Title: Blind
Characters: Hisagi Shuuhei, Tousen Kaname, Mentions of Others
Rating: K
Warning: Spoilers for Soul Society Arc and Beyond
Words: 683
Description: He wonders how he didn't see it coming.
Disclaimer: Bleach is the property of Tite Kubo. I am merely borrowing the characters for my own amusement and make no monetary claims towards them.

It should have been obvious, especially considering his position. Shuuhei wondered how he didn't see it coming, how he could havemissed all the signs. He had thought he was intelligent and observant; he had thought he could spy dishonesty in a man from across Seireitei.

It appeared even those with sight couldn't see. His former captain never would have appreciated the irony in that. He was too caught up in his ideal of justice.

Still, Shuuhei couldn't understand how he never suspected, never evenguessed. It rankled on his conscience and questioned his judgment. How smart was he if he couldn't tell that his own captain was secretly plotting to betray them?

He wasn't like Momo, who had always followed around after Aizen like a lost puppy, hoping for a pat on the head and ridiculously happy when she received it. She was so lost in her delusions that even now, she still prayed that her captain would return. She thought he was misguided, that maybe he just lost his way. She couldn't even see the pain in Hitsugaya-taichou's eyes when she asked him to save her beloved Aizen.

And Shuuhei didn't think for one minute they were alike.

He wasn't like Izuru either. His friend had devoted everything to his captain, had given Ichimaru his supreme loyalty that simply couldn't be shaken. Izuru was dedicated to a fault, blind in his own right, when it came to something that simply wasn't healthy. He couldn't see that Ichimaru thrived on his devotion. He was better now, much more so than Momo in any rate, but Shuuhei still caught him at times, looking at his vice-captain's badge as if asking himself if his captain's defection was his fault.

No, Shuuhei didn't believe that he was similar to Izuru either.

He and Tousen had been friends… or as close that as they could come given the boundaries of their relationship. His captain had considered him an equal, and though he had rarely handed over many of the duties of their division to Shuuhei, it was clear that this hadn't been because he thought Shuuhei incapable. Rather, that Tousen saw these duties as his own and no one else's.

He could still remember the times he had listened to Tousen speak of his beliefs, of his desire to not shed unnecessary blood. He remembered being intrigued by his ideals, and as one who avoided violence whenever possible, he had thought that he fit right in with his captain's tenets.

Thinking back, Shuuhei couldn't help but wonder if all that discussion, all that lecture, had merely been double-speak for his captain. He wondered if Tousen had been asking him, in an off-handed and double-sided manner, if he loved justice enough to follow Tousen's own path. He could remember a few proposed thoughts that Shuuhei had dismissed and never spoken of again.

If he had paid more attention, could he have caught it before it was too late? If he had refused to let himself be blinded by an unattainable ideal, could he have stopped it before it even began? Could he have saved them all from their current fate? If he had only looked a little closer, he wondered, would he have seen his captain for his true face?

There were so many "ifs" all dancing around in his mind, enough to make him question his own faiths.

And he wondered if someone like Zaraki-taichou had ever suspected. The man seemed perceptive, dangerously so, and figuring no one would listen, knowing that no one would believe crazy Zaraki Kenpachi, had he kept quiet?

Perhaps that was the real reason Tousen wore the glasses. Not to hide his blind eyes but to hide the truth he couldn't completely conceal with words alone. Pretty sentiments that couldn't stand up in the face of his real deeds.

Shuuhei wondered how he could have missed something so plainly and painfully obvious. He thought that maybe it was Soul Society that was truly blind and not just his former captain.

He wondered if perhaps that was Tousen's true intent all along.

A/N: This fic is part of a series with an eventual pairing and such forth but I haven't gotten it completely mapped out. The next part will be put in a separate posting.

Thanks for reading! I welcome any and all feedback as I extend my attempts at Bleach writing!