The Black Phoenix @akatsukiskyuubi
The Darkness Awakened

The Black Phoenix

Chapter 12: The Darkness Awakened

-Last Time-

Meanwhile at the bottom of the canyon, things were about to change.

-Now-

As they fell into the blackness Kage reached out for Ichigo, holding his head to her chest. She felt the heat of the Hogyoku and then the coldness retreated, yet she was still tired. They were falling faster and faster, she saw Mirzam falling beside her, a glowing eye meeting hers. You must find your resolve, else you will die here. Come. Kage nodded and suddenly she was in a forest at twilight. "Where am I?" she asked and suddenly Mirzam was standing before her. His massive frame gleaming in the fading light. This is your world Little One, you need my second release. Or are you afraid? Kage glared at Mirzam, the fire in her eyes burning brightly. "I am not afraid anymore! I will not run again, I will protect those I love!" The wolf gave her a gleaming grin. I see you have finally found your resolve to protect. But are you willing to kill? She snorted. "If I must kill to defend those I love then I will. But I will not kill needlessly Mirzam." He snorted in agreement, before spreading his massive wings. So it is decided. I will serve you Child of Eternal Night. May your foes curse the day they knew of you. A blinding darkness surrounded her as heat swept through her, she could feel herself changing as her Bankai flowed through her.

When she opened her eyes she could see every thing below her, as if the darkness lifted for her alone. She felt them slowing down and turned her head to see the massive black feathered wings that slowed their fall. She heard a sound and felt something on her head move to catch it. She landed safely on the bottom of the canyon, Ichigo still held to her. The wings folded around her shielding them from sight. Ichigo's eyes opened and she smiled seeing the gleaming gold in a field of black. The hollow looked up at the woman-child who saved him. "You saved me. Why?" She smiled at him her fingers smoothing his now white hair. "You are my friend, Hollow or not I consider you that." His eyes widened for an instant. "You are weird." She chuckled. "I've been told that by many. But I am me, nothing more or less." He smirked, his eyes gleaming. "So I assume this is your Bankai?" She nodded, and he took a good look at her. He decided she looked like an fallen angel. "I must help those I love. Aizen has done such horrible things, but there will be one kill I make for my own vengeance. Momo will know I keep my vows." He got to his feet and grabbed the Zanpaktou. "Well, I'm always up to spill some blood." She laughed, and he wondered where her Zanpaktou was.

Kage smiled and twisted, popping bones and testing her new form out. "Ok, I'm ready lets go to war." They decided to go down the canyon until the found a place they could jump out rather then waste the energy to climb up. Kage found flying was something she loved, silent wing beats carried her down the canyon the Hollow below her easily keeping up. "So, I never asked. What is your name?"She asked as they rounded a bend and saw the walls begin to lower. " I don't have one." She growled. "Remind me to smack Ichigo for not giving you a name." The hollow chuckled. "Then you give me one." She thought for a bit until she flared her wings and cleared the walls of the now ravine. The hollow jumped up behind her and she landed on a rock nearby. "I will call you Kuroichi!" The hollow laughed. Dark Protector She smiled. "It fits. But Little flier. I don't know your name." She giggled. "You may call me Yue in this form." She smiled at him and the fangs gleamed ominously. "Yue, Lets go make them sorry for ever knowing us." She laughed and nodded swinging her hand and a 7' scythe appeared gleaming wickedly. "My Lady, Let us show them terror." She took his extended hand and handed him Zangetsu. "Death itself will know fear before this battle's end." Then suddenly they were gone.

