Disclaimer: The answer is no.

Author's Notes: Inspired by Bleach Episode 241 and the song 'White' by Eternal Morning off of the Soundtrack to a Lost Film CD. Heavy on the subtle meanings, light on dialogue. Introspective. First Senbonzakura/Sode no Shirayuki fanfiction? Maybe.

white. snow. nothing


Byakuya is in love.

Senbonzakura has never felt more alone and abandoned before. He watches the scenes unfold like dance steps of a kabuki performance from his spot inside Byakuya's soul--the gentle collision, the fall of feather-light sakura petals, the vulnerable figure. There is a soft exchange of words between this woman who is called Hisana and his noble wielder.

Senbonzakura lives within a beautiful cage. It is not of his own choice, but this is Byakuya's world--a wavering moon hanging in a dark sky and a silver cage that never opens. He lives within these thin bars, along with the nightingales and fireflies. Inside this soul, the sakura petals carpet the ground like blades of grass.

Byakuya is in love.

The cage is fading and the petals that kiss the ground with their pale lips are growing into trees. The moon lights up the sky on a cloudless night and the fireflies escape outside--glow reflecting glow. The nightingales sing and take flight, wings expanding. It is warm. There is freedom. But Senbonzakura does not move. He slips the mask in his hands slowly onto his face and closes his eyes. Everything is indigo. Everything is the color of Hisana's eyes.

He is lonely. Hisana's soul is hers and hers alone, there is no one to share it with. She does not carry a zanpakutou and because of this, he is different from his wielder for the first time in this life that is death. She has no counterpart for him.

A soul cannot survive divided. Because she cannot create someone for him from a piece of herself, she has to leave. She fades slowly, like a dream, like evaporating mist. When she passes to the next world, he is no longer alone in his loneliness, contained by invisible bars. The trees wilt, shedding blossoms. The fireflies rush back into the silver cage, the nightingales fold their wings and cut their voices, and the moon hides behind a thick sheet of clouds.

The indigo bleeds dry, ink left too long in the sun.

They are lonely.


Her name is Rukia.

Byakuya adopts her into the family, but does not act like a brother. He is afraid, he sees Hisana and it brings back bitter memories. He sees the past and present blurring and so he closes his eyes. If he does not look, he will not love.

But Senbonzakura sees. His eyes are eternally open. In the winter after Rukia's adoption, he catches the first frozen petal in his hands. The sky is clearing and the moon is luminous, hanging heavily in the sky. It snows. The white blankets all the sakura petals and covers the cage. It is cold, but it does not hurt.

There is laughter the sound of bells. When he turns, his fingers barely miss the end of a pure white ribbon through the gap between the silver bars of the cage. He wants her to stay. She leaves. He remembers though he tries to forget.


"You are to come back to Soul Society at once."

Byakuya's words cut through the silence easily and Senbonzakura watches as violet eyes darken with despair. Rukia is screaming. The orange-haired ryoka is screaming, too. On the inside. Senbonzakura does not scream, but he wants to as Byakuya severs the ryoka's soul chain. Winter is in the broken, bleeding body on the floor. White ribbons and black steel. She is here.

Her eyes are sad when she looks at him. She reaches forward with trembling hands and takes off his mask, white ribbon stained red stained black. She has promised to protect this boy who is so precious to Rukia. She cannot return. He has to leave.

He does not try to forget her this time.

It rains as the snow melts.


Senbonzakura is in love.

She paints the sky lavender when she speaks and clears the clouds when she laughs. His skin is cold from when she touches him fleetingly, fingers brushing against one another. She keeps his mask with her as a memento and he does not ask for it back. He is free. The cage is invisible before him and cannot hold him.

Shirayuki's skin is pale as snow and her hair flows like water beneath the cover of ice. She dances as she walks and breathes cold beauty into everything around her. When they are offered freedom from their wielders, he joins her in becoming real.

Senbonzakura is in love.

"Wear it." She tells him when they first stand as spirits and not zanpakutous. Her hand holds out his mask and the sleeve of her kimono slides down her delicate wrist. Others will see him, but only she will ever be able to trace the shape of his true face.

He wears the mask.

(Forgetting that the soul cannot survive divided)


Rukia does not love Byakuya and Byakuya has already loved and lost.

Shirayuki does not fade like Hisana--she shatters and breaks soundlessly beneath Byakuya's sword. Her ice cracks and splinters, no longer beautiful in their sound. He holds onto her broken pieces with clenched hands.

His soul is not his own. Shirayuki could not make Rukia love someone other than her Sun.

The snow washes away.

He does not forget.

(They are lonely)