Urahara is there when the shinigami and the guardians of Karakura find out that she's left. Most of them don't care, because they didn't know her all too well. He thinks that she might have planned it that way from the beginning. Don't make ties with people that you know you're going to have to break sometime.

He read the note before giving it to anyone.

To Renji,

I'm going to Hueco Mundo to save my son Kenshin, if I can. I'm probably not going to live through this mission, and for that, I'm sorry. If I ever come back, then I'm probably going to be your enemy, and I'm also sorry about that. You're one of the best friends I have ever had, and I have to thank you for that. If I am ever seen again, then I am most likely with Aizen; I most likely had no choice in the matter. It has happened before, and it will probably happen again if he doesn't have me murdered. But please, if you ever see me again, I want to apologize to you, face-to-face. I think…nevermind. If I had been more someone normal and less myself, I'd have liked to…I'm so sorry that it had to end like this, Renji. I'll miss you.

Love, Ichimin

Urahara stares at the note for a long time, before, in the dead of night, he sits down and painstakingly copies her handwriting, forging an entire new letter in her script. Urahara knows that it isn't really his business, but he won't allow her to drag anyone down with her. They are in a war, and even if her words are heartfelt, sometimes people shouldn't hear them. He writes a new letter that, though fake, will hurt everyone much less. They will hate her for what she has done, but she won't drag Abarai down with her.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am going to Hueco Mundo to save my son. I will not survive the attempt, or at least, will never return in a friendly position with you or anyone else. I will not make a proficient shinigami for the war if this matter is unsolved and I am forced to fight with this weight on my conscience. If I am alive at this point in time, then I will most likely be in a romantic position with Aizen, though that makes me traitorous. If you ever see me again, then kill me if you are able, without me seeing your face if it is possible. I'm sorry it had to end like this.

Former Lieutenant Captain Kumorigachi

He burns her original letter and gives the new one to Captain Hinamori, who relates the news to the rest of Seireitei. Renji never learns that the letter is a fake, or that the original copy was for him alone. He alienates himself from Ichimin's memory and is able to treat her as a traitorous whore, as the majority of Seireitei does.

Urahara allows the weight of what he's done settle on his conscience, along with all the other weights he bears. It is a cruel option, but it is one that he was forced to make. And no one ever knows the truth except for him.

Kenshin returns with Orihime Inoue to Rukongai's outskirts, where the Gargantua left them. She heals his wounds and he, in return, escorts her to Seireitei, where he is declared a hero for saving Inoue from Aizen's clutches. When he discovers the letter that his mother had left, he won't believe that it's true. He refuses to. He saw her on the other side of those bars, humble and desperate and only doing what she had to, out of pure motherly love.

He rejoins with his siblings, and they recover from the sudden loss of their mother. Fujiko is heartbroken and guilty for giving Ichimin so much trouble in her later years. Setsuo remains withdrawn and quiet, and speaks with no one about Ichimin. He does, however, mourn in his own way, which is to be alone and to cherish her favorite things. Eiji returns after he finds that Kenshin has also returned, and Kenshin beats the fellow shinigami half to death. He blames Eiji for something. Eiji, when he finds out about his mother, is despondent. He talks about the time he's wasted, or lost. Gendo shows slight sadness, though he hides his emotions incredibly well. Isamu becomes more violent, more reckless; Chinatsu has to have Gendo and Kenshin's help in keeping Isamu from tearing Rukongai apart out of rage and despair.

Kenshin steels himself, feeling guiltiest of all, and spends his time with his zanpakutou spirit.

One year later, they all meet again at the old family home. All have finally heard Ichimin's true history, and they have accepted it. Setsuo did not become a shinigami, out of respect for his mother's hatred of them. He becomes a self-taught doctor for Rukongai and takes in orphans when he can. Eiji remains a shinigami, and from the day he heard what had happened to his mother on, he never breaks a promise to anyone, ever again. Fujiko joins the Fourth Division and cares for wounded shinigami. Isamu and Gendo remain without shinigami titles, though they keep their zanpakutou, and they roam the Rukongai with Chinatsu at their heels as the lawless law of sorts. They're almost like vigilantes without a purpose. And they don't really follow the law a lot, either.

