Konnichiwa, Minna-san! Oshashiburi…ja no? xD

Okay, I re-typed all the chapters in the new computer, so thank you for your patience!

*There's a question down at the A/N that I need answering. Hope I didn't cause any problems with taking this down and posting it again. I needed to somehow get your attention…0o xD

I OWN NOTHING BUT THE FANCONCEPT OF MY FANFICTIONS.

-o-O-o-

The Signs of Time

The future, that I thought I had managed to grasp...

...is a contradiction between my 'dignity,' and my 'freedom.'

-o-O-o-

I spotted Toushirou sitting on the roof by himself after I got out of the door to look for him. Typical. It was now late, but he was still sitting there. A frown stretched my mouth - I hated heights. I could see his white, spiky hair peeking out from where I could see as well as the green T-shirt I gave him along with black pants as pyjamas. They were the clothes I made Natsume transmute, which I found both practical and frightening in some way. I had just grabbed a dark tank-top and light pants.

''Oi, Hitsugaya Toushirou-taichou-san, quit sitting up here like a badass and get down here!'' I could see him twitching at my call. Without even turning, he replied with:

''...Urusei.''

''Mataku...(geez)'' I groaned before reaching a gloved hand to grab the rail. He turned his head, widening his eyes at me when he realized what I was trying to do.

''Oi! Aaho! (idiot)'' he yelled as he jumped to his feet. ''Are you trying to kill yourself?!'' he asked when he paced over to me. His tanned hand shot down to grab my wrist before pulling me up, and I climbed over the edge with his help. I plopped onto the ground, sighing in exhaustion before looking up at Toushirou's angry face when he released my hand. I then tilted my head up to look at the night sky, smiling slightly.

''The sky's nice tonight, isn't it?'' I asked, ignoring his question. He followed my gaze to look up after he sighed wearily.

''Betsuni (not really),'' he said, ''Too many clouds.'' I sighed at his pessimistic attitude, which hasn't faded since during dinner. After we all went to bed, I woke up, wanting to have a glass of water. And being someone who is hopelessly in love, I decided to have a peek in the guest bedroom - where Toushirou was supposed to be sleeping in - which was found empty. I was quite shocked at first, since I didn't find him anywhere in the whole flat. Then Natsume suggested the roof...when I asked her about it she only snickered, much to my confusion. And sure enough he was here. Rangiku, however, was sharing my room with me, sleeping and snoring away right now. I had set up a bed for her, but knowing that lieutenant, she was most likely on my bed instead. Well, not that anyone can do something about Rangiku because she was...well, Rangiku.

''Well, aren't you a ray of sun-shine?'' I asked sarcastically - winding him up is the best therapy to cheer him up. If I've ever learned anything about this prodigy, then it was that. He grumped about something inaudible and started to turn away, but I grabbed him by his shirt to stop him. He looked down at my sitting form with an annoyed expression.

''What?'' he asked, irritated.

''Pull me up.'' He arched a brow at my request. ''My back hurts.'' There was a brief silence before I could catch something about 'stupid girl' in his mutter as he grabbed me by the arm to drag me up. When I got of my feet, I then leaned on him for support, making him blush as frowned at me again.

''What now?!'' he asked, now really irritated. I mentally smirked; this was getting fun.

''You mind carrying me over to where you were sitting? My back still hurts...'' I heard him growling in annoyance.

''Can't you do anything right?!'' With that and a tug, pulled me onto his back, securing his arms around my legs. I cracked out a small smile, noticing that he was holding me very carefully, instead of just dangling me over, which is what I expected him to do after seeing the mood he was in.

''If he were only doing all this because of the order to take care of you, he wouldn't treat you with so much affection! He wouldn't be so paranoid about you! He wouldn't be an emotional mess when he's worried about you!''

My eyes softened when Rangiku's words rang through my head.

''Oi, I'm not too happy with this either,'' I said, answering to his previous insult, though it was obvious that I was grinning. ''The idea that such a short shrimp is carrying me isn't the most appealing.'' I smirked when I saw a few large veins pulsing on his head.

''YOU'RE SHORTER THAN ME!'' I only laughed at his outburst, and a wordless growl escaped his mouth. ''How about I drop you!?'' I snorted after that so-called 'threat'.

