Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, situations, ideas, etc., of Bleach, and I am making no financial gain off this fic.
Notes: This piece was originally written for the temps.mort 'drabble collection' challenge on LiveJournal.


1/ the butterfly on the sidewalk

When Ishida is seven he finds a butterfly on the sidewalk; its wing - blue and green and shining in the sun - is crushed, the victim of a heel. His shadow falls over the tiny symmetry of its wings, fluttering and fluttering and then going still. For a moment he stands there, letting the sun beat hot against his nape. Ishida reaches up and adjusts his glasses.

He picks the butterfly up and lays it on the grass; gives it dignity.

What he doesn't think is: something beautiful has died and I have seen it.

What he thinks is: oh; oh.

2/ the girl in the window

Orihime is told Draw yourself and someone you love together. So she picks out the crayons in the precise order she wants them. Pea green violet orange maroon speckled blue; and the vivid colors of her favorite superhero's costume: pink, cream, and just the shade of cornflower gold.

"Who is this?" her teacher asks, staring at the picture and trying to smile.

"This is me," Orihime says, pointing at the grinning face of a scrawled cat in a window hovering in mid-air on the page. "And that's my brother!" She points at the mess of color below: vibrant, alive; loved.

3/ the man now made silent

Ishida does not believe in God. He believes:
- in his two hands, to create and take apart according to his own clinical and intended whim.
- in power, the kind he will not surrender for the sake of anything unworthy (and he has never found anything worthy; not since, not, he thinks, again).
- weak things have no place, and pity is weakness; so, too, is the flash of wistfulness that comes in the night.
- knowledge gives to power what training won't: the expertise for use and the awareness of how.
- the people you love will die.

4/ the angel with wavering wings

Orihime makes little worlds every time she closes her eyes. Rain and snow; a castle of stone, ice cream, clouds, breath, dreams; a new flavor that tastes like nothing so much as a memory that slips through your fingers like so.

Orihime sees beautiful things in this world every time she opens her eyes. This is a boy who is waiting for love; this is the smile a mother has; here, soft, is the light shining over a spiderweb in dew.

Orihime carries her own quiet sadness locked tight in her heart, where she doesn't forget and she always remembers.

5/ the string on your finger

Ishida thinks Orihime is more than a little insane and Orihime thinks Ishida is more than a little unhappy, and together they make something that's happy and sane and surprisingly content.

What Ishida finds is that not everyone you love will die, and sometimes you make sacrifices without really understanding why; and sometimes, even, knowledge won't tell you everything.

What Orihime finds is that she doesn't have to close her eyes to build new intricate worlds and she doesn't have to open them to find something beautiful; and she doesn't have to lock her sadness away.

Sometimes butterflies don't die.