A Grudge's Decision

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So. Okay—I feel sheepish about creating this thread. Just a little. It's not like it's the only single-story-centered thread in the General section of the Bleach AFF forum.

(Ahahaha... Nothing to feel self-conscious about, no... Nope, not at all. Precedent-setting—that's it. Right.)

Well, either way, it can't be helped. A Grudge's Decision is such an aesthetically bizarre piece of writing—it's a hodgepodge of anachronistic narrative, dialogue, and introspection (and of postmodernism and hyperrealism), its bizarreness compounded further by irregular formatting and syntax—and, while it's good to leave some things up to the readers' individual interpretations, there are several things for which I'd like to provide the basis (or un-basis) of my thinking. I originally attempted this "elucidation" in my story (in the form of author's notes), but it became so longwinded that it may or may not have violated TOS... //headscratch.

And thus, I find myself in the AFF forum.

...Well. You'll finding a variety of things discussed here, ranging from general psychology commentary and character sociodynamics to notes on the more mechanical aspects of the story—the writing process, the presentation/formatting, and (admittedly) some (hopefully relevant) ranting. This entry is liable to change as I publish more chapters.

Feel free to ask any questions concerning the story and my conception of it.

Post Chapter 3 A/N:

And here are a few extra author's notes from my… multiple attempts at writing this beast.


A/N (-1): I was thinking about the way Isshin had subdued Ichigo.

Well… Ichigo is nuts. He'd fight with broken bones. Granted, that's when he's in his element (i.e. usually with a sword, and not under sexual assault), but yeah. I'm trying to think realistically about this—would 1) the novelty of this situation, 2) the sudden salience of his self-blame, and 3) a dislocated non-dominant wrist/broken dominant wrist have been enough to account for the extent of Ichigo's "fighting back?"

For now, I'll say "yes," but I think… I was reluctant to include any more cruelty in that first chapter, so I toned down the actual damage that was done to Ichigo's arms… In all reality, his father put him into two forearm-return wristlocks, which (executed at its best), could have broken both his wrists, both his elbows, and dislocated both his shoulders (and if anyone could manage that, it would be Isshin—a doctor and Gotei Captain). That would be probably be a more… Ichigo-level incapacitation, but fuck… I couldn't write that—I considered it, but felt so freaking bad already just writing what I did.

Maybe, someday I'll revisit this and reedit the first two chapters subtly but accordingly—I'm a slave to realism—but for the time being, I'll proceed onward. The wait for this has been so fucking long! /buries head in hands. Oh, my life…

Life is so… Life-y.


A/N (-2): My Thoughts on the Nature of Mental Illness:

You probably want to see some sort of comeuppance or some recovery, even if only slight, but… to be realistic, Ichigo is not going to see the light at the end of the tunnel for a very long time. If you'd like to know my psychological whys-and-wherefores behind that, my semi-bullshit, semi-legitimate theories may help:

Is Ichigo a strong person? Yes. Is he very mature for his age? Indeed.

But here is something important to note about mental illness: having a strong-willed personality is sometimes not enough. Natural resilience is not directly counteractive to mental illness—mind-over-matter does not often work against diseases that attack someone's will.

But it would be equally untrue to say that the trauma had, in essence, "killed off" Ichigo's old personality. The best way to phrase this is that… His former "mind" is still very there, but it is no longer in the driver's seat—the "mind" of depression and PTSD has taken the wheel. This puts Ichigo into a state reminiscent of parallel processing, in which Ichigo harbors two conflicting wills, even though one is inactive (or in the "backseat").

If this parallelism is not recognized—or, in other words, if the differentiation between the two "minds" is not made—this can become confusing and potentially dangerous from both a subjective and objective point of view. Should Ichigo himself and/or the people around him mistakenly treat his new pathological behaviors and attitudes as a metamorphosis of his innate character (which they will), it will become a mess. Ichigo will hold himself (and others will hold him) responsible for any pathological, self-defeating conduct, despite his psychological inability to fully refrain from it.* What happens from there? Ichigo will lose faith in himself (his self-respect will take a huge hit), others will lose faith in him, and then there will be a grueling period when both parties will try to pretend this is not the case, yet without restoring any faith.

(*Admittedly, this attribution-related failure would probably be more common in individualistic Western cultures than in collectivistic Asian cultures like Japan, but I think it's still possible considering the extremity of the situation.)

…So this sounds dismal. That would be because it is fucking dismal. Trauma and mental illness is horrific and can be perpetuated and made even more horrific by a poor understanding of it. For this very reason, although painful, such misfiring will take up a fair amount of bulk in this story, because I believe it is very important to understand.

