So, friends; readers and reviewers, this is the FINAL Chapter of Truth. It has been a great 3 months and I want to wish everyone a HUGE thanks for following this story for that length of time. Without your kind words and reviews I would never have reached this point.
Now, this chapter is a kind of a preview to what will happen in the third instalment of this series: Rebellion. I hope you enjoy this prelude and I truly hope you will continue to read this series.
Once again and MASSIVE thank you to all of you, if I could individually hug you all, believe me I would do so!
Without any further blabbing from me... ENJOY!
Chapter Twenty-Two: Beginnings and Endings:
A Zanpakto's shape and abilities are based on their shinigami's soul. Once a shinigami learns his or her sword's name, they are able to communicate with each other and become stronger together. They are born with their shinigami and they die with their shinigami.
Renji shot around the training area with his Zanpakto drawn, "Howl, Zabimaru!" he yelled and snapped his sword forwards, sending the extending blade sweeping towards his captain without hesitation.
He watched as the stoic man lifted his katana and blocked the attack before disappearing in a heartbeat; he still couldn't fully see his captain's shunpo, but he was getting there!
His eyes widened momentarily as he sensed him behind him and he spun around, meeting his katana with his own sword; they disengaged and met again seconds later, he grinned a little wildly at the raven haired male and chuckled under his breath as he saw equal amusement in Byakuya's steely grey eyes.
He gritted his teeth and pushed himself harder, putting everything into his Zanpakto as he forced his captain back and sent him flying. He grinned in triumph for a moment before his sweat dropped at the words which escaped the man's lips.
He lifted his Zanpakto again and tried blocking the ribbons of cherry blossoms which flew at him; they pushed him away and up into the sky high above the division. Shouts of 'Vice-Captain' and 'Abarai-fuku-taichou' were strife from the on looking subordinates.
"Bankai!" he exclaimed and the petals were blasted away from him as he was concealed in a plume of smoke and reiatsu.
Byakuya dropped down to the ground and watched carefully for the first sign of a renewed assault from his second in command. He was certainly getting better and better with each passing day.
Renji dropped down in front of him as he smoke cleared, revealing he large body of the snake; Renji's bankai, "Baboon King, Zabimaru."
The mention and sight of Renji's bankai instilled further excitement into the watching shinigami's minds and hearts and cheers for the captain and vice-captain increased.
The Taichou dropped his sword and it was swallowed by the ground beneath them, "I had not forgotten about that. But I can double Senbonzakura's speed by controlling it with my hands." And as if to prove his point and held his hands out and swept the petals around like a gushing tempest waiting for its release, "Your slow bankai won't be able to halt it."
Renji's smile dropped at the insult, he was so going to get his own back later on when they were all alone, in the office, with a securely locked door. It was more amusing to consider that Byakuya probably knew exactly where his thought process was going with that comment but still... He would show him just how fast he could go.
Byakuya was momentarily distracted when one of his petals entered his safety zone and cut through his fingerless gloves; giving him a very shallow cut in the back of his wrist.
The red head took that distraction and threw his giant bankai forwards; if he hadn't known better he would have sworn he had seen a flash of surprise in his captain and lover's expression before it was concealed again.
They clashed once more, petals engulfing the monumental structure of the serpent. Renji shot up into the air, letting the snake lead him before he growled as the impudent petals followed relentlessly. He used the great body to shield him but even he knew that it wouldn't last long. While he was able to summon his bankai and wield it very well he couldn't stop it being cut to shreds by a bankai like Byakuya's.
He let out a breath, "Hikkotsu Taihou!" he yelled.
The snake burst through the petals swarming Renji and aimed straight for where Byakuya was standing, each segment of its body flashing dark pink as the reiatsu began to build; opening its huge mouth the Baboon King fired a scarlet cero like ball towards the captain.
Byakuya dragged his arm up and at the exact moment that the cannon hit, his bankai formed into several large swords, creating a barrier in front of him and protecting him from the blast. He let out a sigh of relief; indeed, Renji was getting better. A lot better.
