Thoughts and Feelings
TR: Ok so this chapter has lot of fluff in it, but I like it. Hopefully I'll get twelve done this week too, but then updates will slow down since I'll be working full time over the summer. I really will get back to my other stories at some point, assuming this ever leaves any room in my brain for them before it's done. Anyway, on with the chapter!
Stepping out of the steamy bathroom, Byakuya sighed quietly. Hot showers always felt so good after training sessions. Sitting on the window seat located in the center of the eastern wall of the bedroom he shared with Dawn, Byakuya bent down to tie his favorite pair of boots. Sitting back up and flipping a stray tendril of hair back over his shoulder, the noble was glad that Dawn didn't mind him borrowing her elastic hair ties. Picking up the blanket that always stayed on the cushion of the window seat, Byakuya wrapped the thick cloth around his shoulders like a cloak, as he looked over at the king sized bed with a smile. There in the center of the bed, two of the most important people in his life cuddled together, safe in the arms of Morpheus. Smiling as he got comfortable in the little alcove, Byakuya was more than content to sit and watch Toushirou and Dawn sleep in the soft light filtering through the curtains.
Toushirou wasn't exactly sure what woke him up, but there were a few things he noticed as he returned to wakefulness. First and foremost was that he was still curled up in Dawn's arms in the middle of the bed. The second thing he noticed was that the other side of the bed was cool, and obviously hadn't been occupied for some time. Last but certainly not least, Toushirou had the feeling that he was being watched. Peeking over the top of the covers, teal eyes scanned the room blearily as he tried to identify the source of the sensation. When he spotted Byakuya observing him from the window seat, Toushirou felt a sudden urge to go over and curl up in the noble's lap. Had he been more alert, Toushirou would have questioned the urge and perhaps even try to ignore it. Alas, as his brain was still mostly asleep, Toushirou gently extracted himself from the bed and stumbled toward the window seat. Sighing in contentment as Byakuya lifted the little boy into his lap, Toushirou snuggled into the man's chest and drifted off to sleep with Kusaka held tightly in his arms and Byakuya's heart beating softly beneath his ear.
Bending his head down to press his lips against the soft white locks beneath his chin, Byakuya smiled as he tightened his hold on the sleeping child in his arms. Byakuya privately thought he could get very used to cuddling the little boy that he already thought of as his son. Truthfully, he had admired Toushirou almost since the moment he heard of the tiny genius. Byakuya knew that when the boy grew fully into his powers, there was a strong probability that Toushirou would be stronger than even Soutaicho, and that thought made him very proud. Reaching into his inner world just far enough to contact Senbonzakura, but not far enough to lose sight of Dawn and Toushirou, Byakuya spoke with his zanpakutou.
'What do you think the odds are that he'll actually let me adopt him as my son?'"I don't know, but based on yesterday and now I'd guess that the odds are pretty good. The elders won't be happy about it though."
'Yeah, well, they can kiss my ass. I plan on naming Toushirou as my heir, so they can get as pissy as they want about that too. It's not like they'll change my mind any. Besides, I'm the head of the family anyway, so what I say ultimately goes.'
Senbonzakura snickered behind his mask. "What will you do if that dream you had comes true and they try to make you declare one of your other children your heir?"
'Did you listen to anything I just said? Toushirou is my eldest, therefore he is my heir.'"And what if he doesn't want to be? What will you do if Toushirou-sama doesn't want to be the next head of the Kuchiki clan?"
'Eh, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now I'm more concerned with making sure he knows that Dawn and I love him as our son, and that nothing is going to change that.'"I know that isn't the only thing you're worried about. Why do you fell so sure that Toushirou-sama will get sick soon?"
'Well, think about it logically. We were all on edge and not taking very good care of ourselves before and during the war, and then poor Toushirou got turned into a mortal child after getting in a huge fight with his surrogate sister. We've brought him to a new place with hundreds of new people, all of whom have untold amounts of germs he has probably never been exposed to. When you realize that he has to deal with all of that with the immune system of a human child, the question isn't if he'll get sick, it's when and how badly.'"Alright, that at least makes sense. So what are you going to do if Dawn-sama and the red witch find a way to fix what Kurotsuchi did to him?"
