"You just gonna stand there, or are ya gonna get in?"

Ishida clutched the towel around his waist and frowned through his steam-fogged glasses. When Abarai Renji had invited him to the 6th Division bathhouse, this was not what he had anticipated. He had expected something... larger.

"Ah, are you sure there's room, Abarai?"

"Sure there is," Renji snorted. He was leaning back with his arms stretched out, elbows on the edge of the pool, hands dangling in the water. He had folded his towel and draped it over his head, covering his scarlet hair. Between the steam and his foggy glasses, Ishida had only recognized him by the bold, black tattoos on his chest and shoulders.

"This seems rather small for the whole 6th Division," Ishida remarked, peering about. The pool in which Renji was soaking wasn't too much bigger than a bathtub. A large and deep bathtub, to be sure, but still.

"That's because it ain't for the whole division," Renji told him. "This one's only for the captain and the very top seated officers." Ishida thought he sounded rather proud of that fact.

"I see," Ishida stalled, adjusting his glasses even though he could barely see through them. "And you are allowed to have guests?"

"You're here, aren't you?" Renji huffed. "I don't invite people real often, so you oughta be grateful and get in. What're you waitin' for, anyway?"

Ishida wasn't sure himself, actually. It wasn't that he didn't trust Renji – after what they'd been through in Hueco Mundo, there were few people he trusted more – it just felt... odd to him. Almost as if it wasn't exactly proper for a Shinigami to invite a Quincy to bathe with him. Or for a Quincy to accept.

Or maybe it was that this seemed so... formal. Not that formal was a term he ever would have applied to the scarlet-haired, loud-mouthed Shinigami. It felt almost like when Kurosaki had invited him to eat lunch with his friends on the roof of the high school: that there was something behind it, that it was somehow significant.

That was what was making Ishida hesitate, he decided: the feeling that this meant something. Not that that made any sense really. So the two of them had fought together in Hueco Mundo; that was just happenstance. He might have burst through the wall and found Rukia or Ichigo just as easily. So they'd managed to beat the odds and stay alive and get out of the Hollow World. So they'd ended up in the same room in the 4th Division. So they'd... fooled around. A little. All right, a lot. So what? So Renji had invited him to the 6th Division's private bathhouse for a soak. It wasn't like he'd asked him on a date or anything.

"Well?" Renji's sharp question brought Ishida out of his thoughts. He sighed and shook his head. He was probably over-thinking things, as usual. He stepped over to one of the low wooden platforms that served as benches, pulled off his towel, folded it neatly and laid it down. After a moment's hesitation, he plucked off his glasses as well. He made his way carefully to the edge of the pool, sat down on the ledge and swung his legs in, testing the water. It was hot, but not unbearably so, and he could feel bubbles tickling his feet.

"Is this water from a natural spring?" he wondered, studying the cloudy water even though he couldn't really see anything.

"Course it is," Abarai confirmed, again with that almost smug note of pride in his tone. "It's all full of minerals and stuff. Supposed to be good for you."

"That's odd. I don't smell anything," Ishida said, wrinkling his nose. "Mineral springs usually have a strong odor."

"Not this one. Nice, ain't it?" Ishida could hear the grin in Abarai's voice. "11th Division's got a thermal pool, too. That one's bigger, but the water's all rusty and smells funny. Makes your muscles feel great, but it takes a couple days to get the smell off your skin."

"That sounds awful," Ishida grimaced.

"Nah, what's awful is Yumichika always beggin' me to bring him here so he don't have to stink like the rest of those numbskulls," Renji snorted.

Ishida's head came up immediately. "You bring Yumichika-san here?" he asked, far more sharply than he had intended. Ishida felt his cheeks heating up with more than the steam. Why had he even said that? And why had it come out that way? And why shouldn't Renji invite Yumichika, or anyone else he wanted?

"Not as much as he wants," Renji said. Ishida got the distinct impression that Yumichika asked rather often, and he couldn't figure out why that made him want to frown. He distracted himself by closing his eyes and concentrating on the water. It really did feel nice, Ishida decided. He was starting to relax when he felt his ankles grabbed and tugged. He clutched the edge of the pool as Renji tried to pull him in.

