Fuketsu no Goten (Palace of the Impure/Unclean)
This one was inspired by, and is dedicated to Eva Galena, a lovely voice of encouragement, wisdom and reason in her PM's and reviews. It plays out the history of my OC, Tetsuya a little differently in having him land in Ichigo's orbit instead of being rescued by clan leader and cousin, Byakuya. Warning, this is also an mpreg...Enjoy! Love, Spunky)
Chapter 1: The Hunt
"Tetsuya, wake up," Naoki whispered, shaking his younger cellmate gently to wake him.
Tetsuya stirred sluggishly, his sapphire eyes betraying discomfort as they met the other youth's in the darkness.
"What is it?" Tetsuya asked softly.
"He is here. Come quickly now. We haven't much time until the next guard change."
Tetsuya caught his breath softly, his eyes meeting those of the guard that waited just outside their cell. He rose silently, placing a hand on his abdomen and trying to ignore the sick feeling inside as he followed his cellmate to the cell door and waited while the guard removed a key from his pocket and opened it.
"Come this way, and do not make a sound," the guard warned them.
He led them away from their cell and through several more rows of cells before turning them into a long corridor, then using another key to let them into a concealed inner corridor, usually only used by the guards and off limits to prisoners.
"There won't be anyone in this corridor right now," the guard explained, "but hurry. It won't be long until someone passes through for another shift change."
The three slipped into the hidden passage and moved along its length quietly.
"Thank you for doing this," Naoki whispered to the guard, "I wasn't sure how much longer we were going to be able to hide it. He'll start to 'show' soon."
The guard gave Tetsuya a sympathetic smile.
"I understand. Although Byakuya-sama is going to invade soon, I think that it would have been discovered before then, and because I cannot do anything that might reveal me to the ones who run this place, I could not contact Byakuya-sama to tell him of the situation. But I can get you to a place where we can open a senkaimon. Just...listen carefully. When you arrive in the living world, you must look for a man named Urahara Kisuke. He will not know to expect you, but if you tell him your story, then he should be willing to help you. And in a few months when the raid takes place, you can return to the Seireitei and give testimony to Central 46 about what you experienced here."
The guard left off speaking suddenly and looked about, listening carefully. Hearing nothing, he urged them on to another door that led out onto a small balcony overlooking the area just beyond the prison. The three froze as a flash of kido lit the area below them, and several screams sounded, followed by vicious laughter. They heard the sound of running feet on the hard trail below them, then more kido blasts and cries of terror, and more laughter.
"B-bastards!" hissed the guard, looking sickened.
"What are they doing?" Tetsuya asked, staring, "D-did those people try to escape? Is that why they are killing them?"
The guard and Naoki exchanged dark, knowing glances.
"They didn't try to escape," the guard said, his fingers touching the blade at his hip, "It's Kuchiki Orochi and his bunch. The commander at the prison likes the weakened and more troublesome prisoners to be culled. So, he lets Orochi and his men take them out into the woods down there and let them loose. They run. They try to hide..."
Tetsuya flinched and tears came to his eyes as another scream sounded.
"But no one ever escapes," the guard finished, "I hate it...what they're doing."
"C-can't you stop them?" asked Tetsuya, wiping away a tear, "You are helping us."
The guard took on a guilty look, but tightened his lips and shook his head.
"I cannot reveal myself until the raid begins. You see, as soon as Byakuya-sama arrives and things begin, the bad ones here will probably start to kill the prisoners. They don't want anyone to know what they have done here. Byakuya-sama has sent several of us in to prepare for that."
He gazed down at the quieting woods below them.
"Orochi was actually one of the ones sent to assist. Byakuya-sama will be furious when he learns of his cousin's activities here."
He met the two prisoners' eyes meaningfully.
"But then, you two know about how awful he is, ne?"
Naoki and Tetsuya exchanged glances and nodded.
"He has been particularly cruel to you two. In fact, I first wondered if the baby might be his."
"No," said Naoki, smiling proudly, "The healer that you had help us told us that the baby is definitely mine."
"That is good," said the guard, looking down at the area below them again.
They waited until the woods had gone silent, then the guard turned to speak to them again.
"I will take you down there one at a time, because you can't flash step down yourselves. I would take the seal off your powers, but because you have never had those seals removed, you will need special limiters to control your reiatsu until you learn how. Urahara-san will take care of that in Karakura Town. Now, as soon as we are concealed in the trees, I will open the senkaimon. From this point on, there is no going back. If we are found after we come down off of this balcony, we will be killed."
"Then, why not open the senkaimon up here?" asked Naoki, "Why do we have to chance going down where those men were killing people?"
"Because everywhere else around here, there are hidden devices watching. I was able to damage a few so that we could get to here, but the senkaimon can only be covered...kept from their eyes, down there."
He nodded to Tetsuya.
"I'll take you down first."
Tetsuya shivered and swallowed hard, but buoyed by a reassuring embrace and kiss from Naoki, he steeled himself and allowed the man to lift him into his arms. He closed his eyes and held on tightly as the guard flash stepped down from the balcony, then set him on his feet again.
