Title: Bad Romance
Pairing: Renji x Ichigo
Rating: M (for language, situations, yaoi – angst, romance, sex, fluff)
Summary: AU. Ichigo is so NOT gay, so when he goes to the exclusive bordello Club Sakura, will a certain redhead named Renji make him think twice?
Disclaimer for the entire story: I do NOT own any of these characters from BLEACH which belongs to Tite Kubo et al. Thank you.
DISCLAIMER: All characters depicted in sexual situations in this post/fanfiction/fanart (including material in the comments) are fictional and are intended to be and considered to be by the author of said material of the legal age of consent in the United States state of California, regardless of what age these characters may be in the material they are derived from.
Thank you for all your wonderful comments!
And thanks to everyone for all the Faves and Alerts for this story. All the support and encouragement has really helped me to stick with this and update as often as I could.
As always, apologies for any major technical errors. I've gone through it only once.
Thanks and please enjoy! ~z.
Renji woke with a start. He sat up to find himself on an unfamiliar bed in a strange room but he managed to stop the rising panic from overtaking him as he tried to process his memories. However, the ringing telephone grabbed his immediate attention and he reached across the bed to answer it.
"Hello?" His voice cracked unevenly with grogginess.
"Good morning, Abarai-san. This is your Wake-up Call. I wanted to inform you that Check Out is in one hour and if you give us ten minutes notice, we can have your car brought out front for you. All amenities have been pre-paid."
Renji glanced around the room as the voice on the phone spoke to him. He now remembered he was in a suite at the Four Seasons. He also remembered what led him there and how he ended up naked on that bed. Shit. Ichigo!
"Now! I'm sorry, I mean, I'd like my car now. I'll be down in five minutes."
"Of course. Would you like anything else?" asked the voice.
"No, thank you." As Renji replaced the receiver, he noticed how lucid he felt. He was pretty sure he should have a pounding headache and the worst hangover, but he felt rather well-rested. He grumbled to himself, "I better get the fuck outta here…"
As he looked around the room to see if his clothes were around, his eyes fell to the items lying on the pillow next to him. Underneath his cell phone was a white envelope. Hesitant, but wondering what it could be, Renji opened the envelope.
He pulled out what looked to be a plane ticket. He read the copy: an open One-Way ticket – to: Munich, German – First Class – Lufthansa Airlines. On the sleeve was a simple handwritten message, I'll be waiting. ~A.
Renji was numb. He wasn't sure how to react to the latest development. He then looked at his cell, fearing the worst.
Missed calls 5
He didn't have to open them to know it all came from one source, and rightly so. Renji didn't know if Ichigo would even speak to him for disappearing. And he had no idea how to explain what happened to him afterward.
Renji dialed Ichigo's number but was dismayed to hear the voicemail message come on immediately. He tried once more and hung up when he got the same thing. He sent a quick text saying he'd be right over. Without thinking, he grabbed the envelope and clutched his cell and strode out of the bedroom in search for his clothes.
He stopped short when he noticed they were neatly folded and left on the arm of the sofa. He cringed at seeing the furniture where it all happened but he shook it off and reached for the garments so he could dress as quickly as possible. Once his pants were on, he shoved the two items into his back pocket, and he barely buttoned his shirt before grabbing his jacket and shoving his feet into his shoes to leave the suite as fast as he could.
When he got to the front entrance, he saw his car off to the side, driver's side door held open by the valet. When he reached the man and took the key from him, Renji started to reach for his wallet to be polite with a tip. However, the man said, "Don't worry, sir. It's been handled. And very generously, I might add!"
The redhead tried not to seem angry at this man who had nothing to do with his predicament. He nodded and slipped into the car before flooring it out of roundabout driveway. Ichigo, I hope you're home right now.
Renji unlocked the front door. He opened his mouth automatically to announce, "I'm home," but he shut it abruptly, wondering if it was still a place he could call home. Instead, he called out, "Ichi, are you here?"
The redhead looked around and noticed that all the lights in the living room and even in the kitchen were left on. He figured if Ichigo wasn't in the bedroom, he would have to start looking for him around the city, starting with his family's clinic. As he approached, he noticed the door was left ajar. He pushed it open wide before walking in.
Ichigo was sitting on the bed, legs bent with forearms resting over his knees. The head of orange hair was hanging down, looking at the space on the sheets were his cell phone lay. Renji was certain his entrance had been heard, but Ichigo gave no acknowledgement to the redhead's arrival.
