Title: The Science of Choice.

Author: Lell.

Rating: PG.

Warnings: Spoilers for Soul Society arc.

Summary: Rangiku gets Aizen, she really does; Tousen too. The one she doesn't understand is Gin… Rangiku, Gin and the nature of betrayal.

Rangiku gets Aizen, she really does. Or at least she gets why he did the awful thing that he did (and she knows that awful doesn't do his deeds justice – abhorrent, detestable, appalling sound more dramatic, but are still just as inept at describing the degree to which Aizen Sousuke has shaken their stable world) because she knows what it's like to want something so badly that the fibres of your soul begin to tear at the seams. He wanted power, and she can understand that. A day doesn't go by that a person doesn't wish they had the capability to do more, or so she reckons.

And Aizen wanted it more than most, so Rangiku can, to some degree, understand that the destruction of the world is a small price to pay in his eyes for the achievement of his dream.

Dreams. Everyone has them.

And she gets why Tousen did it because, seriously, the guy didn't do anything other than talk about the least bloodstained path, yadda yadda yadda. Frankly, Rangiku hadn't given much of a toss about him when he hadn't been a traitor. She wouldn't care about his leaving all that much were it not for the fact that she likes Shuuhei and she knows the bitter almond taste of betrayal too well not to be angry on his part.

She doesn't condone Tousen's leaving or Aizen's betrayal and her heart swells with something like disgust for their actions, but shedoes understand why.

The one she doesn't understand is Gin.

The others had reasons, a cause, motivation. Gin did not and his absence is like a slender, gilt-touched needle lodged in her breast that tears her up inside when she breathes. Elegant, while still exquisitely and excruciatingly painful. He too left behind a broken and betrayed vice-captain and Rangiku has made it her duty to gather the abandoned three under her jaded and experienced wing. Looking at Kira sleep with the tears still running down his face as he does so, Rangiku wonders what possible reason Gin had to leave this place behind, but only when she's stubborn enough to pretend that she doesn't understand.

In truth, part of her knows that he probably did it because it seemed an amusing venture at the time.

This is possibly the worst betrayal of all.

Author's Notes:

Well, after however many years of being in the Bleach fandom, I finally have something to offer up in return for all the wonderful stories I've found scattered around. And while not perhaps equivalent exchange, I'm eager to try my hand and get better!