I have altered this slightly to edit out any references to the quincy war. It wasn't a big part of the story and doing that gave me more range for the story's plot, in any case. This will also be expanded to include, not just the Bya/Tetsuya and Ichigo/Tetsuya relationships, but will evolve into a Bya/Ichigo/Tetsuya as Ichigo and Tetsuya try to figure out what really happened to Byakuya. Not to worry, it will all make sense and it will be a very enjoyable romance!
Chapter 1: Flight from Eden
Tetsuya stood frozen at the top of a cliff, overlooking the bright lake and open field where he and Byakuya had trained as teens, watching the grass wave in the troubled breeze, and reaching out with his senses. He felt again the troubling absence of his cousin's reiatsu and focused harder.
Should we not return to the manor, Master? the tall, black stallion spoke into Tetsuya's roiling mind, turning a pair of sapphire eyes on the noble that looked the same as his own, It is surely safer for you and your baby there.
Tetsuya let a hand slide down to the pronounced bump on his abdomen, thinking back to the beginning of the day.
"You look beautiful, watashi no itoko," Byakuya said, helping him to his feet and back to the bed.
"I look horrid," complained Tetsuya, rubbing his belly and willing the dizziness and nausea to ease, "I am pale as a ghost and expelling as much as I take in. I thought this was supposed to get easier as I approached my due date."
Byakuya climbed onto the bed and wrapped his arms around his cousin from behind.
"It will," he assured Tetsuya as the younger man leaned back and closed his eyes, sighing in relief at the soothing flow of balancing reiatsu that flowed from his cousin's palms. He went quiet, enjoying the feel of Byakuya's soft hands touching him, and the gentle play of kisses his cousin placed on the sensitive skin on the side of his throat.
"Ah...Byakuya-sama," he moaned, his eyelids fluttering, "That...feels so much better...but..."
"But what?" the clan leader whispered, smiling knowingly.
"You know that it makes me...hungry."
Byakuya nodded, not mistaking his meaning, nor the intense feeling of arousal that the bonding stimulated in his pregnant cousin. He laid Tetsuya down on his back and met his soft, sweet lips gently, then began a long, slow exploration of the younger man's body, enjoying the tickle of his hair, the softness of his skin, the slender hands that grasped him and the sweet, enthusiastic mouth that sought his as their bodies were joined. Tetsuya groaned with relief at the slightly painful, but gripping feeling of being deeply penetrated, possessed, and passionately loved by his older cousin. He wrapped his legs tightly around Byakuya's thrusting hips, letting his head fall back and moaning at the rush of shivers that ran through his body as Byakuya's mouth devoured the flesh of face and throat, feasted on his biting mouth and panted puffs of warm breath against his shoulder.
Tetsuya's head went into a dizzying spin as Byakuya panted harder and his movements became rougher and more urgent. He opened his eyes so as not to miss the glow of heady arousal in his cousin's wide, gray eyes, and the lovely look of surrender as he reached climax. Blazing heat pulsed into Tetsuya's core, filling him, burning with life, with love, with tender promise. With a beautiful cry that Byakuya hungrily devoured as it sounded, Tetsuya gave in to the throes of orgasm, writhing uncontrollably in Byakuya's arms, and releasing in long, hot pulses onto their sweating skin.
He laid quietly afterward, watching as his cousin kissed the swollen bump, under which their progeny grew, and fed blissfully on the warm, wet remains of their lovemaking. He gave Tetsuya a look of regret as his eyes touched on the clock and read the time. Tetsuya tried to accept the fact gracefully, but sat up suddenly as Byakuya began to exit their bed. He took hold of the silken sleeve of Byakuya's yukata and earned a warm, understanding look from the clan leader.
"Please don't go," Tetsuya whispered, feeling sick inside at his show of weakness, "Byakuya-sama..."
The clan leader let out a soft breath and kissed Tetsuya's lips gently.
"I lead a division of soldiers, Tetsuya," he said quietly, "You know that I cannot abandon them, nor the protection of Soul Society. And Soutaichou has told us that there is a strange disturbance in Hueco Mundo that needs addressing. I am the most experienced taichou available to explore the area. I have been there before. I am going in with Renji as well, so you know that I will have the best possible protection. It will be all right, Tetsuya. A few weeks and I will be back in plenty of time to be here so that we can greet our son or daughter together."
"I know," said Tetsuya in a trembling voice, "But, I...Byakuya-sama, the one regret I have about being in this condition is that I cannot do the one thing that matters most to me. I live to protect you. I owe you for everything you have done for me. And now, when you need that protection the most...I..."
He broke off, fighting back tears and feeling the flush of shame on his cheeks for showing such fear. Byakuya took his cousin's face in his hands, and looked deeply into Tetsuya's lovely, trusting blue eyes.
"I love you. I will come back to you. You are always in my heart, Tetsuya, and that is a protection that remains with us, even when we are apart."
He glanced at the clock again, then sat down on the bed and took Tetsuya's hands.
"Tetsuya, before I go, I must prepare you...just in case..."
"No!" Tetsuya hissed, turning his head away to ward off the words.
