A.N.: This is written in collaboration with BlueShard20. It's been an idea we've tossed around back and forth and now it's time I lived up to my promise to BlueShard20 and get started on it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.
An Explosive Family Reunion
Shortly after the end of the Thousand-Year Blood War….
Kisuke walked along a trail of rubble. Much of the Seireitei had been demolished by the rampage of one of the Quincy Royal Guard. The Sternritter had been taken down by Izuru Kira but the damage was done.
Leaning heavily on his cane, Kisuke reached up and ran a hand across his cheek, feeling the stitches caused by his Bankai. Nel had saved him, Yoruichi, Yushiro and Grimmjow from Askin Nak Le Varr's deathtrap. Yoruichi was recuperating with her brother at the Shihoin manor and Grimmjow and Nel returned to Heuco Mundo to recover. After detoxing them all, Kisuke told everyone to just rest and recover. Feeling the rough edges of the stiches on his face, Kisuke grimaced. The stitches would come out eventually but for now they were a reminder of how close brushed with death.
Walking along a cleared path, he soon came upon a trail of blood. "Hmm?" He scratched his chin as he followed it into the ruins of a house. He looked around and recognized this as the area where Ichgio first landed after returning from the Soul King's palace.
Entering the wrecked house, Kisuke followed the trail of blood until he found the source of it. When he saw the source of it, his expression turned grim. He'd seen dead bodies before, what with being a former member of the Stealth Force and the captain of Squad 12, but this even made him wrinkle his nose in disgust.
Before him lay the dead body of the Sternritter E, Bambietta Basterbine. She lay in the middle of the rubble like a broken rag doll. Her white Vandenreich uniform was in tatters, and her body was caked in dried blood. From the way her head was twisted Kisuke figured it'd been a broken neck that did her in.
However, Kisuke also knew who was most likely responsible for it. While preparing the trip to the Soul King's palace, Mayuri Kurotsuchi relayed to him about his battle with the Z Sternritter, Giselle. Amidst the horrific details of that battle which turned three captians and a lieutenant into Gigi's pawns, Mayuri also told him about the undead Sternritter who came to Gigi's aid. According to Mayuri, Gigi boasted about how she (or he according to Yumichika) killed Bambietta after she'd been defeated by Sajin Komamura, who was coincidentally missing after the war.
Walking over to the dead girl, Kisuke examined her further. Her skin was a dark red thanks to the corruptive power of Gigi's Schrift. Judging by the marks on Bambietta's head and the bite mark on her stomach, it was pretty obvious who was the responsible party for killing Bambietta for the second time. Kisuke frowned in disgust that Gigi would do this to her own friend a second time. Even Mayuri wouldn't be cruel to kill a person twice for no reason.
Kisuke sat up and grabbed his communicator, weighing his options. She was an enemy and a psychotic one at that. That being said, there was something quite tragic about her situation and Kisuke knew an opportunity when he saw one. He figured there was much about the Quincy that was still unanswered and part of him felt sorry for this girl. She knew that the Quincies weren't big on the whole loyalty idea, what with their king knocking his own soldiers off like Thin Mints, but this girl had been betrayed not once but twice by her own friends.
Grabbing some cloth from the rubble, Kisuke wrapped up Bambietta's body and carried her away, careful not to let anyone see him carry the dead girl. He made it to a part of Mayuri's lab that was deserted and went about gathering some things he'd need in order to revive the Sternritter. He wasn't going to do something as barbaric as what Mayuri did with the Arrancar ("Speaking of which," Kisuke noted as he looked around, "What happened to Mayuri's Arrancar?"). No, his resuscitation would be less grotesque, if a little time consuming.
Not only that, he really wanted to stick it to Mayuri one more time by one-upping him.
Urahara Shop: Kisuke's Lab
"Are you sure about this?" Tessai asked as he handed Kisuke some tools. "She's an enemy. And from the rumors I'd heard a very violent one at that."
Kisuke took the tools and continued working on the decesased Bambietta, who lay naked on a table like a frog getting dissected. "I've her limbs restrained and I have a Seki-Seki band wrapped around her neck. The most she'll do is give me a bad headache."
"Can Seki-Seki negate Yhwach's Schrifts?" Tessai asked.
