sinful_lynx: (Haji)
[personal profile] sinful_lynx
Title: Anniversaries
Fandom: Bleach
Characters/Pairings: Renji/Rukia
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Author Note: For Batty!
Summary: Memories and anniversaries...

Anniversaries hit hard.

First meetings. First successful steal. First life-changing decision. That first time you allowed another man to steal your girl.

They come unexpectedly, unbidden, and when they hit, they hit hard and fast. It does not always come with a warning, nor does it always hit the same way every year, but those important moments in one's life will come. To turn away from them is to deny one's existence. To shun them is to shun oneself.

He has never begrudged his origins. They are a sign of pride for him, a pride that is very different from the noble pride throughout his division, throughout most of the Seireitei. It is what sets him apart from the drones, what makes him unique, the stray dog that managed to touch the moon.

Perhaps he cannot remember the exact numbers, or even the exact days, but he remembers them, regardless, and he remembers them well. Deep in his soul, those special days resonate, leave him as breathless as the days that they happened. It's impossible to forget them, those days that changed his life, and never would he want to.

"Do you remember the first time we met?" She asks, smirk on her lips but thoughtfulness in her tone.

"How could I forget?" He shrugs, grin goofy. "You saved our asses."

She doesn't flinch, like a noble usually might. Her smile grows instead, her years among the stray dogs and the street rats overriding all of the noble conditioning just to approve of that one word. It is powerful, for him. "What would you have done without me?" It is a pride, a pride different from her brother. It is a pride for her origins, for her life before this one, the hard times and dreadful memories, the cold and the pain. It is a pride for their time together.

"Yeah, yeah, don't get too cocky. I think I pulled ya outta a few tight spots, too," he remarks, patting her on the head, ruffling her hair. She throws his hand off, looking a bit annoyed.

"Name one!" Though she isn't nearly as indignant as she sounds.

He stops to think for a minute. It must be a good one, after all, or she could just step around it, something she learned long before slipping into the politics of a noble house.

"What about that time when we were split up and you got cornered by that wild dog?" He is obviously pleased with this one. She is less so.

In fact, he can see it in her eyes, every attempt to derail it, every attempt to prove his aid was unneeded. It's nice now, just a memory to them that they can smile off in fondness for the trials they survived together, but back then, he only knew fear. Fear that she would be hurt, fear that she would be taken away, fear that the light that had come to that small group of orphans in Inuzuri would be snuffed out by something as common as a wild dog.

Instead of arguing, her frown turns from focused to a small, sad smile. "You were hurt, then. Idiot," she chides, quietly playful. "You should have known a stick wouldn't do much against it."

"I wasn't really thinking about that at the time, you know," he retorts.

She looks up at him. "What were you thinking?"

"I was..." He trails off, looking out over the distance. There is flora and fauna of every type, cherry blossoms and plum blossoms, and the cool river that flows through, glittering in the afternoon sun, ignorant of the feelings that roil in his blood. "I was just thinking I'd save you." He tries to be flippant about it, act as if it really isn't a big deal, because, back then, it really wasn't. He wanted to save her, he wanted to spare her pain and for that, he would take it on himself. That was all he was thinking. That is all he still thinks, that he still tries to convince her, this girl who takes on everything herself.

After a long moment of silence, a rather uncomfortable moment, she speaks. "... Idiot."

"Hey, I just said something cool. Least you could do is say something better than that!"

She reaches out her hand to catch a stray cherry blossom petal. "You should worry more about your life! I don't need or want anyone getting hurt over me!" She closes her fingers over that petal and he can see that she's doing her best not to crush it, to hide the worst of her emotions. That is something she learned the day he let go of her hand, let someone else take care of her. No... she's always been like that. They all were.

"Didn't we go over this already?" He sighs, rubbing the back of his neck.

"That doesn't mean you get to take all of it by yourself, either." Firm, like that little girl that would help them survive those perilous streets.

"Yeah, yeah..." He grumbles.

She sighs herself and finally lets go of that petal. "Do you know what today is?"

He frowns, watching that petal float on the breeze, its dance beautiful, but he knows just how deadly something that beautiful can be. "Yeah," he answers and follows it with a smile, wide, thoughtful, almost happy. "And you haven't changed a bit."
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