"Tetsuya, you must be prepared. I will do everything within my power to return to you as quickly as possible, but if something should happen..."
"N-no..." Tetsuya moaned, shaking his head.
"Tetsuya, listen," the clan leader said, taking hold of his face and forcing him to meet his serious, gray eyes, "If you see this hell butterfly, do not hesitate. Summon Arashi and leave everything behind."
"As much as we have acceptance, there is dissent among the subfamilies, and in my absence, my enemies may seek to end my line. Succession passes from me to this child. And I know you are aware whose line will inherit leadership if something happens to me. You must make sure that our child is kept safe, no matter what happens. If you would protect me, then protect our child, Tetsuya, and protect yourself. If things go ill, go to Karakura Town and entrust yourself to Kurosaki Ichigo. In my absence, his presence is the safest place for you to be."
He kissed Tetsuya's lips again and brushed a tear from his eye.
"Promise me that you will do this for me...that if anything should happen, you will safeguard our child and help him or her to rise to leadership...to heal the rifts within our clan and to make things right again."
"Promise me, Tetsuya. Promise me, now."
Tetsuya shivered with doubt, but forced the words out.
"I promise, Byakuya-sama," he whispered, "I will do as you say."
"Good," said the clan leader, smiling and feeding him a final kiss of parting, "I am relieved. I can turn my attention to this mission and give it my full attention, knowing that you and our baby will be in good hands. Goodbye, my love. Be safe."
"You as well, Byakuya-sama," Tetsuya said, hating every word.
He couldn't look as his cousin departed the room, and he fled the room once the Kuchiki heir was gone. Still in his sleeping yukata, he leapt onto Arashi's strong back and ran the stallion across the gardens. The lovely beast leapt nimbly over the back gate, and galloped down the forest path, emerging onto the cliff, where Tetsuya and Byakuya shared their nightly ritual of sitting beneath a sakura tree and gazing up at the lovely moon. He sat beneath the sakura tree, staring out over the lake and meadow and trying to force the worry away. He had almost convinced himself that it was just pre-birth jitters, and that everything would be all right, when the strange pulsation in Byakuya's reiatsu began, then his power flared brightly before slowly beginning to disappear. Behind them, the house alarms began to ring in response to the sensing of the threat to their leader.
Tetsuya was brought out of his reverie as Arashi's voice sounded in his mind again.
"We have to wait here," Tetsuya said softly, "We don't want to be under lockdown if..."
"Cousin?" said a deep, quietly sarcastic voice, "Shouldn't you be back at the manor? It would be safer there for you, ne?"
"I am fine where I am, Orochi," Tetsuya answered, placing a hand on Arashi, "Shouldn't you be attending to the defense of the manor?"
"But, part of defending the manor is making sure that the bearer of the heir does not wander off. It could be dangerous, Tetsuya. Who knows what could happen? We could lose that mixed blood bastard in your belly...and then what?"
"Get away from me," Tetsuya warned the other man, "Go and see to your duties."
"I will," said Orochi, "And...the moment our cousin's death is confirmed...I will see to you, you half blood whore."
"You have no power over me," Tetsuya warned him, "I carry the heir. There are rules, Orochi."
"Yes, there are," sneered the other man, "which is why you were made to act as his concubine and not his spouse."
"I am well aware of why Byakuya-sama and I were not allowed to be married. And I know you are aware of what his intentions are, should anyone defy him and try to do harm to me or this child!"
"Peace, Cousin," Orochi said placatingly, "You are too untrusting. I may think of you as a lesser person, but you do carry the heir and that makes you a person of significance. Come back to the manor with me, so that I can personally see to your safety, myself. You wouldn't want you recklessness to cause some kind of foulness to assault you."
"The only thing that has ever 'assaulted me,' is you," Tetsuya hissed darkly, "Now, leave me be. Arashi and Re-kuhime are enough protection for me."
He inhaled sharply as a small insect fluttered into view, and both men registered the meaning of its arrival.
The two froze, Tetsuya's widened, sapphire eyes staring into Orochi's deep black ones, and the shock of what was happening, leaving them reeling. Byakuya's voice whispered into Tetsuya's stunned mind, setting his feet into motion and making him leap onto Arashi's back and spur the stallion into a blaze of flash steps as Orochi drew his weapon and flash stepped after them.
They sailed down off of the cliff and over the wide lake, down into the meadow, where Arashi turned and loosed a hail of ban kai strength ice blades at Orochi. Orochi snarled and raised his own reiatsu, loosing his weapon and watching as his huge, black armored snake curled around him, blocking the path of the ice blades, then sliding swiftly after the retreating horse and rider. Tetsuya pointed his zanpakutou straight ahead, opening a senkaimon and racing into it. Orochi's snake followed, with his master riding near his head. They closed on Tetsuya and Arashi quickly, and before they could reach the Karakura Town exit, they were forced to turn and fight.
Arashi loosed another volley of ice blades, but the black, armored snake shot through the center, bearing down on Tetsuya and catching the noble's shoulder with a sharp fang, before Tetsuya fired a heavy cyclone of water, that forced the snake away and pushed Orochi back.
