idnh_azuresky (idnh_azuresky) wrote in bleachness,

January Birthday Contest: Kenpachi Fanfiction

Title: Of Pride and Power
Author’s Name: idnh-azuresky
Category: Kenpachi Fanfiction
Word Count (if applicable): 1608
Spoiler Warnings (if any): None, though some hints to recent chapters occur
Rating: K+, PG

Kenpachi Zaraki does not have a name.

Well, that was a stupid thought, he mutters as he sits there, but what he’s doing is also stupid, so he supposes it fits.

The sword, the tip driven well into the ground, remains motionless in front of him.

He hates the thought that there’s a way to become stronger, a way that he is not using. So he sits there, pondering over the stupidity of it all, trying to figure out the name of his sword.

Oh, he’s tried all other methods before trying this, because after all, spending a perfectly fine afternoon hiding on a remote hill somewhere close to Zaraki, the district he once lived in, staring at a broken, pathetic excuse of a sword is not fun at all. He might not even have done it, considering such things to be pansy and not like him at all, but he figures that it’s more annoying to not do something that could make him stronger.

So he sits there, and looks at his sword.

“Oh, my sword? It’s such a vain, stupid little thing – don’t even get me started on the name, it wouldn’t tell me for ages,” Yumichika had fumed. “I had to ask it for it! How not beautiful is that, honestly?”

Kenpachi simply moved on.

“The name?” Ikkaku looked like he had never heard anything so stupid. “Hell, how do I remember how I know the little bugger’s name? It’s just always been called that.”

Kenpachi had made sure to beat him up rather thoroughly after that.

“The name...” Shuuhei Hisagi, who had been out hanging with the eleventh division at the pub for some reason, hiccupped. “Hate the name,” he said dully, “It’s just – so – lethal, you know? I hate it.” He took another drought, as if to forget something, then added just as Kenpachi was about to move on, “Of course, I only found that name out after I’ve been forced kill something. As quickly as possible.” The last is spoken quietly.

Kenpachi figured the kid had something there, then drank enough sake to forget all about it.

“Z-Zabimaru?” The Abarai kid always stood at attention, ready to jump into action, whenever Kenpachi went near him. Always looked somewhat nervous, as well, as if he thought the entire eleventh division was going to beat him up any time for changing divisions. “I – I don’t know, sir, to tell you the truth. It was during one of the nights when I was training to, you know, beat my captain.”

Kenpachi ignored the now pale Renji trying to explain that “my captain” meant Kuchiki, but that did not in way mean that he didn’t consider Kenpachi to be his captain as well, and –

Finally he figured one of the captains could tell him, unlike these kids who still don’t know what fighting and killing mean, not really, not yet. So he visited Ukitate, one of the captains he had least connection to, because he figured the sick old man was old enough and sick enough to tell him some useful information, without looking down at him with that irritating gaze Kuchiki had, or spreading his question all over the Gotei 13 like Shunsui might. Or trying to convince him to become some test subject.

Honestly, he sometimes feels a jab of annoyance that the three most decent captains just had to be the ones to defect and betray all of them.

Ukitake didn’t look surprised when he greeted Kenpachi, but the question did have the white-haired man pause and think.

“I can only offer the story of my own experience,” Ukitake finally said, and Kenpachi was about to get up and out of there, when the older captain added, “That’s pretty much the deal with all zanpakutous – it’s a part of who the owner shinigami is, so meeting the sword is a completely personal affair of looking directly at the power and fears one has.”

Kenpachi nodded and got out of there, because he had no idea what Ukitake had just said.

Times like these, he really wishes that Ichigo kid is back here, so that he can ask him that. Kenpachi just knows that at least Ichigo will give an answer that will satisfy him, probably something along the lines of “The hell I know, old man? I just beat some stuff up until I figured it out.”

But Ukitake’s words are the ones that keep coming back as he sits there.

He ponders over them for a bit, feels stupid, then ponders over them again. And then decides they’ve got some value in them.

All right, so a personal affair. He looks at the sword for a bit, looks around, then looks back at the sword. He’s goddamned alone with the thing, isn’t he?

