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#1 [Private] Delivery for Division 3 (Noz/Ayame) on Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:04 am

I'd have been tasked with my usual, border patrol. You'd think it'd be a pretty boring job since hardly anything got past the Rukongai and Dangai.... but today was much different. Some idiot thought he'd make a handy assassin after being cast out of the Soul Society, so I.... "reprimanded" him. Okay. I lied. I kinda beat him up so badly that he looked more like a stuffed turkey than a potential assailant. Poor man was probably going to need his leg twisted back the right way. Oh well, at least it can't be said that I don't take my job seriously. To hell with it. At least I knew where he went. Before he needed to be taken to the Maggot's Nest for detainment, I figured I'd give him a hand.

I'd waltz up to the infirmary of Division 3. "Hey Ayame, I've got a job for you." Excusing myself in, as I had no way of knocking, I'd slap the bugger onto a bed and look her in the eyes... Jeez, she had some eyes. "I may have been a tad aggressive on this one. Apologies." I grinned a little and tried to look a little more laid back, but I kinda felt like I came across as a bit arrogant.

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Her fingers ran through her long, black hair as she attempted to smooth it out. The bundle of locks would get passed from one hand to the next, until it was finally decent enough to wrap in the purple ribbon she had laid out in front of her. She would pull the ribbon tight as it was now in a bow fashion on the top of her head. She would find herself wandering out of her office and down the hallway with a clipboard in hand. Her doctor's coat would take priority over the one she wore to dignify her Sub Captain position. As she had now wandered into the medical ward, a door would immediately open leaving her to stand staring blankly at the face of a man she knew a bit, but not entirely well.

A body would flop down on one of her vacant beds as she would be informed she had another job with no choice in the matter. Her eyes would continue to stare at Captain Aran as he continued to make himself look entirely arrogant. Her eyes seemed to swirl as if his words were causing her to feel a bit beat down. As he finished, she would turn her head away and nod not speaking all that many words, as she walked over to the body. She would flip pages on her clipboard before writing a few words and fill in a few boxes. Then, she would lay the clipboard down beside the bed.

"I'm sure there was a better way to solve this situation than through such savage actions. Then to apologize in such a simple, heartless manner, you might as well not waste your breath. Are there any other empty words you would like to speak? Perhaps, any other senseless jobs for me to conduct and supplies to waste? Next time, you should take these accounts into consideration," she didn't care that he was technically authority over her. In this division, she believed herself to have more power over him. Besides if there was any trouble, he'd essentially have to deal with Kokoro and she was sure neither of them wanted that.

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It did feel out character for me to be so brutal on a stranger, or someone that didn't directly threaten someone I cared about, much less treating someone that I injured in such a manner. Ayame was quick to scold me for that, and I was even quicker to realize that. She even went as far as to tell me my apology was a waste of breath, which stung a little, but again, there was no sincerity behind it, and she had been perceptive of that. She seemed accusative now, trying to guilt me further, though in this case it worked, despite the fact that I could technically tell her that she had no right and she'd have to obey. "Ayame.... Perhaps I'd been far too frustrated lately and taken it all out on someone that didn't really deserve it. I'm not trying to justify my actions, only explain where I've been. Though I can still do better." I looked over at the mangled man, feeling bitter over my actions. "I'm sorry... no matter your reasons for breaking our laws... you still didn't deserve to be torn apart like this. You'll live because of Ayame here... but the fear has made wounds even she can't fix. The same fear that I caused you because I'm simply not myself."

Thinking about it, nothing felt right anymore. The Gotei had been condensed quite some time ago, largely with input from me. I could easily say that I was proud of it, seeing as we were close to being so weak that a single Espada could dismantle us, but at the same time, a system I meant to be orderly came with so much baggage and stigma. These same people felt weakened by the titles that were meant to make them stronger... and on top of that, I... I missed her. No amount of chaos could make me forget her. By now, I'm sure Ayame could see right through me. The feelings I had now were not something she'd seen in a long time... not since I turned into this brute. "I should probably go. You need to focus on your work, and I'll just end up getting in the way now. You deserve a bit better than that man got." I said, as I began to stand up and walk towards the door.

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Multicolored eyes would look over the man as she started work on the larger problems first. She would begin with any out of place and broken bones. The sounds of popping, crying, and groaning could be heard all at once through a fat muffled face causing Ayame's heart to drop with ever sound. Her eyes would grow more solemn with every movement she made that brought pain to this man. She knew he was a criminal and she couldnt forgive him. Nonetheless, she knew that he didn't deserve this treatment and now Noziel was coming around to it too. Her hands were steady as she ran them over lacerations and contusions. She would bring out her shikai as she would form heated ice cubes on the tray next to her. Picking them up, she would place them on each wound as the skin would begin to mend together.

