Chapter 20: The Bloodletting

Byakuya felt a warm hand caressing the bump on his abdomen and affectionate lips making a line of kisses down the side of his throat. He opened his eyes to meet Aizen Sousuke's. The noble's fingertips traced the lips that had kissed him, then slipped into the other man's brown hair, coaxing him into a hotter, deeper exchange of kisses that left the two panting softly and hungry for more. Byakuya shoved the other man down playfully and Aizen's eyes narrowed slightly and watched closely as the noble let his yukata fall open, then spread his milky white thighs and sat astride his lover's body, with their already swollen members touching. Byakuya laced their fingers together and moved his hips slowly, looking down into the crown prince's eyes as he rubbed warmly against him.

"You still look pale and rather weary," Byakuya commented, "Are you all right, Sousuke?"

"Am I all right?" the other man said, smirking, "You have helped me to regain my rightful place in the monarchy, and you sit atop my body, dancing so beautifully while giving me sweet, tantalizing pleasure. I would say that I am better than all right."

"But your reiatsu is oddly low. Are you sure you are not ill?"

Aizen shook his head.

"I am fine, my love. Stop worrying," he said, sliding his hands around the noble's lovely bottom and encouraging him in the slow, increasingly heavy, grinding motions.

Byakuya's head bowed as they moved together, and he felt a strange dizziness pass over him. He couldn't be sure if it was simply the heat of their passions colliding, or if he had gone feverish.

"Sousuke..." he moaned, falling forward slightly and placing his hands on either side of the other man's head as he fell onto his lover's chest, thrusting harder and invading the other man's mouth with romantic fervor.

"Byakuya...!" Aizen sighed, his eyes closing in bliss at the shockingly beautiful sensations.

He held on tightly to the noble's thrusting bottom, moving his own hips to increase the delicious friction. His fingers invaded Byakuya's entrance and began to prepare him, and Byakuya responded instantly, rising up off of the other man's chest and throwing his head back, closing his eyes in ecstasy.

"What a lovely sight!" Aizen mused, sweat misting his skin as one hand continued to pleasure the noble's nether region and the other rose up to tease his nipples, before sliding provocatively down his undulating torso, "Oh...oh, Byakuya! Even before, when I thought you might never love me, I didn't dare dream of something so devilishly beautiful. Yet...here you are...giving yourself to me...body, mind and heart. I thought that I might die, never knowing this..."

"I couldn't let myself love you before," Byakuya whispered back, "I was held back by my submission to the clan laws and rules. It wouldn't have been allowed. And then...then, I believed you to be our enemy. But all of that unhappiness is washed away now. Because even where my commitment to duty placed me in the arms of the possessed king, you came to me. Even after I refused you, you came to me and Sousuke, you have given back everything that matters to me. So...I do not need to go back to the Seireitei...to retake my place as the head of household. The only place I belong now, is in your arms. And the only duty that I feel obliged to perform is to make you content and raise our children here, in the palace."

A slow, smirking smile crawled across Aizen's face as the words sank in.

"Children?"

"Yes, Sousuke," Byakuya whispered, bringing their lips together, "I would like a large family...if you are amenable to that."

Aizen's smile widened.

"I do suppose that as the invading hollows have whittled down the royal family to just a few, it would be good for us to have a substantial number of children. And I must admit, both the making of those children, as well as seeing you so content carrying them will bring me endless pleasure, Byakuya. But...I do not want this to weigh on you. You gave up everything to serve the king as his consort, and it nearly crushed your fine spirits. I do not want our union to merely be something that you see to out of commitment to duty. I want it to be as fulfilling for you as it is for me. If it is not, then I would not wish for you to stay, but would return you to your manor this moment."

A shiver went through the prince as Byakuya gifted him with a very slight, but genuine smile.

"Sousuke, the reason that I could not find contentment with King Yoshiaki is that he treated me, from the beginning, as his possession, something to be used for his pleasure, emptied and made hollow, then discarded and forgotten. Had his suit been honorable, I would not have been crushed. I would not have loved him as I do you, in any case. You have, it seems, had my heart for some time. And now, it is yours for all time. I am content. You make me content."

"Do I?" the prince said smoothly, "because, although you do look lovely and riled, you do not yet look content. I wonder what I shall do about that..."

He turned suddenly and brought Byakuya down onto his hands and knees on the bed, then pushed down on his upper back, making him rest on his forearms with his bottom raised and completely exposed to his lover. Aizen laid himself across the noble's white back, pulling his hair back to uncover his graceful neck and muscular shoulder as he entered him.

