Disclaimer insert here: I don't own or have ever owned Bleach or High School DxD. Please buy their stuff so they don't go home poor and destitute. Thanks.
All characters belong to their rightful owners, except any OC monsters I make up. As usual an M rating is for future violence, dismemberments, gore, language, very foul language, and of course lemons will be in, but don't expect a ton of them. Again enjoy your time here.
Response to Reviews Corner 3: Well I guess a lot of you guys were...surprised by how the last chapter ended. I should be honest, it wasn't the original ending so to speak, but it did become so as I was writing towards the finish, I suddenly realized, the whole Raynare and Issei thing had been done and it would be too obvious, so I changed it. I'm guessing I did pretty well by the many reviews I got and a few PM's as well. I promise not to do so this chapter, maybe.
First response is a good one for me.
Guest: Yes, I deleted your review for one simple reason, you gave none. It's that simple.
bob115: I thank you for your review and I will answer why I write the way I do. Blame it on my step-father. He got into reading some seriously great authors. Asimov, Herbert, Jordan and others that have given us some really fantastic sci-fi series. I love how they write such worlds that make you try and imagine them in your head, unlike manga which I discovered later, gave you those worlds in pictures. I am not on their level, yet, but this is why I write the way I do. I want to create those worlds someday for my readers to try and experience. Right now I admit I am not that good, but this is the only way to learn. So I hope you stick it out and yes I will bring the action soon.
micwil13: I will use an extensive amount of OC characters because there are so many ways that to increase the number of devils, angels and fallen angels that will be needed for Ichigo to face. Also you get your answer in the chapter below about Ichigo.
Saddas74: You missed it. I'll PM you when you get it right.
Everyone else, I'm not sure who I PM or not when I wrote this but if I didn't get to you send me a PM and I will answer if I can.
Now before I go, please read the AN before you write your reviews after this. You will understand after you are done reading. PLEASE READ AN FIRST. Thanks.
Please also read underneath as well, it is very important to me if you do so.
I guess I really need to make this permanent. This story isn't possible without the hard work, research, beta editing and general putting up with me, without her this wasn't possible.
Beta and co-creator: Okami Princess
Don't forget to include her in your reviews or send a PM to her with your thanks. But don't bother her on plot; she won't answer just like me :)
Kiwifan7: Thanks for everything. Especially for helping me during certain parts.
Also please read AN for any important news or information.
"Like Raynare just said, 'can you please die right now?'"
"SNAP TOBIUME!" Momo screams as she watches the hooded figure falls flat on their face, a fallen angel standing behind them.
'How did it come to this!? How did we miss the human!? It wasn't supposed to be like this!'
Momo launches a fireball at the fallen angel once she jumps clear of the fallen human, not wasting time; she puts up a shield when a light rod is thrown at her. Sparing a glance, she can't help the feeling of hopelessness as she sees the blood pooling around the person's body.
'Forgive us dear soul; you weren't supposed to be here.'
Earlier at the Occult Research Club….
Yoruichi watches through the glass ball as Rukia and Momo walk with Ichigo away from the school. Wanting to see him up close she turns to the group of devils in the room and speaks.
"I'm going out for a while, I'll be back soon."
"Going to see Ichigo then Yoruichi?" Venelana asks.
Pausing as she is disrobing, she stops and looks at the Gremory mother. "I haven't seen him up close since the day Amyntas took him. I…I just want to see him. So I can assure his sisters and Tatsuki that he's fine."
"We understand Yoruichi-sama." Sōna says as she watches her cousin as well.
Rias and her peerage are also watching as the orange-haired teen walks with his unofficial escorts. They would break away from him when they had to 'shop' for dinner before they double back to regroup with them. Rias's familiar would then take over the escort and alert them to any threats and if she had to, teleport him to safety.
The room fills with purple smoke as they witness the Shihōin transforms into her cat body and leaps for the window sill.
"I'll be back as soon as I can. Then we will prepare for tonight's surveillance."
Everyone murmurs their responses as the cat disappears in a burst of shunpo.
"Damn, that's fast." Yuuto expresses when he couldn't follow her.
Venelana, who is sitting on the couch, stands shortly after she finishes her tea and walks to her daughter.
"Rias, I should be at home to greet him. Don't forget to call him as scheduled so he doesn't worry about why you and the others are out late. If this is indeed the night they make a move, it would be best that you be here to receive the summons."
Akeno watches a different glass ball showing the boy now at the center of everyone's attention for tonight.
"Are we sure that this boy is the holder of a Sacred Gear Gremory-sama? I mean, look at him, he is only known for his perversion within the school."
Venelana stands before her daughter still, but answer the Queen of her group. "We believe so Akeno-chan, the teen girl who calls herself Yuuma Amano doesn't exist anywhere. She is a fallen angel in disguise and may be the one responsible for the rash of killings. If she does intend to carry out her plan, tonight will be her best chance. That is why all of you must make sure he is able to call for Rias through a summons. The shinigami don't approve, but they understand that this is the only way for us to control an unknown holder of a Sacred Gear. I will take responsibility if this fails."
"Oniisan will not like this. He already has a dislike for him." Koneko says as she sits with Tsubaki.
Rias nods her head in agreement. "If I have to make him a servant, I will have to find a way to keep Ichigo calm. All I need is for him and the boy to be at odds, especially since he already knows of this boy's habits."
"Fufufu, we could always give him to Sitri-sama, I'm sure she could do with another pawn."
"No, I have my eyes on someone already, a powerful pawn if I'm correct." The Sitri Heir says as she is watching the brown-haired boy run home for his 'date'.
"Rias, you are in charge until Yoruichi returns, then after that we will follow her plan and allow her, Rukia and Momo to take point. The rest of you will hold back until its time to reincarnate the boy. Hopefully this will go smoothly, but if not use any means available to keep the boy alive."
"Hai Venelana-sama. / Gremory-sama." The room chorus in answer.
Green-blue eyes turn to look at her mother. "If you can, keep Ichigo from his run tonight please."
"I will...try Rias."
"Thank you Mother."
Yoruichi jumps from rooftop to rooftop as she follows behind the group of three unnoticed. She couldn't admit to Venelana, but she had to see him with her own two eyes, the boy who was like a son to her. The years she had watched over him secretly as he grew-up, changing from the happy young boy he was to the sullen teen after Masaki passed away, was her among her greatest joys and heartbreak. She knew it was wrong to feel the way she did, but Ichigo had become like a son to her in the short amount of time she spent around him. Masaki would always be his Mother, but she would step in if she had to. He and the twins had slowly wormed their way into her heart, even Yuzu though she had yet to meet her. But that would change soon though.
She chuckles to herself, thinking back to when she arrived just after Tatsuki did the other night, she almost fell over as the black-haired teen ripped into Kisuke and he shut his mouth when he saw her standing behind the younger woman. Tatsuki herself was an interesting one for sure; the reiatsu slowly spilling out of her marked her as shinigami for sure, just like her oldest friend. She couldn't wait to start training the martial artist. If she was like her Little Bee, she will be one serious threat later on. And the one she picked to change her soul was walking along side her as she jumps from branch to branch.
'It's only fair you should be the one to give her a choice Ichigo.'
Ghosting from tree limb to tree limb, she follows him until he reaches his home with the Gremory Clan. As she watches him disappear inside, she waits until the sally port closes before turning away. Being as close as she was to him, she had to give Kisuke and Tessai credit for the kidō they used; he was oblivious to her presence. Except for extreme emotional responses, no one would ever know that the Kuoh Academy's Kendo Club coach was a walking death god and devil. She chuckles to herself thinking about the day he learns he really is nobility in two realms.
'Well now, he'll have fan-girls in the Underworld as well. At least until they find out he's off the market already. I wonder if the Shinigami Women's Association will let them in? The stories we could get out of Rias alone would be worth the admission.'
Sōna Sitri sits with her sister, the current Leviathan Maou, at her family's home in the Underworld. Venelana was going to speak to her son, while she had the unenviable task of talking to her older sister.
" So we have cousins which we knew nothing about? ."
"Yes Serafall, the boy is named Ichigo, and the girls are Yuzu and Karin."
" Did Lord Amyntas say why he hid this from us ?"
Sōna gathers her thoughts before telling Serafall, while her sister was one of the current Maou, she could be very child-like if she got distracted. When she is satisfied, she begins to speak to her sister.
"Serafall, Ichigo isn't any ordinary pure-blood; he and his sisters are also of shinigami and Quincy noble lineage."
Serafall's face goes blank as she processes the information her younger sister just gave her. Shinigami and Quincy. As she turns her head to look at Sōna, she looks for any sign her sister was lying to her.
" How? "
"Before I tell you everything Leviathan-sama, I need your word that should anything happen tonight, that we have your support in our actions. I...I don't want to see anyone punished for starting a possible war, including the three shinigami that are helping us."
Serafall Leviathan stares at her sister with shock, never has Sōna ever addressed her as such in private, but this time her little sister understood the implications of what could happen if things didn't go as they planned.
" You have my word Sōna Sitri. Now tell me all about our cousins. "
"Well first you should know this. We will most likely be calling Rias our cousin-in-law soon..."
Serafall listens to her sister with full attention, the first time ever now that the woman Maou thought about it.
'I guess when you find out that you still have cousins that are of Naberius blood would do that.'
Sirzech is looking at his mother with an empty stare; Grayfia behind him however is trying her best to contain her amusement. Venelana keeps shooting looks at her son, her daughter-in-law and lastly her husband as she waits for the eventual...uproar perhaps.
Her husband breaks the stalemate. "What have you done Venelana?"
"I have saved our daughter Hugo. She does not love the Riser boy and I will not allow her to live through a loveless marriage. Now do I have your support Lucifer-sama?"
Only his mother and his wife could make a demand sound like a request and expect him to comply without argument. "Of course Mother. I will give Lord Amyntas and you complete discretion with Rias and Ichigo's omiai. As for the fallen angels, they did invade our territory and killed humans indiscriminately."
"Face it father, we never were happy with this arrangements, we let our pride get in the way of doing what we should have done in the first place. Make Rias happy. If she loves Ichigo and she has even thought about making him a part of her peerage to ensure her happiness, why not give her what she wants? As for the fallen angels..."
"You would trust shinigami with this?"
Looking up at his wife, he gives her a nod.
"Father, this actually works to our advantage. Allowing the shinigami to pursue and eliminate the rogue fallen angels would be deemed justifiable; they are the 'Balancers'. Their truce with us will not be called into question by the other factions, and if I remember correctly, normally fallen angels have never senselessly killed humans; I'm sure the proof Venelana-sama and Yoruichi-sama have gathered already will clear us of any wrong-doings."
Hugo falls back into his chair; he knows he has lost his arguments. Naberius, out of all the clan heirs for his little Rias to fall in love with, it would have to be one of them. He had his peerage check on the boy from time to time himself, as well as reports from Kazuhiro when ever he and Koneko-chan visited the shouten for the little neko's sweets. All indications were that the young man was an out-standing role model for the younger members of his daughter's peerage. If he had to get down to it really, his daughter couldn't do better. Sighing in acceptance, he gives his son a nod.
"We will support the actions that they take with the fallen angels. And when the time comes, I will allow Ichigo to put forth his name as a suitor for Rias's hand."
Grayfia snorts uncontrollably then. "Forgive me Father, but I think we have little say in that. Between Ichigo and Rias, none of our opinions would matter to them anyways. I have learned that Ichigo...he has an unusual sense of right and wrong."
"How so Grayfia?"
