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 Blowing Out the Flame [Open]

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PostSubject: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:09 pm

[This thread takes place at the same time as A Woman Saved.]

Directly opposite of the main building of the fourth division, on the wall encasing the walkway to it, sat a lonely figure, staring at the building, yet not looking at anything at all. That figure was once again clad in the usual, black robes of the Shinigami, with a single, slightly red patch on his shoulder where he got wounded earlier today... When fighting to rescue her. The most important woman in his life, despite the fact that she probably didn't even realize how important she was to him. But it didn't matter that she had no idea, oh no. Toja didn't care for such details, all he cared about was that she was safe, happy and not in immediate danger.

And boy, did he fuck that one up today. Not only was he too late to stop these bastards in Hueco Mundo from torturing her, no, he also didn't find her, spent energy he could've used to bring her back faster in a useless fight against some pawn, and now, he was sitting here, unable to help in the slightest. Today was a busy day for the Fourth Division - people coming in and out, small groups of Shinigami standing around, whispering with each other. Some were pointing at him at points, looking over at him with concern, but to him, it didn't matter. His secret was out - Toja Hagiwara was no simple Shinigami. He was a Vizard - a half-monster, born from a darker power than those of the death gods. In the end, did the revelation amount to anything? No. Despite his unlocked power of Bankai and the mask, he had been too weak and too slow to save her, and his spirit was at an all-time low - the fire within his soul was nothing but a dim ember right now. Even if Kaminari recovered, he had no right to go and see her - not only because of his relatively low rank as a Third Seat, but also because of how he failed his captain and friend.

"I'm a disgrace." murmured the small Shinigami. His face and hair were a mess - dried tears were still visible on his face, tears of fear, sadness and regret. But now, he had no new tears left to cry. Only emptiness within his heart and stomach, exactly where his former happiness and love rested... He looked up again when someone moved towards him, another one of the fourth squad's healers, trying to get him to accept treatment for his shoulder, but Toja simply shook his head slowly.
"Go and help someone that actually needs it. This is a scratch, nothing more." With that, he lowered his eyes again a bit, wallowing in a feeling of helplessness he had not felt since his days as an orphan in the outer districts of Soul Society.

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:43 am



The fact that Captain Hatakeyama had actually been kidnapped was surprising enough, but to have her come back so horribly injured was almost too much for their squad to handle. The Fifth Division was in chaos at this point. Lieutenant Kei Makabe was also injured and out of commission, while Third Seat Toja Hagiwara had just returned from aiding the group who brought Captain Hatakeyama back. That is who Kaneko was looking for now. With those above him in their current states, Toja Hagiwara would be the one that those of the Fifth Division would look to until things got better. The problem was, Third Seat Hagiwara was no where to be found at the moment.

Kaneko had been looking for the past hour. She wanted to make sure he was okay, that he didn't come back injured. Most people were concentrated with Midori Hayashi and Kaminari Hatakeyama, those who went to aid them were likely looked over. Captain Hatakeyama would be well taken care of; Kaneko trusted in the Fourth to make sure that Kaminari would be fine. It was Toja she was worried about. Knowing him, he'd keep out of sight and look down on himself until Kaminari forced some sense into him, but who knew when she'd be able to do that? It might be too long. It was Kaneko's turn to try and help Toja. It was Kaneko's turn to cheer him up and make him happy again!

"I know he's around here somewhere..." Kaneko mumbled as she walked around the Fourth Division buildings. He wasn't in the training areas, so he must have been as close to Captain Hatakeyama as he would allow himself to be. She felt he was pretty close when she heard his voice from around a corner. She peeked around to see him speaking to a member of Squad Four. Her eyes widened and a tint of pink came onto her cheeks. "S-So he is okay... Good." Kaneko took a deep breath, put her hands behind her back and stepped around the corner toward Toja. "H-Hey... Toja..." she spoke up shyly at first, but then pushed on a cheerful smile, "Wanted to make sure you're okay. I heard about what happened..."

"H-How's the Captain?"

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:33 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


Toja was ripped out of his dull, thoughtless depression when a familiar voice hit his ears. Not the voice he most desired to hear, yet did not deserve to hear - Kaminari's voice - but the voice of a friend, nonetheless. After all, everyone in the Fifth Squad was some sort of friend to him by now, after he finally dropped the self-imposed isolation after Kaminari first broke him out of his shell. With a swift movement, the blonde Shinigami slid off of the wall he had been sitting on, landing in front of the redhead without making much of a sound. He was considerably shorter than her and had to look upwards a bit to look her in the face and eyes - which would give her a perfect look of how much of a mess Toja was at this moment.

