Chapter XIII

Muramasa watched as Byakuya stretched out his hand towards the girl, waiting for her to hand the sword over to him and allow a proper transfer of the two souls. His breath got caught in his throat. The assurance made from the others, the acceptanace, was soon forgotten along with their presence as he watched Orihime reach out to drop the blade in his palm. His usually calm eyes widened with great fear as a sharp emotion stabbed at him, the sight of her uncertainty was enough to drive him over the edge. The wind around Orihime shifted and there standing before her was Muramasa, his back facing her as he violently slashed at the offending hand, his eyes a fierce glare fixed upon the unfazed captain who had quickly moved his arm out of harm's way. It was terrible and painful, his heart was beating erractically he was sure she could hear it, maybe even feel it. His arm froze, suspended in the air with his knuckles white from the grip he had on the weapon. That emotion felt within that moment, felt from her very heart, struck fear in him. Fear of loss and fear of pain, but the most was loneliness.


Her voice so sweet was laced with confusion and a small hint of pain. Did she feel it, he wondered. Was she even aware of the fear that had spiked in her, if only for a moment? The eyes around them suddenly became cold and threatening, a large shadow that smiled an evil grin knowing exactly who he was and what he was to be. His mind became confused; did they not understand what they were about to do? Was he the only one that could see the danger, feel it's faint presence within his very being? He stood upright, relaxing his posture and lowering the blade as the others watched him carefully. Why couldn't they just leave them be? Like this, with the invisible line between them, she wouldn't be forced to have something so horrible inside her. She would be protected and he would still be able to help her gain strength. The calm returned to his face as his eyes locked onto Byakuya's. His composure to his sudden attack infuriated him, as though he cared not of what his actions would cause; he of course knew better and it only served to aggravate him further.

"What is the meaning of your interferance, Muramasa?" He asked with a low voice. By his side, Senbonzakura stiffened slightly at the anticipation of a fight beginning to take place, but otherwise made no other move and remained silent. Muramasa's eyes narrowed at his words.

"Have you no idea what would happen if you were to complete this bond?" He asked and turned to stare at the old man who observed everything with careful eyes and then back at Orihime. Her eyes were completely lost in confusion along with several others. In his haste to get Byakuya away from her she had clutched the blade to her chest, though it was a tad bit foolish considering it's sharp edge, he couldn't help but reel in his anger and look at her with a sort of hurt expression. He shook his head lightly at her before facing the captain once more. It would seem that they couldn't quite see what he could, except for Orihime, but even she did not pay heed to that small detail and was quick to hand over the weapon regardless of the fact that it could possibly turn her into something more than just a simple shinigami. They stared at him, expecting an explanation, but even if he had the words, none would understand more so than Kurosaki and unfortunately he was not present at the time.

"Muramasa..." A hand gently touched his back and his muscles became tense for a brief moment and then relaxed as the girl appeared next to him, a small smile turned his way, assuring him, but he would not relent. His frown stayed, his eyes were sharp and watching for a weak spot that he was sure he would find. "There's nothing wrong in me becoming your shinigami is there?" She asked and his eyes widened again in shock. He shook his head and tried to reach for her hand, but it was a subtle twitch of his fingers at the thought, leaving him feeling a little lost. His shoulders fell, his expression turned sorrowful and filled with regret. Now understanding the brief burst of aggression, Orihime touched his arm and made him turn to face only her, away from the others. "Then it's okay, right? I can be yours and you can be mine." She smiled up at him again, unknowingly breaking down all the barriers held up within him. His eyes looked every other way in conflict. He wanted so badly to say it was, that it required no question, but he knows what they would be up against; what she would have to deal with sooner or later regardless of her abilities. He lowered his head and continued to stare at her carefully, unable to say anything when she was trying to understand him, however, he had to if she was to know what troubled him.

Unbothered by the others' presence he lifted his hand and touched the very center of his chest, right below the red gem that gleamed at the lighting of the hovering lights and lowered his eyes to look at where there once was a jagged hollow hole, covered in bone and bare for all to see. He didn't want her to be fearful of him, but then again he was a sword; a weapon meant for slaying, for striking fear in not only his enemies but at others, no matter who wielded it. Good or bad.

