Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
This chapter written on 07/30/2022
(Adapted for M Rating 08/03/2022)
Opening Theme: Kuchibiru Kara Romantica by AAA
Ending Theme: Aitai Riyuu by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Fifth Division in the Red
Chapter Eight: What the Divisions Decided – Part 1
[Alternative M Version:]
Sajin Komamura and Nanao Ise rushed towards the fifth division. Only trouble would wait them, they were both sure of it. Since the reincarnated princess returned from the royal realm bloody and beaten, it was only a matter of time before zero division tried again.
Well, that thought made sense.
But sense was on the way out the proverbial window. Taichos of all divisions would one day argue on what to call the upcoming moments. Several suggestions went around: Momo’s Ambitions, Kuchiki’s Dirty Secret (don’t say that around him), Kurotsuchi’s Mischief, Shiro’s (err, “Hitsugaya’s”) Embarrassment, Zaraki’s Revenge, Urahara’s Excuse to Kill Just About Everyone, Lessons on How to Have Babies, The “Talk,” and Finding Daichi’s “Status”. That last one was loaded with options. None of which would be amusing to his mother.
“Kyoraku Taicho would have liked to come with us,” Nanao remarked.
“Shinnouhi is not very fond of him,” Sajin reminded her.
“Oh,” she huffed. “He flirted with her now?”
“Well, yes. But that’s not the only reason.”
“Uh,” he paused. Nanao did not know. Several in Soul Society did. And she did. But not Nanao. Sajin wondered if she would understand Thorne’s distaste for Kyoraku even if she knew the secret. Maybe she’d have no problem.
“It’s complicated,” he decided to say.
“What?” Nanao nearly shrieked. “So, he is having a relationship with her? My gods, Zaraki Taicho’s going to kill him.”
“No, no. Why do you think that?”
“Because I’ve heard whispers of ‘it’s complicated’ relationships with her. I don’t believe them all. But what will I do? My taicho’s going to die.”
Sajin stopped and turned to her. “The only way he’d get that sort of intimacy with her would be another disaster from division twelve.”
“What do you mean ‘another disaster’?”
“Um, never mind.” Sajin distinctly remembered the event. He tried not to say anything. He knew there was no way this happened with both parties in their right minds, but he kept his mouth shut. No one wants to dodge Kenpachi Zaraki on a killing spree. How Kurotsuchi developed a pheromone strong enough to get past Thorne’s royal powers, Sajin didn’t know. He did not doubt Kurotsuchi wanted it to work for him. Who better to test it out on than the man who hated Thorne and who shoved his rigid “sense of honor” and noble family “better than you” attitude in everyone’s faces?
Kuchiki was no doubt humiliated.
After Kurotsuchi received his punishment, an unknown terrifying visit from the royal princess, and a reconstruction courtesy of Unohana, no one who knew of it spoke of it again. He wasn’t sure if Thorne’s parents knew of it. Probably not. After all, Urahara would have fried his former subordinate.
Bad Sajin, bad. Stop that.
He wasn’t attracted to her. Not that he thought it wasn’t an option. She was the only one who didn’t look at him the ways the other women did. But still, he didn’t like her in that way. Yet he did find himself interested in those interested in her. Not that he was “interested” in them. Just that he enjoyed observing them. Clueless shinigami. Hardly anyone knew about Thorne and Ayasegawa. Madarame did, and he was angry. Eventually he let it go.
Sajin was one of the few who noticed how Ayasegawa changed since Thorne asked Zaraki to marry her.
A shouting match interrupted his thoughts.
“This is bad!” Nanao exclaimed.
The two rushed into the fifth division.
SOUL SOCIETY – FIFTH DIVISION
“You should stand down, Hinamori,” Byakuya growled. His hand gripped the handle of his zanpakuto.
“I’ll not back off, Kuchiki Taicho. Not where my taicho is concerned!”
She stood in front of Shinjiro, shielding him. It seemed a little absurd, considering it was little Momo standing in front of a former member of the eleventh division.
Rukia Kuchiki stood behind her brother, her jaw slightly open in shock. Renji stood beside her, unsure what to say or do.
“Perhaps you forget your rank, Hinamori. I guess it can only be expected of the person who took so long to recover after her precious Aizen -.”
