Disclaimer: I make no claim to the series, ideas, or characters of Bleach. All quotes used have been given proper credit to the speakers.
Author's Notes: I got so many reviews requesting a continuation of "Dreams of Loneliness" that I couldn't just ignore them completely. Since I wish for it to remain as a stand alone, I decided instead to make a companion story for it. This can be read as either the companion it was intended to be or a stand alone in itself.
It also seems as if my writer's block/laziness is starting to go away, so I'm able to write a little bit better than I've been able to for the past couple of months. I'm experimenting with my writing at this point, so I'm trying out all sorts of literary elements. I've tried to include a heavy dose of symbolism in this story, so I hope it doesn't make the story too awfully obscure. Hopefully, this will be a rather enjoyable read to at least a few people. Of course, reviews are greatly appreciated for criticism or just so I'll know how well or not I'm doing. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy.
The Dead of the NightBy Adam Lakewood
As a man is, so does he see.
It was in the dead of the night, and like a whisper, Ichigo lingered at the doorway.
He watched on quietly, content, as Rukia slept. Her sleep was obviously wracked with horrible dreams, but at least she was sleeping. At least she was sleeping while he could not.
The mild light from the hallway shone into his bedroom as much as was allowed by the slight opening of the door. In its narrow gleam, it revealed the petite form of the one who was the bringer and eradicator of many of his problems. He watched on helplessly, wishing he could do something else besides stand there as she shivered, cringed, and tossed from side to side, struggling to escape from her dreams.
However, he knew of dreams all too well, well enough to know better than to interfere. Certainly, he could have woken her from her dream and ended the suffering caused by them just as easy as he could stand there and watch. For him, at that moment, it would have been easier on him… for him.
But, then the dreams would never go away. He knew well enough that dreams were one of the hardest obstacles to overcome, but they would never be overcome if there was always someone there to help.
The most he could do for her was be there when she woke.
It had been three days since they returned back from the danger and into the safety of their home. Each had had horrible experiences while they were there, so home wasn't really the same as it had been. For three days, they had had the chance to rest easily but for some reason couldn't. It had been three days since they had returned from Soul Society.
… He hated that place. He hated the people there. He hated them for the experiences that they put him through that he would have preferred going his entire life without having to endure. His time there was something he would always remember; it was something that would scar him forever. The same applied for his friends too. Chad, Orihime, Ishida… his friends. They went through it in different ways, but they went through relatively the same thing he had to go through. They too would probably never be able to forget the horrible experience. He hated the people at Soul Society for what they made his friends go through…
…Most of all… he hated them because of what they put Rukia through.
It was understandable that they wanted to kill him, an intruder. But, she, one of their own… they wanted to execute her. Everyone, including her own brother, wanted to see that she was executed… betrayed… for no real reason. The difference between their predicaments was that he had earned his death by being an intruder and they tried to convince her that her death was justifiable.
Ichigo gritted his teeth and balled his hand into a fist to the point that his knuckles turned as white as the tint of his walls and each sounded off with a resonating crack.
To him, they were nothing more than pigs.
He brought his hand back and slammed it against the doorframe.
Ichigo felt like cursing himself when the realization of the noise he was making occurred to him. He looked up, startled, for fear that he had woken Rukia when he heard her make a light noise and move in his bed. He hoped that by some miracle he didn't wake her from her semi-sleep.
… Then he wished he had.
He frowned and let out a suppressed sigh when he heard a light whimper come from Rukia as she fought to battle off the demons of her dreams. Her head tossed from side to side with each moan and whimper, trying to turn her sight away from the visions she never wanted to see. Her lips moved, silently calling out to, desperately pleading with a brother she knew would not turn her a second glance. Her hand moved to her neck, pulling at a collar and chain that had once been there. A tear rolled down her eye, knowing that she had been betrayed by her family, friends, and people.
He could only begin to imagine how she felt by trying to put himself in her shoes. Even then, it was almost more than he could think. All light that had been provided by the sun of her life had surely been smothered by that all-so-ominous cloud of despair that many claim to have but few have actually even seen. And to think that her own people were the ones who snuffed out her sun.
He couldn't stand to see her as she was. He couldn't stand to see what they had done to her. It wasn't right. It was immoral despite whatever justification they may have thought they had. He would be the first to admit that he didn't know Rukia that well, but he knew enough. He knew enough to know that she had a heart. That was more than he could say for any of the rest of them. She had been a martyr, ready to sacrifice herself gladly in order to save him and his family on that fateful night.
She alone was to thank for his family's still being with him. She alone had sacrificed herself to save them. She alone had given him the strength and heart to fight back and then to fight for what was right.
…She alone opened his eyes for him.
For someone who wasn't even human, she acted more like one than anyone he knew. If for that reason alone, she never needed to go through what they put her through.
She didn't deserve it. She was too good for that.
To be betrayed by her own people and family, he couldn't begin to imagine how she must have felt. All he could do was be there for her when she needed him. He would give her the care that her own people and family should have given her.
He would gladly be the sun she may call for during the darkness of the night.
If she wanted a brother, he would be that. If she wanted a fried, he would rise to that want as well. If she wanted more than that… he would go as far as she wanted…
Ichigo watched as her breathing steadied and she ceased to toss and turn as if she could feel what he was thinking. It did not take long before she went back into a peaceful sleep.
…Most importantly… he would be there when she woke… when she needed him most.
He turned around slowly and stepped back out into the hallway. He gently closed the door behind him and released the knob when he heard the light click of its latching. With the closing of the door, a peaceful darkness filled the room again, insuring that if anything was to disturb her sleep… it would at least not be the light.
Yes, he was afraid. He was afraid that they would come back for her any day. But, they could come if they wanted. He would assure that they would have to go through Hell fifty times over before they were able to lay a finger on her.
Even worse… they would have to go through him.
Call the sun in the dead of the night
And the sun's going to rise in the sky.
Touch a man who can't walk upright
And that lame man… he's going to fly.