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Today we finally have that Ichigo/Byakuya fic I've been threatening for so long. It takes place after In Vino Veritas and Blame it on the Moon and before Celebrations and Interrogations. The main fic index is, as usual, right here. Let's get on with the show.

Title: Four Conversations Byakuya Never Should Have Had, And Two That Were Long Overdue.
Word Count: 3,586
Rating: PG-ish. Mentions of sex, and the usual Bleach-level violence, but that's about it.
Obligatory Disclaimer: Y'all know the drill--I do not own Bleach.
Summary: It takes Byakuya and Ichigo longer than it should to go from "having sex" to "being lovers."

1.
Byakuya rolled over in bed, away from Ichigo, once they’d…finished. He felt Ichigo’s confusion and annoyance through his reiatsu—they hadn’t been having sex for long, but Byakuya still knew that distance had no part of it as far as Ichigo was concerned—but to his relief, Ichigo didn’t voice it. He just moved in close again and slung an arm over Byakuya’s waist, leaving his palm lightly pressed against his stomach. Byakuya shivered at the reminder of how…intent Ichigo was on the hunt, whether his prey was an enemy or a bed partner. Clearly, he wasn’t to be allowed to escape this thing, whatever it was. That would cause friction with the clan’s elders.

Byakuya was vaguely surprised to find that he didn’t mind as much as he should have.

“So,” Ichigo whispered, “how long do I have before you show me the back door?”

Ah. Good. He was going to be reasonable about this. That was…refreshing.

“One hour.”

Byakuya missed both the playful tone of Ichigo’s question and the disappointment in his response.

“Right. Well, guess I shouldn’t waste it, then.”

Exactly an hour later, Byakuya lay alone in his bed with Ichigo’s scent still clinging to his sheets and to his skin and told himself that he had nothing to regret.

2.

After he and Ichigo had been together (together?) for almost a week, Byakuya turned a corner in his mansion and found himself face to face with one of the clan’s elders. He stopped, bowed politely and waited.

“The Kurosaki boy is unsuitable,” the elder said almost immediately.

You’ve clearly never had sex with him, Byakuya thought before he could stop himself. Out loud, he said, “There will be no pollution of the bloodline. No children will come of this.”

The elder’s eyes narrowed. He was clearly not fooled by Byakuya’s attempt to dodge the issue. “Use him and discard him if that is your wish,” he said, in a voice like tempered steel. “You are young, still. We can be forgiving of this dalliance, so long as it does no harm to the clan’s reputation. Do you understand, Kuchiki Byakuya?”

“I do,” Byakuya replied, and continued on his way.

Later, as he watched Ichigo sleep peacefully under one of the trees in his garden, Byakuya fleetingly allowed himself to wonder if he had said the right thing. Then Ichigo woke up and ensured that Byakuya thought of little else but him for the rest of the night.

3.

A few too-short weeks later, Ichigo went back to the living world. After three days without him, Byakuya noticed himself becoming more short-tempered. He adamantly refused to connect the two events, and ordered Renji to bring in the day’s roster of division members who’d been caught fighting with members of other divisions (the Eleventh) the night before. After all, if he was going to frighten someone…

After five days, Byakuya’s change of mood apparently became public knowledge, or at least publicly noticeable. For the most part, the only change was that anyone who didn’t have urgent business with him began to avoid him as though he were carrying something distasteful and contagious to boot. It wasn’t a change he minded all that much.

Rukia was another matter entirely. For no reason that Byakuya could discern, she abruptly started dragging Renji home to eat dinner with them. Every. Night. Byakuya was, frankly, completely baffled. Why would he possibly want to inflict Renji on himself anymore than was absolutely necessary? And how was this supposed to help with his non-existent problem that had nothing to do with Ichigo’s absence? By the third time Renji joined them, Byakuya decided to keep his questions to himself. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear Rukia’s answers, anyway.

A week and a half after Ichigo’s departure, Byakuya spontaneously received a package from Captain Unohana containing a variety of calming teas. He chalked it up to the fact that she was the captain of the Fourth, and they didn’t always make sense to one who was not well acquainted with the ways of healers.

Two weeks in, Byakuya was called before Captain-General Yamamoto, who handed out the single most contrived excuse to get him into the living world that Byakuya had ever heard in his entire life.

He jumped on it like a starving man on a four-course meal.

As a matter of courtesy, he went through the Urahara Shoten gate, and greeted its maker on the other side. As a matter of pride, he did not run screaming when Urahara Kisuke cornered him the second his foot touched the ground and settled in for what looked to be a lengthy interrogation.

“Captain Kuchiki!”

Byakuya twitched and firmly reminded himself that someone showing him the proper courtesy due his rank and position was not a cause for alarm—even coming from someone as notorious for…bending the rules as Urahara.

“Urahara. Pardon the intrusion.”

“Not at all, not at all!” the shopkeeper caroled. “It’s nice to talk to people from Soul Society every now and again. Ichigo is just horrible at passing along the latest gossip, you know.”

Byakuya stiffened. “What purpose would be served by perpetuating that useless drivel?” he asked, a little more sharply than he intended.

“Aaaaahhhh—?” Urahara drawled. His voice was laced with a tone of concern, but his eyes were twinkling. “What’s this? I hope I haven’t offended…?

“No,” Byakuya forced out between gritted teeth. “You have not.”

Damn propriety, anyway.

