Summary: Renji's not in the best of moods, and everything seems to make it worse. So he takes a side trip to see the one person he knows will make him feel better. Renji/Ichigo fluff. One-shot.

Rated T for language

Word Count: 1,417

Disclaimer: All characters/places belong to Tite Kubo. He's the genius that came up with Bleach, not me.

A Calm Through the Storm

Rain.

Fucking rain.

It was coming down heavily over Karakura Town. The clouds overhead were so thick and dark, there was just no chance to see the moon this night. It was well into the early morning; the only residents that were awake were the ones unable to sleep due to heart-stopping claps of thunder and the bright flashes of lightning that streaked across the sky. Anyone with half a brain was staying indoors for the night until the wicked storm passed. It was a gloomy night, indeed.

But through the downpour, Renji shunpo'ed across the rooftops, a scowl etched deep upon his features. The poor weather wasn't in any way helping his mood. His haori was loose upon his frame, pulled open, exposing his tattooed chest, the fabric falling down his right shoulder. The openness revealed small scratches and tiny, still-bleeding wounds, obviously just received mere moments ago. His red mane wasn't tied back like always, nor was his bandanna in its place. His hair whipped around with the wind, flowing gracefully backward as he ran. Zabimaru was drawn, his grip on its handle tight, the blade still in its shikai form. And all the meanwhile, the rain beating down on him, soaking him to the core and making his body feel heavy and sluggish.

The rain was definitely not making him feel better. All it did was make him want to stop his dash to only scream at the very sky in anger, frustration, anything.

His destination finally came into view, feeling like it'd taken so much longer than usual to get there. He set his sight upon one window in particular, one that led to a room that (luckily) had a dim light on, concentrating only on that. There was a slight hope he'd be in there, saving him the time of hunting the kid down.

He was the only reason Renji was quietly putting up with all the fucking rain.

The redhead came to a halt on the small sill, wasting not a second before jerking open the window. Somewhere in his mind, he was thanking everything that the substitute shinigami always left the thing unlocked. He leapt inside, landing as stealthily as he could on the carpet- ignoring the flop and squish that came from his soaking clothes. He reached an arm behind him to close the window so none of the rain would get in, glancing around.

Renji noticed him right away. Ichigo was on his bed, still fully clothed in his school uniform. It was apparent that he had just been lying there, no music on, doing nothing in particular except for being locked up in his thoughts. The shinigami turned to face the teen.

Ichigo had heard his window open, watched Renji enter. But it took him a second to process that he'd come in uninvited (as usual), and then it took another second to realize the shape Renji was in.

"What the hell?" he yelled, instantly sitting up. He looked to the floor where a puddle was forming around Renji's feet, the excess water dripping from his form. "You can't come barging into my room looking like a fucking drowned rat! And what're you doing here at two in the morning?"

The teen didn't stop his rant, not even lowering his voice, having no respect for his sleeping father or sisters. But the yelling was toned out by Renji. He merely stared at him, his resolve washing over him once again.

He'd come to this room for a reason.

Zabimaru slipped from his hand, landing with a thud and reverting back to being a dormant zanpakuto. His feet squished in his shoes with every step he took, his walk slow as he circled to the side of the bed. His adamant gaze never once strayed from Ichigo.

The oblivious substitute kept right on going. "You're getting my floor all wet! Don't you have any decency to come here dry? And you look like shit! Like you just gone done killing a fucking hollow! And-!" His sentence was cut short, however, by a pair of lips colliding with his own.

Nothing was going through Renji's mind.

Nothing.

It was a blank slate, a white mist rolling through his head.

He wanted nothing but this.

He brought a hand up to Ichigo's cheek, a gentle hold against his calloused skin. Ichigo put up no resistance, but rather pulled the older man on top of him, leaning back to fall onto the bed. Renji mindlessly opened his mouth, his tongue prying open the other's lips. Ichigo quietly groaned, playing along with the deeper kiss, reaching up to softly yank on dripping hair.

Renji pulled away from the kiss, sighing, his head drooping. He was holding himself above the teen so as not to crush him. He now just concentrated on breathing, to breathe steadily, inhaling Ichigo's scent with every breath.

"You're getting me all wet," Ichigo mumbled quietly.

Renji looked down to indeed see that Ichigo's front was splotched with wetness. But he couldn't help but grin. "In a good way or bad way?" he asked sensuously.

"Quite honestly, both." Ichigo pushed back a thick curtain of fiery hair, showing a watered-down trickle of blood and the wound it was coming from. It was what most likely took out the bandanna. He then asked quietly, "What happened?"

He leaned into the touch, fully looking at the younger shinigami. "I've been in a bad mood all day. I got called in with two others to take care of a damn hollow, and one that just wouldn't fuckin' die, so it made me even more frustrated… They told me to go back to Seireitei, to Fourth Division to clean up, but…" His head fell again; he couldn't look at the other as he said the rest. "All I could think of was coming here…"

Ichigo swiped his thumb over the trail of blood that was streaming down from his temple. He said nothing about it, nothing harsh or sarcastic; it was probably one of the reasons Renji loved him so much.

What was instead said was "Get up." Renji looked at him quizzically. There was a softness in those chocolate orbs staring right back at him. "I'm gonna get you a towel."

Renji complied, getting to his feet. He watched Ichigo do the same, then both noticed the dark spots where Renji had put his arms and legs when he'd been on top of the blonde. He heard Ichigo sigh.

"You can sit down, since I'm gonna have to change the sheets, anyway. I'll be right back."

The redhead sat where Ichigo had been as he was left alone, the teen closing the door behind himself. He tucked his hair behind his right ear, feeling the wetness from his clothes soaking through the sheets even more. He began to feel a little guilty, thinking coming to Ichigo had been a burden. He needed to apologize…

The door opened a moment later, Ichigo entering with a pile of clean towels in his arm. He silently padded over with no visible expression, Renji watching him every second as he came to stand in front of him. The towels were placed beside him on the bed.

"You can get off that haori," said Ichigo, "I'll put it in the dryer in a minute." He grabbed a towel and shook it from its folding.

The older shinigami pulled the fabric off his body, letting it drop to the floor at his feet. His guilt was still churning as the towel was put over his head. Hands worked to dry his hair.

"Ichigo…" he began. He had to get it off his chest.

"Don't."

He looked up at his lover incredulously.

"I don't mind if you come here, even soaking wet and bloodied up." He didn't look away from his work, ringing the hair out inside the towel to get all the water out. There was the slightest hint of a blush forming across his cheeks. "At least you came at all."

Renji felt a smile pull at his lips, feeling a surge of emotion for this teen. He reached up, Ichigo's head an arm's length away. Fingers enclosed into orange-golden hair, pulling the substitute down. He pulled him down to his level, into a sweet and simple kiss, one that conveyed far more love than any other.

"Thank you," Renji whispered against Ichigo's lips.

It had been totally worth it, braving the rain to come to this.

END

Written 10/8/08, edited 2/28/12