Type: Gen-ish romance?
Flowers seem like such a little thing, sometimes, so frail and useless with their pretty colours and softness to the touch, so easy to smother and to tear apart. They never seem to complain, those flowers, even if they are plucked to wither in a cold crystal vase placed away in the corner of a cramped, well-lit living room to spend their last few days as the remnants of a love that, probably like them, will fade after a while.
Maybe they don’t mind, Ishida reasons, because they know somebody else will be happy if they stand in the vase, quiet and still – maybe only for a moment, but that may be enough for them.
He thinks sometimes that Inoue must like them. The hairpins seem so natural in her hair, blue metal petals sharp against the reddish hue, soft but cold against the warmness of her head. The tips of her fingers press them closer, sometimes, fasten them more securely in place, and her nails scrape the tips of the petals, then the petals bite onto the tips. The gesture is careful, unplanned, but always there, and Ishida keeps in mind that Inoue must know how fragile flowers are, but she keeps them close to her all the same.
He likes it when she smiles up to the sun, even if it blinds her, and she shines up as if to catch its warmth. She glows with a sort of fierce energy, so alive, and he smiles if she reaches out to him or calls his name if only to ask him how his day went and make a little bit of small talk while they stand together before the school’s door. Inoue’s time is never wasted in those things – she knows exactly how much those moments mean.
He fears sometimes for her, and for the sake of her smile and her easy glow thinks that she should be cared for, somewhere far away from the battles all of them have to face, alive but so close to the dead. It seems like a place she is not made for, but in a way she still manages to stand. Ishida is proud of her, even, when under the sun of a battlefield or at a warrior’s side she blossoms to make life seem a little bit more worth living than it seemed under death’s unwavering advance.
He thinks of giving her flowers, sometimes, just in case she’d like it. But that’d be far too bold and he’s not so brave – except when it comes to save her life, but he’s pretty sure he can explain that one away just fine without having to blush more than what’s strictly necessary. He looks at them as he passes them by at shops and wonders which ones she would like, but none seems good enough. He keeps some blue, half-sewed lace flowers back at home, though when they’ll actually first encounter the sun – or Inoue’s smile, which is pretty much the same for him, anyway – is yet to be decided.
Ishida runs his fingers over them sometimes, and tries to think of what he’d say to her, but nothing seems to come out well. He thinks he’d speak too much, or too little, or too loudly, or too softly. In the end he decides that he’d leave the flowers unexpectedly at her desk and if she asked him about it, he’d just smile.
When he hears she’s in Hueco Mundo his heart sinks to his stomach and the thought of her swallowed up in a hollow world makes him rage and want to pass out at the same time. It seems like such a cold, dark place for her, and yet he knows she will not die. She’ll be standing while she can, and when they all meet again, she’ll surely let that smile return to her face, warm, soft. The sea of sand in Hueco Mundo won’t seem half as endless then, or rough.
Ishida wants to save her, wants to see her again, but he’s not scared. Even when the wind blows about icily and the earth is covered in a mantle of pure crystal white, or under a beating sun and half-drowned among the sand, flowers manage to grow, pull through, and if knocked down, rise up again.