The First One He Came To


Renji needs Ichigo to play teetotaler & voice of reason. He fails. First in Switch!Universe

Humor / Romance
Age Rating:

Chapter One

"Arigatō gozaimasu," Renji murmured to Kisuke who, by now, wasn't even bothering to hide his knowing grin behind his fan, it had much better uses.

"Stop that Abarai-kun!" Kisuke gave the nervous redhead a knock in the back of his vibrant head with the closed fan.

Why so nervous, one might wonder. One such as Kisuke Urahara.

Maybe it was the illegal - but honestly what of his activities wasn't these days? Kisuke wondered idly to himself - senkaimon the fukutaichō had asked for. Perhaps the cash Renji has flashed this time, taking away the fun of calling him a moocher (the mean pineapple head).

Or that - even if nobody had even asked in the first place - Renji had quickly defended his recently blurted-out request for the shopkeeper's help in this wholly illegal endeavor. "I'd use the sixth's gate but - hell yew were in the Gotei...Fuckin' paperwork, 'nd they want it a week in advance! And this shit ain't division business; Kuchiki-taichō'd have my ass."

Deciding not to comment about trying to get bubble gum out of the spoiled Byabo's princely hair - coincidently setting him off candy forever - instead Kisuke silently kept his eyes on the fidgeting shinigami trying to puzzle him out. He was used to reading his clients' body language and reiatsu and Renji's said nothing but anxiety and irritation, but not for any of the reasons Kisuke first theorized.

Then again Ichigo had no problem inciting both emotions in the tattooed shinigami. Well one problem presently, he wasn't even here yet.

"Gomenasai-" Renji flinched as the fan gave a sharp snap from open to closed in Kisuke's hand.

"That was the eighth time you've thanked me Abarai-kun and the twelfth apology. I am beginning to think you are up to nefarious schemes," Kisuke teased, his face somber.

"Gomen-" Renji gave a quick shunpo out of fan reach and Kisuke only let him because he looked like he was actually going to try to stop simpering.

Ichigo's reiatsu caught Kisuke's attention - or more precisely – caught the attention of the system of sophisticated kidō alarms set around the shōten and surrounding environs. While the outer layer of reiatsu-shielding material around the training room kept anyone inside it oblivious, each successfully closer alarm tripped told Kisuke of anyone's impending arrival no matter where he happened to be.

The emergencies in Karakura Town had done at least one good thing, made these two brash, vibrant-headed boys nakama. Kisuke had hoped the return of Hitsugaya's special squad to Soul Society wouldn't mean the teen got left with only old perverts like him to bond over what it was like to be shinigami.

That needed to be Renji's job - the moocher - and the shopkeeper had been trying his best not to poke and prod Isshin for nearly a decade to talk to his son. Even now as he noticed the obvious case of nerves actually melt from Renji the same instant Ichigo's reiatsu spilled through the trap door above, those same words that Yoruichi had made his mantra centuries ago echoed in his thoughts. Don't meddle, baka. Don't meddle, baka. Don't meddle, baka.

Snap! Kisuke's fan opened and he fanned himself lazily as Ichigo shunpoed over to them.

"Yer late!"

Kisuke's fan stilled tilting in to hide his grin as Renji pulled Ichigo into a headlock.

"Oi fucker I'm not late!" Ichigo grunted, struggling to get out of the headlock and Renji tightened his arm around the boy's neck.

"Urahara-san what times is it?" Renji growled as he shot a much more familiar glare at the shop owner, gone was the timid customer.

"It's still ten minutes 'til Abarai-kun," Kisuke crooned and flicked his fan a few times. "You should know Soul Society and the World of the Living aren't temporally in sync..."

As Kisuke started to turn away, he was startled to feel a spike of reiatsu flare and something very much like a yelp escape the larger shinigami. Although the spiritual pressure was leaping to defend Renji, Kisuke both felt the sizzle of pleasure in the fukutaichō's reiatsu and heard the not-quite-pained sound of his cry. The combination made the blond's eyes swivel back around to observe the squabbling two. His eyes fell on Renji who was holding the back of his own redhead with one hand while managing to keep Ichigo headlocked in his other arm.

"Asshole! Hair pullin's fer girls!" Renji shouted convincingly outraged, shoving Ichigo back so hard the teen fell back onto his ass on the ground.

Kisuke peered from one hot-head to the other.

You're gawking Oujisama, Benihime's sultry voice rose up in his lecherous mind, as his keen imagination started working his zanpakutō could have slapped him to break his stare she would have. Kisuke get it together!

Kisuke murmured, "Senkaimon should be up in a minute," Before leaving them there still arguing with each other.

"You shouldn't grow that shit out, if you don't want it pulled," Ichigo shouted back, scowling up at Renji. "Dumbass!"

Renji's eyes narrowed, "Fuck you." Then the quickly changed the subject with, "Is that all you own?" He gestured to Ichigo's shihakushō.

"Um, I don't stock up on clothes for my spirit form," Ichigo grumbled as he got to his feet and followed after Kisuke. Ichigo wasn't blind; he had noticed Renji was out of his uniform, wearing a simple yukata, an odd deep greenish color that went good with the color of his hair. Ichigo frowned as he noticed it was unbound. Of course the hair being out of its ponytail had been how Ichigo had managed to get a handful of it a moment ago but he hadn't really computed that until they stood apart and could see the mane of fire spilling down Renji's back.

"Fuck! Of course not," Renji swore under his breath (more at himself for not realizing sooner than at Ichigo for not owning spirit clothes) as he led the way to where Kisuke was standing by the closed shoji of a senkaimon. "Urahara-san do you have any clothes Ichigo could borrow for tonight? Oh and you!" Renji nudged Ichigo's shoulder. "We have ta do somethin' about yer sword. Maybe leave it-"

"Fuck that!" Ichigo's fist caught Renji in the kidney, thankfully the crimson hair didn't reach that far down his back (barely) and the redhead was still pumped with reiatsu so the half-hearted jab didn't hurt. "I ain't leavin' Zangetsu-"

Although Renji knew it was tantamount to asking Ichigo to leave his arm behind, just the aura of the teen seemed to bring out the fukutaichō's ornery side. "It's a four foot fuckin'-" Renji started to argue back before Kisuke lifted his hand and waved at them for attention.

"Don't worry Kurosaki-kun!" Kisuke waved his fan at Ichigo as he answered Renji's question. "And of course we have plenty of fine garments for paying customers Abarai-kun." Kisuke nodded but as his paying customer began to dig for more money he slapped said customer's hand with his folded fan. "Abarai-kun!" Kisuke chastised before grabbing a handful of Ichigo's sleeve to shunpo him out of sight.

Rubbing his stinging hand Renji cursed the shopkeeper even as he thanked him for not giving him a hard time tonight. Asking Kisuke for help was only moderately less complicated and stressful than asking Byakuya for personal use of the division senkaimon.

Knowing this Renji had brought money, his days "mooching" at the shop clear in his memory. He was sure Kisuke noticed his nerves and he hoped it would be attributed to the shadiness of their dealings, and not tonight's itinerary, or the company for the duration of the night.

Almost two weeks ago Renji had started his bumbling attempt at inviting the substitute shinigami with the words, "I'm gonna die of boredom."

"No alcohol?" Ichigo had replied as they patrolled (the weak-ass excuse Renji had used much too often to obtain use of the sixth's senkaimon). This time it had been very impromptu on the redhead's part since he'd gotten invited to the party a scant hour ago and the panic at the idea of going to it alone had blinded him to any repercussions.

"Shut-the-fuck-up." Renji glared at him, but the teen's eyes were on his surroundings. "You remember Hisagi Shūhei?"

"Tall guy with the scythes?"

"Yeah and don't fuckin' talk about his zanpakutō around him, ever," Renji cautioned. "He's…sensitive about it," At just the thought of Shūhei Renji felt a sorrowful pang and he couldn't help the frown that marred his face but, thankfully, at that moment Ichigo had seen a hollow so the big shinigami hadn't had to worried about how telling the expression was.

Ichigo, however, had noticed the unguarded moment and as soon as the hollow bit the dust (in just under one minute and thirty-six seconds) he continued with, "So what's Hisagi-san up to?"

"He's havin' a party…Just a quiet get-together really - dinner and drinks - to show off his new boyfriend," Renji tried to sound off-handed about it but he could tell by the disgusted look on Ichigo's face that he didn't succeed, or the teen was homophobic, who knew with humans? "What?"

"Weren't you two together? That's a pretty douche move inviting you."

"H-how'd yew know that?"

"Dude you're totally obvious," Ichigo snickered.

"Fuck you, Oblivious-taichō."

"No thanks. I'll go with ya if ya want though."

Renji hadn't thanked him aloud but even now, two weeks later he was grateful to his nakama.

Kisuke returned with Ichigo in something that reminded Renji of his academy uniform. It was just different enough to be okay to wear, charcoal hakama and a pale green kimono lined with what looked like another green, this one only a shade lighter than black. As Renji made his appreciative gaze continue upward he saw that perched securely in his orange spiky hair was a sparkling, brilliant-colored girl's barrette.

"What the f-"

"Off we go boys!" Kisuke gave a guiding push to Ichigo who had no idea what the shopkeeper had done. "Tell Hisagi-kun congratulations for me!"

Renji gave the shopkeeper a glare, shooting his crimson gaze to the huge zanpakutō still strapped to Ichigo's back. "Ya can't hang out at the party with that thing on yer back," He grumbled as they stepped in through the senkaimon.

It was way easier to travel with his hell butterfly but Renji wouldn't leave the kid to brave the Dangai that shit was crazy, especially with illegal passage, meaning no order to pause the Kōtotsu.

As soon as they reached Soul Society - or about fifty yards above it, at least Kisuke had managed to get inside Seireitei this time - they carefully stepped out onto solidified reishi. Renji turned to the teen and surprise him by reaching for the clip in his hair.

"What?" Ichigo scowled and swatted Renji's reaching hand away.

