A/N: Here is the 3rd chapter. Thanks for the reviews by the way! As promised, Midori is finally in the real world. I added more background in terms of Midori and Shinji's relationship which I really enjoyed writing. ALSO for those who had read the previous two chapters long before this one comes out, I went back re-edited some small parts. My main focus has been the two of them but you'll see some other pairings sprinkled around throughout the story because I have too many OTPs in Bleach. As I reveal more Midori and Shinji's past, I'm going to try to stay in chronological order although as you can see from the last chapter and this one, sometimes it'll bounce around.
This voice again.
"Midori, it's time. I'm back."
Midori's eyes shot open. There was no confusion this time. He was back. A surge of happiness went through Midori. She put her hand on her katana just to make sure.
Her zanpakuto had come back. Finally.
Shinji could still remember the first few encounters with Midori he had. They were all strange and unsettling to say the least. She had been very friendly and playful with everyone. While she looked rather innocent and harmless, Shinji could only describe her as weird and daring after their first two encounters. There was another quality of her that always intrigued him, her eyes that seemed to be able to see through someone's soul.
There had been reports of a rather strong hollow causing havoc not too far from Seretei that day. Shinji had sent some of his squad out to take care of it but it had proved to be troublesome and so, not wanting any casualties, he went.
She was standing right in front of the hollow when he arrived. Noting the absence of shinigami uniform, he panicked.
He remembers shouting out to her to run. But she didn't seem to hear him. Instead, she seemed to be talking to the hollow much to his surprise. The hollow was only responding with grunts and groans. He was about to flash in front of her when he saw the kido chains wrapped around it. The hollow had angrily try to stomp towards her but instead fell down. Shinji watched in awe as she leaped up throwing zanpakuto at the it. The katana had a chain on it as it stabbed right in the middle of the mask. Midori landed on the hollow as it screeched and proceeded to pet it.
"You can't be doing this," he heard her say playfully to the hollow.
Midori couldn't have seen Shinji's face since she was so preoccupied but he had just stared, dumbfounded at the whole situation. Was she okay? Was her head okay? Then in an instant the hollow had vanished.
Shinji's jaw was on the floor as she landed and turned around. "Oh hi!" She had smiled non-nonchalantly as if she hadn't been trying to talk to a hollow that she knew could not respond or petting it and scolding it as if it would listen when she had her blade stabbed right in its face. But his doubts about her sanity had left as he sucked in his breath at the sight of her eyes that pierced straight through him.
The next time Shinji saw Midori again was a few days later right after a captain meeting in the 1st division. He had been about to leave the area when Hiyori came flying at him, foot on his face. He tumbled before gathering himself and snarling at Hiyori.
"Hiyori what the fuck!"
Before she sent back a retort, they heard jolly laughter from the side.
Both of them had turned to see a pastel green haired girl laughing with Shunsui next to her.
"Kyoraku-san, I've never seen the Gotei 13 this lively so early in the morning before," she had teased.
"Yare yare it's always lively with Hiyori-san and Hirako-kun around," Shunsui smirked.
Shinji had fallen in love that day...and out of love in the span of two minutes. The way she smiled at him and how her eyes shined at made his heart skip a beat...until her next words to Hiyori.
"What a loving boyfriend, he lets you beat him up." And with that he fell out of love, or at least thought he did. A good five seconds of speechlessness passed. Shinji wanted to cry. He couldn't fathom how such vulgar words came out of someone so pretty. He'd rather her assume he was gay than that he was with Hiyori. It still wouldn't have been true but if it ever came down to choosing between Hiyori and another man, he was pretty sure he'd go for the man.
"WHAT!" Hiyori yelled. "What the fuck are you saying? We are NOT dating. I'd never date this baldy! He's not even a man!"
Shinji felt his vein pop, "Da fuck you just said Hiyori? You should assess whether you're a woman first before you talk about me!"
"Ah is that so?" Midori pretended to be surprised, it was then where it dawned on Shinji that she had purposely wanted to tease them, "then does that mean I can kick him too?"
