The Captains gathered once more in the main hall, the Head Captain eyed them all in turn. Only a handful among them cared about the topic at hand and even out of those few maybe half were truly interested in it. It was to be expected though, even under normal circumstances it was not a very interesting discussion.
"The Obon festival is in two days' time, how are the preparations going to safe guard the Soul Society while the temporary Soul Passage gates are open."
This was always a pressing time of year, the gates are erected and opened at midnight beginning the day of the festival and are closed again at the following midnight to mark the end of the festival. There are only four gates that are created and one gate is placed by each of the four main gates that surround the Seireitei. Security is always at its highest during this time to guard the Soul Society from intruders and protect the souls visiting the world of the living, hollows have been known to swarm at these times so extra soul reapers are always sent over to protect the outbound souls.
"Sir!" Soi Fon stepped forward. "I have sent eight teams to be on guard at each of the four gates, two teams per gate and one team shall be positioned on either side of the designated gate."
He nodded his acknowledgement and waited till she stepped back, usually that number would suffice but in light of the possible threat of this 'Collector' invading to retrieve the girl and with an unknown force greater measures had to be taken.
"Captains Zaraki, Kyouraku, Ukitake and Komamura. You four will also send two squads to assist in guarding the gates. Captain's Kuchiki and Kurostuchi, you two will each send two additional squads to assist the ones Captain Hitsugaya has sent to patrol the festival."
The majority of the Captains shared a sense of confusion, never has there been this much security on hand for the festival. What purpose could there be to these measures?
Byakuya noted the stern look on the Head Captain's face; he was leaving no room for error. They alone, with the exception of Renji, knew of the threat that was known to them as the 'Collector'. He could only assume that all these extra measures were because of the knowledge they had.
Shunsui furrowed his brow; this didn't make sense at all. He, along with Mayuri, Byakuya and the old man were the only ones that knew of the threat that was the Resurrection of Shoushin Konton but as far as he knew that entire situation was completely circumstancial. There had been no signs of it actually coming to pass… So the question was… What else was going on that he didn't know about? He honestly thought he knew everything there was to know about Chitsuki but more and more lately the feeling that she was still keeping something hidden away was creeping into his gut.
"Please Head Captain…" Jushiro broke the silence unexpectedly. "Explain why all these extra measures are being taken for the festival." He knew that he was not the only one concerned about it all, what he said now was what was on everyone else's minds. He was sure of it.
"It's because of Chitsuki, isn't it?" Shunsui spoke up without waiting for a response, deep down he was certain it was because of her and he did not doubt that the other Captain's assumed the same thing.
Yamamoto sighed heavily, he should have known better than to think he could keep anything hidden from them all for long, they were all exceptional Shinigami and there was nothing that could escape Shunsui's keen intuition. Especially when it was in regards to this girl. "Yes Captain Kyoraku. This has everything to do with the girl." He could see a few of them go ridged, there were many mixed feelings about her and how she has been handled thus far. It would do no good to keep them all in the dark any longer, it was time all the pieces were laid out before them.
"You all know of her background and that of her mother, Kyuuketsuki. What you all are not aware of is that she has been put under surveillance for the fear of her mother's cursed weapon taking hold of the girl thru the residual remains of the Zanpakuto that reside in her mother's spirit."
Sajin took a step forward. "You mean to say that the 'Vampire of the Seireitei' could be reborn in the child and thus plague us once more?" He stated in quizzically, he never thought that such a thing could occur but there was very little he knew of the child and even less of her mother.
"Yes." The Head Captain confirmed the growing fear. "This is a matter that has been brought up previously and was, until now, only known to myself and Captains Kuchiki, Kyoraku and Kurotsuchi."
Jushiro turned to his friend, the look on Shunsui's face was like his heart was being torn from his very chest. He had no idea that he burdened such knowledge; he could not even imagine what it would be like to know that the woman he loved could be possessed by such an evil at any given moment.
"And what is to happen if she does become controlled by Zanpakuto?" Soi Fon asked in a heartless tone, she did not care for the girls presence here in the Soul Society and they all knew she would rather see her return to where she came from than stay a moment longer here.
"This, too, has already been discussed…" His brow furrowed as he eyed Shunsui, his fists were trembling and his head hung down so his hat would hide the rage building on his face but even from here he could hear the sound of his teeth grinding together as he clenched them in an attempt to control his outburst. "Should she become possessed… She will be put to death."
Kenpachi could feel his heart stop but he dared not lash out; he had to stay calm and not let his emotions take control. For an instant he dared to think that it could not be true but he knew better than to doubt what the old man said, there was no denying this to be the absolute truth. He could see the scowl on Byakuya's typically stoic face and Shunsui… He looked like he was about to lose it. Still, he didn't want to believe any of it and he knew damn well that Chitsuki didn't know about it, she would have told him if she did. Hell, she didn't even know that her own Zanpaukto was her mother so how could they expect her to prevent something she knew nothing about? Worse still… How was he going to be able to protect her from herself?
Jushiro laid a reassuring hand on his old friend's shoulder in an attempt to comfort him but to no avail, he could feel Shunsui's trembling subside just a little but it was hardly notable. He felt so helpless right now; he had no idea that his companion held such knowledge. He couldn't even begin to imagine what it was like to experience such a thing, the feeling of knowing the person he truly loved had a death sentence hanging above their head. He could not even stand the thought of a subordinate facing such an undeserving fate, together they lashed out at the very laws of the Soul Society to avert such a thing from happening. They did everything they could at the time just to save Rukia… So to what length would they, would Shunsui, go to save the cherished Chitsuki? And there was another thing to consider, what would she think if she was to discover that the three people she revered the most have made plans for her execution?
