It has been a while since I updated this story, sorry for the delay! I hope you enjoy the chapter! A new enemy is unveiled!

Chapter Nineteen: Labyrinth:

Ichigo laughed breathlessly and flopped back on the bed, looking up at his lover as he ran his hands through his hair, he panted gently and licked his lips; leaning up and kissing him deeply as he wound his arms around him and pulled him closer again, groaning softly as he felt his lover stir within him again.

"Already?" he asked, gasping gently before he whined at the feeling and squirmed slightly.

"Too much for you?" Aizen responded with a smirk as he bit at his bottom lip and began rocking against him again, moaning under his breath at the friction.

The strawberry arched his back and let out a surprised exclamation, "Not at all..." he told him before he tore him into another heated kiss, rolling them and sitting up on his lap as he rocked against him, his cheeks flushing gently as he moved above him continuously.

It had been several hours since they had commandeered their room in Mayuri's private office, they didn't particularly care that their companions were still waiting for them, although they had their own suspicions that those who were dating were probably doing exactly the same as they were. Over the course of the hours they had spent together they had made love in every position and pace imaginable, and they were both quite imaginative.

Their skin tingled and shone with sheens of sweat and their muscles hinted with aches from the continual usage, and their hearts were hammering in their chests in the aftermath of the exercise.

Upon reaching their climaxes again, they collapsed back on the bed beside one and other as they finally parted, both exuberant in the wake of their activities they met for an abundance of lazy kisses as tiredness washed over them and they rested down for a short bout of sleep.

-/-

Renji's face was almost as red as his hair, his expression still as shocked and bewildered as it had been over forty minutes previous when he had finally told the object of his affections about said affections, only to have them returned. He could feel the touch of their lips against his cheek where he had been gently kissed before the apple of his eye had disappeared to talk shop with his sister.

Byakuya was a fine figure of a man, but until today Renji had remained unconvinced that he was interested or even attracted to men; Rukia had never mentioned her brother having any partners either male or female so he had never been able to pluck up the courage to tell him how he felt because... Well if he had been straight it would have been even more embarrassing than simply being let down.

But he had not been rejected. Byakuya was interested in him as well and the chaste kiss which still scorched his cheek proved it; he felt as though he could fly although he was keeping it well and truly under wraps until it was safe to do otherwise.

Uncertain whether he had ever been as happy as he was at that moment he couldn't help but consider that he would never have had the courage to confront his feelings had it not been for the zombie apocalypse. Maybe he owed the undead something more than a bullet in the brain after all.

-/-

Szayel sighed as his fingers remained entwined with Grimmjow's as he worked on finalising the details of his cure; using Kurotsuchi's research he had gotten a lot closer to actually finishing the thing; with the application of the drug which had temporarily reversed his Infection he was able to think a lot clearer.

They had had a quick make out session just after Aizen and Ichigo had slunk off, but now his mind was completely on the job, his mind focused and set in place. He was scribbling down notes with his free hand while Grimmjow's slightly calloused thumb pad rubbed soothing circles into the back of his other hand.

Taking his eyes off his work for a moment he found himself captured by the cobalt gaze of his lover, a smile wormed its way onto his lips as he watched the blue haired male grin and flush slightly as he was caught staring.

The relief which ran through him to see the dark circles and sickly grey tinge to his lover's skin gone was immense, watching as Grimmjow got sicker and sicker each day had been like torture for him; all he had wanted was to take the pain and suffering away but he had not been able to do so, it had torn him apart.

But now he was healthy again and he had almost all the time in the world to create a cure for the Infection, something which would heal them all and protect them from future Infection; whole he was certain he could not undo the damage done to the undead populace he could prevent further Infection; if they could find other survivors then they could all start over again somehow... If it was possible to come back from such horrors.

-/-

Gin looked around as he felt someone put an arm around his shoulders and as a pair of plump lips found his he relaxed into the knowledge that it was his wife Rangiku.

"'Ow are ya?" he asked her, still concerned after having discovered her in one of the incubation tanks.

"I'm fine, stop worrying so much. It was like a really long nap," she chuckled, flicking her spice coloured hair over her shoulder, "What about you? Is there any hope of your sight being restored?"

Gin smiled, "Sorry, can't help it. I almost lost ya once... I don't want to lose ya again, not for anythin'." He said softly before he shrugged, "My eyes were completely gouged out... There's nothin' left to repair. Even had they not been removed completely the damage to the retina was so extensive that there would have been no hope of repairin' it. Does it bother ya that I am blind?"

"It would never bother me, you always used to keep your eyes closed anyway so there is very little difference, eh?" she giggled, and kissed his cheek softly, "I still love you just the same."

"And I love ya, though it does make me sad to think I can't see ya beauty no more." He told her smoothly.

