Just Curious

OoO

She knew it was probably wrong, and it wasn't that she just didn't care, she did. Really; and it probably wasn't an easy question to answer. Hell, it was a taboo subject-- but it had been bugging her and she was just curious.

Well, if curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back, she always said.

"Hitsugaya?"

He didn't even look up from his phone. Sometimes she wondered if he was just a jerk or a workaholic. Probably both. "What?"

"I want to ask you a question."

At this, he simply slowed down in his furious texting, still he didn't stop, or look at her, but she took it as a sign to ask away.

"Don't get mad though, okay?"

Karin gulped when he glanced up at her; still texting away. She loved his eyes, they were such an exotic pale green color, but Karin couldn't help but feel nervous.

"How... How did you die?"

Karin watched those pale green eyes widen considerably, and his hand finally stop. Crap. He was glaring now. She knew he'd get mad.

"If we were in Soul Society, you would be under arrest right now."

The soccer addict couldn't hold back the wide -eyed blink. "What?"

"Asking someone how they died in Soul Society is a very serious crime. Death is the most traumatic the terrifying thing someone can ever go through. To blatantly remind someone of that kind of pain is considered a very serious crime. There are few laws in the Soul Society, but that one is enforced with severe consequences.

His glare didn't waver.

Karin almost gulped.

She watched as he turned back to his phone and felt downright evil when she realized that she would have to press the matter to get an answer. She was going to get an answer. She was a Kurosaki after all, and what more was her family notoriously known for than never knowing when to stop? It didn't help the matter that he pretty much just confirmed her suspicions.

"I read that people who have something really traumatic happen to them, sometimes their hair turns white from the stress." Crap. Now he was scowling.

"A lot of people in Soul Society have white hair."

"You do, too."

"What about it?"

Karin knew she was treading thin ice. She was asking a shinigami how he died. A death god. An entity that deals only with death. Young Kurosaki Karin didn't quite feel like dying so young but...

Ah, this is probably how the cat died.

"Was your death traumatic?"

Karin finally did gulp when he hopped off the guard rail he was sitting on and walked right up to her face. His eyes weren't so pretty when he was angry, she noticed.

"Why are you so interested with such morbid conversation all of a sudden?"

"Just curious, I guess."

A sneer. "Children often are." Oooh, so he wanted to rub it in her face that he was an old geezer stuck in a kid's body... figuratively, anyway.

"You want to know?"

Karin nodded.

"So badly?"

She didn't nod quite as eagerly.

"Fine."

Karin gasped when a large, looming door appeared behind him and opened. Her leg lifted to take a step back, but before her foot could meet the ground she found her arm gripped by a cold hand. He gave her a sharp jerk and before Karin could make a protest she found herself standing on a cold ocean cliff.

"Wh-Where--?"

"This is where I died." His voice was sharp and cold, more than usual. Karin glanced down over the cliff, paling when she saw the jagged rocks below. "When I was six years old, my family and I lived in that house there." Karin turned to follow his finger to see a dilapidated house a ways away from the cliff.

"A long time ago there used to be a village further down the roads, and my father was the village head, and he would light the fires here for the ships to see the cliff." Karin watched his eyes change, become softer, wider.

"I had twin sisters, who was ten years older than me, in those days, girls married off at sixteen or younger." Karin watched him carefully. She didn't think he had a sister...

"Their names were Naomi and Tsunami. One day my mother came home to say that Naomi was engaged to marry the son of a prosperous farmhand in the village, thinking that it would be good for the village, after all, if a daughter of the village leader married with the best of the farmers, then that would protect the land and increase relations and trades with other villages nearby."

Karin saw something in his eyes change, and felt that this story was about to take the turn for the worse.

After all, it didn't have a happy ending.

"Imuzo, the man my sister was to marry, was violent though. He wanted sons, and when she gave him a daughter, he killed my sister and niece." Karin's eyes widened in horror.

"He made it look like an accident, that one of the boars trampled her and the baby on the farm, but I saw it happen. I tried to tell my family, but I was just a six-year-old little kid that always cried and clung to Naomi like glue... everyone thought that I was just lashing out at him, angry because he made Naomi leave the house..."

"He stole one sister from me, and then stole the other… After all, if a daughter of the village leader married with the best of the farmers, then that would protect the land and increase relations and trades with other villages nearby."

