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"Hey Shunsatsu." Akiko chirped popping up out of nowhere. "What's up? Is Onii-san back?"
"Hardly." Was the blunt reply of the Shinigami.
"Awww. Too bad Echo isn;t here. He'd make for good company."
"Mhm...." Shunsatsu didn't seem to be paying much attention to her, however, focusing on the tips of his own nails.
"What's so interestin about your finger nails?" She asked. "Sexy lady right over here!"
Akiko raised her fists and was about to slap Shunsatsu over the head, when a Garganta appeared between them and out stepped Ahatake, looking slightly older and his spiritual pressure was high.
"Hm?" That was when Shunsatsu finally looked up from his sitting position. "About time... I was getting bored."
"You all look well."
"We could say the same for you, Ahatake-san." Shunsatsu returned, grinning.
"Yeah, I did some training. I'm still sad but I'll deal with it."
"Sad?" Shunsatsu cocked an eyebrow, rising to his feet immediately, but slowly. "I don't see why."
"Akiko go away." Ahatake hissed and she walked off grumbling. "I'm just sad because I'm not sure Tereya likes me." He sighed. "Sounds childish."
A skeptical look crossed the other Shinigami's eye, as he looked at his partner-in-crime. "Well.... you trying to buddy with her right away didn't help much...." He noted. "After all, we techinically are foreign to her."
Ahatake siged and then pointe dhis finger at what looked like a mountain. He fired a small demi-ero towards the center and it blew way the entire formation.
"No." The man sighed. "Not really."
Shunsatsu remained silent for a moment, sitting down again and putting his arms on his knees. "I'm really not sure what to say, man, only other than you have to give things like this time." He suggested.
Ahatake sighed and got up. "Maybe I should just go back to Hueco Mundo. Train some more."
"Or..." Shunsatsu suggested. "Maybe you could.... I donno.... visit her?"
"And get cut up."
"Oh, come on! I'm sure she doesn't hate you!"
Ahatake sighed. "If she does cut me up, I'm suing my new power to beat the hell out of you. Bear that in mind."
Shunsatsu grinned sagely. "Come now, Ahatake..." He said, using the tone that only parents would use when teasing their child. "You didn't think I spent all of this time wasting my life away, did you? I've been improving, too."
"You're not near me though. I can feel it. Though you do seemed to have attained some new power. Bankai?"
"Arrogant, as usual..." Shunsatsu closed his eyes in disapproval, frowning. "Do I have to remind you that you had to use your Hollow mask against me before?"
"I was weaker then. You get stronger when your constantly under attack."
"And I've gotten weaker?" Shunsatsu defended. "Hardly."
"Fine. I have a question. Do you like Tereya?"
That question immediately took the short-haired man off-guard, eyes widening a bit. "W-well..." He said hesitantly. "S...she did seem nice...."
"Why don't we do this? Make it a contest to see who she likes better? Try and win her heart you know."
"Hm?" The shock immediately faded from Shunsatsu's face. "I said that I liked her, not that I loved her."
"Scared of competing with me?"
"...." Shunsatsu's fingers immediately started tapping on his arms, out of slight annoyance. "This isn't a competition, Ahatake. You have a crush on her, I don't. Do as you please."
"...." With Shunsatsu's eyes twitching, it was apparent he was getting irritated. Immediately, he pushed himself off of his feet, dusting himself off. "I don't have to stand here and let you bug the hell out of me. I'm out of here."
"I'm sorry, dude. That was uncalled for." Ahatake got up. "You're right I should go visit her."
"Good." Shunsatsu stopped in his tracks, tilting his neck from side to side. "Who knows? Maybe I'll come up some time after you get there. Got nothin' else to do...."
"So transparent..." Ahatake muttered and vanished and started to feel for her spiritual pressure. "Where could she be?"
A Story To Tell
It wasn't common to see two swords, held by different users, held across from each other, the blade tips in an X-cross for anyone watching to the side. They gleamed in the bright sunlight, not moving an inch.
One of the blades were wielded by Tereyu.
The other was wielded by a white-haired man, muscular in build, and taller than her. A serious glare came through the black sunglasses he was wearing, and a frown was definite on his face. They were mirrored by her own hard-faced expression, although her glare was more apparent.
Without warning, they vanished, flashes ringing throughout the air, along with the clashing of blades.
"THERE!" Ahatake cried and rushed in the direction of the two powers.
A skidding of a feet signaled the two combatant's re-appearance, as they propelled a distance away from each other. Immediately, they settled into their own stances: the man in a backhand stance, and Tereyu in a sheathing stance. It was a tense moment in the fight, neither of them seeming to back down.
Then, they vanished once more.
And Ahatake landed watching the battle. "Wierd." He thought. "Thier power isn't much to speak of." He cleared his throat. "Hey Princess!"
That was when Tereya turned around to the sound of the voice....
.....and she felt her face sting violently.
When she landed on her feet, she discovered a deep gash on her cheek - one caused by the opposing sword. Not only that, when she lowered her eyes, the blade of her Zanpakuto had virtually cracked, near to the point of shattering to pieces.
"That wasn't a very good attack...." The man commented, sheathing his blade. "You really need to learn to keep your concentration."
"Training, little Princess?" Ahatake asked running over.
Tereya's glare immediately turned itself towards the man who once again addressed her by that pet name. The tightening of her hand around the hilt didn't soothe her anger and annoyance as much as she thought it would, and only seemed to feed her trigger finger. "Ahatake...." She muttered. "What do you want?"
"Just droppin' by." Ahatake said. "You seem angry."
"Oh...." She put a finger to her chin in false thought. "I wonder why!" She asked, with savage sarcasm, though her voice was still not showing her anger completely.
"Cut me, if it will calm you down."
Meanwhile, the man stood, cocking an eyebrow and frowning faintly. This strange man seemed to know Tereyu very well, but not in the positive way. Pondering if he should intervene in their chat, he started to walk forward, sandals stepping lightly.
"I'm not angry...." Tereyu replied. "But you're going to push me to it if you don't haul your ass out of here!"
Ahatake sighed and opened up a Garganta. "Back to hell for another month."
"Leaving already?" The man asked, finally reaching the spot beside Tereyu. "You seem nice enough." A smirk climbed onto his face, a friendly and humored one. "Don't see why or how you managed to tick off Tereya, though...."
