[K]Drugs leave you feeling hollow inside..

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Mar 22, 2005
Tainted White
Rei Jiiro
Masayume Houmuru
Word Count: 13.5k

He'd taken to walking through the grounds surrounding the division whenever he could find the time and opportunity ever since the outcome of the siege. There was so much to see in everyday life that could be missed if you let yourself be cooped up in an office on a daily basis.

As he cleared through one of the many stands of shrubs and trees, Rei turned over to where he felt the signature of someone he hadn't seen in some time. The feeling of familiarity that he got from her hadn't faded in the slightest since he'd last seen here, quite the opposite really, it had gotten stronger in her absence.

Refraining from ruffling her hair, Rei instead chose to take a seat leaning against the very same tree as Yume was. Taking a deep breath of the air now that he knew that things had calmed down considerably since he'd last seen.

"Heya Yume... how are things goin?" He'd seen little of her since the siege, even less after he'd had to place Ryan into a holding cell under strict guard pending a psych evaluation from a member the third division.

He needed to know just how far the boy had fallen. If it was all voluntary, then it was likely that he would be put to death. But if there was coercion of any kind involved, than it was likely that the man would be able to rejoin the ranks of the gotei. After-all, they'd certainly had worse members within their ranks.

Yume leaned at a tree she had found while searching for her captain. The people at their division said he could have taken a walk and that he's just around the corner. She'd been walking around the grounds just outside the division. She managed to grasp the signature of his reiatsu here and there; however, it slipped from her hands the moment she started to follow it. Her captain was one sneaky guy.

Now, she was there, taking a short rest. She was slightly startled when she saw Rei walking towards there. She smiled at him while he asked how she was. She brushed back her hair and said, "Hm. The day's going slow, Rei." She was still nervous about not calling him taichou. However, she knew he hated having honorifics.

"You know what? I was just looking for you."

She had a multitude to ask him. All about Ryan, all about her friend who was all along an enemy. She sighed. She never did know what happened to him after the mission. God forbid, he might even be dead! Yume shook her head. She wouldn't know unless she would ask Rei.

"Uhm, Rei, I want to ask something about Ryan."

Closing his eyes in thought, Rei stretched his arms back as far as he could, sending a small crack down his spine. He'd hoped to try and avoid going straight to this, Ryan had been her friend, still was for all Rei knew. She obviously had been wanting to ask this for some time.

He sighed aloud before continuing, knowing that it would be for the best if she heard it straight from him instead of rumours that passed through the division. "He's doing fine at the moment Yume. We're simply keeping him confined until we know all the details behind the case. The only accounts that we have are from Ryan, Leiko, and Yukio. And all of them don't look good for Ryan's case."

Picking up a blade of grass, Rei let it go after bringing it up to eye level, watching it flutter away on the wind. "I've requested a psyche evaluation from the third division, they'll be able to figure out whether or not he's been coerced into doing what he did. And they'll do it in a more humane manner than the Keigun would."

Placing a hand on her shoulder, Rei looked into her eyes, the glint of a question shining through. "If you have more information Yume, it would help the case along."

Yume breathed out a sigh n relief. She was glad to hear that Ryan was just being confined for further investigation. Trying to find the blade of grass that fluttered away, Yume looked far out into the horizon and narrowed her eyes. Yukio and Leiko wouldn't be of much help if she wanted to let Ryan have another chance. Ryan.... Yume wanted to believe he was just twisting all the details because he wanted himself dead.

She pursed her lips and thought of the look in his eyes. Yume always found more of the truth in a person's eyes. She recalled all those times she had looked into his eyes when they were on the mission. She could remember the confusion she saw in it. She could remember a light that wanted to eliminate the darkness in his orbs. She could still see the regret when he led them through the passages of Shigure's hideout.

She turned her head and looked into Rei's gray eyes, trying to get him focused on what she was going to say. "Rei, I think I can help. I don't exactly want him to get executed. I knew what I saw, Rei."

Smiling gently, Rei could feel the tension regarding the whole situation beginning to fade away to the back of his mind. He'd never been one to try someone without first inspecting every aspect of the information that could be made available.

It was far too easy to execute someone for it to be a quick solution. A life that was ended could not be brought back to life by even the most advanced of chiyodu, and no apology could ever return a loved one to the families who'd lost someone.

"It won't take much Yume, I just need a better idea of what happened out in the field. Right now I'm hearing two different stories; one from Ryan and the other from Yukio and Leiko. Even though they're both a bit different, neither of them spell out Ryan's innocence."

He paused for a moment to let his words seep in before he continued again. "Can you tell me what happened that night im... In your own words?" The slip made Rei shake his head slightly to clear if of the ringing that was now resounding throughout his head. As if a fragment of something was just itching at the back of his mind, just beyond his grasp.

Yume drew her brows together. She knew exactly what happened back then. The only part she didn't know was the time she was brought back, battered and bruised. She was partially afraid that she might say something wrong. She wanted Ryan to have a second chance because he deserved it. She felt he deserved it.

Yume relaxed her muscles, thinking that there was no need for tension. She'd tell the truth and how she saw it. That's it. Period.

She started out with eyes closed first, "Ryan led us to this path. You see, we needed to get inside the enemy's hideout. We found a map, but there weren't any routes drawn on it. Ryan...he showed us a way inside." Yume paused upon remembering the glimmer on Ryan's eyes back then. "Everything was a little blurred after that, Rei. We parted ways because Reiji fought this big bad guy. The next thing, I saw Ryan is carrying Reiji on his back."

"Rei, I think Ryan wouldn't have done that if he had truly fallen down the deepest pit."

She looked at Rei's eyes again, finding something that was terribly familiar. She suddenly felt that this wasn't just some informal interrogation. She felt that Rei was someone she could confide all her problems.

She shook her head. That was not something she should do right now. Clearing her throat, she continued, "After that, we continued down the hallway. We all got injured by Shigure, the head of the gang we were supposed to stop."

Just then, Yume remembered something. "Snap. Rei... did they bring back a girl? I think Chiaki was her name. Ryan paid much attention to that girl. The girl almost died, and he appeared out of nowhere screaming we had to save her."

Tapping his chin in thought, Rei thought back to that night that everyone had been brought in thanks to Yukio and Leiko's efforts. The two of them might be cold and calculated brats with entirely too much money on their hands, but they were cold and calculated brats with entirely too much money on their hands that got the job done.

"Your friend, Reiji I believe his name was, refused to let a small girl out of his sight. I think he intended to carry her to the third division himself despite his own injuries. Odd young man really... but a good person nonetheless." He shook his head to get back on topic, realizing that he'd about to follow a tangent of thought.

"So all Ryan did was lead you in, nothing more? No attacks, no traps, or anything else of that nature?" He needed to know how far back Ryan had been an agent of this group. Was it from the very beginning, or had he started some time after graduating the academy.

If it was the first option, than it would be so much simpler. He was a spy, and he would be punished. But if it was the second one, then things became complicated. Was there another agent within his division, in the other divisions? Too many complex pieces in the puzzle made it difficult to approach at this point, let alone solve.

Yume massaged the back of her neck. This was beginning to be more complicated, and she didn't want that. She didn't want this to be messy because she wanted to believe that he really did not want to do what he did. Ryan was a spy. Yes, she knew that. Shigure threw it in her face. At first, it was too much for her; however, it was the truth. She spoke, "Yes, Rei. He led us in, but...I couldn't tell if it was because he was spy or if it was because he wanted to show us the way." She shook her head as her memories became cloudier. "We should...ask the girl, Rei. I think she knows him more than we do."

