Title: Cruelty of the Sea
Rating: I guess...PG...for um...death? Or G for Ukitake? It's nothing eye bruising at least. And no, I don't kill him off. Poor guy gets beat up enough as it is.
Pairing: Ukitake and his thoughts. Sounds good to me!
Summary: Captain Ukitake revisits memories on a foreign shore.
Notes: This was written as I listened to "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", by Gordon Lightfoot at the beginning of this year. Shipwrecks have always fascinated me for some reason, especially the ones shrouded in as much mystery as this one was. Of course, curiosity got the better of me, and I ended up looking into it a bit more. Also, having lived in upstate NY for a little over a decade, I know first hand how insanely much the Great Lakes can change the weather. Of course, who better to put souls lost on the water to rest than one of my all time favorite characters?
There were rare times he visited the World of the Living. Although his own existence was based around the balance between life and death, there were certain events and places which stayed with him.
Early November wind – crisp and cold – tangled the long, soft tresses of white, white hair as he stood upon the foreign lake’s shoreline one grey morning. Today, the waters he watched were calm. Gentle waves rolled upon the rocks under the dock upon which he stood, and gulls called to each other as they flew in wide arches above him.
These were his elements. The water and the storm.
Placid eyes closed and he savored the feel of the air upon his face and hands, the wind pressing his robes tightly against his leanly muscled body.
He knew all too well how swiftly currents could turn.
Living men regularly braved the waters to provide a home for their families, themselves and their habits. The local folk here called these waters the “Great Lakes”. This particular lake was Lake Superior. He could see why. The water stretched as far as the eye can see, and he could feel how the water changed the weather itself as the winds blew from west to east over it. Calm skies would turn stormy within the blink of an eye.
Thirty-five years was just like a blink of an eye to him.
However, that fateful night not so long ago, the air was white with snow, and he had been dispatched by the captain commander for a rare mission in this part of the world to lead a small number of seated Shinigami from his squad. The violent weather had nothing to do with the mission, but the distress from the dead men, their surviving comrades and their loved ones on shore drew Hollows like sharks to the scent of blood. The battle between shinigami and hollow could no more be avoided than the battle between the living and the elements.
The slavering beasts were quickly dispatched. However, as with all violent death, many of the souls left without bodies that night were left to wander – lost in pain and confusion. He and his squad had preformed soul burials on as many as they could find. Even those found weeks later still possessed the pure and absolute heartache and terror of the freshly dead. From what little he had heard from those unfortunates, the ship had cracked in two, and then sank so quickly that her crew couldn’t know exactly what was happening before the icy waters had claimed them.
Relief rang through the shinigami as strongly as it did the souls finally free to move on when at long last released. The suffering of their loved ones left behind was palpable, and inevitable suicides followed the deaths of the sailors.
Odd how these thoughts stuck with him, even this far into his long life.
Slowly, he opened his eyes and gazed again over the calm waters.
X-Posting to my personal journal, too. 'Cause I'm evil like that.