Chapter 52: Aftermath
The clean up after the battle had taken a little time but by the end of it all the Hollows that had invaded Yokai Academy were gone, but the damage had been done. There was a lot of damage to the campus, a few buildings had taken lots of damage, somewhere missing walls, and one wing looked like it might collapse under its own weight at any moment. The students and even most of the teachers of course had lots of questions when the all clear came down from the Head Master.
The story that was told was that a bunch of wild creatures of yokai origin had somehow gotten into the school grounds and went wild. Since some creatures both animal and plant lived on the grounds it wasn't unheard of but it was the only thing that could pass for what happened. Plus they could let it get out that the school was invaded by human spirits bent on eating the students. That could have had disastrous results if the parents found out and could have shut the school down permanently.
Currently they were in the Head Master's office where Ichigo and his friends, the Newspaper Club and the Arrancars along with Yoruichi and Urahara were gathered up. The Exorcist was sitting behind his head in his white robes and his oddly shinning glasses hiding his eyes.
"Well so far the news of the rampaging creatures is holding thankfully hollow don't leave behind bodies." He smiled at them. "I do thank you all for your hard work in defending this school."
"Oh it was our pleasure," Urahara smiled happily at him waving his small fan. "I got a lot of interesting new data to play with. I've got a whole new world of possibilities to play around with and for a man of science that is like pure gold."
"I'm just glad that everyone is alright," Tsukune added but then scratched the back of his head. "Although I'm sorry we couldn't save the school buildings."
"Yes that is unfortunate." He agreed. "Because of this and the damage not only classes have been cancelled but the rest of the school year will have to be shut down for the rest of the term while we rebuild."
"EH!?" The students yelled out at once.
"B-but what about the rest of the school year?" Moka asked as she was enjoying her second term at school.
"Yes, we can't just take the rest of the year off," Tsukune really didn't want to repeat the entire year because the school was shut down, although it might turn out to be like that. He wasn't looking forward to explaining to his parents that he had to repeat his second year.
"I don't want to repeat the second year," Kurumu fell to her knees wailing. "This year was hard enough the first time around."
"Well maybe next time you'll study." Yukari told her only to suddenly get put into a headlock by the blue haired girl.
"You only say that because you're a genius and redoing a year at your age means nothing!"
"So what the hell about us?" Grimmjow asked getting irritated about all this talk. "We can't get back home with that new barrier up."
"Oh I thought of that already," Urahara waved off his question. "You'll all return with us to Karakura town where you can open up a way back there."
"Good I didn't want to end up being stuck here," Mila Rose sighed although this place was different it wasn't 'home' to her or the others. Sure their home was a wasteland where survival of the fittest seemed to be the law of the land, but it felt more natural to be there. This place just didn't feel right to her and the others felt it too.
Plus there were so little spiritual particles here that they were starting to feel the effects. Hollows didn't leave their home for long periods of time because their world was filled with spiritual particles that helped to feed their bodies slowly over time. It wasn't enough to sate their hunger but it did allow them to live for long periods of time. Here outside of that environment they had been slowly getting weaker as their bodies didn't have the constant stream of particles around them.
They were starting to get hunger and although food and drink did help for arrancar as their more human-like bodies helped to process that stuff into energy, they would need another source of spiritual power to draw on soon.
"I'm also worried about the other two," Nel thought of her good friends who she left behind to look after the survivors. Yes they could be a bit on the silly side but they were both good and loyal friends of hers and friends were in short supply for hollows.
"We should also head on back, without Demonio in charge there's no telling what will happen," Harribel spoke up thinking about the issue. Who knew how many more arrancar were still around since Aizen had experimented quite a bit before he got to the Espada. There would most likely be a power vacuum that others would want to fill which would lead to a lot of problems for everyone.
"So what about us?" Ichigo asked he had been silent for a bit as something had been nagging at him ever since the start of this little meeting. "With the barrier up no more hollows can get in here right?"
"That's right," The Head Master nodded at him, "Which means that your services have been completed, I would like to thank you all on behave of my school, the students and the teachers for everything you've all done here. The school will be rebuilt although it will take the rest of the semester to get it fully repaired I would think."
"I figured as much," Rukia sighed. "I supposed it's back to Soul Society for me and Renji then. We have a lot of reporting to do about everything that happened."
Renji rolled his eyes at all the paperwork, even as the second in command of his division he hated all the paperwork that went along with the rank. He had always been more of a front line fighting type of guy. Well he had gotten used to the paperwork, hell back in the Eleventh he had been one of the few that actually did reports, well now and again he did them. Although it was a mixed blessing going back, the good was that they were going home and see everyone they knew back there the bad, now they would have to deal with her brother.
