Bleach Fanfic: RenTats
How do You Fight a Hollow Like This?: Chapter 4
It's been only two days since the sparring match, and Tatsuki was behaving awfully strange. When she was with her friends, she would behave normally. But when she was alone, she twitched at nothing, and held her stomach a lot. Something was definitely up. Her reiatsu was sporadic as well. Sometimes it would dwindle down to an alarmingly low level, leaving him to wonder if she could see him in his shinigami form. Other times it would flare wildly, but the flares were not close to her previous level of reiatsu.
He knew it had something to do with the injury from the hollow, but he wasn't sure on how. He knew she wouldn't talk to him about it; she was a strong independent soul. That's something he really liked about her. Against normal opponents, he would back her in a fight anytime. She really was a sight to behold when she was fighting. Her eyes would ignite, showing that fiery spirit of hers. And yet, along with all that fire, she really was a kind and caring person. She protected anyone she came across who needed that protection.
He could go on all day about her good points, but to be able to preserve the points he liked about her, he needed to save her from whatever it was that was going on with her and the hollow. He wasn't sure on how to approach her, if he were to just go and ask, she'd probably punch him for asking her again. But he can't tell what's going on by just watching her. And if he were to go and talk to her, it would reveal that he had been watching her when he wasn't with her.
While they hadn't sparred since that day, he had made it a point to talk to her each day. This gave him a chance to get to know her better, and to check up on her. He never let her guess the second motive though.
Anyways, he really needed more information, and he wouldn't get it just by watching her. So no matter what she might do, he had to confront her. He hoped he would come out of it with his face intact.
He waited for her outside of the dojo and was surprised when she came out shortly after going in. She actually even had a sad defeated look on her face.
He stepped onto the sidewalk and walked beside her. She didn't even seem to notice him.
"Tatsuki? What are you doing? Shouldn't you be practicing?"
She looked up at him in surprise, as he thought. She hadn't noticed him.
"Oh it's nothing, I'm just not feeling like going today."
"That's bull, I know you better than that. You'd go to the dojo even if you were sick with a fever of 110 degrees and were fainting on your feet. That place is your life practically. What's going on?" There, he asked, in a roundabout way.
She glared at him and threw a punch at him, which he caught easily. Not only because he was a shinigami (even if he was in a gigai), but also it lacked the speed and strength of her normal punch. "It's none of your business. Why can't you just leave me alone?"
"Because something is wrong and you and I know it. I can't tell what exactly is wrong, but I know it has something to do with the injury you had received from that hollow."
Tatsuki gasped softly and her eyes showed her dismay. She then lowered her head, and her arm went limp. He released her fist and it fell to her side.
They stood there in silence for a few minutes. She was staring at the ground instead of him, and he was carefully studying at her. Watching her for anything that might give him a hint as to her inner thoughts.
Yep, that was Renji; he was a perceptive and straightforward guy.
Not even looking at him she turned and started walking down the sidewalk. He walked with her, but didn't say anything. He was still watching her closely.
There was no point in trying to hide anything now. Everyone is going to find out, that she was weak. That she was falling prey to a monster that she should have been able to take care of. Now everyone was going to be coming up to her and asking her how she is, or wanting her to take it easy and stupid stuff like that. She couldn't handle that. That's why she didn't say anything.
Besides, she was still trying to find a way to get rid of it.
"You can't get rid of me."
She flinched at the sound of the hollow's voice; he's been speaking more frequently over the last couple days. It was starting to scare her, it seemed like he was gaining in strength, which was not a good thing. The stronger hollows got, the more power they had over you.
Tatsuki knew Renji had seen her flinch, which she regretted doing in his presence, now he must know without a doubt that something was wrong, but it did seem he knew already.
"Yes, he can almost sense me. He actually doesn't seem to be all that perceptive for a shinigami otherwise he would have sensed me a lot time ago. Good thing for me it's him and not someone else. Heh heh heh."
Damn she hated that voice, reminded her of her weakness, and her helplessness. She had never felt those feelings, she didn't like it.
As time went by, it got stronger. And it almost felt like she got weaker. Renji shouldn't have been able to catch her punch that easily. Sure he was stronger, but still. That scared her even more than the voice did.
She kept walking till she reached her favorite part of town; down on a grassy bank overlooking the river. She stopped and looked beyond the opposite bank. They weren't at the highest point of town, but they were high enough that they could see over a good portion of the town. How she loved this place, it almost seemed to look over the whole world while she stayed in her own private place. Right now it wasn't so private because Renji was here. But still, he was the only other person she brought here. She hadn't even brought Ichigo or Orihime here, her two best friends.
