Here lies Chapter Fifteen, probably the least interesting chapter to date.

No, I do not own any of the Sonic Universes, characters, rights, or merchandise besides a couple games for GameCube. I do, however, own an OC or two, and I also do not own anything from Bleach, Gundam, Yu Yu Hakusho, Black Lagoon, Soul to Seoul, El El, 7 Seeds, or Fairy Tail. I'll try to update as regularly as possible, but college is kinda the priority right now… Yeah, yeah, I know. Deal with it.

...

Amy was finally starting to realize how inconvenient the Piko Piko Hammer was in close quarters. She had to swing it, there was no way to sneak up on enemies in long stretches of bare hallway, and those enemies were quite likely to have projectile weapons. Revy was especially nightmarish to encounter.

Which was probably why Amy was currently stuck pressed against a wall, listening around the corner as the gunwoman of doom grew steadily closer. Cream was hunkered beside her, eyes wide, and neither wanted to deal with Revy. Still if it had to be someone… Amy stuck a mirror around the wall, only to have several bullets absorb into the tag shield.

Grimm whistled. "Bie~en, Mademoiselle."

"Gracias," Revy smirked. She wasn't more than ten feet away.

"I think you meant 'merci'."

"I know what I said, kid."

Amy leaped for the opposite wall, ricoché'd toward the ceiling above Revy, and just saw her surprised face before bringing down her mallet before swinging at Grimm. It was a combination of Aubrey and Sonic's moves, but it had worked. She and Cream shot down the hall, and made it behind another corner before Revy recovered.

Cursing all the way. "GET BACK HERE!"

"I'll cover you," Amy whispered to Cream, who nodded hesitantly. 3, 2, 1, and Amy jumped into the corridor, hammer out to deflect the bullets. The impact was terrifying, and Revy was charging as she fired. If Cream didn't finish charging her blast, the gunners would be right on top of them…!

Cream made her move, was hit solidly in the shoulder, and dropped the Spirit Wave.

Which promptly detonated, with Amy's body shielding the targets. Revy's laughter didn't make things any better, but it was incentive enough for Amy to force herself to stand and glare. She was lucky that the hit had diminished the blast; she could barely feel the sting on her back.

"Round two," she glared.

Revy and Grimm smiled like a pair of wolves, even though Revy looked ten times scarier. What had she attributed that to? Experience? Bloodlust? Combat junkie?

Amy shook her head, forcing herself to focus. Revy was now aiming over her shoulder, at Cream? No, Cream was-

"Ikorosu, Shinso." A flash of light shot over Amy's head, and Revy had barely ducked before it withdrew. That was Gin, then—

"Cero."

A flash of green behind Revy and Grimm, and only Revy was standing after it. Somehow.

"Fuck it, Ulquiorra," Grimm growled.

"You two okay?" Gin smiled.

"I'm fine." Amy was a little miffed regarding the rescue, but… "Cream may need some help, though." The little rabbit was unconscious, a red mark showing where the bullet had smacked her shoulder. "Revy hit her while she was charging a Spirit Wave."

Gin whistled. "Then I'll grab Two Hand. Ulquiorra, wouldya mind takin' Grimm into jail?"

Ulquiorra shrugged, and picked up his classmate by the back of his shirt.

"LEMME GO!" Grimm howled. "Didja hear me, Emo boy? LEMME GO! ZUT ALORS, MERDE! TU ES UNE MOUFETTE, COMPRENES-TU? UNE MOUFETTE!"

Ulquiorra made no response as he dodged Revy's light bullets, and then more bullets from Domon. Who had brought Momo and Tanaka with him.

Gin moved to fight Momo, who looked less than thrilled at the thought. She fought against him all the same, and Amy was quick to go after Tanaka.

Who knew that he couldn't take her, but took up a position to fight, anyway.

The sides were surprisingly even, and soon it became clear that they'd have to regroup. Amy had wound up fighting Revy when the call was made, and it was only at the last second that she saw Cream tucked under Tanaka's arm.

