A strong, solid presence at his back. A formidable foe who refused to raise a fist unless it was in his defense. That was Chad, Ichigo noticed. He always felt that they were connected, in more ways than one. From the moment they met, something sparked between their eyes, and it was as if he had met his best friend. The only one who could understand all the parts inside he was trying desperately to hide.
And the best thing about Chad was his silence. His presence. He had an aura about him that was always calming to Ichigo. And no matter what was going on or how troubled Ichigo was feeling inside, Chad just radiated tranquility. Without Ichigo even having to ask.
It was kind of nice to have someone like that. Someone he could be close to, who didn’t demand anything in return. Unselfish and just plain there, Chad was the indomitable presence, one who grounded Ichigo when everything seemed to spiral out of his grasp. He could be afraid or unsure, he could be unsteady on his feet, but just one glance… and he could be assured that Chad was there. Sometimes, it was just that he was there.
Ichigo had always been strong on his own, but with Chad, with the others, he was so much stronger. That was why he could never imagine Chad losing. Nor himself, for that matter. The thought of seeing that solid presence, that tall and unwavering visage, crumble or fall was beyond his comprehension.
He could feel it, deep inside of himself. The steadfast spirit that was Yasutora Sado, the vigorous and secure aura that calmed his rattled spirit. There was a thread, the vibrant crimson thread of Ichigo’s soul, indubitably tied to so many others, wrapped around the soothing, pristine white of Chad’s. There were the threads of others, too, but he couldn’t understand them as well as Chad’s. He didn’t need to.
And it was soothing, that mix of vibrant scarlet and dove white, amusingly like a candy cane if he thought too much about it. His thread was thin and sharp, coiled and restrained. Chad’s was wide and whipcord strong, flowing smoothly and faintly rippled, as if barely sitting on the top of a placidly moving river.
It was because he could feel him that Ichigo was grounded, that his own resolution never wavered. And though he may have faltered for just a fraction of a second, he never fell. But if he did, he knew it wouldn’t matter anyway. Those strong, untiring arms would be there to catch him before he would even strike the ground.