When one arrived at the Second Division, they would see sections handling different degrees of injuries. But a smell filled the air of each and every corridor in the building. Some claimed lavender and others strange food like fragrancies. Truthfully it came down to the most nostalgic and calming smell for each person. Something that set their mind and body at ease.
Further investigation would guide those coming towards it. Out of the winding medicine halls and places of Kido instruction. They'd find an open area where spells had been cast openly, deserted at the moment save one. He requests a time himself to meditate and cleanse himself of what he saw. Sometimes injuries are brutal as any battlefield you'd see. Because as a healer you had to walk through that line of growing your skill and medical technique.
Upon entry after being directed to the Vice-Captain, his frame could be seen hovering slightly off the ground. His eyes closed and his hair drawn back in a ponytail. The color of a raven's wings, the black color suited him well. A white scarf similar to that of the Kuchiki head's but not the real article.
On his right arm, a badge could be seen, marking him as the Second in command of this Division. His clothing wasn't different in many senses, he had a pouch or two for bandages and a healers pack near him. Just in case his duty called again, for now, it was a restful moment.
He meditated to strengthen his mind and his soul, to converse with the spirits within him. Spending his free moments on this, while others were spent at work. Documenting injuries and cases as they came. Life had been brutal beneath his scarf, a nasty scar remained. Where his throat had been torn to pieces, while it was possible to remove it.
He decided to keep it as a reminder of past follies and mistakes. His eyes were gray, like storm clouds, and didn't show as much emotion as they once had. As his visitors arrived at this destination, his eyes opened slowly. Aware of the footsteps, he descended his feet touching the ground softly.
Those who'd arrived would detect a smell, the most nostalgic thing to them. A smell that set the mind at ease. He turned his head slowly to stare at who'd come to see him, they'd been guided to him by aides. His eyes looking at them as they began to bow. The people of this Division were friendly and helpful, it had been such. His talents in Kido weren't above everyone, nor was he the strongest person. But he was a skilled healer who'd treated many cases of difficult mending.
But healing had limits, the mind and soul weren't within the realm one could touch.
"Welcome to Squad Two, I am Takehiko Kuchiki." His voice came out calm, studied his visitors be they one or many. With an interest, his face didn't show signs of a childish demeanor or excitement. Merely a soft smile and eyes that seemed warm, but beneath it a sense that he'd witnessed horrors.
The Second Division, at least healing from his understanding, was left to the assumption of grisley work. There had been times he'd seen what the gangs and cartels in the swamps of Texas did to people let them be passerbys or rival gangs, but the gates of Rangers and law enforcement met a far worse end. Many people died from their fatal injuries, either from severe blood loss, hemorrhage heavily, gnarly infections and wounds, and a mixture of complications. Despite the best doctors and technology not everyone walked away and those who did left scarred and forever crippled.
Amon Breach was no stranger to the horrors of fighting, hunting and helping the law taught him that harsh lesson. Between bear traps, crocodiles, gunshots, knife wounds, and Lord knows whatever he's faced it and lived... Well, the third option happened several times and the last landed him in Soul Society. Despite the afterlife work he took, Amon managed to somehow get a second life. And despite this being an afterlife, death and injury still played a role here.
Managing to meet the other Shinigami at the Second Division, the pair had an aide or a nurse- pick your poison, take them to their destination. Already Amon could see the pain in certain rooms, people being healed from their major and minor wounds, combat with other spiritual forces that seemed leave that lasting effect that won't fade any time soon. Maybe, depending on how fast the healers really were. There were odd smells too, lavender in some, an assortment of flowers and candies and other things that would set the mind at ease. Amon remembered when one of his friends, Marcus, fell out of a tree and onto a rock. The nurses there put his arm back in place and worked on the twelve year old boy but to help put him at ease they used daisies and filled the room with that fragrance. That of course was before he moved away.
To some extent, Amon felt relaxed already thanks to entering an open area, a smell of a variety of flowers and not just one greeting his nose. They weren't overpowering but hit just right enough to have his nostrils filled. Damn these people know how to party. Amons thoughts were interrupted when his eyes fell on a rising figure before the pair, the man would only introduce himself as... Tacohiko Too-cheaky? No wait- that wasn't right-
Amon merely nodded with his own smile before speaking, "Amon Breach, pleased to meet your acquaintance."
