Byakuya was beginning to think that his life was finally starting to look up, and after a century of bad luck, he figured it was about damn time.
It all started when his parents died and he became the head of his family. He didn’t want to be the clan-head. He loathed it, feeling like he had been trapped within a gilded cage. Yet, there was very little choice, especially for him, and so he was stuck with the position.
His two closest friends, ironically both troublemakers in their own rights, were the next to leave him. If it weren’t for damn Urahara, Yoruichi probably would have stayed. Still, like always, the fool couldn’t do anything without the Shihouin heir at his side and took her with him.
They left Byakuya alone in his stifled castle without even the freedom of tag any longer.
Decades later, he had wanted to think that his life was finally turning around when he met Hisana. For him, it had been love at first sight, and for her… he still wasn’t sure. Perhaps it simply had been his beauty or maybe the desire to escape from Rukongai. Regardless, he had suffered to marry her, putting up with the anger of his entire family.
Yet, she had never been anything more than lukewarm to him. He had wanted children; she hadn’t tried that hard. He had loved her with all his heart, with his entire being, and she had merely accorded him the proper respect his position deserved. Still, he had been happy enough to have her at his side. He had been able to breathe easier, if not freely, and he had started to come alive again.
And then, Fate had decided to spit in his face by taking Hisana away from him. She was gone so quickly that he swore his heart shattered on the spot. Nevertheless, she had asked one last thing of him, one last promise.
And he had never been able to deny her anything.
He had found Rukia quickly, especially since she made it so easy for him. Her abilities landing her in the Shinigami Academy had been a minor stroke of good fortune, one which had faded all too rapidly.
At first, she had seemed hesitant to agree to her adoption into the Kuchiki clan. He had yet to discover what made her change her mind, and though he had adopted her as his sister, she never did warm to him. She had always been so distant… as if she were afraid of him.
With Hisana dead, Urahara and Yoruichi gone, and Rukia rather cold, Byakuya had been left with few friends. He had no one to talk to, if he felt so inclined. It had become that much easier to hide within his impassivity, his cold shell, which had earned him many nicknames from his fellow shinigami.
To make matters worst, his vice-captain, whom he had grown quite attached to, had decided that he didn’t want to be a shinigami any longer. The man never could explain why or offer up any sort of explanation at all. He had simply abandoned his post, leaving behind a badge and disappearing to the four winds.
While Renji was a sufficient replacement, the fact remained that Byakuya had been abandoned once more.
Just like all those times before.
The last straw had been the betrayal.
His sister had been scheduled for execution, and he had done nothing but stand on the sidelines, all for a promise that he should not have made in the first place. Somewhere along the way, he had let go of his heart, clinging to his ideals. They had seemed to be the only thing that hadn’t yet failed him, but he had been wrong.
It had almost been too late by the time he even realized it. Ichigo Kurosaki, a rookie by all accounts, had shown him what it meant to be an older brother. He had been beaten as if he were nothing more than a fourth-seat, which had been a serious gash to his pride.
By the end of it all, he had been left with nothing. Not his heart, his pride, nor his ideals. He had been nothing but an empty shell, and even that had been close to being destroyed. He had almost died from Ichimaru’s attack.
“Just a few inches over,” Unohana had claimed, her voice lacking its usual chirpiness. “Just a scant few inches… and the Kuchiki’s would have needed another heir.”
At the time, he had wondered if he was bothered by that fact, bothered that he had come so close to death. What had it mattered; he was already dead on the inside.
And yet, strangely, things started to look up then. His luck finally shifted. By saving Rukia’s life, it was like Fate had finally decided to have mercy on him, or so he was coming to believe.
His century of bad luck was over at last. After a hundred years, he was finally able to breathe freely again. Byakuya once again felt like a real human being, like he was actually alive and not simply going through the motions.
And as strange as it sounds, he has Ichigo to thank for it.
Even if he was related to Isshin.