OOC: Continued from A New Territory
Sumiko tossed and turned in the hotel bed, mumbling incoherent words in her sleep. The flu she was fighting even made sleeping unpleasant. She was dreaming, no, she was having nightmares. Visions of Tatsuya dying before her eyes haunted her mind as she tried to force more pleasurable images into her head. "No...Please...Don't go."
Barely understandable words could be heard escaping her mouth. The artificial soul inhabiting her gigai sat by the bed. It gently placed a cold damp cloth on Sumiko's forehead in an effort to try and reduce her fever which had yet to break. Tatsuya had been gone a lot longer then expected. The artificial soul inhabiting Tatsuya's gigai had wanted to go and look for him, but didn't want to disobey his last order. Both souls were to stay in the hotel suite and tend to Sumiko while he was away. It was dreadfully and uncomfortably quiet in the suite as the two artificial souls waited for Tatsuya to return. It had been over an hour since he left towards the forest.
Both their heads turned quickly when they felt the presence of a power hollow in the distance. As quietly as they could, they quickly went out to the balcony and stared at the forest. The forest was thick and the presence was far off, they could not see the hollow, but only knew it was where they were staring. "It's strong."
The soul in Sumiko's gigai stated and looked at it's partner. "Stronger then Tatsuya-sama."
The other replied while keeping it's gaze on the forest. Both wanted to help Tatsuya, but knew they would just get in the way, and that they were ordered to stay with Sumiko. "We should tell Sumiko-sama."
She turned around to go back inside, but was quickly stopped by the other grabbing onto her arm. "You heard Tatsuya-sama, she was to be left alone until he returned."
He spoke in a low tone as to not stir the already restless Sumiko. "If we don't tell her, Tatsuya-sama might not return at all."
She forcibly pulled her arm from the others grip, but kept her voice down. "Don't count out Master just yet. Just because the hollow feels stronger doesn't mean it can beat him."
He placed his hands on the railing and looked back out to the forest.
Sumiko's gikon walked back into the suite a bit agitated. But she knew the other was right. Tatsuya was not one to let a lowly hollow get the better of him. She quietly entered into Sumiko's bed room to check on her. Sumiko had uncovered herself and was in the fetal position, shivering. She stepped over to the bed and reached for the comforter, gently pulling them over Sumiko's body. Tatsuya's gikon stayed outside watching the forest for any visible movement. Nothing could be seen through the dense canopy. He was about to go back inside when he caught the movement of a flock of birds flying into the air, and just below them a tree toppled over and disappeared from view. "Did it start?...No"
He thought as he tried to sense for more conflict. It was only a singular event, the hollow was probably annoyed in the dense forest. He couldn't feel Tatsuya's reiatsu though. He determined that Tatsuya was doing what he did best. Hiding and waiting for the best time to strike. The seconds passed by like minutes as he watched the forest for any type of conflict. He soon felt the clash of spiritual pressure deep in the forest. And just as quickly as he felt it, it disappeared, but he knew it belonged to Tatsuya. He smiled to himself, thinking that Tatsuya had slain the hollow and turned to go back into the suite to await his master's return. Just as he stepped into the suite he felt the hollow's reiatsu again and soon after Tatsuya's, both on the rise. He quickly stepped back out onto the balcony, hands tightly gripping the railing.
Inside, Sumiko shifted restlessly on the bed. Subconsciously she could feel the clash between Tatsuya and the hollow "Tatsuya...Watch...Watch out."
She desperately muttered in her sleep, her head turning from left to right on the pillow. Sumiko's gikon returned with a fresh damp cloth and replaced the old one on top of Sumiko's head before going out onto the balcony with the other. "What do you think?"
She stood beside the other looking at the forest and seeing a second flock of birds and second tree fall to the ground, in the distance. "It's to early to tell."
He didn't even bother to look at her, too focused on the covered battle. "That hollow is different from others. Only Menos Grande should have that strong of a reiatsu. But yet being a Menos Grande, we should at least be able to see it from here."
He gave a slight glance to her with only the slightest movement of his head. "What are you saying? You think it could be an Adjuchas?"
Her right hand gripped the railing as she turned to face him. He didn't bother looking at her, only acknowledging her with a single nod of his head. "Then we should wake up Sumiko-sama."
She quickly turned around, only to be stopped by his voice. "We will not!"
He harshly ordered in a tone a little louder then he had planned. They waited a few seconds and looked into the suite to see if they had disturbed Sumiko, but she did not wake. He let out a sigh of relief and turned back to her. "She is in no condition to provide support for Tatsuya-sama and would only distract him just by being there. If she were to try and help him right now, both of them would surely die. Do you want that?"
He stared into her unsure eyes, but was quickly distracted by another tree falling in the distance.
