title: immolation

pairing: Byakuya/Rukia

genre: soft-core angst with a light side of pr0n

summary: Byakuya and Rukia made a mistake on the night Kaien died, and it's one of the reasons why he never looks at her – and why she's glad he doesn't.

rating/warnings: M for sex (but nothing too explicit). Also, contains angst and melodrama.

spoilers: none beyond the end of the soul society arc.

01.

Her adopted older brother was looking at her, maybe for the first time – and she found that she didn't really like it at all, not now. It made her uncomfortable, to think that maybe he cared. It made her even more uncomfortable when she considered what he was seeing now – a bedraggled, blood-stained and empty-eyed shadow, and one that resembled his wife, no less – or so the others in the house had told her. Either way, as she stood framed by the door and staring at the floorboards beneath her, he merely continued to stare.

She half expected him to make some snide remark about getting blood on the floor, but he didn't. Rukia fixedly stared down at it – it was Kaien's blood, still wet, dripping along with water from her sodden robes and onto the wood beneath them.

She was also waiting for her brother to dismiss her, but the curt, disapproving words – 'you may leave' – weren't coming. Perhaps it was the horrifying tale she had just choked out, but she couldn't see why he cared. Byakuya had always resented Kaien, and his opinion of the 13th division and its sickly captain had never been high. He certainly wasn't about to console her or offer her words of comfort. She knew she would break completely, if he tried. Comfort was the last thing she deserved, and Kuchiki Byakuya was probably incapable of comforting, anyway.

After all, Rukia preferred blame. When she finally dared to raise her eyes and meet his – an act brimming with both an oddly fearless amount of disrespect and some desperate need to be chastised – Byakuya only continued to look blankly at her, his expression unreadable. It was hard to tell, but he almost looked unnerved for a few seconds, before his eyes narrowed.

"Rukia."

Hearing her name on his tongue was as much a surprise as it was ominous.

"You shouldn't have disobeyed a direct order from your captain, regardless of the outcome of the battle." Byakuya's tone was a relief to her, as cold and distant as always, coolly stating a truth she was already aware of. "Why did you turn back?"

Rukia could think of no excuse, she couldn't even answer the question. The mild reproach in Byakuya's tone didn't even sting this time, because she knew he was right. He expected an answer, though. Hesitating – and not wanting to explain the truth, that cowardice had both made her flee and then turn back – she finally came up with a convincing lie.

"It was foolish, nii-sama. Captain Ukitake was extremely ill, and thought that he might need back-up."

Byakuya clearly didn't buy that, but he didn't call her out on it. The disapproving expression in his eyes only deepened – before, suddenly, he looked away, turning his back on her like always. It was a relief. For a while, his flat gaze had almost made her feel as if she was worth looking at, but now his back was turned again, his eyes were elsewhere, where they belonged. She was not worth his time tonight, when all she had to show him were wet robes, empty eyes, and bloodied hands.

"You may leave." If his turned back didn't suffice, the cold, uncaring words were enough. Rukia turned, and unsteadily limped out – uninjured, perhaps, but also exhausted, cold and blanketed in the poisonous remnant of the hollow's spiritual energy. By the time she reached the hall outside the room, the sensations became overwhelming, and she barely held her ground against oncoming nausea and panic.

Once halfway down the hall, her world seemed to abruptly shatter. She saw Kaien's face again, heard his thanks, and fell to her knees, covering her mouth to stifle an immediate scream of horror and choking back muffled sobs. She lingered, unable to even regain the icy composure she'd somehow found earlier in the night, and it wasn't long before her brother soundlessly came to stand behind her, hearing the disturbance. It was too late to care whether or not he saw her in this state – for once she had ceased caring what he thought, and as outlandish and rebellious as it seemed to her, she wanted to brush him off and tell him to leave. She half-expected him to step around her and walk off down the hall, and for a moment, it did seem like he was going to simply move past her. Something stayed him, though, and he lingered as she struggled to regain some kind of control.

