I apologise for this chapter in advance. I know I do that a lot- but I REALLY mean it this time. But most of you have had ...
It was as though he had been woken by a bucket of freezing water. Ichigo felt his head spin as he jerked his torso upright...
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU CREEP?!” he screamed, his fury distracting him from his aching limbs. <br />“Just keeping...
Ichigo was yelling again before his head had even made it through his t-shirt. “-GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I’M  NOT WHAT’S WRO...
“If you keep screaming like that you’ll tear open your wounds again.” <br />Uruhara walked into the room with a small smil...
“He’s awake!”<br />Ichigo turned to see Isildur, Katrina, Susan, Jinta and Ururu entering the room. <br />Katrina hurried ...
“And they were definitely Soul Reapers?” asked Isildur as Ichigo- not without difficulty- finished retelling the events th...
“What makes you think that I, a mere handsome and sexy shopkeeper, know anything about Soul Reapers?” he smiled.<br />“Ura...
Urahara sighed. He seemed to be working out how to phrase his next sentence. <br />“Well?” asked Susan<br />“I’m not compl...
“They’re going to...” Katrina trailed off, her eyes widening. <br />“It’s a distinct possibility.” Kisuke answered grimly....
“I expected nothing less of you.” said Urahara.<br />“But-” said Katrina, looking alarmed “but how will you get to the Sou...
Urahara lead them to the shop’s store room. Sure enough, the cat was waiting for them. <br />“You’re very fortunate that M...
They said nothing, but continued to stare.<br />Mr Yoruichi turned to Urahara.<br />“I had forgotten how amusing humans ca...
Thud ThudThud<br />The weeks that had passed since Iracebeth’s relationship with Mitch Indie had come to a rather explosiv...
“Are you okay Iracebeth?”<br />Thud Whack Thud Thud<br />“Are you-”<br />“I’m fine.” she grunted, continuing to throw hers...
Two days later, in a rare blip of motivation, Iracebeth actually dragged herself to one of her lectures. Upon returning to...
“Oh Gods,” her voice was shaking “I don’t know how to tell you this Rassy,”<br />“Oh just tell me.” she said impatiently. ...
“Why? I hated the bastard and I’m glad he’s gone.”<br />“No don’t Iracebeth!” Isseult glanced behind her and spoke again i...
“This better not take long,” Iracebeth snarled. She wasn’t stupid- she knew this attitude wouldn’t help her, but she didn’...
“No.” she replied- there was no point in lying. “We parted hating each other’s guts.”<br />“What was the cause of your bre...
“Can you answer the question please?” <br />“Oh how do you think it made me feel?!” Iracebeth yelled. “Yeah, I was angry. ...
“You have the right to remain-” repeated the blonde officer dully as her colleague produced a pair of handcuffs.<br />“LET...
“This is your own fault you know,”<br />Ani Mei sighed.<br />“Why are you here Renji?” <br />
“Because I want to know why you would do something like this.” he replied gruffly. <br />“What difference does it make? Th...
“Byakuya is my captain.” he said firmly. “And I respect the laws of the Soul Society. Just like you used to.”<br />“Like I...
Renji was silent for a long time, until finally, he sighed. <br />“Yeah, I remember” he said sadly, before quickly adding ...
Renji walked away from the encounter unsettled. Ani Mei had always been a good soul reaper, and a good friend. And yet the...
“I’m sorry captain.” Renji dropped his gaze to the floor.<br />“Her fate is sealed. Once the date of her execution is deci...
Something inside him snapped.<br />“How can you be so detached from this?” he demanded in a tone no lieutenant should ever...
One child attacked and traumatised.  One child missing. One child arrested for murder. One child she didn’t seem to know a...
“What are we going to do Hiro?” Yaeko sobbed.<br />“I don’t know sweetheart, I don’t know. But things will be okay”<br />“...
“I just don’t know what to do Ichabod.” Hiro let out a deep sigh. “It was bad enough before, but now that Isildur- how hea...
“Urrrgggh...” <br />Ichigo felt as though his consciousness was being forced slowly through a fine mesh screen. Painless j...
“So this is the Soul Society huh?” he said, to no one in particular. <br />But where the hell are they?<br />He let out a ...
“Ah Ichigo, you’ve finally come round.”<br />Leaping immediately up and around ready to defend himself from his attacker, ...
“But you’re a GIRL.”<br />“Oh, I suppose people assume I’m male because of the voice I use when I’m a cat. It makes their ...
“Hm? Oh right. I keep forgetting that humans do that. It’s been a while”<br />“Just get dressed already!”<br />“Y’know Ich...
“Urgh, I’d forgotten how uncomfortable clothes are.” Yoruichi sighed as she finished. Then she smiled. “It’s safe for you ...
“Susan, wait until you hear what Ichigo’s been up to.” she grinned.<br />“Can we just focus on rescuing Ani Mei?” he inter...
“-so I think our biggest problem is going to be Byakuya. He and Ani Mei have always had a pretty fucked up dynamic.”<br />...
“So he’s just going to let them kill her?” Susan asked in disbelief. “But he’s her brother.”<br />“Not all brothers are go...
“Hey, if you’ve got a better plan then I’d love to hear it carrot-top” <br />“You really think that will work?” he scowled...
Ever since that conversation with his father, a growing sense of unease had been gnawing at Ichabod.<br />“Hello Arren. Is...
As it happened, Iago was indeed in his room. He had been typing rapidly, but minimised the window as soon as Ichabod enter...
“What do you mean, ‘What do I want’? I’ve come to see you.”<br />“Why?”<br />“Oh I don’t know. Maybe because we’re brother...
“So,” said the zombie with a smile. “How have everyone’s weeks been?” He looked around the circle. “Ichabod, why don’t you...
This was the fourth time Ichabod had attended a meeting of The Fresh Start Club- a support group for the undead/occult tot...
Ichabod did not know much about the man, other than that his name was Perseus, that he was originally from somewhere else ...
“Perseus!” Oliver hissed, eyes widening. “That’s an awful thing to say.”<br />“No I think he’s got a point,” interjected a...
“Ok, I think that’s enough wild speculation for one night.” interrupted Reg. <br />“Oliver, why don’t you tell us about ho...
Ichabod gave distracted goodbyes to Reg and the rest of the group before he left. <br />This was the first time he had lef...
“We really don’t have time to hang around Ichigo,” said Susan as he stopped in front of a tall stairway. <br />“Don’t you ...
“are you talking to us?” A hint of a smile appeared at the corners of Ichigo’s mouth. <br />“Yeah, you.” said the soul rea...
“The next one’s mine.” said Susan as they made their way onwards. <br />
The role of a guard was not an exciting one. Standing there all day in the sun...guarding. Guarding against a nonexistent ...
Which was perhaps why, they reacted to the rapid approach of three figures- two of whom were brandishing their Zanpakutō w...
“What’s going on out there?” called Ani Mei, having been awoken from her trance like state by cries and shouts. “Hello?” s...
In a few seconds, Ichigo and Yoruichi had appeared. Ichigo, like Susan was displaying a rare smile. <br />“Happy to see us...
If you take one step, or make any attempt to come after me, I- I- I will NEVER forgive you.<br />
“I told you not to come.” she said, still staring as one dumbstruck. <br />“Well I guess you overestimated your control.” ...
“You don’t get it at all do you?! There’s no way that you’ll be able to-”<br />“Here’s an idea.” Ichigo shouted back. “I’m...
“Who the HELL do you think you are, ordering me around like that?! A RESCUER ISN’T SUPPOSED TO IGNORE THE RESCUEE!”<br />“...
They glared furiously at each other whilst Yoruichi and Susan watched nervously. Finally, Ani Mei let out a deep sigh and ...
But, after travelling merely metres, they were halted in their tracks.<br />“What the hell do you want?” yelled Susan. <br...
