For Bleach 15 on Livejournal. A collection of fifteen short pieces about Tousen Kaname. Part One: In Her Name, added. She is dead.
They buried her on a cloudy day. Kaname wished that they would have waited for a sunny one, but he hadn't had any say in the matter. After all, he was little more than an acquaintance from before she rose to the ranks of Shinigami. To them-- them with their strong reiatsu, their keen blades-- he was of little more importance than the grass under their sandals.
Shinigami. They who she had joined to chase away all the clouds. They who had, in the end, cut her down for trying. Kaname turned his head away from the Shinigami, tried to will away the heat of tears from his eyes, the faint ringing in his ears, the gnawing feeling in his stomach. It wasn't until they backed away from the coffin to talk in a small half-circle several yards away that he dared to approach her coffin.
The coffin smelled like flowers. He bowed his head in respect, wishing he could her her voice (beautiful and warm) again, even once. She had promised to come back one day. She had promised...
And then she was killed, and her light was taken from Soul Society forever.
There were those who said that a Shinigami's sword was more than metal blade and wrapped hilt, that the sword was a living part of the Shinigami's soul. If that was true, then the sword in her coffin might still contain some small part of her. Kaname reached down, hoping the Shinigami who had gathered wouldn't notice. His fingers brushed against the hilt of her sword, and he felt the presence of something, or rather of someone. He had the distinct, unnerving feeling that it was examining him, testing him.
Who was he, to take this sword?
Take the sword? Kaname shook his head, wondering what he was thinking. He hadn't planned to take her sword, just to say farewell to whatever part of her remained.
Yet... she was dead. What justice was there in the world, where one such as her-- so pure, so dedicated and devoted, so brave-- could be murdered so casually?
Kaname's heart quickened as he realized that he knew, as well as he knew his own name, that she had been murdered. The Shinigami hadn't told his this, nor told her parents, yet the events of three nights ago were clear in Kaname's memory, as if he had (somehow) been there. Her husband, a high-ranking Shinigami, had killed her, murdered her, and Seireitei had ignored her screams, had believed him when he claimed to have found her like that.
Was there no justice, then, in Seireitei? Kaname wondered, shaking in sadness and anger. Was everything she became a Shinigami for a lie?
She had never thought it a lie, not when she talked to him under the skies, not when she trained or hunted Hollows (what was a Hollow? Kaname wondered briefly) or argued with her husband. No, Kaname decided, her justice was not a lie. It was a pure thing, worth any sacrifice.
If Kaname took her sword, he could become a Shinigami himself, and gain the power he needed to bring justice to the world. With his hands, he would clear the sky of clouds to reveal the stars she had loved so. Even though he could never see them, he knew they were beautiful because she had taught him beauty.
The ringing in his ears started to crescendo, sweet and sad, until it overwhelmed the sound of the wind and the birds and the distant Shinigami. He would bring justice, at any price.
He would bring justice.
Suddenly, the ringing stopped. The presence withdrew, leaving Kaname with a faint impression of approval. At that moment, he realized that the rumors about Shinigami swords were true. They lived. Her sword lived, even though she had died. And it-- she-- the zanpaktou approved of him.
He checked the position of the Shinigami again. They hadn't moved, seemed to be facing the other way. His fingers slowly crept around her sword, and then he lifted it to his chest. It vibrated lightly in his hands, and he thought he heard it ring softly as he slipped it under his robe.
In her name, he would uncover the stars.
Kaname stood at her grave for a few minutes more, and then turned and walked away.