Disclaimer: I do not own the series Bleach in any way. If I did, then I would be doing much more interesting things to the characters than just writing about them.

Written while listening to Evanescence's 'Your Star'

1. Crimson Rain

Rain used to be gentle.

Rain used to be sweet and soothing with its feather soft touch. She used to love watching its intricate dance as it wove blurry patterns of water across her windowsill. It used to calm her and bring back faded memories of lying in the moist Rukongai grass, laughing and frolicking among well-gnawed watermelon peels in the misty drizzle.

It used to remind her of days spent sitting at the door of her room, watching the peaceful, deserted streets awash with the cleansing sweep of the storm. It used to remind her of countless cups of warm and steaming tea, slowly sipped amidst easy conversation and light laughter as the storm fell outside. Rain was gentle, rain was kind, and rain was loving. The quiet showers were was just like Aizen-taichou.

Raging storms were different, but no less wonderful. They were strong and could sweep her away in the roar of water. Soft rain would invite melancholy and introspection, but a furious gale was breath-taking. To her, they seemed to be proud, powerful, and she couldn't help to admire the force behind the storm.

If the soft drizzle seemed to shadow every day of her life, then it was the furious storms that seemed to punctuate every important event.

The day she had said goodbye to Shiro-chan and left for the Academy had soon become a raging rainstorm. The day she had been accepted to Fifth had been punctuated by heavy rainfall as well. The day she became Aizen-taichou's vice-captain was one of the largest storms in months. She had wondered if rain was a bad omen of some sort, but they always happened on happy occasions.

Soft rainfall meant gentleness and calm. Heavy rainfall meant strength and change. So Hinamori continued loving the rain, soft and heavy alike.

Then her world shattered. Aizen had killed her - perhaps not literally, but he had every intention to do so. Her gentle and loving Aizen-taichou was dead, taken away by a cruel and manipulative imposter she did not know. Every memory was shrouded by that crimson drizzle of slowly seething blood as he slid cold steel into her heart.

From then on, Hinamori hated the soft and quiet rain. It mocked her, forcing her thoughts to wander, wander, always back to the man it used to remind her of. But heavy rain – heavy rain was wonderful. The sheer force of the rain beating down on her, the sound of pouring skies as they washed everything away – she could run into the arms of the storm and be comforted, safe, protected, and reassured.

Perhaps it had been the sound of the roaring storm outside that called her out of her world of dreams. She had heard the strong rain through her window and woken to Shiro-chan's firm, warm grip on her hand as he dozed in a chair besides her bed.

Heavy rain marked strength.

In the chaos that followed her awakening, she had counted on the heavy showers to wash away her doubts, to guide her, to keep her sane and safe. She grew to love the raging tempests fiercely, more fiercely than she had every loved the gentle drizzle. They stirred the side of her that was the woman Momo and not the timid vice-captain Hinamori. The storm was her witness, at each and every step she took forward.

It had been raining harder than she ever remembered when Hitsugaya told her he loved her.

'I love you.'

Heavy rain marked change. Her life changed very quickly after that. On the battlefield, on scouting missions, during reconnaissance – whenever she was even remotely threatened, then he would be there, eyes blazing and blade flashing. He had awed her with the sheer amount of power he possessed – he as strong, proud, and would keep her safe. And it seemed that heavy storms followed in his wake.

Hyourinmaru was, after all, a weather-based zanpakutou.

The storms would take over everything the gentle rain had once reminded her of. She let the memories of gentle smiles and light laughter fade in favor of teasing conversation and understanding silence, with the rushing of rain in the background. Even when she was alone, all she had to do was watch the rain fall in endless sheets, and she would feel his arms around her, his eyes watching her, and the corners of his lips teasing upward into his trademark smirk. She loved him, and loved the thundering rain storms for reminding her of him.

Hinamori never understood why others would hate the 'depressing weather'.

And then, suddenly, she could.

The tattered shreds of his cloak. The crimson staining his beautiful white hair, and his beautiful, beautiful jade eyes closed, when they should have been open and blazing with power. The broken, soulless blade that had been the greatest dragon in the history of Soul Society – Matsumoto had been clutching it to her chest and hiccupping brokenly.

Hinamori didn't remember screaming.

All she could remember was the heavy, heavy rain, beating down on them, trickling down his bloodstained face, running along the ground, running in a crimson stream around her feet. Fading away at last to a soft drizzle. Then from the soft drizzle to nothing.

She hated the rain.

Rewritten October 6th 2007