Kurohyou Keikan

Rescue Mission

Kūkaku mostly shunpoed her way toward the thirteenth division compound that housed the lower seated officer quarters, otherwise she kept her spiritual pressure as contained as possible.

She walked the last few yards, as the two shinigami guarding the thirteenth's gate came into sight. She slipped soundlessly around the far corner and with the recently attained skill of a shunpo upward, she found herself on the narrow tiled roof of the wall, where she held very still. She listened for a moment, knowing even her still-developing reiatsu could be detected, and she was surrounded by shinigami!

There was a flowery shrub to land in and she did a careful tumble out onto the grass of this small decorative flower garden. She moved through the garden, eyes scanning each gap between leaf and branch.

"Kū-chan."

Only her steel Shiba will kept her from squealing in surprise as Kisuke whispered her name from only a foot away. Her eyes swiveled to the blond, only his face barely showing from the leaves he hid in to her left. Damn, she always overcompensated for her right side!

"What the hell Hara-chan!" Kūkaku hissed as he moved to crouch next to her a grin splitting his face.

"Isshin-sama said I could accompany you, but I only just caught up." Kisuke stuck his tongue out at her and when she opened her mouth to object he did what Isshin had suggested and put the sweet bun he'd brought with him into her gaping mouth whole before she could get a word out.

For a moment she looked ready to explode, vein throbbing in her forehead, then she tasted the bread in her mouth and nearly swallowed it whole. "How'd you managed to get in here? Shunpo?"

"No... I'd be really happy to learn though if-"

"How then?" She growled insistently.

"The two guards are playing some card game, yelling at each other and slamming the table," Kisuke grinned toothily and made a tip-toeing gesture with his index and middle fingers like they were legs. "Snuck in."

"Hara-chan you still have some secrets!" Kūkaku cheered as loudly as she dared.

"Shall we Kū-chan?"

"Try and keep up."

Kisuke easily became Kūkaku's shadow following her up onto the wooden porch running along the entire side of the building. She actually had to turn back to check on him-he was so quiet she'd thought she'd left him behind-and almost jumped out of her skin when she found him right behind her. "These are his quarters."

"Can you sense Koneko-sama," Kisuke whispered almost in her ear.

"No, but-aw..." She paused at the door, pleased-but a bit disappointed-to find it open without a problem. "He's better at hiding it, than I am at detecting it."

Kisuke watched her disappear in through the door, thinking over how well she seemed to know Koneko-sama. She and Ryūken spoke of him like they had known each other years. He moved in after her, his mind pondering over more than just strategically placing himself in the threshold so he could look back outside to keep an eye out. He glanced over his shoulder inside just as Kūkaku turned to see where he'd gone.

"Close the door!"

Smoothly putting the relationships between palace pets and the children of the Seireitei on the back burner Kisuke edged in a little further so he could whisper, "I'm watching out for people." He let his eyes move over the modest quarters, the first room multi-use for everything except sleeping. There was a door in the corner that was closed, and Kisuke suspected it was a separate bedroom.

"Nobody will have a reason to come inside...unless they see some baka hanging half in the door!" Kūkaku was doing the same, her eyes seeking out any sign of Yoruichi. "We don't need a look out; help me find Koneko-sama!"

Stomach in his throat Kisuke only hesitated after closing the door, so Kūkaku wouldn't yell at him again. "The bug thing said it would keep the shinigami until we rescued Koneko-sama..."

Kūkaku smiled softly as she heard Kisuke reassuring himself as he stared at the back of the hand that was still on the doorframe. Knowing already how brave he got when overtaken by his curiosity she moved to his side. "That bug thing is called a hell butterfly-ojisan's is named Maukawa-and every soul has one."

"I don't have one."

"Yes you do..." Kūkaku argued with a small knowing grin. "You don't own them...Each soul has one, they're meant to help us travel between worlds."

"You mean here and... there..." Kisuke turned and started searching the room instead of meeting her gaze.

