Taicho- Meaning captain in japanese.
Fuku-taicho- Meaning Lieutenant in japanese.
Soul Society- In the midst of Seireitei, home to the captains and their separate divisions.
Divisions- the different numbers represent each division.
Haori- a specific white cloak that only captains wear. It has the insignia of the division they lead stitched on its back.
"Kurotsuchi-taicho, the organ restoration on Hinamori is nearly complete. Would you like to take any further tests on her?"
A scientist hidden among the shelves peered up, revealing a unique painted face of black and white. He was adorned with what resembled a nemes headdress, curling around to the base of his neck where it rested upon an inflated violet cushion. Large golden screws pointed outwards from the sides of his face, connecting down at the base of his chin in the form of a plaited beard. The white cloak that hung over his shoulders revealed the insignia of the twelfth division.
Solid, gold eyes narrowed in thought, raising a finger to brush against his chin.
Thoughts of releasing the woman from her capsule and watching her suffocate surfaced in his mind. Images of cutting her open and listening to her screams as he experimented with her organs. Visions of draining her blood for test vials, chopping her into pieces to see how durable her body was, grinding her bones for different poisons and medicines...
"So many choices!" he broke out into a wicked smile, exposing yellow rotted teeth. Turning towards Nemu, his lieutenant, he nodded his head in agreement.
More test results would definitely benefit his research. Kurotsuchi opened his mouth to issue the command when a loud crash suddenly sounded off from the computer generator room, causing him to whip his head in the direction of the sudden disturbance.
The research and development center is considered one of the most secretive places in Seireitei. Home of the twelfth division, and residence of the smartest man when it came to technology, Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Known for his cruel treatment of his subjects and unstable mind. The twelfth division had numerous documents where you can find information to almost any species of hollow or shinigami. Many chemicals and poisons are layered throughout the lab, along with certain antidotes, but no one but the mad scientist himself knew the locations of the different types. Nobody would attempt to steal any chemicals due to the fact it could possibly be poison, or some other deleterious liquid.
Hissing through his teeth, the demented captain groggily walked over to the other side of the room, an annoyed expression on his face. Entering the technical room, he gazed around looking for what caused the disruption when his eyes land on a bundled heap on the ground. The pile tossed and turned and was about to knock off some important chemicals on a nearby shelf...
"YOU IMBECILE! Watch out for my flasks!" Mayuri charged in, kicking the mound aside and quickly caught the precious fluids in his pale hands. Letting out a breath of relief, he whipped his head around and glared at the now revealed figure, which was rubbing the back of their head sheepishly.
"Captain Kurotsuchi, I was just looking for you!" The gray coversheet had been removed and revealed a startled man. Laughing, the man stood up slowly to face the Captain of the Research and Development Center. Long white locks of hair draped from his shoulders and his eyes were hinted with a brown hue that sparkled with embarrassment.
"Captain Ukitake," growled the now infuriated scientist. "What are you doing, messing with my research?"
Ukitake was another captain, much like himself, but older and wiser. An elder who acted like a child, and loved to spoil children with various gifts. He was the captain of the thirteenth division, the last of the divisions. He was one of the longest retaining leaders in Soul Society, second to the Captain Commander. In most of Soul Society’s history, Ukitake was there to experience it.
Normally always resting, due to his poor immune system, causing him to throw up and pass out regularly, it was a surprise to see that he trekked all the way here.
Not fazed by the rude scientist's personality, the elder merely smiled, raising his hands up in a sign of surrender. "I accidentally tripped and got rolled up in something, before I knew it I slammed into the shelf, which is when you came in."
Massaging his temple, Mayuri glared at the elderly captain. "Well? What do you want?"
Suddenly serious, Ukitake lowered his head to meet Kurotsuchi's gaze. "I've come to release Hinamori. It's about time that she's returned to her duty as lieutenant of the fifth."
Momo Hinamori. That’s right, she was a lieutenant of the fifth division. It shouldn’t have been long before they requested her presence again. After the tragic accident that happened during the winter war, she was forced to be rehabilitated. Having received fatal wounds, she would have died if Kurotsuchi hadn’t spent sleepless nights stabilizing her.
