Nope, just couldn't help it! (Spoilers!) After the lovely yaoi moment between concerned Bya and exhausted bishie Toshiro, I felt that I must pen this in their honor. This is Byakuya/Toshiro (Toshiro in his matured, adult form, of course!)
One moment. One touch was all it was. Byakuya only meant to protect his exhausted comrade's dignity by keeping him from falling. But as Toshiro warned Gerard…"You didn't really think you could touch me while I was in this form and not face some serious repercussions." Yaoi, mpreg…Byakuya/Toshiro,
Chapter 1: Comforts of Home
Toshiro turned in his sleep, his mind racing as something in the distance chased him, making him flee in desperate flash steps, growing bigger and bigger, shaking the ground with its footsteps as it came after him.
I have to get away!
His mind turned one way, then another, replaying the horrors of the recently fought war in relentless color and life, so that he felt everything all over again.
Bazz-B's burner finger attack tore across his body, slashing relentlessly and sending him crashing to the unforgiving ground. As he struggled to breathe, slow footsteps approached and Cang Du's quiet, deadly voice sounded.
"Things that lived together should die together."
"NO!" Toshiro cried, twisting violently, but unable to come awake as unseen hands held him down and the nightmares continued.
He laid on the ground at Rangiku's side, taking barely discernable breaths and focusing on staying alive until healers came to his rescue. He heard lighter footsteps and tried to call out, but his body refused to move. A chill shot down his spine as a white clad girl with dark hair and wide, oddly innocent looking eyes gazed down at him.
"Are you still alive?" she mused, her smile widening ominously, "Well, that's even better!"
She bent to bring her face close to his and smiled more widely, baring sharp white teeth.
"All it takes is a little of my blood!"
Toshiro screamed again, nearly breaking out of his unconsciousness and writhing hard against the person who tried to hold him in place.
"Hold still, Toshiro."
Toshiro stiffened and tried again to open his eyes.
It was Kuchiki!
But…Kuchiki never calls me Toshiro. It is always Hitsugaya taicho. Why did he…?
Toshiro's mind tumbled into another long spin, taking him back to the monster that pursued him endlessly, always getting larger and larger. He flash stepped wildly, dodging the monster's reaching hands and trying to find a suitable place to turn and loose his bankai.
He felt Gerard's huge fingers curl around him and tighten painfully. The giant quincy lifted him, laughing as he prepared to squeeze Toshiro to death. But he stopped laughing as a strange cracking noise sounded and he began to slowly be encased in ice. Within his palm, Toshiro spread icy wings and smiled.
"You didn't really think you could touch me while I was in this form, and not face some serious repercussions!" he exclaimed.
"Hitsugaya taicho!" Byakuya's deep voice called urgently, "Toshiro!"
He suddenly found that he was able to open his eyes again. He sat up too quickly, making stars dance wildly in front of his face, as he blinked and tried to focus on his noble comrade. He made out the shape of Byakuya sitting at his bedside, holding one arm close against his body and shielding himself from Toshiro's encroaching ice with his other raised arm and swelling reiatsu.
"S-sorry!" Toshiro managed as he toppled forward and crashed down on his face on the bed.
Byakuya breathed a sigh of relief and looked down to examine his injured arm. He made a sound of surprise and dismay as he noticed the ice that had attacked his fingertips was slowly crawling onto his hand, freezing the muscles and tendons, and leaving his hand useless.
"You all right, Kuchiki taicho?" Tenjiro asked from somewhere behind him, "Let me see that hand."
Byakuya extended the affected limb, allowing the spring demon to come closer and examine it carefully without touching it. Tenjiro's eyes narrowed and he grabbed Byakuya's unaffected arm.
"What are you…?" Byakuya began.
"Come with me!" Tenjiro shouted, dragging Byakuya out of the bedroom, down several hallways at a run, and into the spring room.
