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.BLACK SHROUDS

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.ONE-- CURRENTS

Her death wasn’t a lot. It wasn’t anything spectacular. Nothing messy. Nothing heroic. Her death was simply the result of just two seconds of madness. No one else to blame but her.

The Soul Chain attached to her sternum tugged at her flesh as she watched her body bob in the water. Her death was a whole lot of nothing. A whole lot of numbness. Her guts hadn’t even felt weird before she jumped.

But the water felt like her mother’s embrace. 

It’d been something like a minute since her soul separated from her body. Another four and her organs would shut down. Another five and she’d be completely brain dead. Another five minutes, and it’d all be over with...

Surely, her soul would remain after her body expired. Surely, she would pass on and become the shinigami she’d always dreamed. Surely, the her perpetual useless feeling would vanish then. Surely, she’d find her place in the world. Surely, her frustration would disappear. Surely, she could protect all that she loved. Surely, she’d have something to pride herself in after she donned on that black kimono she so envied.

Her connection to her body disintegrated just as Ichi-nii found her. She’d never seen him cry before then. Rukia-nee looked upset too-- pink-eyed and puffy-cheeked.

Ichi-nii didn’t say a thing to her until after the ambulance had hauled her remains away-- sans sirens. He asked her why. She told him the truth. He called Toushirou without another word to her. They arranged for her entrance into the Soul Society the next day.

Jinta and Ururu came to keep her company that night. Ichi-nii couldn’t seem to look at her. She’d ask him why, but she’d learned by then that he’d just shut her down. Instead, she just waded her feet in the water with her hollow-hunting buddies.

Former hollow-hunting buddies, she corrected when Jinta teased her for how blue her lips where.

Her funeral was held the day later. It was something small, private. It was really only Yuzu and Isshin. It only seemed to reinforce her belief that she was better off in the Soul Society when her friends from high school hadn’t shown up. Short notice? Possibly. Entrance exams? Probably. Superficial friendships? More likely.

She wasn’t surprised when she was forced to watch the procession. She wasn’t surprised when Ichi-nii told Yuzu everything. She wasn’t surprised when Yuzu cursed her name. She wasn’t surprised when Yuzu somehow looked her straight in the eye, despite her inability to see spirits, and said that she was the most selfish person on the planet to leave her like she did. She wasn’t surprised when Yuzu said she wasn’t welcome at the Kurosaki house anymore. She wasn’t surprised when Oyaji and Ichi-nii said nothing.

She was still too numb to feel anything from it.

Toushirou, as he carried her through the Dangai, didn’t seem upset with her at least.

.TWO----- PROVING GROUNDS

Her enrollment into Shin’ou Academy was expedited thanks to Toushirou. He’d probably vouched for her knowledge-- he’d told her much of what she already knew herself, though she’d managed to put some things together herself. She didn’t even have to take any exams, just a placement test so she didn’t have to dig herself out of redundancy.

She excelled at hakudo, shunpo, and showed proficiency in zanjutsu. It was kidou that made her ineligible for the advanced class. She wasn’t sure what it was about kidou she had such difficulty with, but she was sure it could be remedied with practice.

She was happy she had Toushirou to help her with the transition. She appreciated that his sister Momo let her stay with her until she could move into the dorms. She liked Momo-senpai, couldn’t find a thing she didn’t. She would’ve been a sister if she didn’t make out with her brother on a more regular basis than she’d ever tell his sister. She liked Momo-senpai’s friends too. 

Izu-nii was her older brother in place of Ichi-nii. It was cruel to replace him, but without his guidance she’d be driven mad by homesickness. Strange, how badly she needed an older brother. 

Rangiku-nee was fun and free-spirited but somehow wise at the same time. Her duality reassured her-- that she could still be powerful and have fun at the same time. She made sure to take her drunken speeches to heart, too sad to not. She learned a lot about self-respect from Rangiku-nee. 

Shuu-nii was so mature, so humble. He always seemed to see the good in people, she wished she had his optimism. 

Renji-nii reminded her of Ichi-nii, sometimes too much. She wished she could be nearer to him without the memory of her family-- of Ichi-nii-- haunting her. But despite her mixed feelings, his prowess was something she craved. 

‘Nao-nee-- so patient, so pragmatic, so mature. She wanted to emulate those qualities but she just too sophomoric. Someday. Someday she’d be as distinguished as ‘Nao-nee.

She hadn’t known she’d need to grieve her own death. They helped so much. She wondered if they would’ve been so supportive if they knew the manner of her death... But she’d never tell them, ever, not even Momo-senpai. It was better to just move on.

She made sure to enroll in Izu-nii’s haiku class so she had somebody she knew when she started in the academy, though she was pleasantly surprised when Toushirou visited her every lunch hour. But it was Izu-nii that whipped her into shape. Her informality was disrespectful. She was a cadet and with an image to uphold. Despite her hatred for “image” and “reputation”, she understood where he came from. It was a military and she had to follow their hierarchy.

They compromised. It was fine to call those she was familiar with-- like himself and Toushirou and Momo-- by whatever she wanted, but on campus and in the workplace, she was to call them by their titles. She’d had to slow her speech down so she wouldn’t slip up. And she didn’t. Not once.

Her first and second years flew by. After she made friends, she assimilated and everything felt natural. She still hadn’t spoken to her family since her suicide, however. She was sure Yuzu was still upset with her... She didn’t blame her.

She dreaded her field trip into the human world in her third year. That Izu-nii and Rangiku-nee were their chaperones was obviously something Toushirou pulled but she wouldn’t confront him about it. She’d need them in memory-brimmed Karakura.

Konsou proved difficult to her-- as difficult as kidou, even with Izu-nii’s instruction. Izu-nii promised her that the emotions attached to Karakura just threw her off her game, though she knew that was only part of it. She was still disappointed her that despite two and a half years of training she still couldn’t figure out to properly manipulate her reiatsu into spells.

An adjuchas invaded the human world. It killed her teammates before Izu-nii and Rangiku-nee could stop it. A familiar impulsive urge came over her-- kill it. Against the orders of Izu-nii and Rangiku-nee, she rushed it.

It was then she heard her zanpakutou’s name-- louder than even that creature’s screams: Nashien.

The subsequent explosion could’ve leveled the city if not for Izu-nii’s and Rangiku-nee’s quick reaction. The trouble she’d gotten into stung much less with Nashien’s name still fresh-- the pride she felt that she was the first to release her zanpakutou in her class, how she took down an adjuchas. She and her new family celebrated that night. 

It was Momo-senpai’s speech of the avenging fires of Hell that gave Karin her purpose. She was born to take down evil.

.THREE----- YOUR BLACK SHROUDS

She managed to graduate with help in her kidou-based subjects from Momo-senpai. Apparently, her teachers were too soft. It was without her zanpakutou, on the other end of Momo-senpai’s kidou expertise that she figured out how it worked, though she couldn’t explain how. Bakudou proved to be a strength, and kaidou was something she showed proficiency in with some instruction by Izu-nii, but her hadou lacked. That was fine with her, she had other offensive techniques she’d rather rely on.

She saw Ichi-nii at graduation. They spoke for the first time in years. She hadn’t realized how much she missed him. She hadn’t realized how much she loved him until she saw him cry for the second time in her life. So much damage was between them. She would love to rekindle a friendship between them, but she wondered if there was just too much damage, too much disparity.

After graduation, she was sorted into the fifth division as an eleventh seat. She was assured by virtually everyone she knew that she could’ve been a third seat, but because of peacetime conditions not many seats were open. Regardless, she climbed the ranks thanks to her skill, work ethic she’d adopted and friendships with a large amount of higher ranked shinigami, two captains included in the mix-- Toushirou and Hirako-taichou.

The fifth division was her home, though she knew Toushirou was disappointed that she hadn’t ended up in his division. Her superiors were fun and work was easy and there was so much to do with her new friends. She fell into a comfortable groove just days after she became a fourth seat. She wished that peace would last forever.

She regret her methods to get there-- she knew it hurt the ones that truly mattered when she was alive, but she was happier than ever. She had purpose. She did what she was good at and enjoyed damn well near every day. She had a wonderful boyfriend and a fantastic circle of loved ones. She wouldn’t change it for the entire world.