Reddened eyes, dried tears still in them, hair that was wild and unkempt, and not to forget, one of his shoulders having an obvious hole in his kimono where the shortsword of his enemy pierced through him, with quite the sizeable patch of it stained red, although the blood did not to be seem all that fresh anymore, having darkened a bit and not standing out fully from the black of the cloth. If one were to look at his hand on that very arm, one could also still see some dried blood where it had run down his arm from the wound - obviously, Toja had not taken any steps to clean himself up after the return from the mission, or taken any measures to apply even basic first aid to his wound, preferring to keep the numbing pain fresh and active. It reminded him of his failure, and of his uselessness. It also kept some sort of feeling active inside of him - without some pain to anchor him into reality, he'd probably slip away into darkness completely.

"I'm fine, Kaneko. Just... fine." Such an obvious lie, but he told it nonetheless, despite the fact that a blind man could've told of his state from the tone of voice alone. The fire within it was gone, and every single word was missing volume - like a whisper on the wind, or crackling embers of a dying flame. If not for the fact that Shinigami were already souls, you could be forgiven for thinking he was a ghost. But as she asked him about the captain, he could no longer look into Kaneko's warm, welcoming and concerned face, casting his eyes down. A shudder seemed to go through Toja's body - if he still had tears, he'd be crying them right now.
"She's... alive... but... What they did... What they did to her...!" Without warning, Toja struck - punching his fist into the wall next to him, burying it within the stone. Fresh blood running down from it, as more shudders went through his small body, almost sobbing at this point. "I'm useless! A fucking disgrace, that's what I am! I was supposed to be there IN TIME, damn it all!" Losing his last remaining composure, Toja slowly slid to his knees, the hand he struck the wall with without power, dangling at his side, the fresh red blood dripping to the ground. "I'm... worthless..."

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:33 am



You know, today had been a really good day for Rei! She hadn't really done much with it, but she had been allowed some time off while things went on. Today, for example, she had gone and done some calligraphy. It had taken a bit of time and she had really messed up a lot of what she was doing, but she'd had a lot of fun. She'd done a lot of other things today as well, such as baking. She'd baked a bunch of cookies, that she'd handed out to some members of the Fourth Division. They seemed to like them. One of the members even took the rest of them to keep other people from having them! She took this as a compliment. However, people started to rush around a lot quite recently. Most of them were heading towards the main healing areas, citing a need to 'help a Captain'. She decided that she wasn't going to interfere today. If her specific skill-set were required, then she would be asked for, right?

Instead, she wandered around outside and nearby. She noticed a Shinigami sitting rather despondently across from where everyone was rushing, and almost really wanted to go across and say something. She'd offer him a cookie if she had any left. She prepared herself mentally to approach the new person, but somebody else stepped out of the shadows and walked up to himself instead. Rei made a quiet noise and backed behind a pillar and watched quietly from the background, waiting until things changed before she made her own approach. A few questions were asked, then answered, then Rei noticed the younger-looking Shinigami bending down in what appeared to be unhappiness and despair. Her entire body shook as she peeked out from behind the pillar and stepped around it, tittering over towards the pair with a soft expression on her face.

"I... you should be okay. Not everybody is worthless. In fact, nobody is worthless at all. Things might not have gone your way today, but I'm sure that your luck will turn around, right?" She smiled brightly, giving her best smile and hoping that she was at least something of a comfort. She had literally zero idea as to what was going on at that moment, but she really wanted to help out.
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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:30 am



Kaneko's heart sank the moment she got close enough to see the actual damage that had been done. It wasn't all from fighting either. That was a strong look of defeat in his eyes and it broke her heart. This was not the Toja she liked seeing. She prefered the fiery eyed and determined Toja. As he started on what happened to the Captain, Kaneko got a little more worried than before. Maybe Captain Hatakeyama really was in bad shape. She had only heard a few rumors about what really went on, but to see Toja talking like this meant something. A sinking feeling hit the pit of her stomach, but she jumped out of it when Toja's fist hit the wall. "Toja!" she shouted at him, her voice full of worry as she saw the blood dripping down. Listening to him insult himself bothered her even more.

"Stop it! You're no-..." Kaneko was interrupted by another voice. She looked over to see a woman she had not met before standing there, though she assumed it was someone from the Fourth Division. The woman was a little bit of a surprise. She was quite beautiful and her hair was... Well, a little odd, but in a good way. Kaneko looked from her back to Toja and put her hands on his shoulders. "Toja, you're anything but useless..." she said with a smile, "I don't know what happened out there, but I'm pretty sure you're one of the reasons Kaminari is alive and has been returned to us. What would have happened if you hadn't gone? Think about that..." Kaneko looked to the blood and sighed. He really had hit the wall hard. Why was he always so hard on himself? This wasn't his fault!

