Categories > Anime/Manga > Bleach > Dawning4 Reviews
Renji ponders whether he's good enough for Byakuya.
Disclaimer: I absolutely do not own Bleach....I only wish I did!
Hearing the sound of light footsteps behind him, Renji turned slightly and saw his captain walking through the darkened doorway, his light robe blowing in the breezy air. Discreetly admiring the beauty of the older man, Renji went back to pondering how someone as noble and wonderful as his Tachiou could want to associate with a gutter rat like yours truly. The man shouldn't want to dirty himself that way, he mused.
"Abara, Renji, what are you doing out here in the middle of the night?" he asked in his ever calm, cool voice.
"Nothing, tachiou. Just decided to come out and clear my head. Go on in and lay down, I'll be there shortly. You need to rest after the workout we put in today." Remembering their spar earlier that day, Renji felt himself hardening, painfully, almost instantly. While fighting, Byakuya had looked so fierce, so beautiful, like an avenging spirit, sent to wreak painful justice on all those daring to oppose him.
He felt cool fingers brush against the back of his neck and sighed. The Byakuya he saw at night was the one he favored most. Still controlled and collected, he was more open than during the days. Occasionally Renji would even glimpse the affection his Captain covertly directed toward him.
"You worked just as hard as I did today," Byakuya reminded him.
"I'm used to less though, doesn't really bother me. There were more times than not that I wasn't able to sleep through the night where I grew up. Safe places to rest were few and far between."
He frowned slightly remembering those days. Those memories made all the difference between him and Byakuya. He had been through things his Taichou couldn't even begin to imagine. Looking at the other man he was glad the beautiful noble had never experienced hunger, homelessness, a complete lack of concern for personal safety. He was glad Byakuya had never experienced those things, but... Renji had...and that certainly didn't make him a suitable companion for his patrician lover.
Castigating his stupidity internally, Renji reminded himself to use the formal name Kuchiki-tachiou for his only love. Breaking down those barriers, even mentally, was not a good thing. Nothing desirable could come from the closeness they shared...if you didn't take Renjis' happiness into account. And really, he thought to himself, how could he be considered worthy of happiness if that feeling robbed the one responsible for supplying that emotion of any chance of attaining it.
"Renji," there was a heartfelt sigh," what are you worrying about?"
"It's pointless worrying, Kuchiki-taichou. It's something that no amount of thought can or will change."
He felt very old the second those words left his mouth, admitting aloud that it was hopeless. Despair seeped into his soul at thoughts of watching him...being near him...the torture it would be to return to the cold decorum of acquaintances at this point. Shaking his head he decided to stop worrying, for the moment, and make this night memorable, for there shouldn't be any more nights like this. If he made the break now, he thought looking over at the others' silhouette in the moonlight, it would be what was best for the noble man...for Byakuya. He allowed that name to roll through his mind one more time before the formality he would face when morning came and the new day had to begin. Eyes closed dejectedly he wished for the power to halt time...the ability to stop the sunrise before the first rays could even start to lift the silent, stillness of the night.
"Let's get back to bed," he said softly. Standing and resolutely running his fingers lightly down the pale arm that glistened in the light of the stars, he urgently grabbed the other mans' hand, pulling him through the open doorway. Placing his lips against the silky, receptive ones opposite him, he savored the feeling of welcome, of homecoming, he found in the noblemans' embrace...the feeling that would soon be disappearing...vanishing like it had never existed...except for in his memories.
Looking down at the still, sleeping form on the bed, he said his silent farewells. The memories he would keep of the two of them were the most cherished of his life. He'd actually felt loved, if only for a little while. Reaching out a hand, he brushed the silky dark hair away from the pale face with his fingertips, fighting the almost uncontrollable urge to kiss the soft lips facing him, slack and peaceful in sleep. This is for the best, he reminded himself sternly, what kind of life could he lead with you around. You're out of place here Renji, it's best to sever the connection now than to ache with it later.