"We'll find out." Kisuke finished his preparations and injected a needle attached to a tube to Bambietta's neck, pumping fluid into her still body. "We should be fortunate that her body didn't disintegrate after death. Quincies are quite quirky like that." Walking over to a set of machines, Kisuke put on some goggles and grabbed a switch. "Alright. Let's do it."
Without further ado Kisuke flipped the switch.
Electricity jolted into Bambietta's body, making her lifeless body spasm as the currents ran through her body. Vials filled with noxious looking liquid poured through IV's into her neck, arms and sides. Another jolt of electricity went through her, restarting her heart. Bambietta's toes curled and her spine arched as her muscles were heated, bones popping as the blood, untainted and freed of Gigi's corruption, that filled her veins started to move as he heart started to beat.
Slowly, Bambietta Basterbine her eyes, coming back from the dead.
It's said that the first thing that a person does when they enter the world is enter it screaming, which is fitting because the first thing that Bambietta did when she was reborn was scream at the top of her lungs. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Her scream was so loud that both Kisuke and Tessai had to cover their ears. Bambietta thrashed against her restraints as she screamed, her mind quickly recalling the last events of her life….
Bambietta struggled to breathe. She lay on the ground in a ruined heap, her beautiful body completely wrecked after Sajin Komamura had forced her Explode power back into her own body. Smoke rose up as she lay on the ground, her beautiful features burned and charred. "D-damn it!" she choked, unable to move a muscle. "Why was I the first to lose out of the five of us?!"
The fallen Sternritter blinked and saw her four fellow Sternritters, Candi, Mini, Lil, and Gigi all gathered around her. At first Bambietta thought that they were there to help her but the look in their eyes told her better. Gigi leaned forward and smiled her smile that belied her malicious intent. "Poor Bambi…we'd be so sad to lose you…."
Bambietta's heart went cold as the Sternritter hovered over her like an angel of death. She tried to scream but the sound was lost.
"Don't worry, Gigi…we'll take good care of you…" Gigi said, the smile on her face growing wider.
This time Bambietta did manage to scream but it was to no avail. "No, Gigi! DON'T!"
Gigi didn't listen.
The other three Sternritter did nothing as Gigi knelt down and pulled out a small knife and pushed it into Bambietta's chest, stabbing her right in the heart. Bambietta's face twisted with pain as her life slowly came to an end. Gigi took delight in every choked gasp Bambietta made before her head rolled back. By the time she pulled the knife out Bambietta was dead. Cutting her hand, she dripped red blood into the dead Bambietta's mouth. The Sternritter watched as Bambietta's skin turned red and her eyes became glassy, signaling her transformation into an undead zombie….
The next thing she remembered was lying in a crumpled heap under a makeshift shelter, having been defeated by the undead Arrancar, Charlotte . Her arm felt weird having been cut off and reattached by Gigi's bizarre power. She lay there helpless as her so-called comrade Gigi bit down on her stomach and started to suck her blood out in an attempt to heal her own mortal injury.
Bambietta looked down at Gigi and groaned in pain. "Gigi…don't suck so much blood…I don't wanna die…."
Her reward for voicing her self-preservation was her head getting smash into the ground. "Are you stupid?" Gigi screamed in fury at the zombie's disobedience. "Who cares about you? You're already dead?" Amidst her smashing there was a resounding crack. When she looked down she saw that Bambietta's eyes had for the second time gone dark and that she was dead, her neck having been broken by Gigi's abuse, sending her into the void for the second time….
"AHHHHHHHHHHH!" Bambietta screamed as she thrashed against her restraints. "GET AWAY! GIGI! GET AWAY, YOU MONSTER! NOOOOOO!"
Kisuke ran over to Bambietta and put his hands on her shoudlers, restraining her from hurting herself. "Stop," he said in a demanding voice. "Gigi's gone."
The words had their intended effect. Bambietta took in her environment as Tessai put a blanket over her, obscuring her nudity. "What…what is this place?" Bambietta quickly said as she looked from side to side. "You…you're Kisuke Urahara!" she gasped, realizing she was in the hands of her enemy.
"You can relax, Miss," Urahara said as he grabbed a pitcher of water and poured some into a glass. "I mean you no harm. I found you in the rubble while we were cleaning up the Soul Society and decided to bring you back."
