Limits

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Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach!

This is set after the pendulum arc, almost a year or so.

Thanks a lot to my beta-reader Kyoko Kasshu Minamino!


"ARGH! THAT'S IT! I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

An irritated yell sounded through out the underground basement which hosted all the hybrid former-captains and vice-captains. The blond former captain of the fifth division looked up from where he was sitting in alarm. His eyes narrowed slightly as he jumped off the rock he was sitting on.

He was soon followed by all the other Vizards, all fearing the worse for their silver-haired companion. They knew something was wrong with him but they didn't voice their concern for fear that their friend would get mad at them. After all, he was known for his pride and his hatred towards pity.

They arrived just in time to witness a fight between the former ninth division's captain and vice-captain. One would say that they were accustomed to see those two fighting all the time but that time, it was obvious that it wasn't a friendly fight.

Mashiro stood in front of her captain defiantly glaring at him, her hand on the hilt of her Zanpakutou, ready to unsheathe it at any given minute. In front of her, stood the silver haired man, with his hand also on the hilt of his Zanpakutou.

However, Kensei didn't look as healthy as Mashiro did. As a matter of a fact, he struggled to keep his eyelids from closing. He panted heavily as sweat drops trailed down his cheeks and forehead. He shook his head in an attempt to clear his hazy vision but all he received was a sharp pain followed by numbness in his limbs.

He felt the world paint itself in black but forced himself to hold onto the threads of light that were still visible. "Damn it, Mashiro! This is none of your damn business!" He snapped at her, hoping that his voice didn't sound as weak as he felt.

"No! I won't let you do it even if you are mean!" She yelled back at him with her high-pitched voice while waving her hands frantically to prove her point.

"I can't take this anymore!" He shouted at her then coughed violently as he doubled over in pain, covering his mouth with his hand as he tried to suppress his coughs.

"What's goin' on here?" After having enough from watching the two fighting without an end, Shinji decided to step in and clear things out. Although, he had an idea of what was going on, he didn't want to believe it. He wanted to hear it from them, especially from Kensei.

"Shinji!" Mashiro exclaimed happily as she hopped to greet the blond man. "Tell Kensei to stop!" She whined as she pulled the fifth division's former captain along with her to where the man in question was sitting, leaning his back against a rock as he fought to catch his breath.

"What's goin', Kensei?" Shinji's voice took a turn into seriousness as he narrowed his eyes at the person before him.

"Nothin'!" The silver-haired man tried to yell but it only made him cough and pant heavily. He closed his eyes as his eyebrows furrowed.

"Liar!" The green-haired hyperactive woman shouted while pointing at her former captain.

"I caught him trying to kill himself," she whispered the last part because of the fact that she herself didn't want to believe that the person whom she cared about and thought of as more than a friend tried to do such thing. And what made her irritated was that he wouldn't tell her the reason behind his irrational action.

Kensei sighed heavily as he heard all his companions gasp in horror. He could only imagine how they looked like at that moment; mouths hanging ajar with their eyes wide open. To say the least, he hated it when they looked at him like that. They just looked plain dumb and silly.

"Is that true, Kensei?" Love asked a little too hesitantly while stepping closer to the man on the ground.

"It doesn't concern you," The 69-tattooed man replied without opening his eyes. One minute he was sitting on the ground and the next he found himself being lift up by the collar of his shirt.

He winced a little and fought to open his eyes to glare at the person holding him. "Put me down," he hissed angrily, a vein popping out of his forehead.

"Not until you answer my question!" Love seethed with anger and tightened his grip on his friend.

"YES! I TRIED TO! HAPPY NOW?" Out of astonishment and shock, Love's grip relaxed so Kensei took the chance and freed himself from the iron-like grip.

If it hadn't been for what he had been going through, it would have been an easy task to free himself out of Love's grip. However, Kensei hadn't been feeling like himself lately and that was what led him to the state he was in now.

