A/N: Here we are, at the end of the road. I'm so happy that I actually finished this. Kinda sad that it's over as well. I had so much fun with this, and I encourage others to try it out for themselves! I'm going to take a break for a while, but be sure to look out for more stories in the future! I have tons of one shots and multi-chaps swimming around in my head that I would love to share! Thank you everyone who stuck through this with me. I love you all, and I'm thankful for the positive feedback you've all given me! And now, here's the final chapter! Enjoy! ~Bows~

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Bleach. Tite Kubo does. I just toy with the characters a bit.

Z: Zero

"Abarai. Please try to control your fidgeting. I do not recall ever employing a squirrel as my lieutenant."

"S-sorry, Taichou," Renji answered nervously, shifting in discomfort. The redhead was never very good at control, and it was showing through the way his fingers thrummed against the wood of his desk and the way his feet bounced noisily on the floor.

Renji was used to just following his instincts, and as brash as his actions might seem, they usually had a way of working out, but. . .

The sixth division lieutenant breathed a soft curse as he desperately tried to stop his twitching knees. His stupid instincts were telling him to do something he knew would have dire consequences, and his body itched to respond. It wasn't fair, really, the effect that Byakuya seemed to have on him.

A deep hate for the man turned into respect. Respect to admiration. Admiration to something strong and unexpected that took months to fully realize.

Renji Abarai was in love with his cold, unreachable captain. It was funny in a way, and he might have laughed at the thought if it weren't so damn hard to deal with. He had already had one close call, leaning in a bit too close just to catch more of that intoxicating scent of sakura, before catching himself and flash-stepping as far away as possible. It made him realize that he had to keep his instincts in check.

Easier said than done, the fiery lieutenant scowled. Without even trying, Byakuya had a knack for making his senses go wild. Those thin fingers moved with a calculated fluidity both on the battlefield and within the office. Renji absently wondered how it would feel to allow those pale digits to run down his cheek, caressing burning skin and tracing black tattoos as they moved.

"Abarai Fukutaichou."

"Huh?" Renji shook his head, forcing himself out of a daze at the sound of Byakuya's voice.

"Are you alright? You were staring," the cold noble said, cocking his head to the side ever so slightly in amusement.

"Uh, y-yeah, Taichou," the volatile lieutenant stammered, mentally kicking himself in the face. "I'm fine."

"Get back to work then," Byakuya nodded, bringing his attention back to his smooth, deliberate brush strokes.

Shit, Renji sighed, rubbing his face with his palms. He needed to calm his nerves. What was it that Yumichika said?

He thought back to his earlier conversation with the third and fifth seats of the eleventh division.


"What're you talkin' about?" Ikkaku Madarame scowled, downing the rest of his bottle of sake.

"Haven' you ever had an uncontrollable urge to do something you shouldn't?" Renji asked uncomfortably, staring intently at a crack in the floorboards. Maybe Hitsugaya Taichou should get that fixed?

"Ya mean like the urge I get to punch someone in the face?" the bald shinigami said with a feral grin.

"Yeah, kinda," the redhead frowned. "What do ya do when that happens?"

"I punch someone in the face," Ikkaku shrugged, causing Renji to sigh in frustration.

"I don't think that's going to help him," Yumichika said, rolling his eyes at the man next to him.

"What you need to do," the feathered shinigami continued, "Is center yourself, take a deep breath, and count down from ten. It'll help calm your nerves. Got it?"

Renji nodded. "Yeah."


Count down from ten, the tattooed lieutenant thought, inhaling deeply with the numbers dancing through his head. Slowly, the twitching in his knees subsided.

"Huh," Renji whispered with a smile. "It worked." Now, maybe he could finally concentrate on paperwork. With a renewed sense of vigor, the crimson-haired lieutenant reached for his stack of files, only to have his fingers clumsily collide with the pile and knock half of it on the floor.

"Just my luck," Renji groaned, picking himself out of his seat to gather the scattered paperwork. Grumbling to himself, the fiery shinigami barely noticed when his captain slid to the floor and began to help him collect the fallen forms.

Suddenly, Renji paused, eyes widening in surprise as his hand connected with something cool and soft. Slowly, the lieutenant slid his gaze to the appendage in question to find it resting lightly over the back of Byakuya's outstretched hand. Cursing, Renji urged his hand to move away, only for his traitorous fingers to curl around the Kuchiki noble's palm, gripping it tightly.

Down from ten, the younger man thought, breathing in sharply only to choke on the delicious scent of sakura petals.

Ten. . . Nine. . .

Renji allowed his eyes to glance at the pale captain, thoughts slowing as he peered into twin pools of gray.

They're like two streams of quicksilver, Renji swallowed dryly, realizing that he had lost count.

Ten. . . Nine. . . Eight. . .

He couldn't be entirely sure, but the tan shinigami swore that Byakuya was moving closer to him, those quicksilver eyes darting down to rest on Renji's lips before once again meeting hazel.

Seven. . . Six. . . Five. . .

Now he knew it wasn't his imagination. The raven-haired noble was getting closer, his warm breath brushing against Renji's flushed skin. The larger man's thoughts went into hyper drive.

Four, Three, Two, One. . .

Soft lips brushed against his, lightly at first with the pressure increasing as Renji leaned forward, dying to get closer. Lithe fingers threaded into his own, gently rubbing circles into his calloused palm. A pink tongue flicked against Renji's lips, and the redhead opened his mouth to eagerly allow Byakuya to delve in that moist cavern, reveling in the taste of the nobles tongue brushing against his own.

Pulling apart breathlessly, Renji fought to get his mind back in order. A task made increasingly harder by each quick, light kiss that the thin captain pushed to his lips and face.

With a soft chuckle, Renji pressed his forehead against Byakuya's, running a rough hand through dark tresses before whispering softly, causing the noble to raise a brow in amusement.

"Zero."