"Um... Excuse me." she turned to the other woman and pointed to Toja's arm, "Do you think you can do something about that? I mean... if can." She then looked back to Toja and narrowed her eyes a bit, "And you're taking the help whether you like it or not. There is no need for you to make anyone worry by walking around injured. I will inform the Captain if you do." She figured that last addition would convince him. Kaneko moved to sit next to Toja, on the opposite side of his injured arm and looked to the floor for a moment. She had to do something to cheer him up, but what? She wasn't very good at this. It didn't help that she was always nervous around him either. "I wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself... Remember, no one knew Captain was gone until hours after it happened."

"So tell me... How is that your fault? After so long, assuming she'd be fine is a little silly, Toja..."

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:39 am

Someone else entered the scene - Toja heard an unknown voice from the side. Right now, he didn't care who saw him in this pathetic state - really, he didn't care about a lot of things. His hand was sending pulsing pain up his arm and into his brain, one of the remaining signs that he, someone so useless, was still alive... And this pain was nothing compared to what Kaminari had to endure, all alone.

"...My luck...? I don't think that'll ever turn around..." murmured the small Shinigami, still not looking up from the ground. Kaneko was trying to get the new arrival to heal him, and he was about to say something against it, when a certain 'threat' made him wake from his stupor for a small second, looking at Kaneko with actual shock in his face, but for a short moment, his worry and despair seemed like it was cleared away - for this short moment, Toja was back to his old, impulsive, self.
"Hey, you wouldn't... Fine! Fine, you win!" sighed the third seat, thoroughly defeated. Yes, despite his incompetence, Kaminari was too kind to forgive him for just wallowing around in pain... Urgh, Kaneko had found his one true weakpoint and attacked it for massive damage. Still, his eyes seemed to lose their regained shine rather quickly again, so it was obvious he was not even close to being 'over it'.

"But... well... I'm her friend, god damn it. I didn't even know she was missing until I was called, and then, it took us ages to even find any trace of her!" By now, no more people were walking by whispering about Toja, apparently having been scared off by the fact he did more than just sit on a wall for now - some of them outright afraid of him, for once, for a good reason.
"I didn't help at all, simple as that. Killing one of the flunkies of that bitch who tortured our captain is not what I consider 'helping'. That's 'cleanup'. She was... She's the reason I'm even still here. And I couldn't do anything. Nothing! Without her, I'd be..." Toja looked up again at Kaneko, just looking helpless and defeated now. "I'd either be dead, or a monster. She's the reason I can control that thing within me. The only reason why I was finally able to appreciate... everything I had. The squad, her, you... everyone around me. She woke me up from a nightmare I wasn't even aware of... Even if her being hurt wasn't avoidable, a better healer could've helped her before we got back. All I could do was burn away some Hollows on the way." Thinking back, Toja just saw her hurt form again, a body rejecting any and all healing Kidō, the small Shinigami felt a sting in his heart again. Burning a path through Hueco Mundo back to the Senkaimon was all he could do at that point, seeing as his control over his mask was nowhere near the level required to open a Garganta back to Soul Society. "A better healer would've eased her pain. A more controlled... Vizard... would've opened a way back. All my power did NOTHING to help her."

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:25 am



"Do you think you can do something about that? I mean... if can." She blinked as Kaneko pointed out Toja's arm, and Rei quietly looked over it with a worried expression. "I might have to..." She sighed softly, shaking her head, "It'll take a moment, but I can probably make that arm as good as new." She looked back at Kaneko and gave her best smile, before giving that selfsame smile to Toja. "I wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself... Remember, no one knew Captain was gone until hours after it happened. So tell me... How is that your fault? After so long, assuming she'd be fine is a little silly, Toja..." She bit her bottom lip as the conversation continued, not really understanding what was going on. People argued about shit all the time--it wasn't Rei's problem. She was good at dealing with physical issues. Mental stuff wasn't really her forte. No Kidō could fix that.

"A better healer would've eased her pain. A more controlled... Vizard... would've opened a way back. All my power did NOTHING to help her." She blinked and looked at him. So... he was a Vizard. Most people would've shown at least some kind of shock. Rei didn't really seem that fazed by the fact. Instead, she pulled a scroll tube off of her hip. "You are probably about to see something extremely strange. I apologize in advance." She popped the end off of the scroll tube, and let out a breath, "Reveal existence, Kaitai Gyosha!" A scroll rose out of the tube and started to levitate behind her, opening up to reveal a multi-colored series of symbols and images that glowed softly.

Looking at Toja's arm, both he and Kaneko would have noticed that it glowed softly. A series of lines sprung up over it in a soft green color. While they could not see the rest of what was going on, Toja's arm split into its components before her eyes. Each of the specific muscles were outlined, and she was noticing every piece that was majorly injured. "You're welcome to talk while I work, it's fine. Just don't move this arm please." She picked out individual pieces, first pulling up the bone and using healing Kidō to specifically etch in all of the major cracks and fractures, before moving to each of the muscles, and eventually the skin. While they would not be able to see her progress, Toja would be able to feel his wounds slowly healing from within.

