Pairing: Rukia/Orihime
Prompt: Orihime gives up on Ichigo.
Three years after Ichigo dons the mask and never takes it off again, Orihime finally breaks down and cries. She's cried about the monster Ichigo has become before, but the difference is that this time they're tears of defeat.

For a while, Tatsuki holds her as she cries, and her voice is savage with her own anger and loss as she tells her friend, "Just because you can't save him doesn't mean you can't win."

Orihime doesn't know if she can believe her, but she cries into her shoulder all the same.

But she cries more later, alone. It feels like her heart is liquefied and is coming out of her eyes.

She doesn't stop until she sees a shadow across her bed. She knows, then, who it is, and she has a feeling about the why as well.

Rukia kneels on Orihime's bed, and she holds out a hand, offering comfort, offering benediction.

But Orihime sees something broken in Rukia's eyes, and she has other ideas. Without saying a word, she turns out the light.

After a moment, there is a low, soft noise from Rukia. Orihime reaches out and lays a hand on her face, knowing what she'll find.

In the dark, Rukia can finally cry, too.

There are still tears on Orihime's face as well. But she brushes away Rukia's, first with her fingers, then with her mouth.

Slowly, the tears evaporate in the heat of their bodies entwined.