*Breathing deeply* SSC: Ah it's good to be back.
Harribel: You're late again.
SSC: Again. I have a life outside of my deranged mind.
SSC: I know. I know. Anyways I have a few things to say.
1. I have my first Naruto fic set up so please check it out and send me your thoughts.
2. I am working on the other fics and hope to work getting those chapters out.
3. I am still deciding on where to send Hanataro on his trip around the world. As my audience I am hoping you can send some suggestions on which country outside of Japan should Hanataro and his friends go. Yes, this includes both Arrancar and Ichigo's group.
4. Suggestions for the story are always welcomed, so if you have any just send me your thoughts through Pms or Reviews.
5. Now Hanataro! Fire the disclaimer cannon!
Hanataro: *Sigh* For the last time SSC. We don't have one.
SSC: Then build one!
Harribel: Sixsamchaos does not own Bleach, but he does own any OCs he creates. Unless they belong to any other Authors who would be better than him.
SSC: You are one cold woman, Harribel.
Harribel: *Smirks* That is why I have Hana-chan with me for bed.
SSC: *Grumbles* Lucky bastard.
"Time for some payback asshole!"
"That was decades ago," yelled Umbra as he quickly grabbed Mila Rose and jumped back from the raging Arrancar's sword.
"We've still got a score to settle," screamed Grimmjow as he tried once more to take the white-haired Arrancar's head off, but was intercepted by Ashido's bone shield.
Grunting from his opponent's strength, Ashido quickly drew his blade and pushed Grimmjow back with his shield before parrying the Arrancar's stab. Growling, Grimmjow feinted to the right before hitting the armored shinigami with a wicked haymaker. Sliding back a few feet, Ashido grunted before tossing his now cracked shield to the side. Glaring at the Panther King, the shinigami was about to charge but stopped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Not taking his eyes off of Grimmjow, the redhead sensed it was Hanataro. Before the older shinigami could question the medic, Harribel immediately appeared in front of Grimmjow and swiftly knocked the blade out of the enraged Arrancar's hands. Ordering her fellow Espada to stand down, Harribel dared Grimmjow to attack. Glaring back at the blonde woman, Grimmjow growled before stepping away from her and retrieving his sword. Nodding, Harribel was about to apologize to Umbra, but was interrupted by another arrival.
"Grimmjow-kun! I thought I told you to be nicer to the other Arrancar!" Hearing the sweet feminine voice, Grimmjow groaned before he was knocked down face first into the sand. Blinking at the green clad woman, Ashido and Hanataro shared a glance before turning to Harribel for answers.
Harribel sighed. "Nel-chan. Please get off of Grimmjow and come greet our guests. You may remember some of them."
Laughing nervously in embarrassment, the former Espada got up and walked over to the group. Curious of the new arrivals, Nel gasped slightly when she saw the black robes but was disappointed to see that it wasn't Ichigo and his friends. Instead, the green-haired beauty tilted her head cutely at the warrior and medic. "Bel-chan. I don't recognize either of them."
"Not even Umbra," asked Hanataro as he pointed to the white-haired Arrancar who was still holding Mila Rose. However, that ended when the powerful female Arrancar pushed away from her old companion with a slight blush.
Looking over the medic's shoulder, Nel narrowed her eyes as she took on a thoughtful look. A minute passed before she shook her head, as she stepped up to the old Arrancar. "I don't think we've met before. Have we?"
Umbra shook his head. "No. The only female hollow I met was Mila over here. I'm pretty sure I'd remember someone with green hair."
"I could say the same about you shiro-san," giggled Nel, causing Mila Rose and the others to laugh, while Grimmjow still glared daggers at Umbra but for different reasons. Noticing the glare, Umbra raised his hands in a placating manner.
"Relax, lover boy. I don't plan on stealing your mate if that's what you're thinking." The implications were instantaneous, as Nel blushed furiously before stuttering out her denials, while Grimmjow also blushed but much to a less degree. Harribel and her fellow Arrancars laughed at the embarrassed couple, as did Hanataro and Ashido, while Mila Rose smacked Umbra in the head for his lack of tact. Stifling her laughter but still showing her amusement, Harribel quickly took charge of the situation and explained to Grimmjow and Nel why Hanataro, Umbra, and Ashido were here. She also informed Grimmjow that he was not to attack or coerce the man into fighting if he wanted to keep a certain part of his anatomy in one piece. The blonde Arrancar knew that her fellow Espada would cause not only trouble but also a massive headache on her part and wanted to nip the potential nuisance in the bud quickly. However, this reminded Hanataro of his current problem and the question that had been buzzing around in his head since he first landed in this sandy world.
"Harribel-san. Do you or the others know why I fell into a garganta? I've heard of reports that there have been gargantas appearing throughout the Seireitei in random areas over the past few months. I thought hollows had to make them appear like we do when we open portals to the World of the Living?"
"Hmm. That is a strange occurrence, Hanataro. I know that none of the Arrancars have made trips to the Soul Society, but I'm not sure about the other hollows that live here. Nel-chan?"
Nel shook her head. "I don't think any of the other hollows have attempted to go to the Soul Society. The ones who did open a garganta usually just traveled to the World of the Living." Grimmjow nodded in agreement and confirmed Nel's assumptions. Not long after the Winter War and the subsequent retreat of the invading shinigami, the two Espada had been spending quite a bit of time together. At first, the interaction was mostly Nel helping Grimmjow with his wounds and following him around like a lost puppy; however, it soon developed into the blue-haired Arrancar helping Nel regain her lost powers and forming an unusual friendship with the woman. This led to many of Hueco Mundo's inhabitants learning that whenever they saw one half of the couple the other was not too far away.
Harribel sighed, knowing that the strange occurrences would definitely make the shinigami feel uneasy. "We'll just have to figure out the cause at a later date. For now, why don't we rest and introduce our guests to the others. Ashido-san, I believe it would be best to discard your hollow armor. It would make everyone feel a bit more comfortable should they approach you." The veteran shinigami nodded and was already in the process of taking off his armor albeit reluctantly. However, this still caused a number of the Arrancar present to shiver or flinch a little bit. Although they knew about the carnage that hollows are capable of, none of them have ever seen someone use the masks of dead hollows as armor, which made for quite an unsettling sight.
"Harribel. Please take me to Gantenbainne. I would like to see if there is anything I can do to help his condition." The blonde beauty nodded, understanding the want to help one's precious people.
"I would like to go as well, Harribel-san. I'm a healer so maybe there is something I could do," said Hanataro.
Smiling underneath her mask, Harribel was once again touched by the young shinigami's sense of duty to help those in need. "I'm sure both Gantenbainne and Umbra would appreciate it, Hanataro."
"I guess the rest of us will introduce Ashido-san to the others then," giggled Nel, as she quickly grabbed the redhead's arm and began dragging him into the palace with a jealous Grimmjow and the laughing female trio following close behind. Shaking her head at her surrogate older sister's excitement, Harribel also entered the palace and began to lead Umbra and Hanataro towards the room Gantenbainne was placed in. The trio passed a few hollows and some lesser Arrancar as they made their way through the halls of Las Noches, but didn't encounter any problems as no one would dare try to anger the practical leader of Hueco Mundo. It didn't take long for the group to find the room and as they entered Harribel quickly explained Gantenbainne's situation.
"After the war, the surviving Espada regrouped and began searching the palace for survivors. We found Gantenbainne unconscious outside and discovered that his wounds were healed but he appeared to be in a coma. Rubornn explained how he had encountered a shinigami captain and her lieutenant just as he was about to execute Gantenbainne and his opponent. Since Aizen's betrayal, I've managed to convince the other hollows and Arrancar to back off of the Soul Society and not continue an already lost war."
