The Whole Hollow
Wow this chapter took a long time to create. Took a while for my muse to come back. I really apologize for the long wait, but don't worry, the fic is not dead.
Note: I meant to mention this earlier, but Wiedergeburt is the German word for Rebirth. Since the Quincy tend to use German terms to name their attacks, I thought it was fitting that it was named as such.
Edit: was alerted to a discrepancy between this and chapter 11. went back and fixed things to make it work.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
As Tatsuki came to, she found herself lying on a comfortable cot in an empty room, though she noticed she wasn't wearing her normal clothes anymore. Sitting up, she noticed she was now wearing a Shinigami Shihakusho in place of her t-shirt and jeans, though she still had her bracers and greaves on. Tatsuki also noticed that her injuries from her fight with Ikkaku had been bandaged and healed somewhat, making her wonder why someone had taken the time to tend to her wounds if they were being seen as an invading force.
Suddenly, the door to the room began to open, and Tatsuki quickly moved to press herself against the wall, hoping to surprise her captors as they entered. As a bespectacled female Shinigami walked into the room, Tatsuki lunged forward to take her captor by surprise, but the unknown Shinigami quickly turned and pointed her hand at the human girl as she approached.
"Hainawa!" the petite Shinigami called out, sending a glowing yellow rope of energy that bound the martial artist and held her firm, "I do not mean you any harm, so please stop struggling before you reopen your wounds."
"You can't hold me here!" yelled Tatsuki, "I have an important mission!"
"You're here to rescue Kuchiki Rukia, correct?" asked the Shinigami as she adjusted her glasses.
"How did you know?" asked Tatsuki as she stopped struggling.
"It wasn't hard to deduce," said the Shinigami, "and don't worry, my Taicho has allied our Division with your intentions, so we are not enemies."
"Seriously?" asked Tatsuki.
"Indeed," said the Shinigami as she released the Bakudo, "it was illogical that Kuchiki-san was to be punished to such a degree for the crime she committed, so Kyoraku Taicho and Ukitake Taicho are hoping to postpone the execution in order to investigate. In fact, several of your friends have been gathered by our allies as well, including that Hollow you brought."
"Wait, hold up," said Tatsuki, "crime? All Rukia did was choose not to kill Ichigo while she stayed in Karakura."
"Yes," said the Shinigami as she straightened her Shihakusho, "regardless of her intentions, allowing a Hollow as powerful as your friend to remain in the World of the Living unchecked is a serious threat to the balance that we are tasked with maintaining."
"Would it help if we told you that Ichigo has been residing in Hueco Mundo so that his presence doesn't disrupt the daily life?" asked Tatsuki as she folded her arms.
"Perhaps it might," the Shinigami allowed, "though that is something to be discussed after our current goals are accomplished."
"Right," said Tatsuki, "ok then. Let's start over, I'm Arisawa Tatsuki."
"Ise Nanao," said the Shinigami, "Fukutaicho of the 8th Division. I can show you to your friends' location, but if anyone tries to ask you about your identity, let me do the talking and remain silent."
Tatsuki nodded and the bespectacled Shinigami led the girl through the halls until they reached another room with two Shinigami standing guard.
"I'd like to see our guests," said Nanao, causing the two men to nod and step aside.
Upon entering the room, Tatsuki was greeted with the familiar sight of Sado and Uryu, the latter being bandaged heavily and lying on a cot, with Orihime standing over him with her healing shield, Sōten Kisshun, enveloping his body.
"Orihime!" exclaimed Tatsuki, "Sado! I'm so glad you're alright, but what happened to Ishida?"
"He was poisoned," said Sado, "Yoruichi-san brought him here and left to get medicine, though Orihime is doing quite well at extracting it from his system."
"I'm just about finished," said Orihime as she called back her shield, "he'll need rest though."
"Your abilities are impressive," commented Nanao, "especially for a human. It was a good thing we were able to divert him here instead of Squad 4. Explaining why Kurotsuchi Taicho's poisons were inside your friend when said Taicho's Reiatsu disappeared last night would have raised too many questions."
