A Bleached Honeymoon
This is the sequel to Bleach: After the War. It's not neccessary to have read the previous story before reading this one, but it will help explain a lot of the developments and terms thst happen in this chapter.
Here's a brief recap of what happened in After the War: Four years after Aizen ascended to the King's Realm and became the new Spirit King, the remnants of the Gotei 13, along with Ichigo and his friends, plan a counter offensive to retake Soul Society. Ichigo leads a small strike force into the heart of Seireitei and incites a rebellin that overthrows Aizen's puppet government. At the same time, the Shinigami forces in the real world repel an Arrancar Invasion of Tokyo. After Soul Society is reconquered, the Gotei 13 slowly rebuilds itself and begins preparations for an invasion of the King's Realm. During this period, Ichigo is tasked to infiltrate Hueco Mundo and retrieve the missing Urahara Kisuke. Upon doing so, he learns the real truth of what happened in the Winter War. A month later, Soul Society embarks upon a full scale invasion of the King's Realm. Ten divisions lay siege to the Royal Palace, and using a special siege engine, break through the walls. They eventually storm into the heart of the citadel, and after much fighting, Ichigo finaly reaches the throne room and confronts Aizen in a titanic battle. Ichigo manages to defeat Aizen and frees the real Spirit King in the process. His daughter, who turns out to be none other than Orihime, revives all of the dead people, before jumping into Soul Society. She restores the destroyed Karakura Town to normal, but dies in the process. Upon being reborn in her true form, the Spirit King's daughter recreates Orihime's original body before ascending to the King's Realm. With peace restored last, the the Gotei 13 return to Soul Society and in a lavish ceremony Ichigo and Rukia are married.
A Bleach Honeymoon begins two weeks after the wedding...
Chapter 1: Tokyo
"What we're going on a honeymoon to the real world?" Rukia asked in disbelief. She stared at Ichigo as he began cleaning up the pile of paperwork and other items lying around the fifth division office room.
"Why not? If we we're going to go on a holiday of a lifetime what better way to do it than to explore the wonders of the real world," Ichigo said. "I doubt there's any good places to visit in the Rukongai districts, the King's Realm is off limits and I doubt you'd want to go back to Hueco Mundo any time soon."
"Wait a minute, when did I say I wanted to go on a holiday of a lifetime? We've got way too many things to do to think about taking a break!" Rukia exclaimed. "The Commander needs your input on how to restructure Seireitei, our division is still recovering from the war, and we're going need to completely rebuild the Shiba family if we're to think about living there!"
"Whoa, whoa, calm down Rukia," Ichigo tried to lay his hands upon her shoulder, but Rukia slapped them away.
"Don't tell me to calm down! I've been calm for long enough. You're a captain now Ichigo. It's time you acted like one." Ichigo watched as Rukia stormed into the bedroom and slammed the doors shut. He was left standing in the division office, brooding about what to do. He looked up at the wall behind his desk, where a ying yang symbol hung above the number five.
"I should have known things wouldn't work out smoothly," Ichigo sighed. It had been only a few days since their wedding, and weeks since Aizen's death. Yet he had a feeling that the euphoria from the victory had already died down, and life Soul Society had once again become monotonous. He set down beside his desks and went through the pile of documents. Rukia had been right about the number of tasks he had to take care of. Only in the last few days he had replaced the division's insignia and drafted a new motto of the division, finally erasing all traces of Aizen Sousuke's legacy. The new draftees still had to be trained up to scratch. Finally, he had yet to make his opinion known to Commander Unohana about the planned revival of the Central 46.
Just as he was about to get to work, the front door to the office opened, and Minazawa, his 3rd seat, walked inside.
"Captain Kurosaki, the Commander needs to speak with you," Minazawa said.
"Tell her I'll come right away," Ichigo replied.
A while later, Ichigo arrived at the 1st division office. He knocked on the front door.
"Come in," he heard Unohana speak. Ichigo opened the door and walked in front of the desk. He gazed at the Commander, mindful of the vast gap in years and experience that lay between them.
"What is it you wanted to speak to me about, Commander?" Ichigo asked.
