Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
This chapter originally written on or before 11/29/2009
Opening Theme: Kuchibiru Kara Romantica by AAA
Ending Theme: Aitai Riyuu by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Fifth Division in the Red
Chapter Two: Taicho to Taicho
SOUL SOCIETY – DIVISION TWELVE – KUROTSUCHI TAICHO’S QUARTERS
Thorne asked Kurotsuchi for a private meeting and did what few if any did – she entered his room. Nemu dutifully waited outside.
Thorne looked around. Everything was in a proper place, and the room seem uncharacteristically barren.
“You changed things for me?” she asked.
“I merely wished to make you comfortable.” As you used to be. “I anticipated this meeting.”
“Before or after that gift?”
“Before. What better place to find solace than another taicho’s room? You are troubled, Shinnouhi.”
She sat down in an oddly plush couch. It seemed too comfortable for Mayuri’s tastes. “Please, don’t call me Shinnouhi. It just reminds me that I am Shiroyuki’s property.”
“As you wish, princess.” He paused, noting the grimace remaining on her face. “But that’s not any better. It still does not hide that truth.”
“And what could this humble man do for you, Shinnouhi?”
“Are you even a man?” she scoffed. “Since you find the need to hide behind paints and theatrics? Do you not get tired of the persona you burden yourself with?”
“I assure you, Shinnouhi. I am both man and scientist.” I would have let you see that.
“How much of a man would I see behind your paint?”
“Not enough I would dare to show you. Even joking thoughts of that are enough for a death sentence. Though if I may be bold, some paint is exactly what you may need. Some time to be something other than the property you find yourself to be.”
“Perhaps if you prove yourself to be enough of a man, I will let you paint me.” She looked aside. “It is not just Shiroyuki who claims me. Some pasts can’t be erased.”
Mayuri grabbed her wrist lightly, preventing her from possibly turning away. He had taken this small liberty before. Then zero division took her.
“Hime-sama, what can I do for you? You have only to say it. You may not like me, hime-sama, but you need me.”
He wanted her to need him. He needed to be close enough to her to get answers. He missed who she used to be. He missed those treasured visits. Nemu did as well.
“You don’t fear them enough to do this?”
“Memories can be altered, hime-sama.” But not yours. “Though, even if I could, altering yours would not erase truth. Now, ask. No, command me.”
“I need a mod soul. Banned or not, for me, you could do it.”
“Banned or not, I would do it.”
“I am tired. Too tired. I can’t keep living like this. Kail isn’t inside me anymore.”
Kail, Ichigo’s hollow form, had lived inside of her since she first came to Soul Society. She had briefly been the eleventh division’s fourth seat. Then Hitsugaya won a duel against Zaraki for her to become the tenth division’s third seat. Then she faced Aizen and for the first time, drew forth Yukihime’s bankai, a resurrection of her former soul. Aizen had nearly finished the key to enter the House of the King. In her bankai form, she fought Aizen and broke the key. Although she had not completely destroyed the key, she had bought the Shinigami time with her life.
Since the King of Soul Society had resurrected her, she still remained part human. This remained her one weakness.
Then zero division destroyed her.
“I am still working on it, Shinnouhi. I cannot have it fail and harm you.”
He had to pretend nothing happened. He had to be that mad scientist again.
SOUL SOCIETY – STREETS OF THE SEIREITEI
Momo Hinamori had wondered what made her taicho uncomfortable with the show. If it came from her home country of America, isn’t that how many Americans acted? Yet, she could not compare her taicho with those commoners. Still, her thoughts returned to her taicho’s words.
It seemed like a good idea. The more she thought about it, the more she could imagine getting the fifth division out of debt. But what would taicho say?
“Hinamori-chan!” Rangiku Matsumto called to her.
“Ah, Rangi-san,” she said.
Matsumoto caught up with her. “Why were you over at the twelfth division?”
“I went to see Thorne Taicho.”
“Thorne Taicho went there?” Rangiku asked in disbelief.
“Yes. Rin had a present for her. A television show from her own country.” Hinamori sighed.
“How was it?”
“Well, it was very strange. This woman dated a lot of men and the television company paid for it.”
“I wished I lived in America,” Rangiku sighed.