Although Hanako’s face was as calm and cold as always, something in her whole demeanour screamed that she felt very uncomfortable. She was tense and her steps weren’t as light and elastic als usual. Once or twice she touched her right arm absent mindedly. Although there was this faint but pleasant smell of fresh tea and moist forest soil in the air, it wasn’t enough to cover the memories resurfacing. She hadn’t thought about it before, but now that she remembered… If Amon noticed something he would maybe wonder why Hanako was so tense. It was the memories of her awakening here, having lost an arm...and everything else before the moment she opened her eyes. Only a very thin, almost invisible, line on her right shoulder showed, where original skin was grafted to the artificial skin, covering her cybernetic prosthesis that replaced her biological arm.
Maybe Takehiko would know her, depending on how far back his knowledge of cases went. Alas, it was almost a decade by now.
It was weird...thinking about her arm was no problem for her. She even from time to time considered upgrading the prosthesis, making it stronger so she could deflect attacks with it. It was a good idea, but only now she began to suspect there was a reason why she never went through with it.
Having spoken not even a single word during their trip through the Second Division’s halls, Amon and Hanako finally reached their destination.
She bowed politely.
“Kuchiki-san. It is a pleasure to meet you. I bring greetings from Captain Kobayashi.”
His eyes slowly went from person to person, examining them. He noticed some discomfort in the Squad Four Vice, she seemed uneasy. A previous visitor most likely, if he recalled her medical file. He couldn't remember though if he worked directly on her or another did. He returned her bow, his own looking fluid and refined. He offered it to both of them, his eyes kept a sincere warmth to them.
"Welcome Yamada-san and Breach-san. " Takehiko radiated a calmness and almost steadiness belonging to someone older then him. He reflected for a moment on when he last saw Captain Kobayashi. It was before the adoption surely, it was of no matter. "Would either of you care for some tea?" He asked waiting for an answer from the two of them. The garden allowed for homemeade teas and other herbal remedies.
As it happened a man arrived, rushing to him and taking a knee. His eyes looked down,his lips went into a soft frown. His features kept an emotional state almost like that of a doll. The man said there had been an emergancy and one member had been hurt severally. An arm and leg had been lost and while the bleeding had been stopped. A couple organs were damaged, he glanced at his guests.
"Pardon me, the tea will have to wait. Take us to him please, I will mend the lost limbs and organs. " He walked following the man's hurried pace leading them down a corrieder to a room with several people gathered.
Upon entering a man had an oxygen like mask over his face with multiple bandages. A stain of red where his knee and leg should have been on the left side. On the right it seemed to the elbow had been lost.
Likely a feral hollow or something of the like bit them off, he mused slowly. Pulling out his Zanpakuto, freeing it from his Obi. "Inhale Manatsu no Soyokaze" A white glimmer of reitasu formed around his frame. As his sword shrunk, continuing until it formed a small kiseru like pipe. The shape and tool was striking and strange.
He mentally thought of green, inhaling from the pipe. He released a green incense smoke, that slowly covered the man. Going into the nostrils of those who smelled it.
It smelled of a forest, one that had gotten fresh rain. It smelled of many forests, you could almost hear the noises of it celeberating if you listened closely. The green incense slowly began fading as more seaped into his pores and body.
Cell growth had begun rapidly expanding, squad members removed bandages on the leg and arm. He obsered for a moment now, bringing his Zanpakuto back to a sealed state and sheathing it. He turned offering both Hanako and Amon a bow, as he didn't intend for such a gruesome sight.
"Pardon us, I wish you'd not had to see that. Come, we'll retire to the sitting room and discuss the nature of your visit." He said returning to the warmth once again he'd had prior. Smiling as he moved out of the room and began to walk towards his room where he did his work and met people.
"Fuck yeah bust that shit out!" Amon thought as he slightly perked from his calm demeanor. He kept his composure, but when tea was offered he couldn't necessarily contain himself especially when it had the right amount of diabetes added. He was a fat boy at heart. Of course, that was sugar. Sweet tea in Texas was ultra sweet, however Amon also loved pure teas with nothing added like green or white. But sweet tea with some lemon slices added? Definitely. Unsweetened herbal tea? His belief on that was that sugar nulled the effects, though it sounded like turtle shit it was just his opinion on the matter. It was just as good as Kool-aid.
With a smile he said, "Certainly."
Though Amon noticed some man run into the area and bow to the Second Divisions vice-big cheese. Unfortunately tea would have to be thrown out, because by the frown and tone of Takehiko this was a serious matter. The words sunk into the young man's head like a rock. There had been another person who'd lost limbs and had been mortally wounded. What the hell could do that to a Shinigami? A Hollow, but Amon hadn't seen any Hollows capable of that stature unless this other guy was as new as he was.
