Ren-sama's Note:

YAOI. ByaIchi. If you don't like the genre, please just click the 'back' button. But please still give it a chance? This story is only short. I hope you enjoy it! ˆoˆ

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach. This story is inspired by "Sensei no Kokuhaku," a one-shot manga.

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Chapter 1

He sighed, his fore and middle finger gently massaging his temples. It was just morning and he was already having a headache. His silky raven hair shone in deep contrast with his pale creamy skin and his steel gray eyes looked weary though still gorgeous despite the exhaustion. The bright morning sun shone inside the well-lit room, his office in the Music Department, as if coaxing him to stop brooding around and start his classes.

It was just the first month of class and he already felt too irritated with his university students. After all, they always acted like fucking high school lovesick girls. And it's what's annoying the hell out of him. He, Byakuya Kuchiki, was a University Professor, not a fucking host! He glanced darkly at the packages of gifts and love letters on the couch. Everyday he would find many of them in front of his office or even in front of his house. How the hell did they even know where he lived anyway?

He pushed his feet and stood up from his swivel chair with god-knows-how-much determination and walked out of his office quietly. The door shut behind him with nothing but a quiet click. Even when he's annoyed or irritated, or happy which was rare, his outward expression didn't change. He always wore the same mask for every emotion that washed him, namely, the mask of cold indifference and handsome aloofness. It was hard for others to do, really, but for him it was just the same as breathing. It was natural. He walked with poise and grace along the corridors of the Music Building, earning him more than flirty, lustful glances and drooling gawks from both genders. After all, he was very handsomely masculine but still feminine enough to receive the guys' attention too. And it was annoying.

He turned into a corner, where the stairs would be and was not startled at all when he saw three girls waiting for him. It was like an everyday thing, ambushing him some corner until he heard what they needed to say. The one in front of him had blonde colored hair, with big busts, not that he even glanced at it. He was so not interested in those kinds of things, thank you very much.

"S-Sensei… Uh, I… I'm Harribel…" The girl stuttered and looked behind her for silent help. He could see in her eyes that she was panicking. The two other girls nodded and the girl in front held out a letter, which he only stared at with cold eyes. "I like you… Sensei…"

His expression remained cold, however, if not entirely colder. The girls waited in dread for him to say something, anything. And when he did speak, his voice calm and cool like always and betraying nothing of the raging emotions inside him, all hope was gone in the girls' eyes in a blink of an eye. "Why did you enroll here again? Surely not for the sake of doing some petty confession to your professor, right? I suggest that instead of going all the way to improve your love lives, which I doubt will happen any time soon, you should instead focus more on your studies and make sure that you don't fail in any of your subjects."

He walked away unconcernedly even when he heard soft sobs coming from behind her. He was so used to hear their cries that it didn't bother him anymore. He was so used to their confessions that he didn't think they were even serious when they said they love him. It all seemed and felt so superficial. They didn't love him for who he was, they loved him for his looks. They were such superficial people. And that was making his irritation escalate even more.

He opened the door of the classroom and silence immediately fell inside it before it broke out to not-so silent giggling and too obvious staring from his students. He sighed. So much for Class A students…

Unlike other universities, the students in this school didn't change rooms and only the teachers were the ones who changed rooms. It was like elementary, really. He was this class's homeroom teacher and taught Stringed Instruments, all types, to his class. He specialized in the violin, though he had never played for them once. They were talented students who didn't need to be taught about their own forte and he could be proud to be their teacher, if only they didn't have the habit of lustfully starting at him or drooling at him while in class.

He spoke with cool voice as he started checking attendance. Every name he called would give him a silent giggle in return and he knew they were present even before they raised their hand to confirm it. It was annoying. "Kuroi, Kurosaki…" He glanced at his class when he heard nothing. "Kurosaki? Absent?"

