Chapter 9: Errant Petals

(Thanks so much to Walkure (You aren't kidding! Bya will be all kinds of pissed!), PaulaGay (I think you'll enjoy this!), Alabirdie (*giggles* Go wrong? What could go wrong? Right?), Sscullys (Yes, RUN, RENJI!), Firebirdever (lol, you will enjoy this!), Roisin Ichimaru (No waiting any longer!), Kakashii'sWifey (Yes, in more ways than one!), Autheane (Yeah...that and some extreme chaos...), Spider Shadowheart (Aww, Spunky loves you! Just likes to build excitement!), Bre 42 (More is here!), and DragonPrincess01 (You can be sure that there will be fireworks...like NOW!) Enjoy the chpater!)

"I am pregnant," Byakuya said in a chillingly calm voice, "and you are the child's father."

The words fell softly from his pristine lips, but carried an edge of warning that tensed Renji's legs beneath him.

"Captain..."

"And..." Byakuya went on, as though not having heard him, "In addition to having impregnated me, you know a clan secret that no one is supposed to know."

"Y-yeah, well, I can explain that."

"Can you?" Byakuya said darkly, his reiatsu swelling ominously and his eyes smoldering with the beginnings of a deadly rage, "Then, I will give you a moment to speak. But speak quickly because if you don't, you may die too swiftly to explain!"

"O...okay!" Renji said, coming to his feet and backing away as Byakuya rose and advanced on him in slow, measured steps, "Look...I admit that Rukia told me about what happened with that ancestor of yours."

The redhead froze, his hands coming up to clench the noble's as Byakuya cornered him against a tent support and curled a slender hand around his throat, then slowly tightened it.

"I swear, Captain...I never told anyone! And I even forgot I knew about it! Believe me, if I'd remembered that on that night...nothing would have happened...urk!"

"What...night?" Byakuya hissed, his eyes flaring with hot, white light and flashes of pink rising around him.

"Rr-r..." Renji gurgled, struggling.

Byakuya loosened his hand slightly, and Renji took a ragged breath.

"The...the night you were...attacked by the...hollow vamp!" Renji panted, "R-remember? I took care of you!"

"Yes," the noble answered in a low, sarcastic tone, "So you did."

"C-captain, you were really out of it...not m-making sense! Y-you cornered me...kinda like this...erm, but without the intent to kill!"

"And let me see if I understand you correctly," Byakuya went on, raising his reiatsu so that the redhead could barely draw a breath, "Your response to encountering me...senseless, out of control and not lethal...was to have sex with me? Are you insane, Abarai?"

"But you...you...told me that it was...what you really wanted! What you wanted, but couldn't say before. You said...about the soup I made. You loved the soup. And you missed me, and..."

"Abarai," Byakuya snarled, his lips curling with fury and his dark eyes glinting, "You had better cease your ridiculous, senseless chatter and tell me why you did this...here...in enemy territory...and without my consent!"

"But, it wasn't without your consent...really, Captain!" cried the redhead, pulling free and backing towards the tent opening as Byakuya followed.

"I was out of my mind!" yelled the noble, "I didn't know what I was saying and I wager you knew that! And you knew I could get pregnant! What the HELL were you thinking, Abarai! Oh, let me guess...you weren't doing the thinking, ne? It was that part of you taking over, wasn't it? Well, let me assure you, I will relieve you of the offending appendage, and make sure you are NEVER tempted to touch me EVER AGAIN!"

"Captain, WAIT!" Renji cried, flash stepping madly as kido blasts disguised to look like ceros flashed all around him, "Captain...we are...!"

"DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE?" the noble raged, "I AM THE LEADER OF THE GREATEST OF THE NOBLE CLANS AND YOU HAVE IMPREGNATED ME!"

"Shit!" gasped Renji, blocking madly as volley after blazing volley of kido blasts crashed down on the sand all around him.

He heard a wickedly fast flash step and barely had time to brace himself as Byakuya's body struck his, throwing the two well clear of the encampment and out into open desert. The redhead broke free of Byakuya and rolled clear, coming to his feet, only to be tackled again and brought to the ground. He was inwardly grateful that Byakuya had been so attentive to his training since Aizen's betrayal, as the noble's careful instruction in hand to hand, weaponless combat became lifesaving. Byakuya's hands and feet struck too quickly to be seen, so Renji blocked on instinct, using senses honed in their constant sparring sessions. He sensed the returning swell of the noble's power and block the incoming hail of kido balls, his ears burning hotly at the scathing words that went along with the withering attacks.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, YOU IMBECILE! I WILL BE THE LAUGHINGSTOCK OF THE NOBLE FAMILIES!"

