A/N: This is the last chapter of this story. See more notes at the bottom.
Disclaimer: You know the drill.
Chapter 33: One Tin Soldier
Everyone, including Sirius and Remus, settled themselves in the back room of the Urahara's sweet shop. The three Hallows were spread out on the round tea table before them.
Urahara sat cross legged on the floor with his head bowed, arms tucked into his sleeves. With his soft spoken voice he explained that the Soul King once had three sons, each powerful in their own right. The sons had fought over who had the right to inherit the throne.
"So he sent all three of them to the Human World, to test them. He wanted to see who was best suited to succeed him," he finished.
"So the story of the Three Brothers' true?" Sirius asked, glancing over at Remus.
"Hai, in a way," came the short answer.
"This is where the English version differs from actual fact. Since the three brothers were traveling the Human World, they were mistaken for wizards. The Soul King gave each son a different gift, one each, suited to their abilities.
"The eldest received a unbeatable weapon, the second son wanted to be able to keep in touch with his wife back in the Soul Society, and the third wanted a cloak that would hide him."
"So my father's cloak is really the Soul King's cloak?" Harry asked, after the story came to an end. Uruhara nodded.
"Wait a moment," Ichigo interrupted. "Then Harry is a descendant of the Soul King?"
"So it would seem," Urahara agreed. "I was able to verify it. Now that the three artifacts are in Harry's possessions, they will only work for him."
"But I'm still alive!" Harry shouted. "I don't want to die!"
"Maa maa. And for now, you can live," Urahara assured him. "The Soul King has been waiting a long time for his heir. He will wait a little longer."
"Wait, according to the story, the youngest brother died at a ripe old age and passed the cloak to his son and so the cloak has been passed down through the generations," Sirius interjected. "Shouldn't he be the heir to the throne and not Harry?"
"Ah but this is the first time all three artifacts have been reunited, as was the original plan. Remember, this was a test for his sons. Not even the Soul King knows what happened to them. He has been searching for them, or their descendants, through the ages."
"Well, I am going to live my life," Harry told everyone. "And he'll just have to wait until I complete my education."
Everyone swore to keep this news secret. If the Soul Society knew about this – they would demand Harry to return to the Seireitei for his protection.
In the end, Harry gave the goblins the Hallows for safe keeping in his vault and forgot about them, for the time being. He just wanted to live his life to the fullest for now. He'd worry about it all later.
It wasn't long after Harry started to live in Karukara Town that he was drawn into being part of the Winter Wars with that fool Aizen. Thankfully, that rogue Soul Reaper never knew about Harry and had been surprised when Harry took the wind out of his bid for god-hood. The wizard hadn't wanted to get involved but when Aizen came to the town and started his "Crusade of World Domination" he hadn't counted on Harry James Potter.
When Urahara finally sealed the would-be godling away, Harry stepped in and pulled the little gem from the man's chest.
"I think I'll place it somewhere it won't cause anymore problems," he informed the Head Captain, banishing the stone before their eyes. "I know just the place for it."
Harry would never fully trust the Soul Society. They were far too arrogant in his opinion. In too many ways they were clones of the Wizarding World.
Afterwards, when everyone went home and Ichigo recovered physically, that was when Harry was informed that Ichigo was going to slowly lose his spiritual pressure.
Not saying a word about what a stupid Gryffindoric action his cousin's final strike was, Harry invited him to move in with him at the condo, permanently.
Once Ichigo was all settled in, and after a quick trip to the goblins, Harry ran his own tests on his cousin.
"Blech! That tastes like Goat Face's day old socks," Ichigo complained as Harry forced him to down several healing potions.
"And how do you know what your dad's socks taste like?" Harry quipped, running the elder wand over his cousin.
Ichigo's reply was to give Harry a rude gesture, causing the young wizard to laugh.
"Don't tell anyone I gave you this. Not even Urahara and your father," Harry warned, holding out a rune carved bracelet several days later. "I don't need your little friends interfering anymore than they already are in my life. Besides, I get the feeling, and Muramasa agrees, there's something fishy with this whole substitute soul reaper business. They seemed pretty pleased that your spiritual pressure was neutralized."
Ichigo scowled, but agreed with Harry. The carrot top also agreed to not use his spiritual abilities until Harry said he could.
The bracelet that Harry'd received from the Goblins was to fool everyone into thinking that Ichigo was losing his spiritual pressure. . . including his friends and family. Harry would tweak it periodically making it stronger so it looked like he really was losing his soul reaper powers.