Kūkaku wasn't surprised that the boy wasn't curious about things concerning death. "Back and forth. You got to Soul Society on one."

"I did?" For a second he forgot where he was, his eyes wide as he turned them on Kūkaku. "But I came out of a lake."

"A lake?" Kūkaku stared at Kisuke a moment before she shook her head and made herself resume her search; dropping that particular subject. She moved toward the bedroom door and the boy followed. "You should ask ojisan about it, they're kind of a shinigami thing."

"Do you know why Ryūken-kun dislikes shinigami so much?" Kisuke was surprised when she stopped in the doorway and he bumped into her.

"Hm," Kūkaku was looking back at Kisuke, a thoughtful look on her face, maybe hearing this bit of observational information for the first time. "That makes sense...He was polite before oiisan went to the academy."

"The academy?"

Kūkaku grinned, her teeth brilliant in the little bit of moonlight that lit the room. "Shinōreijutsuin it's the school you go to if you want to become a shinigami, they help marshal reiatsu, teach people how to control it, swordsmanship, fighting, anything that'll help kill a hollow. Isshin graduated before I was born and my older brother Kaien is due to graduate this year," She moved into the bedroom, resisting the urge to ransack it in search of the princess. "Most nobles have the basics down though, some even have hollow slaying tactics of their own, but Yama-jiji has always tried very hard to keep it open to anyone that has spiritual pressure, even Rukongai brats."

Kisuke had already a handful of questions waiting before she said that last bit then he started to make sure she knew that he was one of those brats when she gave a frustrated sigh. "What?"

"I can't sense anything but that damn fifth seat he's overpowering everything."

"He's probably hidden Koneko-sama somewhere too," Kisuke sighed then called. "Koneko-sama? Its Urahara Kisuke remember me? I didn't mean to sneak into the Seireitei but your friend Ryūken-kun made me."

"Keep checking in here, I'll go tear the other room apart," Kūkaku instructed the worry clear on her face even in the semi-lit room.

"Hai," Kisuke nodded and started to look through the small room again. There was a simple futon and a small wooden wardrobe in the corner and a few stacks of scrolls and papers. "Koneko-sama?" He called again, a little louder and he heard Kūkaku hiss warning to him from the other room. He frowned as he started pulling the blankets off the futon just incase the feline was hidden unconscious underneath.

"Anything Hara-chan?" Kūkaku called as loud as she dared.

"No I-" Kisuke froze as something-movement?-caught his eye as he turned his head to call out to Kūkaku. He moved to pick up the blanket he'd just thrown on the floor but there was nothing underneath.

"Kuso..." He'd been sure he'd seen-what?-well he wasn't quite sure what; it had been in his peripheral vision.

"Hara-chan?"

With a few more choice words he threw the blanket and turned to check in the wooden wardrobe.

At Kūkaku's startled exclamation he turned to see her eyes riveted to the floor. He didn't get what they were seeing until Kūkaku kicked the blanket aside and pressed her hand along what appeared to be an invisible wall. It wasn't a window; there was no glass when Kisuke moved to join Kūkaku in touching where the blanket had piled against the unseen obstruction.

While Kūkaku fumed and cursed Kisuke made a series of light knocks with his knuckles up and down the barrier, intrigued.

"It's Kidō."

"Kidō?"

Kūkaku shook her head, "Its stuff they teach shinigami at their academy...They teach 'em to shape their reiatsu into spells..."

"Tessai could light fires with his...and he caught me as I was falling through the air once," For a moment he concentrated on his own second sight to see the everyday paths the shinigami had worn into the mats with his reiatsu.

"You should see the fire I can make," Kūkaku smiled fondly, even as her hand pressed against the spell uselessly.

"Could you use it to burn this one?"

"Maybe if he wasn't a fifth seat," Kūkaku pressed her finger to the barrier. "Maybe you?" She looked over toward Kisuke.

