Chapter 12: The Oasis

"Daddy Bya! Daddy Ren!" shouted Akitora, tearing herself away from Takao and Kiko as Renji nudged the front door closed and set Byakuya back on his feet, "You're here!"

She barreled into Renji's arms, giving him a strangling hug, then reached over to offer Byakuya a gentler version.

"Are you feeling better now, Daddy Bya?" she asked, feeling his forehead, "You're a little warm, but that could be because it's a warm day. Did you know that Urahara-san's shop was destroyed because Kurosaki Ichigo's papa found out that Urahara-san and Ichigo-kun were doing something that only grownups are supposed to do...then, only if you're married?"

"Akitora," said Byakuya, lifting an eyebrow, "What have I told you about listening in to adult conversations?"

"Er, sorry, Nii-sama," Tetsuya said, stepping into the entryway, "I'm afraid that it was my fault that she overheard that. I wanted to stop in and see Ichigo-kun and some friends and..."

"When we went out of the senkaimon, we had to come out in the basement because everything was under destruction."

"That's construction," Takao reminded her.

He scowled as the girl stuck out her tongue at him.

"Akitora," Byakuya said, warningly.

"Sorry, Daddy Bya," she said, sounding unapologetic, "But now that you're here, you are supposed to rest, mister. So let me show you to your room. Come this way."

"What? Are you the butler now?" quipped Renji, grinning as he swept a flustered Byakuya off his feet again and carried him down the hallway.

"Renji, put me down at once!" Byakuya snapped, "I am the clan leader and need to at least attempt to look the part. This is not...dignified!"

"You're having my baby, beautiful!" Renji exclaimed proudly, "You don't have to..."

"WHAT?" Akitora yelled her eyes rounding, "YOU KNOCKED ON DADDY BYA?"

Tetsuya, Tomio and Renji couldn't hold back their laughter. Takao looked at Akitora and rolled his eyes in annoyance and Kiko clasped her hands together and went wide-eyed.

"Are you crazy?" the heir went on, glaring up at Renji, "I heard him tell you loud and clear that he didn't think it was proper for the clan leader to waddle like a drunk duck!"

Tetsuya and Tomio covered their mouths and laughed harder as Takao sighed and shook his head, frowning.

"Didn't someone just tell you that you shouldn't be listening in on grownup...?"

"Oh, shut up, you stupid, annoying brat!" Akitora exclaimed, "Or I'm gonna flatten you!"

She punctuated the words by abandoning her fathers and bearing down on the boy threateningly.

"Tell me to mind my own business!" Akitora hissed, her eyes glowing golden, "But you won't keep your damn nose out of mine."

"Akitora!" Byakuya said sternly, struggling out of Renji's arms, "Stop that at once!"

"Stay away from me, you brat!" yelled Takao, backing away.

"Takao, that is enough. Come, let's..." Tetsuya began.

"Aaaah, Dad!" Takao complained, trying to duck behind the blue-eyed noble.

"GRR! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! I can't take your shit anymore!" the girl cried, taking the startled boy to the floor in a heap and pummeling him with both hands.

"OW! Get off me, you brat!" yelled Takao, "Dad! Dad, get her off me!"

"I'll teach you to cross me...HEY!" the girl cried as Renji flash stepped to the two and dragged the kicking and growling heir away from her stunned cousin.

"Knock it off, Tora!" Renji snapped angrily.

"I wanna POUND him for telling me what to do. I'm full up to HERE with it!" Tora shouted.

"All right," Renji said angrily, "There's only one thing that gets through to you when you pull this crap. You're going in the pool!"

"NO! No, Daddy Ren! Stop it! Put me down! Put me down!" the girl yelled, her face turning red and her small hands balled into fists and pounding against the redhead's shoulder.

Takao sat up, smirking, which both earned him a reprimand from Tomio and Tetsuya, and sent the girl into hysterics as Renji carried her out the back door and heaved her into the swimming pool. The fully clothed girl splashed down into the water, still yelling, then surfaced, took a huge breath and howled in fury. Renji stood at the side of the pool with his arms crossed, glaring at Tora, his red-brown eyes stern.

"You come out of there and you'd better be calmed down, or I'll throw you right back in again," he warned her.

The girl's golden eyes snapped with fury and the bright red ends of her black hair glowed threateningly, but as Byakuya came out the door and stood beside Renji, his gray eyes darkened and his reiatsu raised warningly, she went quiet and swam to the edge of the pool, still shaking with more restrained fury as she climbed out and stood, dripping wet, in front of them.

"You ready to calm down and listen now?" Renji asked, frowning.

Akitora's jaw clenched and her hands remained curled into fists, but she blinked the water out of her eyes and nodded stiffly.

