Disclaimer: Tite Kubo owns Bleach. I own shoelaces.

AN: Yeah. Yes. You've read the summary correctly. This is inspired by a dream, which explains a lot. However, the ByaRen and the UraIchi at the beginning weren't in the dream, sadly.

Sort of dedicated to KitsuneDragonheartLove, who is a fan of Renji.

The Power of Laces

"How does that even work?" Renji asked. Byakuya thought that there had never been a more legitimate question to ever come out of his lieutenant's mouth. He wouldn't have asked it that way, of course, but that was why he was secretly happy to have the redhead there.

The noble took another sip of the exotic tea that they had been offered. He didn't know what to think about this mission to the real world. He wasn't even sure what he felt about being sent to fight against Aizen with only his lieutenant as backup. However, he did know that the blond ex-captain had a sense for the dramatic when it came to announcing news. Also, he felt that Urahara's very new romantic involvement with a certain saviour of the world was slightly disturbing. To see the two men just on the other side of the table, impossibly close together, was uncanny.

"Well," Urahara said, "we have no clue how he managed to escape – which should be your domain, by the way – but the fact is, five years of being tied up, unable to move, unfed, unseen, in darkness, well..."

"They can drive a person insane," Ichigo finished that sentence. "It probably felt like aeons." The young man leaned towards Urahara and very casually stuck his tongue in the other man's ear.

Byakuya and Renji froze and stared. Had Ichigo just done that right before them?

"So he chose what he probably felt was an unlikely shape," Urahara continued, unperturbed. Byakuya decided that that hadn't just happened.

"And who'd think of Aizen as a fourteen year-old girl with pigtails?" Ichigo said, having returned to his original position. And just when Byakuya decided he'd been hallucinating, Urahara licked the younger man's throat. Slowly. Sexily. With all the abandonment better reserved for romantic nights with candlelight and massage oil.

Neither Byakuya nor Renji reacted. They were too busy trying to figure out how they should react.

"But we caught a trace of his reiatsu nonetheless," Urahara said, turning his head to look at them. "So we know it was he. And we have information from a source we can't disclose that he's trying to take over the world with the aid of household gods."

While he said this, Ichigo took his hand, kissed it from wrist to palm, licked a finger, then sucked it into his mouth, obviously working his tongue around it. He then pulled it out, dragging his teeth on it, before going deep on it again. Urahara finished his speech with a groan.

Byakuya found his mind replaying the last words in a desperate attempt to impose on him that he was a Kuchiki who was in no way ogling two people who were shamelessly debauching himself before his very eyes.

"What the heck is wrong with you two?" Renji burst out.

Urahara drew Ichigo tightly to him. "It's an experiment gone slightly wrong," he answered. "I got a very potent aphrodisiac and..."

"We've been like this for the past two days," Ichigo went on.

"Not that we really mind."

"It's just that we can't go longer than about three quarters of an hour without each other." The redhead climbed on Urahara's lap.

"It'll go away in a day or so."

"Until then, the telepathic side-effect is pretty neat."

Byakuya and Renji watched, with a mortified fascination, as Ichigo rubbed himself against Urahara in the most suggestive of manners.

"What could you possibly have wanted to make?" Renji asked.

"Tea," Urahara replied simply, before diving into a deep, heated kiss, his right hand grabbing onto Ichigo's hair, pulling him closer.

Byakuya put his cup of tea down almost instantly. Renji's followed it a few seconds later.

"It is a mission that must be gotten to immediately," Byakuya said, by way of excuse. "As such, Kurosaki Ichigo, Urahara Kisuke..."

"We're otherwise busy n-now, so unfortunately we can't join you," the blond said, throwing his head backwards to grant the younger man full access to his throat; he groaned as tender, lustful nipping took advantage of said access.

"Goodbye. We hope to find you under more normal conditions," Byakuya said, getting up and dragging after him a still transfixed Renji. The noble pulled the door closed behind them exactly as the younger man let out a small yelp.

"That... was..." Renji couldn't find his words.

"Disgusting. A complete break of decorum," Byakuya supplied. "I suggest we find a hotel."

"...Yeah," Renji agreed reluctantly. "I guess we can't stay here, what with the, erm, situation."

Was it just Byakuya, or did the redhead sound sorry about it? With an internal gesture of haughtiness, he added voyeurism to the list of his lieutenant's faults. Although, now that the less educated side of his mind had gained some small victory over his very educated usual thought processes, he had to admit that on some level the display had... interested him. Which was an entirely different situation than having Renji interested, because Byakuya knew when to stop looking and be outraged by the sheer nerve.

"How are we going to find him? Her?... It?... Aizen?" Renji asked. Byakuya nearly started, dragged out of his thoughts of a finger sucked between wet lips.

"By searching," he replied and then did not let his embarrassment show as his mind raced to find something to add to that statement to make it sound less inconsequential. "We will check to see which areas in the vicinity of Karakura contain the most reiatsu activity. Chances are, Aizen Sousuke will be there."

"Gotcha, Taichou."

"Then we shall search the schools in that area. I assume that Aizen would prefer to blend in rather than stand out."

"Sounds logical."

Byakuya was silent, trying to impart the fact that he was too much above pointing out that no proposition of his could be less than logical. He also wondered, pushing away the thought of one redhead grinding against a blond, if he actually had a plan concerning how to do this.

/

Somewhere in Tokyo, a young girl with round glasses and pigtails returned home from school. She cried out a hello in an empty apartment, knowing there would be nobody there to hear it. She dropped her textbooks, which were irrelevant anyway, because she knew everything in them and more, then picked up all her dirty laundry, heading for her washing machine. She fell to her knees before it and started putting clothes in, one by one.

"Ye eater of the one of the two! Destruction and absorption, the spinning of the waters, ye who cleanses all names and all manners! I call to ye to unleash the dark dominions in a lightning on my chosen!"

She finished by throwing in a great number of socks. She picked up the detergent, carefully measured it, placed it in its own spot, then pushed the button.

An hour later, as the washing machine's cycle was done, she came back and removed her now clean clothes and also a great number of socks which were impaired. She looked for their pairs attentively, and noticed them gone. Filled with a sort of elation she hadn't experienced for more than a hundred years, she fell back and laughed evilly.

Her sacrifice had been received.

/

AN: And this was just the beginning. Review? ;;)