"Why is Chitsuki not here then?" He spoke up in a tone much harsher than he usually spoke in, he could not stay silent any longer. Not while his friend stood there in utter turmoil trying to keep his cool. Even Kenpachi, who may have stood there silently, allowed the look of sheer death in his eye betray him. Even now his immense spiritual pressure was bearing down on them, the others might have assumed it was just his excitement at the prospects of a challenge but the truth was not so simple. How could forcing yourself to listen to the cruel judgments placed upon the one you love be simple when the slightest outburst could expose the truth of a relationship that they tried so desperately to conceal? "She must be allowed to know the truth of the threat she poses to the Soul Society and to herself. If she is to be sentenced to death than she has a right to know why!"
"It is not so simple…" Byakuya spoke, drawing everyone's attention. None thought he would say anything on this matter, even when his cherished sister was faced with the same fate he said nothing. "Miss Yume's mind is fragile. Her own mother keeps secrets from her, what do you think will happen to the girl's mind should she discover her own Captain, her best friend and her own weapon have been deceiving her from the very beginning?"
"He is right…" Shunsui cut off his friends retort before it could even be made, he lifted the brim of his hat to expose a face that wore a look of utter defeat. "If we reveal everything to her now she would see an execution as an act of mercy."
Jushiro knew how fragile she was but still… "The longer we wait to tell her the truth the greater her trauma will be when she realizes it. We cannot keep this hidden forever!"
"Enough Captain Ukitake." Yamamoto spoke sternly, he knew the love those two had for the girl and this decision will weigh heavy on them both with no hope of either of them coming to terms with it. "This discussion is over; there are other matters that need to be discussed."
"Other matters?" Jushiro wondered what else there could possibly be, his eyes met Shunsui's and he could see the confusion in those eyes as well. So there was things even he was being kept in the dark about. How many lies have been told thus far? How many more secrets will be revealed until all the truths have been told to all?
"Captain Kuchiki and I have spoken to Kyuuketsuki once again, just before she was sent to the world of the living to train with the former Kido Corps commander and Lieutenant Abarai." He leaned back in his chair, straightening his back with a sigh. "There is a threat presented to us by the girl's former Master, it is believed that he will make an attempt to reclaim the child on the night of the Obon festival when the gates have been opened but his abilities and force he commands to lead such an assult are both unknown factors."
"Hehehe…" Mayuri's odd laugh broke the silence that the Head-Captain had created by his statement. He stepped forward and out of the line of Captains with that wide unsettling grin of his. "Demons…" He had remained silent until now but he could not resist sharing the intriguing discovers he had made.
"You have got to be joking." Toshiro finally added his input, there have been a lot of idiotic things said in this hall but that had to be the worst he had ever heard.
"I assure you that I am not the type to 'joke' on such matters boy." He glared at the young Captain, what an annoying little brat he was. "Demons are what her Master commands and they will come to claim their own."
"How do you know that?!" Kenpachi stepped forward with a heavy foot, he couldn't be silent anymore, not when that bastard stood there spouting her most guarded secret like it was nothing! It took her all she had just to tell him, how did that bastard know? How!?
Mayuri eyed the great ape of a man; it appeared he also knew of the girl's unique lineage. "How curious that you, of all people, would be the only other person than myself to know such a thing. I had to take great measures to obtain that particular information." He sneered feeling the barbarian's rage grow. "Here I thought it was Kyouraku spreading the girl's legs each night to make her readings spike the way they do but it appears that I was wrong."
Shunsui could feel the blood leaving his face; he never knew that she had been monitoring Chitsuki this entire time. How was he doing it? What readings was he monitoring? Did he know about all of their indiscretions?... Oh Gods. His eyes met Kenpachi's, he could see the confusion in them as the man tried to piece together what Mayuri just said.
Kenpachi looked at the man he called his friend, the man he trusted. He understood the accusations that Mayuri made but Chitsuki was not with him every night… she was, however, with Shunsui everynight. Training alone in some secret place… What was this feeling in the pit of his stomach, why did he suddenly feel like he was going to be sick?
"Maybe I wasn't wrong." Mayuri grinned widely, how curious this was indeed. "I must say that I am not surprised in the least. The little whore has bared her body to me as well…"
"Shut Up!" Kenpachi roared, he would figure out the truth about Shunsui and Chitsuki on his own. He was not going to tolerate this bastard saying any more about her.
"The little harlot came to me willingly and laid naked upon my operating table so that I may inspect every inch of her writhing body with the tip of my scalpel, all the while she screamed and moaned like the whore she is!"
"You tortured her!" Shunsui yelled, his Reiatsu flared and his pink aura burned brightly. His control was lost as the visions of her being cut open while tears streaked her face, her screams filled his mind. Damn that bastard to hell!
"I'll kill you!" Kenpachi drew back his fist as his yellow aura erupted in his fury, the force of his spiritual pressure matching his rage. He will make that worthless excuse of a Captain pay with his life!
"That is ENOUGH!" The Head-Captain stood; his voice booming so loudly it shook the very souls of all those gathered here, it drowned out every thought and word so that only his voice remained. The very room grew hot as if the heat of the very sun bore down upon them. His immense Reiatsu snuffed out the others, his presence demanding submission and obedience from all. "Captain Kurostuchi! You will explain your actions!"
