(A/N: So after two days of no show I finally have Spanish class again, darn. Oh well, you guys will enjoy this chapter regardless of my current mood. I'm sure Lelouch is glad to have the spotlight back though.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or Code Geass
Hisana and Byakuya-fukutaicho got married. I attended the wedding. Contemporary Japanese Weddings are interesting to say the least. I never saw a woman have to go through so many changes of clothes. Since Hisana didn't have any family other than her missing sister she asked Ukitake and I to fill the void. She said Ukitake was like a father to her and I had become like a brother to her over the last few years. Interestingly enough I look better in a Japanese garb than I do a western style tuxedo. Miyako-senpai and Shiba-fukutaicho did their wedding a lot less like this and more like a Britannian wedding rather than a Japanese one.
For the most part the wedding ceremony itself wasn't much different from Shiba-fukutaicho's wedding. It was the reception that was so different. The Kuchiks followed the most contemporary Japanese style of wedding to the letter. The reception took place in the Kuchiki family ballroom unlike Shiba-fukutaicho's wedding which was outside in the backyard. I guess the most famous noble family has to set an example.
Hisana seemed uncomfortable getting so much attention during the reception. Who could blame her? Many of the lower nobles that were forced to attend so as not to seem rude to Byakuya-fukutaicho were giving Hisana the evil eye half the time. I had a right mind to Geass them to behave, but with so many people around I didn't want to expose my gift.
I spent some time getting to know Ukitake-taicho at the wedding. He complimented me saying how Byakuya-fukutaicho and Hisana often talked about me when they were in his division. He even offered me a promotion and transfer to his squad as a 5th seat. I took it without hesitation. 5th seat was where I needed to be to start my organization.
It's been three years since that day and I still haven't been able to start it. Kukaku promised she'd fund the program if I got it going. Of course, I still need a president and a co-founder. With the behind the scenes business I'll be doing it would not reflect well on the organization if a founder wasn't around to meet inspections.
I pitched the idea to Aloman-senpai and Rangiku, the latter of which was now a 3rd Seat much to the former's chagrin. Both said they'd join, but neither though wanted the responsibility of being president or co-founder. Hisana had too much on her plate as it was, so I left her alone. She was searching for Rukia, trying to be a good wife and she was also now 3rd seat of the 6th Division.
The original 3rd seat, Jaikuro Chisame, was given Vice-Captaincy of 3rd division since Iba Chikane wound up with a crippling injury to her right arm that made it impossible to wield her Zanpakuto, which was a two-handed Shikai. She also later suffered a head injury that left her brain damage that made her unfit to work so the Central Forty Six let her go. Her son, Iba Tetsuzaemon, is currently the 3rd seat of the 7th Division working hard to follow in his mother's footsteps, but he denies feeling the need to impress her. Before that position he was in 11th Division as 7th seat.
Susanna got a promotion too. She's in Hisana's old position. The two of us are both 5th seats. I want her to be my right hand so I can't ask her to be my co-founder or president. The woman has skill that I can't bother to pass up.
As for me I'm comfortable with my two direct subordinates: 6th Seats Kostsubaki Sentaro and Kotetsu Kiyone. Sentaro is the son of 7th Division's lieutenant Kotsubaki Jin'emon. His dad's not as youthful as he was more than half a century ago, all the man's hair is as white as my captain's and he's starting to become attentive deficit. It'll only be a matter of time before he's let go. Sentaro himself however is a hardworking and very energetic subordinate. He's very eager to help me out, whatever it may be.
Kotetsu Kiyone is Vice-Captain Kotetsu Isane's younger sister. Kiyone is beneath me in rank so I call her by her given name as opposed to her sister who I still refer to as Kotetsu-san out of respect. Kiyone, like Sentaro, is very dedicated to the squad, and me, as a whole. I'm just thankful she's not jumping me the same way her sister has a thing for me, which Kiyone seems to be completely aware of as she's constantly asking me questions about our working relationship. If anything I'd say Kiyone is more attached to the captain himself. I think both her and Sentaro are envious for Shiba-fukutaicho's job
Speaking of Shiba-fukutaicho, he's actually a pretty nice guy. When he heard how Kukaku was planning to fund my organization and heard I needed a president and a co-founder he offered to be president…well he demanded to be rather. Ukitake-taicho said he'd love to be a part of it when he found out what was going on. When I mentioned the co-founder's position he told me I should get someone I could really trust to take that position, but the only two people I could trust to take that position were Susanna and Hisana and both were overqualified, the latter of which was extremely busy.
Since last year Shiba-fukutaicho set me up with another teaching position, eager to see my 'teaching expertise first hand'. With Ukitake-taicho randomly going in and out of his sickbed, Shiba-fukutaicho takes up the slack work…rather all of the senior officers, including Miyako-senpai and I, do.
I have three classes I have to teach: 1st year beginner's Kido in the morning, 1st year advanced Kido in the early afternoon and 6th year advanced Kido in the late afternoon.
