A.N: Geeze, this took a while. I'm sorry to anyone who's waiting for this. Since I started college life's become even more hectic and I've become even lazier. Sorry again to everyone.
Love is a noble act of self-giving, offering trust, faith, and loyalty. The more you love, the more you lose a part of yourself, yet you don't become less of who you are; you end up being complete with your loved ones.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
Tatsuki stood up from her crouching position and faced Renji.
"What am I doing here? No, what are you doing he… Oh My God, Ishida!" she ran to her fallen classmate and helped him sit up on the ground.
"Arasiwa-san, what's going on?"
"Stupid, you're bleeding all over, don't tell me you don't know what's going on."
"I'm sorry…" he tried to smile
"And what's that face for? You hungry or something?" she smirked
"Funny…" he took a deep breath "Arisawa-san… Inoue-san is…"
"Yeah, yeah, don't worry. A companion of mine and Rukia-san are heading to the fortress right now."
"Rukia?" Renji perked up "She's alive?
Tatsuki looked up at him and gave him a nod.
"Yeah, we managed to save her."
She nodded. Renji seemed uncomfortable for a minute, he scratched his nose and seemed to blush a little as he muttered a quiet thanks under his nose. Tatsuki smiled a little and nodded, and then she turned back to the injured Ishida.
"He doesn't look well." She said absent-mindedly.
"The espada you just tackled down ripped up his internal organs." Renji responded in kind.
She looked at the espada, whose head was still buried in the sand and then her eyes focused back on Ishida. Her eyes were sad, noticed Renji, glistening in the moonlight that spread around them. She tried to cover her sob with a cough.
"Are you crying?" Renji asked in wonder.
"Shut up Abarai or I'll smack you."
"You know each other?" Ishida asked in a weak voice.
"Stupid. " Tatsuki smacked him on the head lightly. "We are in the same class."
"He came a few weeks ago; he was dragging some weirdoes along."
A vein popped on Renji's forehead.
"Where was I?"
What's up with them? Talking like old buddies while I am standing here like a goof and feeling… Don't go there Renji. Don't go there.
"Listen, that's nice and all but we really should go before he digs himself out."
Tatsuki nodded and helped Ishida up.
"Come on, I'm going to the fortress anyway, so I might as well help you on the way out."
"Why what?" she asked casually in return.
"Why are you going there?"
"I have a job to do."
Ishida looked at her in wonder.
"Well, isn't that too bad? You won't be going anywhere anytime soon."
"Oh shit!" was what Renji said just before he was sent flying few miles back by a wave of Cero.
In an instant Renji grabbed Ishida and ran, only to stop when he noticed that Tatsuki hasn't moved an inch.
"Arisawa, what the hell are you doing?"
"I'm sorry." She said with a solemn voice. "I can't run with you."
There it was, the sudden surge of panic that he felt when Szyel attacked them seriously the first time. He had to stop her… or the outcome of her actions would be grave.
"What? You're going to die if you stay here."
"Even so… I can't run with you." She turned her back to them and faced the espada.
"Arisawa-san, what is the meaning of this?"
"I have to get to the fortress at any cost." Her voice had turned cold, almost hollow and her stance was that of a person, gone through a lot of hardships. But she's so young.
"You're insane. Can't you see what this guy did to Ishida? Just give it up." Renji yelled. He could feel that dreadful panicky feeling spreading through him, fogging his mind and boiling up his blood.
She shook her head.
"All this time…" her voice was sorrowful "All this time I have watched Ichigo from afar. All I could see was my best friend's back while he was moving forward to new things, making new friendships…" she took a deep breath. "For a long time I hated you, Ishida and Abarai… I was so jealous. I really thought that you were taking him away from me… I really wanted to, at least, be a part of you group. Just to be with my best friend again. Like old times, you know."
"Wha…" Renji was dumbstruck. This certainly wasn't the time to be making confessions.
"But things have changed. I found my own powers, and my own purpose… my own team. "
"What are you trying to say?"
"I gave them an order to meet at the fortress. They could be risking their lives right at this moment just for me. The least I can do for them, as a leader, is to repay them with the same."
"Why?" whispered Renji
She turned to him with eyes full of love and smiled.
"Why did you follow Ichigo here?"
Realization dawned on him.
