azi: Keep Calm and Appeal to a Supervisor. (Default)
Title: Quiet Contemplation
Writing Date: 2009
Rating: PG for very mild language, maybe.
Warnings: None
Fandom: Bleach
Characters: Hiyori, Shinji.
Summary: Hiyori suffered badly with her inner Hollow. It was no secret that she had taken the longest out of them all to suppress it -suppress her- but she was an eternal opportunist and took any chance to try her luck and vie for sovereignty.

It was only in their darkest moments that the grating, mocking voices assailed their minds. It was during their dreams or when they were so desperately angry that all rational views found themselves pushed to the side and ignored in favour of the darker emotions, those that had their reins gripped by the Hollow within.

They were always there, lurking in the darkness and waiting to turn the tables.

Hiyori suffered badly with her inner Hollow. It was no secret that she had taken the longest out of them all to suppress it -suppress her- but she was an eternal opportunist and took any chance to try her luck and vie for sovereignty.

She was as cruel and vicious as any other Hollow; any opening where she could try and paste her pale visage over the usual visualisation of the Zanpakuto spirit was seized and run with. Her lust for battle was insatiable and any time Hiyori brought out her mask to fight was viewed as a small victory on her part, even if Hiyori herself saw it as further subjugation.

She’d been roused from a fitful sleep by the usual piercing laughter. Nasal cackling filtered through her inner world and washed over and through her, penetrating and worming its way into every fibre of her being.

“I’ll beat you, you know. When you let your guard down, I’ll be waiting.”

That voice. It always sounded as though she was talking to her through a shallow depth of water.

“Shut up, shut up.” She whined into the darkness, pressing the heels of her hands down over her eyes.

Sinking into her pillow, she growled to herself and concentrated her attention on the fuzzy colours and patterns that exploded in her blind vision.

“Jus' shut yer damn mouth.”

A dry sigh rasped from between her lips and she dropped her arms limply to the bed. She didn’t dare go back to sleep, not after that… not after the usual threats and jeers. She’d heard that same warning, that same promise many times since the initial suppression and she’d never really managed to shake off the pang of fear that accompanied it.

“Augh. Damn it.” She hissed.

She forced herself to sit up and raked her fingers through her still-tied hair. There was no going back to sleep now even though she knew she’d be tired in the morning. Still, she wasn’t going to give her Hollow a second chance to interrupt her slumber and no sleep was better than bad sleep.

She shuffled over to the edge of her bed and turned her tired eyes to the curtainless window. To say that she frowned would be redundant considering that it is practically her default expression, but she certainly wore a sadder and scowlier look than usual as she peered through the cracked glass at the crescent moon. It hung there, lonely and bright in the night sky, looking almost as if it had been stuck there, caught on the dark sheet of night by one sharp end.

She didn’t let it hold her attention for too long before she slipped her feet into her shoes. She didn’t even bother to look back as she made for her door; there was no point sticking around if she had no intention of returning to sleep, after all.

She knew from experience that the initial rush of night air would be enough to strip away any grogginess that lingered. Sure, so she’d be irritable and sleepy later in the day, but she was pretty sure that nobody would notice anyway.

Her destination was the rooftop.

The metal stairs to the roof were far from designed to suit stealthy trips to contemplation andt took a certain amount of effort to avoid making too much noise on the way up, but it was something that Hiyori was adept at. She would often go up there to think and mull things over, so much so that it had become something of a favourite haunt.

She would sit up there alone, hug her knees, stare up at the expansive sky above and just allow her mind to wander. Sometimes she would think about Soul Society and the life she’d had to leave behind. Others, she would think about a distant world inhabited solely by Hollows. She would often speculate about how she would have fared in a place like that if she’d lost the right to govern her own body, if she’d fallen in the internal battle against the more negative aspect of herself.

This time though, she was spared the blast of frigid wind. As she reached the top of the stairs, she came to realise that the door was already ajar. It was only a little, but it had been left open deliberately, perhaps to stop it making a noise.

An expression of confusion ghosted across her face as she pushed it open, but it faded when she saw that the reason for it was sitting at the edge of the rooftop, looking much the same as she tended to when she was up there. She was certain that he’d heard her, but he’d made no move to acknowledge her presence, so she couldn’t be sure. She returned the sentiment by crossing the rooftop wordlessly and planting herself down beside him.

“Yo.” Her greeting was quiet and lacked her usual rambunctious fervour.

“Hey,” Shinji responded in kind.

He didn’t turn his head to look at her when he spoke, instead choosing to keep his eyes fixed on whatever he was staring at.

A comfortable and relaxed silence hung in the air between the two of them, the type that can only really be experienced by close friends. It was only interrupted by the distant barking of a dog and the low growl of a vehicle’s engine somewhere. After a while, it was Shinji who spoke first.

“What brings you out here, huh?” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “Can’t sleep?”

“Y’could say that.” She didn’t return his look.

“Can’t sleep, or were ya gettin’ kept awake?”

She didn’t answer that. She didn’t need to. He suffered the same as she did, and even though they rarely ever discussed their Hollow woes, she knew that he did. Him and all the rest.

