She watches from afar as the young, young boy rushes out and clashes with the Cero Espada.

Her hands are steeped wrist-deep in blood as she fights to make sure not one single grain of the millions of grains of sand around them finds its way into any of their larger wounds.

Isane and Hanatarou are a great help , but even with them; even she can only do so much in this land with so little.

She can feel the tendrils of Kuchiki Senior's reiatsu gliding towards them at an abnormally slow rate, can reach out to brush the explosion and light bursting out into the sky that is Zaraki's power and can sense, at the very edges of her own ability, Kurotsuchi's strangely controlled emissions.

They are fine, she concludes after a quick, cursory, non-invasive check. They'll never know she checked, but they have no need to know.

Abarai, however, is not quite completely stitched up after that first fight with the Espada that Kurotsuchi rushed off after, and this bashing has made it all the more severe. Oh, nothing but a couple of recent broken ribs and shattered wrist, ankle, femur, ulna, humerus. He'll live, alright.

But those nasty internal wounds need to be dealt with, and as much as Unohana Retsu and Minazuki want to let loose and smite that big, fat, bad excuse of an Espada into the ground, she has other priorities.

She is the Captain of the Fourth Division, and that actually means more than merely being able to heal and keep things clean, not that anyone really notices, except for maybe Shunsui and Jyuushiro who still, to this day, harbor a rather healthy amount of mixed fear and admiration for her.

Minazuki is fully bankai-capable; in fact, Unohana was one of the first shinigami under Genryuusai-sensei's directions to develop this rare second release, not that anyone really notices.

In short, Unohana Retsu is powerful beyond belief, something that does not show in that kind smile, warm bedside manner and efficient handling of any of the work that is unceremoniously thrown to the Fourth Division.

And now that Abarai-kun is in one very non-dead piece, she can move on to treat the less critically-injured ryoka boy who feels, reiatsu-wise, almost hollow-ish. She muses that it would be better off for him if he managed to achieve a hollow-shinigami hybrid, but quickly banishes that potentially traitorous thought and concentrates on one of the things she does best.

The earth shakes, but she does not look up, because she can feel the flaring of the reiatsu that seems more Kurosaki-like than the other. The other is trembling ever-so-slightly, a slight oscillation that no one else would notice simply because the volume of the reiatsu is simply too massive.

(No one else here is used to feeling reiatsu this strong on a regular basis.)

And then a huge explosion rocks the ground. She braces herself against the violent whiplash of reiatsu, someone's reiatsu, that she knows will be coming. They don't realize it, the fighters never do, but when someone wins and someone loses, the reiatsu doesn't just dissipate, doesn't just melt into nothingness.

It whips out sharply, and the unprepared who are standing too close will have eardrums tattered and rocks flung violently at them.

This will not do.

"Minazuki," she whispers softly, and she can feel his soothing reiatsu slowly seep out and surround them in a large, large dome. His reiatsu is not hers, she knows, it is not completely hers, there is a part that is distinctively different from her normal reiatsu, a slight hint that is just quintessentially Minazuki.

Again, the amount of reiatsu needed, and the calm, controlled, even balance of power between zanpakuto and wielder is rarely found. Unohana Retsu does not have the most amazing manifestation, but as a wielder, she is one of the very, very best.

The soothing reiatsu envelopes the few wounded, expanding out to encapsulate Yamada and Kuchiki Junior who have strayed a little further out.

It is much like breathing perfluorocarbon, in that the body immediately rejects it, but when forced to, takes a gasp and realizes that the reiatsu can be breathed, that it is not suffocating, that it is being helped and kept safe from the dangers out there.

Hanatarou is looking at her with an impossibly large amount of hero-worship in his eyes and she merely smiles back kindly and enigmatically as she leaves Sado-kun, Abarai-kun and Kuchiki-san in the very capable hands of Isane.

They cannot feel the violent transformations that are going on outside her shielded bubble, but she can, and she knows her other fellow captains can as well.

Stepping out of her demarcated safety zone, she comes face to face with a scowling Kuchiki-taicho. "It's Kurosaki," he looks at her, "I felt this reiatsu, only less hollow-like when I fought him on the Soukyoku."

She steps forward towards the one sole remaining flaring, thrashing power. Kuchiki's reiatsu tightens and tenses behind her.

"Be careful, Unohana-taicho, Kurosaki can be quite the formidable opponent."

She turns her head slightly and smiles before beginning almost a little chidingly, "It would be best if you stepped back a little, Kuchiki-taicho. I cannot guarantee your safety if you remain here."

His face twitches slightly as he nods and does so, unknowingly entering the little bubble that is her demarcated zone. She seems to have come upon something interesting by saying that sentence, but she will deal with that later.

The last of the violent aftershocks is dying down, she can tell. Kurosaki, or the thing that used to be him is drawing his reiatsu closer to him, almost like a cloak or a dense, dense whirling sphere.

A part of her brain goes 'Schwarzschild radius', but the other parts of her brain reject that thought and shelve it away for perusal at a later date. Academics can occur later as she forcibly shuts down the part of her brain that wants to calculate if Minazuki and she can achieve a similar result simply with their reiatsu.

She is far away from them now, so far that they cannot see her and she cannot see them. She can feel that inhumane prickling on her skin.

What power.

What insanity.


She comes face to face with what cannot possibly pass as Kurosaki Ichigo.

The thing looks at her with deadened, animalistic eyes.

It does not recognize her and as such, will not strike. Not yet.

She stares back at it determinedly.

And draws.


Minazuki smiles.