"Stay right here, in the trees. The guards rarely look out here because with the cliff drop off, there's nowhere for anyone to escape on this side of the prison. But you want to stay hidden, just the same."
Tetsuya nodded and rubbed his abdomen to ease the discomfort as the man flash stepped back up to the balcony to retrieve Naoki. The two landed safely, but froze a moment later at the sound of footsteps approaching. The guard bit his lip nervously and slipped a small device into Tetsuya's hand.
"Take this and the two of you hide. Wait until I lure him away and then open the senkaimon."
Naoki and Tetsuya nodded and melted into the trees together, leaving the guard, standing in the open as Orochi approached.
"Makoto," the black-eyed shinigami said, curiously, "What brings you out here? I thought you weren't 'into' these kinds of things."
"I was just getting some fresh air."
"Hmmm," said Orochi, "An interesting place for that, ne? But a little dangerous."
Makoto shifted uncomfortably, but said nothing. Tetsuya and Naoki watched breathlessly from within the trees as the two continued talking.
"So...just a few more months and we will be back home again," observed Orochi, "It has been a long task, remaining here, posing as guards."
"You have gotten very comfortable in your role here," Makoto observed.
"Well, you have been rather sloppy in yours," Orochi answered, his hand moving to his sword, "It would be unfortunate if you made a poor move and got yourself killed. Byakuya-sama's plans will surely not play out properly if our group is not able to defend the prisoners during the raid. We could lose a lot of these poor, miserable mixed bloods, and who wants to see them all slaughtered, ne?"
"I will be careful," said Makoto, "But come inside now, Orochi-san. We should have a drink and relax a bit before we return to duty."
"You want to have a drink with me?" he asked, moving a step closer and curling his fingers around the hilt of his blade, "How very sociable of you. I thought that you didn't enjoy my company, Makoto. Was I wrong?"
"It has been a long assignment," said Makoto, "quite stressful. I cannot wait until it is over."
"Ah, yes. And that will be soon," said Orochi, loosing his blade and sliding it free from its sheath, "Sooner for some of us than others, ne Makoto?"
The guard's eyes widened.
"Orochi-san!" he said, backing away, "You are Byakuya-sama's cousin. You are part of the plans. He trusts you!"
"Yes," said the black-eyed noble, "And he is going to have no reason to stop trusting me. I know you have been helping prisoners escape. You take chances, doing such a reckless thing."
"The ones I've helped, wouldn't have survived until the raid. They had to be evacuated sooner."
"I would have just put them out of there misery. There is no reason to risk exposing all of us with your recklessness!"
"I wasn't reckless! And at least I am not killing them myself as you are. I wonder if you are even committed to your part, or if you are just going to turn on us later. Byakuya-sama is a fool to trust you," Makoto said, drawing his own weapon and backing away more.
"Well, you are right about him being a fool...a mixed-blood loving fool. But not everybody in the family agrees with his tactics, and so...when he makes his raid here, those people have prepared...so that there will be no witnesses to give anything away."
"What? Then...you are a traitor!" cried Makoto.
"A traitor? Me?" queried the noble, "Don't you understand? These prisoners are trash. They are all dead."
He stepped closer, his hand tightening on his sword.
"Byakuya-sama is dead."
He closed the distance and slashed at Makoto, who tried to block the strike, then reeled as the blade that crossed his, softened into the body of a serpent and slid down to sink its fangs into the man's arm.
Makoto stared at the snake that had coiled tightly around his arm, and he felt his legs weaken as the poison took hold.
"Y-you!" he managed weakly, "You will not get away with this! There are witnesses! Everyone I've helped to escape! And they will come forward! You are going to pay for this!"
Makoto's legs gave way and he collapsed onto the ground, gasping and panting harshly.
"Y-you...you will pay!"
Orochi smiled wickedly.
"Foolish, foolish Makoto!" he said, shaking his head, "Don't you understand? The noble houses don't want to hear about this place. They don't want to know about it. And they don't want other people to know about it. I am not working alone, and before this is done, not only will all of the prisoners die...but every hint of this place's use will disappear. And your Byakuya-sama will be completely disgraced. Not that he'll care much, since he will die in the raid! But don't worry about that. It's not your concern anymore."
Orochi recalled his blade, then slashed at the fallen shinigami. He watched calmly as the man's life force faded and his body disintegrated into spirit particles, then he looked around briefly.
"And you weren't alone..." he whispered, raising his hands.
Fiery red kido blasts erupted from his hands, flying into the trees and setting them on fire. Within the trees, Naoki grabbed Tetsuya's hand and pulled him into a run.
"B-but the cliff?" Tetsuya hissed, white-faced.
"We have no choice!" Naoki answered, "We have to open the senkaimon at the edge and jump. It's our only chance!"
The two were thrown to the ground and raked with heat as an explosion ripped through the area. They rolled to their feet and started to run again, but after a moment, Tetsuya noticed the other boy was limping.
