(A request by Picklez80. Thanks for the great storyline! This is a Bya/Ren/Tetsuya with some Takehiko/Tetsuya and some Orochi/Tetsuya as well. Some domestic violence and non-con sex are involved, but will not be graphic. The version on AO3 will contain more graphic material in future chapters. This will be an angsty one...poor Tetsuya! Why are we so mean to him? Ah well...enjoy the story! And yes, I will be starting celebrations of Ichigo and Grimmjow this week as July begins! Enjoy that too! **One more note**I'm finally returning home today, so will have good Internet and be able to catch up on messages. Thanks for your patience. And now, on with the story!)
See just the placid surface of the lake
Don't look beneath
Don't stir it with your fingers
Float calmly, looking up into the sweet, night sky
Don't feel the storm brewing underneath
Chapter 1: The Wedding
Byakuya looked up from the reports he was finishing as Renji stepped out of his quarters and back into the sixth division office, with a Kuchiki attendant at his shoulder. He nodded in approval.
"So, I look all right?" he asked, looking down at the formal kimono he wore.
"Yes, of course," the clan leader assured him, "Don't be so fretful, Abarai. You look very well turned out."
"Well, one of my two best friends is getting married today. I want to look good, especially with Rukia being maid of honor. I'm surprised that you aren't more nervous, Taichou. You've watched over Tetsuya-san like a hawk ever since you rescued him from that prison."
Byakuya arched an elegant eyebrow and gave him a skeptical look.
"Do you think I am not capable of continuing to look out for him?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.
"Ah, hey, no," Renji chuckled, admiring Byakuya's handsome green kimono and the lighter green design that set off perfectly the lovely folds of the ginpaku kazahana no uzuginu,
He doesn't wear it so much these days. Too bad. I kinda miss it.
"I just meant that I would be nervous, handing off a guy who was like my own brother to some other clan leader. Are you sure that Tetsuya-san is really okay with this?"
"Why? Did he tell you different?" Byakuya asked, a hint of concern rising in his eyes.
"No, Taichou," Renji answered quickly, "From everything I can tell, Tetsuya-san really likes Takehiko-sama. And Takehiko-sama is always surprising Tetsuya-san with small gifts."
"And stealing him away to attend musicals or special events within his clan," Byakuya added, "It does appear that they are quite taken with each other."
"Although Arashi doesn't seem quite so fond of the man," Renji laughed, "Tetsuya-san said that he's had to ban that pesky stallion from going on their dates. And Takehiko-sama won't even allow him on the grounds."
Byakuya sighed and shook his head solemnly.
"I do not know what possesses that stallion sometimes. He seems bent on making trouble. But then, he is very protective of Tetsuya, as is appropriate for the future mount of a King's Rider."
"It's still hard to believe that Tetsuya-san's going to go to the spirit dimension someday," Renji said, looking down at the expensive kimono he wore.
"Well, that's a long ways off," Byakuya assured the redhead, "For the time being, they will be living at Yukishima Manor."
Renji loosed a soft, appreciative whistle.
"That is quite some little paradise Takehiko-sama's got," he commented, "He showed Rukia and me around when we went to meet Tetsuya-san once. N-not to say that Kuchiki Manor..."
"Don't worry, I will not take offense," Byakuya assured him, "While Kuchiki Manor reflects a more simple elegance, Yukishima Manor is indicative of more opulent tastes."
"Sheesh! You aren't kidding, Taichou. Marble tile and gold trim everywhere, cobblestone walkways, and the dining room looks more like a banquet hall. The chairs around the place look like thrones!" Renji went on.
He paused at the off-put look that his taichou gave him.
"Right..." he said, breaking off, "Well, if you're ready, Taichou."
"I am," Byakuya said, standing and allowing his attendant to smooth out and adjust his kimono, "Thank you, Torio. You may go."
"Hai, Byakuya-sama," the attendant said, bowing, "Please enjoy yourselves tonight."
"We will," Renji chuckled, "My best friend getting married, lots of good food, sake and dancing..."
"Which is only truly enjoyable if you are not an attending clan leader, who must sit quietly, looking regal and respectful."
"Hey," Renji said bracingly, "Rukia told me that it's also customary for clan leaders to graciously accept anyone's request to dance, so I hope you're wearing your dancing shoes tonight, 'cause Rukia and I are going to keep you very busy."
"What?" Byakuya asked. looking surprised, "But Abarai, the kind of dancing you..."
"Yeah," Renji laughed, "I know. I had Rukia teach me a couple of ballroom dances, okay? I won't embarrass you. I promise."
"I should hope not," Byakuya said, a touch of levity in his voice, "I should have to punish you severely when we spar next."
"Ouch," Renji chuckled, smirking, "I'll watch me quick-step!"