"Husband, Father, to him it's not laws he follows, but his heart."
"His heart?" Sirzech questions to his wife.
Venelana smiles as she speaks. "Yes, his heart Sirzech. He followed his heart to save a comrade, one of his best-friends from execution. Then he followed his heart to save a friend against the orders of Soul Society after they mistakenly declared her a traitor. He will always put his family and friends first, all others can choose to stand with him, or..."
"Or get swept aside."
Rukia and Momo shunpo back to the Occult Research Club room after splitting away from Ichigo and leaving their gigai back at their safe house. Along the way, Momo looks around the town as they make their way back to Kuoh.
"Rukia, do you have any misgivings about what they might do with that boy, Issei-kun?"
Frowning as she flashstep's with her fellow lieutenant, she answers back with remorse. "Some, we have no idea what a Sacred Gear really is, maybe Kisuke might know, but other than what they told us, we have to let them take the lead on this. Yoruichi seems apprehensive as well, but if it doesn't upset the balance of souls with its power, we really have no choice but to allow them to take the boy into their custody. I just hope whatever it is, doesn't attract the attention of you-know-who."
Momo shutters at the thought of the mad Squad Twelve captain. Even thought Nemu put her on edge sometimes with her emotionless mask, she at least showed signs of being somewhat normal.
"Are you worried about getting involved like this?"
Rukia stops on a rooftop and waits for Momo to stop as well. When she makes sure no one is around, she gives her friend a look. "Listen Momo, I know that you don't know Ichigo as well as I do, but I will do anything, and I mean anything to help him. If it means helping Venelana-sama and Yoruichi-sama to do so, then I will. But you don't have to Momo. This isn't why we came here to begin with, and technically our mission was over the moment we stepped foot in that room with the devils."
"But is it really over Rukia? I mean we did find out what Squad Twelve was looking for, but we don't know why they are here...technically, do we?"
Rukia grins at her friend when she sees something in Momo's eyes. "You like this don't you Lieutenant Hinamori? The danger? The stealth recon? You are secretly an adrenaline junkie aren't you?"
"N...No...No I'm not Rukia!"
"Liar! You can't even say it with a straight face. You get your first Living World mission and you don't want it to end do you? Oh, you are so busted Momo!" Rukia laughs at her friend's growing blush.
"Oh shut up Rukia! Fine! I do love this! I mean this is what you, Renji, Shiro-kun and the others got to do while living here during the Winter War. I was recovering in Squad Four and unable to do anything, not even in the last battle against...against Aizen."
Rukia places a hand on her fellow shinigami's shoulder. "Well I can promise you one thing Momo. Whenever Ichigo is involved, things get interesting, so if you want adventure, you might just get it. Now come on before we're late."
Yoruichi watches as the teams spread out across the town, Rukia and Sōna the first team, with Momo and Tsubaki taking permanent station between the park and arcade district of town. The last group would be Yuuto and Koneko who would watch for the other fallen angels leaving the church. The former assassin had to be thankful that there were only three fallen angels to take account of. Anymore and she'd be forced to spread what they had out between covering the human and keeping the innocent humans from getting drawn in, which is what the rest of the Sitri peerage was doing.
"Yoruichi-sama, is there nothing I could be doing other than sitting here?" Akeno asks as she pours tea for the three of them.
"No Akeno-chan. This is really the hardest part of any operation. The waiting. I could tell you stories, but I'd have to kill ya afterwards." She says with a toothy grin.
Akeno laughs back as she sits next to her King. "Rias please try to relax. This isn't your first time approaching someone in becoming a devil."
Yoruichi listens in as the two devils talk; it wasn't everyday you got a chance to listen in to the inner workings of a different race, since the race in question was as powerful as them. She had learned from both Venelana and Amyntas that over a thousand years ago, the then younger Head Captain had agreed to a secret truce with the Three Factions. She couldn't believe that Central and the Head Captain had kept that information secret from them. Now that she has spent time with the Gremory Clan, she found herself admiring the women. The only tales they had in Soul Society while growing up as children were about the Gates of Hell and the Kushanāda, the large sentinels of what she now knows is but just a small part of the Underworld. A dimension within a dimension unto it's self.
She had only ideas about devils from the old folk-lore tales that she had come across during her exile, but since she first approached Venelana, she had since formed a different opinion of them. They were just like any other spiritual being, they lived, loved, fought, and killed, but they had evolved just as the hollows had with the Espada. They had become more business like in their dealings with humans. Gone was the Old Maou Faction, defeated and mostly exiled, as well as their soul stealing methods. Now only the most hard-core humans would offer their souls to a devil, but it was now far and few between. Most devils now asking for a human with any special ability to willing become reincarnated, but a few had been near death when they were given the choice. Yuuto Kiba was one offered that choice.
Yoruichi looks at the younger women to see them still talking normally, as she looks at the crimson-haired teen, she can't help the sudden image of younger versions of her and Ichigo. Her giggle escapes her, drawing the attentions of the only other two.
"Yoruichi-sama, are you alright?" Rias asks.
Holding up a hand, she gains control of her breathing before she slips into her teasing voice. "I'm fine Rias. I was just wondering what they would look like, that's all."
Rias and Akeno give each other a quizzical look before the Queen pushes for more information. "What would who look like Shihōin-sama?"
Yoruichi can't help it. "Ichigo and Rias's children."
Akeno begins grinning widely, as the woman just named begins to blush a deep shade of red. "YORUICHI-SAMA! WE HAVEN'T EVEN..."
"Haven't what Rias?" Yoruichi senses something good had indeed happened between her student and his girlfriend.
"Nothing." Rias says as she crosses her arms under her chest.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Akeno starts laughing behind her hand. "What she meant to say Shihōin-sama was that she and Ichigo have only started down the path to physical acts of affections. In other words he gave Rias her first..."
"Say it and die slowly Akeno!" Rias shouts as she tries to cover her queen's mouth.
Yoruichi is about to fall to the floor laughing when Akeno's phone begins to ring, causing everyone to pause as the young woman answers with a stifled laugh.
"Yes, Yuuto. What's going on...What!? What do you mean there are more than three!? How many!? Eight!? No, Yoruichi and I are on our way now! Stay put until we arrive!"
Akeno stands suddenly and informs them. "Yuuto and Koneko spotted eight fallen angels leaving the church. They went in different directions."
Yoruichi stands with a snarl. "Dammit, I should have guessed! They know about me and the others then. Akeno get me there as quick as you can! Rias, your part still hasn't changed, until you are summoned or we bring the boy back, stay here."
"What about my mother and the servants? They can help you." Rias replies, knowing that things just got more complicated.
"I'll call her once Akeno and I get there. Akeno, if you please?"
Rias watches as the older shinigami and her queen disappear in a circle of red.
'Be careful Akeno.'
Venelana reads the text messages she got from both her daughter and Yoruichi. Looking up at the three servants, she takes one last look at the glass orb. Ichigo is in bed, his eyes close and has his earbuds in place.
"He's asleep. We must hurry if we are to find them in time. Spread out and find who ever is nearest to you and assist them."
The three simply nod and disappear in magic circles. She takes one last look at Ichigo's sleeping form before she too disappears. She misses him yawning and moving to sit on the edge of the bed.
Momo reads the message once again.
You're to follow the fallen angel and the human boy at all costs. Eight targets have left the church. Be on guard.
She frowns at the thought that the odds have now shifted to almost even. They still had the edge with Yoruichi being here. No one alive in the city could match her speed and her skill; at least what she could comprehend so far. Looking down, she watches Rias's familiar give the boy, Issei, a pamphlet with a summoning spell engraved upon it. Soon enough, the disguised fallen angel, dressed in a simple dress meets up with her 'date'. Momo wants to vomit the moment she hears the fake voice speaking sweetly to the human boy. Keeping her reiatsu sealed as much as possible, she trails behind the two as they embark on their date.
Not once does she lose the two during the course of their date. Watching him actually go out of his way to make the night a fun one, did make Momo giggle at his first attempt of wooing a woman. Between the arcade and then taking her to a family restaurant for food and dessert, he was making a genuine effort. As the date progressed, she notices that it's getting darker and night is rapidly approaching. Soon she is almost at ground level watching the two enter the park. Taking a chance, she sends a text to all telling them she had followed them to the park.
Only Sōna responded to her text, telling her that the others were also converging on the park.
"Well I guess this is really it then." Momo sees the two approaching a fountain. Seeing a spot behind the 'teen girl', she flashstep's behind her and watches the scene unfold before her eyes. She looks down when the sounds of someone walking reaches her ears.
'Who is this? Another fallen angel?' She thinks as she the hooded person stops several meters away from the other two.
Then to her horror another fallen angel appears behind the human and stabs him in the chest just as she hears the chilling question spoken out loud again.
"Can you please die right now?"
Then everything happens at once. She sees the woman she was trailing spear the young man in her moment of stunned horror. Then Rukia shunpo's into the middle of the clearing, touching Sode No Shirayuki in front of her, releasing her shikai.
"Tsugi no mai, Hakuren!" Rukia sending her attack at a different fallen angel who appears next to the now angry 'teen' Yuuma.
"Shunkō!" A now visibly pissed Yoruichi yells as she steps next to yet another fallen angel, successfully hitting her in the face.
Momo drops out of her branch and as she passes the fallen human, she can't help the small prayer she gives him.
Rias stands as the summoning spell activates. Walking calmly to the center of the room, she casts her magic and steps into the middle of a war zone. Her eyes go wide as she is grabbed by Akeno, who rushes her to the boy now bleeding out.
"He's the one Rias! We'll keep you covered as you reincarnate him! You have no time to ask, he's close to dying already!"
Nodding she pulls out her Evil pieces and sees only her pawn pieces reacting to him. Placing one on his chest, she watches as it disappears but nothing happens. Taking a quick look up, she sees the three shinigami and then more and more of her peerage and Sōna's peerage showing up and joining in the fray. Placing one after another piece on his chest, she grows more anxious as each is absorbed by the human until finally there are no more pawns left. She begins to breathe a sigh of relief when his wound starts to close, until a scream pulls her eyes towards Momo, a scream that makes her own soul scream out as the shinigami roars out.
"IICCHHHIIIGGGOOOO NNNOOOOOO! ! !"
Momo was holding her own against the taller but slower fallen angel. The woman had yet to land a hit on the Fifth Squad lieutenant, but she was slowly herding her in one particular direction. Having gotten lost in the heat of the battle, Momo finds herself falling backwards suddenly as she trips over the body of the human killed earlier.
Buying herself time, Momo points at the now arcing fallen angel and screams out. "Hadō Number Four Byakurai!"
Watching the angel form a shield and jump out of the way, Momo pushes herself up and as she does so, she sees the body had moved with her. As she focuses on the face, she sees familiar amber orbs and wisps of orange hair moving gently from the motion of being moved.
'NONONONONONONONONO! ! !'
The scream she lets out stops everyone. Her eyes begin to tear up as she sees his eyes staring back at her blankly. Looking up, she sees Rias screaming as she rushes recklessly towards her once she sees his orange hair. Yoruichi and Rukia's reiatsu spike as they both break their power limiters. Akeno and the other devils begin attacking the fallen angels with pure killing intent.
Rias skids to her knees next to Ichigo's cooling body.
"No! No! No! Ichigo! You can't leave me! You can't die! Dammit we're supposed to get married you..."
She reaches into her pocket and grabs the first Evil Piece she feels, pulling it out, she pushes it against his chest and watches it get launched away from his body. She stares at his body as she tries the next piece and the same event happens.