Umbra growled as he felt his spiritual pressure flex at the name of his friends' murderer but quickly calmed himself when Hanataro gave the man a concerned look. "That is good leadership, Harribel-san. Thank you for keeping my friend alive," said the older Arrancar with gratitude.
Harribel merely nodded in acknowledgement, as Hanataro took a seat near the unconscious Arrancar. "Now let's see if we can't wake your friend, Umbra-san."
*Soul Society, 12th Division*
"I still don't understand how you managed to find my hidden laboratory," grumbled Mayuri, as he began his search for Unohana's wayward medic. True to what Unohana had predicted, the clown-faced captain did indeed regenerate by the time the group had returned to the twelfth division's headquarters. Although the psychotic captain wanted to deny his help to the female captain, Mayuri didn't want to experience another one of Unohana's persuasions and decided that aiding the woman was in not only his best interest but also in his lab's as well.
"I have my ways, Mayuri-taicho," smiled Unohana. This caused Isane and the others to shiver slightly, remembering the disturbing screams of pain that were heard back at the now destroyed laboratory. The clown captain merely grunted in annoyance, as he continued to work away at his main computer, searching the Seireitei and even the neighboring Rukongai districts for the missing Hanataro. Unfortunately, no matter where the mad captain looked he couldn't find a trace of Hanataro's spiritual pressure except for the remaining amounts from the strange garganta occurrences. However, this caused Mayuri to suspect what may have happened to the medic.
"Unohana-taicho. What was the last known location of your missing officer?"
"Wasn't Hanataro's broom found in front of the division's entrance, Unohana-taicho," asked Isane.
Unohana nodded, clearly remembering the splintered cleaning appliance that Zaraki and Yachiru had brought forth. This new information confirmed Mayuri's suspicions as he turned away from the computer and faced the other five shinigami. "I believe I know where your medic is. However, you may not like it."
"Just spill it freak," grunted Zaraki.
Mayuri sneered at the large captain before returning his attention to Unohana. "As you know, we have been detecting gargantas throughout the Seireitei, but have not pinpointed the cause for such a phenomenon. Some time ago we detected a garganta signature just outside the fourth division headquarters. I believe your medic might have stumbled into the garganta and is now in Hueco Mundo."
"Hueco Mundo? Are you sure Mayuri-taicho," questioned Nemu, as she and the other shinigami held concerned expressions.
Mayuri sneered at his daughter but nodded nonetheless. "If Unohana-taicho's medic had indeed been out there when the garganta appeared then it would be logical that he somehow fell into it by accident. The signature was only open for a few seconds after all."
"Then we must mount a rescue team and head to Hueco Mundo at once," cried Isane; however, the lieutenant stopped when Unohana sighed.
"I'm afraid that cannot be done Isane. We are still weakened from the Winter War and Yamamoto-taicho wouldn't risk a rescue team for just one healer."
"But what about Ichigo-san and his friends? Surely they could-"
"Ichigo-san and his friends are also still healing from the war, and Ichigo-san is still not strong enough to handle the remaining Espada at his current strength. I'm afraid Hanataro-kun is on his own," said Unohana with a heavy heart.
"Ken-chan and I can go and get him, Re-chan!"
Unohana shook her head. "No. Zaraki-taicho still needs to get authorization from Yamamoto-taicho and there is also the fact that he needs to run his own division. We can only hope that Hanataro encounters those friendly Arrancar that Ichigo-san had informed us about."
Zaraki growled. "I don't get it Unohana. I thought you would be the first one to go help the kid, especially from what you've told me about him."
"While I may see Hanataro-kun as my own much like how you see Yachiru as yours, Zaraki-taicho, I still have a duty to the Seireitei and the other shinigami resting in the fourth division. I cannot leave no matter how much I want to," stated Unohana as she thanked Mayuri for his help before turning around and left the lab. Isane also thanked the captain and lieutenant before following her superior with a saddened expression. Zaraki merely grunted before leaving as well. Even Mayuri seemed disheartened a bit by Unohana's words, although he did not show it. Looking over at Nemu, the mad captain saw the sadness and concern in his daughter's eyes over the apparent abandonment of the medic. Sighing, Mayuri turned off his computer and left to prepare for some experiments that he had planned to do.