Orihime blasted a hollow apart with Tsubaki, tears still gleaming on her cheeks. The sight of Ichigo and Kage falling into the blackness replaying over and over in her head. She noticed Grimmjow tearing into another hollow, the crimson blood on his side all they had of Kage. Aizen went for the Head-Captain and Momo went for Rukia, who was trying to save her Captain from getting hurt. A large black-red streak deflected Aizen from his path and nearly sending him into Momo stopping her as well. The outfit and spiky hair caused a fresh wave of tears. "Ichigo."A large shape descended from above to land on his shoulder, a main of silver hung to its knees. Large paws were its feet and its legs were shaped like a animal's. The massive wings were held above it. The bangs hid its face,the large silver fox ears on its head twitched with all the sounds. The long tail flicked back and forth as if taunting its enemies. She saw it wore short shorts and a halter style top, the plump breasts held within gave away its gender. Sudden its head turned and she was looking into glowing, slitted, amethyst eyes. The smile the female gave was full of gleaming fangs. Focusing on the creature's face she saw something glinting from around its throat. The metal collar it wore caught the light right then, and she saw the symbol for the 11th squad and the Captain's name next to it. Her eyes met the creature's and it nodded. Aizen spoke then. "So you cost me my Maiden, I needed that girl to fulfill my destiny." Ichigo sighed. "That innocent girl died loving those you seek to kill." The creature snorted and then was gone. Seeing a flash of pink and black Orihime knew what she was after, Momo would never be able to escape her. The Captains arrived to see Ichigo fighting, and she saw one turn his head to hide his tears. She saw Kaname vanish and knew he was after Ichigo, she knew she couldn't get a shield up in time. A steak of silver-tipped black appeared and Kage appeared in her new form slicing at him with cruelly shaped claws.

Orihime yelled as loud as she could. "Get him!" The creature threw its head back and screamed its defiance. Ichigo laughed. "Behold, My Queen." Orihime saw his eyes and knew it was his hollow in control. Eyes met and locked across the battlefield."Yue!" Hisana gasped, the purple eyes glittered in acknowledgment. Kaname attacked Yue and she sliced deep into his side before bounding out of reach on four legs. "I vowed I would kill you for your betrayal. Did I not?" Determined to kill the one who caused her Grimmjow pain. She turned and vanished only seen in the instant she sliced into his body.

Jushiro leaned heavily on Shunsui, looking at his sister who named the strange creature. "Hisana?" She started to cry but the smile on her face told them they were happy tears. Hisana's hope now restored, called for her bow and began firing again. He wondered and was about to ask when a scream of rage brought their eyes to the fight before them. Kaname tried slicing her but the sword only bounced off her tanned skin. Yue laughed darkly. "You can't cut me Traitor. I am Kenpatchi Zuraki's daughter." Her words reached only his ears, and he trembled. Kuroichi smiled hearing the female slaughter one enemy after another. Kisuke saw the newly arrived fighter and his chest ached, something in him wanting to caress the female's skin. The terrifying creature slaughtered without remorse, flickering with moves like a dancer. Kuroichi and Aizen went round and round, trading blows. Momo was flitting from battle to battle, trying to evade the beast who's purple eyes never left hers.

Yue had vanished into the darkness, her keen eyes focused on her target. Finally seeing her chance she reappeared, darting between Shunsui and Coyote's clashing blades. Using her momentum and larger body she collided into the smaller women and rolled them, claws slicing cruelly into her flesh. The wings beat and carried the two into the air, Momo swinging her Zanpaktou in vain. When she returned to the battle much had changed. Yamamoto was being held by Wonderweiss, she heard the Old Man's Zanpaktou cry for her to aid him and she agreed. He gave me my entire world there is nothing that will stop me from helping him. Her thoughts rang and she extended her claws and dove in to give aid. The Commander called for his flame again and again but it kept getting sucked away by the hollow holding him. Something slammed into they tangle of limbs and started hacking away at the hollow. Yamamoto stared into the glowing eyes of the creature who was helping the substitute's hollow fight. A gleam of silver around its throat caught his eyes and they widened when he realized what he was looking at, and who the creature before him was. "Child.." With a roar the hollow exploded and the winged female stood before him. "Jii-sama..." The low voice purred. "your Bankai?" She smiled and nodded. "Fight with me once more." They were gone without so much as a sound yet she stayed at his side the entire time.

