(A/N: I don't own Bleach)

The Grinning End

oOoOo

His name was Kenpachi. It was his by right of combat. Combat was his law. Everything was won or lost by combat. It was the first thing he learned in Zaraki. It was the most important thing he learned in his whole life.

Your life was only worth as much value as you placed upon it. If someone left you alive, then you should take the gift and get stronger. Kenpachi would give that gift to his children.

Yachiru. Ikkaku. Yumichika. The Eleventh Division.

When he went to Seireitei, they called him a demon. He was just a demon from Zaraki - a product of their society. They had heard of him before, the Kenpachi. He was unbeatable they said. He hunted all of the strongest fighters in the dregs of Soul Society. He carried a little pink-haired girl on his shoulder and brushed away challengers like bothersome flies.

They said he was a bloodthirsty demon, who didn't care about his troops and slaughtered people indiscriminately.

He proved them right; he killed a captain with ease - like a demon, barely phased by the man's attacks. They were fools. They never noticed that he proved them wrong, creating the strongest fighting force in all of Soul Society. No one ever thought about the fact that he never killed anyone except those stupid enough to challenge him, and the Hollows that he was responsible for the destruction of. His men (and the few women that could survive in his division) were loyal, tough, willing, and ready to fight.

They would also be ready to die.

For years, the other divisions logged complaints about the Eleventh Division. The rowdiness of the soldiers, the ignorance of the officers, and the indifference of the captain; everything was a complaint in the box. When the time came to fight, the Eleventh Division was first to fight, last to retreat.

Captain Unohana would lament Captain Zaraki for encouraging his troops to fight so enthusiastically; but even she could not deny that despite the high numbers of wounded, the Eleventh Division displayed a startlingly low casualty rate, and a ridiculously fast recovery rate. They would be at every battle, without fail, no matter what their injuries. She once asked Zaraki to hold his troops back –

"Zaraki-taicho, stop your injured troops from fighting and aggravating their injuries!"

"It's not my choice to make. They are fighting for themselves, and it's their lives on the line. I wouldn't want them to stop me, so I will extend them the same courtesy. Why do you care anyways? They are fighting to protect your precious Soul Society. If they don't go to fight, then someone else will have to go, and I doubt that you want your precious troops to have to fight."

She slapped him. He just glared her down.

"It doesn't matter what you say, Taicho. I know that my division and me are the most expendable in all your precious Soul Society."

He spat on the floor. She stood her ground, long years in her position giving her nerves of steel.

"Make no mistake, we know what we are and how much you care for us. We may seem stupid, but we aren't deaf. I fight for Soul Society of my own free will, and so do they. Regardless of what you say about us, we will fight. No matter how many stones you throw, we will fight. For every dirty look, every cruel comment, we will still fight."

He turned from her, moving to the door of her room. He paused at the door.

"Fighting is all I have ever known. I once believed that I would die alone in a ditch in Zaraki. All I could do is fight and kill. I have learned nearly everything I know on the battlefield. I killed hundreds just to stay alive. I didn't learn to write until the day that I showed up here and became Captain. I didn't have anyone give a rat's ass about me until I met Yachiru. I didn't have a name until I gave one to myself. I didn't know the difference between happiness and staying alive."

He looked at the floor.

"I don't want that life for any of my people."

He opened the door, reiatsu flaring into the hallway.

"If they are capable of fighting, it is up to them. Whatever you decide to do about it is up to you."

-She rarely brought anything up with him again.

Captain Kurotsuchi would giggle about the Eleventh Division Captain. The Eleventh Division had a rising interest in the various things his division specialized in. Only Kurotsuchi's own division, some of Soi Fong's division, and the Fourth Division were at all interested in his inventions, the others brushing the devices, creatures, grafts, and miscellaneous other things off as novelty items. Zaraki brought a new wave to his ideas, creating a tough division with the health and sturdiness to withstand some of his more volatile creations, which he would otherwise have to simply put down himself.

Most of the other captains avoided contact with the Eleventh Division Captain. Tousen and Komamura agreed that the Captain was rather unstable, and only gained his position through a fluke. Aizen just avoided the man on principle. Gin never had any reason to seek him out. Hitsugaya's meeting with Zaraki had led to meeting Yachiru, who reminded him of everything about his childhood he had left behind. Ukitake was too sickly to be of any interest. Soi Fong regarded the man – and his division – as unstable cannon fodder. Kyoraku probably got along the best with Zaraki, because he could at least join the Eleventh Division in drinking if nothing else. Byakuya saw them as vulgar commoners, who did not even make an effort to learn the manners necessary to function in society.