Her choking sobs – for Kaien, for his wife, and for her own pathetically shattered spirit – had already wrenched something loose inside her, and after a few strange moments she found herself helplessly detesting Byakuya, wishing he had never looked twice at her, wishing he could just walk on and leave her. The sobbing intensified even as she tried to stifle it – she was the one to blame, and being angry at Byakuya was foolish. Everything that was happening now was only due to her despicable cowardice, and what part did he have in that? She continued to sob, torn by memories of Kaien and terrified by her brother's silent presence. A few minutes passed and Rukia forced her tear-filled eyes upwards in a quick glance, unsurprised to see that he was pointedly looking the other direction.

By the time she looked down, though, he made a move – and in a manner that was both awkward and insistent he took Rukia's arm and hauled her back to her feet, only pausing for a moment before abruptly beginning to escort her down the hall by the arm.

He had never touched her before – and even now she could tell it took every effort for him not to jerk away – but he guided her through the halls, none too gently and yet not too roughly, either. Byakuya was not a brutal individual – and he hated being touched and touching others, so it was a surprise -- and almost horrifying -- to feel his long-fingered hand on her arm now, as he half-dragged her through silent corridors.

As soon as they entered one of the private rooms, though – away from the eyes of the servants and the other Kuchiki lords, who had been attracted with a kind of morbid interest to the display – Byakuya's entire manner changed. He didn't release her, but his grip loosened a little as he eased her towards a futon – and as panic quietly brewed within her, Rukia heard his voice and realized he sounded only vaguely disgusted.

"…This is a shameful display, Rukia." He sounded almost resentful, too, and even if it was what she expected, Rukia felt her stomach twist into knots as he continued. "Stay here until you've composed yourself. Surrendering to such needless emotions isn't necessary."

Feeling even more pathetic – and disgusting – Rukia swallowed and uttered a whispered apology. "I'm sorry, Nii-sama."

Byakuya only looked at her. His face was bland and condescending all at once, and when he said nothing she spoke again, not liking the silence.

"Nii-sama… I… I've come to my senses." She murmured. "The blame for killing Kaien belongs to me. I shouldn't have disobeyed orders… And I'm sorry to have caused you trouble this evening. Please punish me as you see fit."

She had control again, even if she was shivering – and Byakuya's cold, condescending expression became completely inscrutable before he spoke again. "…Your punishment is not my responsibility."

Rukia felt a brief trickle of surprise, but it evaporated as soon as Byakuya turned away.

"…Rest for now. In the morning you will report to your division headquarters… I will speak with Ukitake, and request that your punishment be light."

Rukia felt a wave of barely restrained shock. As disgusted as Byakuya sounded, his words were not as unkind as she expected – and yet, even if she'd seen it coming, his curt dismissal was almost crushing. As childish as it was, she didn't want to be left in solitude.

The reason for it wasn't fear or loneliness. For some reason, she expected – wanted – more of him, even though it was despicable to ask. Before a second thought and common sense could remind her of the immutable barrier between them, Rukia acted on impulse, a near desperate desire for him to look at her again, and acknowledge her wrong-doing. She lunged forth and grabbed his robes. Byakuya froze, and gave her a look that she equated as both shock and silent outrage. She wanted punishment for her misdeeds now – a stern lecture, outright disgust, maybe just another frigid look – because she knew Ukitake was too compassionate and lenient of a man to bother with it, and her brother was the only one careless enough and wise enough to know that she deserved it.

"Nii-sama, please…forgive me for disappointing you… I'm sorry I didn't live up to your expectations. I'm sorry I'm nothing like your--"

Luckily, she realized how utterly idiotic the words were before they came, and Rukia almost cursed herself for allowing so much raw panic out in front of her brother. It was too late for regrets, though. Letting him leave the room silently would have been the proper and wiser thing to do, but she felt an almost desperate need to apologize, even as he coldly gazed at her.

Suddenly, though, it occurred to her that Byakuya had frozen – and his expression was now completely unidentifiable. Answering her plea seemed out of the question. She thought he seemed remarkably close to turning around and walking away without another word, but in a quick glance at his face, she looked into his eyes and actually saw fear. It was there for a split second, disappearing in an instant and yet still terrifying her – before he seemed to come to some kind of decision.