Mayuri rolled his eyes, obviously not interested in releasing his greatest test subject. "You haven't needed her for thirteen months, why would you want the weak thing now?"
Ukitake walked past Kurotsuchi, heading towards Hinamori's chamber. "She needs to play her role in helping the Seireitei, that's all there is to it."
However he didn't mention that, not just him, but many people dearly missed her presence. Especially a certain captain, whom had been missing for the past few days.
Several hours earlier, Ukitake had been patrolling the tenth division’s hallways and decided he'd go and check up on Captain Hitsugaya. Since they were closely related –they both had snowy, white hair– he always loved bringing little treats and gifts to him, which he probably ended up throwing them away when he wasn't around.
Known for his vast knowledge despite his age, Toshiro Hitsugaya, his white-haired brethren, topped the ranks in his class and quickly climbed his way to captainship. A prodigy in the body of a child. Easily recognizable by his shorter height and cold, teal eyes, he was one who took to great lengths to not be underestimated. While his appearance was young, his soul was not. His eyes held a hard edge of maturity, mixed together with an ancient wisdom that befitted an elder.
There was no doubt in Ukitake’s mind that he wasn’t a man.
Sliding the screen door open he was surprised to see Matsumoto, Hitsugaya's lieutenant, sitting in his office chair, busily signing papers. A busty redhead with light blue eyes and full lips. Normally Matsumoto prefers to lay back and not bother with her paperwork, leaving Toshiro to do all the work himself. So seeing Matsumoto doing both her captain’s work along with hers brought an edge of worry to Ukitake.
Noticing someone else in the room, Matsumoto gazed up and smiled, recognizing the elderly captain. "Ukitake-taicho, so good to see you! How's your recovery coming along? Here, sit, sit!" She stood up from her desk and ushered Ukitake towards the couch. "I'll make you some tea," she smiled brightly, rushing off to the nearby kitchen.
Ukitake sat on the velvet couch, gazing around the room trying to pinpoint the snowy-haired captain, but to no avail. It seemed that he wasn't in his office, again.
A few minutes later, Matsumoto waltzed in carrying a tray with two cups and a teapot. Gently setting it down on the coffee table, she poured a cup for the captain of the thirteenth and handed it to him. Ukitake smiled, gratefully taking the cup and taking a sip from the green liquid. "Thank you, Matsumoto, it's delicious."
Matsumoto shrugged. "Anyone can brew a pot of tea." Sitting on the sofa across from him, she relaxed and took a sip from her own cup. "Now was there something you wanted to talk to me about?"
Ukitake nodded, placing his cup back on the tray. "I was wondering if Hitsugaya was around, I needed to ask him something."
Matsumoto's lowered her eyes and took a deep sigh, taking a sip of her tea. She looked up and murmured. "…I haven’t seen him. He couldn’t have gone on a mission, because I would have been sent a letter to mark his absence. He…just went off.”
Ukitake's eyes widened. Toshiro still hadn’t returned? That’s the third day this week! "Um, do you have any idea on where he might have gone then?"
Matsumoto shook her head, laughing quietly. "Taicho goes where he pleases; he hasn't been the same since the winter war. He doesn't even yell at me when I don't do my paperwork anymore. It's like he doesn't care anymore."
Ukitake thought carefully, processing the information that Matsumoto just told him inside his head. Gazing at the strawberry blonde he noticed tears threatening to spill, layering her pearly eyes. Ukitake stood up, but Matsumoto shook her head. "I’m sorry, Ukitake-taicho. I−I just wish he wouldn't hide what's hurting him from me!" She placed her face in her hands, sobbing quietly.
The thirteenth captain looked away, not wanting to express his own emotions in front of Matsumoto, since she was in such a vulnerable state. He knew Hitsugaya was the type to hide all of his feelings deep inside and replace it with a phlegmatic mask, not wanting anyone to worry about him. He never bothered to turn to anyone when his feelings were hurt. Well, everyone except for…
Picturing the young innocent lieutenant, Ukitake felt a stab of anguish and pain of having experienced the gruesome event. Replaying the scene in his mind, he remembered when they thought they had finished Aizen, a man whom had deceived not only his division but the whole of Soul Society. The team of captains had surprised Aizen with a stab through the back only to be shocked as his body was replaced by Hinamori, whose eyes were as lifeless as her body that hung on the blade who had pierced her.
