Disclaimer insert here: No I do not own Bleach or Sekirei much to my disappointment.
All characters belong to their rightful owners, except any OC's that I include, which will only hopefully be one or two minor characters. An M rating is for future violence, dismemberments, gore, language, very foul language, and of course maybe or maybe not adult situations. Do not ask for them that will be decided later. Okay it's been decided.
Response to Reviews Corner: First I want to say Thank You all for your reviews but until I get done with the Reunion Chapters, I will be withholding comments for the time being. Explanation for the longer than usual delay in the AN announcement at the end. So without further delay, enjoy.
Beta by Okami Princess and Tahuka (Two minds being better than mine alone.)
'I'm sorry I doubted you Homura.'
Yoruichi sits in her private office of her estate writing out orders for her squad to follow while she was in the World of the Living for the next week or two. As she writes, she reflects over the events from the night before trying to come to terms with how they had left without a word or waiting to hear the rest of explanation. Not that she could blame the two for how they did react to the news. She honestly thought they would've had a breakdown or even demand to see him immediately but they didn't.
Knowing them, they just went home to console each other in private and to deal with their heartbreak without anyone being the wiser, but she knew them both too well. Never did she ever want them to feel that bitterness of seeing the one they love in the arms of someone else. Yoruichi really wanted them to be with Ichigo but fate had a different path for him. She knew that feeling all to well, when she fled with Kisuke and Tessai all those years ago, she had only just discovered her feeling for her first student. Byakuya had slowly filled her heart with something she couldn't even describe back then, and even to this day she didn't know when the young noble had captured her heart.
All she knew is that he changed shortly after she left and for the next few decades he became the very definition of what a Kuchiki should be. Her heart had healed somewhat by then, but when she found out from Kukaku that he taken a wife, she snuck unto the Kuchiki grounds to see who he had married. For a week she followed the woman as she left almost everyday to enter the Rukongai to search for her younger sister. A sister she never found in time before her untimely death. She didn't know Hisana had died until years later when she snuck back into the Seireitei to check on Aizen and gather general intelligence for Kisuke.
When the younger version of Hisana first showed herself, Yoruichi held her breath thinking that she was Byakuya's daughter. It was only when she addressed him as niisama that the exiled noble figured out who she was, the sister that Byakuya's wife had been looking for. Sneaking further into the mansion, she found herself near a room that from the reiatsu that was lingering, he had visited it quite often. Waiting until everyone was far enough away; she snuck into the room and almost left as soon as she entered. It was empty except for the shrine, in her cat form she approached it and with great hesitation, she opened it enough to see the portrait inside.
Looking at the woman as she stared back, Yoruichi felt her heart go out to him, unable to express herself she left never to return to the estate until after the Winter War had ended.
It was during one of those post-war parties that the two had finally talked, not about the past but how well Rukia had progressed as a rising shinigami. She saw the first thawing of their rather icy relationship when he thanked her for helping Ichigo gain the strength to save his sister when he had failed to do so. It was the first of many conversations between the two that they had over the seventeen months when Ichigo was powerless. When word came that he had been approached by the former Substitute Shinigami, Ginjō Kūgo, Yoruichi and Byakuya had been among the first after Rukia to pour their reiatsu into Kisuke's sword. Afterwards the two began to meet away from the Elders of both Clans, often having to sneak out into the Rukongai to meet with each other.
It was shortly before the Quincy war that they finally consummated their relationship, under the Sakura trees in the East Seventh district. She forms a grin as she remembers the shocked look on his face when he found out he taken her virginity that day. Oh, she knew he had heard the stories of her teasing ways, he had even thought she had slept with Ichigo at one time he confessed. It was as they lay in each other's arms that she told him the truth as to what her relationship was with the young man. And the truth that the younger shinigami was in love with his sister Rukia had only garnered a snort from the nobleman. It was then Byakuya had said all the Ichigo had to do was ask and he would give him his blessing.
Of course the two had to do it the hard way, a thirty-seven minute spar that saw the two using Bankai to finish it off. But when it was over, Ichigo and Byakuya began to bond afterwards in the healing springs. Of course being who she was and seeing an easy target, she just had to join them. Both had laughed so hard watching Berry run for his life. It was when Byakuya notice that they were all alone, he proposed to her. It was only months later, in the heat of the War, that she found out she was with child. When she told Byakuya, he made her swear to keep the pregnancy secret from the Elders from both Clans until after the war.
The only ones to know the truth had been Rukia and Ichigo, who had also been sworn to secrecy and accepted the duty of raising the child if they fell in battle. But then the worst day for her and Ichigo's life took place, the day Byakuya and Rukia lost their lives to the same monster. Even though she was hurting, she did everything she could to comfort Ichigo and Orihime. The two had never had to deal with the lost of loved ones on such a scale as they did that horrible day. Between losing close friends and comrades, the two young adults had barely hung on to their sanity, even when Ichigo blew up during their argument; she never held it against him.
Now she had to prepare the twins, Orihime, and Tier in regards of how to deal with the Sekirei and specifically with the First, Kurosaki Miya. Which led her to her next problem; she had no idea of how to even help to begin to heal the two women hearts'. Now they would be going to see Ichigo in less then three days under the cover-story of verifying that the he was handling the situation properly. Of course everyone was going to see him and to meet the wife of the sabbatical Shiba Clan head. Yuzu had taken the news better than Karin did.
Karin for the first year after her brother left was a near recluse, even when she was in the Academy, she rarely made friends. If it wasn't for Yuzu being with her, Yoruichi was certain the black-haired twin would have left to live with Kukaku and Ganju to follow in their footsteps. It was only when Tier found out that Karin wasn't doing well that the former Queen of Hueco Mundo went to visit Karin at the Academy.
No one had ever been told what was said between the two, but the next day a whole new Karin had shown up for classes and soon she and Yuzu began to excel in all of their classes. In less than three years the two women proved that they too had the Shiba strength and stamina to be great shinigami and had graduated early. Upon her graduation, Karin had been approached by the Kuchiki Clan to become the next head if she was approved by the un-retired former Head and Taichou Kuchiki Ginrei. She didn't turn it down but asked for a few weeks to think it over and talk to her own Clan first.
Yoruichi remembers when she came to the estate to talk to her about what being the head of a Clan entailed. She didn't lie once to Karin and when they finished talking, Karin asked only one question. If she ever needed help would the Shihōin Clan be willing to help her. That was also the day Yoruichi knew she could never abandon Soul Society ever again. She became Karin's unofficial tutor in the ways of being a noble, but also made sure Karin knew that she could have fun as well.
Yuzu however knew what she wanted to do the first day she entered the Academy and that was to become a healer like her otousan and soon her okaasan as well. She along with Karin had achieved Shikai before they graduated and like their brother, it didn't take long for either of them to progress under her tutelage. Like Ichigo they both undertook the three-day test by using Kisuke's method of using a Tenshintai to force their Zanpakutō spirit to materialize. Also like their brother, they both succeeded in gaining their Bankai. When word got out, the two younger Kurosaki were hailed as geniuses like Ichigo, Toshiro and Gin before them.
Karin became the Squad Six fukutaichou within a year of joining the squad, while Yuzu was content to be a seated officer for her okaasan. Throughout the years, they rarely spoke about their missing brother, but like everyone else, they never missed that day. The phone would always ring four times and stop on the day of Masaki's death, never more, never less. For the entire day, the Seireitei would come to a stand-still as many of the taichou wouldn't show up at their respective Squad. She chuckles that one phone call could effectively shut down the workings of the Gotei Thirteen, even Kenpachi started to show up at the Shihōin estate to make sure his favorite sparring partner was still staying in the World of the Living.
Which led her to her current dilemma, namely that of Tia and Orihime. It wasn't a secret about how those two felt about the orange-haired shinigami, but unlike the fan-girls, those two kept it realistic. They had accepted the fact that anything could happen to him while he was still a human. But not even she was prepared for what had transpired with Miya, and secretly she was happy for her godson. She smirks though as she thinks about the custom that the Sekirei and the former Espada have in common. If, and only if those two figure it out, things could certainly take an interesting course for her former student. But the how to get to that point was now sitting literally in her office.
Shaolin and Hisana were sitting quietly as well as Chibi while they studied their material. Even at their young age, the three were showing signs of their parents' heritage, and she could only imagine the hell they put their instructors through when they eventually enter the Academy. Three shinigami of their caliber were sure to make waves, especially considering that they all had their own Zanpakutō already and all three had been training with both herself and the Northern Militia Taichou, Tier Harribel. Looking at the three pre-teen girls, she could see that they would be friends for life and that was something most nobles were unable to claim for themselves. Noble politics truly bred solitary life-styles.
