This took me quite a while...sorry! I was having a difficult time figuring out how to end this, and oddly enough I got the idea from a song as well...I think I was actually listening to the Jersey Boys soundtrack at the time haha. Go figure.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warning: Spoilers for Soul Society arc
Rangiku Matsumoto sat glumly in the Tenth Division headquarters, her head resting lightly in her hand, that one word repeating itself in her mind over and over again, resonating with a painful clarity.
It crept through every inch of her body, burning itself into every one of her senses. He never said it before with such finality, such regret.
"Farewell, Rangiku. Sorry."
How ironic, she thought as the words once again flooded her memory, the sadness in his voice just barely noticeable over his efforts to conceal it. He never seemed like he cared for me as much as when he said goodbye.
They hadn't had a chance to talk much since that night. She'd woken up the next morning with a screaming headache that assaulted every pain receptor within reach. Disoriented, dehydrated, and disheveled, the trademarks of another night of masochistic alcohol consumption, she stumbled out of his office, not knowing how or why she ended up there in the first place. He stood just outside the doorway, smiling his usual smile, gazing into the morning sunlight. The very, very bright morning sunlight. Rangiku grimaced as it poured into her eyes, prodding mercilessly at the angry beast within her skull.
"How ya feelin'?" he asked, seemingly amused by her pain.
"I hope you burn in hell, Gin Ichimaru," she spat. He chuckled. "Why am I here?" Rangiku asked, leaning against the rail surrounding the Third Division's offices.
"Don't worry about it," Gin replied. Rangiku scowled. Gin frowned suddenly, straightening his posture as another figure sauntered towards them.
"Ah, hello Vice-Captain Matsumoto, Gin," the man waved, smiling warmly.
"Mornin', Captain Aizen," Gin waved back, his voice strained with unnecessary enthusiasm. Rangiku coughed, struggling to suppress the laughter that bubbled up in response to Gin's joyous, yet obviously insincere greeting. However, no matter how ridiculous it seemed to her, Rangiku remembered that it most likely paled in comparison to her present appearance.
Unable to access a mirror in the short time since she'd woken up, Rangiku forgot that, given the circumstances of her arrival to Gin Ichimaru's couch, she was in no position to laugh at her phony companion. The splotches of eye shadow smeared across her face, the clumps of eyelashes glued together by generous amounts of mascara, and, most horrifyingly, the blackened, make-up infused tears that traced grey streaks down her cheeks all rested proudly on her pale skin, drunken battle scars informing the entire Seireitei of her epic, sake filled endeavors. Rangiku stared guiltily at the ground.
"Rough night, Vice-Captain?" Aizen asked curiously, one eyebrow raising itself over his thick-framed glasses.
"Ha…I suppose so," Rangiku muttered, inching behind Gin's tall frame.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," Aizen said innocently.
"No, Sir. I was just about to head back to the Tenth Division…I'm sure my captain's been waiting all morning to scream at me," Rangiku said, turning to leave.
"Wait, Rangiku," ordered Gin, grabbing her sleeve. She looked at him, noticing his smile evaporating slightly. "I have somethin' for you on my desk. Would ya go pick it up?" he asked, pointing towards the door.
"Oh…sure," replied Rangiku, puzzled.
"Oh, and d'you think you could check on Izuru for me?" he added, frowning. "He never did take sake well…" Rangiku nodded. She made her way back into Gin's office, listening to snippets of his conversation with Aizen.
"They've appeared by the West Gate, just as I'd predicted…you'll take care of them, yes?" asked Aizen, his usually warm and casual tone unnaturally harsh.
""Course. I'll see you later," Gin replied shortly. Rangiku frowned, looking down at the desk for whatever Gin wanted her to find. She saw it, a plain, white envelope with her name scribbled hastily in the middle. She picked it up gingerly, as if something ominous could burst out at any second. The door opened suddenly, startling Rangiku back into reality.
"I was just going," she said, watching Gin as he moved swiftly across the room.
"That's fine," he smiled, reaching for something behind his desk. "You find it?"
"Yeah," she answered, eyeing him suspiciously as he fastened his zanpakutou to his waist. "Where are you going with that?" she asked.
"Ah, just somethin' I gotta take care of," he said, trying to sound reassuring. "It's no big deal."
"If you say so…" Rangiku waved and walked cautiously towards the door. "See you later." Gin called after her.
"Yes?" she answered, glancing back. A foreboding feeling churned inside of her, a sort of familiar anxiety that she couldn't place. Gin's uncharacteristic frown, his nervous contemplation, all seemingly foreign to his usual nonchalance, tugged at Rangiku's memory. She should be shocked, even scared of this sudden change in attitude, but instead disappointment overwhelmed her. Flashes of the previous night bit at her little by little, and although she didn't understand how, Rangiku knew that the man she had come to rely on so heavily could no longer protect her.
"Listen," he said. "I'm gonna be busy for a while. So stay outta trouble for me, okay?" Rangiku smiled.
"Sure. Whatever you say, Gin."
Rangiku's fingers fumbled over one another as she tore open the letter. She had always feared to open it before, as if it would finalize something she already knew but desperately wished to be false. However, Gin's sudden departure from the Soul Society had rendered those apprehensions obsolete. So she read, smiling bitterly at his childish handwriting.
First of all-and this is just for future reference-please don't ever let Izuru get that drunk again. He's…delicate. He can't take it like you can.
Second, and most importantly, I'm sorry for the way I acted last night. If you can't remember, that's all for the better.
Third, and I'm sure you've noticed, but I may not be around much anymore to help you out of trouble. So please take better care of yourself. I know you probably expected more of me. Sorry, really.
Rangiku sighed, staring at the letter, each word confirming an unforgiving reality. She held her hands together carefully at the top of the page and slowly tore down the middle, sentences falling apart before her. She repeated this process many times over, until Gin's note lay scattered on the table in a heap of now meaningless words and phrases.
"Farewell," she said, holding her hands out of the window, watching as the pieces fluttered into an empty sky.
I couldn't resist picking on poor Izuru...but that's just because I love him! Yay. Thank you for reading!!