Bleach is © Kubo Tite, Viz, Studio Pierrot, Shueisha, etc. This is a nonprofit fanwork.

Be indomitable, o my heart!
by Fushigi Kismet

He could not recall the first time he ever saw her or when they first exchanged words. Years might have passed before he discovered her name for he never asked it. He would not trouble himself over such a trifling matter. Her background and past were plain to him from the dirty rags she wore and her bare feet and defiant air. Thus, she was beneath notice.

And yet, he could not help but notice. Her dark eyes and glossy hair, the lips that curved in a wide smile, the small body that moved so swiftly and lithely through the streets, the gentle voice full of wry humor - helplessly, he let himself be drawn to them.

It was a day in late spring - this he recalled clearly - that spelled his doom. She was standing before a grove of flowering cherry trees, a closed fan she had liberated from him in her hands, her body turned to look at the flowers so that he could see only her profile clearly against the trees. Perhaps it was her resolute back and the sharp outline of her thin ankle that decided him. Perhaps it was the delicate shower of cherry petals against her dark hair. Perhaps it was something beneath notice.

He said nothing as he embraced her from behind and buried his face in her hair. She said nothing as she placed her hands over his, the fan falling unnoticed to the ground.