"Well, Captain Kurosaki, there is a special assignment that I want you and your lieutenant to take care of," Unohana replied. She handed him a brief of documents inscribed with the 2nd division logo.
"These reports are from Captain Soifon and Lieutenant Yoruichi. During the Heavenly War I sent them down to the real world to inspect the situation. As it turns out, the Arrancar attack upon Tokyo city has triggered a world wide conflict. The battles in the King's Realm have further disrupted the fragile balance between the dimensions. An unprecedented number of people have been able to see souls and hollows, and it's led to a mass panic of civilians."
"Are you expecting me to solve the problem?" Ichigo asked.
"Not exactly," she replied. "Ishida Uryu and his father, along with Urahara Kisuke, are already negotiating with the governments of the real world to calm the public. What I want you to do is to bring as many souls as you can back, and eliminate all the hollows." Ichigo balked at the enormity of the task, and the implications it would bring.
"I'd need to mobilize my entire division to accomplish that task," he said. Unohana stared for a while, before closing her eyes.
"That is not necessary. You and Lieutenant Kuchiki will be sufficient," she said. "Our main priority is to stabilize the real world and ensure that ordinary humans do not panic. An entire division of Shinigami would cause mass spiritual disruption."
"But then, if it's only me and Rukia, wouldn't take a lot of time? Aren't you drafting a planned revamp of the Central 46? And what about the recruits for the Shinigami Academy? I promised to look after them!"
"Settle down, Captain Kurosaki," Unohana said. "You do not have to worry about so many things at once. The restructuring of Seireitei can be put on hold for now. Soul Society has coped with the current state of government quite well. I'm sure it can hold like this for a while longer. As for the Shinigami Academy, one of the other divisions is taking care of it. The reason I chose you and Lieutenant Kuchiki for this mission is because the two of you have the most experience at blending in with normal humans."
"That isn't true!" Ichigo protested. "Kensei, Love, Rose, heck even my father have way more experience with real world affairs. Why didn't you ask them?"
"I did ask them. They've also been sent to the real world, but as diplomats and public figures. Due to the increase in spiritual activity, it would be dangerous for them to seen as Shinigami out in the public. You and Lieutenant Kuchiki on the other hand, are relatively unknown people, so being seen by humans will not cause a general panic," Unohana paused for a moment, wanting to let all the information sink in. Then she smiled. "Besides, I've heard that you wanted to go on a honeymoon?" Ichigo froze in shock. How did she know? He stopped thinking when he realized that how easy it was for rumours to spread.
"I was planning to go, but Rukia said there wasn't time to do so," Ichigo said.
"Well, then I suppose you can tell her you've found the perfect excuse," Unohana smiled. "The two of you can travel the world on your honeymoon whilst performing your duties as Shinigami at the same time."
"Thank you, Commander," Ichigo bowed his head. Unohana smiled as he walked out of the office.
Rukia opened her eyes when she heard the front door of the division office opened and shut. She hastily put on a white hakama just as Ichigo walked into the bedroom.
"Rukia, I've got some good news," Ichigo said with a smile on his face. "We've been given permission to go on our honeymoon."
"What?" Rukia asked in shock. "What happened Ichigo? Tell me everything!" After Ichigo repeated what Commander Unohana had said to him, Rukia was struggling to comprehend it all.
"So, we've been ordered to travel around the world, eliminating hollows and sending as many wholes as possible to Soul Society? Why did the commander throw such a difficult task upon us?"
"I think it's because both of us, me especially, have extensive knowledge of the real world, without being famous or well known. My father, Urahara-san and the Vizards have all lived in the real world for decades, so they've interacted with a lot of high profile people in the real world. With the increased spiritual activity, it would be dangerous for them to become Shinigami and risk average humans finding out about Soul Society. If word breaks out, it could cause mass panic around the world," Ichigo explained.
"I'm still sceptical about all of this. It sounds like an excuse for us to have this honeymoon you've been talking about," Rukia said with a leer.
"Oh come on, you really think I'd ask Unohana for permission to go on a honeymoon?" Ichigo laughed. "I'm not that self-centred. I too shared the same doubts as you do about the whole mission. In fact, Unohana herself practically begged me to do it, which is why she enticed with the offer of taking an extended holiday."