"CREAM!" Amy lunged after them, only to be grabbed by Gin. "LET ME GO!"

"We can have prisoner negotiations later," Ulquiorra said as he motioned a now unconscious Grimm. The blue-head was quickly bound and tossed over Ulquiorra's shoulder like a bag of rice, and Amy reluctantly went with the two college guys. They checked around corners, Gin watched their backs, and soon they were returning to Home Base. Grimm was just waking up as they finished hogtying him to a column.

"QU' EST-CE C'EST?" he roared, before ranting in French that Amy couldn't follow.

"Basically, he asked 'what is this?' before diving into a sea of cursing," Rain explained.

"I got that much… And 'moufette' means 'skunk,' right?"

"Yes, why?"

"Ulquiorra, why'd he call you a skunk earlier?"

Ulquiorra shrugged before turning to go.

"It's a major French insult to be called an animal," Rain explained.

"HEY!"

Grimm, meanwhile, was still throwing a tantrum. Amy whacked him on the head again, and that was that.

"Where's Cream-chan?" Orihime asked.

Amy growled under her breath. "They got her in the confusion, and we've gotta save her. I can't believe they—"

"Hey, hey," Gin broke in with a placating smile. "It's not that bad…"

"Yes it is!" Amy exclaimed, not in the mood to waste time—

"It ain't like they're gonna hurt her," Gin continued. "If anythin', they'll prob'ly heal her. It's just trainin', remember?"

"What if it wasn't training?" Amy shot back. "What if this was real life, and the Gorgons were the ones who'd taken her? We've already lost too many fighters to make this mistake on the battle field!"

The battle field was what they were training for.

"Right," Gin sighed. "But for now, can we plan for overrunning the other team's base?"

"Before they overrun ours?" Ulquiorra snarked. He was already firing Ceros at Revy.

...

Amy growled low in her throat, less than happy with the situation. Thanks to Shara and Gretel, they'd lost Ulquiorra and Duo behind enemy lines. That left their side with her, Gin, Kousei, Kurama, Rain, and Orihime. If they hadn't taken Grimm, Domon, Revy, Lucy, Taro, Tanaka, and Sunil captive… They'd be more boned than Revy had assured them they were. That was after she had assaulted Grimm with gay jokes.

"So you like being tied to a big stone pole?"

"Non! Non! Non!"

"So that's Spanish for 'yes'? Y'know that's the language 'a sex, right?"

"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO, YOU ABSOLUTE—mmph?"

"There goes yer mouth pleasure," Revy smirked. Until she, like Grimm, had her mouth duct taped by Rain. It was the best piece of news they'd had in awhile.

"So Genkai, Chuck, and Momo are guarding the prisoners," Kurama sighed, "and Shara and Gretel should be arriving there with Ulquiorra and Duo. Now we need the location of Rouge, so that we can properly plan for…"

Gin was pointing down the hall from his post by the door.

"The next stage of the operation." Kurama continued talking, cupping an ear and pointing in Rouge's supposed direction. "I'm not sure if we can take the base without that."

Gin shrugged in response to the signed question ("Can she hear us?") and raised three fingers. Rouge was three paths down the hall, about forty feet here in the fourth floor storage area.

"However, knowing Genkai…" Kurama nodded. Even with the door closed, Rouge could probably hear them. They were just lucky that the prisoners couldn't see the silent movements and alert her. "Why are you drawing your blade?"

"I'm bored," Gin shrugged in case Rouge had heard the slide of metal. He was watching in the mirror for Rouge to look around the corner again, flexing his power. He was preparing for a Flash Step, something they'd just learned.

"If you're bored, Amy glared, "maybe you can help us plan?"

"Gomen," Gin smirked, right before he vanished down the hall. "Ō-hayō," Rouge-san."

They weren't supposed to hear gunshots. Amy bolted for the door, and barely had time to check the mirror before Gretel came into view. With her giant gun. "Gin!" Amy barked as she blocked bullets. "You okay?"

