Hello, my lovely reviewers and thank you for sticking with me through my erratic updates! Wow. Can't believe it's been over a year since I started this story! Well, enough nostalgia, I'm going to stop gabbing and get on with this chapter.

A chapter in which Rukia, really needs to learn how to knock:) I apologize for any mistakes I missed. Reviews, as you know, are always most welcomed. Flames? No, thank you!

Song of the Day: Valentine's Day by Linkin Park. You know want to listen; it's Linkin Park!

Britt: *pinches self* No people, I'm not dreaming. She really is updating.

Me: *whacks Britt with bat* Good to see you, too.

Renji: *coughs* Ahem. If you two are done trying to kill each other, we have things to do.

Ichigo: We really need to confiscate that bat one of these days...but not today.

Britt: Hey!

Me: Hey is for horses, grass is cheaper; so suck it up. Anyway, on with the story!

Renji: *groans* I've been dreading this chapter.

Ichigo: *snickers* 'Cause it's embarrassing for you, but funny as hell for us!

Renji: Can I borough that? *nod from Me* Thanks. *whacks Ichigo with bat*

Britt: Not so funny now, huh?

Ichigo: Arnf.

Disclaimer: Yeah... I don't own. If I did, there would be much more fan-service!

In the heat of the moment, lovers usually forget to lock the door.

Renji's pov



Hands encircled my waist tightly at my less than enthusiastic response. Cool lips pressed against my neck and began their decent to my shoulder. I gasped at the sudden invasion of my personal space. Though, it wasn't that unexpected.

Truthfully, I had been having an affair with my master - the rich, hot aristocratic Kuchiki Byakuya - for months now. It all started when Rukia left on her vacation, which was a sort of road-trip between her and her best friend Inoue Orihime. I was surprised actually, when she asked for an extended time period from her brother so that they could visit historical Kyoto. The surprising part was that Byakuya said yes.

Letting his precious little sister travel alone with a friend for an even longer course of time? (Though they did have trustworthy guards with them as well.) Even Rukia was shocked, but too happy to question. I, however, did question. To which he answered: "Rukia is an adult and may seek adventure as long as she has suitable protection."

Reasonable, I thought. Until, he added, "Also, it will be good to have some more alone time with each other." Reasonable; yeah, right. Perverted is much more accurate.

As much as I want to see my friend after five or so months, it's complicated. I...haven't exactly gotten around to telling her that her brother and I are are fucking. Neither I, nor my partner, have seemed to be able to grow the balls to tell her about us, yet.

Not that many do know about us. It needs to stay that way too, or else my arse will be cooked. Keitaro-nii-chan found out, but he would never squeal, knowing what would happen to me. (Though, he might enjoy torturing my lover.) Shuuhei's like a brother to me, and would never tell. Ichigo has his suspicions, but hasn't said anything yet. Strawberry's too smart for his own good, though, so I'll have to be careful. Tatsuki knows I'm involved with somebody, but doesn't know whom.

If we can keep things as such, we'll be fine. Except that my master keeps trying to jump me every chance he gets.

"Sir," I warned, just as he slipped his hands into my hakama. Fingers danced along my tan skin and I tried my hardest to not make noise at his groping. "I'll never understand how someone could look sexy while folding clothing..." I muttered and he chuckled beside my ear.

"You can't deny me what's mine." He answered smugly, giving my ass a possessive squeeze. I gasped and turned to glare at him, only to be caught in a fierce kiss. His tongue barged his way into my mouth, teasing mine into coming out to play.

"Oh, yes, 'cause you're so deprived-" I say when we finally disconnect. By then, his knee is between my legs and I'm pinned on the bed. Is the door even locked? We should really lock the door-

"Ah!" A pale hand reached pass my obi and stroked my semi-hard length. He swiped the bit of pre-cum leaking from the top and I almost lost it, but by then I was already putty in his hands. Damn this man.

