Hi, I haven't updated since uhm. 2010.

...and I feel bad about it.

But I have no ideas, and I suck at writing. orz And I just don't know where I'm going with this story anymore. I've had to alter what I was gonna do with my storyplot because of idea flow and stuff so many times it's just going all over the place and it's taking too much effort to try and wrap it all up the way I want to. The ending's close though, so I'm trying my best! ;A; SOB JUST IGNORE MY TERRIBLE WRITING AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON. Cause I only half understand myself.

Chapter Twenty Two: Events Slowing to a Finale

Ichigo let out a muffled groan. He could feel his body whining at him about mistreatment. Of course, not that he could do much about his current position on the floor. He could feel ropes cutting into his arms and legs. Expertly done knots and clots that made it impossible for him to wriggle out.

All he had was a blurry memory of the hospital door banging open and screams from outside his room. After that, there was a big black spot in his memory. He really seemed to spend a lot of time locked up or incapacitated lately. He made a mental note to not be so retarded in the future.

He knew he was outdoors; there was a soft breeze against his face, and there was grass directly below him. Common sense told Ichigo that if he was tied up outside on the ground, chances were that he'd been captured by some douchebag and he was in deep shit. He was in no position to defend himself, nor alert anyone where he was.

As a side note, Ichigo wondered why his assailants had even bothered blindfolding him. He was pretty much blind, so why go to the trouble?


Ichigo shifted, rolling over. "Eh? Hitsugaya?"

There was the sound of scrabbling, as if someone was clumsily attempting to get to their feet. The next sound was a skidding noise and a string of growled curses. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"I'm…not really sure." Ichigo paused, tugging absently at the ropes. "I…was in the hospital room before I got here…" A thought struck him, urgent and pressing. "Rukia. Where's Rukia?"

A long pause.

Ichigo felt a sinking in his stomach. "Oh God. Don't tell me you let them take her."

"I didn't." Hitsugaya hissed back. "I…" He trailed off.

"They'll kill her!" Ichigo snarled. In one swift movement he was rising back up.

"My, woken up?"

Ichigo froze. From the dead silence, he could tell that Hitsugaya had as well.

"…Aizen." Hitsugaya said finally. "Where are we." It came out as more of a demand to know, rather than a question. "Where's Rukia." Was the next question fired off.

Had Ichigo not been blind and blindfolded, he would have seen the creeping smile on Aizen's face, triumphant. "You'll know once we've started. Sit down and relax for a while, won't you?"

It all had to do with eye contact.

Hitsugaya had long ago realized this, in some form or another. When Death killed, it all had to do with making direct eye contact with the victims.

No wonder he was blindfolded. There was a method to Aizen's madness, it seemed.

'…you've been awfully quiet. Do something.' Hitsugaya thought at the other entity in his head.

Silence was the only thing that greeted his words.

His temper rose.

'I know you're in there somewhere. Answer me!'

Once again, silence.

Ichigo grunted beside him. "Fuck, I can't use any of my abilities. What the hell?"

"The room. It's death stone." Hitsugaya muttered in response. Aizen had left, leaving a hanging threat over their heads. Now they were just back to square one, trying to get out of these binds and out of this room.

But what concerned Hitsugaya most was that the bastards had Rukia. Was she all right? Was she safe?

At that thought Hitsugaya scoffed. Of course she wasn't safe, she was captured in enemy hands…probably bound up in a room alone like they were. Was she injured at all? If they touched her, he would…

kill them.

Rip them apart.

He'd make them scream.

Hitsugaya stopped himself. "Kurosaki. What are you doing?"

The scuffling noises from a few feet away stopped and there was a stream of swears. A splatter of liquid hit the floor and Ichigo let out a sound halfway in between a whine and a grunt.

"Fuck. Fuck. Ow. Fuck."

"Kurosaki?" asked Hitsugaya slowly, wondering if the man had gone and impaled himself on a sharp rock or something. To his surprise though, he felt hands ripping away his blindfold and beginning to work on the rest of his binds.

"Shut up, Aizen'll come back. Damn it, I can't feel around so great right now…fuck, why do I have to be half blind." Ichigo continued to mutter to himself, tugging at Hitsugaya's binds haplessly. He let out a triumphant 'aha!' as he managed to claw a hole through the rope.

