goat_dono: (DEVIL SHUU)
[personal profile] goat_dono
Title: The Chamber
Part: Three
Author: [personal profile] goat_dono
Fiction rating: M (graphic suicide, self-harm, serial murder, blade injury, war crimes, demonic possession, religious themes)
Word count: 739
music: 菅野 よう子 - I can't be cool
Summary: Some doors are best left unopened.

Disclaimer: Bleach is the property of Tite Kubo. I do not use its characters, settings and/or events for any profitable purpose.


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うつせみの 世は常なしと 知るものを 秋風寒み 偲ひつるかも

utsusemino
yo ha tsunena shito
shiru monowo
akikaze samumi
shino hitsurukamo

I know
this cicada-shell life is
evanescent,
yet when the autumn wind blows cold,
I long for her.

Man'yōshū
(“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”)
Book 3 No. 465
by Ōtomo no Yakamochi


~xXx~


Shūhei lurched backward with a gasp, clutching desperately at his belly, but his hands found nothing other than his own unbroken flesh.

He was still seated before the open doorway of his quarters, his writing tools and the paper on which he had composed his jisei just barely visible under the lightening sky. The lines seemed different than how he remembered them, but then again, he wasn't sure he remembered writing them at all. Laboriously he stood up, aching and weak as though he hadn't moved for days, and fumbled to light the lamp.

It was then that he noticed the sword.

He grabbed it, clutched it tightly with both hands. He had never touched a Zanpakutō before. It startled him how thrilling it was to feel its spirit, to feel himself, integrally a part of it, but that awareness was tempered by a pang of revulsion when he realized the long strip of silk wound around the dully gleaming saya was his own obi, stiff and dark with dried blood.

The sword's furnishings were plain but fine quality, with dark blue tsuka-ito and an octagonal, blackened iron tsuba. Slowly, he drew the Zanpakutō and sighted along its length. His asauchi had been a low-grade student weapon, poorly forged, but this blade bore the fine, wood-like grain of skillfully folded carbon steel. The flawless edge was beveled to razor thinness, without the slightest distortion, and a meandering hamon swirled over it like a breath of wind. It was shorter and straighter than it had been, the balance point perfectly placed. When he raised it over his shoulder, it felt as light and dynamic as a shuriken, and he resisted a sudden, compelling urge to throw it.

It was called Kaze-shini.

In his mind, the name evoked the deranged, screeching laughter of the demon that empowered the blade; a stark reminder that his subconscious yearning for revenge had led him to so casually form an alliance with a servant of the angel of Death.

Memories of the hollow incident overtook his thoughts. He recalled the otherworldly shrieks echoing through the deserted streets as he stumbled about in blind agony, choking on mouthfuls of his own blood. He crooked three fingers and drew them down the prominent lines that slashed his face from hairline to chin, lingering over his sightless eye.

It had blades for claws. Blades made for killing.

Blades just like mine.


His fingers trailed down further, under his jaw, to touch the thin scar ringing his neck. Reaching across, he brushed them over an identical scar encircling his upper arm.

I thought my soul's only desire was to protect, and here it turns out what I really crave is vengeance. Shit. I'm more dangerous with this bizarre shikai than I was swinging half blind.

Not that it mattered.

The sword was still drawn in his hand. He raised it and searched for his reflection in the cold steel, but found himself unable to meet his own gaze.

They won't even hesitate to assign me now. They'll probably put me in one of the combat divisions, and I'll spend the rest of my life stepping over the bodies of my friends.

Once again, everything had changed.

Releasing the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, Shūhei sheathed the sword, lay it before him, and bowed to it, respectfully. Reaching out, he traced its length with his fingertips before moving it to his right side, blade inward; a sword so positioned cannot easily be drawn, and threatens only its wielder. Out in the bamboo grove, the wind rattled angrily at the passive provocation.

An oddly peaceful feeling settled over him; the misery and anguish of the past several months faded to a distant ache. Before him, the square of mulberry paper fluttered and drifted, and he had just time to scan the lines once more before it was borne away on the freshening breeze.


Killing wind, sounding
Through the moonlit night;
Take my life and forsake the pain, the taste of blood, the stench of death
And all that I see in the dark reflection
of my true self.


Killing wind, silent
In the darkness before dawn;
Spare my life and free the shadow
of my tortured soul.


His gaze soft, his mind clear, Shūhei sat quietly until the tempest subsided, and the first light of morning spilled through the open shōji to reveal the outer world, calm and still.


~xXx~


A/Ns:
asauchi - nameless Zanpakutō
hamon - “blade pattern,” the visual effect created by differentially hardening a blade's edge
saya - sheath
shuriken - small, easily concealed throwing weapon
tsuba - hand guard separating the blade and the hilt
tsuka-ito - flat-woven cord used to wrap the tsuka (hilt)



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Part One
Part Two
Part Three


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February 2012

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