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Reincounter[]

A young man was sitting on the porch, his arm around the shoulder of a beautiful red-haired woman. It was early in the morning, the sun was barely rising, and as such, the region was very quiet. A cool breeze blew around them both.

The woman, known as Megami Kirisaki, had her hand on who they called Ahatake Kurosaki's chest. She was practically snuggled up to him, their touching bodies able to feel the heartbeat within one another. She had a rather content look on her face, with half-lidded eyes and a smile on her face. To feel his embrace brought about a rather nostalgic feeling. "I want to stay like this forever..." She whispered, an almost pleading tone in her voice.

Ahatake chuckled, bringing her in closer to himself. "So would I Megami. But I'm afraid that can't happen." He sat up, keeping a light grip on Megami.

"Aw...but I don't wanna let go...." Although Megami's voice was a bit whiny, it was also playful. For emphasis on that statement, she wrapped her arms around the man, excluding the arms so that he wouldn't be crushed by her.

Ahatake chuckled again. "You'll wanna let go Megami, since I have something good in store."

This time, the girl's eyes widened in surprise. She immediately retracted her arms as quickly as she had wrapped them around the man. "Like what?" She asked suspiciously, putting her hands across her lap and giving hima quizical look. She didn't mind surprises, and if it was even good enough, she would grow to like them. It all depended on what he was deciding...

Ahatake stood up so he could fish through his pocket, and pulled out a small box. He bent down on one knee, and clicked the box open. Inside was a gold ring with a large red ruby set in the middle. Inside the ruby was an onyx. "Megami Kirisaki..." Ahatake said, forcing himself not to stutter. "Would you do me the honor of marrying me?"

All quizzical thought was replaced by giddiness. Megami's hands immediately flew up to her mouth to hide the blush and the excited smile on her face. "I..." She couldn't keep her straight voice from stammering. "I...I donno what to say! Is it OK if I say yes?" Then she thought about it, the cluelessness of that question coming into her head as quickly as she had stated it. "Oh, who am I kidding? Yes, I will marry you!" Unable to contain her excitement, she bent over and glomped the man again for a moment before releasing him.

Relief mixed with elation flowed through Ahatake and he slipped the ring onto the woman's ring finger. "Megami Kirisaki, you've just made me the happiest man in existence."

As soon as the ring was slipped onto her finger, her grin turned into a contained smile. "And you've made me the happiest woman in existance..." She retorted, placing a hand behind Ahatake's shoulders. Then, she pressed her lips to his once more, putting forth her gratitude into that very kiss. However, no sooner than a few seconds had Taiki's voice suddenly interrupted, cheerful and seemingly oblivious.

"Have I interrupted something, you two lovebirds?"

Ahatake scowled as he heard his son's voice. "As a matter of fact, yes."

"Yeek!" Megami wasn't one of easy attitude under surprise. She immediately jumped back from Ahatake upon seeing Taiki's leaning figure against the wall, nearly falling on the ground. "How long have you been there?" This made Taiki grin devilishly, obviously amused at the woman's attitude. He lifted his wrist to check a pretend watch.

"Oh... I'd say about... long enough, wouldn't you agree?" He supplied, looking over at his father.

"Why are you even awake Taiki?" Ahatake asked, using his son's name for this first time in awhile. "It's 5:40 AM."

"What can I say? I'm an early bird." Taiki replied casually, leaning off the wall and allowing himself to stretch a bit. "Besides, I've been wanting to go check on Kaa-san again, just to see how she's doin'...." He added, slipping his hands into his pockets. "I'll be back, and brief you in on the details." With that, he stepped past the two unofficial newlyweds and off of the porch.

Ahatake sighed. "Despite being there when he was born, I still say he was left on the doorstep."

"Why do ya say that?" Megami asked, leaning back into a comfortable sitting position on the porch. She raised an eyebrow, smiling at the man. "He seems like quite a nice kid..."

"So did Judas before he stabbed Caesar in the back." Ahatake mumured. "He's just a strange kid Megami. You'll figure him out eventually."

Though she was a bit puzzled at what he spoke, she didn't question him further on it. She hugged her knees close to her chest, watching the sun rise slowly into the depths of the sky. "Well, son must take after father, then...." She said thoughtfully, putting on a small smile.

