Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of my newest story, Big City, Small World. It's a Bleach Alternate Reality story, set in a big city where all of the residents know each other some how, or if they don't, they will soon. I hope you all enjoy!

Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo. I own nothing. /3

The door of a small apartment slammed, the resident grumbling as the neighbors on either side yelled at him through the paper-thin walls.

"Be more careful, moron!" one yelled.

"It's almost eight o'clock! What are you thinking, slamming doors like that?!" shouted the other.

Renji stomped angrily back towards his door and opened it, slamming it forcefully again. Shouts of protest came from the same neighbors, with the addition of the man downstairs complaining about the stomping.

"Oh, go have a fuckin' orgy! All of you need to get laid and get off my back!" Renji yelled, and all of the shouting died away. He heaved a heavy sigh and peeled off his work shirt, tossing it over his shoulder. There was a crash, and Renji's face contorted into pain and exasperation.

'That was my lamp, wasn't it?' he continued into the small kitchen, not bothering to flip on the small overhead light that was most likely burned out anyway. He didn't have any light bulbs to replace it if it was burned out, and if he knew it was burned out he would want to replace it.

'I hate myself,' he thought dully, opening the first cupboard and pulling out a few bags. He turned and walked out of the kitchen, leaving the cupboard open. Before he could navigate his way to the table, he stepping onto a mess of broken, shattered pain. Renji yelped and hopped on one foot to the couch, falling onto it and landing on the remote, which turned on the television. His food temporarily forgotten, he used the light of the TV to look at the bottom of his foot.

'Ow,' he cringed as he pulled out a small piece of glass from the ball of his foot.

"I think that was my last lightbulb," he muttered, putting his foot down and looking at the TV. There was a press conference on, the new senator standing off to the side. With a grunt, Renji leaned to the side and pulled the remote out from under himself, then turned the volume on the TV up.

"Th-thank you, but senator Kuchiki is done answering questions. He thanks you for your support," the young man – an intern, or the senator's go-to man, Renji figured – seemed to be extremely uncomfortable in front of so many cameras and reporters, for he quickly stepped down from the podium and bustled to the senator's side. The senator whispered something to the young man, who nodded, but no microphones picked it up.

"Senator Kuchiki! What was it that you just said to Mr. Yamada there?" One journalist shouted, but the senator ignored the question and began to leave the stage, the small, nervous boy following quickly behind. Renji started at the TV as the cameras followed the senator.

'He's not bad looking,' Renji thought, reaching for his dinner of Doritos, peanut M&M's and mini marshmallows. A second or two later, Renji began choking on a handful of marshmallows. Coughing and sputtering, he dislodged the lumps of delicious while death from his throat.

"I'm not gay!" he shouted at himself, alerted by the thought, but he found himself staring at the senator on the TV once again, and noticing without shame that the man had a very nice ass. Renji shouted again and squeezed his eyes shut, shaking his head violently.

"You shouldn't lie to yourself," one of his neighbors shouted through the wall, and Renji threw the peanut M&M's in the direction of the voice. The bag exploded against the drywall and little colorful candies flew everywhere, bouncing across every surface. Renji whimpered softly at the loss of his main course, but settled into the worn-down cushions and quickly fell asleep, dreaming about giant marshmallows trying to suffocate him with their pillow-y goodness.

"Senator Kuchiki!" a woman yelled, fighting her way through the crowd and holding up her pen and paper. "Do you have any comment on the recent killings that have been occurring outside the city?"

The senator paused and turned to look at the journalist. The intern, Yamada, leaned forward, shouting above the buzz of the other reporters and the click of flashing cameras.

"Senator Kuchiki has no comment!" The young man responded, but the senator held up a hand, and the crowd instantly quieted.

"We are doing all we can in cooperation with the police to catch the men responsible for these senseless slaughters," Byakuya spoke deliberately, meeting the eyes of the woman who originally asked. The buzz picked up again as the senator got into his car with the young intern, and the reporters all followed the car for a half block before it disappeared into traffic. The young woman journalist, however, quickly got into her own car and disappeared in the other direction, heading back to her office.

The woman entered the office and quickly found her desk, typing away at aher compter before she had even seated herself.

"My hard-working Nanao," a man cooed, standing in the open door of the woman's office. The woman looked up at him and pushed her glasses up on her nose, a gleam in her eye.

"I got it, Shunsui," Nanao said intensely, starting to type again. "I'll have the story ready for tomorrow."

Shunsui chuckled and walked into the room, taking a seat on the edge of Nanao's desk behind her laptop. He leaned across the desk and brushed her cheek with the backs of his fingers.

"Just make sure you go home and get some rest," he said gently, and Nanao leaned into his touch for a moment but quickly snapped out of it. Her expression harded as she scowled at her computer screen, typing furiously.

"Do you harass all of your employees like this?" she bit, but Shunsui merely chuckled and stood, shaking his head.

"Harass? I would never, my sweet Nanao! I look upon all of you as my children!" he swung his arms around dramatically as he spoke.

"You would have made a better drama teacher than journalist, you incestual pedophile," Nanao mumbled, but Shunsui didn't hear.

"I won't be here to check it for you in the morning, lovely Nanao, so I'll trust your judgement on this one. Don't let me down," he smiled his sparkling, charming smile, but Nanao looked up at him, her fingers hovering over the keys, expression grim. Shunsui only ever missed work when it had to do with…

"How is he?" she asked softly, feeling a pang of hurt in her chest for her boss and his childhood friend.

"Not so good," Shunsui said honestly, his expression falling. The pain in Nanao's chest swelled, and she nodded, aware of the pinpricks of tears in the corners of her eyes. "Which is why I'm going to see him tomorrow. Anyway, go home and get some sleep, lovely Nanao. You need your beauty rest. I'll let you know what the doctor has to say."