Urahara’s smile somehow managed to be both gleeful and calculating. Byakuya chose not to speculate about what that might portend, because the shopkeeper was—unsurprisingly—not done talking. “Ah, good, good. I’d hate to think I was making you uncomfortable, talking about the juiciest piece of gossip to hit Seireitei since our dear strawberry first made his debut—“

Byakuya briefly weighed the composure expected of him against the need to preserve his sanity. He decided to interrupt. “Did you have a point?”

Urahara simply carried on as if he hadn’t been interrupted at all. “I do indeed,” he assured.

“And?”

“Oh, it’s nothing of any great import, really,” Urahara said breezily. Byakuya privately doubted that, and the way his interrogator’s eyes narrowed and his voice turned silkily dangerous proved him right.

“I was just wondering what could possibly bring you here, Captain of the Sixth Division?”

“Byakuya!”

Fortunately, Ichigo stopped short of throwing his arms around Byakuya right in front of Urahara. He stood close by Byakuya’s side, well inside the captain’s personal space like he belonged there. Byakuya tried to ignore his immediate, visceral reaction to Ichigo’s presence. He tried to pretend that Urahara hadn’t noticed. He suspected he wasn’t fooling anyone. His suspicions were confirmed when Ichigo took one look at his face, grinned and came to his rescue.

“Let’s go,” he said simply, grabbing Byakuya’s hand and turning to move away. They hadn’t gone more than three steps toward the door before Urahara’s voice stopped them.

“I don’t think you answered my question, did you, captain?”

“I am here because I was ordered to come. Nothing more,” he answered flatly without turning around. Ichigo took an abrupt step forward and his hand slipped from Byakuya’s.

“Come on, come on, we’re wasting time here,” he said insistently. He didn’t look or sound any different but something about him suddenly felt…off. Byakuya was so caught up in trying to discern the problem that he missed Urahara’s soft reply.

“So that’s the only reason, is it?”

4.

Every morning during his visit, Byakuya quietly shadowed Ichigo as he walked with his sisters to school, then settled onto the roof of a nearby building to wait. He wasn’t close enough to actually see Ichigo, but that hardly mattered. Ichigo’s uncontained reiatsu painted such a vivid picture that Byakuya might as well be sitting in the very next seat. About a week and a half into this new routine, Senbonzakura spoke up.

Is this the one to whom you wish to be bound, milord? he asked curiously.

I am bound by my duty, and by the vows that I have made, Byakuya replied.

I see, Senbonzakura said thoughtfully. He fell silent then, and Byakuya wondered just what that had meant.

5.

A few days later around the same time, Byakuya’s finely honed senses detected a new, tightly controlled reiatsu signature coming from the direction of the Urahara Shoten. He focused on it and suddenly, there it was—the salty smell of the wind off the ocean and the chill of deep water, backed by a feeling of force that almost knocked Byakuya off his feet. It hit him like a bolt of lightning and then backed away, giving him just a taste of the unbridled power of which its master was capable.

Ukitake Jyuushirou had arrived, and he was not happy.

Byakuya immediately stood and shifted into shunpo, heading for a more remote and private location than the middle of a school populated by ever-increasing numbers of students who could see him. Senbonzakura— he started, then stopped when he realized that he had no idea what order he had been about to give his zanpakutou.

I have informed Zangetsu that there is a matter you need to see to elsewhere. He has already informed Ichigo, who has indicated his willingness to help if need be. I assured Zangetsu that it would not be necessary.

I—see. Well done. Byakuya dropped out of shunpo at an unoccupied stretch of riverbank. He felt inexplicably relieved at Senbonzakura’s actions, but he pushed the feeling aside. Regardless of what Soul Society did or didn’t think about his and Ichigo’s relationship, he would undoubtedly have been informed if a problem arose concerning the substitute shinigami. He would likewise have been alerted if something came up relating to one of their enemies, and neither case would necessitate a personal visit from a fellow captain. There was only one other viable conclusion: whatever the reason, Ukitake was here to see him. Becoming distracted would not serve him well in this situation.

Byakuya braced himself just as Ukitake dropped out of shunpo in front of him. He drew his own reiatsu about him, both as a shield and a warning. The other captain’s eyes narrowed, but his expression did not otherwise betray the fury that radiated from his reiatsu.

“I did not come here to fight,” Ukitake said quietly. “I came here to talk.”

“I am listening,” Byakuya acknowledged.

“Be certain that you truly are, because I will not repeat myself.”

Byakuya stiffened, but nodded his assent. He did not wish to start a fight with another captain that he could not be assured of winning, not when Ichigo would surely sense it and try to intervene. Ukitake stared intently at him for a time, seeming to take some unknown measure. He apparently found whatever he sought, because he nodded slightly and continued.

“Do you know your intentions towards Ichigo?”

“I don’t believe—“ Byakuya started, but he was not allowed to finish.

“Do not deny this to me,” Ukitake said harshly. “You are fooling no one, Kuchiki Byakuya. All of Seireitei knows of your involvement, just as all of Seireitei can see your apparent disdain.”

Disdain? Why would he think…? Byakuya frowned in confusion, but chose not to interrupt.

His reaction did not go unnoticed. “You see nothing in your behavior that would indicate such a feeling, I see. Shall I take it that this is merely a brief affair? An outlet for physical release?”

Had he been asked that question at the very start, Byakuya would have said yes without hesitation. Now the suggestion felt almost like an attack. He felt his guard go up as if he were facing an enemy on the battlefield and had to take a moment to sharply rein in his wayward reiatsu before he could answer the question.

