Renji woke slowly, senses muddled and body drowsy. He should’ve been alarmed by this obvious example of his comfort. But instead, he luxuriated in the lassitude. He knew what it was that had woken him: Uryuu had moved from the bed as he always had. An action that never failed to register on Renji’s senses.
Usually, Renji spoke. Said something to acknowledge the morning – golden this time around, peering through the curtains and blinds in a spray of cheerful sunlight. Usually, he offered a lazy smile. Made a grab for Uryuu. Tried to entice the Quincy back into bed. Maybe for a morning romp. Usually, Renji never wanted to let go.
This morning felt different, was different. Only because of the knowledge that Renji carried in the back of his mind.
He listened to Uryuu as the Quincy pulled on clothes, grabbing his glasses off the nightstand and slipping them on his nose. He always rose first. Preparing breakfast and ironing his clothes for the day since Uryuu refused to wear his suit with the smallest wrinkle on it.
Renji watched with lidded eyes as Uryuu’s shadow echoed on the wall, tracing his movements throughout the room. Uryuu was much like a cat. He walked so softly. Renji had often joked that the other man would have made a perfect member of the Onmitsukidoh. Uryuu had never appreciated the compliment. He still carried no fondness for the Shinigami, Renji aside.
Uryuu turned to the bed, floor creaking as it always did on that side. And Renji felt a light touch down his bare back. Just a ghost of fingers, warm against his equally warm skin. And Uryuu murmured something. Words suspiciously like those they had never uttered to one another. Uryuu didn’t believe in them. And Renji considered them too precious to be arbitrarily given like the rest of the world believed necessary.
Renji stilled, heart beginning a faster pace within his chest. The touch was gone as quietly as it had come. Renji heard his lover leave, but the impression of words remained. Soft and quietly spoken. Renji wondered how often Uryuu had done that. When he believed Renji to be utterly asleep.
It tore into Renji’s insides and knifed him with guilt. Uryuu was making this hard, and he hadn’t even known Renji’s plans.
Part of him didn’t want to. Another part of Renji knew that he had to. This thing between them, between Quincy and Shinigami, it couldn’t work. They were two different people with two different lives who existed in two different worlds. Renji could only come here when he managed to trade rotations with someone else to build up as many in Karakura as possible. And Uryuu could never come to Soul Society without Urahara-san’s help. Not that Uryuu would willingly enter the home of the Shinigami.
Why Renji had never fit the bill of a Shinigami not even Renji himself was sure. Uryuu had never explained himself, and Renji never thought fit to ask. It was one of those topics they carefully stepped around. Avoiding like the Menos Grande in the corner of the room just waiting to strike.
Uryuu would be fine; Renji was sure of it. He had friends here in Karakura. He and his father had reconciled just recently. If tolerating one another’s presence with lukewarm temperatures rather than icy silence could be considered reconciliation. Uryuu still had a life to live as a human. It was time he stopped wasting it on someone already dead.
And Renji? He would heal with time. He had plenty of it left after all. Hundreds of years if some of his fellows were any indication. He didn’t think himself lucky enough to survive thousands like the captain-commander or Ukitake-taichou.
Forcing a deep, slow breath, Renji threw off the covers and rolled out of bed. His feet were cold against the bare floor. His red hair fell unbound over his shoulders. But he twisted it into a quick braid, blindly reaching for a tie. He pulled on a pair of pants, not worrying about much else. There would be time to dress completely later. When he’d packed all of his things.
It was hard to leave, but Renji knew that he had to do this. They were only borrowing each other’s warmth to heal old wounds after all. And in the end, only putting band-aids over bleeding scars. This sort of thing couldn’t last. Renji was doing them both a favor by ending it now rather than a more painful later.
Renji left the bedroom, fighting back a yawn and a chill. Thinking he should have grabbed a shirt or something. The silence of the house surrounded him, and Renji furrowed his brow. He should at least hear something. The low murmur of the radio as Uryuu listened to the morning news and weather at a soft volume. Pans clattering.
Instead, Renji heard nothing. He frowned.
Stepping into the bright kitchen, he found it deserted. Not even a pot of water was boiling on the stove. Hot tea was something Uryuu drank every morning before going to work no matter the weather or the time.
Renji’s voice echoed with a hint of unease.
He checked the other rooms. The main room held nothing. As did the small laundry room. The bathroom was abandoned, the sink noticeably bare of toiletries. Uryuu’s suitcase wasn’t by the front door. Nor his coat and shoes which implied that the Quincy had already left.
Renji moved back into the bedroom, throwing open the door to the closet. Clothes hung haphazardly. But if Renji looked closer, he noticed that several suits and favorite items were gone. He turned, eyes falling on the nightstand. It too was bare. The few pictures they had decorating the surface were gone.
It didn’t take a genius to connect the dots from there. Renji, stunned, fell back against the door to the closet with a loud clatter.
Uryuu had left him first. And Renji hadn’t had a clue. He’d been so wrapped up in his own plans that he had failed to notice Uryuu making the same. How crazy was that?
A bitter laugh escaped the Shinigami’s lips, and he dragged a palm down his face. Both trying to leave the other. Only Uryuu got there first. What did that say about their relationship?
Renji had thought it would be best for them to go their separate ways. He had thought it would be best if Renji left. So he could be the one at fault. So he could be named the bastard.
He never would have guessed Uryuu would leave him first.