A/N: Hey, everyone! This oneshot is my first foray into the Bleach fandom, so I hope you all enjoy it! I've also written three other pieces for Les Miserables, so if you've ever read that or seen the musical, be sure to check those out. (Yes, I'm shamelessly self-promoting my other fanfics, and I won't deny it) I've never actually had more than one review for any of my stories, so if you could review this one, that would be awesome. Oh, and I'll give you a cookie and be your best friend if you do. :3 Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: Dude, if I owned Bleach, Renji wouldn't have been wearing a shirt in the beach episode… xD

They say that Kuchiki Byakuya never cried until Hisana. They say that until he watched her die, he never knew what it meant to feel sadness, and that until he saw her face, he never knew what it was to be in love. They say her death was what made him human.

But they say a lot of things… don't they, Hisana?

Byakuya sighed, gaze full of longing as he stared up at the moon. Twenty years. It had been twenty years since the day she died, twenty years since he'd allowed himself to speak her name. Twenty years, and yet, it felt like thousands. So why did it still hurt?

I suppose some wounds leave scars, though none so painful as this. I would take a sword to my throat before I would take more of this, Hisana.

But no, he couldn't, no matter how much he might have wanted to in the past. He had his squad to consider, his position as head of the Kuchiki family, his sister… His sister.

She looks just like you, Hisana. It's hard to watch, but she's growing up well, becoming a promising Shinigami. Every time she raises that sword of hers, though, every time she rushes into battle, I can't help but see your face. I can't help but feel that it's you in danger, and I can't lose you again, Hisana. I think I would lose myself, if that happened.

Losing himself… He was afraid he'd already done that. In the weeks after Hisana died, Byakuya had refused to eat or sleep. When visited by fellow captains and mourners, he'd stand at the window and stare into nothingness, disturbingly silent, until his guests felt compelled to leave. He'd completely lost his will to live. Even after that, though, when he'd finally put himself back together again, he was never quite the same.

People say that Kuchiki Byakuya never cried until Hisana, but the truth is, he never cried after Hisana.

I suppose this goes without saying, but I miss you. I miss your voice, your smile… everything. I miss the way you'd look at me, and I miss confiding in you. To be honest, I even miss those petty nobles gossiping about the two of us—at least it was an assurance that you were always there beside me.

Rukia was the closest he had come to loving someone since Hisana. She was the closest, yet she was so far. She was his sister, his family, and his pride, but she could never be what Hisana had been to him. She could never be his confidant like she was, nor could she be his protector. It was funny to think of Hisana that way, as a protector, but that's really what she was. She shielded him from pain and kept him safe from sadness. Above all, though, she was the only one who could love Byakuya as he loved her.

Hisana…

Twenty years. It had been twenty years since he'd spoken her name aloud. It had been twenty years since he'd heard her say his back. Twenty years was too long.

"Hisana." A simple three syllables, yet it could still make his heart race and his cheeks flush, even after all those years. "Hisana." The name felt foreign on his tongue, unfamiliar after so much disuse, but still it felt so right. "Hisana. Hisana, Hisana, Hisana, Hisana, Hisana, Hisana…." He felt the tears flow down his face, heard the name echo in his ears, and smiled. After twenty years, he'd smiled.

They say that Kuchiki Byakuya never cried until Hisana, but it wasn't true. They say that it was her death that had made him human, that it was her face that had shown him love. But after twenty years, with tears streaming down his face, it was Hisana's name that had brought Kuchiki Byakuya back to life.