A/N: I have to write for all my favorite pairings sooner or later. If you didn't guess, this is yaoi and AU. I just love mythical creatures! If yaoi isn't your cup of tea, please hit the back button and save everyone some misery. If you're like me and can't get enough, welcome!
Pairings: Renji x Byakuya, Ichigo x Grimmjow, maybe more later on. It all depends on my mood.
Disclaimer: I'm writing a fanfiction, meaning I am a mere fan and not the owner of Bleach.
Chapter 1: Sloth
There I was, loping between the trees, wind pushing my blood red fur against my body. My coat shone in the dappled moonlight, irregular black lines turning my racing form into a hypnotizing streak of color. I dodged between huge, hundred-year old oaks, barely pausing to jump bushes as tall as myself. I could smell everything, every squirrel, rabbit, and fox that had passed through the woods in the last week. I chose the musky scent of a deer, a young buck, to follow. It had been almost a month since I had last hunted, and the adrenaline was surging through my canine veins.
The buck led me on a winding trail, over a bubbling stream, and over a barren hill. That's when I caught sight of his white hindquarters and ten-point set of antlers. I was so close, I could hear his heartbeat and smell his fearful sweat. I howled, to let him know I was close, and his time would be up very shortly. Besides, the chase was half the fun!
He bolted, his final stand, and I rocketed after him. It was blissful, the wind tickling my nose and ears, my tongue flapping as I panted, my paws thundering against the ground. I was closing in on the deer, even as his path swerved drunkenly back and forth. I could taste his meat already; I was only a few feet behind him. My back paws landed on a perfectly placed log, and I sprang with all I had to sink my cruel fangs into the buck's neck. My mouth was opened as wide as it could go, poised to take a chunk out of the nape of his neck-
Something very solid collided with my suddenly human shin. I shook my head, clearing it of sleep and wonderful dreams of freedom, to return to my cage.
"Renji, are you okay? You were twitching and whining in your sleep again," a voice next to me said.
The voice belonged to the best friend I had ever had, Ichigo Kurosaki. Only one other person had ever been as close to me as Ichigo was, and he was Ichigo's lover. He made himself known by yawning loudly and wrapping his arms around Ichigo's waist, then poking his blue head of hair over Ichigo's shoulder to look at me.
Grimmjow Jeagerjacques was mean, crude, and constantly horny. He was also the closest thing I'd ever had to an older brother, with his tendency to watch over both Ichigo and myself. He was a good listener, just like Ichigo, but he liked to badmouth whatever was bothering us as well, which is great for group therapy. He liked to give sarcastic advice and back massages, often at the same time.
I'm not sure I would still be here if it wasn't for the two of them.
The three of us had been cagemates for nearly a month now, with myself as the newest addition. At first I had been either a raging mess or a withdrawn shell, but with a lot of help on their part, I've gotten to the point where I can function again. I've learned the routine, and I've learned to behave myself. We're fed at six in the morning each day: I get dry dog food, Grimmjow gets dry cat food, and Ichigo gets dry cereal. Sometimes, Grimmjow or I aren't able to keep our animal forms for long enough to gulp down the horrid stuff, so Ichigo shares with us. We're fed three meals like this each day, and we get fruit, bread, and vegetables with dinner. An animal trough is rigged in the corner of the cage with rudimentary plumbing: a hose shoots water in, and a pipe drains it out to keep it cool and fresh. We used to have to put our hands in to drink the water, but as soon as the guards figured out we weren't about to kill each other, they allowed us to keep wooden cups. The cage is about twelve feet by twenty feet, so we don't get too much privacy. The bathroom is a hole in the floor with a circular cover, in the corner opposite the water trough. All we were given to wear was one pair of simple cotton pants each, and a collar. The only time we wore anything else was when another noble visited, and then we were dressed and groomed nicely, handcuffed, and acted as servants, maids, waiters, or even cooks. The pants are exchanged every other day for ones that were washed, like clockwork. For a bed, the guards had thrown in a pillow and blanket for each of us, which was pointless because the stone floor robbed us of all heat and comfort as it was. We learned to put two blankets on the floor and one over all three of us, and it was actually an adequate bed.
I should probably explain what I'm talking about here. The three of us, Ichigo, the human; Grimmjow, the werecat; and myself, Renji Abarai, a werewolf, were all captured servants of one noble vampire. His name?