He yanked hard, throwing Byakuya headlong into the heated pool and watching with deadly serious eyes as the water around Byakuya's writhing form bubbled and frothed strangely.
"I'll be damned…" he muttered, his frown deepening as the heat of the pool seemed to do battle with the ice that was trying to encase Byakuya.
Back and forth the struggle went, as the pool worked quickly to relieve Byakuya of his comrade's rogue reiatsu. Small eruptions of water rose up all around Byakuya, full of froth and steaming as they nearly froze over, then crashed down again and melted. On and on the tug of war went, until finally, the ice seemed to lose its hold, and Byakuya's body fell still and just floated beneath the surface of the hot spring. Tenjiro waded into the pool and brought the noble to the surface, watching carefully to make sure that the ice didn't re-form, then flinging Byakuya across the room, into the bloody hell pond.
"Fuck me, that was close!" he breathed, shaking his head, "All of that work I did to save his skinny little noble ass almost went to waste because of that ice boy and his out of control fucking bankai!"
He smiled as Byakuya crawled out of the bloody hell pond, the red liquid sliding down his shoulders and back, over his belly and down his legs to pool at his feet.
"Maybe you should clean up a little," Tenjiro suggested.
His eyes registering disapproval and disgust, Byakuya waded back into the white bone pond and slowly washed away the awful, thick blood reiatsu.
"You should rest here awhile," Tenjiro suggested.
"I am fine now," Byakuya assured him, climbing out of the pool and picking up one of the towels that waited by the edge, "Besides, there are not enough healers and there are few who can withstand Toshiro's reiatsu if it goes out of control again."
"I'm not so sure that you did so well with that," Tenjiro commented, "Your reiatsu feels a little…off."
"I am just nearly exhausted," Byakuya said wearily, "We all are. The fights took their toll on everyone."
"You're right about that," Tenjiro agreed, "but you're going home tomorrow. You can line up the workers to rebuild your house, then lie down in a tent somewhere and sleep for a month, if you want."
He noticed the discomfited look that came over Byakuya's face and smiled.
"What's the matter? Don't you want to go home? You didn't think you'd be staying up here after the war, did you? Or were you thinking you might get promoted?"
"It is too soon to be promoting anyone," Byakuya said shortly, "and yes, I do want to go home. There is a lot to see to."
"Hey, we got word from the scouts that most of your manor is still standing. That's good, right? As a matter of fact, it's one of the few buildings still standing, so Shunsui's going to be commandeering it and sending the wounded soldiers there to recover."
"That will be fine," Byakuya said calmly, "I also have a hidden retreat that might be of some use if it survived."
"I hope it did or what's left of your home is going to get pretty crowded," Tenjiro mused.
"We will manage," Byakuya said stoically, turning away and exiting the hot spring room.
He walked back to the room where Toshiro laid and sat down at his side, sighing wearily as he removed the bandages on his comrades wounds. He spent several minutes infusing the unconscious man's body with healing reiatsu, before setting fresh bandages in place and carefully looking over his work. He looked up as a familiar step sounded in the doorway and gave his sister a look of welcome as she entered the room.
"Do you need any help, Nii-sama?" she asked.
"Aren't you watching over Ichigo and Renji?" Byakuya inquired, tilting his head slightly.
"Oh, they're doing better. Besides, I've gotten some rest here and there, and I know you haven't. You should let me watch over Hitsugaya Taicho and get some sleep."
"I am not sure that is a good idea," Byakuya said, frowning, "Hitsugaya taicho's powers have been flaring."
Rukia gave him a patient look.
"And I have an ice bankai, so he can't hurt me," she reminded her exhausted brother, "Please, Byakuya, go and rest. I promise I will make sure that Hitsugaya taicho and the others here get the care they need."
"Very well," Byakuya said, blinking sleepily as he came to his feet, "Let me know immediately if there are any changes. He was showing signs of threshold sickness from extended use of his bankai…"
"So, I will come to you if he starts to have symptoms again," Rukia assured him.