Shinji looked at her in disbelief. That sweet face was the most deceiving thing he's ever come across. "Kyoraku-taicho, is it safe to have a lunatic on the loose? I saw her trying to make a conversation with a hollow who clearly couldn't talk and then proceed to pet it while killing it. Trust me, she's dangerous, she has that bloodthirsty streak. Who the fuck are you anyway?" He snorted.
Shunsui lifted an eyebrow at Shinji. He seemed really uncomfortable. Shinji braced for a beating but instead she started laughing much to his surprise. She leaned close to Shinji, too close for his comfort as her gold pools looked into his hazel ones. He felt his face heat up, hoping it wasn't red though. "The captains of Gotei 13 are certainly the most interesting," she smiled, lighting hitting him on the head with the fan in her hand. For some reason, his annoyance had drifted away.
"See you around Kyoraku-san," she glanced at Shinji with a smirk, "And Baldy-san." She winked at Hiyori who covered her mouth to hide her laughter. Nothing made her more satisfied than Shinji's dumbfounded face and a partner to torment him with.
Shinji often wondered what she had seen in him that day. Parts of Shinji shattered as he thought of Midori's confidence in her people reading skills. He knew without a doubt, she's probably been blaming herself for never catching the more sinister parts of Aizen and Ichimaru. She had mentioned to him before of how secretive they were but had dismissed that they were just very private people but good nonetheless. Shinji could feel his blood rumbling at the thought of it all, when a certain blonde hair girl with a slipper in her hand came to to snap him out of it.
Midori stretched under the sun, watching one of her squad members shoot out a sad kido spell at the target. She sighed. Momo had told her that there was Kido practice scheduled for the squad that when Midori came in to the office. After taking one glance at the training rooms they were supposed to train in, she took them offsite, much to Momo's confusion. There was no way anyone could perfect kido on those grounds.
"Hey taicho, why did we have to come out here to practice kido? We have adequate training grounds inside Seretei," Hinamori questioned.
"That's because our dear Midori-chan might take down half of our buildings with one demonstration."
Midori whipped around and broke into a smile, "Kyoraku-san!"
"Kido eh?" Shunsui echoed as he approached them with his lieutenant right next to him. "Looks like you haven't demonstrated anything yet since everything seems to be in tact, including your squad," he winked.
"How have you been Midori-chan? Wasn't able to catch you yesterday," the man smiled.
"I've been good, just the usual, you know," she answered, "how about you?"
"It's always good with my Nanao-chan beside me," he teased his lieutenant.
Midori leaned in. "Ah! Could you be the girl Lisa-san used to read to?" Midori asked.
"Yes, Akizuki-taicho, I remember seeing you," the woman bowed politely.
Midori looked closely at both her and her captain and smiled playfully. "I see now…" she pondered, "only someone like you would be fit to have the undivided attention and love from Kyoraku-san." The woman instantly turned into a deep shade of pink. Even Shunsui looked at her surprised.
"Akizuki-taicho!" Nanao protested.
"Although Kyoraku-san, seems like you still have some work to do before she's yours," Midori shrugged.
Shunsui laughed, "As expected of Midori-san to be able to see into people's hearts."
"Not everyone's...not everyone's…" She looked hard at the ground thinking about a certain person with contempt before some commotion snapped her attention.
One of her squad members had started to complain how Midori was making them do the same set of kido for so long. After wacking him in the head she had given a demonstration with her own Shakkoho that tore down a few trees with the wave of her fan. The squad watched in shock. They all knew Shakkaho. It was one of the first spells you learn and regarded as a weak one that could barely scratch the skin of a hollow. Many captains and lieutenants could do it without chanting but it was their first time seeing one of that caliber in both size and speed. Even Momo was taken aback as a kido master. She knew her new captain was strong, but she wasn't expecting this.
Kyoraku tipped his head as some twigs came soaring at him. "Yare, yare, Midori-chan is as scary as ever," he murmured.
Midori glanced at him with a curious look, "You can't say that about me, look at yourself first." He scoffed. How could she say that? He was harmless...
Midori shifted her attention to Nanao. "Nanao-san is a Kido expert aren't you?" Nanao looked at her surprised.
"You don't have a zanpakuto with you, I doubt your book is it. You must be highly talented in something that doesn't require a katana...like Kido," reasoned Midori, earning her a chuckle from Shunsui. Nanao was slightly embarrassed, not used to being noticed besides by Kyoraku.
