Runaway Like a Prodigal
"Yoruichi, don't you have someone else to pester?" Byakuya asked, staring at the former shinigami with a certain weariness and distrust that only Byakuya would have of Yoruichi. He had opened the rice door when he felt someone get close and had prepared a long speech on how he was not in the mood for another lecture from one of the other captains, but when he saw Yoruichi he didn't even bother to try being polite.
"Not at the moment. Anyway, I heard that you and your new wife were having trouble in the bedroom."
The catlike woman watched Byakuya's eyes light up in anger before he questioned in his usual coldness, "How is that any of your business?"
"Actually, it's the Soul Society's business since you two are supposed to produce the next heir to the Saturn throne and the Kuchiki clan." Yoruichi suddenly grinned as she chastised him. "And I was kind of wondering what you'd think your children would look like. I hope they are a bit nicer then you are. And cuter."
"Get. Out. Now." Byakuya forewarned her in an icy voice that would have sent most shinigami running, but Yoruichi had known Byakuya since he was just a punk kid like Ichigo. She had no fear for she still saw him as the little teenager who had desperately been trying to please his grandfather. That, and the fact that a purple-eyed girl peeked out from behind Byakuya in a red turtleneck who smiled brightly, was what also made Yoruichi confident that Byakuya wouldn't actually throw her out.
She looked up at Byakuya with those pretty eyes, "Bya-chan, we can at least offer her tea." Yoruichi bit her tongue so not to break down laughing at the nickname. "It would be rude if we didn't."
"She will cause nothing, but insanity. I promise you that." His left eyes started twitching at the two women.
"What harm could it do?"
"You don't even want to know."
"You didn't mind when Makoto or Rei came over."
"They aren't obnoxious. Or insane."
Yoruichi grinned and poked the noble in the forehead as the vein in Byakuya's forehead pulsed. "He just doesn't like me because I drive him crazy. So, are you Hotaru?" The girl nodded. "I like to have jasmine tea."
"Alright, I'll be right back. Byakuya entertain her while I get the tea ready." Hotaru scampered off.
"What? No-she is not-" The captain stopped when Hotaru turned to glare at him. Yoruichi saw the silent glaring contest. Hotaru then smiled at him, causing him to falter and this caused Yoruichi's laughter to echo in the Kuchiki mansion.
"I don't understand the problem," Yoruichi sighed with her legs crossed as she sat with Byakuya outside in the garden with tea in their hands. The two watched as Hotaru tried to battle with an evil weed that was making havoc in the Kuchiki garden. And out of great boredom, Hotaru had declared that it was her job to get rid of this pest. "It's not like you don't know what you two got to do. I don't even know why you two are waiting. If you two just did it and get it over with then you two can live happily ever after in your separate worlds."
Byakuya's eyes narrowed into angry slits. "She's a child. We are waiting for her to grow up a little." In an elegant fashion, he brought the cup to his lips. His left eye brow made a small twitch when he watched his wife suddenly stumble into a bush of roses. Petals fluttered everywhere in her wake as Hotaru broke out laughing. Something that was still unheard of in the Kuchiki manor since Hisana died and Rukia left to live with her husband in the human world.
"Oh, excuse me. How old were you and Hisana when you two were married?" Yoruichi argued as she stared at the girl in wonder as well. The girl was a child, but every child had to grow up one way or another. "She's seventeen, prime sexual age anyway." Byakuya started coughing; choking on the tea he had been drinking. Hotaru reacted by jumping up from her garden and rushed over to the two.
"Byakuya? Relax! Relax! It was only a comment."
Hotaru looked at her husband with worry, "What happened? Sit up straight Byakuya, that'll help clear your air passages." The violet-eyed girl forced the captain of squad six to sit up as she patted his back. Yoruichi watched in amazement. She had never seen the two actually touch. Byakuya'a coughs reduced to annoyed grumbles for a few moments before Hotaru finally tore herself away from him.
