Hello~ I'm back! I've been getting a lot of ideas after writing my first ShuuRen...and now I can't stop. This story here is set a few months after "Till Death Do Us Part" and after "Noisy Neighbor", so the plot may make a little more sense if you read those first.
The usual disclaimer...I don't own Bleach, yada yada. Maybe if I go seduce Kubo-sensei he might give me the rights...oh well a girl can dream.
This is my first attempt at writing a serialized story…and without further ado here's the first chapter!
Humming softly and tapping his right foot in sync to the unknown little tune, Abarai Renji turned the page of the document he was reading. Not for the first time that afternoon, he felt a pair of dark eyes pierce his direction, so he hastily stopped fidgeting and pretended that the document in his hands was the most interesting read in the world. After a few seconds, the tense aura he felt around his head lifted, and he relaxed visibly. After a few minutes, he absent-mindedly started to hum again.
And why shouldn't he be happy? Last night, he had the most mind-blowing sex ever. Just as he thought Shuuhei had shown him everything, the dark-haired man sprang a surprise on him with an exciting new move involving a scarf. Outwardly quiet and stern-looking, the 9th squad Vice Captain and Interim Captain didn't look like your average sex god, but once Renji unlocked his heart, it was like a dam had burst. When they were behind closed doors, Shuuhei's lust for his redheaded lover would spill out and take Renji's breath away.
A not-so-subtle cough brought Renji back to reality, and, shooting a guilty glance at the table across the room, he once again forced his mind to focus on the chicken scratch on the paper in front of him. God, he thought in annoyance, Can't kids write properly nowadays? Then he turned to the next page and saw a completely different handwriting. This one was fluid and elegant...it was Kuchiki Taicho's trademark calligraphy. Apparently the raven-haired captain had already signed the document and was just waiting for Renji's final signoff before they could send this off to the messenger. How did the man manage to go through so much paperwork and still have the patience to write so beautifully? Renji wondered as he hurriedly graced the document with his signature, which was a damn sad sight in comparison.
"Taicho, I'll head over to the messenger's office now," Renji said, his arms full with a stack of processed paperwork. Not even bothering to look up, Kuchiki Byakuya merely waved his hand to acknowledge that he had heard. Shrugging, Renji headed out, but not before he began to hum that annoying tune again.
When the redhead finally left, Byakuya let out a tired sigh and sagged into the seat. Normally, he would rather be dead than be caught sitting with such horrible posture, but today he felt that he deserved a little break. He thought back at the rumor he'd overheard that morning and sighed again.
...earlier that morning...
"He said Abarai-fukutaicho is huge!" A voice rang loud and clear in the courtyard just outside the training hall. A bunch of young unseated officers were resting after a sparring session, and today's topic of discussion was their charismatic vice captain.
"But he said it was dark! How can you be sure that he even saw anything?" A ponytailed girl protested. "I bet that Rikichi was just saying it to get attention."
One of the boys held up his hands dramatically. "He said it's like, this big!" That brought a howl of laughter from the group of young people. "Holy shit that's the length of your freaking katana!" "Hisagi-fukutaicho would be dead!"
Around the corner, Byakuya listened, his presence unnoticed by the inexperienced recruits. If they had been just a tiny bit more attentive to their surroundings, they would have felt a sudden flare in Byakuya's spiritual pressure, which was then hastily suppressed once more by the owner.
Was it true, what they said? Did Rikichi really see Renji in the buff...and if so...how? And, what was this about Hisagi from the 9th squad? What did the man have to do with his vice captain? With effort, he reigned in his imagination regarding the comment about Abarai's, ah, length.
Even as he continued to process this information in his mind, his inner voice chided him for not piecing this together earlier. The signs had been subtle, but he could pick up some here and there. It started after the weird hollow attacks at Karakura city a few months ago. The 12th squad scientists reported the appearance of abnormally strong hollows in the city and some of the vice captains had gone to the living world to exterminate the beasts, accompanied by the 10th squad captain, Hitsugaya Toushiro. Hisagi got himself seriously injured in the process, rumors had it that he nearly died protecting Renji, and that incident had led to a...relationship between the two vice captains. Despite the rumors, the two men had not shown any public display of affection - well, at least not during work hours - so Byakuya simply accepted it as what it was, just a rumor. However, it did not escape his notice that his vice captain had been happier lately. If the humming and the ever-present stupid smile on his face was not enough, the spring in his steps certainly caught Byakuya's attention.
Now, with the new rumor that Rikichi was apparently spreading, it seemed like the earlier rumors could be true after all. At this thought, Byakuya frowned. Much as he refused to admit, this...thing...was bothering him more than it should, and the fact that he was bothered by this bothered him even further. Why should he be concerned about the private lives of a couple of vice captains? Oh really now? His inner voice seemed determined to annoy him today. Are you sure that you're not just concerned about...oh you know...one of them? Oh I won't say who...you know better than anyone...