''Like you have the guts.''

''Manipulating woman...'' he mumbled, ''Not cute at all! Not one single bit!'' I arched my brows at him as my smirk widened. After he set me down on the top of the roof he plopped down next to me.

There was a silence between us, and I side-glanced at Toushirou, who was staring up to the sky. A small smile crossed my lips as I looked at his calm expression. My eyes trailed down to his clothes as I blushed slightly. This was one of those very rare occasions where I saw him without his black robes or white haori. Once when he wore a red scarf because it was a chilly night and I already found that sight astonishing. Now it was a world wonder.

The only thing that was spoiling this view was that frown on his face.

''Oi, Toushirou-taichou-sama, why the grim look?'' He turned to face me with an arched brow after I asked him that question.

''What's with the 'taichou-sama'?''

''You're grumpy, so I'm flattering you to cheer you up,'' I said simply when I looked away from him to look at the view of the city buildings ahead of me. I didn't need to face at him to see that he blinked at that. ''Mind telling me why you're in such a foul mood?''

''I'm not in a foul mood.''

''But your face is so kneaded.''

''Baka! My face's always been like this!'' I sighed at his retort. Then again, that was true.

An idea popped up my head, and he gulped at my teasing, hell-rising smirk. ''Don't tell me you're disappointed we broke up that hug?'' His face became flustered when his eyes widened.

''Damare!'' he yelled, narrowing his eyes at me in an annoyed manner. Soon he scowled before looking away, seemingly cross with me. ''You never told me what was upsetting you, so why should I?''

I raised my eyebrows before blinking at that. A sigh escaped my lips as I propped my head by leaning my elbow on my knee. ''Are you that interested in me, Shishi-chan?'' I asked with my usual, teasing tone. He always dropped the subject after I play this card. (Shishi = Lion)

Because his care wasn't worth his pride.

I closed my eyes, awaiting a flustered retort with an all-knowing smile.

''Yes, I am.''

-:-:-:-:-Frozen Passion-:-:-:-:-

Miyuki's eyes flew open to see that I had turned to face her with a sincere expression. My arms were on my sides, and my body was turned to completely face her. Her bewildered expression was well-justified; I was asking myself if this was because of my lack of control over the gigai again.

When Miyuki asked me that question, I was at first embarrassed. A reaction I always had when Miyuki would tease me or think of some nickname. But I wasn't going to let her use this strategy to avoid this. Not anymore. Even if I could tell that she wasn't still bothered by this conflict, even if that fact set my heart at ease, my mind was restless.

Miyuki blinked a few times. ''...What?''

''I said that I am.''

After staring at my serious expression with incredulous eyes for a moment, the softened them before sighing as she looked away. ''Rangiku already gave me a scolding for this. I apologize for my behavior.'' I scowled at her stubbornness.

''That isn't what I want to hear, Miyuki,'' I said, narrowing my eyes. ''I want the reason. And I don't intend to let you go anywhere until I get it out of you.''

My determined expression stayed unfazed when she turned around to face me. A frown creased her brows, and her lips were pressed in a thin line. After noticing that I wasn't going to back down, she sighed again before turning to completely face me, but her head was still tilted down, staring at the cement of the roof.

''Toushirou...I'm going to be frank...this bond we have, the two of us...'' My eyes widened at her words and my heart beated faster. ''...This isn't the bond of just 'friends' anymore.''

My eyes could only widen further, but I was too shocked to blush.

I...I was aware of that...but actually hearing those words coming from her lips...

''We've been through a lot together. We've said many things to each other.''

I gulped when the blush caught up to me, and I felt my arms shaking slightly because I was so nervous. Yet she seemed perfectly calm as she said those words, much to my amazement.

''And then the thought occurred to me that maybe, just maybe,'' she said as she looked to her side, her head still tilted down. ''You only cared because of the order from Yamamoto-soutaichou to keep me from harm.''

I felt like someone had just punched me. My eyes were wide, my lips were slightly parted. I couldn't even blink; that was how shocked I was.

''That thought lingered in the back of my mind, and it made me feel...it made me feel pain. And though Rangiku told me that wasn't how you felt, even now, I...'' Her voice trailed off, as if she knew that I understood what she was trying to say.

