A/N - AUGH!! The crack bunnies strike again!! This is TOTALLY the fault of Jazzpha. In every way possible. He ran off with my muse, and this is the result.
Seriously, though - this plot bunny totally belongs to jazzpha, and I share all props with him. He co-wrote this too, in case I didn't make that clear; the ending especially is all his, as well as the Nnoitra riff that rocks my socks off. Be sure to stop by his profile, cuz he's TEH uber...and cuz male fanficcers totally deserve MAD props!!! XD
Enjoy - and check out Jazzpha's fic Love Conquers All, it's epically awesome. And thanks as always to hu3long2 for working out a snag or two.
Beware of Falling Crack!! XD
Renji hated tents.
It wasn't the utter lack of privacy nor the cramped space - both of which were common enough growing up on the streets of Rukongai and were hardly bothersome. Neither was it the lack of general comfort; again, a lumpy pallet on the ground with barely a thin skin of fabric protecting one from the elements was well within the scope of Renji's experience.
No, it wasn't his own lack of privacy that irked Abarai; it was everyone else's.
By necessity, war camps were designed to be tight-nit; the smaller the perimeter, the easier it was to guard. Kidou shields also benefitted from the layout; the smaller ground area they had to cover, the denser and more effective they were and took less reiatsu to maintain. So, like it or not, every single warrior in the Winter War was grouped into tiny make-shift tents, clumped by squad designation and well within earshot of each other. And while some of the occupants used the sitaution to the advantage of their itchy and gossip-happy ears - most notably Yumichika and Yachiru, who stayed up half the night eavesdropping and trying to stiffle their giggles - pretty much everyone else tried to hunker down and ignore everyone's grunts and snores.
Renji, however, was situated in the worst possible location. While he had naturally been bunked with a same-gendered friend and fellow warrior, there wasn't a force on heaven and earth that could stop the strawberry from sneaking out at night to the neighboring tent, much to Renji's eternal chagrin.
Accordingly, the neighboring tent in question insisted on making various not-so-muffled rustlings and gruntings pretty much every night since they'd made camp. The first night or two, Renji hadn't minded all that much - despite the fact that the muted activites were being conducted by two of his very best friends, Renji was a male and his imagination had few inhibitions.
But honestly. A whole week now, and Renji was starting to wonder how either of them kept up the pace. Oh yeah sure, long-standing sexual tension, yadda yadda....dramatic rescue, followed by endless perilous situations, blah blah blah. It still didn't explain why they could rut like rabbits from sundown to sunup and still fight Arrancar all damn day...
The rustling shifted into barely-contained moaning. After a moment or two, when some kitten-like mewling started to join in, Renji rolled his eyes, knowing exactly by now what was coming next.
"Rukia..." Barely a husky whisper, it still set a certain two nitwits several tents over in the Eleventh squad section giggling madly. Renji just grit his teeth and hung on; this would all be over soon...
Silence dropped like an anvil over every tent in the vicinity. Somewhere nearby, a familiar wet-cough started up from the largest tent of Thirteenth; it managed to sound like a horrible version of an embarrassed chuckle.
In the tent next to Renji, the silence reigned in a particularly horrific manner until the inevitable explosion took place in sotto.
"Kai-...?? FUCK, Rukia!! Again!?"
"I'm sorry! It's just...in the dark..."
"It's DARK in here?? That's seriously your excuse??"
Rukia snorted, forgetting to keep quiet. Renji could practically hear her blushing. "Well, it doesn't help that you insist on wearing that stupid black hoodie whenever we do it-"
Choking and outraged spluttering followed. Across the way, Yumichika and Yachiru gave up all pretense at subtlty and cackled like a pair of hyenas. Renji felt his own lips twitching - this was definitely the most amusing outburst so far this week.
Ichigo finally found his voice at the same time he lost his whisper. "It's cold in here, dammit!!" Ichigo hollared, full-voice. Most of the camp was probably all ears by now, and if they weren't, they were deaf. "And your stupid hands are like ice blocks..." Said ice blocks must have grabbed something particularly delicate, because Ichigo broke off into the girliest scream imaginable, which is saying quite a lot for a Kurosaki. "Chrissakes, watch what you're squeezing, pipsqueak!!"
