InuYasha Fan Fiction / Bleach Fan Fiction ❯ Breaking Through the Ice ❯ Chapter 2

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Title: Breaking Through the Ice
Author: inuyashagirl5
Rating: T (Rating may change... Not sure yet.)
Genre: Action/Romance
Pairing: Kagome/Toshiro
Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha or Bleach. InuYasha is owned by Rumiko Takahashi and Bleach is owned by Tite Kubo. I only borrow their characters for my own amusement and the amusement of the readers.
-------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------
Chapter Two
Two years later...

"I didn't mean... I didn't want her to get hurt..." InuYasha was on the verge of letting everything go. Before him Kikyo knelt over Kagome's unmoving form, doing her best to rescue the girl she had come to view as little sister. It had taken some work between the two of them, but Kagome had never wavered in her attempts at getting closer to the older priestess and it had been her determination that had made it easier for Kikyo. Because of Kagome, Kikyo was no longer cold and angry.
The last thing she wanted now was to lose her. It wouldn't hurt just her, but the group as a whole. She had to do everything within her power to save her. They wouldn't be able to celebrate their victory over Naraku without her. It had been because of her that Naraku was defeated, but in the end, it seemed their enemy would have the last laugh. With one last surge, Naraku had used the last of his strength to pierce Kagome through the chest with a tentacle. They could only watch as he gave the dying priestess a grin of triumph before becoming dust in the wind.
"No... No more." Kagome strained, her hand weakly grasping Kikyo's. She knew her fate was to die here and now. Her dreams had been making that painfully clear for nearly two years. She could hear Aoi Hime now, begging her to let go and rest and she was ready to rest. So very ready.
"But, Kagome... I can save you. I know I can."
"One selfish wish..." Kagome whispered, her pained blue eyes looking up into nearly identical blue. "Live, Kikyo. Live for them. Live for him."
"No. Don't say such foolish things, Kagome." Kikyo panicked as the girl coughed, spitting up more blood than before. "Just relax and let me heal you."
"Dammit, wench. You can't just go and die on me!" InuYasha snarled. Her eyes lifted to meet his and he could see the emptiness creeping in to the beautiful blue eyes he was so used to seeing with a sparkle. His demon side was ready to tear through his restraint. It wanted to kill something to ease the pain it was feeling for being so close to losing a pack member. A very important one. When no one else would accept him, Kagome had seen him as just another face. There was no difference between him and anybody else in her eyes. She really, honestly didn't care that he was a hanyou.
"I love all of you..." Kagome smiled, her eyes passing over the faces of each of her dear friends. "I will never, ever forget any of you. Please, I don't want you to be sad. Though I will be dead, I am moving on to other things and I will see you again one day. Trust me."
"Why can't you stay? Why do you have to... to die?" Sango's voice was broken with her sobs.
"It's just my time, Sango. I'm at peace with that." Kagome replied softly. Aoi Hime's voice was growing louder now and she knew it was time to go. She clutched the jewel in hand to her heart. "I wish for Kikyo to be living once again. Her soul, her body."
"Kagome..." Kikyo tried to protest, but the jewel was already reacting to the wish that had been made. She could feel herself becoming lighter, feeling a weight being lifted from her chest. Inside, her heart pulsed once and then again and again it beat.
Silently, Kagome added a second wish. "I wish for the Shikon no Tama to always be with me. To never leave me no matter where or when I go for all eternity."
With her last breath, the jewel melded back into her flesh and fused with her soul. The only way its power could be used now is if she willed it.
Kagome blinked at the scene before her, comprehending immediately that she was watching her friends mourn her death. InuYasha and Shippo howled at the loss, while the rest sobbed and cried. She felt sad for them. Their victory had been tarnished because of Naraku and now, celebrating was replaced by mourning and sadness. They would have to return home and bury their loved one.
"A soul reaper is coming for you. Be on guard until they arrive. Hollows may find you."
"I have you now, Aoi Hime." Kagome turned sad eyes onto her new friend and partner. She clutched the sword in her hand a little tighter. She would have no regrets about the outcome of the battle. With time, her friends would mend and they would be happy.
