Disclaimer: Bleach does not belong to me, but Nakita, Seiko, Saiu, Shoku, Aranami, Nozomi, Hayate, Suisei, Chizome, Teuchi, Moesakaru, Dokugumo, Saichi, and Shiose do. Furthermore, the existing concept of Hell, demons, and Demon Hunters are entirely of my creation.
"I want to bargain for Nakita's soul."
A muffled kind of silence descended on them following Tōshirō's bald statement. Shock paralyzed Nakita for a moment too long, and Saiu spoke again before she could protest.
"Then let us begin," he crooned to Tōshirō. "I would first make you aware that it is not in my power to ascend her soul. Such is a process that must occur from within."
"Tōshirō," Nakita snarled, throwing off her shock. "Don't be an idiot. Don't—"
"Shut up, Kita," Ichigo interrupted, giving her such a glare that she forgot what she was saying for surprise.
Ignoring them both, Tōshirō nodded to Saiu. "I already knew that. The problem lies in that, by casting the spell to save Seireitei and your brother—a task you set her—Nakita lost almost all her power, and subsequently her ability to defend herself in Hell."
"Firstly," Saiu replied, "I gave her instruction; the task is one she would have undertaken with or without my assistance, and thus it cannot be used as a marker in this bargain. Secondly, I have not the power to reverse the damage she took. That kind of healing is beyond the abilities of any soul or demon."
Tōshirō's mouth tightened, but he nodded his acceptance. "In that case, I want you to give her your protection in Hell."
Saiu reclined back, his lips curving in amusement. "My protection? What makes you believe I am a suitable guardian?"
"Tōshirō," she hissed, "he'll destroy me whether he intends it or not. And besides, I couldn't survive long in the deepest part of Hell where the princes live. Stop now—you have no idea what you're doing!"
With the most infuriating, perverse stubbornness, he completely ignored her, keeping his attention completely focused on Saiu.
"I don't mean your direct protection," he countered. "Your demon mark on Kurosaki scared off Ito Shoku and quite a few demons; it would appear to me that your favour alone is protection enough for the average soul."
"I see," Saiu murmured. "So you wish me to protect her with influence rather than power. A demon mark, then, to warn others that she belongs to me?" He considered it for a long moment. "It would not guarantee her safety, but it would certainly help."
"Is that all you can do?" Ichigo put in unexpectedly, his tone wry. "Try a little harder, Saiu."
The demon prince cast Ichigo an irritated glare before refocusing on Tōshirō. "I can instruct the Warlord to keep her on as an administrative member of the Yokujin. I'm sure he can find or invent some position for her where she will be under his watch and safe from attack by low-level demons that are oblivious to the politics that would otherwise protect her."
Tōshirō nodded, and Ichigo folded his arms in a satisfied kind of way. "Sounds pretty good to me," he said.
Nakita's mouth hung open slightly as the three males arranged her future for her without even a glance in her direction.
"Thus stands my offer then, Hitsugaya," Saiu said, and his eyes brightened with hungry focus. "Now to determine your contribution to our bargain."
Tōshirō's face went still, all expression fading as he faced the demon prince. "My motivation behind this all is personal, and I won't betray my authority within the Gotei 13 for a purely personal bargain. Therefore, my contribution will be personal and must not compromise my integrity as a Captain."
"Sounds fair," Ichigo remarked, giving Saiu a hard look that clearly said the demon had better find it fair too.
Saiu gave a wistful little sigh, but nodded. "Then what of a personal nature would you be offering, Hitsugaya?" His lips curved into a dangerous, taunting smile. "Nothing too personal, I would assume?"
Tōshirō's poker face was better than Ichigo's; he managed not to blush.
"When you made your bargain with Kurosaki," he said, ignoring the demon's suggestive second question, "you had him fulfill a task you needed completed by someone outside Hell. I'm willing to do something similar when you need it."
Saiu was silent, studying Tōshirō while he thought it over. "Since the exact task will be determined at a later date, what restrictions would you place upon it?"
"That it not involve the Gotei 13 or force me to betray my position there. That it not involve killing innocents. That it not involve unfair risk to me, such as a situation where I'd most likely be killed." He looked at Nakita then, his expression asking if he'd missed anything.
She was so furious with all three of them by this point that she was tempted to turn away and leave him to muddle along on his own, but she managed to resist. Instead, she growled, "That it not involve entering Hell. And that the credit is non-transferable."