I allowed my shoulders to drop sightly before shaking my head. ''You...You really are an idiot being scared about something like that.'' I saw Miyuki looking up at me with wide eyes, and I felt embarrassment showing on my face. I scowled as I furrowed my brows, my cheeks now tainted with red. I looked into those amethyst orbs with a testing gaze, and I saw that she was now fully convinced that her fear wasn't the case; I knew I owed that to Matsumoto. Sighing before crossing my arms, I looked out at the night view of Karakura.

''At first, of course I was only caring because of the order.'' I could see Miyuki flinching from the corner of my eye. ''But that...changed. It's not like that...'' I looked even further away from her, hiding my blush, facing her with the back of my head. ''...Anymore.'' This was the first time we were actually talking about our relationship so bluntly.

''But that was how it started.''

I blinked, silent for a brief moment before I turned back to face Miyuki. ''What difference does that make? Now is now, isn't it?'' I swallowed a lump in my throat when I saw Miyuki's eyes widening at me. ''When I think about you now, Miyuki, that order never comes across my mind.''

Miyuki was taken aback by what I just said, her mouth was shaking slightly. ''Tou-...Toushirou…''

I scowled at her shocked expression, slightly disheartened that she would even consider something like that of me. I mentally growled when I felt my annoying blush creeping up to my cheeks again.

I was sick of always letting moments like these pass by without even finishing what I wanted to say! Just because I could never form my feelings into words...

But even now...I wasn't ready...Not yet...

I grabbed one of Miyuki's hands in one of my own, holding it tightly, but also gently. I stared intently into her eyes with mine, my eyebrows furrowed as the shock only became more apparent on Miyuki's face.

''Please...Just have a little more faith in me, Miyuki!''

Her eyes widened further, but they soon softened after a moment. Miyuki's gloved hand squeezed my hand back slightly, and our eyes never averted each other.

''Hai…Toushirou...'' I could feel my heart beating faster against my chest as she whispered my name, and my eyes softened.

I felt myself drowning in her amethyst eyes, consumed by the darkness of them. I was getting lost in those orbs...

''I can end this like I have done before...and without the influence of alcohol this time.''

As that memory ran through my mind, I unconsciously leaned in, slowly. My pulse was racing to the point where I heard it clearly. Yet I was dazed, mesmerized by her irises.

What if...I would do this not to end something...but to start...?

''Miyuki...''

I held Miyuki's hand tighter in my own, my other hand came up to cup the side of her face, pulling it slowly towards me as I leaned in further. My eyelids became heavy when a blush crossed my cheeks as I saw Miyuki's eyes wavering before she softened them.

...BADUM...

I paled when I felt a pulse of immense reiatsu being pounded against me, breaking me violently from my blissful trance, a gasp escaping my throat. I looked around fanatically after releasing Miyuki's hand, finding out where the source of the pressure was as I jumped to my feet.

''W-What's going on?!'' Miyuki asked as she stood up next to me, her expression confused and worried. I focused on the different reiatsu patterns, narrowing my eyes when I realized that they were two were coming this way.

''Taichou!''

I saw Matsumoto jumping up on the roof in her Shinigami form, and without saying a word I took a gikongan and swallowed it. After a tugging sensation, I jumped out of the gigai in my spirit shell, clad with my shikakusho and haori. ''Go!'' After I gave that order to the artificial soul, 'King', he complied with a hesitant answer before running away.

Miyuki laid bit her lip, obviously trying her best to calm herself down. I turned around to face her, I had a hand on each of her shoulder, holding them firmly. ''Miyuki, I want you to go back into the house.'' Miyuki frowned before she opened her mouth to speak.

''But I can use Natsume to--'' I cut her off.

''We don't know how powerful our enemies are yet. I am not going to risk you again, you hear me?'' I narrowed my eyes into an intense gaze as I stared right into her eyes, and I pulled her closer for her to see my serious expression more clearly. So that she could understand how important this was to me. ''Natsume can keep an eye on you.''

''Toushirou...'' I saw the immense worry in her orbs as her voice trailed off, feeling a small dose of euphoria in my veins when I saw this emotion for my sake. I gave her a small, apologetic smile as I tilted my head slightly.

''Don't worry, Miyuki. Just...just please stay safe.'' The memory of what happened when Aizen nearly killed her flashed through my mind, making me wince.

