Fandom: Bleach (anime only)
Pairings/Characters: Beginnings of Renji/Nanao, with brief appearances by Kyōraku and Byakuya.
Seasons/Spoilers: Spoilers for The DiamondDust Rebellion
Summary: There was a part of Nanao that was surprised that someone like Renji would be a gentle kisser. After all, he was known all over Seireitei for being brash and cocky.
Author's notes: I started this months ago when I watched the move for the first time.
It had been just over a week since Kusaka's defeat and the Seireitei was back in working order. Then 10th Division was once again under Hitsugaya's command and they were no longer on lock down. Kyōraku was on his way to a full recovery, though he had to promise Unohana that he would lay off the sake and women chasing.
The only thing that wasn't normal, was the way Renji had been acting. When he wasn't training the squad or fulfilling his other fuku-taichō duties, he was quiet and withdrawn, acting more like Kira than himself.
Even Byakuya had noticed the change in his fuku-taichō and he knew exactly what the cause was. "Go apologize to her if you feel so guilty," he said in that way that showed he cared but he wasn't going to go out of his way to be obvious about it. "This behavior does not befit a fuku-taichō of the Gotei 13."
So later that day, Renji went in search of the cause of his moping and he found her, sitting outside the 8th squad barracks. And it didn't take a genius to tell she had been crying again.
"May I sit?" he asked, when Nanao looked up as she heard him approach.
She nodded, but said nothing.
He waited patiently until he was sure that she was done crying. "How is Kyōraku-taichō?" he asked, gently.
"Better. Still unable to do much, but out of the woods. Unohana-taichō says he should be healed completely in a few weeks. Provided he actually rests and stays away from the sake," she added with the ghost of a smile gracing her lips. She had been charged with that task, but her Taichō was crafty when he wanted to be and had bottles hidden that even she didn't know about until they were already drunk or close to being empty.
"So why were you crying?" he asked
"It's my fault." She said, a few moments later.
"If I hadn't have asked Kyōraku-taichō to help with the research, he wouldn't have been there that night and wouldn't have gotten hurt." She was starting to tear up again and it made his heart ache to see it.
"You don't know that." he assured her.
"Still..." she trialled off, a tear making its way down her face. She moved to wipe it away, but Renji took hold of her hand and stopped her. "Abarai-kun?"
"If it's anyone's fault, it's mine." Renji said, as he wiped the tear away with the opposite hand that wasn't holding Nanao's.
Nanao couldn't keep the shocked expression off her face. Partly for Renji's admission, but mostly for the fact that he was still holding her hand. "What makes you say that, Abarai-kun?"
Renji seemed to realize when Nanao did that they were still holding hands, and let her's drop. "I was the one who asked you for help, remember? If I had only done it on my own, none of this would have happened. But I was so desperate to help Rangiku-san and Hitsugaya Taichō."
It was Nanao this time, who took Renji's hand in her's. "Abarai-kun, Kyōraku-taichō and I would have helped whether you had asked or not. We're both rather fond of Hitsugaya-taichō and Rangiku-san. Though I have to admit, there are times when Kyōraku-taichō only seems to admire Rangiku-san's breasts," she added the last with a smile. Renji couldn't help but smile back. "So you see? This isn't your fault."
"And it's not yours either," Renji said, squeezing their still linked hands gently.
Nanao sighed. "You're right. I just don't know if I'll ever not feel guilty about it."
"You just have to find something to take your mind off of it," Renji said.
Nanao was about to asked, "like what?" when Renji's lips met hers in the most softest of touches. It took her a few moments to get over the shock, but when she did, she pressed her lips more firmly against Renji's. There was a part of Nanao that was surprised that someone like Renji would be a gentle kisser. After all, he was known all over Seireitei for being brash and cocky. But it was surprisingly fitting, given the moment they had just shared.
After another half minute or so, Renji pulled away, with a smile on his face that was a mirror of the one Nanao had on her face.
"So that's what you mean by distracting, is it?"
Renji nodded. He was about to lean in again for another kiss, when from deeper in the barracks, Kyōraku called out for Nanao. "NANAO-CHAN~! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY LAST BOTTLE OF SAKE?"
Nanao sighed and turned to yell towards the barracks. "I THREW IT OUT WITH THE OTHER TWELVE BOTTLES YOU HAD HIDDEN IN YOUR OFFICE."
Kyōraku groaned loudly.
"I should go so you can go deal with him," Renji said as he stood up.
Nanao stood up as well and nodded. "Yes, that would probably be for the best." Before Renji could walk away, she grabbed him by the arm and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Would you like to come back later tonight for tea? Around 7?"
Renji nodded. "I would love to."
"NANAO-CHAN!" Kyōraku called again. This time it sounded like he was closer to the door and was on his way outside.
"BACK INTO BED, NOW!" Nanao yelled.
Both she and Renji could hear shuffling from inside and they both knew that Kyōraku had indeed gotten out of bed and was trying to scamper back into his room before Nanao came inside to catch him.
"I'll see you tonight," Renji said with a smile.
"Tonight," Nanao nodded.
Renji waited and watched until Nanao was inside the barracks. Only when he heard her yelling at her Taichō for being up and around when he was expressly ordered not to be, did he turn and head back towards his barracks, with a smile on his face the whole way there and feeling a million times better.