Yamamoto was the question. Most of the other captains were surprised that the "Demon of Zaraki" was even allowed to become a captain. His method of gaining captainship was archaic and hardly used in centuries. Yamamoto raised no objections, and had even shaken Zaraki's hand after the fight. They acknowledged each other, because they had both lived through times or places where the rules of the combat were the most important. There was a sort of primal understanding between them, and Yamamoto rarely interfered in the running of the Eleventh Division, only giving Zaraki quick pieces of advice for running a solid division.

But when battles came, the Eleventh Division always got the first call to arms. It is said that Zaraki is just battle-crazed, but the truth is that his division is pretty much always prepared. Their weapons are always nearby, because they fight and train all the time. To be completely honest, most of the practice that the Fourth Division gets is because the Eleventh Division is constantly in and out with injuries.

When Aizen finally came, only the Eleventh Division was prepared to immediately respond. They held back the Hollows in the vital beginnings of the battle. Badly outnumbered, the Eleventh Division nonetheless held paths between the guard posts. The other divisions soon joined the fight, and the Hollow were pushed back.

They pushed them back out of Seireitei.

Rukongai was left to waste and burn.

The battle had left the Eleventh Division with the highest numbers of Shinigami casualties in the history of Shinigami battles. Captain Unohana saved as many as she could, but the Eleventh Division had been halved. If it had not been in times of war, Zaraki probably would have been removed as an inept captain. As it was, the Eleventh Division burned their dead and returned to their headquarters.

Kenpachi and Yachiru went to the Captain/Vice Captain meetings.

~OOOOOOO~

When Kenpachi walked in, taking his place among the other captains, he was surprised to see the uncovered head of Komamura, "Zaraki-taicho, you have my condolences."

He grunted, "Thanks Komamura."

Byakuya sniffed, "Still as rude as ever."

Kenpachi just tilted his head at the sixth division captain, "And you're still the last to show up to a fight, dumbass."

Byakuya twitched, "You cannot blame me for –"

"People, let us call this meeting to order," Yamamoto interrupted the budding argument.

Kenpachi leaned his head back down, moving his eyes to study the patterns on the floor. Byakuya remained poised, but his hand relaxed away from his zanpakuto.

"The first order of business is the invasion and the response to it."

Kenpachi raised his head.

"Zaraki-taicho, being the head of the division most involved in the defense, report."

A few of the other captains shifted nervously, catching the irritated tone in their Commander's voice.

"Not much to say. They came, we all fought, they got pushed behind the wall, and you shut it," Kenpachi's toneless report left the nervous captains either more twitchy or more like stone and ice.

"Zaraki!" Yamamoto snapped.

Kenpachi raised his head to Yamamoto.

"We all understand your loss, but your division was the only division to respond on such a wide scale. Report!"

"What did I miss in my report? The fact that it took most of the other divisions fifteen minutes just to fight their way out of their division fields?" Kenpachi snorted, "Or maybe the fact that we were outnumbered five to one out there? Hmm?"

Ukitake coughed quietly. Yamamoto glared at him.

"Why was your division so quick to respond?" Kyoraku asked.

"Cause I figured that no one is stupid enough just to come up to the gates and knock after that shit Ichigo pulled."

"Elaborate."

Kenpachi wasn't even sure who threw that question out, "Look, a few weeks ago it occurred to me that Aizen knows where we are, so we're just sitting ducks here. So I took out a map and went out with Yachiru to figure out where there's nobody stationed, and then I told my division to go hang out in those holes in their free time. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and we all fell into the habit of hanging out waiting."

"How are we to know that you aren't in league with Aizen?" Byakuya questioned.

"You Bastard!" Kenpachi roared, his reiatsu flaring even as Komamura and Kyoraku restrained him.

"Kuchiki-taicho! That was uncalled for!"

"If half of your division dies tomorrow, I'll ask you if you're working with Aizen!" Kenpachi yelled out.

Byakuya half-drew his sword, before he found Soi Fong and Hitsugaya holding their swords to his throat. Yamamoto banged his cane on the floor; the can started to burn slightly, revealing the edge of his Zanpakuto.

