Chapter 1: Reborn in Darkness
Ichigo fell to his knees as a large monstrous, masked creature smashed a fist overhead. The cracking of bones could be heard accompanied by his loud scream as the creature reached down and grasped him in its hand. The masked monster squeezed Ichigo tightly draining the life out of him before finally darkness overcame him.
A thousand sensations could be felt in his final moments of life. After what felt like an eternity, he could see again, but things seemed different. His body was lifeless on the ground in front of him. The orange haired teen stared at his body with pure disbelief, "AM I dead?!" he shouted to himself unable to comprehend it fully.
Indeed, he was no longer in his body as he noticed a severed chain hanging from his chest. The hollow turned towards him again and let out a deafening shriek. It took a step towards him, and grabbed him by his orange hair before dragging Ichigo away. He tried desperately to resist as the sight of his body got further and further away from him.
From around the corner he could see the terrified expression of his sister Karin who watched helplessly as the creature dragged him away. Ichigo grimaced angrily, 'Damn it! Karin! I'm her older brother! I'm supposed to protect her!'
Karin looked as if she was about to follow them or call out to him, but Ichigo shook his head making direct eye contact. Nothing was said as his sister began to burst into tears at the sight of watching the monster take her brother's soul away.
Ichigo felt a plethora of dark emotions surging within him at that moment, 'I can't be dead. This is impossible. What the hell is this thing supposed to be anyway?! What will dad say when he…sees my body? Damn it! I was too weak…I can't be dead! It can't end like this! NO!'
He barely managed to look up as the creature retreated a considerable distance to a strange doorway. Ichigo had no idea what it was but soon felt himself and the creature pass through the doorway. Darkness was all he could see as the creature dragged him further and further inside.
His vision eventually adapted to the dark outlines of the darkness…and it appeared as if he were in some sort of forest. That was last thing he remembered as this hollow consumed him entirely.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Some Time Later XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Strange visions were all Ichigo could see as he felt an emptiness consume his humanity. He had no idea who he was or what he was anymore. Visions of an orange haired human flashed throughout his mind. This creature was sitting in a small room at some type of desk looking out the window.
'Who is he?' he finally thought as a moment of clarity surged through his otherwise mindless thoughts.
Suddenly hundreds of different visions flooded through him all at once. Some were of people, animals, and strange masked creatures. He felt as if he was simultaneously remembering all of these beings. 'No…they're us. We're one?'
His clarity quickly vanished as he could no longer focus on one particular memory. This continued for an unknown period of time until a vision of the orange haired person came back to him. This time, he saw the person's soul. As he focused on the hollow hole in the orange haired human's chest, his mind quickly felt a commanding affinity for this individual. 'Why do we remember this one more than the others?' his fragmented mind thought randomly.
As he continued to stare at the orange haired person, he noticed the soul look at him. His eyes were pure black with yellow irises, and they had a sickening charisma about them. 'He's me…' Ichigo finally thought as if a revelation struck him. Not long after, his vision went black and he fell into a slumber.
He awoke later in darkness not fully aware of where he was or who he was, but memories of the orange haired person were the only clear thought he could focus on. Nevertheless, he felt more awareness than before as he could now think more clearly, 'Where am I?'
Looking around, confusion overwhelmed his senses, 'What was I doing? Have I always been here?' He trailed around and soon noticed many strange creatures surrounding him. They all looked identical in appearance, being monstrously large in tattered black with strange white masks on their faces.
Upon seeing them, he immediately remembered the strange creature that attacked him and flashes of the events leading up to his arrival. Ichigo cocked his head, 'That was me…but who am I? What was my name?'
Suddenly, a voice caught his attention, "You there, Gillian! Get in line! We're going to the world of the living to feast!"
Ichigo looked down at a smaller masked creature with an evident curiosity. The Smaller hollow grinned at his reaction, "Oh…What's this? A thinker? Ha! It's been a while since I've seen a unique Gillian. Usually the thinkers look pretty different, but you're completely different. Your robe is white and those red markings on your mask…interesting. Not to mention…those horns."