Several moments passed as they stared intently onto the forest. Just as she was about to check on Sumiko they felt Tatsuya's reiatsu take a dramatic increase. "There. You see? That hollow doesn't stand a chance anymore."
He confidently defended his master. "Wasn't it you who said that just because someone feels stronger, doesn't mean the battle is won?"
She asked, wanting confirmation of Tatsuya's abilities rather then disrespect. "You forget Master's zanpakuto. Given the right setting, Tatsuya-sama's zanpakuto arguably becomes one the most deadly in all of Soul Society. And the setting couldn't be more perfect."
He confidently answered her while sweeping his hand along the forest landscape as Tatsuya set fire to it. "In a forest, where everything can be burned to cinders, Tatsuya-sama can attack from any angle. Tatsuya-sama can be anywhere the fire touches, for it is but a doorway with infinite exits. He is by all circumstances, the embodiment of fire. Don't ever forget that."
He stared out at his master's handy work as the fire beautifully spread across the forest. "STOP IT!"
Both turned and quickly ran into Sumiko's room when she yelled. When they got in there, they saw she was still asleep, but breathing heavily. "She's having a nightmare."
She walked over to the bed side and moved Sumiko's covers up. "So it would seem."
He started to walk out of the room and stopped at the door way. "Stay close to her."
He gave her one last look before returning to the balcony.
Stepping out onto the balcony, he heard the sirens of fire trucks heading towards the forest and look down to the city streets as they passed by. Hopefully the battle would be over by the time they got there, he thought as he felt the clashing spiritual pressures of Tatsuya and the hollow in the forest. He stood on the balcony, arms crossed, looking intently at the burning battle field, and then he felt it. The hollow's spiritual pressure began to rise and quickly. His eye narrowed in on the area where he sensed the rise in reiatsu. "TATSUYA!!"
Sumiko horrifically screamed and thrashed on the bed because of what occurred in her nightmare subsequently waking herself from her slumber just as the hollow's cero was fired into the air. His head twisted back and forth from the suite to the forest as he heard Sumiko's scream and then when the cero was fired creating a hole in the forest. Sumiko caught a last glimpse of the cero in the air as she sat up in bed sweating and breathing heavily. "Where is he?"
She gasped for air as she placed her feet on the ground trying to stand up only to become dizzy and start to waver. "Sumiko-sama, please, not so fast."
She rushed to catch her before she crashed to the floor. "Where?!"
She desperately asked her gikon as she held onto her for balance. "In the forest."
She reluctantly stated and pointed to the window towards the burning forest. Sumiko's eyes opened wide in horror at the scene before her. "I have to go. I have to go now!"
Sumiko took two steps while clinging onto her gikon and placed her hand over her face as she had another dizzy spell. "You can't, Sumiko-sama. You can barely stand.
Her statement held water since she was the one holding her up. "I don't care. He's in trouble."
Sumiko pleaded as she tried to walk towards the balcony reaching for her zanpakuto on the way.
He heard the commotion from the balcony as he watched the forest, but refused to go inside. "Let Sumiko-sama go."
He called out to them without leaving the balcony. Her gikon slowly helped Sumiko walk out onto the balcony. "But she can't, she would just get in the way...Remember?"
She looked at him unable to believe his suggestion. "It doesn't matter. The battle is coming to a close."
He turned to both of them and jerked his head towards the forest. Both the hollow and Tatsuya's reiatsu had dropped drastically. She let her go as Sumiko leaned against the railing, balancing herself, while trying to get a fix on Tatsuya's location. Not like it was too hard, seeing as there was a patch of forest missing, but Tatsuya was already moving away from that spot. Tatsuya's reiatsu was fading quickly. "Oh no."
A whisper of anguish escaped Sumiko's lips at the realization. Summoning what little strength she had, she flash stepped to the forest. "Wait..."
He put his hand on the others shoulder. "Sumiko-sama"
She sadly called out her name.
Sumiko landed in the forest...Well maybe landed wouldn't be the most appropriate term. She tumbled
into the forest. As sick as she was, even controlling her flash step was a chore. She rushed to her feet, and quickly lost her balance with another dizzy spell, stumbling into a tree to keep from falling to the ground again. Once she was able to see somewhat straighter she gingerly walked passed the trees. "Tatsuya."
She yelled out his name hoping he would be able to respond...nothing. She could see the fire ahead and the chard remains that it left behind, but she could not see Tatsuya. "Tatsuya."
She called out again stumbling from tree to tree to maintain her balance, ash staining her entire body. The heat from the fire could be felt all over, and did nothing to relieve her discomfort. As she made it to another tree she jumped in fright when she heard the deafening scream of the injured hollow. She hoped that was the last bit of energy the hollow had and that it would collapse and die in the burning forest. In her condition, she wasn't sure she could take it, even after what it had been through."Tatsuya"
She continued calling him to no avail. And then she saw a large mass laying on the ground lightly covered in ash. Right next to the mass was Tatsuya's zanpakuto in it's sealed form. "TATSUYA!"