Ashido shifted nervously from his place at the table, as he looked at the hostile and somewhat curious gazes of the remaining Arrancar that surrounded him. Not long after Aizen's defeat and the regrouping of the remaining Espada, Starrk and Harribel had the old meeting room into something more of a casual dining room, even getting rid of the throne that the former shinigami had sat in. In fact, the two leaders decided to remake Las Noches into more of a home for the remaining hollows and Arrancars, reshaping the territories of the dead Espada into more apartment-like homes for the numerous inhabitants of Hueco Mundo. Nevertheless, the room's current occupants were making the redhead thumb his zanpakuto much more than he would have liked. Fortunately, the uncomfortable silence was broken when Nel finally returned to the room with Grimmjow and Harribel's group in tow. Looking up to his two companions, Ashido asked Hanataro how the former Espada was doing.
The medic sighed as he collapsed into a chair, too exhausted to even speak. "It was difficult but Hanataro was able to free Gantenbainne from his coma. He just needs to rest for a few more days," spoke Harribel.
Umbra sighed before smiling at the exhausted medic. "That's twice I owe you, Hanataro. Thank you for bringing back my friend."
The medic merely returned a weak smile and a tired thumbs up before resting his head on the table. Nel giggled as she saw Harribel enter the kitchen and return with a cup of tea for the weary healer. The other Arrancars also noticed this but didn't comment on it, and returned their attention to the redhead shinigami and the new Arrancar. Loly and Lilynette glared at the shinigami and Arrancar with distaste, while Menoly, Tesra, and Luna were wary of Ashido but seemed curious of Umbra. Rubornn was apathetic as usual, but seemed to tense whenever the white-haired Arrancar would send a glare his way. Meanwhile, Apacci and Sung-Sun were bombarding Mila Rose with questions about Umbra and their past relationship, greatly annoying the lion. Starrk merely yawned as he approached the duo, offering them both a handshake.
"I'm guessing you three are the guests I've been hearing so much about," smiled Starrk.
Ashido nodded, as he explained the situation. "Apparently, Hanataro over there fell into a garganta portal that opened near his division. Umbra here saved Hanataro from a horde of hollows back in the Forrest of Menos. On their way to the surface, they encountered me and I decided to help them get away from another horde of hollows."
Umbra snorted. "Please. You would have tried to take my head off if it was just me and Hanataro. We might respect each other but we aren't exactly friends either."
"True, but after everything the two of us have been through it would have been pathetic to let you die at the hands of some low-level hollows," smirked the old veteran.
Umbra chuckled before turning back to Starrk. "We were hoping we could find someone here to help Hanataro get back to the Soul Society. He also wanted to meet Harribel again apparently."
Starrk raised a brow before turning to Harribel who was sitting with Hanataro at the table. "I didn't know you were acquainted with a shinigami, Harribel-san."
The blonde Arrancar let out a humorless laugh. "Hanataro was the one who found me amongst the rubble back in that fake town. If it weren't for him, I would have died to my injuries and my sisters would have been captured and most likely executed. He showed me that not all shinigami wanted to exterminate us."
With every word that Harribel spoke, Hanataro's blush seemed to get darker and darker as the young medic tried to hide behind his steaming cup in embarrassment. "I-I'm a healer first and foremost. I couldn't leave Harribel-san to her wounds even though we were enemies."
"Were you the one to give Bel-chan that white robe, Hanataro," giggled Nel.
As Harribel and Hanataro both lit up with twin blushes, Starrk raised both brows in shock, while some of the others also pieced together the implications made. During the regrouping, everyone knew that Harribel's jacket was destroyed in the war and it was agreed that the blonde Arrancar had managed to swipe some clothing in her escape back to Las Noches. Even Apacci, Mila Rose, and Sung-Sun didn't know about how their surrogate older sister had acquired her treasured white robe. That is, until now.