Yup, Yoruichi thought to her dismay, no attraction what so ever.
"I'm fine, thank you, firefly." Byakuya said softly as he gave her a small pat on the hand. "Go back and get rid of that ugly weed. It really is an eye sore."
Not even lustful eyes! God, how were they going to produce an heir if nothing was there? Well, there was always Captain Kurotsuchi, but she doubted that Hotaru would willing go up to the scientist and ask Can you artificially impregnate me? Hell, even Yoruichi didn't want to go near that man.
Hotaru grinned. This small grin gave Yoruichi a little hope. It was mostly due that it was one of those cute little grins that revealed all the nice features on her face. It was a true smile that Byakuya probably hadn't seen in ages.
When Hotaru ran off Yoruichi started in on Byakuya again. "She is not a child. And I'm sure she would hit you if you said that to her face."
Uncharacteristically, Byakuya put down his cup and narrowed his eyes at Yoruichi as he said, "I refuse to hurt her in that way."
"She's a child, Yoruichi. She still believes that everything will work out. She tries to make this work. She actually said, 'I love you' to me a few days ago. The first night she slept with me she cried in the bathroom. She was scared, don't you see that? She would be terrified of that idea. She's not ready. Now. Let. It. Go." Byakuya warned before sipping his tea.
A large sweat drop appeared behind her head. This is so damn hopeless.
"Then why don't you try to make her comfortable?"
This question earned her a strange look from him that even Yoruichi didn't even recognize. She mentally hoped that it would be a look that Hotaru and Hisana would only understand.
"I assure you that everything will be fine, Captain." Setsuna ensured with graceful hand motions that hypnotized other shinigami. "I've seen them in the future. Byakuya is very open with her." She walked side by side with Yamamoto who didn't look comforted by the Senshi of time's words. They were to meet up with the other captains to have a serious conversation that had been getting on everyone's mind ever since Aizen was killed by the substitute shinigami: heir to the Saturn kingdom.
"The only reason I even agreed with this arrangement is because of your visions of the future. I originally wanted Hitsugaya to be her husband." The elder sighed with pain and discontent that made the Senshi of time frown. "Hitsugaya is closer to her age and Byakuya isn't exactly willing to be with another woman after Hisana." Yamamoto reminded the green-haired woman of this. "And the two keep getting into more arguments then agreements. They barely even sleep in the same bed."
"Things will change."
"Are you so sure?"
Setsuna nodded, "To let you in on a little secret, I think Byakuya is going to…" she leaned down and whispered the rest into his ear. The old man grunted with agreement.
"Fine, but I'm still worried about this."
Byakuya had gone through some humiliation before, but this…this was insane. Cruel even, but he knew he had to do it. He stalked through the walkways of the Soul Society. His hair blowing in his face as he mentally wondered if Hotaru remembered to close the window in the house. It would get cold if she didn't. Then that uncomfortable situation would happen again.
Byakuya mentally shuttered at the thought of dealing with that scene again. It had only happened a few months weeks after the wedding when he left a window open for the night. He figured that if Hotaru got cold she would just grab a blanket. But she didn't. Instead she had crossed the personal boundary that the two had silently agreed on. She rolled on him to get her warmth. And when morning came, Hotaru had let out a scream which caused him to fall out of the bed. Hotaru then avoided him for the rest of the day.
"Captain Kuichki, what are you doing here?" Byakuya looked up at the man that Yachiru had always called "cue-ball". Ikkau was busily polishing his sword and looked like he was a bit bored.
"Bya-chan!" Byakuya was suddenly being hugged tightly by Yachiru who had planted a wet, sticky kiss on his cheek. He felt the ulcer in his stomach burn as he grabbed the small shinigami and put her on the ground.
Yumichika also stood there with a small confused look, "Well, well, isn't this a surprise? Oh did you bring you're cute little wife-y along?" He asked with a grin as Byakuya shook his head. Yumichika was one of the few shinigami who had little fear of Hotaru. He mostly saw her as a doll and always commented on her "dark beauty."
