ALTERNATIVE/ORIGINAL ENDING – THIS IS RAW UNEDITIED AND WILL CONTAIN MISTAKES, BUT I FELT IT HAD TO BE INCLUDED AFTER ALL. THIS IS HOW I WAS GOING TO FINISH THE STORY. DON'T HATE ME!
The last page rattled out the printer. The once beautiful white sheets were now a sprawl of inked graffiti that indicated yet another chapter completed. But this chapter was more important than all the others, it was the last. Byakuya's slim fingers picked up the bundle of papers and clonked them noisily on his desk to neaten. The thickness of the this chapter felt satisfying and yet regrettable; on one hand, it meant that his flow of words amounted to quite a sizeable chunk of work but that also meant quite a sizeable amount of correcting. His glance at the wall clock told him, that at least he was in good time that even Ichigo probably not finished his penultimate assignment for the year. (I WROTE THIS SOME MANY MONTHS BACK HENSE STILL AT UNI)
With the papers under his arm, he lifted his empty coffee mug and made his way to the kitchen, passing the door of his lovers music room. The white length of ipod wires lead from his ears as his fingers tapped away on the computer. Glasses on his nose, he look cute and Byakuya smiled.
The small heater at his feet blasted a warm flow of air around the teens feet and warmed the dark haired man's chilled feet momentarily as he stepped behind his lover.
Ichigo smiled as the drift of black hair came over his left shoulder and two soft lips planted themselves on his neck. He felt the pluck of the ear pierce and the word coffee whispered in his ear.
"Love one." Ichigo nodded with a yawn and lifting one hand to cup his lovers face as the lips continued to send rays of tingling along his senses.
"No. I'm way over my word limit. I've got some serious culling to do." The vibrant hair tilted so that Ichigo's lips could pluck at Byakuya's. "You?"
"Come tomorrow my friend, I'm all yours exclusively."
"Then I best finish this tonight." Ichigo gave him one last peck and Byakuya stood retrieving the blue empty mug on the boys desk.
Ichigo grinned again as a peck landed on the top of his head with the whispered words of love. Byakuya had turned into a real softy, Renji wouldn't have believed it, if he saw it. Still he would this Christmas and then they'd get a chance to see just how fat Rukia was getting in her pregnancy.
It was about half way through his pile of work, that Byakuya heard footsteps up the stairs. Ichigo must have finished. He listened with half an ear as he continued to work with the lashing of his red biro and followed the teens progress across the landing to the bathroom and then their room. Clonks of drawers later and the footsteps headed slowly down the stairs and into the room.
Byakuya looked into the sleepY face of his lover and smiled lightly. He didn't know what was going on of late, but Ichigo failed to look anything but adorable. Now with a thick woollen jumper pulled up around his ears and his whole body pulled in signalling he was cold, he looked captivating.
"Tired." He mumbled sitting next to Byakuya on the sofa and forcing the elder to lift his arm so he could snuggle at his side.
"Thought it was your turn to make a drink."
"Erm..." Ichigo mumbled eyes closed and body curled in. "Later."
"Erm." The boy mumbled again and Byakuya tutted as he slid easily into his sleep. Two days more of Uni and Ichigo and Byakuya were going to make the most of the holiday season and do precious little but enjoy each others uninterrupted company.
The ex-noble leaned back into the chair and marvelled at the feeling swelling in him at the thought of lazy long mornings where they could stay in bed naked against each other. The stupid conversations about patterns in the ceiling or such daft stuff Ichigo started made him smile. He loved (WHAT? WHERE DID THE REST OF THIS GO?)
Byakuya rents the club just for Ichigo and his friends as a birthday treat. NEVER GOT TO WRITE THIS BIT!
"What are you buying this for exactly?" Chad gave a smirk as his friend beamed at the small bag he held in his hand.
"Byakuya and I have been together almost for two years you know?"
"Time passed quickly."
"When ya gonna find yourself true love Chad?"
"True love?" He shrugged. "Too busy with coursework."
