Another chapter is up!

Lightningblade49: No doubt.

PredatorPuck: Correct.

BlueShard20: We will see.

Shiguro Toshiro: Of course.

Neapolittan: who knows.

.5: Thank you.

The King in White: Keep on reading and you will have the answer.

Glasses: Lol

Beloved Daughter: hahaha

DasChinButton: Thank you.

LuxEterna1: Calling Aizen is easier. Sousuke sound like a mouthful.

sagar hussain: Thanks.

BukkakeNoJutsu: Thank you.


Rukia yawned as she walked towards where the male students were stationed for the duration of their studies early in the morning. They were naturally stationed away from the females on the other side of the campus, and there were certain consequences for entering the opposite gender's dorm according to the manuals listing the duties, responsibilities, and laws they were expected to uphold as both students and Soul Reapers upon graduation. It had bored her to read through the entire thing over a week, but she had been one of the few who did.

Not that it stopped her from checking on her friend. While they were making strides in their education a month in, Renji already had strikes against him for waking up and arriving at class late. It was ironic considering that he gotten on her about almost being late for the entrance examination, but she didn't want him to get bumped from the advanced class because of it.

She looked around to see that no one was around to spot her, used a Flash Step to get to the back of the building, jumped into the air, and then stood there at Renji's window to see that he was still in his futon. She also noted the alarm clock they had given him was conveniently destroyed, bits and pieces scattered from being smashed against the wall. Just like she thought it would be. Rukia couldn't help but sigh as she knocked on his window.

Renji snored softly, mumbled, and twisted in the futon until he was supine and his torso was laid bare before her. The training with Ichi-nii had left him with a chiseled core, to the delight of some of the girls in her dorm when they had the boys run laps around the Seireitei for their physical training. It wasn't anything she hadn't seen before, but maybe it was just that she had known him too long to think of him in that same sense.

When it was clear he wouldn't get up that way, Rukia opened the window and crept into his room. It afforded her a better view than outside the window did. He had books and papers scattered around and on top of the desk, some of them on topics they hadn't even gotten to yet. Curious as she was about that, Rukia focused on the task at hand.

That was waking Renji up by nudging him with her foot. "Get up. You're going to be late again."

He blinked slowly to see that Rukia was standing on his futon, closed his eyes to go back to sleep, and then snap them open again. He sat up in a hurry and scowled. "What are you doing here?"

"Waking you up," she said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You broke your alarm clock."

He looked over to where she pointed, saw the broken bits and pieces of the clock, and rubbed his eyes. "Crap, I'm going to have to get a new one now."

She crossed her arms and tilted her head, staring at the bags beneath his eyes. "Why have you been sleeping in so late anyway?"

He gestured to the books scattered all over the desk. "You try studying your ass off through six years of materials. I want to get out into the field as soon as possible."

"You shouldn't be in such a rush," Rukia told him. "We're already in the advanced class. Isn't that enough?"

"No," he said bluntly as he rose to his feet. "Sure, we've got a head-start in some parts of learning. But Ichigo himself told us he never went to the Academy and learned through an unorthodox manner. If I'm ever going to surpass him, I have to match him in everything he knows and excel in everything that he doesn't. To do that, I have to be the best I can."

"Hard to do if you get kicked out for being tardy all the time," Rukia pointed out. "Hurry up and get dressed."

"I will when you're out of my room." He pointed towards the window. Before she climbed out of it, he added, "…Thanks for waking me up. I do appreciate it."

"Anytime, Porky!" She jumped down before he could tell her not to call him that again, laughing.


It was after Noon when Aizen finished teaching the first in many future optional courses in Calligraphy that year. The students in attendance had been mostly nobles and a disproportionate number of them were female. His teaching connected and endeared him to some of the student body and reinforced the image he was projecting. That wasn't to say that he didn't personally enjoy it somewhat.

Calligraphy was an art and the skills to properly utilize it had to be carefully honed. Everything was a factor in the creation of something elegant, yet profound. From the strength behind the brush, to the fluidity of the strokes, and the steady and firm grip one had—it all had formed into a masterpiece.

It was when he was leaving the classroom himself that he spotted the two most prominent subjects of interests to him at present, Renji Abarai and Rukia Kurosaki, walking together and talking. It had been a month since they had arrived and he had been keeping tabs on them. He delayed meeting them so far because his Captain had been piling more work on his shoulders and other matters, but now was as good a time as any.

He walked up to the pair. "Excuse me. Can I have a moment of your time?"

They both came to a stop and stared at him—specifically the emblem marking him as a Lieutenant. The ranks in the different factions the students could enter upon completion were covered in the introductory class before they were given their curriculum schedule. They followed procedure when addressing a superior and stood at attention.

"What can we do for you"—the Abarai boy's eyes focused on the emblem—"5th Division Lieutenant?"

