Bleach Fan Fiction ❯ Irustamonota ( Chapter 25 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Tite Kubo owns Bleach. I just borrowed the characters. I did create Atonomatsuri (the bird) and Piecrust (the jerk).
“Memento Mori,” a distracted Atonomatsuri uttered the Latin tag.
“Remember you must die, or will die, or whatever the hell that translates to. As apt adages go, I think you missed it this time. I asked what’s so good about remembering and you tell me I will die. I’ve died twice and wandered around for years thinking I was Death. What’s another death? The only thing I fear about death is I won’t be able to fight any more.” This conversation was deteriorating and the resentment was becoming stronger with each adage. Trying to find a more comfortable position to listen to the bird, he leant back against the wall, the bottle still in his hand. While he was unsure if he wanted to drink anymore, he was loath to let go of the bottle because it would provide a short lived oblivion if he didn’t mind coping with the consequences.
“You’re lying. You fear death more now than at any other time since you came to Soul Society. You have friends, you won the name you wanted, you’ve been having fun planning what you will do to the Clown Captain, there’s the upcoming war against the Arrancar which I know you’re looking forward to, and you have me. What more could you desire?” Atonomatsuri preened apparently confident in his appreciation.
“What more could I desire?” Zaraki did not try to conceal the irony in his tone. The liquid in the bottle sloshed as he gulped another mouthful. “A manifestation of my zanpaku-to that wasn’t you would be a good start. Getting even with the Clown Captain. Not being a former Hollow. And proper explanations of why you change shape when I say `yawn’ seeing you’re supposed to be in constant release, an explanation of why you actually appeared in physical form the first time, why everything I have to do with you becomes so damned difficult and why I’m constantly making new friends.”
Atonomatsuri sighed heavily. “I am the way I am because of you. I told you that before. I’ll try to explain again, very simply so your miniscule intellect can process the information. Unlike other zanpaku-to’s you named me when you took me from the Captain-General because you were thinking `too late’ the first time you held me. I had another name but you renamed me and perverted my form and nature and that name and form can never be regained, which is another reason I’ve hated you all this time. Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured. Hate destroys us both.”
“You hate me? I would never have guessed; it’s not like you’ve ever mentioned it before now and this time you even used an adage. I appreciate how you’re really dumbing down the information, but I’m still having trouble understanding because your mind is superior to mine,” Zaraki decided that sarcasm was not affecting Atonomatsuri and it was not amusing him. “Have we ever had a conversation when you haven’t mentioned that you hate me? Stop telling me? Pretend that you told me and I actually cared, if that makes it easier. But the other form and name, you never told me that. How am I supposed to know that? Did you send me smoke signals that I missed? Or perhaps each time you talk it’s really a coded message. That would probably make more sense than the crap that normally emerges from your bloody beak.”
What one knows it is sometimes useful to forget. You forgot, whether by choice or insanity I’m not sure. How could I tell you? You didn’t remember receiving me from Yamamoto or being a Hollow. I had to wait until now, until everything was revealed. If you can try to remember I told you before: you’re not like other Shinigami and I am not like any other zanpaku-to. Because of my corruption at your hands I’ve an additional shape and can appear before you when you summon me by calling my name. I thought I’d explained all this before. Maybe I should have tried to use a PowerPoint presentation, but they never work they only manage to put people to sleep and I don’t imagine you’d stay awake more than a few minutes.”
Zaraki rested his eyes as the bird blathered on. So, he was different, big shock there. The resentment was growing at the continual accusations and he wondered how he could get her to go away. He’d never been in this position and thought for a little while, her words washing over him in a tide of sound that ebbed and flowed, but remained a constant series of waves. “If saying her name makes her appear, unsaying her name will make her go. I’ve drunk too much. I think I made up the word unsaying. How do you unsay something? You can’t take words back. It’s not that I’ve drunk too much; I think it’s that I haven’t drunk enough. Another drink. Ah, that feels good. She’s still talking about something. I think she mentioned her pain again. It’s actually better this way. I can’t hear her, so I miss the adages and the crap. The only problem I can see is that she might say something useful for once, but she’ll say it again later, probably at the worst time. This wall is hard; I want to be a bit more comfortable. Why not lie down? Her tongue would put an insomniac to sleep without her using the poison.” Zaraki lay on the bed, still holding the bottle from which he took frequent refreshment as Atonomatsuri continued to speak.
