Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

His sandals were falling off his feet, and the socks weren't even put on properly. He yelped when his toe collided with a small rock. He grimaced but kept running; he couldn't afford to be late again. The last time Renji was late, Kuchiki Taicho threatened to leave him with the first year recruits. Oh, how he hated those new members, with their baby faces and their inability to listen to orders. The time before, when he was training them, one of the recruits actually started crying on him because of the training. Ugh, he shuddered at the memory. Thankfully Ukitake Taicho, who happened to be passing by, sympathetically took the recruit off him, and took him to the fourth division. Renji never knew what exactly happened to the kid, but he left it at that.

An acute pain coming from his forehead left him staggering for a few seconds. Renji cursed at his luck, and his friends, with whom he had gone drinking the night before. Ikkaku-san challenged him to a drinking game, and Renji ended up drinking a jug full of sake, while Ikkaku fooled him by drinking only water. Curse that bastard. But it was also Renji's fault for accepting, knowing very well that he had work in the morning. Renji sighed but kept using shunpo to reach the sixth division as fast as he could. He probably looked like crap, but standing in front of Taicho in the next five minutes was better than arriving late and looking better than he was now. Renji released a breath he didn't know he was holding as he saw the sixth division gate. He ran through the hallways, dodging and lifting a hand as a mock salute for the people he knew. He stopped in front of the screen doors, and fixed his shinigami uniform. He felt relaxed; yet tense at the same time as he felt his Taicho's reiatsu coming from inside the office. He knocked gently in hopes that his Taicho would be too obsorbed in his work to notice Renji slipping inside. "Come in," came the sharp voice of his Taicho.

Renji cursed at his wistful thinking, and entered the room. Taicho's reiatsu spiked for a millisecond before it went back to its normal level. Renji's eyes widened and his hand instantly went to his Zambimaru. He kicked himself mentally for his unconscious behavior and quickly withdrew his hand. What in the world was he thinking? To draw his sword in front of Taicho would only be interpreted as him wanting to challenge Kuchiki Byakuya. Renji certainly didn't want a repeat of what happened last time. Unconsciously, Renji felt a shiver going through his spine as he remembered the suppressed memory. Getting shredded by Taicho's bankai was the last thing Renji had on his mind this morning. Taicho probably was angry at his lateness. Hoping that he wasn't, Renji looked up at him. Instead of meeting angry purple-gray eyes, Renji was greeted with eyes, which held an indescribable emotion passing through them.

Silence ensued. Renji began studying his Taicho. The standard white kenseikan, stood proudly on his hair, while leaving the rest of hair to cascade in curtains along his shoulder. Renji still didn't know how his Taicho managed to achieve that perfect glossy hair; the hair that caused all the single and married women to drool about. Next his porcelain smooth skin contrasted greatly with his black hair, but was also envied by women and men alike. His straight sharp nose, the perfected frown and the slight downturn of his lips, all shouted to the people of sereitei that he was of noble birth. An aristocrat, who was not to be taken lightly. Then came the scarf that was forever wrapped around his neck. An extremely pale light green, and from his experience Renji knew it was as soft and silky as it looked. Renji almost felt inferior compared to his Taicho. With his loud mouth, clumsiness, and choppy wild red hair, Renji would never get to his Taicho's level. He was merely a street-boy. "Abarai Renji. You are late. Again," Kuchiki's sharp tone cut Renji's mussing short.

Renji felt ready to pee in his pants. The tone of his Taicho was enough to make Renji spend his entire day on paperwork without a single complaint. And that was something no one would be able to make Renji do, which said something about his Taicho. Renji gulped and stuttered, "I'm really sorry Kuchiki Taicho but I had an emergency this morning that had to be dealt with immediately."

"And what was so important that made you two hours late?" inquired his Taicho.

Damn him. Now he had to make up an excuse and hope Taicho wouldn't catch it. Renji tried his best to look his Taicho in the eye, but found it impossible to do as he kept glancing anywhere but his face. "Uhh, I found a new recruit who was injured during training. So uhh, I had to take him to the fourth division. He asked me not to leave and was crying hysterically so I took pity on him and stayed until they treated him." Renji replied with a wavering voice but became steady as he fabricated the lie.

Renji mentally congratulated himself on his quick thinking and felt the tension in his shoulders drop a bit. "Are you sure Renji?" Taicho asked with a stern tone.

All the tension that disappeared, returned ten fold. "Yes," Renji replied unsurely, as if he himself was doubtful of what happened.

"Oh, then it must have been another red head who was rolling around in front of the sake house this morning." Kuchiki replied, his voice resembling a sharp knife sinking into flesh.

Shit. How the hell did his Taicho come across that? In all of soul society, Renji was the only one with bright red hair. So there couldn't possibly be another red head. Renji felt his entire face turn red. He dropped his shoulders and his head in defeat. Ikkaku and Shuhei thought that instead of taking him home, it would be funny to leave him in front of the sake house after he passed out. It left him resting there till morning, only waking to find the shopkeeper kicking him to move for he was turning away the customers. It left him only enough time to return home to take a shower and abandon his dirt spread clothes for new ones. Thus leaving him now with wet hair dripping all over the wooden office floor. Renji risked a glace up to see his Taicho's face. He thought he saw a ghost of a smile lingering on Taicho's lips, but a second later there was only a thin pressed line, so he let it go as his imagination. He did have one of the worst hangovers ever, so illusions were all part of the post-package of night outs. "Make sure it doesn't happed again Abarai. Now finish these papers. They need to be sent before this evening to the 10th division." Taicho ordered.

Renji felt somewhat relieved, and stepped forward to take the papers. At least there was no threat from Taicho. He felt a smile come to his lips. Maybe it won't be a bad day after all. Taicho cleared his throat, "Don't let the water drip on the papers, or you'll be rewriting them. From scratch."

He quickly grabbed the papers and got to work. Taking extra care to not make any mistakes and not to let any water drip. Renji worked all midday, and afternoon, not even stopping for lunch; even though his stomach growled out loud several times. Renji wanted to make up for his lateness. By the time evening arrived, Renji was done with all the paperwork. Feeling pleased he took the papers and strolled casually to the 10th division. Renji had been so absorbed in his work that he hadn't even felt his Taicho's eyes on him, the whole time.