"My Shikai... allows me to find, diagnose and individually repair parts of the body, as well as pieces inside objects. Usually I just use it to heal, though I could harm if I allowed it to happen." She smiled quietly as she worked, humming a soft tune. She had not quite finished, and was about halfway through his muscles.
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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:58 pm



"Thank you..." Kaneko smiled at Rei as she began to work on Toja's arm. While Toja spoke, he said nothing positive about himself. He was just taking badly, putting himself down over and over again. Kaneko actually wanted to hit him; it was a good thing she had a lot of self control. But as he continued on, he was just making her more and more angry. This was not the Toja she liked at all. She had a feeling she was going to have to be extremely mean in a second or two. She was hoping it wouldn't happen, but it did. There was something he said that caused her to blow her top. He had come back from that for a moment when he actually mentioned learning to appreciate certain things, including her, but that changed shortly after when he said his power did nothing.

"Stop it." Kaneko said in a hissed and angry voice. She clenched her fist tightly, glaring very angrily at him. "You are acting like you were the one hurt, like you were the one captured and tortured for hours, like you were the one needing to be rescued... Guess what, Toja! You weren't. You were the one that proved to Captain Hatakeyama that you care enough and are determined enough to get off your ass and go into Hueco Mundo of all places, not knowing what you were going to encounter, and then fight your ass off to bring her back. Instead of just being happy that she's alive, that you made it there before she died you're here putting yourself down, insulting everything that you've accomplished, and dishonoring the mission everyone went on to save her... I suggest that you stop."

Kaneko's tone was actually meant to seem quite threatening. She was very, very angry, and the look in her eyes was showing more anger than she actually felt. If she had the guts to do it, she would have punched him in the jaw in hopes of actually harming him, but she had more control than that. Kaneko stood up and glared down at him before looking to Rei with a sweet and sudden smile. "Do you mind talking some sense into him? I'll return in a minute." Kaneko said and glared back at Toja again before vanishing with shunpo. It would take her a minute or two, but once she returned, she had a much calmer expression. She returned to her seat beside Toja with a wet cloth and handed it to him. "Here... Clean yourself up. I doubt you're going to go shower, so clean your face at least."

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PostSubject: Re: Blowing Out the Flame [Open]   Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:24 pm

Well, that... was unexpected. Toja's eyes widened slightly as he looked at Kaneko, his mouth open a bit. Each and every one of her words cut into him like a knife, a tingling feeling of his insecurities being butchered... Or perhaps that was the feeling of being cut open and reassembled, Toja wasn't too sure about it, but his arm certainly hurt less and less as the strange light engulfed him. And after fighting a six-armed Arrancar, a strange Zanpakutō did not shock him in the slightest.

He really did stop, with all the self-accusations, as he saw the raw anger on her face, an expression he was not used to seeing with her. Usually she seemed... nice, a bit shy or at least not the kind of person to talk without end. As she told him to think about his accomplishments, and the accomplishments of his companions... It was as if the words took him back, to that accursed cave in Hueco Mundo. The jaws of the abyss, closing around captains, lieutenants and him, a seated officer. Yet he was powerful enough, fast enough, to stand there equal to them, dive into the darkness. Really, short of storming the gates of hell themselves, there wasn't much that was more dangerous and possibly deadly in the world than that - yet they all came back, saved Kaminari's life, and destroyed all opposition without fail.

And before his inner eye, he saw himself standing among his squadmates... during training, while taking a bite to eat, talking about the new mission for one of them, or giving advice to some. Friends, partners... Family. The Gotei 13 was his family, and he protected his family with everything he had. He saved her. She was SAFE. Among the many faces of the squad, he saw Kaneko, appreciating him being one of them, and then the eyes she just looked at him with returned to his memory, and the sting from them...

When Kaneko returned and handed him a wet cloth, Toja didn't even look at her, but took it without hesitation with his free hand, cleaning up his face as good as he could without a mirror, before raising his eyes again. As if the rekindled flame of his inner world was reflected in them, the dull eyes of Toja Hagiwara finally shone with their own light again, the spark of his will reignited. He even had a small smile on his face now.
"Thanks for that, Kaneko. And thanks to you as well, for fixing up my arm." said the small Shinigami, before giving a wry smile to Kaneko. "I think I owe you an apology, because I'm a - and no, this time, I'm definitely right - gigantic idiot. Feel free to slap or punch me right now, I deserve at least one good hook from you, or whatever else you'd want to do with or to me." With that sentence, it really did seem as if his spark was back, even if not burning at full force yet. "I always look at the negative side, and never even consider what others may think... And I'm sorry about that."

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