Stay

By: Hitokiri Musei

Rated: T

Summary: One-shot, RenIchi. Renji helps out Ichigo when he lands himself in a bit of a tight spot, and somehow this tiny little incident helps the two to finally get together.

Warnings: Yaoi, obviously. Um, other than that, pretty much some blood and swearing, and a mildly cliché get together.

This is a one-shot prequel to a story of mine that will soon (hopefully) be coming out, called In Your Eyes.

I don't own Bleach. I cry.


"God damnit!"

I blinked as I heard the curse, looking around for the source of the angry words. I knew that voice quite well, but I had never expected to find him here, in the rubble of what used to be a building in Karakura town.

I moved forward, my hand reaching down to wrap around Zabimaru's hilt as I climbed over the broken bits of concrete, my red-brown eyes scanning the debris. Rukia and I had been sent down here after the explosion to look for any survivors and/or souls that needed konso. We knew that it had been a Hollow attack, and since the creature was already gone when we got there, we thought it had been taken care of by Ichigo, who then usually ran off to return home.

He did try to get some sleep before college in the morning. Even when hunting Hollows he still had to keep going in his normal life.

So when I heard his voice echoing through the dusty air, I was a little surprised. It would be the first time that I had seen Ichigo in a while, so my heart lightened a little. It had been far too long since I had seen the handsome orange-head.

"Ichigo?" I called out, letting him know that I was there.

There was a groan from somewhere in the distance, and I used that to locate him, as he didn't answer my summons. What I found was a little shocking, and scary at the same time.

Ichigo was lying on his side on the ground, his face etched with pain and tears staining his cheeks. His right leg was pinned beneath a large stone, and he was covered in cuts and blood. I could hear how heavy his breathing was; he was trying not to cry out, and he was no doubt exhausted.

"Ichigo!"

He turned his head towards me, and his eyes widened slightly. "Renji! What are you doing –ah- here?" He winced as the stone shifted with his movements, and I moved closer, trying to find a way to get my fingers under the debris to free him.

"We were sent out to investigate what happened here." I murmured as I moved around the stone. "How long have you been here?"

He was silent for a moment, and then he hissed through his teeth as I shifted the rock. "I think… ouch… maybe an hour or so."

My eyes widened slightly. "An hour? God, Ichigo. And you were bleeding all of this time?"

He nodded. "Yea…"

It was in that moment that I realized how startlingly pale he was, his lips blending with the paper whiteness of his skin. I could see how tired he was in his eyes, and the slight shake to all of his movements. He was bleeding out, and rather quickly.

"Hold on, I'll get this thing off of ya."

Ichigo simply nodded faintly, closing his eyes and looking away as I hooked my fingers under the stone, setting my feet and starting to yank upwards. The stone was heavy, and my muscles screamed at me as I poured all of my strength into getting the rock off of Ichigo. He moaned faintly as it lifted, releasing the pressure off of his leg, and then it slipped.

CRACK.

A blood-curdling scream echoed from Ichigo's mouth, quickly changing to sobs of agony while I tried harder to lift the stone. My heart wrenched at the sound of the sickening snap, but I couldn't stop; I had to get it off.

Adrenaline rushed through me, my strength seemed to grow and I managed to heave the debris off of him. I fell to my knees beside him, my heart thundering in my chest, my eyes scanning the damage of his leg.

It was obvious that it was broken, and in several places. It was bent in ways that weren't physically possible, and there were bits of bone peeking through the bloody and bruised skin. The way that his leg was lying in conjunction with his body told me that with had no doubt been ripped from the socket as well.

"My god, Ichigo, what happened?" I whispered, my voice full of hurt for him.

He was panting around the tears, but didn't answer me. I started to push myself to my feet, but his hand shot out a moment later, trembling, pale fingers wrapping in the sleeve of my shihakshou and pulling faintly. "Don't…"

I blinked, looking back at him. "Ichigo…"

"Please…" he whispered, his voice pained and afraid. He opened his chocolate eyes, meeting my own silently for a moment. His eyes were delirious and half unaware, dazed. I was surprise that he wasn't unconscious already. "Please don't leave me alone."

