Epilogue: Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Unohana Restu frowned as she walked through the threshold of the Seireitei Insane Asylum. She never enjoyed visiting these places; the buildings were poorly maintained and the staff never really cared for the patients under there care. More often than not they just left the inmates to their own devices, only intervening when they got violent. Seireitei was different, one of the few institutions that was actually well maintained and properly staffed.

It needed to be, since it mostly housed the most extreme and violent cases.

"Hana-chan!" a woman in a grey business suit called to the somber doctor, waving.

"Ichihara Yuko," Unohana said, walking up to the woman and smiling warmly, "it's been far too long."

"Since medical school, right? Hard to believe we've both come so far since then, eh 'Rising star of psychology'?" The catish woman nudged her friend playfully.

"Personally I think become director of one of the prestigious Seireitei Asylum is much more prestigious," the doctor replied, rubbing her arm where her friend nudged her. (More for show than because of actual pain.)

"I'd have to disagree with you on that," her friend said, folding her arms across her chest, "but I get the feeling you didn't come all this way for a social visit."

"You know perfectly well why I'm here," Unohana-sensei admonished gently, "you can knock off the 'mysterious' act with me."

"You're right; I forgot how no nonsense you get when it comes to business." The two women turned and headed into the heart of the building.

They passed by several rooms where the inmates went in the evenings; most where empty, but a few had people in them, doing or saying whatever it was they were admitted for.

"These are mostly the mild cases," Yuko explained. "For the most part they get along with the others, and just do there own thing the rest of the time. Though there is the rare case of one of them having a severe episode…" She stopped in front of one of the door with the initials "C.C." on it and peered inside. A girl with wild lime green hair was sitting on bed in the middle of the room, her arms tied behind her in a straight jacket. It looked like she was muttering something to herself.

"What happened?" Unohana asked, peering in as well.

"She somehow got it into her head that we would be serving pizza here and she practically destroyed the place looking for it. She likes pizza."

"You don't say…" Unohana sweatdropped.

As they continued on they passed what looked like a rec room that many of the inmates were using at the moment. After that they came upon another set of rooms, most of which were occupied this time.

"This is where the more severe cases are," Yuko explained, now fully immersed in the role of the tour guide, "they're more troublesome than normal and sometimes can get violent. For example we have young woman named Suzumiya who believes she's god and thinks her circle of friends are something supernatural themselves. We also have a young man who thinks he's a ninja; he keeps making strange hand signs and says 'I'm a ninja, believe it!' to everyone he can. He even ripped up his shirt and made some sort headband that he wears all the time. He gets rather violent when anyone tries to take it away from him."

"That sounds pretty bad."

"It gets worse; during the night he talks to something he calls the 'Nine Tailed Fox'. It's probably nothing more than an alternate personality his mind made up to deal with some issue or other, but it's damn creepy to listen to." The Seireitei director shivered noticeably.

Unohana put a comforting hand on her friend's shoulder. Ichihara Yuko wasn't a woman who was shaken easily, so if something was unnerving her this much than it had to bad.

"I'm OK," Yuko said after a moment. "Come on, let's keep going; the next wing doesn't have as much insane ravings…"

They walked for another ten minutes, this time in silence; after Yuko's unpleasant experience neither woman felt much like talking. Soon they arrived at a heavy door with an even heavier looking lock. Yuko reached into her pocket and pulled out a plastic key card, sliding it through a reader and opening the way into the Maximum Security Wing.

"We have to keep your new charge in here because it's honestly the only place that can hold her; she's incredibly unstable, even injured a few of the orderlies when they tried to restrain her." The director turned to her friend as the door slowly swung open, "I hope you know what you're getting yourself into."

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't," she said confidently.

"If you say so…"

They headed down a hall, passing burly looking guards every few door. The doors were different than the ones in the wing as well, they were made completely out of metal, a sliding shutter replaced the glass windows of the previous model. The names were also different; they looked more like titles than actual names. She even recognized some of them from reports as well as new articles she read.

