Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

Prologue

The little flashing and spinning toy on her cell phone charm lit up even before her phone vibrated and rung in answer to the signal. The slender, well manicured hand reached over to repeatedly attempt to grasp at the little silver flip phone.

At her third swipe at the silly little silver thing, she finally grasped a hold of it, "Urahara Kisuke, if you woke me up for no reason at all I will kill you."

His cheerful reply was guarded, "Kanashii-dono, I promise you it is nothing when I tell you it is about the ryoka."

At this, both azure eyes sprang open, "I swear to Kami-sama that if this is trivial, I will shove those dice you gifted me with down your throat." Urahara smiled on the other end – this was not an idle threat.

"It is a simple matter of advice from a very, very influential shinigami," he purred into the phone.

The charm was not lost on her and she snorted in response to his attempt, "Drop it, Kisuke-kun, and do not call me a shinigami when I am not one."

With a snap, she closed her flip phone shut and stood up. Her elegant, pure white sleeping yukata would not due. Urahara Kisuke and Shihouin Yoruichi would never call on her unless it was of the utmost importance.

She hastily scribbled a note down for her servants with an extremely bad caricature beside it. When she was satisfied with her scrawl, Kanashii Kaname took off for the Urahara-shoten. Kaname flew off in an outfit that closely resembled Yoruichi's. It was a point of pride for both former shinigami to wear similar clothing as status symbols.

She flew out her window in a flash; her former clan's name was in danger. There must be something she could do to save their name.

Urahara Kisuke stood at the edge of the gate to Soul Society. He stood with Benihime clasped between both hands. He was waiting for the almost sure tinkle of bells that accosted the former 10th Division taicho. It had been a long time coming for her seat to be filled. Even before they, Yoruichi and himself, had upped and left Soul Society, Kaname had been handpicked to be a guardian of the gate to the King.

Yoruichi smirked, "she is coming."

Urahara looked up in surprise.

"Can't you feel the reiatsu coming closer? It must take a lot to keep those bells of hers still," she commented casually.

A blur of black and lapis lazuli stopped in front of them. Both Yoruichi and Kaname were nearly identical, the only thing separating them were the variations in colour. As well, Kaname carried no zanpakuto on her being.

"Shall we, ladies?" Urahara gestured.

And they strode into the welcoming light.

"Kana-chan, where have you been hiding?" murmured a blank faced Kuchiki Byakuya.

Yoruichi disappeared into the wind, while Urahara vanished with Benihime into the Rukongai. Kaname stared at her cousin for a moment before deciding to have a chat with her law abiding relative.

Her face morphed into an arrogant sneer, "my mentor, how long has it been since we have sparred, Bya-chan?"

To his credit, his face didn't even twitch, "Kana-chan, where have you been?" It was stern, almost as if he was her superior. He might be the 6th division taicho, but she held status far greater than almost all in Seireitei.

"I've been in the real world, Bya-chan, my sotaicho asked me to lie low for a little while," an ugly sneer flit across her face, "I was following orders, ne, Bya-chan, just not Yamamoto's."

He did not even attempt to stop her from passing him and he closed his eyes. Kuchiki Byakuya was not stupid enough to even attempt to stop her. The ni tattoo on her back meant nothing, but the second one did.

"Kana-chan–"

Kaname did not stay around long enough for her to hear the rest of his sentence. She did not, in any way, want to be around him for much longer. The bells around the ankle of her left boot made no noise as she headed to the north entrance to Seireitei. It was time to collect an old favour.

A blood thirsty grin rose as she neared the North Gate. Her steps were quick and lead her Danzomaru quickly.

"Danzomaru," she called sickeningly, "it's time I collected that old debt." Kaname's face was a well mastered mask of blankness – a Kuchiki default. A soft sigh left her lips as she undid the black ribbon around her hair. It fell and a wave of pure reiatsu exploded outwards from her body. The blue jacket adorning her shoulders disintegrated and she concentrated her reiatsu into a pure blue ball of energy.

"The consequences shall be dire, so I pray to thee that you let me through," she spoke softly.

Danzomaru looked at her, his eyes closed and he opened the gate. He could feel the reiatsu in the air and if he wasn't quick, it would squash him like a bug.

Kaname passed through the gate and then turned to face him. The spinning ball formed the rough shape of her zanpakuto and rammed it through him. "Foolish Danzomaru, to believe I would let you live." She turned on her heel and headed to the centre, where old man Yamamoto was sure to try to punish her.

A fleeting thought of a certain fox face and closed aquamarine eyes pioneered a new path across her mind. Kaname shook her head. If it had come to this, he would be in Hueco Mundo. A bitter smile upturned her lips. He had been her companion before, during, and after the academy. She missed him.