Sacrifice: the Forgotten Past
Chapter 10: Finale
Author's Note: it's been a really long time since I updated. Things have been nuts and my interests and how I spend time have changed. Looking back I would have liked to turn this last bit into 3 or 4 chapters rather than 1 big one but if I did that then I would probably never finish this story and you readers deserve a conclusion so prepare yourself – the end is here.
(Tia Harribel POV)
I parried the zanpkatou rushing for my chest and turned around kicking a female in a sailor school uniform away as they tried to spear me. The battle for Karakura town was in motion but it did not go well, Most of the Espada had stayed in Hueco Mundo to deal with the invasion and shinigami forces there while the top three Espada Starrk, Barragan, and myself and our fraccion with Aizen, Gin, and Tosen fought the shinigami over the sky of Karakura town…or at least it's replica, somehow the shinigami had built a replica of Karakura town and then transported the real town to Soul Society and placed the replica in the world of the living. There the Head shinigami had trapped Aizen, Gin and Tosen in a wall of fire and it had been just us three Espada and our fraccion to defeat the shinigami. Mila-Rose, Sung-sun, and Apacci had been fried by the head shinigami after defeating a couple of vice captains with that Ayon monster they called. I didn't know if they were dead or alive but I figured them for dead and that I would avenge their deaths on that man with the flaming zanpaktou. However I was fighting in a 3 on 1 battle. First I was going 1 on 1 with this short white haired kid who had introduced himself as Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya of squad 10; with an ice zanpaktou that could control all water just like my Tiburon. He had even frozen me at one point but WonderWeiss had shown up with Fura and had released Aizen, Gin, and Tosen from their flame prison and had broken me out of my ice prison. But besides the shinigami captain I was fighting 2 of these Vizards that are rogue shinigami but have hollow powers. Also I was the only Espada left, Barragan and Starrk had both fallen to the shinigami that they were battling and while I was holding my own against my opponents it was a three on one battle. I parried again with Captain Hitsugaya and prepared to thrust with my sword when I heard a shunpo and my opponents and I stopped to stare in mild shock at Aizen as he came within the vicinity of our battle.
"Lord Aizen!" I stammered.
What was Aizen doing? Was he going to start helping now? Aizen walked closer to me and he drew his zanpaktou and slashed me across the stomach. Pain knifed through me as I instinctively put a hand over the wound to try to staunch the bleeding but the wound was rather deep.
Aizen just looked at me and sighed. "I went through all the trouble of gathering the Espada and it turns out not even all their combined powers could equal mine. It'd be a waste to sacrifice any more of you seeing as you're all hopeless."
Rage clouded my thinking and I thought back to that time when that Arrancar had attacked us and almost killed myself, Mila-Rose, Sung-Sung, Apacci, and Zelgius. I thought of my friends who would give their lives for me just as I thought I would have given my life for Lord Aizen. But sacrifice without meaning is no sacrifice; Aizen was using us as tools for a slaughter and was making our sacrifice's last in vain.
"Aizen!" I screamed out as I raced at him drew Tiburon and stabbed him through the chest. However Aizen just faded away.
Shit his Zanpaktou's ability is active!
From behind me I heard Aizen. "Hmmph I will make sure you never raise your sword to me again."
As I turned around Aizen thrust Kyoka Suigetsu through my right shoulder-blade. I could no longer control my body, the wounds were too grave and I plummeted towards the ground of the ruined fake Karakura town.
So Aizen used us; and just like he must have done with Zelgius we are disposed of. Our sacrifices were for nothing.
Just before I hit the ground I saw a black figure hurtling towards me and I blacked out.
I groaned as I slowly recovered consciousness, my body ached and felt like it was on fire. I tried to remember what happened. Oh yeah, Mila-Rose, Sung-Sung and I had defeated a couple of those pathetic Shinigami vice-captains with our Ayon creation even though using him cost us our arms. However the Shinigami's Captain-Commander showed up to prevent us from killing those stupid vice-captains. Then he destroyed Ayon and as we attacked him, he fried all three of us. I tried to stand but my legs wouldn't budge and I sunk back down to my knees, then I heard his voice.
