The Oathbound: Leave Nothing Unsaid pt 2
(My deepest gratitude to KingHerod for suggesting this storyline and for drawing such cute Bya/Ren pictures! ;) Thank you…Arigato…and all of that good stuffs. If you've read the prior story, then you already know this is mpreg…and regular preg. But must warn you that there will be angst. I would suggest keeping tissue and chocolates handy.)
Chapter 1: Little Things
Byakuya looked up in annoyance as the door to the sixth division office burst open and Rikichi stumbled through the door, chasing a hell butterfly. His feet somehow crossed as he reached the midpoint between the door and the hallway and the boy tumbled forward, crashing loudly to the floor. The hell butterfly flitted over him, looking down at him reproachfully, then moved on to come to a gentle landing on the noble's fingertip. Rikichi groaned.
"G-gomen-nasai, Kuchiki taichou…I…I…am clumsy."
Byakuya sighed, somehow managing not to roll his eyes.
"I am well aware of your lack of coordination, Rikichi. It is good that your swordsmanship and your shikai are more worthy of note. Now, if you will take the parcel on Renji's desk and…"
He broke off as an alarm sounded.
"Intruder alert! Intruder alert! Division Six to the west gate. I repeat…Division Six to the west gate!"
"Come Rikichi," Byakuya said, standing and sliding Senbonzakura into his belt.
The two flash stepped out of the office and met the swelling group of shinigamis outside. They turned together and flash stepped away.
Several minutes later, they stood atop the west gate, looking down at the hollow force that had appeared and tried to enter the gate.
"It looks as though Aizen Sousuke is at it again!" Rikichi noted, "He hasn't let up since the parasitic hollow attacked us!"
"Hai," Byakuya agreed, "He is quite determined. Now, watch these attackers, while I go after their leader."
"But Kuchiki taichou! Renji said…"
But Byakuya's flash step and sudden disappearance ended the conversation.
"Aww, kami, Renji's going to kill me for letting Taichou run off on his own like that!"
He spotted the noble behind the enemy's defenses, crossing swords with several large Arrancars. He looked to be doing well on his own, but Rikichi knew Renji hated it when their taichou fought alone that way. He flash stepped down from the wall and moved around the edge of the battleground, working his way closer and closer to Byakuya as the fighting raged around him.
Byakuya's weapon flashed brightly and turned pink. Rikichi knew well enough to keep a respectful distance as the swirl of cherry blossoms swelled around the noble and turned in the direction of the ones attacking him. He moved closer and drew his weapon. Suddenly, one of the Arrancars stopped and stared, capturing several pink blossoms in his clawed hand.
"Is this some kind of joke?" it snarled, "You think we are playing games with you?"
The hollow slashed at the noble and Rikichi gasped as he saw blood rise on his taichou's skin. Byakuya stepped back, reeling and sending blue fire arcing out of his hands. The blast threw the Arrancars backwards and off their feet. Byakuya moved forward, pouring his power into another blast of blue fire. The reiatsu rose painfully around Rikichi, forcing him to back away. The blue flame swelled around his hands a third time, but as he released the blast, the reiatsu around the noble faltered and the attack flashed and dissipated, striking the enemies, but not even fazing them. Rikichi realized suddenly that the failed attack left Byakuya virtually unprotected, bleeding…and behind enemy lines. Several additional hollows turned back to join the Arrancars facing Byakuya.
"Oh no!" gasped the youth, his eyes widening and his hand tightening on his sword.
He flash stepped forward as the hollows closed in around the noble, sending a kido blast ahead of him, as Renji had taught him, to clear the way to his taichou. He gained Byakuya's side and raised a shield to block an incoming cero.
"What the devil are you doing here?" snapped the noble, "I told you to watch them!"
"Hai," Rikichi agreed, slashing at an incoming attacker and sending it tumbling away, "I did watch them…and when I saw you were bleeding, I had a responsibility to assist you, sir."
"I am fine," Byakuya said brusquely, "now stay out of the way."
The noble's reiatsu flared hotly, making the young shinigami wonder if, perhaps, he had been mistaken about what he had seen before. And when Byakuya's shikai swirled around them, blood exploded from the attacking Arrancars and poured onto the ground all around them. Rikichi shook his head in confusion, then moved forward with the noble, sending kido blasts outward to finish off the last of the retreating hollows.
Byakuya sheathed his weapon and flash stepped away without a word. Rikichi stared in the direction he had gone, then looked down at the scattering of sakura blades on the ground.
