His lightning blue eyes peered over the top of the massive wall, his silver mop standing out amongst the darkness surrounding him. Grunting, Gin flipped on to the top of the long stone structure, his sandaled feet slapping on the flat surface and his black attire shivering in the light breeze. He sucked in a breath, scanning at the empty streets below, taking note of the one or two citizens going for a stroll and the ten or so ninja patrolling the area.

She was panting heavily, her feet thumping against the muddy forest floor. She glanced back, pink hair streaming past her green eyes as her vision narrowed in on the flurry of weaponry being thrown at her. She dodged, jumping around a tree and then starting off again, her heart racing.

"Hmm." He frowned, lips downturned as he ran his fingers along the weavings of his blade and silently jumped down into the alley way below, glad for the cover of shadows. He moved swiftly through the narrow way, keeping as close to the wall as possible.

He knew where he was going. He had been there a year and a half ago when he had left his turquoise sash in her room. He wished he had stayed for her reaction but he was risking his safety amongst the horde of leaf ninja that were crawling through Konoha – then again, when he had managed to escape without incident, he snorted at the lack of security anyway.

Her side was killing her, the blood oozing from the slice across her hip soaking into her clothes and spilling faster as she ran. Her breaths quick and sharp, she felt her herself sway and her head throb, her vision going speckled and blurry. Her heart banged at her ribcage.

Minutes later and Gin was staring up at the square hole, the window glass panes open outwards above him. He could see the white curtains but no light whatsoever that hinted she was awake. She must have been asleep. Side-glancing down the alley way, he squatted and then propelled himself onto the window pane, his feet hitting the wood with a very light thump that was almost inaudible in the still night.

Her room was stuff, her desk messy, covered in white paper and multi-coloured pens. Photo frames were strangely dark and situated on any flat surface of the room, most of them featuring her with a wide, white smile. However, one of the first things he noticed was that her bed was made, and that the green sash he had given her was resting on the foot, folded but hideously torn.

She swerved around another tree, her reflexes slowing when she twisted to the side. A thin branch jutting out from the trunk scratched other hip, snagging on the ends of the green sash she wore around her waist.

Her breath hitched in her throat as the belt tore loudly, the fabric splitting. She stopped, sweat beading her brow as she stumbled back to the branch, busying herself to unlatch the twigs from the material. Her body was pulsing with adrenaline, and she was dazed as well when the sound of more kunai and shuriken came whirring in her direction.

Gin blinked, quietly stepping into the room. Dust billowed up from his feet as soon as he hit the plush floor, and a split second of hysteria tore through his chest as soon as he saw the filth cloud the atmosphere. The particles tickled his nose while he moved further into the confines of her room, searching from left to right.

There was dust everywhere. He had wiped a finger on her desk and wardrobe, only to have an oval-shaped spot of grime on the tip. His eyes squinted and he looked back to the window, the moons rays shining through the square hole.

Where was she?

Rattle. Rattle.

Gin whirled around, seeing the door knob jiggle and then turn. The door opened. Sakura's mother walked in, her red hair easily discernible through the darkness from his point of view; he had managed to crawl onto the ceiling in time.

Instinct kicked in and she ducked, her sash tugging at her waist as she dropped to the leafy ground. The projectile weapons whizzed passed her ear; she felt the air graze her skin. Fingers fumbling at the knot of the sash around the branch, she swallowed hastily, seeing figures swerving betweens trees in the darkness to the side of her.

She was scared.

He watched in silence and interest as she trailed her fingers lightly as not to disturb the dust over Sakura's furniture, a sniffle echoing in the room every now and then. His chest clenched suddenly.

She stole her way to the bed and suddenly collapsed at the foot, her fingers encasing the green sash in skeletal like fingers so tightly that the fabric made sounds of tire. Her sobs increased and her shoulders shook violently as she dropped her head over the belt, burying her face into it.

Gin cocked his head to the side, frowning.

She was… crying.

She pulled herself from the treasured piece of article, wincing as she heard it tear loudly. She didn't get far though. Kunai whirled through the air once more and she felt a sharp sting across her ankles and the vague sensation of more blood seeping. Legs tired, Sakura cried out as she collapsed to the ground, her body hitting the weaponry that had missed before. She groaned in pain when the hilt of one jabbed at her larger cut at her side.

He left Sakura's room in an ominous gust of wind, considering that there had been no breeze all night. He perched himself on the roof just outside the window, and he gazed through into the room once more, seeing her mother look around feverishly, as though she had sensed him zooming past her.

Shaking his head, Gin grasped his katana, like he was worried that what he was thinking was indeed true. Fear throbbing in his mind and chest, the silver-head turned and sprinted towards the east of Konoha, where he knew there was a small clearing for particularly special people.

Tears pricking at her eyes, she attempted to hoist herself up, but her wrists gave in and she fell to the muddy floor once more. Grime glued to the side of her face as she puffed loudly and shakily, staring into nothing.

She then looked over her shoulder as soon as she heard footsteps approach her. She widened her green eyes as something flashed across her sight. The last sound she made was a frightened gasp.

In seconds he stood in the clearing, blue eyes hovering over each of the headstones warily, hoping that he wouldn't see her name engraved onto the stone on any of them. He walked through briskly, steps growing frantic as he began nearing the end of the rows after a half an hour search.

Gin suddenly stopped, looming over a small headstone and casting shadows across the name of the grave, the moon shining at his back. A strange, gentle wind danced through, tugging with his short locks and loose black attire. He stared quietly, unemotionally, at the name etched into the stone.

Sakura Haruno.

She had died six weeks ago.

Taking in a sharp breath, he knelt down in front of it, running his slender fingers through the grooved lines of her name and quietly dusting off the grime that was beginning to smother her grave. His chest was aching like mad, as though his insides were a sponge and someone had suddenly grasped it, intending to squeeze all the essence of life from it. It hurt; badly. It was strange.

He had spent a year and a half thinking of her, wishing to see her again but was unable, for some reason, to find the right time to go and find her. A year and a half her face and laughter plagued his mind, only for him to return and realise that she had left him with a curse.

His curse.

Gin bowed his head, chin to his collar bone as he closed his eyes. His hand tightened around the hilt of his katana and he instinctively pushed it harder and closer to his body.

Why? Why did it have to happen? Why did he have to find someone he was interested in right after he was lost and banished from Soul Society? Why?

His throat contracted as he swallowed.

He just left heaven and she just left him for it. How cruel. How utterly cruel.

It was Karma. It was his curse, he supposed, for betraying the Society and becoming a traitor.

He had never regretted it before; never regretted his decisions back home, but now, after seeing her beautiful name engraved on cold, solid stone, he regretted it. He lamented his choices, and wished that, someway, if they had a heart, Soul Society may just let him back in – though, he realised, that people without hearts were not allowed there anyway.

And Gin Ichimaru officially didn't have his anymore.