Twilight: Hello, my lovely reviewers and favorite…ers…?

Kage: You're such an idiot.

Twilight: Hey, no I'm not! I just…

Kage: Am lacking a proper grasp on the English language?

Twilight: No!

Kage: Is a dribbling imbecile?

Twilight: Shut the hell up, you annoying furry sack of shit!

Kage: …Testy today, aren't we?

Twilight: …BLAHGRABFLABBIT!

Kage: Since Twilight has spontaneously combusted, I will continue this by saying that I do not exist to amuse you and Bleach does not belong to this pedophilic psycho.

Twilight: HITSUGAYA'S OLDER THAN ME!

Kage: Then doesn't that make you an even sicker person?

Twilight: SHUT UP!


. Requiem of a Wandering Spirit .

a bleach fanfiction

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Requiem of a Wandering Spirit © Dragon of Twilight
Bleach © Kubo Tite

This introduction format © B a y o – B a y o

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CHAPTER N I N E:
"Bear Teeth and Tiger Eyes"


Opening Theme: "Houki Boshi" by Younha


"Is this all you got?! Draw your zanpakuto already!"

Yuurei yelped as she hit the ground, landing flat on her belly. The breath was knocked out of her in a whoosh and she just lay there, briefly paralyzed. She let out a strained screech as a sandaled foot slammed down on her back.

For what must've been the thousandth time, she cursed her luck; the way trouble seemed to draw itself to her. She didn't DO anything! The instant she set foot into Eleventh Division grounds, Yachiru had disappeared, saying something about 'finding Feather-brows'. She had done what she probably shouldn't have and wandered aimlessly, coming across the Eleventh Division training grounds and promptly being attacked. She didn't even get a good look at him; she only had time to register the sun glinting off a bald head before being forced to defend herself.

Yuurei opened her mouth to respond, but the bald man above her holding her down with a sandal on her back moved it to her head, promptly grinding his foot harder into her head, cutting her off. Dust rushed up her throat, itching and burning. She gave an aggravated groan, thoughts turning malicious as she brooded on the little pink-haired monster that had left her to this man's clutches.

Yachiru, I don't care if you are a fukutaichou, I'm going to spank you next time I see you.

You know how much of a mom you sound right now, right? Keibatsu harassed her, cruelly dredging up hurtful memories. Yuurei's attention flicked to him, and she paid for the lapse in attention. She didn't hear the bald man threaten her to draw her zanpakuto as a final warning.

Blood spattered the ground as a shallow cut was carved into Yuurei's upper arm, cutting through cloth, skin, and muscle. The man withdrew his crimson-soaked blade and paused, perhaps waiting for the gray-haired shinigami to scream in pain.

Yuurei shifted uncomfortably, staring blankly at the cut.

The man yelled out angrily at her lack of reaction. "What the hell?! Can't you feel anything?!"

Yuurei stayed quiet, but flinched when the man's zanpakuto stabbed through the splayed fingers of her outstretched hand, just barely grazing the skin, and dug into the dirt. There was a tense moment of silence. The man removed his foot and blade, allowing Yuurei to stand unsteadily, back aching. She blinked as she got a good look at him.

Tall and muscled, he towered over her by a good foot and a half, staring down at her with intimidating, dark, slanted eyes. His eyebrows were drawn sharply together in a fearsome scowl. Small red markings were at the corners of his eyes and he gazed at her with disappointment and frustration.

"Beating you around is no fun at all. You don't fight back." He tilted his head back, sheathing his zanpakuto and bringing it up to tap it thoughtfully on his shoulder. "Hell, looks like you can't feel pain, either. Guess you aren't all that strong."

"CUE-BALL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ZOMBIE-CHAN?!"

A pink and black blur slammed into the bald man, and Yachiru's teeth became clamped to his skull. A strange wailing sound somewhere between a high-pitched scream and a curse exploded from his mouth, and he moved his arms frantically to try and pry the little pink parasite off of him. Yachiru simply clamped harder, and didn't let go until the man's own frantic flailing unbalanced him, sending him crashing to the ground.

She rushed over to Yuurei, grabbing at her injured arm. "Zombie-chan, are you ok? Did Cue-ball hurt you too much?" Without giving Yuurei time to answer, she turned to the bald man, who was climbing warily to his feel, looking indignant.

"What the hell, fukutaichou?! Who the heck is this?"

"She's Zombie-chan, a newbie from Uptighty-chan's squad. Ran-chan's new pet." Yuurei's eye twitched at being referred to as a pet. Yachiru scowled up at the man. "I was gonna introduce her to Ken-chan!"

