Sometimes, Shigekuni Genryuusai Yamamoto thinks Aizen and the winter war are his fault.
The seeds of doubt were planted when his two oldest and most talented students had turned their swords against him. Though not truly challenging him, it made him wonder why they would go to such lengths to get a point across. To disobey the General of Soul Society was a crime, and he had always known Shunsui and Jushiro to be the most level-headed of the students he watched grow up.
He had brushed away their words before he drew on them in turn, and only when he's alone do their voices come back and echo in his mind. Aizen's betrayal had taken him by surprise. He supposed it should've been his job to stomp it out before it progressed so far.
He knows that many view him as a bitter old man who makes no exceptions. Part of this is true, but he knows that only his two former students know how he really is. Or was. He's become so used to his new self that he isn't sure there's much of the old one left.
Soul Society needs laws and guidelines in order to survive. There can be no disorder, no treachery, no disobedience. He had a strict ruling because to allow anything else would be to invite chaos.
It was too bad that they received it anyway.
Now he wonders if his iron fist hurt his soldiers more than it helped them. By restricting them so much, had he hampered them in their strength? Was he holding them back from what they could truly achieve?
As he stares down a battlefield bathed in fire, he still doesn't have his answers. But he does know that if they survive this war, then maybe it was time he took council with Shunsui and Jushiro and figured out just what was wrong with a Soul Society that could crumble just from one man's actions.
It's been way too freaking long since I posted anything. But hey, now I can finally say this set is complete. Definitely a learning experience. Hope you guys enjoyed.