So, I have to admit I think the end of this story is in sight scarily... I think there will be two further chapters, three at a push. The ending has kind of sneaked up on me to be honest; I didn't expect it to come so soon...
Anyway, please enjoy this monumental battle chapter! Please review!
Chapter Twenty-Four: Scalpturio and Dominis:
The wall was blasted inwards by a massive explosion which scattered the crowd with debris and dust.
The loud gusting echo of beating wings was the first thing that Ichigo was able to hear after the ringing in his ears finally stopped, as Stark pulled back by an inch he was able to see a vast pair of amethyst coloured wings, closely shadowed by a pair of crimson ones.
Instantly there was an abundance of shouting, yelling, and cries of bewilderment as the palace doors were blasted open at the same time, revealing a mass gathering of snarling wolves lead by a giant white one. The instant the doors were open several further winged figures shot into the large foyer, followed by several sparks of lightening and multicoloured explosions which blasted several of the unsuspecting demons out of the way.
Ichigo, while holding his stomach as he felt a painful but dull twinge, looked up slowly, watching as Stark rolled off him as the debris settled down. The strawberry stared at their surroundings for a moment before his eyes lifted and he found himself gawping somewhat unattractively at the mauve and scarlet wings which belonged to Kuchiki Byakuya and Abarai Renji.
"W-What are you doing here?" he asked as he was lifted to his feet by his brunet lover, his eyes still fixed on the wings before he saw movement out of the corner of his eye and began gawping openly at the tails which swished behind them, their tails matching the colour of their wings and their... Horns?!
Byakuya, apparently oblivious to the other's staring smiled slightly, "Plan B of course, we were all aware that there was a chance Stark would fail to rescue you... So we decided we would bring the war to Aizen's door."
"But you... You've got wings... And a tail... Horns..." he breathed.
At that point Renji chuckled slightly, "You haven't seen an Incubus in their demonic form before have you? Well this is us... Horns and all. The Succubi are the same, but they don't have horns..."
Ichigo took a breath and rubbed his stomach again, "Okay... So what now?" he asked a little breathlessly.
"Now we get you out of here before the fighting starts." Renji smiled and clapped the strawberry on the arm, his own baby bump not going unnoticed under his clothing.
"Should you be fighting at all?" Ichigo asked.
"I'm a full demon... My body can tolerate battle until the final month of pregnancy. Nothing to worry about." The redhead responded with a casual grin.
Ichigo rolled his eyes and looked at Stark before glancing at the white wolf, "Stark... Is that Yamamoto?"
"Yes..." the other responded.
"Why is he bigger than you are when you are in your wolf form?" the strawberry asked.
"Because he is the Clan Leader," Stark answered, "Clan Leaders are bigger than normal demons... As you can see with Aizen as well, his wings are bigger than Byakuya and Renji's, but Byakuya's are larger than Renji's because Byakuya is a second in command. I am larger than normal wolf demons because I am second in command."
Ichigo's attempt at further questioning was cut short when there was another booming explosion behind him; and he turned around in time to see several bodies going flying, followed closely by a pair of extremely large white wings. They were bigger than Byakuya and Renji's wings, almost three times the size in fact, and of course they belonged to the big man himself. Aizen was smug, able to batter aside his foes with a single flap of one of his own demonic wings, a pair of pale silver horns slowly coming to life from his head as a whitened tail slapped against the ground, fracturing the stone with ease.
The brunet Incubus moved at lightning speed, and before anyone could move he had snatched Ichigo from his standing position and had moved them across the foyer to a safe distance from the onslaught of fighting.
Stark looked around and yelled out for his lover, pushing through the throes of people to try and reach the pair, he faltered as Aizen merely smirked at him and disappeared from sight.
"No!" He yelled, and gripped a handful of his hair.
"Try to remain calm Stark, we will find him." Byakuya said as he joined him, "Change form, you can follow his scent."
The Werewolf hesitated, still feeling the pain of being separated from his lover before he conceded and transformed into the form of a large rugged brown wolf with brilliant blue eyes. He dropped his nose to the ground and began hunting for his lover's scent, finding it quickly he started running through the legs of the gathered crowd of now fighting demons with Byakuya and Renji hot on his tail. Literally.
He ran up the far end stair case, sniffing madly at the floor and the lower sections of the wall. He paused suddenly as he saw some peculiar scratch marks on the corner of the wall. Stark padded forwards very slowly and sniffed them, frowning deeply as he sensed an abundance of Ichigo's aura and scent in the crevices.
