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This article, After the Battle: Ten Years Later, is property of PersonaSuperiorDeus.

BeginningsEdit

Ten years ago, a catastrophe that shook Soul Society occurred.

A battle unlike any other, as the last two of that race clashed…

Achieving a new level of power, that one, the one with the wings of light that shine toward the future destroyed the dark one and ushered in a new era of peace and understanding within Soul Society.

However, such a wonderful time was not meant to last…

"Zzzzzz…"

"Gai, wake up."

"Zzzzzz…"

"Wake up."

"Zzzzzz…"

"GAI!"

A fierce kick was administered to Gai Nagareboshi's groin. Holding his groin in pain, this person, despite his androgynously beautiful appearance, is a male and insists that. He appears to be seventeen physically, and he has short brown hair with a small clump of hair down the middle and white hairclips on each side, a slender figure, and wide magenta within blue eyes. "O-Ow…" Looking upwards, Gai gave a fierce yet kind glare to the one standing above him, a female around his age physically, only twenty five. Despite most females who were twenty-five and over were considered "past marrigable age" in society, Gai nonetheless found this woman breathtakingly beautiful.

This woman, Hizashi Yoshi, is a beautiful young woman with long, rose-colored hair that reaches down to her thighs. Her bangs are parted in the middle and frame both sides of her face, reaching down to her chest and tied in the middle by golden hair clips. There is also a slim forelock of hair sticking up at the top of her head. Hizashi wears a blue rose ornament on the left side of her hair. She has stunning emotionless purple eyes that mask soul-crushing sadness through their radiance, however, when she is around Gai, her eyes show much more emotion. Her figure is perfectly proportioned. She wears white pajamas.

"H-Hizashi…" Gai uttered in surprise. Ever since ten years ago, since that tragedy, Gai and Hizashi have suffered the loss of most of the ones dear to them both together. Hizashi offered him her hand in a slow, yet unhesitant motion. Taking her delicate, yet strong hand, Gai leapt to his feet, accidently falling into Hizashi's arms.

"G-Gai…" Looking down at Gai, who slowly pried his face from out in-between her cleavage, Hizashi blushed slightly. She was in love with the one called Gai Nagareboshi, ever since he saved her from herself ten years ago, and the friendship that blossomed after that event. However, due to his devotion to her now-deceased younger sister, Gekkō Utsukushi, she knew that perhaps her feelings were never to be. With that, she sighed as Gai stood up.

"Gai, do you think that it was right to leave those two in charge of Soul Society?" Hizashi worryingly said, as she looked outside the window. Placing his hand on her shoulder in reassurance, Gai replied, "Hizashi, relax. I'm sure that they're doing a good job…I hope."

Meanwhile, at Seireitei, the newly-appointed Central 46 discuss their plans. "Nika. Stand and address this meeting." A half-serious voice echoed, as a young woman, looking twenty years old stood up, keeping a constant poker face.

This woman had long, blonde hair that reaches down to her feet; with her bangs hanging down to her breasts, a red bow at the back of her hair, and a barrette holding the rest of her hair into a long ponytail. She has soft blue eyes that are deceptive of her true nature; and sharp canines. She wears a long, flowing pink dress with various patterns on it; as well as long, white gloves that reach up to her elbows. She also wears sandals. She has large breasts, and wide hips.

Letting out a shrill cackle, this Arrancar, Nika, read from a black book, before throwing it at an elderly member of the council and improvising; "Hihihihi. Y'all are up in my crib. 'Righty-o, then. Let's get this party started~! The new laws, as decreed by me and Gunha, are as follows: Law #1. There no longer shall be any more use of the Maggot's Nest."

A voice interrupted; "Hold on just a minute. You can't just go ahead and rewrite the well-administered laws of Soul Society that have been around since its foundation!"

"Uh, what do you think we're doing?" A snarky and laid-back voice replied.