They cut their way through any who attempted to stop them, he reunited with his fellow captains. Suddenly, a pair of female arrancar challenged her and his smile told her to stand and fight. He saw she was suddenly wearing golden battle claws on both hands and feet. Aizen chose to retreat leaving his subordinates to die and cover his escape, the three females paid no attention to the other battles as they sought to kill their opponent. Yue had inflicted several wounds with her battle claws, and the two females laughed at her 'misses'. The survivors were trying to patch up their friends when dark echoing laughter startled them. Eyes turned to see the three. Yue's head was thrown back and the haunting laughter echoed from her chest. "Why are you laughing Bitch! You couldn't even make a decent hit on either of us." Yue's laugh grew deeper as she sat on her haunches. Calming to chuckles she looked upon the two. "You are already dead... You simply don't know it yet." The now sitting creature laughed again, her words echoing to be heard by those around them. "What makes you say that? You haven't been able to do more then give us light cuts.." She chuckled again, the sound ominous. "Yet you can't move.. Can you?" Yue asked cloyingly. Both women twitched and horrified looks crossed their faces. "What have you done!" Yue laughed as she stood again on four legs, stretching, she sat again. The moonlight glinted on the battle claws as she pointed at the two. "You are fools. You fight entirely alone, I am never alone." Disbelieving looks crossed their faces. "Not possible."

Yue smiled and stood on two legs, and her wings folded around her. All was silent for a moment, then the wings exploded and a figure in a sleeveless captain's jacket and the scraps of clothing the creature wore stood there. Hair dancing now a brilliant Crimson, Emerald eyes clouded by exhaustion and pain. "You have been bitten by Ashisogi Jizō. The fangs of the twelfth squad Captain. No one but My Quincy can escape the venom of the Fang. They are My Captain's. The Guardian's of My Heart." Shock at seeing the woman alive rocked those who stood there. Suddenly the figure wavered and then another shape was there to shield the maiden from falling. Ulquiorra looked at the woman in his arms and snorted, his eyes gleamed with slight amusement. "What a wonderful child you are my dear." Mayuri spoke softly in seeing the unconscious woman. The jacket was confirmed to be Aizen's former squad. "He gave it to her as a sign of her dreams he shattered. She turned it into a sign she was still apart of the Soul Society." Coyote Stark said as he stood next to Shunsui. The man chuckled. Ulquiorra carried the woman with care, Orihime running towards them the hollow was suddenly face to face with the Captain of Squad twelve. "This woman is not a toy to be fought over." The Lorde's voice said and the man nodded, turning to walk past the hollow. Orihime stopped before him and summoned her friends. 'She is fine Orihime-chan. The wound is now healed she is exhausted and emotionally drained.' She passed on the words to the two men before her and both nodded. "Excuse me, there are those who need my powers." She joined the squad healers and pitched in to save her friends. Grimmjow showed up in his human-like form carrying a very familiar Zanpaktou. "Its Mirzam!" Rukia pointed out as the two Lords met and walked side by side to the Soul Reapers. "Our lives are hers." He said to the large Captain with an eye patch. "So I see. Come as soon as we are able I wish to return to Seireitei." The group opened a portal and there were echoing cheers with their return, some of the lower officers were there to relieve weapons and bring soothing drinks. Kage was taken to the empty Squad five Hall. They had moved her belongings to the Captain's quarters and she slept on unaware. Orihime and Rukia had bathed and dressed her in a white dress Uryu made her. Her crimson mane was spread against her black bedding like spilled blood. Her Zanpaktou resting on a ebony holder above her head.

The days passed and her body healed, yet she didn't wake. Yamamoto's body had taken too much damage and he knew he wouldn't live much longer. His Zanpaktou sighed and ventured to the moonlit garden. "Child.." He called and Kage turned to seethe mighty phoenix standing humble before her. "What is it? Why do you look so sad?" The phoenix explained the old man wanted to speak with her before passing from this world. Kage sat straight up on bed, her heart pounding. "Gram pa.." She whispered and slid out of bed, her legs shook as she stood and eased into the jacket folded next to her bed. She stumbled out of her room using Mirzam as a crutch and she left the hall shivering softly. The jacket soon warmed her as she stumbled along her path to the great tower before her. She realized she was a lot closer then the 11th squad hall but paid it no mind. When she arrived the doors were opened for her and she slowly toddled along the long hall, a servant coming to guide her and give her an arm to lean on. "Come Lady, his time is near." The man whispered and she nodded putting more effort into her movements. She finally knelt by his bedside and the old man's eyes opened to see her tear-streaked face.

