Disclaimer: Bleach and all volume poems are created by Kubo Tite.

Translations into English are done by me. Any sort of discrepancies from the official English manga is not intentional.

Pls enjoy.


Red is for love.

White is for waiting.

Yellow is for longing.

This is the language of the camellia.

x . x . x

His hood was over his head as he kept his eyes closed. But he was not asleep. He was awake, listening to the announcer's voice over the loud chattering of the high school students standing just a couple of feet away from him. Their voices held cadences of excitement, as they talked about the clothes they were going to wear, the way they were going to style their hair, the colors they were going to paint their nails and the brands of makeup they were going to use. They would don themselves with the colors of emerald, of opal, of topaz, of sapphire. They whispered something inaudible to each other and then burst into giggles, laughter that were distinctly young. Listening to their conversations with detached curiosity, he heard enough to know that they were going out on a group date, meeting some third-years from the basketball team.

They do not know the world beyond theirs. Their lives were filled with boring classes, school vacations, hot dates and vibrant fashion. They looked at the world through rose-colored lens, unworried about what lies ahead. What lies ahead seemed an idea too distant for them to consider.

People possess hope, because their eyes are unable to see death.

He heard his stop being announced and he stood up. He then saw a spirit, standing beside one of the laughing girls. The spirit's features were gentle and kind, just like the girl he was standing beside. He wore a black and white ring around his ring finger, and so did the girl. The girl was smiling, unaware of that tender presence that stood beside her, protectively.

Did those other girls knew, how one's heart would find incapable of mending after it was broken? Did that girl know, that even in his death, he still loved her?

Yes, she must know. Because she was still smiling, with that ring around her finger and even with those sad eyes, she was still smiling. She understood that she was loved.

His hood fell and he heard the girls mention something about his hair as he got off the train, but he was not the least bothered. As his foot landed on the platform, he simply turned back and smiled, which caused all the girls to quickly turn their heads away from him like they were all caught red-handed doing something ethically incorrect. But his smile was directed at the ghost, who at this moment was also looking at him. And surprisingly, he returned the gesture unflustered.

People possess hope, even when they have seen death.

It had to be true, because even in fear, he was still hoping.

x . x . x

Normally, people would have taken the bus, but growing up, he was used to walking. Even now, living in Minato, surrounded with an extensive transportation system, he still walked everywhere. He walked with the rapidness he was used to, working every inch of his muscles that had remained lean and toned even when he found little time to work out in the gym. He figured it was all the walking that kept his body fit, and so he kept it up.

The streets where already flooded orange with light from the streetlamps when he arrived. A small amount of sweat had broken and he removed his jacket that he had been wearing to fend off the drizzle.

"You're late."

"I know," Ichigo stated flatly as he proceeded to wash the tombstone and he placed his own flowers beside those that the rest of his family had brought. He clapped his hands in brief prayer.

A thin stream of smoke rose and dissipated into the endless night sky. "Have you gotten fat?"

Ichigo's face contorted into a look of disbelief.

Isshin laughed at his expression and he offered his lit cigarette to Ichigo.

"I'm still underage, old man." Ichigo took the lit cigarette nevertheless and took a drag. He seldom smoked, but when he was alone in his apartment, he sometimes did. Nighttimes were the worst when one was alone.

"So you're not as stiff-necked as I thought you'll be," his father chuckled. "Look Masaki, what a bad boy Ichigo has become!"

"You offered!" Ichigo retorted back irritably. He stuffed the cigarette back into his father's fingers. "And you knew anyway. That's why you offered."

Isshin backslapped his son in the chest, a lot harder than expected, causing Ichigo to cringe from the impact. "Ooh, so you've grown smarter! You realize that your father actually knows EVERYTHING!"

"Yuzu and Karin?"

"I sent them to get some dinner and to wait for me at the bus stop." There was a pregnant pause and Ichigo was anticipating as his eyes darted away guiltily. "Are you coming home today?"

Ichigo stuck his hand deep into his pockets and did not answer. He knew he was not going to escape his father's question just by pretending he had not heard it, but he did so anyway. He had not gone home last year.

"They'll be getting dinner for four."

Ichigo bent to pick up his jacket which he had folded and placed on the curb.

"She came here this year too."

He knew, but he said nothing as he patted the dirt away from his clothes.

"Are you happy?" Isshin stubbed out his cigarette, though he had barely finished half of it. "You haven't really been happy since she left two years ago."

"Two? It has been eleven years. You should at least know how long your own wife had died." Ichigo played the fool.

Isshin kicked Ichigo at the knee from behind, causing his leg to buckle and eliciting laughter of victory from his father. He walked ahead quickly, his arms swinging as exaggeratedly as the width of his strides. "Last one to the bus will run home using handstands!"

He knew he had not escaped anything by his pretence, but pretence ran deep in the family. They were unhappy, that much was obvious; this day was not a happy day for any of them. But they never tried to talk about it. They laughed and argued, pretending to have left the past behind. The only one who used to cry no longer did. Perhaps so many years after, tears no longer brought any meaning to the indelible past. He could never guess, the precise moment when everyone stopped crying, when they learnt to keep the sadness hidden far, far away, in a place where no one needed to see.

We should not allow tears to fall, for tears would show that we have been defeated by the heart. And it is just proof, that our hearts are things beyond our control.

Ichigo could not remember the last time he cried. Was it the night when he had failed to defeat Grand Fisher? It probably was. It was the night when he stopped crying and learnt to carry the weight of his soul in the blade of his sword. It was when he finally believed that the ability to change destiny would come in the swing of the sword that he held firmly in his hands.

So he no longer cried.

And he realized, what was more fearful than crying, was losing the capability to cry. That year after year, he would stand here with dry eyes, while he continued to break down year after year, in an unseen world, within himself. Because the grief would never go away, because he understood that he would continue to blame himself no matter the number of years that should go by. He could find no salvation.

And then he remembered. The last time he cried, and the moment he forgot how to cry, was the day she went away. Two years ago.

Yes, we are defeated by the heart, and always will be. Because in the end, our hearts are things that are simply beyond our control.

He pulled the hood over his head as it was beginning to drizzle again and he hurried along on his way to catch the train back to Minato.

- YL -