Life would be so much easier if he could just hate the bastard.
Hate him for being a cold fish. For having stifled Rukia’s light, her life, for so long. For having damn near killed her with his idiotic, stick-up-the-ass notion of a noble’s honor.
Hate him for not giving a damn about the rest of the world. For not even noticing anyone without a noble name. For his terrifying strength and infuriating sureness.
It would be easier.
It just wouldn’t work.
Renji leaned back on his roof, folding his arms behind his head, watching a puff of cloud creep across the sky.
Nothing was ever easy, with Kuchiki Byakuya. Rukia had been hurt already, when he’d taken her in, and he’d only hurt her worse. Renji was still angry about that. But he couldn’t deny that it was Kuchiki who had healed Rukia, too.
On especially sympathetic days, Renji could even admit that if he had had Rukia and then lost her, the way her sister had gone, he might have gotten just as irrational as Kuchiki. Possibly even for just as long.
Days that sympathetic didn’t happen very often, but they did happen.
Which might just be the part that infuriated him the most.
This was Kuchiki Byakuya they were talking about, after all. The captain who’d treated Renji like a handy piece of furniture for putting paperwork on. The man who blithely assumed Renji would obey his every order without question.
Actually, no, Renji decided, what pissed him off the most was that he’d been chicken enough to let it go on for so long. After all, it was obvious, now, that Kuchiki would give him a measure of respect if Renji stood his ground and didn’t back down.
Ok, so he’d nearly died finding that out. If that were pointed out to Kuchiki-taichou, he’d probably give the person The Eyebrow and call it having standards. The thought made the corners of Renji’s mouth curl up.
And that made him groan and bang his head against the roof tiles a few times.
Never, ever, easy.
He sighed and pulled a piece of paper out of his sleeve, flicking it open one more time. It was a request, albeit a damned stiff-necked one, for his presence at the Kuchiki compound. A request, not an order.
And that alone guaranteed he’d be there, more surely than any order might have when Kuchiki was still his captain.
Renji stuffed the paper back away with a growl. It would be so much easier…