A/N: Hey! 11 reviews this time? 268 reviews this time!
Chapter 18: Execution: That Moment
Byakuya watched through Ichigo's eyes as Ichigo jumped from one roof to another, speeding towards the execution ground.
Byakuya could feel the tension in his knight's body. It seemed that the effect of the curse was wearing off. There was little time left before he would return back to his normal form.
Byakuya narrowed his eyes slightly as there was a bright glare as the Soukyoku lit up before Ichigo closed his or rather their eyes.
He breathed in slightly as Ichigo reached the execution ground, landing far behind the captains.
Closing gray eyes, he said, "Stop the execution, my knight."
Ichigo bit his lip in concentration as he flipped over to stand in front Rukia, amber eyes smoldering in face of the phoenix.
Unleashing his zanpakuto, he met the phoenix face on as it dived at him. Using his zanpakuto to hold the phoenix in a temporary lock, he turned behind to look at the Shinigami who he was supposed to save.
As amber eyes turned to the raven haired female, in Ichigo's inner mind, Kuchiki Byakuya clenched his fist tightly.
The sight gave him a feel of déjà vu. He remembered the number of years ago where he had found her lying in snow and ice, eyes closed, and face perfectly at ease.
This was no different, except she seemed to be crying silently. He wanted to touch her face gently, wipe away the tears that he caused.
He wanted to stop her tears. Unknowingly, he whispered, "Do not cry, Rukia…"
He did not know what happened. With the exception of Ichigo, no one was supposed to be able to hear him.
Rukia heard her name. Opening her eyes slowly, as if afraid, she asked, "Nii-sama?"
She found herself looking at the edge of a black cloak, fluttering in the spiritual energy emitted. Her eyes followed the cloak, to end at a face with defined features. Finding her voice, she said softly, "Who… are you?"
Ichigo, who was astonished at the fact that for a split second, Kuchiki Byakuya's voice could be heard, replied as if nothing had happened. "Kurosaki Ichigo."
Rukia closed her eyes. "Please leave…"
Ichigo bit his lip slightly before turning his attention back to the phoenix. "I can't."
Rukia clamped her eyes shut tightly as she attempted to control her tears in front of a complete stranger. Then, taking a deep breath, she screamed, "Please!"
Ichigo swiped his sword across the phoenix's right wing. "I can't, because, like you, I made a promise to myself!"
He turned to her in anger, as she cowered slightly after her outburst. "Like you, I made a promise to him. I promised him that I will save you in place of him!"
Whirling around, he slashed the phoenix again, but this time, much more violently.
"I won't give up." Amber eyes reflected the image of the fast approaching phoenix. "Getsuga Tenshou!"
A wave of blue energy in the shape of a crescent departed the glowing blade. A huge gash appeared in the glowing phoenix.
Suddenly, two figures appeared in front of them. It was Ukitake and Yoruichi. Turning to the orange haired man, Ukitake said, "I may not know who you are, but please bring her to safety. If anything happens to her, we will not go light on you."
Ichigo nodded. He felt his master's deep voice in his head again.
"Destroy the structure and pass her to a red-headed lieutenant. I need to find Aizen Sousuke."
Giving his master his confirmation, he whirled to stand on top of the structure. Positioning his sword on top of the structure, he closed his eyes as he said. "The reason I will save you is to thank you for the change and the chance you gave my master… I am thanking you in his place."
His hand hooked around a delicate waist. Holding her in a firm grip, he continued. "I would ask for you to forgive him when you next see him."
The scenery suddenly became no more than a blur as captains and lieutenants shouted below them. He landed on a mountain top far away from the Court of Pure Souls.
Placing her down gently but never letting go of her, he waited for a red haired man to arrive.
Slight pants broke the slightly eerie silence, as a flash of red hair and black robes landed on the mountain top, opposite to where Ichigo and Rukia were standing at.
Ichigo could feel Byakuya's silent jealousy as Renji embraced Rukia in a bear hug and ruffled her hair.
Renji narrowed his eyes at the apparent stranger. Glaring at him he said rudely, "Who are you?"