He was official courting a member of the Kuchiki House (although adopted member) so there were all kinds of things he would have to do, all kinds of hoops he would have to jump through. He looked at the short dark haired girl he had known as a fellow orphan of the streets. Just looking at her made him resolve that no matter what was put in front of him he would do anything to be with her. Rukia noticed him staring as her as she blushed a bit.
"W-what? What is it?"
He only smiled at her, "nothing to worry about, just thinking about what I'm going to do for our first date in Soul Society is all."
That got Rukia flushing as she looked away although she did have a small smile on her face thinking about it. Then she thought about her brother and the smile dropped, she really hoped things were going to be okay with her older brother. He could be kind of protective of her sometimes although you had to know him to see it at times. Still the prospect of a new date when they got back might just make it worthwhile.
"I'm going to miss this school and everyone here," Orihime sniffed she had gotten to know everyone and made so many new friends. She was happy that their school would be fixed up and everyone would be safe now but she had made a lot of good friends here as well. She felt a strong arm gently place itself on her shoulders. She looked up to see Ichigo had placed a comforting arm and she leaned into him.
She may be losing some friends but she would cherish her memories of them and of this place, plus coming here had caused her and Ichigo to get together. Something she only had ever dreamed would happen.
"Waaaah! Rukia-san!" Yukari hugged the short shinigami her tiny arms wrapped around her waist. She was really going to miss the dark haired girl, she had been opened to a whole new world of magical possibilities plus she looked up to the girl as well.
"So...you're all leaving," Kurumu said as the realization hit her. She stood very still as her eyes were shadowed not looking at anyone in particular but everyone had a feeling it was aimed at Uryu. The tall Quincy didn't say anything, what could he say?
He had known that this was an outcome, he doubted he would be allowed to come back as there was no reason for it, at least nothing official with the hollow threat dealt with. He came here to do a job but instead he had fallen for the blue haired girl. He had no words, there was nothing comforting he could say, nothing he tell her that things would work out.
Kurumu bit her lip as she turned and quickly ran out of the room, she didn't want everyone to know how upset she was she didn't want to show her tears in front of everyone. She heard the others calling for her but she didn't listen. She just wanted to go away from everyone and be alone.
Uryu wanted to go after her but he had no idea what he could do or say that would make things better.
"What the hell are you doing?" Ichigo asked walking over to him. "Go after her."
"You think I don't want to?" Uryu said with barely contained anger. "I never wanted this for her but when I leave here I'll be staying in Karakura town while she'll come back here."
Uryu felt so frustrated over the entire thing, he was thinking but so far there was nothing out of this problem.
"You should at least go after her," Ichigo told him and took a quick glance to Orihime. "If the girl I loved was hurting I wouldn't let anything stop me from going to her."
Uryu clenched his jaw as he walked off, he had a lot to think about and he wanted to think about it alone.
Everyone watched him go not saying a word as there really wasn't anything to say that is until Grimmjow decided to speak up.
"Can we please get back home before I get even more sick of all this crap?"
That earned him a slap to the back of the head from an annoyed Nel.
"Woman, you do that again and I'll feed you that damn hand!"
"Try it," Nel said seriously as she locked eyes with Grimmjow. The man didn't look away but he knew that in a fair fight she was more powerful than him. He only locked his eyes with her defiantly just long enough to keep his pride intact. He slowly locked eyes with Ichigo as again he knew that he originally wanted to fight him again but after what he saw he knew that he could try to get stronger but he had hit a wall in his development while Ichigo didn't show signs of slowing down.
"We have nothing more left between us," and with that he just left he was going back to the training room to wait until they could get out of this place.
Ichigo just stared at him confused by what he meant by that.
"He was looking forward to fighting you again," Harribel said to him seeing his lost look. "He felt that your last fight wasn't finished but after what he witnessed he realizes that fighting you again would be pointless. He knows who would win so he decided to leave the battlefield."
"So he wussed out," Loly shot out.
Harribel shot her a cold look. "Don't make fun of a warrior's pride. To admit your own short comings is a hard thing to do but necessary for growth."
The smaller Arrancar didn't reply to that offering to just stay silent.
Chad had finished packing up everything it wasn't like he had a lot since the boarding school provided a lot for the students. Still he had time and with nothing else to do he grabbed a guitar, it was the one he took from the school's music club and would have to give it back. It was too bad, originally he played base but he had tried recently to play guitar. He liked the wooden guitar as the tone and pitch allowed him to play different types of music.