"The Princess has an attitude." Ahatake said sighing. "I'm Ahatake Noriko Kurosaki. Nice to mee you." He extended his hand.
As the man moved forward to shake his own hand, however, he was soon made to pull it back, surprised by Tereya's katana pointing straight at Ahatake's neck. "Uh....?"
"Was I talking to a brick wall, when I told you we were strangers?" Tereya said in irritance, twisting around and sheathing her katana once more. "Don't call me Princess."
Ahatake expelled massive ammounts of spiritual pressure that forced her down. "Sorry Princess."
The man himself simply raised an arm to keep the resulting winds out of his eyes, closing one eye.
Tereya, however, fell to the ground, clutching her chest and letting out choked gasps, eyes shut as she attempted to recover her breath under the intense pressure.
But Ahtaake stopped, after seeing what looked like pain. "Sorry Princess." He repeated though this time he meant it.
The moment her pain stopped, her hands clenched the ground, as she pulled herself to her feet again. "Well?" She asked, a more menacing tone to her voice. "What are you waiting for? Christmas?" She nodded towards the open Garganta. "Get out of here, if you know what's best for you."
"Like you'd stand a chance against me, little Princess." And he turned to the man extending his hand again. "I am Ahatake Noriko Kurosaki. Who are you?"
"Hmmm...." He raised his own hand, gripping Ahatake's in a tight and strong handshake. "My name is Smirnov. Good to meet you."
Now, it was clear to notice the foreign, seemingly Russian accent in his words.
"Russian?" Ahatake asked, closing his Garganta.
"That's right, my friend." Smirnov replied coolly. "I'm a bit of a foreigner to this new country."
"I'm sure you'll like it. Aside from the overabundance of Hollows."
"Ah, no need for that... my family has been here for quite a while."
"I see. By the way, what does the Princess have against me?"
He didn't answer, for Tereya once again stepped in.
"Excuse me? It should be very apparent what I have against you." She replied. "First off, that stunt you just pulled made it very clear that you came to annoy me. Secondly, you're still calling me that pet name of yours. Has it occured to you that my name is Tereya, not Princess?"
"That stunt I pulled Princess is because you had a blade to my throat."
Tereya's furious fist backhanded Ahatake across the face, before he even had time to react. He fell ungracefully onto the ground, a tooth flying from his mouth from the force.
"I'm going back home, Smirnov." She said irritantly. "It's apparent that my words are just not getting through to this dumbass."
Smirnov shrugged. "Have it your way, sister."
With that, Tereya turned around and disappeared, not a trace of her left.
Ahatake got back up and crushed the tooth. He sighed and just fell back down again.
"What's with you?" Smirnov asked. "Don't tell me that wasn't the reaction you were expecting."
"It was." He sighed. "But still...I guess she hates me." He extended his finger and blasting a considerably large cero at the spot where she had been.
"Truthfully." Smirnov shrugged. "I'd hate you too, if I was brutally attacked like that....and had a hot-headed temper."
"That wasn't an attack it's a defense mechanism."
"If you're reffering to the power I unleashed that pushed her down."
"Heh..." Smirnov chuckled. "Well, you're going to have a hard time talking to her, Ahatake. She's not so forgiving once she's been irritated, so..." He trailed off, leaving the rest to Ahatake's imagination.
"She can't take me on." Ahatake muttered. "Not if she can't release her Zanpaktuo."
Smirnov immediately laughed. "You misunderstand! She already has her Zanpakuto "released", as you say. I believe the correct term is..." He paused for a moment. "Constant-release?"
"Mine used to be like that." Ahatake said getting up. "Well it was nice meeting you, but now I've gotta hunt."
"Fair enough, comrade." Turning his back, Smirnov gave a two-finger salute. "Fairwell."
Ahatake mimicked it and raced off toward Tereya's spiritual pressure. But soon he was accompanied by someone.
"I knew you'd show up eventually."
"Told you I had nothing else to do." The voice of Shunsatsu replied, leaping down from a tree branch.
"And you brought Akiko." Ahatake said, noticing his sister running between them.
"Correction...." Shunsatsu nodded curtly towards the girl. "She decided to follow me."
"Well if you guys are gonna try an' bag her, I wanna fighting chance."
"That's great, and all, Ahatake..." Shunsatsu replied. "But...don't you think you should wait for now? At least until she's....ahem...." He raised a fist to his mouth, clearing his throat. "....cooled down."
"No." Ahatake replied. "You how they say with food. Come and get 'em while their hot."
Now Shunsatsu's gaze turned serious. "You don't get it, Ahatake-san. While I had come by here, I had sensed yours and Tereya's spiritual energy. I could also sense hers getting away from yours, as if she was trying to get away from you. Clearly, that meant she was."
He sighed heavily, putting his hands into his pockets. "If you keep pressuring her, that chance of her returning your feelings will be shot to hell. She'll hate you, simply because you were being a pest. That what you really want?"
Ahatake skidded to a stop. "I hate your logic."
"Mhm." Shunsatsu nodded his head towards the way they had come. "Now, we gonna go back and give her some time?"
"Fine." Ahatake muttered and expelled spiritual pressure that crushed the entire forst they were in and made Akiko actually quake in fear.
A smile came across Shunsatsu's face. "Oh, and one more thing." The smile immediately turned into a frown. "Did you just compare Tereya....to food?"
"It was the first thing that came to mind." He said, more power exuding.
"....There's a lot you're going to have to learn...." Shunsatsu sighed, walking over to the previous direction, with Ahatake and Akiko close behind.
"You really have a death wish." Ahatake hissed as Akiko jumped on his back, giggling piggy-back ride.
"Just because I speak the truth? How troublesome..."
"Stuff it or I'll blast you into hell."
"All right, all right..."
Ahatake hoisted his sister up on his back. "Why can't you have Echo do this?"
"'Cuz it irritates you, when i make you do it Onii-san."
"Kill me..." Ahatake muttered.
Tereya gazed at the moon evenly, a piece of grass in her mouth, and a relaxed look was on her features. Her ears were at peace, listening to the cricket music, and her body slept on the dull blades of glass sticking into her back. It was almost like lying in heaven for herself, a rare time of peace.
She was even tempted to fall asleep, when....
A foreign voice immediately rang in her ears, and she turned her head to the right, spotting something moving towards her. "Hm?"