She took her time in looking at his chest, not in any way perverted, but taking her time in thinking. Remembering all that he saw when he was hollow. Her smile slowly faded, his eyes were in so much pain; be it physically or emotionally, it hurt back then and may still hurt now. It wasn't gone, that lurking shadow that was born of his sorrow and anger. In that state of total despair, he was not himself and she could see that he did not wish for her to be placed in that situation even as the beast lay dormant deep in him. She remembers the evil feeling of Ichigo's own powers that were in him and though the thought of it normally brought out chills in her being, she was now trying to surpress a small laugh behind a thin smile. Muramasa gave her a confused look, nothing of this sort was supposed to be funny and he was beginning to wonder if she was in the right sort of mind. He tilted his head as she let loose a giggle and dropped his hand only to have both his arms raise up suddenly to steady the added weight of her body colliding against his own, her arms wrapped tightly around his torso, the sword in her hand was carefully moved to avoid hurting him or her but was still kept in her grasp.

"I'm sorry I scared you." She whispered into his ear. His eyes shot wide open in surprise, but he listened intently to her words; he knew not of what to do otherwise. "I trust you won't let anything happen. I'm positive you won't." Her smile was wide, her embrace was warm and it was above all soothing. It felt natural, even as others watched on, he felt no shame or embarassment in this position. The emotion of fear he felt from her was replaced with confidence. She pulled away to show him the blade. "I promise I won't let you down! So, will you...?" He was still unsure and would still be stubborn enough to not allow it, but she was so hopeful, so determined to be able to become strong with him that he had no more will to decline, only a frown that refused to lift until all was completely right. With a sigh he moved aside to allow her to hand the blade over to Byakuya, his eyes closed to avoid annoying glances of those that saw what had occurred. The woman only beamed at him before walking over to offer it to Byakuya.

"I'm sorry for Muramasa, Kuchiki-san. He's just worried for me."

"I understand, but are you completely sure you want to do this? The risks could be high." He gave her a stern look, but the girl only smiled again as though she was certain nothing would go wrong.

"I'm positive, Kuchiki-san." He nodded at her and took the sword from her. "Remember, Inoue, if your zanpakutou is incompatible with you in battle I will be sure to destroy him. We have no use for weak warriors who cannot control their own weapon." The words were harsh and Orihime would be lying if she said that they didn't hurt, but it was true and facts weren't always sweet. Her head was held high, the smile may have faded but it was to show that she understood and respected his decision. Muramasa was not the only one Kouga had hurt. Should it come to that and she really hoped it wouldn't, she would do all in her power to avoid anyone taking him away.

"I know." The very edge of the sword was directed at her heart, Byakuya looked at her, no form of any emotion shown through his eyes as he shoved the blade through her. It disappeared from his hand as a wind burst from it's target. The strength of it forcing most to avert their eyes save for those able to withstand it's power.

As soon as it had ceased they could see that Orihime's appearance had changed considerably. She looked down at her new attire, the symbolic black robes of a shinigami, but like her friend; she was now considered a substitute shinigami. Curious, she took her time looking over her new clothing. There was no sign of the sword; not in her hand nor in the place where it had entered in her chest. They were now one, his power now belonged to her, yet at the same time it wasn't. It all gave her a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach as she looked at her empty hand; afraid to lift her gaze to the spectators. Instead she glanced back to see that Muramasa was standing just behind her; his eyes unreadable, but there was an emotion swirling through their depths; one that she could not place a name. "How do I look?" She asked him playfully even though she has worn the black cloth once before, the question was just meant to ease her nerves.

"Beautiful." She wasn't expecting an answer leaving her a little surprised to hear his voice enter her ears. She looked at him and laughed; the uneasy feeling of nervousness gradually fading away from her.

"Thank you, Muramasa." Straightening up, she stared at her opponent standing just a bit too close. "Shall we begin again, Kuchiki-san?"

The silent, composed man merely turned to allow adequate room for the both of them in order to commence with the next and final round; his zanpakutou followed behind engulfed in a pink light and disappeared into the sword he brought out. "Just as before, you may have the first move." was his only response.