She continued to watch her friends; waiting for the one who would bring her to the place Aoi Hime had called the Soul Society.
Her brow creased when Miroku's head lifted and looked in her direction. His expression was one of confusion and he rubbed his eyes and blinked, and then looked back at the body on the ground. He looked her way again and then slightly to her left where Aoi Hime was standing.
"He can see us."
That statement was proven correct when Miroku rose to his feet and moved towards them.
"Ka-Kagome-sama?" His hand extended forward in an attempt to touch her, but Aoi Hime pulled her back a step.
"Get a hold of yourself, Miroku." Sango sadly scolded the one she loved.
"No, no, Sango. I can see her. Right... Here" He looked towards Kagome and then behind her to a figure approaching from behind. The woman was older and her raven hair was parted and braided in front of her. She wore a white robe and offered a very kind smile. But most importantly, she carried a sword.
"The soul reaper is here."
Kagome turned to greet the newcomer, doing a double take at the white robe she wore. She had seen something similar two years earlier, but on the boy who was her own age. Briefly, she wondered if she would see him again when she reached the Soul Society.
"You already have a zanpakuto?" The woman asked as she approached, eying the sword in Kagome's left hand. Kagome lifted it to eye level so the other woman could see it. Both women blinked when Miroku stepped between Kagome and the soul reaper, his shakujo pointing at the newcomer.
"What do you want with Kagome-sama?" He demanded. The others looked up at him and Kikyo gasped.
"I can see her too. She's with two other women." She replied, moving to her feet. Her eyes were more on the woman with the blue hair whose aura was linked and intertwined with Kagome's own.
"It was to be expected. They're both powerful in their own right."
"Answer me. Why are you here?" Miroku repeated.
"Miroku-sama, that is not polite." Kagome admonished her friend gently. “She is here for me. She is a soul reaper."
"I am Unohana Retsu. I am a soul reaper. It is as she said, I am here for her. We have to hurry on to the Soul Society. It is not safe for her soul to dwell here." She turned to address Kagome. "Please make your goodbyes quick, so we may go."
"Of course." Kagome replied. "I'll be going now. Miroku-sama, take good care of Sango and make lots of babies and take care of Shippo. Don't let him feel alone. Kikyo, be happy with InuYasha. Show him that you love him as he is and that what he is doesn't matter. Tell them that I love them and I want all of you to be happy. Take care."
"We will, Kagome. Be safe." Kikyo replied for the group.
Kagome looked the group over one last time and smiled before turning away and following the soul reaper's lead.
"The Shikon no Tama burns brightly in her soul." Kikyo replied as their friend departed for the final time. "No more shall it be a burden for us and others in the future. She has placed the burden on herself."
"She was always brave." Miroku added.
"How long have you had contact with your zanpakuto?" Retsu asked politely as they walked.
"I've been hearing her for almost two years now."
"I've been trying for far longer than that."
"But she claims she's been trying to speak to me for longer."
"I am amazed to hear such a thing. You are indeed special as they are saying." Retsu smiled. "Usually there is a recovery time for souls upon entering the Soul Society and the soul doesn't recall anything of its previous life, but I am certain that will not be the case with you."
"I will remember everything from my life?"
"Yes, I believe so. It is perhaps because of the jewel that has fused with you. It is why extra precautions were put into place upon retrieving you. Normally, a regular soul reaper can handle sending the soul off by performing Konso. For you, we do not need to perform that ritual. As a captain, I can lead you directly into the Soul Society since you are already prepared. More than adequately, I might add. I am going to bring you directly to the other captains and to the commander-general, Yamamoto."
"I didn't understand half of that." Kagome admitted, "But I'm sure I'll learn with time."
"Indeed." Retsu chuckled softly. "This way. The gate is just up ahead."

The remaining captains of the thirteen squad guard were already meeting together upon Yamamoto's orders. Though none of them knew what the situation was, they were certain that the fourth squad captain was a part of it. None of them had seen the motherly captain for over twenty-four hours and that was cause for concern. Even her lieutenant, Issane, had no idea where her captain was, but was doing her best to maintain the stability of the fourth squad while she was away.