"You should make time you know. Its really fantastic." Ichigo replied with a dreamy face on and Chad suppressed a laugh. "Meeting Byakuya was...just amazing. Its such a good feeling to know that I'm going to be with him until the day I die. How amazing is that? The rest of my life with him. I bet he's even going to look sexy when he's in his seventies!" Ichigo laughed.
"Yeah, long grey hair, wrinkles all the way to his dick!" Chad scoffed back and both men laughed. "So when you going to give him that?"
"After Ishida's last show next week." (WITH THE ITALIAN HE MET A CHAPTER OR SO BACK IT WAS BUILDING UP TO THAT SHOW.)
Ichigo tapped the present in his pocket and the special hand written note. A warm feeling glowed from the pit of his stomach as a rush of butterflies fluttered around his belly and his face flushed.
His eyes looked around the deep red curtains towards the audience and settled on those of Byakuya's easily. Both smiled and Ichigo blushed more as his lover winked.
"Ready?" Ichigo looked to Ishida's nervous face.
"Yeah yeah. You?"
"NO!" Ishida blurted out. "My dads here tonight!"
"You're dad!" Ichigo felt the stirrings of panic and his face paled. (YEP HE DREAMED THE REAL MURDERER IN THE END AND REALISED IT) It wasn't noticed by the busy fashion designer who began to fuss a model awaiting her last inspection before stepping onto the stage in two minutes time.
"He confronted me last night. I told him the truth at last introduced him to my new boyfriend and he went beserk. He wants to see what I've been wasting his money on. Oh come on, get the music going!" He ordered rushing off to the dressing rooms and fussing over the other models.
Byakuya settled in his seat three rows back and crossing his arms as he patiently waited for the show to start. He wasn't too sure about what he was doing here, but Ichigo had wanted him to bare witness to the music he'd put together. The lights began to dim and his eyes were drawn to the exit door as the last couple of ticket holders came in. His eyes settled with a narrowed gaze sure he hadn't seen what he just had. It had only been a momentary blur, but had that been Soi Fong? He hadn't seen that woman since his days at the palace and it was highly unlikely that the Emperor's main henchman would show up here of all places. It had been so quiet of late from them that he thought they were over the bribery and tricks. He shook his head shaking the thoughts away and turned his attention back to the light display that matched the beginning bars of Ichigo's first melody.
Ishida was a mess of nerves and frantic energy, all these last minute touches before a model would step out onto the stage were mental torture but the warmth of the crowds applause were making up for that as it seeped through to the back area. He'd caught glimpses of Ichigo sitting in his little area pouring sweat over the mixer desk, changing and flicking the music, adjusting tempo's and volume depending on the models actions. Once the narration had finished on the dress, the flicks and dial would increase for a minute of perfect music before it was lowered for the next skinny woman to don the heals and head onto the catwalk.
But Ichigo hadn't been the only person his attention had been on. Rykenan, had walked around the backstage area, fiddling with things he shouldn't. At one point, even a short haired Chinese looking female had had to readjust a lighting rope after his father had tugged and played with it. That look of scorn on his face, hadn't left. Each model was viewed with contempt and even Ichigo was swathed in a venomous glare, to which the red head had almost flustered his timings with shaking hands.
However it went more than well and the crowd were on their feet. Uryuu dragged Ichigo up on the stage and even though the teen looked mortified he deserved the applause for his music.
The one person he wanted approval from seemed to missing and as he turned his head around the room to find him, time seemed to warp and slow. Instead of his father, all he saw was a blur of brown wavy hair shoving him aside. The crowd screamed as a lighting rig descended at a terrible speed from the ceiling.
Byakuya's world froze. Froze solid the moment Ichigo buckled under the tangle of metal. His feet rooted to the spot as Stark and Chad hauled the wreckage up.
He didn't need to see the blood. He didn't need to see the shock in everyone's eyes.
Ichigo was gone.