Before she could carry on with her thoughts, Niko appears next to her.
"They are here Shihōin-sama; shall I show them here or the sitting room?"
Taking a look at the three studious girls, she gets up and makes her way to the sitting room as a way of answering. Before she leaves, she grins while her back is turned to the girls as she ruins their plans.
"Niko, make sure the girls continue with their studies please. I wouldn't want them to forgo their education to say I don't know, sneak out and make a run for the lake."
The sound of three groans made her smile as she left to meet with the four women she had sent for this morning. As she walks towards her sitting room, she begins to wonder how the older two are doing emotionally; she just hopes they can overcome this. Now she was going to have to repeat herself for their sakes but that wouldn't be until she was done with the Karin and Zu. As she gets closer to the room, she hears laughter coming from Orihime and Yuzu as Karin is trying desperately to shush her sister. Standing just outside, she overhears the topic of choice; of who should be on top. She chokes back a chuckle when she hears the comment from the blonde Arrancar.
"Well it is my opinion Karin, as the head of the Clan, you should take the dominate position when you mate with him."
"HARRIBEL NEESAN! It's…It's not like that! I mean we…well we, you know."
"No I do not know Karin." Tia answers with an amused smirk.
"Yeah Karin, tell us." Yuzu prods her sister.
"It…well dammit we… oh damn…you see…we like to do it…doggy style." Karin whispers in embarrassment at the end.
Yoruichi has to hold her mouth shut with both her hands, unfortunately neither Tia nor Yuzu hold back. Yuzu as she tries hard not to laugh chokes out her response.
"You…You like it when…when he…when he is slapping into your ass!"
Tier however grunts in amusement. "I see. I have heard that it is a very pleasurable position, but it does lead to other ideas Karin."
"Shut up Yuzu! You won't be laughing so hard when Ichigo finds out that you let Hanatarō literally eat off the kitchen table!" Then she turns to the older Taichou. "And you…what the hell does that even mean other ideas? What else could it lead too?"
Yoruichi coughs at that very thought and quickly decides to get in there before the two sisters bring out their heavy guns. She also fears that if these two don't settle things now, they would both regret ever letting the one person who ever only sees them as his little sisters, learn about their sex lives. Shiba Kurosaki Ichigo wasn't known for controlling his anger when it came to them or to the other two women sitting with them. As she enters, she sees that Karin is standing in front of Yuzu's tearing eyes, Orihime's red face and Tier's visible grin. Seeing the face of the Arrancar also brings up the hidden mystery, of why? Not even Kisuke could answer the question as to why Tia's mask and bone were slowly disappearing from her body.
The Taichou of the Northern Militia spots her first and politely coughs to get the attention of the other three women. Karin slowly turns around to see the grinning face of the Squad Two Taichou staring back at her. Karin face-palms when the last person she wanted to know about her sex life is standing right behind her.
"Yoruichi please don't say anything." Karin mumbles from behind her hand.
"Only until after your ani comes to terms that you and Zu are both grown women Karin. Besides the SWA would never forgive me if I kept such a thing a secret from them."
"No wonder Ichigo calls you a damn perverted were-cat."
Smacking the back of the Squad Six Taichou as she walks by, Yoruichi sends the brown-hair twin a wink before she finds an empty spot to sit. Grumbling as she finds her own seat again, Karin finally settles down as she sits next to her still tearing sister. Orihime and Tier are both sitting together on their loose cushions as well. A maid comes in and serves tea before retreating and closing the shoji behind her. Yoruichi sets up a barrier and sees questions in the eyes of the other women as she does so.
"Keeps un-wanted ears from listening in." That is all the Onmitsukidō commander states when she is finished.
Not wanting to rush things, she drinks her tea and indicates to the others to do so as well. When she is done, she refills her cup and allows the others to finish as well before she begins her briefing.
"I know you all know why you are here, so let's get to it. Before we begin, I'll talk to Orihime and Tier after we are done here." She sees them nod. "We will begin by going over what the Sekirei are in detail and how they have been a part of human evolution for over five thousand years or more. Then I will explain fully to you why these new Sekirei are so different from their ancestors. Also I have to tell you exactly why it is important to us that Ichigo and Miya succeed with what they are planning."
"What they are planning Yoruichi?" Orihime asks.
The purple-haired woman looks into the grey eyes of the young woman sitting across from her. "This is going to take a while, so if you have things you need to do, get them done quickly."
Four heads look at each other and soon they all look back at her. Seeing they are ready, she begins from the beginning again for Karin and Yuzu but for Tia and Orihime as well. For an hour and half she goes over in detail everything she and Squad Two have stolen and hacked from the databanks of MBI. The events of their discovery to the scientific advances that the giant corporation has claimed as it own from the technology gleamed from the alien technology that was part of their Sekirei craft. Then she describes with hesitation the workings of the present and former compositions of the Disciplinary Squad, including the fact that Miya led the first squad.
She could see the shocked looks on the four faces as she recounts from the records the power the woman had and that she at one time owned an ancient blade of indescribable power. But then she spoke of how the woman met and then married the man responsible for getting her out of MBI and to become the woman she was when Ichigo met her. Asama Takehito was by all accounts a brilliant scientist but the reasons for his death were still unknown to even the shinigami responsible for finding out. All they knew, all records pertaining to his death were in a word, gone. As she began to wind down, she finally told them about why Ichigo was staying in Tokyo.
"Since Miya is a Sekirei and has asked for his help in trying to save the others, he has chosen to do so. It would have happened anyways, but now it's personal for him. So if there is anything you want to know, now is the time to ask before we show up." Yoruichi concludes.
Yuzu is the first to speak up. "What does she look like Yoruichi?"
Knowing that one of them might ask, she had her lieutenant take a photo of Miya so she could have it on hand just for a moment like now. Leaning over she gives it to the brown-haired twin who takes it from her and smiles as she looks at the woman's portrait.
"She's pretty obasan." Yuzu comments quietly.
Looking to see her twin's face, she hands it to her so she can also see the woman now their oneesan. Karin looks at her and smirks as she notices her hair color and sends a glance towards Yoruichi, who can't help it.
"See I told you he had a thing for purple."
Knowing that it's time, Orihime looks at Karin and slowly extends her hand, seeing her do so, Karin gives it to her. Everyone tries not to stare, but Tia sees a tightening of the healer's eyes before she has the photo handed to her. Holding her own breath before she looks, Tia looks at the picture and one word escapes her.
The four other women look at her in surprise and Tia smiles as she hands the picture back to the Shihōin princess.
"I will admit Ichigo has always had good luck attracting women. Even Nelliel noticed when we were fighting in Hueco Mundo that the female arrancars and Vasto Lorde would eye him up as he walked around our camps. Thankfully none tried to approach him after we let them know of his engagement to Rukia. But I do know he had many more admirers than he knew about."
Yuzu gets a faraway look to her eyes and Karin snorts out. "Yeah like who oneesan?"
Before Yoruichi can say anything, it was Orihime who answers. "Let's see, I know that Rangiku, Momo, Isane, and Lisa from among the shinigami. Me, Tatsuki, yes she let it slip one day as she watched him and Yumichika spar and I think Michiru from our old high school."
"I know Sung-sun and Mila-Rose eyed him as well as Nelliel when we where in Hueco Mundo, even Loly said he was a fine catch as well." Tier finishes the short list.
Yuzu and Karin get wide-eyed at hearing how many beautiful, if not incredibly gorgeous women, had wanted their brother. Tia can only laugh at the faces the two now have and decides to make it even better.
"I heard that Suì-Fēng might have had an interest in him as well."
"No way! My little bee!?" Yoruichi gasps out.
"Yes, it occurred after a particularly hard training session that she forgot which hot springs were designated for the women and the men. She had gotten undressed and walked to the hot springs and as she rounded the corner, she and Ichigo's nude bodies almost collided. From what she said afterwards, he acted nonchalant as he passed her and told her quietly that there were other men in the springs and that she might not want to show up with nothing on. She said she was frozen but for a second before shunpoing away, but she did say one thing. She said that he indeed had an impressive…"
"Tia!" Karin and Yuzu shouted out.
"I don't need to know that…that you people saw his…his…" Yuzu says flustered in embarrassment.
"Package?" Yoruichi idly slips out.
"Manhood?" Tier adds to their growing horror.
"Size?" Orihime finishes with a giggle of her own.
The twins look at the three women before realizing that all three had at one time or another had seen their brother naked. Yuzu looks shocked and Karin develops a tick over one eye.
