Disclaimer: Bleach and Runoni Kenshin belong to their respective owners. Unfortunately that isn't me :p
'Blood. So much blood,' he thought as it fell like rain on the battlefield. Surrounded by dozens of corpses, he felt no remorse as he shook the thick ichor which coated his blade. However, there was still one enemy in sight but its form was dark, blurred. Still, it was an enemy and it needed to be eliminated. Charging at the figure, he gives a powerful slash, cutting the enemy down. It collapses in a heap at his feet but then his vision suddenly clears, the figure revealing itself to be a petite woman in a black hakama. A tidal wave of emotions rush through him, shock, sadness, rage, loathing, sorrow, as he cradles the woman in his arms. She moves her lips yet no sound could be heard. As she slowly closes her eyes, a name finally associates itself with the face he saw.
Kenshin shoots up with a start, the images from the dream still fresh in his mind. For the last few years, he had had this sporadic dream about a pale woman in a white kimono that he 'killed', her hair smelling of jasmine even as blood was soaking through her clothes. Tonight was...different...to say the least. For one, the girl was different. She was shorter and her clothes were black instead of the pristine white he remembered. Then he finally remembered the events of the night before, eyes widening as he rushed out of bed to check his family. "Yuzu! Karin! Dad! Are you...!"
"ISSHIN FLYING KICK!" yells a deep voice as its foot slams into Kenshin's head, knocking the boy into the wall.
"Orororo..." he moans as he peels himself from the wall. "Dad, what...?"
"Good morning, weak son!" Isshin jeers lovingly as only a father could (or so Isshin believed in his mind). "I see you're awake early this time."
Kenshin, still half-asleep / half-groggy from his father's attack, could only stare at the old man as he tried to make sense of what was happening. "Wha...how?"
"Come down for breakfast, Ken-nii!" Yuzu yells from downstairs.
Kenshin rushes down, easily dodging his father's follow-up attacks as he stares at his uninjured sisters already eating at the table. Looking around, he could see the hole in the wall caused by the attack last night and his two sisters acting as if nothing happened. "The hole..." he manages to blurt to which his dad answers almost nonchalantly.
"Yeah, amazing that our house of all places got hit by a truck, eh?"
"What's more amazing is that none of us even woke up," Karin retorts dryly.
"In any case, it's good no one was hurt," Yuzu adds as she places a fried egg on Kenshin's plate.
A million thoughts running through his head, Kenshin takes a seat and listens to his sisters' conversation which just caused him no end to his confusion. 'Did...was last night really just a dream?' he wonders, his hand still remembering the feel of the katana he thought he held. 'No. It was real,' he answers to himself. 'Did that girl just do a men-in-black act and erase their memories?' Before Kenshin could ponder it further, a foot slams into his face just as he reached for his fried egg.
"You must always be alert, Kenshin!" Isshin Kurosaki admonishes as his son collapses in his chair.
"So Orihime, what did you bring for lunch?"
"Hmm," Inoue thinks for a moment. "It's fish-shaped sweet bean bread with ramen, wasabi and honey. Do you want some?"
Tatsuki pales slightly as a visual image of the dish comes to mind before waving off the offer. "No thanks, I...have my own lunch."
"Are you sure? It's delic..." Inoue doesn't get to finish her statement as someone bumps into her, knocking her to the floor. "Owwww."
"Ah! Inoue-san. Are you all right?" Kenshin asks as he reaches for the girl.
"Kenshin! You should watch where you're going!" Tatsuki admonishes the boy, bopping him once on his head.
"No, it's ok," Inoue answers. As she picks herself up, she reaches for the outstretched hand and looks directly into Kenshin's face. Kenshin...-san?"
"Eh? Are you hurt?" he answers, the same gentle smile still on his face.
"Umm, No! I mean, yes! I mean, ahh..." the girl starts to babble as she struggles to hide the huge blush on her cheeks, running away from her red-haired classmate and unfortunately into a pillar.
"Oi! Orihime!" Tatsuki calls out to her friend.
"Umm, is she really ok?" Kenshin asks, apparently oblivious to what just happened.
"You're really dense, aren't you?" Tatsuki smirks at her friend, giving him another bop on the head who cringes exaggeratingly. "Anyway, so why did you come in so late? It's almost lunchtime.
Kenshin scratches the back of his head and gives a shaky laugh. "Ahahaha. Lots of...stuff...happened."