"Non-transferable?" Ichigo repeated blankly.
"Meaning he can't trade it to another demon," she elaborated shortly.
Ichigo's eyes widened, and he looked around at Saiu. "You can do that?"
Saiu smiled at him, his pointed teeth gleaming. "You sound so scandalized, Ichigo. Fear not; I would never exchange you for another demon's favour."
Ichigo blushed under the demon's dark, steady gaze.
Saiu turned his attention back to Tōshirō. "I agree to your terms, adding only that your debt to me stands regardless of Matsuo Nakita's state of wellbeing. I will make the arrangements as stated and do as I may to ensure her continued safety, but as already stated I can make no guarantees. Even if she dies within a season, you will still owe me on our bargain."
"Agreed," Tōshirō said.
"Agreed," Saiu echoed, his eyes gleaming with satisfaction.
Nakita gritted her teeth so hard that pain shot through her jaw. Damn Tōshirō. Damn all three of them. He had no idea what he'd just done. And not even agreeing on his side of the bargain in full beforehand—that was dangerous in the extreme. But no one was going to listen to her, and Ichigo was still watching her closely, ready to jump on her the second she interfered. He obviously didn't see anything wrong with allowing Tōshirō to indebt himself to a demon prince over her soul.
Saiu extended his hand toward Tōshirō, his dark claws gleaming against his pale skin. Tōshirō clasped the offered hand—and gasped, going rigid as black, red, and teal light swept up his arm from Saiu's hand, forming twisting, coiling black designs that settled on his skin and sank in. The demon magic swirled over his arm, twisting into his very soul as Saiu wrapped him in the spell of bargaining, marking Tōshirō as a debtor in his power—as good as Saiu's property by Hell's laws.
The coloured light steadied into a complex, cruel-looking black design that covered the back of Tōshirō's hand and ran partway up his forearm. As Saiu released him, the mark slowly faded into invisibility, undetectable until the presence of another demon woke it. Tōshirō sagged, breathing hard and pulling his arm to his chest. His eyes were wide and staring, his face pale—the infiltration of demon magic into his soul had probably pushed him into shock. Nakita glared at him, torn between fury and concern, and even more furious that she felt concerned at all.
Ichigo grimaced in sympathy, giving Tōshirō an awkward pat on the shoulder. "It'll feel better in a few minutes," he mumbled, obviously speaking from experience.
"Shall I lift your mark now, Ichigo?" Saiu asked, rather reluctantly Nakita thought. "Our bargain is now complete, after all."
"Right," Ichigo said. He held out his arm.
Saiu took his wrist in both hands, with far more care than he'd shown Tōshirō, and Ichigo's mark lit up, glowing from hand to shoulder and up the side of his neck. The symbols brightened, then writhed like snakes. The magic swirled and pulsed, pulling off his skin until it seemed to hover over him. Then it dispersed like smoke in wind, vanishing to nothing.
Nakita's eyes narrowed. Just as Saiu pulled his hands from Ichigo's skin, she lunged across the table and grabbed Ichigo's hand. Her fingers digging in urgently, she flipped Ichigo's hand over—and caught the briefest sight of a small, spiky black symbol marking the underside of Ichigo's wrist before it faded from sight.
"What is that?" she demanded, sliding off the table to resume her spot. She glared at Saiu. "You didn't remove the whole mark!"
"Ichigo was altered by my possession of him," Saiu said calmly, more to Ichigo than to her. "To a high-level demon with acute senses, he feels slightly demonic. He could easily attract the attention of a wandering demon in the human world. My mark offers some protection."
"And what are the strings attached to that protection?" she snapped. "Ichigo hasn't agreed to a new bargain! By your own laws, he has to agree first."
Saiu's gaze turned to Ichigo. Their eyes met, and Nakita's anger vanished into anxious confusion as she sensed the current passing between them. She hadn't the slightest idea what their silent communication was, but after a long moment, Saiu made an irritated noise.
"Nothing," he sighed, frowning crossly at Ichigo. "I require nothing in return. There are no strings."
"What?" Nakita stared at him. "There's no such thing as a one-sided demon bargain." It was impossible. Demons didn't do anything that didn't benefit them somehow.
Ichigo smirked. "Damn human emotions, eh, Saiu?"
"Come on, don't be embarrassed," he said, grinning. "Nothing wrong with not wanting a friend to get hurt. I'd protect you if I could. Not that you need it."
"Demons don't have friends," Nakita told Ichigo flatly.
