A/N: This is exactly 1000 words, excluding A/N's!

IchigoSenna. Inspired by the Things they Carried by Tim O' Brien. Rest in Peace Linda.

I don't own Bleach or The Things They Carried.

Ichigo had been sixteen years old.

He knew it was love. Love, love. Not a schoolboy crush, or an obsessive infatuation of his youth. Mature true love. They didn't need words, or long talks about who or what they were. Simple sentences, awkward glances and the occasional dizzying touch was all they needed.

He was sixteen.

He had known her for three days. Three fleeting days that could have been a lifetime. Three days of happiness, three days of adventure and three days of love. He bought her a ribbon. It was a nice one, red and silky and smooth.

They lost it.

"Hey, that ribbon..." He had said, eying the red in her plum hair. She laughed, knowing what he meant. "Oh you noticed!" She chirped back. "Red looks better on me, huh?" She struck a pose and he asked her where she got it, since she knew already without words that he liked it on her.

He bought it for her, because she seemed to like it and she was happy wearing it and he was happy giving it to her.

She died on the third day.

She wasn't wearing the ribbon that day. They had lost it to the wet winds of the river as it glowed an enticing and deadly green. Illuminating their frantic eyes and faces, they stood over, watching, thinking 'What do we do?' The world was over. It was all over. No more time for anything. No more time for them. No more chances to kiss and touch and feel bubbly ecstasy when they became one body, mind and soul. No chance to say, "I love you".

That was the second day.

Senna gave herself away to the world for him, and only for him. The lecherous blanks took her for everything, sucked it all away for themselves, drowning out his screams of panic and anguish as he reached for her desperately, becoming rapidly submerged in white. He never reached her as they drained her life.

He was sixteen, and in the middle of his second year of high school.

Youth was no excuse. He should have run. Stopped her. Life was nothing compared to her. This town was nothing compared to her. The world was nothing compared to her.

Ichigo had been sixteen. And Ichigo was, and still was, selfish.

She faded away in his arms on the third day at dawn. The sun rose with her final words and breath as she ebbed into nothing, her lingering warmth and scent cuddling and curling around him desperately as gentle breezes blew it away. He didn't cry then. He was too numb. It didn't make sense. When someone died, something was left, a body, something. But there wasn't. All Ichigo had left of his precious love were memories that were supposed to wane away and a meaningless gravestone of a comforting lie.

Sixteen.

Six-fucking-teen. And his heart was already lost and broken; his soul completely shattered.

He mourned in the confines of his room on the fourth day. Curled up on his bed with his curtains closed. Sobbed, shook, and moaned with misery and despair that he would never hear her voice, her laugh. Smell that delightful and tickling scent of autumn breeze and vanilla that caressed his soul impishly. To feel the warmth and softness of her body under his hands, feel her surround him as he passionately loved her was no longer a possibility.

But Ichigo as slept that night, he realized that she was there. Waiting for him, arms extended, smile beaming with sparkling mischievous eyes. There were no Blanks, no 'Dark Ones', no Soul Society. Just him and her, together again. Ichigo soon craved and hungered for night, the black and sweet abyss of dreams and fantasies that embraced his soul. He went to sleep earlier and earlier every day, diving into his illusionary Utopia where she always smiled. "You're dead." He said to her once, gazing at her rose petal soft face as she gazed down below from within the small Ferris Wheel carriage, the white plastically soft bench squeaking under their shifting weight. She blinked wide orange eyes at him. "Am I?" she asked and giggled, scooting closer to him and he peered into her autumn apple cider eyes that bubbled with happiness and fun. "I don't feel dead." He agreed happily, pulling her into his lap in the cramped carriage. "You don't." He said and they kissed.

He was seventeen when the silky red ribbon blew back into his hands. Twisting in the winds, swaying like her glossy plum tresses as it ghosted into his waiting palm gently. It settled simply, and his hand curled around the soft threads.

"Oh, shut up." He was sixteen when he lost her to fate.

"It'll be the same either way." He was sixteen when his heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, condemned to never heal and sentenced to a lifetime of lonely sorrow.

"Whatever, I'll pass." He was sixteen when he lost himself in dreams and fantasies.

A petite girl dashed passed him, eyes closed with laughter, her school bag swinging from the crook of her elbow. He stared brokenly, as the purple tips of her sleek hair tickled his chin teasingly, her merry laugh echoing in his ears, blending with memory.

He was seventeen, and beginning his third year of high school, when he saw her again.

The aroma of autumn leaves and vanilla swirled around him, choking his soul and embracing him loosely before scattering to Zephyr.

And he was seventeen when he finally realized that it was all a dream.

A/N: ...I feel sad :(

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