Before he knew it, Ukitake watched as Toshiro's eyes became consumed in rage as he lost control of himself. He had charged at the manipulator, only to have his body sliced in two as he fell towards the streets along with the other bewildered captains, including himself.
Shaking the horrid memory from his mind, he turned around and looked back at Matsumoto. She was no longer sobbing, but the recent tears left trails down her cheeks. She sniffed, wiping away the incoming tears. "If only Hinamori wasn't killed." she whispered.
Ukitake tilted his head to the side. Didn't Matsumoto know Momo was in recovery this very moment? His thought was answered when a vision of Kurotsuchi appeared in his mind, smiling wickedly while flicking a vial. Ukitake clenched his fists. That damn scientist. Didn't he have a kind enough heart to relieve some people from their misery and mourning for the assumed "dead" lieutenant? That scientist cared too much about his research.
He was going to have to have a talk with him later.
"Ano, Matsumoto. There was something that I wanted to tell Toshiro, but I suppose this is much more urgent, since you were her friend, I suppose you should know." He watched as Matsumoto's head lifted slightly.
"Her friend? Are you talking about Hinamori?" she whispered.
Ukitake nodded, knowing to say this slowly since this was a touchy subject for her just like it would be for Toshiro. "It seems you don't know this, but Hinamori didn't die. She's in the research and development center right now, receiving major organ restoration on her body. She lost a lot of blood, and thus has been held captive for these past thirteen months. She would have died without the help of Kurotsuchi, but I'm not pleased that he didn't bother to tell anyone else that she's survived.”
He looked up to see her eyes wide, her eyebrows disappearing into the mass of strawberry locks.
“What?” Her voice was so softly spoken that Ukitake could barely make out the word she spoke.
He was suddenly choked as the busty woman ran to him, pulling him into a tight hug, bawling like a child who lost something important. Ukitake jumped at the sudden collision, letting out a gust of air before simply patting her on the back soothingly. "Now, now, Matsumoto. It's okay..." Controlled by her emotions, Matsumoto sobbed into the captain's haori, unaware that she was crying in the arms of one of the wisest captains.
After several more minutes of wailing and sobbing, Matsumoto looked up and noticed she was incredibly close to the white-haired captain. Immediately remembering her position, she jumped away and bowed.
"I'm so sorry, Ukitake-taicho!"
Ukitake simply waved it off, smiling. "It's okay."
Matsumoto rubbed her tear streaked eyes and smiled slightly. "So... she's alive. Thank god." Rangiku looked up at the long haired captain and Ukitake saw her disposition change from relief to anger. “When I get my hands on that damn captain, I’m going to strangle him until his white skin turns purple! Screw him for not telling me or Taicho!”
Ukitake stood up from his seat suddenly and placed a hand on her shoulder, turning her attention back to him. His eyes were desperate, but held an authoritative edge. "Matsumoto, under no circumstances do you visit Hinamori. The twelfth division is under heavy security, so as to not let anyone into Kurotsuchi’s lab, especially where Hinamori is located. If you wander in there and demand to see her, Kurotsuchi can just claim you’re insane and throw you in jail. He’s very persistent with his research, and even if it’s a Shinigami, he’s not going to let them go until he is completely finis−.”
Matsumoto, forgetting her place once again, glared up at the captain and shouted. “You expect me not to go and find my best friend, my Taicho’s childhood friend, and let the world know she is alive? What kind of bullshit is that? And how the hell did you even find out she was alive?”
Ukitake lowered his head, taking in her anger despite being interrupted. Upon hearing her last statement, he glanced at her. “Only the Commander’s most trusted captains were informed of her survival. That makes me, Kyouraku, Unohana, and the Captain Commander himself the only ones who know.”
Matsumoto’s rage only skyrocketed at hearing the list of names. “And my captain isn’t allowed to know that his bestfriend, no, his love interest is alive so that he can finally stop suffering?! Have you seen him lately? He has lost all hope, he is broken, Ukitake.”
“I know that!” snapped the normally patient Captain.
Matsumoto’s anger died down at the sharp clip of Ukitake’s voice.
