Hmm ... well this just jumped up and bit me in the butt. Please forgive me. : P Hope you like it!

NOTE: This is from Kūkaku's POV while in chapter 181 in the manga. She's the fireworks lady who helped Ichigo and his friends. : D

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the characters.

The One He Loves

I didn't speak for a second as I watched her. She just stood there, her dress blowing slightly in the wind and her hair flowing softly around her face. I just stared at her, a rough look on my face as I tried not to show emotion. This was the girl ... no, woman, that Ichigo had been trying so hard to save. The woman that he had bled for and who he would carry scars for for the rest of his life. This woman standing in front of me, whom I wanted to hate so badly because of what she had done to me ...

... Was the woman that he loved.

There was such a look of pain on her face, such a look of deep, raw sorrow, that when she began to apologize, I turned around and muttered silently, "Enough."

She hadn't heard me, I guess, as she continued to speak. I twirled around and clobbered her over the head. That shut her up. As I slowly spoke the words that I had practiced a million times, I was no longer frowning. I could no longer hate this woman, because of her pain over what she had done to me, and over the guilt I knew she felt.

Then he showed up. He had been standing there for a few seconds, but I guess he knew that he shouldn't interrupt. Then, I just watched. I didn't speak, and I didn't move. I just watched.

When she told him that she had decided to stay, I could see the brief look of pain in his eyes before he covered it up with a smile. He was happy ... I knew it, because no matter what she decided, as long as she was happy, he was too, because he loved her.

The look in his eyes ... the deep emotion flowing out of them ... he did nothing to cover it up. He let that emotion run free ...

... if only she had seen that emotion ... maybe she would have gone with him.

I know he would have liked that; he wanted her by his side.

I smiled.

I couldn't hate her. Because of the pain I had seen her eyes, because of the pain I knew she felt because of what she had been forced to do, who she had been forced to kill ... and I couldn't hate her, because I had seen the pain in his eyes, the deep, deep need to save her.

I couldn't hate her ... because she was the one he loved.

I have never written from Kūkaku's POV before. It was ... different. : D I decided to put it up because I have reached my 15 document limit. Yees, I have THAT MANY things written/in progress. I'm just not putting them up yet.

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