He slipped off my obi, leaving my robes open to the viewer. He scanned it like a starving wolf would a rabbit after hunting through the night for hours upon hours. He looped the sash around my wrists, not tight, but binding.

Not quite satisfied with my vulnerability, he took his precious scarf and folded it into a makeshift blindfold. The fabric felt cool against my sweat forehead. Blind and bound, I was just as good as a newborn deer. I wasn't afraid of being eaten; on the contrary, I was counting on it.

Balancing on my elbows and knees, I waited impatiently as the man behind me kissed his way down my back, hand still stroking my very excited cock. Brain waves were decreasing, stimulation quickly increasing. I was almost there; just a few more strokes, a rough touch on my skin and I'd be gone.

In the midst of a particularly large moan from me, we could have distantly heard footsteps had we not been caught up in what we were doing. had we been more alert, we might have heard the light rap at the door before all hell struck loose-

"Nii-sama! I'm home!" Rukia called, opening the door with a cheerful smile on her face. Time forze right about then.

Dead silence. No one dared to speak. Still blinded, I couldn't see her expression, but I could just picture her mouth agape and eyes opened wide in a comical fashion. To laugh or cry. I could go either way, right about now.

"Rukia...I wasn't expecting you." Byakuya said, as I cursed under my breath.

"I-I..." Her voice sounded horrified. "...I-I...wanted to surprise you..." She trailed off, voice fading into the awkward silence.




If there was a shade of red beyond crimson, I'm pretty sure I was flushed that color.

"I-I'll...uh...j-just..." Slam. Hurried footsteps scurried down the hall. We sighed simultaneously, and I slumped over to rest my pounding head on the comforter.

I was no longer in the mood and I don't think he was either. Perfect timing as usual, Rukia.

Now, I don't have to worry about explaining that me and her brother are fucking. 'Cause now she knows, and I got to worry 'bout that.

"Son of a bitch."

Rukia's pov

Run. Running was good. You didn't have to think when you ran.

Didn't have to think about what you just saw or how utterly traumatized you might be.

It's funny, really. I was planning on surprising my brother and friends, by keeping my homecoming a secret. Somehow, I turn out the one being surprised.

Maybe, I should go see if Orihime needs help unpacking? Or maybe go say hi to Ichigo and Ishida? Yeah, yeah. That all sounded good.

I never thought...no, never. Never, in a million years did I think that...Oh, my god, I'm thinking about it!

My brother. My best friend. Together in bed.

The mental image alone was...shocking.

I mean, Nii-sama was married to my sister for years. They weren't in love, but I'm sure they made lo-! Wait, no. No, don't want those kinds of thoughts either. Back to the point at hand. Sure, he's in a loveless marriage, but I didn't think he was gay! Renji was different. Renji had been my friend since we were little; we've shared everything. I know that he tends to swing both ways. Even still-

The two are them are no better than polar opposites. Nii-sama was reserved, graceful and of course swift as a fierce nobleman should be. Renji was ill-tempered, loud and passionate to his very core, determined to follow his gut and heart no matter what the rules say.

An admirable quality. But, also dangerous

Alright...Deep breath. I don't know the whole story. I don't know what's going on, really. More than likely, one or both of them will find me and explain it. Knowing Nii-sama, he would try and make it as calm and rational as possible. Knowing Renji...well, he might be freaking out like me right now.

When I take a moment, and really think about it, it's kind of funny. Hilarious, to anyone random person I could tell. Scandolous, in fact.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

The freak-out was finally over. I was seeing it a bit more clearly now and was ready to talk to them. But now that clarity had dawned upon me, dread sunk down into the pit of my stomach.

Scandal...Oh my god...

My brother is having a scandal with my best friend! ...But Renji's another guy...and he's married...if someone found out...if Kimiko found out...

In a flash, I turned around and dashed back the way I came. No matter what my feelings were on the matter, Renji was my best friend and Byakuya my brother! Their safety came before everything.

No matter how freaky my day just got.

Orihime's pov

"Inoue-san!" I turned and smiled, seeing Ichigo waltzing up to greet me.

