Kenpachi Zaraki was not what you would call an ordinary captain. If anything, you would call him the most battle-hungry, bloodthirsty captain of the 13 Court Guard Squads. He was a berserker, plain and simple.
But he did have one weakness, if you could call it that.
He cared for really young children. It was why he adopted Yachiru when they were still in the Rukongai. If he hadn't taken her in, she would have died in an early age in that bloody district. Young children didn't last long there.
What people didn't know about him was that occasionally, when he went back to that district to fight hollows, he found children and moved them to another district. If they had the potential to be soul reapers, he moved them right next to the Soul Society so that they could survive long enough to get into the Academy. Some even ended up in his squad!
It was during one of his trips into his old district that he found her. A three year old girl with a very unusual power.
She had blood red hair and startling clear emerald eyes. She was shockingly skinny, as if she hadn't eaten in weeks. And her skin was so pale she could have been an emaciated corpse.
When Zaraki came across her, his only thought was that he was glad Yachiru decided to annoy his squad for the day. The girl was obviously bleeding heavily, but she didn't seem to notice that at all. If anything she was drawing flowers in what appeared to be her own blood.
He was so angry to see a child in such a condition he didn't realize his spiritual power was pulsing strong enough to flatten the nearby spirits.
The girl looked up when she felt that, and her clear eyes stared at him. She wasn't fazed by his overwhelming power in the least! If anything, she seemed to absorb and redirect it to him.
She didn't run when he picked her up, though she seemed to expect a blow when his hand came near her. Zaraki tried to calm his rage that such a young girl expected to be beaten whenever a hand was raised near her.
Unohana was shocked, then horrified when Zaraki appeared in her squad with a young child. At first she thought it was Yachiru, but closer inspection revealed the girl was too young even for his lieutenant.
She didn't ask where he had found her, or why he had brought the child to her squad. She simply went to work in healing the poor child's injuries before she died from them. For the next week, Zaraki would stop by and check on the little girl, who healed at an alarming rate.
Unohana didn't question this, thinking the girl reminded him of Yachiru.
When she finally opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was Zaraki.
Unohana was upset to learn that the girl didn't even know her own name, since whoever had been abusing her just called her a freak. So Zaraki gave her one.
Chidarake Hana, the Bloody Flower.
Unohana gave him a look, but it softened when he explained that was how he had originally found her, drawing simple flowers with her own blood.
Considering who she was dealing with, it was a decent enough name. And it wasn't like people would ever call her by her last name anyway.
While Hana's injuries were healed enough that she wasn't in danger, she was still stuck living in the fourth's barracks for nearly two months before she was allowed to leave.
It didn't surprise Unohana in the least that the girl wanted to live with Zaraki. Since he was possibly the only person to show her any kindness, she likely developed an attachment to him.
Upon meeting Yachiru, who clearly recognized a fellow survivor of the 79th district, the two immediately bonded and practically became sisters.
It wasn't unheard of for a soul who wasn't a shinigami to live in the Seireitei, but it didn't happen often either. The last time something like this happened, Byakuya Kuchiki of the Kuchiki clan married a woman from Hanging Dog.
Hana was five when she first went into the Academy. It was mostly to keep her busy, since she had become a menace to anyone who annoyed her. Unlike Yachiru, who sometimes went on a sugar induced wave of destruction, Hana tended to prank people within an inch of their sanity when she was bored.
She was spared the lion's share of retribution for one reason, and one reason only.
She was the adopted daughter of Kenpachi Zaraki, and Yachiru's younger sibling. Anyone who tried to hurt her in any way faced the wrath of nearly the entire Eleventh Squad, particularly Ikkaku and Yumechika who were rather fond of her.
People still had a hard time believing that Zaraki adopted her like he did Yachiru. But once they got past her pranks, they found out she was really a little sweetheart.
She could worm her way into the most cold and aloof people around.
Like Byakuya Kuchiki. The first time Yachiru dragged her sister into her snack run (I/E eating all the snacks laid out for the various activities certain captains held for other soul reapers) Hana found a love for calligraphy, even if she couldn't read what Byakuya was painting.
Deciding to humor her in the hopes that she could get Yachiru to quit pestering him, he was surprised to discover that Hana loved to read. Once she learned kanji, katakana and hiragana, it was all he could do to keep her from devouring any book or scroll she came across.
