A/N: I wanted to write something fluffy, rather than angsty (like my current fics), thus this one shot was born! Let me know if I totally suck at writing fluff, and should go back to writing angst :p I'm not sure if Japan celebrates Christmas, but for the purposes of this fic, they do now! Also, as Renji is very old, (how old, I'm not sure) I presume he does not know how we celebrate Christmas today.
Italics = Renji writing his report, which I handily dated. I have not written the entire report, but it's not exactly necessary either.
Summary: Renji is sent to the world of the living to learn more about humans. Curious about Christmas, he partakes in the strange tradition. With help from Ichigo they discover something that could change their lives forever. Set during Christmas, Ren/Ichi, fluff, one-shot.
Hot Chocolate and Mistletoe
A lone figure stepped through the Senkaimon and into a grassy field, just outside of Karakura Town. The air was cold but not bitter; it was refreshing to breathe in cool air that was not thick and humid like the reishi filled air of the Soul Society. Renji breathed in and smiled. It smelt like freedom. He had the week off from his duties, and an easy task ahead of himself to complete –to observe and update the known records on humans. When Captain Kuchiki had approached him with this request, the red headed soul reaper had quickly accepted.
Renji stilled and observed the surroundings; tall buildings littered the horizon and small glowing lights moved like miniscule bugs in the same direction, which he knew were those auto-mobile things Ichigo had tried to explain to him.
"I'm glad I don't need to rely on those slow death traps to move about," he murmured and flash stepped to Urahara's shop to pick up his gigai.
It is not wise to turn up unannounced to schools, or for that matter I presume, any type of building, for the humans question you rudely. They appear to have a system where you are supposed to sign your name into a tiny book, which then grants you access. This book seems to have a lot of power, but I checked its spirit level and there is nothing out of the ordinary. It is a very strange device.
Note: It is recommended that you do not use the windows to get into the buildings. According to a certain human, who has the tendency to blush profusely when you are in close proximity with them, it is common sense to use a door, however impractical that may be.
Renji felt a sudden ache in his arm, where an annoyed, orange haired, student had just punched him.
"I did not blush!" Ichigo snapped, frown firmly in place.
Renji laughed and placed his pen on Ichigo's desk. He shifted forwards, his face mere inches away from Ichigo's.
"Oh, but I distinctly remember you having a blush when I leaned in this close to you earlier." Renji's warm breath deepened the substitutes pink flush across his cheeks.
"That was not a blush. I was angry at you! You can't leap through my class room window and then press your ugly, tattooed, face to mine!"
"That was low," Renji muttered and leant back into the computer chair, which bounced slightly with the movement. A wolfish grin curled at his lips, as he observed the frowning male before him.
"Idiot," Ichigo said nonchalantly.
Ichigo smiled as the words left Renji's mouth. "I'm not sure Byakuya wanted you to learn how to swear when he sent you here."
Renji scoffed and fiddled with the pen between his fingers. "I'm not going to learn anything sat in your small bedroom."
Ichigo shot him a glare. "I did not say you must come back to my house, nor am I forcing you to stay."
"No, that's right. So let's get out of here!" Renji grabbed Ichigo's wrist and dragged him towards the window.
Ichigo pulled his arm back and sighed. "I don't remember when I agreed to this." He sagged his shoulders, thinking he could either be harassed by his over excited father or spend time with the idiotic soul reaper. Begrudgingly, he chose the latter.
"But if you're here to learn about humans, then I guess it is about time I show you how to use the bloody front door."
"What's that?" Renji pointed a solitary finger towards the glistening monstrosity.
"That is a Christmas Tree," Ichigo explained, a sarcastic tone edging his voice as if he was talking to an infant.
"And is it normal to place a little human on top of the tree?" Renji asked, squinting up to the point where an extremely pink girl sat.
Ichigo sighed. "That is an angel."
"Okay…" Renji's eyebrows creased from confusion. He was silent for a few minutes as they walked down the high streets of Karakura Town, taking in the bright lights and the horrid red and green decorations that hung up outside of the small shops. A thought crossed his mind. "What is Christmas?"
"Do you not celebrate it in the Soul Society?" asked Ichigo and added as an afterthought, "no of course not." He shrugged his shoulders, wondering the best way to explain the traditions of Christmas. It took half an hour to explain, due to Renji constantly quipping in and asking questions, but in the end Ichigo gave up. "Let's get a coffee, it's freezing out here."