"What kind of 'stuff'?" she asks, her eyes narrowing in suspicion.
"Oi, Kenshin!" Keigo calls out from inside the classroom.
"I'll tell you later, Tatsuki," Kenshin apologizes, running into the classroom. 'Whew. Safe,' he thinks, not really sure how he was going to explain 'that' to Tatsuki.
"Asano-kun, Kojima-kun," Kenshin calls back as he walks towards his desk.
"I heard your house got hit by a truck," Kojima states. "Did you get it all cleaned up?"
"I don't think that's something we can clean overnight," Kenshin sweatdrops. Sometimes his classmates could be idiots.
"Do you need help?" interjects a softspoken yet deep voice.
"No, I don't..." Kenshin stops mid-sentence as he notices the owner of the voice, 'Chad' standing next to him. "It's fine," he finally responds. 'No matter how many times I see him, he's still as imposing as ever,' Kenshin thinks to himself. As the conversation starts to shift to regular school talk, an overly cheery voice suddenly speaks behind him.
"Oh, so you're Kurosaki-kun," the girl says.
'That voice...sounds familiar,' Kenshin thinks to himself as he turns around. "Yes, I'm Ken...shin?" His voice trails off as he recognizes the owner of the voice. Granted the manner of speech was different and she wasn't wearing that ridiculously black outfit, the hairdo and deep indigo eyes left little doubt as to her identity.
"My name is Kuchiki. I will be sitting next to you," she responds demurely, which causes a twitch in Kenshin's eyebrow. Mizuiro notices the twitch and proceeds to interrogate their red-head classmate.
"What's wrong, Kenshin? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Ahahaha, what makes you say that, Kojima-kun?" Kenshin laughs haltingly. 'You don't know the half of it,' Kenshin thinks to himself.
"Yes what makes you say that, Kojima-kun? This is the first time I've met Kurosaki-kun," Rukia answers with the same sickingly sweet voice.
"I guess we should introduce you then, Kenshin. This is Kuchiki-san, the new transfer student. She started this morning while you were late."
"I'm very pleased to meet you," Rukia adds, reaching out to shake Kenshin's hand.
'What the hell is up with that dialogue?' he thinks to himself while maintaining his ever present smile. As he reaches for the offered hand, he notices a few words written on her palm which causes shivers to run up his spine.
Make a scene and I'll kill you!
'Well, two can play at this game,' he thinks to himself as he shakes her hand. "Ah, Kuchiki-dono, this one is pleased to make your acquaintance." The reaction is not what he expects however, as she flinches slightly at the honorific before her 'mask' sets in again.
"Kurosaki-kun, can I speak with you for a minute?" Rukia asks as she tugs on Kenshin's arm.
'If I'm going to die, I may as well go out with a bang,' Kenshin thinks to himself. "After you, Kuchiki-dono," he offers, bowing slightly before the petite girl which causes her to scowl again in his direction.
As the two leave the classroom, Asano cries exaggeratingly at the retreating pair. "Why does Kenshin get all the girls!"
The other two could only stare at their overly emotional classmate and sigh. Kenshin was Kenshin after all.
"So, Kuchiki-dono, what did you want to speak to this one about?"
"Stop it with that way of speaking! It doesn't sound good on you!" Rukia admonishes as she drops her act.
"Well, you started it by talking that shudder...way. What did you do? Read out of a shoujo manga?" Kenshin retorts jokingly. He sweat drops as he notices her flinch at the accusation. "You did, didn't you?"
"Shut up! You should be impressed I learned it all in one night!" she huffs, tying hiding her blush from the boy. She had, after all, really studied hard.
"Hai, hai," Kenshin responds, holding his arms up defensively. "So why are you still here? I thought that after defeating that monster you'd be back in...what did you call that place?"
"Soul Society," Rukia reiterates, no longer using her 'fake' accent.
"Ah, sorry. Your drawings were so horrible last night I didn't really pay attention to your lecture," Kenshin answers, giving a small chuckle. That turned out to be the wrong thing to say as the small girl packed a surprisingly powerful kick.
"Baka!" she growls at the prone teen. "Only Shinigami (Death Gods) can return to Soul Society and someone so blatantly took all my powers!"
"Oro?" Kenshin pipes up, pointing to himself.