“Renji, what are you doing?” <br />“Yeah,” cried Ichigo. “You helped to put her here in the first place.”<br />“If this is...
“Maybe so, which is why I’m getting her out of here! And it’s going pretty well so far, so either get out the way or prepa...
“SHUT IT! BOTH OF YOU!”<br />Renji and Ichigo fell silent and slowly turned to face Ani Mei, as though they did feel comfo...
Adrenalin surged through Ani Mei like electricity through a lightning rod as they ran. But with it travelled am inescapabl...
Ichabod had hoped a walk would clear his head, but had been overly optimistic in doing so. <br />Instead, he returned home...
“Ick, you’re back.” smiled Katrina. She walked towards him and he pulled her into an embrace.<br />“You okay?” he asked as...
“Oh I know your game plan boy,” smirked Adora Belle, tapping her head knowingly. “I know exactly what you’re trying to do....
“Hmmmmmm...”<br />“LOOK! A Blibbering Humdinger!”<br />“OMIGODWHERE?!”<br />
Hehhehheh...<br />“Waaaiiiit a second... You know full well that this is their hibernation season!”<br />“Uh-”<br />
“Hi guys...” said Ichabod nervously. “What exactly are you doing?”<br />“Playing strip chess.” replied Flick.<br />“And he...
“...so you think that Iago is- what? Plotting against the rest of you?” <br />“I don’t know Flick” Ichabod sighed. “I know...
“I don’t know what to say Ick,” said Woozle. “I don’t want to believe that he’d do something like this... But if I’m hones...
“must... Do... 500... Push ups... Before... Scary...coach...dude...comes..back....”<br />“Quartz? Can I speak to you?”<br ...
“Not today...” said Quartz. “Or yesterday...”  Seeing that she was quickly becoming upset he added “But I’m sure he’ll be ...
“Hello, Uncle Hiro? Yeah, it’s me Quartz. It’s Isildur-”<br />
Byakuya...<br />Both Renji and Ichigo immediately leapt in front of Ani Mei. He sensed her irritation, but Ichigo did not ...
“Ani Mei is coming with us.” he snarled, striding forwards gripping his newly materialised Zanpakutō tightly.  He was not ...
“Shut it you idiot.” interrupted Renji as he strode past. <br />“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Ichigo yelled a...
“Captain Byakuya,” Renji began, his tone desperate but proud. “Please, I will accept the consequences of my disobedience- ...
“What?!” <br />“That’s an order lieutenant.”<br />“Er, yes Captain.”  <br />“Renji!” called Ichigo in confusion. “What’s h...
Renji looked back as he followed his captain. “No idea.” he hissed although he knew full well that Byakuya would be able t...
“I’m so glad you’re coming home,” she smiled, hugging her friend. <br />“Me too.” Ani Mei replied, squeezing her back. <br...
They watched each other for a few moments until Ichigo spoke.<br />“So, uh... That Renji guy...” he began uncharacteristic...
“What’s so funny Yoruichi?” asked Susan.<br />“Oh, nothing.” she smiled, giving Ichigo a wink that only fanned the flame g...
Keeping an eye on Iago was not an easy task. Or rather, it was not a productive one. He was already suspicious of Ichabod’...
He slumped onto the bed, staring blankly at his pale hands. <br />“Where are you Ichigo?” he muttered. <br />You’d be able...
Ichabod found himself walking away from the dorm despite having no awareness of consciously deciding to do so. Noticing a ...
“Three actually.” <br />“Ah, maybe I’ve met one of them  then. I’m Caspian by the way.”<br />“Nice to meet you.” he replie...
“only once.” Caspain said quickly. “And he was still a kid.” Noticing that Ichabod was a little startled by his sudden cha...
“Well that’s the thing. He’s coping too well. It’s like he doesn’t care that any of this is happening.”<br />“Oh I think h...
“Iago,” Ichabod wished his voice were stronger.<br />“What?” Iago did not look up from his food. <br />“Iago look at me.”<...
Iago stood up suddenly, the noise his chair made as it scraped backwards reverberated in the empty cafeteria. <br />“I don...
“Iago!” he called, to no response. “Iago we know everything.”<br />Iago continued to head for the exit, his pace quickenin...
The following weeks were a difficult time for the family. They were not unaccustomed to threats to the legacy, but this ti...
Those were nice vaguely wedding-y shots weren’t they? <br />But it was after all a Marmite wedding, and had all the usual ...
Sims doing whatever the hell they like, regardless of the nicely arranged tables.<br />“I take my cake seriously- I need t...
Incredibly tense games of keepy-uppy apparently. <br />Sims groping each other instead of watching the ceremony.<br />
“What’s happening now?” Hiro asked his wife impatiently. <br />“I’m not sure, it’s too hard to see past your hair.” answer...
Yaeko sighed happily. “Finally.”<br />“What are they doing?” demanded Hiro, turning to look. “Oooohhh.” he smiled.<br />“C...
Despite everything, there were Dumbledore approved levels of love at the wedding. <br />
“Hey you two,” Ichabod grinned as he approached Ichigo and Ani Mei. Hastily, Ani Mei stepped away from Ichigo, pulling his...
“Ichabod,” said Ichigo seriously, placing a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You are going to be fantastic. If everything ...
The End<br />
I’M SORRY<br />I offer my greatest and most sincere apologies for this chapter. If you’re a bleach fan, I’m sorry I did it...
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marmite legacy 38

  1. 1.
  2. 2. I apologise for this chapter in advance. I know I do that a lot- but I REALLY mean it this time. But most of you have had me ranting at you/ begging you for help/ whining at you anyway, so you’re filled in. I just needed to get this chapter up and out of the way.<br />Right, last time, Ichabod came to college but struggled with the guilt he felt due to the arrangements that had to be made for him. But he found Katrina, a kindred spirit and eventually entered into a relationship with her. Iago had words with a surly soul reaper who was looking for Ani Mei and Flick and Adora Belle were generally squee-tastic. Two high ranking Soul Reapers appeared, demanding that Ani Mei return to the Soul Society with them. Ani Mei did as she was ordered, but Ichigo was severely injured in an attempt to stop her leaving. Kisuke Urahara (self proclaimed mysterious sexy shopkeeper) arrived to find Ichigo bleeding heavily by the canalside. <br />
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  5. 5. It was as though he had been woken by a bucket of freezing water. Ichigo felt his head spin as he jerked his torso upright.<br />Ani Mei<br />“Ah, you’re awake,”<br />Ichigo almost fell to the floor as he leapt out of the bed. <br />
  6. 6. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU CREEP?!” he screamed, his fury distracting him from his aching limbs. <br />“Just keeping an eye on you, I’m so glad you’re awake Ichigo. You were mumbling in your sleep quite a lot, but don’t worry- I’m no gossiper.”<br />“WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!”<br />“Nothing at all. But put your clothes on for God’s sake boy, this is highly inappropriate.” <br />Ichigo gawped at him mutely.<br />“BOSS, HE’S AWAKE!”<br />Tessai looked at him. <br />“Well are you going to get dressed? This is just getting awkward now.”<br />
  7. 7. Ichigo was yelling again before his head had even made it through his t-shirt. “-GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I’M NOT WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS SITUATION.” <br />
  8. 8. “If you keep screaming like that you’ll tear open your wounds again.” <br />Uruhara walked into the room with a small smile. <br />“I’M-”<br />“What did I say about shouting?”<br />“I’m sorry,” said Ichigo in a low growl. “I’m just not used to waking up in a room I’ve never seen before, in my underwear with a guy next to me and no memory of how I got there.”<br />“You’ll get used to it,” replied Kisuke with a wink, “I did.”<br />