"Stop it," Renji hissed as he effortlessly caught first one of Ichigo's slapping hands, then the other, both smallish wrists captured in one large sword-callused hand as he fumbled for the catch of the clip instead of just yanking it out of his hair. "Fuckin' Urahara," He unclipped it and showed it to him. It had probably been Ururu's.

"I. See. It. Let. Go."

With a perplexed frown Renji met distressed brown eyes before he let his fingers loosen and Ichigo jerked out of his grip. "Sorry."

"Don't," Ichigo ordered gruffly putting space between them before grabbing the clip from Renji's distracted fingers. "Thanks for not just lettin' me walk around like that," He continued just as gruff as he pulled his hand back as if he were winding up to throw the clip.

"Hey, that's Ururu-chan's," Renji snatched the clip from the teen's hand, quick as shunpo - only it had been a skill he'd learned back in Rukongai - and tucked it away in the obi of his kimono. "Let's go or we will be late."

"Do I know this guy?"

"You know me and senpai, might be a few others but that's prob'ly it," Renji let himself freefall a bit toward the ground and Ichigo followed.

"I don't think I've ever seen you with your hair down," Ichigo commented as they landed on the roof of a nearby courtyard wall. "'Cept when it got messed up durin' that one fight…"

"I only wear it down when…" Renji sighed and shunpoed instead of finishing his sentence and Ichigo was just quick enough to follow. "I always wear it up, it's a fuckin' bitch ta tame," He said, instead of Senpai likes it.

His words were met with a burst of laughter and Renji quickly shot his eyes back over his shoulder to see the result of such mirth on the usually scowling teen. "You probably don't take care of it," Ichigo managed after the small smile subsided.

They jumped down from the wall and walked quickly through the corridors outside the ninth division. "I bathe if that what yer getting' at-"

"No dumbass. Use soap?"



"And what?"


"Yeah," Renji scowled. "Otherwise it looks like Zaraki-taichō's."

"Oh, fuck!" Ichigo exclaimed, stopping in his tracks and Renji spun around alarmed, only to see a grin on his nakama's face. "You should borrow his bells."

"Fuck you."

"Tch," They entered the division and took the less direct route around the offices through the elegantly appointed garden path along the outer perimeter wall. "Seriously that shit would be awesome for Halloween."


"Aw," Ichigo shook his head as he realized Renji didn't know the holiday. "It's a human holiday I guess, people dress up as whatever they want, eat candy."

"You said the magic word there Kurosaki-san," An amused voice called from one of the engraved stone benches set along the wall.

Ichigo had been trying to get a feel on Renji's reiatsu since he'd shown up at Urahara's. It had been a dick move inviting Renji to the party but they'd been off and on for decades, had ended it on amicable terms before, only Shūhei had never gone and found someone else (none worth introducing to his close friends anyway). This last time had been the same as the others, Renji had thought, no one got between Shūhei and his close friends.

Only this time Shūhei surprised him, one day Renji'd gotten chewed out by Byakuya and he'd gone looking for solace (not necessarily a fuck) and his senpai had left him wanting. They were really over.

The sixth division fukutaichō clamped down on his reiatsu when he felt it brush along Ichigo's which was unrestrained and strangely more questing than usual. Renji knew he was definitely emotionally compromised and even a half-trained substitute shinigami would sense it. Half-reclining on the marble bench, every inch screaming sin, it was hard to see Shūhei as a greedy cuddler. Even as he grinned, a small innocent widening in greeting, and stood up to approach them Renji could remember everything his ex-lover had done to him with those lips.

Renji always credited Shūhei and his own socially unacceptable disregard for personal space (and almost painful craving to be comforted by touch) to growing up in Rukongai. Hell, it was no surprise something so fleeting as a rough childhood would shape them so permanently in such long lives.

They both found solace in being close to others - a thing denied them in youth too often - yearned for it at the worst moments in their lives. They had found out long ago, in their academy days that Rukongai brats couldn't easily deny each other companionship. Even with the bond of their upbringing and contempt for personal bubbles Renji didn't want to seem too needy.

He would not show senpai weakness damn it, he had to treat this situation just as casually. Wouldn't be so hard if he wasn't holding back on the Cuddle Time. Prick. Renji thought as he reintroduced the two.

"Of course I remember Kurosaki-san!" Shūhei's somber face was lit from within and already Renji wanted to ditch. With Ichigo or alone, whatever, he needed out before- "Have you met Ito Katsumi," Shūhei asked.

"No," Ichigo went beet-red as a smaller green-haired man popped up from behind the bench Shūhei had been perched on. "Er, Ito Katsumi?"

"Seventh division, seventh seat," Katsumi held a hand out to shake, his face just as red as Ichigo's, confirming the conclusion the teen's testosterone-driven mind had immediately jumped to.

"Easy, ne Kodora?" Shūhei asked Renji in a voice the younger man had thought he'd never hear again, let alone with the pet name only his senpai used.

Shūhei's teasing question referred to his game, the one Renji had become competent at but never mastered. It had started innocently, Shūhei making a passing comment on how often his kōhai blushed. Then came the brazen words when they found each other alone, each scoring in red on Renji's face. Renji took advantage by making nearly as bold remarks to his senpai in less private places, making sudden sparks fly; unfortunately it was in a violent fashion in private.

Although innocent (and ongoing in their relationship even now) that night the game had introduced Renji to the man that Kazeshini called master, given him the most painful and best fucking night of sex in his life, along with the tender man that buried his cold nose into his crimson hair and pressed to the back of his neck and held him in his arm like he would never let him go.

"Hai, senpai," Renji muttered in answer his eyes moving to where Shūhei and Katsumi touched. Katsumi seemed to be uncomfortable with the fact that his lover was glommed to his arm, as if Shūhei wanted to hold him and only refrained because he'd previously been told to. Let him hold you, Renji wanted to growl to the stand-offish Katsumi and deep inside Zabimaru let out a possessive rumble for him.

"Kurosaki Ichigo-" Ichigo began to introduce himself and at his name Katsumi's handshake grew more vigorous and longer.

"Really? The Kurosaki Ichigo?" Katsumi exclaimed and the ginger nodded reluctantly.

"Yeah I guess."

Before he could figure out his own motives Renji hauled Ichigo back by his obi breaking the handshake. "Kinda cold lets get inside, ne?"

Ichigo shot Renji a grateful look as Shūhei and Katsumi led the way down the stepping stones toward the fukutaichō's quarters. "He reminds me of a larger Yamada-san…with spiky green hair."

Renji had thought the same himself, totally baffled the first time he'd seen Katsumi (while knowing who he was exactly). Although Katsumi wasn't nearly as short as Hanatarō he definitely came across as an uke, one that didn't put up resistance.

From experience Renji knew Shūhei loved that part of the relationship, he liked his lovers vocal in more ways than one, meek wasn't always fun. He'd definitely taught Renji the fun in both taking and giving pleasure. Where was the aggression in this Katsumi?

Any of the other lover's Shūhei had introduced to his kōhai had been flatteringly similar to Renji in build and only a fraction as aggressive (but none were ever docile).

"He's new…Spent most of his life protecting nobles," Renji repeated the information he'd read when perusing Katsumi's personnel folder after Shūhei's more personal introduction.


"His grandfather yeah," Renji admitted. "Just graduated, got the shorter lesson at the academy like Rukia."

"Shorter?" Ichigo watched after the spiky green head. When he looked over at Renji curiosity in his brown eyes, the redhead rubbed his thumb back and forth over his index and middle finger in the universal symbol for money. "Rukia paid her way through?"

"It was Kuchiki-taichō that did the payin', and she went through plenty before they met up. She could…" Renji defended his lifelong friend's education quickly. "She does kidō way better than me and I was in an advanced class."

"In kidō?" Ichigo's voice skipped up two octaves in his disbelief earning him a kick to the back of his knee nearest Renji. The teen's hand shot out to twist in his assailant's kimono as he started to pitch forward and the fukutaichō had the choice of falling with Ichigo's weight, or helping his intended victim in the process of keeping himself on his feet.

Both large hands shot out to catch the ginger around the waist and turned into Ichigo's fall bracing his feet in the gravel in the path beneath them making them collide. Renji couldn't say if it was the click of their gazes that sent a hot tremble of awareness through him or if the new awareness of Ichigo's solid torso pressing against his was what had made his crimson eyes hunt for his brown. Kind of like the chicken and the egg, which came first?

"B-baka," Ichigo's face was flushed with anger, the usual scowl carved deep.

"You can't even do kidō brat," Renji's reiatsu warmed (though he tried his best not to let it match Ichigo's over-eager puppy dog reiatsu), his heart thrummed. It was nothing compared to his body's reaction to the blush that took over Ichigo's ire-reddened face…It was almost tangible and Renji wanted to-

"Ko-do-ra?" Called out in a sing song and Renji made sure the teen was steady on his feet before putting much-needed space between them. Shūhei had returned to find them just outside the officer quarters and he grinned knowingly at them. "Kodora, how easy…" Shūhei's dark eyes took in the slight blush on his kōhai's face before beckoning the two inside and quickly turning to catch up with Katsumi.

What the hell was that? Renji moved after without looking in Ichigo's direction, otherwise the fukutaichō might have seen the tide of blood that rushed both to his face and southwards.

The sight of Katsumi and Shūhei worked well to stem the lusty warmth in Renji's reiatsu. It wasn't seeing Shūhei with someone else; Renji had seen him with others doing far worse and enjoyed it. It was Katsumi alone, and Renji didn't know why the guy just turned him off. Even seeing Shūhei do things that would have normally led to the redhead's hands very quickly being found down his senpai's hakama in the old days, didn't stir him while he was in proximity to Katsumi. It was like his cock was dead.

Fuck that was all you Renji, Zabimaru quickly defended as Renji shivered at his own unspeakable mental imagery.

"You okay Renji?" Ichigo murmured from closer behind him than Renji expected.

"Fuck kid! When did yew get so quiet?" Renji growled as the boy's nearness took him by surprise. How the kid had gone unnoticed when his reiatsu was like a puppy licking his face, Renji had no clue. He could feel the awkward edge to the boy's reiatsu and realized he hadn't been the only one to feel more than just the physical contact of their bodies.

