The shinigami look to rebuild after the attack. Enjoy the last chapter!
Disclaimer: If you don't understand it by now, you never will...
43: Epilogue- No Rest for the Wicked
"STAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRK WAAAAAAAAAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!"
Lilynette did a quick hop while yelling this and slammed herself down on a sleeping Stark's chest; the suddenness of this caused a violent awakening.
Stark's eyes shot open as he saw Lilynette continuing to jump on his chest in an annoying fashion, chanting, "Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake—aah!"
Stark summoned enough energy to throw Lilynette off of his hospital bed and grumble in a sleepy anger, saying, "Damn demon girl…"
Lilynette's sharp ears heard that as she grabbed his sleeping form by his collar and yanked his head up. Not caring for his protesting, she slapped him across the face continually.
"I said wake up and you won't even get up!" she said in a violent tone. "Why are you so god damn lazy?!"
Stark tried his best to fend her off, but his wounds stopped him from doing so.
"Lilynette, if you would please stop; you're disrupting the other patients," Lieutenant Kotetsu of the 4th Division stated in a low timid voice, afraid of angering the violent arrancar.
Lilynette shot around to Kotetsu, unnerving her a bit.
"I-It's just that…Captain Stark is still recovering a-and, you're not really helping with…" she said in an even lower voice.
"He should be healed by now!" she protested. "We shared the same body when we were injured and I'm all better!"
"That's because whenever we split apart again, I keep all of the damage we got while we were together," Stark said with a yawn. "Stupid girl…"
Lilynette shot back around and was about to let her anger back on him, but was stopped when a hand put itself on her shoulder. She turned around to see Unohana Retsu standing there, her eyes closed and her lips curved in a smile.
"Captain Unohana!" Kotetsu said, straightening herself up. "I thought you were busy in the other ward."
"It's all done, don't worry," the Captain said comfortingly to her Lieutenant. She turned back to Lilynette and said, "You're rather disruptive. Some patients are trying to recover; if you could please keep it down."
Lilynette was about to protest when she saw Unohana's face, which replaced all of her anger with fear. Unknowingly, she began to shake as she answered, "S-Sure…"
Unohana smiled at her as she released her grip on her.
"So cool," Kotetsu thought.
"Thanks Unohana," Stark said. "I owe you one."
Unohana looked at Stark with the same look she gave Lilynette and answered, "Don't get too comfortable yourself Captain. You should have been discharged by now, but I suspect it's your own laziness keeping you in here."
Stark flinched, but didn't reply. Soon enough, Unohana walked away, saying to Kotetsu, "Come, we have many more patients to attend to."
"Y-Yes ma'am!" Kotetsu said, following behind her Captain.
When they were gone, Lilynette pouted a bit and rested her head on the side of Stark's bed. "It's been a whole week since Aizen's death, but there's still so much to be done."
"Naturally," Stark replied in his normal cool nature. "It takes a long time to rebuild, especially after such an attack. Just be glad it's finally over."
"Yeah…I guess I just…"
Suddenly the door opened and in walked Tia Harribel. "Hello Stark; you're looking better to day," she said in a pleasant voice.
"Oh, hey Tia," Stark replied, craning his neck to see his Lieutenant. "What brings you here?"
"I can't visit my ailing Captain when I want to?" she asked in a slightly-offended tone.
"I wish you did that during the attack," replied Stark, "but you were nowhere to be found."
"I already told you I was helping the normal shinigami fight off the hollows," she responded, quick as lightning. "You may not have known it, but once Fura arrived, all types of hollows felt the need to come in all around Soul Society, including the Rukongai Districts."
"Really?" Stark said scratching his head, "Guess I forgot."
Harribel sighed as she sat down in the chair right next to Stark's bed. "I thought you might have recovered by now, but I guess that was just wishful thinking."
"Harsh words Tia, I guess you don't know the extent of my injuries."
"I suppose," she smirked, "but I think I got you something that might motivate you to leave sooner."
Stark raised an eyebrow at this.
"It's nothing special, just a new bed with one of those mattresses that forms around your body for the most amount of comfort," she continued with a mischievous glint in her eye.
For once, Stark found himself at a loss for words. He simply laid there thinking of this new item his Lieutenant had acquired for him. Then, realizing what she was doing, he shook off the comment and coolly replied, "Sorry, but that won't work Tia. It won't get me out of this hospital bed faster."
"I see," replied the former Tercera Espada. "Then I'll have to try something else."
She then stood up and began to lean towards Stark. Before he could ask what she was doing, she brushed some hair off of his forehead and planted a light kiss there. This action surprised everyone, even causing Lilynette to widen her eyes.
When she sat back down, Stark just turned to her and opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out.