"Why!? Why!? What's wrong!?" She screams at her pieces.
Momo stands to launch another fire ball from Tobiume as she too breaks her limiter in her quest for vengeance. She stands over both the screeching Rias and the hero to every shinigami. Fighting her tears back, she solemnly swears to kill any fallen angel that gets near her.
'You will be avenged Ichigo!'
The hollow feels his world shifting drastically around him. A smirk forms as he knows what is happening to his wielder now.
"Well I guess its do or die King."
In a burst of sonido, he arrives at the barrier and stops as he watches Ichigo's body slowly drift to the other side of the divide, this time he lands next to it as the world has shifted.
"We have time, but not much."
Squatting down, he stares at the orange-haired youth with a studying gaze, until he senses that Ichigo isn't going to move on his own. Standing up, he begins to pound on the still standing barrier, yelling at the unconscious youth.
"WAKE UP KING! WAKEY, WAKEY ICHIGO!"
He waits for a few minutes, but still nothing happens. Frowning, he hits his head on the barrier and leaves it there as he yells again, this time while touching the invisible wall.
"WAKE UP ICHIGO! GET YOUR ASS UP KING! WE HAVE THINGS TO TALK ABOUT!"
"Stop yelling dammit!"
The hollow looks at Ichigo, seeing his hand just touching the barrier.
"Well I'll be damned. We could have been doing this the entire time."
"Talking you dimwit."
Ichigo turns his head slightly at the white version and glares at him. "Who are you?"
Smirking, the hollow looks at the shinigami and cracks an evil smile. "I am the one who can answer all your questions King."
Ichigo furrows his eyebrows as he looks up at the standing ghost of himself. He has tried to move, but he can't, he feels weak as he lays there. But now that he is talking to the apparition after so many times of silence, he finds himself wanting to talk, instead of closing his eyes as his body is demanding of him.
"So tell me, who are you really? A ghost from my past? A memory I have blocked out to keep me sane? Tell me truthfully what or who you are."
"I am a part of you Ichigo Naberius. I am a part of your soul, one that was kept from you for far too long."
"King, I can't tell you everything because truthfully you're dying right now and we need to get you back in the game."
Ichigo shakes his head as he tries to remember what happened to him this time to land him in his delusion. As he goes through his day, he comes to the part that makes his body scream out in pain.
"Finally feeling it eh King?"
"Why do you call me that? And what do you mean Ichigo Naberius? My name is Ichigo..."
He froze as he couldn't recall his family name. He can feel it on the tip of his tongue, he knows his own name. It... It was...
"Can't remember can you King? Well I'll tell what I'm allowed. You are not Ichigo Shiba; you are much, much more Ichigo. In fact I didn't know myself until we killed Aizen."
"I didn't kill anyone dammit! I've never kill..."
"YOU HAVE KILLED ICHIGO! YOU KILLED THE ONE WHO THREATEN OUR FAMILY! THREATEN YUZU AND KARIN! THREATEN TATSUKI AND ORIHIME! THREATEN EVERYONE YOU EVER CARED ABOUT OR LOVED! YOU...KILLED...TO...PROTECT...ICHIGO! WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR NAME IS ICHIGO!? ONE GUARDIAN! OUR MOTHER NAMED YOU AS A PROTECTOR! DO YOU REMEMBER NOW ICHIGO!?"
The youth stares at the heaving chest of the white version of himself, the words echoing deep from with in his soul. Images begin to form in his mind, but he can't grasp them, like water flowing through his fingers. He scowls at the person on the other side of the barrier and demands one thing.
"Prove it? You want me to prove it? Fine, I will King. Place your hand completely flat against the barrier and I will send you proof. But be warned King, we get only one shot at this. Do you want to take it? Do you want to truly remember who you really are?"
"Yes. Yes I want to know. I want to know who I really am."
"Then prepare yourself Ichigo Naberius, this will hurt."
Ichigo using some of waning strength places his hand flat against the barrier and watches as the other does the same thing. He stares into the black and yellow eyes to see for a fraction of a second, pride. Then the pain began and he screams as the vision is forced into him.
Ichigo lies on the ground, watching as Aizen begins to regenerate his broken body. Laying there he can only watch as Aizen's zanpakutō begins to disintegrate before him.
"You have lost Ichigo Kurosaki. As you can see..."
Ichigo can only listen to the former shinigami as he begins claiming how he has transcended both hollow and shinigami. Raising his hand, Aizen points and laughs at him as he gloats that the Hōgyoku has allowed him to transcend to an even higher level than he thought Ichigo had obtained. Then a red light pierces out of the deranged former captain's chest, but Aizen smirks.
"I see I was right about your sensei Ichigo Kurosaki, but I knew he would try to put a sealing kidō inside another with one of his useless attacks. Now watch as I truly become a god."
Ichigo can feel the air around him thickening once again, but this time his breathing becomes harder, as if he is drowning. To his shock and utter horror, the red light that was once sticking out of Aizen's chest begins to recede back until once again the skin is flawless. Two purple orbs then direct themselves down to his prone body and a hand grabs his neck.
"I admired your growth Ichigo Kurosaki, but in the end it wasn't enough to stop me. Before I kill you, I will let you agonize in your last seconds as I tell you what I plan to do. I will use the strength of your father and sisters to help create the Ōken, and then I will ascend the throne. After which I will kill everyone you have ever known, cared for or even loved in your life. But before I kill the women of your life, I may amuse myself with each and every one of them, starting with your sensei, Yoruichi, and your princess, Orihime. But the one I will enjoy the most will be your partner, Rukia Kuchiki."
'No! No! No!' It's all he can think as his windpipe is being crushed by the hand holding his body up.
"Such an asshole."
"Hey there partner. I see I have to save you once again King."
'How!? I thought...'
"Not quite Ichigo, but he did use a lot of our reiryoku up, that fucking bastard." This time Ichigo feels his hollow's own bitterness.
Looking into the face of the laughing god-like being, he shuts his eyes and feels the world slow around him as he desperately enters his inner-world. Looking around, he sees it collapsing around him and the water crashing and flooding even more of the slowly sinking landscape. Twisting around he finds what he is looking for, his hollow standing on the edge of one of the few remaining skyscrapers.
"I don't know how, but I'm still here King. I can still fight for you."
'How? I don't have Zangetsu anymore, I...I used it for the Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō. How are...'
"We are going to use your true power. But I have to do it King. It's the only way."
Ichigo stares at his hollow in shock before asking what he means. 'What do you mean 'my true power' Hollow?'
Facing his wielder for the first time since he gleaned the truth from touching Ichigo's hidden power, he smirks at the now panicking shinigami. Now wasn't the time for any fighting between them, this time he had to have his wielder's trust.
"I'll tell you this Ichigo; we weren't the ones in control of our inner-world. He had other orders and plans for you, plans that would have put everyone around you in danger. He kept you from using all your powers, just giving you enough for you to accomplish what the shouten keeper wanted. He had hoped that by using Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō, it would put an end to your shinigami powers and give his true master time to...time to make you see his side."
"Look into your heart King and you will find your answer."
Ichigo stares deep into his hollows eyes and watches the range of emotions play across them as he goes over his life as a shinigami. Each time he remembers the Zangetsu he remembers, he sees the rage in the hollow's eyes. Until the end when he remembers his training in the Dangai with his father, then it all falls into place. Why part of him didn't want him to learn the technique to begin with, the part that wanted him to learn fought him so hard but not completely.
'The old man.'
"He lied to you Ichigo. He was never your zanpakutō. I was!"
Ichigo steps back one step as he feels his hollow's anger course through his soul, his soul from which his zanpakutō comes from. His eyes harden as he steps back up, face to face with his hollow.
'What do you want me to do...Zangetsu?'
Smiling, his other self holds his hand out to his wielder. "Give me control Ichigo. Let me out. Let me give you a taste of what you've been missing, king. Let me have control and when this is over, I'll tell you everything I know."
Grabbing the hand of his zanpakutō spirit, Ichigo gives only one demand. 'Make him pay for threatening what belongs to us.'
"It will be my pleasure King."
Ichigo watches as a floating spectator what happened after he and his hollow made the deal. The hand that was gripping his throat was grabbed by his now possessed body and a bone crunching sound could be heard as Aizen's wrist was crushed. Shocked by the sudden pain, the being that had been killing him is forced into letting him go. Sōsuke holds his hand, directing the Hōgyoku to fix the broken bones as he looks on in confusion at the boy in front of him.
"How!? How are you doing this Ichigo Kurosaki!? You have NO POWER!"
To those that have heard it before, the voice that sent shivers down the spines of even the most battle-hardened veterans speaks. "How you ask? You want to know how we are going to kill you Sōsuke Aizen? I'll show you then."
Aizen watches as the face of the person who had surpassed him in power, lifts his head. As it rises, the former Squad Five captain stares into twin crimson orbs. As he does so, he doesn't notice at first the black reiatsu slowly rising from the human's feet, slowly encircling and encasing him in obsidian black plating. By the time he does, it is too late as it swiftly covers the body in front of him, a surge of reiatsu forces him to the ground. Straining to keep his head up, Aizen can see black chains forming from the tendrils around the boy's body.
"What are you Ichigo Kurosaki?" For the first time Aizen fears for his life, as the creature before him looks towards him.
"We are unlike anything you could imagine. But the time for talking is over. You threatened Karin and Yuzu. You threatened Orihime and Tatsuki. You threatened Kitty-sensei and the Ice Princess. You, Sōsuke Aizen fucked up when you threatened everything we swore to protect. Now its time for you to defend yourself, if you can...Kami."
Aizen can't dodge the first attack swiftly enough, as three sets of chains tear into his arms and his stomach with sickle-like blades. He holds his screams in as the blades pull straight out of his flesh, leaving bleeding, gaping wounds the Hōgyoku begins sealing immediately. Looking up at the black amour of his nemesis, Aizen tries to comprehend what he is now facing. He suspected that his former experiment had become the basis of the human's hollow, but the shape and placement of the plating was to eerily similar to 'White'. Only this time, he is looking at a something that has never been seen in Soul Society, let alone Hueco Mundo.
"What are you?" Aizen questions again, hoping to buy time.
The answer comes in the form of a dozen chains streaking towards him, forcing him to flashstep away again; unsuccessfully he feels his body getting jerked back after one of the chains lodges itself into his spinal column. He looks up to see only the sky after he hits the ground and feels a familiar power up close to him. Not wasting time, he shunpo's away, allowing the chain to severe his spinal cord, barely escaping the Cero. Hunched over, he scans for the humanoid anomaly, only to go wide-eyed when his arms are pierced, holding him in place so that this time a Cero hits him point-blank in his back.
Between his severed spinal column and the burning from the Cero, Aizen finally lets a scream rip from his throat. His first and only mistake needed. Landing hard, Aizen feels himself slowly healing, but no longer the same instant regeneration as before. Looking at his chest, the orb doesn't respond to his thoughts. Before he can figure out what is wrong, chains once again pierce his arms and legs and pull him back towards the black figure. Needing more time, he twists painfully in the grip of the chains and fires off his deadliest kidō.
Screaming as the pain rips through his back, he points his hand at the silent creature. "Seeping crest of turbidity! Arrogant vessel of lunacy! Boil forth and deny! Grow numb and flicker! Disrupt sleep! Crawling queen of iron! Eternally self-destructing doll of mud! Unite! Repulse! Fill with soil and know your own powerlessness! Hadō Number Ninety, Kurohitsugi!"