Renji knew what coffee was, and that it was bitter and nasty. But he followed Ichigo into the café and sat on a couch in the corner of the room, somewhat thankful for the warmth that caressed his skin upon entering. Renji wondered to himself why everyone seemed to be so obsessed with this Christmas thing. He eyed up a poster of a rather fat man, in an unpleasant red and white suit carrying lots of gifts, with distaste.
"Here, I got you a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows," said Ichigo, carrying a tray with the two hot beverages balanced on it. "I know how you reacted last time Urahara gave you coffee, and I don't particularly want it spat out in my face," he snickered, recalling the incident.
Renji dipped his finger into the cream and lifted it to parted lips, which he licked up and delighted in the sweet tastes that were agreeable to his taste buds. He moaned in satisfaction, licked and sucked more of the cream from his fingers and popped a sweet, pink, marshmallow into his mouth.
Renji did not notice Ichigo's reaction, the pink shade on his cheeks or his heavy breathing. When the cream was sadly all gone, Renji downed the beverage, moaning once more as the velvety chocolate consumed his whole being in a delectable warm and fuzzy feeling.
The oblivious red headed soul reaper glanced up at Ichigo. "Oh, are you angry, Ichigo? ‘Cos you are a pretty shade of strawberry again," he remarked, with a contented smile.
Ichigo spluttered and almost choked on his coffee. "No I am not," he denied and slammed his mug onto the saucer. Ichigo ignored the cute smile that lit up Renji's face and promptly decided to head home. He then thought how Renji and cute should not be in the same sentence, but tried to ignore this when Renji waved goodbye.
The human's celebration of Christmas consists of them offering strange sweet cakes and alcoholic beverages to the God of Winter, called Sandy Claws, who leaves a lump of coal to naughty children. Earlier, as mentioned, I said you should use front doors to enter buildings, however, this God seems to be above these human rules, and instead he climbs down the human's chimney.
I am aware on the 25th day of the 12th month, they hand out presents and eat a lot of food and consume a large amount of alcohol. The whole celebration seems completely absurd. I myself enjoy getting drunk every evening and I do not understand why the humans only do this once a year.
Despite that he hated being in his gigai, Renji reluctantly walked about in it as he browsed through the shops. He laughed, thinking about the reaction of the shopkeepers if they had seen a floating object. Even though it would amuse him to be out of his gigai, he was given money to spend whilst in the human world and decided against startling the unfortunate humans.
Out of curiosity, Renji wanted to partake in the strange Christmas traditions.
Firstly he had to buy presents for the people he knew in the human world, which was easier to do than he first anticipated. A rather helpful buxom woman chose all of his gifts and had even gift wrapped them in grossly over decorated Christmas paper, with bows and ribbons and glitter. It is not something he would have chosen, but the shopkeeper had persuaded him that his friends would love it. However, finding a gift for Ichigo was proving more difficult.
He gave up after he entered what felt like the hundredth shop and entered the same café Ichigo had taken him to the day before. In the corner of the room he spotted a couple holding hands beneath a peculiar green flower. The girl blushed as her partner leaned forward and kissed her lightly.
"Why are they doing that?" Renji asked the shopkeeper, who smiled in return.
"A lot of couples like to kiss underneath Mistletoe."
Renji nodded, not completely understanding and read the sign above the counter. He grinned hungrily upon reading the list beneath Hot Chocolate.
The red headed soul reaper ordered two drinks to go.
Ichigo studied on his bed whilst he listened to music through his headphones. It was the Christmas holidays, but obviously his teacher did not realise that, and had set him and his classmates an exam for when they return. That bitch.
He heard knocking come from his bedroom door and paused his current soundtrack.
"Urm… Ichi, I let a friend of yours in," came a quiet voice from behind the door. Ichigo stood up, stretched his sore muscles and twisted the door handle open to see Yuzu and Renji.
"Renji?" Ichigo gasped, surprised with eyes wide. He glanced down at the bundle of sweets Yuzu was holding. She smiled broadly.
"Your friend gave me all of these sweets," she said before bouncing away merrily.
Ichigo scoffed as he stood to one side, allowing Renji to walk into his bedroom. "So you finally figured out how to use the front door then?"
"Nothing is too hard for me to master," Renji quipped, and took a comfortable seat on the edge of Ichigo's bed.
Ichigo closed the door and drawled, "Right…" He sat beside Renji on the bed, and shuffled about until he was cross legged.
"I got you a coffee whilst I was shopping. To return the favour for yesterday," added Renji and handed over the still warm drink to Ichigo.