"You do that," Byakuya said, shaking his head as they left the office and stepped out into the street together. The two stopped, staring at the sight that met them.
"Arashi?" Byakuya queried, blinking at the unusual sight of Tetsuya's mount in full tack, and pulling a lovely carriage."
The stallion tossed his head and stamped a delicate foot, a puff of steam issuing from his nostrils.
"I don't think he's real happy about that," Renji said, studying the horse's piqued expression, "I wonder whose idea this was."
It was mine, the stallion spoke into their minds, No matter what I think of that man, Tetsuya is my master, and I will not dishonor him...just so long as that man does not antagonize me.
"Too bad the guy antagonizes Arashi just by existing," Renji whispered as the two entered the carriage.
I heard that...
"Ah, there you are," Takehiko said, gazing appreciatively at the his lovely, slender fiance, "You look radiant, Tetsuya."
The blue-eyed noble smiled back at him, holding still as his attendant made the last adjustment to his kimono.
"What are you doing in here?" Tetsuya asked, blushing, "You know it's bad luck to see..."
He caught his breath in surprise as he was pushed back against the wall, and the Yukishima clan leader's mouth claimed his. Tetsuya's hands clenched at his shoulders in protest, as the other man's hands slipped beneath his kimono.
"T-Takehiko-sama...!" he objected, "It's not proper!"
"My apologies," Takehiko said, sounding completely insincere, "You bewitch me, Kuchiki Tetsuya, soon to be Yukishima Tetsuya."
"You're not supposed to say the name before..."
"Do you really believe all of that superstitious nonsense?" the clan leader chided him, holding him firmly and looking down into his widened, sapphire eyes.
Tetsuya turned his head to look out the window, into the beautifully decorated gardens.
"I...I don't know," Tetsuya said anxiously, "It's just that...I...want this arrangement to work out well. I want to please Takehiko-sama, and to honor my clan as well."
"Then, please me by not being so rigid. We are not so formal a clan as yours," Takehiko reminded him, "I have told you this."
He sank into Tetsuya's mouth again, hungrily, as the younger man continued to protest and push at him.
"Takehiko-sama, please! You know that I am allowed to...!"
He gasped as the clan leader brought him down onto the bed and motioned for the attendant who had been assisting Tetsuya to leave the room.
"What are you doing?" Tetsuya managed, struggling as the other man slid a hand down and began to undress him, "Please, Takehiko-sama, stop!"
He turned his body suddenly, throwing the clan leader off and coming to his feet, backing away. His heart pounded at the flash of anger in the other man's eyes, that was there for a moment, then disappeared. Tetsuya stared at him breathlessly.
He has always been very interested in me, sexually, but he has never overstepped boundaries like this...
"My apologies," Takehiko said quietly, getting up from the bed and taking a step towards Tetsuya.
Tetsuya stepped back and placed a hand on the doorknob.
"Don't go, Tetsuya," the clan leader said, more penitently, "Are you really going to hold it against me that I found you too beautiful to resist?"
Tetsuya read the honest affection in the other man's eyes, and felt his resistance crumble.
"Of course not, Takehiko-sama," he said, more softly, letting go of the doorknob and allowing the other man to gently embrace him, "It's just that...I am only ever going to be married once. And although it is an arranged marriage, I want very much for us to be happy together."
Takehiko's powerful, golden-brown eyes gazed down into his.
"We will be, Tetsuya," he assured the younger man, "beginning with the moment you are mine, and I can finally take you to bed."
Tetsuya's blush deepened, making Takehiko laugh affectionately.
"Takehiko-sama will please remember that I am, as yet, untouched," Tetsuya said nervously, "It may not be the adventure you are expecting."
"Oh, I know it will be," the clan leader said, sliding a hand down to curve around his round bottom, and caressing it as he nibbled at Tetsuya's flushed lips, "I have waited..."
"Impatiently," Tetsuya said, reprovingly.
"Yes, very impatiently," Takehiko went on, "to know my Tetsuya's deepest, most secret places. And, after tonight, you will never keep any part of yourself away from me, ever again."
Tetsuya shivered, not knowing why the words made him feel uncharacteristically unnerved. Takehiko kissed him, more gently, then looked up in annoyance as a tapping sounded on the door.
"Yes, yes, what is it?" he sighed shortly.
"It is Kuchiki Koji, sir," Tetsuya's attendant said, politely, but firmly, "It is time to take my master to the waiting area."
Tetsuya gave a soft sigh of relief as Takehiko released him and opened the door.
"I had thought we agreed that you would use my servants from now on," the clan leader said dismissively.