"Yep," Gin called. He'd ducked around a corner between the door and the opponents, putting him at twenty-five feet away. Dangerously close to Gretel.

Who stepped on one of Kurama's dangerously thin vines, judging from the giant flytrap dropping down to grab her. The girl shrieked, and ducked back behind Rouge.

"How many?" Kurama called.

"Just two," Gin called back, before Flash Stepping again. Both opponents shrieked, and dodged the extending blades, only to run into Kousei. Who managed to knock Gretel out, only for Rouge to grab the both of them.

"Adios," Rouge called.

She ran into another fly trap.

...

"Just because they only have four left," Kurama sighed, "doesn't mean that we can take them any less seriously. We're to the point that leaving Base under guarded will be a disaster." Everyone nodded, including Gin from the doorway. "For an assault, we'll need Amy-san and Gin-san; I don't want to gamble half of our remaining forces, so I'll leave it up to Kousei-san whether or not he wants to go or stay on as reserves."

"I'm game to go," the boy said.

Kurama smiled and nodded. "There are two possibilities regarding our opponents; their sending their own group to attack, or counting on our attacking them. Given their current numbers, I'll assume it's the latter. All the same, be on guard and ready for hostiles—and their traps—at all times."

As if navigating Kurama's own vegetable garden hadn't been hard enough. Amy slid her mirror around a corner, scanning every surface before giving the all-clear. It was slow-going, and hadn't done them a bit of good when Momo gave an alert. Or when Shara had dropped out of nowhere, or Genkai started firing from within their base. Or even when Chuck pulled out the "Spud Gun from Hell."

"Rock on for watching Whale Wars," Aubrey announced from the All-Call.

Stupid incessancy on kitchen duty…

"Eep!"

Amy spun to see Momo, owner of the squeak, being downed by Kousei and karate an eleven year old shouldn't have known.

Shara moved to cover her teammate, but Amy blocked with her hammer.

Genkai knocked Gin aside effortlessly, and was in Kousei's face in an instant. Both of Amy's teammates hit the walls, instantly unconscious.

In the immortal dialect of Revy, Amy was suddenly in some serious crap.

She ducked around, trying to keep all four in her range of vision. Momo was unconscious, but Shara was making her task impossible. Chuck kept a level bead on her from the doorway, and Amy knew that she had only one shot.

She ducked under Shara's punch, and feinted toward Gin. When Genkai intercepted, Amy dodged back over Shara, and made straight for Chuck. She hit a homerun on his "spud," and then it was easy to duck past and try to get to her captured teammates…

Who weren't in this room.

"Why do they always pick the room with guards?" Genkai mused from the doorway. Amy spun on her heel, in no way fast enough to dodge the woman's attack.

Kousei slapped Genkai's back, and she teetered heavily before finally hitting the ground. Before she did, Gin slapped another seed onto Shara.

"Kurama's, I take it?" Genkai sighed.

"They'll just paralyze you," Gin smirked back.

To Chuck's credit, he went down firing. From there, it was a simple matter of finding their captured teammates and announcing victory on the All-Call.

"Excellent," Kurama replied warmly, Orihime and Rain's cheers just audible in the background. The "just" part was thanks to a fair amount of cursing from Revy and Grimm.

"Well it was thanks to yer plants," Gin replied. "Kousei and I'd be down fer the count, otherwise."

"Well you'd all better get your butts to the dining room," Aubrey announced. "Or else you'll get no lunch."

Amy didn't know which was worse. The fact that Aubrey had mashed that many potatoes… or the fact that after lunch…

They were doing this, again.

"This time," Revy grinned, "I'm slaughterin' the lotta ya." She made a special point of poking Amy, who was closer than Gin. "Especially. You."

"We'll see," Amy smirked.

"Indeed," Aubrey nodded. "After all, we'll be changing the teams around."

"WHAT?"

"But, hey, you guys do get a break after this."

