Howl at the Broken Moon
Have you ever wondered why Byakuya has no parents? What really happened to Hisana? Why Aizen chose Rukia for his plans? Maybe there was more to the story than meets the eye. Maybe…just maybe…
Prologue: Silent Witness
(Seireitei – 100 years before Aizen Sousuke's Betrayal)
"Where are you, you damned feline?" shouted Byakuya, slashing furiously at the nearby bushes.
Leaves, twigs and dust erupted from the object he had loosed his frustration on, obscuring the air around him. He heard the infuriating sound of her laughter and sensed her flash steps. Growling and spewing threats, he flash stepped after, promising himself that this time he would keep going until he had her. He wouldn't stop.
He sensed her spiritual pressure somewhere in the trees ahead of him, but he sensed others too. She wasn't moving, but had, for some reason, stopped. A moment later, her spiritual pressure disappeared. He huffed a short, determined breath. She wasn't going to escape him by blending in.
He drew down his own spiritual pressure, carefully masking it as he had learned to do, then moved forward, in slow, light steps that scarcely made a sound on the soft forest trail. He slipped off of the trail and moved through the trees in the direction from which the sound had come. There were male voices speaking and odd guttural noises…and no sign that Yoruichi was anywhere around.
One of the voices registered suddenly in his mind…
A strange, unsettled feeling passed over him and he edged forward, careful to make no sound. The guttural noises continues and rose into screams and pained howls. His stomach clenching, he knelt behind a boulder and peeked out around the side. What he saw made his heart pound wildly in his chest and brought him back to his feet. He recognized the ones on the ground…taichous and fukutaichous…but he couldn't make sense of what was happening to them. Swirls of bone were growing around their faces and they were screaming and groaning…as though they were turning into hollows!
And standing over them, watching them with frighteningly tranquil eyes was Aizen Sousuke. At his side was Tousen Kaname…and on his other side…
He ducked back behind the rock, covering his mouth to keep himself from making a sound and praying that Gin Ichimaru hadn't seen him. He heard a flash step and flash stepped back into the cover of the trees as Gin appeared by the rock he had been hiding behind, and stood for a moment, looking around and touching the place where he had rested his hand.
Despite his usual brash nature, Byakuya was shaking. Something frightening was going on…something awful…and if he made one wrong move, he would be discovered. He watched as Gin concluded his examination of the rock and looked around one more time before returning to Aizen's side. He could still see the ones on the ground, their movements slowing, the sounds becoming lower and softer. Someone else had arrived, another taichou…
He was too far away to hear the words, but he saw the flares of power that rose up and knew it wasn't safe to stay any longer. He kept his spiritual pressure masked and turned toward home as the power the others were using rose and flared wildly, leaving him with a feeling of fire on his skin. He risked a flash step and moved onto the trail he had taken earlier. He seemed to be in a safe enough place, so he walked quietly, listening to the breeze moving through the branches and trying to think of what he would do.
His grandfather needed to know. He would probably tell Soutaichou and the perpetrators would be rounded up and put on trial. He didn't know what would happen to the ones who had been attacked…
"Kuchiki Byakuya," said a soft tranquil voice, "What are you doing out walking alone?"
He turned slowly and met Aizen's eyes as calmly as he could, noting that Gin and Tousen were with him.
"Aizen fukutaichou," he said softly, "you surprised me. I was…training…with Shihoin Yoruichi. You haven't seen her, have you?"
"No," said the man, moving closer, "I haven't seen her. You should just leave it and go home. You know how she plays games."
He saw Gin's smile widen and sensed Aizen's hand moving to his sword. He took a step back, but flash steps sounded around him and he was suddenly being held in place by Gin and Tousen.
"You know he saw," Gin said to Aizen, "Just let me kill him and be done with it!"
Aizen laughed softly.
"That always seems to be your answer, Gin. Really, I think we can find a way to convince this one to keep quiet. After all, we don't want to bring the wrath of the Kuchiki family down on us, do we? No, I think we need to find another way to silence our young friend, here."
"Let go of me!" yelled Byakuya, loosing a blast of kido.
The hands holding him released and he flash stepped madly, knowing if they caught him now, they were going to kill him. The trees spun by and he could hear his heart pounding, and the harsh, gasping sound of his breath. He reached the end of the trees and burst out of them, then skidded to a stop, looking around in confusion.
He was back in the forest…
And the three were surrounding him…
He stared up into Aizen Sousuke's deceptively gentle eyes and felt his heart stop in his chest. He was going to die. This man was going to kill him and there was nothing he could do…
He stared into Aizen's eyes, determined not to look afraid. If Aizen was going to kill him, he might not be able to stop it…but he could die honorably…not crying or begging for his life, but with his pride intact. He swallowed hard and looked back at Aizen…waiting. He stepped toward Byakuya with that unbreakable gentleness in his eyes, with calm all around him, and Byakuya was astounded that anything could be so deceptively gentle while behaving with such coldness. A warm hand came to rest on his face and the eyes bored down into his. He sensed enormous spiritual pressure rising around them.
