She ran hard. She had no time to invoke her powers, now that Muramasa had found his master. She had read the reports Yamamoto had about the man, and she already knew this would end in heartbreak if she didn't do something.
Muramasa was too kind to have lived in such cruel times. Perhaps she could heal what this Koga had done to him.
She got the distinct feeling Koga, in his last days as a soul reaper, had abused Muramasa to the point where he couldn't hear the sword's voice anymore.
It wasn't advertised much, but anyone could use a soul reaper's zanpakuto if the sword agreed to it. She knew for a fact that Tousen's sword used to belong to a friend who was killed by her abusive husband.
The reason it wasn't advertised was because the soul reapers had enough trouble with the regular populace. If it was known they could become soul reapers by taking the sword and using it's power for themselves, there would be no end of trouble.
She found the trail she was looking for, and cursed.
It lead to outside Karakura. For reasons she was trying to find, everything supernatural seemed to gravitate to Karakura for some reason. She didn't think it had anything to do with the fact that the town was a spiritual hotspot. Or the fact that the Kurosaki clan lived there.
Something seemed to draw things to the town itself, and by extension Ichigo.
She jumped through the portal, racing against a clock she only sensed, rather than felt.
Her feet touched the sky, and she was running towards a light she could see in the distance. Ichigo's light always appeared bright white mixed with a reddish black. Rukia was a pale white color she always associated with snow.
Muramasa was there, with a sickened yellow light she didn't recognize. She ran harder.
The sound of sword against sword was heard, and Ichigo stared.
"Tatsuki! How did you get here so quickly?"
"I ran..." she gasped. She had never run so hard.
She looked at the being before her. He didn't seem like a soul reaper anymore, let alone human. His body seemed wasted, as if he hadn't eaten in years, possibly centuries. His eyes were a sickly green color, almost like raw sewage.
It was vastly different from her bright emerald color, or Ulquiorra's light emerald.
His eyes held insanity and darkness. There would be no reasoning with him, only death.
"Leave him alone, creep!" she snarled.
"Like I need a useless weapon!" he said with a sneer.
"The only useless one here...is you!" she said with a growl, as she forced Koga to get back.
Koga and Tatsuki clashed blades, until he went to break Muramasa. The sword was watching the fight with despair...he had hoped Koga still cared about him as a partner.
He had never wanted to admit how far the man had fallen. He had never wanted to see how much the man allowed his pride to overrule his sanity.
Tatsuki yelled, then surprised the insane soul reaper with an uppercut. The shock of that hit caused him to drop his guard enough for her to nail him in the unmentionables.
He gasped as he dropped the sword. Tatsuki grabbed Muramasa before Koga could use him to harm the spirit.
Koga grabbed one of the blades nearby, and tried to impale her...only to be blocked by Senbonzakura's petals.
"I'll leave him to you, Byakuya-taicho! Let me deal with Muramasa!"
Koga's attention was drawn to Byakuya, and his rage by the so called betrayal caused him to focus entirely on the man.
Muramasa was on the ground. Koga had pierced him, but the cut wasn't too deep.
"Ne, Muramasa... What do you see in that guy as a partner anyway?"
"He wasn't always like this..."
"No one is. But sometimes pride gets in the way and turns good men into monsters. I don't think he'll even try to hear you anymore."
"He's all I have."
"Now who said that? If you try, I'm fairly sure you'd be able to find someone who can hear you," said Ichigo.
Tatsuki said nothing.
"Didn't you say to the others that you heard someone crying?" asked Rukia. She had overheard that odd tidbit.
Muramasa stared at her in shock. She had heard him crying from all the pain he had?
Inside his inner world, Muramasa would allow the pain he felt from being unable to connect to his partner out. The tears of blood were a side effect from eating the hollows he needed to sustain his ability to materialize.
Tatsuki watched as Senbonzakura saved his partner. She had never had that sort of relationship with Kyoko, or even her familiar. The goddess of time wasn't meant to be a soul reaper's sword partner.
"What would you say, Muramasa, to being my partner?" asked Tatsuki.
"Why would you want a broken sword like me as a partner?" he asked.
Koga's abuse had hurt him deeply. Finding out that the man would have broken his sword had Tatsuki not stopped him only made his pain worse.
"I don't see a broken sword. I see someone who needs a friend he can trust," said Tatsuki kindly, "After all...Every time I saw you I could hear someone crying their heart out."
Muramasa was still in pain, and the hollows he had absorbed over the centuries didn't help. Even if he wanted to become her sword, he knew it was impossible without getting killed.
Hollows and Soul Reapers normally didn't mix that well, Kurosaki aside.
Any thoughts of being unclean or worthless went out the window when Tatsuki did the one thing no one expected.
She hugged him to her chest, and let him cry. By the time the tears finally ran out, he found himself in her inner world. He had become a ball of white light that went inside her soul, and she quickly went after him to make sure he got settled in properly.
While she was inside her inner world, outside was in chaos.
By becoming her sword, all the hollows he had devoured (and kept in check) came out in a blast of energy. Tatsuki was protected by her dragon wings, but Ichigo and the others were left to deal with the Menos that Muramasa had accumulated.
Inside Tatsuki's inner world...
Muramasa found that a new room had appeared, one that connected her to the inner world he had become used to. Though he had to admit, being able to sleep on an actual bed instead of those blasted pillars was a blessing. The scene he was so used to was now a painting above his head, which means all he would have to do was lay back and he would be able to see it. His room had a peaceful blue wallpaper, and his bed was so comfortable that all he wanted to do at the moment was sleep. On one side of the wall was a large bookcase, where he could keep the books he borrowed from Tatsuki's rather extensive library.
She had even added a music player for him to use, which he would have to learn how to use.
Where Koga's inner world had been bleak and foreboding, hers was warm and welcoming. He had done everything in his power to control others with his ability, she went out of her way to avoid using her abilities.
He could honestly say he preferred her methods to Koga's. Being born during a time of war wasn't an excuse for his former master either.
Tatsuki had been born into a war that wasn't her own, and she had ended it and helped a community move forward by taking out the biggest threat to change.
(While Minerva McGonagall was set in her ways, she was willing to listen. It was because of that fact that the European communities were finally getting rid of the blood prejudice.)
When Tatsuki came out of her world, she found Ichigo and Rukia having some issues with the Menos.
Apparently some of the older hollows her sword had eaten had banded together to form what appeared to be a crude Espada class one. She winced.
"Oi! Ichigo!" she called out.
"He settled in fine, but what are you going to do with that Espada type?"
Ichigo hadn't even noticed it? Neither had Rukia if the look she was giving it was any indication.
"You two get rid of those Menos before it tries to use them to boost it's own power. I'll deal with it," she yelled at them.
Tatsuki brought Kyoko to her arm, and said "Strike through the stream of time, Jikanryu no Kyoko!"
It had been so long since she used her bankai, that she actually forgot about her one issue with it.
Ichigo and Rukia had shielded their eyes when the light came, but they couldn't help but stare at the dress Tatsuki was now wearing.
Every combatant stopped what they were doing when they heard the feminine scream of absolute rage from her when she realized that yes, she was stuck with the damn dress again.
(On the outside of the battlefield, Uryu snapped a few pictures of it, and came up with a plan for revenge against all the pranks Tatsuki played on him. She hated wearing dresses, and this was the perfected payback!)
"DAMMIT ALL TO HELL!" she roared.
The wings on her back allowed her to take flight, and she worked out her anger at being forced into the dress again on the hollows.
The poor faux Espada class didn't stand a chance in hell when faced with a PMS-ing, rage-induced Tatsuki who was stuck in an outfit she really didn't like wearing, no matter how good she looked in it.
Ichigo, Rukia and Byakuya stared in absolute shock at what she was wearing. The fact that it was her bankai state wasn't helping matters either.
By the time she had worked out her anger (and gotten rid of the hormonal backlash that was usually associated with her monthly cycle) there wasn't a hollow to be found.
Ichigo and Rukia were actually cowering behind Byakuya, who really looked like he wanted to do the same if Tatsuki even looked his way.
Koga, the traitorous bastard, was actually flinching because of the look she sent his way.
And right now he was really hoping it was Byakuya who actually killed him, and not the hormonal female.
After the entire Koga incident (where Byakuya was forgiven for his supposed defect because Yamamoto remembered it was Koga's fault in the first place) Tatsuki waited an entire month before introducing her new sword.
People were both paranoid and shocked to learn she had somehow gained the very sword that had caused the entire mess in the first place, though they were hard put to be that angry at him.
Over the week she had him, Muramasa had a very surprising change in personality.
And a new wardrobe. Tatsuki had disliked the cloak since it looked so old fashioned (and not in a good way).
She had ditched the old coat, and gave him a lighter jacket. He usually left it open to display his sleeveless shirt (sort of like Edward Elric's shirt under his jacket). His belt buckle was actually the hilt of his sword, which he rather liked. He had a pair of black jeans that ended at his ankles. His shoes were a pair of zori.
But the biggest change had to be his hairstyle.
Originally it had gone all over the place, and was rather untamed.
Tatsuki had gone up to him with an evil gleam in her eyes...and with the help of Haineko and Tobiume had tied him up long enough to attack his hair with her special clippers. The two had been glad to set aside their differences long enough to get back at him for the fact he had tricked them.
