Again, I apologize for the (very) prolonged delay. Life has been quite hectic lately, so I wasn't in the best frame of mind to keep up with the story. Anyway, I hope to make up for it with this chapter, which I've been meaning to write for a while. This chapter's fight has been inspired on a episode of Shurato, another anime I'm a great fan of.
I do not own Bleach nor Clock Tower. They belong to Tite Kubo and Capcom, respectively.
CHAPTER 09 – UP OR DOWN, BACK AND FORTH
Astounded by the odd physical laws in this realm, Uryuu and Alyssa glanced around, their minds trying to grasp the situation. Not that they should be searching for any logical explanations when it came to the world of Shinigami and Hollows in first place. Even so, it felt strange to have the openness of the sky beside you, not above.
Walking up to the edge, Alyssa gazed down the sea of buildings extending to the horizon... or, more accurately, to the depth. It was as though an entire city had been built on a cliff side.
"Uryuu, any idea of where we are?" she inquired.
He remained silent. Despite the obviously different angle, that layout did look familiar to Uryuu. The landscape, the buildings, the sky... everything resembled a lot Karakura Town. Why it did so, he wasn't sure. Most likely some sort of sick joke coming from those Arrancars, or even Aizen.
"Enjoying the sight, brats?" a voice echoed behind them, immediately drawing their attention.
Appearing over the neighboring skyscraper walls, in a higher level, Ralph and Jemima looked down at the youngsters, grinning amused at their confused state.
Alyssa was the first to speak up. "What's this place? Where did you take us?"
"This place's called Negación (Spanish: Negation)," Jemima answered. "A realm only accessible to high-class Hollows."
Ralph resumed the talk, alternating with his sister. "Normally, Lord Aizen would send disobedient Arrancars in, as a form of punishment, but..."
"Among our vast abilities, stands the capability of moving in and out of it at will..."
"Just as transmigrating other beings to this realm as well, hence..."
"We've chosen this place to be your grave." The Scissor-woman finished, laughing out loud along with her twin.
Surprised by the explanation, Uryuu and Alyssa widened their eyes. Could a transmigration like that be actually forced? Then, Uryuu recalled the time in Seireitei, when a bunch of Menos Grandes had helped Aizen escape by using this Negación field. Therefore, it shouldn't have come as a surprise these enemies could do such a feat, so he quickly recomposed and readied himself. Alyssa, despite still being a bit shocked, at seeing her partner about to re-engage in combat, also quickly shoved these thoughts off and got ready.
That's when an unseen force suddenly pulled them both sidewards, towards the (actual) ground. Caught off-guard, the two spiritual archers let out a small groan as they slammed hard against the asphalt. Luckily they were not far from the building bottom, so the fall hadn't been fatal. Regardless the dizziness and pain, they swiftly got up.
Just then, the Scissor-siblings also dropped to the ground, but landing gracefully on their feet. Witnessing that, Uryuu finally realized. "The gravity direction... it's changed!"
"Exactly!" Ralph started this time. "You know, we haven't teleported you to this place just for fun."
"Inside Negación, we're gods!" Jemima bragged. It was a tad creepy about how these two could complete each other's sentences without rehearsing; maybe twins really shared the same brainwave pattern, like theorized. "Here, we can even control the direction in which the gravity pulls".
Barely finished the sentence, she promptly positioned herself back to back to her brother. Then, both of them raised their katanas high and crossed the blades above their heads, forming an 'X'.
"SLICE AND DICE, TIJERA (Spanish: Scissor)!" they shouted in unison.
A blue gust whirled around them, similarly to Jemima's previous razor wind. This one, however, was much thicker, to the point of completely concealing the assassins. Although neither Uryuu or Alyssa could see them, just by sensing the immense spiritual pressure, one could easily guess the transformation had skyrocketed the Subordinates' powers. From inside the haze, a flash of purple sparks briskly dispersed it, revealing the Scissor-twins in their Resurrección forms.
