"Are you sure this is what you want?"
Ichigo glanced over at his dad, the clock behind them ticked ever onward and it was late, he sipped some of the sake his pops had poured him and nodded. "It's too much right now," he said in a calm detached voice aided by the liquid fire he was drinking. "I feel too much, too weak, to useless" he laughed and cut off his dad before he could speak. "I know that it is foolish that me just being Ichigo Kurosaki human is enough." He sighed "But every time I see Orihime, Chad, Ishida walk to battle, to fight the monsters that I know are there, that I cannot see anymore...it hurts."
His dad nodded in understanding "It took me a while to get used to it after I lost my powers for the first time but I had your mother so that helped a lot. Still, I don't see any issue with this, the scholarship program is legitimate the school has the highest ranking among educational institutions in this county. It is a good place."
"And it is not here," Ichigo said, "I need some time away from this town, even as it hurts to leave everyone I know….it's hurting too much to stay."
"I'm sorry," Isshin said.
"It's not your nor anyone's fault save my own, my own head, my selfish desires." he laughed again this time with a harsh edge, "I thought I was a good person dad, but It's turning out that I simply loved the power."
He did not see his dad move but he was pulled out of the chair and into the embrace of his pops "Don't you ever say that, don't you ever believe it. You invaded heaven for a friend, you invaded hell for your sister, you sacrificed that power you held so dear to save our world. That is not the actions of one who loves power above all."
Tears flowed from his eyes stinging his vision red "Thank you dad"
"I love you Ichigo"
His eyes opened as the vehicle began to slow, he glanced down at his lap to see an empty bento box. "H-here" Inoue shoved it into his hand, she had a smile plastered on her face that has been there all morning ever since all his friends came to see him off. "In case you get hungry on the way."
"Thank you" he had hugged her tightly and even though she squeaked at the sudden motion she had hugged him right back when he attempted to pull away. She looked like she wanted to say something but after a moment of her mouth moving soundlessly she said "I'll see you later Kurosaki-Kun"
"You too Inoue"
The bus pulled to a stop and he stretched out his arms, he was one of the few people left on the bus and the only one getting off here. He reached above his seat and pulled out his back and backpack and gave the driver a nod as he stepped off the bus.
Shading his eyes against the sun as the van pulled away he was treated to the vision of what would be the town he would reside in. There was the secant of clean air and from the vantage point, he was on the whole of the down lay around him. It was smaller than Karakura Town, compact housing dotted the streets. Its style, layout, feel was so different than that of his home. Standing there the choking sense of loss and desire ebbed somewhat, almost like he could pretend that things were normal.
The wind caressed his face carrying with it the smell of spring a time of new beginnings, it was ruined by the sound of a car pulling up to the bus stop….or rather a Limo. Now he had not known what he had been expecting, his school had been offered a change for one of their students to receive a full scholarship to one of the most prestigious academy, one that up until this year had been all girls. The scholarship had required high grades, a hard written test and then approval by however had set it up in the first place. Granted it included room and board along with the scholarship and when he had been accepted it had been a relief.
But still a limo that has not been high on his list of cars….perhaps it was not his pick up, the window rolled down. The first thing he noticed was the striking violet eyes, a trait he had yet to find among humans. They were rimmed by glasses and framed by trimmed black hair that fell to her neck, she wore the girls uniform of Kuoh Academy, perfectly smooth and pristine. All in all, it added up to quite an attractive appearance, despite whatever rumors were thrown around Ichigo Kurosaki did notice women, he just never felt the need to let it run his life.
The girl was giving him a simpler once over, and he felt a tad underdressed in his black shirt and camo pants. But that passed as soon as it had come, there had been nothing beyond the fact that he would be picked up given to him. "Are you Ichigo Kurosaki?" she asked as a man got out of the car and moved to open a door. He nodded his head "Would you please join me then." He slipped into the car as the driver took his bags from him and placed them in the trunk.
