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06 November 2016 @ 06:42 am
Again, it's so annoying how LJ doesn't accept long fics. This fic is on tumblr under my name there schmalzmanma, on ff.net under debbiechan and also now on An Archive of Our Own at http://archiveofourown.org/works/8484850

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20. A Father’s Duty
“It’s not like I don’t get my hands covered in disgusting bodily fluids and excretions all day at work,” Ryuuken was explaining to his father. “There’s absolutely no need for me to change my son’s diaper when I come home.”

“It’s a special skill,” Souken explained. “Not one relegated to only women in the old days. Men knew how to sew, cook, nurture the little ones in the old days.”

Ryuuken’s silence seemed to remind Souken that any talk of the old days was verboten.

“Kanae needs the break,” Souken added. “She’s been changing diapers all day.”

Ryuuken got up from the table to refill his glass of milk. “Then I’ll hire her a maid.”

“You know she wouldn’t hear of that.”

“Well then.” Ryuuken sat down. “Would you like some more fish, Father? Kanae doesn’t have to cook. I send out for breakfast these days. Really, we’re doing just fine. There’s no reason for me to deal with shit to fulfill my paternal obligations.”

Years later, Uryuu asked his grandfather what Ryuuken had been like as a baby. It was difficult to imagine his own father as a baby, but Uryuu was fond of puzzles and stretching his imagination to consider things like this.

“A sensitive little one,” Souken said. “Cried for his mother all the time.”


“Oh once he got on a sleeping schedule, he was better, but those first few weeks were so difficult. The slightest noise would wake him and he would cry for hours. I would pace around the room rocking him after his mother was tired. He had a delicate stomach too. I changed his diapers.”

“You changed father’s DIAPERS?”

“Oh yes. And he had such a sensitive stomach. He threw up constantly for a year. I was always cleaning up after him. But such are the things you do for a baby. Babies are helpless. But they are very delightful.” The old man was smiling widely and appearing a little younger as he remembered his baby son. “Your father’s first words came early. He was pointing to people and objects before he was a year old and pronouncing words clear as a bell.”

“Father was always smart.” Uryuu was steeling himself to the fact that when he himself became a father he would have to change diapers and clean up vomit. Such was a father’s duty, but he would commit himself to it with the pride of the Quincy.

Years after that conversation, long after Masaki passed and after Souken died, and Ryuuken was a shell of a man, wandering around a large house, obsessed with work, always looking up something in the library, never sharing a meal with his own son, Uryuu understood that his own father wasn’t his father anymore. Uryuu had acquired his own bank account at age twelve because Ryuuken had stressed the importance of learning to manage finances if not much else, and now, three years later, there was enough money there to rent an apartment for the duration of high school. A scholarship to a university would be no problem. Other expenses—he would have to do without sometimes, but he could always make cash from tailoring commissions and dolls. In fact, his original dresses were in high demand among girls beyond the neighborhood. He could ask a higher price for the dresses.

He wrote his father a note: “Ryuuken, I’m leaving. I don’t have a phone. I will send you the address when I locate an apartment.”

Uryuu decided that when he himself became a father, his one guiding principle would be to do the exact opposite of what Ryuuken had done with him. He would not be hypercritical; he would not be distant; he would sew plushies for his child and teach the child to cook and sew and how to shoot a bow.

21. Cigarettes

Eleven months after Masaki’s death, Ryuuken’s colleagues decided that the mourning period was over and that Ryuuken, although he still looked wan and less himself, was no longer a widower and now an official bachelor again. Two doctors and the director of the oncology department took him to a nightclub under the pretense of cheering him up.

Ryuuken went; he had nothing else to do. The place was lurid, gaudy, filled with cigarette smoke, and he regretted going the moment he passed the entrance. He stayed for the drinks, which his colleagues bought him. Ryuuken was accustomed to drinking; he had developed a high tolerance for alcohol in the past year.

The women were beautiful. The servers, who wore scanty clothing, and the guests, who were there unaccompanied, approached the table and always leaned too far over so that their cleavage was on display. They spoke in flirty tones. It was plain why the establishment existed; Ryuuken recalled seeing a cheap hotel just down the street.

Ryuuken was filled with contempt for the men who had brought him here and even more disdain for the women who flaunted themselves for men like them. Like he had many times in the past eleven months, he felt like he wanted to die. Seriously die. Vanish from the earth.

He beckoned a server girl over with his finger. She flashed a broad smile as if thrilled to be singled out. Ridiculous.

“What long fingers you have,” she said. “You have the loveliest hands.”

He overlooked her forwardness. “I would like a pack of cigarettes, please.”
“What brand.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve never smoked before.”

“Oh my. Are you sure you want to start? It’s not good for your health.”

“Of course I know it’s not good for my health. I’m a doctor. I just want to try one.”

“You’re a doctor.” Her interest in the man before her amplified. She leaned over the table. The flashing lights in the room cast red and green colors on her ample bosom. “I can suggest a brand. Smooth, expensive. Would look good in your lovely long fingers— “

Ryuuken didn’t let her finish. “Fine.” He gave her a wad of money, more than what any expensive pack of cigarettes could possibly cost and enough of a tip for her help.

“Thank you, Doctor…?”

“You don’t need to know my name.”

When she came back with the cigarettes, she tried to talk to him again, but he waved her off rudely, much to the moans of his colleagues. “She likes you.” “She’s pretty.” “You need the stress relief.”

Ryuuken realized he didn’t have a light, but there were matchbooks with the bar logo on the table. His colleagues watched in awe as he slid a cigarette out of the box. Apparently they thought he really wasn’t going to smoke, that he had only been trying to get the server’s attention.

He liked the way the cigarette felt in his hand. Like a tool. Like something to occupy his terrible boredom.

The little flame reminded him of everything that had gone to fucking hell in his life.

He inhaled tentatively at first, allowed the smoke past his palate where it didn’t burn as he expected and had no distinguishable taste. The smoke entered his lungs where he held it, no problem, and he exhaled, no issue there either. He took a longer drag. No coughing. It was like he had been born to smoke. Born to smoke himself to death.

“You do that well,” said the man to his right.

“It’s a sexy look on you,” said the one to his left and chortled, drunkenly, over his glass of gin.

Ryuuken let part of the cigarette burn out before tasting it again. He flicked the ashes into what remained of his last drink. There was hissing sound against the ice. It sounded like how his life was fizzling out.

His gentlemen companions got more intoxicated and began to behave like people he no longer recognized, so he didn’t want to watch that. He announced that he was going to take a cab home. He had already smoked four or five cigarettes before his departure. He put the pack in his jacket pocket, and the next morning took note of the brand. He sent his secretary out for a carton and told her to purchase a high-end cigarette lighter, silver-plated. The look on her face was priceless. It was the most amusement Ryuuken had enjoyed in weeks.

During his lunch break, he ate a vending machine sandwich in his office, leaned back in his office chair, put his feet on his desk, heels smack on his tedious paperwork, and smoked a cigarette. He could taste the flavor now. He could feel the mild stimulant effect. His mood lifted.

“We all die anyway,” he said aloud to no one.

He took another long drag and closed his eyes. He had found his path to his longed-for grave, and it felt good. So good.

22. Quincy Honor

Souken had always said that honor was something that could not be stolen, no matter how beaten down by poverty, humiliation, illness or suffering a person was. He said Quincy honor was a strength developed like the muscles in one’s arms from practice shooting a bow; one needed to learn how to trust oneself and value others, to have compassion for even one’s enemies and that honor would grow stronger than any armor, any weapon, any evil intent.

Uryuu as a young child had believed in Souken’s words. He began to doubt them in Soul Society when he encountered the captain of the 12th division and learned what happened to the 2,661 Quincy souls who fell to his experiments. By Kurotsuchi’s own words, they all said that by their “Quincy honor they would never do such and such,” that they would stop this evil scientist. Kurotsuchi made them burn their own children.

Did Souken, who also fell to Kurotsuchi, who died with Uryuu’s own name on his lips, feel compassion for his tormentor? What did it mean that he called out for his grandson? Can honor be stolen? Surely those Quincy, in the grasp of a madman, were not to blame for actions committed under extreme duress, but how strong exactly was Quincy honor? Souken’s was strong—did he expect his grandson’s to be as strong?

Uryuu was proud. All his life, despite Ryuuken’s constant criticism, he carried with him his mother’s love and his grandfather’s support. Still, he doubted himself. His brief training with his father had been cut short when he went to Hueco Mundo to rescue Inoue Orihime. He didn’t understand the full extent of his powers; he wanted to protect; he improvised. He made a deal with the devil himself by accepting bombs from Kurotsuchi in order to collapse the tower where Inoue-san was being held. It had not been a difficult ethical problem; the honor of the Quincy prioritized his friend. But under Uryuu’s honor and pride, there lurked a fear—not of dying, for he had learned to manage that fear as he fought in battle after battle, but a darker fear.

Hueco Mundo was a strange, terrifying world. Sometimes absurdly comical. Frustrating, even though the annoying Desert brothers were more human-like than Hollow and became allies. The atmosphere seemed to inspire perversion. Cirucci with her sadistic laugh, the way Szayel looked at both him and Abarai-kun in an overtly lustful way as if the Espada wanted to do something unspeakable first before killing them, then there was that unforgettable sight of Kurotsuchi healing his daughter in that way Uryuu had never witnessed, not even in a hentai magazine let alone before his very eyes—

There had been dark stirrings inside Uryuu at that last moment. Darker ones when his enemies confused him with their human-like qualities and yet Uryuu felt drained of compassion for them because he wanted to destroy their Hollow ugliness—he fought the urge to battle to the death because it was a distraction from his sole mission of saving Inoue-san. There was the dark fear of making a fatal mistake. He discovered his ability to navigate his hirenkyaku platform in the Hueco Mundo atmosphere too late; he knew the ability would’ve saved time had he used it earlier. He forged on. Inoue-san asked him to take her closer to a dangerous battle. He made the wrong choice.

