10 – The Fallen and Unwelcome

I felt a sharp pain in my upper arm bringing me back to my senses. I glanced over and saw Rukia giving me a frantic look. There was an intense fear in her eyes as if she too were concerned of Halibel's fate.

"Get on my back, Orihime." She looked over at the others. "Can you two get there on your own and offer us some cover?"

They nodded as I got on Rukia's back. She leapt off the building and travelled in the location where Halibel fell. "We'll have to make a slight detour to avoid being seen."

I didn't want any detours. I just wanted to get to Halibel before it was too late. I need to save her. I was the only one that can do anything for her now. I was all the comfort she had right now as she slowly slipped away. My tears could no longer be ignored as they rolled steadily down my cheeks.

Rukia changed directions as we went lower and around a building. This was going to take too long. If we didn't hurry she wouldn't make it. I can already feel her reiatsu slipping away. My tears got worse as they rolled down my cheeks persistently as I felt death taking her away from me. "Rukia, please hurry!"

Rukia went a little faster but that was all she could manage with me on her back. I gripped her tightly as all my fears returned to me. I feared being alone again. If I lost Halibel I wouldn't be able to go on. She meant so much to me even though we had only known each other for a couple of days. When she saved me from Aaroniero I knew I couldn't go on without her. I had to be by her side or I was nothing.

We were getting closer now but she was slipping fast. We reached the ground but Rukia didn't stop to let me since off this was still faster. "Orihime, I'm going to let you off and go on ahead. I'll use my kidou to buy as much time as I can for you. It's the best chance she has right now."

"Right," I said as Rukia dropped me to the ground without stopping. I quickly caught my balance and sprinted down the street as fast as I could as Rukia used flash step to get there as fast as she could. I could feel her presence approaching Halibel faster then it would have with me on her back.

Now all I had to do was keep up this pace and it should be fine. But how long can I keep this up? My legs already hurt from slight drop and the run not to mention the stiffness from my earlier run when I was trying to get away from Halibel. How had I been so blind back then? To even think that she held no feelings for me was absurd to me now. But her eyes were so cold that they had installed my fear deep inside me once more.

"Orihime, you won't make it in time on foot." I looked over and saw Uryuu leap ahead of me. "I may not be as fast as Rukia, but I'll do my best."

He stopped in a crouching position ahead of me and I slowed down so I wouldn't make him fall over when I got on his back. Once I was on he took off as fast as he could. He wasn't as fast as Rukia was, but he was still a lot faster then I could go on my own. I was grateful he was doing this for me even though he was against my decision to be with a hollow. I know he has his own reason for hating them.

It was only a matter of minutes now and I could tell Rukia was succeeding in keeping Halibel alive but I could still feel her life slipping away. Uryuu picked up his pace without being told. He was keeping an eye on her reiatsu as well.

We rounded a corner and I could see them a few houses away. A little bit closer and my powers would reach her. She was so close but just barely out of my reach. Uryuu got closer as another espada appeared next her looking down at her.

Rukia was caught off guard and moved out of the way breaking her kidou letting Halibel slip even closer. It could still be okay. I'm close enough now. I shout the incantation for my inner shield and it flies faster then I have ever seen it go before* as it shoots for Halibel. It comes up just in time as the other espada looks in our direction.

He points something at us and a cero forms from it. Before he has a chance to shoot it not only does Uryuu jump out of the way but Rukia attacks him as well not allowing him to attack or shoot off a cero at anyone.

Rukia doesn't give him a chance to attack or do much. She attacked him relentlessly and he dodged or blocked all her attempts. It was as if he wasn't even trying to fight back.

Uryuu slowed to a stop to let me off. As soon as I was off his back he pulled up his bow and looked for an opening as I ran to Halibel's side. She was really weak but she was slowly getting better. She'll make it through this. I'll make sure she does.

"Orihime," Halibel spoke weakly as I crouched by her side. "I'm glad I can see one last time."

She coughed violently and blood dripped through the teeth of her mask. It broke my heart to see her like this. I knew I should have gone with her when she left with Ichigo. "You'll be alright, just relax. I'm healing your wounds. You won't die."

Halibel just shook her head. "Thank you, but it's too late."

"As long as you're alive I can heal you." I cried as tears rolled down my cheek. "It doesn't matter how bad the wound is I can heal it. Even if you're this bad it doesn't matter so just be quiet and let me do this."