Zabimaru was more interested in that little tidbit than the libido nulling powers of Shūhei's newest beau. Of course his zanpakutō had been trying to get him out of his funk, but so far that had only meant wailing on him when they sparred together during meditation in his inner world.

Bad monkey, no banana, Renji gave the sword soul a push of his reiatsu and rather than give a rebellious buck Zabimaru settled for sinking away to Renji's inner world with a snide, Don't see you with any bananas either.

Ichigo laughed and gave Renji a nudge in his side with his elbow. "Thought you said a little get together?" He complained as they entered the officer barracks, where handful of shinigami congregated as they moved through the main corridor headed toward the dining hall.

"These are the higher seated from the ninth division, Shūhei's place is upstairs. We're goin' to the mess hall ta eat."

They left the corridor and Ichigo finally saw the first familiar face sitting around the end of a long low table Kira Izuru and Rangiku Matsumoto. Both fukutaichō looked like they'd started festivities earlier.

"Renji I see people with swords at the table," Ichigo commented, and immediately Renji's gaze moved to the huge sword strapped to his dinner companion's back. Ichigo didn't even wait for the redhead to reply, he carefully removed his sword and laid it to rest behind him out of the way of foot traffic, still firmly wrapped in white cloth.

"They made it!" Rangiku sang her hand thrusting into the air - as if she were answering a question in a classroom - and waved her arm back and forth. "Konbanwa Renji! Ichigo-kun!" There were at least half a dozen more people on the other side of the long table.

"I thought you weren't gonna know anybody?"

"No, I said I'd be bored ta fuckin' tears baka," Renji sat across from the other fukutaichō. "I've just gotta get through the evenin' sober."

"I knew it was because you couldn't drink!" Ichigo looked around as he realized the carrying quality of his voice in this room but nobody was paying his semi-whisper any attention. "But these two are plastered," He gestured to the blonds.

"I resemble that remark," Kira frowned, one blue eye crinkling. "I'm merely well-lubricated."

"I'm only two-sheets to the wind Ichigo-kun," Rangiku cooed, reaching over the table to pinch the teen's cheek her ample bosom knocking over an empty sake cup. "Oops!"

"Yeah…" Renji watched Rangiku overact to the cup, thinking there was still sake in it. "I don't drink when I get invited to my ex's 'let's-meet-my-new-fuck-buddy' party," He leaned in progressively closer with each word, his voice a hissing whisper.

"Oh," Ichigo frowned and nodded a little so they wouldn't knock heads. "Good idea."

"Domo," Came muttered thick with sarcasm, as Renji chugged tea - well - as well as one chugged hot tea.

"So you invited me cuz I don't drink?"

Slowing on the tea after his esophagus screamed protest Renji watched as Rangiku - for reasons only known to the busty blond - tried to suffocate Kira in said bust. "I invited ya cuz yer my only friend that don't drink. And don't think I ain't changin' that shit when I can get shit-faced again."

"I can't-"

"Dumbass World of the Living rules. Where are ya right now?" Renji interrupted.

"Oi I can't go home like that baka."

"Fuck! Yer dad'd give me a goddamn hug Ichigo 'nd ya know it."

"Yeah," Ichigo found himself agreeing with an exasperated sigh at the thought of his dad's behavior.

Renji laughed until his sides hurt and Ichigo fought a smile while the redhead rolled half on the floor, half on the pillow he sat on. Renji had really only met Isshin once but knew enough about him from Ichigo and Rukia to feel like he spent time in the Kurosaki household personally.

"Doesn't your dad worry about your virtue Ichigo-kun?" Rangiku asked as she let Kira up for air (and he promptly fell over).

Renji's odd case of giggles subsided as he felt the tangible discomfort Rangiku's ill-worded question instilled in his dinner guest. He braced his chin in his hand and his elbow on the floor to look up and - sure enough - the teen's face was just turning pink. Renji thought about asking Ichigo if he worried about that kind of thing around his redheaded nakama often.

Damn it Renji leave the kid alone, he told himself sternly. Renji made himself look away and like magic they found Shūhei's.

There was a knowing grin to his somber lips and it along with finding the raven-haired shinigami purposefully looking at him had Renji's blood pumping south. Shūhei's eyes flickered to Ichigo as the teen stammered a defensive answer to Rangiku's awkward question, and when they returned to Renji's crimson gaze his dark eyebrows darted upward quizzically.

Renji gave a minute shake of his head, Ichigo might look like his date but that was it. He made himself break his ex-lover's scarred gaze and jumped when he found Ichigo looking right at him, the other familiar guests in a heated, slurred debate over something.

"What was that about?" The teen asked gesturing toward Shuhei covertly. "Secret eye message?"

Renji snorted, "Naw."

When that was all the answer he received Ichigo unfolded a leg and kicked him in the side. "Oi!"


"That was a stare with meaning Renji," Ichigo told himself there was no reason to scowl about the chemistry between the fukutaichō but then people might actually think something was up.

He still though Shūhei was a total jerk for inviting Renji here when he obviously still had feelings for his senpai. Ichigo wanted to punch him right in the tattooed number on his face.

Ichigo was really trying not to think about why, other than, he's my nakama.

"He wants a threesome," Renji said in a conspiratory whisper before he could stop himself from teasing the teen with a fib. The color combination of his embarrassment and orange hair shouldn't have looked so good. Damn you senpai.

Although he'd meant Shūhei wanted Renji to join he and his new beau Ichigo must have noticed the pointed stare his senpai had also shot his direction. "Um, n-not interested."

For some reason the raunchy mental image that Ichigo's misunderstanding sent spiraling through Renji's perverted mind made him wish he'd worn hakama - because damn fundoshi didn't always cut it - hard-ons were just so obvious in a kimono.

Problematical but only if he got up from the table and since dinner was already being served, Renji was in the clear. Except that his desensitized sense of modest saw fit to beat him over the head with how wrong it was corrupting the strawberry's virtue, even in his imagination. He made absolutely sure not to look in Shūhei's direction as he blushed (he could feel his eyes enjoying the unusual pink on his more worldly kōhai) and waited until there was food to stop staring at the backs of his hands, fisted in his lap to hide the bulge.

Renji was pretty sure Ichigo had no knowledge of he and his senpai's game but the damn kid had unerringly struck a blow by just being modest and innocent. Damn it.

They ate in silence as Rangiku and Katsumi spoke about some meeting that Komamura-taichō had requested the attendance of half the Gotei's lower seated shinigami for, it seemed only the canine captain and his fukutaichō knew the topic of discussion.

Renji got tired of the seventh seat's voice and purposefully elbowed Ichigo just as he was trying to drink.

"Oi…Watch it," Ichigo hissed low. There were others at the table having different conversations, but none of them were loud enough to drown Katsumi out, and if Ichigo was going to whisper he was really no help - "Fucker!"

Ah, domo arigatō Ichigo. "Shit, sorry…relax will ya?"

"Relax? You-" Ichigo started but then he just shook his head and resumed drinking.

Since he wanted conversation Renji waited until the teen was almost done drinking before elbowing him again and prompting him with, "I, what?"

Sputtering and cursing as he put his drink down on the table Ichigo shot Renji a glare. "You're a fuckin' dick is what."

"Usually," Renji agreed with a wolfish grin. "But that's not what you were gonna say," Renji teased.

Truthfully Ichigo was still trying to get over the threesome thing. Renji was always saying dirty stuff, but most could be forgotten or ignored or laughed at.

Currently the teen's issue was he couldn't stop the erotic filmstrip on loop thanks to his damned mutinous libido via his imagination. It didn't help that his body really wasn't particular with it fantasies.

"Yer freakin' out about that threesome thing ain't ya?" Renji whispered as he lifted his rice bowl up and ate a mouthful. "I was jokin' about me, Shūhei and Katsumi, not yew," He muttered around his rice.

"I don't care about that shit," Ichigo scowled but his reiatsu told a different story.

The kid was getting better at containing his wandering spiritual pressure when sitting and doing absolutely nothing (not pumped up for a fight). Renji had made sure to give the other guests some space on the other side of the table. Unfortunately that did nothing for the sharp, angry horney reiatsu that easily reached the redhead beside him, brushing along the tight shell of spiritual pressure Renji kept around himself.

If he was lucky Kira and Rangiku were just far enough away across the table, or too drunk to sense reiatsu well. Renji gave the teen a grin that made things worse.

So not homophobic, Zabimaru whispered, the zanpakutō brought out by Ichigo's cloying reiatsu.

Quiet you! Renji growled mentally, the corners of his lips lowering. "Ri-ight. Is it Shūhei, he's fuckin' hot, I understand."

"Renji!" Ichigo hissed his eyes widening, face beautifully alight, even though no one else had heard. "Shut-the-fuck-up."

Kira was studying his sake but his blue eyes were on the whispering two across from him. He had just realized the substitute shinigami's alarming face pallor. He looked mortified, but not distressed and more than a little pissed (and no question who was responsible with Renji sitting beside him with that smile on his face).

"Leave 'im alone Renji," Kira was aware enough not to shout it across the room. Even Rangiku was still eating and small talking with Katsumi.

Renji went quiet and Ichigo noticed the sullen expression that overtook the redhead's face.

"Arigatō, Kira-san," Ichigo watched the swaying blond nod vigorously and fall over again. "Oi…"

"He'll be fine!" Rangiku reassured him quiet loudly. "Renji?"

"Kira-kun, Ohayou!"

Kira suddenly sat straight up and nodded more gently before murmuring, "Ohayou sensei!" A blush was very obvious on Kira's pale face as he remembered where he was as those gathered around the table chuckled. He busied himself with eating, shooting Renji a dirty look around his hair.

Dinner went on uneventful, and eventually Kira was too busy and drunk to pay attention and Renji found things to entertain himself with. Mostly teasing Ichigo until the kid was ready to explode into violence.

