Ichigo shivered as he came back to consciousness. He felt wet, cold and somewhat numb as he felt rain pelting his skin. His groggy mind had been about to question his current situation, but decided otherwise. Too much had happened in such a short amount of time, it was taking its toll on Ichigo's mind. He was better off not know, and letting it pass. If not for the seriousness of it all, it would almost be comical the amount of times he's passed out and then woken up either somewhere new, or with someone new in his face.
Cringing slightly as a pressure agitated his injury, he let out a groan as the pressure continued to repeat itself in a steady pattern. Deciding to at least see what the next round of torture his currently abysmal life was putting him through, he chose to attempt to open his eyes.
He did his best to try and pry open his heavy eyelids; which, due to his drained physicality, he found it to almost be an impossible task. But his stubbornness prevailed, and once he had opened his eyes, he was surprised only briefly when his vision met a mop of saturated, pink hair.
"Lucy, what..?" He stopped himself from speaking, as he knew that she wouldn't be able to properly reply to him. Even though almost all of it was a blur, he remember what had happened when he was last awake, and how Lucy had talked.
"I am carrying you away from that home, Ichigo.." Her soft voice startling Ichigo. "I was born to kill; to end human existence.. But when you cried out for your sisters and your home, something within me wanted nothing but to help you.. To get you back home." She proclaimed to Ichigo, as the continued down darkened streets and alleys.
"Then why not stay there? I could've.." He weakly whispered in her ear, losing his breath for a moment and pain hit him once again.
"I used to know that boy.. Kouta.. Back when I was a child and not locked up in the facility," Lucy said, "We were best of friends for the short time that we knew each other. But he had betrayed my trust and hurt me in a way that I thought couldn't be done." She paused, her feet slapping against the drenched concrete as they kept on going. "I had ended up killing his family, right in front of him. I'm truly surprised that he does not recognise me." Her voice was even as she finished speaking, and there were no telltale signs of change in her emotion as she admitted the murder of Kouta's family.
Ichigo, whose eyes were wide open in shock, remained silent, only listening to their drowned out breathing as they weathered the brutal stormy winds. But soon he found his voice again.
"So.. where are you taking me?" He questioned, causing her to falter slightly. "We would both die of hypothermia before we'd be back in Karakura town.." His voice croaked as he talked, and his awareness began to recede once again.
"I.. Do not know.." Ichigo could practically hear the embarrassment her voice, and he gave a dry, mirthless chuckle as his mind slipped away, once more.
Lucy could feel her king's head weigh down onto her shoulder, the corner of his elongated horns digging into her flesh next to her collarbone slightly. Trying to look over her shoulder and at his face, she only managed to spot the coral coloured soaking mass of hair that covered the top of his head. Looking back in the direction she was walking, she glanced off to the side of the walkway, and found herself surprised.
She had managed to carry Ichigo all the way down the very beach that they had washed up on. Looking out to the ocean, only visible by the glow of the nearby street lights, she could see it raging and churning as the wind blasted it back and forth and the heavy rainfall pelting it endlessly, creating more chaos.
"Well now, aren't I just the luckiest motherfucker!" A gruff male voice yelled out in the opposite direction that Lucy was looking. Quickly, she spun her head around to see who had spoken, only to get the butt of the stock of a gun slammed between her eyes, making her stumble back, and over the chain rope fencing, and fall off the tidal barrier onto the waterlogged sand below.
Night of Ichigo's disappearance. Urahara Shōten.
Three figures sat around the low table in the shop owned by the ex-Taichō, Kisuke Urahara. Isshin and the now human Yoruichi both sporting grim looks on their face as they waited in suspense for an answer from the scientist, who was looking down at a spot on the table in front of him.
Isshin and Yoruichi had come bursting in through the front door. Yoruichi had made a beeline for the sleeping man's room to forcefully wake him up, but stopped when she saw him already making his way to the dining room, he gave the two a glance of acknowledgement and a quick gesture for them to follow.
"I could felt your reiatsu fluctuating erratically the moment you started making your way back here" He had said. "Come on. We can discuss what's happened to Ichigo somewhere more comfortable than the hallway." Kisuke had managed to deduce their reasoning for showing up in the dead of night.
So the two had told him. Yoruichi shifting back into her human form, and dressing herself somewhat appropriately right before their conversation. Kisuke's lips did not move to interrupt them once the entire time they had been talking, he just remained silent, his expression being the only indication that he was listening as it shifted through thoughtfulness, to downcast, and at one point angry.
It was now that they waited for Kisuke to tell them the good news - they hoped - and to inform them that they had actually gone behind their backs and placed a tracking Kidō on Ichigo, or that he had some kind of spy camera following the son of Isshin the whole time.
"I had done as you'd asked of me, Isshin." He could see the face of the ex-shinigami pale considerably, and the corners of Yoruichi's eyes tightened in livid anger for the shortest of instants then returning to her previous look. "I had considered placing a Kidō on him without you realising. But, I too ended up conceding to the fact the boy needed his privacy and time away from the spiritual side of life, regardless of his inability to perceive such goings-on." He watched them silently seethe in anger from his spot across the table.