He sags as the chains are cut through by the black coffin structure now enveloping the still eerily quiet warrior. He smirks at the figure as he disappears, thinking he now has time to recover before he has to destroy Karakura and create the Ōken, standing he begins to move away. Limping from the destruction behind him, he senses a very familiar reiatsu on the edge of the battlefield coming closer. He begins to smile at the thought of seeing his old adversary one last time before he kills him.
'You shall see first hand your…'
A hand burst through Aizen's chest, grabbing the Hōgyoku as it passes through his body before it pulls back. Dropping to his knees, he looks over his shoulder to see the menacing mask staring down at him, bloody fist holding the source of his desires in hand.
"It belongs to me fool. I am its Master now. It will never serve you Ichigo Kurosaki." Aizen wheezes out through a blood-filling mouth.
The black armour mask tilts slightly as it looks down at the orb before turning its crimson gaze upon the bleeding shinigami. "We never wanted the Hōgyoku; we don't need it Sōsuke Aizen. We just wanted to take it from you to free the souls inside of it. We also know something you don't."
"What!? What can you possibly know that I haven't thought of human!?"
How it was possible, Aizen would never find out, but the mask seems to morph into a smile as chains begin to rip into body. "We know it no longer sees you as its Master Sōsuke Aizen. Now it's time to end you."
Aizen's eyes grow wide but he never gets the chance to speak as the chains ruthlessly rip his limbs off his body and then they sink into and split his chest in half. The last sensation he feels are two hands gripping the sides of his head, the end comes when he feels a sudden and violent jerking motion upwards. His last sights before he is claimed by the darkness are the glowing crimson orbs watching him die. The black armoured being simply drops the severed head when the light leaves the eyes of the monster he just defeated.
Looking at the glass-like orb, Zangetsu asks the obvious. "Well, what do we do with this King?"
A voice in his head responds back. "Well the dumbass gave us a clue didn't he? He said the thing answers one's truest desires, so why don't we just desire it to free the souls in it and disappear after that?"
"You think it's that easy?"
"Only way to find out is to try."
Looking at the orb, both human and Zanpakutō wish for the same thing. The black mask smiles when the orb slowly begins to crumble away in his hand, each part passing through them before disappearing. The last soul, the first one ever taken is that of a little boy who smiles as he waves before he too disappears into reishi particles.
"It's over King. I think we need a vacation after this." His hollow zanpakutō says with exhaustion as he releases the body back to its rightful owner.
Dropping to one knee as the black armour dissipates, Ichigo mutters out his reply. "For once I agree."
The last thing Ichigo sees is that of himself falling face first next to the dismembered body of Aizen and the blonde man arriving next to his body.
Brown eyes slowly blink the pain away as the memory stops flowing into him from…
Ichigo feels strength flowing into him at a slow pace, but he is no longer falling into the abyss that he knew was his death. Shifting his body around until he is leaning against the barrier keeping him from the rest of his memories and more importantly his zanpakutō. Swallowing the blood he feels in his throat, he looks at the hollow figure before him.
"So, what now Zangetsu? How do we get out of this?" Ichigo taps the barrier.
His zanpakutō shrugs his shoulder as he points at the sky. "I think the Queen is trying something, but because of this barrier, she can't. I think the only way is for you to break it by using your new power King."
"How do I use it? I don't even know what it is?"
"My guess is that it came from Mom. I think she was more than human King. Before you ask, I think you need to ask the jackasses that probably hid it from you."
"Goat-face and Geta-Boshi." Ichigo says as he places names to two of the faces he remembers.
"Don't forget your 'Uncle Amyntas' either Ichigo. I have a feeling he has a lot to do with this as well."
"So how do I summon them Zangetsu?"
The zanpakutō looks at the darkening sky before he points up at it again. "I think you just do it King. She has the same power as you and it's flooding your soul as we speak. Just use it to get yours."
"You mean Rias."
"Yes your Queen Ichigo. She's in a lot of pain right now, and if you don't get out of here, she will probably do something that we both might regret later on. So Ichigo are you ready to try?"
Nodding his head once, Ichigo struggles to his feet, using the barrier as a crutch until he is standing on his own feet once again. Closing his eyes, he lets his senses reach out for the energy surrounding him and lets it flow into his body. Feeling strength rapidly returning, he imagines the same chains that Zangetsu has around him, slowly he feels them forming. A voice breaks him out of his meditation though.
"I see you can pick up new things quickly still Ichigo. Now how about removing this fucking barrier once and for all?"
Watching as his hollowfied zanpakutō steps away from the barrier, Ichigo looks at the floating chains at his sides harden into spikes at the end before turning his gaze back at the kidō before him. Forcing as much of his power into them as possible, he sends them straight at the barrier and throws his hands up to cover his face from the blinding light. Blinking tears to clear the sudden overload from his vision, he sees Zangetsu standing on the other side still smirking at him.
"Should have warned you about that Ichigo."
Laughing, his zanpakutō crosses over the now destroyed divide. Walking until he and Ichigo are less than a foot from each other, the hollow smiles before grabbing his wielder into a bone crushing hug.
"Gagh! What the hell Zangetsu!?" Ichigo yells trying to get out of the death grip.
"Shut it King. I don't think you have any idea what this means to me do you? I am finally whole and you are my true wielder. I am no longer bound to that fake."
Ichigo stops struggling and let's himself hug his zanpakutō spirit back, but he does get in his own quip. "Don't you ever mention this to anyone, got me?"
Snorting as he pushes Ichigo back, Zangetsu smirks as he answers. "What, and ruin our reputation King? As much as I'd like you to stay, you have to go back. But before you do, I have two things to tell you."
"What?" Ichigo sees half serious and half playful expressions before him.
"Before you come back, talk to Goat-Face, Geta-Boshi and Uncle Amyntas."
"And the second thing?"
"I like the new you, so when I give you your memories back, don't revert back to your old sullen self. This new you is much more fun, a lot happier, and you already know the other perks you gained. So try to stay as you are now King."
Ichigo stares at his zanpakutō incredulously before asking about what he just heard.
"Ah, what do you mean by giving me back my memories?" He shivers as the face grows a familiar evil grin.
Two spikes form and point at Ichigo as Zangetsu tells him with a certain amount of glee. "You know we never did things easy King, this time is no different. In order for me to give you back what's yours…I have to inject them back into you."
Ichigo never gets the chance to protest as Zangetsu drives one spike into his heart and the other into his forehead. He watches as his wielder disappears from his now freed inner-world and turns to looks to look at the newest occupant.
"Did you really have to do that Zangetsu?"
"No, but he doesn't need to know that kid. Besides, just because I'm his zanpakutō doesn't mean I can't have a bit of fun at his expense now and then."
"You will never change will you?"
"Nope, but why are you still here kid? I thought you would only hang around for awhile before passing on."
"Well I'm curious to see how it ends now Zangetsu. You two make me happy, so I think I will stick it out some more, that's if you don't mind?"
Waving his one hand, he holds out the other for the little girl to take. "Come on, I think King is going to be in a foul mood when he wakes, best be inside before the weather breaks."
"At least this time you have a place to hide out in Zangetsu."
"Yeah, that fucking city drove me nuts, all those buildings and windows and not one damn door."
Giggling as she is lifted into the air and placed on the white Zangetsu's shoulders, she screams just after he tells her to hold on before bursting away in shunpo.
Rukia struggles against the fallen angel, Sode No Shirayuki locking with the light spear to keep her from getting hit by the weapon again. Her leg bleeding as she now has the blonde-haired bitch right where she want her. Uttering softly under her breath, she springs her trap.
"Bakudou Number One, Sai."
The angel can only stare at the shinigami in front of her with sudden realization that she is about to die, as her spear falls from her hands as they are twisted behind her. She sees the petite violet-eyed women take one step back and raises her pure-white katana.
"This is for killing my friend." Rukia says without emotion as she forces her zanpakutō through the head and down the center of the fallen angel in front of her. It stops just below where the heart should be. Placing one hand on the now splitting chest, Rukia pushes the body away before she turns and stops at the sight she sees.
"What the fuck are they doing!?"
Tsubaki and Akeno are tag-teaming the angel that has been trying to escape the now closing trap of shinigami and devils.
"Fufufu, did you really think we let you escape after killing Ichi-kun, fallen angel?"
"I agree with my fellow Queen fallen angel, you did just kill a member of the Naberius Clan and a cousin to the Sitri Clan as well." Tsubaki chimes in as she twirls her naginata in her hands.
Breathing hard, the fallen angel points back behind the two as she huffs out to them. "You…you…mean…him?"
Both spare a glance behind them to see a sight that brings smiles to both of them, but Akeno keeps the now recovering fallen angel within her vision. "Well it seems things have changed for you, fallen angel."
Tsubaki also turns back on the fallen angel. "Shall we Akeno?"
"Yes, let's continue." Before she and Tsubaki launch fresh attacks at the now fatigued dark-haired woman in front of them.
Yoruichi is spinning and twisting each of her limbs against the male angel in front of her. She knows this is the one who has kept her from capturing the killer she now knows as 'Yuuma Amano'. Her anger boiling over after seeing Ichigo's body lying in his own blood allowed her to break her limiting kidō by the forcing everything she had at it. If she was going to break a few rules by getting involved with the devils, what was one or two more? But her prey got away when the male fallen angel got between her and the one that tried to kill the boy they had under surveillance. Picking up speed, she begins to show her opponent why she is called the Goddess of Flash.
Soon she is disappearing and reappearing around him, each time a foot, hand or knee landing a strike on the now bleeding and confused man. He is striking out blindly, hoping to land a lucky hit on the ghost he is fighting. He cheers when she appears right in front of him and throws a lazy punch, which he unwittingly grabs with both of his hands.
"Not so fast now, are you shinigami?" The man snarls out.
But the feral smile that responds to him is anything but comforting as she speaks. "You know who we are, but just as we forgot about you, you forgot about us." She places a palm just above his heart and utters her kidō.
"Hadō Number Eleven, Tsuzuri Raiden."
She watches as he is blasted away, the front of his chest torn and burnt from her kidō. She starts forward with the intention of killing the fallen angel, when she stops and stares.
'Why you little pervert!'
Momo stands above Rias as she tries to reincarnate her boyfriend with what looks like chess pieces. She had seen the first two shoot away from his body, before she has to deflect yet another thrown spear of light. Swinging Tobiume at the closest fallen angel, she smiles as the flames begin to burn one of the wings off the pinkish-haired woman's back. Taking her time, she utters under her breath the full incantation of her favorite kidō, before she lets it loose on the staggering angel.
"Hadō Number Thirty One, Shakkahō!"
The green eyes of the angel close just as the fireball hits her square in her chest, burning away her skimpy clothes and then the underlying skin until a shallow but lethal cavity forms. Momo watches in grim satisfaction, as the fallen angel falls forward on her knees before falling flat on her face. Looking over as she hears Rukia's own kidō and then her follow up swing that nearly cleaves her own opponent in half. However she looks at her curiously as Rukia's face forms her famous, or to those who know her, infamous gold-fish stare. Looking at what has captured her friend's attention; she turns around and when she looks down, she begins to blush furiously.
'Now I know what they mean by his skewed priorities.'