"I think that is enough about Ichigo's anatomy, if we continue I think blood loss is a possibility for some." The Shihōin states with a shake of her own memories.
Karin quickly asks the next question. "So do you think he is going to be happy to see us?"
"Yes Karin, he will be happy to see all of us, shocked but happy. I know it doesn't seem like it, but Ichigo has missed each of you. I watched him one day on your birthday as he sat looking over the last photo he had of you two. Seeing him touch the picture over and over was reassuring that he still thought about his imouto. He said he would visit soon."
That was the wrong thing to say, as all four stare at her and it was Tia that growls out the question.
"So exactly when was it you last spoke to Ichigo, Yoruichi?"
Sighing at her mistake, she reaches inside her shihakushō once more and brings out Rukia's engagement ring. "It was last week when he gave this to me for Hisana or Shaolin."
"Last week, early morning maybe?" Orihime breathes out.
Yoruichi is about to answer when the other speaks up. "He came through Jidanbō's gate didn't he?
She could only look at the healer and Espada with puzzlement in her eyes. As far as she knew, only she could sense him when he was suppressing his reiatsu.
"How did you know?"
Tia shakes as she tells her. "We…we thought we felt him that morning. Orihime thought it was dream, I thought it was déjà vu when I walked by the White Rose Gate that morning."
"I had a dream too that morning." Yuzu says quietly.
Karin answers with a depressed voice. "I thought I felt him when I was going to my office before you passed over."
She sat there in silence as she thinks how impossible it should have been for anyone but her to feel his reiatsu. As far she knew she and Ryūken had been the only ones…
"He didn't." She says quietly to herself.
"Yoruichi did he say when he was coming home?" The Fourth seat asks.
"Just soon Yuzu. He wants to meet his mei." She says before adding. "I didn't think it was my place to tell him anything, the rest I thought should come from each of you."
The room quiets down until a knock comes at the door, turning she yells back at the very familiar reiatsu. "What the hell do you want Kisuke?"
Sliding open the shoji, the Squad Five Taichou slides in. Even though he is still wearing his trade-mark green hakama he doesn't look to be in his usual jovial mood.
"We need to talk Yori. It's about Ichigo's little friend, Chiho."
As soon as he said that, the twins, Orihime and Tier stand to leave, but she stops them. "No, stay. Whatever you have to tell me Kisuke, I think it might be important for them to hear as well."
Giving his best-friend a nod, he tells her and the others. "Her disease isn't natural Yoruichi, it's man-made. She is dying and if we don't help her, she will die soon."
Kurosaki Shiba Isshin sits in office looking over the photos on his desk. A holdover from running his own clinic he had in the World of the Living, the flat surface covered with mementos. Among them are pictures of his family and his son's friends, gone ten years now. Two in particular always give him pause, he knew he should put them away but he can never bring himself to do so. The first was of him, Ichigo, the girls and his first wife, Masaki. The second was of Ichigo and Rukia just before the last battle with the Quincy. Chad had snapped the photo when the kids had snuck away to the watch one of Karakura's firework displays. The last picture was of Yuzu and Hanatarō's wedding. He glides his finger over each face that is staring back at him. It's then that a pair of women's arms wraps themselves around his neck and soon his wife's face shows in his peripheral vision.
"It was a beautiful day." Retsu says.
Laying his cheek on her arm, he grins. "It was. Just like ours."
Her giggles vibrate in his ear as her lips take possession of his earlobe. "How do you think Ichi-kun is going to react to finding out about us?"
"Probably die, finally."
"Isshin, you shouldn't say such things. He just got married to that lovely young lady."
Isshin grabs the arms and uses them to pull the woman onto his lap, looking into her eyes, he can't help but grin as he closes the distance and gently pecks her lips. However her arm stops his retreat and soon the two captains become engrossed in their passion that they don't hear the polite cough of the visiting lieutenant until another voice breaks them out of their bliss.
"Dammit you two. Really? Again?" The voice of Hiyori breaks the two up, however the killing smile of the Fourth Squad captain turns to greet the two women. Over the years, Sarugaki Hiyori has grown somewhat immune to the First Kenpachi's smile, almost.
Politely coughing in her hands, Hinamori saves her fellow lieutenant. "Sorry Shiba Taichou but I have an urgent message from Urahara Taichou, as well as for you Unohana Shiba Taichou."
"What does your hentai taichou need to tell us, Momo-chan?" He snorts at the look on her face as she blushes.
She stutters out the message. "He…he says that the disease that Ishida-sama is studying will not be easy to cure. He…he says that her chances of survival decreases with each month that passes. Urahara Taichou says to tell you that the cause of her sickness is not natural."
Both the Forth and Tenth Squad Captains begin to glare as the words of the young lieutenant sink in, but it's the kindly looking woman's eyes that betray her rage as she slowly speaks. "This was done purposely to Hidaka-chan? This wasn't expected."
Isshin's own anger is shoved aside as he asks his own question. "Does Ichigo know yet Momo?"
Momo and Hiyori both look at each other, before Hiyori answers for them. "Not at this time Isshin, but Kisuke is on his way to see Yoruichi."
Retsu and Isshin again frown but say nothing. There is only one reason he would tell Yoruichi, it's because she would get word to the former Quincy as soon as possible for him to keep it from Ichigo. At that Retsu gracefully rises from her husband's lap but gives him a sultry look that the other two don't see before she leaves his office. The two lieutenants bow to the departing captain before entering and finding a place to sit before his low desk.
"Shiba Taichou, why would anyone make this little girl sick?" Momo asks dejectedly.
Isshin can only look at the one person who had a similar situation. "If any thing Momo, it's a means to control her Sekirei I fear. Little Chiho's Sekirei is very powerful and if someone found a way to control her, then they control her Sekirei. I only hope whoever it is doesn't push Ichigo too far."
Karin, Yuzu, Orihime and Tier leave after the briefing with Yoruichi and Kisuke. Karin is the first to split from the group, heading towards her Squad's barracks.
"I've got to get back and see to it that my fukutaichou is ready to handle things for the next two weeks. I'll see you at Goat-face and Retsu's for dinner tomorrow." With that she disappears.
Tier knowing she has to make sure her own lieutenants will be okay as well when she, Loly and Melony leave for the Living world as well. Saying goodbye to Yuzu and Orihime, she disappears as well with barely a sound. Both healers decide to walk to Squad Four without the rush and use the time to catch up with their own plans.
"So Orihime-neesan, are you and Tier-neesan okay?"
Grey eyes swing towards brown worried ones. "Yes Zu-chan, we are fine. Surprised but fine."
Yuzu only nods before she continues. "What will you do when you see him?"
"Tell him the truth, that's all I can do at this point Zu. I won't hold him to anything that he wasn't made aware of when he left and Tier and I will deal with the other situation on our own. I just hope he understands why I did it."
"He will oneesan, just…just remember he didn't know and he can't hold it against you when he stayed away for so long."
Smiling as she walks along side her adoptive sister, Orihime slips her arm through hers. "I know Yuzu; I just want them to meet finally. She has been waiting so long for this."
"We all have." Was Yuzu's reply. "We all have."
Kisuke finds himself walking towards Squad One when the last person he expected is next to him. All of his skills and more importantly his instinct hold him from disappearing when Retsu shunpo next to him. For the first few minutes neither says anything until the brown-haired captain begins to speak to him and with an unusual request at that.
"Can you teach me the medicine of the World of the Living Kisuke-kun?"
Stumbling at that question, he turns a quizzical stare at the woman next to him. "Why would you ask that Shiba Taichou? You have no need for such things here."
Hands held in front of her, she turns her gaze upon the younger captain but her voice is anything expected. "I have learned from Isshin and from Yuzu-chan as well that the medicines and the ways of the World of the Living would have beneficial effects for the Rukongai citizens Kisuke-kun. Also we could train medics and even doctors that we can't spare from my squad to spread out and take care of most problems. Only the most serious of cases would be directed to us during peace time."
"Again why Shiba Taichou? You're not telling me the whole reason." Holding up a hand to forestall her, he clarifies himself. "Retsu-san, I have known you for over a hundred years and not once have you shown interest in the Living world medicine, so why now?"
"Tsk, you should know why Kisuke-kun. If we had bothered to examine Jushiro's case with similar cases from the Living world, maybe just maybe we could have helped him, even cured him of his sickness. His outcome may have been different. Also because of what your fukutaichou informed Isshin and myself this morning in regards to Ichi-kun's friend. It made me think about our own failures and our need to improve. I think it would be foolish of me to ignore their medicine and treatment options anymore. Squad Four…I need to modernize; we are stuck in a bygone era, while they have made huge leaps forward. We may be souls, but our bodies are still the same, the treatments and medicine would still work if we began to study them in detail."
