A birthday gift to my beloved Twinness. She so loves poetry and pieces like this.
~ let the white snow fall ~
There was a place in the forest, deep in his mind, where a memory rested, coveted and kept. You are kind, his mother said, you are kind when you love. Just like his father, who was stern but honorable; so she said, love freely, my son, for it is a virtue to be kind.
So he loved, and he was kind. He granted her freedom, and his heart. She, though, she was distant, snow on a cold plain. His love could not bloom within her, not while she wanted for something else. But he loved her, and in love he was kind—so he let her search for her sister and do as she pleased.
When she died, she stole his kindness away.
There was once a touch of kindness in his heart, now gone away. There was once a sliver of something following with his love, now gone away. His love consists of protection, of provision, of care—but not kindness, no longer, because he was robbed of it.
He watches her laugh as she talks with her friends. He watches her shock as she is told of her place. He watches her agony as she parts from her world. He watches her, he watches her, as she, too, grows cold.
She is a pure white snow, a droplet of crystal on his petal. Her essence a sheer white-blue, a sting to his cheek. She stands tall and proud, strong like her sister was not. She is different, this he sees—and so he loves her for it, even more.
Her mentor dies, and her heart shatters like fragile ice. He waits in quiet until she comes forth. And when she does, he listens carefully—I wish to quit, she said, I want no more—but he does not let her, why should he? It would mean letting her go, letting her leave, with his heart in her hands.
He does not let her become her sister; she is far too precious, far more beautiful, to become a thief.
Such likeness is misleading, he thinks as he watches her. She grows, grows, stronger each day. Prouder, taller, better, altogether wonderful. Through the fire her iron will is polished; he had not been mistaken. Had she quit it would have been a waste.
And then one day she does not come home, and his heart thuds in his chest, in agony, confusion. When he follows after her, he finds her weak, once more fragile—literally powerless, pitifully human. There are tears in her eyes for the boy sprawled on the ground. She cries for her friend, though never for herself.
He does not understand.
His second seat tells him of her words from the cell. She does not expect him to come to her defence. She is right to expect nothing, for nothing is what he will give.
It is better, he thinks, for her to vanish now, than for her to remain and again crush his heart. This way, she will never see the boy again.
So he fools himself, day after day, until the execution, as he stands there and she walks past. Tears brim in her eyes, but there is determination—she faces her death without fear. He closes his eyes—she is nowhere similar to her sister—he wishes he too could be unflinchingly brave.
You are weak when you love, his grandfather had told him, a long ago when he was but a child. But it is a weakness well worth it. This he cannot understand.
Stood here on barren earth, he is weak against fate, weak against himself. He cannot save her—he will not save her, because he cares for his pride, his promise, his pain. He cares for them more than he cares for her. He loves her, but his love makes him weak to protect her—and so here he watches as she dies.
In the end, the boy saves her, and he stands against it. In the end, he ends up protecting his pride.
He is weak when he loves.
Her affection is returned, and for a moment it warms his heart. She is a caring soul, her kindness contagious, her smile a bright one. She worries for him, she thinks of him, she talks to him, she stays. She does not leave, does not steal away his heart, does not suffer him any pain.
Until the boy comes, until there is a distraction, until there is a cause for trouble. The boy catches her attention, as an eager moth to a flame, and he fears that one day her wings might burn underneath the boy's heat. He keeps her back—in vain at first—but she has to listen, she does.
They come to him together, and the boy asks for her hand in marriage.
The boy, the boy, does not know the meaning of surrender. The boy stays with her, beside her, a stubborn fixture in her life. They see each other day after day, they go against his wishes out in the open. She stands with the boy, and the boy stands with her—but she waits for his approval, and he likes to think, oh if only, that this is because she loves him too.
Ultimately, he forces them apart, keeps her away from the item of her heart. Her displeasure is icy and cold, cutting against his skin, drawing blood. But he has long since learned that love is pain, and he accepts it with grace.
At night, in the darkness, she cries herself to sleep.
He breaks her spirit so she keeps far from war.
He breaks her heart so she keeps close aside.
He loves her.
Time passes, and her turmoil calms. Her eyes are softer, mellow, sad. The fall of the petals are a curtain of swirling pink upon her black hair, her black eyes. She regards him with them, with kindness, with understanding.
Know that I love you, Byakuya tells her, finally, and she smiles.
Rukia smiles, and says, You are cruel, onii-sama; you are cruel when you love.