"I need a favor from you…" Byakuya began slowly, feeling quite humiliated though he didn't show it.
"What kind of favor?" Ikkau asked with one raised eye brow.
Byakuya coughed, "The Kuichki house doesn't hold any alcohol. I need some for Hotaru's eighteenth birthday."
"It's Firefly's birthday!" Yachiru asked before cheering. "Yeah! Then they'll be lots and lots of cake!"
"So you need us to go to the human world to see what she likes, right?" Yumichika asked as he clapped his hands together, "I know exactly what to get her."
"I can promise you…Peacock…" Byakuya honest couldn't remember his name so he used the nickname that Yachiru called him, "That if you get her any makeup, she'll throw it away. Get her a book or something nice like that. Something she'll actually use." Byakuya warned as Yachiru danced around to the fact that Byakuya had used the nickname she gave Yumichika.
It was that stupid Yoruichi who had started all of this anyway. If you want to know how she feels, give a cup of saki or some other kind of alcohol.
Byakuya had sighed as he walked away from the group. He already knew how she felt about him. She did her best, but she simply didn't really even care for him. He could see it whenever Renji or Yumichika would visit her and she would relax. She would smile and giggle. This was something he could only witness from afar.
Was he….He shook his head from finishing the sentence.
"God damn it all!"
He walked back home to find Hotaru in the kitchen, desperately trying to do something wife like so she could fit in with the rest of his family. It wasn't going very well. The vegetables were cut wrong and something was burning in a pot. He could smell an odd mixture of spices. She kept looking at her creation and the cookbook that was opened.
Hotaru sighed as he watched with intense interest. Hotaru had her headphones in and her hips were swaying from side to side. He tilted his head, not quite sure what to make of this. She was humming along to the song. He walked behind her and grabbed her hands as he silently showed her how to cut the vegetables and lowered the temperature of the boiling pot. He added a few extra spices to even out the smells as Hotaru watched with pure fascination.
She took out her head phones as she said, "I'm just as bad as Usagi. Makoto got me this cook book for a wedding present and…well…" Her shoulders slummed. "Where did you learn to cook?"
That ended any conversation that Hotaru had tried to start.
She went back to trying to figure out the directions as Byakuya walked out of the room.
"God, Byakuya just sucks at this. No wonder he wants some liquor." Ikkaku commented as he and Yumichika had watched the scene through a crack in the door. They just had to come and see what was going on since Byakuya had actually asked for them, but had stopped when they saw the small conversation taking place. "Maybe we should get him some harder stuff though…"
Ikkaku watched as his friend thought for a moment before answering, "I don't honestly believe that is the reason why Byakuya wants some alcohol. Hotaru is a young woman who is a pure as newly fallen snow…"
The third seat shinigami broke down laughing, "You think that Byakuya wants to screw with her? HAAHAHAHAHAH!"
"No…I think he wants to get her comfortable." Yumichika shook his head with a small sweat drop appeared behind his head.
"But…But! AHAHAHAH!" He hugged his stomach like this was an insanely funny joke. "Him and her…AHAHAHAH!" Ikkaku got up and stopped laughing for a moment, "Let's get going then. We better get our presents while we're there."
Yachiru had been walking with them with a frown on her lips. "Cue-Ball, Peacock, what does it mean that Bya-chan is…screwing with firefly?"
Shit…The two thought as they ignored her.
"Hey, what does it mean?"
"Ask Ken-chan that, okay?"
"Ugh, is it really that bad?" Usagi asked Yoruichi as the catlike woman nodded. Luna gave her princess a tap on the shoulder to comfort her, but it wasn't really helping. Usagi was depressed because A) She still wasn't pregnant B) Mamour was leaving for work soon and C) Now the possible disaster of Hotaru's wedded life.
Urahara pulled out his fan. "What did you expect between the two?"