"Oh, S-sousuke!" Byakuya gasped, his eyelids fluttering as Aizen made a line of kisses down his spine, then backed away slightly and teased the noble as he narrowed his eyes, just thinking about what he was going to do to his pretty lover. He placed a hand on each round buttock, and coaxed his the noble's legs open wider, smirking as Byakuya gave a lusty groan of anticipation. Aizen first dipped his head slightly and pleasured his nether region shamelessly. Byakuya shuddered and gripped the bedding, moaning helplessly as Aizen's tongue touched and teased him. An even more lusty sound escaped him as his lover's hot breath touched the area, then with agonizing slowness, his tongue played about, while Aizen's hands caressed his privates nearly to the point of undoing him, then and there. The prince pulled away for a moment, coaxing a sound of distress from his nearly overwhelmed lover, then laid a reassuring hand on his hip to let him know that the pleasure wasn't going to stop. Aizen leaned forward again, rubbing himself against the place he had probed with his tongue, then chuckled softly at the wanton sound that rose up from where Byakuya's head remained bowed, hidden by a curtain of tumbled, black hair. He paused and reached down to draw it back behind a pale earlobe, then caught Byakuya's chin and turned his head slightly, so that he could watch the noble's reaction as he was penetrated. He took his lover in a single, blinding thrust that dragged a guttural cry from Byakuya's sweetly parted lips and made the edges curve upward as Aizen began thrusting.

His eyes feasted on his lovely partner's bowed head, clutching hands, shaking torso, and unusually passionate expression. He moved hard and fast now, unable to hold back as the beauty of the man beneath him enchanted...delighted...and enthralled him. And with every grinding thrust, the sounds that rose up from Byakuya's quivering form grew more passionate and desperate. He shifted his angle slightly and smiled wickedly as Byakuya loosed an uncontrolled howl of pleasure. The noble's body quaked warningly, and Aizen quickened his thrusting even more until a heavy shudder took the noble, throwing him heedlessly over the edges of pleasure and into the throes of release.

Byakuya's body gave way, collapsing onto the bed as his seed escaped his body in hot, gripping pulses. Aizen's body moved with his, those powerful hips driving into him one last time as Aizen groaned in obvious delight and filled the noble with his blazing release.

He stretched out all along Byakuya's sweat-misted back, still entrenched in the noble, smiling and kissing every inch of white flesh his searching lips could reach. Byakuya went quiet and still, except for the soft heaving of his breast as he slowly regained his breath.

"Ah, Byakuya," Aizen sighed, closing his eyes and reaching around the noble's waist to rub his abdomen lightly, "I wonder if the pheromones you emit are making me drunk. I feel almost dizzy with contentedness."

As the prince's hand came to rest over the small bump under which their child grew, an odd jolt passed through him, and he went still, his eyes glazing over, then closing. Byakuya rose slowly, then turned to look at the unconscious prince for a moment, his eyes somewhere between senselessness and malevolence. He bent over Aizen's softly breathing form, a strange red tendril emerging from his abdomen and penetrating Aizen's, then slowly drawing out a 'feeding' of reiatsu. He fed on the prince's reiatsu for several minutes, then left him sleeping and left their bed.

Byakuya walked out onto the balcony, not even tying his yukata back in place as he launched himself off of the balcony and landed lightly on the ground. He flash stepped into the trees, avoiding the eyes of the guards and focusing on the heavy, commanding reiatsu of the spirit king.

He is alone in the gardens. Go to him now.

Byakuya's possessed body moved forward slowly, gliding in between the trees and hiding his reiatsu. He allowed only the king to sense his approach, and made sure that as he reached Yoshiaki, the king could not miss the enchanting sight of his revealed body.

"B-byakuya?" the king intoned softly, his eyes looking into the noble's, and an odd twinge of warning, rising up inside him, "Byakuya, what are you...?"

He staggered back as the hollow emerged from Byakuya's abdomen, striking out with blinding speed and tearing into the surprised king's body. Yoshiaki gasped and stared in dismay as the emerged hollow's sharp teeth sought his throat with the intent of tearing it out, then and there, and he barely managed to stop the attack just short of its mark, letting his hands be torn instead. He wondered that the guards did not answer to his call, then felt the heavy shielding that had snapped into place around them.

"Byakuya!" he panted, his eyes wide and pained as the blood and reiatsu poured out of his breached body, splashing onto the ground and staining the noble's red yukata and pale skin, "Byakuya, y-you must..."

