"Please take the medicine," he begs.

Hisana turns her head, pale face sinking low into the pillows, the hollows of her cheeks digging shadows into her skin. "I cannot," she whispers, eyes closed.

Byakuya cups her cheek in one hand. His thumb strokes the dark circles beneath her lashes. The medicinal tea he holds in the other, clutched so that his knuckles are white, is growing cold. Morning blooms in a weak, gray streak across their bedroom floor. Their shadows crisscross on the wall behind him.

He kneels before her like a man without anything else in the world.

"Please," Byakuya whispers.

She doesn't look at him. Her voice shakes.

"I cannot."