"In my case, yes, in his case, no." Ahatake said, getting up. "So..would you like to take a walk?"

"I'd love to..." With nothing more than eagerness in her heart, Megami got up along with the man. Her nearest hand reached out and found its way to grasping his. "Lead the way, dear..." Her voice was gentle, yet persuading in its efforts. She always thought of it this way; the guy always escorting the girl, but both of them having fun along the way.

Ahatake gripped her hand and pulled her lightly along with him. "The city is so beautiful at dawn. No one around..."

However, not too far away, there was at least a little activity going on in the public eating places of the city.

Shunsui Kyōraku, a former senior captain of the Gotei 13 and member of the Royal Guard, was dressed in his Captain's haori uniform. Sitting across from him was another member, a distant partner that had recently joined the force: a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. The Soul Society knew her as Sachi Yamamura, a head of the Yamamura Noble Family. Both of them happened to be drinking tea, choosing their very spot as a method of discussing what had happened in Yuurei. After all, surveillance was very expansive in the Royal Guard...

"It sure was a doozy here, huh, Sachi-san?" Kyōraku questioned, raising an eyebrow slightly and smiling at the woman. "A civil war just went by, and already the city's lookin' pretty good. Even the Seireitei hasn't been through so much so quickly, don't you agree?" This caused Sachi to stop drinking from her cup and look at him evenly.

"Yuurei was simply too paranoid, worked by nothing but pure oppression. The tension was bound to rise to higher levels sooner or later..." She deduced. "But at least things have managed to settle down here... even if it might be for only a short period." She took another sip of tea, as if to display an air of finality. Kyōraku nodded in agreement. "I suppose you're right... but, hoo boy!" He said in slight exclamation, putting a hand to his forehead. "To have handled all of this so quickly, the new King must have a pretty good head."

"Then their leadership'll be strong this time." Sachi countered. "No more rebellion will have to be worried about by the government, or the Seireitei."

A fox faced young man was standing against the cafe, a serious expression on his face. Due to not being a member of the Royal Guard like his wife, he kept his mouth shut during their discussion. But something about this place was getting to him. Something vaguely familiar...

"How's Ukitake-sempai doing?"

"Ah, he's doing better than he did back in the Winter War..." Kyōraku countered easily, taking a sip of his own tea. "His illness still gets to him from time to time, but it's getting less influential over time. Glad to see you show concern, and thanks."

What looked like a smile came across Sachi's face as she set the cup down. "I try my best." She replied simply, not one to gush over the gratitude that the senior captain had given her.

Morio looked around, his expression like that of a fox that had scented a rabbit. "Hey Sachi, are you feelin' that Spiritual Power comin' this way? Shunsui-san should recognize it too."

"Hm?" Both Kyōraku and Sachi raised an eyebrow, their senses activating immediately. It turned out Morio was right; there was a spiritual presence, familiar and enormous, coming in their direction. Along with it there was another unfamiliar presence right alongside it. Kyōraku allowed a grin to cross his face as he turned towards his companion. "Ah... so you know him too?"

"Yeah." Morio said. "I've met him once when I went with Sachi to the World of the Living."

"I've fought him before...." Sachi commented, setting the cup down. As she switched to a more ladylike sitting position, legs crossed, and arms on the table, her eyes continued to look over in the direction of where the two presences, stranger and familiar, were coming from. "His spiritual energy's on par with yours, Kyōraku-senpai..." This made Kyōraku chuckle in amusement, though he could acknowledge the woman's words to heart.

"And his speed's surprising.... with more training, he's gonna surpass this old man soon." He said, in a joking manner about himself as well.

Ahatake was laughing at something Megami had just said, until he looked up and saw the three faimiliar faces. "Would you look at that?" He said, surprised. "Looks like some people I know are here."

The senior captain nodded in his direction. "Same to you, Ahatake..." He said, eyeing the woman who was looking at the three of them curiously. "And who's this?" At the rather sudden tone of curiosity of his own, Megami smiled warmly, bowing down to the captain out of respect. After all, these were Shinigami captains. To do anything less would be disrespectful "Kurosaki Megami..." She gave her name out readily. "A pleasure to meet you." Sachi herself simply remained silent during the whole thing, continuing to sip at her tea as she observed.

