Bleach Fan Fiction ❯ A Black Flower In The Snow ❯ A Black Butterfly (Chapter 1) ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
"Toshiro… I'm going now." I said, clutching my shirt in my fists nervously.

He stood to acknowledge me, taking one small step in my direction. "…Right now?"

I nodded and stared down at the floor. "I'm already late…"

I didn't know what to say. I knew I would die. This would be the last time I could see him-so why couldn't I say something? Anything would do. A small parting word to ease the awkwardness and prevent regret from entering my heart. A joke or even just a hug before I left. But I couldn't speak and I couldn't move. I felt like crying but no tears would come-only the stinging in my eyes filled the silence. I couldn't even look at his face one last time.

"I'm glad you came to see me." He mumbled softly.

My head shot up. Did I hear him right? I wondered, taking a hesitant step forward. His eyes were closed and he leaned against his desk. If I didn't know better, he looked almost…sad. But that wasn't the word… I'd seen this look before somewhere. It wasn't a nice one-it made things final, alright-just not in the happy way I had hoped. It was the same look he had when he lost to Ichigo. It was a look of… defeat.

"I'll be back soon, don't worry!" I lied, giving him a huge fake smile and thumbs up.

He glanced up at me under his eyelashes, not losing his expression. I was finding it harder to hide the pain wracking through my soul. My expression wavered under his gaze- I could feel my smile slipping. I turned around, facing the closed door, and tried to bring back the phoney grin. Instead, my face only scrunched up more and the tears that had been threatening all week finally fell and I couldn't hold back a single one of them. I took a deep breath and did my best to keep my voice even.

"I'll see you as soon as this is over, so keep Yachiru out of my stuff while I'm gone!" I said, managing to sound perky like my usual self. "I've left some sweets on my bed for you two to share while I'm gone."

"There's something you've been hiding, Amai-chan. What is this really all about?"

I froze, not even allowing myself to breathe for a long moment. It was too late for denial, but I tried it anyways. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just going off to help kick hollow butt. Nothing's out of the ordinary… why would you think that?"

"Maybe because of your attitude these past few weeks and the fact that you can't even look me in the eye." He said, his footsteps making soft clicks on the wood floor as he came towards me.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and straightened up. "What do you mean, attitude? I've been acting normally, as far as I can tell."

He put a hand on my shoulder. My heart beat hard in my chest at his touch and the tears were locked away again. I smiled at the warmth of his hand but didn't turn to face him-I didn't want to see the look on his face. I wanted to remember him as the funny kid with the white hair that everyone adored and respected. The same boy that hugged me when the hollow killed my family and reacted badly when people gave him sweets. The same kid that smiled at my jokes and refused to go dancing until I literally dragged him onto the dance floor. The kid that managed to keep his eyebrows knit together for hours, sometimes even when he slept. The same person that helped me search for my family every weekend just because he saw me asleep on the ground clutching a picture of them in the middle of nowhere. He didn't have to spend a single second with me-but he did, and that's why I had to say goodbye.

"Don't 'what are you talking about' me! You've been acting really strange! If there's something wrong then just-"

I spun around and kissed him. A small 'Mph' sound escaped before he shut up. I clutched his shirt desperately and willed my pain away. After a minute I spun back around and smiled, the heat of his lips still on mine. The tears came back, and this time I let them. My smile was genuine, though. It was the last time I'd see him, and the kiss made it final. I would have no regrets now. I ran out of the room to the gate, pushing past Ichigo and Chad before slamming the gate behind me, leaving them safely in the soul society.

"Kuroihana, I'm sorry about this. We're probably… no, I won't lie to you. We're definitely going to die tonight. We're doing it for everyone, though. We're saving their lives… that's a lot of people in exchange for just two souls. I hope you're ready for this… and I hope you and I can meet again in the next life."

The sword was silent, as it always was-but I got the feeling he was just as ready for this as I was. I licked my bottom lip before leaving the path to the human world and whispered two words that I knew would never reach Toshiro's ears.

"Thank you."

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We Tremble In Awe Of That Which Cannot Be Seen. And We Worship That Which Cannot Be Seen. Yet, With Every Strong Energy Which Cannot Be Seen, We Run Risks Which Cannot Be Foretold. The Only Way To Survive Is To See The Unseen. And I Ask… Can You See?
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My name is Amai Kozan. I am 14 years old, but I’m an early bloomer… I go into highschool tomorrow. My hobbies include taking after strays and helping my parents run the flower shop my mom started. My dad is a lawyer and my little brother is on his way into the world soon. My life is pretty much perfect, I guess… but lately something has been bothering me that I can’t quite place my finger on. A feeling that something is coming to ruin everything.

