Walking through a frozen jungle, with their hands still linked for reasons neither of them cared to admit, Ichigo and Renji searched for that missing piece of Renji that would bring everything back together again. But they seemed to be going in circles, and Ichigo was completely lost in unfamiliar territory. Who would've thought that Renji's mind would be a maze?

But he supposed Renji really was full of hidden complexities... On the outside he seemed pretty simple, brash, arrogant, cocky, and an asshole in general. But there was a lot more to him then that. There was compassion in Renji, a lot of it, underneath that hard exterior was a soft heart that was easily hurt, but not easily broken.

There was strength there as well. And a determination that even Ichigo didn't think he could match. How many times had Renji gotten up when Ichigo would have stayed down? The pain must have been intense to the point of blacking out, but Renji didn't do that either. When Ichigo had cut him down in Soul Society, and he'd been thrown back, hair flying loose, blood splattering everywhere, Ichigo had been half-afraid that he'd killed him. But then Renji had not only gotten up but he'd walked over to him and grabbed him. His hand on Ichigo's shihakusho had been unsteady, but strong.

Looking back, Ichigo was pretty sure that was the moment he'd started looking at Renji differently. Right in that exact moment, with Renji so close to him, smelling like blood and sweat and looking so strangely vulnerable. Renji had just been an enemy before, a goal that Ichigo had to surpass, but in that moment Ichigo saw him as a person, as someone real, not just an obstacle. And something about Renji had made something unnamed stir in his gut.

He looked over at the man that filled his thoughts, seeing his pale, tense face, his dark, pained eyes, Ichigo's heart clenched. His grip tightened on Renji's hand and he stopped walking. Renji stopped as well, looking back at him in confusion.

"There must be something more we can do then just wander around. We need to rest a minute and think." Ichigo said, and if his voice hadn't been so soft he might have sounded commanding. Renji just nodded mutely and turned to face Ichigo properly.

Ichigo just looked at Renji's face for several long moments, at a loss. How could that face go away, how could those eyes, that body, that attitude just disappear? It wasn't possible. He couldn't let it happen. But he could feel the time slipping through his fingers and he had no idea what to do. Renji looked so tired, like all he wanted to do was sleep and never wake up again. Ichigo bit his lip, looking into Renji's eyes and sighing deeply.

"Fuck, I don't know what to do for you..." he muttered, giving in to impulse and wrapped his arms around the redhead. He hugged him tightly, feeling Renji's arms wrap around his shoulders, his head resting on top of Ichigo's head. Ichigo kind of hated how much taller Renji was then him, but right now he just kind of fit against Renji's big body so he really didn't mind. Renji closed his eyes, breathing Ichigo in, trying to push back the fog that had been trying to take over his mind for the last little while. It was easier now, with Ichigo so close to him. It was like something inside him that was freezing up, just like the world around them, was slowly thawing out.

"Just stay like that..." Renji murmured, not really thinking before he said it. Ichigo looked up at him curiously.

Ichigo's body was warm, that was all that Renji cared about right then, he kept his eyes closed, holding Ichigo tightly against him. Ichigo wasn't content to just stand there, though. He took Renji's face in his hands and pulled him down to kiss him, feeling like a girl when he had to stand up on his toes to do so.

Kissing Ichigo was like making the world melt away, like everything around them was nothing more than a coloured blur and nothing else mattered but the soft mouth on his. It was different, kissing him now, when they were both themselves, almost like it was more real. Like all the kisses from before had just been pretend, and now this was the real thing.

When he'd seen Ichigo running towards him, here in this wasteland of thought, he'd been certain he wasn't real, that his imagination was bringing forth for him the person he missed the most, all alone in the dark. But then their bodies had collided and Ichigo was calling his name and kissing him, and he was too much like Ichigo to not be real. Renji figured his imagination would probably make Ichigo less bossy and a lot more naked.

As they stood there, too absorbed in each other to notice, the ground around them seemed to warm up under their feet, the frost melting away to make way for green grass. Renji's mind was empty of anything but Ichigo, no longer focusing on lingering worries about what lay ahead.

And, of course, as soon as he stopped thinking about it, he knew what to do.