"Please don't move yet Apacci, your wounds are severe yet and I can't have you dying on me."
I whirled my head to the voice's direction and saw him my former master Zelgius Igarrashi and former 4th espada standing over Harribel's body.
Mistress Tia, NO!
"WHAT HAPPENED TO MISTRESS HARRIBEL, ZELGIUS ANSWER ME!
Zelgius looked over at me "Don't aggravate your condition. Even 100 years ago I sucked at Kido and I could heal you just enough to keep all 4 of you from dying I need to concentrate right now Apacci." At his mentioning of "4" I finally noticed that Mila-Rose and Sung-Sungs bodies were there as well, I could see them faintly breathing but they looked in really bad shape as well.
"We thought Aizen killed you for betraying us Zelgius, how did you live?"
"Well Aizen's goal was to kill me but thankfully he doesn't own every card in the deck. And could you please call me Caz…my real name is Caz Takumi."
"Wait…Caz…you finally remember your past now?"
"Yes, it was a side-effect of the attempt on my life, it was really hard to understand but 100 plus years ago I was a Shinigami captain…however I was also one of Aizen's first Hollowfication experiment and he turned me into a hollow. However I have now re-awakened my shinigami side such as using Kido to keep you all alive, though I'm just glad it hasn't blown up on me yet."
"So, I know what happened to Sung-Sung and Mila Rose but how did Mistress Harribel get hurt?"
"Aizen betrayed her and tried to finish her off, Tia defended herself admirably but she couldn't counter Aizen's Kyoka Suigetsu technique."
Aizen you bastard! I will kill you for hurting mistress Harribel!
I tried rising again but still wasn't strong enough and I fell to the ground on my back. Next thing I knew Zelgius was kneeling over me. "You and the others will be in no immediate danger but please save your strength Apacci. When you've recovered enough go find help and get someone to heal the others more than I can. Right now I need to finish my score with Aizen and avenge you, Tia, and everyone he has ever hurt or manipulated."
Zelgius….I mean Caz's face grew dark as he said that and I knew he was serious.
"Zelg…..Caz what if Aizen kills you instead? Then what?"
Caz didn't reply but suddenly he bent down, caressed my right cheek with his hand and then placed his lips over mine and kissed me. I was startled and tried to fight it but Caz continued and overpowered me and I started to feel a buzz as the kiss continued until Caz let up and I was gasping for breath.
"You Idiot! What the fuck was that for?"
"That was to promise you I will return because I have feelings for you my dear Apacci and I won't let myself die until I've won your heart."
With that said, Caz stood up gave me a final glance and then sonido'd away leaving me to recover my strength so I could save Mistress Tia and the others and if it wasn't already silent around the area I was in I almost wouldn't have heard myself say under my breath.
"Come back alive you stupid fucktard."
Gin and I walked through the real Karakura town and a leisurely pace. Of course we could afford the leisure I had fused with the Hogyoku, defeated the entire Gotei 13 in their copy of the town they had made in the real world. My arrancar had been disposed of, and even Urahara Kisuke and his meddling help couldn't do anything against me and exhausted all their hopes of stopping me. Even now I was hunting down the friends of Kurosaki Ichigo to draw him out as I was giving him one last chance to evolve along with me and become equal. Once he did that and I killed him I would recreate the King's Key, incinerate Karakura town. Then I could dispose of that pathetic useless Spirit King and I could form the world to how I wanted it. Finally Gin and I had found Kurosaki Ichigo's friends. I pitied the poor fools my power was so great their feeble senses couldn't even feel it. I deliberately brought my powers down to their pathetic level of awareness and watched them shake and grow fearful at the sight of me. Gin and I were still a ways off but after arguing amongst themselves they collected their decorum and started to run away from us. Gin turned and looked at me.
"What do you intend to do with them Captain Aizen?"
