Chapter 15: Machinations

(This is the last of the re-posts, so the next will be all new. I will try to get that finished this weekend! Must finish this story!)

"Renji," Byakuya's voice said quietly through the soul bond, "I know this is a terrible way to tell you. I would have preferred to say such a thing while walking next to you through the gardens at Kuchiki Manor…with the sakura blossoms falling all around us, and the moon shining down on us…"

"What is it? Is something wrong?" Renji asked, "I mean, besides you being Aizen's personal guest in that place?"

"No…but I…Renji, Aizen wanted to make me his consort, when he becomes king…"

"That's never gonna happen. I'm going to get you out of there! That slimy creep won't…"

"He had Gin make an alteration to my body."

"That son of a bitch!" Renji snapped, "Now, I'm not just going to stop him. I'm personally cutting the privates off that asshole!"

He could feel the warmth of his captive lover's smile.

"Well, as endearing as that is, Abarai, he won't be able to use that way to impregnate me."

"What? Really? Why not?"

"Because when Gin placed the reiatsu chamber, there was already genetic material in my body. To put it more simply, I am already pregnant."

Renji froze for a breathless moment.

"But whose…?" he said out loud.

Then a beautiful smile broke out across the redhead's flushed face.

"Ours?" he asked, already suspecting the answer, but wanting to hear it out loud.

"Yes, Renji. We are going to have a child."

Renji paused for a long moment, letting the full reality of the situation settle in his whirling mind.

"Shit…your elders are going to be pissed, ne?"

"Not when they find themselves in your debt for bringing me home safely."

Renji closed his eyes and let out a soft, worried breath.

"I will, I swear. I will bring you and our baby home safely," he promised, Aizen Sousuke is about to realize what a huge mistake he made, taking my lover!"

"Renji, I appreciate the sentiment. I truly do. However, Aizen has been very meticulous in his planning. It is not only necessary to thwart his plans and, as you would say, 'kick his hollow loving ass.' We must also find a way to restore the natural shielding on all of us who have been affected by the tower."

"I know that. Look, I'll think of something…"

"I will work on trying to purloin information about our shielding. I want you to consider avenues that you and the officers of the Gotei 13 can do to stop that attack from happening. It's a difficult situation. Aizen will be looking at faces and reiatsu and counting bodies. It will be very difficult to affect an illusion strong enough to…"

"Whoa…Byakuya, wait!" Renji said, his eyes widening, "I think I have an idea!"

XXXXXXXXXX

"Gin!" Toshiro gasped as the silver-haired shinigami walked into his room, followed by Urahara Kisuke and Kurosaki Ichigo, "What are they doing here? Are they prisoners too?"

"Not exactly," said Gin, "I placed copies of them in the cells where Sousuke ordered them placed. But they wanted to see you to see if you might know anything useful."

"Well," said the white-haired taichou, "I did see their plans, so I know they are going to attack the dimension wall and they are going to use a dimensional doorway to fire the blast through. He's going to suck the reiatsu out of the taichous and fukutaichous, then fire it through a focus point at the top of the tower."

"I think you mean he's going to position our lovely Byakuya at the top and fire it through him," said Kisuke, "I think we can all agree that Byakuya's spirit centers are most able to act as a focus. Ichigo's would as well, as a backup, but that sick bastard wanted Byakuya because he plans to take him along when he leaves, and needs to have him close at hand to discourage any rescue attempts."

"But what happens to the rest of us?" asked Ichigo, "Are the ones of us in the tower going to be drained to husks like the ones outside?"

"It's hard to say," said Kisuke, "I have a feeling that since Aizen had to make a suitable environment in here to protect his babymama to be, Byakuya, being in here will actually shield us from the full effects, but the ones outside will still be unshielded…not a good situation."

"No," agreed Toshiro, "We have to find a way to protect the ones outside and then restore our shielding and get all of us out of here before Aizen carries out his plans."

"To do that," said Kisuke, "We'll need to gain access to whatever information we can find about what he did to strip the shielding from all of us. I'm thinking that it's in the construction of the tower, because all of us lost our shielding after making physical contact with it."

He turned to Gin.

"I don't suppose that you can enlighten us about the makeup of this tower? I mean, I know you can't be too obvious in helping us, but…"

"Sorry," said Gin, "I was only involved in such things as developing the reiatsu chamber so that Byakuya could be impregnated, and demonstrating the 'ins and outs' of sexual training on Ichigo. Sorry about that, by the way…but I couldn't let him know what I was up to."