"Idiot." Ahatake muttered, sitting in a tree.
Shunsatsu's footsteps treaded lightly on the grass, but even under the midnight sky, his good-natured smile was evident. "Seems like you're quite comfy here. Mind if I join you?"
She cocked an eyebrow, but turned her head back towards the white sphere itself. "Knock yourself out." She replied bluntly. "Just don't make too much noise."
"Fair enough...." The boy lay down right beside her, putting his hands behind his head in the same position that she was in.
Ahatake sighed and kept watching charging a cero to fire at him in case he got to close.
"So, you do this often, huh?" Shunsatsu piped up.
"Mhm. It calms me down when I'm ticked off."
"Oh....I see." Shunsatsu frowned a bit. "Do you want me to--"
"No, it's not you." Tereya replied coolly. "I'm fine now....it was just this afternoon that got me riled up.
"....mind if I ask you what happened that afternoon?"
A silence went through them for a moment, before she spoke again. "Your friend decided to play stalker and follow me to where I was training with my brother."
"Oh. Checking up on you, I suppose?"
She laughed harshly. "Far from it. He came to tick me off..."
"No I didn't..." Ahatake thought.
"He even had the nerve to unleash spiritual pressure on me, just for his own amusement. Bastard doesn't know how to treat a lady..."
"If you're here to convince me otherwise, I'm not gonna hear it. You might as well leave immediately."
"I'm not here to do that." Shunsatsu assured. "But I will tell you this: He may not know what he's doing, but he's trying his very best to show you how he feels about you. He...just doesn't know how."
"Well, what in the hell am I supposed to do about that?"
"Give him a chance."
"Why should I do that?"
"It's clear from what you said before...." Shunsatsu smiled knowingly. "That you want to give a more positive feeling back, instead of rejecting him fully. I donno whether it's love or whatever, but.... it's there."
Tereya frowned immediately, but remained silent, choosing to gaze at the moon once more.
Ahatake sighed and sent a wave a sad spiritual pressure towards Shunsatsu. It felt like a gentle waterfall.
"....you're not like him." Tereya said immediately.
Feeling the wave of spiritual pressure, Shunsatsu's eyes widened a bit, but he chose to ignore it. "Hm?"
"Why are you being so nice? After all, I told you that we were strangers the moment Mozou was defeated."
He closed his eyes. "Well... I like people like you." He admitted quietly.
"Uh...?" Her eyes widened immediately, and she turned to stare over at Shunsatsu, having not expected that blunt statement.
Now Ahatake sent a wave of hate towards Shunsatsu and this time it felt like fire.
"Oh, no!" The brunette said immediately, raising his hand towards Tereya immediately. "Don't take it the wrong way, but... when you're not angered, you're pretty easy to speak to. It's....hard....to do that with anyone else I know."
"Oh...." Tereya closed her eyes again. "So you just enjoy my company."
Ahatake sighed. "Guess I can sabotage them..." He opened a Garganta a few feet away from them and out stepped a Gillian.
"Huh?" Shunsatsu immediately tilted his head, getting up to a sitting position. "What was that...?"
"What?" Tereya muttered lazily. "Crickets stop chirpin'?"
"No...I just heard a--"
A loud roar was heard that caused them both to look up.
"--....Hollow." Shunsatsu finished, glaring up at the monstrous beast that loomed over them. He grabbed the hilt of his sword, cocking his neck from side to side. "Fucking pests..."
Tereya sat her own self up, eyes focused on the beast. But she didn't make a move to draw her own sword. "Try not to overdo it, OK?" She asked coolly.
The Gillian opened it's mouth and fired a large cero.
Instantly, Shunsatsu disappeared, re-appearing right over the beast's head. His eyes was set in an indifferent glare, and his mouth into a slight scowl, his sword poised. Without hesitation, he brought it down, slicing deep into the Hollow head and mask like a butcher knife cutting through meat.
Unfortunately it missed and only sliced into the left side of the Gillian.
"Retreat!" Ahatake commanded and it obeyed moving back into the Garganta and closing it.
A confused look donned Shunsatsu's face, as he landed on his feet, sheathing his sword once again. "That was....odd...." He muttered, looking over Tereya, who had gotten on her feet.
"What isn't these days?" She asked, shrugging. "Whatever the case, it's gone now."
Ahatake sent a stronger wave of hate pressure at Shunsatsu and it actually forced him down.
The stunned man fell to the ground, gritting his teeth as gravity seemed to work against him. He gripped the ground with his knees and hands, in an attempt to push himself up. "Tereya...if you're doing this...!"
"It's not me." Tereya assured, her eyes narrowed at a certain spot in the trees. "Did you enjoy the good points of our conversation.... Ahatake-san?"
There's was no answer, only a small sound of a Garganta being open and closed.
She snorted. "And he runs off...." Looking down on Shunsatsu, she walked over to him, pulling him by the shoulder up to his feet. "I think I'd better go. Your friend might cause trouble for you..."
Shunsatsu merely coughed in return. "Y...yeah.... See you later....I guess...."
"You, too." With that, she vanished into thin air.
The boy sighed heavily. "Man.... I'm going to have to face a lot of crap when I get home..." He muttered, disappearing into the wind as well.
When he got home
Ahatake was sharpening his sword on a rolling stone. "I'll kill 'im."
Oblivious to the sounds of metal scraping stone, Shunsatsu allowed himself to step near where Ahatake was sitting. "Honey....I'm hoooome!" He called, attempting to get a laugh from whoever was here.
Ahatake sent a speedy cero at him.
With a wave of his hand, he smacked it away, putting the affected hand back into his pocket. "Oh.... I see you're a bit irritated. I guess I'll be on my way, then."
"On your way to you funeral." Ahatake hissed, pointing his finger and firing yet another cero.
Now it was Shunsatsu's turn to growl in annoyance, as he pushed his feet off to the side, drifting for a split second as the beam raced by him. "I don't see why you have any reason to be angry at me." He insisted.
Ahatake sighed. "Guess I really can't be mad at you. But you said you didn't like her!"
Another cero singed Shunsatsu's hair.
"You know....you were listening on our conversation." Shunsatsu said in irritance. "You should've heard what I said and understood clearly how I felt."
"You felt my spiritual pressure. You know my hate."
"Hate? For what? Explain to me, Ahatake-san, because I don't seem to understand."