Kisuke smiles to himself. "You have given this a lot of thought haven't you Retsu-san?"
Smiling as she walks next to him, she answers in her sweetest voice. "I have Kisuke-kun, it's only because of Ichigo-kun and his friend that made me decide to go forward with my request. So will you help?"
"A fellow taichou coming to me for help, how can I refuse? Well since I am on my way to see Soutaichou, why don't you come with me and we can both run your idea by him."
"Very well. While we walk Kisuke-kun, tell me more about Ichigo-kun and his life before he became a shinigami. Not the known stories, but the private ones that you have. I never ask about him, because of Yuzu-chan and Karin-chan. I want to know more about my musukosan before Isshin and I tell him about us."
Flicking open his fan, a smile forms on Kisuke as he begins to tell the more embarrassing aspects of the oldest Kurosaki sibling. "Well to start off Retsu, you should know he isn't like…"
The new matriarch of the Kurosaki-Shiba family begins to grin to herself. 'Well I hope he doesn't faint when he finds out I'm his okaasan.'
Sitting at his desk, looking over his morning mail with his usual business-like demeanor, Ryūken is brought out of his intense study by the sound of new email arriving. Glancing at the screen, he looks down before his eyes dart back to the sender's name, Urahara Kisuke. Almost ready to dismiss the email, he stops again when he reads the subject line; Hidaka Chiho prognosis.
Speaking to himself, he opens the email. "Well this might be interesting."
As he reads the attached email, he begins to realize slowly that Kisuke has been doing more than analyzing the data of his soon-to-be patient; he has been deconstructing her virus while in Soul Society. He then takes note that there are several dozen data links for him to download. But as he progresses through the letter, he feels the bile rising in his throat at Urahara's hypothesis on the cause of the young girl's aliments. When he reads the last paragraph, an anger he hasn't felt since Uryū death forms in the center of his chest and a most peculiar feeling happens. He can feel reiatsu.
It shouldn't be possible, but he stretches out his hand and slowly a light forms in his hand. He can almost feel the weight of a spirit bow in it, but it's different, not a Quincy bow, but something foreign. Ryūken touches the mass with his other hand and snatches it away when he actually feels what it is.
'What did you do to me Ichigo?'
Touching the seal on his body, he feels that the strength of the seal has faded but more importantly he feels what the boy had done to him. Getting up quickly, he walks out of his office briskly and as he passes Sumiko he tells her to cancel his morning appointments. Not even waiting for her to answer, he takes his private elevator to a place he hasn't been to in ten years. The lights automatically come on as he steps into the foyer leading to the vast training room under his hospital. The last time he was here, it was to grieve alone upon hearing of his son's death, since that day, he hasn't stepped foot in there. But now as he steps in, a new emotion forms, giddiness.
Concentrating hard, he feels the seal losing its hold on him and more and more reiatsu forms until a bright light flashes before his eyes. As he opens them, he is greeted to his bow, but unlike his old one, this one has streaks of black and red coursing throughout upper and lower limbs.
'He didn't! Oh, but he did!'
If anyone had been present, they would have heard the laughter of a once broken man now fill the air with joy as he forms his first arrow in years, and release it. An arrow made to purify, not to destroy souls.
Holding the wall next to him, Ichigo is gasping as he recovers from the kidō breaking, a grin forming as he ignores the worry in his boss's voice.
'Finally. I hope you don't mind what I did to you ojisan.'
"ICHIGO!" A hand is now pulling him up straight. Soon her worried face is in front of is, as Furukawa Ushio palms both of his cheeks and stares him straight in his eyes.
Soon his phone in his pocket is vibrating as well, pulling it out he scans the text from Miya. As he dials her back, he grins at his boss.
"Sorry Furukawa-sensei, I'm alright, just an old injury. It just flared up, nothing to worry about."
"Are you sure, you hit the wall pretty hard and you grasped your chest. I thought you were having a heart-attack on me or something."
Smiling as he listens to the ringing on the other side, he smiles at his boss. "No, nothing like that. I'm fine really."
Soon her voice comes over the speaker, he can tell she is stressed by the bond but she tries to hides her worry well. "Ichigo are you well? I could feel your reiryoku shift drastically through the bond. Did something happen to you?"
"Hello Miya. Did you forget to add something on the list for dinner?"
"I see you're not alone then."
"No, I can pick that up and then I'll tell you all about my day when I get home."
"Then you are well?"
"Yes Miya. Promise."
"I'll hold you to that shujin. Now tell Ushio hello for me."
"I will Miya. Love you."
"Love you Ichigo. Get going before she has something to tease you with."
Looking at the grinning face looking at him, Ichigo can't help the grin. "Too late tsuma."
"See you tonight Miya." He closes his phone as the line goes silent.
"Well that didn't take long did it Ichigo?"
Standing straighter he motions for Ushio to start the tour up again. "Why do you say that?"
She laughs at his amused face. "Come on then. Next is Sato Yuu. He is our oldest patient Ichigo."
Ushio pauses before she opens the door and in a low voice. "I know you are used to seeing the dying, but I felt it was only fair to tell you that Sato-san is one of those who have no kazoku to take care of him in his last days. If you could, can you make an effort to see him once a shift for me?"
"Don't worry Furukawa-sensei; I'll make sure to keep him company."
"Thanks Ichigo. Come on let's met him then."
Entering the room, Ichigo notices it is different from the other patient rooms. The room is filled with photos of an elder gentleman and kids. Lots and lots of kids but they all seem to be smiling or laughing in the photos. Soon he understands why as he sees an old black and white photo of a young man dressed as a clown. Furukawa's voice breaks him away from looking at the walls as she begins speaking to the patient.
"Sato-san, I would like you to meet our newest employee, Kurosaki Ichigo. Ichigo this is Sato Yuu."
Ichigo extends his hand towards the man sitting upright with assistance of the hospital bed. Ichigo sees his clear blue eyes scan him up and down before the older man extends his hand back. His eyes widen slightly at the firm grip at the now smiling patient.
"You got a firm grip yourself Kurosaki-kun. You didn't lead a soft life I see."
"No Sato-san, I've recently left an organization that had me serve all over the world. I was rather lucky to find a job with the Church this past week by pure chance." The shinigami representative said.
"I'd heard we got us a good one this time. Can't says the last one was any good at his job. Liked to steal things when he thought no one was looking. Too bad for him, I might look old but I still have my wits about me."
Ichigo turns his head towards his supervisor and sees the red shade of shame in her cheeks.
"So I take it he was fired and prosecuted?" His question directed at the young woman with him.
Shaking her head briefly, Ushio speaks heatedly. "No Ichigo. We couldn't press charges against him because it seems he had connections within the Shinto Teito police force. He was someone's kazoku and therefore untouchable. We tried but all attempts were discarded as nuisance complaints and nothing was ever done. All we could do was fire him but that brought its own set of problems."
"Don't worry about it Ichigo. Father Patrick and the other leaders of the Church are handling it."
Ichigo's hair began to rise at the stress in his new boss's voice. He knew it couldn't be good but for now he would let it go, but if he thought it was what he thought, someone was going to pay. Frowning, he turns back to the old man and he can see a new look in his eyes. The look someone gives you when you been caught thinking about something you want well hidden. A small grin shows on the old man's face but he says nothing. Thankfully Furukawa's phone begins to ring causing her to look at the number and politely leaves the room.
"So Ichigo, what do you think of Furukawa? Nice legs on that one."
Snapping his head back to stare at the smiling man, Ichigo barely stops himself from smacking his face. "What the hell are you on about ojiisan?"
The laughter that erupts from the man in the bed causes Ichigo to wonder what is up with old people. Are they all perverts as they age? Will he be the same way begins to creep into his mind then.
"I thought that would snap you out of your dark thoughts Ichigo-kun. I know that look well."
"Yeah, how so?"
"I was once like you. Former military, former police officer, I know that look. I outlived everyone else in my kazoku, even my kodomo. But I know what you were thinking just now, whatever you are planning; make sure the good sensei isn't involved. She is an angel in disguise here. I don't want to see her get hurt anymore."
Taking a leap of faith, he asks Sato the question that's bugged him the first time he met Ushio. "So the mugging wasn't by local thugs then?"
His only answer is a head shake no.
"I get it. Well don't worry then, I'll make sure it doesn't come back to her. I got friends who are 'discrete'."
"I can see that about you Kurosaki-kun. Which leaves me to my only other question for you. What are you? Don't try and hide it, because every time I look at you, I see another person. Someone wearing black and carrying a huge weapon of some kind."