"Shut up you fools! This is not the time for us all to kill each other. If you want to die so eagerly then at least throw yourselves to the Arrancar!"

Yamamoto's wide-open eyes burned with reiatsu, and the room blurred with the show of power from the commander and the captains.

"Zaraki-taicho saved more lives today than the Fourth Division, simply because he was thinking ahead. I know for a fact that his division has been watching those holes for at least the last two months. None of you questioned him, except to register complaints about the presence of his squads in these holes in our defense. I know because my squads have been reinforcing the regular guard towers and keeping an eye on everything. I already have a complete report of the battle."

The captains relaxed, returning swords to sheaths, releasing Kenpachi and Byakuya. Byakuya looked at the ground in shame, knowing that for his entire noble upbringing, he had failed. Kenpachi's shoulders were sagging. Soi Fong and Hitsugaya looked away from the Commander, ashamed of their mistakes. Ukitake and Kyoraku watched each other silently, knowing that they had ignored any strategic issues. Unohana watched Kenpachi out of the corner of her eye, knowing that she had done all she could, but still hurting over the battle in which so many lives were lost nonetheless. Komamura stood as straight as he could, tears glistening in his oddly colored eyes. Kurotsuchi watched everyone, analyzing the situation and trying to figure out how badly he had performed.

Yamamoto sighed, "For years, you have spoken trash about Zaraki-taicho, but today you proved that you are more trash than he is. We are at war. He was ready for war. You were all ready for whatever you've been doing for the rest of your lives. Some of you have been training harder, some of you have been working harder, but only one of the captains of the Gotei 13 was really ready for this war."

Kenpachi was slumped. Knowing that he was right didn't make it any easier.

"The Eleventh Division has paid the price for your salvation in blood. Do not forget it!" Yamamoto finished.

~OOOOOOO~

The Vice Captain meeting was much more subdued. Yachiru Kusajishi's silent visage, standing at attention and politely thanking everyone for their condolences had unnerved everyone.

"Was it bad?" Nemu Kurotsuchi had been with the Twelfth Division during the whole ordeal, and had been relatively protected.

"Hai."

"Neh, Kusajishi-fukutaicho. Why was the Eleventh everywhere?" Rangiku Matsumoto asked quietly.

"Cause that's what Ken-chan told us to do," Yachiru stated, looking up at Matsumoto.

Tetsuzaemon Iba shifted uncomfortably, adjusting his sunglasses. "Kusajishi-fukutaicho," her eyes shifted to meet his black sunglasses, "Why didn't you ask the other divisions for help?"

"Ken-chan… said that none of the other captains would listen, and he didn't want to bother the old man."

"Bullshit!" Shuuhei Hisagi growled, "If we knew the attack was coming we would have been there, all he had to do was send a damn message!"

Nanao Ise nodded her head, "Kusajishi-fukutaicho, it would have been a simple thing to send a message to the other divisions about the attack today."

"We didn't know when the attack was coming!" Yachiru looked at the ground, "All that we knew is that it would be soon."

"Let her be," Chojiro Sasakibe muttered, just loud enough for everyone to hear, "The Eleventh Division has been guarding those points for the last two months."

"Hai!" Yachiru looked at the First Division Vice-Captain speculatively, "But how do you know that? I don't think Ken-chan talked to the old man about it."

"We man the guard towers that were set up."

"Why didn't you ever come down and play with us?" Yachiru bounced over to the man.

"It would have been leaving our posts!"

"Come on, you should play with us later. Renji played with us before he left! Sunglasses plays with us sometimes," Iba twitched, "And all the women come to the association meetings! The big guy is always eating, so he doesn't ever come, and the other two are always busy cause they've got so much work to do."

Matsumoto giggled, "Yachiru-chan, I think we might be kinda busy now."

Isane Kotetsu, who had spent most of the meeting nervously playing with her hands, spoke up, "The Fourth Division is so busy, how can I think about having play time?"

"I'll come and help you out then! I can visit Maki-Maki…" Yachiru trailed off, remembering that the man was dead.

"Kusajishi-fukutaicho, I believe the preliminary casualty report listed over one hundred casualties from your division…" Izuru Kira admonished quietly, "Will your division even still be considered for active duty?"

"Hai! None of the other captains will want any of us."

Matsumoto laughed, and a few of the other vice-captains smiled. Isane cringed, remembering the bloody battlefield and the numerous dead out there.