"Koji-san has been my attendant since I first arrived at Kuchiki Manor," Tetsuya said, his eyes connecting warmly with his cousin's, "There is no way that I would ever part with him, or that he would ever serve another after me. We are as brothers, Takehiko-sama. You know that."
"Yes, well...on with it, then. I will see you inside, Tetsuya."
Tetsuya nodded silently, then watched the clan leader walk away.
"I am sorry," Koji said contritely, "I didn't mean to interrupt, if Tetsuya-san wanted to continue, but I had thought that..."
"No, you were correct," Tetsuya assured him, "Takehiko-sama is a passionate man, spirited. And he is used to making the rules. Our courtship has been frustrating for him in that Byakuya-sama has insisted on keeping everything proper."
He chuckled softly.
"He is very protective of me, and I really appreciate that. It will be hard for him to stand back and..."
He choked on the next words and went silent for a moment.
"It will be hard for all of us," Koji said, slipping a hand into his, "...for Byakuya-sama, your step-parents and family, me...all of us who have cared for Tetsuya-san since he was freed."
"I am very grateful for that," Tetsuya said softly, "But, as much as I love everyone, Takehiko-sama will be my husband. And that means that I will honor him with my love and obedience."
"Y-you make it sound like you are leaving us forever, Tetsuya-san," Koji said, looking worried, "But...I will still be with you. Byakuya-sama insisted, and Takehiko-sama had no choice but to allow it."
"But, are you sure that you want this?" Tetsuya asked, biting gently at his lip and lowering his eyes, "I know that you sometimes are put off by his behavior. I know that it upsets you when he oversteps, but..."
"But I will respect his rights as your husband," Koji assured him, "Tetsuya-san, it is really just that I cannot bear to cease serving you. You aren't just my cousin, nor just my friend."
"Thank you, Koji-san," Tetsuya said gratefully, clasping his attendant's hands, "I am glad you will remain with me. Things are going to be very different, living in this place."
"Yes," Koji agreed, "I never thought of Tetsuya-san living in such a...a palace! But then, you are considered a noble prince after today. And your peasant blood will no longer be an issue. Takehiko-sama sees past that. He appreciates the good person you are, Tetsuya-san. I hope that you are happy with him."
And if you are not, I will be sure that Byakuya-sama knows...
The two looked up as two house attendants opened the door and entered the room. Koji's hand quickly loosed Tetsuya's and he stepped back, allowing the house attendants to lead Tetsuya away.
Be safe. Be happy. Be free, Tetsuya-san.
Tetsuya followed the house attendants to the elegantly decorated room that had been prepared for their nuptials. He swallowed hard at the sight of so many people, gathered to see him wed the Yukishima leader. He looked to where Takehiko stood proudly, a gold circlet bearing his house crest, adorning his head and his long brown hair neatly braided.
But, why do I feel so afraid now? he wondered, Takehiko-sama has been very kind and affectionate with me. And where other families would not have considered me for their sons or daughters, this clan leader wanted me for himself. He is so accepting of me.
Why can't I stop shaking inside?
The music began to play, and Tetsuya smiled at Rukia as his cousin took his arm and guided him forward. They moved slowly up the aisle, Tetsuya's heart beating fast, but his body outwardly calm, and his eyes fixed on his fiance's. Rukia squeezed his hand gently, then offered him a kiss on the cheek, before loosing him to join the Yukishima clan leader at the front of the gathering. Takehiko's hands gripped Tetsuya's firmly, and his eyes captured the younger man's, stealing away the last of his doubts.
What was I so worried about?
Takehiko-sama loves me. We are going to be happy together. I will make him happy.
"Kuchiki Tetsuya," the celebrant said, nodding in his direction, "Do you take Yukishima Takehiko as your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward? Do you promise to love, honor and obey him, to be true unto him, and to bless his clan with children to carry on his noble legacy?"
"And do you, Yukishima Takehiko, take Kuchiki Tetsuya to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward? Will you love, honor and protect him, forsaking all others, and be true unto him, blessing him with children to carry on your noble legacy?"
Takehiko smiled and nodded.
Tetsuya's mind nearly went blank as the rings were exchanged and the final section of vows and promises were made.
"Then," said the celebrant, "By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Takehiko-sama, you may now offer Tetsuya a kiss as the first gift of your new marriage."
Tetsuya's legs weakened at how gently the other man embraced him, offering him a surprisingly proper and chaste kiss on the lips, then releasing him.
"Lords and ladies, I now present you, Yukishimas Takehiko and Tetsuya."
Tetsuya's heart pounded so fast, he felt dizzy.
But there is still time.
There is still time until we have to...
He was distracted then, as Takehiko's hand took hold of his, and the clan leader led him back down the aisle.
"Come one, come all to the banquet room!" the master of ceremonies called, as was the tradition.