Realizing that, he introduced her to the public library for shinigami and she was hooked. Any time Zaraki needed to find her, he had someone lead him there and he would usually find her reading under a tree.
Another thing they found out was that Hana was very good a kido, particularly anything that exploded. It surprised everyone because squad eleven was notorious for looking down on people who had kido type swords. It was part of the reason why they disliked the fourth so much.
To the surprise of everyone, Hana did have a zanpakuto. She was just too young to hear it at the moment.
Then again, she really didn't need to use a zanpakuto on people. Whenever she was angry at someone or really upset, she lost control of her powers and leveled enough spirit energy to rival her father Zaraki. That usually flattened people to the point where they left her alone.
By the time she was nine, her body suddenly stopped growing entirely. It baffled Unohana, until she had the sense to ask Hana what was going on.
Apparently Hana had learned the trick Yachiru used to stay so young, even though when Zaraki originally found her she was still a baby.
Hana didn't want to grow up just yet. Growing up meant she would eventually have to leave her father and sister, and she didn't want that at all. She had enough trouble sleeping alone in her new room next to Yachiru!
Hana was a bit of a cuddle monster when she was tired. More than once, one of the other captains would find her curled up like a kitten in their office.
She only did that with a select few, but it was still rather cute to see.
Among those were Unohana, Soi Fon, Byakuya, Komamura, Toshiro, Zaraki and Ukitake. There were a few captains she would run away from though.
Aizen had been officially put on the SWA's offender list when he said something he really shouldn't have to Hana when she went to visit Hinamori one day. After that, Hana avoided his division like the plague.
Hinamori still couldn't believe he repeated word for word one of the worst pick up lines the Eleventh used on females to a six year old. The fact that she had gone straight to Unohana the second he said it to her only made it worse.
As it was, he was lucky she didn't repeat it to Zaraki, who most certainly would have strung him up for the offense.
Zaraki may be a bloodthirsty captain, but he was fiercely overprotective of the two girls.
Gin still found it hilarious that when Aizen attempted to put Hana under his hypnosis, he was mistakenly branded a pedophile by a six year old.
He really shouldn't have asked her if she wanted to see his zanpakuto.
For the past eight years since Zaraki found and adopted Hana, things were rather calm. The little girl wormed her way into the coldest of captains, from the uptight Soi Fon to the aloof Byakuya.
She was a master of kido when she put her mind to it, but had yet to attain her shikai state. Like Yachiru, she could be insanely fast whenever she wanted to be, especially when trying to gain an alibi after a prank.
She was the Seireitei's sweetheart, despite being the youngest daughter of their most bloodthirsty captain.
Though her strange power caught everyone's attention, it was clear she was a natural soul reaper, even if it was unlikely that she would ever willingly leave the eleventh squad.
The only problem that the more serious soul reapers had was that she was particularly clingy to those she liked. The only people who knew why that was were Unohana and Zaraki, and they weren't talking.
A few were rather mystified as to why Zaraki didn't try to train such a thing out of his adopted daughter.
Zaraki normally would have, had he not known that Hana had been abused from a young age. It was a miracle she trusted people at all, with how he had found her.
Hana was with her class in the World of the Living when they were accosted by hundreds of what appeared to be owls.
She had once watched a movie called The Birds and ever since had become afraid of the creatures in large groups. She could handle a flock of about ten, but any larger than that and she would take cover.
Zaraki hadn't been happy about that, and had used the idiot responsible as a training dummy for nearly three months.
Kira, the lieutenant of squad three (and the one who ended up babysitting the Academy cadets for the week by losing at the unofficial lottery) caught on of the birds and looked at the letter they all appeared to be carrying.
They had mostly finished up in practice, so he grabbed a few letters (which for some reason all seemed geared towards Zaraki's daughter) before opening the gate back to the soul society.
Needless to say the confusion from the owl invasion would take a week to sort out.
Hana looked at the letters with no little amount of suspicion. They looked like something Captain Kurotsuchi would cook up to trap her, but this wasn't his style.
Even she had to admit the crazed captain had better tastes than to use birds to do his bidding, particularly after her father informed his squad that anyone idiot enough to capitalize on her fear of the avian creatures would become his personal pin cushion for a year.
The fact he was a captain wouldn't spare him from such a threat either.
The thing that baffled everyone was the fact that while the birds were clearly gunning for her, the name was completely wrong.
Whoever this Lillian was, she most definitely did not share a room with Hana.