"Your battlefield effectiveness is at nearly fifty percent just from casualties, how will you keep fighting?" Kiyone Kotetsu was shocked at how uncaring Yachiru seemed, "Do you not care about your division? Will they all have to die before you see reason?"

"Kiyone!" Isane shushed her quietly.

"Most everyone who lost out there was weak anyway, and everyone else is ready for the next fight already!"

Nemu had a curious expression on her face, "I would think that with a fifty percent casualty rate, you would have a lot of injured at the Fourth Division at the moment. How is it that you are already recovered?"

"We can all walk and lift a sword!"

Matsumoto retreated to the corner giggling, and watching the escalating fight between the grinning Vice-Captain of the Eleventh Division and several of the other vice-captains.

"Damn it little girl! This is no time for jokes!" Hisagi yelled out, "Shinigami died today, and all you can do is mess around!"

"People die every day!" Yachiru's grin faded into a tight smile as she defended her words.

"I've been saying for years that they're all completely nuts, but do you believe me…." Marechiyo Omaeda snorted quietly, "No, you let them keep commanding a division and get so many Shinigami killed."

One pink blur and an explosion of a bag of chips had the room tensing up. Yachiru was holding the tip of her sword to Omaeda's throat as the large man cowered back towards the wall. Matsumoto couldn't stop giggling, watching the byplay curiously. A tiny little girl was holding this giant man at swordpoint, as he quivered, nearly pissing himself in fear.

"Every person in the Eleventh Division is my friend. Today, I just watched half of them get killed because you were too busy feeding your fucking face to fight."

No one here had ever seen Yachiru angry. Iba had seen her crying on Kenpachi's shoulder once. Matsumoto had watched the little vice-captain calmly filling out reports in crayon. Isane had dealt with the "girl" when she was berserk on a sugar high and sent many people to the hospital. Nemu had occasionally sat and watched the sunrise or sunset with her, both of them pensive over the day. The others had little to no contact with the girl. If Renji had been at the meeting, he may have remembered a time watching Yachiru slaughter Hollows. None of them had seen her in the battle today.

At some point, they had all forgotten that this odd little girl was from the Kusajishi district. That she had come to the Gotei 13 on the back of a demon, begging for candy all the way. They forgot that she had wearing a sword already. They forgot all the times that people came into the hospital, beaten by the tiny vice-captain.

No one really thought that she had earned her place as the vice-captain of a division. A vice-captain was support for their captain. Doing paperwork, dealing with the quirks of their captains, taking command of the division, fighting Hollows with the division; a vice-captain was usually the bridge between their divisions and their often unstable or unreliable captains. Several of the others had been appointed to their positions for one reason or another. In the Eleventh Division, it was won by combat. No one could interfere, and no one could fix the results.

The vice-captains were frozen in the face of this enraged pink creature. This didn't seem like the same Yachiru they saw every day. That little girl begging for candy was not this furious demon that quaked with suppressed reiatsu. Even Matsumoto straightened, bringing her hand to her zanpakuto quietly.

Omaeda pissed himself, a warm line of liquid finding its way down the front of his pants.

Isane looked around, hoping that someone would bring a stop to this. Finally she moved, "Yachiru, calm down," Isane approached her from behind,

Yachiru tilted her head to the side slightly, "Kotetsu-fukutaicho… If he said that you got half your division killed, would you let him live?"

Wincing at the formal tone, Isane lowered her head, "Hai. I don't think I could kill anyone like that."

Lowering her sword, Yachiru shook. "If you ever say something like that about me or Ken-chan again, I will rip your fucking balls off Fatass."

Having his death averted, even if it was by such cold words, had Omaeda nodding his head frantically and collapsing to his knees.

Her eyes glassing over, Yachiru explained what happened to her that day, "It was like there was a sudden gust of wind, except it was made of Hollows. They just poured out, all around where the wall should have been. Ken-chan was sitting on a roof, and we just dove into the waves of Hollows. Everywhere we turned, it seemed like the Hollows never stopped coming. Ken-chan and me kept killing them, holding them back from the streets on the inside. A few of the shinigami fell, but they were all lower members. It was okay until the Hollows started throwing blasts of energy at us. It was like they would open a path in their ranks and a blast of energy would follow, wreaking havoc around us. Ken-chan stopped a few with his sword, but we saw the guard tower nearby go down. Surging into us was more Hollows. Ripping through them with our zanpakutos, we kept fighting."

