Title: Gracious
Fandom: Bleach
Characters/Pairings: Byakuya/Hisana
Word Count: 601
Ratings: G
Warnings: None
Author Note: I thought of this at completely random while reading this crossover with Inuyasha and Bleach. It had nothing to do with it, of course, but it popped up then. xD
Summary: She knows she's not supposed to, but she is excited to watch.
Disclaimer: The icon is from Donness' icons.

Her fingers dig deeply into the bark of a tree, heart racing, chest aching. Every night this week, he's spent the night out training, pushing himself to the point of breaking and further, all in the name of some goal--attaining this dream of pride. This pride that might actually destroy him.

Still, she silently urges him on, hoping that, one of these nights, he'll give a genuine smile, feel accomplished and complete the dream that she knows is just within his grasp. It's not so farfetched to believe that he can do it. Everyone is confident that he can.

The swirl of petals stirs up the wind, a flurry of glittering pink cutting through trees, dicing up anything to stand in their path violently, even her beloved husband standing in the center of their twister of power, hands extended and a look of pure concentration on his face. Her heart breaks to watch him struggle so. It isn't power he's lacking, or even training. Something like this seemed to be easy, once the right level was reached, but it's obvious he is disappointed in himself. It is a futile struggle with pride against pride. His elegant blade refuses to obey his commands.

She watches for a few more minutes, reaching out her own hand, as if that will pacify the beauty ahead. Byakuya-sama's pride is what she must respect, though. He wants to do this on his own and without anyway to defend herself against the disgruntled blades of cherry blossom pink, she would only be a hindrance to him.

She turns, hurrying back to the manor to await his return. It's already well-known that he knows she follows him on the nights she's out in the Rukongai, searching for her precious sister that has eluded her so far. He scolds her every time he comes home, steely eyes glittering with concern and irritation at her blatant disregard for her own safety.

It's almost dawn when he arrives home, depleted, defeated, but holding his proud and regal posture. "Hisana..."

"Would you like to have some tea with me, Byakuya-sama?" She asks politely, lifting a cup to appease him. "We can watch the sunrise together."

He stares for a moment, probably debating on whether or not to scold her, but takes the cup instead and sits down beside her on his heels. His eyes are focused on something far away, something farther than the sunrise or even the world of the living. Something that she could see dancing in his eyes whenever he warns her he'll be out late training.

Slowly, against her status, she reaches up and grasps his chin gently. His dirty shihakushou and shallow cuts are nothing to shy away for. No one will know, no one need see that he's a husband for a single moment and his pride will be protected. In his lap, as awkward as it feels, she leans close and buries her face beneath the chin still in her grasp.

"You will do it, Byakuya-sama. I have faith in you. You are just as stubborn as 'she' is."

His chin dips. Her fingers move through his hair and over the kenseikan, proof of one of his various accomplishments.

The light silence that falls between them carries that aura of elegance and beauty that she could drown in, shying away from his tantalizing lips to watch the sky slowly brighten.

She barely catches words unheard of, cradled in his arms, but the message is clear.

Gratitude is one thing she never heard and probably wouldn't hear again. It's something she'll hold close to her heart.