A/N: This was written bit-by-bit, just in case I needed to include parts of Ichigo's story into my chapters. I don't think it's all that great, really, but - I wrote it all out...and it's better to have it here, to be read, then sitting in my documents folder.
Two worlds ; One Body
Shirosaki opened his eyes. "Am I...alive?" He took a deep breath after the words left his mouth. He was laying face down in the gravel. "Impossible." He hissed slowly standing up, the pain he felt just moments ago was gone.
"You've been laying there...for fifty years." Shirosaki's eyes glared at the voice. It was a small child wearing a skull mask.
"You've been watching me?" He accused and held up his fist. That's when he saw that his hand was white.
"Follow me." The child said walking off. Shirosaki looked around, the town was deserted. The buildings were either rubble or just metal skeletons of their previous self. He could hear screams being carried by the wind.
"Where the hell am I?"
"Here. There. It is all the same."
"Stop speaking in riddles!" Shirosaki reached out to grab the child but he disappeared right before his eyes.
"No games. This is serious." The child said now next to him.
"How the hell did you do that?"
"Shinigami can do it. So can we."
The child nodded before walking ahead. Shirosaki looked at his clothes, it was as if everything had been inverted. Black to white.
"Look." The child pointed at a puddle on the road.
Shirosaki nearly had the wind knocked out of him when he saw his new face. Pure white skin, white hair, yellow iris's, black eyes and a blue tongue. His hands felt glued to the side of his face, he couldn't seem to chase away the look of horror staring back at him.
"When Shinigami die. That is all there ever is. When a strong Shinigami dies, they become...this. Part Hollow, part Shinigami. Two words combined into one body."
"I thought this was a myth."
"No. You have a reason for being alive. For becoming this...monster."
Shirosaki closed his eyes watching as his memories clouded behind his eyelids, foggy fragments of the past. He could remember the pain. The betrayal. The faces were blurred but he knew who they were. He could feel his hatred, his loathing, in every inch of his skin.
When Shirosaki reopened his eyes; the kid was gone.
Shirosaki walked for miles but it seemed that the town he was in never ended. "Am I going in circles?" He growled in annoyance. There wasn't another soul, Shinigami, or Hollow in sight. He sat down on the empty curb and tried to figure out what the hell he was going to do next.
He suddenly felt the energy begin to shift. Shirosaki jumped to his feet and grabbed at the air above his head. "Where's my weapon?" He dodged a claw that exploded from the street. A Hollow formed before his eyes, it's tail skidding from side to side. The sharp scales on its back glowed in the unknown light. Shirosaki hadn't see the sun or moon peek from the overcast sky.
"My lucky day!" It hissed before lunging once again. Shirosaki propelled himself forward using flash step. 'Good, I still have some of my powers. It doesn't explain where my blade is though.' The Hollow continued to chase him.
"Idiot. The blade rests in the heart."
Shirosaki perched on the roof of a half-torn apart building. Who said that? It wasn't the annoying voice of the kid he met when he first awoke. Shirosaki jumped off the building as the hollow's claw collided with the wall. It was a voice that he knew...but from the convoluted past.
"Stop running! Face the enemy!"
Shirosaki growled again, the sudden stop made dust and small rocks splash into the air. The hollow screeched with joy. It began charging and Shirosaki stood his ground. His heart was racing as he clutched his fists.
The hollow drew closer and he brought up his arm, an attempt to defend himself from the fiend. The hollow's jaw opened wide, the dark abyss of a mouth about to chomp down on the 'hero'. Shirosaki's eyes widened as red and black energy swirled around his hand and a black blade appeared in his hand. The blade struck the hollow in the mouth, blood spraying into the air. It's crimson color decorated the white and black setting.
The hollow backed down and faded from view. "Tch. That was easy." He said sheathing his blade and turning his back on the scene. 'Now...how do I get outta here?' He turned his head, hearing a door slam. Was it that kid again?
An ice cream shop stood tall as the buildings around it crumbled. Shirosaki took a chance and walked inside. It was covered in soot from explosions. The windows had been blown open and only shards of glass remained. The menu was charred beyond recognition. He looked over the counter, seeing an ice hole in the floor.