Byakuya sighed deeply but quietly. He could feel Toushirou squirm in his arms; it was as though the child could sense his melancholic feelings. Swallowing thickly, Byakuya answered the masked samurai softly. 'I don't want to think about that right now. I know Dawn said last night that the prospect of finding a cure isn't very good, and we were both ok with that, but I don't know if Toushirou would feel the same. Right now I'm just trying to hope for the best while preparing for the worst. Hell, if there is a cure, maybe he'll still let us be a part of his life anyway.'
Senbonzakura knew his master couldn't see him, so the spirit did his best to send comfort and reassurance as a sense to Byakuya. Letting his master's childhood sense of curiosity get the better of him, Senbonzakura decided to change the subject. "So now that Soutaicho knows about your relationship with Dawn-sama, are you planning to marry her?"
If Byakuya could have, he would have smacked Senbonzakura upside the head for being such an idiot. 'Of course I will you baka! I was planning on taking Toushirou and the boys with me to get their opinions on a ring for her.'"You do mean the three you sparred with this morning I presume?"
'Yeah. Uryuu will want to spend time with his cousins. Though he'll probably only get time with Buffy today since Dawn will be working on Ukitake-Taicho's remedy. I want to talk to Angel and Spike to see if they would be willing to try and talk to Ichigo, and I'm sure that Sado-san will want to stay with his friends.'"Why do you want the vampires to talk to Ichigo?"
'Well, from my perspective at least, having a soul and a demon in one body isn't much different than a Shinigami having a hollow inside. I know that the Vizards trained Ichigo, but from everything I've seen and heard, they keep to themselves and don't worry about anyone else. Considering the fact that Ichigo has proven himself to be the exact opposite of that way of life, I hope that Spike and Angel can give him some advice on keeping his hollow under control. Oh, please don't let me forget to ask Dawn if she can sit down and talk to Inoue-san soon.'"Hai, master. Dawn-sama would be the best to counsel the girl on how to cope with what Aizen put her through. Thankfully she doesn't get kidnapped nearly as often anymore."
From behind lowered eyelids, Dawn watched Byakuya and Toushirou snuggle in the window seat. Privately, she was surprised that Byakuya thought she was still sleeping; but even after four years he still couldn't tell when she was faking. In the past, Dawn had been notorious for sleeping like the dead and not being disturbed by any motion from anyone she had to share a bed with. Then she met Byakuya, and Dawn found herself waking any time he got up. It didn't take long at all to learn how to fake sleep well enough to fool her dark haired lover, and Dawn loved to watch him through her eyelashes when he thought she was sleeping. Staring at the barely visible tuft of white hair that rested between Byakuya's chin and the edge of the blanket, Dawn felt a sense of happiness that she never expected. She never thought that she would get to have a family of her own, and yet the two Shinigami across the room seemed intent on proving her wrong.
Reaching up to grab the top of the headboard, Dawn stretched her whole body in a way that would make cats jealous before glancing over to the alarm clock. Seeing that it was already nine, she decided that it was time to get up and get busy. Quietly pulling a few things from the dresser, Dawn paused to give Byakuya a deep kiss before moving into the bathroom to take a shower.
Stepping under the hot spray of water, Dawn let her mind wander slightly as she lathered shampoo into her hair. She knew that unless a miracle occurred there would be no way to change Toushirou back to how he had been, and she had no idea how the little boy would handle that. Dawn was hoping that Toushirou would find a way to be ok with that and take the chance to make the best of his new situation. As she stepped into her walk-in closet to choose an outfit for the day, Dawn let herself imagine what it would be like to be married to Byakuya with Toushirou calling her mom.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Dawn had to fight the urge to giggle as she looked at her boys. Byakuya appeared to be attempting to rouse Toushirou, but the little boy wasn't cooperating at all. Byakuya was trying to take the blanket off and set it back on the seat but Toushirou kept grabbing on to it to stop him. Of course Byakuya could have easily overpowered the child, but Dawn found it adorable that he played along with Toushirou. Crouching down to look the little boy in the eye, Dawn smiled brightly at the child that she considered to be her own. Ruffling Toushirou's hair and earning a giggle from him, Dawn spoke. "Why don't you go get dressed and then you can come be my helper while I make breakfast."
"Really? What are we making?"
"We're going to make chocolate chip pancakes, I do them every Sunday. But you need to go get dressed first."
With a nod, Toushirou leapt up and dashed off to his room.