The other guests started to slowly leave as the meal ended. Renji was set to pull an early nighter, when Shūhei invited the stragglers (Rangiku, Kira, Ichigo and Renji) to the inner sanctum to drink the good sake Katsumi had been given by the Kuchiki household.

"I gotta make sure the kid gets home," Renji tried and Ichigo punched him in the arm.

"I'm not a fuckin' kid Renji," Ichigo protested and it was well within Renji's rights to slap the boy in the back of his head. "Ow!"

"He's right Renji," Rangiku reached forward in a repeat of earlier to pinch Ichigo's cheek and this time she had made sure to clear the table in front of her. "Let him…its Kuchiki sake!"

Which didn't just mean it was exquisite but it would put a lightweight like Ichigo on his back with one bowl. Heh, Renji grinned at the idea of things one could do on one's back and almost smacked himself. Not only should he not be drunk around Shūhei, neither shook Ichigo.

Ichigo wasn't helping matters by arguing his adulthood. Renji tried to convey his ire with a glare but Ichigo (Captain Oblivious) just glared back.

You're supposed to get me out of here sober baka, Renji kept glaring until Shūhei called his name. "What?"

"Nobody has to get drunk," Shūhei waved a dismissive hand toward Rangiku and Kira, excluding them from his statement. "Kurosaki-san you can put Zangetsu on the futon in my room if you want."

"I don't drink," Katsumi smiled softly.

Of course you don't.

Snide comments like that wouldn't just stay silent and internal from Zabimaru if he only drank a little, enough to loosen his tongue. Shūhei was right, nobody had to get shit-faced but his senpai knew very well that once Renji drank one - especially good stuff - he'd drink another. And another.

Bastard, can't believe we love that fucker, Zabimaru grumbled.

Shut. Up. Renji was suddenly being helped to his feet by an enthusiastic Rangiku. You distracted me! He accused his zanpakutō who had - without any prompting - sunk away. "Goddamn monkey…"

"What?" Ichigo laughed and Renji's eyes swept to the empty spot where Rangiku had been clamped to his arm (now gone to help Kira up the stairs) then crimson eyes darted to other side where Ichigo was walking beside him, Zangetsu once again on his back. "Zabimaru," Renji answered.

"Zabimaru?" Ichigo repeated as Renji followed Shūhei to his doom.

"We were talking," Renji gestured to his head. "You should talk with Zangetsu y'know."

"I know. I do, I just…don't do it mentally while I'm just walking around," Ichigo frowned and Renji tried to reassure him.

"Meditation's a good time too, I spar with Zabimaru like that…M'inner world's badass," Renji claimed with a proud smile as he started up the stairs, ignoring the melodramatic sigh of frustration from Rangiku when she saw stairs, Kira was practically useless plastered to her side.

"What's yours look like?" Ichigo asked and Renji almost missed the top step when he saw the bright curiosity that the kid's his usual somber brown eyes.

"Zabimaru's…a white monkey with a snake fer a tail," Renji managed the steps and soon found himself sitting between Ichigo and Katsumi.

"Big monkey," Ichigo stated rather than asked.

"Yeah, he's big, got dark purple markings," Renji reached back and touched his own shoulder blade and trailed his fingers over his shoulder and down his upper arm to indicate where lines appeared down the beast's arm. "Kinda like mine 'nd he's a sneaky fuck too," he grinned at the teen as Kira was carried in by Rangiku and Shūhei.

"Your inner world…" Ichigo began and Renji let him know how personal the question he might ask with just a look. "N-nevermind."

"Kami, Kira-ssan," Rangiku slurred. Even though her human burden was just as intoxicated the busty fukutaichō seemed better at functioning in that state than Kira.

"I am Kira," Kira responded. "How did you know…" He asked Rangiku's breast as if it were a stranger he'd met on the street. "I think we've met." Rangiku and Shūhei lowered as one with the limp Kira folded between them with a surprised exclamation. "Oh! Don'tgosofast!"

"Oi Kira!" Shūhei guffawed as Kira collapsed into his lap. "You should go to bed."

"I'm comfy," Kira patted Shūhei's thigh like a pillow and closed his eyes.

"In your own bed!"

Katsumi moved to retrieve a small platter with a pale white bottle and enough matching guinomi for all six of them and brought it to the table. "Shū we aren't going to let him try and shunpo home…Or leave him passed out in his quarters."

Renji watched Shūhei look up to meet Katsumi's turquoise gaze and nod. What? There was the fire to argue in those dark eyes but he only silently agreed.

"I'll go tuck him away in one of the empty rooms. Would you like to go too Matsumoto-chan?"

"Maybe after I get a taste of that sake," Rangiku thought about all those stairs, fourteen of them at least. "I'll help you with Kira…He's heavy when he's sloshed and difficult."

"Like a big toddler that doesn't want to go," Shūhei muttered as the three stumbled back inside. "So?"

"Huh?" Renji looked up from eyeballing the bottle, the Kuchiki seal hand-painted amidst a flurry of pink sakura blossoms; he recognized the signature done impossibly small on the corner: Kuchiki Ginrei.

Shūhei stood and nearly threw himself down next to Renji, jogging the redhead's shoulder with his. "What do you think of Koishii?"

Koishii? He gets a fucking pet name? Renji's frown wrinkled his brow but his ire was held at bay when Shūhei knit their fingers together and squeezed his hand. None of his beau's got a pet name, some got nicknames from shortening their given names, but none of them got… "He's quiet."

"As you just witnessed, he's not quiet when it counts," Shūhei squeezed his hand again and leaned close enough to press their shoulders together longer.

"Good," Renji said a little relieved, but no less tense resisting instead succumbing to the relaxation and cuddle vibes Shūhei was trying - unconsciously maybe - to convey to his kōhai in touching him so casually. "I don't wanna hafta come show him how ta handle you."

"Everyone needs advice from their superiors, fukutaichō," Shūhei teased.

"Fuck you two get a room," Ichigo reminded them they weren't totally alone.

"Che, Kodora," Shūhei tsked his tongue as he saw a faint blush come to Renji's face when Ichigo spoke. "So easy," He whispered as he squeezed Renji's hand one last time before standing and moving back inside his home to intercept Katsumi.

"You okay Renji," Ichigo whispered. "We can leave."

"Love to but yew got us invited to drink sake," Renji accused.

"I'm not gonna drink any," Ichigo explained. "You don't hafto either."

"So rude," Rangiku surprised them as she plopped down on a pillow across the table from them. "Ya gotta toast at least…This stuff's good."

"You've had some?" Katsumi and Shūhei walked in hand-in-hand and sat with Rangiku across from Ichigo and Renji.

"No! But Shunsui-taichō likes to share!" Rangiku gushed with a dopey grin. "And if it's half as good as Kyōraku's it'll be superb!"

"True," Renji nodded, recalling being plastered on a single mug of the stuff, it did not treat those of empty stomachs gently.

Katsumi poured sake into four guinomi and one larger cup used specifically for taste-testing. Although his cup was deeper than the guinomi Katsumi only poured a little sake into it.

There was a murmur of thanks around the table. Renji stared at the two on their side of the table, still sitting in the middle on a raised tray with the bottle of sake.

Renji kept his gaze fixed on the Kuchiki crest on the sake bottle as slurps and appreciative hums met his ears.

"Abarai-san are you frequently gifted with such exquisite wine?" Katsumi asked bringing Renji's gaze to the teal set peeking over the rim of the large cup.

"No. Why?"

"I would think with Kuchiki-taichō as a superior…"

"No," Renji scowled at the bowl nearest him, he'd been to Shunsui's sake parties however and totally agreed with Rangiku on their quality. He muttered, "Can we get sum' tea?"

"Yeah," Ichigo chimed in.

"I only poured you both a taste, enjoy while I get you some tea," Katsumi drained his cup like a pro and got to his feet. "I'm going to check on Kira-san."

"Nope!" Rangiku finished her drink. "I must be off, I need my beauty sleep and I have paperwork comin' outta my ears…" She lurched up to her feet, teetered alarmingly and grabbed Katsumi for balance. "It was nice to meet you Ito-kun!"

"Likewise Matsumoto-chan," Katsumi let Rangiku paw him all over in her attempt to stay upright (and because she couldn't tell how muscular he was with the kimono he wore). "I'll walk you to the stairs?"

"To the bottom of them if you would," Rangiku gave Katsumi a pinch to the cheek too.

"You gotta bathroom?" Ichigo murmured in Renji's periphery, his gaze on Katsumi and then Shūhei as he stared after his lover.

"Door on the right just inside my bedroom here," Shūhei nodded and Renji shook his distracted head to clear it as he tried to figure out what they were talking about.

Ichigo stood and Renji thought to protest but realized he had to let the kid take a piss. He wasn't a baby.

Cock-Nulling Katsumi would've been nice right about now.

"Are you and Kurosaki…?" Shūhei asked the moment the teen unknowingly deserted his charge.

"What?" The half-implied question made Renji want to see if there was any of the possessive scythe-wielder in his ex-lover's eyes and he was not disappointed.


"Nope. M'not fuckin' anyone at the moment," Renji admitted, pleased to see the gleam of jealousy in his senpai's eyes before his reassurance.

"You gotta be doin' something," Shūhei looked over his shoulder in the direction Ichigo had gone.

"M'Ichigo's nakama, you understand," Renji stated even if he'd had more than brotherly thoughts about the ginger.

"I'm your nakama too?"

"Yes, and my ex-Fuck Buddy, they are different parts, there can be one without the other," Renji actually sounded like he meant it.

"That's sad."

"You're the one that chose Koishii, I even wanted to-" Renji snapped his mouth quickly closed.

"I meant it's sad you're not tappin' that Kodora," Shūhei made a tsking sound with his tongue.

"He's just a kid."

"No kid can fight like he has," Shūhei frowned and took one of the untouched bowls in the center of the table and held it across the table to Renji. "If I'd have known you were available I wouldn't have let half my guests go."

"I'm fine."