"Right," Ichigo muttered darkly, "Excuse me if I'm less than forgiving about that. Once a snake, always a snake, ne Gin?"

"I understand, and I hardly expect us to kiss and make up, but I would like to be sure that in planning the destruction of Aizen's plans, you manage not to kill me in the process."

"We'll see what we can do, but no promises," Kisuke said dryly, "Now, getting back to the subject at hand, is there a computer? A written source? A person who you know was involved in the making of the tower? That would be helpful."

"Well," said Gin, "He was very closed-mouthed about how that worked, to the point where Tousen Kaname and I became suspicious that he might be planning to leave us behind when he left. He has said, though, that he wants Tousen Kaname to lead the Gotei 13 once Soutaichou is dead. He has not said what he plans for me, although I have a few suspicions, none of them pleasant. Now…the only man I can think of who is both here and twisted enough to construct a shield stripping, reiatsu sucking, canon tower is Szayel Aporro. Last I saw, he was down in his lab, looking over some of the squad two corpses he snatched from out there."

"You say he's in the tower?" asked Kisuke.

"Yes, I can show you…but we'll have to use an alternate route since Aizen doesn't like anyone going down there but him."

"What I meant," said Kisuke, "is that he wouldn't come into contact with the tower unless he had a way to avoid or counteract the effects. I think our best bet is for someone to distract Szayel Aporro and I will rifle through his stuff and see what I can find.

"Hmmm," said Gin, "I think I can arrange a sufficient distraction, but I will need your help, Toshiro. Do you mind?"

The white-haired taichou scowled.

"I suppose someone has to…but I swear, if you try anything…!"

"Oh, don't go getting all hot and bothered," Gin said, smirking, "I promise. No one will harm a hair on your snowy, white head."

"What should I do?" asked Ichigo.

Kisuke smiled.

"You'll go with me and watch my back."

He gave Gin a dark look.

"If anything unforeseen should happen, we want to make sure we have enough firepower to get out of it. Toshiro…are you sure about going along with Gin? He's said already that, while not hostile, he had his own agenda here…"

Toshiro glanced briefly at the silver-haired shinigami and nodded.

"I will help Gin. And I will be on my guard," he said, giving Gin a meaningful glare.

"Well, now that that's decided," said Gin, "You'll all need to come with me."

He led them to a covered vent in his room, then removed the cover, revealing a crawlspace.

"This is the only way for all of us to move into position without being seen. There are too many monitors for us to avoid them all, despite how good I have gotten at it. I will first lead Kisuke and Ichigo to Szayel Aporro's laboratory, then I will return here and take Toshiro to mine."

"What do you plan to do to get Szayel Aporro to leave his lab?" asked Toshiro.

"Oh, leave that to me. I'll think of something good. Kisuke and Ichigo, you will need to wait in the crawlspace until you see Szayel Aporro leave. And once he does, work quickly, because I don't know how long I can keep him distracted."

"All right," said Kisuke, "I think that we're as ready as we'll ever be. Let's do this thing."

XXXXXXXXXX

Byakuya stirred sluggishly as Aizen's hands touched him, and he heard the leader of the hollows make a low sound of disapproval.

"Unacceptable…"

He felt cool, gentle hands washing his face with a wet cloth.

"Wh-what is happening?" the noble said shakily, "S-sousuke?"

"You have contracted an infection…likely from when that fool, Gin, placed the reiatsu chamber in your body so that we could conceive children. I will have him whipped for this. My apologies. I hadn't meant for harm to come to you."

Byakuya gazed at him blankly through deeply hazed eyes and Aizen's eyes softened.

"You are becoming more responsive," he commented, "That is good. But we need to do something about getting you well enough to play your part in what is happening."

"What is happening?" the noble asked dizzily, holding on to Aizen's arm as he tried to sit up and fell back again.

"Don't worry about that, Byakuya. Just rest."

He laid down next to the noble, curling his body warmly around Byakuya's and closing his eyes. Byakuya was careful to show no signs of resistance as the other man's hands explored his body absently.

"I will truly enjoy our first night as king and consort," he breathed into the noble's ear, "I will cut down that useless being, take my place as king, marry you and join our bodies to make our heir, all on the same wonderful day. This has been a long time in coming."

