Bleach Part 61 - The House in the MountainsThe mountains were beautiful. The sky was clear and blue, the harvest was ripe in the fields and the whole landscape rippled gently in a soft breeze. The journey was so much easier than Rukia remembered. Every stop softened the memories a little, overlaying them with new ones. She had wanted to walk this path ever since the day when Kaien pointed it out to her. She had wanted to walk it, with him at her side, showing her all the things he remembered from his childhood. Since that would never be, she would have to try and remember for him. And it was in such a frame of mind that she arrived, alone, at the house in the mountains.
Just as on that fateful night, she was met by the ragged child with the wild eyes. Save that Ganju was a man now. He rose slowly as she approached. His body was swathed in bandages attesting to his recent injuries, but that wasn't why he moved slowly. She was probably the last person he expected to see. His face was wary:
"Ne-san!" he called towards the house.
It Changes and It Stays the SameIchigo was different.It Changes and It Stays the Same3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Rukia was immediately aware of the change. She watched him walk home from school, head down, face set in that perpetual frown she’d become so accustomed to. It was his eyes she noticed though. They were harder than she remembered and they held a strange breed of fear, buried deep, but still so clear to her. And then there was his reiatsu; it was obscured. For most shinigami, such a technique would take years to learn, but she sensed that Ichigo had developed it out of necessity. He was smothering his own energy, denying it. He kept it concealed even when he killed a small hollow that afternoon. He could have finished it far more cleanly had he used his bankai, but he was holding himself back.
She should have been worried. She should have been afraid for him. She wasn’t. Right now, she was pissed off.
The moment she’d set foot in this world, even dampened and smothered by his own fears, she’d still been able to feel his reiatsu. Her powers h
First DanceChad came past Rukia at a sprint. She paused in the dark street, turning to watch him. She could sense Ichigo and one of the arrancar up ahead, but she didn’t think it was fear that made him keep running, avoiding her eye contact.First Dance2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The air around her was alive with spiritual pressure. The instincts that allowed her to overlay this world and its heavy solidity with the lights and currents of the spirit realm tonight let her see where the other shinigami were stationed. All those who could would fight, she realised, would fight. This was the first incursion.
In the next street, she found Ichigo.
She had to force herself past her initial shock when she saw his opponent because it was a hollow, yet not a hollow. Its presence was like a rent in the landscape. The size of a human, seemingly male and dressed entirely in white, it was quite unlike any hollow she had ever faced. Bandages on its head covered protuberances that might have been horns. Its mask was not visible, but she didn
Losing FocusThe following day brought with it a clear, blue afternoon. An open sky, polished clean by the winter sunshine was filled with the scent of the pines growing around the shrine. Rukia shifted where she sat on the roof. From the ground, the temple had looked perfect, but, once you were up here, you could see the chips in the tiles, signs of wear and tear, of he many stormy nights it must have weathered above the ebb and thrall of the city.Losing Focus2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The pressure in the air changed.
The weight of the empty sky was suddenly so great she almost fell. One tile came loose and went skimming and clattering to the ground before she was able to regain her senses. Away to her right, she could feel a dizzying presence. Definitely hollow. But what was it? Far stronger than anything she’d encountered before, yet still it was increasing. Squeezing her. Squeezing. Sucking. Pulling towards it all the human souls. She felt the lights of their spirits wink out: five, ten, twenty. Within the space of a minute,
The Winter WarWhat was that expression? Surprise? Doubt? Had she caught him at a bad time? What an imbecilic thought! What exactly was a good time to step into someone’s life and turn it upside down? He was right to be wary of her.The Winter War2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A few months had past since they’d spoken on that perfect blue night in the grounds of the Shiba mansion and later, with the sounds of laughter in the hall below them, she’d thanked him for saving her life and he’d thanked her, in his own way. Things like that, they didn’t fade away, but sometimes she found herself doubting that they had all actually happened. They were too much like dreams. But, without them, where would they be? Back to square one? A human and a shinigami.
Behind Ichigo, she could see Renji and, to her surprise, she caught the edge of a smile he turned towards her, brief as a flash of sunlight. So she’d done something right, she thought as she stepped forward into the room. Within two strides, she’d pulled on Ur
On Our OwnByakuya hurried through the darkness towards the Twelfth Division barracks.On Our Own2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Twelfth Division was responsible for research and development and, as such, their buildings were full of the latest technology; nearly every room appeared, to Kuchiki Byakuya, as a homage to those decadent systems: low lights, glowing screens, meaningless sequences of numbers. Not only were the people subservient to their machines here, but, as Byakuya stepped inside he recalled that the sharp contrasts of light and shade in these halls were disorientating. No other division’s barracks were designed with so little respect for the men housed within.
Deep inside the bowels of the building, the main observation room processed all images and communications Soul Society received from the human world, monitored ceaselessly by souls who, so far as Byakuya could determine, barely ever had cause to see the sunlight.
“- And that’s when it was lost,” Ukitake was saying as the Sixth Division captain
The Captains' MeetingRukia lost track of Renji on the outskirts of Rukongai. One moment, he was ahead of them; the next he had vanished. Their little party broke up just within the gates of the sereitei and Hisagi spoke up, untangling himself from his companion as he did:The Captains' Meeting3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
“I’m going to report this. It may be that the Department for Research and Development are already aware there was a hollow in Soul Society, but I’m not happy that was an ordinary hollow.” Kira nodded agreement:
“Better to be safe.”
“Forgive me,” said Rukia: “But I wondered: could there be any kind of link between a creature like that and the one that possessed Kaien-dono?” The three vice-captains turned to look at her and she coloured. Why was it they seemed surprised she could say his name? The same reason that they never dared mention him in her presence: “You see,” she pushed on: “It shouldn’t be possible for a demon to possess a shinigami. Since I
And the Past Stares BackByakuya’s eyes rested on the image of his wife, on the straight lines of smoke rising from the incense and the red berries arrayed in sheafs about the shrine. It was a time of year that was not convivial to flowers, but the servants had done a fine job in ensuring that the shelves were still adorned with colour. Even so, he did not see them or the picture. In his mind’s eye, he saw a scroll of paper bound with the seal of First Division. He saw the afternoon sunlight streaming in through the windows of the audience hall. He saw Juushiro Ukitake kneeling opposite him with an expression both apprehensive and sad.And the Past Stares Back3 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
“What is this?” he had asked.
At his side, Zaraki Kenpachi had given a bark of laughter and screwed up his own missive. It had been of a similar nature to Byakuya’s.
“None of us can act entirely outside of the law. The charges will not be upheld, but the misdemeanours will be recorded, as is our duty. That is the way of it. Unt