"Don't tell me that Kodora," Shūhei looked truly sorrowful and Renji tried his best not to crawl over the table and mount his senpai, if just to wrap the slim frame firmly in his arms and hold him. "Your reiatsu still calls mine."

"Sorry I keep it in as much as possible around you normally but y'know how it can be around Ichigo, his reiatsu can be a bit too eager," Renji confessed.

Shūhei laughed softly and put the sake in front of Renji when he continued to ignore it. "I don't know what you're talking about. Eager? It's heavy all the time and oppressive when it's got killing intent in it."

"Yanno," Renji drew the word out. "Like a puppy dog all eager when ya come home…Like Fonz."

Fonz the tiny yipping black mutt Shūhei had rescued on one of his visits to the 69th district in Rukongai. He'd always run to greet either of them at the door. The tiny old dog always managed to eat just as much as his owners (to be able to compensate the resting reiatsu of two almost-fukutaichō). The exuberance of his greeting matched Ichigo's reiatsu.

Fonz had to go live with spirits with hardly any spiritual pressure, two shinigami were too much, one would have been tiring.

"I've felt that kind of reiatsu but not from Ichigo," Shūhei's lips curled into an easy smile as he saw Ichigo appear at the shoji out onto the porch. "Yours Kodora."

Renji saw Ichigo's scowl grow into curiosity, so he knew Shūhei's words had affected his face. There was no obvious frown for the teen to see, but when Ichigo moved to sit next to him their eyes met and Renji saw the understanding replace the bewildered scowl.

"You okay in here?" Ichigo was turned toward him on his pillow and he darted his gaze toward Shūhei without moving his head, then to the untouched sake in Renji's bowl.

Damn you senpai, Renji met Shūhei's gaze to convey the message and…Saru, he thought of Zabimaru.

Hai Renji?

Tell Kazeshini to tell Shūhei I said, "Damn you!"

Heh, was Zabimaru's reply.

Renji saw Shūhei's eyes widen before he snickered and unfolded his lanky frame standing.

"Imma see what's taking Katsumi," Shūhei gave both of them a bow of his head and went inside with a, "Drink up lads."

Renji growled and took a mouthful of sake, about half the bowl and tasted it with a swish over his tongue. "Fuck senpai," His eyes darted to Ichigo as he finished the bowl with a gulp, only to find the teen staring at him with a worried scowl.

"What'd he say to you while I was gone?" Ichigo asked, his hand moving to rest on Renji's forearm as he put his sake bowl down on the table.

Since Ichigo didn't usually touch in a non-violent way (blame Isshin's hello drop kicks) Renji went very still. "Told me I was bein' rude at his party and I should loosen up."

"Thought you couldn't drink around him," Ichigo murmured, letting his hand drop.

"Uh-huh," Renji swung his gaze to Ichigo's worried face, felt the concern in his reiatsu. He grabbed Ichigo's untouched sake bowl and brought it to his lips.

"Hey," Ichigo's fingers squeezed around Renji's wrist pulling the bowl away before any liquid could spill. "That's my cup."

"Yew don't know howta drink sake kid."

Ichigo plucked the bowl from Renji's fingers and cupped it in his hands. "Thought you were gonna show me how to drink."

Instead of making a smartass comment Renji poured himself another drink. "Not complicated."

"You didn't swallow the first sip right away," Ichigo proved he'd been paying attention, funny how that didn't help Renji in the least.

"Well I can tell it's good shit. You wouldn't, so-"

Rolling his eyes Ichigo downed the sake in one giant gulp and Renji cut himself off watching with trepidation. "Hm, kinda good…"

"Ya need some Rukongai rotgut before ya have this," Renji suggested. "Woulda had you coughin' 'nd hackin' with that uncouth move."

"'Uncouth'? Did you just call me uncouth-"

"Waddaya sayin'?"

"You're an uncouth boar, Kodora," Shūhei's voice changed the flavor of the situation.

Renji looked up in time to see Katsumi exit the room and curl a hand around Shūhei's. "Yew liked it," He shot back and groaned inwardly at his own words, he wasn't even two drinks in yet!

"Hold the sake on your tongue to taste it," Katsumi instructed as he poured Shūhei more sake. "The tea will be done in a moment."

Ichigo put his bowl down as Renji tossed back his second and his bowl joined the teen's as Katsumi did refills on all but his own cup. "One more…"

It was a crime to do anything but sip such a fine sake, but Renji was seeking oblivion and if he went about gaining it slowly it would only mean trouble. Since Shūhei's observation Renji's mind hadn't slowed down a bit.

Did Ichigo like him? Renji almost slapped a hand to his face at the childish question. No shit he likes me, he spends time with me when he knows we're gonna bicker like a married couple.

Was Ichigo attracted to him? Was he even into guys? The only thing humans were more close-minded about than who others chose to love was who they themselves chose.

"Renji?" Ichigo nudged him gently with an elbow. "This shit's pretty good."

What the fuck did he mean love! Renji hid his alarm by drinking his sake, absentmindedly nodding to Ichigo. It would be easier if Ichigo showed anyone interest, the kid was a total prude.

That idea made Renji snicker and Ichigo ask, "What's so funny?"


"What?" Ichigo suddenly looked flustered and there was more to it than a teenage boy's concern that he wasn't looking cool. "Do I have somethin' on my face?"

"Naw," Renji shook his head and set his empty bowl down a few moments before Ichigo's joined it on the table. "Just wonderin' when yer gonna man-up and bag Inoue-chan."

Shūhei cheered as Ichigo went red, clapping for Renji. "What's wrong with Inoue-san?"

"She's not…" Ichigo started as Katsumi refilled. "She's like my sister."

"Hot sister," Renji took his bowl and slowly tasted the first mouthful this time.



Ichigo's brown eyes shot over to Shūhei and Katsumi over the rim of his bowl as he drank. "I thought you were into guys."

"Couple more years and you might realize not everybody fits into such easy categories," Shūhei murmured, holding his bowl out to Katsumi for more.

Everyone was quiet after that and Renji was still too sober. He looked over at Ichigo as his bowl joined the fukutaichō's on the table yet again. "Oi, yer done."

"How would you know?" Ichigo asked in a petulant tone, his face starting to get a glow that had nothing to do with embarrassment.

"Three bowls of this shit would be enough ta give me a good buzz 'nd I've been drinkin' longer than yew've been alive."


"Just-" Renji's arm shot out as Ichigo defiantly reached for his refilled bowl and the redhead's large hand covered the teen's where it rested over the cup. "Just give it a goddamn minute Ichigo…Ya only drink fast when yer doin' it ta forget."

Renji could tell by the look on Ichigo's face that the orange-haired substitute saw right through his words. No surprise that even if he was oblivious most of the time he wasn't a complete idiot, even Ichigo could see that he'd been matching Renji drink for drink. The captured teen's reiatsu told Renji how aware he was of every minute detail of his captor.

"Abarai-fukutaichō is right," Katsumi's smile was for the sight of Renji intervening with the lightweight. Shūhei had said his ex-lover took care of others. "But I do believe you've had enough to ruin any other sake you drink in the future."

"There's better out there - don't tell taichō I said that."

"Kuchiki's know their strengths and weaknesses," Katsumi quickly jumped to defend his former employers.

"Yeah 'nd do they freely admit to any weaknesses?" Renji countered, showing no signs of impairment via alcohol.

It was a combination of the level of accusation in the question and the coherency of Renji's voice that had Katsumi speechless a moment in surprise. "Only if it is necessary."

Some sneaky monkey - damn it, Saru! - had directed Renji's brain to focus on his conversation with Katsumi and away from Ichigo, which wasn't really what he wanted (holding hand and all that). It was ironic that things had started out the opposite; since Shūhei had brought to his attention to the telling behavior of Ichigo's reiatsu Renji had wished to get his mind on anything except the boy that belonged to the hand still under his.

With a barely audible curse Renji removed his hand and Ichigo left the bowl on the table. "I…" Renji laced his fingers together and let them rest in his lap where he stared at them. "D-do you think the tea's done?"

"Hai!" Katsumi jumped to his feet with a sheepish smile. "I had forgotten, would you mind helping me Kurosaki-san? I think someone should check on Kira."

Ichigo seemed almost as eager to get out of there was Katsumi, except he was twice as inebriated. Renji already had a fist-full of Ichigo's kimono while Shūhei and Katsumi were still reaching for the teen's teetering form. Both of the kid's hands were clamped desperately on the fist gripping his kimono as Ichigo tried to regain his balance.

"Ya got it?" Renji asked with a grin at the hands clinging to his for dear life.

"Y-yeah…" Ichigo blinked slowly, still holding Renji's hand. "You were right about the sake."

Renji gave a tug of his arm, not to gain freedom but guide the teen to sit back down beside him. "Sit."

"N-no I'm alright now," Ichigo gave Renji's hand a tug and stepped back.

Renji waited until he'd stopped moving before letting him go. "Don't fall on yer ass baka."

"M'fine," Ichigo didn't lurch or swerve as he followed Katsumi inside.

"Is it just me or did it get more awkward between you two just now?" Shūhei asked as soon as they were out of earshot.

"Dunno what th' fuck yer talkin' about," Renji grabbed Ichigo's bowl and tossed it back in one undignified gulp.

"Fuckin' liar Kodora!" Shūhei chuckled but tried to be serious as Renji nursed his own bowl. "If it helps I don't think he knows either."

"Oh - fuck - of course that's better," Renji grumbled sarcastically. "He ain't inta guys."

"Oh…" Shūhei poured sake in Ichigo's empty bowl and scooted it in front of Renji helpfully. "Do you think he'd get angry about it?"

"What doesn't piss him off in regards to me?" Renji eyed the second bowl before nodding and finished his current one, swapping bowls.

"Y'know what they say about passion Kodora."

"Stop callin' me that," Renji answered, somewhere in his intoxicated mind a warning bell was going off at his own words.

"What? Kodora?" Shūhei frowned a bit. "But you're my-" He cut himself off before finishing his argument.

"Yeah," Renji countered then rolled his eyes at his own oh-so-eloquent comeback. Good one genius.