Lilynette took advantage of the situation and taunted, "You're bright red Stark! Ha ha ha ha ha hah!"
"Shut up!" he immediately shot back to his other half.
Then, without warning, Stark suddenly burst out laughing. He laughed until tears rolled down his eyes. "I'm not alone," he realized. "I've got plenty of friends, and a true place to call my own."
Not knowing that Stark was not laughing for that reason, a confused Lilynette looked to an equally confused Harribel. Giving up on trying to figure out Stark's insane laughter, they both shrugged, and joined in his laughter.
Shunsui Kyoraku continued to sit. Continued to look with a dead stare. In the hospital room of Captain-General Yamamoto, he continued to sit by his side saying nothing.
It had been a week since their battle, and even though Kyoraku had recovered enough to move around, Yamamoto still hadn't woken up. Unohana had assured him he was in stable condition and simply recovering, Shunsui had his doubts. So for the past week, he had sat by his mentor's side, intent on staying there until he woke up.
It was at this time that Ukitake stepped into the room. "You still here Shunsui?" he asked.
"I'm right where I'm supposed to be Jushiro," replied the sullen captain.
Ukitake walked closer and sighed. "You gotta stop this," he said. "Sitting here by his side 24/7 isn't going to make him wake up any faster."
"He was our teacher," Kyoraku stated, "and we couldn't protect him. Hell, we couldn't even avenge him."
"He was the one who told us not to interfere," replied Jushiro. "We can't blame ourselves for such things."
"We should have been strong enough to defeat Aizen. Instead, all we did was get our asses kicked. I think we're getting too old for this."
"This self-reflection isn't like you," he replied. "He's resilient; this isn't something to keep him down. Beating yourself up over him is not helping anything."
Kyoraku looked at his friend and smiled. "I suppose you're right, but I feel it's my duty to stay here until he wakes up."
"I don't think I can change your mind on that," he said, pulling up a chair and sitting next to the 8th Division Captain. He suddenly reached his hand under his captain's haori and pulled out a jug of sake along with two cups. "I just showed up here to try and make it a little easier for the both of us."
Kyoraku laughed as he took a cup. "You always know how to cheer me up Jushiro. And you know what, I think after a few cups of these I won't feel so helpless anymore."
Ukitake smiled as he poured himself and his companion a cup of alcohol.
Yamamoto turned his head and opened his eyes slightly to see this sight. He had remained conscious long enough to hear what they said. Cheered up by their words, he smiled and went back to sleep.
A hollow shrieked as Kenpachi's sword went straight through it's head.
"Yay Ken-chan!" Yachiru cheered on the back of her Captain.
Both were deep in Rukongai, and the heavily bandaged Kenpachi smiled. He left the hospital early, despite the protests of all of the healers that he still wasn't fully recovered. It was only with the word of Unohana that he was able to leave. He spent his days in various Rukongai districts, fighting various hollows.
He wiped his sword clean from the hollow's blood as he felt another presence. "Ken-chan…" Yachiru started.
"I know," replied the 11th Division Captain, "another hollow just set foot in Soul Society. We'd better hurry to it before that Byakuya bastard takes another kill of mine. Now which way is he?"
"That way!" his Lieutenant said, pointing in a random direction.
"Good!" Kenpachi said as he looked in that direction, unsure if it was the correct path or not. "I gotta keep training if I'm gonna ever catch up to Ichigo!"
"Go Ken-chan! You can do it! I believe in you!" Yachiru chirped.
Without another word, Kenpachi sped off to the direction he hoped the hollow was in.
Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya walked into his office with a vein throbbing in his forehead. He had just been released a few hours ago from the hospital and he came to his office to find mountains of paperwork stacked all over his desk. What the hell was Matsumoto doing this entire time while he was gone?
"Matsumoto!" he yelled in the empty room, hoping his Lieutenant would hear him.
When there was no reply, he resorted to feeling for her energy in an attempt to pinpoint her position. He suddenly found it in the room adjacent to the office, the lounge area.
Without wasting anytime, he burst into the room saying, "Matsumoto, I want an explana—"
He found her sitting in the corner with her back turned to him. To his surprise, he heard sobbing noises and realized she was crying. Knowing why she was, he walked closer to her, saying, "I know you're sad, but you're going to get over it eventually. Don't let your bad memories of Gin overpower the good times you had with him. You just need to—"
He put his hand on her shoulder and she immediately shot her hand forward, grabbing his arm. "Captain!" she wailed, turning around.
"Calm down Matsumoto," he said on reaction. "It's not as bad as you think."
"But it is!" she said, letting go of his arm and moving so he could see the corner of the room.