Amongst themselves, some of the captains questioned her whereabouts and disagreed on many points. Toshiro kept his thoughts to himself. Retsu had been a captain for a very long time and if she was absent, she was probably absent for a very good reason. He scowled as Kenpachi's voice grew louder. Sometimes he wished the man would just shut up.
"Silence. This is not the time for disagreement." Yamamoto stated angrily, gaining order from the arguing captains immediately. "For the next week there will be an increase in surveillance in the Soul Society. A powerful soul will be arriving within the next twenty-four hours and until it and the artifact it contains are stable, we can expect an increase in hollow activity."
"Artifact? Which artifact?" Mayuri Kurotsuchi asked, curious as to what new power may be entering their midst.
"The artifact is one we are aware of. It is the Shikon no Tama." Yamamoto answered. "The guardian priestess was slain in battle, but with her last breath, she wished for the jewel to stay with her for all eternity."
"A foolish wish." Byakuya commented.
"Indeed it was foolish." Jushiro agreed. "The poor woman will get no rest if it is discovered."
"The soul is being tended to by Captain Unohana personally. I sent her off in secret. The less that knew, the better."
"That is understandable." Jushiro agreed. "Depending on how the soul met its end, a calm, kind face might be beneficial. Will we be separating squads by districts or taking turns patrolling?"
The door to the chamber opened before Yamamoto could give an answer. Within the doorway was Captain Unohana. She remained where she was, looking to Yamamoto to acknowledge her.
"Captain Unohana, you have returned early. Do you have news on the soul?" Yamamoto addressed her.
"Yes. The soul has already arrived, but it didn't go as expected." She glanced over her shoulder. "I guess you can see for yourself."
The young woman she motioned forward took Toshiro by surprise. He hadn't seen her since she had saved his life two years earlier. She didn't look any older, but he knew she was at least seventeen. What really surprised him, and the other captains, was the zanpakuto she held in her right hand. Its hilt was as blue as the sky and trimmed with silver. The sheath was the same blue, but decorated with black petals.
"You are awake already." Yamamoto commented.
"I was never asleep." Kagome answered with a frown.
"This is Higurashi Kagome." Retsu introduced the girl. "Her zanpakuto is..."
"Aoi Hime." Kagome calmly interrupted.
"You know its name already. That is impressive." Shunsui was amazed.
"I've known for awhile actually. I just wasn't sure why she was telling me her name. After all, I was still alive when she did." Kagome let her eyes wander over the faces of the others in the room. Undoubtedly the elderly-looking male at the front was the commander-general. She looked over the ones standing on the left, before letting her eyes skim over the faces of those on the right. She blinked as she passed a set of familiar eyes and then quickly looked back and into the aquamarine eyes of Toshiro. It seemed he hadn't grown much since she had last seen him. He didn't look much older either. His face slipped into a scowl and she fought to keep a straight face and not giggle. It seemed some things never changed.
"Higurashi-san arrived as is. Her soul required no rest and, as you can tell, the aura of the Shikon no Tama is hidden."
She was the guardian of the Shikon no Tama? Toshiro couldn't fathom the enormity of that announcement. Yes, Kagome had been strong when he met her, but to the extent that she guarded something so sacred, he had a hard time believing it.
"You will begin attending the academy in two days." Yamamoto commanded. "Until then, take the time to get your bearings about the place. Captain Hitsugaya, you will escort Lady Kagome for the day and have Lieutenant Matsumoto escort her tomorrow."
Toshiro didn't like that, but he had no choice but to comply. With a bow he said, "Yes, Commander-General."
"Security will remain a priority for the week. The squads will alternate patrols and two squads will patrol at one time. The second and ninth squads will start immediately. You are dismissed."
"I will see you again soon, Higurashi-san. Be well." Retsu gave her a smile before she departed. One by one the other captains passed by her. Some ignored her completely, while a few offered her a warm smile and one gave her a grin that completely creeped her out. All that was left once the room cleared out was her and...