Something about this hole made him want to jump in. It was the strangest feeling. "Can I die?" he wondered aloud climbing on the counter and crouching due to his height. "I'm here for a reason. I gotta figure out why." He held his breath and jumped into the hole.
"Traitor? How could they..." a distraught female voice.
"I know. We have to fight." His voice.
"Fight?" She—whoever she was—sounded frantic. "No, we have to run! While we still can..."
"I'm not a coward."
Shirosaki could feel his head swimming as he sat up. Another clouded memory.
An Old Friend
Shirosaki knew he was in the human world. The place hadn't changed much but he couldn't shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. He flash stepped through the night, his eyes darting about; searching for something.
"There you are." Shirosaki spun around seeing a woman dressed in black.
"Indeed, hollow." The Shinigami drew her sword. Shirosaki wasn't in the mood for a fight. "I know your face. You're the traitor. The one who was killed not more than fifty years ago." Shirosaki felt his blood boil. He wasn't a traitor!
"How are you alive?"
"Sometimes..." Shirosaki took out the black katana and held it in front of him. "When a powerful Shinigami is wrongfully killed. He comes back for revenge." Shirosaki felt his mouth twist into a grin. A laugh bubbled up in his chest. Yes. This was his reason!
He returned to spill the blood of those men and women who killed him! Who branded him a traitor! Every Shinigami would die by this blade.
"When a Shinigami dies. That's all there ever is."
That was the memory that Shirosaki had when he finished the weak girl off. He was so powerful. He walked away, leaving her body on the side of the road. "C'mon. I know there's more than one Death God..." Just as the words left his white lips, three more appeared. He couldn't help but grin again.
"Bring it." He called out before rushing at them.
His left hand was bleeding and a large hole had been punched into his chest. "Die already!" one Shinigami whined holding up his two blades. Shirosaki smiled again. "Not likely!" He jumped forward but a white flash appeared before him. It disappeared before he could catch it. The white flash moved again, to his left side and then to his right. "What the hell is this?" He growled and a hand suddenly grabbed him from the collar.
"Idiot." A female voice said and then the world blurred around him. This female was flash-stepping while dragging him along.
Shirosaki wrapped his left hand in bandages. It was annoying to think that he could be hurt by a bunch weaklings. She stood a few feet away with her arms crossed and one hip cocked to the side. She always stood like that. Even though she was smaller than him, she acted as if she stood taller than everyone else.
Her whole body was cast in shadow and not even the moon could cut into the room. Shirosaki preferred the dark anyway. His dark yellow iris narrowed in annoyance, he still had a battle to fight and yet she was the who forced him into this building to heal. The gaping hole in his chest had been patched. It didn't make sense...why the hell would she care so much?'
"Shirayuki." He spoke her name, causing her to walk out from the shadow. He could see her clearly now...even in the darkness.
"I thought you..." He stood up slowly but Shirayuki pushed him back onto the chair. The memories were like glass cutting into his scalp. It physically hurt to try and remember his past.
"You need to rest."
"I'm fine." He spat back.
"You think you are, but you're just on a power trip."
"How the hell would you know that?" Shirosaki glared and her icy blue eyes just glared right back at him. Shirayuki casually brushed the frayed white bangs out of her pale face.
"I've been like this for longer than you have." She turned her back on him and Shirosaki grumbled a curse in her direction. The red ribbon attached to the hilt of her blade swayed softly with each step she took.
"How long?" He asked, letting the mild curiosity get the better of him.
"I've waited twenty-five years for you to wake up. During that time, I trained and learned what I was. What I could do." Shirayuki lifted her right hand and a small red orb appeared in her hand. The red glow lit up the room. Shirosaki saw that they were in an old beat down hospital. That would explain the bandages.
"Get some sleep." Shirayuki said closing her hand; the light faded away sharply. Shirosaki was actually too tired to argue with her, he'd save it for the morning. He leaned back in the chair, his chest aching and his hand throbbing.
"Please, run with me." Her dark hair fell in her face and little streams of tears slid down her soft face.
"It's too late." He answered roughly, his eyes moving away from his partner.
"They'll kill us."
"We can prove them wrong." His eyes moved back over to Shirayuki. Her back was turned on him.