It was cluttered with shopping bags, each bag with a different store name on it. "I accidentally bought too many clothes, and now I don't have enough money to go to the bar!" she wailed. "I'm going to have to return some of them."
"That's why you were crying?" asked a surprised 10th Division Captain.
"Why else would I be?" she sniffed. "I love all these clothes so much I just can't decide which to return. It's too hard!"
Another vein popped up on Hitsugaya's forehead as he turned around so he wouldn't vent his anger on her. He knew it wouldn't be fair to yell at her after what she's been through. He walked back into the office to get started on some of his paperwork.
After a few minutes, Matsumoto walked into the officer with a few bags in her hand. She smiled and said in a cheerful tone, "I'm going to go return these clothes and then go stop by the bar. Don't wait up for me!"
Hitsugaya sighed as she went through the door. "She's not sure how to deal with her feelings right now," he thought,"so she goes shopping to try and fill the void. I'm sure she'll come to terms with the loss and learn how to deal with it…eventually…"
Ichigo Kurosaki lied on his back at the edge of Guillotine Hill, staring at the sky. His wounds were now down to a dull throb in his chest. "Guess it'll take a while for the pain to go away, no matter how many bandages cover it up."
He suddenly found himself remembering the battle between him and Grimmjow, and then the battle between him and Aizen. "Have I really gotten stronger?" he thought. "Both times I've relied too much on my hollow and never would have won alone."
He then thought about his home in Karakura Town and wondered what his friends were doing. "It's been a long time; maybe I should go and visit them."
Smiling to himself that this crisis was finally over, he started to sit up. Before he could get up fully, however, he felt a kick to the back of his head, sending him slamming down to the earth.
"Told you he was here," Ichigo heard a voice say through his massive amount of pain.
"Was that really necessary Rukia?" he heard another voice say.
"Of course it was," Rukia shot back. "He was looking so out of it I needed to bring him back to reality."
Ichigo looked up and saw Rukia and Renji standing there. "WHAT THE HELL'S YOUR PROBLEM?!" he immediately said to Rukia. "I COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED!"
"Relax," Rukia said a little too calmly. "You wouldn't die from such a minor wound."
Ichigo only growled in anger as he sat himself back up again. "What are you doing here?" he eventually asked.
"What's it matter?" Renji replied. "We're just taking a break from rebuilding some of Soul Society. Something you have yet to help with I might add."
Ichigo flinched at this and after a while said, "I've done more than enough for Soul Society. I don't need to help rebuild."
Rukia and Renji suddenly sat down on both sides of the Captain. "You seem conflicted," Rukia said seriously.
"You try and hide it, but I can tell what's going on," she continued. "It's something with your inner-hollow isn't it?"
("Don't worry," the Hollow assured him. "I'll still be helping you. Once this is over though, I'll be back trying to take control again.")
"No," Ichigo replied. "Where would you get that idea?"
He soon regretted that answer as it earned him a slap across his face. He held his cheek and asked, "What the hell?!"
"How long do you plan on keeping stuff from us?" she asked with a mix of sorrow and anger.
"I don't mean to keep stuff from you," he said, "I just don't want to get you involved."
"Bullshit!" Renji interjected. "We're your friends Ichigo, and if you can't tell us, who can you tell? You can't do everything on your own."
"I suppose," Ichigo smiled. "But really, there's nothing to worry about. I'm doing just fine."
"You sure?" asked his Lieutenant.
("Until next time then…King.")
With a sigh, both of them stood up and began to walk away. "Cya later," Renji said, "we gotta go back to work."
"If you do ever have a problem Ichigo," Rukia stated, "you need to tell us. Whatever it is, we'll understand."
("You deserve to live through this Kurosaki, to live through the pain you have caused. Living with it will make you stronger, make your heart harder. Only then, after years of that, will you be able to beat me without cheating. So I'm not going to kill you. I'm going to bide my time and train. I suggest you do the same Kurosaki, for one day, when I think enough time has passed, I'll come back and want a rematch. Only if you're truly strong enough you'll be a match for me, and don't think I'll hold back.")
Ichigo was alone again. He lied back down and stared at the clouds in the sky. He suddenly reached his hand out and covered it over the sun.
("Train well Kurosaki, for the next time you hear from me, it will be the last fight you'll ever have.")
"Don't worry," Ichigo said, closing his eyes. "I'll be ready next time."
Saying no more, he closed his hand around the sun in the shape of a fist.
And thus the Wheels of Fate stopped turning
Well, it's finally finished! 43 chapters in my first ever Fanfiction. I'd like to thank everyone who favorited/reviewed my story and know that it was you that kept me going until the very end. Nothing much more to say except...
See you next story!