The hardest part for Ichigo was losing Rukia. She had been with him for a couple of years and he had come attached to the perky little Soul Reaper. Watching her fade from his eyes sent Ichigo into a bout of depression.
Harry was hard pressed not to curse the living daylights out of the Soul Society for the pain they were causing his cousin, even if Ichigo really wasn't losing his powers. He never cared for their holier than thou attitude.
During that time, both Harry and Ichigo discovered the reason for being abandoned by the Soul Society. Some nut named Ginjo Kugo, who was a Full-bringer.
According to what Ichigo found out, a Full-bringer was a human who's mother had been attacked by a hollow before she was pregnant. Ichigo's mother had been hollowfied before he was born. It was when it happened that his father, Isshin, sacrificed his shinigami powers to save her life. Thus explaining why Ichigo had so much power.
Harry decided to do a final tweak to Ichigo's bracelet, allowing him to learn this new Full-bringer technique. "Just don't tell anyone about the bracelet, Ichigo-kun," Harry warned. "I'm almost positive the Soul Society is watching to see how, or what, you will do."
Ichigo gave a curt nod. "All I want to do is to protect my friends and family. That's all."
In the final conflict with the renegade substitute shinigami, Harry had to stop Rukia Kuchiki from impaling Ichigo with a souped up katana that had been endowed with soul reaper powers from several captains. It was hoped with a fresh insurgence of reiatsu, Ichigo would regain his powers.
"Ichigo! Take off the bracelet!" Harry shouted as he grasped a surprised Rukia's wrist, stopping her from stabbing Ichigo. She scowled as she tried to pull away from the young wizard.
"Right." Ichigo scowled as he broke the seal of the magical bracelet. The area was flooded with his spiritual pressure as strong and powerful as ever. It was, in some ways, even more powerful then it was in his final fight with Aizen. The wave of power blasted everyone back, except for Harry, who knew it would happen. The strength of it allowed Ichigo to quickly leave his body.
" I chose to protect," Ichigo announced to those that witnessed the battle. "I want power. I've always . . .always . . . wanted power. . . to protect many people.. . That's why I'm gonna defeat you to protect everyone!"*
In the end, those watching as Ichigo fought and killed Ginjo were stunned by Ichigo's determination to protect.
Byakuya Kuchiki along with Rukia and Renji had remained during the fight when the other captains left after witnessing Ichigo's proclamation.
Harry explained to the remaining Shinigami that he had been the one that had healed, and later sealed, Ichigo's power.
"We knew that the Soul Society was keeping tabs on both of us. We just didn't trust them," Harry explained, giving a pointed look to Byakuya.
He and the head of the Kuchiki clan became more than mentor and student over time. They were now close to being peers in their own right. Harry would be eternally grateful for the older man's guidance and help through the years.
"Besides, it was quite interesting that no one asked me if there was a way to heal Ichigo magically. Given who and what I am."
"You mean having those. . . ?" Ichigo started to ask, only for Harry to give him a nod.
"And this?" asked Renji, holding up the broken bracelet.
"That's a magical cuff used in my world to bind a criminal's magic. With some help I just tweaked it so it would hide Ichigo's spiritual pressure from being noticed while it was restored," Harry explained.
Ichigo came to stand beside Harry but his eyes were on the petite girl standing in front of his cousin. She was looking back at Ichigo.
Harry went on to explain how much it had hurt his cousin to pretend losing everything and how his so-called friends pulled away from him.
"Right Ichigo?" Harry asked.
"That's right. It's not like I ever felt superior to anyone else because I could see ghosts. And I never planned to take it up as a profession. Hell, I never even felt the need to use my ability to help others. All I ever wanted was the normal life I couldn't have. I've finally achieved what I always wanted,**" Ichigo confessed, with a shrug.
"Then all is well once more?" the sixth squad captain asked.
"Ah," Ichigo agreed. "It went as planned. Harry agreed to stay out of it as much as possible. He may be a wimp when it comes to fighting physically, but I've learned never to turn my back on him!"
Harry protested. "OI! I'd rather prank than fight."
Ichigo snorted and grinned. "And those uncles of his are even worse. They have all the Visords terrified and that ain't easy. And Muramasa's getting just as bad."
"Speaking of him?" asked Rukia.
Harry smiled and allowed Muramasa to appear. The remaining shinigami tensed when the zanpakuto spirit appeared.
"He knows I'm no fighter," Harry smirked. "Besides, this was Ichigo's fight, why would I interfere? I have no ability against the full-bringers."