Byakuya's hazed over eyes looked back at him coldly, watching as he shuddered and slowly slid to the ground. His lips smiled cruelly as he stood over the collapsed king, waiting until the signs of life had nearly faded. Then, he walked away slowly, not looking back as he abandoned the fallen monarch.

He deserved it.

He stole you away from the life you had.

He raped and beat you.

He made you lose your child.

Byakuya flinched, his mind struggling beneath the hollow's firm control. The hollow sensed that its control was still a tenuous thing and sent the noble running to a nearby stream, where he cleaned away the blood and let his ruined yukata float away in the water. He returned to the palace, still hiding himself from the eyes of the guards, flash stepping up onto the balcony and slipping back into the bedroom he shared with Prince Aizen. He found another red yukata and slipped it on, leaving it open as he slid into bed next to the still unconscious prince.

He was surprised at how long it seemed to take until the palace alarms began to wail and the bedroom door was thrown open. The hollow sank deep down beneath Byakuya's spirit centers, invading the reiatsu chamber that held the developing child. He gazed at the reiatsu hungrily, but knew better than to devour it. He was only able to hide so well within the noble because of the cover that the child provided.

But...when the time comes for this one to be born, I can merge with it and become the new prince...

"Sousuke!" Byakuya said, gently shaking the prince, "Sousuke, wake up!"

Aizen moved sluggishly, his eyes blinking drowsily as it reached him that the palace guards now stood in their room. The watch commander's fukutaichou stepped forward, his expression haunted.

"Lord Prince! The king has been attacked!" he reported breathlessly.

"What?" Byakuya and Aizen said together.

"He was found in the gardens. Sir...no one should have been able to approach him without us sensing it! He is always protected, even when he walks alone in the gardens!"

Aizen shook his head solemnly.

"It appears that the hollow has made its move," he said, starting to rise.

He caught his breath softly as a wave of dizziness passed over him, and Byakuya wrapped an arm around him to steady him.

"Are you all right?" the noble asked worriedly, "Sousuke, your reiatsu is abysmally low!"

"We haven't time for that!" Aizen said, exiting the bed and leaning a hand against the wall to steady himself as their attendants appeared and hastily dressed them.

They left the room under the watchful eye of the watch commander's fukutaichou, moving at flash step speed to the infirmary, where they found a white-faced Kirio, waiting outside the room where the palace healers gathered around the injured king.

"What have you heard?" Aizen asked quickly, "They said that he was attacked in the gardens?"

"Y-yes!" Kirio said, blinking back tears, "He likes to take evening walks, and even though he is alone for them, the guards track the reiatsu around him to guard against something like this. But whatever approached him did not set off the alarms, or somehow blocked the methods used to monitor the area around the king."

"Do you think it was the hollow?" Byakuya asked.

"It must have been," said Kirio, shaking her head, "I can't think of anything else that we know of that is so adept at hiding! Remember that this hollow hid within Ichimaru Gin for years without being detected. It could be within anyone now!"

"No," said Aizen, frowning, "No, not anyone. It would have to be someone of higher reiatsu so that it could hide its reiatsu and successfully approach the king without setting off alarms. It must be someone that my father knows and trusts to get close enough to do him damage."

"I think you are right," said Kirio, turning to the watch commander, "Hideo, we will need you to interview each of us, all of the guards, the healers and the attendants who have access to the king. And while we have not located this hollow, the king is to be guarded at all times, by no less than four armed watchmen!"

"Yes, my queen," the watch commander said, bowing and flash stepping away.

Aizen and Byakuya sat down across from the queen, whose worried eyes flicked intermittently towards the treatment room where the king laid.

"He is strong," Byakuya said bracingly, "Orihime had completely healed him. He will be all right."

"I hope you are right," said the queen sadly, "Despite what happened before, I know that he is a good man. We have grown closer since he was freed, and I do not want him to die. His heart was so heavy, knowing what the hollow had caused him to do to me...to Byakuya, to everyone! He was penitent, even though there was nothing that he could have done. His body was healed, but his heart was still tormented. They simply must save him! I saw Orihime go into the room with him."

"Then, if she is there," Aizen said quietly, "he will be all right. Her powers are very strong. She was able to break the hollow's hold over my father and she will be able to save him now."

Aizen's eyes strayed to the room where the king laid, fighting for his life.

"And while she does, we will not stop searching until we find and destroy that cursed hollow!"