Moments before all the Captain's hands were twitching at the hilts of their respective Zanpakuto, all waiting for the bomb that had been ticking away to finally explode. None had ever witnessed the wrath that was Zaraki's unbridled vehemence and none truly wished to. Now they all stood silent, not one of them dared to act against the Head Captain. They could sense even his anger at this point.
Mayuri clenched his teeth, perhaps he pushed his taunts too far but that towering oaf was so infuriating. "As I said…" He eyed Zaraki carefully as he backed away. "She came to me of her own volition and asked that I create spiritual limiters, that worked in a similar fashion as Captain Zaraki's, for her in exchange for the right to study her."
Byakuya now understood why her training with Renji seemed so slow now, she had indeed been getting stronger and improving but she kept restraining herself to make things harder. An admirable attempt to become stronger but extremely foolish.
"I surgically implanted Biomechanical microchips thru out her nervous system and along her spinal cord…" Mayuri continued in detail the work he performed, he could not help but take pride in his scientific accomplishments. They could never hope to understand the difficulty in keeping the girl alive thru such a procedure. "I must say though, attaching one of the chips to her sacral nerve was by far my most enjoyable part of my work." He smiled to himself as he recalled the particularly wonderful scream she let out at that point, her voice sounded so lovely at that pitch.
"I don't believe it." Soi Fon interrupted him, he was enjoying remembering the procedure entirely too much for her liking. "There is no way she could have gone thru something like that without needing a serious recovery period.
"I agree." Byakuya added his opinion casually. "Not once was it ever reported that she could not attend to her daily duties and she has never missed a morning meeting. If she truly underwent such an extreme process there is no way she would be able to maintain a normal daily routine."
"I must admit I was almost astonished at her rate of recovery as well. I know she was barely able to walk when she left my division and I am certain that if it was not for Akon and Nemu assisting her than she would have been unable to even get out of the lab…"
"You sliced her open like a science project than threw her out?!" Shunsui wondered if there was a level of depravity that this man would not stoop to.
"Of course." Mayuri stated it simply in his 'matter of fact' tone. "Her follow up showed that she received almost immediate medical attention from a member of Squad Four. Some one of skill as well since her follow up was the very next day and she showed no apparent signs of her surgery the day before."
Retsu stayed silent as she pondered his statement, she had no knowledge of the child being admitted into the infirmary and she, herself, made no arrangements for the girl's treatment. Something told her that it was young Hanataro going above and beyond his duties once again.
Yamamoto furrowed his brow, he took note of the tension growing on the faces of Shunsui and Kenpachi as they listened to Mayuri's report. He knew the girl was special to Shunsui but he had no idea that Kenpachi also cared for her, his outburst alone could lay rest to any doubt on that claim. She must be an exceptional woman indeed to warrant the affections of such a man.
"You are getting off topic Captain Kurotsuchi, continue with your findings that will explain your proclamation of the force that threatens us." He did not need the Captains losing their cool again; the emotional strain in this room was much too high for comfort.
"It was quite simple really, her limiters also act as spiritual data transmitters, the more she exerts herself the greater and more thorough my readings are. Thankfully she was exerted quite often and I received a good bit of data quickly." He noted the tightening of the jaws in the two respective Captains', how very intriguing. Could it be possible that the little harlot was playing them both for fools? "Due to previous studies performed by my predecessor I was able to match her unique spiritual wave length to the demonic species… I am sure that Captain Zaraki can second my findings."
Kenpachi cursed to himself, all the eyes of the other Captains' were on him now. He and Chitsuki tried their best to keep their interest in one another a secret and it all went to hell because of him and his inability to control his temper…
"Captain Zaraki." Yamamoto urged him to answer, he had no doubt that Kenpachi knew more about her than anyone else. A notion that was a rather surprising turn of events indeed. "Can you second Captain Kurotsuchi's findings?"
He let out a defeated sigh, he couldn't avoid it… "Yes…" He couldn't shake the feeling of betraying her but what about the accusation made about her and Shunsui… Was that really what they were doing every night when she told him that they were training? He couldn't get the thought of them together out of his mind, moaning bodies entwined and the sweat dripping from the heat they created… Why would she be with Shunsui like that but not with him? Was he not good enough for that? If what that bastard said about her was true then what? Did he honestly have a right to be mad at her for the things she may have done when she did not truly belong to him to begin with? That leaves to question if all the things she said about wanting to be with him was a lie? Damn it all… It couldn't be a lie, no… He couldn't believe that she would lie about something like that. He saw the look in her eyes, the gentle touches she gave to him… that wonderful smile that she only gave to him… No, he wouldn't believe that she lied about that. Plus, he could see the confusion on Shunsui's face, he didn't know about her blood line. He was the only person she trusted enough to tell outright. It was he that she truly trusted… but then why would she do those things with Shunsui? If she really did them at all… That scared look on Shunsui's face when Mayuri said that though… it might as well been admitting their deeds… Why would she choose Shunsui but not him?! Why! Damnit it! So many questions and not an answer to any of them… How the hell is he supposed to deal with any of it…
"Captain Zaraki." Yamamoto pulled him from his thoughts; it was evident that he was deeply troubled by these turn of events. He never would have imagined that it would take the adoration of such a child to stir that great man's heart in such a way. "Please elaborate on what she told you."
He let out a sigh that ended with a slight growl; he shouldn't let himself get so distracted like that. He had plenty of time to have a nervous breakdown away from everyone else. Guess there was no escaping it, everything was out in the open now anyways. "She told me that her father was a demon, she had never met him because he died before she was born but she had been told that he was a Tengu."
