A/N: There's quite a group to thank for reviews: TheCresantMoonWolf, Quick-n-Popular, Phantom Claire, Kitakana, Dragon and Sword Master, Quickslice, hollownature, Assault Godzilla, KitElizaKing, curiocherry, jcampbellohten, Dark Inu Fan, "Guest," and onlytoask. And thank you to anyone who put this or its author on their lists. I forgot to put the yen to dollar conversion in a note on the last chapter for the cake but it was priced at $2,000 as of the date and time I wrote it. That's one expensive cake, huh? I have to thank Just Watch Me for their advice about wedding cakes. It's come in quite handy and no doubt will again in the future.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al.
The Kurosaki Affair
Paperwork and Fullbring
Karin watched from a safe distance as the maroon haired girl tried to use her strange power on Momo. Several objects had already been shrunk and stuffed into a toy box of some kind, leading the princess to believe that was where the intruder was trying to put the lieutenant. Luckily the odd hearts that kept floating about were no match for Tobiume, the Zanpakutou's fire burning them before they ever reached the Shinigami. The fact that she kept missing was making the villain angry and her aim was getting worse as time went on. It would be funny if things weren't so serious.
Toushiro's fight had taken an odd turn as the two males were separated from everyone else by some sort of black box, rendering them in an alternate dimension thanks to the bratty boy's toy. The captain hadn't gone bankai so Karin assumed everything was under control, if a little weird. None of her brother's friends were normal anyway so this was just right for them.
"Yo, Yukio, give me one of those boxes! This is taking too long!" The male accomplice must have been able to hear her from where he was because another black dimension appeared, trapping Momo inside.
Hinamori-sama!" the female temporary soul shouted, concern in her voice. Neither gigai inhabitant had spoken until then.
"Don't worry, she'll be fine. You know what happens when someone threatens the captain's childhood friend." Toushiro's substitute looked over calmly at the first black box and nodded decisively. "Any minute now."
"He's going to go bankai, isn't he?" Karin asked, thinking that the tenth division leader had a lot in common with her brother. "That is so overboard."
"Indeed but he has vowed destruction to whoever dares to hurt Lieutenant Hinamori," the soul answered. "After he accidentally stabbed her at the end of the war, he's been most insistent on her well being."
"He has always been protective of her," the other one answered and the trio watched as the box Toushiro was in cracked and exploded. Reishi filled air blew passed them in a wave, blowing hair and pushing their feet backwards.
Standing high in the sky with dragon wings on his back, Toushiro glared malevolently at Yukio. For his part, the human stood in shock, the majority of his body encased in ice. "Release her," the captain demanded, a clear threat in his voice.
Instead of answering, the young man started to fall, his ability to remain hovering in the air impaired by the weight of the ice. He floundered briefly until Toushiro grabbed him and placed him none-too-gently on the road. "Hey, let me go! I'm starting to lose the feeling in my limbs!"
Toushiro ignored him and left him alone in favor of releasing Momo himself. Just as he was going to slice through the other dimension it dissolved, revealing Momo and a bound Riruka. Hyourinmaru stood poised above her head, a bewildered look appearing on his owner's face. "You're alright."
"Of course I am," Momo replied, a slightly exasperated tone in her voice. "Did you think someone of this caliber was going to stop me? I've been practicing, you know."
"But you were having difficulty earlier…"
"That? I was just being lazy."
The conversation between captain and adjunct was cut off when Riruka began protesting her confinement, a special kido having tied her up and bound her powers. Yukio continued to complain from where he was, not that anyone was listening. Both villains fell into a sulk, making the onlookers wonder if they had been trying to kill Karin all along. They were too much like kids who'd been thwarted from their attempt at getting a treat than anything else.
"Okay, so what are we going to do with these two?" Karin asked, coming to stand next to her friends when they came to rest on the ground. Momo and Toushiro returned to their bodies, the white haired captain frowning.
"That is a good question. Neither Kurosaki nor Head Captain Yamamoto ever said what they wanted done."
"Well, we can't have them arrested. Yukio never actually attacked me and even if they could be charged with something, their powers would allow them to escape." Karin stared at the duo, wondering what to do now.
"We can't take them to the Soul Society either," Momo mused, tapping her chin with her finger.
"I suppose that only leaves one alternative," Toushiro sighed. "We'll have to take them to Urahara. No doubt he'll be ecstatic to study their powers."
"Yeah, but how are you going to accomplish that?" Karin asked, visions of UFO sightings filling her head.
"I'll take them back," a new voice said, strong reiatsu filling the air in an instant before settling into a low hum. The owner walked towards them nonchalantly although there was a grim look on his face.
"Ichi-nii." Karin watched her brother come closer and study the two intruders.
"Yo, Karin. How are you doing?"
"I'm fine," his sister answered. "What are you doing here? It's over two hundred kilometers from home."
"Well, Byakuya pointed out that there might be a problem with what to do with these guys so I came to deal with them after the fact."
"Hn, and here I thought you might believe that we were incapable of handling these mere humans," Toushiro returned, a white brow arched in challenge. "We have to return these gigais anyway so we can escort these two," he continued.
"Nah, I knew you guys had a handle on it," Ichigo said, his hand scratching the back of his head in a nervous gesture that his sister knew all too well.
"I bet you were pacing the entire time," she teased. "Byakuya-niisama probably had to sit on you."
"Nah, Rukia just reminded me that I had to let others do things once in a while." He grinned sheepishly before slinging Riruka over his shoulder and picking Yukio up in one hand. That he only needed one hand for each told of how strong he'd become. "I'll call you later to let you know what Hat-n-Clogs finds out. Oh, and Toushiro don't forget to get fitted for a tux. Ise-fukutaicho is cracking down on us about it now."