I've recognized three talented individuals. The first two are in my 1st year advanced class: Kira Izuru and Hinamori Momo. Seeing them reminds me of the days when I taught Hisana, Byakuya-fukutaicho and Susanna for all six years. The 3rd is in my 6th year advanced: Hisagi Shuhei. He failed the academy entrance exams twice in a row, but it's hard to tell that. The guy knows what he's doing.
However, it seems as if the levels of classes are determined by either latent spiritual power or all around skill because one of my 1st year advanced Kido students, Abarai Renji, has consistently been in the bottom of the class, borderline failing. I've had to give him extra lessons just so the guy can pass the class. I have never seen a Shakkaho blow up in someone's face so catastrophically.
Right now I'm at the teacher's lounge going through some squad oriented reports. Just because I'm a teacher doesn't mean I don't have my regularly scheduled responsibilities.
"Ah Senpai!" Only one person ever referred to me like that. I looked up to see my longtime former subordinate, Libra Naomi.
"Oh, Naomi, how are you?" I asked.
"I'm fine, I'm 13th seat now. I didn't know you were teaching." She said.
"Yeah, three different Kido classes. What about you, what are you teaching?" I inquired.
"Well I have Second year intermediate Hakuda in the morning, First year beginner's Kido in the middle of the afternoon, and Fourth year beginner's Shunpo in the late afternoon." Naomi stated. "Lusca-taicho wanted me to teach courses based on my skill set."
"Any talent you see blooming?" I asked.
"Hmm," Naomi tapped a finger to her chin, "Well I'm easily impressed, but by your standards I'd say the only real raw talent is this one girl in my afternoon Kido class."
"Oh?" I was always interested in hearing about prodigious students.
"Let's see, what was that student's name? Was it Rika…Raika…Ruka…" Naomi folded her arms and pouted. "Gah I can't remember."
"What about her surname?" I asked.
"Oh that's easy her surname is Sayuri!" Naomi said with a cheerful smile from behind her facemask.
My head snapped to attention. "W-wait a minute! Is her name Sayuri Rukia?"
"Yeah! That's it!" I could see the light bulb going off in Naomi's head.
I found my heart starting to beat fast. "Does…does she have short black hair?" I asked.
"Ah, yeah how did you know?"
"What room is her dorm?" I found her! I found her! I have to tell Hisana about this!
"I…you know I can't give that out freely. Even if you were my senpai…I can't…" I grabbed Naomi by the wrist. "Waah!"
"Come with me!" It was the first time I had been this cheerfully excited about anything. Hisana had to know, I had to tell her right away.
Lelouch, your brimming with cheer. What's going on? Eien Tamashi asked.
Weren't you paying attention just now? I found Hisana's sister! I responded.
Yippee. Eien Tamashi was less than thrilled.
What's with the attitude? I asked.
We haven't trained in a while, I'm bored. She said.
Look, I've been working to try and get my organization off the ground and Aizen's been quiet. Bankai can wait until then.
I sure hope you're right Lelouch.
I dragged Naomi to division six and went straight to Hisana's office. I knocked. "Hisana. It's Lelouch are you there?"
"Senpai?" Naomi said out of breath. "What's going on?"
"Pay attention Naomi," I winked, "You'll realize it soon enough."
I knocked again. "Hisana." I heard scuffling waraji sliding along the ground and a sleep deprived Hisana answered the door.
"Ugh, I was just about to settle down for a nap what is it?" Hisana looked an absolute mess.
"Ah, she looks just like Rukia!" Naomi gasped.
At the mention of her sister's name, Hisana's change in energy was like she had just digested six mugs of coffee in less than three seconds. She grabbed Naomi by the shoulders excited. "Rukia! You know my sister!"
"You're…sister?" Naomi was confused.
"Naomi, Hisana is Rukia's older sister, she's been looking all over for her for more than half a century. Please, you have to bring us to Rukia's dorm room. Hisana is the bride of the head of the Kuchiki family." A few months after their marriage Kuchiki-taicho gave Byakuya rights as head of the household, but Byakuya-fukutaicho felt as if he was not yet ready for the responsibilities of both house head and captaincy, nor was he fully finished mastering his Bankai. Kuchiki-taicho respected Byakuya-fukutaicho's decision and was still leading the 6th Division.
"Ah, oh my gosh!" Naomi dropped to her knees and bowed. "Kuchiki-uesama I am so sorry, I meant no disrespect." She got up. "Both of you follow me."
We followed Naomi to her office where she got out one of her roster sheets and began going down the list.
"Sayuri…Sayuri…Sayuri…Sayur—ah! Sayuri Rukia, dorm 130F." Naomi pointed.
"I know where that is." I said, having memorized the layout of the academy. "Follow me."
Hisana, Naomi and I made our way to dorm 130F and Naomi had us stand clear of the door so she could talk to Rukia first. She knocked on the door. "Rukia, can I speak to you please?"
We heard a sigh from inside. "It's unlocked."
I stood with my ear to the wall to try and listen in as Naomi walked into Rukia's dorm room. "Oh, who's your friend Rukia?"
