(Just a note to let readers know…Holiday Baking has been worked into this story's timeline and so appears here as well as in the original standalone story. This is to adjust Byakuya's pregnancy in Holiday Baking to fit into the Shattered Moon series. So Byakuya is pregnant here, but it is early pregnancy and he does not deliver the child until the next story.)
Prologue: Beneath the Waterfall
In a clearing in the woods of the Spirit King's Dimension, beside the calm, blue lake and beneath the waterfall, a tall, pale skinned man with long waves of raven black hair and dark blue eyes, tilted his head back, letting the water run over the back of his head and down the length of his straight back. He tossed his head and gently shook the water out of his hair. A shadowed form approached him and wrapped warm arms around him, nuzzling his neck gently and letting his hands rove all over the noble's lovely skin.
"Hajime," the king said affectionately, "you know when you do this, I cannot resist you."
The noble sank more deeply into the king's embrace.
"I do not recall saying you needed to resist. You are my king. If there is something you want from me, by all means, it is yours."
The king turned the young noble and pulled him closer, bringing their mouths together warmly. Hajime's mouth opened and the king slipped his tongue inside, gently exploring every inch of its sweet depths, curling their tongues together, while a searching hand drifted down and laced their fingers lightly together. Hajime sighed with contentment, sending a tremor through the king.
"Hajime…" the king breathed in his ear.
The hot breath tickled the noble's neck and sent a shiver through him. The king pushed him back against the rocks and plundered his mouth again, lingering inside, stroking every surface with light, delicate touches. The noble moaned softly.
"Ah…my king, when you do this, I cannot resist you!" Hajime breathed.
The king tightened his embrace.
"Then let us not resist. Let us make the most of this lovely day, my Hajime."
He pulled the young lord down into the shallow water and Hajime laid back, enjoying the riled motion of it on his skin, and the light misted spray from the waterfall. The king laid next to him, leaning over him and continuing the warm exploration of his mouth and the gentle brush of searching hands on the noble's soft skin. Hajime's responding touches were enticing and respectfully placed. One did not make love, he thought, to the maker of all things, without every move being very much by his leave. The king, it seemed, loved both the young lord's touches and the loving respect with which they were offered and it ignited a desire in him to show his appreciation with the continuation of this genuine and passionate exchange.
His hands traveled the curves of Hajime's body, much as they had in the creation of the very first of the nobles in his lineage, and the king silently congratulated himself on having made these nobles well, both strong defenders of justice in the realm, and supreme examples of their maker's love of beauty in all things.
Hajime moved more restlessly now, his eyes brightly lit, his lips honoring the king's body with sensuous brushings and hushed whispers of affection. His heart raced softly under the king's warm fingertips and he breathed in soft, heated sighs.
"You are so beautiful, Hajime!" the king exclaimed breathlessly.
"If I am," the young noble panted, "then it's only because you made me that way…"
The respect in those words…the happy acknowledgment! The king was truly touched, and he let the sentiment run all through his body, out through his hands, and into the touches he gave Hajime. It made the young lord shiver with pleasure.
"Hajime…Hajime…will you give yourself to me?" the king whispered into the warm shell of an ear.
"I withhold nothing from my lord," Hajime responded, "I mean to serve my lord in all things…and in all ways."
The king placed a tender kiss on Hajime's lips.
"I want to give you a gift, Hajime," the king said softly, "I want to make a child with you."
"With…" Hajime said smiling, "with…me?"
The king nodded, his fingers tracing the young lord's lips.
Hajime brushed a cheek against the king's fingers and followed with his lips.
"But…wouldn't that cause…jealousy?" he asked softly, "We are always careful not to dishonor our queen."
"Yes," the king agreed, "and she appreciates this. I assure you, she takes no issue with this decision. I already have heirs. Ours is a friendly, happy marriage of convenience, Hajime, and the queen loves you well for making me so content."
Hajime gave him a pleased smile.
"Then, if it pleases you, we shall make a child, my lord…but…"
The words were lost in the rush of the king's passion. His mouth descended on Hajime's, stopping the passage of words, taking the young lord's breath away in a blinding flurry of kisses and sighs. He touched Hajime's thighs and they parted easily for him. Sinking into the core of that beautiful, noble form, the king released his reiatsu, carefully joining it with the noble's, weaving the two into one. Hajime gave a deeply pleasured moan at the binding of their spirit energy and wrapped his body tightly around his king's as the king's power glowed softly around them. Their bodies moved against each other in heavy, passionate thrusts now, and Hajime could neither stop the soft cries that broke from his lips, nor tame the wild tremors shaking his young body.
"My lord!" he whispered breathlessly, clinging to the king's body, "My king…"
The king's power flashed around them, lighting their bodies and sending heavy currents of sensation through them. The king's body shuddered against Hajime's and Hajime cried out in unrestrained pleasure. The king's head bowed gently in release and they rode out the waves of pleasure together, their eyes locked as tightly as their trembling forms. Sated and relaxed, they indulged in a soft display of warm kisses and soothing touches as the water rained down around them.
The king smiled down at Hajime as the young noble laid beneath him, somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. He touched a hand to Hajime's chest and blue light flared brightly. When it faded, Hajime felt a soft weight rested there and heard a lovely tiny cry.
"I wondered how…" Hajime began, and was silenced with a tender kiss.
"I am your king and creator, Hajime," he said softly, "All things are possible."
They laid together, holding their son close, kissing his tiny fingers and toes. When the king left him, Hajime remained beneath the waterfall, holding the infant close to him. The joy he felt was tempered by the growing concern he felt that all was not well between the queen and himself.
"My Lord is generous and loves me well. He has given me a gift beyond compare. I shall not dare to question him. He is, in all things wise and I will trust his vision.
But I cannot help but feel the chill in the air, the icy cut of the breeze against my skin. Even as new life lies breathing for the first time, perched happily on my breast, I look into the eyes of my newborn son and I wonder…are we safe? He says the queen is not jealous, that she is happy for us, but her eyes fall darkly on me when she looks at me at all these days, and I fear that she withholds her true heart."
Byakuya closed Hajime's diary and placed it back among the others, then picked up his own and opened it on the table in front of him. He sighed softly and set himself to work, recording pertinent events within noble house and Seireitei, then he leaned his chin against his palm and thought for a moment before finishing the entry with a more personal observation.
My dreams continue to be filled with thoughts of my ancestor, Hajime. The ancient sakura in the Spirit King's dimension promised that when my son needs the assistance, it will be Hajime who comes back from death to stand at his side. And although the sakura we planted here allows me communication with the mother tree, she cannot tell me anything more, nor why Hajime is so present in my thoughts. She only says that because of the importance of the approaching events, her eyes are clouded. I understand all too well the need for us all to be free to make our decisions and to choose our fate…but I worry about the hands that move to affect our fate, to shift us from our course and to place us on a reckoning course with disaster.
The most probable way to that is the discovery that our Hajime has officially been named Crown Prince. Prince Kazuhiko himself first renounced his claim to the throne, then introduced our Hajime as the descendant of the king's union with our ancestor, Hajime. Although the announcement was confined to the Spirit King's dimension and all within know to keep the secret when they come to the Seireitei, I fear that somehow that secret will find its way into the wrong hands. In fact, it almost seems the expected thing. Why else would anyone think to hurt Hajime? He is only five years old. Though he is powerful, he makes no show of it in front of others. Captain Unohana works with him constantly to hone his skills in healing and connection to nature. The only other thing that would draw attention to him is that he is a member of the Kuchiki clan…but there are quite a lot of Kuchiki family members, despite the queen's attack. No, I think this will come from someone finding out about Hajime's designation.
Worse, I suspect that the one most likely to desire and use that information is the same one who has shown repeatedly his hatred of the Spirit King and the noble families. His recklessness and his manipulations have shaken the Seireitei and this family…and me…too many times. He has been quiet this past year as our family recovered from his last foul plan.
Takeshi has regained the memories stolen from him, but still wakes at night, shaking and calling out for me. His heart is still burdened with the fact that he took me to Hueco Mundo himself and that not only was my life threatened, so were the lives of the children I carried and the ones who went to Hueco Mundo to rescue us. But now Takeshi and I are bonded more closely than we were before. Where before we were growing distant, our common experience from our imprisonment at Sosuke Aizen's hands has brought us closer. And we are now very much looking forward to his eighteenth birthday…just four years away…when he will receive his own kenseiken, crafted and first placed by me. It is troubling that Aizen's treachery seems constantly with us, but it has strengthened us…both Takeshi and me.
I no longer fear for myself. The ancient sakura promised that I would no longer be vulnerable to Kyoka Suigetsu…and that if Aizen should strike me with a fatal blow, my blood will poison him and he will die with me. But I worry that if he learns of Hajime's new status as Crown Prince, he will attack or kill my son…or that he might try to somehow use him to attack our king.
Byakuya's head lifted and he paused his writing. He waited for a moment and heard the sound drift down into the archive. He set his diary back on the shelf and made his way out of the archive. It was dark and the lights had already been turned down for the night. He paused outside the archive and looked around, listening carefully and reaching out with his senses. He sensed a disturbed reiatsu in the garden and heard hushed voices ahead of him. He flash stepped toward the sound.
"Hajime! Hajime, wake up!" said Takeshi's voice, "Hajime, you're sleepwalking again."