In all his time as a shinigami, Ichigo had only ever heard of people close to death being able to sense his kind. Now staring at him is one of those very folklore's watching him. Looking around the room, he sees that the man lived a long life if the photos are really his. Walking up to the oldest, he sees a young boy sitting in his mother's lap and his father standing behind him. The date scribbled shows that it was taken in the early Twenties.
"Don't worry ojiisan; I won't hurt you if that is what you are worried about."
"Kid, I'm too old to care anymore. I just want to know one thing, is there something more?"
Not even looking back at his newest acquaintance, he answers truthfully. "Yes, there is something more."
"Will I see my…my…?"
"I don't know Yuu-san. It's different for everyone that goes. Some go straight back into the cycle of life, many never find what they are looking for. Many don't even remember anything if they are lucky."
"And you? Were you lucky?"
Sensing a tragic story behind that answer the old man changes the subject. "So Ichigo, what did you do to wind up in Tokyo?"
Before he can answer, Furukawa sticks her head inside the room. "Ichigo, I got a meeting to attend, you think you will okay from here?"
"Yeah, me and Sato-san are going to talk for while if you don't mind. Then I'll finish my rounds and clean-up before I head home."
Surprise on her face, she just nods and disappears. Ichigo grabs a chair and pulls it close to the old man's bed. Looking one last time at the photos, he looks down at his hands and begins to tell the story of his last ten years.
"Well I left home when I was eighteen. I joined the French Foreign Legion in hopes of finding…."
Father Patrick sits quietly in the corner of his senior doctor's office, sitting in front of Furukawa's desk are three men from MBI, all dressed in the same tacky black suits with those annoying dark glasses to hide their eyes. He shifts again as the voice of the man in the middle rises again in his demand for answers. He can only smile to himself, as he watches Ushio glare at the man before she begins to answer him back.
"For the last time, I am not giving you any information on Kurosaki. If you want answers, then simply ask him. Oh, that's right, he doesn't like MBI, so that means he won't even give you the time of day, nor will I. So I assume that means we are done here and I would appreciate it if you don't set foot on our property again, understand?"
The man in the middle begins to point his finger at her as he shouts again. "Do you have any idea of what we can do to you!? We can shut this place down and force you to leave the city if we see fit! Now you will hand over all information of Kurosaki Ichigo or we will use our resources to shut you down Sensei. What's it going to be?"
Before she can retort, Father Patrick decides this is a good time to step in. "Gentlemen, if you please. We are covered by religious ordinances and zoned as a charitable hospital. We are immune to your threats as we are also under the protection of the government of Japan as well as recognized by international law. Any attempt at subversion of our stature would require MBI to answer any communications from those agencies and outside government inquiries, as well as any international group who have a vested interest in our operations. Seeing how five major Faiths partake in the operations of our facilities and our programs that would bring about unnecessary attention towards your company. As for Kurosaki, he is a very private individual and as such, we can not in good conscious break our signed contract of confidentiality with him. I'm truly sorry, but even if we did want to give you such information, he would simply sue us and sue you as well. Now as Furukawa-sensei said, if there is nothing more that we need to discuss, I think we are done here."
"Contract? What contract?" The man sitting to the right asks.
"Well we have a contract with Kurosaki-san that was drafted by a very well know barrister. I can't even divulge the name of the barrister or even show you the contract because it was so well drafted. So as we have stated time and again, we can not help you in your inquiries. If you wish to speak to Kurosaki-san, please leave a card and we will give it to him. If not, then it is time for you to leave."
The three men share a knowing look before standing up, the man in the middle hands Furukawa a card and in unison, they bow before retreating out the office door. Ushio stands up and walks towards the office door and watches as the three men disappear down the stairway towards the front of the building. She waits as she watches a light blink brightly for a few moments indicating that someone has passed through the entrance before she looks down at the innocent looking priest.
"You lied to MBI. I can't believe you did that Patrick-sama. Why? Not that I'm ungrateful or anything but why did you do it?"
Folding his hands together in his lap, Father Patrick begins to explain to Ushio. "Ushio-chan, we haven't had anyone of his character even consider coming here besides your fellow sensei, and considering what our last hire did to us and is still doing to us now. Ichigo even admitted to us that he was on MBI's bad side for whatever reason and I know if things do get too complicated, he would leave to keep us out of his troubles. I for one, appreciate the fact that he even agreed to work for us and at a salary that is manageable for our costs. What ever is going on with MBI and him, I know he will handle it without us getting involved. Plus, it's nice to see the almighty MBI flounder around in the dark. Ichigo is a former soldier and rule number one for any army, keep your enemies in the dark. The less information they have on him, the easier it will be for him to surprise them Ushio-chan. I suspect Ichigo has plans on how to deal with MBI and I personally want to see him succeed. Don't you sensei?"
Huffing as she makes her way to her desk, she glomps into her seat and twists it back to face the priest. "I guess so Patrick-san, but why would they have something against him? I mean he has done nothing but humanitarian work for the last ten years. So how is it that he got on their bad side so quickly?"
"Who knows Furukawa-sensei, all I do know is that whatever it is, it has them scared."
Giving her boss a look, she groans out. "I just hope it doesn't cause us any trouble."
"Oh, I have no doubt that Ichigo will change Tokyo before he is done. I look forward to seeing him in action."
Ushio grins then. "I see your former self has awakened as well Patrick-san. I can see why you were drawn to Ichigo to begin with. One soldier looking out for his fellow soldier."
"No Furukawa-chan. One Legionnaire to another."
Ichigo closes the door behind him silently as he leaves the now sleeping Yuu to rest. He was surprised by the older man's endurance to stay awake for his life's history, even asking pointed questions about his actions when he was in the military. He can't help but thank how lucky he was to have met the old man. Only someone who had served would understand him, then someone who has never faced the fields of war. But to know that he was in company of a man who served the old Japanese Imperial Army during the war was a surprise. He had his own stories to tell but by the time Ichigo was done, he knew the old man needed rest. So he sat beside the man until his eyes closed to sleep before he pulled the blankets up to keep him warm.
Walking down the hall, he passed his earlier patients, checking in on each to make sure the next shift didn't have to do much in the way of work. Even though he was the newest employee, he had been given the first shift due to his experience and the fact that many of the others already had day jobs and this was supplemental to their salaries. Closing the last chart for the day, he couldn't but help notice the young boy sleeping. Watanabe Kioshi was a year younger then Chiho but as far as anyone knew, he had been suffering from an unknown virus for the last two years. Any attempt at identifying the virus met with failure time and time again. Ichigo paused as he was going to leave when he saw a photo next to the young man. Finding himself listening to his screaming instincts, something left over from his hollow, he picks up the picture and stares at it for a few minutes.
He sees it then, in the background, the reason why he was drawn to the photo. In the background he sees two people, two people sitting in front of a familiar hospital. Uzume and Chiho. Quickly putting down the photo, he picks up the chart again and begins to see the eerily similar symptoms. It makes his eyes narrow in anger as he can't help but feel that something is wrong, two cases so similar yet different. Ichigo can feel it; he can feel in his gut that somehow this boy was connected to Chiho somehow, someway. Looking at the admittance date, he sees the parents had no choice but to bring him here. The cost of caring for their son had proven too much for the parents and they had no other option available to them. The metal clipboard groans in protest as his fingers bend the metal into dimples.
Controlling his emotions he puts the clipboard back and heads to Furukawa's office. He knows he has to find out what is wrong with the boy and if it was what he thought it was.
Ushio raises her head at the loud knocking on her door frame. "Ichigo, can I help you? I thought you were done for the day."
"I was, I just finished and I noticed something in Watanabe-kun's charts and I was wondering if I could get his records to send to my friend?"
Sighing she points to an empty chair in front of her. Watching as the tall man sits in front of her, she notices the tightness around his eyes.
'Someone got him angry again.'
Ichigo sits, watching as Furukawa types away and soon she is pulling a thumb-drive from under her monitor. Handing him the drive, she speaks in a low voice.
"I know I can trust you with this information Ichigo. Don't ask, just take it, his medical records are copied for you to go over. I was…I was hoping you would see the connection to Watanabe-kun's condition. I had thought so too, but seeing your interest I know you are having the same thoughts as I do. If it's true, can your 'friend' help him?"
Standing up, he puts the drive in his pocket before he says a word. "If it is, I'll see to it Furukawa-sensei. See you tomorrow."
With that, Ushio watches as the young man stalks out of her office. "See you tomorrow Ichigo."