Ichigo genuinely smiled. "Thanks, Renji." They both sat in a comfortable silence as they drank their hot drinks, Ichigo slightly amused by how much chocolate Renji could consume.
Renji leaned back to rest his weight on the wall behind the bed, and in the process of doing so their hands brushed. The red head was shocked how the simple touch had made his fingers tingle delightfully, and so he did not remove his hand, nor did Ichigo hesitate or complain. To Renji's surprise, he felt calloused fingers brush over his own, up and over his knuckles, tracing the digits gently. His heart rate doubled tenfold, adrenaline pumped though his body in sweet anticipation and his breath became extremely uneven. His fingers copied Ichigo's movements, until his larger hand was above the substitute's and he stroked his whole hand up Ichigo's fingers, over his wrist and then back down.
Their peaceful silence was rudely broken by a screeching sound from outside Ichigo's door. They both dropped each other's hands as if burned and alarmed eyes turned to the door as Ichigo's father leaped through the door, dressed up as a ridiculous looking animal with horns, a red nose, and a furry outfit.
"MERRY CHRIST-MASSSS, ICHI-GOOOO!"
"NOT, COOL!" yelled Ichigo. The annoyed male's fist slammed into his flying father's face. "It's not even Christmas yet, you idiot!"
Isshin rubbed his sore, bright red and round nose. He promptly flew down the stairs and crawled before his poster of his wife. "Oh darling, where did I go wrong? Ichigo used to love getting dressed up with me as Rudolf, or a cute little elf!"
Ichigo groaned and Renji snickered.
There was now only one more day before Christmas approached. Renji knew that better than anyone, since he felt extremely festive in his bright red and green clothing. Snowflakes, cute reindeers and snowmen scattered across the red cardigan he wore. Although it was grossly bright, and far worse than the so called 'modern clothing' Urahara normally chose for him, he had no choice about wearing the offensive clothing. Urahara had muttered something about him being kicked out if he did not wear it, and so stood in the doorway of Ichigo's house, he knocked twice, dreading the reaction from the substitute soul reaper.
When the door swung open, he was greeted by a thrilled Isshin who was wearing identical clothing to his own, except for the red hat which sat lopsided on his head.
"WELCOME, ICHIGO'S FRIEND!" shouted Isshin and promptly forced a red, fluffy hat on Renji's head.
Renji's eye twitched.
When he entered the house, he came across a laughing Ichigo who wore a huge smile. "This… is… priceless…" Ichigo wheezed, and doubled over in astonishment as he snickered.
"Yeah, really funny…" Renji sourly muttered as he walked past the humoured boy and into Ichigo's bedroom, where he made himself comfortable on his bed out of habit.
Renji allowed himself to laugh out loud when Ichigo entered, as he had obviously been attacked by his father and was now wearing fluffy reindeer antlers.
"You look so cute!" Renji mock cooed and caused Ichigo to blush and chuck the bothersome antlers out of his door before he slammed it shut.
"I am going to ignore you just said that," Ichigo muttered, seating himself next to Renji on the bed.
Renji's snickers subsided and instead he breathed out.
"Damn, I am so hot in these bloody clothes," Renji said whilst he pulled at the front of the cardigan, and tried to cool himself off. The jumper fit snug and stretched over his body, cocooning him in its warmth.
"Quit complaining, and take them off then!" Ichigo retorted, but blushed further at realisation of his own words.
Renji grabbed the hem of the cardigan and pulled upwards, tugging at the item of clothing until he dropped it at the foot of Ichigo's bed. He kept the hat on his head, however. He moaned in satisfaction when the cool air hit his overheated, bare chest and stretched out to lie down on the bed, arms behind his head.
Ichigo had to avert his eyes from the body that sprawled out across his bed, for he could feel his blush deepening and his breath quickening. A sudden question caught him off guard. "Sorry, what did you just say, Renji?"
"What do you want for Christmas?"
"Oh, I didn't realise you were going to celebrate it," presumed Ichigo.
Renji shrugged his broad shoulders and turned to lie on his side, so he now faced in the direction of Ichigo. "Well, I might as well since I'm going to be here for this strange holiday. So… what do you want?"
Ichigo swallowed. He knew exactly what he wanted. Ichigo's eyes betrayed his thoughts, and he hungrily took in the appearance of the other soul reaper, who was unconsciously flexing his biceps and stretching.
"I do not know," he lied, unable to look away from the sight before him. "How about you surprise me?"
Renji's lips curled into a knowing grin. "Whatever you want, Ichigo," he purred.