“Are you even listening to me, Kenny?” Her voice was sharp.
Keeping his eyes closed he replied, “No. From being worried about me and actually telling me something I might want to know, you’re now boring the crap out of me. Why should I pay attention? How do I unsummon you?”
“You’re displaying your inability to understand the fundamentals of language. There is no such word as `unsummon’. Next you’ll use some other made up word that reveals your ignorance even more, like unvanish or disshelved or unblack. Why do you wish to dismiss me? We haven’t finished talking.”
He heard her feathers rustle as she moved closer to the bed. “We have. Go away. Irustamonota! Hell that sounds funny. Does saying your name backwards make you disappear?” He laughed at the absurdity of the sound of her name backwards and was impressed that he managed to pronounce it without slurring after the amount of sake he had absorbed.
Atonomatsuri harrumphed loudly. “Drunk and even more stupid than normal. Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of drunkenness. You will taste sorrow as a result of this night. Why did you think saying my name backward would help? Do you think this is a fairy tale?”
“If this was a fairy tale you’d be useful instead of a pain in the ar…neck. If this was a fairy tale I’d reach bankai as soon as I tried, the traitors would be brought to justice and everyone would live happily ever after getting paired off, or some other vomit generating mush. Hey, we might even like each other.” Zaraki shuddered slightly at the thought of becoming friends with the bird that had brought him more confusion and torment than he thought possible. It might happen, the day that Piecrust stopped acting like a jerk and Kurotsuchi behaved like he had a conscience; in other words, never. “You’re a plague ridden pest and I’m still awake; therefore this is not a fairy tale. It’s more of a tragedy that we ended up with each other. Get lost, bird. I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Become invisible and silent.” Refusing to open his eyes, he sighed and moved slightly. He was tired and in sleep he would find escape from the reality which was becoming too unpleasantly like a constant interaction with the winged harpy. “Vanish Atonomatsuri.”
“I’ll leave then. I know when I’m not wanted,” she commenced.
“No you don’t, dammit, otherwise you would have gone before now.” He placed the bottle on the floor and turned his back to her, determined not to talk to her again that night. He shut his eyes and ears, drifting into a drunken slumber as speedily as he could.
The silence in the room when he woke assaulted his ears and the sunlight dazzled his eyes. His head ached, which he expected. He remembered the conversation; he knew who he had been and what he was now. At least he hadn’t dreamt about the dratted Hollow. He turned over on the bed slowly and felt a rush of relief. Atonomatsuri was not to be seen.
That Hollow. It was no coincidence that the voice and the Hollow were familiar to him, he’d been dreaming about himself. He had been the inarticulate, annoying being that had provided the clue to his identity. It was no wonder he had not been able to defeat it, or that it could anticipate his moves and that it only appeared on his left side.
Rising he prepared for the day, quickly having a dose of the hangover cure, distracted by the pulsing in his brain until it began to take effect. Stripping quickly, he washed and donned fresh clothes. Doing his hair was more annoying as he hadn’t removed the bells before sleeping. When he finally managed to remove them and undo the worst of the tangles, he began to arrange it for the day. Putting the bells in was more exasperating than normal and when he looked in the mirror he cursed loudly when he saw the reason. Removing his eye patch, he found it much easier to complete the task. He had slept fully dressed, not going through his normal routine. He blamed the feathered female for that mistake. When he had a hangover he often made minor errors which slowed him down. Doing stupid things irked him, but at least no one was there to see him make a fool of himself. Yawning loudly he rubbed his eyes, wishing he’d had more hours of sleep and fewer things to think about and then replaced his eye patch.