"It's chill, dude." Amon states regarding the tea, knowing how important this was. He followed behind the rushing man, following his training instead of taking up the hallway like some bigwig. Soul Society as a whole was more than impressive, and the sheer size of Second Division was one of many monuments of how far the Society has come. They must have been here for years, perhaps beyond medieval times to establish themselves like this. As they arrived into a room Amons eyes grew wide and a plotting grin quickly formed.
"Holy shit!"Escape the words from Amon Breach as he gazed at the injured man. He quickly moved out of the way to allow for room and people do their work. Professionalism wasn't his strong-suit at all, it was shown a lot but moments like this when gnarly wounds were involved be wanted so badly to poke the open fleshy parts.
'Duuude this is sick!' Amon thought as he fought the smile down. Blood and such fascinated him in some degree, but whatever caused it in the first place was his wonder. The guy was curious, couldn't he be? Regardless, it seems like the Second Divisions Vice Captain pulled out his Zanpacto, was he about the end the poor soul? Amons head cocked a little as something was said, and all of a sudden the sword became some other object. A moment later smoke was blown and Amon himself could smell a forests rainfall, as all was silent he could have swore he heard rain as well.
After a solid minute the smoke was absorbed into the injured man's body and Kuchiki watched for the moment. After that, he turned with a smile and offered a bow, apologizing even though Amon felt he didn't really need to. The Vice was merely doing his job, nothing more and nothing less. Amon simply followed, having seen a grisley wound and the off healing practice used, it was a first for him. He followed the Vice out of the room toward another, keeping quiet for the moment unless words were needed.
The mention of tea did a thing to ease Hanako’s tension a bit. It was a completely irrational feeling. She should feel very comfortable here. After all, they had saved her life and had given her a new arm. She was fully functional thanks to the medics of the Gotei. Whatever had happened, that this place here existed was a blessing. And still, she couldn’t help herself but feel uneasy.
However, it came different and tea had to be postponed when an emergency came in and Takehiko sprang into action. Hanako had just opened her mouth to gratefully accept a tea. She nodded in silent agreement and stood up. Before they could follow Takehiko, Hanako held Amon back with a hand placed lightly on his arm. She spoke in a low voice, so nobody else would hear.
“You usually don’t address a Lieutenant of a Division as “dude” or tell him “it’s chill”.” she said. Her voice was perfectly calm and neutral. It didn’t sound like a reprimand and Hanako didn’t want it to sound like one. She wanted it to be nothing more than friendly advice...for now. “When we’re among us, in the Fourth, it’s something different. I care more about results than titles. However, towards Captain Kobayashi and other Divisions, I’d appreciate a more...appropriate choice of words.”
When they followed Takehiko they bore witness to the abilities of the Second Division’s Lieutenant. It was most impressive. His Shikai was the most unusual shape she’d ever seen, as was the smoke-ability. But the result spoke for itself. The regeneration on the body started to speed up visibly. And the smell was...it almost smelled like the misty forest of her Inner World. When she closed her eyes for a moment she could see a faint image of it before her inner eye and feel the amusement of Bakumusha.
When she opened her eyes again she couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t received this treatment and had instead to accept a prosthesis. Maybe Takehiko hadn’t been around back then, or he hadn’t achieved his Shikai yet.
When they returned to the sitting room and settled down, Hanako spoke, but couldn't keep the tension completely out of her voice.
“That was really impressive. I have never seen a Zanpakuto like yours.”
Unconsciously she softly touched the sheath of her own Zanpakuto with her fingertips for a second.
“We are here on the recommendation of our Captain. He said your abilities are most unique and we could learn from you. He didn’t elaborate on what he meant specifically, but I see he hasn’t exaggerated your abilities.”
He had heard the address of Amon, but didn't take it to heart or personally. He'd dealt with all kinds of people as a healer. Treating the injuries of the body was a portion of his duty. As he settled into his room, he had tea sitting on a burner already. The smell of fresh lavender with a mix of cinnamon filled the room. He gestured to the sofa that sat across from another with a table in the middle.
He said until they arrived, merely giving them his full attention now. "Please make yourselves comfortable, Yamada-san, Breach-san. I see, that does sound like Captain Kobayashi." He said setting cups of tea in front of both of them. Before making himself comfortable, his desk paperwork had been neatly taken care of. He'd been running the Division for a while when his Captain was absent.
So he seemed well equipped for paperwork and other matters. His digits softly touched his mother's Zanpakuto. She was a new friend he'd recently come to lean on. "I am very fond of her, the shape is of a style of pipe known as a Kiseru." He slowly opened a wooden container on the table.
