Quetzal - I know it been a long time and I am very very sorry! (hides) But the next chapter will be out soon! So no worries!
Chapter 14 -Gate Crashing Heaven for Dummies
"Right then is everyone ready to depart!" Urahara asked grandly waving his fan in the air. Orihime cheered while the rest of them stared flatly at the shopkeeper. Moments later the gate to soul society glowed and they dashed through.
They all hit the ground running Seras letting the others pull head to guard against any attacks from behind while Ichigo led the charge, it was only a few seconds into their run when Seras detected the first signs of trouble. She frowned glancing behind them at the distinctly sharp roaring coming up behind them rapidly. After a moment a distant light appeared and began to grow, her eyes widened. " Have any of you guys ever heard that joke about how the light at the end of the tunnel has a train whistle attached?" She called the others all sent her weird looks at this.
"Yeah what about it?" Called ichigo.
"Well don't look back but I think there just might be something to it!" Yoruichi hissed at her words looking behind them.
"Damn it! Its the Kototsu!"
"Something you forgot to mention before cat?" Seras yelled Yoruichi barred her fangs at the vampire aggravated.
"Its only supposed to pass through here once every 7 days! Run faster if it hits us were dead!" She snapped
"ISHIDA-KUN!" Orihime suddenly screamed they paused and looked back seeing that Ishidas stupid cape had gotten caught on the wall which was now doing its level best to eat him. Chad grabbed the quincy before he could get pulled in and ripped the cape in half freeing him. Rather then trusting the quincy to keep himself out of trouble however Chad proceeded to carry him as he bolted down the passage after the others. Seras snickered at Ishida's indignant yells for Chad to put him down. Ichigo only rolled his eyes before yelling.
"Faster guys its gaining!" the others redoubled their pace knowing he was right. They were almost there though Seras could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Orihime turned suddenly a determined look on her face.
"Santen Kesshun! I REJECT!" She yelled the three fairies flashed away from her forming the powerful shield in seconds. An instant later the Kototsu slammed into the shield and the resulting explosion blew them out the end of the tunnel and into sunlight. Seras cursed at the bright light her skin stinging sharply, the sunlight here was much brighter then in the living world with no smog to cloud the skies. Looking down she realized they were a good distance off the ground so she twisted her power and tried to form her shadows into wings, but they refused to form, the bright light burning them away as fast as she tried to generate them. Seras summed the situation up in one word.
"Fuck." They hit with a boom a moment later Seras managing to land near the bottom of the pile. They all groaned at the dust started to settle. Seras's eyes narrowed, it wasn't that being crushed under half a dozen people could really hurt her..but still. Seras growled dangerously and the rest of the impromptu dog pile froze before scrambling to untangle themselves as quickly as possible, she glared as she finally hauled herself to her feet and brushed the dust off of her black trench coat. "You alright Seras?" Asked Ichigo she snorted.
"It'll take more then you lot falling on me to take me down." She answered drily.
"Where exactly are we?" Asked Ishida brining their attention to the dilapidated buildings surrounding them.
"...this is heaven?" Asked Seras bemused. "Why exactly was I worried about getting into this place after my turning?" Ichigo snorted in agreement.
"This is Rukongai not Seireitei itself." The cat currently perched on Chads shoulder explained Seras snorted.
"And that makes this here any better?" She drawled the cat merely scowled at her annoyed.
"Be that as it may we need to reach Seireitei that is where we will find Rukia!" The cat snapped.
"And where would that be oh wise one?" Seras sneered Ishida covering a laugh with a cough.
"Do you see that tower over there?" The cat pointed to their left where they could see a white tower barely visible over the wall before them. "That is where you will find Rukia it is at the center of the walled central area which is Seireitei. We must be cautious however, if we are spotted this early we won't have a chance." Seras hummed and studied the tower in the distance for a moment.
"Why can't we just fly over there?"
"The city is surrounded by a barrier there are very few ways through." The cat snapped Seras eyed the open gate in front of them curiously.
"Then how are we getting in?"