Rias begins to breakdown as her third Evil Piece is rejected by the man she loves. She can't understand why this is happening, why he was here to begin with, why he was dying in her arms and she was powerless to stop it. Dropping her head as she begins to sob into his blood-stained chest, she begins to gather her power around her. Soon her grief begins to fuel a new emotion, one she hasn't felt since the day she learned she had been betrothed to Riser Phenex. Lifting her head, she looks at the scene around her. Momo was standing in front of her, keeping her shielded from the battle. Rukia was fighting her own opponent despite the wound in her leg. Yoruichi was just a blur to her as she fought; Akeno and Tsubaki were fighting an angel who had gotten to close to the young human she had to make a part of her peerage. Looking up at the sky, she knew where Sōna and the others were now, maintaining the shield that kept their private battle from spilling out into the streets and the unsuspecting humans.
Fuelling her grief, she takes one more look at his still face and drops down and kisses him.
"I love you Ichigo." She begins to get up when her wrist is held in an iron grip.
Looking down at what was holding her in place, she grows confused when the hand holding her is his. Slowly she looks up at his face to see his eyes staring back at her. Not moving a muscle as his other hand cups her face and he smiles at her.
"Ichigo." She whispers in shock to him.
He doesn't say a word, but moves his hand from her cheek to the back of her head. Looking at him with even more confusion, she allows him to pull her to his face and stops shy of his lips.
"Shhhh Rias, it's okay now. I'm here with you."
Before she can say a word, he closes the distance and begins to kiss her deeply. Soon the two begin to fiercely kiss each other all the while their friends are fighting around them until a shout reminds them of that fact.
"Dammit Berry, if you can kiss your girlfriend, you can at least give us a hand first you asshole!"
Breaking apart, he looks at her watery eyes and his face breaks out in a smirk as he hesitantly lets her go.
"I guess Rukia's right Rias. Mind giving me a hand up? Still kinda weak here."
Shaking her head in disbelief at his cavalier attitude, she lifts one of his arms over her neck and before she can move she watches as Momo does the same with his other arm. Both women give the other a tear-stained smile as they lift the weak man to his feet. Both look up and see the slight glowing in his eyes as his scowl comes back in full force as he sees the wounds on his friends, the blood around a familiar looking boy and sees each of them fighting the black-winged assailants. Straightening up, the two begin looking down as black energy begins to surround them and the sound of metal on metal comes from behind them. Momo is the first to see the chains as they slither past her eyes, stunning her as they move on their own with their own intelligence it seems.
Rukia and Yoruichi freeze as they feel his reiatsu beginning to flood the area around them, but as they feel it, they also notice the changes taking place with it as well. The familiar warmth is there, but now it feels heavier than they each remember it to be before he left with Isshin into the Dangai. For Yoruichi, she knows what she is now feeling, his reiatsu is changing because his last bloodline has awakened as she spies the sentient chains flowing from behind him, Rias and Momo. Rukia can't help the smile she has as she knows that her best-friend has freed his mind and his zanpakutō. She can't help it as she looks at him being held up by the teen woman and her fellow lieutenant.
"You know Berry; if you are that weak, you should've stayed home and kept out of the way of us women."
"Bite me you closet dwelling midget, I do know trolls with better manners than you!"
Yoruichi wipes a tear away as she turns back to the fallen angel, seeing him as he stares at the sight now unfolding in front of him.
"Ichigo, if you don't mind, we really could use your help. I need at least one or two alive."
Sending a smirk at his sensei, he concentrates on his chains and sends them at each of the surviving fallen angels, catching all but the male. He dives out of the way as a magical circle appears under his body and allows him to disappear.
"Dohnaseek get back here you traitorous bastard!" A dark-skinned angel screams at his vanishing form.
Ichigo sends a command to the chains holding her, and sees them tighten slightly around her wings when he thought she might slip out. However he notices them digging deep into her skin instead of gently squeezing her.
"Not so rough King, you want to hold her, not shred her."
He must have sounded crazy when he replies out loud to his inner-spirit. "Well this is my first time actually using these damn things Zangetsu, I'm not really proficient with them." His eyes go wide and his cheeks sport a blush when a certain sadist begins to smile at his words.
"Well Ichigo, if you need a test subject to help you learn how to use them 'properly' I'll volunteer will…ing…ly." She sways her hips with her suggestion.
"Before you play with your friend Ichigo, why don't you wrap them up for now?"
"How do I do that?"
"Concentrate on the chains and they will do what you want. When they finish, they will separate from you and hold them."
Looking at each of the captured fallen angels, he thinks what he wants done and watches as more chains flow from behind him and encase each of the angels until they are inside cocoons of metal. Once that is done, the chains slowly disappear from behind his back as the last of his strength leaves him.
Rukia stops everyone from saying a word as she sheaths Sode No Shirayuki and walks towards Ichigo, never taking her eyes off of him. Standing in front of him, she cocks her head to one side before delivering one of her patented skin kicks to the offending giant in front of her.
"What the fuck midget!?"
Watching as his scowl comes back full force, she begins to tear up and grabs him with a bone jarring hug. "It really is you Ichigo. You're back."
Rias and Momo straining under the combined weight of Ichigo and the now limp Rukia, get help when Yoruichi takes over for Momo.
"You okay Ichigo?" Is all the former captain asks him.
"After I eat and get to sleep in a bed for a night or two, I think I will be." He says tiredly. "Hey Rukia, ah, if you don't mind, but I'd like to breathe sometime soon ya know."
Pulling away but grabbing his blood-stained shirt, she blows her nose in it before stepping away from his failed head smack. "Dammit Rukia, why?"
She shrugs her shoulders as she pulls her eyelid down and sticks her tongue at him.
"Real mature Rukia, real mature." He says as a smile begins to form.
"Ah Yoruichi-sama, I think we should go now. Someone is bound to investigate what has happened here." Sōna says as she and her remaining peerage walk into the now quieting clearing.
Looking around, she sees the boy still on the ground and points to him. "What about him Rias? He is one of your servants now right?"
Ichigo's eyes narrow as he slowly looks down at his crimson-haired girlfriend. "Rias, what is going on here?"
Before she can answer a new magic circle appears and four figures appear before the gathered devils, shinigami and one confused hybrid.
Ichigo eyes the man who calls himself his 'uncle' as he begins to speak. "Akeno, would you take care of Rias's new pawn. Sōna, you and your peerage should head back with Serafall and give your side of tonight's events. Yoruichi, I think you and the two lieutenants should come with me and Ichigo, as well as move them into the Gremory house. Koneko, Yuuto, I need you two to go back to the house and see to their arrangements. Sirzech and Venelana will take care of our 'guests' for the time being. Ichigo, Rias, I believe we have things to discuss tonight."
"Yeah we do 'Uncle Amyntas', like for starters who the hell are you really?" Ichigo asks with a hardening voice.
If the current Watcher of the Gates of Hell is offended, he doesn't show it as he begins to walk towards the newly awakened devil. "You are correct Ichigo. I am not your uncle. I am your Great-grandfather on your mother's side of your family, Amyntas Naberius, and yes, your father Isshin knows who I am."
"I knew it! I knew him and Geta-Boshi have been hiding even more shit from me! I will kick their asses when I see them next!"
Yoruichi begins laughing then. "Oh, you don't even know the half of it Ichigo, but as your granddaddy said, we should take this else where now."
"Yeah, like where Yoruichi?"
A magic circle forms underneath each devil as Amyntas says to his great-grandson. "I believe our ancestral home will be a good place for us to talk Ichigo."
"Wait!? What!? Hold oooonnnnnn!" His voice is the last to be heard in the now deserted battlefield.
Soon shadows and other familiars begin using magic to restore the place back to its former state. A lone woman walks around and inspects the park before her own magic circle takes her home.
Harumi smiles as she fades away. 'I guess the house will be even more chaotic.'
A man in a trench coat steps out from the shadows, and walks straight to the fountain where a single feather lays against the side. Bending down the man smirks as he knows who it belongs to.
"Well Raynare, lets see how you get out this hole you dug for yourself."
Black wings emerge from his back as he disappears in a glow of magic.
The black-clad figures jump from rooftop to rooftop making their way to three separate target areas. The first group breaks off and heads of the safe-house for the two missing lieutenants. The second group heads for Kuoh Academy, the school in question and the reason for the mission the lieutenants were on. The final group arrives in the middle of a park, next to a water fountain. They pull out various items courtesy of Squad Twelve to take samples of the air, water and grounds. Also they need to identify the unknown reiatsu still lingering in the area.
"Got it, but no ID on the person whose reiatsu this belongs too." The first Squad Two member says.
"What about the rest of the samples?"
The rest of the squad collect around the seated-officer and give their samples to him. When he has everything, he opens his Coms to Soul Society.
"This is Third Platoon, we're ready to return."
"A Senkaimon will open in three, two, and one."
The six man unit flow effortlessly and soundlessly through the gate back to Soul Society. With them they carry news that one man is not looking forward to seeing come to light.
Koneko folds each piece of Akeno's uniform as she is handed them, all the while looking at the nude boy under his blankets still unconscious. Frowning as she watches her older senpai strip down until she stops with just her panties still on. Koneko places the last item on the neatly folded pile before she sighs out loud.
"What's wrong Ko-chan?"
The little neko points at Issei Hyoudou. "Why does he have to be the one to have a Sacred Gear in him?"
Akeno smiles sadly at the younger girl before answering. "Who knows why they are chosen to be the vessels of such things Koneko? All I know is that this young man has a Sacred Gear and he became the target of the fallen ones. It will be our job to help him use it wisely."
"But why such a pervert? Are we cursed now that we have such a perverse person in our peerage?"
Akeno begins giggling in genuine humor. "I don't think we should look at it that way Koneko-chan."
Koneko looks at her in worry before asking. "Then why?"
"Think of all the fun we will have as we watch him and Ichigo when they are near each other from now on!"
Koneko face-palms just as Akeno slip's under the covers and surrounds the young man's body with magic.
"Oh Issei, how you will drive our Ichi-kun up the walls with your perversion, but Kami help you if you ever direct that lust at Rias. You will not live to see your next birthday." She scrunches her eyebrows with the slight pain from thinking of the angel's leader, but that is soon followed by a smile.
Subj: He's AWAKE!
Tessai smiles as he reads his message, after powering down his phone he walks out into the yard behind the shouten were Kisuke is sitting on the roof looking up at the sky. Standing underneath the slanted roof where his comrade of over a hundred years sits above him, Tessai folds his arms.
"Okay what is it Tessai? You wouldn't of come out here if it wasn't important."
Kisuke shots straight up to his feet before he lands silently next to the former Kidō Squad Commander. Spinning on his feet, he makes his way back into the shouten and into a room not once opened when Ichigo, his friends or any shinigami from Soul Society were around. Tessai follows in behind the former Onmitsukidō's Detention Unit commander. They both place their hands on two separate sides of the back wall and let their reiatsu flow into the kidō spells guarding the secrets hidden behind the panel. As they step back, the wall separates into four pieces exposing the various items behind it. Kisuke walks up to an object that he had created before he was forced to flee from Soul Society. Grabbing it in the middle, a part of the cloth falls away exposing the handle of a blank Asauchi.
"He'll be needing this soon Tessai."
"I agree Boss."
Subj: Get ready to run! Your boy is AWAKE! Be a good idea if we aren't around when Yoruichi comes home!
'Asshole! Now you tell me?'
He is about to get up when his phone buzzes a second time indicating a new text message. Looking down, his eyes grow wide in horror at the sender's name.
To: Shiba, Isshin
From: Princess Yoruichi
Subj: Ichigo and Zangetsu are free. I'll be there to collect you and the other dumbass the day after tomorrow. PS, I got both of the special gigai, dumbasses!
His head hits the dining room table with a thud after seeing her message.
"Otousan, are you okay?" Orihime's big eyes fill his vision as his head lifts up.