Renji shunpo-ed back down to where his lover was standing and frowned faintly as he saw a look of concern on his elegant features, "Taichou, is something wrong?" he asked.
He ignored him for the moment, recalling his bankai and looking at the simple katana as it reformed in his hand; his eyes narrowed slightly as he revisited how he had been injured by his own Zanpakto. That was not right. Senbonzakura was never so unethical or brash as to purposefully injure him. He would have to go and meditate with him immediately to find out what was bothering him.
"Taichou-" Renji began again but was interrupted by Kyoraku and Ukitake whom had been watching the exercise.
"My that was an impressive fight to be sure." The kimono clad captain said as he clapped in approval.
"Abarai-fuku-taichou, you have certainly improved."
"Uh... Oh, thank you very much." He replied with a small bow of respect to them both, his cheeks warmed slightly at their compliments but at the moment he was far too concerned about his captain to let them go to his head.
Byakuya turned away and began walking back towards the Kuchiki Mansion without word to them.
"Kuchiki-Taichou?" Renji asked in confusion, Byakuya hadn't been this cold towards him since he had tried to stop Rukia's execution...
He glanced back at his lover, "You did well. That is all for today." He said calmly before disappearing in a flash of shunpo.
The red head sighed slightly and scratched his neck thoughtfully; he'd have to talk to him about it later.
"Did the two of you have a fight, Abarai-kun?" Kyoraku asked as he scratched his chin.
"Huh?" he looked at the usually drunk man, "N-not as far as I know..." he replied.
"Oh, maybe he is just having a bad day..." Ukitake offered with a supportive pat to Renji's back.
The red head remained unconvinced, "Yeah... Maybe..." he sighed slightly and released his bankai, sheathing his katana with a thoughtful look at where Byakuya had disappeared.
"I'm sure he'll be fine after a cup of tea and a break, Abarai-fuku-taichou." The white haired man smiled warmly at him.
"Of course." He chuckled gently.
"So, Ichigo-kun and Stark-san are having their honeymoon in the World of the Living?" Kyoraku skilfully changed the subject.
"Yeah, they're gone for a whole month." He replied, "It sure is quiet around without him around."
"It has indeed been quiet!" Ukitake laughed, "I hope they have a nice time though."
"They probably won't be out of bed for the whole month knowing Ichigo..." Renji smirked, watching a faint blush spread over Ukitake's cheeks in acknowledgement.
"I feel sorry for Stark-san." Kyoraku added, "I hope he has enough stamina to keep up with Ichigo-kun."
"Haha..." Renji laughed and covered his mouth with his hand as he failed to hold it in, "Oh damn... The mental images... Please stop..."
Kyoraku chuckled and went to take a sip of sake from his secret flask, but whined as Lisa and Nanao appeared and snatched it off of him, "You should know all about stamina, what with how long you keep the division awake whenever Ukitake-taichou stays over." The younger, yet no less formidable, woman said bluntly.
"You were just the same when I was your fuku-taichou too... The two of you are insatiable when left together in a dark room with no interruptions..."
Renji's jaw would have hit the floor if it was at all possible, but as it was he simply stared at the two Captain's in disbelief, "S-Seriously?! You two?!"
"Oh my... I thought everyone already knew..." Ukitake blushed, "Oh well~"
Ice floated through the air as the sky turned grey with storm clouds, the icicles twirled in swirling patterns. Hitsugaya Toshiro lifted his Zanpakto; his eyes closed in concentration as he let himself fall into his inner world.
The trees around him froze like it had been snowing for a few days, and the ground around his feet turned to ice before he was plunged into a dark void. He opened his eyes slowly and snapped his katana out to the side, "Hyôrinmaru." He called.
The blade of his Zanpakto disappeared in a puff of blue-grey smoke; the hilt followed shortly thereafter. He looked up and watched as the large dragon, made of ice, flew down from above him and landed just in front of where he was standing.