"Sweet talker." Rangiku blushed, "Besides, you can still feel."

He paused for a moment and grinned a little lecherously, "Oh, oh too right I can feel!"

-/-

Stark and Unohana were both fussing over their daughter, Lillinette, oblivious to the people around them, merely pleased to finally have her back after months of worry. Stark was no longer in any danger thanks to his wife and Szayel's assistance and although he knew that he had a lot of making up to do for the things he had done he was much more optimistic now that Kurotsuchi was no longer dictating their lives and ruling over them like a tyrant.

He took his wife's hand and leaned over, kissing her on the cheek before he picked his daughter up and sat her on his lap as she dozed off and fell asleep, utterly worn out from the stress that she too had been put through. They cuddled together, like the small dysfunctional family that they were.

Indeed the fact that he could have the Infection removed, as well as Unohana, was a very promising feeling; to be normal and human once again was something he would die to have. He knew Ichigo was not so lucky and his heart went out to him, but he was strong and powerful and they were going to need that if they were going to escape the facility and return to their safe haven.

Perhaps in time Szayel would be able to make an antidote strong enough to cure the strongest of them, but at the moment it seemed unlikely, and their main focus was to cure those who were in immediate danger of succumbing to the Infection such as Aizen, Grimmjow, and Szayel himself.

Whatever came next for the time being things seemed to be looking up to come degree that was what mattered most in his opinion, aside from keeping his family safe and protected now that they had finally been reunited properly.

-/-

Ichigo groaned and stretched contentedly as he finally got out of the bed, hearing a reluctant whine from his brunet haired lover as he slowly began to dress; he turned to face him as he zipped up his Kevlar suit, "You can lay there and whine all you want, my ass can't take another round... And we need to focus on getting out of this place."

"I know... But I was enjoying pretending that the world did not exist and there was simply me and you..." Aizen sighed as he peeled himself off the mattress and began to dress as well, "I can dream can't I?"

The strawberry wound an arm around his neck and pulled him down, kissing him tenderly, "You can, and when we get back to the science facility and make sure everyone is alright, you can have me all to yourself for as long as you want. Deal?"

"Mm, deal." He purred, kissing him deeply as he cupped his face in his hands and rested their foreheads together, gently brushing their noses, "I love you Ichigo." He told him softly.

Smiling and closing his eyes, Ichigo let out a sigh of satisfaction and swallowed, "I love you as well." He answered, "I didn't think I would ever find someone that I did love, or that loved me, but you... You bring out a different side to me. A better side."

"I could say the same about you. Once upon a time I was a cold-hearted businessman."

"I don't believe that." He murmured.

"Ask Gin sometime." Aizen chuckled before he pecked him on the lips and pulled away, "Come on then, I suppose we should show out faces."

"I guess we should, I'm a bit embarrassed now though, they all know what we were up to." He pouted.

"And they were probably all up to the same thing my dear." He chuckled and took his hand, linking their fingers before he turned them and steered him from the room.

"Well look at this! The love birds surface at last!" Kenpachi drawled from his seat near the exit, "About bloody time! We've been waiting to get the hell out of here you nymphomaniacs!"

"Shut it Kenpachi just because you aren't getting laid." Ichigo muttered, rolling his eyes as Renji headed over, "Alright there? You're a bit red."

"I told him." The redhead breathed, "And he feels the same. You were right all along and I was just putting it off."

Ichigo grinned and put an arm around his friend, "Well done! I'm proud and happy for you!"

"Thanks mate," he said, giving him a hug back, "Finally plucked up the courage and he just chuckled and kissed my cheek before walking off. Wiggling slightly."

"Wiggling eh? Sure he didn't want you to follow him?" Aizen asked.

Renji went red again, "I... I am sure."

"He's just messing with you Renji." The strawberry laughed, "You ready to start moving?"

"More than ready."

One by one Ichigo went around and spoke to the members of his little family group, and he came to realise that that was exactly what they were now, they were a family; with everything they had gone through and everything they would continue to go through they were together and they were a family, however dysfunctional and random they had grown together as a family would. They had strong bonds and they had each other's trust.

It took twenty minutes to get everyone ready, and Szayel was fitted into a spare Kevlar suit that Ulquiorra had so thoughtfully brought along, to protect him that little bit more; he also had his abandoned weapons returned to him. But then they were ready to leave and it was left to Szayel to guide them as he knew the building like the back of his hand after having so long to become acquainted with its winding routes and changing pathways.

It was going to be quite the trek, but it would of course be worth it to finally leave the evil infested facility behind them after so long of being underground. Ichigo was sure he had forgotten what daylight looked like.

As they left the office area, no one looked back; Mayuri was still hammering on the door with his new found undead state, everyone was focused on leaving and finding a path to the surface. There was a general level of excitement among everyone; it wasn't like anyone had particularly enjoyed their time underground. It had been hell on Earth, or... Under Earth as the case actually was.

