The Solitude Sometimes Is

By

PND

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

AN: Byakuya and Ukitake. Mentions of Hisana. Once again, as seen in most of my stories regarding these two, Byakuya is listed as Ukitake's lieutenant.


"Is something bothering you, Byakuya?" Ukitake's concerned voice swept into his lieutenant's ears, bringing the young man back to the world.

"No, Captain," Byakuya said stiffly, trying to keep his eyes locked on his captain's warm brown orbs instead of his charismatic smile and slim white neck. "I'm fine, thank you."

"You don't sound fine," Ukitake's throaty chuckle twisted its way in Byakuya's soul. "Why are you here?"

Byakuya fought the urge to blush like some hormonal teenager. His teeth ground together for a few seconds before he shook his head. "I was taking a walk and stopped to think."

"Really?" Ukitake's warm body brushed against his as he leaned on the railing of the bridge beside him. The scent of honey-tea and Ukitake's musk was enough to get his heart racing. Byakuya nodded firmly, trying to ignore his fluttering organ and the way his captain's hand was casually pressed against his hip.

Damn, he needed to get away. Byakuya pushed himself away from the railing and straightened his robes. He knew Ukitake was probably still smiling behind him. A quick glance was all he needed to see.

Ukitake's eyes were closed and he was fanning himself with his hand, the other pulling his long, white hair up away from his slender neck. A few beads of perspiration glistened on his skin, but the smile was still there.

Byakuya's breath caught in his throat as the hand stopped fanning to pull open his robes a little. He ripped his head away from the sight, blush now raging across his cheeks.

"It's hot out here, isn't it, Byakuya-kun?" One of Ukitake's eyes cracked open as he spoke, taking in how flustered his vice-captain was beginning to look. "All of these layers are tiresome."

"I can only imagine," Byakuya's voice was still cold as steel, but he could only do so much before either his voice or his restraint broke. "Perhaps you should go inside, Captain."

"But it's such a nice day," Ukitake insisted, motioning to his lake and garden that were settled around his rooms. "I couldn't bear to be cooped up inside, Byakuya. I think I might go for a swim."

That information left Byakuya's mouth dry. He stood there numbly while Ukitake blinked innocently from the rail.

"Did you want to join me, Byakuya?"

Was it just him or did his captain's voice get a little huskier?

"It won't be a problem if you want to, you know. Swimming is so much more fun when two people are doing it."

Byakuya couldn't resist nodding his head in agreement. His mouth was still to dry to speak.

Ukitake started undoing his obi as he walked to the far side of the walkway and into the garden. Byakuya stumbled after him, insanely curious. His blood pressure must've gone up tenfold because he was having trouble doing simple things like seeing straight and keeping his footing. He reached for his obi, fumbling with the bow in his haste to remove it.

Ukitake's haori was already folded neatly on the ground and his tabi were lying uselessly beside it. Byakuya watched in awe as his captain stripped the last of his clothing and splashed into the cool lake water.

He must've been staring for quite some time because Ukitake paused to look at him. "Aren't you coming, Byakuya?"

Byakuya swallowed the best his dry throat would allow and hurriedly slipped off his hakama and waded into the chilly water.

"Captain," the lieutenant managed to regain some thought once the icy water splashed up to his waist. "Is it a good idea for you to swim in this? You might get sick."

"Don't be so worrisome, Byakuya," Ukitake laughed, making lazy circles in the water with his finger. "The water will warm up in no time, I'm sure."

"It will?" Byakuya moved deeper into the water, closer to his captain. "It's really too early to be swimming, Sir."

"You're too tense," the captain chided, moving so that he was behind Byakuya and started massaging his shoulders. "You really need to loosen up so more. It's not healthy to be so uptight."

"It's not," Byakuya's shoulders tightened more as the wet fingers started to knead down his spine. "Captain, please..."

"Is there something wrong, Byakuya?" Ukitake's fingers slowed. "I'm not doing it too hard, am I?"

"No," Byakuya made the mistake of turning and looking into his eyes. Ukitake blinked and started to pull his hands away, not sure what to make of the shaded look in his subordinate's eyes. Byakuya caught them and dropped his gaze to the space between them before closing it with his body.

"Byakuya," Jyuushirou breathed hesitantly, cheeks turning a pale shade of pink at their closeness. "What are you doing?"

The younger man shivered with cold as he pressed Ukitake's body close to his, dropping his lips to the curve of his slender neck and twisting his fingers into the curtain of wet hair that hung down the man's back.

"Byakuya," Ukitake strained, placing his hands on the younger man's shoulders and pushing him back. "What would Hisana say about this behavior?"

"Hisana's dying."

"What?" dark brown eyes narrowed and strong fingers gripped Byakuya's shoulders. "What do you mean?"

"She's sick," Byakuya informed him blatantly. "They say she won't get better."

"Oh, Byakuya," Ukitake loosened his hold and he stared at the young man for just a moment before he drew back his hand and slapped him. Wet skin stung against Byakuya's dry cheek. His captain looked furious. "You're such a fool."

"I'm a fool, am I?" Byakuya snapped back, not pleased at all. "I'm a fool to seek comfort from someone I care for? What fool am I, when it was you who was so intent leading me on like that?"

"Leading you on? Byakuya, I would do no such thing!"

"No? Loosening your clothes like that in front of me, the idea of swimming despite the fact it's weeks too early, and massaging my shoulders. You honestly think that you'd fool me by having the decency to act confused? No, that's not like you at all, Captain."

"You're right, that isn't like me," Ukitake agreed quietly, dark brown eyes pinning the younger man to the spot. "Maybe I was leading you on a little, but at least I'm not like you. I would never hurt the one's I love it that way. That is one admirable thing I can say for myself." Ukitake let a short breath escape his lips as he climbed out of the water and wrapped his white haori around himself. "Hisana is waiting for you. Go home to your wife, Byakuya."

The young noble watched as Ukitake gathered his belongings and head back into his small sanctuary on the lake, content to act as if nothing had happened.

Damn that man.

Damn Hisana.

And damn himself.


Wow, that was pretty sad. I didn't feel like finishing it, so I put it up as is after adding two hundred words after letting it sit for a few months. Um, yeah.