  9. 9. “He’s awake!”<br />Ichigo turned to see Isildur, Katrina, Susan, Jinta and Ururu entering the room. <br />Katrina hurried over to him and trapped him in a hug.<br />“Thank the gods you’re okay.” she smiled. “Ichabod just left- it’s nearly dawn. He’s been a complete wreck ever since- and I was so worried about him. Not that I haven’t been worried about you too.”<br />She squeezed him tighter.<br />“Thanks Katrina,” he winced “but could you- I’m just still a bit sore,”<br />
  10. 10. “And they were definitely Soul Reapers?” asked Isildur as Ichigo- not without difficulty- finished retelling the events that Ani Mei had left. <br />“I’m sure.” said Ichigo. “A captain and his lieutenant.” <br />“Can you recognise them from Ichigo’s descriptions Kisuke?” asked Katrina. <br />
  11. 11. “What makes you think that I, a mere handsome and sexy shopkeeper, know anything about Soul Reapers?” he smiled.<br />“Urahara cut it out.” said Susan flatly. “We have to get her back.”<br />He sighed.<br />“It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to do with the 13 Court Guard Squads, but it sounds like the shinigami you met were Byakuya Kuchiki and Renji Abarai- squad six if memory serves.” <br />“Is that bad?” asked Isildur.<br />“It depends what you mean,” replied Urahara “And it depends on our situation- on why they were looking for Ani Mei.”<br />“You know.” said Ichigo “Susan and I heard you two arguing. You were telling her that she had to have a plan- that she couldn’t just ignore... It.”<br />
  12. 12. Urahara sighed. He seemed to be working out how to phrase his next sentence. <br />“Well?” asked Susan<br />“I’m not completely certain.” he said “There have been extra Soul Reapers present in area for a few months now- mostly members of the Stealth force- and they’ve been looking for Ani Mei. She was doing an impressive job of avoiding them- I’m amazed that they found her in the end.” he sighed again “Now I’m not sure why they wanted to find her, but I think it may be something to do with you two.”<br />“Oh, gods. Why?” cried Susan.<br />“Your training. Ani Mei has been teaching you, and that might not have gone down too well in the Soul Society. Revealing ancient secrets or something like that...”<br />“Then why haven’t they come for us?” Ichigo demanded. <br />“Don’t take this personally, but they probably doubt that you’ve managed to learn anything. Soul Reapers are notoriously elitist. The idea of two humans having any real spiritual power would sound ridiculous to them. I don’t think you two realise how unusual you are. So anyway, this probably counts as treason in their opinion, and that means her punishment- well, you see where I’m going.”<br />
  13. 13. “They’re going to...” Katrina trailed off, her eyes widening. <br />“It’s a distinct possibility.” Kisuke answered grimly. <br />“But then surely she would have let Ichigo help her,” said Isildur.<br />“She wouldn’t have wanted Ichigo to get hurt.” said Katrina quietly.<br />“Yes,” agreed Urahara “You wouldn’t have stood a chance- especially not in your mortal form.”<br />He stared at Ichigo intensely. “She cares about you.”<br />“That’s why she told him not to follow her.” said Susan sadly.<br />“Well that’s tough,” Ichigo was staring at the table. “Because I’m going after her.”<br />“Ichigo-”<br />“No. This is completely-”<br />“our fault” finished Susan. “Ichigo’s right. We’re going to get her back.”<br />
  14. 14. “I expected nothing less of you.” said Urahara.<br />“But-” said Katrina, looking alarmed “but how will you get to the Soul Society? I’m assuming you can’t go by train.”<br />“I can get you there.” Kisuke said. Beside him, Tessai sighed. <br />“You’ve got some work to do then Tessai.” said Jinta with a grin from his position on the floor. “Yes,” he agreed. “And you’ll be helping me.”<br />“What? Oh come on!”<br />“That Senkaimon won’t set itself up”<br />“I’ll help you too Tessai.”<br />“Thank you Ururu” <br />“Suck up.” muttered Jinta.<br />Kisuke ignored him. <br />“The Senkaimon will allow you entry to the Soul Society. But you can’t go alone. Mr Yoruichi will accompany you.”<br />“The CAT?” said Ichigo incredulously.<br />“Follow me you two,” <br />
  15. 15. Urahara lead them to the shop’s store room. Sure enough, the cat was waiting for them. <br />“You’re very fortunate that Mr Yoruichi is willing to go with you.”<br />Ichigo and Susan exchanged confused glances. <br />“So, err...” began Susan, staring at the cat. “Mr Yoruichi will be our... guide then?” She looked at Kisuke, waiting for a response and jumped despite herself when she received it from someone else.<br />“It is unlikely that you would be able to make any progress in the Soul Society without my help.” said the cat calmly in a deep, smooth voice.<br />There was silence for what felt like a long time as they gawped at the cat. <br />“The cat... Talks.” said Ichigo slowly.<br />“Well I wouldn’t be much use to you if I were just a normal cat would I?”<br />
  16. 16. They said nothing, but continued to stare.<br />Mr Yoruichi turned to Urahara.<br />“I had forgotten how amusing humans can be. But you assured me that they were bright.”<br />“They have their moments,” replied Kisuke.<br />“Good. Then we will leave tomorrow. We have no time to waste. ” <br />
  17. 17. Thud ThudThud<br />The weeks that had passed since Iracebeth’s relationship with Mitch Indie had come to a rather explosive end had only allowed her fury to fester.<br />Whack Thud ThudPow<br />Mirana had moved to another dorm-finally giving up on her attempts to convince her friend that nothing had happened between her and Mitch. <br />Whack Thud ThudPowPow Whack<br />She was experiencing constant anger of an intensity that she had not previously experienced. What had happened had confirmed all that she had suspected about the world. Iracebeth was becoming more and more isolated from her dorm-mates; did they think she didn’t notice when they suddenly stopped talking as she entered the room? That she didn’t spot them looking at her in that way?<br />
  18. 18. “Are you okay Iracebeth?”<br />Thud Whack Thud Thud<br />“Are you-”<br />“I’m fine.” she grunted, continuing to throw herself at the punching bag.<br />“Well, okay then.” Isseult watched her with concern. “Just make sure you have some water soon or something. Don’t push yourself too hard”<br />Receiving no response, she walked away leaving Iracebeth to internally mutter to herself. What the hell did she know? Isseult had been behind the catastrophic attempt to get Iracebeth and Mitch to talk things over last week. That showed what she knew. <br />
  19. 19. Two days later, in a rare blip of motivation, Iracebeth actually dragged herself to one of her lectures. Upon returning to the dorm, she found the majority of the dormies- certainly most of the ones who liked to think they had a Personal Interest In Her- gathered on the ground floor, discussing something worriedly. <br />Irritated, she cleared her throat noisily and they all span round to look at her.<br />“What?” she said immediately. But they just stared at her. “WHAT?” she said again, and this time Isseult walked over to her. <br />
  20. 20. “Oh Gods,” her voice was shaking “I don’t know how to tell you this Rassy,”<br />“Oh just tell me.” she said impatiently. “Do you want me out the dorm? Is that it?”<br />“No! It’s-” she bit her lip, and took Iracebeth’s hand in hers- which, out of confusion, she allowed. “It’s Mitch.”<br />“What about him?” she snarled.<br />“He’s dead.”<br />Iracebeth pulled her hand away. <br />“Good.”<br />“Don’t say that!” Isseult cried. <br />
  21. 21. “Why? I hated the bastard and I’m glad he’s gone.”<br />“No don’t Iracebeth!” Isseult glanced behind her and spoke again in a hushed voice. “There are some people here to see you. Police Officers.”<br />“They think I did it?!” she yelled<br />“Ssssh! For Gods’ sake, don’t make this worse for yourself Rassy.”<br />“No. This is ridiculous.” She said dismissively. She turned to walk away, but Isseult caught hold of her hand again and spoke in a soft voice.<br />“I’m so sorry Iracebeth. But you have to talk to them. They’re in the cafeteria.”<br />