"YES!" Lucy cried. And simmered down when she got some funny looks. "… There was a book I wanted to finish reading…"

...

Amy gathered her strength and clutched the door frame all the harder before finally surrendering its support. It was another three deep breaths and a reminder of her purpose before she finally took a step forward. And another, and another. It was all too soon before she reached her destination, and those who were waiting.

Though they were supposed to just be sleeping inside the stone, Amy couldn't help but feel their anticipation to escape, to be free to continue their lives. It may well have been her own hopes for them—and for herself—that she was projecting onto them, but it was a feeling that she couldn't shake. The rows of statues stretched on and on, covering floor after floor. Victims of Gorgon Stonework, from Station Square and New York City, men and women and children and animals indiscriminately. No wildlife, though. Their instincts had guided them away and to safety.

And, on this particular floor, were those at the top of the list: friends and family of Silva Lunae's inhabitants. They—more specifically, the Thorndykes—were the cause of Amy's visitation. Anything else, other than Restoration, and Amy probably wouldn't be down here.

It wasn't long before she found them—Ella, Chris, and his parents. Mr. Thorndyke had been found Downtown in a slight crouch, arms spread wide. Amy prayed that whomever he had been protecting had made it out safely. The least they had been able to do was reunite him with his family. Beside him, his wife and son were propped up against each other, otherwise unable to stand as they stretched forward in desperation.

Amy shuddered, trying not to picture the scene that Chuck had described, of the Gorgons holding them apart. The tears, frozen onto screaming faces, were of no help. She clenched her fists and tried to find her anger, anything to stem the sadness that would only lead to still more tears…

And found her eyes moisten when she turned to Ella. Ella, who still stood tall and defiant in the face of her mocking enemy, as long as she was between them and her family…

Even by sacrificing herself, she was still joined by her patrons. Amy slumped to the floor, wishing and longing and… And…

She would not cry. What if someone came down here and saw her, one of the leaders, bawling like a child? She couldn't be a child, not now, and she couldn't act like one, either. She crossed her legs into the meditation position Aubrey had showed her, and took deep, slow, breaths. Focused inward, beyond the pain and anger; searched out her spark.

Soon her conscious had spread outward, touching the faint sparks of life within the statues themselves. She could feel them, pulsing barely but regularly, and was just feeling comfort in their glow when she hit something far too bright.

Someone else was down here.

Amy frowned, and collected herself before seeking out the person. It was one of their own; she could sense that much now, but she was far too new at this to know who. Who else was visiting their loved ones..?

Amy threaded along the statues, almost silent in her moccasin-soled boots, and remembered that the almost could get her killed. But she didn't dare focus on her noise level in here, not with so many statues surrounding her, even if the victims were sealed in their own barriers; and she made a point of not startling the other visitor.

She came out a few statues to the person's right, and was automatically surprised to see Gin.

No, correction: Gin not smiling, with his eyes open. Brilliant aquamarine eyes, to boot, and looking straight forward at the statue of a truly beautiful young woman. Like Ella, she was staring her opponent down with clear defiance, and absolute fire that had somehow been transferred into stone. Gin was looking at her, hands in his pockets and face absolutely not in a smile, with an expression almost—no definitely—regret.

Amy remembered to breathe, and Gin instantly saw her. His eyes were intense enough that she actually had to remind herself that he was a comrade, but the gaze was almost instantly replaced with that familiar eyes-closed grin. "Hey, Amy-san."

Which Amy could finally see was an act. But instead of calling attention to it, her curiosity got the better of her. "Hey, Gin. …Who is she?"

Gin sighed, and his smile softened when he glanced her way. "Rangiku, my old friend. Never really expected to see her again."

"I'm sorry."

"Huh? Why'd I be mad ta get ta see her?" He sounded almost hurt.

"No-no! I-I mean…" Then she saw the smile widening. "You just love to play with people, don't you?"

"Nothing wrong with that," Aubrey beamed, startling the both of them. "C'mon kiddies, we're switching teams up."