I could hear the tv in the next room talking about an explosion of some buildings, but my dad turned it off before I could hear properly. Call it paranoia, but I made sure the kitchen window was shut tight and put the blinds down when I heard it. My mother laughed at something my father said in the next room, and he mumbled something else, something about the baby. I tuned out and continued to stir the stew I had made for supper. It was already done, so I turned off the burner, but I didn’t feel like eating anymore. Less so when I heard a monstrous cry from somewhere outside that resonated through my ears and struck at my very soul.

“D-did you hear that?” I called to my parents, who came into the room with confused faces.

“Hear what?” My mother asked, laying a hand gently on her stomach.

“She must be talking about the news. All the bombings…” My father piped in, giving me a worried smile-obviously concerned about how close it was to our residency.

“Don’t worry, honey-the buildings that were destroyed were mostly businesses. No one was really harmed, either, other than a couple elderly. We’re safe here.”

“Speaking of elderly, your mother called…” My father started, beginning a whole new conversation with my mother.

“That’s not…” I began, but realized they didn’t hear it and bit my tongue. “Supper is ready.” I told them more loudly, and went upstairs to my room, ignoring their thank-you’s and idle talk.

“She’s been acting differently lately…” I heard my mom say before I shut my door, still not feeling safe.

The feeling of unease got stronger when I opened the window and a crushing force hit my body-not physically, but almost...spiritually, like when something bad happens and your heart sinks into your stomach, only a full-body experience. In through the window came a black butterfly, confusing, but the feeling wasn’t coming from it. I grabbed my stuffed cat off my bed and hugged it tightly, watching out the window for any signs of the danger. My fingers trembled almost painfully, but I took a step closer to the feeling, ignoring the incect fluttering about my room and felt something around me break-no, not break, but crack, like a chink in some invisible armour. The feeling wasn’t so strong afterwards, so I took another step. Another, larger crack. Now I was nearly out the window-crack, crack, crack. I shut the window before the strange feeling could get any worse.

“It went that way!” A boy’s voice yelled just before I fully shut it, and I heard footsteps outside. I couldn’t see anyone, though, even though they sounded like they were just below my window. The ground started to shake close by, making my room vibrate as well. Within half a minute it was all gone, and my parents made no fuss downstairs about the disruption-they must have thought it was an ordinary, small scale earthquake. Neither of them have felt the uneasy feeling I have lately. My whole-heart-sunk feeling intensified, and didn’t get any better when I shut the window and pulled the blinds. The little black butterfly had disappeared.
Deciding unwillingly to put it behind me, I laid down on top of my bed and fell into a light and broken sleep, clutching my stuffed toy like a lifeline. The air felt colder than it should have that night, but to be constricted by blankets would have felt like a death trap. All through the night, pained wails from inhuman mouths interrupted sleep and left my heart hammering in my chest. The chinking invisible armour broke slowly apart with every beat.

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& #8220;I am Amai Kozan, age 14, coming back from 4 years in America… I know I’m younger than the rest of you, but please don’t treat me any differently than anyone else. Let’s treat each other well this year… or something.” I said to the class nervously, writing my name on the board.

“Well said. I expect you all to treat our new transfer student kindly this year! Now, young lady, I’d like you to go take a seat beside Ichigo Kurosaki over there…” The teacher told me, pointing to a seat beside an orange haired boy with an angry expression.

I felt my stomach drop at the apparent glare he was giving me, and wondered if this was some sort of punishment for forgetting to take out my piercings before I came to school, even though I quickly took them out once the teacher pointed them out in the hallway. Or maybe it was because my bangs kept falling in my face… I couldn’t help it; it’s just the way my hair falls. Or even that the hair in the back of my head was dyed blonde rather than the natural black I kept the rest of my hair… but I refuse to change it. I sat down and took out my books, ready to take notes, and ignored the whispers the best I could, though my face went pink when I looked up and saw about ten people looking at me over their shoulders. That was the sole reason I wanted to stay home schooled-no one would look at me weirdly because they wouldn’t know who I was. Most importantly, they wouldn’t stare at me like that…

I hated attention. Because of my somewhat strange appearance, people could easily think otherwise. With pale skin, light brown eyes, and thick lips, I might pass as a mixed breed, but normal, Japanese girl. But I had the insatiable need to dye my ponytail blonde-turning out to be more of an unnatural yellow in most cases-and stick piercings through my right nostril, bottom lip, and left eyebrow… as well as all up both my ears. I even had a tattoo of a flower on my tailbone, but I didn’t get it-it was given to me by my grandma, in America, when I was only three. I don’t remember it very well, but I was told when she did it that it was to protect me from myself.

