Chapter 5: Are We Two of a Kind?
(Thanks to unsigned readers, Byakuyafangirl, Derrbalaam, Spunky'sNakama and Byakuya-Renji)
Renji gasped in surprise as Byakuya pushed him back against the door, sending the tea tray crashing to the floor as the noble's mouth claimed his, forcefully. His captain's tongue invaded his mouth, silencing him, and seeking his...curling around and enslaving it. Renji felt his knees weaken and his head went into a delightful spin. But as much as he had felt a longing before for just such a thing to happen, his thoughts spun back to what he had seen in the healing center.
He attacked his own cousin, a man I know he loves like a brother. And then, at the healing center, he made sure that Tetsuya would stay unconscious. He said it was to protect him, but...
He felt the tie at his waist release and the noble's cool, pale hands slipped beneath his clothes, sliding around him, holding his body against Byakuya's so that the noble's wonderful, sakura scent filled his senses and sent lovely jolts of arousal through him. Byakuya held him tightly against the door, attacking his mouth passionately and pressing his hips forward so that the redhead couldn't miss the fact of just how aroused he was.
"C-captain..." he moaned around the noble's marauding lips, "Wait...wait a sec...C-c..."
"What's wrong?" Byakuya asked between powerful, open-mouthed kisses, "Haven't you...wanted this? I know I've felt your eyes on me...and you weren't just looking for the way to undo me on the battlefield. Am I wrong?"
"N-no!" Renji groaned, clenching the noble's shihakushou as Byakuya's mouth assaulted his again, "No...I admit...I did want this, but...but why are you doing this now? Is it...? Are you worried about me and him?"
The noble pulled away, glaring.
"Should I be concerned about that, Renji?" he asked, touching the redhead's lips, "I thought that you loved me for my strength. That man is a weakling. He is nothing like me!"
"No," agreed the redhead, "He's not so much like you. But when I thought about it, I remembered one time when I saw something of that kind in you."
"What?" Byakuya queried, frowning, "What do you mean?"
"That day at Soukyoku Hill, Captain," Renji said, his lips still burning from their kisses, "When you told the story about Hisana..."
"Those...were extreme circumstances. I am certain that we all have moments of revelation."
"Y-yeah," said Renji, nodding and straightening, "Look, Captain, you don't have to do this. I am not going to go against your orders or let the guy get to me. I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression before. I really didn't mean to."
"Are you saying that you are not, in fact, interested in me...romantically?" asked Byakuya.
Renji smiled and met him for a gentler kiss.
"Not at all," he assured the noble, "I just think that maybe you were rushing things because Bya seemed to be getting under my skin..."
Byakuya's eyes darkened.
"What was that? What did you call him?" he asked sharply, tightening his hands on the redhead's arms.
"I called him Bya. He told me to," Renji explained, flinching as the noble's fingers dug into his arms, "Look, I didn't know what to call the guy and he suggested it...to ease any confusion. I didn't mean to insult you."
"No, I am sure that you didn't," said Byakuya, forcing his fingers to loosen, "But that name...it's the one that Aiz.."
He broke off suddenly and shook his head.
"I suppose if he wants to be called that, it is his choice," he said shortly.
He paused, releasing the redhead and turning away.
"I apologize for my behavior before," he said quietly, "I think there is some truth to what you said. I allowed it to bother me that you were responding so sympathetically to him. I am interested in you personally, but I should not have used this as a reason to act on that desire."
"Hey, it's all right," Renji assured him, "I told you, I do have feelings for you, Captain. And I am...really flattered and happy to know you feel the same. But we should take things slowly."
"I think you are right," Byakuya agreed, "Now...if you will excuse me, I must rest and think about this situation."
"R-right, Captain," said Renji, "I'll be going, then. I'll...uh...I'll see you in the morning then."
He smiled and leaned forward, capturing the noble's lips gently, before exiting the room. Byakuya waited quietly inside his room until Renji's reiatsu had settled, and he was sure that the redhead slept, then he left his room and walked back to the cell where Bya slept. He opened the cell and stepped inside, closing and locking the door behind him. Hearing him enter, Bya sat up, rubbing his eyes sleepily and watching as he sat down in the chair beside the prisoner's bed.