Ahatake sighed. "You don't need to know." He stood up. "Now if you'll excuse me I have business to take care of."
"Your business...." Shunsatsu snapped, stepping forward and glaring at Ahatake. "Is right here. I won't let your ridiculous jealousy screw me over, just because I attempted to befriend Tereya!"
Ahatake moved so fast, Shunsatsu didn't see it, but Ahatake's fist connected with his gut and Shunsatsu connected with the wall. "By the way, that Gillian you fought. I sent it."
"Nnnngh...." Shunsatsu managed to pull himself back up onto his feet, although his posture was still slumped against the wall. "You sent that beast on us?! What for--?!"
"Beat the crap out of you." Ahatake said simply. "Not on both of you. Just you."
For a moment, Shunsatsu was silent, eyes shadowed over, and his hands in his pockets. Then, he turned around and walked towards Ahatake. "That's a real shame, Ahatake-san. You've clearly let your feelings for this woman blind you from your friends, simply because you can't stand the thought of another man who might take "your woman" away from you. I can see why she hates you...."
He walked past him, and a chill could be felt between the two. "Feel free to do whatever you want. If you come back without so much as a gash on your body.... I'll be surprised."
"I'm sorry Shunsatsu. I love you like a brother (which is good since all I have is an annoying little sister) but still I want her."
"Whatever. Go tend to your business and what-not. I'm off to Urahara's for a little while."
And then Akiko popped up out of nowhere. "You weren't thinking of leaving me behind Onii-san?"
Shunsatsu immediately vanished, leaving the two to stand alone.
"Fine you can follow me..." The man sighed and took off, Akiko following close behind.
"Now to find the Princess's spiritual pressure."
Attempt Number 2
"Brother...." Tereya muttered, to the white-haired man sitting ber.
"What do you do when you feel like killing something?"
He shrugged. "Read a book or something. Something productive to pass the time. Something happen?"
"Ahatake decided to show up and bug me again, while I was talking to his friend." Tereya replied.
"Yeah. This time, he sicked a Gillian on where we were at. Then, he nearly tried to crush Shunsatsu with his own spiritual pressure. I swear...." She took in a deep breath. "It's like trying to cope with a stalker!"
"Hiya!" Ahatake said hanging upside down from the nearest window.
"And here he is...." Tereya turned her head around, face set in an annoyed glare. "What's the matter? Didn't get enough last time?"
"Calm down, Tereya." Ahatake said quickly, then sighed as his sister popped up behind him. "Smirnov-san this is my little sister, Akiko."
The Russian gave a little wave in response. "Good to meet ya."
"You're cute." She said, immediately running over to get a better look at him.
"Uh..." Smirnov blinked a bit. "Thanks?"
"Smirnov-san pay no attention to her." Ahatake sighed, walking over to them and pulling Akiko away. "She's insane, and already taken anyway."
"Eh..." The man closed his eyes and shrugged non-chalantly. "Whatever you say."
"Never mind that..." Tereya muttered irately, scratching her nose a bit. "What are you doing in our house?"
Ahatake threw his sister out the window and sat down on the floor. He sighed. "I just came to apologize for our earlier encounter(s). And you were wrong. I didn't drop by to tick you off." His face turned slightly red. "I just wanted to see you again and check up on you."
Tereya snorted. "Did a really good job. Crushin' me with spiritual pressure, along with sickin' a Hollow on us really did a good job of checking on me!"
"You pressed a sword to my neck, so the first Spiritual Pressure shield was called for and you know it. Second I set that Menos on Shunsatsu."
A fake laugh was Tereya's response. "Oh! Using it to hurt someone I was talking to, eh?" She asked, chuckling a bit. "That makes me feel really better about you. I can rest easy, knowing that you keep tabs on who I'm supposed to speak to, Dad!"
Ahatake sighed again. "For starters I wasn't keeping tabs on who you were talking too Tereya." Ahatake replied. "I was following Shunsatsu."
"Clarify for me."
"I don't think I will, Princess."
"Excuse me? I think I have the right to know. If you don't have the guts to tell me, then why don't you move your cowardly ass out of here! You're wasting my time."
"If you were anyone else, I would have blasted the upper half of your body away with a Cero by now." Ahatake muttered. "And fine, I will tell you. But only if you allow me to get something to drink."
"Fine by me." Tereya replied coolly. "What would you like?"
"Anything, I guess." Ahatake said. "Milk please."
With that, Tereya turned around, put her hands in her pockets, and walked out of the door. It shut quietly behind her.
"Smirnov-san is she gonna poison it?"
"Course not." Smirnov replied. "We don't own poison."
Ahatake sighed in relief. "Good, because the Princess seems ready to murder me."
Smirnov's eyes narrowed in seriousness. "From what I've heard, Ahatake... it sounds like you haven't been much of easy on her." He said quietly.
"What do you mean?"
"Well... Tereya doesn't really consider you much as a friend so far, which is why she hates the nickname you give her. That may be a bit...minor...in your case, but it's her way of thinking. Unless you convince her otherwise..."
"I've gathered that much for myself, Smirnov-san. But it's kinda hard to call her by her real name. The nickname I came up with...kinda sticks."
"Well, you'd better start unsticking. The sooner you do, the less you'll have to face the end of a blade again." Smirnov picked up a book from the nearest drawer and started to read it. "Secondly...I'd try to be a bit more patient around her."
"I can do that." Ahatake sighed. "I wish I had your patience with my sister though."
"All you have to do...is know your sibling." Smirnov replied. "Figure out why the way they act, and how to counter it."
"Tereya isn't that easy to read."
"Speak for yourself."
Before he could say more, however, the door immediately opened again, with Tereyu carrying a plate, a glass of the white liquid sloshing around in its container. Walking over with what seemed like easily controlled annoyance, she placed it beside Ahatake, backed off a bit, and folded her arms across her chest. "There."
"Thank you." Ahatake said and drank it in one gulp and set the cup back down. "That hit the spot."
"Now start talking."
"Fine." Ahatake said. "But just in case." He swept his hand over his face and donned his hollow mask. "A precaution in case you try to kill me."
A chuckle came from Tereya's mouth, but she said nothing more.