"I'm going to run. D-don't come looking for me. I don't...want them following you and...Goodbye." Shirosaki thought she was bluffing this whole time. But when she suddenly flash stepped out of the room, he knew it was true. She left him. 'Coward' he thought bitterly turning away from the door.
A Week in Hell
Shirayuki took him to the place where she had trained during the twenty five years that he was 'asleep'. It was just an old warehouse but in the middle of the floor was a hatch, beneath that was a whole underground area. Shirayuki briefly mentioned that another group used this training area but now it was deserted. It was a vast underground area with destroyed buildings, large canyon mountains, and a small spring off the side.
"I don't need any training." Shirosaki said with a sneer as Shirayuki took out her blade.
"You...are like a child learning to walk. You can stand for a few seconds but then you fall. If you don't train, practice, you will continue to fall. Let me help you." Shirayuki stood a few feet away waiting for him to take out the black katana on his hip. He rolled his yellow and black eyes.
"Fine." Was he really that helpless against this woman? She plagued his dreams...or memories. Her voice seemed to echo in his mind. But he had no idea who she really was to him.
The black katana clashed with her pure white one. Sparks flew into the air as their energies crashed in a battle for dominance.
"Don't waste all your energy at once." She said sliding back. He couldn't help it though, his power was so great. He must have tons just waiting to be used. Shirosaki gave another push of his sword and Shirayuki clenched her jaw. She flash stepped out of the parry.
"Too slow to catch me?" She said with a low growl hidden under her tone.
"We'll see about that..." He chased after her. After just a few minutes, he couldn't believe how tired he was. His blue tongue nearly fell out of his mouth as he panted like a dog. He skidded to a stop, not knowing where Shirayuki had flash stepped to.
A white flash "You're dead." She smirked whist behind him, with her white blade against his throat.
"How did you..." Shirosaki couldn't even finish his sentence. His mind was swirling with another memory.
"You're it." Shirayuki said with her hands on her hips.
"I can't be 'it' twice!" Shirosaki argued pointing at a blurred face. "He hasn't been 'it' all day!"
"He doesn't suck, apparently." She said now crossing her arms.
"Hey! What is that supposed to mean? You little brat!" His arms suddenly wrapped around her and her delicate laugh filled his mind.
"Shirosaki?" His vision went from blurry to clear in a matter of moments. Shirayuki's face was above him, her ice blue eyes glinting with concern.
"Eh? What just happened?"
"Your memories are coming back to you, isn't it obvious?" Shirayuki offered her hand to help him up.
"That's normal?" He took her hand, fitting perfectly with his own, and was lifted back to his feet.
Shirayuki nodded her head. "When we become hollows...this is just a theory, but our previous selfs get left behind. Scattered. Going to familiar places or being with familiar people will bring back these memories, these fragments of yourself."
"They freaking hurt like hell." Shirosaki said now holding his forehead. She smiled softly but looked away from him.
"That's all for today."She walked away and back upstairs where they had two sleeping bags to rest in. Shirosaki realized that he didn't really need to sleep eight or ten hours. Just four and he was alright.
She sat on her sleeping bag with her legs crossed. Shirayuki held her face in her hands. His memories were returning. Her own memories had been collected through the years but when he woke up, it was like a tidal wave of emotions.
"Shirosaki! Don't!" She screamed seeing him run towards her. "Run! Run! While you still can!"
"Not without you!" He yelled back, an inferno burning in his hazel eyes.
She couldn't even remember her former self. The Shinigami Shirayuki. The traitor. No matter what memory her mind took her through, she never saw her old face. "Maybe it's to get used to the monster I am now." She whispered laying back down. She hated this life. It was miserable.
Shirosaki was improving. Their game of 'flash step tag' could last at least 11 hours without him breaking a sweat. He learned how to conserve his energy and not use it all up at once. Day four was something completely new.
"Today, I'll teach you how to do this." Shirayuki held up her hand again and showed off the bright red orb. She tossed it at a mock-buildings wall and it exploded into concrete pieces.
"Gather your energy into your palm and focus."
