Chapter 10: Fugitives in Love

(Thanks so much to everyone following and reviewing this story. It really has come to life and will continue to be updated regularly. Hugs to Moegi (Hope the aches and pains go away quickly!), Lochness Nessie (Oh, Renji will be at the mercy of Kuchiki Arisu's pregnancy plans very soon!), Princess Moon Shadow (More is delivered!), Firebirdever (LOL, I don't think Renji will be wearing that ungodly outfit for long!), TomyAllen (Hmmm, perhaps Renji will be starting on repayment of that debt soon!), Renji-Bya-Lover (Heehee, I know something...erm...someone who will be 'taken' soon!), and LLawliet13 (Yeah, I had to do repais on the side I split trying to write that...) Enjoy the chapter!)

Tetsuya felt the gentle fog around his mind begin to lift away, and sensed that he had been undressed and placed in a soft, comfortable bed. The steady presence of his soul mate brought him fully awake, and his eyes opened to find Hiromi's looking down at him. The golden-eyed youth soaked a washcloth in cool water, then laid it gently on his forehead, and Hiromi smiled, coaxing a smile onto Tetsuya's lips.

"Thank you," he said, studying the other young man with curious eyes, "I feel much better now."

"I am glad," Hiromi sighed, "I am sorry that you were injured defending me, Tetsuya-san. I would have taken care of myself, but I am not allowed by my clan to use my powers."

"What?" Tetsuya asked, blinking and sitting up, "Where are we?"

"Eh...Urahara-san sent us to a safe house. Your friends, Ichigo-san, Ishida-san and Sado-san are standing guard. Orihime-chan has been here several times to tend to you."


He caught the washcloth as it fell and set it aside, his blue eyes fixing the other youth in place.

"Your family, Hiromi-san. You say that they...?"

"They placed a seal on my powers while I was a child," Hiromi explained, "But, perhaps I should explain from the beginning. I am Hiromi Akimori. I am the only child of Isamu Akimori, former leader of the Akimori clan."

He met Tetsuya's eyes meaningfully.

"You have heard the story of what happened with my father?" he asked.

Tetsuya nodded.

"Isamu Akimori was the pride of the Akimori clan," he said, remembering, "From a very early age, he showed great promise. He grew to be a powerful fighter, mastering flash step, kido and hakudo at a surprisingly early age."

"Everyone expected that he would follow in his father's footsteps," Hiromi went on, "and lead his clan someday, and eventually, he was made clan leader. However, while patrolling the Rukongai, he encountered a lovely woman who seemed to put a spell over his heart. Despite our clan's rules against marrying commoners, my father insisted that he was going to marry the woman anyway."

"That seems a familiar story," Tetsuya acknowledged.

"Yes," Hiromi agreed, "but in my father's case, our elders were not of a mind to allow such a thing. Had there not been another powerful candidate who could assume leadership, as happened with your cousin, the council would have had little choice but to accept the marriage. But there was a young clan member named Kanaye, who was equally skilled, and hungry for promotion. He challenged my father for leadership, and the elders ruled that the two must duel to the death."

Hiromi's eyes saddened as he went on.

"When the death match began, my father and Kanaye were evenly matched. And as long as they fought, neither could defeat the other. The elders were beside themselves with wondering how to resolve things, but Kanaye took matters into his own wretched hands. He fired a powerful spell that bore down on my pregnant mother as she watched. He later claimed that the spell went awry and that it was unintentional, but no one was fooled. My father saw the attack closing in on my mother and only had time to throw himself between them. There wasn't even time to fully raise his defenses and he fell. Kanaye gave no quarter, but struck immediately with a killing blow."

"I am sorry," whispered Tetsuya, "Your father was a courageous man, and he obviously cared very much for you and your mother to protect you that way."

"Yes. But my mother was grief stricken. She went into an early labor and died having me. Kanaye expected that one day I would avenge my father, but he dared not go against the will of the elders by killing me. Enough blood had been spilt, they said. I was made a servant in the family and I grew up underfoot, always trying to stay out of that man's way. And Kanaye ensured that I would never have the power to attack him. When I was made a slave, he placed a deadly seal on my core spirit center, leaving me powerless. I cannot use my powers, and have never heard the voice of my zanpakutou. I have tried having the seal removed in secret, but it is trapped so that if it is tampered with, it will destroy my core spirit center, leaving me permanently without my abilities."

"There is nothing that will break the seal?" Tetsuya asked.

Hiromi sighed softly.

"Only Kanaye's death."

He turned his head slightly to look out the window, where the stars were beginning to disappear.

"That the seal remains means that he lives."

"But you know that even so, your clan will seek to have me executed for attacking him."


Tetsuya's eyes followed Hiromi's to the brightening morning sky. The two were silent for several long minutes.

"Hiromi-san," Tetsuya said softly, "Did you sleep at all?"

The other youth paused, then shook his head.

"Come then," Tetsuya urged him, "Come and lie down with me."

Hiromi bit his lip nervously and looked down.