Even his name sends shivers down my spine-and not unpleasant ones, either. I glanced at Ichigo and Grimmjow, still waiting for my answer, and shifted my leg to cover the sudden bulge in my pants. I could only hope the blush burning across my face was unnoticeable in the darkness.
Ichigo had cocked his head, still wondering if I was okay.
"S-sorry, Ichigo," I stammered, "I was dreaming. I thought I was free, and hunting a deer. It won't happen again." I turned away, ashamed of my lack of control as I dreamt of the things I couldn't have. It was all I ever dreamed about. Freedom. Steak and venison. And Byakuya's soft lips on mine.
...Okay, so I didn't really know if his lips were soft or not. His fingertips had been soft and cool as they brushed across my cheek, so I can only imagine the rest of him being the same. He had touched my cheek the day after I had been brought in, shivering and drawn into myself. Grimmjow had been rubbing my back, trying to get me to calm down and say something; Ichigo was whispering softly to me, trying to soothe my fraying sanity. Byakuya entered the room stealthily, and knelt beside my broken form. Grimmjow yelled something at him, shielding me with his body, but Byakuya reached past him and gently stroked my cheek.
"This one will soon be perfect," was all he had said before he glided out of the room as silently as he had come in.
I had only seen him twice other than that, both times when he took Ichigo out of the cage alone, and drank from him. Maybe it was just me, but I thought the action of sucking a person's blood was supposed to be revolting, not as...arousing...as Byakuya made it. Just watching was enough to make me wish I was a full-blooded human once again-then he'd run his rough tongue over the tender part of my neck, one hand on the small of my back, fangs pressing into my flesh as his body pressed into mine...
Both times, Ichigo said he felt little pain but was exhausted and thirsty afterward. Grimmjow and I were extra careful around him after that, and took care of him. He was always fine the morning after, but Grimmjow pampered Ichigo the best he knew how to for at least two days.
Ichigo had fallen back asleep, his head on Grimmjow's shoulder. I'm not sure if Grimmjow ever really woke up. I drifted back to sleep only moments later, and dreamed of the thing I wanted most, but could never have.
I woke to the sound of kibble rattling into my red plastic bowl, appropriately labeled "Puppy". The blue, porcelain "Kitty" bowl was filled immediately afterward, and Grimmjow purred as he gulped it down.
After all, it WAS food.
Ichigo was handed a bowl of dry flakes of some kind, but didn't protest.
I protested against moving.
"Hey," Ichigo finally poked me in the side, "what's up with you, Renji?"
So it wasn't my brightest idea ever, but I told him.
"It's like I'm empty inside," I muttered stupidly, not really caring what he thought at the moment.
"That's because your breakfast is still just lyin' there, mutt," Grimmjow growled, back to being human for the time being.
I sighed. There was no arguing with him. I rolled over, getting to my hands and knees to shift from man to beast.
Let me explain, for those of you who've never turned into an animal before. Werewolves (and other were-animals) are cursed to being wolves (or animals) during the full moon. However, a strong were can change to a form he shouldn't be in at will. Right now, I should have been human, but with a sharp tensing of muscles, I drew out my inner wolf.
Grimmjow's cat scent always used to throw me off ("You don't smell so good yourself, sunshine," was his only comment) but I quickly tamed the familiar sensation of wanting to run and hunt and howl in lieu of snarfing down sustenance.
Grimmjow, who SHOULD have known better, decided it would be fun to jump on my back as if I was a common pack animal. Normally, I would have at least growled, but I was feeling a little too depressed at the moment.
So of course, here's me as a hulking red wolf, lapping kibble off my muzzle, with a crazy blue madman riding me like a donkey, so Byakuya just HAD to make his appearance.
My day had just gone from bad to worse, and then sprinted all the way to Hell in two seconds flat.
"The dog comes with me," Byakuya ordered.
A/N: Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah, I'm thinking the rating has to go up next chapter. No, I will not rush into anything, you guys barely know Byakuya yet. I've never much liked fics that have two characters screwing either right after they've met, or when they still hate each other. Hmm. Rating will go up for violence, though. You have been warned.
Who likes the thought of a big blue panther named Grimmjow running around? I sure do! Aww, and Ichigo's so cute, being worried about Renji and all that. Yeah, this chapter was mostly explanation, but there will be more action next chapter. Sayonara folks!