'Kuchiki Byakuya was extremely angry at the world.' In which Byakuya is an emotional retard, and is himself. Barely-there Byakuya/Hisana.
Kuchiki Byakuya was extremely angry at the world.
It had started when Kisuke and Yoruichi first left, leaving confused and upset and asking 'why?' to an unseeing, unhearing audience. His mentors had left, and he felt lost, the too-young head of a noble clan who had to fend for himself in a crowd of hungry wolves who vied for his throne. He had wanted to throw down everything and just leave everything behind, for he was only fifty-two and barely out of his adolescence and the newest Shinigami in Division Six.
But he felt the weight of his kenseiken in his hair and sighed, shaking his head and staring out at the blue sky and untouchable freedom and turned back to his duties, proving himself to the wolves that called themselves nobles that he was worthy.
The second blow was when Hisana died.
He had found her almost by accident, literally bumping into her in Rukongai, him running errands for his Captain and her running away from the rightful owner of the water she was holding. She had shouted at him, screaming at him to get out of the way and what was he /thinking/, standing in the middle of the road like an idiot. He had just stared at her, bemused, and somehow or another fell in love with her after he grabbed her and threw her into a haystack before jumping in himself.
They had gotten married a year later, Byakuya overriding all of his relatives complaints and objections by putting on the poker face Kisuke had taught him and Kaien had made him practice by challenging him to cards every other week. He was ecstatic when, though he didn't show it, they were wed and he had drunk the last troublesome cup of tea and he was leading her to their room.
But Hisana never smiled at him that brash way again, and called him 'Byakuya-sama' instead of 'idiot' and never shouted. She became demure and soft-spoken and so, so fragile in that small, perfect body of hers that Byakuya wondered sometimes if he had married a stranger.
Then Hisana left, and all he was left was bittersweet memories and a promise he had to fulfil. He pressed the anger down; the anger that had began to boil when Kisuke and Yoruichi had left. He pressed the anger down, feeling the weight of the kenseiken in his hair and the silk of the scarf on his neck and reminded himself that he was the head of the noble Kuchiki house, and that it was unseemly for a noble to lose his temper.
Kaien was the next to leave, and Byakuya never forgave his best friend for leaving him when he knew Byakuya had nothing left except duties. Rukia had killed Kaien, but Byakuya forgave his sister the moment he saw her stumble into the house, face streaked with blood and tears and rain and mud, with eyes wide and unseeing and screaming of pain. He was angry with Kaien for being as reckless as to fight a Hollow without a zanpaktou, and even angrier with Ukitake for not stopping him or aiding him.
Byakuya paid his respects and stood stoically next to his sobbing sister in front of Kaien's casket, casting frosty glares at the solemn Ukitake. He wondered silently what was Kyouraku doing there, and then decided that he needn't know such trivial information. He had whispered to his sister, then, that she was a Kuchiki, and the members of the noble house of Kuchiki do not show emotion so openly.
"We should not shed tears,
for that will serve as a defeat of our bodies to our hearts.
It is then be nothing more than proof
for it to be said that our hearts are things
beyond our ability to control."
She had stopped crying when he said that, staring emptily as Kaien's body disappear into a mountain of flames. Strong and silent as a noble, as a Kuchiki, has to be. For that moment, he was proud of her. For that moment, she was more than a duty.
Byakuya wondered what the heart-wrenching pain in his chest was when the last signs of his best friend disappeared behind red-hot flames.
He reminded himself that he only felt the anger, anger at Kaien for leaving, anger at Ukitake for not stopping him, anger at himself because he had allowed himself to care for someone and it had been his downfall, for everyone he care for leave eventually. He reminded himself not to care too much for Rukia, for she will leave him in the end, like everyone does.
He wondered why that fact pained him when it was just the plain truth.
And now that Rukia was leaving too, but this time, he knew she was going to leave, and when she was going to. His vows, his duties as the head of the noble house of Kuchiki and as the Captain of the Sixth Division prevented him from stopping her from leaving. So he did the only thing he could do: stop himself from caring.
It had worked, somewhat, when he never looked her in the eye and never acknowledged the pleading and the pain behind the placid exterior. She had learned well from him, but, unfortunately (or was it fortunately?), she had not managed to shut out her heart. Not yet.
And so he left Renji and Kurosaki Ichigo alive, knowing that somehow, they would manage to save her and prevent her from shutting out her heart or leaving. He could not save her directly (he should not), for he has his vows and his duties, but there was always 'careless mistakes'.
Then he saw Yoruichi and felt the anger again, wanting to do something but then she left once more, and all he was left with again was an empty feeling and a sister begging him to save her with her eyes that he tried hard to ignore. He turned away from her, walking away and leaving the invaders to Ukitake even though he knew that the other Captain wouldn't kill them.
Then, days later, he heard Aizen's words, cold and mocking and matter-of-fact, and it angered him. The anger he had tried so hard to suppress when Kisuke and Yoruichi and Hisana and Kaien left flared back to life, and when he saw Ichimaru's sword, long and deadly and a blinding line of light as it rushed to take Rukia's life, the only thought in his mind was: 'I can stop her from leaving'.
He didn't know when exactly did he himself move, but then Rukia was in his arms and there was a pain in his chest even though the anger no longer hurt. He sagged in her arms as blood loss and pain and overexertion caught up with him, but he felt nothing but relief and leaned into her, admitting that it was an impossible task for him to stop caring about her, admitting that it was impossible for him to be completely alone in this world.
Byakuya then realized, held in her slender, strong arms, that it was not Kisuke and Yoruichi and Hisana and Kaien that he was angry with for leaving him, but himself.
For he was always too weak, for he could never stop them from leaving.