Reviews for Hammered Down
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 12 (final part)

I love your Ishida and his explanation of Rukia’s absence “Now that he's back in Japan, she's trying to convince him that your family is not a bunch of freeloaders and that there's no problem with her continuing to live with you.”

I also love how highly Ishida seems to speak of Rukia – “Rest assured, Yuzu-chan, she will return to you. Not even death could keep Rukia away."

“For your information, Orihime cried for four days straight when you tried to 'let her down easy'."

I have to wonder if Inoue was crying out “Kurosaki-kun” for four days straight. Sorry. That’s a bit unfair of me.

“Unwarranted hostility. Another bad sign. I should ask Rukia to stick her sword through you again and see if that doesn't purify your heart. Certainly worth the risk."

And Ishida refers to Rukia by her first name and without an honorific? Did the two become friends when I wasn’t looking? If they did, the IshiRuki shipper in me laments that I wasn’t able to see that.

Although, perhaps I am reading that, and the reason Ishida calls her that isn’t because the two were close, but more as an insult? Does Ishida know that Rukia bankrolled the man who experimented grandfather? That Rukia’s funding allowed for Mayuri to build the contraption he used on Ishida, and which caused Ishida much pain? Did Rukia ever find out what Mayuri did to Ishida?

“As he passed the man, there looked to be a brief exchange of some sorts between them, but it was too faint to hear. “

“There was nothing but anger to be found in his eyes as he regarded that vile beast.”

So is it wrong of me to assume that Ichigo’s anger, is because Rukia confided in Gin some of what he had done to her in the past? Or because he was afraid of the harm he could do to his sisters?

“You leave her alone, got that? I don't want you coming anywhere near Rukia!"
I love how protective Ichigo is of Rukia, regardless of him knowing that she defeated Gin.

“Not that. I'm talking about taking care of our lil' Kuchiki-chan."

The use of “our”, does that mean some part of Gin still thinks of Rukia as his? And I find it curious as how he calls Rukia “lil”, mostly because I remember Urahara using the “little” label on her as well.

“But she never did. Byakuya, Aizen, they all played a tune, and she danced it for 'em.”

The same could be said for Gin. I doubt that Aizen would have had such power over Rukia, had Gin not been in attendance with many of the meetings. He helped Aizen make Rukia dance to his tune.

“Upon finding that she had decided to give up without a fight, her unofficial watchdog was so pissed off he decided it was time for the girl to die.”

I find Gin confusing. One of the reasons she had decided to give up without a fight, was because of him, and the games he played with her. His actions towards her was what made Rukia think she couldn’t fight. He was pissed, but her actions were his doing. He claims she belonged to him, but Gin had abandoned her, leaving her to fend for herself, after she learned how to walk. He claims she belonged to him, but in my opinion, he relinquished that when he left her in that tree so many years before.

“She had put her life entirely in someone else's hands, and that offended his sensibilities.”

Gin shouldn’t feel offended, because she wouldn’t have “ her to put her life in someone else’s hand” had he kept her at his side.

“She ended it 'tween us, or didn't she already tell you that? …Rukia proved she's got what it takes to survive. I saved her three times like I said, but I also tried to kill her twice, and the second time she could've killed me but chose not to. That makes us even. I ain't got no designs on her now. She's your headache, not mine."

Did Gin really see Rukia as a headache? He says he has no designs on her, yet I wonder why Kon had been dreaming about Gin and Rukia. Did Kon here this conversation between Ichigo and Gin?
“So I backed a new pony. Just have to wait and see if my luck still holds."- I find it interesting how Gin didn’t mention that the new pony was Urahara. I assumed that Gin had been talking about Urahara, but then I wondered if it was possible that Gin was talking about someone else.

“Ayasegawa Yumichika. Shinigami and Hero of the Autumn War, who single-handedly defeated a vasto lorde. Adopted post mortem into the House of Kuchiki. Last man to hold the title of Fifth seat in Division Eleven before the post was officially retired in his name. He gave his life in defense of those who were most precious to him. A beautiful person, on and off the field of battle, we celebrate all he had to teach us.'

Was Rukia the one who wrote that? Either way, the description fit Yumichika perfectly.

I do have to wonder what Aizen would have thought were he to know how Rukia had helped Yoshi. How Rukia had put into motion many of the things that he as Yoshi had discussed back in the first lecture he had given, that Rukia attended. From the tasty food they were provided (in comparison with the bun that was handed out in the lecture), to the change to modern clothes that was now worn, similar to the one that “Yoshi” wore in the first meeting. How she was able to comfort and unfortunate soul, like Aizen as Yoshi, had spoken about.

How even though things didn’t turn out the way Aizen originally planned, they did turn out like the way he had spoken when he was impersonating Yoshi. How Aizen’s words, though meaningless had touched, Rukia. Aizen, unknowingly, made things for the better.
“Another shell-shocked, timid spirit who had been forced to live in the hellish conditions of the Outer Rukongai, probably for many years by the look of him.”

How these words, especially the use of hellish conditions, reflect the first words that Rukia had spoke to Aizen “It was hell”.

I really do feel for Yoshi, and I am glad that Rukia was able to help him.

Again, I’m curious as to what Aizen would have thought had he ever know of this encounter taking place.

And here is my last review for this story. And as always when good stories end, I am quite sad that it has ended.

Looking at my word document, I am realizing that my review for chapter 36 was just as long as my review for chapter 35 (word states that the review for chapter 36 is 42 pages long, 15,427 words).

However I know that their were more parts for chapter 35, and I am suspecting it was because for chapter 35, I was so scared that my reviews would be cut off, therefore the parts were short. I sort of wished I had done the same for this chapter. That way the review count would have risen.

This story deserved a lot more reviews. And if no one was going to do it, the least I could do was take up the task myself.

“Hammered Down” has been such a blessing in my life, and did help me take my mind of things in my life. It also featured enormous and wonderfully written character development for my favorite character, giving her an awesome backstory, and giving her what she deserves, unlike Kubo. Tomas explained plot holes in her life. And I would be forever grateful to Tomas for writing this story. I

I can’t say thank you enough to such an amazing and talented author.
Thank you.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 11
“We will attend to my sister," Byakuya stated, nodding in the direction of Ichigo, who was hovering worriedly beside him and craning his neck to get a glimpse of the slumbering Rukia.”

I’m glad that Byakuya included Ichigo in attending to his sister. Does that mean that Byakuya has accepted Ichigo as his future brother-in-law? Does that mean that Rukia told Byakuya that she was dating Ichigo?

I also love how worried Ichigo is for Rukia and how he kept trying to get a glimpse of her.

I am still so very curious as to what Matsumoto told Renji, Izuru and Hisagi.

“In her hands was a memory-eraser. "Nee-san, are you sure about this?"

Now why would Kiyone need a memory eraser, if “Cloud Over Moon” should have ensured Isane wouldn’t remember anything?

“She was a goddess once, a person of grace, wisdom and humanity.”

Isane speaking of Unohana, made me realize that Unohana only had one eye. And she was the one who started this rebellion, that started the war? “One-eyed God of War”. Now I am thinking that Ginrei was talking about Unohana. If that turns out to be true, then “heir of the One-Eyed God of War”, does that mean that Unohana and Ichigo are related? Or does that mean that Ichigo will finish Unohana’s original mission before she went loony, of trying to save as many people as he can and to make sure things become right in SS?

“There was no more room for hesitation, and so she lifted the memory charm to her sister's face and activated it in a small puff of smoke.”

Okay so Kiyone used the memory eraser rather than putting Isane under “Cloud over Moon”. I could have sworn that Isane has asked to be put under the spell again. I probably assumed that she would be put under “Cloud Over Moon”, when really she just asked for her memories to be erased. But do memory-eraser’s really work on Shinigami? Isn’t it possible for the memory charm of memory erasers to wear off, causing them to regain their memories again.
“Bending to take her into his arms, he rose and shot a dark look at Ichigo, who flinched and scowled in much the same way.

I am curious as to whether Ichigo shared with Rukia that Isane kissed her brother or if he kept it to himself?
“The nobleman then carried his dearest treasure from the Fourth squad offices.”

I do wonder if Noboru will take Rukia’s place as Byakuya’s dearest treasure when Byakuya learns he has a son.

“For the time being, they would need all their strength to help Rukia once she recovered. Kurosaki had offered to aid him in this, and he had accepted for her sake. That would be the most trying part, having to impart to his precious sister not only an edited version of what had transpired following her defeat of Ichimaru, but also that she had lost a person she obviously cared for deeply.

It is good to see Byakuya accepting Ichigo’s help for the sake of his sister. I guess Byakuya has grown quite a lot as well. I do hope we get a flashback of Byakuya and Ichigo helping recover, and see how they explained everything to her, including Yumichika’s death in “Lifted Up”

“The black cat walked through the Maggot's Nest with little Jinta in the lead. This prison's collection of inmates had been freed days past and transferred to a special center where they could be acclimated back to a normal existence as spirits. In some cases, more extreme measures would have to be taken.”

I do wonder if any of those freed inmates will be seen in “Lifted Up”, and I do wonder what those “extreme cases” were?

“ The recently-reinstated head of the Onmitsukidō knew full well that several of the people imprisoned in here truly were dangerous to others.”- I am curious to see if any of those dangerous plan on taking their revenge for being imprisoned.

“But she was also aware that there were far more humane and successful resolutions to their cases than locking them in a pit along with other deviants to never see the light of day again.”- Get enough people who have been imprisoned falsely together, and surely they started hashing up plans of their own.

“Kisuke gave a chuckle. "Maybe it's just me, then. Waking up in here, I of course recognized my old stomping grounds. And it dawned upon me that there was a certain humorous irony to be found in my situation. I was back in Soul Society, just like I wanted. Except what I wanted doesn't seem quite so good anymore. Exactly like Aizen."