"Shunsui-san, Hello," Ahatake said cheerfully. He looked at the blonde and the fox faced man who was keeping such a careful watch on her. "Sachi, Foxface, how's it goin'?"

Morio frowned. "Don't call me that."

"It's been pretty normal, I suppose..." Sachi said, lowering her cup once more and turning her body to face them. "How's it been for you?" Her voice was very polite and formal, almost as if she was speaking towards a total stranger. It was contrast to Kyōraku's more open and informal mood - a wonder how one would be associated with one another.

Ahatake sighed. "Can't complain, can't complain. Moved to a new dimension, nearly got killed by the ruler here, among other things." Ahatake laughed. "I'd say I'm just fine. Never figured you and Shunsui-sans for friends though."

Kyōraku smiled, looking over at Sachi for a minute. "Little Yamamura here's a member of the Royal Guard." He explained. "She's a recruit, and we met up outside of our headquarters. Certain circumstances kept Captains like me from meeting her inside of HQ, so I had to look for another way for greeting the new girl." Thoughout the time he was talking, Sachi had kept her gaze on him, and when he was done, she switched back to Ahatake.

"I have to hold up the name for the royal family, as a noble..." She added simply.

"The Royal Guard?" Megami asked, with slight disbelief. She stared at astonishment at the blonde woman. "Even the Central 46 don't regulate those guys! And you two are part of it?" Shunsui nodded in acknowledgement. "That's right, Megami-san..."

"A Royal Guard eh?" Ahatake grinned, placing a hand on his wakizashi, leaving the kodachi at his side untouched. "Care to have a spar with me Sachi? For old times sake?"

For a moment, Sachi's eyes half-lidded as they eyed the two sheathed blades. She could easily refuse, seeing as both her and the senior captain was on their leisure time. Then again, it was out of old times... it wasn't as if it was going to be a fight to the death, just a sparring match. She closed her eyes, setting down her cup. "Very well.... but we take it someplace where collateral damage won't ensue..." She relented.

"We'll drop by Injiki's place. My daughter is there, so I'm sure they're awake. And they're yard is huge. Perfect for a battle like this."

"Sorry, but I prefer a more secluded area than that." Sachi explained. "It jitters my nerves having to fight when I'm near someone's home."

"How about the beach then?"

"....all right." This time, Sachi decided to relent again, placing one hand on her hip. "Take us there." Kyōraku, who wouldn't have much to do if he didn't accompany his partner, stood up with his arms folded within his sleeves. Megami looked over at her husband uncertainly, as if worried for his safety. Though she was assured of his strength, she didn't like the fact that he was going up against someone of such high status...

Ahatake caught onto her expression and smiled. "No need to worry." He said, chuckling. "If I'm right, this'll go my way. Sachi, Shunsui-san, Fox-Face, please follow us." He took his fiance's hand again, and began walking down in the direction in the beach.

Morio scowled at the nickname Ahatake seemed to have given him, but followed nonetheless.

Sachi was close behind him, arms folded within her sleeves as she followed with her husband at her side. To tell the truth, she was curious at her old sparring partner's power. They had fought to a draw last time, but now their skill had increased. She also took note that her senpai was watching her in this... so she would have to show competence.

Ahatake was going over in his head which of his blades to use against her, and depending on the one he chose, he knew he'd have to change up his fighting style. Perhaps his new one...

This was when Sachi decided to spark up conversation with the man once more. "How's my little sister doing?" She asked, thinking of the younger, more rebellious blonde. "It's been a while since I've managed to see her again..."

Ahatake turned to look at her. "Hm? Kyashi? She's doing fine. Same as always. Hasn't mentioned you or her family much though."

Morio's frown deepened, remembering the skirmish he'd had with the younger Yamamura.

"A shame... maybe once this is over with, a little memory jogging is in order.." Sachi said thoughtfully. She wondered how'd Kyashi would react upon seeing her older sister in such a uniform. Would she be jealous and continuously rant at her? Would she be stunned and speechless? Either way, it would be expecting, and even amusing to Sachi. What looked like a smile crossed her face at the thought of such a reaction - it had been always a hobby to get on her younger sister's nerves.

The smell of the ocean drifted their way, signifying they were nearly there. Ahatake kept walking under he heard the sand crunching under his feet.

