Ichigo's Secret Training
Ichigo Halibel

A.N.: This is a request by draxon. I'm aware that maybe there is a bit of continuity error in that by the anime's standards Halibel turned into an Arrancar after he defected, not before, but just run with it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.

Chapter One

Las Noches

Halibel lay in her quarters doing what some of the other Arrancar would've found shocking: being bored. She had been constantly training with her Fracción but she felt like there was something that she needed more than them. She had been feeling a need for something for a very long time and it was starting to become unbearable.

She longed for a companion.

It was an odd feeling, considering how she was a hollow. Hollows by nature didn't seek out others for anything else than the need for strength in numbers. She knew that best, having gathered her Fracción for that very reason. But in the time she spent in her new form as an Arrancar a new feeling had grown inside her, perhaps due to her becoming more like a Soul Reaper. She longed for someone; maybe a lover, maybe just a friend. But she wanted someone who she could stand together with.

She sat up off the couch and looked around, hearing her friends' bickering in the adjacent room. "Apacci. Mila Rose. Sung-Sun," she addressed.

The Tres Bestia quickly ended their argument and rushed into her room. "You called, Master Halibel?" Sung-Sun asked.

"Yes. We're leaving for the World of the Living."

Apacci looked at her master confused. The Espada explained, "I'm tired of this dismal place. I've grown bored with Las Noches and I'm starting to get tired of hanging around the Espadas." Turning around she opened up a Garganta and walked through. "Come along, girls."

The Tres Bestia looked at each other. They've never seen their master bored before so they went after her to see what she was looking for. Halibel opened up a Garganta and stepped into the black abyss. If she couldn't find what she was seeking in Hueco Mundo she would find it elsewhere. Surely there was someone in the World of the Living worth her attention. Besides, personally she preferred the vibrant colors of the Human realm to the monotone black and white lands of Hueco Mundo.

They stepped out into the World of the Living. Looking around, Halibel took in the blue sky above her, the real sky and not what Aizen had created, and felt the sunny rays shine down on her. She turned to her subordinates and nodded. "You may do as you please. Don't cause trouble," she warned. "We do not need the Soul Reapers catching on to us."

"Yes, Master," the three said in unison before taking off to pursue their own interests. Putting the three out of her mind, Halibel used Sonido to take herself to the town park. Greenery was foreign to her and she enjoyed what little opportunity she had to see it.

But the Espada soon became bored despite the serene view. Remembering her purpose, she soon started to explore the town, hoping to find someone worthy. But alas, she found no Human worthy of her. She'd hoped to find someone who was spiritually aware as she knew that there were some born in this world who could see Hollows and Souls, but she didn't see anyone. Further, most of the Humans she encountered were vain or obnoxious. Halibel spent the entire day but found nobody.

And finally, just as the sun was beginning to set…she found him.

Walking in the sky, Halibel noticed something that stood out amongst all the colors of the town: a head full of orange hair. Amused, Halibel neared the Human and got a closer look at him. She saw that it was a young man, fifteen at the most. Halibel smiled from behind her mask when she saw how handsome he was. Curious about the boy, she secretly followed him and watched in amusement as he beat up a gang of punks. What intrigued her the most, however, was that she saw that the boy was spiritually aware, talking to a Plus who'd been bound to that spot. "So you're spiritually aware," she noted, her fascination with the boy growing as she continued watching him and seeing how kindhearted he was.

Following the boy home, she kept herself at a safe distance. Yes, the boy could see spirits but she wanted to observe him some more to get a better measure of him. Following him to his home, she sat down on the house opposite his window and watched him. She couldn't understand it but something about him made her feel drawn to the boy. 'Is it simply my desire for a companion?' she thought to herself as she continued watching the boy. 'Or is it something else?'

If she found herself intrigued by the boy, her fascination only grew when she saw him encounter a Soul Reaper who popped up in his room all of a sudden. Keeping her spiritual pressure undetectable, she watched as the raven-haired Soul Reaper explained to the boy, whom she learned was named Ichigo Kurosaki, about the Soul Society and of Hollows. She found their banter to be charming until she sensed the presence of another Hollow. She thought about intervening but decided against it. Instead, she watched as events unfolded before her as a silent spectator.

She watched as the Hollow attacked Ichigo and his family. Part of her wanted to jump in and save them, especially after the Soul Reaper received a dangerous wound, but she told herself no. She would wait until the Soul Reaper was dead. If Ichigo were killed she would take his Soul back to Hueco Mundo and have Aizen turn him into an Arrancar. Perhaps she could grab his sisters to make him more content there as well.

But then something happened that made her shocked to the core. She watched as the Soul Reaper stabbed her zanpakuto into the boy's chest, transforming him into a Soul Reaper. Seeing him in the black garments of the Soul Reapers made Halibel smile. 'This boy is certainly more intriguing than I thought. Lord Aizen said that the chance of surviving a power transfer is in the single digits. For him to survive that…makes me want him more.'

She turned away as Ichigo slayed the pitiful Hollow, leaving him for now. She returned to Hueco Mundo and went to her quarters, finding the Tres Bestia waiting for her. "Master," Sung-Sun inquired. The olive-haired Arrancar couldn't see Halibel's face but knew her master was smiling. "Did you find what you were looking for?" she asked. The three had started to get worried and had waited for their master to return.

Walking past them, Halibel merely nodded. "Yes, I've found someone quite…intriguing…." Retiring to her quarters, Halibel lay on her bed and closed her eyes, images of the orange-haired youth popping into her head.

"Ichigo Kurosaki, eh?"

The Next Evening….
Karakura Town; Ichigo's Room

Ichigo groaned as he lay on his bed, Rukia sound asleep in his closet. He sighed, knowing that he was now roped into taking her role as a Soul Reaper. He wondered how else his life could become strange. He looked out the window and saw the crescent moon rising into the sky. Sighing, he felt a little lost. The boy didn't know who to turn to; Rukia wasn't Human and couldn't understand what a responsibility this was to shoulder; more so than that, as helpful as a mentor she was, he didn't consider her someone whom he could open up to with her snobby attitude. His father didn't see spirits so he couldn't turn to him and he certainly couldn't put the burden on his sisters. Looking at the crescent moon, he wished that he had someone to talk to.

Almost as soon as the wish escaped his mind, something tapped on his window. Sitting up, Ichigo heard it again and realized someone was throwing pebbles at his window. Opening his window, he looked around to see who was trying to get his attention.

"Up here."

Ichigo looked up and saw someone standing on the rooftop next to his house. His eyes widened when he got a good look at her. She looked like something completely different from anything he'd seen before. "Who…who're you?"

The woman put a hand on her chest and cocked her head, her emerald eyes looking at the boy while she smiled behind her mask. "I'm Tier Halibel. Nice to meet you, Ichigo Kurosaki."

To be continued