Full summary: Ren Kurosu, unassuming protector of the 4th division. She only wanted 2 things in life: For her sister to have the life she had always wanted, and for a certain 13th Captain to know her true feelings for him. With an unknown sickness, an attack against the Seireitei, an unexpected Kidnapping, and a brush with death looming overhead, her feelings might finally be realized... that is if she survives it all.
Authors note: Hello faithful readers of Shirotsuki! Here is my new story 'The Solution', it is a story based around my own OC Ren. Many of my readers… (Cough) four (Cough) have been looking forward to this so here it is! This also contains yaoi, though it's only one couple that was present in my previous story. I had actually wrote like 12 pages of this story while working on 'The Catalyst' and had accidentally erased over it with chapter 7 of 'The Catalyst'. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. So I had to not only restart this first chapter but also a major battle that happens further on in the story that I had randomly wrote. So here is the second version which I actually liked more then the first, so enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, but I do own my own OC's and all of their abilities and Zanpakuto's. If someone even thinks that I copied them then I will have to hurt them, it took weeks of careful planning, brainstorming, and drawing to create her Zanpakuto and it's abilities and I will not tolerate those who think otherwise. I wish I had a scanner so I can post the picture I drew on the internet, unfortunately I can't.
Solution: Homogeneous mixture of two or more substances.
As the 9th seat of the 4th division Ren didn't see too much action. But being in a division based around healing without the ability to actually heal, ensured that she didn't have much to do. And walking down the hallways of her division, doing menial tasks such as cleaning and checking temperatures it had never been more apparent.
And when there were major battles and everyone in the division were working so hard to help those badly injured she couldn't do a thing. You never know how useless you could feel until you stand around with nothing to do to help those who really need it.
Her thoughts stumbled to a stop, and she paused in the hallway to cough. She leaned against the wall, the bundle of sheets held securely under one arm. She coughed deeply, the sound more worrisome then it should be. As it passed she pulled her hand away from her face to see blood, just a small trace but blood all the same.
She whipped it away with a handkerchief, cursing under her breath. The sickness was returning, and she already felt it starting to ravage her body. Her body had been slowing down, she's been coughing up blood, getting low grade fevers, her skin was turning a pale gray and she's been feeling sore for a few days now. Sure signs that the disease that only her sister knew of was back, a disease that hadn't ever been seen before.
As she pushed herself off the wall she continued on her way towards the west wing, the bundle of sheets held within her arms. She headed towards the largest room in the division, reserved solely for Captains. A beautiful room, it was large and very ordinate. Not even Byuakuya Kuchiki objected to staying in the room, though he wasn't there much anyway.
The current occupant was Captain Ukitake, as one of the main users of that room he knew most of the healers by name. He was there more then any other Captain, not even Zaraki spent that much time there.
Captain Ukitake was one of the most important people in her life, though he had no clue that she held him in such high regard. He more then anyone understood how it was like to be dragged down by a disease. With his tuberculosis he couldn't do as much as a normal captain could, and was often effected by it.
She had first met him almost 8 months ago, when she had first joined the 4th division. Captain Unohana had been showing her the ropes when she was asked to assit in helping a Captain. Captain Ukitake had been in for a routine checkup that the Captain Commander ordered him to go to every month. She had been overjoyed, helping a Captain on her first day felt like the largest accomplishment she could think of.
She was immediately effected by his presence, thankfully though she was able to hide her reaction from both the Captains. But it wasn't only his looks that attracted her like a moth to flame. He was nice, understanding, and compassionate even to those inferior to him.
It was practically love at first sight, though she refused to believe it at the time. It wasn't until she had that discussion with Ikkaku while Yumichika was in a coma did she learn a few facts about her feelings.
She smiled at the thought of her 2 friends, they were doing so well. They both found out how they felt about each other and were now happily together. Lets not forget them being physical, the time she had walked in on them was still fresh in her mind. Quickly getting rid of that image before she got a nose bleed she found the door she was looking for and entered.
