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30 November 2008 @ 01:22 pm
Starless Sky  
Yes, I can write romantic, 2-sided pairings for Rukia other than IchiRuki. I'm just way more particular about them. ^__^ Either way, have a side of RenRuki, another one for 10_whores. I'm really hoping to be able to finish up at least one of my fanfic claims sometime in the next week or so, not so much bc of deadlines but just bc I like the satisfaction of finishing something. Not to mention the pretty banners you get when you do. XD

Title: Starless Sky
Character: Kuchiki Rukia
Pairing: Kuchiki Rukia x Abarai Renji
Author: tasogaretaichou
Rating: PG
Prompt: Look to the sky
Warnings: Nothing really objectionable, spoilers for up through the Hueco Mundo arc, but it doesn't really touch on much in that sense.
Summary: Sometimes if you spend too much time barking at the moon, you miss the stars.

Sighing, Renji laid back against the cool softness of the grass, folding arms behind his head as he leveled brown eyes on the darkening sky overhead. These nights were getting less and less frequent, less time to be had when he could escape his responsibilities to the Gotei-13 and just relax, not having to think about paperwork and training schedules and Kuchiki-taichou's disapproving stares when he realized he'd dozed off on top of said aforementioned stacks of paperwork and started snoring, not to mention all the pressure he was getting to take over one of the currently vacant captain positions that he just knew Yama-jii was itching to have filled as soon as possible.

And it wasn't even as though there were candidates lacking. Hell, these days any 3rd or 4th seat with enough gumption was clamoring for the chance to apply themselves for the honour and prestige that a captaincy was certain to bring. Which was why it didn't make much sense to Renji why everyone was all on his case about it. Not because he was like Ikkaku, bound and determined to stay in his place and follow the man he admired until the day he fell -- hopefully in an honourable battle -- doing what he loved. No, Renji wasn't like that, he wanted to advance, to climb higher and higher, reaching for those far-off stars that he'd always strived for since nearly as long as he could remember.

Since he'd met her.

Scowling, he sat up abruptly, running a hand through his touseled mane of thick red hair, shaking bits of grass from the unruly ponytail he always kept it in and frowning even more as the tie came loose, sending the mass cascading down around his shoulders. Damned hair. He'd thought of cutting it, considered it for a long time -- long hair was a pain, he honestly didn't see how Ukitake managed with his the way it was -- but couldn't ever bring himself to do it. She'd always loved his hair, always scolded -- and sometimes hit -- him for failing to take care of it when they were kids, enough to the point that he never admitted to her that the precise reason why he didn't brush it was because he loved the way it felt when she'd brush it for him. Hell, even the fact that she practically beat him into the ground in order to tug his head into her lap and comb out the wayward strands hadn't really been a problem compared to how nice it had felt to feel her small fingers threading through it.

Shaking his head, Renji swore under his breath, expression darkening. It was stupid, foolish to get so caught up in memories, in remembered shards of things that would never be, not again. They'd gone too far, drifted from that path they'd originally set out on. And now there was no going back. Raking crimson strands from his face, he crossed his legs again, mind automatically spiraling back to the original problem that had sent him up here onto the hill in the first place. The one he didn't really want to think about, but it wasn't like they were giving him a choice. All of them, pushing him, when they couldn't understand -- and he had to give them at least a little leeway with that -- why he wouldn't just up and take it, take the chance that had been placed in front of him, especially when nearly all of them knew that it was his dream, the thing that he'd strived for for so long.

But then, they didn't understand that it wasn't about the position, not at all. Nor was it about some supersticious bullshit over how 5th division had been Aizen's division, and that fact carried some sort of hidden stigma that he didn't want to broach. Renji wasn't that sort of supersticious type. Nor did it hurt to point out that before it had been Aizen's division, it had been Hirako's division, and -- though they'd invited the group of exiles back, offered them amnesty and a new place in their order, they'd all declined -- for all that he could tell, Vaizard or not, the blonde was a good man.