"Setsuna swore that they were a good pair…" Usagi sniffled as Rei sighed.
"I agree with Urahara, Usagi. Hotaru needs someone more….well, at least closer to her age." Ami pointed out as the other senshi nodded in agreement.
"How old is Byakuya anyway?" Minako asked the group who all turned to stare.
Rei narrowed her eyes in thought, "Well, he looks like he's in his twenties."
"He's over a hundred years old," Yoruichi answered nonchalantly.
"What?!" Usagi and Minako yelled in unison.
Makoto laid down in Urahara's shop as she sighed, "Hotaru doesn't even have a chance with the fact that Byakuya was once married."
"Ugh, I know, but Setsuna promised…!" The blue-eyed girl nearly burst out into tears with the idea of hurting the senshi of Saturn this way. She wouldn't even have had forced Hotaru into this stupid union with the Soul Society if she knew that this was going to happen. Usagi suddenly felt steam coming out of her ears as her teeth grinded together.
All the senshi moved back a little as Minako asked, "Usagi…what's wrong?"
"If he was going to be so damn rude to her then why did he marry her?" Usagi finally yelled in frustration as she jumped onto her feet. "I'm going to kill him when I see him next. Oh, no wait, I'll tell Haruka and she'll really make him suffer." Usagi proclaimed happily as evil thoughts began forming in her head.
"Why must the only time she uses that head is for evil?" Luna asked with a large sweat drop forming behind her head.
Artemis coughed a little, "Can't say I blame her. If Diana was married to someone like Byakuya then I would be just as angry."
"Hey, can you guys tell us where we can get the best alcohol?" Ikkaku asked suddenly, sliding the door so quickly that it broke and caused everyone to drop a little. Urahara had large vein appearing on the back of his head.
"I hope you two are planning on paying me back for the broken door…"Urahara said in a strangely calm voice.
"W-What are you two doing here?" Ami asked as she got up and looked at Ikkaku and Yumichika in normal human clothing with Yachiru hanging off the peacock man's shoulder. He smiled and waved at them as Ami blushed a little.
"Byakuya asked to get us some liquor for Hotaru's eighteenth birthday party." Yumichika explained in a matter of fact sort of way.
"There's going to be a party! And Byakuya's planning it?" Usagi asked with big blue eyes watering with tears of happiness. "And why in Hell didn't he invite us?"
"Who knows, anyway, we need help with presents and stuff like that." Ikkaku said as he rested his hand on the grip of the fake sword he had on his shoulders. He wasn't allowed to carry a real one in the human world.
"Oh. Okay, give us a minute and we'll be out there."
Hotaru was bored, defeated, and felt slightly deflated as she began setting the dinner plates down. Her husband had yet to return from where he went after their small conversation. How was she supposed to know that it was Hisana that was the one who taught him how to cook?
She decided to leave the room a little with her ipod in one ear. She walked down the hallway as she watched the grey clouds roll in. She wouldn't have to listen to the whispers from the other Kuichki family members, but somehow they still crept in through her pores. It was stuff that Byakuya had warned her about when she first married him. My family isn't very accepting. Those were his exact words to be precise, now that Hotaru remembered. She wasn't exactly noble wife material and Byakuya knew that. He never chastised her for it however. She could do the dressing up thing and whatnot, but it was more that it had to do with the fact that she wasn't a proper wife.
This irked her a bit with the fact that she was only seventeen. She hadn't expected to get married. She expected to go to school and become a nurse like she always wanted. She wanted to go to school and make friends. Possibly have a normal boyfriend…Okay, so she actually didn't expect that much, but normalcy was all that she wanted. Now she was stuck here with a husband who wouldn't even look at her…Not that she was bitter or anything like that. Nope, she was just fine with everything.