“I know that,” he sighed, calming down after his outburst. “But right now is not a good time. She is still recovering, and you cannot convince Kurotsuchi to release her if she still isn’t fully rehabilitated. He may be a bit over the top, but he has been given specific orders to keep Hinamori alive, and he has the skills to do so.”
I know a lot of people are hurting, and I know it can be fixed, but not right now. Right now our priority is to keep Hinamori in a safe, secure environment, even if in that environment it includes Kurotsuchi’s experiments. At least she will be kept alive.” He stopped when he noticed that Matsumoto had turned silent, gazing wordlessly at the floor.
“I need you to understand, Matsumoto-fukutaicho.” She looked up at him, a blank expression on her face. “If there is anyone out there who can understand, it’s you.”
“Why?” she whispered. “Why me?”
Ukitake smiled. “You said so yourself, you’re her best friend, and best friends are always there for one another, no? You are also Toshiro’s lieutenant, a friend by his side, and you can help him get through this. Soon, when she is released, he can see her again. We can all see her again.”
Matsumoto looked at him once more, crossing her arms under her chest before letting out a large sigh. “I’m guessing I have to keep this a secret from Taicho until she is released, right?”
Ukitake grimaced. “Yes, I’m terribly sorry about that. But, right now, you should focus on finding him and bringing him back. Once that happens, you can slowly open him up, and help him through this until the time comes.”
The woman nodded solemnly, her curls bobbing up and down. “I guess I have no choice then.”
“I’ll keep your secret.”
Entering Hinamori's chamber, Ukitake gazed around the area in pronounced awe. The whole room was layered in different mechanisms that both confused him and amazed him at the same time. Computers and generators were on both the ceiling and the hard stone floor, filled with neon-green text possibly on information about Hinamori’s condition. Other computers spat out the data that was being analyzed from what appeared to be her blood flow. The mother lode stood in the center of the rest of the computers, accompanied by a large keyboard, stretching across the entire width of the screen. Nemu was currently typing some encrypted manuscript, which made Ukitake's intelligent mind slightly hurt from all the detailed print.
Turning around he watched as Kurotsuchi strode past him and towards Hinamori's basin, tapping a long blue nail against his chin, obviously thinking. He then turned towards Ukitake, his normally present wicked smile on his face. "You want Hinamori up and running? Is that all you want? You don't seem like the cold type, Ukitake-taicho," he sneered.
Ukitake nodded his head. Might as well go along with the cold demeanor. "That's all I want, unless you're not willing to give her up. Since I would of thought, by now, you'd have finished your analysis and have her back to her duties. After all, it has been thirteen months." Ukitake's rare hard edge appeared in his tone, obviously serious about releasing Hinamori.
Kurotsuchi narrowed daggers at him. "Are you denying my ability as the commander of the Research and Development center to not be able to restore lieutenant Hinamori?" he growled. Ukitake shivered at the eerie silence after Mayuri spoke, his words drifting through the air, sticking to him. It made him feel sick.
Ukitake smiled. "No, your ability is great, Kurotsuchi-taicho. Without you Hinamori would of died before she reached Soul Society, I just would of thought your great skill would of had her awake by now."
When in doubt, give the arrogant captain something he wishes to hear.
Mayuri's eyes suddenly lightened and he smiled, revealing his shiny gold teeth. "Exactly, without me, Hinamori would have died and caused many shinigami to deceive Soul Society. Am I right, Ukitake?"
Ukitake didn't respond, which pleased the captain. Turning towards the mother lode, he shouted at Nemu. "Finish up the reports and fill up the last test vial, we shall arouse Hinamori!" Nemu nodded silently, pressing numerous keys which removed the data on the screen and replaced it with Hinamori's inactive anatomy. She then pulled a lever, which caused a loud siren to sound off. Ukitake gazed at Hinamori's tank and noticed that the peculiar pink liquid she was floating in started bubbling from the base.
Kurotsuchi then stepped in front of her tank and pressed several keys pertaining to her oxygen levels. "Due to the fact that she was stabbed and lost a lot of blood, her body won't work right away. Most likely she'll have to continue recovering possibly in the fourth division, so that I may continue my research in peace," he said, casting a glare in Ukitake's direction.