"And here we are."

That was when Sachi stopped, a more concentrating look in her eye. She raised her hand to her hilt, slowly unsheathing her blade. It was a rather elegant katana, with a gold-plated tsuba and a matching hilt bottom. It was a perfect fit for a noble of her caliber. She leveled it at Ahatake with one hand. "Draw whenever you're ready..." She said patiently, willing to start at a moment's notice.

Ahatake reached both hands one either side of him, drawing a wakizashi with a guard that had two curved extensions from its long sides, with a line going through both sides to give it an eye-like appearance, and a kodachi with an olive green handle and bow shaped guard.

"Ladies first." Ahatake insisted.

"Ah..." Kyōraku murmured. "Chivalrous, I see...." Without hesitation, Sachi switched from defensive to offensive, sword tip poised at Ahatake. Her hand was extended as a sort of "crosshair", while the tip was being aimed. She took a step forward... and used a burst of Shunpo in order to re-appear in front of Ahatake with the same stance. Without warning, she switched arms, sword thrust at his chest.

Ahatake swung his wakizashi up at the oncoming blade, a loud CLANG! echoing from the resounding block and he swung the kodachi at her torso, aiming to cut her in half.

The kodachi, although a little longer than the wakizashi, was still shorter than the katana she herself wielded. In terms of swordfighting, he held the advantage of hand speed, but she had the upper hand when it came to putting strength in her attacks. She utilized this weakness to the best of her ability, pulling back just enough for the kodachi to graze her clothing. Then, she was on the offensive again, swinging at the Kurosaki with a coordination of fast and precise strikes.

Ahatake kept using his Wakizashi to block, and the blade proved to be quite sturdy, withstanding the fast and powerful sword strikes coming from the Yamamura. Gripping the kodachi, Ahatake thrust it forward at Sachi, aiming to pierce her gut.

With her free hand, Sachi managed to catch the attack by Ahatake's wrist, causing Megami's eyes to widen in surprise. Pulling him in, she reached out with her sword arm to wrap her arm around Ahatake's neck, twist around, and send her opponent to be thrown to the ground with an excellent close-combat style. The fluidity made Kyōraku whistle in compliment... it reminded him of the way Kenpachi fought.

Right before he hit the ground, Ahatake managed to thrust his arm down to catch himself, and bending down as if doing a push-up, he forced himself up and into the air.

"She really is good." He thought to himself, placing a hand on his neck and rubbing it. "I didn't even see her move when she did that." He stanced for a moment before rocketing down at Sachi like a bullet, the kodachi blade extended to pierce her on contact.

It took extreme precision to do so. But Sachi managed to raise her sword up and block the kodachis strike with the flat end of her blade. However, it managed to slide past her defenses. Before it could reach her, she used her own blade to parry it. However, the fact that he had two blades would make it difficult for her to open his defense up. With a two-handed overhead swing, she swung down for Ahatake's head.

Ahatake grinned, and flames erupted over his skull, stalling Sachi's oncoming blade. He jumped back, the flames dissipating, and he charged again, he swung at her with his kodachi.

"Without calling on his Zanpakuto name?" Sachi noted in surprise, once again using one hand to intercept the blade. "Was that your spiritual energy...?" She questioned, even as she concentrated on the sword lock. "Or did you just use your Zanpakuto's abilities?"

"The former I guess." Ahatake replied, extending a hand and forming a bright ball of orange flame. "I can manipulate flames, even without the need for a Zanpakuto."

"Interesting..." With a simple push, she managed to force Ahatake away from her before he could fire the ball at the point-blank range they were at. she settled back into a defensive stance, both hands leveling the blade towards her sparring partner.

Ahatake crushed the flames in his hand. He had never intended to fire them, but was merely showing off. He held the wakizashi into the air and his spiritual pressure began to rise. "Mukei Hachō." He said, before swinging it down and firing a crimson colored crescent fang in Sachi's direction.

Sachi immediately lowered her blade below waist-level diagonally. Then, with a swift motion, she raised it back up again as soon as the blast got close to her. The cutting edge sliced through it and dispelled the energy, leaving her to be harmless. Still... she felt a sense of nostalgia and even recognition as she witnessed the blast first hand. Strange... when the blast was dispelled, she propelled herself forward with her blade pulled across her mid-section and ready to swing again.

