'.. Why am I here..?' The thought echoed within his vacant mind.
'.. How long have I been here..?' All he could see was darkness. All he could feel was the shiver-inducing, cold bite of the steel he was wrapped in. And there was no sound coming from wherever he was currently situated, other than the blood pulsing in his ear, the beating of his heart, and the barely audible crackle of a live speaker in the distance.
'.. How did I get here?' He questioned. But he, once again, heard nothing.
A sudden, high-pitched whine coming out of the intercom startled Ichigo, his body jerked violently as he tried to defend himself from the non-existent attack that he had been so used to at home, but it was a null effort due to the binding restraints.
Having been in silence for so long caused his hearing to become overly-sensitive somewhat, as his mind tried to pick up any and all sound that could be heard. So when the shrill static sound of the loudspeakers came to life, followed by a dull, droning voice, he was caught by surprise with the sudden introduction of volume
"Subject number Seven-Three-Five is being prepped and readied for daily, procedural experimentation. Guards, please standby." The loud, monotonously male voice announced.
'Oh.. I remember now..' The voice in his head saddening greatly as the announcement invoked the memories that had been hidden from his consciousness. 'These bastards kidnapped me and started turning me into their personal guinea pig..' He idly noted the tapping of high-heels on concrete that slowly approached him '.. I still wonder.. How long have I been here..?' The clopping sound of the woman's footwear came to a stop next to him. 'Yuzu.. Karin.. I miss you..' The orange-haired male could hear her breathing, and he swore that he could hear the beating of her heart in her chest.
Something touching Ichigo's arm immediately caused him to recoil, creating a loud, metallic bang that reverberated throughout the expansive room. Then a voice spoke.
"Subject Seven-Three-Five, Kurosaki Ichigo, is incredibly alert and was responsive to my touch." Even though he could not move to try and attack his captors, nor see them to at least stare them down, he didn't try to scream obscenities at them. His reawakened memories told him that it would be fruitless to attempt to yell at them until they let him go. But he wanted to. For even the most minuscule chance at freedom would be better than none at all.
The screech of metal against metal caused Ichigo to flinch. He didn't remember what made those sounds, he just knew that whatever it was, was always followed by insurmountable levels of pain. Perhaps his brain was trying to repress it to prevent any psychological damage? It mattered little to him at this time. The multitude of questions would have to remain unanswered.. But for how long?
.. Yet another question..
"I had really hoped you wouldn't be awake for this, Kurosaki-san.. I'm sorry.." He heard whispered close to his ear. The softness and sincerity held in the feminine voice didn't cause him to start, instead he found himself turning his head in the direction of it, in a failing attempt to look at his captor and experimenter.
"Please, let me go.." he pleaded weakly, his voice hoarse and dry for the lack of liquid that he hadn't been drinking.
"-Sigh- I'm sorry, Ichigo.." Ichigo heard the woman murmur, as well as a sudden zipping sound as his head snapped backwards and slammed into the layer of steel that his head had been resting on before he woke, causing the teen to groan in pain as his ears rang and his head throbbed and ached from the rapid, jarring movement.
"Deputy Director Shirakawa, would you please begin the procedure." A different, but still male voice broke through brief silence with use of the overhead speakers.
"Y-Yes, Doctor Kurama, of course!" The newly identified Shirakawa stammered, her tone was apologetic, but apologetic in a way that was more like a child saying sorry after being reprimanded by an elder or a parent, unlike the truly sorrowful, contrite tone she had used with Ichigo.
"Thank you, Shirakawa." The voice belonging to the 'Doctor Kurama' expressed his seemingly insincere gratitude. "Begin stage one of the operation, Deputy Director. All lab tech, be ready for note taking in your designated areas; even if it becomes a failed experiment, there will be much to learn about the process of Forced Genetic-Reassignment and Mutating. Especially when changing humans into a race as complex as the Diclonius." Kurama ordered the woman in the same room as Ichigo, while that very boy was listening to everything he said with eyes wide open behind whatever it was that was obscuring his vision.