Ukitake nodded. He can talk to Unohana-taicho and hopefully convince her that for many people's sakes, Hinamori needed to recover. Gazing back at Hinamori's tank, he watched as her dark brown hair drifted in the rose colored water and her white uniform gently moving with the current. Her eyes were closed, revealing her long eyelashes. She did look like she was lifeless, but Ukitake knew she was just unconscious, and he prayed that she'll wake up.
Nemu stood up from her seat in front of the mother lode and called out to Kurotsuchi. "Kurotsuchi-taicho, the voltage plethora is operational."
Kurotsuchi smiled. "Perfect!"
Ukitake whipped around and saw Kurotsuchi place his pallid finger on the voltage key and watched in horror as electricity surged through Hinamori's tank. At first nothing happened, only the sound of the voltage bouncing off the walls of the glass wall could be heard.
Kurotsuchi smile widened.
Any moment now...
Suddenly Hinamori's body jerked alive and a high-pitched scream followed. Her body started to shake in uncontrollable spasms from the electricity coursing through her and the liquid in her tank bubbled and covered her frame. More screeches followed, causing Ukitake to cover his sensitive ears. He quickly looked at Kurotsuchi to be shocked that he was... laughing?
Laughing maniacally, he raised his hands in the air, watching in amazement as the process of the plethora worked on Hinamori's body. "Yes! Yes! Wreck your havoc through her insubstantial soul!" Another scream followed, as if the voltage was under Mayuri's command. Mayuri turned to Ukitake, his golden eyes intense. "This is the work of my monthly research. It’s all going to accord!" He laughed again.
Ukitake was horrified, not only did it look like Kurotsuchi had lost his mind, but he was killing Hinamori in the process! Running forward, Ukitake shook the crazy scientist. "Oi, you’re going to kill her!"
Kurotsuchi raised a finger, a now apathetic expression on his face, silencing the captain. His crazed moment instantly vanished. "The pain of the plethora has passed, Ukitake-taicho. You don't need to freak out like some immature child!" he narrowed his eyes, gazing at the long haired captain. Ukitake slowly looked up at Hinamori's tank to see that she was no longer writhing in agony and pain, but was floating in the tank like she was previously.
"Huh, but, you looked like you were hurting her on purpose," murmured Ukitake.
Kurotsuchi rolled his eyes. "I would have loved to do that on purpose, but you demanded that I bring her back alive and if I did that, she wouldn't have woken up," replied Mayuri simply. "Besides, you should take a look at her, if my research was correct, and it always is, she should awaken soon."
Ukitake glanced at Hinamori's tank, then back at the scientist. Releasing his grip he had on the now stable scientist, Ukitake raised his hands, an apologetic expression on his face. "Sorry about that, Kurotsuchi, that whole scene just sent shivers down my spine."
Kurotsuchi turned away from him. "Now if you don't mind, I'd like it if you left my lab. I have some forbidden research to work on and I need absolute silence!"
Ukitake slowly nodded his head. "Thank you, Kurotsuchi." He turned to head back the way he came, glancing back at Hinamori one more time.
"Tch," replied Kurotsuchi, now ignoring the captain as Nemu escorted him out of Hinamori's chamber.
Ukitake found the entrance from which he had come and turned around, bowing to Nemu. "Thank you, I hope Captain Kurotsuchi's research goes as planned." Nemu remained silent as she watched Ukitake head out the door and disappear.
"Where... am I?"
She felt ethereal. Could she move? She attempted to shift her limb, but instant agonizing pain struck her from within. She tried to whimper, but found out she couldn't speak. It was so dark. She hated being alone in a place where she couldn't see.
He always hated that pet name, ever since they were children. Even when he became a captain, she still didn’t show enough respect towards him to call him by his deserved title.
What happened to him? She remembered his face being full with raw emotions as his blade impaled her through her midback. Was he okay? She couldn't remember anything after he had set her down on top of an office building. She had blacked out then.
"Is... someone there?"
She couldn't move or speak. She could only think and that wasn't enough. She had to open her eyes. See where she was. See where Toshiro was. See where her friends were.
A speck of light illuminated in the middle of the obscure dusk, getting closer and closer, chasing after her, until it swallowed her whole, then.
She opened her eyes.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Liz GrotheWrite a Review