“No. That is not the case.”

If anything, that only made Ukitake angrier. “You continue to involve yourself with him beyond anything that might be blamed on weakness of the flesh. You claim to not be using him for your own pleasure. You make no effort to dispel the rumors that I have no doubt you have heard. Yet you still hide him from your family. You bar him almost completely from your home. You deny your involvement to anyone who asks, directly or indirectly. You treat him no better than you would a whore you picked up off the street. These actions are not befitting of a captain of the Gotei 13, nor of anyone who would call himself a man.” Ukitake’s reiatsu gained strength and fury over the course of his speech, like a hurricane that reaches its deadliest height just before it crashes ashore. His eyes reflected the cold steel of his still-sheathed blade, while his voice carried its lethal edge. Byakuya was frozen to the spot as he delivered the final blow.

“If this means nothing, then stop leading the boy on. If it means more, then give him—and yourself—the acknowledgement you deserve. But you cannot continue this charade that you have been enacting. It is beneath you, Byakuya. I expect better.”

“I…understand,” Byakuya replied, feeling just as shaken by the other captain’s words as by his menacing aura. “I will take your words to heart.”

Just like that, the storm was gone—put back on its leash to await a more suitable target. Ukitake did not smile as he took his leave, but had Byakuya been less preoccupied, he might have noticed a hint of relief in the other captain’s eyes. Instead, he simply dropped to the ground the instant he was alone.

Ichigo, he thought, is that really how I’ve been treating you? If so, then I must rectify it. But…how? What—what should I do? What do I want to do? Then, almost fearfully, What do I want this to be?

No matter how many times he asked himself, he couldn’t find the answers.

6.

Byakuya came out of his thoughts about the same time the sun went down, but that had less to do with the changing light and more to do with the large group of hollows that suddenly appeared in the direction of Ichigo’s house. For the second time that day, he found himself shifting into shunpo in a desperate race against the clock and issuing orders to his zanpakutou on the fly.

Senbonzakura, contact Ichigo’s zanpakutou.

Already done, milord. Ichigo has sensed them as well, and will meet you there.

Good.


They made it in time, but just barely. The following battle was like a blur to those watching it: Tensa Zangetsu’s speed and Senbonzakura’s shimmering blades joined in a beautiful, deadly dance that left their enemies in pieces.

But it was not without a price. For some inexplicable reason, one of Ichigo’s sisters ventured outside during the battle. One of the hollows, sensing an easy kill with innate spiritual power, targeted her immediately. Byakuya moved to eliminate the threat, Ichigo to protect his sister.

Even if he had been merely human, Byakuya had no doubt that Ichigo would have still gotten there first. The hollow’s claws pierced his back and penetrated completely through his body just seconds before the beast was obliterated. Ichigo staggered forward, sliding off the claws that were all that remained of the hollow with a wet, sickening sound. His sister screamed as he collapsed in a bloody heap at her feet and lay terrifyingly still. If not for the faint sense of his reiatsu, Byakuya would have thought him dead.

Byakuya’s vision went red with rage. He turned back to the hollows. “I don’t have time for you,” he snarled. They attacked as one, misinterpreting his warning as a weakness. He did not give another.

Bankai. Senbonzakura Kageyoshi.

It wasn’t a battle anymore. Those filthy hollows had tried to kill someone who Byakuya claimed as his own. He decorated the street with their blood. In seconds, it was all over. Byakuya quickly opened a gate back to Soul Society and carefully gathered Ichigo in his arms. He left without saying a word to the girl, or the rest of Ichigo’s family still inside the house. There was no time to waste if Ichigo was to survive.

If the preceding battle was a blur to onlookers, the desperate flight that followed it was even moreso to Byakuya himself. The next thing he saw clearly was a Fourth division shinigami taking Ichigo from him. Even though he knew it was the only way to save him, Byakuya didn’t think he could have let go without Captain Unohana’s steady presence waiting in the background.

He allowed another Fourth division shinigami to lead him off to get examined and cleaned up, but she probably could have stripped him naked and led him into Hueco Mundo without his notice. All his attention was on the faint flicker of reiatsu that was all he could sense of his lover. It filled his senses and he found himself unable to breathe easily until the small flame was fanned to life once again.

Eventually, Captain Unohana exited the room in which that flame now burned and made her way over to him, looking tired but relieved.

“He will live,” she said simply. “You may go in, but I must ask that you let him rest.”

Of course, he tried to say, and thank you, but nothing would come out. She smiled in understanding, and left him alone. Byakuya stumbled gracelessly into Ichigo’s room and sank into a chair at his bedside. For a time, he was utterly transfixed by the rise and fall of Ichigo’s chest.

He breathed. He lived. Those two facts had a profound effect on Byakuya’s perspective.

“When you wake,” he whispered, “we will have to talk. I do not wish to dismiss you, or to sever what has grown between us, though I suspect you may well believe so.” Somewhere, words existed that would fully define Byakuya’s feelings, but they remained far beyond his reach. His voice failed him. Byakuya reached out and laid his hand over Ichigo’s.

“Ichigo…I…I…”

“I know,” Ichigo said hoarsely. “I hate you, too.”

Byakuya flinched, suddenly afraid that it was already too late, but Ichigo wasn’t finished.

“But I lied about that before, didn’t I?”

“Yes,” Byakuya smiled. “As did I.”