Both were clad in a full-torso white armor with wide shoulder pads (resembling Ralph's, but longer), arm and shin guards, also entirely white, and a tiara-like helmet that protected their foreheads and cheekbones. Instead of swords, they carried a cross-shaped boomerang each, which featured four perpendicular one-feet blades and the gauntlet at the center, resembling a windmill. The siblings were practically a mirror of each other, the only difference being the crest carved on their tiaras: while Jemima's bore the black half of the Yin-Yang symbol, Ralph's bore the white half.
The two warriors, albeit determined, tensed slightly at the feeling of their foes' current massive power.
"Well, brats. May the party..." Ralph started.
"Begin!" Jemima concluded.
Hueco Mundo, Las Noches palace
Sat on his throne, in a dark room, Aizen Sousuke watched attentively an hologram showing footage of past battles in the Living World. Those scenes had been previously collected and brought on by one of his loyalest minions, the 4th Espada, Ulquiorra Cifer.
Right now, the hologram was displaying the image of a girl with long orange hair, summoning a triangular glowing shield to block Yammy Llargo's punch. Quite a deed, as there weren't many individuals around who would be able to stop the 10th Espada's fist.
Next, the image switched to the same girl, summoning the same shield to heal one of her fallen companions in the battlefield. What amazed the most though, was the fact that ability of hers lay in the ordinary-looking hairpins she wore.
"You have a very interesting power, girl." He commented, while giving a sly grin.
Despite being focused, Aizen still could notice, from the flank, the approaching figure of his underling, Ichimaru Gin.
"Interesting movie, captain Aizen. Mind if I watch it too?" the fox-faced Shinigami idly commented, his arms crossed, with the hands tucked inside the sleeves.
Ignoring his jokes, the 5th Squad former captain just looked at him, deadpanned. "Any reports on the new Arrancars, Gin?"
"Nothin' relevant. Except that three o' them have already been obliterated by da Quincy and da Rooder," he sarcastically said. "And it also seems Soul Society is already aware of our acts there."
Given that mission in London was supposed to be a secret, one could expect Aizen to lose his temper, or at least, feel displeased for having it smoked out. But, surprisingly, he kept the ever calm demeanor, not appearing to be bothered in the minimum by that info.
"I see," the brown-haired captain uttered. "Anyway, it's not like their services are needed anymore."
"Oh, so ya did find a solution for that... lil' problem?"
"I did." Aizen replied, turning back to the hologram vision of Inoue Orihime.
Realm of Negación
Rapidly spinning, the boomerang cut through the air towards Uryuu, who dodged the deadly charge by an inch. Alyssa, however, wasn't so fast, as the weapon instantly covered the distance to her and, whilst missing, made a gash on her side, near the waist. She let out a small yelp, but fortunately the wound wasn't serious enough to put her out of combat.
"Alyssa!" the Quincy called out, realizing his partner had been wounded. This, however, distracted him briefly off the other boomerang, registering it only at mere inches from his head. By pure reflex, he avoided being decapitated by the helix blades, receiving a nasty scratch on his cheek instead.
All of a sudden, the gravity direction shifted again. And once again, sidewards, pulling all four of them towards the outer walls of another skyscraper. Using his Hyrenkyaku flash steps, Uryuu managed to reach out Alyssa and get hold of her. What he couldn't have guessed though, were the two boomerangs changing their trajectories as well, flying back at him like homing missiles.
The moment Uryuu landed on the building walls, carrying Alyssa in his arms, he immediately hyrenkyaku-ed again to escape the oncoming threat. Missing him, the weapons ended up smashing onto the building's glass panels, scattering shards everywhere.
"Thanks." The girl said, being lowered to her feet. Hadn't he caught her, she would have crashed onto the glass panels.
The Quincy just nodded, immediately turning his attention back to the fight at hand. His face frowned in frustration at their current situation. Previously, their arrows had proved themselves useless due to the enemies' speed, yet now, their swords were also ineffective against the Scissor-siblings' long ranged weapons.
