The description should say it all really. I've left it uncomplete in case I think of anymore - or alternitively if anyone wants to suggest a prompt or plot for one I'll have a go at writing it. Hope you enjoy! ^_^
Sometimes Yumichika imagined that he saw pity in people's eyes when they looked at him. More often than not he passed it off as paranoia; no one could possibly know, he had spent years perfecting his deceit, turning it into something akin to an art form in its intricacy. Sometimes though, when Captain Kyouraku fixed him with that lazy yet frighteningly wise stare of his, or Captain Ukitake smiled sympathetically at him as he passed, the niggling idea was more difficult to dismiss.
The thought that people might be pitying him riled him spectacularly and he did his best to avoid the main suspects at all costs; a somewhat difficult venture considering that they were to two people his Captain got on relatively well with, but he managed well enough. It was just another layer on top of all the other layers of denial and falsehood that had somehow become his life.
He didn't need their pity, any of it. He had long ago made his decision and right or wrong, he would live out the consequences.
It wasn't long after the truth about Yumichika's Zanpakuto was revealed that Yumichika ended up in Squad Four, but then so did Kenpachi, so that was alright.
He also got rather a long lecture from Ruri'iro Kujaku (Ru-ri-i-ro-Kujaku...the name sounded strange after such a long time, especially when saying it to other people) and Ikkaku, both telling him what an idiot he was. Ikkaku seemed particularly infuriated when the only effect the angry lecture seemed to have was to make Yumichika smile; Ruri'iro Kujaku simply took it in his stride.
Yachiru informed him, as she sat on the side of his bed, legs swinging contentedly, that Kenpachi couldn't wait for him to get better. Ikkaku snapped that he had first dips on the Fifth Seat when he got out. Yumichika wondered if Unohana would let him stay a little longer.
It was not something a manly squad such as the Eleventh was supposed to do, but then that seemed rather redundant, all things considered. Yumichika woke one day to discover Ikkaku was no longer mad with him by virtue of a bowl of fruit by his bed and the especially grumpy individual in question trying to sneak from the room. Yachiru also brought him sweets she had managed to acquire somehow, although she ate most of them herself.
Pride of place though was the small Koi Carp in a fish bowl Yachiru arrived with one day and then promptly almost killed by tapping the glass to get it to move for him. Having heard that Captain Kuchiki had bought some young Koi to replace the ones that went missing from his pond Yumichika resolved to slip it back as soon as he could.
The moment Yumichika saw Kenpachi charging at him he knew he would die. Perhaps not immediately, but there was only so far that one could run and fleeing an inevitable fate was particularly undignified in his opinion.
But Yumichika didn't want to die. It was all very well dying a beautiful death to protect his secret in battle with the enemy, but being hacked down by your Captain was something entirely different and he had absolutely no intention of dying in such an ugly way. He had long ago planned how he was to die, and it was in a blaze of light in a battle, not in your squad's training grounds in front of the newbies.
He almost didn't have to call, the blade was already in his hand and he flinched as it exploded into a blaze of azure light.
He would not die. Not here.
"Feather-brow!" Yachiru looked up at the fifth seat, who beginning to look somewhat pained.
What is it?"
"Show me the flowers again." The small girl looked at him with that expression that all children have mastered and no one but the most cruel hearted individual can resist. "Pleeease?"
Resigned to his fate Yumichika sighed and raised his sword, pointedly ignoring Ikkaku, who was sniggering behind him.
Aramaki Makizo edged into his Captain's office, helped along by shoving hands and encouraging whispers. He stood in the room for a long time before the Captain looked up, and then only the fact that several other people were waiting to pummel him if he didn't speak drove him to act.
"I was...that is we were...we wanted to know what you planned to do with Ayasegawa..."
Evidently saying it faster didn't make it better, and Aramaki squirmed under the large man's gaze. "What about him?"
Never terribly brave at the best of times, Kenpachi's gaze rendered him speechless. "Well...recently...that is...his Zanpakuto is...you said..."
"I said that Kidou Zanpakuto were forbidden."
"Yes! That's it!" Emboldened by his Captain's apparent agreement Aramaki continued. "You said it was weak."
The grin that spread across Kenpachi's face was far from reassuring. "Well. I'll cut you a deal perhaps." He raised his voice for the benefit of those huddled outside the door. "If one of you, any one of you, can beat Yumichika in a fair fight, I'll kick him outta the squad."
Needless to say Yumichika stayed quite firmly where he was.
Ikkaku was not usually inclined to be maudlin, except perhaps when he had been drinking (or so Yumichika claimed), but sometimes he couldn't help but wonder. Some part of him, the part which whispered fearfully on dark cold nights, spoke of the scars on Yumichika's body; the wounds he had sustained over the years. That cowardly part of him always reminded him that he was the cause of that. He and his Captain with their rule about Kidou, and he wondered how unhappy the Fifth Seat must have been, suppressing his very soul like that for so many years.
Of course, when Yumichika found out about this (God knows how, he just always did) Ikkaku received a sharp crack to the head with the hilt of Ruri'iro Kujaku and some stern words.
Ikkaku never dared feel sorry for himself again.
When Yumichika found out that his secret had been revealed, and perhaps more importantly that nobody who actually mattered cared, it felt as if a huge weight had been taken from his chest. He felt free for the first time since his Zanpakuto sprint had manifested itself.
Unfortunately Ruri'iro Kujaku also seemed to feel this way and insisted that he release him at every opportunity, evidently trying to make up for lost time. Training sessions, minor Hollow, sparring, it made no difference, Yumichika had a constant whining inside his head until he agreed to its demands.
Honestly, that sword was so vain, if it were him he would go about it with a little more dignity.
His inner world looked better than it had for years. Finding denial to be an entirely acceptable course of action where his Zanpakuto was concerned he had tried to avoid coming as best he could in recent years, unwilling to face the reproachful looks of his Zanpakuto or the stark evidence of the effects that his choices were having on the both of them. But now, now, the sun shone, the trees and flowers were in full bloom, the marble shone as if newly carved. It was truly a landscape remade.
But there was one thing he still had to do.
He heard soft footfalls, muted by the grass, and turned. The words froze in his throat as he stared at his companion, and for a moment the skies became stormy; humility was never a trait that he had worn well and he struggled under that patient gaze. Eventually though, the words came out. "I'm sorry."
Ruri'iro Kujaku gave him a look which spoke of many things; of past betrayals, of loneliness, loyalty and anger. But most of all it spoke of understanding. "I know."
It had only been a little mistake, a slip of the tongue which proved that old habits die hard, and it was truly comical to see the look on Yumichika's face when his sword remained stubbornly inert as he demanded why the damn thing was not answering his call. It was even funnier to hear his screeches of disbelief and fury when it turned out that he had said 'bloom' rather than 'split and deviate' to call it out.
He accused it of splitting hairs, he accused it of being unreasonable, he reminded it that old habits were hard to break, he reasoned with it, pleaded with it, and even tried bashing it against a nearby wall, but it adamantly refused to release unless Yumichika called it properly.
Ikkaku did briefly consider telling him that it would be so much easier to just do as it wanted, but figured that there was no point. They were both as bad as each other in his opinion.
Yumichika was the only person Ikkaku had ever known that actually had full blown, out loud, rows with his Zanpakuto, and Ikkaku found it very, very, funny.
Again, if anyone would like to give me a prompt I'd be more than happy to try writing something...I do love a bit of audience participation! XD Reviews are always appreciated.