What is that? She noticed a large thick black door at the end of the hallway. This was weird since most of the doors in the mansion were sliding rice doors. She walked closer as she felt a quiet negative energy radiating from the door. She touched the handle and felt an electric shock skip through her skin. She turned the knob ever so slightly and pushed it as a dark room was revealed to her. She saw a small dark closet in the middle of the room that was closed. She quietly walked in on her tip toes. She slowly and carefully opened the dark closet.
Hotaru's eyes widened as the words trembled from her lips, "A-Are you…Hisana?" She asked the picture as her small frail fingers grasped the picture of the lookalike of Rukia. "You must be. You look exactly like Rukia."
She sunk onto the floor and crossed her legs as she held the sacred relic. "You look a little bit frailer though. Was this taken when you were sick?" Hotaru shook her head, realizing she was talking to a picture, but she figured this was the closest she would ever get to Byakuya. She looked like such a lovely woman. She'd probably be a lot quieter then Usagi. She looked like she would just be content with Byakuya holding her hand. She could picture it now. The two must have been such a lovely pair.
"You probably understood him better then I ever will." Hotaru confided to the picture, "At least you loved him when you got married. I don't think he likes me very much. I try not to get on his nerves and I try to be a wife. I even cooked dinner tonight, but he didn't come. I accidentally brought you up." She sighed as she stared at the picture, "I didn't mean to hurt him and I'm trying…I'm trying to love him."
She didn't feel like crying. She did that on the first night when Byakuya fell asleep. She swore after that, that she was no longer going to cry. She hadn't even felt the need to. Byakuya wasn't going to love her, but he could at least try to like her as a friend. A companion.
She hated Usagi and Setsuna-mama for doing this to her.
Hotaru nearly dropped the picture as she looked up and saw Byakuya with icy cold eyes.
"What are you doing here?"
She began to wonder how many hollows and enemies had heard that voice before he pulled out his sword and killed them. She gulped nervously. Her eyes widened as he walked over to her and picked up the picture.
"What are you doing in here?" He repeated as she shrugged her shoulders.
I know I'll never be her. I know you won't care. I should just spit it out.
"I came in here out of curiosity."
"Please don't come in here."
There was no cruelty, but Hotaru felt as if a door had been slammed in her face. Another door shut, another attempt vanquished, and another hopeless attempt destroyed. She got up and did the one thing she never thought she would do.
Byakuya had looked over at Hotaru and saw that her bangs were hanging over her eyes. "Please don't come in here." He stared at her as she got up mutely. She turned and suddenly broke out into a run in her bare feet. He felt the need to follow her, but something told him that he would be crossing an invisible line that they had both created. That annoying little tug though. He turned and quickly followed her, deciding against using his inhuman speed to catch her.
She ran out of the house and into where the different sectors were for the squads. The temperature had dropped because of the rain and thunder. Was she looking for someone in particular? He couldn't tell, but decided to take it up a notch to catch her. He stopped though when she stumbled onto the ground. He expected her to cry at first, but instead she got up and tried running. This time, he caught her by the wrist.
"Hotaru, it's raining."
"Oh, like that isn't obvious." Hotaru responded bitterly.
He didn't ask what was wrong. If there was something wrong, she would have told him. He shrugged out of his Captain's jacket and placed it over her head. It made her look tinier and frailer than she usually appeared.
She looked up at him, "Byakuya?"
"Why are you out here?"
"To follow you of course. You'll catch a cold. It won't do much good if you're sick on your birthday party. Usagi and the others wouldn't forgive me if I let you get sick."
"You are turning eighteen soon, correct?" She nodded, mutely. "I thought you would like that. I want you to be comfortable here." Hotaru didn't say anything, but she took a tiny step closer to him. Her arms unfolded from her chest and she reached out to him. Byakuya, at first, was unsure to what to do. He stiffened at this as her arms carefully slipped around him.
Setsuna watched along with Yamamotto at the quiet scene between the two.