The great Urahara Kisuke admitting that he and Aizen had something in common? I am shocked. Of course it shouldn’t shock me, since I thought the two were quite similar.

Well, at least he knows what Rukia must have been feeling when she was locked away.

“We both know you're a very bright, talented man. You're also ferociously angry. You've been holding back on it, denying it for so long in order to achieve your objectives. And now that it seems like there isn't a need to restrain yourself anymore you're not bothering to try."

I have a feeling that Yoruichi’s words here, confirmed Ichigo’s words on how Urahara had planned all this.

"I lost my temper for a moment," he said, calmly and clearly. "I'm not perfect, Yoruichi. Am I not allowed to make any mistakes or I wind up in here?"

He reminds me of Mayuri here. And I don’t know why.

"Everyone who did you wrong has paid for it, and now all that hatred has no one to direct against. Hate doesn't go away just because the target's gone, however. It seeps through to color our interactions with those who never meant us any harm. “

This part also makes me think of Mayuri. Would Rukia have also been filled with that hate, if it hadn’t been for Sode No Shirayuki to have gotten her to forgive Gin? Perhaps Rukia can give Urahara lessons in letting the hate go.

"Everyone who was imprisoned in the Maggot's Nest was innocent of any actual wrongdoing. It's the reason you and I hated it so much.”

So by Yoruichi’s statement, both she and Urahara knew that the Maggot’s nest was wrong? But even though they knew it was wrong they didn’t do anything to fix the system.

“Still Kisuke wouldn't look at her. "So you intend to leave me here until I've learned that lesson?"

You know as critical as I am with Urahara, my heart does go out to him. He wouldn’t be like this had events not make him distrustful of those around him. He is one of my favorite characters in this story, very complex and well written. He isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but that is why I love him so much.

And I am glad that Yoruichi isn’t letting him suffer his punishment alone.

With how tense things were between Urahara and Rukia in this chapter, I do wonder how the two settled things between each other. I mean I know that Rukia named one of her rabbits Kisuke, and he did leave his shop to her, so I am very curious to how the two fixed things?
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 10

“Kisuke had never looked more furious than he did right now. "You ignorant little…! Do you think you can just waltz into our world whenever you please, strut around and tell us what to do? You're playing with our lives! WHERE DID YOU PUT THAT DAMN SWORD?”

“waltz into our world”. Did Urahara forget that Ichigo was already part of their world, what with being the son of Isshin, a Shinigami? Did Urahara forget that he was the one who made sure that Ichigo stayed a part of their world by making him a Vaizard and allowing him to get Shinigami/Hollow powers, after Byakuya had taken Ichigo’s powers away? Urahara acts as though he had nothing to do with Ichigo “strutting around and telling them what to do” when Urahara’s actions was what led them their?

As if Urahara hadn’t played with Ichigo’s and Rukia’s lives.

Still one of my favorite parts of this chapter- and what made me like Ichigo even more- “Have you looked up your ass, Urahara?" Ah, there's the man I love.”

“We did not take Minazuki to threaten or intimidate any of you," she asserted in the hopes of lessening the dire mood that was increasing with every passing moment.”

If they honestly thought that Rukia and Ichigo were really the type to do that, then the four captains don’t know the two as well as they thought.

"But I spoke to Tsukabishi-taichou, and he admitted there was little more that could be done to suppress it." Tessai bowed his head forward and shook it from side to side, as if lamenting any part he might have played in leading up to this matter.

I don’t know why, but I don’t buy Tessai’s show of lamenting his part. I don’t know why, but I feel that this was all an act. As though he purposely admitted this to Rukia, because he expected her and Ichigo to do something like this. I know I am being paranoid, but there wasn’t enough about Tessai in this story to make me suspect that he wasn’t just as crafty and manipulative as Urahara, Unohana, or Aizen. Or maybe Tessai hoped that Rukia and Ichigo would take action, because perhaps he himself didn’t trust others in SS, maybe he didn’t even trust Urahara?

“Only one person knows its location now, a man who can be trusted implicitly."- Another of my favorite parts, because it shows how even though Ichigo has a hollow, Rukia still trusts him 100%.

‘A very disturbing smile twisted his face. "Even if you are, can you guarantee you will always be that way? There's a side of you some of us have seen that isn't quite so virtuous. What if he decides to take control of you again? Things could get rather more complicated should the world's most dangerous weapon wind up in the hands of your Hollow."

I don’t know why, but his disturbing smile reminds me of Gin. And it is interesting, how he seems to think that Ichigo’s hollow would have been a problem, yet Urahara trusted Gin, who was a hollow.

It is also interesting how Urahara and Yoruichi don’t trust Ichigo and question his hollow’s influence, yet they seemed perfectly fine when they sent him off to SS, without even given him any training to control his hollow.
“I got enough of you guys and your 'benign spells' hidden inside me, thank you very much," Ichigo returned in a very suspicious tone, causing Tessai to frown.”

And again this makes me wonder if Aizen and Unohana weren’t the only ones who cast “cloud over moon” on someone.
And I am so glad that Ichigo told them-“Have a little faith in me, Tessai-san. After all, you helped make me this way, right?" Tsukabishi appeared troubled by this admission and lapsed into silence.”- because it’s the truth. They played with Ichigo’s life, they granted him the power, without doing anything to explain to him about what he would be going through, nor did they train him after they turned him into a Vaizard. The least they could do is trust their “creation”

Still one of my favorite parts- “That's nonsense!" Urahara practically barked. "Bonnie and Clyde here have already shown how little they think of us, asking one to watch over the other is like giving prisoners the keys to their cells and asking them not to leave!"- because technically the same could be said about Yoruichi and Urahara. They two showed how little they thought of Ichigo, Rukia, and Byakuya by not telling them the truth behind their plan.

"And if her association with Aizen is what's troubling you, remember that you and I already agreed once before to overlook that. 'No more following others' bad examples', remember?"
"Don't throw all that back at me, Yoruchi!” – Did that mean that Urahara had defended Rukia before, and is now finding his words thrown back at him? Or is it something else I missed? Was it when the three had asked about what to do about Rukia after they found out that she was one of Aizen’s pawns and the three had agreed to let her live? Is that what Urahara’s and Yoruichi’s words alluding to?

“We didn't work so hard and risk so much to have a teenager start shoving his ideals down our throats!”

“Kisuke turned back to him with an eerie smile. "You've never seen what my ban-kai can do, boy. Trust me, you wouldn't like it.”

He again reminds me of Gin in this part, and it makes me very curious about Urahara’s Bankai.

“I don't want to have to resort to force in this matter," his hand dropped down to rest on the handle of his prominently displayed soul cutter, "but if you continue to behave badly I'll just have to give you another little demonstration of what I can do."

And for some reason Urahara’s words remind me of Yamamoto, and the way Yamamoto used force to keep Unohana in line.

“Looking in that direction, Rukia was shocked to see the solid wall flaking away before her eyes. More of that seemingly flat surface collapsed into small chunks, and from out of it there stepped a fully-formed figure that she recognized immediately.”

Like father, like daughter. I couldn’t help but smile at Nemu’s actions. And I love how she refers quite openly to Isane as her sister.
“My captain appeared quite irrational over the theft of Minazuki.”- Does her statement of finding Urahara irrational mean that she agrees with Ichigo’s and Rukia’s actions of hiding Minazuki?

Is she like her father, and Rukia, both having reasons to be distrustful of SS rules, and leaders, and therefore she understands why Rukia and Ichigo acted the way they did?

“I acted to ensure no harm would come to him."- I know that Yoruichi and company think that Nemu acted in Urahara’s benefit (‘no harm would come to him’), but why do I suspect that Nemu is keeping Urahara alive because she knows that Mayuri wants to take the 12th captain position “officially”? Mayuri wants to fight and kill Urahara, so Nemu is keeping Urahara safe, so that Mayuri has a chance to fight him?

“Mayuri-sama did explicitly state that if I ever came into the possession of Kisuke Urahara, I must be prepared to defend the integrity of Mayuri-sama's research. So he included a chemical in my bloodstream that was uniquely designed to subdue Urahara-taichou should he ever prove… difficult."

I wonder if Mayuri left any instructions for Nemu concerning Rukia? Like making sure she stayed alive, just so Rukia could keep bankrolling the 12th division, and so the 12th division could keep carrying out his research?

“She wasn't certain, but Rukia could have sworn she detected a faint smile on her brother's face as he rose up. If so, Byakuya hid it soon afterwards.

I do wonder about what caused Byakuya’s slight smile? Was it the fact that someone one-upped Urahara? Was it because Urahara, someone who seems to be three steps ahead of everyone else, didn’t see this (Mayuri giving Nemu a failsafe to take him down)?

“His longtime associate lifted her unconscious colleague over one shoulder, much in the manner she had done with Ichigo months past.”

The use of the word associate rather than friend when describing Yoruichi, makes me paranoid. I would have suspected for Tessai and Yoruichi to be quite close, but perhaps that isn’t the case.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 9

You know I can’t help but feel irritated at the four captains, as they look at Rukia

-“Thus it was that a few minutes later, she found herself sitting in her nightclothes facing four very unfriendly-looking captains.

-“Byakuya appeared as grave as if he were challenging an army of vasto lorde, while Yoruichi had adopted an unreadable expression. Tessai Tsukabishi was gazing at her sadly, as though asking how she could do such a thing. Kisuke Urahara looked distinctly intimidating now that he wore the robes of the Twelfth division captain.”

These four individuals all lied (either directly or lying by omission) to Rukia. Their actions put her in danger. Can they really blame her for being distrustful of them?