Ichigo noted at once that there was one more girl in the car, the girl had the same skin tone and hair color as the one who had treated him but that was where the similarities stopped. From what he could guess she was only three inches shorter than his six feet, her hair was much, much longer extending down past her knees, one of her eyes was violet the other light brown and her expression was much more relaxed than her counterpart. Besides her already striking face she had quite a generous bust held nicely by the Kouh Uniform. Thankfully his friendship and interaction with many of the women he had met in his...adventures had inoculated him with constant exposure to such an asset. It was still nice to see but nothing to dwell on...thought it most likely said something about him...he just was not sure what.
"Tsubaki Shinra," she said with a pleasant smile.
The window rolled up and the other girl turned to him "It is a pleasure to meet you Ichigo Kurosaki, I am Sona Sitri the student council president of Kouh Academy, this is my Vice President." Tsubaki nodded at her friend's words.
"How was your trip?"
"It was fine, I slept most of the way." He replied trying to relax a little, perhaps it was the limo but the sensation of being on edge had flared up for a moment before fading to something more normal. "I had only been off the bus for a moment before you showed up" he nodded his head "Thank you for this opportunity."
That got a real smile on her face and it was quite stunning "It was my pleasure to do so, though it was your work and effort that got you here. Your test scores were quite amazing and that is in spite of what you records might suggest."
He sighed shaking his head "Lots of people out there who like to pick on something different." He pointed to his head "Not a lot of orange in my town it tended to attract the wrong sort of attention I learned to look after myself."
"That sounds like a regrettable situation why was it not dealt with by your school.?" she sounded offended almost.
"Some people think bullying is part of growing, others that it should be settled between the kids themselves. Mostly it was the fact that several of the students there had connections with gangs in the local area and if they had done anything major the focus would have been shifted from me to the school." he shrugged "I was enough to keep them distracted and run them off...with the help of a few friends here and there" He caught the looks in both there gazes "They were not high end or high violence gangs or at least they never seemed that way to me." Ichigo paused "May I ask a question?"
"Of course that is the purposes of us being here in the first place."
"Why was I chosen, given that you know my record such as it is."
The girls glanced at each other and there was a sense of communication that passed between them, he knew what it looked like because he had done it himself often enough. There was a sharp pain in his chest at that thought but he pushed it down. "I was curious," Sona said after a moment "You scored the highest out of all the applicants, in spite of the fact that you had by far the most lurid of backgrounds" She shook her head "I decided to look further into the matter as it had caught my interest. I spoke with your teachers and your principal all of which gave you glowing recommendations. I wondered what would cause you to attempt this, to try and leave what you knew behind? Given that you also had the best scores I decided that you deserved a chance."
The reasoning behind the answer had his breathing made his breathing relax "The program mentioned that I will be required to work with the student council as part of the scholarship. What kind of duties will I be doing?"
"You will work under us, mostly me through if your fellow members ask for help you are to do your best to accommodate them. Most of what we do outside of event preparation is process the paperwork from various clubs and organizations, enforce the rules and discipline the rule breakers and oversee that the cleaning duties of the students are done on time." she pursed her lips "That is a brief overview, there will be more than just that but as a whole that is what the majority of our time is spent doing."
"That sound like a lot for a student council."
"It is, the school itself wishes to teach responsibility and to further that they leave as much of the school as possible to be run by the students, though they will step in if needed." Her smile was very self-satisfied "That has never happened under my watch"
He had to admit the idea was interesting though you would need highly competent students to pull such a thing off, and given that only the best of the best had been accepted until recently it had worked. How that would change now thought was anyone's guess "Where I will be staying?"
"There is a guest house on my family property, it has a bedding, toiletries, TV if you sho chose and of course a place to store what you brought. There are a few rules to staying there, however," she looked at him and he just nodded. "You are to stay out of the main house before the hours of seven in the morning and after the hours of ten. It would be unseemly if a boy and a girl who were not related were alone and even more so for me."