Seeing the fine, expensive belongings furnishing the beautiful home strengthened his resolve, he would never fit in here he knew. Walking out slowly he shut the door softly, decisively behind him and silently made his way out of the massive house of the ever noble Kuchiki family for the last time. Dawn was just breaking over the horizon and everything looked peaceful and fresh in the first light of day. He walked through the gardens and stared at the spot where they had first consummated their mutual attraction, tachiou taking him by surprise after they'd had a long days practice. He had never hoped to dream the noble shinigami could ever return his feelings and that day had been one of the happiest of his life. Curling up under the welcoming branches of the trees he unburdened his heavy heart...let himself weep for what he could not have... let it all pour out before the morning was completely here and he had to go back to the conventional reserve that would be forced upon them forevermore.
Each tear felt like a moment missed, a moment they would never have together. Each sob torn from his throat was a smile of his taichous' that he would never see...never share. Curling into a ball he cursed the fate that had let him get a glimpse of something wonderful, teasing him with hope... then plunging him back down into the dirt...where he belonged.
Rolling over, Byakuya felt the now cool imprint in the bed where his vice-captains' sleep warmed body should have been. Frowning he wondered what had happened. Abarai had always awoken him with a kiss before departing and hiding from the prying eyes of the rest of Soul Society. Yesterday evening while awaiting Renjis' appearance, though, he had decided that it was time to let others know about their relationship. The passionate, fiery man had come to mean more to him than anyone else he could remember, and he would not make him feel inferior any longer. It was hard to remember now, how it had started.
When Renji had first been assigned to him, Byakuya had thought the brash man ignorant, lower class rabble with no care for the rules. He had looked down at him as he would a rabid dog. But now...now...slowly the other man had wormed his way into Byakuyas' frozen, unfeeling heart. He had thawed the ice and brought in a warmth the Captain hadn't known existed. And like a moth drawn to flame, he had welcomed that heat. Now, he resolutely decided, he would show the flame-haired spitfire that Kuchiki Byakuya would be proud to have him by his side.
He held a lot of respect for the younger man, though it may not have been visible to those around him. Coming from horrible origins, he had fought his way up through the ranks to become a vice-captain in a remarkable amount of time. The tattooed man held no fear and did not know the meaning of the words give in. Standing, he pulled the blankets up to wrap around his unclothed, deliciously sore body and walked to the doorway that led into the gardens.
Why had Renji not awakened him this morning, he wondered, bothered by the fact. It was unlike him. Remembering the other mans' mood last night, he could tell something was not right. He had looked so sad sitting out on the balcony, where Byakuya had found him, full of despair and hopelessness. Renji never had confided what was bothering him, but he had made love to Byakuya frantically, almost desperately, as if savoring every last response he could pull from the older man, and the responses had been many, he chuckled silently. Byakuya frowned as another thought struck him, he realized it had almost felt like a goodbye of sorts. Renji had taken him repeatedly, barely allowing them any rest before renewing his assault. Byakuya had laughed at the time, teasing the younger man mercilessly. Renji had been insatiable. Slowly putting the pieces together, he felt his heart abruptly stop in his chest.
It couldn't be, could it? Surely Renji was not going to throw away all that they had shared, the happiness and contentment both had gloried in. The volatile young shinigami had filled a void in Byakuyas' life, something he had been missing without even realizing it was gone. To lose that when he had just discovered it would destroy him utterly, completely. He felt the lonliness engulf his entire being at just the thought of that loss, the loss of his lover, at never again feeling those lips, those hands, at never again seeing Renjis' eyes light up when he entered a room, of losing those quiet moments they stole throughout the day.
Thinking back he realized that the red- head had become increasingly uncomfortable whenever they sat foot in the Kuchiki residence. Renji had become very formal, almost cold, during recent visits and refused to even let him hold his hand until they were in the safety of the bedroom, pulling back if Byakuya even dared to make a move toward him . He had thought it odd, but regretfully hadn't gotten around to questioning him about it. By the time they made it behind the closed doors of the bedroom, both had always had other things occupying their minds.
A warm glow flashed through his body as he relived the moment they'd closed the door on the world last night. Renjis' warm hands had immediately pushed him roughly against the closed door and he'd proceeded to try and devour his Captain with lips, tongue, teeth. They'd struggled their way across the cavernous room, ripping at clothes, tearing at barriers until feeling the warm reprieve of skin on skin. Flames burning hotter... desire beating in their hearts...roaring through their veins... they had barely made it to the bed before both were consumed by the inferno. Sucking in a ragged breath he remembered the feel of Renji bucking against him...pushing back into him...begging for more...
