find you. I grabbed my substitute shinigami licence, discarded my body on my bed, and made my way to the gate as fast as I could. Urahara must have felt my reiatsu approaching, as he had the gate to Soul Society open before I had even arrived. He didn't say a word to me as I stalked straight to the gate. I'll have to thank him later.
I should have felt bad for all the people who had come back from the mission scurrying out of my way as I made my own way to the Gate to Hueco Mundo, but I didn't. They didn't deserve my pity – They left you behind. From what else the hell butterfly had said, Rukia was in division 4's medical centre, watching over her recovering adopted brother. Whatever happened in Hueco Mundo must have been bad if even Kuchiki Byakuya required medical attention.
I scowl as I reach the gate, my reiatsu flaring wildly and angrily. Why hadn't backup been sent for? Why didn't you call me?! "Open the gate." I demand. The watcher just looks at me, unsure of what to do. "I'm sorry – I have orders not to let any one else through after the return of 6th division and – " I didn't want to hear it. This conversation was wasting my time – wasting all the seconds I could be spending searching for you. "Open. It. NOW!" I feel Hichigo inside of me reacting to my anger – feeding off it, and spurring me on." "That's it King – let it out – feel the anger, the hate of those idiots leaving him behind." I let out a growl, and I know my eyes must have changed slightly as the gate watcher opens the gate without further hesitation. I am though the gate before it has even fully opened.
I draw Zangetsu off my back and take a breath. I need to calm down… Gather my senses… "Where are you?!" I growl in frustration, even as I extend my senses to try and pick up anything. I curse myself at my lack of ability to get a greater range. Even after the war, I am still no way near as skilled as you when it comes to sensing reiatsu. I do however have one advantage that many don't. Because we are always together - your reiatsu is as familiar to me as my own.
I whip around as I feel another presence behind me suddenly. I don't have time for this. "I came ta help." I blink. "Yeah – Ken-chan wants to help!" I was not expecting Ken-pachi and Yachiru. "6th division was held up to the north-west of here." I only allow a curt nod of acceptance and thanks before I am off in a flash. I hate the dessert. I hate Hueco Mundo, and I hate not having you safe by my side. We're best friends and fighting partners – yes I acknowledge that, but somewhere along the way I've realised the line of best friends has become blurred into something significantly more. Much more…
The first few Hollows and Arrancar that are drawn to us are fairly easy to dispatch with my current anger seething. However, I can't help but become more distracted as time passes, my mind worrying as to why I still can't feel your energy. Ken-pachi comes to a stop on the hill where the 6th division's fight had taken place. "It was here… but I can't feel anything unusual." I almost jump a mile as a big hand reaches up to grab me from somewhere under the sand. I manage to get a safe distance away near Yachiru. Realisation suddenly dawns on me. "It's a cavern!" Ken-pachi just grins at me, even as more Hollows and Arrancar appear. "Don't get too beaten up – I'll deal with things here." I just nod, and jump back towards the area the Hollow in the sand had tried to grab me. As I predicted, the hand shot up again and takes a hold of my lower body before pulling me into the sand. I HATE sand.
Dispatching the hollow was no problem. I was pissed and I had sand in places I NEVER want sand again. Even Hichigo had lent a hand to dispatch the hollow, not liking the pelting of rain he was receiving in our inner world most likely. I try again to search for familiar reiatsus, and to my surprise, I can no longer feel Ken-pachi and Yachiru's spirit energies, but I CAN make out a very faint VERY familiar energy. "RENJI?!" I feel the energy spike slightly – so I know you're within hearing distance. You better hold on damn it. I call again, and another spike answers me, which is perfect. I figured out your direction and am running there like my life depends on it… And it does. I would die if I lost you.
I find you quicker than I expected, and I pause just long enough to assess the situation. You're lying half in a pool of water which is turning red with your blood. You're on your back, eyes closed and breathing shallow. Your hair has broken free of its tie and lies like a halo around your head. You look beautiful – but broken. And it hurts so badly to see you in such a state. I move to your side, kneeling by the water's edge so I can examine you closer. "Renji!" My voice is full of worry and relief as I lift a hand to stroke your face. Your eyes flutter open and you smile very weakly. "Hey… 'chigo…" "Idiot!" My eyes begin to water. You just smile at me more – I both hate and love you for it.
I daren't move you in your condition just yet so I rip up bits of my Uniform to make make-shift bandages. This way I can wrap as many of the wounds I can before I dare attempt to move you. I cringe and wince with every noise of pain you make. I call you an idiot again, which makes you laugh weakly and cough. That, however, just proves my point and so I repeat myself. You smile at me and close your eyes making me panic. "Open your eyes" I demand. "Renji! Stay with me! Please!" I find my anxiety reaching new levels. You calm me slightly by opening your eyes… Barely. I have to get you out of here - now.