"Kurosaki-kun!" I embraced him in greeting.

"Ah, it's so nice to see a friendly face!" I exclaimed, and we laughed. Ichigo and I became friends around the time Kuchiki-san and Abarai-san did. Though I'll admit, for a long while I had a strong infatuation with him, it faded into a flourishing friendship.

I was sincerely happy for him and Ishida-kun; my other good friend. I couldn't wait to see them both after my long trip with Rukia. We had a lot of fun and saw many sights. Still, the need to see to see my friends was stronger than that of adventure.

"So, did you have fun?" I nodded vigorously. "Yes! It was so nice, leisurely. I wish I would have been able to get you guys something, but..."

A hand on my shoulder. "It's okay, Orihime..." I nodded, if not a bit regretful. Rukia was all of our friends, but we didn't like to use her status and money to get things. We had to much pride as people. Slaves don't get a pay either, so...

"Kurosaki...I'd love to catch up, but..." I bit my lip, fidgeting slightly. "Do you...happen to know where Tatsuki-chan is?" He blinked, confused. Then, brought his hand to his chin in a thinking gesture.

"Mah, they sent her to the summer home to work the fields there. Her, Sado, and a few others went too." I nodded, afraid of that answer.

"Ah, okay. Just wondering." I smiled, pushing back my worry for now.

"Let's go see the others, Kurosaki-kun. I'm anxious to see everyone again." My strawberry-headed friend grinned, and led me towards the barracks where everyone was probably rendezvousing.

Inwardly, I was jittery and relieved all at the same time. Everything here seemed to be fine and so did everyone else. Our trip was supposed to be a getaway of leisure, and unbeknownst to most, Kuchiki-san was thinking of attending school and wanted to survey the surrounding institutes. I was happy she found one she liked and sincerely hoped her brother would allow her to attend, very soon.

Don't say anything. Don't worry anyone...I told myself, as I had two weeks ago. Unbeknownst to everyone, something very disturbing was brought to my attention during the trip. If I told, it would only cause a ruckus or maybe even...bad things.

"Inoue-san?" I turned towards concerned brown eyes. "Are you sure you're okay?"

I smiled warmly at him. "Yes," no. Everything will go wrong soon. "I'm fine. Just a bit tired." But, as long as you're all okay...

When the time comes, everything will change. Until then, bliss seems best, and I'm more than willing to take the path less traveled by if it means the safety of my companions. Maybe...maybe the stranger had been lying, maybe it was as absurd as it sounded. But...

Somewhere deep within me, I knew it was true.

Currently, I was simply hungry and tired and more than relieved things were mostly normal here. I was still jittery though; anxious, to go see Tatsuki. Besides household chores, I possessed refined medical skills. After getting a letter with a plead from my faraway friend, I couldn't very well sit here and enjoy the calm before the storm. I needed to talk to Rukia about transportation to the summer estate.

Because, Tatsuki was pregnant and needed a midwife to aid her.

Renji's pov

"Me? Why me?" I groaned piteously, hanging my head like a kicked puppy. A pale hand ran it's fingers through my, combing out the knots in their way.

Byakuya sighed. I suddenly felt a little bad for whining, knowing he was just as worried and tried as me.

"I'm entrusting this to you, Renji." He tipped my head up with his index finger, so he could dip down and give me a chaste kiss on the lips.

"Yeah, I know." We decided that I should go find Rukia and explain the whole situation. Byakuya would surely talk to her later - they were siblings, after all - but for now, he needed to make sure the homestead was still in one piece. Also, make sure his wife still suspects nothing.

I tend to avoid her at all times, but my lover is not so lucky. He assures me he has no feelings for her and I've seen no evidence to prove him otherwise. Plus, I trust him. Slave trusting his master. That's just begging for trouble. I've refrained from telling him about the 'breeding day' incident, and I think I'll keep it that way. I don't who might die first; me, Kimiko, maybe Tatsuki?