'Those boomerangs don't follow a straight trajectory, like expected of a throwing weapon. Instead, they move around randomly, almost as a living thing, a hawk pursuing its prey. Moreover, the fact those Arrancars can change the gravity direction at will only increases their dangerousness.' He mentally analyzed.
Nevertheless, they knew better than trying to use their bows again, so they decided to stick to their respective blades, wielding Seele Schneider and the Rooder flaming sword into fighting stance. But as the battle went on, his efforts seemed quite fruitless, since whenever the spiritual archers attempted a close quarter, the assassins either maneuvered away using their acrobatic skills, or threw their weapons to keep their opponents distant. It was as though they didn't want to expose themselves at all, rather letting their sharp-edged projectiles do the job for them. Uryuu quickly reached the conclusion that, if he wanted to stand a chance against those enemies, he would have to catch them by surprise or drive them to a corner, from where they couldn't escape. Of course, easier said than done.
The boomerangs whizzed around the entire battlefield, forcing the spiritual warriors to be in constant alert, as a strike could come out of any direction. One of the weapons went straight to Uryuu, who dove away, making it break into the building window. Oddly enough, the boomerang didn't return. The other one flew back to Jemima, who, making a handstand with only one hand, caught it with both legs and, spinning a full circle around the same hand, used the projectile's momentum to throw it back at the youngsters. At the Rooder, more specifically.
Alyssa held out her flaming sword in order to protect herself, but the boomerang's speed was simply too much to be blocked directly. Insomuch that the impact sent her flying backwards, landing back first and rolling a few feet away.
Uryuu saw it and rushed in her aid. Before he could reach her, however, the first boomerang, which had sooner vanished into the building, emerged abruptly out of the glass right beneath him, making a gash on his back. With a pained cry, Uryuu fell over, blood spilling off his wound. For the projectile, it returned straight to Ralph's hand.
Striving hard to get up, the young warrior flinched at the crippling injury, barely managing to stand back to his feet. The sharp pain dulled so much his senses that he didn't notice the red mist appearing right behind him. Just when a pair of arms grabbed him from behind, from under his shoulders, and two legs wrapped around his waist, he realized the Scissor-woman had sonido-ed on and restrained him. With the extra weight, both Quincy and Arrancar dropped to the floor.
Clacking noises were heard off Uryuu's body, as Jemima squeezed him as a mouse inside the deadly hug of an anaconda. Uryuu gritted his teeth, trying to pry her off him, with no avail. In fact, the more he struggled, the tighter she squeezed, adding even more pain to his already sore body. Cursing thoughts were crossing his mind: why did he have to come across so many absurdly strong women in his life? First, Nemu. Now, this freakish female Arrancar.
"Let him go!" shouted the Rooder. She prompted to get over to him, but had to stop in her tracks as Ralph leapt right in front of her, blocking the path.
"You're gonna watch your partner die, slow and painfully," the Scissor-man sadistically scoffed at her. "But don't worry, you'll be following him soon enough."
Alyssa scowled deeply at that horrible scene. Her partner was going to die an excruciating death and she wouldn't be able to avoid it. She gripped tight her sword and prepared to fight her way through the assassin, but the rational part of her brain reminded that, alone, she wouldn't stand much of a chance against a power-enhanced Ralph. Both the spiritual warriors seemed to have reached a dead end.
Unbeknown to the foursome though, another pair of eyes was watching everything.
Dennis apparently had also been dragged inside Negación, a little while after the twins. As his senses returned from the forced transmigration, the first thing he noticed was the layout of this new place: an empty, topsy-turvy city. Next, he realized the figures of Alyssa and Uryuu fighting the two Subordinates. They were so focused on the battle that seemed unaware of his presence, thanks to the fact he had arrived far from the battlefield. Therefore, he did what his survival instinct primarily told him: to hide. And inside the skyscraper where all of them were currently standing on would be the best place. He was now observing the combat from an ajar glass window, which, given the building's position, looked rather a trapdoor.
