Summary: "There are two schools of thought on the stories about my mother," writes Kuchiki Rukia's son in his 154th year.
Disclaimer: KT's, not mine. I made Rukia's son up, but he probably belongs more to his mother than to anyone else.
Notes: Written for the Twenty Souls: Random Bleach Character Facts challenge on LiveJournal.
20 Things We Learnt About Kuchiki Rukia (But Only Once She Could Not Disagree)
1. "There are two schools of thought on the stories about my mother," writes Kuchiki Rukia's son in his 154th year -- it has taken him this long to put aside grief, resentment, even love, and to begin on the all-important task of remembering. "The first: that none of the stories are true. The second: that all of them are true.
"In this biography, I will be taking the second approach."
2. At thirteen years old, Rukia killed a cat with a stolen knife and cooked it over a fire made by her friends. These friends (of whom only Captain Abarai Renji survives) were shocked, only pacified by the clinical way in which she did the job, her care in wiping the knife before the blood dried, her lack of emotion as she buried the bones.
Later she cried, but it was her way to do these things alone, in the kind dark, where they could not shame her.
3. In one possible future, Kurosaki Ichigo destroys a waffle while his children engage in their favourite game. This is the one they never tire of, which has retained its charm despite endless repeats. They call it Finding Aunt Rukia. This morning, led by their mother across fields of brown bread, evading pats of butter, wading through apricot jelly bogs, they discover her image in the peanut butter, on the back of a cereal box, and in the fortuitous conjunction of the shadows of leaves on a wall and a flapping T-shirt outside the window.
Does Ichigo weep into his maple syrup, is there a particular viciousness to his wielding of the bread knife this morning? No. Loss has grown familiar, and this is a form of eulogy too.
4. It has been observed by many that those who had a significant relationship with Kuchiki Rukia, both friends and enemies, have all subsequently risen to glory in their own ways. On this matter, Kurosaki Ichigo has said in a recorded interview that "if Rukia ever stood behind me, it was only because that was the best position for her to shove me in the back."
It seems unlikely that the word was "stab" instead of "shove", as some have argued. Kurosaki Ichigo is a romantic.
5. "Perhaps Lady Shiba knew my name," said Rukia, speaking as always with the humility of one who knows emotion should be beneath her. This was a habit she was never able to throw off, even in later years. "Of course I was not important to her."
"I watched her," said Rukia. "I wondered what it was like, to be so loved."
6. Kuchiki Rukia spent three quarters of her life believing herself to be unloved. Certain scholars argue that it is seven-eighths, but there are obvious flaws in their methodology, and their research is dubious at best.
7. "If my mother had a redeeming quality," writes her son, "it was that she was very often completely wrong about everything."
8. "Not like I ever knew her that well," said Arisawa Tatsuki, in her interview. "She was kinda psycho, but if you've noticed, psycho kinda suits Ichigo."
"Not just him."
9. Extract from an exclusive interview with Captain Abarai Renji, done for the biography
Q: Is there any meaning to life now, I
mean, what's the point of it all, you know? I ask myself that, what's
the point of it all if she's not here to -- I don't know, she
probably would've disapproved. Do you think she ever really loved me?
A: Kid --
Q: Do you think she ever really loved you?
10. Those close to Rukia in life noted that she was capable of an impressive stillness at moments of deep emotion, a stillness intensely poetic, yet never theatrical.
"I did not draw pictures of my mother, as children usually do," says her son. "She seemed to me already to be the most perfect work of art."
11. "This was in my stage of violent infatuation, from the age of 4 to 9," he adds in the beginning of the next chapter. "After that, the bloom started to wear off the relationship.
"It has been said so frequently that it has become a cliché: Rukia made everything difficult for herself. People forget how difficult she made it for others."
12. "They remember only that she flew. They forget the people she left behind."
13. It would be wrong to say that Rukia had no sense of humour. Say, rather, that it operated on a plane of reality separate from others'.
Whether out of revenge or in a simple quirk of personality, she took an especial pleasure in the extravagant discomfiture of men and teenage boys.
14. Contrary to what was popularly believed, especially by anybody who had anything to do with her, Rukia had in fact heard of scruples. She believed they were a kind of biscuit.
15. In her second year in the field, Kuchiki Rukia killed a colleague.
"It was not his death that stayed with me," said Rukia. "Not that, but. I knew I could do it. I could kill anyone. Stab, skewer him on the point of my sword, garrotte, strangle, poison, just keep hitting until he stopped moving. I was not -- I am not the best fighter in Soul Society, but I know how to kill.
"I could do it. I could kill, even today. I could kill, and kill, and kill, and live.
"Wouldn't that make you hate yourself?" she asked. "Wouldn't you be afraid?"
16. Extract from an exclusive interview with Captain Abarai Renji, done for the biography
A: Think she forgot me for a while.
Can't blame her. She had a lot on her mind.
Q: Did you forget her?
Q: (repeats the question)
A: (pause) Could you?
17. In a poll carried out by the reinstated Captain of the 12th division, 54.75 of respondents believed that Kuchiki Rukia was a hero, 44 thought she was a villain, and 1.25 would have done her either way.
18. "Did she ever forgive me?" said this same Captain in his interview. "I have the scars to this day."
"Well-executed." Captain Urahara had an appreciation for craftsmanship.
19. "It is not true that she found the tranquil stupidity of rabbits comforting," writes her son. "She just thought they were cute."
20. It is rumoured that the present tense is the correct one to use when speaking of Kuchiki Rukia. Nobody has been able to confirm whether this is true.