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Bleach Fanfic:Memories Covered In Midnight

Title: Memories Covered In Midnight
Characters: Chad (Sado) Yasutora, Karin Kurosaki (No pairings)
Genre: Friendship/Drama
Rating: PG
Status: One-shot
Contains: Spoilers for the Lost Agent Arc.
Summary: Memories of a lost night have been biting at the edges of Chad's mind.  He investigates the forgotten events with Karin Kurosaki.  Written for the challenge at hyouhakuzai_fic here.

Sado leaned against the tree, watching the soccer team finish their drills. He wasn’t sure why he was lingering here; he had to be at the gym for work soon. He’d found himself lingering a lot lately, in many different places.

Yesterday he’d stopped at the bakery where Orihime Inoue worked. There had been a question in his mind, something barely catching hold on the edge of his memory. He’d tried to ask her if she’d felt anything like that. For an instant a flash of darkness slipped into her eyes, but then she smiled and shook her head and offered him a free muffin. Whatever the darkness was, she refused to acknowledge its existence. Sado knew her well enough to understand that breaking her rejection of something was nearly impossible; Inoue would be no help.

How he’d come around to this spot, waiting for Ichigo’s sister, he wasn’t entirely sure. But he thought she might remember something. She was very spiritually aware, wasn’t she? He saw her in a group of a few girls—dark hair, frowns, and a soccer ball—and raised his hand in a wave. She glanced over at him and her eyes lit with recognition and then with an annoyed look he’d seen on Ichigo’s face hundreds of times.

She crossed over to him quickly. “What are you doing here?” she asked with a scowl, her friends watching from across the street.

“I’m Sado Yasutora.”

“I know who you are. You’re Ichigo’s friend, and you saved my friends once. But what are you doing at my school?”

“There’s something that I want to ask you, but it might seem strange.” He rubbed the back of his neck; this was more difficult than he’d anticipated.

“Something strange in this town? That’s not exactly a surprise.  Weird things happen here all the time.”

“Well—” he started, but couldn’t continue. What did he want to ask? What was biting at the door of his mind?

“We’ll see you later, Karin-chan!” one of the girls called, waving her hand at them. Some of the other girls waved too, smiling and whispering. Sado waved back and almost jumped at the explosion of high-pitched giggles that spouted from the girls.

“Is something wrong with your friends?” he asked, slightly concerned.

“Are you an idiot? You can’t just come to a school and start chatting with a fourteen-year-old girl, it’s weird! And now they’re going to think you and I have a thing, and they’ll bug me about you all day tomorrow. What a pain.” She frowned at him.

“But we don’t—that is, it’s nothing like that, Kurosaki-san,” he said, carefully, trying to avoid offending her.

She sighed heavily. “Obviously. And I’m Karin. I’ve got to stop at the Urahara Shoten before I go home.” She gestured towards the sidewalk.

“I’ll walk with you, Karin-san.” They walked side by side, Sado strolling, while Karin used fast, purposeful strides.

“The ruining of my social life aside, why are you here? What’s the strange thing that’s bothering you?”

“I’m not sure how to explain this.”

“I see ghosts and monsters every day, Yasutora-san. Just say whatever it is, it doesn’t matter how it sounds.”

“It’s Sado,” he said, wanting to maintain level ground between them. He was glad, suddenly, that he’d come to her; whether she’d felt the creeping midnight engulfing her memories or not, she wouldn’t try to hide from the truth. Sado had barely been able to look at Ichigo when his friend had been powerless and pretending his ordinary life was enough; he’d felt a sharp stab of disappointment yesterday when Inoue pushed away the idea that something was wrong. Karin Kurosaki might lie to others for the same reasons Sado would, but she wouldn’t lie to herself, and he respected that.

“There was a group of people with powers like mine. Humans. They called themselves Fullbringers, and they promised to restore Ichigo’s powers, so I helped them.”

“Restore his powers, huh? Didn’t he do enough already?” She glared at him with narrowed eyes.

“Yes, more than enough, but—he wasn’t happy, Karin-san. He needs to protect people.”

She hugged the soccer ball closer to her side. “I know. Okay, so there were these people called Fullbringers. Then what happened?”

“They were restoring Ichigo’s powers. At least, I think that’s what happened. It’s so hard to remember clearly. There’s darkness over things I should remember, and I feel like I did something wrong.” He couldn’t see her whole face; he was too tall. But he was accustomed to that, and watched her emotions cross over her forehead and lips.

“Darkness over memories? Why—why are you telling me this?” There was a waver in her voice.

“I think you were there. It’s just a feeling, but I think there were a lot of people involved.”

The soccer ball dropped out of her hands, rolling slowly down the sidewalk. “There was a dinner. And then we threw a party, at our house and then—at a mansion? But who was the dinner for?” She stopped moving, pressing her hands against her temples.

“Karin-san, are you alright?” He laid a hand on her arm.

“I’m fine, it’s just—I can’t remember. I can’t focus on the dinner or the party, but I know that these things happened.”

“You’re right.” He could almost see it in his mind, but it was still blurred. “There was a party, and Ichigo—”

“He was so rude! My brother was acting crazy.” She leaned toward him, her voice rising with the memory.

“Yes, that’s how it was! Inoue-san and I tried to stop him. Ichigo was acting crazy,” he said, deeply relieved that he could remember something of that night. He closed his eyes, focusing. “There’s a problem, Karin-san.”

“What is it?”

His eyes opened. “Even though my memory tells me Ichigo was going crazy, that Ichigo was wrong, somehow that feels false.”

