(This story is the brainchild or Lightning the Flash and Genesis Beautiful Soul, who are big supporters of my work and I owe a debt of gratitude to for that, and for this lovely storyline. Blending small elements of such stories as Between Twilight and Dawn and Lightning the Flash's own In Full Bloom Once Again, it takes on a life of its own and forms a new incarnation of my favorite love triangle Bya/Ren with a deliciously devious Aizen Sousuke thrown in to make the lovers fight to protect their love. Ah, I never get tired of this. Thanks so much for handing me such a lovely plot bunny! Let's see, warnings for angst, mpreg and some non-con sex…you know, the usual. LOL Happy Reading! P.S.-Yes, geecee, this will be an enjoyable one for you too!)
Prologue: New Year's Fireworks
"Are you warm enough, Byakuya?" Renji asked, handing the noble a glass of golden liquid and sitting down next to him on the black sofa that had been moved out of the penthouse apartment they had rented for New Years and onto the open rooftop so that they could better see the Karakura Town fireworks display.
Byakuya nodded and accepted the glass from Renji's hand.
"I'd be warmer still if this was something a bit stronger than sparkling apple cider, but this little one would not appreciate my use of alcohol," the noble said, rubbing his swollen abdomen.
"Aww…he's part Abarai, ne? He'd probably handle it just fine…but we don't want to take any chances," Renji chuckled.
Byakuya blinked and gazed at his glass.
"You're drinking cider as well, Renji? Why?" he asked.
"Because I'm going to be kissing you at midnight…and then doing whatever else we can manage without disturbing the little guy…so…if I'm going to be doing…that…"
"I see," Byakuya said, his lips curling into a smile, "Good planning."
"Well…I learned from the best," Renji said, leaning forward and capturing his lips hungrily.
"Save some for midnight, Abarai…"
He glanced back into the apartment, where guests were gathering.
"Not much longer now," he went on, "and I will officially be yours."
"We're almost ready," Renji said
"This was a good idea, Renji," Byakuya said quietly, "Being married at the start of the New Year…a lovely idea."
"Well," Renji said, "as long as this little one is polite and waits until at least morning to be born. You're already overdue. Just try to get to the end of the vows before having him, okay?"
"Actually," said Byakuya, "That is up to our son…and as active as he's been, I think it's going to be hard to call."
"Really," Renji said, laying his hand on the noble's belly.
A dreamy smile crept over his face as the baby moved beneath his hand.
Byakuya let out a pleased breath.
"He knows it's you. He always kicks harder when you touch him."
"Huh…" huffed Renji, "I hope that doesn't mean he's going to push me around like you do!"
Perish the thought…" smiled Byakuya.
They sipped at their cider as the guests were called together and moved out onto the roof. As processional music began to play, they took their seats in the rows of chairs that had been set up for the occasion. Small potted sakura trees strung with lights lined the rows and at the front was a raised platform on which the bridal couple was to stand during the ceremony.
"Are you ready?" asked Head Councilor Nori, "We are set to begin, Byakuya-sama."
Byakuya nodded and he and Renji rose and followed him to the aisle between the rows of seats. Nori waited for the music change, then walked slowly down the aisle and took his place at the front. Byakuya and Renji stood back, with Rukia in between them and Ichigo waiting as Best Man, next to Nori. The wedding march began and the guests stood and turned to watch as Rukia led her brother and her best friend to the front of the crowd of guests and gently laid Byakuya's hand in Renji's. She kissed each on the cheek, then took her place opposite Ichigo. Byakuya and Renji faced Nori, waiting expectantly.
As Nori began to speak, Byakuya felt a soft twinge in his belly and slowly breathed through it. Renji squeezed his hand and met his eyes questioningly. Byakuya shook his head slightly as the tightness eased and Renji relaxed. Nori continued his introduction and prepared to move on to the vows. Byakuya caught his breath as a stronger pain began and panted very softly through it. Renji gave him a more panicked look that said, Should we stop? and Byakuya shook his head again. His breathing slowed again as the contraction ended and Nori launched into their vows.