This young man has light orange eyes and wild jet black hair. Two transparent orange visors frame each of his eyes. The clothes that he wears are of the highest quality, featuring both an open green jacket and a black hakama, with printed grey hexagon designs, tied with a red sash. A large piece of torn green fabric hangs from the center of the sash, embellished with the images of three white hexagons. Outwardly; only two large and deep green gauntlets on his arms, with ornate white designs, belie the fact that he isn't human.

This person…Gunha Teishin, a former member of the Royal Guard, who pretended to defect to Yūrei in order to kill Eienrai in retaliation for him emotionally destroying Hizashi, had a valiant and heroic appearance, giving one the sense that they could trust him immediately, yet kept a constant cocky smile sat with his legs on another chair, lazily. "Nika, do what you usually do. Don't listen to this bastard, continue as always."

"Hihihihi. Righty-o, then~! Law #2. Inhabitants of Soul Society are allowed to practice other religions." Somewhere, in the Gotei 13 barracks, a young woman pumped her fist in triumph.

She was a beautiful young woman, with short, blonde hair that is parted in the middle, with her bangs framing her face and reaching down to her cheekbones. There is a single lock of hair that rests in-between her eyes at all times. She has emerald eyes. Her figure is perfectly proportioned; in addition, she has large breasts. She always wears rosary beads around her neck. She is often seen wearing a snow-white kimono with floral patterns, and an red obi sash is wrapped around her waist. She wears black geta. The reason that she has such unusual hair and eye color is because she is of mixed heritage: She is 1/2 British, 1/2 Japanese.

"Alright! Thank you, God!" With that, she reflexively got down on her knees and began to pray.

"Law #34…One can have as many partners as one wants."

"Law #57. When attending a Central 46 meeting or in the premises of the Gotei 13, one must wear one of these epic hats." Holding up a rainbow-colored hat with a small helicopter rotor on it, Nika grinned like a lunatic as everyone sans Gunha applied their palm to their forehead in exasperation.

Meanwhile, Gai received a phone call from someone. Holding the phone to his ear, Gai received a howling torrent of verbal abuse which made him shrink back in slight fear.

The person on the other end was a rather tall woman with long white hair tied up in a ponytail split in the middle reaching down to her hips with a red ribbon, with her bangs parted in the middle, with some strands of hair resting on her forehead, with her bangs reaching down to her chest. She has crimson eyes. One can easily associate her white skin with that of a princess. She now wears a long black two-tailed jacket with golden lining. The top is arranged in a sort of reverse 'V' fashion; it conceals her breasts, though is split in the middle to show the red bikini top underneath. The sleeves of the jacket have a golden Japanese dragon on each side. She also wears denim jeans that flare out at the bottom of each leg, and she also wears black geta.

"DAMMIT, NAGAREBOSHI!! I'M THE CAPTAIN-COMMANDER OF THE GOTEI 13!! WHY DID YOU LEAVE THOSE TWO IDIOTS IN CHARGE OF CENTRAL 46!?"

"H-Haruko, I can explain. Nika and Gunha wanted the position more than anyone I knew, and besides, they're powerful, so if someone attempts to assassinate them, they'll probably kill their attackers in a matter of seconds—" Gai replied, still half-asleep as the rightfully furious Haruko Kiseki continued to screech into the loudspeaker.

"I'M HARU, DAMMIT!!" Haruko angrily interjected. Ten years ago, Haruko Kiseki was formerly Haru Kiseki, a male. However, after an encounter with a Jendābendā Bakudan with none other than the eccentric crackpot scientist Saeko Hiwatari as the culprit, Haru became Haruko, and is unable to return to her former gender. This was when the flashback to noticing her changes began.

As Haruko stared herself down in the mirror, Nika commented in amusement, "Hihihihi, now, a little anxiety is normal. You can expect to go through five stages, Haruko. The first is denial~!"

Haruko's response was "No way, because I'm not a woman!" in an insecure tone.

Continuing, Nika added, "Second is anger~"

Absolutely furious, Haruko screamed "You bi—"

Enjoying the reactions that the Captain-Commander emitted, Nika continues, "After that is fear~!" in an excited tone.

Terrified, Haruko responded, shaking, "What's after fear? What's after fear?!"