He took it to his usual spot outside the place did look like a tornado hit the school. He was sad for all the damage, the school had been a very unique experience but overall a positive one. He sat down on a bench that was still standing as he pulled out the instrument. He tuned it up out of habit as he knew that he hadn't touched it since the last time he played. He closed his eyes as he started out with a mariachi tone he remembered from his childhood in Mexico.
He have loved hearing the mariachi bands back then, it was one of the few things he found hard to find while in Japan for obvious reasons. Plus it was hard to find MP3 files online for those small time bands. He started out with a tinkling tone, his fingers danced on the strings as a beautifully haunting sound filled the air. He played slow as he put his heart into the song, it was filled with longing, a bit of despair and loneliness.
Chad played on putting his soul into the music. It wasn't until the end of the song that he felt the presence he knew was standing behind him. He stopped playing waiting for her as Mizore silently walked around and sat next to him.
"That was very sad," She honestly told him feeling the emotions of the music. She nearly felt tears in her eyes from the emotional impact.
"I don't exactly feel happy at the moment," He told her looking at the strings. "Although I'm going back I don't want to leave at the same time."
"I don't want you to leave either," She told him looking ahead like himself. "But we knew this might happen."
Chad nodded his head as he started up again but her pale hand stopped his for a moment. He looked at her with a questioning look.
"Nothing sad, not this time."
He thought about it and nodded as he started up again. This time he thought of something better than going, he thought about the girl sitting next to him. Because of his size and appearance he tended to intimidate girls his own age. He didn't mean to plus he was kind of shy around them so it was hard to start up a conversation. But Mizore had been the first to really step forward and open up to him. He thought about her and his feelings for her as he put his heart back into the music.
This time it was a happier tone, the melody was a bit more upbeat but there was something else to it. It was an old love song he had known about for some time. It was about a story of a man that was going away and wanted to tell the woman he loved his feelings in a moonlit night before his departure.
Mizore closed her eyes as she felt his music reach her, she leaned against his shoulder and rested against him listening to him play. She didn't want their last day to be one of sadness, she just wanted to listen to him play and let the moment stretch on for as long as they could just stay here, just like this.
-Later that Night-
Kurumu had been locked up in her room since she had left the Head Master's office, she was currently curled up on her bed holding one of her pillows to her chest as she had been crying into it. She couldn't believe how unfair life was to her, first she lost Tsukune leaving her heart broken and just when she thought she might never find love she did. She found it in a human, well nearly human she wasn't sure what you call a Quincy but that wasn't important. He treated her with respect and although he was kind of stiff at times she had seen his softer side.
It hasn't been easy but eventually she not only found her true chosen one and he returned her feelings, he was going to leave her. It just wasn't fair, she felt her heart breaking all over again and this time seemed even more painful.
There was a knock on her door but she just ignored it. It came harder as she was considering just yelling at the person to go away.
"Kurumu, please open up." Uryu's voice softly called to her.
Kurumu tensed up she didn't want to see him but she also wanted to see him. She wanted to hold him and never let go. She couldn't bear to look at him without feeling like her heart would be shattering.
"Please open the door."
She wiped away her tears she took a quick glance at a mirror and her face scrunched up in distaste at her face. She quickly grabbed some tissues and cleaned her face as best she could. If this was the last time she was going to see him she didn't want to look like a mess. She reached her door as her hand gripped the door lock as she stood there frozen. She had one more mental debate before unlocking the door and opening it. She stepped away looking away from him she still couldn't face him.
Uryu walked in and closed the door behind him. He saw her there standing and looking so vulnerable, she looked like she could just shatter at the first sign of a touch but he walked up behind her anyway. He raised his hands unsure of where to place them but ended up on her shoulders. He bent his head forward resting his forehead on the top of her blue hair.
"You know when I came here I came for a mission, the only reason I could get my father to agree to it was because he knew about my stubborn pride as a Quincy and that I would go anywhere to help out others with hollows."
"When I first met you I thought you were kind of vane, a bit loud and not the type of girl I would find interesting."
Kurumu's eye twitched as she fought an urge to elbow him in the guts, if this was his way of sweat talking he had a hell of a lot to learn.
"But then I got to know you, I saw that you cared so much for your friends. You would put yourself on the line for them no matter what the danger." He breathed in the scent of her hair as he tried to burn it into his memory. "You have such a wonderful heart, you care so much for those around you even though you have your own way of showing it."
"You have so much energy and I find that you brighten up the room when you walk into it. You certainly don't make life boring and when I was at the lowest point. When I was so unsure of myself you were there for me."
"You did the same for me," Kurumu whispered out.
"You've become one of the most important people in my entire life. I never want to lose you."
"I don't want to lose you either...but..." Kurumu bit her lip as she felt her voice cracking slightly. "We'll never see each other."