Captain Ukitake looked pale, with bags under his eyes. He had obviously lost weight and looked more frail then he really should look. Unfortunately Ren herself was starting to deteriate to a similar state, though by a completely different cause.
"Good evening Captain Ukitake," Ren greeted as she entered. He was sitting up on his bed reading a book, as he caught sight of her he marked his page and closed it.
"Ah, hello Kurosu-san." He greeted putting his book on the night stand, "Any reason for your unexpected visit?" He asked, as polite as ever. Though he watched her closely, obviously catching the signs of her own sickness.
"Yep," she said and then coughed right afterwards, cutting of her sentence.
"Are you feeling okay?" He asked her, staring at her closely. Ren was slightly panicking, though she hid it well, she's been hiding it for decades now so she's had practice.
"I'm okay," She said. But as if to belie her words she coughed, though it was light it was still slightly painful. Who knew coughing could hurt so much? He watched her in worry but didn't comment, he understood her need not to be questioned.
Ren was glad he didn't question her, she smiled in gratitude. "It's time to change your sheets," She said with a smile showing him the bundle. His brow furrowed at that, obviously confused.
"But didn't you just change them Monday?" He asked and Ren just shrugged, she just followed orders.
"I just do what the Captain says, you know? In case I might want to live for the next few years." She said as moved to help him stand up. He waved her hand away and got up himself, moving cautiously over to the chair.
Ren watched him cautiously, her hands itching to help. If he got hurt on her watch it'd be her fault, and that's not even counting the emotional turmoil she'd feel. "She does seem to instill that type of feelings in people doesn't she?" He said with a chuckle, taking a seat.
Ren sighed in reliefe as he sat heavily in the chair, before getting to work. "Yes she does. It's pretty funny to see the newer requites fall over themselves to complete their tasks to the best of their abilities, in fear of incurring her wrath." She said as she quickly finished up so he could get back to his comfy bed as fast as possible.
"That Retsu," He said with a chuckle. "She's really not that scary, I have no idea why everyone's so afraid of her." Ren looked up at his comment.
"You don't work beneath her," Ren said as she finished up. "Okay, I'm done." She said and he nodded, standing up to get back to his own bed. Ren watched as he struggled to remain standing, walking sluggishly towards the bed. She understood his need to be as self sufficient as possible when sickened so she kept herself from helping. She too felt the same need to appear strong when her body was slowly trying to die.
It wasn't until he took his place back on the bed did she finally sigh in relief, smiling slightly. "But I went to school with her, and she was never that scary."
"Oh that's right!" Ren said suddenly, "I forgot you went to school with Captain Unohana and Captain Kyouraku." She smiled at the thought. "That must've been an interesting experience." She commented, he smiled at that.
"Yes, me and Shunsui got into so much trouble back in the day." He chuckled, "We drove Yamamoto-jiisan up a wall on many occasions."
"You guys must've been horrible," She said with a big smile. "You two act just like brothers, reminds me of my own sister." Her smile then turned wistful.
"You have a sister?" He asked suddenly, he didn't know she had a relative.
She looked startled at his question, before she suddenly realized. "That's right!" She said slapping herself on the forehead lightly, "Sen's been stationed in the human world for so long not many know of her."
"The human world?" He asked, not many shinigami were allowed to go and stay in the human world for long periods of time.
"Yeah, after we graduated from the academy she requested a post in the human world to fight Hollows and save souls there." She said with a sad smile.
"That must be rough on you," He commented as she went about cleaning up his room.
She shrugged, "It's what she wanted and nothing I said could sway her." Ren said gruffly, though with a smile. "I never could get her to listen to me."
"What's she like?" He asked, hoping to keep her mind off the separation. He watched closely as Ren coughed again, the sound becoming more worrisome.
"She's nothing like me even though we're twins, her hair's even black." She said pointing to her own white hair, "And we don't act anything alike." She chuckled. "I'm loud, brash, rude and never know what to do. My sister is quiet, nice, polite, and always knows what to do, always." She said with a slight frown, she could never be like her sister.