"Bargaining~!" Nika replied.

Desperate, Haruko pleaded, "Nika, you have to get me outta this. I'll make it worth your while."

Finishing, Nika added in, "Finally, acceptance~"

Sighing, Haruko admittedly replied "Argh…I'm stuck like this…Dammit!"

Clapping her hands like an amused child, Nika laughed, "Your progress astounds me, Haruko~!"

Haruko leaves her flashback, only to hear, "Look, Haruko, if it makes you feel better…" Gai replied, attempting to calm the exasperated Captain-Commander.

Haruko snapped, "DO YOU THINK WE CAN JUST GLOSS OVER THIS, NAGAREBOSHI!? AFTER THE HELL YOU PUT ME THROUGH, I WOULD EXECUTE YOU IF I WAS THE HEAD OF CENTRAL 46!!"

"Haruko, I was pretty sure after the Yūrei incident, we'd buried the hatchet. What's with you all of a sudden?" Gai continued, concernedly.

"I'M THE CLOSEST THING TO A SHRED OF SANITY IN THIS GODDAMN HOLE!! AND YET, YOU PUT THE ONES WITH THE LEAST COMMON SENSE IN CHARGE!?" As Haruko continued to scream into the loudspeaker, Hizashi gently took the phone from Gai's hands and softly replied, "Ah…Captain-Commander Haru…ko Kiseki. If I may—"

"WHAT IS IT THIS TIME, KENPACHI YOSHI!?" Haruko boomed in fury at the former Captain of the 11th Division. "U-Um, ma'am…I was discharged from the Gotei 13 ten years ago. Don't you remember? It was around the time you and Gai fought at the Sōgyoku Hill, and when Gunha pretended to defect to Yūrei in order to kill …Eien…rai." Even though Gunha had slain Eienrai, even hearing his name caused Hizashi to shiver in fear.

Calming herself down and solemnly speaking into the phone, Haruko uttered, "… Eienrai … Yūrei… Haiōhi Iroagezai… Those three… Their consequences of their actions are still being felt even now… I'm not sure that Soul Society will ever recover from it. The destruction of the Soul King…Not even Sōsuke Aizen could accomplish such a feat."

"Mhmm. At least now it's over. Maybe we'll never have to fight again." Hizashi replied, hoping that all the people she had met on her journey would be able to rest easy after such a desperate struggle.

"…You know what, Kenpachi? I hope the same. I just want no-more crap to happen here. I'm damn sick of it." Haruko retorted, though as she hasn't learnt already, something was always bound to occur to her soon after she wished the opposite to happen. She always thought it was sheer coincidence every time, but how little she knew… Pausing, Haruko then added, "Alright, then. Goodbye, Kenpachi." With that, Haruko Kiseki disconnected her cellphone as she noticed two figures walking towards her.

These beings, a buxom gorilla woman and a snake-like boy, both connected by a chain, were her, formerly Renji Abarai's Zanpakutō spirits, Zabimaru.

Completely turning around, Haruko questioned, "Snakey, Chimpette. …Argh. Don't give me that look, you know I hate it. Something's going on, right?" The dual Zanpakutō spirits bobbed their heads in unison, as Haruko applied her palm to her forehead in exasperation. "Argh, dammit…"

The night wind stirred, as a mysterious figure stood high, overlooking the slums of Rukongai, before flashing an eerie grin, delighted at the carnage that was about to happen.

Power is NothingEdit

...

...

"Yatte yaruze, Kakusei!"

"Blaze a trail to victory, Inferna Falx!"

At that moment, two blades clashed. Both beings stared into each others' eyes, neither backing down. The area surrounding them was resiminent of Ichigo Kurosaki and Sōsuke Aizen's final battleground, a ravaged and torn landscape. It was a pitch-black night, with the stars in the sky shining brightly.