The spirit huffed and rolled his eyes.
"Are you well Kurosaki Ichigo?" Muramasa asked, showing some concern for the teenage Shinigami. "I am pleased to see you finally stopped hiding your true abilities."
"Ah. Arigato, Muramasa," Ichigo answered.
Of course, Harry was once again bothered by the Stealth squad for his part in that little dust up. Ichigo and Harry passed whatever tests the Soul Society had used to verify both of their loyalties to the After Life. Neither were too happy about it, but as long as they were left alone, they could live with it.
Harry Potter stood looking out from his patio balcony. This place had now been home to him for the past three years. So much had happened since that day his cousin Ichigo rescued him from two dementors in Surrey.
Riddle was taken care of, and wasn't coming back. Dumbledore was forcefully retired from all positions of power. He was now living in the back of the Hogshead with his brother and Abe's goats.
The Wizarding World was still going its merry, but blind, way. Nothing really changed on that front, except for the occasional "We Must Find Harry Potter and Make Sure He Isn't Becoming The Next Dark Lord" attitude.
Honestly? Why bother? He wasn't going to go back, and he sure as hell wasn't giving up his magic for them!
Harry rarely heard from his former friends, although he and Luna exchanged regular letters. So much for friendship.
Harry returned to his studies, hiring tutors to further both his mundane and magical educations. It took time, but he now had his high school certifications as well as his N.E.W.T.s. He was still considering which university he wanted to attend, or if he was done with his education. He didn't really need a job since managing his accounts would be a full time job in itself.
Sirius and Remus had been a great help. With both of them living in the condo below him it allowed all three of them to live the life they wanted. It gave Harry the independence he craved, but allowed them to be just a few steps away if he needed them.
The skyline was dimming. The setting sun was turning the clear evening sky into shades of indigo as the stars started blinking into existence. Harry never got tired of watching the change. It gave him a sense of peace and freedom.
Suddenly, Harry wasn't alone. Neither spoke as the last light of the fading sun slipped beyond the horizon.
Over the last year the Soul Society had come to terms with Harry having Muramasa. They didn't like the idea of a zanpakuto in the hands of a human, but eventually accepted the spirit's self-enforced exile as his punishment. In their minds Muramasa's abilities were neutralized, for the moment, by the fact that Harry refused to enter the Soul Society unless he was summoned.
Even then Harry was reluctant to do so. There was no telling when the Soul Society would find out about the Deathly Hallows.
Thankfully, no word of Harry's heritage had reached the paranoid Society over the past few years. He really didn't want to deal with being the heir to the Soul King just yet.
In the darkening distance Harry and Muramasa could hear the howl of a Hollow.
Thankfully that was another reason why the Soul Society wasn't coming after him. Harry refused to get involved with them or killing hollows, that is, if they didn't involve him first. He had no desire to fight. He'd had enough of that with the Wizarding World, and didn't want to be drawn into another conflict.
Occasionally, Harry was forced to deal with the After Life that appeared at his door. Not that he wanted to, but hollows just wouldn't leave him alone.
'Thank Merlin for Goblins and their wards and especially for Ichigo,' he mused.
The distant roar was cut off abruptly. Harry and Muramasa shared a look before heading back into the penthouse.
A few moments later a black clad figure appeared on the balcony. "Oi! Runt!"
"Hey Ichigo-kun," Harry invited. "Thought you were visiting your family tonight?"
"I have to get back. Yuzu was asking after you," Ichigo shrugged as he stepped in.
"Why don't you go and get your body and I'll make some popcorn and invite Siri and Remus up for a movie night?"
Ichigo smiled as he turned to leave.
"What movie would you want to watch tonight?" Muramasa asked. "I hope it isn't a chick flick."
Harry chuckled as he moved back into the penthouse. "How about . . . "
This is where I am ending this story. There is no way I'm dealing with the current Quincy Arc. Although, I will say Urahara's bankai fits him.
Seriously, I have been following the Bleach manga and am very upset and disappointed in the direction it is heading. It seems to be dragging out badly, in my opinion. I want to see more Ichigo.
There might or might not be a sequel. I have no ideas on where to go with one if I did. I want to wait to see how the manga ends before putting any type of spin on a sequel. But then I could just do a completely different story all together.
reiatsu – spiritual pressure
*Ichigo's proclamation is from Bleach manga 475, pgs. 14-16
** Ichigo's quote is from Bleach manga 424, pg. 16
Until next time. GF and The Frau