"Calm Child, Don't cry. I will finally move on from this world, I have a favor to ask of you my Dear." She nodded, her voice choked. "You will have to be present for the reading of my last order, Kage. I want you to pass my robe onto my successor. This is an important job. For a few hours all of the Soul Society will be in your delicate hands." She nodded finally winning the ability to speak. "Will I be allowed to come to your funeral? May I sing for you?" He smiled and nodded. "Its all in the orders Tsukakage. Know I didn't want you to see war but I am proud to have stood with you as you fought your enemies. You have avenged your oath." She nodded knowing Orihime would have told him about her oath to kill Momo with her own hands. " Now you will have to stay in the Seireitei until the meeting in a few hours. When the death bell cries, Little One. Know I will watch over you always." She laid her head near his hand, and felt him stroke her hair. "Pleasant Journey Gran pa." He chuckled and slowly departed them forever. The aid carefully helped her to her feet.

"Come Lady, some rest I think will do you good." She was carefully escorted to a room with a soft bed and a hot meal on the table. The deep mournful cries of the bell rocked through her body and she hardened her stance. "I will do as you asked Gran pa." she sat gracefully at the table and slowly began eating the meal. She realized she was ravenous when she cleared the last bite but her belly still ached in hunger. "The Head-Captain had something made for you to wear today. Will you honor his request?" She nodded mutely. More dishes were set before her and she looked at the two in gratitude. The council room was filling up, the Captain's and Lieutenant's decked in their dress uniforms. It took a couple hours before the last seat was taken and all settled. The Lieutenant bowed before all those gathered. "As you heard the Death Bell cry, Yamamoto-sama is no more. His final requests have been recorded and are to be read today. His second to last request was the naming of his successor. And the handing of the robe will take place also. Then his last request will be read, as is custom the Last act can not be changed or altered."

The heads nodded and the ceremony began "And hereby bequeath my title and its privileges and responsibilities to my successor Jushiro Ukitake."The man stood astonished but made his way to the pillow in the front of the stage as tradition stated. A soft gasp had him raise his head to see his sister's red-rimmed eyes as she held the robe out for him. "Will you accept this Robe as testament to you being successor?" She asked him. He bowed before her before reaching out and grasping the robe gently. "I do. Peace be with you." She smiled at him, standing she helped him to his feet and loosely settled the robe around his shoulders. "So the right of succession is assured and the title passed." The applause was soft yet heartfelt. "Now as is custom. The last request of our former leader is to be read." Kage stood off to the side her role finished. "My Child, if you are reading this then it has come time for me to leave. The first time I saw you, my first thought was how much trouble you were going to cause. But to my shock you were polite, respectful and wanted to learn. Then I learned you were related to one of the two men I see as my sons. You, who without knowing it befriended my surliest Captain. Little One I know your heart's desire, to do great good. To bring honor to the name you were given. So my Last request is thus. Become the tie between worlds. Take up Squad five in your hands, lead them, As a Captain. Stand as equal's with your heart's cares. Keep your Arrancar protectors, They can keep you out of mischief. To you my Grandchild, My request if for you to stand equal with those you chose to protect." Kage's legs buckled and she collapsed into a puddle of silver fabric. Kage wiped her eyes and bowed to the portrait of the man who handed her everything. "I will do as you entrusted me to do."