"I'm..." Renji managed, grunting with effort as more kido blasts and physical blows rained down on him, "I'm sorry, Captain!"

"You are sorry?" Byakuya snapped, mockingly, "SORRY? Well, sorry is not enough! Dead, Abarai! That is what you are! I am going to kill you for this!"

"I...I said I'm sorry!" Renji panted, blocking another stinging wave of attacks, "I just...it...when you said that...you said that you wanted me...and that you couldn't tell me before..."

"And I never meant for you to know because what I feel doesn't matter! The only thing that does is keeping my word to honor the rules and laws of the clan!" Byakuya cried, "And you made a mockery of that!"

"Wh-WHOA!" Renji expelled, reaching out and grabbing the noble's upper arms, freezing him in place and staring into the dark, maddened eyes, "Wait a sec. Captain."

Byakuya glared at him, but remained still.

"Captain...did you just tell me...that you have feelings for me?"

Renji caught his breath at the flash of uncertainty that appeared on the noble's face, then disappeared just as swiftly.

"I said that it doesn't matter what I feel. It is not permitted, so I won't entertain the thought," Byakuya said, sounding slightly breathless as he said the words.

"But you did say that you have feelings for me?" Renji asked again, "Really?"

"You are a competent fighter," Byakuya said, backpedaling quickly, "I admire your courage and your determination in pursuing me."

A sudden blush flashed over his pale face and throat, and he corrected himself.

"...in attempting to surpass me."

Renji released one arm and very slowly and carefully cupped on flushed cheek, moving in closer and smiling helplessly as Byakuya stared up into his happy, red-brown eyes and swallowed hard.

"C'mon Captain," he said, more softly, "Let's cut through the crap. You have feelings for me..."

"Renji..."

"And I have feelings for you too."

"Renji, we...I cannot..." the noble stammered.

"Shh..." Renji said, leaning forward and bringing his hot red lips crashing into Byakuya's frowning ones.

Byakuya's eyes rounded and his body stiffened. Instinctively, his hands pressed against the redhead's chest, and his breath caught at the contact between his opened hands and the warm, tanned and tattooed flesh that peeked through the opening in his yukata. But his mouth rebelled, accepting Renji's lips on his, meeting them hungrily, and parting instantly as the redhead's questing tongue touched them. Renji's seething tongue dipped deeply into his mouth, stealing around his and coaxing it into a sweet, succulent rebellion. Byakuya felt a hard shiver pass through him as the redhead's warm body pressed up against his, and the heat and hardness of the other man's erection touching him through their clothes brought him suddenly back to his senses.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?" he yelled, inhaling in surprise as a sea of pink petals erupted from out of his reeling form and combined with his burgeoning reiatsu to throw the redhead back.

Renji gave a surprised yelp and tumbled backwards, rolling over a small dune and disappearing from sight...something that Byakuya was deeply glad for as a terrifyingly calm, male voice sounded dangerously close to him.

"Byakuya Kuchiki?" said Sousuke Aizen, appearing next to him.

More petals exploded from the noble, who stared as Aizen smiled at him through the pink conflagration and captured several in one bare hand.

"Unbladed petals..." the leader of the hollows mused, "Soft...not dangerous at all. Why...Byakuya, are you flirting with me? How delightfully naughty of you."

Please, Renji, do not move...

"But why are you here? A spy for the captain commander? But I would think he would depend on the second division for that. Or was he thinking to avoid such an obvious thing?"

Byakuya's lips tightened, but he remained silent. He flinched, but stood still as Aizen slipped a small metal band around his wrist. Almost instantly, the retreat of his reiatsu, brought on dizziness that made him collapse onto his knees and grab his midsection. Aizen gazed down at him in surprise.

"What is wrong with you? Are you unwell?" he asked calmly.

Byakuya made a sound of intense discomfort, reeling as spots danced before his eyes and his body heaved reflexively. He loosed the small amount of tea he had managed to swallow, then slid to the ground, blackness closing in around him.