"Close your eyes." She instructed. "Imagine...a warmth filling your palm. Focus." Shirayuki took a few steps forward and lifted his hand into the air. Shirosaki couldn't help but swallow, anticipation filled up like water in his lungs.
"Form your energy into a ball." Shirayuki looked up at his hand, little red sparks forming around his fingertips. "You're doing great." She whispered as a small red orb appeared in his hand.
Shirosaki opened his eyes and the orb, with a loud crack, disappeared. "Damn."
"You'll get it."
"Did you learn all of this alone?" He asked rubbing the burn mark on his palm with his other hand. The black mark soon healed and was replaced with the white of his skin. His healing and recovery rate was much faster now.
"Okay, I think you're ready." Shirayuki said with a soft smile.
"To fight me." Shirayuki took out the white katana once more. "C'mon." She encouraged. "You're finally at my level...maybe even stronger."
Shirosaki gave her a look that could most adequately be explained as 'What the hell are you talking about?' Yet, he still took out his blade.
Their blades clashed once more but Shirayuki was right; he had gotten stronger. He could feel it in his bones. He flash stepped backwards with Shirayuki right behind him, but quickly thinking, he dodged behind a rock. Then flash stepped to the left. Then to the right. He didn't even bother checking behind him.
He stopped and spun around, their blades clashing again. He couldn't help but grin. "You're good."
"I've had practice." She responded with a light smirk.
This game of cat and mouse went on for hours on end. Shirosaki couldn't tell when he was tired. Shirayuki kept up and never let her defenses down. She stopped in the middle of the training area, her unique blue eyes dancing around, searching for him.
"Gotcha." He whispered holding his black blade up to her neck. He heard her release a sigh.
"Good game." He moved his blade away and sheathed it. She quietly did the same and turned to look at him. She couldn't see the 'old' Shirosaki anywhere behind those dark eyes with their haunting yellow. It saddened her and at the same time made her wonder; could he see the 'old' Shirayuki behind her eyes?
"So am I done with my training?" Shirosaki asked with a wide grin.
"Yeah...I've done everything I can here."
"Good, now I can get my revenge."
Shirayuki felt her eyes widen ever so slightly. 'Revenge'?
"Why...? Don't you just want to clear your name?"
"Tch. No." He crossed his arms and turned his head away. "That's not good enough for me."
"Then...what will you do?" She felt stupid for asking.
"Kill them all." He answered without flinching. "Everyone who wronged me."
Shirayuki turned away and her hands curled into fists. "Very well. Maybe we will see each other again."
"Huh? You leaving?"
"I can't stay. Sorry." Shirayuki hurried out of the training area, into the warehouse and back into the streets of the human world. She couldn't help but wish to curse him. Shirosaki was a good man, the one she had in her memories was good. He wouldn't kill for vengeance. She held her hands together and looked down at the black street below her feet.
"Shirosaki...come back to me."
She looked up to see a hollow slinking into the shadows. Taking out her blade she rushed forward, even though she was...one of them...in some ways. She was still a Shinigami at heart. She jumped up and slid the blade down the length of the creatures mask. It didn't even have a chance to scream.
She landed gracefully with the red ribbon attached to her white katana flowing sweetly in the breeze. Shirayuki lifted her head, seeing a small child—a spirit, standing nearby. "For a monster, you're pretty." the spirit child said clutching to the street light pole. Shirayuki's lips curved into a soft smile. Even if it was a semi-insult, she couldn't scold the child.
"If I was still...wearing black...I could send you somewhere safe." Shirayuki said sheathing her katana.
"But that was another life. Go, before any more Hollows return." Her ice blue eyes caught the moonlight and for just a breath of a moment, their purple hue hidden beneath was ignited.
One down, 12 more to go!
Shirosaki spun his katana in his hand. "Captain of the 13th division." Shirosaki grinned and stopped spinning his blade. The man that stood in front of him wearing a captain's haori shook his head sadly.
"Do you really wish to fight me?"
"You came all this way from Soul Society to destroy me. Why wouldn't I fight you?"
"Very well..." The man was young in his appearance but his hair was white and long. He kept it tied back by a black ribbon.
Shirosaki enjoyed the blood as it sprayed into the air. It didn't matter if it was his own or the Captain's. "How were you involved in my death?" Shirosaki asked twisting his katana into the man's shoulder.
