Diablo's Hourglass

Between Twilight and Dawn Part 2

By Spunky0ne (with storyline assistance from the lovely and dark-minded Walkure Leuad. Don't get her angry, folks…LOL, just kidding!)

Chapter 1: Rebuilding

Byakuya felt the bed move and heard Renji groan softly as he headed for the bathroom. The dark haired taichou sighed sympathetically and climbed out of bed, making his way to the kitchen, waving off the attendant, who appeared in the hallway behind him, then turning away and making a pot of tea. He yawned sleepily, watching the water bubble, then pouring it into the cups and letting the tea steep. He set the two cups on a tray and returned to the bedroom, just in time to see Renji slide back into bed, still looking sluggish and pale. He set the tea on the nightstand and climbed in bed next to the redhead, then handed him one of the cups and lifted the other to his own lips.

"Thanks, Bya," he said, taking a sip.

He blinked in surprise.

"Ginger tea," Byakuya said quietly, "My grandmother's recipe. She used to make it for us whenever our stomachs were sour…which among nobles tends to happen more than you think."

Renji smiled.

"They're not so bad, Bya. The new council was pretty damned quick to annul your marriage to Aizen and approve our engagement. And they've sent members over more than a few times to visit. They ask a lot of questions, but…it's not so bad."

"Just wait," Byakuya said dryly, "They're still recovering from the shock of all that happened. They'll revert to form eventually. You will see."

Renji laughed softly and leaned over to kiss him. Byakuya met Renji's tea-sweetened lips warmly.

"Do you feel any better?" Byakuya asked, "because you still look dreadful."

"Thanks," Renji said with mock sarcasm, "I'm fine. I guess I just thought that since my body wasn't going to get any bigger during this, that the side effects wouldn't be that bad. Ugh…I can't imagine how you managed to eat anything when you were pregnant with Akane…"

He stopped himself, and looked down at the bedding.

"Sorry…" Renji said, keeping his eyes lowered, "I didn't mean to…"

"Renji," Byakuya said quietly, "It's all right to talk about when I was pregnant with Akane. While it's true that I was Aizen's prisoner then, I was bolstered by her presence while I carried her inside me. It's not wrong to try to find comfort in the fact that not everything that happened to me in Hueco Mundo was bad."

"Hai," acknowledged Renji, leaning against him and burying his face in the dark, sakura scented hair, "Still, I can't help wishing that you could forget all about that time…that awful place…"

Byakuya shook his head.

The past won't disappear just because I will it to, Renji…and there are some things that I don't want to forget…like how you never gave up hope of finding me…how you refused to take my place as taichou until Las Noches fell and I was either found or declared dead. And no one fought harder to keep Akane and me safe while we battled Aizen. Those are good things, Renji, and they are things that I want to remember."

Renji captured his mouth again and kissed him harder.

"I know," Renji said, "but I wish you never had to be taken by him."

"There's no going back," Byakuya sighed, "but I appreciate the sentiment."

He waited as Renji settled down on the pillows, then curled into his arms, resting a hand on his abdomen.

"I wish I could feel his reiatsu," said Byakuya softly.

Renji felt a pang of sadness for him, but just let a hand slide down his back and curl around his waist, pulling him closer.

"Don't worry," he assured the noble, "Kisuke said it won't be too much longer before you can have the seal taken off your spirit energy and give those restored spirit centers a test drive."

"It has been over six months that I've lived without a shred of spirit energy. When I finally do get released from the seal on my powers, I won't have the spiritual pressure of a gnat."

Renji laughed softly.

"You'll be back at full strength before you know it. And we'll have our baby boy then."

"We could have this child at any time now, you know," Byakuya reminded him, "You have carried him for the minimum time required already. But your body will tell you when it's time."

"Then…"

"Then," Byakuya said, kissing him, "I will be right beside you while he is born."

"Okay," said Renji nervously, "but just so you know. I'm not quite so sure about all of this as you. You said it hurts some?"

