Chapter 26: Return of the Spirit Prince

"Are you ready to go, Naoki?" Tetsuya asked, glancing out the bedroom doors to where Aizen Sousuke sat astride Arashi, holding Mikomi in his arms and waiting for them.

"Yes, Tetsuya-san," the boy said excitedly, "I still can't believe that we are going to live the Spirit Dimension! Or that Aizen Sousuke is the Spirit Prince! Or that Tetsuya-san married him and had a baby!"

He gave Tetsuya a puzzled look.

"Does that mean I have a little sister?" he asked, scratching his head.

"It means that because you are my little brother, that makes you her uncle," Tetsuya corrected him.

"But I'm just a kid!" Naoki objected, wide-eyed, "An uncle is old!"

"Not always, Otouto," Tetsuya chuckled affectionately.

He looked up as Byakuya entered the room.

"Naoki," said Tetsuya, "if you are ready, then why don't you go and visit with Mikomi and Sousuke?"

"Okay, Tetsuya-san!" said Naoki, scampering out the door.

"He is very excited about the move," Byakuya observed, watching as the boy flash stepped to Arashi and hopped up onto his back, then turned to face the brown-eyed shinigami and the baby he held.

"Yes," agreed Tetsuya, looking around the room that he had occupied ever since his liberation from the half-breed's prison.

"Have you forgotten something?" asked the clan leader, following his eyes for a moment.

"I feel as though I have, but I wouldn't know what," Tetsuya confessed softly, "If I had to guess, I would say that the thing that I had forgotten, the important something that was being left behind...isn't a something at all...but someone."

Byakuya gave him a small, affectionate smile.

"My place is here, watashi no itoko. And even though your home is going to be elsewhere now, this room still belongs to you. You may occupy it whenever you come to visit the Seireitei."

Tetsuya swallowed hard and nodded.

"I remember when I was too afraid to leave this room."

He met Byakuya's eyes meaningfully.

"I don't think I would have reached it and taken shelter here...or grown to where I could feel safe leaving it, if not for you. You have been a source of great healing in my life, Byakuya-sama."

Byakuya moved closer and touched his face gently, his gray eyes, calm, but solemn.

"And you have been a source of comfort through my own losses, and one who has brought pride to our name, Tetsuya."

"By bringing a living demon into the family?" Tetsuya said, smiling and shaking his head, "By marrying the devil himself?"

"By remaining true to his values, even in the most difficult of circumstances. You were taken away from our home and made to walk among our enemies," Byakuya said softly, "You did so fearlessly, and you stopped the travesty that we could not."

"I was not without fear," Tetsuya laughed, "And I held myself only inches from despair at times. But...the lessons I learned from you served me well, and I endured what I had to so that I could return to you to thank you for everything. You have been a blessing, Byakuya-sama. I will carry the memories always in my heart."

"As will I," Byakuya said, calmly accepting and returning his cousin's warm embrace.

Tetsuya closed his eyes to stop the tears that threatened at the thought of being parted from Byakuya, and breathed in his cousin's gentle sakura scent. His mind gently replayed their memories, everything from the tears of happiness and loss he had cried on the day of his liberation, through the struggles as he adjusted, the bittersweet pursuits of honor and acceptance in the family, to the tears he held back as he forced his arms to release the person who had played the largest role in his ability to complete the task that the spirit king had set before him. Byakuya placed his hands on Tetsuya's shoulders and kissed him lightly, once on each cheek. Then, he stood back, watching with solemn eyes as Tetsuya left the room and joined the others on Arashi's strong back.

Arashi's wings unfurled, and Byakuya stepped out of Tetsuya's room to watch as the Pegasus broke into a run and shot across the gardens, then swept up into the air. He looked after his departing cousin until after they had become a tiny speck in the sky and disappeared.

"Taichou," said Renji's voice behind him as the redhead's arms curled around him, "Rukia told me that Tetsuya-san was leaving. I kinda figured you'd be here, wanting a little company."

Byakuya's lips curved upward, and he turned to face Renji and brought their lips together lightly.

"You thought correctly," Byakuya answered, "But then, you read me very well, Renji."

He sighed and sank more deeply into the redhead's arms.

"I am...really glad you finally said something to me about how you feel for me," said Renji, looking out across the darkening sky, "I was wondering how long it would be...or if you would ever admit to what I knew I was seeing in your eyes."