"D-Diclonius..? Genetic-Re-Reassignme-" His panicky whispers were cut off by a mechanical whirl and the sound of moving parts.
"Initialising cranial biopsy.." He didn't even have a chance to hear Shirakawa mutter a regretful admission before the noise of his own shrieks and screams of pain drained her out due to an immense pressure being placed upon his head, just above his temples, accompanied straight after by agonising strike of pain as he felt something puncturing the sides of his skull.
An Indeterminable amount of time earlier. Twelve months after the Winter War.
"IIIIICCHHHIII-" Eyes snapping open, an angry scowl already plastered across his brow, the orange-haired high school student bolted upright out of his bed, his leg swinging furiously as he watched his father break through the door with his own kick.
"It's too early for this shit, Goat-chin!" The teenager screamed as his foot came in contact with the face of his parent.
"-IIIGGOOOUURRKK!" The Kurosaki elder choked as he was sent flipping back out of the room in an explosion of paper, confusing Ichigo somewhat as the white sheets fluttered to the ground. Isshin, who was now crumpled in a heap outside of his son's room, dizzily muttered his praise about the boy's reaction time.
Leaning over to pick up the loose sheets of paper scattered all over the ground, Ichigo rose an eyebrow in confusion as he briefly scanned the writing printed out on each of the squares of paper. Hotel Reservations. Bank Statements. And train timetables? What is going on? Were they going to be going on holiday or something?
"Oi, Oyaji, what's this about? Are you guys going somewhere?" Ichigo voiced his thoughts as he stepped out into the hallway, waving the printouts in front of his discombobulated father's face. But much to Ichigo's annoyance the bearded man didn't stay that way, instead he seemed to miraculously recover at that instant, only to leap up and hook an arm around his oldest child's neck, earning himself many grunts of protest as the boy struggled to release himself from his father's hold.
"Incorrect, my rude and ungrateful son! It is you who's going to be going away!" This was apparently the wrong thing to say, as the next thing Isshin saw was the floor speeding towards his face, or rather, his face about to be slammed into the hardwood flooring as his only son pushed his face towards it.
"What the hell, Goat-chin! You're kicking me out of the house!?" Ichigo shouted as he tried to grind Isshin's face deeper into the floor. Hearing a indecipherable mumbling, he eased up on his father's punishment and let the older man breathe.
"I'm not kicking you out! I'm just forcing you to take a vacation!" Isshin watched out of the corner of his eye as his son's face took on a blank look for a short moment, and only a second later, observed as a vein bulged out of Ichigo's forehead, his expression changing from an almost thoughtful one to outright pissed off.
"That's the exact same thing!" Removing his hand of the back of his parents head he proceed to swap the hand for a more powerful means of attack; his foot.
Taking the brief opportunity, Isshin rolled out of the way, kicking the legs out from under Ichigo as he did, catching the teen by surprise. As Ichigo's landed on his back with a loud thump, he found that he could not get back up since there was now a large amount of weight on his chest. Looking up he saw his old man staring at him with a stern look on his face, instantly causing Ichigo to realise that he was trying to be as serious as possible.
"Ichigo, ever since you gave up your power's to stop Aizen you've been doing nothing but mope around at home all depressed and gloomy." Ichigo went to open his mouth to object, but couldn't find it within himself to do so.
He knew it was true. He wouldn't hang around after school with his friends, or go into town to have some fun. He would come home straight away and hole himself up in his room, the only people he would openly acknowledge were Yuzu and Karin. "So, I finally got tired of your attitude, and decided that I would help change that!" The man hollered.
Staring up at his father, Ichigo couldn't decided whether to punch the man, or hug him. Even though the thought of physical contact with his father -outside of fighting- made him gag and almost empty his stomach. He was somewhat thankful either way.
Isshin was given him the chance to have a break from his life in Karakura Town. To get away from all the things that reminded him of what he once had, even if it was just for a short time. He would be able to hopefully clear up some of his life once he was wherever he was being sent to, and be able to think clearly without previous memories getting in his way. He could have some time away from his friends who were now blatantly ignoring and avoiding him.
