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06 July 2012 @ 12:17 am
Thisbe in Her Ivory Tower [Ukitake/Rukia]  
Title: Thisbe in Her Ivory Tower
Pairing: Ukitake/Rukia
Fandom: Bleach
Genre: Romance, Angst
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,681

A/N (Warning): Written for 5_times, Table One. This is kinda smutty.






Thisbe in Her Ivory Tower





Or Four Times Jyuushirou Had to Lie and the One Time He Almost Did





My Pyramus! whence sprung thy cruel fate?

My Pyramus!—ah! speak, ere 'tis too late.

—Ovid, Metamorphoses



1.




He must be a terrible person at heart, Jyuushirou realized.

Something had gone putrid inside him, debauched his thoughts (missed the lungs). Slow, long ago, strung his nerves up vertical and ate away. It was the only explanation on why:

He couldn't stop staring.


Two sharp bruises and a mole…


Rukia fell.

Rather ungracefully, he added. From where he stood, he could see (an inadvertent peek) the barest hint of her nipples. The front of her robes had opened when she collided rough into the ground.

Her skin was pale and white, glowed like moonlight fainting at the brink of dawn. She had a mole resting two centimeters above her right nipple. Nestled between twin patches of sallow bruising. Unusually shaped, a crescent enclosed with a darkish halo, it jarred inward his attention.

He wondered how she'd react if he licked her there. Or bit in. She probably tasted sweet, a hot tempest all bright and candied. Like sugared mulberries. Maybe caramel.

"Captain, what's wrong?"

Jyuushirou looked down at his subordinate—pause: exhale—and smiled. He'd been in a daze (nearly caught).

"Nothing at all. Can you walk?"

"Yeah."

Rising to her feet, Rukia flicked off the dust and pebbled grime glued to her arms. Jyuushirou still had that strange expression on his face, a fusion of embarrassment and perplexity.

"Are you sure, sir?" she asked again.

"Yes. Let's continue."

2.


Nightmares hunted in packs. Ravenous, ruthless, they crawled in through the nostrils and aimed for the brain. There, they will gorge and gorge until exploding one by one. And then (quiet-streaked) they will enter a morbid stasis.

Tonight was the first time since Kaien's death that she did not cry. Jyuushirou counted the minutes rolling into hours. And still, no sound boiled over the cracks of her rigidly sealed door.

Relieved, he retracted his hand (about to knock) and turned to leave.

"Captain?"

Jyuushirou froze. A little rabbit decided to rebel and unexpectedly sprung a trap.

"I—" cleared his throat "I wanted to…check on you."

The excuse sounded lame even before forming on his tongue.

"Would…would you come in?" she said after a long silence.

He stammered, simply couldn't muster the courage (or cowardice) to refuse (forfeit).

"Please?" she added, an almost plea.

And that proved to be his undoing.

Cautious, he opened the door and slipped inside. Her room was a cloak of black. Swathed and choked in residual heat, the air carried the metallic flakes of despair ending. He was just able to detect her. Lighting the lamps with a kidou spell, he sat down.

She looked dreadful. Worn and weary, Rukia had the face of someone who'd been murdered a thousand times, only to be resurrected for one thousand more. She had become leaner, more skeletal. On the verge of emaciation, they'd ironically discovered something in common.

"You should sleep," and I should leave.

She glanced up at him with wide, fear-tracked eyes. Her chin quivered. Jyuushirou didn't know if she was about to start crying. Panicking, he awkwardly reached to pat her head, give her some (shoddily done) comfort.

"What are you doing?" she demanded, bewildered.

Jyuushirou quickly lifted his hand. "I'm not sure."

Uncertainty hovered like an execution of guilt, punishing in many different ways. He really should go, but couldn't bring himself to—not quite yet.

And then, somehow, it happened.

He felt her lips hot on his. She pulled him down and dotted kisses along his cheek, past his jawline and neck. Tracing the crisp edge of his collar, she fumbled with the knots. Easily, she stripped him of the white haori (his last aegis).

-shaky hands and a nervous smile-

He sensed the distant arrest of desire. Dim and smoky, it filtered through him like a gradual abrasion. The muscles on his back tensed, breath shortened. Her fingers punctured like delicate stilettos—icy.

Gripping her thin thighs, he lifted her hips to meet him. She was warm and tight (let out a tiny whimper). Gently, he eased in. He moved slowly. It'd been too long. And he couldn't ignore the sickened feeling that she was ready to spring up and flee any second now.

But instead, she captured his mouth, kissing him raw and brutal. Quickening (hurry now) he pushed deeper. Rukia moaned, soft and light, and arched against him. Sharp ribs dug into him. She came with a low hiss. And he dissolved away.

In the morning, Jyuushirou woke up with an awful headache and the numbing dread of failure. Next to him, Rukia was still sleeping. He tucked back her messy hair and gently cupped her cheek. For a second (too long spent) he studied her. Bluish shadows lined her chest. Her expression had reverted to its usual stoic mask.

It had been a mistake. To be forgotten and embalmed. A nightmare that can't replay (reassured himself).

The lie rang blank—even to him.

3.

He was hopeless.

In love with her and unable to escape.

Somewhere on the path of mentor and pupil, he wandered into a grotto without an exit. And now (this was getting old) he felt criminal, waiting for her to finish. But she launched hell-bent into another apathetic précis.

"I don't understand what the big deal is."

Jyuushirou sighed, had known this was coming. "It's a matter of formality. He is your brother and should be properly informed. I can't have him hearing it as gossip from Matsumoto-san."

She raised an eyebrow and glared at him stonily. "So?"


So.


She stated it like it was nothing, like commenting on the academics of sunrise or the anatomy of a hollow. He will try to reason with her once more. He was empathetic and considerate and nice. Everything Byakuya was not.

"So it is only right to tell him. We can't keep it a secret forever."

Rukia shrugged. Stretching out her limbs, she gazed up at him and smirked. "It's none of his business. Besides, Nii-sama will kill you."

He laughed. "Your brother is strong, but I have over a thousand years of experience on him. I wouldn't worry."

Coy, she tapped her fingers along his clavicle. Sitting up, she encircled her arms around him and blew into the base of his throat. He shuddered. She could be such a tease sometimes.

"Perhaps. But anger is a powerful fuel, and Nii-sama is terrifying when infuriated. And knowing him, he would challenge you regardless of seniority."

"Then, what do you propose we do?"

Licking her lips, Rukia gave him a hungry look. Her cheeks were flushed. Jyuushirou understood at once. Hands sweeping past her belly, he reached between her legs and brushed against her slick skin.

"For now, we say nothing," she said with finality.


4.


One afternoon—strolling down an oft-not used road in Seireitei—she told him a story.

Once, when she was very young (maybe eight in human years), she had lost her way. Afraid and weak, she nearly died. Bandits roamed the streets (it was Rukongai, after all) and slit jugulars like quenching thirst. Decay and death united gangs, each one scheming to thwart the others. But their hopes always fell short.

A man from one of those gangs found her crying in an alley. She had a jar of water (stolen) and that, he said: he will take—thank you very much—or cut her something pretty. Frightened but adamant, she refused to surrender.

It was only a jar. Barely half full (she'd spilled a lot). But even with such a meager amount, she wasn't willing to part.

And so, she fought the man and killed him. Taken a dagger to his throat. Revolted and gruesome but satisfied, she watched as his blood spilled into the gutter. The color of fresh crimson was unique in its ability to burn.

Jyuushirou covered her hand with his. Their disparity in size fascinated him. She was so small yet not. She towered heavens higher than her stature of not-quite five feet.

He knew why she told him. It was her confession and testament.

Blood stained her hands. And his too. But he couldn't admit that to her, not when she was begging for absolution from him.

Inuzuri was the hanged man's hell.

And there, Rukia grew up tenacious and beautiful.


5.


Ingrained to the pit of his soul was the habit of faking smiles and passing off the world like nothing was awry. Learned young and never forgotten, it was a habit that consumed (consumption was a nasty foe).

Whenever she asked him for his hushed thoughts and secret moods, he couldn't supply her with an answer. Tell her—what? He didn't trust himself with the honest, shot-straight truth.

He'd lived for eons and had buried three wives already. And with each of them, there'd been something lacking, something strained. But Jyuushirou effortlessly outlived them all. Immortality, it seemed, was to be his curse.

He knew he should speak and be done with it. Everything multiplied by nothing became nothing again. Now, just say it. That he loved her (always will). Except, she—like her predecessors—will leave him one warm, sunny day. And alone he will be for the fourth eternity. It was better if he didn't, if he had ignored her in the first place. Didn't need her.

But—

He loved her too much, too soon. The lifetimes that divided them couldn't be numbered. He

—but he was selfish and couldn't let her go.

He faltered. For a brief moment, fear flickered over like a timid intruder.

—but she wasn't them. She was different. Rukia was made from the hardest steel. Not even rust could corrode her core. And he couldn't prolong this lie he kept repeating to himself (long stopped believing it).

"I think it's time that I asked your brother for permission to marry you."

It was time he slayed the ghosts.





 
 
 
Between the Mountains and the Sea: Bleach Byakuyaanat_astarte on July 6th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
*__* This is gorgeous. Truly beautiful to read.

I loved the depth of character that Jyuushirou and Rukia have here, and the beautiful prose that you chose for their thoughts, emotions and actions.
I also love Rukia's courage, and her fearlessness to love despite Byakuya's expected reaction. Jyuushirou's years on him does give him a significant advantage, and Byakuya's fury does give the possible confrontation a very charged feel, and I love the intensity this gives the relationship.

I also love the mention of Jyuushirou's previous wives. I can so see him having loved and lost and loving again, and his thoughts and emotions about immersing himself in those waters once more with Rukia are wonderful.

(This was incredibly well timed too- I've been wanting to read lover!Jyuushirou fic!)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on July 6th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! :)

In general, I'm a big fan of Byakuya/Rukia. But recently, I've been hunting around for unusual pairings. And Ukitake/Rukia grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, there's so few fics on them.

I LOVE Ukitake's personality, especially in contrast with the majority of the other male characters. He just seems so....well, genuinely sweet. Haha. I can definitely see Rukia falling for him (hell, I would in a heartbeat). And of course the idea of Byakuya being sexually emotionally jealous of Rukia is just too amusing to pass up.

(Great minds think alike!)
Between the Mountains and the Sea: Bleach GinRangikuanat_astarte on July 6th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
hell, I would in a heartbeat

Me too. ♥ Ukitake has such a serene and composed spirit that his sweetness just compliments his quiet strength, like....how the sun is warm and strong at the same time and brightens the day. :D Who wouldn't want that?

(Aww, thanks. Yes, yes they do.)

Thanks for writing this! I love rare pairings too.
...and my axe!!!: misc - facebookshahrizai on July 8th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
:D