"Yes?" he asks. Renji takes a second to respond.
"I'm looking for Urahara."
"All right, stay here," he orders. The guy stands up completely (he was ducking a little to be at face level with Renji) and then yells at the top of his lungs, "BOSS! VISITS!" he then looks back at Renji, puts a finger over his mouth as if to indicate silence and then goes back to work.
Renji waits. He's about to get bored and ask the guy where the fuck Urahara is but suddenly, in a puff of smoke, Urahara emerges, saying a little speech about how Urahara Shop always offers the best prices and the best customer service. When he notices it's Renji, he doesn't stop, he just adapts the speech to end by saying, "and what would a Shinigami want to do in here! Mod souls? Gigai? Is the one you're using right now too defectuous? It does smell quite a bit, doesn't it? Perhaps you want a Hollow Detector? Pictures of the lovely Kuchiki Rukia in a bikini..."
"WHAT!?" Renji shouts and Urahara backs off a little, "Nothing! Nothing! I'm just kidding! Why would I have pictures of her in a bikini! It's not like I have a copy of her Gigai that is fully posable or something!"
Renji doesn't frown because he's been frowning this whole time, he sighs, looks at the guy in the apron and notices he's only in underwear under it. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. No, if that little queer Ichigo could do it, he so can, too.
"I was wondering if I could stay here, I'm a Shinigami on a mission from above, and--"
"A MISSION FROM ABOVE? That's adorable!!" Urahara walks closer to Renji and pinches his cheek, muttering "cherub cherub cherub" along. Renji realizes keeping his mouth as open as he has it is not a good idea and that probably trying to gut this guy isn't either, so he lets it happen, "all right all right, go on."
"I know who you are, Abarai Renji, and I know why you're here," suddenly, Urahara's voice doesn't sound so friendly, even though he puts that feminine tone to the end of his lines, like he's talking to a child, "you can stay here, Abarai Renji, but I warn you, there are rules we follow in Urahara Shop."
Renji's a bit worried that Urahara will call him from his full name from now on, but he tries his luck that it won't happen in the future, "I can live with rules."
"For example, we have a sleeping schedule for the children," before Renji can ask 'what children?', he hears a voice from behind him.
"Yeah, about that, we need to move that time, Don Kanonji's is at 9 PM now," says one of the kids that was playing with the brooms outside, for some reason he'd thought they were the neighbor’s kids, not Urahara's, is Urahara married? "Who the fuck is this?"
"HEY. LANGUAGE," Renji almost dies by how quick the man with the moustache had turned around and pointed at the boy.
"Please..." the girl behind the now furious kid says quietly. Renji thinks she looks like Rukia if she had tied her hair in pigtails when she was a child, except for the fact that if he had been the read headed kid over there, Rukia would've stuffed him her shoe.
"All riiiight," Urahara drags the words, like he's had this conversation before, "you can go to bed at 9:30, but you will have to wake up at the same time you did before. After all, watching Don Kanonji's is part of our family traditions."
Renji doesn't know if he should ask if he was included in the sleeping schedule or not.
So it turns out that yes, he is included in the sleeping schedule, the Don Kanonji schedule, the feeding the cat schedule, and the helping with carrying around the boxes schedule. He was given a small room with, Renji had the misfortune to find out, little bells that let the huge guy with the moustache (who's name was Tessai, apparently) know someone's getting out of his room. And there's no way Renji could fight him in his gigai, after all, he has to take good care of it, since it's the only one he has. That or he'd have to use one of Urahara's soul-sucking gigais.
So far, Renji's just gone to Ichigo's high school, where he's bluffed that he's been getting way stronger since the minute he arrived, when in reality he's been waiting for the right moment to ask Urahara to train him. That moment, Renji's decided, is at dinner, also known as ten seconds ago. Renji realizes that in his concentration he'd failed to notice the cat had gotten up on the table and started eating from Renji's bowl.
"HEY, HEY, GEROFF!" he tries to push the cat off but this particular cat is fucking fast. Both kids laugh while spitting rice on the table (Urahara points at them with his chopsticks), and Renji, not able to endure being humiliated by a quadruped, grabs the cat by the back of the neck and throws it as far as he can. This is, Tessai's arms four feet away as he gets closer to Renji, and before Renji can react, Tessai's fist connects with his face and Renji spits rice mixed with blood all over his Urahara Shop uniform.