"Nice and polite is good but being more outspoken makes you more passionate and determined to succeed." He said, hoping to cheer her up again.
"True," She said with a thankful smile.
"How'd you meet?" He asked, truly curious. Not many shinigami find their relatives after death, especially siblings. "It's not often to find those who are related to you."
"Well I was savaging for food when I first met her," She said with a cringe. She really didn't like remembering where she came from. "It was 2 years after I woke up in the soul society, we were both 6 I think." She replied.
He stared at her in horror, "Does that mean you woke up in the soul society at the tender age of 4?" He asked, not wanting to hear about someone dying at such a young age.
"Yeah," She said with a sigh. "Evidently we died at a young age but got separated on out way to the Soul Society, makes me sad to know that we died at such a young age."
"Must've been horrible," He commented. She just shrugged in answer, it had been the worst experience of her life. Waking all alone in a beaten down town, where no one had any sympathy for a young girl on her own. The 71st district wasn't known for it's compassion.
"I lived," She said. "But when I met Sen I was so happy, we had both been scavenging for food and ran into each other... Literally." Ren laughed at the memory, laughed at their reactions to each other. "We both looked so much alike it was startling, next we had similar first names and the same last name. Way too much of a coincidence so we've stuck together ever since."
"That's good," He commented. She nodded, coughing slightly. Jushiro watched her cautiously again, and she felt herself squirming under his stare.
"Yeah, I'm glad I found her." She said before coughing again, more deeper then the last time. "Though it bothers me that if I hadn't ran into her I might never have found her."
"That's how it goes in the soul society," Jushiro commented, watching Ren as she coughed again. "Are you sure you're okay?" He asked again.
But before she could comment however she coughed, hard. And continued to cough, deep hacking coughs that were torn from her lungs and racked her slender form.
Her hand covered her mouth and her eyes were screwed shut, pain evident in her posture. Every cough looked torturous to the poor girl, It got too much for Jushiro to watch and he pulled his covers back, preparing to stand up.
"No," Ren managed to pant out. The coughing fit slowly subsiding, enough for her to talk. "You're too sick," She said as she pulled her hand away from her mouth. Jushiro stared in surprise at it, her palm was literally covered in blood. It stained her pale hand and dripped slowly down her arm. Her lips were stained red and small bloody trails made it's way down her chin.
As she pulled her handkerchief out to wipe the blood away he noticed small traces of blood on the cloth itself, telling him she's been this way for a while now. "You need to get to Retsu, you're sick too." He said, she smiled.
"Don't worry about m..." Her voice died away as another coughing fit hit her, her hand finding it's way back to her mouth. Her eyes were wide this time, her other hand gripping her chest. She collapsed to her knees, her eyes screwing shut in pain.
Jushiro stared on helplessly as he watched her hack up blood, surprised at the amount of the red liquid. There was too much for her hand to catch, it spilt through her fingers and ran down her chin to fall to the ground in an ever growing puddle.
Jushiro pulled himself towards the end of the bed, getting up to help the obviously hurting shinigami. A shout made him pause, one of Ren's eyes were squinted open her expression stubborn. "Don't Captain Ukitake," She said around her coughs. "You're too sick," Though it seemed a little redundant when she was the one on the floor coughing up a large quantity of blood.
"But you're worse off then me," He stated moving his worn body to stand. She shouted at him again, her tone desperate.
"Please, don't worry about me." She said, her eye falling shut. Her hand was still gripping her mouth as the other gripped her chest, "It'll pass." She murmured.
Before he could comment however the fit started again, more vicious then the first time. As he watched he made his decision, he stood shakily to his feet.
Though before he could move a black mist enveloped Ren, and her Zanpakuto dissolved. He fell back onto his bed in surprise as a woman emerged from the mist. She was tall, with black hair. She had two extremely long bangs falling to lay on her shoulders, before continuing to run down her back and end at her knees. There were beads placed randomly on them, showing large portions of hair in between. The rest of her hair was short, brushing the base of her skull. She was blindfolded and her clothing was very ordinate though slightly modern in very light yet bright colors. 2 large black wings arched from he back, telling she wasn't human nor shinigami.