"Akitora," Byakuya said in a calm, but stern voice, "I know that things have been difficult lately, and that tempers are high, but that is no excuse for this kind of behavior."

The girl's lips quivered rebelliously and her face scrunched up slightly with the effort of holding back her still flaring emotions, but she stood proudly on shaky legs as Byakuya continued.

"You are to go with your attendant, change your clothes, and when you come to the table for lunch, you are to have resolved your issues so that there are no outbursts. And Gia," he said to the attendant, "Please keep Akitora confined in her room until lunchtime. She may read quietly or sit and think things through, but she is to have no visitors."

"Yes, Kuchiki-sama," said the waiting attendant.

"And Gia?"

"Sir?"

"You are to inform us at once if our daughter in any way disobeys you."

"Yes, Kuchiki-sama."

She turned to Akitora with her eyes carefully lowered and a serious expression on her face.

"Come along Akitora-sama."

"Okay," the girl sighed, lowering her head dejectedly.

She was careful not to look at Takao as she passed him just inside the house doors.

"Ah, well," muttered Renji, "That put a little damper on the mood of things, ne?"

Byakuya nodded.

They watched as Tomio and Tetsuya led their children off, the latter reprimanding Takao in a soft, but stern voice. Takao bit his lips and cringed at the words, but accepted them without argument, then bowed his head and turned to go to his room. Kiko scampered after her fathers, complaining.

"Who am I supposed to talk to now? Tora-sama is in trouble and Takao is in trouble. There isn't anybody not in trouble around here!"

"I will go for a walk with you, Kiko-chan," offered Matsuko, "The healer told me that walking is good as long as we go slowly."

"That's okay," said the sweet-faced, blue-eyed girl affably, "If I walk slow, I see more of different kinds of flowers and things."

Renji shook his head as the two walked away.

"Why can't our kid be calmer like that?" he muttered.

Byakuya raised an elegant eyebrow.

"Renji, are you really asking me that question?" he sighed.

The redhead chuckled.

"I guess I shouldn't," he agreed, "but damn..."

"Do not agonize over it. We should just be relieved that conflict is over and enjoy the peace while we can."

"That's right," said Renji, giving the noble a smoldering look, "And I believe that 'A,' we have a few hours before Tora's let loose again and 'B,' Unohana taichou said that it was okay for us to have a little fun together. You with me?"

Byakuya gave him a disarming smile.

"I am yours, Renji," he said quietly, a blush rising on his skin.

The redhead slipped a hand into his, coaxing him down the hallway and into their large, well appointed suite. They adjourned to the dressing area, where Renji caught his lovely mate around the waist and kissed him on the side of the neck.

"Here," he whispered, warming the noble's throat with his breath and sending sweet chills through him, "Let me undress you."

Byakuya stood quietly, a gentle half-smile on his face, watching the full-length mirror in front of him as he was slowly and lovingly bared. The redhead's fingers tugged the belt at his waist, making only a whisper of sound as it slipped free. His clothing fell open in front, a gradual reveal of a sea of pale, porcelain skin laid over fine carved bone. And the opening sent a soft breath of sakura over their senses, making Renji close his eyes and breathe in deeply while his warm hands slid beneath the fine material, running down over the noble's slender torso and downward to caress the soft, as of yet slim belly as the redhead's amorous eyes opened again and found Byakuya's in the mirror.

"I used to think that 'beautiful' was just a word," he whispered into the noble's ear, making Byakuya's eyes close and his breath go slow and silent, "It was a word I saved for the best of things, the ones that went above and beyond, but the truth is, that's just the beginning of what beautiful is. And 'beautiful' is more than just a word...it's a state of being."

Byakuya felt a lovely quiver inside as Renji's hands continued to play over his soft abdomen and the pleasing words continued in his ear.

"To me, beautiful is embodied in you, and I'm not just talking about that sexy, silky hair that tickles when it touches me, or your eyes that can scare the living hell out of me, make me shiver inside or fucking make me melt all over the place like butter. It's in that pretty mouth of yours that can be prideful, spiteful, jealous or angry one minute, but can soften, soothe, tease and love me the next. It's in these strong arms that move so gracefully whether they are wrapping around me to hold, to caress, to protect, to calm or to love. These arms are the only ones that I ever want wrapped around my naked body and your hands are the only ones I want to have touch me. It's your eyes I want to eat me alive, your breath and words that I want in my ears and your taste I want on my tongue, always, Byakuya."

Byakuya took in a soft, quivering breath and opened his eyes, slowly lifting them to meet the intensity if Renji's loving red-brown ones. And as strong as he was, a tremor passed through him at the sheer magnitude of emotion he saw reflected there.