I could not help but smile, warmth flooding my chest as I reached down to take his hand gently, pulling it up to kiss his knuckles softly. "Don't worry; I'll never leave you alone."

A moment later his eyes had slipped shut in unconsciousness, his hand limp in mine. I blinked in shock at what I had done, and then sighed to myself. It's a surprise that he hasn't figured it out before now, what, with me being so stupid. Let's just hope that he doesn't remember that when he wakes up.

My little crush on Ichigo wasn't something that I needed getting in the way of things. Ichigo was gorgeous, and I wanted to be with him, but at the same time I didn't want to lose what I had with him now, our relationship wasn't something that I wanted to end. Ichigo was one of my best friends; the years that we had spent together as rivals and eventually as comrades in the war had hardened our relationship into a tight-knit one. Before I knew it I had fallen for the orange-head.

I frowned faintly, examining Ichigo to try and find a way to lift him without causing him too much pain. It seemed that any way I tried would end up with him hurting in some way. I frowned deeper, and then sighed. It seemed that I was going to have to pick him up; there was no other way to get him out of this particular patch of debris.

I knelt down beside him, carefully slipping my hands beneath his upper body and lifting. He was surprisingly light, and I smiled slightly at that fact. I started to heave him up and over my shoulder, but a movement within his chest and a groan from him made me stop. I swore, inspecting his chest and realizing that he had at least four broken ribs.

Damnit, there goes that idea. I can't carry him over my shoulder like that; one of them might pierce a lung… I guess I'll just have to carry him in my arms. It'll be hell on his leg, but I would rather have him be in pain then have a pierced lung.

He cried out softly when I slipped an arm beneath his legs, a few tears leaking down his cheeks as I got him settled in my grip.

"Shhh…" I murmured softly, my lips brushing his forehead. "Easy, it's okay, Ichigo… I gotcha, I'll make it better. I'm gonna get you to help."

He whimpered again as I drew him up to my chest, and I blinked as a hand fisted in the fabric of my shihakshou, his face burying against my shoulder. Again I soothed him with gentle words and a few kisses across his forehead, not able to help myself. He just looked so helpless and in pain, my heart ached that I couldn't fix it.

I carefully held him as still as I could as I leapt out of the debris, absorbing the impact with my knees to cushion his landing faintly. He whimpered again despite my caution, his fist clenching tighter and a faint shudder running though his upper body.

A call came from up ahead; I saw Rukia running towards me, shock on her face as she saw the blood-covered body in my arms. "Ichigo!"

"Come on, we need to get him to Unohana-taichou, he's got a few broken ribs and his leg is pretty badly torn up." I said sharply, my eyes boring into hers.

She nodded, drawing her zanpaktou and opening the gate in front of us. For a moment I worried about him getting through the gate, and then I remembered that he was currently in soul form like us; he would be fine. I rushed through the doors after Rukia, glad to see that she had taken us directly to the fourth squad.

I rushed inside, my eyes searching for someone who could help, and then my gaze landed on the gentle fukutaichou of the fourth division, Kotetsu Isane. She gasped faintly in shock when she saw me, and then ushered me back into a room.

"Lay him on the bed, Abarai-fukutaichou, I'll go find Unohana-taichou." she said sharply, leaving me in the room.

Carefully I lay Ichigo down, hurt flooding through me as he cried out softly as his leg was straightened again. I sat beside him, my hand wrapped in his pain-tight grasp, soft words of comfort falling from my lips.

Unohana entered the room a moment later, concern in her motherly gaze and on her face. I moved aside as she came close, watching as she moved around, examining the orange-head before finally raising her hands, a green glow coming to them as she began to work at Ichigo's ribcage.

"It's a good thing that you got him here as fast as you did, fukutaichou." she murmured as I watched Ichigo's breathing even out slightly. "One rib was quite close to puncturing his lung."

I breathed a sigh of relief as the pain on Ichigo's face began to ease, a drug that had been administered starting to dull the sensations. Unohana went to work on his mangled leg, and I slowly moved forward as his eyes fluttered open faintly. "Renji…?"

"Yea, I'm here, Ichigo. What in the hell happened back there?" I murmured softly, sitting beside the bed.