"Why?" Shinji voiced the question that played in everyone's minds. He stepped closer to Kensei whom leaned against the rock to prevent himself from falling.

Kensei sighed heavily and closed his eyes in pain as he felt the world around him spin wildly. The headache he'd been suffering from for so long didn't make things any easier. His head throbbed painfully making even the simplest of movements like breathing seem hard.

He kept quiet and acted like the question wasn't even asked until Hachi decided to ask it again.

"Why did you try to do such a thing?" The large man asked with his deep voice and waited patiently for Kensei to speak.

"Why do you care?" Kensei whispered weakly while keeping his eyes closed. He couldn't afford making his head hurt much more, it already felt like someone was hitting it with a hammer.

"Because you are our friend, idiot!" Mashiro scolded him with her high pitched voice.

The silver-haired Vizard winced at the loudness of her voice and tried to conceal the pain he was feeling but to no avail. He had already reached his limit and he couldn't hide the fact that he's actually in pain.

He opened his eyes just in time to see his green-haired vice-captain sticking her tongue out at him. "You of all people should not mind me being dead," he told her, annoyance clear in his voice.

Mashiro's eyes lost their glint for only a fraction of a second before they went back to being normal. Shinji noticed that but decided against saying anything about it.

"You may be an annoying meanie, but that doesn't mean that I want you dead." Her answer surprised Kensei.

"Still, you didn't tell us the reason, meanie!" Mashiro whined.

Kensei sighed loudly and slipped down the rock to be in a sitting position. His knees were propped up supporting his arms. He placed one of his hands over his face, covering it from view as he started speaking, "I can't take this anymore," he started in a low voice.

No one dared to interrupt him, not even the ever-loud Mashiro.

"It all started when we came into the living world, when we became Vizards," he stopped as he took a deep breath.

"What happened?" Shinji prompted him to continue when he noticed that his silver-haired companion wasn't going to start any time soon.

Kensei sighed then continued. "At first, I thought that it was a normal thing to feel and that all of you were feeling the same so I didn't say anything."

Everyone's eyes narrowed at the man before them as seriousness took hold of the air around them.

"But then it started increasing until I finally couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't sleep for days; I was restless all the time. I went to Urahara and he told me that he can't do anything to help me, I already expected that but I had to be sure."

"What's happening to you, Kensei?" Shinji asked him, worry gripping his voice.

"My hollow is getting stronger by the minute." Kensei removed his hand and looked at his friends, his eyes weren't normal anymore: they were the eyes of a killer, the eyes of the hollow inside of him, pitch black with dark yellow irises.

Mashiro clapped her hands over her mouth as everyone's eyes widened in disbelief. For the first time since that night when she saw her captain getting pierced with a sword and falling down on the ground to be left bleeding, her eyes watered.

"But that can't be happening!" She shouted at him, maybe if she said it out loud, it wouldn't be true, and maybe it would be all a lie or a joke. Yeah, that was it; a sick joke, but still a joke nonetheless. Her captain loved to tease her all the time and scare her shitless so it had to be a joke.

Kensei looked at his vice-captain and couldn't help the frown that spread over his face. "That's why I tried to kill myself, because I couldn't let that thing hurt you." Although he said it to everyone, it seemed to Mashiro that he was saying that to her, to only her.

Understanding dawned on all the Vizards except for Mashiro. For the life of her, she couldn't understand the benefit of killing himself. It wouldn't do them any good: it would only make things harder for them. They had already lost their homes and friends so they only had each other now. So why was he doing that to them? Why was he doing that to her?

He's the only person that she felt she got along with just fine and now he's going to leave her alone.

"No! That's not true!" The green-haired woman yelled out as she marched to where Kensei was sitting. "You're doing this because you're a weak mean man, that's why!" She yelled at him, causing him to scowl at her.

"I'm not!" He hissed as he attempted to glare at her.

"Yes you are! I never knew you to be like this, Kensei!" She told him. "You were always a strong person; you would always hold your head high and wouldn't let anyone defeat you no matter what!" Her voice wavered with each word she uttered. She could feel her vision blurring and that only meant that tears were welling up in her eyes.

