Title: Without Rangiku Having to Cry

Characters: Ichimaru Gin, Matsumoto Rangiku

Genre: Tragedy/Friendship/Romance(if you squint and cross your eyes)

Warning: Contains spoilers up to Bleach Chapter 416. Walk away now if you don't want to be spoiled. You have been warned.

A/N: Obviously, I don't own Bleach. If I did, I wouldn't have created so many characters, only to kill them in the span of fifty chapters or so. I mean, come on, seriously? And yes, there are typos (maybe), but I wrote this in one sitting, so, bite me.

Summary: He felt his eyes grow heavy, and the last thing he saw was Rangiku, and he realized that he had indeed failed, because, wasn't everything he did, he did just to make sure Rangiku would no longer cry?


Annie Use Your Telescope

by Jack's Mannequin

"Gin! Where have you been, Gin? Those are shinigami clothes…! Where did you get them…"

"I've decided. I'm going to become a shinigami. Become a shinigami, and change things. So that they'll end…without Rangiku having to cry."

He stared blankly at the small bowl filled with dried persimmons sitting on top of his office desk. Neat stacks of paperwork filled about a quarter of the table's surface, and he knew that more of them would arrive in another hour or so. His lieutenant Izuru tried to be helpful, but most of the paperwork needed his signature, and he'd rather not have poor ol' Izuru get in trouble for plagiarism. Heavens know the boy already looked maltreated and harassed enough as it is.

He took a small piece of persimmon from the bowl and popped it inside his mouth, chewing it slowly. The sweet, slightly tangy flavor tickled his tongue, and he closed his eyes slightly, sighing as the dried fruit melted in his mouth.

The dried persimmon reminded him a lot of things—his days in Rukongai as a child orphan, the cold winters and the warm summers that seemed to fly by without a care, the strawberry blonde girl sprawled helpless on the ground, weak from starvation…

Gin sighed once more and reluctantly opened his eyes, his gaze falling on the bowl of dried fruit in front of him. How long had it been since he joined the Shinou Academy and worked his way up to the ranks, finally earning a much revered position in the Gotei 13? How many years had it been since he killed the third seat of the 5th position just to catch the attention of one Aizen Sousuke? How much time had he spent away from the one person in all of Soul Society whom he considered a true friend?

True, Rangiku's division was only a few rooms away from his, just a couple of cartwheels and I'll be there, she used to kid him when she was finally chosen as the lieutenant of the 10th division, years after Gin was already promised a secure position within the elites. Still, there were times when he couldn't help but feel that she was so far away, and that, just like before he had met her, he was all alone. He really couldn't, shouldn't, blame her. He had chosen a path—a path filled with carnage (all because of her, everything is because of her)—and because he wanted her not to cry anymore, he consciously tried to push her away, consciously chose the evil side, to be the mysterious, plotting shinigami that was clearly up to no good.

It's just that, sometimes, Gin felt that what he's doing was what was causing Rangiku to be sad.

Sighing for the third time, the captain of the third squad pushed away all thoughts of his childhood friend from his mind and tried to focus on his work. And just as he was almost there—almost succeeded in pushing Rangiku out—who else but the voluptuous beauty would come barging in his office, a bottle of sake in one hand.


Gin winced. She was obviously drunk, again. He sometimes wondered if it was her way of coping, of pretending that everything was okay between them, that they were the same childhood friends who shared a small hut at the outskirts of Rukongai.

"Rangiku. What are you doin' here?"

Rangiku giggled and slammed the bottle of sake on his table. "Visiting you, of course!" She produced two small Japanese cups from somewhere inside her robe (Gin didn't even want to think where she hid them) and placed them beside the sake bottle. "You work too much. C'mon, let's have a drink."

Gin rubbed his temples with his hands. "Rangiku, don't you have yer own paperwork to finish?"

The strawberry blonde chuckled. "Captain's doing it for me." She hic'd, then poured sake in the cups. "C'mon Gin, just one shot?"

Gin frowned. "Yer already drunk, Rangiku. I think it's best if you walk it off first. Captain Hitsugaya won't be pleased."