"Yes, you! Thanks to you, I am forced to use this gigai (faux body)!" Seeing Kenshin's clueless expression, she decides to explain the basics to the neo-Shinigami. "It's a temporary body dispensed to Shingami for emergencies. If Shinigami suddenly become incapacitated or extremely weak, we enter these bodies and wait for our powers to recover." Her lecture is interrupted as Kenshin starts pinching her cheeks and pulling them to the side.
"Ah, so that's how my classmates were able to see you," he replies in awe. "Well made, too. It feels real." He fails to notice Rukia turning red, her surprised look turning into a glare.
"That hurts, you know!" she yells, punching the red-haired teen into the ground once more. "Anyway, until my powers return to me you'll be helping me with my work as a Shinigami."
"Excuse me?" Kenshin tries to interrupt, but the girl still continued on her spiel.
"It's quite obvious. Shinigami have a job to do here in the human world. I don't have any Shinigami powers. You do, so therefore you have to do my job. It's an honor for a human to become a Shinigami so..."
"I'm afraid I'll have to refuse your offer," Kenshin interjects suddenly, his expression hardening slightly.
"But...why? You fought magnificently last night!"
Kenshin's expression softens as he looks at the girl in front of him. "I don't like violence," he responds. "I don't even half-remember how I fought that monster so what makes you think I'll be a good Shinigami?"
"I know good fighting form when I see one! That was the move of a master!"
"I'm sorry again, Kuchiki-san, but you have the wrong impression of me. My family is safe, and that's all that matters." Bowing slightly, he turns and starts to walk back to class, failing to notice Rukia mumble slightly under her breath.
"I see. I guess there's no other way." Putting on a red glove, she charges at Kenshin's unguarded back and slams here palm into his head.
The first thing Kenshin feels is the palm slam into the back of his head and a sudden flying sensation. Collapsing in a heap on the ground, he wobbles slightly as he gets back to his feet. "Orororo...what happened?" Looking around, he sees 'himself' lying face-down on the ground. "My body? Eh? What's going on?" Looking at himself, he sees that he was now wearing the same black uniform which he wore last night.
"Come with me," Rukia orders, the tone of her voice hinting she brooked no argument.
Kenshin hesitates for a moment at the girl's command but soon winds up following the girl after she glares at him. As he walked behind the petite Shinigami, Kenshin couldn't help but notice how she kept on looking at her cellphone every so often as she scanned the area. They soon stop at a park which had some flowers laid near a light post. "A plus inhabiting this area will probably be attacked soon," she finally speaks up.
Vaguely remembering something about horrible drawings and 'pluses', Kenshin's musings are cut short as an unearthly roar breaks the silence of the park. Looking to the source of the roar, he sees a huge hollow chasing after a young boy, the monster slobbering as its teeth snapped at the terrified child. His body moving of it's own volition, he starts to run towards the two but a sharp command stops him mid-stride.
"Stop! That child isn't a family member of yours, now is he? Why are you going to help him?"
Kenshin moves to speak, but stops himself as her words ring true, his hand shaking slightly as it twitched towards the katana. He grits his teeth in anger as the child's screams for help keep ringing in his ears.
"Not so easy, is it? Shinigami have to be fair to all souls. You can't...hey!" Rukia shouts as Kenshin ignores her well prepared speech and runs off towards the child. As he reaches the boy, she waited for him to draw the zanpakuto but her expression turns to one of confusion as he picks up the boy and starts to (quite comically) run away from the hollow. "What the hell are you doing!"
"I'm...yipe! Running, what does it look like!" Kenshin retorts back as he avoided a talon swung at him. "Come on, mister hollow, are you sure we can't discuss this?" The inhuman roar was all he got as he dodged another attack directed at him. "I guess not..."
Rukia continued to stare at the red-haired Shinigami as he continued to run circles around the hollow. If it weren't for the seriousness of the situation she would have found the whole spectacle funny. "Do you think this is a game?" she replies angrily.
Kenshin didn't deem it necessary to answer. In truth, he couldn't do anything but run. While he was sure he could draw out the katana, 'Zanpaktou,' he corrects himself, he was also sure he didn't quite have the skill Rukia believed him to have. Even the supposed battle he won last night was more of a blur than anything else. But still, even as he kept on running he couldn't help but remember all the other fights he had gotten into, much to the chagrin of his late mother. People would pick on him for the smallest reasons, all because his red hair made him look like some punk.
