Chapter 2: White Stag

He was a virgin? Renji thought, his head spinning and his body still humming with satedness, Where I come from, virginity is something that many to most surrender early. Whether in exchange for some vital need, or for comfort in the face of the hell we lived in, or to gain a higher place in a gang or group's hierarchy, virginity is a bargaining chip that the majority surrender all too soon. That being said, one who can reach full adulthood without surrendering his or her virginity is a prize, a person to be respected deeply when he or she finally takes that step...the fabled 'white stag' that should be treasured by the one gifted with them.

What did I just do?

I should apologize to him. I never even thought. The guy was married, so anyone would think that meant they had slept together before. Yeah, I should apologize now. But if I do that, he'll think that he gave it to the wrong guy.

But honestly, what virgin noble in his right mind would think I am the 'right guy' to give it up for?

"Renji?" Byakuya queried, giving him a curious look.

"Y-yeah, oh, sorry Taichou," the redhead answered, blinking, "You just threw me for a loop there. You were a virgin? Really?"

Maybe I heard him wrong.

"I told you," the noble said, the flush on his face making Renji's heart skip, "My wife was too ill. I loved Hisana, but because of her fragility, I did not want to risk making her pregnant. I have never done anything like this."

Renji hesitated for a moment, his mind still reeling from the noble's admission.

"Does that mean that you think it was a mistake or something?" he asked finally, his eyes taking on a troubled look, "I thought that you'd been interested in me for a while. I've noticed how you look at me, you know."

Byakuya's blush deepened and the beautiful sight of that strong, untouchable man becoming vulnerable for him registered deep within the redhead.

"I...don't know," Byakuya admitted, "I told you. I didn't come here with the intention of doing this."

"Yeah, you came to break our date. I remember. But haven't you ever had one of 'those crazy things' happen to you, Taichou? You know, where you don't plan it. But it happens. And once it does, it changes everything."

Byakuya nudged his way free of Renji and sat up. He shivered as he felt a dribble of wetness on his inner thigh.

What did I just do? the noble mused inwardly, After what happened to Hisana when she was raped by those men in Inuzuri, I of all people know about the dangers of unprotected sex. And having it with someone I know to be sexually promiscuous. Not to mention that because of my vow of obedience to the clan, I or any partner I have unprotected sex with could become pregnant.

This was wrong.

"Abarai," he said quietly, "I do not doubt your sincerity, however, I do have issues with the idea of one just suddenly changing who he is. I know that you have had other sexual partners."

"I won't anymore," Renji promised, slipping an arm around him and kissing him soothingly, "Taichou, you're really special to me. I never even thought that you would like me like that. What I did with other guys was just some lonely guys having fun together. No commitments. But, you know, you meet that 'one right person' and you don't need casual sex. You have something way better than that. You know what I mean?"

"I don't know," Byakuya answered honestly, "I have never had casual sex. As a clan heir and then clan leader, I had to think about possible consequences...diseases or unplanned pregnancy."

"Oh," Renji said, "Well, I don't...erm...didn't just do it with anybody. The guys are all my friends. We're all guys, so there's no risk of pregnancy. And we're all healthy."

"But you don't use condoms."

"No, they just feel awkward. I like it better natural."

Byakuya sighed.

"Then, you will not enjoy being with me, because I will not do this again unless we use them."

"Ah," said Renji, looking uncomfortable, "Okay. Not a problem. We'll use condoms."

"And if you plan to have other sexual partners, I cannot risk being involved with you. I do not say this frivolously, Renji. I am a clan leader, who must at all times be careful of his reputation. I cannot be seen as promiscuous or behave scandalously in public."

"I get that. You want me to be discreet about us. Okay."

"I cannot be careless or irresponsible with my health. And I must tell you that..."

"Hey," said Renji, a flicker of annoyance in his voice, "I told you that the guys I've been with are all healthy. Don't worry about that. I'm not even going to be with them anymore."

"And you find it easy to simply stop having sex with them?" Byakuya asked, "Because, I will be honest with you. To me, sex is not a casual thing. When I have sex with someone, I do so for love, and no other reason. I do not consider it a sacrifice to remain monogamous, but that being said, I know that this is not the way you think. You are popular among your peers. I am sure that you have no trouble attracting whoever you want to be with."

