Again everybody I'm going to tell you that I'm not giving up. This fanfic will eventually have a complete instead of an in-progress label and I hope that you all are as determined to see that day as much as I am. Also reviewers don't be surprised if I message you asking for some confidence because I really want to finish this, but I am human therefore I have weak moments were I'm down.

This is a rather dark chapter and a lot of stuff is revealed…about the war, not Kiyoko.

Also I have updated a progress report to my profile, see it if you're curious where i am with the next chapter.

Prelude 12/21 by A.F.I

Disclaimer: Dang, I told you I'd forget to put this on, but you all know I don't own bleach.

(not proofreader read)

A fresh coat of snow covered the sleeping earth, the soft powder was untouched. The layer of white shone in the pale night light. Petite clumps of colorless snow continued to fall and gather. All the civilians had sought shelter under the snow capped buildings. They were peacefully unaware of the intruders who had migrated underground to regain their freedom.

There was a shuffle and a soft scraping as a tile from the First district courtyard lifted and moved to reveal an abyss into the ground. A tall figure emerged from the hole and slowly took in their surroundings. His eyes slowly moved from left to right, memorizing every detail. Confirming that the area in front of them was safe he turned in place to check the area behind him. After a few seconds of thorough examination, he motioned for someone to come out of the hole he had emerged from.

Cautiously someone climbed out and stood next to the other man.

"Are you sure it's clear Captain? You're not the best at sensing reaitsu." the new comer asked while scratching his cold bald head.

"Shut up." Kenpachi groaned, "I'm sure." His hair chimed has he moved his head.

Ikkaku turned away from his captain and nodded in the direction of the hole. Dozens of dark blurs jumped from its shadows and landed unsystematically around the pit, their palm on the hilts of their weapons.

Kiyoko's grey eyes narrowed as she examined the motionless surroundings. Nothing stirred; even the shinigami were like frozen statues.

Even though her outer appearance gave the impression that she was completely focused on the current situation, her mind swirled with other less important things. It was the final stretch before the war ended, yet she could no longer force herself to concentrate. The events, the questions, everything filled her blocking her ability to focus on the plan that Hitsugaya just finished explaining in full detail.

The snow lay evenly over the courtyard. Despite the occasional missing building, the area looked untouched. There was no debris littering the ground; no fragments of the missing buildings and not a single fallen comrade. If she hadn't known better Kiyoko would have said that there never was a fight here, but the damaged and missing buildings told otherwise.

She scanned the vicinity again as a new thought entered her mind. Where were the fallen? If they weren't lying where they died, then where was Yurie's body?

She shut out the painful thought.

Unohana stood beside her, her black hair decorated with glitters of white. Kiyoko thought Unohana was acting vaguely different. Even in a time of war she would be more talkative than this, but when Kiyoko met up with her in the sewer just before leaping into this position, she was different.

What happened in Hueco Mundo?

Kiyoko had two guesses: one was that the captains and others were captured and transported back to the Seireitei, or two, they somehow managed to open a portal and come back.

"Let's move!"

Releasing the grip on Remitora she stood and turned to Unohana. Unohana's eyes sparkled with a foreign emotion that Kiyoko had never seen on her- hopelessness. She didn't believe in the strategy. Honestly Kiyoko couldn't blame her for she too didn't think it could work.

The full plan was to travel during the night through the sewers to first district (if your confused scroll down and I'll explain), hide their reaitsu, and attack first district's headquarters in the hope that Aizen was residing there. This strategy had no room for error; if something went wrong the plan would fall apart. It was delicate, but it was all they had. They didn't have time to come up with a foolproof idea and this was better than nothing.

Unohana turned and began towards the headquarters. Kiyoko stole one last look at her surroundings and quickly followed. The line of shinigami streamed up staircase to the main building. She was almost there when she stopped, something didn't feel right.

She turned to face the courtyard. It was quiet and calm, but she could feel a quiver down her spine. It was faint, but existent.

Why didn't the other feel this? There were shinigami who were much more talented at sensing reaitsu, yet they kept running up to building. She could be imagining this, but her instincts screamed something was wrong.

There was a crunch of snow to her right. Her sword flashed as it was drawn from its sheath.


There was nothing. She stepped back, away from the courtyard.

Another crunch of snow to her left, she spun showing her sword.


She cautiously stepped into the seemingly deserted area. She could no longer feel the slight leak of reaitsu from the shinigami; in fact she couldn't feel any reaitsu. It was gone. Whatever was there was gone and now she was alone.

Guardedly she tried to go up the stairs backwards, keeping her eye on the courtyard. Deeming it safe she turned.

"Where are you going, shinigami?"

She froze. She wasn't alone.

"Quite talented aren't we…at hiding our spirit energy that is."

It was a male voice that she didn't recognize.

Slowly she looked over her shoulder. A strange dark figure stood in the square. Kiyoko concentrated on trying to find his reaitsu, but he wasn't releasing any.

"I'm a little surprised though," he began to walk forward, "I thought you shinigami would be a bit more…ah what's the word I'm looking for…smart."

Kiyoko moved off of the steps, she knew she would have to fight him in order for the others to have a chance at defeating Aizen.

"I mean, hiding in the sewers…How shameful."


Hiding in the sewers… how did he know? He must have been watching; it's impossible to sense reaitsu from the sewers.

"You seem surprised. Yes, we knew where you shinigami were hiding."

We knew…they knew…

He continued to move forward, "So, why didn't we come and get you?" he shrugged, "We didn't want to waist energy needlessly. You shinigami would surface before we desperately needed to find you." He stopped walking and crossed his arms, "You shinigami are so predictable."

Terror filled her eyes as she realized what he was talking about.

This is a trap!

The shinigami, the nobles, everybody had been playing into this. The arrancar knew they would try to attack and were prepared to recapture them. They hid their reaitsu to lure the shinigami into a false sense of security and then the arrancar would attack.

She needed to warn the others!

Determined Kiyoko kept her eyes on the arrancar. He was the only threat to her getting back to the group and once he was eliminated…

A dark blur crossed her vision and her sword was flying away from her. Strong hands pinned her wrists behind her, leaving her defenseless. The arrancar that had been talking to her still stood feet away.

"I thought I killed you." A second voice said.

The voice was familiar…too familiar for her liking.

Phantom arrancar.

Okay, for those of you who don't understand the battle plan, here is my explanation. Earlier I said that they would attack in the morning…I lied. Well not really it is morning for them because they slept and their sense of time is all messed up from being in the sewer. Anyway, The Captains figured because of Aizens ego he probably would stay in the most extravagant place in the seireitei which is First district headquarter (the place where the captains have meetings). So, what they want to do is hide their reaitsu and attack Aizen! If you still don't understand message me or say so in a review and I'll try to explain it better. Actually the plan isn't a big part in my story, all you need to know is that the shinigami came up with a plan and are putting it into action.

I want to thank my reviewers: Zz-Edge-X-Meirouki-zZ, Bloody-Ribbon, and Shadow Wolf Princess24

You made me happy!

If you don't mind, could you tell me if I should keep putting songs to my chapters or if it makes a difference? Please and thank you!!!