Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or the newest manga chapters (which kick ass). I would recommend every reader to take a brief glance at the Author's Note located beneath the story once they are done.

Summary: Kira knows despair. He lives it every waking, breathing, and screamingshoutingclawingpleaseletmefreeletmeout moment of his life. Kira knows despair simply because he is despair. Hinted Shuuhei/Kira

Warnings: Implied character death in the end. If you squint, you can see bits of Shuuhei/Kira. This is morbid and depressing, don't say I didn't warn you.

Orange petals unfurled, teasing
The light of the sun—oh, sweet






of Mine, who would have
Known? Your poison. My fatality.

Once upon a time, Kira believed in valor (noun: A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's hope) and in the ideals of justice. He would go to sleep every night on a dirty, moth-bitten pillow with the knowledge that there was a force, which would right wrongs. He would allow the other ragged kids of Rukongai throw their rocks at him, kick him around, as they were wont to do in those days when justice had seemed so far away, and leave him beaten and hopeless in the dust. He did so because he believed in justice. Because he was a fool, a lost and useless fool with dreams and ambitions. Dreams! The idea is laughable now. Ambition! As if that has anything to do with reality. He was Tousen in different skin and different clothes, but he was Tousen in mind and in heart.

He is not Tousen anymore.

He is a melded and shattered version of Gin's half-fragmented image, Hinamori's fragile naiveté, and Shuuhei's fatalism. He has never been his own person, never been an individual in any sense of the word. He is a mosaic of people who have impacted him the most. It is a corrupted version of imprinting, where he takes the worst of people and makes them a part of himself. He feeds upon their despair and revels in it. He is a Hollow in shinigami form, a Joker in a deck of loaded cards.

His reasons to fight are his own, but the endless tides of right and wrong pull him this way and that. Matsumoto forgave him and he shrinks away from her touch now. There was nothing to forgive back then, nothing to forgive him for. He was just as right as her in the end. She fought for her ideas and he fought for the sake of the first person who saw through his lackluster movements and the ashes of anguish in his eyes. He was on the "wrong" side back then, but that was war for you. Soldiers sometimes just didn't get to pick the side they wanted to fight for. They just went on the battlefield and killed until they too, in turn, were killed.

He doesn't need Matsumoto's forgiveness because he has never asked for it to begin with. He rejects her forgiveness just like he rejects all that he used to believe in (justice, love, hope, mercy). He doesn't speak to the others, not to Hinamori (who he followed just to marvel at her complete happiness) and not to Shuuhei (who understands without words just why his mouth never opens). His words are marigolds, beautiful in their starkness, tempting in their darkness, and ultimately destined to bloom for him alone. The marigolds on his uniform, on his patch, swallow him and envelop him whole.

Happiness is temporary.

He sees this every day he looks in Hinamori's delusional gaze, drowning in her shrieks of madness ("It's not true! It's not true! Aizen's been deceived. Save him, bring him back! It's not true!) Poor child, he wants to say, and put her out of her misery. Poor child, you are the deceived one. But he keeps his mouth shut for fear of letting the others know about his own temporary state of insanity, about the despair that grips his heart until the red turns to pitch-black.

Shuuhei passes him one day on the empty streets of Soul Society with the night chasing away the hopes of the daylight. There's only the two of them and neither of them speak for a while, two strangers standing on what seems to be the brink of an abyss. He wants to ask the ninth division vice-captain if it hurts—his captain's betrayal, or rather, if it hurts because it only proves his fatalism right. They could be twin brothers on the inside, Kira reflects in the silence that engulfs the two of them in the shaking light of a nearby lantern. They could be twin brothers.

Somewhere inside him is a silent plea to be understood, to be saved—not from the despair that poisons him slowly and steadily inside—but from all that is right and good with the world.

But the shadows play tricks on Shuuhei's face, marking scars where there are none and concealing wounds of the past. And in the end, Shuuhei fades into the alleyways, back turned and knowingly withdrawing salvation. They could be twins. They could be lovers. They could be brothers. But Kira knows that they are not, because Shuuhei still believes in justice and in love. Because Shuuhei still has light within him, a fire to scare away figures of the night. He is left on the brink of an abyss alone that night, and he falls. He falls knowing he will never climb back out again.

Gin's face haunts his thoughts, weaving in and out again. You've made me into a monster, he wants to say, but he doesn't. He spends his days with Wabisuke, sharpening and honing the edge of the blade until murder screams loud and clear from reflecting steel. He doesn't hurt from Gin's betrayal. Marigold, after all, means cruelty. And Gin is nothing if not cruel. If anything, he is amused (in a dark, twisted way) that Gin continues to follow the path of a shinigami flower though he is no longer a shinigami.

Then again, perhaps Gin has never been a shinigami to start with.

But now Kira stands with blood dripping all around him, outlining his figure in patterns of crimson stains. The severed head stares back at him, echoing last words cut off too early ("Wait! Wa—"). There is no sense of victory radiating from his figure. There is no amateur glee or exultation from his unmoving stance. War is ugly. And true soldiers don't beg for their lives. What a hollow victory, he thinks and gently raises Wabisuke. Gin is not a marigold; try as he might to follow the hidden meaning within the flower. Because Gin celebrates victory, celebrates with all the self-satisfaction of a serial killer.

The metal is cool against his neck as Wabisuke rumbles in agreement. One stroke to end everything. He has won his battle. He has protected and done what he was sent to do. There is nothing else left for him. He knows Gin will know instinctively what he has done within seconds. He is the true marigold of Soul Society. He is true despair.

"Bow, Wabisuke." And his neck snaps so easily, much like a precious marigold being trimmed away for beauty. Ah, beauty. Life is always the most beautiful right before it ends.

Once upon a time, Kira believed in heroes and mercy.

Now, there is nothing left to believe in.

Not even the end.

So it dances beyond a
Curtain of grace, a farewell to



The End



Where despondence buries
Dreams in little, neat graves.

Author's Notes: Morbid and depressing. The newest chapters of Bleach have given me a completely different opinion of Kira's thoughts. He is an anomaly, neither powered by strength nor by courage. He exists and goes where he is directed—the perfect soldier. He kills his opponent mercilessly and brutally. A unique and sinister element that none of the other shinigami employ. He is truly a shadow who walks alone. I find that not even Gin can touch his degree of inner malevolence. Drop a review, my fellow readers and tell me what you think. Oh, and I used The Devil's Dictionary for the definition of valor at the very beginning.