He looked up at the senshi of time, "I guess you were right…"
"Alright! P-A-R-T-Y!" Yachiru yelled as night fell over the Kuichki mansion and the guests began to arrive. Byakuya and Hotaru stood side by side as they began to welcome them. Ikkaku had kept his promise to Byakuya and had brought a sweet tasting wine from the human world that he was sure would please his wife. He watched carefully as Yoruichi gave some to Hotaru who looked nervously at it.
Hotaru was relaxed. That was something that Byakuya could easily see even if he had never seen her like this. She had pulled her hair back in a nice clip that he had gotten for her that was brown and had cherry blossoms on it (his birthday gift). Her shoulders weren't tense like usual along with her hands that weren't in tiny fists that he was so used to seeing. Her eyes held a certain light that he had peered down to stare at her face to face to get a better look at. Usagi and the other had convinced her to wear a purple summer dress (it never really gets cold in the Soul Society so…). And she was smiling.
"Ikkaku…I really don't think that'll be a good idea." Hotaru said as Ikkaku tried giving her another cup, "I'm already a little dizzy and I'm still underage in the human world-"
"You're not in the human world!" Ikkaku said, lightly slapping Hotaru on the back as he gave her another cup of the sweet tasting wine. She looked at him as if to say, You'll keep an eye on me? So I don't wonder off, right? He nodded to her as she took a sip. Music blared in the background and he already knew that his relatives would be annoyed. After she finished the drink, Byakuya had noticed her flushed cheeks.
He held out his hand, "Would you like to dance?" He said this in his usual cold voice, but Hotaru took his hand. They walked to the middle of the garden where everyone else was as a slow song began.
The guitar strings played softly in the air as the drums began tapping with a raspy voice singing, "This lullaby is just for you, baby. Because I know you're in pain, but you won't let me in. I keep praying and hoping that you'll see…" Suddenly the guitar got faster with the drums beating faster as Byakuya spun her around a little before bringing her close. He began to wonder when the boundaries they had created had started to crumble.
"I don't mind. I don't care…what you've done as long as you're here. Don't you know? Don't you know? That I'll keep singing till' I'm crazy."
"Hotaru?" He asked her as she looked up. He leaned down to her ear so she could be the only one that heard this. He actually felt fear for the first time in a very long time. Of course, he didn't let it show.
"Yes, Byakuya?" She said this a little goofily as Byakuya felt a smile tug at his lips. She was a little drunk.
"What do you think of me?"
"This lullaby is just for you, baby."
Her violet eyes lit up at this.
"Because I've know what you've been through."
He hadn't expected that.
"Because I know that you'll runaway, ashamed that you need me so."
"Hotaru…I think you've had a little too much to drink."
"Please don't runaway."
She got on her tiptoes, "Maybe just a little."
All eyes turned to them.
"Cause' don't you know…"
Hotaru kissed Byakuya on the mouth with her arms wrapped around his neck.
"That I love you?"
Sailor Ra: AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I am so sorry, Saturn's Spawn that this took so long, but you already know why it wasn't done. For some reason, this was really, really, extremely hard to write. I'm not really sure why. This was my very poor attempt at humor in the beginning of the story which was my original idea, but then things got serious…You just can't do a funny story with Byakuya being the main character. (shakes head)
Cain: She just sucks at humor. You're not witty or-
Noah: Cain, we get it. You're just pissed because you don't end up with Moonlily. He's still a little sore.
Cain: And you're kissing her ass because you do end up with Moonlily.
Sailor Ra: Shut up both of you. Or I'm going to work on the Prince Series that I'm working on. Sighs, Anyway, I love reviews. Oh and by the way....I OWN THE LYRICS. I worked hard on those lyrics for Red Roses a novel that i am working on. So don't steal, just ask if you want to use it and I'll agree, but you have to give me credit. Okay?
Hear me by Kelly Clarkson
Melt the sugar by The Summer Obsession
dus bahane By Not Sure, it's from a Hindi CD
Falling in Love by Falling Up
Prodigal By One Republic
Protect me from what I want by Placebo