He was even more surprised as she crouched down to Ren and embraced her. Rocking her throughout her fit, providing the comfort that Jushiro wanted to. Her large black wings arched protectively over Ren, trying to help as much as possible.
"Kurotenchi?" Ren asked weakly as the coughing subsided, "What are you doing here?" She asked the being who just smiled calmly back at her.
"You're hurting," She said as if that was all she needed to. "I came to help you, of course." Ren smiled slightly, gripping her sleeve.
"Thanks," Ren muttered tiredly. Who knew coughing could make you so tired? Did it take that much energy to have your lungs convulsing the breath out of your body?
"Kurosu-san? Are you okay?" Jushiro asked as he watched the pair on the floor, quite surprised at the arrival of the woman.
"Oh, Captain Ukitake." She said weakly, "I forgot you were there," She said rubbing at her eyes weakly. "Sorry to bother you, I didn't want to be an inconvenience and me getting sick had to be bothersome."
"Nonsense, I'm more worried if you're okay." He replied, she smiled weakly.
"I'm fine," She replied but was interrupted by her Zanpakuto.
"No you are not," Kurotenchi said sternly, cutting her off. "Your body is shutting down, you need to sleep." She said to the shinigami. "Your body needs rest...now."
"Fine," Ren said with a tired glare at the angel. "Just make sure Captain Ukitake stays in bed, he's sick as well." Kurotenchi nodded and Ren slowly drifted off to sleep.
"We need to get Retsu, she's the only one who can help her right now." Jushiro spoke up, watching the woman wipe the blood off of Ren with the already saturated handkerchief.
"I contacted her Zanpakuto right before I materialize," Kurotenchi commented. "Captain Unohana should be here momentarily."
"That's good," He remarked as sat back in his bed. He watched the woman cradle Ren, her touch was as gentle almost as though Ren was made of glass.
"She's suffered so much," Kurotenchi murmured cradling Ren closer. "Why does it have to be this way for her? I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."
Jushiro watched on sadly, listening to her sorrow filled words. "How long has she had this disease?" He asked, wanting to know how much Ren had suffered.
"She was 5 when it first hit," Kurotenchi said flinching at the memory. A 5 year old Ren crying blood red tears, her small form racked with coughs. She laid on the ground, covered in blood while reaching out blindly. "Help me..." She'd plea to passerbyers, none of them even spared her a glance. Sympathy for the young and helpless non existent in the 71st district. "Help me...please... Kurotenchi." She cried out in desperation, not even aware of what she was saying. She had just wanted the pain to go away, wanted the hurt to leave.
"That was when I first heard my name from her lips," Kurotenchi said finished her tale. Jushiro looked shocked, and pained at her tale. "I went to her as fast as possible and held her through most of it." She swallowed heavily, "But I hadn't been able to make the pain go away." She said helplessly.
"You tried," Jushiro murmured. "And that is more then anyone had ever done for her, I bet Ren was really grateful to you." Kurotenchi smiled slightly at that.
"Yeah she was, though it was tough to explain to a 5 year old what I was." She smiled slightly at the memory, "She didn't want to believe I was part of her. And then later on when she dragged me through the streets because in my sword form I was too heavy for her to carry." She chuckled sadly, "I was never clean."
Jushiro chuckled slightly, "So you've been able to materialize since she was 5?" Kurotenchi nodded, "That makes you pretty powerful doesn't it? I mean you guys have such a strong bond," Kurotenchi nodded again with a smile.
"We've had many years to grow together," She said before her smile faded. "And she's had to battle with this disease more then once."
"More then once?" He asked shocked, "Does that mean she's had to suffer like this more than once?" Just the thought made his chest tight, no one should have to suffer like she has had.