  22. 22. “This better not take long,” Iracebeth snarled. She wasn’t stupid- she knew this attitude wouldn’t help her, but she didn’t care- she was just so angry. <br />“If you’re willing to cooperate then we’ll be able to move on soon.” said the red haired officer flatly. <br />“Can you confirm for us that you are Iracebeth Alice Marmite?” said the blonde officer. <br />“Yes.”<br />“And that, until recently, you were romantically involved with Mitch Indie?”<br />Iracebeth rolled her eyes. “YES.”<br />“Would you say that you and Mitch parted on good terms?”<br />
  23. 23. “No.” she replied- there was no point in lying. “We parted hating each other’s guts.”<br />“What was the cause of your breakup?” <br />“None of your business.” she spat.<br />“Ms Marmite,” said the red head “It’s relevant to our investigation.”<br />“He was cheating on me.” she said, glaring at them. “With multiple girls. INCLUDING my best friend.” <br />“And this left you with considerable negative feelings towards him?”<br />“Well obviously.” she said witheringly.<br />“Witnesses have told us that your parting words were<br />‘And if you ever come near me again I will fucking kill you’- is that correct?” <br />“Oh you’re kidding me,” she sighed.<br />“Is that correct?” the officer asked again.<br />“Well, yeah. But-”<br />“Did you see each other again after that?”<br />“Yes.” she scowled “Last Friday. Isseult was trying to get us to talk.”<br />“Two days before Mr Indie was found dead. And it didn’t go well?”<br />“No, surprisingly.”<br />“And how did seeing him make you feel, when you had threatened him in order to ensure he never came near you again?”<br />“I can’t believe where you’re going with this.” she cried “Are you serious?”<br />
  24. 24. “Can you answer the question please?” <br />“Oh how do you think it made me feel?!” Iracebeth yelled. “Yeah, I was angry. Yeah, I hated him- but that doesn’t mean I KILLED him. You have no evidence that I went anywhere near him after that!”<br />The officers looked at each other briefly, and then the blonde continued. <br />“A witness claims to have seen you entering the residence of Mr Indie on the night of his murder.” she said without emotion, looking hard at Iracebeth.”<br />“WHAT?” Iracebeth screamed increduloulsy. “WHO?”<br />“We can’t reveal their identity to you at present.”<br />“What? In case I kill again?!” she was half laughing now. “This is absolute bullshit!” Iracebeth stood up.<br />“Ms Marmite, sit down.”<br />“NO! I can’t believe this.” she muttered to herself. They genuinely thought she had killed Mitch. Which she hadn’t- but apparently they had a witness to something that had not happened. She was going to go down for Mitch’s murder without even getting the pleasure of doing him in. <br />The officers were also standing now. The redhead walked around the table to stand behind her and Iracebeth felt her hand on her wrist. <br />
  25. 25. “You have the right to remain-” repeated the blonde officer dully as her colleague produced a pair of handcuffs.<br />“LET GO OF ME!” Iracebeth tried to pull her arms free, but the officer’s grip just became tighter.<br />“Please don’t struggle Ms Marmite.” the redhead said as the other officer finished speaking. “You’re only making this worse for yourself.”<br />“I DIDN’T KILL HIM!” she growled as she was lead towards the door.<br />“The car is waiting outside.” <br />
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  27. 27. “This is your own fault you know,”<br />Ani Mei sighed.<br />“Why are you here Renji?” <br />
  28. 28. “Because I want to know why you would do something like this.” he replied gruffly. <br />“What difference does it make? That’s not important now.”<br />“It’s important to me.” said, Renji, his voice rising. He looked behind him to see if the guards were coming to check on them. <br />“The Ani Mei I know wouldn’t do this.”<br />“Maybe I’ve changed. You certainly have.”<br />“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”<br />“You used to want to help people Renji. Now all you care about it promotions and sucking up to Byakuya.”<br />
  29. 29. “Byakuya is my captain.” he said firmly. “And I respect the laws of the Soul Society. Just like you used to.”<br />“Like I said, maybe I’ve changed.”<br />Renji’s frown increased in intensity. “But why would you do this? Why would you betray us like-”<br />“Betray you?” Ani Mei still did not look away from the window, but emotion entered her voice for the first time since she had arrived.<br />“You know as well as I do that Soul Reapers can be born outside of the noble families. We’re living proof of that.” she said<br />“But they’re just humans.”<br />“Humans with greater spirit energy than most of the students graduating from the Soul Reaper Academy this year. Humans with incredible potential. Humans who want to protect people. Do you remember what that feels like Renji?”<br />
  30. 30. Renji was silent for a long time, until finally, he sighed. <br />“Yeah, I remember” he said sadly, before quickly adding “And I still want to help people.”<br />“Then why shouldn’t I have helped Ichigo and Susan?”<br />“Because...” but he said nothing.<br />“Look Ani Mei,” he said eventually. “If I could help- if I could get you out of this- you know I would. But-”<br />“You should go Renji. Byakuya will be here soon.”<br />
  31. 31. Renji walked away from the encounter unsettled. Ani Mei had always been a good soul reaper, and a good friend. And yet the punishment she would face was so severe. Was he going to just let her die? But what could he do? <br />Lost in these thoughts, he became abruptly aware that he was not alone.<br />“Captain,” he said, taken aback, and bowed his head slightly. <br />“What are you doing here Renji?”<br />“I was just-”<br />“You should not be visiting her Renji.”<br />
  32. 32. “I’m sorry captain.” Renji dropped his gaze to the floor.<br />“Her fate is sealed. Once the date of her execution is decided-”<br />
  33. 33. Something inside him snapped.<br />“How can you be so detached from this?” he demanded in a tone no lieutenant should ever use with their captain.<br />“Laws have to be upheld.” Byakuya said simply, watching him with calm eyes. <br />“But she’s your sister!” he yelled desperately. <br />Without so much as a pause, Byakuya replied in the same flat voice.<br />“And she broke our laws lieutenant.” <br />They stared at each other until Renji finally broke his gaze away. <br />“Yes captain.” he said stiffly. Byakuya nodded, signalling that he could leave. And so Renji left- anger still festering inside of him. <br />
  34. 34. One child attacked and traumatised. One child missing. One child arrested for murder. One child she didn’t seem to know anymore. One child displaying increasingly worrying behaviour...<br />
  35. 35. “What are we going to do Hiro?” Yaeko sobbed.<br />“I don’t know sweetheart, I don’t know. But things will be okay”<br />“How?”<br />“...things will be okay Yaeko- I promise.” <br />
  36. 36. “I just don’t know what to do Ichabod.” Hiro let out a deep sigh. “It was bad enough before, but now that Isildur- how heavily is he drinking now?”<br />“I think he’s got worse over the weekend.” answered Ichabod. “I’m trying- we all are. And Merrow is killing herself trying to clean him up. But I can’t see her sticking around if he carries on like this. It’s not fair on her.”<br />“Jesus,” said Hiro, rubbing his forehead. “He won’t answer my calls. And I’ve been so busy with your mother-”<br />“It’s not your fault Dad.” he insisted. <br />“And how’s Iago coping? I haven’t been able to get through to him either.”<br />“Oh he’s the same as ever.” said Ichabod, not without bitterness. As if nothing was happening in fact...<br />
  37. 37.
