She could not breathe.

Alright, she could breathe, but she could not stop pacing!

A myriad of strange, confusing emotions ran through her. First, there was disbelief. Disbelief that she had actually kissed, yes, kissed him in front of all those people, which of course included his father, and the entirety of the Gotei Thirteen, not to mention a host of enemy arrancar and humans, deliberately broadcasting her feelings for the entire world to see! The memory filled her with a burning exhileration, and burning shame.

Shamefaced, she rounded the next corner, muttering a halfhearted apology she brusquely shouldered her way past a stoic Urahara Kisuke, who made no effort to accept his apologies as she briskly continued on her way and unwillingly allowed the enigmatic scientist to fall into step with her.

"Say," The humble owner of Urahara Shouten attempted to begin a conversationg with his ever jovial smile, but one steely glare from her frozen silver eyes proved more than suitable enough to silence the meddlesome interloper. And then she was past him, gritting her teeth as she swept the sliding door clear off its hinges, tossing it quite some distance before it meekly skidded to a halt at a pair of bare feet.

A slim femine figure barred her bath.

"Move." She barked a single word, but her gaze turned pleading as golden hazel eyes hardened against the command.


Shihoin Yoruichi made no effort to waylay the shorter woman further, stepping aside and alowing her to sweep past in a blur of white, black and red. The room registered as little more than a blur as she stalked past a now bewildered Abarai Renji and Kuchiki Rukia, both of whom quickly scurried out of her path as she neared the bench where they had been sharing a heated discussion-

"T-Taichou-" The red haired fuku-taichou never had the chance to finish his sentence as an upturned chair swept itself off the ground and unceremoniously swept him off his precarious perch. Without so much as a glance, she pressed on, growing colder as snippets of conversation snaked through the thin walls of the shop. Despite her best efforts, years of honed training kicked in and she found herself listening.

-too many off them."

-didn't leave him?"

-Baka yarou! The fuck were you thinking?"

"I didn't have a choice damnit!" The words came through loud and clear as she approached her destination. Her hand froze on the handle, but it was too late, the door opened, and she saw the look that they wore. That they all wore.

"Where is he?" her voice was barely a whisper as her piercing gaze swept over the seven figures that occupied the room. "Why... why isn't he with you?"Everyone in the room suddenly found the floor fascinating, and refused to look at her. The realization, seized her viciously

Now, there was something else.

Stealing her joy away, was the fear.

Oh, yes, there was fear.

So much fear that she now found herself in tears as Hirako Shinji, the first to return, bore no news of him and his battle against the enemy horde that threatened the peaceful little town she had come to call home over the past year. Without a thought as to the rhyme or reason why, she found her legs moving again, carrying her away, running, fleeing from the startled cries of Hachigen Ushoda and Love Aikawa, both of whom were swiftly silenced by the flat voice and stiff, unyielding body that was Kensei Mugurama.

"Leave her."

Instead of gratitude for the vizard's efforts, the woman, she felt only anger. Blinding, searing, all consuming rage that threatened to swallow her mind and consume her. The vizard were against Aizen, weren't they? Then why weren't they there, fighting alongside her partner ? Why were they here at the hideout, twidling their thumbs, while he...he...


Gasping, choking, and on the verge of breaking down into humiliating sobs, she slammed the guest room door behind her and wedged the handle shut with a nearby chair. Her arms trembled from the effort that it took to release her grip from the door, then her legs as she staggered towards the far wall and willed her unresponsive body into a sitting position. Only then, only there, with her head between her knees, did she slump down against the wooden frame and allow her body to tremble, her eyes to sting, and her lip to quiver as her emotions began to run their course.

Hell itself was a cool breeze compared to the intensity of the flame that blazed within the soul of this shinigami.

The fear did not burn at her sanity like the shyness, nor did it threaten to consume her entirely like the desire might, for if that were so, she could have handled it, controlled it, and herself as well. No, the fear was not so quickly and easily restrained as its fellows. It crept up upon her like a cold chill, worming its way into her skin filling, her body, and finally her soul, with whispers of second guessing, self-doubt, and wicked loathing.

He will be alright, she told herself this for what seemed like the millionth time. He'll return to me, he promised. He swore. He will... he will... he will..over and over she repeated this thought in her mind chanting it as if it were a mantra, as if it would guarantee his safety and well-being.

It was not to be.

A wicked flare of blackish red light suddenly light lit the horizon now, streaking up into the sky. Struggling to stand, the battered captain made no effort to stop her haori from slipping off her shoulders. As the white garment crumpled into a heap behind her, she felt something twist within her chest as the pillar roared across what had once been East Karakura, consuming the bustling metroplis within a wall of flames. She couldn't bring herself to tear her gaze away and, as if to mock her, the spire of otherwordly light only shot further into the heavens, with no signs of slowing.


Moments later, his reaitsu vanished. The thin wall she had thrown up inside her mind, the paper thin barrier that she had erected to wall herself of from the grief crumbled like so much dust. With a soundless scream, she slumped to her knees placing her head in both hands in a futile effort to drown out her own screams. Uncaring, she did not so much as flinch when the door blew open and a well polished laugh whispered through the windows, followed moments later by the all encompassing spiritual pressure that slammed her to the earth and pinned her there.

The dull ache spread from her stomach, to her chest and then to her eyes, as she struggled to raise her gaze. This one last spark of defiance was duly rewarded, her body crumpled beneath her as a booted heel slammed into her lower back, producing a sickening pop as she cried out.

"Oh?" The smooth, perfectly inflected voice burned her ears like acid. "My apologies, captain. It is still rather difficult for me to control my power."

"Sosuke...Aizen." She spat the name as if it were a curse.

A pair of cold, soulless, hollow eyes were there to greet her as the tip of a katana forced her chin upward. The smile was as warm and gentle as it had been the day that he had left, and just as beguiling. The only difference was the touch of arrogance that lingered within his voice.

"Why captain Soi seem upset. Whatever is the matter?"

"" It was difficult to speak now. "Where is...Kurosaki...Ichigo?"

"Kurosaki Ichigo?" The smile widened just a fraction as another shadow loomed up behind him. As if noticing her sudden gasp, he turned, his gaze shifting to his unknown, and as of yet still silent companion. "To whom are you referring? If you mean the man who stands before you then-

For the second time that day, Soi fon felt her heart stop beating. And stilly, the blade raised itself up, inexorably drawing closer to her skull with every passing second. She did not care. She could only stare at the ashen, chalk white individual who so coldly returned her frantic gaze...

With nothing.

"No...Oh kami, no...

And the sword plunged through flesh.

Flashback next chapter hope you all liked this!