"Alright I guess it begin's this morning when Shunsatsu and I were talking. I'd come back after a month in Hueco Mundo, and I started talking about you. And then I asked him if he liked you. He denied it. SO we kept talking (or started a small fight rather) and then I dropped by for the first time. And you know what happened. Then I went to follow you. But Shunsatsu show up, with Akiko tagging and he said I should let you cool off to hwich I agreed. Then after awhile he left and I followed him, and then the events of our SECOND encounter took place, and now here I am again."
"Oh..." Tereya closed her eyes, nodding a bit in understanding. "I guess I see your point."
Ahatake's mask glew black and red and faded. "Alright. Well I accomplished what I came here for. I apologized and I got too see you. Now I might as well go find my sister."
"One more thing, Kurosaki..." Tereya interrupted. "Even though you managed to apologize for your behavior, we are still strangers to one another, until I can see otherwise. You don't have to worry about your friend, either... he may have managed to look friendly, but I'm still not convinced of his intentions. Got it?"
"Alright. And speaking of him, I should apologize to him too."
"Feel free to do what you want. I ain't stoppin' you."
Ahatake walked towards the window and sighed. He jumped out and raced off towards Urahara's shop.
"You're just going to let him go?"
Tereya turned her gaze slowly towards her brother's own questioning one. "What else do you expect me to do? Follow him and fall at his feet? Ain't happenin'."
Smirnov shrugged. "I guess when you put it that way, it does make sense..."
"He can go all about how he loves me and all that..." She whispered, her feet moving her towards the door. "But, he'll never truly understand me. Not unless I let him...."
With that, she stepped out of the room, leaving Smirnov to sit quietly in thought.
Ahatake opened the door to Urahara's shop and saw Shunsatsu sitting alone.
"You were wrong. I don't have any deep gashes."
The blue-clad Shinigami opened one lazy eye to look over him for a moment, then closed it again. "Mhm..." He muttered.
Ahatake sighed. "Dude I'm sorry for punching you. It wasn't called for. And also I'm sorry for setting that Menos on you."
"Don't worry about it...." Shunsatsu replied dismissively. "I couldn't really stay mad at someone forever, even if I tried. Plus..." A grin came across his face, as he cocked an eyebrow, eyes opening. "Did you honestly think a Menos could kill me! Give me a break!"
Ahatake laughed. "If a Menos did kill you I'd lose all respect for you ya know."
"I bet you would! So....how'd it go?"
Ahatake grinned. "She didn't attack me, so all in all it went O.K."
"No, no, no...." Shunsatsu insisted, waving his hand in front of him. "I meant, what does she think of you now?"
"Well, she said we're still stranger's until she say's otherwise." He sighed and sat down in a chair.
"Oh...." Shunsatsu's mood deflated a little. "Nuts...."
"And she doesn't know what your motives are."
A faint scowl appeared on Shunsatsu's face. "Well...." He muttered thoughtfully, folding his arms across his chest. "I guess that's understandable...."
"I pity us." Ahatake said. "We both like the same woman, but she doesn't like either of us."
"We're just gonna have to gain her respect, then..." Shunsatsu said simply. "Simple as that..."
"If only we knew how...."
"Be respectful... try not to invade on her personal space too fast... get her to open up...." Shunsatsu muttered, flopping himself down onto the couch. "I can do that....but I'm not so sure about you."
"Unlike you, I have a minion." Ahatake muttered, just as Akiko walked in the door.
"ONIII-SAN!" Akiko growled walking up to her brother and looking like she was goin to punch him.
"Say Akiko, why don't you go visit Tereya."
"What for?" Akiko asked suspiciously.
"Well we've all had our chance to get to talk to her, how about you?"
Akiko's eyes lit up. "Ok!"
"Don't do anything stupid either, OK?" Shunsatsu asked lazily."Alright." Akiko ran to her room and came back out 15 minutes later with her hair done and in a read and black "dress".
Shunsatsu blinked constantly, as if the Akiko standing in front of him wasn't real. But it was indeed her, wearing a shockingly revealing outfit, a red tie barely covering her cleavage. "All right.... why exactly did you have to change clothes?"
"True maybe this is a bit much." She ran back inside and came out in another 15 minutes dressed in a blue sweater and blue jeans.
And Akiko took off.
"I'm not sure about u but I have a BAD feeling about this." Ahatake muttered.
"Ain't that the truth...."
Akiko was running and kept running until she reached Tereya's house. "I hear voices."
"....ger than Bankai." Tereyu's voice complained.
"Didn't I tell you? Bankai involves having to use your inner spirit's power, instead of your own. Do you look like a dumbass?" Smirnov's voice retorted.
"Should I interrupt?" She thought. "No I wanna hear more."
"I guess not." Tereyu muttered. "But, we're already using Shikai. Isn't that--"
"The only way for it to work properly. Constant-release types can abide by this rule that I'm teaching you. There's only one person who's been famous for using this method.
"And who exactly would that be?"
"Captain Kenpachi, of the Zero Division."
"Oh yea that fighting maniac." Akiko thought. "Maybe I should knock." She knocked.
"Uh?!" Tereya's voice immediately sounded from inside, having a startled tone to it. "...Who is it?!"
"Akiko Kurosaki." The girl replied.
"Oh...well, since it's you, I guess I won't have to worry about any interruptions. Come on in."
"Thank you." Akiko replied, opening the door and walking in. "Nice place. I didn't get to see much before Onii-san threw me out."
"Feel free to sit down and watch." Tereya muttered tersely, her sword out, and stance positioned. "Just don't make any noise."
"O.K." Akiko replied sitting down in a chair. "Special training?"
"Of course." The man nodded quickly. "You see, in a constant-release state, it is possible for the user to strengthen his Zanpaktou simply by strengthening himself. It's like the sharpening of a regular blade. By pefecting yourself physically and mentally, you can still use Shikai, and yet be a formidable weapon against even skilled Bankai users."
"Kenpachi..." Akiko thought.
"I'm gonna demonstrate.... what an experienced user, not a mastered one, can do. Shall we...." Smirnov immediately walked towards the back door, motioning with his free hand. "....go outside?"
Tereya immediately did so, carrying an interested expression on her face.
Akiko followed them outside. "Would you mind if I helped?"
As soon as their footsteps landed on the cold grass, Smirnov turned a curious gaze towards Akiko. "What exactly do you have in mind?" He asked coolly, cocking an eyebrow.