''How can I not worry if it's you...?'' Miyuki asked in a weak voice, her eyes down casted. I wanted to continue staring into her amethyst irises, I wanted to continue comforting her, but the reiatsu coming closer brought me back to reality.

''I'll be alright.'' With that firm assurance, I closed my eyes before tilting my head down slightly, facing the ground.

''Natsume! I'm leaving Miyuki in your hands!'' I said out loud before releasing Miyuki's shoulder, pulling my katana out after turning around - I knew that Natsume could hear me, because I could clearly sense her reiatsu. After taking a few steps to the edge of the roof next to Matsumoto, I looked over my shoulder, staring at the air next to Miyuki, where I felt Natsume's presence. I glared at that invisible form; releasing the anger I had for not being able to stay to protect Miyuki.

''If anything happens to her, I'll waste you! Is that clear?!''

Without waiting for an answer or reaction, I used shunpo to dash on the platforms I made from my reiki in midair. I heard Matsumoto following me after she said her words to Miyuki; I was planning to meet these Humunculi half-way, wanting to have this confrontation as far away from Miyuki as possible.

''Taichou, that was a very bold move! If this keeps up, then...''

''Not another word, Matsumoto!''

I didn't know if she noticed or even saw it, but I was trying my best to suppress a blush from creeping on my face. Dammit, this wasn't the time for this!

As the foreign reiatsu pulsed through the air again, I dashed towards the flat-roof of a building, Matsumoto landing next to me. After raising Hyourinmaru up, ready to fight, I narrowed my eyes. ''Be careful.'' My lieutenant answered with an affirmed grunt as she gripped the hilt of her Zanpaktou.

I could feel the reiatsu advancing, and tightened my grip on my katana. ''They're here.''

As soon as those words left my mouth, two figures appeared in midair in a daze of afterimages because of their sheer speed. Two men, both wearing white hakama pants and white shirts which clung onto them like a second skin. Their feet were adorned with black boots. But I narrowed my eyes when I noticed that they had patterned circles in specific places, connected by a line in the same, grey colour as the circles. They reminded me of transmutation circles.

One of the men was lean, having his sleeves to his fingers, his black hair worn in a messy braid, and bangs pulled back from his face by a brown head cloth. His orange eyes glowed as he stared down at us from the air. The other was more muscular and had a different shirt design. His dark hair was short and his pupils were too small to actually recognise the colour of.

I instinctively categorized the bigger one as stronger, but I knew better than to underestimate anyone in battle…however in a situation like this, one has no choice but to judge strength by appearance.

And as much as I hated to admit it, my own stature often gave me an advantage.

''Looks like you decided to meet us half-way, thanks for your trouble,'' said the bigger once as he grinned and crossed his arms. ''Though I'm not quite sure if I should call you insanely brave or courageously insane. What do you think, Rancor?''

Without warning, the other one, 'Rancor', just completely ignored his companion and used his flash-step-like speed to appear right in front of me, his arm out stretched with a guardless sword in his hand. I swung Hyourinmaru up to block his weapon, the clashing of the two blades making a loud noise which echoed for a brief moment.

''Taichou!'' After Matsumoto's call, I heard a grunt escape her mouth when he jumped back to evade the bigger one's punch after he dashed towards her.

I just glared up with half-lidded eyes, showing indifference to the orange irises which looked down at me dispassionately. ''...Neither, Scorn.'' His eyes narrowed at mine.

''Hanmoku no Tsumi, Rancoru. Domo.''

The sin of rancor? They're using English, with a name like that...

''Jyuubantai Taichou, Hitsugaya Toushirou.''

He raised his eyebrows slightly as I pushed his sword back before leaping to another building. I stood there on the flat-roof with Hyourinmaru ready as Rancor landed swiftly a few feet before me.

''Jyuubantai taichou,'' Rancor said, a hint on surprise in his voice. ''Looks like I skipped the pawn and got to the king.'' He smirked.

I narrowed my eyes as I released my reiryoku to let the reiatsu swirl around me. ''And you just probably got check-mated in the process.''

-:-:-:-:-Sincere Resolve-:-:-:-:-

I sat on the couch in my living room, hugging a pillow close to me in efforts of comforting myself.

