Disclaimer-I don't own anything
Her name was Retsu Unohana. Captain of the 4th division of the Gotei 13.
And right now, she faces what could be her greatest challenge yet.
Captain Toushirou Hitsugaya, was dieing.
Aizen's attack on the young captain had done more damage then she had initially thought. The slash had penetrated deep under his skin, doing colossal damage to the boy. From what she could tell, at least four of his ribs had been broken, along with one of his lungs utterly destroyed. Adding in the fact that the sword slash had also penetrated his stomach, large intestine, and part of his liver and one of his kidneys along with the massive blood loss meant one thing. The chances of the Gotei's youngest and possibly most promising captain in recent years were very low.
Her vice-captain, Isane Kotetsu, had already left with Momo Hinamori's body, but the forth division captain could do no such thing for her patient. Moving him was out of the question. She had to stabilize him first before she could move him to the proper facilities. The irony of that however was that she wasn't sure she could stabilize him with the tools she had here.
Retsu felt a frustrated scowl creep across her face, an expression her face had not felt since she became a captain so long ago. As the head doctor of the Gotei 13, she had always felt it imperative to not let such things as frustration or anger show. Her division was one of healing and aid, not fighting, so she had to set an example for her subordinates.
But now, this time, she unconsciously let her control slip. Ever since he had come to the Seireitei after graduating the academy, Toushirou had developed a kind friendship with her, especially after he became a captain. But Retsu knew that it was a bit more then that. The white haired boy had become like a son to her. And though he would never admit it, she had a feeling he felt a similar kinship to her, having grown up as an orphan, with nothing other then his childhood friend Hinamori for company.
These feelings were no more obvious then now, on the frozen floor of the shinigami archives, as she fought desperately to keep his soul from fading away. She wasn't sure if she had this kind of feeling towards the many others in Seireitei she cared for, but right now, she didn't care. This instinct, this maternal instinct to save the one she thought so much as her own child.
Her scowl morphed into a determined grimace as she called more power from both her zanpaktou, and herself.
So absorbed was she in knitting the worst of the gash back together, that she failed to notice unnatural reiryoku that was beginning to fill the white-haired captain.
Pain. That was all he knew at first.
Pure, unadulterated, pain.
Then, strangely, the pain began to recede, and he could think clearly again.
"Wha…? Where am I?" Toushirou mumbled softly as his eyes lifted open to see… White. Looking around, he gazed out from where he lay on his back.
Frozen tundra is what he saw, with snowy banks that stretched for miles, far beyond his human line of sight. Several trees, barren of any sign of life and covered by a thick layer of ice, littered the rolling slopes. Something soft and small landed on his nose, quickly melting into water as it dribbled down his face.
He reached out, catching petite, white fuzz in his palm. It was snowing, he realized, though with the blankets of the stuff that covered the ground, it was difficult to distinguish the tiny flakes falling from the sky. The slate gray clouds didn't make it any easier, either, as they blocked out the sun and left only a miniscule bit of light for him to see with.
Despite the abominable weather, however, he didn't feel cold at all.
A soft smile came to his face as he remembered this place. It had been so long since he had last come here.
"It's been a while… Toushirou"
His smile widened slightly as he saw the massive blue dragon staring down at him from behind him, its face just a foot or so above his own.
"Hyorinmaru…" he addressed as he weakly brought his hand up, placing his on the dragon's cheek, as if in some kind of confirmation that he wasn't seeing some kind of mirage. It had been a long while since he had spoken to the great spirit of his Zanpaktou, and it had been even longer since he had come here, to his mindscape. As he recalled, the last time he had come here had been right after achieving Bankai for the first time. After that, he had spoken to Hyorinmaru through the telepathic link they shared. So even though he had often witnessed his friend's manifestation in the ice he often wielded from the blade, it had been a long while since he had seen the dragon in its true, and greatest form.
"How are you feeling?" the dragon's deep voice rumbled.
"I… I don't know… I guess… I don't really feel anything right now"
"Well that's understandable, considering that we're dieing"
Toushirou's eyes widened at the information, then everything came rushing back to him, Aizen's betrayal, him using Bankai, the incredible pain, and…
"Momo!" he yelled in realization as he sat up quickly. She had been on the ground, bleeding and… dieing.
"Don't worry" Hyorinmaru's deep, and yet soothing voice came again, "Right before Aizen and Gin left, Retsu and her vice-captain got there. I sense that Isane took Momo to get proper care. I don't think she and Tobiume will be in any danger. As for us…"
The young captain's eyes settled as the information began to sink in.
"For one thing, you're lucky that you were using Bankai when that happened. If not, I wouldn't have been able to channel my power into you so easily and we'd probably be dead by now. Your friend Retsu has been trying to stabilize you for a while now, but as it's going, I don't think she'll be able to save us"
"Is there anything we can do?" Toushirou asked as he got to his feet and faced the dragon, the thought of death beginning to make his voice weak.