Confidence welled up in her and though it may have been careless to look away from the opponent, she did so to say one more thing. "Will you fight with me, Muramasa?" She asked reaching out to him with one hand. He heard her call and wasted no time. His form became enveloped in a purple light; the sensation of returning where he belonged could not be described. It was old and ancient to him; so familiar but so strange. The silhouette of his body twisted and grew small, rushing forth into the palm of her hand like a carfully balanced flame only to stretch and form into that of a sword. Reiatsu flowed through the object like blood, all Orihime could do was look at it in wonder. The weight was heavy, the blade reflecting in her eyes. Now, they were no different than the others, at least not so much. "Let's try our best ne, Muramasa?" She whispered softly, moving to place both hands on the handle.

"Of course." His voice echoed through her mind.

Her feet bolted into a dash towards the captain, starting off with a direct attack; her grip tight. The blade raised just as she neared him to swing down and diliver what would have been a devastating blow to the torso. The assault was deflected easily by a collision of weapons holding off the other in a battle of strength. At her level though it was impossible to hold out for long in this lock.

"Impressive. I didn't think the girl could be so fierce."

"I suppose it's to be expected in Kurosaki's group of friends." Ukitake laughed at the comment as they watched the fight. Katen Kyokotsu as well as Sogyo no Kotowari did too, but they weren't focusing on the battle's outward appearance; they were more into what was being poured in it. From their place it was not so much into the strength, but the compatibility between shinigami and zanpakutou. The other zanpakutou watched soundlessly with expressionless eyes; anticipating the final outcome of the fight between Muramasa and Soul Society, most of them at least. Those not too interested looked on with boredom.

Breaking away, Orihime jumped back, her hands pointing the sword in front of her. She watched him carefully, contemplating her next move. Taking into consideration that Muramasa was of a higher level, there would be no way for her to use his powers despite that simple fact. She would still have to understand him in combat for that to ever occur, learn about him in more ways than one with training and then she would no doubt be able to use his powers held deep inside. All that would obviously not happen in small hours, so for now, she would have to rely on what she knew; she was still new to this after all. Her body jumped at the sight of Byakuya making a rush towards her, forcing adrenaline to pump through her veins and upon instinct brought up her weapon to defend against him, bringing forth another clash of metal on metal. She was easily thrown off balance and shoved backwards, falling a few feet onto her side against the cold wooden floor.

"Ow..." Bruises would form and her arms throbbed at the pain of hitting the floor so hard, lingering and burning her skin.

"Nii-sama, isn't holding back much..." Rukia mumbled as she saw her friend stagger back on her feet from afar.

"I think it's to be expected. Muramasa was a part of the Kuchiki family as a member's weapon, but even though that person was not related by blood; the family does have high expectations. Isn't that so, Rukia-sama?" Sode no Shirayuki smiled knowingly at her master.


"Still, you would think that maybe Byakuya could ease up just a little more for the girl. We're not even on proper grounds for a sparring match. Right, Shunsui?"

"Yeah. He could really learn to relax a little, the little brat..." He muttered the last part to allow only those nearby to hear.

The small moment of rest was short lived as she just came to stand only to be caught in another collision. It broke a second later with her thrusting her sword roughly to the side, trying to go for a series of slashes instead of one to finish the fight, but with each attempt, it would be met with the same defense. It was doing no good and should she lose, she would lose Muramasa, too. With a frustrated growl she focused most of her strength into shoving him away with her shoulder. Caught off guard, Byakuya stumbled backward at the move, his own blade swinging to his side. In front of him Orihime was panting at how much energy she was using and how fast it was depleting. He wouldn't admit it out loud, for that would be too soon, but the girl did have spirit in wanting to fight for the cursed sword. However, he had to see if she would really be able to handle not only him, but the dark powers sleeping in him as well. It would be too much if he actually used his powers against her, but he would stop with holding back. He readied his blade again as she righted herself back into the correct stance. He would wait until she struck first.

'I'm tired...but I don't think I could use my Rikka. Kuchiki-san sure is tough. It's no surprise that Kurosaki-kun had a hard time fighting him...' She thought tiredly. At the very least, now she could see what Rukia and Ichigo went through to get where they are. So, she just had to do the same. 'But they weren't really fighting alone. Right, Muramasa?' He didn't respond, but she still sent him a smile. 'And neither am I.' Catching her breath she analyzed him and when she felt that he wouldn't move from his spot, she went forward again. She watched as they repeated the same moves, but she could feel that her blade held a little more power than before, a faint lining of purple illuminated the edges, and instead of moving away from a slash of his sword, she moved her's away, taking a hit in the process on her left shoulder, leaned forward and struck once more at his side. Unfortunately for her, he used shunpo just in time to create distance. His expression was certainly worth the miss, in that moment where their gaze met, he had a look of complete shock. She would have sent him a grin had it not been for the stinging of her new wound forcing her to fall on one knee and carefully examined it.

'It wasn't much, but she had actually endured it better than some squad members.' He noted with slight interest when he glanced at the small tear at his side. The injury he had inflicted was minor. It tore a long line through her robes on her left shoulder, but it was nothing a simple wrap of gauze and a bit of medicine wouldn't fix or she could simply use her own healing abilities. He was rather impressed at her boldness to even risk a hit just to strike at him, although he supposed it shouldn't be shocking. She showed a bit of promise he would admit, but there were always obstacals in becoming a shinigami and her's would probably be quite a struggle with one like Muramasa as her zanpakutou. He wasn't sure if this decision would be one that would be right or one filled with regret, but there would be no point in mulling it over forever; whatever the case it would be his resposibility to deal with it.

The light from the sword faded with Orihime's strength, the rest of her body leaning forward in exhaustion, but her hand held tight to her sword; unwilling to let it go for even a moment. Her shoulder burned and her body ached heavily. She was at her limit. 'I must really be out of shape...' She tried to move her arm, but it only brought out more pain. 'It's a relatively small cut, but it really hurts...' Ignoring it, she tried to stand again while a transparent, distorted form knelt down to her level from behind, his hands hovered over her as though to steady her.

"Muramasa..." She greeted. "Um... I guess I wasn't all that impressive, huh?" She smiled sheepishly at him, but her body just wouldn't budge and fell onto her knees. Her face was sweaty and there were bruises already forming on her legs as shown when his hand barely touched her calf and ankle. Now that she had stopped moving her body became heavy and her hands were shaky from anticipation and adrenaline still running through her system. "Owie..."

"No, you did well." He glanced warily at Yamamoto who went up to Byakuya to discuss the issue. His eyes narrowed and his mind began to think of a way to get out of a mess should they really go through with another separation. He wouldn't dare face another century apart from his master.

"You are sure of this Byakuya?" The old man asked with a sharp look.

"Yes, head captain. I am quite certain that things will turn out a bit different with her as his master."

"Do not let outward appearances decieve you. Kouga was exceptionally impressive at first, but look where it led him. His arrogance and prideful boasting of his power brought about his demise and now, not only does that zanpakutou have a unique ability to come into physical existence, it has the powers of a hollow deep in him as well. Think carefully about this."

Without another word to him, Byakuya sheathed his sword and Senbonzakura materialized back to follow him as they made their way to stand right in front of Orihime and Muramasa. At the sight of his feet, Orihime shot to her feet and pointed her blade at him startling both men. She winced at the movement, knowing full well that she was at her limit, but tried her best to stay strong. Unfortunately, the glare she was giving him almost made him want to smile.

"Put away your sword. I will not take it away." He gently lowered the blade away from him with a single finger. "I can see that your combat skills need far more work, but if I were to push you any farther, it would not bring about good results to your well being." He pointed to her chest. "The hollow would most likely take over your soul just as it did to Muramasa."

Orihime looked down at the blade at the mention of the hollow that was now a part of her. It frightened her to think that she would ever become something that could harm her friends. Ashamed and unable to say a thing, Muramasa gently touched her hand holding his sword and was relieved that she didn't flinch away from him. She actually smiled at him to assure him that she was fine and placed her hand atop his own, her eyes looking down with a small blush appearing on her face. "May I still keep Muramasa as my zanpakutou?" She asked softly, never taking her eyes away from their hands. The captain observed the small display of affection carefully, taking in Muramasa's look of complete ease. His eyes were closed and the usual glare was not present. The whole room was silent as they awaited Byakuya's final answer.

"You will need to have proper training if you are to master a blade like that. More so with that hollow in him. Do not expect for everything to go smoothly with the path of going up the ranks. You will train under my supervision without restraint." He turned away from her towards the door. "Keep in mind, you will have to also train with Kisuke Urahara in the human world as well. This, you will do until you are up to Kurosaki Ichigo's level."

"A simple 'yes' would suffice!" Both Rangiku and Haineko shouted simultaneously at him with a glare. Orihime stared at his back for a moment; her eyes wide in disbelief as she took in his words which made her lost for a minute. "So..." A hand touched her unharmed shoulder. "how does it feel to be a shinigami?" Rangiku asked with a wide grin with Haineko right beside her flicking her tail happily to and fro.

"Painful..." She whined as she touched her injured shoulder gingerly.

"Great! 'Cause it's gonna get worse with Captain Kuchiki!" She giggled, moving away to allow Yamamoto and the others by.

"Were it in my hands Inoue, I wouldn't have been so generous, however, prior to having you come here, Byakuya has requested to deal with it on his own." Orihime shrank back towards Muramasa as he leered at her. "I hope to see that your bond will wipe away the things of the past, Muramasa." Said zanpakutou bowed stiffly. He nodded once and went to leave. "I will be sure to contact you for the start of your training. I would advise that you be ready when the time comes."

"Hai, Yamamoto-san." She waved at him as he left and turned back to her friends.

"Shall I tend to your wound, Miss Inoue?"

"No thank you. I can take care of it at home. I would hate to cause anymore trouble for you all." She sheathed her sword and laughed lightly.

Unohana frowned slightly. "Are you sure? I assure you it wouldn't be any trouble at all."

"I am sure." She relented and backed away to take her leave.

"It will be quite a pleasure to see you around. Perhaps we could have a cup of tea sometime."

"I'll be happy to join, Unohana-san!"

For a while they lingered there in the room, discussing about future plans and Muramasa just stood right behind her. He was lost in his thoughts, his hand still warm from her own that had covered it. He remembered the sight of his fading form while fighting fiercly against Ichigo; how it was painful to keep his sanity together until the final blow was struck and for a fleeting, insignificant moment he felt whole. It was an empty feeling, no different than being hollow as he thought of all the wrongs he had done, all the lies he had spoken, only to fall back down harder than before. It wasn't until the girl in front of him actually moved to try and soften the blow, heal him like she would have for her friends. When he had first met her, he thought of her as nothing more than a mere human that was able to see him only to be proved wrong when she had taken notice of his pain that was deeply rooted in him. He wouldn't have thought he would actually fall in love with her.

"What's wrong Muramasa?" She asked him, busting him out of his quiet thoughts with a start. "It's time to go home now." She pulled at his hand, urging him to follow her with the others looking back at him expectantlty, almost annoyed. No, he didn't think it would be possible for him to fall in love with anyone. He remained silent as she pulled him forward, hearing them talk of Kurosaki and his friends' reaction to her being a shinigami. He was so engrossed in their voices that he failed to notice a figure walk up to him by his side and then paid the price by a swift punch in the stomach. He lurched forward, tearing his hand away from Orihime, but their grip was so loose that she didn't even feel it. He clutched his abdomen gently with his other hand covering his mouth to avoid anything coming up. He glared down at the cause to see that it was the short haired half of Katen Kyokotsu, staring straight ahead blankly as though nothing had ever happened. Next to her, the older one, was glaring at him distrustfully.

"Don't get the idea that we're all friends now just because a captain believes that you're worth keeping along with your new owner. You'll have to do a whole lot more to gain our trust back, if we can even spare it that is."

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I would've hardly thought that you would even consider it." He mumbled bitterly, looking away from the two.

"But we're not like you!" A much livelier voice spoke up from his other side. Looking slightly puzzled, he found it belonged to the children speaking as one.

"Really now?" He couldn't help but smirk. He supposed that were it him, he probably wouldn't even have wasted his time.

"Yeah, we're willing to give ya another chance, but you're gonna have to try real hard to get it back!" They laughed.

"And what would make you think I would even want your trust back?" He was met with a great amount of laughter from the twins and a sigh from the woman.

"Say what you will, Muramasa. Till the next time we meet, I suppose." She sent him a brief wave before following her master down back to their quarters along with Sogyo no Kotowari running after them.

