I'm surprised how fast I'm spitting this shit out. I was inspired by yet another song called Night Swimming by the band R.E.M. I expect this to be a simple two-shot but if I can continue it I will. So, I kind of had to make up names for the three boys Renji and Rukia grew up with since they never tell you in the anime. I think I got the idea of naming one of them Yuki from someone else's story. I just can't remember…whoever you are thanks and I hope you don't mind that I kind of stole the idea. Anyways, enjoy=)
It was summer and the heat became utterly unbearable. It wasn't like in the winter, where they could bundle in all their torn, yet sufficient blankets, reaching and sinking into the surrounding body heat of their comrades. No, when the sun rose in its high sky, it stood there on its pedestal, glaring its heated gaze towards the helpless below. No, there was literally no way to escape the heat, sure, you could peel off the layers of your clothing like peeling the skin off of a sweaty orange, feeling the damp cloth leave your body presented some satisfaction…that is, because you'd be buck naked. But this feeling of satisfaction didn't last for long, the sun continued to blare, the heat rose in invisible, thick clouds and proceeded to smother your lungs and skin.
Sure, you could fan yourself, but that would only make every sweat gland in your body sob until you were slick with sweat, and not a cold sweat, no a scolding kinda sweat. No, the only way to escape the heat for a substantial amount of time is to go swimming, of course. However, in the day time, even the coldest rivers and lakes would turn luke warm, and bathing in luke warm water didn't cool your body off when it was being attacked by temperatures in the high 90s. Renji dredged himself through the days, sulking in the shade, basking in the sudden and all-too-abrupt breeze, moving as little as humanly possible, waiting for night; sweet night to overcast his sufferings. But on a blazing hot day, like this one…the time itself seemed to melt away…dragging on the day longer and longer, practically stretching the sun's potential in the sky. Renji was not about it. Out of all his friends, Renji was most affected by the heat, and he never let them forget it.
"Fucking hell !" Renji yelped, tugging desperately at his sweat soaked collar, "Ya know what? I kinda realized why this place is called hangin' dog. It's not about all the death and torture in this goddamn place…it's like the damn dog was so fuckin' sick of this motherfuckin' heat it decided to do itself a favor, and end its own life. Before the fuckin' sun did it for him!" he concluded, before laughing angrily at his own joke, considering no one else did.
"Okay, Renji…we get it. You're hot, we're hot. Everyones mad…just shut up already!" Rukia yelled, becoming increasingly sick of Renji's constant complaints. She incessantly fanned herself, shaking her head every now in then to alleviate the sweat from her face, the top of her head, and neck.
"Just try to relax for once, don't let the heat go to your head. Plus just think about how awesome tonight's gonna feel after a horrible day like this." Rukia said, trying to ease her red headed friend's temper. She knew Renji had an immense influence over every ones mood in the small group, mostly because when he was pissed he didn't stop complaining leading to fights upon fights about the most trivial of things. But, she smiled, when Renji was happy he had a way of making everyone feel as good as he did.
"Yeah, I guess. Just, I hate waiting. It's a pain in my ass!" Renji griped, throwing his hands in the air with a sigh.
Tonight, like the previous nights before, their close-knit little group would go swimming in the large stream that nobody seemed to know about. They boasted amongst themselves, for it was their secret hiding place. It was through a brief patch of woods on the outer markings of Rukongai, the slightly narrow, yet surprisingly deep stream was flowing with cool, crystal clear water…ultimately untouched by man. So, each night, the gang basked in the cool water and atmosphere of their hidden paradise…ridding their bodies of sweat and built up tension. Of course, they wore bathing suits to cover their naked bodies, so they could all bathe together.
Of course, they realized this way, they wouldn't have to worry about Rukia's safety, like they did when they first began bathing at night, when she refused to be anywhere around their naked bodies. The first week, they couldn't relax. The three boys just stared anxiously down towards the end of the stream, where large rocks jutting out from a small waterfall covered Rukia from their view. They listened intently to every sound, making sure they could hear her splashing around in the water, and when she got quiet they called out her name in a panic, to which she scolded them for undermining her strength and independence. But, her nagging never stopped them from worrying….they all knew what could happen if some creep accidentally stumbled upon a naked beauty wading seductively in the water, completely open to any attacks.
