It was like a trip from Alice in Wonderland, the scenery changing one way or another as the cobblestone path rose higher and higher into the air. There appeared to be a door at the top of the path, but the trail was broken, leaving a wide gap from the end to the door that plummeted for miles if one step faltered.
Jikanmu hopped over the gap with ease, able to levitate on top of it all. “Amber-dono! Over here!” His voice was so quiet it was like listening for the sound rabbits make when communicating with each other.
This whole thing felt weird to Amber as she made her way around, unsure of what to make of it all. It was really cool, something taken straight from a fairy tail of sorts. A chuckle escaped as she was reminded of how much she was Alice in this situation. It didn’t help that his hollow form was a rabbit.
The path ahead of her made her feel somewhat hesitant and, looking at it, before looking to him, she figured out how to jump over the gap. Eventually, she went for it, using a bit of shunpo to help her up. It was difficult though and, reaching the door, held onto it, as if she thought she was going to fall at any moment.
He placed his hand on her forehead and winced a bit. “You are feverish.” He murmured, frowning. “How did you become so ill?” He asked, carefully scooping her up in his arms and making his way towards their bedroom.
His cooler hand on her now very hot forehead made her lean into it, only for him to pull it away. Soon, her petite body was pulled into his arms, her head leaning on his chest as he led them back within the manor. “I.. I had gotten sick. A minor cold. I thought it’d go away.. and I worked myself too hard so that I can come home.. and it got worse..”
A smile came to his face when he heard those words, his voice just the slightest bit louder now when he spoke. “It’s not the only thing…. I’ve done.” His face reddened he dug around in his pockets, the monstrous grandfather clock behind him bellowing its bell at them. “I can… We can… use Bankai, Master. We can do it~!”
"I can show ya! Follow me!" He sang, shrinking down to his white rabbit form and scampering away. ‘Follow the White Rabbit’ echoed in the air among the ticking and chiming bells, a sign or two helping along the way.
She.. they.. they could use bankai now?
Never had she thought that she would ever learn bankai. That was always a dream she had with Jikanmu. To make him strong, and to allow him to use bankai. It was something that she she never thought she’d get very far with, though. A 4th seat, learning bankai.
She was so happy for him. So happy she could cry with happiness.
She watched him as he took off, transforming as he beckoned her to follow her, though she was still in a state of surprise. Snapping out of her thoughts a few moments later, she quickly hurried after him, not wanting to lose him. As a rabbit he was was fast, and if she hadn’t put in a bit of shunpo with her steps, she would of lost him.
It was faint, but he could hear her, only barely. Grabbing her hand, Jikanmu dragged into his inner world, a world made up of void and gears and clocks, a single cobblestone pathway suspended in the air being the only pathway.
"Master!" The spirit was practically shouting, but it only came out at a quiet volume to her ear. "Master, look! Look where we are!" This inner world was actually a huge accomplishment for him, wanting her to see that he was doing well and still developing. "It took so long, but I found it for us!"
Without any sort of prep as to what was going on, her hand was grabbed and, with a yelp of surprise, was transferred. Keeping her eyes closed until she settled, hazel eyes revealed herself to be surrounded by clocks and gears, something that made her look around in awe.
Was this their inner world?
"Oh my.." was the only thing she could get out before eyes landed on the body of her faithful Zanpakuto. A smile crept up to where it grew into a wide smile. He did it. He really, actually did it.
"Jikanmu.. I’m so proud.."
Byakuya’s eyes widen as his eyes fell upon his fiancee that had collapsed on the walkway. “Amber..!” He yelled worriedly as he rushed his way over to her side.
"…?" Hazel hues fluttered opened at the sound of a familiar voice and, moving weakly, connected with the eyes of her fiance. "B-Bya… Byakuya.." she’d murmured softly.
The lonely spirit’s voice called out, echoing in hopes that she would hear him. It had been nearly two months since they had last spoken to each other and he could feel the line between them growing ever thinner. He couldn’t hear her voice, nor feel her presence. Was he losing his master completely?
“Master… Please answer me.”
As this separation continued on, Jikanmu could feel his hands trembling, his powers lacking and out of control. He feared the stories he had heard about Muramasa, how he had to eat souls to survive once the connection with his master was broken. Jikanmu didn’t want that, couldn’t bear it. It would just be another close friend that would tear its presence into his skin. The memories would forever be torn through him, giving him more reason to cease trying to move on. Maybe being stuck in time was a good thing, as long as he made no friends or family along the way.
Lying awake in the dead of night, the petite woman laid still, except for gentle breathing that echoed around her ears. Two months… two months it had been since she talked to her Zanpakuto. It was something that she was not proud of. In fact, as she laid there, she couldn’t help but tremble slightly, as the result of the tears that threaten to spill over.
She really was a terrible master, wasn’t she?
She had missed him so much. Missed the things he learned, of his child, of being able to be part of his life. But, instead she’d been so busy that the bond she could of been strengthening was diminishing. She remembered Muramasa, of the incident with his master. Was that what was going on?
She wouldn’t dare put Jikanmu through that.
With that, she got up and, looking around, found the box that held Jikanmu’s cards in. Holding it close to her, she slumped against her bed, holding the cards tightly to her. She could hear him; hear him calling to her.
"Jikanmu.. I’m here. I’m here.."
With that she broke and, sitting there, sobbed herself to sleep.
Arrives back from mission. Collapses from an illness that she’s been fighting against and plagued with a fever.
He sighed softly in relief. Just to have Amber back and in his arm, to see her even made him feel better. It had been hard since she had left and for so long. He even planned on leaving and going after her to find her if she had been gone for much longer. “indeed,”
He was so warm. She let out a sigh of relief, happy just to be back. She hadn’t intended to be gone so long; there were so many things that happened. But, that was in the past and, as gentle fingers gently tangled themselves in his hair, she looked up to him with the brightest smile. She loved him with everything she had.