"Matsumoto's new pet, eh?" The man frowned, glancing at Yuurei. "So, she dragged you here?"

Yuurei opened her mouth to speak, but what came out was an unintelligible rasp, her breath scratching over the coating of dust in her throat. He raised an eyebrow as she gave a couple of wrenching coughs that made her eyes water, taking in her emaciated frame and delicate appearance for the first time. Her onyx eyes stared up at him warily through a glaze of tears, through the hand that she had clamped over her mouth. Blood trickled from the slash in her arm and dripped from her fingers. His eyes narrowed as it dawned on him that he might have made a mistake.

"Oh, hell…" He cursed, rubbing the back of his bald head as he felt guilt prick at him. "Ah…listen. The name's Madarame Ikkaku, third seat. I think I might've made a mistake."

No kidding! Yuurei thought sullenly, but she simply nodded.

"Listen, I owe you an apology. Let's get you patched up so Matsumoto doesn't kill me."

Yuurei eyed him distrustfully, and glanced at Yachiru for confirmation. Yachiru nodded approvingly, a satisfied expression on her face.


"Well, you certainly haven't taken care of yourself in a while."

Not quite the introduction she'd been expecting, no less from Yachiru's "feather-brows".

After leading her inside, Ikkaku had tossed her a first aid kit and disappeared, and Yachiru had taken off, talking about 'finding Ken-chan'. She'd also said that 'feather-brows' was around. This guy had appeared out of nowhere as she was putting the kit back in the office's personal kitchen cupboard.

This man didn't quite fit Yuurei's imagination. Yuurei had imagined a hulking giant, albeit with long, feathery eyebrows, to be the one Yachiru was talking about. Not an effeminate man with oddly cut black hair, shocking lavender eyes and brightly colored feather clips attached to his eyebrow and eyelash.

"W-Who are you?" She asked as politely as she could manage, albeit with a slight nervous stutter. The man was eyeing her like she was a distasteful piece of garbage. He scoffed, flipping his hair in a way that made her eyes widen.

"If you must know, I'm Ayasegawa Yumichika, Fourth Seat of the Eleventh Division." He put his hand on his hip and leaned forward slightly, wrinkling his nose. "And who might you be?" Yuurei opened her mouth to speak before Yumichika cut her off, turning his nose up at her. "Never mind; it doesn't matter. You've got a nice face, but you're disgustingly skinny and I can see the sun damage of your skin and hair from here. That ragged mop could never compare to my luxurious locks."

Dumbfounded at the slew of unusual insults, the only response Yuurei could come up with was a meek, "You do have really pretty hair…"

Yumichika paused, and glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes, flashing her a calculating, reevaluating look. "Oh?" He asked, interested. "I suppose I do. Go on."

Seeing the line she was thrown, Yuurei clung to it, shamelessly praising the striking color of his eyes, the obviously expert tailoring of his robes, the way those odd feather ornaments complemented the shape of his face, how his hair nicely framed his head…

After a while of unabashed groveling, the man raised his hand, stemming the flow of praise. "Alright, that's enough."

Yuurei almost slumped into an exhausted heap at the reprieve. She was running out of things to gush about.

The corner of Yumichika's mouth tugged upward as he nodded approvingly at her. "You at least know how to exploit the opportunities you're given. Not bad…Zombie-chan." He smirked at Yuurei's eye twitch and decided to spare her, explaining, "Yachiru went to find Taichou and Ikkaku challenged some fool that took some of his sake. I was simply curious and took time from my busy schedule to see what the fuss was about." That last sentence was accompanied by another hair flip. "You should be grateful that someone as beautiful as I would bother."

Narcissist. Yuurei's eyebrows climbed their way up her forehead. He's either gay or completely in love with himself. Suddenly desperate for company she knew how to handle, she blurted, "Um…A-Ayasegawa-san…do you think that Yachiru lost her way? S-She's been gone for a while…"

Yumichika seemed taken aback by her abrupt change of subject, but looked thoughtful as he cradled his chin in his hand. "Hmm…it's definitely likely. I suppose I should go find her. She might have wandered into the construction zone." He caught Yuurei's interested expression and sighed, gesturing with both hands in a sort of shrug. "Part of the barracks was destroyed during the last full moon sake party. Such uncouth buffoons I'm forced to coexist with…"

Yuurei bowed her head, murmuring appropriately sympathetic words. Inside her head, her thoughts were swirling.

