A/N: HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! Consider this a gift to yall! Much has happened since I last updated this story, and yall have Dylan Millwood (I believe that is how you say his author name) on this site to thank for this much needed update! Naturally some things have changed, and the idenity of a certain masked man has since come to light. Don't worry folks! We have a plan! Now, this chapter may be a bit rusty as I clear off the dust from this story. Also...has everyone SEEN the "real" Unohana? Yikes! And I thought she was scary before!
"Oh yeah, he's lost it. Gone off the deep end."
The team sent to rescue Tatsuki froze as a horrific, terrifying, absolutley appaling spiritual pressure seemed to appear simply out of nowhere. A pillar of energy slammed into the roof of Las Noches which utterly disentigrated upon contact, dissolving to reveal the bleak sky of Hueco Muendo towering above.
Ichigo and the others all froze in horror. Whose power was this?! It wasn't Aizen's...it was worse! It was if an entire ocean of spiritual pressure had opened up above them, threatening to drown the lot of them at any moment!
"Anybody else got goosebumps from this spiritual pressure?" an unfimilar voice asked.
Ichigo turned around to see who had spoken. His eyes bulged so large he was almost certain they'd fall roll right out of his head.
A well endowed woman-there could be no other word for her-with smooth red hair, wind tattoos around her neck and navel, mismatching eyes-one a deep, emerald green, the other a fierce, crimson red. She wore a Konoha headband with a black cloth; eerily similar to the one Naruto had worn upon returning from his training trip with Jiraiya, a skintight, sleeveless shirt cropped just above her stomach to expose her navel, alongside scalloped strike bracers.
Her lower body was by no means any less enticing, clad as she was in short black shorts, long black panties, ninja greaves, and red, Konoha-style shinobi sandals...and they weren't the high-heel typ that were worn by kunoichi, but rather men's. What was really eye-catching was she wore a shinobi supply pouch and the carrying pouch on her thigh for kunai knives and shuriken, which she obviously knew how to use. Across the small of her back she carried a katana in a bloody crimson-red sheathe; the hilt itself inlaid with a red dragon's crest, laid against the black wrapping of the sword's hilt.
It was the same woman who killed Yammy.
Drawing her zanpaktou, the blade itself was revealed to the night; a double-edged nodachi, slim and slender, yet large and deadly all the same. The blade itself was pure onyx; its darknees near rivalling the black sky of Hueco Muendo itself, were not for the faintest trace of scarlet at its very edges.
"Oi...isn't that Naruto's fused sword? Endriago?" Ichigo asked. How did this woman have Naruto's blade?
She smirked "Yep. And you even remembered my name too. I'm flattered."
While Ichigo was drawing a blank for what this woman ment by that, Rukia stared at her, knowing there was something about this woman; something an equally small part of her knew. Sode no Shirayuki tremble slightly in her sheath. The feeling of utter joy coming from the Yuki-Onna in the shape of a sword was so extreme that Rukia couldn't help but notice it. And it was focused on...
Her eyes wide, Rukia looked from her sword to the woman, back again.
"Bingo, Rukia-dono. Figures you'd know me with the way Sode no Shirayuki-nee-chan is your partner!" Endriago said proudly.
Byakuya stared, Naruto's soul cutter-spirit? How? He opened his mout to ask, but she help up a hand in front of his face before he had uttered a single word.
"Ah, shuddaup Byaku-Yaoi." the woman said with dismissive annoyance.
Ichigo gawked at what she'd called Byakuya and laughed "Yaoi? as in guy-on-guy love? In other words, you're saying that Byakuya's gay." Ichigo snickered.
Endriago laughed and nodded. "Hell yeah! He's overly feminine-looking, fights using flowers, and dispite all the female attention he gets in the Soul Society, he's compleatly uninterested in ANY of them...Hell, he even attends Shinigami Women's Association meetings! Tell me he's not straight as a cricle with those facts!"
"I'M NOT GAY!" the noble shouted, going red in the face.
"Then why do you seem so defensive about this?" the woman asked, grinning in triumph.
Any response Byakuya might've offered was put on hold as a figrue dropped down in front of them, a blur of dark gray reiatsu with a bloody red outline taking shape within the form in a sinister aura. As the figure was revealed, everyone took a step back.
It had the Skullclad form granted by the guardians of Hell, the Kushanāda, covering most of its body save for it's abdominal area, which may was well have been composed of liquid metal. Coming from it's back was a set of six ebony-colored, webed hand-like wings with eyes set upon the center, adorned with Hollow-like skulls, and trailing into tendrils, while nine scorpion-like tailes swayed behind its. It had shackles and long lengths of chain the rusted color of dried blood hanging from its wrists and ankles while it had cloven hands and feet.