Powers and fears. Well, hell, power, he’s got a lot of that. He is the bloody Kenpachi. If he has to know exactly what type of power he had, he’s going to get pretty mad, but after a minute of thinking about it anyways, he figures he knows. It’s the power to destroy. He’s got that.


He turns that phrase around for a bit, trying to understand it like everyone else does, trying to acquaint himself with it. He’ll do anything that makes him stronger, after all.

What is he afraid of?

After thirty minutes of grunting, spitting, muttering, and scratching his head, he can say he honestly is not afraid of anything. He’s not afraid of ugly things, like Yumichika is. He’s not even afraid of losing battles; that just means he can go back and kick the bastard’s ass. And he’s not afraid of dying, or killing, like Hisagi is. He’s not boasting, it’s just the truth.

The sword, the tip driven well into the ground, remains motionless in front of him.

All right, so he doesn’t like the idea of not having a name. It doesn’t matter, because he’s got one now: Kenpachi Zaraki. His sword doesn’t have a name, but that’s not his fault. Yachiru has a name, because he gave her one. So there’s honestly no problem there.

“Not having a name makes you weak,” Kenpachi tells the sword suddenly. “That’s true.” It was the one thing he lacked back then. It was the one thing that saved him when Yachiru came along and he learned to name her, then himself.

Except he still doesn’t have a name. He’s the Kenpachi of Zaraki. He doesn’t have a name. It’s not a name.

Kenpachi Zaraki does not have a name.

“So tell me your name, then,” he grunts at the sword. And maybe, maybe the sword can give him a name.

The sword is still motionless in the ground.

“Ken-chan!” Suddenly, a pink blur passes, and Kenpachi finds himself blinking at the bright blob of energy that is Yachiru, balancing on the sword hilt sticking out from the ground, giving him that wide grin. “Whatcha doing, Ken-chan? What are you doing?”

“Go away, Yachiru,” Kenpachi says, but without any annoyance. “I’m trying to figure out the name of this piece of metal.”

She glances down at the piece of metal that she is sitting on, then returns her gaze to her captain and father. “But why?” she asks, then giggles. “Everyone else seems to find knowing the name only annoying! They’re always complaining about the nature of their swords, aren’t they?”

“That’s because the swords represent the side of themselves that they fear and the most,” Kenpachi says, because that sounds like something Ukitake would say. “Now go away, I’ll play with you later.”

Yachiru agilely leaps off the sword without any resentment, but instead of going away, she crouches down in front of the sword beside Kenpachi. “What do you think its name might be, Ken-chan?” she asks, seriously.

“I don’t know – that’s what I’m trying to figure out,” Kenpachi replies.

Yachiru giggles then. “Maybe it doesn’t have a name!” she says. “Maybe its name is Nameless! Or just Name!”

Before Kenpachi can tell her how stupid that is, she stands up, already having lost interest in it. “Don’t think so much, Ken-chan!” she says, brightly. “You’re amazing without knowing the name of the sword! You don’t need to know it to become strong!”

Then like the whirlwind that she is, Yachiru sweeps away, no doubt to make mischief everywhere else in Soul Society. And Kenpachi is left staring at the motionless sword once more.

Maybe its name is the lack of name.

Maybe what Kenpachi needs to face is that part of himself, who remains nameless always; he who lacked only the name when he had everything else, he who believed himself to be the strongest in all of Rukongai and was constantly searching for opponents.

The man in the white robe of a captain needs to face that nameless man who knows only of the sword in his hand. The latter has everything but the name; the former fears the name.

“Che,” Kenpachi says, and stands up, because there’s nothing else to do. “Maybe the kid’s right.”

And for the first time in his – and its – life, the sword stirs, and answers.

Of course the kid’s right, it says. You idiot.

“Che,” Kenpachi says again, and pulls the sword off the ground effortlessly. It doesn’t say anything more, but he figures he’s not going to worry about that any more, seeing as how he’s already wasted one afternoon on it.

Swords don’t need to speak. Swords don’t need a name. Much like the way a man doesn’t.

Kenpachi of Zaraki walks down the hill, in search of some more things to fight.

A very, very small note: The title, of pride and power, comes from Edgar Allan Poe's The Happiest Day - just for Adam, for though he does not know me, I hear he has a special affinity for poetry.

Actually, I just love Poe. Thank you for reading!

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