However, as the battle proceeded on, and the assassins got the upper hand, a mixture of feelings started to bubble inside Dennis' stomach: fear for his comrades' safety, relief combined with shame, that he wasn't fighting alongside with them, and most of all, a burning desire to help his friends, to do something.
His conscience kept reminding that his friends, who had come to rescue him, were risking out their lives, bleeding out in the battlefield, while he was there, hiding like a coward. Shame finally overcame and he decided he couldn't just stay still and watch that nonchalantly. So, in an impulsive act, he grabbed a lengthy shard of glass laying nearby (one of the many resulting from the boomerangs' crashes) and, jumping out of the window, rushed into the fray.
The Scissor-siblings heard what resembled a battle cry echoing through the air and, surprised, spotted the shape of Dennis sprinting towards Jemima, holding a glass shard with both hands. Not less surprised was Alyssa, who recognized her boyfriend.
Jemima, who was lying on the floor restraining Uryuu, had to quickly get off him, as she wouldn't be able to defend herself in that position, even against a commoner's attack. The moment Dennis swung down the shard at her, the Scissor-woman back-flipped, leaving him to cut nothing but plain air. Simultaneously, Ralph also somersaulted away from Alyssa and, in a stunning display of agility that would have made many acrobats envious, him and his sister kept somersaulting over each other, alternating their jumps, until halting several yards away from the youngsters.
With the opponents far enough, Dennis helped Uryuu back to his feet, while Alyssa ran to his side.
"You okay there, mate?" he asked the Quincy.
Although still sore as hell, Uryuu replied positively. So, the brown-haired young man turned to his approaching girlfriend.
"Dennis, you're here!" Alyssa exclaimed, unsure whether to feel glad or worried for his presence there.
"Sorry I'm late, Alyssa." Dennis slightly joked.
Meanwhile, on the enemies' side, they both had a grim expression on their faces.
"Hmm, looks like the annoying brat got sucked into the portal too." The female assassin pointed out.
"With one more insect getting on the way, I think... it's time to get serious" the male assassin commented.
"Let's squash them all at once!" they both concluded.
They both drew their boomerangs and launched them on simultaneously. The youngsters braced themselves, but surprisingly the projectiles weren't aimed at them. Instead the boomerangs flew an arc to a neighboring building and dug themselves vertically in its walls, a good 10-feet distant from each other.
The Scissor-siblings then sonido-ed and landed on their impaled weapons, supporting their feet over the horizontal blades of their cross-shaped boomerangs. Then, Ralph extended his right arm towards Jemima, while keeping his left hand in front of his face, with only the index and middle finger raised up (*A/N: similar to one of Naruto's hand seals*). At the same time, Jemima had mirrored his move, with her left arm and right hand respectively. At end, a demonic blue aura begun shrouding their bodies and extended along the stretched arms, both auras meeting in the mid-distance between the two. It resembled an electric current flowing through the opposite poles of a battery.
A lot of debris started being sucked to the auras' converging point, the wind picking up rapidly. At said point then, arose a huge, shining energy sphere. Uryuu and Alyssa widened their eyes in stupor as they felt the tremendous spike in spiritual pressure off that orb. Dennis, despite not being so spiritually aware as the other two, was still agape with the scene before him.
Abruptly, the three youngsters were forced on their knees. The surrounding spiritual pressure had become so intense that they weren't able to stand straight anymore. The air had become so heavy that it was almost suffocating, their bodies felt as though they weighted a lot more than they really did.
At the assault's outcome, the two assassins chuckled in satisfaction. Their opponents were not expecting this at all.
"As you've seen, we're able to shift gravity to any direction we wish, but..."
"That's just half of the good part. By combining our forces, we're as capable..."
"Of changing the gravity's intensity as well."
That last remark left the youngsters shocked. Not only those Arrancars could control the gravity's direction, but also its intensity? How much of power they actually possessed? They weren't kidding when they said they were gods inside this realm.
The attack proceeded on for some moments until the Subordinates just dispelled it.