"The seal...it is..." he began, then stopped again as he was overcome and sank into unconsciousness.

Aizen smiled down at him sympathetically.

"Well, it seems you are ill," he concluded, bending to loosen the seal on his powers just enough so that the noble's pained expression eased, "I suppose we won't learn why you were here until we take care of that. Do not worry. I have a very competent healer."

He glanced at Gin and nodded.

"Bring him."

His head turned and he regarded Tousen quietly.

"And have the camp searched thoroughly. I doubt very much that the captain commander would have sent him alone. Where Byakuya is, his vice captain is usually nearby."

Gin lifted the unconscious noble into his arms and followed as Aizen led the way, past where Ryota stood, watching from within a group of curious hollows, who had gathered to see what the disturbance was.

"What a curiosity this is," mused Gin, "Byakuya Kuchiki...in hiding in our supposedly secret caravan. What should we do now? If the Gotei 13 knows we are here, then making the crossing into the Seireitei near the dimension wall is likely to be a problem."

"I agree, although I suppose that if they did place themselves on the way, we would have no problem crushing them and simply walking over them."

"Ooh, feeling reckless today," laughed the silver-haired shinigami, "Just don't go too overboard. Remember that if we are drawn into a prolonged battle, they could destroy enough of our sacrifices that we could not break through. What then?"

"Those sacrifices will not have to engage the enemy at all," said Aizen, shaking his head," The three of us could overcome them without a doubt. But I do not wish to go to the effort if it is not necessary."

"So what are you thinking?" Gin asked, his smile widening.

"I wish to know what Byakuya is doing here."

"And you think he is just going to tell you for the asking? I think you underestimate him."

"Hmmm," said Aizen, thoughtfully, "Are you suggesting some form of persuasion?"

"That could be fun," affirmed Gin, his smile widening.

"Oh, but poor Captain Kuchiki already seems to be afflicted by something. It would be too cruel to add pain to his list of troubles, ne? We should, at very least, make him comfortable and heal him, try to reason with him before we resort to torments to force him."

"I should have known that you were only teasing me," sighed the silver-haired man, "No fun at all...downright boring."

"Go and make him comfortable, Gin."

"In the prison tent?"

"In mine. And have my healer attend to him personally. I want to give Captain Kuchiki every chance to be cooperative."

"That's very generous of you. I hope he appreciates it," Gin purred, "If he doesn't, I will certainly not hesitate to offer my services."

"I don't think that will be necessary," Aizen said, smiling down at Byakuya's oddly tranquil face, "If reason will not convince him, then I am sure that proper manipulation and deception will work much better than violence..."

"What are you planning?" asked Gin, "Will I be included or should I be jealous?"

"Oh, there's no need for jealousy. My interest in him is purely for the information I am seeking. Go on now. Get him settled in and examined to see what ails him. I will be along shortly. I want to check in with our spies in the Seireitei."

Gin let out an annoyed breath as Aizen turned away, then gave Byakuya a frown and carried him into Aizen's tent. He deposited the still unconscious captain on the bed and employed a kido field to prevent him from moving if he did wake. Then, he left the tent and found the healer treating a group of sick hollows.

"What is going on here?" Gin asked "What is wrong with them? I do hope it is nothing contagious. We brought along plenty of extras, figuring that the hollow vamps and spirit wolves would have a go at them, and we would still have plenty to use for the making of the Hollow King's Key. But we didn't account for a widespread outbreak of illness."

"I am not sure yet," said the healer, "but it looks to be minor. Did you need something?"

"Yes," said Gin, "Lord Aizen has captured a Gotei 13 captain, but he seems to be suffering from some illness that is interfering with his powers."

"Oh? How so?"

"Well, although we sensed him, his reiatsu was abysmally low. And he is one who usually has no problem concealing his reiatsu in the first place. Finally, he released his zanpakutou power, but his sword was not in his hand...and instead of emitting bladed petals, he tossed real, harmless flower petals at us."

"Hmmm, that is odd," said the healer, "You say this is a male shinigami?"

"Yes," confirmed Gin, "Male and noble class. He is usually both healthy and respectably strong."

"Very well, I will have a look."