"Now how many times are ya gonna sneak up on li'l old me?" Gin smiled.

"Plenty," Shara said dryly, from right behind him. According to Aubrey's sniggers, their reactions were hilarious.

...

The teams. They were even worse than before, because now…

She was with Shara, which was good. She also had Chuck and Tanaka, and was still with Cream and Orihime. She also still had Ulquiorra and Heero… And had gained Revy. Even having the bright smiling faces of Lucy, Topaz, and Gretel was no consolation. Not when…

The opponents consisted of Rouge, Gin, Genkai, Kousei, Rain, Grimm, Momo, Domon, Duo, Sunil, Taro… and Aubrey. Yes, Aubrey.

"So, our medics," Shara said.

"Orihime was an awesome medic," Amy volunteered. "And her shield was beyond useful."

"I-I…" Orihime blushed under the praise. "Arigato…"

"So will you be medic, again?" Shara asked, perhaps sensing something that Amy hadn't.

"I-if that's where you want me to be!"

"Is that where you want to be?"

Orihime's eyes opened wide, and her blush grew only worse. "No, no, it's wherever you think I'd be best suited…"

"This is getting nowhere fast," Revy muttered.

"Go-gomen—" Orihime murmured.

"Cream," Genkai said to startle the lot of them.

"Ye-yes?"

"You have promise as a healer. If you're up to it, you and I can be medics this round."

Genkai, Grumpy Grandma Genkai, giving a straight compliment? Holy cheese!

"Ye-yes, ma'am!" Cream squeaked. "I was captured first, last time, anyway…"

"That's not the point," Amy told her. Really, she was glad that Cream could be a healer. The last thing she wanted was to see Cream of all people hurting anyone, even the Gorgons.

"And I shall serve as a guard," Chuck volunteered.

"After the Spud Grunt?" Grimm smirked. "This outta be rich."

"It worked well enough last time," Genkai and Shara consented simultaneously.

"So now for the attack," Revy said. "Gin and Grimm'll be on the front lines, no doubt. And then there's Aubrey, who's in a class all 'er own. Last time, she didn't help her own team so much as attack us."

Shara nodded. "The groups will each need at least one heavy hitter capable of fighting her. While she won't intentionally injure any of us…" She'd take almost anyone captive with relative ease. She'd been responsible for half of her team's prisoner take last time, and still found time to make lunch.

"I've been fighting her almost constantly," Amy ventured, "so I'm fairly sure that I can take her on. I know Shara can, but who else would be up to it?"

"I am," Genkai said, "which is why I'll be staying to protect our base. Ulquiorra could, if he was more experienced. Revy was caught last time, but she's a pretty good bet. Same for Gretel."

And so they went, going through a list of opponents as they set up attack groups. Eventually, Amy was slotted with Tanaka and Gretel.

...

"Ikorosu, Shinsō."

Amy blocked the blow, and Gretel was already firing. Kousei was going after Tanaka… And Momo was sneaking up on Gretel. Amy charged the girl as the long-range fighters squared off… and Amy wasn't sure which of them was scarier. Gretel clearly (somehow) had an inordinate level of experience—especially with corridors, and Gin… Gin was taking to this far too easily for a civilian. There was clearly a reason for Momo to be nervous of him.

"CERO!"

Amy knew the voice before Gretel ducked a red beam of energy. Sure enough, Grimm was charging down the hall… With Domon and Duo. Crap.

"You guys up to this?" Amy called to her teammates.

"Absolutely," Gretel called.

"Hai!" Tanaka shouted as he pinned Kousei. And squeezed a pressure point, which instantly put the boy out cold. Unfortunately, that was when Domon shot him with a light bullet. And Gretel hit Domon, and Duo got the jump on Gretel, and Grimm came out of nowhere to attack Amy…

And Amy finally shot another bolt of energy from her hammer.

...

