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24 December 2009 @ 06:34 pm
Title: Realizations
Fandom: Bleach
Character/Pairing: Hirako Hiyourin
Rating: PG
Prompt: First
Disclaimer: Bleach and it's characters are copyright to Kubo Tite. Hiyourin and Kaien are both mine.

Hirako Hiyourin remembered with stark clarity the first time she'd ever encountered a Hollow. She'd been only two at the time, a young age where most memories retain a soap-bubble haze of rainbow colours and idyllic shimmer, but that memory stood out in harsh relief against the comfortable haze of familiarity like a splash of blood against a white floor. There had been blood then, her father's as he'd snatched her out of harm's way in the nick of time when she'd realized that the monster which had appeared was there for her. She could remember it now, how frozen she'd been, terrified green eyes staring up at the laughing skull mask, so like and yet unlike the ones her parents and her aunts and uncles wore.

It had been the mask that had confused her at first. She knew what a Hollow was, but in her world they were things inside your mind, like the quiet voice she occasionally heard within her own subconsciousness. Laughing, mocking caricatures of familiar faces, painted in stark white and black, negative images invading her dreams and taunting her whenever she decided to steal into that pyramid-studded desert in her father's world or the bleak network of bridges and catwalks her mother's otherself inhabited. They were hollows, certainly, but they couldn't truly hurt her; their threats were empty when given, because she could simply leave.

She'd bounced the blue ball against the concrete hard, watching as it soared into the air only to watch in astonishment as an enormous clawed hand had reached out and speared her toy mid-air. The mocking laughter -- deeper, with less of an echoing quality than she was used to -- had started then, as the creature drew back it's limb, the azure rubber deflating with a high-pitched whine. Hiyourin, for all of her two years of age, hadn't felt fear at first, mostly just anger -- her father would remark later that perhaps she was too much like her mother -- that it had ruined her brand-new ball. In fact, she'd even proceeded to plant tiny fists on her hips in righteous indignation.

The Hollow had stared at her for a moment before it had laughed again, a different, chilling sound as it carelessly flung the deflated remains of her ball aside and crouched, drawing back it's arm again. That had been the moment when she'd realized that this hollow wasn't like what she'd thought they were, and the fear had set in as she'd taken a hesitant step backwards in the face of it's malevolent laughter. Backing up as it had stalked her, she'd stumbled, falling with a scream and throwing her hands over her head as the creature pounced.

And then her father had been there, his strong arm catching her around the waist with bruising force as he'd snatched her from the ground mere seconds before the Hollow's claws perforated the cement of the sidewalk. She'd buried her face in his chest, barely noticing when the Hollow died with an agonized shriek only moments later and he was kneeling on the ground, holding her close and rocking her soothingly. His comforting voice had chased away the fear for the moment, but it left behind the other thing that Hiyourin had learned that day.

She'd learned to fear Hollows.

There were other firsts in her life, other events and markers spanning the length and breadth of her -- in her opinion -- oppressively long thirteen years; the first time -- that she could remember -- when she'd met another like her, another Vaizard other than her own family group. The day her father had gifted her with the pendant she always wore; it had been his, the small medal gifted to him to commemorate his promotion to captain in the Gotei-13. The day of the most explosive clash with her mother, when she'd announced her plan to pursue the path of a shinigami. Hiyori had reacted rather less well than she might have hoped, but at least they were civil again now. Her first day of academy, when she'd walked into a crowded lecture hall to a sea of staring faces only to stubbornly square her shoulders, set her jaw, and give them all a look to blister glass.

There were smaller firsts, as well. The day she'd made another enemy -- it was Kurosaki Masaki's own problem if the girl hated Hiyourin, and her petite classmate could shove it as far as she was concerned. Her first attempt at kidou, and the pride she'd felt when she'd managed the spell with only a small amount of collateral. The day she'd learned her zanpakutou's name.

But none of those firsts stood out in her mind so much as the day she'd met Kurosaki Kaien again after 3 years; the day she'd fallen in love.

Really, she'd have said she realized she was in love, as by her definition 'falling' was something that didn't happen with someone you'd known since you were a child, someone you'd always adored. But regardless of the definition, she couldn't deny the way she'd felt that day in academy when the three upperclassmen had shuffled into the room to stand at the front. The instructor's words had blurred as he went over the plan, telling them how they'd be going to the real world for the first time, to learn to deal with dummy hollows. All she could see was the slighter form standing beside the other two, brilliant orange hair a stark contrast to the familiar blue and white of his uniform, looking somehow so much older and different than the rather-quiet boy she'd always adored.

The whispers had started then -- not surprising, Kaien had made a name for himself from the time he was young, not only because of who his father was but for his own wealth of skill and talent -- and she'd found herself mentally filing them away, scoffing at the twitters and whispers of the other girls in her class about the 'genius Vaizard'. Kaien wasn't a genius. A prodigy, maybe, but even that was only because of his unnatural relationship with his Hollow.

They didn't know that, of course, but then they didn't know much of anything about Kurosaki Kaien. They hadn't tagged along behind him on childhood outings, sullenly silent because they didn't know what to say. They hadn't kicked him because he'd been a typical boy and not appreciated the drawing she'd given him. They hadn't watched in a mixture of horror and fascination as he sat and talked to his Hollow the way one would talk to a dear friend. All they knew was what he was; eldest son of the most controversial couple in Soul Society, Vaizard to his fingertips, an eerie balance of Hollow and shinigami that went even beyond what other Vaizard possessed. Heir-apparent to the noble Kuchiki clan, the unofficial next in line for Kurosaki Ichigo's position as captain of the 14th division.

She'd been able to shake herself out of the startlement at seeing him again -- it had only been three years, it wasn't as though decades had passed -- long enough to hear that he'd be one of the upper-level students instructing them. Not surprising, she remembered thinking, as her green eyes had carefully studied him. His hair was a little longer, a little messier, though it was still a mimicry of his father's short, spiky style. His eyes had changed, their deep purple colour reflecting less of the solemn and enigmatic child he'd been and more of the man he would one day be. Her eyes drifted from his face to the slim black length of his unsealed zanpakutou resting crosswise against his shoulderblades. That was probably another reason for the whispers. While most academy students learned their zanpakutou's name by the end of their first year, Kaien had learned Yamibari's name when he was 5. She knew it was because his Hollow told him, but still. It just turned the rumor mill further, and the fact that Yamibari was a full-time shikai form certainly didn't help.

The instructor had finished talking then, turning to introduce the students to the class, and then... then Kaien had smiled. And she'd lost herself in those sparkling amethyst eyes, swallowing hard against a sudden wrench in her heart and a sudden, almost desperate longing to be the only one lucky enough to see that smile. It had caught her off-guard, as she'd hurriedly stared down at her feet in an attempt to hide the burning flush on her cheeks, the realization setting in like a splash of cold water. Three years may not have really been all that long, but it had been long enough to turn childhood fancy... into something more.
nekohoochnekohooch on December 25th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
This is awesome! ^___________^ I cannot think of anything else to say, but that it is pretty, and shiny, and so cute, but also not cute, and I think I am babbling. I just wanted to say lovely job! ^-^
Neko-taichoutasogaretaichou on December 25th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's always lovely when someone enjoys my OC-based fiction. ^__^