The thing had half it's face that wasn't covered in bone from the skulls was covered in a balck Hollow mask with horns came out of the side of it's head and ending three-quarters of a foot in front of its face. They seemed to curve inwards before becoming straight in front of the monster's bear trap-looking mouth. It's eyes were decorated with saphire pentagrams where the irises would be in the sea of dark grey that were it's sclera. What looked horribily like blood ran down it's face from it's eyes as if it were weeping, mourning some great and terribly tragedy.
Red markings ran the length of it's torso and biceps. A nine-point star took up the center of it's chest akin to a Hollow's hole and a throbing heart could be seen in the star's center. And all over it's body, it's nerves were big enough to be clearly seen all bulging to the point where it looked like they'd burst.
"Aw, shit!" Endriago muttered "He's gone off the deep end."
The creature reared back and roared, a terribly, ear piercing cry:
Grim-faced the zanpakuto stalked forward and subsuquently vanished. As soon as she become visable again the Hollow toppled over, its horrific form marred by hundreds wounds, each gushing black blood.
"For offense and power, I use Mumyou Jinpu Ryu. As far as defense and speed, I know Hiten Mitsurugi...Put the two together and the effect is a lethal hybrid kenjutsu that's suited for spilling the most blood on the battlefeild...just never thought I'd ever need to use it on HIM of all people." Endriago explained, anticipating the not-yet-asked question as she licked the blood off the sword-form of herself.
"You're absolutely bloodthirsty." Byakuya said in disgust.
"How nice of you to say that Byakuya-yaoi," Endriago said, smirking proudly at the fact. "I am the most violent and bloodthirsty zanpakuto in the Soul Society after all." Once more the head of the Kuchiki clan bristled at the question of sexual preference, and once again, he found his reply drowned out
The creature stood again as it roared, healing instantly as it did.
"What's that thing even saying?" Ichigo dermanded, cringing as the reaitsu nearly bowled the lot of them head over heels.
"It sounds like it's saying "Uchiwa", a paper fan." Rukia said, then froze, her mind going a mile a second as her memory went back to everything Naruto had ever shared with her about Konoha and the fuku-taichou of Division Thirteen looked at the creature a moment, dumbstruck, then she let out a scream of frustration as she realized something.
"GODDAMIT! JUST WHAT THE HELL DID THAT SHARINGAN-EYED JACKASS DO NOW?!"
Naruto roared again, the sheer force of his voice bowling the group backwards from the shockwave alone, crashing into the dunes.
Naruto howled again as a new individual materialized before in in not shunpo, but sonido. Apacci unclipped the chakram on either of her wrists, knowing she'd need to go into her resurrección right off the bat with this fight. "Thrust, Cierva!" she announced,being enveloped in the light of her own power.
When it faded, her body was covered in brown fur, she sported deer-like antlers above her brow, her feet had been replaced with deer-like hooves, and a small tail emerged from where her tailbone would be located. Both her eyes had changed to amber and gained a red outline around them, with small lightning bolt-shaped markings on both sides of her face.
"Sorry about this...if you're who I think you are, I just wanna say I'm sorry. You've been hurt more than enough already. Now you need to get beaten more." she said with a wince, she wasn't going to enjoy this at all.
"Hold it! I'll help!" a new voice said and Apacci turned to see another X-chromosomed Arrancar.
The female arrancar had short, shoulder-length, brown hair and large, bright, brown eyes. She also had two purple rectangular markings on each of her cheeks. Her mask fragment was in the shape of a simple headband with a pair of horns like an oni mask.
"Wrap, Seda Diosa," the woman uttered as she pulled her zanpakutō free of it's scabbard, and lavender colored reiatsu exploded from her zanpakutō as she drew it. The light wrapped around her, and there was a flash. The flash ended, and the female stood with her weapon ready.
She was wrapped in cloth that was the lavender color of her reiatsu. There were knots on her back, five exactly. From these knots hung dozens of strips of the cloth. There was also a knot on the bottom of each wrist, and from them only a single strip each. Added onto that, she still had her sword in hand, yet no longer did a blade come from the guard of her sword. Instead, a long strip of white cloth hung limply.
Apacci raised an eyebrow. "What are you going to do to him with that thing? Are you into bondage or something?" she asked.
The other female Arrancar blushed deeply, before glaring as the Hollowfied Naruto.