"What are those?" Renji asked as he leaned down slowly and ran his fingers over the markings.
"Scratch marks." Stark responded, lifted his head to look at the redhead.
"But they are massive!" Byakuya exclaimed as he also inspected them, "There are more up there..."
"I... I don't know why they are that big..." Stark breathed, his concern for his loved one growing exponentially, "I've not seen something like that before..."
"Well for now they have left us a trail so let's follow it." Byakuya decided, urging Stark on.
They followed the strange scratch marks all the way to the top floor, they could hear shouting and screaming from somewhere but all the rooms were empty. That was when Byakuya saw the open hatch in the ceiling... Aizen had taken Ichigo onto the roof...
Byakuya grabbed Stark by the scruff of his neck, the extra piece of skin between his shoulder blades, and flew up and out of the hatch, Renji followed with expert ease.
When Stark was set on his feet he flipped around to face the source of the commotion and almost passed out where he stood as his eyes raked across the giant orange wolf who was wrestling with Aizen, biting and clawing at his white wings, now dashed with scarlet blood.
The most startling thing was that the orange wolf, his orange wolf, was larger in size than Yamamoto was.
Ichigo growled and spitted at Aizen as he lunged at him again; biting into the bone of his left wing and growling around it like a feral beast, brown eyes wide with anger while his pupils were snake like slits. He whimpered as he was struck around the head by the man's tail and released his wing before he limped backwards, reassessing his situation, never once even noticing that his lover was present.
Aizen panted slightly as he glanced at the damage to his wing before he growled at the half-demon carrying his heir, "So... The blood of the Clan Founder is strong within you; Scalpturio clearly knew what he was doing when he left such strong heirs."
"Sh-Shut up..." Ichigo panted as he licked a cut on his front left paw.
"No, I don't think so. There is something else..." The brunet walked forwards slowly, "You are bigger than Yamamoto, the Clan Leader... You are bigger than your father's wolf form... And I have always known that there was something different about you. Something special..."
"Shut up..." he whined again, backing up as he sensed the man coming closer, "I don't know what you're on about."
"Scalpturio disappeared thousands of years ago... No one ever knew what happened to him, but it was speculated by Dominis that he fled to prevent open war between the Clans... After all that prophecy..."
Ichigo regained his breath slowly, "I know. Byakuya told me once... Dominis was frozen in carbon to protect himself from the danger of the Werewolf Clan... His biggest enemy."
"Correct." Aizen tilted his head slowly, "But what if they only postponed it?"
"What do you mean by-" he was cut off as he was yanked into the air by his fur and whimpered as it tugged painfully on his skin.
Aizen inspected him for a moment before he raised his free hand and rested it over Ichigo's eyes, closing his own, "I absorbed Dominis into my own body, and Clan Founders can sense each other... I wonder, I wonder if that is why I chose you..."
Ichigo struggled weakly against his grasp before he gasped as he saw flashes of colour and the faces of people, thousands of people, thousands of years worth of people. He cried out brokenly as it began to feel like he would explode from so much information, so many faces, so many people, so many lives...
Stark watched with wide eyes as the exchange occurred, he could seem to move his legs, whether it was with fear it because of some spell Aizen had cast... He couldn't move. He felt his blood running cold as he watched the Incubus pick his lover up, confused as to what was going on and why Aizen was being to... Weird!
Byakuya stared for a long moment before his breath hitched, "Oh my God..." he swallowed and looked down for a moment before he lifted his gaze again, "Why is he testing for that?"
"Testing?" Stark repeated, "What do you mean testing?!"
"Clan Founders can sense each other," he told him, "And Aizen absorbed Dominis... So he is a Clan Founder now technically..."
"So... He's doing what?"
The raven haired demon let out a breath, "He's sensing for Scalpturio... Inside of Ichigo. They are of the same bloodline, carried on through Kurosaki Isshin..."
"Why would Scalpturio be inside my boyfriend?"
The Incubus looked down at the brown wolf beside him, "Remember what you told Ichigo? Scalpturio went missing thousands of years ago, no one knew whether he had died or not... It is always a possibility that he found himself a new host to keep himself alive within."
"Yes..." Byakuya looked towards the orange wolf, "Ichigo might have the soul of Scalpturio hidden deep within him. That would explain why he was able to be impregnated to easily, why he has so much latent power, why Aizen chose him to mate with, even why you were so drawn to him... The Clan Founders were incredibly powerful, they were like Gods... Beautiful, powerful, wise, and magnificent."