She hated that, hated all of that. She wanted to go back to Soul Society where she would annoy her captain like she always used to do. She wanted the old days back when they were normal.

Kensei stared back at her, not finding his voice to reply back at her. For once, she was right: he was a weak mean man. He felt ashamed of himself and decided to look at anything but her. Mashiro noticed his silence and that only made her tears spill out of her eyes.

A single tear fell down on Kensei's arm, causing him to look in alarm at the woman standing before him. She was standing close to him, too close and she was crying. That was the first time he had ever seen her crying in front of him and for some reason, it made him feel angry at himself.

He felt the need to comfort her so he forced himself to stand on his two unsteady feet even though every part of his body screamed at him in pain. He took a step towards her and placed his arms around her little frame.

She felt tiny in his arms, almost fragile that he was afraid that he would break her if he held her any tighter. "Don't cry," he whispered into her ear, making shivers run down her spine. Mashiro's eyes widened significantly when she felt him bringing her close to him.

Her face almost instantly heated up and she leaned her head against his chest, relieving in the warmth he provided. "Why shouldn't I?" She whispered so that he would be the only one hearing her. Kensei raised his eyes and looked at the distance but kept his arms firmly around her.

Shinji saw the interaction between his two friends and signaled for the other Vizards to give the two some time alone. With one last look, the two were left alone in the basement.

The silver-haired former-captain pulled away from his vice-captain while placing his hands on her shoulders. He locked his eyes with hers. "Because---I don't want you to. I'm your captain, you know," he ordered her haughtily.

"Not anymore!" For a moment all seemed to be forgotten when she stuck her tongue out at him childishly. When she noticed him smiling at her, she felt herself blushing a deep shade of red. Never had she felt like that before in his presence. She wondered, Why the change of feelings now?

Maybe because she realized that, that might be the last time she could ever see him?

"Don't do this," she stepped closer to him to bury her face deep into his chest, effectively hiding it from view.

Kensei sighed heavily and hugged her tightly. "I'm losing, Mashiro," he admitted, feeling defeated from simply voicing that truth out loud.

"You didn't even try to fight it!" She argued as she pulled herself away to glare at him.

"Yes I did!" He defended himself against her accusation. "Didn't you hear me when I said that I went to Urahara and he told me that he couldn't help me in this?" He yelled at her, letting all his stress and frustration on her. "Do you think that I like being like this? Being so helpless against this thing inside of me?"

He panted heavily as he slipped down to sit on the ground, placing his head in the palms of his hands. "I'm tired, Mashiro," he whispered. "I feel so helpless."

The green-haired woman sat next to him and rested her hand on his shoulder asking for his attention. When he raised his head, she put her hand under his chin bringing his lips closer to hers. She kissed him gently.

The ninth division's former-captain's eyes widened in surprise but that didn't prevent him from responding to her sudden kiss. Soon after, he pulled her into his lap and kissed her harder, more passionately. He had to admit that he liked the feeling of her delicate lips against his own.

When they broke apart, she beamed at him with a smile painting her delicious lips. "We can solve this together; we can defeat it together, just like we always used to do when we were a captain and a vice-captain." Her words left no room for refusal.

He gave her a small tired smile and brought her forehead to rest against his own. "Yeah...like we always used to do."

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"Looks like I won." The blond haired man smirked as he extended his hand and waited for Rose to give him the money. The Vizards watched the whole thing from their hiding place, Kensei and Mashiro couldn't have possibly thought that they would be left alone. Maybe in another life time?

"I never expected those two to end up together," Rose admitted with a sigh.

"Idiot. It was obvious all the time." Lisa scolded him.

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Fin

So what do you think? It's a little piece I started but didn't get the chance to finish and when I found it, I thought "What the hell?! Why not finish it?" I hope that you enjoyed reading it.

Reviews are appreciated!

~KWF~