"You know, Nagareboshi...For the Soul King's pet project, you're not all you're cracked up to be. In fact, I'm kinda dissapointed." This opponent remarked, with a smirk on their face. Gai merely gritted his teeth in slight irritation, unwilling to allow his opponent's remarks to influence him. Exerting more force on his blade, Kakusei, Gai pushed his opponent back slightly, before automatically executing a flurry of stabs, unleashed at breakneck speeds towards his foe.

"...As expected from a relic of the past." Raising their gigantic, blazing red scythe, Gai's opponent spun the blade around, deftly knocking the strikes away with the ever-present smirk on their face. Gai's patience began to fade ever-so-slightly, as he began to become more and more frusterated with his eons-more-skilled foe. "You're unskilled, Nagareboshi...Your immense raw power is your only advantage. Tsk, tsk...Without skill, power is nothing." Gai's eyes sharpened, focusing his gaze on this mystery wrapped in an enigma of a foe.

"You...Who are you? You're not like anything I've faced before...!" Gai exclaimed, breaking through his stoic facade, surprised at the sheer power and skill this foe possessed. His foe gave him an aside glance, mockingly whispering with a slight chuckle, "Not like you, that's for sure." Gai pouted at the sudden burst of sillyness, stating "Well, duh."

Instantly bringing the humor to a halt for a brief second, this foe quickly spun around, attempting to catch Gai in the wide, rotating arc of their scythe. Quickly leaping over this strike, his foe raised an eyebrow in slight surprise, as to their side, Gai was balancing perfectly on the haft of their scythe, with his eyes obscured by his bangs. At that moment, light gathered and roared around Kakusei's blade, as white feathers surrounded the blade.

"Shining..." Gai's eyes sharpened, focusing on his opponent as the white feathers converged, before immediately hardening. "ONSLAUGHT!!" A loud *BOOM!* echoed throughout the air, as Gai unleashed a spinning, cross-shaped blast of feathers at his opponent. This technique was the signature move of Gai Nagareboshi- Shining Onslaught.

"...Tsk." With a quick crack of the neck, this enigmatic foe dissapeared from sight instantly. "Wha...?" Realizing that he had no stable foothold anymore, Gai blinked before falling to the ground, face first. "Grr..." Growling at this folly, he slowly stood up, still gripping Kakusei and rubbing his nose slightly, before looking up to see his opponent descending towards him in mid-air, with the blade of the scythe pointed towards him, as flames gathered on the tip, before spreading along the blade, giving his opponent the visage of a blazing phoenix, flying through the dark night, illuminating the night with its aura. Instantly, this being shot down like a meteor descending to earth to wreak destruction, accelerating foward much faster than the young Mototsu could comprehend.

"GUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" This foe connected with Gai with the force of a cannon shell. Howling in incredible pain, Gai was blown away, with his waifish body flailing along the ground. Slamming into a cliff, Gai slowly stood, coughing up blood. "G-Gah..." Raising his head ever-so-slowly, Gai's gaze fixated on this fearsome opponent, who was smiling uncannily at the results of his attack. "It seems that there's a gap between us. "Ultimate Being" or not, your reality-distorting power is useless against me. And it seems..." This figure raised their arm, before pointing at Nagareboshi. "You can't even tap into that latent power. How dissapointing." Gai once again gritted his teeth, snarling in anger. "Bastard...I am me! Nobody else! Got that!?" The foe's response was a short and curt one, retorting, "But you are a reject." These words incensed Gai greatly, as he lost all self-control whatsoever in the face of this foe, who merely smirked, satisfied that they could provoke the reaction that they wanted.

"Damn bastard! Make one more remark like that and I'll punch you into oblivion!" Gai spat fiercely, as his stoic facade completely shattered. Gai screamed, "BAN-KAI!" as he stabbed Kakusei into the ground. Devillish black wings with galaxies and stars imbued in them erupted from his back, as Kakusei took the form of two pitch-black gauntlets. They had a crystal blue emblem in the middle, and an orange cross on top of this, and flame type designs also covered the base of the gauntlets. There was a pair of arm thrusters attached to the gauntlets. "Shinseina Kakusei." From the pitch-black night, an angel with wings of darkness arose.