She hollered and ran as quickly as she could to his still body. She slid right next to his body and wiped off as much ash as she could from his face. His eyes were closed, but he was breathing. Shallow breaths but it was still a good sign. She tried to assess his injuries, but with all the ash covering him it was hard to tell the severity. She quickly thought of an idea. "Howl mighty winds! Sing your sorrowful melody and thrash my enemies with your unyielding malice! Destructive Art number 39 - Lesser Gale Force Winds."
She summoned powerful winds that blew away most of the ash that covered Tatsuya. Once the winds settled Sumiko was shocked by the sight. There was something impaling Tatsuya, a tentacle of sorts. She drew her zanpakuto and quickly released it. "Puncture, Hari Sakana"
Her sword disappeared and covered her hands and arms in white and pink surgical looking gloves. "I'm sorry Tatsuya. This is gonna hurt, but I promise not for long. Just bare with it."
She said with a face full of tears, before grabbing hold of the tentacle and pulling on it.
Even though Tatsuya was unconscious, the pain from Sumiko removing the tentacle could be seen on his face. He was in agony, his face contorted in pain, his mouth hung open as if he wanted to scream, his eyes were tightly shut and his breathing became even more labored. The tentacle was long and Sumiko was weak in her sick state. She yelled and cried out as she pulled on the tentacle, desperately trying to get it out of Tatsuya. With one final yell and tug, the tentacle came free of Tatsuya's body, leaving a large hole in its place. "I'm sorry, Tatsuya."
She ran her hands over his face apologized again for putting him through more pain. "Shinjutsu"
She formed several blue-green needles and placed them around the wound on both sides of Tatsuya's body. Sumiko's hands started to glow when she placed them in front of the gapping wound and soon the blue-green needles started glowing more brightly as the healing process began.
Tatsuya's eyes slowly opened up, staring at the night sky, bits of moonlight beaming through the leaves. He slowly and painfully sat up and placed his hand over what would have been the tentacle. He wondered how he was alive, but then he felt a little weight on his legs. He looked down to find Sumiko asleep, using his legs as a pillow. Both of them had been covered in ash once again, and Tatsuya remembered what had happened. Off in the distance he could see that the fire he had set was still burning strongly. He let out a dreadful sigh at the damage he had done. He gently moved Sumiko off his leg and onto the ground so he could stand up. He thought that he might have woken her up with the movement, but she was too far exhausted to even notice. Even in her current state she was able to save Tatsuya. He was not completely healed, but he was far from having his life in danger. The holes on his body were closed and his left arm was still in bad shape, but in time they would heal fine. Thanks to Sumiko. He painfully reached to the ground and picked up Sumiko and his zanpakutos, tying them to his side. He then got down on one knee and cradled Sumiko's head and body before painfully rising up. His breathing was labored, but it was a pain his could endure. At the moment his wounds stayed closed. Hopefully they would stay like that as he made his trek back to the hotel. Sumiko did not even stir when he picked her up and started walking. "I'm sorry, Sumiko. I'm sorry you had to go through such troubles in your current state."
He whispered to the unconscious Sumiko as he carried her through the charred forest.
It took Tatsuya about an hour to return to the hotel. It would of been quicker had he used shunpo, but he didn't want to put any undue stress on his body, or make any movements that might rise Sumiko, whom stayed asleep the entire time. He walked through the revolving door of the hotel causing the attendants and clerks to stare as it seemingly turned on its own. Same with the elevator as its doors opened and no one was visibly inside of it. Tatsuya gently kicked on the suite door and waited for the gikon to answer. It was his gigai that opened the door. "Tatsuya-sama, I'm glad you made it, Sir."
He joyfully greeted and stepped out of the way so Tatsuya could enter. "So am I. All thanks Sumiko."
He walked in and went straight for the bed room. He gently placed her ash covered body onto the bed. "I clean her up, Tatsuya-sama"
Sumiko's gikon walked in with a large bowl and several small towels. "You should clean yourself up, too"
She pointed to the bathroom. "Thank you."
He closed the door behind him and went to wash away all the ash that stuck to his body. He didn't spend anymore time then he needed to, once felt that he washed off all the ash, he got out. For Sumiko it was taking a little bit longer, with her gikon not wanting to wake her up, she carefully wiped away the ash with the wash cloths. She did notice that Sumiko's fever had gone away and was relieved. Once she finished she went to inform Tatsuya, but he had fallen asleep on the couch. She looked up to see her partner sitting by the bar with some scotch. He poured her a glass and quietly waved her over. They drank in silence before falling asleep on the floor.