"That freakin' pervert!"
Hanataro yelped and quickly hid behind Harribel, as the three female Arrancar attempted to rid him of his perverted ways. Tesra blushed alongside Menoly in embarrassment, while Loly growled about perverted shinigami. Ashido and Umbra laughed greatly at the new information, while Nel tried her best to keep the three enraged women from tearing Hanataro apart. Grimmjow muttered about how lucky the healer was since he noticed how Harribel didn't seem to be offended but more flattered than anything else. Meanwhile, Lilynette just tilted her head in confusion before deciding to ask Starrk about it later. Shaking away his shock, Starrk smacked the blue-haired hollow on the head before walking over to help a struggling Nel with a swearing Grimmjow in tow. Fortunately for Hanataro, Nel was able to calm the three women down as Starrk, Grimmjow, and Umbra held them back.
Harribel sighed. "It has been a long day. Why don't we all get some rest?"
"Agreed," added Starrk as he yawned and left the room with Lilynette. Nel giggled before quickly dragging both Grimmjow and Ashido out of the room, while the others also made their leave. Umbra walked over to Mila Rose and asked if she wanted to give him a tour of Las Noches and catch up, to which she nodded enthusiastically while ignoring the teasing from her two sisters. Harribel merely motioned for Hanataro to follow her as they too left the room.
"Hey, Starrk. What was Nel talking about and why were Harribel-neesan and that shinigami turning red?"
Said Arrancar stiffened before dropping his head in despair. "Crap."
"Ken-chan. Do you think Hana-chan will be alright," asked Yachiru as the father and daughter got ready for bed, having just returned from their hollow hunting trip.
"Don't worry Yachiru. We both know the kid is getting stronger. I doubt he'll get killed by a couple of hollows. Besides, remember what Ichigo told us. Hanataro probably met some of his Arrancar friends."
"Okay," frowned the adorable little girl. Kenpachi sighed as he stared up at the moon. It was going to be a long night.
"Taicho? Taicho? I know how worried you're about Hanataro-kun, but I'm sure he's alright," said Isane as she knocked on the door to her captain's personal quarters.
"Taicho? I coming in." As Isane opened the door and entered the room, the tall medic was shocked to see it empty. Even more shocking was the fact that her captain's white haori was neatly folded on the bed, while the window was left open, its curtains flowing ominously in the breeze. Running over to the window, Isane saw the footsteps within the dirt and quickly concentrating on her superior's spiritual pressure, her eyes widening in shock before smiling slightly.
"Bring Hanataro-kun home, Unohana-taicho," whispered the lieutenant.
Unohana continued to move swiftly and quietly with a grace and speed that would have impressed even Yoruichi, as she continued her way to the Senkaimon. Instead of her usual motherly smile, Unohana was set with a face of grim determination. She knew that requesting a path to Hueco Mundo from Maryuri would arouse too much attention, and Yamamoto would definitely try to prevent her from leaving. That left the healer only one other option.
"I am a captain, but not when I am no longer on duty. I will not forsake Hanataro-kun."
Ashido sighed as Nel continued to drag him and Grimmjow towards his temporary quarters. Glancing over to the blue-haired Arrancar, Ashido sighed before noticing the stares from some of the lesser Arrancar and hollows. "Does she do this with everyone she meets?"
Grimmjow smirked. "Nah. Only me. She just likes it when we get visitors."
"And the other hollows?"
"News travels fast here. They won't attack you directly, but if they provoke you and you fall for it, then you're fair game."
"What about Hanataro and Umbra?"
"Harribel would most likely keep him safe, while that white-haired bastard would probably just fight off anyone who tried to attack him. Even though I hate his guts, the guy is a strong warrior, especially since he's one of the few hollows that evolved naturally."
"Funny. You seem more subdued than I first thought. I was led to believe that you would have tried to kill the three of us the moment we arrived here."
