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04 January 2008 @ 01:12 pm
Painted Words  
Title: Painted Words
Character: Kuchiki Rukia
Pairing: Byakuya/Rukia
Author: tasogaretaichou
Rating: G
Prompt: #3 - Calligraphy
Summary: For years, they have shared a ritual. It seems trivial to some, but to them, it holds so much more meaning.

"Here. Take this."

Glancing up with a questioning look, Rukia reached out one small hand to take the sheaf of paper and pot of ink that her new brother held out for her. Setting the inkwell down beside her, she turned the parchment over in her hands, studying the weight and thickness of it. She'd certainly seen paper before, it wasn't as though the parchment in and of itself was a thing of note. But this was a bit different, a bit thicker and finer, the lines of pulp and substance that made it up were smoother and less noticable, as though the means it had been made were different from the common everyday sheaves they were given at the Academy. Violet eyes flickered back up to blue, a confused look staining their colour.

"Nii-sama.... what is this?"

"That is a sheaf of parchment, and that is an inkwell and a brush. If you meant to ask what the purpose of my giving you these is, then it is because as a member of the Kuchiki family, you are expected to be proficient in the more delicate arts as well as those duties required of a shinigami of the Gotei-13. In this case, the art of calligraphy."

Placing a second cushion beside hers, he pulled out an identical piece of parchment, along with another inkwell, setting it in front of him as he knelt down, carefully ensuring that the pristine white haori was kept well out of the way of any ink spills. Pulling his sleeve out of the way, the captain of the 6th division carefully dipped a brush into the ink and began to write. Without any words, she understood the unspoken command. "Follow", picking up her own brush and beginning to carefully mimic the lines and curves he painted on the parchment, black ink stark against the cream fibers.

It occured to her that this was odd, perhaps a bit out of sorts, for the head of the clan to be teaching her what she was relatively certain most nobles would have dubbed a menial and trivial task, an arduous and frustrating length of practice for something that anyone with any degree of real couth should have studied from the time they were children. After all, there were plenty of servants who could have just as easily taught the newest member of their illustrious masters' clan the simple skills that she needed to integrate herself into the world of privilege they enjoyed.

And yet, no servants came, no one appeared to relieve Kuchiki Byakuya of this task, in fact the only time that any of the numerous house servants even so much as appeared with a tray of tea, they were sent away with a simple word and a gesture, as though their mere presence was bothersome to him. And still, the smooth strokes across the paper, the steady rhythem of the art. Dip, stroke, sprinkle, dip. Over and over, until she'd learnt the strokes by heart, and there was something akin to pride dwelling there. The sun had traveled low in the sky, golden-orange beams sliding across the floor when he finally set the brush aside, simply nodding to her as he got to his feet with a seemingly effortless grace, and simply turned and left.

She thought that would have been the end of it. Now that he'd satisfied whatever urge had possessed him to stay in the first place, there would be servants to take over. But yet again the next day, the same repeated.

And it would continue, over and over, day after day until the days stretched into years and she had long-since learned all the necessary ins and outs of the skill. He kept coming, sitting for hours at a time, saying nothing, only writing. Sometimes there would be tea, or a small tray of sweets -- always for her, he never seemed to eat or drink anything during such times -- and still the writing.

It was a mystery to Rukia, why the cold man who was her brother would take such pains to continue their afternoon ritual every day. But after days and weeks and years filled with silent touchings of brush to paper, she understood. Understood that it was the only way that he knew how. Knew how to express enjoyment of her company, the pleasure he derived from her presence. The only way he could show the love he felt. It had taken an overheard conversation, a casual mention among the house-servants of how nice it was to see the two of them that way, of how much it reminded them of the days when he would join Hisana-sama while she worked over her calligraphy, simply content to remain at her side, never needing words or gestures or any other form of communication to convey what was in thier hearts.

She came to understand that he'd sat by her at first, for Hisana. For the memory of a dead, beloved wife whom the newcomer resembled to such a striking degree that it was nearly painful, and yet impossible to deny the small portion of mind and heart that wanted to relive, wanted to believe that by recreating the moments of memory, he could recapture what he'd lost. And for a time, that had been the case. Until he'd come to understand that he no longer saw the girl as a replacement for the wife he'd lost. Rather, she had grown dear to him in her own way, for her own soul.

Saying such things as "I love you", and "stay with me" were not his way. Nor was he blind to the way violet eyes so like and yet unlike those he'd cared for were always turned away from him, looking up and beyond the walls of the Kuchiki estate, seeking -- he knew -- a brilliant spot of orange against the sky, listening for a loud and obnoxious voice to call out her name. She didn't see him the way he saw her, and perhaps she never would. And that was why he let her go, stood by and watched as she followed her hero into the dangers of Hueco Mundo, saught the safety of a dear friend in need. She would be all right. Because whether she returned crying or smiling, she was following her heart. As he followed his. And it was for that reason, that Kuchiki Byakuya placed an extra cushion, along with parchment and brush, alongside the smaller one every afternoon, and would continue to do so every day afterward.
Psyche: sicksick
r0ck3tsci3ntist - sorry, kiddingr0ck3tsci3ntist on January 4th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Please take all my internets. I have no words. ILU
Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on January 5th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
Awwwww, so sweet of you~
{the once and future queen}: rukiasenbonzakura77 on January 4th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was brilliantly written! :D Wonderful, wonderful job..
(Deleted comment)
tomoyohime8: byakuya's hair issuestomoyohime8 on January 5th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
amazing new layout, if i must say.

how did you get the 3D rukia? did you draw her? XDDDDDDDDDDD

Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on January 5th, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you. and no, sadly I did not. My skills lie in normal fanart, not 3-d rendering. It's from a fanart I found on Photobucket somewhere and I wish I knew the artist so that I could credit them.
Cassiekashii_x on January 7th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
*randomly commenting*
The artist is iDNAR on deviantart.com
kane_shi_megami: brilliantkane_shi_megami on January 7th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
Not only did you manage to make me love Byakuya more, but I loved how you threw in the brilliant spot of orange to symbolize Ichigo. AMAZING.
twilight_lily on January 16th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)

That was absolutely beautiful. There is just something in your writing that always makes the reader completely engrossed in your work.

And I've always loved one-sided Byakuruki, always imagined it like this.

And, uh, that icon is so cute!