"Sheesh," Renji said, frowning, "You make it sound like there's something wrong with me. I just told you that when I am in love with someone, I am only with that person."

"Have you ever been in that kind of love, Abarai?" Byakuya asked bluntly.

"Uh...no, actually," admitted the redhead, "But that's always been the understanding between me and my friends. There's 'fucking around' and then there's 'being in a relationship.' I didn't ask you to be a casual partner. I'm ready to settle down and be with just you. I...really like you, Taichou. I told you. You're special."

Byakuya's expression softened.

"I am glad to hear that," he confessed, "You are correct that I have been aware of you this way for some time. I was only hesitant because we are so very different. I want to believe that those differences will enrich our association, although we both know that they will complicate things sometimes. But we work together amicably in our division. I have every confidence that we will find our balance in a love relationship as well. But you must be honest with me, Renji. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the pressure of dating a clan leader, you need to tell me so that I can do something to help you."

"I will," Renji said, a smile overtaking his face as he felt the tension between them fade.

He wrapped his arms around the noble and started to lay him down again. Byakuya stiffened, making the redhead stare at him questioningly.

"What's wrong?" he asked, frowning, "I thought we could do it again. We just agreed to an exclusive relationship, ne?"

"We did," Byakuya agreed, "But that being the case, I think we should slow down a bit and just 'date' for a time."

"But...we already had sex," the redhead objected, "We can't really put that horse back in the barn now."

"That 'horse' should never have escaped in the first place," the noble said unhappily, "This is not the way that noble relationships are supposed to happen. Ideally, you would make an official visit to the manor to inquire as to my status and interest. After which, we would see each other publicly for a time before engaging in intercourse. We have 'skipped ahead,' so a visit and request would seem awkward."

"Well, so will dating without sex," Renji mused, "I mean, I'm saving it for you so why can't we have sex?"

Byakuya went quiet for a moment, then sighed softly.

"Perhaps you are right," he said finally, "It is a lot to ask of someone who is used to having regular sexual activity. And I do want you to feel satisfied with me."

Renji grinned at the renewed flush that returned to the noble's handsome face. He tried to lay Byakuya down on the bed again, but met with the same resistance.

"What's wrong now?" he asked, beginning to sound exasperated, "You said that we could have sex. Now, you don't want to?"

"Renji, we have just had sex. And before we go on, we need to procure condoms. And you should have a physical and tests for..."

"Hey! I just had a full physical and told you I am healthy and don't have any diseases. Could you please stop worrying about that? And we'll use condoms next time. I promise. I just want to make love to you. I'm thrilled that we're together and I really want to enjoy that."

"Yes," Byakuya agreed, "but part of a relationship is being sensitive to the needs of your partner. And I have fed you sexually, have I not?"

"Yeah, but...I wasn't really 'done' yet."

"I have to return to the division and finish some work. But if you wish, we can spend the night in my quarters afterwards."

"That sounds good," Renji said, giving the noble a tight lipped smile, "I'll come by in a couple of hours, okay?"

"Very well," Byakuya answered, blushing again, "I look forward to seeing you."

"Yeah," said the redhead, grabbing him and plunging into his mouth for a scintillating kiss.

He smiled at the tremor he felt in the noble's slender body as they kissed.

"See you in a bit, Taichou," he said in a low, sultry voice.

Byakuya swallowed hard, shifting to cover the rising evidence of his own renewed arousal. He stood, then caught his breath softly at the traces of blood that had been left behind. Renji saw him staring and followed his gaze, then smiled sympathetically.

"Sorry, Taichou," he said sincerely, "I didn't mean to be rough. I was just...really into you. You're pretty damned amazing. Very sexy."

Unsure how to answer, Byakuya lowered his eyes.

"Thank you. But Renji, you should stop calling me that in private."

"What do you want me to call you? Byakuya taichou? Byakuya-san?"

"J-just Byakuya-when we are alone. Otherwise, my military designation is fine."

"Sure. Okay then. Byakuya, I'll see you in a couple of hours."