"You can thank me for that, Ashi-kun," giggled Nel, as Grimmjow growled before glaring at a smirking Ashido.
"So Umbra was correct. The big bad kitty did find a playmate."
"You're itching for a butt-kicking punk."
"Don't be mean Grimmjow-kun," admonished Nel, as she stopped in front of a set of doors. Dropping the two warriors, the green beauty pushed open the large doors only to hit by three blurs. Believing that they were under attack, Ashido quickly took on a battle stance, but blinked in confusion when Grimmjow simply grabbed his wrist.
"As much as I want those idiots chopped up into pieces, I can't let you hurt them. Besides, they're not dangerous." Ashido reluctantly relaxed but raised a brow when he got a good look at the three hollows who were currently hugging Nel.
"Nel-sama! Your back!"
"We were getting worried about you when we couldn't find you anywhere, don' cha know!"
Nel giggled. "Dondochakka! Pesche! Bawabawa! I know you three get worried about me often, but you know I can handle myself. Even if I do get into trouble, I have Grimmjow-kun to help me!"
"But that just makes us worried more," cried Pesche, as he waved his arms wildly.
"What was that," growled Grimmjow as his anger increased.
"Wah! Grimmjow's scary don' cha know!"
Ashido sighed before he cleared his throat, gathering the rest of the group's attention, hoping to get things back on topic. "Nel-san. It has been a rather long day. Could you please take me to my room so that I may get some rest?"
"Oh! That's right," said Nel, bopping her fist into her hand. "Las Noches is actually pretty full since we've been finding hollows and other Arrancar throughout Hueco Mundo. So you'll be staying with Pesche, Dondochakka, and Bawabawa for the time being."
Ashido blinked at the news, while Grimmjow immediately began laughing his head off. "Too bad for you, red!"
"Oh? We get a new roommate?"
"That's surprising don' cha know!"
Before Ashido could utter another word, the three hollows were already upon him and dragged him into the room, a giggling Nel and laughing Grimmjow walking in after them.
Mila Rose was currently showing Umbra around the cafeteria and the two were enjoying some dinner until the old veteran suddenly began laughing. "Something on your mind?"
"I just have a feeling that Ashido won't get much sleep tonight," said Umbra, finally calming down.
"That's right. Las Noches is pretty full right now. We're still trying to rebuild some of the destroyed parts of the palace. Luckily, most of the hollows here aren't mindless idiots."
"So does that mean I get to sleep with my favorite little kitten again," grinned Umbra.
The words hit their mark, as smoke exploded from a blushing Mila Rose. Umbra chuckled, enjoying seeing his old friend stutter and acting all flustered only to duck under the bowl of food that the female Arrancar threw at his head. However, the duo failed to notice a snickering Appaci and Sung-Sun, spying on them from another table.
"T-That's not what I meant you pervert!"
"Aw, but what about all those times you ended up snuggling next to me during our travels? I still remember how soft your fur was even with the bone armor."
"It was that or freezing to death! You know that," growled a still blushing Mila Rose. The lioness was about to continue, but noticed Luna walking up behind Umbra, brow twitching as cold noodles and broth dripped off her head. Her mind lighting up with a quick idea, Mila Rose calmed herself before quickly grinning, which immediately put Umbra on guard, having remembered how she would act when having her revenge. "Well, I see you're still a messy eater. Always tossing food left and right whenever they don't taste good to you."
"What are you…?"
"So, you like throwing food around, huh?" Recognizing the sound of a woman's fury, Umbra tensed before glancing over his shoulder, noticing the angry Arrancar brandishing her staff and the food that was still on her head. Turning back to his hostess, Umbra saw the Cheshire grin on her face before narrowing his eyes.
"This means war you know."
"A war I will happily fight," grinned Mila Rose.
And the beat down commenced.