"I was one of the few...who...believed your innocence." He struggled to speak as blood filled his mouth and poured down onto his chin. The liquid splattered on the street and his haori.
Shirosaki felt his eyes widen and his head begin to throb as the memories crushed any previous thoughts.
"She's innocent! They both are!" A man with short white hair yelled over the crowd of Shinigami. Shirosaki looked over to see Shirayuki standing on a platform. Didn't she run? Why was she here?
"Silence! Captain of the 13th division. Your words are meaningless here." A blurred face yelled and slammed his cane against the wood.
Shirosaki stared into the man's gray colored eyes. "Who? Who was the one...I need names." Shirosaki said pulling his blade away.
"I'm sorry. It w...would be against...my own personal...beliefs." His eyes faded and the man dropped to the floor with a soft thud.
"Fine. I'll cut through them all." Shirosaki said looking up at the sky as daylight began peeking through the horizon. "That's one. Only twelve more left." He sheathed his blade and saw out of the corner of his eye, a red ribbon vanish into the alleyway. His heart told him to chase after her, but his rage told him to keep pushing forward. To find a way into Soul Society. To quench the thirst of his blade.
A Beautiful Graveyard
Shirayuki felt her knees tremble as she collapsed in front of a gravestone.
"I wish I could be here..." She whispered to the grass as her pale hand wrapped around the grass blades and clutched them tightly. Her eyes kept flashing back to the memory of Shirosaki. His blood lust filled eyes. His crazed smile as he cut down the Shinigami.
"He will never be forgiven. Soul Society will torture him for his crimes...even if...being a hollow is punishment enough." Shirayuki could feel her heart tugging in her chest. She closed her eyes and hoped that the image would melt away. Her memories came in to fill the gaping hole of sadness.
"Hey! What is that supposed to mean? You little brat!" His arms wrapped around her and she laughed. He was so warm.
"You're just a sore loser!" She smiled and held his face in her hands.
"But I haven't lost yet..." He whispered before kissing her. Everything about Shirosaki was warm and inviting. His kisses, his smile, and even the times when he would tease her because of her height.
"You're 'it'" He said after breaking the kiss with a smirk on his face.
"Now he is just a shell of his former self. Cold and heartless." Shirayuki pushed herself to her knees and stared with apathy at the gravestone in front of her. "But I can't stop myself from still caring for him." Shirayuki looked up into the sky as it turned a soft pink.
"How annoying." She breathed closing her eyes and hoping that the warmth from the sun would help soothe her cold thoughts. She heard two rice paper doors open before she turned her head to see what was happening.
"Shirayuki..." Her hand clutched the hilt of her blade as she jumped to her feet.
A Bitter Reunion
Shirosaki's patience was wearing thin. He had no idea how to get to Soul Society and most Shinigami stayed clear of him. Shirayuki was nowhere to be found and his heart ached at the very thought of her. The memories of her were stronger now, more emotional. So much that it nearly brought him to his knees.
"Shirosaki!" A sharp scream from a voice he longed to hear yet suddenly feared when he heard the pain inside. He flash stepped following both the echo and his heart. He stopped suddenly as a white body was tossed into a gravestone, shattering the monument completely.
"Shirayuki!" He yelled jumping in front of her fallen body and blocking the blade from the Shinigami.
"I knew you'd come to her rescue." The male Shinigami said. His white haori flowed softly in the wind and his tousled warm brown hair gave him a look of gentleness.
"Captain of the fifth division?"
"Indeed I am. Step aside so I can destroy your...partner."
"Tch." Shirosaki pushed the Captain back and gave a growl that sounded more animal than man.
"Hm. Very well."
"Shirosaki! Don't fight him!" Shirayuki yelled getting up and jumping into the battle.
"Shirayuki, stay back!"
"You don't even know me!" Shirayuki hissed and kicked Shirosaki in the gut, sending him flying backwards. "So get out of my fight!"
Shirosaki's head slammed against a grave and he could already feel the warm blood oozing from the spot.
He was running and cutting down anyone who stood in his way. "Shirayuki!" He yelled seeing a crowd of Shinigami in front of the mansion where the first captain stayed.
