The Black Phoenix
Chapter 3: A Captain's Song
After dinner the girls withdrew into the bath to talk in private. "What should I do?" Orihime smiled and spoke up. "I think you should go, that way We can go too I miss Yachiru." Rukia nodded before speaking. "We can probably go with you so that you can be protected there."Avatare thought about it, and decided to sleep on it. As she lay in bed that night she wondered about the Soul Society, she drifted off to sleep thinking of the look on Kisuke's face when she took his hat.
When she awoke she didn't go out for her morning gaze at the dawn but instead snuck back into the great chamber below the shop. Looking around she took a sprinters stance her feet set two solid rocks, and her muscled tensed when she looked ahead her mind going blank accept for the long tunnel ahead of her. She launched her self into a run her legs pelting the ground with reassuring strides that slowly widened. It was her seventh lap around the chamber when she heard Benihime's voice float through her head. Where are you girl, you've worried Kisuke. She wondered if she could communicate back so she tried to concentrate on Benihime and what she wanted to say. Sorry Benihime, I'm in the room below the shop. She felt that the message had been relayed and lost herself to the mind-numbing pleasure of running. She ran another lap until she realized that there was someone running beside her, she turned her head to see and was startled.
It was Tessai and he had a tray of food she smiled and skidded to a stop panting lightly. "Tessai I would have come to the table" He smiled at her and handed her the tray and she sat on a near by rock and proceeded to wolf down her food. When she was finished she smiled at him as she slowly savored the tea. "Mr. Urahara had me bring you a cup of the tea he takes with his breakfast."Tessai noticed her blush and hoped she would continue to make his boss happy. "Tessai what do you think I should do?" He could see her confusion and fear. "I can't make the decision for you but I can give you advice. Want some?"She nodded. "In Soul Society I an unsure of how they would view your power. But They are better capable of protecting you round the clock. And By the look on your face you would want to learn to protect yourself."Avatare nodded and looked into her tea for awhile. When she raised her head there was a glitter of determination in her eyes. "I'll go, but I want to be able to talk to you and Kisuke should I need to." Tessai smiled at the girl and took the empty tray and plucked the now drained cup and headed towards the ladder. "Come up whenever your ready, but I am sure that Renji and Ichigo will be down soon." She smiled and waived a cheery good bye before making a few more laps this time loping. Her stride ate up distance once she settled into it while her mind wandered on if she could talk to Zabimaru also.
She saw her the hole that the fake monster had thrown Kisuke and shifted her stride into a sprint her soul screamed with the need to conquer the dark abyss. She ran towards it the world fading leaving only her and the hole. She heard a serpentine voice cross her thoughts as she jumped into the air over the pit. Remember you can always call on us for help She landed solidly on the other side never pausing in her stride as she slowed down and stopped panting. "Thank you Zabimaru" she said and she sat against the nearest rock and started to cry. It was almost lunch time when anyone saw Avatare and Orihime saw her drying her hair as she put on her now washed and dried clothes. "ah I feel better now" Orihime could see that her smile was reflected in her eyes, she truly was happy at this moment. Rukia laughed as she saw Avatare hide her yukata under her bed and chuckled, she was probably trying to hide it from Tessai again. Kisuke called her upstairs to talk privately about her decision.
Avatare looked at him while he explained that every thing at been arranged she would be brought to the hall of the court guard captains and talk to the head captain. She asked if she would be able to talk to him if she needed to and he nodded and handed her a small hand-held mirror. "Speak my name and you will be able to talk to me. I have the other mirror don't worry." She asked when she was to leave and he bowed his head. "Today after lunch though it will still be early in the Soul Society, you will have to start packing. Renji, Ichigo and his group are going with you." she nodded and book a deep breath before lunging forwards and wrapping her arms around his waist. "I'm gonna miss you" he under stood her mumble against his neck. He wrapped his arms over her back Benihime held in his left hand. "Do you mind if I give you something to thank you, for every thing you've done for me?" He shook his head and was surprised when she leaned up and places her lips against his, after a moment he felt her start to pull away. He brought his hand to cradle her neck and pulled her against him, her felt her arm moving from his waist to his neck and felt her fingers slip into his hair. His fingers wove into her own claret hair,increasing the friction between them. She slid her other hand up his chest to join the first in his hair her arms over his shoulders, she gave a soft whimpering noise that sounded faintly like his name.
