Disclaimers, etc.: See chapter one and/or Disclaimers Page.
Opening Theme: Diamond by Alan
Ending Theme: With You by AAA
Across the Dimensions
Chapter Four: Shinnouhi, Imperial Princess
ROYAL PALACE COURTYARD
Shirahime lay on a plush couch. The sun shone down on her tanned skin. She slowly awoke, brushing away her hair from her face. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her black hair.
“What?” she said and tried to sit upright. A flash of pain struck her across her chest. Fighting the pain, she rose and looked out across the courtyard.
She recognized every piece of it. This was the palace from thousands of years ago, in her first lifetime.
“Bring back memories?” a woman asked.
Shirahime turned to see a woman only a few inches taller than her dressed in an imperial gown. She knew the woman’s face as her own. “Yukihime Shinnouhi (Imperial Princess Yukihime),” she acknowledged.
“You would really call me that?” Yukihime asked. “We have all the time in the world here and any lifetime you want.”
Shirahime held out a lock of her hair. “Then why did I revert to my human form?”
“You don’t understand,” Yukihime. “You aren’t just inside your mind. This place is real. You are here, back to the place where it all began.”
Shirahime looked out again at the palace. Far away, she could see Zangetsu training Kail.
“No,” Shirahime pleaded. She felt sick.
“Don’t reject me,” Yukihime warned. “You may never be able to come here again.”
Yukihime placed her hand against Shirahime’s cheek.
“Look at me, White Princess.”
Shirahime looked at her, confusion in her eyes.
“You can’t understand my language so I’m translating everything for you. Including your name.”
“Why did you bring me here?”
“You brought yourself here. You looked at all your past lives and came back here.”
“I don’t have that power.”
“Stop rejecting me. You have the same power as the other one—rejection—but to reject the fate of your own life—all your lives.”
“If I am really here, I want to speak to Kail.”
“Then you love him?” she asked.
Shirahime did not reply. She looked out at Kail and Zangetsu. “He made you promise?”
“No,” Yukihime said. “My husband does not know I am pregnant. The less contact I have with Kail the better. My husband will think the child is Kail’s.”
“Then I will speak to Zangetsu. Ichigo cannot deny you that.”
“So bold to call him by name,” Yukihime commented. “He may deny me, but I will not deny you. You cannot do it for long. Call your soul slayer.”
“She must mean my zanpakuto,” Shirahime reasoned. “It is the only way. So be it.”
Shirahime raised her arm as if raising her zanpakuto. “Revive Yukihime no Tenjou.”
She had expected the zapakuto to appear in her hand, but instead she fell forward. She looked down at her hands—pale as Yukihime’s. So, she was inside Yukihime’s body.
Zangetsu and Kail stopped sparring. They looked up at her.
“That spiritual pressure,” remarked Kail.
“One of a death god’s,” replied Zangetsu.
They both ran towards her.
Shirahime heard them, noting that Yukihime still translated for her.
Zangetsu ran faster than Kail. He would come to her first.
“So be it,” thought Shirahime. “First Revival, Ice Barrier.”
Her shikai’s blue ice barrier formed around Kail. He stopped and looked around the circular wall. Without stopping, Zangetsu looked at the barrier. He leaped forward and flash stepped towards Shirahime.
“I’m sorry, Kail,” Shirahime said. She felt Yukihime fight against her. “I’m not done with your body yet,” she said.
Kail began to slash away at the wall, summoning up his royal abilities.
“Stop it, Kail,” Shirahime projected the thought out to him. “Trust me.”
Kail stopped and flooded her with questions. Reaching out a hand, she touched his mind.
“White Princess?” he asked. His mind flooded with images from her. Soon, images of her present life came.
“That’s enough!” shouted Zangetsu. He reached out for her arm and her mental link to Kail severed. “Who are you?” he demanded.
“I am Shirahime no Tenjou.”
“You are not the Imperial Princess,” he said.
Shirahime began to shake. “Stop elevating your reiatsu!” she warned. She began to feel her world rip.
“That’s not mine,” he said. “You can’t be the Imperial Princess. You are a death god.”
“I am many things, including Yukihime. I am a shinigami, thousands of years from this time. Zangetsu, I never told you how much I loved you. You were the first one I remembered. I realize now, I must let you go. You and Kail. Please remember me, Ai Zangetsu.”
“If you are Snow White Princess, that means that the Imperial Princess—.”
“I’m sorry. It’s a fate I wish to change, but not one that I even can. I realize now the reason I can’t separate my forms is that you brought me into Soul Society in my human form.”
Shirahime felt Yukihime fight within. Her time was running out.
“Princess!” Crown Prince Ichigo called out. He rushed towards Shirahime.
“So, it was Ichigo’s reiatsu. Even then.”
She leaned closer to Zangetsu. “I’m sorry I never got to say a proper goodbye to any of you.” She kissed him, a kiss full of pain and sorrow. He could feel her emotions as she kissed him.
“I will always protect you,” Zangetsu projected into her mind.
As Ichigo passed into the space where Shirahime had stood behind Yukihime, his reiatsu ripped her from Yukihime’s body.
Yukihime fainted backwards into Ichigo’s arms.
“Princess!” he called out. He looked past Zangetsu to see a circular flash dissolve from around Kail. “Brother!”
“Do not be concerned my lord,” Zangetsu said to him. “The Imperial Princess was merely possessed by a future spirit.”
“Future?” he asked. “I won’t let her die. There is no future spirit!” His eyes pinned Zangetsu. His reiatsu had been elevated from Shirahime’s presence. Zangetsu could not move. “Why did she kiss you?”
“The future spirit wished to say goodbye—and to have some of my power.”
“Yes, one day, she will live as a death god. She was on her last life, and now she has taken the rest of my future lives.”