"She's innocent! They both are!"
"Silence! Your words are meaningless here!"
"Shirosaki! Don't!" Shirayuki screamed while standing on the platform "Run! Run! While you still can!"
"Not without you!" He yelled seeing her dark blue eyes, full of mixed emotion. He jumped forward and tackled the small girl to the ground.
"Shirosaki, please...run..." Shirayuki whispered. He stared into his eyes, finally seeing his former self in her pupils. He was just an ordinary Shinigami.
"I won't let you die!" He picked her up just in time as four Shinigami brought their katanas' down to slice them to pieces.
"No one believes us. You're the one who wanted to fight! Make up your damn mind!"
"I wanted to fight because it was the easy way out." He said flash stepping away with stronger Shinigami on his tail. "There wasn't any way I could have won." Shirosaki quickly turned into an alleyway continued the chase. "Then I heard that they captured you while you were running and...I realized that I couldn't do it. I couldn't fight without you. I couldn't run without you."
Shirayuki buried her head into his shoulder, her tears wetting the fabric of his black robe. "Idiot!" She cursed.
Shirosaki woke up and it was already dark. Shirayuki was standing in the middle of the street and he felt his heart jump. He needed her. Even if that was his Shinigami life. He still needed her. No amount of power in the world could change that.
"Shirayuki!" He yelled scrambling to his feet and running towards her. Where was the Captain? Did she defeat him? He skidded to a stop...
Shirosaki stood in awe of his partner. Shirayuki, a strong-willed woman with an agenda of her own. That very agenda was why she was pushing him away. "If you follow me...I'll never forgive you!" She yelled as the tears filled her lower lids. Dark clouds loomed over the small city, threatening to spill over, much like the tears in her ice blue eyes. She stood in front of two rice paper doors. His mind clicked with a short memory. They were gates into Soul Society.
He didn't understand. He didn't want to save her, he just wanted to be there. They had gone through so much already, why couldn't she trust him? She was so torn and broken but at the same time she wasn't. He tried to explain that where ever she went, he would follow, but she wouldn't listen. Then he grabbed her shoulders and kissed her.
Shirayuki put up a small fight, her hands pressing against his chest. She soon gave in though and her lips melded with his. Shirosaki wanted to gasp as the memories came flowing back but this time, far more painful. Shirayuki seemed to have sensed his discomfort because she broke the kiss and held his face in her hands.
"Shirosaki..." Her arms wrapped around him tightly as the stood, surrounded by Shinigami. The tight circle of enemies were drawing closer.
"I know." He held her face in his hands and gave her a small smile. "I need you to do something for me..."
"Run." He whispered before kissing her forehead. "Go. I'll create a distraction."
"No! We...we have to go through this together!" Shirayuki's eyes filled with tears again.
"I'm sorry." He pushed her away and took out the large sword on his back that was nearly twice his size.
"If you wanna get to her, you gotta go through me!" He yelled before sending a wave of spiritual energy at the other Shinigami. The pain from the wounds were crippling but he kept fighting, even if it was one-hundred to one.
"Enough." A rough voice said, Shirosaki turned around to see a man with a long white-beard. His blade went through Shirosaki's heart and the world felt like it was in slow motion as he fell face down onto the grass. "Traitor." The old man said with as much loathing as he could.
"Shirosaki. I have to go." She whispered seeing his dazed face. His yellow eyes were conflicting. "You will be forgiven." She turned and walked into the gate, looking back at her partner who was frozen as the memories held him captive.
When Shirosaki snapped out of his trance he could only stand there awestruck. Shirayuki had left him. He knew who she was. His lover, partner, friend, his everything. He died protecting her. He died making sure she was safe. "I'm not here for revenge." He realized holding one hand against his face. "I'm here to protect her."
The only mystery was that why did he 'wake up' twenty five years after Shirayuki did? If his purpose was to protect her, then how did that all work out? Was it will power? Was she not in any danger? The questions rattled his brain as he searched for a Shinigami. He needed to get into Soul Society.
Shirayuki closed her eyes listening to the cold words of the Captain commander.
"You shall be executed for your crimes. As a Shinigami you were found guilty in the crime of murder against fifth captain Aizen. You were found at the scene of the crime with his dead body."