In an almost amusingly awkward fashion – Rukia might have found it funny if the atmosphere in the room was less tense – he nudged her back towards the bed, forcing her to be seated.

"…You should sleep," He pronounced, with a kind of haughty self-importance that hid his own discomfort, before bending over slightly. "Good night."

Rukia expected some kind of cold dismissal, but she didn't quiet expect this. Byakuya bent over slightly...

Amidst all the shock and horror leftover from Kaien's death, Rukia didn't even know how to react, at first, when her adopted older brother gave her a perfunctory and yet telling kiss on the forehead.

She supposed it was something he felt distantly obligated to do, and he meant it as nothing except a brief and forced display of familial warmth - but that didn't stop her from drawing in her breath far too sharply. Still, Byakuya must have found a rather mechanical display of affection (probably as fake as it was forced) preferable to attempting to verbally acknowledge her presence. She supposed it was a kind of dismissal in itself – but when Rukia attempted to return the gesture (Byakuya looked almost ridiculously tense) the mistake was made. The desperation and fear of the night had permeated her mind, and somehow, as either a kind of self-defense against losing her sanity or an attempt to distract herself while it happened, she returned the rather meaningless gesture by brushing her lips against his. They shouldn't have lingered in it, but they did -- and that was the second and most grave mistake.

The feeling of obligation vanished within a few seconds, all innocence and propriety leaving the gesture in a flash. Her mouth was on his, and when she tilted her head back, he leaned forward, and her lips parted slightly, as she realized that the hot flush in her cheeks and tingling deep in her belly meant she was enjoying this in all of its horribly wrong and taboo-laden madness.

It was already too late for restraint. Rukia's eyes slid shut, and she felt his fingers lightly trace along her arm, searchingly and with barely restrained desperation.

All of their fumbling attempts to become family that had occurred before this night had now failed, and even if she'd had the feeling all along, she was certain now – they could never truly be siblings to one another.

02.

Rukia marveled at the softness of the down sheets beneath her and how constricting the folds of her robes suddenly felt, as Byakuya (nii-sama) eased her onto her back, leaning over and still gently and yet insistently kissing her. She kept her eyes closed and so did he – it was easier… Always easier not to look at and be forced to acknowledge one another. It was dark in the room, anyway, and even with eyes open, they would have guided one another by touch alone. Thunder rumbled in the distance – rain was falling in the Rukongai, but storms always seemed to pass by the Seireitei.

His fingers still traced up and down her arm, and he was trembling slightly. She wondered if it was fear. Byakuya did not willingly break the rules often, and the fact that they hadn't stopped meant that they had mutually chosen to disregard them. Rukia tried not to think about it, but it wasn't much of an effort – the sensation, the warmth building inside of her, and the sudden need for touch quickly distracted her from everything else.

Renji had kissed her before, but it wasn't like this. They'd been much younger, and his clumsy, inexperienced fumbling was a far cry from the hesitant and yet experienced manner in which Byakuya touched her. Maybe, at the end of the day, Renji was supposed to be the one she loved, but the wildly enticing, forbidden allure of being touched by a man she feared – and admired – coupled with the wrongness of it tugged at her senses and made her feel almost as if she was on fire. On second thought, maybe she was just feverish. It was hard to be sure.

Byakuya's fingers curled in the fabric of her robes. The clothes she wore were wet and unpleasant, even more so now that arousal seemed to be heightening her senses – and he began cautiously undoing them, perhaps expecting her to move away. Rukia didn't. She chose to lie beneath him instead, feeling wanton and pathetic all at once, and yet…? She realized, with no small amount of shock, that she really did have some kind of power over him.

"Rukia…"

He seemed to hesitate, but before either of them had second thoughts, she reached up, brushing her fingers along his cheek (and opening her eyes, although neither of them dared look at one another directly) and encouraging him to lean forward. He kissed along her neck and pulled her soaked robes down her shoulders, parting them and baring her breasts.