Alexander Anderson: also known as "The Judas Priest". He was a special case brought in from Dublin, Ireland. He helped run an orphanage with other priests from the Catholic Church, and was reportedly very good natured. However he had a darker side that few people lived to see; he would become an unfeeling demon to those he labeled "irredeemable", slicing them up into little piece with his "blessed bayonet's". He was finally apprehended by a paramilitary group on loan from England. He was transferred to Seireitei when the facility in Europe deemed him "Incurable; persisting in delusions of righteousness and frequent violence".

Sonozaki Shion: also known as "The Hammer of Oyashiro-sama". From the small town of Hinamizawa, she was the estranged daughter of the local crime family. It was estimated that as long as six years ago she had been killing the populace in a ritual derived from a local piece of folklore. In the last few months she killed and took the place of her twin sister Mion, eventually alerting the authorities to her actions. She was finally apprehended in the middle of slicing up three young girls and a young boy, later revealed to be Mion's circle of friends.

Otonashi Saya: also known as "Diva, The Last Vampire". She lived in Okinawa for the last three years in the care of her foster father, George Miyugusku, along with her two foster brothers. She was found by George at his family tomb, naked and apparently suffering from severe amnesia. All accounts said she was a normal teenage girl, but it was later learned that she lead a secret life; during the night an alter personality, apparently called "Diva", would emerge and kill random people before drinking their blood. She was found by a gentlemen's club called "The Red Shield" in an alley drinking blood from a classmate.

Yagami Raito: also known as "Kira, God of the new World". He was by far the most publicized of all the inmates here. A promising college student, he made it his mission to rid the world of evil in his own way, eventually ruling in as god. What was unique about him was that he announced his intended victims publicly by sending video tapes to a news station and having them play the day before. It took the efforts world renowned detective L to finally bring him to justice. When the police were confiscating his belongings they found a notebook labeled "Death Note" that contained detailed descriptions of how he planed to kill his victims. A report she read stated that since his incarceration he'd been raving about his divine purpose, as well as demons called "Shinigami" that instructed him how to do it.

"This place always place always gives me the creeps," Yuko said, stopping in front of an unmarked door. "Care to take a look at what you're getting yourself into?"

Unohana nodded, and Yuko opened the slide shutter on the door. The visiting doctor peered inside the cell.

A spiky haired girl between the ages of fifteen and sixteen years old was wrapped in a straight jacket, rocking back and forth in the fetal position on the bed. She had dark circles around her eye and a good part of her hair was starting to hang limp. She had one or two dark blotches on her forehead.

"How did she get those bruises?" Unohana asked.

"By banging her head against the wall," was Yuko's succinct reply. "It happened the other day when one of the orderlies, Yamada Hanatarou, was bringing her some food. Out of nowhere she just flipped out, throwing herself around the room. Gave Yamada-kun a few lumps of his own before she was sedated."

"She looks fairly calm now. But because I know it will bug you if I don't, you can send in one of the guards in case she has another episode." Unohana smiled reassuringly.

"Oh, not 'the smile'!" Yuko whined. "You know nobody can resist it…Fine…You over there!" she called to one of the guards down the hall, "Please go in with Unohana-sensei and make sure Arisawa-chan doesn't hurt her." The guard nodded and walked up beside the two women. Satisfied, Yuko took out her card key again and slide it through the reader. The door clicked opened and swung out noisily.

"Arisawa-san?" Tatsuki started a bit, but otherwise just continued rocking. Unohana tried again, "Tatsuki-san? My name is Unohana Retsu, it's nice to meet you."

Tatsuki finally looked up and the gentle doctor.

"Tatsuki-san? I'd like to talk with you, if that's alright?"

"It's fine…" Tatsuki replied distantly. "I don't care…"

"Arigato," Unohana said as she sat next to Tatsuki on the bed. She flashed the girl her million watt, award winning smile, "I want to ask you some questions about what happened, do you mind?"

"Iie…" Tatsuki just continued to rock back and forth, holding onto her knees. Unohana decided to begin her questions.

"I was hoping you could tell me about Inoue Orihime."

"Hime-chan?...Oh, how is she?..."

"Well, she's dead."