"Saiu ain't your normal demon anymore, remember?"
Saiu's jaw tightened. "The moment I recover from this ridiculous infection of humanity, I'm going to roast your still-beating heart and feed it to a horde of imps."
"Hey, your threats are getting more creative. Well done."
The demon prince growled. Ichigo grinned wolfishly back.
Nakita met Tōshirō's wide-eyed stare, and without a word exchanged, they both rose to their feet and fled the room, leaving the irate demon prince and laughing human to their bickering games—and she hoped against hope that Saiu's touch of humanity lasted long enough that Tōshirō wouldn't have cause to regret his bargain to save her soul.
Because there was nothing she or Ichigo could do to save him otherwise.
. o : O : o .
The patter of retreating footsteps was his only reply. Tōshirō hung out the doorway of his office, glaring at the empty hall. Damn it, she'd escaped. That woman was as unreliable as a Hollow in a room full of souls.
He stomped back to his desk and dropped into the seat, frowning mutinously at the pile of paperwork stacked with mocking neatness on the otherwise empty tabletop. It might have been almost a month since half of Seireitei had been ravaged by demons, but the paperwork caused by it was endless. Repairs, supplies, reassignments, new recruits, expanded training. And every little thing had to be properly documented.
With a sigh, he thunked an elbow down on the table and propped his chin up with his hand. As he tapped the fingers of his other hand on the desk in a random little tune, his eyes settled on the back of his hand.
Invisible but undeniably there was a coiling black design: his demon mark from Saiu. He could feel it there, under his skin, all the time. No one else knew about it except Kurosaki and Nakita. Better to keep it that way; he didn't think the Captain-Commander would be too happy to learn one of his Captains belonged in any way to a demon—let alone a demon prince.
Tōshirō wasn't overly concerned about it himself. He hadn't heard a word from Saiu since he'd returned to Hell, nor had the mark lit up or changed in any way. He doubted Saiu would be calling in the marker any time in the near future. Most likely, it would be decades before the demon prince needed an outside agent.
He hoped Nakita was safe. He could only pray, could only remember the calm, steady confidence of the Warlord of the Yokujin and hope that the demon would be able to protect her. He wondered sometimes if she thought about him as often as he thought of her. Too often. He needed to put her behind him. It was long past time to let it all go.
Someday, he was sure, she would ascend to Soul Society. And she would forget they had ever met. She would forget him completely, not know him from any stranger on the street were they to meet. She would forget being a Demon Hunter, a Diviner, a Captain. All they'd had in common would be lost to her. And to him.
She would forget she had given him a piece of her soul.
He lifted his hand to touch Hyōrinmaru's hilt. Hiren stirred, giving his mind a brief, wordless caress before settling back into sleep. No, who was he was trying to fool? He would never be able to forget Nakita entirely. Whether she forgot him or not.
Another sigh slid from him. Pushing away from the desk, he stood up and headed for the door. Time to track down Matsumoto. There was no way he was doing all that paperwork himself.
. o : O : o .
"Damn you, Tōshirō," Nakita snarled under her breath. She flexed her fingers, forcibly restraining herself from crumpling the papers in her hand. "I hate paperwork. Hate it!"
With a snarl, she slapped the papers down on the desk and stomped over to the massive filing cabinets lining the walls of the office. Hauling open a drawer, she started pawing through the documents, looking for one single sheet. Mutters escaped her with each wrong page heading.
She'd done paperwork as a Captain. She'd just never really thought about where all those papers went when she was done with them, and who ended up in charge of the resulting forests of files.
Thanks to Tōshirō's meddling, she was that lucky person now.
To be fair, it was about the best anyone could have hoped for. As the Warlord's administrative assistant and personal secretary, she was safe from just about anyone or anything. Tucked away in the Yokujin compound, with her workspace just off the Warlord's own office, no one would even consider bothering her in spite of her powerless state.
But she hated paperwork. Really hated it. She would rather have been fighting desperately for survival out in the barrens of Hell than digging through years of pointless bureaucracy.
As she burrowed into another drawer, a tingle of heat on the side of her neck announced the appearance of her demon mark. Saiu's mark was even better protection than being the Warlord's paper girl. Really, she'd rather take her chances out there among the beasts of the underworld. Too bad Saiu had flatly ordered her to stay right where she was and do whatever the Warlord said.