None of them understood that it was all about HER. She'd be happy for him, hell, she'd probably kick him in the face if she knew he was persistently putting off just making a damned decision. But then, she could be oblivious about things, even though he knew he'd have been kicked even harder for saying that. Sighing again, he cast his eyes back up towards the now-dark heavens overhead. He couldn't keep putting it off forever, despite how much that sardonic voice in the back of his head dared him that he could sure as hell try. At some point, a choice would have to be made. And it was ironic, so ironic, that the path which he had long-ago thought would bring the two of them together, would now pull them apart. He'd made a fatal -- in his opinion -- choice all those years ago, pushing her towards the Kuchiki clan rather than baring his soul to her and just telling her what he really thought, really felt. That as much as he wanted the best for her, he wanted her.

But now, he would be moving even farther away, even more distant to her. A captain's position would mean prestige, honour, status. But it would also mean more hours, more paperwork. Being confined -- more than he already was -- in this place while she stayed in that town, with that boy and all their other friends. Moving even further away from him.

"So here's where you went. I figured."

Eyes widening slightly, Renji just barely managed to hide his surprise -- and dismay -- at the familiar voice, turning to see the very object of his thoughts standing a few feet away. It was a practiced gesture to clamp down the dull ache in his chest at the sight of her, to make sure his eyes never rested too long on the way the night sky's dim light glimmered off hair the same shade of black, or how the faint glow from Seireitei was reflected in the deep indigo-violet of her eyes, a practiced gesture that he employed yet again as he turned back towards the sky with a noncommital grunt.

Maybe she'd go away, or say or do something that would make it easier to pretend things were settled between them, so he could act "normal". Like a friend, a brother, a comrade. Someone she'd grown up with, not someone who wanted to take her in his arms and promise her the world. Not that his wishes -- at least, the ones along that vein -- were ever really granted. As it seemed this one would not be, as she settled herself on the grass behind him with a frown and a disapproving sigh as fingers reached up to pick leaves out of his hair.

Idiot. He never could seem to manage to take care of his hair. If she didn't suspect that he kept it long simply because that was how he'd always kept it, she'd have wondered why he didn't just cut it off. Not that she would have wanted that. It would have been such a waste, such a terrible waste. Rukia had always envied his hair, the richness of it's colour, the way -- despite awful care -- it was always so thick and smooth and shiny. Unlike her hair, which was -- in her opinion -- boring and unruly and refused to do anything she wanted it to.

There were a lot of things she admired about Renji, honestly. He was an honourable man, brave, courageous. All things that she knew perfectly well, things that she knew even before he joined up with Ichigo and the rest of her friends to save her from her execution. Just as she knew that there was a good deal more to Renji than most people assumed. Knew that he had his issues, his worries and fears and regrets.

At least one such regret, she knew was centered around her. And truthfully, it was a regret that she sometimes shared, most notably at times like these, quiet times that they would spend together like this on increasingly rare occasions. A regret for time lost, and time given away. For time that they couldnt get back, and the yawning emptiness where a promise for that time to be returned should have rested. Should have, and yet it remained empty. She'd always assumed it was because they were both too damned stubborn to admit it.

Renji's yelp of pain as her fingers snarled in a tangle brought her out of her musings, and she frowned, the flat of her palm striking him in the back of his head. If he'd just sit still and stop complaining, she could get the knot out.

"Idiot. Sit still and it won't pull. Or maybe if you brushed it once in awhile, then you wouldn't have this problem."

Sighing in mock disgust and resignation, she rummaged in the small tote bag she'd brought with her and pulled out a much-worn hairbrush. Winding a chunk of Renji's long red hair around one small fist, she gave an authoritative tug, not quite able to hide the smug sense of satisfaction at the vicecaptain's startled exclamation as his head came back with a jerk to land in her lap.

"Now just stay still, or I'll pull harder."