"Well, I always say that fighting is the best way to gain experience." She said. "And my Zanpakuto, Inner Hollow and I have a new move we'd love to try out. So what better time than now?"
A small smile came across Smirnov's face once more, one of slight amusement. "I see... and who is going to be your opponent?"
Tereya put her free hand on her hip, cocking her own eyebrow at Akiko's surprise suggestion. "Oh...this is goin' to be good." She muttered.
"You don't think I can take you?"
"Huh?" The cocked look in her eye immediately disappeared. "You wanna fight me? I just assumed you were gonna fight Smirnov instead..."
"I don't think I can beat him. Onii-san would probabaly have a difficult time."
At first, Tereya said nothing in return, the palm of her hand resting on the butt of her hilt. A devilish grin came across her face, teeth showing. "All right, then. Just be warned...." With one hand, she pointed the blade at Akiko. "I'm not the type to go easy on their opponent."
"Neither are we." Akiko replied grinning, sliding her hand gently over her face donning her hollow mask. "Whenever your ready."
Tereya pushed off with one foot, and immediately vanished into thin air, on the move.
Akiko could see her though, and when Tereya got close, Akiko extended a finger. "Hadō 1, Shō!"
It wasn't the true Tereya, for she had hit an after-image.
The whooshing noise finally stopped, with an idle Tereya balancing her blade on her shoulder. "I ain't that stupid..." She muttered. "...to let you hit me on the first try."
"Pretty and resourceful." Akiko replied sending a cero at her opponent.
Tereya put on a deadpan look, settling into a backhanded stance, sword blade held behind her arm. One Cero? It was insulting.
She extended one leg, and twisted herself to swing, her body illuminating with the aura of her spiritual energy. The blade collided with the Cero attack, but her twirling continued, and eventually, she was able to reflect it completely back at its owner, completeing her 360-degree spin.
Akiko jumped up, completely letting her cero go. "Hadō 4, Byakurai!" She cried extending her finger and letting lose a blast of electricity.
This time, Tereya frontflipped forward, catching herself with her hand on the wet ground, before she pushed herself off, flipping elegantly while the lightning raced past her.
"Now to try out that new move." She cut her right arm, and extended her blade. "This will be difficult. I haven't even released my Zanpakutou yet." The blade glew red and she held it up and a pillar of Spiritual Energy resembling her hollow mask formed. "Aka Shouten!" Shec ried and swung her blade down and it sailed toward Tereya, killing intent radiating off it.
That very same killing intent crawled into her skin, like gangrene crawling into a victim's flesh. She could feel the intense aura of the blast as it sailed toward her, sending chills down her spine, and sweat beaming down her face. She let out a dark chuckle, as she raised her own blade forth, in an overheadswing, her spiritual energy glowing around it once again.
Then, when it was close enough, she swung.
The flow of her own spiritual energy reversed Akiko's own, and in turn, it caused the attack to sail straight back at Akiko, only this time with a more fearsome aura to it.
"Make him bleed...Hitokage!" Akiko cried as she performed Shikai. "Gyakuten!" She cried slashing her neck and slashing the air, creating an invisible force that reflected her impending doom and sent it back at Tereya.
The other girl, however, snorted in disapproval, lowering the blade of her sword and letting the energy diminish. If this kept up, it was going to be a game of volleyball between the two, a very tedious thing to do. So, instead of reflecting it back once again, she waited, until the last possible instant...
The air seemed to explode with brilliance, the attack finally combusting into the oxygen. It was fireworks on display, similar to even the sun exploding.
Akiko clapped her hands. "Nice." She gripped her blade and sliced her midsection. "Hijin Ketsusō!" She cried sending multiple small blades of blood and energy at Tereya.
Instead of where she had been expecting, a calm voice haunted Akiko's ears, giving off several different emotions at once... mockery... sadism... confidence. "But...where exactly..."
A hand was placed on the other woman's mouth.
"....were you aiming at?"
The cold tip of steel poked cruelly into her back, threatening to slice into her, and a smooth radiation of killing intent emitted from the person behind her.
Akiko turned and clapped her hands. "Very good. But what you're doing doesn't faze me." Akiko pointed to Tereya sword and then at the gashes she herself had made on her body. She removed her mask, showing her face and the black and golden eyes that complimented it so well. "Let's go again for another 5 minutes."
"Guess you've got more guts than I thought..." Tereya commended, removing her hand from Akiko's mouth and stepping back a bit. "I wouldn't want you paralyzed by your own fear, after all..." She balanced the back of her blade on her shoulder. "And what exactly do you mean, go again for another 5 minutes?"
"This is only practice." Akiko said, and her power dropped as she went to her un Shikai state. "Not a death match." She pocketed her mask, but her eyes remained black and gold.
Tereyu closed her eyes, and a bored scowl crossed her face. "Only five minutes? You're not very entertaining, you know." She complained. "I was thinking at least for an hour or so..."
"You like to fight." Akiko laughed and swung her sword creating a shockwave. "You'd be perfect for Onii-san!"
"Think I'm the only one?" Tereyu asked dryly, raising and swinging down her own blade to the ground. The force created its very own shockwave, which collided with Akiko's own in an invisible explosion. "Everyone is born with an inner need to battle."
Akiko charged and and clanged her blade into Tereya's. "True, but he likes you."
The immediate clash caused sparks to fly between the shards of metal, as they struggled in an intense deadlock. With a grunt, Tereya forced both of their blades downwards to point to the ground, while keeping her gaze towards her opponent. "I'm well aware... of understanding that...." She replied, gripping the hilt of her Zanpakuto tightly.
"Don't you like him?" Akiko asked, her black and golden eyes piercing, seeming to almost X-ray Tereya. "You know he is likeable. The way he acts around you isn't his normal behavior. It's his what-do-I-do behavior."
"So?" Tereya replied, although wincing as she had to keep up the pressure on her Zanpakuto. "What do you want me to do about it? Fall to my knees and beg to tears that I love him?"
A burst of spiritual energy went through the blade, and she saw her chance. She raised the blade upwards, releasing the point-blank shockwave upon her opponent with surprising force. "Not my style!"
But Akiko was ready. "Bakudō 61, Rikujōkōrō!" Immediately six rods of light bound Tereya. "Of course I don't want you to get on your knees in tears. I'm just wondering if you like him or not."
