A/N: I wrote this as a songfic, because as I was looking through one of my history textbooks today I realised, rather late on that the same things happen, wherever you are. No matter what country, no matter what time, the same things will happen. I then figured this could transfer quite easily to the Shinigami and Soul Society. There must be horrible things to have happened in their past, right? Because nobody's perfect. Anyways, read and tell me what you think in a review. Rhea
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the song, which is Iron Hand by Mark Knopfler.
The Same Old Crimes
Sometimes those who claim to be righteous aren't quite as righteous as they'd like to believe. They have events, moments in their past that they'd much prefer to keep hidden. Things they've done that they wished they hadn't. Things they want to change but they cannot take them back.
The Shinigami are no different. The things they've done have just been erased from the history book, deleted from anywhere they might be read or told.
With all the clarity of dream
Those who could have remembered never spoke of it. There was a fear that they too would disappear in the night and never be returned home. One person who never feared it was Zaraki Kenpachi.
He remembered, he could remember every detail: the faces of the Shinigami who were there, the smell of the world around him, the voices of the souls that had surrounded him. He remembered, yet he never spoke of it. Not because of fear, because it disturbed him. Somewhere deep inside him he felt ashamed that he had joined the ranks of those who committed those crimes when he was just a child.
The sky so blue, the grass so green,
Yachiru found Kenpachi staring out of a window in the Eleventh Division's Headquarters. He was just staring. Something had caught his attention and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't draw his attention away. In the end she gave up and left him to his staring.
It was sunny in Soul Society, as it always was. The sky was bright blue, with no clouds and the grass was greener than it could ever be in the living world. This wasn't what had caught his attention though. It was a smell: an odour he hadn't smelt since he was just a small child. A vulgar, slightly sweet smell which brought back a memory, long suppressed.
The rank and file and the navy blue
He was surrounded people, only reaching up to their waists, fighting through the crowds, hoping to see what's going on. A young, yet to be named, Kenpachi reached the front and almost stumbled into the gap between the two lines that had formed. It was warm and that smell was ever present. It must be one of the plants that are scattered across what is a mostly desolate grass land, in between Zaraki and Kusajishi, but he ignored its origin for the moment.
The deep and strong, the straight and true
Opposite him were stood, a hundred Shinigami, although in reality there was only about fifty. He'd seen them before. They believed that they are the ones who followed the straight and true path. There were Shinigami around Zaraki only a few days before, fighting with the residents of his district. He didn't know why, he didn't care; he just liked watching from the roof tops, watching how they fought. The anger of the Zaraki people clashed with the calm and collected nature of the Shinigami in a way he could appreciate. A rough, unrefined style, going against the perfected and well practiced moves of the Shinigami- that was something he could appreciate.
The blue line they got the given sign
Somewhere while he was thinking, the line opposite him started to shuffle, as if something had hit one end and, like water, had created ripples flowing from one end to the other. They drew their Zanpakutō's and steadied themselves, preparing for the next step.
The belts and boots march forward in time
They moved forward in a line, almost gliding towards the line of rebels. Graceful footsteps fell, with each sandal falling exactly in time with the one of the person next to it. Their black kosode's swished gently as they started to run, charging towards the weak line of rebels.
The wood and leather, the club and shield
That's all they ever were, just rebels. Just those left in Zaraki with nothing to fight for but their own lives. They fought for what they had: wood and timber houses, leather pads on their feet, if they were lucky. They didn't have much in the way of weapons, but the young unnamed boy could appreciate that the people of Zaraki didn't intend to go down without a fight. Armed with clubs and wooden shield they stood, preparing themselves for the inevitable clash.
Swept like a wave across the battlefield
No one really took any notice of the children in the ranks. There were young, nameless boys and girls scattered in amongst the Zaraki people. Curious children who wanted to know what was happening. They didn't realise, even when a roar went up from both side, that the black line rushing towards them would shatter the line of men fighting for what they believed was their freedom.