  38. 38. “Urrrgggh...” <br />Ichigo felt as though his consciousness was being forced slowly through a fine mesh screen. Painless journey, eh Urahara?<br />He pushed himself up from the cave floor looking around for Susan and Mr Yoruichi. But there was no sign of his peer or the black cat anywhere. <br />
  39. 39. “So this is the Soul Society huh?” he said, to no one in particular. <br />But where the hell are they?<br />He let out a sigh and settled back down on the floor. If they didn’t turn up soon he’d go looking for them- but for now he’d just focus on stopping his head from spinning. <br />He assumed that this is what it felt like to be hung over; he’d never really found time for alcohol. He sat there, massaging his temples and was so caught up in feeling sorry for himself that he didn’t notice a figure approaching the cave. <br />
  40. 40. “Ah Ichigo, you’ve finally come round.”<br />Leaping immediately up and around ready to defend himself from his attacker, Ichigo instead found himself faced with a seemingly friendly and entirely naked young woman.<br />“WH-WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” he yelled, staring determinedly at a space just above the woman’s head.<br />“It’s me. Yoruichi.” she said, rolling her eyes. “Oh! You haven’t seen my true form before have you?” she said with an amused smile. <br />
  41. 41. “But you’re a GIRL.”<br />“Oh, I suppose people assume I’m male because of the voice I use when I’m a cat. It makes their reactions more entertaining.”<br />“WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT SOME CLOTHES ON?!” he cried, turning away from her.<br />
  42. 42. “Hm? Oh right. I keep forgetting that humans do that. It’s been a while”<br />“Just get dressed already!”<br />“Y’know Ichigo,” Yoruichi said with a wry smile “You’re far more innocent than you look. Was that the first time you saw a girl naked?”<br />“NEVER MIND.”<br />“Do you want another look? This is a pretty dangerous mission we’re on and you might not get the chance-”<br />“WILL YOU SHUT UP AND GET DRESSED?!”<br />“Jeez, just kidding Ichigo. You really need to learn to take a-”<br />“JUST HURRY UP OKAY?”<br />
  43. 43. “Urgh, I’d forgotten how uncomfortable clothes are.” Yoruichi sighed as she finished. Then she smiled. “It’s safe for you to turn around now Ichigo.”<br />“Oh good, Susan’s back.”<br />
  44. 44. “Susan, wait until you hear what Ichigo’s been up to.” she grinned.<br />“Can we just focus on rescuing Ani Mei?” he interjected through gritted teeth. <br />
  45. 45. “-so I think our biggest problem is going to be Byakuya. He and Ani Mei have always had a pretty fucked up dynamic.”<br />“What do you mean?” asked Susan. <br />“Well all siblings squabble, but not many hunt each other down for execution.”<br />“Siblings?!” <br />Yoruichi looked at their stunned expressions for a few seconds.<br />“Did you not know that?” <br />“NO.”<br />She sighed. “Ok then. Ani Mei was separated from her older sister when she was very young. Her sister later married Byakuya but passed away just a few years into their marriage.<br />Before she died, she asked Byakuya to find Ani Mei and make sure she was okay. So his family adopted her. Of course, Ani Mei’s been a constant reminder of Byakuya’s loss. He became cold and distant after his wife’s death, but to no one more so than Ani Mei. He threw himself into upholding Shinigami law and he’s never resurfaced. That’s all that matters to him now.”<br />
  46. 46. “So he’s just going to let them kill her?” Susan asked in disbelief. “But he’s her brother.”<br />“Not all brothers are good ones.” Ichigo said grimly, thinking of Iago. What was he up whilst they were away? Yet another reason to rescue Ani Mei as quickly as possible.<br />“So what’s the plan?” asked Susan expectantly, looking at Yoruichi. <br />“Oh it’s a nice simple plan.”<br />“Good, that’s the best kind... So?”<br />“Well, basically we break into her cell and get the hell out of there with her, then head back to your world.”<br />“I didn’t expect it to be THAT simple.” growled Ichigo. <br />
  47. 47. “Hey, if you’ve got a better plan then I’d love to hear it carrot-top” <br />“You really think that will work?” he scowled. <br />“Nothing else will. This isn’t like your world. We can’t tunnel under her cell or smuggle dynamite in a hollowed out book. Or dig an escape tunnel with a spoon and-”<br />“We get it.”<br />“My point is, the only way to get her out is also the most obvious way. I know where she is and the security arrangements. But I don’t know when the execution date is. So the sooner we act the better.” <br />“Okay then.” smiled Susan. “Then we should get started.” <br />
  48. 48. Ever since that conversation with his father, a growing sense of unease had been gnawing at Ichabod.<br />“Hello Arren. Is Iago in?”<br />“Err- come to think of it, I don’t know. I don’t see much of him these days. He’s been acting... Odd.”<br />Ichabod sighed. “Thanks anyway, I’ll check his room.”<br />
  49. 49. As it happened, Iago was indeed in his room. He had been typing rapidly, but minimised the window as soon as Ichabod entered. <br />“Oh, it’s you.” he said blankly.<br />“Yeah, it is.”<br />“Well what do you want?”<br />
  50. 50. “What do you mean, ‘What do I want’? I’ve come to see you.”<br />“Why?”<br />“Oh I don’t know. Maybe because we’re brothers. Or maybe because our sister has been arrested for murder, we have one brother... God know’s where and another who’s waking up in his own vomit every afternoon.”<br />“Oh,” he said coldly. “Are things that bad?”<br />“Oh don’t give me that.” It struck Ichabod that this was the first real, two-sided argument he had had with Iago. “You know exactly how bad things are.” <br />“Would it kill you to go and see Mum and Dad? Or visit Iracebeth? Or give any fucking indication that gave a shit about any of them?”<br />Iago stood up. <br />“Anything else you’d like to say, brother?” <br />“I’ll never understand why you’re like this.” scowled Ichabod, turning to leave.<br />“Oh you might.” Iago called after him. Ichabod could sense that he was smiling. “Give it time.”<br />
  51. 51. “So,” said the zombie with a smile. “How have everyone’s weeks been?” He looked around the circle. “Ichabod, why don’t you start us off. How have things been for you?”<br />
  52. 52. This was the fourth time Ichabod had attended a meeting of The Fresh Start Club- a support group for the undead/occult toting the slogan ‘glad to be grey’. Initially, he had only come to pacify Katrina, but he soon began to find the meetings greatly helpful. The group was not only supporting him in his new life as a vampire, but also helping him to deal with the problems his family was facing.<br />“Things aren’t going too well.” he said with a sigh. “Isildur’s drinking is getting worse, and I’m pretty sure Merrow will leave him soon. Which will make things worse of course, but it’s killing her to see him destroy himself like this. And Iago... I just don’t know what to do. It’s like he doesn’t care at all. Sometimes I think he’s happy that everyone else is falling apart.”<br />There were sympathetic ‘mmmmm’s from the group.<br />“Does anyone have any advice for Ichabod?” Reg Shoe, the zombie founder of The Fresh Start Club, asked the circle. There were apologetic looks and shaking heads all round. <br />“I might have something...” said the man next to Ichabod tentatively . <br />
  53. 53. Ichabod did not know much about the man, other than that his name was Perseus, that he was originally from somewhere else in the multiverse* and that he attended the meetings for support in the new world he had found himself in more than because of his occult side.<br />“This is only a thought.” he said. “But you’re from a legacy family aren’t you?”<br />“Yes.” replied Ichabod. “Although I don’t know what’s going to happen to it now.”<br />“Well that’s what I mean- and it really is just an idea so please don’t take it as anything more- but has Iago ever showed interest in being heir?”<br />Ichabod thought back. “Not that I can remember... Wait, Ichigo used to say that Iago talked in his sleep. Something about... not letting it happen to him... Not letting us beat him...” Ichabod had not thought about this in years; his unease doubled.<br />“It’s just that... Well, I’m from a legacy family too. And there were attempts to sabotage it almost constantly. I’m pretty sure it’s a common problem for challenge families. I’m just thinking... Suggesting... Could Iago have something to do with the stuff that’s been happening to all of you? <br />*yet another sim stolen from Ani Mei’s game who doesn’t look like he should. I think I’m going to give him another makeover though.<br />