"Talk to me." I demand as I attach Zabimaru to Zangetsu on my back, before placing one arm under your legs and one on your back to pick you up bridal style. You grunt as I pick you up – but really I should be the one grunting. You're heavier than you were before – and I tell you this as I begin to walk towards the area I entered from. You laugh and it makes me smile, that is, until you start coughing again. "… It's… your sister's fault…" You breath painfully next to my ear. It causes me to smirk and hmm in acknowledgement. She always say's we never look after ourselves and insists on feeding us to bursting point every time we visit my home.
Home. Where we should be right now. Warm and safe. I glance down at you in my arms as you snuggle your face into my neck. "Don't fall asleep on me." I warn. All I get out of you is a soft grunt – but I can tell you're drifting off. "Renji!" I shift you non too gently in my arms – and you almost howl in pain. "Sorry…" I apologise. "Just… don't fall asleep on me…" I can't stop the worry and despair reaching my voice, and I know you've caught it as your glare turns into an apologetic look.
" ' need incentive…You're comf'table…" you say softly after a moment. My step falters for a brief second and my heart skips a beat. I know you notice as you mumble a weak "Forget it…" almost immediately after. I pull you closer to my chest and nudge your head softly with mine. If you want – need incentive to stay alive – I'd give you anything, and so I tell you. "Anything you want…" You look at me with dark, questioning eyes. I repeat myself as I give you a soft squeeze, but have to stop walking as you softly graze my lips with your own. I turn the soft brush into something a little more. But not much more than a prolonged pressure as you soon pull back with a little wince. You turn the wince into that stupid grin of yours which makes me grin also. "Idiot…" I chide softly. "Ya love me for it…" you sigh getting more comfortable as I begin walking again. "Yeah…" I admit.
It takes me a bit longer to get back to the cavern I entered from, but as we do I see Yachiru standing with a grin waiting for us. "Ken chan's waiting for you!!" I'm surprised I couldn't sense her until now – but then again, I guess my reiatsu's concentrating on bolstering and comforting you. "How are we getting up?" I ask. Yachiru just smiles and that's when I notice the rope she's holding. "Hold on to Red tightly ok?!" I don't question her and secure my hold on you more tightly. She tugs on the rope before jumping on my back and taking a firm hold of me. How she's not being cut by the blades on my back I don't know. I don't get a chance to ponder it before I find we are flying up into the air. Ken-pachi is pulling us up to the desert's floor.
We all sputter as we land on the sand, and I'm worried by the sound of your breathing. Yachiru pouts letting go of me so she can shake her little pink head to dislodge the sand. "Good. Ya found 'im." Ken-pachi drawls. I nod once. "We need to get him back to 4th Division quickly." I reluctantly offer you over to Ken-pachi and you give me a look, your hand lingering on my robes as Ken-pachi takes you without hesitation, Yachiru jumping on his back. I can't carry you back as quickly as he can, although I wish I could so I can hold you. "Thank you…" I say to them before we leave for the gate.
I wait as patiently as I can outside your room at the 4th division's medical centre. I know we've been in here many times before, but this time is different – and it seems like everyone around me can sense it. I've been ordered to go home but I out right refuse to leave. Unohana Taicho finally comes out of your room with a smile. I immediately push myself off from the wall and approach. "How is he?" She smiles at me before speaking softly. "He's fine, but he needs to rest. He refuses to do so until he's seen you – so…" Stepping aside, she motions for me to enter your room. "Don't keep him up too long." She adds. I smile my genuine thanks. "Hai – Unohana Taicho."
I enter your room and close the door behind me with a soft click. I look at you laying in the bed, wrapped in many bandages, and notice you can barely keep your eyes open. "Hey…" you say sleepily. "Why aren't you resting?" I ask, making my way over to your bedside. You grin lopsidedly at me. "Need incentive." I grin in return, and lean down to kiss you. You catch me by surprise as you pull me onto the bed. "What are you doing?" I ask breaking the kiss to look into your eyes. "You're comfortable – and these damn bed's aren't – so get on 'ere will ya so I can catch some shut eye." I can't help but laugh as I climb onto the bed properly and settle beside you. You wrap your arms around me, and I can't help but snuggle into you. I feel you relax to sleep, but not before you whisper softly, "Glad you could take time out of your busy life to look for me." I can hear the fake sarcasm dripping off you voice – however, the real meaning is easy to interpret. 'I'm glad ya found me Ichigo...' Even as I close my eyes to sleep, I tighten my arms around you and butt your chin, mumbling, "Didn't have a choice Idiot…" 'I would have been lost without you…' You tighten your arms around me, and I know you got my meaning. Before I know it, your heart beat thumping steadily in my ear has lulled me to sleep, and I hope it will again every night from now on.