Carefully spreading thick tresses across one leg, she took the brush and began to work out the tangles, just as she'd done when they'd both been much smaller. It was nostalgic, really, the weight of his head in her lap, the slight motions of his body as he simply scowled for a moment and then relaxed, his breathing the only movement as he closed his eyes. Staring down, she let her eyes trace over the lines of his face, so familiar yet still so changed, the dark inked lines of his tattoos mimicking those of Zabimaru -- she'd never seen it, but he'd told her once when they'd been younger -- and accenting his sharp, angular features. Everything about Renji was like that. Spiky, angular, hard. From the sharp planes of his face to the jagged black lines on his skin, even his attitude. In truth, she was probably the only person who'd ever seen beneath that sharpness.

It was a luxury that she treasured, held close to her heart along with the memories of many more times spent like this, times that she had to admit she was saddened at the loss of. They'd drifted farther apart than she'd really ever thought possible, and yet somehow after her near-death during their time in Hueco Mundo, they'd become close again. Close, but still held apart by some thin barrier, something that she didn't understand and yet feared. It was as though, by acknowledging it and overcoming it, it would change everything.

Sighing, she continued brushing, pushing the difficult thoughts from her mind and concentrating instead on the simple nostalgia of the moment, violet eyes slipping closed. He probably thought she didn't know, didn't understand -- at least to a degree -- why he kept turning down the promotion offers that were placed on his desk, why he didn't seem to care that if he waited too long, the chance would fly away. She honestly didn't remember where she'd heard it, or who had said it, but she knew. Knew that so much of what he did was for her, and for them, although there'd never really been a "them", despite the fact she couldn't deny that there had been a time when there was. But now... what was there?

He kept his eyes closed, not only because it allowed him to savour the feeling of her warmth against him, the slightly tingling sensation as she ran the bristles along his scalp, working their way through tangled vermilion strands, but also because he knew he couldn't do it. Couldn't lay here, head in her lap like this, and look up at her without wanting her, without reaching up to run his own fingers through midnight-hued locks, without snaking a hand around the back of her neck and pulling her down to him and kissing her the way he'd always wanted to. And that wasn't fair to her, it wasn't fair to just take like that, no matter how much he wanted it. Letting a sigh escape his lips, he muttered to himself, hardly even stopping to think that she could hear him, or that she'd understand.

"...still just a dog chasing the moon, I guess..."

Violet eyes opened for a moment, studying him. Obviously, he must not have realized what he'd said, OR that he'd said it aloud. Catching her lower lip in her teeth, she fought the sudden pang of regret that suffused her. Had he really... for so long? She'd always known he considered himself beneath her, unworthy. That was why he'd pushed her in the first place, why he'd let go and shoved her towards the Kuchiki clan with both hands. For her own sake, even though she'd not wanted to admit it, hadn't wanted to accept that he cared more for her than she'd know then, cared enough to make them both miserable in order to see her go farther in life.

But I never wanted to go alone, Renji...

Drawing in a shaky breath, she set the brush down, reaching out with one hand to carefully trace the black lines across his face, following the ink across his skin before gliding a fingertip along his jawline. She could feel him gasp -- though he did a good job of hiding it -- feel the muscles tense and him hold his breath before she swallowed and opened her mouth.

"Renji... maybe you've been chasing it for too long...."

Now it was her turn to hold her breath, chewing thoughtfully on her lower lip as brown eyes opened, staring up at her from above a sudden -- she could have been wrong, in a dim light -- flush across his cheeks as he studied her for a moment, before his eyes shifted away, mouth setting in a hard line.

"Probably... but it's hard not to, when it's right there in the sky."

Hopefully she didn't realize what he was really talking about, she couldn't, otherwise she'd have likely been long gone, or turning the topic to something else, something safer. At least, that's what he thought until she leaned over him, an uncustomary softness in her eyes, and he had to catch his breath yet again at her next words.

"Renji.... look at the sky. There's no moon. So..... you can stop chasing it now."

And with that, she leaned down, hesitantly and as though unsure if what she was doing was right, and pressed her lips gently against his.
Psyche: hopefulhopeful
snowzapped: bedsnowzapped on April 28th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Awww... So nice. Made me smile like a dork. ^__^
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