Then the demon prince had added that if she was too stupid to let them protect her, then she deserved to die and betray Tōshirō's forfeit. Then she'd tried to punch him, and the Warlord had dragged her off spitting curses at the prince. Not her best moment.
She absently rubbed her tingling neck. A sound from the adjacent office told her that her demon mark was awake because the Warlord had returned from his visit to the palace. Abandoning the filing cabinets without a second thought, she tramped over to the door, tapped on it, and walked in.
The Warlord was just leaning back in his chair, his ankles propped on his desk. Working hard, as usual. His ice-white hair, done in its usual thick braid, fell over one shoulder, and his red eyes flicked toward her.
"How'd it go?" she asked, dropping into the chair across from him. She ignored the gaping hole in the wall beside them; apparently, Saiu had thrown the Warlord's old desk through it. She kind of wished she'd been there to see that.
The Warlord gave a nod. "My worry was needless. The Prince is back to himself, as hoped."
Nakita took a deep breath and let it out, not sure how she felt about the news.
"The spark of human soul has faded almost to nothing, only identifiable if you know to look for it—and even then, almost impossible to spot. He's also completely himself again in personality." A relieved smile took him for a moment. "There seem to be no lingering side-effects at all."
"Well," Nakita said slowly, since it seemed she should say something. "That's unexpected. The changes seemed so permanent at first."
"I had feared they were as well. The Prince has a well-trained mind; I am certain he has worked to contain the contamination and suppress it. At current, he seems to have eliminated it almost completely. With time, perhaps he will be able to eject the human from his soul entirely. I doubt anything pure like that could survive indefinitely in such a dark soul anyway."
She nodded along, but her thoughts were far away. If Saiu was fully demon again, what would happen to Tōshirō when Saiu called in his marker? What would happen to Ichigo, who was still tied to Saiu by a demon mark that supposedly had no power over him? What would happen to her if Saiu decided to 'protect' her some other way?
When she was back in her own office, she sat down at her desk and went very still. She let her thoughts settle and quiet.
She had to stay here.
Since returning to Hell, she'd felt different—softer, warmer, lighter. The darkness of Hell, even here where it wasn't that dark at all, weighed on her like it never had before. It was exhausting, like walking through water. It reminded her of how Soul Society had used to feel to her, when the light of it had almost hurt.
Her eyes closed against the nervous pulse of her heartbeat. She could only come up with one answer: her soul was changing. Lighter—purer. She was slowly evolving into a soul that couldn't survive here. She was going to ascend. Maybe not soon, maybe not for years yet, but it was going to happen. Her time in Soul Society had changed her, awakened her, reminded her of what it was to be someone who cared and loved and sacrificed.
But no. She couldn't. She couldn't. If she ascended, she would forget everything. She would forget about Tōshirō and Ichigo and Saiu and all that she knew of demons. And if she forgot, she wouldn't be able to help Tōshirō and Ichigo when the time came.
They didn't know half of what they thought they did. They were clueless about demons. When Saiu turned on them—as was inevitable, in her opinion—she had to be there to help them. They needed her.
So she would fight to stay in Hell. She would find a way. Powerless she might be, but she was smart and knowledgeable and experienced—and she still had her Diviner's Sight, after all. Nothing could take that away from her.
But before she worried about all that, she had to find that damn missing document. Curse it all into darkness, she hated paperwork.
. o : O : o .
Ichigo squinted at the page, a scowl tugging at the corners of his mouth. A month, and he was still playing catch-up at school. He really needed to stop missing so many classes. Or more specifically, so many homework assignments. It would help if he wasn't ditching all the time to exterminate Hollow—but it was his job. And since missing school didn't involve souls being eaten because he hadn't killed a monster, missing school is what happened.
Tapping the page with his pencil, he glanced at his bed and scowled deeper. Rukia ignored him, scribbling doodles in her little notebook with single-minded enthusiasm. When was she going to admit she had no artistic talent at all? She couldn't possibly still be deluding herself about it.
Then again, if she enjoyed it, why not? As long as she didn't try to explain things to him with drawings any more.
Rukia had been hanging around him almost constantly since he'd come back from Soul Society last month. He knew why. Who wouldn't? They'd all been freaked out, all been worrying. Orihime had been following him around with anxious doe-eyes for weeks and even Ishida had asked a few times how he was.
He was fine. Which he'd told them, over and over—I'm not turning into a demon, so just back off already. In fact, all the demony feelings had started fading the moment he'd stepped back into his world. Yeah, they'd flared up a couple times over the last four weeks, but only for a short time. In fact, he felt completely normal.
