A/N: I'm back with the next chapter! I know it might seem a little slow right now but there's a lot to cover so bear with me!
to lisaflowers : thanks for the review! And yes I too wish there was more Shinji angst stuff! =D
Shinji stared at Karakura upside down though he wasn't really paying attention to what was going on. Lisa's words were still bouncing around in his ears.
"I'm not sure if you care but I thought you should still know… the old man called Midori back to be the temporary fifth division captain."
"Of course I fucking care" Shinji sneered to himself. What was that old man thinking getting her mixed into this mess. There wasn't a day that passed by the last hundred years where he hadn't thought about seeking her out and rebuilding their relationship again, but if staying away would keep her away from the looming chaos, then he would resist. If Yamamoto was going to involve her anyway then fuck, he should have went to her first and hid her away.
"Just piling onto my troubles huh?" Shinji muttered, thinking about a certain orange head he was trying to train.
But he knew what the real problem with him was. He hated how every little tid bit about Midori affected him, how much he still cared and how much he still loved her but most of all he hated how scared he was of her reaction if she ever found out what he had become.
Midori knew she wasn't someone who was good at this type of stuff but she would do anything for Shinji's pardon.
"Ohayogozaimas," she greeted her squad. "I'm Akizuki Midori taichou. I was involved with the Gotei 13 more than one hundred years ago but this is my first time being a captain so please be patient with me."
It was morning next day and Momo had round up the team for introductions. Midori had spent the night in the old captain quarters and woken up early.
Her vice captain had been kind enough to brief her on the current people of Gotei 13. Surprisingly, even though most of the captains were different now, she recognized them as acquaintances from the past that had been lower ranked. Shinsui, Unohana, and Jushiro were also still around.
Her eyes narrowed at the thought of Jushiro. She had heard of what happened to Kaien when she had stayed over at Kukaku's, she had felt so bad for Jushiro. What he must have gone through. She had wanted to reach out to him but found herself in the awkward position that even though she had for some reason been released, she was still branded a criminal.
The genius kid, Hitsugata Toshirou that Issin had pretty much adopted was now the 10th division's captain. She had knew of Zaraki a long time ago, only hoping he would never try to start a fight with her. Soifon, the little girl that worshipped Yoruichi, had also taken her position and was doing well albeit more colder than she had remembered. Kisuke's man, Mayuri, a notorious scientist and captain now. Midori could only wonder what kind of monster they were cooking up in the labs. She should probably go give some greetings.
Midori was quite intrigued by how Gotei 13 always had a way of just running like it always did despite everything that happens. One hundred years ago, that incident had destroyed her whole world, and she had imagined Gotei 13 to just stop as well but the world doesn't stop for anyone. Her friends had been wiped out to god knows where and were rapidly replaced with new talents. She knew she was too stuck in the past. Maybe even Shinji had moved on by now.
"Akizuki-san, we have been expecting you," an old lady greeted. Midori just bowed slightly. "Follow me," she said curtly.
As the lady lead her to the guest house, Midori observed her surroundings. The Kuchiki manor...to say extravagant would be an understatement. There was no detail missed in the manor. Every meter was worth more than her wardrobe.
Despite the reasons given, Midori knew why they were so adamant about her living here. They wanted that Kuchiki prince to put a leash on her.
Midori glanced at the well managed rock garden as she treaded after the old woman. Classic Japanese house to the highest quality. Only expected with someone of the Kuchiki caliber. They stopped in front of two tatami doors and the servant next to the lady slid them open.
"Akizuki-san, this is your room," the old woman bowed. "Thank you," Midori smiled as looked into the tatami room. There was a futon set up already with red silk covers.
"Dinner is at six. Kuchiki-sama will be there in the dining hall at the main house. If you need anything please let us know," the woman told her. Midori gave a curt nod as the servants retreated.
Midori took a deep breathe. She changed into a comfortable yukata before dinner.
"I hope everything is to your liking. Has the service been okay?" Byakuya asked.
'I just got here an hour ago,' Midori thought.
"It's very nice and beautiful," she smiled. He didn't respond.