Ichigo smiled tiredly at Byakuya’s admission. “Good,” he said, “because it’d really suck if I was the only one in this.”

“You are not,” Byakuya assured, giving in to a nigh-uncontrollable impulse to brush aside a wayward clump of Ichigo’s hair. Ichigo briefly closed his eyes and turned into the touch.

“I’m not,” he breathed. “I’m really not.” The rise of his reiatsu, heralded by the scent of blood and the sound of driving rain, alerted Byakuya that Ichigo had solidified his resolve on something. He didn’t have to wait long to find out what.

Ichigo turned back to face Byakuya directly, and his eyes slipped up, away from Byakuya’s face. “I wouldn’t be lying if I told you I hated that, you know. I really do,” he said, as if it explained everything. Byakuya was confused until, in a flash of insight, the significance of Ichigo’s line of sight dawned on him.

“By ‘that,’ do you mean the kenseikan?” he asked cautiously.

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“It marks you as a noble. As a Kuchiki. And you never take it off.”

Byakuya considered that. Ichigo was…upset that he was a noble? No, that didn’t feel right. In any event, it wasn’t as if his duty to his family was the only claim laid upon—wait. Claim. That was it. Ichigo wanted to claim him, visibly and unmistakably. He wanted a tangible reassurance that Byakuya truly wanted this.

Well, he wasn’t the only one.

“I am a noble. I am also a Kuchiki. I could never permanently lay those aside,” he warned.

“I know that!” Ichigo snapped, his famous hair-trigger temper finally rising to the fore. “I wouldn’t ask that! I just—“

“You want to take it off.” Byakuya wondered, briefly, if Ichigo could detect the scent of sakura blossoms and the feel of a warm spring wind, and if he knew what they meant.

Ichigo met his gaze without flinching. “I’m not asking you to be someone else, Byakuya. I’m just asking you to be mine, right here and right now, just between the two of us.”

It had never escaped Byakuya’s notice that his current lover was also one of the very few people to have ever broken the kenseikan in battle. Part of him had always known this moment would come. That part of him was unsurprised to find that he had already come to this decision long ago.

Byakuya bowed his head and allowed his lover to gently remove the kenseikan from its customary place. He sighed deeply and lowered himself the rest of the short distance to rest his head and arms on the bed. Ichigo laughed, a little shakily, and carded the fingers of one hand through Byakuya’s hair. He smiled, feeling his hair scatter from its usual strictly molded form under Ichigo’s touch.

You should terrify me, Byakuya thought, as he captured Ichigo’s unoccupied hand in one of his own. I wonder if I’ll ever find out why you don’t. Out loud he said, “I believe I will stay here a while longer.”

Ichigo’s answering smile seemed to light up the entire room. “Yeah,” he said softly. “You do that.”

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Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
evildrem
Sep. 26th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwww!
That was delightful and touching and I really hope you write some more of these two because you have their voices beautifully.

Loved your Urahara and Ukitake as well. I can see Ukitake getting that angry on Ichigo's behalf he is definitelyone of the only Captains which Bya will actually *listen* to.
zangetsugirl
Sep. 26th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Awwwwwwwww!
That's a big "aw." *laughs* Thank you. I'm glad they rang true for you.

Ukitake ended up in this fic almost by accident, really. The pattern of Byakuya's behavior was taking shape in my head and suddenly, the Ukitake muse just went nuts. Which turned out to be a good thing, because there would have been no way to pull a happy ending out of this without some form of outside intervention and, like you say, there's not many people Byakuya will actually listen to.
labymiro
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
...Speechless... I loved it and I envy your language... And aren't I glad of the ending... *happy sigh*
zangetsugirl
Sep. 26th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you liked it! The language was all due to it being in Byakuya's POV. *laughs* He seemed determined to test my vocabulary at every turn. "Yes, that would suffice, but I am not Ichigo. I would not phrase my thoughts in such a manner," sort of thing. He was all formal and highly structured and nearly poetic at times. If, God forbid, I tried to write the same story from Ichigo's POV, it would look very different.
luxken27
Sep. 26th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Okay...WOW. Once again, you know I don't know anything about this fandom (I had to go searching for some visual aids, haha), but I am...struck! I love these little bits and pieces. Can I name a favorite? Hmm...

#3 was my favorite overall, especially this piece of imagery:

“I am here because I was ordered to come. Nothing more,” he answered flatly without turning around. Ichigo took an abrupt step forward and his hand slipped from Byakuya’s.

So subtle...It's a bit of showing, not telling, which so many people struggle with. Brava! Once I figured out what the characters looked like, I was able to picture that whole scene perfectly.

I also quite enjoyed the rise in conversation in #5, as well as the denouement into his thoughts. Very nicely done! The dialog in Ukitake's speech was nicely controlled. I loves me some seething anger, haha :D

The end was great as well, with the whole symbolic removing of the kenseikan. Love it! Nice shades of meaning & feeling.

*one day I will have more, better adjectives...but considerinig my angst muse has had me in its grip for the last week or so, this is as bubbling and positive as I can get -- but I really, really liked it! As someone said above me, "wonderful use of language" :)
zangetsugirl
Sep. 26th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
*grin* Good thing I'm not actually trying to convert you to Bleach. (Pssst. I've got a lot of scans in my scrapbook galleries.)

"Show, don't tell" makes up a good half of my editing process, to be perfectly honest. The scene with Ukitake and the last one with Ichigo both went through three different versions before I settled on something that worked.