Urahara made her a target (by putting the Hogyoku in her) and used her as bait (for the sake of making Ichigo a Vaizard), Tessai and Yoruichi by going along with Urahara’s plans. Byakuya for keeping her background a secret from her, from not being the big brother he was supposed, for nearly allowing her to die.

These four captains acted for their own benefit and not for Rukia’s. Again, can they really blame her for not trusting them completely, especially Urahara who was shown on the same level of mastermind as Aizen?

“Or maybe it was the way he pressed his lips together so tightly, like he might explode otherwise.” I don’t recall Urahara ever being that angry in this story, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that he could be driven to being this angry. And I am glad that Rukia was able to do it.

I also love how Rukia greeted them calmly. All that Kuchiki training payed off. And showed that their anger or whatever they are feeling aren’t enough to break her calm, like it would have months before. I love how much Rukia has grown.

“Don't act cute," Kisuke snapped. Nothing humorous about him now.”

This is funny because Urahara has always been mysterious, has always kept things from other people. How I am sure he enjoyed being the smartest man in the room, a man who knew everything. And I love that Rukia, one person he manipulated for his own benefit, was able to one up in something. She was someone he didn’t take into consideration. Probably didn’t view her as nothing more than a pawn. He probably underestimated her, and now Rukia has shown why no one should underestimate her. And has shown that regardless of what others think, she will do what she thinks is right, and will take action to make sure no others will come to harm.

“She directed a regal look at him. "I cannot say at this time." "This is serious, Rukia-chan," Yoruichi groaned and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "You took advantage of your status as a Kuchiki. The guards didn't try to stop you from going in, and according to them you didn't leave with anything. But the weapon is still gone. So what did you do with it?"

I think what irritates me about them is the fact that they think Rukia is playing with them, and not taking things seriously (like Yoruichi seems to imply), when she actually is. These four captains have shown that they have been fooled before, they allowed things to become what they were, and have already proven to be fallible, they, in the past, hadn’t been trying to make things better. So, again I don’t see how they can’t see how Rukia felt like her actions were necessary.

And I don’t see how Yoruichi can be blamed for taking advantage of her status as a Kuchiki, when I am sure that Yoruichi, and Byakuya both took advantage of their statuses as well to benefit themselves.

And unlike certain people who can’t be bothered to explain things to her (until they had no other choice), Rukia was truthful.

“I have my doubts about the intentions of certain people."

Was Rukia only speaking of Urahara and the Vaizard or did she also mean Tessai and Yoruichi? Or were the others she still hadn’t trusted, but we don’t know about?

“Just have to keep people guessing about your allegiances, don't you, Rukia-sama?" Kisuke drawled, attempting to appear relaxed and failing at it.

As if Urahara is one to talk, especially since he made an allegiances with one of her enemies. Especially since he allowed Rukia to go back to SS, back to Aizen, when he could have let her stay with him, under his protection, in the human world, but instead sent her back to SS, sent her back to Aizen, sent her back knowing that she was under “Cloud Over Moon.”, because he had to make sure that Aizen’s plan would work out, since he put the Hogyoku in Rukia. Because he wanted to beat Aizen at his own gain. Especially since she already proved her allegiance, attacking Unohana, so she wouldn’t be a blemish in the Kuchiki name, when she was willing to sacrifice herself, to make sure that Unohana stayed in Nirvana, ensuring that the gate would close, which benefited Urahara.
"You're lucky no one told Soifon about this. She would have been after your head for sure this time." "Are you threatening me in my own home, sir?" she asked archly. The scientist crossed his arms. "What if I am?"

I really loved this part, because it is such a contrast to how the two chatted back when they first met. A

-“Your little sister seems to think she can do whatever she pleases!" his counterpart from the Twelfth shot back. "Tell me, is she wearing the pants in this household, or are you?"

“NO, I AM NOT WALKING ON EGGSHELLS AROUND THIS!" he shouted, rounding on his ally angrily. "That little girl goes off half-cocked, meddling with things more dangerous than anything we know, and you expect me to just smile and go, 'Pish-posh'? Simply because she's noble? That's not an excuse to do as you please anymore!"

Urahara needs to stop thinking of Rukia as little, her actions in the war proved that she isn’t the little weak, naïve girl he first met. I wonder if what makes Urahara mad, is that he can’t manipulate Rukia anymore. That she won’t allow herself to be manipulated anymore.

Or is it that Urahara realizes that Rukia didn’t buy his little explanation back in chapter 35? That her realizes that Rukia doesn’t trust him? Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since she told him chapter before, that she trusted Mayuri more than she trusted Urahara. Back in that chapter, had he expected her words to be false, only to come to realize that she wasn’t being truthful about it? Well, that’s to be expected when he underestimates Rukia.

And I don’t really think that Rukia expected for Urahara to excuse her actions because she’s noble. I do think that she believed he would have sympathized with her not wanting to be anyone’s pawn anymore, just like he didn’t like being under SS, Central 46’s and Aizen’s thumb.

"Neither is being a captain," Rukia said quietly. His eyes narrowed viciously. "Oh, my dear, my dear, you really are asking to be slapped, aren't you?"

I know that Urahara was probably think that her response was a slight to him, but I think she said that because she remembered all the horrible things that were done to her, but everyone looked away because they were done by a captain.

And though I usually hate characters who threaten Rukia, like Urahara did, I don’t hate him. Especially when he proceeded those words with “oh my dear, my dear.” There was patronization in his tone, and I can see him taking Rukia over his knee. The whole disciplining her lest he “spare the rod and spoil the child”. But of course that is probably just my UraRuki shipping goggles, making me think that.

I love that Ichigo told Urahara to just try it. Though I’m surprised that Byakuya didn’t come to Rukia’s defense, after Urahara threatened to slap her, which makes me think that Byakuya agreed with Urahara.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 8
“She came to me after your mother's death, when I learned that one of our own captains was collaborating with the Hollows, and bound me with her power. Aizen Sōsuke is a traitor to Soul Society.”

So how was it that Ginrei came to know that Aizen was a traitor? I know that Byakuya’s mother learned of Aizen’s betrayal, but I had always assumed that she died before she got to tell anyone. Which means that Ginrei had been investigating on his own.

“I fear that both of them have been engaged in some fiendish plot for many centuries now without our knowledge.”

I have to wonder if Ginrei knew that his actions back in the Manor wars was why Aizen did what he did.

Not to mention Ginrei’s inaction when Unohana had been abused for centuries by Yamamoto. Can he blame them for their ‘fiendish plot’ when he allowed injustices to happen.

“Aizen Sōsuke is far more than what he seems. I believe him to be a surviving member of the Takuiyoku clan, whose destruction I myself countenanced in the name of the King. Worse even than this, he bears the vengeance and power of every soul who was slaughtered in the name of justice on that day.”

Well I don’t have to wonder anymore, since Ginrei did seem piece things together.

However, none of his words to Byakuya shows any regret on Ginrei’s part for his role- “worse even than this”. Too bad one of them survived, huh Ginrei? Had it been the Kuchiki who had been slaughter and not the Takuiyoku, had Byakuya been the only one surviving, would Ginrei not have wanted his grandson to take vengeance for what had happened?

“He has gathered demons from our world and beyond to help him achieve his vision of overthrowing the King of Soul Society. “

And there wouldn’t be demons to help Aizen, had the Shinigami done their part in making sure every soul was purified. I mean can hollows and the like be blamed for being who they are, when the inaction of Shinigami was what created them in the first place?
“I have seen your chosen wife, or someone who looks enough like her to be a sister, acting under his direction to achieve the most chilling ends.”

Did that mean that Ginrei saw Rukia taking down Yamamoto? I don’t understand how Ginrei would think that that was “the most chilling ends”. I mean, in my opinion, I see that as a good thing and not something bad. She took down Yamamoto, but she didn’t kill him. I mean sure Sosuke would have had access to Nirvana, and life as they knew it would have been quite different, but that doesn’t mean things would have been bad. Aizen, for all his megalomania, would have still have been a better choice. In my opinion any way.

“Heaven shall feel the force of their wrath, and unless I am mistaken, a new dark emperor will be crowned in the aftermath”.

I thought that the “dark emperor” Ginrei was alluding to was Aizen, but for some reason I feel as though Ginrei is talking about someone else.

“But my generation will not be the one that ends this long-running conflict, nor even yours, I regret to say.”

So does that mean - Byakuya, Yoruichi, Isane, Soi Fon, Ukitake, the Vaizard, Isshin, Urahara, Matsumoto, Gin, are included in that?

How are generations measured in SS?

“In my mind's-eye I watch as a man with hair like orange flame, the heir to the one-eyed God of War, does battle with madness incarnate in the form of a ravening Wolf, to avenge his kin and all the multitudes who died in that beast's jaws.”

I know that Ginrei is talking about Ichigo. But I wonder who the one-eyed God of War is? I am trying to think of individuals in SS who only have one eye, but no one is coming to mind.

“To avenge his kin and all the multitudes who died in that beast’s jaw”- I remember thinking that this mean that Ichigo was a Shiba, since the Shiba had given up limbs to imprison Stark, but then Tomas stated that Tomas wouldn’t be following Kubo’s examples of having Ichigo be a Shiba.

So does that mean that Tomas, will explore Isshin’s family and background in “Lifted Up”? If so, I can’t wait until I see what Tomas is creating in regards to that. I am sure it would be a lot more interesting.

I won’t speculate again about the rest of Ginrei’s prophecy or try to guess who he is talking about, because I have already done so before (even though I don’t remember what I had said. I have a crappy memory).

“You are your father's son, Byakuya. He had a great heart that saw past his elders' folly, and I know you are the same.”

I wish I would have been able to see more of Sojun, and I wished he would have lived. He seems like one of the few nobles who actually cared about justice and the common folk, and doing what is right.

