Part 8

Yumichika's heart was racing as he flashstepped towards the pile of rubble he could see his lover trapped in. He wasn't moving and the worst thoughts were flying through his mind as he came closer. He could smell blood in the air and he knew some of it was Ikkaku's.

Multiple spiritual pressures were coming towards him. Hisagi and Kira were closer, but the one that reached him first was Stark. Those two strong, familiar arms clamped around his waist and chest, pulling him to a stop as he was pulled into the hard body.

"Let me go!" Yumichika pushed at Stark's arms wildly, desperate for freedom.

"Stop it, Yumichika." Stark said firmly, moving one of his arms to hold both of Yumichika's down. The shinigami tried to avoid him, yanking against the man's grip.

"Please, let go," Yumichika clawed at the espada's arm, tearing at the hard skin as he pleaded, barely noticing at the rise in the espada's reiatsu. "I have to make sure he's okay. Ikkaku...I—"

Stark spun him around and slapped him; startling the shinigami into silence. He waited until the smaller man looked at him to speak.

"He isn't dead. His reiatsu is still strong. Yumichika, you shouldn't have reacted so impulsively." Stark lifted his hand to brush gently against Yumichika's cheek. "I'm sorry I hit you, but it seemed like the only way. I had to stop you."

"Why?" Yumichika whispered, completely ignoring everything else going on around them. Kira and Hisagi were fairly close, unsure of what to do. Lilinette looked to be on the verge of tears or anger, still standing where Yumichika had left her.

"Are you going to kill me?" Stark asked solemnly.

"What? No," Yumichika shook his head. "Of course not! How could you ask such a stupid question?"

"Yumichika, please be serious. I know you love him, but if you return to him both Lilinette and I will be your enemies. We don't have the choice of switching sides. I don't really know if you do either. It wasn't your fault you were with us, but they might not see it that way."

"Are you saying I can't go back?" Yumichika frowned, his eyes roaming across the familiar drawn faces of the shinigami. "They don't know how to react...but it doesn't matter. Stark, I hope you don't die."

"So you've decided then." Stark frowned and leaned down to kiss him very gently on the lips. It was much too short, but he knew better than to try anything with all of these shinigami around. He pulled himself away and turned towards the group of arrancar. "Lilinette!"

The small girl was at her master's side in a moment, looking slightly confused. Stark pushed her at Yumichika and she stumbled into his arms.

"I want you to take care of her, Yumichika." Stark muttered, giving the shinigami a hard look before he turned and returned to the ragged group of remaining espada and arrancar Aizen had brought.

Yumichika stood there in confused silence for a moment, anger brewing in his mind before he took Lilinette's hand and pulled her towards the debris Ikkaku was trapped in. Iba had been there to get him out earlier but the arrival of the two arrancar and Yumichika had stunned him. Now they were heading straight for him.

"Move," Yumichika commanded and Iba found himself moving out of the way quickly. A moan came out of the man who had been partially buried underneath and Yumichika stopped to kneel down next to Ikkaku.

The bald man's eyes drifted open slightly and a murmured name came out. "Yumichika?"

The pretty man fisted his hand into the larger man's clothing and pulled him up into a sitting position.

"Yumichika, I he—"

Yumichika punched him. Hard. Several times.

"Never again," Yumichika gritted out, punching him once more for good measure. "You fucking asshole of a jerk! I should kill you! Never again will I follow you anywhere. You can be your own damn friend. There's now way I'm going to allow that to happen again!"

"Let me explain!"

"No," Yumichika glared at him. "Do you have any idea what it's like to want to die? You abandoned me in enemy territory. I was terrified!" The lean man let go of Ikkaku's shihakusho and brushed off his own white clothing. Lilinette moved closer to him side, suddenly wary of the looks the other shinigami were giving her. Yumichika allowed her to reclaim his hand and turned away from Ikkaku, finished with him.

"Don't let them get away! Capture them!"

Yumichika turned his head at the sudden command coming from the captain commander. Lilinette's grip tightened dangerously.

"Master," Ukitake's voice was concerned as he turned to argue with him. "That is one of our men!"

"Ukitake!" Yamamoto glared at his student, reiatsu spiking dangerously. "Do not defy my orders or you will be seen as an accomplice."

The captain of the thirteenth stopped mid-step, slight horror crossing his face at the old man's words.

"If there are no more interruptions," Yamamoto swung a hand towards Yumichika and Lilinette. "Capture them. He is a traitor to Soul Society! Kill them if they resist!"

"Yumichika," Lilinette's usually strong voice seemed so strained in that single word, all of her worry and doubt spilling out around them.

"Shh, it's fine," Yumichika reached down to grab the hilt of his sword, but Stark's firm grip stopped him.

"This is not your fight," Stark murmured, drawing his own sword. Yumichika's eyes widened slightly and Stark gave him a soft smile. He was alarmed by the sadness he saw in it. "You'll be fine."

"Don't die," Yumichika whispered, expecting the worst.

Those would be the last words from his lips that Stark would hear.

Ikkaku lunged.

And that is where I am leaving this story. It is finished...also it is completely and irrevocably bad. But before you get mad, I think you should know that there is a sequel called Retribution: Reprisal. It'll be up soon, so don't worry. You'll find out what happened, what's going to happen, and many more characters.

Thanks to my Judi-baby, DelMarch, and Chica for all their love and support...keep on reading!