"Ichigo." he murmured, pulling back from the younger man's lips and smiling lightly. "Draw Zangetsu."

Ichigo had been staring at Renji's mouth, wanting it again, blinking in confusion when Renji's words sunk in. "What?"

"Draw yer zanpakuto, I know what to do."

Ichigo raised an eyebrow, "And how, exactly, did you come up with this sudden epiphany, may I ask?"

"Goin' with my gut." Renji grinned, and if anything was going to convince Ichigo to go along with this, it was seeing that almost maniacal smile back on that gorgeous face. "Think about it. When has Zabimaru ever passed up a chance t' cross with Zangetsu? He's always itching to go at it again."

"But Renji... How are we supposed to start a fight when you don't have a zanpakuto? Not even a sealed one..." He looked down at Renji's waist, his obi sash lacking the sheathed blade with the lightning bolt hilt.

"I dunno, I'm makin' this up as I go. Just work with me here." He let go of Ichigo, backing away a few paces and settling into a defensive stance, fists up in the air. "Just draw Zangetsu 'n' come at me. If it doesn't work then you get to beat on my ass, I know how much you love doin' that."

Ichigo chuckled and shook his head. It was so weird to have Renji acting like his normal stupid self when they were in this situation. But who was to say it wouldn't work? It couldn't hurt to try, and it was better then wandering around accomplishing nothing.

"Alright, you crazy bastard. Better brace yourself." He said, pulling the ridiculously large blade off of his back and swinging it in front of him.

He ran towards Renji, swinging Zangetsu over his head in a heavy upward swing and bringing it back down over Renji's head, but the redhead dodged over to the side, surprisingly light on his feet considering his size, but he did have to keep up with Kuchiki Byakuya on a daily basis...

Ichigo swung out against Renji again, watching as the fukutaichou continued to evade his attacks. He knew he was going easier then he normally would, but really, Renji didn't have a sword, it would feel wrong to attack him at full strength.

"Stop holdin' back." Renji said, reading his thoughts and grinning wolfishly. "I can handle it."

Ichigo frowned a little at him, but couldn't stop the smile that twitched at the corners of his mouth. "Fine. You asked for it."

He yelled and shunpo'd forward, leaping into the air and falling back down towards Renji's brightly coloured head, Zangetsu braced for a devastating strike.

Only to find himself blocked by the thin, shining metal of Renji's sealed zanpakuto. Ichigo's eyes widened, and Renji looked just as surprised, but he recovered quickly, grinning hugely. "Keep goin'." He said, striking out with an attack of his own with the materialized blade in his hand.

Ichigo was grinning too, almost disbelieving that Renji's idea had actually worked. He parried Renji's blow, pushing him back, and the redhead was laughing in that rough voice as he pushed back, sounding just the same as he always did when they sparred like this. Since he didn't really need to hold back any more Ichigo just lost himself in the rhythm of their bodies, in the tense and release as they came together and parted again, and Renji seemed just as lost to that familiar beat. They didn't notice that everywhere their feet touched the ground thawed and warmed, or that the air around them was gradually heating up along with the pace of their sparring. It wasn't until, after being pushed back one too many times for his liking, Renji automatically called the name of his zanpakuto, that they noticed any change.

"Hoero, Zabimaru!"

They both froze as the words left his lips, the tension of that one millisecond seemed to stretch on forever.

But then, in Renji's hand, the jagged teeth of Zabimaru's true blade materialized, a welcome sight to both shinigami.

"'Bout time you brought me out, you idiot." A voice said from beside them, and Ichigo gasped a bit when they both turned to face the large Nue that had spoken.

"Yeah, why th' hell didn't ya think t' do that earlier, asshole?" the snake hissed, looking rather irritated. "I keep tellin' ya that fightin' solves all o' yer problems if yer doin' it right!"

"Obviously it would have been impossible without Zangetsu and Ichigo here." The baboon half added, "But you really did make us wait."

Renji chuckled ruefully. "Sorry 'bout that. You know I can be a li'l slow."

The baboon nodded its large head, blinking it's red eyes over at Ichigo. "Thank you." he said simply, before sighing a bit. "Now the two of you should return before people worry."