On a last and more hopeful note, however, I will say that Ichigo's strength of character can and will play a role in this, even if not directly. Ichigo will need the strength not for changing his behavior, but for establishing a line between what is his true persona and what is the disease. From there, he'll need the strength to forgive himself for the inconsistencies in his behavior and forgive others for any unjust misinterpretations they might have thereof. He'll need to be strong to be honest—patient—with himself about his feelings and his limits throughout his recovery. He'll need to be strong enough to admit his hurt and his grief (and strong enough to accept help) to even begin to come to terms with the egregious violation committed by his father.

In sum, Ichigo's emotional strength cannot and will not be used to simply reverse his detrimental behaviors and attitudes, but to survive them and grow in spite of them. This sort of "growth," time-wise, won't occur so exponentially as his battle prowess, which will frustrate him, but he does have the capacity to get through this.

(He doesn't know that yet, though.)

Post-Chapter 2 A/N:

If you're wondering why you're seeing so much of Ishida, it's NOT because I'm trying to develop this into IchiIshi. The reason:


Isshin kills Grand Fisher. Which would unearth some nasty feelings (but in my world, rather than self-loathing, he mostly scapegoats Ichigo). Personally, I'd need a drink after something like that—but he gets carried away.

(Ichigo hasn't gone to train with the Vizards yet. So he'd be at home to sleep. Unfortunately in range of Isshin's drunken rage and grief.)

…And on this night, Ishida starts training with his father to reobtain his Quincy powers (right?). The private training facility he uses is located underneath Karakura Hospital (Ryuuken and Urahara seem to have a thing for underground training grounds).

So. Ishida's pretty much at Karakura Hospital. Ichigo can't really be treated at the Kurosaki Clinic after Isshin assaults him (for many reasons), so Karin calls for an ambulance as well as the police. I'm thinking Ichigo has a pretty strong, weird-ass reiatsu after that (and he projects like crazy—my theory is that that sort of reiatsu could even attract hollows). Signatures can be sensed through the training facility walls, even though they're reishi-proofed (or something); this was illustrated later in the arc during the second Arrancar attack led by Grimmjow.

So. Ichigo is taken to Karakura Hospital. Ichigo's signature permeates the training facility from above. Point of interest to the Ishidas—the Kurosakis have never really needed to come to their hospital (and might have avoided it out of competitiveness/pride). But curiosity alone wouldn't make them jump to start recon (out of competitiveness/Quincy pride). Ichigo's reiatsu quality is worrisome, though—attracting hollows to the hospital would be fuckin' BAD—but they hold off for the time being to see if it's temporary ('needless interruptions are not acceptable'). That is, until they feel Urahara's signature also enter the premises. (By then, it's really serious business.)

(Earlier: Urahara senses a really sketchy, awful shift in Ichigo's signature. The sketchiest part is that the signature was still located at the Kurosaki household—and I don't think I'm making too much a stretch concerning the range and level of his reiatsu-sensing abilities. Since Urahara had never really trusted Isshin with Ichigo's safety after Masaki died, he has sinking suspicions about Ichigo's welfare. He busts his ass to get to Ichigo's location, enters the area discreetly, and sees a fucking crime scene. He follows the ambulance to Karakura Hospital—very, very upset.)

The Ishida's training session is called off—Ryuuken heads to the roof, prepared to fight incoming hollows and orders Ishida to go to the source ('… go find the boy'). Ishida gets closer and steadily feels sicker (Ichigo's pressure is nauseating). On the right floor in the right hallway, Ishida finds a fuming, pacing Urahara, and sees policemen gathered around the room with Ichigo's signature.

He finds out. And is appalled. And angry.

For Ichigo's privacy, Urahara wants to keep the incident a secret from the friends until Ichigo feels comfortable enough. But Ishida knowing can't be helped or undone. In effect, Ishida is the first of Ichigo's peers to know what happened, and one of the only people who sees him during the first few (his most vulnerable) days. Which gives Ishida a relatively exclusive understanding—an understanding that both comforts and bothers the crap out of Ichigo (partially because, with his faulty memory, he doesn't know where the hell it came from).

Which is interaction and argument food. Shown above.

/nodding to self/

So this sort of makes sense… (Good, because I may have… made this explanation after the fact, just now.)

My only issue now is… well… the rest of the Bleach plotline. Like Aizen and his magic ball. And the whole war thing. And how this would flesh out in that context.

I really don't want to think about that. It sounds really hard.

Could I get away with writing as if that aspect of the Bleach universe just disappeared? (I can't, can I?)

Edited by toujourseveille

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I am actually getting off my ass and making a timeline for this thing. *shivers* sequential order *shivers*

It's getting a little too large for me to avoid it and be able to write (semi) coherently.

I'm going to need to change some of the drabble time-stamps at some point... Ah, it'll all happen in due time...


This is a link to a clickable (and stretchable) virtual timeline:

Schmancy Timeline


Edited by toujourseveille

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