"It doesn't mean that we'll never see each other again," Uryu told her. "We might not see each other for long periods but I don't want to lose what we have."
Kurumu turned around as she buried her face in his chest wrapping her arms around him. Could they make it work? Could they try and keep a relationship while the both of them were in two different places for most of a year? She started to think about it, on breaks they could see each other, plus after high school maybe they could go to the same college or university? Her mother would be totally behind anything she chose to do, given that to a succubus there was nothing more important than your Destined One.
"Will you call me and write me all the time?" She asked.
"Every moment I can," He told her.
"On my honor as a Quincy."
She knew how much he took pride in being a Quincy so for him to swear on that told her volumes. She looked up for the first time at those kind eyes behind the glasses. She would miss seeing that face and those eyes every day. She leaned up to capture his lips as she felt him do the same, he had come a long way since they first started.
She gently pulled him along after a few minutes she didn't want to stand forever. She felt the bed hit her legs as she stopped and pulled him down on top of her as they hit the bed.
"K-Kurumu," He suddenly said at the action and realized the position they were in.
"I just wanted to get more comfortable," She kissed him deeply again.
He felt her tongue enter his mouth doing things that made him feel like an electrical current was sent through his spine. For a moment he lost himself in the girl his hand on her side as it slowly trailed up, she moaned into the kiss but he stopped. He pulled back looking down at her, he cared for her, he most likely was in love with her but he didn't think he could try anything further. He knew that they might not see each other for a long time after tonight but he just couldn't make himself do anything more.
She looked up at him and smiled gently as she stroked the side of his face. "Can you stay with me, just a little longer?"
"I can do that," He told her. He laid down next to her as she twisted to her side their faces just inches away. She snuggled up to him as he stiffened not sure what to do but he eventually relaxed and held onto her.
At that moment in another part of the dorms Orihime was putting away her own items. She had been a bit glum all afternoon because this school had been a lot of fun. There were so many interesting people and it was fun staying at a school where everyone was different in their own unique ways. Back in Karakura town she always felt a little strange because of her abilities. Then again she had always felt somewhat like an outsider even before her powers. She had been bullied a lot until Tatsuki showed up and after that she had started to make some friends.
It would be good to see them all again, she missed seeing Tatsuki all the time and it would be nice to see home again. She sighed thinking about cleaning up her place, she hadn't been there for sometime although Tatsuki said she would help keep it dust free for her but Orihime knew she would have to buy new food, clean, then she had to put things again and also get ready to go back to Karakura high school.
It was a lot of work ahead of her, she picked up a picture she had. It was of all of them at the school here, it had been taken on a day off with Gin's camera. She was happy it turned out so well, it had been a couple of weeks after making friends with the Newspaper club and they all looked happy in their own way in the picture. She also had another set of photos, it was several small ones from a photo booth.
She smiled running her finger gently over the images of her and Ichigo together as he actually had on a small smile on his face. It had been taken on one of the few actual dates they had here. She had wanted something to always remember the moment and she couldn't wait to place it up on her wall back home.
There was a knock on her door as she blinked not sure who it was. She placed the photos away as she opened it and was surprised to see her boyfriend there.
"Ichigo-kun! What are you doing here?"
"Just wanted to make sure that you were okay," Ichigo told her scratching the back of his head nervously. He had seen her after the meeting with the Head Master and she had looked down. So after he had finished packing his stuff up he wanted to make sure she was okay. Well that and wondering where the hell Kon had snuck off too, he swore if that little mod soul was up to something he was going to give him to Yuzu.
Orihime smiled at his thoughtfulness, "I'm just a little sad to leave, we've made a lot of friends here."
"Yeah, I kind of know what you mean," Ichigo told her. "But this is a school for monsters we wouldn't even be here except for the problem with the hollows. At least we'll see everyone again we left behind, although I'm sure that when we get back once the school finds out about our new relationship it might get a little rough."
Orihime blinked, "Oh, why is that?"
Ichigo grunted out a small laugh, she was a bit too naive sometimes. She was one of the most beautiful and desired girls at their school. Keigo was sure to put up a fuss, so he would be annoying to deal with until he calmed down. Then there was Chizuru, he was going to have to talk to the girl to stop groping Orihime's breasts every morning that was going to stop right this moment.
Then there would be his family, Yuzu would excited he bet, Karin might just shrug it all off but it was his old man. His behavior when he had visited was just an example of what they would go through. But looking down at her he had to admit she was worth it.
"Never mind," he sighed as his hand brushed away a strand of hair away from her face. He had done it without really thinking as she blushed a bit but didn't pull away from the contact. In fact she only smiled a little up at him.