It took them several minutes to break the kiss and when they finally did both were panting. "Next time I kiss you, you won't be walking out that door." She gave him a pleased womans grin. "The next time I kiss you Kisuke Urahara, I plan to find out what you hide with those baggy clothes" she said before tossing him his hat and walked out of the room licking her lips, her hips swinging. As she walked down the steps she felt her heart soar, he had kissed her back. She bundled the last of her clothes up and stuffed them in the bottom of her bag, then she looked under her bed for her yukata and found it gone she sighed and headed for the main room.
As they ate lunch Avatare was quiet but she had a smile on her face, and she actually joined the conversation instead of simply watching. When it was time Avatare saw Tessai slip her yukata in her bag along with something larger and slightly lighter in color. She stood there with a black bag swung over her shoulder, the group gathered behind her and looking at the one she was leaving behind. Be strong girl if you cry now it would hurt him. She realized the voice was Benihime's and she sent a message back. OK I won't cry but I will be back though. She felt the Zanpaktou's pride and nodded. She looked back at Tessai and gave a keening sound before launching her self in his direction. Tessai smiled as she hugged him his much larger fingers petting her back. "Thank you for feeding me Tessai" A tear made its way from his eye, she turned and hugged the kids before wrapping her arms around Kisuke's waist. "I'll miss you Kisuke." He nodded as green-gold met emerald one last time before she let him go and walked back to her place, between Orihime and Uryu.
The gate opened and a pretty butterfly flew out to land on Renji's finger. As they walked through the doors she didn't look back she knew if she did she'd never be able to go. It surprised her in such a short time that she could feel so connected to these people, but she was happy to finally have some friends. Orihime poked her causing her to yip in surprise. "Come on gets run!" She charged after her the boys following but soon they were spread out, Avatare,Renji and Ichigo in the lead Orihime and the others weren't too far behind. Then the guys started to race for the lead and Avatare dropped back to run between Rukia and Orihime. "boys will be boys" Rukia said and the girls laughed. The group saw the bright light ahead and let out cheers. Suddenly Orihime looked back and yelped. "Must go faster, must go faster!" Rukia and Avatare looked back to see a huge train like thing chasing them. "The cleaner?"Rukia mumbled. As Orihime Yelled for the guys to go faster. Avatare looked back to see it was only a few feet behind her and she kicked up her speed, dragging Rukia faster. The bright light was getting very close and Orihime was picked up by Chad when she nearly tripped, his legs far stronger then hers allowed them to go faster.
The others passed through the bright light and Rukia and Avatare jumped through just as the train-monster nearly caught them. Both jumped high and hit the ground rolling Rukia's training kicked in and she flipped her roll into a kneeling crouch, while Avatare had twisted mid air to land on her feet her crouch had a wider stance."Yachiru!" Orihime called and hugged a little girl with pink hair, while Ichigo was running from a massive guy with an eye-patch and bells in his hair. Avatare turned to see several people watching her, she reached out for Zabimaru and felt his chuckle. Worry not girl I haven't left you. Then she felt it the low hum of voices all saying welcome, her body relaxed but her guard didn't. "Come on Zuraki back off!"Ichigo dodged a sword and noticed that Avatare was watching him, then wearily looking around. She was very uncomfortable then her eyes glazed over for a moment and she relaxed but her eyes still kept flickering to the surrounding squad. Orihime brought Yachiru towards Avatare and introduced them and was surprised when Avatare knelt down to mumble something in Yachiru's ear, whatever it was the young girl started to laugh drawing the large man's attention. "Yachiru?"The pink haired girl looked at him with a grin. "Kenny-chan this is the girl we were told to expect!" the man turned and walked towards the three he saw Avatare shift her stance but there was no fear in her eyes just caution. He stood before her and dropped himself to her level and was surprised when both Orihime and Yachiru mumbled a good word about him.
