Bridge ficbit – fire and ashes

For a moment – just a moment – Isshin could have grabbed Loki by the scruff of the neck and tossed him headlong into the street. Masaki was dead. His heart didn’t want to go on beating. How dare this lost alien demand he set his grief aside and walk back into the world?

Be fair, Isshin told himself. He didn’t ask you for anything.

Anger blew out like a spent match, gray bleakness threatening to crush him in its place. He hurt. Like someone had torn off his legs. Or torn out his heart.

Masaki is dead. Masaki is dead, and I couldn’t help her….

And Ichigo almost died today. Again.

He leaned over his son’s cot, extending frail senses to feel the quiet pulse of Ichigo’s power. Young; still so young, like the green shoots of a cedar. But rooted deep. Nine years old, and Ichigo had pushed enough power into Loki to glue a spine back together and restart a stopped heart. He’d known trained shinigami who couldn’t manifest that much force.

“He’s going to have bankai,” Isshin said softly. “Not for a while. Maybe not ‘til after he dies. But he’s got the power.”

:Yes.:

Just a whisper, but Isshin froze. Fourteen years. Gods, fourteen heart-breaking years…. :Engetsu!:

:You don’t need to shout, partner.:

His sword. His partner. The core of his soul. :Where – how – I thought you were gone….:

:While your resolve lives, I live.: Engetsu’s whisper was weary, but moon-silvered with joy. :It is so good to breathe with you again.:

Something neither of them had expected to do, after he’d used Engetsu’s final technique against Aizen. And failed – but failed so spectacularly, all Soul Society was sure he was dead. Which was the only good thing to come out of that mess.

:No,: Engetsu contradicted him. :Masaki was, as well. I could not wake, but I felt you, and I loved her….: A breath, like night wind. :And our children.:

Our children. Isshin brushed a stray hair away from Ichigo’s mouth before he could swallow it in his sleep. :Engetsu. I know he has power, but-:

:The blade already sleeps within him,: Engetsu affirmed. :It is wounded, as he is – but I feel it reaching outward. Calling him. Waiting for the moment he decides.:

Nine, and a zanpakutou already raring to go. Well, damn. Isshin chuckled. “Human-born, with a captain’s power. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Gramps.” Oh, if he could just see the look on Yama-jii’s face….

I want to see that look.

I want to see my son – our son – come into his power.

I want to see our children live.

There were tears trickling down his face. Isshin let them. Because Masaki was gone, and it was always going to hurt….

But she hadn’t just died. She wasn’t a victim.

She died like a shinigami. Protecting the innocent. Isshin took a breath, and wiped his face. So live up to what you are.

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14 thoughts on “Bridge ficbit – fire and ashes

  1. Yaaaay! It’s so nice to see Isshin healing 😀 So Ichigo healed Loki? Was that accidental, or is Ichigo getting some new powers? I don’t remember him healing in cannon… But I also stopped reading a while ago, so who knows?

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  2. It just struck me that in this fic’s ‘verse, Avengers 1 does not happen. At least not the same way as it would in canon.

    Considering Aizen is active, and how your derailing of canon in Avatar resulted in the epic that is Embers… I dunno, should I grab the popcorn or stock the blast proof bunkers first? Because this looks /interesting/.

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  3. Awwww!

    Hooray for Isshin starting to heal! And getting to at least speak with his zanpakutou again. It must have been so hard to live thinking that part of him was dead and never coming back. I’m sure Masaki helped and he loves her but . . . this was Engetsu, his blade, his partner, his friend, part of him and yet his own being . . .and he was gone. And seemingly for nothing. That couldn’t not hurt . . .

    Might be another reason why Isshin is the way he is in cannon, loses his blade and the life he knew (including having to allow all of his friends and family in the Soul Society believe he was dead – yeah, some of his life there sucked and he was glad to be free it but his family and his friends . . .), then loses the love of his life, watches what that loss does to his children, knowing Ichigo is facing deadly danger and he cannot help because not only does he not have his power anymore but he can’t even see the enemy . . .ow . . . just ow.

    Is it wrong that grinning at the thought of Ichigo, one far less impulsive but still possessing the ability to pull impossible victories seemingly out of the air (because Loki would definitely cultivate that particular ability), breaking brains across the dimensions? First the Soul Society . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loki actually suspects Ichigo’s ability to pull people out of trouble is supernatural in nature. After all, it’s in his Name. *G*

      And yes. Isshin being able to point out the enemy to his kids will change a lot of stuff – because now they’ll know the constant surprise attacks aren’t just “Isshin being insane”, there really is something out to get them!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. *G* I did poke at that, but the Shinigami ‘verse is by definition a “high-mana already in place”, whereas Around was a “world with low mana currently moving to high-mana”. So a direct cross wouldn’t work.

      That said, the comparison bears poking.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My first thought was “Yep. Loki is a little shit. Always was. Always will be.”

    Second thought: Did Loki pull Sanzo Therapy on Isshin? Because, yes, I can see that. Isshin needed a kick in the pants, but Loki is less… gentle than Sanzo, with more “set the world on fire to match my pain.” Probably wasn’t a pleasant experience for anyone involved.

    Third thought: Awww. Isshin. *hug*
    You know, I always wondered if purifying hollows released/purified the souls they’ve consumed. (If the eaten souls are destroyed- what is a Gillian?) If they are purified, then wouldn’t Masaki be in Soul Society after Isshin killed Grand Fisher? Even if she didn’t remember? (I doubt Isshin fell inlove with a delicate flower, though. Doubt it SO MUCH.)

    Loki will be good for the Karakura Tricksters. I have a feeling they’ll do him good as well. Doesn’t mean it’ll always be PLEASANT. (Urahara vs Loki on… several issues will be insteresting. Bunkers and popcorn needed.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was kind of mutual therapy. Ow.

      And yes. Everything I’ve been able to put together from Bleach canon says souls ought to be freed after a Hollow is purified. What happened to Masaki, though, might be up for debate, given Kubo apparently was not satisfied to just make Ichigo a Half Human Hybrid….

      Bridge, BTW, has as its working background that “Masaki was indeed human, though she may have had a little Extra in the family tree”.

      As in, there’s a good reason Frigga’s “protect my son” spell dropped Loki there!

      Liked by 2 people

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