|Smichiko (smichiko) wrote in smichifics,|
@ 2008-05-16 18:10:00
|Entry tags:||chad/karin, fandom: bleach, het, kurosaki karin, rating: pg, sado yasutora|
[Chad/Karin] Face to Face
Title: Face to Face
Character(s): Mostly Karin, some Chad, and a little bit of Ichigo & Yuzu
Summary: Karin's tough, and she always has been. But there is one thing that bothers her...
Prompt(s): 'secret place' & 'affected'
Word Count: 2362
A/N: Originally posted July 2006.
Karin didn't cry often. If anyone asked, she said she never cried. She was tough, she didn't need to cry. At least not where anyone could see.
When mom died, she didn't cry. At least, not in front of her family. Someone needed to be strong--Ichigo was in a daze, Yuzu walked around all day, sobbing softly, and dad...well, he seemed almost useless, after mom was gone. Someone had to keep the household sane, and Karin felt that she was the only one equipped for the responsibility. It was a hard position to fill, at her age, but she managed it.
She made a point of crying only in the wee hours of the morning, when she was sure no one would see or hear her. It was difficult--Yuzu wouldn't sleep alone for almost a year after it happened, but Karin soon became an expert at releasing her frustrations without moving much. No one ever need know, she decided. In fact, it was best that they didn't.
Yuzu cried about lots of things--about mom, bullies at school, and especially about Ichigo. She always talked about how worried she was, how cooking helped her forget about it. Karin pretended to be disinterested most of the time, trying to convince Yuzu that she was worried about nothing; but, the truth was, Karin was worried, too.
Karin wasn't afraid of many things. She had some fears, but she was rarely confronted with them on a daily basis, so she mostly didn't worry about it. There was one, though, that confronted her all the time.
She saw spirits every day. Funnily enough, she didn't mind the hollows. Maybe it was the fact that it was so easy to differentiate herself from them. They were scarcely human; they didn't look human, they didn't feel human. They seemed to always be attacking her, but she wasn't afraid of them. Wary, perhaps, but not afraid.
The other spirits were a different story. She saw most of them when they were just wandering around looking forlorn. Karin wondered if she'd be like that, after she died. If she'd end up wandering around, looking for something that couldn't be found. The thought always made her shudder.
They wouldn't leave her alone, not even when she slept. So she stopped sleeping. She found herself wondering how Ichigo could talk to them so easily, as if it were nothing...although, Ichigo always had been a little weird. Karin thought that he wanted to make up for mom, but she was never sure. Ichigo never talked about those things, he just got that pained look on his face and looked off into the distance.
When she passed them on the street, she would pretend not to see them. It was easier that way. Later, she always felt tremendously guilty about it. Ichigo, he was trying to help them. But one look at their sorrowful faces, and Karin felt like running. Nothing else had made her feel like that before, not ever. She'd always been proud of the fact that she never ran away, no matter the danger.
But this was different, for some reason. Karin couldn't explain the unnatural terror that gripped her in these situations. It was like being dipped in a bucket full of ice water.
For a long time, it wasn't so bad. She could avoid them, for the most part, because she could pick them out. But, as she grew older, it grew more difficult. Their forms became clearer and clearer, more solid-looking. By the time she was sixteen, she couldn't tell the difference between a spirit and a normal human at all.
She wanted to shut herself away, where they couldn't find her. Unfortunately, she couldn't. But she did the next best thing.
She went to school, but did only what was expected of her. She didn't talk to anyone unless they talked to her, she didn't join any clubs, and she didn't offer to do anything extra. She didn't have any friends outside of school, and generally wasn't sociable enough for anyone to care.
Yuzu worried about her; it was obvious. She'd even tried to set up an appointment with the school shrink. What was Karin supposed to tell her, that she was afraid of running into spirits? Yeah, that would go over well.
After school, Karin normally went to her secret place, if Yuzu wasn't following. She didn't want to go home, because then her family might be worry about her hanging around constantly. So she'd make up some story about some friend that had invited her over, or some baseball game she was playing with her friends. She really missed baseball.
It wasn't much, just a little area next to a stream that ran near her neighborhood. But she'd never seen a spirit there, and that was good enough for her. She could think there without feeling distracted, and no one else was ever around to bother her. It was great, really.
Except that sometimes she wished someone were there to bother her. She was a coward, and she knew it. Hated herself for it. Maybe that's why, one day, she let someone follow her.
She didn't exactly pick him, she'd just seen him watching her. He was on their porch, presumably waiting for Ichigo. It was that friend of his, the one Ichigo called "Chad." She didn't say anything, or even look at him, but she could feel his eyes on her.
What does he think he's looking at? she thought haughtily. Then she became paranoid, wondering if Ichigo had said something to him. Probably not. Ichigo didn't talk about feelings much.
...but what if he had? He had been looking at her strangely lately, looking as if he wanted to say something. Not that he did.
Karin stole a glance at him, but his face revealed nothing. Hell, she couldn't even see his face. She felt his eyes meet hers and she turned away, marching down the street towards her place. If he followed, that was his business.
Karin sat by herself for a while on the bank, throwing rocks into the stream. She tried to deny the fact that she was disappointed that he hadn't followed her. It's not like she really wanted him to, anyway. She could take care of herself. Just like she always had. She sighed and leaned back on the grass, deciding to close her eyes, just for a moment...
She woke up when she felt the ground moving under her. It was dark. She panicked momentarily, until she realized that she was being...carried? She looked up into the face of Chad, stoic as ever, walking with precise, measured steps, presumably so that he wouldn't disturb her.
"I can walk for myself," she muttered groggily.
