Raging Moon

By Spunky0ne

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Aizen Sousuke finds a mortally wounded Byakuya abandoned in Hueco Mundo and goes to extreme means to save his life. But he could never imagine the chaos that decision would cause...Aizen/Byakuya

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Aizen Sousuke stood silently alongside Ichimaru Gin, at the top of the fifth tower in the fortress called Las Noches, his eyes focused out across the desert in front of him.

I know the feel of this reiatsu that approaches.

I anticipated that as soon as I made my nefarious plans known to the Gotei 13, they would stop at nothing to kill me. But although they've tried more than a few times to end my life, I continue to live and breathe to spite them. Even if I must do so in such a dead place as Hueco Mundo. But this place and the hollows who inhabit it are merely a means to an end. When my plans come to fruition and I complete the process to make the king's key, I will leave Hueco Mundo forever and dwell in the Royal Realm that looks down on the three worlds. And with the fall of the king, so too will fall that ridiculous farce of a society that places blood over achievement, that favors some and applies the laws inequitably...in short the society that tried to hold me back for no better reason than that I came from the poor loins of a pair of commoners. But they will find it impossible to look down on me when I am standing above them.

It hardly surprises me that there are those who disagree with me, even enough to want to kill me. I just wish they'd do it a little more quietly and not disturb me while I enjoy the one thing about this place that shines...the lovely moon and stars.

"Sousuke," said Gin's voice, floating in from somewhere in the darkness, "It looks as though one of the taichous has come to Hueco Mundo."

"I heard the alert. Do you know which taichou?"

"No," said Gin, "But whoever it is, he or she comes alone and is in a rather remote area. And strangely, whoever it is, makes no move to come closer to Las Noches, nor even to move in any strategic direction."

Aizen frowned.

"How did this person enter Hueco Mundo?" he asked, his curiosity piqued.

"That's the strangest part…I don't know. There was no garganta opened…and no other method used that we can identify. It's almost as if the person simply appeared there."

"And is now just remaining in that place…odd. I believe I'll go have a look."

"Oh, sounds like fun," said Gin, "Can I tag along?"

"Of course, Gin. Come."

"Would you like to take along a few exequias…just in case?" Gin asked

He read the annoyed expression on his superior's face and laughed softly.

"Just a suggestion. It could be a trap…meant to catch your attention. You know, not everyone on their side is stupid."

"No," Aizen agreed, "It's just too bad for them that the intelligent ones are not the ones holding the most power."

He sighed softly.

"It is that very stupidity and short-sightedness that will lead them to ruin…Gin"

"That goes without saying," the silver haired shinigami agreed.

They made their way across the sand in silence, Aizen's eyes straying up to the stars as they flash stepped through the stillness, leaving a trail of disturbed sand in their wake. Dunes and cliffs rose up in their path, only to be passed over and left behind.

"You're rather quiet tonight, Gin," Aizen observed.

He flash stepped to the top of a sand dune and paused to scan ahead, then glanced back at his colleague, who he found to be looking up at the crescent moon. He knew well the expression and walked back to him.

"Gin," he said, startling him out of his reverie, "What's on your mind?"

"Oh…nothing really…"

"Nothing," said Aizen, unconvinced, "Gin, I know it's her birthday."

He observed the silver haired shinigami for a moment.

"Maybe you should go and visit her," he suggested.

He received a genuine smile in return.

"Go and visit her? You are funny, Sousuke! I'd have to be mad to set foot in the Seireitei! I'd be arrested and executed, likely before morning! Go and visit her! Right…"

"I could use my zanpakutou…" he offered.

He caught the look of longing that passed over Gin's face.

"No, thank you. You know, it doesn't work on everyone. I'd be found in a flash, I imagine."

"Then only allow her to see you. It should be easy enough. Just approach her when she's alone."

"And do what? She'd probably arrest me…turn me in, herself," he said, shaking his head, not quite believing his crafty leader had him actually considering such a thing.

"Well, you won't know if you never ask her. Go."

He drew his weapon.

"Shatter, Kyouka Suigetsu."

Gin frowned in disapproval.

"This is a little dangerous…"

"Like trying to overthrow the Spirit King isn't? Get out of here, Gin. I can handle a lone taichou gone astray. And if I can't, then I don't deserve to lead anyone."

Gin laughed softly, then drew his sword and opened a garganta. He started to step through, then stopped and looked back.

"What, no teary good bye, Sousuke?" he asked, grinning.