Looking down on the weary warriors, Ralph grinned in mockery. "How was it? What was the sensation of being under a pressure of 5G, fivefold the Earth's gravity?"
"Damn it!" Uryuu muttered, slowly getting up. Finally his mind grasped what that attack consisted of. By compressing their spiritual energy in a single spot, i.e. that sphere, they had increased the spiritual pressure in the surroundings and, consequently, emulated a gravitational rise within a wide area. Nevertheless, that explanation did nothing to ease the pain, which, added to the battle weariness and the previous wounds, was taking a toll on both youngsters' bodies.
"We're not done yet." Alyssa said, also getting up. Dennis struggled a bit more to stand, yet he did so, in silence.
"Oh, you're certainly stubborn, brats. But I wonder how long will you continue to resist." Jemima sneered.
"We're supposed to bring the Rooder alive, but I think the ritual will work just fine if we rip off her heart right after killing her." Ralph shrugged.
"Let's see if you can take a pressure of 10G, the planet Jupiter's gravity multiplied by four." Said that, the Scissor-twins extended their arms again and emanated the same dark aura to re-summon the energy sphere. This time, however, the energy spike was even greater than before. It didn't take long to the sheer gravity start acting.
"AAAARGH!" yelled Uryuu, Alyssa and Dennis, as they were pushed down on their backs and felt crushed against the floor. The weight over them was so great that the concrete walls beneath them was splintering. The pain was unbearable.
After a few seconds, the attack stopped again, so the attackers could check out the outcome. For an instant, Ralph and Jemima thought they had finished the spiritual warriors off for good, but raised an eyebrow when they saw their lying bodies still moving, even though almost on the verge of unconsciousness. Those youngsters had perseverance, the Arrancars had to give them that.
"Still alive, huh? You're more persistent than roaches."
"Well, I guess it's time for the final blow."
"Even you won't be able to withstand 100G, four times the gravity equivalent to the Sun's."
Once more, they begun concentrating their energy into a sphere, this time taking a bit longer than before. However, judging by the amount of energy being gathered, as soon as the attack was released, it would be devastating. Probably enough to crush their opponents to the bones instantly.
In the meantime, whereas the spell was being prepared, one of the fallen youngsters had managed to stand up. And, surprisingly, it was Dennis. Although not being a spiritual warrior like Uryuu or Alyssa, he was not as battle-weary as them, so he could still muster the strength to do so. Nonetheless, the Scissor-siblings seemed unfazed by him. Maybe because they didn't see him as a threat, maybe because they were more focused on the two archers.
Whatever the reason, it upset Dennis. He was tired of being considered useless. He was tired of never being able to help, whenever his girlfriend needed him the most. Of course, the last time they had fought the Subordinates, he had actually helped her, but in the end, it was Alyssa who did the dangerous job. And now, thanks to him, she was in another rough situation. By now, even if Alyssa would have wanted him to take the chance and run away, the young man couldn't accept it: in his mind, he was the one supposed to protect her.
Whether out of recklessness or bravery, Dennis started rushing towards the enemies. He wasn't sure of what exactly to do, but he had to do something. Anything. So he did the only thing his outraged mind could think at the moment...
"I won't let you!" he yelled.
When he was close enough to the energy sphere, in a fit of impulse, he blindly jumped into it.
With the intrusion of a body inside it, the orb started flickering in blue flashes. A strong electric surge ran through Dennis' entire body, causing him to yell at the top of his lungs in pain. His back arched backwards, as a natural reaction to a pain coursing along the spine.
"Dennis!" shouted Uryuu and Alyssa, still conscious enough to witness what their friend had just done.
Despite all the odds, Dennis' kamikaze dash did have some effect. At least, judging by the Subordinates' surprised expression. It was as though they weren't expecting for a coward guy like him to make such a bold move. Suddenly, the orb got unstable and, in an outburst, all the concentrated energy dispersed itself, sending Dennis' body several yards away.