  54. 54. “Perseus!” Oliver hissed, eyes widening. “That’s an awful thing to say.”<br />“No I think he’s got a point,” interjected a werewolf whose name Ichabod didn’t know. “This Iago sounds like a complete psycho. I’d say he’s definitely involved in it.”<br />“Come on,” scoffed Lydia, the zombie on the werewolf’s left side. “So you think he orchestrated it all do you?”<br />“Is that so far fetched?” <br />
  55. 55. “Ok, I think that’s enough wild speculation for one night.” interrupted Reg. <br />“Oliver, why don’t you tell us about how your job at the florist’s is going?”<br />“I'm sorry Ichabod,” said Perseus later as the class drew to a close. “ I didn’t want to offend you,”<br />“Oh don’t worry, you didn’t.” Ichabod reassured him. <br />
  56. 56. Ichabod gave distracted goodbyes to Reg and the rest of the group before he left. <br />This was the first time he had left a meeting with more on his mind than when he had arrived. <br />
  57. 57. “We really don’t have time to hang around Ichigo,” said Susan as he stopped in front of a tall stairway. <br />“Don’t you think it’s weird that we haven’t run into any soul reapers yet?”It had all been far too easy. They were yet to have a single confrontation- and, truth be told, Ichigo was disappointed. “The security isn’t exactly tight is it?”<br />“Hey!” a gruff voice called. <br />
  58. 58. “are you talking to us?” A hint of a smile appeared at the corners of Ichigo’s mouth. <br />“Yeah, you.” said the soul reaper. “ What do you think you’re doing? You’re not supposed to be here without authorisation.”<br />Ichigo ignored him and looked back at Yoruichi as he continued to demand information.<br />“What squad are you anyway?”<br />“He’s all yours Ichigo.” she said with a slight nod.<br />“I said, what squad are you from?”<br />
  59. 59. “The next one’s mine.” said Susan as they made their way onwards. <br />
  60. 60. The role of a guard was not an exciting one. Standing there all day in the sun...guarding. Guarding against a nonexistent threat. No one would make it that far even if they were crazy enough to attempt to free a prisoner; there were fifteen levels of security to be passed through before one made it to the gate- and then there the ever present patrols. And as for an attempt from within... This prisoner was going nowhere. They could probably unlock her cell, take a nap and wake up to find her exactly where they’d left her; staring blankly out of the window. <br />All of which made the soul reapers stationed outside Ani Mei’s cell feel really quite redundant. Pretty much all they had done so far was try their best to look stern and authoritative when Captain Byakuya and his lieutenant checked on the prisoner. <br />
  61. 61. Which was perhaps why, they reacted to the rapid approach of three figures- two of whom were brandishing their Zanpakutō wildly- in way they did. <br />“Hey look,”<br />“I know.” <br />“Pretty unusual.”<br />“Yeah. Wonder what they want.”<br />“What should we do?”<br />“Err-OHSHIT!”<br />
  62. 62. “What’s going on out there?” called Ani Mei, having been awoken from her trance like state by cries and shouts. “Hello?” she called again. “What’s going on?” <br />The commotion died away, a shadow on the opposite wall indicating the approach of someone Ani Mei was not expecting. <br />“Ani Mei!” <br />“Susan?” she didn’t know whether to be more shocked by Susan’s presence of that of her wide smile.<br />“We’re getting you out of here,” beamed Susan. “Don’t worry.” she turned to her left, “She’s in here!” <br />
  63. 63. In a few seconds, Ichigo and Yoruichi had appeared. Ichigo, like Susan was displaying a rare smile. <br />“Happy to see us?” he asked. <br />But Ani Mei just stared at them incomprehensibly. <br />“Hey, come on. We’re rescuing you. You could at least try to look happy.”<br />There were tears in her eyes now. <br />
  64. 64. If you take one step, or make any attempt to come after me, I- I- I will NEVER forgive you.<br />
  65. 65. “I told you not to come.” she said, still staring as one dumbstruck. <br />“Well I guess you overestimated your control.” smiled Susan. <br />“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?!” she yelled suddenly. “You’ll never make it out of here alive!” <br />“Look,” frowned Ichigo “You can lecture us all you want once we’re outta here.” <br />
  66. 66. “You don’t get it at all do you?! There’s no way that you’ll be able to-”<br />“Here’s an idea.” Ichigo shouted back. “I’m going to ignore all of your opinions from now until we’re home. I’M THE RESCUER HERE SO WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHUT UP.”<br />
  67. 67. “Who the HELL do you think you are, ordering me around like that?! A RESCUER ISN’T SUPPOSED TO IGNORE THE RESCUEE!”<br />“WELL WHAT KIND OF RESCUEE COMPLAINS ABOUT BEING RESCUED? WHY DON’T YOU JUST FIND A CORNER TO TREMBLE IN AND CRY OUT save me, save me LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO?!”<br />“I DON’T NEED TO BE SAVED. AND I DO NOT TREMBLE.”<br />
  68. 68. They glared furiously at each other whilst Yoruichi and Susan watched nervously. Finally, Ani Mei let out a deep sigh and the anger faded from her face. <br />“You haven’t changed a bit have you?” she said “You won’t listen to a word I say.”<br />“No. So shall we?” <br />
  69. 69. But, after travelling merely metres, they were halted in their tracks.<br />“What the hell do you want?” yelled Susan. <br />“I’m here for Ani Mei.” growled Renji, taking in the group. <br />“Well tough.” said Ichigo confidently “She’s leaving with us.”<br />“No. She’s leaving with me.” <br />
  70. 70. “Renji, what are you doing?” <br />“Yeah,” cried Ichigo. “You helped to put her here in the first place.”<br />“If this is anyone’s fault it’s YOURS human.” Renji took a step towards Ichigo. “She’s in the mess because of you, and she’s made things even worse for herself to try and protect you.” <br />
  71. 71. “Maybe so, which is why I’m getting her out of here! And it’s going pretty well so far, so either get out the way or prepare to have your ass kicked!”<br />“YOU IDIOT.” bellowed Renji. “You think you did all of this by yourself? Why do you think security is so lax? You’ve only got this far because I’ve made it as easy as possible!”<br />
  72. 72. “SHUT IT! BOTH OF YOU!”<br />Renji and Ichigo fell silent and slowly turned to face Ani Mei, as though they did feel comfortable letting the other out of their sight. <br />“I don’t know what either of you think you’re doing, but it looks like we’re all going to die now one way or another- so we may as well die trying to get out of here. And if we’re going to put off our inevitable demise for as long as possible, you two need to get over yourselves and work together.”<br />“Well said.” agreed Yoruichi. “Now let’s go.”<br />
  73. 73. Adrenalin surged through Ani Mei like electricity through a lightning rod as they ran. But with it travelled am inescapable sense of unease. She could sense Ichigo’s happiness; he thought they were going to make it. <br />But she could not allow herself to believe that it would be that easy, how ever much she wanted to. <br />Beside her, similar tension radiated from Renji. Like Ani Mei, both he and Yoruichi were constantly expecting an attack. <br />They had reached foot of the southern staircase when they felt the familiar spiritual pressure hit them, stopping them in their tracks.<br />
  74. 74. Ichabod had hoped a walk would clear his head, but had been overly optimistic in doing so. <br />Instead, he returned home more laden with worries than before- having now had the duration of the walk to let them develop. <br />
  75. 75. “Ick, you’re back.” smiled Katrina. She walked towards him and he pulled her into an embrace.<br />“You okay?” he asked as he held her close to him.<br />“I’m fine,” she replied, although Ichabod knew this not to be true. She was almost as worried as he was.<br />“Better now you’re back.” she added as she pulled away, brushing a stray hair from his face. <br />Ichabod smiled and involuntarily caught sight of the reflections in the mirror beside them- or rather, Katrina’s reflection and the distinct absence of his own. He felt a familiar stab of disgust; the support group was helping, but there was a long way to go yet. <br />“I need to talk to you all about something.” <br />