The tinted windows hide the man sitting in the back from view of the world, grey eyes and white hair scanning the front of the Church of Trinity Tokyo. Looking for the young man that has become a sticking point in his well designed plan; and if the rumors proved to be true, an obstacle that has to be removed by any means necessary. Neither he or Takashi have set eyes on this mysterious man, all they had was a basic description and one grainy photo. Since his arrival, the city-wide system of cameras has suffered a series of unexplainable lapses of service interruptions. Not one member of his security or technical staff could explain the causes. Minaka could and he was looking for said cause to walk out of his place of employment.
Soon enough, the man in question comes out the front entrance, his bright orange hair a beacon to anyone looking for him to find easily enough. His eyes seem to scan the area around him, and an almost subtle pause on his tinted window, makes the CEO of MBI think that maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe his worst one in years, as the tall figure makes his way towards his home. Sitting back in his seat, he pushes a button and tells his driver to follow behind without being spotted.
The man watches his prey comfortable from the backseat, drinking his tea with a sense of ease. Kurosaki Ichigo makes no deviation from his straight forward route towards Izumo Inn, the one place he dares not intrude upon. Only foolish or the brain-dead find a reason to cross paths with the Hannya of the North, and somehow the person in front of his car is such a person. He wonders who is pulling the young man's strings. MBI does have a fair amount of enemies since he first took the company public, with his and Tamaki's shares accounting for over seventy five percent of shares, made it futile for anyone trying to force a hostile takeover. Oh, he knew of Mikogami and Higa's obsessions with the Plan, both having a number of Sekirei under their control. Both had the gall to think he didn't know or suspect their own plans for the Jinki. Foolish children. He smirks though; the Disciplinary Squad had heard the rumors of run-ins with the mysterious Kurosaki by both.
Which brought up his next problem, Ishida Ryūken. The man himself was well-known Doctor throughout Japan and it seems that he has a connection with Kurosaki. What that connection is he didn't know nor could the men he sent to Karakura ferret out any information to that link. Reports from Karakura where sketchy at best, all avenues of investigations met with unfortunate accidents for those in the small town. Ranging anywhere from equipment failure, rental property being ransacked by unseen intruders, and the worse, men simple getting up and quitting without a word as to why. Drumming his fingers on the door's armrest, he spies the young man turning a corner up ahead. As the car makes the same turn, he leans forward and has the driver stop the car.
"Where did he go?"
"I don't know Sir."
Both men stare down the empty street. Not one living soul around and both sides of the street show signs of long-term abandonment; nowhere for a person to hide quickly or to slip away un-noticed.
"Well this does pose another question."
"Excuse me Sir?"
"Nothing. Let's head back to MBI; I have much to do yet tonight."
"Of course Sir."
Three figures stand on the rooftop watching as the window-tinted car drives away. The two women ninjas laugh quietly as does the human shinigami.
"He must think you are a ghost now Shiba-dono." The younger Aiko says.
"Well, I guess you have gotten his interest enough for him to come to you himself Shiba-dono." Makitsu says as she watches from the right of Ichigo.
Not taking his eyes off of his tail, he smirks as he answers his escorts. "Yeah I know, but I'm not ready to talk to him yet. I have to take care of Uzume and Chiho first. Make sure the rest of the Sekirei are 'winged' properly and then I will meet with him. Until then he can wait."
"Do you think he will wait?"
"If he doesn't back off soon, I will have Hisoma issue your squad new orders soon."
Both the women give him a look. "What orders would that be Shiba-dono?"
"I'll send him a message he can't ignore, one that will show him that he isn't the all-powerful OZ."
Hisoma Rei stares at her new orders in horror. Orders from Central Forty Six came by way of messenger and coded for her eyes only. The rest of her squad can feel that something is wrong as her reiatsu leaks out in murderous intent as she scans the message one last time before folding it up and throwing it on her desk.
"ASSHOLES!" She screams out.
Saburo, the squad's Third seat lifts just one eyebrow at his lieutenant. "Bad news?"
Glaring at the man across from her, Rei stands up slowly and walks towards the fourth-story window. Crossing her arms she recites the contents of the message for everyone else in the room.
"The orders that Central has so graciously thrust upon me are as follows: We are to identify all known Sekirei. We are to place tracking kidō on each one and send their locations back to Squad Twelve immediately. We are to await the arrival of Kurotsuchi Taichou and help him capture, then transport said Sekirei back to Soul Society without revealing our intentions to Shiba-dono or to Shihōin Taichou."
There is a long silence before the shouting starts.
"Are they fucking nuts!?"
"Shiba-dono will kill anyone he even thinks is trying to harm them!"
"I'm not doing it! Fuck those orders!"
"Fukutaichou you won't obey will you!?"
Saburo holds his hand up to silence the rest of the squad. He like everyone else stationed in Shinto Teito have one thing in common, each served with the young Shiba during the Quincy War when he was assigned to Squad Two under both Suì-Fēng Taichou and Shihōin Yoruichi. Standing up he walks towards his lieutenant and places a hand on her shoulder.
"We will accept any command you give us Hisoma Fukutaichou, even if it means disobeying Central Forty Six. Not one of us here would ever betray your itoko's memory, or Shihōin Hime."
Without turning to face the room, she gives her orders. "I'm going to see Shiba-dono. Saburo, you will spread the word as to what Central has ordered us to do, make sure they don't. After that you are to proceed to Soul Society and inform Shihōin Taichou of Central's intentions. Akira, take command of the unit, you will keep the Sekirei under surveillance as normal, your orders still stand, no one is to interfere with or allowed to forcibly 'wing' a Sekirei. Those that are not on duty will set barriers and seals throughout the city to give us warning of any Senkaimon being opened. Any emergency you are to send a hell butterfly to Squad Two and request backup and instructions."
A chorus of hai sound throughout the room. Hisoma smiles as she makes her way to the roof.
'Fuck you Central Forty Six. We will never be your hidden blade again.'
Ichigo watches as his escort of two female shinigami shunpo back to where they are living. They changed their location to be closer to Ichigo and the others shortly after their run-in with the Sekirei belonging to Mikogami. Just as he was about to open the door, he feels the reiatsu of his former student inside the inn. Miya's tama was calm and the tama of the others were also calm. Knowing he couldn't hide himself from his Sekirei, he could only hope that she allow him to sneak in undetected. Silently as Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng had taught him, he creeps into the house until he was flat against the wall next to the kitchen. He could hear Rei laughing as she was answering Matsu's questions.
"So the scowl he has was worse when he was younger?"
He could hear Rei chuckle in amusement then. "Oh you have no idea how bad it was then. When I first saw him, it was shortly after Aizen betrayed us and we were assign to follow the 'ryoka' around to make sure they weren't going to cause anymore problems. I and Saburo were tasked to follow him and Orihime that day, not that it was hard back then."
Uzume head pops up at that moment. "How was it not hard? He is like a damn ghost."
Ichigo smiles as those memories come back. How he had went looking for Rukia after the failed execution and Aizen's escape, only to find her with her with his then unknown cousins finally coming to terms with the death of Shiba Kaien. He found her in a headlock with Kukaku knuckling her head when she made the mistake to say sorry once too many times again. They had been so lost in their own world; they both beat on him when he finally let them know he had been watching. He can't help the grin that forms when he hears Rei speaking again.
"Oh, you have no idea how bad Ichigo's control was back then. All the Seritei and I swear most of the Rukongai could tell where he was at any given moment. He had absolutely no comprehension as to what the word stealth even meant back then. It was also the reason why so many of his friends became extraordinarily strong back then as well. His output was amazing. The first time I really felt it and let it engulf me, I never knew that someone's reiatsu could feel that way."
Miya smiles knowing just how Rei feels. Every night before falling asleep, she can feel him wrapping his reiatsu around her like a blanket. The feeling of warmth and safety surrounding her body brings her peace she hasn't had since Takehito's passing. She shifts her gaze to the wall, the place Ichigo is standing behind eavesdropping on their conversation, so she decides to tease him a little.
"So I take it he was popular with the women even back then Rei?"
She can feel his mortification through the bond.
"You have no clue Miya. His and Kuchiki-sama's calendars are still six of the ten most grossing for the SWA."
The two perverts perk up then, with Matsu taking point. "So there are calendars of Ichigo and his oniisan still around then Rei?"
"Yeah, they are still around, I have heard that unopened ones catch quite a price among the female students of Shinōreijutsuin even today. Not to mention that he has a fan-girl club that is rumored to be in the thousands."
Miya feels the embarrassment and dread flowing along side his ever-growing discomfort.
