One life by day, by night another...light and dark were not meant to touch. But you touch me, and they crash together. Thus is our world undone...
Chapter 1: Seedling
Tetsuya stood quietly at the top of the huge waterfall, listening to the crash of the water as it rained down into the large blue lake below him. In the meadow beyond the lake, his tall black stallion grazed contentedly. Tetsuya sighed, still feeling the deep warmth of his secret lover's seed circling inside him, and sinking into the loveliness and sweet scents of his surroundings.
He felt a shift in the reiatsu around him and touched the hilt of his zanpakutou, then flash stepped down into the meadow. Arashi glanced up at him, then snorted softly and ambled away as the presence his master had sensed grew closer.
"You may as well attack," said the young noble, "I already know where you are."
Tetsuya turned suddenly, drawing and releasing Re-kuhime in a heartbeat. And before Byakuya's shikai command was complete, a spray of water splashed onto his blade and froze, stopping Senbonzakura's release.
"Commendable," Byakuya said, stepping out from the trees, "You released your weapon without giving the verbal command. But...having done that, you know what to expect, ne?"
Tetsuya didn't answer, but flash stepped out of the path of a stunning blast of blue kido fire. He turned and flash stepped again, loosing a series of blast of kido as he set a number of waterforms in the meadow and flash stepped clear of a swell of pink petal blades.
"Ah, well thought out," Byakuya said approvingly, "But what will you do when you fight an opponent who knows you? One who knows your abilities?"
Tetsuya's face registered surprise as petal blades swept the field, quickly destroying all of his set waterforms. They followed him as he flash stepped again, destroying the waterforms he attempted to set as a replacelment. The petals then closed in on him and tried to wrap around him. Tetsuya watched in dismay as everything around him turned a deceptively lovely shade of pink.
"Ban kai, Koori no Bakuha, Re-kuhime," Tetsuya said calmly.
Byakuya watched as the sphere of blades that had engulfed his cousin exploded outward, then flash stepped clear as Tetsuya's ice blades erupted from Re-kuhime and closed in on him. He destroyed the ice blades easily with petal blades and blasts of kido, then flash stepped in and slashed at his cousin with his blade. He inhaled in surprise as the image of Tetsuya splashed to the ground as water, then sensed his cousins attack, just as Tetsuya's sword came crashing down onto his.
The two men moved into a heavy exchange of sword strikes, kido and hakudo. Byakuya moved to corner his cousin near a cluster of boulders, but caught his breath in surprise as Tetsuya's body splashed to the ground as water again, and he appeared behind the clan leader, attacking with a stunning jump kick, then flash stepping and taking up a position a few meters away. He looked back at Byakuya, panting softly and holding his blade ready.
He sensed a swell of petals coming in from the side and pointed his blade at them, sending out a spray of water that captured them and froze them, making them shatter and fall to the ground.
"Resourceful," said Byakuya, "But what will you do now?"
He raised his sword, tip down and released it.
"Ban kai, senkei Senbonzakura Kageyoshi."
Tetsuya watched quietly as the pink swords rose around him, enclosing the two men in Byakuya's lovely fighting environs.
"You have met me in this place many times," Byakuya said, looking into his eyes, "And every time, you have been defeated. Yet each time you were defeated, you learned something that you carried into the next battle. Remember, as we fight that your waterforms will not work here...all defense is sacrificed to kill the enemy."
"I understand," Tetsuya said, standing ready.
"Prepare yourself, watashi no itoko. Here I come."
Tetsuya met Byakuya in the center of the fighting chamber, where he blocked a breathtaking strike, then fended off a hard kick, another slash and a blinding flash of kido.
So...strong! Tetsuya thought, flash stepping, blocking and flash stepping again.
He managed to block the heavy onslaught of attacks, but was forced several times to give ground. Senbonzakura nicked his sword hand, then scored a glancing blow on his shoulder.
This is why I have failed in the past. He is so strong with everything devoted to killing his enemy, that while I am trying to gain an opening to attack, he is beating down my defenses with brute force!
"You are taking damage, Tetsuya," said the clan leader, "Do you yield?"
"No!" the younger noble answered instantly.
My defenses are also useless...so no waterforms...
Senbonzakura crashed down on Re-kuhime and pain shot through Tetsuya's braced body at the force of it.
"No, I won't give in!" he panted, blocking another savage strike.
Ice blades are ineffective in such confinement...and water attacks...
He gave a hard cry of pain as Senbonzakura glanced off his sword arm and cut into his leg.
W-wait! if I can...
He summoned a spray of water and enveloped Byakuya's blade, but as he started to freeze it, Byakuya's reiatsu exploded around him and the ice shattered and fell away. Tetsuya's breath left him as Byakuya's body crashed into his, taking him off his feet and sending him forcefully to the ground, a short distance away.