She stood up and looked far out again. She was thinking about the things she would know about Ryan when she gets to ask the girl. Heck, Ryan could be a complete stranger if it turned out that everything he said and did wasn't him. She cut her thoughts when she felt Rei tap her on the shoulder and motion for them to visit the girl.

As they passed the white walls of Seireitei, Yume could feel a mix of excitement, because there could be hope for Ryan, and fear because of the unknown facts she could get to know. Once she entered the hospital, she immediately found Reiji taking a short walk.

"Oi Reiji!" She waved to him. Reiji turned then smiled at her. When he saw Rei standing with her, he almost dropped the cup he was holding. Pulling himself together, he slowly approached the two. "Hey Yume," he paused and bowed towards Rei, "Good morning, Jirro-taichou."

Yume cleared her throat, "Reiji, could you take us to the girl? My taichou wants to ask the girl for...Ryan's investigation."

Reiji raised his brows while taking a last sip from his cup. "Sure. Good timing, she just woke up." Reiji crushed the cup he was holding and threw it into a trash bin. He gestured for them to follow. As they climbed the stairs, Reiji nudged Yume. "So, how's Ryan?"

Yume sighed, "He's all right. He's just being confined."

"I see." Reiji paused momentarily and led them through the hallway He then knocked at one door, and opened it. They all went inside. Yume was a bit startled at how the girl seemed to have changed. The child seemed to have regained the innocence she had lost fighting alongside men who didn't deserve to live. She seemed to be more carefree.

"Ohayou, Chiaki-chan." Reiji greeted with a big grin in his face. Chiaki smiled back at him, but when she saw Yume, the smile faded from her face. Yume saw the fear in her eyes.

Seeing the fear, Yume smiled to reassure the girl that she was not there to fight her. "Don't worry, Chiaki. I'm not here to fight with you. We just need to ask a few questions about your...Ryan-niichan."

Smiling as kindly as he could and make it sincere, Rei slowly made his way towards the foot of the girls bed. She watched him warily as soon as he'd entered within ten feet of her despite the control he'd placed on his reishi. She knew on sight that there was something subtly different about this man. And that was all she needed to be on her guard.

"Hey there... Chiaki was it? I'm Rei... I'm a friend of your brothers. He's doing fine, and doesn't want you to worry about him..." Both were true, he was fine in the holding cell, and he likely didn't want this girl to worry about him if they were siblings.

He noted the subtle stance that Reiji had taken once Rei had moved, positioning himself just so in that he was coincidentally in a place where he could step in between Rei and Chiaki with one small step. With his size, he would have easily had the advantage against an opponent of his own level.

With a small nod to the man, he turned back to Chiaki. He knew nothing of the girl beyond what Reiji had included in the reports, which didn't amount to much when it came down to it. "Yume here says that you can tell me a little bit about your brother... Can you help me with that Chiaki?"

Yume sent a glance at Reiji once she saw where he had placed himself. She sighed, thinking that the man was always protective of younger girls. She remembered how he treated her like a helpless young girl when they had gotten closer. Shaking away her thoughts about Reiji, she got back on track with a question, "Chiaki, have known your Ryan-niichan for long?"

Chiaki suddenly grinned, "Yes! He was already there when Sanjou-tousama found me. He was always the one who took care of me and defended me."

Yume raised her brows, "Sanjou-tousama? So he is your father?"

The girl shook her head. "No. He just found me and took me in."

"I see. Chiaki," Yume paused to collect her thoughts, "Did you know that Ryan was a spy?"

Chiaki bent her head slowly. She took gripped the sheet of her bed and answered, "Yes. I was there when Shigure-sama told him. Ryan-niichan was hesitant at first...because he didn't want to leave me...and I didn't want him to leave." Chiaki's eyes grew downcast. "But one day, he patted me on the head and said 'I'll come back, and everything would be better.' He wasn't really a bad man..."

Yume inched closer and patted the girl on the head. She suddenly felt sympathy for the girl. When she was hearing her speak, she could hear how much she cared for Ryan. Somehow, Yume knew how she was feeling right now. She was grateful that Reiji was around to take care of her.

She then faced Rei, "Rei, do you have anymore to ask?"

Feeling a little foolish about the way he'd been speaking to the girl, Rei took a second to try and process all the information that the girl had just told him. There were three things that were easily apparent from the girl had told him.

1. Ryan had been with that group for longer than Chiaka... Chiaki... whatever her name was.
2. Aside from spying on the inner-workings of the Gotei, it was entirely unclear on what it was that Ryan's purpose was.
3. Lastly... Ryan's nervousness... did it stem from having to spy on the Gotei... or was it simply because he didn't trust Shigure with the girl?

If there was something he missed, no matter how subtle the gesture, he had this much plus whatever information they could get from Ryan. "Chiaki... did your brother ever tell you the sort of things he did while he was away?"

Having another source of information beyond what Ryan was giving them was what really was important. Rei could hold off on any proceedings at this point since the man was from his division. But if Central 46 or the Keigun really started to push its influence on the case, than it would be much harder to try and keep the damage to Ryan's name to a minimum.

Chiaki brought her fingers to her chin. Bowing, she seemed to be in deep thought. When she looked up, there was an air of confidence in her eyes like she was sure of her answer. She opened her small mouth and explained, "He did go home once in awhile. But every time he did, he went straight to Shigure-sama." Chiaki paused. Her eyes wandered towards the window. Her eyes narrowed, as if some painful or dark memory flashed in her head.

"I," she spoke with a painful tint in her small voice, "overheard their conversation once. He said, 'I'm just doing what needs to be done, Shigure.' It was so silent...but then, there was this feeling...this feeling...it was like I was being crushed by this invisible wall. Then...I heard Shigure-sama shout, 'What you're doing is not what needs to be done.' He said. Then there was this crashing sound."

"I went out of my hiding and found him lying atop debris of the crushed wall. His eyes widened. Then he ran towards me like he wasn't hurt at all...even if I could see the pain in his eyes. He carried me away..." Chiaki bowed her head.

Yume drew her eyebrows together. She found herself patting the girl once again. "Then?"

"Then while he was carrying me away, I heard him whisper, 'It's not like I want to do this...'"

Nodding slightly to himself, Rei turned to face Chiaki with a smile. "Thank you Chiaki, you've been a big help..." There wasn't much more he could ask the girl without this turning into an interrogation , something that Rei wanted to avoid at all costs. Nothing made a person feel more like a criminal or victim more than being interrogated.

Nodding his head towards Reiji grin, Rei continued. "Me and Yume have to go now though ok...We'll just leave you with Reiji for now ok?" Turning towards the larger man with a serious look that only he could see, he continued in a quiet voice. "I know you're already gonna take care of her... but I'll just say it anyhow. Make sure the girl stays alright. If the people they escaped from happen to come after her again, she'll need as much help as she can get."

"Yume... can we talk outside?" With a quick nod from Yume, Rei began to make his way to the exit of the hospital with Yume following beside him. He'd been tempted to just talk to her outside of the room, but there was too much chance that Chiaki or Reiji would hear what he had to say.

Stopping beneath the canopy of a tree, Rei leaned his back against the rough bark as he told Yume about his suppositions. "The good news is that Ryan likely won't face any truly serious charges for what he did. But he'll still have to face some disciplinary actions. More than likely he'll be placed into a team to keep an eye on him, as well as being restricted to light duty."

There would be other restrictions that would likely be implemented as well, despite the circumstances behind what had happened, Ryan had still committed Treason against the Gotei. It would be a long time before his name was fully cleared of such a crime. The least Rei could do was to be sure that the general ranks never caught wind of what had happened.

She looked at the girl as Rei thanked her for the help. Yume smiled to herself, feeling a little lighter about what happened to Ryan. It was true that Ryan did commit treason; however, there were other stories behind it. As far as Yume knew, he really didn't want to do it. Furthermore, she was glad to some extent. Somehow, she found out that Ryan wasn't really lying to her. When Chiaki was telling them about him, it felt that the man Chiaki was telling them about was the man she suddenly hugged back then.

She rubbed the back of her neck. After Rei's conversation with her best friend, he quickly told her, "Hey, I'm coming over your place later."

"Ugh, how about Chiaki?" Yume peered outside the door to see how far Rei had walked.

Reiji laughed, "Visitors aren't allowed here all day. And I'm just a visitor." He patted Yume on the head. "Come on, get going. Your taichou's already far."

Yume smiled at him, "See you later then."

She was still smiling when she left the room. She just couldn't remove this happy feeling inside her. Perhaps it was because Ryan had a bigger chance. Snapping her fingers all of a sudden, she told herself she'd visit Ryan later. She then looked at Rei while he led her to the exit. She narrowed her eyes at his silence. However, she smiled. She liked her captain like a big brother. He was a good man, and she wanted to know him more; however, she felt like she wasn't that close to him to just march right in front of him and say, "Hi, niichan."

Stepping outside, the rays of the sun fell upon her skin, bringing with it the warmness of spring. She looked at Rei again and said, "I thought you wanted to talk."

He turned back to the girl with a grin, feeling foolish for having put off why he'd come to speak to her in the first place. Opening his mouth to speak the words he knew existed somewhere in the corners of his mind, Rei was dumbstruck when he came to the realization.

They'd been looking for each other for the same reason. Both of them had wanted to discuss details involving Ryan's case. Rei of course had other questions that he would have liked to have asked, but seeing Yume and how she was with her friends, Rei knew that she was well. And that was good enough for him.

But... there was that thing... that he kept feeling he should have remembered... something important... like... a promotion of sorts. One second passed, then two, then three, until finally the sun shone in such a way that anyone could have sworn they saw a light bulb go on above Rei's head.

"Right... now I remember what it was... you're being promoted Yume..." He made no mention of the promotion from outside of the division, as the task had fallen upon him to actively test her ability. The head of the Kidoushuu had taken notice of her, which seemed reasonable given her former division, and had tasked Rei with coming up with a suitable test of her skills.

A slight breeze blew threw the area, kicking up smaller leaves into the air before leaving them to idly fall back to the earth. It had been less of a shock than most he'd faced, he could feel the potential within her for the path of the demon. With proper guidance, the girl would easily become a powerful user of kidou.

But even if she didn't receive training in kidou, it was plain to see that she would excel in whatever she chose as her specialty. It just simply came down to what she wanted to do. And... Rei couldn't help but feel the age old right of 'first dibs' as her Captain. "With the departure of Kayla and Yuusuke into their own division, the spot of third seat is available to you if..."

As if on cue from some cosmic forces, the visage of one of the members of the Onmitsu Kidou messengers came into view at both Yume and Rei's side. Kneeling low with that ruddy rooftop of a hat on his head, the man quickly delivered the message in a clear and crisp tone.

"Jiiro-Taichou. My apologies for disturbing you and your sister..." The man was obviously wrong... but Rei couldn't find himself able to correct him. Probably because he wanted the man to finish the message first... right... that was the reason. "... but I have the report for you to examine from your third and fourth seats, they said that it was important that you examine the facts as soon as possible."

From within the man's robes, a sleek folder was removed to be handed to the captain of the second. Perusing the folder quickly, Rei only did a quick overview of what was really pertinent within. Such as the presence of a gang selling a highly dangerous and addicting drug in Rukongai.

According to the report, its toxicity had quickly become the cause of a series of deaths so sudden in the lowest sections of Rukongai that it had almost been deemed a plague-zone. It made sense that a drug could become so prevalent, seeing as how the level of education was generally lower in those areas. What else was there to do in a place where they seemed to only be waiting to die?

Hopefully they'd be able to extend some kind of presence into those slums soon. Everyone deserved the same relative level of peace throughout Rukongai, not just those lucky enough to be sent to the upper sections. Looking to Yume, Rei scratched the back of his head nervously.

"You wanna come with me to check something out Yume? Seems a small problem's come up in Rukongai and they'd like someone to check it out before things get out of control." He smiled reassuringly to her as he waiting for a response. Really though, how hard could a simple mission like this be?

Yume stared at him with curiosity as he stared at her. She looked at his eyes and saw that there was something he was going to say. He almost laughed at what happened. He had probably forgotten it and was trying to remember it at that moment. Just at the moment when the clouds gave way for the sun's rays, he opened his mouth and told her of a promotion. She raised her brows upon hearing that.

A promotion? She rubbed her chin and thought of it well. She had just entered the division. Her stay wasn't that long. She tried counting the missions she did under the 2nd division. Seriously, there was none yet. The biggest thing she did was kick some allancar and hollow butt back at the siege. After that, she had been resting her body and fixing things she left messed up before the siege. She narrowed her eyes, thinking about the promotion. A part of her really thought she didn't deserve it. She considered being the 3rd seated officer to be a big thing. It's almost like...being the junior adjutant...or something.

She closed her eyes and felt the breeze brush against her skin. It seemed to tell her that it was ok, that there was nothing to be afraid of. When she opened her eyes, she had already decided that if Rei thought she was capable of being his third seated officer, then she would be the one. But then...there was the "if" still hanging and an Onmistu Kidou member kneeling beside Rei.

Letting the thing about her being Rei's sister pass casually, she listened at the man's message. He said something about the fourth and fifth seats saying something that was needed to be examined. She watched silently as Rei took the sleek folder. He opened it and quickly checked its contents.

The next thing she knew, Rei had asked her to come with him. She smiled back at him and nodded. "Sure. It would rock to check out that small problem with you, taichou." If things got a little out of hand, that was her time to prove herself.

He couldn't help it, he had to laugh with her at her response to the question. While he'd expected no less than an affirmative from Yume, he hadn't been expecting so much zeal from the young girl. The sun shone down on the two for a brief moment as the clouds parted, giving a break in the overcast day that they'd been experiencing.

Nodding his head in the direction that he assumed was the west gate, Rei turned to Yume with a small grin. Thanking whatever gods there were in the world that the Third Division was located on the west-side of Seireitei, both shinigami bound into the air to the rooftops, cutting down on the wait time from having to actually having to walk the winding trails.

Once the massive wooden gates came into view, Rei knew that the both of them would likely draw the eyes of every single Rukongai citizen who could see a black robe a mile away. But if all they were doing was cracking down on a small problem like a buncha drug dealing scum bags? Then let them see. They needed to know that the Neo-Gotei did care about the pluses.

"Don't worry too much alright Yume... I'm not gonna throw you out of the Second Division if you make any mistakes out here." Looking back with a semi-serious expression, his voice was obviously light as he joked with her. "... but its always possible to be relegated to guard duty..."

He reached a hand over to ruffle the top of her hair, smiling broadly. "... but like I said... don't worry. I only reserve guard duty for those I personally want to teach a lesson to. And you're not one of those I see myself teaching a lesson too... except maybe a few techniques that'll probably be helpful."

