A Midnight Stroll
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo.
Warnings: Spoilers for the Soul Society Arc
AN: After Aizen's defeat and beyond. Also, this is set in the same universe as my Jyuushiro/Rukia series.
#01 - Walking
The night is their favorite time, strolling through Seireitei without bother or care.
#02 - Waltz
"But, nii-sama," Rukia puts in forcefully, her voice long ago losing its polite and obedient tone, "you have to; it's tradition!"
#03 - Wishes
Ichigo has no idea what to ask for his birthday; he already has everything he'll ever need.
#04 - Wonder
His expression is almost child-like when he takes Byakuya into Rukongai, watching as the streamers and festival dancers flutter all around them.
#05 - Worry
He hasn't been this antsy since his fight against the second Espada, but somehow, he thinks that Byakuya's grandmother will be far more frightening.
#06 - Whimsy
The inner lining of his haori matches Byakuya's, and a part of Ichigo thinks someone planned it that way.
#07 - Waste/Wasteland
The nightmare is such a common and foolish one, but Byakuya still dreams of Las Noches and the sight of blood on the sand.
#08 - Whiskey and rum
He does not like alcohol and never has, and despite Kyouraku's absolute horror, it will not be present, regardless of the occasion.
#09 - War
It is over and done, so many lost but so much gained.
#10 - Weddings
Rukia looks at them with visions of ceremonies and receptions dancing in her eyes, and Ichigo feels a shiver of dread go down his spine.
#11 - Birthday
"No," he yells to Byakuya's retreating back, "absolutely not, and don't you dare tell Goat-Face about this!"
#12 - Blessing
Byakuya's grandmother is grizzled and nearly bent double over her cane, but her cool grey eyes brighten and a smile actually graces her thin mouth as she watches them approach.
#13 - Bias
It is a mere happenstance that Ichigo chose the fifth division; the fact that the sixth is next door is entirely coincidental.
#14 - Burning
His touch is like fire against Byakuya's skin, hot and nearly scorching.
#15 - Breathing
The only sound is their heavy panting as they slowly come back to earth.
#16 - Breaking
The tinkle of broken china is their first hint of an audience; Renji's strangled gasp is their second.
#17 - Belief
He wonders what he did to deserve such happiness, or perhaps this is the world's way of apologizing for Hisana.
#18 - Balloon
"What is this?" he questions at the pink and blue monstrosities that fill his office, courtesy of Ichigo's sisters and demented father.
#19 - Balcony
Jyuushiro knows that they think they're hidden, but from his elevated position, the pair is all too obvious.
#20 - Bane
He hates the Kenseikan, a physical symbol of the Kuchiki clan's stranglehold on him, and he is more than glad when Ichigo ignores the elders and refuses to wear one.
#21 - Quiet
Renji still can't fathom why he and Byakuya spend so much time in the garden, contentedly sipping tea and allowing the world to pass them by.
#22 - Quirks
Byakuya likes his tea lukewarm but his food hot, his candy to be sweet, and for Ichigo to sit by him at every meal.
#23 - Question
"When?" Rukia asks, eyes sparkling with excitement and other things far too scary for her brother to name.
#24 - Quarrel
Byakuya quickly learns how to apologize, and Ichigo… how to forgive.
#25 - Quitting
Some days, Ichigo just wants to pull his hair out in frustration, and he often wonders how Byakuya has managed to put up with such stupidity for so long.
#26 - Jump
"Byakuya," his senpai tries to assure him, "it's not really that big of a deal; you practically live together already."
#27 - Jester
Renji is such a fascinating shade of red, voice high and squeaky as he hurriedly backs out the door.
#28 – Jousting
"Come on, king! Let's see if we can knock 'im from that high horse o' his."
#29 - Jewel
His sister's marriage to Ukitake is a relief more than anything, but they still feel the need to threaten her husband as every good brother should.
#30 - Just
He knows that he probably doesn't deserve this, but it is Ichigo's smile which truly drives that point home.
#31 - Smirk
Byakuya's lips curl upwards as he slowly presses Ichigo into the wall behind him.
#32 - Sorrow
"I never thought I'd actually see her here… in Soul Society," he whispers in a strained and aching voice, fingers held tightly in Byakuya's grasp.
#33 - Stupidity
Youth does not equal idiocy; something Byakuya often struggles to remember, despite Ichigo's many reminders.
#34 - Serenade
For such a seemingly loud person, Ichigo prefers quiet, and their comfortable silence is a song all its own.
#35 - Sarcasm
Their spars have been elevated to an art form, filled with cuts and stabs, both verbal and physical and all too accurate.
#36 - Sordid
There is nothing dirty about what he has with Kurosaki Ichigo, and Byakuya makes that fact very clear to his foolish cousins.
#37 - Soliloquy
He does not have to say the words for Ichigo to know he was sorely missed.
#38 - Sojourn
Their trips to the living world have become something of cathartic experience, reinforcing the knowledge that Ichigo chose correctly.
#39 - Share
The fifth division is his if he wants it, but he remains silent until his hand is given an encouraging squeeze beneath the table.
#40 - Solitary
It has been so long since he's slept alone that he stays awake the entire first night of Ichigo's mission, bed empty and cold.
#41 - Nowhere
The meeting is long and dull, but their conversation is without words as they gaze at each other across the room.
#42 - Neutral
His face is cold, indifferent, a sure sign that a great deal of groveling is in Ichigo's immediate future.
#43 - Nuance
There is a lilt of something nameless to his tone, but Ichigo is swift to get the hint and leave his paperwork behind.
#44 - Near
He would know the hum and tingle of this reiatsu anywhere.
#45 - Natural
That is his true hair color, but Byakuya has yet to tell anyone of his discovery.
#46 - Horizon
The sun sinks lower until it is all but invisible, and still, they sit and stare out into the garden.
#47 - Valiant
Ichigo is much beloved by his division and by Seireitei at large, but everyone is very much aware who has the strongest claim.
#48 - Virtuous
"Could ya please, please not do that here?" Renji begs, face the same shade as his hair.
#49 - Victory
Ichigo is triumphant, defiant as he congratulates himself on a spar well done, and Byakuya is gracious enough to concede if only to keep that smile a little longer.
#50 – Defeat
If he had known things would end this way when they first fought, Byakuya thinks that he may not have tried so hard to win.