"There are some pains as the reiatsu leaves the body, but it is well within tolerable limits. And it takes less time than most living world births. You will require a few days after to recover, but I assure you, you will be so swept up in caring for him, you won't have time to notice what discomfort there is…not that I had that opportunity with Akane, but this is what I've heard, in any case."

Byakuya's fingers moved lightly over the redhead's stomach and Renji sighed happily.

"You know, if you keep doing that, I think I'm going to roll over on you and have my way with you."

"Hmm…" Byakuya mused, still rubbing Renji's stomach, "I wasn't aware that my grandmother's cure for sour stomach was also an aphrodisiac…but then, there is much in these noble families that gets swept under the rug."

"Aw, hell!" exclaimed Renji, "Now I don't know whether to have sex with you or just hold you down and make you tell me all of the Kuchiki family's deepest, darkest secrets."

"Well," said Byakuya dryly, "I imagine there's time for both. Which would you like to do first?"

"This," Renji said, turning and forcing him down onto his back.

He dove onto the graceful white throat, nipping and sucking at the sensitive skin until Byakuya's hands tightened on him and the noble gave a decidedly hungry moan.

"I thought you weren't feeling well, Abarai," Byakuya managed a bit breathlessly.

"I wasn't," the redhead admitted, "but then you started touching me like that and I couldn't help but get a little turned on."

"A little?" Byakuya asked, sliding his hand down to wrap around Renji's already swollen member, "I'd say you're more than a little turned on."

"Okay, I'm a lot turned on. Do you have a problem with that?"

"Not in the slightest," said Byakuya, sliding his hand up and down the redhead's length and tilting his head back to offer his lover better access to his throat.

"Kami, Bya, can we just skip breakfast and go right to dessert?" Renji panted, sliding down his chest.

Without waiting for an answer, he took hold of the noble's thick arousal and began a warm, intense stimulation. Byakuya went from not having time to speak to not having the breath. He moaned and writhed, trying to remember that Renji was about to give birth, so as to not tackle and devour the man.

"R-renji…" he gasped softly, closing his eyes and arching his back, "for kami's sake, I won't last thirty s-seconds…Ren…ji…"

The redhead smiled sweetly, continuing his manipulations until Byakuya could hold back no more.

"Ren…" Byakuya gasped, the pleasure exploding through him and rendering him speechless.

His breath released in a trembling sob of delight as hot seed burst out of him. The redhead's eyes closed and Byakuya stared at the beautiful sight of his red haired lover. Then he crawled up the noble's sweat dampened body and fastened his hot, wet mouth on Byakuya's, sliding his body between the noble's thighs and slowly entering him with short, gentle thrusts. He paused for a moment, gazing down into the dark, sated eyes.

"Aishiteru yo…Bya…" he whispered.

"Aishiteru yo," Byakuya answered softly, sliding his hands down the redhead's back and encouraging his hips to move.

Renji answered the welcoming gesture with deep, hard thrusts and a flurry of kisses that left the noble breathless again. Byakuya's body rose eagerly to meet his lover's and he moaned Renji's name. As the redhead continued to move, the spiritual pressure rose around them, licking at their bodies and swelling as Renji's pleasure increased. Renji continued to plunder the lovely, pale body that writhed beneath his, missing entirely the look of discomfort that erupted onto his face and the heaving of his breast as the spirit energy pressed in around him. He called the redhead's name feverishly, then dizzily as Renji's body continued to thrust deeply into his. He felt himself gasping for breath, then Renji's body paused and began to shudder, sending waves of spiritual pressure dancing all around them.

Spots flashed before the noble's eyes and he managed to hiss the redhead's name one more time as Renji surrendered to climax and collapsed wearily onto his chest. Byakuya felt the darkness close in and everything went quiet for a time.

"Byakuya."

The name broke into the silence around him and he took a dragging breath. Renji's hands rubbed his wrists and the redhead kissed him repeatedly.

"I'm sorry, Bya," he said desperately, "I wasn't thinking straight. Damn! I could have really hurt you!"

"I'm fine, Renji," Byakuya said, taking another shaky breath.

"Are you sure?" Renji asked, his face flushed with guilt.