Shūhei only grinned and nodded but said no more as Ichigo came back inside, his walk seemed steady enough but even Renji could see the impairment. While he was distracted observing the teen Shūhei refilled both bowls.

"Yer drinkin' stil'," Ichigo accused Renji as he sank onto the large pillow next to the redhead.

"I could drink yer scrawny ass under the table a dozen times."

"But you said…You said…" Ichigo's face scrunched up in thought. "You said you didn't wanna drink!"

"I changed my mind."

Katsumi appeared with a tea tray which Shūhei quickly made room for on the table by moving the sake closer to Renji's side. The bottle's move didn't go unnoticed and as Katsumi poured everyone tea Ichigo shot Shūhei a scowl.

"Domo," Shūhei murmured to Katsumi, leaning over to give his lover a peck on the cheek.

Renji was disgusted, but was mature enough not to make childish retching noises. The only time they'd ever not taken the time to really kiss each other had been when there was no time, they'd never been shy of PDAs.

Renji was pleased to see his bowls had refilled. He wasn't sure when it had happened but it meant Ichigo didn't have one. Unless the teen decided to use the tea cup Katsumi was handing him across the table.

Renji narrowed his eyes at the tea cup; he'd have to watch it to make sure. You can fit a lot of sake in that cup.

"Are you gonna drink both of those!" Ichigo drew his crimson eyes to his barking lips.

"Sum'body's gotta."

"Um, no!" Ichigo hissed as he put his tea cup back to the table a little too quickly and the liquid sloshed over the brim and onto his hand.

In an attempt to remind the ginger man-boy of their volatile interactions Renji opened his mouth to down each of the drinks defiantly only to catch sight of Ichigo popping one of his scalded knuckles into his mouth. In a normal situation, without his newest knowledge about his orange-headed nakama or the five - or was it six? Seven? - bowls of fine noble sake, he might have taken notice and grinned like a fiend maybe imagined something not-so-innocent and gone on.

In a brief cognizant second Renji focused on his reiatsu keeping it contained (the last thing he need was his own spiritual pressure making like a lonely puppy at the end of the day). Luckily for Renji the wuss was so caught up in the temporarily pinkened skin on the back of his hand otherwise even Captain Oblivious would have noticed being ogled.

At first it wasn't so bad, just lips puckered over one knuckle gently suckling as he whimpered almost inaudibly. Then out peeked that pink tongue, very briefly over the tender skin before he popped his entire index finger into his mouth.

Just seconds before brown eyes darted up to intercept crimson, Katsumi caught his attention to ask if he required a Band-Aid or some kidō. Finger still halfway hooked in his mouth Ichigo realized he was acting like a baby.

"M'fine," He mumbled around his finger his attention snagged as Renji made a soft noise. "You okay?"

"Mm-hm," Renji hummed, not trusting himself to speak.

"Drink some tea," Ichigo ordered. "Put th' cup down."

There was no argument from the still-stunned redhead, merely a quick head-toss back as he drank the sake before putting the bowl down. He wasn't as drunk as he wanted to be but he was drunk enough to have wondered why he hadn't wanted to be drunk (that he had made the choice not to was of course still firmly in his brain since fucking Ichigo wouldn't stop reminding him of it).

Ooh, fucking Ichigo…He joked but Zabimaru had apparently decided he was on his own. It wasn't at all because that sounded like a really good idea.

"Kuso! I think th' damage's done already," Ichigo's reddened hand was suddenly curled in the front of Renji's kimono tugging him around to meet his critical eye.

"M'good," Renji professed, his hand moving to Ichigo's arm. "Could beat you in a shunpo race."

"Fuck," Ichigo closed his eyes and lowered his head. "I can't even think of how to flash-step right now."

"Yeah," Renji pulled Ichigo's grip from his clothes. "Call me in a few decades."

"I will," Ichigo laughed ruefully and went back to his tea.

"How is it?" Katsumi asked about the tea after a moment or two.

"Good," Both Ichigo and Renji chimed at the same time and Renji grinned and drank his tea, eyeing the full sake bowl next to the emptied one in front of him.

The redheaded fukutaichō tried his best to relax but his reiatsu was acting like a damn spaniel behind his shoddy drunk shields. To top things off there was another hyperactive mutt on the outside of the shield making it worse. Strength from Zabimaru would have been nice, but the ape was sulking somewhere purposefully not helping.

The companionable silence went on a few more moments and Renji wondered if any of his drinking partners were so chaotic on the inside. Ichigo's reiatsu control definitely wasn't fairing well as he grew more and more intoxicated.

Renji suspected Ichigo was excusing himself to the bathroom again so as the teen stood he reached up to press down on his shoulder to keep him sitting. "Drink that tea, yew can wait five minutes."

"W-what?" Ichigo glared at him. "I gotta-"

"Uh-huh," Renji handed him his almost-full cup of tea, other hand still squeezing his shoulder. "Drink."


"I'll tell ya after ya get back from th' bathroom. Oh and the five minutes don't start 'til yer done with th' tea," Renji watched Ichigo pause, like he wanted so very much to rebel and stand. "S'only gonna get worse if ya wait baka."

The tea was still hot enough that gulping it was out of the question but Ichigo drank it as fast as he could, glaring over the rim of the cup and straight into amused crimson eyes.

Maybe it was the defiant look in Ichigo's gaze or the hot way his throat worked when he swallowed, either way…Renji was no longer amused.

And damned if Shūhei wasn't watching when Renji broke Ichigo's gaze. The dark gaze of his senpai was a mixture of curiosity, jealousy and - hazzah - uncertainty.

Thumping the cup down as hard as he could without breaking it, Ichigo grunted, "There. Now can I go?"

And as much as Renji wanted Ichigo to go he answered the petulant question with, "Five minutes."

It took half that time before the fidgeting started, and by the time five minutes rolled around Ichigo was whimpering. "Oh, go already!" Renji barked and Ichigo scrambled up drunkenly and almost clipped his shoulder on the door rushing through it.

Although water was preferable all of the urinating would take the edge off the sake. Renji planned on making the teen drink the entire teapot.

"That wasn't nice," Shūhei chuckled, his tone saying that he still found it amusing. "The Renji I know would have hit that by now."

Before Renji could object Katsumi gasped, "You mean you two aren't…?"

"Fuck!" Renji said in regards to both of the men's assumptions. "No!"

"I'm sorry! I just - I mean he-" Katsumi blushed and looked down.

"You thought we were together."

"And hiding it," Katsumi nodded and busied himself with drinking tea.

"He ain't inta guys," Renji objected.

"You idiot," Katsumi barked.

"Excuse me," Renji looked up in surprise at the change of tone to Katsumi's voice. The part of him that submitted to Shūhei knew that tone.

"You're interested in him, he's interested in you…He's also obviously innocent in all ways but the sword, obviously you know that, except you're using it as an excuse," Katsumi frowned and glanced over as Shūhei's hand took his. "Sorry," The seme was gone, but Renji had seen it.

I get it, Renji looked away from those startling eyes, now that they weren't hard and assertive, they incited the familiar lack of desire. But Renji had felt it, for a moment, why Shūhei had chosen Katsumi. He didn't like it, but he was sure his senpai did.

"I'mma go check on the kid, prob'ly fell in," Renji stood slowly and made sure not to meet anyone's gaze as he left, gait only minorly impaired.

Unfortunately Renji forgot why he'd gotten up the moment Ichigo answered his knock with a, "Oi? What!"

"It's me!" Renji answered to give himself time to think/remember. He was surprised he didn't need to clarify his identity.

"C'min," Ichigo called and Renji didn't hesitate to open the door. "What the fuck do you want?" The teen scowled as he straightened his clothes.

"Yew puttin' on yer face in here Miss?" Renji closed the door behind him.

"Shut up," Ichigo shook his head and glared. "You gonna tell me why you made me almost rupture my bladder?"

"Heh," Renji's grin didn't make the teen any more pleased. "Only way ta get alcohol outta yer system is ta piss it out."

"Teme!" Ichigo kept the irritated expression but Renji saw the mirth in his eyes.

"And I hardly made yew," Renji admonished, and found himself stuck in those laughter-filled gaze. "Although it's fuckin' hot yew know how ta take orders."

"H-hot?" Ichigo looked confused at Renji's choice of adjective.

Cursing mentally Renji wished he could keep his perverted old man hormones at bay, fucking alcohol. "Gomen about the sake, I'm stickin' ta tea fer the rest'a the night," Renji had already had enough to already loosen his tongue. "Yew wanna go home?"

"Not like this," Ichigo shook his head. "And don't apologize. You should be sittin' beside Shūhei, getting plastered."

"I'm getting' ta know Katsumi - don't fuckin' like him - he seems like he could be good for Shūhei though." Renji was pretty sure something horrible was about to come out of his mouth. "And getting much more drunk around yew would bad, bad news," Renji shook his head at his own words. "Bad idea."

"I don't think I've been around you drunk before. It must be entertaining," Ichigo let the mere ghost of a grin curl his lips. "And mortifying for all those party to it."

"Yeah, yew could say that," Renji nodded. "Mostly I meant that I get pawsey…"

"Oh," Ichigo murmured and then his cheeks colored.


Like his arm had a mind of it's own it shot forward and Renji's fingers sunk into the front of Ichigo's kimono to pull the teen closer -

"Kurosaki-san?" Katsumi's voice was punctuated by precise knocks to the door.

It had to be him. Katsumi that cock-blocking -

"Have you seen -?" Was cut off as Renji shoved open the door and stunned the seventh seat with a glower that did his present lover justice. Katsumi shivered and gave a small bow, "Gomenasai Abarai-fukutaichō."

"No," Renji couldn't stop the anger from masking his face but he meant it when he said, "Domo Arigatō."

Katsumi watched Renji escape to the patio and Ichigo didn't hesitate to follow an angry flush to his young face. "Dō itashimashite," Followed the vibrant-headed duo.

"You two okay?" Shūhei asked bluntly.