"Seething anger" is right! Whew! That was the sticking point in that scene--there's a fine line between that and "losing your shit," which Ukitake really doesn't do.

Ah, the kenseikan was fun. It's my new favorite symbol for Byakuya.

Ouch. *pats* Been there, hon. It'll let go eventually, don't worry. I'm glad you liked the story so much. *big grin* The language--or perhaps the style is more what I'm thinking of?--was really just an outgrowth of this particular point of view character. If you use one specific character's point of view, then you have to write how s/he thinks, right? Well, this is how Byakuya thinks--the one I'm working with, anyway.
luxken27
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
*grin* Good thing I'm not actually trying to convert you to Bleach. (Pssst. I've got a lot of scans in my scrapbook galleries.)

LOL! :) I don't mind looking around, reading around (especially your stuff) but I'm just in too deep with Inuyasha right now to really give the same amount of attention elsewhere. Now that I've scratched the surface of Sesshoumaru I'm in even deeper! These characters will not let me go.

But, the mere fact that I went looking for character designs & backstories should give you hope, hahaha.

"Show, don't tell" makes up a good half of my editing process, to be perfectly honest. The scene with Ukitake and the last one with Ichigo both went through three different versions before I settled on something that worked.

Well you are editing to perfection then! :) I think people tend to overdescribe a simple action to bring out its importance, with a few scant words would suffice, as they did here. Excellent! I just love that line I highlighted, and on the basis of that alone you made my rec list :P

"Seething anger" is right! Whew! That was the sticking point in that scene--there's a fine line between that and "losing your shit," which Ukitake really doesn't do.

Um, hello, it's something Sesshoumaru doesn't do, either :P so I feel your pain. You have to really focus when you want to have such a nice, compact sense of containment. One of the hardest chapters to write in my epic was between Sess & his mother, trying to display how much they absolutely despised each other without actually saying it outright.

I like these sorts of challenges, though, and I hope you do too because you rise to the occasion quite well!

Ouch. *pats* Been there, hon. It'll let go eventually, don't worry. I'm glad you liked the story so much. *big grin*

Heh, well, it's not letting go yet, which is pissing me off because I want to wrap up the epic story! It appears instead I will finish my surprisingly popular lemonfic first (which is okay too, it led me to finding some aboslutely hilarious marching band stuff on YouTube...). Oh, well.

(BTW, if you don't mind, when you get a chance...mind taking a look at the product of said angst muse sometime? I've gotten...wow, the responses I've gotten are amazing, but I don't really *know* any of these folks so I don't know how well I hit the mark. Just, you know, when your muses give you a break, LOL!)

The language--or perhaps the style is more what I'm thinking of?--was really just an outgrowth of this particular point of view character. If you use one specific character's point of view, then you have to write how s/he thinks, right? Well, this is how Byakuya thinks--the one I'm working with, anyway.

Well I like this character! I know it's a bitch to write such formal stuff, but when it comes out this well, it's so worth it :)
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh, I understand. Make no mistake--Bleach pays the rent around here. Most Bleach fics in general and anything Zanpakutou-verse in particular can backburner every single other project/fic/what-have-you that I've got. I just like to dabble more than you do. ;)

O_O Okaaaay...you're the second flister to rec this. I'm getting mildly freaked. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled, thank you very much, just...wow. I had no idea it would get this kind of reaction.

Ha! It's ironic you should mention Sesshoumaru. Byakuya and Sesshoumaru are actually a lot alike, I think. Regal, powerful, demanding, focused, serious parental issues, less competant in the emotional department than in combat, slightly unsure what to do with their younger sibling...granted, a few of those take on a more violent edge with Sesshoumaru... Nonetheless, Byakuya might be a character you would be interested in. *grin* I'll stop there, since I'm supposed to be NOT trying to sell you on my pet fandom.

O_o How does lemonfic = marching band...? You know what, never mind. I'm sure I don't want to know. And you're already on my list of things I have to read and soon, dammit.

Well I like this character!
*smirk*

You'd know about the formal stuff, wouldn't you? Your favorite character is hardly tossing around modern or informal language, either.
luxken27
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
I just like to dabble more than you do. ;)

Damn skippy! I don't know how you do it, either...I feel like I really have to get into a series to be able to write fanfic for it.

O_O Okaaaay...you're the second flister to rec this. I'm getting mildly freaked. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled, thank you very much, just...wow. I had no idea it would get this kind of reaction.

LOL, well, don't get too crazy. I doubt my rec list on my journal is getting tons of hits. It's mostly a place where I just compile my favorite writing, not an order for my minions to go and read! (For that, I'd have to have minions.)

Byakuya and Sesshoumaru are actually a lot alike, I think. Regal, powerful, demanding, focused, serious parental issues, less competant in the emotional department than in combat, slightly unsure what to do with their younger sibling...granted, a few of those take on a more violent edge with Sesshoumaru... Nonetheless, Byakuya might be a character you would be interested in. *grin

Um..yes? I definitely got that feeling as I was reading your fics, but I didn't want to say it out loud :-[ To me, these characters are the best kind to play with, trying to unravel their secrets. It can be frustrating, but oh so rewarding when you've done it well.

O_o How does lemonfic = marching band...? You know what, never mind. I'm sure I don't want to know. And you're already on my list of things I have to read and soon, dammit.