"Hmmm." Sajin could not help but be intrigued. "My father told me tales of such creatures when I was young. In the Buddhist beliefs Tengu became guides for monks in understanding the Dharma tenets and sacred rites, and they also protected Buddhist shrines. They may have been considered 'Demons' but I always believed this mountain spirits to be noble beings." If she was truly a child of a demon than at the very least her blood was that of a noble one. This also explained why his own appearance did not bother her in the least.
"Yea…" His memory flashed to that night on the hill, how much fear was in her eyes as she paced back and forth, trembling in fear as she spoke her most guarded secret. How the light of the fading sun made her eyes shine, how the soft light of the moon glistened on the moist lips she continued to lick in her nervousness. He could feel the yearning his body had for her growing inside of him as he pictured her like that, it was not just his body that burned. He wanted her, he wanted to share and experience everything that she was. He wanted to know what her true form was, to see the beauty of her iridescent wings spread wide…He almost forgot about that. "She has another form… It's her true form. She said that all half-breeds are born albino and they have an iridescent shine to their bodies. Depending on how strong their blood lines are determines how brilliant their sheen is. I've never seen it though… it's like she's ashamed of it."
How curious, Mayuri mused to himself. All of this was very interesting; even he was unaware of her ability to shift forms but by no means is it a surprising revelation. It would be utterly preposterous to assume that the girl would possess solely human traits considering her lineage. However, it would be quite interesting to see what her real form truly is.
Sajin mulled over the words that he spoke, he knew better than anyone the feeling of being shunned for an appearance you could do nothing about. To be so ashamed that you chose to hide away what you really are than to face the judgmental looks and taunting whispers that awaited you at every turn. She may have held the ability to change her form so that she appeared human but it was truly no better than he when he shielded his wolfish face with a helmet so that none could see, so that none could judge him first to be the beast in which he resembled.
Shunsui soaked it all in, all of this he was hearing for the first time. He knew she had secrets that he kept from him but never did he suspect something like this. On top of that it was Kenpachi that she trusted with such information, further proof that her heart truly belonged to that man and not to him. They may have shared their bodies but the things that truly mattered would never be his to have.
"And how are we to face an opponent such as this?" Soi Fon spoke up now; she was not sure how to judge this new information. It was almost too much to take in, this sounded like a bunch of childish fantasies as opposed to a true Captains' meeting. Demons, alternate forms, rainbow bodies… it was all ridiculous.
Retsu raised a hand to her chin in thought, all of this was very curious indeed. "It is apparent that we do not have the ability to detect the spiritual pressures of Demons, it must produce a spiritual wave length that is entirely different that humans, soul reapers and even hollows. We would have been able to pick up on this much sooner if it was otherwise."
"I have already taken measures on this matter." Mayuri answered both of their questions in that single statement. "I have taken the liberty to create a Mod Soul with the capabilities of detecting a demonic wave length much like what Kisuke Urahara did when he created those Kaizō Konpaku to detect and track the Bounts. I have even allowed my 3rd seat to create a suitable Gigai that will house the mod soul. So, Should and being of demonic origin, aside from the girl,enter the Soul Society I will be made aware of it." Not to mention it will help him to locate suitable research specimens in the world of the living but there was no need to mention that particular fact to them. These fools could never hope to understand what type of scientific wonder this could be.
Yamamoto gave an approving nod, while he did not like Mayuri taking liberties such as these upon himself it was a necessary measure that had to be taken. He did not doubt that there were ulterior motives to the creation of this gigai but he will allow it for the time being. "Very well, there is much to be considered with these new admissions coming to light. When I have had more time to contemplate the matter I will convene another Captains' meeting, until then you all have been given your instructions on the preparations for the Obon festival. You are all dismissed."
Shunsui half expected Kenpachi to hang back, to demand answers to Kurotsuchi's accusations…. But he did not. He watched him as he hung his head down and turned away, how he walked out of the hall without so much as a look behind him or even to look at those passing him. Watching that man walk out of this place with such an air of defeat made him feel like a very poor excuse of a man… and worse yet, a sad excuse of a friend…
Chitsuki muffled a sneeze and rubbed the tingling out of her nose.
"You know…" Dokuja mused. "They have this quaint little notion in the world of the living that if you sneeze it means someone is talking about you."
"Well that just seems silly." She leaned back on the plush pillows that he had arranged outside in the gardens of his property, he had invited her over for moon gazing and tea. Considering that both Kenpachi and Shunsui had been called away tonight she really had no other plans to occupy her time. Besides it gave her time to get to know him better, she only ever knew him while they were on duty. During that time he showed a bit of modesty and composure but here in the comfort of his own home… it was not quite the case. He had removed all of his makeup and accessories, which was interesting to see him this way. He still had a feminine look to his face but now the fact that he was truly a man was much more apparent, as could easily be seen from the fabric he clothed himself in. She tried to make sure she did not look over at him too often and if she did than it was only to make eye contact for the robe he wore tonight was made of a sheer silver fabric that concealed barely a thing. She had no doubt that if he had no company to entertain than he would be out here moon bathing in the nude.
