Hail and well met.

Those of you who've followed "Best I Am" since the beginning know that it's been a long time since we've talked. Sorry about that. I had a lot of stuff to work out.

Anyone who finds this chapter sitting fat and happy right after the finale, well. Good fortune shone upon you, friends. You didn't have to wait 4 years.

A note: I'm not reviving "Best I Am." These chapters stand on their own, and I'm going to keep them that way. The complete version of the scene which follows this note, and any that follow, will be found at a new story called "The Whitest Lace of Light," which is going up at the same time as this update.

I wanted those of you who liked "Best I Am" to know about my new project, because your support has meant the world to me, and I thought you might appreciate what I've come up with after so long.

I'm coming back to Bleach for two reasons.

One: I've finished the manga. And with what I've learned, there was just no way I was going to be able to leave my babies alone for long.

Two: It's been a long time, and I've grown as a writer (and as a person) since then. I've learned more about my craft, and my vision, in that time. And I think my very first OTP deserves a second chance to shine.

I hope that you enjoy this, and I hope you'll join me at the new story.

Here's to new adventures in the new year.

Au revoir, my lovelies.


The dragon's voice was loudest in the cold.

When the wind drove spikes like kitchen shears into his nerve endings, and gods whispered down his neck. When snow crunched beneath his feet, and his breath gained sentience; that was when he felt strongest. Most capable. Most aware. In those moments, and only those moments, he was able to trick himself into honestly believing he was alive.

In those moments, and only those moments, the dragon in his blood uncoiled, and rose up to sing.

Toshiro Hitsugaya sat—perched like a trained raptor on his own roof—and made every effort to commune with the night sky. With every exhale, he watched the whirling, swirling condensation before his eyes and danced with the dragon. There were no words; not right now.

Silence was like currency. No matter what he tried to do, though, Hitsugaya found himself unable to enrich himself during daylight hours. He had to wait for darkness. Most of the time, he was fine with this. It was during nighttime, after all, that dreams held court; and where best to entertain thoughts of warm blood and a beating heart than in the midst of a dream?

How long had it been, since his death? Hitsugaya didn't know. Hundreds of years. Thousands. Tens of thousands. It was impossible to tell. The moment-to-moment drudgery of office work and training drills kept him from thinking about the passage of time too much, and once you lost track of time once, there was almost no finding it again.

Not here. Not where every vestige of physical reality was an illusion, and every attempt at normalcy was a lie.