Shaking his head, he forced his breathing back to normal and turned to look back into the room. There was clothing lying haphazardly on the floor, marking their progress from the door to the bed. Frowning he looked back out into the gardens. Surely they would experience that wonderful sensation again...surely that wouldn't be their last night together. Bringing the blankets up to his nose, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply...the other mans' musky, spicy scent enveloping him with warmth.
Straightening his shoulders he vowed to make sure that they had many, many more nights together. Never, he solemnly pledged, vowing to the sun, moon and stars, never would he let Renji go while there was life still in his body.
Arriving at his office early that morning, he was determined to find Renji and put an end to whatever was bothering him, only to discover all of his vice-captains' paperwork already neatly done and no sign of the mans' existence anywhere around. All the various knickknacks that gave proof as to the owner of the small desk were gone, in their place a very sterile, cold desk with no clue to who the rightul proprietor was. He frowned at that. The young shinigami had never arrived to work before Byakuya, it was one of the things he always teased Renji about when they were alone. An emptiness settled into his very soul at knowing Renji had tried so very hard to erase all signs of his presence from their shared office.
Hearing a soft knock on the door he wiped his face clean of all trace of despair and resumed his familiar, blank expression then turned.
One of the newest recruits to his division entered.
"Sorry to interrupt you Kuchiki-taichou, I have a message from Abarai-fukutaichou. He sends word that Hollows were found on his way to delivering the paperwork you assigned him yesterday and he requests permission to assist with the Hollow threat in that area for the remainder of the day.
Restraining himself from taking his frustrations out on the young, new recruit, he answered.
"Inform Abarai-fukutaichou his is permitted to help destroy the Hollows and that I need to meet with him when he returns. Tell him to meet me here as soon as he is free."
Bowing slightly the young man turned and rushed out with the message, emitting a sigh of relief as the door was closing.
This would definitely be decided before the day was out, Byakuya promised himself, turning around angrily and sitting as his desk to start his usual morning paperwork.
At the hesitant knock on the door, he pulled his thoughts back from work to ponder what was about to happen. He focused all of his energy on the imminent meeting determinedly calling out for Renji to enter.
He would not fail in this.
"Kuchiki-taichou, you wanted to see me," the other mans' stormy, tempestuous eyes were trained on the floor, not passing anywhere near Byakuyas' face.
Odd, he thought, Renji always looked him in the eye, treated him like an equal. That was one of the things he most adored about his vice-captain.
"Close the door and sit down Abarai-fuktaichou," he said as forcefully as he would let himself. A Kuchiki, after all, never lost his temper, never caused a scene, and most certainly never let emotions dictate his actions.
Reigning in his anger and hurt, he watched as the younger man closed the door and slowly walked closer, picking the chair that would put the most distance between them.
Byakuya got up and walked purposefully around the desk, perching on the edge and looking down at the top of Renjis' windblown hair.
"Abarai...Renji...what has happened to us?" he asked softly...cautiously.
The other man looked surprised at the bluntness of the question, never before had Byakuya brought up the subject of their involvement during work hours, and never in the office. There time together had been totally confined to personal time, after hours, behind locked doors.
"Nothing, Kuchiki-taichou. The letters are delivered and the Hollow threat in that are has been eradicated for the time being," he answered in a cold, hard voice Byakuya had never heard from the man before.
"Don't play dumb, Renji, it doesn't suit you. You know what I am referring too. Why did you leave without waking me this morning?"
"I apologize taichou, I thought that you needed your rest and that it would be best if I left before anyone was about. No one saw me, I left through the gardens at dawn," he stated bitterly.
The young mans' face was tense as he spoke the icy, harsh words. What could have changed?
"You're not answering my question, Renji. This is about more than concern for my rest. Be honest with me now," walking over he ran his palm over the soft, smooth hair of the man below him. He remembered the feather soft feel of those silken strands whispering across his chest in the breeze last night...the younger mans' head tucked into Byakuyas' neck while they slept.
