Renji walked along the narrow alley, on his way back to his condominium. He had just completed another mission from Akatsuki. The target was a businessman who wanted to stop his funding for Akatsuki, for fear of getting dragged into the conflict with Shoken. It was a huge mistake, of course. Akatsuki never allowed anyone to back down from their organization. Once you joined them, it was a lifetime service or death. As a result, Renji was sent to do the dirty job of killing him. It had been a simple but boring task.
Being a shinigami certainly had its benefit for Renji. No ordinary people could see him. He could carry out his assassination with ease. Of course there was always a chance of him being discovered by Soul Society. The condominium given to him by the Akatsuki provided a good hideout for him. A barrier was placed around the condominium by the Akatsuki leaders which prevent any detection of spiritual beings, such as shinigami and demons, by others. All residents of the condominium are Akatsuki members, but Renji was the only Shinigami. The rest are mostly demons, saved for a few human beings to act as observers. Demons tend to switch loyalties very often, and they have to be kept at a tight leash.
The condominium was just a convenient accommodation, nothing else. In fact he hated the place a lot. Those demons made him sick and the observers made him uncomfortable. He had no choice at the matter, he had to hide constantly. Sometimes he could not stand being cooped out too long, and went out to get some fresh air. During his outing however, he had to switch to his gigai, a temporary body for shinigami, and act like a normal human. There was always that risk of being discovered by members of Shoken who have abilities to see spirits and shinigamis. There were rumors that some members of Shoken managed contact with the Soul Society, and any sighting of him by them would be disastrous for him.
Renji was suddenly aware of the sound of footsteps behind him.
Who was that? Was the person following me? It shouldn't be, nobody should be able to see me. Unless...
Renji turned around to see who was behind him.