I smirked at my subordinate as I lifted up Kyoka Suigetsu. "I intend to kill them and hang the bodies on the outskirts of the city as a welcoming gift for Kurosaki Ichigo when he comes."
"Captain Aizen, let me kill the children then."
Gin reached out and placed his hand on Kyoka Suigetsu's hilt.
Hmmmph is this where you're making your foolish attempt. I've always known you've been waiting to kill me Gin, is now when you'll act?
"Gin." I stated in a warning tone.
Gin drew his arm as if he was going to spear the kids from afar with Shinso but pained filled my senses as his sleeve had covered his zanpaktou and he pierced me through the heart with it.
"To become immune to Kyoka Suigetsu's complete hypnosis one must touch the hilt before it is activated. How many years did I have to wait before you told me that one key fact…To be fair Captain Aizen I lied about my zanpaktou. It doesn't extend as fast or as far as I've claimed previously, in fact in bankai form Kamishini No Yari turns to dust for a split second and inside the dust is a toxin that destroys things at the molecular level."
Gin retracted his zanpaktou while I staggered, stunned yet at having my heart pierced. Gin then pointed to a chip in his zanpaktou where it looked like a piece was missing.
"See that, I left a little bit in your heart and soon just as you've always wanted Aizen, you'll die with a hole in your chest…Ain't it ironic?"
Gin then placed his hand on my chest.
"Kill, Kamishini No Yari."
Gin's poison activated and my whole chest dissolved, Gin grabbed the Hogyoku out of my chest and I swiped at his arm taking off a chunk but when he shunpo'd out he had the Hogyoku. I then fell backwards, too most people I would have been thought instantly dead; however I had subjugated the Hogyoku and it would not let its master die like this. The hole in my chest regenerated and completely healed and I could sense where Gin and the Hogyoku were.
"The hogyoku is always part of me and cannot be separated from me Gin."
My voice reverberated throughout the town and I teleported to where the Hogyoku was and it got out of Gin's grasp and fused with my body again. I smiled down at the stunned shinigami.
"I win Gin."
I slashed downward with Kyoka Suigetsu intending to cleave Gin in half but I was blocked by another zanpaktou, I turned and saw what looked to be a knight dressed all in black.
"So Gin lied to me about you, I should have figured that…Zelgius Igarrashi."
"Zelgius Igarrashi is the name you gave me Aizen…but it's not my real name. relive your past and regret experimenting on Caz Takumi."
I started laughing.
"Hahaha so you have regained your memories, when I found you with those other hollow in Hueco Mundo I pieced together that you were what remained of Squad 12's former captain and that's why I had Gin kill you, because you were starting to regain your memories and it would be a minor irritant in my plans."
"I would think that nullifying Kyoka Suigetsu's complete hypnosis with my zanpaktou's technique would be a little more than an irritant Aizen."
"Foolish Caz, I've evolved beyond that of shinigami and hollow. I don't need to just rely on my zanpaktou's abilities, I have surpassed everything possible, it doesn't even matter anymore. Now witness my true power."
I swung Kyoka Suigetsu at Caz, he deflected it but the force knocked him through a few buildings. I sensed Gin use his Buto technique and dodged easily. I then transported to Gin and slashed him across the shoulder and then stabbed his leg incapacitating him from moving.
"I'll kill you later Gin." I didn't need to say more because Caz had reappeared, his armor was cracked and dented but it was still in one piece I saw a little bit of blood dripping from the cracks.
"So Aizen…you said you were a being transcended above shinigami and hollow. Maybe you should face a being who is equally hollow and shinigami, allow me to avenge everyone you have betrayed and murdered. Bankai!"
Caz was enveloped in dark blue spiritual pressure that was tinged in black. When the spiritual energy had dissipated I saw Caz's new form. He looked like he had over 100 years ago but with subtle differences. His skin was pale white like Ulquiorra's and his hair was also white. His eyes were a golden yellow and he was garbed in what looked like a shinigami Captain's haori, except that it was black and the number 12 written in kanji on the back was white. His zanpaktou was a golden yellow on the blade and the hilt was ebony black. Caz looked at me and gave a big sadistic grin.