There would never be childish ideals of what honor meant anymore. Enemies were no longer the monsters one could shoot at from a distance, the menacing Hollow who were inhuman. Could Uryuu fall to some of his own worst faults in a place like this? Uryuu watched his friend Kurosaki turn into a ravaging beast who could kill anyone in his sight—enemy or friend. A good guy like Kurosaki. If such a transformation was possible in Kurosaki, it was possible in anyone.

With fear for himself, knowing that his own sense of honor was at stake, Uryuu watched the Thing that had once been Kurosaki lift his weapon to stab an already slain enemy. An image flashed through Uryuu’s mind. His own father mutilating his mother’s body, conducting a frantic autopsy on her for days and days. There was Mayuri too—in the name of science—examining 2,661 Quincy until they were pulp.

Before he knew it, the one hand that he still had left from the recent fighting grasped Kurosaki’s arm. “That’s enough. The fight is over. There’s no need to mangle his corpse.”

And in that moment, Uryuu’s fear vanished, his sense of honor surged, his goal became to save his friend. “Kurosaki, can you hear me?”

The aftermath was violent, tragic, and Uryuu sat with his friend’s sword in his stomach as the slain Hollow revived. Ulquiorra appeared to be reborn with the illumination of true humanity over his frail body before he turned to dust in the wind, Kurosaki healed himself, and Inoue-san cried and cried, ignoring Uryuu’s wounds.

Uryuu sat there, dumbstruck by what he had witnessed, not even grieving yet, feeling no pain, but aware that he was alone, and that his sensei’s words had held true. His Quincy honor could not be taken from him.

He felt alone with it. It was enough. My honor. I did not lose my Quincy honor. The thought had no sooner entered his mind with a hint of pride when it vanished, the pain in his body starting to break through his resolve, and worse, the sadness of his friends deepening with the sound of Inoue-san’s sobbing. Honor or no honor, he was helpless to bring back the dead, nor could he empty Hueco Mundo of its miles and miles of loneliness, the piles of sand that shifted in the wind and blew around those who had once been its Hollow inhabitants. Loneliness everywhere.

He was not a boy anymore.

23. The Wandenreich

Ishida Uryuu was sent for. He was training by the fast creek where he and Souken had often shot arrows, and the only sounds were birds, an occasional frog, the rush of the water. Uryuu could hear his own intake of breath as he drew back his bow, and then there was a peculiar whoosh in the sky above him. He felt the reiatsu right away: Quincy.

The young man standing before him wore a white uniform with a high collar, too many silver buttons, a waist length cape, and knee-high boots. Uryuu instantly recognized him as one of the officers Grandfather had described from what Uryuu had assumed was a long-ago, perhaps mythological place.

“Ishida Uryuu.” The man bowed. “I am Bogart Jung, a member of His Majesty’s Executive Hunting Corps. We have been observing you for many years, and the Quincy kingdom has extensive daten on the last surviving Quincy in the Living World.”

Uryuu lowered his bow. His grandfather had only dropped clues about another place, another time—did it really still exist? Why hadn’t Ryuuken spoken of it?

“Because your family’s strength was so renown in the Wandenreich, despite your grandfather’s exile, and because His Majesty has been made aware of your ability to use ransoutengai and other rare Quincy techniques, you are being honored with a call to return to your true home.”

Think, think. “What purpose am I to serve in the … Wandenreich?”

“You would serve in His Majesty’s army, of course,” Jung said. “You are no doubt despised here. His Majesty will assign your rank in the event you are granted an audience. It’s not my place to assume, but I would not expect less to be offered to a son of the Ishida family.” And here Jung bowed again.

“What if I refuse to go back?” Uryuu already knew what the answer would be.

“I have orders not to harm you, but other elite members of the hunting corps are standing by to take you by force. I did not think it necessary to persuade you to return to a position of power and privilege, but you should know that His Majesty plans on destroying the World of the Living soon. You honestly have no other option.”

“I see.”

The sound of the babbling creek was all that could be heard for a long moment.

“Give me a day to gather some personal items and make an excuse for my leaving. I will not tell anyone the true reason for my departure.”

Jung gave a wave of his hand. “Of course, a day is granted to you. And it makes no difference to us if you tell anyone about the Quincy invasion. People will know of it soon enough, and there is nothing they can do to prepare. The Living World will fall. As will Hueco Mundo. As will Soul Society.”

Uryuu felt his heart clench. He would come up with a plan.

“I will be back for you in twenty-four hours. In this very place.”

Another Quincy appeared in Karakura not long after; at first Ishida mistook the Quincy for an Arrancar—he wore a piece of a mask, and there was definitely Hollow in him. What Quincy would have the scent of a Hollow? Then Kurosaki left to fight the man, and it was plain what this abomination truly was. Quincy reiatsu rang from the battle scene, and Uryuu felt the full darkness of the situation fall over him. The Wandenreich were doing experiments on other beings, recruiting Arrancar in the pursuit to take over all the existing worlds. That they had contacted Kurosaki was no accident either; they wanted something from Kurosaki, just as they wanted something from him.

Jung was waiting for Uryuu by the creek the next day. Uryuu’s knapsack held small packages encased in the reiatsu-hiding silver with which his father had built the secret basement in Karakura hospital. Who knows, maybe somehow Ryuuken had learned to hide his own presence from these people and that’s why they referred to Uryuu as the only remaining Quincy in the Living World.

As Uryuu made his way through the corridors of the Silbern, as he met the Sternritter, the Quincy king, learned of their transgressions against everything he had been taught by Souken and witnessed their cruelty firsthand, he learned the truth: Quincy honor can be stolen. The Quincy king himself, this horror of a ruler who could not be called a true Quincy, to whom so many Quincy had pledged their souls, had robbed an entire culture of its honor.

But not Uryuu’s. He told himself over and over as the Quincy king stood next to him, called him “Uryuu” in an odd, mild tone approaching affection, that his own honor would not be stolen by this disgusting despot, that he would die before such a thing could happen. He remembered the words of the Quincy tortured by Kurotsuchi. I will stop you.

He looked at the Quincy king who, strangely enough, unlike the others, seemed to trust Uryuu. It was abhorrent, painful, and insulting that the king had anointed Uryuu as prince and successor. The king’s dark, sharp profile stood out against the gray skies.

I may not be able to stop you, but I will die trying. I will die with my honor.

Uryuu turned his face to the wind and felt no fear. It was a waiting game, his senses more alert to his surroundings than ever before, his purpose never more clear.

24. Souken

Like most men in his family, Souken was not given to revealing much about himself. Like most Ishidas, he had a flair for drama; when he told a story, he would speak softly then with more force, pause for effect, and always leave his audience with a riddle to ponder. He taught the ways of the Quincy by example as well, and not a soul beyond his wife knew personal details of his past in the Wandenreich. His son Ryuuken inherited a similar style of passing along information while concealing vital facts. Ishida Ryuuken’s interns sweated when he entered a room, but they learned to diagnose on their feet and think for themselves. No one had ever known his life from boyhood to manhood like Kanae; his only confidences had been shared with her.

Souken had not lived to see Uryuu claim the Ishida penchant for both presenting himself as a spectacle of overwrought theatre while at the same time managing to stay under the radar of many people around him. In senior year, the boy was top of his class, school president, known for giving eloquent speeches on honor in the cafeteria (to anyone who would listen), for wearing checkered wool slacks and designer shirts that were borderline girly, for skipping class often and for selling dresses to local shops, and yet a solid third of the student body would often ask, “who is that guy with the peculiar haircut?” Uryuu usually snapped that the question was better asked about his friend Kurosaki than himself, but everyone knew Kurosaki Ichigo; Uryuu Ishida, somehow, was a man of mystery.

“Souken would have loved those checkered pants,” Ryuuken muttered the day he heard about them. From Isshin of course; Isshin always brought him the talk of the town.

“He’s not in any trouble, is he?” Ryuuken asked as if he didn’t care, but he did.

“He’s a suspected homosexual, but most of the kids know he’s crushing madly on the Inoue girl.” Here, Isshin made a sweeping gesture with his large hands to signify the swell of significant breasts.

“Stop it now. If you’re going to start with gossip from high school children, or worse, from that perverted shop-keeper— “

“No, no, no, I came to tell you that it looks like the Quincy are back. I guess your father was right.”

“What do you mean?”

“You didn’t feel it? Quincy reiatsu all over the place yesterday. Ichigo messed with one. Another one approached your son. No damage done—they talked maybe. That was all.”

Ryuuken felt a pang of remorse. Like his father before him, he had been in a reiatsu-blind chamber when the shit went down. He had been toying with the silver arrowhead. It was too early for the Quincy king to be fully awake, even according to the myths and lore his father had passed down. This wasn’t happening. For years he’d walked the streets in thin street clothes that were actually armor; the armor made his reiatsu imperceptible to Hollow and Arrancar, probably to all but the most perceptive Quincy, but he was at least alert to any threats to Uryuu. Outside the basement, he could still help--No, not now, this can’t be the real war. He didn’t want to fight. He didn’t want a war. His family, the Echt, had prepared for war; that was what they had lived for; the tension and morbid anticipation of living in that sort of family life had been unbearable.

“What are we supposed to do?” asked Isshin. “This could be the big one.”

“I don’t know.” Ryuuken felt in his pocket for his cigarettes. “Our sons will make their own decisions. They’re full-grown men now.”

