Chapter 14: Our Own Kind of Love

"Huh," Kenpachi huffed, stepping down into the living world with Byakuya at his side.

His unpatched eye scanned the sea of flashing and multi-colored lights and he frowned at Byakuya questioningly.

"Hotels look kinda upscale for my tastes, but at least we're not stuck at some stuffy palace. People look pretty laid back here too. Where are we anyway, Kuchiki?"

Byakuya's eyes swept over the city in front of them.

"Las Vegas."

"Eh? Las Vegas?" Kenpachi repeated uncertainly.

"What's wrong?" Byakuya asked, smirking, "Still too rich for your blood? It shouldn't be. Few who come here leave with even their shirts on their backs, though they all suppose they will drive away toting trailers full of riches."

"Right...well, I didn't figure a rich boy like you for a gambling man..."

"Well, it isn't fair that you get to have all of the fun, ne? This is our honeymoon. There should be something in it for both of us, shouldn't there?"

"I've got something for you in my pants, Kuchiki. It's been too long since the last bonding, you know. And hey, why does your gigai make you look like you aren't hauling around an extra?"

"Are you stupid? Oh wait, that was a ridiculous question. Of course you are. Men in the living world don't get pregnant. So, I didn't want to walk around and being stared at..."

"...for looking like you got yourself a little pot belly," Kenpachi finished, "I get it. But you said before that there's something in this for both of us, right?"

"Yes."

"What? Gambling for you and..."

"...fighting for you," Byakuya finished.

"Oh, you do know what I like!" Kenpachi said, catching the surprised noble around the waist and propelling him into a heavy, penetrating kiss.

Byakuya stiffened instinctively, but almost immediately felt his initial resistance falter under the sweltering heat of Zaraki's kiss. And as much as he hated to admit it, he was becoming addicted to the feeling of being grabbed forcibly, held tightly and having his mouth and body penetrated vigorously.

It is so different from the perception of 'lovemaking' that I had before. We are not dewy eyed and tentative with each other, but seeking to test each others' strength, always. There is great beauty in the clashing of warriors. And when the intent turns from brutal harm to passionate love, we do not lose our strength. We pour it into that other person to bring him to the heights of pleasure. Yes. That is the way that warriors make love.

"Hey, you taking a nap or something?" Zaraki said, making Byakuya blink and suddenly realize that he had forgotten to breathe, "You lose consciousness and forget to fall down?"

The noble let out an annoyed breath.

"Come, let's go check into our hotel. There are a few things we need to do before you will be fighting."

"Aww," said Zaraki, smirking, "Are you hungry for sex again? We can just do it right here if it's too long to wait until we get to our room."

"I am sure you would love that," Byakuya said dryly, "But what I meant was that you will need a rubdown and deep reiatsu infusion before you fight."

"But we can fuck too, right? Hell, it must be the pheromones you're sending out. I wanna taste you so bad, I'm salivating."

"Do not speak to me like that, you depraved baboon," Byakuya hissed, "And save your aggressiveness for the fighting. I am not setting you up against lambs and kittens. Your opponent will have appreciable power."

"Great, I look forward to that. But if I'm gonna be able to concentrate, there are a few things I have to do to prepare."

Byakuya's breath was taken away as he was hauled off his feet and swept up in the other man's arms.

"Shit...that gigai might make you look smaller, but you are still carrying extra weight, ne?"

"Shut up and put me down at once, you beastly..."

"You shut up. Where's the hotel?"

Byakuya arched an eyebrow and nodded in the direction of one of the brightly lit buildings.

Zaraki flash stepped over to the place, still carrying his frowning and glaring mate. He walked inside and carried Byakuya to the front desk, walked past the line of people waiting to check in and dropped a stunned Byakuya onto the desk in front of the even more stymied clerk.

"Ahem...erm, sir, there is a..."

"You see this," Zaraki said, nodding in the furious noble's direction.

"Y-yes sir, but..."

"This is my beautiful new bride, Byakuya Kuchiki. We have honeymoon reservations."

He glanced at Byakuya, whose reiatsu was humming so furiously around him, that the clerk had gone white and was shaking and sweating profusely.

"Penthouse, right Princess?" he asked, smirking.

He turned back to the silent and staring young clerk.

Sorry to barge in and not wait our turn, but if you married a beauty like this one, I think you'd want to get to the consummating as soon as possible, ne?"

"M-mating..." the clerk mumbled incoherently, "Eh...um..."

"We'll need a key," said Zaraki, leaning forward and glaring into the young man's widened eyes, "Or I'll just start fucking him right here on your desk. How's that?"

The young man gasped and seemed to regain awareness as Zaraki pushed forward into the 'v' of the noble's spread thighs, slipping a hand into Byakuya's pants and fondling him shamelessly, while the noble struggled and struck at him viciously.

