He had no idea why he was even here. After the end of the Winter War, the school had to be closed down for the rest of the year because of damages that would take months to repair.
So the students were being sent all over to new schools until the high school was repaired.
Unfortunately, the gang was being split and sent to different schools. The only one that was willing to take in Ichigo...was the one in Domino high.
Small problem though...Ichigo wasn't into the same Duel Monster's craze as nearly the entire city was.
At this point he was learning how to tune out the whole 'monsters', 'spells', and 'traps' talk.
Ichigo's seat was right in front of the class rich kid, Seto Kaiba. Though there was something kinda off about him.
At least in Domino, his orange hair barely rated any note...well outside of the school bullies trying to pick on him. Apparently this whole Duel Monster thing was such a big deal that they even incorporated it into their harassing of the smaller, more timid kids!
Ichigo had taken care of that problem by beating the snot out of them. They hadn't tried again...though it was pretty clear they were shocked by the fact Ichigo didn't know how to play, didn't have a deck, and could care less about the whole card game in general.
Well that and the fact he actually knew how to fight and didn't give a damn if the teachers found out he beat the shit out of them.
The only down side was when the more timid kids in class found out he wasn't a bully and was actually nice to people (he just had a bad memory problem with names) they seemed pretty much drawn to him.
Especially the only kid with hair weirder looking than him...Yugi Muto. He had no interest in Anzu, or her friend. Frankly being around anyone who actually made friendship speeches made him a little...nauseous.
Ichigo filtered out Yugi talking to his friends about some rare card his grandfather had...the man ran a game store...and kept reading his book.
He had a relatively good relationship with Kaiba...mostly because he made it clear he had no interest in the game, or about bothering him. The two got along because neither of them cared about the other.
Still...Ichigo did get along with Kaiba well enough to know he was definitely interested in Yugi's talk about his grandfather's card. And something about the look in his eyes really worried him. Almost like he was possessed.
Ichigo liked Kaiba enough to follow him after class. If he was ever going to get into this ridiculous card game thing, he might as well see someone who knows what they're doing play.
That was apparently the right thing to say, because it got him into the dueling dome Kaiba made...and a seat next to the guy's little brother.
"So...you're the weird kid who hates duel monsters," said the runt finally.
"It's less about hating it and more I don't see what the appeal is. I barely get into video games as it is," admitted Ichigo. About the only time he ever got into games was when his sister Karin roped him into one.
"You're raised in that psychic-zone right? What's the appeal about ghosts?" countered the kid. Ichigo couldn't help it...he grinned. Finally, someone who understood!
"I have no idea, but frankly it was starting to get really, really annoying."
"So if you're not interested in duel monsters, why ask my brother if you could watch?"
"I may not be best friends with him, but I am worried about him. There was this weird gleam in his eyes when that Yugi kid mentioned his grandfather had a rare card that was almost impossible to find. And he's the closest thing to a friend I have in that school, since my friends in Karakura were sent to different ones," said Ichigo. He frowned, before he added "He almost looked...possessed."
The younger brother frowned.
"He has been acting a little off lately. Mokuba," he said, holding out his hand.
"Kurosaki Ichigo," he replied, shaking it firmly.
Ichigo's frown came back full force when he saw Kaiba's opponent. The guy fit the description of Yugi's grandfather...who obviously wouldn't have any experience with holograms. Especially big ones. Was Kaiba trying to give the old man a heart attack?
If Ichigo's was frowning, Mokuba looked horrified himself.
"Seto... what are you thinking?" he muttered.
What happened next was interesting, but Ichigo was pissed. If Kaiba wasn't possessed, then he was so kicking the guy's ass later. There was no excuse for what he did to that poor old man.
Which was why, after Kaiba called Yugi in to collect his weakened grandfather, Ichigo snuck up behind him and swiped the card. Kaiba looked pissed, because it was pretty clear he planned to add insult to injury by ripping it in half.
"Kurosaki," he growled.
Ichigo decided enough was enough. He gave into his natural impulse and slapped Kaiba on the head.
"You're being an ass, and there's no reason for you to act like a two-bit thug. Not to mention how much you upset your brother," stated Ichigo flatly.
If he ever acted like that, he would hope someone would slap some sense into him. Kami only knows how upset Yuzu and Karin would have been if they had seen him acting like Kaiba was!
At the mention of Mokuba, Ichigo saw something flash in Kaiba's eyes. So something was possessing him.
"Just so we're clear here, if you want the card back you beat Kaiba fair and square. Since that was the terms of the game and it was a fair bet. Until then...I'm giving this to the only one I can reasonably trust to be impartial," said Ichigo. He wasn't getting involved if he could help it.
He promptly handed the dragon card that Kaiba was so eager to get to a surprised Mokuba. He was reasonably sure the kid wouldn't rip it in half like his brother was about to.
"Why are you here, Kurosaki-san?" asked Anzu.
"I was worried about him. His aura is off, for lack of a better term. I figured I might as well see what this whole card craze was about. It was...interesting... I suppose," admitted Ichigo. He wouldn't become a total fanatic like these guys were, but he would at least watch.