And with that the world around them seemed to melt away into black, a warm darkness that a few seconds later focused into awareness. There was the continuous beeping of monitoring machines and the warm roughness of another person's hand, the weight of blankets, and the firmness of a mattress against their backs. It was Ichigo who opened his eyes first, looking over at Renji, for a moment wondering if it was just a dream. But then Renji's eyes opened too, blinking over at Ichigo and smiling softly. He sat up a bit, scowling a the various wires that connected him to the machines. He was happy to see his normal, male body underneath the heavy sheets and he cheerfully started tugging wires off.

One of the monitors made a high pitched squealing noise and there was scrabbling outside the door. Urahara ran inside, more frazzled then either man had ever seen him, and Ichigo snickered to himself as he followed Renji's lead and started tugging at cords. Once Urahara stopped long enough to see that they were both actually okay the hat came down over his face again and he sighed.

"You two certainly do keep me on my toes, don't you?" he said, peeking out from under the brim to see the two men carefully setting themselves back on the floor.

"Yeah, well, we're always full of surprises, ne, Urahara-san?" Ichigo said coolly.

"Now I think..." Renji began.

"That we owe you..." Ichigo continued.

"THIS!" They bellowed at the same time, both men's fists colliding with the shopkeeper's stunned looking face at the same time, a satisfying 'crack' sounding through the air and blood spurting from the blonde's clearly broken noise.

"Well... I probably deserved that..." Urahara murmured nasally, watching as his patients left the room, arms around each other's shoulders, laughing sadistically at his pain. He could only speculate where they were going, but he guessed he wouldn't be welcome near either of them for quite some time. He pinched the bridge of his nose, hissing in pain as he left the room as well. "Oh, Tessai-san? A little assistance please?"


Renji and Ichigo made their way almost unconsciously towards Ichigo's room, glancing at each other as they walked inside. Ichigo was dressed in a plain white robe that Urahara had put him in before he'd transferred his reiatsu into Renji, and Renji was simply dressed in his cherry blossom yukata.

They stopped laughing and talking, just looking at each other for several long moments. What finally broke the silence was the sound of Renji sliding the door shut with a soft 'thunk', leaving the two of them to look at each other with nothing but the light coming in under the door. Which was fine, since less then a moment later Ichigo's arms were wrapped tightly around Renji's neck and they were kissing heatedly against the nearest surface (which happened to be a side table).

They knocked things onto the floor, bodies, pressed together tightly, hearing the tinkling of broken glass as they knocked over a lamp in the effort to loosen each other's belts. Renji's hands burned over Ichigo's skin as he slipped his hands inside Ichigo's robe, rubbing over his torso before pushing the material off of the boy's shoulders so that he could part their lips and nip hungrily down his pale throat.

"Haa, Renji..." Ichigo breathed, panting a bit and tipping his head back, his hands leaving Ichigo's body just long enough to slide the top half of the robe completely off of him. His fingers tangled in Renji's wild, sleep-mussed hair, tugging when he felt a small bite on his collarbone.

It was delightful to find out that Renji really wasn't all that different, that the little things he'd learned over these pasts few weeks still held true. Like how Renji still moaned when Ichigo sucked along that soft spot just under his ear, or how Ichigo would cling to Renji when he pressed his fingers into his lower back.

But at the same time, it was so different and exciting and laced with just a hint of desperation because Ichigo had just about lost him, and he had to make sure that it was never going to happen again. Renji's body was hot and hard and masculine under his hands, which was an entirely new sensation that Ichigo was unsure how to deal with, but it became clear very fast that Renji didn't care about his hesitation, he was more then happy to take the lead.

They somehow made it over to the futon, tumbling onto it with Renji on top, his mouth ravaging its way down over Ichigo's chest. Ichigo gasped and moaned as Renji took a nipple between his teeth and tugged, so much rougher then he'd been before. But maybe Renji was a little desperate too, because he'd craved this so badly, wanted it so much, and now that he hadn't he couldn't stop even if the universe suddenly exploded around them.

Ichigo wasn't complaining, quite the opposite. This dominant, rough, demanding Renji was what he'd missed so dearly, he wouldn't give him up for anything by now.