"Shining ONSLAUGHT!!' Gai unleashed a supercharged Shining Onslaught at his opponent, only for them to chuckle. "Tsk, tsk..."

Gai could only look on, shocked.

The opponent's Inferna Falx absorbed Gai's attack, and white feathers surrounded the scythe. Spinning around the opponent countered with...Shining Onslaught.

At that moment, it would not matter what happened.

Gai could not comprehend his opponents' power, how much they had been holding back.

It all seemed hopeless. Almost instantanously, this one attack had effortlessly defeated Nagareboshi, sending him hurtling through rocks. Barely standing, Gai coughed up copious amounts of blood, as his Bankai faded, black wisps scattering off his body and fading. At that moment, Gai realized something.

"…!! At my current power level, I…"

An familiar, soothing voice finished Gai's epiphany.

"...Have been fighting on the edge."

All of a sudden, a phantom of Gai's first love, Gekkō Utsukushi, appeared before him.

Gekkō is a beautiful young woman with soft pink hair, which is parted in the middle. Two locks of hair at the front extend down to her chest, which have hair ties in the middle. There is also a few strands of hair in the middle of her forehead. At the back, her hair is slightly spiked back, and the rest is tied into a long braid that reaches down to her thighs, with the tip in the shape of a heart. She has blue eyes, and the rest of her body is perfectly proportioned. She wears a revealing black and white one-piece dress, with frilly cuffs and black lace around her wrists. There is a large black bow just before her breasts, which has a black and purple cloth that reaches down to her thighs under it. She has black lace around her thighs, and she wears purple shoes.

"Gai. Don't think for a second that you can't beat this foe. I'm sure you can gather enough resolve to defeat this opponent. Because…The man I love would do so!"

"Gekkō..." Gai uttered, attempting to grab this woman and bring her back with him, out of such a place. However, despite his efforts, the moment their hands touched, she scattered into countless reishi particles and scattered to the winds, the last traces of her dissapearing before Gai's eyes, much to his horror. As he looked on at the remains of her, he did not notice his opponent bounding into the air before him with their scythe raised, a smirk on their face, about to land the killing blow.

"YOU LEFT YOURSELF OPEN!!"

"G-Gah...!"

At that moment, Gai woke up, jerking upright as if yanked by a puppeteer's string. Panting and sweating heavily, he looked at the bedside clock which read "3:00 AM". Wiping the sweat from his brow, still somewhat unnerved by this nightmare, Gai sighed, before falling backwards in bed.

"D-Damn…" Gai uttered, curious at what could cause such a situation.

Crazy StairsEdit

"G-Gah…" Gai yawned, as he stumbled out of his bed, completely exhausted due to that nightmare last night. "That…That wasn't just a dream…"

Slowly standing, Gai stared over at the bedside clock, which now read "6:00 AM". Sighing, he then tumbled down the staircase, much to his surprise. "Wha…What the hell…?" Gai shouted at Hizashi, annoyed at this change. "H-Hizashi…What's going on? The stairs are positioned right next to my bed…"

Across the hallway, Hizashi responded, "Don't you remember? Nika arranged to have the interior of this place completely renovated." Gai applied his palm to his forehead in exasperation. "What? Who in their right mind would put her in charge of architecture?!"

Hizashi sighed, responding worriedly, "Nika put Nika in charge of architecture. She's the head of Central 46 now, remember?"

Gai pouted, attempting to remember what godforsaken reason convinced him to give the cuckoo female Arrancar such an important position. "Oh…yeah," Gai suddenly remembered. "She said she'd keep her promise. I'm going to hold that devil woman to her word, so that Hizashi won't find out…" he thought, not wanting Hizashi to discover the raunchy outfits that Gekkō used to wear for him at more peaceful times. While calm, almost chilly, and quiet most of the time, Gai Nagareboshi had a well-hidden perverted side that only a select few knew of. While infuriated by Nika's decision, he was confident that she would keep her mouth shut.