Byakuya felt an odd sense of something being wrong and out of the corner of an eye he spotted what appeared to be a large showering firework moving in their direction. He squinted at the odd sight that was occurring before midnight when the city display was set to start. In slow motion, his head turned, and he came to the realization that the sparking spectacle was headed right for Renji and him. Renji turned to take hold of him, but all at once a flash step sounded and he was yanked away from the top of the building, just as the firework slammed into the roof. Screams erupted as the device exploded with far more force than it should have, blowing apart the top of the roof and sending guests flying in all direction. Flash steps sounded and some guests caught themselves and landed safely in the wreckage of the roof area, but having been hit nearly head on, Nori, Renji, Rukia and Ichigo lost consciousness almost immediately and as the building shifted reflexively, they slid off with the rubble and made the long, slow fall, crashing into the ground and sending more debris flying in all directions.
Renji groaned and struggled to the surface of the depression driven into the ground as he landed.
"B-byakuya!" he cried, "Byakuya!"
Rukia and Ichigo crawled out of the wreckage nearby. Rukia cried out in dismay, seeing that Nori lay bloodied and unmoving on the ground. They moved closer and Renji brushed the bloodied hair out of his eyes and leaned over the noble.
"Oh no…oh my kami…Ichigo, get Orihime…fast!"
Ichigo nodded and limped away to look for the girl. Rukia turned to Renji.
"You didn't see what happened to Nii-sama?" she said in a trembling voice.
"N-no…" Renji said, tears coming to his eyes, "He was right there with me…and I saw it…and I reached for him…then everything exploded. Rukia…we have to find him! He was going into labor! And his power was sealed away because he was so close to delivering…"
"I know," said Rukia, nodding, "Come on, Renji…We'll find him."
"Guys," Ichigo said, returning from his search, "Bad news…Orihime has been injured."
"I know," said Ichigo, "Hanatarou is coming, but…"
Rukia dropped down and took the hand of the barely breathing elder.
"It's going to be all right," she told him through a haze of tears, "Hanatarou will be here in…"
She froze, staring as the old shinigami's body twitched, released a long breath and fell still.
"No…" she moaned softly, "Nori?"
Ichigo put a hand on her shoulder as Hanatarou appeared and knelt at the noble's side. He examined the elder, then slowly reached over and closed his half-opened eyes.
"Oh my kami…" moaned Rukia, gasping, "How could this happen? How could this HAPPEN!"
She looked up at Renji with desperation in her eyes and jumped to her feet.
"Nii-sama!" she cried, diving into the debris and searching madly, "Nii-sama…Nii-sama…NII-SAMA!"
Renji moved forward with the others and started to search as well, his mind numb with shock.
Byakuya…where are you?
Chapter 1: The Captive
Byakuya gasped in shock as he was grabbed and swept into the air. He clung tightly to his rescuer as the giant pyrotechnic struck the building below them and screams rose up.
"Oh kami…Renji!" Byakuya gasped, struggling, "We have to go back…Renji…Renji!"
"Shh…" his rescuer soothed him in a whisper, "Easy, you are in labor and need to be taken to a healer."
"He'll be all right," the other assured him, "Try to relax."
It occurred to Byakuya suddenly that there was something very odd about the man holding him. The muffled voice sounded familiar…and the reiatsu was clouded. And, he realized, the man had reached him ahead of the blast…
"Who are you? Where are you taking me?" he asked, struggling.
"Be still," said the one holding him, "You really don't want to fall…not from this height…and with your powers sealed away. Sleep…"
A shock of kido blazed through him and Byakuya felt darkness closing in.
"R-renji," he panted softly, his eyes glazing over, "R-ren…"
The man carrying him set down on top of a nearby building, looking back at the burning building behind them. He smiled into the dark, sakura scented hair of his captive and drew his sword. Slashing at the sky, he opened a garganta. Looking back one more time at the flaming wreckage behind him, he stepped through and passed over into Hueco Mundo. As he dropped down into the sand, another shinigami flash stepped out to meet him.
"I see you were successful," the silver-haired man said, studying the dark haired shinigami that man held, "You'd best get him inside. I think he's about to drop that baby any moment!"
"Yes, well…That baby has a special place in my heart. It's the only thing that could have left him weak enough for me to capture…and it is the only thing that will make him cooperate with me…"
"Quite a catch, there," Gin said, nodding, "I never would have thought you'd land a noble for a mate…"
"Believe me, he is worth the trouble. I have a plan that will give me everything I want. But I do need him and his child alive…and unharmed…you understand, Gin?"
"Of course, Sousuke," Gin said, smiling, "Bring him this way. We'll see to his delivery. By morning, Kuchiki Byakuya will be a proud parent."
"Yes," said Aizen, gazing at the man he held, "That and more."