“The Shinigami are going to go all out. Kisuke is prepared. You know how he rolls. He’s been inside the game for years.”

“Don’t.” Ryuuken’s lighter shot up fire like a torch. “Don’t talk to me about Kisuke.”

“Ok, ok.” Isshin held up his hands. “But what did your pops tell you? Didn’t he have a plan or something?”

Did Souken have a plan?

Souken, as far back as Ryuuken could remember, had only had dreams. Dreams of a better world. He wanted Shinigami and Quincy to cooperate; he wanted tribunals established to investigate war crimes; he wanted the Quincy in the Living World to practice restraint with their destructive power and focus on the more honorable aspects of their culture.

Souken had not been so naïve as to think that the uniquely spiritually gifted baby born to the spiritually gifted people in an oft-told story was their real god, the god they called Yhwach. That which was called Yhwach, as occasionally mentioned by Mother and Father, was older than time and did not exist in a body, human or otherwise. That god had been the source of everything and what bound together all the planes of existence. That Yhwach was not the Spirit King enslaved by the Shinigami but more like a force field created by the processes of the universe itself. The original Quincy, Souken had said, had been but a clan of humans with unique sensitivities that included the ability to sense this god, the true source of Life and Death.

Fuck that god. Ryuuken had never sensed it. Destiny? The way Isshin always talked about such a thing it was as if his own life might still have some grand purpose beyond getting up, going to work, and oh what else was there? Keeping his promise to Kanae….

“The Wandenreich,” Souken had said once, and only once, while Mother, in those early days before servants served breakfast and she was more doting, poured steaming hot miso soup into her husband’s bowl. “They are worshipping a false god. Everyone does this. There are false gods of pleasure, vanity, unbridled self-interest. There is even the false god of obsessive love.” Here, Mrs. Ishida over-filled the bowl; brown broth with bits of spinach poured on the dish below.

“But the surest sign of a false god is one who razes his enemies before seeking negotiation. The balance of the world does not begin with battling the Shinigami. The balance of the world begins with peace in the home.”

That last remark had been enough to disillusion young Ryuuken. He thought of his father’s remark when he was betrothed to Masaki; he questioned whether such an arrangement would make her happy, whether two such unsuited people could really build a life together. Would the marriage end up with him at work all day and Masaki growing lines of resentment on her pretty face as the years passed—like Mother?

“Souken told you things,” Isshin pressed. “You have a plan. You’ve been working in the basement.”

“How do you know?”

“Do you really think I’m an idiot? I have connections. Kisuke makes portals.”

“Goddammit,” Ryuuken said, although he wasn’t surprised.

“This isn’t a matter of avenging our wives or even saving the world, you know.” Isshin crossed his arms. “You want to see that boy of yours survive this, right? To marry a girl, to have a little bit of the happiness we had once, eh? We sure had some fun, right?”

Isshin was deliberately not thinking about the promise he had made to Kanae. There was a way to do that. It was to take a long drag of a cigarette, fill one’s entire mind with the rush of annihilation and deliberately deny that one had ever been happy or could ever be happy again, that happiness itself was one of those false gods Souken had talked about. In fact—here Ryuuken was holding his breath so the fog of nicotine actually jolted his memory—Souken may have said that very thing about happiness once, how it was not worth pursuing as an end in itself.

Not thinking about Kanae, not thinking about Kanae.

“I’ll be back,” Isshin said. “I’ll help you every step of the way. You’re my friend, after all.”

Damn Isshin. Ryuuken chained-smoked through the pack. Damn Father and every single piece of crap he stole from the Wandenreich. Ishida Souken, philosopher and thief. What a family I come from.

25. Mrs. Ishida

She had given her heart to Souken because of the twinkle in his eye; she told herself that it was for other reasons, though. He would make a good match because of his family status, because he was brilliant and treated her with gentlemanliness that went far beyond what was expected of men his age, and because he was confident; this last trait was important. Of all her suitors, Souken was the only one who never once succumbed to a fit of blushing or stammering.

Amaya herself was a confident girl with no patience for fools. Souken was no fool. Sometimes he pretended to be one in order to expose the fools around him, and that cleverness made her laugh. She did not laugh easily like so many girls—nor did she understand why giggling like a child was a trait that many men found appealing. She did not like to appear vulnerable; Souken, apparently, did not like girls who faked vulnerability, who laughed in bell-like tones too loudly at his jokes.

He asked Amaya to marry him not three months after they met; they were married in an elaborate wedding befitting the joining of two powerful Wandenreich families. The couple passed through two long rows of soldat after being pronounced bound for eternity, and after emerging from the human hallway composed of white-uniformed archers, bows were raised, and blue and white reishi shot into the air a thousand feet above, exploding in soundless blinding light, a symbol of the great Quincy power to alter the universe, to destroy souls.

“It’s a beautiful tradition,” Souken explained later to no one in particular; seated around him were many friends eating grapes and drinking the frigid blue cocktail popular at celebrations. “Even in times of greatest joy, never forget that the Quincy are capable of the greatest destruction.”

He had that way about him. His poetry pleased people. Amaya was pleased that he was popular because she, despite her great beauty, was not, and in order to make the proper social connections, a family needed to exude charm and approachability.

She was never henceforth known as Amaya again, except to her husband; she was Mrs. Ishida. That there would be a family, a large one, was not even a matter of debate between husband and wife. She became pregnant right away, and a few weeks before the birth, something went wrong. Souken himself, a famous healer, detected it first. He placed his hand on her tummy one morning in bed and said simply, without preamble but with great sadness, “there is no heartbeat.”

“Do something!” Her voice was panicked.

But nothing could be done; labor was induced, and a dead baby girl was delivered into Souken’s hands.

“Do you want to hold her?” Souken asked.

Mrs. Ishida did. There seemed only one way to hold a baby, to hold its head in one palm and the small body in the other. The baby looked like her cousin, round-faced, small-nosed.

The next baby was stillborn too, too soon to even determine the gender. Mrs. Ishida began to lose her famous confidence. The future she had planned for herself was slowly collapsing; she found herself taking out her resentments on the servants, on Souken himself. “Ask another healer to examine me. You are obviously not the best if you can’t find out what is wrong with me.”

But no one knew what was wrong. Souken himself was examined; there was no reason the two of them could not produce a healthy child. Rest was prescribed; the order only stressed Mrs. Ishida more. When she became pregnant a third time, she prayed for the soul of the first child to return to her. It was a foolish prayer, she realized. She wanted to hold that child in her arms again, to teach her the ways of the Quincy, to mold her into the perfect Quincy wife, the wife that now she herself was falling short of being.

Ishida Ryuuken was born on a spring day, perfectly healthy, bald and blue-eyed, with the elegant toes and fingers her side of the family was known for, and before the boy was even a year old, it was clear that he was a genius like his father.

By that time, there was already unrest among quarreling factions in the Wandenreich. Mrs. Ishida worried about her husband going to battle; she began to fret about Ryuuken growing up and having to fight. Her own battle skills were almost non-existent. She had done poorly in archery in academy; her gifts were in administrative management and planning. Like Souken, she could easily anticipate which way the political winds were blowing, but she was clueless about how to influence people as effectively as he was; she told him what she thought might work best; she was the woman behind the man who spoke at rallies.

One night, her back against the bedrest, her long black hair unbraided, her eyes calm but her mouth pinched with anxiety, she told Souken, “We’re going to be exiled. We may as well start planning a new life in the World of the Living.”

“You’re right,” he agreed. “I’ll need to start packing some artifacts bit by bit so no one notices my movements.”


“Weapons, secrets.” There was that twinkle in his eye again. “Do you think I’d leave my history behind me? We can start a new Quincy clan elsewhere.”

“They’ll kill you if they find out what you’ve done! If the Shinigami don’t first! They massacred Quincy not long ago. It’s not going to be easy, Souken—we’ve got to be very careful.”

“I’ve got this,” he promised.

She believed him, but she was worried. Her brow furrowed, and that was the expression she would wear for most of her remaining years.

26. Training

Souken had made the mistake for so many years that training his body was more important than training his mind and heart. Like many who are gifted in one area or another, he did not feel the need to study what came naturally to him. He was possessed of a quick wit and a keen intelligence; his compassion came naturally. He trained to excess in his private chamber for much of his early life, neglecting his wife. His mind had not been able to foresee how conflicted and rebellious his son was becoming. By the time Uryuu was old enough, Souken reached out to his grandson with all his heart. The great irony was that Uryuu called Souken “Sensei,” but it was Uryuu who taught the old man more about love than anyone else.

Ryuuken was good at teaching himself to stretch his talents to their limits; he taught himself to be an expert archer, to be an exacting and consummate surgeon, to love Kanae so that she would never doubt his devotion. What he could not do was train his heart to forgive himself after his wife’s death. There was no desire to do that sort of work. He carried on, a cigarette on his lip. He trained himself to disguise his emotions, to kick ash over even the slightest embers of hope and love he felt for his son.

Uryuu worked hard. He knew that he was not the strongest at his school, so he trained at archery by himself before Grandfather even offered to help. He trained after Grandfather’s death until his upper body was pure sleek muscle. He knew he was smart, but he read beyond assigned syllabi, not just for pleasure but out of a sense of obligation that he should understand the world’s history, cultures, and languages. He knew he was given to unsightly spasms of emotion, sometimes easily startled, occasionally brought to tears of sadness, and he trained, as his father had, but without Ryuuken’s perfect achievement, to control his emotions. At the very least, he was able to look intimidating in battle and to give tough looks to anyone who crossed him in high school. His deepest heart? He would do anything for his friends, for he had spent most of his life a loner, and he loved his friends. He also loved a girl, and had spent long years training his heart to be self-less when it came to her.

