Inhaling deeply, taking in that soft scent that he loved so much. This warm spot was on of his favorite places; a place of worship. Always dark, because he couldn't help but close his eyes to heighten his other senses. Always warm, because it was so close to an important bloodline. Being here surrounded him with that musky scent until he never wanted to leave. Wanted to spend eternity with his face buried in Yanagi's neck.

"Perhaps I'm too plain..."

That brought Tachibana's head up, meeting his lover's gaze, even while behind him, in the mirror he'd been looking into. "What are you talking about?"

"I have no outstanding physical features. Nothing that sets me apart from everyone else." He paused a moment, then added, "just an observation."

"I happen to think you're beautiful."

"Yes, but you're crazy," Yanagi replied, then stepped away. He set his comb down on the dresser, then picked up his jacket and began to put it on.

He was, in this case, very wrong, actually. As far as Tachibana was concerned, Yanagi was the most gorgeous thing ever. And, ok, so perhaps his opinion was a bit biased - just a bit - but his lover was far from "plain" by any standards. His body was lean and still strong, though he'd given up playing tennis competitively years ago; he still kept himself in great shape. His hair was soft and straight and never out of place, and always seemed to fall just perfectly so to make him look so cute. And his eyes were...mysterious. Even in the rare times they were open wide enough to actually see. Especially in the times they were open enough to see; a light amber color that held worlds of wisdom. And it was all set in a perfectly angular face of soft, flawless skin.

Certainly, Yanagi Renji was anything but plain.

"Come," Tachibana approached the other from behind and took him by the shoulders, leading him back to the mirror. "Look over here."

"Tachi..."

"Look!" Standing behind him, he reached around and gripped Yanagi by the chin, staring intently at him in the mirror. "What about this is plain? You don't need 'outstanding physical features'; you're perfect just the way you are. Shining and brilliant. You are...beautiful." Their gazes locked in their reflections, and then Tachibana leaned in and nipped that lovely neck for good measure, kissing it apologetically afterward.

Yanagi pulled gently away and turned. He reached up to run both hands through the long strands of his lover's dyed-blond hair, then leaned down and kissed him on the lips. "Thank you," he said quietly when they'd broken apart. And then he paused, words stopped on his mouth, then simply stepped back. "We should get going or we'll be late, and you wouldn't want to miss your nephews' first birthday."

Replying with a nod, Tachibana put on his own coat and they headed out the door.

As he passed the decorative mirror that was in the entryway of their apartment, Yanagi stopped and again gazed at his reflection. His head tilted to the side ever so slightly. Thoughtfully.

And he smiled.

 

 

Tachibana stood several feet down the hallway, waiting for his lover to catch up. And when the other emerged from their doorway with a smile, he couldn't help but smile back.

But then all of a sudden Yanagi pitched forward, falling to the floor, where he remained motionless. It was so sudden and random; so inexplicable.

"Renji!" Tachibana called out as he ran to the fallen man's side. "Renji, what's wrong!? Wake up! Renji!!" But no matter how much he shook the unconscious body, there was no response. Not a sound, not a hint of movement. "Somebody call an ambulance!" he shouted at the neighbors who began peering out their doorways, curious about the commotion. Then, with tears burning in his eyes, he turned back to his lover. "Come on, open your eyes! Please!

Open your eyes and look at me!!"