"Ehmm, thousands of disappointed shinigami to deal with then, such a shame that he will have to deal with that when he goes back in a few decades."
Rei starts smiling as she looks at the purple-haired miko. "Arigato Kurosaki Miya-sama."
Ichigo and the Sekirei are confused by that, especially Ichigo.
Miya looks at the now smiling Onmitsukidō lieutenant and quirks an eyebrow at her. Hisoma seeing her confusion sits straighter and bows from her waist to the First.
"You have brought back his best feature Miya, his smile. I have seen it since arriving here last week; other squad members have seen it as well. It is sight we have sorely missed in Soul Society. You have our deepest gratitude for bringing it back."
Ichigo slumps quietly down the wall when he hears that admission and that only brings back memories he had thought he had dealt with. Staring straight ahead before he hangs his head in shame as he thinks about how he left them all behind without a proper good-bye, not even one for Yuzu or Karin. He ran away. Pure and simple he ran away because he didn't want them to see him suffering everyday. He didn't want them to see his grief or his fake smile when ever he was around his own friends and family. So he did what he thought was best, he ran to get away from the one place that held too many memories of her.
Miya stands when she feels her Ashikabi's pain and motions with her hands to the others to stay where they are. Turning the corner she sees Ichigo sitting with his head down in a defeated position. She quietly makes her way and sits down next to him. His head slides onto her shoulder when he feels her sit next to him against the wall. Pulling him until her arm is around his waist, she just waits for him to talk. She allows her tama to vocalize to him that she was there for him, to reassure him.
"She's right Miya. I didn't smile genuinely until I met you and the others. These last ten years were just that, a way to hide from my own memories, to hide from my own grief. I never thought once about my kazoku or friends' feelings when I left. Not once did I make it a point to see Yoruichi when I knew she was pregnant with oniisan's kodomo. To make sure Orihime and Tia were adjusting okay, and to call my imouto on their birthdays to wish them well. I was selfish about my own feelings. Now hearing Rei say how much they missed me, I feel like a jackass."
"Ichigo you have to make it up to them soon. I think it would be best if you went home next week sometime and see them."
"Not until this is over Miya, not one second before. I won't leave any of you unprotected while I take a vacation to see my kazoku."
In a very dangerous voice his wife turns her rage filled eyes on her mate, who subconsciously backs away, but not far as her hand squeezes his waist keeping him in range. "Don't you dare think for one second Shiba Kurosaki Ichigo that we can't take care of ourselves if you leave to see your kazoku for a day or two. We have done so before you even arrived here and we will be just fine because of your goddomazā squad. So Shiba Kurosaki Ichigo you will make arrangements with Furukawa-sensei and you will go see your kazoku next week. Do you understand me shujin?"
"Yes dammit!" He says while holding his now throbbing ribs. Twice she got him with in his short ribs, nearly driving the air of his lungs.
Looking into her eyes, he could understand why she was so feared back then, her eyes promising him death if he dared go against her wishes. Still rubbing his ribs as he gingerly stood up, he lifts his still glaring wife off the floor, earning yet a smaller jab when he tried to appease her with a kiss.
"Not until you make plans to leave for Soul Society Shiba. Not get in there and use Hisoma-chan's phone and call Yoruichi this instant."
Yoruichi wanted so desperately for a garganta to open up and swallow her whole. The second time her phone began to ring she had to hurry to find it and answer it quickly before she really began to feel the ire of the man sitting in front of her.
"Hisoma Fukutaichou, you damn well better have a good reason to be calling me so insistently?"
"I didn't know I had to have a reason to call you were-cat." The male voice responds.
She holds the phone away from her ear as she stares at the caller ID to make sure it was her lieutenant's phone number. Hitting the speaker so the others in the room could hear, she holds a hand up to keep them quiet before she answers back sweetly.
"Why Ichigo I didn't know you missed me so badly. What do I owe the pleasure of your call this evening? Maybe you need some pointers for the bedroom?"
As she looks around the room she is standing in, she can't help but grin at the surprise on the assemble group of Captains and Lieutenants. Even those who aren't normally supposed to be here, are in attendance because of the special nature of the meeting.
"What!? Fuck no you hentai…Dammit! OW! Miya stop hitting me for one second!"
"When you learn to mind your language I will Ichigo. Now speak to your goddomazā with respect not like the teenager you were then."
Snickers and giggles silently emanate from the gathering. A few instantly liking Miya for her firmness in dealing with the brash young man they haven't seen in ten years.
"Fine, fine. Anyway obasan I wanted to come and visit soon. I was hoping you could clear your schedule sometime next week for a few days if you could."
Looking around at the surprise on everyone's face at that, she decides to have a little fun. "I might be able to clear a day or two Ichi-kun. Why?"
"Well you see, I think it's time I came back for a visit. I got things to clear up with Goat-face and the twins. Also I want to see a few others. Is that an echo I hear? Hey am I on speaker phone or something?"
"Fuck, I am aren't I?"
Laughing but signaling to the others to keep quiet she answers. "I'm in the middle of a meeting Ichigo, you might remember a few of them. Kenpachi, Rose, Shunsui, a few of the other Taichou…"
"OH Shit! Dammit! OWWWW! Sorrysorrysorry Soutaichou, I mean…sorry Kyōraku…I mean…"
"It's fine Ichigo-kun. But it is a good to hear from you after so long. So am I to understand you wish to come to Soul Society for a few days next week?"
"Ah yeah, if you guys don't mind and aren't busy I mean."
"I think we might be able to work something out. How about I send Yoruichi to see you this Friday?"
Soon a minute passes and Yoruichi looks to see the connection is still there. Before she can say anything his near whisper is heard.
"I don't think that's a good idea Soutaichou."
Yoruichi narrows her eyes in anger and lets him know it, loudly. "Are you ashamed of me or something you little shit!? I am your goddomazā you little prick and you say you don't want me to visit! You best have a damn good reason Berry-kun!"
Soon the sounds of a scuffle are heard and voices soon follow.
"Give it back you idiot!"
"No way, I want to tell her why!" A new voice sounds out.
"Ichigo watch out she's going for your…"
"Fuck, my …"
"Both of you stop this instant. Uzume I'm sure there is a good reason why he doesn't want to have his goddomazā come here, right Ichigo?"
"It's because…" All anyone in the meeting room hears are mumbles.
Yoruichi knows he said something insulting, so she presses him. "What…Was…That...Ichi-kun!?"
"I said because…." Again he mumbles.
"You best just say it Ichigo. You know how she can hold a grudge." The Fifth Squad Captain interjects.
"You're there too Geta-Boshi!?"
"Of course my dear boy, I am her best friend after all."
"Exactly who is there Geta-Boshi?" His voice squeaks suddenly.
"Well I'd tell you but seeing how much fun I've missed all these years, I'll let you find out the hard way Ichigo." Kisuke answers back with a not so hidden small amount of amusement.
"I hate you both." The voice on the other side said.
Yoruichi asks in a tight voice once again. "Why don't you want me there?"
Soon more scuffling is heard before a new voice speaks up. "Hiya Yoruichi-sama, I'm Matsu and the reason Ichigo don't want you here is because he is afraid of you two perv….Hey watch it Kagari!"
"Are you nuts Matsu! She is his goddomazā, you can't go saying that! Didn't you hear that Soutaichou earlier, there are others in the room dummy!"
"Oh, sorry about that. Hehehe. Here ya go Miya. Why don't you tell her?"
The room is in shock, many wondering the same thing. 'Are they for real?'
Soon Miya's voice is once again heard. "I am sorry about them Yoruichi. It'd be fine for you to visit this Friday. You will be our guest as well for dinner."
"Guest? Dinner? More than me?" Squad Two's Captain asks.
"Yes. We are also having Ichigo's new bosses come for dinner that day. If that's a problem we can reschedule them for the next week if needed."
Yoruichi glances around the room before seeing Shunsui give her a nod at the unspoken question. "No that is fine; I guess I'll see you and Ichigo Friday then."
"Oh wait your Fukutaichou wishes to speak to you. Hold on."
"Shihōin Taichou. Saburo will be back shortly. I have requisitioned some gigai and some other things to help us assimilate in the World of the Living better. Also he has reports for you to sign immediately as well."
Yoruichi and Kisuke both notice the urgent message carefully hidden in that brief exchange. Yoruichi grins as she replies back to her lieutenant. "So you got a date then Rei-chan? Naughty naughty. I don't know how your clan would react to such news."
Sputtering is once again heard. "It's nothing like that Yoruichi honest! I just thought it would be nice to give them a few days off now and then. You know nothing concrete in getting some down time."
"Really? How long do you plan on this to go on for then?"