"We find Sheba Kukaku, she has a way in for us." Seras nodded and glanced at the gate once more.
"Right you guys go do that Im going to try for a little recon. Ill see you later." She grinned as the cat spun around looking alarmed.
"Seras! DONT!" She yelled but was ignored as Seras's form melted into shadow of the wall, the group watched tensely as a shadow next to the open gate deepened. Everything was still for a moment before with barely a flicker the shadow darted across the threshold. Barely an instant later the gate slammed down sealing the entrance.
"She's in." Ichigo said a moment later Yoruichi hissed looking aggravated.
"We cannot afford to be separated like this! She has no idea what she is dealing with or where she is going!"
"Actually she does." Ichigo drawled the cat blinked confused.
"She has never been here before! How could she possibly know where she's going!"
"She took some of Rukia's blood before and got a bunch of her memories, she knows the basic layout of the place and who to avoid." Ichigo answered he hoped they would believe his excuse both he and Seras had talked about the shinigami souls she held and agreed it would be best not to tell the others about them.
Seras beat a hasty retreat upon crossing masking her reiatsu as best she could and heading towards the 6th devision barracks even as shinigami swarmed the now closed gate trying to figure out what had happened. "Right, which way?" She asked, Shiruba was silent for a moment thinking before answering.
"Keep going strait and take the third right you come too." He finally answered thirty minutes and five wrong turns later she was threading her way under the door of Byakuya's office.
"So much for knowing your way around!" She grumbled Tora and Kiro snickered at Shiruba's embarrassed cough.
"Yes well much has changed since I was a captain, the side roads are a bit different."She snorted as she examined the room remained hidden while making absolutely sure there wasn't someone hanging around in a side room or something. Deciding it was safe enough she let a bit of her reiatsu leak out so Byakuya would know she was there. Somehow she didn't think suddenly popping up in the shinigami captains office was a good way to keep her head on her shoulders. Alucard may find decapitation entertaining, but she had no desire to find out what it felt like. Byakuya paused in his writing looking up his gaze centered on her shadowy hiding spot after only a moment.
"Welcome Dracula-san if you would please make yourself visible?" He asked calmly and she obligingly pulled herself together, she grinned once she had reformed completely.
"Hello Kuchiki-san I was in the area and decide to drop by and ask how Rukia-chan was doing and if there has been any changes in her case?" She asked copying his formality he raised an eye brow at her antics but didn't comment.
"Unfortunately no changes have been forthcoming as of yet although I am still working on the case." Seras nodded looking thoughtful.
"Well then hopeful her outlook will change shortly?"
"I can only hope that will be the case, if you would like to wish her your condolences personally before the execution I will need to escort you, but she will remain in the 6th squad cells for the next two days before being moved to the Senzaikyu." He answered smoothly a faint glint of amusement in his eyes Seras raised an eye brow.
"I like this guy!" Tora called with a laugh Shiruba chuckled.
"It is always good to know when to bend the rules." He agreed Seras resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the commentary and instead answered Byakuya.
"Indeed? Well I will have to look into that later Kuchiki-san. I am unfortunately very busy at the moment as my cousin is incapable of staying out of trouble for any length of time and he may be dropping by soon. If you see Rukia before I do however would you please give her my condolences?" She asked trying not to laugh Byakuya nodded.
"Of course Dracula-san if that is all I need to return to my work. Can I be assured I will be seeing you later?" He asked Seras snorted softly at this resisting the urge to roll her eyes.
"Thats alright Kuchiki-san I don't doubt we will be seeing each other later. Goodbye!" With that she melted back under the door and into the fading light.
Ichigo stared at the little glass ball dubiously. "Ok how does this work again?" Kukaku sighed annoyed and tried to explain once more.
"All you have to do is focus your reiatsu into the reishūkaku and it'll do the rest, its not that hard kid."
"How?" He asked Kukaku scowled.
"I just told you how moron!" she snapped Ichigo sighed.
"No, I mean how do you focus your reiatsu?" Utter silence greeted this question Kukaku stared at him shocked.
