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 Same2 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
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' Meeting2 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
Ichiruki Week - Day 1 - DANCE"Why 'dance?'" Ichigo asked Rukia.Ichiruki Week - Day 1 - DANCE3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
They'd been sat on the couch for a time. Late at night, after Ichigo's father had retired to bed. Sometimes, it was easier to stay awake with the television on and its lights picking out pathways through discarded plates and packets of crisps. They were waiting for the hollow detector to tell them a demon was near, but maybe it wouldn't tonight. Maybe tonight would just be ordinary. In a world where ordinary was so completely extraordinary.
And it was good when she relaxed, he thought. Sprawled on the sofa. It was so rare to see her that way. There were couples whirling to a waltz in an old-fashioned black and white movie on the TV and her hand was tapping out the rhythm. She'd no idea she was doing it. Given another minute, he thought, she might have fallen asleep with her chin on her chest and maybe he should have let her. But he'd asked the question now:
"Your sword release why 'dance?'"
"Can you dance?"
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,
Ichiruki Week - Day 2 - CHOCOLATERukia knew Ichigo liked chocolate.Ichiruki Week - Day 2 - CHOCOLATE3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
There were other things, but, because it was a different world from hers, it was difficult to understand what they all meant. He had posters in his room. And he had music. And he had books. And she'd spent a lot of time reading these, thinking that, if she could just understand them, then she might understand him. But it didn't work that way.
In his world. He didn't fit. Walking with him was like following a hole in the map. At first, she'd looked for guidance, trying to pick her way through. But he didn't offer her guidance.
She'd told him about her home.
"Really? You?" he said, when she spoke of her family, her duties, her past.
"I'm a soldier," she said.
"You? Ha!" He teased her. It didn't fit.
She'd felt affronted, offended. At first, she'd sought for reassurance, trying to turn his words back on themselves. But he didn't offer her reassurance.
And she'd liked him a little more after that.
So they'd come to a compromise. She was hiding in his life
Ichiruki Week - Day 4 - SQUEAKIn the darkness, Ichigo feels her disappear.Ichiruki Week - Day 4 - SQUEAK3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Rukia has become adept at this, reining in her spiritual pressure, shutting it down so that he can no longer sense her. Of course, he has some idea of where she is, in the pitch dark. If she's playing by the rules, and with Rukia you never can tell, then she's on the far side of the room, waiting. That's her starting position. It's a very elaborate game of Grandmother's Footsteps.
Now, he too closes down his reiatsu so that she'll not be able to sense him. For the two of them, it's like fighting blind. It makes sense though. There'll be times when both of them will have to face opponents whose spiritual pressures are unreadable, and it's a very easy thing to get lazy and forget how important the other senses are too: touch, hearing. That's what this training tests.
The aim is to be the first to land a blow. Doesn't matter how; doesn't matter where. The floor is made out of plain wood and uguisubari, floorboards that squeak if you so much as
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 Back2 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
Where the Real Ghosts AreA small bar on a backstreet in the second district of Rukongai became even smaller as two death gods stepped inside. Two patrons who had been nursing drinks at one of the three tables quickly downed them and left, abandoning their money on the counter. The owner, however, an elderly woman, only beamed at the new arrivals. The three shinigami already present, squeezed into a corner of the room, had drunk themselves into stupors, but were still not running low on coin, so the addition of two more seemed to her a blessing rather than a hindrance.Where the Real Ghosts Are2 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
“Let’s go and celebrate,” Renji had said. It had been her first day back on the job and it had been a relief to get out of the house. She’d been only too glad to extend that sense of freedom into the evening and delay her return to the sober household she shared with her brother. But:
“I thought it was just you and me.”
“What?” He gave her an odd look as he pulled her towards the ta