"Why did you come back here?" Bya asked softly.
"I was curious," said Byakuya, "Why did you tell him to call you that?"
His eyes darkened.
"Did you have a longing to hear it again?"
Bya's eyes widened, but he remained silent.
"That is the name he called you. Why would you ever want to hear that name again?" Byakuya asked, an edge of anger in his words.
"It is just a name," said Bya, "I had to be called something. Besides, it does not sound so unpleasant when Renji says it."
Byakuya leaned forward and took hold of his look-alike's yukata, yanking him closer and glaring into his widened eyes.
"Do not try to come between Renji and me. We are seeing each other now. And besides, you belong to Sousuke Aizen. You know that."
Bya's face paled.
"Don't say that! I never..."
"But you did," Byakuya insisted, "You shared his bed for months, Bya. You let him corrupt and foul your pure body. Who is to say that he did not also breach your mind? You do not know what he might have done to you. You don't know if he might have set you up to help him, should he be caught. You don't know anything with certainty, for all of the lies that he surrounded you with! Do you?"
"It is true that Sousuke Aizen had his way with me," admitted Bya, "And he certainly could have programmed me the way he wanted to, and I might not have any idea...but I am not the only one who should be thinking that about himself, ne Byakuya?"
The noble gave him a seething glance, then rose and headed for the door.
"I will warn you one last time. Do not attempt to come between Renji and me. You will only set yourself up for disappointment if you do."
He released the prisoner and stood, then turned to leave as Bya gazed down at the rumpled front of his yukata, with a saddened expression.
"Why do you hate me so?" he asked softly, "There was a time when you understood me, respected me, protected me."
A tear broke free and rolled down one porcelain cheek.
"Does it ease your mind to blame me? Does it help you to think yourself innocent?
Byakuya turned back and moved closer to him, capturing him under the chin and looking down into his wet eyes.
"I am not the one he poisoned. I am the one he let go...because I would not have crumbled, and he would have had to kill me."
"That is why he chose to keep me," said Bya, "He knew that, once you left me, I would be vulnerable. And you left me willingly...without looking back."
"I did not think he would leave you alive," said Byakuya, brushing away the tear that had escaped onto Bya's face, "It would have been better for us both if he had killed you. You are a broken and corrupted shell of what you were."
His fingertips moved, stroking the prisoner's cheek lightly.
"But do not worry. Now that he is in prison and I have brought you back, I will make sure that you are not mistreated. I will not allow them to convict you, and will make you a ward of the clan. It will be a much better thing than being manipulated by Aizen, executed or made to spend the rest of your life in prison. You may be held for a time in the clan prison, but the conditions there are not distressing."
"Such kindness," Bya said with soft sarcasm, "Has your heart begun to restore itself?"
"It could be worse for you," Byakuya said, releasing him and leaving the cell, "You could be dead...dead and no one would even ever notice."
Bya watched quietly as he walked away, then laid down again, staring up at the ceiling and trying to push away the feeling of sickness that always accompanied his memories of being with Sousuke Aizen.
"Dead, and no one would notice," he whispered sadly.
His eyes closed.
"No one...except for Renji Abarai."
Bya felt his body lighten and seem to lose all substance. He rose from his bed and moved on bare feet to the cell door. He looked at it quietly for a moment, then passed through it easily. He walked down the hallway, moving warily past Byakuya's room, and pausing longingly at Renji's. But he knew better to go inside, especially after Byakuya's warning.
Instead, he left the sixth division and walked silently down the deserted streets, heading for Central 46. He reached the place several minutes later, and walked, unnoticed, past the guards. No one inside the building saw him either. He looked into their faces as they passed him, but no one met his eyes.
"How can they not see me?" he whispered.
He tried talking to several passers-by, but no one seemed to register that he was there. He moved on, walking, unchallenged, to the prison entrance. The guards did not notice as he walked blithely past, taking a set of keys and using them to enter the prison levels. He passed through them, one by one, until he reached the last, and walked by the guards at the very end, who watched Aizen's cell door, day and night. He opened the cell door and walked inside, then closed it behind him.
He stood in the darkened cell, trying to understand why he had come there. Something had made him go to the man, despite how he despised him. He swallowed hard and walked slowly to Aizen's bound form.