"Fuckin' aces, senpai," Renji sat and eyed the carafe of sake. "Can I get sum'a that ta go?"

"You're leaving so soon?" Shūhei protested as Katsumi moved to sit down next to him.

"Kid's gotta curfew," Renji threw a thumb in Ichigo's direction as the teen flopped onto his pillow trying to ignore the chaste meeting of lips that his senpai and new lover shared. The brush of lips made it hard not to say the words he was thinking, snide -

"That wasn't a kiss dumbass."

Yeah like that…Wait what? Renji's eyes swiveled to Ichigo, who was glaring at the redhead with his usual scowl. "Wh-"

"What was that Kurosaki-san?" Katsumi broke into Renji's stunned bubble.

And although Renji got the distinct impression Ichigo wasn't remarking on Katsumi and Shūhei, the kid repeated himself but not much louder. "That wasn't a kiss…This is a kiss," Ichigo didn't hesitate to reach for a handful of brilliant red hair and still managed to be gentle as he used it like a guide to pull Renji into a kiss. Only this time Katsumi and Shūhei didn't interrupt, weren't even on his mind.

Shit, Renji's eyes slammed shut as he quickly got over the shock of Ichigo - fucking Ichigo - making a move on him, let alone the first. He hadn't even thought the boy knew how to kiss; maybe Renji was only his first guy.

There was a tremble to the lips under his and Renji felt Ichigo's reiatsu mirror them: uncertainty, it said. The teen wanted this but probably hadn't gotten used to the idea of everything…A guy, his nakama, Renji and changing their relationship.

Blame it on the booze, Zabimaru's rough voice growled, pleased as Renji let his hand move up to curl over the nape of Ichigo's neck.

Yeah, Renji's lips quirked upward happy his zanpakutō let itself be know with advice, as opposed to dirty suggestions and lewd comments. If he wants to, I'll let him, he promised himself.

Gotta go slow with this one, ne? Zabimaru's voice rumbled as it lost intensity, leaving Renji alone in his head to enjoy the firm wet slide of Ichigo's lips, not too much saliva…


Ichigo didn't wait to slide his tongue along the lower curve of Renji's mouth, tasting of kick-ass sake. His fingers dug into Renji's thick hair as he tilted his head and teased his tongue over the edge of their lips, and the redhead didn't need a third invitation to open his mouth, and with a little suction captured Kurosaki's tongue in his teeth.

Warm breath rushed out of Ichigo's nose as he exhaled and made a small sound, short but it was enough to bring Renji's tongue following Ichigo's back to taste him for the first time. Renji was glad he wasn't completely smashed but he really wished he could do this sober - fuck please let Ichigo let me do this sober! - he still had enough of his wits about him to want more now.

"Ahem," Shūhei coughed as Katsumi laughed softly beside him. "Just cuz you two are comfortable doesn't mean everyone is," He admonished even with a wicked grin on his face.

"Be truthful Shū. I don't mind bravery in others but I just can't…" He murmured. "Before I met you…" He said to Shūhei.

"You shoulda seen him when we first got together," Shūhei teased and he was gifted with a blush.

Renji wanted to ignore them; they didn't sound uncomfortable if only Ichigo -

Like the playful tug he'd tried to use to get out of Renji's headlock earlier in the night, when Ichigo pulled on the brilliant fall of hair in his fist to separate the kiss the sensation went straight to the redhead's groin.

Renji cursed his face and the blush it allowed so easily as his voice broke over a soft, "Fuck."

Like it burned Ichigo snatched his hand out of the crimson locks and threw both arms over his face before turning away. Although the kid's reiatsu told Renji how ashamed and turned on he was by the kiss, the fukutaichō was happy for once not to see the blush he knew the ginger would bear.

What also really, really (really) didn't help was his crimson eyes finding Shūhei's - seeing in them the knowledge of just how easy Ichigo had riled his kōhai up with a little hair-pulling - and almost feeling the wicked lust in his slate eyes. Of course Shūhei still felt things like that for his kōhai he would just be taking his desire out on Katsumi.

Giving his new exclusive lover Katsumi all of his - Renji's - fucking Cuddle Time.

"Sorry to keep you Kodora," Shūhei's husky voice did its usual trick on Renji's already hardening cock. "I don't mind if you return the bottle."

"Yes," Katsumi agreed with a sly grin that did nothing for Renji thankfully. "I want it as a memento, of my years serving the Kuchiki and tonight when we drank it together."

"It was really good sake," Renji heard himself say as he rolled to his feet. "Ya sure I can take it?"

"Definitely," Kasumi put the stopper back in the decanter and handed it up to Renji after pouring a last bowl for Shūhei. "Oyasuminasai, Kurosaki-san, Abarai-fukutaichō."

Everyone gave their, 'thank yous' and 'good nights' and other pleasantries and Renji helped Ichigo retrieve his zanpakutō on the way outside into the ninth's courtyard.

"I got some extra blankets and shit at my place. Sixth division fukutaichō quarters 'er actually the taichō's quarters so it's on it's own grounds away from all the other division housin'…no low seats to stare at your flashy not-at-all symbolic zanpakutō," Renji teased, and the scowl on Ichigo's face seemed strained by the need to defend Zangetsu, any good shinigami would defend their zanpakutō.

"It's still a long way off from here…You want me to take you home?"

"No," Ichigo frowned. "Unless I won't be drunk once I get back in my body." He met Renji's eyes hopefully.

"You technically won't have alcohol in yer system, but yer head'll still be intoxicated," Renji warned as they passed by the ninth's senkaimon without stopping.

"Then yer place. You sure you don't mind?" Ichigo asked as they exited the ninth division perimeter gate.

"Yeah, think I got a bedroll too…The place ain't as furnished as it could be, it's a bit bigger than my pay scale," Renji paused outside the gate, out of the guard's hearing if they were being polite and not using reiatsu to enhance their ears. "Not if I wanna eat 'nd shit, I eat like a horse."

"Unohana-san told me people with high spiritual pressure eat a lot…Why are we standin' here?" He looked around.

"Can ya flash-step?" Renji made sure he had a firm grip on the sake as he grabbed the teenager's elbow.

"Ngh," Ichigo again looked nauseous from just thinking about shunpo.

"Well hold onta yer stomach," Renji gave him a wicked grin but made sure Ichigo was, "Ready?"

With a tight-lipped nod, Ichigo's other hand moved to close his fingers over Renji's to reassure them both.

"Home it is then," Renji murmured softly before tightening his grip and taking them both into shunpo.

"Ichigo?" Renji asked, making sure not to stop until they got to the sixth division gate.

"Ngh!" Came out in with a heave and Renji aimed Ichigo's mouth away but kept a supporting arm around him as the teen gulped the cool night air. "That…s…s-sucked," Ichigo managed to push out.

"Yew gonna be okay?"

"Gimmie a minute."

Renji felt the teen lean against his side with a ragged breath, his body trembling from the trip. "Let's sit, eh?" He lowered the both of them to sit, their backs braced on the sixth division perimeter wall.

"Thanks…Ugh I'm such a pussy!" Ichigo buried his face in his hands and shook his head.

Since he could be referring to so many things Renji picked the most recent (and coincidently the easiest) instance he could be referring too. "Yer first time, don't worry," He grinned at Ichigo and felt rather than saw the tension in the carrot-top, through his reiatsu. Maybe Renji could have picked his words better. He waited a few seconds more as Ichigo's face started to blush then, "It ain't everyday you pop yer alcohol cherry with insanely fine sake."

"Oh," Ichigo exclaimed in a relieved sort of way, his body relaxed a bit and he lowered his head to his knees as he bent them up to his chest. "Fuck…"

"Oh, that too…Insert, 'insanely fine Renji' and, 'man kiss cherry' then," Renji snickered softly. The redhead was just relaxed (read: drunk) enough to release the half-assed hold on his reiatsu the moment his words reached Ichigo's ears and sent his puppy dog spiritual pressure scampering. Renji made sure to think nothing but soothing buzzed thoughts, using it like a warm soothing blanket over Ichigo's shoulders. With his reiatsu Renji kept half his attention on the turmoil surrounding the substitute shinigami and he rested his arm along the back of the teen's neck so he could slip his calloused fingers into short orange spikes on the crown of Ichigo's hanging head.

"Don't touch me," Ichigo muttered, without a hint of anger in it.

"Hm," Renji grunted and started massaging and scratching with his fingernails over Ichigo's scalp. The moment he made an attempt to withdraw his fingers Ichigo lifted his head enough to encourage the return of his fingertips. "Thought ya didn't want me touchin'-"

"Shut-up," Ichigo practically moaned.

"Yew ready ta get goin'?"

"Yeah, help me up."

Soon they were at the far northern wall; a stone's throw from the sixth's senkaimon was the sizable single-story taichō quarters.

"Ya didn't tell me y'had a senkaimon in the backyard," He tried to joke as they climbed the small stairs onto the porch that skirted the entire 1,500 square foot building.

"Only taichō knows the kidō combination ta this one," Renji frowned as he absentmindedly unlocked the kidō spell on his shoji door before opening it for Ichigo. "Still gotta fill out all the paperwork ta get him ta lift a dignified finger."

"Surprise there."

Glad for the modern light fixtures Renji turned on lights as he went, leaving Ichigo in the genkan to remove Zangetsu and his shoes. "Surprised that thing hadn't made ya fall over, you really must have some talent in there."

"Asshole," Ichigo grumbled but it was a compliment and he couldn't help but notice as Renji led him through the house. "Didn't think there'd be lights like these here."

"They ain't everywhere 'nd they don't work on electricity," Renji glanced back to watch Ichigo turn off one of the lights as they exited the room.

"What then?"

"Huh? Oh, reishi…"

"Thought everything was reishi in Soul Society," Ichigo watched Renji slide open another shoji and instead of hallway there was something that looked suspiciously like a bedroom.

"It is," Renji leaned back to wrap his knuckles on the wooden frame of the shoji. "What makes this wood?" He moved to the futon in the center of the room covered in dark heavy blankets. "This fabric 'nd feather?"

