Sometimes Renji thinks about poetry. He wonders if he might have been able to do that sort of thing, if life had been different, if there hadn't been dead friends and Eleventh Division and betrayal along the way. He knows that Kuchiki-taichou likes it. He knows that aristocrats (and some of them, like Kyouraku-taichou or Ukitake-taichou, are even decent human beings) can throw off poems like sweat in hot weather. It's just, you know, not his thing.

If it was, then maybe in the past he'd have been able to find words to describe the look on Rukia's face so many years ago, as she picked up one of the flowers floating in the river and held it for the rest of them to see. The firelight was reflected on the river's surface. The starlight was reflected in her face. The flower was white, but not as white as her hands. The night was dark, but not as dark as her hair. And the quality that shone through her, like light through the paper shade of a lamp -- that was incomparable.

When he holds her these days, either as a lover or as a friend, he is conscious of her size next to him. It isn't a defect; she is Rukia, and she is who she is and how she is, and he doesn't really mean the jokes about breadboards and wanting a bit more to fill his hands, and she knows it. She's exquisite, she's perfect, she's beautiful . . .

. . . she's small.

There should be more poems about beautiful small things. Windflowers. Diamonds. Frost on the window. Orchids. The sweetness of a single grain of sugar. The spice of a single grain of cinnamon. The brightness of a single drop of blood.

He could touch her skin but never stain it. He could wrap her in his sleeves, hold her in his hands, and still she'd shine through. Her light would ripple through his skin and bones like candles through alabaster.

Sometimes he wonders if there are ways to say this in poetry, because there sure as fuck aren't any other ways to say it.