Not like he had anything better to do until his school reopened.
If Ichigo was concerned before, he was horrified after seeing Yugi beat Kaiba.
It wasn't that he had anything against Yugi, but the mere fact he was possessed by a spirit like that worried him. Mokuba returned the card, but Ichigo was more worried about Kaiba. What Yugi...or whoever that spirit was did to him...it was forced. It had to be painful.
Ichigo helped Kaiba while his brother collected the man's deck.
But the next morning Kaiba was pissed.
Ichigo found Mokuba waiting for him outside his apartment. Because Domino was so far away from Karakura, it was cheaper to rent an apartment and live here than even consider commuting.
Ichigo took one look at the kid's expression and winced.
"He's pissed I was there to see him get his butt handed to him isn't he?"
"And the fact you saw him when he was weak. I figured you might have an explanation that would keep him from going crazy wondering if he's lost his edge," admitted Mokuba.
"Let me grab my bag," said Ichigo. Considering what happened yesterday, he had the worst feeling Kaiba was going to be dealing with this nonsense a lot. Better to have someone who knows a little of what was really going on explain it to him.
One look at Seto Kaiba's face, and Ichigo knew he wasn't pissed...he was furious beyond belief. Before he could say anything, Ichigo cut him off.
"You don't come after me for slapping you, I won't say anything about how badly the runt rattled you. Deal?"
Kaiba shut his mouth, but the calculating look he gave Ichigo spoke volumes.
"Deal. Mokuba said you might have some answers?"
"More like informed questions. I don't think it was Yugi who beat you. At least, not originally. And whoever the hell was in him is either out of practice or a novice at exorcisms," stated Ichigo.
Considering there was no way in a million years he would have believed that the wimpiest kid in school could beat him, Kaiba was more than willing to listen. Something had been a little off about the runt.
"Let's bring up the video footage and I'll show you what I noticed," said Ichigo.
Five minutes in, he stopped the video and showed a picture of Yugi.
"Here's the runt before the duel. Nothing out of the ordinary. But watch what happens after his grandfather is carted off and he agrees to duel you," said Ichigo.
It was like some weird light show. Ichigo brought up the picture of Yugi and compared it to the one now.
It was like night and day. Yugi was innocent, kind of a wimp and barely five feet tall.
Whoever was on the video now was confident, a bit arrogant and was easily five one. The lines on his face were sharper, and his eyes were a lot more distinct. Not to mention his hair was slightly different. It was like Yugi aged a few years and grew a backbone.
"How the hell did I miss that?"
"One, you don't normally pay him any attention in class. Two, I'm guessing this is the first time this has happened. And three, because you were acting like an ass at the time," said Ichigo, listing his reasons.
"And whatever he did to me after?"
"I'm guessing something possessed you. I have no idea what or when it happened. Considering you wouldn't normally go after the old man like you did from what I know of you, I'm guessing it was fairly recent. It's why I gave the card to Mokuba instead of letting you rip it in half," said Ichigo.
If anything could convince him he was possessed, hearing he had almost ripped a Blue Eyes White Dragon in half would have done it. He loved that card, so the odds of him even considering it were pretty damn low.
"Again, either he's out of practice or he's a novice. I'm betting it's the former if this is the first time he's come out. I wouldn't recommend dueling for a while though... with how rough he was with getting rid of whatever possessed you, it's probably not a good idea to do anything that would require you to use your head in difficult situations. You'd be second-guessing your every move at least," said Ichigo.
"What are we going to do about Muto?" asked Kaiba.
"Leave him be. I'm going to be watching him from now on to see if that spirit is malignant or not. If it is, that Puzzle of his is going to go 'missing' until I have someone exorcise the damn thing," said Ichigo flatly.
Kaiba sat back. At least now he had answers, or as close as he was going to get from such limited information. The runt was possessed...apparently by a better dueler than he was.
Still, the fact was he was in no condition to manage his company. He needed to take some time off and do something that would have him second-guessing his every move. The only problem was that his board of directors was full of vipers, and he wouldn't put it past them to try something.
Like kidnap his brother.
"You know, my little sisters are coming to visit me for a week. I'd be willing to keep an eye out for Mokuba... we can claim he's staying over to beat my sister Karin at video games or something. Knowing her she'd be thrilled at having a real challenge for once," said Ichigo.
"How good is she?" asked Mokuba. He didn't mind staying with Ichigo while his brother recovered. He seemed like an alright guy and his brother liked him. That was enough of an endorsement in his opinion.
"She's good enough that she almost quit playing because she kept beating everyone," said Ichigo.
"Sold," said Mokuba.
The only reason Kaiba even considered it was because he had seen how quickly Ichigo dealt with those bullies. They had needed to be in the hospital for a week before they came back...and they left him alone ever since.
Besides. Ichigo was the closest thing to a friend he had. He didn't give a damn about Kaiba's money, his fame, and they had bonded over talking about their respective siblings. Kaiba was a relatively good judge of character...and what he saw of Ichigo's said that the boy had more honor than his entire board.
This was the biggest show of trust Kaiba was going to give him.