Rukia felt a mix of vulnerability and relief. He still wasn't looking at her – even now – but there was no real need, not when his fingers traced lines down her body, memorizing by touch what he didn't dare to memorize by sight. She hadn't guessed Byakuya would be so gentle – his fingertips lightly trailed along the curve of her now bared left breast and circled around the nipple only briefly, before dipping downwards, cautiously exploring her navel. Rukia realized she was wrong about one thing. It wasn't experience that guided his hands. He seemed to have some kind of distant memory of having done this a few times before, but what she'd mistaken for restraint was really hesitation. He imagined he was trying to forcibly suppress memories of having touched his wife, this way. She knew this wasn't his first time, it couldn't be – but it had been a very long time, and he was clearly trying not to think about his last…

…and before the thought could terrify Rukia into shoving away, he continued to lightly kiss her neck and eased her out of her robes completely, leaving her nude beneath him and sprawled along the downy covers. His fingers errantly brushed along her navel one more time before dipping down between her thighs, parting them, and touching her in a way that was both frightening and terribly arousing – but only frightening because she tried to stifle a moan, failed, and then shuddered. She couldn't hide how much this was affecting her, not as he delicately fingered her and she lusted for more, while his lips followed the path his hands had already mapped out, kissing lightly up her arm and then along the gentle swell of her left breast.

After a moment, though, he paused, noting her almost desperate attempts to hide her own reaction.

"…Am I your first?"

Even in this state – wanton, almost overwhelmed by lust – Rukia knew she was still very capable of absolute and utterly unpleasant fear. She didn't know what to say. She knew fumbling around with Renji back in her academy days had never amounted to her losing her virginity, but for some reason, she didn't want to admit that this was the first. She didn't want him to think that she was "loose", either, but in the long time it took her to respond, she decided upon a lie for reasons she didn't really consider.

"No… I'm sorry, Nii-sa-"

"--Don't call me that."

The reproach in his tone was tempered by the fact that he had undone his own robes. She looked at him – watching him undress, unsurprised to find that she started comparing him to Renji. Even if she and Renji had never actually been together, she had seen him practically naked just once – and because he was the only other man she really knew, she felt oddly startled by the stark contrast between her memories of him and her adopted brother. Byakuya was smaller - his hips and thighs were slimmer than Renji's, and in many places, his bones were as tightly defined as his muscles. If not for those muscles, which were lithe and tightly defined under a thin layer of flesh, he would have almost been scrawny, Rukia decided. He was beautiful, though – it was easy to see why so many women in the seireitei secretly (and sometimes openly) lusted after him, and not just for his money and his status. Rukia found it oddly difficult to understand why someone like him would want to be with her, but she tried not to question it.

It was pointless, anyway. Once he was undressed, he avoided having to look directly at her (it was almost impossible to make eye-contact, Rukia knew) by settling down and lightly kissing one of her pert nipples. She helplessly arched her chest, before he drew back a little, pausing.

Rukia kept her eyes averted. He was sitting and looking at her, still idly fingering between her legs and making her struggle to keep from writhing in pleasure and repressed need, but something told her that he was having second thoughts. She duly expected him to find her inadequate and abruptly stop – but then Rukia saw that he was just as aroused as she was, and she wondered if maybe he was just making some last-ditch effort at self-control. Less than a few seconds later, their eyes finally met for one terrifying moment. His were unreadable, watching her as she just laid on her back, flushed, panting, her thighs spread wantonly, and frightened – before he slid one hand underneath her, lifting her slightly (and effortlessly) and easing into her as she struggled to keep from gasping.

She couldn't help it. Rukia felt a rush of desire and a feeling of being violated in some way all at once, but the stronger of the two emotions – the deep, longing need for touch, and nii-sama's, no less – won out, and she slid her arms around his back and succumbed, no longer trying to hold back what she felt. It was painful, at first. She'd never been this far in her fumbling with Renji, certainly, but it wasn't an overwhelming pain – more like discomfort, really, and Byakuya went slowly, probably mindful of what she was feeling just by gauging her sudden tenseness. He was far more in touch with her feelings here than he was at any other time during the day. It surprised her a little, but she was losing the ability to think too much about anything.

The tenseness in the muscles of his back drew her attention briefly. He was trying to control himself and shaking slightly with the effort, but after a while, when the pleasure began to heighten (her senses were already in overdrive) and the discomfort faded away she began to arch into it, and the tension faded abruptly.

