koori_neko: (writer)
[personal profile] koori_neko
Title: Eternity
Chapter: 1/? Pride
Fandom/Pairing: Bleach, none now. Later Ukitake Jyuushiro/Kuchiki Byakuya.
Rating: G
A/N: Spoilers for Seireitei Arc. Part one of a series I'll continue at leisure.

Chire = Scatter
Taichou = captain
reiatsu = spirit force


Byakuya's POV

Byakuya's POV

I can see you sitting in the shade, leaning against the frame of the open sliding doors. Your face is so pale, thin lines etched into the skin, as if the cells of your body reject the sunlight as much as your body reject your illness, yet you seem at ease where you sit, barely visible eyes looking at the sky. Your hair is as white as the haori you wrap so tightly around you. You seem so fragile, but I can feel the power flowing around you, little tidbits you don't have the strength to hold in as another cough wreck your body. Then you look from the sky towards us and your eyes are smiling, your features softening. You are so beautiful.

"Kuckiki-taichou. Byakuya-san." Your voice is steady, even though your chest is moving a little to strained, the words catching just slightly on the exhale.

"Ukitake-taichou. I am glad you are released from the hospital." My grandfather's low voice seem to not quite mean the words, even though I know he respects you. I guess that's just his nature.

"Ah yes. Please, forgive me for not rising. My legs don't want to cooperate quite yet."

"Think nothing of it. May I join you?"

"Of course."

A slow glance is all I recieve and I grit my teeth behind a smile to hide the frustration of not being addressed. As if I'm a servant. I know it is a meeting of adults, but it still burns in my gut. As my grandfather gracefully take his place next to you I bow slightly and walk away as to not disturb the two of you, taking the chance to explore your garden. It's always so relaxing here, looking at your butchering attempt at bonsai, watching the koi play in the pond. The garden at Kuchiki manor is also beautiful, but it's more strict, purely there to be seen. A painting quite not allowed to be touched, just seen. Your garden is instead telling me to relax, to enjoy the quiet moment, not admire the silence. Not worship it. Just see it. A small breeze carry your words to me and I sit down by a group of newly planted saplings to listen without anyone noticing.

"Your grandson is growing up fast, Kuchiki-taichou. Will he be joining the Academy soon?"

"Yes. He passed the admission the week before last. He will be joining in the fall."

"My congratulations." I cringe inwardly as the last syllable is choked on a cough, my hands closing into fists to keep me from snapping around to see if you are okay.

"Thank you. I will be sure to pass them on to him."

Your talk then turn to the Court Guard Squads, grandfather filling you in on what the messengers have left out. Not everything can be written down or explained in a letter. The wind shift slightly and a new scent reach my nose. I turn to see where it is coming from, my gaze trailing the saplings closest to me. The bark is a dark green, the flaked leaves a brighter hue. The tree is too young to bear fruit, and it is too late in the year for flowers. It looks like sakura will be blooming in your garden next year, if they survive the winter.
It's not long until Grandfather makes his excuses and we leave, dinner being prepared at the manor and our welcome overstayed as far as your illness is concerned, even though it seems like you would have liked the company for a while longer. You look so tired, eyes squinting just a fraction with every breath, yet you are smiling, a strand of white hair stubbornly falling into your eyes. My hand itches to push it away and my parting is probably a bit rude as I'm distracted by my thoughts. No one comments on it, though, seemingly letting it pass as the immaturity of youth.

><><><><

The next time I see you, nothing about you show any trace of being ill. It's a demonstration at the Academy, showing the possibilities available within a zanpakuto and the reiatsu flowing around you and Kyoraku-taichou is enough to weaken my knees and I'm glad I choose to sit down on a log as the demonstration started. The trees around us vibrate with the sheer force, the wood singing. A voice is mumbling in my head. Proud. Impatient and curious. The spirit force dies down slightly and I can hear him clearer. Senbonzakura. He wants to take you on, but I hesitate. You are so much stronger than I am, your eyes glowing with killer intent, but he is persistent. Then you ask for volouteers and I slowly raise my hand.

"Kuchiki-san. Please, stand." Kyoraku-taichou seems amused, but then, he always does.

I get to my feet and slowly approach you. A lump is forming in my throat and my hands are shaking slightly. Then you smile and the lump move to my chest, burning with nerves. I stop just a few paces from the two of you.

"You know your zanpakuto's name yet, Kuchiki-san?"

"Yes, Ukitake-taichou. His name is Senbonzakura."

"Call him." Kyoraku-taichou's voice is curious, but I don't trust him. I look at you and relax when you nod.

Closing my eyes, I unsheath my zanpakuto and raise the blade in front of my face. I can hear him, the blade singing, as curious as Kyoraku-taichou to see what will happen.

