_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,
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Invisible Writing, Part Thirteen

Invisible Writing, Part Thirteen
R


I've had these parts written up for a while, and they're short so I'm posting the last three parts. If the current spoiler for the manga is true, the manga may be outrunning this fic, so I decided to beat it to the punch.

The result of Orihime's contact with the Hougyoku. The final chapter.

Invisible Writing

by debbiechan



Disclaimer: Kubo Tite owns Bleach, and Incandescens owns the imagination that gave me the scenario for this particular fanfic.

Description: This chapter is the last part of the story; it begins in Kubo Tite’s canon universe but doesn’t discount completely the events of this tale itself.

Warnings: None for this chapter, unless you have an aversion to poignancy.

Special thanks to Incandescens and Finnigan Geist. 



Part Thirteen


Ishida’s face and arms and legs were tingling. Exhaustion weighed down his entire body, and it took effort to open his eyes.

His father was leaning over him with a blank stare.

“You blacked out again,” Ryuuken said. He exhaled a soft sound of contempt. “It’s so stupid. You keep losing consciousness because you’re hyperventilating. Remember to breathe correctly when you’re exerting yourself.”

Ishida raised himself to his elbows.

“No, don’t get up.” Ryuuken began to walk away. “Take a break.” There was never any compassion in Ryuuken’s voice when he said things like that, and Ishida wondered if there had ever been any compassion in the man at all.

“Uh.” Ishida was sitting now, holding his head. “Thanks.”

“I’m going out for a smoke.” He patted his shirt pocket for a lighter. “Drink some water, Uryuu. Dehydrating yourself is as stupid as hyperventilating.”

Ishida wondered if he would be able to walk the distance to the bathroom to get himself a glass of water. His lungs felt scorched because he was breathing so hard.

“Speed carries little significance in a lengthy battle unless you have stamina as well,” said Ryuuken as closed the door. “We’re going to have to work on your endurance.”

Ishida managed to stand on shaky legs before collapsing to his knees. It was going to take so much to prove himself to his father, but he intended to last another training session. He would have to use ransoutengai to lift up his limbs, and Ryuuken might call the method a cheap trick, but it was the only way.

A crescent moon shone in the window. Ishida shut his eyes against its light.

During all these weeks of training, the reiatsu of human, Hollow, and Shinigami had flared off and on in the skies. The noises of battle, the cries of pain. His father ignored them. Ishida knew that the recognizable spirit signatures of Kurosaki, Inoue-san, and Sado-kun still held strong, but he also sensed a new, strange threat in Karakura. Aizen? Hollow-Shinigami hybrids? He couldn’t tell.

I have a destiny.


The desire to prove himself as a Quincy surpassed fatigue. An immutable will outweighed his loneliness.

Ryuuken never felt this way, he thought with bitterness. Save the living, earn a living, do something important with your life.  He’d heard these things from Ryuuken a hundred times.

Was there anything Ryuuken was willing to die for?

A few more dizzy moments and Ishida was walking steadily to the bathroom. When he got there, he leaned over the sink and let the water run against his face.

The soft sound pouring from the faucet reminded him of something but he wasn’t sure what. It was a comforting sound; it demanded nothing of him but stillness. Yet leaning there, his thoughts wandered away from comfort … to what the next weeks might require of him … the Shinigami who went to his high school… the girl who cared so much for this Shinigami … promises, the importance of promises…. I will never associate with Shinigami again.

He opened his mouth under the running water.

It would feel so good not to make any sacrifices. For once, not to feel obliged and bound by duty.

But he was a Quincy, and a Quincy would always do the right thing.

**

“Rise and shiiiiine, Ichigo!”

A kick to the shin startled Ichigo awake.

“Damn it, Hirako. That hurt.”

“You went ten seconds, bro,” said Hirako. “Then you smashed your head when you fell on Kensei’s mask.”

Ichigo scratched his head. No blood, not even a bump. “How long was I out?”

“You missed dinner.” Hirako smiled. “We saved you some pie, though. Kensei cooked a nice pie.”

Ichigo tried to remember what day it was. How many more days until winter? How much time was left before the winter war?

“Ten seconds,” said Hirako as he turned and walked away. “Not good enough, Ichigo. You’re cool as a pimp when you got it under control.” Hirako looked over his shoulder and touched the brim of his cap. “But when you lose it, you lose it bad.

“What does that mean?”

Hirako put his hands in his pockets and walked away, whistling.

Ichigo sighed. He knew better than to harass Hirako with questions; the guy seemed only to get more obscure the more information he revealed.

It was late evening, and the crescent moon was already visible in the gray sky. Time to be heading back to the Visored warehouse. Pie …. Pie would be alright, but at the moment Ichigo was feeling unusually worried about the future. Better to just push through the present and fight, fight, fight--that was his way--

But what if that Other inside him ever won control?