"Now, now, Nana Tessai, did you have to be so extremist?" Urahara says, as if Tessai had just killed a fly.
"He should treat Yoruichi-san better," Tessai says, "he's too mean."
'OH, EXCUSE ME, DID MY FACE GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR FIST?' Renji wants to say, but instead he just mutters that everyone in that place is fucking insane and Jinta chuckles. He sits up, checks out his lip and decides it's just a shallow cut, he can go on and pretend nothing happened.
"Uh-uh," Urahara says without looking at him, "that's not what we talked about."
Renji sighs and imagines that if Ichigo had to go through this as well, he probably did a lamer job than he's doing either way. Especially in the keeping his masculinity intact area.
"So, Daddy, the real reason I came here wasn't just because I was definitely not sleeping Kurosaki's manloving den," Urahara gives a solemn, understanding nod, "it was because I want to know how you were able to give him his powers back. I want to know how I can be stronger than him, so that I can--" kick his gay ass "--defeat him."
There's a tense silence between him and Urahara, both kids look back and forth between them to see who reacts first, until Urahara finally settles down his bowl on the table.
"Sorry. Can't help you," he says.
"Wh-what!? Why!?" Renji says, leaning forward over the table, startling Urahara for a second.
"Kids, go on to the couch, Don Kanonji's will be on in a minute, Daddy has to speak in private with Renji-san." The kids stand up and away from the table, Ururu stopping for a second to cling to Urahara's arm and give him a deep look, a look that takes longs enough for Renji to wonder if the noises he heard the night before are something he should really worry about. When she (finally) goes away, Urahara laughs "that girl, she can't watch Don Kanonji's without me, it gives her nightmares."
"OK, Renji-san," Renji isn't sure if he likes being called "san" all of a sudden, "I'll teach you. We'll start tomorrow, for now you can do the dishes. I'll show you how," he helps Renji pick everything up from the table, while Tessai looks heartbroken from the sink. He orders Tessai to go to the couch and make sure the kids don't fall asleep in the middle of the show and then proceeds to roll up his sleeves. Renji does the same.
"OK, first, you use your left hand, you grab the sponge like this, and you wash," he demonstrates how to wash the bowl in small circles, "then, with your right hand, you rinse," he puts the bowl under the stream of water coming out of the tap and with some wrist movements, he manages to get the soap off without letting go of it. He carefully places it beside the sink to dry off and grabs a towel, "and so on, is that clear?"
"You have to be shitting me."
"Do you want to learn how to beat up Kurosaki-kun or not?"
"Fine, Nana Tessai can do the dishes," Tessai actually looks happy, "you can just keep helping out as usual around the shop, and eat more, you're skinny."
"I agree," a woman's voice says, and Renji's not sure if Tessai suddenly lost his balls or if the cat actually talked.
"Fuck. Fuck. Fine, I'll do it," he says, grabbing a glass and the sponge from Urahara and starts to wash it with his right hand. Tessai slaps Renji's hands (while breaking some bones in the process) and points to his left hand. Renji looks at Urahara, who's just nodding at him with his eyes closed. Renji makes an oath that if he doesn't learn anything new in three days he'll find a way to make a homemade bomb and blow up the place. And Ichigo's room.
Three days later, Renji curses under his breath while he paints the new Urahara Shop sign. Apparently, human schools don't have any sort of information on how to make homemade bombs. He'd even tried asking the guy with the most chance of wanting to blow up the school, but all he'd gotten was a cold stare and a mention on how he was past 'the line', which turned out to be a chalk line (decorated with flowers) on the floor that said Ichigo on one side and Ishida on the other. Renji didn't even bother to ask.
"Yo, Renji!" he comes back to earth, messing up the 'hara' in 'Urahara', "'TIS US, OVER HERRE!"
Renji turns around and sees Ikkaku waving at him from across the street, behind him, Yumichika does the same in a much more delicate manner. Their school uniform looks like shit, and Yumichika's wearing sunglasses and what looks like a paper bag over his head.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Renji asks once they get in front of the shop.