“I offer my blessing to you and all others whom you choose to shelter in our family. Let your eye see clearly their value, and do not let fear deceive you.”

It’s funny how Ginrei offered a blessing to those Byakuya chose to “shelter” in their family, especially since Senbonzakura told Byakuya to never bring Rukia because her life would have been in danger.

So do Ginrei’s words mean that Byakuya is adopting more strays? I know that Toshiro was one that Byakuya is sheltering, are there more?
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 7
I am will get over the way Yumichika talks to Bykuya in the letter, I can hear the mockery and sarcasm in the tone-“Your humble servant Yumichika Ayasegawa requests an audience. Granted? How very gracious!”

“There are a lot of things I could say to you, but if you are hearing this, it means I'll never get the chance. And such matters are best done in person, perhaps with swords crossed and blood flowing.”

I would have loved to have seen the conversation, all the things Yumichika would have said to would also have been amazing to see the two fight.

One of my favorite parts – “You've come a long way in how you treat Rukia. Relatively speaking. That is the only reason you remain alive today.”

There aren’t a lot of people who would threaten Byakuya or talk to him in this manner. Not alive any way. And sure Yumichika isn’t alive anymore. But something tells me if he was still alive, he would have still spoken to Byakuya in that manner.

“In spite of that, you're a hopeless clod when it comes to knowing her. I have had to assume the role of wonderful and kind older brother that you forsook for whatever stupid reason your shriveled heart concocted.”
This was another of my favorite parts. That Yumichika isn’t afraid to tell Byakuya that his reasons for keeping a distance with Rukia was stupid, even if they were reasons from the heart. His grief and his heart, and his promise to Hisana, were stupid because in the end they caused Rukia pain, loneliness, low self esteem, etc.

“That is what you were actually paying me to do, so you know; not teach her how to fight, but to do what you could not be bothered to understand was a necessary brotherly duty. And that is to not only love your little sister, but to show it.”

Another of my favorite parts, because Yumichika’s statement showed Byakuya that Byakuya wasn’t as clever as he though himself to be. Byakuya thought he could hide the real reason (he couldn’t be a proper brother to Rukia) behind the reason of Rukia needing fight training. And Byakuya no doubt believed to have Yumichika under his thumb, by paying him, yet Yumichika wasn’t really under Byakuya’s thumb.

“If I am not there to do it, henceforth I expect you to take over the role of kind Aniki now that I am gone.”

Remember in one of my reviews from yesterday (or was it today) where I said that I had a horrible feeling that it would be revealed that Yumichika and Rukia were actually siblings, seeing Yumichika mention the role of Aniki is making me fearful again.

“ And your first task is very simple: Rukia would like a pet. Since I have no trouble imagining you messing up even such a simple task by buying her a goldfish or possibly even a bonsai tree, I will spell it out for you.”

You know, I kind of wish Yumichika hadn’t given Byakuya a hint, because I would have loved to have seen Byakuya giving Rukia a fish, maybe even Koi, since her Ukitake has a Koi pond. It would have been funny to see and even if they weren’t the pet that Rukia would have wanted, I’m sure the scene would have been quite humorous to read, and Rukia would have appreciated any gift from her Nii-sama, because his heart would have been in the right place.

But Yumichika telling Byakuya-“ Rabbits. Cute and fluffy rabbits. White ones, preferably.”- was for Rukia’s benefit, not Byakuya’s. He had asked her chapters ago what she would buy and she said that she had always wanted a pet. (And I loved how Yumichika had told asked her if he didn’t count). And like hell Yumichika would allow Byakuya to screw up, especially if Yumichika wasn’t there to fix it.

And speaking of pets I am remembering another of my favorite Rukia stories “Home” by Afrai, and how in one of the stories Child!Rukia is talking to Miyako, and Rukia tells Miyako that Byakuya promised her a dog if she were ever to win against him Shogi, and how that she could be proper friends with the dog, because she couldn’t when she was homeless because one can’t be proper friends with someone they might have to eat. And then Miyako asking Rukia was sort of dog and Rukia had responded “one like Kaien”. I don’t know why but Yumichika’s words reminded me of that story.

“Should you feel the need to buy her a whole warren to make up for neglecting that fabulous girl so odiously, obey that instinct.” And I am very glad that Byakuya followed Yumichika’s advice.

“I am leaving her well-being in your hands. If you fail in this matter, I'll come back from the dead and butcher you.”

I know I have said this before, but Yumichika never struck me as someone to make idle threats. So a part of me is hoping that Yumichika did find a way to come back from the dead.

“And should you find yourself filled with murderous rage the first time she introduces you to her boyfriend, know that Big Brother Yumichika is proud of you.”

‘Big Brother Yumichika’- this struck me as interesting because I don’t know how old Yumichika is. For all I know he could indeed be older that Byakuya.

But then ‘Big Brother’ makes me think of the government and how they are always watching, and I know that Tomas and Yumichika aren’t careless with their words, so I wonder if ‘Big Brother’ means that Yumichika, wherever he is still watching over Rukia. And I am getting my hopes up about Yumichika still being around.

“Except that I was always better-looking than you.”-

Another of my favorite parts. I freaking love Yumichika and his wit.

And I gotta love Byakuya’s shock and how offended he is- “ The flippancy, the sheer brazen audacity of it left him wondering if the whole world had not taken leave of its senses while he wasn't looking.”

And I love his conversation with his zanpakuto-

‘Did you think she was going to refuse all social contact like you did? That is something we were trying to avoid, if you will recall.’
‘The mere idea of it is an affront to my pride.’

I wonder if Byakuya realized that he is acting towards Ichigo, the same way the Kuchiki nobles would have acted (or were acting) towards Hisana and Rukia. How it was an affront to their pride when he married a commoner, and then adopted that commoner’s sister.

And I’m surprised that he doesn’t realize that Rukia just did what he did. After Yoruichi left, he eventually did accept social contact when he first met Hisana. Hisana was able to heal that wound. I’m surprised he doesn’t realize that Ichigo is Rukia’s Hisana.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 6

“Whatever ya think is best, cowboy.”

Is there a significance as to why Gin called Yumichika a cowboy? Is it because Yumichika was being noble, just like some cowboys in cinema? Or was it because of something else.

“You and the captains just got back from Hueco Mundo. I saw Ichigo's face. He knows now. Rukia told him. It's real.”

So now I realize when Yumichika wrote this message to Renji. It had been the same day he had died, just a few minutes before he met up with Ichigo and offered him the Onigiri.
Which breaks my heart, because it was as if Yumichika knew he would be dying that day.

And it makes me wonder if Yumichika in his own way died of a broken heart. I’m wondering if the reason he rejected Inoue’s healing is because Rukia’s love for Ichigo was real, and realizing that she wouldn’t ever be in love with him, he had no more reason to keep on living.

I mean I am probably wrong in that speculation. Mostly because I know that Yumichika would have done anything to stay by Rukia’s side, even if his place was being her dear friend and confidant. Just because Rukia was in love with Ichigo, Yumichika would have stilled stayed by her side.

Plus, the rule of the 11th division of never surrendering.

“Either we accept the fact that she's made her decision and go on with our lives, or stand up and face the music, come what may. I'm dead, now, so I have no intention of telling you what I would have done if I had survived.”
I’m a little confused, because the statement above, makes it seem like Yumichika would have accepted Rukia’s decision and gone on with his life. However, the secrecy of not telling Renji what he would have done makes me think other wise.”

“Just understand that if you don't do the same, you will forever be a sorry excuse for a coward, and you deserve to suffer for it. I'm suffering now as I write this”

And then his statement about Renji not doing the same, makes him a coward, makes me think that Yumichika would have fought for Rukia had he survived.

However, the following statements made me realize that I was wrong- “I am going to have a talk with Kurosaki, and get a few things off my chest.”

Yumichika would have indeed kept quiet. His talk with Ichigo made that clear. Yumichika made sure that Ichigo knew not to take Rukia’s confession lightly. He made sure Ichigo knew the significance of that confession, and made sure that Ichigo got it through his thick skull, that Rukia’s love was a genuine thing. Something that not many people get to experience. By doing that he made sure that Ichigo wouldn’t screw up his blossoming relationship with Rukia. Which again proves how pure Yumichika’s love for Rukia was.

“Don't you dare tell Rukia or anyone else about my feelings for her, understand? This secret I leave in your care.”

I have to wonder whether or not Renji kept the secret a secret. I mean, he does tend to say things when he is drunk. So I am curious if he let slip to someone like Neliel or someone else about Yumichika’s feelings for Rukia.

“He had been in love with her. That's why Yumichika was always hanging around Rukia. Why didn't I see it before? You thought he was gay, that's why.”

And I will forever be grateful that Tomas didn’t write Yumichika as gay, like others always do. In most of the bleach fanfiction I come across, authors always right him as the stereotypical gay. As if just because he cares about his appearance is enough of a personality trait to call him gay. They make it seem as though being gay is his only defining trait.

There is only one fic (which is my favorites) that wrote him as straight. And that was “The First Guardian”. It was a passing mention of “Renji kissing a flamboyant but heterosexual fifth office of the 11th division” (not sure if I paraphrased that part of the story correctly).

“Hey!" The lieutenant jumped up, stuffing the pages into his sash.”- why do I have the feeling that Renji should have burned those pages but didn’t? If he didn’t put them in a good hiding spot, someone could have found them.

“"No. For some reason being in that room reminded me that Ichigo is shacking up with Rukia. I'm a little upset by that, so I want some male companionship right now."

Was there a possibility that Yumichika left his own message to Neliel. Maybe not a message from
Yumichika, but one from Gin to Neliel, that Yumichika left in his room for Neliel to find. A favor perhaps to Gin, since Gin was close to Neliel.