Uryuu and Alyssa watched in horror their comrade's lifeless body landing not far from them. Their first thought was to rush up to him and check if he was okay. However, Uryuu's keen mind realized what Dennis had just done: he had given them a window, an opportunity to counter-attack. They could go and try to help him, but that would waste the chance their comrade had sacrificed himself to create. So Uryuu, despite his sore body and heavy conscience, straightened up and analyzed the situation coldly. He eyed the spiritual particles dispersing from the Arrancar's failed assault and fading slowly in the air. It took only seconds, but that was enough to the same keen mind to figure out an strategy.
In a blink of eye, he threw his Seele Schneider to Alyssa and, as she caught it, Uryuu quickly summoned his own Quincy bow. Taking aim, he shot an onslaught of arrows at the enemies.
Seeing that large wall of azure projectiles heading towards them, Ralph and Jemima took the easiest (and most expected) course of action to dodge it: they shifted the gravity direction again, this time to the opposite it was currently pointing. That way, they simply let themselves drop out to the skyscraper across the one they were standing on, allowing them to escape the arrows. Not to mention it would throw their opponents to a deep fall.
What they failed to notice though, was that the attack was only a diversion. As they were in mid-distance between the two buildings, they caught a glimpse of the Quincy-boy gliding in the air, over a platform made of spiritual particles beneath his feet. He had created it with his Hyrenkyaku technique in order to smooth the fall. They also noticed Alyssa, being held by one of his arms, and an unconscious Dennis, tucked under his other arm. But what really caught their eyes was the object the Rooder girl had in her hands: her Rooder bow... with the Quincy-boy's gleaming blade loaded as an arrow.
With uncanny dexterity, Alyssa fired Seele Schneider. But not at the Scissor-siblings. Instead, at the spot between their still dug boomerangs, where the energy sphere once stood.
At first, the twins didn't see the point of it. Only when a very familiar magical rune appeared and started swirling over their heads, perception immediately dawned: that spot was infested with spiritual particles, resulted of the dispersion of their energy sphere. And, added to the fact that Seele Schneider possessed the ability to absorb those very same particles and Alyssa was the one who had fired it, that just meant...
Unfortunately for the assassins, perception had come too late. Even prior to their landing, the Rooder rune was already casting a powerful beam of light onto them. Given they were still in mid-air, they couldn't change the gravity direction in time. All had happened simply too fast. In a matter of milliseconds, both Ralph and Jemima got engulfed by the yellow maelstrom, their screams being muffled by the attack's thunderous noise. Ironically, their own energy had been used against them.
Hit and dazed by the release, the Arrancars, unlike the previous times, had a rough landing on the skyscraper's walls, most of their armors cracked or shipped. As they slowly stood back to feet, groaning, many wounds on their bodies were visible. That attack had really packed a punch on them.
Just when they raised their heads, the Scissor-twins realized that the enemy trio was already on the same ground as them and, very close by, the Quincy-boy stood menacingly, pointing his bow at them. Their once grinning faces switched instantly to one of dread and fear. At this distance and state, dodging was impossible.
"Licht Regen!" Uryuu called out. That was the last thing Ralph Scissor-man and Jemima Scissor-woman heard, before being engulfed one last time by a mass of light. A blue one, this time.
"IT CAN'T BE! Lord Aizen promised..."
"We were invincible!" these words wailed, gradually dying amidst the pulverizing barrage of arrows.
As Licht Regen finally ceased, the Subordinates were nowhere to be seen, not even their remains. Considering that they had been targeted by Alyssa's release, followed by a drowning swarm of arrows, that was quite reasonable to expect.
There wasn't even time to breath in relief, as the sky began to crack... literally. Large fissures spread through the overcast landscape, like a crumbling brick wall. Suddenly, the sky shattered at once, revealing a blinding whiteness behind it. It was so bright, the youngsters were forced to shield their eyes from the flash.