"Watch what you're screaming, idiot! The whole camp can hear you!" Rukia's blush was bleeding into her mortified voice; it had probably just occurred to her what had caused her captain to start up a coughing fit.
"Don't worry about us - we can't hear a thing!" The chocolately rumble - followed by the distinct sound of sake going down the hatch - from the Eighth division captain's tent sent nearly every tent inbetween cracking up.
Ichigo choked loudly again and then flopped down onto the pallet in what Renji could only imagine was a dramatic faint; after a moment, he could hear Ichigo groaning from behind his hands.
"I thought you said you never did it with Kaien..." Kurosaki muttered angrily, lowering his voice so only Rukia - and Renji, of course - could hear him.
"I didn't," Rukia insisted. "It just slips out, dammit-"
"Third time this week, short-stack!" Four, actually, not that Renji had been keeping score or anything.
"Well, if you'd let me get a wink of sleep now and then, I might be able to keep these things straight..." Righteous indignation rang through Rukia's voice, and Renji could just imagine the smirk on her face.
Another splutter. "Me!?! You're the one who started it tonight-!"
"Did not! What was all that about you being, and I quote, 'Harder than Nnoitra's heirro.'??"
"I NEVER SAID THAT!!" Ichgigo was back to full bellow, but before the entire rest of the camp to dissolve into guffaws, an impossibly dry voice from the OTHER side of Renji's tent finally made its presence known.
"Kurosaki Ichigo. Are you calling my sister a liar?"
Silence, worse than before. Renji, for his part, was too petrified to breathe; he could only imagine how Ichigo was feeling. Not that he had to; he could practically hear Ichigo busting a mortified gut while he struggled to get his tongue working. Amidst the gurglings, Renji swore he heard a strangled denial.
"Ah, so I am imagining such things? Are you calling into question my sanity?" The distinct sound of Senbonzakura sliding out of her sheath whispered through the air. Byakuya's voice hardened. "Very well, I accept your challenge of Kuchiki honor..."
"WHAT THE FUCK!?!" Rukia let out a tiny yelp as she was appearantly displaced amidst Ichigo's frantic rustlings through the his bedclothes for Zangetsu. "You're fucking crazy, man-!!"
"SILENCE!!" The voice of a VERY pissed off captain-commander seized control of what could only be an impending disaster. "GO TO SLEEP THIS INSTANT! THAT IS AN ORDER!"
A hush fell over the camp. After a long moment, Yamamoto could be heard snuggling back into his own bedding, muttering something about babysitting a pack of imbolent whippersnappers. "Never in my eons have I witnessed such lack of discipline in camp..."
An instigatory whisper from Eighth. "Actually...Jyuu, remember that one time-?"
Ukitake's voice snapped back at once. "SHUN - Shut. Up."
An uneasy peace slowly descended as the shinigami camp carefully regained its composure as well as its shut-eye. Renji of course, was not so lucky.
Next to him, the soft rustlings started up again.
A frantic whisper, barely audible. "Rukia-! Knock it off, it was an order...!"
A delicate snort that somehow managed to sound enticing. "Well, you're really only a subsitute shinigami, and it's not like you don't break the rules whenever you feel like it." Ichigo weakly protested for a moment before Rukia lost her patience. "Oh, just shut up and let's do this before my brother hears you arguing with me again."
Renji just sighed and tried to distract himself with the endless ways he could use all this to torment the hell out of Ichigo.
"Augh! Get off of me, tiny-britches! Your brother-!!"
"Oh please, like you're really afraid to fight him. Don't tell me you're going soft, Ichigo!"
"N-No.." a cowed voice whispered back, trailing off into a low moan that indicated he was probably anything but 'soft'. Renji almost - almost - chuckled, but managed to restrain himself in time; this was too good to interrupt now.
"Then shut up and take it like a man!" Point, set, match - Rukia.
Renji struggled until he was blue in the face, before finally breaking down, casting the best soundproofing kido he could manage and promptly disintegrating into toe-curling guffaws.
Kurosaki was never, ever, ever living this down.