"It's been awhile, Toshiro-kun."
"You will address me as Captain Hitsugaya." He scowled at her, again. Again she addressed him as a child.
"I see it's not only your height that hasn't grown up." She shot at him.
"Exercise caution, Kagome. He is a captain. He was a captain when you met him. He is powerful."
"You will not disrespect me." He was a captain. She had to show him the respect his title earned him.
"You are the last thing I want to deal with today. I just died not more than four hours ago from a tentacle through my chest. I left behind friends... My family doesn't even know I am dead!" She whirled around and stormed out of the room, but he was quick on her heels. He had been ordered to show her around.
He glowered at her departing form when she passed by Jushiro and Shunsui. She hadn't even been there for more than thirty-minutes and she was already causing problems.
"Is something the matter, Lady Kagome?" Jushiro was surprised to see the young woman storming past him and his friend. She stopped long enough to glare over her shoulder at Toshiro.
"Yes. Captain Hitsugaya is an insufferable jerk. You'd think he'd be a tad more cordial to someone he hasn't seen in two years. Someone who happened to have saved his life."
"Oh!" Jushiro perked up immediately. "You are that priestess? What a rare coincidence! Shiro-chan, you're so lucky to have met such a sweet girl."
Toshiro scowled fiercer at the stupid, childish nickname Jushiro used. He hated that nickname. "Sweet? You are a fool. There is nothing sweet about her."
"Hitsugaya-kun, don't be so mean." Shunsui drew Kagome into the cradle of his arms. It was clear she was distressed and he was betting she hadn't had a moment to let the situation soak in and let herself cry for what was lost. After all, normal souls didn't have to worry about such things. She remembered everything. "Go on, Hitsugaya-kun. We'll take good care of..."
"Absolutely not." Toshiro cut him off. "I am not abandoning my orders."
"I cannot be near you right now. I can't..." She kept her face hidden from view, but all three males knew she was breaking down. Toshiro frowned. He wasn't prepared to deal with a crying girl, but this was partially his fault and he felt really guilty about it. With a gentle tug, he had her out of the older captain's arms and into his own. He scowled and kept his eyes averted from the other two captains, but he let her cry against his neck.
Shunsui and Jushiro shared a smirk before leaving the pair alone. Now wasn't the time to tease Toshiro for his actions. They'd do that later when the young captain was alone.
"I'm sorry." Toshiro said gruffly once the other two had left. "It was wrong of me to act as I did. I have no idea what it's like to go through what you went through."
"I don't mean to cry on you... I just..." She sniffled.
"It's too much at once. It's fine. Go ahead and cry."
"No, no." Kagome pulled back and wiped her eyes. "I really, rather do that when I'm alone. It's embarrassing to cry in front of people you don't know."

"You know me." He protested.
"Hardly and we weren't on very good terms then. You were so..."
"I sometimes dislike being called Toshiro-kun. It makes me feel like I'm being viewed as a kid." He cut her off and pouted a little. He hated when people pointed out how young he was and looked. It shouldn't take away from the fact that he was stronger than men more than two times his age, but for some, it did. When paired with his height, there were days when there was no end to the teasing. Some of his fellow captains had no quarrels with frustrating him.
"I didn't know that you disliked that honorific. When we are with others, I will be polite and respect you by using your title, but... if it is alright with you, when we are alone, would it be alright to address you as Toshiro-san?"
"Fine, but only when no one else is around."
He blushed at the happy smile she gave him, but he'd be honest with himself. He was happy to see her smile. The girl had to have enormous emotional strength to be able to smile after everything she had gone through. He was curious though. As the guardian of the Shikon not Tama, she had to have stories to tell; journeys to speak of and since she remembered everything, he could learn more about her and what she had gone through up until her death. It could be beneficial to know more about her since she was not a typical soul.
"Where will I be staying for the time being?" She asked, her eyes wandering around the walls surrounding them and down the long corridor. There wasn't much to look at there, but she hoped outside the building they were in would be better.