"Where have you been, Renji?" Brown eyes remained hidden beneath the shadow created by his bangs.
"It's, ah, complicated." Renji wasn't sure how to begin and was wondering where to start when Ichigo's next statement startled him.
"No, it's not. It's a simple question that should have a simple answer, if you can be honest."
"Ichi, I'm trying to figure out how to explain the situation without it coming out the wrong way."
"The last message I got from you was that you were going to run some errands." Ichigo didn't raise his eyes, but his hand moved to pick up his cell phone from between his legs. "Is this the 'errand' you had to do, Renji?"
Ichigo held out his cell phone towards Renji. The small LED screen showed two figures engaging in sex. The redhead heard himself grunting from the tiny speaker of the device. Ichigo turned it off immediately once his point was made. He then threw the cell phone across the room where it slammed into the wall before landing with a thud on the dresser.
The redhead couldn't believe Aizen had stooped this low to tear Ichigo away from him. How do I fix this? Just start from the beginning? He let out a breath before finding the courage to start. "I went out because Byakuya called saying he could meet with me regarding my financials-"
Ichigo finally looked up. He swung his body around so feet were flat on the floor. Renji noticed the brown eyes were bloodshot, as if he'd been crying and hadn't gotten any sleep. "You met with Byakuya, too?! Did you fuck him too?!"
"Ichigo!" Renji was shocked by Ichigo's venom, but he couldn't say he didn't deserve it. "No, I didn't-"
"Let me explain. It's not what you think?! I only said I was going out for errands because I wanted to surprise you at work; take you out to dinner and-"
Ichigo's face crumbled from one of anger to one filled with pain as his eyes lost their fire, becoming muddy pools full of tears. "You've already lied. You promised… you promised you'd never see him again… I thought it'd be just you and me…"
Renji felt his chest constrict at the sight of his lover looking so broken; so unhappy. He was about to reach out for him to hold him as tightly as possibly when another voice broke into his thoughts, saying, "…are you not also corrupting this innocent you so want to protect?"
Renji had closed the distance, close enough to grab the shorter man by the shoulders to pull him in, but he stopped himself from reaching out. Look at him. You did this to him. Maybe he is better off without me.
His fingers inched closer to run through the short mess of orange spikes, but he pulled his hand back sharply. Taking a deep breath, he turned on his heel and looked inside their shared closet. He reached for the leather duffel that still held the important papers from when he left the Sakura.
Bag in hand, Renji took a step towards the door. He turned to glance at Ichigo one last time, debating on what to do. Ichigo kept his eyes away which gave Renji what he needed to make his choice. "I'm sorry, Ichi." He closed the door behind him.
Ichigo waited until he heard the click before turning his eyes towards the door. He was angry and hurt but he wasn't ready to listen. He felt too many emotions swirling within for him to hold a conversation rationally. Ichigo was also concerned he might say something he'd regret, so he wanted to take a little time to digest the situation.
He finally felt the fatigue of having stayed up all night, combined with his emotional state, overwhelming his senses. Ichigo laid back down on his bed. He threw one arm over his eyes to block out the sunlight, too careless to bother closing the curtains. He thought briefly there would be no way he could fall asleep, but in a few minutes, his breathing evened out as he dozed off.
Rukia pounded on front door. "Ichigo! I know you're in there! Open up!"
Ichigo stirred awake when the loud noise from the other room finally reached his senses. The sun was still up, but barely, as the onset of evening approached.
He pushed the heel of his palm into his eye to rub the sleep away as he stumbled through the living room. As he got closer, he recognized Rukia's voice, wondering why she was causing such a fuss.
Ichigo opened the door, not in the mood to deal with anything since his fight with Renji. "Rukia, can we talk another… time?" Brown eyes opened wider as he looked past his petite friend to the two other figures behind her. "Byakuya!" He had seen the blond-haired man before, but he wasn't sure about the name.
"Kurosaki Ichigo. May we come in." The elder Kuchiki spoke more as a statement than a question.
Ichigo moved aside allowing the three to walk in. He gestured towards the living room and closed the door behind. He turned around to ask, "What's going on, Rukia?"
"What did you say to Renji!?!" she practically yelled.
"Hey! What is this? That's between me and Ren. And how do you even know about our fight?"
The blond stepped up to face Ichigo, his face calm but serious. "I'm Izuru. We haven't met formally, but I know what you mean to Renji. And right now, I don't think you are aware of how serious the situation is."
"What are you talking about?" Ichigo looked confused and was getting irritated by the fact he always seemed to be out of the loop.
