At first, Orihime did not panic. When she reached up to delicately touch the blue hairpins in her hair out of habit, and found they were not there, she blinked slowly, checked again, and then giggled girlishly. It would not be the first time she misplaced or accidentally lost something of hers after all, as Orihime was very prone to forgetfulness. I’m sure I’ll stumble upon them eventually! she’d reassured herself, nodding brightly, and carrying on with the rest of her school day.
The auburn-haired girl even allowed herself to fantasize in class, staring outside the window with a dreamy expression upon her facial features. Cupping the sides of her face with both hands, she murmured airily to herself, “Maybe, maybe, it’ll happen just in the Disney movie Cinderella. They’ll be brought to me, and right after I put them in my hair, they’ll sparkle brightly! And then, the charming, dashing prince will come for me and sweep me off my feet~!”
Cheerfully, Orihime had retraced her steps to the best of her abilities.
But by the time the bell rang, signalling the end of the school day, she could not contain the negative emotions churning inside her heart. She tried to hide her steadily growing panic and anxiety, but it was unavoidable - she really did not know where her hairpins were, and her fantasy had been popped like a balloon.
There was one place left to look. The garden’s maze, which was known by the student body for its supposedly creepy reputation. Orihime herself found the place to be tranquil and exceptionally beautiful. Biting her lip, she entered, hoping that she would find what she had come looking for. If Orihime didn’t find her hairpins, then … just the very notion made tears spring to her eyes, which she tried to wipe away with the sleeve of her blouse.
Orihime’s hair flowed behind her as she walked, and her bangs fell freely into her eyes. Against the backdrop of colorful flowers and green hedges, flowing, auburn locks looked out of place. The way her long bangs fell freely into her slightly misty only served to remind her how strange it was to go without wearing them. For a short period of time, she even had - but as soon as Orihime moved out of Karakura Town, she’d resumed using the pins to clip her bangs to the side. Perhaps, it was a defense mechanism of sorts. Leaving behind her hometown to start anew had thrust her into foreign territory with no friends to accompany her.
That and the hairpins in question were Orihime’s only connection to her old life back in Karakura Town, her six precious nakamas, and her onii-chan. If Orihime did not find them, she truly did not know what she would do.