"Abarai, stop that!"

"C'mon, Ishida," Renji grumbled. "This ain't gonna do you any good unless you get in. What's your problem?"

"I just don't like to get in all at once, all right?" Ishida snapped.

"What a load of tripe," Renji muttered. Ishida relaxed a little when the Shinigami released his ankles, only to catch his breath as Renji seized him by the hips, pulled him in and then dunked him in the water.

"Damn it, Abarai!" Ishida sputtered when he got his feet under him, wiping his eyes and scraping his hair out of his face. "Is this the way you treat your guests?"

"Only the ones as prissy as you," Renji tossed back.

"I am not prissy!"

"Oh for crying out loud, Ishida, wouldja fucking relax?" Ishida was still trying to get the water out of his eyes when he felt Renji take him by the shoulders and tug him off his feet.

"Abarai!" he yelped, but before he could resist, Renji wrapped his arms around him from behind and pulled him back against his chest.

"Just settle down," Renji insisted, sounding irritated. The water was deep enough that Ishida's lower body was floating, and Renji towed him back until he hit the edge of the pool. "Stop being so uptight. I swear, you've got a bigger stick up your butt than Captain Kuchiki, and that's saying something. Here," Renji grumbled, reaching up and pushing Ishida's damp head back onto his shoulder. "Just lay back and soak, all right?"

"You mean lie back and soak," Ishida muttered, unable to let Renji's poor grammar go by uncorrected.

"Lay back, lie back, who gives a fuck?" Renji snorted. "As long as you shut up and do it."

Ishida opened his mouth to say something more, then decided it wasn't worth the effort.
Maybe the hot, bubbling water was already having an effect on him. Normally he would have continued the argument to the bitter end, but this time he gave only a huff of irritation, then closed his eyes and actually tried to relax. Renji shifted under him, rearranging himself so that he was leaning back against the ledge, and Ishida was leaning back against him.

"Now what are you doing?" Ishida frowned, cracking one eye open as he was jostled.

"Just gettin' comfy," Renji told him, adjusting his position so that Ishida settled between his legs. "You gotta be all the way in for the water to work, and this is about the only way to do it with two people. There. Better, huh?"

It was better, actually, but Ishida wasn't about to admit it. If he opened his mouth, he might admit other things, as well. He might admit that no thermal spring had ever eased his muscles this quickly, or had ever drawn so much of the stress and aggravation out of him. He might even admit that he felt foolish for resisting in the first place.

Worse, he might admit how good it felt to be lying against Renji's hard chest and the corded muscles of his stomach, or to have Renji's sinewy arm around his waist and his head supported by Renji's tattooed shoulder. So good, in fact, that Ishida found himself drifting into a doze.

"Hey." Renji shrugged his shoulder, making Ishida start and open his eyes. "You goin' to sleep on me there?"

"No," Ishida lied, frowning and bringing up a wet hand to rub at his eyes.

"Hmm, nice as it feels, it ain't good to fall asleep in a hot spring," Renji advised. "Maybe I need t' wake you up some?" Before Ishida could say anything to that, Renji brought his hand up to his chest and ran his nails over a nipple. Ishida flinched at the sharp sensation, and just managed to bite back a moan as Renji rolled the stiffening nub between callused fingers.

That was when Ishida knew the waters had definitely affected him – had done something to him – because instead of slapping the Shinigami's hand away and yelling at him, Ishida only gasped and pushed his chest up as if to beg for more.

"Shit! Abarai!" was all he managed before Renji was plucking at his other nipple as well, tweaking just hard enough to make him squirm.

"Been wantin' to do that for a while now," Renji chuckled, wrapping one of his legs around one of Ishida's to keep him still.

"Fuck!" Ishida gasped, squirming against the older Shinigami. What Renji was doing to his nipples was sending electric jolts straight into his groin, and his penis was starting to wake up and take notice. It didn't help that his butt was practically in Renji's lap, and he could feel the Shinigami's own substantial length thickening with arousal. "Nng—stop!" he hissed, clapping his hands over Renji's and holding them flat against his chest.