But the day Yhwach was defeated, the world didn’t end, and yet something else did. Uryuu wasn’t sure what, but it reminded him of the huge sense of nothingness one feels right after finishing a final exam. There was no immediate goal, nothing to work towards, and Uryuu was accustomed to training hard every day of his life. For one moment, when he was alone in the rubble in the Royal Realm, after his father had walked away, and Inoue-san and Sado-kun were helping someone trapped under a fallen wall, and no one could see, he wrapped his arms around his knees, put his head down and wept silent tears.

He was immediately ashamed. He had no idea what had come over him. He imagined that Grandfather would have explained the moment to him. He considered that maybe he needed to vent out his feelings physically somehow, let loose arrows and tire himself out, but he already felt so tired. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and got up to see if he could help the others.

My father always wanted to help people too. He just trained himself to lie about it.

27. Family

“Where are our dads?” Kurosaki wondered. A circle of friends was sitting on piles of rocks in the Royal Realm, and some official Soul Society business was going on; the captain commander, now healed of his injuries, was yards away, speaking in private with Renji about recent events. It seemed to Uryuu that everyone was waiting to be interrogated.

Uryuu scanned for reiatsu before he looked over the horizon. There they were, standing together against a wall of what had been the Quincy king’s palace. Ryuuken looked oddly noble in his Quincy uniform, arms crossed, no cigarette. Isshin was gesturing wildly, no doubt annoying the hell out of Ryuuken. Then Uryuu actually saw his father mouth the word idiot.

“I come from one dysfunctional family,” Uryuu muttered, not really intending anyone to respond.

“I’m sorry.” Kurosaki looked like hell. He wasn’t beat up so much as he seemed emotionally exhausted, his eyes wearier than Uryuu had ever seen them. Kurosaki was probably up next for Captain Kyouraku’s questioning. “I grew up with so much family around me, and I know you and your dad…. I mean, I know you were alone …” Was Kurosaki having some kind of brain aneurysm? What the hell was this sputtering apology? “No Quincies to hang out with, I mean.”

“We’re related,” Ishida said curtly. “Your dysfunctional family is part of my dysfunctional family.”

“You know?” Kurosaki’s eyes seemed to come to life for a moment.

“Urahara-san told me. A long time ago. When you lost your powers. During those seventeen months, I was working to keep down the Hollow population, and I trained in that candy shop basement a lot.”

There was a long, not uncomfortable silence as everyone sat, breathing in and out from exhaustion, uncertain of what would happen next.

“I don’t have a family really except for all of you,” Inoue Orihime said. She pulled Ishida Ryuuken’s Quincy coat around her because it was dusk, getting colder, and sharp winds were blowing. “I try to think of people I meet everywhere as family. Aren’t we all a family when you think of it that way? We’re all… connected somehow?”

Kuchiki-san spoke in a soft voice: “That’s a nice way to look at it. When Renji and I were growing up, our friends were our family too.”

Sado-kun was clenching and un-clenching one fist in front of his face. “Abuelo told me never to use my power for personal gain.”

Everyone looked at him expectantly. There might be a story afterwards; there might not be. With Sado-kun, one never knew if the full meaning of anything he said was to be guessed at, like a poem, or if one sentence was supposed to be a stepping stone to some important issue for others to discuss.

Uryuu was on the verge of telling his friend that he had fought bravely for the sake of protecting others, when the large man spoke again.

“Abuelo was my only family. To this day, I’ve always kept my promise to him, but I’ve been thinking…”
All ears were waiting.

“I want to go veterinary school. I’m going to need some cash. Since I’ve been working out, a few coaches have come up and said I could make it in the ring. Championship money. Now, I know it wouldn’t be fair. I’m too strong, and I can beat anyone, but…”

“If you go easy on them,” Kurosaki said.

Uryuu cocked his head to one side. “If you cheat, you mean.”

“It would be to help sick dogs and cats later!” Inoue-san piped up. “I think his abuelo would approve!”

Kuchiki-san smiled the tiniest bit—it was the first smile Uryuu had seen in a long while. She turned her violet eyes to Sado-kun and pronounced, “Look at me, Chad.” The big guy looked in her direction but because of the hair in his eyes, it was impossible to see if he was looking directly at her. “You know in your heart already what you need to do, don’t you? It’s just that you need support and validation … from your family.”

Sado-kun nodded. “You’re a wise woman, Kuchiki-san.”

Kurosaki looked from Sado-kun to Kuchiki-san to each of his friends sitting around him, his eyes still sad and lost, but there was a special tenderness in them now. When his gaze fell on Uryuu, he said, “Not so dysfunctional maybe? Kinda ok.”

“All right, all right,” Uryuu said. “For the record, I weigh in that Sado-kun should choose the path that leads to the most ethical outcome. I myself was wrong to judge so quickly because I have a trust fund and huge scholarships offered to me all the time, and I— “

Everyone was staring.

“I’m sorry; what I mean is that I’m agreeing that Sado-kun should follow his own heart. I just wanted to give the perspective of— “

“You would make a good lawyer,” said Inoue-san.

“A good fashion designer,” offered Sado-kun.

“Doctor?” Kuchiki-san said. “You’re in line to inherit that hospital, aren’t you?”

“I vote for the head of a non-dysfunctional family,” Kurosaki said, his eyes a little less weary. “The kind of dad who dresses all his kids in matching outfits and makes sure they do their homework on time, but isn’t really a dickhead.”

“Not a dickhead,” Uryuu repeated. “That’s a great goal, Kurosaki. I always aim high.”

He wasn’t really joking. Not being a dickhead sounded like an excellent life-plan.

28 Happy Endings

One cold winter night when Uryuu was a little boy, his mother read him a bedtime story, a book that was mostly illustrations, beautiful detailed ink drawings. The story wasn’t much—there was a good knight fighting a dragon, a bad king who held an archery competition in the deep green forest, the prize being marriage to the king’s daughter who was the fairest in the land. The print was large, the vocabulary simple, and it was not at all the sort of story Uryuu liked at all; he preferred little paperbacks with facts about reptiles or rocks or traditional costumes of all nations.

Mother liked the story; her voice rang with pleasure reading it. Uryuu had to admit the pictures were good. The forest gleamed with lush green possibility; the archers’ arrows shot into the air with speed one could see; the eyes of the princess expressed realistic fear. “How do people draw so well?” He asked at one point.

“Some people are talented at it, and they work hard at what they’re good at,” Mother said.

So it was like Father being a doctor or Grandfather being a Quincy.

The story ended with a marriage, and Uryuu said, “That’s it? There isn’t any more?”

“It’s a happy ending,” Mother said.

Uryuu went to bed, but he thought about what Mother had said the next day, and once he had thought and thought himself into a corner, he asked Grandfather about the subject.

The magnolia tree was blooming, and Grandfather was cutting some blossoms with a thick knife to take inside. The pink flowers made Mother happy.

It was so cold that Uryuu had to pull down the scarf covering his mouth. “When will it be warm again?”

“Soon,” Grandfather said.

“Why are seasons a little different every year? I don’t remember it being this cold last year when the magnolias bloomed?”

“Every season is a little bit the same as the one before but always different.”

“Grandfather, what are happy endings?”

The old man stopped looking through the tree branches for the most perfect blossoms and turned his gaze to his grandson. “Honestly, Uryuu, there are no such things.”

“There are in books. Mother read a happy ending to me the other day. It seemed really fake.”

Grandfather laughed. He cut off another magnolia. “Ha, you see, that’s right. That’s because there are no endings. We are always going around in circles. Happiness isn’t really a thing to be pursued; one shouldn’t strive to be happy; one should strive to be good, to be honorable.”

Uryuu was stamping his feet. It was that cold. “Isn’t happiness a good thing, though?”

“Oh of course, of course.”

Uryuu thought that he felt happy at that particular moment, and it was at that particular moment that Grandfather said, “What we are blessed with is life itself, and life has sad moments and happy moments. Remember the happy ones when you can.”

And so Uryuu would do that.

After the defeat of Yhwach, when the end of the world did not happen, and yet there was a sadness in his heart that felt it might stretch out without an end, he lay back on the ground, the skies darkening above him, the reiatsu in the Royal Realm so thick it was hard to literally be still in it without feeling its weight on one’s body, all the worlds of the universe still shuddering from the shock of what had occurred and seeming to breathe in synchronized fear over the great unknowable future—
Uryuu knew that there would be no happy ending soon, so he recalled happy moments.

Helping his mother pick out dresses and her delight when he found just the right golden linen shift her size in the boutique.

Grandfather’s noodles, how the steam from the pot clouded the old man’s glasses so his smiling eyes were no longer visible, and then how Uryuu’s own glasses turned cloudy when his bowl was filled. The warmth was felt, not seen.

Inoue-san, those floral skirts she used to wear in high school, so pretty, and her unwavering faith in him when no one else had it. He lied to her about going to Soul Society for the purpose of saving anyone. She looked at him with those light brown eyes that saw right through him. “I’ll be waiting,” she told him.

The first time Kurosaki paid for lunch. He really paid for it. Sucker.

Training with Sado-kun in the basement of Urahara-san’s candy shop. Sado-kun and he worked well together. They also got to eat a lot of free snacks. Funny how for a big guy Sado did not eat as much as one would guess.

How Abarai had called Uryuu the brains of the two in Hueco Mundo and quit being a smart-ass when it came to real battle. He was a nicer guy than one would ever assume at first. If he wasn’t trying to kill you, he would give you the shirt off his back. No one could ask for a better friend.

Eating dinner at the Kurosaki house and Yuzu-chan serving everyone in her cute little apron. Everyone treated Uryuu like family or at least in that way Uryuu had heard families were supposed to act—familiar, talking over one another’s sentences, curious about one another’s interests, expressing emotions—negative ones even—openly. It was a shock later, not an unpleasant one, to discover that he was indeed related to this noisy, happy bunch.