By the time they had returned, the sky was a pitch black with thousands of stars dotting it's surface. There were several text messages left from a few of her friends, but none more so than Tatsuki. Orihime laughed quietly as she sent back a text explaining her whereabouts and why she didn't respond earlier. She would most likely get an earful the next day since it was really late now. Placing the phone on the table she decided to tend to her wound quickly before making something to eat. In front of the same window, Muramasa stood looking at the ground as she went off into the bathroom to wrap up the light scratch, leaving her sword in the living room on the couch.

His eyes were just staring at it, empty and looking somewhat lost. Were he not in his right place of mind he would think that all of this was an illusion; a cruel thing, but if he really thought about it, it would actually suit him as an illusion zanpakutou. Be that as it may, he desperately hoped that would not be the case. If it were a dream, then he would hope to never awaken from it on to be back into the deepest pit of despair, back to the loneliness and suffering and then fall into pieces. He brought up his hand in the darkness for there was no moon to light the sky, he could not see it clearly. The breeze was there, flowing through his hair from the open window and cooling his skin. For no other reason, he went up to the blade and brought it out. He touched the smooth surface of the blade and then around the hilt where the guard was in the form of the symbol that was engraved on the lower part of his clothing and it was at that point where he knew that even though he still remained standing and breathing, he wouldn't forget the beginning where everything started. Who his other part was. The good and the bad, the sadness and the happiness; moments of glory and the mistakes that came with it. His original owner.

The light of his eyes fell back in the past but still retained the time of the present. "It's time to move on...Kouga." His voice was faint, but the memories were vivid. The rage he felt, the sorrow inflicted, and the pride of a fool for the smallest and largest of things gained from his time with his master were never to be forgotten for as long as his life still breathed. He knew that in their flaws they were both to blame and thus their price to be shared in eternal sleep was determined, yet in that place where there was no turning back, where all the emotions swirling and twisting inside him poured out for all to see; one girl came to his aid. What was lost to the other was given to him. A chance to start anew. With a small clink the sword was covered and placed back on the cushion of the furniture as a finality of acceptance.

"Muramasa!" The girl tackled him without warning, her arms wrapped around his neck as the rest of her whole weight fell on him and toppled both of them onto the floor with her right on top of him. She was laughing in his ear, his hair tickling her face. She felt his body slowly relax from the fall and giggled as he let out a relieved sigh at seeing that she was not hurt by it. He was not expecting her to do that, especially now, but then it wouldn't be Orihime if she didn't continue to surprise him. "What'cha up to?" She asked, lifting herself partially off him to look at his face.


"Nuh-uh! I saw you holding the sword and staring at it." She moved away and sat back on the floor and grabbed the blade to hold on her lap. "So, what were you thinking about?" She asked softly. Her hands smoothed over the length of the weapon, waiting for his answer.

Picking himself up on his elbows, he sat beside her. "I was merely thinking of the past and of recent events. That's all." He felt a little silly sitting like this on the floor while she looked pleasantly comfortable with it. The comfort though, soon came to an end when she looked up at him with a worried look.

"Say, Muramasa..." She looked away from him to stare at what was in her hands. "How good was Kouga in battle? You know, aside from his powers? Like, a giant monster came out of the ground and drained everything from him and all he had was a sword!" She thrust the blade up in a pose. He tried to hold in a laugh but the small smile blew it and a low chuckle escaped him.

"He was a true warrior. He had brilliant fighting skills. With a little more training and experience he would have been like Byakuya, I would assume."

Orihime let out a nervous laugh as she pictured it in her head and then went back to the blade. Muramasa watched her curiously, wondering why she had asked such a question and fell silent at his answer.


He gently placed his index finger under her chin to raise her head, but her eyes refused to meet with his. He allowed it to fall and scooted closer to her until there was nothing separating them. His arms went around her waist from behind, bringing her closer to him in his embrace. A light blush flared up, her grey eyes lifting only to quickly turn away in embarassment. He continued to act on his own, fear nagged that he might go a little too far, but it was all that dared him further. He was hoping that he could possibly make her speak more freely to him, but he wasn't getting the desired results. He felt her relax a little, her back now falling into his chest; her head leaning against the side of his that fell on her uninjured shoulder. It was comforting at least.

"I'm fine. It was just a question." She assured him, but her weak expression did nothing to fool him and she sighed at the way he looked at her.