"So tell me Chitsuki." He took a sip from his tea; he couldn't help smiling to himself. Every time he said her name directly she would instinctually turn to look at him but then she would notice something to make her blush and divert her eyes. Her shyness was almost adorable. "Do you have plans on going to the Obon festival?" They touched on the subject for a little bit but they spent more of their time in silence, which really didn't bother him much at all. It felt nice to just sit and relax with company quietly without all the formalities of everyday life. He had been surprised to see her show up in her night attire, a modest thing made of black silk that she wore a soft grey overcoat on top of it so she exposed no skin at all. He wondered about that, she always made sure not to expose any part of her body… So what was it exactly that she tried so hard to hide? She was not as lean as him but the amount of meat on her body gave her a healthy look, he doubted the idea that she covered up to hide any pudgy sides… Possibly some kind of birthmark or scars that she was ashamed of seemed much more likely… Or there was the very odd thought that she really was just that modest.
"I honestly wasn't planning on going but I was invited to go and I really couldn't bring myself to say no." She stared into the tea that was in her cup, smiling to herself at the thought of spending the evening with Kenpachi and Imouto. She was actually very excited to go but she didn't want to seem to over anxious.
"Oh?" He shifted slightly, crossing one leg over the other as he got comfortable on his cushion. "And would this person happen to be the mystery man you have yet to properly introduce me to?"
She couldn't help but blush at that. "It's not like that; I'm just going to the festival with a few close friends of mine." Her hands fidgeted with the cup nervously, she hadn't actually told anyone who she was going with. Not even Shun-chan.
His chuckle pulled her from her thoughts as he leaned back once more. "You know darling, you really shouldn't lie. You're absolutely terrible at it." He took another drink from his cup as he smiled at the uneasy chuckling she was doing. "But, I will let you get away with it this time. I only have to wait a few more days to find out for myself." He brought up a hand and tapped the side of his cheek as he thought on something though. "Dare I ask who will be doing your make up?"
She really had no answer for that statement, she never thought on it and to be honest she had no idea how to put in that hair accessory that Captain Unohana had given her. "I didn't really plan on putting any make up on and to be perfectly honest, I don't even own any." She laughed meekly at the unimpressed look he gave her.
He let out a sigh and rubbed his brow. "And yet I find myself not surprised. That settles it, the morning of the festival you're going to gather up whatever it is that you're wearing and whatever accessories you have…" He prayed to the gods she even had any, something told him he might have to loan out some of his. Somebody needed to let this girl know it was ok to indulge a bit. "And then come straight here. You darling are a blank canvas that I will turn into a masterpiece." He hushed her before she had a chance to argue with him. "No arguing, I swear I will come to your home and drag you out of your very bed at the crack of dawn if I must."
"Alright, alright." She raised her hands in submission with a smile. "You win; I will come over as soon as I get up." Although she had no idea why she would have to come over so early, it couldn't possibly take that long to do up your hair and makeup… could it?
From behind them a young girl came up with another pot of fresh sweet tea, her sudden appearance startled Chitsuki and oddly enough Dokuja seemed surprised as well.
"Suzaku darling, what are you doing awake?" He turned and faced her, drawing his robe tighter around him and shifting his legs to make sure nothing became exposed accidently considering the robe barely went to his thighs.
Chitsuki noted the softer tone in his voice when he spoke to the child and the way he immediately covered himself, it made her wonder what there connection was. The child looked to be about Yachiru's age; her skin was paler then both of theirs and seemed to match the very moon. Her hair was unbound and messy as if she had just woken, strands that were black as night fell in front of large crimson eyes that seemed to see without seeing. There was something about this child that seemed odd but she couldn't quite place it.
The child set down the tray and made a motion with her hand like a mouth opening and closing.
"I'm sorry little one." He let out an apologetic sigh and placed a hand on her head affectionately. "I always forget about those sensitive ears of yours." He turned to Chitsuki with a smile. "Since she is awake I might as well introduce you two. This is my niece, Suzaku, she tends to keep inside during the day so not many people get to meet her. I'm afraid that she is much more… Delicate to the world around her. Sunlight burns her skin and blinds her eyes. Even her ears are much more sensitive as you can see."
Chitsuki smiled at her warmly and gave a slight wave of her fingers. "Hello there Suzaku, I'm Chitsuki. I work with your Uncle."
The girl said nothing, merely staring blankly at the girl with such vibrant pink hair. There were not many visitors to the estate. She looked at her Uncle and made a few flowing motions with her hands.
"Of course not! She's my superior not my conquest!" He let out an aggravated sigh as he rubbed his brow; his niece was always so damn blunt about everything. "I swear child, you have no faith in me."
Chitsuki merely watched the exchange in silent confusion… She got the distinct impression that she missed something… Again.
Dokuja noticed the look on her face; he could have almost laughed at the poor girl. "You're wondering what all that was about aren't you?"
She couldn't help but blush slightly and she rubbed the back of her neck with a nervous chuckle. "Was it that obvious?"
Suzaku nodded her head in affirmation which caused the other two to laugh.
He patted the child on her head affectionately. "Don't mind Suzaku. Sadly we are not accustomed to visitors and the ones that do come by are typically not the social kind." Having said it out loud he came to the realization that the only time they have had visitors to the estate were the kind that were there to share his bed and be gone by the morning.
"Is she mute?" She asked innocently enough, she had made the realization that the hand signs the child made was her way of communicating. At least this explained how Dokuja was able to pick up on their own silent language so easily, he was already accustomed to speaking without words.
"If only it was that uncomplicated." He sighed a little as he filled two cups for himself and his guest, Suzaku had stolen his cup for herself but luckily he always had spares on hand when he entertained. "She can speak just fine, she just chooses not to."
"Only she could answer that, I have an idea but to be frank it's not a topic I feel up to talking about tonight." There were just some things in his past that he didn't feel up to remembering.
