Her hands were flying through the last of the paperwork before the required break that she was being required to take while the rest of the division, even Mayuri would be gone. Most of the division for break, Mayuri to retrieve more experiment samples for him to work on when trivial duties such as the running of his division would not inconvenience him. She hadn't left Soul Society or even Seretei for three years now, ever since Urahara-teicho had been exiled. But having been practically ordered to leave the Twelfth for the first time since then, her mind was scrambling to try to think of where she could go.
She had refused to impose on Nanao and her already rare visits to her other friends and family, and her former training partner, Shaolin Fong, who now was known as Soi Fon, was off limits being as she was in the second division. There was no way for her to speak to her without breaking the ban she'd been placed under. As were most of the others who had been kind to her in the Academy, like the boy who had watched her light kidou. She knew that she always could have asked either Kyoraku-teicho or Ukitake-teicho, but the thought of imposing on them was intimidating. In addition, she also would have no idea how to interact with them when they were not being captains but actual members of the noble houses.
Quietly, she shut off the lights and began to make her way through the halls, avoiding traps which had begun to spring up in the past few years.
Traps that were a vivid reminder of who now ran the Twelfth division.
She was distracted enough that she almost didn't notice when she crossed the division wall and walked straight into someone, hard enough to knock the few books she had been allowed to take with her over break out of her hands.
At least with her head bent, whoever it was could not see that she had been so distracted by trying to see through eyes filled with tears. It was too unprofessional, especially with how young she seemed. She did not want whoever it was to think she had been feeling sorry for herself.
Two hands helped her gather her books and get to her feet before one of them tilted the chin up to see the dirty face beginning to be streaked with tears.
And found herself staring up at Shiba Kaein.
"No tears, Warigari-chan, and no excuses. I talked it over with Miyako last night after you said about meeting us at practice. You are going on break this year. And since you aren't in the Thirteenth, I can't get in trouble for it anymore. Now hurry up and get everything that you'll need together."
She listened as she heard Yourichi talking to Kukaku through one of the video monitors that Urahara-san had come up with and in spite of the pain in her side, Suiren felt an urge of comfort at the sound of the familiar voice which had once been a regular part of her time away from the Gotei 13, visiting the younger two members of the Shiba family with their elder brother's blessing. She was half tempted to call out a greeting but stopped herself. This part of the mission was more important.
Still, being surrounded by the familiar faces of Yourichi, Urahara, Tessai, and other people who she had not seen in decades, hearing those voices again was comforting.
Especially Urahara-san. Even if he had looked disappointed in her when he had heard about the sentence.
Disappointed, but not doubting, not wavering. That in itself meant the world to her.
As if the confidence in the thought had propelled her, she removed things from her pocket and took off the top of the shihakusho that was shredded across the back from her fighting, leaving her in her bindings.
Reaching beneath the last binding, she pulled out the claw blade, watching the edges. She may be immune to poison, but they were still sharp and still dangerous.
Kidou, she needed healing kidou to keep herself from bleeding to death. She knew that, the same way she knew the advantages that her death would give to her unit and the easiness of escaping the trap she had been caught in.
She also knew it was the easy way out. Suiren had never believed in taking the easy way out. Her captain had taught her better than that.
Suiren shut her eyes and began calling the fukudou to her hand, using the energy to practically stitch her side back together so she wouldn't lose anymore blood. The normally soothing kidou made her feel as if her flesh were being boiled off, ripping her raw. She stopped, panting and sweated from the effort. The cut was not completely closed, but it was enough for now.
She opened her eyes and noticed a glimpse at the corner of her eye, she saw a glimpse of orange and she waved at Yourichi, trying to reassure her with a nod. She nodded back and went, not to where the conversation had been, but through another door.
She steadied herself on the counter and tried to breathe more steadily, looking up to see Matsumoto staring at her.
"What did you do to me?"
The other woman went to pound her hand on the counter and Suiren stopped her.
"Don't touch. It's poisonous."
"You called bankai and me and you are worried about that?"
Perhaps it was the annoyance, the frustration, or simply the realization that some of the people she cared about most were going to see her like this that finally broke the last straw in Suiren's temper.
"You know Rangiku, I would explain, but right now, I don't care." She swallowed a gigaikon, assuming her body and the dress her mother had made her a century before with ease. "You won't believe me now, you never have before, so why should you start. Now, I'm sure you have better things to do. Like reporting."
She grabbed one of the three kidou mirrors she had been carrying with her, the box of gigaikon, and the broken pieces of her communicator before dodging out the window.
Ran might not believe her. But there were other people who did. Other people who she needed to report to.