"Avatare this is Captain Kenpatchi Zuraki and I guess he is escorting us to the meeting." He nodded and his black eyes bet her emerald green ones when she stepped forward and held out her hand. He grasped it and shook it she smiled at him. As they walked Kenpatchi told her stories of his past fights and she asked him questions on his fighting style, it seemed to please him because when she asked how fast he was he grabbed her and took off running. They heard squeals of enjoyment as he jumped form rooftop to rooftop. "If you can go this fast you have to be the fastest man I've ever met!" she said when he jumped a long gap between two buildings. Yachiru cheered from his shoulder at that comment. "your very smart Avatare-chan!" She smiled as she was set back on her feet at the base of a large set of stairs. As they waited for the others Avatare was given a short lesson on the districts of the city. When the others finally arrived they were surprised to see Avatare sitting on Kenpatchi's left shoulder looking out over the city while Yachiru pointed things out from his right. "wow this city is so pretty" She turned her head looking a the group. "What took you so long?" the grin she gave them made Orihime laugh, Avatare was making friends here but she could see the sadness hiding in her eyes. Avatare was gonna slide down but Yachiru told her to stay where she was. Her braided tail waived across Kenny's lower shoulder blade. Yachiru kept pointing out things about the castle they were walking into.
As they arrived at a set of huge doors Avatare was in awe of the beauty of this place she didn't notice being moved until she was set back on her feet. " Thank You" she said to him he was pleased when she stayed next to him as they walked towards the meeting hall. When they arrived at hallway with a set of beautifully carved doors at the end the captain pointed to a long bench in a room near the doors they just passed. "You lot sit she has to face them alone." Yachiru jumped down and started towards a room just down the hall. "Come on Abarai-kun, if they need us they will call" And with that she strode off towards the lieutenants waiting room. Renji followed with a waive at the girls in the group. "Bye Renji!" Avatare called as the others took their seats. He pushed the doors open and she took a deep breath and walked in. As the doors closed she walked at his side the men up ahead all wore white jackets like Captain Zuraki.
He stopped at his place in line and she kept walking towards the eldest there, which Yachiru had told her was the head captain. She stopped a few feet from him and bowed. She felt the hum of the Zanpaktou's voices but gently shushed them, when the elder took a breath to speak. "welcome child, We were informed you have an extraordinary gift." She waited a moment to see if the old man wanted her to answer or if it was a statement he smiled at her. "That I do Elder, I can hear and call upon a Zanpaktou for aid." She saw some of the Captain's move from the corner of her eye but kept her attention on the head-captain. "can you prove this?" She waited until the speaking died down. "I can, Renji Abarai can attest to my power but if you need a demonstration I may be able to do it." the Elders eye brow raised and she explained what happened the day Renji was attacked.
"Who will allow the girl to hold their Zanpaktou and attempt to call it out?" One man stepped forwards though Avatare couldn't see him she could feel he was very powerful, her senses had been on overdrive sense she had arrived here. "Here girl" She turned to see a boy with white hair and pretty blue eyes. He looked younger then her but Yachiru had warned her that time was different here in Soul Society. He held the Zanpaktou out to her and she took it gently. "Thank you" she said and he smirked, this one was polite for a girl. "Captain Hitsugaya please stand back" the old man said and Avatare turned her focus towards the Zanpaktou. May I ask for your help? She waited and then she felt an answering pulse but instead of red it was a bright icy-blue. Why do you ask me for help girl? Avatare decided to tell the Zanpaktou the truth. I wish to help get rid of the Hollows, they hurt lots of people. The Zanpaktou seemed to think about it for a few moments before replying. Very well My name is Hyorinmaru. Call on me when you haveneed She smiled and open her eyes. "Her name is Hyorinmaru!"She smiled, the captains were stunned the girl had spoken the Zanpaktou's name. There was no way anyone could have told it to her as no one knew what her test would be.