Ichigo was unable to speak when he tried, and instead simply let out a loud shriek. The smaller hollow laughed at him, "There's no need for you to speak. You will simply listen White Gillian. You're a Menos Grande…and you answer to me."
The Gillian Ichigo simply stared at him as he felt his mind go blank.
The smaller hollow grinned at him enthusiastically, "I should probably kill you, before you go on a feeding frenzy, but I've got this feeling about you. Perhaps you would become strong if I allowed you to become one of the Adjuchas."
Ichigo cocked his head to signify confusion causing the Adjucha to grin, "You're more cognitive than most unique Gillians. You're nowhere near evolution, yet you already possess distinguishable features. You must have been born from a very powerful soul then."
The white Gillian Ichigo nodded his head prompting the Adjucha to grin enthusiastically, "Maybe I should just eat you…and become one step closer to a Vasto Lorde!"
Pure instinct seemed to take over as Ichigo charged a massive red beam in his mouth. The smaller hollow laughed at his display, "You think you can challenge me already? Ha, you should mind your place Gillian! You'll need to become an Adjucha first if you wish to fight me!"
Without hesitation, the cero fired from Ichigo's mouth towards the smaller hollow. It quickly countered with one of its own creating a flashy stalemate. Afterwards, the smaller hollow seemed surprised, "It would seem our Ceros are evenly matched. You are very strong…especially for a Gillian. I'll spare you then, White Gillian. You will make a great addition to my army!"
Ichigo didn't seem to process much as he simply accepted what the other hollow was saying. The Adjucha pointed his clawed hand towards the other Menos Grandes. As he fell in line, Ichigo felt the smaller hollow land on his shoulder, "I think I'm going to call you White…we have much to do in the world of the living. I'm going to need your help in case a bunch of pesky Shinigamis appear."
The nearly mindless Gillians all filed together as they approached a massive Garganta. The Adjucha made Ichigo go through first. After a brief stroll through the darkness, he instinctively reached up and ripped an opening into the world of the living.
Upon stepping through, the Adjucha immediately locked onto a powerful source of reiatsu. "That way Gillians! That Shinigami's soul is mine!"
Ichigo didn't have the full capacity to comprehend his current location, but he knew it was not where he had previously lived as a human.
Not much time passed before a black clothed individual landed in front of them. The lone figure drew a sword and stared them down, "These people are under my protection hollows!"
The Adjucha on Ichigo's back laughed maniacally, "That's fine, because we're here for your soul, not theirs!"
The Shinigami's eyes widened as the Adjucha held up his hand, "Gillians fire your ceros!"
Instinctively, Ichigo did what he was told as he and all of the other Menos Grandes charged red beams in their mouths. His however, was nearly triple the size of the others, which clearly worried the Shinigami. He desperately flash stepped to avoid the attack.
All of the ceros launched towards the man but he outmaneuvered them as he came straight for the Adjucha on Ichigo's shoulder.
The man held up his sword and sighed, "I guess I'll have to use my shikai to beat you."
The Adjucha reluctantly jumped off and began to fight the man. Ichigo took this time to examine this Shinigami fully. His head was bald and his weapon was now some sort of polearm. He seemed to struggle against the Adjucha before a bunch of his allies arrived.
Many began to engage the Menos Grande army, but one in particular caught Ichigo's attention. This one was adorned in white instead of black and had strange spiky hair. The man grinned wickedly at the sight of carnage before quickly leaping into the fray slicing countless Gillians to pieces.
It didn't take long for this Shinigami to notice Ichigo as he came barreling straight for him. On his back a strange pink haired girl seemed to be cheering, "Oh look! A white one! Kill the white Gillian Kenny!"
"What do ya think I'm doing? That one's obviously the most powerful anyway." Kenpachi replied nonchalantly.
Kenpachi stopped his advance however when the sight of Ikkaku on the ground caught his attention. The bald man seemed to be ineffective in defeating the Adjucha causing Kenpachi to grin enthusiastically.
"So there's the leader of the bunch…guess I'll take care of him first!" he laughed.