He saw a redhead, Abarai was it?, nudged the student beside him who sat beside the window. The guy looked like he wasn't listening the entire time Byakuya was talking and he hated it just as much as when the students were giving him all their time in the world. The boy looked confused for a while before he met Byakuya's eyes. Byakuya saw beautiful brown eyes widened for a while before the blush crept on the boy's face. He immediately stood up and apologized. "I'm s-sorry, Sensei… I wasn't listening…"

Byakuya felt his eyebrow twitched and he knew that the guy noticed it for he blushed even deeper. It was kind of amusing, really, if only he weren't so pissed off right now. "Ichigo Kurosaki, right?" The boy nodded in embarrassment, especially because his other classmates were already laughing quietly. "I suggest you stay in the room after class."

The boy nodded and sat down again. Byakuya started calling the others' name too but his glance would turn to the boy once in a while. He noticed how the boy was poised even though his position explicitly expressed boredom. His beautiful spiky hair sway with the slight breeze coming from outside and slightly tanned skin looked so soft and beautiful. His brown eyes evoked emotions that the professor sometimes saw in other students but theirs were not charming as this one. Byakuya had never paid any attention to him much because the said student was the quiet type and did not interact much with his other classmates except his friends. The boy never really participated in his class and he had never heard his voice much except saying that he was 'present'. The boy, Ichigo, was looking outside once more and paying no attention to him at all. So irritating!

He finished checking their attendance and he pulled out sheets of paper from an envelope inside his bag. There were gasps and nervous eyes everywhere and there were excited ones. Their exam was being returned. He eyed them all coldly, his personal expression of satisfaction towards their performance, before he handed out their papers. It was a two-part exam, one was written and the other one was performed just a week ago. At the back of the paper was their score in the second, and far more difficult than the first, exam. He called them with satisfaction until his eyes darted towards the last three papers in his hand which he and the students knew were students who failed. His eyes twitched when he read the name.

"Abarai, Madarame, Kurosaki." He voiced the last name with an annoyed twitch of eyebrow. "I believe there is another reason for you to stay after class, Kurosaki. The three students that I called will remain in the classroom after class."

He heard Renji groaned in defeat and Ichigo chuckled as he tried to console the redhead.

The class moved on with him teaching them the basic of playing violin. Not that he was expecting them to really learn how to play it. He was just teaching it for the sake knowledge and not for the sake of really learning the instrument personally. He loved the violin but he was not the type to just express himself in his class using it. And he wasn't about to change that now. No one, not even the Chairman of the school, would be able to make him play if he didn't want to.

The bell signaling the end of the period rang and he went back to his office, only to find more gifts and letters outside the door. It was annoying and he simply walked inside the door without picking any of it up. He picked up the first gifts during the first and second weeks of classes and dumped it on his couch, but now he wasn't about to entertain any more annoying confessions from the students.

He closed the door behind him and locked it so no one would even dare corner him inside his office and confess, not that they would really dare even if they wanted to. He could be really scary if he was pissed off and the students knew him to be like that. They still loved themselves so they wouldn't throw themselves into the hellfire, which was his room, just to confess their petty feelings.

His class consisted of three sections in the Music Department, namely A, B, and C, but the other two were still in the afternoon so he was basically free to do anything he wanted for the entire half of the day. And he decided to have some peaceful and quiet sleep.

"Hisana? What are you doing?"

"I… I'm leaving…"

"Bu–, Wait, why? Did I do something wrong? Did I–?"

"No, Byakuya-san. You're perfect, just like always."

"…"

"But that's the problem. You're perfect and expect me to be perfect too. You don't know how I suffer every time I fail and you give me disapproving looks. You don't know how it pains me that you don't love me the same way as I love you."

"I love you…"

"No, you don't, Byakuya. You don't love me as I am. You might say you have an interest in me but it's not love. You don't get angry or jealous and you don't think I will get jealous too. You are always so perfect and cold… You don't care about anything aside from your reputation and your honor and your dignity… I want a human for a husband, Byakuya… A human who will fight for me and love me even if the whole world condemns him…"

"Hisana–"

"I want someone who will love as I am… And I just found him, Byakuya… He might not be perfect or intelligent or even talented like you, but he has a heart… He is human… And he loves me."