LOLOL...I promise, it's nothing so heinous as that. Just my weird, weird trains of thought. There is NO marching band in this lemonfic, I promise! This fic grew out of one of the prompts at one of the contest comms I'm a part of, and on a whim I decided to expand it and try my hand at the citrus. It's an AU (high school) - I know, the horror, the horror - and since everybody's been clamoring for a sequel, and since I'm a pushover like that, I've been trawling around trying to get a bit of music/mood inspiration. Somehow, listening to the stuff I listened to in high school brought me to finding clips of drummers on YouTube, which led me to marching bands and the HOSHITWTFWASTHAT?!!?! factor and trying to mix my memories of band with what band apparently is now and getting far, far too many LOLs out of it. Needless to say, I didn't get any work done on this fic last night.

Um, yeah. Video & explanation on the other journal. I think you'd get a kick out of it haha!

You'd know about the formal stuff, wouldn't you? Your favorite character is hardly tossing around modern or informal language, either.

O.M.G. Anytime you want to gripe about how hard it is to characterize these people in a believable way, you can come to me. Writing the Sesshoumaru chapters in my epic fic were incredibly difficult; I had to get into a completely different frame of mind, even away from the 'canon-verse' frame for the rest of the story. I think my absolute love for this character is the only reason I even attempted (considering how much badfic I've read of him *shudder*).
zangetsugirl
Sep. 28th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
It's not as bad as it looks. Look, it (currently) breaks down like this:
Fandoms I focus on writing for: Bleach
Fandoms I follow in canon but don't write much for (yet): Fairy Tail, D.Gray-man, One Piece
Fandoms I write for and/or follow in canon sometimes: Detective Conan, Saiyuki, Transformers
That's about all I deal with at any one time, and you'll notice the only one that gets the top slot with the muses is Bleach.

I'm trying to imagine you with minions. It's surprisingly entertaining.

See, I can't focus completely on a character like that for very long. It's just too draining, because I can never just scratch the surface.

...Now I'm picturing Inuyasha on the drumline. It shouldn't work as well as it does.

I'm about to tackle the latest chapter of the monster, which has been teasing me for months, and this time--cross your fingers--I'm going to finish it. It's entirely possibly I'm going to be bitching about recalcitrant characters and clashing points of view very soon.

I hate to break it to you, honey, but your fandom may just be the reigning champion of badfic. It's just so generous with the stuff. Not that any of mine are innocent on that count, but I don't think they come close to Inuyasha.
luxken27
Sep. 28th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
It's not as bad as it looks. Look, it (currently) breaks down like this

That's still six fandoms more than me :P We're just different, I suppose :) Variety is the spice of life and all that, yes?

See, I can't focus completely on a character like that for very long. It's just too draining, because I can never just scratch the surface.

I don't focus on any one character for a very long period of time (God, no, I couldn't do that either; I have to switch it up a bit!), but I feel like I'm not yet finished playing with these characters, in general :) My AUs seem to be surprisingly popular among the populace, so *shrug* Different universes, different ways to exploit character traits. I like the kinds of stories that can weave canon features in subtly/cleverly.

I'm trying to imagine you with minions. It's surprisingly entertaining.

:) Well then I am happy to report that participating in contest communities seems to have raised my profile a bit, and dipping my toe in the pool of Sess/Kag has earned me a bit of BNF recognition. I'VE ARRIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and now I'm just waiting for them to start lining up :D

Yeah...whatevs. I don't really have time for that stuff (though the recognition does make me squee a little bit...you know, when you find out your favorite authors know who you are and like your stuff? That's squeeworthy, yes?).

...Now I'm picturing Inuyasha on the drumline. It shouldn't work as well as it does.

Unfortunately, I had to ditch the drumline idea, due to already-released chapter constraints. But maybe another time...

I'm about to tackle the latest chapter of the monster, which has been teasing me for months, and this time--cross your fingers--I'm going to finish it. It's entirely possibly I'm going to be bitching about recalcitrant characters and clashing points of view very soon.

Then bring it on! Now that my angst muse as left me alone, I'm (hopefully) going to be able to concentrate on EH. I foresee many bitching sessions in our mutual future LOL.

I hate to break it to you, honey, but your fandom may just be the reigning champion of badfic. It's just so generous with the stuff.

And once again I thank my lucky stars I came into this fandom as I did. How I got all the good stuff to start with, I'll never know :)
liralen
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh... wow...

I loved both of them, and how you caught Ichigo's pride and his ability to take what he can have without... resentment. The first piece's hour and *how* Byakuya was left at the end really, really hit hard. I loved the image of Byakuya left with nothing but Ichigo's scent...

The elders. *grins* It's interesting to suddenly realize that by having them tell Byakuya what to do the moment Byakuya said he complied, I went "oh oh". *laughs*

I loved the gradual progression of Byakuya's... discomfort. And fell over at the line He jumped on it like a starving man on a four-course meal. Hee. Urahara. I love your Urahara. *laughs*

Ukitake was oh my god perfect, principled, exact, NOT making nice in the least, and cutting to the heart of the matter with the description of treating Ichigo as if he were a whore. And, then especially that touch of relief having reached under the Byakuya's defenses, touching on something real. Really extends the line on why Byakuya used -senpai for Ukitake in the manga. And why Ukitake would be looking out for Byakuya as well, and teaching him a bit as well.