Every time he thought about the Hollow disclosure he immediately thought of something else. It wasn’t something he wanted to contemplate, nor was there anyone except the old man with whom he could discuss it, aside from the blasted bird. He felt a strange lack of enthusiasm at the idea of talking to Yamamoto. The resentment which he’d believed was fully directed at Atonomatsuri was now also aimed at the Captain-General. Being a Hollow had been easy, being an insane soul was something he didn’t want to experience again, but hadn’t required much thought or conscience. Being Kenpachi Zaraki had been acceptable, until now.
This new knowledge changed his truth and the basis of his beliefs. All he had felt to be the foundation of his life had been neatly stripped from beneath him, leaving a feeling that his grasp on his identity was extremely flimsy. From being told he was a Hollow, he now felt a new hollowness inside him, a gaping hole in his reality that had previously been sound. He was no longer the person he knew. All the recent events had changed him, but none had shaken his viewpoint as profoundly as the information about his previous incarnation. How could he reconcile the man he thought he was with the facts? He despised philosophy, psychology and all the other crappy `ologies’ that people embraced, and now found that he was caught in a philosophical and psychological dilemma. Thirstily he drank some water to quench his increasing thirst, momentarily absorbed by the mundane task.
As soon as he could, he left his quarters, eager for some company and to hear voices not in his head. Piecrust was returning to 11th Division today, and he wanted to set the chain of events in motion that would discredit the Clown Captain. Severely he banished all other thoughts from his mind.
Without thinking about it any further he began to walk toward 2nd Division, stopping briefly by his office to retrieve two boxes. He needed Soi Fon to agree to his request, without a tedious explanation of the whole set up to her. Presenting her with the boxes would be the discharge of his promise and possibly sway her to comply with the proposal. The fewer people who knew, the less chance there was of discovery. It was still early and he strolled through the streets, wanting to use the time to reflect on everything with two vital exceptions. As soon as his thoughts drifted in that direction he tried to think of something to make his thoughts flow in a different direction. It was difficult because his mind would travel the accustomed paths which often led back to the matter which he refused to consider. Bankai, the new form of his zanpaku-to, the change in direction in his Division were all too close to the unwanted considerations. Even remembering the planning session last night made his mind skid over the dangerous paths.
“Damn you, bird. Damn your babbling beak and lying tongue,’ he muttered under his breath. Every time he talked to her he ended up having to again come to terms with the difficult facts she decided to impart. The simple solution would be to refuse to summon or talk to her again and surrender to the reality that he would never reach bankai, never become stronger; he would remain static.
On this happy thought he found himself outside the open door of 2nd Division headquarters. Knocking briefly he entered the room without waiting for an invitation. Why wait?
Soi was sitting at the desk, her eyes fixed on something she was holding just under the lip of the table. Hearing his tread, she looked up, flushed and rose to her feet, her eyes firmly fixed on the boxes he was carrying.
“Is that, are they…Did you bring me the doll?” Her voice wavered as she tried to maintain her composure, while her excitement at the possibility was difficult to ignore.
“Yeah,” Zaraki handed her the boxes, curious as to what she would do. Would she open the boxes to make certain that the dolls were the ones he had promised, or would she wait until she was alone and unobserved.
Her hands clenched at the boxes and she nearly opened one, but placed them carefully on the desk. She looked squarely at Zaraki. “I never thought I would I would say this to another Captain, but thank you. You have proved your nobility to me by honouring your promise and I am grateful. Please, sit down and have a cup of tea.”
Impressed at her composure and control, Zaraki sat and accepted the cup she poured. He needed to mention his request and decided to be blunt. “Captain Fon, I need you to do something for me.”
Her body which had relaxed when he handed her the dolls became very tense and he saw a look of disappointment cross her features. “What is it Captain?”
Feeling uncomfortable he asked, “How do you feel about Captain Kurotsuchi?”
The startled expression on her face almost made Zaraki laugh. He had never seen her look so amazed until now. “Captain Kurotsuchi? I have little to do with him. Our paths rarely cross as he is usually too caught up in his research. On occasions we consult.”