"Hisane, please… don't leave me…"

"I'm sorry… I don't love you anymore…"

He gasped as his eyes fluttered open. He gritted his teeth as he fought the sting in his eyes that threatened to flow on his cheeks any second now. How many times did he have to hear that to actually forget her? She didn't love him anymore. That much was clear in her voice. She annulled their marriage and married another man whom she said she had fallen for dearly. She left him… She left him all alone…

He stood up and went to his other two classes for the afternoon, forgetting he needed to have lunch first. His classes were fairly easy, except for the fact that he had to keep his cold glare in place to prevent anyone from approaching him. Maybe that was the reason why he was so stiff now and refused to acknowledge any form of affection from anyone. He knew nothing would last and no one would be able to love as he was… Now that he realized it, she too didn't love him as he was… She should have known he was that kind of person and yet she expected him to change for her… And it pained him when he realized that he wasn't really loved… Everyone's feelings for him were nothing but superficiality… Their confession and their tears were nothing but a big, big farce…

After all his classes, he returned to Class A's room and saw, to his surprise, that Ichigo was alone in the classroom.

"Where are Madarame and Abarai?" He asked as he eyed the boy with indifference.

Kurosaki never returned his gaze. He was looking down. "Renji had an emergency and had to go home immediately so he requested that I tell you. Ikkaku-san was called in for practice. There will be a concert next week and he and his band needed to practice every night from now on. So I am alone, Sensei..."

Byakuya sighed. Of course, he could do nothing about it even if he believed their stories or not. At least there was a student here. It would really anger him if he went here and found no one. "Sit." He commanded more harshly than he intended and he watched as Ichigo nervously sat in the desk at least two rows away from him.

Byakuya felt his temper rising. The student didn't have to be so afraid of him, damn it. "Sit nearer. I don't want to strain my voice just to lecture a single student." Byakuya voiced and was a bit surprised when Ichigo blushed but the boy still refused to meet his gaze. He stood up and sat in the desk just in front of Byakuya's table where the professor sat.

"So," he pulled out the papers which he didn't give the students earlier. "Can you explain why your score is like this? Any form of excuse?" He didn't know why Ichigo scored like that. He asked other teachers and was surprised that the boy scored second if not the highest in their class. They all said the boy was quiet but very intelligent and talented. The other teachers even told him that there might just be some mistake in the way he checked, to his annoyance. Well it wasn't his fucking fault that the boy wanted to set his class as the last of his priorities.

"Nothing, Sensei." Ichigo's voice sounded strained, like he wanted to be anywhere else other than here and that was annoying Byakuya more. Despite his emotionless façade, he was a very temperamental person and he didn't like how the boy was acting right now.

Ichigo was fidgeting in his seat like he wanted to pee or something and Byakuya was getting distracted. "It doesn't matter. Anyway, Madarame and Abarai both have scores that if they study just a little more, they will be able to pass next time. Your score is the one that needs some form of a remedial class."

"Eh? Bu–" Ichigo instinctively looked up and met Byakuya's gaze for the first time, making Byakuya's heartbeat falter for a moment in a way he didn't understand so the professor ignored it. Steel gray eyes met charming brown ones and their gaze were locked in each other's for a while and Byakuya saw the struggling emotions inside the boy's eyes before Ichigo immediately blushed and looked away.

Byakuya's eyes widened for a moment. He knew those eyes. Those were like the eyes of the girls who often confessed to him and had the audacity to look at him directly though their knees were shaking. But the emotions held in boy's eyes had deeper feelings and was more in control. It meant that the boy was trying to hold his feelings as much as he could.