"In some ways I should thank you Aizen. Because of you I've become a true embodiment of both Shinigami and Hollow. And now I will avenge everyone that you've hurt or killed because of your lust for power Aizen. Prepare yourself!"
Caz swung his sword at me and a wave of spiritual pressure shot out from his sword.
Hmmph so this is your Aether technique? You think something weak like this can cut me Caz Takumi?
I just stood there and took Caz's pathetic attack; my mouth opened slightly in surprise as pain seared me and I looked and saw a gash on my arm where the attack had hit me.
"Don't underestimate me Aizen!" Caz roared as he shunpo'd to me and slashed down at me, but I parried with Kyoka Suigetsu. "Don't think my attacks can't cut you Aizen, I'm more powerful than you think!"
Caz's speed was impressive and I was having trouble keeping up with his movements. Another nick on my other arm, a grazing of my shoulder. Soon I was covered in cuts, all of them shallow but distracting nonetheless and all of them slowing me down, while Caz showed no signs of tiring. Caz broke off his attacks and let some distance come between us.
"Give up Aizen, your power is too weak to defeat me."
I felt the Hogyoku twinge and started laughing.
"Stupid Caz, you forget I have the hogyoku and the hogyoku would never let its master be defeated by someone like you!"
Shock formed on Caz's face as my injuries healed, his cuts could not overcome my instant regeneration. I smiled darkly, now I had enough fun toying with this man whom I had destroyed 100 years ago, now it was time to end his foolishness.
"Now Caz it's time for me to show you the true difference in our powers."
I teleported behind Caz and his movement to counter me was slow his sword flashed with energy but I dodged the wave of spiritual pressure and ducked under his sword and kicked Caz in the gut into the buildings behind him. I dodged another wave of energy sent from Caz's sword as he emerged from the building, he tried to shunpo to me but I slapped him away with my arm like he was a fly and sent him flying again. This time when Caz came at me I dodged his sword and teleported behind him and slashed him across the back and then across the back of his legs. Caz gave a cry of pain and tumbled to the ground, breathing heavily, blood spurting from his wounds. I flipped him over to look at his face and I stuck Kyoka Suigetsu in his arm.
"Do you see now you fool, I am far past simple shinigami and hollow evolution, you never had a chance to beat me. Now despair Caz Takumi as I will now end your life for the 2nd time and final time."
Before I could plunge my sword into Caz and finish him I felt a presence behind me and I looked to see a tall youth with wild, long orange hair though I could sense no spiritual pressure from him I smiled…It was him…the one whom I'd be waiting to destroy. I turned to look at him.
"Kurosaki Ichigo? Are you really Kurosaki Ichigo?"
I had failed…Aizen had won…I was beaten…I couldn't save anyone from the pain caused by Sousuke Aizen. Aizen was lording over me, gloating, ready to finish me off and I was losing vast amounts of blood. Then I felt saw someone appear behind Aizen with long orange hair. However that's the last thing I saw as I blacked out and awaited my death.
I awoke in a field of flowers, with the sun shining brightly above me. I slowly sat up and saw Caz my inner voice. I felt ashamed and couldn't meet his eyes though. "We failed didn't we, Aizen beat us and we couldn't avenge anyone. Dammit!"
Caz walked over and patted me on the back. "We gave our best, that's all anyone could ask of us. I'm sure Apacci would be happy with the effort we gave."
I raised my head to meet Caz's gaze. "So what now…are we dead?"
"One would normally assume so…however I feel that we're alive yet. I think Aizen never was able to finish us off, so right now we're just in the inner world again."
Please, save him! I beg you…save him!
I looked at Caz shocked. "What was that…was that Apacci's voice?"