"Yes, I will see you then."

Byakuya left quickly, taking the stairs and flash stepping all of the way back to the division.

Renji watched as the noble started down the stairs, then closed the door and leaned against it for a moment, remembering.

Gods, he was so...fucking beautiful...so tight. He smelled so damned good and his skin and hair were softer than silk. I really don't want to mess this up. He's the kind of person where, if you screw with his heart, he's going to kick you to the curb, and he won't look back. So, I really need to stay on the 'straight and narrow.'

But he's worth it.

He's so fucking worth it!

Renji startled as a knock sounded on the door, and opened it expecting that Byakuya must have forgotten something.

"Hello, beautiful," he laughed, "You back for more?"

He gasped in surprise as he realized he was looking at Hisagi Shuuhei, and that the other man was smirking and moving forward to kiss him. Renji stepped back and put up his opened hands.

"Wh-whoa! Sorry, Shuu. I uh...thought you were..."

He paused, remembering what Byakuya had said about being discreet.

"Uh, sorry."

"Hey, what's wrong?" Shuuhei asked, stopping a short distance away from him, "Was it something I said? I thought we were going to try out that bed of yours."

He sucked in a surprised breath as he took in the light hint of sakura in the air, Renji's disheveled state, the rumpled bedding on the bed and reconsidered what the redhead had said when he had entered the room.

"Oh," he said, still smiling, "Did I interrupt you and Kuchiki taichou?"

"Wh-wha...? No," Renji said quickly, "He was here, but he, ah, just left."

"Just left, huh? So? How did that go? Are you guys an item now? Is that why you're acting so standoffish all of a sudden?"

"Um," Renji sighed, scratching the back of his neck nervously, "Look, Shuu, I'll tell you, but you can't spread gossip around. I am seeing Kuchiki taichou exclusively now. We just got together."

Shuuhei smirked.

"Got together, huh? Sounds like someone finally got a piece of the Kuchiki! Renji, you dog! I'm so jealous. Kuchiki taichou. Wow! That guy is the wet dream come true for guys like us, ne? He's a real life prince. You're really lucky."

"I think so too," Renji said, biting his lip gently, "And I don't want to mess this up. But Shuu, I have never been in a relationship like this. And it's way more complicated than just keeping myself from screwing around. He's a clan leader. He's got all of these rules he has to follow, and we have to be careful of his reputation."

"You scared?"

Renji felt a jolt of anger at the words, but the feeling was quickly undone by the sincerity in his friend's expression. And somehow, it made it easier for him to let the truth out.

"I'm terrified," he admitted, "I think I really am in love with him, because...I'm scared as hell of losing him!"

"Don't worry about it," Shuuhei said, slipping an arm around him, "If you get overwhelmed, just come and talk to me. I won't let you screw up. I'll help keep you sane while you do this."

Renji gave him a relieved smile.

"Thanks. You're a really good friend. I'm going to miss our fun and games."

"Well, we'll still see each other at the dance club, ne? We'll play cards and such?"

"Y-yeah, sure," Renji said uncertainly, "Just...I don't think Taichou's into that stuff, so..."

He swallowed hard, his heart pounding.

"Shuu, what the hell an I doing? Kuchiki taichou? Kuchiki fucking taichou? What was I thinking, taking him to bed like that? Now, everything's going to be so different."

"Hey, Renji," the other man said, taking him by the shoulders and meeting his eyes squarely, "Do you love him?"

"W-well, I..." Renji stammered breathlessly, "I...don't know. I've never been in love with anyone, you know? Not like that. But, I do like him a lot! And I'm really going to try to make this work. Yeah...yeah, I think I really do love him."

"Then, you'll be okay," Shuuhei said, hugging him, "You and Kuchiki taichou are going to be really happy together."

"Thanks," Renji sighed, closing his eyes and feeling keenly the change taking place between them, "You're the best, Shuu."

XXXXXXXXXX

Byakuya passed through the division office and went straight into his quarters, where he undressed and stepped into the shower. He shivered as the water ran down his body and he was reminded of the feel of that odd wetness running down his inner thigh.

Perhaps it just requires getting used to.