This...this was just the first day here...we just arrived not even 24 hours ago...! And there's an attack already...?

I pulled my legs close, wrapping my arms around them, the pillow still in my grip as I burried my face in it.

''Please be okay...please be okay...''

''Rest at ease, Miyuki! He may not look like it, but he's one of Gotei Jyuusan's best! And when he's thinking about you, there's no way he can lose! I'm also here to watch his back, and you know just by looking at me it's obvious that I'm the best fukutaichou of all~!''

Rangiku left with those upbeat, bubbly words as she flew after her captain.

''Rangiku...''

Those were the group that won against Kurosaki Ichigo! The one who went through Soul Society with his pure strength! This was too dangerous...it was just too dangerous...!

''...Toushirou...!''

I may not know how powerful you are in battle, but please, please...

I blinked when I heard a crash from the laundry room, and I immediately frowned. The gikongan were amusing themselves in my house, and they were apparently fascinated with breaking stuff. A sighed as I ran a hand over my scalp. Those gigai were really a pain the ass to take care of! I jumped upright before pacing over to the hall, thinking of ways to hurt those stupid things. The one in Toushirou's appearance was a diligent character, but he was stupid, talks about probabilities too freaking much, and the one in Rangiku's was even more perverted than she was!

My thoughts were interrupted by a loud yell from the back of my mind.

'MIYUKI, GET DOWN!'

Wh--

Slash.

Drip…

...Drip...

Drip...

-:-:-:-:-Frozen Passion-:-:-:-:-

I felt a jolt running through me. My eyes were wide.

What was this...feeling of dread...?

But soon I recovered from my distraction to block Rancor's sword, though I was pushed back by the sheer force, and had to regain my balance in midair. I grit my teeth. I had already got nicked on the side of my forehead by that Homunculus, blood trickling down the side of my face. He looked and was unfazed, even though I was panting.

Every time I went on to attack him, he would know exactly where the blade would land and all surprise attacks or strategic combos were fruitless because he was able to avoid the blows as if he knew what I was planning to do in the first place.

I narrowed my eyes as I looked at him when he readied his sword. Don't tell me he could read minds...!?

''Bingo, Jyuubantai taichou.''

With that, he dashed towards me again and I blocked his sword. He looked down at me with a sardonic look in his eyes.

''All your thoughts. All your plans. I can see them all.''

I grit my teeth as I narrowed my eyes to glare up at him.

''Though to be frank I'm surprised that you have such a powerful bond with Higurashi Miyuki, being able to have a sense for her health even at a distance.''

He didn't need the ability of mind reading; my wide eyes were enough.

'''What the hell is that bastard talking about?!' was what you were thinking, right?'' I gave him a fierce glare when I noticed that he got even the words dead on. He just gave me a smirk before glancing at his partner, 'Scornu', who was fighting against Matsumoto. I also allowed my eyes to steal a glance at my subordinate to make sure that she was alright. She was fighting against a few duplicates of her opponent, which seemed to be his ability instead of psychic powers.

Matsumoto had released her Haineko, and activated its special Shikai form into ash particles. She was directing it as a shield most of the time instead of using it for the offensive.

''I think your Bushin (doppelganger) has taken care of the girl,'' Rancor said to the other with a satisfied tone in his voice.

I furrowed my brows as my eyes grew wider by the minute, what he said needed a few moments to process in my mind after I gasped.

Rancor turned to face me, grinning. ''That's right, Jyuubantai.''

My eyes showed pure horror and I could feel my pulse racing, panic stirring within me.

''We already prepared something to get our hands on Higurashi Miyuki.''

For a few moments, my eyes were wide. Soon wrath rushed through my veins as I bared my teeth at the Homunculus before giving him a murderous glare.

''BASTARD!'' I yelled before swiping him off violently. Without another thought I spun around, intending to go back to the apartment where I left Miyuki, but a blur blocked my path, which turned out to be Rancor appearing before me. His raised arm then swung his blade down, and I gave an audible growl before blocking his sword.

''GET OUT OF MY WAY!''

My voice was hoarse with anger, and he only laughed at my demand.

''I don't think so. After all, both kings are still on the field.''

