Hello, I am sorry for the delay but unfortunately my grandmother passed away shortly after an operation 4 weeks ago, my time has mostly been taken up by helping arrange the funeral and cleaning her home out. This is the reason for the delayed update, I hope you can understand.

Thank you for your wonderful reviews, after consulting them I have decided not to go for a fling, between Aizen and Ichigo but instead to sink my teeth into some real plot shifting actions. Please enjoy and review :)

Chapter Twenty-Two:

Darkness had fallen around them, now as shadows they crossed the plain towards their master's domain, Aizen would be furious that they were late, but it hadn't been their fault that they had been stuck in a sandstorm for a couple of hours.

Picking up their pace, the group of six made their way ever closer to the large building which Aizen occupied with the half-breed carrying his heir, there had been very little ruckus concerning the abrupt departure of Dominis, Aizen was all powerful now, he was their master alone and they would serve him indefinitely.

His choice of mate was, however, up for discussion. No one was particularly happy about a half-breed being permitted to carry the heir of their esteemed leader, the man who would carry them all to salvation and ultimate power. Not to mention, the half-breed was half Werewolf rather than half Incubus... A disgusting mix of their blood... The surrogate should be exterminated.

The head of their number stopped suddenly and looked around, nostrils flaring and eyes sharpening, he could smell the scent of wolf. Would one of their number be so foolish as to tread so close to their territory? It would result in a swift death. Ah... Its scent was already fading, which meant someone else must have detected it and taken it out. He resumed walking towards their destination and relaxed slightly as they passed through the opened gates and into the compound without difficulty.

Stark glanced up from under the hood of his stolen cloak as they passed into the compound, it had been a close shave; hiding under the sands for two weeks while he waited for a convoy to pass that he could merge with and mingle into. There had been a moment when their leader had sensed him, but thanks to the overpowering scent of Incubus on his stolen cloak his own scent had been dubbed out.

His plan was working so far.

Glancing around as he followed them into the main hall he saw his chance to slip away and did so, cautiously blending into the shadows and slipping down a side corridor.

He could sense Ichigo's aura on the top floor, so it was a simple matter of keeping track of Aizen and his subjects so that he could get to the man's room, steal Ichigo and escape without detection. Of course... There was no challenge at all.

'Tch... I've never had a bigger challenge in my life... That asshole certain knows what he is doing as far as security is concerned...' he thought bitterly before he ducked into an alcove as several white clad demons passed him, 'Hey... They weren't Incubi! He's accepted any demons now?! He must know war is upon him... Damnit.'

Once the danger had passed, the brunet Werewolf left his hiding place and scampered down the hallway, keeping his senses alert and prone, he couldn't risk removing his robe in case his scent was detected again, which was unfortunate because he was having a minor reaction to the material.

Rolling his eyes, Stark ascended a set of stairs to the first floor, glancing left and right before he started down the next corridor and up another set of stairs. He paused as he passed a room labelled 'security' and backtracked, staring for a moment before he picked the lock and slipped inside.

Luckily for him it was empty. He half ran over to the main security panel and examined the many screens which were showing recordings of every angle of the palace like building. He saw himself heading down the corridor and realised that there was a delay in how long it took for the information to reach the security room. This certainly made things easier.

He pulled out a disk from his jacket pocket and slipped it into the main computer, quickly accessing the files and transferring them onto the disk as he had been ordered to by Szayel and Kurotsuchi (who had been ordered to work together to provide efficient scientific support against Aizen). He removed the disk and pocketed it once more before he pulled out a small package and stuck it at the back of the screens, watching as they instantly became distorted and affected by the electromagnetic wave being provided.

Nodding to himself, he stood up and retreated from the room, making sure that the door locked behind him again before he took off towards the next staircase, he skidded to a stop suddenly when he came face to face with someone he didn't expect to see.

"My my! I didn't expect ta see ya here Stark..." pointed fangs were revealed under the eerie grin of the man before him, "Whatcha doin'?"