"Renji's leaving!" Rukia shouted. "Did you tell him to leave? Did you break up with him?"
Ichigo turned his face away from Rukia, not really in the mood to discuss his private matters in front of others, but he figured they were here for a reason. "He- Yeah, we had a fight. I told him to leave. I wasn't… I wasn't ready to talk about what… happened." Ichigo turned angry eyes at Byakuya, wondering why the man was here, considering he probably had a hand in putting Renji and Aizen together.
"Rukia, I do not think Kurosaki understands what you have said to him. And, perhaps I should be the one to explain what happened." Byakuya stepped up to address Ichigo directly.
"Whatever came to pass between Aizen and Renji was not his fault. Aizen used some coercion to request my help in arranging a face-to-face meeting for the two of them. Since it would alleviate some burden against Renji, as well as my own dealings, I agreed." He turned his cool eyes over to Ichigo's brown ones to emphasize, "Renji was not aware of this at all. And I already know that had he been informed in advance, he would have refused."
"So, this is your fault?" Ichigo growled.
Byakuya turned to look at Ichigo before continuing, "Aizen has been deceiving me and others for quite some time now. He also gave me his word that he was interested in speaking with Renji and that he would keep it short. I am appalled at the treatment Renji received."
Ichigo's brows furrowed as he listened. "What exactly do you mean by that?"
Rukia put a hand on Ichigo's arm, trying to soften the blow. "We're pretty sure Renji was drugged into doing… things he didn't want to do." She glanced over at Izuru who nodded his head slowly in agreement.
"Yes," said the blond, "I can attest to that and the kind of powerlessness one feels under its effect."
Ichigo clenched his fist hard, his anger starting to rise. "I need to call Renji. Excuse me." He turned to head towards the bedroom to retrieve his cell phone when the blond moved to stand in front of him blocking his way.
"You won't reach him. Renji's cell phone is shut off. It has been, for hours. He might have gotten rid of it altogether."
"Why would you say that?"
Rukia interjected, "Ichigo, we knew something was wrong when Renji called to ask that his belongings be packed up. He told our secretary he'd give us an address later, but, he told her to prepare it for shipping out of the country - to Germany."
"What?! Why?! Why would he go back to him!?" Ichigo was furious. When Izuru placed his hand on Ichigo's shoulder, he twirled around, almost throwing a punch. However, he was able to keep his cool and never threw a swing. But the orange-haired man shook off the hand, fuming all the while.
"I can try and answer that, Ichigo." Izuru tried to be as gentle as he could to explain an uncomfortable situation. "My client is-, that is, was Ichimaru, and he is Aizen's closest associate. They are terribly experienced at psychological games, and knowing how noble Renji is, I am sure Renji was made to think that leaving you is the best way to protect you."
Ichigo looked at Izuru in surprise. "Protect me? Where the hell does he get off thinking that? It's not his job to protect me." Softly, Ichigo said, "He needs me…"
Rukia punched Ichigo on the arm. "That's what I wanted to hear!"
She smiled. "We know where he is, but I am pretty sure he wouldn't stay unless it came from anyone but you. You're the only one who can convince him not to leave, Ichigo."
"Fine, then let's go! Where is he?"
"He's in the executive lounge at the airport."
"Eh?! How am I going to get in there?"
Byakuya's expression hardly changed, but he seemed to tire of the antics. "Kurosaki, all the details have been arranged. Kira has a special identification card that will get you into the terminal. Someone has been arranged to meet you and escort you to the lounge." The handsome business man turned to leave. "Rukia, let us return to the Club."
"Wait!" Ichigo spoke in a very strong and determined voice. "I'm not bringing Renji back here just so he can work for you again. He stays free from you and free from Aizen."
Byakuya turned back around to look at the young man who was addressing him with such directness. Rukia held her tongue, wondering what her brother would say.
"I have no intention of forcing Renji into something he has no desire for. As for Aizen; he will be dealt with accordingly. And that includes keeping Renji away from that man. I have already started the necessary process to make sure Renji is kept out of Aizen's reach." Byakuya turned on his heels and added, "That is all." Without another word, he exited the small apartment.
Rukia turned and waved. "Bye Izuru. Thanks for your help. And go get him, Ichigo!" She walked briskly to catch up to her brother. Ichigo watched as they glided into the back of the Maybach; the same one Ichigo remembered had started this whole adventure for him.
He turned to look at the blond standing next to him. Ichigo was about to ask why he had stayed on when he spoke up.