I like how Byakuya loses his words when there is something sweeter to say. And, oh, I loved the use of the kenseikan... symbol in more than one sense. *smiles* Yeah, Ichigo did break it, didn't he? *dances about*

So much win!! Thanks for pointing it out when you were done!!
zangetsugirl
Sep. 26th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
*big grin* Oh, yes, thank you. That's exactly what I was going for with Ichigo. The first piece was my setup for the way Byakuya kept pushing Ichigo away, but Ichigo kept leaving pieces of himself behind anyway. I wanted to show that right from the outset, and that's an image I've been wanting to use for a while anyway.

*laughs* Yeah, the elders. Sooner or later, Byakuya's gonna get pissed off and let them actually meet Ichigo, and I don't know if Seireitei will survive that. That was supposed to be an "oh shit" moment.

Showing the effects of Byakuya slowly losing his cool on the people around him was just too much fun. There was more with Rukia and Renji, both here and at the end that wanted to sneak in, but I had to cut it out so the story would flow properly. Urahara snuck in because there's no one better in the entire Bleach universe to ask forthright, uncomfortable questions with a smile on his face.

Whew. That means a lot, coming from you. I knew from the moment Ukitake showed up that it was going to be difficult to get his part just right, and boy, was it. He's not a soft touch, not on something he feels this strongly about, but he's never unfeeling in his approach to anyone. Hard balance to strike. I didn't know Byakuya used -senpai for Ukitake, but it makes sense. They seem to have that kind of relationship.

*laughs again* Well, I did say to someone once that I had a hard time imagining Byakuya being sweet. But that was Zanpakutou-verse Byakuya, and I think I'm a little harder on him there, so he just squeaked past it here.

The kenseikan. I love the kenseikan now. I didn't realize how perfectly that would fit until I was writing it. Technically, it was Shirosaki that broke it, but I wasn't sure about that until I looked it up, so I figured I could get away with fudging it a little.

Thank you for the fantastic review!
liralen
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Happy to oblige, and happy to be able to touch on something you'd wanted to convey about Ichigo... that was nicely done.

Hee... Byakuya losing his cool was fun to read, too. Now I'm curious about Renji and Rukia... will that ever come out? And, yes, Urahara can asked the damndest things with that smile.

Yeah you got the hard balance right as far as I was concerned with the fact that he could tuck it all away again that quickly and with that much trust in Byakuya's answer. And, yeah, I couldn't quite imagine Byakuya *being* sweet. *laughs* That's why I loved the tongue-tied bits so much, I think.

It's cool when things do come together.
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
It's possible that the Renji and Rukia stuff will come out. Part of it, anyway. This fic was a vague idea of "Drabbleverse morning after" for months before I got the hook that let it take its current form. So, I'm not working on it right now, but that doesn't rule it out.
vraieesprit
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
“The Kurosaki boy is unsuitable,” the elder said almost immediately.

You’ve clearly never had sex with him, Byakuya thought before he could stop himself.


That alone just made me laugh out loud ;)

You write really well. Especially getting into Byakuya's complicated head...but the humour running through it was probably what made it. It was subtle enough to carry the story and Byakuya's turmoil without being over the top or detracting from it at all.

I also really loved Byakuya's relationship with Senbonzakura.

I'm not a Byakuya/anyone shipper in particular, but I always love well written stuff :D
zangetsugirl
Sep. 26th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *laughs* I need an "I'm complicated" icon for Byakuya. He looks so simple at first glance, but once you scratch the surface... I can't believe he wouldn't have a sense of humor, even if it was very, very understated, so I'm glad that worked for you.

That was actually the almost-fluffy version of Byakuya's relationship with Senbonzakura, believe it or not. I'm a little harder on the two of them when they're the sole focus of the story.

*dances* I'll take picky over shippy any day. *big grin* I'm glad you enjoyed it.
vraieesprit
Sep. 26th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Byakuya's rather like ogres and onions in that layer respect, ne...

I agree that he'd have a sense of humour. Just a fairly cynical, dry one, I imagine.

Bless, he's cute ;)

I'll haveta try and find time to read some more of your writing :D

I'm not pro or con any pairing in Bleach, particularly, though I do have a soft spot for Ishida's bumbling chivalry round Orihime and Renji's obsession with Rukia. Not so much so that I'm not open to any pairing if it's been written well XD

I wish I could write yaoi. I sort of feel it's something that needs to be written well if it's going to be written, keeping people enough in character to make it work, and I'm a little scared of that fact, t'be honest ;)

Vraie
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
I'll haveta try and find time to read some more of your writing :D
Well, since you mentioned it, I guess I can get away with a tiny bit of self-pimping. If you're looking for zanpakutou stuff, that'd be the Zanpakutou Chronicles, which is an ever-expanding series/universe/thing that focuses mostly on the relationship between various shinigami and zanpakutou. Things I've written on request--usually short stuff, in a variety of fandoms--can be found here, and the master list where you can find everything is here.

For me, Bleach isn't one of those fandoms where I only read one or two pairings. There are some that I really love, but as long as you don't have to murder the characterization to make the pairing work, it's not really an issue for me. I really like some well-written gen, too. Ishida and Orihime hit my "awwww" button like nobody's business, though. *grin* I don't read or write them much, but they're just so damn cute, whether it's romantic or not.

I tend towards yaoi because that's where my interests lie in the fandoms I'm currently active in. If I suddenly picked up one of the rare fandoms where I've got a favorite het pairing, you'd be seeing--gasp!--het around here. And because I'm anal like that, I'd hold myself to the same standards regardless, or so I'd like to think. *shrugs* As long as you get the characterizations right, everything else will line up. *grin* 'Course, if that's what you're afraid of, then that doesn't help much, does it?
vraieesprit
Sep. 27th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
Good advice, thank you.

