Disclaimer- I do not own Bleach
Chapter Nine- Urahara's Motives Revealed
When he arrived in the world of the living Ukitake made his way to Urahara's shop and when he reached the shop he knocked on the door. A few seconds later the door slid open and a small girl peered out. "Hello Ururu. Is Kisuke around?"
Ururu nodded. "Come inside and I'll get him."
With a nod Ukitake stepped inside the shop, sliding the door closed behind him. Ururu left him standing in the front of the shop and disappeared into the back room.
"Well if it isn't Head Captain Ukitake," a voice called out.
Ukitake glanced up and watched as the Acting Captain of Squad Twelve, Kisuke Urahara, walked toward him. "And to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"It's about Momo and Toushirou," Ukitake said. "Both of them had their powers sealed in Hueco Mundo by a member of Squad Twelve."
"Really?" Urahara asked.
"Don't even bother with the innocent routine Kisuke," Ukitake said. "I know for a fact no one in Squad Twelve is capable of designing a device that could seal the powers of a Captain class Shinigami. That leaves you as the only person who could have done it."
"Alright Ukitake you've got me," Urahara said, holding up his hands. "I confess."
"What the hell were you thinking?" Ukitake demanded. "They could have been killed."
"I was under the impression that you wanted them brought back to Soul Society," Urahara said. "And I knew that even the combined powers of that group wouldn't be enough to bring them back if they didn't want to come. So I decided to help them out a little."
Ukitake sighed. He really should be used to stuff like this by now. "Okay you were trying to do us all a favor. Can you tell me how to remove the collar or does poor Momo have to wear it for the rest of her life?"
Urahara shook his head. "No. There's a simple spirit chant that will deactivate the seal and then the collar can be removed. But why only Momo? Are you going to make the boy keep wearing his?"
"Toushirou already broke the seal," Ukitake said. "According to Momo his collar exploded when he used Bankai during a fight with an ex-Espada."
"Amazing," Urahara said. "And here I thought my design was flawless."
Two days had passed since the group of Shinigami had returned from Hueco Mundo and Head Captain Ukitake was on his way to the Squad Ten barracks to speak to Captain Hitsugaya about a new assignment. When he reached Hitsugaya's office the head captain knocked lightly on the door. "Captain of Squad One Jyuushirou Ukitake requesting a meeting with Captain Hitsugaya."
Once again the voice that called out to him was not the one he was expecting and as Ukitake stepped inside the office he was greeted by an eerily familiar scene. Hitsugaya was nowhere to be seen and Matsumoto was sitting behind the desk with a pen in her hand.
"Oh no not again," Ukitake though to himself as he stared at the vice-captain. "Rangiku where's your captain?"
"He's out at the training grounds," Matsumoto replied glumly.
"Training grounds?" Ukitake repeated. "So soon after a major battle?"
Matsumoto nodded. "He said there was something he had to check on. I think it might have something to do with his Bankai."
"What about his Bankai?"
"Well sir when the captain broke the seal on his powers his Bankai was different. The wings were larger and the ice flowers weren't there. I think he might have went to the training grounds to find out whether that was a one time thing or if the change was permanent."
"Interesting." His curiosity peaked, Head Captain Ukitake decided to go to the training grounds to see for himself what Captain Hitsugaya was up to. "Thanks for the information Rangiku," he said as he turned to leave.
"You're welcome sir."
When Ukitake arrived at the training grounds he saw Hitsugaya hovering a few feet off the ground, in Bankai form. And upon closer inspection he saw that what Matsumoto had said was true. The ice flowers that should have been floating behind the young captain, the symbol of his time limit, weren't there.
Hitsugaya glanced toward the sound of the voice and spotted Ukitake. Landing on the ground his ice wings exploded as his sword reverted back to its sealed form. "Yes sir?"
Ukitake walked over and came to stand beside the young captain. "Are you sure you should be training like that so soon Toushirou?"
"I'm fine," Hitsugaya said. "Besides there was something I had to check on."
Ukitake nodded. "You had to know whether your Bankai had gone back to normal."
Hitsugaya's eyes widened. "Who. . ."
"Matsumoto told me about what happened in Hueco Mundo," Ukitake explained. "And she said you'd come here to check on something so I thought that's what it might be."
"I see," Hitsugaya said, sheathing his zanpaktou.
"Are you finished with your test?" Ukitake asked.
"Then walk with me," he said. "There are a few things I wish to discuss with you."
Slightly confused but deciding that in light of past events it would be unwise to question the Head Captain, Hitsugaya nodded and fell into step beside Ukitake.
"So tell me Toushirou, is your Bankai's appearance the only thing that's changed?"
Hitsugaya shook his head. "No. I think having my powers sealed was a blessing in disguise because breaking the seal seems to have increased my power. I no longer have the time limit while in Bankai and my attacks have all gotten stronger."
Ukitake was silent for a few minutes contemplating the young captain's words and a vision of Urahara suddenly popped into his head. And with it complete understanding of the situation. "He did it on purpose, to make Toushirou stronger."
Although the Acting Captain of Squad Twelve would never admit it, Ukitake was convinced that that was what had happened. It never ceased to amaze him how all of Urahara's seemingly crazy plans always yielded good results. "I wonder if he plans it all out that way or if its just pure dumb luck."
Either way this newest development would definitely help them out in the upcoming war with Aizen.
"So what did you need to speak to me about sir?" Hitsugaya asked, breaking into Ukitake's thoughts.
