This is an interlude chapter to conclude the vote for Head Captain: so far there are 2 votes for Kyoraku becoming Head Captain, 2 votes for Ukitake becoming Head Captain. As there was only 1 vote for Ichigo I have now closed that option; it is between Ukitake or Kyoraku (or you can still chose for a joint partnership) please state your vote in a review and hopefully we will have a decision for Chapter Sixteen!
Chapter Fourteen: What Urahara Did Next:
Urahara sat down as he watched Ichigo and the others leave through the Garganta and returned upstairs to check on Byakuya's condition. When he got there, the noble and his redhead guard dog were in the exact same positions that they had been before he had gone down to open the pathway to the other world; he sighed and stuck some water on to boil so that they could enjoy some tea when he finally got around to waking Renji up.
Sitting beside the redhead, he began poking him in the ribs to wake him up, ducking as Renji nearly swung at him in shock as he jolted into awareness.
"Abarai-san... Calm down." The blond laughed nervously, "I just wanted to give you some tea and stop you getting a crick in your neck."
"Eh? Oh... Sorry Urahara-san..." the red pineapple accepted the drink and yawned, rolling his shoulders and looking at his unconscious lover, "I guess all this worry has knocked me out."
"Try not to worry Abarai-san, Byakuya is a strong guy; he'll pull through." He smiled, "Ichigo and the others have gone to sort things out now."
"What?! They went without me? Damn it!" he huffed and looked at his tea."
Urahara patted his shoulder, "Ichigo knew you would be happier here with Byakuya; you would have been constantly fretting if you went with them and left them behind after all."
"Mm... I guess that's true. Still, I don't like the idea of them rushing off alone." He pouted.
Sitting back in their seats, the two discussed pointless things as the time ticked past; falling silent only as they ran out of things to talk about.
Renji set his empty cup aside and shuffled forwards again, resting his hand over Byakuya's and sighing softly as he watched his peaceful expression, "Do you think he's dreaming?" he asked the blond beside him.
"I couldn't say." Urahara responded honestly, "Due to the nature of his sleep it is hard to determine whether he is in a comatose state or a normal slumbering state."
"Oh, okay... I suppose it doesn't really matter either way so long as he is recovering." He shrugged and smiled weakly, "Besides this way I get to see him sleep for longer than I normally do. It amazes me how such a stiff person can look so totally relaxed asleep."
Urahara sniggered into the final dregs of his tea at Renji's comment and patted his chest as he almost choked, concealing his amusement with a vigorous nod of agreement as the other looked at him; the blond then got to his feet, "I'm going to go and prepare us a bite to eat, I won't be long Abarai-san." He waved a hand and disappeared from the room.
Renji watched him go before he chuckled and looked back at Byakuya; his eyes widening as he saw his eyes flicker slightly and he stood up quickly, leaning over him, and cupping his cheek, "Byakuya? Can you hear me?" he asked, "Try, and open your eyes for me if you can hear me."
It was a breathtaking moment before Byakuya's steel grey eyes finally slid open and looked around a little hazily before they focused on him.
"Oh thank the Soul King..." Renji breathed, brushing his lover's hair out of his face, "Do you need a drink?"
"W-water..." the noble said a little croakily.
"Of course." He nodded and fetched a small glass of cool liquid before he dashed back over and helped him lean up so that he could sip it.
He set the empty glass down a few minutes later and watched in relief as the colour returned to his cheeks and he looked more alive again. He knelt one knee on the edge of the bed, pressing one hand beside the noble's head so that he could hold himself up while he looked down at him.
"Renji... You were being attacked... Are you alright?" Byakuya asked as he became more and more aware of where he was and why.
"Yeah, I let my guard down... But I am fine." He replied, taking his hand gently in his own, "I'm more worried about you... You... Gave us all a pretty big scare you know?"
"I apologise... I let my guard down as well." He murmured, "I will recover. And I will make Koga pay for trampling on my pride like he has."
Renji grinned, "Heh, now that sounds like the Byakuya I know and love."
