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09 June 2008 @ 12:24 am
Theme: 05:00
Title: Mask of Truth
Fandom: Bleach
Character: Hirako Shinji and Sarugaki Hiyori
Category: Romantic
Rating: PG
Warnings: Other than the TBTP arc, mostly just language, really bc of Hiyori. And as always, I'm making up their past before the TBTP arc because we don't know about their childhood/academy days/etc.
Disclaimer: Bleach =/= mine, or we'd see way more Vaizard love.
Summary: Part 24 of my 24-piece series of memorable "firsts" for these two.

The first time Hiyori ever told Shinji she loved him, it was as she was watching him die.

Fallen in battle, fallen protecting her. Hiyori was a single-minded fighter, so focused on the enemy in front of her that she’d never seen the sword coming at her unprotected back But Shinji had. And in a blur of realized panic, he’d done the only thing that he could think to do.

There wasn’t time to pull his mask, not enough time even to bring up his blade to try and block the gleaming steel on it’s deadly path for her small form. All he could do was to throw himself in the way, biting back a gasp of pain as he felt the blade bite into his skin, plunging deep into his chest as it bore through him to punch a hole out the back.

Hiyori heard the sound, spinning around as her eyes widened in horror at the sight how in front of her. Shinji, blood seeping from the corners of his mouth, bloodied hands clenched tightly around the blade in his chest, crimson rivulets running down it as he sneered at it’s owner, spitting bright red onto pristine white hakama.

No… it wasn’t supposed to be this way, wasn’t supposed to happen like this. They were warriors, she knew that as well as any of them did, and sometimes warriors died in battle, but he wasn’t supposed to die for her. She watched as, as if in slow motion, Shinji yanked on the sword impaling him, pushing it deeper with a sickening sound as he brought his own sword to bear at the arrancar, slicing head from neck with a single quick stroke.

Stumbling back, he glanced over his shoulder to give a weak and thready version of his usual Cheshire grin before his eyes unfocused slightly and he staggered, dropping down to one knee, the point of his zanpakutou digging into the ground for support. And then, it was as if the invisible cord holding her and the rest of the world in place snapped and time sped up in a rush and she was running and then she was there, beside him, catching him as he fell.

Struggling with his weight, she tugged his head into her lap, frantically staring at the wound, shrill voice calling for help that wasn’t coming. Hiyori could feel the hot sting of tears welling up in her eyes, threatening to spill over and for once she didn’t dash them away, didn’t blink them back, she just let them come. And come they did, splashing down to mingle with the blood on his face as Shinji managed a weak cough, bright blood spattering the front of his shirt as he reached a shaky hand up to comb through her hair and cup the side of her face.

“S…sorry….. looks like I…. Can’t make ya….my bride after… all. Guess I…. Really am a… dumbass….”

She shook her head, grabbing his hand tightly as she tried in vain to summon up the anger, to find her hiding place behind the mask again, her other hand frantically working kidou. Heal it. She could heal it, she had to. He couldn’t be getting paler, weaker, as she screamed out Hachi’s name, the raw fear thick in her voice. He couldn’t leave her. He’d always been there, always been beside her, and without him… she didn’t know what to do.

Leaning down, she sobbed, pressing her forehead against his, shaking him and trying to coax rapidly-dimming blue eyes from closing as she pressed lips against his bloodied ones. He knew, didn’t he? He knew how she felt, he knew she needed him, even though she’d never said it, even though she’d taken every chance she could to hide it. He had to know.

“Sh…Shinji don’t go. Don’t…. don’t leave, please don’t…. don’t die! You can’t die, ya hear me? I’ll…. I’ll hate you forever, ya fuckin dumbass, so do..don’t even think about it…”

Her voice broke, as she begged, the strength leaving and being replaced with fear and anguish as she tried to hold onto him as he slipped away.

“D..Dammit, I love you! Don’t fuckin leave me!”

Hiyori’s anguished wails had been heard across the battle, and even those who didn’t know who they pained cries belonged to had known that they belonged to someone who had just felt their world slip away.

In the aftermath, she sat alone in a blank room at the hospital, haunted eyes staring out at the bare, blasted landscape beyond as the clock ticked slowly by. 5AM, or something like that. She didn’t really care anymore. So many had fought, and so many had died. Friends, family, enemies… all lives offered up for the slaughter. In the name of a peace that had been shakily forged in the blood of the dead.

The door opened slightly, the shuffling sound of feet as they made their way across the room the only sound as the owner of said feet stopped beside her, one long-fingered hand coming to rest on her shoulder with a tight squeeze.

“It’s over now, ya know. It’s th’ end of the war..”

Reaching up, she sought out the fingers, wrapping hers around them with a slight shake of her head.

“No… it’s never gonna be over.”

Shinji sighed slightly, shaking his head faintly and adjusting the bandage around his head as he threaded fingers through hers, one fingertip absently tracing the small studded metal band on one finger. She was right, in a way. Things weren’t over, they probably wouldn’t ever be over. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t get better.

“Maybe so. But things’ll get better, ya know.

Tightening her grip a bit more, feeling his finger trace over the diamond momentarily, Hiyori allowed a faint smile to ghost across her face as she nodded. He was right. Things would get better.

“Yeah, Baldy. I think they will.”
twosentwosen on June 10th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
Wuhhh? Brain confuzzled -- not surprising given my lack of sleep -- but pleasantly so due to lack of character death.

Brain also kinda 'splody since, erm, wedding ring? Considering where you wrote them from and where you've written them to, that was a heck of a journey! Well worth the sleep-deprivation, I have to say...
Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on June 10th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah I couldn't resist tossing the twist in there at the end.

I actually added the ring in later as a little touch because they're really come v. far and changed a great deal over the fic and a big part of the whole message that's tied into the end is that when it all comes down to it, nothing ever really ends, nothing is ever really "over". There's always going to be conflict and hardship and difficulty and you can't expect there not to be, but within that there are little moments of happy that keep you going.

And glad to see that you enjoyed it and that it was worth the sleep-dep. ^__^
twosentwosen on June 11th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
little moments of happy that keep you going -- indeedy! I think it's apt that you didn't write them into a happily ever after partly since the series hasn't ended and we don't really know that much canon about ShiYori...
Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on June 11th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I just can't really see -- not even because of THEM but just bc of the nature of the world -- it being this cute fluffy "happy ever after". That's not the way the world works and I think both of them have lived long enough to know that. Sure, the war may be over and such, but they're still exiles, they're still likely to be hunted by the shnigami, their lives are still likely to be somewhat difficult. And I think they know that.
twosentwosen on June 12th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
Yeah... and I'm still wondering what happened between the Vaizards and the shinigami, although current manga chapters give a pretty good idea of the direction this'll go...
(Anonymous) on September 28th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
What a beautiful series! :D I've been begging for a ShinjixHiyori Fanfic. And this is better than any book I've ever read. You should write books. Hehe. c: