Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach; Tite Kubo does. He's the god of Bleach, hail him…
Summary: Their memories are still intact. They feel as same as before. But one distinction occurs… they don't live in the same plane anymore. Takes place in the middle of Aizen and Gin's battle versus both Kurosakis and Urahara. AU/AR. Inspired by BLEACH anime newest ending. Spoiler for recent chapters 398-401.
A/N: I can't get the mental image from my mind, agghhh…
Everyone who has a chance to see newest episodes of Bleach i.e. 266-267 must have known about the ending clip and song. The clip shows Bleach characters (mostly) in their human's occupations, regardless their status as real humans, shinigami, vaizard, or arrancar. The background is New York City, presumably in the same timeline as Superman (he appears as cameo ^_^). The song is 'Stay Beautiful' by Diggy Mo. It is intriguing me and despite I still have two other Bleach series at my hand, waiting to be finished (cough*Alive and Past Tales of the Espada*cough); I have a sudden urge to write this down… with this long pre-notes. Not to mention, my computer chooses this time to crash down, urrgghhh… *kick the compy, kick!*
Okay, here's the deal: the characters are still the same, their memories are somehow un-altered (they still remember their old life as shinigami, vaizard, and arrancar, etc); but the plane, dimension, background, and even their race is changed. They are all humans now. No shinigami, vaizard, or arrancar. They live different life, have varied jobs and/or occupations, and the most important thing is… no one can be described as real evil; not even Aizen and the cronies.
Many pairings will be unveiled, all is het (I dislike yaoi and yuri, sorry), but I won't dwell in romance most. I like adventure better, thank you very much. Oh yeah, I know that Ulquiorra's name is actually Cifer, than Schiffer; but I like Schiffer better.
And, okay, I know that Ichigo doesn't truly hear Aizen's words about Hougyoku, but let's pretend that he hears enough to think about certain things. So, basically, this all happens because of Ichigo—kinda.
Oh, one more thing (please don't hit me, please)… I kill Urahara on this fic—kinda. So please don't kill me…
So, on to the story…
Aizen said that Hougyoku is the orb that can grant the wish of everyone nearby. He said that the orb is so much powerful that even can grant him his dreamed position as god in three dimensions.
I say that it's bullshit.
I mean… Puh-Lease?
How can be a mere orb can do such things? As if…
He's delusional, that Aizen. I don't really know about the fox-bastard Gin, but the fact that he follows the madman till the last time proves that he's also delusional. I don't understand and I don't care.
Really, I don't fucking care.
As I stand side by side with my father—and Urahara as our backup—facing both Aizen and Gin, somehow I ponder about Aizen's words. About Hougyoku which can grant every wish from everyone nearby. Well, mostly Aizen's wishes since he's the one who holds the little orb most of the time—heck, he even plants the orb within his chest, what a madman!
If Hougyoku really can grant any wish…
Somehow I wish for all of these to not happen in the first place.
Somehow I wish for us to live peacefully. No war. No hollows. No trickster or illusionist with god-superiority complex… definitely no such things.
But I also wish that we're still the same person we are…
Somehow my thought shifts and I find myself thinking about Ulquiorra. And Grimmjow. And Nnoitra. And other Espada. Our enemy.
I wish for the world where we don't have to be enemy in the first place…
I wish for all of I have wished to come true…
As Ichigo moved forward to strike Aizen—he and Isshin had a deal to team-tag Aizen and Gin in turns—the Hougyoku within Aizen's chest started glowing. Aizen smirked, saying that it was about the time his wish would be come true.
Ichigo scowled fiercely at the god-wannabe. This had to be stopped. Aizen might never be allowed to reign over the world. They had to stop him!
Hougyoku glowed brighter and brighter…
…and suddenly the orb snapped. More like explosion from Ichigo's opinion.
Ichigo saw that the orb emanated such bright light they had to cover their eyes. The light engulfed them and the orange haired teen felt as if his vicinity splintered and twisted. Was Aizen's wish—whatever his wish was—being fulfilled by Hougyoku? Did that madman wish for the world's end?
"…NO!" Ichigo heard Aizen yelled almost desperately. He frowned as he tried to squint out of the blinding light. Aizen was never desperate. He was always confident, arrogant, and full of commanding aura surrounding his person. He was and never be desperate.
"This isn't what I wish for!" Aizen yelled again, this time full of rage. "THIS IS NOT MY WISH!"
Ichigo gasped loudly as an overwhelming reiatsu suddenly flared and pushed him to his knees. This was definitely Aizen's reiatsu; and he was now mad. Ichigo felt nauseated. He had an urge to retch and then pass out on the spot. Or just die. The pressure was unbearable. He tried to counter it with his own, but to no avail. It was as if Aizen locked his soul and reiatsu so he couldn't let out even a weakest flare of reiatsu.
The light had faded and Ichigo found he himself struggled to look around. He saw his father, who also struggled to keep his ground, and Gin, who at that time lost his ever lasting smile. He had also opened his slated eyes, revealing icy blue orbs glinted with mix of emotion, mostly fear.
The fox-bastard seemed like he was scared to death. If the condition wasn't truly critical, Ichigo would have been sure laughing his ass off seeing Gin's rare display of fear.
Ichigo felt two other presences coming beside him. Turning to the side, he saw his father and, surprisingly, Urahara, had landed on the ground not too far away from his spot. They fixated their eyes on Gin and Aizen—the latter didn't even acknowledge them anymore for he was busy glowering over the small orb planted within his chest.
"What the hell has happened?" Isshin muttered.
Urahara shrugged. "I have a theory, Isshin-san."
The old Kurosaki turned at him. "What theory?"
Urahara paused for a while before replying solemnly—at that time, Ichigo had his ears on his words too. "…It seems that Hougyoku has granted his wish, but somehow it mixed with another wish."
"I don't get your blabbering, Kisuke." Isshin murmured darkly. He looked at Aizen again. The man had stopped seething and slowly turned around so he could face his enemies. His face contorted in pure rage and Ichigo had to keep his legs stay still from shaking.
"…Urahara Kisuke," he intoned venomously. "…What the hell…"
Urahara narrowed his eyes. There was no trace of playfulness or mischief on those dark blue eyes; only dead seriousness. Ichigo had never seen the shady shopkeeper more serious than that time.
"…Just like you've hypothesized before, Sousuke." He drawled. "Hougyoku grants wishes. It's not only granting your wish, but others' also. Remember, Hougyoku is only a 'thing'; it can't choose whose wishes it will grant."
"The orb has consciousness, you maggot!"
"Because you wish for it to have consciousness. You're tricking yourself, Sousuke."
Urahara stepped forward. "Now, the orb will grant yours and somebody else's wish. Before I and Isshin went to this battlefield, I told him to empty his head from unnecessary thought except for battle plan or strategy. So, the orb can't 'read our mind and thought. Considering the nature of Hougyoku, I presume that it can't …decipher Ichimaru's mind either; since his mind is too complicated even more than you, Sousuke." Urahara glanced at Gin, who blinked in confusion at him. "So… there're only two persons left; you and Kurosaki-kun."
Aizen stared incredulously at Urahara. Ichigo gaped at him.
"Your wish has somehow intertwined with Kurosaki-kun's wish, whatever wish he has within his mind. So be it…"
"NONSENSE!" Aizen roared. "THAT BULLSHIT CAN'T BE HAPPEN—"
"Everything can happen now, Sousuke." Urahara countered calmly. He had unsheathed Benihime. But instead of pointing her towards Aizen, he pointed the blade towards his own chest, right over the heart.
Isshin watched Urahara warily. He was worried his friend would do something dangerous to himself.
"Kisuke…" he asked worriedly. "What the hell are you doing?"
Urahara looked at him and flashed a weak smile. "Say my farewell to Yoruichi. Tell her that I love her so much."
Too late… Urahara had stabbed his chest with his zanpakuto.
"Urahara-san!" Ichigo bellowed, horrified.
"…When I invented Hougyoku, I inserted a bit of my reiatsu within the orb. Not just a mere reiatsu; but the pure reiatsu, my very core." Urahara whispered, blood trailing down his chin. His eyelids slowly drooped, betraying his worsened condition. Isshin had managed to shunpo towards him and caught the limp body within his arms. Ichigo came next to his father. Both wore anxious and horrified expression on their faces.
"…That accursed orb could be considered as my other heart." He continued wistfully. "So as long as I live, it will continue to exist. And when I die, it will also cease to exist."
Aizen glared at him. "Nonsense! I don't believe you! You didn't mention that in your report!"
Urahara smirked weakly. "…Heh, like I would do that, Sousuke. You said it yourself before, didn't you? People shouldn't always believe whatever things presented in front of their very eyes…"
Aizen roared in rage. Raising Kyouka Suigetsu, he launched himself at Urahara and Isshin. Ichigo moved swiftly and blocked his sudden assault.
"Move, you damn kid!" Aizen hissed. He had long lost his calmness, leaving the inner madness behind. His brown eyes gleamed with fury and craziness, something that making Ichigo shiver. "I'll finish that bastard Urahara!"
"I won't let you hurt him." Ichigo countered firmly. Zangetsu held Kyouka Suigetsu in place as their wielders glared at each other.
Urahara chuckled grimly before he coughed more blood. Benihime had been extracted from his chest, leaving a deep, bloody hole where blood rapidly gushed out. Isshin held him still, trying vainly to stem the bleeding wound using healing kidou.
"Isshin, my friend…" Urahara rasped. "From now on, everything will turn out in different way. Very, very different way…"
"Damn Kisuke, don't talk! Save your energy for later!" Isshin frantically hollered.
Urahara only smiled.
Ichigo and Aizen still clashed against each other.
"GETSUGA TENSHOU!" Ichigo bellowed and aimed his attack at Aizen, just right before the man's eyes. Aizen hastily retreated, but it was shot in such point blank range—
Panting, Ichigo watched Aizen swayed backward. He didn't seem affected by the shot. Only scratches marred his face and clothes.
Damn, Ichigo thought; exhausted and frustrated beyond belief. That bastard is so strong…
"Kisuke! Hang on!"
Isshin's shout snapped Ichigo back to Urahara's predicament. He turned around and saw his father frantically performed first aid healing kidou over the shopkeeper's gaping wound. Urahara himself lied on the ground, panting, and seemed trying as hard as he could to maintain his consciousness. His face was pallid because of his blood loss. Cold sweat gathered on his forehead and neck. He practically lied on the puddle of his own blood.
"SHIT! Don't die on me, Kisuke, you goddamn bastard!" Isshin desperately yelled at Urahara's face. Ichigo could see moisture began to form on the corner of his father's eyes; though the older man squinted hard, not letting the tears to fall down. "Think about Yoruichi! Tessai, Ururu, Jinta! They need you!"
Urahara didn't seem to hear him. His eyes had closed due to his fatigue and blood loss.
"…Aaahh, Isshin-san…" Urahara droned faintly. He opened one eye heavily. "…You're soo noooiiiisssyyy…"
Isshin breathed in relief. Ichigo got closer to them and scowled at Urahara.
"Urahara-san, don't you dare to die on me and Dad. Remember, you still have debts on me and Rukia, and several others." Ichigo gruffly told him.
Urahara chuckled. "…Moou, Kurosaki-kun, you're so mean… heh…"
He paused and coughed a mouthful of blood. Ichigo quickly crouched beside his father and looked at Urahara, concerned. Isshin still worked hard on his kidou.
Ichigo threw a glance at Aizen's direction. The man's movement seemed to halt altogether. He seemed frozen.
"…He's… halted…" Ichigo stuttered, uncertain.
"…It seems that Hougyoku starts to activate itself into its fullest potential…" Urahara drawled.
"What do you mean, Kisuke?" Isshin asked tightly.
Urahara craned his head and regarded both Kurosaki with heavy lidded eyes. His expression, however, was deadly serious.
"…Listen, Isshin-san, Kurosaki-kun. After the true activation of Hougyoku is done, you will find yourself in completely different situation. I—I don't really know how far the difference is, since I never see it myself…"
"Listen!" Urahara coughed another mouthful of blood. "Hougyoku is… the accursed thing that can grant wishes, Aizen is right about that. But what he doesn't know is… the thing has another function. This …function can only be activated in emergency. In this case… it can only be activated during my dying…"
Both Isshin and Ichigo gaped at him.
"…When it's activated, the orb will create a distortion through the dimension. Like garganta…"
"You mean, it can create pathway inter-dimensions?" Ichigo cried incredulously.
Urahara nodded slowly. "But it's different than ordinary dimensional pathway. The pathway Hougyoku creates will lead you to another …realm, we can say that…"
"…Another universe, another realm that is parallel with our world." Urahara's eyes glazed dreamily; as if he was imagining about that other world as vividly as he could. "…I've seen… a glimpse… there is another me, another you, another person of everybody with same appearance, same characters… but all in all, they are still us. The same us that live on the parallel realm…"
Isshin growled. "Kisuke… stop daydreaming. We have emergency situation here—"
"…Aizen's wish… is to be the one and only god in three dimension, human world, Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo; and maybe other dimensions as well… He has seen…" Urahara hacked. "…He—he has seen himself… that other world… he doesn't understand though… he—he doesn't… uhuk… understand hehehe…"
"Kisuke! You start slurring!" Isshin roughly admonished. He turned to Ichigo. "Son, we have to retreat. We'll take Kisuke to somewhere safe."
Ichigo nodded. But then he hesitated.