Retracing their steps they began to head upwards, following the slopes and the ladders which led the next level up and following the twisted and turned corridors, only Szayel's intuition prevented them from getting lost.

The strange thing was that they never encountered any of the Infected corpses they had killed on the way in, the corridors had been picked clean of body parts and that made everyone tense slightly, wondering who or what had done it.

When they reached the circular room in which Ichigo had battled both Stark and Unohana, the strawberry himself lifted a hand and stopped his companions from walking forwards; his eyes narrowed on the centre of the room where a stacked pile of Infected heads. Their bodies were nowhere to be seen, but the heads were stacked up in a pyramid like formation, their eyes open and staring blindly out at the walls.

Ichigo reached back and grasped the hilt of his katana, slowly stalking forwards with caution and curiosity; he came to a stop at the base of the pyramid and looked upwards, feeling dwarfed by the sixty foot formation. He half wondered where all the heads had come from, he was certain they had not slain enough for warrant this sort of creation, but the majority of his thought remained intact upon who had set it up for them to find so theatrically.

"What... Is this?" he heard someone ask from their huddle by the doorway; he ignored it for the time being and took a step back; still looking upwards he frowned as he saw a shimmer of something bright and reflective.

"I'll be back in a minute guys." He told them, sheathing his sword away again before he began to climb the mountain of heads, his dexterity, and speed making it easy for him to make his way up the slippery and bloody mound.

As he reached the top, he realised that what he had seen was nothing more or less than a katana. The blade was impaled through several heads and stood erect at the very top of the mound like a flag pole. The hilt was creamy white, bound with dark purple knots which formed small squares and a dark purple tassel dangled about five inches long.

Slowly lifting his arm, he reached out and touched the hilt with his finger tips, his pupils dilating abruptly as his senses kicked in and he felt immediate danger closing in; without warning he leapt backwards off the mound, doing a back flip in the air as he caught sight of a tall and thin body slam down into the mountain where he had been stood moments before. He fell back down to the ground and landed in a crouched position.

His body growled in the instinctual need to fight and protect his family as his eyes once again lifted to the top of the now slightly dented pyramid of body parts; he watched as his assailant drew the sword from the mound, sweeping it to the side to shake off the coagulated blood before they disappeared in a heartbeat.

Ichigo's mouth fell open at their speed and gawped as the need to fight vanished in replacement with submission. He frowned heavily and shook his head, looking around towards his companions in confusion.

"We... We need to get out of here. There is no more time to delay." He told them before he was drowned out by an explosively loud screeching overhead, the sound of an alarm or warning of some kind.

"Shit... That's the self destruct warning alarm..." Szayel exclaimed.

"S-Self destruct?!" Ichigo yelled.

"This is Mayuri's place... What more do you expect?!" the pink haired man squealed, "We need to go! Now!"

Ichigo didn't waste any time, "EVERYONE MOVE!" he roared, ushering them on ahead as they sprinted past the mound of heads towards the exit.

They were running, breath strained, hearts thunder, clock ticking as they fired down the remaining corridors and finally burst out into the basement of the school which concealed the facility from the naked eye. But they were not safe yet; they kept running and running, for their lives and their hopes.

They made it to the ground floor and ran towards the door; that was when a hard body flew into Ichigo and knocked him far out of the way, and he hit the stair case, shattering the banister with the force of impact before he slumped down and moaned out in pain.

"ICHIGO!" Aizen half screamed.

The strawberry tried to shake himself from his catatonic state, his vision blurred as he saw Byakuya and Renji trying to pull the brunet from the building, "Run..." he called, knowing that would be all it took for his redheaded friend to pick the love of his life up and carry him out.

"NO! ICHIGO!"

He winced as his lover continued to rant and rave as he was dragged from the school; slowly picking himself up he gasped and pulled a long spike of wood from his back, cracking his neck as he felt his skin ripple and heal thanks to his Infected abilities.

His eyes narrowed in on the figure who had thrown him and he drew his sword, seeing a glint of silver in the other's hand; he realised that it was the same man who had tried to crush him underground.

"Who are you?" he growled, growing angry as he received no response; he knew the clock was ticking but he also knew that this assailant would not allow him to leave without a fight. So he lunged forwards, roaring furiously as he stretched out his katana and swiped at the tall man cloaked in shadows.

-/-

Aizen finally threw Renji off him and turned back towards the school, determined to go back in there and get Ichigo out. He ground his teeth and jogged forwards before a ripple of heat exploded over him and he was tossed back like a ragdoll as the entire building exploded with enough force to shake the ground, and bring down several of the surrounding buildings in the blast.

"ICHIGO!"