Frustration rose inside of me, my hand shaking with unleashed wrath as I tightened my grip on the hilt of my zanpaktou. I flashed him a deadly glare. How could this happen?! I couldn't sense any reiatsu near Miyuki! And even now, I still couldn't! But I wasn't going to dismiss this as a bluff when it's Miyuki's life they're talking about...!

''BANKAI!''

Ice flew from Hyourinmaru onto me, starting at my right arm which formed into the shape of a dragon's head around the sword hand, encasing it up to the hilt. The shape of the four-pointed sword guard changed into that of an eight-star. The ice continued forming up over my shoulders, two large wings sprouting from my back and a long tail. My left arm was also encased with ice, my hand in a claw, as well as my feet.

''DAIGUREN HYOURINMARU!''

Miyuki...wait for me...just hold on until I'm by your side!

''That is, if it isn't too late yet.''

Without another word I flew towards the Homunculus, striking him with my Hyourinmaru, only for him to evade with his speed that reminded me of shunpo. Though I was trying to muster the fiercest and most indifferent expression as I could, I felt great fear clutching at my heart.

I had no choice but to hope that Natsume was able to protect Miyuki in my place...

''Just why the hell are you targetting Miyuki, bastard?!'' I asked.

-:-:-:-:-Sincere Resolve-:-:-:-:-

Blood oozed out of the gash on my shoulder, my gigai was on the floor, motionless, and my spirit-shell was in a fighting stance under Natsume's control. I saw through dark emerald eyes that the one who attacked me was a muscular man with short, black hair. White hakama pants which were similar to the ones of the shinigami, and a white bodysuit shirt. There were circle-like arrays on his shoulders, but I couldn't see the details of the patterns from where I was standing.

I didn't notice him using, presumably, shunpo to appear behind me before he tried to slash me with the spiked-knuckles on his hands. Thanks to Natsume's yell I was able to evade the blow and preventing it from being fatal, but still, I was bewildered that I couldn't sense his reiatsu. Not even now, when he was standing right in front of me.

'I agree. It is weird.'

What do you plan on doing now, Natsume?

'...On fighting.' She shifted her weight on one side, ready to strike. 'Miyuki, I need to you to keep an eye on my sides when I go into tunnel vision...and try not to talk to me or distract me.'

I understand.

''Yo, Macho! Who th' hell do ya think ya're, marchin' inta meh place like that! Not ta mention yer overstayin' yer time 'ere!'' Natsume yelled, tightening her fists. The other just laughed.

''I like hot girls with spunk!'' he said before smirking, ''I'm one of the Homunculi of Sins, Scorn. Domoshimas.'' Natsume raised her eyebrows when he pulled an axe from the attachment on his back, readying it. Soon a smirk crossed her lips, making Scorn furrow his brows at before Natsume used shunpo to dash out of the door of my apartment. I was thankful for that, not wanting my living room in ruins. She landed on the ground of a street with where no one was seen, and jumped to the side again to evade a strike from the offending axe.

With awe-inspiring agility Natsume back-flipped a couple of times before landing on the ground a few meters ahead. She crossed her arms as she looked at Scorn with half-lidded, bored eyes. It was times like this where I was really proud of my other self for her coolness.

'Why thank you.'

Oi, oi. Focus. That guy seems to be pretty keen on splitting my head open.

''Homunculus. As in the result in fusing a Meno's soul with a human's? What business do you have with me?'' Natsume asked, Scorn was taken aback by her sudden change of speech, but recovered soon.

''The medium of that body, Higurashi Miyuki, is the actual one I have business with.''

Natsume's eyes widened at that.

''Do you know how we Homunculus are created? By the fusion of a Meno's soul with a human's that is filled with grief. The result can be one of two sub-genres of Homunculi,'' he said, and Natsume listened silently to his explanation. ''If the grief-filled soul has lost its sanity, because of all the traumatic experiences in its life, comes together with a Menos, it becomes a Chimera. Bind a Meno's soul with a sane one, then you have us, the Ouroborus.'' He pointed his axe at us, but not yet attacking. ''A Chimera is a mindless beast that lives a pitiful live as our minions. We Ouroborus...well, you should see for yourself.'' With that, he dashed towards us. Natsume narrowed her eyes before clapping her hands once and smacking them against the ground, white sparks filling the air. She pulled a katana out as she jumped up, avoiding the Axe's blow. As she came down she swung her blade to slash the Homunculus' shoulder, but he used his axe to push her back.