She grabbed the piece of toro on her plate and dipped it in wasabi and soy sauce.
"Hey Byakuya-san," she began as she stuffed the fish in her mouth, Byakuya was slight taken aback by her casualness.
"What happened in these last hundred years to you?" Midori asked glancing at him.
"Why would you ask that?" He responded cooly.
"The light in your eyes are gone."
"He keeps complaining about the treadmill," Lisa commented when she landed on the roof of the warehouse.
"Impatient as always," Shinji muttered looking out at the moon. He was sitting on the edge of the roof.
He could hear Hiyori scolding from inside.
"Are you still thinking about what I told you?" asked Lisa
Shinji leaned back against the concrete roof.
"Hey Lisa," he started, "if that son-of-a-bitch knew that Midori was back in the game, do you think it would change anything?"
She glanced at him confused. "No, why would one person make a difference to Aizen?"
"SHINJI!" A voice snarled from inside the warehouse. "Why the fuck do I have to run!?"
Shinji sighed getting up. "Hai hai, I'm coming!"
He narrowed his eyes at the moon. "I don't know...I just have a really bad feeling about this."
"Ne Sousuke-kun," Midori leaned close to Sousuke who just gave her a questioning glance. There was a mischievous glint in her eyes. "What is it Midori-san?"
"You're insanely strong aren't you?" she grinned. He stared back at her. Shinji stopped what he was doing and glanced at the two. Sousuke was always composed but Shinji could sense something different this time. There was a hint of discomfort.
He inwardly smirked, 'that's my girl'. Midori always had the ability to see things others didn't which included the ability to get under people's skin when she desired to. Shinji had approached her about it before, how she played an impeccable detective. Her response was always, 'it's instinct'.
To both Midori and Shinji's surprise, Sousuke smiled back. He always smiled of course, but only out of politeness. This time it felt genuine for the first time. "That's interesting of you to say, did you want to fight?"
Midori's eyes widened at Sousuke, impressed. She punched him lightly in the shoulder and laughed, "Wow! You haven't don't you Sousuke-kun! You're always so kind and perfect to everyone I was beginning to think if you had it in you to cut some flesh! Come one lets go!"
Sousuke smiled back gently, "I was joking Midori-san, I would never hurt you."
She scoffed, "It's just sparring, we won't get better unless we train you know!" She glanced at Shinji and gave him a sweet smile. He had smiled back lazily but turned back to Aizen with narrowed eyes, just thinking to himself, 'if you touch her, I'll saw off your head, you bastard'.
He met her when he was young. No one was ever really clear on exactly who she was; didn't go to Shino Academy, didn't work for Gotei 13. From Byakuya's understanding, she was a private shinigami who was supported by the Shiba clan and often hired by the Gotei 13. She was often seen hanging around Hirako Shinji but seemed to mingle well with everyone else too. Thinking about it now, it was a weird thing for Gotei 13 to hire a shinigami when it had so many strong ones already. There was never clarity on exactly what kind of work she did.
Rukia was present for breakfast the next day much to Midori's delight. She had overheard so much about what happened with her and her group of friends that managed to piss off Byakuya.
"Akizuki-taichou…?" Rukia echoed. "Hai, just temporarily. I will be intruding for a period of time, sorry about that," Midori smiled sheepishly.
"Ah, I don't mind at all. It's nice to have people over but if I remember correctly… captains have their own…" Rukia wasn't sure how to finish her sentence, she felt like she came off a little rude.
"Yamamoto wanted your brother to keep an eye on me," said Midori, rather bluntly. Byakuya looked up from his bowl, surprised.
"Byakuya-san you don't need to hide it from me," she sighed, "I know people are still suspicious about happened in the past." Byakuya wasn't quite sure what to say to that. He truthfully wasn't all that surprised she figured it out. Yamamoto's vice captain had fabricated some bullshit about feeling bad about what happened in the past when they had thrown her into prison and wanting to make it up to Midori by giving her upscale living conditions. He had made it seem believable but Midori wasn't that naive. The sou-taichou was a kind man...but not that kind.
"The past…" murmured Rukia.
