A/N: My second piece of Bleach fanfiction and the first one with my favourite characters. I hope it's liked, because I do like it, I guess. Reviews are cherished.

Spring was a season Kuchiki Byakuya found depressing instead of cheering, opposite to what probably everybody else did. Memories and recollections of the short time spent with his wife seemed to come back during Spring, turning the rebirth of the world into a time of melancholy and loneliness that could not be conquered. Nothing could be done not to remember, when the first warm rays of sun melted the snow, and from under the white, cold mass, green strands of grass were showing. In the garden of the Kuchiki Manor, cherry trees weren't in bloom yet, but the small buds were soon about to burst into pale blossoms that could awe everybody with their elegant beauty. Birds were already chirping between the trees' branches, building new nests, getting ready to find partners and lay eggs.

Year after year, for the last five decades, it had made Byakuya all the more depressed and lonely, because after his beloved Hisana passed away, nobody was left to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the changing season with him. Nobody would laugh softly by his side, talking to him, while he listened and took it all in – the overwhelming view of every living creature, every plant around welcoming Spring; the sounds of the birds singing with all their might, some insects buzzing around shyly in the first days of the new season, and the laughter of the person that made even him feel as if something in him was reborn after a long Winter.

After her death, it had always been Winter.

Yet, this year, after the war, something was different. The snow was melting, slowly but surely, revealing a person that he once used to be. Like the small buds, a few smiles already graced his stoic features – a preview of a man blooming with happiness that was about to come back from the death of the longest Winter. Reborn. Letting go of all those past Springs, remembering them with fondness instead of the usual pain and yearning; it was not easy, but he had a reason at last.

'Taichou, did something happen?' Renji asked anxiously, and Byakuya looked away from the open window in the office. The man breathed in and turned his gaze at his Lieutenant. Abarai Renji had curiosity written all over his face, along with an underlying anxiety over his Captain's well-being.

Had that anxiety always been there? Or was it possible that Byakuya started only now noticing it, just like it wasn't until now that he'd notice the peacefulness and elegant beauty of the Spring, blinded by his own grief? The Winter changed them both, even if his Winter was much longer. Now Spring came, soft, calming, taking the bad memories – of war, of death – away, leaving the fond ones instead; and creating new ones. Creating the future.

'Everything is alright, Renji,' Byakuya replied when the silence seemed too long. 'Will you accompany me to my garden after we finish work?' He offered, maybe too daring, maybe.

'Only if you promise to spend the Hanami with me, Kuchiki-taichou,' was Renji's just as daring reply. A long time ago, during the dark, cold Winter, the Kuchiki heir wouldn't even have graced this with an answer. His disgusted gaze would have been enough.

'I promise.'

The Winter was gone, the snow was gone and the war was over; Spring came and the time to create a future to look forward to was now.


taichou - Captain;

Hanami - "flower-watching"; the Japanese celebrate the coming of Spring by adoring the cherry blossoms every year.