"I don't know, maybe twelve days? Maybe?"
'Fucking bastard! Is he really going to try after being told to stay away!?'
"Okay Rei-chan, I understand. See you Friday and don't say anything about me, understood?"
"Put the Berry back on."
Soon the phone is passed once again. "Yeah?"
"Mind your manners or we'll play Tag again when I get there."
"Fine, I guess I'll see you Friday then. Wear something nice and presentable Yoruichi. I know how you like to embarrass me every chance you get." Ichigo says in his own sweet voice.
"Why you little…" She gets cut off as Nanao covers the fuming Shihōin's mouth.
"She'll be presentable Shiba-san. See ya." Nanao hangs up the phone.
The fuming were-cat finally gets the other woman's hand off of her mouth. "What was that for Nanao!?"
Said woman simply pushes her glasses back up her nose and points down the two rows of standing individuals. "If you didn't remember Yoruichi we are having a Taichou meeting, or did you forget?"
Waving her hand dismissively, she retorts. "They should know how me and Kisuke treat him by now. Besides he had it coming to him with that last insult."
A few snickers and open laughter erupt at that point. All but two are in good spirits after hearing that voice after ten years.
"Well he sounds okay Goat-face." Karin says while standing in her spot as Squad Six Captain.
"He did chichi. I just hope they don't get mad when we all show up though." The other twin says from behind her okaasan and friend, Isane.
A giggle however from behind the blonde Captain of the Militia has eyes darting her way. Seeing most of them staring at her, she smiles warmly as she speaks.
"I'm sorry everyone. It just reminded me of how he and Rukia used to fight all the time when we first met. It brought back fond memories of those days. I'm sorry."
Isshin however doesn't let her off so easily, as he runs over to her and lifts her in the air. "Never say sorry my Fourth musume. Never ever let otousan hear you say sorry about that no good musume of mine."
Two fists drop the man-child Tenth Squad Captain to the ground much to the surprise of those still not used to their antics by now.
Karin and Tier are both rubbing their knuckles as they stand over Isshin. Retsu closes her eyes to claim deniability while Yuzu, who finally learned after a few years that her brother and sister may had been right in how they beat on him, walks out of the meeting without looking back. Kisuke and Yoruichi however don't move an inch, which Shunsui and Nanao both notice. Casting an eye to his wife, she nods and announces the end of the meeting.
As the assembled shinigami begin to file out, Nanao calls out to two. "Ah, Shihōin Taichou and Urahara Taichou. A moment please to go over the security plans for when we are away."
"Hai Kyōraku Fukutaichou." Both respond as they now turn to watch as the other Captains and Lieutenants leave the room slowly. Isshin is being held up between Tier and Kenpachi with Karin, Orihime and Retsu being the last to leave the room.
When the doors are closed, Shunsui sighs as he looks at Yoruichi. "Well what is it? I know that you two know something I don't."
Kisuke nods to his old friend to explain what was really said. Yoruichi pinches her nose as she speaks to the contents of the secret message.
"Rei told me through code that someone is targeting the Sekirei and Squad Twelve is involved somehow. That is why she sent Saburo back to see me. Once I have the information, I'll come see you immediately. Also I told her not to tell Ichigo for the moment. We really don't know how he will react and if we are there, we just might be able to keep him from coming here and razing Central Forty Six to the ground."
"Is that really a bad idea?" The dual-zanpakutō wielder asks innocently.
His wife and Yoruichi both stare at him with looks of shock; however Kisuke taps his chin with his finger as he voices his own opinion out loud.
"I like it."
Ichigo and Uzume are both glaring at each other from opposite sides of the table.
"No she will not share a room with you!"
"Why!? It's not like we are going to do anything Ichi-kun."
"Because you and she are perverted enough already. I don't need either of you influencing the other to new heights, so no, she will room by herself and I will lock you in at night if I have to with kidō."
Uzume eyes bug out and she points a finger at him as she yells at him. "I am not the one who tried to feel me up the first day we met Ichigo! You did!"
"Are you insane!? I did no such thing you pain-in-the…" He shuts his mouth lest he adds to his growing collection of lumps.
He sighs appreciatively as Miya puts an ice pack on his head. Even if she was the one who crack him there during his phone call to Yoruichi. His wife decides to sit next to him so she can hold the other ice pack on his upper-arm where she hit on the second round. Turning back to his current problem, he starts in again on her.
"Uzume, while I am sure you will behave for the most part, Yoruichi…well she is not normal in any sense of the word. Walking around nude is something she isn't ashamed of and I can't and won't be responsible if you develop her bad habits. So no. That's final."
"I have to agree with Ichigo on this Uzume-san. Yoruichi is very familiar with people she is comfortable with. She even transformed once in front of the Fēng Clan Elders once. I think she did it on purpose though." Rei says as she sits next to the Tenth.
Miya sits quietly as she replays the phone call in her head. She knows she heard at least more then ten different breathing patterns in the background, so there were a lot of shinigami present during their conversation. It also means that Soul Society was well aware of their existences which lead to her most important question.
'What are they planning?'
"Rei, exactly who or what did Ichigo interrupt?"
"Probably a Taichou meeting."
Ichigo's adds even more pain to his head when it slams down on the table. Rei quirks an eyebrow and snorts when she realizes as he just did who exactly would have been there.
After thirteen long years she is finally free from her deep sleep. Thirteen years since she was discarded for another power. Now she was free but it came with a cost, one she regrets but she was alive and that is all that mattered after thirteen years of dreamless sleep.
Her silver hair blows gently from the winds of new inner-world she now calls home. Her silver eyes study the monument before her even when the other resident arrives with a small child in her arms. Setting the child down, she walks up to the newly awaken spirit and stands next to her as she too looks upon the monument.
"You won't be a problem will you?" Simple. Direct. The silver-haired woman likes her already.
Laughing with a musical tone, she answers. "I have nothing to threaten him with. You know this." She taps the tsuka at her hip.
"I'm sorry. I had to ask."
"I know but it is nice to be out again. Not trapped in that dark place anymore."
"Does your former wielder know?"
"I know he wouldn't care even if he did. So with that out-of-the-way, why did you free me?"
"He needs a voice to listen to and guide him. My time here grows short and the little one is destined for her own greatness."
Closing her eyes and letting the sun shine on her, she tilts her head to the other spirit. "Then I'll be his guide if he wishes it."
The two spirits both look at the monument before the newest being speaks in a whisper.
"This time I won't fail."
AN: Well before I get into anything else, I need a big favor from all of you. I am looking for a story that I stupidly forgot to bookmark. Yes, I know, I know. But seriously, it was during a weekend that I was home sick as a dog and I was looking for a good Tia and Ichigo story and I found one, but now I can't find it or remember the title. So hopefully one of you might have come across the same story I did. Anyway here is what I do remember of the story.
Ichigo's mother Masaki was the Queen of Hueco Mundo who is rescued by Isshin during a failed assassination attempt. She hides her identity from the world and marries Isshin and has Ichigo and the twins. However she dies and power is given to her most trusted Generals, Starrk and Nelliel, who have a daughter, yes Tia. Anyway the two grow up together until Ichigo is sent to train in the capital which is ruled by the Kuchiki Clan. Byakuya is king and Rukia is the princess. Rukia has feelings for Ichigo but Ichigo hasn't returned her feelings. It is during a visit from Hueco Mundo's ruling family that Ichigo and Tia meet once again. From there Ichigo is chosen to be Tia's escort and it is then that I think she gets injured by Rukia's jealousy. In his failure to guard her right, he is sent or exiled to Hueco Mundo to be trained by the Espada to become stronger. And that is all I remember, except it was written damn well and the plot was really engaging. So if anyone remembers a story like this let me know. Also I don't know if it's on Fanfiction because every search I've done has failed to bring me the results I am looking for. For all I know it might not even be a Fanfiction story. So thanks if you know this story and can send me a link to it.
Now as to why it took so long for this chapter to get written is because I lost motivation (three times), got sick and then finally personal issues came about. Most of it is behind me but not all, so updates may take a bit longer in the future, hopefully no more than three weeks between updates. If it does, don't worry that I'm not writing, it's just that I am not completely focused on just this. Face it, it does require a lot of free time to write these chapters and for my betas to read them over and make corrections as well. So if I don't update after a month, its just life sucks and I'm stuck knee deep in it. But I will finish each story that I have started regardless. Oh and the last reason why is because I had to definitely scratch an itch I have. You'll understand with in the next few weeks what that means.
As normal if you see any mistakes me and my betas miss, send me a PM pointing them out so I can fix. Thanks again.