"Yes, once when she was 5, another time when she was about 14, and a few years after she joined the academy." Kurotenchi murmured, "Though this is the worst it's been lately. I haven't seen it this bad since she was 5."
"Doesn't anyone know what it is?" Jushiro asked, he had never heard about a disease like this one.
"No, no one even knows she's sick but her sister Sen." She said quietly, "It's the actual reason Sen's in the human world at all."
"What?" He asked surprised at her words.
"Sen is determined to find the disease so she can find a cure," She sighed. "Ren tried her hardest to tell Sen not to worry about it but she refused, it's the actual reason Sen is a shinigami at all."
That surprised Jushiro, and confused him. What did having to become a shinigami have to do with finding the cure... His thoughts stumbled to a halt, the reason finally making sense. "She wanted to get to the Seireitei to search their books for any clues to the disease's identity."
"Exactly, only she didn't find anything." Kurotenchi muttered sadly, "So she requested a position in the human world to research for it."
"That must've hurt Kurosu-san," He commented.
"Yes, she didn't like her sister dedicating her life to saving hers. Though Ren took it much differently, she saw it as Sen losing her chance to live her own life." Kurotenchi said, "That's why she won't let anyone else know. She's afraid to ruin their lives for a lost cause."
"That's sad," Jushiro commented. Kurotenchi nodded in agreement, her eyes saddened.
"She made Sen promise not to tell anyone else about it," Kurotenchi continued. "She wanted to live her life the way she saw fit until she died. And that was by protecting those who help others, she wanted to give back to the universe."
That saddened Jushiro, she dedicated her life to helping others out of guilt. She lived with her disease with no expectation of being cured, she was ready to die.
"Kurosu-san?" A voice questioned and they looked toward the door, Retsu Unohana stood there looking slightly concerned. It wasn't everyday that she saw one of her subordinates sitting on the floor covered in blood in their Zanpakuto's embrace.
"Ah Captain Unohana," The black angel smiled in relief at her. "I'm so glad you're here, please help Ren." She said standing to carry the unconscious shinigami, her normal light clothing stained red by her wielder's blood.
Unohana moved over to check on Ren, walking slightly faster then usual. Lieutenant Isane followed behind her with a stretcher, telling them they had been ready for the worst.
"What happened?" Retsu asked seriously as Ren was placed carefully on the stretcher, reiatsu already making her hand glow as it scanned the ravaged body of Ren.
"She's ill," Kurotenchi replied watching over her wielder. "The disease has come back again, and it's worse then I've ever seen it."
"Disease?" Retsu asked, Isane too looked confused. "I didn't know she had a disease, or I would've watched over her much more intently."
"She doesn't want anyone knowing," Kurotenchi supplied for, "She's to stubborn to ask for help, even to stubborn to admit she needs help.
"I'll have to talk to her about that," Retsu commented as she continued to push healing Kido into Ren's body. Her expression was calm but you could still see concern in her eyes. Kurotenchi nodded before dissolving, going back to her bladed form at Ren's side.
"Isane," Retsu started catching the Lieutenants attention. Isane looked up sharply, a look of concern for her comrade painted on her features. "Get the healing room prepared, tell every ranked member 5 and above to report there immediately." She said her voice calm.
"Captain?" Isane asked in surprise.
"It's going to take almost all of my reiatsu to fix the damage to her body," She said. "And yet I still don't know if it will be enough, hurry and tell them." Retsu ordered a little more forcibly.
She nodded taking off while pushing Ren on the stretcher, Retsu followed behind her hand still glowing. A look of deep concentration on her face.
Jushiro Ukitake, Captain of the 13th court guard, who had been ignored sat in his bed, concern for the 9th seated healer apparent. He only knew her from her many visits to change his sheets or check his temperature, but she seemed like a friend. She'd talk to him when he was bored and she never saw him as an invalid that many think he is due to his Tuberculosis.
She had slowly became a friend that he looked forward to seeing while in the hospital, someone who he had slowly came to depend on. And now she was the one ill, and there was nothing he could do to help her.