"Che!" He spat, straightening up, then he cringed inside. This was just wonderful, now he was talking to himself like a bloody maniac. He felt a sudden rush of anger towards his vice captain. He understood very well that this feeling didn't make sense, but he could not control himself. But outwardly, his face was impassive as ever. If anyone were to pass by his office right now, all they would see was the Kuchiki heir sitting at his desk looking impeccable like always, flipping through documents in his usual quiet, cool manner. Nobody would have guessed that brewing inside Kuchiki Byakuya was an epic battle between his logical mind and his - gasp - heart.
"Shut up! I need to work you know," Hisagi Shuuhei said in exasperation. He was at his desk, trying really hard to concentrate on the report he was writing. But a certain redhead leaning over his shoulder had other ideas.
"Come on...it's freaking lunch time," Renji complained. "Don't tell me you're skipping lunch again!"
Shuuhei closed his eyes and groaned. "Okay fine. Just...go play or something and let me finish this up. I only have 2 more paragraphs to write then we can go have lunch. Sheesh." Despite his words, the look he gave Renji was one filled with affection. And Renji knew it, because he simply proceeded to poke at the knick knacks on Shuuhei's desk, making a mess and earning a sharp tap on his knuckles in return.
It was way past the usual lunch time by the time the lovers were seated in the restaurant. Renji's stomach rumbled in earnest.
"God, Shuuhei, you need to stop being such a workaholic," Renji said, annoyed. "I hardly get to see you anymore these days!"
Shuuhei chuckled. "Stop whining like a girl, you stupid horny bastard."
"Oh come on! You're never going to let it go huh?" Renji rolled his eyes, blushing slightly. Of course Shuuhei had to bring up that awkward incident again; a few weeks ago, the dark-haired man had walked into Renji's little...personal time, and he hadn't stopped making fun of it since.
After a bit of their usual mock bickering, food finally arrived. As they began to tuck in, Shuuhei said through a mouthful of rice, "So...apparently your little neighbor is a closet voyeur."
Renji groaned and buried his face in his left palm. "God, you heard that too?"
Shuuhei gave a small laugh. "Kind of hard to ignore it around here, especially not when you're now getting quite the reputation as a stud." He teased with a twinkle in his eyes. "Last I heard, you're being compared to Houzukimaru in Shikai form." He was referring to Madarame Ikkaku's zanpakutou. The 3rd seat officer of the 11th squad was well known for his shikai, which had the form of a spear with a wax wood shaft.
The redhead nearly choked on his food laughing. "That's quite flattering," he said. "Although I'd rather be compared to something just a tad thicker." Then he suddenly looked stricken. "Shit, if even you heard about it, Kuchiki-taicho probably has, too! Ah, crap!"
Shuuhei shrugged. "So what if he does?"
"I dunno...you know what a tight-ass he is." Renji said between bites. "He'd probably give me a lecture about not letting personal matters affect my work yada yada..."
"Then don't let it affect your work, idiot," Shuuhei lectured, earning a kick from the redhead under the table. "Come on, eat up, I don't have all day."
Patting the already-extremely-full backpack one last time, Rukia heaved it over her shoulder with a soft "oof!". She had come back to Soul Society today to give her weekly status report to her captain, Ukitake-taicho. Everytime she did so, she'd stop by the Kuchiki estate to grab some of her stuff - the facial creams in the living world were terrible, no wonder they had the illness called acne - before heading back via the personal Kuchiki Senkai gate.
As she hurried down the hallway, she felt a wave of familiar spiritual pressure. Odd, she thought. Nii-sama shouldn't be home at this time. But she decided to take a quick peek into her brother's room anyway, just to make sure she wasn't mistaken. It'd been what - 2 months? - since she last saw Byakuya, she was actually kind of looking forward to see him, if only to say a quick greeting.
In front of Byakuya's room, she hesitated. She felt an oddness to her brother's spiritual pressure, which was disturbing because he was very skilled at controlling it. Tiptoeing softly, she pressed her ears against the door and listened. Muffled coughs came through, followed by a weak moan. Alarmed, she knocked on the door. Nii-sama...sick? In the fifty plus years she'd been adopted into the Kuchiki clan, she had never once seen her brother ill.
"I said not to disturb me." The familiar voice that called out was hoarse and not as full as it usually was. Although nobody would ever dare tell him, Byakuya had a voice that caused many girls to swoon. His low, slightly-nasal voice sent shivers down the spines of his female subordinates, who sometimes even resorted to make mistakes intentionally just to get the chance to hear him lecture them in that buttery voice of his. Unfortunately for them, their captain tended to be disinterested in personally disciplining his officers, preferring to let his vice captain handle it. Not that Abarai-fukutaicho was disappointing to look at, but sometimes his bluntness could get on people's nerves.
