Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or any of its characters. They belong to Tite Kubo and whoever else actually owns it and I make no money from writing this. This story and all original characters therein however are mine and are not to be replicated, reposted, or copied in any way without my consent. Thank you.
Finale: Girl's Night Out
It had been a year since the wedding brought about by the relationship that had shocked all of Soul Society, and for the first time in a while the Shinigami Women's Association had convened, though for more regular reasons than usual. Mostly, it had been forever since they had had a night out with their friends, away from their kids.
This time, they had chosen a rather unlikely place as well. They were all in the Living World, calmly taking up almost the entire upper level of the bar they had reserved, though there were still some tables available. With all that had happened, the number of members had grown significantly, though some of them couldn't go to the regular meetings, because they weren't even regular Shinigami. Besides the regulars, Halibel and Asuka were there now too, as well as Tsukiyomi, Masaki, and Ikki. Needless to say the point of the Association had gone awry since most of the members had gotten married, but they were still known for their pranks and product…reinterpretation.
The music thrummed in the background as the other bar-goers danced on the lower level, and left them in relative peace, if not for their loud laughter. No-one else was with them, though not for lack of trying that was for sure. The attractive women were all wearing clothes of the real world, and for a good deal of them that was not something they were used to. Kuukaku had had the better part of the entire bar drooling when she walked in, both the men and the women, though Halibel had sparked much the same response and it only seemed to continue.
Out of all of them—with the exception of Rukia—Nanao's figure had matured the most over the years, but that was because everyone else had already changed long before her, and Yachiru didn't count. However, even for an event like this the poised woman still had her hair up like it usually was. They were all laughing and talking as they drank Sake, all but Masaki, Ikki, and Tsukiyomi. They were nursing beverages of the carbonated variety instead of the rice wine most of the others were enjoying.
"Jeez, where's Mom?" Masaki said as she adjusted her shirt for the umpteenth time. She had gotten accustomed to the kimonos of Soul Society, and had forgotten how tight her t-shirts were. "She was the most excited out of all of us to go to this thing!"
Tsuki grinned evilly as she crossed her legs, and the white leather of her pants crunched lightly in protest. "Who knows? She'll be here soon. It's not like she can hang out with Dad since all the guys decided to have a guy's night too. I guess there aren't too many kids that need babysitting anymore, but what can they do with even a few kids?"
Kuukaku rolled her eyes. "Knowing them? By now they're probably all in that training area fighting. Ken hasn't gotten his dose of fighting Ichigo in a while, and with all those other captains there, who knows how much of the house will be left by the end of the night!" She laughed as she slammed down another glass. The woman could hold her liquor like few men could, and Yoruichi was happily buzzed beside her.
"Yeah, and Shunsui probably has most of them drinking by now too!"
Kin grinned as she slowly drank her cup, and probably would continue to do that over the whole night. She wasn't accustomed to Sake because Kaien never drank, but that didn't mean she couldn't stand it. She was her mother's daughter after all. She still preferred milk, though she suspected that was hereditary too. Just like some of the women, she knew that a few of the men couldn't drink either. "Wouldn't doubt it, and the ones left in the morning will have probably drawn on their faces! I wouldn't put it past Kaien anyway…" she trailed off as she smiled again.
Rangiku, as joyfully inebriated as she always was, leaned over the table in her semi-coherent, wonderfully dazed way. "About that, why'dyou guys not drink?" Of course, it was directed to the only three without alcohol in front of them.
"Good idea, let's destroy the bar!" a voice deadpanned mockingly, and the group turned to see Tatsuki walking up the stairs to their table, she too holding a non-alcoholic drink.
Of course, this didn't settle in the slightly drunk woman's mind right away. "Whatd'ya mean?"
Tatsuki gave her an exasperated look with her now black-laced eyes and Rangiku lolled back into the padded bench with a giggle. "Ooohhh, got it. Get drunk, go BOOOOMMM!" Poor Momo was left trying to deal with the laughing woman, as she was sitting right beside her.
