To be fair, Ryuuken doesn’t consider himself any worse of a father than Isshin. At least, Uryuu knows that his father is a Quincy and that he comes from a long line of them. He might not approve of Ryuuken’s decision to abandon the life of one or even the dead to their own ways, but Uryuu knows. He hasn’t been kept completely in the dark, has not been fed a lie. He hasn’t been forced to walk his life without knowing why things happen to him or wonder over the origin of his abilities.
Admittedly, Ryuuken knows he could have done more to help his only son. To be there for him when Souken was killed. More, Ryuuken could have been the one to disperse the Hollows that defeated his own father if he hadn’t so stridently denied his Quincy heritage to concentrate on the living. And he knows that a part of his son resents him for not being there then.
But again, at least Uryuu knows. At least he can accept if not understand.
Their relationship is strained. Awkward at best. Downright glacial at worst. Ryuuken allows Uryuu to live on his own because the boy honestly prefers it that way. But sometimes, in the middle of the night and the silence of his own home, Ryuuken regrets that decision. Uryuu is of the age now where he can make his own choices, but Ryuuken wishes he had never aligned with the Kurosaki boy. Had never dared call him friend or even had their paths’ cross.
Associations with Shinigami have never been any good for the Quincy. Not just due to what happened to Souken and his failures but also because one might end up with an idiot like Kurosaki Isshin for an unwanted companion. That, however, is another story. An annoying, irritating, stress-inducing tale, but right now, Ryuuken is thinking of only his son.
And all the things he regrets.
On the outside, it appears that he does not care for his only child, and Ryuuken knows this very well. He has never been good at displays of emotion, especially when Uryuu persists in being contrary to everything Ryuuken has wished for him. After all, why should he value the dead more than the living? But this, Ryuuken could never make his son understand. He has always been more like his mother in that regard, always held more her spirit if not her looks.
And he makes the offer to help Uryuu regain his powers with the complete understanding that Uryuu will not follow through with his end of the bargain. He will meet with the Shinigami again, and Ryuuken knows this, too. And he will help the Kurosaki boy save their mutual friend. His son has too much honor, too much courage, to turn his back on anyone. Ryuuken applies the stipulation only to save face, unwilling to actively condone Uryuu’s choice.
Ryuuken thinks about his son as a child, as just an infant cradled in his mother’s arms. So young and innocent, completely naïve to the truths of the world. He remembers holding Uryuu – promising himself and his wife, promising Uryuu – that he wouldn’t have to deal with the burdens of Quincy life. And if not for Souken, Ryuuken might have managed to keep that promise. He can’t hate his own father for trying to make Uryuu into what Ryuuken had abandoned. But he can hold onto his anger for it. Can wish that the old man had left well enough alone and allowed his Quincy pride to be finally buried.
After all, what kind of father wants to see his own child bleed for someone who is already dead? It is not that Ryuuken has no sympathy for spirits, but he is too logical. He is a human himself in point of fact. He prefers to concentrate on those who still have their lives, who still have a chance. He cannot be running away at every opportunity to save one spirit or another. He can’t fathom abandoning his existence for the dead.
Is it so wrong for him to have wanted better for his son? To wish him a good life without the expectations of their ancestors’ lurking over his shoulder?
Ryuuken knows that they think his heart is nothing but ice. That a true father would never treat his son in this way. But he has only to look at Isshin to realize that he could be worse. He could have lied. Watched as his son floundered and fell time after time. Pretended ignorance. Had his son learn the truth of his mother’s death from a stranger. Had him nearly die time and time again and do and say nothing. Ryuuken may not show obvious affection for his son, but at least, he does not pretend to hold it when he clearly does not.
And true, Ryuuken has not held his son in a long time. Has not done more than insure that his bank account is full and his rent paid on time. True, they’ve not spoken familial words to each other in years. Yes, there is a great distance between them. But they are father and son. That fact will not change. Nor will the truth that he loves Uryuu, holds him precious as his only child. His last remaining piece of his dear wife. The last thing in his life of true value.
And though he knows he doesn’t deserve it, Ryuuken can’t help but wish for a time that Uryuu might call him father. Might admit to their bond. Their connection. To see him as something more than just another Quincy. To see him as a parent. To let the words flow free.
Even if just once.