A little experiment with an idea that came to mind. What if instead of Ichigo, our favorite Shinigami (Death God) met a different red head?
"What the hell do ya think you're doing!" the teen yells at the red head before him. For a small guy, he had some nerve knocking him down and talking back to him like he was better than he was. "I'll show ya...!" Throwing a punch at his face, the last thing he remembers is a sharp pain on his shoulder as he slams face first into the pavement.
"I think you'd better shut up now," the teen responds as rests the shinai on his shoulder.
"Boss!" the two other skateboarders yell as they see that said 'boss' wasn't about to get up any time soon. 'When did he take out that shinai? Wasn't it on his back a while ago? Who the hell is this kid?' were the thoughts running through their heads. Before they could take revenge, the teen looks back at them with his cold amethyst eyes which causes them to freeze on the spot.
"Do you know what that is?" he asks, pointing to the fallen flower on the side of the road with his shinai as he stared at one of the two skateboarders.
"Err, an offering for a kid who died here?"
"Exactly," he answers, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly which caused the two to shiver unconsciously. "And why is it lying on the ground?" he asks the remaining teen the smile never leaving his face.
"B...because we hit it while we were skating around?" he stutters tentatively. He and his friend yelp as the red head had now narrowed his eyes in scary expression, seemingly glowing amber in the sunset.
"And why is it still lying on the ground?" he continues, his voice now dangerously low as killing intent suddenly filled the whole area.
"AAIIIE!" The two immediately fix the bottle and pick up their companion before turning tail and running off, a trail of dust in their wake.
"Hmph." Sheathing the shinai on his back, he turns to the pole where the flower was placed, the angry expression from earlier replaced with a gentle smile. "Is that ok with you?" he asks seemingly to the air.
"Thank you, mister," a young girl's voice replies as a ghostly figure materializes next to the young boy. "Now I can finally spend my time quietly."
"Don't mention it," he replies, offering a short bow to the girl. "Just try to go to Heaven this time." As he walks away, he sighs as his mind drifts back to what happened a few moments ago. 'I didn't want to scare them so much but they that girl deserves just as much justice whether or not she's dead or alive.' Approaching his house, he shakes his head as he braces himself for what is sure to come. Opening the door, he lets out a hesitant greeting. "Tadai..."
"YOU'RE LATE FOR DINNER!" a man yells as he delivers a powerful kick to the teen's head.
"Orororo?" the red haired teen moans as he tumbles into the wall from the force of the impact.
"KENSHIN! DIDN'T I TELL YOU THAT YOU HAD TO BE HOME BY 7'PM?" Isshin Kurosaki yells as he continues to pound on his wayward son.
"Orororo..." Kenshin continues to moan as he wobbles between the attacks in a drunken stupor. "I had to help a girl ghost a few blocks away," he retorts with the same soft spoken demeanor.
"ARE YOU RUBBING IN THE FACT THAT I CAN'T SEE OR TOUCH GHOSTS LIKE YOU?" he counters while trying to strike Kenshin who seemed to be avoiding each and every attack.
"Dad! Stop picking on Kenshin!" Yuzu admonishes as she runs towards her older brother who was still wearing a dazed expression.
"OH WHY IS MY SON SO WEAK? I'VE TRIED TO TRAIN HIM AS BEST AS I COULD, MOTHER!" Isshin cries as he plasters himself on the huge wall poster of his late wife.
"Train? Yeah, right," Karin interjects. "This from the guy who still talks like a kid. Besides, who trains people by beating them up as soon as they see them?"
Scolded by his two daughters, Isshin crouches in a corner, an aura of depression around him as he softly mumbles to himself. "Oh, how puberty has taken my daughters away from me, mother."
"It's ok, Karin, Yuzu. I'm used to dads antics by now," Kenshin responds, the gentle smile still on his face as he works out some kinks in his back.
"I don't get how you can be so laid back, Ken-nii (1)," Karin huffs as she returns to her dinner. "If I were you I'd have beaten dad clear into next week." The latter statement causing Isshin to flinch and sob exaggeratedly. "By the way, you have a new guest," she adds. "Must be tough to be hi-spec, being able to feel, see, hear, and touch ghosts."