She sat down and held her legs to her chest as Renji sat next to her. He wasn't looking at her right now, he was staring out over the river as well. He seemed to know to give her space, to let her get out on her own. She had decided to tell him.
"Oh no you don't, you aren't going to tell anyone about me."
Oh yes I am, she thought to it. Because of its attitude she decided to tell him now and opened her mouth to speak. But then her breath caught in her throat and she started to cough.
"Tatsuki? You alright?"
She waved him off, thinking something just got stuck in her throat. She tried again, and this time a stabbing pain her chest made her gasp and she reached her hand up to her chest panting deeply.
"Tatsuki, what's going on? Is there something I can do?" concern was tainting Renji's voice.
What's going on? Whenever she tried to speak something happened to make her stop.
"I told you, you aren't going tell anyone about me."
Damn! It was doing this to her. It wasn't letting her talk to Renji. She had to figure a way around this.
She could handle the pain, she would just perceiver.
She took a deep breath, and even though it was hurting her throat to speak, she said, "That hollow is inside me, and seems to be consuming me." After that short explanation she had a severe coughing fit and couldn't speak anymore.
Renji didn't say anything at first, but she was busy trying to get her breath back to be too concerned. When she could breathe a little easier she looked at him. His face showed so much shock that if the situation was less serious she would have burst out laughing.
Renji gaped at her in alarm. The hollow is inside her? How? And it's consuming her? What does she mean? Is the hollow the reason her reiatsu has been fluctuating so badly? What should he do? He needed to do something. Then he came up with the obvious answer.
He got up quickly, grabbed her hand, and pulled her up then started walking quickly.
"Renji? What are you doing? Where are you taking me?"
"To a guy I know. He's not exactly the greatest guy in the world, but he's a genius."
Renji knew that Urahara could figure out what was going on. He knew he could come up with a solution. The guy created the hogyoku for crying out loud, even if that was the source of their troubles with Aizen that is still amazing. Even he could appreciate something like that.
Renji knew he was causing talk by holding Tatsuki by the hand and practically dragging her with him, but he didn't care right now. He just knew he had to get her some help. This was serious and way beyond him.
He finally arrived at Urahara's store and Tatsuki stopped. He looked at her and she was staring at the shop.
"I know this place. I followed Ichigo here." She looked at him, "Is that guy with the striped hat the genius you were talking about?"
"Yes, he is."
She turned and walked away. "Forget it, I'm not going to get help from that pervert."
He gripped her shoulder to stop her, "Tatsuki, I agree that he is a pervert, and I wouldn't ask you to go to him if there was another way. But there isn't. The only other one who would be able to figure out the problem is in Soul Society, and severely sadistic. Trust me; the pervert is better than him."
She sighed then turned around, "Ok, but if he tries anything, both of you will suffer."
Oh boy, he better make sure Urahara behaves himself or he's going to get it good.
Renji and Tatsuki came closer to the store and the door slides open a little and a little girl in a pink polka dot skirt and black pigtails appeared. "Um, have you come to see him freeloader?"
A red tick appeared on Renji's head. "I am not a freeloader, but yes I have. I've got a problem here and he's the only one who can help."
"Ok, come inside freeloader."
Grrrrrr, he's never going to get them to stop calling him that is he? Just like he won't get Tatsuki to stop calling him Benji. Wait, now that he thought about it, she hadn't called him Benji at all today. She must be really serious, or really frightened, or both.
They enter the store and Jinta starts yelling at Ururu and pulls her bangs. He sighed as it's always this way and then Urahara enters the room, waving his fan in front of his face.
"My my, what's all the commotion now?" He looked over at them. "Ooooh, freeloader, you brought a girlfriend? Can't do anything at her place?"
Renji blushed hotly, "No you idiot!! I brought her to you because she needs help."
"Oooh, she's for me? I like that better."
Renji could just imagine what Tatsuki had in store for him because of this. "NO! She's got a problem with a hollow dammit."
Urahara turned his 180 degree transformation and was serious all of a sudden, "Yes, I can see that. Somehow a hollow has attached its reiatsu to hers and is slowly consuming her inside out. If it is not gotten rid of, it will eat her body and soul and then reemerge alive once more, and Tatsuki will dissolve into nothing, not even to a soul to cross to the Soul Society. She will cease to exist."