Yume was a little puzzled by his laugh. Her reply was not intended for humour. He must have been amused at her enthusiasm. She found herself chuckling while thinking of it. They proceeded immediately towards the West Gate. The gate creaked loudly as it opened. Yume turned towards Rei while they were waiting for the gate to completely open. "Ah Rei, I'm fine with guard duty, but I'm in no way going to make any mistakes that would make you throw me into guard duty." She grinned at him. "Oh, techniques, you say? That would be awesome!"

Somehow, she could hear herself like a little sister eager for a big brother's attention. She rubbed the back of her neck nervously. She remembered her long lost brother again. It had been centuries...and she hasn't found him yet. She sighed and then laughed, so Rei would not worry about that sudden sigh. Shaking all thoughts about her missing older brother, she shifted her attention towards Rukongai, a place she knew more than anything else.

"What are we dealing with anyway?"

Reaching into the dossier, Rei pulled out the initial reports and handed them off to Yume. Leiko's writing was quickly written onto the page, yet still carried an elegance that Rei would probably never be able to duplicate.

From the Observations of Nakamura Leiko; 4th Seat, 2nd Division; and Murakami Yukio; 3rd Seat, 2nd Division.

Following the allegations of a series of highly dangerous and addictive drugs being distributed within the area 72 of Eastern Rukongai. Both myself and Yukio were dispatched to ascertain the full scope of situation and report back to the Captain of the Second. Rei Jiiro. These are the initial results of our findings.

The presence and distribution of the drug has remained isolated to small time distribution from the hands of petty drug dealers. Despite constant surveillance and tailing, it has been next to impossible to actually trail them to the source of the drugs.

The drug itself is a highly carcinogenic substance. Seeming to eat away at the very core of the users soul in what appears to be a state of corrosion. Why the drug is so adverse to the spiritual composition of a plus soul has yet to be deciphered, as the drug degrades at incredibly rapid speeds.

It's this destabilizing reaction that catalyses the effect on the psyche. Inducing the production of adrenalin and endorphins well beyond the capabilities the spiritual body is able to handle. Effects have been observed to range from euphoria to various degrees of panic.

End CommuniquÁƒ ©.​
Once he was sure she'd read through the somewhat rambling message from his 4th and 5th seats, wondering how it could be so accurate yet so infuriating in its vagueness at the same time. He didn't even wanna know how they'd come to realize what the effects of the drug were. Vowing instead to do a drug test later on.

"Ready to go Yume?" A quick nod from her was all that was needed before he signalled the gatekeeper to open the door, allowing both Shinigami to enter into Rukongai.

Area 72

It was a place that Yume thoroughly searched through with the help of Reiji. It was one of the worst areas in Rukongai. It was a place she didn't want to find her brother in because she feared finding him crippled or...just plain wasted.

Yume sighed as she thought about it. Some of her bloodiest memories came from this place. When she left, she didn't want to come back unless there was a choice. Now, she's back because things got worse around there. People's lives were already ruined in this place, and there was this drug that threatens to completely destroy them. Someone had to step in, and that someone was Rei and herself.

The stench of blood and dirt started to get more intense as they neared the area. More and more people started to stare at them as if they were puzzled by their sudden visit. Some of them stared at them with pure fear, some with pure astonishment. Yume sighed. It was not like they were going to kill someone innocent.

Yume narrowed her eyes as she passed by a dark alley. She suddenly stopped, thinking that she saw something move there. She closed her eyes. It took her a moment to discover the trail of faint spiritual signature left there. There was someone there.

"Rei, I think we should go there."

Looking down the alleyway, Rei felt inclined to use a rag to cover his mouth and nose before walking through there, but knew that doing so would spread a negative image that he just didn't really want to deal with. The smell of the alleyway was overpowering, almost making Rei retreat from the offending odour.

Making his way through the slim walkway at a careful pace, Rei's search eventually lead him to a man leaning back against the wall, struggling in the simple act of breathing. His clothes were worn and ratty, covered in so much grime that it appeared as if the dirt was all that held the thing together.

His eyes were glazing over as his breathing picked up, quickly degenerating into a fit of shallow breathing as he fought for any piece of air he could get. As Rei was reaching to administer one of his few healing kidou, the man's hand shot out with surprising strength to grasp at the collar of Rei's uniform, almost succeeding in pulling him down to face level.

"The sandman comes to steal your dreams, leaving nothing but a void in its wake. Its jagged maw leaving you on the very peak of despair, before dropping your ragged corpse into the pit of euphoria..." From that point on the man's ramblings become illegible and indecipherable, leaving Rei and Yume in the dark as to what exactly was going on through his head.

It was obvious to see that he was in a state of delusion, but as to what could have caused it, Rei could only summarize a guess. He wasn't as skilled in the use of chiyodu as many of the new generation of healers, but he still knew enough about the human body to be able to help ease the pain the man was going through.

Pressing his thumb and finger down one of the nerve points in the man's neck, Rei kept applying pressure quietly as the mans breathing began to gradually slow down. As his eyes closed and he slumped to the wall, Rei slowly rose to his feet. The man would live, the points he'd pressed would keep him unconscious until his body detoxified itself. There were definitely problems here that needed to be fixed, and fixed fast, if things were to ever get better.

The sound of air being cut was all that Rei heard before something clasped around his ankle with enough pressure to give him pause. Turning back to face whatever it was, Rei felt a mild shock at seeing the same man he'd just de-conscioufied grasping at his ankle like a fat kid lunged for a piece of cake.

Pulling his leg back quickly, Rei's calf was saved from having a bite taken out from it. The loud click of the man's teeth could be heard from even where Rei was standing, causing him to raise an eyebrow in confusion.

Clothes tattered and filthy, the man slowly pushed himself off from the ground, dirt slowly crumbling and falling from where it was sticking to his face as froths of saliva slowly began to flow from his open maw. A hungry, primal growl escaped from his throat as he stared at the two shinigami with glazed white eyes.

One foot slowly moved forwards, touching the ground before quickly pushing off, sending the man hurtling towards the two with speed unheard of for a regular plus soul. Rei was unsure of how to respond to the man, there was nothing there. No killer intent, no fear... only hunger was written on his face.

Yume looked on, somewhat apathetically, before her. The mission was important to her, but she couldn't shake off the feeling of familiarity of this place. She had spent large amounts of her time wandering around Rukongai especially in districts like this. The stench of the streets, however, hadn't grown on her yet. She always hated the smell of death and decay that enveloped streets of the living who were almost dead because of their status. She watched Rei hesitate because of the smell for a second and continued following him.

Yume narrowed her eyes once she saw the man leaning against the wall. It was so usual to see this kind of people doing nothing but destroying themselves. She watched Rei as he examined the dishevelled man. The man's hand shot out, grabbing the collar of her captain. She stepped forward with a hand grasping the hilt of her blade. If only the man could see clearly at that point, he would have seen her teeth gnashed together. It seemed that she'd jump forward and be ready to bare her fangs if her captain was threatened.

However, she instantly lowered her hand, keeping in mind that her captain was very capable of taking care of things on his own. Her narrowed eyes instantly snapped open in puzzlement towards the man's words. The sandman comes to steal your dreams, leaving nothing but a void in its wake. Its jagged maw leaving you on the very peak of despair, before dropping your ragged corpse into the pit of euphoria... She repeated in her mind and almost laughed at herself because she could relate to what the man said. The sandman stole her dreams and left her awake with no dreams at all. Now, if it wasn't for her best friend and friends, she would have been an empty shell walking the streets of Soul Society. Euphoria...ecstasy... the happiness of finding herself again... Would she ever get a taste of that?

Snapping out of her own train of thought, she came to realize that Rei had already taken care of things. But something out of the ordinary happened once again. Yume saw the man grab Rei's ankle and stopped him. She was about to step forward and push the man away; however, Rei had already freed himself.

Yume was about to ask Rei if he was hurt but was cut off when she saw the man charging towards them. She glanced at the man's eyes and saw the hunger in it. It was hunger that was quite out of place. Yume took a step forward, seeing that her captain was hesitating a little about how he should attack.

She had taken care of too much things that was like this, she thought. Now was not the time to hesitate. Her fist curled into a ball, and she drove it into the man's abdomen. The man stopped for a second and growled, threatening to attack Yume. Yume's eye twitched. The man's strength was not the strength a normal plus carries. She immediately pushed back the man with two palms facing forward. The man was yet again stopped. The female death god swept the man off his feet with a kick. The man fell hard on his back. Yume could swear she heard something crack beneath him. Hearing a crack similar to a bone breaking didn't stop Yume for suppressing the hungry man who was now screaming in panic. With a foot holding down the man, Yume unsheathed her sword and pointed it at the man's throat.

"Taichou, your orders." [/colors]

Sighing at the pitiful state the man was in, Rei again looked him over from head to toe, inwardly assessing and comparing what he'd seen to what he'd read in the report from Yukio and Leiko. The man was obviously barely cognizant of what was happening around him, the pain from his arm had been the only thing to bring him back to consciousness.

Walking towards him again, Rei kneeled by his side once more, taking what little medical skills he had to try and assess what was broken in the man. Unable to pinpoint it himself, he was no medic afterall kthnxbai, he simply whispered the words for an advanced chiyodu. It would leave him tired... and in some pain, but it had to be better than going around with a broken arm. It was the lower districts afterall. Weakness wasn't allowed if you wanted to survive.

"Chiyodu #66, White Flame..." An aura of energy surrounded the man as the energies quickly began to take effect. A howl of pain again escaped his lips as he thrashed against Yume's foot, trying to do anything to fight against the pain coursing through his veins. It was almost as if the very air he breathed could only hurt him even more.

Just as quickly as it had begun, it had ended, leaving the man in a panting heap beneath Yume's feet. Using that spell was dangerous and a gamble, often taking the life of someone who was too weak to undergo the shock of so much bodily reconstruction so quickly. When he was sure of the man's survival, Rei waved Yume back, sure of the situation being handled.

"Good job Yume... let's get out of here before everyone knows that we're here." They turned to walk out from the alley, leaving the man where he lay. He'd be down for an hour or so, but when he was up he'd be free of the drug and any injuries that had been plaguing him.

A short chuckle could be heard coming from the man once more as Rei and Yume reached the edge of the alley, causing them to both turn as one to face him. When he found the breath to speak, it was in a much clearer voice than before, but no less mad either. "... The flesh of fallen angels are fed to the masses, spreading the warmth and light to those in the darkness. Bringing the Deathgods to come and battle the euphoric peddlers, never realizing that their fight is a spiritual one..."

Sighing at the man's words once more, Rei turned again, placing his hand on Yume's shoulder to guide her out from the alleyway. "We need to find out who's distributing this stuff... and fast. Before we start to have more problems like we just saw."

Yume nodded and quickly removed her foot. She quickly left them to follow Rei's orders. The man chuckled and spoke, drawing the attention of the two reapers towards him. The man, yet again, rambled off something that seemed to make so much sense at the moment. One would not choose to believe a drug dependent man who has his head destroyed by the same thing which he considers to heal him. Yume thought for a second, finally understanding what the men said.

She couldn't quite figure out what he meant by the flesh of fallen angels. Something in her head has been whispering to her the truth, but the voice was too faint to reach her ears. She felt Rei's hand upon her shoulder and it somewhat gave her the comfort she needed in this god forsaken place. She sighed, leaving the alleyway behind.

The streets, however, were nothing much better than the alleyway. It was the same...the stench and the dirt. The only thing that set the two places aside was the light of the sun. The alleyway was dark and mysterious. It was a place where all the unwanted things on earth could be hidden. The streets was a place where one would clearly see the idleness the chaos of the drug brought upon it.

Yume turned towards Rei and said, "I think we better go somewhere where we cane take a good look of the whole district..." Rei gave her a quick nod. That sent her searching for an ideal spot. Her eyes roamed here and there until she found something like a building made of piles of scrapped metal and rotting wood. It looked that it'd collapse once she'd step on it, but, by the looks of it, it was the only spot where she could get a good look of the place.

She pointed at the tall pile, "There. Let's go there." She ran to it swiftly and jumped up. Once landing atop it, she found it losing its foundations. She shifted her weight until she felt that it was safe.

Looking down, she immediately found a suspicious man walking at a wide street. The man wore the same tattered clothes, but he was nothing like the other man they saw. This man looked like he was well on his way on becoming like the other though. Yume knitted her brows together and nodded. It was a clear suspect who still has his sanity in tact, it seemed.

She jumped down and whispered to Rei, "I think we're on to something." She motioned for Rei to follow her. She ran swiftly towards the shadows to make her way towards her suspect.

Watching as Yume swiftly took after her target, Rei gave a brief apology before he scanned the busy streets below them, looking for anything else that was amiss. The sheer number of people in destitution was astounding, many of the people had the look of an animal waiting to be attacked if it showed any signs of weakness. So they glared at one another as if it was coming from any angle.

Did that baby... just kick that puppy? What the hell? Among the milling masses of people, small transactions happened as if they were everyday occurrences. And they probably were if the conditions were like this all the time. Turning to follow a slip of black, Rei's eyes managed to catch sight of what appeared to be a leather coat as it turned the corner.

Leather was too fine a material for anyone in this district to afford, brown appeared to be the uniform given to anyone who was sent to live in the district. So anyone who could afford leather of any kind, yet still be comfortable enough to stand out by wearing it black? It deserved a little looking into.

Leaping across the street onto another rooftop, Rei kept the man within his sights as he meandered through the streets. He could feel Yume's signature close despite the speed the man was walking. Odd, it was almost as if the man was moving parallel to the suspect Yume was trailing. Telling himself that she would be fine, Rei kept himself on the man's trail.

Yume peered around the corner and saw the man stop in a dark corner. Narrowing her eyes, she saw him take out a brown paper bag from his tattered coat. At that point, his fingers started to shake. The crumpled bag fell from his hands, and he, in turn, immediately bent down to pick it up. His shoulders started to shake when he took out a small bottle from the bag. Yume took a step closer to get a good look at the bottle. She raised a brow, finding that the man had taken a small white pill from the bottle.

His palm was open wide as he shook the bottle's contents out. He paused when he saw that there was no more to be squeezed out from the bottle. The glass container fell from his hand and shattered into pieces. Those pieces hit his bare feet, but he didn't care one bit. Instead, he kneeled on the ground and tried to find if there was anymore of that pill on the ground.

Yume couldn't think of why he wanted more of the pill. It looked like a normal legal drug; however, his actions made her think it was the one they were hunting for. Yume drew her brows together, thinking about the tremendous destruction that small white pill could do to a normal plus. The picture of the man they met earlier flashed on her mind. She felt her heart ache with anger pent up inside. Her eyes glimmered with determination to stop this drug when she looked back, tracing where Rei was by the use of his reiatsu. He seemed to be following another plus. He must have found someone who was much more suspicious than the one she was following.

I guess I need to act before he slips away... She looked at the man again. He was still searching for an extra pill, which was nonexistent, on the ground. While he was preoccupied, Yume leapt from the shadows. She landed behind him silently and immediately snaked her arm around his neck. She pulled him up, took out her blade, and pointed it at his throat.

With firmness, she asked, "Where did you get this?"

He started to attempt shaking out of Yume's grip. When he found that there was no chance of escaping, he put the pill inside his mouth, startling Yume.

Darn... Yume jumped back while blaming herself on letting him drink that pill. She gritted her teeth and held her sword before her. The man paused for a second with his head bowed. Then, there was a sudden growl that echoed through the streets. The man's dirty face glowed with sudden... life. But his eyes... his eyes only spoke of death and hunger.

The man stopped at the very same moment that Rei felt a spike in the spirit pressure in the air. Feeling torn between checking out what had happened back there or maintaining his watch over the suspect, Rei steeled himself to stay where he was. Yume would be able to handle the situation, and if she needed help, she would know how to get his attention.

Looking back to where the man had been, Rei's eyes again had to scan the crowd once more, trying to hone in on the black coat he'd already come to associate with the shifty looking individual. As with almost all ordinary pluses, there wasn't a lot of reiatsu being generated into the air, making it easier for Rei to focus on anyone who seemed out of the ordinary.

Granted, many people in the area had the look of hardened killers, as they more than likely were if they were still alive in the lower districts of Rukongai. A single glimpse in his direction gave Rei a view of the man's face before he turned one more time, going down one more street out of Rei's view.

Dropping to the streets, Rei quickly made to the follow after the man, choosing to follow on the street instead of leaping over the rooftops. He suspected that he'd been spotted by the man, and wanted to make it a little more difficult for the man to see him. Granted, it did the same for him as well, but when stalking your prey it was always good to ensure that you couldn't be easily seen.

Every corner he turned to follow, he would just catch a glimpse of the man's coat before he disappeared from sight once more. He's leading me... so he did see me awhile ago. A lead in a trap was better than no lead at all to Rei, making the choice for him as to whether or not he would pursue.

" The first step to diffusing a trap, is to know that it is in fact a trap to begin with... but does it make it any less stupid to walk right into it?" Steely eyes continued to look ahead once more as he rounded a final corner, seeing the man casually standing at the end of an alleyway, caught in what appeared to be a deadend. Or trying to catch you in the same...

"So 'de gotei pigs decided to stick 'dey nose in our business huh? We'll see 'bout that..." With a shrill whistle roared through the confined area, giving the clear signal for a group of almost twelve men to appear from the rooftops. "Kill him... we'll get dat little girl after..."

Yume? A snarl broke through his control, allowing veins of rage to snake their way through his entire body. Over my dead body... The same lifeless eyes that he'd seen on the drug addict looked down on him from the faces of the men in the group. Every one of them a void of cold hunger... of pain. Clenching his fist hard enough to crack his knuckle, Rei resolved to give them the peace they probably didn't deserve. Hold on Yume... I'll be there soon...

The man growled at him like he was an animal, not a human. He ran to her slowly at first. As he took one more step, however, he began to pick up speed. Soon enough, he was charging at her with speed enough to rival a normal shinigami. Yume sheathed her sword back. Even though the man was not in his proper mind, it was still a plus living in soul society. Shinigami lived to guide these pluses into soul society when they were still on earth. She would never ever hurt them because that would be the same as wasting hours of soul burials, hours of keeping the balance on the two worlds.

With a side step and a head bowed, the man's dirty fingernails missed her. Shifting all her weight into her right foot, she sent a blow to his side with her elbow. The blow made the enraged plus recoil to the side, but he didn't even wince or show signs of pain. There was a twisted smile on his face instead. It startled the female shinigami and, somehow, angered her as well. Ah shi-, She didn't even continue her curse God...help me.

She pulled her sword, still sheathed, from her belt. Turning around, she slid her foot, and swung down her sheathed sword. The man shot out his hand and caught her sword without difficulty. At the exact time she was about to pull her sword from its sheath, Yume felt a spike of reiatsu in the direction Rei went. Drawing her brows together, she erased all hesitations in her head; a lot of pluses had already fallen by her hand anyway. Skillfully, she pulled her sword from the scabbard. With one sideward swing, blood spurted from the man's chest and fell to the ground. But he stood up as if he was some machine which has the single purpose to destroy.

"Crash! Fry! Lightning from the heavens. Reveal your fearsome beauty and entrap us in your awe. Bakudou #56, Divining Bolt"

A flash brightened the area for a second and revealed a paralyzed man after it disappeared. When she was about to send him a finishing blow, the man fell, eyes white and mouth full of foam. He was convulsing, as if the drug had attacked his nerves.

Yume sighed and watched the man as his convulsions lessened. It seemed that the man had it already coming to him. Death, that is. Yume thought as she stared at the motionless body of the second man she encountered that day. Perhaps, his body died because of the large doses that he seemed to be taking. One tablet wasn't enough to keep his body in its "normal" state. She bent down and snatched the sheath from the man's hands. Before leaving, Yume looked at him again and felt helpless. She wasn't skilled in kidou to preserve and improve the man's life. The only thing she would be able to do was stop the distribution and creation of the drug... as soon as possible. With that she jumped to the rooftops and rushed to where Rei was, only to be stopped by a dozen of drug dependent pluses.

Atop the rooftop, she stood with lips pursed and eyes blazing with anger. This was too much already.

The man's oily smirk confused Rei a lot. There he was, standing in front of a shinigami, with only twelve pluses for protection. Why was he so calm and collected? Even the most well connected of pluses would feel a little frightened at being cornered by a shinigami in an alley, even with a moderate escort much like this one. Unless...

]Shimatta Ducking into a quick crouch, a fist sailed through the air above Rei's head, just brushing against his hair. Grabbing the fabric of the man's sleeve and pant-leg, Rei pushed upwards as hard as he could, easily lifting the heavy-set man from his feet onto his shoulders. Pivoting once, Rei tossed the man towards the wall, sending the goon sailing into a pile of garbage.

He'd try to use non-lethal methods if he could, the lives of these people were what they'd been trained to protect for so long. He didn't dodge their attacks for his own well being at this point, they had all been generating a fair amount of Reiatsu since they'd arrived. But if they were to actually land one of their clumsy attacks on him, they'd likely injure themselves more than anything.

Four of them had decided to rush him at once, favouring numbers over individually lining up and attacking one at a time like the good villains from the old days, leaving Rei very little room to manoeuvre and dodge their attacks. He ducked beneath one clumsy punch, taking the chance to get outside of their circle before they really closed the trap on him, only to have the back of his shirt grabbed by one of the goons.

Pulled back with surprising strength, Rei reached out to grab the man's hand to stop it before it connected. His hand fumbled the man's sleeve, letting the strike connect with his face. Where he'd expected nothing along the lines of pain, Rei's vision shook from the force of the blow that had hit him. Staggering back, Rei's arms were locked from behind in a full nelson, leaving him dazed as the rest of the men moved in for the kill.