"I don't...I don't know how. Everyone tells me I have reiatsu but I don't," Tears smarted his eyes and he blinked them back. "If I did I would break him out of there right now!" He gave the barrier a pound of his fist. Can you hear me? He wondered, he knew that the cat would be calling to them if he could, so either they couldn't hear through this spell or...

"You have to be hiding it!"

Kisuke gave a long sad sniff distracted from his sorrow when Kūkaku started to glow a pale blue. He watched her scowl in concentration at where her finger pressed against the spell.

As Kisuke watched he felt the air thicken as Kūkaku's glow intensified. "I'm not strong enough yet, Hara-chan."

"Koneko-sama!" Kisuke gave the barrier another pound. "Can you hear me? It's Kisuke!" He leaned forward to press his ear to the wall but there was no reply.

Kūkaku lifted a hand to knock as well, only to have Kisuke's hand snap out to stop hers. She darted a glance at where Kisuke's fingers shackled her wrist, then to the boy himself.

"Sshh!" Kisuke released her and pressed the entire side of his face to the barrier. He could have sworn he'd felt-there!-"Something's knocking back!" He exclaimed and Kūkaku cried out and smooshed her face against the spell like Kisuke.

It was a moment before Kūkaku could feel the faint vibrations, set a handful of seconds apart.

"Maitta!" Kūkaku pulled away. "I'll have to go get ojisan-" She cried out in surprise when she turned and stepped right into Ryūken. "Yūk-kun!"

"Ryūken-kun!" Kisuke cheered loudly and promptly clamped his hand over his mouth. He watched Ryūken's fingers slide his glasses into place staring at the spell like he could actually see it. "Koneko-sama is behind this..."

"Bakudō 26," Ryūken murmured with a frown.

"Can you break it Yūk-kun?" Kūkaku whispered already awed that he seemed to know the spell's name.

"I don't know," Ryūken looked from Kisuke to Kūkaku. "Can you go and see if Isshin can help? I'll try."

"Hai! I'll shunpo as fast as I can," Kūkaku nodded and ran for the front door.

Ryūken followed and closed the door into the bedroom. "Kisuke I might need your help."

"What are you-?"

Ryūken moved down to his knees as close as he could to the barrier. He smoothed one hand down as if getting a sense of its strength. He surprised Kisuke-who was staring at that hand-by knocking a strange series of different knocks with the knuckles of his other hand against the barrier. "Yoru-kun!" He winced inwardly at the nickname and hoped Yoruichi understood its necessity. The return series of knocks was familiar but very faint. "It's woven together with Bakudō 81," His expression told Kisuke that wasn't good. "It should be at its most fragile on the inside and the strength of the outside depends on the maker."

"Can you break it?"

"With your help," Ryūken gave a sure nod. "You have to promise you won't tell anyone about this, Urahara-kun."

"Only if you keep a secret of mine..." Kisuke put his hand on Ryūken's shoulder to catch his attention. "And only if you call me Kisuke."

"Hai," Ryūken nodded softly, hair falling forward as he purposefully stared at the ground.

"Whatever this secret is you had better reveal it soon or Isshin-"

"He knows not to come unless I sent you."

"But Kū-chan's faster!"

"Yoru-kun trusts you, I trust him," Ryūken admitted. "I may have known Kūkaku longer but Yoru-kun is..." He hesitated and shook his head; he couldn't give away her secret to everyone. He knew Kūkaku had been a necessary confidant, but he didn't trust her with his own secrets. "He trusts you."

Again Kisuke was curious to hear the respectful tone people spoke of the kitten with. "Don't ask a lot of questions...I mean dumb random ones, I want you to understand what you're doing, so ask about it if you have to."

"Which is?" Kisuke was pretty sure that wasn't a dumb question.

Ryūken stepped back and lifted his hand out; a silver medallion falling from his sleeve to dangle on a bracelet around his wrist. It only kept Kisuke's attention because it began to glow a fierce blue light in the center of what looked like a star in a circle.