She was listening silently all the while the Captain spilled his heart out to the both of them. It was a nice change of pace as she hadnt seen thus side of him in quite a while. It seemed that every time they were close she was simply chastising him. It seemed that when he came near her that she was less relaxed and far more concerned about what was going to happen. He had a confidence about him that he hadn't had before, but it was filled with arrogance and anger. She wondered why he simply wouldn't open up.

She would pause as he spoke and she could tell where this waa going. He was going to leave, not think hus actions through, go out, and do something else completely similar to this situation. She would sigh as she would watch him from the corner of her eye, "Captain Aran, you're not going to leave me alone with a criminal are you? Surely, you haven't forgotten that he's still dangerous. I mean.. if you'd like to take your chances, I'm sure I might be able to handle myself," Ayame would speak in a sort of damsel in disyress sort of way with less emotion. Then, she would turn towards him before watching him further, "I never asked you to leave. I never said you were in my way. Do not assume simply based on your own emotional state. Sit back down and let's talk." Her eyes would stay plastered to his figure as she would tilt her head slightly the man was now passed out from drugs and pain. "I don't say these things to be harsh or mean. I hope you know that. I say these things to help you, even if it doesn't seem like it. Why won't you talk to me? Am I unapproachable? Am I not trustworthy? Why do you shut me out?" It seemed that her voice was a bit more fragile in this moment, however she dared not let it break. She dared not show any sign of emotion, except for the soft tone she now held.

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As the man was being treated, his shrieks of pain rippled through my body. I felt as though it was my personal punishment, my retribution for what I'd become. Ayame did her job the same way she always did though. Her emotions were level and her mind was sharp and focused. It was one of the things I admired of her. Her caring for others saw no end, and had no conditions. If someone needed help or treatment, she was the first to step up. And me? I used to be kinda like that... I don't know as I can say what happened. Perhaps it was the loss of Mei that had done this to me. Either way, as I had prepared to leave, I was shocked by the request that Ayame threw my way. She always seemed to find a way to captivate me, and tonight was no exception. "Captain Aran, you're not going to leave me alone with a criminal are you? Surely, you haven't forgotten that he's still dangerous." No matter what kind of a man I was, I was not going to turn down a request like that. I stopped, and took a seat where I could both be a little closer to Ayame and keep an eye on our captive. "Very well. I'm not one to leave the people I care about behind, brute or not."

The next few moments, I reflected on her words. She had told me that she had not asked me to leave, nor said that I was being a hindrance. I was not to judge things from my own lens thinking I knew someone else's thoughts. She said that she was thinking of me, trying to put me on the right path. Not many people would try to change a man who seemed so focused on combat that he'd lost himself in his anguish. And it was the final line she uttered, which made me think the most. She felt like I didn't trust her, because I wouldn't talk. She felt that she wasn't enough to save this poor man. "Ayame... that's not why. I haven't talked openly to anyone.... not in a long time. I lost someone, long ago, and that wound still feels fresh. It's something that I haven't been able to face, and I've taken it out on everyone else... That's not the man I want to be, and you've seemed to notice that. Though you keep your emotions in check so you can focus on the task at hand, I can sense how much you care for everyone, myself included. That to me says everything I need to know about the type of person you are. I know it's been a long road, dealing with me and constantly trying to get through to me, but now that you finally have... You've proven your worth." I was afraid to say more, somewhere between the thought that it would either be out of line, or that it would embarrass me too much to continue. After all, I doubted she felt anything near what I felt. Perhaps I was delirious?

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She would watch him freeze as her words went in his ears and whirled around his brain. She was right about the situation and she knew that even though he was bound to make mistakes, he wouldn't leave her here with a criminal. This qould be proven as he turned around and sat right back in the very seat he got out of. That's where he sat as she spoke words into his head yet again. In the next few moments there was nothing but absolute silence, yet she stared unyielding. Her multicolored eyes waited for words, gestures, or even noises, however she hoped for some useful content.

Finally, he would express himself, the truth about his reality, except it was different than she had originally thought. He had lost someone he loved, yet she wondered who it was since there was never any discussion about it. She also hadn't made it a mission to go about and snoop through other people's lives. However if it was hruting him this badly, that he would go around brutalizing someone else just to relieve his feelings, then maybe inquiry would assist his feelings. "If you don't mind me asking then, would you like to talk about this person? It must have been a drastic pain to cause you such grief. Perhaps, I could even return the favor and tell you a bit about me. This man should be out of commision for a while and he's in stable condition. I'll need to wait until his vitals level out as well before I begin," she would speak taking a seat herself next to the Captain. They were close, but they had never been too close. They could handle being around each other, even if they hadn't always got along. She hoped that maybe this would change it though.