"Why? You're not coming back?" Aizen asked, blinking slowly.

"Well," he said cryptically, "I guess we'll see."

He laughed again and stepped through the garganta. Shaking his head and allowing himself a small smile.

Aizen continued through the desert until he drew near the place where he had sensed the enemy taichou.

The reiatsu in this area is abysmally low, meaning whoever is here has probably lowered or masked it. Hmm...

The sand in the area looked undisturbed, with no tracks leading into or out of the small depression where the reiatsu signal seemed to be centered. He moved forward, his senses extended, expecting fully that he would, at some point, be attacked. But the area around him remained silent except for his tread on the sand. He crested a small rise and saw a crumpled body lying in the sand ahead of him. The reiatsu coming from it indicated a life about to expire. Curious, but still expecting it to be a trap, he stepped forward.

The form ahead of him in the sand remained still and silent. As he drew closer, the moon lit the blood on the white yukata the man wore. Aizen could see a slight movement, meaning that whoever it was, was barely alive.

And he is not likely to stay alive for long.

He closed the distance between them and knelt down, turning the limp body over and positioning the man's face so he could see it in the moonlight. His eyes widened in surprise.

"Byakuya…" he whispered, staring in fascination.

He looked around again, wondering at the oddness of the scene…the lack of any signs of a battle or the passage of anyone, living or hollow.

"You're lucky that your spiritual pressure was so low or the hollows out here would have eaten you," he said, opening the noble's yukata to study his wounds, "And that would just be too simple a death for someone like you, ne?"

A cold chill passed through him at the sight of the one wound. A zanpakutou directly through the heart. A killing blow.

"My," he said softly, "someone wanted to make sure that you didn't come back. Interesting that one such as you would fall prey to such…"

He stopped and reached out with his senses. His eyes darkened and became stormy.

"Unacceptable," he whispered, "Put out and murdered without any chance to resist. Granted you're strong, but this is a coward's work."

He sighed in disgust and leaned over the noble, healing energy flaring around his hands.

"You may be an enemy, but this is far too disgraceful a way for any man to die, so it simply isn't going to happen."

But although he could heal the wound, he couldn't undo the fact that Byakuya had lain so long in the sand that he had bled too much…or the fact that his reiatsu had diminished to the point where saving him was not an option. He gazed down at the nearly dead shinigami, frowning.

"What's the matter, Byakuya?" he asked in a low voice, "Don't you want to live? Don't you want to make the coward who took your life this way pay for it? Well, I'll tell you what. I will help you, free of charge. I know it's odd and perhaps a little reckless, but I despise this kind of behavior. A man like you deserves a much more worthy passing. Don't you agree?"

He leaned over Byakuya and brushed his eyes closed.

"This might hurt a bit, but after being stabbed in the heart, it won't hurt as much."

Aizen's head bowed slightly, and he focused, using the power of the hougyoku. Reiatsu rose around the two men, disturbing the sand and making the wind rise. On the ground at his feet, Byakuya opened his dark grey eyes, and his lips parted into a scream as a hollow mask began to form. Aizen watched as the enemy taichou writhed and moaned, and the mask continued to grow. Slowly, the shinigami's struggling ceased and he laid quietly in the sand, his breathing heavier and labored. Aizen knelt next to him, admiring the mask that had formed.

It was as finely carved and as beautiful as the noble, himself, mingled blue and white in a dance of pink petals that swirled from the left side to the right, and inlaid with bright silver. Aizen smiled approvingly and reached down and carefully to remove it.

"Don't worry," he told the unconscious noble, "another will form whenever your hollow form emerges, but this original is somewhat special. I hope you don't mind if I keep it,"

He stood and lifted the noble into his arms.

"Now, I think I should return you to the Seireitei. I have an idea of where you'll be safe until you awaken."

He drew his sword and slashed the sky. A garganta opened and he carried Byakuya through. He set down in the forest near Kuchiki Manor and headed for a nearby lake.

"You may not remember," he told the unconscious noble, "but when I lived in the Seirietei, I had a cabin where I would go for peace and reflection. It makes a good place to conceal myself and observe now, but there will be no harm in letting you borrow it."

He followed a barely visible trail that wound around the lake and led to what looked like an abandoned, burned out cabin. As they passed inside, however, the interior looked clean and impeccably well kept. He passed through the front entry and carried Byakuya to one of the bedrooms, then set the noble down and flash stepped to the closet.

"You're a mess, Byakuya. This won't do at all."