"But hey, look who dropped by! Sorry it took me so long to get here, but she kinda arrived right as I was about to leave." Tatsuki gave a critical look down the stairs. "She just had to say hi to Ichigo before she came along!" She added jokingly, and most of them were extremely surprised to see a neon-green head of hair appear as the woman walked up the stairs behind her.
"Heya girls! Long time no see!" Nel, also known as Neliel, greeted excitedly. Her mask had been fixed a long time ago after her true form had been inadvertently discovered in one of the more climactic battles around Las Noches, but she spent most of her time traveling around the Living World now, like Kin and Kaien had taken to doing over the past seven years. She looked just as beautiful as ever, but gigais never really change with the exception of pregnancy. She was still as strong as ever, and still as modest too. Out of all of them she probably had the most clothing on, with the omission of Soi-Fong. The blush on the Second Division captain's face hadn't left since Yoruichi had shown her what she had picked out for her.
The three Kurosaki children present were all glowing with happiness. "Nel! It's been so long!" They cried as they abandoned their seats and rushed the busty greenhead.
The Arrancar in gigai form looked down amusedly at the grown up women she was surrounded by. "I can see that! You've certainly grown over the years! And I heard you all got married too! I'm sorry I couldn't be there, I can't remember where we were then, might've been Africa." She shrugged. "Will you still accept my congratulations?"
They all nodded and they hugged again, a sight that would have any mortal man dying of blood loss.
Yoruichi waved at the former Espada and offered her a seat. "So Kon's gigai's still working alright?"
The Arrancar blushed when she thought of the red-haired, twenty-something body Urahara had created for the annoying Mod-Soul. All he really wanted to do was see the world, though arguably he would have likely been chasing girls before he did that had he not met her. "Y-Yes, very well."
After begging and pleading, Kisuke had finally given in and made him an adult body. It would be rude, and possibly dangerous, if he had merely been put into a dead body, and Ichigo had long lost his tolerance of the plushy being in the same home as his wife. Out of the plush toy, he really wasn't that bad, though some habits just couldn't be changed.
On that note, they really made the perfect couple. He was the near narcissistic, arguably handsome Mod-Soul that had a fixation with a certain part of the female body as well as strict respect for life, and she was a masochistic, busty woman that held the same morals and actually enjoyed his antics. As long as they were on her of course, but it wasn't like he was bouncing around from girl to girl, the ring on his finger attested to that. Still, for a masochist, she got some twisted enjoyment of her own out of hitting him around if his head was ever turned. Urahara had certainly been generous with the body, though she suspected Mod-Souls such as him did have their own mental image of what they should look like. They weren't like the others after all, and their free-will had been part of the problem with them in the first place, at least from Soul Society's perspective.
They had been traveling around the world since they had gotten married, but it was a Spartan ceremony to be sure. She wanted his commitment to her before they went around, and he was happy to give it. She had become his goddess the moment he saw her, and her masochistic side made her probably the only woman in any realm that would accept him. It worked somehow, and she had to say he could put his greatly enhanced leg strength to good use.
She shivered unwittingly. "I should thank Urahara-san while I'm back."
Asuka chuckled throatily as she eyed the green-haired woman. "No question why, eh? You two are probably one of the most understandable couples here compared to some of them!"
Tatsuki laughed and arched an eyebrow. "Speaking of that, you never did tell us how you got together with Kenpachi, Kuukaku."
The black haired woman played with her white bandana before taking another swig. "Meh, nothing to tell. I was in Seireitei lookin' for Jidanbou, and I couldn't find him. Pissed me off! He caught me on a bad day and I punched him in the face. We fight, next thing we know we're against one of those pasty white walls making out. Nothin' to it really, guess it was love at first punch. He's a damn good kisser too," she said idly, and they didn't miss the way she rubbed her lips softly at the memory.
They all felt sweat trickle down their heads and sighed heavily. That sounded like them all right.
"What about you, Ran? How'd you finally snag that block of ice?" The Shiba noble asked to keep the conversation going.
Rangiku was absolutely delighted to be called upon, and her eyes gleamed happily at the memory. "Well I had a thing for the captain for a while before, ya know? He was just so squeezable!"
They groaned. Why does that not surprise me? They thought simultaneously.