"My name is Sousuke Aizen." He recognized that they tensed at his name. "You both seem tense. Is there something wrong?"

The Kurosaki girl shook her head. "No, no. It's just that… well, this is the first time we've met someone of your ranking."

Aizen doubted that was the reason. More questions for later, but he still had to create a connection with them for now. "Aren't you familiar with Captain Shiba? He spoke highly of you both and said he met with your guardian during the festival that his family hosts."

The Kurosaki girl looked baffled at the revelation. "That older guy was a Captain?"

"I can imagine he doesn't look the part, but he's a capable individual. That being said, have either of you given thought to which division you were going to enter upon graduation? I've been looking into promising students and noticed that you've shown excellent Kido skills while Abarai is skilled in Zanjutsu, even if the style is unorthodox."

"I was thinking of going to the Kido Corps," she admitted.

"Any combat division will do for me," the Abarai boy said. "Hollows have to be dealt with, and that's the best way to do it."

"That's great," Aizen said. "Hollows are a constant threat, so we'll need as many capable people as possible. But from the sounds of it, you've encountered one before?"

"Once, in the Rukongai," he said. "It killed a bunch of my friends before it ran off."

"As unfortunate as their deaths were, it was quite lucky that you survived without injury," he said. "Even injuries from can cause problems. In fact, I believe that a few of our researchers have found some were capable of infecting Pluses from their injuries and then turning them into Hollows almost immediately. Could you imagine how horrifying that would be in a district so far away from the protection of our forces?"

That seemed to be a trigger topic judging from how the Kurosaki girl looked down and the Abarai boy clenched his teeth. He bowed his head to avoid showing his agitation and decided to end the conversation. "If you'll forgive us, we need to be going."

There were no further answers to be gained from asking, so he permitted them to leave. Then he waited until they were out of the hall and view before he hid himself behind a kido technique that shrouded his body from sight, carefully and subtly enough that the Kurosaki girl couldn't detect him. Then he used a Flash Step to get close again and listen to their whispering.

"—seemed nice enough," the Kurosaki girl muttered to her companion. "I don't see why Ichi-nii wanted us to avoid him."

"Let's just do like he said and steer clear of that guy," he hissed. "I didn't like what he said about Hollows that could infect others either… your sister suffered from that same kind of injury, didn't she?"

"Ichi-nii cured her," she said. "It's been years and she's healed up just fine. There's no way she'll turn into one of them."

Aizen frowned behind his veil, having picked up the gist of the information. They had encountered the Hollow and their guardian supposedly destroyed it. That meant he had to be a Soul Reaper, which confirmed that they were trained as he suspected. But what was this about him supposedly curing someone from the hollowfication?

That should have been impossible… but what if this person was the key to breaking down the boundaries? This could be the opportunity he was looking for to complete his tool needed to ascend to the throne of the Soul King. And then there was the woman who had supposedly been cured. She would be valuable as well.

After a moment of thought, he decided against interrogating these two further for more information. It would be more efficient to get answers from the sources when the opportunity presented itself. In fact, Tousen should have vacation time coming up.

It should be simple for him to retrieve them both….


Ichigo stood atop the ruined remains of his inner world, panting from exertion. Entire buildings had been hollowed out and leveled in a battle fought between himself and the Old Man. The manifestation of his Quincy powers had unleashed itself in earnest now.

"This is the final test, Ichigo," he told him, wreathed in a pale light that expanded from his frame in the form of wings and a halo. "This is the Quincy: Vollständig, a technique that holds dominance over all things spiritual. In a world made of spirit particles, one who can utilize it is a god."

Ichigo silently bore witness as the debris that made up his inner world slowly broke down and was pulled into the light-constructed wings, made subservient to it and increasing its density. It was even pulling at his body, threatening to tear him apart and turn him into nothing but a mass of particles to be used by him. Only his own spiritual pressure counteracted it, his strength on par with it.

"What you're feeling is the effect simulated as it would be in the Soul Society," the Old Man continued. "If you utilized it, you would continuously draw in spiritual particles from everything. Weaker souls would be absorbed without pause, their minds destroyed and forever formless. Even if you were to try and contain it, an entire district would still be consumed. "

Then he couldn't use it unless the circumstances were dire enough to call for it. But every little bit of power was necessary. "How do I use it?"

"The training you've done over these years has prepared you for this technique, but you need to feel its weight and power for yourself." He crafted a broadsword from the spirit particles under his command and brandished it. Then he was gone.

Ichigo tensed as he abruptly felt the spiritual pressure reappear behind him in a blink, scattered plumes of white fluttering behind the Old Man as his raised sword came crashing down towards Ichigo's neck from behind. He spun to intercept it, but on touch the blade exploded with a flare of force and light that jettisoned him backwards.