It was not like he would have done anything, but he could see the reasoning the gods along knew what people said about him and Inoue spending time at her apartment. Honestly could then not tell from looking at her that she deserved someone way better than him. "Beyond that, there is food stocked inside the guest house and you may use the main sections when others are around."
"I assume they will be after seven?"
She nodded glancing at her friend "Tsubaki have I forgotten anything?"
The taller girl opened a book and flicked through the pages "His uniform" she said.
"Right, your uniform is on the way as we speak and should be here before tomorrow's opening ceremony, which we are on our way to set up so I will introduce you to the rest of the council." her eyes drifted out the window "And here we are"
Turning to follow her gaze he let out a low whistle, he had seen pictures but in person, it was quite the sight. A campus fit for a college much less a high school, the main building large enough to hold the whole of the student body. A gymnasium, and off to the sides a myriad of sports fields, the grounds were perfectly maintained with a depth of care taken to all the details that show in all that one laid eyes upon.
The limo pulled to a stop and he held open the door for the girls and the driver gave him a nod of thanks. "Your baggage will be delivered to my home," Sona told him as he closed the door, nodding he followed the two girls as they led him into the main building. The inside was as pristine as the outside, the main room holding a double set of rising stairs that led to the upper floor. They took a right following the hallway until it reached a wide oaken door which opened into what he assumed was the assembly hall. Six other people all dressed in student uniforms were hard at work, two girls one with stark white hair and another with brown pigtails were on their tiptoes putting up a banner. There was a boy walking by them with four folding chairs in his arms, his hair was blonde and spiky, Ichigo watched his eyes move to peek at the two girls who on their tiptoes were showing a lot at the right angle and a slight smile crossed his face.
There was an annoyed exhalation from Sona and the barest sigh from Tsubaki, but as it turned out they were not the only three that noticed as a tall girl with blue hair walked by him and kicked him in the shin and said something quietly into his ear. The boy's face turned to see them and went white, he sped up his work setting up chairs not looking in their direction. The blue haired girl glanced at Sona and shrugged, he caught a good look at her face and noted that it was different than the other girls more angled perhaps but still not displeasing. What was more he knew he had seen her somewhere before, not met her but seen her he just could not put his finger on it?
There was another girl on the stage working with the electric equipment, her brown hair also in twin tails through hers was much thicker and lusher. Behind her a girl with more red then brown hair took and handed tools from her.
Sona nodded and walked forward with him in tow, she did not say anything but the people of the student council responded as if she has given them an order and congregated to them. She looked on them with pride for the most part, even if the boy was still pale with what Ichigo guessed was fear. "Everyone" she looked around her "You are all doing well I am quite proud of what you have accomplished" they all preened at her praise, he found himself taking a step back a pang in his chest accompanied the motion. "I would like to introduce you to our newest member, the one who was awarded the Futures award." All there eyes turned to him and he was struck by the force behind them. All of them, from the soft brown haired girl to the tall intimidating girl at their center. All of them had the gaze of people who were used to power, it was not something he often saw with fellow humans of his age. "Please introduce yourself," she asked.
The sensation vanished and he nodded "My name is Ichigo Kurosaki, a pleasure to meet you all."
The white-haired girl smiled back at him "I am Momo Hanakai"
The brown haired one with the thin twintails grinned her colorful green stockings standing out sharply against her pale skin. "Ruruko Nimura at your service newbie"
The blue haired one who was perhaps only an inch shorter than he stepped forward and shook his head with a powerful girl and a rye grin "Tsubasa Yura" The name clicked in his head and he remembered her. What felt like ages ago when he had watched his own friend Tatsuki Arisawa participate in a martial arts tournament. It had been the one where she had broken her arm but still contained to compete only losing in the last round to the girl before him.