"we'll do this Rope-a-dope, I'll weaken him, you blow his mask off to change him back. His hollow powers give him absolute control over dimensional boundries, including the manipulation of time, energy, space, and matter. He already restored all the Menos Forest and the dead Hollows that were all killed by Deidara earlier, as well as all the Gotei Thirteen members that've died here in Hueco Mundo since this started, so he's already pretty weak and his powers are fluxuating due to how messed up whatever news got him so worked up." Rin whispered to Apacci, then turned to her sensei's son.
"Take this!" she yelled, and swung her sword's hilt. The piece of cloth suddenly shot forward, its end reaching for Naruto's face. The Hollow narrowed it's eyes and dodged. The piece of cloth zipped by him, piercing clean through one of the red pillars and shattering it.
Apacci whistled. "I see, the blade of the swords' been replaced by a razor sharp piece of fabric, which you manipulate with your reiatsu, nice."
The other woman arrancar pointed at Naruto, and uttered, "Ten."
Immediately, ten strips of cloth came to life on her back. The strips flew forward, hoping to annihilate Naruto. However, the Black-mask roared again, sending enough spiritual pressure out to match all of the Espada and their Akatsuki counterparts in their released states in a shockwave around his body and the sheer energy scorched the strips of cloth.
"Take this, Hundred!"
Suddenly, the strips on her back multiplied until there was a hundred. They reared back, before striking all at once,
Come on...just a little more...jus a bit more energy... she thought as Naruto blasted the hundred cloth stirps using a Cero Metralleta. She winced as the cloth that was part of her body in her form while she was in her release were destroyed.
"NOW!" she cried, leaping aside as Apacci came flying towards Naruto, wrist-blades circlets in either hand. Apacci was already increasing her reiatsu significantly while continuing her flight towards the black-masked hollow, a pair of cero in each hand, the energy violently humming as it begged to be released from her hold.
Apacci screamed out a battle cry as she let loose a blast that engulfed the area. The Black-Mask had no time to dodge or block. For a few seconds, the place had become hell on Earth.
Apacci wheezed and trembled, her ears roaring as blood pumped through them. She held her hands before her, ready to begin a second cero if needed. Though she noticed that the one blast had expended so much energy that she had regressed to her normal form. Yet she grinned as she saw Naruto's mask crumble and he turned back to normal.
Naruto wobbled and fell forward, collapsing as Apacci caught him, he saged as his body was unable to support its own weight, unconscious and thoroughly exhausted in both body and spirit from the wounds his heart had suffered by the news of what Sasuke had done to Soi Fon and their unbone child,. Sadly for Apacci...
Her mismatched eyes widened in shock, and her lips somewhat constricted in surprise, that was to be expected, but what truly surprised Apacci was her own reaction to the contact. The captain's lips were warm and soft. The moment her own lips touched Uzumaki's, she didn't want to let go. After a little while, she felt her entire body become as warm as the lips that her own held onto as she supported his weight.
Being so close, she realized that Naruto was crying, tears leaking from his closed eyes, not giving any resistance.
All the while, both assinded-Hollow women were thinking about while in that hollowfied form, the taicho's reiatsu felt as though it had more than just spiritual pressure. There had been a type of weight to it that had Nnoitra or even the bursts of energy that Ulquirroa's had carried when he use to head out into the unending desert sands of Heco Mundo when the Espada was practicing his Resurrección.
The weight of despair.
As Apacci shifted his body to better support Naruto, someone else arrived in the distortion caused by the Kamui technique.
The entire right-half of his face was severely scarred as a result of the injuries incurred due to the boulder that led to his supposed death. He was wearing a pair of black pants and gloves, with a white, form-fitting shirt underneath. Over this he had a purple, high-collared, long sleeve mantle that splits down the lower half and has the Uchiha crest on the back. Around his waist he wears a simple, light-purple obi and a belt. Strapped to his back,was a purple gunbai with black trimmings and black tomoe, connected to a black chain that ran up his right sleeve. In his hand, he carried the large black gothic cross that served as his primary weapon since getting to the Soul Soceity.
Rin, the female arrancar that had helped Apache in turning Naruto back to normal, took one look at him and turned away in sheer disgust with a 'hump'.
Obito stopped "Rin...Rin...I...what's wrong?" Obito asked, trying to get the girl...a woman now actually...to speak to, or even look at, him.
"YOU'RE what's wrong. The Obito-kun I cared for would NEVER do any of the things you have, so you're not him!" Rin spat furiously, suddenly rounding on him.
Obito froze. Shock turning him cold inside, he didn't want to believe what his old teammate had just said to him.
"So you're this teme's old teammate eh? Well don't be too hard on him, not yet at least. The fate of the balance between the living and the dead is at stake, have helping stop Aizen be his redemption." Naruto gasped, grinning at the brunette. Then glared hatefully at Obito.
