Disclaimer: I don't own any Bleach!

DaEmonQuEen: This is different from the actually bleach story, I still hope you like it!

"Breaking the Ice Part 1"

Chapter 8

Byakuya walked through the palace hallway; he was on his way to the room of the man he really wanted to avoid, again. He has been doing this for almost a week already, and it was getting bothersome. But he had no choice, it was either that or he would spend his day doing nothing, and that was one thing a prince never does, and he was not going to allow that to happen. And so he continued walking towards that man's room. When he was arrived to his destination, he paused for a moment. His heart was beating fast again for just by standing outside his room, he hated that feeling since he doesn't understand why his heart was doing it. He knew what love was, he had felt it before, a very long time ago, but he still knows what it meant to be in love. But this man, Abarai Renji, he barely knows the man, yet his heart tells him he has been in love with him for a very long time, another thing that confused him. How can he feel so much love for someone he just met?

Once again, he dismissed the thought and continued the task primarily at hand. He opened the door and entered the room, which was still dark since the curtains were still closed. This man really was a very lazy man, one thing he hated about the redhead. He decided to open the curtains, and this time he did it himself. The redhead stirred. Then he moved closer to the other man's bed, and looked at his sleeping figure, as always, it had no sense decency, but the prince still enjoyed watching the redhead sleep. A smile escaped from the prince's lips, then vanished and said, "Abarai, I wake up."

There was no response, once again, "A-ba-rai, wake up!" There was still no response. Byakuya was at his limits; he called several servants and ordered them to lift the foam with the sleeping redhead, then he led them to the bathroom. Once again Byakuya said, "Abarai Renji, this shall be your last warning, wake up!" Renji only stirred a bit, but still did not wake up. Byakuya signalled the servants, and then they tossed the redhead in the cold bath waters.

"What the fuck!" was heard from the redhead as he emerged from the water.

"I had warned you, but still did not wake up, so I was forced to do extreme measures," Byakuya said.

"E-e-ex-treme me-me-measures? You mean t-throwing me in c-c-cold bath is your ex-x-treme measure?" Renji said as he walked towards Byakuya, shivering.

"Yes."

"You're insane."

"At least I am saner than you, Abarai. I don't know if you can callsane someone who wakes up in this hour. And you have duties remember? You should at least put that in your head since we have been like this for a week now."

Renji realized that he could never win a conversational fight against this man; he was too clever for him, even though he was a god. Kuchiki Byakuya has been by far, the only mortal who could make him feel mortal; the prince practically out matched him in all most everything that has to do with using his head, and Renji was the type who hated thinking too much even when he was still a god. And now he is forced to work with him because his new master, Kuchiki Ginrei said so. Renji sighed as he recalled that morning when he was ordered to be working with Byakuya as his tutor. A tutor! Ha, it was a big laugh but he couldn't complain, instead he accepted it when Byakuya also said yes to it, though it was obvious he hated the idea much as he did.

Renji stepped out the cold waters, and said, "Yeah, yeah I get it, give me a few minutes to prepare."

Renji was doing his best to do his most hated job of all, paperwork. Even when he was still a god, he hated when he was told to face paper, and he had to do it a lot since he was a woman before, but times are different, he wasn't a god nor was he a she, and yet this! The redhead stared at the sheets of paper that filed in his desk with frustration. "How does Byakuya do all of this without complaining?" he asked himself as he looked at the prince, who calmly and silently did his work. Aside from the tutor task, he was required to share all of Byakuya's workload and there was a lot of it. He sighed.

Byakuya was also doing his best to do his work, but the other man's presence was too much for him to handle, he couldn't stand a minute without stealing a glance at the redhead, who obviously hated what he was doing. Byakuya noticed, in their week-long working time together that there were many things that the redhead disliked, and that he was trying his best and failing in the art of hiding his displeasures. But the prince found the redhead's actions and reactions a bit entertaining in a very familiar yet unknown sense. Byakuya really enjoyed the time he spent with Renji, and it was the first time in a very, very long time that he found someone, as his grandfather would say, 'fun' to be with. Yes, a very long time since he last felt such entertainment and warmth in his heart. Byakuya closed his eyes as the pain of the past began to return to his memory, a wound that he wanted to forget for good.