"I have a new assignment for you Toushirou," Ukitake replied. "But you're not going to like it."
"That doesn't sound very promising," Hitsugaya thought to himself before saying, "Okay, I'm afraid to ask but what is it?"
"Well," Ukitake said. "I need someone in the world of the living to keep our fighters there up to date on what's happening here and to keep the Arrancar under control," Ukitake said. "And I think that you're the best person for the job."
Hitsugaya scowled. The prospect of returning to the world of the living did not make him happy. "Why me?"
"Because you were in the world of the living for awhile," Ukitake explained. "And you bonded with them."
"LIKE HELL I DID!"
"Okay bonded might have been too strong a word," Ukitake said. "But you know them better than anyone else. Besides, with the level of Arrancar that Aizen's sending to the world of the living now if I send someone of lower rank then they're not likely to come back alive."
Hitsugaya would have protested more if not for the fact that he'd ignored the last few orders the older captain had given him. As it was he figured he should probably obey this one. However he wasn't going to be happy about it.
"Look on the bright side," Ukitake said with a smile. "You'll get to see Ichigo again."
"That is NOT a bright side," Hitsugaya growled.
Ukitake chuckled slightly. "Sorry Toushirou I couldn't resist. The real bright side is that I'm going to allow you to go to the world of the living without having your powers restricted. Aizen's sending more powerful Arrancar and it'll just save time if you don't have the limiter."
Hitsugaya nodded. "Guess I'll go and inform Matsumoto that she's in charge of Squad Ten."
"That'll make her day," Ukitake said with a chuckle.
"Welcome back Captain," Matsumoto called out as Hitsugaya entered the Squad Ten office. "Now that you're back I can stop doing paperwork right?"
Hitsugaya's gaze swept over the pile of paperwork sitting on the desk, which didn't appear to have gotten any smaller. "It doesn't look like you ever started Matsumoto."
"Did so," Matsumoto said, holding up a piece of paper.
Hitsugaya shook his head as he gazed at the piece of paper in her hand, which had two lines completed. "That's all you've managed to get done in three hours?"
Placing the paper back down Matsumoto said, "Excuse me for not being as obsessed with paperwork as you are."
Hitsugaya felt the beginnings of a headache forming and he rubbed his temples with his fingertips. "I'm not obsessed with paperwork. I just realize that it has to be done regardless of whether or not I enjoy it. And this has absolutely nothing to do with why I came here."
"So why did you come?" Matsumoto wanted to know.
"I've been assigned to a post in the world of the living," Hitsugaya informed her. "Again. So that means that while I'm gone you'll have temporary command of the Squad. Again."
"Not again," Matsumoto whined, fixing her captain with puppy dog eyes and allowing her lower lip to tremble pitifully. "You're the one who broke the rules so why am I being punished."
"Shut up," Hitsugaya snapped. "I don't even want to hear it."
"You're so cruel Captain."
This said, Hitsugaya turned and left the office. Head Captain Ukitake had informed him that he would be leaving the following morning and before then there was something that he had to do, whether he wanted to or not. The young captain walked across the Seireitei until he came to the Squad Five barracks. He made his way down the corridor, coming to a stop in front of the office door. Taking a deep breath, steeling himself for what was to come, he knocked on the door a couple of times.
"Enter," a soft voice called out.
Hitsugaya slid the door open and stepped inside the office. His gaze swept over the room before coming to rest on the form of his childhood friend, Momo Hinamori, who was seated behind the desk. Hinamori's face lit up when she saw who her visitor was.
Hitsugaya growled low under his breath as he walked across the office and came to stand in front of the desk. "I've told you before, it's Captain Hitsugaya."
Hinamori smiled but made no move to correct herself.
Hitsugaya shrugged his shoulders, thinking to himself that some things would never change. "I just came by to let you know that I'm leaving for the world of the living tomorrow. I've been assigned as a liaison between Urahara, the two Kurosakis and Soul Society."
The smile quickly left Hinamori's face. "How long will you be gone?"
Hitsugaya shrugged. "As long as is necessary." With that the young captain turned to leave however he was stopped by the soft sound of Hinamori crying behind him. With a sigh Hitsugaya turned around and gazed over at his long time friend. "What is it now?"
"I'm so sorry Shirou-chan," Hinamori said with a small sniffle. "I didn't mean to get you into trouble. I just needed to know. . ."
"Idiot," Hitsugaya snapped, halting Hinamori in mid sentence. "This assignment has nothing to do with you. I'm the one who was stationed in the world of the living for the longest period of time and therefore Ukitake thought I'd be the best candidate for this assignment."
Hinamori nodded, drying her eyes on the sleeve of her shihakusho. "Just promise me that you'll come back safely."
Hitsugaya smirked. "You've got nothing to worry about."
Hinamori nodded as her friend turned once again and left the office. "You'd better mean that Toushirou."
A/N- Thus ends the second installment of my trilogy. Here's a nice little summary that my best friend came up with when she learned the plot of this story; Hinamori wants to understand Aizen, Hitsugaya wants to understand Hinamori, Ukitake wants to know what the hell's going on and Urahara still knows everything. There will be yet another sequel however I haven't started writing it yet, it's still in the planning stages, so it may take awhile for me to post it. Hope you enjoyed this one and FYI it's Aizen and the Espada vs Ichigo and the Shinigami in the next one. Til the next time this is Hitsu-taichou signing out.