"You are nakama. You wouldn't allow him to go alone… to leave you behind. That's why, right now I have to stay… I don't want to leave them behind."
Renji's fist tightened with silent frustration.
"Arisawa-san, run, he's coming your way."
The espada didn't give her a chance to answer. In a second she was on the ground, holding her abdomen. The pink haired man before her bowed his head almost respectfully and swiped at her.
Tatsuki blocked the punch and jumped back.
"Listen Abarai, thanks and everything but I'll have to ask you to stand aside and not interfere."
"How very noble of you!" the espada said "You really are a person worth respecting. I shall give you one warning shot before I kill you."
She snorted and took her stance.
"May I be honored with the name of my opponent?"
"I see. You have been taught by a nobleman. Very well… I am Octava Espada. Szayel Aporro Granz. And who might you be? State your name and status."
"Arisawa Tatsuki, Detective of the Spirit World."
It took some time to get to the spirit world. And flying by just holding the end of a magical oar wasn't fun for Tatsuki at all. She was just glad that her journey was coming to an end, even if they were landing in front of a huge and… strangely pink …royal castle. Just then Tatsuki saw the small set of buttons that looked like an intercom. Botan pressed a button and got close to it.
"Botan here, I've got a new arrival with me." What do you know, it is an intercom.
The giant door opened to reveal a dark, empty hallway. The columns that spread along it were dark, chopped in different places, and behind them there were stone walls. Every step they took echoed painfully through the dark hallway. The air around them was cold and it seemed as if it was moving in a "breathing" pattern. This place reminded Tatsuki of something.
"This place looks like a giant throat." Tatsuki said "How cliché is that?"
Botan rolled her eyes and led her to another intercom device.
"Botan again, will you let him know I've got Arisawa Tatsuki with me?"
"We're opening the gate."
The huge door opened. Tatsuki braced herself. Any minute now, she was going to see fearless demons, eight feet tall, with big horns and sharp teeth, carrying swords of human bones, running around and torturing people.
What she saw was something along those lines but without the swords and height… and the torturing…and the fearless part. They looked more like bank clerks in Neanderthal clothes. The demons were kind of bluish and they were carrying stocks of paper and shouting in cell phones things like 'I need the information on miss Gaul in two minutes.' 'Mr. Pits is ahead of schedule.' And 'This place is a madhouse.'
"What is this? The dead people stock exchange?" Tatsuki asked with a blank expression on her face.
The melodious laugh of Botan startled her, and she couldn't help but jump a little.
"It's just; someone said the exact same thing some time ago." Her voice held a nostalgic note to it.
"Let's go, Lord Koenma is expecting us."
"Yes, the ruler of the spirit world."
The next door they approached opened without a warning from an intercom device and it lead to an office. On a chair, behind the mahogany desk was sitting a young man with a pacifier in his mouth.
"Lord Koenma, just as you asked. Arisawa Tatsuki is here." Botan bowed respectfully.
"Greetings Tatsuki. It is a pleasure to finally meet you."
His voice didn't sound too childish, which further confused Tatsuki considering the disturbing pacifier dangling from his mouth. He seemed nice enough though. Usually young people of higher standing had this look in them, like everyone around them didn't deserve the attention they were getting. This Koenma on the other hand just seemed like a teenager that didn't like his job very much but had to do it anyway.
"Hi!" she said carefully observing his movements.
"You don't have to be so careful around me, I don't bite."
She nodded but still didn't take her eyes off him.
"Why am I here?"
"Straight to the point I see. Well… this may sound like a line from a boring superhero movie but… we have been watching you for some time."
"Me, my assistants, the demon king on the other side of the human world…"
"Wait just a minute. I have seen enough ghosts to last a lifetime, so I'm inclined to believe that this place really exists and I'm not dreaming right now but a demon king… Come on, you don't expect me to believe that, do you."
"Oh I do. You've seen the black cloaks and dangerous swords. You've seen protectors of the human soul. You know that there is always a possibility for something more."
Tatsuki let the words sink in to her brain.
"Alright then." She got closer and took a deep breath. "I know that someone who rules the spirit world wouldn't just call me to grand me the selfless favor of life living so… You throw me a bone and I'll play."
"Very much her father's daughter, aren't you?"
How do you know my father? Would have been the obvious question of every mentally challenged superhero to-be, but Tatsuki wasn't stupid and she had no intention of becoming a hero too. If Koenma knew her father he'd know that.