"My plans were nearly ruined by your family once before, Byakuya. Your father once did as you have, once innocently witnessed what he should not have…and I killed him for it. I had to kill your mother too, because I was convinced she knew. But your clan made my life miserable, poking around, relentlessly pursuing the ones who caused their 'accident.'"
"Bastard!" hissed Byakuya, reaching for his sword.
A firm hand stopped his and he felt a shock pass through him as a binding kido wrapped around him and Aizen moved closer, holding him under the chin and staring into his eyes.
"Let go!" he screamed, too furious to control himself, "Let go, you murdering bastard! I'll kill you!"
"No…" said Aizen's soft voice, "you won't do anything. Don't worry, Byakuya. I won't kill you…like I killed them. But I have to make sure that you don't tell anyone. I have to make sure that no one ever hears about what you saw."
He drew his weapon. Byakuya stared, frozen and helpless at the shining metal of the blade.
"Most people don't know that my weapon can hypnotize. Even less know that it has a special ability that allows it to block the memories of those who fall under its spell. So, you see…I don't have to kill you to keep you quiet. I'll erase this from your mind…"
Byakuya shivered and caught his breath as the sword rose over him. Aizen smiled down at him.
"Don't worry, Byakuya, it won't hurt. And when you wake, you won't remember this at all."
"No…" he whispered, closing his eyes, "You can't get away with this! I will remember! I will!"
"Shatter, Kyoka Suigetsu."
There was a brilliant flash of light…and then he was falling…
"Byakuya?" said a worried voice.
He realized suddenly that he was lying in a ditch alongside the trail he had been flash stepping down earlier, looking for her.
"Did something happen? You were unconscious…"
He looked up at Yoruichi with a confused expression.
"What?" he asked, finding his voice.
"What happened?" she asked, sounding genuinely concerned, "One minute we were playing tag and now I find you unconscious!"
He reached up to rub his throbbing head and found a lump.
"Ow," he muttered, touching the tender spot searchingly.
"You hit your head on something? Let me see."
"I'm fine!" he said irascibly, "Leave me alone! I've had enough games. I'm going home…and next time, don't bother to come over! You're annoying!"
He surged to his feet and swayed dizzily, shrugging off her hand that attempted to steady him and almost falling back into the ditch.
"Get away from me, demon cat!" he said, turning and flash stepping away.
Yoruichi watched him leave.
"It's a good thing they didn't find you out here," she mused, "If they thought you knew anything, they probably would have killed you."
Chapter 1: A Threat and a Promise
(45 years later)
Byakuya sat up suddenly, crying out and gripping the covers. His body shook violently and his eyes were wide and panicked. He leaned forward, dropping his face into his hands and trying to slow his breathing. He felt a warm hand touch his shoulder and nearly jumped out of his skin.
"S-sousuke!" he gasped, "Kami, you nearly frightened me to death…"
The hand rubbed his bare shoulders and back lovingly and Aizen Sousuke leaned forward and kissed him gently on the throat, beneath his ear. He had to fight down the urge to pull away as the nightmare spun in his mind. It couldn't have been real, he knew. Sousuke had never done anything to hurt him…not ever.
It was only a dream. Sousuke loves me. He would never…I know he would never…
His lover's lips found his and caressed them reassuringly. He tried to sink into them and forget, but the memory of how in the dream, he had done something to those taichous and fukutaichous who disappeared…how he had taken Byakuya's memory…how he had admitted to killing Byakuya's parents…It was only a dream, so why did it reach down so deeply? Why did it tear at his mind and leave him feeling like he couldn't breathe?
"It's all right, Byakuya," Sousuke said softly, "It was just a dream. Why don't you lie back down? I'll make some tea for us."
Byakuya watched as Sousuke left, then turned in the fifth division taichou's bed so that he could look out at the moon and stars.
Why can't I get past this? Why do I keep dreaming he's…he's some kind of monster? We've been together for years…and I know he wouldn't hurt me like that. What is wrong with me?
He climbed out of bed, stopping to tie his yukata closed, and walked out into the hallway. His sharp hearing picked up the sound of Sousuke's voice coming from the kitchen and he stepped closer. He started to enter the kitchen, but spotted his lover talking on a soul communicator and stepped back out of the room. He stood listening to the one sided conversation.
"I think he has begun to remember. This has been the problem all along. He's so strong, he keeps punching holes in the hypnosis. I thought seducing him and keeping him close by would help, but I need to try something different…"
There was a short pause.
