A/N: Season 2, ladies and gentlemen, is produced as a NEW STORY, so new readers won't be intimidated by the number of chapters. Please refer to my bio to find Dark Sun Rising: Season 2.

Just a teaser...


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While You Were Out

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Alarm. The alarm must die.

Urahara groped for the annoyingly buzzing device on the side table, accidentally-on-purpose smashing it to the ground. For all the good it did: the buzzing became shriller. Resigned to his fate, Urahara grabbed his alarm clock, dug the batteries out and tossed it onto his bed. Then he sat up.

It was the first day of term.

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Urahara was on his way to the classroom when Buffy, Xander and Willow accosted him.

"Mr Urahara, hi!" chirped Willow brightly. "How was your summer?"

"Slow," answered Urahara. "And what's with the mister?"

Willow grinned shyly. "Well, this is the school corridor, and I thought you wouldn't want other kids to call you by just your surname like we do Giles'."

"That's nice." The blond teacher hefted his books in his arms. They began to walk. "How were your summers? Xander?"

"Boringest summer ever. I had a total of nothing to do." The boy stretched out and let his arms flop back down.

Urahara peered at the Slayer. "Buffy?"

"I spent it in LA with my dad," answered Buffy Summers. "It was okay."

At the foot of the stairs they saw Giles and Jenny chatting. Urahara could swear he saw little glittery sparkles around Giles, but that would be too undignified for the proper Englishman.

"... there were drum rituals, naked mud dances, raves, mobile sculptures... You would have just – hated it with a fiery passion," concluded the brunette computer teacher with a small smile.

"Yes," agreed Giles, "I can't imagine finding any redeeming... naked?"

"You probably spent all summer with your nose in a book," Jenny was smirking and Urahara held the kids back for a beat.

"I suppose you'd consider that terribly dull." Giles pushed his glasses up. Xander snickered under his breath and he muttered something to Willow.

Jenny leaned forward to comment and Urahara led the way down the stairs, deeming it the right moment to rescue Giles from his momentary discomfiture.

"Giles!" chirruped Willow.

"G-man, what's up!" exclaimed Xander.

Giles glared and smiled. "Nice to see you and don't ever call me that. Good morning, Urahara."

"Morning," said Urahara. "How are you, Ms Calendar?"

"You know better than that." Jenny gave him a raised brow. Then she chuckled. "You just love doing that, hmm?"

Watcher and Slayer greeted each other, a tad coolly on Buffy's side. Jenny coughed slightly. "So... Is Ichigo back?"

"Not yet," said Urahara. He wished he could answer truthfully, but he didn't want to distress the kids any more than he had to. "He'll come back soon. It is the start of term after all."

"Buffy killed a vampire last night!" Willow announced to the world at large. Urahara, Jenny and Xander all widened their eyes at her proclamation and the girl blushed.

Buffy scoffed. "You can get a little more volume if you speak from the diaphragm."

Apologetic, Willow gave a sheepish grin.

"We still have vampires? I thought the Hellmouth was closed!"

"Closed, not gone," said Giles. "The mystical energy it emits is still concentrated in this area."

"Which means we're still the undead's favorite party town," concluded Xander smartly.

Urahara coughed. "Uh, I have to get to class and get ready. If you'll excuse me..."

"I'm going in that direction too. See you later kids, Rupert," said Jenny, trailing after Urahara. They proceeded for a few minutes without conversation, but outside the computer science classroom, Jenny placed a hand on on Urahara's arm. "Has he contacted you? At all?"

Urahara sighed. She and Giles were the only two who knew Ichigo had run away from home. "No. I do know he's in Japan, my old friends are there looking after him. But he refuses to call me or even write me. He won't even tell them if he's coming back, and last week he disappeared entirely from their radar. Even their locator spells aren't working."

Jenny bit her lip. "But he's safe?"

"Probably. He's a good fighter, and sensible enough not to take on uneven odds." Urahara let out a sigh. "I just want to know for sure, you know?"

Jenny nodded sympathetically. The first bell blared and she smiled at Urahara. "Maybe we can meet for coffee tomorrow and you can unwind a bit. Vent it all out."

The blond physics teacher grinned wryly. "That would be nice."

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Fishing around the drawer, Aizen eventually located the last tube of gelatinous substance he had ordered.

"Taishou..." Gin wheedled from the bed.

"Found it!" called out Aizen and strolled over to the silver-haired vampire. Gin was on his stomach, arms folded under his head. He kicked the thin blankets away and earned a swat on his rump. Aizen pushed the weaving feet down to the bed. "Stay still or it'll hurt."

"It hurts whether I'm motionless or not, taishou."

"Still," ordered Aizen. He squeezed out a dollop and began smearing the gel over the burnt skin on Gin's legs and back. Gin hissed but didn't struggle; the itch/sting was tolerable now. When he had just staggered into sight of their cars, he had been badly singed all down his back and it had been nearly impossible to apply healing salve. Ilforte almost drained his powers dry when they got back, healing each of the damaged vampires.

Aizen told Stark to send over the best healers and medicines for his children, and they took almost all summer to regenerate missing flesh. At least it was only the skin that needed healing now.

"Taishou, my shoulders," murmured Gin.

Aizen obediently spread the salve over thin but defined shoulders, muttering, "You're getting spoiled."

"I like to think of this as being rightly pampered," purred Gin, peering out from his fringe. "You make me happy when you touch me this gently."

"I'll be happy when I can touch you properly," countered Aizen. After coating his lover's back, Aizen nudged Gin's elbows. The slender vampire moved, a little painfully, and nuzzled into Aizen's thigh while they waited for the gel to be fully absorbed into healing skin.

The two lay quietly together, listening to the minutes pass silently by. Gin's right hand trailed up Aizen's calf. "How are the rest doing?"

"Yuzu's still out of it. Ulquiorra and Ilforte are with her. Momo's managed to bolster Ilforte's healing spells with her own, though she's trying to heal Nanao before herself first. Karin is better, she can walk about now. Shuuhei shielded Kira from most of the blast, so he's all bandaged up. Kira's getting the checkup now – if the healer says okay, Kira will come by and visit you."

"Hmm. And Grimm?"

"Grimmjow's hunting for everyone."

"He must be enjoying himself," commented Gin. Then he shifted. "More gel, please? My lower back this time."

Aizen sighed. "I had better be repaid for all this 'pampering', Kitsune."

"Mm. We'll work a repayment scheme out."

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A/N: read the rest in Dark Sun Rising: Season Two!

Thanks for all your support! The X'mas gift wasn't too crappy, I hope... /smiles/