Sakura Petals and a Hollow's Mask

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo.

Warnings: Yaoi, Slight Language, Complete Sap, Spoilers for the Soul Society Arc and beyond

All characters are depicted as legal age in this chapter and subsequent ones.

AN: Yes, I realize this is sappy and probably OOC, but I just can't bring myself to really care.

#01 - Motion

Together, they are a whirl.

#02 - Cool

The ladies of the Shinigami Women's Association think that the two of them together is the most romantic thing ever; Rukia can't help but agree that her matchmaking skills are sublime.

#03 - Young

Ichigo is just a child, but he knows himself, knows what he wants; Kuchiki Byakuya never even had a chance.

#04 - Last

Yoruichi was his first love, Ukitake his second, and Hisana his third, but Ichigo will definitely be his last.

#05 - Wrong

They are simple and well-matched, and Rukia has made certain that any dissenters are forcefully quieted.

#06 - Gentle

At first, Byakuya is always tentative in his touches.

#07 - One

Even now, centuries later, a single kiss is all that is needed for Kuchiki Byakuya to come completely undone.

#08 - Thousand

A millennium wouldn't have been enough for him to recover from his failed marriage.

#09 - King

For all that he might as well be a prince, he still lived in a broken palace, abandoned and unloved by everyone, and not even his own wife ever cared for him.

#10 - Learn

Ichigo might have been inexperienced going in, but he's an apt student, and Byakuya is a surprisingly good teacher.

#11 - Blur

Their days pass in a haze of sparring, snippy half-arguments, and more joy than Byakuya ever thought possible.

#12 - Wait

Ichigo has never been patient, and he refuses to sit idle for several decades to finally be with his lover.

#13 - Change

It does not come easily for Byakuya, but one day, he wakes up to see a veritable stranger in the mirror; strangely, he finds this new person a vast improvement.

#14 - Command

Byakuya has a powerful presence, one that Ichigo has come to appreciate more and more as the number of their fans increases exponentially.

#15 - Hold

Strangely, it comes as no surprise that Byakuya is a secret cuddler.

#16 - Need

Ichigo has always been independent, and despite his great affection for his family, he has never required anyone before.

#17 - Vision

The sight of a very alive and mostly intact Byakuya hovering over him eases the fear that had been gripping his heart.

#18 - Attention

The weeks following his sister's aborted execution, Byakuya finds his mind straying more and more to Kurosaki Ichigo, often wondering just what the boy's relationship is with Rukia.

#19 - Soul

Ichigo always scoffed whenever his father mentioned soulmates, but he's definitely not laughing now.

#20 - Picture

Rukia has a secret photo of them that neither knows about; it features them wrapped around each other, sleeping.

#21 - Fool

Ichigo is an idiot, something he freely admits, but being with Byakuya is probably the smartest thing he has ever done.

#22 - Mad

The Kuchiki elders are beyond enraged when Byakuya announces his intentions, but a single taste of Ichigo's reiatsu, and they quickly realize the error of their ways.

#23 - Child

He is little more than a boy, but Byakuya just can't seem to stop himself; he has never had happiness so easily within his reach.

#24 - Now

During the war with Aizen, they tried to live in the moment, but afterwards, they can finally plan for the future.

#25 - Shadow

Time stretches out as they quietly sit in the garden, watching the sakura blossoms flutter in the breeze and basking in each other's company.

#26 - Goodbye

Byakuya never could say farewell to Hisana, holding onto her memory as tightly as possible.

#27 - Hide

Byakuya masks his true self from the world, scared of what others would think if they knew just how painfully awkward and vulnerable he really is.

#28 - Fortune

Once, Byakuya would have given everything to make her love him; now, he realizes that he has something more valuable than all the riches his family possesses.

#29 - Safe

Ichigo is secure with Byakuya; he always knows exactly where he stands, and he never has to guess if the other man will be there when he needs him the most.

#30 - Ghost

The spirit of his dead wife once hung over them, hovering just beyond sight no matter how hard Ichigo tried to dispel her.

#31 - Book

If someone were to ever write down their life stories, and Ichigo is sure that someone will eventually, it'll would be filled with everything a good tale needs.

#32 - Eye

Byakuya's are his most expressive feature; they are a cloudy grey when he is angry and a pure silver when he is filled with ecstasy.

#33 - Never

Ichigo is ridiculously stubborn, and when he decides to do something, he won't ever stop until he is finished.

#34 - Sing

Byakuya has a rather nice singing voice, something that is only readily apparent when he has had enough alcohol to sufficiently lower his inhibitions.

#35 - Sudden

To some, their joining is unexpected, coming completely out of nowhere; to their friends and family, it is about damn time.

#36 - Stop

Never once has either of them questioned what they're doing; there has never been any need.

#37 - Time

The years went by slowly but pleasantly in Soul Society, and soon enough, Ichigo has spent a century by Byakuya's side without even knowing.

#38 - Wash

More than anything, Ichigo chases away all of Byakuya's regrets, leaving behind a person that he had thought long forgotten and lost to the four winds.

#39 - Torn

Ichigo is stuck between his birth family and his chosen one in Soul Society, but Byakuya makes it very clear to Isshin and his two daughters that he is more than willing to share.

#40 - History

The Kuchiki clan is one of the four noble families of Seireitei, but only under Byakuya's leadership and with their new additions have they actually become worthy of the title.

#41 - Power

Ichigo is stronger than anyone he has ever met, but Byakuya is only grateful since it means that he is more than capable of protecting himself from the worst Aizen throws at him.

#42 - Bother

On his days off, Byakuya doesn't roll out of bed until at least ten, often too content to move.

#43 - God

He is a god of death, a Shinigami, but before the war with Aizen, he was never truly alive.

#44 - Wall

Talking to Kuchiki Byakuya is sometimes downright impossible, but somehow, Ichigo has always managed to get under his skin.

#45 - Naked

Ichigo blushed redder than Renji's hair the first time Byakuya ever saw him without clothes, and even now, Byakuya recalls the incident rather fondly.

#46 - Drive

Ichigo has the strength and determination, Byakuya the knowledge and experience; together, they are all but unstoppable.

#47 - Harm

The only one who has ever really been able to hurt Ichigo is himself, and Byakuya does his utmost to prevent that from happening again.

#48 - Precious

Byakuya treats him like something valued, like someone to be loved and cherished all his days.

#49 - Hunger

Isshin always described romantic love as an insatiable need, which can only be appeased by the presence of one person; Ichigo thinks that for once his father wasn't far off the mark.

#50 - Believe

Byakuya never thought that redemption might be within his reach, but as he stares down at the sleeping figure next to him, he realizes that it is more genuine and tangible than he had ever imagined.

Ever Hopeful,