Yachiru was shaking, remembering the battle vividly. Isane brought up her courage and wrapped her arms around Yachiru's back, hugging the girl to her chest.

"Ken-chan threw me out of there, telling me to go and help the other groups. I saw him turn into a whirlwind as he killed them. Baldy was doing fine, he had his bankai out and everything. Peacock was dancing around; the Hollows were falling around him like flies. I saw a few of the divisions breaking out through the hollows clogging their gates. Giant Fox was roaring and yelling, while his division looked to be doing pretty well. The old man was alone, surrounded by fire. I remember joining the fight with Squads 4, 6, 10, and 13. They were getting pushed back, so I charged in and took out as many as I could."

Standing there, in the arms of the Fourth Division Vice-Captain, Yachiru collapsed to her knees. Isane followed her down, tears coursing down her face.

"After a little while, I saw one of the Hollows started speaking to one of the others, and suddenly I was in this weird open space. I charged the talking Hollow, and then there was a burst of light from everywhere. I don't know what happened there, but Maki-Maki was in a pile on the ground, bleeding all over. It was like the world slowed down as I roared something out and swung my zanpakuto at the smart one. It wasn't a sword anymore, and he broke. The next hollow over broke too."

She had a grin on her face. The same grin they had seen on Kenpachi's face so many times was spotted on the face of his tiny vice-captain as well.

"I don't remember anything else clearly until Sixth and Fifth Divisions showed up. We fought them back behind the wall, the wall came down, and then the Fourth Division showed up and took us to the hospital."

The Vice-Captains meeting was reduced to an uncomfortable group of people, all trying to get away from each other. Isane and Yachiru kneeled in the middle, wrapped up in their memories of the day and each other, shivering.

~OOOOOOO~

"Now that we have the battle cleared up, and your incompetence proven, let's move to the second order of business. Calling back all active Shinigami, all temporary Shinigami, all missing Shinigami we can locate, and talking to Kisuke and Yoruichi. We need a bigger fighting force now."

Byakuya shifted nervously, knowing that his report would be unwelcome. Ukitake made the decision for him.

"Sensei, we have a problem. Kuchiki Rukia has disappeared again, along with Abarai-fukutaicho."

"Kuchiki-taicho! Explain yourself!" Yamamoto barked the order.

Managing to conduct himself with the air of his noble station, Byakuya responded, "Yamamoto-sotaicho, I knew that with or without my consent Rukia would return to help Ichigo. I sent my vice-captain with her to ensure a successful mission, or at least a successful retreat. It has been several days, so I am still unworried."

The Commander-General's reiatsu blazed. "You let a captain-class Shinigami, and a vice-captain-class Shinigami leave Soul Society… to assist another captain-class temporary Shinigami, along with several companions that are powerful in their own right; and then go on a suicide mission into the depths of Hueco Mundo to retrieve a girl brought there by the Espada?"

"Kuchiki-taicho, you said it has been several days since they left, correct?" Byakuya nodded his head, while Hitsugaya continued, "So how does it make sense that after several days Aizen feels comfortable enough to send an army of Hollows to attack us?"

Byakuya stood silent.

"Never mind, it will be dealt with after this is over," Yamamoto interjected, "In the mean time we need every Shinigami we can get and all the help we can get. Kurotsuchi, when Kisuke returns you will combine your efforts to see what useful devices you can create. Soi Fong, I trust you can work with Yoruichi, but I also need you to try and get a message to Kukaku, perhaps Rukongai is not completely lost. Komamura and Kyoraku, I am giving you both advisory command of Third and Ninth Divisions, work together with their vice-captains. I will be taking advisory command of Fifth Division myself. Ukitake, you know the libraries the best, try and find any good references to useful paths or defense setups – though I doubt you'll find much. Kuchiki…work with the nobility to see if they can help us out."

Yamamoto paused, watching as they digested his orders before continuing.

"Zaraki, here's the map, you and Hitsugaya need to go over how to defend the same area with a lower casualty rate. Unohana, I need to know how bad the casualty report really is. Everyone, this is not fighting Hollows every day, this is defending Soul Society against an invasion the likes of which you have never seen."

~OOOOOOO~

As Rukongai burned, the Shinigami started to form into an army. The day had opened everyone's eyes to all sorts of things about what the war would bring. When Zaraki approached the Twelfth Division about a death-bomb, which would explode like a bomb when your heart stopped, no one questioned him. When Kurotsuchi started releasing undead creations on the Hollows, many turned their heads away, content in the knowledge that many Hollows died that day.