“It’s gettin’ worse, huh?” He sounded resigned when he put the question to her, as if he’d just asked after a seriously ill relative who he knew had no chance of coming through their problems, but felt like it was the polite thing to do anyway.

Hiyori looked at him, then. For such an idiot he was surprisingly intuitive.

“Yeah,” she nodded as she said it and her throat sounded dry. “Yeah, it is.”

It was getting harder and more trying to keep the thing in check. Aggression was always met with violence and she always won, but it was wearing. It was never, ever easy regardless of the necessity. Some of them had slightly more easygoing Hollows than the rest, Mashiro for example, but Hiyori had gotten stuck with a bad one.

Not that it was really any shock given her own personality.

“Do… do ya think she’ll ever win?” Shinji raised an eyebrow slightly. It was a dangerous line of questioning.

Hiyori glared at him as though she’d just received a very personal insult. “Hell no! I ain’t losin’ to my damn Hollow no matter how much she pushes me!” She smacked him in the arm with a closed fist. “Asshole.”

“Owwww~. Keep ya hair on, sheesh.” He whined. It was just for show, but he knew it made her feel better if he openly displayed discomfort when she hit him. He shook it off quickly and grinned at her. “Good. We’ll need everyone we can get in this war.”

Hiyori huffed a sigh and rolled her eyes. The idea of fighting on the same side as the people who had commanded their deaths for the very same reasons that they would be useful to them didn’t exactly sit well with her, even if it meant she would be able to get even with that blind bastard who cut her down all those years ago.

“Yeah yeah.” It was reluctant agreement, but agreement all the same.

Cannon fodder for the damned Shinigami, of all the ends.

“Ah, don’t be like that. We’re strong an’ we can more than hold our own against a few Arrancar.” He displayed an optimistic Cheshire grin as he spoke.

Well, he had faced off against one and won already, even if he did have only one arm.

“Yeah, true. Fuck the Arrancar, we can leave them to the Shinigami. I just wanna get even with those three.” As far as she was concerned, Aizen, Tousen and that creepy grey-haired grinning kid had it coming.

“Can’t argue with that!” Shinji said, shrugging his shoulders.

He’d have liked to, though. He wasn’t convinced that she’d be able to exact her revenge even if she got the chance and that scared him. He wasn’t sure how he’d take seeing his best friend fall in battle to them for a second time. Sure, they were stronger now… but so was Aizen’s little group.

They’d all had a hundred years to work on their skills, after all.

He was hardly going to express that fear, though. He’d probably get clobbered with a sandal for his trouble.

“Eeeeh, it’ll be a while off yet, anyway.” Optimism crawled back into his voice like a kicked dog with its tail between its legs.

“Yeah, true. What’re you doin’ out here anyway? Ain’t you got anythin’ better to do? Like sleep?” She asked with any genuine curiosity completely masked by her usual amount of scorn.

“Needed some fresh air.” He shrugged.

Hiyori stared at him. She suspected that he might be lying just a teeny tiny little bit.

“Yeah, sure. ‘Fresh air’.” She said it with a snort.

Shinji grinned at her. “That’s what I said, ain’t it?” He looked at her with his eyebrows raised. “Look, I’m gonna go to bed.” He could take a hint.

Hiyori nodded. She half wanted him to go, but she also didn’t want to sit on her own now that she was used to the company. She didn’t make any attempt to stop him, no matter which side of that fence she sat on. She was staring out at the view off the rooftop when Shinji got to his feet and stretched enough to make his back click.

He must have been sitting there for some time.

“Hey,” He looked down at her.

“Yeah?” She didn’t look up.

“Y’might wanna sort your hair out. They’re a bit…. wonky.” He did a sort of limp-wristed indication of pigtails at the side of his head, but it went unseen.

Hiyori still didn’t look at him, and she smacked him in the back of the knee. “Dickhead.” She didn’t make any attempt to sort her pigtails out, either.

His pained whining cut through the quiet of the night. He buckled and grabbed his knee, biting his lower lip in such a way that it made him show more teeth than usual.

“Do ya always hafta be so violent?” He asked, putting his weight on the un-thumped leg.

“Yeah. Y’should know that by now.” She replied lightly.

He scowled at her, if only to keep the smile from his face. While she was smacking him for stupid things it meant that she wasn’t thinking too heavily about the massive downsides to having your own Hollow lurking in your head, ready to pounce at any moment.

“Night night.” He waved over his shoulder and limped away from her, heading for the door.

His steps evened out as he got further away from where he’d been sitting.

It was only when he was out of sight and after she’d heard the door to the inside close that she pulled the bands out and shook her hair free. She wasn’t going to put it back up right that second, but she didn’t want to look like a total idiot sitting on the edge of the rooftop of a derelict warehouse should anybody pass by, however unlikely it was.

It didn’t change the fact that Shinji was a dickhead for pointing it out, though.

Several days after the Archadian invasion, a terrible explosion reduced the once proud city of Nabudis to naught but rubble. Though the city fell in the space of a night, the Mist that now swirls where it once stood has transformed the land into a barren waste for eternity. Even now, the cause of this cataclysm is not fully understood.

-Sage Knowledge 03

March 2012

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