Chapter 18

"You mean Head Captain is allowing you to choose your squad?" Renji asked as he escorted her through the Seireitei.

Kagome nodded. "Yeah, but I think I would rather he pick for me. I have five captains to choose from and I'm not sure where to go. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings."

Renji could understand her dilemma, but she had a choice no other starting shinigami had. The right to choose. Usually, shinigami straight from the academy were placed in divisions the higher authorities thought would suit them best.

"Are you planning on telling me which of the five captains offered you a position?" He asked, crossing his fingers that his captain was one of them.

Kagome looked up at him with a hint of mischief in her eye. "Why? So you can persuade me into joining the squad of your choice?"

His eyes widened and he feigned ignorance. "I would never."

She laughed. "Yes you would."

"Ok, so I would."

"Well, I can tell you this much, your captain is interested."

His brows launched into his bandana. "You're kidding me?"

She shook her head. "Nope. He wouldn't offer me a spot until I showed him and the other captains what my zanpakuto was capable of. When he saw it, he was impressed."

"So why are you so nervous? Just pick my captain and call it good."

Kagome's eyes lost the sparkle and she looked down at her feet. "It's not that easy, Renji. They all gave what seemed to be a mini interview…ugh that's not even the right word…but anyway they each told me why they wanted me in their group and I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings."

Renji silently and mentally kicked himself in the shins. Of course she could think like that. She was not much different than Inoue and always thought about other's feelings before her own. "Would you mind telling me the names of the other captains? Maybe I can give you some advice." She cast him a look that said clearly, he'd be biased. He held his hands up in his defense. "I will keep it strictly professional. One shinigami to another."

Kagome stopped and looked around. This place was confusing. Not only did she naturally have a horrible time with directions, everything here looked the same. The same roofing the same colored buildings. Even the sidewalks looked the same. She sighed. She wanted a change of scenery. Maybe that would help ease the butterflies in her stomach.

"Is there someplace better we can talk? I'm tired of looking at white walls."

He chuckled under his breath and gave her a lopsided grin. "Sure. I know just the place." He didn't give her any warning. He grabbed her firmly around the waist and with a strong push of his legs; he used shunpo to move them at a high rate of speed.

He regretted not giving her any warning. By the time he landed on top of the hill over looking the Rukongai, the only thing his brain registered was the ringing in his ears. That girl had a set of lungs! Kagome rushed over to the edge of the cliff while Renji buried his finger in his ear to try to gain some semblance of hearing back.

"Wow! The buildings all look to be from the Sengoku Jidai! It's such a fantastic view." Kagome smiled, clasping her hands together in front of her chest in excitement.

Renji mirrored her smile and walked up beside her. "My friends and I used to come up here all the time."

She looked up at him, blinking her cobalt eyes curiously. "Used to? Why did you stop?"

Renji turned to face the three grave markers behind them. He motioned his hands in their direction, noting the shame in her eyes. She dropped her hands to her side. "I'm sorry…I didn't…"

Renji shook his head, "Hey, don't worry about it ok. It happened a long time ago."

She nodded. She turned back to face the city. She remained quiet for a span of time, not sure what to say. Instead, she studied every detail of the city below, watching as the villagers mulled around, going about their daily lives. Finally, her mind settled on the topic that brought them to this place in the first place. Picking her squad.

"You still want to know who all offered me a place?"

Renji moved up beside her, his hands folded in front of him. He too looked down at the city below, remembering what it was life to to fight for survival.


"Komomura, Hitsugaya, Byakuya, Ukitake and Hirako."

He whistled under his breath. That was quiet the line up. He could see her predicament. She was already staying with Komomura, she was acquainted with Hitsugaya and there was Byakuya. "Well, I see why you're having a hard time choosing."

Kagome looked over at Renji and nodded. "Could you maybe tell me a little bit about all of them? Maybe that will help me decide."

"Sure. How about we have a seat. I don't' know about you, but I'm tired." Kagome smiled and agreed. He didn't speak again until both were sitting down on the grass with their feet dangling over the edge of the cliff.

"I honestly don't know much about Captain Komomura other than he's a good leader and has a good heart. He gets a lot of shit because of his appearance and he used to hide his face, but he gained the confidence a couple of years ago to stop hiding behind a mask. Captain Ukitake is one of the longest running captains and by far the most gentle. He is Rukia's captain. He suffers from an illness that keeps him in bed most of the time, but he doesn't let it get to him. Captain Hitsugaya, well you've already met him, but he's a genius. The youngest captain ever I think and one of the youngest to graduate from the academy. It was said he was having dreams of his zanpakuto before he even enrolled in the academy."

"I did to. Before I woke up here, I had a dream of chasing Sesshomaru through the woods." Kagome interrupted.

