Shall be back in a few days.
The eyes, big and full to the brim with anguish stared back at him through the bars, tortured. As soon as she spoke her words were his exact sentiment.
“I don’t care what happens if they find me here. It doesn’t matter to me, not anymore.”
He was a man different, one who had gotten the opportunity of escaping his own cycle of torture replaced by the knowledge that they all were…expendable. Replaceable, unimportant and only a means to an end. Her presence brought out the burning sensation in his chest, the itching pull of the scar that ran along his middle as a constant reminder that the only piece of luck he’s ever had was the blade that had no real intention of taking his life. He should have felt grateful, but the first time he has opened his eyes again after he crashed onto the floor of the fake town and got devoured by the darkness, he knew that something inside him had snapped
She had to know, even if it brought her to her death and Starrk knew that it might have been yet another thing they’ve had in common.
“What was Aizen like? Was he kind to you? And how did you end up joining him?”
The rustle of clothes was the only sign that he has moved even deeper into the darkness of his cell, the demanding look on that small face something that made him close his eyes and refuse to look back at her. It was strange how her questions made him ache, for the times when hope was something he almost thought he knew. “The first time I have seen him was just as unreal as any other time after,” Starrk had finally given in. “He was like a God, appearing before the eyes of a man, dying in the desert.” The words came like a gentle flow, guided and spurred by the memories behind Starrk’s closed eyelids. “Inspiration without many words. The reason why I joined him was purely selfish,” the wistful admission came,” he promised to give me the only thing I craved. Company. Closeness.” He rested his head on the hard wall behind him, allowing himself a tiny smile that he knew couldn’t be seen in the lack of light. “I am sure you know just what I mean.”
He didn’t have to look her way to know what happened when the metallic sound was heard. “You despair when you still have all the time you need for repairing what was done. You’re out there and nobody’s sword hangs over your head. But the bars you’re behind are far crueler and far more unrelenting than mine.”
No one has survived Aizen’s presence unmarked. Everyone, from the smallest mouse to strong Espadas, would detach themselves from him bearing the marks of his existence. The only thing one would achieve from struggling was confusion. So what was the use of it? Fractured, Hinamori had realized that a long time ago, but never ceased her attempts to prove her beliefs. She had been spiraling in an endless path, trying to prove the impossible, and despite her realization, she wouldn’t give up. Some might call it stubbornness, others might simply consider her stupid and easily manipulated, but no one, no one knew what she was going through. She had been living on the tremor of her own broken and teared wings, trying to fly back to him, trying to fly back to her origin, but alas, she always failed.
All had been felt - felt intensely. Hinamori, once a cheerful nightingale singing to its owner about life and happiness, was now pierced straight through the heart, her song transforming into a sad lullaby about betrayal and abandonment. She had never accepted it. Never. All the memories, all that was and still is was flashing in the darkness - repeated for an eternity, maybe longer.
She raised her head, staring at the now distant and dimly-lit frame of the Espada. Hardly could she make out any of his features, nor expressions. He was simply a faceless man who was her only source of information. The information she had craved for. In his voice, in the dull roar - no, in the rumble of his vocal chords, Hinamori heard the luring speeches of Aizen. The convincing words that proudly shot out of his mouth, embracing the poor lost souls. The voice of Starrk revealed so much and so little. And that voice was decorated by the definition of Aizen. Every word complimented the other, and it was as if the Primera was drawing on a canvas what Aizen meant to him, used to mean to him, and to the lieutenant. She bit her lower lip, pearly teeth digging into the scarlet surface. She knew exactly what the man was trying to say. She had danced the same dance, fought the same battle, and she knew how hard it was. How utterly hard it was. If it wasn’t the loneliness that would consume one, he, alone, would consume himself into his own depths.
“It must have been a small light of hope for you. Unfortunately, you were another one of his preys, dragged into the world of deception and lies. He had constructed it carefully, yeah? Just so we wouldn’t suspect anything in the beginning. And when we least expect it, when we provide him with all our trust, he destroys everything. He lets us fall, without even looking back.” What she just said surprised her, she didn’t know that the confines of her soul sheltered such thoughts, and how did that Espada summon them. Her whole life had paled, faded, and everything was unfolded in the simple conversation. Yet, the little flame that held Aizen’s innocence still kindled in her, and no matter what, it will always be so.
The brown eyes widened when he spoke again. She listened to him attentively, feeling bewildered. Was she that sorrowful? And was her sorrow reflected so easily? What was worse than pity? Self-pity. Starrk managed to make Hinamori self-pity herself. The remains of her strength now smouldered, giving off no light, no heat. Simply increasing the shadows. Emphasizing the darkness.