"Oh-hoh! Byakuya, you're awake!" Urahara beamed from the doorway, holding two plates with sandwiches on.
"Urahara Kisuke..." the noble sighed at the sight of the man sauntering over to the bed.
Renji took his plate from Urahara with a murmur of thanks before handing half of it to his lover with a tender smile; he pressed a kiss to his lips as he saw him go to complain, "You need to build your strength up." He said simply.
"Mm... Alright. Thank you." The nobleman murmured and took a bite of the triangular slice.
Byakuya finished after only a few moments and sighed softly, "I can't sense Ichigo or Stark... Where are they?"
"They've gone to Hueco Mundo to request assistance from Aizen-san." Urahara sighed, "I have been unable to make contact with Seireitei, and I have been unable to stabilize either the Senkaimon or the Garganta to get there. So they have gone to use Aizen's instead.
"That man again..." Byakuya sighed, "He has a hand in many pies... It is a pity we have to keep reverting to assisting him."
"Indeed, however he has helped greatly on several occasions." Urahara agreed reluctantly, "Though I too am still uncomfortable with asking for his assistance."
"Will we be able to go after them?" Byakuya asked, "I know I am still weakened from my injury but we should consider the possibility that they will need backup."
"Always the warrior..." Renji sighed.
"I am have practically completed a means of stabilizing the Senkaimon so that you and Renji can get right there without having to go through Las Noches. It's ready to use and we just have to wait a little longer for your injury to heal before you and-" he trailed off as the most peculiar feeling washed over him and he frowned faintly, rubbing the back of his neck.
"What's wrong Urahara-san?" Renji asked as the blond remained quiet for several long minutes.
"I... Uh, yeah I think so..." he rubbed his forehead before his eyes lit up with realisation; he cursed suddenly, "I think something has happened in Soul Society."
"What?!" Byakuya and Renji exclaimed at the same time.
When Urahara failed to respond, Byakuya threw back the bed covers and slowly forced his body to move, pulling his yukata closer around him he staggered before regaining his footing; he held his still healing side and walked over to the blond man.
"Urahara! What's wrong?!" he demanded.
"I think..." he swallowed, "In fact, I am certain..."
"What? What are you certain of?" the noble asked, shaking the man gently.
"My position as an exiled Shinigami has been revoked. Formerly, a barrier or a Kidou was placed on me that would react to a Senkaimon and prevent me from passing through them... But I just felt it lift..." he explained a little incoherently.
Renji questioned curiously, "Why would that happen?"
"The... Death of the one who placed it upon me... Yamamoto Genryusai."
Byakuya and Renji both stared for a moment before Byakuya spoke, "We have to get there! Urahara-san you have to open the Senkaimon! There may not be a lot of time!"
The blond stared at him for a moment before he licked his lips and nodded, "Very well. If you are certain you are ready, get dressed; I will go and fetch Benihime and return in a moment."
Byakuya nodded once and watched him go before he turned to Renji who was already holding up a fresh uniform for him, he chuckled, "I thought you would fight me all the way about returning so soon after waking up."
"You wouldn't listen anyway." The redhead responded with a smirk, "Besides, if something is going down... I am not going on my bloody own."
"Ah, fair enough then." He sighed and allowed his lover to assist him in getting dressed.
They finished in time to see Urahara return with his sword at his side; the blond stopped in front of them and he smiled weakly as he dropped his hat onto his head and slashed his Zanpakto, opening the Senkaimon in a single sweep.
The blond glowered at the passage before he took a breath and reached out a tentative hand towards it; his eyes widened in confirmation as no barrier arrived to prevent his entering and his fears were established.
Alongside Byakuya and Renji, for the first time in a century he entered the Senkaimon, hurrying alongside them to whatever fate lay beyond the Precipice World.
A/N: So as I said, this was just a little interlude to show you what happened after Ichigo and the others left for Las Noches, and it gives you a final chance to decide who becomes Head Captain. For the final time here are your choices:
Ukitake and Kyoraku dual leadership
Please choose from only the options presented so that I can come to a conclusion and post the new chapter ASAP! Thank you!