'Cause if there's one thing I've learned, it's that Byakuya can be one hell of a possessive bastard.

Back to the matter at hand, I'm off to find Rukia. Poor girl, is probably just as much a mess as me. I could have told her. Had plenty of chances when we were writing each other. How hard was it to write: Rukia, me and your brother are fucking. ...Okay, maybe I'd use different wording, but still. Byakuya has no more excuses than me; he could have told her also.

"Cripes, what an epic this is turning out to be." I muttered, like I wasn't expecting this relationship to blow up in my face one time or another.

Just then, I could have sworn I very well sensed my friend heading towards me. Not a second later, a small, raven-haired person bonked into my chest, whom I quickly caught. She steadied herself, panting harshly, resting her palms on her knees.

"I've been...[pant]...looking...[pant]...for...[pant]..you!" She gasped out, like she'd just run a marathon. I raised an eyebrow and put a hand on her petite shoulder.

"After running away like a bat out of hell and running back, I guess you would be out of breath." I forced a smile out. "Though, I can't blame you."

Violet eyes met mine. "Renji...we need to talk." I sighed.

"Yeah, I kind of figured since you walked in on us..." I blushed at the awkwardness. "...doing stuff." If it had been anyone but her brother, this wouldn't be that difficult!

She nodded, then abruptly grabbed my hand and started leading me somewhere. Say what you will about her size, but Rukia's no weakling and has a hell of a grip.

We went into her room, her closing and locking the door. I immediately understood the need for privacy and thanked the kamis that Rukia, unlike myself, had a good head on her shoulders.

"Okay, start talking." My friend began, suddenly very stern. "From the beginning."

I cringed, feeling guilty and embarrassed all at the same time. "Rukia..."

"No!" She cut me off. "No, you're going to tell me everything. I walk in and I'm embarrassed and shocked as hell! Then when I finally calm down, I realized what's going on, and got insanely worried! Now, I'm kind of peeved you didn't tell me about this in the first place! I just...!"

She took a deep breath, regaining her composure after her little blow up. "I'm just freaking out a little..." You ain't the only one. "...and I need to know what's going on."

I grimaced, thinking of all the details I would prefer to leave out. Which was pretty much all of them. "Are you absolutely-"

"Certain? Hell, yes." She responded with that Rukia-like assertiveness. Despite the situation, it almost made me want to smile for real. It's like we were kids again, and when something was bothering me, I had two choices: tell or let her beat it out of me.

Or there was that unfortunate tickling attack when we were eleven. So many casualties that day. One, being my manhood.

"Well..." I drawled, running a hand through my ponytail stressfully, "where to begin?"

I started with right after we left and my first meeting with her brother. I didn't want to mention our first lustful incident, but she insisted she could handle it. Boy, the gaping look on her face when I told her about her brother taking me by force was definitely a slight blow to her hero-worship of him.

"So, then 'breeding day' came and I tried to avoid it, but somehow that bitch forced her hand-" I paled when I realized what I was about reveal.

"Fuck! Don't tell you brother about me sleeping with Tatsuki!" The girls eyes practically bulged out of her head.

"You slept with Arisawa-san?" She rasped, startled. I pinched the bridge of my nose, exasperated.

"Yes," I hissed. "Not intentionally." I quickly explained the situation to her. She cooled down, but looked a bit worried.

"Is she alright?" I shrugged.

"Last I heard, yeah. Did Inoue-san hear from her?" Rukia nodded. "Then, I'm sure she's fine."

From there, I came to the meeting of my long-thought dead brother, Keitaro. Rukia was awe-struck when I retold my brother's tale and how we reunited after 14 years.

"Renji, that's amazing!" She gave me a chaste hug around the neck. "How come you didn't tell me sooner?"

"That's a lot of emotion to put in a letter." I noted wryly.

When I finally finished, it was silent. Her expression was unreadable. Was she ashamed? Upset? Angry? Disgusted? The suspense was eating me alive.