"I see, so that's what happened between the two of you," Rukia grinned. I knew it, he made a deal behind my back! She thought to herself.
"Are you satisfied now Rukia?" Ichigo was desperate to get a response.
"Not really. Just how are we going to get to the real world in the first? Let alone have the ability to travel around the world?" she asked.
"I'll talk to my father or Urahara-san about it," Ichigo replied. "I'm pretty sure my real body is still intact even if it's badly burnt. Urahara could turn it into a gigai. Likewise your gigai shouldn't have been damaged that badly."
"What about our mod souls? Surely you know where they've gone to."
"Well, Kon's running around the Seireitei somewhere, likely searching for you. And I think Urahara still has spare Chappy Gikongan that he can give you." Rukia paused for a moment, trying to take in all of the information. She was deeply impressed about how much knowledge Ichigo had acquired, and she knew that he was far more qualified with real world matters than she was.
"Alright Ichigo, I'll leave most of the preparations to you then," she said. "I'll speak to Renji and the others and see if they can set up communications and portals for the destinations we'll be visiting."
"That'd be great Rukia. You go do that," Ichigo said. `
Two days later, Ichigo and Rukia stood in front of the main Seireimon gate, along with the entire fifth division. Commander Unohana and three other captains, Byakuya, Renji and Isshin, were also there to see them off.
"Do you know what to do once you get to the real world?" Unohana asked him.
"Yes," Ichigo nodded. "My division will secure the Tokyo area and then Rukia and I will proceed to the objectives listed in our Soul Pager."
"Alright, I'll give the orders to open the Seireimon. Once your division has settled down, contact us straight away and I'll arrange other captains to assist you to travel to other destinations," Unohana asked. She motioned the first division Shinigami who were guarding the Seireimon to unlock the seals. Ichigo turned around and faced his men.
"Listen up guys! After we go across to the other side, quickly spread out and proceed to the positions that Lieutenant Kuchiki has given you. Eliminate any hollows in you immediate vicinity and then wait for further instructions." His troops nodded. The Seireimon was completely lit up, and upon Unohana's signal, Ichigo, Rukia and their division advanced through the gates.
After everyone had gone through, the four captains watched as the gate was slowly shut. Commander Unohana proceeded to return to the division headquarters, but Byakuya, Renji and Isshin stayed behind.
"Hey Isshin-san, how are Ichigo and Rukia going to cope with travel expenses?" Renji asked. "We're asking them to make a round the world trip aren't we?" Byakuya and Isshin stared at him with bemused expressions.
"Have you forgotten what I told you when you were serving under me already, Renji?" Byakuya responded. "The Seireimon network is linked to spirit gates across the world. If Ichigo and Rukia need to use it, then can request access through the soul pager."
"Even if they don't use the soul gates, I'm sure those two will know how to travel by mundane forms of transport," Isshin smiled.
Ichigo and Rukia jumped through the other side of the Seireimon and found themselves floating above the Shibuya ward of Tokyo city.
"Ah, this part of Tokyo is different to the one we stayed in before," Rukia observed. ""It's Shibuya, the hippest district of Tokyo," Ichigo replied. "Beats me why we ended up here when our old base was in Shinjuku. But, I suppose we could get some shopping done." He grinned as he landed in the middle of a busy intersection. As he looked around, he noticed a large number of spirits intermingling with normal humans. Most still had their bodies intact, but a few others had already begun to degenerate into Jibaku spirits.
"Unohana was right, this place has become even worse than before," Ichigo said, taking out his sword. Rukia nodded, also drawing out her sword.
"It seems the Arrancar invasion caused a massive concentration of spirit particles within the Jureichi," she said.
"Whatever, let's just get down to work," Ichigo said. He watched as members of the 5th division quickly Shunpo-ed off towards other parts of the city. Rukia tracked their reiatsu signals on her soul pager, before she followed Ichigo across a major road.
They came across a middle-aged businessman in a blue suit, hugging a terrified woman wearing a pink blazer and skirt. Both of them looked like normal humans except for the severed chains that were attached to their chests.
"These two seem to have died recently," Ichigo commented. "It shouldn't be too hard to perform Konso." Rukia nodded, holding her Zanpakto by the hilt over the head. This caused the couple to freak out.