"His name is Renji. I've been trying to teach him proper Kido theory, but he can't get it through his thick skull." I heard a snappy, unrecognizable female voice that I could only assume was Rukia's.
Well there's your problem Renji your tutor is in the beginner class. I laughed to myself. "Sounds like she takes after you a bit, hmm?" I teased Hisana. She laughed quietly to herself.
"I'm not in trouble am I sensei?" I heard Rukia ask.
"Oh no, no!" Naomi said. "I have some people here who are very eager to meet you."
"Um, we're kind of in the middle of something." I heard Renji say only to hear the sound of a fist hitting flesh followed by crashing. I heard the shaking of the table which made me think that Rukia had risen to her feet.
"I'll come greet them." Rukia seemed reluctant to come and see us, but she'd change her mind soon enough.
I heard Rukia's voice increase in volume as she made her way outside the dorm, "So what's so important that you…" she saw Hisana and me. She was the spitting image of her sister in her teens. "You…you…" she looked at Hisana, "you look just like me."
Hisana didn't say anything she just stared at Rukia, both of them not knowing how to react. I decided to mediate.
"Right," I cleared my throat. "Um…Sayuri Rukia…meet Kuchiki Hisana, formerly known as Sayuri Hisana…your older sister. Hisana, I'm assuming introductions aren't in order."
"S-sister?" Rukia was understandably confused given she was abandoned as an infant.
Renji came out of the dorm with a hand over his nose, dried blood staining it. "Ah! Rukia! What the hell was that for and…Lamperouge-sensei!" he bowed to me. "I…a pleasure to see you sir."
"At ease Renji, this isn't an inspection." I told him.
Renji stood erect and then noticed Hisana and scratched his head. "Whoa, talk about seeing double? Is she related to you Rukia?"
"She…says she's my older sister, but I…I thought…"
"You couldn't have known." Hisana was fighting back breaking down into tears. "You were too young when I left you there, crying in the alleyway. I…I'm so ashamed of it." Hisana rubbed underneath her eyelids with the side of her index finger. "I…words will never be enough to express how sorry I am for abandoning you Rukia."
Rukia had no idea what was going on around her. Renji gave her a hearty pat on the shoulder. "Isn't this great Rukia, you have a family."
Rukia looked like she was having a hard time processing all of this. "N-no…no that's not possible. I…my family were all the people I grew up with! I couldn't possibly have any living blood related family at all." Rukia started getting misty eyed. "Could I?"
"You do Rukia and I'm so glad I found you. I searched for you every day…because I couldn't live with myself for abandoning you. I'm so glad you're alive…I'm so glad I can see you."
"Well…that explains a lot." Renji scratched the back of his head.
"What do you mean Renji?" I asked with a serious expression.
"Did you know something about this and didn't tell me?" Rukia got angry with him.
"No! No, of course not!" Renji responded, panicked. Rukia folded her arms and looked at him with a menacing glare. "I…look…it was about three years after you became part of my group. I got up early that morning and went into town to get a crust of bread. You and the others were sleeping soundly and I didn't want to wake you. I saw a woman standing near one of the markets. The back of her head was exactly like yours and she wasn't wearing a Shihakusho so I went over and looked up at her. The sun was in my eye and I couldn't see her that well, but I could've sworn I was looking at your spitting image. However, before I could get a better look the woman at the desk spotted me and tried to hit me with a newspaper so I ran. Never saw the woman again, that's why I didn't say anything."
"Yes, I never went into Rukongai searching for you in my Shihakusho. People are less friendly towards Soul Reapers in the higher numerical districts so I didn't want to be outcast by the people. I just wanted to find you Rukia." Hisana told her.
"It's really hard for me to believe this. I…you can't just come into my life and claim to be my sister!" Rukia shouted. "Looking for me or not…I mean…what do you expect that I should just accept all of this without a second thought?"
"N-no…o-of course not…I…I don't even deserve to be called your sister after what I did, but I…Rukia I just wanted to find you." Hisana stated.
"Well, you found me." Rukia snapped. "Now what?"
Hisana walked over to Rukia and pulled her sister against her, one arm wrapped around her back and the other patting her head. "I…want you to know…how much I love you."
Rukia was completely confused, but the satisfied smile on Hisana's face seemed to make the situation rather serine.
"Hey if you really are Rukia's sister then you and she would share something in common, wouldn't you?" Renji asked.
"Well that's not entirely true, but it's possible." I responded.
"Hisana-san…what's your favorite animal?" he asked her.
"A rabbit." Hisana stated. Rukia reacted.
"What's your favorite type of salad?" Renji asked.
"Egg salad with sliced cucumbers." Again, Rukia seemed to react to Hisana's statement.
"Favorite afternoon snack?"
"Three rice dumplings—"
Rukia looked up from her sister's embrace, "And a hardboiled egg?" Hisana nodded.
"Well…I'd say that almost proves it without a DNA test." Renji scratched his head. "If Hisana-san here isn't your sister then I'm a potato."
