Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any of its characters.

The view of Karakura has never looked more beautiful, yet the white haired captain cannot bring himself to appreciate it. The falling leaves only irritate him, the crisp colors of the setting sun only bring back memories he would rather forget.

But he can't. They are always fresh in his mind; always reminding him that, for a genius, he is inexplicably foolish.

The good memories are the first to be overlooked. The heart wrenching ones, in which he pictures his loss mentally, replay daily.

Kurosaki Karin was the best thing to ever happen to him, but he has lost their happy ending together.

.. ღ ..

Their romance begins unsteadily, punctuated with enemy attacks and hasty dates; he should have taken that as a sign. But the euphoria of a new relationship blinds him, and now he is left to suffer.

They are not a normal couple; they enjoy sitting together in silence for hours, rather than kissing. They never meet frequently, but work their meetings around his busy schedule.

She never once complains.

The order comes many months into their relationship. The Soutaichou, determined to end shinigami and human relationships after her elder brother loses his powers, demands that he end their bond and return to Soul Society.

He obeys, because that is all he has ever known. She tells him she understands, but there is a tremor in her voice as she tells him goodbye.

Time passes, and her brother's powers are recovered. A huge reiatsu explosion from a shinigami battling a Hollow nearby knocks his powers back into him, just as his uncontrollable reiatsu had given his classmates powers, years prior.

The new Soutaichou, Ukitake Jyuushiro, gladly allows him to return to his beloved ex-girlfriend.

Despite his icy comeback, in which he does not make eye contact or speak more than two complete sentences, she takes him back. Their relationship begins anew, but it is different.

Somewhere in the back of their minds, both know where his priorities lie. Doubt shadows them when they are together; both are aware that he will return should the order come again.

Every parting is heavy, and he is unsure of whether he wishes to continue such an affair.

Only weeks after his awaited comeback, he ends it between them. Once again, she tells him she understands, though he has betrayed her twice.

It is only after his beloved sister awakens from her coma and starts a new, healthy romance with the third division's lieutenant, that he realizes what he has given up.

He returns to her once again, but this time, he is too late.

.. ღ ..

He sees them walking together, fingers intertwined, through the streets of Karakura Town. They look content and in love.

Her new man is the opposite of him; tall, smiling, and with dark hair. He attracts others with his cheerful personality, and showers her with his love, because he is not afraid of the emotion.

She glows in his presence, obviously enjoying his attention. When she looks at him, there is adoration in her eyes.

He is not surprised that she has moved on, but it still hurts.

It hurts, because she used to look at him like that. Now, her eyes are focused on another, and he is left watching them from a rooftop that seems as if it is miles away, hoping she will miraculously turn back and look at him.

She doesn't, and he is left with no choice but to depart.

.. ღ ..

Many, many years pass when the orange top husband of Rukia excitedly announces his tomboy baby sister's engagement.

It is a sharp blow to his heart when the eager best man informs his Karakura buddies that they are all invited as his guests; the bride apparently has no refusals, having met the shinigami during their time spent in her hometown.

His lieutenant convinces him to go; proper etiquette calls for him to offer his congratulations. He hesitantly agrees, always having been obsessed with the correct procedures.

.. ღ ..

She looks beautiful, he thinks in his uncomfortable monkey suit, feeling as if his tie is suffocating him. She marches down the aisle in a dress that matches her simple tastes, and the exact color of his hair. He knows white is customary for a wedding, but cannot help but hope it means he still holds a place in her heart.

That hope is dashed when she plants a kiss on her new husband – the same tall, smiling, dark haired man he witnessed before – in order to unite them. Her eyes never leave him, nor does the smile drop off her face.

The only exception is when he steps up to her, hoping to offer his regards. The grin on her face is instantly dropped, and he sees hurt in her eyes.

He quickly offers his blessing, uncomfortable with her sharp gaze and curt nod as response, before quickly stepping away from the couple.

He decides to leave early; her wedding really is no place for a broken man like him. As he heads to the door, he looks back one last time.

She is enveloped in her husband's arms, both swaying gently on the dance floor. She is unaware of his gaze as she shares their first dance. He foolishly hopes she will look at him.

She doesn't, and he is left wishing for their happy ending that would never be.

I know this is very short, and I'm being very naughty writing this instead of updating my other stories, but this came to mind, so I decided to put it online.

I've read a lot of stories that end in Karin being heartbroken and crying her eyes out, which I've never appreciated; the reason I like Karin so much is that she is a strong, confident girl - unlike the usual stereotypical girl characters in manga that really piss me off for being so emotional - and because I'm sure she's the type to move on if a man left her, instead of hanging on to him (also, it almost always happens because of Hitsugaya leaving her for Hinamori, though not before knocking her up, of course, which is completely out of character for all of them -_-). So...viola! This was born.

Please let me know of your thoughts, and rest assured: I am working on my other stories that so many people were sweet enough to Favorite and Alert.