She gave me the same loving expression she had when I woke up. "Can I have your hand?"

I obliged immediately to her request. "You can have my hand whenever you want. I'm yours; body and soul."

I could tell she was smiling even though it was hard for her to do so. She glanced over to where Rukia was fighting the other espada. She watched them with a hint of sorrow as neither of them seemed to get anywhere in their fight.

"She can't win against him." She coughed violently once more. "Stark!"

The espada glanced over quickly before blocking another of Rukia's attacks. As soon as he was free of her blade he appeared behind me. I looked over at him in fear as he pointed a gun to my face. "Do you wish to die without a fight?"

"Aizen doesn't care about us. He never has. As soon as this is over he's going to-" She was cut of by another violent coughing fit.

"I'm aware of that. He made that perfectly clear when Barragan died." He scoffed. "You should have seen the look he gave me. As if saying I was next."

"Then why still follow him?" I asked for Halibel.

"Either way, I'm dead." A cero charged from the barrel of the gun as he stared us down.

"It's a shame." Halibel struggled to speak. "We could have beaten him if we had you on our side."

He seemed to consider it for a moment before letting the cero fade away as he turned to look up at Aizen as he fought with an alliance of soul reapers and arrancar. "You're already dead."

He disappeared to rejoin the fight. I gripped Halibel's hand as I watched him from the ground. What would he do? Would he follow orders to his death or will he fight back. They were too high up for me to see what he was doing but the cero he released was enough to destroy all of Seireitei. All fighting stopped and all reiatsu disappeared. Even the elk-like monster disappeared.

Stark returned a few feet away looking at the ground as he returned to his normal form. A small child-like arrancar appeared beside him and was looking up at him as he placed a hand on the mask that covered her head. He looked at her for a moment before turning his gaze to us as Rukia stepped in front of me to protect me. "I've come to my decision. What's yours, Halibel?"

Halibel didn't answer him. I looked over and saw her eyes were closed. My heart raced with fear as I feared the worst but she opened her eyes and looked over at me kindly and said, "I don't know yet. But I want to be with this human."

I smiled as my love for her exploded inside me. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks and replaced any tears of sorrow that still lingered on my face. Stark laughed behind me making me look back over to him.

"So, you're going to leave me with those moody power hungry espada?" He said. "Come back to Las Noches with me. I don't want Nnoitra being my right hand. Just imagine how we could change things if the two of us have control."

"You sound pretty power hungry yourself, if you ask me." Rukia said angrily.

"I'll think about it." Halibel replied as her arrancar arrived. Their wounds were heavy and Apacci couldn't stand on her own as she was being carried by Mila Rose.

"Come to a decision soon. I expect the soul reapers will be here to kill us soon." He said. "But just imagine it. With you on my side we can change Hueco Mundo. We could make things better and your human can come and go as she pleases."

"Would she have an escort both ways?" Halibel asked.

Stark laughed. "You would let her walk around without looking out for her? Someone would take her out from under you and you know Nnoitra would love that."

I looked over at Halibel and she looked right in my eyes as if looking to me for my opinion. "This is the only way you'd get both, unless you still want to run with me."

"I want whatever's best." I told her confidently. Even though I was happy about being able to see both my friends and Halibel whenever I wanted I didn't want to seem too overjoyed about it and force her into a decision she wouldn't be happy with.

A spike of strong reiatsu told me the soul reaper Captains were here now. Halibel looked over at them with a slight look of fear in her eyes. With Aizen gone their alliance was off. They weren't obliged to let the espada or the arrancar go.

"Cease what you're doing, human." I could tell without looking that it was Captain Yamamoto that was speaking. "You should not be aiding the enemy."

"She has proven that she is no threat to us." I said. "I trust her and I owe her my life. So if you wish to kill her," I stood to face him releasing Halibel's hand. "You have to fight me."

I could see Ichigo standing with them. He held a very pained look on his face as he walked forward. He stopped by Rukia and readied his sword before saying loudly. "And me."

Uryuu appeared beside him with his bow ready along with Renji and Chad, who finally made it here, even all four arrancar and Stark stood in their way ready to fight for us. I felt overjoyed with their approval of my decision.

"I'm sorry," Renji started. "But if it weren't for that espada, Aizen would not have been defeated. She provided her services to Soul Society. We owe her a debt which will be paid by letting all of them leave alive and well, even the other one."