  76. 76. “Oh I know your game plan boy,” smirked Adora Belle, tapping her head knowingly. “I know exactly what you’re trying to do.”<br />“Oh yeah?” said Flick.<br />Hehhehheh, joke’s on her- I don’t even have a plan... <br />
  77. 77. “Hmmmmmm...”<br />“LOOK! A Blibbering Humdinger!”<br />“OMIGODWHERE?!”<br />
  78. 78. Hehhehheh...<br />“Waaaiiiit a second... You know full well that this is their hibernation season!”<br />“Uh-”<br />
  79. 79. “Hi guys...” said Ichabod nervously. “What exactly are you doing?”<br />“Playing strip chess.” replied Flick.<br />“And he’s cheating.” <br />“Nuh uh!”<br />“Look-” Ichabod interrupted quickly. “Could I have a word with you?” <br />
  80. 80. “...so you think that Iago is- what? Plotting against the rest of you?” <br />“I don’t know Flick” Ichabod sighed. “I know it sounds crazy.”<br />“But why would he do that?” asked Katrina.<br />“Exactly.” he replied. “I can’t figure it out.”<br />
  81. 81. “I don’t know what to say Ick,” said Woozle. “I don’t want to believe that he’d do something like this... But if I’m honest with myself...”<br />“he’s an absolute bastard.” finished Adora Belle. <br />“I know this isn’t going to make you feel any better Ichabod,” Martin began “But I think we’re just going to have to keep an eye on him and wait until we know something for certain.”<br />“You’re right.” Ichabod sighed. “But, like you said, it doesn’t make me feel any better. <br />
  82. 82. “must... Do... 500... Push ups... Before... Scary...coach...dude...comes..back....”<br />“Quartz? Can I speak to you?”<br />“One... Second... Merrow”<br />“Do you know where Isildur is? I can’t find him anywhere.”<br />“I thought you two broke up?”<br />“That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him.”<br />In fact, that’s why we broke up.<br />“So have you seen him?” <br />
  83. 83. “Not today...” said Quartz. “Or yesterday...” Seeing that she was quickly becoming upset he added “But I’m sure he’ll be in his room. C’mon..”<br />
  84. 84.
  85. 85. “Hello, Uncle Hiro? Yeah, it’s me Quartz. It’s Isildur-”<br />
  86. 86. Byakuya...<br />Both Renji and Ichigo immediately leapt in front of Ani Mei. He sensed her irritation, but Ichigo did not care; he felt his unlikely ally’s spiritual pressure build along side his own. Byakuya’s, on the other hand, showed none of the tension theirs did. Undeniably powerful, but infuriatingly calm. As he grew nearer, Ichigo was struck by the similarity between this Soul Reaper’s unreadable expression and that of Iago. <br />Iago...Shit.<br />He didn’t have time for this. <br />
  87. 87. “Ani Mei is coming with us.” he snarled, striding forwards gripping his newly materialised Zanpakutō tightly. He was not afraid. <br />“So if you’ve got a problem with that-”<br />
  88. 88. “Shut it you idiot.” interrupted Renji as he strode past. <br />“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Ichigo yelled after him, to no response. <br />
  89. 89. “Captain Byakuya,” Renji began, his tone desperate but proud. “Please, I will accept the consequences of my disobedience- but let your sister go.”<br />Byakuya said nothing, but looked behind Renji to where Ichigo stood, feet apart, ready to fight, in front of Ani Mei whilst she repeatedly and angrily insisted that she was more than capable of defending herself. <br />For the smallest of moments, Renji almost thought that he had seen his captain give a very small smile. <br />Byakuya’s gaze returned to his lieutenant. <br />“Come, Renji.” he said calmly, turning away from the group. <br />
  90. 90. “What?!” <br />“That’s an order lieutenant.”<br />“Er, yes Captain.” <br />“Renji!” called Ichigo in confusion. “What’s happening?”<br />
  91. 91. Renji looked back as he followed his captain. “No idea.” he hissed although he knew full well that Byakuya would be able to hear him. “Just go!”<br />They stared in dull amazement as they walked away, still fully expecting a sudden attack. Even after they had vanished from sight, they kept their stances in silence for a few minutes before Susan finally broke the silence. <br />“Well that was messed up.” She paused for a moment and then threw her arms around Ani Mei. <br />
  92. 92. “I’m so glad you’re coming home,” she smiled, hugging her friend. <br />“Me too.” Ani Mei replied, squeezing her back. <br />Susan smiled and backed away to talk to Yoruichi, leaving Ani Mei and Ichigo face to face. <br />“I just want you to know,” said Ichigo. “I know you don’t need someone else to defend you, but sometimes we need someone to help us defend ourselves, y’know?”<br />Ani Mei smiled; he had come a long way since she first met him.<br />“Thank you for coming after me Ichigo.”<br />
  93. 93. They watched each other for a few moments until Ichigo spoke.<br />“So, uh... That Renji guy...” he began uncharacteristically awkwardly. “You know each other pretty well then?”<br />“We grew up together.” she smiled, watching Ichigo’s failure to meet her gaze with amusement. “He’s a good friend.”<br />“Oh,” he glanced up from the floor briefly, “So he’s not...?”<br />“No.” she smiled. “Although I do have a thing for redheads.”<br />“Time to go everyone!” called Yoruichi. <br />
  94. 94. “What’s so funny Yoruichi?” asked Susan.<br />“Oh, nothing.” she smiled, giving Ichigo a wink that only fanned the flame growing on his cheeks.<br />“We’d better get out of here,” she continued. “So follow me.”<br />
  95. 95. Keeping an eye on Iago was not an easy task. Or rather, it was not a productive one. He was already suspicious of Ichabod’s frequent visits, but he needn’t have been; he was impossible to read. On one particularly hopeless day, Ichabod found that he had taken himself into Ichigo’s room. Call it projecting, but it seemed to Ichabod as though the room audibly missed its occupant. <br />
  96. 96. He slumped onto the bed, staring blankly at his pale hands. <br />“Where are you Ichigo?” he muttered. <br />You’d be able to sort this out...<br />
  97. 97. Ichabod found himself walking away from the dorm despite having no awareness of consciously deciding to do so. Noticing a nearby coffee shop, he headed inside- largely because this created some semblance of control. He bought himself a coffee, which he of course would not drink, and took a seat at a table against the back wall. <br />“Excuse me?” Ichabod almost jumped; he had been utterly oblivious to the presence of any other customers. He turned, to the speaker who continued. “Do I know you?” the man asked him.<br />“Uh, I don’t think so.” replied Ichabod politely.<br />“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the stranger. “You just look so familiar... Do you have a brother or something?”<br />
  98. 98. “Three actually.” <br />“Ah, maybe I’ve met one of them then. I’m Caspian by the way.”<br />“Nice to meet you.” he replied. “I’m Ichabod Marmite.”<br />“Wait- you’re a Marmite?” Caspian’s eyes grew wide.<br />“Yeah...” he answered uncertainly, watching the man who seemed to be experiencing a sudden realisation of some sort. “Is everything okay?”<br />“I think I remember... Is one of your brothers called...Iado, no Iamo-”<br />“Iago? Yes. So you’ve met him?”<br />
  99. 99. “only once.” Caspain said quickly. “And he was still a kid.” Noticing that Ichabod was a little startled by his sudden change in tone, he spoke again- this time more calmly. “So, er How is your brother these days?” It seemed to Ichabod that there was a clear nervousness beneath the forced placidity. <br />“An arrogant, callous, self interested prick.”<br />“Oh.”<br />“I’m sorry.” said Ichabod. “It’s just that everything is going badly for us at the moment.”<br />“I was attacked, one of my brothers is risking his life and I don’t even know where he is, my sister’s been arrested and my eldest brother has been drunk solidly for the last month and has gone missing... And Iago’s just being-” he stopped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to rant at you like that.”<br />“It’s fine.” Caspian said quietly. “And your brother isn’t coping well?” <br />
  100. 100. “Well that’s the thing. He’s coping too well. It’s like he doesn’t care that any of this is happening.”<br />“Oh I think he does.”<br />“No, I can assure you he doesn’t. I wanted to believe that deep down he did- but he really-”<br />“No.” Caspian interrupted him in a quiet voice and bit his lip. “I mean- I have to tell you about the time I met your brother.”<br />
  101. 101.