Hitsugaya turned to face her again, though his eyes were facing the ocean, she could tell that they were seeing his past, and not her or the water.

"My sister was pregnant, and when the baby came, he was away in another village trading off his crops. She had a girl, like Naomi did."

Karin felt her heart ache; when she saw his body start to shiver slightly. It was summertime, but she knew these cliffs, they were famous for always being cold. The steam that her breath made however, she knew was from the shinigami in front of her.

"I wasn't going to let my sister and my niece die, so I tried to warn her, scare her away, throw fits-- anything to make her run away. Nothing worked. Four days after the baby was born I heard that Imuzo was back in the village, and I was desperate, so I took the baby, making sure my sister saw me so that she would chase after me and run too... but it was dark."

"Toshirou!"

"...and it was raining..."

"I don't want him to kill you too Tsunami!"

"...and he found us."

"What do you think you're doing, you little bastard?!"

"Imuzo, h-he didn't mean anything, he just took her to--!"

"He said, 'Her.', like it someone said his own child was the spawn of a demon, and it was only then my sister realized that I was telling the truth."

"You bitch! You're just like your useless whore of a sister! A son! I wanted a son!"

"He attacked me and the baby, and my sister tried to hold him back, but he broke my leg before she managed to get him off of me and my niece. I tried to get away, but I couldn't crawl with her in my arms. I refused to leave my niece and sister, so I screamed, as loud as I could for my father, but he and my mother were in the village, looking for me."

Karin's hand went to her mouth, and she closed her eyes.

She didn't want to hear anymore!

"I watched him beat my sister to death, again. I heard my sister scream for mercy, again. I watched that monster steal a sister from me, again. He beat her body even after she was dead, making the noises..." Karin watched his arms rose half way to his head, but stopped.

Thunk!

"You worthless bitch!"

Thunk!

"Useless whore!"

Thunk!

"I couldn't move..."

"Tsunami!!"

"I couldn't escape..."

"You little bastard... you and that baby bitch..."

"I... I couldn't stop him..."

It was so cold! Karin could feel her bones freezing over, the grass beneath her feet were like glass. Her fingers were turning blue, the young Kurosaki glanced up at Hitsugaya, her eyes widening when she saw tears frozen to his face.

She would have screamed to him, to try and snap him out of it... but she lost her voice when she saw him holding is hands in front of himself, as though he were holding a baby.

"He reached out and snatched my niece... and he took her little head... and her screaming stopped..."

Stop it!

She didn't want to hear anymore!

"Stop it! S-Somebody help! Help!!"

"Now it's your turn..."

"He beat me, but I didn't die."

Karin looked down at the rocks at the bottom of the cliff; they seemed like jagged daggers or demonic hands reaching up at her. Her breath escaped her mouth, blurring her vision of the drop for a moment.

"It was cold... but the water was colder."

Please... no more...!

"I couldn't feel most of my body, but I could feel how cold the water was... it was like moving ice."

I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry! I didn't know!

"The rain felt boiling hot compared to that cold..."

Karin covered her ears with her hands, and took a step back, feeling the ice on her face for the first time.

"My soul was trapped in the water for three weeks, drowning and not dying again and again until a shinigami came to give me a soul burial."

Karin shook, feeling the biting cold numb her body. She was so tired... If she fell asleep, would she freeze to death...?

"When I arrived in Soul Society, my hair was white, I couldn't find my sisters or nieces' or parents, and I have always been cold since then." Karin's eyes were still closed, and her hands were still over her ears, doing nothing to block out his voice.

"Do you understand now, Kurosaki?"

Karin nodded her head, still refusing to open her eyes.

"Never, ever, ask anyone how they died."

Death.

The most traumatic the terrifying thing someone can ever go through.

To blatantly remind someone of that kind of pain...

"I'm so sorry..."

Curiosity killed the cat.

"It happened along time ago."

Satisfaction brought it back.

"I didn't know…"

But sometimes, there was no satisfaction, and the cat stayed dead.

"Well now you do. There's an old saying you know, it was around back when I was alive, about cats and curiosity."

"Was your death traumatic?"

"Why are you so interested with such morbid conversation all of a sudden?"

"Just curious, I guess."