Where his long locks had hung, they were now tamed by a hair tye that Tatsuki kept with her at all times. His hair was roughly a third of it's original length, though she had left the two strands that framed his face.
Another surprising change was that he no longer had bags under his eyes, and his skin tone had deepened to roughly the same shade as Ichigo's. Well, that and for some odd reason he de-aged to roughly seventeen.
To the shock of the girls, Muramasa was actually quite a looker after Tatsuki was through with him. And being able to actually sleep mellowed him out.
The newly reformed Central 46 was smart enough not to complain about her new sword.
Of course it might have had something to do with the fact that Tatsuki had threatened to rip their balls off if they tried anything or attempted to take Muramasa from her.
Tatsuki while on PMS was a force to be feared. Zaraki and Kurotsuchi would never go anywhere near a PMS-ing Tatsuki, especially if she hadn't anything to help with the cramps.
Ulquiorra wasn't happy, and it wasn't hard to figure out why.
He had the most minor pangs of jealousy over her new sword. Muramasa was around her age now, and he was rather attractive. The fact that he shared her inner world didn't help either.
Tatsuki wasn't oblivious to the look her boyfriend shot Muramasa. Thankfully he had been reading a book and didn't notice it.
"Mind explaining the evil eye, bat boy?"
"I don't like it."
Tatsuki grinned evilly.
"Oh-ho! Doom and Gloom actually feels jealousy over my new partner!"
Ulquiorra shifted a bit. He didn't like the evil grin she had on her face.
"Did you ever get back at Uryu for that joke with the dress?" he asked, changing the subject.
"Oh, I got him back alright. Just ask Grimmjow. He helped me lug the twit into that room. Spoon boy helped me find a good shop with yaoi books in it."
"Ichigo doesn't like me mentioning this, but he accidentally borrowed one of my yaoi books once and got hooked," she laughed.
"How do you accidentally borrow yaoi?" asked Muramasa, finally paying attention.
"He borrows hentai from me all the time, and they both have adult only stickers. It didn't help that the cover had a really effeminate boy on it."
"How did glasses react?" asked Ulquiorra.
"I've never seen someone's face turn that red. Though at least he's loosened up after dealing with a bored and horny Ichigo for a week straight."
"How did you keep people from realizing they were missing for a week?"
"Magical doppelgangers are very useful."
Tatsuki had been drafted by Toshiro to help out with the Ouin. She had become so bored lately that she was threatening a repeat of the pranks she pulled in Hueco Mundo.
After hearing some of the things she did, Yamamoto had no issues with her being turned into a temporary squad ten member.
"Still beats sleeping for three hours straight during the day," she grumbled.
She was up with Toshiro, keeping an eye on the fast moving cloud. It was moving against the wind, which made the thing far too obvious.
"So what exactly is this thing, aside from a glorified paperweight?" she asked.
"How do you know that?" he asked.
"Overheard some of the pomps talking about it," she shrugged.
Tatsuki had had words with some of the royal procession when they heard she was actually on loan from squad eleven. Not only were the surprised a woman survived that atmosphere, but they had made several crass remarks.
They had walked away from that 'discussion' with their family jewels being shoved inward. Toshiro had pretended not to hear the delegate complain about the incident.
Everything was going on as usual...until the procession was attacked by fire and lightning.
Tatsuki grinned evilly.
"FINALLY! SOME ACTION!"
She went toe to toe with the lightning girl, while Toshiro went after the Ouin.
Tatsuki's attention was diverted when she heard him cry out. He had been stabbed in the stomach.
He vanished before anyone could help him.
She left after Soi Fon arrived, determined to warn Ichigo. And found the missing captain asleep in his room.
Toshiro awoke with alarm to find Tatsuki over him, wrapping his wound in bandages.
He didn't care that she was treating his wound (she lived in the 11th, which meant she wasn't embarrassed by something like that) he cared that she had found him. In Ichigo's house. After Soi Fon had been looking for him.
"Relax Snowy. I'm not turning you in...if you tell me why you went into hiding," she said.
She gave him a firm look.
"Toshiro, Byakuya trusted me during the Muramasa incident to help him find the traitor. Now give me one good reason why you can't do the same?"
And so Toshiro explained while Tatsuki did her best to heal the damage done. All he really needed was to mention it was a ruling of the Central 46, and she held up a hand.
"They killed someone before a fight could establish a proper victor, didn't they?"
Toshiro blinked, but he nodded.
"And now the guy is pissed, and it's up to you to finish the fight fairly. That the gist of it?"
"Figures. It seems like almost every ruling they make comes back to bite us in the ass," she said.
Toshiro actually grinned. It was a fair description.
"I'll help keep the wolves off your back, but you'll have to deal with the paperwork," she grinned.