Poor Renji...(or is it poor Shuuhei?) ;)

Chapter 3

A white and green striped hat bobbed as its owner rummage through several drawers in the store room of Urahara Shoten.


A big burly man appeared at the door. "What is it, Urahara-san?"

The man with the hat remained crouched as he turned around to face his friend. "Would you happen to know where my, ah, you know...my favorite candies...are?" he asked with a sheepish look on his face.

Tessai blushed slightly. Of course he knew what the blond shopkeeper was referring to. Those were magical things—those pills that Urahara-san would take once in a while when Yoruichi-san came to visit. What was that line again from the commercial...? It just keeps going, and going, and going? Indeed.

Before Tessai could answer, however, Ururu's voice rang out. "Are you talking about those candies in the top-most drawer? I gave some to Yamada-san when he was here last time." The little girl appeared next to Tessai. Opening her mouth to show a ball of chewing gum inside, she continued, "He gave me this which he got from his work place, so I gave him some candy in exchange. Why, is there something wrong?"

"Oh dear," Urahara said as he brought up his fan to cover his mouth. "That is, ah, most unfortunate."

Hanatarou sprinted down the hallway as though he had Aizen's army at his tail. Renji-san is going to kill me! He thought unhappily as he continued to race towards the 6th squad vice captain's quarters. When Ururu barged into his workplace in a panic and told him what happened, he thought he was going to die of shame and fear.

Why on earth would Urahara-san keep such dangerous things around the house? Hanatarou thought furiously. With a shudder, he decided that he really did not want to know anyway.

He skidded to a stop when he finally arrived at Renji's door. A quick mental calculation told him that at least four hours had passed since he gave Renji the "candies"—damn that Urahara, why did he leave these things within reach of children? Now he would have to bear the wrath of the great Abarai Renji, one of the few non-Captains in Seireitei to achieve Bankai.

"Uhh, Renji-san?" Hanatarou stammered to the door. When he was greeted with absolute silence, he knocked gently. His heart beat loud and fast in his chest. Tears were beginning to collect at the corners of his eyes, partly out of fear of Renji, and also out of fear for Renji. Urahara-san said that while one or two of those pills could deliver...pleasurable...effects, he had never seen nor heard of what would happen if someone were to consume more than that. Either way, he had provided Hanatarou a vial of what he said was an antidode. For a fleeting moment Hanatarou wondered why Urahara would have an antidode on hand, but decided not to probe as he wasn't sure if he wanted to find out.

"What's wrong?" A voice rang out behind Hanatarou suddenly, and the little medic jumped in fright. He turned around to see Rikichi, an officer in the 6th division, and also Renji's neighbor. Work hours were over and the young officer had just gotten back from the barracks.

Hanatarou gripped Rikichi's hand and said urgently, "Do you have a key to Renji-san's room? Or know anyone who does? How can I get in there?"

Rikichi's eyebrow shot up. "Why would you need to get in there? Is Abarai-fukutaicho not home? He left early today," he asked, curious.

"Err..." Hanatarou hesitated. He wasn't sure if he wanted anyone else to know what was going on. But on the other hand, if Renji was hurt, he would definitely need someone's help to get the vice captain to the 4th division. In the end he decided that it wouldn't hurt to have just one more person roped into the situation, especially since Rikichi had broken rules to break him out of prison in order to heal Renji when the vice captain was severely injured in his fight with Kuchiki-taicho. So, in as few words as he could, he briefed Rikichi on what happened. The young officer's eyes became wider and wider as he took in Hanatarou's words.

"Oh my god," he whispered, shocked and worried. Even though he complained about being subjected to unwanted entertainment at night, Renji was his idol and he practically worshipped the ground the vice captain walked on.

Rikichi began to pound his fists on the door. "Abarai-fukutaicho!" "Renji-san!" "Hello?"

Suddenly they heard shuffling of feet behind the door. They paused and stared at each other. If there was someone in there all along, why were they ignored for so long?

The door creaked open just enough to reveal half a face; tired eyes stared out apprehensively. Hanatarou immediately recognized the three long scars down the side of the person's face.

"Hisagi-fukutaicho!" Hanatarou gasped in surprise.

