Breath of Silence

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo.

Warnings: Spoilers for Soul Society Arc

AN: For DracoQueen22, who wanted Byakuya/Hisana, and for the Bleach contest on LJ. The prompt was "Sex."

They don't share a bed. It isn't proper, and he secretly suspects that she wouldn't want to do so even if it is. They come together at night for one thing and one thing only, and she doesn't stay long afterwards.

But when he feels her outside his door, he allows her in before she can even announce her presence; Byakuya knows why she is here. It has been over a week, and they are still newlyweds, not even married a year. The servants talk. His relatives talk. Everyone talks but no one dares say anything to his face. And his grandmother is already beyond the stage of hinting for an heir. She wants one now, and Hisana bears the brunt of her frustrations.

He lets her inside with a soft greeting that she returns hesitantly, and Byakuya simply luxuriates in the sight of her. Delicate fingers twisting at her sleeves. Silken hair sliding into her face as her head lowers. Vivid eyes fixed on the floor. And he would stand there forever, content and at ease if she would let him.

Yet, his hand lifts of its own accord. Touch a caress against her cheek. She shivers and not from desire. But she still takes a deep breath and steps in closer, using that as all the invitation she needs. Byakuya lets her do as she will because he knows the consequences if he does not, but he can't help but feel a bit empty when she refuses to meet his gaze. Her hands pull off his haori and obi with little difficulty, and his shihakushou is soon to follow. Byakuya just stands completely bare before her, but she doesn't even see him as her teeth worry at her lip.

He finds her beyond beautiful in that moment. The moonlight on her skin makes her all but luminescent, radiant in the dimness of his room. And he can't help himself as he slips the fabric from her shoulders and to the wooden floor. As he grasps her hand and leads her to his futon, pulling her down beside him.

Byakuya leans in to kiss her then, but she deftly tilts her head away. His lips meet her cheek instead, as they always do. He has only ever truly kissed her once. On the day she accepted his proposal and never afterwards. There is something too intimate about it for her. Too much like bearing her soul and giving away that last little part of herself.

She has his heart. And his name. His home. His family and fortune. Anything if she wants it, but all he has is this. The feel of her underneath him. His mouth on her neck and her face pressing into his shoulder. Feet skating across his legs but not willing to wrap around. Body responding though her soul does not.

He whispers into her hair as he nears completion. Voice giving everything he feels into the words, aching and bleeding before her.

Hisana acts like she doesn't hear.

And they lay there afterwards hearts racing and skin flushed. Side by side and only barely brushing. But soon enough, she sits up. And even then, even after what they've just done, she still won't look at him. He wonders if they ever manage to conceive a child if she will then. If she'll even do it for her own blood and flesh.

His heart twists in his chest at that thought. Beating with the force of a tsunami on the shore. And it is all he can do not to follow her. Not to jump to his feet.

He wants to scream at her. To rise and demand that she lift her head. To tilt that chin up and make her look. To have her fingers touch him willingly. He wants her to speak the words and mean them. Not out of honor or duty. Or because he took her from Rukongai. But out of desire.

He wants so much. Too much. Too little. Barely anything at all.

Byakuya wants for her to say his name. Just his name and nothing more.

But with all things, reality is a cruel mistress.

"Byakuya-sama?" Her tone is light. Not even betraying the disgust she must feel at having whored herself out to him once again.

Byakuya says nothing. He doesn't know what will happen if he dares open his mouth, what words will come out. He just lays there and watches the light dance across her back and arms. Satiated but hollow as his eyes close momentarily.

He feels her slip from his futon then. As though that is all she needs to make her escape. Listens to her dress in silence. Absolute and complete. Gaze undoubtedly on the floor, the wall, or anywhere else but his bed. Hears her slide the door open and then ghost through, feet a light brush against the floor.

Byakuya simply stares at the ceiling for a long minute and then closes his eyes again. Moisture behind his lids. Emptiness inside his chest as he listens to her walk away. Soul ripped to shreds and breath now coming in short gasps.

They don't share a bed, and for once, he is grateful.

Ever Hopeful,