"You...don't know how to focus your reiatsu?" She asked just to make sure Ichigo scowled.
"No, I don't! Why does everyone always assume I know this stuff?" He snapped Kukaku resisted the urge to curse whoever had sent the kid on this mission. Being in soul society and not knowing even vaguely how to focus reiatsu was like not knowing how to walk!
"Right kid let start at the beginning then." She said grimly he nodded. "Put that thing down and sit down." She ordered waving at the Reishukaku. Ichigo set the crystal ball down and sat down across from her. "Right you know your zanpakotou's name right?" At his nod she continued. "Right it'll be able to help you with this. I want you to close your eyes and try to focus on him alright? Can you do that?" Ichigo nodded closing his eyes easily finding the warm presence of Zangetsu. "Now rather then have you fumble around for hours trying to find the core of your power. Have your zanpakotou show you where it is. Then what I want you to do is try to pull a TINY bit of it to the surface. With the amount of power you've got we need to start small. Don't worry if it takes awhile no one gets this on the first try." Ichigo frowned slightly at this but continued anyways.
"Zan?" He asked and Zangetsu gave a tug on his mind, it felt rather like being led around in a dark room which was essentially what was happening. A moment later he just about jumped out of his skin at the impression of something vast. Zangetsu held onto his mind though and didn't let him flinch all the way back to consciousness.
"Calm down Ichigo." He reprimanded Ichigo huffed and tried to get a better feel for what he was 'looking' at, it felt for some reason like an ocean expanding off to parts unknown. "It feels like an ocean because in your inner world it is." Zangetsu said answering Ichigo unspoken question Ichigo frowned.
"Theres no ocean in my inner world." He disagreed puzzled Zangetsu sighed.
"There is, beneath the city is an ocean, that ocean is the representation of your power." Ichigo blinked thoughtfully wondering how the ground being under that wall of shadows effected that. More over didn't water in his inner world represent his despair or something? Why would the source of his power take the form of an ocean? Putting that conundrum aside for the moment he needed to figure out how to pull out a little bit of this power. "Like this Ichigo" He felt Zangetsu's reiatsu reach out draw a thread away from the ocean. Ichigo frowned before trying it a dozen fumbles later and he had a tenuous hold on a tiny thread of reiatsu. Trying not to loose focus on the thread he pulled himself out of the trance and opened his eyes. Kukaku was staring at him with her mouth hanging open Ichigo blinked confused.
"What?" He asked her jaw worked for a moment before she was able to get a world out.
"Ho...how the hell?" She finally managed.
"What the hells your problem? I did what you asked what now?" He snapped eyes narrowing in irritation behind his sun glasses. Kukaku closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath trying not to think about how quickly the kid in front of her had gotten that. Most took weeks to get as far as pulling a thread out like that, she had really only been hoping to get him aware of his power and having at least a vague idea of how to accesses it, but the kid had gotten the first step in 20 minutes!
"Don't worry about it kid. Do you still have a hold of that thread?" At his nod she continued. "Right I want you to let go of it and then try to draw it out again only this time your zanpakotou's not allowed to help you." Ichigo scowled but did as instructed letting go of the strand which bleed away back into the ocean before reaching out and trying again. This time he only fumbled twice before getting it, he opened his eyes to Kukaku's grinning face. "Damn your fast brat."
"Next?" He asked she shook her head exasperated.
"Right next. Now that you can draw your power out I want you to focus that power into your Zanpakotou, if you didn't know how to control your power before I'll bet you didn't know how to do this."
"Why?" He asked curious as he pulled the blade over from where it had been sitting on the ground next to him. Once more Kukaku wanted to kill whoever had sent the kid off with so little training.
"You and your zanpakotou are a team brat, he's not just a talking hunk of metal you get to hit people with. You need to work together, he needs your power to reinforce his blade. As he is right now I could slice through him nearly as easily as if he was still unnamed." Ichigo blinked and looked down at Zangetsu in surprise before tightening his grip on the blade and trying to channel his reiatsu into the blade. After a moment the thread connected to the zanpakotou with a sharp shock. Ichigo frowned and pushed power through the now established line. Zangetsu's form seemed to shimmer slightly almost like a heat haze was rising off him.
