Title: Ribbons Stronger than Steel
Fandom: Bleach
Characters/Pairings: Senbonzakura/Byakuya
Rating: PG
Warnings: None.
Author Note: Finally, one from Byakushi's POV, yeah?
Summary: It is a promise, an unbreakable bond that keeps him steady in these times...

The table can be found here.

It is a promise.

There are some who look at achieving bankai as if it were some simple accomplishment, a milestone that makes them stronger. They are the ones who seek domination in battle, who focus, not on the important part, but on the power they will achieve. They are the ones driven to fight for whatever it is that feeds their ego and they are, usually, the ones that do not return.

There are others who see bankai as a way for status. They do not realize that bankai is unachievable for most shinigami. They are dreamers who seek out something to make them important, make them belong with those of real importance.

To him, bankai is more than power, more than a step in gaining status. Bankai requires time and training. First, the shinigami must be able to physically manifest their spirit within the physical world, then force them to submit. It is true that it relies, mostly, on battle, skill and the need or desire to overcome. However, when a spirit submits to its shinigami, it is not a matter to take lightly.

The spirit is submitting and acknowledging the power of the shinigami. It is showing that it places trust in the shinigami's skill, trust that the shinigami still has respect for them, trust that the shinigami will not abuse this power granted and they will, forever, be bound by a thin ribbon stronger than steel.

To Byakuya, bankai is a pact. As he proved his status and heard the word 'Master', he knew that he had achieved what it is that most shinigami will dream and wish, but never accomplish. He knows he has both the respect and the devotion of a powerful creature, majestic and noteworthy. Senbonzakura placing such trust in him to protect their honor... this is their promise. Their promise never to stray, to do whatever is necessary for their pride and, most of all, their promise to believe in each other, even should all else fail.

It is the only bond that exists as he makes his way to Rukia's cell, as he prepares to hand her the death sentence that they have ordered him to give.