I could sense how angry they were to be caught in this. Since Renji was a Vice-Captain he knew the loopholes and was covering for us with them despite the consequences that he was going to face along with Rukia.

Some of the Captains lowered their reiatsu but the more strict Captains held theirs up in anger. None of them were happy with this turn of events and most of them showed it with their angered glares.

"Well," Rukia's Captain spoke up. "It looks like they beat us with our own system."

I could see a couple of the other Captains give him a cold look while others just gave up as well. Captain Ukitake was right we had them. They couldn't do anything to us. But after we left the new terms would be over. Though it's unlikely they will attack Hueco Mundo just to kill two espadas.

"Now then," Stark said stepping forward. "With Aizen dead the only espadas you should see appearing in the real human world will most likely be rebelling to any changes I will be making. Feel free to kill them. There may be some in and out but nothing to worry about. A little someone will just be claiming and replacing their 'possession' nothing more."

I could see a vain pulsing in Captain Yamamoto's forehead even with the distance and all the shoulders I have to look over. "And what 'possession' would that be?"

Stark left the head Captain unanswered as he turned and walked back to the group. "We'll be gone as soon as Halibel and the others are healed."

Stark walked around the group who still stood their ground despite the lack of effort from the Captains. He approached me as a Captain appeared beside him with a sword to his neck. "You were asked a question, hollow."

Stark looked over unconcerned as everyone else held a panicked expression before the other Captains, which had not yet given up, tried to surround us. They all held their swords to us.

"I'll be claiming my lover." Halibel said as she struggled to her feet. I helped her up while trying not to break eye contact with the short female Captain, which I was unfamiliar with. She gave me an angered look before it turned to shock as Halibel pulled me into an embrace. "She is mine, but I haven't yet claimed her fully. She can still live her human life if she so desires it."

The Captain looked at us with disgust. "A hollow with a human? Ha."

"This is their choice." Stark replied. "I don't plan on interfering and you have no right to. She is human not a soul reaper. The humans have already accepted it as well."

"Its quiet amusing that you seem to accept the fact that they're both girls." Sung Sun said from behind her sleeve as she stood beside me. "Is it that you too, have a female companion?"

The Captain blushed furiously at this accusation and shifted her sword to Sung Sun. Halibel raised her own sword though I could tell it pained her to do so, she was still badly injured. "Drop your sword we are no threat to you. Sung Sun, stay your tongue or lose it."

I could faintly see her shift back out of sight as if afraid of the threat. Then I remembered the other time when Halibel had threatened Aaroniero, he had backed off as well. Then there was the time she was threatening me. I recalled how terrifying she could become. I looked over at Halibel and saw the same cold look in her eyes now that I did then. No, it was much darker now. She was serious.

Stark lowered Halibel's sword with his hand easily and she practically collapsed in my arms as I held her up. She was still too weak to be standing even if she was being held up by someone. I carefully lowered her to the ground so I could continue to heal her wounds, she obliged without a fuss but her eyes remained cold and on the Captain, who had yet to lower her own sword though her eyes were to Captain Yamamoto.

He let out a deep sigh and looked down at me as I brought up the inner shield once more. Halibel pulled me closer as if still trying to protect me as her glare turned to him. "You children make the most foolish of mistakes."

Some of the Captains looked at him with unsure looks. "However, you have provided us with a service, therefore you may leave. But you are not welcome at Soul Society, human."

Halibel pulled me closer and made a scoffing sound. "As if that even matters to us."

Captain Yamamoto turned to walk away and the others followed his lead with the exception of the female that still held a slight blush. Her sword was lowered now but she still glared down at me. "Why a hollow of all things?"

Halibel turned her attention back to the soul reaper and glared at her angrily. "What do you care?"

She ignored Halibel's question and waited for my answer. I shrug my shoulders and simply say, "It just happened. It's love. There's no way to describe it."

She didn't look happy with that answer but she turned and walked away regardless. Captain Byakuya stopped on his way past our group and glanced over at Rukia and Renji. "We're leaving."

They followed him giving us worried looks on their way. They were in trouble for their actions and there was nothing we could do about it. We would just have to wait to find out what their punishment was. Stark let out a long sigh, "I'll let the rest of you out of here. In case you haven't noticed this is a fake world."

* Again Orihime's powers have been heightened. So they are stronger and faster.

- The End –