"I... G-Gin?" he hissed, "What are you doing here?! Have you defected?!"

The silver haired vampire sighed and dragged Stark behind a row of bookshelves, "Yamamoto sent a couple of us here ta make sure ya got on okay... We're disguised as defectors from Yamamoto."

"I... I see," he sighed in relief, "Who else is here?"

"Tousen... And Ishida. Tousen has easily earned Aizen's trust and now acts as his right hand man, he protects his private chambers whenever Aizen is called away. So in effect... He is Ichigo's body guard." Gin answered, glancing around in case they were uncovered.

"So it'll be a simple case of waiting for Aizen to leave; then Tousen can get me in there." Stark ran a hand through his hair and formulated a fitting plan of action.

Gin gripped his wrist suddenly, "I don't think Tousen can be trusted, since coming here he had been acting increasingly strangely. I don't think he has ratted on Ishida and me but... I don't know if that will last for very long... Don't trust him Stark."

"I... Alright." He nodded, pulling his wrist free, "I'll work it out when I get closer. You should go... I don't want you drawing attention to yourself."

"Don't ya worry 'bout me Stark... You worry 'bout ya little mate and ya self." The silver haired vampire smirked wider before he slid out from behind the bookshelves and disappeared down the corridor.

Stark swallowed and considered the other's words before he took a breath and headed back out to continue his search for his lover; he ran up another set of stairs and reached the third floor, a single look told him it was densely populated and he would have to tread carefully.

Bowing his head and moving at similar speeds to the other demons in the area, the brunet Werewolf blended his way through the crowd, making his way towards the furthest side where he saw a staircase which led the closest to Aizen's room that he had found so far.

Ascending the stairs, he found himself on the top floor, glancing around for any sign of Aizen or Tousen. Despite Gin's warning he couldn't sense either man and tore his cloak off as he ran towards the door to Aizen's private chamber. He threw open the door and looked inside, his heart thundering in his chest as he came face to face with his orange haired lover, who was now quite large and was seemingly progressing well with his pregnancy.

"Ichigo!" he exclaimed and walked in, taking the younger man in his arms and hugging the life out of him.

"S-Stark! You managed it!" he squeaked and hugged him back before he claimed his mouth in a heated kiss, "I didn't think you would ever turn up! I was starting to worry!"

"You never have to worry about me," he whispered, cupping his face in his hands before he knelt down and touched his lover's growing stomach, "How is my cub?"

"Lively. In the past couple of days both of them have been doing little summersaults and little kicks... It is really very amazing," he replied, brushing his partner's brown locks, "We should get out of here before anyone senses you." He added.

"Of course." Stark offered a kiss against his lover's stomach through his clothing before he stood up and swept Ichigo into his arms, "Let's go-"

He broke off mid-step and blinked, swaying slightly on the spot as he set Ichigo back on his feet and slowly sank back down to his knees. He panted slightly, opening and closing his mouth as he rapidly became increasingly thirsty and hot; he stared at Ichigo as his eyes started blurring and faltered as he saw the look of panic on his lover's face.

"See Aizen-sama, I told you he was here."

Stark looked around slowly, his sight clearing only slightly as he found himself looking at Aizen Sousuke... And Ichimaru Gin!

-/-

Aizen watched Stark through the bars of the cell he had thrown him into just an hour previously, the Werewolf was still unconscious from the drug Gin had injected him with while talking to him. A smirk was toying at the corners of his lips, the Wolf had so almost succeeded, but bad luck or judgement had lead him to the path of Gin, who was the real snake in the grass, the real traitor.

It had been most amusing when Gin had appeared at his side to report the presence of the Werewolf who was so cleverly sneaking around concealed with a cloak and hood. Despite the simplicity of the plan, the cloak had done a fantastic job of obscuring the man's Werewolf aura.

He chuckled slightly and ran a hand through his hair as he considered that he had now won the bet Ichigo had arranged. The strawberry half-breed was his. Stark had lost. And he had won. Now all that remained was to claim his prize once and for all.

What a savoury thought indeed.