"…What exactly were you thinking, Gai…?" Hizashi questioned, finding it odd that he would go silent and zone out for two minutes, not even noticing that she was waving her hand in front of him. Upon hearing this, Gai became flustered, blushing madly and responded, "N-Nothing, it's nothing, got it? Let's just drop this." With that, Gai stood up and walked off.

"…Hm…" Hizashi pondered the possibilities of what Gai could have been thinking just before. "Maybe today I'll…" Hizashi became a bright red in embarrassment, hoping that today would be the day that she would tell Gai how she felt about ever since he saved her ten years ago, and over time, her infatuation rapidly grew, until it was obvious to everyone but Gai that she was head-over-heels in love with the Mototsu.

"Agh…" Gai grumbled, putting up his usual stoic façade to deal with the outside world as he walked outside, now wearing a white button-up shirt and tight black straight-legged jeans, along with white sneakers. Since Yūrei's defeat, everyone has taken to a more peaceful Soul Society, as such; there was no need for most to wear their combat outfits in public. Though some looked ridiculous, they provided far better resistance and agility than the standard-issue Shinigami shikakushō and Captain's haori. It was either that, or everyone had similar tastes in clothing, Gai wasn't sure.

"Yo, Gai," a voice called out as Nagareboshi walked down the former slums of Rukongai, which, since ten years ago, has been improved greatly, in no small part due to the new council established, who have made it their number one priority to turn Rukongai into an enjoyable place to live in, all at Gai's request. "Gai, are ya gonna listen or not, bro?" turning around slowly, Gai noticed that there wasn't a single person in sight. "Wha…?" he was dumbfounded by this, until he felt a pressure against his back. Jumping back in fright, the person resting on his other side fell backwards. With a *THUD!* Gunha Teishin fell to the ground, before sighing at Nagareboshi.

"G-Gunha…? Don't scare me like that…" Gai complained. Gunha was a trickster; one could never tell what he was thinking. And his supposed Zanpakutō powers; teleportation, fit his outlook perfectly. However, once again, it was hard to trust a single word that came out of Gunha's mouth; in fact, his Zanpakutō's true special ability was time-space manipulation.

Slowly standing up, Gunha grasped the ground, and placed his hand on Gai's shoulder. "Alright, then. Enough chit-chat, let's mosey." In a flash, Gunha and Gai teleported to Central 46's headquarters.

Upon reaching their destination, the two gaze upon an eternal maze, resiminent of M.C Escher's "Relativity". At the sheer sight of this incomprehensiblity, the two almost break down. "W-What's this...?" Gai quietly answered, "I...I don't...I don't know."

That devil woman looked over at them, resting on the guardrail, with her usual stupid smile. "Hey, you two~"

"U-Uh, Nika...What's goin' on? What's this?" Gunha responded. "Like it? I based it off M.C Esher's "Crazy Stairs~" Gai interjected, "Nika, it's called "Relativity. Relativit-"

"Silence! By the way, have you ever seen "Labyrinth~"?" Nika fiercely interrupted and then answered, playfully.

Gai and Gunha answer the Arrancar in unison, "No, why?"

Smirking, Nika responded, "Oh, no reason~ Enjoy CRAAAAAAAZY STAAAAAAAAAAAAIRS!" before dissapearing, leaving the two to figure out how to reach her.

"Gai, how the hell do we get to 'er...? Where do we start!? Whoever designed this was taking some serious drugs." Gunha motioned to Gai.

"Well, whoever designed this didn't even give us hints. I feel that this will be like one of those platformer levels in video games." Gai sighed, before scanning the room with his sharp eyes for a starting point.

"Haa…haa…D-Damn devil woman…Why did she have to be an M.C. Escher fetishist…?" After several hours, Gai Nagareboshi and Gunha Teishin reached the summit of this room of incomprehensibility. Heavily panting, immediately after they acquired a stable footing, the two collapsed in front of Nika, who spun around to face them on her swivel chair.