"I thought it'd be faster if I drove you. Shall we?" Izuru smiled, the expression giving the blond an entirely different persona than the man who seemed to be ghosting through his days recently.
Ichigo nodded appreciatively. "Yeah, let's go."
Ichigo shifted nervously in the passenger seat of the Maserati. He didn't really know what to say to Izuru and he didn't want to interrupt the blond from making his calls. Izuru made a call here and there speaking to someone at the terminal to give them an accurate ETA of their arrival.
To pass the time, brown eyes turned to look out the passenger side window. When the quiet in the car had gone on for too long, the blond started to speak.
"Renji and I started at the Club at the same time. We were both pretty young and inexperienced. We became friends because we both had no parents, but I didn't have it nearly as tough as he did. Mine died in a plane crash and forgot to set up a will. So, I had to find a way to earn some money and knew about the Club." Izuru took a sidelong glance at Ichigo before returning his eyes towards the front to watch the road. "I know you didn't ask for my story, but I wanted to give you some background to further illustrate Renji's qualities."
Izuru took a moment before starting up again. "Seeing your relationship with Renji reminds me of how he was like when we both started… Once he decided this was going to be his life, he worked so hard to improve himself. He really utilized the Club's resources and bettered himself through studies and martial arts and anything to distance himself from his poor upbringing. But, I had worried he wasn't himself anymore… though, he has always said the same about me."
Ichigo noticed the sad look working its way across the blonde's face once again. However, Izuru sighed and resumed his story.
"But I saw the change in him even before he told me about you. It was that fire that made me ask if something had happened to him recently. Relationships outside of the Club are discouraged, so Renji didn't want to give me too much information, but what little he shared… He cares for you very much, Ichigo. I was so happy for him. I knew he now had the kind of happiness I could never find… because of my own situation."
Izuru turned to look at Ichigo once more, in-between watching the road, but he had to emphasize his next point properly. "Another reason I felt I had to help out today was, I feel a lot of the problems you two have faced recently, is my fault."
He turned his eyes back to the front before continuing, "Gin- he asked me about Renji's personal business. At first, I didn't think much of it. Everyone at the Club loves to gossip. I didn't give any specifics but I had made a comment or two about Renji having found some happiness. And then, there was one evening, I was pretty sure I drank too much. I rarely drink too much when working but, I was with him, so anything was possible… My guess is I said too much and it got back to Aizen and, well, here we are."
Ichigo thought Izuru meant the end of the story, but they were actually at the airport already. Izuru stopped the car next to the curb where a young woman dressed in a flight attendant's uniform stood waiting by the curb. Ichigo turned to look at the blonde. "Don't blame yourself. From what I can tell, you're not the bad guy here. And whatever you might have done, you're helping us now. And I promise, I am not going to let Renji leave." His brown eyes must have shown fierce determination because it finally broke Izuru's sad visage.
"Thank you, Ichigo. Please, go get him." Izuru handed him a badge that dangled from a nylon lanyard.
Ichigo grabbed it before swinging the passenger door wide open. "Yeah."
He greeted the young woman politely and confirmed his name with her before they started to walk off briskly. She instructed him to wear the badge at all times and to stay with her until they reach the executive lounge. Though they were walking quickly, Ichigo would have preferred to run flat out, but he figured it wouldn't be a good idea or appropriate for the woman in heels.
Ichigo started to chew his bottom lip in anticipation. He knew Byakuya was certain Renji was still in town, but he also knew he would only feel better once he saw the redhead for himself.
They entered a quieter section of the terminal before getting into an elevator. Ichigo tried to remain steady as he waited for them to reach the top floor. Once the doors open, the woman held the door open for him but didn't get off with him. "If you head straight down the hall, you will be inside the Executive Lounge. Good luck, sir." With that, she pulled her hand back, allowing the doors to slide shut.
Ichigo turned around to follow the white floors and walls towards a quiet din of noise. He found himself at the edge of a large room with impossibly high ceilings and glass windows all around. Different sized aircrafts were visible on the runway, all in light and shadow as the sun was just about to set on the horizon. Lights were visible throughout from the trim on the planes to the runway itself.
The orange-haired man started to look around, in search of the red hair that was impossible to miss. But even before that, he noticed several female workers pointing and whispering. Ichigo only had to follow the women ogling as they stared at the tall handsome redhead. Renji's back was facing them as he stood looking out onto the large airfield, watching nothing in particular.
"You're going to give up, just like that?"