"We've been cruising through town! I tell you, we have some stories to tell!" Ikkaku says, standing proud with his bamboo sword posed over his shoulder. Mean while Yumichika looks around, as if trying to not be recognized.
"Really. What the fuck is wrong with you, Yumichika," Renji asks, and Yumichika looks offended for a second.
"WELL," he puts a lot of attitude to that, "if you must know, we're fugitives of the law, we're the Karakura Pirates, and I would like to keep the anonymity."
"The Karakura WHAT?"
"I don't know, man, them people've been saying nothing but treacherous LIES about us all the time!"
"Why are you talking like Kurosaki?"
"What? What do you mean? Talk like what?"
"Like a faggot."
"Thou're jealous because we've mastered the colloquialism of One Piece!" Yumichika says and when he notices someone walking by the street, he runs away around the corner.
"So, hey, good luck with your training. I like your new zanpakutou," Ikkaku says, pointing to Renji's paintbrush before he runs away behind Yumichika.
That's it. He's had enough. Left, right; up, down; wash, rinse, repeat; comb left side, comb right side; fuck that shit. He's going inside, finding Urahara and telling him how it's going to be. From now on, there's going to be actual leaving the gigai. There's going to be actual use of his zanpakutou, which probably needs to be oiled. From now on, he's going o go to bed whenever he fucking wants to. From now on, Urahara'll teach him whatthehellisanakedwomandoingintheshop.
In the middle of the entrance, a black woman stretches her arms out, completely naked. Completely. Naked.
She turns around and notices Renji staring. Jinta and Ururu run by the door, "oh, hi Yoruichi-san!", "yeah, hi Yoruichi" they say without stopping.
"Oh my oh my. If it isn't a real Shinigami, and look at me without any clothes on..." Renji's jaw drops all the way to the floor.
"WHAT THE W-WHAT WHAT THE FUCKING HELL"
"Don't worry, kid," she says, pulling up some tights, "it's not like this all the time."
"I-I ... I" Yoruichi stares at Renji as she puts on a t-shirt too big for her that says 'PROPERTY OF URAHARA KISUKE' on the front.
"What the hell is wrong with kids nowadays," she says and takes off behind a door.
"I didn't say put some clothes on!!" Renji finally manages to say, but Yoruichi's already gone, along with the memory of what was Renji about to do.
"Renji-san!" Urahara says when he sees Renji come down the ladder, "did you finish the sign?" he's sitting on a rock with a fishing rod, trying to see if he can get any of the fishes from a little pond not so far from the ladder. Beside him is the woman from before, who mumbles something in Urahara's ear and they both snicker. Gross.
"What the fuck. Why didn't you tell me about this place."
"You didn't ask, Renji-san."
"I asked you to fucking train me!"
Urahara sighs, hands off the fishing rod to Yoruichi, and stands up. He walks over to Renji and grabs his right hand, he lifts it up and turns the wrist a little to the right, then he brings it down, "comb left side," he says, and then he mirrors the past action with Renji's left hand "comb left side."
"What the fuck is this bullshit," Renji demands, bemused.
"Repeat it," Urahara says. Renji tries doing it on his own, one hand at a time. Comb left side, comb right side, comb left side, comb right side, "now try blocking my attack!"
"WHAT!?" but before Renji can react, Urahara's fist is already making his stomach touch his lungs. He is shot backwards a few feet as he falls and rolls around. He tries to get up, but he can barely breath, "WHAT THE -- WHAT -- THE FUCK" he manages between gasps.
Urahara's face is puzzled. "Huh. That's strange," he says, "I really thought it'd work."
He should've just kicked Ichigo out of his own room and stayed there. At least Ichigo hits like a girl.
"Don't you worry, Renji-san! Nana Tessai is calling The Doc!" Urahara says as he goes back to fishing with the cat.
'The Doc? I don't need a fucking--' but Renji realizes that he can barely move. What the fuck did Urahara do, go all out on him? That fucker.
Five minutes later, some beardo in a white coat is going down the ladder. He steps down, takes a deep breath and says "It feels good down here, doesn't it?" Renji already hates him.