Rangiku pouted. "Who cares?" She turned around and sat down on Gin's couch, her back against him. "You never have any time for me anymore, Gin."

It made Gin sad, hearing those words. It was true—they hardly spent any time together anymore. It was his choice, but it still made him sad every time Rangiku would say it out loud.

"Fine," Gin said, sighing and standing up. He was about to take the cup of sake, but thought otherwise. Instead, he took the bowl of persimmons and brought it over the couch, sitting beside Rangiku, who immediately made herself comfortable by laying her head on his lap.

"What's that?" she asked, squinting her eyes at the bowl, not seeing what the contents are.

"Yer favorite," he said, picking a piece and dangling it on top of her mouth. "Say 'ah.'"

The strawberry blonde squealed in delight, before opening her mouth. Gin gently dropped the fruit in Rangiku's mouth, and watched as his friend chewed the treat, her eyes closed in happiness.

"You really do make the best dried persimmons in the whole of Soul Society," she whispered, rolling to her side, and within minutes, she fell asleep, her light snores ringing like a beautiful melody in Gin's ears. The usual fox face transformed into a more relaxed one, and for a moment it felt like they were back in their old hut, just the two of them, accompanying each other in the bitter cold.

"And you still smell like sake, as always," he whispered, removing a stray strand of hair from his friend's face.

That bad habit you had of always disappearing without telling me where you are going...still hasn't changed.

She pulled the covers above her head, not wanting to get up. The last few days had been crazy, and what happened the previous night was the culmination of it. She still winced at the thought that had she been a second later, Momo would have died.

A part of her was relieved that she headed back when she felt Hyourinmaru released, thereby effectively stopping the captain of the third division from skewering the lieutenant of the fifth. But another part of her, the one she was trying hard to push back down in the recesses of her subconscious, wished that she hadn't turned back at all, that she had just gone to her quarters, just as her captain had ordered her to. If she had done that, she wouldn't have had to cross swords with him, and she wouldn't be hiding out in the confines of her room that very minute, her arms bruised, her heart broken.

"What in the world are you thinking, Gin?" she found herself asking out loud.

Their relationship had always been like that, ever since they were kids—Gin would leave for long periods of time, not telling her where he plans to go. He would always come back, always, but before she could even ask him where he had been, he would be gone again.

That time she found him with blood on his face, with those shinigami clothes in his arms, she felt dread spreading all throughout her heart. She couldn't understand what he meant by what he said, but she knew she was partly the reason why he was acting as such. Therefore, it was only logical that she joins him, to stay with him and support him, just like a true friend would.

He would have none of it at first. He tried leaving without telling her, again—and almost succeeded—but the night he left she fought back the drowsiness and followed him secretly as he made his way to the gates of Shinou Academy. Just when she thought her little trailing escapade was a success, Gin had called out to her and told her that he had known all along that he was being followed. He didn't look displeased, yet Rangiku felt that she had made a mistake, that her following him would put a crack in the bond they had shared all those years.

And she was right.

Gin was a genius, and he graduated the academy way ahead of her. By the time she even made it as a seated officer, Gin was already in the transition of leaving the vice-captain seat under Captain Aizen and transferring to the third division as its new captain. By then, Rangiku had felt that there was already a gaping hole in their friendship, and no matter what she did, she couldn't fill it up again.

And now, the incident of Captain Aizen's death and the fight between her own captain and Gin were all making her so confused. She knew where her loyalty should lie—she was the 10th division's lieutenant after all. But still, she wondered, if, just if, Gin asks her to side with him, would she say yes? Would she betray her sworn allegiance to her captain in favor of a man who hadn't really been there all those years?

Rangiku growled, grabbed her pillow, and covered her face with it. She knew the answer.

Of course.

Gin only had to ask, and she would follow him to the ends of the earth. After all, didn't she want him to tell her where he was going, ever since the beginning?

"It would have been nice if my capture lasted a little longer. Farewell Rangiku. Sorry."

She was angry.