I have always assumed it was to help remind me to think before I open my mouth, so my own words don’t come back to bite me. I’ve always followed that rule, to the best of my ability. It kept me from screaming now, as at least thirty older kids were peeking over their books at me in a not-so-conspicuous way. I could feel their stares bearing into me and cringed into my seat.

The teacher rambled on about numbers and equations, oblivious to my torment. I scrambled to stuff my notebooks into my desk and empty my overflowing bag, which I could tell the girl beside me was staring at with an incredulous and slightly disgusted face. It was a simple messenger bag, with cute little key chains pinned all over it, but plastic spikes jutted out the top, and two skulls decorated the bottom with shiny painted on maggots coming from the mouth of one and an eye socket of the other. The teacher wasn’t concerned when I brought it up, stating that the design wouldn’t hurt anyone just from looking at it, so she let it slide… this student clearly wasn’t so understanding of my tastes. I moved it with my feet underneath me where it would be harder for her to look at it.

About halfway through class, the teacher stepped out to go use the washroom. The orange haired boy in front of me turned around with a sigh before any of the other students could bother me and glared fiercely at me. I shivered with nervousness, but gave him my best smile anyways. It wouldn’t do anyone any good to be rude on my first day.

“You’re Kozan, right?” He demanded, leaving his elbow on my desk.

I nodded, unsure where it was going. “Y-yes.”

“Do you know anyone here? In this class, I mean.” He asked, eyebrows knitting together even more.

I looked around. A black haired girl was staring intently from across the room in her desk, along with an airy looking ginger with snowflake pins in her hair. On the other side, a tall boy, maybe mexican, with his hair in his face was staring forward, but was obviously listening. Looking behind me, literally everyone was staring, so I quickly turned back around to face Kurosaki.

“Uhm, just one… Mizuiro… er… well, kind of.”

Ichigo’s eyebrows went up in surprise for a second, breaking their normal pushed-down look.”Mizuiro? He never mentioned anything about a transfer student.”

“Well… I didn’t really tell him I was moving here. I’m his distant cousin, actually… uhm… we text…” I rambled my explanation without really knowing why I felt the need to.

“Hmm? Well, I guess that explains it… everyone on his phone is pretty much secret… you didn’t seem his type, either. Well, I guess I’ll see you at lunch then.” He mushed his eyebrows against each other again after he’d realized my connection to what I assumed was his friend. My cousi had talked very little about school life when I’d asked, almost like he wanted to keep his family and social life separate. I frowned and wondered if it would be rude to intrude on their lunch, and considered politely declining, but the teacher came back in and told us all to settle down before I had the chance.

“Alright, now, where were we…” The teacher mumbled, picking up her dry erase marker and preparing to write down more endless equations.

I sighed and began scribbling in my notebook all the mathematical problems, choosing to focus on my work rather than on my social anxiety issues. Still, I couldn’t help but notice an nerdy looking boy ahead of me glancing back with a scornful look. I bit my lip as I jotted down my notes, wondering in the back of my mind why so many of my classmates were acting coldly.

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The bell rang for lunch and I retreated further into my desk, anticipating the hundreds of questions every new student gets, especially the ones that don’t fit in.


I looked up at the orange haired boy and smiled nervously, wondering if he was going to start a fight now that the teacher had walked out.


“Want to come eat lunch with us?” He offered, turning to glare at a small crowd of girls that seemed ready to pounce at me. I was startled, but nodded yes, grateful for the rescue, even if I would get in trouble with Mizuiro later.