"Ohohohohohohohoho. You two conquered Crazy Stairs. As a prize, have a Snickers bar~" Slowly standing up, Nika wandered over to the two and leant down with a smirk on her face, holding out two confectionary bars mockingly. Weakly looking up at her, Gai growled at the Arrancar, "D-Damn devil woman…" Gunha also stumbled to his feet, inquiring "A-Alrighty-o, what's the big fuss about…"

Nika dissonantly cheerfully, replied, "Oh, there seems to be a new Espada rising~" Gai stood to his feet, and unconcerned with such matters, informed the two apathetically— "What's this have to do with me? Honestly, after all that Yūrei business, I don't want any part in this crap anymore. Just leave me be, got that?" After preaching his personal beliefs to the two, Gai began to leave.

"Ohohohohoho. Gai Nagareboshi, you do know that Hizashi is head-over-heels in love with you, don't you~?" Uttering these words within an earshot of Gai, Nika smiled uncannily. "W-What?" Gai, now slightly bothered at this information, turned around hastily, preparing to listen to this devil woman's vital knowledge. "Nika…How could ya just blurt that out?" Gunha hastily responded, slightly unnerved by Nika revealing such an important secret, which Hizashi had withheld from everyone else.

Since they were teenagers, Gunha Teishin was infatuated with Hizashi, and strived to protect her no matter what. During the Yūrei incident, Gunha pretended to defect to Yūrei in order to kill Eienrai, the one who had wounded Hizashi so deeply. After Gai's arrival, Gunha was intensely jealous of the Mototsu, and saw him as a rival of sorts due to Hizashi's crush on him, which led to the two clashing on several occasions. After Gunha managed to kill Eienrai for Hizashi's sake, Gunha buried the hatchet against Gai, and supported Hizashi's love for him, which caused him to attempt to set the two up on several occasions— such acts only ended up in failure every single time.

"…What does this have to do with the Espada…?" Gai inquired, deeply affected by such a revelation, yet he failed to see the connection between the two. "Oh, you know~ they might target her due to your connection~" Nika responded, pretending to be unconcerned about Hizashi's fate. Though Espada were fearsome, Hizashi was a former Captain of the Gotei 13. There was no doubt in anyone's minds that she could handle such threats. "…Tch," Gai clicked his tongue in irritation, "then I'll just have to take them all out before they can touch her."

As Gai stormed off, Gunha inquired about this vital information. "N-Nika, are ya serious? Espada…?" Nika eerily, yet childishly, told Gunha, "Oh, don't worry about those two. I disposed of all the approaching Espada a few weeks ago singlehandedly~" Gunha, shocked, responded annoyed, "Then why did ya…?" Nika clasped her hands together and replied, cheerfully, "It's been too long. Those two need each other~" Gunha, knowing that Nika depends on the emotions of others in order to fuel her plans, replied, "…Huh. You're right. Then why did you want 'im fightin'…?" Nika, suddenly serious for a change, responded, "A storm is coming."

Not a DreamEdit

Gai walked down the street, determined to never enter combat again, disinterested in such pointless violence. "Tch…" Clicking his tongue in irritation, Gai was completely apathetic to this supposed threat. With battle comes loss, and with loss comes mourning. He would rather see the world end around him than lose one more loved one.

"…But Hizashi…" More important to Gai were the matters of Hizashi's feelings towards him. Gai Nagareboshi was not the type of person who was perceptive of others' emotions. Though he was attracted to her, he wasn't sure if she felt the same way. Was Nika lying to get a cheap laugh out of the events that would ensue and more importantly— is this all true?

"Ah. I'll just have to ask. It can't hurt, right…?" Gai asked himself, still indecisive on all matters related to romance.

At that moment, something shocking happened.

Blood gushed out of a scar across Gai's chest, which mysteriously, he could not remember obtaining. …Though he did remember having the exact same wound inflicted upon him in that dream confrontation last night. Clutching his chest to attempt to ease the crimson liquid from oozing out of his now gaping wound, Gai staggered about, before finally regaining stable footing. "G-Gah…" Dragging his waifish body forward and placing his palm against a graffiti-covered wall which he used as support, Gai weakly wandered back to his current place of rest, hoping not to worry Hizashi with his injury. He thought to himself, perhaps he could take her mind off such matters with a gift of sorts.