Takeshi looked up at Byakuya as he flash stepped into view. Chisaki appeared on the walkway nearby, looking disheveled and sleepy.
"He walked by my room and didn't answer when I talked to him," explained Takeshi.
Byakuya knelt next to the boy, looking into the dark, hazed eyes.
"Hajime," he said, holding him by the shoulders and letting his reiatsu swirl around the boy.
Hajime blinked several times and his eyes began to clear.
"Daddy Bya?" he whispered.
"You were sleepwalking again, Hajime," Byakuya explained, "Do you remember anything?"
The boy nodded.
"Someone was calling me."
Byakuya's eyes closed for a moment, then found his again.
"Did you recognize any voices?" he asked.
Hajime shook his head.
"Then why would you go to them? Why would you go to someone who you do not know?" Byakuya asked.
Hajime looked into his eyes, blinking again.
"I couldn't help it. I didn't want to go, but I did it anyway," he explained.
Byakuya rose, lifting the boy into his arms. He carried the boy back to his room and set him in bed with a kiss on the forehead.
"It's all right, Hajime," he assured the boy, "just try to go back to sleep."
Takeshi and Chisaki were still waiting outside the room when Byakuya stepped out again.
"Is he okay, Dad?" Takeshi asked.
"Hajime is fine," Byakuya assured him, "but to be safe, I will have someone watch his room at night, so that he won't wander off. Now, it is late and you two will be working with Rikichi again tomorrow. If we are ever to convince him to move up to a captain's post, the two of you need to learn to work at the vice captain's level."
The twins flash stepped off to their bedrooms, leaving Byakuya looking after them. He turned toward his own room, stopping to speak to the night guard and then to look in on the two baby girls in the nursery. Both girls were sleeping peacefully and the night attendant smiled upon seeing him.
"Sleeping like angels, sir," she assured him.
Byakuya nodded and continued back along the walkway to his room. He walked into the room, closing the garden doors behind him, then moved to the dressing area to disrobe. Wrapping himself in a towel, he continued on to the bathroom and started the shower. He moved underneath the hot spray and sighed sleepily, letting the steaming water wash away the tension. As his anxiousness faded, fatigue took over and he yawned and let his eyes drift shut. So entranced by the soothing rush of water over his body, he didn't even notice when the shower door opened. It wasn't until the warm, tanned arms wrapped around him that he turned in those arms in surprise and found himself being pushed back against the wall, and his mouth being eagerly plundered.
"Kami, Renji! You…weren't supposed to…be back for…another week!" he managed between kisses.
"Yeah, well I was tired of being away from you and the kids," he said, grinning and bending slightly to bite down on the noble's soft, white throat, "And besides, it's Christmas. I didn't want to miss all of the fun."
Byakuya tilted his head back and closed his eyes, moaning softly. He sank his fingers into the thick, wet hair and threaded his fingers into it as the redhead continued his assault on the noble's fully exposed throat.
Renji pulled back for a moment and gazed at Byakuya's questioning eyes, then gathered his unsuspecting lover in his arms and flash stepped back to their bed, dropping him onto it then trapping him there with his own wet body.
"Renji, for kami's sake, I wasn't finished showering…and we're soaked! Renji…"
But the redhead wasn't listening.
He silenced the noble's objections with a flurry of searing kisses, then fell on his throat again, licking the water droplets from his skin. From there, he worked his way slowly down his lover's slender torso, continuing to kiss and lick the drops of water from the soft, sweet flesh. By the time he sank his tongue into Byakuya's navel, the noble's body was trembling and the thickened, blushing member that awaited Renji was leaking furiously in anticipation of his touch.
"I see you missed me, too," he whispered, beginning a warm, loving assault on his lover's body.
"R-Renji…" Byakuya gasped, "w-wait…it…it's been almost…a…ah…Renji!"
He lost the ability to speak as the sinful mouth continued to pleasure him and Renji's fingers prepared him. By the time the redhead removed his fingers and returned to pleasure his mouth again, Byakuya could barely draw breath. Warm fingers pressed against the base of his erection, slowing the pace and giving the noble time to recover himself somewhat. He sucked Renji's tongue into his mouth and stroked it heavily with his own, then released it and nipped hungrily at the redhead's lips.
Renji shifted and nudged the noble's thighs open wider, and entering him slowly. He stopped for a moment, meeting the deep gray eyes affectionately.
"I more than missed you, Bya," he whispered, "When I'm away from you, it's like I'm missing half of my heart."
It barely registered in Byakuya's stunned mind when Renji began to move. His own body moved without thought, straining madly against Renji's, aching for completion, but his mind kept hearing those beautiful words repeat. And they didn't stop, even once the pleasure exploded all around him and their passionate cries filled the air.