With all the clarity of a dream
So it wasn't until later that someone realised instead of killing a man, armed to fight against the Shinigami, they'd killed a child. They'd murdered a lost child who'd gotten caught up in the midst of something they never had any right to be caught up in.
The blood so red, the grass so green
It wasn't until after the grass had turned red with the blood of so many dead children that and end was called to the madness. But by then it was too late, the men who had formed a force to face the Shinigami had been slaughtered, killed so quickly that no one had really noticed. No one noticed and they pushed forward not truly realising that they'd stopped killing armed men and they were killing the children that'd been caught up in the fight.
The gleam of a spur on the chestnut flank
The grass next to the nameless boy was red. Red with his blood. He tried to move, but it hurt too much. He tried to cry out but he couldn't be heard above the shouts of those left fighting and the dying. He tried to open his left eye, but it wouldn't respond Instead he had to pick himself up and drag his sorry excuse for a body to somewhere safe. The closet thing to him was a bush, a tatty shrub with twisted branches and a smell that has haunted the man ever since.
As he settled in between the branches, he was hit by a vulgar, sickly smell and it made him wretch. He placed a hand up to his eye to feel the damage from a Zanpakutō that caught his face. As he does so he feels a deep gash that goes right down his face, a gash that will no doubt scar.
The cavalry did bust upon the ranks
More shouting comes from the field, with his one eye; the boy can see more of the Zaraki men have appeared to fight. Only armed with clubs and little else, they charged at the Shinigami once more. The boy forced his eye to open and watched in horror as the massacre began again, with not a shed of mercy being show. Men were beaten and left bloodied before they were killed; some were attacked repeatedly, by Shinigami, who had grins on their faces.
The iron will and the iron hand
After he became a Captain, after he'd fought his way out of Zaraki and into the ranks of the same murderers who butchered the bodies of the dead in Zaraki, he went looking for a reason why. Searching high and low in the library he found one, old book on a dusty corner, which had obviously been forgotten about when the purge of the library took place.
In England's green and pleasant land
It gave him the name of the man responsible, a man who held respect and power equivalent to the Taichou of the First Division. It gave him his name, his family, his address almost and it gave him the worst news possible: he was already dead. The man Kenpachi had intended to kill after he became a Captain was dead now he was one.
No music for the shameful scene
Angry at his own failure, in not reaching the bastard before illness did, he'd stormed out of the library realising later that the only book with any information on the Battle of Zaraki was in his possession.
He kept the book, not for sentimental reasons, because he couldn't be bothered to return it. Yet, every time he caught even the slightest hint of that smell, the smell of that shrub, from where he'd watched the horror unfold, he'd reach into the bottom draw of his desk and pull it out.
That night they said it had even shocked the Queen
He'd stare at the words on the page, not reading them, but rather scanning the pictures that were there, knowing that somewhere a small boy was hiding watching the Shinigami butcher, men, women and children. He remembered this happening, he was there, but yet, history neglected to tell anyone of it. The books of the Shinigami had conveniently skipped this particular battle, most likely because of the damage it would do to their reputation.
Alas we've seen it all before
Knights in armour, days of yore
The same old fears and the same old crimes
We haven't changed since ancient times.
It happens in every era. It's inevitable, an event happens which history neglects to tell those who follow. The same sentiments of righteousness and self-importance echo further down the line. But so does the desire to break the establishment and fight against the expectations.
The riots in Zaraki, now Kenpachi is a Captain, are about the same things they were when he was a child; equality, freedom, food. But the difference is, very few Shinigami are sent now, only the best go in and only when absolutely necessary. Even if the fights haven't changed the ways of dealing with them have.
But one can't help but wonder: whose fault is it? Those in Serentei who leave the districts of the Rukongai to their own devices, or the higher powers who do little to help the districts change who they are?
The worst crime committed in all of this, was perhaps not the massacre at the Battle of Zaraki, but rather the ancient crime which had come long before. The crime which meant that those in District One were treated with respect, had money and could support themselves, whereas those in District Eighty, faced violence, starvation and the curse of being looked down upon by those around them.
It's just apparent that the crimes are the same and the people in Soul Society haven't changed.