Rukia looked at Hisana with confused eyes. "Do you believe me now?" Hisana asked. Rukia responded by tightly wrapping her arms around Hisana, gripping her Shihakusho tightly.
"I do." Rukia sniffed.
Hisana held Rukia back into her embrace. "Ohhh, Rukia, my baby sister."
"Nee-san." Rukia sobbed.
"Lelouch, Naomi," Hisana looked at the both of us. "Could you please excuse us? I need to fill out paperwork falling under the category of sibling relations. Rukia has a lot to inherit and her school name will no doubt need to be changed."
"Changed?" Renji asked, confused.
"Hisana is married to the one and only Kuchiki Byakuya. Once Rukia checks out, by DNA, and all the proper paperwork is filled out that makes her a Kuchiki." I explained.
"O-oh," Renji seemed jarred, who wouldn't if they learned that their best friend was nobility. I imagined the look on Rivalz face if I had ever told him that I was a descendent of the Royal Bloodline. "W-well…that's great Rukia! You've got a family and everything." He was obviously trying to be happy for her, but I knew that this would be trying on Rukia. She'd be thrown into a life she wasn't used to. I wasn't sure how she would adjust. Sure she'd have her sister, but at the moment Hisana was like a complete stranger to Rukia.
There's really nothing you can do about it. It's not your problem.
I know that, but…
Focus Lelouch, don't lose sight of your goal. Eien Tamashi told me.
I sighed and righted myself. You're right. Once again you're right. "Renji."
"Y-yes sir!" Renji stood at attention.
"You might want to start finding a new tutor since your current one's about to become busy by my calculation. I suggest Kira Izuru, he seems to know what he's doing." I suggested.
Renji sighed. "Yes sir." And trotted off.
"Right yourself soldier!" I told him and he bolted upright and walked away.
"You really drive it into them, don't you senpai?" Naomi asked.
"Well if I'm not rough on them they won't learn and they won't learn discipline, especially people like Renji. If that guy ever becomes a Vice-Captain I'll stand on top of the gates leading to the Squad 1 barracks and do an Irish folk dance until I collapse from exhaustion." Ireland, in my time, had become Area 77, but of course, given the relation between my world and the current timeline that was at least twenty years from now.
"That would certainly be a sight to see." Naomi laughed.
"Anyway I should be getting back to work. Thanks for your help Naomi." I told her and went back to my office.
I was a good way down the walkway when she called out, "Anytime senpai!"
Shino Academy Teacher's Lounge
It's been about a half a year since Rukia and Hisana reunited. Much to my surprise, Rukia was adapting rather well to the life of a noble. Sure she was a lot more aggressive and ill-mannered than her sister, but she still had respect for authority and had trouble being a sociable person. Byakuya-fukutaicho had Rukia transferred into the advanced level by pulling some strings. He also put Rukia in my Kido class.
Renji has started to pick up his game with Rukia around. His ability is still deplorable, but at least he's not going to fail the class. I feel sorry for the poor sap that gets him next year for Kido. Interestingly enough, Rukia takes after me in that she's much better at Kido than anything else. Her Kendo and Hakuda are better than mine when I first started, by a very large margin. However, unlike me, her problem is her stature not her stamina. She hasn't learned to overcome her small frame to tackle larger opponents. Most learn how to do that around their third year.
Hisana's stress level has dropped considerably now that she doesn't have to go out to worry about Rukia anymore. It's a good thing I found Rukia when I did, the Seireitei communication posted a warning bulletin about an epidemic that suddenly started sweeping across Inzuri. Hisana realizes that that could've been her had she continued to search for Rukia, causing her to thank me the day the article was printed.
Aizen finally came from out of the shadows. It appears I'm not the only one looking for ready recruits. Six months ago he went sweeping through the academy eyeing the first years, specifically Momo, Izuru, Renji and Rukia.
You can't get Hisana so you go after her sister, that's about as low as it gets Aizen. I thought to myself.
I asked Hisana, in private, if she had any more trouble with Aizen after her transfer, and especially after her marriage. Apparently Aizen had thrown the same proposition at her that he did me, but in the form of marriage proposal. Hisana said she shot him down on the spot. She said she acted like a timid, sorrowful schoolgirl, saying how she just 'didn't deserve Aizen'. That's another thing she and her sister have in common: both are good at faking things.
Originally I had thought that Aizen just wanted a companion, but with Hisana learning Bankai I've started to think that perhaps he's looking to recruit those with talent that he would perceive as a threat if left unchecked. I didn't know whether to count myself lucky or unlucky. Hisana would be fine, she was protected by the statues surrounding noble families and she also had Byakuya-fukutaicho watching over her like a guardian angel. I, however, was about as vulnerable as a pilot in a Knightmare Frame with an exposed cockpit.
I knew Aizen wouldn't give up on me, especially since I too was working towards learning Bankai. Hisana had already learned it hers; she was just working towards mastering it. I hadn't even learned mine.
