A/N: Hey guys, as promised here's the Renji/Byakuya companion story to Internal Affairs! Renji and Byakuya are playing a very interesting game in my head, and it's making it difficult for me to finish their story. However, here's just a taste. Hopefully I'll have the rest done (or at least the next part up) soon :)
Ichigo and Grimmjow were making him sick.
Every day at the office he had to put up with his friend and boss, Ichigo, making pathetically happy faces. Not enough torture, he also endured seeing Ichigo's subordinate and boyfriend, Grimmjow, leer perversely anytime Ichigo was in the vicinity. It's not that he was jealous of Ichigo's current source of happiness; if Renji was being honest with himself, it was probably annoying only because it had been a little too long since he'd been laid.
After staying late at the office he shuffled over to the bar he frequented, staying late at the office was becoming a regular occurrence because Ichigo was so easily sidetracked. It wasn't like Renji could blame him, so he made sure to maintain his usual all-business persona in the office when acting his part as Ichigo's secretary. However, he couldn't take it anymore; there were some things friendship since childhood didn't make up for, and taunting a deprived man, intentional or not, with your latest happiness was one of them.
He might have been a little bit short with Ichigo for the past few days because of it too, which only made Renji more upset with himself. He'd have to apologize tomorrow. He'd been toying with the idea of trying to get together with Ichigo to just hang out and relax someday soon, but that would never work as a method to clear his head. Ichigo wouldn't be able to stop talking about Grimmjow, he just couldn't help himself.
He needed new friends. Or more friends.
Sighing, he slipped into his usual seat and the bar's owner appeared almost immediately, heedless of the buzzing of her other customers.
"Renji you look terrible." she grinned in a friendly but pointed way, handing him a beer. He grunted.
"Ichigo and his lover are driving me crazy." He sighed, "That doesn't make me an asshole best friend, does it?"
"The honeymoon stage, huh? Makes you want to kick people in the face, if you're single. Ichigo would understand, I'm sure, if he wasn't so wrapped up in himself at the moment." She laughed good-naturedly and leaned over the counter. "If you want something to do this weekend, a family member is in town and needs something to do because I'll be busy working. Might be a good distraction for you…"
"Wait, I get it: You want someone to keep him busy." Renji sighed, taking a long drink from his glass. "I guess I'm your man, since it's not like I have anything better to do. How old is the brat?"
"Rukia." A clear voice male voice with a ringing quality cut into their conversation and Renji snapped to attention. It had been a long time since a man's voice had given him goose bumps, and he wasn't sure whether or not they were welcome. However, his body was thrumming in anticipation as he turned to his left.
"Byakuya, good, you found the place." Rukia eyes softened as she glanced to the beautiful, tall, dark haired man that was standing just over Renji's shoulder. With a face like that, he had to not only be taken, but long term, Renji thought wistfully. It had been a long time since someone had sparked his interest- the secretary job left him with little time for a social life after all.
"Renji," Rukia interrupted his thoughts and he redirected his eyes to his friend. "This is the 'brat' I was talking about. Meet my older brother-in-law, Byakuya Kuchiki. Byakuya, meet Renji Abarai."
Renji's eyes twitched in irritation at her amusement before he swept his gaze back to the man behind him and stood to hold out a hand.
"Pleasure to meet you; I had no idea Rukia had a brother until now." He said smoothly, attempting to cover up Rukia's dig at his earlier assumption that her relative was younger. He tried for charming, he really did, but his charm was a little rusty and probably just came off as over-eager.
"Renji, is it?" Byakuya's lips twitched into what might possibly have been a smile, but they quickly returned to their original, neutral position. "Rukia, you really need to take off work to spend time with me, it's the least you can do when your brother comes to see you."
"I told you when you said you wanted to come up here that I didn't have any time to take off and keep you company, and yet you came anyway." Rukia sighed and then perked up, "However, Renji here just offered to take you around for the weekend! The two of you should have a blast, so get to know each other. I've got work to do, I'll check on you later."
"Rukia!" Byakuya called, sounding indignant, but she had already turned to deal with her other customers at the bar. It was Tuesday night, but the place was pretty loud. Some part of Renji's mind registered the bustle of people around them, but most of him was focused intently on memorizing the lines of Byakuya's beautiful face.
"Stop staring at me." That same melodic voice, but a little harsher, Renji noted. He grinned,
"Sorry, but you're a bit more attractive than the usual man who walks in here- and I thought I was agreeing to take a teenager out and about for the weekend."
"Agreeing?" Byakuya glanced disapprovingly at Rukia's back, and then turned back to Renji, blinking, as if he just noticed something. "Are you… hitting on me?"
"Would it do me any good?" Renji asked, still smiling. He seemed to have taken Byakuya completely aback, because it took the other man a few minutes to formulate his thoughts.
"I'm much older than you."
"Can't be that much."
"It's true." Rukia inserted into the conversation as she passed by behind the bar, "He's so pretty at his age it's ridiculous."
Byakuya glared at her, and Renji was struck one again by his good looks. The dark haired man returned his gaze to Renji, looking thoughtful.
"Rukia told me about you." He said, talking slowly as if he was merely thinking aloud. "She said you used to be very brash and impulsive, but that you've aged a lot in the past few years. Yet, to me, you don't look older than 30."
Renji's eyebrow cocked curiously, and his eyes sought Rukia speculatively down the counter. She was distracted and didn't notice, but he could feel Byakuya continue to look at him and so Renji turned back to the man next to him.
"Why is it that women feel the need to share that sort of speculation with everyone they know? And yeah, I guess that's true; everyone has to grow up eventually."
Byakuya's dark eyes remained focused on his face, impassive but searching.
"Actually, Rukia used you as part of her argument as to why she loves her job and will not come home to live with me. She likes you." He raised an eyebrow, and his implication was clear.
"Well if she didn't tell you I'm gay, then she was playing you." Renji snorted, taking another long drink from his glass. "But yeah, I like her too. Why do you want her to go live with you?"
"She belongs home with me; she has no need to work and I'm her family."
He said it as if it were all very simple, as if Rukia was a foolish, petulant child and he had all the answers of life already figured out. Suddenly Renji had the desire to shake this man's world up, to prove that things aren't so black and white. They sat there, staring wordlessly at each other, until Rukia walked over and coughed.
"So, you guys are going to meet up Saturday?" She hinted, eyes darting between the two curiously.
"Yeah," Renji answered, "we are."
A/N: In the most straight-forward, loving way: just wanted to let you guys know that the more reviews I get, the more likely I'll keep motivation up to finish their story :) Of course I'm going to work on that anyway, but a little push never hurts