"Wait…" Bambietta looked at Kisuke confused. "What…what about the war?"
"It's over. Yhwach is dead. The Vandenreich has been defeated. Aside from Uryu Ishida, you're the only Sternritter left." He offered the girl the cup of water. "Can you remember your name? You've been through quite the ordeal, having died twice."
Her mouth sore from screaming, Bambietta drank the water before lying her head back down, her head feeling like her brain had been stuffed with cotton. "My name…my name is Bambietta Basterbine."
"I see…" Kisuke said as he turned away to grab more tools. Reviving Bambietta was only the first step. Getting her body to start working properly was the hard part. When he turned back to the girl he saw that she was crying. He didn't even need to ask if she was alright. That was a bit of a moot point. Putting a pillow behind her head, he sat in a chair and began to monitor Bambietta's life signs.
"Gigi…where's Gigi?" Bambietta asked, looking around terrified.
Looking back at her, Kisuke gave her a reassuring nod. "Don't worry. She's dead. Yhwach killed her."
Bambietta calmed down and took deep breaths, her fear of the Z Sternritter subsiding. "Good…" she said as she laid her head back down. "She got her just deserts. She…I can't believe what she did to me!" she cried, tears running down her face. "She killed me! I thought…I thought we were friends! And Candi, Mini and Lil…they just watched!"
Kisuke stared at the girl and didn't know what to tell her. In fact, he really didn't know what to do with her in all honesty. He'd brought her back from the dead as a means to see if he could but he really didn't plan on what to do afterward. 'I should bring in Yoruichi,' Kisuke thought since Yoruichi had returned to the shop after having recovered from her ordeal. 'She might be able to calm her down.'
"I hate them!" Bambietta cried, sobbing her eyes out.
"Take it easy," Kisuke said softly, holding her hand. "They're dead. All of them." Amidst the cleanup process the Soul Reapers, in addition to collecting the bodies of Liltotto and Giselle, had discovered the bodies of Meninas and Candice, both killed when they were struck by Yhwach's Auswahlen.
Calming down, Bambietta looked up at Kisuke confused. "How…how'd you bring me back? And why?"
Kisuke gave her a sly smile. "Actually, it's quite ironic. It was because you were zombified that I was able to bring you back to life. Gigi's zombification preserved your body. Even though you were beaten pretty badly it wasn't that hard to set your body back together. As to why…" Kisuke merely shrugged. "To make a long story short: a whim."
After giving Bambietta another glass of water, he started to fill her in on what she'd missed since her death. Bambietta was horrified by what Kisuke told her; Yhwach, her king, had completely turned on his own loyal soldiers and had attempted to destroy all three worlds! "That…that's…" she stammered, her body breaking out with goosebumps at the news. "I can't believe His Majesty would do such a thing. I thought…we were to simply conquer the Soul Society…he…he promised…." Turning away from Kisuke she started to cry again.
"…Home…" she muttered, her mind in another place. "I…I wanna go home…."
Kisuke merely shook his head in sadness. "I'm sorry but the Vandenreich is gone. Yhwach destroyed it when he rebuilt the King's Palace."
But to his surprise, Bambietta merely shook her head. "No…that's not my home." She looked up at Kisuke with pleading eyes. "Please, take me out of the Soul Society. I just wanna go home…."
Again Kisuke shook his head. "You've nothing to worry about here. We're not in the Soul Society. We're in my shop back in Karakura Town."
Bambietta's eyes lit up with hope. "Karakura Town?! But that's…that's my birthplace!"
Looking down at Bambietta confused, Kisuke merely flipped his fan to cover his face and stared down at the girl with an appraising eye. Now that he thought about it…she did look sort of familiar. He dismissed the notion of her being Ichigo or Uryu's long-lost sister since he was one hundred percent certain that their mother's didn't produce any more children that he was aware of. Still, his curiosity was piqued.
A few days later….
Kurosaki House; Ichigo's Room
Ichigo was roused from his nap when his phone went off. Sitting up, he checked his phone and flipped it open, seeing Kisuke's number on the screen. Frowning, he hit the answer button and put the phone to his ear. He hadn't heard from Kisuke since the end of the battle but then again he hadn't heard much from anyone besides Rukia and Renji since he was busy winding down from the war with some much needed R&R. "Hello?"