Renji may not be able to read Byakuya's mind but he could still read his eyes and the slight change of them caught his attention. "You okay?" he asked with concern.

Byakuya didn't want to worry the redhead and said, "Yes, just had a short headache."

Renji wasn't too convinced but decided not to investigate on it further since he didn't want to get on Byakuya's bad side instead he said, "Want me to make you tea?"

"Excuse me?"

"Tea. You know something that you drink, and usually paired with sweets."

"I know what tea means."

"Well do you want me to? I think it'll help ease your headache. And maybe I could add some cookies, I'm sure you're starving that's why the headache."

"I am not hungry Renji, we just had lunch, and I don't enjoy sweets that much."

"Oh," the redhead's only reply.

Byakuya noticed that Renji was a bit disappointed that he turned down the offer, so he tried to correct his action. "I am not hungry nor do I like sweets, but I would enjoy a hot cup of tea," he said without looking at the redhead.

Renji was happy that the other changed his mind, "Sure I can arrange that, wait here." And then he stood and left the room.

A few minutes later, Renji came back with Byakuya's tea. "Here ya go." The prince took the cup and took a few sips. Renji waited for a reaction from the cold prince, but he found his hopes in vain since the other did nothing but calmly drank with his eyes closed, the tea he had brought.

Byakuya finished drinking the tea Renji had made, and had really loved it, it was unlike the tea his servants made, it may had the same ingredients but Renji's tea tasted better than any tea he had ever drank. After that one cup he handed Renji the cup which he fill up immediately like what his servants would do. "It's good. You should teach Kana-san how you make your tea."

Renji smiled and said boastfully, "There ain't anything special with my tea, it has the same ingredient that I heard you liked your tea to have."

"I see," Byakuya said and continued his work.

It was almost three in the afternoon when the two had finally finished all the paper work and tutorials. Renji decided to wash up before accompanying Byakuya to dinner with the emperor, a habit that they had been doing since they started working together. Apparently, the emperor wanted see first-hand Byakuya's advancement in personality. And so he bid Byakuya farewell and headed to his room. Byakuya did the same thing and returned to his room to freshen up.

It was almost five, Renji walked towards the emperor's quarters, but once again he faced the same problem he always faced, he was lost. "I don't get it, I never got lost before. But this palace bigger and more complex each time I come back."

"I'm guessing you're lost again," a familiar female voice said from behind him.

Renji turned, and found Kuchiki Rukia behind him. "Am I that obvious?"

"Pretty much," the petite teen said as she skid in front of the redhead.

"Ha! So you mind showing me where the emperor's quarters are?"

""Not really, but I'm a bit busy, so I can't really take you all the way there okay?"

"Fine by me as long as I get there."

"Alright."

The two walked through the palace hallway, and talked a bit. "So what's ya so busy 'bout? And what's with the get-up? You going to run away or something?" Renji asked as he looked at Rukia's plain violet kimono with a cloak around her.

"Sort of."

"You're running away?"

"Just for the night. I'm going someplace important."

"Really? Where?"

"My friend's celebrating his 21st birthday tonight and well you know."

"Is this the same friend who you told me a week ago that you needed to bring someone to attend the party?"

"Yup."

"Hey, thought I was invited? Why didn't ya tell me?"

"Well, you were so busy with Nii-sama that I thought you couldn't attend."

"Yeah but you could have still said something, I could've told ya I'd go and prepare."

"I'm sorry Renji," Rukia said apologetically.

"No worries. So what time's the party?"

"It's a late night party so it'll start by seven."

"Seven? You kidding? I can still attend. I'll tell the emperor about it-"

"You can't!"

"Huh?"

"I mean don't tell him, he might not allow me to go," Rukia said with her eyes looking worried.

"Oh. Okay I ain't telling him 'bout. But I'm still comin'. What you say?"

"I guess if you really want to, I'm sure Ichigo wouldn't mind."