"I heard. You are a special case I think considering you got to skip the academy all together."

Her eyes lit up. "Does that mean I have the potential to be a captain?" Her cheeks took a pink hue. "Sorry, please do continue."

Renji laughed before continuing. "Captain Hirako is a bit special. He's a bit on the perverted and laid back side. Not to the degree of laziness, but close. He is also slightly different from most of the captains, well shinigami in general. He is a Vizard. A shinigami with hollow powers. On another note, if you haven't noticed already, he like to think of himself as a ladies man. Of course, he doesn't have anything of Captain Kyoraku. Lastly, Captain Kuchiki. He is from one of the four royal families and is currently head of the Kuchiki clan. He is also Rukia's older brother. He's a bit standoffish, quiet, always looks like he's brooding, and can act like a total jerk, but he means well. He is also one of the fastest shinigami and very good with kido."

Kagome snorted. "Sounds like Sesshomaru."

I heard that…

Well it's true! You didn't speak unless it was important or to taunt Inuyasha. You always looked like you were brooding, and you are an esteemed demon born of royal blood unless I'm mistaken.

Sesshomaru remained quiet and Kagome smirked. Kagome 1, Sesshomaru 0. "That helps a little bit I guess, but I still don't know who to pick. I mean, Sesshomaru told me to go with Komomura, Hitsugaya or Ukitake, but I think his opinion is biased. Komomura has the appearance of a youkai, and he too has silver hair…And if he knew that Captain Kuchiki has a similar demeanor he'd probably pick him."

This caused Renji to laugh. "Sounds like you have quiet the Zanpakuto."

"Yeah. It's weird though. I knew Sesshomaru in life, heck; I fought beside him just two years ago against Naraku. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he's now a spirit residing in a sword."

Such is the fate of a Youkai, Miko. Most become lowly hollows and I was not so pure of heart like your Kitsune captain to be reborn in Soul Society. This fate is not so bad. I can continue to fight and grow stronger. That is all that matters.

"It is strange." Renji held his sheathed zanpakuto in front of him. "I never really thought into it. I always figured our zanpakuto were sort of like a split personality or something, not an entirely separate being. I wonder if Zabimaru was youkai in life as well."

"Well, what does he look like?"

"He is a large, white baboon with a snake tail."

Zabimaru…I recognize that name. Sesshomaru pondered in the back of Kagome's mind.

Do you know of him, Sesshomaru?

She could feel him shaking his head. No, but the name is familiar.

"I saw several monkey demons and even a few baboons, but none with a snake tail, but it is possible." Kagome smiled.

"Maybe I'll ask him later."

"You know what, Renji?"


"I think I've made up my mind." She grinned.

He raised a tattooed eyebrow. "Oh really? Care to inform me of your decision?"

She shook her head. "Nope! It'll be a surprise!" She stood up and stretched her arms above her head.

Renji followed her suit, opting to forgo the stretching. He looked down at her with narrowed eyes. Who did she pick? He wondered. She didn't seem to notice his prying eyes and wondered off towards the grave marked. She knelt before them, wiping off a thin layer of dust that collected on the crosses.

"We should place flowers for them. I think they'd like that." She said casually. Continuing to ignore Renji's stares, she stood up and wondered towards the small forest. "You coming?"

He blinked in confusion. "What?"

Kagome gave him an ear-to-ear smile. "I asked if you were coming? I want to find some flowers to leave as an offering to your friends."

"Um…sure…" He followed her quietly, not sure why she would want to leave flowers for people she didn't know.

She's just that gentle.

The voice caught Renji off guard. He continued to walk as if nothing happened, but his thoughts turned inward. Zabimaru?

Of course it is. Who else would be talking in your head you buffoon? The voice of the snake hissed in laughter.

No offense, but why the sudden intrusion? Renji asked. It wasn't as if he and Zabimaru weren't close, they just usually talk like this. Their conversations usually came when he mediated and visited him in his inner world.

That girl, she is a pure soul. We can sense this. The baboon commented. It is strange that such a pure soul would attract such a powerful zanpakuto.

What do you mean? You know of this Sesshomaru? It would seem he was going to have the youkai conversation with Zabimaru sooner than he thought.

Of course we do. He was the Lord of the West. Predecessor of the Great Inu Taisho. Never met him in person, but I know the stories. It was said he raised a human child despite his hatred of the human kind.

Why would he do that?

I do not know, but I think it had something to do with Kagome. She has a habit of changing people whether she means to or not. If the Great Lord Sesshomaru never met Kagome, he never would have taken the human child under his paw.

So…Zabimaru…were you a youkai to? Before you became my zanpakuto?

Of course we were. We were nothing as extraordinary like Sesshomaru, but we were respected in our own way.

Wow…I never would have guessed. Thank you for telling me this, Zabimaru.