Scooting back, he yells out. "Orihime! Where did you come from!?"
Orihime giggles as she points to the kitchen. "I just finished cleaning up Otousan when I heard you groan and then saw your head hit the table. I got worried."
Isshin changes to his goofy persona as he laughs. "Oh it's nothing my Third Daughter. Daddy's okay, just Yoruichi pulling my leg about Kisuke, that' all."
Orihime's happy face slips slightly before her happiness returns. "I'm sure she's only relaying good news to you, I hope?"
Isshin wants to tell her, but until he sees his son first, and he is sure there are things Ichigo is going to demand from him, he has to keep the news to himself for now.
"She will be back in a day or two; she has to grab Kisuke for something Soul Society related."
"You don't have to lie to me Otousan. I know it's about Ichigo. That's the only time she comes back anymore. To give us assurances that he is still doing well."
Isshin stands and pulls the young woman into his arms. "I wish things were simple Orihime, but…but until we can get things straightened out with Central Forty Six, it's still best if he stays away."
Returning his hug, she nods in his embrace. "We just want to see him soon Otousan. That's all we want at this point."
"I know my daughter, I know."
"Hang on Ichigo, it's over now." Rias's says while holding onto him.
"What was that?"
Ichigo keeps his eyes closed as the vertigo takes over his body, feeling sick, he tries to push to two women holding him away from him, but neither let go. He begins to sweat heavily as he tells them to let him go.
"I think I'm gonna be sick!"
Yoruichi and Rias both hold his arms as he bends over and empties his stomach on the marble floor beneath him.
"Let it out Ichigo."
"We really should have warned him about that." Yoruichi's voice says to Rias while trying to calm him down.
Always the sarcastic one, after he finishes upchucking, he sends a glare at the grinning mocha-skinned woman. "Thanks for the head's up Yoruichi."
"I'm sorry Ichigo, I should have warned you." Rias again says to him.
Looking at the crimson-haired woman, he gives her a subtle smile. "I'm fine; I just need to wash the taste out of my mouth now."
A cup suddenly appears before him, making him look up at a strange woman standing in front of him. She was almost as tall as he is, with long straight black hair and large emerald green eyes, her skin a shade paler than Yoruichi's, but it was her pointy ears that draw his attention the most before her voice takes him by surprise by how beautiful it sounds.
"Here Lord Naberius, this will help settle your stomach."
"Ah, thanks." Is all he can say as he grabs the cup and begins to drink.
Feeling the queasiness leaving quickly, he downs the entire contents of the cup before holding it up for the woman.
"Ichigo this is Merti, she will be your personal assistant when you are home on the Estate. She is reincarnated Woods Elf, the last of her family's lineage." His 'uncle' informs him.
The elf bows to Ichigo while addressing. "I will serve you faithfully My Lord."
"Like hell you will!"
The three devils look at Ichigo in shock, especially the elf, as she looks at Amyntas with a hint of anger. "My Lord?"
Ichigo straightens up with what little strength he has as he looks at his 'uncle'. "I don't want a servant. I don't need one and I'm sure as hell ain't going to take one that sees me as some kind of stuck up noble, no offense Rukia, Yoruichi."
"Moron, you're one too." Yoruichi says with a ghost of a smile.
Amyntas looks at his great-grandson with an open smile as he tells Ichigo what Yoruichi means. "Ichigo, as a member of my Clan, you yourself are a noble by blood. I am Lord Amyntas Naberius of the Naberius Clan. We are one of the clans of the Seventy Two Pillars of the Underworld. Our clan is the only one that can control the Gates of Hell as it has always done since the beginning of our race. You, Ichigo, are my heir."
Ichigo feels his head spinning again as he lets the information sink into his being, swallowing he whispers hoarsely. "I…we are the rulers of Hell?"
"No, just the prison for the souls of the damned."
"Oh. I see."
Yoruichi and Rias are suddenly straining under his dead weight. Amyntas quickly takes Rias's place as he easily hoists up his great-grandson while looking at the purple-haired shinigami. "Too soon?"
"Yeah, probably too soon."
When Ichigo woke next, he realizes he is in a bed, a very comfortable bed except one thing, he knew he was missing something, more importantly someone. Looking around as he slowly sat up, he sees that the room he is in was very large, larger than their room at home. Tossing aside the blanket covering him, he finds that someone has dressed him and embarrassingly has cleaned him as well. Testing his strength, he feels a lot stronger than he did when he…
"Great, I fainted. Rukia will never let me hear the end of it now."
Walking to the partially opened door, he turns on the light to see it's only the bathroom. Frowning, he walks around the room until he finds what appears to be an intercom system. Pushing the green call button, he hears the voice of the woman he met earlier.
"Ah, Merti right?"
"Yes. How may I help you?"
"Could you send someone to give me a hand? I…I don't see my clothes."
"I'll be there momentarily. Are you…are you dressed now?"
The door to the bedroom opens as the elf walks in and gives him a short bow. "How may I be of service to you…Ichigo?" He notices the slight hesitation.
Looking at the woman in front of him, Ichigo walks towards until he is front of her. He sticks out his hand to her, which causes her to look at him.
"It's called a handshake. You take my hand and shake it when you meet someone new. This is how it works." He gently takes her hand and begins to shake it. "My name is Ichigo. How do you do?"
Merti looks down at her hand in his, and then she looks up at him before she smiles at him. "My name is Merti Longoak."
"Nice to meet you Longoak-san."
"Merti will be fine Ichigo."
"Good, about earlier Merti, I'm sorry about that. I wasn't expecting to have someone tell me that sort of thing. So just give me time to adjust because I really don't know what is going on right now."
Merti nods to him. "I understand Lord Naberius."
"No more of that Merti, I'm not a lord."
"If I may l…Ichigo, you are a member of the Naberius Clan, as such you are noble by blood, but. "Holding her hand to stop him. "I was informed by Lord Amyntas that you grew up in the Human World not knowing who your family really is. That is why he allowed me to become your assistant Ichigo. While there are clans that do treat their servants badly, there are Clans such as yours and the Gremory that do treat us respectfully, which is why we continue to serve them faithfully. I am not nor will I ever be a servant, I am a member of his staff, now your staff Ichigo. My duties are to see that your education into our world goes smoothly and that when the time comes you can take your position as the next head of the Naberius Clan."
"So…why exactly do I need a staff for?"
"You will learn tomorrow what being a member of the Naberius really means Ichigo. That must come from your great-grandfather. But may I ask a question?" He nods to her. "Did you not have a staff when you lived with the Gremory Clan?"
"We do, but I and the others took over most of our chores. They help maintain the house and do the gardening and other things. I guess now that I remember I have always done things for myself, except cook. Yuzu has always cooked for me. My cooking skills are more likely a false memory."
"Is that why you do not wish to have me then Ichigo?"
Running his hand through his hair, he sighs out loud. "Merti, I am used to doing things for myself, but listening to you now, I'm guessing I have a lot to learn now. So Merti, how about I just call you my sensei and we'll call it even?"
"Then I'll do my best Ichigo. Now I believe you were asking about something you needed? Your clothes I believe?" She watches him frown for a second.
"Do you know where Rias is?" He asks instead.
"Yes, she is in her room."
"Yes. She is next door to you."
"Is that all?"
"Yeah, that's all." Ichigo says as he forgets about his clothes.
"Goodnight then Ichigo." Merti bows as she walks back out of the room.
"Goodnight Merti." Ichigo doesn't notice her bow as he falls on the edge of the bed and stares down at the floor in confusion.
"Why isn't she here?"
"Because King, she's probably confused about who you are."
"Confused about me?"
He hears his zanpakutō sigh as he tells his wielder the possible reason why. "She doesn't know who you are King. You got your memories back, but she doesn't know where she stands with you. The Queen doesn't know what she means to you. So King, tell me, where does she belong? In there alone, or in here where she DOES belong with you?"
"Like I said King, I like the new you. Now get the Queen back to where she belongs."
Getting up, he walks to the door and opens it to see another servant waiting outside his room. As the servant stands, he stops her with a wave of his hand. "Which room is Rias in?"
"Thanks." He walks down the hallway and without knocking, opens the door to see Rias sitting in the middle of her bed. Her head snaps up when she sees him, but she doesn't move or say a word to him. Narrowing his eyes, a soft growl forms in his throat as he walks up to her and puts his puts his fists on the bed.
"Mind telling me why you are in here Rias? I clearly remember us having an arrangement."
"Come on Rias, we'll talk back in 'our' room." Not even waiting, he turns on his heels and walks away, smiling when he hears her feet hit the floor, then following him all the way back to the bedroom he woke up in. Holding the door open, he lets her pass him before he looks at the servant.
"Ah, do you think we could get something to eat?"
"I'll bring you something right away Ichigo-sama." He groans as he watches the servant run down the hallway.
Shutting the door, he sees Rias still standing in the middle of the room wearing just a light yukata. Walking up to her, he can see the hesitation in her eyes still. Deciding he needs to make her understand, he cups both her cheeks and draws her to him.
"I remember everything Rias, my past and just as importantly my present life with you. We'll talk after I eat and then you can decide if you want this still, but I already know what I want Rias."
"What Ichigo, what do you want?" Her eyes slowly tearing.
"You." He kisses her lightly. "That hasn't changed Rias."
"Then I want to know everything Ichigo, there can't be any secrets between us. I promise to tell you anything you want as well."
A sudden knock at the door interrupts them. "Come in." Rias says irritability.
The servant from before, plus Merti, enters the room pushing a tray filled with food. Merti nods to the other woman who leaves the three without a word.
"Ichigo, please ring me if you need anything else."
"No, I think this is plenty. Thank you Merti and please thank the other…" He looks at Rias.
"It's okay Ichigo; I think they are trying to understand that you are different, not many are used to having masters treat them the way you and I do. Merti, please we will be fine, if we need anything we will ring."
"Of course My Lady. Goodnight then Ichigo, Lady Rias."
Ichigo arcs an eyebrow as he watches Merti leave the room, looking at Rias, she pulls him to the cart with his dinner. Pulling the cover off however makes Ichigo realize he hasn't eaten in quite sometime. Sitting at a table, he has to endure Rias smoothly transitioning into playing nurse for him. The two sit and begin to eat when Ichigo looks at Rias.
"So I guess this would be a good time for us to talk Rias. I'm sure you have a lot of questions."
She pauses for a moment before she nods her head. "I would like that Ichigo, but only if you feel like it."
"Well other than being hungry, I feel fine Rias." Taking a sip of his tea, he gathers his thoughts and begins his tale. "I guess it started when I was a little kid, I could always see ghost but at the time, I didn't know the difference…"
Rias sits listening as Ichigo describes his early life with his family, his life from his first encounter with a ghost. How it was because of his ability to see ghosts, that he felt responsible for his family's unhappiness. She feels her chest tighten when he comes to the hardest part of his story so far, the death of his mother. He tells her how he saw the little girl that night, only to learn years later it was a lure by a hollow named Grand Fisher. How after her death, he changed, how he hardly ever smiled and began training to get stronger so he could protect his sisters, so they never have to deal with the pain of losing a loved one again. He smiles then as he tells her how exactly he got involved in the afterlife when he let a certain midget stab him in the chest to give him her powers.
She openly laughs when he tells her about his time with Rukia, how she scared him when she jumped out of his closet the first time wearing his sister Yuzu's clothes. How over the course of the time she was with him, he felt deep down that she would be a part of his life forever. Rias sees his eyes harden when he told her how Rukia's brother and his lieutenant beat him and his other friend Uryū when they retrieved his shinigami friend. Afterwards, he told her how he got his powers back and then he pauses suddenly.