"My, my, she's really got you wrapped around her finger," Midori teased as the two of them strolled away from the training ground. Nanao had stayed to help Momo demonstrate for the squad, though she was beginning to think she and her captain really should get back to manage their own squad.
"I don't think she realizes it though," he pouted, "but how could you just steal my lieutenant away like that!" He motioned towards the training ground.
Midori rolled her eyes, "You saw her eyes, she wanted to go try! Besides… I didn't come back just to train some shinigami to do Shakkoho or Byakurai."
"I know…for Hirako-san."
"Not just that Kyoraku-san," she pondered, "I came back to find the truth."
"I know." He gave a pat to her shoulder.
Midori sighed as she stared off into the distance at Momo and Nanao. It was unsettling for her to be here just training people in kido. She knew it was her job but it some how all seemed so meaningless in the wake of everything else that was happening.
Luckily for her, as if Yamamoto knew what she been thinking, she called to his office along with Byakuya after the kido practice.
"You guys are to go to Karakura. Your sister is already there," Yamamoto ordered, "there's been more hollow activity and it's thought to be related to Aizen."
Of course Midori would have been enough for just some 'hollow activity', but it was more than obvious he was making Byakuya tag along in case she had been conspiring with someone this entire time. She accepted it though. It wasn't like she was plotting anything and Byakuya never bothered her anyway.
Midori was no stranger to going into the Living World. She had been hundreds of times. This time however, butterflies had filled her stomach to the point she could clearly hear her own heartbeat. She slid glances at Byakuya. If he had noticed her uneasiness, he didn't show it.
She knew they would be seeing him first, but somehow seeing him in person was a whole nother feeling. One that she missed.
"Hai hai, Midori-san, how lovely to see you after so long!" Urahara Kisuke said in jolly.
Midori could only break out into a smile and give him a big hug much to his surprise, and well - everyone's.
"Who's the pretty lady hugging that pervert?" Jinta asked bluntly. Ururu hushed him.
"Urahara-san! I'm so happy to see you doing well!" She exclaimed removing herself from him. She looked around the store. It was very playful and somehow just seemed very...him.
Byakuya shifted his attention his beeping phone.
"How's everyone else? Yoruichi-san?" Midori breathed, "Shinji?"
There was a pause. Urahara smiled softly, "We can save that for another time, I believe you have a job to take care of." He motioned towards Byakuya.
"We should go," he told her. She gave a curt nod before flashing away with Byakuya.
Kurosaki Ichigo stared in awe as D-Roy Rinker crumbled with Rukia's ice. Chappy blurted out some nonsense about Rukia's zanpakuto being the most beautiful in Soul Society but Ichigo was just glad he had Kon and not a psycho like Chappy.
He was just about to say something but a certain blue haired man had landed right next to Rukia.
"Rukia!" Ichigo exclaimed.
Rukia whipped around to see Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. She clenched Sode no Shirayuki wanting to attack but his hand was already forming a cero on her face and fires it through her.
"RUKIA!" Ichigo shouted in horror and grabbed Zangetsu, sprinting at Grimmjow.
They exchange names briefly as they clash a few times until Ichigo starts to feel that dreaded occurrence. His hollow was coming out.
Grimmjow is about to attack again when he suddenly jumps backwards as a flash of lightning comes down between him and Ichigo. Ichigo with his hand to his face peers through his fingers to see a woman bearing a Gotei 13 captain's haori, land smoothly between them.
"Who the fuck are you?!" Grimmjow snarled.
Midori glared at him, zanpakuto in hand, "That's what I'm supposed to be asking," she snapped, sizing him up, "or more like a what are you."
'Hollow?' Midori wondered to herself, noticing the obvious hole on his abdomen.
"If you're going to interrupt my fight then I'll have to cut you first," Grimmjow said angrily. Midori noted his bloodlust, very similar to a certain captain's. But before she could continue, they all felt a new reiatsu.
Midori looks up to see a dark man with his eyes blindfolded, carrying a katana.
"Grimmjow," the man spoke.
Grimmjow clenched his teeth. "Tousen!" he snapped.
