I was six when it happened. I hadn't died yet, and I had been happy. We were a normal family. My mother and father both had good jobs, and my brother was in his second year of high school when I had just started my second year of elementary school. My brother was ten years older than me, but he always played with me; he never acted like I was a bother. My hair used to be black, too, not snowy white. It didn't turn white for a whole year almost. But that's later. Right now, I'm trying to recall how all of the other captains and lieutenants are seeing my memories from being alive.
I think it started a couple weeks ago. I hadn't been able to remember my life before dying, but two and a half weeks ago, I started having what I thought were strange dreams. I could hear a woman screaming, a man pleading for his sons to be left alone, an older boy begging to leave his baby brother alone, and then I would hear a young child crying and screaming. I thought they were just dreams; maybe I had eaten something rotten, or drank some bad tea. Maybe Matsumoto laced my tea with something, to try and rile me up.
But no, after a whole week of these strange dreams, I went to Unohana taicho. After an examination, she told me that nothing appeared to be wrong. At least, not physically.
"How old are you now, Hitsugaya taicho?" She smiled at me kindly, but I figured it was fake.
That single question led to more trouble than I could have ever imagined. She told me that at this age, I should expect to start remembering my past. She said that if a death was particularly traumatic, as she assumed mine was because of the dreams I described, one normally repressed the memories for as long as possible. She told me that maybe something had triggered my memories to surface, and I didn't like the thought of these dreams being memories.
The other dreams frightened me. They consisted of a little boy sleeping by rotting corpses, being sent to an orphanage, and he never talked. He refused to talk; he barely ever looked anyone in the eye. Then he did something, said something, and it scared the adults around him. He said he was going to kill someone, or more than someone. He said he would kill the people who killed his mommy and daddy, and who took his big brother away. He told an adult how he would kill them; he planned on torturing them. He wanted to skin them alive, then chop them into little itty bitty pieces until they screamed and begged to be killed. He wanted his mommy and daddy to be proud of him, and he thought that in order to achieve that goal, he could not cry and he could not let his parents' killers get away. The adults didn't like that, and they started telling him he was crazy. They hit him when he wouldn't talk, and when he did talk, he got beaten. He refused to cry when he got hit, and they thought he was not mentally sound.
They sent him to a mental institution. Everything was white. The walls had white paint, the bed frame was made of white steels, and the bed sheets white, the window had white bars on it so he could not escape. Even his outfit was white. The only thing that wasn't white in the whole room was his hair; it was black.
After a day of isolation in the white room, a man came in to talk to him. The man asked him what happened to him, and when the boy didn't talk, the man asked if he could draw him a picture.
The boy drew a picture of a family of four sitting at a dinner table, wide smiles on their faces. The drawing was obviously done by a young child, the innocent scrawl depicting what seemed to be the perfect family.
He was asked to draw more and more pictures, and each time he drew a new picture, they progressively got more violent.
The next held the same family sitting at the same table, but their smiles disappeared, and five dark figures broke through a window. After that, each family member was being held down by the black scribbles, and a gray line was held to the mother's throat, red running down her neck. The next picture showed her lying on the floor, two X-es for eyes. Next had a gun pointed at the youngest boy, the father opening his mouth as if to say something. Then the gun was pointed at the father, and red shot out from behind his head. After that, the oldest boy was being dragged away, and the youngest was sitting on the floor.
The last one depicted the youngest boy lying in between the dead parents, red pooled on the floor around him, pouring from his parents' bodies.
I stood there as all the other captains and the lieutenants stared at me, but I wasn't thinking about them at the moment. All I could see was memories. I felt their stares bore into my head, and I felt my hands shaking.
I remembered the man who asked me to draw the pictures. I remember how he would hold me tight, telling me that no one was going to hurt me there; that he would protect me. He told me I could talk, and I wouldn't get hit, no matter what I said. He told me I could say whatever I wanted, and no one would lay a finger on me unless it was a gesture of kindness. He helped me draw pictures of happy things, then we would hang them on the white walls, adding color to the drab place. I thought everything was finally turning up; that maybe I could be normal again.
The man, who was my psychiatrist, became a new father to me. He stayed with me nearly twenty four/seven. He was my best friend.
Then he noticed my hair started turning white. He told me it was probably the stress and trauma that I had ensued in the last months.
I noticed, after a year, that he began to look paler, and his smile wasn't as bright as it used to be. He started getting irritated easily, and he looked sick nearly every day.
He died only thirteen months after I came to the mental institution.
I remember hiding under my bed for days, not speaking, not listening, and barely even breathing. My surrogate father died, leaving me alone. Why should I trust anyone anymore if he had promised to always protect me? He couldn't protect me if he was dead.
I became even more detached than I had been after my parents died. Maybe because the little hope I had left completely died, or maybe it was because the new doctors told me I was insane; they told me I was schizophrenic.
I stopped eating, stopped drinking water, stopped moving. I stopped living once they told me that, because I realized what happened.
I let myself die.
And now I'm standing here, being stared at by my peers. They act like they're so sad, like they actually care. They act like they can fix me.
"It's alright, Captain." Matsumoto tries to comfort me, but I shrug her hand off my shoulder.
"No, it's not." I snapped, all of my memories flooding back. I fell to my knees as I remember what my doctors told me.
"Captain!" Matsumoto shouted, and a collective gasp rang about the room.
"Captain! Maybe you can find them; you can find your family, and you can find your doctor!" Matsumoto tried to smile for me, kneeling down next to me.
"You don't get it, do you?" I bit my lower lip, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to fall.
"What do you mean, Captain?" I could tell the others were all curious as to what I was going to say.
"He never existed. I made him up. After they were killed, I went crazy. A six year old went crazy. I was schizophrenic. I was lonely; so I made him up." I spat out the information.
There was no first doctor. He was a figment of my imagination; an imaginary friend.
"A lonely, crazy little boy made up a father to replace the one that got killed. There's nothing happy or hopeful about it." I stared at the ground, suddenly wondering what happened to my brother.
"Oh, Captain." Matsumoto wrapped her arms around me, and I contemplating pushing her off of me.
I clenched my teeth as the third Captain knelt in front of me, and I wanted to yell at him. He looked so familiar, and I wanted to punch him and kick him and scream at him. I could hear the old voices ringing in my head, and I clenched my fingers in my hair.
He put his hands on my cheeks, pulling my face up to look at his. He brushed my hair out of my eyes, and I wanted to punch him.
"You've grown so much, kiddo." His voice danced around my ears, and memories from before my parents were killed played in front of my eyes.
Memories of an older boy pushing me on a swing, helping me with my homework, wrestling with me, holding me after a nightmare. Memories of an older boy who goofed around often, got the highest grades in his class, of an older boy who finished his homework faster than anyone could imagine.
He held me tight to his chest, running his fingers through my hair as he whispered to me how much he wished he could have saved me, how he could have helped me more.
How could I have not realized that Ichimaru Gin was my brother?