29. Lament of the Dead

Yamamoto Genryusai cautiously brought the tiny smoldering cup to his chapped lips. He closed his eyes, fidgeting nervously like a young man preparing for his first kiss, while his vice-captain Sasakibe looked on with an expression of absolute glee on his face. Finally, after a full minute of hesitation, Yamamoto took a sip.

"Hmm...mmm...you're right, Sasakibe, English tea is quite good."

"See? I told you that you would like it, Captain Commander!" Sasakibe applauded for the old man taking a chance like he did.

"But...this would have tasted so much sweeter if we could have enjoyed it together in the 1st Division barracks...with everyone else." Yamamoto lowered his head. Sasakibe frowned. He didn't think he could ever make things better; the Captain Commander could never forgive himself for his failure to protect the people he considered his very children. Sasakibe didn't blame him. He wanted to help this man he looked up to with so much admiration. But, with the both of them dead and stuck in this eternal limbo, there was nothing he could do. All that he was capable of was drinking tea and looking spiffy in his new European clothing while a falcon sat on his shoulder. He had no idea where the falcon came either. It was closely eying his moustache lately; it might have thought it was a worm.

Suddenly, the door opened. Byakuya stepped back inside, looking annoyed.

"Where did you go?" Sasakibe asked.

"I thought I had another chance at life for a moment there," he said, "But it appears that I was wrong. I am definitely deceased now, after leaving my final request to Ichigo Kurosaki. So I suppose I'll put back on my suit and top hat."

"Jolly good!"

"...Please refrain from using any of that sort of language right now. I am not in the mood for it."

"Oh. Sorry."

The air in that tiny little European-styled room of the three dead Shinigami held a somber air, and Sasakibe was uncomfortable. After all, as a minor character, he couldn't comprehend the pain and shame that the big-name protagonists were feeling right now. Although he could at least sympathize with Kira a little, who was huddled in a corner while caressing his his left arm and muttering under his breath. He must have taken some nasty damage before he died.

There was no way Sasakibe would go over and talk to him, though. Kira was really fucking creepy.

30. A Well-Earned Reward

Bambietta Basterbine was so excited today. She had been told that their beloved Emperor Juha Bach had brought back a pair of 'gifts' for her after they had decimated Soul Society and eliminated the entire Shinigami race. The low-ranked Quincy girl hopped and skipped down the long hallway, toward the Emperor's chambers. She was so excited; the boss never seemed to give her the time of day before. Although Bambietta believed this was just due to his stressful occupation as their leader, it almost seemed like he was intentionally avoiding her at times. Many of the Quincy seemed to do that. But Bambietta had concluded that it was just a coincidence. Bambietta opened the chamber door with a mighty kick.

"Oh, Mister Emperoooor, I'm here for my giii~fts!"

"Ah, there she is, the woman of the hour...uh...um..." Juha Bach scratched at his chin.

"Bambietta Basterbine, my lord." Haschwald reminded him.

"Ah, that's right, my annoying little bastard child!"

"Sir, don't bring that up in front of said bastard child-"

"Right, I'm sorry, I'm just really giddy right now, since we've finally accomplished our thousand-year goal! We've eliminated Soul Society for good! Not a single one was left alive!" Juha Bach chuckled evilly.

"Indeed," Haschwald, for some reason, looked sad as he agreed, "We even brought back a prisoner with us..."

"Umm, when do I get my presents?" Bambietta asked.

"Oh, that's right, here they are!"

Juha Bach stepped aside and revealed a pair of familiar figures. Ichigo Kurosaki and Sajin Komamura were dressed in suitable Vandenreich uniforms, their arms restrained by special bands of highly-condensed reishi. Unlike Komamura, who just looked uncomfortable, there were clear signs of abuse and battering all over Ichigo's face, and probably more underneath his clothes. Bambietta squealed happily.

"Kurosaki, are you alright? They didn't...do anything to you, did they?" Komamura whispered to the much smaller young man.

Ichigo shook his head. "No...they didn't..." he lied. He hadn't been physically wounded, not much anyway, but it was what the leader had told him that truly shattered his spirits. He was still having difficulties believing it all. He knew that his father had been keeping the secret of his Shinigami past, but he didn't know that was only the tip of the iceberg running in the Kurosaki family's past.

"Since they are new recruits here, one of them being a special war power, and the other a gigantic talking mutt...I need someone to teach them the ropes." Juha Bach told the young Quincy.

"Oh, I can do that! I can do that! And I know the big fluffy guy; I have his bankai right now!"

"I'm sure you do..."

"This will be so much fun! It's been ages since I've had anyone to talk to!" Bambietta gushed.

"I can tell why right off the bat." Juha Bach continued smiling at her.

After thanking her emperor again, Bambietta climbed onto Komamura's shoulder and ordered them to begin walking down the hall to her bed-chamber to begin the 'lesson'.

"You know," Bambietta remarked as she watched Ichigo for a moment, "He's kinda cute..."

Komamura didn't say anything. Bambietta smiled.

"But...I think I like you better. That's why I went after you specifically. I'm a furry, after all."

At that point, the large dog-Shinigami had stopped worrying for Ichigo...and became much more concerned about himself.