"Are you going to kill us?" the man asked in fright.
"We are not going to hurt you," Rukia replied. "We're going to send you to the Soul Society. It's a much better place for you to be in than staying in this world." The man was still utterly terrified of Ichigo and Rukia, but the woman was more rational and understood Rukia's words. She calmly allowed Rukia to place her hilt over her forehead, marking her with a seal. A second later the woman's spiritual body disappeared through a portal in the ground.
"I'll deal with this one," Ichigo said, calmly restraining the man. He then placed his hilt over the man's forehead, sending him through the portal.
"Alright, that's the first two done," Ichigo said. He and Rukia proceeded through the streets and sent as many spirits as possible to the Soul Society. As they were doing so, Rukia kept track of the other members of the division through the soul pager. Though they encountered a lot of harmless souls and tame Jibakus, not once did they deal with even a low level hollow.
"This is strange. For such a densely packed physical and spiritual area, it's surprising there aren't any hollows around," Rukia said.
"Yeah it's weird. Unless something managed to drive them away it's doubtful that all of the hollows disappeared by themselves," Ichigo said. Just then, they felt a sudden spike in reiatsu nearby.
"This spiritual pressure, where is it coming from?" Ichigo wondered.
"Ichigo, Minazawa's soul pager is beeping!" Rukia exclaimed. She clicked on her soul pager, causing the 3rd Seat's face to appear.
"Captain Kurosaki, Lieutenant Kuchiki! I'm in the Ota Ward of Tokyo. A massive spiritual entity just showed up and its attacking everyone!"
"Hold on Minazawa! We're coming now!" Ichigo shouted. He and Rukia jumped in the air and started Shunpo-ing to the south.
"Rukia, can you tell the others to converge on Minazawa's location?" Ichigo asked.
"I can, but we need to stop for a brief moment," Rukia replied. She took out an ink pad from her hakama, and dipped her fingers in it. Putting the pad back, she then wiped the ink her forearms and then thrust her arms in front of her.
"Black and white net! 22nd bridge, 66th crown and cincture, footprints, distant thunder, sharp arrow, rotating land, cover of night, sea of clouds, pale soldiery, fill the great circle and charge the heavens! Bakudo 77, Tentei Kura!" she shouted. Rukia felt her consciousness expand and reach out into the minds of the one hundred and ninety seven other Shinigami of the fifth division. I did it! She thought to her herself.
"This is Lieutenant Kuchiki speaking. All members of the 5th division are to head for the Ota Ward of Tokyo immediately. 3rd Seat Minazawa has encountered a strong spiritual entity and requires our assistance. Captain Kurosaki and I are heading there right now." With that, Rukia ended the Kidou.
"Did you get through to everyone?" Ichigo asked. Rukia nodded. Without a second's delay, the two of them Shunpo-ed across the city. Within minutes they arrived in Ota Ward and immediately began searching for Minazawa's reiatsu signature. They found him near the harbour side, overlooking the entrance to Tokyo airport.
"Captain!" Minazawa exclaimed. "Thank goodness you've come."
"What's the matter Minazawa? What is the spiritual entity you're talking about?" Ichigo asked. Minazawa pointed to a cluster of buildings to the northwest. As Ichigo and Rukia turned to look, they froze in shock. A humongous, green coloured creature was rampaging through the streets, spewing out blasts of fire down at the ground. It was nearly three hundred feet tall, and resembled and overgrown lizard, or a dinosaur.
"What the heck is that?" Rukia asked.
"I know what that is," Ichigo said in a sombre voice. "I've seen it in a few movies I watched when I was a child, but I never imagined that it would become reality. This creature is Godzilla, a legendary Kaiju that was a product of the atomic weapons that were dropped on Japan in the mid twentieth century."
"Are you saying this creature was meant to be fictional?" Rukia couldn't believe it.
"Well, that's what I always assumed. I have no idea what this version is though. It reeks of hollow reiatsu. Could be a menos of some sort." Ichigo, Rukia and Minazawa scampered through the streets to get closer up to the monster and observed it closely. They soon realized that it could be seen by both normal humans and spirits.
"The humans can see it as well!" Minazawa exclaimed.