"Fine. You've got more of a right to decide what's to be done with this teme than anyone else, Naruto-kun. But so help me, he so much as thinks of doing anything as negitive as littering, and I'll kill him. Seeing all the harm he caused and saying he did it for the sake of my memory is what caused my turning into a Hollow, I couldn't stand seeing what he'd become, the things he did...none of it!" Rin said.
Obito winced, the news that he'd caused the soul of the woman he loved to be dragged down hit him hard.
Rin glared at Obito, "You and your damned family! Can't they do ANYTHING right other than cause suffering and death or flaunting their egos because they can change the color of their eyes?!" she demanded.
Obito winced and backed away like a scolded child.
By now, Naruto had awoken and blinked bleary eyes at Rin "So you're this teme's ex-teammate? Heh...figures he dragged you down like, and as much as it makes me sick to even suggest this,but don't be too hard on him, not yet at least. The fate of the balence between the living and the dead's at stake, have helping stop Aizen be his redemption." Naruto gasped, grinning at the brunette. Then glared hatefully at Obito. "In the meantime, I have a favor to ask you...I need to find Inoue Orihime...her abilities make it so she's the only one who can undo what he did..." Naruto said as Apache snuggled up to the taicho she was supportting, a coy smirk tugging at her lips.
"Fine. You've got more of a right to decide what's to be done with this teme than anyone else, Naruto-kun. But so help me, he so much as thinks of doing anything as negitive as littering, and I'll kill him. As for Orihime, She's with Deidara and Grimmjow right now, so finding her'll be easy. just need to find the biggest explosion. I'll go get her." Rin said, shooting another glare at Obito before vanishing by applying a quick sonido.
Clearly, she wanted to be around her former teamate as little as possible.
After a few moments, Rin returned and was gripping the wrists of both Tatsuki and Orihime, while Chad was bound up like a mummy in the innocent-looking cloth of Rin's resurrección state. She paused suddenly and looked off to the side with an expression of contemplating something.
"Hmm...so all but Grimmjow and the top three Espadas are dead, and most of the Akatsuki are still around huh? Well, either way, the strength of Aizen's forces are cut nearly in half. It'll set him back a bit. Good."
No sooner had those words left Rin's lips than several translucent, yellow, rectangular pillar of light crashed into the ground completely enveloping Naruto, Apache (who still had Naruto leaning against her, too tired to notice she was an arrancar), Rin, Obito, Tatsuki, Orihime, and Chad. A few moments later the group began being levitated upwards.
"Damnit! Negacion?!" Naruto gasped, trying to move.
Looking out of their Negacion, Naruto saw several others. Each having the forms of the others, those whom had and had not been killed in the explosion that had greeted the rescue party or been killed in Menos Forest, that were on the mission to rescue Tatsuki in them, all of them were alive again somehow. There was even one with Suigetsu, Jugo, and Karin in it, Naruto's guess about the last three was that they had suceeded in getting Aizen's Hōgyoku from him.
He also noticed that not only were Bykuya, Unohana, and Kenpach there along with Yachiru, Isane and Yamada Hanatarō, but also that Arturo had a few arrancar with him, undoubtily he'd gotten himself a few Fraccion while they were here. Good...less forces for Aizen to throw at the Soul Society. Even if it would come with the risk of boosting Arturo's ego.
The Negacion dumped them all at Sōkyoku Hill in a large dogpile. Rin grabbed Orihime and flaired her reiatsu to throw everyone off of them, aiming to get Orihime to Soi Fon. Naruto found he was practically being straddled by Kotetsu Isane. Added onto that, a navy blue haired arrancar girl had his arm around her shoulders and was smirking at him.
The phrase "what happens in vegas" came to his mind as Naruto looked to where the closed Garganta had been. The trip to and from Hueco Mundo had been weird, hectic, and exhausting...and yet the worst part was yet to come; where he now had to go.
He had to go back.
He had to go to Konoha.
He had to go home.
A/N: Lo and behold! Starting Over lives on! We'll see just what happened next chappy, and after all I did promise this one would be longer now, didn't I? Again, I apologize if this chapter is rough; I've been away from this story-and the site-for a good long while, thanks to my computer crashing and I regret to say my skills have dulled a tad. I'll just have to sharpen them in the next chapter, won't I? Though I have to say, this story is turning into one of my larger harem pairings, ya know? And what will happen to Soifon and the baby?! Will they survive?!
The answers and more await, next time...on Starting Over! I fully intend to continue this story again, thusly, I'd really like to know what ya'll thought of this chapter.
So...in the immortal words of Atlas...
...would you kindly review?