Ahatake jumped back, and kept moving, making sure he kept some distance between Sachi and himself. The fire shield was useful, but not something he could use repeatedly. He'd rather keep her as far off as possible. Swinging his blade again, he fired two Mukei Hachō blasts in an X formation.

But Sachi was gone.

In the next heartbeat, her steel was pressed against the back of the Kurosaki's head, the cutting edge of Sachi's Zanpakutō being felt. It was a trademark skill that she had been working on as a Royal Guard member, and one of her most favorite abilities to utilize. Had they been fighting for real, she would've considered using Senka and ending the fight with one blow. Closing her eyes, she retracted her sword, rather disdainful at Ahatake for keeping his distance from her. Promptly, she idly tossed her sword from one hand to the other - the sound of the handle colliding with skin acting as a faint warning - before she abruptly side-swiped, in a motion of decapitation.

Ahatake swung his wakizashi up as a means to block yet again, a scowl on his face.

"She really is fast. Guess there's no time for playing around." He pushed her back and sheathed his kodachi. He would have no need of it now. He held the blade up at an odd angle, showing it's flat side to Sachi.

"Enlighten her... Tentōkūshi." He declared and instead of the sword changing it's form, five red colored spiritual barriers encircled Ahatake.

"I thought this was a spar..." Sachi muttered, lowering her blade to her side. "Why are you releasing?" She didn't recognize this Shikai from last time... but, she could assume that it still could utilize fire-based abilities. She leveled her sword defensively at the Kurosaki once more, ready for his assault... and ready to release her own Zanpakutō if needed.

"It is a spar." Ahatake replied. "But I also need to test this blade out. I'm still not used enough to its power to use it to its full potential, and that will get me killed later on."

That seemed to even out the odds a little. However, Sachi chose not to release the blade. Her style was holding off the use of her Shikai in order to enhance her own strength. Such releases would become more and more of a deadly weapon against her opponents, making it more efficient as a backup weapon. Since this was a spar, she only needed to put enough effort in order to fight effectively.

Ahatake did not move. He beckoned Sachi. "Ladies first." He insisted again.

She had to test out the newfound power, before she could do anything else. She switched her blade back to one hand, using her free hand to lift a palm towards Ahatake. "Hadō 25...." Her voice was soft, but the words proved to be threatening even without the assistance of her tone. A blue sphere of electricity came from her fingertips. "Yariawai." With that, the unleashed a concentrated beam of lightning the size of her hand.

Ahatake waited. Time to see if he knew as much about his Zanpakuto as he thought he did. The lightning burst thta came from Sachi's palm collided with his barrier...and proceeded to break down, disintegrating on contact.

A blast that was able to penetrate even the most fortified of Hierro had been destroyed.... by some sort of barrier. Sachi lowered her hand for a moment. If it was a natural barrier, it would've simply reflected the attack. However, it had destroyed the beam completely. Furthermore, she had failed to pick up any reiatsu spike that occured at the time of the barrier's existence, though it was an obvious power of the Shikai. What was going on?

Intrigued, Sachi kicked into a Shunpo to re-appear behind the man, sword poised. She would only put enough of her sword for the tip to cut Ahatake. If she was right, the barrier had the chance of disintegrating her sword, so she didn't want to risk the loss of a weapon.

Ahatake sighed. He wasn't about to start using all his abilities yet. A spell seemed appropriate. Kidō still wasn't his forte, but he was getting better. He extended a hand. "Hadō 9, Hakurai." He declared, and a large blast of purple-tinted lightning shot from his palm.

Another Shunpo took Sachi from behind Ahatake to the front of him. Her sword swung, the tip connecting with the barrier. If this attack worked, then her options of attacking would prove to be very limited. If it took the part of the sword she was so willing to sacrifice, then it would be obvious that barrier would simply disintegrate her if it touched. Only a Shikai... and such abilities proved to be scary.

The moment the sword touched the barrier however, there was a small crackling noise as the part that touch the barrier began to disintegrate as her spell had before. Ahatake swung his sword up at her, firing a Mukei Hachō blast, the red fang smaller than the blast he had fired before.