The futon underneath them creaked menacingly and rhythmically. Byakuya stopped shuddering, and he seemed to have stopped breathing regularly, too, except for the occasional gasp – and Rukia, caught up in the heated pleasure and yet trying to hold several terrifying emotions at bay, actually cried out twice, the first cry coming out as a rather incoherent moan and the second more damning – instead of Byakuya's name, another name far more detestable came out of her mouth. Upon hearing the name, he shuddered mightily, although whether it was from some kind of nameless fear, anger, or because he was coming inside of her was something Rukia couldn't and didn't want to figure out.

And then it was over. He eased away from her, and lingered on his stomach across the futon, his head facing the other direction. She laid, breathing in slow and yet uneven gasps, dazed, tingling all over, and in a state of complete relaxation – utterly removed from the horror of earlier in the night and yet certain that it was going to return soon. Finally, she opened her eyes, looking over at him just as he straightened up, turning – and then he reached downwards, touching the mattress between her legs as if seeing something unusual there. Rukia just stared, not entirely sure what he was doing – and then she realized that he had caught her in her lie.

She had never been penetrated before now. It was a clear message, written in the tiny droplets of blood on the mattress.

"…That was your first time," It was a statement and not a question, and Rukia could hear disgust dripping from his tone. She froze, before beginning to pull the sheets over her exposed body and apologizing.

"Nii-sama, I'm s--"

"—You shouldn't have lied," he replied, and in the silence broken only by rumbling thunder in the distance, it seemed like he was speaking to her, but on second thought, it didn't appear as if he was entirely aware of her presence, anymore. Rukia realized that what she heard in her brother's tone was utter and complete self-disgust. But after a few silent and uncomfortable seconds, Byakuya turned away from her, lying sideways on the bed and facing the other direction. Rukia knew this was as curt of a dismissal as any, but he didn't plan on leaving, and she didn't have anywhere else to go.

03.

When morning came, Rukia awoke to find that her brother was still lying in bed next to her – a surprise, certainly – but he didn't stay for long. Instead, Byakuya sat up as she did, and in the half-light of earliest morning they looked at one another, speechlessly. Byakuya's eyes seemed lifeless; Rukia felt scared and empty, if only because the lingering sensations of pleasure mingled with fear and discomfort were now fading away and leaving the memory of the act imprinted on her mind, burned alongside memories of Kaien and her Captain's shouting and the horrible sensation of warm blood gushing from a gaping sword wound and onto her hands

It was a potent blur of remembered sensation. She wished none of it had happened now, especially when she realized that she had cried out Kaien's name at the peak of her own climax.

Byakuya's eyes narrowed, almost as if he could read her mind – and for a moment, he looked torn between scorn, anger, hatefulness, disgust, exhaustion, and sadness. The expression that resulted made him seem younger and almost frighteningly vulnerable, though it vanished as soon as he abruptly rose from the bed and pulled his night-robe back around himself, as if nothing had happened.

"…You should report to Ukitake soon. It wouldn't do for him to come here looking for you," Byakuya remarked, sounding bored, disdainful and little else. Rukia remained sitting in the bed, staring at his back and holding the blankets up around her body in shame. He walked silently to the door and paused, looking back at her.

"…This won't happen again," He said, trying to appear nonchalant even if the words were so forced he almost seemed to choke on them. Then he left, and the door slid shut behind him.

Her older brother was gone, and Rukia remained, almost trembling with the prospect of seeing Ukitake and the rest of her division after the events of last night and trembling even more with the knowledge that from now until the day she died, Byakuya, her adopted and honored elder brother, was going to do everything he could to avoid looking at her ever again.

Last night such a thought would have terrified her. Now that it was morning, though, she felt a kind of muted relief – even though the cold intensity of his gaze was unchanged from the night before, all she had seen in it now was a distant and yet desperate longing.

End

author's notes

1. Hey... that's the first time I've written smut of any kind. I guess I've lost my fandom virginity now.

2. I hate using Japanese in a fic written in English, but there's no exact English equivalent to "nii-sama" that doesn't sound awkward. So there.

3. Please leave reviews, I greatly appreciate any kind of feedback you may have.