"No she's not…"

Unohana expected as much, so she just ignored it for now.

"Could you tell me what happened before the policemen found you in the hotel?"

"Not much to tell…Hime-chan came to watch my last fight…I had a bum arm then so I didn't do so well, ended up loosing…Hime-chan met me in my hotel room after the fight, said she made it so I won the fight…I hadn't talked with her in a couple days before that…"

"When did you two talk before that?"

"I don't know…I guess after she killed the stupid dyke bitch…"

"You mean Honso Chizuru; that was a terrible thing that happened, wasn't it?"

"Not really…I hated her guts…She deserved what she got…"

"Yes, I think we're all well aware of your opinion on the matter. Can you get back to telling us about the hotel?"

"Hai…She took me to the basement where she said she had a surprise for me…we got to a room with some bodies in it…I didn't like it then…I got mad at her, then I fell asleep…When I woke up again I saw Soi-fon's body on the floor…"

"Soi-fon was the girl you fought in the last round of the tournament, ne?"

"Hai…I got mad at her again…Then she told me I wasn't her friend anymore…."

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Tatsuki sat on her bed, still hugging her knees. She never really slept much anymore, not unless the people in white made her fall asleep. She didn't really mind it too much; the void it caused in her mind helped her to forget.

She had terrible dream, replays of the memory of that day more like. It was terrible; first Hime-chan cuts up Soi-fon from the tournament, then she put that big gun in Tatsuki's mouth, and then her forehead erupted in a geyser of blood. She was smiling the while time. It was too much; she just couldn't handle the shock of it all.

So she just pretended like it never happened; she figured that if she wished hard enough, then somehow it wouldn't have happened. Simple really, and easier than she thought it would be. Sure enough, Orihime came to visit her for a little while every day. Orihime would talk to her and tell her how she'd been doing since that day, reassuring her that everything would be alright, promising never to hurt her again. Even just earlier she'd told her that she'd make it so Tatsuki wouldn't be sad anymore.

For some reason, that made Tatsuki feel good inside.

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

"Well, she's dead."

"No she's not…"

Unohana rewound the tape a few seconds and pressed play.

"Well, she's dead."

"No she's not…"

And again.

"Well, she's dead."

"No she's not…"

And again.

"Well, she's dead."

"No she's not…"

And many more times. It was what bothered her the most about this girl, that she was either unable or unwilling to accept the death of her friend.

Deciding not to torture herself, she scanned the tape forward to later in the session.

"Look, Tatsuki-san, I know this is hard for you to accept, but you're eventually going to have to come to terms with this."

"No, she's not dead…" Tatsuki shook her head furiously here. "I see her every night…"

"Tatsuki-san, please-"

"She's. Not. Dead."

"Tatsuki-san-"

"NO! She's not, she's not, she's not, she's not, she's-" Unohana didn't need to hear the rest; Tatsuki had gone on like that and thrashed about until the guard restrained her and Yuko gave her a sedative.

The way Unohana understood what had happened that night, Inoue Orihime, the girl everyone had taken to calling The Damaged Princess, had been shot right in front of the poor girl. That was easily more than enough trauma to mess a normal person up, let alone someone who was already under emotional turmoil. (If Unohana had seen the corpses the Damaged Princess produced, she doubted she'd have held it together half as well.) The way things looked now it appeared as if Arisawa Tatsuki would never recover from this.

What really bothered her was the absolute certainty that Tatsuki exhibited when trying to convince her that Orihime was still alive; it wasn't a good sign and frankly didn't bode well.

But she was optimistic; she would try until the very last to held this poor girl regain the lucidity she had lost if it was the last thing she did.

Glancing at her bedside clock she realized how late it was and decided to wait until morning when she had a clear head. She got up from her desk, undoing the long braid she normally kept her hair in. After changing into a nightgown she crawled in her bed, snuggling under the covers. She soon fell into the arms of Morpheus, drifting through a dreamless sleep.

"~You made Tatsuki-chan upset; that wasn't very nice.~"

Unohana jerked awake, staring at the silhouette standing in front of her window.

Owari