Byakuya cleared his throat, a very uncool gesture on his part and he had never done it until now because he felt that it was only used by a person to make other people notice him. To make a certain orange-haired boy notice him… He shook his head slightly before he began to speak. "I will give a day of remedial class and I hope you will attend it."

"Ah, of course, Sensei." Ichigo smiled and met his eyes now, making Byakya's heart skip another beat for some unknown reason. No one had ever smiled at him like that except Hisana. But this boy's smile was different. It held more radiance and more–

"Ah, I need to go home now, Sensei." Byakuya snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the student's voice. He watched as Ichigo stood up and bowed before he turned around and leave, only to turn around again when he heard a stomach growl.

Byakuya watched in dread as his student turned around and looked at him in confusion before those eyes comprehended everything. He clenched his jaw when he felt himself blushing under Ichigo's scrutinizing charming eyes but refused to look away because he would feel defeated if he did that.

"Do you want to have dinner outside, Sensei?" Ichigo asked seriously and Byakuya was relieved that the boy didn't laugh at him. That would have been too embarrassing.

Byakuya watched those brown eyes as they held the emotion that he once knew, love. The boy clearly loved him. But if he did, why wasn't he confessing like everyone else? He was he trying to keep his feelings at bay even though it was shouting to be recognized. Even Byakuya could see that Ichigo was struggling with his feelings, and yet the boy refused to acknowledge it.

"…ding." Byakuya blinked again. Ichigo said something and he wasn't listening… again.

"Sorry, what did you say?" Byakuya asked and the moment the words left Ichigo's lips, he wished he didn't.

"You don't have to look so serious, Sensei." Ichigo chuckled. "I was just kidding. I will never ask a professor to go out and have dinner with me."

Byakuya stood there behind the teacher's table, eyes wide and shock prevalent in his eyes. The shock was too much that he could feel his heart beating faster than ever, and it hurt. It hurt so much… He didn't know how those words pained him but it did, again it was something he was not anticipating and it confused him. Instead, he tried to stay calm and spoke, managing a barely steady voice. "Of course, that would be inappropriate, Kurosaki."

"Sensei, actually, I…" Ichigo began but bit his lip. "Goodbye, Sensei." Byakuya was once again surprised to see pain ran across those brown eyes but before he could check if he was right on what he saw, Ichigo already turned around and left the room without another word.

Byakuya remained rooted in his position, unable to move or comprehend what just happened. "What, Kurosaki? What did you want to say!"

He felt too agitated even after he went home and showered. He needed to know what Ichigo wanted to say. He's dying to know it… He needed to know what the boy's real feelings were so when he said them, Byakuya would be able to turn him down with finality and the boy would be able to move on. That's how it should be. He would definitely turn the boy down and preach to him about the naivety of youth.

Though he said that, there was no way to know if the boy would ever open up to him. And with that, he knew that the best thing he needed to do was to confront the boy directly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Chairman, you called?" Byakuya asked as he entered the door to the Chairman's office.

"Yes, actually, Kuchiki-san." The old voice of the old man with elongated white beard echoed throughout the room with much sharpness that could make any lowly coward cower in fear. "I have a news for you, though I don't know if you'll take it as a good news or a bad one."

"What is it?" Byakuya simply voiced. Unlike the other teachers, Byakuya wasn't the type to be intimidated by old men, especially this old man. He sat comfortably but still poised inside the Chairman's office and had his right leg over his left one.

"You will receive a promotion and will be transferred to Seireitei Graduate School to teach professionals." He voiced calmly. "Thus, you will not be a professor of the university but a professor of the graduate school."

Byakuya was silent for a while before he spoke. "I'll think about it, Chairman." The Chairman nodded and Byakuya stood up and bowed. He was about to leave when the Chairman called him again.

"Byakuya-kun," the Chairman called. Byakuya was surprised at first. Although the Chairman was his grandfather, he didn't think that he would be addressed by Yamamoto so casually inside the school. Byakuya turned around once more and waited by the door to hear what the old man wanted to say. Basing from his voice, the professor knew it would be personal. "I just want to know if you like someone in this school."