“Aizen isn’t in control of this division,” Shinjiro interrupted. “Hime-sama is. And hime-sama is more important than some mere nobleman such as yourself.”
“You forget yourself, vermin,” Byakuya hissed. “You are nothing but a brute of the eleventh division.”
“Nii-sama!” Rukia exclaimed.
“A ‘brute’ who held this division together,” Momo reminded him. “One who did it even while you hated to do it.”
“This division has no place here.”
“Kuchiki!” Sajin exclaimed.
The five looked over to Sajin and Nanao.
Nanao gasped at Kuchiki’s statement. Her taicho, Ukitake, and Unohana were the eldest here besides Sou Taicho, and none of them would be pleased by or support Kuchiki’s words.
Sajin walked over to them.
“Kuchiki, I am surprised at you. Such an honorable man as yourself picking on these loyal members of Soul Society as their leader recovers.”
“She seems to do nothing but recover.”
“Sir!” Renji exclaimed.
“It is quite clear she has more spiritual power than you do, than we all do,” Sajin said. “And she has to recover because she took on all the shinigami of zero division. Tell me, Kuchiki, how many zero division shinigami could you defeat?”
“We’re better trained than you are to take them on, Kuchiki,” Shinjiro said, “but even we can’t defeat many.”
“Kuchiki, I think you should let things go,” Sajin suggested.
“Let things go?” Shinjiro and Momo asked.
“Just what are you both talking about?” Momo asked.
“I knew it!” Shinjiro exclaimed. “I knew there was a reason you were suddenly nicer to hime-sama.”
Renji’s face reddened again.
“Abarai,” Nanao interrupted, “maybe you can fill us in.”
Renji looked around nervously.
“Keep quiet,” Byakuya said.
“Considering Zaraki already knows -,” Sajin began.
“Zaraki Taicho?” Shinjiro interrupted. “Zaraki. You’ve got to be kidding me!” First Zaraki, then Ayasegawa, and now Kuchiki. “Why would hime-sama? No way, you did something to her, didn’t you?”
“What did he do?” Momo asked. She looked to Byakuya. “What did you do to my taicho?”
“I can’t believe it,” Nanao said.
“Nii-sama, please tell me you didn’t?” Rukia asked.
“Kuchiki got a head start on trying to be the father of hime-sama’s next child,” Shinjiro explained.
“What?” Momo shrieked. “How dare you!”
Momo recited kido spells at Byakuya. He summoned shields effortlessly.
“Now, now,” Sajin said. “Let’s break this up.”
“Not until I avenge taicho’s honor!” Momo vowed. “If you made her do something, I won’t stop until you pay!”
“Nii-sama, tell us it’s not true!” Rukia begged.
“I think,” Nanao interrupted, pushing her glasses up on her nose, “that Kurotsuchi Taicho’s to blame. Am I right, Komamura Taicho?”
“We should drop this subject,” Byakuya growled.
“No!” Momo exclaimed. “You will explain right now!”
“I’m not explaining to you,” Kuchiki said.
“Then I will tell Yachiru you tried to be the father of her next child instead of Zaraki, instead of Shiro. I don’t think she’ll like that.”
“I don’t think you realize how one has a child.”
“So? What I do know is you don’t need to be the father. You keep looking down on her! You keep calling her property! Why would I let someone like you be the father of her next child? No, absolutely not. I’d make a better father than you!”
“Yes, you would,” Shinjiro agreed.
“But you really couldn’t be -,” Rukia started.
Shinjiro looked over at her.
“Yes, yes,” Rukia agreed. “You’d make a great father to hime-sama’s children.”
“Well, I won’t be a selfish one,” Momo vowed. “Taicho already has a child with Zaraki Taicho. If she wants more with someone else, I won’t stand in her way. But I won’t let someone who is not worthy of her be the father.”
Momo calmed down a bit. She looked to Sajin.
“Komamura Taicho, was Kurotsuchi Taicho responsible for what happened?”
“It’s true. Kuchiki Taicho has never liked her. He would have never spent the night with her out of his own free will,” Sajin said.
“You say that like she disgusts him,” Renji remarked.
Byakuya turned to him.
Renji shut his mouth. Yeah, he respected – and feared – his taicho, but Kuchiki Taicho had an experience Renji envied. Had it been Renji in his place, he may not have spoken of it, would have been disgusted with Kurotsuchi’s plans, but he would not have blamed it somehow on her.