However before he could reach the hollow, Ichigo unexpectedly grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Almost every Shinigami present stopped what they were doing as they could barely believe a Gillian had just cheap shot their captain. Kenpachi quickly regained his bearings and laughed as his attention turned towards Ichigo, "Haha! I've never seen a Menos Grande move that fast before…maybe he wants to fight me?"
For some reason, Ichigo felt intense hatred for this creature and charged a cero. This one was twice as large as the one he had done previously.
Kenpachi's eyes widened excitedly, "That cero is enormous! C'mon give me your best shot hollow!"
Ichigo fired the powerful beam in an arc slicing countless buildings apart and decimating half the landscape. Kenpachi blocked the cero with his blade slicing it in half before laughing, "Is that all you got?!"
Before he could finish his taunt, the Adjucha blindsided Zaraki with a sharp swiped claw and followed up with a cero of his own. Despite taking the brunt of the attack, the Squad eleven captain appeared fine. The Adjucha seemed worried afterward, "What is the meaning of this?! How are you still alive?!"
"Ha…you think some pathetic hollow like you could kill me? I'm not even trying," he said amusedly.
Ikkaku quickly recovered and flanked the Adjucha with a wide grin, "That's Captain of Squad eleven, Kenpachi Zaraki. You are no match for him, hollow…let alone me!"
The Adjucha growled angrily, "A captain Shinigami?!"
"I'm getting bored of this already. These guys aren't even that strong…I can't believe they sent all of Squad eleven to fight these weaklings," the captain sighed carelessly.
Ikkaku grinned, "Let me take care of him, captain! This guy has been killing our men out here for months. This is personal!"
The Adjucha scowled angrily, "You damned Shinigami need to just stay out of our way!"
"You're deluded if you think you can take on the Soul Society!" Ikkaku countered.
"I'm not going to watch you embarrass yourself anymore…let's just get this over with so we can leave," Zaraki said with boredom rising in his voice.
He gripped his sword tightly as he swooped in and slashed the Adjucha's arm off. The smaller hollow grimaced in agony releasing a loud hollow shriek.
Ichigo watched his fellow hollow with a strange emotion surging within him. He couldn't describe what it was or understand it, but the sight of his companion getting overwhelmed was unbearable.
"Consider that revenge for killing our guys!" Ikkaku beamed.
The Adjucha hissed in pain, "I hate you damned Shinigamis! I'll make you pay for this, even if it kills me!"
'Revenge…' Ichigo thought to himself bewildered for a moment. Then the thought of his fellow hollows dying to these shinigami warriors caused him to process the idea.
"Get him, Kenny!" the pink haired girl cheered, but before Kenpachi could make a killing blow to the smaller hollow, a powerful white fist smashed into him.
His eyes widened in surprise, 'I didn't even sense that…this white Gillian is definitely strong!'
The Adjucha seemed surprised by Ichigo's actions as the white Gillian grabbed him. Ichigo instinctively placed the hollow on his shoulder before focusing his attention back on Kenpachi.
The squad eleven captain started to laugh, "Nice move. You're just full of surprises aren't you Menos Grande?"
"Gillian, retreat…we stand no chance against a captain Shinigami," the Adjucha commanded.
However, much to the smaller hollow's surprise, Ichigo did not obey. Every one of the Shinigami present watched with anticipation as the white Gillian stared Kenpachi down.
"Come and get me!" Zaraki roared with bloodlust.
Doing just that, Ichigo practically soared through the air and attempted to pummel the Squad eleven captain. Kenpachi blocked his fist with his blade, but was pushed back a considerable distance by the overwhelming force.
He swiftly ducked under a follow up punch and attempted to slash Ichigo in half. However, much to his and everybody else's disbelief, it only cut Ichigo instead of cleaving through him.
Kenpachi himself seemed enthusiastic, "That's some tough skin you've got…I actually put some strength in that swing too."
For some reason, Ichigo felt intense anger swelling inside of him at the condescending tone the warrior used against him. "I'm not weak…" Ichigo spoke angrily quickly alarming everyone present.
Ikkaku's jaw hit the ground, "Did that Gillian just talk?!"