Byakuya looked blank for a while, unable to comprehend what the old man just said. Then his eyes widened before he immediately shook his head when he thought of charming brown eyes and orange spiky hair. NO WAY. "I don't like anyone in this school, literally."

Yamamoto laughed just as Byakuya shut the door behind him and walked down the corridors. That laugh! He knew that laugh! It meant that the old man didn't believe a single word he said. It meant that the old man believed that he was in love with some random girls who confessed to him. How annoying!

And now that the thought about it, it had already been four days since he last talked with Ichigo. That was Monday and it was Friday, making it a good day for remedial and confrontation because he didn't have to see the boy's sullen face tomorrow when Byakuya rejected the him.

He went inside the classroom and almost bumped into one of the girls. The girl had black spiky hair that she tried in vain to let down with some kind of gel. Annoying. She looked at him and immediately blushed. Doubly annoying. She handed out an envelope he knew contained a love letter. Extremely annoying.

"S-Sensei…" She mumbled. Byakuya could feel all Class A's eyes on him and he could feel their nervousness. Extremely, extremely annoying. "P-Please… accept this…"

"Shouldn't you be studying your books and writing assignments instead of writing petty love letters and doing nothing but confessing to people everyday?" He asked, not even making his student finish. He was not a very patient man and he didn't like to let his class wait while the girl thought of something to say. He walked passed her without a double glance and he started checking out attendance without a care that he could hear her soft sobs as she went back to her seat.

When he called Ichigo, he also added, "Kurosaki, we have a remedial class later. Stay in the classroom after class." The said boy only nodded but didn't say anything.

When he finished, he waited until all eyes were looking at him. "I know you might feel humiliated. But I think that you are also humiliating me by coming up to me everyday and confessing like there was no tomorrow. I am not some petty cheap man who will say yes just because someone I don't even know confesses to me wholeheartedly. Please do not bother me with such insignificant things start and reading your books and doing your assignments instead. That way, you can help me as a teacher and not be a burden to me everyday."

He heard some soft sobs but he ignored it and started his lesson. He knew almost half of the class had already confessed their feelings to him and he wanted them to know that he didn't like it in the least. He wanted to be treated as a professor, not some boy idol or student that didn't have much anything to do. He wanted them to just piss off someone else instead. Even Kurosaki? Would he want Kurosaki to just confess to someone else instead of him? He stopped in the middle of explanation as he blanked out. His class looked at him in confusion but Byakuya was quick to recover. He was a Kuchiki after all. He continued his lessons as if nothing happened.

Time felt so slow to him and he wanted the class to end immediately. He didn't know why, maybe it was because today was Friday and he wanted to go home immediately. Damn, who was he kidding? Of course it was because he wanted to teach some remedial class with some orange-haired kid and confront him about his feelings.

"I'm sorry… I don't love you anymore…"

"I was just kidding. I will never ask a professor to go out and have dinner with me."

He woke up and raked his hair. He was in his office, sitting in his table. He sighed. For the last few years, his dream contained no one but Hisana in it. But in the last few days, it already contained two people. It hurt… It hurt him so much inside but he didn't know why… He didn't know what to do because he had never felt like this, not even with Hisana. It was foreign and he didn't know how to deal with it. Those two statements were blending in his mind it was creating him a self-inflicted pain that he knew was rather irrational. Ichogo was only talking about dinner. He wasn't talking about anything else. And yet it felt like a rejection…

He knew that the only way to know was to confront Ichigo directly and then reject him. It would definitely solve both of their problems. With that in mind, he went inside the room and felt his heart skip a beat once again when he saw that Ichigo was asleep. His orange hair was tousled and he was using his arms as pillow. He looked too peaceful and his breathe too quiet. It was only now that Byakuya realized he made Ichigo wait for at least an hour.

