Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
This chapter written on 08/07/2022
Opening Theme: Kuchibiru Kara Romantica by AAA
Ending Theme: Aitai Riyuu by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Fifth Division in the Red
Chapter Nine: Fifth and Alpha
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION
Rangiku still wondered what Kosetsu meant. How did she suggest he marry his dad? Who was his dad? She was talking about taicho and his zanpakuto. Wait a minute, was Kosetsu serious?
“You want to tell me Kosetsu’s father is Hyorinmaru?” she asked. “Or taicho?”
“I have a general rule not to talk about my children’s fathers. Well, Yachiru is okay. But everyone else is not.”
“Everyone else? How many kids are we talking about?”
Shirahime raised a brow and looked ready to kill.
Kosetsu grasped her hand. She looked to him, her face now full of exhaustion.
“Kosetsu says don’t mention that again.” Matsumoto heard Haineko in her mind.
Yachiru looked at the floor. Daichi held her hand.
Rangiku thought she should be more afraid that both Retsu and Kenpachi said nothing.
“Well,” Shirahime said quickly, “when can I leave here? I really can’t leave my division alone. After all, Byakuya isn’t that fond of Shinjiro. Or anyone in the division really. I mean he tries with me. But I’m sure it is just to keep appearances.”
SOUL SOCIETY – FIFTH DIVISION
Shinjiro Kita, fifth seat of the fifth division and head of the alpha subdivision, shifted his attention to Kaori Tanaka who spoke to him. He felt the tension before she spoke.
“It’s the barrier, sir,” she began again.
The two taichos looked between the Shinjiro and Kaori. Momo leveled a look at Kuchiki to keep him quiet. Ordinarily, he’d again correct her attitude. Yet occasionally even he knew to shut up (only occasionally).
“Tanaka?” Shinjiro prompted. His subordinate, Kaori Tanaka, was shy, but could be counted on to put that behind her when it mattered.
“There was evidence it was breached.”
“What do you mean evidence?” Momo asked. Did you find a body there? Blood?”
“No,” she stuttered. “But it was very strange. The barrier was broken then rewoven. It’s like someone knew how it was put together. I mean they knew well enough to make a very convincing replacement. But it didn’t feel like taicho. I don’t like it, sir. The barrier broken is one thing, but it is more concerning someone tried to replace that spot.”
“True,” Shinjiro agreed. “They’d have to know it was there, know enough about its construction, and more importantly -.”
“Not have wanted us to find out. That’s why they tried to stitch it up,” Momo filled in.
“That’s right,” Shinjiro agreed.
“What do you propose we do?” Komamura asked.
“Everyone is in danger until we find out who exactly came through. Momo, have you been able to get in touch with Senna or anyone else?”
“No.” Momo shook her head. “Ever since taicho, Daichi, and I -.” Momo’s voice trailed off. She shut her eyes against the memories.
“I don’t want to tell taicho. I don’t want to worry her.”
“Then what do we do, Shinjiro?”
“Contact the one man who’s more than likely to be able to contact Zan.”
Momo looked at him, her eyes narrowing in annoyance. “Mind not being so dramatic right now, Shinjiro?”
“Sorry. It’s just that we are rivals.”
“Rivals? You?” Byakuya asked.
Komamura almost wanted to laugh. How many people here did not know? Well, that was about to change.
“Rivals in what exactly? You get the promotion he wanted? Or the other way around?” Momo asked.
“Not exactly. He’s already fifth seat.”
“You are fifth seat, Shinjiro,” Momo said.
“Yeah, well, so is he. Just, you know, over at Zaraki’s.”
“And why would Yumichika be able to contact Zan?”
“Oh, I get it,” Byakuya interrupted. “Zan’s a man, right? Hime-san doesn’t have many of those in her guard, but he’s one of them, am I right?”
“That’s hime-sama to you, and what is that supposed to mean?” Shinjiro asked.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but Ayasegawa likes men.” Byakuya looked to Momo. She probably didn’t understand. He hoped she wouldn’t ask many questions.
“I am well aware who he likes, Kuchiki Taicho,” Shinjiro growled. “More so than you.”
“Oh, I see,” Byakuya said. “He turned you down for Zan.”
“If this wasn’t such a serious moment, Kuchiki, I would spend the next hour laughing.”
“And why is that?”
“You are so clueless.”
