I'm back…

Instead of finishing Alive, I made this one…

Just random thought, though. But still, I wanna know your opinion, so please R&R!

It kinda continuation of Alive, when both Ichigo and Uriya have been appointed as 5th division officers. This piece has many pairings inside such as Ichigo-Rukia, Ulquiorra/Uriya-Orihime, Hitsugaya-Karin, Renji-Tatsuki, Urahara-Yoruichi, etc.

May contain OOC-ness, bad languages, and disturbing themes, aside from the humor. So, enjoy.


PAST TALES OF THE ESPADA



Prelude

Urahara Kisuke hummed happily in some silly tunes while inspecting his latest invention over and over. This. Is. Perfect. He thought giddily, fawning over the machine again, and again. He was working all days and nights to invent this one. He didn't even get enough sleep.

The machine was refrigerator-like shaped, except it was much bigger. Actually it could contain several people all at once. Well, he didn't estimate the certain number yet, but he could do it later.

The machine had several plugs, cables, and wires located on its side, linked with the generator, or whatever Urahara used as power source. Several buttons and knobs adorned its door. The red and yellow buttons were flicking; sure sign of the machine working properly.

Now, he would add the last ingredient into his machine.

The shady shopkeeper and scientist opened several small boxes he carried within a bag. They contained grayish fine ash; several were lighter in color, while the others were darker. He mused for a second, staring at the ash-contained boxes on his hands.

I wonder if it's right thing to do…

…...

Bleh, whatever. I'm deadly curious. Tomorrow I will test this babe with Ichigo-kun and the others.

That was Urahara's thinking before he randomly poured the ash one by one into the small valve-opening on the machine.

###

To say that Ichigo was bored was definitely an understatement.

He, several other shinigamis, his human friends, and one Quincy had been back from scouting and hollow hunting since this morning. He was now sitting idly inside Urahara Shoten's living room, sipping a glass of ice tea. Alongside him, sitting silently and also sipping ice tea, were Rukia, his current girlfriend (after several pushing and convincing therapy from his other friends, the newly appointed 5th division taichou finally encouraged himself to hit on her), Renji, Ikkaku, Yumichika, Rangiku, Uryuu, Chad, Orihime, Tatsuki, Karin, and Hitsugaya. They were circling the table, sipping on their respective ice tea. Well, both Hitsugaya and Chad weren't circling the table though; instead they leaned against the wall behind the others.

Orihime now relented her unrequited feeling towards Ichigo and resorted to be Uriya's supposed lover. Since she found out that Ulquiorra had been reborn as Shizu Uriya, she had spent most of her time with him. Especially when the said man visited the living world; which he did less often lately, since he was so confined with his responsibility as 5th division fukutaichou and somehow forced to do most of paperwork instead of Ichigo doing it. The latter was still living in the human world despite his position as the 5th division taichou.

Tatsuki now trained under both Yoruichi and Uriya with Karin as her copartner. While she was mostly tutored and trained by Yoruichi, since her fighting base was hand-to-hand martial art, namely karate; Karin on the other hand was mostly tutored and trained by Uriya. Their initial and official tutor was Urahara Kisuke; but the man resigned and said that he had important business to do, leaving them with the cat-lady and the former Cuarta Espada to depend to.

Tatsuki was still human; she gained her power by increasing her reiatsu level into something she could fight with. She was similar like Chad in one and other way.

Rather, Karin followed her brother's way by becoming a living shinigami and gained her own zanpakuto, a kodachi named Hiei. She had huge amount of reiatsu, just like her brother did; and in order to control and employ her power for good, Yamamoto-soutaichou had given an order to recruit her as substitute shinigami and train her thoroughly.

Karin and Hitsugaya were now in romantic relationship, thanks to both Rangiku's and, surprisingly, Uriya's role in matchmaking both stubborn-headed shinigamis. It was a secret though, because if Ichigo ever found out, well… everything wouldn't turn out well. Ichigo could be really overprotective towards his sisters sometimes.

Renji on the other way was somehow infatuated by Tatsuki. He was still coping from his broken heart, ever since Rukia decided to turn down his affection and chose Ichigo instead; when he was assigned a mission on the human world by his taichou. He was supposed to be partnering with a human, namely Tatsuki at that time; and he found out that the girl was truly a stunningly kickass-lady. And finally, after several attempts to evaluate and reevaluate his own heart, Abarai Renji concluded that he fell in love with one Arisawa Tatsuki, for real. No, scratch that: he was falling-head-over-heel in love with the human girl, period.

At least he was happy when he found out that his feeling wasn't another unrequited one.

All in all, beside these new developments, everything was still the same. Ikkaku was still his fight-loving self; Yumichika was still a vain sissy; Rangiku still liked to go shopping and indulge herself in drinking sake; and so on…

"…I'm bored." Ichigo growled.

Rukia glared at him. "It's not only you who's bored, you fool."

Ichigo scowled and grumbled something that sounded suspiciously like 'feisty midget'. Rukia thwacked his head using her fist.

"Well, ya can do yer paperwork, Ichigo." Renji mocked, snickering at the more scowling young man. "Ya have plenty already. Don't make such a lame excuse like 'oh, I have the most diligent and hard-working fukutaichou in the entire division so I can slack off in my own bed, lazing and sulking about everything'; believe me, it's not working."

"Are you implying that you actually praise Shizu-fukutaichou, Renji? I sense a jealousy here…" Yumichika drawled. Renji looked at him, flushed.

"It's not that! I mean—look! He even rivals Sasakibe-fukutaichou for diligence!" he countered. "And I'm not jealous just because of that. I'm proud to be myself."

"Ya're just desperate to make Kuchiki-taichou to look at ya as equal." Ikkaku piped in, sheathing and un-sheathing Houzukimaru absentmindedly.

Renji sputtered, blushing as red as his hair by now. It seemed that Ikkaku's words hit the bull's eyes.

"If you refrain to do something stupid like buying him fancy sunglasses as gift, you might be considered equal by Nii-sama, Renji. Or at least decent enough to be acknowledged." Rukia remarked dryly.

"You bought Byakuya sunglasses?! That was utterly stupid." Ichigo snickered, forgetting about his initial boredom.

"H—hey, at least I was generous enough to buy him something!"

"Renji, not everyone shares your fetish of sunglasses." Tatsuki scoffed, teasing her supposedly boyfriend further.

"What's wrong about sunglasses anyway?! They're cool things to wear!" the red headed fukutaichou defended.

"Yeah, but yours are just plainly ridiculous." Rukia added. "Sometimes I wonder how much money you spend for those useless things."

"At least Abarai still does his paperwork, unlike certain someone here." Hitsugaya grumbled. Karin stifled a laugh looking at her disgruntled boyfriend.

Rangiku tilted her head and cooed almost-too-innocently at her taichou. "Awww, Taichou, you don't mean that. I know you love me so much; too much for you to actually complain about me."

Hitsugaya glared at her, totally speechless. Everyone laughed at his vexed expression.

When the laughter fainted down, Uryuu, who had been silent all the time, suddenly inquired something intriguing.

"Speaking of Shizu, I feel rather curious about his past." Everyone looked at him with 'are you fucking kidding' expression on their faces. The bespectacled young man didn't falter and only raised his glasses further while continued. "I mean his past not as an Espada, but his past as human."

There was a heavy silence as everyone contemplating his words. Sure enough, they knew Shizu Uriya was formerly an arrancar, not to mention Cuarta Espada, namely Ulquiorra Schiffer. As he was living his life as hollow, he forgot all about his human life from before. So, when he was reborn as pure soul in Soul Society, he regained no memories except for his past life as Aizen's Espada. He deliberately stored it deep inside his mind though.

"I'm rather curious too." Orihime meekly added. "He rarely says anything private; even to me."

"Hmmmmm… so all of you want to know, hhhmmmm??"

The low, husky voice startled them and everyone turned around to the source of the voice, only to find Urahara Kisuke peeking through the slightly opened shoji door that lead to the inner room. He had his fan covering his mouth and his usual green and white striped hat shading his eyes. Nonetheless, they could see that his eyes glinting in some kind of unholy glee despite the shade.

"What do you mean, Getaboshi?!" Ichigo gruffly questioned.

The older man waved his fan in cheerful manner before exclaimed, "Ah, I just see that all of you are bored out of your mind. Sooo, I want you to come with me to the basement. I want to show you something."

Everyone stared at him dubiously.

"Why do you stare at me like that? It's not that I want to poison you to death, yanno?"

With those words said, they resignedly heaved their limbs to follow the eccentric scientist towards his said basement. Inwardly, they wondered: just what kind of craziness the ex-taichou wanted to show them this time? Honestly, the said man had the crankiest brain in the entire Soul Society. Not to mention, he also had a knack to invent things which were totally out of mind just to surprise them.

Not that all of his inventions were useless, though.

The group was slightly surprised when the shopkeeper led them to another room of his disturbingly familiar basement. He didn't lead them towards the usual vast area of his training ground; rather, he led them towards a dimly lit room on the farthest corner of the previously unknown path beside the training ground. It seemed that the room was purposely kept hidden by the owner of the store himself. They doubted that even Tessai knew about this particular room.

Urahara opened the wooden door leading to the room and gestured them to get in. Half-wary, half-excited, the motley band strolled inside the room only to be greeted by the sight of a very huge refrigerator-like machine which beeping and humming constantly. The air suddenly dropped in temperature, causing them to shiver in cold; save Hitsugaya and Rukia, whose ice as their elements.

"What the hell is that?" Renji voiced the question that had been popping within their mind loudly. He pointed towards the machine.

Urahara grinned maniacally, making Ichigo and several others drew back in caution. That grin was definitely not a good sign.