“Fake memories? Do you think the one that we can’t remember, the one we had the dinner and the party for, that he was somehow causing—what would you even call it?” Karin looked incredulous.

“Mass hysteria, maybe. But Fullbringers can have powers that you wouldn’t believe. Strange, frightening powers. This man—yes, he could have made everyone believe Ichigo was crazy.” He straightened, running a hand over his face.

Karin nodded. She retrieved the wandering soccer ball and stood facing him on the sidewalk. “I believe you. It sounds completely insane, but it feels true. I think that someone gave us false memories.”

He nodded back at her. The anxiety over the creeping midnight covering his memories that had choked his heart for weeks eased. Karin Kurosaki believed him. “But we aren’t experiencing these false memories now, so someone or something must have stopped that man.”

“It could have been Urahara-san. And it’s not as if there’s a shortage of super-powered guys hanging around who might want to help my brother.” She shifted on the sidewalk and waved him forward until he started moving. They walked side by side, slowly. “That’s messed up, though—Ichigo must have been really upset.”

“I’ll go with you to the Urahara Shoten, and then home with you, if that’s alright, Karin-san. I need to see Ichigo.”

“For what?” She glanced up at his face and then grabbed his arm. Her small hand squeezed his wrist, hard, until he looked at her. “Hey, what are you thinking about doing?”

“I need to apologize. I’m his best friend, but I betrayed our promise to fight for each other. I fought against him.”

She was shaking her head the whole time he spoke. “No, Sado-san, you can’t. And you don’t need to, anyway. It’s better if he thinks no one remembers. We hurt him without knowing it, without meaning to, that’s true. We did. And it must have been a nightmare for him. But it’s over now.”

“If I’m his friend, then I have to tell him how sorry I am. I promised that I would always protect his back, and I didn’t.”

“But he’s happy now. He’s strong again; he’s a shinigami. Rukia is back in his life. If you apologize, you’ll pull him back to that place where he was alone, powerless, and where all his friends and family turned against him. That’s a bad place. I don’t want him to spend any more time there.”

“But I am sorry, Karin-san, and I need him to know that.”

She scowled at him. “Idiot, it’s not necessary. He’s already forgiven you. He’s forgiven all of us, from the first moment he understood what was happening. You don’t need to apologize, because he’s already let it go. That’s who he is.”

Sado was silent for several minutes. He could feel the force of her words resounding inside his chest. Ichigo did not hold grudges; Ichigo didn’t need his apology, and Sado didn’t need Ichigo’s forgiveness, because he already had it. “You’re right, Karin-san.  I'll let this go, at least for now,” he said.

She stopped in front of the Urahara Shoten. “You shouldn’t worry about this anymore, okay? It was awful, but it’s over.”

Sado nodded. “Thanks for talking with me. I’ve got to go to work, or I’ll be late.”

“Any time. Just don’t stand around at my school.” She paused with her hand on the shop door. “Hey, you should come to dinner at our house after you get out of work.”

“Oh—”

“You’re Ichigo’s friend, aren’t you? You can come to his house without needing a reason.” She smiled.

“I’ll come over.” He raised a hand and gave her a thumbs-up.

“Really?” She laughed and gave him an exaggerated wave.

He watched until her slight form disappeared into the shop. Maybe dinner at the Kurosaki house was a good idea. He checked his watch; he was late. Sado jogged in the direction of the gym, smiling for the first time in days.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
makeyourmoment
Feb. 11th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
(afteriwake on her personal account) I really really liked this. I had hoped someone would explore Chad's reaction to what happened, and you did a brilliant job. Thanks for the entry!
r_dahlia
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I am still hoping for some consequences from Book of the End to appear in the manga; and I am still hoping for the human nakama, particularly Chad and Orihime, to shine in the future. Even though Ishida was wounded (twice!) in this arc, he still came out looking stronger/more capable, I think, though perhaps not by much.

It's gotten to the point that when Chad or Orihime appear and talk about how they'll protect Ichigo or how they're going to be strong and stand beside him, or anything like that, I just cringe, because it's been so long since either of them has actually been able to fulfill that kind of promise when it really counted. I felt a bit like they were set up for failure in the Lost Agent Arc because of the mechanics of Book of the End, and it's such a shame.

And then there was no fall-out from the Book of the End, so they were robbed of the character development that might have happened when they realized what they'd done. So I am still hoping for consequences, and still hoping that the training and the desire that the two of them have to stand by Ichigo will actually pay off in a triumphant moment for them in the future.

But lately I've also thought that the Kubo's narrative is leading in a direction that means Chad and Orihime won't succeed as long as their focus is so narrowly on protecting and supporting Ichigo; Ishida always has more success in battle generally and with Ichigo, because Ichigo isn't his focus, and he isn't emotionally dependent on Ichigo. He's able to stand equal to Ichigo and independent of Ichigo. It makes me sad, but given the path of the story, I think it may yet take a long time and some serious self-reflection before Chad and Orihime really do shine as nakama.

tl;dr I worry about the human nakama, and ramble for a long time about their current sad state. Sorry! ^_^;;
makeyourmoment
Feb. 11th, 2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
I agree with you completely. It's always kind of bothered me that they get left behind. I mean, yeah, I like Ishida, but just once I want Chad and Orihime to actually be able to fulfill a position alongside Ichigo where they can make a difference.

I hope that this new arc doesn't take place too long after the last one, so that maybe we can see what Book of the End did to the humans, but I doubt it. That would just be the fando's luck, that it's swept under the rug.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )