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09 July 2012 @ 02:19 am
Dysfunction as Heritage [Byakuya/Rukia] [Chapter 3]  
Title: Dysfunction as Heritage
Pairing: Byakuya/Rukia-ish(???) with cameos of other pairings
Fandom: Bleach
Genre: Drama, angst, "family issues," backstory, futurefic, romance, friendship
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Not all legacies are noble. Byakuya learns this the hard way. Series of semi-related oneshots. 

chapter 2 || chapter 4




III. Causality



They did not talk again after The Incident. She simply, politely avoided him.



When they crossed by each other on the off-shot chance, he would say something brief. Something curt. He was always icy and reserved.



And so, she learned to become terse like him – cold too. But once in a while, Rukia allowed herself to thaw.



Hugging Renji, she said goodbye.



"I'll be back soon. And when I come back, I'm gonna beat you."



It'll be a cold day in hell before she outmaneuvered him. Ruffling her unruly hair, Renji grinned (missed her already).



In the morning, Byakuya found a farewell note. Short, succinct, it informed him of what he already knew.



--



Rukia awaited execution with an equanimity even he could envy.



Every morning, Byakuya would find himself walking toward the execution grounds. And always, he would stop abruptly and turn around.



Not once did he visit her. She wouldn't expect him to.



--



Renji was strong but foolish. Endured the onslaught of quaking mountains with the agile grace that came only after decades of dodging beatings. But he'd chosen an opponent who could obliterate him in the count of a heartbeat. So, when Byakuya defeated his lieutenant (sans remorse), he was proud. Renji learned well, took loyalty (absurdity) to heart.



But Rukia wasn't Renji's anymore. And she had to die – it was only right. He will see to that.



--



The human's oration was rather quaint. A misdefined explication on the duty of brotherhood aimed to dissuade him. Byakuya was not amused.



It was insulting. Infuriating.



More and more, he liked the poetry of a worthwhile massacre.



The human said he didn't understand, couldn't fathom why he – her brother – would agree to execute her. Would deal the death-blow personally.




You must really hate her…



Byakuya saw the indignation, the pissed-coarse violence that naturally accompanied rage. He was mildly amazed. The human truly intended to die for her sake. Mortal-bound, flexible, and fickle. The human's resolution to save Rukia bordered on the ridiculous. An obligation he had no right to claim, a devotion he was deluded to own.



And so, Byakuya will slash him wide and bitter – splinter his entrails. He will die undignified and hideous. Rukia was (forever) beyond his reach, his pathetic (human) emotions and desperation.



Savage, Ichigo volleyed back with a scream.



Precise, apropos: pierced through the heart.



--



A roar of thunder and no more.



The clash of steel grated his ears. Byakuya tasted the blaze of putrefaction in reverse, felt the animalistic singing and then, all-of-a-sudden, the world went still.



Quiet down (dead down).



In the cruelty of any finale's whiteout, the gory details always lingered just below the skin. They waited to sink in the toxins.



Below his left rib, a shallow ache gnawed.



There. Where Gin had (seemed like centuries ago) impaled him. The point (tippy-slip of the blade) stung like the residual memory of animus and treachery. He had abandoned her in the end, when she needed him most. Prepared to witness her die, he'd already paid Hisana the requisite respects.



Byakuya woke up with a start.



He was lying in bed, bandaged and torn apart.



But alive.



At war's end, there were no victors: only the miasmic, godless, bare-soul survivors. Dry and malarial, double-dosed, burgeoning out from a fresh bought comatose. He is crimson-sore (throat is parched).



She gave him water. Constant, Rukia trailed him like a cursed shadow.



"I'm fine. You should rest," he told her.



She refused. Instead, blinking her enormous eyes, she cried.



"Rukia, what's—" the pain robbed him of air.



"Nii-sama! Please don't…move. Captain Unohana said your injuries are severe."



He tried to speak but that metamorphosed into a cough. Annoyed at his weakness (his human infirmity), Byakuya wondered if this was what Ukitake endured daily.



"We are all injured. Suffering is a natural casualty and causality of war," he said calmly.



She slipped her little hand into his. Tense, a challenge, he first thought. But then he realized: this was Rukia. She didn't know the meaning of hidden games or whiskery wiles. And so, he brought her hand to rest against his heart. She didn't flinch, retract. She simply let him.



It was comforting. Strange – like the edges of a faint memento that had once dissolved and now reappeared.



--



Seireitei, post the harsh punishment of a veiled aftermath, will recover. It was designed that way, to be indestructible and resilient.



But shinigami were not. Even gods had to die.



Outside his temporary window (Byakuya loathed the term "convalescent"), Renji and the ryoka were yelling to drown the dead. It sounded like an incantation, beginning withwhere and ending with Rukia.



He drifted back to sleep.



Two hours later, Unohana found him resting peacefully. It's been over a century since she saw him this serene. Almost sweet.



--



Drenched in pale gray light, Rukia resembled a statue. A small, speciously frail statuette, carved not of marble but of faint jade. Shoulders slumped, she'd fallen asleep during her vigil. He smiled just a bit. She hadn't moved at all. Really, it was quite unnecessary.



Sitting up, Byakuya draped a shawl around her shoulders. She had grown quite thin. He could feel the bones poking through her skin.



Tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear, he quietly said: "I am sorry, Rukia. I will try harder."



– For all that he did and did not do.



Only, some oaths were easier to keep (understand) than others. But Byakuya always kept his promises. He couldn't make up for missed time, for misplaced intentions, for a million misguided actions. And he'd be an idiot to think he could. Nonetheless, he could still try.



Somehow, just off, along the ashen shores stopped to rest.



And Rukia knew too – already forgiven him.



He looked over at her. She had stopped shivering.



A/N: Their relationship really frustrates me sometimes. -.-