"Hai, around a hundred years ago. It's just rather regretful that it carried on for so long, long enough to hurt you too," sighed Midori. Rukia's eyes went wide. Though Midori didn't say what it was, Rukia was smart enough to know she was referring to. The Houkyoku.
Of course Midori wasn't sure exactly what the connection was since she wasn't even sure what exactly had happened all those years ago. But from what she's learned about the incidents that occurred after she left, everything was tied to Aizen's goals. Her eyes narrowed at that thought. She was done being put in the dark about everything. She was going to find Shinji and set things straight.
"Ne Soi-chan," said Yachiru, "Who is Akizuki Midori really?"
She took a sip of her tea. It was the weekly Shinigami Women's Association meeting.
"I saw her a lot when Yoruichi-sama was still here. She's a shinigami but never went to the academy. She's technically not a part of Gotei 13. Gotei 13 used to request her assistance often with many missions. She's incredibly strong, more than enough to be a captain," Soifon explained.
"Eh really? I wonder if Ken-chan would be interested..." Yachiru murmured to Isane's fear.
"Yachiru," she scolded, "don't give him any ideas. We don't have time for that."
"Midori…" Rangiku echoed, "She and a former captain were lovers at some point."
Always the gossip queen.
"Of Rangiku-san would know this," Momo giggled.
"No! Everyone at that time knew. If you asked taichou he probably has some memory of it too!" defended Rangiku.
"But to this day no one knows exactly what she kind of jobs she did for Gotei 13.".
"Where have you been staying these past years after you were released?" Jushiro asked.
Being the kind person Jushiro was, he had invited Midori over for tea as a welcome back after so long. They were in the pavilion. Despite all the chaos out there, Jushiro's place always seem to hold his grace and peace, Midori noted gazing out at the water.
"For a few years I was in the living world. Kukaku managed to get a gigai for me, thought she never told me from who. When I came back to Soul Society, I was often over at the Shiba household. They were very kind to take care of me, but I did get my own small place in the outskirts to stay under the radar.
"I spent around fifty years bouncing around looking for any traces of Shinji and the rest, but with no luck," she sighed.
Jushiro was silent for a moment, unsure if he should ask. He did anyway.
"If I told you that Hirako was in the real world, would you go?"
There was a beat. Midori turned to him surprised, before turning back and gazing at the sky.
"If you had asked me this fifty years ago, I would have for sure said yes...but now...I don't know...I was beginning to wonder, maybe he didn't want to see me at all."
Midori looked down, "Ne Jushiro, it's pathetic isn't it?"
"I didn't think much of it while I was away, but after coming back here, it's a bit pathetic how tangled I am with the past? I think what I want is closure but it's pathetic," Midori said bitterly.
"Everyone has already moved on and I'm just sitting moping about a man who could have found me easily, but in the end didn't reach out."
There was another pause and this time Jushiro knew it was about time she knew.
"Midori," Jushiro began, "did you ever find it weird how you were released alive?"
Midori duly noted how much self-hate she had for herself lately. At this particular moment, she was tempted to punch herself in the throat as she was walking out of the 13th division's gates.
She hated how useless she had been this entire time. Of course Shinji, despite the way he acts, was a responsible man.
In the end, he was always the one protecting her. And she? She could never do anything for him. Not that night when he had sprinted to the scene, not when he was apparently attacked, nor when Seretei was piling a bunch of crimes on his name.
"I only found out about this a long long time after it happened. Hirako had found a way to communicate with Issin-san after being in the real world for some time."
Midori's entire body froze at Jushiro's words. The only question that she could conjure in her mind before he continued was, 'what did Shinji sacrifice?'.
"Shinji begged Issin-san to fight for your life and release. The Shiba Clan at that time had power, but you know someone of high authority like Issin pleading for a criminal could do a lot of damage to the name of the Shiba clan. I'm not sure what Shinji offered at that time and if Issin ever took it."
"But whatever it was, I'm sure it wasn't something small."
A/N: And that's chapter 2! As always, I appreciate all reviews! Midori will be heading to Karakura next chapter so don't worry, Shinji and her will bump into each other soon!