Natsume readied her sword after she landed on the floor swiftly on her feet.

''How very nice of you to tell me that, but I'm afraid that you missed the point here. I was actually asking you why you're attacking us, not for a history of how you came about.'' Natsume grinned at the succeeded attempt of pissing the guy off as he turned around to face her.

''She's a scarred soul that has kept its sanity - my orders are to kill Higurashi Miyuki so that she can be turned into an Ouroboros.''

...Come again?

-:-:-:-:-Frozen Passion-:-:-:-:-

My eyes were wide when Rancor just told me the reason. Yamamoto's words rang through my head.

''As Kurotsuchi-taichou said, there have been many reports of souls disappearing in such manners all over the world - Japan is one of the countries which haven't had experienced such incidences yet. And considering their assault on the shinigami daikou, Karakura seems to be their next target.''

''But before we even get to that stage, we need to kill her. The heart is useless and is only dead weight.''

I glared at the Homunculus, my eyes flaring. Matsumoto was on the ground, unconscious with Scorn standing in front of her, seemingly guarding her. During Rancor's explanation we were in a series of trying to land a blow on each other. The wings' tips of Daiguren Hyourinmaru were melting, slightly chipping off. That was how exhausted I was getting. After gritting my teeth I readied my zanpaktou.

''That girl you cherish so much...is about to be nothing but ribbons of flesh and blood. Those images of her smiling and happy...those images which you hold dearest...treasure them before you see that very sight which will break your heart.''

I cringed before giving my furious reply. ''SHUT YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH!'' My next words I had to say through gritted teeth. ''I will get to her in time. No one can stand in my way for her!'' With that, I speed over to the Homunculus, giving out a battle roar as I raised Hyourinmaru up high.

Miyuki...!

I brought my zanpaktou down, ice released from the katana and trapping him in an ice-casing as I flew past him. I halted, wanting to know if this attack had any effect on him this time. But with a swing of an arm he destroyed the structure. I narrowed my eyes as he looked down at me with contempt, and I used Daiguren Hyourinmaru's tail to strike him as fast I could. My attacks have become more impulsive than earlier on; I needed to execute my attacks right after I think plan them to be fast enough.

A mist had covered the area because of the scatter of ice. I panted heavily, wondering if I was able to do any damage. I narrowed my eyes, focusing them at the disappearing fog. But they widened when I could see his form, completely unharmed. His arm was over his head behind him along with his sword in that hand, covered in ice. He had used that to block the attack.

''I told you. I know all your plans.'' He brought his arm back to his side, observing the thick ice layering it. With a flick of the wrist the ice shattered.

''But even if I do know what you're planning, attacks that sacrifice your body itself should to be sufficient to harm me. Having the knowledge of your attacks doesn't mean that I have the strength to negate them. How disappointing; beyond disappointing, in fact. I guess I picked the wrong one after all.'' I glared at him and he only smirked.

A petal of the last ice flower behind my back started melting away, Rancor's orange eyes flickered with brief interest that soon faded.

''Your original twelve petals have fallen to a mere three. Soon your Bankai will be no more,'' he said. I looked up at the last petals before glaring up at him again. ''Being young, you've yet to fully master your Bankai.'' He pointed his sword at me, which posed as no threat because of the distance. ''Even though you're a taichou, the huge amount of reiryoku makes it difficult to maintain Bankai for a long period of time. As your Bankai is still immature... It's no wonder why they call you a prodigy - You earn the title completely.'' His blade was brought to his side slightly. ''Though, it would be too easy to kill you after your Bankai disappears. Treating a Taichou so would be rather rude, no matter how weak he may be.''

He readied his sword, smirking. ''As a courtesy, I will crush you now, while you are still in that form.''

My grip on the hilt of my katana tightened as I narrowed my eyes.

You better be keeping Miyuki from harm, Natsume...

-:-:-:-:-Critical Commitment-:-:-:-:-

I inwardly shivered when I jumped up high after engaging myself to a hand-to-hand combat with the Homunculus.

Somehow...I had the feeling that someone was threatening me in the most sinister manner imaginable somewhere...