Reflexively, she twisted to the side in order to avoid it, though questioning of the reduction of the size. She seemed to roll in mid-air before landing on her feet and skidding back a few steps. She stood up straight, looking over at Ahatake once more as she readied herself again. "No fire this time...?" She questioned softly, referring to his former Zanpakutō's abilities.

Getting Serious[]

"Only since you asked." Ahatake replied, holding up his blade. "Ikikōsa." He said, calling out the attack name and his blade shattered. The pieces immediately started to blade and formed a large mass of rainbow colored flame. Ahatake gripped the Zanpakutō hilt and thurst it forward, the flames mimicking his movement and flying towards Sachi.

So he did possess flames, still yet... Sachi's eyes narrowed, and she swung the blade in a diagonally upward arc in an effort to cut the flames and forcefully disperse their energy. However, she did get the feeling that something was still off.... but what?

Despite being cut, the flames instantly reformed, and it seemed, with more mass. Ahatake moved his hands in a quick, intricate fashion as if he was sculpting the air, and the flames moved along with him, forming gigantic spikes of flame that spread out through the area.

"Shunsui-san, Megami, I'd advise you all to take a few steps back. You too Fox-Face!"

"Hm? Of course..." Kyōraku was the first one to speak, turning his head towards the fellow woman. "Megami-san?" The said woman was startled, but immediately nodded, sensing danger. They retreated to a safer distance, but was still able to see the fight. What was the man planning? Sachi herself frowned slightly, but made no movement similar to that. What was this man trying to do...?

He finished the hand movements, and then slaps his hands together, the flames converging on Sachi like a large wave.

"Is this man trying to kill me?!" Sachi thought in surprise, gripping her katana with both hands. She lunged forward, cutting a path through the wave and to safety once more. However, she knew that the flames would simply reform behind her and try again. DIrect attacks seemed to fail, just like with the barrier. If that was the case... then would it be any different without having to fight the flames head-on? It seemed like a start....

Taking in a deep breath, Sachi closed her eyes and concentrated. Her body glowed with the blue spiritual energy of her person, forming an aura that made up an outline of her body. Her hair, as well as her clothing, began to billow slightly under the gentle pressure. Instead of fighting head-on, she would simply apply protection to herself and let the flames come towards her. It would be a great leap over the risk clif... but she was willing to give it a shot.

Ahatake weaved his hands in a different motion, and the flames spikes, turning into senbon that proceeded to rain down on Sachi.

"Here goes..." Sachi braced herself, waiting for the inevitable clash of flesh and flames.

The senbon flew down upon her, cutting into her skin as if they were metal, but burning like the flames they were.

It had failed.

The risk was all for naught. Sachi staggered forward, surprised by the sudden wave of pain that came over her. Instead of shouting out, her breathing was immediately changed in pattern, and she was panting heavily. "So indirect resistance didn't work...?" She thought, confused as she fell into a kneeling position. It was a rather complex Zanpakuto, indeed... it wasn't worth the effort. They weren't fighting to the death here... she raised her hand up - the human white flag. "I'm done..." She stated calmly, raising herself up.

The barriers around Ahatake crumbled and dissipated, and he sheathed his Zanpakuto, flaming next to Sachi. He held out a green bean. "Here Sachi, eat this. It'll get rid of the pain."

However, Sachi raised the back of her hand and gently pushed the offer away. "I'd rather not..." She said, looking forth to her pride more than anything. "I'll be fine." She was able to retain her composure effortlessly - a result of the strong willpower she had. Such a burning pain she was able to shrug off without struggle. It was a trait that she and her sister shared - tenacity.

Morio sighed. "I'd take the bean if I were you Sachi."

"I'm fine, Morio." Sachi insisted sternly, slightly annoyed with the man's insisting on protection.

Morio sighed. "Alright, don't blame me if something happens."

Ahatake dropped the bean into his pocket. "Suit yourself."

"Nothing will happen..." Sachi insisted, walking over to her husband. She raised a hand to place on his face, encouraging him to look at her. "You mustn't worry so much. I know how far I can go." Her tone was calm, collected, and attempting to re-assure the man that she would be fine. After all, she was able to still stand.

"Alright then. You said you intended to drop by Injiki to see your sister? Would you like me to lead you there?" Ahatake asked.

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