Renji, of course, was the worst of them all when it came to fretting over Rukia's well-being, and he made it blatantly obvious. He stood and bathed the closest to the small water fall, resting his back against the hard rocks guarding the edge, that way he could scope out the woods around them in high alert. He wouldn't allow himself to relax; he would talk to her, from the other side of the fall just to make sure she was still there, her peaceful voice reminding him that she was still okay. And after realizing the set-up wasn't working, they all decided as a group to return the next night in the swimsuits they had stolen from a vendor who was selling items from the living world. After that, the small gang couldn't wait for nighttime to come, just so they could rush down to their little piece of heaven, where they talked, played and all around relaxed together.
"Okay, let's get to work, I'm starving…" the tall and skinny Yuki proposed, pushing the stubborn clumps of brown hair from his face.
"Okay, you guys know the drill. Rukia and Renji fish. And we," he said motioning to his companions, Kouta the chubby boy with short black hair, and Ikichi, the small and timid boy with wavy dark brown locks. "Are gonna start and manage the fire, like always…"
"Yeah, like always." The two boys complained in unison, before dragging themselves over to the soot covered barrel they used as a fire pit.
"Okay, Rukia. Let's do this already." Renji sighed, not happy about the fact that this process required movement; he was already sweating buckets even though all he was doing was sitting around and breathing. Rukia nodded her head, following Renji to the riverbank, as the boys watched intently from their places around the barrel.
"I have a plan, so listen carefully." Yuki instructed, leaning in towards his two companions, bringing them into a huddle. "Tonight…we're not gonna go to the stream." He stated bluntly.
"What!" Kouta exclaimed, "Why the hell not?"
"Yeah, I really wanna go!" Ikichi pouted, crossing his arms over his small chest.
"Guys…think about it, just look at those two." Yuki said softly, breaking their huddle, as all their eyes shifted towards their fishing companions. Their ears picked up the faint sound of Rukia and Renji's laughter in the distance, as they proceeded to playfully push and splash water at one another. They all took in the way Renji looked at her when he caught her fist softly in his hand, deflecting her well-aimed punch.
"What's your point?" Ikichi said, not fully understanding the situation or Yuki's intentions.
"My point IS…they're hopelessly in love. And they're too stubborn to admit it, or notice it even."
"What makes you think they're in love? They're just friends." Kouta interjected, "We're all friends."
Yuki sighed and poked at the steadily rising flames, and shot an understanding look at his chubby friend. "Yes, we're all friends. We will always be friends, even if renji and rukia become more than friends. We'll always be friends and family to one another. Nothings gonna change." He concluded, glancing over at Renji and Rukia.
"Well, I don't think their in love." Ikichi said stubbornly, kicking aimlessly at the dirt beneath his tiny feet.
"You can't be serious? You'd have to be blind not to see what's between them. Or…" Yuki questioned, in a teasing manner. "Are you jealous, Ikichi?"
Ikichi sputtered, his face turning red as he clenched his fists at his side and glared angrily at Yuki.
"I am NOT jealous." He said, but with less conviction than intended.
"I mean, I guess I am a little." Yuki confessed, causing his companions' heads to snap up, as they questioned him with their eyes. "I mean, we should all be. Admit it, at one point or another both of you have crushed on Rukia. I know I have and it's hard not to. She's amazing." he said, staring at her lithe form in the distance. But, he abruptly broke his stare, "But they were just miniscule crushes…nothing like what Renji feels for her. I mean think about it…" Yuki suggested.
"Do you see the way he looks at her? It's written all over his face. And Rukia's just as dense when it comes to this kinda stuff she probably hasn't noticed his feelings or her own for that matter." Yuki concluded with a light chuckle.
"I want them to be happy, we all do. But aren't you scared about what's gonna happen to us. To our family?" Kouta questioned, directing his solemn gaze at the crusty dirt below.
"Well yeah, I'm scared but I don't think anything drastic will happen, nothing could tear our family apart." Yuki confirmed, truly believing his words himself. "I mean, back when we were little do you remember what they promised us?" Yuki asked, smiling contently as his companions glanced knowingly at one another. "They promised that they would never leave us. They're giving up a better life in a better place for us. We should be more than grateful. And I know for sure that they meant it. So the least we can do for them is to set this fear aside and help them realize their true feelings." he concluded, his smile widening when his two companions nodded their acceptance at his proposition.