The next time she went into the world of the Living, Yachiru and Captain Unohana went with her. Once again the owls descended, but this time the name had changed.
Now it read Chidarake Hana.
When informed of the owls before, the Head Captain wanted answers. So they caught an owl and had Unohana write a simple request for information. Since the letters were in romanji, that was what Unohana wrote the reply in.
Three days later a woman who reminded Hana of Soi Fon arrived in the most bizarre outfit she had ever seen.
Unohana was acting as her guardian for the moment, since even with the restriction Zaraki had a tendency to attract hollows en masse.
McGonagall looked for the person who sent the reply. Normally they didn't send owls this far east, but occasionally it did happen when the child moved out of Europe.
Though that really only happened with pure or half blood children who's parents had placed their names on the roster when they were born.
She found the two most likely candidates. A woman who reminded her of Poppy and an eleven year old girl with bright red hair. The girl looked painfully reminiscent of Lillian Potter...the deceased Girl-Who-Lived who was killed a year and a half after Albus foolishly left her at her aunts.
She had warned him that Petunia wouldn't care for the child, and learning that the woman had killed the toddler out of neglect had driven her to drink for two years. The infuriating thing was when Arabella informed Albus that Lillian's body was dug up by the dog that belonged to Vernon Dursley's sister and spotted by a neighbor who was gardening at the time, he had done everything in his power to cover it up from the muggleborns that came into the school for the next five years, and then subtly shifted the whole 'Savior' nonsense to the only other child who fit the bill of his precious prophecy.
At least that boy had his grandmother to keep him from getting an oversized head. That had been part of Albus' excuse of placing Lillian with her aunt.
She approached the two, and noted with some pain the child's green eyes. They reminded her of Lily.
She was really going to need a drink after this.
"Are you Hana Chidarake?"
"Hana-chan," the woman said patiently.
"Yes," she said in a sulky and accented English.
"I'm afraid her English isn't that good just yet. My name is Unohana Retsu. Her father asked me to handle this, since he would draw too much attention."
"My name is Professor McGonagall. I believe you wanted to know about Hogwarts?" she said. If she was right she was going to need a translation charm.
McGonagall remembered her Japanese lessons, and gave Unohana a polite bow. Unlike some of the staff, she had traveled to Japan once before she took her Mastery exam. She was starting to remember the long year she had spent learning their customs.
"Yes, I am also curious as to why so many owls were sent."
"I have no idea why that happened. Usually only three or four are sent at a time if an answer isn't received. Perhaps they had trouble finding her early, so they all waited until she could be sensed before showing up as a flock."
Unohana nodded. That would make sense, because Hana lived in the soul society and only the dead could inhabit it.
"Why don't we talk at a cafe?" suggested Unohana.
McGonagall was surprised to find the cafe served Earl Gray (next door to a liquor shop too, but she was a teacher and should set a good example for the girl) and she explained what Hogwarts was.
Unohana asked intelligent questions, often translating them for the girl. By the time McGonagall left, she couldn't help but feel that she had passed some sort of test. That didn't stop her from going to her liquor cabinet and taking a long draw of scotch.
She heard a knock, and had a feeling it was the headmaster.
After the incident with Lillian, McGonagall avoided the man as much as she could. Any respect she had for him was long since gone, and she advised her lions not to accept any advice from him.
What she didn't realized was that because of that instruction, Dumbledore's future power base withered away. Any help he might have had in influencing the Wizangamot or the Ministry was being taken away, one student at a time.
Especially when McGonagall was forced to explain why she gave such an instruction to impressionable eleven year olds. Finding out that the headmaster went against his deputy in order to place the girl-who-lived in an abusive home tended to worry you.
If anything bad happened during his watch, chances were good that parents would remove their children from the school until he was removed.
Head Captain Yamamoto looked at little Hana with interest. It had never occurred to any of them that Hana was a former witch. And he had heard some disturbing rumors concerning England's previous Dark Lord.
Rumors about a magic that split the soul, which went against everything the soul society stood for.
If a person split their soul, they corroded the precarious balance. It was the Quincy situation all over again!
Since she had the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the magical communities, she would be investigating the rumors about a magic that split souls and gave the dead a new body to work with.
If she found evidence of such magic, Yamamoto was going to have Soi Fon and her group find all records of it and destroy everything. While dark magic on it's own was barely tolerated, they didn't want to chance the balance of living and dead being broken by egotistical wizards on a power trip.