In it was a less refined-looking one, but it did bear a striking resemblance to his Zanpakuto. He lifted it and set it down for them both to examine. "If I were to venture a guess, it is meant as a cautionary tale. " He said softly sipping from his tea now, his expression losing that soft smile. Gaining the frown he carried previously, his expression still held a softness to it.
"It is not a memory I'm fond of, nor a person I care to remember. But since I suspect this to be his desire, I will tell you my story. " He brought his hands up, interlocking his fingers in front of him. As he thought back, his eyes didn't once show signs of trouble.
"Firstly, I am the child of Kokokine Kuchiki and Tsunashi Unabara, the Unabara as you may be aware are defunct and have left some degree of dishonor on their name with their patriarch Tsubasa Unabara being imprisoned here. He is my uncle, giving me some connection to that family. "
He gave a sigh, as he had spent some time trying to understand his uncle and that family. "In my early days, the Zanpakuto I wielded was a type that took blood from my body. In order to restore others or to attack. " He gently reached up to his scarf. Beginning to remove it slowly, he'd gained a number of injuries.
But this was the most notable one that stole his voice for a time. His throat had marks all over it, showing signs of claws ripping through his neck. "At the time I refused treatment, I forged the signature of my uncle seeking out aid from a prisoner within Karakura. Creating a dishonor for Uncle Byakuya further, my mistakes and errors compounded eventually with one bitter thing."
In those days he was bright and cheerful, his aura if he had one would have been likely yellow. Now it was grey, a bleakness hung over it. But there was also an acceptance for his actions.
" Abigaíl Espinosa, a Vizard like myself and Captain Kobayashi. She died, no she was devoured by her hollow and lost the battle within. This scar is a reminder of her and my actions. As you've no doubt concluded I no longer wield the Zanpakuto which causes harm to one's self. "
His digits gently removed his sheathed sword from the location on his waist. "This was my mother's Zanpakuto, while she was dying from injuries she'd sustained. She willed her Zanpakuto to me, it overwrote my prior one. And the effects as you witnessed...were" He said softly before pulling the weapon back between his sash now.
He'd trailed off, the first time since he began his story. "I was given the rank of Vice-Captain, by an interim Captain, thus far Captain Unohana has kept me on staff. I've decided to spend the rest of my life helping people with my medical skills and healing arts. To atone for my mistakes that came at so heavy a price." He began wrapping the scarf around his neck again.
Covering the injury so as not to display present company. Or to show it to those not welcome to view it. "I suspect, Captain Kobayashi wants you both to realize. Every action we take has a consequence, far-reaching. We hurt people with our choices, not just ourselves. "
Previously, before the pair moved onto the medical room Amon had heard what Yamada said about his choice of words. He didn't realize he'd use, "Dude," and, "Chill," too relaxed to even realize how he was speaking to a Vice Captain of all people. With only a nod, Amon simply used that to confirm what the lady said, taking it as a cautionary warning. At least she didn't scream his ear off or slam his head to the ground like a bad dog, that'd make for an interesting moment.
When they say down in the office of Mr. Kuckiki, he began to spin the tale of a past that Amon payed mind to. It was clear this guy went through some serious stuff, with what a homicidal uncle it seems as well as past failures, a very cult-like sounding weapon, and scars of the past. Everyone around these parts seemed to have some story revolving around misery and failure, sure, it might be commonplace no thanks to after the war. But it was at this point anyone could have those stories, and that didn't mean Amon wasn't sympathetic. If the guy wished to share his story he could.
However Amons main take from this story were how family can go bad, plans didn't always work out, and to be careful of the tools you choose from what he gathered on Kuchikis happentence. The thing that Amon couldn't help but shift at was when his friend became the enemy and the scars left behind. He's had his fair share of that particular subject.
The story ended with a warning in itself though, one Amon was familiar with. There had... Been some screwups he was part of, headed even, and mistakes were made. He was by no means the kind to take things lightly nor take them too heavily, just simply keeping it in mind and when said things happened to handle it the best way possible... Whatever that may be. Amon didn't reply to the words of the Vice Captain, not even to his unique Zanpactos or the wood items he pulled, just watching and listening as everything filtered through his little head. Hell, Amon had even forgotten the tea that was presented before him.