"Well, he looked really bad one day, worried about…" She stopped momentarily and looked up thoughtfully. "You know, I don't know what he was worried about! He was worried about something or other, and when I told him to go home and leave the rest to me he actually looked at me gratefully! Well I had been well on my way as it was, but that look broke me and I knew I was in love with him! I kissed him, and…" she shivered in glee. "Well, I guess I wasn't the only one who broke that day."
Momo turned beet red beside her.
If Rangiku only knew that what he had been worrying about had been his feelings for her.
They looked at Karin, who had been trying to draw attention away from herself. "Karin?" Rangiku asked evilly.
The tomboy blushed. "W-W-What!?" She gulped at their expectant looks. "Fine! There's not much to tell though! I met him when he was leaving the clinic after talking to Ichi-nii once, and I asked him what he was doing. He looked at me funny and said he was new, and I offered to show him around. Wasn't long before I figured out what he was, and after that we would hang out every once in a while. He said he was 'fascinated' by me. After a bit I got sick of his emotionless face and asked him if he felt anything at all, but by that time I was a bit more than 'fascinated' with him myself. I guess I wanted to know if he felt anything about me.
"I'm not stupid, I saw the others that would come around Ichi-nii sometimes, and they could express themselves! Hell, I even saw one going out with one of his classmates! So that's it, I asked him, he gave me that funny look again, so I grabbed his face and I kissed him." She heard Tatsuki inhale sharply. "Yeah I know, that went well. It was like kissing a wall. I was making progress though, I could see he never really looked at me the same after that. I kept showing him around, and I swear he didn't call me anything other than 'violent girl' for the longest time after I kicked him for doing something stupid.
"I guess I got too attached to him, because I could hardly wait for the next time he'd come over. He kept coming over, and finally…the moron actually had the audacity to ask why I hadn't kissed him again!! How was I to know, huh!? But…he kissed me. I freaked at first, but he kissed me again and…well, the rest is history ain't it?"
This rang a bell in Tatsuki's mind. "So you mean…that time when Ulquiorra said he was going to explore after I met him…he was going to see you!?"
Karin shrugged. "Probably."
"You were what, thirteen!?"
Another shrug. "Around there. Like I said, it took a while before I even knew what I was feeling. I think I kissed him the first time when I was around sixteen, and you know when we started going out. He wasn't the easiest nut to crack."
Yuzu laughed in her sing-song voice. "Besides, who else could make Karin-chan realize she was a girl other than someone who didn't care how she looked or acted?"
"Okay, okay, don't get all up in arms already," Tatsuki interrupted quickly as she laughed. "So Kin, where are you and Kaien at right now? I'm sure the others would be interested in your travels." It was very well known that the two had taken to traveling the globe like Kon and Nel, though they made sure to come back at least once every month or so.
The platinum-blonde smiled at the question. "We've been in the tropics for the past few months. You'd really be surprised how rarely Soul Reapers are stationed where they're needed. I guess this is an improvement though, I know there were barely any stationed here for any long period of time before the special division was established. We've met a few here and there, and at least they're posting strong enough ones. Kaien still gets weird looks everywhere we go, that white hair is a real attention-grabber. Asia was pretty boring, but hiking through it was interesting enough. We both wanted a break, so we decided where else but the top vacation spots? Wasn't hard getting there with Shunpo, saves money too! What about you, Nel? Where are you guys?"
Aforementioned person laughed. "We're actually thinking of moving back here. We've been traveling for a long time now, we both know more languages than we ever thought we'd hear, and it'd be nice to be close to people we know again. Living out of backpacks and the division money gets old after how many years of doing it. It's nice to have a home to come back to. Hueco Mundo just doesn't have the same appeal. No seasons, no sunsets, it gets depressing. Thank God for these gigais."
Everyone nodded in agreement. Still, even after all the time that had gone by, it still unnerved some of them that they were talking with what was once the enemy—an evolved Hollow. It was a thought far in the back of their minds, but it was still there on some level. That she was actually getting paid—secretly by Ichigo of course—as part of his division because she hunted Hollows just like any of them did wasn't very surprising though. She did live with a Mod-Soul, and those had been specifically made to deal with Hollows. It wasn't bound to be a very hard side job, especially with her power level.