I have to have been imagining things. He seemed fine, just now…but…
He leaned over and gathered a handful of the glowing sakura blades. He touched them carefully, turning them over in his hands. Several cut into his flesh, but a large number of the glowing petals were soft and harmless. Rikichi caught his breath sharply and looked back towards the wall, where the squad was gathering. Byakuya glared in his direction and the youth dropped the petals and flash stepped back to them.
"Is something troubling you?" Byakuya asked as the group turned back towards the division office.
"N-no, Kuchiki taichou," he said, forcing down the knot of discomfort in his stomach, "Nothing's wrong."
Byakuya dismissed the group and motioned for Rikichi to follow. They walked quietly back to the office, Byakuya's eyes calmly focused on a spot on the ground several feet ahead of him and the youth's eyes trying not to look at him.
"Kuchiki taichou," he said softly, as they approached the fourth division, "Hadn't we better stop and have your injuries seen to?"
Byakuya's eyes flicked in his direction and the noble studied his unsettled expression for a moment.
"I am not seriously injured," he replied calmly, "However, since it seems to be of such importance to you, probably because my overly worried fukutaichou put you up to watching me during his absence, I will stop there briefly. In any case, my wife will likely be there for her appointment and I can meet her to walk home. Go back to the office and file the report on our activities out at the west wall. Be thorough. Soutaichou will want to have detailed information on the number and type of enemies we faced."
"Hai, Kuchiki taichou!" Rikichi said quickly, turning to leave.
Byakuya continued walking and climbed the steps leading into the fourth division. He felt Rikichi's eyes watching until he passed through the doors and went inside.
"Kuchiki taichou, come this way and I will see to your wounds," said Hanatarou.
Byakuya nodded and followed the youth to one of the examination rooms. As they started to enter the room, he heard Seijun's voice down the hall and flash stepped away from Hanatarou. He stood outside the open door and tapped softly on the doorframe before being beckoned in by Unohana taichou.
"Kuchiki taichou," she said reprovingly, "You look as though you escaped from one of our triage rooms. Allow me to see to your wounds."
"Later," he said, approaching Seijun. He nodded to Risa, who smiled back at him, "I apologize for my lateness. There was trouble at the west gate."
"I would say so," said the noble lady, studying her husband's battered shihakushou and the blood that speckled his white skin, "Please let them heal you. I don't want you to sit there suffering, just because you were in a rush to see me."
"How are you and our baby?" he asked, changing the subject as Unohana taichou moved closer to him and moved his shihakushou out of the way.
Healing light flared softly around her hands and Byakuya sighed softly in relief as the sting of the wounds faded.
"The baby and I are both fine, Byakuya-sama. The development of our little one is right on target and everything is progressing well."
"That is good to hear."
He flinched as Unohana's hands found one of the deeper wounds.
"Will you be ready to return to the manor soon?" he asked, "Renji is coming home tonight and I've asked him to meet us there for dinner."
"I'm done now," Seijun said, sliding off of the examination table, "but I refuse to go home with you until you let the healers see to all of your battle wounds."
Byakuya smiled tolerantly.
"Very well. Since it pleases you."
He sat calmly as Unohana healed the last of his wounds. She set his uniform back in place and he retied the belt and stood.
"Are we finished here?" he asked.
"Almost," said the healer, "but I do have a question. Have you had any unexplained symptoms? Anything odd that seems to defy explanation? The reason I ask is because there seems to be an odd flutter in your reiatsu. I sensed it several times while healing you. Your reaitsu seemed to pulsate a bit more than expected as well…"
"Hmmm," Byakuya said thoughtfully, "No…I feel fine. I am a little slower to rise in the morning, but you know how Soutaichou has been depending on me to coordinate the conferences between the noble houses and the Gotei 13, ever since the hollow attacks that destroyed half of the Seireitei."
"Yes," agreed Seijun, "He is up early and misses dinner half the time. If he didn't have Abarai-san to bring him up for air on occasion, I think he would collapse from self-neglect."
"Oh, I wouldn't go so far as that," Byakuya said softly, "I get up later than I used to…"
"Perhaps, but you are still up before me…"
"You are with child. You require additional rest."
"And you often take ginger tea in the mornings now. You didn't before…"
"My changes in taste are hardly great need for concern. Perhaps I am simply responding to the changes in you. It sometimes happens in couples as they wait for their child to be born…"
"Don't start with me, Byakuya-sama," she said, smiling playfully, "and don't try to shift the focus. Unohana taichou, I have no idea what to do to convince my husband to slow down and breathe a bit. He doesn't seem to think he needs to rest as the rest of us do…"
Byakuya smiled and shook his head.
