Word count: 1444
Summary: Ichigo hits puberty, Renji wants to hit something, and Rukia hits the jackpot.
1. Ichigo didn’t think he wanted anyone.
To Ichigo, the only thing more terrifying than seeing a girl completely naked, was seeing a guy completely naked. Which was why he shrieked –not like a girl, thank you very much, just a little… higher pitched than normal– when he walked into his bathroom one day to find a dripping wet and very, very naked Abarai Renji toweling off one leg.
Toweling off in a rather exposed way.
Ichigo shrieked again and, okay, maybe this one was a little girly, but that was one very naked shinigami. Renji struggled to move the towel haphazardly in an attempt to cover the –ahem- important bits, and at least had the courtesy to look embarrassed as he explained “Urahara’s shower is broken and I got this thing all dirty.” He gestured down at his artificial body, then blushed.
Ichigo leapt out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. The truly horrifying thing, however, was that it wasn’t just horror he felt. As Ichigo flopped down in bed, he sternly told his nether regions that this was not an appropriate reaction.
For a relatively normal teenage boy (ignoring that whole accidental death god thing) Ichigo had always been pretty lucky in the inappropriate erection department. Lucky in that he never got them. Well, at least up until today.
Still, even though naked people in general embarrassed the hell out of him, and before now had never really done anything for him, he always sort of assumed he was straight as a matter of course. As he lay there, trying to forget the water dripping in lazy rivulets down Renji’s chest, he felt that this aspect of puberty chose a very unlucky moment to hit him hard. He also worried he might be having a sexual identity crisis.
Clearly, there was only one thing to do, because Ichigo had to solve this now. Fishing under his bed, Ichigo cursed under his breath until he connected with what he was looking for. Kiego had given him the magazine for his last birthday, and it had nearly given Ichigo a heart attack before he managed to throw it under his bed. The woman on the cover’s bathing suit was falling off, for god’s sake.
He flipped it open to a random page. This woman’s bathing suit had already fallen off. Also, her breasts appeared to defy the laws of physics. Ichigo blushed furiously, but it was an honest relief when his body didn’t protest the sight at all.
So he did like women. He had just most unfortunately been staring at a naked Abarai Renji when he decided to start finding people attractive. It could happen to anyone, and was probably because Renji was so damn girly, what with the ponytail and all. Ichigo pointedly ignored the fact that Renji was very near the top of the list of the least girly people he knew, right behind Zaraki Kenpachi. Instead, he sighed in relief and started picturing naked girls in his head. After all, anything was better than mentally tracing the tattoos that streaked across Renji’s well-defined chest and then headed… down. Yes, naked woman were far preferable, with their breasts, soft curves, dark hair….
The horror returned when Rukia danced nakedly and seductively through Ichigo’s brain.
2. Renji thought he only wanted one person.
Renji was straight. He knew this because, for all of his relatively long life, he had only ever been attracted to women.
All right, his entire life he’d only ever been attracted to one woman, but that still qualified as straight. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t dated other women along the way. He’d dated plenty, one petite, dark-haired girl after another, though recently he’d sort of given up trying. They’d all come close to being perfect, but if he was really, truly honest with himself, none of them had been who he really wanted.
Renji had realized a long time ago that Rukia and only Rukia was able to get his full attention and attraction. Not that he would do anything about it, though. Because Rukia was a friend, and Rukia was… not innocent, but something remarkable similar. A guy just didn’t ruin things like that with thoughts of sex or whatever, unless that guy was some sort of awful pervert. Renji had too much pride to be that kind of guy, like that Kyouraku-taicho, singing stupidly to Nanao-chan.
So Renji forced inappropriate thoughts of Rukia away, settling for dating the occasional woman who never quite measured up and jerking off listlessly to half-formed thoughts of small girls with dark hair and sort of blurry faces. Though he was pretty sure he wasn’t even fooling himself at this point.
This status quo kept up for a remarkably long time, considering, until that day. Trust Ichigo to throw things into chaos. Again.
Three days after the unfortunate baring of his naked ass to the accidental shinigami, Renji’s lingering embarrassment had finally been outstripped by his growing smell. Urahara’s shower was still broken –at this point Renji wondered how the hell they kept clean—and if Renji didn’t bathe soon he was worried he would get kicked out of the house altogether. So he finally sucked it up and headed over to Ichigo’s place.
The redhead’s face almost matched his hair when Renji asked about using the shower again, and Renji stored that fact away to tease him about later. Ichigo had gotten an eyeful, sure, but it wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before, after all, and Ichigo’s embarrassment was sort of hilariously over-the-top.
Ichigo managed to mumble out a “yes”, however, and Renji headed off to the bathroom.
It was only after he finished that Renji realized he had forgotten a clean shirt. He slung his towel around his waist and went to find Ichigo’s room to ask if there was one he could borrow.
Out in the hall, Renji realized he wasn’t sure which room was Ichigo’s, but one door was open a crack and from the sound of it, it was the only one with a person inside it. Renji almost barged right in, but luckily for his desire to not die of embarrassment, he paused outside just long enough to realize that the noises coming from the room were sort of strange.
Strange and Ichigo-esk, though the closest Renji had come to hearing the redhead sound like that was in the middle of a difficult fight. Even then, it still didn’t sound quite the same. These noises definitely sounded a bit more….
Without thinking, Renji leaned back enough to peer through the gap in the door. He nearly fell down in a big, towely mess. Yes, that was definitely not an enemy Ichigo was wrestling with in there.
Renji flushed so deeply it felt like his face would burst from the blood pressure. Renji felt like he should be feeling a lot more disgusted right now and a lot less whatever he was feeling. He was about to slowly slink off and try to forget Ichigo’s harsh breaths as his hand traveled over a well-defined stomach and lower, when he heard Ichigo mutter “Rukia” just loud enough that Renji knew he hadn’t heard it wrong.
Suddenly the embarrassment was gone, replaced with an overwhelming desire to hit something very hard. How dare Ichigo be thinking of her while he… while he did…
He snapped out of his thoughts of pounding Ichigo into a very small shape and without thinking peered back into the room. Had he really just heard… but yes. Renji knew he had heard what he heard. The desire to hit things was still there, but now it mixed with some rather interesting images of Rukia tangled with Ichigo flush against Renji wrapped around Rukia.
Jealousy was rather quickly replaced with something that felt a lot more like lust, and Renji found himself practically running back into the shower. He threw the water back on, and fell forward, letting his burning face rest against the cool wall of the shower.
This was new, and a little terrifying, but Renji was a man of action, and he had waited far too long already. Something had to be done about this new development.
Right after he, uh, finished.
3. Rukia was just glad she didn’t have to make up her mind.
As Rukia lay there, absently tracing a finger along the dark line that snaked down Renji’s thigh, listening to Ichigo snore softly, his head in her lap, she thought that not choosing was the best decision she’d ever made.