"Well... Ichigo has always been those things in my eyes." Stark murmured.
"I know..." he agreed, "But it would change everything."
They fell silent as there was an abrupt explosion from inside the building and they were thrown around by the force of the movement beneath their very feet, Byakuya fell and was landed on by his redheaded lover, while Stark was thrown to the very edges of the roof and forced to cling on with his claws. Ichigo was thrown from Aizen's grasp and went skidding across the roof on his side, only coming to a stop when he was able to dig his claws in.
Aizen opened his eyes slowly and turned on the spot to see where Ichigo had landed, his eyes were narrowed and his teeth clenched, "And at last it comes down to it, Scalpturio lives."
Ichigo picked himself up slowly, shaking himself to get the dirt out of his fur before he looked back at Aizen; his eyes were glowing golden and stood out against his ginger fur like beacons in the night, and then for a moment his entire body began to glow the same colour and he grew in size, becoming larger yet, perhaps the size of a donkey. A roar erupted from the back of his throat as the sound of popping bones echoed around them, his body stretching to accommodate his expanding aura.
And then, he shot across the roof top like a bullet from a gun, wrapping his maw around Aizen's already damaged wing before he used the leverage and flung the man to the ground, charging after him again and ripping the wing clean off, not even hearing the broken scream of the brunet who was beneath him.
"You have threatened us all one too many times Aizen Sousuke." Ichigo's voice was different - spectral, and deeper in tone.
The man's eyes widened slightly as he recognised the voice, "Scalpturio... You've surfaced?"
"What do you expect? It has reached a point where I can no longer remain hidden, I would have wanted to leave the boy's life untarnished by my presence but it would appear that you have other ideas... It is a pity." He growled.
"You speak almost as though you care for the boy. Surely you only ever intended to use him as a vessel?" the brunet smirked through his pain.
Snarling, Ichigo... Or rather Scalpturio spat at him, "No! That is your way of thinking! It is not mine! The boy was of my Clan, of my bloodline! I intended to hide myself and die with him... But you have made sure that can never happen! You have ruined his life... He will never be able to go back to who he was! He can never be Human again! You selfish son-of-a-bitch!"
"Oh bite me." He snapped.
Aizen's eyes widened slightly as he felt his other wing being ripped off before the giant wolf sank his fangs into his side and tossed his body from side to side like a ragdoll. The brunet groaned out as he was thrown across the roof, only to be followed and crushed under the saucer sized paws of his adversary.
"Even if you kill me I will live on in the heir growing inside that body!" he spat at him.
"No you won't... You can't decide other people's fates for them if you are dead and gone. And that is where you are heading." Scalpturio breathed before he lunged and sank his fangs into the Incubus's throat, squeezing his eyes shut against the curdling screams emitted before he tore his throat out and felt his go limp beneath him.
He backed away, spitting chunks of flesh out of his mouth before he collapsed a distance away from the body, panting hard as he closed his eyes. He smiled weakly as he saw a reflection of his host inside his mind.
"Are you alright Ichigo?" he asked.
"Yeah, thanks to you..." the strawberry responded, "I have... So many questions though..."
"I will answer them all... But it will have to wait for another time, I am afraid that after years of hibernation this burst of energy has exhausted me. Give me a couple of days... And I will explain it all to you. Things are going to be very busy for you over the next few days." He chuckled gently before he closed his eyes, "Now it is time for you to return... Good luck my friend."
Ichigo opened his eyes, gasping and spluttering as he sat up slowly, having reverted to his humane form finally he blushed as he discovered he was only wearing the tattered remains of his clothing, and that they were rather revealing. Slowly getting to his feet, he staggered slightly before righting himself and running over to the edge of the roof to help rescue his lover.
As they both laid down on the rooftop afterwards, Stark found himself staring slightly at his partner, "You okay?"
"Yeah... Bit tired." He replied sleepily.
"What... What happened?"
"Uh... Well I guess the easiest way to explain would be to say... I have Scalpturio living inside of me." He chuckled weakly, "It's not so bad... He is quite polite really."
"Well..." Stark cleared his throat, "I hope he approves of me..."
"I am sure he will..." Ichigo murmured confidently.
Byakuya watched from a distance before his back arched as his wings began to stretch out and grow larger in span, Renji stared for a moment before he hurriedly brushed his hair back to sooth him as the transformation took place.