Rukia looking after Byakuya, day of funeral, Byakuya tired goes upstairs to sleep, but doesn't come down. Isshin goes up and finds him out cold from an overdose. In his hand he's clutching a note from Ichigo and a commitment ring. (MORE OF AN ETERNITY RING PROMISING LOVE FOR AN ETERNITY)
Sometimes I wonder if everyone had been right all along about me. I never really felt normal. My music gave me a break from worrying, looking over my back, being scared. Byakuya you gave me unconditional love and that special place to go when I felt a little uneasy.
Now I remember it all. All that happened on that day and I wonder when it'll be my turn. I've always known I won't grow old. I won't have long to be happy and I do what I can to treasure the one person who has made me the happiest of all. Living with you has given me enough joy to make up for all those years you wasn't around. I know that this stupid brain of mine has been much better for the stability and understanding you give me.
I love you, now and always.
Byakuya woke to the smells of a disinfected world in the palace infirmary.
The slap that backhanded Byakuya's pale face saw him tumbling to the floor to sit in an undignified heap of clothes and his head downcast with his long hair veiling his face.
"Why is Father so weak mother?" The five year olds voice entered the tense silence.
"Because he is a weak fool. Run along and find your sister, its time for your lessons." The sound of his daughters footsteps walking away didn't make Byakuya move, neither did the ones coming towards him.
Soi leaned in and lifted the head of her husband with fingers that dug into his chin painfully but he made no sound. Her cold eyes bore into his indifferent broken ones. "Even your children think you are pathetic. But it does not alter the fact that you have yet to make me a son. Three girls just adds to your overall uselessness doesn't it?" She sneered. She let his head go and it dropped back to its place looking towards the floor. "Retsu wants to see you, she is concerned again." Were her last words as she swept out of the room. "Don't disappoint me yet again Byakuya."
Byakuya hands all skin and bone touched the floor to push himself back onto his knees and raise himself up, but he could not find the strength to lift his body from the floor. He sat a moment to gather his stamina yet before he could try again, with no introduction hands appeared to help him and lifted him effortlessly up. It wasn't a hard task, the man was nothing more than a bag of bones these days. He's spent too many years eating barely enough to keep a sparrow alive.
"You feel warm." Retsu's voice appeared with her face as he was pulled upright. Her gentle touch first graced the red mark on his cheek and then his brow. "Why are you doing this to yourself?" She said more to her self than Byakuya, he didn't usually talk. "Its a long and painful way to die you know." She smiled sympathetically at him and wrapped a hand around his waist. "Lets put you back to bed."
The rooms he kept in the palace were only two doors away, but the slow walk there was almost painful. By the time he laid, his day robe removed to leave him just in his white night robes, he was exhausted. Retus pulled the cover over him and reached for the jug of water beside the bed. She took a small pill from her medical bag and held it out to him.
"I am sorry I have to ask you to take this." She watched his hand raise and take the blue pill and with nothing but acceptance push it between his lips. She lifted the glass and let him take a sip.
They sat silently a while, Retsu didn't need to repeat the medical tests these days, no malady's were going to show. The warmth on his skin seemed to be a constant fever that never abated what ever she did. It only varied in its force.
Her eyes cast around the rooms, were far grander than those in the Kuchiki mansion, but Byakuya had not been permitted to return there. It was out of bounds. So instead from the day he'd been taken from the hospital just over six years ago, he had kept himself holed up within this bedroom and the next room which had been converted into a day room. He would walk the corridor slowly back and forth when he had the strength. His eyes cast towards through the windows at the gardens he was forbidden to step into. Byakuya knew nothing of the lies spread in the tabloids that he had died, it was lies made so water tight that even his best comrades knew nothing of its truth. Only Retsu saw him, although she herself had confided in her new husband Kenpachi one night when she couldn't bare the strain of it any more. They'd thought about getting him out, sending word to Aizen or Isshin, but... Well he had been so broken before he even arrived that there was little use in that. Byakuya was on a self destruct pathway and nothing would ever steer him from it.
