At the Right Hand of God

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo.

Warnings: Slight language, Spoilers for Turn Back the Pendulum and beyond

AN: For the Bleach contest on LJ. The prompt was "Freak."

It is easier to smile than to show his bitterness seeping through. If this is Heaven, he wonders how Hell can truly be a punishment.

Eternal torture? That is Rukongai. That is starving in the streets, begging, pleading with the men in the black shihakushou for a scrap of bread. Offering himself up just to end the gnawing in his belly and the aching of his soul.

Fire and brimstone? That is the academy. The laughter behind his back. The blaze burning through his veins as he finds that they have defaced what few things he owns. Rangiku's sympathetic shrug as she turns away and does nothing.

A demon? That is the third-seat of his division. The taunting man who thinks that his wandering hands are a gift and that little boys should know their place. Who is even now bleeding out at his feet.

The devil? Maybe that is the man watching him. Whose glasses hide his eyes but not his true self. The real man underneath the smiles and reticence. The one nobody seems to see.

"Perhaps I could hear your name one more time?" his superior asks, voice soft but so full of promise. Face honestly intrigued and hands open at his sides.

And he knows that a choice stands before him. That he can step back into the light. Can live the rest of his days as he is and know nothing more. That he too can be part of paradise.

But salvation is overrated. And the dark is just so much more appealing.

"Gin. Ichimaru Gin."

And Heaven trembles.

Ever Hopeful,