  102. 102. “Iago,” Ichabod wished his voice were stronger.<br />“What?” Iago did not look up from his food. <br />“Iago look at me.”<br />As Iago looked up, his eyes froze in mid roll , widening as he noticed Caspian, if only for a second.<br />Almost immediately, he regained his nonchalance. “Who’s this?” he asked Ichabod, staring at his bowl once more.<br />“I think you know who I am.” said Caspian sadly. “Give it up kid.”<br />
  103. 103. Iago stood up suddenly, the noise his chair made as it scraped backwards reverberated in the empty cafeteria. <br />“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he scowled.<br />“For God’s sake Iago!” Ichabod yelled. Conscious of the cafeteria worker behind him, he lowered his voice. “Stop this – please.” <br />“Whatever-” he muttered, turning to leave. <br />
  104. 104. “Iago!” he called, to no response. “Iago we know everything.”<br />Iago continued to head for the exit, his pace quickening. <br />“I’m so sorry Iago.”<br />At that he stopped, turning slowly around to reveal an expression utterly different to any that Ichabod had seen on him before. <br />Fear, shock, sadness... All at once. As though the built up emotion from years of unfeeling pretence was bursting forth in one flood. <br />Iago stood frozen, staring at his brother and as Ichabod cautiously stepped forward he noticed tears in Iago’s eyes. <br />“I-I...” <br />“It’s too late.” whispered Ichabod. “I’m sorry Iago.”<br />
  105. 105. The following weeks were a difficult time for the family. They were not unaccustomed to threats to the legacy, but this time it had come from within; from someone they had loved and trusted. If someone other than Iago had been responsible, it would be easier to deal with- easier to be angry and to come to terms with what had happened. But even after all he had done, Iago was still a part of their family and had loved them once. Once they knew what had caused him to act as he did, it only hit them harder. And the anger they felt came with pity and sorrow. Pure hatred is far easier to feel than the pain the family experienced in the those weeks.<br />Iago, after his arrest, confessed everything- breaking down into howling sobs and shuddering during his trial. Caspian gave evidence with regards to Iago’s visit to the Spares’ house as a child and by the time the prosecution and defence had finished putting forth their cases, there was not a sim in the court who did not feel some degree of pity for Iago, wretched as he was. But murder is murder. And he had numerous other offenses that could not be taken lightly either. <br />It was announced soon after that a new neighbourhood would be founded to provide a home for legacy and challenge spares who did not wish to live frozen in the perpetual shadow of their relatives. Caspian and his housemates were the first to leave and were soon followed by others.<br />Iracebeth, now proved innocent, was released but emerged a more uneasy and less confident version of her former self. She decided that, after staying with her parents for a while, she too would head for the new town they had been promised. After remaining missing for a couple of weeks, Isildur appeared drunken, unshaven and desperate on Merrow’s doorstep upon hearing of Iracebeth’s release. Unsurprisingly, the drink had lead him to drugs- Merrow had him checked into an out of town rehabilitation clinic by noon the next day, renting a flat nearby so as to be close to him. Ichigo and his companions returned from the soul society to fine that more had changed than they could have possibly imagined. Although they were stunned by the news that awaited them, their absence had provided them with a strength that was essential to the recovery of the rest of the family. <br />
  106. 106.
  107. 107.
  108. 108. Those were nice vaguely wedding-y shots weren’t they? <br />But it was after all a Marmite wedding, and had all the usual components. <br />
  109. 109. Sims doing whatever the hell they like, regardless of the nicely arranged tables.<br />“I take my cake seriously- I need to concentrate.”<br />Spontaneous outfit changes and games of keepy-uppy.<br />
  110. 110. Incredibly tense games of keepy-uppy apparently. <br />Sims groping each other instead of watching the ceremony.<br />
  111. 111. “What’s happening now?” Hiro asked his wife impatiently. <br />“I’m not sure, it’s too hard to see past your hair.” answered Yaeko. “Come on Ichigo she muttered, straining to stare casually at her son. “Wait- something’s happening!”<br />“What?!”cried Hiro.<br />“No don’t turn around!” <br />
  112. 112. Yaeko sighed happily. “Finally.”<br />“What are they doing?” demanded Hiro, turning to look. “Oooohhh.” he smiled.<br />“Come on,” smiled Yaeko, leading her husband away. <br />
  113. 113. Despite everything, there were Dumbledore approved levels of love at the wedding. <br />
  114. 114. “Hey you two,” Ichabod grinned as he approached Ichigo and Ani Mei. Hastily, Ani Mei stepped away from Ichigo, pulling his hand from around her waist. <br />“Er- yes?” they replied, flustered.<br />“I think it’s a bit late for that.” Ichabod laughed, eying them knowingly. <br />Ichigo and Ani Mei blushed simultaneously, but laughed and intertwined their fingers.<br />“Congratulations Ichabod,” smiled Ani Mei.<br />“Yeah, I’m really happy for you Ick. And I hear you’ve got another reason to celebrate Mr Generation I Heir.” <br />Both brothers noticed that their sibling was smiling more than they had ever done before these days.<br />“Thank you,” Ichabod replied with a nervous grin. <br />“I’ll do my best- but it should have been you.”<br />
  115. 115. “Ichabod,” said Ichigo seriously, placing a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You are going to be fantastic. If everything you’ve done recently doesn’t convince you of that, then I don’t know what will.” <br />Ichabod smiled gratefully.<br />“And besides,” continued Ichigo, pulling Ani Mei closer to him. “I’m not sure that Soul Reaper is an appropriate career for an heir.” He smiled, and fixed his gaze on Ani Mei. “And I’m certainly not ready to give this up.”<br />
  116. 116.
  117. 117. The End<br />
  118. 118. I’M SORRY<br />I offer my greatest and most sincere apologies for this chapter. If you’re a bleach fan, I’m sorry I did it all so badly and just gave up in the end. Go and watch/read bleach now to make up for it. If you’re not a bleach fan, then I’m sorry you had to sit through all of the bleach plotty stuff without even getting a decent resolution. Life’s a bitch eh?<br />However disastrous this may have been, the computer kasplosionsreally didn’t help matters, and I have learnt from this chapter. <br />MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ENDING TO YOUR PLOT BEFORE YOU START WRITING IT<br />AVOID THEMES THAT ARE VEEEERRRRRY LIKELY TO BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE.<br />MAYBE TONE THINGS DOWN A BIT- HOW ABOUT A NICE UNREQUITED ROMANCE THAT TURNS OUT FINE IN THE END.<br />CHECK FOR POSEBOXES AND PROPS BEFORE STARTING A PLOT SO THAT YOU DON’T FIND DOWNLOADS THAT WOULD MAKE EVERYTHING EASIER AND MORE EFFECTIVE AFTER YOU’VE FINISHED. -__- <br />I just wanted to get this chapter up in the end. I’ll try to make up for it. <br />Thank you all for reading. <br />

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