"Focus inward," Aubrey directed. Amy exhaled slowly, again finding her spark. "Try to remember the feeling of it; what you felt, how the energy felt." Amy thought back to the scuffle, the sudden double-team, the immediate threat of Grimm. Energy flowing from her to the hammer almost on instinct, and being swung forward to lash out at her opponent. Her inability to access it afterward, even as Gin charged her and Shara's team came running…

"You're drifting, Amy."

"Ha-hai…" Amy sighed, and failed to focus. She looked up to the witch sitting across from her, in the same meditation position, only with her thumbs and pinkies joined where her palms rested on her knees. Aubrey was watching her with calm, alert blue eyes, infinite behind the glasses. "I don't know, I just…"

"I know. But that is an incredibly useful power should you grasp it."

"Hai…"

"What was going through your head at the time?"

"Grimm was about to nail me and I had to fight back. I was just going to swing the hammer, though, not…"

"But it was a reflex to fight?"

"Yeah…"

"Do you remember the first time you used it?"

"Yeah, it was in a fight with you. I blocked your mallet, but got pinned and needed a way out. But when I got pinned again a second later, I couldn't use it."

"What were you thinking?"

"'Blast Aubrey,' I guess."

"You're sure?"

"Yeah; I was sure I'd just get another blast after the first one…"

"Yeah, well, it doesn't work that way. Do you think 'hit' and your hammer hits something?"

"No," Amy scoffed. "I've gotta swing it."

"Yes, and know how to."

"So how do I swing my aura?"

"That's what we're trying to figure out. C'mon, let's go see Genkai and Cream."

Amy stood and followed Aubrey from the courtyard, back into the halls that had constituted most of their battleground (they'd lost, by the way). It was a short walk to the room Genkai had appropriated, where she was lecturing Cream on the basics of healing with Reiki.

"Amy!" Cream gasped. "How'd it go?"

"Fail," Amy sighed.

"So what, Aubrey wants you to watch us, now?" Genkai asked sarcastically.

"Yep," Aubrey beamed.

"You know I was being sarcastic, right?"

"Yep."

"Fine."

...

By dinner, Amy still hadn't fired another blast. On the plus side, she at least understood in full what she was trying to do. Pretty much the opposite of Cream, who was trying to project her aura into a patient and heal them from within. Amy was trying to hurt her opponent with a solid hit of aura, which was actually supposed to be easier.

So then why was Cream getting her powers down faster than Amy?

"Wait, you took down Gin?" Lucy gasped.

Oh, right. Amy turned to see Lucy, Momo, and Orihime walking along behind them. Momo had clearly been recounting the story, given Orihime's blush. It had been something, all right. After Amy had blasted Grimm back, Gin had charged her… and Orihime had countered with her triangle shield and fired her slicer! Gin hadn't known what had hit him! Probably because the hit had given him a concussion, which only made it better.

Amy had been a fair bit surprised at how much younger Gin and Kousei had looked unconscious. Without the creepy grin on one and the intensity of the other's eyes, it was like they'd both lost five years. Easily. Unlike Grimm, who had continued to look like an evil teenager.

Momo was still talking about the fight, and it was clear from the look Lucy gave Amy that she'd already mentioned the energy blast.

"Hi, everyone," Cream smiled.

"Hey," Lucy beamed. "How was healing class?"

"Go-good… Miss Genkai's an amazing teacher…"

"And Cream's an amazing student," Amy winked. "Better than me…"

"Huh?" Momo asked. "But after that blast you fired at Grimm…"

"I still can't do another one," Amy conceded. "They only come when I start operating on instinct, and even then only when I really need it. Like when Grimm's caught me by surprise, or Aubrey's got me pinned…"

"Energy blasts ain't that hard," Grimm scoffed as he walked past, clearly happy with his team's victory.

"So why didn't you fire one after Amy's?" Lucy smirked.

"I—"

"Wasn't Grimm-kun knocked out cold?" Orihime asked completely innocently.

