a/n: So here it is, the promised little after the story Q&A I had promised you guys. It's very late, I know. To be honest, I had almost forgotten about it. I hope this answers some of the questions you guys had. And if there are any I didn't answer, feel free to ask them and I'll update this "chapter" as needed.
I hope this clarifies some details for you. Thanks again for helping and supporting me in my endeavor on this story. It was most appreciated!
Of Violence FAQ
Why choose a difficult plot as spousal abuse?
To be honest, the idea first stemmed from a misunderstood lyrics in a song. It actually said "complaints of violins" but I had always heard "complaints of violence." The idea spawned from there. My beta and I sat and discussed together the possibilities of such a plot, and after debating back and forth, we decided to give it a try. As a writer, I'm always looking for a challenge, and this definitely presented one. Plus, I was intrigued by the concept and determined to put out something relatively original.
I did perform research on the matter, both my beta and I. Not to mention having taken several psychology classes and having some personal experience myself. Not that I claim to feel qualified to accurately portray this sort of situation, but I wanted to show that some is derived from my own knowledge. For most of the fic, I based a lot of reactions on research and experience.
Why "Of Violence?"
That's a good question, considering the fic should really be named "Of Love." But since the entire premise stemmed from the one series of actions, I thought the title appropriate. Not to mention it was gleaned directly from the misheard lyrics to the song. Not only does it refer to the abuse, but it also refers to the war that still haunts them, as well as the Hollow attack in later chapters.
That there, I think, is the number one question. My ability to understand Rukia's character has constantly been placed under suspicion because of her actions in this fiction. Contrary to popular belief, I do understand that what Tite Kubo utilizes in the series is considered comedic violence. When she hits Ichigo out of exasperation or cuts him down verbally, it is meant to be humorous or a joke. I simply applied these actions to the real world and interpreted them as they would be seen. I actually spent several hours in long debate with my beta as to who would be the most likely character to perpetrate violence like this. Mayuri, of course, was number one on the list. But I didn't want to write a story about him. And combining Rukia's frustrations with something that went from being just a game to uncomfortably serious, made her the perfect candidate.
To be perfectly honest when I first plotted out this fic, I didn't intend for the two of them to be together. They were to simply be very close friends in order to show just how much both of them had changed. However, the more I composed the story and their relationship, the more I realized just what undercurrents lay between them. And I also understood that adding this element would give another frustration to Rukia's list, further providing a reason. In the end, the idea wrote itself, and I wasn't one to ignore my muses.
Why did Rukia have to die?
Again, this was another one of those plot happenings that I never originally intended. Halfway through writing the fic, however, my muses had a change of heart. They realized that Rukia would forever have this stigma hanging over her head and that it would be difficult to find happiness. They also kept nudging me with plans for odd Hollows as lingering remnants of Aizen's doings. And my beta also suggested that she die, giving me several good reasons. I wanted her to find her own happiness, away from the frustrations of her life. And though she is now separated from her children, I would like to think that she has found some contentment.
I do realize that the brief glimpse of her life that was given to you in the epilogue doesn't seem to even remotely make up for the suffering she endured while in Soul Society. But it was, after all, only a brief glimpse. I only wanted to show that her death gave her something she wouldn't have easily gained in Soul Society – a second chance with a clean slate.
Truth be told, there were also very little options regarding Rukia's fate. I could have had her and Ichigo reconcile, but it would not have been believable. A simple separation would have also worked, but I believe Rukia would have been the one to suffer most from it. There is no question that Ichigo would have denied himself any feelings for Byakuya because he knew it would hurt her, and Rukia had been practically ostracized from those in Soul Society because of the rumors. I suppose that with the extended lifetime of a Shinigami, the passage of time could lead to healing. That was also a plausible option. But I didn't want Rukia to suffer in the meantime. And in a way, her death also granted her a chance to prove herself -- defending her fellow Shinigami with her last breath and protecting what mattered most to her. Ukitake could not have asked for a better vice-captain.
With that said, I admit that there is an entire story left in the distance between the final chapter and the epilogue. How Ichigo healed and the children healed and the affect of the circumstances is another story in unto itself. There is such a large difference between the two chapters that it leaves a lot of questions. But I also felt that if I covered that, I would be repeating much of the same emotion that had also been described in detail. I suppose I could have continued and dragged it on for several more chapters, but I felt that would have detracted from the story. There's angst, and then there's tedious drama that starts to get boring. I felt like I was treading a very thin line there.
Still, I'm very much glad for this experience. Now, when I attempt something similar in an original format, I'll have this story and the responses to it to look back upon. Both will help me shape something spectacular, at least I am hoping. I am grateful for all of the feedback -- good and bad -- and at least in an original format, there won't be any concerns for characterization.
How did the children react to Ichigo and Byakuya's relationship? You didn't show us!
No, I didn't. That would have dragged out the story unnecessarily. Especially since the story wasn't intended to be about their relationship much at all. Not to mention I didn't want any more drama. The story has enough, I think. However, I did consider their reactions. Mikan and Ryuu would have accepted it easily because at their age they didn't really know what was going on. Also, by the time they were old enough to understand, they would have completely accepted Byakuya and consider him their second father. Or as Mikan calls him, "Chichiue." Syaoran and Kaien were accepting as well because they understood that Ichigo was not replacing their mother. Both of them are very astute and observing, and to them, there wasn't much of a change because their Byakuya-ojisan had always been around to take care of them anyway.
No lemon? Why not?
Halfway through, when I first realized that the story was inching towards an Ichigo/Byakuya relationship, I had thought there would be. But the way the story formed, I later could not see one realistically taking place. I felt it would cheapen what I had intended for this fiction. I didn't want the story to be entirely about their relationship, not to mention there really was no indication of anything sexual in the story. It's about emotion and the complexities of love and relationships but not really sexual. I couldn't honestly see one rationally fitting into the story.
Okay. So if there was a lemon, who'd top?
To be perfectly honest, I've never much ascribed to that way of thinking. Especially when it concerns two men like Ichigo and Byakuya, both of whom are very equal. They would definitely be switches if anything. I don't particularly have a preference. I wouldn't base it on height or appearance, but mostly on the emotional state of the two at the time. Or wherever the flow happens to take them. So there's no definite answer to this question. Sorry.
a/n: Those seemed to be the main focus of concern amongst the reviews and personal messages I received. If you have anything else you'd like answered -- either to me or my beta -- feel free to either PM me or leave a review. I'll answer it as soon as I can and update this chapter unless you'd prefer it to be a personal answer.