I shook my head to return from my comedic stiffness to reality as I landed on the reiki I had gathered under my feet. I glanced at Scorn from midair, a smirk showing, though I was trying my best not to show my fear.

True, I was used to training with an insanely strong opponent.

The magic word in that sentence was 'training.'

This guy wasn't going to stop after he corners me to the edge like Flamel would.

He was going to push me off the cliff whenever he gets the chance.

''That ya told me all yer plans...I guess that means ya have no intentions of lettin' me get out of this alive, huh?'' I asked.

He returned the smirk, only his was sinister and evil.

''Absolutely none.''

-Owari-

A/N: Here you have my somewhat retarded versions of the Arrancar. Hopefully they don't do anything stupid…

Ah, yes, I know, I barely ever update, and yes I know that is not nice of me… God, do I hate school. And I want my summer holidays. Now. But I won't be for another while…

But it's because of your reviews that I cheer up! I couldn't believe that the Philosopher's Stone got more than 500 reviews now… Seriously, I'm really surprised, and touched. It's so nice to see you guys telling me your feelings for my work for you. It really is.

I wonder if I can try and get more reviews on this than the former arc… please help me by reviewing, ne? It keeps me motivated to write, because it reminds me that they're people who care…somewhat. And I write only for you!!!

Special thanks to:

ELMO-kibafangirl11: I'm glad you liked it! The characters never realize their feelings until somewhere at the end of the world… Really annoying, isn't it? xD

Animelover56348 (Raven): I don't know if I'm good enough to deserve a loyal fan, but I'm really happy to have one! I always try to update as soon as I can, even though that's never as soon as I would have liked it… looks like that feeling's mutual ^^ I hope that despite my late updates, you'll still like this story!

.: Wow, one day? You must also have a photographic memory xD Thank you for your wonderful compliments! =D

Mikomi-oneechan: XD I'm really glad that you liked it, and I hope that I can continue to keep this story readable. I know I always make spelling mistakes… I only speak German at school ^^; But thank you for your help!

.Username: Yay, new reader! Thanks for liking the story, I hope I'll be able to keep you enjoying it! Hope you liked the new chapter! I shall now hurry with the new chapter, M'am! *salut*

Tateno Atsukino: Saan Kyuu (Thank you) ! I'll update as soon as I can! =D

SapphireJKH: We all love kisses, don't we? xD That's Rangiku's job.

OwnedByAllThingsAnime: You really think so? I put most effort into the light-hearted moments, so I'm really happy someone appreciates it =D

Bwahahaha XD (love the name xDD): I love new readers! xD Thank you for your praises! I'll work hard to do better! The old computer didn't get better, but I'm not giving up! But at least I got a new one =D

cottoncandy: Oi, stop writing Swiss German, you know I'm allergic! xD And I kept my end of the bargain to use that avater, right?...I can get rid of it soon, right? Right?! xD Merci für d'Review lysm2

jennichan: Waa, sugoi na. Watashi hounto ni shiteru no nakama mou koko ni iru ka? Fufu, omoshiroi ja ne ka? Betsuni Hitsugayafan tte? Kimi wa Byakuya fan ja ne ka? xD Watashi haiyaku nani ka ByaxOC ou kaku yo yakatta ne? Demo watashi mou, betsuni Byakuyafan da yo… ;P

laura: Arrogant much? xDD If your parents tell me that I'm somehow involved with your IT grade dropping…then I will LAUGH…=D hopefully this'll be up in time, then. We should meet up for Lunch sometime soon.

The question- MONA. (Spaaacko): Also…wiä sött ich das säge... du häsch glaub gäge d'Laura verlore bim 60te Review, abr merci für's kämpfe! Da freu ich mich scho =D Und d'Müller cha kei mänsch toppe! Ich bin doch nöd blöd! xDD Bis am Mäntig!

AND OF COURSE MANY LOVELY THANKS TO THOSE WHO REVIEWED THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE!!

*Okay: Of all of Toushirou's character songs ('This Light I See', 'Bleach the Limitation' & 'SHINE') which is yor favorite? Please answer in a review. It's possibly relevant for a future chapter-to-be! Arigato, Minnaminna-sama~!

Until next time!

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.Jibun no Omoi
Ones Memories.