"Rias, I guess this is where things get complicated even for me."
"What do you mean Ichigo?"
"Because Queen, this is where I was imprisoned by his false zanpakutō spirit." Rias's eyes go wide as Zangetsu appears next to Ichigo.
Ichigo quickly grabs Rias's hands to keep them still. "Sorry, I should have warned you about that. He insisted on coming out to tell you himself."
"He…he looks like you Ichigo." The Gremory says as she stares at his white zanpakutō spirit.
"He's the ugly one toots. I'm the pretty one." Ichigo simply rolls his eyes.
"Zangetsu this is our Queen, Rias Gremory. Rias this is my zanpakutō, Zangetsu."
The white being flabbergasts Ichigo as he takes Rias's hand and kisses it. "Thank you for helping free us. It was your power that helped the King break the last barrier. I'm sorry I couldn't do it before, but that asshole Geta-Boshi somehow managed to seal me completely."
"Nice to meet you as well Zangetsu, but how are you doing this?" She looks between the two.
Ichigo smiles then. "Well we'll tell you because it's part of how I saved Rukia. As I…as we were saying…"
As Rias Gremory listens to Ichigo and occasionally Zangetsu, describe the various and escalating battles Ichigo and his friends had in their quest to save Rukia. She cringes as Zangetsu points out the gory details Ichigo tried to hide from her, which she ended by warning him with a few choice words and a glare not to hide anything. The shinigami shoots his sword spirit a nasty look after that before they pick up the tale to when he began to train in the underground training room with Yoruichi to gain his bankai.
"The bankai is a zanpakutō's second release, very few shinigami obtain it which is why all the captains but one has it, Zaraki, well he is a special case and a nut job. Also I know at least two lieutenants have it as well, but other than them, I am the only other one."
"Which reminds me Ichigo, as soon as you talk to them; you and I have to train. I get the feeling that our bankai has changed."
"How are we going to train without your physical form?"
"Hopefully Goat-face or Geta-Boshi have an answer to that problem." Zangetsu frowns thinking about the fact that his King, while powerful, was still missing his best weapon, him.
"So…" Rias says as she waves between the two.
"Oh, sorry, as I was saying I had to train three days to obtain my bankai. I had to defeat or force him into telling me how to release it…"
Soon Ichigo gets to the worst part of the rescue, facing not only the remaining captains but having to fight Rukia's brother when he refused to let her go. It was during that fight that his hollow, he points at Zangetsu, made himself known for the first time. Zangetsu shrugs unapologetically as he tells Rias he had no choice, Ichigo was dying at that point and would have lost. Ichigo huffs out but admits that was what was going on. The two bicker for a minute before Ichigo finishes the fight and then the part that made both hollow and former human harden in hatred.
"It is when we were retreating down Sōkyoku Hill that Aizen openly began his betrayal. He nearly cut me in half after nearly killing Renji for the Hōgyoku in Rukia. He escaped with two other captains. We were exonerated and released to go back to the World of the Living. But it didn't last long, it was shortly after that we encountered our first Arrancar then…"
Soon the tale of his fighting them and nearly losing control to his 'hollow' that made the Vizard come for him to train. He and Zangetsu get pretty heated about the battle, but Zangetsu shrugs if off when he told her that it wasn't truly his fault, he had no idea then who he really was. All he had were his basest instincts to go by. Ichigo then begins the invasion of Hueco Mundo with Chad and Uryū to save the falsely accused Orihime. Rias can see his eyes glow slightly when he talks about how Soul Society easily branded her a traitor without much proof.
"Ichigo, she means a lot to you, doesn't she?" Rias can't help the jealous feeling she has, even knowing he doesn't love the woman that way.
"Of course Rias. She is…she is one of us. Besides I promised Tatsuki I would bring her home no matter what. There was no way I was leaving her alone in that place, but…"
"But what Ichigo?"
"We found out something later that we didn't realize until it was too late."
"What? What did you find out?"
King and zanpakutō look at each other for a moment. "We'll tell you when we get to that part."
Zangetsu takes over to allow Ichigo to eat and to rest for the moment. He describes the trip to Hueco Mundo and meeting up with Rukia and Renji who got passage there from Geta-Boshi. He cracks up when he tells her that Ichigo made friends with the hollows there and that it was fortuitous that he did. He tells her how they infiltrated Las Noches and the many battles Ichigo had to fight and then he grins as he tells Rias what happened when Ichigo was losing to the Quinto Espada that the little hollow, named Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck grew up to reveal herself to be the former Tercera Espada. How after both Ichigo and then Nelliel lost to him, that the reinforcements from Soul Society showed up in time to take over the fight.
"That's when we fought him." Both hollow and his partner's eyes go blank.
Rias sees the two are remembering something very dark about that memory. "Ichigo, Zangetsu, what happened?"
"He wouldn't let me have Orihime, and in the end it took him killing me to…"
"To finally allow me to fight as we were meant too, I became his true power briefly without interference from the fraud."
Ichigo's eyes drift down with his next statement. "I killed him Rias. I killed him because he was in my way of keeping my promise to save and bring back Orihime. As he was dying, we saw it."
"What did you see Ichigo? Why do you look guilty for defeating this enemy?"
"The King's not so sure if he was our enemy. As he was fading away, he and Orihime spoke to each other and at the end; he reached out for her, only to fade before he could…"
"Before he could touch what he had found. Someone to show him what he was missing." Ichigo eyes are distant then.
"Ichigo, I have no idea what to say."
"It's fine Queen. But you should prepare for the last part. It's the hardest for both Ichigo and I what happened that day."
Rias slowly nods her head as Ichigo once again resumes the story. How upon arriving in Fake Karakura with Captain Unohana, he tried to fight Gin Ichimaru but lost when he was told he didn't have the conviction yet to face Aizen. Ichigo has to admit he was right and it was only after the two traitors left and he and father made it into the Dangai that Ichigo found that resolve.
"Rather falsely I have to say King. He did give you what you needed, but he still kept us apart. But he f…screwed up when we use that last move and it failed. He had no way to contain to me after that, not after I touched that power for the first time and was able to break free from the fake."
"Touch what power Zangetsu?"
"Our mother's hidden power, the one that the fake's master doesn't know about. The same power as you Rias Gremory, the power I leave up to you to explain to the King." She watches as Zangetsu fades away.
"What is he talking about Ichigo, what happened in Soul Society?"
"I no longer had my zanpakutō, so I thought I had no more shinigami power left, but Aizen, he wasn't through. Kisuke tried but somehow Aizen knew and beat what ever it was that Geta-Boshi put into him. That…that was when he threatened everyone in my life and I let Zangetsu take control of my body Rias. We tore him apart and ripped his head off his body. We took his power from him and killed him like he was nothing. I…we have no regrets for what we did, but after that I don't remember anything until I woke up in Austria and my 'amnesia' began."
"How did you win Ichigo?"
Ichigo thinks about one of the chains then; he let it slowly materialize behind him before letting it fade away. "We used those chains to tear him apart. He wasn't fast enough to avoid them because my power is both speed and strength. After we took the Hōgyoku from him, he had no way of regenerating his body, so we…killed him."
"You used Hell Chains!?"
"Is that what they are called? I didn't know they had a name Rias. I just think and they appear, or at least that is what me and Zangetsu can do. So I'm guessing you know what they are then Rias?"
"Yes Ichigo, I know what they are." She stands then and walks to a clear spot in the room.
"Ichigo, I want to show you what I really am now. What we really are." She sheds her yukata and stands there looking at him before two black wings emerge from her back.
Ichigo stands up and walks towards her and when he stands in front of her, a blush forms as he stares at her naked form in awe. "Can…can I touch them?"
She nods a yes then. Ichigo hesitantly touches her left wing and is surprised by how soft it really was. Despite the tough leather look, her wing felt soft as fur as he ran his hand down the length of her wing. Going from wing to wing, he is fascinated by them.
Rias feels a rush in her body as she can feel his touch on her wings, never have they been so sensitive before now, but with his hand, she shivers from the touching. She starts to take his shirt off and when she unbuttons the last one, she pushes it off his shoulders.
"You have them too Ichigo. Just concentrate and they should form, just don't move when they do, you might accidentally…fly or something." She giggles then.
"Very funny Rias." He begins doing as she says and soon enough he feels two pulling sensations behind him.
Curious, he glances over his shoulder and freaks out when his wing hits him in the face.
"Nice one King! Just knock yourself out dumbass!"
Rias grabs him and steadies him at the same time. "That's enough Ichigo, now think about them folding away and they should go back."
"I hope so, or I got a lot of explaining to do when we get back to Kuoh."
Her head snaps up at him. "You're coming back?"
He nods to her as his wings retract and she pulls her back in as well. Taking his hand she leads him to the bed and pulls back the sheets. Getting in first, she blushes as he strips down to his underwear and he climbs in beside her. Turning off the light, he wraps Rias in his arms from behind.
"I guess I'm not human anymore am I Rias?"
"No Ichigo. You and I are…" She pauses as she tries to prepare him and herself.
"If I had to guess from what my great-grandfather said about us being the jailers of hell, I am guessing we are…we are devils." He finishes her sentence.
"Yes Ichigo, we are devils. Your great-grandfather will tell you how this is possible tomorrow Ichigo. I promise that I won't leave you to deal with this alone."
"I guess tomorrow I find out how I am the most screwed up individual in not only the World of the Living, but the spiritual realms as well."
Rias snorts then. "It's not that bad being a devil Ichigo. It does have a unique trait."
"When we say 'until death do us part' it won't apply to us. We devils can live forever."
'We are so going to kick Goat-face and Geta-Boshi's asses for not telling us sooner!'
Yoruichi, Rukia and Momo sat in the hot springs, letting the amazing feeling of the Naberius Clan's private and most luxurious hot spring seep away their aches and heal their wounds. Yoruichi grins as she thinks about the three days she spent with Ichigo doing just this.
'Oh, how shy Ichigo pretended to be, even when he was peeking.'
Yoruichi looks at the two younger shinigami as they lay in the pool of hot water; both had their eyes closed, letting their wounds heal and the fatigue wash away. Just like the springs Kisuke had under the shouten, and in their secret training ground under Sōkyoku Hill, the water had healing properties. She was impressed by how much the raven-haired shinigami had improved her zanjutsu; she had even recognized her old hohō student's unique style in some of Rukia's movements. It must be why he allowed her to become Jūshirō's lieutenant after all these years; he was making sure she could defend herself.
Looking at Rukia's fellow lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, Yoruichi could see that she was too was getting stronger under Shinji's tutelage as well. Her kidō and her zanjutsu had gotten much stronger under the Vizard's watchful eye. Shinji knew that she could become stronger; it had only Aizen's treachery that kept the Squad Five lieutenant from seeing that. She had stood over Rias and Ichigo, not yielding her ground, as the fallen angels had tried to kill not only the human boy, but once they saw the crimson-haired woman trying to save Ichigo, they tried to kill her too. Momo had killed one early in her fight, but once she saw Ichigo on the ground, she became a stone wall defending his body.