He untied the bloodied, white yukata and carried the noble to the bathroom, where he ran a warm bath and began to wash the blood away. As his hands passed over the soft, pale flesh, he couldn't help but admire the artistry that had gone into the making of Byakuya's slender body...the finely shaped bone structure, the delicate look that concealed shocking amounts of power, lovely, proud features and nothing to mar the beauty of him, now that the hole in his heart had disappeared.

He knelt next to the unconscious noble, wondering again who might have wanted him dead badly enough to kill him in such an unseemly and dishonorable fashion. And then, there was the way he had been left. Yes, this wasn't just someone who didn't like Byakuya, this was someone who hated him with a passion. And while he had found the man's proud nature a bit annoying, he certainly didn't hate Byakuya.

To the contrary, I find him fascinating. He looks, walks and talks like his noble kin, but there is something very different about him. This difference has gotten him into trouble with the Kuchiki elders on more than one occasion, the most well known being when he married the peasant girl, Hisana of Inuzuri.

There was, he had decided then, more than met the eye about this noble…

He finished cleaning away the last of the blood and lifted Byakuya out of the bathtub, then carefully dried him off and dressed him on one of his own yukatas, a dark, rich red one

It looks lovely with all those soft swirls of black hair tumbling down over his sohulders like that.

He carried the noble back into the bedroom and tucked him in bed, using his power to keep Byakuya from waking.

Walking out to the kitchen, he made some tea and carried it back to the noble, raising his consciousness just enough so that he could drink the tea without choking and without fully waking. He wasn't, he decided, ready for Byakuya to know who had assisted him. The noble had other things of importance to deal with, not the least of which was finding and dispatching whoever had ordered his assassination. And besides, Aizen thought, he would most likely blow the doors off his manor when he realized the lengths to which someone had gone to save his life.

I certainly don't expect Byakuya will thank me.

In all likelihood, the noble would be incensed enough to want to hunt down and kill the one who had hollowfied him.

But perhaps he will content himself with killing his would-be assassin.

Aizen sighed.

"Time will tell," he said softly.

He looked one last time at the handsome noble sleeping soundly in his bed. He was definitely pleasing to the senses and one didn't get too many chances to see such a beautiful creature up close like this. He leaned forward and planted a warm kiss on the soft, sweet tasting lips. The feeling of that kiss stayed with him as he opened a garganta and made his way back to Las Noches. It stayed with him as he stood in his steamy shower, then as he prepared himself for bed. It stayed with him as he turned to look out his bedroom window and caught sight of a lovely shooting star.

I wish you were mine.

He laughed at himself for thinking in such a way. That one such as Kuchiki Byakuya would ever love a dangerous traitor to Soul Society was beyond ridiculous. It was beyond dangerous and bordering on insane. But in the darkness of his room, under the stars and moon, it was enjoyable to indulge in fantasy. He did, after all, have a creative and busy mind. And thinking about Kuchiki Byakuya was amusing…amusing and stimulating.

Aizen fell asleep, still thinking about the noble and wondering what he would do when he woke. Would he remember the killing? And how long would it be before he caught and killed the ones who had done it? Odd questions, he thought, but he needed something to occupy him as he waited for the time to advance in his plans.

And Byakuya is a deeply pleasant diversion...

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Byakuya opened his eyes and groaned uncomfortably. He sat up, bringing a hand to his aching head as he looked around the room, trying to figure out where was. Realization coming into his eyes, he tore the yukata open and stared down at his bared chest.

So odd. I remember waking…and there was a blade through my heart!

His searching fingers found an odd reiatsu around where the wound had been. And a moment later, he discovered that there seemed to be a difference in his own reiatsu, though he couldn't sense what it was. He felt chilled and uncertain.

It was obvious enough that someone had tried to kill him…not the one who had actually struck the killing blow, but someone who ordered that person to do it.

It is some comfort to have slain my assassin, but the person who ordered my death is still very much alive and walking around free. He or she is likely to try again when they learn the attempt on my life failed.

I have to get back to Kuchiki Manor to begin unraveling this mystery, but I must be exceedingly cautious. Whoever did this went to great lengths to see that I died, and in fact, I thought the attempt succeeded.

He couldn't think of a reason why he was alive and in this place, having been brought there by some other person…someone powerful enough to have stopped him from dying, but not terribly interested in sticking around to take credit for doing so. Byakuya sighed and settled back into the bed.

I am not ready to return just yet. Before I leave the safety of this little sanctuary, I need to form a strategy.