Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
This chapter originally written on or before 07/06/2022
Opening Theme: Kuchibiru Kara Romantica by AAA
Ending Theme: Aitai Riyuu by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Return of the Full Fifth Division Arc
Fifth Division in the Red
Chapter Five: Explaining the Game
SOUL SOCIETY – THIRTEENTH DIVISION
Everyone in the Seireitei felt what happened.
Jushiro Ukitake of the thirteenth division looked towards the fourth division. He feared what had happened. The truth was, even though they’d all deny it, that royalty wasn’t fit to be among them. They had too much power, were too destructive. Even their servants could best most of the powerful here. Even those servants did not belong.
But those higher in rank knew better than to say it. They also were too foolish to believe it.
Rukia Kuchiki glanced towards the fourth division, the tray of tea still firm in her grip. She served it to her taicho.
Jushiro wished she hadn’t been here. She was close to Ichigo, the reincarnation of Shirahime’s husband from her first life.
Strange to have anything to talk with Mayuri Kurotsuchi about, but they discussed how Ichigo was getting worse. More and more he gave into that past self.
Perhaps it was for the best they hadn’t found out about Momo’s idea yet.
Against his better judgment, Jushiro asked Rukia to go to the fifth division in case they were in need of any help.
SOUL SOCIETY – FIFTH DIVISION
Shinjiro Kita, fifth seat of the fifth division, looked nervously to the members of his division.
“You all know Zaraki Taicho’s reputation,” he said. “Probably bested her in a fight. Just by a hair, of course,” he added.
They none bought it. He knew they wouldn’t.
“Are they back?” one of the members asked him.
By “they,” he meant zero division.
“I don’t think so,” he insisted. “Still, we must stay here. Taicho expects us to be ready to fight them at any time. They are not here, but if they are coming, they will come here first.”
Some of the divisions had a specialty or a specific charge.
Under Aizen, they had no specific charge. Well, they were to help Aizen’s plans, but no one actually agreed with that. Except (sort of) Momo.
Thorne Taicho explained to him Momo had some modified version of Stockholm Syndrome. Thorne explained the normal characteristics of it to him. He agreed.
Regardless, fifth division became the “Anti Zero Division.” They – upon their own choice – vowed to destroy zero division other than taicho’s guard and the prince’s guard. Not that they trusted the prince’s guard. They just would not get automatically killed.
Shinjiro and the others had not asked for taicho’s permission or opinion.
“Alpha Two,” Shinjiro said, “go check the barrier.”
Shirahime created a more efficient division by splitting them up into three subgroups – alpha, delta, and theta – then numbered branches in each. Each unit had its own specialty, skills they worked to perfect over others.
Kuchiki Taicho thought little of the approach. She was again fighting their traditions. The high ranking shinigami knew she was from the human world, so it did no harm to use the Greek letters to designate the groups. She told Shinjiro they were in order but that she skipped letters.
Shinjiro was most familiar with alpha. He was their team leader and remained so even though Hinamori was now back with them. Alpha was the main team. Thorne usually ordered Daichi and Hinamori to join the different teams depending on what the situation demanded. Even when either of them was in alpha, Shinjiro remained in charge unless taicho led them directly.
Alpha Two was checking Shirahime’s barrier blocking out the royal realm. No doubt taicho’s state could have been their fault. If so, any moment they could invade.
Daichi Takeya and Yachiru Kusajishi walked over to see him. Though their tears had dried, their faces were still red.
Shinjiro signaled the others to wait there and ran to them.
“She’ll get better, but it’s their fault,” Daichi said.
Shinjiro knew he spoke of zero division.
“She wasn’t practicing with Zaraki Taicho?”
Yachiru shook her head and described how she bled.
“I already have Alpha Two checking the barrier,” Shinjiro said.
“Good idea,” Daichi said. “I’ll go help them.”
“With all due respect, Takeya, you should stay here. It’s possible you and Kusajishi can help here if Unohana needs you. You’re her children and who knows what might be needed?”
“Alright,” he mumbled.
Kuchiki Taicho appeared behind them along with Renji.
“Unohana says she’s stable. It’s just from blood loss.” Well, that’s what he’s willing to say in front of her kids.
“I suggest you ask her to rest when she comes back and not move around too much,” Kuchiki said.
Had Shinjiro’s taicho come to some sort of agreement with Kuchiki to be more friendly? Since when had he stopped looking down on her?
Renji looked back. “Wasn’t Hinamori just behind us?”
“She’s taking this poorly,” Kuchiki admitted. “It probably reminds her of Aizen – somehow.”
Daichi rolled his eyes. He had to hear about that man again.
“It’d be a miracle if she ever moved on,” Reji remarked.
“I never met him,” Daichi said, “but she may be stuck on him forever.”
“Perhaps ‘may be stuck on whoever her taicho is’ would be the better conclusion,” Shinjiro thought.