"Ah! Right...key!" the young man stammered, fumbling for the card keys, "Penthouse A. Use the VIP elevator over there and..."

"Thanks, kid," Zaraki laughed, throwing the agitated noble over his shoulder and carrying him to the elevator.

He waited until the doors to the elevator closed, then let Byakuya down, smirking at the presence of the elevator attendant that prevented the noble from speaking freely.

"You're ridiculous!" he snapped, throwing a punch.

Zaraki captured his punching hand nimble and kissed the fine knuckles.

"Save it for tonight, Honey. We'll put all that energy to good use."

"You bastard! I will never be able to show my face in this town again. You and your stupid, lascivious, vile behavior...!"

"Penthouse level, sirs," said the elevator attendant, trying to look unaffected.

Zaraki laughed again and followed Byakuya out of the elevator, to the door of the suite. The noble used the card key and opened the door, then followed his spouse inside. The bigger man looked around at the huge suite, admiring the indoor waterfall that fell into a hot tub, the fully stocked bar, the exterior patio and scintillating view.

"I have to say I'm impressed," he admitted.

"I should throw you off of that balcony," Byakuya said, scowling, "This hotel employs a number of shinigamis and caters to the noble families. And I am sure that word is going to get back about this, and I will never hear the end of it when we get home!"

"Ah," said Zaraki, comprehension coming into his eyes, "you're worried they'll be pissed that we got married?"

Byakuya sighed.

"Clan leaders do not usually marry commoners, and when they do get married, they don't usually do so without the elders' input and a family gathering."

"You unhappy with the way we got married?"

Byakuya flinched and his expression and voice softened unexpectedly.

"No. I have no regrets about our wedding. None. What I despise is the way you trample on my pride," the noble said angrily, "Parading me about like some prize and...threatening to..."

"Fuck you?"

"...have your way with me out in that lobby, in front of everyone! Have you lost your mind? I am having enough trouble dealing with the elders just trying to legitimate our relationship without you refusing to do anything at all to make it easier!"

He let out a harsh sigh and turned away to look out over the balcony.

"Sometimes I wonder why love can't just leave me and stay gone. Even when I truly love someone, it only ever ends in disaster."

Zaraki paused for a moment, following his gaze out the window to where the casino lights flashed brightly all around.

"You want me to go, then?" he asked.

"No."

"Then what did you mean by that? Cause it sounded like you wanted me to leave you. You having second thoughts?"

"No," snapped the noble, "That's not what I meant! I only meant that...about love. I want that feeling to go away. It confuses me, and then I have trouble bearing things that I would normally brush off."

"Like me slapping you down on a desk in front of a bunch of people and threatening to fuck you in front of them? Okay, you want an apology? I'm sorry. I just do what I do in the moment. You haven't really had a problem understanding it until now. You just accepted me for who I am. But all of a sudden, you seem more reactive."

He gazed at the noble's slender back for a moment, then embraced him from behind. Byakuya caught his breath softly, surprised first by the tenderness in the other man's touch and then by the strong emotion it touched off inside him.

"Kenpachi..."

"Hmmm?"

"I am reaching the later stages of pregnancy. I am increasingly physically inhibited and hormonally imbalanced. I am trying to calm things so that you will be accepted into my family. I haven't asked you to change, and you have been gracious enough to accept me as I am. But when you do things like what you just did in that lobby, it is degrading. If we are calling what is between us 'love' and acknowledging it by getting married, then why do you continue to look down on me like that?"

"What?" said the bigger man, staring at Byakuya with a surprised expression.

"Do not misunderstand me. I will admit without hesitation that being overpowered and taken by you is intoxicating. But when you purposely insult me by parading me about like a whore you picked up off the street..."

"You think I look down on you?" repeated Zaraki, frowning as he tried to make sense of the words, "What the hell are you talking about?"

Byakuya let out an exasperated breath.

"Kenpachi, when we have sex, you nearly always take me. Not that I mind terribly much, but it does cast me in the role that one might consider 'feminine.' Add that the fact that you constantly refer to me as 'princess' and that you constantly insult nearly every aspect of nobility..."

"Hey," said Zaraki, meeting the noble's eyes squarely, "First off, if you don't want me to treat you like a princess, then don't fuss like one. Secondly, I only call you that because you're way too pretty and proper a guy to be a brutal fighter like you are. I like the irony. And I don't just insult the upper class. I pretty much offend everybody."

He grabbed the front of the noble's kimono, glaring in challenge.

"And you know, Kuchiki, that I do respect you. When I fight with you, we go all out. When I fuck you, we give it our all too. And if you want me to lie down and spread my legs for you, all you have to do is ask. It screws with my head and makes me giddy so I can't focus on fighting, but that just means you get to me like no one else does...you understand?"

He loosed the front of the noble's kimono and walked to the bed, where he tore away his clothes, then laid down with his legs spread and his very aroused privates exposed.