If there was a message to Neliel from Gin, that Gin had given to Yumichika to keep in the room, then Gin would have had to explain to Neliel his reasons for Gin and Yumichika being allies, which could have led to Gin mentioning Rukia in his letter to Neliel. Which could have been the reason that “being in that room reminded me of Ichigo shacking up with Rukia.”

So I’m curious did Renji and Neliel do the do? It’s funny how he has the same taste in women as Gin (with the exception of Rukia).

So was Neliel in love with Ichigo? Or was it just infatuation? I mean she hadn’t known him for more than a day, and some of that time, she was in child form.

“Quite unexpectedly, Abarai had found a person who might have something helpful to suggest in regards to the decision he was required to make soon.”

And when he says that she would be helpful regarding a decision he had to make, did he mean that she would help him get over Rukia, by giving him advice on how to get over people. However, by her statement of being upset, she hasn’t gotten over Ichigo, so I don’t see how much help she could be with that.

Or was he implying that she would help him in regards to a decision, by him turning his attention to her and the two entering a relationship?

I mean the two would be working together, so it wouldn’t be smart to include romance in that because of the possibility of them breaking up which would make it difficult/uncomfortable for the two to work together.

But Renji’s isn’t the smartest person, so I can see him making that mistake.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/7
Part 5- I had planned on finishing up the reviews for chapter 36 yesterday, but I had to babysit after work, and therefore could only finish reading the rest of the chapter, after my niece and nephews fell asleep. Which was why I was only able to post two reviews yesterday. I had been planning on posting my other reviews when I got home, but when I got home, the internet was down. And there for couldn't do it. But now the internet is back up, and I can finish reading and reviewing.

“Rukia Kuchiki was sentenced to death. He wasn't permitted to visit her.” Was it Gin who prohibited him from visiting her? Was this because Yumichika would have broken her out, therefore ruining Aizen’s and Gin’s plans?

“Gin assured him that she would be safe, but even if that did prove true,”- I don’t know why, but the wording makes me think that Yumichika didn’t trust Gin’s word and had various plans to ensure that Rukia wouldn’t die.

“Yumichika had already resolved to kill Captain Kuchiki for allowing such a travesty to proceed. He changed his mind only upon learning that Byakuya had risked his life to save Rukia, and then admitted the real reason for adopting her.”

I do wonder what the reasons Yumichika had thought about Byakuya adopting her before he found out the truth.

“Unfortunately, hot on the heels of this newfound improvement to his beloved's future, Yumichika received a profound punch to the balls in the form of Kurosaki Ichigo.”

This line had both a smile on my face because of the humor in it, and had me sad as well, because of the signigicance of Yumichika realizing that someone else had won Rukia’s heart.

“He saw how much she had changed in just a few short months. More than he had accomplished in decades of trying. Only one thing could explain it. Rukia was in love with the human boy.”

And this made me even sadder for Yumichika. because of how Yumichika must have felt at realizing that after all he had done for Rukia, it still fell short in terms of winning Rukia’s heart. That even though he had done so much and improved her life so much, it wasn’t enough.

“When he realized this, the deadly duelist considered blowing his cover and just killing the brat in front of everybody. Let them see the true form of his zanpakutō, who cares?”

This was an absolute favorite part, because he was willing to risk seeing the true form of his zanpakuto, when keeping his Zanpakuto’s true form was a top priority.

It speaks about his feelings for Rukia, because there it was only for her sake that he was willing to reveal that, such as when he helped restore her zanpakuto.

“More than that, Yumichika swore that if it didn't turn out to be a momentary infatuation, if Rukia decided for herself that this love was real and worthwhile, then he would do everything in his power up to and including death to see that Kurosaki survived the war that was about to come.”

Another of my favorite parts, because this once again shows me how pure and unselfish his love for Rukia was, that as long as she was happy, it was worth, even to the point of ensuring his rival’s survival.

“On the day Rukia bloodied his lip and he gave her back her soul power, Ayasegawa felt his heart being wrung dry by how close they really were. But not close enough. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek then, the only direct evidence of his affection for her he had ever permitted.”

This was one of my favorite parts. Because it confirmed the closeness that laid between Rukia and Yumichika, and confirmed that there was a huge possibility of Rukia returning Yumichika’s feelings, had Ichigo not stepped in between.

And I am probably watching too much of my mom’s novelas, but a horrible thought just struck me. Was there a possibility that Yumichika and Rukia were secretly related, and they didn’t know it?

I mean, I know that is a ridiculous thought, but I can’t count how many times in Mexican soap operas, how some character fell in love with another, and felt this closeness to the other person, only for it to be revealed that they were siblings. Again, I know it is ridiculous for me to even think of the possibility of Yumichika and Rukia being siblings, because there was no way that Yumichika was Hisana’s and Rukia’s brother. But if Tomas could please put my heart and mind to ease and confirm that the two are siblings, that would be amazing.

“Afterwards he left her to recover, and went to have a chat with Ichimaru.”

You know I really wish I could have seen him talking to her after the whole ordeal. Before he left her to recover. I mean we saw the two together during the Sake Bath, and then again when she went go punch him. But it would have been interesting to see their interaction immediately following her almost dying.

Also it makes me curious where he had his chat with Ichimaru. I was thinking that it had to have been during Yumichika’s time in the human realm after Yammy’s and Ulquiorra’s attack, since Gin couldn’t go to SS. And I don’t see Yumichika going to Hueco Mundo for a chat with Gin, when anyone could have been spying on them.

Especially since he said “afterward he left her to recover” which makes it seem as though the chat took place immediately after she was almost killed by Gin on Sogyoku Hill.

Unless, he was talking about letting her recover after Grimmjow put his fist through her stomach. Which then makes me curious about Yumichika’s thoughts and his behaviors towards Rukia almost dying at the hands of the Sexta. I bet Grimmjow was on Yumichika’s list.

And I find it curious how Yumichika confided to Gin that Rukia loved Ichigo. I wouldn’t have ever thought that Yumichika would have thought that that(Rukia’s love for Ichigo) would have been a valid reason Gin would accept for not letting Ichigo die. I wouldn’t think that Yumichika thought that Gin would have cared about something like that. Unless of course Yumichika was suspicious and had figured out that Gin “cared” for Rukia.
Gin, being Gin, I could have seen him not caring to ensure Ichigo’s survival. Yumichika was more of an ally than Gin, and even though Yumichika didn’t want Ichigo dead, I could easily picture Gin doing something “nice” for Yumichika and allowing Ichigo to die, clearing up the way for Yumichika, and Yumichika could have comforted Rukia.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/6
Part 4
“Rukia looked at herself in that frame, and didn't realize she was seeing the person who had captured his heart.”

Another part that I love yet saddens me at the same time. Yumichika indirectly confessing that he was in love with her and Rukia not realizing it.

“They might have both died, but the serpent played upon his desire to keep Rukia safe above all else.”

It’s ironic how Gin knew to play upon Yumichika’s love for Rukia, makes me wonder if anyone like Unohana had done the same thing to Gin concerning Matsumoto, and that is how Gin knew it would work.

“What mattered was that certain people not be made aware of his feelings for a particular royal lady.”

Was this because Yumichika was similar to Gin, in that enemies would threaten Rukia (Matsumoto in Gin’s case) if they knew he was in love with Rukia, how she would have been in danger if anyone thought to use her against them?

“Her brother Byakuya, for instance. If that happened, he would have to fight for his life, no doubt.

And regardless of what she thought of His Highness, he doubted Rukia would look kindly on the man who killed her adoptive brother and made her take control of that miserable family.”
I really loved this part. Because Yumichika knew for certain that he would be the one who survived the fight between the two. And it isn’t over confidence of Yumichika’s part, he could actually take down Byakuya in my opinion. If it ever came to that.
Although, I wonder what Aizen would have thought about that. I can see Aizen manipulating Yumichika into helping him, had Aizen known.

And it’s quite interesting how Gin seemed to be quite possessive of Rukia, thinking she belonged to him in his own twisted way, getting angry when he thought she was Byakuya’s ‘toy’. Yet he didn’t show any of that anger or possessiveness towards Yumichika (except for that one time when he was surprised when Rukia smiled at Yumichika after he gave her the parasol).
Was it because Gin knew that Yumichika’s love for Rukia was pure, or was it because he knew Yumichika had Rukia’s best interests at heart?

“Namely, he was preparing her to one day kill Gin if necessary.”

I really loved that part. Mostly, because he was the only one who though to train Rukia to do so. No one thought to do that for her.

“Anyone who knew her understood that the person who frightened Rukia the most was Ichimaru Gin. Even Byakuya didn't quite compare.”

And Yumichika’s statement again made me think of Urahara, and him knowing how much Rukia was frightened of him and he still worked together with Gin. Not that I disagree with Urahara and Yoruichi for doing so, because Gin was helpful. I do wonder what Yumichika would have had he lived long enough to discover that Gin had almost killed her, during their last meeting. I know Yumichika was happy (when he asked where Gin was and Unohana and Aizen told him that Byakuya stated that it was Rukia who took him down and he said something along the lines of “I knew Rukia-chan could do it.’” But had he lived long enough to know that Gin survived the fight, I’m sure that Yumichika would have slit Gin’s throat himself. And perhaps went up against Yoruichi and Urahara for allowing Gin into SS.

“But there was no denying that he did display an unhealthy interest in Rukia beyond her secret life as an assassin. No way to know for sure what it might be, but Yumichika knew he didn't like it. “

I’m saddened by the fact that Yumichika knew the truth about Gin and Rukia’s first meeting. I wish I could have seen/read his thoughts and actions had he only found out the truth.