“He’s always despised her,” Shinjiro said. “She’s part of the royal family – not that they deserve her. And he’s from a noble family. But all the nobles know they must answer to her. He hates it.”
“It’s not right it happened because of Kurotsuchi,” Momo admitted. “But you’re not disgusted because of Kurotsuchi, are you? You’re disgusted by the mere idea of spending the night with her. You don’t deserve to be with her, Kuchiki Taicho. So, I think just Renji should compete. You don’t need to. You should not.”
“Aren’t you all the least bit concerned about Kurotsuchi Taicho?” Rukia prompted.
“He received punishment,” Sajin said. “Terrifying punishment. He didn’t tell anyone what Thorne did to him.”
Sajin looked to each of them.
“Now,” Sajin said, “are we all satisfied that we don’t need to be having an argument? You should put these issues you have with each other aside. I could mediate between Thorne Taicho and Kuchiki Taicho when she’s well enough.” He looked to Byakuya. “Perhaps then you could come to an agreement?”
“An ‘agreement’ is what we were coming to the night it happened,” Byakuya explained.
“Not that sort of agreement!” Renji objected.
“I mean that in earnest,” Byakuya insisted. “But Kurotsuchi’s experiment changed everything. After she dealt with Kurotsuchi, we agreed not to speak on it further. Or to speak much in general.”
“I can’t believe you hate her that much,” Shinjiro said. “No one would have wanted that to happen with her, but no one but you would try to make her feel like it was her fault.”
“I’ve done no such thing.”
“It would have been better to be Kyoraku Taicho,” Nanao said. “Even though she doesn’t like him, he would not have acted like you.”
“I will not stand here and be judged by you all,” Byakuya objected. “Why don’t you all instead look down on Hinamori for her absurd idea?”
“Well,” Sajin said, “while it may be hard for her to be a father of Thorne’s children -.”
“Not that,” Byakuya interrupted. “Her other idea. Explain, Hinamori.”
“Well, you see,” Momo began. “Taicho is from America, as you know. There was this famous television show from there. The woman was the star, the actual star. I mean she was herself and not pretending to be a character.
“And she was so popular! She had all these men she went out on dates with. The television network paid for everything. Every week she sent people back home. And finally, the last one gets to be with her.”
“Be with her?” Nanao asked.
“Yes, he gets to be the one she marries. He gets that honor. All the other men wanted it, but the winner is the one who gets it. Who gets her.
“Taicho deserves the best. We’ve all been through a lot, but taicho most of all. She was going to marry Zaraki Taicho, but here is her chance to get to know a lot of people. You see, the fifth division is sponsoring this competition and we’ll put together the best wedding ever for the one person who is worthy enough to marry taicho.”
“Yes!” Shinjiro exclaimed. “Well done and explained, Momo!”
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Nanao asked.
“She agreed to this?” Sajin asked.
“Yachiru practically begged us to go ahead with this,” Momo explained. “Daichi supports it, too.”
“But you haven’t asked her?” Sajin asked.
“Well, she’s not recovered enough yet,” Momo admitted. “But we want to be ready.”
“I see,” Sajin said. “And if this goes forward, what sort of qualifications do you have to be in this contest?”
“Anyone who would make a good father,” Shinjiro explained. “That’s the one must-have quality.”
“And does this involve only those who can be the father?” Nanao asked. “You know, in a practical way?”
Momo looked puzzled at Shinjiro.
“Anyone who can be a good father to her children,” Shinjiro explained. “As in someone worthy enough. It doesn’t mean only those who could – you know – father a child with her.”
“What are you talking about, Shinjiro?” Momo asked.
“Well, there are two types of fathers,” he said quickly. “Those who are a father to her children and the person who is the first father of her child. Like Zaraki and Crown Prince Shiroyuki are both Yachiru’s fathers, but Zaraki came first.”
“Oh,” Momo said. “Well, yes, I know her children have more than one father. I guess she hasn’t actually decided on Daichi’s, but aren’t you going to ask to be his father?”
“Me?” Shinjiro stammered.
“Well, yes. Zaraki should be, but I think he’s waiting for someone else. Maybe only one person gets to be the ‘first father’ of only one child so since he’s Yachiru’s father, someone else is Daichi’s father?”