The sun had set long ago in the horizon and everything around them was already dark, except the room. He approached the sleeping boy with a mind to wake him up but he lost the ability to think when he went near. His hair looked so soft and Byakuya wanted to touch it. His eyes were closed and his long lashes were touching his cheeks in a very charming way. His luscious lips were moist, slightly parted, and they looked very seductive even though his face was that of innocence. And before Byakuya knew what he was doing, he was already leaning down as his lips longed for the warmth of another.

Byakuya felt it, Ichigo's soft lips against his cold ones. It was not passionate or anything, just lips seeking for comfort and warmth, and it was just for a very brief moment but Byakuya would never forget it for as long he lived. After all, a Kuchiki stealing a kiss from a vulnerable, sleeping student was not something his pride could take in any normal circumstance. But this was not any normal circumstance.

Ichigo stirred but he didn't wake up. He could smell the boy's soft perfume and still taste the sweet cake-like flavor of his mouth. It was making him feel hot and silently elated… Slowly, Byakuya stood up straight and shook the sleeping teen. The teen mumbled something incomprehensible but didn't wake up.

"Kurosaki, I believe we are here for the remedial, not to sleep." Byakuya voiced coldly and louder than his normal voice. It was kind of amusing to just watch the boy in his sleep, really, but he was a professor and he would not tolerate any kind of favoritism.

He watched the boy slowly opened his eyes and when brown eyes met gray ones, the boy almost jumped out of his seat in surprise. Byakuya wanted to smirk and arch an eyebrow but he refrained himself from doing so. Instead, he went to the teacher's table as Ichigo yawned and stretched.

The lesson went quite well, and now Byakuya had the impression the boy failed the exam on purpose. Everything Byakuya asked was answered without much thought and every question in the paper was tackled comprehensibly. The professor was really surprised. He thought he would have to grit his teeth while trying to make the poor student understand the concepts and terms but it seemed he was so far from the truth.

"Kurosaki," Byakuya called. He couldn't help but ask after all. Ichigo looked up from his paper and their eyes met for a while before the boy looked somewhere else. "Did you perhaps study after you failed the exam?"

"Ah, a bit, Sensei." The boy answered, still not making any eye contact. "I had Rukia and Orihime teach me some things…"

Byakuya thought he would feel glad that the student studied on his own but he felt he wasn't at all in any mood to be give any compliment. He taught Kurosaki and the boy did not learn. His female classmates taught him and he learned. What did that make Byakuya as the professor? He gritted his teeth in silent rage but his facial mask remained calm. No, it was because Ichigo had to rely on others and not on him… That's the reason he was angry… He could teach the boy anything and yet the boy just had to make other people teach him instead… So annoying…

"Sorry, Sensei." Ichigo continued. "I know you're angry and all… but I guess I should tell you… String instruments are not my forte so I kind of plunked it…" Byakuya arched an eyebrow, urging the student to continue. "My specialty is the piano… so I'm not that into stringed instruments…"

"So you lack the motivation to learn. Is that it?" Byakuya asked coldly, but the teen didn't seem bothered at all.

"Not really. I just had some kind of problem during the written exam…" Ichigo smiled sheepishly.

"Wait here." Byakuya walked outside the room and went to his office. When he came back, he was carrying a violin. He watched as his student's eyes widened. No one had seen him carrying a violin in public. Not even his students had heard him play.

"Listen to this, Kurosaki." Byakuya voiced. He wanted the teen to have at least some sort of passion towards stringed instruments even though he was specializing in the piano.

And Byakuya closed his eyes as he leaned his head to one side and brought his violin over his left shoulder. He started playing, slowly and softly. 'Ave Maria', his favorite. He knew he wasn't following the original composition and was doing what he wanted with the piece, but it was not something like bastardizing for him. After all, compositions were made to be broken and challenged.

And he was not the type to just let things be as they were and let himself be caged by conventions. He didn't like conventions at all, especially in music.

