Effigy

She saw him today.

Heart pounding (soul scorched), she ran toward him. She could not believe it. But there he was: all glistening silver hair and the perpetual smile of a snake etched on his face. Leaning against the glass window of a newly erect office building, he was reading a magazine.

Twenty years past too late and counting (humans have an odd way of tracking time), he looked fresh as day, still paler than night. Hadn't abandoned his odd habit of chewing on his left cheek.

Gin…she wanted to call out his name.

Wanted him to look up, just once, and say—

Rangiku stopped.

She was mistaken. I was just… Firmly, she convinced herself that it had been a dream, a hallucination, a piercing reminder of the cruelty of longevity. Because Gin (no-not-him) was dead. And this was someone else.

She was a shinigami. She knew the rules, the quivering, irreproachable absolution of death.

He was here, as was expected. In Tokyo, amidst the chaos of vehicles waging war with the pedestrians, he looked calm and sleek as ever.

Gin was alive. He was human again.

And she was still dead.