He pressed his lips to the sensitive place just below Byakuya's ear, and the noble let out a soft, quickened breath.

"I am glad that we will be sharing this together, Byakuya. You see now, don't you? Two powerful, beautiful beings like us belong in a place like that, ruling over the three worlds and surrounded in all of the sweetness the spirit realm has to offer. Although," he said, sliding his hand down the noble's slender abdomen and capturing Byakuya's flustered member in a firm hand, "I think I could almost be satisfied with you and forget everything else. You are truly intoxicating, especially now that you have been conditioned to respond to me."

Taichou, said Renji's voice in Byakuya's mind.

Oh, Renji…this is not a good…time!

"I don't know if I can wait until we reach the spirit dimension…"

What is that bastard doing to you?

He caught his breath sharply as Aizen's hand left his hardening member and he teased the noble's entrance.

F-focus, Abarai. What is it?

I thought of a way to protect the taichous and fukutaichous. I told soutaichou about it, and he and the other taichous agreed it looks like our only chance. So tomorrow, Aizen is going to see all of us begin the ritual to place the tower in the inter-dimensional cell.

Byakuya flinched as Aizen's fingers continued to tease him and the man's mouth bit down on the sensitive flesh of his throat.

Are you all right? Renji asked quickly.

I am fine…go on…

Kurotsuchi taichou has something special planned. Aizen won't see this one coming. Just get word to the others if you can. Soutaichou insists we have to do this quickly. We're only waiting until tomorrow because it is the fastest Kurotsuchi taichou can complete his part of the plan.

"I am sorry, Byakuya," Aizen murmured, sliding down beneath the covers and pushing the noble's thighs apart, "I just can't seem to resist you. I know you are not feeling well, but…"

Oh…

Byakuya?

Aizen's hands clenched the noble's white thighs, pushing them wider as his mouth began to pleasure the noble gently.

"Mmmmm…" Aizen moaned.

Oh, this is not happening!

What is he doing? Byakuya? Byakuya, are you all right?

I'm…f-fine, just…he is…

Throw up.

Byakuya blinked in surprise, flinching as Aizen's manipulations intensified.

What?

Think of something gross and throw up. He's molesting you, ne? It'll stop him. Throw up.

I can't think of…anything!

Orihime's cooking! Her spicy candied sushi with the pickled vegetable appetizer!

Oh…oh no, not that!

Byakuya's stomach heaved in response and he tore away from Aizen and leaned over the edge of the bed, only saved from falling into the trash bin by Aizen's supportive arms, as he emptied his stomach violently.

"Oh," said Aizen, shaking his head sympathetically, "I am sorry I rushed things. I couldn't seem to help myself. But you are still too unwell. Perhaps by tomorrow, you will feel better."

"I am…sorry, S-sousuke," Byakuya panted, leaning against the other man's shoulder, "I don't know what happened."

"That is all right," said Aizen, smiling at him as he helped the noble lie down again and left the bed to make him a cup of tea, "Your reiatsu is strengthening. By tomorrow, you should be well again and we should be able to continue with our plans."

Byakuya rested against the pillows and accepted the hot tea gratefully. He sipped at it quietly as Aizen returned to the bed and laid down, closing his eyes.

"Tomorrow night…" he sighed softly, "Tomorrow night, we will lie down in the palace in the spirit realm…as king and consort."

Arigato, Renji.

Eh…don't thank me. It was Inoue Orihime who saved you…or…the memory of her cooking.

Please don't remind me…

Sorry.

Renji?

Hmmm?

Do you what I find really ironic? I am lying in the arms of the enemy. He is asleep. I could kill him now and end this…

But you still don't know how to restore everyone's shielding. There are too many innocent people who would be…

I know. But I would really love to kill this man.

We'll do that tomorrow, Taichou. Get some rest.

If one can rest with a deadly snake wrapped around his scantily dressed body.

On second thought, don't go to sleep.

Aishiteru yo, Renji.

Be careful tomorrow, okay?

You be careful. You are one of the ones Aizen will be trying to kill.

Yeah, well there are worse things than death…so…be careful anyway.

I will be.

(AN**Next chapter…Kisuke and Ichigo break into Szayel Aporro's lab, while Gin and Toshiro distract him. Afterwards, Kisuke takes action to protect Byakuya from an increasingly amorous Aizen. Thanks so much for reading! More is on the way.)