Kicking out with one foot, Rei smiled as the man grabbed it in a block, holding it by the ankle before smirking ruthlessly. Jumping and using the trapped ankle as leverage, Rei bicycle kicked the man in jaw with enough force to send him hurtling into the air, crashing into the ground some distance away in a crumpled heap.

Using the momentum from the leap as well as swinging the back of his head into 'Grabbies' nose, Rei flipped once before landing unsteadily onto his feet. I don't know what the hell happened back there... but if... what the hell did happen? They're not registering enough reiatsu to actually be able to hurt me... A red sphere shot forth from his palm to hit the grounded opponent, putting him out of his misery with the use of a small kidou.

Beniikazuchi would normally never be enough to kill a spirit, but when dealing with a weakened opponent, it was possible for anything to be lethal. Sparing a glance for the now smoking man at his feet and the man no longer moving ahead of him, the light in Rei's eyes seemed harden as he stared back into the dead eyes before him. "Two down..." Odd that he was taking count... but these were no longer pluses anymore... could they even be said to exist in their current state?

A low growl came from their mouth lined with foam seemingly produced by the drug. Their eyes were white and the muscles surrounding it were too red for a human. With backs slouched, knees slightly bent and arms dangling freely in front, they seemed to be nothing more than a shell of a plus animated by their hunger and desires. Yume placed her sword back on her belt. Sighing, she tried to keep things "soft" again even if they were just zombies in her eyes.

One of them sloppily ran to her and lashed one hand towards her. Dodging, Yume jumped and planted a hand at the man's shoulder. With him as her support, she flipped and landed behind the one who attacked her. She then sent a kick towards the man's back, making sure that she had time to run and avoid any incoming attacks by him. When she had looked in front of her, she saw another one charging right at her with speed faster than the one she had followed earlier. Dodging, she saw him drive his nails accidentally into the back of his comrade who she just kicked. She almost stared with eyes wide as she witnessed the two begin to claw each other's skin.

They have lost their minds. It seemed.

Amidst the chaos between two comrades, Yume felt her sleeve being grabbed. The next thing she knew, she was already being hurled away. She watched the world turn in her eyes while she was in the air. In less than a blink of an eye, she felt yet another nudge on her hakama. Quickly looking in front, she saw one of the goons grab her robe. With less than a minute to regain her ground, she quickly shot out her hands and pulled the man. They whirled in the air and fell into a dusty heap of soil. With dust suspended for a second in the air, a silhouette of a figure triumphing from the fall appeared.

A firm voice was then heard, "Forbidden hand formed of the soul, strike with the might of a titan. With this power allow me to obliterate all that stands before me, reducing it to rumble. Raw energy given shape. Hadou #27, Breaking Palm."

The dust suddenly swirled and gave way to a shadow rushing forward with great speed. Hazel brown eyes seemed to render the drugged men, who had followed her below, frozen with its glare. In one swift blow, a crack resounded through the streets while the others landed poorly on the ground.

With the dust settling on the ground, one of them lay twitching on the ground while another shrieked in pain of its fractured arm. Two of them were still fighting against another and looked like they would cause their own downfall soon. Baring their yellow and rotting teeth, eight stared at her.

His hands were covered in blood, having used the Fist of Destruction kidou in the battle, the force from which had punched a hole through one of the men, while critically disabling one of the others. He'd been trying to disable them without injuring them... too badly, but when he'd gotten a clear look into their eyes, it was plain to see. They'd been dead for some time, but their bodies had simply refused to shut down.

Despite the fact that they'd already lost half their numbers to Rei's assault, the six remaining goons showed no signs of fleeing from the battle. Their bodies tensing up as they prepared to launch an assault. A smirk crossed Rei's face before he simply disappeared from sight, moving too quickly for their eyes to follow as he used a short shunpo step to place himself in the middle of three of the men.

A hard kick to the knee dropped the first one into a sack, unflinching as he vainly tried to stand up once more regardless of the fact that he couldn't use the leg from the damage to it. Not wanting to let any of them get the jump on him he followed up the attack quickly , one punch to the temple was combined with a low level bakudou to disable the man until this was all said and done. "... bakudou #1, obstruction..."

The energies quickly surrounded the man and ensnared his limbs in a vice like grip, dropping him where he stood as he futilely struggled against his bindings. One more straight elbow to the chest dropped the last of the men in the time it took the seedy looking man to realize that he was in trouble. In the span of a minute, nine of his 'enforcers' had been dispatched. Beads of sweat began to run down his face as he literally tried to push himself through the wall, trying to escape the trap he'd placed himself in.

Looking back in Yume's direction, Rei could feel her energy spike from her battle, realizing that she must have run into opposition as well. " She'll be fine... she's survived this long already coming from the lower districts. Now she's got a lot more training behind her, so you need to be sure that what you set out to accomplish is actually done." When Kagami was right, there was nothing you could do to say otherwise except for just sucking it up, and doing what had to be done. Be well Yume...

A sudden shriek erupted from the man's mouth as he backed away from Yume. He fell to the ground, convulsing. Seeing that another was down, Yume turned to focus at the seven that remained. She rushed towards one and grabbed him by the head. She hurled him towards one of his so-called comrades. It didn't surprise her as the same thing happened again. These two men, who bumped into one another, started to fight. They have truly lost their mind. They didn't even seem human anymore. The remaining five rushed at her all at once. She rushed towards them and flash-stepped about to confound their destroyed minds. They halted, confused of her hazy images moving to the left and right.

Suddenly, one of them was sent flying towards a puddle of mud. Another one flied away with teeth thrown away in directions. And another... For the last two, she wanted to end things with a bang. She wanted to believe what the old man she met ages ago told her. "Death should be grand." She had forgotten why he said that. She just remembered that it influenced her greatly.

With that thought in mind, she jumped to dodge one of the two remaining goons.

Fiend's hand of the dark spectre. Return from the bowels of the underworld and do my bidding. Bakudou #41, Dark Claw

A pool of darkness, encompassing the man's feet, appeared. Claws shot out from the pool and reached out for the man's limbs. It looked like the hands of ****ed souls haunting another soul of their kind. It was so hard to think that a once innocent soul was now as ****ed as the ones which were rotting in hell.

The man panicked out of the pool; however, one caught him before he was able to taste impossible freedom for the puddle. A sphere of darkness started to appear, consuming the man in its own pits. In a matter of seconds, the sphere disappeared, taking the plus with it.

Yume turned her head and saw the last one dumbfounded. She'll end this quickly, she said. With one swift chop to the man's neck, she rendered him unconscious or possibly dead.

A soft sigh escaped Yume's lip when she saw the deed done. It was painful taking them down at first since they were the beings Yume was trained to protect. But they were also the same kind of people she had taken down back at those days when she was still a girl wandering around places she shouldn't be in. The deed she has just finished seemed to be heavy upon her shoulders, yet it was something that she was quite used to in doing. However, she knew she had to do this.

She hopped up to the rooftops once again, hoping that the weight on her shoulders won't pull her down. Blurred images of the dark roofs that graced the district were all around her until she came to a stop. She jumped down, landing a few steps away from Rei. She felt herself suddenly free from all worries when she saw him clean of any wounds. She then looked in front of him and saw a man soaked with his own sweat. He approached her taichou and whispered a soft, "Rei."

The blood dripped once more from his hands before wiping his hands on the outside of his hakama, needing to get the blood from his hands before he could continue. The man lay around him in unconscious heaps, some having a harder time breathing than others. Four or more of the men weren't so fortunate, having been beaten beyond any possible repairs. He hadn't done an accurate count yet, but hopefully they'd be able to turn around in their next lives.