Ichigo dropped his gaze down to his lap and fidgeted on the bed uncomfortably. He sighed and said, "Do you mind if I revise?" He needed to take his mind off Renji, and he grabbed his books, seating himself back down on the bed.
"I won't get in your way. Go ahead, it's your room," Renji said, unfazed and leaned back into the soft cushions behind him.
Renji briefly glanced at the studying boy beside him and smiled.
He knew exactly what he wanted to get him.
On the day of Christmas, Renji handed presents out to everyone in Urahara's shop and stopped by Orihime, Chad and Uryū’s house to drop off the gifts. He wore a tight fitting, white V-neck top with a plain black leather jacket, dark blue jeans and white converse shoes, which he had gratefully received from Urahara that morning.
He only had one present left to give and he suddenly felt nervous as he pressed the palm of his hand to his trouser pocket. He sighed when he felt the comfortable weight of the small gift.
Outside of the Kurosaki Clinic, Renji raised his hand to knock on the front door. It was obvious that the family were in high spirits and were celebrating very loudly in the front room. But one person was missing, Renji noticed, and glanced up at Ichigo's window which was open. Light poured out from it.
He smirked as he easily leaped the distance between the ground and the window, and perched on the windowsill gracefully.
"Did you leave your window open on purpose?" Asked Renji, his lips stayed in a permanent grin. "Merry Christmas, Ichigo," he added once in the room.
Ichigo looked up from beneath the red Santa hat and smiled. He did not answer Renji's question, but instead reached for his hat and pulled it off.
"Merry Christmas, Renji," said Ichigo, just above a whisper. He closed the distance between them and placed the hat gently atop Renji's head. "This looks much better on you than it does me." His fingers lingered longer than necessary on the side of Renji's cheek.
Renji laughed. "Thanks… I suppose."
They stood in silence, staring intently and curiously into each other's eyes. Renji gulped as he fingered the small gift in his pocket.
"Here…" said Ichigo, grabbing a small, neatly wrapped gift off his desk and handed it to Renji. "It's not much, but…" he trailed of.
Renji's eyes beamed with happiness. "Thank you," he politely accepted the gift and unwrapped it. Inside the paper was a black box, which he opened and stared in awe at the small, snake-like pendant, which had a familiar resemblance to that of Zabimaru. "This is… wow, it's perfect, thank you, Ichigo."
Ichigo chuckled, a grin spreading over his face. "You already said thanks. But you're welcome, Renji."
Renji wrapped the necklace around his neck, the pendant of Zabimaru hanging loosely over the V shape on his t-shirt. He suddenly felt guilty for the present he had for Ichigo, for it was not as extravagant or well thought out as the one he had received, but he pushed his nerves to one side as he pulled out the small gift from his pocket.
He held a small flower between his index finger and thumb above their heads.
"Oh…" gasped Ichigo, unable to form a coherent sentence as he looked up at the mistletoe.
Renji closed the gap between them, pressing lips against lips in a tender and sweet kiss, electing a soft moan from Ichigo. He wrapped his arms around Ichigo's smaller frame and pulled him into a loose embrace, forgetting about the flower as it crumpled against Ichigo's back. He moaned into Ichigo's warm mouth and he felt tentative fingers grip to his jacket.
"Merry Christmas, Ichigo," Renji muttered against tempting soft lips, brushing his mouth once more over the plump lips in a fleeting kiss. Renji could feel, rather than see, Ichigo's smile against his mouth.
Ichigo chuckled. "How did you know about mistletoe?" he asked, and moved his hands down to lightly hold Renji's waist as he looked up into gorgeous, amber eyes.
"I take my assignments seriously, and I properly investigated what this Christmas thing was about," he answered.
"Well, I'm glad you took the time. I couldn't think of a better gift," beamed Ichigo, and tentatively placed another kiss to Renji's lips.
Ichigo growled underneath his breath and spun around on the spot, to see his father face planting the ground and hurriedly standing back up.
"ICHI-GOOO, I AM OVERJOYED. THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER." Isshin announced like an over excited school girl. He leaped towards his son, arms wide and once more landed on the floor when Ichigo side stepped him.
"Even if you are an idiot," retorted Ichigo, stepping over the lump on the floor that he called his father, "I couldn't agree with you more." He turned and smiled at Renji who grinned back.
So I need to be up in four hours, but I couldn't tear myself away from this fic. I'm sorry if there are errors, but I have been writing this until stupid o'clock in the morning. Comments are greatly appreciated. If I get a good enough response, I may be tempted two write a sequel set during New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day! Any suggestions are most welcome! XD