"I believe so, that came from the outer world, so it appears that we indeed are not dead. Well Zelgius….shall we return to the land of the living?" Caz held is hand out to me and I accepted it and he hauled me to my feet. I looked at my guide and companion. "Let's go together Caz, it's about time we merged for good."
Caz smiled and adjusted his glasses. "I was hoping you'd say that. Let's go face what's out there together…friend."
My vision was blurry as I regained consciousness. I could make out shapes but it took a few minutes before I could discern who they were and my hearing gradually improved as well. Finally I could see and I opened my eyes. Apacci was there, as were Mila-Rose, Sung-Sun. Also there was a human girl with orange hair and she had an aura around me so I guessed she was the one healing me. As soon as Apacci saw my eyes were open she jumped on me and hugged me tightly.
"You stupid fucking idiot! What the hell were you doing, trying to die on me!?"
Even though I was still in a lot of pain I was able to move my arm and run it through her hair and smiled gently at her. "Silly girl, I wasn't planning on dying. You don't have to worry about me…ok."
I glanced over at Harribel, she looked better than she did when I'd caught her half-dead, her arm was in a sling but other than that it looked like she'd been healed well.
"What happened to Aizen? Did he win?"
Tia smiled and shook her head.
"No, one of the humans the shinigami had on their side defeated Aizen so that he's been sealed away. It's been about a week since that happened. After the battle the shinigami swapped places with the fake Karakura town and the real one and we were transported to Soul Society. Apacci found this human girl and begged her to heal us and then after we found you and Gin. Both close to death but you'll both live."
"So Aizen was defeated…I'm glad…the wrongs of the past have been righted. So what will happen now?"
"That I'm not sure on, the shinigami Head Captain has decided to spare our lives and we can go back to Hueco Mundo. I'm not sure if I will head back to Las Noches or not however…what about you…I guess you're name is Caz now. ..Apacci filled me in about who you really are and since you have both shinigami and hollow powers, Captain Commander Yamamoto is giving you the option of staying here in the Soul Society or you can go back with us to Hueco Mundo…the choice is yours."
I smiled. "My past belongs in the Soul Society, that much is true…however…" I looked at Apacci lovingly who blushed furiously, prompting snickers from Mila-Rose.
"I think that my future is in Hueco Mundo so I will return there. Who knows maybe this is just a new beginning…one in which a future where Shinigami and Hollows get along and work together. Maybe the Sacrifice's of our past are not in vain."
And so ends this story in the history of the soul society. Tia Harribel and her fraccion went back to Hueco Mundo. Harribel at first did not go back to Las Noches as she did not want to lead the hollows and gain power there…however she eventually did and became Queen of Las Noches and all the hollows followed her rule. The other shinigami who Aizen had experimented on after Caz Takumi like Hirako Shinji, after being absolved of their alleged crimes by Head-Captain Yamamoto and the Central 46 resumed posts in Soul Society, filling the vacant captain seats for squads 3, 5 and 9 as well as some seated officer roles. Ichimaru Gin was also forgiven after the information brought forth by both Caz and Kurosaki Ichigo. Gin however chose not to return to the Gotei 13 and instead is peacefully living alone in self-imposed exile eating persimmons…However Rangiku Matsumoto occasionally comes to visit him. As for Caz Takumi…he also returned to Hueco Mundo and they say you can still hear Apacci yelling at him and calling him good for nothing. However the love between those two remains unbroken and Caz lived happily knowing that he could live for someone else and have another purpose in his life.
Final Author's Note: And that folks is the end of this story. My updates I know were always irregular and long but as I write this I realize that in 2 weeks I will graduate from college and hit the real world…because of those time constraints…it's quite possible this will be the last fanfiction I will ever write and it's somewhat bitter to leave knowing that. However I thank you all for sticking with me and I encourage you to write as well and to do your best. Because you get out of life with what you put into it and I am thankful for the brief time in my life I was able to write fanfiction as it helped me grow as a writer and as a person. So keep writing people and who knows maybe I will write again in the future, but for now I bid you all a good happy life and a goodbye.