Kuchiki Keiko"I... don't know yet. I'm still figuring things out."
Keiko only had that much to offer to his first statement. Afterwards, while he continued talking, Keiko sat and listened intently, trying to both think on the things he was saying, and deep down perhaps finding something to redeem him and the Shihouin to herself. Deep down. In the meanwhile, she was also taking the time to bask in the sun she hadn't seen for many days and night. Maybe it was just a Shihouin thing--enjoying the feel of the sun on your skin.
When he said that the Shihouin were a family, she had doubts. As a whole, she didn't believe him at all. Family was sacred to Keiko, and most interestingly enough, the people she didn't mind from the Shihouin family were ones that felt ostracised from the family. That felt they didn't belong, and desperately tried to belong. One of them felt like they've still had to wear a face to pretend that what they had was family. The other, it seemed like they were doomed to never be with their family again. The Shihouin, to Keiko, sounded more like just a mere title than anything else.
She did find the note about the Clan Head interesting. She was already aware of how he nearly had Rukia executed, largely in part of his own responsibility, but nobody ever really phrased that event as having "forgotten himself in the efforts to be a Kuchiki and a Captain". It made Keiko think--how often did she forget to be herself while trying to be a Kuchiki? She talked about something along those lines to Kokoro, encouraging her to be herself and not just a Shihouin.
And then, she recalled her time with Takehiko. At the time when he was about to report to the Captain Commander about the situation regarding her potential inner hollow, when she begged him not to... he listened. For all that she did to him, the way she treated him, Takehiko prioritised her. Even at the cost of the family. Was that why Byakuya gave Takehiko so many breaks? Was that the right way to go about things? It seemed... more familial, to do so. But, it was unethical, and on that basis not something Keiko could agree with. Then, what was the appropriate response--to banish him like Yushiro banished Yugiri? What was correct
answer to the situation? That was a question that always seemed like Keiko would get an answer to by virrtue of just growing up. Something that she'd come to automatically learn, but things didn't seem like they'd be that easy when she did grow up.
All these thoughts were going through Keiko's head, and all of them came to a stop when she heard the voice that she did. Keiko stiffened--froze all over, in fact. A wave of fear overcame her, such that the negative energy of the entity within her--the thing Takehiko said was a hollow--flared out for a brief moment. The type of energy it exuded was extremely similar to the energy that Yugiri emitted.
It took Keiko a moment to be even capable of calming herself. The only thing that really brought her back down to reality was Yamamoto's hand on her shoulder, reassuring her."I... I don't know if I can accept this arrangement. I... I'm... I don't...."
Keiko's mouth bounced up and down, constantly trying to say something while she constantly ended up saying nothing."