"This," the shady shopkeeper exclaimed somehow proudly, "This, my friends, is my latest invention, the greatest thing I've ever invented in my entire life"—he deliberately ignored the distinct snort and scoff and some murmurs that sounded suspiciously like 'then how about Hougyoku?'—"This lovely babe—("Babe???!! WTF?!" courtesy of both Renji and Ikkaku)—is named…"

He paused to add some dramatized aura. His listeners were utterly un-amused, though, save Orihime, who squealing excitedly.

"…SUPER DUPER HYPER AWESOMELY, MAGNIFICENTLY, WONDERFUL MEMORY VIRTUAL VISUALIZING MACHINE!!!"

….........

………what?

'…WTF… what a sense of naming is that??' was the only thing they had in their minds (save Orihime, of course, who 'ooohh'ed at Urahara and beamed a cheerful smile at him) as they sweat-dropped at both Urahara's naming and his antic (he danced some kind of victory dance, waving his fan around cheerfully while dragging Orihime to dance with him).

"Wow, Urahara-san, it sounds so spectacular! I wonder what its use!" the red headed girl squealed merrily.

Urahara grinned. "Like I've said before, this is Memory Virtual Visualizing Machine. Its use is to visualize in virtual image and sensation things that are stored within someone's memory. It's similar like video recorder and player all-in-one package."

"…You mean," Uryuu deadpanned, "With this machine, we can look into someone's memory and mind, right?"

"That's right, my dear Quincy!" the shopkeeper beamed in singsong voice. Uryuu glared at him for Urahara's last call to him.

"So, what's the deal, Getaboshi? You want us to peer into your memory or what?" Ichigo teased, smirking. Somehow the idea was tempting for them; even Hitsugaya thought that was a good idea. Maybe they would find something gold within Urahara's memory that they could use as blackmail later. Something about his early relationship with Yoruichi, maybe… or his embarrassing moments while he was still occupying as a taichou in Gotei 13…

"No, no, no, not that. Besides, if you want to know about my early relationship with Yoruichi-san or my embarrassing moments while I'm still in Gotei 13, you can just ask me. Or Hiyori; since she is formerly my fukutaichou in 12th division." He winked flirtatiously.

……..

Did he just fucking read our mind???!!!

Ignoring his now gawking audience, Urahara continued.

"Ishida-kun, you said that you were curious of Uriya-kun's past, ne?"

His question caught Uryuu off guard as he stammered a 'yes'.

"Well, within this machine I've put a bit of his memory, along with other ex-Espada's memories. Well, although only the Espada I've brought back to life who have their memories inputted within this machine. It means… lessee… Starrk-san, Halibel-san, Nnoitra-kun, Grimmjow-kun, Szayel-kun, Nel-chan, Lily-chan, Tesla-kun, Apache-chan, Mila-chan, Sun-chan, and, of course, our dear Ulquiorra-kun, who have their memories inputted. Interesting, ne?"

Everyone gaped at him. Ichigo then exploded, "Goddamn it, Getaboshi! Is that even legal?! Do they know about this?! Does Uriya know about this?!"

Urahara's already wide grin widened more than before which they began to suspect his face would be split in half. Somehow, he reminded them of one certain ever-smiling dead person.

"Of course… NOT."

Ichigo began screaming profanities at him, which the shady shopkeeper deliberately ignored.

"Ah, Ichigo-kun, don't be such mood-crusher. Anyhow, you're also curious about Uriya-kun's past, ne?"

This made Ichigo stopped his ranting and scowled fiercely at him, before he finally looked away while muttering something that suspiciously sounded like 'not that I really want to know, dammit'.

"Oookay, let's begin this experiment!" Urahara waved his fan and walked towards his said machine.

"So you expect us to be your guinea pigs, Urahara?" Hitsugaya deadpanned.

The shopkeeper only smirked.

"Why don't you do it by yourself if you're this curious?" Tatsuki piped.

"I can't; since this machine have to be controlled from the outside. I don't invent the screen to present the outcome yet."

There was a pregnant pause when everyone pondering about their chance to watch the former Espada's past memories. The decision was somehow made when Rukia finally spoke.

"Alright. Bring it on, Urahara."

"Rukia! It's violating someone's privacy!" her boyfriend scolded. "Besides, it's Uriya's!"

"But I'm curious. I won't sleep well in the night when I'm this curious, Ichigo." The raven haired girl whined and managed to use her famous puppy eyes to silence her grumbling boyfriend. She succeeded.

"Okay, bring it on, Urahara-san." Tatsuki confidently seconded Rukia.

The shopkeeper smirked and pushed a button to make the machine's door open.

"Okay, all you have to do is entering this machine and watch. I will control everything from the outside. Buut… I can't control whose memory which present first. It will be randomly presented."

Everyone nodded in unison. Ichigo was still grumbling and Hitsugaya still managed to look uninterested, but somehow they complied when Urahara cued them to get inside the machine.

Warily, they stepped inside the dark chamber of the weird machine before Urahara closed the door and began his experiment.

###