“I have willingly locked myself behind those bars, Espada-san. No one had forced me, no one had held a weapon against me. I had willingly welcomed my own death.” Bitter, the words were dipped in poisoned wrath. She blamed herself, blamed everyone, blamed no one.
Well, let’s see…
I’ve always seen Hinamori as a strong character, but in the midst of her attempt to cope with her situation and state, she leaks out her weaknesses, gives those around her a small peek on what’s going on in her soul. She tries her best to keep the smile on her face, but always fails. In my role plays, I’ve always let the other players come to a spiritual contact with her, revealing how shattered and betrayed she feels. But despite her mental breakdown, she never seeks help from those around her. Her strength of will and self-consciousness are less conveyed by me, as she is always in a state of doubtfulness. I know that in both the manga and anime, she’s loyal to Soul Society, but my Hinamori secretly believes that Aizen is innocent - or so she likes to deceive herself. But, never, never will she turn her back on those dear to her. She’s protective when it comes to friends, although now she has a problem with trusting them. Gaining her trust became a big dilemma after the Aizen incident, and people who encounter her would have to put a lot of effort to actually win her full trust, and not simply the suspicious acquaintance she always offers.
As to ships, I haven’t been able to develop serious OTP’s. I usually begin shipping her when a role play is well-developed, and actually there is a mutual, yet silent agreement between the two characters. But apart from role play, I’m willing to discuss each ship I’ve come across.
HitsuHina - this ship is actually one of those tricky ships that you don’t know whether it’ll develop or simply crumble. Personally, I enjoy reading rp’s and fanfics based on this ship, but it’s still vague, and I can’t be 100% sure that it might turn out in the love direction. I mean, Toshiro’s care for Momo is simply adorable, but does anything lie beyond friendship’s compassion? Aaahh! It’s very delicate, and one wrong move from either character would be the beginning of a great disaster. Hinamori’s current condition is very fragile, and she wouldn’t be able to simply ‘get over’ Aizen. It would be very selfish of her if she uses Toshiro to forget the pain of her previous love. Or maybe some feeling is unlocked and turns out that she loves Hitsugaya more than a friend. After all, his sympathy and the constant protectiveness is something a girl longs for. If I had to rate this ship, I’d give it an 8/10. There’s a huge possibility that it might develop into something, and I’d be very glad to actually see it happening.
AiHina - A very complex relationship. I believe that even after his betrayal, Hinamori still can’t let go of the idea ‘Aizen’. But love isn’t the best definition that would describe their bond. Admiration would be a better choice. Hinamori is simply awestruck by Aizen’s powers and the way he treats his fellow teammates back in the days. He’s kind, sweet, caring - everything Hinamori adores, but the moment he reveals to her his actual face, the lieutenant is simply left speechless - much like the situation with Kira and Gin. But, I’m sure that if Aizen seeks help from her - putting aside her loyalty to Soul Society - she would most likely help him. Also, if he manages to sweet talk her, she’d bend under his influence. He could let her believe that it was all a lie; and he had fallen prey to some evil scheme. Back to the ship, it’s very unlikely to happen, knowing Aizen.
KiraHina - They’ve both went through the same hell, and they both know the pain. And both need support. I used to ship them a lot (influenced by my friends), but now, it’s very hard. Izuru is one of Hinamori’s best friends, and it’s very unlikely for him to develop feelings. But then again, he has locked all his emotions deep inside of him, turning into what may be an introvert, and the only person that could lend him a hand, open his eyes is Hinamori. I can’t see them together, though. Sure, even if they help each other through a tough period, nothing could happen, apart from strengthening their friendship. Well, it depends on the circumstances, but I still find it hard. Izuru is very complex, in my opinion, and unfolding all the layers to actually reach who he truly is is a big challenge. I often find myself imagining that Hinamori actually succeeds in mending the wounds, but who’ll mend hers? It’s too hard as both of them are broken, and they need a person who has experiences pain, but has went through it. I prefer HitsuHina over KiraHina, because Hitsugaya has a bigger potential in actually pulling Momo out of her hole.
KenHina? - I’ve seen the ship once, but I don’t know if my Hinamori could actually survive Kenpachi’s brutality. He’s too rude, too harsh for her delicate frame. I know many people say that opposites attract, but that’s only in Physics and Chemistry, I don’t believe in such lies. I have to actually discuss this with a Kenpachi role player, and see how he/she sees Kenpachi. I don’t understand him at all, and I don’t think - even if Momo is very kind and patient - he’d tolerate her kindness. I remember that there was a chapter where he was comforting her? I think? I’m not sure? Ah! I give up, I can’t define their relationship.