"Hey no boys in the dorm, even if it's a boyfriend!" A girl from the hallway shouted out.
Ichigo sent her an annoyed look but he knew he wasn't allowed in here after hours. He turned to look at her again. "Well I better get going I just wanted to check in on you."
She nodded her head, "I know and thanks."
Ichigo decided to try and be a bit more bold, talking to Uryu about going after Kurumu made him think of himself after the Quincy left. He didn't know if Uryu decided to talk to Kurumu but Ichigo didn't want to make mistakes like that. Orihime was in his life now and he would fight for her in any way. Either to protect her to or keep her in his life as she was now, he cared for her so much that the thought of losing her hurt.
He didn't want to waste away moments and gently cupped the side of her face. Orihime's eyes widened in surprised and was about to say something when her boyfriend's kiss suddenly silenced anything she was going to say. She closed her eyes as she kissed him back holding on to him, there had been a time she would have given anything to just kiss him once. She had nearly done so when he was asleep but knew she wanted it to be when he was awake.
Eventually Ichigo pulled back gently stroking the side of her face as the two shared a smile.
"Hey are ya still here?" The same female called out.
Ichigo muttered something Orihime didn't catch under his breath as he looked back at her. "Goodnight, I'll see you in the morning."
She nodded smiling feeling a lot better, yes it was sad that they were leaving but Ichigo had reminded her that they still had each other and they had a whole future together as well.
Uryu was dimly aware of a knocking sound, he blinked his eyes as he heard it again.
"Kurumu-chan are you in there?" Moka's voice called out.
'Moka? Why is she asking for Kurumu, aren't I in my room?' Uryu looked around and quickly knew he wasn't in his room in fact he knew exactly where he was. The girly room was very familiar with him as he spent time here tutoring Kurumu and speaking of said girl.
He looked down to see her snuggled up against him, he couldn't believe that he had fallen asleep especially like this. He gently shook her shoulder whispering her name trying to get her to wake up before Moka tied to open the door. He didn't think Kurumu locked it when he came in last night.
"Is she still asleep?" Mizore's voice could be heard.
"Kurumu," Uryu whispered harder.
"Oh Uryu you animal," She murmured making the Quincy freeze up. "You can touch me there if you want."
Uryu really tried hard not to think about what she was dreaming about. He shook her a bit more violently as the girl finally seemed to wake up.
"Kurumu wake up!" He hissed at her.
"Oh I had this great dream," She said trying to snuggle back into his chest.
"Yeah..." Uryu blushed trying very hard not to think about it. "Anyways the other girls are outside your door."
"They are?" Kurumu raised her sleepy head and then heard the knocking with Kokoa this time nearly yelling at the girl to wake up. Kurumu's sleepy mind slowly started to get up to speed as she realized that she and Uryu had spent the night together. Okay sure it wasn't in a way she might have liked but it had been nice.
"Is the door locked?" He asked her.
"No, why would...oh," She suddenly realized how they looked. They had been in the same clothing as yesterday that was all rumbled up and they were in bed together at such an early time there was no way he had just gotten there ahead of them. She quickly got up trying to think of a way for him to hide, the closet might work but he might have to get rid of them quickly. Maybe she could hide him under the bed or he would just go out the window. He could do that flash thing he did, damn she couldn't remember the name of the technique this early.
"Okay here's what we'll do," She told him.
"See the door wasn't even locked," Yukari spoke up as she Moka, Mizore and Kokoa walked into the place and then froze. The sight before them was Uryu on Kurumu's bed with the girl leaning over him in a very suggestive manner. Both their clothing was messy and they looked like they hadn't even showered yet with their hair all messy. Uryu's glasses weren't even on straight.
"Oh..." Yukari said blushing.
"Sorry for intruding," Moka squeaked out blushing so hard it made her pink hair stand out even more.
"Wish I thought of that," Mizore commented to herself.
"It's not what it looks like!" Kurumu wailed, "Honestly, not this time!"
Judging by the looks of the girls they weren't believing her, Kurumu cursed her past actions with Tsukune and trying to seduce him. She didn't really care if she had slept with Uryu and they found out but she didn't want a misunderstanding to happen.
"Why are you all here anyway!?" She demanded.
"Everyone's gathering up for breakfast before everyone leaves and you weren't up yet," Moka spoke up softly trying not to look in her direction poking her index fingers together.
"I can see why though," Kokoa smirked.
Uryu and Kurumu had a lot to explain to them before the girls left them alone for Uryu to sneak out of the girl's dorm and for Kurumu to get showered and changed.
Next up Chapter 53: Epilogue