“Us” ended up being him, the black haired girl who turned out to be about my height, a brown haired tall boy, and Mizuiro. After I sat down with my lunch, the giant boy and the orange haired girl sat down with us, who were followed by 3 other girls, too. I instantly felt like the group was way too big and wished I’d said no before I got trapped between so many people on the roof. I looked around suspiciously while eating my salmon onigiri at each one of them while they introduced themselves. Michiru Ogawa. Tatsuki Arisawa. Ryo Kuneida. Mahana Natsui. Orihime Inoue. Keigo Asano. Rukia Kuchiki. Sado Yastura. A weird group. They were nice enough, though, for the most part. Ogawa was the one who seemed scared of my bag, but she was much more friendly and upbeat than I had thought at first, and her short brown hair bounced and her cheeks got all pink whenever she got excited about a topic. Kunieda had long black hair, straight and serious looking as her personality. She had a tiny mole near her left eye, but other than this I couldn’t really find any distinguishing features, and she was so serious that it made me wonder if I had said something to offend her, but she was like this with everyone. Natsui was a strong willed girl with short wavy brown hair, and a few times she cut in on someones sentence to remind them I was new and needed some space. I was grateful for her natural protectiveness, but it also made me uncomfortable with her interjecting on everyone else and inadvertently maybe even hurting their feelings.

Mizuiro put his phone away about halfway through lunch to actually join the conversation, and explained for me why I had been gone for four years. My grandmother on my mother’s side, the tattoo artist, had fallen ill for a time and had actually passed away just before I came back. I kept my head low for the story, but kept a tiny smile on my lips, as one my grandma’s requests was to stay happy for her and live my life once she was gone. He went on to tell everyone how she was one of the only caucasian people in our family, and how amazing and strange her food was the few times he went to visit her when he was little. He explained what my parents did for a living, why they’d moved to Karakura rather than Tokyo-being they’d inherited the tiny floral shop from my grandfather on my dad’s side, who was a spiritual medium in life who’d always insisted the dead are happier when their family provides them beautiful plants at their altars.

I remembered the giant bouquet I’d bought my grandfather three years ago, just when he was on his death bed in the hospital. He’d told me, in his weak and croaky voice, that the dead still roamed the earth, so he would always be with me. He told me I should do something for him however, in case he became lost and confused in the afterlife. He’s the reason I dye my ponytail blonde, why I have so many holes in my face, and why I flash my tattoo at any appropriate time. He asked me to make it easier to find me, to distinguish myself visually so even floating around the city, he could find me in a crowd. I loved my grandparents very much, and the thought of them always being by my side even when I couldn’t see them was too easy to agree to. I believed that they would be there even if I couldn’t see them. And so, trembling, when the time came, I pulled the cord in place of my father, who was extremely shaken up. Of course I still mourned, and I felt the loss like a ton of bricks on my chest-but at the same time, I could feel a bit of peace, knowing they weren’t gone forever. It may seem childish, but I still believe in my grandpa’s values, and I keep my bratty appearance to prove it.

Of course, I had never shared that with Mizuiro. Only my parents knew why I am the way I am, and they encourage it, much to the dismay of many a teacher. I’d never been kicked out, though, because every other year I went into homeschooling, and while at school I didn’t cause any trouble. Mizuiro only rambled about my strangely good grades, how I have always been in top 30 of my grade, and eventually trailed off into a bickering debate with Keigo over which woman of a group of eight they’d met a few days ago was the most beautiful. I slowly scooted back, escaping from the lunch circle, until I was against the wall beside the rooftop door. There, I enjoyed my lunch in peace.

After I was done eating, I noticed that Kurosaki and Kuchiki were off doing their own thing, with Kuchiki seemingly struggling to figure out how to stick her straw into her juice box. Asano-who demanded I call him Keigo, was quick to help her, as she was also very new to the school, and was much more open than I was, but pretended to be shy. I kept to myself for the rest of the 40 minutes we had for lunch “hour” with my grapefruit juice and tetris on my phone.

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After school, I signed up for the theater group and made sure to talk with each of the teachers about myself, how I planned to keep up with my work, and apologized again to Miss Ochi about my piercings. They were all very pleasant, and I was glad to be out of there. At the end of the day, I sat in my room, doodling in a sketchbook pictures of big blobby creatures wearing masks with long pointy noses and tall high heel boots, with smaller blobs with different faces running all over at their feet. I smiled and kicked my feet, imagining giant creatures, a bit like dogs to the tinier ones, trying not to step on the tiny blobs. And at supper, I got to tell my parents all about my day.

“Wow, it sure sounds like you were busy!” My mom enthused, still grinning about the reactions of my classmate to my book bag.

“Those boys, though, with the dirty looks… I might have to knock some sense into them…” My father added, crossing his arms.

“Well, I also joined the theater club… maybe I’ll make some friends there.” I told them, earning baffled looks from each of them. “Theater club?!” They exclaimed, leaning in with interest.

“You hate the stage!” My mom proclaimed, eyebrows nearly disappearing into her hairline. “I remember when you were four, you had to do a short play in your daycare… you cried as soon as you got on stage!”