"What about Aizen and Ichimaru?"
Isshin was silent for a moment and looked at the seemingly frozen Aizen and dumbstruck Gin. "… Aizen is somehow incapacitated now, dunno why. We'll be back for them after we take Kisuke to some place safe…" The older Kurosaki trailed off and suddenly he exclaimed, startling Ichigo. "We take Kisuke to Unohana and Hachigen's spot. They're somewhere nearby, aren't they?"
Ichigo remembered that both Unohana and Hachigen had been tending for Hiyori as the battle was taking place.
"We have to make it quick, Dad. Aizen can recover in any time. As for Ichimaru, he's still dangerous even in his condition." Ichigo mused about Gin's condition and wondered whether his condition was related with the light and explosion coming from Hougyoku earlier or not.
Strangely, they couldn't find Unohana or Hachigen anywhere.
They couldn't even sense their reiatsu as well as others'. It was as if they somehow vanished into thin air. Both Isshin and Ichigo frowned in bewilderment.
"…Where are they? I can't sense everybody's reiatsu… or anybody here." Ichigo mumbled. "They're just …gone."
Isshin only nodded.
"…It's so eerily silent." Ichigo murmured again. "Like the silence right before the storm's coming…"
Low, weakly sounded chuckle came from the man they had been supporting for the last twenty minutes. Both Kurosaki turned at Urahara, scowling.
"Kisuke, save your goddamn energy." Isshin gritted his teeth.
Urahara, however, kept chuckling though the sound faltered after a while.
"It's starting." The shopkeeper rasped. "The 'reverberation process'…"
"The re—what?" Ichigo had a knack to yell. Isshin slapped his cheek.
"Be quiet, Son! You don't want Aizen or Ichimaru to know our position before we can deposit Kisuke elsewhere safe, do you?"
Ichigo glared at his father; he shut his mouth nonetheless.
"…It won't be necessary, Isshin-san…" Urahara whispered. He had a glazed look on his eyes again. "…This world will end soon…"
"Still mumbling about that, Kisuke? Honestly, you—"
"…The key point is my shop. Remember that. I don't know if—if all of you will be still intact when you're transferred there… just—just go and find my shop. The closet, third drawer on the left, behind the wooden panel… you'll see…uhuk…"
"Kisuke! Just shut your goddamn trap already!"
"…The notes… mine… it will make all of this shit clear, at least for you and the other allies, if they're lucky enough to keep their memory intact… I hope so… dunno… Hougyoku's power's random…" he trailed off.
For both Ichigo and his father, the man seemed to have lost it—after long time. He had cracked somehow, partly due to his wound and blood loss; and the other part was, well, because he was Urahara Kisuke.
"…The other realm …will blend with ours… now…" Urahara wheezed. "…The other you… will blend with you… now… creating the new you… it'll still you, but somehow different you…"
Isshin and Ichigo looked at each other, bewildered. Urahara had lost it, they were sure for that.
"Kisuke, for god' sake… save your energy and—"
Isshin's plea was interrupted by Urahara's violent cough. The shopkeeper's body shook as he coughed mouthfuls of blood successively in each cough. Ichigo looked at his mentor in worry and concern while trying to press the wound with Urahara's torn haori. It didn't stem the blood, though. The thick red liquid seeped onto the cloth, drenching it. Ichigo grimaced.
"…Isshin-san, Kurosaki-kun… it's time to say goodbye… it seems…" Urahara drawled softly, chuckling slightly.
Isshin roughly yanked Urahara so they were facing at each other. His tight grip on the shopkeeper's shirt was the only thing which kept Urahara to stand still; since he would surely slump forward due to his blood loss. He glared at his best friend. Ichigo now could see thin trails of tears running down his father's cheeks.
"Kisuke! Don't you dare to say something like that! Don't you dare to die on me, goddammit!" Isshin screamed desperately.
Urahara smiled ruefully.
"…I'm sorry… and thank you. …Good bye, Isshin-san, Ichigo…"
And he closed his eyes as his body went slack on Isshin's arms.
Hougyoku glowed brightly for the last time before shattered in million pieces. Aizen stared in disbelief as the orb perished and vanished from his chest.
The last thing Ichigo heard before sudden blackness engulfed them were Aizen's raging scream and his father's cry over Urahara's dead body.
A/N: So, so? Please R&R. And don't kill me-yet. I think Urahara won't come out in this fic...
Please don't kill me!
This is a trial-and-error story, so I may or may not continue it until I get decent amount of reviews. Not to mention, I have 5 other stories to run. Hmmm... See you!