His angry grumblings are interrupted as the boy he carried grasped him tightly like a life preserver as the hollow once again came close to cleaving the two of them in, well, two. Looking at thee boy's terrified expression, something in him suddenly snaps at the absurdity of it all. Here he was, someone who (supposedly) had the power to do something and he wouldn't, all because it didn't concern him. Eyes narrowing, he yells at the former Shinigami as he steels himself for battle. "Rukia! Catch!"
Rukia, who was still fuming at the boy's incredulous actions was caught off guard as a young boy was tossed at her, the two of them collapsing in a heap on the ground. "Oi! Kenshin! What did you do that for?" she yells back in irritation. She stops her rant as she notices Kenshin still running around the hollow but his body language had changed completely. No longer was he acting like a fool but every movement of his body seemed controlled and precise, even his eyes no longer held the same naivete he had projected earlier. All that remained in his eyes showed the heart of a warrior.
Kenshin's body moves almost of it's own volition, causing Kenshin to wonder if those kendo lessons really did help as he circled the creature, the hollow apparently having changed objectives as it now stalked him instead of the spirit of the boy. Seeing the hollow begin its attack, he shifts directions abruptly; dodging the talon and drawing the Zanpakutou in one swift motion; his muscles tensing as he feels the unearthly steel cut through the equally unearthly appendage. Like a hot knife through butter, it slices the hollow's leg, black ichor spurting from where the leg used to be attached.
Screeching in pain, the hollow vanishes in a black mist, causing Kenshin to stare at his sword in morbid facination. His hand starts shaking as he notices the blood which still remained on the spiritual blade he held, the dripping blood bringing forth memories of the dream last night.
"Idiot! You have to cut the head to defeat it!" Rukia yells, silently berating herself for not telling her protégé sooner and somewhat confused at why he froze up.
That yell was all that saved Kenshin from being impaled as the hollow rematerializes behind him, its claw having regenerated in the short time it disappeared. Blocking the attack with the Zanpakutou, he grits his teeth as his is pushed back from the sheer force behind the blow.
The hollow roars angrily at being unable to gut its prey and launches another attack at the red-haired Shinigami. This time it's eyes widen in surprise as the Shinigami effortlessly knocks away its attack, letting the talon slide past the blade as the hilt slams into it's forehead and scrambling what could be called its brain.
Jumping back from the dazed hollow, Kenshin focuses his gaze on the hollow's head as he remembers Rukia's advice. Lowering his sword, he charges head on, Zanpakutou glistening as the sun reflected off its surface.
The hollow tries to stab him with another attack but Kenshin simply dodges it and leaps into the air. Trying to attack him with several limbs this time, the red-haired Shinigami performs a mid-air dodge which should have been all but impossible and lets out a yell as he slashes downward, cutting the hollow's head clear down the middle.
Letting out a final roar, the hollow begins to dissolve again, this time the manner of which showed that it had finally been defeated.
Kenshin watches the hollow in its death throes, a sad expression on his face as it vanished from this world. His face betraying no emotion, he approaches Rukia and the boy, the latter of which was still crying from having 'escaped death' so to speak.
"Kenshin, what are..." Rukia stops mid-sentence as the red-head's expression suddenly returns to the gentle face he had earlier, the teen kneeling in front of the boy as he gently ruffles the kid's hair.
"Time to go to heaven," Kenshin says gently, tapping the hilt of the Zanpakutou on the boy's forehead. Almost immediately, the boy's expression turns to one of peace, a glowing light forming underneath him as his soul transforms into a black butterfly and flies off towards the sky. Smiling briefly, his face returns to its neutral expression as he walks back towards the school grounds, leaving a confused Rukia in the park.
'He just sent that kid to heaven perfectly. He's finally accepted being a Shinigami,' she thinks smugly to herself. As if reading her mind, Kenshin turns around with his usual laid back expression and calls out to her.
"I'm still not going to be your replacement!"
"He...hey! What do you mean? You did everything perfectly!" Rukia finally yells back as she chases after the red-haired teen who simply continued to ignore her tirade.
-To be continued-
"Time to go to heaven," Kenshin says gently, slamming the hilt of the Zanpakutou on the boy's forehead like a rubber stamp. Almost immediately, the boy's expression turns to one of pain as he screeches loudly.
"AIEEEE! IT HURTS!"
"Idiot! You're not supposed to tap their head that hard!" Rukia yells, punching the neo-Shinigami in the head.
-To be continued-
Thanks to Wanderer3, Merffles, Miss Selarne and Ant Crown for your reviews Glad to see you enjoyed it so far and I hope to keep meeting your expectations.