Ichigo matched his glare. "Someone. Take her back to hide in Sereitei. Some captains have already sent their divisions to search the districts of Rukongai. It will be harder for them to find you in Sereitei if you hide your spiritual energy well."
Renji continued glaring at him, "Where are you going?"
Ichigo narrowed his eyes dangerously. "I suppose that is not of your concern."
With that, he flash stepped to the general direction of Sereitei.
Ichigo closed his eyes as he felt the breeze against his face as he flash stepped. It was pure cooling. He was tired beyond words. It would be hard to believe normally, yet, just the simple shikai he released when he attacked the phoenix took such a big toil on him that he could stand. He had already began feeding on Kuchiki Byakuya's spiritual energy when he gathered her in his arms and began to flash step.
Ichigo was perfectly sure that Kuchiki Byakuya felt more exhausted than him as he was providing Ichigo with energy and did not heal himself after their fight. With that in mind, he pushed his body faster to minimize the time taken to travel.
Landing with a loud thud that caused the floor to give in slightly, he entered inner chamber of the central forty-six.
Ichigo recognized the woman kneeling before two patients as the fourth division captain through the number on her haori.
Ichigo cleared his throat slightly and paled as he saw the tenth division captain and the fifth division vice-captain pale and bloodied.
Unohana turned and stood fully to face Ichigo. "What brings you here, Kuchiki Taichou?"
Turning anxiously to Byakuya in his inner mind for help, Ichigo spoke. "Kuchiki-sama is currently not available for you to talk to, Taichou, however you may pass me any message for him."
Unohana smiled gently. "Please inform him that Aizen Sousuke should be on his way to the mountain top adjacent to the shrine of penitence and remember to inform Kuchiki-sama that," Unohana stressed her next words carefully. "Rukia-sama is there."
Kuchiki Byakuya's heart constricted. Ordering Ichigo to turn back, they sped together as one towards the mountain.
Every step Kurosaki Ichigo took was another burden on him. It was hard to breath, his right lung was badly punctured from the fight they had in the morning. He could not think straight. The only thought that was in his mind was to get to Rukia as fast as possible. He could not fall, not now, he had to make sure that, he had enough energy to put up a fight with Aizen Sousuke.
Central forty-six was one of the furthest buildings form the shrine of penitence. Urging Ichigo to go faster, faster, the mountain next to the shrine finally came into vision.
Grey eyes widened in horror as the image of Rukia being held up by the collar registered in his brain.
He did not know what happen. Suddenly, his right arm had grasped hold of a handful of rough robes, and his left arm gripped on tightly to a short blade. Everything began to spin around. His breath came out in pants, he was sure that the blade had punctured his heart.
He had, in sheer desperation, taken over Kurosaki Ichigo.
Rukia bit her lip has she was held up with her collar. She was sure that it was her destiny to die today, whether it was by the Soukyoku or by the Captain of the Fifth division.
Closing her eyes as she saw the third division unsheathe his sword, she tried to block out the image of Renji's limp body.
An all too cheerful voice spoke, "Shoot to kill, Shinsou."
Shivering as she heard the high pitched whistling sound of the sword as it sped towards her, suddenly, it stopped.
A warm arm pulled her away from the iron hold Aizen had on her.
Red blood dripped onto the floor with a sickening squelch.
Spiky orange hair entered her field of vision and she turned around to look at the person who saved her. Suddenly, the orange hair turned into long, flowing black hair.
She watched as the pale hand that gripped the sword tightly pulled the sword closer to his body before pulling it out totally.
Panting heavily, the man who had his arm around her loosened his grip on her, as he fell to his knees.
He did not know why he wanted to pull the blade closer to his heart. He wanted to feel the pain. He had been so numb and indifferent for so long. He wanted to feel something. He wanted to feel the pain as it pierced right through his heart.
All he needed to know that she was safe in his arms. He will never let go again.
As he pulled the blade out of his heart, he smirked slightly.
Kuchiki Byakuya had never felt so alive.
A dark shadow fell over the two Kuchikis. A long sword was held against Kuchiki Byakuya's pale neck. Glasses glinted slightly.
Thats all! Thanks alot for the reviews the last time round:D
Next chapter will be up during weekend again:D
Itachi Ni San