Disclaimer - I do not own Bleach
Chapter Fifteen - The Final Fate of All
They had made their decision and hand in hand Midori and Toushirou each used a flash-step to appear in between the demon and the group of Shinigami. All eyes immediately focused on the pair, now both surrounded by a powerful aura and each holding a determined look in their eyes.
"What the hell are you doing?" Hitsugaya screamed as his gaze focused on his parents.
"I'm fixing my mistakes," Midori said in a soft voice and before anyone could react to the situation Midori and Toushirou quickly grabbed the demon, one from the front and one from the back. Then, once they had a firm grip on the screaming demon, Midori turned her attention back to her son. "Shirou! Listen, you have to stab the demon through the heart with your zanpaktou and then release a burst of reiatsu. End this."
"I can't," Hitsugaya screamed back, completely unaware of the six eyes that were now locked onto him and the three Shinigami who were taking in his every word. "You're in the way!"
"Forget about us, Toushirou-kun," the man said in a kind voice, his gaze locked on the child that he had never met. It was truly unfair that fate had robbed him of the opportunity to get to know his child however now was not the time for regrets. "This is the only way to ensure that the demon is completely destroyed. Your mother told me that there is a kidou that is similar to the binding kidou that was used to seal the demon the last time. Give us two minutes to recite the kidou and then end this."
And with these words Midori and Toushirou began to chant an unfamiliar kidou. Hitsugaya found that he could only stare at the scene, a horrified expression in his teal eyes. Could he really do what she was asking of him? Could he effectively end the lives of both of his parents?
Hitsugaya was brought back to reality by Midori's shouts and he gazed up at the sight of his parents holding on to the struggling demon. "I. . . I can't. . ."
The group suddenly began to glow a bright, golden color and some unknown force was telling Hitsugaya that now was the time to attack.
"DO IT NOW SHIROU!"
The combined voices of his parents and the pleading expressions on their faces spurred the young captain to action and without another thought he held up his sword and launched himself forward. The young captain had to use every once of will power that he possessed in order to remain on course and at the last possible moment Midori and Toushirou leapt out of harm's way. Shocked by their actions Hitsugaya felt the tip of his zanpaktou pierce the flesh of the demon's chest.
There was a large burst of reiatsu and then the demon issued one final scream before his body crumbled.
Hitsugaya landed on the ground and to his complete astonishment his parents landed beside him. Both were still surrounded by a glowing golden aura and each placed a hand on the young captain's shoulders. They offered him a smile and both had the same words for him. "I'm proud of you."
"Does this mean. . ."
Toushirou halted the words of his son. "Your mother and I will perish. That's the backlash of using this particular kidou, it requires the strength and life force of a soul in order to be successful."
"You mean you traded your lives so that I could. . ." The young prodigy's words faltered as he realized the significance of his father's words. A horrified expression appeared on Hitsugaya's face as he was struck by the full weight of what they had done. Of what he had allowed them to do.
"You did what you had to do," Toushirou told his son, gripping his shoulder. "And you didn't end our lives. Those were ended long before today. All you did was give us a chance for a new beginning."
"Please forgive me Shirou," Midori whispered as she wrapped her arms around her son.
For the first time Hitsugaya found that he really did forgive her. Up until this moment his feelings had been tumultuous and hard to explain however her selfless act had earned his forgiveness and the boy returned her hug. "I forgive you, Mother."
"Thank you," Midori said as she and her husband stepped away from their child.
Hitsugaya nodded, tears stinging his eyes. "There's something that I have to know."
"What is it Shirou-chan?" Midori asked, causing Hitsugaya to wince. Now he finally realized why he hated that nickname so damn much. "How did you know about the Seal?"
"I was approached by this strange man," Midori told her son, a thoughtful expression on her face. "I can't describe him because I never saw his face, he kept it covered by a mask. Although he did wear the clothes of a Shinigami. He told me what Soul Society had done and to whom they had done it to. I have no idea how he knew about your father but at the time all I could think of was that I had to save him. This stranger was also the man who helped me gain the powers of a Hollow so that I could better fulfill my so called mission. I'm really sorry Shirou, I didn't mean for you to be hurt again."
The couple lingered there for a moment longer, their loving gazes locked on Hitsugaya, before they both vanished.
Hitsugaya felt the pain caused by his wings of ice exploding however he found that this physical pain dulled in comparison to the ache in his heart. Despite what they had said about him saving them the fact remained that he'd just taken the lives of his parents. Not directly perhaps but he had definately played a part in it and had they not moved when they did he would have stabbed them. With a gasp the young captain sank to the ground and was only vaguely aware that a pair of arms had wrapped themselves around him.
"Toushirou," Ukitake called out, seeking to gain the young boy's attention.
Hitsugaya gazed up at his mentor and Ukitake saw the defeated look in his teal eyes. "They made their choice Toushirou, no one made it for them. This is not your fault."
Hitsugaya nodded his head to show that he had heard Ukitake's words however he didn't believe them. This was all his fault; if he hadn't allowed Midori into Soul Society in the first place then none of this would have happened.
"That's true," a small voice in the back of his mind whispered. This voice was as familiar to him as his own and Hitsugaya paid close attention to the words. "If you had stopped her then they would both still be alive however she would be locked in a world of insanity and he would be forever bound with a demon."
Hitsugaya thougth about the words and realized that they had a ring of truth about them. His parents had chosen their fate, had chosen to protect their son, and now they were free. Perhaps fate would be kinder to them in the next life.
"Thanks Hyourinmaru," he whispered, his voice barely audible above the noises made by the others.
"Come on captain," Matsumoto said as she wrapped one of his small arms around her shoulders, leaning over slightly so that she could help him walk. "We all look like we could use the assistance of Squad Four."
Hitsugaya nodded and, swallowing his pride, allowed his vice-captain to help him.
"And don't worry boy genius," Kyouraku said as the group began their journey back to the Seireitei. "We won't tell anyone what we found out today."
Hitsugaya paled as he realized that all three of them knew.
The group surrounding him suddenly burst into raucous laughter and yet, despite the fact that they were laughing at him, Hitsugaya was confident that they would keep what they knew about his past a secret. He was going to trust them to at least.
"Don't make me regret this later," he thought to himself as he and his comrades made their way back toward the Seireitei.
"Well that didn't turn out at all the way I expected."
A figure emerged from the shadows of the forest and surveyed the battle scene. He was forced to admit that he had miscalculated when he'd sought the help of the Ex-Shinigami and was slightly irritated that he had wasted his time giving her the powers of an Arrancar. Pulling at the mask that had been covering his face the man crushed it with one hand and allowed the pieces to float away, carried by the wind. Then he removed a pair of glasses from the folds of his shihakusho and placed them back in thier proper place.
"Oh well." Sousuke Aizen whispered, his voice now completely devoid of emotion. "The powers of the demon would have been useful for my plans but they were by no means necessary. Everything will go on as previously planned."
A/N - and that's the last chapter. Hope you enjoyed the ride, please review and tell me what you thought. Once again this fic is dedicated to miawpyon, hope you enjoyed the path that it took. Hitsu-taichou