“Rangi-san, do you think we could do something like that in our division to raise money?”
“Yeah.” Hinamori looked down. “We’re really in debt. Taicho doesn’t know.”
“Well,” she laughed and gave Hinamori a slap on the back. “If your taicho goes on the dates, you’ll have no problem making money. It would be a good fundraiser.”
“Matsumoto,” Toshiro Hitsugaya called out. “You’re not finished with your paperwork!”
“Ah,” Rangiku sighed, “if only my taicho was as good as yours.”
“I heard that!” Hitsugaya snapped as he walked up to him. “Just what are you two talking about?”
“Taicho,” Rangiku said, “Hinamori-chan wants to set up her taicho on dates to raise money for the division.”
Hinamori blushed. “I didn’t really say that.”
Hitsugaya turned red. He tried to sound angry, but the two women could sense his embarrassment. “What do you mean?” he stammered.
“Taicho’s country has a show that sets women up with different men,” Hinamori explained. “The woman gets money to go on dates with men and she kicks them off the show. The last one left is the winner.”
“What do they win?” he asked.
“They get married.”
Hitsugaya’s mouth dropped open. He stared at the two women.
“Perfect, right, Taicho?” Matsumoto asked. “Now you can finally settle it out with Zaraki.”
“Come on, Hinamori. Let’s get Renji and Kira in on this. Hitsugaya Taicho and Zaraki Taicho can’t be the only ones.”
“Bye Shiro-chan,” Hinamori said as she and Matsumoto flash stepped away.
Hyorinmaru laughed inside of Hitsugaya. “Can’t avoid it now, Toshiro. They’ll have the whole Seireitei after hime-sama’s hand.”
“Shut up,” he muttered.
“Haineko thought it was great, too.”
“I said shut up!” He could do paperwork by himself. No, forget that. He would bring this up to Yamamoto Sou Taicho. Surely, he wouldn’t allow this.
SOUL SOCIETY – ELEVENTH DIVISION
Outside the eleventh division, Yachiru chased Ikkaku. Zaraki found it amusing and no one would complain to him about Yachiru.
“What’s bothering you, taicho?” Yumichika asked.
Normally no one would ask such a question, but it was obvious it was Shirahime Thorne. No one had spoken a word about Zaraki’s broken engagement with her. They had planned to get married, only to have zero division kidnap her for an entire month. The royal family would not have her marrying anyone but the crown prince. They had “looked the other way” in her relationship with Zaraki until they planned to marry.
“Hime-sama appeared much weaker when she got back,” Yumichika said. “I wonder what they did to her?”
Yumichika longed to stay with her again. Once she asked Zaraki to marry her, Yumichika distanced himself from her. Zaraki knew what went on between them, and he supported the arrangement. Why they ended up in that arrangement had more to do with the rules of the royal realm and the time when Senna was incarnated as a mere shinigami*. Only a few of them still possessed the memories of those days. Therefore, if anyone knew something was going on between Shirahime and Yumichika, it was best to say “it’s complicated.”
“She would not even tell Yachiru,” Kenpachi said. “And now she has refused any treatment from Unohana Taicho. Her father hopes Kurotsuchi might be able to get some information. So far, nothing.”
“Taicho, would you kill the prince? That would cause problems and get you executed.”
“I will kill anyone who harms her. Royalty or not. And you know you would, too.”
That was the motto of the eleventh division. After all, no one wanted to see their taicho angry or their fukutaicho sad. Everyone lived through that once before. No one thought they could live through Yachiru’s grief again. Yumichika still cared for Shirahime, and he couldn’t live through his own grief again. The mask he used could not be used again.
Yachiru finally landed on top of Ikkaku’s head and started beating on him.
“Prepare for battle, Kosetsu Ryu!”
The rush of reiatsu stunned most in the division, except for the top members: Zaraki, Yachiru, Ikkaku, and Yumichika.
Zaraki became angrier at zero division once he heard those words. Unlike most shinigami, Thorne did not have to recite either a shikai or bankai release phrase. Not even for her second zanpakuto, Kosetsu Ryu.
A small snow-white dragon with Shirahime’s blue eyes hovered above Yachiru. Ikakku stopped running.