Tereya closed once eye out of a wince, as she felt her body go immobile. "Standing right now?" She asked, looking over Akiko once again. "My answer is no."
"I see." Akiko muttered and probably just like Ahatake would feel if he heard that, the Kido bonds crumbled. Akiko held up he blade. "Guess I can dispose of her." She thought as the pillar of energy resembling her mask though smaller slightly weaker formed.
"Aka Shouten!" She cried and swung her blade down and the mask sailed at Tereya.
The seemingly maniacal grin appeared once again on her face. "Don't be gettin' weaker! This is just gettin' fun!" She shouted, pushing forward, that dangerous spiritual energy beginning to form around her body once more. Her blade was pointed straight towards it, in a running kendo stance.
She collided with it, and a brilliant light enveloped the area once more....
And then Akiko stopped. "Looks like our time is up." She said coolly.
"Hmph." With a flick of her wrist, Tereya sheathed her sword once more, letting it slide slowly with a slow hiss-and-snap. She let her arms fall to her sides, looking up at Akiko with a slightly playful expression. "The best five minutes of my life, Akiko-san....at least, so far."
"You'd have an even more fun five minutes (or more) if you were to go out with Onii-san." Akiko replied. "I don't like to say this, but that last attack was meant to obliterate you." She looked hurt just saying it.
Surprisingly, the playful look was only replaced by a bit of surprise, but still retaining its regular mirth. "Is that so, Akiko-san...?" She asked softly.
"Yes." Akiko replied. "I like you, you know. But I'd rather you end up with Onii-san than me. Besides I have Echo."
Tereya's footsteps began to move forward, softly and carefully, towards Akiko's position. "Do you want to know something, Akiko-san? It may be simple to you, but hear me out."
"Alright, Echo's training anyway, so I've got time."
"A simple baby. Crawling on its hands and knees and not completely sure of how to walk, approaches a burning fire. It is tempted by the swirling lights and entangling heat, almost as if it were a gift for it and it alone. What exactly does it do?"
"Instinctively it reaches for the fire. And then of course it finds out that the fire wasn't quite what it that it was."
"Yes...." Tereya raised her head up to stare into Akiko's eyes, a seemingly phantom-like appearance to them. "From that first encounter, it realizes what the fire's true nature is, not what it thought it was. It may still appreciate the fire or not, but either way, it knows how to and not to approach it."
The smile faded from her face once more. "...do you understand?"
"Yes, but I will tell you this." Akiko muttered, seeing what Tereya had just said as an insult to her brother. "There's nothing more wonderful than waking up everyday to someone who loves you. Someone who's NOT family."
A smirk came across her face once more, but she didn't reveal anything more. Nor did she outwardly indicate a reaction towards Akiko's statement. Rather, she kept smiling, as if what was said had been a joke.
Of course, she knew it wasn't.
"Don't believe me that's fine." Akiko muttered and she walked up to Tereya and kissed her forehead. "You'll see."
If Smirnov hadn't been paying attention to anything before then, he was definitely paying attention now. Comically widened eyes and mouth, along with a lined blush said it all.
Tereya was no better, a shocked expression washing over her as she felt the other woman's lips caress and leave her forehead. "W...what...?" She managed to stutter, staring at Akiko incredulously.
"I told you, I like you. But I'd rather you see with my brother." Akiko replied. "Unless you like me of course." Akiko said, but then laughed. "Like that'd ever be possible.'
For a moment, Tereya could only glare suspiciously at Akiko, until she finally turned away. "Tch!"
"I thought so." Akiko muttered, her black eyes unreadable. "You wanna have one more go? I liked you expression."
"That depends. You referrin' to the kiss..."
Tereya's head craned over her shoulder to look back at Akane, a small smirk on her face. "...or the fight?"
"Depends. Which one did you like best?"
"The fight, of course."
"Then let's go!" Akiko replied, sounding slightly disappointed.
"This time...." Tereya stated, turning back around. Once again, her palm rested on the butt of her Zanpakuto, and the grin that decorated her face before was visible once again. "I'll let you have the first move."
Smirnov folded his arms across his chest, putting on a small smile of his own.
"How sweet." Akiko replied, and she pulled the mask out of her pocket and placed it back on and her spiritual pressure rose. "This time, use your Hollow!" Akiko hissed sending a cero at her opponent.
"Relying on my Hollow? In this fight?" Tereya asked, cocking an eyebrow as the Cero once again approached her. "Do I look...."
Crouching her legs to the ground, she propelled herself into the air, easily dodging the beam of spiritual energy.
"....like a jackass?"
"But a fight is always more fun with more power!" Akiko replied, opening her mouth to fire what looked like a Bala.
The body of an assassin.
The speed of a demon.
It was all that was needed to allow Tereya to vanish and re-appear in front of Akiko in less than a second, free hand clamped onto her mouth, and sword blade poised behind her back. However, it had required Tereya to press herself against the other woman, in order for her to be properly pinned by the blade.
"Don't try it..." She whispered. "You don't want to blow yourself up now....do you?"
"Hmmm...she's has got a point. But what does she take me for?!?" Akiko began to expel massive spiritual pressure in the hopes of forcing Tereya to her knee's just like Ahatake could.
At first, it seemed to work. Tereya's body seemed to tremble violently, as she shut her eyes and gritted her teeth against the pressure. Her posture slumped a bit, and she almost fell to her knees, her body threatening to be crushed.
Then...her grin grew wider, and she let out a maniacal burst of laughter. With a flick of her wrist, she pulled the blade from behind Akiko and swung it vertically, slicing deep into the breastbone with the slightest of ease, and the coldest of movements.
But Akiko barely registered the fact and jumped back, skidding along the ground. "You'll have to do better than that." Akiko sliced her left arm, and the blood soaked on her blade. "AKA SHOUTEN!" Was her yell as she swung the blade and fired a massive crescent shaped wave that tore the ground as it sped towards the girl.
Moving her sword into a backhand position, Tereya waited once more until the massive wave was close enough. Then, her body began to glow with the same aura as before, and she swung the blade, knocking it aside like a ball. "The same goes for you..." She cooed, correcting the sword position back to a fronthand position.
Aiko sighed, and cupped her hands together. "Time for Onii-san's Chou Cero!" She cried forming a red ball of energy in her hands. "EAT THIS!" She cried expelling the cero from her cupped hands by extending it outward.