“That’s not what I’m asking.” Zaraki didn’t know how to make it clearer. “Are you friendly with him?”
“No!” The exclamation took both Soi and Zaraki by surprise. It was a very loud denial of her friendship with the Captain and Soi flushed with embarrassment.
Zaraki decided to remain silent. If she was going to explain she would do so in her own time. He glanced out the window, wondering how long this would take.
“I do not like the man for many reasons. When Yoruichi left I felt lonely and vulnerable and he visited me on many occasions, offering consolation. I did not accept. I would prefer to be consoled by a taipan or a funnel web spider than accept any comfort from that male. I pity his daughter.”
Zaraki breathed a sigh of relief. This might be a little easier than he thought. “One day soon, I would like you to take the Captain-General to Captain Kurotsuchi’s office early in the morning. You don’t have to. I won’t take back the stupid dolls. And I don’t want to explain.”
“Oh, so you’ve heard that he’s trying to get you expelled from the Seireitei? It does not surprise me that he is doing this. His jealousy regarding you has always been highly noticeable and recently it has been worse. I am not privy to his reasons for competing with you, but I would be wary of any interactions with the man,” Soi spoke quietly but seriously.
“It’s not that. Look, Captain, if I explain it will make it more difficult for you,” Zaraki hid his shock at her statement. He hadn’t known that the Clown Captain was competing with him, or that he was jealous. Emotions were so confusing and he had trouble coping with his own, let alone thinking about other people and how they might feel.
“I’ll do it if I’m invited to one of your regular nightly sessions. Everyone knows you’re meeting with three members of your division and Captain Unohana on a regular basis. There had been considerable speculation on what you do,” Soi smiled shyly at Zaraki.
Thunderstruck that this had been observed Zaraki sat with his mouth open, wondering what to say. He didn’t care if Soi wanted to come, but it might upset the others. His subordinates had not appeared to mind when Retsu joined them or uttered a word of complaint when Hanatoro was there last time. “What are people saying?” he asked putting off the decision.
“That you’re plotting to overthrow the Captain-General; that Captain Unohana is observing you closely for signs of the onset of insanity, you’re having wild orgies, you all indulge in drinking contests, there are a number of suggestions. If it is wild orgies, I will retract my request.” Soi looked very solemn as she uttered the last sentence.
Zaraki threw back his head and laughed loudly. It never ceased to amuse him how many Shinigami were obsessed with sex. “With Yachiru there? Do they think I’m some sort of thrice damned freak? We talk, drink, eat, and tell bad jokes. It’s nothing. Sure, you can come, but maybe after this other thing happens if you’re still interested.”
Soi nodded thoughtfully. “I comprehend what you are trying to say. Very well, Captain. I agree to your request.”
Zaraki got to his feet, eager to attend to the other business in hand. “Good. I’ll let you know when it’s happening. I know you’re busy and itching to open the boxes. Do you want me to shut the door on my way out?”
Soi nodded, her hands already reaching for the boxes as he walked toward the door. The look of eager anticipation on her face made Zaraki feel a pang within his chest. When was the last time he’d felt that sort of eagerness for anything other than fighting? Mentally shrugging he pushed the thought away while also ignoring the understanding that he was ignoring a number of thoughts recently. Thinking was making him uncomfortable. No wonder he’d given it up for so long.
Frowning slightly he began to walk back to his Division. Piecrust was returning today, his office was being redecorated and there was still further work on the scheme. It had to be executed in the next two days, otherwise he was sure rumours would spread and all the planning would be of no use.
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Author’s Note:
Taipan: One of the deadliest snakes in the world. Found in Australia.
Funnel Web Spider: One of the deadliest spiders in the world also found in Australia.
I knew I needed a zanpaku-to. Kevlar doesn’t cut it, or rather it was cut and the bayonet broke. Damn WW I surplus.
Yeah, I know. I explained again why Atonomatsuri has an additional form but there was more information that was revealed this time.
The next chapter has to be lighter or I’ll go back to playing Zelda or maybe travelling.
Mixing Memory
Delicate Little Flower