Chad didn't answer, he just kept walking at the same steady pace.
"Oi," she said, her voice tinged with annoyance. "I said--"
"I know," he responded, but still he made no move to put her down. "I just thought you could use some help."
Karin flushed. "I don't need your he--" she cut off abruptly, suddenly feeling a presence. She turned her face towards his chest, not wanting to look at it. Perhaps if she didn't, she could pretend it wasn't there.
"It's not going to hurt you."
Karin humphed. "I know that," she responded, trying not to sound like she was afraid, and doing what she felt was a pretty good job of it. "I just...I don't want to look at it. Who would?"
She pulled away slightly, trying to emphasize the fact that she wasn't scared. She decided to look at it, just for a moment...
To her chagrin, it was a girl, of about her age. Her long, dark hair was braided down her back, and she looked at Karin imploringly. "Will you be my friend?" she asked. Karin shuddered. Chad frowned down at her. Then he pushed a button on...something at his waist. Karin couldn't tell what it was. It looked almost like a pager.
"Soon you'll be in a place where you can make friends," Chad said. Karin looked curiously at him for a moment, finding herself strangely mesmerized by his inviting lips...
Karin shook herself out of her reverie. What was she thinking of? She cleared her throat and looked away from him...not that it was any less awkward, with his arms wrapped around her back and legs. She sighed.
"Thank you," she heard the spirit say. "I don't want to be alone anymore."
The words hit Karin with more force than she'd expected. Alone. She didn't want to be alone, either. Her musing was cut off by the appearance of Ichigo, in his shinigami garb. He stamped the spirit with something, and it faded away in front of her, smiling, and looking much happier than it had when it'd appeared.
She was standing on her own feet now, and she waved away Ichigo's questions, marching ahead of the two boys as they made their way home.
She wished that Chad person hadn't chosen to stay over. Every time she looked at him, she was reminded of what that spirit said. She would have been thankful when everyone turned in for the night, except now she was going to lie in her bed for hours, staring up at the ceiling as the words played over and over in her mind. Sighing, she decided that she might as well get a snack if she was going to be miserable.
She poured herself a glass of milk, grabbed a couple of Yuzu's cookies, and made her way towards the couch in the dark. She almost spilled her milk when it moved after she sat down.
It was Chad. Why isn't he in Ichigo's room? she thought, annoyed. "Sorry," she muttered. "I didn't know anyone was in here."
"It's alright, I wasn't asleep."
By now, her eyes had adjusted to the dark, and she noticed that his pajama top was a bright color, perhaps pink.
Karin snorted. "Nice shirt."
Chad looked down at himself and smiled a little. He moved so that he was sitting up, making room on the couch for her. When he moved, she noticed that he was wearing shorts, noticed the way his leg muscles flexed when he...
Karin mentally berated herself, taking an unnecessarily large bite of her cookie. Maybe if she choked, she could distract herself from everything that had happened today. It was quiet for a long time, until, much to Karin's surprise, Chad spoke up.
"Why are you scared of pluses?" he asked.
"Pluses?" she repeated, hoping he didn't mean what she thought he meant.
"Like that one we saw tonight."
Karin didn't respond for a moment, trying to swallow her cookie. "I'm not scared."
"Why do they bother you, then?" he pressed.
"Why do you have to be so nosy?" she asked defensively. What was it to him, even if they did bother her?
Chad frowned, and she felt a little guilty about being so harsh. He seemed pretty nice, especially to be one of Ichigo's friends.
"I guess they're just...creepy," she admitted after a while.
"But they're good spirits," he responded.
"Yeah, so?" she snapped. "Sorry. But they still...they still...make me feel uncomfortable," she admitted, feeling better about herself for some reason. Soon, she found herself continuing, and he made no move to interrupt her. "I mean, they always look so sad and lost," she said. "And they say weird things, like that one today."
Chad listened with interest, and she urged to brush the hair out of his face so that she might better gauge what he was thinking.
"Most of them are just lonely," he said after a while.
"Yeah, I guess being dead is pretty lonely. I know I wouldn't want to die alone." Karin sat silent for a moment, thinking. She wasn't really afraid of those spirits, was she? Deep down, she knew they were harmless. Then what was she afraid of? Why did the sight of them make her heart twist in her chest?
"Looking at them gives me a horrible feeling," she said, not taking time to examine the fact that she was telling all this to someone who, all things considered, she barely knew. "It...it...it scares me," she admitted, feeling like an immense weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
"I think it might be because they remind me of myself."
Karin didn't check to see that he was listening--in fact, she might've preferred that he'd fallen asleep while she was talking, because she had certainly never thought about saying these things in front of someone else before. For some reason that spirit today had frightened her more than the others, had dredged up feelings that she'd been trying to suppress for too long. She could feel tears burning in her eyes, and she fought to control herself.
"I don't want to be alone, either," she said softly, before realizing that she couldn't keep her silent tears from falling any longer. Karin wished he would ignore everything she'd said, wished he wouldn't put his arm around her like that, resting his huge hand on her upper arm. Now she was right next to him, and he felt so warm and comforting that she couldn't keep herself from pressing her face against his chest as she began to cry a bit harder, pretending that no one was there to witness her cry.
She wasn't sure how long she cried, only that she must have fallen asleep while doing so. Either that, or it was a very vivid dream. She woke up in her own bed, thinking that she hadn't had such a good night's sleep in a long time.
Chad never said anything about it, and she refused to ask him about it, opting instead to pretend like it had never happened. She often wondered if maybe it never did. All she knew for sure was that after that, she wasn't afraid of those spirits anymore, no matter how depressed they looked.