Chitsuki stayed quiet, she could fully understand the desire to keep things hidden. She could only assume it had something to do with the girl's parents. Nothing in his file said anything about having any siblings so she wasn't sure if the girl was the daughter to a brother or sister… maybe she was only adopted liked Yachiru was. "Then I won't ask." She conceded to him and took the cup he offered her and thought it best to change the subject. "So tell me Dokuja, Do you plan on advancing your rank?"
He arched a brow as he took a sip from his cup, admirable of her to try and change the subject to something less unsettling. "I haven't particularly thought on it to be honest, my advisors are pressing me to fill one of the vacant Captaincies like a good and proper Head to a Noble family should but I truly have no desire for it."
She cocked her head to the side as she mulled over those thoughts. "Why is it so important for the Head of a noble family to become a Captain?" She still had a lot to learn about how things worked here in the Soul Society and the whole issue concerning Nobles was still completely lost to her.
"It's all about image and prestige. Heads to families like ours are expected to strive for stature and excellence because we are above the lesser families but not at the standing of the great Noble houses, by becoming a Captain of the Gotei 13 my family would gain respect among the other houses and thus gain a stronger foot hold." He sighed a bit at the thought of it all; those wretched old advisors have been hounding him nonstop about gaining a higher seat in the 6th division and on top of that taking a wife because the family is without an heir and they will not accept Suzaku as an heir. "It's the politics of Nobles and a complete waste of time in my opinion. If I'm going to become stronger as a Soul Reaper I want to do it for myself, not because the Family says I must."
Suzaku reached out and patted her Uncle on the head; she loved him so despite all the hard times she gave him. She could hear when the advisors come to him with their demands and insults saying he was a mockery of a family head. She hated the way they spoke to him, he was the family head but those old men talked to him like he was a child. She would change that when she got older, she would make sure no one spoke to him like that again.
"Wow." Chitsuki wasn't even sure what to say, she had no idea that being in a position like his that demanded so much from him. "Well, I think you will do fine and I'll stand by whatever choice you make. It would be interesting to see you surpass me one day." She smiled at him warmly, she had no doubt he would make a fine captain if he chose to take that step for himself.
"Surpass you?" He couldn't help but be intrigued by that. "You have no desires to advance either?"
"Not necessarily, I plan on getting as strong as a can but I don't care to advance. I'm happy where I'm at and I definitely don't want to become a Captain for sure. No matter how strong I become I want to always serve under Master Kuchiki-Sama."
He couldn't help but smile, he liked this girl. It was reassuring to consider that he was partnered with somebody who did not only care about advancement, somebody that would not willingly stab a friend in the back just to move up in rank. He could not say he was all that accepting of her blind devotion to Byakuya but it was of no concern to him. "I'm glad that we both know where we stand on the matter, I just hope that we can get placed on a few real missions soon. Running about the Rukongai is better suited for unseated officers and no proper way to strengthen ourselves."
Chitsuki stifled a yawn; the warmth from the fresh tea the child brought was starting to make her drowsy. "So do I but I think for right now we should focus on sleep. We have one more day for patrolling than it's off till the festival."
He responded with a lazy yawn. "I suppose you are right." He laid back into a more comfortable position, fully intent on sleeping under the moon tonight. "Suzaku darling, could you please show her out and then off to bed with you."
The child reached out and grabbed one of Chitsuki's fingers, tugging on it softly to beckon the woman to follow. She was unsure of how to feel on her but Uncle seemed to like her, which was good enough for her… for now.
Chitsuki followed the girl as she gave a parting wave to Dokuja but the events of the day must have been catching up with him, slumber had almost claimed him already. As she followed the little one thru the halls of the estate she could not help but admire the décor once more, everything was so extravagantly lavish to an almost excessive level. Master Kuchiki-sama was one of the wealthiest people in the Seireitei but his possessions were modest and conservative. Dokuja was his opposite when it came to this, instead of the typical sliding doors that accompanied most interiors there was drapes of deep emerald embroidered with silver serpents. Most of the colors that adorned this home were shades of green or the deepest blacks and accented with silver here and there, his home was so dark but she liked it. It was a good reflection of him. There was one place she noticed that did not match the rest of his home, a single room in which she stopped in front of now. A cherry red curtain covered the door and had a pattern of gold vermillion birds embroidered into it. As she went to move on the child tugged on her finger again.
Suzaku reached up with her other hand and pulled a gold cord that was dangling off to the side, when she did the curtain drew open to reveal a large bedroom. The color scheme inside was the same as the curtain that once barred the door way, the exception being that the room was covered with stuffed pandas.
Chitsuki followed the child into the room, she couldn't help but smile at how cute the room was with all the bears scattered about. She watched as Suzaku picked up one of them that was obviously more worn down than the others, one could only assume that it was her favorite. "This is your bedroom isn't it?" She asked and was given a simple nod in response. Aside from the bears there wasn't much for decoration in here, the only thing that was on the walls was one portrait that hung in the center of the opposing wall. It was a painting of a man and woman standing together, The lady had an exotic beauty to her, copper skin and auburn hair with topaz eyes but the man in the picture… He was simply beautiful, if it was not for the open kimono that showed the man's chest he could have easily been mistaken for a woman… Much like Dokuja. Chitsuki looked down at the girl who was also staring at the painting, that man and the child were identical, right down to the ruby eyes. "Are those your parent's?" Again, a nod of affirmation. She looked back to the couple smiling down at them, she wondered what their connection to Dokuja was, which one of them were his sibling or was it a matter of adoption like it was for so many others here in the Soul Society… She felt another tug on her hand and she looked down to the girl once more, she was beckoning her to leave this time. She conceded with a smile and followed the girl once more, they left the room behind them as they made their way thru the estate and finally to the front door.