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As her eyes always did, they analyzed me yet again. She seemed to be searching what little I could show her to fill in the blanks, and yet it would not be enough. Instead, she was bright enough to realize this, not that I was surprised at that much. She asked me simply put if I wished to talk about my loss, providing a chance to see more of her life as a form of incentive. Though there were few people that I would want to talk to, Ayame always seemed to know exactly what to say. That feeling helped push me forward and  rise above what scarred me so. The man to the side of us would be unconscious, given both what I had done to him and the treatment administered by Ayame. "Her name was Mei. The bracelet on my arm is what I wear to remind myself of her. Gold for her blonde locks, and a pink jewel for her eyes that loved me so. She seemed to be a determined enough soul that she remembered bits of her life from when she had been a human. Her rebirth as a Shinigami gave her hope that she could one day re-unite with her daughter. However... I do not know if she ever did. I do know however that as a healer, her heart was greatly larger than that of most and she cared immensely for all of her patients. It was that same care that opened my eyes and made me the man I wanted to be, proud of someone other than myself..."

I'd look to a cabinet across the room, though the room itself had changed and the furniture with it. I sighed heavily before looking back to the glimmering blue-purple orbs that captured my attention now. "She used to keep liquor in a cabinet much like that, probably as a method of coping with her past. And there were more than a few nights where she asked me to stay, and we would drink from her collection, together. It became clear with time however, that she was losing herself in her past life. She gradually became unable to do her work, her zanpakuto wouldn't even recognize her, and her memory dissolved, including any feelings she had towards me. I could never accept it, and it slowly ate away at me, until I became this. This horrid monster with no sense of honor. She disappeared. I have no idea whether she lives still or died painfully, but the fact remains that she is gone. And with her absence comes the void of having lost someone who changed you for the better. I..." I wanted to say more, but the problem was, there wasn't too much more to say. I could thank her endlessly, or I could cry out to her, but nothing would change the expanding abyss in my heart. No one could fix that, not even Ayame. I hung my head low, and ceased talking. My voice was broken, and only whimpering could be heard. I wanted to apologize for my current state, but my lips would not move.

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He would begin to speak about his loved one that had vanished so long ago from his grasp. Her name was Mei and that was something that Ayame wouldn't forget. She had heard the name before, but she had only known it briefly. It was so long ago that she had heard it in a passing a few times before she never heard it again. She never knew the woman was a healer, she never knew they shared the same halls, she never knew they worked alongside eachother, but she did know the woman was loved. She rememebered how they spoke of her beauty, her popularity, and her cheerfulness. She was everything Ayame would never be, she was spectacular, she was brught, she was shining, and was rumored to even be the next Captain. However, the time never came and she had even forgot about the woman. Everyone simply stopped speaking of her, refused to acknowledge her existence, and denied in their own minds that she was ever part of their lives. Why? Was it because of Noz? Did they wish to spare his emotions or were they simply terrified of what he may do? Either way, she sounded wonderful and it broke her heart to know how much he loved her. It seemed her story though, was all but grand, even still she had shimmering hope. She hoped for a better future, for another chance with her daughter, for a life with Noziel, and for a chance to be happy. A smile would cross Ayame's face as she would hear about her hopes and dreams. Through it all, she was kind, generous, caring, and gentle. No wonder he loved her so much.

However, the conversation would slowly take a turn for the worse as he spoke of her habits. Sure, she drank some, which wasn't completely a problem in and of its own. Except, it began to turn into a problem as she became obsessed with her memories, her heart aches, and her mental scars. It was a tragic story for such a beautiful soul. It was an even more horrible story for someone like Noziel who didn't deserve the treatment of having to witness his love slowly dying away. Her mixed eyes would watch as he began to break down beside her and there was nothing she could do. There was nothing she could say. There was nothing that could prevent the pain from overcoming him, but it wasn't for nothing nor was it a bad thing. She may not have been able to help it, but she certainly wasn't helpless. The woman would lean over the captain in an attempt to grab his hand. She would tilt her head to look at him and she would smile lightly. "That's fine for now. That's good. You've opened up and now I understand your pain. I understand what you're going through. I'm very sorry you've dealt with this pain for so long all on your own. It's not an easy feat. Maybe, I can help you now, if you'dlike for me to that is." Her eyes would continue to look at his face before they would look away as she would stand releasing his hand. She would walk over to her patient before checking him over once more. She would stay silent for a moment before she would begin to speak.

"I know what it's like losing someone you love, feeling as if you've been betrayed, and being scared of the end results. However, I know what it's like to be in her shoes, knowing that something happened that she couldn't control. I fell in love once many, many hears ago long before I arrived in the Rukongai. He was sweet, kind, gentle, and he treated me like I was royalty. Sure, I was young, but at the time I was a disaster. I had quite a... childhood..." her voice would crack slightly as she would speak the word, yet she would clear her throst and continue, "I had trust issues, mental issues, physical health problems, and a multitude of things that needed mending or fixing. Still, he was supportive and helpful. He gained my trust because I was so impressionable. He was everything to me. He was my whole world." Ayame would smile as if the words she was speaking she couldn't believe. She would shake her head placing her wrist to her forehead as a small pain would emerge at the middle of it. She would take a deep breath before shaking it away and she would continue through a soft, choked up voice turning away from Noziel.