GinHina - I don’t know how some people developed this ship. I’m not against it, though. I think it’s hard for me to comprehend it. My Hinamori blames Gin for everything. And I can’t simply imagine Gin liking Hinamori. He might use her, but other than that - no. I ship him with Rangikuuuuuuuuu!
HisaHina - Based on the fact that Hinamori was the person to trigger Hisagi’s rescue, he should be grateful. But falling for her is close to the impossible. He might show compassion, sympathy, but actually finding something beautiful in her grief is not expectant.
ShinHina - Something might develop, although the percent of impossibility is very high. In the beginning, it would be hard for Momo to even look at him as a Captain - after all, Shinji’s taking the place of the one and only Aizen. But with time, Shinji might show understanding. He has suffered a lot, and she might see some kind of recognition in the man. But the memory of Aizen will forever haunt their relationship - if one exists.
Are there more ships? I think that’s all. Well, no matter what my opinion on ships is, everyone’s free to develop their very own ship based on the role play. If a plot is well-developed and well-thought, I am sure that everything might happen, especially in the hands of lovely role players that put a part of themselves in their writing.
ooc; aww thank you Hinamori-mun <3 Your greeting swallowed me with absolute feels :’) and yes, i’m going to get some rest soon!
ooc; no need to thank me! I just have a lot of feels for Komamura and you portray him amazingly! Good night, then :3 Sweet dreams ~
Hearing the gentle footsteps that followed him with ease made his shoulders relax — if only a little, and Toshiro released a breath he wasn’t even aware he was holding. Maybe things were more simple than he previously thought. Everything which had occurred before this moment made him question their bond, hence the conversation they just led, expressions they shared and that trust he could just possibly gain again left him with clear, vivid memories of the more happiest time. Time when things were so simple, when they had no knowledge of those damned structures behind the tall prison walls, and when their biggest problem was that every-day dilemma which game to play next. Their disputes were innocent, childish, and he could not quiet down the fruitless desire which she invoke to go back, to experience all those moments once again. Back then he cared more about seasons changing, dinner options and night skies, ignoring a horrid feeling that something else was changing, shifting… somewhere far away from them figures were already planning their path, their Fate. Enveloped in that familiar, comfortable routine, he had missed to see one thing he regretted the most — she was drifting away.
His invisibility, and irrelevance which was attached to it, became clear when she came home again. The girl he expected to see, that girl with chocolate eyes and innocent smile and hair almost as short as his never arrived. Instead, he was greeted with a sight of shinigami, with uniform neatly tucked in, hair longer and thoughtfully placed in a bun, with her weapon hanging by her side. And he… He didn’t change. That same brat, dressed in nothing but coarse blue cloth ran out to greet her; ran out to meet the one person he missed the most. Days without her were unbearable, lonely. The only company he had was his Granny, but not even she was enough to chase away the memories that haunted him, to chase away the villagers that mistreated him. And in that moment, in that simple moment, everything became so clear, so brilliantly clear — Hinamori didn’t need him anymore. It was then when he first understood the word change, the meaning and desires behind it. It was then when he realized that, unless he catches after her, they would never stand side-by-side again.
As they approached the humble building, Toshiro couldn’t help but to notice how everything remained just as they left it. That small square of memories stood untouched, unsoiled, and he could almost hear the sounds of his childhood resonating through empty streets. But something pulled him, called him, made him see the actual nothingness they left behind. And he realized, this was life he no longer wished to live. This was life that was nothing more but illusion of the past, decorated and polished for his linking, for his escape. The reality was far from pleasant. The reality was… they changed. “She must be inside.”
His hand lingered on the entrance door, confrontation being one of the reasons for his action. After everything, what will the woman see? Will his failure be so evident, his guilt so apparent? Will she see how he almost destroyed already fragile friendship? Did he even deserve her already expected kindness?
Nothing could hold her attention now. Everything disappeared in a thick fog of memories the moment they reached the familiar area. Something tingly, something warm and smoky was suddenly developing in the pit of her stomach. The sound of laughter deafened her, two children running - one with striking silver hair, the other with short dark one. The mere image was able to lock her in her own cocoon of emotions, woven thoroughly by the never ending threads of her memory. Could she handle what lay beyond that door? The seed of anxiety planted since the day she had crossed the threshold before her had grown into a tree, and Hinamori was now eating the sorrowful fruits of her own despair. After years of dismissing the responsibility of taking care of the past, she was finally facing it : a small square area, obviously deserted. Her own carelessness was reflected in the untouched things left to bear the attacks of Fate. How long had it been? How long had she run away from her own mistakes? How long had she hidden from the truth? How long had she disregarded the importance of being alive? Drowning herself in her own pain, Hinamori had lost the desire to carry on. And only one fragment of her past had kept her fighting - Aizen. Not even the childhood memories were strong enough to open her eyes. She was too blinded, too numb, too scarred. Always looking for someone to blame, while in fact, she alone was to be blamed. She was so powerless, so confused, unable to find a place for herself - possessed by chaos. Her brains - a mishmash of thoughts and feelings, desperately struggling to find a solution to the only problem in her life.
Nothing was the same anymore, nothing could make up for her absence, nothing could awaken the eye - empty, hollow, vacant. All the nights spent in pondering, questioning, seeking. All the nights in which she had found herself in a burning fit of agony, ripping and tearing the thin sheets of her bed, squeezing and curling into a formless ball, before silently giving away to the quiet slumber. Happiness was crushed, destroyed, squashed. The last brush was laid on the canvas by no other but the man who had breathed life into her lungs, featuring the image of her own failure and nothingness. All her life was a figment, all those moments shared with him, all those smiles, all those laughs, all that affection, all that care, everything - a figment. Her imagination tried to keep it alive, to turn the lies into truths, but it was to no avail. Could her heart gather enough strength to beat for someone else? Could her heart repair the holes left lingering and gaping by that traitor? Could the heart continue? She was a shadow of his void power. And she had willingly let him maneuver her into a puppet. Will she ever get rid of the silver strings attached to her? Will she ever break free from his presence?
Hinamori blinked all those thoughts away. “She’s inside.” She spoke in an attempt to break the imposed silence. Something in the atmosphere filled the soul with a feeling half-sweet, half-sad, which gave rise to an unfamiliar heaviness of the heart. Will the woman see the ill-formed mistakes that bestowed on their faces? The failure of keeping their friendship stable. She would most likely take note of it, probably scold them for it. Standing before this portal, Hinamori couldn’t help but think of their childhood, the shared childhood and moments. The summoned thoughts caused her face to contract involuntary, she gave her head a quick toss to the side, as if a pang of pain had split her. She couldn’t bear to watch this place, to watch how everything slipped through her numb finger like quicksilver.
A pallid hand was raised, extending to join that of Toshiro’s. She grazed it lightly, before adding more pressure to her touch, trying to push the door open. The cool air slunk its way through the small opening. A chill crawled up and down her spine - a consequence of both the air and the coolness that had developed in the depths of her soul.
The white, small and slender fingers gripped the bars in front of him and for a moment she seemed fragile, sending a wave of memories through Starrk. Of how even he, himself was a willing puppet in his despair, in his search for something, anything. Her gaze told him differently, adamant, feverish and he found the tiredness in his bones spread, unwilling to talk. Unwilling to voice his own sentiments on the person who has obviously marked them both. Her spiritual pressure felt like a heartbeat of a mouse, in agony, in a cage and he returned her gaze unblinking, wondering at what made her the one that was obviously more trapped than he, himself was. Behind the physical bars that seemed to be far weaker than her own, self inflicted ones.
He could have cared about her anguish more than he did for his own existence, but the wait for his sentence and the wait for the questions made him…restless. Different. Wondering what the blazing sun would feel like when he was finally taken to his demise. Wondering how it would make him feel, dissipating, deserving his end probably more than any of his comrades. Based on their rules, submitting the whole spiritual world to them and Starrk would have thought it unfair if he could still find a shred of caring within himself.
She spoke, and his lips curled upwards in a small smile, admiring her intent, recognizing the little lie. It sounded selfish, coming to him only because of the desire to know, the ache to have her own pain alleviated but naturally…he was only an enemy. He took a step forward, hands extending, gloved fingers curling around the bars just above her own. He knew what she was asking about and he could have given her the mercy, explained it all but there was nothing in what he knew that could mend her. “Ask me a question,” he leaned forward, eyes flashing in the darkness of the tresses that fell around his face,” but make it a precise one. Make it fast, you and I both know what shall happen if you’re found here. Most likely you shall join me on the gallows.”