"How is that possible? Hollows can't take physical form, and only spiritually aware humans can see them," Rukia said.
"It could be that all of the humans in the area have become spiritually sensitive, or this creature is actually made of physical flesh. Either way we can't waste time taking it down," Ichigo said. In a flash, he jumped towards the creature and sliced off its left arm. Without pause, he turned in midair and sliced right through its centre, cutting it in half. He landed near Rukia and Minazawa again and sheathed his sword.
"Wow, Captain Kurosaki, you are amazing as always," Minazawa heaped praise upon him. Ichigo thanked him for his compliment.
"Ichigo, look!" Rukia exclaimed. Ichigo turned around and saw the creature had pulled itself together and regenerated its arm.
"Instant regeneration," Ichigo said. "Looks like this is going to be trouble."
"Let me try fighting it," Rukia said. "Dance, Sode no Shirayuki!" She released her Zanpakto and instantly got into a fighting stance.
"Second Dance, Hakuren!" She fired a powerful blast of ice that covered the entire creature from head to toe. Sealing her sword again, Rukia watched and waited to see what happened. The block of ice held for several seconds before shattering apart, the giant lizard emerging with a roar. It fired a blast of scorching hot flame at them. Ichigo, Rukia and Minazawa Shunpo-ed to the side. Just at they did so, they were surrounded by other members of the division.
"Everyone is present and accounted for," Mariko, the 4th seat, reported.
"What is that thing, captain!" the division's 5th seat Tanaka asked.
"It's some sort of menos, although it appears that normal humans can see it," Minazawa replied.
"I have come up with a plan to deal with it," Ichigo said. "Rukia, tell the others to form of a cordon around the lizard. Have the Kidou users place a spatial freeze of radius two hundred yards around it and myself. Then erect barriers to completely surround both of us. That way, I can fight it without holding back."
"Understood, Ichigo," Rukia nodded. She ordered the Kidou squads to form a circle around the lizard as Ichigo Shunpo-ed in front of it.
"Come on, big guy, bring it on," Ichigo smirked. Without speaking the command, he released Zangetsu and held it above his head just as the lizard fired another blast of fire at him. The blast hit the blunt edge of the blade, and was slowly repulsed back. Around him, yellow barriers rose up from the ground and surrounded the vicinity. Each of the barriers was over four hundred feet high. Finally, a roof covered the top of the barriers, creating a completely enclosed circle.
"At last, I can fight without holding back," Ichigo said. He charged spirit energy in his sword and released it in a gigantic Getsuga Tensho that cleaved the lizard from head to toe. To his surprise, the Godzilla-like Menos started regenerating and soon it was completely back to normal.
"Tch, I can't believe I have to use Bankai on this thing," Ichigo muttered. He threw off his haori and placed his Zanpakto in front of his body. "Bankai!" A black column of reiatsu shot up and surrounded him for a few seconds. When it dissipated, he was dressed in a long flowing black coat. In response, the lizard hollow charged a cero in its mouth. Ichigo waited for it to finish charging, whispering the words "Tengetsu Gaieshi" under his breath. The creature fired its cero, completely covering Ichigo.
"Oh no, captain's in trouble!" Tanaka exclaimed. He was about to rush in when Rukia grabbed his hand.
"It's nothing to worry about," she said. The monster continued to fire the cero for several minutes and then it stopped. From out of the smoke, Ichigo emerged completely unscathed, a sphere of reiatsu surrounding his body.
"I take it that was the best you had," he said. "Well then, time to finish it." He charged the spirit energy in his blade to maximum power and then struck at the lizards' soul chain.
"Chouseki Hadou," he said, releasing all of the built up of energy in an enormous column-like blast that completely disintegrated the creature. Afterwards, he returned his Zanpakto to its sealed state and retrieved his haori, just as Rukia ordered the Kidou users to lower the barrier.
"You were awesome captain!" several 5th division members came up to Ichigo.
"I was just doing my job," Ichigo said. He looked at Rukia, who was smiling at him. He waited until all members of his division assembled in front of him.
"Good work guys, we've pretty much cleared out this area. However, there is still a lot more work to be done before Tokyo is pacified," Ichigo addressed his troops. "Lieutenant Kuchiki and I do not have the time to stay around here, so until we get back, I assign all of you to remain on patrol throughout the entire city."