"Oro?" Looking behind him, he sees the ghost of a middle-aged man hovering in the air. "I keep telling them to go to Heaven but no matter how many times I do it they still keep coming," he sighs as he tries to shoo away the ghost.
"I'm so envious," Yuzu sighs. "You and Karin can see ghosts while I can only feel their presence. "Don't you think it's great, Karin?"
As his two sisters debate over how 'cool' it was to see ghosts, Kenshin heads up to his room for a well deserved rest. Laying down on his bed, he wonders about how his family had varying degrees of detecting spirits. 'As far as I can remember, I've always been able to see and touch ghosts but never this clearly before. And why not the rest of my family?' Deep in thought, he almost fails to notice the figure dressed in black land on his window sill.
Looking at the person, he notices a young 'boy' in a black hakama, eyes scanning the area as his hand fingered the katana on his waist. As the person jumps inside, he lands with nary a sound on the room floor as he continues to search for something. "Um, excuse me?" Kenshin pipes up. The person seemed to ignore him as he continued to slowly walk around the room. "Ano...?"
"It's near," the boy whispers as his hand prepared to draw the katana only to be stopped by a well placed kick on his rear, knocking him to the floor.
"You know it's rude to ignore a person who's talking to you," Kenshin admonishes while silently berating himself for letting his emotions get the better of him. It was bad enough how he used to react when people treated him differently for his red hair but he had more or less taken it in stride (albeit after beating up those who resorted to violence).
"Wha...what? You can see me?" the boy nearly stutters as he picks himself up from his undignified position on the floor.
"Of course I can see you," Kenshin sighs, feeling slightly irritated at the kid before him. "For a thief, you sure aren't very good at your job."
"I'm not a thief!" he huffs. "I'm a Shinigami (Death god)!"
"And that is?"
The boy soon goes into a spiel about what Shinigami were where she came from.
Kenshin looks on with a serious look on his face as the boy concluded his explanation with a smug expression.
"So, do you believe me now?"
"A question first," Kenshin interjects, trying in vain to ignore the crappy drawings in front of him. "How can a little boy like you be a Shinigami? And with such poor drawing skills?" he asks, not quite noticing the now angry glare the 'boy' was giving him.
"I'M A GIRL, YOU JACKASS! AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION I'M ALMOST TEN TIMES OLDER THAN YOU!" Making a series of hand gestures, she points her palm at the rude red head and shouts out an incantation. "Demon Form 1, Immobilize!"
Almost instantly, Kenshin feels his arms being pulled back behind him. The sudden movement causes him to tip forward and slam face first into the floor. "Oro? What the hell happened?"
"Demon magic. Only possible by Shinigami," the girl sneers as she glares evilly at the now bound Kenshin. "You know, I should kill you for calling me a boy. Just be glad that we're not allowed to kill humans unless we're ordered to. Now, the only thing left is..."
Kenshin's eyes widen as the girl draws the katana and suddenly thrusts downward towards his head. "AHHHHHH!" Closing his eyes as he prepares for the blow, he is surprised to hear it tap softly beside him. Sneaking a peak, he sees the hilt of the sword on the head of the middle-aged ghost from downstairs, a pale blue glow now surrounding the ghost.
"I...I don't want to go to hell," the ghost pleads, fear quite present in his eyes.
"Don't worry," the girl responds gently. "You're not going to hell, but Soul Society. It's a beautiful place where you'll find peace."
Kenshin couldn't help but stare at the girl, her demeanor so different from the bitchy attitude earlier yet somehow stirring some memory about another girl who had the same kind of personality. "What did you do to him?" he finally asks, still struggling against the bonds which held him.
"That was a Soul Burial. I believe you humans call it 'going to Heaven,'" she smirks. "That's just one of the tasks of a Shinigami."