"I—"

"Oh, that's right," Lucy pondered… "That would make it hard to fire a Cero, wouldn't it?"

"I'm right here!" Grimm cried.

"We know," Lucy and Orihime beamed, one innocent and one not.

Grimm glared at them all dinner long.

...

"What a day," Lucy sighed. She leaned back into the curve of the bath's seat, stretching luxuriantly. "Can you believe what we're capable of, now?"

"No more than I can believe that Tobiume is the form of my soul," Momo sighed. And it was true. A spiky, energy blasting Japanese sword shouldn't have had much in common with a high school girl, especially one so tiny as Momo. "And Ichimaru-senpai with powers, yeek…"

"Your senpai?" Lucy asked.

"I thought he had a Japanese accent!" Rain exclaimed.

Momo sank into the water, less than happy with the information she had suddenly revealed.

"Well?" Sunil pressed. "Spill."

"Ichimaru-senpai… Well, he's in a grade above me, and he was actually Aizen-senpai's classmate and good friend. They went off to college in America together, at Station Square University…"

"And?" Revy asked.

"I don't know that much about him, really," Momo confessed. She looked like she wanted to say more, but held herself back.

"Then why does he bother you?" Amy asked.

Momo turned beet red, and stared. "He-he doesn't bother me…"

"Lie," Revy buzzed.

"He just creeps me out, okay?"

"True," Lucy shrugged.

"What about Rangiku?" Amy asked. From the stare Momo gave her, maybe she shouldn't have asked.

"Yo-you mean Matsumoto Rangiku?" Momo breathed.

"I don't know," Amy replied. "Gin just called her Rangiku."

"When?"

"Earlier today… I was visiting a couple friends of mine… who were petrified… and he was down there, too. It was weird… his eyes were open, and he wasn't smiling—"

"Wait, what?"

"No way!"

"What color?"

And so Amy tried to explain the look on his face, the way he'd explained that Rangiku was an old friend, and the fact that his eyes were apparently aquamarine of all colors (Revy instantly called him on contacts).

"They're childhood friends," Momo conceded. "Actually, Rangiku-senpai was his first friend when he moved from Kyoto. They were practically inseparable… until Ichimaru-senpai decided to go study in America."

"What's wrong with that?" Lucy asked.

"I don't know exactly, but it's just that he really gave her no warning. Or any of us, really. It was just out of the blue at graduation, 'Aizen-senpai, Ichimaru-senpai, and Tosen-senpai are going to college in America; sayonara.' She was just hurt that he hadn't told her or given her any warning, and he left so quickly… Apparently he hasn't kept in contact, either."

"Ouch," Lucy murmured.

"That would do it," Amy agreed. What had Gin said, 'Rangiku, my old friend. Never really expected to see her again.' He'd said it so casually, too, as if he hadn't known he'd hurt her.

"So, they weren't an item?" Lucy asked.

"There was some guessing…" Momo sighed. "But in the end it didn't look that way. Rangiku went on to a local college with a couple classmates, and was doing a required trip abroad."

"To Station Square in particular?" Sunil asked. "That's pretty convenient." In other words, too convenient.

"It was on the list, and Rangiku-senpai said it was less expensive than New York or Los Angeles. She made it sound like a chore."

"I guess we'll find out the truth sooner or later," Lucy shrugged.

"The truth about what?" Aubrey asked.

God, when had she—how had she—gotten there?

"Someone most of us haven't even met," Revy shrugged.

…It was a little sad, wasn't it?

End of Chapter

Hilarious in Hindsight: I had planned that scene with Gin and Rangiku for awhile, but didn't write it until I had read Bleach chapter 413. So much for the fangirls' hopes and dreams, yes? Anywhoo, I know that this seems like filler, but for this story I feel that I need to show the details. Otherwise the character development won't mean as much. Don't worry, next chapter will be better. I swear that I will make a much better job of torturing the characters, 'k?

PS: Bleach chapter 416, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Orihime get your arse over to Karakura, NOW.