"Great! Let's go together!"

"Alright, I'll wait for you in the town's square."

"Sure."

"This is as far as I can take you I think you can find your way towards Ginrei-oujiisama's quarters. I have to go, I still need to buy my friend a gift."

"Okay, thanks Rukia, see ya later!"

"See you." And they parted Renji continued walking.

As he walked towards the Ginrei's quarters, he heard someone swearing at the garden. He looked at a nearby window and saw to his surprise Kuchiki Byakuya in a pond half wet and touching the waters, as if looking for something. The man seemed really pissed as he dipped his soft pale hand in the murky pond waters and was swearing at a cat or something. Renji got curious and decided to check the other man. He jumped from the window and landed with ease, then he slowly and silently walked towards the angry prince.

Byakuya was heading to his grandfather's room, when he met Shihoin Yuroichi along the way. As always she annoyed him with her usual names, and it really got on his nerves. She came to him and inviting him to join some party in town, to which he decline which started they're little argument that ended with Byakuya losing a very important item to him. And that's how he got in his current insituation; he was looking for that very important thing that the cat demon threw in the pond that was really big. "Seriously why is this pond even here? It's not clean and flies are everywhere, they should have taken care of it," he said out loud.

"I heard that pond is a home to frogs and other nature animals, it's here to prevent those animals from going to the royal coy ponds in the palace," Renji said as he approached Byakuya, "So, what cha doing here?"

Byakuya blushed in embarrassment, he had not wished for anyone to see him in such a state, especially him. He turned away from the redhead and said, "I don't think it is any of your concern."

"Oh, sorry. I thought that you would needed help since it's almost time to meet up with Ginrei and you are far from ready," Renji said sarcastically.

Byakuya thought for a moment, and knew Renji was right he was meeting with the emperor and it is bad to make him wait, though Renji does it all the time, it was still improper and he was future emperor so it was a no-no, aside from that calling servants to help him was too much of a hassle. "Very well, I shall allow you to help me," Byakuya said.

"Is that how you ask someone a favor?" the redhead said with a sly smile. He can finally get back at him for all those rude wake up calls.

Byakuya felt it was below him to say please, but he was no condition to refuse. "Renji, I implore you to help me," Byakuya said in a low voice.

"Excuse me?" Renji said.

Byakuya may have a small admiration for the man but right now he felt like killing him for acting like Yuroichi. Byakuya took a hard breath, before saying, "Please."

"Still can't hear you."

Byakuya glared at the redhead but he didn't flinched he felt that his attempts on scaring the redhead were futile and so he took a deeper breath and said in an audible voice, "Please Renji help me."

"Sure in one condition."

"What do you mean condition?"

"Hey, nothing's free in this world. So it's a take it or leave it offer."

Byakuya didn't like to do something for someone but he needed his help, so he'd have to accept it no matter what the condition was. "Very well what is your condition?"

"I am going to town to join a celebration, and I want you to accompany me."

"To the party?"

"No, to heaven," rolls eyes, "Where else?"

Byakuya hated parties, he always had, and in fact he would rather skip his meeting with the emperor instead of joining one. But instead of saying no, his mouth said, "Very well. Now help me."

The redhead smiled triumphantly, Rukia's condition-invitation tactic actually worked on her brother, and then he said, "Okay." He entered the waters, after folding his kimono, and joined Byakuya. Byakuya stared at the redhead as he folded his kimono in a knee-high level, and entered the waters; he looked sexy in a very strange way. "Why the hell am I thinking such things about him?" he questioned himself as he tried to turn his attention on searching.

"By the way what are we looking for?"

"A pendant. Silver with a sakura tree engraving"

"Really? Is it yours?"

"Yes and no. I would prefer you not asking and keep searching, we need to hurry or we will be late."

Renji nodded and turned away from Byakuya, then faced the waters under him, he dipped one hand in the water and closed his eyes, and then a faint white light illuminated in the water where his had was. Byakuya was searching in his side of the pond when he felt a strange feeling behind him. He turned to Renji and saw the man smiling at him, in his hand he held the pendant he was looking for. "Found it!"