"Help me with your spiritual pressure," Ryūken ordered, holding out his other hand to Kisuke.

"But I don't-"

"What is it that helps you sense other's reiatsu?"

"It's just something my eyes can do...It's not the only thing," He hinted and when Ryūken looked curious Kisuke shook his head, "No dumb questions now."

"What makes your eyes do it? Do you always see reiatsu?" The Quincy was sure that would suck!

"No, I've learned how to turn it off and on."

Ryūken's eyes lit up and he grabbed Kisuke's hand, "How?!"

"I just concentrate-"

"On what?" Ryūken interrupted, his fingers squeezing his hand impatiently. "Whatever it is, focus on that...very, very hard."

"Hai," Kisuke nodded and gasped as a searing sound split the air, much like the blue light from the medallion. It cut a curved shape through the air and then-

Kisuke glanced at his hand as Ryūken moved to press it to his neck, where it curved into his shoulder and the collar of his tunic ended. Eyes wide Kisuke met Ryūken's brown eyes and the trust in them scared him, his fingers tightened on the flesh beneath his fingers. He watched the Quincy's hand move across what he recognized as a short bow...A bow made of reiatsu. His fingertips brushed the apex of the curve as if touching his other hand where it clutched the bow and as he pulled that hand back a long thin string of light slivered off the bow and made a bowsting. His touch left behind an arrow of light as he pulled the bow taut.

"Kisuke-kun," Ryūken hissed and aimed the arrow upward a little so that it would miss anyone behind if it went all the way through. "Focus!"

Kisuke closed his eyes and did as Ryūken commanded. The Quincy focused on the bow but he could feel Kisuke squeezing with his fingers in a vain attempt to hide how he was trembling. "Ryūken-kun I don't know-"

"Can you feel the pressure?" Ryūken asked taking some of his reiatsu to flow around Kisuke. Kisuke gasped as the air thickened around him and power prickled across his bare skin.

The sensation was familiar, he'd felt it when he focused the color of his second sight. "Normally when I use it, my eyesight is red...I focus to filter it and change..." Kisuke shook his head and instead of explaining it he showed him.

Ryūken gasped as the comfortable warmth of the arrow in his hand quickly became uncomfortable as the arrow grew in size and temperature. "Slowly," He said his teeth clenched as the bow and arrow started to shiver.

"Sorry...sorry..." Kisuke closed his eyes as he was overwhelmed suddenly with the prickling rush, but from the inside. He sucked in a startled breath as he felt it try to escape his skin, explode out and fearfully he pushed it out where he was touching Ryūken. He saw the arrow suddenly double in size and his heart jumped up as Ryūken cried out in pain and his fingers balled into a fist as he pulled the bow tight again, as it had gone slack in his moment of pain. "Let it go Ryūken-kun!"

Like he was only waiting for the order Ryūken let the arrow fly and it shattered against the kidō with only a black scorch to show it's had hit. "Kuso!" He muttered shaking his stinging hand the bow dissipating. "Not even a crack."

A sharp pain where Kisuke's fingers bit into his neck reminded Ryūken he was still touching him. He could still feel the mellow wash of the boy's spiritual pressure as it fluctuated from non-existent to sand in his lungs. "Urahara-kun are you okay?"

The messy blond shook his head, meeting Ryūken's gaze to convey the sharp anxiety and confusion filling him along with a chaotic spiritual pressure. "I've never felt..." He gasped and licked his lips as if his mouth were desiccated, his free hand coming up to press the heel of his palm into his temple.

Worry thrilled through Ryūken just like Kisuke's released spiritual pressure. The peaks of his reiatsu were dying down but the fluctuations were still severe, if any shinigami walked close by they would sense him. "Calm down, control it."

