okay everyone, I accidentally uploaded the wrong file (the last one was a crappier, randomly cut off one.) here is the one i intended to publish.
Oh my god, I know, I suck. I promised myself I would update at least every 2 weeks and its been soooo long! I kept trying to write, but I got to that point where I really had no idea where to go with the story. (A lot of the plot was preplanned, but this little bit gave me serious writer's block.)
No one spoke for what seemed like ages. Hanataro could feel Eriko's confusion as she curiously brushed her fingertips over his damaged flesh, not thinking anything in particular, more like one giant jumbled mess. She pulled her hand away and suddenly aggressively grabbed his collar as her father had and jerked his head so the shinigami was looking at her straight on. And Hanataro had thought she was nothing like the recently deceased man. Her eyes were vivid with emotion.
"What. Are. You?" she repeated in a demanding voice.
He wanted to answer her. He wanted to have an answer. But in all the years since his birth he still didn't have one. What was he? He tried to look away from her. She snapped his face forward so they retained eye contact. She wouldn't be satisfied until he responded. The medic would have come up with some sort of excuse, but at this point, he was just tired. Tired from the recent battle, tired from his tedious past, and tired from constantly denying everything about himself. He just wanted to crawl in a hole and hibernate until the next millennium.
"Well you're a damn good liar," she hissed as she roughly shoved him backwards. "You've got even yourself fooled." The girl turned away.
Urahara snapped his fingers in realization. "Head Ugokanai Shiori!" He laughed. All eyes turned to him and his seemingly irrelevant exclamation. The man continued to laugh. "The most powerful Ugokanai to be born in hundreds of years!" He pointed to Hanataro, who was paralyzed with fear. "They were set on looking alike you couldn't tell them apart, but no doubt, those are Shiori's eyes through and through!" He paused to let out a string of chuckles. "Mr. Yamada if I'm not mistaken, you would be the son of-"
"No." the seventh seat stated in an assertive way that was unlike him, startling the group. He took in an uneven breath. "Please. Do not disrespect the Ugokanai Clan. What you are implying isn't true."
The man nodded in agreement. "I didn't mean to disrespect the Ugokanai Clan. What I'm implying isn't true." The others turned to him with odd expressions. He had just completely contradicted himself.
"No, I didn't mean it!" Hanataro blurted out, frantic. "Think what you want, Mr. Urahara! I don't want to..." He trailed off, defeated. He didn't know what he was saying anymore.
I always knew there was something different about him. But I guess he knew that, Eriko thought angrily. I wonder if he can still hear me.
Yeah... I can hear you.
Good! She said icily. Because I have a few choice words for you, you LYING, MANIPULATING, SELF-CENTERED-
I didn't mean to-
Even when everyone was depending on you... WHY CAN'T YOU JUST ADMIT IT? You're such an... UGOKANAI!
I'm not a-
You lied to me. You lied to everyone. AND YOU STILL ARE!
I don't understand. I thought we were friends. A team.
We... I'm sorry! I didn't want to-
Sorry isn't going to cut it. No, we're not friends. I don't think we ever were, were we? And you know what? I hate you.
By now, the two were sitting back to back. Hanataro was used to people hating him. He didn't have many close friends. But... Eriko. They had fought together. She had trusted him with her life. And she hated him. He sighed.
I'm sorry, Ugokanai Shiori. I can't do this anymore, he thought. Then, he shakily stood up, took a deep breath, and exposed the Ugokanai symbol on his back again, along with his many burns and scars.
"Head Ugokanai Shiori was forced into an arranged marriage. She was a highly gifted Ugokanai. Powerful. Respected. And I ruined everything." He began, gritting his teeth.
Captain Unahana commented softly, "There was a rumor once. There were so many they couldn't be taken seriously. Some said Ugokanai Shiori... and Taro Yamada... and it was..."
"Yes, it was true. And it wasn't the last affair she had either, in case anyone was wondering," the seventh seat looked down.
The highly ranked shinigami around him gaped in disbelief.
"She was just... troubled, I think. I don't know. I know I wasn't born with golden hair and white skin, though. The characteristics of the Ugokanai. It was obvious my father wasn't her husband. So the Ugokanai elders immediately punished her by stripping her of all status. It was my fault," he continued, eyes blurring with tears.