Hanataro Yamada walked up with Hinamori. Her face was just as red as the others.
“Unohana Taicho will take good care of her, Hinamori. The best you can do for her is make sure things are okay here,” Yamada insisted.
“I can help if you need,” Kuchiki offered. “Meanwhile, Hinamori, you’re right. I think you are in need of a serious break. But perhaps you ought to go out on dates instead of your taicho.”
Shinjiro tried to hide the shock on his face. Daichi looked stunned at Hinamori.
“You sound – jealous,” Shinjiro accused.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Kuchiki said. “After all, I am from a noble family and -.”
“Mom’s supposed to marry the next king!” Yachiru chimed in. Let him be jealous of that.
Yachiru felt better as her mom was getting better. But she was a fan of her dads. As much as she liked Byakuya, she didn’t want anyone getting between Kenny and mom.
Kuchiki’s jaw dropped. He loved to play the “noble card,” but this killed it.
Yachiru, team Kenny and Mom, score one. Byakuya, team himself? Score zero.
“I guess you’re more jealous of that,” Shinjiro remarked.
“Can we not mention them?” Daichi asked. “I want them to leave mom alone.”
Shinjiro glanced to him. Daichi called her “mom,” not usually a good sign.
Renji could feel the tension. He spoke up. “Well, maybe if we go with Momo’s idea, we don’t have to deal with them anymore.”
“So, tell us about this idea, fukutaicho,” Shinjiro said.
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION
There were few times in Unohana’s long life she found herself speechless.
This was one of them.
Rangiku Matsumoto stayed behind at her insistence. Unohana decided it would not be a good idea to wait and hear about Momo’s idea later. After asking Isane to keep an eye on Shirahime, Unohana and Matsumoto stepped in a different room so that Unohana could get to the bottom of this.
“This is what they do in America?” Unohana asked when she finally regained her speech. “You are sure?”
“She saw it over in the twelfth division.”
“And you think anything done at Kurotsuchi Taicho’s is to be trusted?”
“That’s right. But if Hinamori does this, I’m going to drag that mad man into this.”
“Unohana Taicho, you don’t really think he should join in?”
“I’m planning on it. Call it revenge.”
“Don’t you think he’d kill her?”
“He’s terrified of her. Who knows, maybe he’d end up being her ideal match.”
“Well, if the audience votes, I think my cute taicho would win over him. Besides, we both know you’d never consider him anyone’s ideal match.”
“Except for Urahara,” Unohana admitted. She patted Rangiku’s arm. “If the audience votes, I’m keeping Kurotsuchi in until the finals. He’ll be terrified for weeks.”
“Exactly when did he get so scared of her?”
“You might remember that incident with the pheromones? I helped Nemu put him back together after Zaraki and Ayasegawa beat him senseless. Not that I wanted to, but Sou Taicho thought he had more to contribute.”
“Wouldn’t that make him terrified of them instead of her?”
“Well,” Unohana admitted, “she visited him after that. I don’t think I had ever seen him more terrified. She left his room right before I arrived to help Nemu.”
“She went to his room?”
“Apparently, she’s one of the few people who’s been there.”
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION – THORNE’S ROOM
Zaraki knew Unohana sensed him listening. She let him. He left before they came back out and returned to Thorne’s room. Isane gave them privacy.
He’d find all of this more amusing if the woman he loved was not recovering in this room. He took her hand and, not for the first time, he wished he had not died so early in his previous life. He wished they had gotten married and had a child in that life. Perhaps then she would have never walked through this journey that was slowly destroying her.
But in this life, they had a child. And in this life, they planned to get married again.
Then zero division ruined everything and, more importantly, ruined her.
So, Momo Hinamori wanted Shirahime to play this game? Again, someone else would claim her. Unlike Yumichika, if someone else claimed her in this charade, they would be unlikely to share.
If Momo expected Shirahime to do this, he’d make her join in. He’d only need to mention it to Shinjiro.
If Shirahime would play by all the rules, the winner would marry her.
So, of course, Zaraki would have to win. Perhaps he could suggest to Shinjiro to have an elimination round in a very traditional sense. Nobody could beat him then. After all, he was the Kenpachi.
Then again, would this be open to women? Challenging Unohana could be fun. Though right now, he’d rather be challenging Momo to thank her for her idea.
Being speechless is a new talent in Soul Society. It’s really catching on.
Momo finally bring her idea home to her own division, right in front of Shirahime’s children. It’s a good idea, right?
Age is relative. After all, Yachiru is Daichi’s older sister. Maturity is another issue. How exactly does one explain certain “facts of life”?
If Momo gets Yachiru’s and Daichi’s approval, does that mean the show must go on?
Meanwhile, Shinjiro wonders what exactly happened between his taicho and Kuchiki Taicho.
THIS IS THE MA VERSION
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Bleach: Cross: Fifth Division in the Red
Introduction & Chapter List MA VERSION