"Nii-sama," Rukia called softly. "It's Rukia. Are you alright? Should I send for a healer?"
There was a long pause, then Byakuya finally said, "There's no need to make a fuss over such a petty thing."
Rukia pursed her lips. Her brother had this annoying habit of treating everything as "below him", including his own health. If the matter did not involve the pride of the clan, or the destruction of Soul Society, it wasn't his concern. "I'm coming in," Rukia announced, and then entered the room without waiting for Byakuya's response.
She gasped slightly at the sight that greeted her. Her brother was lying on his bed, his already-fair complexion bordering on yellowish-gray. And his hair! The normally silky and well-kept tresses were draped across his pillow, looking damp and messy. His eyes were half-closed, but Rukia could feel his sharp gaze on her.
"Che. There is nothing to see here," her brother said softly, his voice laced with slight annoyance. Then, he seized up in a fit of coughs, which prompted Rukia to rush to his side.
"Nii-sama! You are not okay!" She admonished. Just six months ago she would not have dared to speak to her brother in such tone, but the incident where she was nearly executed, her brother had relaxed around her significantly, and they finally now shared an almost-normal brother-sister relationship. Almost. Byakuya sometimes still tended to treat Rukia as if he was her captain, brother, and father all at once. Annoying at it was, Rukia actually found it quite endearing.
Byakuya flinched when he felt the back of Rukia's palm on his forehead. He really loathe being seen in such condition, but he knew that his sister only had his well-being in mind, so he bit his tongue. "Nii-sama, I think you have a fever. I'm going to send a healer."
Before he could protest, Rukia had flash-stepped out of the room. Muttering - oh, not cussing, Kuchikis never cuss - under his breath, Byakuya turned his head to the side in annoyance. His eyes landed on the backpack that Rukia had left behind. It looked as if it would burst open any moment soon. In fact, the top did pop open suddenly, and a piece of white cloth poked out.
Eh? Byakuya thought. Curious, he gave a quick glance at the door, then, satisfied that he was still alone, craned his neck to see what it was. Ah, that familiar bandana. He could recognize the neat little knot. It was Abarai's trademark white bandana. The only reason the knot was so neat was because it was tied by Rukia. Then he paused and frowned. That bandana and its owner were inseparable. Did this mean that Abarai was going to the living world again? Oh no he'd better not! Byakuya thought, his brows furrowing. He's already behind on his paperwork as it is!
He quickly straightened up when he heard footsteps approach the room. Rukia had brought their personal healer, who announced, upon a brief inspection, that the Kuchiki heir was down with a flu. Her hands folded across her chest, Rukia looked on with a motherly frown.
"Che" was all Byakuya said when he caught Rukia staring at him like that. Flu was nothing. Although he had lost track of when he was ill last, a flu was nothing to the great Kuchiki Byakuya, 28th head of the Kuchiki clan.
"Well, I have to go," Rukia said, shouldering the overflowing backpack. She yelped in surprise when the top of the bag opened even wider, causing a bunch of items to fall to the floor. She immediately bent down to scoop things up, but that white bandana had landed close to the bed. Despite the admonishing look from the healer, Byakuya leaned over and picked it up.
"Oh, thanks Nii-sama!" Rukia took the bandana with a smile and quickly tucked it in her pocket.
Forcing himself to look indifferent, Byakuya casually asked, "So Abarai is going with you?"
Rukia looked up, confused. Then she smiled. "Oh, that bandana? No Renji's not going, but he gave me this...asked me to give it to Jinta, that little brat at Urahara's. The boy is surprisingly fond of Renji, so he thought it would be cute to let him have it, as a token of thanks for always freeloading at their place."
An eyebrow cocked in surprise, but Byakuya did not make a sound. He remembered hearing his red-headed vice captain say, a while ago, that this bandana was his life. If you see this bandana abandoned on the ground, it meant that Abarai Renji had perished.
His puzzlement must have been reflected on his features because Rukia decided to elaborate. "Heh, now that he has a new, special one, he doesn't need this one anymore. But anyway, I need to go, see you Nii-sama! Please take care of yourself."
Watching Rukia's back as she exited the room, Byakuya sank into the pillows and shut his eyes. He looked as serene as can be to the healer and servants tending to him, but inside his curiosity grew. He rolled Rukia's words in his mind, wondering what the "new special one" was. Ah. It must be those stupid, ugly sunglasses that Abarai loved, from...what was that store called again? Hmmm..dragonfly or something. Stupid name... And with that thought in his mind, he dozed off.
Hopefully this makes you want to know what happens next! ^.^ See you again soon!