By his raised breathing pattern and slight sheen in his skin, Retsu guessed the viagra was taking hold. She took his hand and kissed his knuckles. "I wish I could do more for you." She whispered. His eyes looked to hers in a silent plea and she held back her tears. The last time he's spoken to anyone was her and all he had asked for was for a quick death. "Anything but that Byakuya...You can't ask me to do that."
The opened abruptly and Soi sneered at the way Retsu was tenderly kissing her husbands hand.
"How dare you!" She shouted.
"He is not well, most certainly not strong enough for this...this ritual!" Retsu spat the word as she stood. "He has a fever, he should be resting."
"When he gets me pregnant he can rest. When I have that boy the Kuchiki's want he can go to hell. If you'd done your job properly in the first place and made me pregnant at the start!" And that was Retsu's guilt. She felt so responsible for Byakuya's state and Ichigo's death. Soi knew how to twist the blade into her heart. "So is he ready?"
"It appears so."
"Have you checked?"
"You wanted to be his personal physician, so check."
"Just how cold can a person be?"
"I don't know, how about we get someone else to look after him?" That threat usually worked and it did this time too as she went back to his side and knelt.
"I'm sorry." She whispered with eyes that would not look at the empty grey ones. The covers were gently raised for her to look underneath momentarily before lowering again.
"Its seems fine." Retsu's voice could hardly be heard.
"Seems?" Soi let out a small laugh. "I don't think that's good enough Doctor. I think a physical might be in order."
"You are evil!" Retsu shot a glare at the woman.
"And you are a doctor do your job. That is unless this is something more personal." The remarks about Retsu's apparent attraction usually came out too and by now she should be used to it, but she wasn't. Taking a deep breath, retsu lifted the cover enough to reach her hand inside and tentatively touch Byakuya's length. His gasp was audible.
"That's it." Soi sat on the bed, yanking back the cover before Retsu could pull away her hand. Her own cupped around the medics. "Make him good and ready. You know you want to." She forced their hands up and down.
"NO!" Retsu was horrified and she pulled her hand free. Soi laughed loudly as she ran from the room. "Oh Byakuya, I never thought I'd have this much fun teasing our good doctor." Her hand kept sweeping up and down his length seeing him ram rod hard. As she lifted her skirts and settled down onto him, seating herself on his thick weeping head. Her triumphant smile took in his clenched eyes. "Oh my dear husband, you are even so woeful you can't get hard for your wife. Should I fetch that little gardener in for you?" She pushed her self up and down him, "He's young and fit. You'd like that yeah?" She smiled at his attempts to keep all sounds inside his throat. "All virile, pheromones and a tight little backside." She clenched tightly around him, drawing up his length and slamming back down. "Or are your tastes changing?" She began to pant as she took his impassive hands and placed them over her breasts after shaking her shoulders and freeing them from her clothes. "Oh god yes." She grunted working harder. "So big...Damn it...This is so good."
In his mind, Byakuya knew that this would be over sooner if he could just release. If she could shut her mouth and let him think, remember...forget even...
"Give me..." She panted heavily. "Give me that boy..." She groaned. "I'll kill you myself." Her timing was perfect, as his eyes opened just at that moment spilling his seed inside her. She laughed in his face. "That's what you want isn't it? To die and be reunited with lost lovers." Her hands smoothed down his cheeks almost too softly. Though his panting calm down, he felt weaker than ever and every bit as pathetic as she taunted him with. But he didn't care any more. He had no pride left, no care for himself. "But..." She said taking her lips to his and attempting a kiss he would not return. "I won't let you go. I'll get that bitch to force feed you. I'll keep you alive for a very long time sweety." She smiled at the welling of tears in his eyes. "Very long time."
With the seed inside her, Soi stood and went to her own rooms to ensure it stayed deep inside her womb. Pleasure was gained from the thought of an impending pregnancy not sexual gratification. She accepted this role as a duty and that gave her an orgasmic satisfaction.
"How's he doing?" Ken rubbed his large hands on his wife's shoulders.