"I'm glad you could make it in such short notice, Doc!" Urahara says from behind his fan, then proceeds to lead the man towards Renji's resting body, "I'm afraid I might've hit the kid here a bit too hard. You know how it is, sometimes you just have to discipline them!"
"Oh, yes, I know exactly what you mean!" the doctor replies with a manic grin.
"So you understand that this will have to be kept as our little secret?" Urahara says in a low voice, as if anyone besides catwoman and the nanny could listen. The doctor limits himself to just a knowing nod. Renji prays to pass out as soon as possible.
"So, kid! Played too much soccer in Daddy's playground and fell?" he takes a special pause to wink at Urahara, who gives him a thumbs up.
"Fuck... you.,," Renji manages to say, after all, he can breathe fine but he can't push it.
"Does it hurt when I do this?" the Doc says, feeling Renji's stomach.
"What about here?"
"FUCK YES IF YOU GO ANY LOWER I'LL CUT YOUR FUCKING HAND OFF."
"That's all right," he says, taking his hand off the dangerously-close-to-the-groin zone, "I know a way to temporally heal this until your gigai recovers on its own." Renji notices that the way the Doc dismisses his complains is somewhat familiar to him. He can't put his finger on it, though, and he'd actually rather not know who's related to this freak.
"Now, I want you to relax and close your eyes, this won't hurt, so don't be afraid," Renji suddenly fears the way to ease his pain involves reaching his groin area and opens up one eye to see if he has to kill someone, but instead of reaching for his zipper, the Doc rolls up his sleeves and holds his hand in front of his chest, palms facing each other, "SHUT THEM!" he snaps at Renji, who rapidly closes his eyes and mutters under his breath.
'That expression just then..." Renji thinks while he hears a loud clap, followed by the sound of palms being rapidly rubbed together.
"You know, you sort of look like that fag--HOLY SHIT," it hurts, it hurts a lot, it feels as if--no, correction, the Doc is literally Karate-chopping his stomach. Pain overflows Renji as his eyes roll all the way to the back of his head, he collapses on his back and passes out right after hearing the Doc say:
"Who, John Travolta? I've been told."
The next morning, Renji cuts off the string that makes the bells in his door ring with a pair of scissors he stole from the storage room. Fuck yes, it's about time he takes matters on his own hands. He silently walks to the storage room, picks up one of the boxes marked as '[SPECIAL DELIVERY]' and makes a run for it. Five blocks later he gives up on thinking Tessai will show up behind him in the horizon and stops to catch his breath. He opens the box and finds it full of candy tubes. Candy tubes. What the fuck, those are the candies Rukia worships. Maybe they're for powering up. Whatever, he takes one of the tubes and puts it in his pocket, then closes the box again and leaves to Ichigo's.
As usual, he climbs up to the window (this time with a bit more difficulty) to pick up Rukia for school. Ichigo's already left with his boyfriend by then so the room is pretty much deserted. He stands by Ichigo's window and waits until Rukia enters the room while brushing her teeth. She waves at him and goes back to the bathroom, spits, then comes back.
"I heard something and wanted to check it was you."
"Oh, hah, well, yeah, it was me."
"You're acting weird," Rukia mentions, smirking, "is this the new and improved Abarai Renji, trained by Urahara Kisuke?"
Fuck yes. "You're standing in front of him."
"You don't look any stronger."
"Wait until you see my moves."
"Can I have a sample now?" she asks, and Renji can't think of anything else than the candy tube in his pocket.
"Well, since you asked..." he says, leaning against the window. He takes the tube out of his pocket, pops open the cap, and before Rukia can stop him, he swallows one of the pills.
"Shit. You're a fucking retard," Rukia says.
"What!?" Renji asks "I was just messing around! It's just candy!"
"OH MY GOD DADDY THERE'S A MAN LYING IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE!" is suddenly heard from outside the window, Renji looks down and sees his gigai looking like every bone of its body was broken by the fall.
"Fuck," he mutters as he watches how two girls drag his body back inside the house. He looks at Rukia, who has her eyes closed and is apparently trying really hard not to laugh. Without saying a word, he Renji jumps out the window and walks all the way back to Urahara's, kicking rocks in the way and vowing to fucking kill Ichigo as soon as he sees him again.