And Hitsugaya sat up, rubbing his wrists and squinting. "How did you get free?"

Ichigo let out a nervous half-laugh. "Uh…brute strength." He replied, turning over his wrists for Hitsugaya to see. Raw and bleeding.

"Idiot." Hitsugaya muttered. "But idiots are useful in situations like these." He certainly wouldn't have been able to rip apart ropes like that. He stood, helping Ichigo up.

"…we're going to find Rukia."

Rukia hung, arms straining, gasping with exertion. Staring down at the ant-like structures below that she knew were actually buildings.

Wondered if Hitsugaya was all right.

Wondered where he was.

When she'd woken up, it had been on top of this strange frame-like structure that seemed to stretch on into the sky…into oblivion. For the first hour or so (or who knew, it could have been shorter – time ticked by at an impossibly slow pace) she'd been all right, clinging onto the top of the structure with all four limbs and shivering.

Then it had stormed.

And she'd fallen.

Not far – thankfully she found she had a rope tied around her midriff, that kept her from plunging to a messy demise.

But the rope was fraying.

Thus why she was supporting a good deal of her weight via her arms, hanging from the pole the way she'd used to as a child at jungle gyms.

And she was giving out fast.

There was no way to climb back up – the structure was nothing but two thick white poles and a flatter-board at the top, which she clung to the end of desperately. If she moved, she'd fall. And the rope would give out.

This was a really retarded way to go. Falling off a gigantic white structure that she'd just found herself on.

It hurt.

Blood dripped down her arm. She'd cut it, when she'd fallen and grabbed on?

Her hands were slipping.

Rukia glanced down at the ground blearily, wondering how long it would take for her to smash into the ground once she fell. It was no longer an 'if she fell', in her mind. She would fall. She was holding on by her bare fingertips now.


Rukia looked around for the source of the yell. Ahh there he was, Hitsugaya…and Ichigo too. Hitsugaya racing forward, Ichigo scrambling to figure out what was going on. That was right, he was blind. He couldn't see her last moments.

Retarded way to go. Even for her.

Her hands gave out, and she fell.

It was like Aizen had meant for them to see her, as soon as they stepped out of that dark room.

The infuriating man hadn't even bothered to lock the door behind him.

So with minimal effort, Hitsugaya and Ichigo made it out – to find the ground littered with drawings and letters, circles of ancient scripture and patterns.

And in the center of it all, two white poles.

Hitsugaya squinted upwards.

He froze.

Something was up there, swaying dangerously. Something…something…someone…Rukia? Rukia.

"RUKIA!" He yelled frantically, starting forward. Could he use an ability? No. No, the ground was deathstone. Nonononononononononoonono.

And the ground erupted into light.

It wasn't warm light. As it engulfed him, Hitsugaya felt it going through him.

He collapsed to the ground, yelling with pain. There was a similar garble of pained shouts from behind him, alerting Ichigo was suffering the same reaction. But what about Rukia?

Hitsugaya looked up. Stopped. Stared.

There she was, drifting in the air like some sort of spectre. Curled up into a ball, sobbing with what must be the same pain they were experiencing. The light's source…the light was coming from her. Hitsugaya's eyes roamed the circle and to his surprise, found both Aizen and Gin – doubled over.

And…was that Matsumoto? At Gin's side, looking frantic. She was mouthing something, sobbing. Not with pain…with worry. She didn't notice him.

Hitsugaya ripped his eyes away from Matsumoto, and dragged himself forward. Rukia was at the center of this all…glowing…an angel?

The pain stopped as abruptly as it had started.

He felt drained – like there was no more energy left in him, and all he wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep. But he couldn't do that, he had to go get Rukia. He didn't know why they were here, what had just happened…but as always, that feeling of urgency had overcome him, and he felt like he had to get to Rukia's side. Now.

She was his. Those fucktards that had messed her up, he'd kill them.

"I'll kill you Aizen!" Hitsugaya yelled out, struggling to his feet. The light was gone, all was still in the field just as it had been before.

There was no patronizing response to his yell like usual. With great effort, Hitsugaya hobbled to Rukia's side and knelt by her prone figure, lifting her up. Breathing. Pale, but breathing. Out cold.

But she was all right.

"Is she all right?"