Toushiro blinked, the change in topic surprising him for a moment. "I believe I've missed something. Why would I need to get fitted for this world's formal wear?"
"Didn't I tell you? You're one of my groomsmen."
"I don't recall agreeing to such a thing."
"Well, I just assumed that since Hinamori-san was one of Rukia's bridesmaids that you'd want to escort her. I guess I could choose someone else…" Ichigo trailed off, waiting for the shorter man to protest.
"Oh, say you will, Shiro-kun. It will be such fun," Momo encouraged, her lips twitching with the urge to laugh. Karin wasn't holding anything back, snickers coming from her without restraint.
"Very well, I will stand up with you. I'll get fitted before returning to the Soul Society. Let us go, Momo."
"We can't leave yet, Shiro-kun. We have a game tomorrow and since you came up with a new strategy to defeat the opposing team, you need to be there to see it through," the lieutenant lectured, waving goodbye to the Spirit Prince as he turned to go home.
Toushiro opened his mouth to protest but was met with two sets of female eyes that clearly said he wasn't getting out of this. Ichigo had already left so he'd get no help from that quarter. "Very well…" he grumbled, turning on his heel. "You better not lose, Kurosaki!" he shouted. "If I stay one more day in this dimension…"
Karin laughed outright as she watched him walk away. "My brother's going to drive him crazy one of these days."
"Oh, I don't think Unohana-san would allow that," Momo said, falling into step with the other dark haired girl.
"Probably a good thing," Karin said, laughter still in her voice. "So, shall we go get something to eat? All that excitement really worked up an appetite."
"Do you know of any place good? I haven't been able to get Shiro-kun to agree to do anything but eat in."
Looping her arm through the lieutenant's, Karin grinned mischievously. "Leave it to me, Hinamori-san. Having been a student here for some time, I know all the good spots. Yo, Toushiro, let's grab something to eat!"
The captain, who had been several meters ahead, stopped and glared at the duo. "You can go by yourselves. I have paperwork to take care of," he grouched. "Just bring me back something."
"Aww…" Momo pouted briefly but let him go. There was a lot of reports to fill out so she couldn't blame him for wanting to get it over with. This incident was going to generate a lot of paperwork and probably more once the attackers got studied.
"Leave him to his reports. We'll have a girls' night out and make him wish he'd gone with us."
"He really hates paperwork."
"Then we'll bring him back something really nice. Besides, it shouldn't take him very long to complete a report or two."
"I hate to say this, Kurosaki-san, but your brother always generates a lot of paperwork."
Karin would have defended her brother in his absence but remembering all the crap he'd gotten into in the past, she decided against it. "Well, then, the next time he does something stupid, tell that old guy to make him fill out his own reports."
"You can't really order a prince around," Momo pointed out.
"Nonsense, Rukia-nee does it all the time."
The next morning when the paper reported sightings of a UFO, Ichigo was confronted by angry Kuchiki siblings, the younger dropping a stack of papers onto the kitchen table in front of him. Obviously Rukia had been sent back by the Head Captain with orders to make him explain himself. "Oops," he muttered and could have sworn he heard Toushiro damn him to hell.
"Idiot," Rukia shot back and turned on her heel to leave through the still open Senkaimon.
"Hey!" he protested.
"You have until midnight." The Senkaimon closed behind her, cutting off any chance that he could retort.
"I suggest you begin immediately."
"I hate paperwork," Ichigo grumbled.
"Then perhaps you shouldn't create it for others," Byakuya suggested, a slight condescension in his voice.
"I don't mean to," the younger man answered.
"Perish the thought."
Urahara, who had no idea what was going on in the royal household, was neck deep in his experiments, glorying in the fact that he had something interesting to sink his teeth into. Yoruichi had taken off for parts unknown with Soi Fon in an attempt to calm the younger woman's rage and with the kids off in college, Tessai was the only one he had for company.
As much as he liked the other man, science was much more interesting. At present he was fascinated with the powers the two people who'd attack Karin had, the influence Hollows had in their development an surprising if not unexpected turn of events. He'd run several tests, sensing a unique energy signature that while not entirely unlike Ichigo's Vizard powers, wasn't like anything he'd come across before.
"When are you going to let us out of here?" Riruka demanded, staring angrily at her captor while her companion sulked.
"I'm afraid I can't do that, Riruka-san. You see, because you tried to hurt Kurosaki-san, her brother is most upset. And as he is who he is, I'm afraid I don't have the authority to go against him." If they didn't know he was going to be the Spirit King, there was no way he was going to let the cat out of the bag. "Instead, why don't you tell me what you call this power of yours."
"Fullbring, it's called Fullbring," Yukio said, as if it was obvious. "I thought you were supposed to be some genius. Kugo sure thought you were."
"Don't tell him anything, Yukio!" Riruka shouted, seeing the light of comprehension dawn in the scientist's eyes. "Great, now he'll figure everything out."
"My, my, so he has returned," Urahara murmured and left the room to make a call. While he'd been exiled at the time of Kugo Ginjo's entrance into their world, he knew about him and had been keeping an ear to the ground for when the guy surfaced. Why he hadn't when Ichigo had first become a Substitute had been unclear, especially when the prince had lost his powers as it would have been a perfect opportunity to try to get Ichigo on his side.
Yukio, realizing his mistake, cursed and went back to staring at the wall. "You're an idiot," Riruka told him spitefully. "If you had just kept quiet, they wouldn't know what's going on until it was too late. Now they'll know what to expect."
"Then I guess we'll just have to rely on Kano. They still don't know that he's one of us."
Unbeknownst to them, someone had returned home and heard every word they'd just said. "Soi Fon," Yoruichi whispered.
"I understand, Yoruichi-sama," the shorter woman whispered and was gone in a flash.
It seemed that some more covert operations were in order.