"You want to prove you're a man by fucking me, go ahead," he went on, smirking, "And afterwards, I'll be happy to return the favor. Just get this carved into your damned, stubborn, hormonal brain. I never even woulda considered marrying anyone else, because I don't need the hassle, drama, bullshit and responsibility. But those things aren't so bad when I'm with you. The other side of that coin is too pretty to let go of. So, quit pissing and moaning, dry your pansy-ass tears and get into bed with me. Just remember, I'm gonna be fighting later, so don't fuck up my brain with too much warm and fuzzy stuff...unless you want me to get my ass kicked all over the place and lose."

Byakuya felt a shock go through his body and sudden tears welled up in his eyes. He turned away quickly and remained facing away from Zaraki as he fought the turmoil inside.

It is the hormones.

I would never lose control and shed tears like that if I wasn't pregnant.

He heard the soft creak of the bed behind him, then felt Zaraki approach him from behind. Strong arms wrapped around him, and one large hand slid down his belly and teased his privates.

"Something wrong?" Zaraki asked.

Byakuya brushed the offending moisture away from his eyes and cleared his throat softly.

"Kenpachi," he said quietly.

"Huh?"

"Did you just tell me that you love me?" the noble asked.

Zaraki let out a dismissive breath.

"Well, look who just got a clue..." he mused, "You worried the sky's gonna fall now, princess?"

"A bit," Byakuya said, the ghost of a smile touching his lips.

"That's okay. Let it fall," the bigger man said, picking the noble up and throwing him down on the bed, "In a few seconds, I don't think either one of us is gonna give a shit, you know?"

He's right.

Byakuya watched quietly as the other man walked slowly back to the bed, the sight of his powerful, naked body and the warm scent of him riling the noble until sweat broke out on his skin and his own member throbbed painfully between his thighs.

"So," said Zaraki, "Who's getting screwed here? You want me to spread my legs for you?"

Byakuya gave him a tight smile.

"Lie down."

His mouth went dry as he watched Zaraki's lean, scarred form moved closer and the other man laid down on his back. Byakuya moved down and nudged his way between Zaraki's legs, biting his lip gently at how easily they parted for him.

But even though he does this for me, he is no less the warrior I know...

and love.

I love you, Kenpachi Zaraki.

You need make no apologies for who you are and you do not need to change for me. I accept you.

He knelt between Zaraki's opened thighs, breathing in his scent and placing his hands along the vulnerable inner flesh. His mouth made lines of slow kisses along each side, then he moved on to tease the other man's genitalia hungrily.

He heard a soft, feral growl and cast an eye on the other man, watching raptly as he continued his manipulations. Byakuya smiled, enjoying the strong reaction he caused in the other man, the way he swore and clenched the bedding, more to keep himself from losing control and just tackling his lovely mate.

He does this for me.

Only me.

Kenpachi Zaraki makes himself vulnerable to me, because he loves me.

I didn't think it mattered. I thought I was trapped with a man who would only ever offer me insults and embarrassment, but he is so much more!

I am tempted to be frightened for him, as I was for Hisana when she became ill. But Kenpachi Zaraki is strong. He weathered life in the lower Rukongai and fought his way to captaincy with his bare hands.

He will be all right.

I will be all right.

We are free to lose ourselves in each other...

He intensified his motions until Zaraki swore and overthrew him. He found himself smiling again as the other man entered him roughly, muttering a hasty apology for his impatience, but barely allowing the noble a quick breath before he began moving. He lifted his hips, not caring how he must look and sound...on his hands and knees, with his back arched, panting and sweaty, his hand tangled in the bedding and his loud moans echoing off the walls.

Harder...

Faster...

Byakuya's body quivered with each heavy motion, and the noble's eyes glazed over with deep contentment and arousal. He threw his head back and raised his hips higher, changing the angle, then gasping with pleasure as he climaxed. He screamed heedlessly, loosing his release violently onto the bed, then fell down on his stomach as the man atop his back filled him inside with such heat that he couldn't hold back another scream of pleasure.

He groaned languidly as Zaraki laid down alongside him. They shared several slow, finishing kisses, then went still, enjoying the warmth and powerful masculine scents around them.

"You okay now?" Zaraki asked

"What do you mean? There was nothing wrong with me before," Byakuya said indignantly.

"Right," chuckled the bigger man, "So, if you're all taken care of, when do I get to fight?"

"Be quiet and rest first," Byakuya sighed, snuggling closer to him, "We'll get to that later tonight."

"Whatever you say."

Byakuya watched silently as Zaraki's eyes closed and his breathing grew softer and more regular. He watched until he was sure that the man was really asleep, then settled more firmly against him and closed his eyes.

"I love you," he said quietly, the words resonating warmly in his heart, "I love you, Kenpachi Zaraki."

He caught his breath in surprise and his eyes widened as an answer rumbled out in a purr from the other man's resting form.

"I love you too."