Curious Hanako took in the scent of the tea Takehiko had poured. Lavender and cinnamon, how very interesting. She didn’t even know lavender could be used for berages but alway sthought it was just a nice smelling plant. Well, that was probably a reason why Takehiko’s path brought him here, as Lieutenant of the kido corps and the healers, while Hanako’s path brought her to the first seat of the Combat Division. She tried a small sip of the tea. She wasn’t sure if the taste of the lavender was something she liked, it was surprisingly intense, but the cinnamon was definitely to her liking. It would be something that she could try in a green tea, maybe chamomile, or in the very rare instances when she drank coffee. She also realised the soothing effect of the beverage.
The tale Takehiko told, however, was a bit more difficult to digest. Especially for Hanako, who had no past, no history from which she could tell such a tale. Even though she had regained some portions of her memories, it was hazy and still mostly like a dream one tries to remember after waking. But what she remembered was the tale of a victim, a fact that frustrated her immensely. But maybe this was why the Captain had sent her here. Not because she should learn from some past, but for her future. As a Shinigami, and even more so as a member of the Combat Division, she and all her comrades wielded great and devastating powers. It was like Takehiko said: Whatever one did, it had consequences. They might not be visible, maybe not at first, maybe not at all.
Truly, what she had always assumed seemed to be confirmed again: Captain Kobayashi’s actions usually had a very good reason.
“I suspect you are very right in your assumption.” Hanako said to Takehiko.
“He probably felt it would be a good idea for us to get some new perspectives. After all, we are members of the Combat Division and our actions could potentially have the most devastating effects of all.” was how Hanako formulated a few of her thoughts out loud.
She also had her fair share of experience with devastating effects, only that it had been her that had been on the receiving end. At least, as far as she knew. She still had no idea if there maybe was some dark secret waiting somewhere within her or if she had just been a normal soul that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But like this she was even better aware of just what ‘devastating’ meant in this context.
His expression lost that statue-like appearance for a moment. As a small chuckle came from him, his features looking young. Almost like the other side of him came for a moment. Recalling the time he met Captain Kobayashi the first time. It was a distinct memory, but he could only laugh at that boy from those days. Childish and blind to the circumstances of the world. He spent his days and evening treating those who were hurt.
Rarely did he leave the Gotei unless orders were given. His Zanpakuto, wasn't just a tool for healing. He certainly could wield it in a different way. His digits slowly went across his Zanpakuto's hilt. The smell that he gained from it, was his mother's perfume. It was a sweet fragrance, it smelled of a scent hard to nail down. His gray eyes closed now for a moment. Taking this instance to think before finally speaking.
"When I first met Captain Kobayashi, I wished to become like my uncle. Byakuya Kuchiki, his flash step stood out to me most. So I asked him to train me, he asked me to do 200 steps, I failed and only managed 20. " He said his eyes thinking back to that moment. The collapse of understanding and fragmented visions.
From that point, he walked a path of self-destruction, without even considering what came from it. "I'd say my next biggest mistake was Ulv Auber, I sought her recklessly and foolishly. Never once thinking about how often I asked for help." He said touching his chest for a moment, remembering the sensation. When she purged the Hollow from him, that loss of his powers.
Fear and terror gripped him, he saw what happened with Tatsuya Oda. The destruction wrought in Jefferson City. He became frightened of his Hollow, scared Akuma would one day take over. "I was..once a Vizard, it took me a long time to come to terms. I was scared, scared of what would happen after Jefferson City. Doubt and fear clogged my mind, gripping my spirit. "
He said softly through a sigh, not proud to admit the fear that shook his core. His digits slowly touched his neck through the scarf. He remembered it more keenly now, the one in jail the former Head Captain. Slit his throat, he never got to ask him why.
"This is, is my lesson for you both. In all the worlds indefinity splendor and endless paths. Failure exists on all of them, mistakes are a burden that you make. No matter how you clash and bring steel to bear. You must acknowledge it was your doing."
He said, softly before his eyes looked at them. Tiredness almost something one would expect from a man thousands of years old. This look came over his eyes, as he spoke once again.
"Maybe, maybe you have already come across it in your past. There are three chains in life, the past, present, and future. They bind you, cripple you if you let them. Even now, I am still bound by my past and struggle to break free. But, remember this if nothing else. " Takehiko, was wiser for his time and struggles to hold a sage-like state.
"You cannot change the past forgotten or otherwise, the present and future are roads paved by your choices. What you decide today, will affect tomorrow and thereafter. So, trust in those around you. Squadmates, fellow Divisions, and friends. Because we can help with the burden of today and tomorrow."
His face returned to warmth, it wasn't something one could punch a hole through easily. But he'd given them what wisdom he had, from bitter experiences.