Author's Note: I THINK THIS ONE IS EVEN SHORTER THAN THE LAST ONE, OTL. -dies- Again, guys, I'm soooooo sorry. I'll be working on chapter nine over the next few days and hopefully my updates will become more regular now that I have no life again. XD;

Hopefully you enjoy this chapter. I don't like it; it argued with me the whole time I was writing it and I really had to push at it to get it to agree with me. Even then, it didn't agree completely, and I'm still unsatisfied with the way this whole thing turned out. D:


Renji sat on the hospital bed in the emergency room, looking less than pleased as the long-haired blonde marked things down on a chart. The redhead would occasionally tap his foot impatiently, earning worried glances from Orihime and irritated ones from the male nurse.

After a long silence filled only by the scribbling of pen on paper and Renji's impatient tapping, the blonde turned to them, looking unaffected by the redhead's lack of patience.

"I'll send a doctor in as soon as one becomes available," he spoke to Orihime rather than Renji, and the girl nodded airily.

"Thank you, Il Forte," she smiled at his back as he left and Renji grumbled something under his breath. She turned to him quickly and he immediately made an attempt at a smile. It came out as more of a grimace.

"It was so nice of him to see us right away, don't you think?" she asked enthusiastically, hands clasped together in front of her as she looked at him with those doe eyes.

"He only did it because he has the hots for you, Hime," he told her as gently as he could while looking at his foot again. It must have been at least the fifth time that hour she had seen him stare at the injured appendage, and with no real lack of disdain, either. Orihime sighed and sat next to the redhead, leaning on him gently.

"It'll be okay, Renji, I promise," she told her friend seriously. Then, the comment about her co-worker sunk in.

"Eh?! You mean he likes me?" she wailed rather loudly, leaning back to look at her friend. Renji winced, but smiled.

"Doesn't it mean the same thing?" he asked, nudging her gently, and she flushed, shaking her head.

A moment later, the glass door to the room slid open causing Orihime to jump and Renji to turn quickly to look at the entrant. He immediately blanched, seeing a familiar face – the white-haired, bespectacled man that had gotten him fired.

Orihime practically launched herself off of the bed, bumping her head on the cupboards nearby as she did. She rubbed her head gingerly for a moment, watching the man across the room.

"Orihime," his expression remained unchanged as he rounded on the girl, tone only revealing the barest hint of interest. "I thought you had the day off today."

She met the seemingly off-handed remark with a sheepish grin and a nervous laugh.

"Ah, yes, sir, I do. But you see, my friend is injured, so I drove him in," she explained rather quickly, and Renji wondered if the man caught any of it at all. The silence stretch on and Orihime tried to fill it.

"A-Are you the doctor on call today, sir?" she asked timidly, and Renji wondered if asking the man questions was really such a good idea. He seemed unbothered, however, and responded with a brief nod.

"Yes, Orihime, I'm working the ER this morning and the clinic later this afternoon," he remarked, stepping into the room and looking at the redhead seated on the bed for possibly the first time. Renji silently prayed that the man wouldn't remember him.

"Abarai, Renji," the man said slowly, and Renji immediately winced. He quickly began filling through apologies and ass-kissing techniques, but stopped when the man looked back down at the chart in his hands. Renji caught himself from breathing a sigh of relief.

"Yes, sir," he tacked the formality on the end, copying Orihime. He saw the girl over the man's shoulder let out a sigh similar to the one he held in.

"Il Forte tells me you sliced a tendon," the man continued in monotone, and Orihime blurted out, 'So I was right!' before she could stop herself. She quickly slapped a hand over her mouth fearfully, but her boss didn't turn around.

"This means you have two options," the man continued, unfazed by the interruption. "We can put your foot in a cast for a few weeks, or we can wrap it and have you return periodically to have it re-wrapped."

Renji cringed at the thought of having his foot in a cast, and wondered how he was supposed to walk. As if having read his mind, the intimidating doctor spoke again.

"You'll be walking with a crutch, and must stay off of your foot as much as possible," he paused, as if considering something, then slowly added, "You may want to take some time off from your job."

Renji met his gaze, and instantly understood – he knew. Renji's gaze sharpened and his mouth settled into a hard line.

"Yeah," he responded coldly. "I guess I'll have to do that."

The man's gaze shifted from the redhead to Orihime, then back.

"The cast it is, then. I'll send someone in," he said softly before leaving the room.

Orihime immediately rushed to Renji's side, breathing a sigh of relief as she hugged up to his arm, looking near tears. Renji allowed the closeness, wrapping the arm around her shoulders and hugging her tightly before finally letting out his own heavy sigh.

"Dr. Ishida is so scary," she whimpered, and Renji huffed a small, exasperated laugh.

"He's the one who got me fired, Hime," he told her, and she let out a quiet sob.