"No, Gin, I'm not going to kill him. It drew enough attention last time and I don't want to risk it. Besides, I enjoy that sweet, perfect body of his far too much to destroy it. No…I will go over to the twelfth division tomorrow and see if I can't find something to stave it off. It would be a dreadful inconvenience if he were to remember now. He is going to be named clan leader and as soon as Ginrei leaves, he will lead Squad Six. He's far too useful to get rid of now."
There was another pause.
"I will put something in the tea to make sure he sleeps, then while he is out, I'll get something stronger from the twelfth. He won't suspect anything. In all of the time we've been seeing each other, he has never suspected anything. He has been a very devoted lover. I don't know what I'll do with him when it's time to leave. It would be a shame to kill him even then, but by then, we won't need to worry about what his clan would do to us. I would take him with us, but he's just too unpredictable. It's a shame, really. I have become quite attached."
Aizen laughed softly.
"Yes, he is quite enjoyable in bed. And our conversations are so stimulating. He really is a fascinating lover. I will miss him…but I won't let him live long enough to suffer over me. It would be far too cruel to leave him alive after making such a fool of him."
Byakuya backed away and fled to the bedroom, the words still burning in his ears.
It can't be true…it can't. It can't have all been a lie…but he admitted it! I heard him tell Gin…
He heard footsteps in the hallway and knew there wasn't time to get away. Instead, he climbed back into bed and pretended to have fallen back asleep. The door opened and footsteps approached the bed. A weight settled next to him and the light turned on. Byakuya moaned softly and turned toward him, sitting up. Aizen smiled at him and handed him the tea, then leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"This should calm your nerves."
Just the sound of that soft, gentle voice made him want to scream. He wanted to tear the man apart…to hurt him…to kill him. But Byakuya had no illusions about who would win any confrontation. So he accepted the tea and stared down into the cup, frowning.
"What is it?" asked Sousuke, "What's wrong?"
"Oh," said Byakuya, wincing, "I have a headache. I'll be fine. I just need something for it."
"I'll get it. You just work on that tea."
He left the bed and stepped into the bathroom. Byakuya turned and took a swallow of the other man's tea. He emptied a small measure of his own tea into the other cup and set it back on the nightstand. He waited until his lover emerged from the bathroom and lifted his cup to his lips. He closed his eyes and caught his breath, swaying dizzily.
He fell back and dropped the teacup onto the floor. He felt a weight on the bed and then hands touching his face. He made his body as limp as he could and waited. Warm lips fastened on his, tasting them lightly.
"Good boy, now you'll sleep. It's better this way, Byakuya. It's better you never know…that you live only knowing how much I love and respect you and die before you can figure out it was all a lie. But we have quite a few more years to enjoy our love. And when I leave, I'll be sure you die humanely. You have been a truly wonderful lover. I could almost hate myself for doing this to you. You truly are precious to me."
It took everything in Byakuya not to try to kill him then and there. But he couldn't overcome Aizen Sousuke yet. He just had to get away. Sousuke's arms wrapped around him and pulled him close.
"Sleep," Aizen whispered, kissing him gently, "no more nightmares will come to you tonight. And tomorrow, I'll make sure they go away for good. I don't want anything to ruin this, Byakuya. I want every last moment with you. I do love you. I wish this didn't have to end…but I have to go where you cannot follow…and I know you. I know you would try."
He waited until he was sure the little bit of the drug that he'd slipped into Aizen's tea took effect, until the chest he rested on rose and fell at a steady pace…until the reiatsu around them was calm and settled, then he very carefully pulled free of him. It was tempting to think of killing him as he slept, but he had no proof the man had done anything wrong…only what he had overheard and vague memories that might or might not be real. He slipped out of bed and started for the front door, tears burning in his eyes as he thought about how wrong he had been to ever trust Aizen Sousuke. He'd been such a fool, letting himself fall for someone so evil…someone who had done unspeakable things and somehow controlled him so that he couldn't remember. And now that he was remembering, Aizen wanted to use drugs to keep him under that control…all so he could use him…control him…kill him. An anguished sob escaped him as he reached the door. His hand was on the doorknob when he was pulled off his feet and down onto the floor. Sousuke's arms wrapped around him tightly and that insanely calm voice sounded in his ear.
"You know, don't you? You heard me talking to Gin."
He didn't answer, but tried to pull away, silent sobs choking him. But Aizen's arms held him too tightly. There was a flash of power around them as his lover sealed away his spirit energy.
"What are you doing?" he gasped, "Sousuke…"
"I'm sorry, Byakuya. I never meant for you to find out like this. I did everything I could to keep you from remembering, because I didn't want to hurt you like this."