I love how Tomas shown that Yumichika had gone to go investigate Gin, for Rukia’s safety, just like Gin had done his own investigating of Yumichika after he saw Rukia smile at him. It’s interesting because now I am thinking that perhaps Gin sought out Yumichika because Gin had been concerned for Rukia in his own twisted way. Almost as if Gin had been glad that someone was looking out for her. Gin didn’t believe that Aizen and Byakuya had been doing enough, and therefore sought out Yumichika. Or he could have been just doing it to mess with Yumichika. I don’t think I will ever understand Gin. The man is too mysterious.

I loved his chat with Nemu,and I love how Yumichika was diligently writing notes, nothing was insignificant to Yumichika, nothing could be left and it was all for her sake.

"I have no further personal battle data regarding Gin Ichimaru. Mayuri-sama wishes me to remind you that in exchange for this interview, you will inform him of any active Quincy you can find in the performance of your duties."

I would have loved to have seen the chat between Mayuri and Yumichika. I bet it would have been as interesting as the chat between Mayuri and Rukia.

“Yes, yes, tell your ugly master I'll keep him informed."- Highly unlikely he would ever have to make good on that promise. After that last disturbingly coordinated Hollow attack, the Quincy were officially recognized as extinct.

Even though Mayuri could be considered attractive when he has no make up on, I can see Yumichika is more than likely talking about Mayuri’s methods as well as his behavior and that was why he cause him ugly.

I do wonder if Yumichika had indirectly caused the death of Uryuu’s grandfather. The “last disturbingly coordinated Hollow” attack Yumichika mentions, was no doubt the attack where Ryuuken lost his mother, and Komamura had to save him.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/6
Part 3

“Perhaps he had known for a very long time, but it was seeing her like this, both healer and warrior, that let him understand how much she called to him. And how he longed for her. As a shinigami, she had enticing potential. Her skill in all the areas of their arts, from swords to spells, left him afire with the need to see what she could achieve. How far could she rise? To the very top? A captain, even? Oh, it was delicious to think it!”

His musings above is another favorite part of mine. He saw her as more than just a pretty face, he saw her for her , and saw what she could be. He wasn’t wanting anything from her, all he did, he did for her, and not for himself.

Which is why I love Yumichika so much. Because I remember Tomas telling me in a reply that his love for Rukia was a pure love.

“And then, as a woman, she had everything one could ask for. Strength, humor, innocence, wordliness, devotion, intelligence, and affection. There was simply so much to this girl, he found himself doubting anyone could ever be a match for her.”

And I am glad that Yumichika (and Tomas) both think so well about Rukia. If Tomas didn’t then I don’t think this brilliant story would have been written.
Kubo, Rukia’s creator, can’t even be bothered to do her justice.

I’m so very thankful for that Tomas, saw Rukia’s potential and made her into someone magnificent.

“He loved Rukia Kuchiki. But could she ever deign to love him? Could the princess love a pauper just like she had once been?”

I’m sure she would have loved Yumichika very much, had Yumichika confessed to her. I wonder if Rukia will ever realize that Yumichika was in love with her. And if she ever does, what her thoughts would have been.

Yumichika’s musings on Renji, and Yumichika finding it “ugly” if Yumichika betrayed their friendship to go after the girl his friend love, made me wonder if Renji would have done the same if the situations had been switched or if he had ever found out Yumichika’s feelings for Rukia while Yumichika was still alive.

And I love Renji, and I am sure he valued Yumichika’s friendship, but I think Renji (had he realized he was in love with Rukia) wouldn’t have taken the same considerations, that Yumichika had taken, for their friendship.

But I can’t really say that Yumichika was considerate seeing as how Yumichika was just being sneaky about it- “Perhaps it would be wrong to openly compete for her affections, or even make attempts to steal her away from Renji unawares. What if, however, instead of wooing her and actively seeking her love, he were to present himself in a wholly flattering light that did not involve romance?”

I am sure that Yumichika didn’t expect his plan to back fire on him. I’m sure if he knew it would have backfired on him (in terms of not getting the girl), he probably would have given much more thought on going the “ugly” route, and actively and opening seeking Rukia’s heart.

But I’m sure that Yumichika didn’t care that he didn’t get the girl, because his friendship with Rukia caused Rukia to become such a skilled, confident warrior. He managed to bring her out of his shell.

“If Rukia came to view him as a close personal friend, and grew to know his character in that respect, was it madness to think that she might gradually fall in love with him, the way he had come to understand her magnificent qualities and what they made him feel?”

And I am sure that Rukia probably would have fallen in love with Yumichika, had Ichigo not come across her path.

I really do respect Yumichika a lot, for becoming a friend to her first, and letting her heart choose, rather than trying to pressure her.

The imagery on the words were very well written- “And it seemed to be working. Rukia sparkled.

She shone. Though the weight of her cares could never quite lift fully, Ayasegawa believed that in the time when they were together, he alone was given the opportunity to experience the celestial soul of her womanhood in all its glory.” I’ve seen professional authors try to pull off writing like Tomas and failing.

“Yumichika looked over at Rukia, sitting there in her black robes amongst the field of blooming gardenia waiting for an answer, and felt the urge to reach out and pull her close to him, kiss her breathless and give her his response that way.”

I really do wish he would have done that. I do wonder what changes in the story would have taken place had Yumichika kissed her, letting his feelings about her known.

“In the end, however, he simply couldn't resist the opportunity, one that she might look back upon years later and see it for what it truly meant.”

The way Yumichika words his thoughts, it is almost as if Rukia, when reflecting back on her memories of Yumichika, would be able to figure out his true feelings for her.

“I'm afraid I must disappoint you, my little flower." Since you should know how much you are loved. “For you see, my heart belongs to another.” Another besides myself. And it is you. “I keep their image with me always." In my mind, and in my camera.”

And though the above lines were my absolute favorite part of the chapter, it made me sad as well.

Rukia does deserve to know how much she is loved. She being in between a rock and a hard place, what with Aizen and Gin training her, the Kuchiki training, the death of her mentor, the responsibilities placed on her and Byakuya, knowing that she had Rukia’s heart would have been a great comfort, in my opinion.

But I can see why Yumichika didn’t tell about his true feelings, if he had she might not have grown the way she did. And he got her to stand on her two feet, and believe in herself.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/5
part 2
“Yumichika was pleased to find her looking favorably upon him in the aftermath. He told himself that his interest in her opinion was simply a matter of one beautiful and talented fighter appreciating another. It was only natural, after all. He was in no way betraying Renji or Rukia by admitting that.”

I really love how Yumichika tries to reassure himself of his actions, as though he hadn’t fallen in love with her that first time he met her.
Which makes me wonder if perhaps the reason that his Zanpakuto was so adamant about him not treating Rukia like that was because his Zanpakuto knew that what he felt for Rukia was love, and if it wasn’t love yet, it was something that could become love?”

Which makes me wonder, if Zanpakuto know things before their masters do, does that mean that Renji’s Zanpakuto knew that Renji was in love with Rukia but never told him?
And it also makes me wonder, where Sode No Shirayuki was that first night? Was she quiet or not able to see what is going on with Rukia, like she usually is when ever Cloud over Moon is disrupted?

Or was she aware of what Yumichika was about to do had his Zanpakuto not talked him out of it?
Which makes me fear something, Will Rukia ever find out the truth of what Yumichika almost did that night? I’m hoping she doesn’t because I am afraid of what her reaction might be. Though I hopeful, that if she ever does find out, that the revelation doesn’t lesson any of her feelings or respect for her dear friend.

“he had reason to meet her on a few instances. Never anything like before, but he was pleased to see her alive and well, if still not quite flourishing in the manner he had hoped.”

I am very curious as to when those occasions were. Was he like Gin, another of Rukia’s shadows, or were those just random occasions.

“Then one day, word went around that Kaien Shiba, lieutenant of the Thirteenth, had been killed by a powerful Hollow the night before. Normally Ayasegawa wouldn't have given a thought to such a matter, but in this case there was an auxiliary issue at heart. “

Speaking of Kaien, I am very curious as to Yumichika’s feelings towards the noble.
Was he jealous of Kaien, and his close friendship with Rukia? Was he both jealous (at Rukia being ‘extrememly devoted to her fellow noble’) and happy that Rukia had someone who had “gone to much trouble to see her welcomed into their fold.”

Is Kaien (and spike haired resemblance), the reason why Yumichika hated Ichigo so much?

“Their relationship on and off the field of battle had been the source of several troubling innuendos. Unsubstantiated ones, of course, but troubling all the same.”

Now were the rumors and innuendos troubling to Yumichika, because they were rumors that hurt Rukia’s reputation (for example I can see some mean spirited and jealous shinigami making up rumors about Rukia sleeping her way to the top), or were they troubling because Yumichika had deep feelings for Rukia, before he even realized them? I speculate it is both reasons.

“Now that Shiba was dead, a more credible rumor was whispered that she had been removed from active duty, and no longer could be seen or heard from anywhere in the divisions. Rukia had supposedly retreated into isolation at Kuchiki Manor in the wake of the disaster, which struck so deeply into the power structure of the already sickly Thirteenth division.”

You know I had always suspected that Byakuya (in the manga) had forced Rukia back into being a Shinigami, not caring that she had lost someone close to her.

But Tomas wrote the scenario quite plausible. Rukia had just lost someone dear to her, just like Byakuya lost Yoruichi and Hisana. His guilt or whatever he was feeling was strong enough that he didn’t force her out of her own self-imposed isolation. He wanted to help her but couldn’t not until Yumichika came to him with the perfect proposal.

And I can’t helping comparing Yumichika and Rukia to Yoruichi and Byakuya.
How interesting was it that Byakuya lost Yoruichi, just like Rukia lost Yumichika. However, Yoruichi came back, while Yumichika probably won’t.

“Weeks passed, and Yumichika found he was thinking about her off and on. More and more he caught himself wondering how she was doing, and whether she would ever return to fight alongside them again."