Zaraki saw how Shirahime panted, her breathing labored after using the shikai. She had royal blood. She was supposed to have more reiatsu than even Zaraki. But now, it was as if she folded back into just her human self.
Yachiru leaped for the dragon. “Kosetsu!” She caught him between her arms in an awkward hug and bounced to the ground. “I missed you!”
“Yachiru!” Shirahime snapped at her. “Stop harassing Ikkaku.” The blue hue in her eyes fluctuated in different shades.
Yachiru stood, taking in her mother’s change. She bowed to her. “Hai, Oka-sama.”
Ikkaku looked on in disbelief. Though Yachiru loved her mother very much, she had never been so formal before. Then again, Thorne had never appeared that angry at her before.
Thorne breathed heavily. “Not as easy to take Kosetsu out of the blade. Shikai still works.”
Blood dripped down her left arm and onto Kosetsu’s hilt. Her vision blurred and she swayed. Zaraki flash stepped forward and caught her before she fell.
“Damn division zero!” He looked across her face, noting the sweat mixed with blood. “If they ever come here again, you all have my permission to kill them. Again.”
Ikkaku and Yumichika stood up and saluted, “Hai, Zaraki Taicho.”
Finally, the others could move as Thorne’s reiatsu had faded. The Kosetsu Ryu zanpakuto clattered to the ground.
The spirit Kosetsu roared and stood next to the zanpakuto.
Yachiru’s eyes had formed tears. She had always liked the color of blood, but never on her mother.
“Yachiru, I’m taking her to Unohana. Bring Kosetsu Ryu. . .,” he paused, “. . . and Kosetsu.”
[* Story: Princess of Memory]
SOUL SOCIETY – SIXTH DIVISION BARRACKS
Renji Abari, fukutaicho of the sixth division, stood opposite the fourteenth seated officer. The man stood, ready to fall in exhaustion. Renji had only released Zabimaru’s shikai, and the officer had trouble holding his own in the duel.
“Hey, Renji!” Matsumoto called out. She and Momo flash-stepped and appeared a few feet away from them.
“I think this is enough for today,” Renji said to the officer.
“Thank you, sir,” he said and bowed to him.
“Rangiku, Momo, what are you doing here?”
“Well,” said Rangiku with a large smile, “we just had the greatest idea! Tell him, Momo.”
Momo flushed in embarrassment. “Thorne Taicho—,” she paused, “Thorne Taicho—,” she began to think of her taicho dating Renji. “That is . . . Thorne Taicho—.” She blushed more.
“What?” he asked, wondering if he wanted to know after all.
“Thorne Taicho should go on some dates as a fund raiser for the division,” Rangiku finished for her.
“Dates?” his mouth hung open in disbelief. Yeah, he had thought about dating her himself—in his dreams, and only in his dreams. Shinigami had no business dating the would-be wife of the crown prince. Zaraki Taicho didn’t care about those rules, but Renji didn’t have anywhere near Zaraki’s power. Still, a man could dream?
“Yes! It’s common in this thing called ‘reality television’ in Thorne’s home country.” Rangiku waited for a few moments, letting it sink in. “Well, Renji? What do you think? You would want to compete, right?”
Renji got flustered. He blushed and sputtered out his words: “Compete . . . to date . . . Thorne . . . Taicho?”
Momo still thought about Renji dating Thorne. Was this a good idea?
“I think you should ask Shinnouhi first,” said Kuchiki Taicho from the entrance of the barracks building. “And explain to me how this would not become a call service.”
Preview of the Next Chapter:
Momo and company explain reality show dating to Kuchiki. Unohana orders that the Shinnouhi, Thorne Taicho, get some R & R. Will Momo decide this contest would be good relaxation for her taicho?
Hitsugaya seeks an audience with the Sou Taicho to put an end to this mess. Will he get there before Momo has set up his beloved Shirahime on many dates? Will Yamamoto be a bachelor?
Vote now for your candidates.
* Story Reference: References the story, Princess of Memory, which includes some events from a Bleach: Cross universe version of Memories of Nobody.
Mayuri: Mayuri is a bit different in this chapter. I added some additional lines to my original version. These lines reference the stories set before and during the DiamondDust movie (not posted yet).
Bleach: Cross: Fifth Division in the Red
Introduction & Chapter List