How do I keep getting into situations like this?!


Yuurei let out a frustrated sigh, leaning back on the wooden support beam. Her hand tapped out an irritated rhythm on the wooden floor as she looked out into the small garden and pond the Eleventh had. Yumichika had said that he'd be back in five minutes with Yachiru, but had been gone for about twenty.

Bored, she allowed her mind to wander, thinking all sorts of random things. She calculated the amount of time it would take her to walk a mile. She wondered if Hitsugaya-taichou had a growth abnormality. She pondered the reasons behind the need for 13 Divisions. She wondered if Matsumoto had ever suffocated in her own boobs. She replayed some of the facts and information she'd read earlier that morning. She imagined a snake with a sword fighting an owl with a pair of daggers. Imagination running wild, she didn't take note of the stifling pressure that she'd felt ever since she entered the grounds of the Eleventh fall over her.

Someone made a noise behind her.

Had it been about two octaves higher, it would have sounded like someone clearing his throat. As it was, it was a kind of subterranean rumble, like a subway train passing directly underfoot.

Alarmed, Yuurei turned her head, and found herself at eye-level with what appeared to be a wall of black wearing an obi.

She looked up. And up. And up.

The wall turned into tan slabs of muscle, widening out into mountainous shoulders. There are people who can be described as 'sculpted', but in this case, the sculptor appeared to have used a chainsaw, or perhaps dynamite. What seemed like miles above, a craggy, scarred face stared down at her with a single coffee brown eye, bell-tipped spikes surrounding the monster's head like a crown.

Oh, good god.

She'd known the captain was somewhere nearby, of course. It was impossible not to notice the suffocating power that settled over the area like a heavy fog. It was like having a thunderstorm roll by; everyone could feel the change in the air.

Anyone who was in a hundred yard's radius of the infamous Captain Zaraki Kenpachi knew it.

The man's mouth twitched downward in a scowl. Yuurei's eyes, already wide, widened further at the impossibly deep baritone that seemed to come from deep within the captain's chest and rolling into a series of rumbles.

"Who're you?"

The gray-haired shinigami could only stare, frightened out of her mind. Her eyes darted around, looking for an escape route. From far above, a lip lifted in irritation, revealing a terrifyingly pointed canine tooth. A horrible pressure slammed down on her, weighing down her trembling limbs and pressing down on her shoulders.

"Hey, you deaf? What's yer name?!"

Automatically, Yuurei opened her mouth to speak, but suddenly her attention was diverted, locking onto a reiatsu so familiar, so missed, that it managed to make her forget about the bear of a shinigami in front of her. Yachiru's reiatsu shone brightly next to his, but Yuurei had zeroed in on the one at her side.

"Ken-chan, Ken-chan, Ken-chan, Ken-chan, Ken-chan~!" Came the familiar singsong, followed by an irritated voice that was achingly familiar.

"Zaraki-taichou, I'm here with Kusajishi-fukutaichou; she wanted to introduce you to someone—"

Shocked chocolate brown met dazed stone gray as they locked eyes.

"Waka…" The name slipped from her lips with such aching longing. She felt tears spring to her eyes.

He stood there, still as a statue, eyes locked on hers. They watched the hot liquid fill her eyes and trail down her cheeks, almost disbelievingly before realization filled his eyes. He moved so abruptly that Yuurei couldn't track it, throwing his arms around her and hugging her close as if they were the only two people in the world. For a split second she froze at the touch of another person, but sagged limply against his chest, letting him support her body as her knees buckled underneath her.

The complete trust in that gesture provoked a raised eyebrow from the taller observer that watched the odd woman embrace his Ninth Seat.

Her heart felt like it was going to burst out of her chest when she heard his inaudible whisper, meant for no one's ears but hers.

"I missed you so much, Yuurei-chan."


Ending Theme: "Again" by Yui


A/N: I'M SO SORRY GUYS! There were midterms, and divorce papers, and ulcers, and stalkers, and all manners of unpleasant things keeping me from this story! The writer's block didn't help much, either. And I know it's short. Bite me.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Inuko93, queenofspades19, KusajishiFuktaichou, Jibun no Omoi, XxBreakingxxPointxX, darkheart1992, HowCouldThisHappenToMe, Hikari6007, Leopardstar, n a g a s h i . n o . k u r o, XoXoCHOCOXoXo, mind . m a e l s t r o m, waterlily777, Bleachluver101, TwisterF5, T s u k iM e g a m iC h a n-x;

THANK YOU!

Signing out,
Dragon of Twilight!