"And if I thought that you were beautiful before," the redhead went on, "I learned that word's true meaning when Unohana taichou said that you were having my baby. The idea that you would take something of me inside you, and give something yourself, to make something so wonderful as a baby of the two of our bodies is just such an amazing thing to me, Byakuya. You know what family means to me...and for you to let this piece of our family come to life inside you...it makes 'beautiful' seem like an inadequate word."

"Renji..."

The redhead's fingers touched his lips lightly, stopping him. He stared back at Renji, the blush on his face and throat deepening and his heart fluttering sweetly inside his chest.

"Shh," Renji whispered, lifting him off of his feet and carrying him, bridal style, to the bed, where he laid his now naked spouse on his back, fully exposed and in a vulnerable, spread-legged position.

"You are a strong man, Byakuya," Renji went on, "And I think that the most sexy and loving thing that a strong man can do is to let himself become vulnerable to his lover."

He captured a pale hand and brought it to rest on his inflamed member.

"This is how much it gets to me when you do this for me," Renji said, his words and the impact of those intense, fiery eyes making Byakuya's heart pound more furiously.

The redhead stopped speaking and let his loosened clothes fall to the floor. He climbed onto the bed and knelt between Byakuya's parted thighs. He smiled down at his lovely, blushing mate with gripping hunger and passion in his piqued expression. Abandoning words, he placed his hands on either side of the noble's torso and bowed forward, bringing his lips to Byakuya's lower abdomen and placing a tender kiss over their developing child.

"Thank you for this, Byakuya," the redhead whispered, kissing the noble's belly again and smiling at the strong reaction in Byakuya's dark eyes, "I love you so much for doing this."

He didn't wait for an answer, but continued to kiss his way downward, following the line of fine black hairs to where they blossomed into a nest of dark curls that framed the noble's swollen, damp arousal. He captured just a taste of the noble's lovely flesh, savoring it in his mouth as his fingers teased and he watched Byakuya's body twitch hungrily in reaction, as a soft moan issued from the man's parted lips.

"Renji," Byakuya whispered again, this time more wantonly, the sound licking at the flames already threatening to overwhelm the sweating redhead as he smiled and began to pleasure him, "Oh...Abarai..."

The latter words were barely audible, just breathed as the noble's smoldering eyes closed against the sensation and his fingers sank into the redhead's thick mane, tightening as Renji's lips and tongue warmed him. Renji curled his tongue tightly, teasing erotically with his lips, stealing his breath away again.

"R-renji!" Byakuya panted.

Renji smiled, pulling away and watching Byakuya's pretty eyelids flutter as he kissed his way down deeper, pausing to savor his lover's warm, soft skin, before pushing Byakuya's legs open wider and moving downward even further to seek the noble's waiting entrance. Byakuya groaned as he felt Renji's eyes staring, then his breath caught and his heart skipped, his eyes closing against the hard twinges of lust, as the redhead moved closer and teased him with the tip of his searching tongue. One hand caressed Byakuya's flushed privates as Renji's plundering tongue explored him relentlessly, sliding languidly along, pushing teasingly, then hardening and thrusting to taste and caress. He continued the heavy stimulation, looking up and smiling more widely as Byakuya's back arched in reaction, and he groaned feverishly, his head falling back and silken hair spilling haphazardly around his head. The sight of his lover that way...the man who was usually so much under his stiff controls, relaxing and letting himself lose those controls...sent Renji's head spinning, and before he quite realized what he was doing, he had pulled away and dragged the panting noble onto his lap.

Byakuya's lovely, bowed head fell onto his shoulder, and pearly teeth sank into the skin there as Renji's hands gripped the dark haired man's white bottom and positioned him. He bit his lip, closing his eyes and trying to move slowly, so as not to cause pain as he entered the noble. But Byakuya nipped impatiently at his shoulder, and Renji sucked in a surprised breath as the noble's body dropped down and seemed to swallow him whole. Byakuya's body recoiled in reaction, then shocked the still reeling redhead by beginning to move again almost immediately.

Renji's hips bucked upward in reaction, and fell into rhythm with the fast rise and fall of his lover's. He met the noble's mouth for an exchange of hard, penetrating kisses, plunging in and savoring his lover's delectably sweet lips and tongue, as their bodies raged hotly against each other, building heat that swirled and grew inside them, until it could be contained no more and finally erupted.

Byakuya gasped against his shoulder, quivering warningly as Renji struck at the sensitive nerves inside him, sending him tumbling out of control and into the hard, hot pulses of release. He fell back, pulling Renji down on top of him, moaning and thrashing and so enchanting in the throes of orgasm that the redhead barely registered the pleasant jolts of his own climax. He watched breathlessly, his heart pounding as the noble's body quivered and shook forcefully, then fell still beneath him, sweat misting the fine, pale skin and his dark eyes hazed and blinking.