Byakuya walked over to her bowing form and held out a hand. "Would you like a hand Captain Ukitake?"Her eyes snapped up to hear the title roll off his tongue, she reached up and placed her hand in his. "Thank you Captain Kuchiki." One by one they called her by her new title and she acknowledged each of them with theirs in return. The siblings stood face to face after their greeting. Kage smiled at him before wrapping her arms around him, he enfolding her in his. He felt the silent shudders his sister released. They stood that way for sometime before they broke apart and both smiled sad smiles. "The funeral will take place in three days as is custom." Jushiro said and he dismissed them. Kage turned and was surprised to see them walk out with her, she made Kenpatchi laugh when she tried to climb up to his shoulder. He hugged her to his side. "Now you got to walk on your own legs girl." She laughed, took a deep breath and turned to walk towards the squad halls but stopped after only a few steps. "Bye everyone!" They waived or yelled their tidings Kage made it barely out of sight before breaking into a run. She darted through the gates of her Squad hall and looked around at the lovely hall. She wandered through the hall room by room she explored and realized she wasn't alone. There were two familiar signatures keeping her company. Murciélago, Pantera... Thank you. She heard the chuckles in her head and when she rounded a corner the two Espada were there. "Ulquiorra, How are you?" The emerald eyed Espada crossed his arms, she noticed the second man. Teal hair and his eyes.

"Wow, who are you?" She asked and his eyes widened, the teal markings catching the light. "You seem so familiar." Grimmjow realized that she had never seen him as a man only in his animal form. "Meow?" He said sarcastically and Kage's knees buckled, landing her on the floor. "Grimmjow?"The hitch in her voice ended his amusement, it sounded hopeful. "Its him Tsukakage. This is his actual form, Aizen forced him into the form you saw him in. Some how your blood and tears changed him back into the ass before you." Both gave him looks, and he snorted. "How frightening." He deadpanned and Kage laughed from her spot on the floor. Grimmjow walked over and crouched down. And fund himself suddenly on his back, Kage's body wrapped around him. "I was afraid they had taken you away forever. That you and Ulquiorra were never coming back. It hurt, you two mean a lot to me." Eyebrows raised and looks were exchanged by the two arrancar. She let him go and they got to their feet. "So, how do you two feel about staying with me and screwing up Aizen's plans?" Grimmjow's grin was full of fangs. "I'm in." "Aizen is Filth, and Filth must be removed." Kage grabbed their hands and laughed. "Yeah! Come on, lets find you two your own rooms. There are two on the second floor where mine is." Her eyes were still sad but she wanted her friends comfortable. The days were slow and long but finally the day of the funeral dawned and the now quartet left the Squad five hall.

Kage had been told she would be the last to present her offering to Captain Yamamoto's spirit. When it was finally her turn she stepped up to the dais and the music in her poured out for the Seireitei to hear.

"The tears I feel today

I'll wait to shed tomorrow,

Though I'll not sleep this night

Nor find surcease from sorrow."

Her voice echoed, the sadness and anguish easily heard and felt. Her white dress billowed behind her in the wind.

"My eyes must keep their sight;

I dare not be tear-blinded.

I must be free to speak

Not choked with grief, clear-minded."

She raised her arms to the sky, hands open to the cloudy sky. Crimson hair loos and dancing around her. Her new squad number stitched in silver thread around the hem of her dress-skirt.

"My tongue cannot betray

The anguish that I know.

I'll keep my tears till later;

But my grief will never go."

Kage's Zanpaktou was held by Ulquiorra, but even his eyes were wide at the strength of the woman's voice.

"I'll keep my tears till later;

But my grief will never go. "

She took a breath leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to the old-man's headstone, before raising hands and eyes to the sky for her final verse.

"I'll keep my tears till later;

But my grief will never go. "

The new Head-Captain ended the ceremony, thanking all the captains for their tributes. They heard a commotion and saw Kage standing nose to nose with Ichigo. When they got close enough the argument became clear. "Ichigo...If you ever leave someone behind again I'll make you life hell!" Ichigo yelled right back. "And how are you going to do that twerp?" Kage growled. "I have many ways Strawberry!" He glared at her. "I'm a guy. It has a different meaning."Kage barked. "You sure as hell don't act like a man!" He got right in her face, her green eyes flashed in fear and suddenly he was thrown a fair distance from her, a shadowy shape surrounded her its bat-like wings held protectively over her. Etapa. Her mental voice calmed the raging Zanpaktou. "Don't get in my face Ichigo, Aizen did that... Murciélago said he will not be so nice the next time you upset me." They were shocked to see her hug the creature and it hissed then vanished.

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