"Hey, Ichigo," came Kisuke's voice from the other end of the call.
"What is it, Kisuke?"
"Could you come to the shop please? It's kinda important. Not world-ending important or friend-in-peril important, but still important."
"Why do you need me?" he asked.
"Let's just say…the matter involves a more compassionate hand and you'll understatnd why I asked you in due time. Just get over here. Please?"
Ichigo stared at the phone in dismay. Kisuke rarely, if ever, used the P word. "Um…okay, I'll be there in a moment." Hanging up, Ichigo got dressed and headed out the door. His body still ached in some places from his final battle with Yhwach but Orihime and the other healers said that was to be expected and told him he'd make a full recovery. As of now the Squads were busy getting everything repaired and everyone in the World of the Living was enjoying the break they all earned.
Walking along the familiar path, he saw the exiled Soul Reaper's candy shop up ahead. He saw the man himself sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, his face still looking like Frankenstein's monster's cousin. "Hey, Kisuke. So what's so important?" he asked.
Kisuke took a minute to get out of his chair, having not fully recovered from the detoxing treatment he performed on himself. "Hello, Ichigo. Thanks for coming. I just need you to do a favor for a new friend of mine."
"Who?" Ichigo asked as the two walked in. Kisuke was silent as he led Ichigo into the living room. With the exception of Yoruichi, who was sleeping on a cushion next to the window in her cat form, basking in the sunlight, there was only other person in the room. It was a face that Ichigo didn't recognize. She was a girl about as old as him with dark hair and a pretty face, wearing a white shirt and blue jeans with a belt that had a heart belt buckle.
"Ichigo, meet Bambietta Basterbine," Kisuke introduced.
Bambietta looked at Ichigo nervously as she got up and offered him her hand. "It's…nice to meet you, Ichigo. You can call me Bambi."
As Ichigo shook her hand he noticed how her name sounded familiar. "Wait…Bambietta…."
"Correct," Kisuke said, knowing that Ichigo was reconizing her name. "She was the former E Sternritter."
Ichigo turned back to Bambi and took a step back. "Wait, what?!" he gasped. "You're one of the Sternritter?"
"I was…" Bambi said glumly. She held up a hand and sighed in disappointment. "But not anymore. I don't have my Schrift anymore."
Ichigo blinked in confusion. "Wait, why don't you have your Schrift? And I thought Uryu was the only Sternritter left? And…and why're you here in Kisuke's shop?!" he demanded to know, turning to the shopkeeper. "I'm so confused!"
After settling Ichigo down, Kisuke explained all to Ichigo. He told him of Bambi's death and her subsequent second death while also adding that because she'd died the part of her soul that contained Yhwach's power was returned to Yhwach, leaving her without the Explode. She still had her normal Quincy powers but she was no longer a threat to the Soul Society since her Schrift and Vollsterndich were gone now.
As Kisuke explained away, Ichigo noticed Bambi staring at the ground in shame. When her eyes flicked up at Ichigo he could see a hint of fear in her eyes. He and Bambi stared at each other for a moment before the boy turned to the shopkeeper. "So what'd you need me for?"
"Well…" Kisuke pointed his fan to Bambietta. "Why don't you explain, Bambietta?"
The Sternritter looked at Ichigo warily before opening up. "I'm a Quincy but…the Vandenreich isn't my home. I'm actually from Karakura Town."
Ichigo blinked in surprise. "Really?"
"Uh huh…so…I was wondering…could you please escort me home? I'm not that famililar with the area so I don't want to end up getting lost."
Ichigo looked at the girl and wondered what he should do. He'd heard all about how this girl went on a killing spree and stole Captain Komamura's Bankai. He turned to Kisuke and raised an eyebrow. "Does the Soul Society know about this?"
"That they do not," Kisuke admitted. "It was my call to make and as long as Bambietta behaves herself and not causes trouble I won't tell them of her existence."
Scratching the back of his head, Ichigo turned back to Bambi and gave her a small nod. "I suppose…who's your family anyway?"
Bambietta looked out the window nervously before speaking. "Well…my father took me away when I was little but I know my mother still lives here. But…I'm not sure if she'll even recognize me…" she said glumly.