"I am sorry," Tetsuya apologized, "I did not mean to offend you. I only meant to soothe you to sleep. I have not forgotten that you are still married to that man. I will not dishonor you."

Hiromi let out a frustrated breath.

"That Kanaye-sama has put my soul mate in a position where he would dishonor me by lying with me is a cruel irony, Tetsuya-san. I do crave the comfort of your arms. I have ever since your hands took me from Kanaye's so forcefully. You cannot know what I felt inside, finally escaping him!"

"I will make certain that he never reclaims you," Tetsuya promised, "though I will need to get stronger before next we meet."

Hiromi's face paled.

"Tetsuya-san, you cannot mean that you are going to go back to fight him again! You have not healed, and..."

"I will not go now," Tetsuya said, shaking his head, "I told you. I need to be stronger so that I can challenge him openly and defeat him in front of our clans. That way, when he dies, I cannot be accused of any crime."

"Well, please forgive me that I hope that you never meet him for that battle," Hiromi said, lying down and curling into Tetsuya's arms.

He slid a hand down to where his soul mate's side had been carefully bandaged, and rested his palm there.

"I wish that I could have helped with your healing, Tetsuya. I feel useless without my powers."

"You are not useless," Tetsuya said firmly, "You have been a great comfort to me. I felt your presence with me, even as I laid unconscious. Despite everything, I have no regrets, Hiromi-san."

"And despite my concerns about our future," said Hiromi, snuggling closer to his injured soul mate, "I have no regrets either."


"Are you sure it's safe for me to get out of this getup?" Renji asked nervously as he escaped the ghastly costume Kisuke had made, "Kisuke was pretty adamant about me keeping it on while I was here."

"This is my private meeting chamber," Byakuya explained, "No one but Tetsuya, himself, can monitor it or see inside. You are safe here. And besides, I cannot bear to look at you in that horrid costume for a second longer!"

"Hey! I had to be unrecognizable!" objected the redhead.

"You were that," the noble said, shaking his head, "Unfortunately, given the fact that you were perfectly imitating a person who had died, you would certainly have been undone very quickly."

"Okay, so how am I going to get outta here when we're done talking?" Renji asked, frowning.

"Who says that I will let you go?" Byakuya asked, smirking as Renji blushed, "I may just decide to keep you confined to my bedroom. No one would dare enter there without my leave."

"Very funny," the redhead said in a less than amused tone, "Byakuya, this is some serious shit going on."

"Yes," agreed the noble, sobering, "Now, why don't you tell me what happened?"

"I didn't see everything," Renji admitted, "But, when I arrived, I saw that clan leader, Kanaye, threatening a guy he said was his husband. Tetsuya-san was there. I don't know if he was there before or just arrived, but he warned Kanaye to stop hurting Hiromi-san. When he kept at it, Tetsuya-san grabbed his arm to stop him from hitting the guy, then Kanaye went nuts, trying to kill him. Tetsuya-san was just trying to fend him off and protect Hiromi-san. In the course of doing that, he stabbed Kanaye in the chest. It was a pretty solid hit. Tetsuya-san took a pretty bad hit too, but he's all right. Orihime took care of it and he's healing."

"I had heard about the conflict," Byakuya acknowledged, "Word arrived a short time ago that Kanaye is unconscious and in guarded condition."

"I guess that's better than him being dead, ne?" Renji asked hopefully.

To some extent, yes," Byakuya agreed, "however, I am going to have to maneuver carefully through this."

"How's that?"

"Well," the noble said meaningfully, "The councils must see me as following the rules to the letter. For example, one would hope that you had not come here without an escape route planned, because you would be fully aware that I am going to be expected to detain you to be questioned by our council. Understand that if you are captured, Renji, in the course of answering the elders' questions, you would be forced to admit before both councils that you and I are lovers. If that happens, we will be forced to follow through on what we promised the Kuchiki elders in return for them accepting our union. I know you are not ready for marriage and having a child, so I..."

"It's fine," Renji said uncomfortably, "Yeah, I don't feel ready but this is about Tetsuya's life. I can't just let him hang because I want more time to get my head together."

He went quiet as Byakuya's fingers touched his lips, and he froze under the intensity of the noble's iron gaze.

"No. I am not going to have you jump into marriage and childbearing when you are not ready."

"So, I'm just supposed to let you have to face down two noble council inquiries with your best protector under suspicion and on the run? Byakuya, I can't do that! You know I can't!" the redhead objected.

Byakuya stopped him with a sudden, savage kiss. Pushed back against the wall and held firmly in place, Renji's objections melted under the heat of the noble's amorous plundering of his mouth. The fight went out of his tensed body, and he sagged against the noble, meeting him eagerly as their kissing continued. Byakuya held him there tightly, kissing him until he had no objections left, until his mind went foggy and he ached to strip away the last of his clothing and make love to the noble, then and there. He kissed Renji until he felt the redhead's hands tremble where they held on to him, then he pulled back, smiling as Renji pitched forward dizzily, then placed his hands against Byakuya's chest.