He opened his eyes and was glad that he did when he saw the quiet awe and admiration in those brown eyes. They locked their gaze onto each other and Byakuya knew the reason he was playing was not merely for the boy to have passion in other instruments. He wanted the boy to see him play… He wanted Ichigo's eyes to lock with his gaze for a longer time… He wanted to tell the boy that it was he was being given a special attention…

The piece finished and then he started another one, 'Beethoven Virus'. This one had a really fast tempo and he almost smirked when he saw Ichigo covered his mouth, wide-eyed and shocked, eyes filled with silent admiration of Byakuya's music and not so quiet hitch in breathing. He was not the type to brag his talent, but if he could elicit that kind of reaction from the normally shy and quiet boy, then he believed his talent was far beyond others. If he could make Ichigo gaze at him without taking his eyes off even if the boy wanted to, then Byakuya succeeded as a violinist. And it felt so good to make Ichigo stare at him like that, like he was the only person in world worth staring at…

It felt so good, staring into those brown eyes while he played. He could see Ichigo blushing but the boy still couldn't take his eyes off of him. That was good. The corner of his lips twitched into a smile. Those eyes and those flushed cheeks were good.

And he finished.

He could see that the boy didn't know how to react. It seemed he was far from recovering straight away so Byakuya gave him a helping hand. "As I've said, Kurosaki. All one needs is motivation or inspiration and passion. If you have both, you can pass this course. And my subject too."

He was about to say something else but he stopped when Ichigo stood up and chuckled as he clapped his hands as if the boy was a father too proud of his son's accomplishment. "That was the greatest violin performance I've ever seen and heard, Sensei!" Byakuya fought back a blush but he wasn't that successful.

"Anyway, as I've seen, you learned your lesson well today." Byakuya tried to make his voice steady even though he was still blushing. "This class is dismissed."

Ichigo smiled at him sweetly and Byakuya almost dropped the violin he was holding in shock. It was so beautiful and charming that the raven haired man couldn't help but blush even more, and he was thankful that Ichigo already looked away to pick up his bag.

"So, how about some dinner, Sensei?" Ichigo asked and Byakuya looked surprised for the second time in less than five minutes.

"Y-You're kidding, right?" He asked seriously, cursing himself for stuttering in front of his student. A Kuchiki never stuttered!

Ichigo chuckled again. But this time it sounded a bit hollowed to Byakuya's ears. "Of course. I see I can't joke about the same topic with you."

"Kurosaki, I–" Byakuya stopped himself, wide-eyed at his own words. The boy looked at him in confusion for a while before he smiled again and waved goodbye.

But even then, Byakuya still couldn't help but be shocked. What would he say? It was good that he was able to stop himself before he said something extremely forbidden and unacceptable, and ridiculous he might add. He was supposed to be the one to make Kurosaki confess and then reject him knowing it would only be a problem for both of them! How could he just blurt out something like without thinking? No, he wasn't really sure what he was about to say. It wasn't like that… Of course…

And once again, who was he kidding..?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Like I said, let me think about it for some more time." Byakuya sat comfortably in a couch in the Chairman's Office. It was quiet except for the soft music in the background.

"And like I was asking, have you found someone here that you like? I believe that's the reason why you're hesitating to accept the promotion." Yamamoto said seriously. "It has been your dream to teach professionals while also learning from them. But now…"

"Like I have been answering, I'm still not ready for it. And I don't have anyone. Why do you keep on going about that?" Byakuya asked irritably. Damn it. He was loosing his cool and he knew the Chairman would notice it.

Yamamoto sighed. "Alright then. I'll give you until the day after tomorrow to decide. If you still think you don't want to, then I'll give the position to someone else who's willing to be promoted."

Byakuya simply nodded before he walked out of the office without any word. It wasn't that he didn't want to accept the offer. It's just that he felt there was something he would miss if he immediately grabbed the opportunity. He wanted something to happen first before he decides. He walked along the corridors and turn some corners and walked some more. He wanted something… but he didn't know what it was. He didn't know what it was… until now.