With a bow Chitsuki said her good byes to the child and turned to make her way to her apartment. She wondered to herself how Shun-chan and Ken-kun were doing, as much as she would like to pay them visits it was much too late in the evening for that besides, a little alone time wouldn't kill her.
Kenpachi grumbled to himself, Yachiru had drug him from bed far too early this morning. The Obon festival was tomorrow and she had once again decided to wait till the last minute to buy a new outfit, which seemed like the case for many other women. The shopping district was busy this morning and almost all of the clients rushing about were women with arms full of packages except for those few that were fortunate enough to have men tagging along with them to hold their bags for them… pitiful. He had no desire to be out wandering around in this mess, the last Captain's meeting was still fresh on his mind… The things that had been said about Chitsuki's affair with Shunsui… He barely slept last night because he could not get those thoughts out of his mind, he was positive that what Kurostuchi said was true by the look on Shunsui's face alone. He could not shake this nauseating feeling in his gut or the anger that was building up inside of him. What the hell was he supposed to do? She said she wanted to be with him but instead she sleeps with Shunsui! What made him so much better?
"Hey Kenny! Look at this one!" Yachiru bounced up and down excitedly with a kimono she had picked out flaying about alongside of her.
He growled a bit as he was ripped from his thoughts by Yachiru's over excited ranting's. He focused on the kimono she held out for his approval, it was pink with a white sakura design on it…
"Do you think it will match the one Onee-chan will wear? She said she was going to be wearing something with Cherry blossoms on it right?"
He couldn't help but sigh, he still wasn't sure how to deal with that. They were all supposed to be going to the festival tomorrow… he still wanted to go with her and he knew Yachiru would be devastated if he suddenly said no but everything was just so damn confusing… "It's fine, are you done yet?" He didn't want to be out in a crowd like this, not now.
"Sounds like somebody has a date!"
They both turned to the peppy voice coming up from behind them, Kenpachi let out yet another inward growl as he saw the buxom lieutenant of Squad 10, he really wasn't in the mood to deal with her.
"Heya Mega Jiggles!" Yachiru waved happily. "I'm trying to find an outfit to match Onee-chan's!"
"Will you shut it Yachiru. She doesn't need to know everything we do." Damnit, he still wasn't sure on letting people know about him and Chitsuki but considering the things that came to light could he still even say that he had a future with her like he originally thought? Damnit… what the hell was he supposed to do?! All of this was so damn confusing…
"Oh?" Rangiku couldn't help but smile, there has been a lot of rumors going on about that girl. Most of them involved Captain Kyuoraku but there were a few going on about her and the Squad 11 Captain as well… Seems to be that the latter of the two rumors was the one that was true. "You shouldn't be so shy Captain Zaraki, it's good to hear that you finally found somebody for yourself."
His only response was a low growl, he didn't feel like being patronized. "It's none of your business." He turned away from her, pretending to eye some tacky trinkets a merchant was offering.
Rangiku pouted a bit. "There's no need to be mean Captain Zaraki, I was going to say you should get her a gift. The people in the World of the Living have this quaint little thing they do where the buy flowers for a girl they are taking out." She put a finger to her lips as she tried to remember what they called them. "They had a funny name for them… Corsages I think…"
"Well that seems silly." Yachiru pondered. "What would they need flowers for?"
Kenpachi could agree on that, he didn't see the point on giving her flowers… Hell, come to think of it he didn't even know if she liked flowers and if she did than he didn't even know what kinds she liked. For that matter he had no idea about any of the things she was fond of, she and Yachiru would go for sweets all the time but he couldn't even guess what her favorite was, out of all the time they did spend together almost none of it was spent actually getting to know her outside of her past that he already knew about to begin with and the details about her father… He hated to admit it but he did not doubt that if he went to Shunsui and asked all of those things than he would have every answer. It's no wonder she would choose a guy like him, Shunsui was the type to be caring like that. He would have taken the time to learn about her and the things she liked or didn't like… Damnit…
He turned his attention back to Yachiru, who was still bickering with Rangiku about the point of that flower thing. "Yachiru." He got her attention and tossed her a small pouch. "There's enough there to buy a new kimono, get what you want. I'm going for a walk."
"Don't you want me to come with Kenny?" She didn't like the look in his eye; he didn't seem to be in a very good mood today at all.
"No, I'll see you back at home." With that he turned and let the two girls exchanged their confused looks, he didn't know where he was going to go but he needed more time to think. All of this was happening too fast, He was still angry at the thought of Chitsuki sleeping with Shunsui but at the same time he could understand her choosing him. On top of that he really had no right to be upset when she had the free will to do as she pleased. The only person he really had to blame was himself; he should have been more involved with her. More assertive to really make her his and his alone…
"You seem lost my friend."
A voice wrenched him from his wanderings; he looked into an alleyway closest to him. There sat a man sitting crossed legged on a barrel with a pouch cradled in his lap, it was an odd sight. The man's voice was much softer than it should have been and if it wasn't for the fact that the monk's robe was designed to expose his right arm and chest than he's pretty sure he would have mistaken the man for a woman. "What do you want."
The man played with the prayer beads wrapped around his wrist, his face hung low so that the shawl draped over his head hid eyes. "I want nothing from you friend, I wish only to give."