"This one's special Kenny! You gotta get him!" Yachiru chanted with equal enthusiasm. The Adjucha on Ichigo's shoulder was the most surprised of all by his actions, 'Most Gillians don't speak…even the ones that gain dominant awareness. What's with White? He's more than just a normal hollow…'
From out of nowhere, a short white haired man appeared nearby, "Captain Zaraki…I heard there was a Menos invasion. What's the situation?!"
"Captain Hitsugaya?!" Ikkaku said surprised, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to help…captain commander's orders," Toshiro replied with a quick sigh at the end.
Kenpachi simply chuckled, "You came late…we killed almost all of them."
"Almost all of them? So are those the last two hollows?" Toshiro asked as he examined the White menos and the wounded Adjucha.
He quickly furrowed his eyebrows, "I was under the impression this was an emergency…squad 11 couldn't handle this on their own?"
"You say the old man sent you eh? Bah…he loves overkill I guess," Zaraki shrugged.
"That white Menos Grande is tougher than it looks, Captain Hitsugaya…it's trying to fight Captain Zaraki," a random squad eleven member commented.
Toshiro simply crossed his arms, "Well hurry up and finish it off then…our orders are to neutralize the Adjucha Raptor."
"Yeah yeah…I'll take care of it," Kenpachi chuckled before charging Ichigo with his sword reared back. This time he swung with much greater force after dodging Ichigo's swings.
He was going straight for the mask. Moments before he got there, Ichigo grabbed him. Hitsugaya watched shocked, 'What the?! Is Captain Zaraki messing around or did he really just let a Menos grab him?!'
Kenpachi seemed surprised, "You're fast…I'll give you that. Normally you overgrown Menos can't move for shit."
Yachiru grimaced in pain as she felt herself being squeezed between Kenpachi and Ichigo's fist. Getting a closer look at Ichigo's mask, the Squad eleven captain could see his eyes more clearly. The red markings that went down the side accentuated him with a feral appearance.
The hollow's haunting gold irises stared at Kenpachi almost evilly as Ichigo squeezed tighter. Kenpachi quickly broke free as he sliced through Ichigo's hand and backed off. He seemed a bit more serious as the hand immediately regenerated.
Ichigo looked down at it for a moment before looking up and laughing. The sight of a Menos Grande laughing was disturbing to say the least as Hitsugaya reflexively reached for his blade's hilt.
The white Gillian's laughter intensified as his hand fully reformed. Afterward, Ichigo held up his hand with the palm outstretched. Kenpachi cocked an eyebrow before he noticed a red beam charging in the hollow's palm.
"What the hell?!" he smirked.
"Captain Zaraki don't let your guard down!" Hitsugaya shouted. As the cero charged in Ichigo's hand, he aimed it at Kenpachi. This one was just as large as the previous one, but this time it was black with a red outline instead of red with white.
Right as he released his attack, Ichigo changed its trajectory at the last second killing many of the Squad eleven members watching from the sidelines. Ichigo quickly arced it towards the vast majority of weaker Shinigami killing many of them.
Hitsugaya was alarmed, and angry to say the least, "Damn it Zaraki, what are you doing! Kill that thing now!"
"Captain! The squad!" Ikkaku shouted horrified.
After his blast finished, Ichigo looked towards the Shinigami with malicious hatred brewing within him. He spoke one word which caused a sharp shiver to run down the survivors' spines, "Revenge!"
Kenpachi seemed indifferent to most of his squad dying, but had a look of disapproval, "This fight was between us…why'd you have to go and do something like that? Now I have to end this battle right away."
"Bankai!" Hitsugaya shouted quickly alarming the survivors. Out of nowhere, Rangiku appeared, "Captain, what's going on! I scouted the area like you said and-"
"Argh!" Toshiro roared as he flew towards Ichigo poised to kill him in one attack. He seemed angrier than Kenpachi about so many Shinigami deaths.
However, before he could reach them, a massive Garganta was torn open behind Ichigo by the Adjucha. He quickly fired a cero with his remaining arm, slowing the encroaching captain. He shouted at Ichigo seriously, "Get out of here now! You're not strong enough to defeat them yet!"