"Shit.." Kisuke heard the groaning of wood coming from where the father was tightly gripping the wooden surface. "Is there anything that you can do, Kisuke?" The bearded man asked, looking Urahara dead in the eye.
"At this point in time, there is next to nothing that I'm able to do.." He announced morosely, return the gaze equally as strong. Only to watched Ichigo's father falter slightly at the words.
"What the hell do you mean by that?" The shout coming from Yoruichi. "Can't you just use your computer and hack some database, or something like that, and find him that way?" She suggested rather heatedly.
"It simply does not work that way, Yoruichi. Besides, if what you've told me is indeed correct, and that your suspicions are remotely correct as well, then it is likely the people who've abducted the boy have tied up every loose end, making it next to impossible to do anything."
"What?! But you're supposed to be-"
"I do not doubt my own intelligence, Yoruichi-san, and nor should you. But the intellect I hold is not for this sort of situation." Urahara interrupted. "I am smart and capable of many feats that other minds may not be able to comprehend. But I am a man of science, not miracles; If there is no evidence for me to work off, I am of as much use as you or Isshin. Simple as that."
The were-cat looked stunned as her friend for countless years admitted his uselessness to her. She wanted to strike the man out of anger for this, but found herself incapable to do so. She knew he was right. They wouldn't be able to just garner information on Ichigo's whereabouts, or even his captors without a proper lead. She doubted that what they did have would do them much use. "So what can you, or rather, what can we do?" Yoruichi asked.
"In our current situation, very little." His words breaking their will that little bit more. "However, I will pay a visit to Kamakura and see if I can procure some surveillance footage from this last week." He attempted to give them at least a glimmer of hope.
"But I thought you had said that they would've tied up all loose ends? Would something like that not be a 'loose end' in and of itself?" Isshin spoke up this time, unsure about Kisuke's idea.
"At the hotel that we had sent Ichigo to, yes. However, there may be a chance that they, whoever they are, did not account for street cameras or cameras in nearby shops." The light-blond haired shopkeeper explained. He knew the chance of this proving to be worthwhile were nothing but slim. But regardless of this, he would try.
Yoruichi was moving. Fast. The night's torrential rain pelting against her lithe body, each drop feeling as though she was being pricked with a needle while she jumped, sprinted and shunpoed her way to her current destination, Kamakura Town.
Yuzu had called them up just as the stormy clouds started rolling over, and the wind began picking up. Kisuke had answered the phone, certainly not expecting the rather hysterical shouts of their friend's daughter on the line. Once they had finally managed to calm her down enough to speak properly formed sentences. She had practically screamed into the mouth piece of the phone.
"SOMEBODY HAS FOUND ICHIGO!" She had exploded, utterly stunning the two listening from the other end of the call.
Yoruichi and Kisuke, once they had recovered, had asked how she knew this. Then Yuzu had once against started blubbering in a fashion that one would describe as gleeful anxiety. Clearly ecstatic that their brother had been found, but beyond worried for his health and safety. However the two had managed to translate most of her incomprehensible shouting.
Yoruichi, being the fastest out of all of them, had instantly volunteered to go ahead of everyone else and make sure he stayed safe, and was now speeding her way over countless buildings and rooftops and down near endless roads, in her soul form, on her way to the location they had gotten from Yuzu and her father after a few more minutes of back and forth communication.
'I've got to hurry and make sure he doesn't disappear again.. Karin and Yuzu are in a bad enough state as it is. If he does.. It'll destroy them.. Prossibly all of us.' The dark-skinned Shihōin thought grimly as she pushed herself further to get to Kamakura even faster than before. Yoruichi would not allow anything to happen to the boy that she had invaded the Seireitei with, her student, and the teenager that she considered to be the son she'd never had. Or perhaps it was something else?
Her thoughts were suddenly led away from the panicky need for Ichigo's safety, and towards the considerably more fond memories of her involvement and interaction in Ichigo's short life. From the time she had held him as a babe, to the time she had helped him achieve Bankai, and of course surprising the boy by appearing stark naked right in front of him while he was healing in the hot pool after the training she'd put him through. A small, cat-like grin appeared on Yoruichi's face as she recalled that memory.
A sudden introduction of greyed, weather-drowned light brought the Shihōin woman out of her fond musing and she focused her attention to her surrounding environment. She was almost there, in those short few moments of deep reflection and reminiscence she had covered a surprisingly large about of distance, and she could now see Kamakura approaching fast.
She shivered slightly as her eyes scanned the glow of the city, and a slight frown formed on her features. She didn't know whether the shiver was from the freezing bite of the nights saturated air, or if it was from the terrible sense of foreboding that suddenly shot through her heart. Regardless of this, she focused all her attention on getting to her objective as soon as possible without wasting any more time.