"Certainly coming from a family of extremely spiritually aware people is a plus to our decision in the matter of your life. But that is not the top reason."
"You've seen them."
"The shinigami of course. The soul rippers."
Tatsuki froze, so this man really wasn't playing charades with her.
"Okay, I'll bite. What do you want in return of my life?"
"We want you to become our spirit detective."
"Your spirit what?"
"Spirit detective. It's similar to your parents' job to a certain extent." Koenma smiled wistfully.
"You want me to become a ghost hunter?"
"As I said… to a certain extent. Ghosts won't be the only things that you'll be hunting."
All this was well and good in her book but her father, the eternally cold professor, had taught her that there was always some catch to any strenuously bizarre situation.
"What's the catch?" she narrowed her eyes.
"You'll have to work amidst spiritual war?"
Now that caught her attention.
"What do you mean?"
Koenma looked at Botan with concern and at her curt nod sighed.
"Alright then, tell her."
"In the spiritual world there are three commanding institutions. The one with the highest authority is ours, the Spirit World, seeing as the Royal family resides and commands here. The other two ones are The Soul Port and The Soul Society. The Soul Society is the one that takes care of human's souls and their security, dealing with all kinds of nasty soul evolutions. Now, The Soul Society has an operational system of thirteen squads each with their own captain who's reached the highest peak of their evolution. We don't usually make personal contact with them, seeing as the supreme commander is handling things very well. Our only connection to these people is the Council of 46 that consists of 46 shinigami that are under King Yama's direct command."
"And what's your point?"
"The Council of 46 has been assassinated." Koenma said "We don't know how this happened but we know that someone is impersonating them. There has been treason among the shinigami and if someone is strong enough to kill 46 capable shinigami, even if it was a sneak attack, then war is just a matter of time."
"So you want me to warn them?"
"NO!" Koenma's voice sounded commanding for the first time this day. "You have no business with the shinigami and the mess they've created for themselves. The problem is that many criminal minds of the demon kind may see this as an opportunity to go back to their dirty ways. That's why we need a spirit detective to deal with them. Shinigami are not allowed to harm living entities. They won't be much help to human society if they're frying in the pits of hell."
"Okay, I get your point."
"I'm sure you do, seeing as your best friend is one of these shinigami."
So he knew about Ichigo.
"You've done your research."
Something in the back of her mind was telling her that wasn't the problem right now. I wonder what it could be.
"I always do Arisawa-san and right now I need a fast answer. You do know that your body is dead at the moment, don't you?"
"I don't know anything about demons."
"We know." Keonma said kindly.
"The strongest opponent I have ever fought is a high school girl."
"We know." He repeated.
"My parents won't take this easily."
Tatsuki frowned; she was searching for the appropriate way to express herself.
"I don't want to die… and I don't want to be left behind." She said with much strain.
Koenma strode elegantly until he was standing in front of her. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder and looked at her kindly.
"I know, Tatsuki."
She was holding back tears, there was a huge lump in her throat and she felt as if she would fall apart any minute. All the emotions she had held back, ever since Ichigo became a shinigami, were pushing their way out. She felt for the first time in a long time that she could trust someone to take care of her.
"I won't be weak anymore?" she barely managed to choke out.
Koenma felt sad for this girl who was trying so hard to fight her building emotions. This young girl didn't deserve the burden she was carrying, and he felt bad for making her take on even more. But the only thing he could do right now was to pat her head reassuringly and say…
"You won't be weak anymore."
And just with this one sentence she had decided.
"I accept the ordeal."
The Espada blocked the kick flying towards him just as it was about to hit him in the head.
"You're fast" he said.
But before Tatsuki had time to answer him he caught her leg and threw her to the ground almost effortlessly.
She jumped up immediately from her fallen position. She charged again and moved to hit the espada in the face but he anticipated it and lowered down avoiding her punch. Tatsuki saw her chance and her knee flew towards his lowered face. She jumped back, she kicked, she spun, she kicked again, the whole time the espada was blocking her hits and trying (not really) to deliver some of his own.
Ishida was watching intently. Her fighting reminded him of someone.
"She's fighting like Yoruichi-san."
Renji shook his head.