It was the middle of the afternoon, my afternoon Kido class had been overtaken by the 1st year student headmaster as per a field test for the students to practice their Konso skills. I knew it was coming my star 6th year pupil, Hisagi Shuhei, had given me a slip letting me know that the trip might interfere with his arrival to class later today.
I was sitting at a table, minding my own business when an alarm started going off, restricted to just the teaching lounge. Shuhei's voice began playing over the loudspeaker. "Mayday! Mayday! This is 6th year academy student Hisagi Shuhei requesting backup! We are under attack by a giant hollow! Repeat we are under attack!"
I rushed for the headmaster's office. Those were my students as much as they were their other teachers, but more importantly Rukia was in that mess. I know what it feels like to lose a younger sister. I would not let Hisana experience that same pain.
"Headmaster!" I burst into his office. "Please send me to the World of the Living straight away!"
"Lelouch, while I understand your distress, do not fret I have already sent word to the 5th Division, requesting assistance from Captain Aizen Sosuke."
Oh HELL no! I am NOT letting Aizen protect MY students. I thought of a quick response. "But we need someone who can get on site quickly. Send me! I can get on site and maybe save some students!"
"Lelouch relax, things will be fine. Captain Aizen is a very capable man."
"Oh really." I reached up and went for my contact lens. "I beg to differ headmaster." I removed my contact lens and activated Geass. "You will send me to the World of the Living ahead of Captain Aizen and do exactly as I suggested, sending someone on site to hold off the enemy for as long as possible." Truth be told, I was going to defeat the hollows that were there. When Eien Tamashi and I worked together there was nothing we couldn't accomplish. "You will draft all proper paperwork authorizing such an action."
"Yes…master Lelouch." He said in a dull monotone.
"Good." I left for the Senkamoin immediately. I would protect my students. As I headed for the gate I also geassed any student I happened to make eye contact with instructing them that if they saw Aizen today that they should pester him like they were a member of his fan club. That should slow him down. I thought to myself.
When I arrived on site I saw Momo, Renji, and Izuru being attacked by a group of hollows. It wasn't menos class, but it was too powerful for academy level students. Rukia was nearby. She was using Healing Kido on Shuhei. I took one look at the hollow and held out my arm. "Hado 63: Raikoho!" I blasted it right in the face and blew it up before leaping off the tall building I was on and landing right in front of my students.
"Lamperouge-sensei!" Momo was ecstatic to see me.
"Damage report recruits!" I ordered.
"Sir, 6th year students, Kanisawa Rita and Aoga Raiden, were killed by that thing you just destroyed, sir!" Izuru saluted. "All the other students have potentially made it to a safe location at the request of Hisagi-senpai. We stayed back to fight despite being told to run. If you hadn't shown up when you did we might have had to make a run for it, or potentially be lunch."
"Good." I said as I sensed more hollows. "Rukia, how's Shuhei's condition?"
"I can speak for myself sensei." Shuhei breathed. "I've lost vision in my right eye and my sword arm is banged up, but I'll live and recover."
"Can you use Kido with your off hand?" I asked him.
"Yeah, I can still fight." Shuhei got to his feet. "Why?"
The hollows that I sensed earlier made their appearance. "That's why." I said.
"We're with you sensei, just tell us what to do!" Momo told me.
"Guard my flanks, and keep on the enemy with Kido to slow down their progression. Your spiritual power is too weak to do any real damage, but it'll give me time to take out the enemy." I will protect you all. "Rally and Motivate, Eien Tamashi!" I unleashed my Zanpakuto and tied my cape around my neck. "Uirusu Bakudan!" I fired the spiritual energy at a cluster of hollows the resulting explosion blew them all up. Rukia and the others all huddled around me, chanting the incantation to Shakkaho, save Shuhei who was prepping Sokatsui since he only had one arm to work with. I cleared away all the hollows in front of me before concentrating on the ones on my flank and behind me.
As we fought the horde of hollows seemed endless. This is weird. I thought. There shouldn't be this many, not from just a fluke accident. I scowled. Aizen…this is your doing isn't it? You know I'm out here so you're pressuring me. You want the glory. You want to show that I need the power you offer. Well you can go fall in a ditch somewhere. I'm not giving up. Send all the hollows you want after me and pretend like it's an accident, I know better. Wild accusations against you won't be enough to get you investigated and I'm sure you can keep your nose in the clear, but by pressuring me to give up so that you can take the spotlight…you're just going to turn me into a hero.
The horde continued until my allies started tuckering out. "Lamperouge-sensei," Momo panted as she slunk to the ground, "Is more backup going to arrive?"
"Nee-sama." Rukia's eyes were tearing up in desire for her sister.
"So this…is how it ends?" Izuru panted.
No, it's not ending! If we give up Aizen will prove he's superior. I'm not giving in! I'm strong enough! I can win! "I WILL NOT…GIVE UP!"
My spiritual pressure exploded outwards, giving my allies a migraine while it surged until it calmed down. When it did, Eien Tamashi materialized. "Someone asked for backup?"
"Sensei..." Izuru was in awe, "…is that your—"
"Yes." I responded. "This is my Zanpakuto."