"I don't know how, I n-never knew," He whimpered as he lowered his hand from his head to look at it, the glow now much different than he was used to seeing it. Before it had been a soft aura at most, like a cloud of light exuded from the skin (it was rare when it went beyond the skin); now it was like a flame, roaring and swimming over his skin as if it were trying to devour him. Ryūken's too, his delicate aura was a crisper blue and the flow of it over his skin was almost like electricity and fire.

"Just calm down," Ryūken murmured in a soothing tone. "We still have to get Yoru-kun out of here; we can't attract the guards' attention."

At those words Kisuke's eyes widened in fear and he took a deep breath, focusing on his other ability, his second sight since it had helped to awaken this monster. He focused his stare on Ryūken chest, on his own heart where it pumped blood in and out, in and out, he concentrated on the lub-dub of his own rushing heartbeat, making it Ryūken's in his imagination. The tingle along his skin lessened and he looked down at his hand to see the blood rushing through even the tiniest of pathways underneath the skin in a gory show. Shocked he clamped his eyes shut and his level of reiatsu flared again and Ryūken hissed in warning.

"You said it was weaker on the inside?" Kisuke whispered as an idea hit him.

"Yes," Ryūken almost sounded panicked.

"Tell Koneko-sama to try and weaken it from his side," Kisuke tried to get a handle on controlling the sudden fountain of spiritual pressure that he had become. He felt it like a second body, but without the confines of skin and flesh and bone. It felt as if his skin was pulsing, a cool mellow tingle warming his body like a liquid fur coat. He looked back down at his hands after collecting his nerve and once again his stomach turned as his second sight let him see the flow of blood underneath as if his skin was completely translucent.

The moment he thought about turning off that sight-almost before-it snapped off and his hands were normal...Except that now he could see the reiatsu...well not see it, but...like Koneko-sama had said, he sensed it. For instance he could only sense Ryūken's where it encountered his. Where his own ended, the visual of the Quincy's became only an invisible pressure. There was so much more to it than just visual and tactile, but he had no idea how to convey the sensations without using terms for the five senses he knew.

He felt Ryūken's hand squeeze his and he realized his fingers were still clamped where his neck met his shoulder. "I think I have one more arrow like that in me," Ryūken murmured as he looked down at the abraded skin of his hand. He moved, and Kisuke went with him, afraid to let go lest he lose all grounding. Kneeling Ryūken pressed his hand to the barrier, low down just where a small kitten might be able to reach.

"Yoru-kun! I need you to use your reiatsu to weaken the kidō on that side!" He pressed his face close to the wall and lifted his voice as loud as he dared. "Knock if you can do it." He waited, holding his breath until his fingers felt the sudden vibration of something hitting the other side right where he was touching. "All right get ready!" He got back to his feet and stepped back with Kisuke as the shape of the bow practically leapt from his Quincy cross to his hand.

"Ready Yoru-kun!" He called a little worried to create an arrow, he could feel Kisuke's reiatsu waiting like a pack of beasts on the verge of stampeding, straining against his fingertips. "You have to back down on it, or I'm going to lose my fingers Kisuke-kun," He muttered, glancing back to see the boy's eyes were clamped tightly shut, a vein throbbing in his temple.

"All right...alll..." He groaned and bit off a whimper as he nodded and Ryūken felt his spiritual pressure plummet as if falling down a cliff face. "Now."

Fingers trembling Ryūken reached forward hoping that Kisuke's momentary control didn't snap while he was making his arrow. His spiritual energy was impressive for his age, and he could tell that so was Kisuke's-now that he had released it-and if either of them lost control of it-and if Ryūken couldn't shoot arrows fast enough-the combined reiatsu could blow up a significant part of the barracks. "Ready Kisuke-kun?"

"H-hai..." His voice shook as he huffed out the word and he focused as Ryūken started to count.

"One," He called out touching his hand to his bow he pulled back the string of light, the arrow already larger than he usually made them as it formed in the wake of his fingertips. "Two," He watched the arrow start to grow in size and he felt a grin curve his lips as it steadily increased, the temperature climb gradual enough to only sting his injured hands. "Three, go!"

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