"Five times this week." She sighed. "Five times, he's endured her. I thought that the first day..." Ken knew she was referring to the physical check incident. "Since then, he's..." Her eyes drifted to her soiled hands. "He's gone even further away if that is even possible." Ken twisted her around and held her as she cried. "I can't bare to see him any more. I just didn't think such a... proud capable man would end up like this. He just wants to die and die so badly..."
"Then, maybe its time someone helped him. Gave him the help he wants."
"It would be murder! They've already told me if he dies, they'll try me for murder!"
"They can't if you aren't with him. They can't if he dies honourably." Ken's face looked determined.
"How does a man that is so weak he can't even lift his head from the pillow kill himself like that?" She pushed away from Ken to pace the room. "I keep him alive by forcing a drip in his arm..."
"Sush my love." Ken approached her from behind capturing her shaking shoulders. "I can give him his dignity and his peace." He breathed into her neck.
Was it that time already? Byakuya wasn't sure, it all merged somehow now. His foggy mind couldn't comprehend must beyond the pain of waking every dawn and his days being taunted by children who looked at him with contempt and a wife who raped his soul daily.
He was tired. So very tired. Couldn't he just sleep at least?
Arms slid beneath him, lifted him from his bed. Where was he going? What new form of torture had they thought up now? The warmth of the covers wrapped around him and a few moments later there was the utter bliss of the wind on his face. A body, strong and vast was his wall of comfort and his droopy eyes made the effort to look up at his transport.
"Ken." He gave a small smile of relief.
"I thought you'd want to see your garden one last time." Ken's husky voice rumbled around him, vibrating through the body contact they shared. The rhythmic walking stride was soothing and the wind and sun on him felt like he had taken a glimpse at Nirvana. "Is there anywhere you want to see?"
"Roses." Byakuya whispered.
With almost the caress of a lover, Byakuya found himself supported between Ken's strong legs and his gaze enjoying the wondrous roses in bloom.
"Hisana planted these." Ken remembered the petite frail woman. Byakuya nodded. "But that bush." His long digit pointed to a prolific flowering of mock orange. "Looks out of place...Different." The blooms looked like orange spiked hair and Ken snorted. "Ichigo." He said and Byakuya nodded again. He felt Ken shift from behind him and he forced himself to stay upright as the man went to pluck a large flower head for him. Gratefully, when Ken returned he leaned back into the solid wall of protection and took the blade held out for him a sad smile gracing his lips.
"I'm ready." Byakuya spoke, his voice showing more strength now he realised his end was coming.
They hadn't said anything about this being a time to be ready, but Ken's kindness seemed tinged with finality. The rose lifted to Byakuya's nose and he smelt its heady scent.
A dagger was held in ken's upright palm and Byakuya fisted the handle.
"Is there anything you want me to tell everyone?"
"Book?" Ken questioned.
"Tell Aizen to print the book." Byakuya let a tear trail down his face. "Let the world see Ichigo for who he really was. No more lies." The deep voice broke towards the end, but Byakuya bit back his always present bitterness and pain at Ichigo's loss. He'd cried enough each and every night.
"Now?" Ken smiled at the way Byakuya straightened and nodded. He held the blade towards his stomach. It trembled in his hand and hesitated, he didn't want to wake in hospital again.
Ken realised on the way over that Byakuya was going to be too weak to complete the slash across his abdomen, so his large hand cupped over Byakuya's.
"Thank you." Byakuya whispered looking in Ken's eyes and smiling.
With speed and intent, Ken forced the blade to do its deed and held the gasping bleeding man tightly as the last of his life drained freely onto the grass.
The sun shone through the trees and lit the orange blooms and Byakuya's eyes steadied on the shimmering flower heads moving in the breeze.
He smiled feeling his lover closer than he'd been in years and his eyes closed for the last time in and opened again in death.
"I've been waiting for you." Ichigo's happy voice floated over his slumped figure in Ken's arms.
Byakuya looked at the sight of his smiling lover in awe. Shinigami. Ichigo was a Death God dressed all in black and a huge sword on his back. His hand was outstretched and waiting for him to take it. "Are ya coming?"