I began the Stolen trilogy on the 5th of February 2012 and it is, with this chapter, now complete on the 26th of July 2013. I can never thank you enough for sticking with me and reading these stories, it is truly down to you all that I have come to be at this point. So, thank you for your support, thank you for your reviews; your favourites; your follows... It has all meant a great deal to me. And I hope that this will not be the last story I see and speak to you about, I always look for constructive criticism to help me improve.
So, for the last time, please enjoy and review. Best wishes, L . Lawliet 13 x
Chapter Eighteen: Epilogue:
Byakuya and Renji were married just three weeks after Koga's death; it was a big affair as the head of a noble family couldn't go getting married without having a fanfare of a wedding. With 300 to 400 guests invited, the happy couple had been more than a little nervous about the whole thing. Stark had been invited to be Byakuya's best man while a certain dashing orange haired man had been given the position as Renji's, having been chosen for their levity and wisdom, as well as their friendships.
It had been a good day, a happy day, and naturally in the wake of Koga's death Byakuya's positions had been reinstated with immediate effect, so he was able to get married as the proud Captain of Division Six, and the elegant leader of the Kuchiki Clan, with Renji at his side as his ever faithful Fuku-Taichou. Neither of them had been charged for their temporary allegiance with the Rebellion as they had explained their reasoning fully to Central 46, they had been cleared of all charges.
It is fair to say that on the day of the wedding, the only two people more contented than the newlyweds were their Zanpakto, who in the wake of the ceremony were finally able to see and communicate with each other for the first time since being returned to their master's bodies. Senbonzakura and Chimpette had their own happy ending.
As for Muramasa, he had been absolved of his crimes under Act 33 - "the Zanpakto of a crazed Shinigami cannot be held entirely or at all responsible for the actions or orders of his master," that was to say, Central 46 blamed everything on Koga and Muramasa was allowed to go free.
Odd as it may seem, he later became privy to a rare occurrence where a renegade Zanpakto can be taken into the soul of someone with reiatsu substantial enough. Consequently, Inoue was finally able to fight to protect her loved ones as she had always wanted to, because Muramasa had chosen her soul; her reiatsu; her kindness. He had departed from Soul Society and joined her in the World of the Living where she became something of a Substitute Shinigami herself, with a request already in place that she be fast tracked to Division Four the moment her soul reached Seireitei when she died, a request made by Unohana and backed by Isane.
Perhaps one of the most important changes which had occurred was the finalisation of the truce between Soul Society and Hueco Mundo. Aizen and Kitsune had lingered in Seireitei for four months after the wedding to agree terms, conditions, and to ultimately sign the contract.
It had been clear for everyone to see, apparently, that Kitsune shared a lot of common personality traits with a certain orange haired man, and that he had mellowed Aizen an awful lot in many ways. They complimented each other's character and their reiatsu mingled in harmony, it was good to see two people who seemed so different in personality and yet matched so well at the same time.
It would of course, take some time for everyone to rebuild their lives, their homes and Divisions, the casualties and fatalities were tremendous in number, and mourning went on for some time before the wounds of loss began to heal slowly. But as always, Soul Society came out stronger for the tragedy.
The bonds between the Shinigami, Vizards, and Arrancar had been strengthened, and after having spilled blood together they had finally begun to work better as a community and as a society.
And speaking of Arrancar, Grimmjow and Szayel had been more loved up than ever before, and they didn't give a damn when they got some friendly teasing for it. In fact, a day after the Rebellion had ended, Grimmjow had proposed. But it was to be a long engagement.
Furthermore, things had become more interesting for Urahara and Yoruichi, as the news had come out the same day that the truce had been finalised, that she was pregnant with his children. Yes, children. The blond scallywag had managed twins no less. Soi-Fon had almost cried at the news, the thought of 'That Man' desecrating her beloved Yoruichi-sama had been all too much for her. And it had taken three weeks to coax her out of her room.
Ukitake and Kyoraku turned out to be an excellent choice for Head Captains, they led the Gotei 14 together as equals, and things had never been better. The two men listened, advised and guided with kindness and concern; they were gentle and fair but could be firm when absolutely necessary. It would take them both a long time to get over the death of their father figure, but protecting his subordinates and his Academy made it easier for them.
They were good leaders, good people, and it made all the difference. No one could replace Yamamoto, but he had been correct in his words... Soul Society had needed new blood.
Speaking of new blood, with Ukitake and Kyoraku jointly running Division One there had been three empty positions in Division Eight and Division Thirteen, as Kyoraku had taken Nanao with him to Division one. However, that did not remain so for very long. Hisagi was promoted to Taichou and took over Division Thirteen.
While Division Eight's empty seats were filled by two of the most unlikely people imaginable: Ikakku and Yumichika. Originally the pair had vowed to remain in Division Eleven until the day their Captain died, however the Rebellion had made them both grow up; it made them realise they were needed and as such they had both stepped up to the mark. And they had both been abashed to discover tha Kenpachi respected them more for doing what was right. However, on the downside, he then wanted to fight them all the time.
Indeed, the Rebellion had made everyone grow up, and not just emotionally and mentally... Yachiru had grown a whole foot, now standing proudly at 4"6. And Toshiro had managed amazing three foot and a half during the Rebellion.
Speculation from Division Four and Twelve had stated that the stress from the separation from their Zanpakto had lead to some kind of genetic and hormonal alteration, which had allowed them to grow. Both of them were very impressed with their achievement, Kenpachi was less so. Honestly, the man was a baby himself where Yachiru was concerned.
War had passed us several times over, and yet each time we had come through it triumphantly. There were always casualties and losses in battle but we never forget, and their hearts remain with the people around them, their memories never lost and their achievements forever respected.
Looking back on it all now, it is hard to believe I was at the centre of all this, I still to this day play down my part in it, modesty has always been one of my better personality traits. Everyone depicts me as a hero, a saviour, a warrior, an undefeatable power. And they are right to an extent, but the thing they always forget is that I am just a man. I started off as a human and became something more.
I fought to protect what matters to me, the people who I care about. I never did it for myself. I did it for my mum; I did it because I never wanted to lose someone again. I fought every enemy, I gained every power, and I strived to be the best because that was what I had to do.
It is ten years to the day that I was taken to Hueco Mundo by Aizen's Espada, and you know what? I am glad that I was taken. Because when that happened I learned and I found the love of my life.
Stark and I are still together, still happy and still a strong couple; I've made some changes around here, starting with reuniting families who died in different time periods; no kind should be without their family. I know I wouldn't be anywhere without mine.
I also opened an orphanage in Rukongai for the kids who died before their parents; and although they will all be together again in the end they all need somewhere to go until that day. And that's why I had it built. Strangely I had a lot of help from Kenpachi and Byakuya on that particular project, I think it is the first time that those two have ever agreed on something.
Heh, something I should admit to is that we adopted a daughter about a year ago, she's a beautiful little thing with bright orange hair and blue eyes, the irony of it is stunning, how the hell did we find a child who had our boldest facial characteristics? What does it matter, she means the world to us both and... Well we spoil her rotten. What can I say?
Her Granddad is just as bad, yeah old Goat Face... He absolutely dotes on her. But I swear, the moment he starts trying to train her with Round House kicks I will be planting him on his ass.
I can't say that the peace we have had in the last few years will last, but if war does break out again then I am sure we can all face it together. We are stronger together than we are apart, and we always will be.
My name is Kurosaki Ichigo.
My occupation is Taichou of Division Five.
I fight to protect the people I care about and I won't stop until the day I die, this has been my story and I thank you for reading it.