"That woke ya up all right," Renji grinned.

"Abarai," Ishida said, trying to sound serious instead of aroused. "Did you invite me here just to seduce me?" The idea was actually more comforting than aggravating.

"Tch," Renji snorted, "wouldja believe me if I said 'no'?" Ishida didn't respond, mostly because he wasn't sure what he believed. "No, huh?" Renji said with a little laugh, then ran his hands down to Ishida's hips and pulled him firmly back. "I reckon I did like the idea of getting you wet and naked," he continued, rocking his hips to press his erection against Ishida's rump, "but that ain't the real reason."

"Then, why?" Ishida asked, more breathlessly than he would have liked. His hands were on Renji's thighs now, and he couldn't seem to keep himself from kneading them anymore than he could keep from pushing back against Renji's hard cock.

"Because you need to unwind, Ishida Uryuu," Renji said, resting his chin on Ishida's shoulder. "Been a week since we got outta Hueco Mundo, and you're still tight as Omaeda's
yukata and jumpy as a flea on a bald dog. Figured it was my duty to make sure you got loosened up some before you head home."

"Your duty?" Ishida asked, confused. He would have asked more but just then Renji started stroking slow circles on his belly and toying with the sparse trail of hair that led to Ishida's groin.

"Mm hmm. That's what sword brothers do for each other," Renji explained, tracing the edge of Ishida's jaw with his tongue.

"Sword—brothers?" Between the heat of the water, the steamy air and what Renji's hands and mouth were doing to him, Ishida was finding it hard to breathe. He tried to cling to his question before he was past caring about it. "You mean... nakama?" Ishida was almost sorry he asked because Renji stopped nuzzling his throat so he could think about it.

"Ehh, sort of," Renji considered, and Ishida could feel him frowning against his neck. "But different. Your nakama, those are the people you'd trust with your life, yeah?" Renji seemed to expect an answer, but the hand caressing Ishida's stomach was dipping lower and lower, and all Ishida could manage was a nod. "A sword brother, that's someone you have trusted with your life. In battle. And he came through for you." Renji's hand paused on his stomach, and Ishida couldn't decide whether he was relieved or vexed by this. "It's like this," Renji decided. "If your sword brother says he's got your back, you don't even have to look behind you. Because you know he does. Get it?"

"Yeah," Ishida panted. "I get it. In Hueco Mundo—we got each other's backs."

"Damn straight," Renji growled, giving Ishida's shoulder a nip. "And sometimes," he added with a grin that Ishida could feel against his skin, "we get each other's fronts." With that, he reached down and wrapped his hand around Ishida's yearning cock.

Ishida made a strangled sound, dug his fingers into Renji's muscular thighs and bucked up into that firm grip. He didn't even care that Renji laughed, because the Shinigami was squeezing his shaft and thumbing circles on the head, and it felt too good for him to think about anything else.

"Ah—bar—aiii!" Ishida hissed through gritted teeth.

"Fuck, Ishida," Renji tried to laugh, but it came out as a groan instead. "You're harder than Zabimaru's hilt! You're supposed to be relaxing, you know."

"Bastard!" Ishida gasped, thrusting his hips to try to drive his cock further into Renji's fist. "S'your fault!"

"My fault, huh? Well, I bet I can fix that problem." Ishida nearly howled in protest when Renji let go of his cock and pushed him off his lap. "C'mon, outta the water."

Ishida clung to the side of the pool, biting his lip and wishing he had the breath to demand that Renji come back and 'fix' his problem right then and there, but the Shinigami was already pulling himself out of the pool. When Renji stood up, all Ishida could do was stare, because even without his glasses he could see the fall of red hair, the sleek tattooed body streaming with water, and the long, hard cock, flushed with blood, bobbing in front of him. In a daze, Ishida watched Renji lean over, felt his shoulders seized, and before he could say anything, Renji had dragged him out of the water, given him a few cursory swipes with a towel, and then pushed him face down onto one of the low, wooden benches.

"Abarai, what the..." He raised himself up on his hands and tried to ask Renji what the hell he thought he was doing, but Renji put a hand on the back of Ishida's neck and pushed him back down.