When Kuchiki-san healed him after he was ambushed by Tsukishima. “Thank you for coming for Ichigo,” she said. “I can tell you weren’t fully healed. You must have left the hospital in pain.” Uryuu wouldn’t acknowledge that, of course, but there was always something reassuring about being in Kuchiki-san’s presence, like one was being graced by exemplary good judgement. “You’re someone Ichigo worries about too much. He would never say so, but he does. I’m not sure why, since you’re very smart and powerful and nowhere NEAR as reckless as he is, but do me a favor and don’t charge into any battles if you’re not at full-strength.” Uryuu planned not to take her advice, but it was good to know she cared. And Kurosaki—what a dope.

Ryuuken appearing out of nowhere and shooting that silver arrowhead at Uryuu’s feet. “You are the one who should shoot this arrow.” It was the one and only time his father had expressed trust in him. It was the moment he understood his father’s love for his mother, all of it. It was the moment when so much sadness took on another context—no, it was not erased—but it made sense, and Uryuu’s heart was full of hope and happiness and purpose.

Not an ending, a will to go on.

“Ishida-kuuuuuuuun,” sang a voice above him as he lay there in the night. “The little Fullbringer boy, Yukio, is bringing a transport. Don’t you want to be with us on the first ride?”

“Yes, yes, of course, Inoue-san.” Uryuu rose and brushed dust off his clothes. “Where are we going?”

She spread her arms wide. His father’s jacket sleeves fluttered like angel wings in the sharp night winds. “I have no idea!”

Of course. There were no happy endings, only happy memories, and Uryuu had only begun to collect the tales of his life.

Nicht Das Ende
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: it's quiet uptown
06 November 2016 @ 06:23 am
Again, it's so annoying how LJ doesn't accept long fics. This fic is on tumblr under my name there schmalzmanma, on ff.net under debbiechan and also now on An Archive of Our Own at  http://archiveofourown.org/works/8484850

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Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Cats knocking shit off my desk
I forget how much LJ hates long fics. Happy birthday to Uryuu in Japan today. I won't be hosting any more Uryuu contests but stay tuned because I will have some Bleach merchandise, some rare, for purchase, and at least two more stories, written weeks ago, due to be posted later in accordance with some rules.

Also, FYI, this community will be up as long as LJ is up, but membership is now closed--that means no one who is not already a member can join. Most settings will be private except for fanfiction and art.  Transformative works celebrating Bleach characters will always be welcome here; please always give warnings and use common sense with engaging with other members and visit the community rules: http://bleachness.livejournal.com/401889.html

Activity has been so low here that I don't think I have to remind anyone how to be civil, but hey, with other Bleach sites dwindling now, who knows.

I have over 100 Bleach fics I may never upload on AO3 but after having an account there for years, I bit the bullet and posted this one there. http://archiveofourown.org/works/8484850

The Ishida Family in 28 Tales
By debbiechan
Thanks as always to my beloved editor, Nehalenia. This long piece was written for the Tumblr Ishida Family Month with a prompt for every day. Thank you to the group maintainers @itsnaruto710 and @je-taime-amira for allowing me the opportunity to indulge my Quincy obsession.
PG, no real warnings except for some curse words, the usual Ishida angst, and if you know the manga, expect references to genocide and death, Ryuuken’s smoking habit, and family strife. Also, IshiHime if you squint.

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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Chu Bura sung by Non Tan
24 October 2016 @ 10:36 am
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Note—I address other 686 issues, like Chad’s boxing, in my “Ishida Family in 28 Tales” fic which will be posted after Nov. 1, 2016.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Hamilton BURN
24 October 2016 @ 10:14 am
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Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Hamilton BURN
I had to write this or bleed my kidneys out (no lie, I'm recovering from a kidney infection).

Here, my anti-Bleach-686-ending fic that tries to answer questions Kubo left unanswered, incorporates the fandom Dance with Snow White meme and proposes an ending IchiRuki deserved. I worked hard on this fic, fact-checked, rewrote sections several times, and tried to balance plot elements. That said, the story is a loooooong one-shot. I couldn’t include everything, and people are bound to disagree with parts. I welcome feedback from honest, civil readers willing to engage with this story; anyone attempting to poke a fandom dead horse will be ignored. Homey don’t play with dead horse pokers. I had a blast writing this; I hope you have fun reading it.


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Aizen Unbound
By debbiechan
Blessings to my faithful editor Nehalenia without whom not only my writing but my life would be less complete. Thanks to Alex for the first beta. Post Bleach 686 fic. Quite literally, 686 goes up in smoke. Main pairing is IchiRuki. Many characters. IshiHime, Shunsui/Nanao, UraYoru, HitsuHina, implied AiGin and Ikkaku/Yumichika.

Warnings: Some adult situations, foul language, and violence but nothing NSFW. NO genuine, unequivocal adultery, but pearl-clutchers will be answered by Emma Watson.

Plot and plotting because, naturally, Aizen. Section titles are taken from Kubo’s own words in poems, color pages, chapter titles, etc.

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Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Hamilton BURN
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Red Wound, White Goodbye
By debbiechan

(I did it; I sort of killed my OTP (IshiHime break up?) in this fic--part of the healing process. I also have about 100 more pages of Bleach fic yet to come... oy gevalt. I'm not done, I guess).

Post 686 fic, main pairing RenIshi. IchiRuki implied. IshiHime angst. Warnings: yaoi or homosexuality, adultery, use of imagination to look past canon ending. Complaints can be sent to pearlclutchersanon dot org.

The drawing accompanying this fic is a detail from an art made for me by Orin (she went private with her art now, I believe) in 2007 for another RenIshi, “Of My Own Free Will.” The art has nothing to do with this fic, but I’m very fond of it, as I am of this pairing, which I’ve been writing since I began to read Bleach circa 2004/05.
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Current Location: earth, alive
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Current Music: plumber is here clank clank
04 October 2016 @ 10:18 pm
As all of you are most likely aware, the ending of Bleach was...Controversial, to say the least.  So much so, that I decided to do something that I did not think I would ever do: I decided to write a "continuation fic", one that I will write in an attempt to answer all those questions that the ending of Bleach left unanswered, correct the mistakes and deconstructions made by Kubo in the final chapters of Bleach, and write a story that I truly hope will be considered a "better ending" that we deserved, rather than the one we got.  I'm already far along in the story, but here is the first chapter.

The story is also on Fanfiction.net under the name "Vergeltung Lied", but I wish to post it here for those who do not frequent the site.

NOTE: My apologies for the single-spacing.


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Current Location: The Soul of the Mind
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Starset - My Demons

Pssst, pssst, new fic. I heard there was a thirst for post 686 IshiHime smut. HEED WARNINGS.

Doctor Ishida, Allow Me to Examine You

By debbiechan

Doctor Ishida sketch above by @hashtagartistlife, used with permission. Hahahaha.

I have the world’s best editor. Blessings to nehalenia who helped me put this PWP through three rewrites.

Based on @mizulily‘s suggestion that #Doctor Ishida sounds like a legit porn, Sera’s drawing above, the goings-on here: http://hashtagartistlife.tumblr.com/post/150304004539/mizulily-sequencefairy, the fact that the aforementioned said that “What now? You make me your bitch” was their favorite line in my story “The End of Perfection” (http://bleachness.livejournal.com/793634.html) and alas I’d cut that scene, so….

PWP with some plot because I can’t help myself. Actually a lot of plot, sorry. But NSFW. Not up yet at ff.net so save the hate notes for the weekend. Mature content, a dominant woman, oh noes, blood, erotic asphyxiation, humor, fluff, salmon toast.

Bleach 686 seems to have turned loose a lot of muses; some of them are naughty.

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12 September 2016 @ 03:08 pm
I'm jumping on the art meme. I'm awed by it.  I've lost count of how many arts and fics I've seen on Tumblr now, but indeed IR is the universe's most elemental, indestructible spiral.

DA link: http://debbiechan.deviantart.com/art/Dance-with-Snow-White-by-debbiechan-633947131

07 September 2016 @ 01:43 pm
Dance with Snow White
By debbiechan

It’s been very touching to me to see the IchiRuki reclaim their love for their favorite pairing in recent days.  Fans demanding refunds of WSJ, burning their Bleach merchandise—all that is an inevitable reaction to a bad deal, but the art and joy and transformative art on Tumblr and Pixiv has been awe-inspiring, particularly the “Dance the Snow White” meme.

Inspired by the art meme, this vignette is specifically drawn from the lovely composition by teodoralovesteo

After the war, Ichigo and Rukia did not neglect their training. The Monk Who Calls the Real Name bade them dance in the Royal Realm, and no one but Ichibe was witness to the phenomenon.  Right away, without hesitation, Ichigo took Rukia’s hand, and so began the circles of the absolute dream and the darkest desire.

She was tiny but in possession of the deadliest power; his reiatsu erased it for vital moments and it was necessary to lift her by the waist and spin her around in a full circle to keep her alive. In the meantime, his moonless sky was replenished by her white spirit. They danced in the universe’s most elemental spiral.

On their feet, following steps the monk called out to them, Rukia in her ban kai form could only hold at zero for so long, and Ichigo in his perfect Mugetsu was a blackening reiatsu that threatened to burn all the world. The two powers held one another apart, dissipated into one another, came apart and reunited with a rhythm that was the heartbeat of Time Itself.

Breaking tempo, Ichigo spun his partner too fast and dipped her. He laughed, his hands fast around Rukia’s waist.

“Control,” chided the monk.