When they finally re-opened the eyes, the trio was back at the hallway in the Clock Tower. The giant spiral stairway, the statues... exactly where they had been last. The moment the Subordinates had died, they could no longer be kept inside Negación.
Now having the time, Uryuu finally sighed in relief. Obviously, however, he had forgotten about something. Something that Alyssa reminded him, the instant he heard her voice.
"Dennis, wake up!" Alyssa whined, gently shaking her unconscious boyfriend by the shoulders, with his head on her lap. "Dennis, please... you can't die!"
That's when Uryuu fathomed. They might have defeated the Arrancars and escaped that Negación realm, but everything at Dennis' cost. Hadn't he interfered, most likely they wouldn't have come out alive. Relief gave in place to grief inside Uryuu's mind. Him and Alyssa owed this battle to the fallen young man in the girl's arms.
The brown-haired man wasn't showing any signs of life. His body was limp, slightly charred by the highly concentrated energy he had jumped into, that being more noticeable on his singed cheeks.
Alyssa's cries were becoming more and more desperate. Her already moistened eyes were letting escape thin threads of tears, blurring her vision.
"Please, Dennis. Don't leave me alone! I can't lose you too!" she pleaded, embracing his figure, as though not allowing him to go any further away from her. Gripping her beloved one tightly, Alyssa sobbed uncontrollably, her head buried on his shoulder.
The Quincy only looked, helplessly, unable to do anything to ease her loss. Dennis had probably dived into the enemy's spell because he was tired of being powerless, of not being able to help. So what would have been a reckless act to an external observer, was actually a shout of despair, an attempt to prove he could make a difference. That was a pretty much familiar feeling to Uryuu, as he recalled his own grandfather's death at the hands of Hollows. Dennis was pesky, even obnoxious sometimes, but even so, Uryuu had to commend him for his determination. Unfortunately, it was a tad too late for that.
Abruptly, however, Alyssa's sobs ceased. She lifted her head to glance upon Dennis' face, like she had felt something. Uryuu, noticing that too, walked up and knelt next to them.
Tense seconds have passed, as the two spiritual archers gazed attentively at their comrade's face. Finally, the twitch of an eyebrow made the entire tension subside...
Contradicting all odds, Dennis was still alive!
Slowly opening the eyes, the first thing Dennis could take a glimpse of were two blurred figures, looming over him. Said figures got gradually clearer, until becoming fully distinguishable. He saw the tear-stained, but smiling, face of his beloved Alyssa, just as Uryuu, with a relieved expression on his.
"Dennis!" shouted the Rooder girl, hugging the awakened lad tighter. Although happy for seeing Alyssa again, a surge of pain jolted through his body at the sudden constricting move. Now that his mind was fully up, his senses were as well.
"Ow! Easy, Alyssa! I've just recovered, you know." He quietly whined, nonetheless smirking.
"Oh, sorry." She apologized, loosening her hold, yet still keeping him on her arms.
"Well, looks like I've managed to do something right this time, isn't it?"
Alyssa smile widened, wiping out a tear, as she playfully scolded him. "Of all the stubborn, bullheaded people I know... you're the worst out of all of them, Dennis Owen."
"Oh, yeah. Sue me then." He joked back.
"Hey," Uryuu called, getting Dennis' attention. "Nice work, pal."
Dennis nodded in reply. "Thanks, mate. I see you've got your powers back."
" I did. Thanks to Alyssa and another friend, who had come in our aid."
Coincidentally, said friend entered right through the hallway door, catching the others' eyes. Kurotsuchi Nemu sighted the two spiritual warriors near the stairway bottom, together with another young man, who seemed badly hurt. She walked up to them.
"Nemu-san!" Alyssa called out. "Just in time. Could you please treat him?" she asked, regarding Dennis.
The Shinigami stared at the young man in Alyssa's arms for a moment. Judging by his spiritual signature, he wasn't a Quincy, a Shinigami or an Arrancar, only a plain human. Probably the kidnapped friend the two Quincies had mentioned before. Then, she pondered whether or not to heal the wounded lad. It was not like she had any obligation to do so. In fact, she wasn't even supposed to be there now. Her mission was already fulfilled: she had been ordered to collect samples on the Arrancars, and that was already finished. Thus, what she had been expected to do was requesting a Senkaimon Gate and leaving right back to Soul Society.