"So, you really gave it all up for him...?" I nodded glumly, not meeting her eyes.

"And he cares for you?" At this point, if he didn't, the guy really needed a hobby. I nodded again.

She exhaled softly. "I can't say I approve with everything..." I hung my head, expecting no less, but still bummed. "...but as a friend, whatever makes you happy...is the most important thing."

My crimson irises widened broadly. "Really?" I rasped, utterly shocked.

"Now, you know how I feel." She joked, seeing the surprise contorted into my features. "But, yeah."

"As a sister," she continued, "it's about damn time my brother found someone. I never liked his mistress." I chuckled at that one. The hag needed to be taken down a few pegs.

"And as a twenty-year-old girl," A dangerous sparkle in her eyes made me shiver, "...that's so cool! And hot!"

"Rukia!" I gasped, mortified. She shrugged, fangirl eyes still shimmering with glee.

"What? Between you two, Madarame-san and Yumi-san, Ichigo and Ishida-kun, a girl can't help but have a little fun!"

"I swear to kami, Kuchiki Rukia, if you don't shut up-!" I stopped short in defeat, realizing it was futile, while she laughed hysterically.

"Pervertedness is genetic." I muttered under my breath. She giggled some more, before her spasm finally gave out.

"Haha. Well, you get what I'm saying. I'll talk to Nii-sama later and tell him the same thing."

"Man, that's a load off my shoulder." I exhaled a large breath and leaned back against the chair.

"Really?" Rukia questioned, her face suddenly grim. "Aren't you worried?"

"I worry about it every day." I said forlornly, knowing what she was hinting at. "We're careful; I swear." She looked like she was about to speak, so I stopped her. "And yes, I know the consequence. We both do. We'll be extra careful, I promise."

She bit her lip, obviously not entirely assured, but nodded.

"Alright, then." Rukia stood, brushing off her purple hakama. "Oh, and Renji?"

"Hm?" That's when the petite girl glomped me, resting her head on my shoulders. "I'm happy for you guys. And I'm glad you're safe." For now, I wanted to add and maybe she did too, but why ruin the tender moment?

"Am I interrupting?" A cool voice spoke from the doorway, and I jumped, and turned to swear at my lover leaning on the door frame.

"Geez, way to give a guy a heart-attack." I swore as Rukia chuckled slowly, retracting her arms from my neck.

"I trust everything is now..." He paused. "...slightly more normal than usual?" Rukia beamed.

"Yes, Nii-sama. I really need to talk to discuss some things with you now, though." Her brother nodded.

"By all means." He led Rukia to the door, then stopped and looked back at me.

"Also, you should pack whatever belongings you'll need for a trip." I blinked, confused in a all which ways. Trip? What trip? And what belongings do I own?

"What are you talking about?"

"I've been summoned to a gathering of the nobles in the surrounding areas. You'll be accompanying me as a slave." Huh?

"But...? Rukia is-?"

"Very tired from her trip and is glad to be home." Her voice piped from the doorway. Her elder brother nodded. "I'm trusting her to hold down the home while I'm away." Makes sense. I don't particularly trust his wife.

"Why am I going, though?" At this, a dark look loomed over his face.

"Do you take me as a fool?" He scoffed. "Why would I leave you here to be taken by some filth prancing about?" If my mouth opened any wider, I'd resembled a dead fish. Only Kuchiki freaking Byakuya could say that in a manner that makes it sound completely reasonable and appropriate.

Rukia just giggles, amused by this new side her brother was showing. I had a feeling he hadn't in a long time. Since her sister's passing, perhaps. But damn me, if I'd mention that out loud.

"So...where are we going?"

"Karakura. Have you heard of it?" Taken aback, I nodded.

"Of course! It's the largest village around here!"

Karakura was a strong, industrial village. It had markets and shops galore and was a place where most thrived without much poverty. Ichigo, Orhime, Ishida, Tatsuki and Sado had all been born there before they became slaves. Each of the villages in this area had at least one noble household present. The Kuchiki estate was located on the edge of Kohana. Others were; Tomoyo, Kaede, Yudai, Itsuki and Ko.