"I see so it is true, you have a gift. But what do you want to do with it girl?" Avatare turned to the elder after handing the Zanpaktou back to her master. "I want to train and get stronger Elder, and help get rid of the hollows forever!" the head-captain laughed. "You have a good heart, You may address me as Captain Yamamoto." She smiled and bowed to him again. "I am called Avatare, Captain Yamamoto."'Flames of moonlight and shadow' The rest of captains chuckled at the meaning of the girls name. "Interesting name you know the meaning?" She nodded and smiled. "Captain Yamamoto not to sound ungrateful or anything but what happens now?"She asked gently. The old man smiled and looked fondly at the girl. "You my dear will be staying with one of the captains and his squad, you will be taught to fight properly. We will also see if we can find away to train your gift also." She smiled as he turned to the captains. "Who will take Avatare-chan?" the captains thought for a moment before a familiar voice called out. "I'll take her, my lieutenant Yachiru and her get along." Captain Yamamoto thought for a moment, before a small smile crossed his face. "Avatare?"Her eyes came to meet his own.
"Yes sir?" "What do you think? How would you set your training?" She looked at the captains around her and thought for a moment. "Well based on the differences in their auras they all excel in different areas of combat or defense. I have no formal training so deciding without that knowledge would be foolish." He smiled she had a brain, but a captain stepped forward. "Captain Ukitake do you have a solution?" the white haired man nodded. "I believe I do. Why not have her on a rotating schedule so that she spends time with two of us a day in effect getting a bit of training from each of us, and once she had gained some knowledge of our styles she can choose what to continue with."The woman had turned to him with a bright smile. And Captain Yamamoto looked at her. "What do you think of Captain Ukitaki's idea Avatare-chan?" She turned to the old man and gave him a wide grin. "I like it, it would give me a chance to balance combat, defense and strategy." One of the captains laughed and she gave a offended snort.
"Captain Shunsui what prompted that laughter?" the old man raised his eyebrow at him. "It wasn't an insult Girl. Simply a statement that you unlike some women I know have a brain for battle." She turned to lock her jeweled eyes on the man in question. "Then I will take it as the complement it was meant as Captain." That set Zuraki into fits of laughter. "She got you there Shunsui." Yamamoto laughed. "Very well its decided we will set a schedule starting next week so that she may have two classes a day taught by the Captains or if they are busy the lieutenants. But my dear you must get some clothing first. What was acceptable in the human world isn't acceptable in Soul Society. Captain Zuraki will see to your clothing and board." Avatare looked at her tank-top and shorts. "Yes Captain Yamamoto." the Captains and Avatare replied. "Good you are all dismissed." Avatare bowed to the old man backed a couple steps and turned walking towards the doors. She had no idea the impression she'd just made with that move. She waited for Captain Zuraki to open the door. "Why didn't you open it?" he asked her as they walked into the waiting hall. "Your stronger then me and I didn't wish to make a fool of my self trying." He laughed. "you will address me as Yachiru does and she will show you around the squad eleven hall."she looked up at him. "Kenny-chan?" She tried it and it rolled off her tongue easily, he nodded.