"Keep running!" Naoki warned him, "The fire is closing in on us. We need time to open the gate! Run ahead and open it for us. You can move faster. Run, Tetsuya!"
"I'm not leaving you!" Tetsuya cried, taking his arm and pulling him along, "We go together or we die together!"
"No! No, we won't get the gate open in time. Please, Tetsuya! Go ahead of me and open it now. Wait for me there. Go! If you don't go, we'll both die in the fire before we can open the doorway!"
Tetsuya continued to pull his friend along, but realized quickly that Naoki had been right. The flames were closing in too quickly.
"All right!" he sobbed, finally, "I will go ahead to the cliff and open the gate. But you must keep running, Naoki! Do not leave me alone!"
"I will run. I will reach you, Tetsuya. I promise!"
Tetsuya turned and put his full strength into running. He pelted through the trees, moving ahead of the fire and reaching the cliff with only a few precious moments to spare. He opened the senkaimon at the edge of the cliff, just beyond the trees, then turned back to go and collect Naoki. He smiled in relief as Naoki burst out of the trees, just ahead of the flames. He ran towards Tetsuya, the fire lighting the air around him ominously.
He had almost reached Tetsuya, when a huge explosion of fire erupted behind him. Tetsuya screamed as he watched the fire swallow up his young lover, then it swelled menacingly in his direction. He was thrown off his feet by another explosion and forced into the senkaimon, but the fire raged over him and panic flooded his young body as he felt it trying to consume him.
But strangely, as he came down hard on his back and his head struck the ground, he felt the air go icy around him. A soft, feminine voice in his head whispered that everything would be all right, and Tetsuya went still, his eyes blinking and trying to focus as something hard and cold surrounded him. Outside of the icy barrier that had formed, the senkaimon closed, leaving Tetsuya alone in the dark. He stared blankly upward as a cracking sound issued and the icy shield around him crumbled and dissipated. He turned over slowly and crawled onto his hands and knees. His head swam warningly and spots danced before his eyes, but he found the direction that the guard that had helped them had told them to go. Tears flooded his eyes and ran in streams down his face as he moved forward, too injured to stand, only able to move forward on hands and knees, and barely able to see. He heard footsteps approaching him and quickly found a dark crevice to conceal himself in. His eyes widened and the breath froze in his chest as he spotted Orochi, walking through the precipice world with his sword drawn.
"I saw the gate open," he said, his voice echoing off the walls eerily, "I know someone made it into the senkaimon. Come out. You have endured enough. I will just take you back and will not punish you if you come out now. If you do not come out now, you will not live to reach your cell. Come out. Give up now, and you may live."
Tetsuya shrank deeper into the crevice, ignoring the small rocks that dug into his skin. He shivered as Orochi stopped only steps away and stood for a moment, looking around carefully, but just missing the presence of the youth in the hidden crevice. He looked up as the sound of the cleaner reached him.
"Oh well," Orochi said, smirking, "Looks like you're going to die in here. Are you sure you don't want to come out?"
He waited a moment longer as the sound of the cleaner grew closer, then flash stepped away. Spooked by the noise, Tetsuya emerged from his hiding spot and dragged himself to his feet. He turned in the direction that he had been told to go and staggered away, the sound behind him growing louder. He managed a jarring, limping run, but found quickly that running set his head spinning, threatening to leave him unconscious and in the path of the cleaner. And as panicked as he had become, he wasn't exactly sure that he hadn't missed the proper exit.
The cleaner came into sight, taking away all of the young man's options. He turned and threw himself through the nearest exit, tumbling down from the sky and crashing into a thick clump of bushes. A heavy gasp of pain escaped him, then he sank down into comforting darkness. He laid, on his side, one hand left resting on his slim abdomen, as though to protect the secret inside him.
Tetsuya wasn't sure how much time had passed, but he started to feel pain returning, and he heard a voice talking to him. He opened his heavily lidded eyes and found himself looking up into friendly brown eyes that reminded him painfully of Naoki's. A tear of memory leaked onto his face, and the youth leaning over him, brushed it away.
"I said you're gonna be okay now. But you need some healing."
Tetsuya blinked and stared at the other boy, as he helped him to sit up, then looked him over briefly.
"It doesn't look like anything too bad, but I think you have a concussion. Do you have a name?"
Tetsuya's lips moved, but couldn't seem to force anything out. He groaned as the other youth helped him stand, then caught him up in his arms as he immediately fell again.
"It's okay. Relax. I'll just take you to my friend, so she can heal you. Then we can talk about what happened to you. But...I really wish I knew your name."
"T-tetsuya," Tetsuya managed in a choked whisper.
"Tetsuya," repeated the youth, "You got a last name?"
Tetsuya shook his head.
"But you're a shinigami, ne? Are you in a squad?"
"It's okay. Never mind. We'll talk later. By the way, I'm Ichigo...Kurosaki Ichigo."
"Ichigo," Tetsuya whispered, closing his eyes and resting his head wearily on the other youth's shoulder, "Arigatou."