Byakuya was both surprised and happy; he took the pendant and cleaned it with his kimono. "Thank you," he said.

"No problem. But we gotta hurry lets change clothes before seeing him," Renji suggested.

"Very well."

When the two got out of the water, they were met by one of the emperor's servants; she told the two men that the emperor has cancelled their dinner and had to attend an emergency meeting. They were free for the entire evening.

"Well, guess we don't need to prepare to meet Ginrei, but to prepare for the party. Let's meet at the palace gates. Okay by you."

"It is fine by me, I shall wait for you."

Byakuya waited for Renji fifteen minutes later, yet the redhead had yet appeared. "As always he is late. Seriously how hard is it to get to somewhere on time?"

"Sorry to keep ya waiting," Renji said when he had arrived.

Byakuya was caught off guard and was shocked at what the redhead wore. It was a very plain white and red wavy patterned kimono. "What are you wearing?" he asked.

"I'd asked you the same thing," Renji replied as he looked at Byakuya's expensive looking kimono, "You do know this is a commoner party in town, right?"

"No, I don't."

"Well, it is, and you're gonna stand out too much if ya wear that."

"Well, I am afraid I do not own simple clothing as you have."

"'thought so. So I brought this," Renji raised a brown bag, "Come on."

He took the prince's delicate hand and led him to a small storehouse and handed him the bag. "Change into that." The prince followed the instruction and got dress inside the storeroom while Renji waited outside. Byakuya looked at the bag and its contents, there was a kimono inside it, and it was as plain as Renji's kimono, with a dominant black and blue floral pattern. Byakuya looked down at the clothes he held, was he really gonna wear this? It just didn't felt good; he was a prince! What kind of prince would wear such…. plain clothing? He was really debating himself on whether or not he'd wear it.

Renji looked at the sky and saw that the sun was already setting, and yet his prince is still not finished getting dressed. "Wonder what's taking him too long," he asked. Getting really impatient in waiting, Renji decided to check on Byakuya. He entered the room and was so surprise to see the prince half naked, Byakuya's slender body illuminated with the setting sun's light, it was like seeing an angel, and that was a very rare experience for Renji since angels don't show themselves to 2nd class gods like him. Renji was stuck to his ground and didn't even notice he was staring. Byakuya was also surprised that the redhead had entered the room and saw him naked, he would have yelled at him or have his eyes plucked, but no words came out of him.

Renji was the one who broke from the trance. "So-rry 'bout that," he said as he turned around, "You took so long so I thought there was something wrong with the clothes I gave you."

"No, there wasn't," Byakuya said and continued to get dress and tried to avoid looking at the redhead, because he felt a bit embarrassed, "I was deciding whether I was going to wear it or not, it took longer than I thought."

"Oh," was his only reply.

"I'm done," Byakuya said. Renji turned and was surprised to see that it looked good on Byakuya, though anything would look good in that man. Then Renji noticed that Byakuya was still wearing his Kensiken. "They have to come off," he pointed out.

"I can't, they are symbols of royalty and the next heir to the throne."

"Exactly. Wouldn't want everyone in town know the next emperor is walking the streets, they'll all bow to their knees by the mere sight of you. That's not a good thing, trust me."

He signed, "Alright, if that is what you want." Byakuya took off his Kensiken and allowed his long dark locks to touch his face.

"You look good with your hair like that," Renji complimented.

"Thank you," Byakuya gave a small smile, which surprised Renji, "We should get going."

"Right." And the two went out of the palace walls to go to town.

DaEmonQuEen: Wow! A very long chapter! Hope it didn't bore you. Well, I had to make it long since I haven't been able to post for quite some time. I've been very busy, doing our school's paper, some projects, school's Intramurals, etc. like I said busy. Hope this was a good chapter for you, expect more ByaRen moments next chapter and also the revelation of an old enemy. Hehe. Thanks for reading! Reviews are appreciated!

Disclaimer: I don't own any Bleach!

DaEmonQuEen: This is different from the actually bleach story, I still hope you like it!