Ichigo shook the thought out of his head. Rukia had told him he needed to take charge and beat down whatever he was afraid of, and she was right. She was always right. Damn, maybe he needed her here to kick some sense back into his head tonight. Hadn’t she said “Just pull yourself together and roar?” And the rest: “The Ichigo that lives in my heart would do that.”

In my heart. He hadn’t mistaken the words.

There was a Hollow inside him, but there was something else too. The place that a little Shinigami with fierce eyes had made when she thrust her zanpakutou into his soul and awakened his powers. Whether Rukia was here in person to yell the truth at him didn’t matter; her determination lived in that place her zanpakutou had made.

There was something else in that place too. A funny feeling, warmth and fullness. Ichigo shook his head and didn’t dwell on it.

How much time was left? Didn’t matter. He had to get stronger. Why? He had the responsibility as a friend, as a brother, as a son, as a Substitute Shinigami.

Damn that girl. She had changed his life.

**

The day Almatriste was created, the hougyoku sputtered flashes of unusual gold light. Aizen noted that the object had not behaved this way during the incarnation of other Arrancar.

The subject was born naked and cognizant, healthy but without any significant reiatsu. She would make a fine palace guard. Her small size and humanish appearance qualified her for Aizen’s service, in fact; Aizen preferred to surround himself with attractive creations over some of the large, toothy beasts the hougyoku created.

After this morning’s demonstration of the hougyoku’s powers and the birth of the latest batch of Arrancar, Aizen and Gin walked together to the palace library.

“I have a suspicion,” said Aizen, “that the hougyoku has already been defying the parameters of the possible.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that the girl has any control over it yet,” said Gin.

“Of course not,” said Aizen. “She’s a total innocent. I hardly expect her to put one iota of resistance to my plans.”

“No need, then, to send a big gun like Ulquiorra to fetch her.”

“I only trust my top soldier in situations like this,” said Aizen, and Gin lost his smile at that remark.

Almatriste was assigned to a room with another small Arrancar named Lastimada. When Lastimada mentioned something about curtains missing from the windows, Almatriste wondered if her roommate, too, remembered it all. But no, Lastimada had no unusual interest in Living World things and had merely been noting the ugliness of barred windows.

Almatriste remembered everything--that her mistress was named after a wishing star, that her mistress had held up her palms and radiated life and healing over the suffering and the dead.

Almatriste also remembered that Aizen had trumped by a young girl with a special power and distracted by a noisy Hollow who wanted to fight him. Somehow, Orihime had gotten away.

When Lastimada slept, Almatriste wondered if and when all other Arrancar would wake up to the truth. That their leader was a liar. That Aizen would never lead them anywhere except into Hell.

He will not triumph,
she spoke to the crescent moon in her window. I hope, as the human boy hoped, that you are safe wherever you are.

A thin cloud covered the moon, and the sky was all black without stars.

Stay safe, Querida.



**

Orihime was dreaming about how brave and determined Kurosaki-kun had looked when she last saw him in the Visored camp. His narrowed eyes, his firm handsome jaw. The enormous power that seemed under his exquisite control.

Then Orihime opened her eyes and saw Kuchiki-san.

“You fell asleep,” Kuchiki-san said. She was smiling. Her face looked exceptionally beautiful--eyes shining and cheeks radiant and oh so alive and happy.

Orihime sat up and saw the green fields and blue skies of Soul Society. Captain Ukitake was having tea on a nearby grassy hillock.

“I wear out so easily, Kuchiki-san.”

“Nonsense! You just needed a break. Anyway, stamina’s a good thing to work on. Strength and speed don’t matter much in the long run if you don’t have stamina. This winter war is going to require all of us to be at our toughest.”

Orihime rubbed her eyes. “I want to be tough.”

“I have faith in you,” Kuchiki-san said, and she started to run across the wide green field. “Let’s get going at this again,” she shouted. “When you can’t see me, fire Tsubaki. We’re going to test his long-range today.”

I have faith in you.
Had anyone ever said that to her before? Orihime couldn’t remember, and the words gave her a damp feeling--as if clouds of humid weather were passing by.

She held out her palm to check for rain.

No raindrops touched her hand, but she felt as if something else was supposed to. She sat on the ground with her palm outstretched.

Is something important supposed to happen to me, or am I supposed to make something important happen?

She brought her palm to her face and looked at it. Destiny. Was there really such a thing? Could gypsies read events of the future just by looking at those lines and marks on a person’s palm?

What is my destiny?


It was just beyond her reach.  It was right there behind a barrier she could not pass. It wasn’t another world but a story that had yet to be told. 

A story in invisible writing.


~~END~~



Tags: hirako, ichigo, invisible writing, ishida, orihime, rukia
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