Back in Soul Society, he'd been terrified. He'd thought he was mutilated beyond recognition on the inside, his soul warped into something hideous, a demon-mutant. He hadn't thought he'd ever be able to get Saichi out of his head, that he'd forever be looking at everything through two sets of eyes. He'd feared he was unalterably, undeniably broken.
Turned out he'd worried for nothing. All it had taken was time, and he'd turned back into himself. The demonic turns of thoughts—the quick, fierce anger; the urge to dominate; the lust for violence—had diminished within a few days until he could hardly remember them. Saichi's influence, the potential to adopt that strange being's outlook, he had ignored until it, too, had faded. He was back to normal, and couldn't be happier about it.
What else made him happy was that if the possession's effects had faded for him, they must have faded for Saiu as well. Which meant Saiu wouldn't have to spend the rest of his life suffering from loneliness he shouldn't feel. Ichigo was fine, which meant that Saiu was fine, which meant everything was good now.
So Rukia could go home again already. But no, why would she believe him when he said he was fine now?
He fiddled with his pencil. Okay, maybe he wasn't quite completely back to normal. One thing still persisted, and he didn't understand it at all. He missed Saiu.
Of all his internal problems, it was probably the least of them—but it also made the least sense. After the possession, he'd felt a strong connection to Saiu, but that should have faded along with other side-effects of the possession. Why would one little side-effect linger when all the others had vanished?
Unless it wasn't actually a side-effect.
Saiu was interesting. He was entertaining. He challenged Ichigo—and was challenged in return. He understood something about Ichigo that no one else did—not that stupid attracted-to-power thing, but a deeper understanding of his nature. Saiu complemented him, made him feel strong and empowered and yet humbled. Mostly, Saiu was just fun to be around—even if no one else agreed with him at all on that.
So he missed Saiu. Missed his company. Missed antagonizing the demon prince and tweaking his ego. He'd just have to get over it, because he wasn't going back to Hell and demons weren't supposed to leave Hell. Hence, a permanent separation that wasn't going to change any time soon.
Why did that thought make him furious? Make him want to break something?
He glanced at Rukia, glad she couldn't read his mind. Shaking off all thoughts of demons and Hell and dark, soul-searing red eyes, he focused on his homework and started writing out an answer. So maybe he was still suffering from a little demonic contamination. He could deal.
Time to get on with his life.
. o : O : o .
It was raining.
The caressing touch of cool water was soothing in this world where the sun could burn and the atmosphere was terribly thin and difficult to breathe. Saiu let the water run down his face and drip off his chin, heedless of it soaking the formal black kimono he wore. He didn't move, didn't stir from where he sat on the rooftop, eyes closed as he waited.
Yes, he could feel it. Faint, subtle, barely existing, but there. Growing stronger with each minute that slid past. Yes, his suspicions were confirmed. The bond was unchanged. Distance had only dimmed it.
If he waited here long enough, it would start to consume him. The emotions would awaken inside him, foreign and invasive and tormenting. Human emotions. The worst was the feeling of aloneness. Isolation. Seclusion. He hated it, hated that need for others to be around him. The need to connect. He denied it relentlessly, but it still stung him constantly.
Then there was the fear. Demons could feel fear, but not as humans did. Demons didn't care about things like humans did, so they didn't fear losing them. That fear was a terrible thing, distracting, consuming, impossible to ignore completely. Impossible to defeat like normal fear. He hated it too.
The fear he felt because he wasn't demon enough not to care anymore. He cared. He couldn't help caring. Not in a sentimental, loving way. No, he wasn't that far gone. But he felt attached. He felt drawn. He felt like he'd been tied irreversibly to that other, and he couldn't find a way to sever the chains that bound him. He didn't want to.
It all came back to that one. He felt alone when they were separated, because he longed to feel that attachment fulfilled. He feared when it was threatened, because he couldn't bear to have that attachment erased from his being. He didn't know what the loss might do to him. He longed for just that one person's company. Feared to lose it. Knew that he needed it. Couldn't escape it.
But only when they were close to each other. With distance, the bond dimmed until it was the barest thread connecting them. With distance, he didn't care so much. With distance, he no longer yearned so potently. If he was far enough away, the light of humanity in his soul diminished until it could no longer influence him—and for that he could not be more grateful. He could, if he chose, be himself again.