"I appreciate your concern, of course," he said calmly, "but you needn't worry for me. Our child will be born soon and I will take some time off then."
They noticed suddenly the amused look Unohana taichou was giving them.
"My apologies," Byakuya said quietly, "It seems we became distracted."
"Yes," chuckled the healer, "The two of you seem to get on very well together. There is a great deal of ease between you. In fact, I don't think I've seen Kuchiki taichou smile so many times in such a short length of time. I'd have to say that yours is one of the more successful marriages of those that took place after the hollow attacks. And it also looks as though you will be among the first to deliver a child. It will be several months yet, but you had best make certain you are prepared. It will bring about a great deal of change."
"I assure you, Seijun and Risa have practically rebuilt the nursery in preparation. We have had Isane come to the manor to instruct us in the procedures for the childbearing as well."
"It sounds like you are very involved," observed the healer, "That is good."
"He is so involved, he's been having cravings and nausea right along with me," laughed Seijun.
"That has been known to happen," Unohana said, smiling, "I can help you with that if it becomes too taxing."
"Not to worry," Byakuya assured her, "I can manage."
"Well then, it seems we are finished here. Seijun-san, I will see you again in two weeks. Kuchiki taichou, I will see you at the taichou's meeting in the morning."
"In the morning?"
"Hai…a hell butterfly came here to tell me. You may have missed yours due to the battle. We are meeting to discuss some odd reiatsu that was sensed in the Rukongai. Soutaichou will be gathering reports from all of us on any missions we have completed in the area and what we found."
"Ah…" Byakuya sighed, "It seems that perhaps I will not be going home now after all."
Seijun smiled gamely.
"That is fine, Byakuya-sama. Risa and I can find our way home. We can entertain Renji until you arrive."
Byakuya nodded. As he turned to leave, a hell butterfly fluttered into the room and hovered in front of the noble.
"Taichou, I am sorry, but I have been delayed in the Rukongai and have something to attend to, so I will not be back in time for dinner. My apologies. I will see you at work."
Byakuya's eyes took on a weary look.
"I am sorry," said Seijun, touching his arm, "but you are welcome to join the two of us for a walk later tonight…if you are home before we go to sleep."
"I will try to finish my report quickly, so we might take that walk," he said, lifting her hand and kissing it, "I can walk with you as far as the sixth division…"
"That would enjoyable," Seijun said, rising and following him out of the room.
They walked out of the fourth division and back along the streets to the sixth division office. The trio paused at the door as Byakuya and Seijun took their leave of each other.
"Are you sure you don't wish to take a short break for dinner and come back?"
Byakuya shook his head.
"I need to see to this report quickly…and then I will come home."
"Very well, then," she said, "Risa and I will see you later for that moonlight walk."
"I look forward to it," Byakuya said softly.
Seijun nodded and turned away. Byakuya watched as the two disappeared into the distance, then turned back into the office and closed the door behind him. The rest of the office staff had already gone home and the office was deeply silent. Byakuya sat down and began to prepare the needed paperwork, but stopped after a half hour, feeling oddly weak and hungry.
He got up too quickly and leaned against his chair for a moment, breathing slowly to clear his head, then continued on to the kitchen, where he placed a teapot on the stove. He started back across the room, but had not yet reached the door when nausea and dizziness passed over him again and he felt a twinge in his abdomen. Thinking it was probably fatigue from the earlier battle, he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, slowing his breathing again and trying to breathe through the pain. It nearly made him smile to realize that he was using one of the breathing techniques that Isane had taught Seijun to prepare her for labor. He remained where he was for several minutes, then, feeling too ill to finish making the tea, he turned the stove off and started back to his quarters.
He barely made it out of the kitchen before being struck with another bout of intense dizziness and abdominal pain. He doubled over, unable to breathe deeply and panted softly to ease the sharp pain. He shook his head to clear it, but only made the feeling worse. The room tilted oddly and a rushing sound entered his ears. He heard himself give a low, pained groan and collapsed onto the floor.
He wasn't sure how long he remained on the floor. Through the haze in his mind, he thought he heard the office door open…then footsteps that sounded for a moment and paused. A voice said something garbled and then he heard footsteps coming closer. Finally, he felt a touch of familiar reiatsu. If he could have made a sound, he would have sighed in relief as warm calloused hands touched him and Renji's voice sounded in the darkness.
"Byakuya! What the hell happened to you?"