Sometime later, leaving a trail of his own blood in his wake, Gai finally reached where Hizashi was. Dragging himself to the front porch, he subtly knocked his fist against the wood that formed the door, before using the brick that held the structure up as balance, resting on it.

As Hizashi opened the door, she was shocked and surprised to see a barely-conscious Gai before her. Weakly smiling, Gai handed her a bouquet of roses as he fell into her arms, whispering "Here ya go, Hizashi." before falling unconscious. Beginning to panic, Hizashi slung Gai over her back before resting him down on a mat, checking his wound. "T-This is bad…It just keeps flowing…!" Unfortunately, Hizashi had no knowledge of Kidō, and could not treat Gai herself as of yet.

Hastily running over to the phone, Hizashi quickly dialed a certain number. The voice on the other end of the line was a somewhat subdued one— quiet and gentle. "…Yes, you've reached Sayaka Yabunmusan. Is there anything I can—?" Hizashi quickly interjected, in a rush and in need of major assistance, "Sayaka, I am afraid I do not have time for pleasantries. I need a favor!"

Sighing, Sayaka slowly and clearly responded to the panicking Hizashi with, "…Okay, then. I'll be there in a minute." Hanging up, Sayaka utilized her top-class Shunpo skills to almost instantaneously appear next to Hizashi. Glancing over at the now unconscious Gai, Sayaka wandered over to him and placed her hands on his chest, as emerald-colored reishi converged and gathered around her arms.

"S-Sayaka, is he going to be…?" Hizashi questioned her former lieutenant, concerned for Gai's condition. Sayaka gave Hizashi a small aside glance, as the reishi poured into Gai's wound, assuring her, "Hizashi, he's going to be okay. Don't you remember? I'm just as good as Unohana with healing Kidō, there's nothing I can't heal, just like ten years ago…Still, Gai's physiology is completely out of the ordinary from any being I've healed. It's almost as if he's something different from any other race…" Sayaka slowly became intrigued by Gai's construction as she patched up his gaping wound.

"…If it is that important to you, Gai is the ultimate creation of the Soul King, the first Next Generation Mototsu." For a brief moment, Sayaka stopped healing the unconscious Gai, and answered in shock; "…So, the legend about the Soul King's greatest masterpiece is true after all…Why didn't you tell me before?"

Hizashi motioned back, fully afraid to answer truthfully. "Ah…um…you see…Since you're enamored with that Setsuna Kawahiru, who's a radical when it comes to upholding the laws of Soul Society, I was afraid that you're snitch on me in order to get in her good books." Sayaka glanced at Hizashi, slightly disappointed at her former captain's untruthfulness around her. "Hizashi, you know that I'm good at keeping secrets. Even if Secchan asks me, not a single word will leave my mouth." Hizashi stared at the floor, ashamed at her secretiveness. Attempting to cheer her up, Sayaka cheerfully responded, "You know, you're cute when you're shy, Hizashi." Shying away from such a remark, Hizashi attempted to change the focus of the conversation, "…W-Whatever. Could you continue with healing Gai…?"

"Of course," Sayaka replied, poking at her senior's feelings, "just you wait…So, you're in love with him, correct…?"

Looking away once again, Hizashi's answer was "Y-Yes…Ten years ago, we…"

"You know, you're physically ten years older than him. You're twenty-seven and he's seventeen? It seems kinda wrong to me." Sayaka joked.

Hizashi's answer was merely silence. Now knowing that she had struck a nerve, Sayaka apologized, "Ah…Sorry. It's a sensitive topic, no? Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your future relationship, Hizashi." With that, Sayaka had completely healed Gai Nagareboshi.

"Um…thank you, S-Sayaka…" Hizashi nervously proclaimed, as Sayaka merely waved to her former captain before disappearing using Shunpo. Opening his eyes, Gai slowly stood up, and before he could even react, Hizashi embraced him tightly, much to his annoyance. "A-Agh…H-Hizashi…! I…I can't br-breathe…!"

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