The other girl with brown hair and thick twintails that was accompanied by an impressive bust nodded at him in an almost shy manner and introduced herself as Reya Kushka. The last girl almost leaped at him and grabbed his arm with both her hands shaking it up and down with surprising force for a girl her size "I'm Tomoe Meguri, come to me if you need anything." she let go and spun in place "I am the best helper in the school." He nodded his...thanks at her offer.
The boy was sizing him up and had been this whole time and reached out a hand which Ichigo shook "Genshirou Saji, though most people call me Saji." The grip was firm but not unreasonably so "To be honest I'm just glad to have another guy around, I thought you were a girl when I heard your name the first time."
"Saji's that is rude," Sona said.
"Oh sorry," he said pulling his hand back "No offense man"
Ichigo shook his head "None taken" he nodded at all of them "Well how can I help?"
They finished as evening began to touch the sky, the limo that had been there before was waiting for them and made the rounds to drop them off at their homes. Ichigo was silent through the whole thing, none of the others had made any attempt to speak to him which was his own fault. He was something new in a dynamic that was already set in place they would have to get used to him, besides there had not been much chat anyway as Sona had organized and laid them tasks with the confidence of a leader and the knowledge of one who had done this before.
In the car ride back as the sky began to darken he watched them become more animated, more energized as if the work they had done had not been much at all. Sona and Tsubaki had been in quite a conference the whole ride and through he could not hear their words clearly the tone gave whatever they were speaking of an air of significance.
Watching them like this, the trust he saw, the comradery, it warmed and pained him at the same time. His own friends had done their best to include him but he was a world below them now. A liability in there duty to protect his hometown from the threats it faced, without meaning to his hand reached for his pocket where his badge of office, the mark of the substitute shinigami would have been. There was nothing, of course, he had left it behind in his room, the move a conscious decision. It being here would only remind him more of what he lost. Of what he was now, he could say that he was glad that he would have a job it was something he needed
"You don't talk much do you?" he glanced at the boy Saji sitting across from him.
"I'm new here," he said with a shrug and glanced around the car "and you all had something to talk about"
"Eh," said the boy "Honestly we have not gotten a new member in a while and most of them knew teacher before they were on the student council. Me, I was the newbie before you and honestly if you just smile instead of brood that might make it easier."
The advice was good and if he wanted to get out of his funk that did sound like a good place to start..smiles might not be possible but he could control his scowl. "Thanks, I will think on that."
"Hey, no problem all of us here have had our issues we get it."
Did they? He would not discount the words out of hand but he doubted they would have an issue quite as bad as his situation, or as most people would call it being human. He was sure that meant he had some sort of mental illness according to all the normal standards, perhaps they would call it a god complex? "Thank you, I've had a rough year."
Saji nodded "Well this place is a good spot to make a new start, I know a lot of people who have used his place as such, his eyes tracked over to Sona and lingered there, the lightest members of desire flaring. "Even me."
He honestly had no response to that and thankfully none was needed as the Limo reached what he assumed was Saji's house and the boy got out "See you tomorrow Kaichou" he nodded at him "And you too Kurosaki"
"See you then" he replied.
He watched the boy get out of the car and the limo started up again, Sona and Tsubaki were still speaking in low tones, now that he was alone with them he could hear their voices through they spoke with words that made no sense to him. Another language that had never heard before in his life, both seemed completely fluent in it, he turned his attention away from that. It was clearly something they only wanted the other to know but it did ask the question what did two members of a school council need such code for?
He closed his eyes and felt empty, it was a habit still a sense that did not exist any longer his mind seeking the spiritual energy that he couldn't feel any more, a deep pure mental pain shot across him like fire and he shook off the attempt. He kept his eyes closed seeking to think of nothing as the limo drove to his temporary home. It would take time to learn to be human again, he knew it and he hated it, but that did not mean he would not do it. Ichigo Kurosaki let out a sigh and focused on the nothing letting all fall away into the void.