Rukia’s white ribbons had flown into a flower around the moment. She paused for four seconds, her head fallen back, white hair wavering, arms limp like the stricken swan in a ballet, her ice power a deadly circle spreading past her body.

“Yes,” the monk beamed at Rukia. “All dance is about recovering from falling. All life is about saving grace.”

Ichigo scooped Rukia up and led again, his dark hair billowing like the flame of death that would destroy Rukia’s absolute power to freeze and shatter the world to glittering dust, but the destruction never happened; the death never came; the dance spun and the dancers eyed one another with playfulness.

Their mutual powers never canceled one another out; each supported the other and was made stronger.

Sun needs moon, black repels white, woman loves man. These are ancient beliefs, tired and sometimes untrue. The old ideas had killed civilization after civilization in the Living World and had pitched the Higher Worlds to change and adapt, for even stars and planets can shift their orbits over time. The old monk understood that the universe was dancing towards its own annihilation, that the only way to survive a bad ending was to have old ideas scorched by new ones and for the stars to bloom again in new configurations. To dance, to keep on dancing but not in panic. In balance like this pair.

Look at them. The stars speak a language of white explosions and their Creator hears only darkness but these two have fun when they yin and they yang. Kids today---they play with Good and Evil like costumes they pull out to go to the disco, eh?

To look at a couple like Ichigo and Rukia, one had to wonder if any Creator could tear apart such a bond. Take any other pair of powerful Shinigami. One misstep, one wrong word—these mistakes would weaken the dance or throw partners apart, never to be matched again—but mistakes made Ichigo and Rukia invent new moves; they instinctively knew one another’s spirits.

They had danced like this before; they would dance like this again.

“Enough!” said Ichibe and clapped his hands. Rukia and Ichigo transformed out of their heightened states, but the air around them still crackled with flashes of dark and light, like a stormy night.

“I’ve had enough,” the monk said. “No more dancing lessons. I know more now than I need to know.”

“I thought,” Ichigo put forward, “that the purpose was for us to learn a thing or two, not you.”

“Insolent child.”

“Excuse him,” Rukia said. “Before we are dismissed, are there any instructions? Should we continue to practice on our own?”

“You two are dangerous together,” said the Monk Who Calls the Real Name. “Indestructible.”

Ichigo and Rukia glanced at one another, their eyes smiling but their mouths maintaining decorum.

“Do what you want. Dance or don’t. It’s very beautiful to watch. Indestructible, that’s what you are. Go, make babies or something. Practice kendo for all I care, or Rukia show him some kidou or how to make a marmalade. I’m done.”

And like that, the monk was gone, disappeared to his palace.

Rukia stood there, blushing, even though the air around here was still freezing cold, and a drop of sweat formed on Ichigo’s brow.

“I didn’t know I could dance,” he finally said.

“Neither could I,” she added.

“Did you feel it? The everything of it?” Ichigo’s voice was awed.

“Yes, Ichigo.” Rukia’s blush was fading. Her face was serious. “Let’s do it again. Sometime, not now. Maybe I’m a little tired now.”

“And again,” he said.

“Oh yes,” she said. “It was too wonderful not to do over and over.” She looked across the darkening skies of the Royal Realm. The stars seemed small and insignificant now. She knew of a dance more indestructible than even the heavens. “Tomorrow. Again.”

Ichigo bowed. It was proper to bow after a formal dance. “I’ll see you tomorrow evening, Rukia.”


Current Location: cuddled up, wheezing
Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: the air conditioner humming
I'd forgotten that LJ hates long fics. Here's part two with the ending I actually revised and gave ample thought to about consequences and character. Of course, I don't live in a fancy studio apartment in Tokyo and get millions of yen for whatever hard work I do every day; I just want to make some people happy and make some jokes. I'm still sure, though, in my heart of hearts, that transformative artists will have the final say about Bleach's shabby ending; its our solace.

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Current Location: dogs snurfling at me
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: it's quiet before dawn
I lied. Not as bad as Kubo did, but I had another story in me. This one is part saddess, part comedy, much parody, maybe a better last hurrah? It comes with many warnings. NSFW. It's already earned me a review of "garbage" and other insults (probably all from the same anon) on ff.net. But since the final Bleach chapter has been called "garbage" more times than I have, I don't mind. Interestingly on Tumblr, I'm not getting hate mail. Wonder why that is.

Anyway, this is a long one-shot. I got carried away one day when I was trying to read other things and avoid thinking about Bleach.  I have some illustrations from my darling Eny coming.

The End of Perfection
By debbiechan

Blessings to Nehalenia who is such a thoughtful editor and an honest friend.

Hugs to partner-in-many-crimes @mags-duranb who is illustrating this fic.

This fic was inspired by ideas from Neha, Mags, @gunnerpalace and many others.

This fic is dedicated to elena (formerly @deathbympreg), @mizulily, @teodoralovesteo, @sequencefairy, and any others who have been harassed by Church Ladies for writing adultery fics post the Bleach 686 final chapter.  My heart supports you, my tongue is my cheek, Ishida’s Uryuu’s tongue is everywhere. 

Warnings: Sex sex sex, adultery, post-structuralism, implied homosexuality, swearing, character-death.

This fic has an actual plot with sword-fighting, rise and fall of action, and consequences. NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE POST-STRUCTURALISM. Questionably “fix-it” fic. I prefer to call it personal therapy. IshiHime (adultery), IchiRuki (theme of destiny), IchiIshi (almost?), appearances by Kazui, Hiyori, Mayuri, Urahara, Ryuuken on cell-phone, and someone else. I apologize for Chad missing. No really, I do.

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Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Current Music: silence
It's a rule of fandom that the worst day to post is Saturday but Neha always said that sometimes you just have to post or the fic will burn a hole in your hard-drive. Here it is. Maybe my last Bleach fanfic.


Antithesis of Happiness
By debbiechan

For mizulily, my last little ray of light in a stormy fandom
Thank you to nehalenia for being the best editor over the years

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Current Location: Noah's arc
Current Mood: gloomygloomy
Current Music: Hamilton cast album
25 August 2016 @ 10:21 am
First, thank all of you have stuck with this blog even after I neglected it.  I apologize for not being around in previous weeks---if you didn’t know, there was massive flooding in our area, eleven dead, thousands of people lost their homes and schools are still out, 170 school buses ruined. Our home was intact even though we have a creek that runs just behind our property and it was in danger of swelling when Bayou Manchac peaked. Our high banks saved us. We were trapped for a while; stores weren't stocked; there was a lot of commotion. In the meantime, Bleach was ending, a series as all of you know meant the world to me. I’d stuck with it to the end, had felt it going off the tracks but had loved so much of the last arc, the character of Askin, two ban kais in particular—Kenpachi’s and Urahara’s—and the beautiful Haschwalth and Bazz backstory. The Memories in the Rain arc was lovely. Flashes of Kubo’s talent were everywhere. I knew he wasn’t listening to editors and by the time the final two chapters came out, I felt trolled.

In the Final Days of Bleach, I only got two hate letters, one persistent teenager calling me “dumb” and “ableist” and “gross” and I promptly answered her as gently as I could and blocked her on Tumblr because I was sure she was getting her information from one familiar source, a person who for years went on a hate campaign against this site, painting it as a sexist place where Orihime hate reigned and where people were mocked.  I knew there was a post made in recent weeks by this person on Tumblr maligning this site—why, I don’t know—there’s so little activity here, but the bitterness is there. Like I said to a new Bleach fan, I never expected the bitterness to go away, no matter what outcome in Bleach. In fact, let me copy what I wrote to her, because I know some of you will be dealing with mockery and hate:

“They don’t deserve your graciousness and intelligence. It bounces right off them. They aren’t being celebratory; they are being vindictive and petty. This sort of drama stirs up like dust storms for a short time (maybe reoccurring dust storms for years, lol) but in the end it’s just dust, never anything to advance real understanding. I’ve only seen it expose people for who they are; believe me, few people I’ve observed in fandom have grown up much or changed in the 12-13 years and of newcomers, there are just more of the same. No single one person in fandom, had the ending of Bleach gone this way or that, had all plotholes been satisfied, had Kubo had a solid grip on his final arc and never quarreled with editors, would be that much different–spiteful people would still be spiteful people, those who spread lies and never admitted to being wrong would still be that way, trolls would still be trolls, the casual fans would still be casual, the nice people would still be nice, hysterics would still be hysterics, the analytical would still be analytical, the accusatory would still be accusatory, the petty would still be petty. I actually admire my friends who had the foresight to leave fandom when the train went off the tracks a few years back—but I guess I don’t regret some of the beautiful moments of the last arc– Urahara’s ban kai, Askin’s whole character, Jugo and Bazz, and any and all Ishida.

Don’t waste your precious mind on spiteful, mean, insecure people. Remember I want happy endings for you. Those who try to engage you to shit on you constantly will never get their happy endings in RL, trust me on that one.”

More than hate, I’m grateful for all the amazing kind messages I’ve received from people who I thought had long disappeared from fandom—I got emails, DMs on social media sites, many of which made me cry because they were so personal and kind. Some bonds cannot be broken. Kubo may have betrayed his story but he can never take away my friends, some of the loveliest people I’ve known, some of whom have travelled miles, one even across the ocean, to meet me in real life. Many left Bleach when they grew bored of it, but our lives were always more about pairings or goings-on in a Japanese story. I’m grateful to all of you, acquaintances, lurkers and friends, who were with me for part or all of this journey. I started bleachness as a reservoir for my own fic and art and meta ramblings so as not to annoy non-Bleach fans on my main LJ blog and it became something bigger---so many people misunderstood that, expected it to be an unbiased newscast for Bleach information and my own blog and cast me, of all people, as an Orihime hater, and an elitist.  One of the things I answered a note I got on Tumblr was about the inside joke about the English degrees the mods on bleachness had---we liked lit crit; some of those mods are lawyers now; I was an English teacher off and on; the ones who accused us of elitism wrote their own meta even when they said “it’s only a story for 13-year-old boys.” And I will say now for the record I was wrong in interpreting much of the final arc, especially regarding pairings. Kubo at some point went off track, Rukia disappeared totally, he said that “Ichigo was the protagonist of the human side and Rukia was the protagonist of the Shinigami side,” foreshadowing that Ichigo would stay in the human world, despite the Fullbringer arc being all about Ichigo’s identifying with the Shinigami, being heartsick over Rukia. In the end “I can’t keep up with the speed of the world without you” and “the love and destiny Ichigo inherited” was erased. I was wrong. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. I do believe I was misled, though.