"Okay, so what's your plan then, know-it-all?" Kouta teased, lightening the mood.
"Oh yeah, so tonight we'll all say we're tired of swimming. And you know Renji's gonna get pissed, but just stick with it….you know he's always suffering mental heat exhaustion." Yuki paused, chuckling. "So…it's safe to say he'll still want to go there. But if he doesn't we'll just question his bravery and say shit like 'oh, is poor Renji afraid to go all alone with only Rukia to defend him?' He'll eat that up for sure. As for Rukia, she loves going. She'll probably feel bad that she wants to go even though it'd be without us but just encourage her or something. Anyways I'm sure she won't let Renji go alone." Yuki finished, noticing his companions baffled looks directed straight at him.
"Damn, you thought this out, didn't you?" Ikichi stated with an impressed look on his face.
"Renji, my fish is definitely bigger, are you blind, baka?" Rukia teased loudly, making the three friends snap out of their deep thoughts, and watch the bickering couple as they approached with their handfuls of fish.
"You're blind, dumbass. Mine is clearly bigger. I think you're going senile, midget!" Renji exclaimed, laughing loudly before yelping as Rukia smacked his stomach, hard.
The bickering couple took their seats around the makeshift campfire, as each friend chose a fish and skewered them on the sharpened sticks they had been making since they were children and worked in utter silence, making Renji and Rukia raise their eyebrows, glancing at each of their comrades faces. "SO…" Renji began loudly, startling all three of them, making them all jump slightly.
"What's going on?" Renji asked, curiosity dripping from the tone of his voice.
"Nothing." The three silent boys chimed in unison.
Renji shot Rukia a questioning glance, only to be met with her own, baffled look, as she shrugged back at him.
"Well…" Yuki spoke up in a sigh, twirling his stick impaled fish in the fire, "We were just talking about how tired we are…" He lied, gazing up at the sky, just noticing now that the sun was setting, a clear sign that nighttime was just around the corner. "So, I guess we're not going swimming tonight." He stated, trying to make it sound like a sudden observation.
"What the hell, I wanna go!" Renji barked, his eyes darting from one friend to the next.
"Then you can still go, just we are not coming." Yuki said, pointing at the friends beside him, to make it blatantly clear that they were the 'we' in that statement.
"Fine, be that way…" Renji said, shifting his gaze to Rukia, "You still wanna go right, Rukia?" he asked, not noticing all the smirks he was receiving from his male comrades, they all held their breaths, waiting for a reply from the petite raven-haired girl, who seemed to be taking forever to answer.
"Uh, yeah. I guess I still wanna go." Rukia concluded, entranced by the blazing fire ahead of her. Neither her nor Renji noticing the thumbs up Yuki shared between the two boys, who both had equally wide smiles on their faces.
"Cool, then. I guess it's just me and you then…don't get any perverted ideas," Renji teased, as his large hand ruffled her silky hair. The three companions snickered and smirked at the playful couple.
"UGH!" Rukia yelled, slapping his hand away, "Don't get cocky, Renji…you act like you're the shit."
"I AM the shit, Rukia…admit it, you loveme," Renji teased in his low, sultry voice, as he once again ruffled her hair gently.
"Yeah, and you love her. Get it over with already," Yuki hastily mumbled under his breath, so only Kouta and Ikichi heard it, causing them to chuckle.
"What?" Rukia questioned, looking all innocent and curious.
"What? I didn't say anything." Yuki lied, hiding his smirk as he bit into his fire-roasted fish. He watched Rukia shrug at Renji's curious gaze, and then watched as they began to converse amongst themselves, laughing and smiling every now and then. By now, he noticed the night had fallen and there was about a good two hours before they would go swimming together, this was easier than he thought it would be. As he glanced from Kouta to Ikichi, he couldn't help but mimic the wicked smiles that played on their faces. Glancing one last time at the flirty couple, Yuki couldn't help but think that this night would definitely bring some much needed realizations afoot…he just wondered how this plan would turn out.
Ah, I wonder what's going to happen….guess you'll have to find out in the next chapter, which I promise will be up within a couple of days….thanks for reading…=)