“Excuse me?” Kuchiki asked.
“Komamura Taicho,” Nanao whispered to him. “Does Kita mean that -?”
Komamura’s look to her cut off her question.
A proverbial light bulb just turned on in Renji’s head. “You are kidding, right?” Renji asked Shinjiro.
“Kidding about what?” Byakuya asked.
“I’m sure it’s nothing you need to really be concerned about, nii-sama,” Rukia said quickly.
“Enough!” Momo snapped. “Kita, don’t we need to get some answers?”
“Is he in charge, or are you?” Byakuya asked.
“I am in charge of the alpha subunit,” Shinjiro said.
“Your taicho’s way of saying you’re useless,” Byakuya said to Momo.
“That is enough,” Kita hissed.
“You forget your place, Kita,” Byakuya retorted.
“In case you have not been listening, Kuchiki, which seems to be you were barely ever listening, I am in charge of the defensive barrier when taicho is not here or otherwise unable to do something about it. Which means right now I am in charge. And if you don’t understand, that means I am in charge. Do you understand?” He fired off the last question in Mandarin, letting a bit of hime-sama’s habits influence him.
“Kuchiki, you’d best leave,” Momo warned.
“What can we do to help?” Komamura asked.
“How dare you tell me what to do!” Kuchiki snapped.
“Shinnohi is in charge,” Momo hissed at him. “Someone or more than one someone has just gotten in here. This is serious. Neither you nor anyone else here has a prayer if one of the gods managed to get in.”
Byakuya laughed. “Gods?”
“I would have thought your precious nii-sama was intelligent, Rukia,” Momo said to her. “Those from the royal realm can do things you can’t imagine. They can easily look like anyone else. Aizen’s tricks are child’s play in comparison to what some of them can do. Shinnouhi, the Imperial Princess, is in charge here. By the way, you do know she is a god, right? So, that is in fact hime-sama to you, little mortal. Since Shirayukihime Shinnouhi is right now in no condition to help us, I will inform you now that Shinjiro is the one she chose to make choices on her behalf. So, get out, Kuchiki. We’ll send over someone to babysit your division. But leave us for now.”
SOUL SOCIETY – TENTH DIVISION
Toshiro Hitsugaya wanted nothing more than to cover his head, sleep, and pretend this whole insanity was a dream. How could his childhood friend betray him this way? Didn’t she know how he felt about her taicho? He had to admit, who didn’t?
Yet Momo thought it was a grand idea for Shirahime to go on this dating-a-thon. Why exactly had Sou Taicho had not already expressly put a stop to this, Toshiro could not figure out.
Though Toshiro was convinced he should at least lecture a certain scientist.
“Are you angry, Shiro Taicho?”
Toshiro stopped at hearing the woman’s voice. In his predictable obsession over a certain princess, he had again returned to her old room. He was almost there.
“Aren’t you coming in, my Shiro?” the woman called to him.
Had Shirahime recovered enough to be walking around? Had she decided to come and see him of all people?
He walked in.
The woman smiled at him. Her white hair glowed as if bathed in moonlight. Her eyes were as blue as the deepest ocean. She wore a snow-white dress and a fur cape. She wore a gold necklace with a daffodil charm. The ring he gave her with the symbol of her division, the lily of the valley, was nowhere in sight.
Of course not. He still kept it in his pocket, wrapped carefully as the precious cargo it was.
She wore a daffodil. Not just any daffodil. It was the same one from the bracelet he gave her when she was in his division. The daffodil was the symbol of the tenth division. She wore it. Not the symbol of her own division.
“I wondered how long it would take you to return here,” she said.
“Yes, to my home. To the room you picked for me.”
“I’ve lost my mind,” he reasoned. “You wouldn’t be here.”
“Don’t you want me here?”
“More than anything. I’d give anything to have you back.”
“But I never left you, my Shiro.”
“You and Zaraki -.”
“Are lovers, nothing more. After all, he at least looks his age. Perhaps I just use him because you won’t be honest.”
“Can’t I just be with someone who’s honest?”
“Unlike me, you mean.”
“Perhaps he’s just fun. Would you really like to know?”
“You don’t wonder at all?”
“Of course not.”
“Hmm. I don’t believe you. Too bad, maybe they would bore me if you’d actually look right. Come now, Shiro. Tell me your secret, why?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He looked away.