Chapter 27: A Little Bit of Love and a Little Revenge
Byakuya woke to a feeling he had almost forgotten. He was buried in softness and warmth, naked and wrapped around Renji Abarai. Despite everything that had tried to tear them apart, they were still there, alive and well and home. He sighed into the soft swirl of red hair and nuzzled deeper into his lover's arms. Renji moved slightly in his sleep, his arms tightening to pull Byakuya closer. The feeling of being held in such a way was achingly beautiful. The touches of hair and skin and breath made his heart purr in his chest and sent such warmth into his mind he wanted to just lie suspended on it, to forget speaking or moving, even breathing as the comfort of being so loved washed over him.
He must, he thought, have moved or made an unbidden sound, because Renji's eyes suddenly blinked open and met his, and Byakuya felt the world fall away all around them as he sank into the depths of those wonderfully loving eyes. And it suddenly felt like ages since they had been together in their bedroom this way, safe and secure, wound warmly around each other. They didn't have to report for duty for several days and there were no meetings or briefings…just an order from the head captain to catch their breath in preparation for returning to duty. And when the next workday came, they would resume their tireless schedule, the slow awakening at dawn and the tracing of their footsteps that carried them through the streets of the Seireitei to the office where they spent so much time…making plans, training, filing reports, and all the while, stealing glances and sharing small exchanges of words that hinted deliciously at what they would do when their duties were seen to and their feet had carried them back to this same place. And they would walk in the gardens and along the forest paths under a blanket of shining stars and a brilliant moon. And when they finally returned to this place, they would lie down and gaze into each other's eyes, knowing without a doubt that this was meant to be…that their love for one another was something fated and chosen and wholly embraced.
"What are you thinking?" Renji whispered.
His thoughts spun away and he found himself at a loss for words. But words weren't necessary anyway and were a poor substitute for pouring the contents of his heart into sweet embraces, gentle kisses and the warm joining of their bodies. So he turned in Renji's arms and loosed the contents of his heart, seeking that warm mouth, sinking into it and loving every inch of it with soft tracings and strokes of his tongue. He sent it pouring out through the hands that held this precious other, that explored the path of each of the black markings on his body, that traveled each curve and hollow, lingering to bring him pleasure, spurred forward by the catching of his breath and the sharpening cadence of the heart that beat beneath his searching fingertips. He released everything into kisses and touches, then watched in breathless wonder as Renji's eyes lit from within and Byakuya was met with a rush of love returned.
He fully expected his fiery lover to upend him, to push him down onto the bed and take him. Renji was a deeply passionate lover and Byakuya did enjoy the times when he could relinquish control and fall under that strong body…to be held down and loved with such ferocity. But there was great value also in the times like this, when Renji chose to return his affection in a much different and profound way.
He was kissing Byakuya back and his hands moved pleasantly in ways that awakened the noble, made him strain toward that lovely tattooed skin, made him devour the exposed flesh hungrily. But the redhead stopped short of taking over. And Byakuya realized with sudden certainty that he was doing this for a reason.
He met the beautiful brown eyes questioningly and Renji smiled back at him.
"Renji?" he whispered.
That warm mouth fastened on his, sending a flash of heat all of the way to his toes. Then, they traveled to his ear in a slow rendering of kisses all the way up his jawline. Byakuya shivered softly.
"I've missed you so much!" Renji whispered, "I missed my captain…the one so strong that a zanpakuto could pass through his heart and he wouldn't die…the one whose power broke us out of Las Noches, the one who managed to show strength even with all of his powers stolen from him…the one who took a short human life and made it into something beautiful. I love you. I love feeling your strength, your power. I haven't felt that for too long. I want to feel that again…"
And given such a profound statement of affection, Byakuya responded instantly. The spiritual pressure rose around the two washing over their bodies like a warm summer wind. The room rumbled softly and they could feel the soft vibration all through them. He wrapped that power around them and sank into his lover's flesh, releasing his reiatsu in a burst of pink light and a shower of soft pink sakura. Renji's face was bathed in bliss and his body rose up against Byakuya's, inhaling their warmth and mingled power, exhaling it in soft, beautiful moans of pleasure as he met each deep, penetrating thrust. He took hold of his lover's powerful hips, pulling them in hungrily, deeper, harder, faster until the pleasure overcame them both and sent them reeling. Renji wrapped his arms tightly around the lithe, beautiful body that had given him such pleasure and overthrew him, now holding him down and treating his still-trembling form to a love-blind rendering of heart melting kisses.