"And no children yet?" Retsu inquired kindly, and Nel nearly choked on her drink.
"N-No, not yet. We didn't want to bring a child into a world of constant traveling. M-Maybe sometime in the future, but we're happy as we are right now." Her face was a very endearing shade of pink though, one that matched the beauty mark going over her nose.
"And you, Kin? What are your plans?"
She had been expecting that, being that almost everyone at the large table that was married had at least one child with the just a few exceptions, and most of those hadn't been married near as long as she had. It wasn't like it was anything to be ashamed of. "Same as Nel. We aren't done traveling yet." Even she wasn't totally devoid of redness though. The thought of she and Kaien having kids was something she hadn't contemplated very much, and the possibilities had her blushing.
Ikki was the only spiritual being at the meeting, being that she didn't really use a gigai, and didn't want to try. No telling what the repercussions of that could be. "Gotta love these reactions."
Rukia chuckled lightly. "Sure do. It might be a bit off topic, but how's Senna doing? Have you managed to keep Katsuo away from her?" She asked with an evil grin. The child of Kuukaku and Kenpachi was well known, and Tatsuki had told her some things that made her hope she was wrong.
Tatsuki hung her head dejectedly. "I did," she said as she looked up. Kuukaku looked at her with a grin and Tatsuki hung her head again. "Until she was six. They meet, and now all she wants to do is play with him. He beats her, she gets mad and beats him. She beats him, he gets mad and beats her! I can't even say anything about it, they're exactly like me and Ichigo were!" Her eyes widened and she slammed her head down on the table. "Dammit, I did not need to say that."
It was like she was scared if she said it out loud she'd be admitting something to herself she didn't want to admit. At least Katsuo had better manners than his father. Kuukaku was a noble after all, though she didn't act it most of the time.
Everyone laughed, with as the case had been so far, the exception of Soi-Fong. She clearly didn't care about their stories, and was as she had been the whole night. That is, on the other side of Yoruichi, broodingly drinking her Sake. Even with both her beloved Yoruichi and Kin there, she couldn't find it in herself to be happy. All they talked about was their love lives, and she didn't have one of those. Hell, she still looked like a teenager, and would look even younger if she didn't constantly scowl. She felt like a kid surrounded by a bunch of models. She didn't even fit in with the conversation, and she was supposed to be an adult too!
A warm arm wrapped around her and she blushed instantly. "Y-Yoruichi-sama?"
The bronze-skinned woman smiled at her. "Come on Little Bee, loosen up! We're here to have some fun remember? Remember fun?"
She nodded as she took another drink. "I am," she lied smoothly.
"Riiiiiiiiight," Rangiku slurred. "You look like you're having a blast. You know what your problem is? You're too pent-up!"
Soi-Fong turned a rather outrageous shade of red. "E-Excuse me!?"
Nel turned to her with a confused expression. "You know, pent-up: frustrated, tense, uptight, hot and bothered—"
"I know what she meant!!" The Second Division captain cut off embarrassedly. The former Espada had simply gone into the explanation like it was nothing!
Yoruichi looked at her critically as she rubbed her chin exaggeratedly. "I think they're on to something. You really do need to get laid!"
The petite woman almost spontaneously combusted right there. "Y-Yoruichi-sama!?!" She seemed appalled her idol would actually agree with that assessment.
"Well come on then, when's the last time you've tangoed?" Asuka questioned with her ever-present grin on her face. Soi-Fong merely started sputtering while all of her pale flesh that wasn't hidden under her clothes turned a very dark shade of red, probably from both embarrassment and anger. Asuka's eyes widened. "You're kidding," she breathed in disbelief. "Aren't you like, two hundred or something!?"
She contemplated putting her foot in the blue-haired hybrid's face, but thought against it in the end, no matter how tempting it was. It was simply the girl's personality that made her talk like she did. Still, she was in no mood to put up with it, and the others seemed interested in her too now, which meant she should leave. Right then.
She was running to the stairs and was so preoccupied she didn't see that someone else was also coming up. Thus, she was surprised when she ran into the brick wall that was suddenly in front of her.