"Sensei." Momo coughed. Next to Shuhei she was the most exhausted and my spiritual pressure had made it worse. "Please protect us." She passed out.
"Ready Lelouch?" Eien Tamashi asked me.
"Of course." I responded.
The horde of hollows came rushing at us and Eien Tamashi and I stood back to back. We launched dark fireballs in every conceivable direction. As the horde died down a Menos came bursting through the garganta.
"Aw crap! We're doomed! We're really, really doomed!" Renji cried.
Not while I'm still standing. I thought. The menos charged a cero. Ok, maybe not. The Cero came barreling towards us, I didn't know what to do, but Eien Tamashi got in front of us all and projected a perfect, spherical barrier that surrounded us all. It blocked all damage from the cero.
"We're still alive!" Renji cried.
"Of course we are." I said. "None of us are dying. Not on my watch." I looked at Eien Tamashi. "Was that…"
"Yes, that was another power of your Bankai." She stated. "You will learn to do that eventually."
The menos roared and prepared another cero.
Eien Tamashi looked at me. "My spherical barricade can hold for two more of those things. Lelouch you have to wipe that thing out with one shot."
"With the barrier still up?" I asked.
Eien Tamashi nodded.
There's only one thing I know that could work then. All right…let's try this. "Everyone stay absolutely quiet. I need to concentrate." I held out my right arm completely outstretched and held my palm to the sky, cupping my fingers as if holding a gem. "Seeping crest of turbidity. Arrogant vessel of lunacy. Boil forth and deny!" The first cero fired forward. I didn't let the screams of my students or the explosion bother me and continued to chant in perfect focus. "Grow numb and flicker! Disrupt sleep!" The menos roared again and took another step toward us before preparing another cero. "Crawling queen of iron! Eternally self-destructing doll of mud!" The second cero fired forward and Eien Tamashi protected us all. The barrier shattered. "Unite! Repulse!" The menos took another step towards us and roared. "Fill with soil and know your own powerlessness!" The menos charged a third cero.
"I don't want to die! Oh please, I don't want to die!" Izuru cried.
Dark black energy sparked in my hands. "Hado number 90: Kurohitsugi!" The large, black coffin rose up out and encompassed the menos the cero it charged exploded on the inside of the technique. When everything cleared though, the menos was destroyed. I could sense no more hollows. Eien Tamashi began to fade. "Thank you." I told her. She smiled as she receded back into my Zanpakuto as I sealed it up. I began to sway in place. I did it. I thought I'd hit the ground and pass out, but my students helped me.
"Lamperouge-sensei!" Rukia and Momo exclaimed respectively as they kept me from falling over onto the ground. I was exhausted, but thanks to them at least I was still conscious for the moment.
"Sir, are you all right?" Izuru asked me.
I stopped panting, jerked my head back to get the hair out of my eyes and smiled. "Yeah, never better." I chuckled.
All of my students smiled at me with various gasps and cries of joy. When I was good enough to walk I went with them to the other students. I was still feeling a little woozy so Izuru and Shuhei let me use their shoulders as arm rests.
"Lamperouge-sensei that was awesome back there!" Renji praised.
"You were very cool, sensei." Momo complimented.
"Nee-sama was right, there is a reason you wear that vest of yours." Rukia stated.
"Hey!" Students were waving as they saw the six of us come up over the horizon.
"Is everyone ok?" Rukia asked.
"They're perfectly fine."
Oh, sure. NOW he shows up. I thought to myself. I looked to my right to see Aizen and Gin standing nearby.
"By the time we arrived all the hollows had been vanquished."
"We would've been here sooner, but it seems Aizen-taicho's built quite de fan club for himself amongst de students. It was rather odd dat dey were choosing an emergency situation to come runnin' up ta us." Gin chuckled.
"Well the alarm only rang in the teacher's lounge." I looked from Gin to Aizen. "As a former teacher you should know we don't like to scare students on the thought that something went wrong. Information is on a need to know basis." You and I both know nothing that happened today was an accident.
"Yes, of course." Aizen smiled at me.
"Lamperouge-sensei was so cool!" Momo was rather impressed with me. "He should get a promotion from his captain!"
"Yeah, he took out a menos grande with Hado number ninety!" Renji backed up her enthusiasm. "That technique's supposed to be almost impossible to do."
"Hado ninety? My, oh my." Gin was genuinely shocked. "You should be passed out after using dat one with all the Hollows ya had to be fighting prior to killing a menos."
"Well, I had a little support." I indicated my students. "Nothing slays hollows like a little bit of teamwork." I got off of Shuhei and Izuru's shoulders. "At any rate Shuhei here needs medical attention. One of the hollows got him in the eye shortly before I arrived." Just because I hate Aizen's guts didn't mean I was going to be disrespectful when working with him. My desire for vengeance and conquest had to remain hidden.
"You yourself seem like you could use medical attention. Your reiatsu is rather drained." Aizen told me.