He glanced in her direction for only a second, not wanting to take his eyes off the man for even a second if it meant that he would have even a chance of escaping. The arrival of yet another shinigami only served to frighten the man even more, sending him into a stammering fit. "... ye... ye... you're not su-su-supposed to be that strong... my contac..." A dark blot began to creep its way across the front of his pants as he finally lost control of himself to his fear.

Realizing he blurted out a tad too much, the man clammed down hard on his lower lip, trying to stop himself from stammering even more in face of the two reapers. Touching Yume's shoulder lightly, Rei began walking towards the man, only stopping when he was practically looming over him before picking him up by the collar of his jacket. There had only been a difference of two inches between their heights, but with Rei holding the man with his arm straight up? It might as well have been two feet for all the man's legs could actually touch the ground.

A cold smirk crossed Rei's lips as his eyes hardened on the man, becoming two chips of chips of granite as he nodded his head in Yume's direction. "... you're luck just ran out. You see that girl there behind me?" He waited for a jerky shaking of the head before he continued. "... if you were scared about what I was gonna do to you, you better start praying for a quick death now, since she's a lot crueller than I could ever be..."

Rei didn't know what Yume had done, he couldn't look back to see for himself. But whatever she'd done had certainly put the right amount of fear into the man. Tears began to stream down his face as he quickly began to nod his head while whining to the two. "al-al-alright, alright... I-I-I'll talk... just don't let her get to me..."

Before the triumphant grin could fully form across Rei's lips, the man began to jerk in Rei's arms. Arms and legs cracking loudly as his muscles began to spasm with such ferocity his bones began to break and fracture from the strain placed on them. His role as interrogator forgotten, Rei ran through the chiyodu he knew that could possibly counter something along these lines. His mind pulled up a blank.

The man had gone unconscious quickly, his eyes rolling up to the back of his head as the waves of pain crashed through his body. Yet whatever was causing this... kept going, stopping for nothing until the man's body had broken entirely from the neck down. Blood streamed from his lips in a steady flow, his eyes, dead to the world. A look of confused disgust crossed Rei's eyes as he surveyed the surrounding roofline, looking for anything that could explain what had just happened. "What the hell was that?"

Yume could only narrow her hazel brown eyes at the incident. Many things happened in district seventy and up. One of those things was mysterious deaths. The man they had tracked down happened to fall under that category. However, this certain incident was fit for further investigation since it was caused by a drug potentially too dangerous for pluses. She bent down and said, "I don't know, Rei." She grabbed the man's leather coat, and she started to fumble through the various pockets which decorated it. Pulling out a small note from one of the secret pockets within the coat, she unfolded it and found something interesting.

Straightening her posture, she faced Rei and waved the small note. "Bah. That man was a simple drug dealer with bad memory, it seems," she said while grinning. Rei took the note. With a grin lighting up his face, his hand landed atop Yume's head and ruffled her hair.

"Good. Let's check out what this 'x' in the map means then."

A short chuckle escaped from her lips as she brushed back her hair. With a nod, they were walking again. The trip was short and easy because the small note turned out to be an accurate map leading to a small warehouse which serves as a stash. Yume opened a small and dusty box. Foam greeted her sight at first, then a series of adult material until she finally caught glimpse of the drug housed in small white bottles.

Rei patted her on the shoulder, gesturing for them to move out what they could. With boxes in arms, they walked out of the warehouse. Each had different things in mind. However, Yume was pretty sure that she was thinking of something that was in Rei's head too.

She was pretty sure he wanted to end this ordeal with the drugs as soon as possible. And with the samples they confiscated, they should be able to put a stop to it and, possibly, make a medicine to fight the effects of the drug. With one final look at the warehouse, she watched as light left. They'd leave this behind then face the light. Hopefully, this part of Soul Society would see the light as well. Hopefully...

A sombre air seemed to oppress the two shinigami as they made their way back to Soul Society, each thinking about what to make of the situation they'd encountered that day. There was a substantial drug presence in the lower districts, and it was something a lot more lethal than the usual 'treats' that went around.

The fact that they had a warehouse established already and a means to distribute them beyond this one district was disconcerting. Just how far could they have moved the stuff if they hadn't intervened today? How much of the stuff had they really stopped from hitting the streets? These lines of questions began to drown out the initial reason as to why Rei had brought Yume along as he pondered over the how's and whys.

Which is why he was actually quite glad that he had Kagami's voice running through his head at times. She stopped him from losing himself to his thoughts, grounding him with the reality of a situation so he could do the right thing... most of the time. "We're going to have some units from the Second Division stationed in this section at all times from now on. Two teams patrolling should hopefully be enough to stifle or slow the movement of these drugs..."

He turned to Yume with a smile, ruffling her hair with what was becoming a tradition whenever he was around her. "... and you did good Yume. You'll be a good third seat for the division." His grin seemed to grow a little as he continued. "... and maybe an even better Kidoushuu agent... " He went quiet as the information ran itself through her head, wanting to see what her reaction would be.

She stopped dead on her tracks. Startled, she almost dropped the box of confiscated drugs she was holding. She looked at Rei and didn't have anything to say. "Ugh... what? Kidoushuu? I'm now a Kidoushuu agent? Wait..." She dropped the box on the ground. Crossing her arms, she closed her eyes in deep thought. She certainly knew what Kidoushuu was. It was an organization which trained mages who are feared by captains for their abilities in kidou.

Nevertheless, she was glad of the promotion. She was now Masayume Houmuru, third seated officer of the second division and Kidoushuu agent. Her mind had fluttered away from their mission and fell upon the idea of her promotions. But could she possibly meet up to their expectations? She looked behind her and saw the streets of Rukongai again. She lived up to this point, escaped the darkest of soul society and fought stronger opponents.

She wouldn't let the shock of these promotions stop her. She picked up the box on the ground and sighed. She ran to where Rei had stopped to stare at her reactions. She said, "Aiya, so I'm Kidoushuu now, eh?" She smiled, not really knowing what to say...until something hit her head. "Oh yeah, you were saying something about teaching me techniques..."

Rei smiled and shrugged as they continued walking, trying to downplay the entire situation regarding the techniques. "A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Just a few things you need to know in order to be a full fledged member of the kidoushuu. They're more along the lines of standard kidou that we're expected to know because of our primary function within the Gotei."

Readjusting the box in his arms, he was tempted to simply through it into the air and blast the crap out of existence. But he wasn't sure how to dispose of it properly yet, so that would have to wait. "... and there are a few things I'd like to teach you from the division as well... it'll help bolster your abilities, improving your strengths and the like."

He looked up at the sun, noting its position and how far it had come since they'd first started the day. Yume seemed tired, as if she'd been pushing herself hard lately. "... We'll probably have to do that later though. These need to brought to the lab for immediate analysis. Then there's the changing of the division rosters to include covert patrols in the district."

He shifted the boxes in his hands so he could pat her shoulder amicably as they arrived at the massive gates of Seireitei. "... why don't you get some rest Yume. I'll let you know when we can start your lessons ok." She began to ask what kind of things she would learn from the lessons, forcing Rei to dodge the questions will all the skill of a mute, instead only hinting at what it was they could do.

Side by side they made their way back to the division headquarters, Yume flailing about in her attempts to get answers from Rei regarding the techniques, earning just a little more paperwork for every question. It'd been a good day, granted, they'd only stopped one dealer out of possibly many. But it was a start...


Writing Week is 257

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