"Chire, Senbonzakura." I'm proud that my voice is low and steady and the soft gasps make pride flare in my chest.

I open my eyes, pink petals flowing steadily around me and the handle of my katana empty. The display would be so girly if I didn't know what those petals are, the destruction they're capable of. The both of you look at me as if to try and determine the best course of action and then you pounce, the twin blades aimed at my head. My whole body freeze in shock for a second and it's through pure instinct my limbs finally unlock and I flash out of your range. Growing up with Yoruichi-san's frequent visits pay off from time to time. Despite the speed of the flash step, it's another close call as you come at me again. I throw up a shield of the tiny metal shards, blocking your attack. You move back and look at me again. Something in that look piss me off, as if you look down at me, and I feel my eyes narrowing as I figure out a plan to atleast land a hit. Then it strikes me and I smile. The metal shards start twirling around me even as I step closer, using flash step to move infront of you. Sending half the shards directly at you, the rest moving in tiny balls into your blind spot I bring down the handle just as I send away a lightning kidou direct at your head. Of course you dodge it, but in doing so, one of the small shards to your right nick your cheek and you step back in shock. Then you smile, and there is pride in it. I let the shards return to the handle, reforming into the katana, letting it rest in my grip.

"Impressive, Kuchiki-san." The kind words of praise soften the blow of my defeat as you demostrate exactly where my kidou had hit, absorbed by one end of your blades and blasting me into a tree with the other. Senbonzakura lay useless on the ground beneath me, a twig is poking my back and one arm is broken, but I can't help to smile through the pain.

><><><><

I've never seen your bankai, even though I know you have achieved it. Some captains are just reluctant to use their ultimate skill and somehow, I figure that it is against your moral code to use it, even though I can't figure out why. I try looking through our records for any clues to who you are, more than what grandfather has told me, but reading all that turns boring in a heart beat.

><><><><

I can clearly remember the day I saw her. Her smile hit me like a knife in my chest, her rare laughter like a silver waterfall to my ears. I was an idiot and I loved her with everything I was. The day I married her, I broke all kinds of rules and Grandfather scolded me repeatedly for it. You only smiled, and greated us cheerfully when we crossed paths. We had more interaction then, both of us being captains, and you seemed to approve of Hisana. Somehow, your approval was more important than that of any other person in Seireitei. When I asked your opinion, and why you didn't object to me marrying a commoner, against my family's wishes, you just said that "No law of nobility reign over the heart." as if that was enough.
I would sit with her in the garden, everything around me suddenly more alive then it had ever been, and we would talk or play boardgames or just rest in silence.
Then she was gone and the pain was enough to nearly drown me. I held her hand until it turned cold, looking at her face, finally at peace. The first plum flower broke from the branch as the sun set behind the walls of the manor and I fled. Flash stepping out of the garden, not even bothering with the gate, I ran, her last words and my promise echoing in my head. The lost burned me, chasing me even as I tried to outrun it. When my feet could no longer carry me, my lungs burning and the sweat chilling me through my kimono, I found myself stumbling, knees colliding with the stone of the street. I almost didn't feel the pain radiating from my legs, standing on all fours, trying to catch my breath. When I got air enough, the pain returned and I howled like an animal at the indifferent moon above Seireitei.
You found me like that, balled up against a wall, silent tears running down my cheeks. I knew then I should be bothered about you finding me like that, a grown man, of one of the Four Noble Houses. The head of the Kuchiki house, crying like a child, on the ground. A captain of the 13 Court Guard Squads in such a state of defeat, but you just reached down, dragged me to my feet and unceremoniously dumped me by your empty koi pond. That whole day, we just sat there, watching the ripples on the surface, not saying anything. You were like a fire in the dark, a steady fixture in the darkness. I steeled myself aginst anything and anyone except you.

"Where are your koi, Ukitake-taichou?" My voice was so quiet I was surprised you heard me.

"I don't know, Kuchiki-san. They have been missing for quite some time now, and I don't have the heart to replace them."

><><><><

I remember that short exchange as I watch your face, anger boiling in your beautiful eyes as you watch the sky through the window of my room at the hospital. The betrayal of Aizen, Ichimaru, and Tousen is so fresh, I'm sure most of us feel like I do, a pain so deep it can't register over the pain of broken nerves and deep cuts. Then you turn to me and the anger is turned into mind numbing disappointment, as if to say "This is what you wanted to sacrifice your sister for? I don't know if I can forgive you" but also self-loathing so profound that I want to reach out and comfort you. Then you leave without a word.



Kuchiki Byakuya and Senbonzakura

Ukitake Jyuushirou and quick glimpse of Sougyo no Kotowari
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