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A Parting of Ways

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"Do you intend to just stand there and watch?"

The words had come out harsh and halting. For a moment, Ishida felt as if the words didn't originate from him at all. But that moment passed quickly. There were things he needed to do. A fate he needed to meet.

"Observation is an important part of the scientific method. I live to observe."

He could only shake his head as his fingers fumbled with his buttons. He didn't dare turn toward her. Still, he could imagine what she looked like. That image of her managed to bore into his mind: her body pressed against his dresser, her head cocked to the side, her pale face a blank mask between a the sea of her black hair. He closed his eyes, hoping to banish her image in the darkness. It did not work.

"I don't know why you're here," he finally said. "Are you here for him?"

"I'm here for many people."

"Including him?"

"Yes..." Ishida turned at the answer, poised to speak, but she cut him off: "...and myself."

He smirked. "And what do you think of all this?" he asked, raising his hands to give her the full view of his new uniform.

Her eyes glanced down as she straightened her stance. "I think this is foolish. But you are young and prone to do foolish things. It's no surprise." Her eyes scanned up and met his. "It's more like a disappointment."

"Because your whole world will be threatened."

"My world? What of the world of your friends and family and yourself. No, I don't feel threatened."

"Don't you know what they're capable of?" he asked.

She nodded. "I still feel no fear. That you underestimate Father--and perhaps the others--is the mystery. I thought you knew better."

Ishida sighed and turned away. "I thought you would know better too."

"Perhaps we do not know each other."

Ishida returned to fiddling with his cuffs. A sharp wind swept against his back and he felt breath against his ear. "Goodbye, Ishida Uryuu. May we never meet again."

He looked to his right but found no one there. Not even a rustle near the windows to indicate that he had just recently lost a visitor. He paused, eyes closed, and let the ache of her words wash over him. But in a moment he was reaching for his coat. They would be here soon enough. He needed to be ready to leave.