She just prayed to god that the feeling was not because of something involving Ichigo.
"Bando!" Why were people yelling? And were those gunshots that he was hearing? Had Kurama managed to find him?
"Shut up, Satou! Stay there and keep an eye on the king! If you interrupt me while I'm having so much fun, you'll be my next training dummy!" So, they had sent out an armed search party for them already?
Attempting to open his eyes once more, Ichigo flinched harshly as the wind blew rain and coarse sand into his face, they were at the beach? He tried to bring his hands up to his face to cover them from the extreme weather, but found that his current, waning strength was not enough to even do a task as simple as that.
An abrupt burst of pain, hate and fear came barrelling through his mind, and Ichigo fought to not scream out in anguish as his body shuddered from the suffering that he could feel someone else going through.
"Ha ha! I got the bitch!" Ichigo heard Bando shout in victory, causing his lids to fly open, as to stare straight into the dark abyss above him.
'Lucy!' He screamed in his mind, knowing that if he were to do so, out loud, he would only end up causing himself unnecessary pain. Bando had managed to shoot Lucy, and that was why he was feeling such strong emotions flooding his mind. It was like his time during those experiments with the 'clones.' When they were put in the cell with him he had felt a faint sense of.. something. It wasn't something he could truly put into words, it was just some kind of connection between him and the multitude of Diclonius that had been used as test subjects. But the moment that the Diclinii were killed, he could fell the connection breaking with a sharp snap, and the short explosion of indescribable pain.
He did not, would not let this happen to Lucy, for both her and his own safety. If the termination of a connection with several 'clones' was enough to shatter his will to live and cause him to break down in tears, he feared what might happen should the connection he shared with the Queen, with Lucy be broken.
If he was not healthy enough to move on his own he would have to resort to alternate means.
Ichigo's violet gaze remained upwards as the droplets pelted against his pale skin. He heard a splat on the ground next to him, followed by a dragging and the sound of shifting sand. He grimaced as another wave of emotion flooded his core, and redoubled his efforts.
'Come on. Get up. Get up!' He berated himself, willing his body to move, but it refused. 'Move, you piece of shit! I have to save Lucy!' His face was wrought with strained effort. 'I have to protect my queen!'
The sound of a dozen or so smacks against the waterlogged ground echoed around the place that he lay, and he found his frail, anaemic body being gradually lifted up off of the wet sand. His expression had shifted from one of laboured concentration, to a look of dispassionate hate. He was finally able to observe his current situation as his body righted itself to a vertical position.
Only a few metres in front of Ichigo was a man fully decked in military-grade ballistic armour. His back to the teen while he watched another person in the same attire pace carefully towards the limp form of Ichigo's pink-haired saviour. Both appeared armed to the teeth with various armaments and explosives.
"Bando! The report said to stay three metres away from her!" The man, whom Ichigo presumed was Satou, warned Bando.
"I know, I'm just check to see whether or not she's.." The soldier turned his head over his shoulder to look at the man talking to him, but froze when he saw the floating form of Ichigo right behind his squad mate. "Satou! Look out! Behind you!"
"Hhrn?!" The man grunted as he spun on his heel and lifted his gun up in one smooth motion. As he own eyes met with half-lidded, infuriated purple he instantly felt his limbs lock up, followed by an intense pressure within the centre of his skull. Satou could do nothing as he felt the incredible pressure grew more so. He the noticed the tightening in the middle of his chest, and an unmistakeable rise in the effort it took to breath.
Satou attempted to pull the trigger on his weapon, but the moment his finger grazed the metallic lever his entire right arm was immediately ripped off of his torso right from the shoulder. The man couldn't even scream; only stare into the eyes of the teenager before him as, for only the shortest of seconds, he felt his lungs collapse, his mouth fill with blood as an extreme pain tore through his chest. His suffering ended when the steadily rising pressure in his skull rapidly spiked; his cranium exploding outwards as though it were filled with explosives, sending fragments of skull, brain matter and bloody tissue in every direction possible.
Bando watched silently as the gore-covered Ichigo slowly turned his horned head towards his direction, who was clearly unfazed by the spontaneous detonation of Bando's squad member's own.
Ichigo's weak voice was barely audible over all the rain as he began to speak aloud.
".. I'm going to end your human existence for hurting my queen.."
First of all: Sorry for the delay. Life has been difficult/tiring/distracting lately and finding motivation to write has been hard.
Secondly: I apologise if the chapter is a bit short or jumpy, just trying to get stuff out of the way so I can focus on the main storyline.
Finally: I didn't proof-read this chapter, and so if you find any errors, as always, please inform me so I can fix them.
REVIEWS: (Just the one)
Ayronya: Description of his powers? Yes, I've planned to actually do a small bit where someone lists all the details about him. And He may eventually get his powers back. Depends on how far I take the story.
Many thanks to the lot of you for the kind words and praise in regards to my story(ies). You're all the reason I keep writing and I loving reading what you all have to say.