"As I said, you know me well."

"I want to know you better," said Renji, taking his hand and turning him towards his bedroom.

"I want that too," Byakuya whispered, leading the way inside.


Arashi soared down, out of the blue sky and angled his wings, lowering his dainty feet as he gently touched down at the beginning of the palace entrance. The path he walked was lined on both sides with Royal Guardsmen, and behind them, a sea of others who had come to witness the arrival of the crown prince.

"Presenting Aizen Sousuke, Crown Prince of the Three Worlds and his Royal Consort, Aizen Tetsuya!"

Tetsuya couldn't stop the smile that the words brought to his lips. He stole a glance over his shoulder and found his husband was likewise, smiling.

"I don't imagine you ever thought you would hear that, ne? At least, not followed by cheers."

"I was once chilled by the very mention of your name," admitted the noble, "but given all we have been through together, I now wear that same name proudly."

They fell silent as Arashi reached the palace courtyard and stopped. Tetsuya and Naoki slid down, and Tetsuya took Mikomi from Aizen's arms, then held her against his shoulder as Aizen dismounted and led them to where King Eiji waited at the top of the palace steps, with a lovely, blue-eyed, raven-haired man beside him.

"Sousuke," he said, welcoming his son and embracing him, "I would like to introduce you to Kuchiki Hajime, my Royal Consort...and your other father.

"Kuchiki Hajime," Aizen said, taking the other man's hand and gazing into his eyes that mirrored Tetsuya's.

"Welcome home, Sousuke," Hajime said, smiling in greeting.

"Kuchiki Hajime," Tetsuya whispered, bowing deeply, "I am honored to meet the original ancestor of the Kuchiki family."

"The first Kuchiki?" said Naoki wonderingly, "The one in the myths that the king made from a sakura tree in the royal gardens thousands of years ago? WOW!"

Hajime met the boy's eyes and his smile widened.

"One and the same," confirmed Eiji, "Our children, Kuchiki Kazuki, Kuchiki Seijun and Kuchiki Kano carried our noble family name into the Seireitei nine hundred years ago, and raised the house Kuchiki. Sousuke's other three siblings, remained here."

He shifted slightly and two young looking women and a young man stepped forward. The two ladies favored Hajime, with raven black hair, pale skin and gentle blue eyes, while the young man had inherited the king's brown hair and eyes, and looked like a younger version of his returning brother.

"This is your younger brother, Yoshiaki, and your sisters, Aratani and Ayaka."

He turned and motioned towards the palace doors.

"Come Sousuke, you and your family are welcome. We have prepared a feast in honor of your return."


"I can't believe how beautiful this place is," said Tetsuya, taking a sleeping Mikomi from Aizen's arms and laying her gently in her crib, "And that welcome banquet, Sousuke! I've never seen the like, even at Kuchiki Manor. I ache all over from the dancing. I never knew Aizen Sousuke knew how to dance so divinely."

"I think there will be a lot that we will learn about each other, now that we can slow down and not be so preoccupied."

"What?" said Tetsuya, smirking and wrapping his arms around the prince, "No more plots and plans to take over the universe? How boring..."

"Really," said Aizen, narrowing his eyes, "Would you prefer I go back to my errant ways?"

"No," laughed Tetsuya, "That wasn't really you...although, something in me rather enjoys your more caddish side...sometimes."

"Sometimes, ne?" said Aizen, stealing another kiss, "Then I shall have to indulge in the occasional wicked plot, just to keep the interest of my beloved Tetsuya."

"No such measures are necessary, I assure you," said the noble, shaking his head and smiling, "I will not lose my affections for you...truly, Sousuke."

Tetsuya adjusted the blankets over a sleeping Naoki, then the two men kissed their baby girl on the forehead, bid the night attendant a good evening and retired to their own room, next door to the children's. Tetsuya walked to the closet and undressed, then started to wrap a yukata around his slender body. His hands were stopped by stronger ones, and Aizen's seductive brown eyes dove into his.

"You won't be needing that," he said, smirking, "As lovely as it would look on you."

He lifted Tetsuya into his arms and turned towards the bed, then paused just short of it, thinking better of it, and turning towards the open garden doors.

"Sousuke?" the noble said, gazing up at his husband's handsome face.

