Ghost Touch – Kindred

“Ichigo?”

Still kneeling where he’d tapped the zanpakutou’s hilt to the boy’s forehead, Ichigo blinked. He ought to be saying something to Rukia. But ordinary words would tear that peace like tissue paper. He couldn’t do it.

“Ichigo!” A small but powerful fist crashed into his skull. “We’re going to be missed if we don’t hurry.”

“…Right.”

The walk back was quiet. Rukia fended off anyone who looked likely to question her with an innocent glance and a brilliant smile. And of course, as long as he stuck to shadows, no one could see him.

Everything’s different.

He hadn’t really had a chance to notice last night, but now he could feel it all. The sun, the odd solid-yet-not way the street felt under his sandals, the stray chill ethereal breezes left by passing spirits. “Is it always like that?”

“All Hollows share certain common characteristics-”

He yanked on the collar of her school uniform. “The konsou!”

“…What did you feel?”

Talk about personal questions. But maybe it was important. “Connected.” Step, breathe, think. “Like… something buried woke up, and reached out, and – made us the same. Just for an instant.” Ichigo scowled. “I didn’t even know that kid. Why did I feel like-” He couldn’t say it.

“Like he was kin?” Rukia’s voice was quiet. Almost neutral. “There are reasons we do not reveal ourselves to the inhabitants of this plane.” A hesitant breath. “Do you… wish to know?”

“I didn’t hurt him.” And it was kind of scary how sure he was. The kind of bedrock certainty that belonged to Mommy loves you and Dad’s nuts, but he loves you too.

“No.” Rukia kept walking. “The hell butterfly brings the soul home. Within a few hours, possibly a few days, a young boy will wake up in Soul Society. In Tsukikage. A purified soul, one of my people.” A bittersweet smile touched her eyes. “Divine power does not reach our plane easily. New souls are hard to attract. Few of us can have children. Someone will be glad to see him.”

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9 thoughts on “Ghost Touch – Kindred

  1. Hmmm . . . there is a story in that bitter smile. Not unsurprising.

    Another thought, it is rather interesting that most the noble or at least born Shinigami we hear about in series are either an only child or have maybe one sibling. Except for the Shiba. Kaien had two siblings. He and Isshin are cousins – and we don’t know to what degree – and Isshin himself had three children. Okay said children are half-human and born in the living world but it is still pretty interesting. Especially since all of them have some degree of spiritual power.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t know if this will actually show up, but…

      One of the reasons most of the noble families might have only one child isn’t an inability, but inheritance. In the modern world it’s not usually a huge issue (except when it is), but in the time period that Soul Society is mostly based on it was huge. The heir got everything, and siblings were usually left out in the cold unless the heir was feeling magnanimous or was especially close to his sibling(s). Which was rare.

      What usually happened when there were multiple children vying for the inheritance was conflict. Often times armed, and it could easily spark a war if/when they went looking for other nobles to support their claim. The higher up the food chain the nobles were, the worse it could (and often did) get.

      I’m not sure how it was handled in Japan, but in the West they eventually came up with the “Heir and a Spare” method. The Heir was the firstborn son while a secondborn son was taught many of the same lessons but groomed for military service/leadership rather than civil.

      …or at least that’s what I’ve learned. As College taught me not everything in my textbooks is actually true. Imagine my surprise to learn that Columbus was not a revolutionary for thinking the world was round because globes that were almost to scale had been in use for quite some time, but that he was a quack that thought the world was smaller than most believed (and than it actually is).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. As I understand it (and do take into account that I stopped reading just after Karakura was transferred to Soul Society, at the beginning of the major encounter between the captains and the Arrancar), part of the reason in canon why children are so rare is that it takes a great deal of spiritual power to create a new soul. (Part of the reason why captains tend to be nobles.) In the Ghost Touch AU, I think there’s also other influence involved (haven’t re-read the draft for a while).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. … ‘Divine power does not reach our plane easily’

    That is one heck of a loaded sentence. Especially if you /are/ going the Eberron route of divine Casters being their own power source instead of actually channeling the might of powerful outsiders/aspects of reality.

    And new children being rare is an… interesting idea. Not necessarily inconsistent with source material, but I wonder if it means something different here.

    I also have to wonder: in a traditional DnD cosmology – even Eberron’s non-standard one – after death souls that aren’t captured or stuck as undead move on to the aligned plane that matches them, where their soul undergoes a… process… at the end of which involves them becoming one (or more) new Outsiders native to that plane that most closely resembles that soul’s nature.

    So… Unless cosmology is one of the things you’re changing pretty heavily (and if you are? Cool! I always love new world building) then Konsou is taking a lingering soul – which probably means an undead, though that doesn’t default to evil – and shipping them off to a new (after)life in Soul Society…

    So, what’s the purpose? What’s the process that souls there undergo? While Shinigami apparently try to keep themselves secret… This is DnD cosmology. Someone – several Someones of great planar import – doubtless know and have Opinions about the steady trickle of souls to Soul Society.

    I am far too curious for more on this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe also Kysul, if you used it. Lawful Good mythos entity, who expects its followers not to cause SAN loss in others. I think it is specifically opposed to the mindflayers.

        Liked by 1 person

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