"Arigato," Byakuya said gratefully.
He left Rukia sitting quietly at Toshiro's side and walked slowly to his quarters, stopping briefly to look in on Ichigo and Renji, who still laid unconscious, sharing the same bedroom. After speaking briefly with their attendant, he walked out of the infirmary and started towards his guest room. He was almost there, when a thin, very busty red haired woman bumped her breasts into him, then laughed and shoved a large rice ball into his hand.
"Eat this, honey," the woman instructed him, "It will have you full of energy again in no time! I'd give you two, but everyone's eating so fast and so much, I've been cooking for hours!"
"Ah, arigato, Hikifune taicho," Byakuya said, accepting the snack.
"Don't be so formal, Byakuya," Hikifune scolded him playfully, "My comrades and I brought you back from near death already. We're like old friends now."
"Of course, Hikifune," Byakuya said patiently, "I do appreciate the pick me up."
"That's better, love," Hikifune said, pinching his cheeks and laughing at the way he simply stood and forced himself not to react, "Go and get some rest, now."
Byakuya shook his head and sighed resignedly, watching Hikifune rush down the hall, laughing and stuffing rice balls into the hands of the overworked healers. When she had gone out of sight, he entered his room and set the rice ball down on the dresser. He stood in front of the mirror, thinking of home, where his attendant always dressed him. His arms ached as he slipped out of his tattered clothing and wrapped a white yukata around his slender body, tying it securely at the waist. Yawning, he pulled back the covers on the bed and started to climb in.
"Don't forget to eat your snack!" Hikifune's voice said, leaking in through the closed door.
Byakuya sighed heavily and picked up the rice ball, his stomach growling, but his arms, shoulders and back aching in protest as he lifted it to his mouth. He barely managed to finish before collapsing onto the bed and falling into a deep, restorative sleep. He woke the next morning to find another rice ball on the counter, and he ate it immediately, rather than waiting for the busty squad zero taicho to scold him about it. Feeling much better, he left his room and walked back to the infirmary, where he found Ichigo and Renji awake and chatting casually.
"Hi Taicho," Renji greeted him.
"Hey Byakuya," Ichigo chimed in, "I was hoping you'd come by."
"Oh?" the noble inquired, looking at the ginger haired man curiously.
"I just wanted to say thanks for the support there at the end of the battle with Ywach."
"I was just doing what anyone would have done," Byakuya said matter-of-factly, "A taicho's work is to stop any enemy who threatens Soul Society. It is all of us who are thankful to you for assisting us."
"I just wanted to protect everyone," Ichigo sighed wearily, "It turned out I wasn't strong enough to do it on my own."
"That is why you have us, dumbass," Renji said good naturedly, "To back you up when you need a hand. That's why people like Ywach are always gonna lose. No one wants to be friends with a bastard like that."
"I guess you've got a point there," Ichigo chuckled.
He met Byakuya's eyes again questioningly.
"Hey, I heard Toshiro was banged up pretty badly and you were taking care of him," he went on, "How's he doing?"
"Hitsugaya Taicho was sleeping comfortably when I left him last night," Byakuya reported, "I will be going to check in with him next."
"Is it true what I heard from Tenjiro and Kenpachi? Is he, you know, older now?"
Byakuya nodded briefly.
"It seems that the extended use of his bankai caused the temporary aging to become permanent. It isn't going to shorten his life, though, because in actuality, he wasn't a child. He just preferred to wear the visage of one."
"I guess he has to grow up now," Ichigo mused, "I think Karin's gonna faint when she sees him. She likes Toshiro, you know."
"I see," Byakuya said, turning away, "I am pleased the two of you are feeling better. I hope you are able to make the trip back with us tomorrow."
"We should be released by then," Renji informed him.
"I will see you then."
Byakuya left the room and walked further down the hallway to where Toshiro laid in bed. He paused in the doorway, watching the slow rise and fall of the young man's chest for a moment and observing the more relaxed expression on his comely face. He moved closer, sitting down next to the bed and reaching over to lift Toshiro's limp wrist to feel his pulse.
