Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
Opening Theme: Hikari no Rock by Sambomaster
Ending Theme: Tooi Michi no Saki De by Takekawa Ai
Across the Dimensions
Chapter Two: King’s Guilt
SOUL SOCIETY – SOJIRO’S GRAVE
Toshiro stopped in front of his friend and rival’s grave to pay his respects. He was grateful for Rangiku standing behind him. “Thank you, Matsumoto,” he said, “I’m sorry. Thanks for everything.” He looked back at her, guilt nearly ripping him apart for knowing many had died and that she could have been one of them. “Just like Shirahime. No, Thorne Taicho,” he reminded himself. Keep the distance between them. Taicho and taicho. Shinigami and human.
“Taicho,” interjected Matsumoto, “perhaps you should go see her.”
He looked at her quizzically. “How did you—?”
She tossed her hair back with a flick of her neck. “Putting up with you until we discovered she was resurrected in the human world. That’s enough for anyone to understand you over her.”
He remained silent for a moment. “Thorne Taicho is a strong fighter. I’m sure Thorne Taicho is—.”
“Will you stop with this entire Taicho bit? This is Shirahime we’re talking about. Good ol’ Shira, storyteller Sam Shirahime, third seat Shirahime, fourth seat of the eleventh division Shirayukihime.”
“She was never fourth seat.”
“Oh, yes she was, Taicho. I seem to remember a certain taicho fighting Zaraki so she could move into his division.”
“Hrmph,” he sighed.
“Come on, Taicho! Or do I have to go alone?”
“I’m catch up. Just give me a moment alone.”
“See you at the fourth division,” she said and left.
Toshiro faced the grave again. “Yes, I fought for Momo. But most of all, I fought for Shirahime. I nearly lost her. I betrayed her. Enjoy the peace you can find in the afterlife. But know that you probably succeeded in getting your vengeance against me. She’s just a taicho now to me. I can never expect anything more. Even though you failed at taking Rangiku from me, you succeeded in taking Shirahime’s heart.”
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION BARRACKS
Shirahime’s deep thoughts slowed her walk around the barracks. She remained in the back hallway, away from most of the bodies. She didn’t want to think about death right now. It had been too close to home this time. After Sojiro’s lackeys had attacked the caravan carrying the King’s Seal, she had lay in these same medic beds as the ones nearby for what seemed like days. Both her shinigami self and human self had bled. Strange for her. Usually only her human self suffered, as it was fused to her soul, but this time her shinigami self suffered as well.
She had been so close to the King’s Seal. She had even touched it. As royalty from the past life, it was her right to do so, but it was that same right that nearly condemned her to die.
Yet it was him that saved her—that horrid king that forced her to marry his eldest son. She could still hear his voice: “Not yet, princess. Not yet, when you have finally been reunited with both of my sons.”
What a sick and twisted man he was. Reunited? Ichigo was much younger than her in human years. By standards of her home country, such a marriage or anything else with him was statutory. And disgusting. Did she mention that? Absolutely horrifying. He was just a kid. And the brother? If he meant Kail, he was now a hollow. Once he had lived inside her to save her life, but that was no longer necessary after she was returned to the human world. Of course, there was always Shiroyuki, Kail’s current living incarnation . . . .
Did the king have something to do with her resurrection in the human world? Or was it Hyorinmaru?
Was the cycle of reincarnation really going to end for her? Was that why he had saved her? Guilt, of course. Guilt because he had never let Ichigo marry Rukia.
Like hell she was going to marry Ichigo this time around! And Kail? He’s a hollow! Maybe the king wouldn’t push the Shiroyuki issue.
Maybe the king would leave her alone if she married someone. Finally give up. But who?
Zaraki, of course came to mind. They were going to get married in his previous life anyway. And she did love both him and Yachiru.
Ya would finally have the family she always wanted.