"Now, that's the captain I remember," he whispered.
There was fire and confidence returning to the dark gray eyes. It would be some time before the deeper emotional wounds healed, but Renji was encouraged by what he saw in his Captain's more peaceful expression. Whatever remaining fears or doubts might plague him, Byakuya was going to move forward and put this behind him. And, knowing that the noble had the strength to do that, meant everything to Renji. It re-affirmed what he already knew about his captain-lover…that no matter what challenged him, whatever might seek to do them harm, Byakuya would find the strength to overcome it…and to keep moving forward. And the deepest desire in the redhead's heart was to be the one at Byakuya's side through all of it. The look in his lover's calming eyes assured him that he would be…
Byakuya knelt before the head captain, waiting as the captain commander moved forward to speak to him. He felt the wise, old eyes observing him as he kept his head bowed and his expression calm.
"Byakuya Kuchiki, thank you for abandoning your recuperation and coming to see me. I won't keep you here long."
"Hai, Head Captain, it was no trouble," Byakuya replied quietly.
"I want first to inquire into your recovery. Captain Unohana reports that you have been fully restored as a shinigami, with no lingering physical effects from either the human transformation or the near-hollowfication. It seems you were extremely fortunate not to have suffered a worse fate, considering what you faced."
"I agree, I was fortunate…but I would not have been so fortunate without the help of Renji…Kisuke…Tadashi and Nia…Ichigo…"
The head captain nodded.
"It is a blessing, I think, to have friends like these," commented the head captain, "but I think you need to be careful in the way you express your affection when it comes to one of those friends in particular. I feel I must remind you that your relationship with Renji Abarai did play into the hands of the ones who opposed you."
Byakuya raised his eyes to meet the captain commander's.
"As do all relationships, sir. While I admit that my poor choice to express my affections to Renji while representing the Gotei 13 did make useful fodder for my enemies, I will not allow those enemies or any others to shake my resolve in this. I am in love with Renji and he returns that sentiment wholeheartedly. And from this point on, I will proceed with greater caution so that I do not have to endure something like this again…but I will not leave Renji. I cannot. Not now…not ever."
The head captain studied him for several long, silent minutes.
"Well," he said finally, "perhaps as you grow older, you will also grow wiser, Byakuya Kuchiki. Go then. You have your clearance to return to active duty."
"Arigato, Head Captain."
"What are you doing here?" Byakuya asked, spotting Renji waiting for him as he left the first division.
"Oh…I was just…in the area and thought I'd meet you and…"
"Walk me to work?" Byakuya prompted him.
"Yeah, walk you to work."
"That's funny…because I wasn't all that sure I was going back to work right away. I thought, perhaps that the head captain would inflict some punishment for my actions that prompted the investigation. I did actually break a few rules."
"Like you haven't been through enough!" Renji said, frowning, "So he didn't, did he?"
"No," Byakuya replied softly, "He merely expressed that he was glad for my recovery and he returned me to active duty."
"Really?" said Renji, raising an eyebrow in surprise, "I was worried he would still be pissed about us having sex in your office."
"He did also suggest that my continued love relationship with you could expose me to more unpleasantness at the hands of my enemies and suggested I consider abandoning it."
Renji stopped walking and stared silently at Byakuya.
"I told the head captain that there was no way I was going to leave you…not now, not ever…Renji," the noble said, smiling at his lover's worried expression.
Renji's face dissolved into instant relief. Byakuya's smile widened and his eyes narrowed.
"Well…what did you think I would say?"
