“Finally...you here.” said there a voice.
The voice was very deep and comforting, maybe a bit coarse, and it sounded like the speaker had trouble finding the words. Like someone who hasn’t spoken in a long time. Or never before.
With an effort Hanako peeled her gaze away from the soothing view of the misty woods and turned towards the cozy old house that was standing on the clearing, and the warm golden light that emanated from it. On the porch was the Samurai, the being in the old-fashioned suit of armor, sitting there, with a pot of steaming tea next to him. It seemed to be his favourite spot and Hanako could understand it. Sitting there, the lights of the house surrounding one like a blanket, and the calm misty forest in front. Hanako liked it here so much. It was the calm she has searched for so long and still had to learn how to take it back into the outer world.
The Samurai was holding out a cup of tea. Hanako took it and inhaled the scent with closed eyes and a smile on her face. It was jasmine tea. The Samurai always prepared her favourite when she was visiting. She’d kiss him for that, if he only would take off his armor from time to time. With a sigh she sat down next to him. The first sip was always the best, when the warmth of the beverage slowly spread through her body.
“So, you can speak, after all.” she said. It was a neutral and value-free observation.
“Some…” the Samurai hummed. “More speak...when more memory...in you.”
She looked up in surprise.
“What? My memories? The more I remember, the more you can speak?”
“Surprisingly that you can speak at all, then. I don’t remember anything before...well, I think you know what I mean. You’re supposed to be a part of me, aren’t you? So you know I can’t remember anything.”
She wanted to answer but something in the tone of his voice let her close her mouth again before she could get any word out. The was a lurking subtone.
He reached behind him for a small object. It was a small picture frame. There were dozens of frames and all that around the house, all of them blank. Only this one wasn’t. He gave it to her.
She looked at it. It showed the picture of a young girl with black hair and blue eyes. She wore a flowery Yukata and smiled into the camera. behind her was a house, quite similar to this one, and a forest. A forest that seemed very familiar.
“Who’sat?” Hanako mumbled, her hands shaking.
“You. Ameko...Sato...you was...Ameko...now be...Hanako.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. Suddenly something in her head became untied. For a while now she had constantly felt like being caught in a deja vu. And now, finally, she could see it. Not all of it, but enough to understand. Rukongai, the forest, the town, the forest, the abandoned village, the Hollows and…
“Elyss!” she screamed and jumped up. “I remember now. I’m in a fight. Oh no...what am I doing in here drinking tea while Elyss is…I have to go...I have to go!”
“Wait.” the Samurai said behind her. He had also risen and came up to her, leaned close.
“Need to tell first…”
**** **** **** ****
On the damp forest floor Hanako stirred. Her body began to glow. It intensified, until her whole shape was engulfed in a bright icy-blue light. Slowly she stood up. Her face was dirty and covered with scratches, her hair messy and her clothes soaked with mud and rainwater. But her clothes weren’t that of a human police detective anymore. Now she was wearing black, sleeveless kosode and a black hakama, tabi and waraji: a Shihakusho.
the light around her body intensified further, made an aura of icy-blue energy visible, that surrounded her body, made the ground vibrate and the trees shake. When she finally opened her eyes again they glowed in the same cold light, fierce with determination and barely contained anger.
The Hollows noticed the change, they realised the danger. The torso, that was closest, bent its surprisingly powerful arms and launched itself into the air and towards Hanako. She turned and her hands went to her side. There were no more guns there. In her obi was the long sheath of a Katana, her hand on the hilt now. With a flash of cold steel she drew it and in one flowing, powerful upward slash she cut off one of the bone-blades of the torso-Hollow. With a howl he fell back to the ground.
“Elyss!” she yelled, while she moved herself into a position between the Hollows and her partner. “Elyss, try to remember! You felt all this was wrong, your whole life and everything. That’s because it was! Everything! We never left the forest in Rukongai! It was all an Illusion! We’re Shinigami!”
“Oooooh, what a pity. You figurrred it out. To bad, I had so much fun.” said the eerie voice somewhere from the darkness between the trees.
Hanako just took a deep breath.
“Fuck you.” she said and the calm in her voice was as deadly as her sword. When she spoke her next words it seemed to her that for a moment the forest fell dead silent.
She held her sword out so her side.
With violent hissing like a raging fire her aura shot upwards around her. A bright glow engulfed her sword, ran quickly over the blade, sent a strand running over her arm and back and engulfed her left arm as well. Then a flash and it was over.
Hanako’s sword was different. It was now big, almost as long as Hanako was tall, curved, even reaching back over the handle. It looked like it was made out of tree roots, tightly entangled. Only a steel cutting edge gleamed cold and hard along the whole length of blade. A chain, springing from the pommel, ran loosely around Hanako’s arm and behind her back, where it connected to a complete sleeve of old-style samurai armor, made from dark red hardwood.
Hanako also was different. There was a different power emanating from her. her stance was different, the determination in her eyes was different. Her heart was beating fast and she felt a rush of adrenaline like never before. Finally she knew the name and could call it, could release her Zanpakuto. With grim satisfaction and a gratitude beyond words Hanako examined her…
Coding Altered From: [The Frost]