As she goes into another spiel about the two types of spirits, Kenshin couldn't help but sweatdrop at her poor drawing skills. 'I'd probably understand her more if her pictures actually made sense,' he thinks silently to himself, not wanting to risk another 'demon magic' spell to be used on him. His train of thought is interrupted as an unearthly roar reverberates throughout the entire house. "What the...? Hey, Shinigami! Does a hollow have this weird roar?" he yells over the roar.
"...and you see that hollows get purified when...huh? Why are you shouting? How did you know they roar?" the girl asks as her lecture was interrupted.
"Can't you hear it? It's loud enough to wake the dead!" he retorts, trying to worm his way back into a seated position.
"What roar? I don't hear any..." Her reply is cut short as she finally hears the roar of the hollow, eyes widening in shock at having missed such a loud one. 'How can this mere human hear something before I did?' she wonders as she stares at the boy. She barely has enough time to think about it when several human screams from downstairs call her attention. Opening the door, she immediately is floored by the massive spiritual power which pours in. 'This power...how could I not have sensed it earlier?'
'Those were...' Kenshin thinks worriedly. "KARIN! YUZU!" he shouts out. Struggling to get to his feet, his eyes widen in alarm as a bloodied Karin crawling on the floor comes into view. "Ka...rin?"
"Ken...nii," she whispers, obviously struggling to even speak. "Dad...Yuzu...run away..." she croaks before collapsing bonelessly.
The Shinigami rushes to the young girl's side and lets out a sigh of relief; the girl's spirit hadn't been eaten by the hollow. "Stay here!" she commands as she rushes downstairs to confront the hollow, unaware of the catatonic stare Kenshin had on his sister.
"Blood...so much blood," he whispers.
'The hollow's power is unbelievable,' she thinks to herself, having rarely gone up against ones this strong. Readying her Zanpakutou, she charges at the hollow who had a young girl in its grasp but before she even reached the creature a blur rushes past her. As the blur reaches the hollow, she gasps in shock as she sees the teen from upstairs, body no longer bound by the demon magic she had used on him. 'It shouldn't be possible for a human to break demon magic without fatally damaging their soul! How...' Her thoughts are interrupted as the teen is slammed into the ground by the hollow's massive fist. Using the distraction, she dashes forward and slices the arm holding the young girl which causes the creature to drop its victim. "Both of you, get out of here! Humans can't fight hollows!"
Shaken out of his stupor, Kenshin catches Yuzu before she hits the ground and jumps back to a safe distance as he watches the two supernatural beings square off. Looking at his sister, he is relieved to see she was still breathing albeit sporting major injuries. "Hollow..." he hisses as his eyes narrow at the monster before placing Yuzu gently on the ground.
Growling at its attacker, it pauses as it sees the human boy catch the young girl it had dropped. Sniffing the air, it seems to grin evilly as it takes a step towards the red-haired teen. "I found you," it finally speaks. "I thought I smelled something on that human spirit I ate earlier. She kept yelling for her 'big brother' to save her. Why she wouldn't leave those flowers, I don't know."
"What?" Kenshin freezes as he realizes who the hollow was talking about. Frozen with grief, he doesn't see the monster charge at him, jaws wide open as it prepares to eat him. He is only shaken out of his stupor as a scream of pain breaks the silence of the night. Eyes focusing once more, he sees the Shinigami blocking the hollow's jaws with her own body, her katana the only thing preventing the jaws from actually killing her outright.
"Idiot..." she hisses in pain. "I told you to run away." Forcing her damaged body to move, she pries the jaws open and manages to force the hollow back but the extent of her injuries were to great as she collapses bonelessly on the concrete. "Damn...I lost too much blood,"
The hollow could only laugh at the situation before him. "Hahaha! I only expected to eat this human but now I get to eat a Shinigami as well!"
Kenshin reacts immediately, placing himself between the hollow and the Shinigami. "Bastard," he growl. He moves to charge at the hollow but the girl grabs his shirt, preventing him from rushing forward.
"You...can't win unless you're a Shinigami," she coughs out, feeling her strength drain with each passing moment. "I can't fight anymore so you have to fight in my place."
Momentarily forgetting his anger, he looks curiously at the Shinigami only to see her holding out her katana at him. "How? I thought you said humans can't..."