Hanataro yawned as he awoke from the plush bed in Harribel's room. Blushing slightly, the medic remembered being informed about the living arrangements for the three of them and how he was to bunk with Harribel for the time being. At first, Hanataro vehemently tried to politely turn down Harribel's offer to stay in her room, and that he could sleep on the couch in one of the lounges or possibly even on the table at the dining room. Harribel was having none of that and was close to even using her puppy dog pout on him, something not even her adoptive little sisters have ever seen before. Fortunately, Hanataro caved in before that and decided to get some sleep after his exhaustive healing session with Gantenbainne. Looking around the room, Hanataro noticed a shadow coming from the balcony and went outside, leaving his zanpakuto near the nightstand. However, any words that the medic might have had were quickly caught in his throat as he stared at the sight before him. The balcony was high and revealed a perfect sight of all of Hueco Mundo. The world's eternal moon set high, as its light shined upon all below it. However, it was the person before him that truly captured Hanataro's attention. Standing before him was Harribel, dressed in not only her usual night robes but also the white robe top that he had given her all those months ago. Her mask was down and her beautiful face shined in the moonlight, casting the woman with a mystical veil. It was when she turned to face her guest with a calming smile that Hanataro saw just how beautiful she truly was. Quickly shaking his head, the medic was able to smile back at the blonde Arrancar as he joined her near the railing, his cheeks tinted red. No words were shared between the two because there was no need for them. They simply enjoyed the night and each other's company.
After almost an hour of silence, Harribel decided to make some light conversation. "So how have you been these past few months, Hanataro?"
"I've been busy with training and helping around the divisions, but I couldn't really complain with the results huh?"
"I certainly don't," chuckled Harribel, as Hanataro's blush burned deeper.
"You still have the robe I gave you."
"I treasure your gift just like how I treasure our meeting."
"I didn't really do anything."
"No. You did something more. You showed mercy when you had every right to kill me. You healed my injuries and saved me from death, and you also saved my sisters from capture and execution."
"You and the other Arrancar were tricked into following Aizen. You shouldn't have been the ones to pay the price for his actions."
"Perhaps, but we all knew that Aizen didn't trust us no matter how much we believed in his lies. I used to believe that all shinigami wanted to do was exterminate hollows, but you changed all of that."
Hanataro looked down in thought at her words, but couldn't find anything to respond to them. He knew that he had to return to the Soul Society, but he didn't want to leave her yet. Unknown to the medic, Harribel was also having conflicting thoughts. Like Hanataro, Harribel too began developing feelings of her own. His spiritual pressure felt so calming and embraced her with an aura of safety and warmth, much different from the energies of her hollow comrades. His kindness and his dedication to his fellow shinigami as well as his dedication to his oath as a medic was very much like her own devotion to her sisters and friends. However, Harribel knew that they could never be together. The Soul Society wouldn't allow that. Harribel shook her head. Now wasn't the time for such thoughts. For now, she could just enjoy the moment with the man who saved her life and gave her a new perspective.
"Man. Old Hat-and-Clogs is a slave driver," yawned Ichigo as he opened the door to his room and dropped his bag near his desk, Rukia following in after him. Not long after the Winter War, the snow princess was sent to act as a more permanent supervisor to the substitute shinigami, having already had friendly relations with the Kurosaki family. In fact, Rukia was able to help her friend finally reveal his secret to the rest of his family. Isshin may have already known that Ichigo was a shinigami, but that didn't mean it was any easier to show his secret life to his sisters. Surprisingly for the trio, the twins took the news pretty well, as Yuzu began developing her own spiritual awareness, while Karin already had suspicions about their older brother. Aside from the soccer ball to the face and having to calm down a worrisome Yuzu, the talk went pretty well and the two shinigami began retelling some of their adventures to the younger girls. In fact, Isshin was so engaged with recounting his tales that he completely forgot giving Ichigo his daily beating attempts for a few days, a reprieve the orange-haired teen loved.
"Well, he is trying to get you back to strength, Ichigo. He might be weird and a bit annoying but he was a former captain. You should be grateful that your strength is already returning to when you faced Grimmjow the first time."
