Post by Kohara Hi-to on Apr 27, 2015 15:44:33 GMT -5
For a man who had never felt the kiss of the cold in his entire life, there was something incredibly cathartic about Kamakura beach at this time of year. Without the biting heat and humidity of summer the beaches along the Kanagawa shoreline remained somewhat desolate, braved only by the few surfers who would take to the waves in various colored wet suits.
The rush of the algae rich waters brushed across his sandals, dying the fine cotton a deep scarlet. The plant life of these beaches were dyed a blood red halfway to the horizon, the illusion of death’s perfume ruined only by the humans laughing as they swam through it. With all the drama of everyday life that came as part of Lieutenancy, being able to walk free, unable to be seen by the mortals around him was a welcome reprieve. There was so much to do with so little time.
The object of his visit lay only half a kilometre away, a kido secured and abandoned warehouse nestled by the docks. In a village where the locals knew nothing of covert operations the contents would almost surely remain untouched, a safe haven of materials and samples when Seireitei was no longer safe. Until he’d officially joined Kiriko at her side and the Second Division became his new home, the uses of Kiriko’s more official channels hadn’t had the pleasure of catering to his more ‘covert’ operations.
The knowledge that his research would no longer need to be scattered across the globe, that it could all remain in one place for ease of use was a heavy burden off his shoulders. Quincy and hollow breed biopsies, notes, autopsy results from a time long past that were reminiscent of when they first met...truthfully there wasn’t much to move. Just a line of experiments and memories.
Hi-to would have been lying to imply the lingering whisper of regret hadn’t sat with him since that night not so long ago. It was an old scar that would throb with a dull phantom pain every now and then, a lone scar on his chest that it taken strenuous effort not to let his body heal automatically. Not once in his life had his body ever known the same damage that constantly plagued his Shinigami comrades, not until now. Every now and then he’d catch a glimpse of the rough, uneven skin nestled between his ribcage and remember what a fool he’d been. It was only a surface wound. Why did its impact run so deep?
He’d be a liar to deny he’d made many mistakes in his life, and even more by dwelling on them. Not once had he ever apologised, not for actions that he had meant to do at the time. And yet this was as close as he could ever come to feeling apologetic, a time where he would right what was wrong, the only way he could do that by leaving her be. The lesson learnt was a hard one; he should never have fraternized with humans in the first place. They were too different, vulnerable to each other, the one virus his Kaido could never heal.
In all probability she was miles away, across Tokyo bay and nestled within the remains of her shrine in Saitama. Mourning, perhaps, in a way he couldn’t allow himself to. Their friendship should never have become a war and yet it had, triggered by his own hand. The scarlet water rushing over the pale, death colored sand was doing little to distract his mind from the nostalgia, drawing amber eyes elsewhere across the expanse of the beach. He’d be expected back a little after nightfall; just enough time to hit Argentina and Zambia to gather the rest of his hidden resources and supplies.
Something shifted and moved, neither the ocean nor one of the stray surfers, and the wash across him wasn’t of the ocean but of a familiar spirit. A plus. Drowned in the ocean, perhaps, wandering aimlessly to recover memories and feelings it never would. Of the hundreds of Shinigami that built up their ranks, the job of soul purification was one Hi-to hadn’t partaken in since their initial meeting, the reminder an irony he wasn’t in the mood to entertain. Somewhere buried underneath the politics and death they had lost their true purpose of redeeming the souls of the dearly departed; had it really been since meeting her that he’d stopped caring?
The child didn’t notice him as he drew closer. Perhaps she thought he was one of the others of flesh and bone that couldn’t see her, lost to her forever. Her chubby fingers raked through wet, sodden sand, clumps of it falling to the ground in the manor of a broken hourglass; her time had run out.
“Do you need me to show you where to go?”
Bright, brown eyes turned to him then, briefly looking behind her to ascertain that he wasn’t talking to somebody else. The realization that he was there with her, talking to her had her freeze momentarily, childish shyness mixing with open surprise.
“Who are you?”
He had never liked talking to pluses. There was nothing you could really say to somebody about to be wiped clean, no words of comfort to offer a child in the face of the final death. Working between the Sixth and Second division’s had never made him a good babysitter, calloused fingers instead beckoning the child closer when words failed him.
Naive as children were, the sight of a face that could actually see her drove her feet forward, reaching out to him with chubby fingers as her breathing hitched. The warmth of his unnaturally high body temperature seemed to draw her in, and judging from the length of her chain of fate she’d been out here in the cold waters for days. Hair damp with sea salt clung to the robes covering his stomach, bangs falling loosely and catching on the edge of Hyperion’s solid hilt. The rest was effortless.
All it took was dark tanned fingers to soothe through her hair, lightly shifting and angling her head until Hyperion’s hilt kissed her forehead, the process far more peaceful than the others who worried themselves sick as he drew his sword. The sensation had her drawing back with mild confusion bright in her vivid eyes, perhaps thinking the wash over her skin was a shudder from the sudden warmth of her embrace against him.
The seal on her forehead glared up at him, contrasting to the soft sheen of her eyes. It was the last thing he saw before glows of vivid blue and green light illuminated his features. And when the child was swept away this time it wasn’t to the ocean and the seas below, but to the striking bioluminescence that would take her to the afterlife, a black butterfly taking out as her guide towards the horizon.
If only all goodbyes were so simple.
1164 words: 23 GP