“I think hime-sama doesn’t like to talk about Daichi’s father.”
“Oh, you mean he had a father that turned out to be unworthy? Well, we will have to search for a man who should be his father. Then she won’t be unhappy. And people will stop whispering those terrible things about Daichi when they think he’s not listening. You should really do it, Shinjiro. He is in our division, and you do see him more than Zaraki. I know, how about you join them for their next family dinner and offer right then?”
“I heard Ichigo say -,” Rukia began.
“Taicho isn’t interested in Ichigo,” Momo said. “So, Ichigo can’t be his father. Ichigo’s not grown. Taicho’s complained about him quite a lot. Please don’t make this worse, Rukia. I know Ichigo is the reincarnation of the first princess’ husband, but he’s not married to taicho. I met Shirayukihime no Tenjou*. She may be taicho’s past incarnation, but they are two different people. She would say that. Taicho would say that.”
“I think we should record that and send that to him,” Shinjiro suggested. “I’m getting tired of redirecting him out of the division.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Rukia asked.
“He comes here too often,” Shinjiro explained. “Maybe you don’t know.”
“Ichigo can’t be the father,” Momo said.
“We agree,” Shinjiro said.
“We will all agree,” Byakuya said. “Right?”
Nanao cleared her throat. Shirahime would have been proud at that stage move. Best not to mention Ichigo as much as possible. “So, Hinamori, do you know who all is competing already?”
“Well,” Momo began. “Shinjiro and I am. And you are, right, Renji?”
“You bet,” Renji agreed.
“So, uh, this is open to women, too?” Rukia asked.
“Of course,” Momo said.
“Hime-sama is very accepting,” Shinjiro said. “After all, Senna from her guard is in love with her, and she’s a woman.”
“I wonder if they can get through?” Momo asked. “Do you think Senna would kill us for this?”
“Not if hime-sama says she wants to.”
“Then I’d better pencil Senna in. Should I add the others?”
“Okay. Senna, Sierra, Mitsuhiro, Lin, Miyako, Jiang, and Zan. Should I add the crown prince?”
“We’d like at least one person from each division. Probably the taichos if possible. Well, except for Soi Fon Taicho, considering she’s her sister. So, who else should we get from there?”
“Surely not the fukutaicho?” Rukia asked.
“Certainly not,” Byakuya objected.
“As much as I’d love to agree with you all,” Shinjiro said, “he’d probably be the fairest contestant from there in place of Soi Fon Taicho.”
“I could ask Ichigo to step in,” Rukia suggested.
“No!” Momo, Shinjiro, and Nanao objected.
“Very well,” Sajin began, “if Thorne agrees, then my division will participate. I will participate myself. It would not be fair of me to volunteer someone without his or her consent.”
“But Komamura,” Byakuya objected, “you are -.”
“Yes?” Sajin asked.
“Kuchiki Taicho!” Momo objected. “My taicho is not so narrow-minded. If I may say, Komamura Taicho would be a good father. He can most certainly compete if he wants to.”
“She may not want him,” Byakuya said.
“Actually,” Sajin admitted, “she is not bothered by the fact I am different.”
“There,” Momo said, closing the issue. She looked to Nanao. “Nanao, what do you think about your division?”
“Well, my taicho most certainly would like to.”
“That’s not going to end well,” Shinjiro remarked.
“True,” Byakuya agreed.
“No matter, the more the merrier,” Momo said. “We just all know who goes home after the first show.”
Shinjiro, Renji, and Momo burst out laughing.
“You think he’s not good enough?” Nanao asked.
“It’s not that – though he does too much drinking to be Daichi’s father,” Shinjiro admitted. “It’s just she does not like him. Oh well, she doesn’t like Kuchiki Taicho either, and maybe we should let him join? Momo, who do you think will go home first now, Kuchiki Tachio or Kyoraku Taicho?”
“Hey! That’s not fair,” Rukia objected.
“All’s fair in love and war,” Shinjiro remarked.
“Okay, Kyoraku Taicho,” Momo said. “Anyone else, Nanao?”
“Well, you did say women are okay? I mean, since she’s not too fond of my taicho, maybe I should join.”
“Only if you want to,” Shinjiro said. “Don’t feel pressured.”
“No, I want to.”
