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Hypocrisy

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Hypocrisy, by glacis. No rating. Reaction to the end of the Fullbring Arc.

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Ichigo stared down at the X tattooed on his right wrist, expression thoughtful. Rukia stared back at him, looking like she was going to punch him any minute for ignoring her. They were supposed to be sparring, but Ichigo wasn’t with the program.

Dark eyes rose to meet hers, and she froze. He stared at her, but didn’t see her.

He’d lost to Yammy, nearly gotten Orihime and Chad killed, been pounded into paste by Grimmjow, and when he’d gotten depressed, trying to come to grips with his inability to protect those he cared about, had his father, his sensei, anyone at all, tried to help him? No. Rukia had kicked and punched him, then dragged him by the hair to land on his knees in front of Orihime, to debase himself in apologies.

He’d done it more to get the little madwoman to back off than for any other reason.

Then, months later, when he’d gone through intensely painful training bringing out a completely new kind of power, his enemy had displaced him in the memory of everyone he loved or even liked, all of his friends and family except Uryu had turned against him, and a man he’d considered a savior for returning his power to him had ripped a layer of his SOUL away and left him with nothing, he’d finally broken in despair.

Surviving a war, maimed in his soul, seeing and doing things no fifteen year old boy ever should, then seventeen months of essentially being exiled and cut off from his own soul, then days of pain, mental torture and being ripped apart… and when his soul reaper friends do finally show up, what does Rukia do? Punch him and scream at him for being weak.

Once again, he’d stuffed all the pain down deep and done what had to be done, killing the man who’d first helped, then hurt him.

He glanced over at Renji, seeing the laughter pulling at the edge of his mouth, and thought of what he’d been told moments before.

Ichigo’s soul still cried, even if his eyes didn’t, and he tasted despair on his tongue. He’d gone through all that, and had been told to his face that he didn’t deserve despair.

While Rukia fell into despair… because she’d splashed ink on her sister’s kimono.

Yet she still insisted she was just as tough a warrior as he was.

Hypocrite.

~end~