She liked watching him make those paper flowers.
Rinne looked up, in the middle of fastening the petals of a paper flower together.
He saw Sakura staring peacefully at him and raised an eyebrow.
"Can I help you?"
They were alone, as Sakura came early to class. Rinne came even earlier. He liked making flowers first thing then.
She shook her head and smiled.
The shinigami didn't question it. But he gave her an odd look.
At first it had been strange, seeing him surrounded by red, pink, yellow, blue and orange flowers, heaps of them in piles around him. But then, she became more accustomed to it—more accustomed to his looks of utter dedication. It began to suit him—the flowers—in a way she couldn't exactly describe.
In a couple of weeks, it wasn't so strange to the shinigami anymore. He had grown accustomed to having her watch him make flowers. And as he allowed himself to relax in her presence, instead of tensing nervously, he felt a smile come onto his face.
He liked having her eyes on him.
But he wouldn't tell her that.
It was his private little secret, along with other thoughts of her.
Sometimes Sakura noticed that he would bring in boxes of them, working hard in silence. His fingers would grace over the paper expertly, shaping them into works of arts with a few twists and folds. At times, it seemed as though he could make paper roses appear out of no where within seconds, because he was just that fast with his hands in origami.
When he worked, it seemed like he was in his own little world and Sakura didn't want to—didn't dare, would never—disturb him. It was like someone pulled down a curtain, revealing a dedicated caring side of Rinne that Sakura had been seeing a lot lately whenever he helped ghosts to the other side or tried to pay off his increasing debt. It was fascinating, seeing that same deep look in his red eyes whenever he put his heart into something.
She really admired it.
Rinne got annoyed when other girls came in early at the same time as Sakura because of some kind of club thing. The room got noisy quickly and it became harder to concentrate, most of all, the amicable peace and happiness that he associated with Sakura, vanished into thin air once their classmates came in.
He was too polite to reprimand his female classmates, but he tried ignoring them. Hopefully, if they saw that he was busy, they wouldn't bug him as much anymore.
Light laughter reached his ears, as he looked up to lock eyes with Sakura Mamiya.
She smiled at him.
His heart leapt.
The girls in her class would sometimes gather around Rinne's desk, despite their general aversion of him, and gush over the wonderful flowers. Occasionally, some girls were bold and asked Rinne if they could have a flower for free.
Of course, as expected, he would decline. Unless the girl was willing to pay for his trade, one of his livings, he would not allow anyone to rip him off. Rinne was very conservative about his money, for good reason. It was something that sometimes saddened Sakura, as it reminded her of his harsh lifestyle, but at the same time, it made her admire him even more.
She didn't talk to him when he did his work in the morning; it was just… so much more peaceful when she watched him, a twinkle in her eye. Every flower he made, she could tell he put his best work into it.
He didn't like it when people tried to rip him off, or giving things for free.
"Hey Rokudo-kun, Sakura-chan really seems to like your flowers. You should give her one," Miho, one of Sakura's friends, suggested one day.
Rinne stared at her, slightly bewildered. His thoughts were hardly able to process her words. Flowers? Sakura? What?
Miho rolled her eyes. "Hello? Anyone can see that you have a crush on her! You should give her one of your flowers. I bet it'll make her really happy."
"… I don't know what you're talking about," Rinne said automatically. "I don't care much for this kind of stuff anyways."
"Right…," Miho grinned knowingly, "whatever you say, Rokudo-kun."
He didn't answer back.
He was busy contemplating. Before he knew it, he had gotten to work on another paper flower. But this one was different.
This one would be one of the best roses he would ever make.
He didn't like giving things for free... but maybe this would be the sole exception.
Maybe it was more than that. Maybe she didn't just like watching him make flowers. Maybe she just liked watching his intense expressions. The rare times he smiled different smiles.
Maybe she just… liked Rinne.
They were, once again, alone in the classroom, the first ones there. However, this morning, Sakura noticed that there was an absence of Rinne's usual boxes of roses. She was about to ask about it when she noticed Rinne's averted eyes. He seemed… nervous.
That was odd.
Now she felt concerned.
"Is there something the matter…?" Sakura asked him.
The sort-of shinigami shuffled his feet from side to side, continuing to look to the side. After a couple of minutes, Sakura felt herself losing patience, about to ask again, what was the matter.
Then Rinne held up his hand.
There was a long, smooth, blooming white rose. It was delicately wrapped, the petals placed in perfect positions and creating a fragile innocent sort of beauty. It was among one of the most beautiful roses that Sakura had ever seen Rinne make at the school.
Seeing her speechlessness, Rinne muttered, "… it's for you."
Rinne nodded quickly, dropping it into her hands, "… you seem to like my flowers… so I thought it would be appropriate to make you one."
His face had a slightly red tinge to it. He didn't know what was coming over him. All of these strange feelings…
"Thank you," Sakura grinned, reminding him of the group date they had gone on once, "I'll treasure it for sure."
He found himself smiling gently back.
It made her proud to know him, this shinigami who made her feel lucky to be able to see ghosts, because she could see so many different sides of this kind shinigami that she had come to care for.