"Ow! Dammit, watch where you're going, jackass!" she cried as she rubbed her poor nose.
When she looked up she couldn't help but freeze solid.
She had run into a man. Long jet-black hair went down into bright blond tips, a veritable waterfall of raven bangs that flowed down the sides of his face and well past his shoulders. A slender black patch covered his right eye and went behind his head into the tie for his ponytail, which in itself was almost to the middle of his back. He was a good foot taller than her, but that wasn't surprising since she was barely five feet tall. His face looked like it had been carved from stone, and his eyebrows were scrunched into a scowl so much like her own. She noted his dress almost instantly after that just for their irregularity, where an odd shirt with sleeves styled after a kimono concealed his hands, and two art portfolio carriers had been slung over his shoulder. An electronic device hung around his neck, and was it not for the round earphones hanging on their wires beside it she would have had no idea what the tiny contraption was.
Even with his odd apparel that wasn't what stood out. What stood out most was his one visible eye. It was violet. Not the dark hue so deep it was almost black like Rukia's, but a bright purple reminiscent of an amethyst in sunlight. Ice blue specs of pigment speckled through the breathtaking color and she found herself staring at that eye and wishing his other was uncovered. She quickly shook her head as she snapped to awareness.
What the hell was that!?
She looked at him again and his scowl was still firmly in place, but now that she had stumbled back he could get a better view of her. She watched in fascination as his eye widened in surprise, and continued to widen as he took in the other females at the long table off to the side. To her surprise, he bowed his head to her, and then to the group, though she noticed his gaze lingered on Kuukaku for longer than the others. She couldn't understand why.
That was when she felt it. Reiatsu. He wasn't a normal human, and apparently he knew who they were, or at least who some of them were. There was no reason for him to bow his head otherwise.
"Excuse me. I was told there was still a table available up here." His voice was a calm, biting tenor, calculating and hard, but still gentle enough to pass for respectful. He didn't seem to mind that she had crashed into him moments earlier. That, or he simply didn't care.
So now it was between leaving, going back to the table full of women that wanted nothing more than to continue teasing her about her love life, or showing them all up by going and sitting down with the admittedly handsome man that had just walked up the stairs.
For her, the decision was obvious. She had pride to salvage.
"There is. Would you mind if I joined you? I've had enough of my former company to last me a lifetime," she said, throwing a particularly hateful glare over at the mentioned company.
He shrugged and rolled his eye. The way he held himself reminded her a lot of herself. It was unnerving, really. Still, he was handsome enough to shut the others up and that was what mattered, even if she really didn't care about anything romantic. "Fine with me."
She held out her right hand in the friendliest manner she could muster. "I'm Soi-Fong."
He looked down on her outstretched hand warily before putting out his left. "I know." Confused, she took back her right to shake his hand with her left and cocked an eyebrow at him. "Gwydion."
Her eyebrow got higher. "Not Japanese is it?"
That violet eye she had been staring at narrowed. "Does it matter?"
This time it was she who shrugged. His name had just been unexpected, that was all. It was just as odd as the rest of him. "No, no I suppose it doesn't. Just commenting."
"A pleasure, I'm sure," he said as he bowed slightly again. She had to admit, it felt nice to be around someone who showed her the proper respect, despite her almost pubescent appearance.
"For some reason, I get the feeling the pleasure is all mine."
As a new window closes, another door unlocks
Fates are entangled, it just takes a knock
Which doors shall be chosen, on that it depends
But that which is certain, it now is…
Author's Notes: The poem at the end was unnecessary, but I had to do it, LOL! I like the feel it gives. Of course, I had to end with the revealing of one last cracktastic pairing that makes the strangest amount of sense in my weird mind, because while I love the child Nel in a parental Ichigo kind of way, the woman Neliel is so much better of a character.
Thank you for bearing through the sporadic updates; life and other writing continues to get in the way. Now I can start uploading the story spawned from this one! I know, it features another original character, but now Soi-Fong is the other main character. I hope I've made people understand my tenacity when it comes to keeping my original's out of the dreaded Mary-sue, Gary-stu thing, so naturally I'd like to see you all in the next installment!
I hope you enjoyed A New Window! Thanks for reading!