"She hid the scandal by passing me off as a servant's child. I knew I was different from the others. I had my own thoughts. I could refuse to obey." he began to talk very fast. "But I didn't disobey her. Ugokanai Shirori always looked so angry and hurt and I thought if I just did what she asked and kept it a secret she would feel better. And I promised I would never call myself her son and that I would never claim to be an Ugokanai and I stayed away from the rest of the Clan so they wouldn't suspect anything."
He slowed down as he told the rest of his story. "I was hardly more than a baby myself when I was assigned to be the servant of her youngest child, Ugokanai Eriko. If I was busy with her, no one would have to see me. I cared about her more than anything." He became aware of the tears escaping his eyelids. Feeling pathetic, he wiped them away. "She wasn't like them. She was kind and perfect and pure and she's dead," he hissed. "I couldn't save her. When the palace started burning down, I looked everywhere for her. Maybe if I was faster... but I wasn't and by the time I got her out she was just about gone. I tried. I didn't know anything about healing kido back then but I tried. And I failed and I lost her." His voice was dark and seemed aged, as if spoken by one who had endured a long and difficult past.
"It was far beyond your experience," Captain Unahana tried to console him. "Which was why when I arrived at the scene I suggested you enroll at the Academy. I knew you had to be a Yamada, no doubt."
He looked up at the clear blue sky. "I was called Taro, after my father. No last name. When I entered the Academy, I enrolled under Hanataro Yamada." He closed his eyes. I used to take her out to the flower garden and tell her about the plants that grew there. She loved the flowers. She called me Hana-Taro. That's the only thing from my past I kept when I became a shinigami."
"But you were always so cheerful!" Lieutenant Kotetsu said, shocked.
Hanataro smiled, "Well, it was all a long time ago. I... I've come to accept it. Bad things happen to good people. So... I just tried to forget and focus on the Soul Society and Squad 4."
"So," Ichigo said from the ground. "You mean to tell me you knew all along you could do something about all this and you just played dumb? Jeez, Eri's right. You are a damn good liar."
"I didn't know!" he explained exasperatingly. "Sometimes abilities don't develop until well into adulthood! Sometimes they don't at all! I thought I hadn't inherited any until about a month ago! And then the Invincibles showed up and I didn't know what to do!"
"And you panicked and went into hyper-paranoia instead of using your abilities to help us," Eriko finished in a bored tone. "You're pathetic."
"I know," he said calmly. She stood up and shook her head.
"I'm done with this. If there are any Ugokanai left and they're anything like you, we're all just wasting our time." Eriko turned and left. He watched her go, becoming smaller and smaller in the distance.
Then he turned to the others around him. "I'm very sorry for everything I did. I was dishonest and weak. But... I don't really care. I retained Ugokanai Shiori's honor for as long as I could. But I couldn't anymore. Not if I'm going to do anything about what's coming."
"You... you're tougher than you look," Ichigo muttered. "Defending your family's name like that. Who would've thought?"
"Yes, very admirable. Now what are we going to do about this mess?" Hitsugaya interjected in his all-business manner.
Hanataro sighed. "I don't know." Strange things have been going on lately. And I feel like it's all connected somehow. I think whatever it is, it operates on a different frequency than shinigami."
"Like Ugokanai?" Unahana asked.
"Yes. Eriko's father was recently killed. It seemed like an accident, but... The energy surrounding him was almost certainly Ugokanai."
"But... that doesn't make any... Is this clan evil?" Ichigo asked.
"NO! They... they're just only interested in power. I guess when you can make anyone do whatever you want..."
"Alright kid, we get it!" Kenpachi roared. "I'm not just hanging around here like an idiot."
Hanataro had just noticed that his excessive spiritual power didn't seem as powerful to him now. "I-I'm s-sorry, you do not need to be here, really. I apologize for wasting your time," he knelt on the ground, practically bowing.
"Quit that, you useless-" the stoney look in Captain Unahana's eyes was more threatening than he could ever be. "I mean, usually I wouldn't take orders from someone like-"
"Ah, forget it. Just tell us what to do."
"R-really, you'd work with an Ugokanai, sir? But I thought they were despised and..."
"I'll do what it takes too," Hitsugaya stepped forward.
The Squad 4 officers nodded in agreement. Ichigo shrugged. "Guess I'm already involved, huh?"
Looking into the faces of his new-found team, he asked, "B-but I-I lied, and I should be punished!"
"I want to punch you out right now as much as the next guy, but there's no time," Ichigo answered. "Tell us what to do."
Never having lead anything he started with the obvious. "We need to find Tobe Eriko. Without a Despairer, and Ugokanai is nothing."