He smiled faintly at the sight of his Zanpakto's manifested soul, "Hyôrinmaru... What's wrong my friend?" he asked, sensed unease in the dragon's mind. When he received no reply he lifted his hand up, palm facing the dragon to show that he meant no harm.
Hyôrinmaru leaned down slowly and sniffed his hand before letting out a roar and recoiling away from him, turning into segments of ice and fading from sight.
Hitsugaya's eyes widened at this and he let out a stunned gasp of disbelief, clasping a hand around the hilt as his sword rematerialized, "What on earth just happened?" he whispered as he looked around, finding himself back outside of Division Ten.
He jumped slightly as the window behind him was broken by the projectile being thrown out of it; his eyebrow twitched, "Matsumoto..." he growled and headed back inside.
He pushed open the door to the office and watched from the doorway as she ran around the room looking for her Zanpakto's materialization.
"You're such a brat!" the busty fuku-taichou exclaimed as she threw herself down onto the sofa and huffed, "I'd like to know who made such a useless Zanpakto! You're selfish, fickle and damned lazy!"
"Matsumoto!" Hitsugaya exclaimed from behind the sofa in sheer annoyance, she jumped and pouted as she looked at him, "Why are you throwing a tantrum?" he asked as he tilted his head slightly and observed her.
"I was having a conversation with my Zanpakto. Or trying to anyway..." she complained.
"Yeah right." He scoffed, folding his arms and looking back at her sternly, "You were running around like a headless chicken doing nothing but complaining."
They were interrupted by a knock at the door; it slid open to reveal Isane and Hinamori in the doorway, "Excuse us!" the former woman said with a shy smile.
"Good afternoon, Rangiku-san, Shiro-chan." Hinamori smiled at them both.
"Don't call me that." The white haired captain complained with a glare, a glare which softened as he looked at Hinamori.
"What brings you two here?" Matsumoto asked with an easy smile.
The two walked forwards and Hinamori handed the other fuku-taichou a leaflet, "It's the announcements for the next fuku-taichou meeting."
"Oh, thanks Momo!" she replied with a smile as she flicked through the leaflet.
Isane wondered over to Matsumoto's Zanpakto which was stuck in the floorboards, "Ragiku-san what are you doing to your Zanpakto?!"
"Ugh, I was trying to talk to Haineko." She sighed and flicked her fringe out of her eyes, "We've faced some pretty strong opponents lately, so I figured we could take this time to talk with her and level up a bit, you know?" she folded her arms in a huff, "But stupid Haineko won't come out! She's totally useless!"
"Don't say that!" Hinamori cried in dismay, "You shouldn't speak badly of your own Zanpakto! You should be more understanding. When I was depressed after Aizen left, Tobiume was really worried about me and she was very supportive."
Hitsugaya blinked slightly and stared at her, "Even your Zanpakto was worried about you?" he muttered.
"Actually, you know speaking of Zanpakto... For the past two or three days Itegumo hasn't been very responsive." She sighed slightly and looked at them.
Hitsugaya's eyes widened suddenly and he blanked out the rest of the conversation, leaving the office discreetly and without a word to the others.
The sun was just beginning to set over the horizon, Yamamoto watched from his balcony office; signing the last of his paperwork. He looked up as he sensed someone approaching, someone whom he wasn't familiar with. He looked slightly to the side and his fuku-taichou appeared.
Sasakibe slowly stood up as the doors to the office opened of their own accord and rested a hand on the hilt of his Zanpakto and walked towards the open door very slowly.
He turned abruptly, "Who's there?!" he exclaimed, unsheathing his Zanpakto and pointing it at the intruders.
A/N: And with that cliff-hanger we reach the end of Truth. Even as you have been reading this the first chapter of Rebellion has been uploaded onto the site, I hope you are enticed and will enjoy the up and coming story as much as you have Stolen, and Truth.
Thank you all very, very much and until next time ^_^
For the 3rd story in the Stolen series, please search 'Rebellion' or visit my profile to get the link :)