Breathing in the Black

Lt. Commander Richie

Disclaimer: I do not own it, nope nope nope. Neither one. I simply own an idea, and as such you really can't hurt me. Do what you will, but I love both mediums and since nobody figured themselves depraved enough to write something like this I figured myself that manner of depraved and went for it. I love you guys. I swear.

A/N: Bleach and Firefly. Two things that by all means shouldn't come together under any circumstances. But you know what? I did it anyway, because it had to be done at some point.



Once upon a time there was a girl what took a step and disappeared behind a passing proton. One moment she was there, all surrounded by steel what kept the vacuum out, and the next it was as though she'd never been born. There wasn't even a whisper of a sound as she stepped, not even a flicker as she simply winked wide-eyed right from the ship. She didn't mind, though, too concerned with her lack of feeling to feel much of nothing.

"A desert," she said, her voice a hysterical whisper of calm down the bright white hallway. "A parallel to a parallel comprised of the negatives in a corporeal equation of an idea of spirit." Brown hair whispered to the white walls in its own language as she shifted subtly, her stark white reflection on the floor deciding at the last minute to do the same. "Hollow World that can't be made whole again even if she wanted it so."

Her boots made no noise as she trod down the hall, avoiding the lines of grout between the tiles because cracks break backs. She whispered as she walked, counting the particles that made the walls and saying hello to the air as she breathed it. It tasted like stars and the Black between them, but this Black didn't whisper its secrets to her like it should have. Instead it seethed and pined for something, and she stuck her finger through a hole in an atom just to feel the tingle. Everything had holes in it, and she could see through every last one of them yet none at all at the same time.

Her boots were long forgotten around a corner, too big for her feet anyway as she took sure small dancing steps. One of her ears twitched as she heard something, a shout of a sound in the utter screaming quiet she was surprisingly blanketed by, and she blinked wide-eyed at the emptiness of the sound. It was all there, but it had a hole though the center all the same. Everything was full of holes here, and all the corks in the 'verse couldn't fill them up quite right.

"One and one make one," she breathed the words like the air, and she was distracted as she watched them float away through the holes. The sensation of not hearing was euphoric to her, and letting the walls keep their secrets and brood in their dark white ways was just fine. She took sure steps from cold tile to cold tile, bobbing up and down like a ship missing its fore buffer panel and trying to get through re-entry. Everything was fascinating in this new world, and the silence of it all was exhilarating. Every time she breathed it was like breathing in stars, and every mouthful of hole-riddled air tasted like licking the main power coupling in the engine room. She made sure to breathe extra often, in deep breaths that made her feel full of energy and tingles.

A whisper quickly became a yell, muttering thoughts and pictures and feelings that slipped through the holes in everything despite their own holes. The stardust feeling in the air got stronger, headier, twisting and roiling despite the missing pieces. She turned a corner and found herself faced with a man and a girl, at first glance monsters and at second glance a nearly-familiar silhouette with holsters what held real shiny things she wasn't under any circumstances, dong ma? allowed to touch. But then she blinked, the insides of her eyelids a fascinating web of veins that she counted in the microseconds, and they were two. She splayed her toes, soft pads searching a line of grout with a curiosity all their own as her toenails spoke of clippers and the marble spoke back about the wild and powerful people what walked on it, and she blinked again.

"Who the hell're you?" She heard the sound and saw the mouth move, but the girl's voice came from some indeterminate space between the two people that, after another blink, seemed to be one creature once again. She followed the path of the words through the holes, watching them carefully before she became entranced by her sudden ability to see the spaces that weren't the spaces between.

"She must be another one like Wonderweiss. Come on Lilinette, ignore her." The man's mouth moved; his voice a deep baritone emitted not from the space between places but from his own throat. She watched the track of those words as well, fascinated as they slunk lifelike through the spaces like a dinosaur on the prowl. An idle thought came to bear, and she took a deep breath of the stardust tasting air. The Black between these stars, closer to their source, whispered excitedly to her the secrets of the universe that she promptly ignored. They weren't very good secrets either, talking in funny terms and wrong languages what didn't make sense to her 'cept to confuse.

"Canis Lupus." The man stopped, just level with her in the hallway, and trained a brown eye on her. Every one of his movements was slow like molasses, each one of his split ends taking time to tell the air they passed how their day had been and which way was up in this world. "He's a pack of one and she's the voice what tells him where to mosey. Her vision's a little clouded, she can't tell what's the monster and what's speaking even when it opens their mouths. One and one make number one, so which one are you?" Her tone was factual, informative and strong despite the hysterical calm that she exuded. She tuned out the whispers of the walls, telling them to keep their secrets because they hadn't told them to her when she'd wanted to know all of .314 seconds after she'd started breathing empty air.

"You're a strange one." His pointed tooth necklace clicked and snapped, teeth in a moonlit world for a glimpse of a second before they were decorations in a hallway once again and calling out names in that same funny speech.

"She's not strange. She's River." Now her tone was patronizing, implying that perhaps he wasn't the smartest beagle in the cargo bay and doing it so heavily that her words fell right through the cracks between the air and hit the floor with a splat. "All the King's monsters and all the King's men couldn't put River together again."

"Yer gonna be late, Starrk! Take yer own advice and ignore her!" The man turned to look at the little girl at his side, and her vision snapped to the space between the two of them. It wasn't a monster but a link, a space curiously devoid of the normal holes despite being made of the same kinds of things. One slender hand reached out, and she swiped her fingers through the space. They came away tingling, and she counted the pieces trapped in her fingerprints as she stood stock still in her bare feet. Her toes wormed their ways across the marble, saying hello to the veins and the imperfections like old friends as she tried not to fall down a rabbit hole in everything and disappear.

Once upon a time there was a girl what took a step and disappeared behind a passing proton. She shifted a little to the left and looked right through a hole, a single small step that wasn't even movement following up. When the one looked up, they didn't see the girl where she had been before. There wasn't even the faintest trace of her, no scent or lingering shadow that had decided to stay behind. There was only a memory that didn't seem quite right but that was just fine by them.

In the meantime, she stood in the dinner of a very confused Captain and wormed her toes into his protein.


Never let me do anything like this ever again.

/goes back to writing Tiger & Bunny fanfiction and moping about her lost ability to write anything about D Gray-man