“Great!” Momo exclaimed. “That makes approval from divisions six, seven, and eight. I already talked with Rangiku, so ten. Still leaves us with one, two, three, four, nine, eleven, twelve, and thirteen. Oh, I don’t think we should allow twelve. Considering what Kurotsuchi Taicho did.”
“Oh, hime-sama would definitely let someone from there in,” Shinjiro remarked. “It would only be fair. And surely Kurotsuchi Taicho would be too afraid to try his stunt again?”
“Okay, so we’ll need to work on the other divisions to get ready. That way, when taicho recovers enough, all she’ll have to do is give the okay.
“Oh, I almost forgot. The entry fee.”
“Entry fee?” Kuchiki asked.
“Why, yes. The network pays for the show but since we don’t have one, the money has to come from somewhere.”
“And what do you need the money for?”
“Well, expenses, of course,” Momo explained. “And in the American television show, the woman got paid. In our case, our division will take the payment. I mean that seems right since taicho is in charge.”
“Sounds good to me,” Shinjiro admitted.
“I see. And how much is this fee?” Byakuya asked.
“I’ll have to do the math and get back to you,” Momo said.
“It seems reasonable,” Sajin said. “I’m sure you will decide on a fair amount.”
“But how will you and Shinjiro pay?” Kuchiki asked. “It doesn’t seem right being that you would be giving the money back to yourselves. I guess you can’t compete after all.”
“You just don’t want me to get closer to hime-sama, do you?” Shinjiro asked.
“I will sponsor them, Kuchiki Taicho. In fact, I’m sure anyone in their division who wants to compete will get sponsored by someone. I’ll pay for them all if no one else volunteers.”
“Won’t that be expensive?” Nanao asked. She looked around to the shocked expressions. “I mean, surely my taicho would agree as well. You just let us know Momo how much the entry fee is and how many from the fifth division wants to compete. Their entry fees will be covered. So, no complaints, Kuchiki Taicho?”
“Wow, this is going to be fun!” Nanao exclaimed. “Hey, let’s announce this at the next Shinigami Women’s Association meeting.”
“An excellent idea,” Komamura agreed. “I’ll make sure it is announced during the Men’s Association meeting as well.”
“Yes, I’ll get Rangiku to put it in the paper,” Momo said.
“Kita!” A few fifth division members came over to them.
Kita recognized two of the members of Alpha Two group. They had gone to check on the barrier. If anyone got through, he could only hope it was Senna and the others.
“About the barrier, sir -.”
* King’s Seal Arc, DiamondDust Rebellion story, title TBA.
This is Momo Hinamori bringing you the latest show update!]
The Show Status:
Divisions Approving the Show: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th
[Sajin: Hinamori, your taicho still has not approved!]
Awaiting Final Approval: 5th
[Renji: Wait a minute! Without the fifth division there is no show!
Momo: Yes, well, anyway:]
Divisions Not Yet Decided: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th
[Nanao: So, Momo, a recap? Who do we have so far? I want to announce this at the next meeting.
Momo: We have a good start!]
5th: Momo Hinamori, Shinjiro Kita
6th: Byakuya Kuchiki, Renji Abarai
7th: Sajin Komamura
8th: Nanao Ise
10th: Toshiro Hitsugaya
[Shinjiro: As soon as someone tells him. No way he’ll turn this down!
Momo: Rangiku already put him down.]
2nd: Marechiyo Omaeda
[Shinjiro: I hope not. Still, we know who’s going home!]
8th: Shunsui Kyoraku
Royal Realm: Senna, Sierra, Mitsuhiro, Lin, Miyako, Jiang, Zan
[Momo: Wait a minute, Shinjiro. Alpha Two just checked the barrier. You think the prince is coming?
Shinjiro: Any other time, I’d say that I hope so, since I don’t want zero division to come by. But right now, let’s hope not.
Momo: But wouldn’t he be a good contestant?
Rukia & Byakuya: No!]
Preview of the Next Chapter:
Will Momo’s good news on the progress on the competition be dampened by the news Alpha Two has for Shinjiro?
Will Shirahime take the time answer Yachiru’s question on how to have more children, or will Shirahime leave this to another, such as her dear beloved father?
Meanwhile, is Shiro still worried about potential competition? When will he find out more competitors will face him?
Bleach: Cross: Fifth Division in the Red
Introduction & Chapter List