Hyorinmaru didn't answer right away, instead closing his eyes, as if contemplating his answer.
"There is… one thing. But its price may be too great"
Toushirou's eyes widened again at this. If there was something that could make Hyorinmaru, a being that seemed to lack fear in any way, pause, it had to be something grave indeed.
But… what price was greater then death itself?
His emerald eyes hardened into ice in steely determination. He would pay the price, if it meant the chance to make Aizen pay for what he did, to all of them. To Hyorinmaru, to Tobiume, to himself, and to Momo.
"What must we do?"
The dragon paused before replying.
"It is not we, but you, Toushirou. My power and yours alone will not be enough. You must awaken another to help us"
"Wha… What do you mean? Awaken another? Do you mean another zanpaktou?" Toushirou stammered in shock. He couldn't fathom what Hyorinmaru was telling him.
"No. I do not" the great dragon spoke as he shook his massive head, almost in pity.
"Tell me… Toushirou, what would you do for the power to save yourself and take your vengeance"
"How far would you go Toushirou? How far would you trek? To save those you cared for?"
"I… As far as I needed" the boy answered, beginning to understand.
"How many would you slay? How many souls would you rend? To take the vengeance you crave?"
"As many as I needed"
"Now… Toushirou… To save what you hold most dear… and to take the vengeance you call for… would you become… What you despise most?"
"I… I would" his eyes now gleamed with silver light in determination. Would he do it? Could he become something he despised in order to save Momo? And to make Aizen pay for his crimes? Yes. Yes he would.
"Very well then Toushirou Hitsugaya" Hyorinmaru spoke,
"Then… feed your anger," he brought his massive tail up, aiming its spear-like tip downwards.
"Consume your sorrows…" the tail fell, the tip spearing into the frozen tundra.
"Ignite your passions…" the icy ground began to crack and split, cracks and fissures running towards Toushirou. As the fissures reached him and split around him, surrounding him, Hyorinmaru spoke a final time.
"And embrace your darkness!"
Black tendrils shot from the cracks, wrapping around the boy.
But strangely, even though he knew he should be feeling pain, he didn't. Just… Anger. Anger at one thing.
Byakuya fell to ground, the blood loss and exhaustion from his battle with Ichigo and intercepting Ichimaru's attack proving too much.
"Nii-sama!" Rukia cried as her brother fell, even though she was still in his arms.
"Well. That was unexpected" Aizen said, mildly surprised, "No matter. I'll do it myself" he said as he unsheathed his sword.
"Rukia!" Ichigo yelled, too exhausted and injured to do anything.
"Run Rukia! Get away!" Renji cried in similar condition.
Aizen smirked as drew his zanpaktou and approached the girl.
But as he approached, something happened, something no one could have expected.
Dark clouds gathered in the sky above the Soukyouku hill, as if forming a storm of some kind. Ichigo noticed that the temperature was also dropping considerably, so much so that ice was beginning to form on the scarce trees that were growing on the plateau. Suddenly, something shot out of the hole in the center of the clouds. Ichigo was unable to make out what it was, but it was coming right at them.
The object impacted the ground like a meteor sending up smoke and obscuring everyone's vision. As the smoke began to clear, a single word was uttered from the smoke in a guttural tone that gave Ichigo a strange sense of deja vu.
As the figure inside it became visible, everyone who knew him gasped, as well as Ichigo, though his shock was for a very different reason.
"Ca-Captain Hitsugaya?!" Renji stammered, fighting exhaustion from his wounds, some not even healed from his fight with Ichigo.
And it was Toshiro Hitsugaya. But not the one they knew. His clothes were torn and tattered, a scar from some massive gash could be seen on his partially revealed torso. He stood, hunched over somewhat, with his sword grasped in his hand. His body was covered with the icy, draconic shape of his bankai, but it seemed to cover more then usual to those who had seen it before, and the usual flower-like petals were missing as well. But the most haunting thing was his face, or rather, what was on it, which was what truly shocked everyone.
Obscuring half his face, was a partial hollow mask in the shape of a dragon skull.
He drew his sword back, and charged.
Yeah, no Naruto this time around.
First of all, when I was reviewing what I wanted to do for Deathscythe, I realized that all I was doing was making a clichéd Gary Stu fic, and that is something I just don't do. Naruto might show up later, but he won't be a major character. And as for the Epitaph shinigami, Sephiroth and Chaos zanpaktous… maybe I'll save that for another story.
Those who checked will notice that I've made this HitsuHina fic instead of an IchiRuki fic like last time. This is another reason I'm doing a rewrite. This story is going to mainly follow Toushirou's hollowification, and the ramifications that it'll have on the story. Who knows? He might even replace Ichigo as the main protagonist.
Oh, and for some reason, whenever I think of the mindscape scene, I can't help but liken it to the Wrath of the Lich King opening (epic music and all), which is where the title comes from. I'm not making this a WoW xover though. It's just a name I thought was cool and fit Toushirou's character.