Fingers finally managed to completely undo each belt in turn, sliding cloth entirely off of each man's already sweat-slicked skin. They stared at each other, their naked, hard bodies finally coming together for the first time and deep moaning drawing from both of them as their erections ground together.

Ichigo was feeling a little dizzy with it all, clinging to Renji's shoulder and hair like lifelines as Renji's mouth continued to savour every part of him, sampling greedily. But as he felt Renji's tongue sliding up his cock Ichigo groaned and tugged Renji back up to him. "H-how are we going to do this?" he asked nervously, blushing at his own uncertainty and biting his lip. Renji just wanted to eat him up.

"Well, if I recall, I already played th' girl for ya, Ichigo..." he murmured in a low voice, sending shivers up Ichigo's spin for several reasons. "So I'm thinkin' ya'd better hold on tight 'n' enjoy th' ride... 'Cuz I ain't holdin' back this time..."

Ichigo swallowed thickly and nodded a bit, leaning up to kiss Renji again. The redhead's hand wandered beside the bed, feeling around the scattered things they'd knocked from the side table, his fingers closing over a bottle of lilac scented lotion that Urahara had for some reason set in every room. Not that Renji was thinking about that as he warmed the thick liquid over both his hands and wrapped one lubricated hand around Ichigo's cock.

"Oh, fuck..." Ichigo moaned, eyes squeezing shut and his hips bucking up into Renji's hand. "fuck, Renji, fuck..."

"That what ya want, Ichigo? You want me to fuck ya?" Renji asked in a rough tone, needing him to answer before he could take this any further.

It took a moment for Ichigo to decide, his mind entirely distracted by Renji's hand running smoothly and slowly over his cock, but his mind was completely made up within that moment.

"Yes. God yes. Renji, fuck me." He said, voice a little strained and hoarse, another moan escaping him as Renji's fingers squeezed his cock tighter.

Renji nearly sighed in relief, but he was too busy surging forward to claim Ichigo's lips again to bother.

"Spread your legs for me." He murmured into Ichigo's ear, pulling a small whimper from the boy's lips.

There was a moments hesitation while the young shinigami weighed how much trust he had in Renji. It didn't take him long to figure out that he didn't really trust anyone more. So he spread his legs and tried not to feel vulnerable, looking up at Renji with eyes that were dark with desire and wide with nerves. Renji kissed him again, softer this time, longer and sweeter, his tongue encouraging Ichigo's to play in its tender, slow dance. Ichigo melted into the futon, focusing on the sweet taste of Renji on his tongue and doing his best not to squirm when he felt the fingers of Renji's free hand lightly moving up his thigh and tracing slickly over his entrance. It made him shudder, that weird, unfamiliar sparking of nerves, making his lower back arch a bit and forcing Renji to swallow a breathless, unsure moan. He spread his legs wider, anticipation leaving a light, fluttering feeling in his gut.

He couldn't stop the gasp, or his back arching, or the sharp tug on Renji's hair when that first finger pressed inside him, making him whine. It was hot, and strange, but mostly it just made him want to buck and squirm and feel more, his body a little unsure as to whether or not it was enjoying this.

Renji's slick finger pressed in deeper, slowly and carefully beginning to thrust in and out of Ichigo's mind-blowingly tight ass. The muffled whining moan that Ichigo tried to conceal when he did so made Renji's cock twitch and his stomach clench with want. He slipped a second finger inside carefully, beginning to stretch Ichigo and prepare him for what was certainly going to be a memorable night ahead of them.

Oh, god... Was basically the only thing going through Ichigo's mind as he felt Renji stretching him open, fucking him with his fingers. He already felt stretched and hot and could barely believe that he could possibly feel more full then he did already. But he believed it when Renji carefully, carefully added a third finger and worked harder to make Ichigo relax. It wasn't going as well as Renji would like, since Ichigo couldn't relax at the best of times, but as soon as his fingers brushed over that spot Ichigo's body twitched and spasmed hard before going completely, bonelessly limp. Except for his cock of course, which was painfully hard.

"Oh, god, Renji, please just fuck me... I'm losin' it... I want you in me..."

