And THIS is what I get for reading so much Byakuya and Hisana. Sigh.

Disclaimer: Me no own.

Dedication: To the boys that have been mine since the dawn of time: Mike and Torrey. Do either of you have any idea of just how much I love you?

---

He loved her the first second he saw her. He didn't know what it was about her, but he loved her. He loved the way her hair fell, and the way her eyes were so knowing, but at the same time, they were so innocent. Or it might have just been the fact that she glowed.

Her name was Hisana. And she was beautiful.

But he was Kuchiki Byakuya, and he was the first son and only child of the noble Kuchiki family. So of course he was never going to be allowed to marry her. She wasn't acceptable, according to the elders, not acceptable at all.

But that didn't stop him from loving her.

She was so good, was all he could think. So pure. So human. And it as terrible, because in the Seireitei, that humanity was looked down upon as weakness.

But she was not weak, he thought, and he also thought that he was going to love her forever.

Forever being the operative word, of course. Forever simply didn't seem like long enough. Because eventually, even Shinigami die. And then they would be reincarnated into the human world once again, having lost all memory of their previous life.

And Byakuya could not stand the thought of not seeing Hisana. And he knew without a doubt that, if she left this world, he would follow after her. Because he could not be without her. Her smile was the only thing that he lived for, at points.

And the more time he spent with her, the more sure he was of this fact. He was also slowly realizing that she loved him, too.

And he wanted to marry her. He wanted to marry her more then anything. But it would be so looked down upon. And he would never hear the end of it from the elders. But it would make him so happy. But how could he ever make someone like her happy? She was so good. But the world needed people like her, because it was diseased, and she was a healer by nature, Hisana was, and it took all of his will to share her with other people.

Because if he had his way, they would be married. And that smile, so gentle, so warm, would be his forever.

And so they were married.

It was a quiet ceremony, when the cherry blossoms were blooming, and there were petals everywhere, settling in both their hair, and slipping off Yamamoto's bald head as he read them their vows.

He thought she'd never looked more beautiful, with her cheeks pink, and her hair, so black it was blue, contrasting against the stark white of her dress and the pink of the background.

They didn't run down the isle the way she wanted to, but as soon as they were alone, he picked her up and threw her in the air, a goofy smile plastered on his lips. She'd later commented that no one would ever have believed it - Kuchiki Byakuya with a smile on his lips, and much less over a girl.

The morning after they're first night as man and wife, Byakuya watched her sit at the table, her hand supporting her chin, and he thought, not for the first time, that he loved her.

But she got sick soon after that.

He was frantic. No. No. No, nonononono, she couldn't leave him, she could not. Because without Hisana, there was no point in existing, and he'd told her that so many times. So many times. And she was a healer. She should have been able to fix this, to get better.

But she never did, and he watched his beloved wife fade away like the withering of the cherry blossoms. It took a long time. So much longer then it should have, and Byakuya had always been selfish, and he didn't want to lose her. So he searched and searched for a cure. There was nothing.

But to watch her in such pain… He simply couldn't do it anymore.

She asked him to find her sister, and of course he agreed. Because she was Hisana, and he was going to love her until the end of time. No, not even 'til the end of time. He was simply never going to stop loving her, even when they'd both ceased to exist, he would never love anyone as he had loved Hisana.

He watched her as she was hovering on the brink of life and death, and all he could do was hold her hand and whisper to her about how much he loved her. No one else was in the room, and he had always been so much freer with her when they were alone.

She just wanted him to stay.

And he would. Of course he would; he can't even imagine the world without her in it. He doesn't want to imagine the world without her in it. But he watches her slip away with a last, soft, rattling breath, and he resolves to find the sister Hisana has never known, because it is what Hisana wanted, and he had never been able to deny her anything she had ever wanted, no, never, never, never, never-never-never, and he knows that if her sister is anything like the beautiful, warm, dead girl -no, she's a woman, has been a woman for years- in front of him, he knows that he will never be able to deny her anything either.

But he will not love Hisana's sister as he loved Hisana. Because Hisana was special and beautiful and amazing, and his heart simply has no room for anyone else, so there was no reason to pretend he could love anyone else.

And he meets the girl the next year. Her name is Rukia, and in many ways she is like Hisana, but she lacks that something that so drew him to Hisana in the first place. And he does love Rukia, but he loves her like she's his daughter, and he is quickly protective of the tiny girl who looks so much like the one woman he will never forget.

But Rukia does not know she is Hisana sister, and he does not care to enlighten. Because that was another thing he promised Hisana, that the girl would never know exactly why she had been taken into the Kuchiki household.

And he watches the girl who is quickly becoming his younger sister fight and work and survive, and he thinks that Hisana would have been proud of this stong, minute girl with Hisana's eyes.

But Byakuya knows he has broken another promise, the one he made to himself. He promised he would leave the world after Hisana left it, but he could not. Not while Hisana's promise bound him to finding Rukia, and when it is complete, he finds himself unable to simply end his own life.

Because now there are other people who require his time, one person in particular, one person named Rukia. She rarely speaks, and shows only the utmost respect for him, and he finds himself missing Hisana's brash and casual way of addressing him.

And then Rukia goes on an extended mission to the human world, and Byakuya finds himself at a loss. It would easy to go after Hisana, he thinks, now that Rukia is gone, but, once again, he is unable to leave this world.

He mourns the fact that it may be centuries before he finds her again.

---

A war and a half later, and he is under the impression that Rukia has fallen in love. She's suddenly acquired the glow that he had often seen shining in Hisana's eyes when the latter had looked at him, but he wonders just who the light in Rukia's eyes is shining for.

There are, after all, so few people that the elder Kuchiki would approve of for his younger sister.

Kurosaki Ichigo is not one such person.

And when he discovers that Kurosaki is the one that his younger sibling (in so many ways it was true, and Byakuya would simply not allow such incivility in his family) that Rukia is chosen, he is shell-shocked.

But Byakuya knows he really has no right to tell Rukia that she is not allowed to marry whom she wishes. And so he does not tell Kurosaki the 'no' that is hiding just behind his tongue when the orange-haired man asks for the younger Kuchiki's hand in marriage. He barely manages a 'hn', but he manages it, and both Kurosaki and Rukia and ecstatic.

When he sees this, Byakuya fondly remembers the day that Hisana told him 'yes', and he knows that he has made the right choice. Rukia will no longer be a Kuchiki, but perhaps it is for the best. He has never seen her happier, and when she asks him to walk her down the isle, of course he says yes.

Because Hisana would have wanted to it be such, and Byakuya knew that he would never be able to tell Hisana no, no matter how many years would have passed.