He gripped the air and braced his legs to stop himself before he took up a fighting stance. Then he was greeted to the sight of a dozen copies of the Old Man, all surrounding him while wreathed in wings of light and a halo above their heads. He unleashed the Getsuga Tenshou in a circle around him, cleaving through them all.

They were swept away without mercy by his power. He then located the sole survivor and charged up another one, as strong as he could manage. "GETSUGA TENSHOU!"

The strike was a pure wave of pale blue spiritual power, barreling through the air and capable of cutting a mountain in half. It slammed into the Old Man and swallowed his figure, completely obscuring him from view within the sea of blue… and then his strongest strike curled into itself, spiraling into the broadsword as the Old Man stood there in his winged-state and halo crown.

The sword drank in his power and then returned it as a pure white beam. It was similar to Nel's ability to swallow a Cero and then fire it back at twice the power. He used a Flash Step to get out of the line of fire and watched as it continued to surge further than his eyes could see. He had the vague suspicion that if they had been in the real Soul Society that blast would continue unimpeded until it smashed into the protective barrier encompassing the Seireitei.

And then it would plow through it.

"Remember, you are a Quincy, Ichigo." The Old Man hovered in front of him. "Wrest control from me and take hold of the world around you if you wish to match my might."

It was easier said than done. Taking control of loose particles was easy now. But taking the essence of an opponent was all but impossible—at least short of what the Old Man was doing.

Ichigo still tried. He pulled in the world around him bit-by-bit, trying to wreathed himself in power similar to that on display. He strained his body and mind as he did so, slowly becoming enshrouded, when his concentration snapped and it dissipated.

Seeing that no further progress could be made, the Old Man let his form fade away and slowly reconstructed Ichigo's inner world to its normal state, effectively ending the simulation. "We'll call it a night, Ichigo."

"No!" Ichigo, now standing on top of a building, held his head as it pounded like a drum. "I have to learn it."

"There's no need to rush." The Old Man drifted down until he was in front of him. "You have done well, but this technique isn't something that can be mastered in so short a time. There is no aid to assist you as there was when you achieved Bankai."

"We still haven't stopped Aizen," Ichigo stated. "It won't over until he's dead."

"You've traveled far into the past, before he could reach his apex. As you are now, it's likely you could easily defeat him. Which bring me to another point: You possess the abilities of a Soul Reaper, a Hollow, and a Quincy."

Ichigo met his gaze. "And?"

"You are collectively an entity that embodies all aspects of the Balance of Souls—Purification, Corruption, and Destruction," he said. "Are you really content to live a life as a mere Carpenter?"

"What else am I supposed to do?" Ichigo asked. "The job is a job to keep everyone fed."

"You are a protector, Ichigo," he started. "What will you protect once Aizen has been killed? Will you really let all that power go to waste by settling into the life you have now? Will you really be satisfied with such a life of normalcy?"

"So you're suggesting, what? That I go join the other Soul Reapers?" he asked. "Honestly, I didn't expect that from you."

"I'm just suggesting that you give your future prospects some thought," the Old Man said. "Remember, you will likely live for thousands of years and be one of the most powerful beings in any world. Power will always attract its equal, and adversity will follow in that time. It will be a long life, and the role you choose will determine the burden you bear—whether that is a carpenter or a God."

Ichigo frowned at the thought. What would he do after killing Aizen? He knew he wanted a life with Hisana, and she had expressed the thought of moving. He could do what Zaraki did and just march in to challenge a Captain for their position, but then he'd have to kill someone he wasn't sure deserved it and explain to his father why he hid his power. Maybe he could say he was a late bloomer… nah, it'd never work.

"You should return your body and get some rest," the Old Man suggested. "We can try again in a few days."

Reluctantly, he agreed and bid the Old Man farewell. Then he returned his consciousness to his body and immediately felt the warm, nubile body of his lover nestled at his side. He opened his eyes to see that her bare, porcelain skin was pressed against his firm body beneath the futon they shared.

Her chest rose and fell as she slept comfortably, a small smile on her face. It seemed she was having a pleasant dream. He leaned down to kiss her when he felt it—a spiritual power approaching larger than any he'd felt besides his father since coming back in time. It was suppressed, but not enough that it didn't register to his senses.

His range had, surprisingly, only improved since he was training Rukia. It made for an interesting game of chase the devil and was practical. As for the signature of the energy, it didn't feel overly familiar, but had had felt it before….

Ah, it was when he had fought Grimmjow and as Aizen was escaping the Soul Society the first time. He had been severely injured both times, and the name escaped him since they never fought before. What he did know was that he was one of Aizen's subordinates.

Why was he this far out? Why he was coming towards them? He could think of a few reasons, and none of them were good. It looked like he would have to deal with this now.

Ichigo slipped out of bed, leaving Hisana to shift around at the loss of his warmth. He covered her tenderly with the cover of the futon and she settled down. Then he set out to kill a man while she dreamed pleasantly.