"Ah, shit, why d'ya gotta be so fuckin' hot all th' time?" Renji growled, sucking roughly on Ichigo's neck until his mark was left before he slowly pulled his fingers out of Ichigo's body. He grabbed the bottle of lotion again, groaning as he lubed up his thick cock. Ichigo could hear him moaning, knowing what he was doing, but he couldn't look, he couldn't see how big Renji's cock was, not now, he'd freak out, he knew it. So he rested back and lifted his hips encouragingly, causing Renji to curse rather viciously and shakily line himself up at Ichigo's entrance. "Relax okay?" he murmured.

And to his surprise, Ichigo actually did, wrapping his arms over Renji's shoulders and his legs around his waist, pulling him in until Renji was slowly starting to press into him.

"Oh, oh... D-damn, Renji..." he whispered, clinging tighter to Renji as he felt just how thick and hard Renji was inside him, making him keen at an embarrassingly high pitch as Renji settled deeply inside him. It didn't take long before his body couldn't remain still, adjustment be damned, he couldn't wait. "Move, Renji, please."

To start, the redhead was painfully gentle, moving inside Ichigo in long, deep, slow thrusts that made his back arch and his chest heave for breath. But he couldn't keep up that pace for long, neither of them could. He thrust harder, faster, grinding deeper into Ichigo until he was pulling a moan out of the boy with almost every breath. With Renji's hands on his hips to guide him Ichigo pressed back into Renji's thrusts, crying out when he found the rhythm and Renji's cock pressed up right against that brain-breaking spot that made precum spurt from his cock and his eyes roll back into his head.

Hearing that cry seemed to snap something in Renji and suddenly he couldn't hold back any more, gradually picking up the pace until they were pounding against one another hard enough to hurt. But Renji found it hard to feel guilty, even if this was Ichigo's first time and he probably wasn't going to be able to walk tomorrow, because of how much the shinigami-daikou so obviously loved every second of it. Every breathless moan, every groaned demand for more, every harsh whisper of his name, was pushing Renji closer and closer to that pleasurable edge. He wrapped his hand around Ichigo's cock again, stroking him in time to their rough, fast movements, making Ichigo yell Renji's name loudly and writhe under him. It didn't take long before Ichigo was cumming unbelievably hard all over both of their stomachs, leaving him a squirming moaning mess and pulling Renji over the edge with him.

"Fuck, fuck, Ichigo..." Renji murmured, trying to catch his rapid breath, "That was..."

"Oh, god, Renji..." Ichigo murmured back, slowly releasing the shinigami's hair from his grip and relaxing under him. "Why the fuck didn't we ever do that before?" he wondered.

Renji chuckled. "I have no fuckin' clue."

"But we're gonna do it again, right?"

"You kiddin'? We might not leave this room for the next week." Renji was grinning, but Ichigo couldn't really see in the dark.

Ichigo grinned back anyway. "Yeah? Does that mean I can ride you next time?"

Renji growled, nipping Ichigo's neck sharply. "O' course. In fact, I plan on getti n' ya int' every position I can think of b'fore we both pass out."

"Making up for lost time?"

"That 'n' one of us spent a couple weeks horny 'n' 'pregnant' 'n' didn't get any relief from it."

Ichigo blushed again. "Oh... Well then I guess we'd better get started again, huh?"

"Damn right."

Ichigo licked his lips a bit, thinking to himself that maybe this whole ordeal was worth it, that maybe, if he could have this, if he could wake up next to Renji in the morning, if he could kiss him whenever he wanted and touch him all the time, maybe this whole thing wasn't so bad.

But then Renji was kissing him again, and he didn't think anything else for hours after that.

They were back, they were happy, and they were together, and Urahara was sure as hell not going to try anything like that for awhile at least. So they could enjoy this, whatever it was, because both men were starting to wonder if it wasn't more then an 'attraction', and they could feel safe, for a few hours at least.

Because since when are shinigami ever really safe? There was always more trouble to get into.

But that's kind of what made it great.



Oh my god... it's over... I-I... wow...

Thank you so much, to everyone who was following this series, your support is what got me to actually finish it. A big thank you to my RenIchi friends on LJ, since you guys helped me to make my story so much better and... yeah. It's done. I'm very proud of myself XD