"Thrust this Zanpakutou into your heart, human. It'll (cough) let me transfer half of my power to you so you can fight the hollow." 'Maybe,' she thinks silently as she had never actually heard of it working. "But it might..." she starts, trying to warn him of the danger.
"My name is Kenshin Kurosaki, Shinigami. Not 'human,'" he interrupts, grabbing the hilt of the sword.
"...Rukia...Kukichi," she replies, giving a weak smirk at the teen.
"What are you two mumbing about?" the hollow sneers. "Praying to your gods? No matter, you're both going in my belly anyw..." He stops as a huge wave of killing intent radiates from the red-haired teen. "What?"
Standing over Rukia was Kenshin but instead of his normal street clothes, he had a midnight black hakama just like Rukia did. Strapped to his waist was a regular katana, his finger already on the tsuba as if ready to draw the sword. His eyes had narrowed down to near slits as he glared dispassionately at the hollow.
Rukia on the other hand no longer wore her Shinigami uniform and looked thoroughly shocked at her current state. 'He...took all my power? Impossible.' As she stares at Kenshin, she could feel the enormous killing intent coming off the teen. 'No person should have that much killing intent,' she thinks to herself. 'It's like he's an assassin.' Looking back at the hollow, she could see it charge at Kenshin and the teen just stood there doing nothing. "Idiot! Move!" She couldn't tear her eyes away from the scene as she suddenly feared her effort to transfer her powers to Kenshin was simply in vain.
"Prepare to die, human!" the hollow screams as it neared its prey, ignoring the danger signals his senses were telling him.
"For daring to strike my family," Kenshin whispers, a dream-like memory causing his body to move of its own volition, his eyes suddenly taking on an amber hue. "For killing her...die."
Without any movement from the newly born Shingami, the hollow's leg falls clear off the body, the appendage flying off in a random direction.
'What! I didn't even see him draw the Zanpakuto!' Rukia gasps, her mouth wide open in shock at the apparent skill Kenshin had shown. Only once had she seen someone move that fast and even then it seemed to pale to the red head before her. However, the teen was nowhere to be found as all that she saw was some stirred dust where he once stood. 'Where...?'
"DAMN YOU, HUMAN!" the hollow roars as it begins to tip over from the loss of its leg. It doesn't have time to say anything further as a cold voice from above causes it to sense something it hadn't felt in a long time...fear.
Rukia could only stare as Kenshin landed in front of the hollow in what appeared to be a downward slash. Kenshin proceeded to sheath the Zanpakuto, turning his back on the hollow as he did so which caused her to shout out a warning. "Don't turn your back on...!" She pauses mid-sentence as a thin line suddenly appears in the middle of the hollow's mask and continues downward until the whole head itself was split in two.
"Im...possible," the hollow manages to croak before he starts to disintegrate. Just before everything goes black, he sees the human turn back to face him, eyes a familiar amber shade. "You...are..."
As the hollow faded away into nothingness, Rukia's attention turned to Kenshin who was now staring at her with that chilling impassive stare which seemed to look into the very depths of her soul. She flinches involuntarily as he begins to walk towards her, his expression the same as when he dispatched the hollow. Stopping in front of her, she starts to wonder if it was a mistake to give her powers to this human but that thought is dispelled as he collapses in front of her fast asleep. Sighing in relief, she looks around at the destruction and at Kenshin's injured family and starts to drag the unconscious teen back to the house.
-To be continued-
(1) Just sounds better when she calls Kenshin, Ken-nii, instead of just Kenshin. Plus, it's almost the same as her calling him Ichi-nii instead of Ichigo.
(2) Kenshin IS a bit OOC but I have my reasons: a) While he is still Kenshin, the fact that he has red hair should have him grow up with the same discrimination Ichigo had to go through AND should make him less of the weeny he pretented to be in the canon. b) Part of the appeal of Bleach, in my opinion, is the crass nature of Ichigo and I felt part of it needed to stay.
(3) This was just an experiment really, so please tell me what you think.