"Don't worry," said Aizen, meeting his eyes for a moment, then flash stepping onto the balcony, "No one will see us. I have something to show you."

"B-but...without clothes?" objected Tetsuya, shifting in his arms.

"I told you, no one will see you," the prince assured him, "Besides, you are even more attractive without clothes."

"Well, at least let me down," Tetsuya insisted, "I do not need to be carried bridal style off the balcony."

"But it is more fun this way," Aizen insisted, "Close your eyes."

Tetsuya smiled, closed his eyes and rested his head on the other man's shoulder, holding on tightly as Aizen flash stepped down to the ground and then across the gardens. He caught the mingled scents of flowers and grass, of water and vine that blended exotically with Aizen's pleasant, masculine scent. It left him giddy and fluttering inside as Aizen carried him through the gardens.

"I saw the gardens by day, you know," Tetsuya commented.

"I know," said Aizen, "But you did not pass by this place when we were here before. I think you will be surprised."

He moved out into the middle of an open meadow and set Tetsuya down on a bed of sakura petals beneath one of the trees that dotted the area. He laid down next to the noble, and pulled him close.

"Open your eyes," he instructed Tetsuya.

The noble's blue eyes opened and took in the star covered sky above them, then fell down and studied the sakura trees, whose petals floated on the breeze and decorated the long grasses all around them. His eyes widened.

"Sousuke," he said wonderingly, "This is..."

"What I promised you," Aizen said softly, moving his own clothing aside and baring his already awakened member, "You see, I did not realize, but when I created that illusion, it wasn't just a was a memory. I realized when I saw it today, that I was remembering this place when we were together after our wedding. And so I wanted to bring you here, to make love to you in this special place I remembered from before."

"That is beautiful, Sousuke!" Tetsuya breathed as the other man's mouth began to explore his soft throat, and his hands slid warmly over the lovely curves of his spouse's pale body, "That is...oh...oh, Sousuke! There...hah...aren't words!"

He gasped and panted as Aizen coaxed his thighs apart and engaged his mouth in hot, scathing kisses, while his fingers prepared him and the hard, deep kisses continued. The fingers of Aizen's free hand laced together with his light being lover's and Tetsuya's hips thrust upward forcing deepening the contact. Tetsuya tried to stifle a louder moan and panted harder, clenching his teeth and closing his eyes as Aizen's voice sounded in his ear.

"No one can hear us either, my lover. Scream to the stars, if you are so moved. You can do so freely."

"O-oh!" Tetsuya moaned feverishly, "I want, Sousuke!"

Aizen's fingers hooked again, making the noble writhe and yield a deeper, more passionate cry. Aizen's mouth fell on his, devouring the sweet, heartfelt sounds as he positioned himself to enter the noble. Tetsuya felt the touch of Aizen's inflamed member, and cried out more intensely, then even more so as he was slowly and deeply penetrated. The sounds of his noble lover's pleasure caused Aizen's member to harden and swell inside Tetsuya, making the blue-eyed shinigami arch into each enchanting, blinding thrust, panting harder and moaning more desperately.

"You're delicious like this, Tetsuya!" Aizen panted in the noble's ear, coaxing another happy moan from the noble's parted lips, "I love the sounds you make while I'm inside you."

"S-sousuke!" Tetsuya gasped, arching his back and wrapping his slender legs around his lover's muscular body, "Sousuke! I cannot breathe!"

"Then, I shall have to breathe for you, my love," Aizen whispered, nibbling on the noble's trembling lips and thrusting into him more forcefully.

"I shouldn't mind, even if I died this way!" insisted the overcome noble, his voice rising into a beautiful keening cry of completion as his body seized and his seed erupted onto their bared skin in long, hot pulses. And the very sight of his lover, spread out on the ground beneath him, his face made over in pleasure and his body drenched in his pearly release, sent the new crown prince over the edge and plunging into breathless completion. Tetsuya gave a softer, moaning cry as Aizen's heat filled him inside. The prince's eyes met Tetsuya's and Aizen smiled down at him.

"Don't be in a hurry to die, Tetsuya," he whispered, "We have worlds more to experience together. This is just the beginning."

"I won't die," Tetsuya promised, his chest heaving softly, "I look forward to spending the rest of my life...untouched, by all but you."