Turning his head, Ichigo scowled at the small stack of paper that still remained in the hand he had picked them up with. Keeping his gaze intently on them for a few more moments, he finally let out a quick sigh.
"When am I leaving?" He asked, turning to face his dad, who had let up on the pressure on his chest.
"Tomorrow evening. So you're going to have to pack your bags tonight, and say your goodbyes to whoever." The Kurosaki patriarch held back a grin when he saw his son's twitching eyebrow and barely restrained anger.
"And what about school? Surely they wouldn't let me just up and leave for a couple of days?" He questioned through gritted teeth as he saw a cheeky glint appear in Isshin's eye. That punch he had contemplated was looking better than ever right now.
"Well, my son, if you must know, I had already called up and organised it all last month! They told me that, with your grades, they will allow you the time off," Ichigo raised a brow in uncertainty. That face was never followed by something so.. Normal and parent-like as what he had just been told, or was the man not.. "For when I kick you out for a month!" .. Finished.
Ichigo stared up at the man he called his father, his mouth agape and eyelid twitching, simply stunned by what he had been told. Isshin never saw the uppercut coming.
"What the fuck, Goat-chin! Are you sending me to a rehab clinic or something!?" The orange-haired teen shouted, getting to feet while his father flopped onto his back with a dazed look on his face. "Why in Kami's name are you sending me away for a month!?" His irate yelling gradually increasing in volume. "Well?!" He demanded bluntly.
"Because that's the amount of time that we thought you would need, Ichi-nii." A quiet voice called out from behind him, stopping Ichigo in his verbal tracks.
Turning around, he saw the two most important girls in his life standing a few feet down the hall from him and their prone father. His sisters, Karin and Yuzu.
"Yuzu?" He asked softly, his voice sounding concerned as he took in the appearance of his light-brown haired, little sister. She stood there, subtly shaking, clutching her arms together, and practically on the verge of tears. Her twin was in a much more stable state, though she still sported a saddened look on her face.
"A m-month is the amount of time we -Sniff- thought you would need to get better, Ichi-nii!" Yuzu cried out, her delicate voice cracking as she spoke. Ichigo just remained silent and speechless as he watched a single tear run out of the corner of his little sister's eye. "I want the old Ichi-nii back.. And we thought that if we sent you on vacation for a month that it might help you to get better.." Seeing her in a clearly distraught mood was like a knife to the heart. He wanted to care for, and protect his sisters, but in his current depressive state it seemed that he was only hurting them. "I'm sorry, Ichigo.." That utterly floored the older brother.
"Don't apologise, Yuzu." Ichigo quickly told her, slightly shocked that she was apologising for being worried about him. "It's me who should be sorry." He gazed into the eyes of the sister who was starting to look so much like his mother, and in some ways is the family's matriarch with the way that she takes care of the house and every one in it.
Stepping up to his light-haired sister he drew her into a hug, rubbing her back softly as she hiccupped. He also sent a small, sad smile towards the less open of the two twins, which she returned. Remaining that way for a few moments, he slowly turned his head towards his father, who was now standing up again, a normal smile on his lips this time.
"So, Goat-chin, where are you sending me?" He asked quietly.
Isshin took a short moment to reply as he softly smiled at his children. Unbeknownst to him, the words that Isshin would speak would haunt him for many years to come "You'll be going to Kamakura and be staying at a nice hotel there.. It'll be good for you, Ichigo, and I'm sure it will be life changing"
Just a few things.
-Haven't seen Elfen Lied in a while so forgive me if anyone is grossly out of character.
-Sorry for those wanting me to update TPUTD, I lost all inspiration to write over the holidays and it has become somewhat of a chore more than something fun
-This is more of a prologue chapter to set up the story. So my apologies if it feels rushed.
-I will be writing the chapters shorter and at a faster pace than usual, so that I can keep things interesting for myself and release more, faster.
Hope you enjoyed