I think the reason I've stayed away from yaoi most of all is because I've seen a lot of that kind of fic where the characters have been badly butchered to fit a plot and I'm very anally picky where characters are concerned, you know? They really have to be themselves, whatever they happen to be doing. I guess that's my standard too, since I'm real fussy about keeping whoever I'm writing as close to the original as possible (I haven't written a Bleach fanfic yet, having said that...most of what I've written for anime is Tenchi Muyou and Fushigi Yuugi).

I guess I just follow my instinct where pairing is concerned and it ends up how it does. I'm not averse to yaoi pairing at all, but if it doesn't seem to fit what I'm writing, it just doesn't happen. I think maybe I'm more concerned with other kinds of relationships between characters and there just never seems to be room for anything more *lol*. My stories always write themselves and my characters always take them over and do as they want anyhow :S

I guess the bottom line is if it isn't there naturally, it's not there...right? :)

I'll definitely try and find a moment to read those links you posted :)

Thanks again :D
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
*grin* Good standard to have.

*nods* Yeah, I've been known to do that, too. Some of my stuff is pairing-specific, and some of it is character(s)-specific--it ends up closer to gen unless you tilt your head sideways and squint. *laughs* If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say.

*rolls eyes at the trailblazing characters* Yeah. Been there, too. God forbid they pick a plot and stick to it...
7veilsphaedra
Sep. 27th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
I lined up your stories from the message you had posted on one of the Bleach comms, and as time cleared up today, have been making my way through the drabbles that led to this wonderful story. Then liralen cinched it with her rec. This was a pleasure to read. Byakuya is such a royal bastard in it, right up until Ukitake shoves his face in the realization---just as they were in the original arc---and Uruhara doesn't have the power to affect Byakuya that way, only Ukitake---so terrific characterization, and an interesting well-structured plot. Well done!
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
First, let me just state for the record that that icon is terrifying. Also, thank you! I'm glad it worked so well for you.

The thing about Byakuya is that he is a noble, and he's gotten the requisite programming teaching all his life. "Royal bastard" is effectively his default, so it takes a swift kick in the pants to get him to readjust. Cue Ukitake, who--if I've got this right--has more respect for a noble's obligations to the people around him and under his protection than he does for the position itself. I'm not sure how Ukitake earned a spot on the very shot list of people who can get Byakuya to listen, but... *shrugs* You don't mess with what works.
7veilsphaedra
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
*nods*

"The curtain that shall fall at the end will be pulled down by the blade of my sword" would be my cue to run. I didn't post it for that reason though. The background with its dried blood colours and inference of shattered glass, and the blue, oxygen-starved colouration of his skin was intended to convey shattering, breathtaking epiphanies and self-realizations, which felt appropriate for this story.

Byakuya's nobility is the only concrete, immutable, dare I say bullheaded thing about him---except when he allows himself to love and protect, I think. When he is allowed to release himself from that crushing sense of obligation, such as when he realized that Ichigo wasn't fighting him personally in that first arc, this alluring sense of softness and gentility comes out. So rare.

I'm not sure how Ukitake managed that either, except that perhaps Byakuya recognizes that it is only the truly strong who can be as gentle as Ukitake, and the reason why Byakuya recognizes it is because that resonates within himself.

zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
*is a bit embarrased* Oooooooh...I thought he was wearing makeup. *laughs* Now that I look at it like you're describing it, it does seem appropriate.

Oh, go ahead with the "bullheaded." He totally is. It's kind of like a shield for his soft and gentle side, or an excuse to repress it.

That...totally makes sense.
7veilsphaedra
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
*laughs* Nope, not makeup. I love the Fauvism and German Expressionism movements in modern art, and they use every colour in the palette in their faces. I tend to exaggerate this, but that's what I like.*shrugs*
7veilsphaedra
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
And yes, that shield effect is what you've captured beautifully in this story.
zangetsugirl
Sep. 28th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
*clicks the links* Wow...talk about using every color in the palette. I can see the influence. (And I don't mean that in a bad way.)

*laughs* Talking about characters--any characters--always gives me ideas, but that's neither here nor there.
(Deleted comment)
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you! The bit with Ukitake was the part that pulled this story together from the vague collection of ideas that it was beforehand. Byakuya...he gives me fits almost every time I write him, but I really love writing him anyway. *laughs* I didn't say it made sense.

Oh, Urahara. I love using him to torment the other characters. He's so good for that.

I'm so glad that the emotions came through well in this, and that the humor worked, too. I was hoping the balance between the two would turn out okay.
lilyoftheval5
Sep. 27th, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
My admiration and congratulations - you convinced me of the pairing.
zangetsugirl
Sep. 27th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you, m'dear and welcome to the madhouse. ;D
askani
Sep. 29th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
This was very enjoyable. you've gotten both of their voices right, the whole thing just flows so nicely.

I love when Rukia rings Renji to dinner with Byakuya wondering why he'd want to see more of Renji. The made up assignment just to get him to the human world is great as well.

I think I'm going to hunt down some more fic for this pairing. ♥
zangetsugirl
Sep. 29th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! There was more to the Rukia and Renji bit at the end, but I had to cut it because it seemed to be getting too long and messing with the flow of the story. I may end up writing it anyway, eventually.

youkai_girl has some good stuff. I know there was more I particularly liked, but I can't find it at the moment.
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