Yoruichi smiles, as she realizes that there was still hope that Soul Society had a chance of changing with the younger men and women coming up through the ranks. From Rukia and Momo, to Renji and Tōshirō Hitsugaya, the new were replacing the older shinigami, each of them changing after meeting Ichigo. It had happened when he came to rescue Rukia, the first signs of respect from those that had fought him, and had been defeated by him. He proved himself time and time again as he grew stronger with each of his battles. But it had been when he joined up with Shinji and the other Vizard's that his power grew almost exponentially. Ichigo showed why he would never be apart of Soul Society after what had happened with Orihime. After being told that he that he wouldn't have their support and that he was needed to defend Karakura, Ichigo did what he always did best, he ignored them.
He, Uryū and Chad left on their own, no support at first, to rescue one of their own. She smiled when she watched as the three leapt into the garganta without hesitation and Kisuke talked to Tatsuki, Keigo and Mizuiro after the other trio came out of hiding. That was the last time she would see Ichigo until the battle over Karakura, but Aizen had proven too powerful even against the combined forces of shinigami and Vizards. It had taken one human boy to bring down the power-mad god and then he was rewarded. A death sentence handed down from Central Forty Six, and the underlying threat to both his family and friends. At least until a majority of the Captains stood for Ichigo.
Now he was back and for time being Central Forty Six had to be kept in the dark for as long as possible. Sighing, she leans back into the pool of hot water, letting it do its magic to her own aches and pains. Soon the water moves when two new bodies join the recovering shinigami. Yoruichi cracks an eye when she recognizes Venelana but the grey-haired woman with her however was someone she hadn't met before.
"Good Evening Venelana, I see you're back from where ever." Yoruichi cracks a grin at the woman.
Momo and Rukia both sit up and bow to the arrivals, Venelana gives a nod back to the women. Turning to the woman who arrived with her, she makes introductions between them. "Grayfia, this is Yoruichi Shihōin, Rukia Kuchiki and Momo Hinamori. Grayfia is my daughter-in-law; she is married to Sirzech and is the Queen of his peerage."
The women exchange pleasantries before settling back into the springs as members of the Naberius Clan bring the five women fruits and sake before withdrawing. Soon each of them has a saucer when Yoruichi makes a toast.
"To Ichigo." The others respond.
"Now we can talk." Venelana says putting her saucer down.
Rukia, Momo and Grayfia look at her with confusion. Yoruichi turns to her and shocks them all.
"So as soon as Isshin and Kisuke get here and tell him the truth, we can get down to the omiai negotiations."
"Mother, what is she talking about? You're not going to do what I think you're going to do?"
"Yes we are. Rias will be with the one she wants to marry."
"And the Phenex Clan?"
"We have decided to let Ichigo and Rias deal with that their own way. He must prove his strength to the nobility of the Underworld and to those that would challenge him." Venelana speaks with an edge to her voice.
"You…you're planning to marry the Berry off Yoruichi?" Rukia asks in amusement.
Venelana snorts then. "Those two are already joined at the hip Rukia; we're just going to make sure no one tries to come between them. Ichigo, whether he knows it or not, is a very handsome young man, and by the tales Yoruichi has told me, he is highly sought after in Soul Society and the Human World. Image what happens when the young noblewomen of the Underworld see him?"
"But aren't they too young for that?" The Squad Five lieutenant speaks up.
Yoruichi grins then and answers in a lazy drawl. "I think Ichigo has already staked his claim."
Venelana and then Yoruichi begin laughing at their inside joke, leaving the other three to wonder if they are drunk.
"Ah, is there something you're not telling us Yoruichi-sama, Mother?" Grayfia inquires suspecting something good.
"I don't know if we should tell you three." Yoruichi says with a conspiratorial smirk.
"Yes, I think we should respect their privacy. There is no telling how those two will react if that particular secret got out." Venelana agrees with her own smirk.
Venelana and Yoruichi then grin at one another and at the same time. "He gave her, her first orgasm!"
"Oh, yes it was just the other night, they were…well let's say the whole house heard those two." Venelana sighs out. "My little girl has found her husband."
"But you don't know if he, well you can't assume he…"
"I assure you he has made his decision." The tall dark-skinned woman says as she strips her own robe and steps in the water next to Grayfia.
"Grayfia-sama, Gremory-sama." The reddish-brown woman says as she acknowledges the two powerful devils.
"Merti-san." Venelana nods to the elf. "May I introduce to you, Yoruichi Shihōin, Lieutenant Rukia Kuchiki of Squad Thirteen and Lieutenant Momo Hinamori of Squad Five they are members of the Gotei Thirteen."
"An honor to meet three shinigami, we haven't seen one of your kind in a millennia."
Momo looks at the woman sitting with the two devils. "You…you…are an elf!"
Merti begins to laugh. "Yes I am Hinamori-san. I am indeed an elf, my name is Merti Longoak."
Rukia can't believe her eyes, first the shock when Yoruichi showed up at Kuoh and quickly told her and Momo that they were on the territory of the devils and now a living legend was sitting across from her. The next thing she realizes is how beautiful the woman was. Her reddish-brown skin, a shade paler than Yoruichi, her wide emerald eyes, her black hair as long as Orihime's and Rangiku's. But it was her chest that gave the petite shinigami cause of jealousy, if she had to guess, she was slightly larger than Yoruichi and with no sagging.
"Are all devils as incredible looking as you?" Rukia can't help blurt out.
Yoruichi and Venelana began laughing again, while Momo, Grayfia and Merti blush at the statement.
"I…I thank you Kuchiki-sama, but I don't consider myself that way. My sisters are as beautiful as you say; I am what you would call the tom-boy of my family."
Rukia can't help but to face-palm while Momo lays a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. Momo looks at the new arrival and takes up the conversation then.
"You said that Ichigo made his decision. How do you know?"
"After he and I talked, he immediately went to her room and brought her back to his room, where the two of them are now having a late dinner. I might have 'overheard' him saying that they had an arrangement."
"Yes, he is her sleeping pillow." Venelana supplies the answer.
"Oh, I see. Well then we have nothing to be concerned about then. He seems intent on keeping the arrangement by the smile he had on his face. I must say, he is different from the stories I have heard recently. Is it true Rukia, he invaded Soul Society to rescue you?" Directing the question asked at Rukia.
"Here we go again. Yes he did, it really started out a month before when we first met…"
An hour later Rukia finishes by ending it with. "And so after that, he left back to the World of the Living, I stayed in Soul Society, but we did partner up later during the Arrancar invasion and then when we went and rescued Orihime in Hueco Mundo."
Merti sits quietly for a few minutes before she smiles. "Then I will do what I promised all those years ago. He will make a fine Lord to give to continue keeping my promise to."
"Promise, what promise?" Yoruichi cuts in.
"I promised Lord Naberius that if Ichigo proved to be the one, I would continue my duties as the Head of Household as I once was for his grandfather and grandmother. From Rukia-sama's own words, he is truly a good person to take Kiku-sama's place."
"You knew his grandmother?" The violet-eyed shinigami asks with wonder.
"Yes, she was…was the kindest person I have ever known. I was devastated by her death, and then when Amyntas told me her child didn't survive, I cried for nearly a month. Had I known he lied, I would have left the Underworld and kept watch over Masaki, but I didn't know until after he left suddenly months ago that she did indeed survive and had children of her own. I understand now why he hid her survival from us, but when he first told his peerage and Vincent's peerage, it was a very emotional meeting. We…we were upset that he didn't tell us and that Masaki-sama died at the hands of a vile hollow. But now, now I have a chance to fulfill my oath to Kiku, to take care of her children and her grandchildren. So I should thank you Rukia Kuchiki for granting me the opportunity to keep my promise to my mistress."
Grayfia suddenly looks at her mother-in-law and then the elf before questioning part of the story. "I thought no one knew of Masaki-sama? How is it you know Merti-san?"
"We all knew of her pregnancy, but were sworn to secrecy to keep the child safe. Vincent had made many enemies in the Civil War, but it didn't matter, they still found out and waited until he was vulnerable. We all know what happened then." Merti wipes a tear away then.
"I'm sorry Merti. None of us even knew until recently who Ichigo really was." Venelana quietly says to the elf.
Smiling sadly as she looks at the water, Merti speaks softly. "I won't allow anything to happen to Rias, Lady Gremory, this I swear my life to you. She will never know the lengths I will go to keep her and Ichigo safe My Lady."
"So you're really like me then?" Yoruichi says in understanding.
"I hope we can learn from each other Yoruichi-sama, I would like to know what I might expect should your former rulers come after him."
Rukia catches on what they are talking about then. "You're a…a…?"
"Yes, I am. I will inform Ichigo in my own time Kuchiki-sama. For now I think I will assist Rias-sama with teaching Ichigo in understanding our way of life."
"Speaking of that, shall we Yoruichi? I want to get most of the details out of the way before his father arrives. As you have said, nothing shall interfere with their happiness."
"You know Venelana, you and I are going to be the most hated women in three realms."
"I don't see why Yoruichi, he made up his own mind the night he confessed to Rias. I just hope he is ready when he faces Riser Phenex."
Rukia chimes in at that point. "Well that's the easy part Venelana-sama; we just have to knock the rust off of him. If there is anything that will drive Ichigo to train, it will be anything that would threaten his family or friends. I think Rias counts as family now."
"More importantly Rukia, Momo, I will need your help in an area he is severely lacking in now. His kidō is atrocious, as is his control; I can feel it even now all the way out here."
"So that's what I have been feeling." Grayfia said. "I wondered what that was."
Momo groans out then. "Yoruichi-sama, are you sure we can even do that? I mean he has always been known to have utter lack of control of his reiatsu."
"Well you know what happened the last time he stayed near normal humans Momo. Imagine what's going to happen in a school of devils as well."
Rukia downs her sake as she fills her saucer. "Why do I have the feeling we are in for a long week with him?"
Yoruichi lifts her own saucer. "If it was anything like it was getting his bankai, it will be an interesting week for Rias then."
Amyntas had his hands folded behind his back as he finishes addressing his peerage, as well as his son's peerage.
"I will not allow a repeat of that day. As of now, anyone not of the Gremory or Sitri Clans, as well as those shinigami and humans that Yoruichi tells me of, are to be considered threats. You are allowed to use any means necessary to keep my great-grandson and my great-granddaughters safe. Soon word will spread that Kiku had a daughter and that I am no longer the only pure-blood left of our Clan."
Turning he faced the myriad of reincarnated humans, mythical beings and the head of the Cerberus that guarded the ancestral grounds of the Naberius.
"Ichigo Naberius is my designated Heir. As of now all of you will treat him as if he is already your lord, am I understood?"
Soon smiles, smirks and small chuckles broke out; the one to speak was one of Vincent's two bishops, and the only female of the two, who looked to be of Native American ethnicity, Isi Armistead.
"We will protect our King's grandson with our lives Amyntas."
AN: Now before you write your reviews, I will explain why his awakening was written the way it was. First he was basically human for a number of months, therefore he had no access to his powers, devil or otherwise. Two he was in his body, stabbed through his heart so he isn't exactly going to be in top shape that fast. Yes he does heal quickly but being that he and Zangetsu used most of that power breaking the barrier, they are weak still. And finally, I wanted it to be somewhat realistic in how his power returns, not over the top as many were hoping for. Now I know the chapter slows down but it won't last long that I promise you. A hint, next chapter we will see a bit of the new Issei, how his hentai ways are going to get him into trouble. I have stated that this will be a darker version, so the usual high jinx will not be prominent. This is about Rias and Ichigo, not about Issei, he will have his moments with Asia and a few others, but he is not the focal point of my story, so that is that. Now I leave you so I can start the next chapter and have it out in two weeks, yeah two weeks. My yard looks like shit after this winter, so I have a lot to clean up. So we will see you in two weeks folks.