"Just shut up and lie down," Renji grunted. "For once in your life, stop talking and thinking and just relax." Ishida was about to tell him that 'relaxing' was next to impossible with his swollen cock squashed between himself and the bench, but before he could gather the breath to complain about it, Renji was straddling his thighs and leaning over him, his hair teasing Ishida's back and his hard length grazing Ishida's ass. He grabbed the sides of the bench, trying to form the words Not yet! Not yet! because even though his hips rose automatically at the press of Renji's cock, Ishida knew he wasn't ready to be penetrated. He never got the words out though, because Renji straightened and the next moment Ishida felt a stream of warm, slick liquid spill between his shoulder blades and run down his spine to pool in the small of his back. His pent up breath left him in a groan as Renji's broad hands followed, sliding through the puddle on his back and spreading the heated oil all over him.

Ishida's once extensive vocabulary was reduced to nothing but groans and near-whimpers as strong fingers and sword-callused palms stroked and pressed and kneaded, found each battle-toughened muscle, each stretched tendon, and worked out every pull and catch and twinge. The hands roved over him – back, neck, shoulders, legs, sides – leaving his skin tingling and his muscles slack until he lay on the bench as limply as a wet towel.

Well, mostly limp. One part of him wasn't limp at all, but paying close attention every time Renji's fingers curled around his hips or kneaded his butt or worked their way up his thighs, which was what they were doing at the moment. Ishida could feel his own heartbeat, feel his blood pounding in sympathy with his throbbing cock, and when Renji's thumb pressed up his inner thigh and brushed his sac, it felt like an electric shock that made his breath catch and his hips jolt up automatically.

"Look at you," Renji said with a low chuckle, cupping the cheeks of Ishida's ass. "I figured you'd hardly be able to move after all that. Guess I still got some work to do." Ishida whimpered as he felt Renji's thumbs slide into his cleft and press against the puckered flesh of his entrance. "Tch," he said, massaging the tight ring of muscle, "now that sure needs to be loosened up."

An involuntary sound of disappointment escaped Ishida when Renji took his hands away, but then warm oil was sliding between his cheeks and down his balls and dripping onto his cock, and when he groaned and pushed his rear up, Renji's slick fingers were there.

"Oh god!" Ishida moaned, gripping the sides of the bench as Renji cupped his balls in one hand, and pushed first one, then two fingers into him with the other. Ishida rolled his hips as Renji twisted his big-knuckled fingers inside him, and whimpered shamelessly when the other rough hand moved from tumbling his balls to lightly stroking his cock.

"Like that?" Renji panted, his breath puffing on Ishida's flank. "You want more?"

"Oh—fuck, yes!" Ishida gritted out. His legs felt like boiled noodles from the massage, but he managed to pull his knees under him enough to give Renji better access. The fingers stretching him withdrew, and his cock twitched as he felt more oil poured over his entrance. Ishida hissed in pleasure when the fingers returned, smearing the lubricant around his hole and pushing into him slowly, one, then two, then three. The third finger stretched him to the point of discomfort, but Renji kept stroking his cock, squeezing around the head, and coaxing him away from the pain and further into pleasure.

"So fucking hot," Renji growled, and then bit down on the fleshy part of Ishida's ass just as he curled his fingers inside him and nudged his prostate. Ishida bucked and cried out at the surge of sensation, his muscles gripping Renji's fingers, his cock leaking in his hand. Renji groaned and kissed the place he'd bitten Ishida, then nipped him again. "You know how fucking hot you look right now?" Renji asked, his voice hoarse with desire. "With your pretty tail in the air and your dick hard and dripping all over my hand?"

"God!" Ishida whimpered, hips squirming as Renji's fingers plunged into him deeper and harder. "Abarai, please!"

"I'm so damn hard for you," Renji breathed, curving his hand so he jammed Ishida's prostate with every thrust. "You got any freaking idea how bad I wanna fuck you? How bad I wanna shove my prick in your tight little hole and pound you till you scream?"

"Damn it, Abarai!" Ishida hissed. "Why don't you shut up and do it! Fuck—nngh!"