"Well, then, I'll leave you to it. We'll be leaving in three hours." My frowned quizzically, but remained silent. What could be so urgent for him to leave so spur of the moment?

"Uh, okay." What more could I say?

"Good. My room then." I shivered at the sheer implications those words held. I had to wonder if he aware of the double-meaning. Considering his smug look he had when he left the room, I'm sure he did.

3 hours, 34 minutes later

The carriage ride was slow and steady, the thump of the wooden wheels scraping every pothole and pebble, churning my insides. The kind, albeit slightly idiotic, Shiba Ganju was leading the two mares out in front.

Traveling in carriages wasn't my forte whatsoever. It always brought back painful memories and the familiar nausea in my stomach. Horeseback; I'm fine. Walking; again, perfectly stable. But these deathtraps make me feel worse than a throbbing hangover.

At the moment, I'm trying to ignore the bile rising in my throat and content myself with staring out the window. The landscape is a familiar one, and with sad dismay, I remember that not too far away from Karakura is where my small hometown, Uta Village was located.

I never got to glance at what would probably be ashy remains and crumbling structures left behind, and hope I never obtain that certain privelage.

My ruby hues looked over at the man beside me, who was sitting calmly, elegant eyes closed in what seemed like leisure. He was so used to the long rides from one place to the next. Glad Rukia took Inoue-san instead of me, on her holiday. I would have never made it.

My discomfort only continued to rise and I think I might have been going stir-crazy, too. An oncoming migrane would only worsen the situation more; I wracked my brain trying to find a way to calm my uneasiness.

With a mute groan, I once again peered over at the peaceful nobleman. What I wouldn't give to have him share that piece of mind. On that thought, I huffed tiredly and let my head fall back limply.

Only a millisecond later did I notice that my head had fallen to rest on the nobleman's shoulder. He went rigid and cracked an eye open, and I felt his stare upon me, but promptly ignored it and feigned ignorance. When he relaxed and chuckled softly at the gesture, I realized that I wasn't much of an actor.

"My, my..." He wound an arm around my shoulders and subtly pulled me closer. "Curling up to your unsuspecting master?"

"Sorry." I mumbled tiredly. "Never liked riding in the back of carriages. Brings back bad memories." The confession took me by surprise. I realized how comfortable I've become with him, willing to share little bits of myself like that.

"It's fine." Byakuya spoke after a while. He squeezed my shoulder softly; a small comforting gesture. Somewhere in the back of my mind, his arm shouldn't be around me, we're in the back of his carriage after all, and remembering my promise to Rukia-

Though, I find that the knot in my stomach has subsided and peace seems to be dawning upon me. So, I'm going to ignore the little voices in my head reminded how ill-advised this is, and pretend for just a little that this really is fine; everything is fine. At least for a little bit.

I didn't realize when I fell asleep. I couldn't have been out for maybe twenty minutes at the most. Still, I had the strangest dream.

Snow fell like rain. The sky was was gray, but the moon was still there. Huge and red, glittering like an orb of foreboding in the shadows looming above.

There was no sun. Therefore, no warmth. It was cold and I shivered, curling into my suddenly tattered yukata.

And I was alone. No Rukia. No Ichigo. No Tatsuki. No Shuuhei. No Nii-san. No anybody.

No Byakuya.

Fear pooled itself in my gut and sent fire through my veins. Finding my body quickly ablaze with heat, I began to run. Run somewhere. Anywhere that wasn't here. Had to get away.

But the landscape never changed. Endless gray skies, endless bloody moon, endless falling snow. This world was entirely its own. A world of nothing.

As far as I knew.

But, there was something out here in this wasteland of nightmare. I wasn't alone.

I finally stopped, breathing heavily. My body felt a thousand tons; my energy drifting away with the breeze.