He was on his knees in a moment, but his head swam as dizziness washed over him.
"Tetsuya, do you yield?"
The younger man remained on his knees, panting harshly and watching as Byakuya took a step towards him.
Tetsuya glanced down for a moment at where Re-kuhime rested on the ground, but still in his hand.
"Do you yield?" Byakuya said, closing in on him and raising his blade to strike.
Tetsuya's head lifted proudly as he shoved his blade into the nearest of the pink swords that made up the fighting chamber.
"N-nawaka...sh-shima!" he gasped.
Byakuya's eyes widened as the sword that Tetsuya had impaled turned white, then the whiteness spread until the swords making up the boundary of the fighting chamber were completely encased in ice.
"Kudakero!" hissed Tetsuya, as Byakuya slashed at him and Re-kuhime rose up in defense.
The swords of Byakuya's senkei rumbled warningly, then exploded outward. The reiatsu expended in the destruction of the clan leader's senkei left Tetsuya reeling as the fighting chamber fell apart and disappeared, leaving the two shinigamis in the middle of the, once again, quiet meadow. Byakuya watched silently as Tetsuya took a few more panting breaths, then collapsed onto the long grass and lost consciousness.
"Well done, watashi no itoko," he said proudly, "No one has ever destroyed my senkei except for me. Exceptional..."
He sheathed his sword, then walked to where Tetsuya laid on the grass. He carefully removed Re-kuhime from her collapsed master's hand and returned her to her sheath, then lifted Tetsuya into his arms and carried him back to the lake's edge. He set Tetsuya down in the shade and restored his reiatsu, then healed the minor injuries his cousin had received. Afterwards, he gathered a small amount of water from the lake and gently cooled Tetsuya's face with it. The younger man stirred and let out a soft breath, then opened his eyes and looked up at the shinigami leaning over him.
"Defeated again, ne?" he laughed softly.
"You destroyed my senkei," commented Byakuya, "You are coming dangerously close to someday defeating me. You should be proud. I am, Tetsuya. You have become very strong."
Tetsuya sat up and accepted a drink of water from his cousin's cupped hands.
"Arigato, Byakuya," the younger man answered, "But we both know that I owe my increasing strength to you. I have learned so much from you."
"I have instructed you," Byakuya agreed, "But the strength to succeed and the will to advance had to come from within you. You are to be commended."
"Again, I thank you."
He leaned against Byakuya's shoulder, looking quietly at their reflection in the water.
"Your reiatsu was low again today," Byakuya commented, "I am surprised you managed to pull off what you did before collapsing. Did you see the clan healer as I told you to do?"
"Yes," said the younger noble, blinking slowly and letting out a contented sigh, "and he said that I may still be affected somewhat by the use of my divine form."
"But Arashi is at full reiatsu."
"Yes," Tetsuya said, nodding, "But he hasn't been managing a seat on our council, as well as physical training and interning in Central 46."
Byakuya smiled and shook his head gently.
"No, he is not...and I must say that I am glad that I am not."
He sighed and nuzzled closer to his cousin.
"I would not be able to tolerate a diplomatic position like that. I am much more accustomed to enforcing policy, rather than making it."
"But if everyone became a Gotei 13 captain, then who would make the policies to guide them. And besides...I have a promise to keep. I promised myself as I sat beside Naoki's grave that I would make sure that no one suffered what we did...that there would be justice and fair application of the laws...for everyone, not just for those who wear a noble name."
"Hmmm," said Byakuya, "Though I agree with that point of view, I think you have your work cut out for you. But assuming you approach it with the same dedication you have applied to our training, I think you will be successful."
"Thank you," Tetsuya said, smiling, "I appreciate your confidence in me."
"It is well placed."
Byakuya looked around and spotted Arashi drinking from the lake a short distance away.
"Why don't we ride back?" he suggested, "Despite my bolstering your reiatsu, it still seems low."
"I am just weary...and still suffering the effects of my...adventure."
Byakuya gazed at him quietly as he stood and walked to Arashi.
"Have you heard from him?"
Tetsuya bit his lip gently.
"Only in my dreams," he answered softly, "It is the only safe place for him, ne?"
"I am sorry, Tetsuya," the clan leader said, "but it is my duty to ask."
"It's all right. I understand."
Tetsuya climbed onto Arashi's back and helped Byakuya to climb up behind him. The stallion walked slowly back to the trail that wound in a long set of switchbacks, up to the top of the cliff. He reached the top and carried them past the waterfall, through the quiet forest and to the back gate of the manor. They dismounted and Tetsuya dismissed the stallion with a gentle swat on the rump. Arashi turned and broke into a trot, heading back towards the waterfall and meadow.