He followed Gin to Aizen's tent and the two found Byakuya, awake, but trapped in the kido field. The healer sat down next to the bed and released the kido field, then laid his hands on the noble's chest and abdomen, sending his reiatsu into the area. He looked into Byakuya's angry eyes and tested his reiatsu level several times.

"Are you in any pain?" he asked quietly.

"No," the noble answered.

"Do you have any kind of discomfort?"

"I have had flu-like symptoms for the past several days...nausea, vomiting, chills and reiatsu flares and drop offs."

"And Gin informs me that your zanpakutou was acting oddly?"

"Yes," admitted Byakuya, "but that hadn't happened until just now. My shikai activated from my hands without me bearing my sword, and the petals were..."

"...harmless, not bladed, ne?" finished the healer.

"Yes."

"Is your stomach upset now?"

"Yes, though it seems that it has improved since the seal on my powers was loosened somewhat."

Very well," he said, slipping a second band onto the noble's wrist, "This charm will allow you to go outside within a small perimeter of the tent to allow you to...see to your illness, but if you try to escape, it will return you to Lord Aizen's side. I am going to monitor your condition and run a few tests. I want you to eat the soup and drink the medicinal tea that Lord Aizen's attendant brings for you, and I want you to rest. We'll see soon enough what is wrong with you. Not to worry, Captain."

Byakuya gave him a dark look, but said nothing.

"You are fortunate," the healer went on, eyeing him for a moment, "Lord Aizen is not usually so accommodating to his prisoners. He..."

He paused for a moment as a soft glow rose around Byakuya, illuminating his flesh from within, ruffling and lighting the ends of his hair and making his eyes widen sweetly.

"I..." said the healer, blinking and staring, "Well, that is..."

"Is something wrong?" asked the noble.

"Ah...no, Captain," said the healer, feeling a sad twinge inside at the sight of the stunningly lovely and oddly vulnerable man, "But...is there...is there anything you need?"

"What?" asked Byakuya, looking confused.

Another heady twinge passed through the healer, and he cleared his throat softly.

"Do you need anything?" he asked again.

What is wrong with this man?

Why is he looking at me so oddly?

"I want to go home," he muttered, "but I don't imagine that..."

He blinked again as the healer put a finger to his lips and touched the band that he had put on the noble's wrist. The healer looked into Byakuya's eyes again and nodded barely perceptibly.

What happened?

Why is he acting that way, all of a sudden?

Did he just set the bonds so that I could escape?

Why?

The healer's hand touched his face and the old man smiled.

"There you go. I will be back to check on you later."

He exited the tent before Byakuya could answer.

Byakuya climbed to his feet and walked to the tent entrance, where he looked out, then slipped outside, looking as though he needed to vomit. He slipped around the side of the tent and was looking for an opening to run, when he felt Aizen and Gin's reiatsu closing in.

"Kami..." he whispered, dropping onto his knees and leaning forward on his hands.

"What are you doing out here?" asked Gin.

"I think it's obvious that the poor thing is sick as a dog," said Aizen, sympathetically, "Help him back inside, Gin."

Byakuya closed his eyes, heaving again and clawing at the ground uncomfortably.

"Hmmm, are you sure he's done, Sousuke? He still looks rather ill."

"Go and make him some ginger tea," suggested Aizen, "That should be soothing."

"Arigatou," Byakuya panted, not looking up.

"Gratitude?" queried the leader of the hollows, "from Byakuya Kuchiki? Oh, you must be terribly ill then."

Byakuya sensed the glow that had been around him earlier returning and lifted his eyes to meet Aizen's. The other man's head tilted as he noticed the noble's lovely wide eyes, glowing skin and his strangely vulnerable expression. His smile widened in a way that sent a hard chill through the noble.

That did not work quite as well as it did with the healer...

Aizen doesn't look distracted.

He looks...

Oh no...he looks...aroused?

"Come along, Captain," Aizen said, smirking and slipping an arm around the noble, "Come back into my tent so that we can...talk."

Oh...not good.

Renji, I hope they do not find you.

(A/N**Just to remind you, this is a humorous story, so Aizen and Gin won't be too scary. And Bya will not spend long in their possession! But how it plays out? Funny...I have to go and work on that now! You think Bya was pissed before...yeah, well...heheh, just wait!)