"Firing yet another Cero? Before if even reaches me.... I'll make sure you won't fire another."
Tereya vanished once more, evading the blast once more.
Or so she thought. Akiko swept her hands up and the blasts collided with Tereya's back.
"What the fuck...?"
That was the singular thought that crossed Tereya's mind, as the white-hot blasts slammed into her back, burning every nerve in her body. But she couldn't bring herself to scream, even as her vision went white once more....
Akiko stared and pulled her mask off. "Are we done here?"
Out of the smoke, a charred body fell from the sky, shifting positions to land on her feet. Breathing hard and looking heavily damaged, it was clear that the Cero attack had definitely its effect. But, that same grin still appeared on her face, as she stood back up, wincing at her wounds.
"What? You're bleeding awfully good....and I'm burned to a crisp. We're still even in this...."
"I don't wanna keep hurting you..." Akiko muttered.
Tereya couldn't help but cock an eyebrow. "Why not?" She asked patiently.
"It doesn't feel right for me." Akiko replied. "Now Lilith I could do this without a second thought."
"Oooh.... that's a shame...." Tereya mused, raising the blade to her mouth. Her tongue scraped the blood from it, and she savored the taste into her mouth, putting on an innocent look as she did so. "I was staring to think you'd actually be worthy of being called something more than trash... but I guess I was wrong in that department."
"I'll let that slide." Akiko said, smiling a bit.
Immediately, her eyes narrowed in a seemingly demonic glare, and she pulled the blade away from her mouth. "Don't tell me you're afraid, Akiko-san. You certainly was looking like you enjoyed that fight... why are you so hesitant now?"
Akiko threw a mirror at Tereya which she caught. "Look at yourself."
Raising the mirror up to her face, she only saw her own skeptical gaze. Her face was covered in burns, but not enough to mutilate her appearance completely. She tossed the mirror aside, her eyes staring at Akiko once more. "I'd be takin' a look at yourself, too, with those bleedin' gashes on you...." She countered. "It doesn't matter what the appearance of someone is in a fight, its whether they can stand up to do so that matters... so put that mask back on. We ain't done yet."
"These bleeding gashes are normal. And we are done here Tereya-chan."
"If you want it that way. I was gonna declare it a draw."
Tereya closed her eyes in disapproval, but sheathed her blade anyway, allowing her hand to rest on her shoulder. "Fine. Consider this your loss, though, since you withdrew yourself out."
"Alright." Akiko said, and vanished with a "Bzzt" sound and reappeared in front of Tereya kissing her again, though not on the forehead this time.
It was on the palm of Tereya's hand. She slowly pushed the lady's face away from hers, a steely gaze into her eyes. "I think it's clear I don't feel that way about you..." She muttered. "So don't do that."
"I missed..." Akiko said sounding disappointed. "Well think about Onii-san. He does love you, you know."
"I'll be sure to." Tereya replied dryly.
Akiko sighed. "You really are missing out.." She said sadly and took off.
The black-haired girl sighed in annoyance, as she stared at the other girl's retreating form. "What a dumb girl..." She muttered.
"Wasn't that a bit harsh?" Smirnov questioned.
"I'm not gonna sugarcoat anything just to make someone happy, bro. That's only for someone who's denying themself, and I'm not one of them."
Smirnov could only sigh. "Yeah.... I guess you're right."
"Anyway... let's continue on with our own training, shall we?" Tereya asked, the smirk re-appearing on her face once more.
"Wonder what's taking her so long?" Ahatake muttered, sitting around impatiently.
Shunsatsu shrugged. "Either Tereya's killed her..." He supplied, lying on the couch like a slum. "Or they got into a fight."
"Probably the latter." Ahatake replied.
"....you're not worried?"
"She can handle herself. She's a demon."
A skeptical look crossed Shunsatsu's features, and he shuddered a bit. "Well, technically, so is Tereya... I mean, if you hadn't healed him, she probably would've kicked Mozou's head right off of his shoulders...."
"Ahatake-san...." Shunsatsu turned away a bit. "Are you sure you aren't getting a bit over your head with this girl? I mean... she seems quite hostile towards you as it is.... at least, so I think."
"I like strong, independent women." Ahatake replied just as the door opened.
"Oh.... she hasn't gotten killed after all...."
Akiko heard that and punched Shunsatsu.
A casual spitting out of a tooth was Shunsatsu's body response, along with his skeptical gaze towards her. "Hey, we'd thought that with her volatility, you'd get wasted off the bat..."
"No she and I get along O.K." Akiko replied. "We had a sparring match."
"Oh....that would explain the scars...." Shunsatsu noted, looking over the wounded body and dried blood.
"These are self inflicted."
"My Zanpakuto requires my blood to attack."
Shunsatsu scoffed. "Tch... what are you, a fucking emo?"
CRACK! Was the only sound heard as Akiko's fist connected with his face.
"O...ow...." The blue-clad man managed to weakly say, body twitching as if he had just been hit by a semi truck.
"Anyway, Onii-san I tried to convince her to go out with you and she compared you to flames."
Immediately, Shunsatsu stopped, pulling himself up to a sitting position. "H-huh?"
"Like how a baby see's a fire and is attracted to it's heat and colors, but then when it sticks it's hand in the fire it quickly discovers it was not what it thought it was."
"I see, so she's nwervous."
"...." Shunsatsu decided to remain silent, but he cocked an eyebrow out of surprise.
"Strange since she doesn't seem the type." Ahatake muttered.
"I agree. Guess we'll just see how things play out." Akiko replied.
Slowly getting up, Shunsatsu stretched himself, a wave of exhaustion overcoming him as he let out a loud yawn. "Well, you guys can decide whatever you want." He commented, thrusting his hands into his pockets. "I'd better be going home."
"Alright, see you later." Ahatake said. "By the way I will pay to fix your teeth."
With that, Shunsatsu calmly walked out, shutting the door behind him.
"Well I'm off to bed Onii-san." Akiko chirped and walked off to her room leaving Ahatake alone to think.
Do you understand now? Both of you?
The blades clashed across the sky once more.
Only when you think like me....only when you know my thoughts....it will be only then... that you will understand.
Tereya skidded on her feet, but thrust herself to attack Smirnov again, who calmly struck a defensive pose.
"And maybe... just maybe... you'll get what you want.