Tetsuya slid down off the stallion's back, holding the wound on his shoulder, and he opened the senkaimon and tumbled through, scrambling to his feet almost as he landed. He tried to mount Arashi, but felt an odd, dizzy sensation and realized that the snake must have infused the bite wound with toxic venom.
"Shussui, Re-kuhime," he hissed, causing the zanpakutou spirit to release a soft infusion of staying reiatsu into his system.
Let me fend them off, Arashi insisted as the senkaimon began to open again behind them, You are in no condition for fighting and need to find help.
It was an odd thing, quite against Tetsuya's nature to abandon the fight, but he knew well that Arashi could handle himself and get away, and that the heir in his belly needed to be protected. He flash stepped away, with a quick admonishment to the stallion to be cautious., then he was running down a maze of darkened streets and looking for a place to conceal himself.
I was forced out short of Urahara's shop, and in any case, he is likely involved in what is going on. I have to find someone to help me.
He heard the sounds of battle behind him and hastened away, heading towards a lighted area that bore a sign for a hospital. Tetsuya removed the gigai that Byakuya had warned him to always carry, and he slipped into it, then ran towards the hospital, his head swimming uncomfortably from the snake's poison.
Damn...it is too strong! I c-can't...
He heard screeching tires and turned to find that a car had come around the corner and was bearing down on him, where he stood in the roadway. He dove out of the way, but took a blow to the hip that sent him crashing to the ground.
He felt darkness closing in, and everything seemed to go hazy and quiet.
Some time later, he heard voices around him and felt soft touches of healing. Some part of him realized that he was being treated by humans, but he sensed that the heir's life force still resonated inside him, and relaxed somewhat, allowing himself to be taken into the hospital and placed in a bed.
"I couldn't find any sort of identification," said a female voice.
"Don't worry about that," said a male voice, "What is his condition?"
"Moderate trauma to his right hip from being hit by a car. He was lucky. No apparent breaks, just a lot of bruising. Looks like a moderate concussion, and he appeared to be suffering from some kind of illness. He was reportedly staggering before being hit. It may be illness or a toxin, so we drew blood."
"Okay, let me know when those results come back."
Tetsuya felt his consciousness slipping away and tried desperately to reach out in his mind for Arashi, but received only silence in response. He thought then, for the first time, of what the hell butterfly meant.
If Orochi reaches me, he will kill us...
No...he can't be.
Something cool and deeply soothing flooded his veins, and Tetsuya sank down into restorative sleep, grateful not to have to think anymore. He didn't care about his own fate, but only for the child who he knew must be protected carefully.
"K-kurosaki...Ichi...go," he moaned, "You must...f-find him."
"Kurosaki Ichigo?" repeated the doctor, "Make a note of that. It may help us find someone who knows him."
The voices faded into grayness, and all Tetsuya could feel was the slow beating of his heart and the rush of blood in his veins. But given how close he had come to dying at Orochi's hands, he considered himself lucky.
(6 months later)
"Hey Rukia," said Ichigo, nodding as the young woman entered through his bedroom window, "What's going on?"
Rukia gave the youth a troubled look and produced a hell butterfly. She bit at her lips gently, then forced the words out.
"This...was found among Nii-sama's things. It is for you...a message...only for your ears."
"Oh," the ginger-haired youth said, his eyes saddening at the memory of Byakuya's disappearance and reported death, "Okay..."
He touched the dark insect with a finger, and he and Rukia flinched and swallowed hard as Byakuya's voice rose out of the butterfly.
"Kurosaki Ichigo, I hoped that I would not have to send this, but if it has come into your possession, you must attend carefully. There is someone of great value to me, someone who needs protection...someone I can no longer protect. His name is Kuchiki Tetsuya. He is my cousin, and he is pregnant with my child."
"Wh-what?" mused Ichigo, "but...he?"
"Tetusya is special," said Rukia, her voice breaking, "Byakuya was able to impregnate him. They were not allowed to be married, but they were very much in love."
"So...Byakuya wants me to...?"
"Why don't you listen to the rest of the message?" suggested Rukia.
Ichigo nodded and indicated for the insect to continue.
"Because he half noble and half peasant, Tetsuya has enemies within the family. And with the mixing of our blood, some have turned even against me, and have plotted against our child. If I fall in battle...If I cannot return to them, I am depending on you to help them. Yours is the strongest power I know that can protect them. The unrest within my clan is slowly breaking us apart. Tetsuya will be tasked with bearing the heir, then putting the pieces of our clan back together. I am aware of how much I am asking, and I would not ask and indebt myself to you, yet again, but I know of no one else who is strong enough. So...I ask that when Tetsuya comes to you...keep him safe. Keep him well. And protect our child. Thank you, Ichigo."
"Huh..." Ichigo mused, scratching the back of his neck, "He wants me to protect his lover?"
"Yes," said Rukia, "but there is a problem."
"Tetsuya disappeared six months ago...the day Byakuya's death was sensed. No one knows where he is either, Ichigo."