"Come back at once. Aizen-sama is not happy," Tosen Kaname deadpanned.
Grimmjow glanced at Midori and Ichigo throwing threats at them, but Midori isn't listening. Her eyes were glued to Kaname. Aizen, he had said. Her blood boiled just at the mention of that name.
"You!" She shouted. Kaname looked at her. "Tell Aizen that son-of-a-bitch this, you saw someone named Akizuki Midori."
And with that, they were gone. She was going to make sure he knew she was back and that she will not be letting him off.
Midori flashed to a bleeding Rukia and instantly began to heal her.
"Rukia!" Ichigo had gotten a hold of himself and ran to her.
"Midori-san," Rukia coughed, "I'm alright."
Ichigo looked worriedly at Rukia but noticed her wounds rapidly healing and glanced at Midori. "5th division captain?" He said, taking note of her uniform.
"Temporary," Midori replied although lifting her head at him to get a better look.
She leaned in close to Ichigo who leaned back, weirded out. She burst out laughing.
"Lets see…hot tempered... you guys are totally alike!" She blurted out. Rukia and Ichigo just stared, dumbfounded.
"You're Iss-" Midori remembered Ukitake's words.
"If you see Ichigo, don't talk mention Issin, he doesn't know anything."
"You're that boy Kurosaki Ichigo that caused a ruckus in Seretei not too long ago huh?" She smiled.
Ichigo scowled, "Is that how everyone remembers me?!"
"I've heard great things about you," Midori gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
Ichigo frowned darkly, thinking about what had just happened. He almost lost control to his hollow, again. He slammed his fist down onto the pavement.
"Dammit," he muttered. The Visoreds had told him to take a day to rest and strengthen up as the process of beating his hollow would be excruciatingly exhausting. He now wished they had started earlier.
"That's quite the monster that boy has in him," Midori commented as she flashed from one roof to the other. She had an arm around Rukia to hold her as they shunpoed en route to Urahara's shop. They had parted way with Ichigo who had said something about meeting someone else.
Rukia sighed, "Yeah...been struggling with it for awhile."
"I see…" Midori kept going back to Ichigo. That seemed like a hollow mask, but he was a shinigami. Hollow powers in a shinigami sounded eerily familiar.
Rukia snapped Midori out of her thoughts. She saw Byakuya who had flashed in front of them and instantly stopped.
Byakuya observed Rukia's state, clearly unhappy about it.
"She's alright, just needs some rest," Midori said quickly.
"Midori-san healed me Nii-sama, I'm okay," added Rukia, trying to soothe the worries of her brother who clearly wasn't buying it.
"I'll help her inside the shop, Urahara doesn't seem to be around," said Byakuya to Midori's dismay. Looks like she was going to have to play catch up another day.
"Midori-kun huh…" Sousuke echoed with a smirk, "what a pleasant surprise…"
Kaname didn't say anything as he watched Grimmjow exiting the room in pain without his left arm.
"You seem rather happy about this Gin," noted Sousuke,
Gin smiled, "Of course, aren't you pleased too? Brings back memories doesn't it? Makes me want to see her again...and play."
"My my Midori-chan, just look at yourself," sneered a familiar voice.
Midori lifted her head to look at the familiar silver haired man on the other side of the bars. A moment of relief spread through her.
"Gin!" she sputtered. She tried to move but the seals had bound her legs and limited motion in her arms.
"What happened to Shinji? Tell them this is a misunderstanding!" She exclaimed. Shinji was his captain, he would know that Shinji would never-
"So pitiful…just look at you."
Midori winced at Gin's coldness. She knew he was a man with very little feelings and one who intimidated others and would probably be seen as a bit of a troubled child but she had always believed him to be good nonetheless.
"Gin…what are you saying?" she said softly. He grabbed the bars and leaned towards her, laughing.
"You're still so stupid Midori-chan," he slurred.
"That's why you're so fun to toy with."
A/N: Thanks for reading! One thing to note is that Midori is pretty clueless about what happened in the past and that there will be many parts not containing Shinji of her meeting up with old friends since she had been away for so long. Yes I do have an affinity for ShunsuixNanao. Midori and Shinji will probably see each other in the next chapter. As always, I'm open to any reviews and crits!