Deathberry will probably (I’m not sure) go down in a few months, due to lack of interest from the caretakers and because its expensive to maintain—one of the mods pays for it herself. The IchiHime site FLOL is paid for by ads. Fandoms can’t be killed by any author, no matter what he or she does to the canon story—that has long been my observation. I haven’t seen such an outpouring of fic and art in the last week in the Bleach fandom in years. I swore I was going to move past Bleach, but I even wrote one. It was part of my grieving ritual. I was ready to let Bleach go a year ago, but at the moment all this feels like a bad break-up, and I have a few more steps to process before I can truly move on. I’ll leave this site up—it’s a lifetime account, bought when Live Journal was giving those out, so it stays as long as Live Journal stays, which is not a solid guarantee of anything of course.

I’m going to copy a few reactions I posted (and edited for clarity) from other places while I was avoiding my own blog. Thank you to my friends who posted in the chapter thread. It was difficult for me to come here. I have some issues still about this site, some pain. There are reminders here of some of the worst of fandom as well as the best.

I will claim to the end I never hated Orihime so let’s get that out of the way first.  I wanted the best for her, and my more cynical friends told me I would be disappointed. I did not believe them. I should’ve. The general sexism of shounen and Kubo’s own tendency to write Orihime inconsistently, his rage when audiences didn’t accept her, his increasing trivialization of her should have been a clue. Orihime’s character degraded from the time she was the adorable girl by the river chasing dragonflies with a best friend to the time she was single-mindedly pursuing a boy; it seemed like a familiar character; I actually thought Kubo was making fun of it; it turns out he rewarded that giddy devotion—I could give so many panels where Orihime didn’t “get” Ichigo’s character but persisted in her love, but I don’t think Bleach is worth my analysis anymore. I can just say that I was wrong; Kubo, who has said in interview that he likes to champion characters audiences don’t like, screwed over the giant IchiRuki fanbase (I saw yesterday the horrified faces of the Burimyu actors who play Ichigo and Ruki holding WSJ covers over their mouths) and rewarded Orihime with the main character.

But he didn’t even do it right.  He gave her no romance.

I’ll quote some from other places:

“I don't hate Orihime. I just died a little when I saw her in that apron in the Korean scan (still haven't read the chapter). I guess her big character development was that in 10 years she learned to cook. She wanted to be so many things in her five lifetimes speech--which unlike so many IR fans here, I actually liked--I thought it was poignant and representative of a teenage girl's love. It was the gross fanservice--the hotdogs with the mushroom pajamas and that awful dress that got me later. Her not being able to cook was always an endearing quality to me. I can't cook for shit either but I have other strengths. And I've heard that she uses Tsubaki to babysit her kid---her offensive fairy that was teased for the whole manga and which many expected her to use in battle. Used for BABYSITTING. Yes, this is a feminist issue. And so many bloggers and fanbois going OH MY MY KARIN GOT HERSELF SOME BOOBIES AND OOOH WEEEE WTG ICHIGO GOT THE BOOBS is just .... yeah, no. It's not about boobs. I like big boobs myself. One of my longtime gfs in my life before marriage had huge boobs and a very feminine look, I understand the appeal, believe me. I also expect women to be more than just their mammary glands. I expect them to accomplish their dreams independent of what is expected of them by men and a sexist society. So Orihime got her wish finally to protect Ichigo--that was good, I was ok with that, I was more than happy with that. I was sorry we didn't get to see her fire Tsubaki independently in battle (his being used in training with Ginjou was another tease). Never mind Ichigo not really getting a good fight but that was rushed to the end, bad planning and because of many reasons, mainly how WSJ works and how it’s honored Kubo for this last arc despite their disagreements, I believe Kubo had more than enough time to prepare and wandered in the past six months or a year.  Orihime gets little panel time in the last chapter and again, not much interaction with Ichigo---there was never that chemistry there--but whatever. The ship itself isn't as heartbreaking as Orihime never getting any character development and being used so blithely for fanservice throughout the latter part of the series. Matsumoto was supposed to get a backstory and THERE was a mature strong woman--what happened to THAT?  Orihime--I'd complained about her development forever and still believed Kubo would resolve her in the end. No, I didn't even hold out hope for IshiHime in the last chapters--there was too much one-sidedness (like IchiHime or RenRuki, I thought) and a timeskip would solve that but be awkward as shit. But the sight of her in an apron almost as a parody of Sakura was a real blow.

Like most things in that last chapter were a real blow. I mean, I used to defend Kubo all the time. Yes, he's a sexist Japanese man. What are his worst sins, I would say--shitty pacing and he likes big boobs. Turns out those were BIG SINS. Wow, his pacing was so bad he couldn't tie up dozens of loose threads, not even a few crucial ones that could’ve explained simple things—like who was the Soul King and how did Aizen get back in the bond chair, and omg, the big boobs thing turned out to be a fetish. I will still remember some of the things I loved about the last arc but Orihime went downhill so fast in Bleach and every time I got hope for her development, I was crushed. Kubo could've even developed her relationship with Ichigo. He could've put something dear and touching between the two, even had Ichigo thank her for fixing his ban kai, something, anything---instead there was that comedic panel in which she was humiliated and cried over wearing that dress and thinking Ichigo thought she was a hentai. That was disgusting and IH loved that as evidence of their pairing. No, they have their canon based on that sort of shallowness.

Orihime was so adorable when first presented. The SS arc was Bleach when Kubo was on a roll.  I don't know what happened (well, I actually do know a little but hell if I'll ever tell). The Arrancar arc was spotty and he kept reeling us in with flashes of brilliance and Orihime kept having her moments of fail but her moments like slapping Ulquiorra or realizing that she didn't fear him in the end (one of Bleach's greatest moments, truly) and then the FB arc started and the Orihime jokes like Orihime vision just made me think Kubo was making fun of her. How could anyone in his or her right mind believe she was meant as the "love and destiny Ichigo inherited" after the MITR arc?  Ichigo treated her like a nakama whereas Rukia was always more than a nakama... but I've gone on enough--it's really about more than the ship. It's about Orihime being the ideal of the Japanese housewife, and that trope itself is yuck.  I have nothing against housewives--I've been one off and on to homeschool special needs kids and I value people who do it, but Orihime had dreams. She had an offensive weapon. Yeah, Tsubaki was used a babysitter. That was.... wrong. Tell me that wasn't a FU.

It’s so much more than the ships–I do believe many people who read Bleach primarily for the ships are projecting their own obsessions onto others. I still believe Kubo had plenty time to wrap up a few key plot details, if given six months or six weeks, but the ending read like a huge FU to his story and fandom–it was so weird. I enjoyed some parts of the final arc even when it was clear it was going off the tracks, but most of my salt is about Mayuri living, SS not changing and remaining the corrupt institution it always was, Urahara–where?, Matsumoto backstory–not necessary anymore but KIRA where? How the hell did Aizen get back in the chair? That could’ve been explained in one line. Was the bro-con with Yuzu comedy really necessary? Wtf was it with her new hair color. Ok, we get it that Karin’s boobs got bigger. Kubo really likes boobs. I was already prepared not to expect an explanation of Rukia’s missing years on Earth or the Soul King backstory or any more Quincy backstory. But I was gutted by Ishida facing away in the CP–I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it would’ve been so easy for him to turn around and smile with his friends or be at the party in the chapter, especially after his nakama speech of all time and after joining the enemy to die and being willing to have everyone believe he was a traitor so he would SACRIFICE HIMSELF to their sake. Ishida alone. Ishida alone. I felt like I’d been personally slapped in the face.  ISHIDA SO ALONE.

My grief for Orihime is extreme. People have always called me an Orihime hater. I’ve criticized her character before but I always thought she’d make it. I cheered for her when she was fighting with Ichigo because she’d wanted to do that for years and been sidelined by the plot, but after her initial adorableness is SS arc (the arc that did no wrong) she was used for fanservice more and more and more–and I think I started losing it when she was shown holding a hot dog—and so many people, not just guys oblivious to the concept of the Male Gaze, defended it as “just a hot dog.” Forget the mushroom pajamas. People, her dress in the Arrancar arc had a cut over her crotch and her outfit in the final arc had a boob window. Representations of Orihime’s love in the FB arc seemed to mock her while Ichigo pined for Rukia. Bizarro world. And the sight of Orihime in an apron was gutting–so her achievement was she learned to cook in 10 years? In canon she said she wanted to be an astronaut. A teacher. Is she the ideal Japanese trophy wife? Did Ichigo interact much with her at ALL? Tsubaki, her offensive weapon, who was teased for years, ends up being A BABYSITTER. Oh please. I babysit. I think there’s no holier occupation that picking up a child so a woman can do something else with her useful hands but Tsubaki was supposed to represent Orihime’s KILLING INSTINCT, that which she had to some degree and was used in defense of Tatsuki once and never again to protect the innocent. So Tsubaki is supposed to squash any bug that Orihime’s super-powered baby comes across. No. Doesn’t work like that. We never saw Tsubaki in battle, forget Shinji’s ban kai. Tsubaki had three arcs--no wait four if you count the first time he went down on that roof-top--of build-up.

