“Come on, Orihime!” Finished tucking some of the less fragile mystical components into their places on Urahara’s stockroom shelves, Tatsuki took a step back. Looked over her work, and patted her classmate on the shoulder, face an interesting mix of worry and frustration. “What’s wrong? I thought you were glad to have Ichigo backing us up again. Sure, he attracts every creature in trouble from here to Hokkaido, but he’s good at hitting things-”
“It’s not fair!”
About to sneak discreetly out of hearing range, Loki paused, and remained hidden among the stockroom shelves. When a sorceress started flinging around fair in tones like that, the world was about to get hurt.
“W-we’ve always been there for him,” Orihime went on, one clear drop trickling down her cheek. “The monsters, a-and talking my brother into passing over, and everything. And then she shows up, and Kurosaki gets hurt, he almost gets killed, a-and – I like her, Tatsuki, I do! But she’s already dead, and it’s not fair….”
Ah. I should have seen this coming. In a sense, he had. He’d seen the looks Orihime had been casting at his younger brother the past two years. None of which Ichigo had returned, but then again, Ichigo was a teenage boy. There was always the chance a few more years might have changed things.
There was, then. Now? Sighing, Loki stepped out of hiding.
Even tear-streaked, Orihime was paying enough attention to start when Tatsuki saw him. She turned, eyes wide. “Sensei! I – I didn’t mean….”
“It’s all right,” Loki said gently. “Cry it all out.”
Her face seemed to crumple, hearing exactly what he’d said. Not, it will be all right. Not, you shouldn’t be jealous.
Good, for a sorceress. She’d taken her lessons to heart: see what is there, not what someone wants you to see.
But for the young girl who just happened to also be a sorceress….
Orihime cried on his shoulder, letting Tatsuki stroke her hair. Her tears burned.