Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo. I only own this story.
The truth: it was all because of her.
Because of her, the Hollow first appeared.
Because of her, it grew stronger every day. And she never even noticed.
And it was all Ichigo could do to keep from falling. He couldn't tell her; for fear that it might tip the frail balance he was standing on.
Because his Hollow was the darker side of him- the manifestation of his more twisted feelings, his desperate wants and his own selfish desires.
So in reality, it wasn't his Hollow's fault. It was all his.
He can't tell her. He loves her.
And because of this- his own secret, hidden longing- it kept growing. And each day is a battle, because he really, truly, loves her.
But every emotion has its twisted side. And that's what the Hollow manifested. Ichigo's more selfish, twisted desires. It was only natural that when you loved someone that much to want them.
And it's hard; he feels it stirring inside him- his own voice, dripping with intent, whispers in his ear. He shuts it off, but every day, it grows stronger. And he knows it's the reason why. It's not the Hollow's fault, because his Hollow is merely an extension of himself. It's his fault.
He shouldn't have. Fallen in love with her.
The first time the Hollow appeared in him was when he tried to regain his powers after losing her.
The second time was when he was fighting to save her.
The next time, and the time after that- when she wasn't there- he could barely fight it. But when she was, he was not as afraid. Yet the more time she spent with him, the stronger it grew.
Like he couldn't win.
Because Ichigo wouldn't tell her. He knew- if he told her, if, perhaps, somehow, she accepted these feelings, the Hollow would quieten. But if she didn't, the Hollow- his own raging strong emotions- the darker side of a love as strong as his- would explode, and hurt her.
It grew restless inside him. His Hollow.
Sometimes, when she wears shorts on hot days, her pale slender legs catch his eyes and he can hardly hold himself back from touching her. And when she comes out of the shower, toweling off her hair, the water droplets falling from her hair to her shoulders. And her t-shirt is too big, it drapes over her tiny shoulders and her thin arms and small hands.
She tells him he can use the shower now and turns to climb into her closet. He nods silently, his back to her, and doesn't let her see that he is biting his hand till it bleeds to stop himself from grabbing her.
When she talks to someone else, another guy, when she smiles, looks at anyone else; he wants to kill them.
He wants to own her. He doesn't want her to look at anyone else, only him.
He wants, deep inside him- in these twisted, disgusting, selfish desires- to lock her up, to confine her, to keep her from anyone else, keep her all to himself.
And it's a disgusting thing to think of.
And his desires are so strong, he thinks of how small she is, and how easily he could just… just pin her down and take her. Because he's so much bigger than her, and he can so easily hold her down and… devour her.
And everything, it all… it all gets mixed up. Until he doesn't know which is which anymore. He loves her, wants to hold her, kiss her, hug her- protect her. But deep inside, his twisted feelings- the darker side to this overbearing love- he wants her, wants to ravage her, confine her, devour her- harming her.
So he kept it all to himself. He tried to keep it quiet. He hid it all, where it slowly grew and grew. He struggled within the fine, fine balance he was treading on, he teetered on the tightrope, frightened, scared.
Scared. For the moment it would break.
Because his emotions were too strong. He loved her. He really, truly, deeply loved her. And because of this hidden hurting love, his pain grew. Into this Hollow.
And he knew that His Hollow held all the more selfish, horrid thoughts in his head. Possessiveness, keeping her all to himself, wanting to hurt her for his pain, wanting, wanting… wanting her.
He can't tell her. The truth.
His love is too strong- so heavy it would crush her.
Its weight is too much, it would burden her, hurt her.
It's a love that wants to make her happy, but also wants to devour her, confine her into his arms, lock her there.
And she smiles, every day. She walks on ahead of him, her black hair brushing past her shoulders, her and her small frame, laughing.
And Ichigo smiles back. And hurts and breaks inside.