"I really want to be your master; I do. But... I doubt I could ever be at anyone's level. Even with Tsubaki, my attacks are weak." Her eyes fell to a close as she tried to arrange her thoughts correctly. "I was serious that I wanted to become your master, I wanted to help you and prove that I could fight alongside you."

"It was confusing at first when you came with me here. I never thought that you would actually come to like me in such a way; I really thought I was annoying you." With each word she said his grip around her tightened. She stayed silent wondering what she should say next that would convey what she really felt right now. A mixture of happiness, fear, shame, confusion churned inside her that she knew not of how she could even say it without sounding like a fool.

"I understand." She heard him say and it shocked her that he was not getting upset. "I know that you're scared of what's inside; of what will come later on." She felt the pricks of the welling tears and she held fast to hold them, making sure not a drop would fall. He smiled softly at her and turned her gently so that she was facing him. He wiped away at the tears held at the very corner of her eyes.

"Had I known that you were incapable of a true fight, I would not have let you go through with the union." He recalled the determination she had to really become a shinigami just to have him as he was. She looked like she would break if he said no and make that bright hope crash painfully on stone. His forehead met with her own. "Regardless of whatever trials await us, I am sure with your power everything will turn out fine."

Soft lips touched his in a quick playful peck followed by a series of giggles. He was caught off guard that he raised his head to look at her, a pleasant warmth spreading over him.

"I'll have you, right? You'll be by my side through it all, right?"


"If I don't have you with me, I'm sure I would fall and get hurt. I know I would; I'm a klutz. And..." She leaned forward again, her eyes closed with the tip of her nose touching his. "I know that without you I'd be lonely again and I would be too hurt to get back up."

He brought her close, surprising her when his lips touched her own softly, his eyes were barely open, but her's had closed at contact. He smiled into the kiss at the cute look she held. He tilted his head and moved his lips, still new to this feeling of pleasure, but it was worth experiencing with only her. She leaned into his kiss, followed his movements and shyly opened her mouth, letting her tongue graze over his lips, wanting to get closer. It surprised him that she initiated in deepening the kiss, but he wouldn't complain; whatever she wished was granted without question. Entrance was given and their tongues met, caressing each other in a dance and allowing one to explore the other's mouth. She tasted sweet to him, fitting in every way and it was addicting. He was sure that had they not pulled away for a much needed breath he wouldn't have the mind to stop. As she panted to try and calm her lungs and her beating heart, her face buried into his shoulder to hide her blush that blazed furiously over her face, he held her tight. His lips hovering lightly over her ear.

"I'll make certain that should you fall, I'll catch you."

She smiled wide into his shoulder at his words. "I love you too, Muramasa."

"Hmm, a zanpakutou falling in love with it's master... Quite a scoop eh, Yoruichi?" A man standing out on the pavement smiled down at the cat in his arms. The feline spared the man a small glance as he hid a shiny square object inside his robes.

"One would call that blackmail."

"Aw, come now! I would never do anything akin to such horrible antics! It'll make a wonderful item to pass the time! You know how boring it gets in Soul Society from time to time, everyone might get a kick out of it!"

"How vulgur."

"You know you were thinking it, too."


A/N: And that marks the end, my dear readers. Sorry, it's quite a long one isn't it? I'm proud of it! X3 I would assume that this would most definately be a crack pairing, but I would have loved it if it ever (even though it's impossible) turned out like that. I'm not that excellent in writing, informative essays and the like, do not count, but I do hope that this served well in passing some time for a few of you. I would love it if some would offer some constructive advise, suggestions, point out flaws and such of the overall story so that I may improve on it for other fics that I'm working on. (I know there's a single word for this, but I can't remember it.) Or you could simply comment if you liked it, loved it, hated it and so on. Though this story is complete as of this chapter there will be an extra following it. I will tell you now, that you do NOT have to read it; it's stupid. Not in the funny sense, I would think, but it's just for kicks.

Finally, I would like to thank those that have reviewed and favorited/followed for giving this a look. I'll especially like to thank venG for sticking with this from the very beginning. Turned out to be quite a "one-shot" didn't it? I will miss writing for this pairing, but sadly I have no other ideas for them. U.U

It was fun while it lasted. :3