Before all the words were even out of Ishida's mouth, Renji yanked his fingers out, grabbed Ishida's hips and hauled his ass up so far that his back arched. Ishida dug his nails into the wood of the bench and held his breath as the broad, blunt head of Renji's cock pressed against his hole. He heard the Shinigami growl deep in his throat – an animal sound – but that was all the warning he had before his hips were jerked back and Renji drove his full length into him with one savage thrust.

It happened so fast that Ishida's scream caught in his throat, leaving him gasping through gritted teeth and clawing at the bench. It hurt – it hurt every damn time, no matter what Renji promised – but Ishida didn't care. He didn't care because he knew that the burn turned into a fire in his balls, and the stretch became a throb, and the feel of Renji's thick cock forcing him open, filling him up made his stomach lurch and flutter. It made his erection falter, and then stiffen harder than before. It made him weak – nearly fainting – with pleasure, and then desperate with need.

"Fuck!" Renji was gasping, bent over his back. Ishida could feel the ends of Renji's hair tickling his shoulders, his sweat dripping onto his back, and his hands trembling on his hips. "Oh fuck—don't move!" he panted. "Just—don't move!"

"Then you move, damn it!" Ishida growled, trying to stay still as the throbbing in his ass matched the throb of Renji's cock. He felt Renji's grip tighten, then hissed as the Shinigami shifted his hips, rolling them slowly. "Abarai," he gasped, unsure if it was a threat or a plea, then cried out sharply as Renji pulled out a little and thrust back in.

"So fucking—tight!" Renji growled, jerking Ishida back as he thrust again and again, short strokes at first, then deeper and harder. The burn was still sharp, but the heat was building with every stab of Renji's cock, with every slap of his balls against Ishida's ass. His own cock swung loose, smacking his stomach each time Renji shoved into him, and it felt weird and good but it wasn't enough, not nearly enough. He tried to reach a hand back to pump himself, but Renji was driving into him faster now, and it was all he could do to hang on to the bench.

"Ah—ah—Abarai!" he panted, trying to tell him what he needed. He shifted his hips to better meet Renji's thrusts, grinding back against him, then caught his breath as stars exploded behind his eyes. Moving had changed the angle, and now every stroke was hitting That Place, that magic spot that Renji had introduced him to, the one that was sending shock after shock of pleasure through him. Something inside him pulled tight, then tighter – like a bowstring drawing all the way back – rocketing him from Not Enough to Almost Too Much.

Renji was fucking him like crazy now, digging his fingers into Ishida's hips and grunting with every frantic thrust. "Not—not gonna—last," he groaned, exactly echoing Ishida's thoughts. "Oh fuck! Uryuu..."

"Please," Ishida whimpered, so close he could taste it. "Renji—need—Ahh!" He couldn't say if Renji guessed his need or felt it, but before he could say any more, Renji was groping between his legs and folding his still-slick fingers around Ishida's aching cock.

"Fuck yes!" Renji panted, flinging his other arm around his waist and pressing his sweaty chest against Ishida's back. "Come on, give it to me," he growled as he fisted Ishida's cock, and that was all it took. Ishida's climax slammed into him so hard it almost felt like he was knocked from his body and that another, separate Ishida was wailing his release, spurting into Renji's fist, and clenching around Renji's prick.

"Oh, hell yes!" Renji gasped, still milking Ishida's cock. "That's it—gonna—ahh!" Renji bit down on Ishida's shoulder to muffle his scream as he came, still thrusting even as his cock spilled inside Ishida.

Both of them were breathing like marathon runners, sucking in great, loud gulps of air as the sweat dripped off them. Ishida's knees felt like rubber, and when Renji grunted and collapsed on top of him, his legs gave out, and he lay flattened between Renji and the bench. He found he didn't really care, though. Even though his weight made it hard for him to breathe, Ishida didn't try to shake Renji off. His ass was still clenched around the Shinigami's half-hard cock, and his own prick was still cradled in Renji's grip. Their skin was so slick that Ishida almost couldn't tell where his back ended and Renji's chest began, and, while he would never admit it, he found himself enjoying the feeling of Renji's breath on his shoulder.