Starrk let the words hang in the air as he let his digits uncurl, moving backward, sinking back on the cold bench and he folded his hands, watching her from the darkness of his cell. Were the circumstances any different, was this a time when he still thought he would find salvation surrounded by those who were his kin, he would have been softer. He would have had consideration for the pain behind her gaze. Instead, he found himself colder than the walls around him as he waited for her to speak.
Pictures and memories floated in the darkness behind the closed lids, blending with one another and becoming confused with other scenes. The clashes of swords, metal on metal, rang in her ears, teeth grinding together trying to keep the yells and sobs from escaping the pale lips. The day in which everything had crumbled before her was replaying in her mind, every detail - even the smallest ones - were unfolding again. The cold fingers of betrayal once again clutched her heart tightly, ceasing its beats and desperate throbs. The pang of pain had developed in the pit of her stomach again, spreading malignantly and bursting every cell in her craving for relief body. Involuntary, she pressed herself towards the bars, trying to steal some power from the Espada but all was in vain. Brown eyes shone dully under the muffled light of the single bulb, staring straight at those of the man. She saw that they carried something familiar - a kind of recognition kindled behind the layers of stoic and impenetrable walls he had raised.
Attentively, the petite Shinigami listened to the words as they stumbled from his mouth, barely reaching her ears. If he was trying to torture her, then he was doing a great job. His request, alone by itself, reminded her of her former Captain, and the mind games he used to play on his fellow teammates. Hasn’t this Espada suffered? If he has, then why was he adding to her agony? A muted sigh lingered onto her lips, tentatively stretching in the vast area. “I don’t care what happens if they find me here. It doesn’t matter to me, not anymore,” her voice, although weak, managed to break the silence and scatter everywhere, echoing through the walls “tell me, what was he like? What was Aizen-Tai-” Too close, she swallowed hard, after all that time, she still found it hard to address Aizen without the title - a habit that was hard to forget “what was Aizen like? Was he kind to you? And how did you end up joining him.” Quickly, she shook off the small pause formed by her uncertainty. The dull gaze was replaced by one of seriousness and patience. All the signs of her previous condition vanished. She couldn’t - she shouldn’t let anyone know the state she was in.
Whoever the man was, he arose in her an undefined feeling - one she did not wish to acknowledge. The female’s attention was attracted by a foreign buzz - a buzz that didn’t belong here. She roved her chocolate orbs, searching for the force. The buzz ceased, or so she thought. Two, three sole noises were once again emitted, a last struggle to reach freedom, but everything once again died down in the already existent silence. Hinamori looked up towards a web stretched across the corner of the ceiling in Starrk’s cell. A couple of flies were sprinkling across it, some already covered by a thick layer of white dust, while the one which seemed fairly alive moments ago, was now lying motionlessly, tangled in the silver threads of the cotton-soft material. The whole act reminded Momo of her own fight to escape the inescapable. Of her own fall in Aizen’s net. She had willingly let him catch her, deceiving herself with the softness of her death.
With one nod, the clang of the bars indicated the collision of her head with them. She refused to lift it up, staring blankly at the floor, her own feet seeming remote and distant. What was she trying to achieve? Why can’t she simply accept the fact the way it was? Aizen was a filthy traitor and nothing could change that. What was done was done. Time cannot be rewound. The mistakes cannot be corrected. The broken cannot be repaired. Everything was set. And Hinamori had to obsequiously embrace the truth.
Although the night sky swept a darkened blanket across the entire court of pure souls, the natural rays from the pale crescent moon failed to hide the grief and sadness that plagued Hinamori’s face. As a captain who was extremely adept with senses may it be hearing an incoming enemy or feeling a certain flood of emotions within another soul, Komamura let out a hefty sigh before returning a soft smile towards the slightly hunched vice-captain. “There is no need to deny and hide your true feelings Hinamori-fukutaicho. I share the same emotions as you do at this very moment,” he admitted with a saddened tone as the thought of his dead friend crossed his mind.
The undying grief was carved in the Lieutenant’s features, despite her failing attempts to hide it behind one of her infamous facades, all was in vain, especially before a captain like Komamura. Nothing stirred, not a sound was audible, the leaves remained motionless, the gay and cheerful rustle ceasing, allowing silence’s blanket to cover the small court. Hinamori sat, arms clasping the weak and trembling knees. She listened to the silence, not expecting anything, but at the same time, as though incessantly expecting something. The stillness embraced her from all sides, the Shinigami’s words sinking into her soul. “Tell me, Taichou, how can you handle the pain? Can you simply let it melt away, like the snow melts in spring? Or do you submerge into it?” She articulated every syllable fully, although the dryness in her throat was reflected in her voice.