Renji was startled by the voice. He saw the orange-haired reflection looking at him and turned around quickly. "Ichigo?! How did you-"
"Answer me, Renji! You're giving up? You're going to leave, just like that?"
"I have to." He took a breath before lowering his burgundy eyes to the floor.
"Why? For him!?" Ichigo clenched his fists in anger.
"For you." Renji's eyes looked up intently into brown ones as he spoke softly, "I don't want to fuck up your life any more than I already have."
"Is that how you feel? What I want doesn't matter?" Ichigo's anger had lessened being replaced by pain and hurt.
Renji opened his mouth to retaliate but he shut it just as quickly. If this is what it takes to let him go, that's what I'll do.
Ichigo turned his head to the side, eyes looking out the window locked onto the lights sparkling in the darkening twilight. "Well, you just proved something to me I knew all along…" Ichigo paused before turning to face Renji, hand on hip, voice strong, " You really are dumb."
Renji's eyes grew wide, surprised by the statement. It wasn't what he expected to hear, and something about the look in Ichigo's eyes and the tone of his voice struck a chord in Renji akin to the first time they met. "Eh?! What d'ya mean by that?"
Ichigo waved a hand in the air while speaking determinedly, "You can't have the best thing come into your life and then just take it away."
He walked up close to Renji when he grabbed two handfuls of the redhead's shirt. Mood now in all seriousness, Ichigo spoke. "I've never loved this hard… this much. Ever. I've felt emotions I buried the day my Mom died, and now, they're out because of you." The volume of his voice got lower; calmer. "Can you still say you're a bad influence in my life?"
Renji placed his large hands on the slim hips in front of him. "Ichi, nothing means more to me in this world than you and your happiness."
"Then stay," Ichigo said quietly. "And don't you dare leave me again. Ever."
Ichigo pulled the shirt towards him, smashing his lips against Renji's own. The redhead was still absorbing the words spoken by Ichigo when the kiss took him by surprise. His brain wanted to fight it all for a split second, but the feeling of Ichigo's lips and the taste of the tongue pressing into his mouth demanding access was too much. Renji used his arms to grab Ichigo in a powerful bear hug, strong enough to make the smaller man lose his breath.
"Gah, Ren! Can't- breathe!" Ichigo gasped for air as he arched his back in Renji's arms.
"Shit! Sorry, Ichi!" Renji loosened the hug so that it was now just firm instead of vise-like. "I lost my head for a sec."
"That's ok. I kind of liked it." Brown eyes looked up into burgundy as he waited for the taller man to lean down for another kiss. This one was slower but longer and filled with just as much passion.
Both men opened their eyes when they heard the growing silence around them; it had oddly oddly quiet. Ichigo and Renji pulled away from one another when they saw that a few women were standing around them, staring, and clutching tissues to their noses. Once the men had noticed them, the women quickly dispersed.
Renji and Ichigo looked at one another sheepishly, but once they had their privacy back, they pulled in for another kiss; this one short and sweet.
"Come on," said the redhead. "Let's get outta here before we cause a scene."
Ichigo let Renji lead the way, hand-in-hand, as he said, "Only if you promise we can start this up again when we get home."
Renji smiled, a flash of his trademark wolfish grin tickling at the sides of his lips. "Oh, I promise you, Ichi. When we get home, we're gonna cause the kind of scene their imaginations won't be able to put into words."
"I promise, Ichi."
Yup, it's done.
Sorry, Aizen doesn't die here. In canon and like in the real world, evil exists. But know that Byakuya, and Shinji too, won't let Aizen get away with being a corrupt bastard. _
THANK YOU all so much for sticking with me til the end!
This world isn't closed to me forever. I already have an idea or two to revisit the land of "Bad Romance" as a random one-shot here and there…
Also, I still plan to make an album viewable online – just all the great fan art that really inspired me.
A BIG thanks to Saiyanzrepublik for surprising the hell out of me with a piece of our Renji & Ichigo! You can see it here:
http :// renichiotp. blogspot. com /2010/02/ art- for- renichis- bad- romance -and. html
Also a big thanks to the fabulous LADY GAGA without whose music this fic would NOT have happened. I went from choosing the title randomly because I couldn't think of anything at the moment, to really having the two albums become the soundtrack for this story.
I honestly, no joke, listened to Lady G. every time I wrote the fic or needed to get motivated to update.
Anyway, I so appreciate everyone's comments, adding an Alert or a Fave.
I am both sad and relieved to be done! I hope you enjoyed the ride.