He scoffed faintly. "Stupid Hollow, knocked into a few of the supports of that building. I couldn't get out of the way in time. Almost got crushed…" He faded off after a moment, and then his eyes rose to meet mine, staring silently up at me. I blushed faintly as he refused to look away, so I turned my eyes towards Unohana.

She smiled as she leaned away from his now whole leg. "That should take care of it, Kurosaki-kun. I've healed all of the breaks, and with those blood drips hooked up you should be just fine in a few hours. However, that leg may give you some trouble from now on." She sighed faintly. "I can't take away everything."

She was quiet for a moment, watching us. I saw her smile again, and then she turned away from us, her blue-gray eyes sparkling faintly. "I'll leave you two alone."

As the door shut I turned my eyes back to meet Ichigo's. He blinked, and then opened his mouth to speak. "So…. What happened with you back there?"

I blinked. "What?"

Chocolate eyes darkened faintly. "You know what I mean, Renji."

My cheeks flushed as I realized what he was talking about. "You… You were awake for that?"

He nodded. "Barely, but I was awake the whole time. I felt and heard everything."

I couldn't speak for a long time, my mouth working silently as he stared up at me. I swallowed thickly after a moment, and then sighed. "Sorry. Forget it ever happened."

A warm hand touched my own. "And why would I do that?" Ichigo murmured, his voice soft. "What makes you think that I would want to forget what I've been waiting for?"

My eyes widened. "W-what?"

His lips touched my skin, and then he smiled faintly. "We've been together through thick and thin, Renji, don't you think that we've gotten pretty close?"

"Well, yea, but… I figured we were just best friends!"

He chuckled faintly, and shook his head. "We're currently closer than I think I've ever been to anyone, except maybe my mother. You are my closest friend, but honestly, I couldn't tell you when it turned into something else. I just… you make me feel…" He struggled to find the right words. "Safe."

I tilted my head. "Since when do you need to feel safe, Ichigo? You're one of the strongest people I know."

Ichigo's eyes sparkled faintly as he chuckled. "Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that I don't want that feeling. You make me feel safe and wanted, and wanted for who I am. You never made fun of me for insignificant things, and I always felt the humor behind it, unlike many others who mean every jibe they send at me." He smiled. "I don't have to try with you. I just am."

I couldn't help but return his smile, my heart lightening faintly. I felt a strong urge to kiss him, and so I leaned down. He started to rise up to meet me, and our lips awkwardly brushed over each other, our noses bumping. I grinned, and then reached out to put a hand on the back of his neck. "Now, Ichigo, let's do this right."

With that I sealed my mouth over his, taking instant control and tilting my head. He fought back for a moment, his tongue shyly lashing out to meet my own before he surrendered to me, allowing me full control of the kiss.

We parted slowly, and then he grinned. "Well that went better than I thought. I always thought that you were going to freak out."

I snorted. "Come on, Ichigo. No matter what, you're my best friend. Even if I hadn't liked you, it wouldn't have changed the way I saw you. You are a great man, handsome, strong, and smart, if a little dense at times." He glared at me, but I didn't stop. "And no matter what, you're my comrade and my friend. It doesn't matter beyond that."

He smiled, his hand tightening where it had crept into mine. "And that's why I love you. You don't judge me, even if I do something really stupid."

"And let's face it, you do some stupid things." I said smugly.

"Hey!" He pouted.

I kissed him to make up for it, but the sound of a throat clearing made us come apart and look up. Rukia stood in the doorway, her shoulder leaning against the frame, smugness written all over her fine features.

"About time, you two, I was getting sick of the tension between you. I thought you were never going to stop dancing around each other!"

Ichigo stuck his tongue out at her childishly, but I merely shook my head slightly. "So what, Rukia? Isn't it time for you to find a guy now?"

She growled, a red flush going over her cheekbones. "Ichigo…"

I grinned. "Gotta go!"

Ichigo spluttered. "Why you… RENJI!!"

I heard his words as I shot out the door, leaving him to Rukia's mercy, a smile on my face and lightness in my heart.

"YOU BASTARD, YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME HERE WITH HER! ARGH! RUKIA!"