The frustrated yell was from a few meters away, Ichigo clambering to his feet. Hitsugaya found himself nodding but quickly caught himself. Right, Ichigo couldn't see.

"Yeah, she's fine. You?"

"Seen better days I guess…but I'll be okay. Where are we?"

Hitsugaya surveyed the nearby area. "…I think we're a ways out of town. Frick…why's it so dark?"

"I don't know, it's always dark." Ichigo answered sarcastically. "Not much good you're doing, asking me."

"Not you, idiot." Hitsugaya glanced around. It wasn't dark like nighttime. Rather, there was a thick cloud of…dense…there was no other way to put it. Darkness hanging in the sky, like the light from the sun was being muffled out.

He wryly wondered to himself how events had rushed by him so quickly. It felt like just yesterday, that he'd met Rukia and everything seemed like it was on the mend. But now here he stood, with her unconscious body in his arms, half his play dead and having vaguely psychopathic thoughts running around in his head.

Because he would rip Aizen to pieces. Just you wait.


Hitsugaya felt something plough into him from the side, prompting him into let out a cry of annoyance and almost drop Rukia. He glared down, and found a bundle of strawberry blonde hair and slender arms wrapped around his midriff.


"Rangiku." He said. "Where are we? Why are you here?" A surge of worry rushed through him. "Are you injured?"

Matsumoto released him and backed away a few steps, shaking her head with confusion. "No, no injuries. I'm not…sure where we are. Gin brought me here and…"

"Touching reunion." Aizen's voice cut in, smooth as always. But was that a slight tinge of strain Hitsugaya detected? Or was it a mere slight of the ear?

He emerged out of the shadows, Gin directly behind him.

Hitsugaya wasn't sure how to deal with the dark matter that seemed to be hanging overhead them all. It obviously wouldn't work to try and bat it away, but it was like vaporized shadow – it clung to his skin and his clothes, and onto Matsumoto and a ways further back, onto Ichigo as well.

In fact, the only person they seemed to actually be avoiding was Rukia.

"I'll have to thank you, for coming all the way out here and aiding in our plans. Even if it was," said Aizen with a hint of amusement, "involuntary."

"Shut up." snarled Hitsugaya. "What the hell is this, Aizen? What did you do to Rukia?"

"Nothing at all. We found further use for her, rather than killing her as was originally intended." Aizen smiled. Pleasantly. The smile that made Hitsugaya sick to his very bones. "Tell me, Death. What was your idea of the apocalypse?"

Hitsugaya eyed the man uneasily. He didn't answer. Matsumoto stood beside him, but seemed at a loss what to do. Ichigo was still barely recovering from the shock of earlier. And Gin, too, looked strained and in pain.

That left Hitsugaya and Aizen, glaring at one another with feral threat clearly in the air.

Aizen continued, when Hitsugaya didn't answer. "I want to rule, Death. I want to rule the Heavens. Rule Hell. Rule the world. Not as a king of the population, but as the king of the most powerful. The fittest." He gestured. "I'll let you in on something entertaining. Did you know the True Light's powers are linked to everything? The world, Death. It's linked to every form of life on this planet."

Realization vaguely flickered through Hitsugaya's mind. Rukia's ability to see the world, in its purest form. As light.

It made sense.

"I will sink Seireitei. I'll sink this entire continent."

Hitsugaya's attention snapped back up as he stared in disbelief. "…what?" He asked slowly.

Aizen simply continued on, as if Hitsugaya hadn't interrupted. "This infuriating society, with its masters and dolls and outrageous rules…I'll wipe them all off. And then I will rule as a king. Convenient, isn't it?"

"…what have…we…ever done to…you?"

Ichigo's voice, tired and raw with pain, interjected.

Aizen's eyes were cold. "Angered me." He replied simply, as if that was actually an answer. "I have all of Rukia Kuchiki's power in my grasp, through use of these runes. The ceremony is complete. All you have to do is wait and see."

SOB Just DON'T ask WHAT I'm doing cause I DON'T KNOW ;A; -WAAAIL-

1) You guys don't get to see Aizen and Gin's pasts in this story cause it would be waaaay too much trying to insert both of what supposedly happened in. Thus, imagine it!

2) I'm sorry, I suck.

3) Don't ask. I love you guys. And I love writing. But just don't ask.