Shirayuki didn't even bother arguing. Aizen was the man who let her into Soul Society. The one who Shirosaki and herself fought only mere hours ago.
"As further punishment, for your crimes as a hollow, we will execute Shirosaki before your eyes."
Shirayuki's eyes sprang open and she quickly pleaded with the Captain Commander.
"Please, please, I offer my soul. My own life. As penance for his crimes. He was lost and confused when he first became a hollow. He didn't understand his purpose." She bowed her head letting the white bangs fall into her eyes. "Forgive him. He was just a bystander in my own dark deeds."
"Is that your request before we execute you?"
She failed in her mission to clear her name. For twenty five years she did research, she trained, she prepared for this moment. It all fell apart. Shirosaki arrived by some twist of fate. She knew he was sent...or his heart returned him to her...however it happened. It was his duty to protect her. For all the pain she put him through, he deserved to be forgiven by Soul Society. Maybe they could put his soul at rest.
She walked onto the wooden platform; a crowd of Shinigami circled the building and yelled. It was the same scene from fifty years ago. The only difference was that Shirosaki wouldn't be coming to her rescue and she was a hollow. She deserved to die.
"Any last words?"
"Shirayuki!" Her head jolted upwards to see a white flash moving towards her.
"No! I won't let history repeat itself!" Shirosaki said jumping onto the 'stage'. "We're innocent. Aizen is alive! I fought him! Shirayuki never killed him..."
"And what of you, Shirosaki? Did you not kill Captain of the 13th Division?" The commander demanded.
"Shirosaki, go! I'm trying to protect you. Please. They already said they would forgive you if I gave my life."
"But you didn't do anything!" Shirosaki tried to argue but Shirayuki just stared him down.
"I was the one branded as a traitor, not you, Shirosaki. The rage you felt when you woke up. The revenge you wanted so badly, that was because of me. You wanted revenge on the people who wronged you by killing me." She explained as calmly as she could even though tears were pooling in her lower eyelids.
"Why did I wake up twenty-five years after you then?"
"So I could collect my memories of you. Once I had them all, you returned to me. Even if you didn't know who I was to you."
Shirosaki took out his blade and stood defensively in front of Shirayuki.
"Justice must be served!" The commander boomed.
"You don't know what justice is!" Shirosaki growled and the commander slammed his cane into the ground. A circle of flames surrounded the stage.
"Do not back talk me, boy!" The commander took out his katana. It surged with power and flames wrapped around the blade. Shirayuki was helpless and she hated that. She was pushed back as Shirosaki and the Commander began their fierce battle.
Each time Shirosaki was torn open. Shirayuki's heart would twist and she would resist the urge to cry out in sheer agony.
Shirosaki lowered his head staring down at his white clothes that were stained with blood and burnt from the flames. "Shirosaki! Stop! We don't have to fight..."
"We can't run."
"We can try!" Shirayuki grabbed his shoulder and he shrugged her hand away. "No. This is my fight."
Shirayuki clasped her hands together tightly and watched as the two energies clashed. The commander's white energy and Shirosaki's black one. The flames twisted and turned with each movement, their heat burning her skin.
"Shirosaki?" She ran towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Miss me?" He joked with a light chuckle.
"I didn't think you'd come back. So many...people have died fighting that hollow." She blushed brightly and backed up. "Sorry. I overreacted." A nervous habit, she fussed with the bangs in front of her face.
"I can't die. I'm indestructible!"
"Don't be stupid."
Shirayuki bit her lower lip and placed her hand on her hip. 'the blade is in the heart'. She felt her fingers wrap around a hilt and her heart raced. She wasn't going to be a helpless princess. "Shirosaki!" She jumped into the air and blocked what could have been a fatal blow.
"Stop telling me that!" She retorted with a half-smirk. "We fight together and we die together."
Shirosaki couldn't argue with that statement so he fought alongside her, and the commander didn't seem to mind taking on two powerful hollows. He almost looked like he was enjoying it.
Shirosaki spun around just in time to see that the commander had moved the smoke from the fire into Shirayuki, covering her in the darkness. The commander flash stepped into the dark clouds, "No!" Shirosaki's voice cracked slightly and he followed. She wouldn't expect a sneak attack.