Kenpachi did not trust this man, he did not like that he purposely hid his face. He couldn't even make out the color of the man's hair beneath that thing on his head. "I'm not in the mood for riddles monk."
The man smiled, he could tell the brute did not trust him. A very good instinct to have considering who exactly he was unwittingly speaking to. He breathed in slowly, the scent of the little one was all over this man but at least it was a subtle scent. One that told him that this beast of a man before him has not taken her to bed. "Very well then, I will say this plainly. You appear to be a man troubled and I may have the answers you seek."
He let out a growl; he really didn't like this man now. "How do you know what's going on in my life? Explain yourself before I decide to kill you were you sit." He was not a fan of people knowing about his personal affairs, especially strangers whom he's never met.
The man lifted his hands defensively. "I am but a humble monk my friend; I only speak what appears to be true. You have the look of a troubled soul and a man that wears that type of look is usually troubled by a woman."
He really wasn't sure what to think but he did need advice, he didn't know who to really ask. There was no one he could really talk to inside the Seireitei itself… Maybe speaking to a monk wouldn't be such a bad idea. "Yea…" He eased the tension building in his muscles, he needed to relax.
The man slid off the barrel he had been perched on, sliding the pouch to his hip as he did and motioned to accompany him. "Walk with me friend; tell me of your troubles."
Kenpachi followed the man, walking beside him seemed odd. The man was taller than he looked but he still hung his head down, fidgeting with those damn beads even as he walked. He didn't know what to say, talking about things was not his strong point and especially not to somebody he didn't even know.
"I take it this is not something you're accustomed to doing friend." He could sense the other man's unease, the fact that he was more of a fighter that a talker was evident. What would be the odds that the little one would seek refuge in this man's arms, granted it should not be surprising. Such a man could surely protect the little one from the horrors that were to come.
"You can say that…"
He could not help but smile. "From the way you are acting I can only assume you are troubled so by a woman whom you care for deeply… But I feel you are conflicted." His empathy skills may not be as great as other species but he could still sense those that were deeply troubled.
"Uh… yea…" Shit, how was he supposed to talk to somebody he didn't even know about something he wasn't even sure about…
"She has hurt you in some way?" He did not think the little one was capable of such a thing but she has been gone for some time now, it is possible that her demeanor has changed in such a way that she could possibly have become willing to hurt others… he doubted it though.
He couldn't help but grumble. "You can say that…" He hated saying it, he couldn't deny that he did feel as if he was hurting but being wounded without actually fighting… it felt wrong. "She… uh…"
"Betrayed your love…" The aura this man was putting off was so intense; it was like he could feel the pain as if it was his own… This ache in his heart seemed so familiar to himself… Did he have a love in his past that hurt him in such a way? No, there was no time to ponder his own past; he was here for a reason. "Do you truly believe that she would hurt you with intent?"
Kenpachi's steps faltered as he came to an abrupt stop. "No! I… I don't know…" He had no idea what to think, he really didn't believe that Chitsuki would want to hurt him but if that was the case then why would she sleep with Shunsui? It didn't make sense, hell he wouldn't even believe it if he didn't see the look on Shunsui's face for himself.
The man waved a hand as if to dismiss his worries. "If you believe she would not willingly hurt you then you need to see beyond what you know. In the words of Buddha: 'Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment'. Whatever it is that has happened then forget it and lay it to rest, forgive her for what she has done and move on. Be with her and cherish her, fight for her and protect her. That is all that should matter."
He let out a sigh, this guy made it sound so easy… then again he was a monk, letting things go was easy for them…
"Or… You could just suck it up and talk to her about it…" He smiled up to the man, he had a feeling religious proverbs were lost to him so maybe being blunt about it would be a better option.
Kenpachi gave him a bit of a wide eyed look; he wasn't expecting such a straight forward statement. He couldn't help but smile, he was starting to like this monk. "Yea. That sounds like a better option." He turned to leave. "Thanks…"
"Wait." The man reached up and touched the shoulder that was turning away from him. "Allow me to give you a gift so that you may give it to her." He reached into the pouch and pulled out a small potted plant, handing it to the man before him.
Kenpachi took the plant, it looked odd. The trunk of the plant was bulbous with absolutely no leaves but the flowers on it were vibrant, primarily white but the edges of the star shaped flowers were a vivid pink. "What is it?" He didn't know anything about plants but it would be a good gift for Chitsuki, she had a thing for plants…
"It is a rare plant, I have a feeling the woman you will see will be able to appreciate it." He knew full well of the little ones Apothecary abilities, being able to feel the aura of the man that has claimed the little one made him feel better. He had been relieved when she escaped and the thought of her finding solace in the arms of this man also made him feel better… Surely this man could protect her.
He turned to see Yachiru bounding up to him, a package swinging from her hand as she did. She must have gotten that kimono after all. "What are you doing? I told you I would see you back at home."
"Aw but Kenny, I wanted to go back with you!" She tilted her head to the side as she eyeballed the weird plant he was holding. "Where did you get that from Kenny?"
"The monk…" He turned back to the man he was just walking beside but he was gone… He didn't hear or sense him leave at all…
She jumped up onto his shoulder and looked around. "I don't see a monk." She would have like to see him, she wondered if he was bald like baldy. That would have been funny!
Kenpachi shrugged it off as he looked back to the plant he held, he knew he had to go and talk to Chitsuki but he couldn't shake the unease he was feeling. He was not good at things like this… "We are going back now Yachiru…"
"Ok." She wondered what was going on, he still didn't seem like he was ok and she still didn't know why… Whatever it was she hoped he would get back to being his old self soon…