Now that's something we can agree on. "Yeah, anyway, let's head back." Aizen, as a captain, led the students and I back to the Soul Society.
I was put on sick leave for three weeks so my spiritual pressure could recover. I had a fever at least twice I was so exhausted from all of that. Momo came to visit me on my fifteenth day.
"I brought you flowers and a get well card tree from our class." She said putting both things on my night table.
"You didn't have to do that for me." I chuckled.
"N-not true, flowers help make everyone better." She got pent up.
I laughed. "Thank you, I appreciate it." I said and reached out and pat her head. "So who's been covering for me?" I asked.
"Shapikni-sensei and Rukia's nee-san have been trading off. Rukia said when Kuchiki-sensei heard you were at the care ward because of what you did she just had to do something." Momo laughed. "She and Shapikni-sensei said that they were both your students at one point."
"Well they learned from the best." I laughed. "More importantly, how did you get here? Aren't students normally supposed to stay on academy grounds if they don't have permission to leave?"
Momo reached into her robe and pulled out a student pass signed by Hisana. "Kuchiki-sensei said it was all right when I asked." Momo responded. She put the permission slip away and then took a pose like a love struck school girl. "I…I wanted to come see you sensei. I just didn't get a chance to thank you properly. And so…thank you…sensei…for protecting all of us." Momo flushed.
Oh you cannot be serious.
Someone has a crush on their teacher. Eien Tamashi said in sing song.
I mentally groaned, but kept myself civil and cheerful on the surface. "It was nothing." I responded. "I was just doing my job."
"I wish all the Soul Reapers had your sense of 'just doing their job'." I craned my neck to look over Momo's shoulder and she turned around. Kukaku was standing in the doorway.
"Oi, how's it going Lelouch?" she asked.
"A-ah…Sh-Shiba-uesama!" Momo bowed as low as she could. Her pigtails swayed back and forth her bow was so abrupt.
"Sick in bed again Lelouch, is this going to become a habit of yours?" Kukaku asked me.
"A-ah…S-sensei you know her?" Momo asked.
I nodded. "Kukaku and I are longtime friends. I met her at Shiba-fukutaicho's wedding."
"Don't get the wrong idea kid." Kukaku said to Momo. "Lelouch is just a close pal of former Captains Shihoin Yoruichi and Urahara Kisuke who were two of my closest friends." I didn't know whether Kukaku was trying to make Momo feel better or to cover up her own reputation. Either way Momo understood. "At any rate, your sensei and I have to discuss important grown up stuff so it would be best if you could run along back to the academy."
"H-hai. Of course." Momo waved as she left. "Bye, sensei! Get better soon!"
"I take it you have something interesting to tell me, Kukaku?" I asked.
"Yeah. Here." She dumped a report in my lap. I started skimming it over. "There's a new hollow out on the loose that the Central Forty Six has dubbed the name 'Grand Fisher'." Kukaku explained. The name of said hollow was reported at the top. "That guy is one slippery bastard. He's either slain or escaped every Soul Reaper that attacks him and he's only getting stronger."
"What does this have to do with anything?" I asked.
"It has everything to do with everything. Killing every Soul Reaper I can understand, but some that have mentioned its escaping state that's a little off." Kukaku responded.
I read the report and understood what Kukaku was talking about. Very many hollows have a one tracked mind, whether they're capable of speech or not. This 'Grand Fisher' as it was being called almost seemed to know exactly how we kill hollows and how to avoid becoming destroyed. "You think you-know-who has something to do with this?" I asked not wanting to accuse Aizen out in the open.
"I'd bet my right arm he's got something to do with it. You mentioned how he was interested in hollow research right? The whole incident with Hirako-taicho gave rise to Soul Reapers with hollow powers. What if he's trying to do the reverse now?" Kukaku thought.
I put my hand to my chin and let that statement sink in. "If that were the case, then the first step would be in creating a hollow that is far more intelligent than many others."
"Those were my thoughts exactly. The Central Forty Six will no doubt be certain that Urahara Kisuke is the one responsible, but they're already wasting resources trying to find that guy." Kukaku responded.
I finished reading the report and put it down. "And what am I supposed to go after this thing?" I asked.
"No." Kukaku said. "We can't have you stopping you-know-who's every move. It would look too suspicious. What I do need you to do is sit there for a moment and think up what might be his next step."
I thought about what Aizen might do if Grand Fisher turned out to be a success. It's possible Aizen already considered him such. Let's see…if I was trying to make Hollows more like Soul Reapers and I had already created an intelligent hollow what would I do next? I thought on the point for a few minutes. "If I were trying to create a hollow with Soul Reaper abilities then after creating something like Grand Fisher I would try to create a hollow that could be an anti-Soul Reaper hollow."
"And what would this anti-Soul Reaper hollow be like?" Kukaku asked.
"Well form and appearance I'd have no idea, but it would have to be able to absorb and fuse with a Soul Reaper, sort of like a parasite." I stated. "Wait…won't I get in trouble for talking about stuff like this where people can hear?" I pointed to the security camera.