One of the few raids into Rukongai answered the question of Kukaku Shiba. They found her, but the only Shiba left alive was Ganju. The story they pieced together from his insane babblings was that she had released some sort of bankai, except it was a cluster bomb. As it was, Hanataro would barely manage to nurse the insane Shiba back to health before the Fourth Division Building fell and they retreated into the sewers. The sewers… Which turned out to be a boon from heaven. Protecting them from the larger Hollows and providing an easy escape method, along with quick transportation between points.

The spectacular fall of Soul Society started over the days following the first assault. The walls held as the Hollows ravaged Rukongai, while the Seireitei frantically prepared defenses. Focusing their defenses around the gates, there was an odd sense of surreal peace as they waited while the roars and screams merged together into one sound – the death knell for Soul Society. Every soul who would die out in Rukongai seemed to amplify the noise. The less experienced shinigami were constantly shaking, as the voices and cries penetrated their minds and refused to let go.

When the Hollow army began working on the gates, the peace was gone, and nervousness took its place. Yamamoto focused his divisions around the gates with backup from the Demon Arts Corps. The Fourth Division took up its places at the edge of the sewers, preparing for quickest transport to the hospital. The rest of the divisions guarded the other important places, and the sections of wall between gates had sparse Shinigami placements, mostly put in place by Hitsugaya and Zaraki as a safety net for the overflow from the gates.

The biggest joke was when the Espada simply ripped a hole in reality and stepped in behind them all.

Annihilating a portion of the defending forces, the Espada then watched as the gates were blown in by concentrated Cero. Caught between the two forces, the First and Fifth Divisions were almost completely annihilated through the battle. The Fourth Division took minor casualties, but only managed to save a quarter of both divisions.

The record for the number of shinigami lost in a single battle had been topped for the second time in three days.

As the other divisions watched, the Arrancar army of Sosuke Aizen decimated the defensive forces. The quick thinking of Hitsugaya, who sounded an organized retreat into the tunnels and sealed the gates, saved the day for much of the Fourth Division. The Espada went almost undefeated that day, as they wrought pain and death throughout the fields of Seireitei. The First Division Vice-Captain died somewhere on that battlefield, his own zanpakuto pierced through his skull in a sickening piece of art.

The front gates had fallen, and the Espada were running wild in the walls of Seireitei.

For those left alive in Seireitei, the true heroes were the Demon Arts Corps. Binding their reiatsu together into a powerful death spell, they managed to seal the interior of Seireitei in a strange field. Preventing a smorgasbord of the Hollow powers from being used, the field would save many lives in the coming weeks. As a bonus, it also managed to kill many of the lesser hollows.

The shinigami named that day "The Last Stand of One-Five", the hollows named it "Night of the Cursed City." Casualties on both sides had escalated to difficult numbers to deal with. Even Aizen's never-ending hordes of hollows took a breather after the battle, their victory dampened by the restrictions on their powers. The Espada left in confusion, returning to the comforting zone of Rukongai, though they still found it impossible to shoot Cero through the barrier.

Yamamoto was never quite the same after that night. Perhaps his survival confused him. He had been there for the first days of the shinigami academy, and he had now outlived it.

Several fortresses popped up in the silence that followed that night.

The Fourth Division hospital barricaded itself in. Protected by the Tenth and Eleventh Divisions, the hospital prepared itself to be defended fiercely, with the only escape routes entering the sewers.

Abandoning the remanents of the gates they had so desperately defended, Division One-Five took to the sewers and created a series of burrows underground, the walls burned in by the zanpakuto of Yamamoto himself.

The halls of the Research and Development labs suddenly teemed with life, as the Twelfth Division became the impromptu fortress of the Second, Third, Eighth, and Thirteenth Divisions. Expanding into unused labs became living arrangements, and the memorization of the labyrinthine paths was a requirement for all occupants. The researchers continued their odd experiments, pumping all sorts of interesting destruction out to the streets of Seireitei. With the lack of quality medical care, it would become commonplace for experimentation to take the place of conventional healing.

Divisions Seven and Nine, led by Captain Komamura, held the keep as they waited for all returning shinigami. Exposed on the hilltop and protecting a sparse path to a sewer entrance, they holed up in buildings and waited for the battle to come.

The end of Soul Society.

What was it all for?