Grasping the strong, tanned chin with his fingers, he forced Renjis' eyes to his, refusing to let the brave man behave cowardly, hiding his expressions, focusing on the wooden floor.
"Please, Kuchiki-taichou, leave it be. It can do nothing but hurt us in the end," he achingly whispered, lower little trembling slightly.
His heart ached even more, hearing the conventional, formal name leave his lovers' lips.
"Call me Byakuya, Renji. When we're alone you know that is what I prefer from you. Tell me why you are doing this... I deserve to know how you came to the conclusion that our relationship is going to hurt us in some way."
He saw Renjis' shoulders sag and his fists clench. The other man took a few deep, cleansing breaths before answering.
"Taichou...Byakuya...," he whispered so quietly he could barely be heard," I-I will never be what you need me to be I-I can never be what you deserve. Do you honestly think your family...your friends...your superiors...would ever condone your being with a gutter rat like me. I've done things that would be horrible in your world, Byakuya, things that you would never approve of. I had to be strong to survive, and surviving meant developing no conscience over what it took to live...over what I had to cheat for and steal to live. I don't belong in your world...and I would never ask you to be in mine," his voice had gotten even softer at the end of his speech to become almost nonexistant. He sounded so dejected, Byakuya was hard pressed to keep his face expressionless.
He would not let the other man leave him over so paltry a reason, Byakuya decided, feeling his resolve strengthen...but he would also not lay his heart out to be stomped on if the other man so chose. It warmed his spirit that Renji was so concerned over his happiness and well-being. Realizing he was not being rejected, his heart soared.
"Renji," he bent and whispered in the other mans' ear. "Do you honestly think any of that matters to me? We don't have to hide our relationship any longer, I will proudly walk through Soul Society with you by my side."
He pressed a soft kiss to the other mans' taut neck and, taking firm hold of his chin, pressed gentle lips to the mouth he so loved. He did love Renji, he knew and admitted that to himself, but he was afraid to tell him just yet. If the tattooed man ever had a change of heart, he would rather his pride still be intact. Old habits die hard, and as a Kuchiki he had been taught that pride and honor mattered above all else. Pressing harder, he forced the other mans lips apart, plunging his tongue between them. Grabbing the vibrant red hair he so adored he kept the other man against him, kissing until both were gasping for air.
"Did you really think that I would let you go so easily Renji? There is no reason for you to worry. I know enough of your past and it does not concern me in the least. I admire you for what you have fought through and made yourself today."
The doubt in the other mans' eyes tore through him. This was not going as well as he had hoped. He had to find a way to reassure the younger man...
"Captain, you don't know what it's like to be made to feel inferior. If you're with me you'll regret it when you realize what the others will say. There'll be whispers behind your back, jokes said behind closed doors. I-I...care...for you too much to let that happen Byakuya," the other man said and closed his now wet eyes.
He had to make Renji believe him, to trust him. If he didn't convince him that all would be well, he realized, he would lose him. Renji seemed to think that it was insurmountable. He absolutely refused to believe that Byakuya could care less what the others thought of him. He desperately searched his mind for ways to convince the young man.
An idea took root, growing swiftly. If this didn't work then nothing else would, he decided.
Leaning forward he placed a soft kiss on Renjis' forehead. His pride would not keep him company...his pride would not keep him warm at night...no...his pride would never love him like this man would.
Decision made, Byakuya leaned forward and whispered softly in Renjis' ear.
"I love you Abarai Renji. I am proud to have you by my side and I will not let you go."
Forcefully clutching his vice-captains' arm, he half dragged half carried him over to the door, loudly flinging it open. In the walkway outside everyone turned, mouths dropping open when they saw formal, cold Kuchiki Byakuya lovingly pressing his mouth against his second-in-commands lips. Traffic stopped in the courtyard as people began to notice the spectacle on the walkways above. Kuchiki Byakuya had his hands threaded tightly through flame-red hair and was kissing Abarai Renji relentlessly... there...in broad daylight...proudly, boldly proclaiming his feelings for the blushing but ecstatic Renji in front of anyone who cared to see.
A/N: Please read and review, let me know how to improve. Thank You!