People have tried to console me with the headcanon that Urahara and Yoruichi went off somewhere because the ending embarrassed them—the sight of Ichigo on his dad’s sofa like Al Bundy.  So the tickets being given out to his friends was a tease and Ichigo ended up where he started, sitting on his father’s sofa—what Shounen hero does that? Ends up where he started 13 years later?  But it’s the Mayuri still being captain that hurts the most. And Nemu being rebuilt. I heard so many people going “kawaaaiiiiiii” over baby! Nemu and only one dude going OH G-D PLEASE CALL SS CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES. And why was the world, the corrupt SS that Ichigo was supposed to change not changed? And the execution site that he cracked once upon a time rebuilt stronger and bigger? While he’s reset to the very beginning, where he started, back at home—and SS is the same, none of its values changed–Rukia’s speech about he had changed SS completely erased.

I loved Bleach so much once, and that love was erased too."

I'll post a fic later. I still love the characters. More power to all those who are reclaiming them and more power to transformative art, "fix-it" fic and those who love what they love continuing to love. I will always have a special place for Ishida Uryuu and Urahara Kisuke and others in my heart but the canon story--it died for me with the end. I can only liken this end to a divorce. We had some good times, but I have to move on.
Current Location: It's raining
Current Mood: gloomygloomy
Current Music: rain falling gently
posted on Tumblr (sorry folks--I'm spending more time there because fandom has made the exodus there).

Why People Put Too Much Stock In Orihime's Powers

Because Aizen said so? Aizen the troll of all trolls? I’ve said before that Aizen has been known to play with facts, but he isn’t exactly a liar. I actually do take him on his word that Orihime’s powers trespass on the territory of GOD. In other words, when Aizen bullshits, I pay attention. When Bleach fandom bullshits, I tend to tune out—unless it’s one of those situations like this week when I think people are getting super carried away with prematurely announcing Orihime as the new main character of the series. They honestly expect her to have the perfect counter to Yhwach’s amazing over-poweredness. What? Can she time-travel into Yhwach’s future now? Can she reject his google eyes?

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08 April 2016 @ 01:04 pm
Since the reveal of Urahara’s ban kai and Kenpachi’s ban kai in less than a span of a month, it’s been hitting people that Bleach is really ending. I’ve even heard a few speculate that we’ve got only a couple fights left—to which I say woah, Nellie. I know we’re seeing wonders only dreamt of fourteen years ago, but so much more remains untold in the story. Aizen’s part, for one. Where does Aizen, Kubo’s most beloved, the man who was once arguably the top manga villain of his era, figure in restoring the universe to its rightful order after he once aimed to sit on the very throne of the Soul King? And speaking of illusionary zanpakutou, we’ve yet to see Shinji’s ban kai—what the hell does THAT thing do? Then there’s the role of the Fullbringers being trained by the Shiba Cannon Mistress, Kukaku. Uryuu’s fight with Haschwalth may be the main event for this summer, but there are so many other events yet to come—Bleach has years left.

That said, I do feel a true sense of having come through the dark woods, over the high mountain, and now being on the straight path home. I expect Kubo to try to spook me or throw a crazy snake in the road here and there, but somehow it is starting to feel familiar now—like, the narrative is coming to a natural conclusion. Just about everyone and his sister predicted that Yachiru would be Kenpachi’s sword. That was a fan theory going back ages. Grimmjow rollicking around in the plot being an audience-pleaser is no surprise either; I remember rolling my eyes over the debates as to whether he was alive or dead, but I never doubted he was FINE. Same goes for Kira. Hell, call me crazy for thinking that Ulquiorra will return to throw his Chekov’s lanza at some point, but I’ve been batting 1000 with these guys returning (It helps that Kubo has a hard time killing characters—and I knew he would NEVER kill Byakuya, like hell he wouldn’t). Ulquiorra may have had a perfect death, but he’s always had “Rise From the Ashes 2” written all over him.

The most activity my fanblog bleachness saw was back in 2009, during the Lust Arc preceding Ulquiorra’s death. Back then, Bleach had a whirlwind of fans and fan controversy to boot. When Ulquiorra died, there was a huge reverberation in the fandom as it tried to process the Arrancar arc, many finding that last scene touching but ultimately unsatisfying, especially in comparison to how the Soul Society arc had ended—which, I’d always argued, was Kubo’s point. The man loves parallels.

Bleach seemed to die with Ulquiorra. It never recovered its popularity after that time. I'd always championed it along, through its most plodding post SS days and even unto the despised Fullbringer arc (which I loved--it only took a little over a year to tell and it retold the ur-conception of Ichigo's power in a way that added some mythological oomph to the story--I, for one, wasn't flipping my cans over jokes that didn't hit the spot or Orihime munching one too many donuts) I knew even as I loved Bleach when it was floundering--it's pretty hard to ignore Kubo’s propensity to ignore fan favorites while creating new characters no one was much interested in. And another flaw he developed post SS was structuring fights that seemed to have no real emotional stakes... and yet, he pushed his story forward, playing with parables, toying with visual puns, amusing himself with high literary allusions and making dick jokes, and then every once in a while pulling off a stunning gaiden like Turn Back the Pendulum or Memories in the Rain—both well-told, poetically dense tales that not only stood alone as good stories but changed the main storyline forever. I’ll always love Kubo. He’s come back time and time again for me, if Ulquiorra hasn’t yet.

I realized the other day that I rarely check my own Bleach fanblog anymore. I still religiously read Bleach. I still love the hell out of the series, even as thousands have left it, bemoaning its convoluted plot and artsy excesses. I probably love Bleach as much for those very flaws as anything else, the way it lingers on a close-ups of doorknob or makes an excessive metaphor out of a moon sliver that looks like a toe-nail clipping in the sky.

When Ishida Uryuu, my favorite character, had his recent moment of realizing that there was some flaw in Haschwalth’s foresight, smiled his little Ishida half-smile, made some speech in keeping with Bleach’s great theme of destiny and materialized his bow, I flailed to the left, flailed to the right and fell out of my chair like electrocuted.  I still think that maybe after Ishida goes Volstandig and after Ichigo reaches Yhwach (yeah, like right, Ichigo is just going to kill the dude in his sleep—not gonna be that easy), something bad will happen, and we may end up with that teased at Ishida/Ichigo fight after all.

When Urahara said ban kai not long ago, there was similar flailing. Benihime may be my favorite zan yet—she’s truly gorgeous and terrifying in all ways and I’m certain we haven’t seen the last of her. Askin was the most elegant and satisfying opponent, and his death was savage—wow, what a way to go--and I'm  sure he’s dead because the four reiatsu that Neliel senses are Urahara’s, Yoruichi’s, Yoru’s brother’s, and Grimmjow’s. That story of that rescue has to be told too—and Kubo did promise us a Kisuke/Yoruichi backstory. I’m not worried for Kisuke’s life for one second. I do admit I was scared for Shunsui back there during his chapters but his ban kai seemed all about suicide so can you blame me? I guess I was having a bad week. Anyway, Urahara will be fine. Let’s see how he gets out of this pickle.

When Kenpachi got ban kai, though, I didn’t fail or get up and fanboy whoot, I sat in my chair and outright cried. I don’t know why. That story is one of the loveliest in Bleach. Say what you will about Kenpachi being an overpowered, one-note character but his relationship with Yachiru, the little pink-haired foundling, is one of Kubo’s best done. The whole theme of naming which echoes over and over in the story, the communing with one’s true soul, the idea that this little girl is Kenpachi’s beast killer nature and she’s been by his side all along—didn’t we all know this? It was like the best of revelations, to understand something that we’ve understood for years.  There was a part of me that very much needed to see that little girl tell a man who had just been splatted onto the ground by all that was irrational and mighty that he was silly and needed to get up, that he had the power and it was called “ban kai.” I cried.

I love Bleach. It’s moments like that one I’d waited years for.

09 November 2015 @ 08:45 am
This didn't scan well. Oh well. Everyone is free to share any Uryuu arts here or any Uryuu discussion for his birthday if you so wish. His birthday can last all November as far as I'm concerned--this is a very very Ishida Uryuu happy site!

happy birthday uryuu 2016.JPG
06 November 2015 @ 06:54 am
I am so very very sorry to have not hosted the annual Ishida birthday celebration this year.  In so many ways, the contest wasn't do-able, but I don't love Ishida any less and I know his fans don't. Last night, after a very long week, I scrambled to write up a character analysis thingie as an offering. I've been sketching our boy off and on for a while so I may post a sketch later today. Here's my little essay--I still love writing about you, Uryuu, and happy birthday.

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22 July 2015 @ 08:05 am
I'm drawing again.... So I sketched Uryuu this week after what seems like years of not drawing at all. Some sketches weren't utter crap and I may finish the following drawing based off a Qin dynasty sculpture of a kneeling archer: http://debbiechan.deviantart.com/art/Kneeling-Archer-Uryuu-548113755?ga_submit_new=10%253A1437569543

Qin Dynasty.jpg
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Current Mood: artisticartistic
I'm baaaack!  With a very short vignette that was almost three years in the making. For my dear friend Peggy who won an IshiHime contest a while back with the art below (http://pre05.deviantart.net/5cd3/th/pre/i/2015/109/8/8/ishihime_fairy_tale_by_peca06-d6ueyue.png), I present "The Frog Princess" a tiny piece I tried to work into the current storyline (somehow?)  I still love Orihime, despite what people say, and I want the best for her, with or without Ishida-kun.

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