"I know our own council is in recess," said Byakuya, "but will you be meeting with Councilor Yukimura today?"
"Later this afternoon, yes," Tetsuya answered, following Byakuya through the gates and into the gardens, "I am following up on some reports of odd goings on in the upper Rukongai...some talk of an opposition group that is up in arms about Ryuu Saito's conviction and sentence last week. I am of the same mind as Norio. If the rest of the council would give more thought ahead of time to what the response to such things is likely to be, they might head off some of these things before they started."
"Well, that is why they need you, watashi no itoko," Byakuya said, leading him onto the walkway, "If anyone can effect some sanity on that arrogant group, I know you and Councilor Yukimura can."
"Arigato...for the vote of confidence."
"You are welcome," Byakuya said, nodding, "Now, why don't you go and rest a bit before that meeting this afternoon. Otherwise, those other councilors will knock you unconscious with their ridiculous rhetoric."
Tetsuya laughed and shook his head, watching as Byakuya walked into his bedroom, then following the wooden walkway down to his own room. He had only just stepped inside when a pair of arms wrapped around him from behind, and he felt the touch of Kyouka Suigetsu's power hiding their meeting from other eyes. Tetsuya turned in the other man's arms and met him for a sweet exchange of passionate kisses that ended with Tetsuya lying on his back on the bed, with his amorous lover lying on top of him and slipping his hands beneath the younger man's clothes to gently explore his body as they talked.
"You were just here last night," Tetsuya said, smiling, "Have you become so attached that you cannot go through the day without me? I thought that you had business in the living world."
"I did," said Aizen, "but I thought that it would be more enjoyable to watch your sparring match with Byakuya, so I rescheduled my other business. You did exceptionally well."
"Thank you," Tetsuya chuckled, "But when all was said and done, I was still the one lying on the ground, unconscious."
"But you did destroy his senkei...not something that just anyone can do, ne?"
"No," agreed the younger man, "You are right about that. I still want to be strong enough to defeat him."
"Well, you won't do that with your reiatsu so low."
"Oh, gods, don't you start in on me too," sighed Tetsuya, "I have been to see that clan healer. The man can find nothing wrong with me. He says that, except for the low reiatsu, I am in insanely good health. Arashi hasn't sensed anything either...and he would if I had some kind of dangerous condition. It is just lingering traces of the outlay of power I sacrificed to use my divine form. It has only been a few months since then. Re-kuhime says that even though full reiatsu returned within a month, I may feel the effects for some time. It was a lot of power to manage...but then, we needed it."
"Yes," agreed Aizen, "We did."
They went quiet, then, falling into a sweet storm of kisses as Aizen's hands slowly undressed the younger man. Tetsuya laid back and spread his thighs easily, welcoming the invasion of the other man's fingers into his entrance.
"I don't...know that you need to waste time on that," Tetsuya managed between kisses, "We were together only a few hours ago."
"I know that," Aizen said, licking his earlobe and then nipping at the skin of his throat, "I just enjoy touching you inside."
"Y-you won't hear me complaining," Tetsuya said, a little breathlessly as Aizen's fingers pushed in deeply and found pleasure center inside him.
He groaned dizzily as the man's fingers slid out of him again and were replaced with his hot, swollen erection. Aizen gave him no time to react, but pushed inside him somewhat roughly, making Tetsuya groan again and claw at the blankets as his lover began thrusting immediately.
"O-oh! S-sousuke!" gasped the younger man, moving his hips to deepen Aizen's penetration into his body.
Aizen's brown eyes watched raptly as Tetsuya's lovely white body writhed hotly beneath his and the younger man's words faded into senseless, panting exclamations of intense pleasure. His hand wrapped around Tetsuya's damp arousal, stroking it in time with their movements and bringing the young noble to the edges of bliss. He made his thrusts hard and fast, pushing Tetsuya into that long, breathless tumble into release. He cried out lustily as he climaxed, then louder as Aizen's cock spasmed inside him, filling him and leaving him unable to move or speak. He laid on the bed, looking up dazedly into his lover's eyes. Then, before Aizen could speak, he lost consciousness altogether.
"Tetsuya," Aizen said, touching his face and reading the younger man's reiatsu.
He frowned at realizing it had receded again. Loosing an unhappy sigh, he used Kyouka Suigetsu's power to make himself appear as a house attendant. He left the room, pulling his clothes back into place and called for a house healer. He watched as the healer entered Tetsuya's room and found him unconscious, but bearing no evidence of their lovemaking.
"Go and bring Lord Byakuya," the healer told him, "We need to to something about this."