"Got it," Ichigo's gaze drifted to the futon and where Renji was standing in the middle.

"Follow me bathroom's over here," Renji moon-bounced off the futon and to a door on the far wall and Ichigo peered in to see a bathroom bigger and nicer than the one he had back in the World of the Living. "Heh."

"Shit Renji, yer right it is nicer than yer pay scale," Ichigo huffed a soft chuckle as Renji shot him a dirty look.

"Bedroll's prob'ly in the other room," Renji growled and lead him out into the hall.

"You really haven't furnished the whole place," Ichigo got a punch to the shoulder for that. "Oi!"

"Yew ain't even seen the whole place!"

"There's more?"

"I told yew it was made fer a taichō," Renji winked and Ichigo frowned the moment the redhead turned away when the flirtatious move went southward like it was subject to gravity.

Renji showed him the kitchen, which had a small low table set far enough away from the refrigerator (where the sake was stashed) to be considered a dinning room.

"Stay outta th' booze, otherwise help yerself to whatever ya want," Renji turned and led the way to another room, maybe a second smaller bedroom. It only had a long wooden chest in pale wood.

Inside was the bedroll and numerous blankets. Renji tossed Ichigo the bedroll and grabbed two blankets, one thick with goose down and gestured to the floor. "I only got one heater 'nd it's in my bedroom."

"Oh, okay."

"Okay?" Renji asked back.

"Um, yeah…Do you mind me bein' in your room?" Ichigo watched Renji roll his eyes.

"Che, that's my line brat. Are yew okay with bein' in my room? I have enough blankets to keep warm in that chest, I was going to suggest I move the heater in this room for you," Renji admitted.

"I-if you want to. I don't care either way."

"Well if ya don't care drop that bullshit," Renji nudged the bedroll with his elbow. "And crash in my bed."

Ichigo didn't say anything and surprised Renji by not even hesitating before he dropped the bedroll. "Ya better stay on your side."

"I could say I'll try, but when I'm sleepin' I can't be held responsible for my actions," Renji handed over the blankets. "Go put these on the futon."

Like he'd noticed before Ichigo didn't object to the order, and Renji peeked back to watch him retrace his step to the master bedroom. He retrieved two large bottles of water from the kitchen and made for his room.

"Oi," Renji called to get the teen's attention, making sure he saw the water before tossing it toward him and he still dropped it. "Drink that."

Although Ichigo looked like he wanted to object - just for the sake of argument-he opened the bottle and started chugging. Renji averted his gaze and started on his own bottle. "Yers is water right?" Ichigo lowered his half-gone bottle.

"Yeah," Renji grinned and lowered to sit on the edge of the futon. "I gotta go in for a few hours tomorrow. Taichō'll already be pissed cuz I ain't goin' in early…If he even catches a whiff of booze he'll kidō-bind me to my chair and start the paperwork for division-wide inventory."

"So I drink the water and I don't have a hangover tomorrow," Ichigo took a short gulp that Renji heard but did not see.

"And ya take one of these," Renji gave him what looked like a horse vitamin. "S'like aspirin."

"For headaches," Ichigo suggested as he accepted the pill, just incase the fukutaichō had his medicines confused.

"Uh-huh, a pain reliever," Renji had already taken two of the pills. "Y'know it might be better ta talk about sum'thin' before we sober up."

Ichigo's answer was a yawn. He had half-unfolded both blankets retrieved from the chest, and laid them along the foot of the futon incase they didn't need them.

Renji didn't bother to undress as he fell back onto his pillow. Ichigo made space and drank his water. "Take the pill."

"It's not a shinigami roofie is it?" Ichigo asked.

"What the fuck is a roofie?" Renji made to prop himself up on his elbows.

"Never mind," Ichigo took the pill and punched his borrowed pillow a few times before resting his spiky head on it. "So you want to talk while we're drunk?"

"Yeah it makes fer honestly, looser tongues," Renji teased and Ichigo blushed…He cursed and rolled to his feet. "Forgot the light 'nd the damned heater," He escaped across the room in an attempt to resist the sudden urge to molest his young lodger, glad that Captain Oblivious was being true to name at the moment.

The dark helped but the only window in the room got full moonlight and threw a square of light on the lower half of the futon. He pondered through the chore of lighting the heater but could delay no longer and slipped under the multiple blankets.

"And ya might not remember most of what we talk about tomorrow. Me too if yer lucky," Renji muttered in the semi-dark, eyes at the ceiling. He hoped he wouldn't forget tonight. Even if Ichigo did.

Hell wouldn't that be perfect?

"If it'd been just you'n me? Maybe…But Hisagi and Ito saw me make an ass of myself…"

"They could forget."

"Ito was sober."

"I could knock him in the head," Renji offered.

"M'not gonna help you get in trouble," Ichigo rolled over onto his side, facing Renji. "Most of the night rocked, I don't wanna forget it."

"I still wanna talk."

"So talk."

"Ya like girls?"

"What!" Ichigo sat up and glared at Renji. "What kinda-"

"Relax baka, m'not tryin' ta start a fight," Renji didn't move but his eyes stayed on Ichigo as he curled around the pillow, half on his stomach. "Do you?"

"I do!"

"That it?"

"What do you mean!"

Even though Ichigo's reiatsu showed the redhead just how much the teen didn't want to have this conversation Renji continued with, "You kissed me."

Ichigo buried his burning face in his pillow. "I'm not gay!"

"I heard ya, ya like girls," Renji agreed, eyes on the ceiling again. "I'd have definitely known before now if you'd ever shown interest in a guy before."

Ichigo groaned and muttered something into his pillow that sounded something like, "Stupid teenage hormones."

"They ain't picky are they? That's how senpai got me. I didn't think likin' guys was cool either…" Renji snickered and rolled to his side barely resisting the desire to reach over and rub Ichigo's tense back. "We live thousands of years here and most of us believe our 'lives' are too short to bother with such qualms…How do humans do it?"

"Dunno," Ichigo lifted his head and turned it to catch Renji's eyes in the semi-dark.

"I've been with both but I haven't found a woman that makes me feel what Shūhei makes me feel…or you," Renji moved to his back, his hands under his own pillow and head.

Renji was pretty sure it was the sleep and drunkenness that had Ichigo asking a question like, "You and Hisagi which one of you…y'know…"

With a guffaw Renji rolled away from Ichigo and tucked both hands under his pillow and cheek this time. "Don't' kiss'n'tell kid."

"I don't want details!" Ichigo's voice actually conveyed his scowl. "I can't picture either of you…"

Renji's reiatsu had no problem feeling the lusty shame the teen felt, as if he hadn't just implied but actually said the words. "You fantasizin' about me? That counts when I ask if ya like guys."

"Shut-the-fuck-up," Ichigo hissed.

"I just said I don't kiss'n'tell," Renji waved Ichigo's tantrum away with a hand over his shoulder. "I don't fuel the gossipmongers, if yer worried others'll find out."

"Huh," Ichigo huffed. "The second Hisagi dumps Ito you'll be with him laughing about it."

"Okay brat," Renji turned to face Ichigo, one elbow wedged under him to lift his upper half up a bit. "Even if I did tell Shū, neither of us would be laughin' about it."

The seriousness to Renji's voice sobered Ichigo a little and he sat up. "You love Hisagi?"

"Sure," Renji saw the affect of his voice and made himself drop over onto his back, eyes away from the kid's face. "We tried bein' serious but…" Renji threw an arm over his eyes as Ichigo leaned in to hear the fukutaichō hushed voice. "Seein' each other as exclusive property made us territorial monsters."

"You mean jealous and possessive?"

"And violent," Renji nodded. "So it's easier on both of us if he's not mine…And an occasional side effect is he finds someone more entertainin' than me."

"Shit I can't imagine how that's possible. Do you always act like a little brat about it?" Ichigo asked with what could possibly be a teasing note to his voice.

"Whaddaya mean, prick?" Renji didn't bother to move his arm he let his reiatsu convey his irritation.

"When Yuzu loses her favorite doll she acts more mature about it," Ichigo taunted seemingly oblivious (surprise!) to the crackle of fury rippling the surface of Renji's spiritual pressure.

"What the hell!" Renji moved his arm to dart crimson eyes toward his bedmate's face. The mischievous grin was definitely not expected, Ichigo's usual facial expression just made it seem as if his face couldn't even move that way. "If that's the game ya wanna play Kurosaki y'better be ready."

"For what?"

"I've been nice cuz yer a kid-"

"Fuck you!"

"Uh-huh," Renji rolled his eyes and knew Ichigo understood his own unintentional double entendre when his cheeks reddened. "Yer obviously not okay with bein' attracted to guys…That's why I'm bein' such a gentleman."

"Pfft gentleman," Ichigo crossed his arms over his chest.

"Any other person kisses me like you did earlier and agrees to share a bed with me, I promise you we ain't gonna be chit-chattin' in the dark," Renji closed his eyes as Ichigo's spiritual pressure gave away the teen's interest in exactly what the redhead might mean. "Lovely weather we're havin'," Renji deadpanned.

"What would we be doin'?"

Renji opened his eyes, head tilted enough to catch Ichigo's brown. "Roll over."

"No!" Ichigo protested and at Renji's scowl he added. "Why?"

"I'm not makin' moves on ya," Renji reassured him. "I'm prob'ly gonna end up holdin' yew sometime in the night, would ya rather it be a surprise?"

"You roll over," Ichigo countered.

Renji gave a huff of laughter before presenting his back to the teen. Yeah there was a size difference but as strong arms slid around him Renji was quickly reminded of the safety he'd felt in Shūhei's arms even with their size difference. "Sorry if ya thought I'd turn ya down."

"You still suck," Muttered close behind him and the rest of their bodies came into contact.

"I don't mind at all," Renji almost purred as he closed his eyes. It would have been better skin-to-skin but as Ichigo's reiatsu embraced him and gave him no chance to mistake just who held him Renji's suggestion they lose some clothes left his mind. "Yer missin' out kid. The only thing I do better than fuck, is cuddle."

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