"You never felt anything for me," Byakuya managed in a whisper, "You just wanted to use me and kill me when you were finished with me! I never meant anything to you…"
"You're wrong about that," whispered Aizen, holding him tightly and stroking his hair, "I do love you…but you know too much…and I can't depend on you. You're too unpredictable. You could endanger my plans. So…I thought to share this love we have for as long as possible and to kill you without you ever having to bear the weight of knowing the rest. It doesn't mean that I don't love you. You just can't be a part of this and I didn't want you to be hurt…"
"You crazy bastard!" he cried, tearing away, "How can you do that and call it love? How could you do that to me and say you love me? How…how could you?"
He backed toward the door, watching as Aizen rose and started across the floor…moving toward his zanpakutou.
"It's all right, Byakuya. I won't hurt you. I'll just take this unpleasantness from your mind and you can go back to sleep. Come."
Byakuya's eyes widened.
"You are insane! Kami, I trusted you…I…Sousuke…"
Aizen flash stepped and wrapped his hand around the hilt of his blade. Byakuya broke into a run and burst out the door. He felt a flash of power and dizziness swept over him, but he forced his feet to keep moving. He sensed someone ahead of him and ran faster, turning a corner as another flash of power rose up behind him. He ran into someone and fell, then staggered to his feet as the other called his name.
He didn't wait to see who it was, but ducked into dark, abandoned building. He searched around quickly and found a place to conceal himself behind several stacks of dusty crates. He heard the floor creak and held his breath.
"Come out, Byakuya. We need to talk about this."
He held perfectly still, his heart raging beneath his breast.
"If you come to me now, I promise you…I will not hurt you. And when we leave, I will find a way to take you with me. Byakuya…I love you. I don't want to lose you. But if you run…do not expect me to just let you go. I promise you…if you run from me, I will make you sorry. If you run, I will kill anyone who gets close to you."
The footsteps came closer and his heart stopped.
"I don't want this to be the end and I don't think you want that either. Come…let's talk about this…
He shrank back against the crates. He was too close…and there was nowhere else for him to run. The breath left his body as Aizen stepped around the crates and gazed down at him sympathetically.
"There is nowhere you can go," he said softly, "where I cannot find you. You told me that you love me…that you would never leave me. And so you will not. Now come with me. We will go somewhere warm and talk about this."
He extended a hand and waited with his eyes on the young noble. Byakuya blinked away the tears and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. Aizen's arm wrapped around him and led him silently out of the building. As they stepped out onto the dark street, an unseated member of Squad Six came bolting out of a nearby building and caught sight of Byakuya.
"Kuchiki-san!" he called out, smiling, "What are you doing out here?"
Byakuya broke free of Aizen and shoved him back against the building.
"Get away from me!" he shouted, "Don't ever come near me again!"
Other shinigamis were coming out of the buildings, staring at the noble and the Squad Five taichou. Aizen inclined his head.
"Very well then, Byakuya. I see that you have made your decision. Do remember what I said before…or perhaps…don't…"
He drew his blade, earning gasps from the ones observing. Byakuya turned away and started to run.
"Shatter, Kyoka Suigetsu."
He felt the power wash over him and dizziness passed through him. He staggered, but kept running, the sounds falling away behind him. He reached the gates of Kuchiki Manor and burst through like a man possessed. As he turned into the garden, he came face to face with Ginrei. His grandfather stared at him…at the thin yukata…the tumbled hair, his unkempt appearance.
"Byakuya," he said sternly, "Where did you come from, looking like this?"
Byakuya opened his mouth to answer, but found that he couldn't remember. He only remembered having a fight of some kind with Sousuke…but no one knew about his affair with the Squad Five taichou. No one could ever know…
"I…I had a nightmare…and…I was walking."
His grandfather's eyes turned sympathetic.
"You were dreaming about your parents' accident?" he asked softly.
"I apologize for my appearance," he said quietly, "I will go and change."
"Do you wish to have a cup of tea and talk about it?" Ginrei asked.
Byakuya felt inexplicably ill at the suggestion, but simply shook his head.
"I will be all right. I just need to sleep."
"Very well…good night, Byakuya."
"Good night, Grandfather."
He walked back to his room and stepped inside, closing and locking the door behind him. He walked into the dressing area and looked at himself in the mirror, wondering exactly what had happened. He couldn't remember what they had argued about or how his clothing had gotten so filthy. All he did remember was that whatever had happened, he felt terrified at the thought of being alone with Aizen Sousuke. He turned toward the shower, promising himself that he would never so much as speak to the man again…He was going to be named clan leader soon anyway and couldn't afford for there to be a scandal. It was better just to forget what had happened between them and let go now. His heart ached at the decision, but something in him warned against going back to his lover…and despite how much it hurt to lose Sousuke…he knew inside that something very wrong had happened…and now there was no other choice.
He stepped into the shower and let the rush of falling water wash away the soft sounds of his misery.
(AN**Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed and will review. Next chapter…The back story is over and the story will pick up around the time of the betrayal…and then the Bya/Ren part of the story will begin!)