However, due to that same nagging feeling that had been pestering her all this time, she rushed towards the portal in the graveyard and entered the enormous clock tower, where she re-encountered her mission companions. A strange sensation, which she could only theorize being close to 'relief', befell her, as she sighted the Quincy-boy. Beaten up, but alive.
Seeing the lieutenant's hesitation, Uryuu decided to intervene. "Lieutenant, please heal him. He saved our lives back then."
That did the trick. At the Quincy's request, all her doubts seemed to vanish. So Nemu knelt beside Dennis and unpacked her medical equipment.
"The medicines I have brought are meant to be used on Shinigami or other spiritually powered beings. Since your friend's spiritual energy isn't especially high, it will take longer to do any effect." Nemu warned.
Uryuu and Alyssa nodded in understanding. "All right. We can leave as soon as he recovers enough to walk." Uryuu said.
"No," Alyssa uttered, rendering everyone present surprised, looking at her. "It's not over yet. There's still one enemy missing."
"Still one?" Uryuu repeated, in disbelief. "But the lieutenant said that five Arrancar-like presences were detected back then. With those two we've just defeated, there shouldn't have been anyone left."
The Rooder shook her head. "The Scissor-silbings, for sharing the same Entity, were probably counted as a single presence. If all those Subordinates have returned, then it's possible that he has returned too."
'He?' Uryuu mused, confused at first. But then, he immediately recalled the story Alyssa had told him before they entered the Clock Tower, so it became clear whom she was referring to.
Alyssa's voice cut off his thoughts. "Uryuu, I'm tired of all of this! It's time to end this nightmare! I've started it, so I'm going to put an end to it." She declared in a motivated tone.
Uryuu frowned a bit, guessing what she was up to. It was not like he was willing to jump into another battle, and Alyssa was mostly doing it out of personal feelings, not duty. But again, he himself wasn't above it (remembering his own quarrel against Kurotsuchi Mayuri) and, by the tone of Alyssa's voice, there was no stopping to her. He couldn't just let her fight alone. So, much to his dismay, he could only agree and fight alongside with her.
"I understand. I'll go with you," he turned to Nemu. "Lieutenant, when you're finished, please take Dennis somewhere safe. Alyssa and I will handle things upstairs."
Nemu, at first, wasn't particularly inclined to comply. If there was an opportunity to get more samples on the Arrancars upstairs, she wanted to come as well. Nonetheless, the Quincy's eyes reflected upon how important it was that this human was taken to safety, so, in the end, she ended up agreeing to it. And again, she was disobeying superior orders, not knowing exactly why.
Dennis was about to protest too, but, considering his obvious current state, there was no way he would be of any help this time. So he just remained quiet and decided to do as said. However, the grimace on his face disappeared the instant Alyssa knelt by him and wrapped her arms gently around his neck, keeping her lips next to his ear. They stayed like this for a while, then detached themselves. His mouth cracked into a wide smile, as she lastly gave him a peck on the cheek and turned back to the staircase.
The last thing Dennis and Nemu saw were the ascending backs of Uryuu and Alyssa, rushing up the stairs to the tower's top.
Since the Negación dimension (where Grimmjow had once trapped Ulquiorra) has never been actually shown in Bleach, I imagined Aizen would have made it as the Karakura Town inside Ichigo's mind. I mean, Hichigo (Hollow Ichigo) is the exact negation of Ichigo (their colors and personalities are opposite of each other). And in a place where even basic physical laws, like gravity, can be twisted, this could very well be the image of Negación. If this chapter's fight sounded too confusing, PM me any questions you might have.
The Scissor-siblings' Arrancar weapons were inspired on the pinwheels attached to the pendulum they used to threaten Dennis in the game.