"Oh..." Renji panted softly, "Shit, I almost forgot what we were talking about."

He looked up into Byakuya's dark eyes, reading the affection there. And inexplicably, his turbulent emotions calmed.

"Are you all right now?" Byakuya asked, "Because you seemed ready to give in to panic a moment ago."

"Yeah," Renji said weakly, "Thanks for shocking me outta that. But, kinda left me with a bit of a problem."

Byakuya looked down at where the redhead's protruding erection warmed his thigh.

"I see," he said sedately, "Well, we cannot have that, ne?"

Renji blushed even more brightly. His breath left him as Byakuya's mouth claimed his again, and the noble's hands moved their clothes out of the way.

"Be quiet, now," Byakuya hissed softly in his ear, "The room has a privacy seal, but cannot conceal screams of pleasure. You are going to have to control yourself while I see to your needs."

"Oh kami!" the redhead gasped, "H-how am I supposed to escape you and get out of here if you do this? I think I'm gonna pass out!"

"That would be disappointing, Abarai," the noble whispered, licking a flushed earlobe, "Are you really going to make it that easy for me?"

"Ah...hah, you keep doing that and I'll be your willing slave! Do anything for you, okay? Write your reports...clean out your sock drawer, you say, I do..."

"Anything?" Byakuya asked, smirking, "Anything I want?"

"Okay," the redhead panted, quivering and closing his eyes as the noble pressed up against him, sliding a slender hand down between his thighs, brushing against his painfully erect member, then caressing his warm sac before moving further back and invading his entrance, "I'm all yours!"

"All mine, you say?" the noble breathed seductively, running his tongue alone Renji's lips, then plunging into his biting mouth, "I think I enjoy this...having you at my mercy."

He gazed at Renji questioningly as the redhead's expression grew troubled again.


"Byakuya, should we really be doing this?" Renji asked, looking down at the floor, "With so much going on and your cousin in trouble...?"

"And your own livelihood at stake," Byakuya added, "Yes, I know that there is the temptation not to indulge in moments like this amidst the chaos. But, think for a moment of our fallen comrade, Saito Tama. Think of Hisana and all of your lost friends of the Rukongai. Any moment could be the last we will share. So while we must face our troubles, we should not hesitate to capture these moments and make the most of them, Renji."

He didn't wait for an answer, but thrust his tongue back into Renji's mouth, teasing the soft surfaces sweetly as his fingers continued their deep exploration. Renji groaned and felt a drop of sweat slide down the back of his neck as Byakuya's fingers slid out of him, and the noble positioned himself to take his red haired lover, still standing with his back pressed hard against the wall.

"Gods, I love you!" Renji moaned, reeling as Byakuya's hand curled around his bare bottom, caressing the tattooed skin and his white teeth nipped teasingly at the redhead's throat.

A low, guttural exclamation escaped Renji's lips as he was penetrated, then he lost awareness of everything but the warm and steadfast movement of their straining bodies against each other. And once again, the redhead marveled at how beautiful it was to feel Byakuya's relentless strength, holding him in place, pleasuring him, reaching more deeply inside him than anyone ever had.

This is it, then. This is the only person I am ever going to love like this again. From beginning to end, for as long as it lasts, I will hold on to this with everything I have!

He felt the noble's body stiffen against his, then the hard, almost painful explosion of the man's heat inside him. His own release erupted violently from his body, splashing onto their sweat misted skin as Renji bit down on his tongue and closed his eyes against the screams of pleasure that ached to be released. Byakuya's hungry mouth found his and devoured what sounds did escape him, then the two relaxed against each other, barely on their feet and glowing with satedness. They staggered through the chamber's inner door, into Byakuya's bedroom and collapsed onto the bed, still panting heavily and feeding on each other's lips.

They were nearly asleep, when pounding feet sounded in the hallway and Torio's voice called urgently through the door.

"Byakuya-sama! An emergency message has come from the Akimori clan. Someone has made an attempt on Akimori Kanaye's life! They are claiming that it was Tetsuya-san and Abarai Renji. They are demanding the capture of both!"

Byakuya sat up in the bed, his eyes haunted as he considered his attendant's words.

"You must go quickly, Renji," he said softly, "and you must not come back until this is over. There is no other way."

Renji sat up next to him and gave him a bracing smile.

"You're wrong," he said quietly, "I don't have to run away. I'm staying here with you."

"But you know what this means, if I tell them that we were together here. I will have to reveal that we are lovers."

"I know," the redhead said, shivering softly, "And I'm not saying that I'm not scared. I'm plenty scared of the whole babymaking thing. But, I love you. And I don't want to be away from you...not when we need each other like we do right now."

"Renji, there is no going back," Byakuya reminded him, "Once we take this step..."

"It's already taken," the redhead whispered, sliding out of bed and slipping a hand into Byakuya's, "C'mon. Tetsuya-san and Hiromi-san are in trouble, and it's up to us to help them."