"No. Yoruichi-san's fighting style was forged in the dojos of noble house Shihouin and the Second Division. Her fighting is like a lethal dance. Arisawa's is different. Watch closely."
Ignoring the pain that was shooting through him every second Ishida concentrated solely on the fight before him. He saw the espada deliver a blow to Tatsuki's chest, and he saw how as soon as she hit the ground she arched her back and jumped back on her feet ready to attack again. The realization hit him like a ton of bricks.
"But that doesn't make any sense." He muttered.
"What?" Renji looked at him suspiciously.
"As far as I know Arisawa-san has learned karate all of her life but…" he looked at her
"That's not karate" Renji finished for him.
"I wonder what happened to change her fighting style so drastically."
At this very moment the espada finally hit (really hit) Tatsuki and she fell groaning in pain.
"I was hoping you'd give more of a fight but… I see now that you are not worth the waste. And I'm afraid that time is of the essence."
He produced a single doll.
Renji's face paled as the espada pulled out a little stone from the doll with the writing of 'bazo' on it… and broke it.
Tatsuki felt something pushing out through her throat and after a while she felt a searing pain somewhere inside her body. She spat something, she didn't know what, the pain was so intense that she couldn't feel anything else. She looked at the ground and saw red. Tatsuki realized that she was forcefully spitting out her own blood. She threw a glance at Renji and Ishida only to see their pale and panic stricken faces. She tried to ignore the pain and moved towards the espada just to see him pulling out another colorful stone out of the little doll. Riñón? She thought before she spat out more blood as another one of her internal organs was ripped apart.
I can't die like this. I have to… stand up and fight him. She stood up weakly and tried to walk.
Another one of her organs was smashed and she was back on the ground spitting blood.
Okay! I can't stand up so I'll have to attack from over here. No, at the first sign of recovery he'll just do more damage.
More blood forced its way out of her throat.
"How disappointing!" the espada's voice reached her ears. "I expected at least some hidden power, but after all you are just a weak… worthless… human."
HUMAN! That's it. I may not be gone yet.
Tatsuki stood up with much effort. In the background she could hear Renji and Ishida screaming her name.
Something in her broke again but she didn't crumble to the ground this time. She just concentrated on making the swirl that had appeared behind the espada bigger.
Dimension paralysis. She activated the spell in her mind.
"What the hell is that?" hissed Ishida
Szyel Apporo Granz smirked wickedly.
"A portal to another dimension? So, you had that kind of ability."
Tatsuki glared at him. She tried hard to concentrate on his form but the blood was blurring her vision.
"Is this how you plan to defeat me? I hope of course that you don't expect me to enter through that portal willingly."
He blinked. Tatsuki had just pointed her index finger at him, holing her hand up as if she was ready to shoot a gun.
"Just so you know. My mentor is not a nobleman." She rasped out.
"Why are you telling me that?"
"So you don't piss about that I didn't warn you."
Ishida, who was, until this moment, watching the whole ordeal with Renji, felt a pulling of great amount of reiatsu in one place. He noted with surprise that it was gathering at the base of Tatsuki's index finger. The espada on the other hand was just smirking at the young human in front of him.
"Warn me about wha…"
"SPIRIT GUN!" the gathers energy shot out from Tatsuki's finger and flew towards the espada hitting him square in the chest and pushing him right into the growing dimensional portal. Tatsuki gathered what strength she had left and…
A blinding light and the espada disappeared. The spell was completed. The portal was gone. Tatsuki fell unconscious on the ground. The last thing she heard was a pained shout from Renji.
It made her smile.
A lone figure was storming through the cold desert of Hueco Mundo. So far this person hadn't encountered any trouble. It was as if every soul was keeping away from her. Her silver hair was swishing through the static wind. The ring on her head was pulsing with a golden light and it seemed as if she was trying hard to ignore this particular pulsing.
Until she saw it.
The green blob was quickly getting closer, taking the form of a tropical parrot. She stopped and the bird hovered in front of her opening its peak to emit a strange picture which, after careful observation, one could identify as a video screen. The angry voice that erupted didn't startle her at all.
"Where the hell are you?" the voice of the lord of the spirit world rang through the quiet night.
"Prince Koenma. It is an honor to hear from you. How are you these days? How is your father doing?"
"You very well know how he's doing and stop sweet talking me. Why aren't you on duty?"
"I am currently in Hueco Mundo."
