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10 December 2008 @ 01:44 am
Je Ne Sais Quoi [Renji x Rukia]  
Title: Je Ne Sais Quoi Chapter 1
Pairing: Renji x Rukia
Fandom: Bleach
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: T
Summary: There is something about her that gives off the stink of living out of spite.

1.

He bows his head, lowers his gaze, and stares. And yawns, only it is like a plaintive wail—a noise coming afar. Somewhere off in the distance and too real to be trapped and recognized, there is a long vowel splitting the air.

He hears a girl scream-cry, a torrent of sounds that he hasn’t heard in a while. In the Dead Land, there is no such thing as tears. To weep is to sink deep (and never rise up, lift up off the steps and out of the dust).

Renji swears he heard wrong.

The hunger has become constant. He searches frantically for food (that he should not need) and devours greedily, a prisoner starved.

And along came a girl, lost and young and just as desperate, bare-foot, soot-faced and skinny. Her skin is covered in sores and cracks. Renji can’t tell her age, could be anywhere from ten to a thousand.

Take a wild, wild guess.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing here?”

“Food.” She eyes his hands—clutching—keenly. Like a cat, she dives and darts for it and grabs for it and stuffs everything wholly into her open mouth.

Furious, Renji rushes. He shoves past thieves & beggars (tearing aside their tattered, hanging thread-clothes). There is no time for sorrys and are-you-all-rights. The girl is fast, damn.

Renji loses.

She smirks at him from a perch almost in the clouds, legs swinging and dangling and manner, tone taunting.

-

The world begins when they’re thirteen, appearance-wise.

(The dead does not really change.)

She takes life and breathes it into her clay heart and stabs the rest into his hollow chest. She takes their bones and hunches down to turn them over malleably, like mushed, gunked up marsh-earth, into supports.

Supports for ills and misfortune, for everything that came and is yet to be. Rukia (she grandly announces the name) does not spare time or energy. Everything must be just right.

The obsession exuding from her body and hits him with restless jerks. He grumbles for her to quit it, but she doesn’t stop until it’s rocking heavily into the night.

“Just wait, I’m almost done, and when I’m done we’ll get out of this pithole. Just wait.”

Renji doesn’t answer (doesn’t dare snap her neck loose of useless thoughts). In Rukongai—he wants to say—thoughts mean nothing. Thoughts become shadows, become the dead man’s dead.

And they are the ones who bury the remains.

Always.

-

He starts training all of a sudden. She pokes at him, touches the lean muscle underneath white cotton and laughs. Asks why he is doing this, why he likes torture. Is he a masochist then?

Renji shoves her aside and doesn’t avert his gaze. He steadies his stare intently, focused, on the prize. He will get (both of them) out of here.

In Rukongai, actions resound from the filthy ally-ways and bamboo pipes. Actions determine, actions form. Actions become reiatsu, and then, they will be gone. Liberated and just as good and respected as any of those damn gods.

-

Tired and annoyed, Rukia starts imitating him.

She takes the simple kido gestures he tries to create with reeling arms and lines and outshines him by a mile and more.

“It’s easy,” she says offhandedly.

And Renji gives her a glare hideous enough to pierce through granite.

She drops her hands and shuts her mouth. And with clenched fists, the knuckles go straight to the jugular. Renji crashes to the floor, hits it hard. The dirt seeps through his mouth and he tastes blood.

He stands up and grins crazily, flashing white fang-teeth that bounce off beats and sun-rhythms.

There is a meter and a measure surging from his gut. He takes them and modifies their identical shapes and powers into ready-made courage.

“You just got your ass kicked by a girl.”

“You’re no girl,” he retorts.

-

Winter is a sin, or should be, she thinks.

It’s cold and unbearable and reminds her of a whirlwind of desires and hates she would rather forget.

Along with winter rages, Rukia catches glimpses of a face like her own. Only, broader (prettier) and older, guiltier. The face frowns down at her and cups her face with ghost hands. Rukia shivers, shrinks closer to him.

Awkward and pained, he takes her into a rough-slinging embrace. (He can feel her chest heaving and sobbing dryly against his, but gives no comment.)

-

She never tells him what happened to her before they met. He never asks. It’s impolite, it’s taboo. And she extends him the same courtesy: some things are not to be breached.

Ever.

-

Gradually, he surpasses her, except in kido. She is pissed beyond belief and demonstrates her anger by thrashing. Renji sits back and enjoys the spectacle. It’s been a long, long time since he’s had a good laugh.

-

Like he promised, he takes her to the edge of Seireitei and dares her to enter. Rukia looks alarmed, calls him absolutely mad—suicidal—she’s not so completely messed up in the head to attempt that.

Seireitei is close and far, making the lacuna between hell and lesser hell endlessly spreading and extending until he can barely make out the other shore.

But he’s made a promise he vows to keep. He’ll get them there, one day.

(And when the first qualification exams come back, Renji rips the letters into tiny pieces. He seethes, she sighs. I told you so.)

-

“I told you we’d get in.”

She snorts, “Yeah, and you’re only off your estimate by a hundred years.”

“That’s not important when you have eternity to spend.”

“Spend as what? Shinigami?”

“What else.”

Abruptly, her mind goes blank. Nothing else comes to mind. Because—the nasty voice states—there is nothing else. Starve or slay.

“Shinigami,” she agrees.

They walk, stone-cold somber, and hardly breathe. And from the corners of her eye, she sees two men (one smiley and squinty and dangerously kind-looking, the other has dark hair with an embedded bone-clip).

Rukia shivers, even though the sun strikes down directly overhead.

 



 
 
 
incandescensincandescens on December 10th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
That's an interesting piece. Nice dialogue.

(It's usually "je ne sais quoi", btw -- I don't think it's "je ne sais quo".)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on December 10th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
Oopsie damn typos. Thanks for catching it. :)