Gin had betrayed everyone—Soul Society, the Gotei 13, his squad, Kira Izuru, and her. Sure, she was pretty sure that not a lot of shinigamis liked him to begin with, and that not a lot in the Gotei 13 trusted him, but still. He had left with that traitor Aizen, with nothing but a stupid word of apology.


"Sorry my foot," she hissed, storming in her office, wanting to break something, anything.

How could he? He left her again, just like the many times he did before. As usual, he didn't say where he was going, only this time, Rangiku felt that she won't be seeing him for a very long time, if again at all. She was furious with him for betraying everyone, for siding with that traitor, for grinning that stupid grin of his as he said his goodbye. Worst of all, she was enraged at the fact that she wasn't able to know exactly what he was up to, that her suspicions remained suspicions, and she had been too dumb not to dig deeper into the matter to find out the truth.

And now it was too late. Gin was gone, declared an enemy of Soul Society.

"That idiot!" she hissed, aiming her fist on her table, wanting to unleash her fury on the poor inanimate thing.

Her fist stopped in midair, and she blinked. There, in a small porcelain vase, was a stalk of white chrysanthemums, two small buds facing the sun, sitting together, but seemed small and insignificant in contrast to the surface of her desk.

It wasn't there that morning. And she knew of only one person who even knew what her favorite flower was. Feh, she thought, her frown slowly melting into exasperation, not even a gaddamned note.

Rangiku felt the strength leaving her knees. She sat down the vacant chair, looked out the window, and forced herself not to choke on tears.

That's what I hate most about you.

Rangiku…it didn't work. In the end, I couldn't get back what was taken from you. Ahh, I knew it. I'm glad I said sorry.

He lay there, blood seeping out of his broken body, and he could hear her, screaming his name, and he could feel her reiatsu, and the first thought that came to mind was how silly it all felt—him, covered in a puddle on his blood, and her, the only person that ever mattered, running to him, to certain death, and him not being able to do anything to stop her.

He found it funny, that after all those years of trying to protect her from getting hurt by acting as the evil right hand of a demonic mastermind, he finally lost the strength to protect her, to protect them. He had failed; Aizen still lives, while he lay there, helpless and dying.


He wanted to tell her to leave, to escape, because Aizen would definitely kill her, but he didn't have enough strength to warn her or to push her away. A few seconds more, he saw her, rushing toward him, unmindful of whatever danger she might be in, just running toward him to hold him in his last moments, to make sure he was reminded that she cared, damn it, she cared, and why was he so stupid?


She was beside him now, and he could see her tears, and he wanted to reach out and wipe them away, wanted to tease her for being a crybaby, wanted to apologize for failing, for not returning what was taken away from her. But he lay there, the last of his life force leaving him, and he only had the strength left to give her one last smile—the smallest of smiles that said that he's sorry, sorry for not telling her when he went, for not taking her with him, sorry for leaving her alone; the smile that told Rangiku that it was all for her, everything, and although he failed, he was still happy, in a way, because he tried, and, well, maybe, just maybe, someone else would finish the job he couldn't do.

He felt his eyes grow heavy, and the last thing he saw was Rangiku—Rangiku, all grown up and beautiful, Rangiku crying for him, and he realized that he had really failed, because, wasn't everything he did, every soul he killed, every plot he conceived—didn't he do all of those just to make sure Rangiku would no longer cry?


Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby)

by Jack's Mannequin


I'm writing this because Gin's death broke my heart. I no longer want to hold on to the hope that he'll live; disappointment's a bitch.

Kubo should be shot.

I swear, I was literally crying the whole day yesterday when I read the chapter. I mean, I've expected that it would happen sooner or later, but seriously? Killed by a wannabe Butterfree? Give me a damn break.

/end of rant

I hope Gin didn't sound too OOC. I think he did, and in all honesty, I wanted him to stay 'snake-like' until the end, but Kubo just had to be retarded and gave him a background story and motive for becoming the way he is—it's like when they explained Hannibal's past and the events that made him a cannibal, I mean, come on, the beauty of Hannibal is that he's a monster!

Err… sorry, got off-track, again.

Reviews will be greatly appreciated, and flames will be used to roast marshmallows.