Shuuhei's eyes widened in recognition as well and he opened the door wider. Still, he stood in a way that blocked the view of the room from the two young officers in front of him. "What is it?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Umm," Hanatarou wasn't sure what to say. He thrust his hand forward to reveal the vial which he had been clutching. "Urahara-san says to give this to Renji-san!"

Shuuhei's raised his eyebrows as he stared at the vial suspiciously. "Urahara-san?" he asked.

Hanatarou nodded. "Yes! And he also asked me to apologize to both of you," he added. When Urahara told him this, Hanatarou had been surprised and confused as to why Hisagi-fucutaicho was mentioned, but now he could guess why. He remembered how close the two vice captains were, and how devastated Hisagi-fukutaicho was when he thought Renji had died.

Shuuhei's hand wavered a bit in hesitation, but in the end he took the vial. "Thanks," he said, then he just stood there. It took Hanatarou and Rikichi a few seconds before they understood that they had been dismissed.

Once the two boys turned and left, Shuuhei closed the door and sagged against it. He lifted the vial and peered into it. He guessed that it was a medicine of some sort. He wasn't sure how, but Urahara seemed to have found out that Renji had gotten into this trouble. He hadn't wanted to answer the door, but with the racket the boys were making, sooner or later people were going to rush here to see what was going on.

"I'm not sure if I want to drink that," a tired voice came from underneath a pile of blankets and sheets on the bed.

"Oh, come on, Renji," Shuuhei said with a chuckle. He sat down next to the redhead and brushed away stray strands of red hair from the flushed face.

Renji scowled as he eyed the vial that Shuuhei was holding. His body was aching all over the place—hell, even fighting hollows didn't leave him so sore. He grimaced as he sat up, then he took a quick look down at himself and groaned in frustration at the sight. It had been what, five hours? He had never felt so sore down there, and poor Shuuhei was probably feeling it too.

He looked at Shuuhei gratefully. He could tell that the man was tired to the bone, but Shuuhei stuck by him through the entire ordeal.

"I'm so going to kill that guy the next time I see him," Renji said fiercely before grabbing the vial. Giving it one last apprehensive look, Renji swallowed it in one go. He had no idea what he was getting himself into, but at the state he was in right now, he was willing to try anything. Yes, even a vial of unknown liquid provided by possibly the sketchiest person in the world of the living, Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo combined.

It was nearly midnight by the time Renji finally awoke with a start. Sitting up, he immediately groaned as his sore muscles flared in protest. He massaged the back of his neck as he tried to clear his mind, then his eyes widened when he suddenly remembered why he was so tired in the first place. Throwing the covers off, he looked down and almost cried in relief to see that everything was normal down south.

Next to him, Shuuhei murmured as he, too, began to come to. Giddy with relief, Renji couldn't help grinning at the disheveled state of the man. He knew he probably looked just as bad himself, if not worse. The past few hours were the most bizarre experience he'd ever had. What would he do if he didn't have Shuuhei?

"Oh hey," Shuuhei mumbled, rubbing his eyes. He yelped in surprise when he was suddenly engulfed in a tight embrace, then he relaxed when Renji let go slightly and buried his head into Shuuhei's shoulder. He chuckled as he thought back of what happened during the day. It was insane, but he couldn't say that it was entirely unpleasant. Then he stiffened suddenly when he felt Renji nibble gently on his ear.

"Oi! What are you doing? Oh no no no no..."


The end! xD So...yeah, like I said, this story is meant to be light-hearted. For anyone who was wondering, the "nightly entertainment" that Rikichi is subjected to is a brief reference to my short story "Noisy Neighbor".

Right now I'm actually in the middle of writing the 3rd chapter of "Tease". So the context for "Tease" is that, I had originally meant for it to be a one-shot story, but Cuzosu's comment inspired me to make it into a small collection of light-hearted tease-themed stories. So if anyone has any ideas, do let me know and I'll be happy to see how I can spin it into a torture fest for the boys! ;)

And then after that I'll be gearing up for my next long story, which I'm categorizing under Romance & Drama! Hopefully that makes some of you curious. ;)

Let me know what you think of this story!