"I guess. At least we've got winter vacation to relax a little, but I wonder why there aren't as many hollows now as they were a few months ago," sighed Ichigo, as he opened the window to let the cool winter air soothe his tired body.
"We have been getting strange incidents with the random gargantas, but the Head-Captain has Mayuri and Urahara investigating them."
Before the conversation could move any further, a red blur flew past Ichigo's head and splattered all over the wall, creating what looked like a murder scene where the victim's blood was used to deliver a message.
If you are reading this message, then I got the right window this time. There has been a development and it requires your assistance. Bring along your friends too. Also, don't worry about the message. It'll disappear after a few minutes so you don't have to wash your walls every time I send a message. Convenient huh?
P.S. If you're still thinking that this is a murder cliché, then you obviously still have no sense of humor.
"I am going to kill that hat-wearing bastard," growled Ichigo. Rukia merely sighed and proceeded to ignore her roommate's ranting, as she began alerting the rest of their friends to meet up at the candy shop. After getting each confirmation, Rukia walked over to Ichigo before smacking him on the head with her soul glove. Coincidentally, this caused Ichigo's soulless body to fall face first into the red goo that made up the already disappearing message. Growling now at the smaller shinigami, Ichigo made sure to get revenge on her as well before stuffing Kon down his body's throat and making sure that the mod soul would behave while he was gone. Turning to Rukia, the shinigami only received a nod before the duo disappeared from the room. It wasn't long until the two shinigami met up with Uryu, Chad, and Orihime at the shop.
"Hey guys. Glad you could make it," greeted Ichigo.
"What's this about Ichigo," questioned Uryu.
Rukia shrugged. "We don't know. Urahara just sent us a message to gather everyone at the shop. He didn't really give any details aside that something came up."
"Ah. Glad to see you all again," grinned Urahara behind his fan as he walked up to the group.
"What is it you want, Hat-and-Clogs," scowled Ichigo.
"It's not so much what I want but more like what she wants, Ichigo-kun," answered Urahara.
"She," questioned Rukia.
"It's a pleasure to see you again, Rukia-san," said a woman behind Urahara. The newcomers all looked past the shop owner's shoulder to see Unohana walk out from the building, shocking the group even more with her lack of smile and white haori.
"Unohana-taicho! What is this all about, ma'am?"
"It's simple Rukia-san. Hanataro is missing and I know where he is, but Urahara-san here insisted that you all come as well."
"Hanataro? What happened? Where is he?"
"Somehow, he fell into one of those garganta portals that randomly opened up in the Soul Society. Unohana-taicho believes he is somewhere inside Hueco Mundo. We believe he might have landed somewhere in the Forrest of Menos or in Las Noches," explained Urahara.
"Then what are we waiting for," said Ichigo.
"Now hold on Ichigo. You still need the receiver so that I could open a portal to get you all back home. There is also the fact that he might be dead no matter how much we wish otherwise. I want you five to act as back up for Unohana-taicho and to confirm whether or not he's dead."
"He's alive," frowned Unohana.
Urahara sighed as he put away his fan. "There is still a possibility. You know this. All we can hope is to find him soon or that he found that shinigami Rukia informed us about."
"Then we should get moving. The more time we spend talking, the less time we have of saving Hanataro," said Ichigo.
Urahara grinned, as he led the group to the basement where Tessai was setting up the garganta portal. As the portal began open, the former captain walked over to Unohana and gave her the device that would return them from Hueco Mundo. "Remember, the portal takes a few minutes to charge up and fully open. Make sure you all are safe before using it."
Unohana nodded as she joined the others in front of the portal. After a few minutes the garganta was fully open and the group immediately entered. 'Don't worry Hanataro-kun. We're coming to get you.'
Love it? Hate it? Let me know! Also send in your suggestions and opinions. Also, if Hanataro and the others were to go somewhere like the United States, please be specific about the location.