written by A. E. Stover
this version is selfedited

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The darkness of vengeance
can only be purged
by the light of justice.

But from where it comes,
and from what it is defined,
nobody knows.

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Tear open your soul.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Would he have to love this one, he wondered, if he wanted to survive?

His mind was blank. There was nothing that surfaced when it came to the idea of love, for that was a long-forgotten ideal he learned to abandon. Did he love himself? That much should be true. He wouldn’t be striving so hard to better himself if he didn’t have some love of himself. Did he love others? A long time ago, yes. He could remember a time when he loved, and was even loved by, others. But now? He thought that absurd.

“What are you doing? We’re in the middle of a spar! Don’t space out on me like that!”

Did he know love? Should he know love? Was it important enough? There was a ferocity in the foes he’d faced who had come to fight for others, a ferocity that he had been unable to match. So, yes, it was important enough for him to consider…

“Okay, could you please focus on what’s happening now instead of brooding away by yourself somewhere?”

This one was strong, he knew. He could feel it. There was a strength he’d felt when they had first connected, when their souls had first linked. That was his soul in this one, and true the other way around. With this one, he would be able to break free from the prison that was his sword. It was just a matter of time, now. It was only a matter of time.

“This spar is supposed to be about teamwork, you jerkface. Teamwork. Do you even know what that is, you self-absorbed jacka—whoa! Okay, seriously? Can you please leave your land of brooding for just five minutes to give me a hand here? Hey! Are you even listening to me?”

He didn’t want to, but he could. It was like an incessant, echoing buzz, like that of a mosquito. He couldn’t rid himself of it no matter how hard he tried. Their souls were bound.

“In case you didn’t know, teamwork is about supporting your comrades in tough situations. This? This right here? This is a tough situation. …God, I don’t know why I even bother.”

He would break free from his sword. But until that time, he would have to survive. They both had to survive, he realized bitterly. This one and himself. He would have to protect this one. Care when this one was wounded or ill. Concern himself with this one’s condition But, returning to his initial train of thought, would he have to love this one, he wondered, to care? To survive?

“Grimmjow!”

No, he said to himself, he didn’t need to. He had survived without it long enough, he could make do without it now. Ending with that thought, he allowed for his release. His felt their essence mix together, becoming one.

“Kishire — Panterra!”

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