Then, through the blizzard of snow that rained like ash, a lone being appeared before me. His face was shadowed, making him even more ominous than he already was. He was fairly tall and had intense eyes that bore through my very soul and tore it inside out - even though I couldn't even see the gaze itself.

"W-where am I?" I asked the stranger, seeing my own breath. The temperature just kept getting colder and colder...

"Where?" The man chuckled, a deep, dangerous sound that shook me to the very core. "Hell."

If anyone else had said such an inconceivable thing I would have thought they were crazy. However, coming from this man - it seemed completely plausible.

"What are you talking about...?" I asked, gasping at the end as a wind swept through my very bones. Even my blood felt cold.

"Death," he said again, the deep tone of his voice overriding the shrill screech of the wind. "You're dead."

My eyes widened with numb shock, mouth desperately trying to form some kind of argument- But then I found myself unable to make words, a dreadful cough breaking through my throat. It felt as if knives were slicing through my lungs as I hacked and watch with growing horror as the metallic blood dripped from my mouth.

"Wha..." Blindly, I let a hand fall to my abdomen and felt a sticky wetness there. With bated breath, I brought my hand up to inspect and found it stained with crimson blood. My blood.

"H-how?" I coughed, more blood flying from my mouth than words. I was still so fucking freezing and the blood flow had no stop. Truly, I was dying. But if I was dying in Hell, then where was I to go?

Hopefully somewhere warm.

My knees buckled in the next instant and with trepidation I noticed my body going numb at an alarming rate. I tried to fight the inevitable, reminding myself I had things to live for now. A family, friends, a love. Yet in the end, my boneless legs collapsed and I fell like an angel to earth.

The man above towered over me like an evil god of misery. A hatred I had never felt towards one single person came pouring out, directed at just that man. I had never met him, not ever - and yet this loathing I felt was so very familiar.

The object of my abhor was grinning, real backwards and wrong. Like the reaper before he sends you to hell with the icy blade of his scythe. This man did not appear with such an item; his presence alone seemed to cut daggers through my skin.

The numbness spread throughout my entire body and I let out a gasping breath of air. My neck slid forward and cracked with a sickening sound I failed to hear. With a groan, I opened heavy eyelids to peer at the snowy ground below me.

And there, lying lifeless in the rags of some cloth, was a tiny newborn child. Soft snowflakes caressed pale skin, but the infant didn't bat an eye. Forlornly, I wished so very much I could reach out and hold it. But, it was fading - though not completely gone. Just like me. But, I had no strength left to grasp it.

Red around it's body colored the snow. I wondered briefly if the blood had covered it's hair in that color too or if it was naturally like that. Such a useless question, I scolded myself. Ironically, I found myself wondering the next moment if the blood was the infant's or my own.

Deep within my slowly fading heart, I wished I could save it so badly. But how could I, when I couldn't even save myself?

I awoke with a start, a thin layer of sweat covering my body. Byakuya gave me a concerned look, but I assured him I was fine while attempting to calm my accelerated heartbeat. It felt so real, it was unbelievable. It was only a dream though - well, nightmare really. Right?

My mother had always told me about omens and evil spirits appearing in your slumber to give warnings or dreadful tidings. But, those were just wise tales past around a fire. I buried myself in the warmth of my lover and closed my eyes, trying to put it all behind me. However, even with the heat which had always been present and the rationalization my mind kept giving me, one thing still bothered me.

I was inexplicably and utterly freezing.

Ta da! Well, was that dream creepy enough for you? *laughs* Well, it had relevance I swear! ...mostly. Lots of foreshadowing in this chapter!

Actually, it's a funny thing about dreams. A little while ago, I had a dream with my cousin's baby boy in it. So, my friend looked it up in her dream dictionary, and it said that when you dream about a baby, it usually means someone you know is pregnant! And guess what? Found out on Thanksgiving that my sister was three months pregnant with my second little niece or nephew! I'm so happy:)

So, yeah! Next chapter we'll be introducing some fun new characters! 'Till then, see ya'!