For some reason, Ichigo felt obligated to obey as he backed away into the Garganta and closed it behind himself. Kenpachi came charging along with Toshiro both trying to stop him, but right as they reached him, his mask was all that was left visible in the closing Garganta.
"What's your name, hollow!?" Kenpachi asked interested.
Right before the Garganta snapped shut, Ichigo spoke darkly, "White…"
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Back in Hueco Mundo XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Ichigo passed back through the Garganta and soon found himself back inside the dark forest from before. The wounded Adjucha on his back let out a sigh of relief, "Damned Shinigamis…I wasn't expecting them to send captains. They're normally too high and mighty to leave their precious little Soul Society."
The Adjucha jumped off Ichigo's shoulder and landed on a nearby rock formation. Ichigo stared at him unsure of what to do now. The Adjucha turned around slowly and growled bitterly, "You're a Gillian and you're already more powerful than I am. It seems like a waste for me to hold you back."
The White Gillian cocked his head confused. The Adjucha looked up at him and sighed, "You have that real killer instinct…I rather enjoyed the way you took those arrogant Shinigamis down a peg. You are indeed the most interesting Gillian I have ever seen. You're clearly destined for greatness."
The hollow Ichigo said nothing as he did not fully understand where the conversation was leading. Raptor stared at him for a moment before explaining, "You are a Gillian…your next step in evolution is an Adjucha like me. But beyond that…is the elite Vasto Lordes. Only the most powerful, unbreakable hollows have the will and the instinct to reach this level of evolution. If that display back there was any indication, then I know for a fact that you will become the most powerful hollow in all of Hueco Mundo. But remember this…you must take on an aspect and inherit a reason for doing so. What drives you beyond your own instinct? Revenge? Anger?"
He continued to stare at the Adjucha for a moment before speaking, "Protect."
The Adjucha seemed surprised by his response, "Protect me? Hmm…you're strange for a hollow. You'll find that Hueco Mundo isn't a merciful place for the weak. Those that protect others become targets. Protecting me would have gotten you killed had you been weaker."
"Raptor…alive." Ichigo spoke the Adjucha's name for the first time causing the smaller hollow to hang his head dejectedly.
Raptor shook his head, "Don't bother remembering my name…I'm likely little more than a stepping stone on your evolution. I want you to do something for me White…I want you to eat me."
Ichigo had a hard time understanding the command and cocked his head again. The Adjucha sighed again, "If you wish to evolve then you will have to consume other hollows. If you wish to retain your individuality then you must never stop until you become a Vasto Lorde."
The white Gillian stared at him for a moment unsure if he should obey the command or not. Raptor noticed his hesitation and sighed, "Do it. I just have one request…use your power to destroy Shinigamis."
The Gillian stared at him indifferently, but Ichigo couldn't help but feel the idea was distasteful. Raptor clearly noticed his doubt and spoke sternly, "Follow your instincts…become strong."
'Become strong…' Ichigo thought to himself. Suddenly a brief memory of the orange haired human dying to a lesser hollow flashed through his mind.
Not one moment of hesitation followed as picked up Raptor and consumed him whole. Ichigo quickly consumed the Adjucha and felt his powers grow. Yet as he consumed his fellow hollow, he felt a strange hunger overcome his senses. Despite just feasting, he was suddenly hungrier than before. He felt an indescribable narcotic feeling at gaining his fellow hollow's power. Before he could comprehend what was happening, he soon began to hunt down nearby Gillians and gorged himself in a cannibalistic feeding frenzy.
Every time he ate another Gillian, he felt as if he could think clearer. Brief flashes of his mortal life would return on occasion which only seemed to fuel his hunger more. This continued for a long undetermined amount of time.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Soul Society Squad One Meeting XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
"Captain Zaraki, I believe I misread your report. You say a white Gillian class Menos Grande was responsible for the deaths of one hundred of your squad members?!" Captain Commander Yamamoto demanded sternly.
Kenpachi nodded his head, "Yeah…he was stronger and faster than the other Gillians, but he was pretty smart too. He even spoke…"
"Apparently it was getting revenge against us for killing all of its fellow hollows. From what I understand, Squad eleven made quick work of their army, but the Adjucha and the White Gillian were the giving them some trouble," Toshiro added with an evident distant tone in his voice.