"That's not who he truly was and I never saw it coming. We were due to be married, we were going to have a future, and we were supposed to be happy. But.. no. It was all just a ruse. A plan to get me where he wanted me to be. I uhm.. I.. was in our new home. Our safest place when he began saying weird things. I was confused.. so confused. He started saying things I had never told him about, but someone had been. Police, maybe? I had done something wrong and he had known the whole time. 'I was a menace to society' he said. 'I was just a monster that needed to feel the pain he felt' he kept saying that over and over. I did something horrible to someone close to him and I never knew. He uh..." She would hold her hand up to her head again as the pain increased and her eyes would look distant. "He attacked me. Stabbed me in the shoulder, but it didn't stop. He tortured me.. drug the blade across my back," she would motion with her hand as best she could along her scar as she would hold back tears. Her voice would shake, "He.. He watched me bleed out.. he watched me die. And all I remember is his damn smirk. He stayed that way for hours as I sat attached to that slowly chilling corpse. Nobody came. Nobody helped. It was silent and he continued to smile." She would stop as she would immediately sit on the floor holding her head in both hands as the pain pounded throughout her head. This was why she never remembered. She never looked back. She never trusted. She never tried, but she had promised to tell him. She had promised to let him know. She had to get it together. She had a patient. She had to finish her job, but it hurt so much.

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As I began to open up, letting all my internalized feelings spill from my lips and my inner walls melted for this woman, I felt so many bindings unravel in my body and soul. And though few would listen, Ayame's eyes never deprived me of attention. Intentions be damned, she was listening.... and to me, that meant the world. And as she listened, her emotions seemed to cycle through appropriate responses, though my senses could not see her soul. Even as I crumpled and broke, the woman before me remained ever vigilant on the inside, perhaps out of habit. Though she seemed to understand and even feel my pain, no amount of emotion seemed to shine through the veil that obscured her aura. Until her hand extended to me, I wondered how much of this was an act, but in that moment, I knew she wasn't pretending. As her hand met mine, I felt the soft caress of her skin, letting it take over. I didn't hesitate to let her hold me now, not as badly as I needed a friend and someone to lean on. Though a few more moments later, I noticed anomalies. Perhaps scarring? Probably best not to ask. As it were, I began to feel something more. There was here, something I hadn't felt in a long time... not since...

But it was not mine to claim. She let go, which I allowed, but wished was not a necessity. In her, I saw much more than she would ever see herself. And even tending to the man on the other side of the room, she began to talk about herself in a poor light. But was it that or something else? As she began to talk about her past, her journey in love, she began at least seemingly happy, as though she was forcing herself to remember the best parts, all at once. That lovely smile faded quickly as it did not take long to get to the pain. She didn't seem to have a life in the human world like Mei did, but honestly that just made her more like me. Though she did hint at quite a few things that she didn't seem too keen elaborating on... It made me think she was hiding something, but I brushed it aside for the moment. As she continued, all the things that had come from her obscure childhood seemed to be fixed by this man that became her life. And I realized a bit too well how she must have felt. Not that I felt that way, but that... this may have been how Mei felt toward me, at least for a while. And it was at this point that her physical symptoms indicated that what was coming next was going to hurt, but it wasn't easy to tell who would hurt more in the end, at least not yet.

As she began to build up to the parts of her life that should have made any woman happy, I only saw Ayame fight back tears, trying to keep her breathing contained. Every sentence she spoke was interrupted by another broken promise. And the further she went, the more it looked like she was going to fall to pieces. She talked about how she was supposed to be married to him, how they'd made a home together and yet, it built up to betrayal. Just like that, her past had come back to haunt her in the worst way, apparently. This man turned on her, spurned her, and tortured her limitlessly, not even giving her the release of death. And then he just watched her as she should have died there.... but she wasn't... why? I had no desire for her to be gone, it was just confusing....

Not that it would matter at this point. There was no reason to pry when she had collapsed. In this moment, she had gone, and her storm of emotions and bad memories was all that remained. My body reacted before I had a chance to think, seeing her like this. As her aura twisted and rippled violently, I understood. It wasn't that her emotions never shined through, but that her aura was always dark. Though she was in pain, her aura shimmered a black overlayed with the same purple-blue as her eyes. It was tragically beautiful, and though I wanted to admire it, there was no time. To the wreck of a girl before me, I rushed to close the gap. My arms reached around her, though not with force. I wanted to hold her, to tell her that it didn't have to happen like that anymore... but I didn't think I'd get the chance.

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