Shatter Point

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

Warnings: Au-ish and pure speculation

AN: For the Bleach contest on LJ. The prompt was "Fight." There was a 300 word limit; otherwise, it would've been longer.

"You're really going to do this?" Isshin's tiredness is clear in his voice.

Kisuke simply nods and turns back to his task. "My invention, my responsibility."

"Soul Society's mistakes," his friend insists. "Their ignorance. You didn't create the monster Aizen has become. They did through their negligence. Their shortsightedness. You shouldn't have to do this."

The blond shrugs. "Maybe I shouldn't, but I will. I'm the only one who knows the Hougyoku's weakness. The only one who can get the job done." He adds the last item to his bag and tucks it into his sleeve.

"Ichigo will kill you for this. Hell, Yoruichi will. Tessai and the kids." Isshin is grasping at straws.

Kisuke lets out an emotionless chuckle and goes to don his geta. "It doesn't matter anymore."

"And why is that?" Isshin demands, still trailing behind.

"Because if I succeed, I'll be dead. And if I fail, everyone else will be. No room for disappointment that way." He looks at the floor so that he won't have to see Isshin's face.

And the other man is silent for once. He can only stand there as his friend prepares to leave for a suicide mission. Can only bite his lip as he realizes this is the only way to win. To not have his own children slaughtered.

Isshin sighs. "I'd wish you luck, but--"

"But I've never believed in luck," the blond continues with lips curling. "Only--"

"Only skill. I've heard it enough before." Isshin somehow manages a smile, but it's broken. "No luckā€¦ Just stupid enemies."

"Aizen is hardly that."

"But he's still human," Isshin asserts. "No matter what he likes to think."

Kisuke steps for the door then and waves goodbye. "I'll be seeing you."

"You won't," Isshin replies softly.

But he's already gone.

Ever Hopeful,