He caught his breath in surprise as his touch on the younger taicho's hand made Toshiro's eyes open and blink. Byakuya felt an odd pulling sensation, then was unceremoniously jolted out of his body and sent crashing down into his inner world.
At least, it looked as though it had been his inner world.
But the rows of plum and sakura that were usually in permanent bloom stood stark and bare, bearing little icicles that hung down from many of the branches. The air around Byakuya felt icy cold, and cut mercilessly through his clothes. He heard a strange, roaring sound and looked up, stiffening and staring raptly as he spotted a familiar looking ice dragon.
"Hyorinmaru?" he whispered questioningly.
Byakuya looked around and spotted someone in the nearby teahouse. The noble walked past the frozen koi pond and into the teahouse, frowning curiously at Toshiro as the younger man looked back at him in surprise.
"Kuchiki?" he said, a bit breathlessly, "Why are we here? What is this place?"
"This place is my inner world," Byakuya explained, "or at least, it was. It wasn't winter here before. Winter seems to have arrived along with you and your ice dragon."
"Oh," Toshiro said, coloring, "Sorry. I will…"
He broke off and met Byakuya's eyes again curiously.
"Kuchiki, have you ever known something like this to happen to anyone?" he asked.
"No," Byakuya answered, his frown deepening, "It must have to do with me spending so much time healing you. Or perhaps it was when you inadvertently attacked me while you were delirious."
Toshiro's eyes widened.
"I attacked you?" he mused, "I don't remember that at all. I am…really sorry, Kuchiki."
"There is no need for apologies," Byakuya assured him, "but I would appreciate it if you would ask you zanpakuto to leave, as he is freezing my gardens and killing the koi and plants."
"Oh, right," Toshiro said ruefully, looking up at the sky, "Hyorinmaru!"
The dragon swung around, and the two men were shocked to see and tall, masked samurai perched on his shoulders.
"Hyorinmaru, what are you doing?"
The dragon swept around in a graceful turn, then landed gracefully in front of the little teahouse. Byakuya and Toshiro exited the building and approached the two sword spirits, watching as Senbonzakura slid down and stood, patting Hyorinmaru's neck gently. The dragon looked into Toshiro's eyes and huffed a bit of steam at him.
We were just talking. We were trying to figure out why the gardens reacted so strongly to my being here. Master, we found a conduit that leads to your inner world!
"A conduit, you say?" Toshiro repeated, giving Byakuya a mystified look.
Byakuya shook his head and his frown deepened.
"I will have to research this when we return to the Seireitei tomorrow."
"We are going back tomorrow?" Toshiro asked curiously.
"Yes," Byakuya confirmed, "and you will be given a room at my home in which to recover."
"Oh, I will need to get back to my…"
"All of the Gotei headquarters were directly targeted in the war," Byakuya told him, "They were all destroyed. And besides, you are in no condition to be working. You were dangerously depleted, so much so that the healers have determined that you are likely to remain at this age you have reached, permanently."
Toshiro looked down at his body, and his face fell.
"But at least you will heal and recover your full powers. You were lucky. You could have been blown apart, using that level of power. You were extremely reckless, Hitsugaya taicho."
"Maybe, but it was necessary."
"I will not argue with that," Byakuya said agreeably, "But we should go back. I am interested to see if you will be conscious, or if you were only conscious here."
"All right," said Toshiro, "I'll try to go back too."
The two men closed their eyes and focused deeply, sending them falling back down into their bodies in the infirmary. Byakuya opened his eyes and found himself sitting at an unconscious Toshiro's side. He shivered as a little chill went through him. The cold feeling remained with him until he sensed that Hyorinmaru had left his inner world and returned to Toshiro's.
That was very strange, Byakuya mused, I have never heard of anything like this happening before.
I wonder what this means…