"This way. Tonight you will stay in the tenth division barracks with my lieutenant Rangiku." He turned to lead her down the hallway towards the exit. "Tomorrow you'll be assigned a room with other academy students."
As they stepped outside, Kagome was greeted by a bright blue sky decorated with white, fluffy clouds. As she let her eyes look around the surroundings, she realized this place wasn't too different than the living world. She was sure she'd learn the differences soon and she was looking forward to it. She was going to do what she could to become stronger and help those that needed her.
"You are already strong. You know this."
Kagome sighed at Aoi Hime's words. She wished it were true, but she always held self-doubt within her because InuYasha had quite often told her she was weak and a burden. She didn't want to be that version of Kagome he had known.
'When I see InuYasha again someday, I want him to see how his words inspired me to become stronger.'
"The hanyou was an idiot."
Kagome smiled at her zanpakuto's words and Toshiro's eyebrow lifted a little. What could she possibly be thinking of to smile like that? She looked happy despite the circumstances. She met his gaze and grinned, which only annoyed him and made him scowl in return. He was looking forward to passing her off to Rangiku. He had a feeling they would be good friends.
He led her to the tenth division's barracks, pausing every now and then when she would stop to look at everything she could. He was being patient with her. She needed to learn her way around anyways. He scowled as he realized some of his men were quite literally gawking at her as they passed, mouths open and eyes alight. He didn't know what their problem was, but he disliked that they were wasting time.
"Find something to do or go practice." He barked out the order, making his underlings jump and then scatter, shouting out "Yes, Captain Hitsugaya!" as they went.
"I hope I don't end up with you as my captain. You're so mean." Kagome teased quietly.
"I hope I don't end up with you either. You're annoying." He shot back as he continued walking. He missed how her eyes dulled at the negative words. "I feel bad for whoever does end up with you."
She remained quiet, her eyes downcast as they walked. So it turned out he was really no different than InuYasha. She hadn't been there for very long and already someone had something unkind to say about her.
'Maybe InuYasha was right all along...'
"Oh, Captain!" A female voice called out in a sing-song voice and Toshiro visibly shuddered. Moments later a very busty red-head was hugging the disgruntled captain and Kagome couldn't help it, she burst out laughing. It served him right for how mean he was. "And who might you be?"
"I am Higurashi Kagome." Kagome offered a polite bow.
"I am Lieutenant of the tenth division, Matsumoto Rangiku! But please, call me Rangi-"
"Absolutely not." Toshiro cut her off. "Higurashi-san knows to address her superiors with proper respect for their titles."
"Is Rangiku-chan alright?" Kagome asked, moving closer to the taller woman and ignoring Toshiro's grumbling complaints.
"Only if I can call you Kagome-chan." Rangiku released her pouty, emotionally stunted captain and took hold of Kagome's hand. "Let me show you around! Captain Hitsugaya has a mountain of work to get done and you shouldn't have to deal with his scowling, mean..."
"That is enough, Lieutenant." Toshiro cast and angry glare at his grinning lieutenant. She was obviously doing this on purpose, wanting a new female friend to tote around and play dress up with. He had no qualms with that, but she didn't have to be so obnoxious towards him because of it. "You may show Higurashi-san around, but do behave yourselves."
"Sometimes you can be so stuffy, Captain!" Rangiku pouted, but tugged Kagome closer. "we'll behave. I promise."
As Rangiku pulled her along, Kagome glanced back at Toshiro. He was watching them leave, frowning as usual. His eyes widened as they caught hers, but before she could question him, Rangiku was leading her around the corner and down another hallway.
Toshiro remained where he was, though he was contemplating following. Something wasn't right with Kagome. There was something different in her eyes, something that hadn't been there moments before. Had he made the right choice in letting his lieutenant take over? Was she sad because he wasn't showing her around himself? Why was he even questioning himself? He huffed, crossed his arms over his chest and stalked off to his office. Knowing Rangiku as he did, she had gotten nothing done and there probably was a mountain of work on his desk.