"Abarai, I said I'm fine," snapped Byakuya, pulling away forcefully.

He sat on the edge of the bed, his head still spinning.

"You don't need to worry over me as though I'm some small child," he said in a softer tone, "I lack tolerance for spiritual pressure, but I can manage."

He rose and tied his yukata, then picked up the empty teacups.

"Would you like more tea, Renji?" he asked, sounding as though nothing had happened.

Renji stared for a moment, then sighed and settled back against the pillows.

"Yeah," he said softly, "Tea would be good."

"Green or more of the ginger tea?"

"Ginger…arigatou."

Byakuya turned and started towards the kitchen. Renji watched him leave, then climbed out of bed and tied his yukata closed. He opened the garden doors and stepped outside, turning his eyes to look up at the full moon.

Damn, I feel stupid. It wasn't enough that I could have crushed him with my spiritual pressure. I had to make it worse by crushing what's left of his pride…and on top of everything, he has to watch me give birth to the baby he was supposed to have…I can't do anything right…

He felt tears in his eyes and couldn't quite contain them. He tried, but as he had been warned by Unohana taichou, his hold on his emotions was shaky. He rubbed his hands over his face, brushing away the offending tears.

"Renji?" Byakuya said from somewhere behind him.

Warm arms slipped around him and Byakuya's face burrowed into his hair from behind. The redhead sighed and leaned into the embrace and tried not to give away his emotional state. But, somehow, Byakuya seemed to know.

"Renji," he whispered in the redhead's ear, "Do you really think that you can hide your feelings from me? We are soul bonded. I can still sense your thoughts and emotions, even without my powers. I am sorry. I didn't mean to react so strongly. I'm not accustomed to being so weak…so helpless…so affected by everything. I let it get control of my emotions and took it out on you when I shouldn't have."

"It isn't your fault," Renji said, turning into his arms, "Hell, I don't know how you hold it together sometimes. I couldn't just go without my powers for so long, like you have. I'd be a wreck…but you really aren't. Byakuya…even without your powers, you're still such a strong person."

Byakuya sighed into the redhead's shoulder.

"I certainly don't feel very strong."

"But you are…and I'm glad…because, well, I didn't want to sound childish, but I'm really kind of scared about giving birth. I know it's not going to be like a human birth, but…"

"But you wonder what exactly will happen…and you worry about what could go wrong…and you have all kinds of fears that you feel silly having, but that make perfect sense. Renji…that's how I felt too."

A tear fell from one eye as Renji kissed Byakuya and took his face in both hands.

"But you had it worse than me, because all you had was Aizen and his healer to help you. Bya, you must have been terrified."

Byakuya sighed softly.

"Sometimes…but I had no choice but to work through it. Renji…we find the strength we need to go on by remembering what is most important. If you do that, then you will forget your fears. Everything will be all right. I will be with you through all of this…and you and our baby will be just fine."

Renji managed a smile and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Byakuya captured his lips gently, holding their bodies close together.

"Aishiteru yo, Renji," he said softly.

"Aishiteru yo, Bya," Renji whispered back.

They turned back into the bedroom and returned to their bed. Renji sipped at the tea that Byakuya had left on the nightstand, then curled into the noble's arms and rested his head on his lover's shoulder.

"Thanks for making me feel better about this, Bya," Renji breathed, starting to drift off, "I was really scared before, but I think I'll be okay now. It helps to know you've been through this."

Byakuya gave him a gentle smile.

"Yes, I have…and I assure you that you will be fine. Rest Renji. Once the baby arrives, things will be busy indeed."

Renji tried to say something in return, but his reply was disrupted by a huge yawn. He nuzzled closer to Byakuya and slowly drifted off to sleep. Byakuya held the redhead close and gazed out the garden doors at the stars and moon. His hand slipped down again to Renji's abdomen and he stroked the area gently. He knew that small life was there, just beneath his hand, but his heart clutched at his inability to feel its lovely pulse. He thought back to why his powers had been lost and decided that it was, all in all, worth the cost.