As the others caught sight of them approaching she was bowled over by Orihime. "How did it go?" Avatare smiled. "I get lessons with each of the captains. But I'll be living with Kenny-chan." He smirked at Ichigo's groan of torment. "But Captain Yamamoto said I have to get new clothes, Cuz what I'm wearing isn't suitable for Soul Society." As they walked back to the squad barracks. Avatare tripped and was caught by Chad. "Thanks Chad." she mumbled and kept walking but slightly slower. Orihime noticed and looked back. "Avatare are you tired?" She received a nod and Avatare shook herself before catching up to Kenpatchi. "more hungry then tired though" Avatare said quietly. As they turned the corner into a large yard with a temple like building with several people dressed like Renji were sitting on the deck. "Captain!" one called and the whole group stood and bowed. "Well we have a new person staying here, Meet Avatare." Kenny pushed her forwards and she waived. "Hi" they were surprised, the newbie was a woman. A woman with crimson hair. "OK do they have to stare at me Yachiru?"The Lieutenant smiled and jumped off the captains back and led the woman into the house.
A little later when lunch was served Avatare may have had her manners holding her from eating like Ichigo but she still cleared a fair bit of food herself, after she finished she took her plate into the kitchen and thanked the cooks. After she left they looked at one another. "I think she will be a good influence on the squad." the second nodded. And the afternoon for Avatare, Yachiru and Orihime was spent getting Avatare's room cleaned and digging out some furnishings from the storage rooms. Yachiru laughed when Orihime got buried in pillows while they were digging for bedding for Avatare's room. It took them a while to find a decent sized bed for Avatare's hight. After they found one that when Avatare laid on it she said it felt good and soft. So they started moving it into her room Yachiru making sure the hallway was clear while Avatare and Orihime dragged/carried the bed. As they came down the last hallway Orihime tripped on a step down she didn't see. THUD! The guys outside heard the noise and came in to see Yachiru trying to tug the corner of the mattress up. "Orihime! Avatare! you guys OK?" A head popped to from under the corner. "Yeah I'm fine" Orihime said as she crawled out from under the mattress. "I live!" came from the far side of the bed and Avatare sat up. "Oww" came from both women.
"Why don't you ask Kenny-chan for help?" Yachiru said as Avatare rubbed her head. "Because he has done slot for me today and I don't want to sound ungrateful" Two froze when a familiar voice spoke from the end of the hall way. "It isn't ungrateful to ask for help Avatare, just stupid not to ask for it when you know you need it. Besides Kenpatchi isn't here he got a message to meet with squad four's captain."Ichigo had spoken and the guys were behind him. "damn" Avatare mumbled but she bowed her head. "OK I'll admit it I do need help." the guys laughed and moved the mattress with ease. After setting it out to air out while the girls cleaned some more they watched Avatare lift a set of chests out of a storage room. "I have a feeling I will need storage." They nodded and laughed. The girls found the mop and such and started cleaning the walls and floors. After about 2 hours the girls were nearly finished putting all the things into Avatare's room, the guys had found a beautifully carved cherry bed frame in the back storage room. They told her it belonged to the captain before Zuraki and she was welcome to use it as it matched the bed she had chosen. She smiled and surprised one of the squad eleven members by hugging him. "Thank you" and he blushed when she let him go.
By dinner time her room was finished and Yachiru said they would look for clothes for her in the morning. Avatare nodded and she heard some of the guys start to play instruments and she smiled and relaxed listening to the harmony. Then she realized she recognized the song it was an old favorite. She waited for the chorus and joined in, her mezzo voice mixing nicely with the ones already singing. She smiled when the song ended but this time she heard a set of heavy hands clapping along. She turned to see Kenny-chan standing there and she blushed lightly. "OK I really bit the dirt on that one." she mumbled to Orihime, who smiled and laughed. "I think it sounded good Avatare you have a nice voice." Avatare smiled and decided it was time for her to go to bed. "Night all I'm off to bed." She found her way back to her room and dug through her back to find her yukata, when she saw what Tessai had slipped into her bag. It was one of Kisuke's shirts and it was big enough to use as a robe. For some reason she lifted it to her nose and sniffed, and got a waive of his scent and smiled. "Thank you Tessai" she said as she hung it on the peg next to her bed and she changed into her yukata and tossed her clothes into the laundry box.