His mind spun with memory and related emotion, a tumble of confused sensations and reactions that left him feeling weary and unnerved. He tried to connect with the feelings he had been having about the redhead. But where the initial emotions had been light, even somewhat romantic, the reality of having sex with Renji left him blushing hotly and aroused again.

He is a very passionate person. I know that our relationship will be sexually fulfilling. I just wonder if it will really be so easy for Renji to remain monogamous. He hasn't been that way before. And although I know that he has the best intentions, I do not know if he realizes how his life is going to change.

He tried to think things through further, but was overtaken again by the memory of Renji's sudden and deeply passionate taking of his body. He closed his eyes, feeling again the sudden, hard kisses, those rough, calloused hands peeling his clothes away and the way he was taken, still standing and pressed back against the door. His aroused member swelled as he recalled the deep invasion, the surge of adrenaline, and the desire to say such things as he had never said to another person.

He moaned softly and his eyelids fluttered as the ache in his loins increased. And although he wasn't one to cave into his physical cravings as such, his hand slid down his body, and he touched himself as Renji had. Those places still ached and stung slightly from the rough treatment, but the noble found the memory of his taking, dangerously erotic even to just remember after the heat of the encounter had faded. His aroused member twitched and leaked under his hand, and he wondered what it would be like to lay Renji down in his bed and do the same things to him.

We did not speak about it. But I imagine that 'turnabout' is acceptable.

He imagined the redhead in just that situation and felt himself suddenly begin to climax at the thought alone. He gazed down at himself dazedly, his heart pounding.

What is this? This feeling of such intoxication. I only began to feel this way when Renji touched me. And now, even thinking about him brings those powerful, uncontrolled feelings of lust and longing out of me. But...as much as those emotions are passionate and fulfilling, they also feel somehow threatening. I do not know what that means.

He washed himself thoroughly, then stepped out of the shower and dressed. He returned to the office and tried to focus on the papers in front of him, but found himself too distracted. As time passed and Renji's return loomed closer, he felt an odd mixture of anticipation and apprehension.

I do look forward to being with him...yet...the emotions he evokes in me, the deep, enthralling passion. It sets off warning bells inside me.

He wondered if he had made a mistake. And as the time wound down, he shook his head and swallowed hard, taking a fresh sheet of paper and thinking carefully.

Renji, he wrote, I apologize for not being here as planned. However, I became ill upon returning to the division and had to return home. I will see you in the morning. My apologies for disappointing you. I hope that...

He inhaled in surprise and pulled the page off of his desk, crumpling it in his hand and dropping it in his wastebasket as the door suddenly opened and Renji entered the room.

Why do I feel like this?

I feel like running from him. Am I afraid? This is so unlike me? What is wrong with me?

"Hey, am I too early?"

"N-no," Byakuya answered, shaking his head briefly and quickly clearing off his desk.

He rose and turned towards the hallway, Renji a step behind him as they entered his bedroom. He turned back and closed the door, then stood gazing at the redhead as Renji looked back at him.

"You all right, Taichou?" Renji said, smiling at him, "You look kinda nervous."

"I told you to call me Byakuya when we are alone," the noble corrected him, "And I am fine."

Renji studied him more closely.

"You don't look fine to me," he said quietly, "You look like a guy who is about to be eaten alive. I'm not some sex-crazed monster you know, Byakuya. If you are not into having sex with me right now, just tell me. We'll...soak in your hot tub over there and talk so you can unwind from work. Then, we can just see where it goes from there. Not everything we do has to include sex."

"Thank you, Renji," Byakuya said, relaxing somewhat, "But the truth is that I am looking forward to our sexual interactions. It is just that I would rather like to take things slower and enjoy them more this time."

Renji broke into a pleased grin.

"Really? You've got it, Taichou...Byakuya. We'll take our time this time."

"Very well," said the noble, "And when we make love this time, I would like to take you...if you don't mind."

"What?" Renji asked, his eyes widening, "you're kidding me, right?"

"No," Byakuya said solemnly, "I gave myself to you today, and I was hoping that tonight, you would do the same for me. Do you have a problem with that, Renji?"