"What, we have to remain here?" Tanaka asked. "But I've never been to the real world before. How do we blend in?" He was shoved in the shoulder by Minazawa.
"Ahem, before we came here, all of you should have been given a Gikongan and a gigai, along with a sufficient amount of real world money to last for up to three weeks," Rukia explained. "Consider this assignment as part of your training on how to survive in the real world. Your task is to monitor the souls in the Tokyo area, eliminate all surviving hollows and blend in with the local humans. If you require assistance, contact us on our soul pagers and we will try to request the central command to send aid to you."
"Yes captain!" the 5th division Shinigami all nodded. At Ichigo's signal, they split off into groups and Shunpo-ed in different directions.
"Alright, it's just the two of us now," Rukia said. "Let's start our mission." She immediately got out a capsule from her hakama and pressed on it. Out popped a gigai replica of her body. Rukia picked it up and entered it. A moment later, she awoke inside the gigai.
"What are you waiting for Ichigo? Get in your gigai!" Rukia yelled at him.
"Just a minute, I don't have experience with gigais," Ichigo responded nervously. He opened his capsule and flinched when he saw a replica of his body staring back at him.
"Don't tell you're afraid of your own body Ichigo," Rukia said in a mocking voice.
"I'm not. It's just the first time I've seen myself looking at a gigai rather than my original body," Ichigo tried to act cool. In reality, he was sweating all over. Here goes nothing! He merged his spirit with the gigai, and immediately lost consciousness. It took a hard kick from Rukia to shock him awake again.
"How does it feel to be in a gigai Ichigo?" Rukia laughed.
"It feels weird," Ichigo said, rubbing the bruise she had given him. He got on his feet and pulled out and was about to pull something from his wallet and when a voice came from behind them.
"It's been a while. How's it going?" Ichigo heard someone ask. He and Rukia turned around and froze in shock. It was Yasutora Sado, clad in a red shirt and white jeans.
"Chad! What are you doing here?" Ichigo asked.
"I'm on my way to the airport," Sado replied. "To visit my relatives in Okinawa."
"Oh, how lovely! Can we come along?" Rukia asked. Sado shrugged his head.
"Sure why not?"
"Hey, I thought you wanted to proceed with the mission," Ichigo said to Rukia.
"I changed my mind. I want to go on a honeymoon as you planned," Rukia smiled.
At last, after two months of procrastination, I finally decided to begin writing the sequel to After the War. This time, it's going to be much shorter in length and is likely going to be followed by two further stories that take place in the same post AW timeline. For those who haven't read After the War, I'll briefly explain what's happened to the characters mentioned in this chapter.
Ichigo: As the hero of the Heavenly War, he was promoted as Captain of the 5th division. He's massively increased in power and now has two new abilities: Chouseki Hadou (Tidal Surge in Japanese), an energy attack more powerful than Getsuga Tensho and Tengetsu Gaieshi (Heavenly Moon Reflection), his Bankai's special power, which allows him to predict and dodge enemy attacks and surround himself with a powerful barrier than protects him from all damage.
Rukia: Apart from being married to the Kurosaki Family, she has also been promoted to the Lieutenant of the 5th division.
Renji: He has been promoted to the Captain of the 8th division, replacing the deceased Kyoraku.
Chad: He was initially the slave of Aizen, but was later freed by Ichigo. Because of the flare-up of his inner hollow, he's now been put on close watch by Soul Society.
Isshin: He has returned to being a Shinigami and assumed his original name, Shiba Isshin. He's now the the Captain of the 13th division, replacing the deceased Ukitake.
Yoruichi: She has returned to the 2nd division and now serves as Soifon's Lieutenant.
Unohana: She is now the Captain Commander, replacing the deceases Yamamoto.
Taneko Minazawa: He's an OC I created in After the War, and his the 3rd Seat of the 5th division.
Mariko and Tanaka: They are the 4th and 5th seats of the 5th division respectively. Like Minazawa, they're OCs I created in After the War.
I hope you all enjoy this story as much as you enjoyed After the War. I'd love to hear your reviews and thoughts about it.