“I will not hear of it!” Ichigo warned. “She is not to leave the palace.”
Kail finally appeared before them. “The princess produced that barrier,” he said. He looked past Zangetsu and saw Shirahime. He stammered.
“What is it, brother?” Ichigo asked.
He walked past them and stood before Shirahime.
She glowed blue then appeared visible to all of them. Her appearance fluctuated between her original human form as Sam Hawthorne and her shinigami form as Thorne Shirahime Taicho.
“Why?” asked Ichigo. “Why!”
“I’m not strong enough. This was the day I lost that power,” she said. “I came here to understand my past—and to say farewell to a life as royalty.”
Growing weaker, she fell to her knees. “Ichigo, you can’t love two people,” she warned, then faded away.
Kisuke and Yoruichi helped Ichigo to his feet.
“Ichigo, are you okay?” Yoruichi asked.
“Yoruichi,” he answered weakly, “where is Shirahime?”
Yoruichi looked at Kisuke.
“Where is Shirahime!” he demanded.
“Ichigo, calm down,” Rukia said walking up to him.
Finally on his feet, Ichigo pushed away Yoruichi and Kisuke.
“She’s in Soul Society,” Kisuke said.
“Then she’s dying,” Ichigo said. “We have to bring her back!”
Tessai appeared in the doorway. “Boss, Nemu Kurotsuchi says she needs to talk to you right now.”
Kisuke ran into the room he set up for communicating with Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Yoruichi, Ichigo, Rukia, and Tessai followed.
Nemu and Mayuri Kurotsuchi appeared on the screen. When Kisuke sat down in front of the screen, Nemu left the viewable area.
“Urahara,” Mayuri began. “Yamamoto has exiled Shirahime to the living world. She will be brought to you soon.”
“Is she alright?” Yoruichi asked.
Mayuri shook his head. “Aizen, Ichimaru, and arrancar attacked the fifth division. She’s in Unohana Taicho’s care now.”
“We need to take her out of there now!” Ichigo shouted. “I’ll go get her myself.”
“Sit down, Ichigo. And tell Kail to shut up,” Urahara warned.
“It’s not Kail that told me.”
Urahara turned to Ichigo. He could feel Ichigo’s reiatsu change. “Now is not the time for you either, prince.”
He turned to Yoruichi. “Yoruichi, bring her home.”
SOUL SOCIETY – FOURTH DIVISION – THORNE’S ROOM
Shirahime stopped thrashing and settled down into the bed. She felt a cold fire burn her, just as it had when she had first entered Soul Society before Kail entered her body.
“Momo,” she whispered. “I need to get to the gate now.”
Hearing the desperation in her voice, Unohana began unhooking her from the machines. “Isane, construct a barrier.”
Once Isane had made the barrier and Unohana finished unhooking the machines, she picked up Shirahime. Once outside the barracks, she summoned her zanpakuto’s form and placed Shirahime inside. She flew towards the gate.
Several days later, Lafiel knelt at her sister’s bedside. She kissed her forehead.
Kisuke stood in the doorway. It hurt to see Lafiel and Shirahime together. Shirahime had been unconscious when she came through the gate and had changed back into her first human form. Lafiel, however, looked almost exactly as Shirahime had in her shinigami form.
He had banished Ichigo from his shop for the time being. He knew Ichigo was fighting too much with both Kail and his past self.
Had Shirahime been injured beyond repair? Unohana had suggested she would regain her old form once she woke up, but he had his doubts. He might never see his first daughter again.
“Kisuke,” said Yoruichi coming up behind him. “Mayuri and the others are here.”
He nodded without a word. Shirahime’s children had not come with her, so he hoped they would be here now. Kisuke stepped inside the room and took Shirahime’s hand.
Mayuri and Nemu came in, followed by Momo, Daichi, Soi Fon, Retsu Unohana, and Hanataro.
Mayuri stopped beside Urahara. He held out a mod soul to him.
“Why should it work this time?” Urahara asked.
“Yukihime helped,” Daichi explained.
“Yes, Kisuke-ji. Let’s believe in it.”
Lafiel got up and stood back. Urahara placed the mod soul in Shirahime’s mouth and waited.
The room shook as Shirahime’s reiatsu flooded the room. Shirahime burst forth from her human form. She wore her taicho’s robe and her royal cloak. Blinking her eyes several times, she looked around the room. The reiatsu settled.
Kisuke embraced her. Momo, Daichi, and Hanataro came to her side. Momo hugged her. Looking on, Unohana smiled. Soi Fon squirmed, suppressing her emotions. Nemu smiled, feeling as she rarely had, happy. Mayuri turned away, wanting to welcome her, too, but not wanting to make it so public. Shirahime had changed him. Perhaps one day he would have a chance to show her.
Yoruichi stood beside Lafiel. Seeing her, Kisuke and Momo let go of Shirahime. Tears in her eyes, Yoruichi embraced Shirahime. “My Princess,” Yoruichi said, “I missed you.”
Shirahime turned to Daichi and kissed him on his forehead. She embraced him. “I love you and missed you, my son. And your sister. Tell Raiko that.”
Another wave of reiatsu hit them. Yachiru popped in, followed by Kenpachi and Rangiku. “Mom!” she cried out. She ran to her and jumped. Kisuke caught her. “Sorry I’m late. I had to tell dad Shiroyuki.”
Tears formed in Shirahime’s eyes. She had escaped death, but not fate. Shiroyuki still waited for her. She took Yachiru from Kisuke’s arms and embraced her.
From across the room, Rangiku turned to Kenpachi. “I wish Hitsugaya Taicho could see this.”
“Unohana said he’ll be conscious soon. Nothing will hold him back now.”