He could, if he chose, be himself again permanently. If he could summon the resolve. If he could act fast enough.
All he had to do was terminate the object of his attachment, who was also the source of his affliction. Kill the human body. Destroy the spirit. With the death of the soul, the fragment of that soul inside him would die too. He would be freed. A simple task, hardly a challenge to one of his powers.
His eyes slowly opened.
The light in the window glowed like a beacon, the only sign of occupancy in the house. It beckoned him from across the street, inviting him in. One easy leap, and he could be in that room—and the source of his torment could be dead at his feet in a single heartbeat, too fast even to see the shock of betrayal in those eyes.
He was a demon. Betrayal was a fact of life for demons; they lived by it and died by it. If that boy weren't such a sentimental fool, he would already be expecting it.
But he wouldn't. Saui knew it, had seen the trust in those eyes he remembered far too clearly. Fool. Stupid, weak, naïve human. He should expect it. If he'd expected it, if for even a moment the thought that Saiu would betray him had crossed that innocent mind, then he could have done it.
His jaw tightened and he narrowed his eyes to slits, staring hatefully at that window. He couldn't see any silhouettes, but while he'd watched and waited to see if the human emotions would resurface in him once he was so close, he'd seen two figures moving about in the room. One was potently familiar.
He turned away from the sight of that window. Longing churned in him, the need to see that face before he forgot it, to snarl at the playful verbal jabs that so irritated him, to be amused by that reckless lack of respect for his power. To watch the boy be drawn to him like a moth to flame without ever realizing what drove his need for Saiu's company.
If he delayed any longer, his absence in Hell would be noticed. Shiose would probably double the house-arrest punishment that he hadn't even bothered to enforce, but it would drive the rift between them even wider—and Saiu would prefer to stay on his eldest brother's neutral side and not his bad side.
He glanced back at the window one last time. Maybe next time he would be able to summon the resolve to kill the boy. But for now the humanity was choking him and he was desperate to escape it. Distance was his only salvation—unless he gave up all intent to preserve his demonic soul and sought relief in that room instead, embraced the light and the warmth and the humanness inside him that was so painful to deny—
But no. He wasn't that weak. Not yet. Not ever, if he could help it.
Green light flashed as the teleportation Kidō took him away. And he never saw the dark silhouette that appeared in the window, looking toward the distant rooftop with a puzzled frown and a wistful stare for a long moment before the light went out.
. x : THE END : x .
...Continued in Devil's Wake and Devil's Sway...
Ah, such a bittersweet moment! (And a long time coming; my apologies for the delay.) It's been a real rollercoaster of a ride, and I've enjoyed every moment of this fic! I've learned some new tricks of the trade, polished some skills I already had, and gotten a few ideas of areas for improvement. But best of all, I got to have so much fun playing with Ichigo and the gang, as well as getting to know my OCs. Saiu and Nakita in particular have taken on a life of their own for me, and I'm already looking forward to exploring their characters more in the future.
Thanks so much to everyone who took the ride with me! It's taken a long time (a year and a half, to be exact) and I can't believe how many of you have stuck with me from start to finish, even through lost update alerts and lots of writer's block and flopped chapters. I'm going to miss this so much while I take a little break to work on some other things. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Lastly, my heartfelt thanks to every person who reviewed. Each and every single time I find out that someone liked a chapter or loves the story, it just makes all the hard work worth it. I can't thank you all enough for taking the time to review, whether just once or every chapter.
Thanks again, best wishes to you all, and hope to meet you again in the sequel!
I'm definitely still planning on a sequel, though I'm not sure when I'll start it. Probably once I get caught up in the anime. I've been reading the manga each week, but I fell behind on the anime once DB stopped subbing it.
Speaking of the manga, I am painfully disappointed with recent turns of event. To the point where, if I hadn't already committed so much time and love to the series thus far, I probably would just dump it at this point. As such, I've been considering revamping my plans for the sequel a bit so I can write it as an alternate continuation to Tite Kubo's new arc. I'll give the manga a few more weeks to turn around, but I'm not hopeful at this point.
I may also endeavor to write a shorter Bleach fanfiction or two before or during the sequel. I have too many ideas crashing around in my head to keep them all bottled up forever, and I really do need to practice shorter-length fiction. I only seem capable of hugely massive stories.
Either way, please sign up for Author Alerts from me so you'll know when I begin my next Bleach project!
Dreams of the Soul, Truth of the Heart
All in the Silence of the Sky