"I'm sure Uryu had a good reason for how things turned out," said Sado, getting a sigh from Nanao.
"In any case, your Hollow friend was lucky to be found by Kuchiki-san's Taicho, as he and Kyoraku Taicho were already investigating things," said Nanao as she adjusted her glasses in a way that seemed familiar to the Karakura group, "Now that we know something's afoot, plans have been made to rescue Kuchiki-san."
"What kinds of plans?" asked Uryu weakly as he pulled himself to a sitting position.
"Ishida-kun," exclaimed Orihime, "you should be resting."
"Sorry," said Uryu, "but I feel we have a right to know."
Fukutaicho and Quincy glared at each other in a clash of wills, light glinting off their respective glasses as they challenged the other to be the one to back down. Sparks could practically be seen flying between them, but before anything could come of it, a gentle, yet firm voice spoke up.
"I'm afraid Inoue-san is correct," said a female Shinigami with black hair tied in a braid down her front wearing a Taicho's Haori over her Shihakusho, "You really shouldn't be exerting yourself so soon, Ishida-san."
"Unohana Taicho," said Nanao as she inclined her head respectfully.
"I'm fine," Uryu insisted to the now named Unohana, "and we have more important things to deal with that can't have me stuck in bed!"
The now named Unohana fixed the Quincy with a calm stare, and he could feel the air thicken around him, as if the air around him was thickening to a semi-liquid state, "You shouldn't be exerting yourself so soon, Ishida-san," said the Taicho, her words not changing in tone, but gaining a level of weight behind them.
"…Hai," said Uryu weakly as he sat down on the cot again.
"Thank you," said the Shinigami Taicho as she walked over to the Quincy and placed her hand on his bandaged chest, the limb beginning to emit a green glow as she closed her eyes in concentration, "good, the majority of the internal damage the poison caused has been healed, but there are still some trace amounts. Nothing I can't take care of though."
"Sorry I couldn't be of more help," sighed Orihime.
"Don't be," said Unohana, "you have a remarkable gift. Many of my own medics couldn't do what you did so quick and easily. If it weren't for the current situation, then I might try and recruit you."
"Why are all of you so willing to help?" asked Tatsuki as the Taicho worked on her friend, "I mean, we've only just met."
"The judgement passed on Kuchiki-san is far from just," said Unohana, "while it is true that she let your friend live, being sentenced to Kokujo, the second level of the Central Great Underground Prison is excessive to the point of lunacy. One should not be punished so for showing mercy to one that does not truly threaten the balance."
"The Eighth and Fourth Squads are not the only ones to share this sentiment," said Nanao as she straightened her glasses, "Squad Thirteen has also allied with us while the Taicho of Squad Ten has left to make a formal request to the Central 46, the governing body of the Soul Society, to reconsider their ruling."
"You mentioned a plan earlier," said Uryu as Unohana worked to heal him by removing the final remnants of Mayuri's poisons from his system.
The Fukutaicho nodded, "as we said, Kuchiki-san has been sentenced by the Central 46 to be imprisoned in the Second Level of the Central Great Underground Prison located beneath the Squad One Barracks. Once there, rescuing her will become all but impossible, so our best bet would be to intercept her transfer from the detention cells in the Squad Nine Barracks. To that end, we shall be splitting into groups. Sado-san and your Hollow friend will be tasked with drawing as much of the main forces away from the compound while Inoue-san, Ishida-san, and Arisawa-san infiltrate Squad Nine and liberate Kuchiki-san. Considering that Shihoin Yoruichi helped spirit Ishida-san here after his battle, I am assuming she has an exit strategy planned similar to how she vanished several centuries ago with several other former members of the Gotei 13. Are there any questions?"
The four teens glanced at one another before turning to the gathered Shinigami with resolute looks.
"When do we start?" asked Sado.