"Sakura?" Aizen whispered, his voice echoing softly in the nearly empty cell, "Have you finally come to me, my lovely Bya?"
Bya stood, staring at the bound shinigami, his heart pounding oddly and his head spinning.
"Come, Bya," Aizen urged him in a gentle voice, "I have missed you."
And although no part of him wanted to take those steps, his feet moved, carrying him forward until he stood just in front of the securely bound traitor.
"Will you uncover my eyes so that I can look at you?"
Bya's hands moved of their own accord, uncovering Aizen's eyes. The traitor smiled.
"Beautiful," he said softly, "Just as I remembered you. Come, Bya. Be with me."
The familiar feeling of revulsion swept over him, and he struggled to remain where he was. But his body moved forward, ignoring his wishes, and he freed one of Aizen's hands. Aizen smiled and stroked his face gently. And as much as he hated the man, he so craved the warmth and affection that he closed his eyes and allowed himself to be coaxed into moving forward, watching as Aizen adjusted his clothing, baring himself and giving the other man a chilling smile. All awareness seemed to leave Bya, and he did not resist as Aizen pulled him onto his lap and joined their bodies.
"I have missed you so," Aizen said as he moved, "I have thought of you every day and night, though I cannot tell them apart in here. I wondered how long it would be until you came to me...my sweet, beautiful lover."
Bya tried, but could no longer speak as Aizen's mind invaded his, connecting the two, mind and body, and feeding his suddenly overwhelming need for touch, for love, for affection. He knew it wasn't really love. A creature like Aizen didn't know how to love. But being the outcast he was, his choices had been stripped away. All warmth came from this man...
"No..." Bya whispered, his hands gripping Aizen's arms as the traitor's body seized and his heat flooded the noble inside.
He cringed as his own body stiffened and climaxed, as Aizen's mouth returned to his for several long, deep kisses.
"Thank you, Bya," he said affectionately, "Now..."
Bya made a sudden sound of pain and distress as he felt something strike his midsection. He looked down and gasped, seeing Aizen's bare hand had been thrust into his abdomen.
"What?" he gasped, blood leaking from his mouth, "Wh-why?"
Aizen's feral eyes glittered.
"You have been a lovely and useful person, Bya. But our time is at an end. Give it to me."
Bya cried, tearing himself away.
He staggered away, blood running out of his wounded body and splashing onto the floor. Behind him, Aizen struggled for a moment, then broke free.
"It's no use," he said, following Bya as the noble fled, "You can't get away from me. Come now, you are suffering. I meant for you to die suddenly, painlessly."
Bya turned and met Aizen's glittering eyes as he closed in. He placed his back against the wall as the other man reached him and gently trapped him.
"It's all right. I will make the pain go away. I am sorry you are suffering. I didn't want that for you. Now, just give it to me so that we can finish this and your pain can end, Bya."
"No..." Bya sobbed, "No! Let go of me!"
"Whoa...hey, are you okay?" Renji's voice asked, cutting into the noble's nightmare.
Bya flew into the redhead's arms, shaking all over and barely holding back tears, his heart beating so fast that his head spun.
"Take it easy," Renji said soothingly, "It was just a dream. It wasn't real."
"I hardly know what 'real' is anymore," Bya said shakily, "Reality is an elusive thing when someone like Sousuke Aizen controls everything around you."
"Yeah," Renji agreed, "I know how it feels to have his illusions around me, too. I remember how he used them to get the better of me. I never even saw him coming. But it's okay. Aizen is locked up in Central 46. He's not going to get out, so you have nothing to worry about. You're probably just nervous about facing the Central 46 council. But don't be, okay? You're going to do fine. The medical report supports your claim, to some extent, and Byakuya told me that he is going to use royal privilege to get them to place you in clan custody. You'll be safe. No one's going to hurt you. So try to calm down."
Bya looked up and saw Byakuya standing in the cell doorway, frowning at the two of them.
"What happened?" he asked quietly.
"He just had a nightmare," said Renji, releasing Bya and standing, "I was just calming him down. He was scared to death."
"Of what?" Byakuya asked.
Bya met his eyes warily.
"I don't know," he said softly, "I can't remember."