The black cat on the cushion raised her head and looked over at Bambietta. "Don't sell yourself short. A mother never forgets." She turned to look at Ichigo and nodded. "Don't worry, Ichigo. I've already spoken with her and she has promised to not hurt anyone in return for Kisuke resurrecting her."
Ichigo decided to get this over with and stood up, offering her his hand. If Kisuke and Yoruichi vouched for her then that was enough for him. Bambietta took his hand and let him help her up. "Thank you," she said.
"Awww!" Kisuke said from behind his fan. "Look at you two! You look like such a nice couple. So roman-AHHH!" he screamed when Bambietta kicked him in the face.
"I'm not some harlot, you blockhead!" Bambi screamed, kicking him again while he was down.
Sweatdropping, Yoruichi turned to Ichigo who was standing there stunned. "Yeeeeah…now you see why Kisuke wanted you to handle the matter…as you can see…she's a spitfire…."
"No kidding," Ichigo said before tapping Bambi's shoulder. "C'mon. Let's go."
"Okay." Bambi stopped kicking Kisuke and walked out of the room. "C'mon!" she called out.
Ichigo followed her out of the shop and saw her looking from side to side. "Do you remember your address?" he asked.
"No," she said disappointedly. "I was really young. I only remember snippets from when Mama took me to the park."
"Okay," Ichigo said, figuring this'd be a long day. "Why don't we head to the park and try to retrace your steps."
Ichigo led her to the park, the two walking silently. Ichigo could tell that Bambi was nervous being near him; he figured that was to be expected since he was her enemy after all. When they reached the park, Bambietta looked around, humming as she reached back into her oldest memories. Ichigo waited for several minutes before asking the obvious. "Do you remember?"
Bambi glared at Ichigo with burning eyes. "Give me a minute! I need to think!" Huffing, she turned back around before she was hit by a wave of nostalgia when she saw the road leading out of the park. "This way!" As the followed the street, Bambi became more and more assured that they were going the right way.
But as they did, Ichigo noticed something as well. This neighborhood…looked awefully familiar…. "You sure we're going the right way?" he asked, having not stopped for ten minutes.
"Of course I'm sure!" Bambi bit back, hurrying along as wave after wave of memories came back to her. When they rounded the corner she suddenly came to a stop. "Um…."
"What is it?" Ichigo asked.
"I just realized something..." Bambietta looked up at Ichigo with worried eyes. "What if my mother doesn't want me? She hasn't seen me in years."
Ichigo put his hand on her shoulder and did his best to give her a warm smile. True, she may have been the enemy but the war was over now and he could understand the turmoil inside her, especially after what she'd already gone though. "Like Yoruichi said: a mother never forgets. I'm sure she'll be happy to see you."
Nodding cautiously, Bambi looked forward. "Okay…."
"Do you recognize your house?"
"Uh huh…" Bambi pointed to one of the houses in particular. "It's right there. That's my house."
Ichigo stopped dead in his tracks. He'd recognize that house anywhere. "Are…you sure?" he asked, looking at her in disbelief.
Ignoring Ichigo, Bambietta walked up the stairs on the side of the house to the front door. Despite her crazy and spontaneous attitude she was quite scared at the moment. As Ichigo followed her up the stairs, staring at her in complete disbelief, she raised a shaky hand and knocked on the door.
"Hang on!" came the voice on the other side of the door. "I'll be right there!" When the door opened up, the woman who owned the house revealed herself, holding a stack of papers under her arm. She recognized one of the two visitors instantly. "Ichigo? What're you doing here?" the woman said. She turned to the girl who Ichigo was accompanied and began to speak. "And who's your girl…friend…."
When the words died in the woman's mouth and her eyes widened in recognition, Ichigo knew right then and there that Bambietta was telling the truth. And now that he had them both in front of him, he could definitely see the family resemblance.
"Mama…" Bambietta choked, unable to believe that this was real.
Dropping the stack of papers, Ikumi Unagiya felt tears pour from her eyes as she stared at her long-lost daughter. "Bambi?" she gasped. "Is that really you?"
"I'm home," Bambietta Basterbine Unagiya said before hugging her mother.
To be continued