“Not only when she was little, dear… remember just a couple years ago, when we had to actually go up and physically remove her from the stage when she was in band, because she was so frozen in fear? Not to dissuade you if you want to do this, but…” My father scratched his cheek as he tried to find the words and failed. “Theater?”

I blushed and poked at my food with my chopsticks. “Well, I don’t plan to actually be on stage. However, you know I like art… I thought maybe I could help make the props, costumes, and background for the school plays... “ I explained hurriedly.

“Ah, that’s true.” My mother agreed, glancing over to a shelving unit she had nearby that was filled top to bottom of my drawings, play dough sculptures, and doll clothes I’d made over the years. She kept everything I’ve made for her since I could pick up a pencil, and has always taken pictures of everything and as a result, we had tons of packed photo albums and boxes of things many people would classify as junk.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I opened my window, surprised to see a black butterfly float in. I watched it for a moment, and was surprised to feel the same feeling of a barrier around me being chipped away. I looked out the window, and a bright white glow caught my attention, which I would have ignored if it hadn’t been coming from somewhere I knew was just an empty alley rather than a house with a large window. Out of curiosity, I put a sweater on over my pajama top and crept downstairs, out the door, and towards the light. It was about eleven at night, so no one was out-and it was past curfew, so I decided to make it quick. I didn’t usually go for late night walks, but tonight the fresh air felt nice on my skin. It kept the strange feeling of awakening from consuming me, but not for long. Once I reached the source of the light, my eyes went wide in awe. A door-a traditional paper door-stood in the middle of the street, levitating slightly, emanated the bright light. I could barely see, it was so bright-but I managed to squint inside, and it looked like the inside of a building with wooden floors…

“Why is this here…?” I wondered out loud, and stepped closer, glancing behind it.

On the other side, it didn’t look like anything at all. I was vastly confused-was I imagining it? But I looked again where I saw it, and it was still there, but now it was closing. I panicked for a second-should I jump in and figure out where it led? But in my pajamas, whoever was in the building would be confused as I was. I hesitated, and nearly jumped, before a cough behind me jolted me from my inner battle between curiosity and fear.

The door shut and disappeared, and was gone without a trace in seconds. I turned towards whoever had stopped me, feeling a bit guilty for being about to intrude. The man, however, didn’t seem angry-only bemused, and maybe a bit creepy. He was wearing a green and white striped hat that hid his eyes and a matching green kimono with white diamonds at the bottom. I thought I recognized him, but I couldn’t place the de ja vu. I wondered if I should run away, being faced with a strange man in the middle of the night, but he didn’t seem to mean any harm.

“Did you see that?” I asked him, turning slightly to look again at the empty space.

He nodded and let both hands rest on his cane. “I did. I’m more surprised you can, though. Not many people can see things like that… tell me, can you see spirits?” He asked, no joking tone in his voice.

I cocked one eyebrow at him and shifted from side to side. “Well, I mean, uhm…” I remembered seeing vague forms of people when my grandfather would provide his spiritual medium services to families who wished to speak with their loved ones on the other side occasionally, but I’d always chalked it up to an overactive imagination. “I don’t know what you, uhm, mean. Ghosts?” I lied badly. He smiled knowingly.

“Well, yes. I have a proposition for you, if you’re interested. I’m curious about your talents… and I’d like to help you become even better at seeing things like that door there. It’s a very different place in the spirit world… you may find yourself needing to have the skills I can offer soon, though. Of course, it’s entirely up to you…”

I felt my mouth hang open a bit, and I took an involuntary step towards him as the gears in my head started turning. “Skills… so…. you could help me learn to see ghost? Talk to them?” I asked, thinking immediately of my grandparents.

“A lot more than that. I can teach you to send them to the other side… help the bad spirits… even temporarily become a spirit. Before that training, though, I wouldn’t suggest you go through doors like that… it would be very dangerous.

I bit my lip as I thought about it, for one reason or another never doubting the man’s words. He smiled, much less serious, and handed me a little business card. “If you decide to learn, my address is there for you. Come over after school or this weekend, and we can start… no fee, of course. There’s lots of sweet things to buy there, too, if you get hungry.”

I looked down at the card. “Urahara Kisuke… hmm? But this is a candy store…?” When I looked up, he was gone. I frowned, but put the card in my pocket, already knowing my answer. My family meant everything to me, and if I could see my grandparents one more time, maybe help them cross over… that would fill the hole that their deaths had left for sure.

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And so fell the Sword of Fate.
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