"You know," he whispered, making Byakuya's dark eyes blink again and fix on him, "If we could just stay in bed all of the time..."

He groaned at the arrival of, not one, but two hell butterflies, both for him.

Byakuya smiled tolerantly.

"It is fine, Renji," he said, still a bit breathless from their joining, "We would need time to gather ourselves for another joining anyway."

Renji shook his head and sighed in annoyance.

"Abarai taichou," said Unohana taichou's pleasant voice from within the first butterfly, "I thought that you would want to know that Hisagi fukutaichou has been admitted to the fourth division with severe pains and has lost consciousness. As we suspect that the child might be yours and Hisagi-san has made you his choice to make his medical decisions if he is incapacitated, we need you to report to the healing center as soon as possible to discuss his situation."

Renji swallowed hard and bit his lip gently. Byakuya gazed at him questioningly.

"Eh...I knew that he had made me the one to make his medical decisions," the redhead admitted, "but I wasn't expecting that I would need to, you know..."

"Renji, it's all right," Byakuya said calmly, "Even if not for this situation, Hisagi-san is your friend, and he has entrusted this to you."

"Byakuya, it doesn't mean that I was..."

"I understand," said the noble, meeting Renji's eyes squarely, "But it sounds like his needs are serious. And I am content to busy myself with other things until you return."

The noble shook his head reprovingly at the guilty expression on Renji's face.

"Do not make things worse by tormenting yourself."

Renji sighed.

"All I want to do is to be with the one love of my life," he complained, "How come the rest of the fucking world just doesn't get that?"

"It doesn't matter," Byakuya said, kissing him warmly, "Now, go. I will be here when you return."

"Okay," Renji said ruefully, "But can you do me a favor?"

"Hmmm?"

"Could you, like...not be so accommodating? How about a little bit of jealousy? Get sort of mad at me or something. This angel act you've got going is really too painful. I feel like a complete shit for..."

"Stop," the noble said, touching Renji's lips with a pale fingertip, "I assure you, I am rankled that you are going to him, that he chose you for this...for many things. I am merely putting them aside because I remember what is most important...and that is, to let nothing take us away from each other."

Renji gazed at him in silence for a moment, then tackled him and kissed him furiously. He swatted at the second hell butterfly, sending it flitting away to hover, just out of his reach.

"Abarai taichou," said the head captain's voice.

"Hey!" complained the redhead, throwing a pillow at the insect, "I wasn't ready!"

"As soon as you have seen to your fukutaichou, you will need to report to the second division to receive information regarding the threat of infiltration by powerful hollows. As before, this appears to have come up because of the issues with the taichous and fukutaichous having become pregnant, and needs to be headed off quickly. The second division spies have learned that attacks or abductions of the non-pregnant taichous may be a goal of theirs to set the stage for a larger invasion. You will meet with Soi fon taichou as soon as possible to address this situation."

"Shit," muttered Renji, "That sounds serious."

"Why don't you allow me to go to the second and..."

"Nope," said the redhead, shaking his head firmly, "You are on bed rest, mister. You are not going anywhere! Lie down, and don't make me have to get Matsuko and Makoto to 'double team' you. I will if I have to."

"Ah, no such measures are necessary," Byakuya said, frowning, "I only intended to take the information and do some research. That would hardly be taxing."

"Uh-uh!" Renji insisted, "You move outta that bed and I am going to tie you down. Got it?"

"I would like to see you try," the noble said, his reiatsu darkening rebelliously, "however, as I am actually a bit weary after our exertions, I will make myself content here, for now."

"Good," said Renji, giving him a peck on the lips, "I'll be back as soon as I can, okay?"

Byakuya nodded.

"I hope that your friend is all right."

"Thanks," the redhead said, sincerely.

Byakuya watched quietly as Renji left, then sighed and slid down into the pile of soft pillows on the bed. The redhead paused on the way out to speak to Matsuko, to make sure that his stubborn lover would rest, then he flash stepped away, not noticing the odd, yellow eyes that observed from a clump of bushes.

"That was Abarai taichou," said a rasping voice, "He is on the list of the 'affected,' but his mate is not."

"We shall have to strike while he is not here," hissed a second voice.

"But we wait until we have the signal to move," said the first, "There are a lot of people here. We do not want to attract attention...not until we have deprived the Gotei 13 of the rest of its active taichous and fukutaichous. We wait for now."

"We wait for now," agreed the second, watching closely as Matsuko passed nearby, holding Kiko's hand and leading her along the garden trail.