A/N: I absolutely love exploring new pairings, and Chad/Orihime was calling to me. So here's a little long drabble for the masses.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach and am making no profit from this fan work.

Stones That Sooth

By Nessie

She fights in a way he can never fully understand, only appreciate. While she calls upon friends, both controlled and uncontrolled by her powers, there is always a part of Yasutora Sado that refuses to ask for help. He resents that piece of himself, knowing that his Abuelo would have admonished him for it, but at the same time he thinks of it as something that contains himself.

He watches her as she casts her protective triangles, guarding all of them against the trio of Hollows they are fighting.

He is quiet, and Orihime is outspoken. He is practical, and she is openly flighty. They are the opposite ends of a very long branch, completely different and forever unable to reach each other. He is a dark, tall, near silent figure that prefers private relationships. She is a source of light in his mind, a petite ball of positive energy that enjoys making her affections known.

"Sacred Trilinked Shield!" A shining triangle bursts in front of her with the help of the Shun Shun Rikka. Her face is determined as the Hollows are warded off.

Yes, she is light. He is as immoveable as a boulder. His fist is a one-person weapon. His hands are a means of pain. Hers are tools for healing. The easiest thing for her to do is smile and help people. The easiest thing for him to do is haul back and keeping swinging at enemies.

Chad believes that he must be a fool to ever imagine anything could ever be more than friendship between them. She deserves better than him…better than a man who is little more than a weapon.

Che, Chad, do I always have to tell you what kinda guy you are?

It fits that the voice of reason inside his head is that of Ichigo's. If the Shinigami could always hear his thought processes, Chad would have been the target of a hundred brown-eyed glares.

You'll always watch out for her, won't ya?

A presses his left hand to his right wrist, which is covered by his black, striped armor. One of the Hollows, its milky skull leering down at her, advances swiftly. Orihime is knocked backwards as Hinagiku, Lily, and Baigon return to her hairclips. She is suddenly defenseless…

But she is never truly without strength. Chad surges forward, leaping over her head to land in front of where she sits on the ground. He fires a blast from his powerful, armored fist, and the Hollow is destroyed in an instant.

Chad looks back, and his concern is obscured from her gaze by the fall of his dark bangs. "Are you okay, Inoue?"

Orihime blinks, and then a broad smile crosses her face. "Mm-hm! You were amazing, Sado-kun!" She holds up one of her small, pale hands and waits for him to help her.

He pulls her to her feet effortlessly, and she keeps her hand within his for just a moment longer. It is a soothing touch, for both of them.

"Really really amazing!" she tells him again before running off to face the next Hollow, inspired by his strength.

Chad wastes no time, hurrying behind her in case he is needed by her or any of the others.

In the end, Ichigo is always right. It's true.

He may be a stone, but he will help to ease whatever trials may cross her path. And he will always protect her.

The End