"Oh please, the Central Forty Six isn't that incompetent. They take what they hear at face value. We already established that we were talking about an investigation. Like I said, they'll assume Kisuke."
"But they can hear that can't they?" I asked.
"They're not going to give a crap that they're wrong so long as we don't say who we're investigating. Also the only way they'd ever review the tape is if you-know-who is particularly paranoid. I don't even know if he knows you and I are working together." Kukaku reassured me. She had about as good a head on her shoulders as I did so I believed her. "I'll keep in touch if I hear wind of a parasitic hollow." Kukaku stated. "Oh, one more thing." She dropped a newspaper in my lap. "Congratulations, you made the front page."
The top news story in the Seireitei Communication was a big scoop about my heroic efforts. You know Aizen you really shouldn't have made a blind man in charge of the division with the newspaper. The article had some input from those involved, minus myself since I've been here for the past two weeks.
One part of the article read: "During the incident, Captain Aizen and Vice-Captain Ichimaru were asked to provide backup in the efforts that 5th Seat Lamperouge could not hold the line. They were held up consistently by students who declared themselves as fans of the 5th Division Captain. Several students that were asked about this said they just felt compelled to greet the 5th Division Captain when they saw him."
"Sounds like Aizen's popularity got the better of him." I laughed not wanting to hint that that was my handiwork. Kukaku may have known about my being Zero, she was the only one who knew. Yoruichi told her about it shortly after Kukaku and I had become friends. Kukaku was wise enough to keep her mouth shut since Zero was a vigilante and she and I were on the same team. However, even she didn't know about the Geass. No one did except for Eien Tamashi, but it's not like she counts in this instance.
"I heard from Kaien that Ukitake-taicho's been thinking of promoting you, but since his higher positions are full you might get transferred back to the 12th Division as 3rd seat since the position is open." Kukaku stated. "If it does happen, try to at least act surprised."
"Hey, if Hisana and Rukia can fake things so can I." I chuckled. Kukaku laughed.
"Ah, you never cease to be an interesting friend Lelouch." Kukaku said after she stopped cackling. "You know you're lucky you're here with all the publicity that story is getting. If there's one person the news maniacs won't bother to forcefully bypass it would be Unohana-taicho."
Knowing her she'd probably do some rather…interesting things with their cameras and notepads if they tried to interview patients. I thought to myself.
"Well, I gotta get going." Kukaku said stretching her arms out. "Nice seeing you Lelouch."
"Same here." I told Kukaku.
When she was gone I looked back at the headline: 'Lamperouge Lelouch Saves Students: Declared a Hero.'
A hero. I thought to myself.
When I was Zero and leading the Black Knights the news always referred to us as terrorists or vigilantes depending on what we had done. Sometimes if Britannia was feeling particularly generous we were called: Criminals with Good Intentions. Never heroes though. We were Knights of Justice, but never labeled as such by the media. However, here in the Soul Society, by saving the lives of a group of first years I was declared a hero. It was a title I never expected nor wanted to receive…not until now anyway.
Not all heroes are paragons Lelouch. Eien Tamashi told me. This path that you are on is a good one. In the open you are a hero in the eyes of the Soul Society. In the dark you are a vigilante fighting to take down a power hungry man who looks to tear the Soul Society asunder right from underneath them.
Yes, it is a good thing I have going and I will continue on this path. Something went off in the corner of my mind. I think I just came up with a name for the second coming of the Black Knights.
Oh? Eien Tamashi asked. Let's hear it.
We will be known…as the Black Heroes! I declared.
Eien Tamashi was less than impressed. Meh, it could use some work.
Do you have a better idea? I asked.
No, but I'm sure someone else does. She responded.
We can't tell anyone about this. I said.
Did I say we had to, I'm just saying I get the feeling someone has a better idea for an organization title than the Black Heroes. Or who knows maybe the idea will just come to you out of thin air. She teased.
I sighed and turned over to get some sleep. Whatever, I'm getting some rest. Apparently that's the best thing for me right now is to eat and rest. My strength will return quicker if I do.
Have a good rest then. Eien Tamashi told me.
I closed my eyes and slowly but surely faded into my subconscious.
Chapter 26 End
(A/N: Right, like Eien Tamashi said, someone has to have a better name than the Black Heroes. Anyone? Anyone at all? Right…so yeah not only did Lelouch wind up saving Hisana from getting sick and reuniting her with Rukia, but he also saved Momo and the others, severely lessening Momo's dedication to Aizen and forming a special place in her heart. And now it seems he has an idea about Aizen coming up with the idea to create Metastacia. Anyway, I managed to get this done before I had to go to Spanish class today and I hope you really enjoyed this chapter. I may or may not take a break from the series to figure out how I want to orient the next chapter. See you later everyone! NOTE: uesama is a very formal way of addressing someone and only used for members in a different caste than the speaker. It denotes a high level of respect and unfamiliarity. My guess is that the only reason Soifon uses just 'sama' as opposed to 'uesama' is because Yoruichi says its ok. We all know that woman doesn't care much for honorifics.)