His explanation greatly surprised many of the other captains who found the idea of a hollow having complicated feelings preposterous.
"And this hollow was allowed to escape?!" Yamamoto practically bellowed.
Hitsugaya quickly shook his head, "Head Captain, it retreated before we could reach it. I was prepared to kill it with my bankai after Captain Zaraki failed to take it seriously."
Kenpachi narrowed his gaze at the short white haired captain, "Something you wanna say to me?"
"Nothing that should said in front of our peers…" Toshiro countered with an angry stare.
Yamamoto sighed angrily, "Never underestimate any foe, ever…your careless actions caused the deaths of many under your command Captain Zaraki."
"I'll kill it the next time I see it…don't you worry about it old man," Kenpachi replied with a bloodthirsty grin.
"Like hell you will! Your ridiculous behavior at dragging out fights got people killed! If anything I'll take care of it." Toshiro shouted.
Both captains sent death glares at one another before Yamamoto quickly intervened, "That is enough of this childish bickering! I want all the information you have on this hollow…I will decide how to deal with it accordingly."
Kyoraku shook his head, "Jeez…this White Menos Grande must have been something else. I'm surprised you didn't just kill it with one attack. Gillians aren't that strong compared to a captain."
"It actually survived a slash from my blade…" Kenpachi noted as if it were an amazing feat.
"Before it fled to Hueco Mundo, the Gillian told us its name…it calls itself White," Toshiro spoke to Yamamoto.
The captain commander nodded, "I see…can you describe its appearance in detail to your fellow captains?"
"Yes, Head captain…it had a white robe instead of a black making it very unique amongst Gillians. The Mask was also strangely feral in appearance. It had red markings going down either side near its eyes. It also had forward facing horns instead of the pointed nose most Gillians have. As you've heard already, it was capable of basic speech and was extremely fast. The attack it used to kill many squad eleven members with was some kind of black cero."
"That thing wouldn't have escaped if I was there. Even if I had to use my bankai," Soifon stated seriously.
Byakuya decided to speak up surprisingly, "This creature will only become more powerful the longer we ignore it. I would make sure the ranks are informed of its likeness and report any sightings immediately."
"This hollow is going to be like the boogie man for the young guys…" Kyoraku said with a slight hint of amusement.
Amongst the captains, three in particular were silently surprised by the news of this strange hollow. Tousen thought for a moment, 'White…isn't that the name of the experimental hollow? I thought it was dead. Why would a hollow call itself White?'
Aizen was almost grinning at the news, 'So…that's where you've been Ichigo Kurosaki. Hmm…perhaps I should delay my plans of betrayal until he fully evolves. I wasn't expecting Rukia Kuchiki to show up late…no matter. It would seem white has fused souls with Ichigo and become this new hollow. I will make him an arrancar once he fully evolves…he will be the instrument of my victory. Everything always seems to go my way…even if plans change.'
He was quickly brought from his mental monologue by Gin, "You seem deep in thought, Captain Aizen…"
The brown haired man pushed up his glasses and shook his head, "I am saddened by the loss of many fine young Shinigamis to this creature. It might be in our best interest to track it down."
Yamamoto looked over at Aizen intently, "Are you volunteering to find this Hollow, Captain Aizen?"
"I will do my best to monitor hollow sightings, Head Captain. Leave this matter to me," Aizen replied coolly.
"Very well, since you are a third party, and a reliable captain, I will entrust this matter to you," Yamamoto stated causing Kenpachi and Toshiro to scowl in disapproval.
"If there is nothing else, then this meeting is Adjourned…make sure all of your subordinates are aware of this Hollow, 'White.'" Yamamoto ordered.
Not really the most original story, I know. I've seen some Ichigo hollow/arrancar stories before, but I just felt like making one myself. If Ichigo seems a bit out of character, that's because I kind of wanted to combine his and his hollow's personalities. That aside, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I found inspiration for this after rewatching Bleach recently. Not sure how far it'll go, since I'm busy with my other story and real life stuff, but I had fun writing it. Thanks for reading.