This reminds me of what Tomas had told me in a reply, how Rukia was never far from Yumichika’s thoughts.

“As before, it was purely an appreciation for what she had to offer in terms of poetry on the battlefield, the sort that would inspire the skalds to sing ravishing songs about her, if there were any skalds to be found in the afterlife.”

And I do very much love Yumichika’s words, about how skalds should be singing ravishing songs about her. I didn’t know what a skald was so I had to look it up. Which made me wonder about music in the after life.

Which then reminded me of both Rose and Hisagi, who, if I am not mistaken, are both musicians.
Though I doubt they would write songs about Rukia seeing as how none of those two men, had ever even talked to her.

“Beautiful Rukia, wasting away in some lonely castle like a magnificently-begun poem whose creator had never bothered to finish it.”

Well it is a good thing that Yumichika has a natural talent for poetry, not just with poetic thoughts on her, and though her original “creators” (Gin and Kaien) weren’t around to finish the “poem”it, at least Yumichika was there to do it. And boy did she blossom, and dance under his trainings, and his friendship.

“Eventually he couldn't bear not knowing anymore, and so he hied himself off to the palace of the Kuchiki Lord. There Yumichika Ayasegawa offered up his services as a fighting instructor, with the hopes of bringing the princess to her most splendid martial peak.’
Yumichika’s thoughts are almost prose, giving the feeling of a Knight going to save his princess.

“Captain Kuchiki at last acceded to this request. “
You know I am very curious to that conversation between the two, as well as the potential conversation between both their Zanpakuto. “At last acceded to this request” makes me think that Yumichika paid quite a few to Byakuya, because Byakuya refused his request.

I bet Byakuya has never met someone as stubborn as Yumichika, that is until he met Ichigo.
“The very same day, he went and reintroduced himself to Rukia as her new trainer.” I love how Yumichika didn’t wait to go to Rukia, but went on the same day he finally got permission to do so.
“Therefore he didn't hold back, and was rewarded by a level of bloodthirstiness on her part that would have easily qualified Rukia for a spot in the Eleventh division.”
Yumichika’s musings make me wish that Kenpachi could see Rukia’s bloodthirstiness. Or for him to just find out what she had done to Gin in her last meeting with him.

“The injury he received from her was one whose scar he would have been proud to bear forever (covered up of course), as testament to his role in bringing this splendid warrior back to the world she belonged in. “
I can see Yumichika happily wearing a mark that Rukia gave him, and one that signified him making her shine.

One of my favorite parts of the chapter-“It was while she repaired his arm, worry dancing in her fabulous eyes, concentrating so intently on staunching the flow of blood, that he realized how much he cared for her. Yumichika looked at this exceptional young maiden of ice and steel as she shared her soul with him, and admitted that he was in love.”

Again, I am in awe of Tomas’s writing talent. Beautifully written, and I remember being quite surprised when I found out he was in love with her. And even though it was a surprise, it was a believable surprise, a surprise that had me remembering all their interactions, and then feeling dumb, because the hints were always there, I just hadn’t paid much attention to them.
Rereading this section three years later, and this part still makes me emotional, and the feelings of Yumichika for Rukia haven’t faded, but still feel fresh to me.
zombiegirl22 chapter 36 . 1/5
And now for my review to chapter 36 (part 1

I feel sad for Ikkaku, not able to go and fight. Though, I agree with Yumichika, since he refused to go to the party he can’t reap the benefits (more like consenquences) of the party.

Though I do wonder, Renji has been in love with Rukia (though he doesn’t know it until know), and Yumichika fell under her spell at the party. Had Ikkaku gone to the party and met Rukia, would he too have fallen under her spell, creating more rivals for Rukia’s heart?

So perhaps it’s a good thing he didn’t go.

"Geez, Yumichika, what's the deal? You're getting dolled up like you're going on a date."
Ikkaku’s comment above is what made me wonder if he later suspected that maybe Yumichika liked Rukia.

I mean, unless I missed something, it seems as though everyone thought that Rukia and Yumichika’s first meeting was at the Bog, everyone at the party were too drunk to remember anything.

So if Ikkaku also thought that this was Yumichika’s and Rukia’s first meeting, did it occur to Ikkaku later to think deeper on his comment and Yumichika’s response (‘I might just run into a lovely lady out there, and I want to look my best’), when he combined that with Yumichika spending time with Rukia, training with Rukia, getting her gifts (that parasol).

The two seemed to be good friends, so that’s why I suspected Ikkaku would think about it.
But Ikkaku is a man of the 11th and those don’t usually think too deeply on things that is fighting.
"If you do, find out if she has a sister."- Ikkaku’s comment is kind of ironic since, Rukia did have a sister, just a dead (dead) one.

“Yumichika did indeed meet Rukia again that day, and as he had expected, she had no recollection of what took place on the night they first met. In some ways it was an immense relief, but in others a disappointment. Who likes to think themselves forgettable, after all?”

Why do I get the feeling as though even though Rukia didn’t remember Yumichika, perhaps she did
subconsciously remember ‘Byakuya’, but who was really Yumichika?
The reason I say this is because I remember that night Byakuya had that party, and how he had gone too take off the pearls, and then was about to kiss Rukia. I am not sure if that happened before or after Rukia and Yumichika’s meeting. But either way, I think one event affected the other.

For instance if Byakuya almost kissing her happened before Yumichika’s and Rukia’s first meeting, then it explains how she could have easily mistaken Yumichika for Byakuya, and how in her drunken state, she pleaded for her brother (but really it was Yumichika” not to hurt her. Though drunk, she must have heard Yumichika’s flirting words, and how he kissed her hand. In her drunken state she could have thought that byakuya had come to take what he had originally planned that night when he almost kissed her shoulders after removing the necklace.

Which explains why Rukia reacted in the manner it did, when Yumichika tried talking to her. And had Yumichika been able to “broach the issues that seemed to have troubled her so deeply that night”, well then I don’t think Yumichika would have taken very kindly to Byakuya’s behavior towards Rukia, even though Byakuya would have never done anything to harm her.
Those are just my rambling thoughts, I know I am probably wrong. But just some of my musings when I read that part.

One of the things I love about this chapter is Yumichika’s thoughts on Rukia – “To his great pleasure, Ayasegawa found that Rukia was quite a capable presence on the battlefield, despite this being her first time seeing any action. More than that, her form was lovely to behold, speaking of true grace and artistry in its execution.

I could be wrong but I don’t remember any of the other characters speaking as fondly about Rukia and her fighting abilities than Yumichika. No one else’s thoughts even come close to how Yumichika describes her beauty and her skills.

And I am glad that when he noticied her flaws in fighting style, “As the situation turned grim, however, he saw the flaws in her fighting style as well.”, he didn’t just sit back and wait for others to help her improve (like Byakuya did) but he took an active role in her training and skill just serving the role of her teacher but also a friend.

“And he himself was not a swordsman by nature, having taught himself how to handle such a weapon in order to keep up appearances.”

And Tomas manages to make me pulled in by Yumichika’s mystery. ‘He himself was not a swordsman by nature,’ makes me wonder what came natural to Yumichika besides his charm and beauty, ‘having taught himself to handle such a weapon to keep up appearances’. So teaching himself how to handle a sword, was that before he met Ikkaku, learning how to survive? Was itafter he met Ikkaku? was this when he and Ikkaku met Kenpachi, and therefore the two joined the Shinigami Academy so that they could both serve under Kenpachi?

I am so very curious to Yumichika’s backstory, and what Tomas can imagine for that. If Tomas doesn’t cover it in “Lifted Up” I hope Tomas can be convinced to do a separate one-shot for it.
“Watching Rukia move and fight, he saw a natural expression for battle that occasionally shone through her rigorous Kuchiki-drilled skills.”

And this statement “natural expression for battle” makes me think that Rukia would have been an amazing Warrior, had Kenpachi found her before she found Renji and the gang.

And I wonder if the “natural expression for battle” was part of Gin’s influence, or was it just a result of her taking care of herself and surviving, before she met up with Renji and his gang.

There are some individuals who don’t do well under strict school lessons. Yet when they do well on their own. And I have a feeling that Rukia was one of those people.
She survived who know how many years by herself, and had to come to Renji and his gangs aid to help them.

Yet her grades in school weren’t that good. And even though the Kuchiki-drilled skills did help her in some ways, they hampered her in many other ways.
Which is shown when Yumichika states ‘occasionally shone through her rigourous Kuckiki-drilled skills’. A lot of fighting is instinct, as Yumichika told her, and one can’t be taught to have instinct.

“Like him, he suspected she had grown up learning how to make do with her fists and feet to serve as weapons when needed. Were someone to adopt a training regimen with her that incorporated those self-taught inclinations, rather than discounting them in favor of the sword-based tactics recommended by the academy, she might very well blossom into a truly rare and fabulous diamond of a fighter.

Ah now I see, Yumichika was a natural at close, hand to hand combat.

You know it says a lot about the instructors at the Shinigami academy, and how they probably didn’t come from anywhere beyond the 20th or 30th ring of the Rukongai. They never had to fight to survive, they never had to engage in close, hand to hand combat. They never had the misfortune of being with no weapon, like many of those in the outer rings.

Therefore all their teachings had to do with sword or Kido.
They never had the survival instinct, so they never thought to encourage the survival instinct in their academy students. Academy students who had come to the academy so that they would get away from “hell”. Academy students who had grown up learning with their ‘fists and feet’, but once they joined in the academy, their instructors made them learn to use a sword, and didn’t encourage a combination of hand to hand combat with sword techniques. Causing the warriors to unlearn what they had learned when they were surviving, causing their survival instinct to fade.
Which would then in turn cause many of the Shinigami to die in battle, because what they learned wasn’t enough.