"I don't know," Renji said, looking a bit confused, "I…uh, well I know your position as captain and being a clan leader too is making this difficult for you…"
"And you thought I couldn't handle that?" Byakuya asked, maintaining his calm appearance, but starting to leak a somewhat agitated reiatsu.
"No…I mean yes…I mean, I know you can handle it, but I just…wasn't so sure I was worth all of the trouble, you know?"
"Well then, Renji Abarai, let me personally reassure you as your captain…as your lover…and as your friend…You are more than worth the trouble."
Byakuya's arms wrapped around him and pulled him close. And Renji felt a shock of surprise as Byakuya kissed him, heedless of the fact that they were just outside the first division, that there were so many shinigami around, that it was during work hours. Renji laughed softly and kissed him back with equal warmth.
"And you're going to get into plenty of that trouble if you stay with me, Captain."
"I see," Byakuya said, frowning slightly, "Fortunately for me, I have a very capable vice captain watching my back."
Byakuya felt the heated touch of the head captain's reiatsu.
"Come, Renji," he said, turning, "Let's go."
Byakuya sighed and shifted in his chair, distracted by the soft laughter issuing from the area of Renji's desk. He looked across the room and frowned at the small cluster of bodies gathered around the vice captain's desk and cleared his throat. None of them seemed to notice. He paused, annoyed and cleared his throat more loudly. Renji looked up apologetically.
"Sorry, Captain, didn't mean to disturb you," he said, "It's just…sorry…"
He lowered his head again and the three gathered around his desk tried to be quiet, but eventually, their voices burst, once again, into uncontrolled laughter. Byakuya looked up again, sharply and was met with another quick apology from Renji.
"What are the three of you doing over there?" Byakuya asked sternly, "I thought that I told you to start working on the next set of living world postings."
"Yes, sir, you did. But…ah hell, maybe you should come and have a look at this."
Curious, Byakuya rose and crossed the room, taking a seat beside Renji. He glanced at the small viewing screen on the desk in front of Renji and his eyes went wide.
"Kami! That's Gin ichimaru!" he exclaimed, "but why is he…doing that?"
The three burst into laughter again and took several moments to collect themselves.
"It's…it's one of those spy mice from the twelfth division," Renji explained.
"Captain," said Tadashi, smiling, "it seems that on my haste to escape Las Noches, I failed to notice when it slipped out of my pocket. When I realized it was missing, I activated it to see where it was…and it was still there."
Byakuya tilted his head, staring.
"And what capabilities does this spy mouse have?" he asked, watching closely as the camera zoomed in on Gin's face.
"Ah, it has a camera and microphone, tracking device, a small laser and some hypnotic effects."
He paused, still watching closely as the mouse employed its hypnosis and Gin tripped over his own foot.
"You should try not to be so obvious," Byakuya cautioned them, "and this should be reported to the head captain. Such a way of looking in on Aizen and his lackeys could prove useful for the war. We should not jeopardize its use by playing with it this way."
He stared more closely at Gin's image.
"Captain?" queried Renji.
"Hand me the control device."
Renji swallowed hard and handed the controller to Byakuya. The noble studied the controls carefully for a moment.
"How strong is the laser? How close must it be to inflict a cut?"
"Uh…just a little closer than it is," said Tadashi, "but won't that…"
Byakuya touched the control pad and the mouse moved carefully into range. Byakuya frowned as the controller was taken from his hand. He glared at Renji for a moment, then his expression softened in realization.
"I know he did it to you…but I'd really like to do this…if you don't mind…Captain," Renji said, fixing the laser on its target.
"You do realize he'll probably find it," Tadashi cautioned him, "If you want to preserve it to use against Aizen, maybe you shouldn't do that."
"Oh, hell no, we're not going to pass up a chance like this. We'll be careful."
Renji took careful aim at Gin's face.
"Right there…wouldn't you say, Captain?"
"Perfect," he breathed.
"Just give the order, then."
Byakuya watched for a long moment, his eyes gleaming as they studied Gin's face.
"Fire when ready, Renji."
A moment later, a sharp scream sounded from within the monitor and four peals of laughter filled the room.