The two of them lay there without speaking until their hearts slowed and their cocks softened. Ishida closed his eyes and let himself drift, his body still echoing with sensation. He didn't open them again until he felt Renji move. The Shinigami sighed and lifted his head, planted a kiss between Ishida's shoulder blades, then laid his head back down.

"What?" Ishida muttered after waiting in vain for the Shinigami to say something.

"You said my name." Renji sounded smug again. Ishida could feel him grinning.

"What are you talking about?" Ishida frowned.

"When we fucked. Right before you came. You called me 'Renji'."

Ishida would have rolled his eyes but it was too much effort. "You're such a girl, Abarai."

Renji snorted but didn't say anything more. Instead, he pushed himself up and ran a leisurely hand over Ishida's body, pausing to prod at certain sensitive areas – his waist, the back of his knee, the arch of his foot.

"What are you doing?" Ishida asked, lifting his head.

"Just makin' sure I got the job done."

"What 'job'?"

"Getting you all relaxed, remember?" Renji still sounded quite pleased with himself. "Tension's what makes you ticklish, y'know. And since you ain't ticklish right now, I guess I did all right."

"Hmph," was all Ishida said to that, mostly because he didn't feel like arguing. It was even possible Renji was right. He usually was quite ticklish in those areas, and he certainly didn't feel tense. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt this relaxed. Still, Renji was already acting far too satisfied about this, and Ishida had no intention of making it any worse. Instead he just said "Let me up, Abarai, before I get stuck to the bench. And hand me my glasses."

Ishida sat up and put his glasses on when Renji retrieved them, then took a look at his Shinigami companion. Renji had sprawled back on the bench beside him. His long, damp hair hung over his shoulders and in his face, and his lean, muscular body was flushed beneath his tattoos. His eyes were half-lidded, his skin was still sheened with sweat and massage oil, and his lips were curved in a knowing smile. The man looked like sex on a plate, and Ishida frowned and crossed his legs self-consciously before Renji could notice his cock give a half-hearted twitch of interest. He wondered if he looked as much of a sight as Renji did, then noticed the expression in the Shinigami's reddish-brown eyes.

"What?" he asked suspiciously. Renji's half-smile deepened into something that was almost a leer.

"You're a mess, Quincy," he chuckled, "but you look damn good messed up like that. If you were on a table, I'd think you were dinner." Ishida snorted and glanced away, feeling his face heat up.

"If you're hungry, maybe you should go eat some real food."

"Hey, good idea," Renji said, straightening up. "You like yakisoba? There's a great little noodle house not too far. Let's go. I'll buy."

"We can't go like this!" Ishida looked down at himself and paled at the smear of come and oil on his stomach.

"We'll shower first, dumbass," Renji snorted, shoving his shoulder, then standing up and offering him a hand. "C'mon. We'll get some food, then go do something. Maybe I'll show you my place, yeah?"

Ishida frowned at the offered hand, then peered up at the Shinigami's face.

"This isn't like a date or anything, right?"

"A date? Nah, don't be stupid!" Renji scoffed, but he glanced away a little uncomfortably, then looked back. "This is just... sword brother stuff."

"Sword brother stuff," Ishida repeated.

"Right!" Renji asserted. "Bath house, food, all of that. Whatever. Typical sword brother stuff. So... you hungry or not?"

Ishida considered this. He had a feeling he knew just what Renji meant by 'whatever', but looking at the Shinigami, he decided he really didn't have a problem with that. They'd been vigorously engaging in 'whatever' all week, so why should it bother him now? They weren't dating. It wasn't like they were lovers or anything.

Sword brothers. Ishida could deal with that.

"I could eat," he decided, allowing himself a small smile as he reached up to take the offered hand. Renji tugged him to his feet, looking pleased.

"C'mon, then. Showers are this way." He pushed Ishida ahead of him with a hand on his shoulder. "If you behave yourself," he grinned, "I'll even do your back."

Ishida pushed up his glasses and cocked an eyebrow. "Does that mean I get to do your front?"

Renji looked at Ishida for a moment, then started snickering. Ishida blushed, but he was already wondering just how late that noodle house stayed open.