So I am very glad Rukia wasn’t able to continue at the Academy, other wise perhaps the same thing would have happened to her.
zombiegirl22 chapter 35 . 1/4
Part 22
“He didn't look behind to see if she believed him. Yumichika got the distinct impression that she had mixed him up with her brother Byakuya.”

Maybe my earlier comment about Yumichika having a discussion with someone about how he had been mistaken for Byakuya was me remembering this statement.

I also love how Rukia climbed onto his shoulder- “Her legs clasped tight around his head and she wiggled slightly to get more comfortable before draping herself over his crown with a contented sigh.”

A contented sigh. Did this mean that Baby Rukia had been happy when Gin would carry her on his shoulders? That she might have felt safe with him. Enough so that when drunk, and being on someone’s shoulders, Rukia is content.

“This was rather like being saddled with watching Lieutenant Kusajishi.” And this statement has me picturing both Rukia and Yachiru on Kenpachi’s or Yumichika’s shoulders.

I know I had commented about Rukia saying- “Heigh-ho, Silver!", in a previous review, but it is one in the morning, and I am sure I am not if when I commented it was for this chapter, or if Rukia had previously said Heigh-ho silver another time.

I also love how Rukia said “Whoah”, as though she was riding a horse.

“The place was nice enough to qualify for an officer's use, actually. Her brother must have pulled some strings to get his sister a nice spot away from the family manor. Certainly did pay to be rich.”

I wonder if Yumichika would have left her in the room if he had know that it was Kaien’s quarters and not Rukia’s quarters.
Rukia curling up to sleep, reminds me of Yachiru curled up asleep on Gin’s head.
I loved the final conversation between Yumichika and his sword.
This is the final part of my review. I am not sure if Tomas believes this but my complete review of chapter 35 review ended up totaling 42 pages and being 15767 words. I am not saying that to brag, especially since most of it was just my rambling thoughts on the chapter, that I am sure were quite confusing.

No, I am saying this because I want Tomas to know how much I enjoyed this chapter, and how much this chapter made me think, and it affected me. I know Tomas thinks that I exaggerate when I say this story is a masterpiece, but it is no exaggeration. This story, and this chapter made me feel quite strongly for the characters, and Tomas’s writing helped me get a better understanding of the characters, all of whom I love quite dearly. The complexity and character development that Tomas gives to the characters in Hammered Down, is something that I have not seen in other stories, and I am ever so grateful that back in 2012, I happened to stumble upon this masterpiece.

I thank Tomas for writing this story and sharing it. I thank Tomas for taking characters from a manga, and making them shine.
zombiegirl22 chapter 35 . 1/4
part 21
You know I am very grateful for Yumichika’s zanpakuto, and being Yumichika’s conscious when Yumichika had a bit too much to drink and was not thinking clearly.

And though I am glad he has his zanpakuto to keep him from doing something he would regret, I did like Yumichika’s statement of wanting Rukia- “And what if I do? I'm a man, after all. When my eye falls on someone, it isn't without reason. And look at her. She's lovely.”

Though I am also quite happy his sword made it quite clear on his dishonorable actions-“She's drunk. Is that how a man behaves? Hunting down a clearly intoxicated woman and having his way with her?”

And though the younger me back in 2012 agreed with Yumichika- “She was sober enough to recognize my beauty. That shows sufficient awareness for any court.” I can see now how had he gone through with it, Yumichika would have hated himself.

“And I suppose you'll still be around in the morning to explain things to her when she wakes up?” You know, back in 2012 I found this statement odd. Mostly because I didn’t see Yumichika as the type to leave in the morning before Rukia woke up. He didn’t seem like the type for a one night stand. But know I realize that his zanpakuto was talking about explain to Rukia how the two came to be in bed together. Rukia not remembering, and not being sober to consent would have indeed terrified her, and maybe even scarred her quite a bit.

I also remember finding, Yumichika’s sword’s comment about him killing Renji, funny back in 2012, but rereading it again, the gravity of Yumichika thinking of killing Renji to get him out of the picture is hitting me. Getting Renji out of the way would have benefited Yumichika, but losing her dear friend would have torn Rukia apart. And it would have been Yumichika’s fault for, and he would be making her feel pain.

I am glad that his sword’s story sobered him up, and made him realize his actions-“ I would push him down to the ground, and cut him open from crotch to throat.”
And I love how Yumichika wanted to fix things, and his zanpakuto’s suggestion of making sure she was safe in her quarters before someone else had the same idea.

You know Yumichika deserved that punch. And so this is the first time Rukia punched him. I had forgotten about this punch back when I was re-reviewing the chapter where she had punched him after she found out her brother had been paying him.
I feel for Rukia when she was whimpering “please…”. It was only a whisper. Or what might better be called a whimper. Whatever the case, the emotion behind it made him grow still to listen.”

And I like how Yumichika was able to catch the emotion in the tone, without having known Rukia for that long.

"I'll be your sister, please don't kill me. I won't disgrace the family, I'll do as I'm told and I won't ask questions, so please… don't touch me, I don't understand… what I did wrong."

So she was mistaking Yumichika for Byakuya? Is that what caused that one comment by Yumichika about how he had been mistaken for Byakuya? I don’t remember the exact conversation when Yumichika said that, but I could have sworn he did.

“Looking at her, Yumichika was absolutely sickened with himself. This woman was not to be treated frivolously, a one-night stand or any such thing. She deserved compassion, love and tenderness, the most beautiful things in the world.”

And I am so glad that Yumichika was disgusted with himself, and I am very glad that he realized that Rukia wasn’t someone he could use and toss aside.

And knowing he wouldn’t do anything bad towards her, I kind of wish that he would have taken her somewhere safe like he wanted-“Much as he wanted to take her in his arms and carry her someplace safe, he recognized the need for tact in this situation.” I can see why he did so, but I am just thinking had he taken her somewhere other than the 13th division, well Rukia wouldn’t have been frightened by Byakuya the following day, when he had accidently taken her to that Hollow’s nest. He could have put her in Renji’s quarters, since Renji was passed out and hadn’t been using them, and Rukia would have just thought that Renji had taken her to the 11th to keep her safe. Which, now that I think about it, would have repaired somewhat the relationship between Rukia and Renji.
zombiegirl22 chapter 35 . 1/4
part 20

“Only then did he realize that the noise of that party had completely receded into the back of his mind the last few minutes.” I love how Rukia was able to make the world fade away, and for Yumichika to only have eyes for her.

And I also love how he didn’t want Fuji Kujaku to talk, so that he could savor and think on the the moments he had with the girl he had been talking to only seconds before.

“It was about an hour later that he caught a glimpse of her again, laughing and hugging the sandy-haired Fifth seat of the Thirteenth. This disturbed him for reasons that were difficult to pin down.”
I do wonder if there was a reason why seeing Rukia hug Kiyone disturbed Yumichika. Was he jealous that Rukia was hugging someone that wasn’t him?

I love how though he tries to convince himself that it didn’t matter if he lost sight of Rukia, he couldn’t help but continue looking for her, to the point that he felt it necessary to make an excuse for looking for her- “There was no need to know where she might be. This was what he told himself. The reason he gave for why he kept searching for her in spite of this was that there was no one better to look at in this lot.”

“She was now sitting on Renji's shoulders, holding on to his spiky red crest while he staggered about. When she pulled his hair one way, he obediently followed in that direction. Then another way, and he went the same.”
Even though she might not have remembered Gin carrying her around, it is nice to know that when drunk the memories came back to her, that would cause her to ride on Renji’s shoulder when drunk.

“Vaguely she recalled someone warning her about kidō-mixed drinks, but the memory slipped away.”
Was she recalling Gin warning her about kido mixed drinks or was that someone else?

“They were supposed to meet up with their friends later and go down by the river to fish. Maybe he was already there.”- and was she remembering her time with Renji back when their gang was still alive?

And now I am remembering Tomas saying something about Kido-mixed drinks, when given to someone as small as Rukia causing her to recall conversations she was supposed to have forgotten.

“Rukia-san!”-remembering Aizen calling out to her when he was impersonating Gin, and then snippets of the conversation “What brings you…you two met? Soifon-taichou, th… younger sister… trust you… handle…atter yourself?"

How frightening it must have been for Rukia.

It’s interesting how even though she purged her stomach of the kido drinks, they still affected her enough to keep remembering the conversation with Gin and Aizen.
“Look. Feel. Remember. The memory was almost there, but then she took a breath… And it began to fade./ppRukia sighed with relief, and stood upright.” Was that her zanpakuto trying to help her recall the memory (‘ .remember’)or something else?
It is quite interesting to me how she could remember. So was her drinking the kido-mixed drinks at this party, was what allowed her to quote back Aizen’s/Yoshi’s words when she had gone to Aizen to plead for Renji’s life? I do believe Tomas had mentioned something along those lines in a reply.

“C'mon over, Kuchiki-san.” Fear gripped her. But then she realized it wasn't Gin's voice, and she forced herself to turn around. Standing there was a man in a white robe with glasses and curly brown hair. He smiled kindly, and while there was a certain familiarity to him, this person was certainly not the evil Third division captain who haunted her. That meant she was safe.”
I loved this part as well. Because this was before she knew of Aizen’s plans, back when she still trusted him. Back when she thought she was safe with him. The AiRuki fangirl in me liked this part.

I have to wonder if there will be a scene in “Lifted Up”, where the three of them (Aizen, Rukia, and Gin) and the three are talking together, a throwback to their first chat back in chapter 1.
“Gin and the other man kept talking, switching places from time to time. She heard it all, and then went to sleep.”

You know I feel quite foolish for not realizing back in 2012, when I first read this chapter, how Tomas had explained the three way conversation back from chapter 1.
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