"WHY? Tatsuki was supposed to go there, she is the spirit detective NOT you. Oh just you wait. She's going to get the spanking of a life time when she comes back." The pacifier was dangling dangerously from his mouth.
"She doesn't know."
"That I have not been authorized to participate in this mission." silence "When she asked me why I was coming I lied and told her that that I've been ordered to accompany her."
"Did I stutter?"
"H-how… W-why…" sigh "That's just great. How long will it take you to finish this thing off."
"I can't say exactly."
"Look, just do it quickly and come back to your post. Geez if Gard hears about this he's gonna have a fit."
"I believe Lieutenant Garoudian is an old enough man to not have a fit."
"Yeah, whatever. There's also something else… I talked to the seer and… be careful… that demon is…HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
The green bird was suddenly hit and before it had time to even wonder what had happened… it dissolved into the endless night of Hueco Mundo.
"Ke ke ke!" a throaty chuckle sounded from behind Ichizure. "Looks like I found a tasty shinigam soul on a silver platter."
Ichizure turned around and stepped towards the arrancar.
"Step aside, young one."
"Young one? You are cocky for a shinigamy who's about to get eaten."
"Hardly! These days only youngsters cannot distinguish a shinigami from a soul collector."
The arrancar drew out its sword.
"Che. Doesn't matter what you are, I'm gonna eat you anyway."
He let out a maniacal laugh and charged at her.
He was pinned to the ground.
"What? What is that? What did you do to me wench?"
"This is a Release. I believe it is similar to your cero."
The arrancar struggled in the invisible bonds in vain. Anger was consuming his whole being. He spit at the woman's feet.
"Bitch! When I get out of this I'm gonna chop you to pieces."
Ichizure lifted a delicate white eyebrow and flicked her hand, releasing the arrancar from his binds. As soon as he was out he jumped at her.
He was getting closer and closer.
This is going to be an easy kill. Dumb wench's not even moving.
He was just about to slash her when she calmly drew her zanpaktou.
"Arrancar, you are in my way."
Emerald eyes narrowed dangerously.
"I have to. You know that. I'm not allowed to be here."
"You mean with me." Her voice was chocked, hurt.
They hugged. She grabbed his hair and kissed him forcefully.
"If you forget me I'll kill you."
He gave her a crooked smile.
"I won't. But I'll have to pretend that I did."
"I'll wait you know. For the time when we'll be allowed to love each other."
"I love you."
"Beyond the stars."
/Tatsuki/ there was a voice calling out to her. /Tatsuki/ it was warm, nostalgic. /Open your eyes/ it felt good, hearing this voice gain. She missed him so much.
Why did he have to leave? The thought was painful but the warmth didn't go away. She felt now, like she should move forward. And open her eyes.
It was hazy at first but soon the image in front of her cleared and she found herself staring in to the sunless sky of Hueco Mundo.
"Finally." The voice was rough and deep and it reminded her of…
She sat up and looked around her. She could move freely now, without any pain.
He motioned with his thumb to a gentle woman with white haori who was hovering over Ishida.
"Captain Unohana healed me and you. She is in the medical squad of Seiretei."
"You know, I've been thinking and… I think I'll come with you."
"Where?" she threw him a suspicious look
"Well, to wherever you're going."
Tatsuki opened her mouth to respond but her voice was swallowed by the enormous reiatsu that suddenly washed over them.
"What the hell?" Renji's voice suddenly sounded awfully raw.
A.N: Now for the important stuff.
 it's Spanish for kidney.
 also Spanish and it stands for spleen.
Now, onto the matter of this chapter: I realize that things might seem unclear as of now. Especially with Tatsuki's parents.
Recently I watched Ghost Hunt (it's an anime about ghost hunting basically) and I saw so much of the two main characters that could be described in Tatsuki. I thought that it'd be perfect for them to be her parents. I won't mention them much except in the cases that tell(in the quite literal meaning) that they are ghost hunters so… I don't think you have to worry too much about them.
Anyway, just in case someone hasn't watched Yu Yu Hakusho I'll give you this so you know the basics about it. .org/wiki/Yu_Yu_Hakusho
If anyone has any questions they're welcome to ask me by reviewing and I'll answer them by e-mail and I'll also include the questions and the answers in the next chapter just in case.
Bye for now!