He saw the white fabric of her pants and without giving it a second thought, he pushed himself forward and wrapped his arms around her. He closed his eyes tightly. There was a sharp pain but he ignored it. "Shirosaki!" Her panicked yell made his eyes open. He looked down to see that the commander's blade went through his heart and the very tip just touched Shirayuki's chest but didn't scratch her.
"No...no..." The smoke dissolved around them as the flames died down and the katana was pulled from his chest. "I was...protected...again." He heard her whisper faintly as they both fell from the sky and onto the hard, unforgiving ground. He tried to keep himself propped up so that Shirayuki, who was lying under him, wasn't crushed.
"Shirosaki? Stay with me...please..." He watched her tormented face as the tears ran along her cheek bones and hit her soft white hair.
"Shirayuki..." He pressed his forehead against hers. "I'm sorry...I failed."
"Idiot." Shirayuki slowly pushed him up and let his forehead rest against her shoulder; as her arms wrapped around his chest carefully.
"You've never failed me." She whimpered softly as the tears began to flow more steadily. The other Shinigami watching the scene didn't dare to interrupt. It was actually very moving, their emotions were so raw. One man lifted his sword to deliver the final blow but several other Shinigami stopped him. "This isn't the time." They said keeping a large circle around the two hollows.
"This wasn't supposed to be a love story." His breath becoming more shallow. Shirayuki forced a small chuckle.
"I'm...tired." He lifted his hand, that felt like it weighed thirty pounds on its own, and placed it on her cheek.
"Get some rest."
"Will you..." Shirosaki couldn't continue. If Shinigami die and that's it. It would be the same for hollows. Or part Shinigami-part hollow. Whatever the hell he was. He didn't exactly care anymore.
"Yes, I'll be there when you wake up." Shirayuki's lower lip began to tremble again as her breath came in short gasps.
"Good." He mumbled.
Shirayuki felt her hair get tugged and she looked up to see the face of the commander.
"There is no life for you after this." Her ex-commander said quietly holding the blade against her neck.
"There was no life for me once my love took his last breath." Shirayuki closed her eyes and held Shirosaki tightly, his head near her heart.
She slumped forward still embracing Shirosaki's limp body. No one even dared to speak.
The Truth Revealed
Aizen flash stepped forward and glared at the two bodies of Shirosaki and Shirayuki. "Aizen? You are...alive?" The group of Shinigami began to speak in a frenzy.
"I can't believe this. I'm too late! I had everything planned out..." Aizen grumbled taking off his glasses and breaking them in half with one hand.
"What do you mean?" The commander asked, narrowing his already half-closed eyes. Aizen began to laugh while shaking his head.
"I wanted the power to become a hollow." Aizen started laughing again. "So I had to kill one Shinigami who would return to protect. And the other Shinigami would return in the name of justice. They would be bound by their love." He began shaking with rage or maybe...madness.
"Then, when they returned as hollows, I would use this blade..." He held up a small black blade with red Japanese characters carved into the side. "to kill them and take their hollow powers..." Aizen started laughing again while clutching his hair. "Everything...so perfectly planned. My staged death. Everything...ruined!"
He screamed to the heavens as the two bodies began to disintegrate.
"Bind him!" The commander barked, smashing the end of his cane onto the ground, sending out a wave of dirt. "Betrayal, conspiring against us all, for what? For power? You are a fool."
Aizen laughed all the way to his cell and legend has it—he even laughed as he was executed for his crimes. Shirayuki and Shirosaki were given proper funerals, despite no longer having bodies, their graves rest with those fallen Shinigami who died fighting just as they had.
At the Shinigami academy, a fountain stands in their honor; a black and white sword crossing each other with the words embellished around the edges, 'For those who fight to protect. For those who fight for justice. For those who fight for love. These spirits will always guide and watch over you.'
Ichigo signed his name across the front cover of his book and handed to the freckled girl in line. She beamed and hurried away, excitedly showing her friends her signed copy.
Ichigo looked over to his right where Rukia and his daughter were reading a large story-book together.
A/N: Thank you again for all your support.