"Thats enough for now Ichigo." Zangetsu said a few moments later and Ichigo stopped pushing power to him, but left the thread in place. Kukaku had stared at him blankly for a long moment as he worked before giving herself a shake. This kids unreal she thought prodigy didn't even begin to cover it.
"Right anything else right now would be pointless and just fuck you up later if you can't sit down and learn all of it at once alright? So pick the reishūkaku up and try and form the shield again." Ichigo nodded and picked the large crystal up once more. After studying it for a moment he pulled another thread of power out managing to fumble it again before getting a hold of it. Tugging the thread of power out he tried to connect it to the reishukaku only for it to suddenly snap. Ichigo cursed and dropped the reishūkaku as the tiny bit of power it had absorbed snapped back on him singing his fingers. Kukaku sniggered earning her a glare. Ichigo eyed the crystal in irritation before picking it up to try once again.
"I still think this plan is completely nuts." Ichigo commented the next day as they stood inside the massive cannon. "I thought we were going for 'subtle' Yoruichi?" He asked, the cat sniffed in distain.
"Running through the front door would be foolish they have too many defenses in place for that, and most of their contingency plans are designed with that entrance in mind. Coming in this way will have them confused and scrambling to compensate. That confusion is the only thing thats going to let us pull this off." She finished Ichigo blinked thoughtful.
"Hu...why didn't you just say that to begin with? Makes sense really." He commented Ishida pushed his glasses up his nose hiding a smirk while Orihime giggled. Yoruichi closed her eyes for a moment resisting the urge to claw the teens eyes out.
"Begin focusing your power into the reishūkaku. Kukaku will be ready with the cannon any moment. The ragtag group quickly gathered around putting their hands on the crystal and beginning to focus as the cat sat on top. Ichigo grit his teeth slightly and held onto his own power tightly, with the amount he was trying to channel now it was like hanging onto a fire hose rather then a mere thread, and just like a fire hose it wanted to go everywhere but the direction he was pointing it.
"Finally learned to control your reiatsu Kurosaki?" Ishida commented Ichigo shot him an annoyed look.
"I never knew how to control it moron! Kukaku gave me a crash course last night. This isn't so bad for only one night of practice I would think!" He snapped as the power almost twisted loose from his hold again. They all stared at him shocked.
"Urahara never...?" Yoruichi trailed off stunned ichigo glared.
"All that asshole did was chase me around his basement and expect me to figure it out myself!"
"Well...that certainly explains a few things." Ishida finally said drily.
Seras had been only moments away from pouncing on an unsuspecting unseated shinigami when a massive boom made both of them look up. Arcing across the sky was a blue fireball. Seras blinked sensing familiar power from it. "They call that subtle?" Tora commented drily as with another bang the fireball hit the shield over the city. After a moment it punched threw and exploded sending the invasion force flying in multiple direction.
"Beautifully executed." Kiro applauded mockingly while Seras sweat dropped.
"Fan FUCKING tastic." She growled trying to get a bead on who had landed where. A startled yell drew her attention back to her immediate soundings however, the shinigami she had been stalking for lunch had spotted her while she was distracted and was now charging her with his sword out. Rolling her eyes she batted the blade away and sank her fangs into the squirming idiots throat. At least her meal hadn't gotten away.
Quetzal- the reason for that bit with kukaku is simple, as far as I know no one ever actually sat down and showed Ichigo how to control his reiatsu. They all just assumed he wasn't capable of controlling it. He won't get it right away but he now has a general idea of how to do it. However there is a vast difference between doing it while he's sitting in a nice quite room and in combat or otherwise distracting situation. Which is why the cannonball still broke up. I also have to say I really like my version of Byakuya, he won't overtly break the rules but he's still that snarling brat yoruichi like to tease at heart and has no problem going by the letter of the law rather then the spirit of it it he's motivated.