He turned and followed Gin into the fortress. They moved quickly down the halls to the infirmary and set the noble down on an examination table. Gin leaned over him, quickly opening an IV and moving his clothes out of the way for the delivery. He placed his hands on Byakuya's swollen, bare abdomen as Aizen set the restraints and raised the noble's consciousness. Byakuya's eyes flickered open and went wide with panic.
"Wh-where…am I? R-ren…ji?" he panted, groaning as a contraction sent pain shooting through his midsection.
"Don't panic," Aizen said, looking down into the nearly frantic, gray eyes, "I give you my word. I have no intention of hurting you or your baby. Breath slowly, now."
"B-but…why? Wh-why am I here?" Byakuya asked, shivering, "I don't know how I…"
"Quiet now," Aizen said, brushing over his sweating forehead with a cool, wet cloth, "Everything will be fine. Just concentrate on your baby."
Byakuya closed his eyes and forced his breathing to slow, then turned his head slowly, taking in the room around him.
"Is…is Renji…is he…okay?" Byakuya asked, his eyes turning glazy and unclear, "H-he was…right there…at the center of the…explosion…"
"I am sure that Renji is fine," Aizen said calmly.
"Not to worry. All of the ones there had their powers…well, except for the humans, but I'm sure they came out of it all right…"
He broke off as a look of intense pain crossed Byakuya's face and tears formed in his eyes.
All at once, Byakuya's eyes dimmed and his breathing stopped.
"Byakuya?" Aizen said, extending his hands over the noble's chest, "Byakuya!"
He turned to look at Gin, who studied the machines around them and turned back again.
"He has gone into shock, Sousuke. Something happened and he went into shock."
"He said Nori," Aizen mused, "That is the head elder…"
"He may have died," Gin hypothesized, "It sends a kind of shock through them…noble's, I mean."
Aizen's lips tightened. He touched his hands to Byakuya's chest and send a shock of kido into the noble's body. Byakuya remained still and unresponsive.
"This is unacceptable. You get him breathing and you keep him alive. I'll take the baby."
Gin nodded and set up the life support systems, forcing air into the noble's lungs and sending small bursts of kido into his body to stimulate his heart as Aizen leaned over his midsection and placed his hands carefully. He focused deeply and power flared around them. Slowly as he worked, a golden sphere began to emerge. Smiling, Aizen touched it with a palm, capturing it and coaxing it out of the noble's body. As it broke free, Byakuya's body settled and returned to a more normal size. Aizen's hands curled around the reiatsu sphere, working carefully to stabilize it, then gradually stripping away the outer layer to reveal the shape of a tiny shinigami infant. Gin moved over and cleared the baby's airway, then a sharp cry rose up, snapping Byakuya out of the shocked state he had been in and making him struggle wildly.
"M-my…baby…don't…take my baby!"
Aizen smiled and nodded at Gin, who loosed the restraints on the noble's hands and helped him sit up and set pillows in place behind him. Aizen set the lovely red haired infant in Byakuya's arms and watched as the noble smiled down at his newborn son.
Byakuya stared into the gray eyes that looked so much like his and the face that mirrored Renji's and felt tears in his eyes.
"Renji should be here to see this," he whispered, "I need to see Renji. I need to know he's all right!"
Aizen studied him carefully and moved to his side, sitting down in a chair next to the bed and reaching up to touch the baby boy's cheek.
"Byakuya," he said in a quiet voice, "Now that your son has been born, you need to focus on what is going to keep the two of you safe and alive. That is what your Renji would want you to do."
"Renji would never want to be away from us," Byakuya said in a low voice, "He will look for us."
"Byakuya…you were standing at the top of a tall building. You had no powers. The building was destroyed. They will think you are dead…and they will find no clues that say otherwise. I covered your reiatsu and mine. There is no trail to lead them here and no reason to believe that you would be here. Now…my needs are very simple. As long as you are cooperative and as long as you obey my commands and do not try to escape or summon Renji…your son will stay with you. If you are defiant…or if you try to escape, I will take him from you. I will not kill him, but he will grow up without you. Do you understand?"
Byakuya blinked slowly, the reality of his situation settling over him. He looked down into his son's eyes and knew his choices were limited.
"I understand," he said quietly, "But you need to understand. Abarai Renji will not believe we're dead. You may have hidden my reiatsu, but without the fading that occurs with death, he will not accept it. He will look for conclusive proof…and he will come for us."
"He won't know you are here. As I said, Byakuya, focus carefully on your child. Do as I say and no harm will come to either of you…and you will not be separated. Now then…Gin…I want you marry us…"