A good song, to him, is much like a scalpel. It will cut through skin and bone and lay your heart bare and open to take it in; the petty nitpicking of your brain has no chance to censor it. This is why, he thinks, Rukia has a theme. Steady as a drum, low, melodic, and melancholy at times.

He imagines her marching forward like a conquering army. Better yet, at the head of it. Her flag is violet and the wind makes it snap and ripple. She carries the flagstaff in front of her, her intent is to drive it into the earth of his skin: This territory must be, will be hers. Her face is grim and she will not ride a horse; she will not be carried. Her feet must touch the ground because to fly is to lose all sense of reason; she never wants to fall. This is her biggest flaw. Her ebony wings are weak from inactivity. She may not be able to fly now, even if she wanted. But, he thinks, maybe that's okay . He can't fly either. Better that they can console each other on the earth, bodies warming to and for each other. Is this lust?

I am an untold story, his heart tells her. Buried beneath tomes of war and skill and duty, perhaps I have not yet seen the light of day. Would you care to peruse me? And she'll snatch the crisp clean thing up, leaf through the pages, inhaling the sweet smell of something new and fresh. She'll burrow under every paragraph, rest in the white spaces, weave herself in the crevice between the binding and the spine. She'll resurface with traces of him smudging her face and embedded under her fingernails. This is how he takes her in. She just can't put the book down; it'll lay still on her chest and rise and fall with every breath, and not be shaken away when she trembles in her sleep. Kaien—you did this to me too, when I didn't know what it really meant.

He knows little of Shiba Kaien but he hates him. That bastard with my face—caused you grief. But he is thankful. That bastard made my face a thing that could catch your shielded eye.

She hates herself for the death of two things. Kaien as he was. Ichigo as he was. Kaien at least had the decency not to come back. But that damned Ichigo—she'll never be free of him. Not because she doesn't want to be. But because she can't be. Ever. Perhaps this is what causes the compulsion to seek him out if it's been too long since she's heard his voice or ogled his bright hair. She is little more than a moth attracted to his blinding aura.

When she is back his eyes never leave her for very long. It's not that he worries that she'll disappear when out of his view. He's used to that now. But sometimes, when she is wide open, he can see through her. When her guard is down, there is someone in her shoes that rarely is visible. The laughing one. The smirk with only a hint of mischief. It's like a melody to him, the light she exudes, it makes him want to smile and cry at the same time. He's sure he cannot explain the feeling, a swelling like his heart might burst from the feel of it. He only knows he has been exposed to something rare and precious. Like a really good song.

A/N: Yes, boys and girls, Kilonji has sank into weird-mood land.