"You don't have to be shy about it." Byakuya paused when he heard a female voice in the corner where he would turn to. He didn't know why he stopped. It's not as if he wanted to eavesdrop on the conversation. But what if it was another ambush confession? He knew he was too annoyed right now to even–

"Like I said, there's nothing to say." Byakuya was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the voice. Kurosaki… The voice was serious. Byakuya initially thought that the boy was being bullied but then he realized that rescuing him would tarnish the professor's reputation as being coldhearted and uncaring type of guy.

"You don't have to hide it, Ichigo. We know you like him." Byakuya froze. First, they called him by the first name and the boy didn't seem to mind it. And second, Ichigo liked someone… As much as he wanted to just leave or even pass them, his feet wouldn't move. He wanted to know who the person Ichigo liked was. Wasn't it Byakuya? Well, at least that's what he thought…

"Yeah, we can help you confess to him! We know you like Kuchiki-sensei for a long time now!"

Byakuya felt his heart skip a beat and he fought back a blush. Ichigo liked him? That was so–

"Stop it." Ichigo's voice sounded serious. "That's disgusting. Don't pair me with just anyone you like. I'm not like those stupid females who are falling head over heels with Sensei. That's just too gross and–"

Byakuya didn't hear what the boy said anymore as he started retracing his steps back to the Chairman's office, to rattled and shocked to even think of his composure.

"That's disgusting." It echoed in his ears. Byakuya felt like he was choking and he found that he couldn't breathe. He was suffocating. His whole body felt hot and his eyes stung so much. And his heart… his heart…

He opened the door and immediately shut it from behind him. Yamamoto must have saw his face and asked. "What happened?" The voice was filled with worry that Byakuya knew his feelings were showing on his face. He couldn't stop it…

"Don't pair me with just anyone…"

He never realized it… He never understood his feelings until now…He was the one falling for the boy…and not the other way around… And it hurt so much… It hurt so much to be so thoroughly rejected… It felt like his whole body was crumbling into pieces and he couldn't keep himself whole… He sat behind the door, not bothering to look too formal. He could feel his whole body trembling and he knew he was silently sobbing for he could feel something hot flowing on his cheeks. He gritted his teeth. He had never felt so weak and had never ever cried in front of anyone. The thought of crying in front of anybody sounded so preposterous for him… But now… He wanted someone, just anyone, to hold him and prevent him from breaking… He didn't even realize someone was holding him until the old man spoke beside him.

"You know you're blocking the entrance to my office." The old man said, but Byakuya knew that was his way of consoling. It meant that he should stop crying. The firm hand on his trembling shoulder was enough of a support for him not to utterly shatter. He wasn't expecting it to be so painful…

"Now you know how those students felt when you shatter their young hearts every time you reject them and say something totally harsh." The old man spoke again and Byakuya let him. He let him say what he wanted. It was true anyway… He couldn't deny it…

He didn't know how much he cried or how much time had passed. He continued crying silently on his grandfather's shoulder until he felt so weak and exhausted.

"And now you won't even be able to teach." Yamamoto sighed. "Sit on the couch, Byakuya-kun."

Byakuya had never felt his eyes so heavy and his face so exhausted before. The old man took a look at him even though he agreed only reluctantly. Yamamoto had to fight back a chuckle at his grandson's face. It was a total mess even though he still looked gorgeous.

"Grandfather," Byakuya voiced quietly. He had never ever called Yamamoto grandfather before, only Chairman or old man. "I accept the proposal."

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.tbc.

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Ren-sama's Note:

Poor Byakuya… But please don't kill me, Byakuya Fans! I'll make everything a lot better next chapter! (I hope.) Please no flames! I don't mind criticism but please make it a positive criticism. (I mean please point out the things that you might not like in a gentle manner.)

I know it's short and everything, but hell, it was supposed to be only a one-shot fan fiction!

Now please review! ˆoˆ