Kenshin, meanwhile, has risen through the ranks in Eleventh. He's a great shinigami, people tell him this. But he's not interested in being the best shinigami around anymore. He's got something else on his mind, something crazier.

That long year later, Kenshin stands in front of all of them, and he looks every one of them in the eye. And what he says is completely insane; it makes them all stare at him, in shock.

"I'm going to go back and save her."

Aizen continues to rule over his legion of hollows, continues to plot, as he has for all the years since the war began, from even before that, from when the first thought of treason and godhood crossed his mind. Ichimin is still there with him, at his side; she remains devoted to him, with all of her heart.

It isn't hard to keep Ichimin happy, though. He had his own wishes fulfilled and at the same time, made her infinitely happier than she ever could have been any other way. He slips away from his throne and traces his way back to their shared room, finding her there.

Ichimin herself, that long year after returning, is sprawled on the long couch, eyes closed, with a napping infant held close to her. Of all the things Aizen could give her to keep her happy, he gave her the one thing he knew she would treasure above all others. She's a wonderful mother, though has a problem with letting him or anyone else get near the child. Aizen is a bit worried that she's going to coddle the boy into a useless man. He won't allow it, really; though he has little to do with the baby, for now, he's going to take full charge of his training when he gets older. Ichimin has a huge problem with allowing Gin anywhere near the baby, which kind of upsets Gin, a tiny, tiny bit. It's not like he devours children or anything. He kind of likes kids. Ichimin tells him that he's a horrible influence for any child, ever, and that he's not going to corrupt her baby.

Of course, she's wrong. Gin is going to assist in the boy's training to handle his no doubt immense reiatsu in the future. But right now, Ichimin can coddle this baby all she wants.

Their relationship remains passionate, though nowhere near as much as before their son Shinjiro was born. Aizen picked the name, of course. Aizen himself does little of the childcare aspect; he only wants his heir, and is more than a bit interested in what the power level of his son is going to be. Ichimin is with the baby almost twenty-four seven.

She talks about ending the war soon so that their son doesn't have to be a part of it, but she and Aizen and Gin all know that she's just lying to herself. Of course Shinjiro is going to be in the war; there's too much potential in him not to. Ichimin doesn't like it at all, but she's always had little say in actual decisions, and so will have to argue when the time comes. Until then, Aizen knows that he has a possible third in charge (Gin will always be second, and Tosen has an entirely different position that pretty much puts him level with Gin) in the future, and either way, Ichimin will remain happy.

After Aizen falls asleep, she dresses herself and slips out of bed, her fingers closing around her zanpakutou's hilt as she walks out to the balcony. It's cold, of course, but she's used to the cold. She stands and stares at the backwards moon, calmly, before looking at her zanpakutou.

"I'm taking care of them for you. Do not worry." She tells the blade, and it hums faintly underneath her fingertips. Sometimes, she really does feel guilt for having to do this, but she knows that over time, her other half will eventually take over again, and things will be as they should be. Ichimin made a promise to be serene, to be calm, to never allow herself a death caused by her own vainglory, as long as Kyokkou helped her in this by taking away her more difficult to control emotions and urges. Kyokkou agreed, and set what would happen if she were unable to do this on her own. She wasn't, and now, Kyokkou is doing what he promised he would. He will take care of her life for her, until she is able to overcome herself and return.

Far away, as far on the other side of death as a soul can be, Ichimin Kumorigachi slumbers in a tall field of golden grain that she's never been able to reach before.

((So, that's it. I really don't have anything to say here, other than thanks for sticking around for the entire story. See you later, space cowboy.))