Kurosaki Isshin nearly choked to death from holding his laughter back the first time he met Kuchiki Rukia, his son's "orphaned school friend" who desperately needed a place to say. It wasn't that he didn't sympathize with the girl's plight—it was just that he recalled so vividly the first time he'd met Kuchiki Rukia, shinigami.

Everything from that night was still so clear in Isshin's mind. It had been the first time his children had been attacked by a hollow—the night that every bit of his past came rushing back to him. A shinigami girl who looked no older than his son was the last thing he expected to see. Oh, he'd seen them around now and again, one in particular he now assumed to be Rukia's predecessor, but he'd never imagined he'd find one on his son's bedroom floor.

Neither had Ichigo, judging from his reaction. "How can I not make a ruckus? Look at this guy!"

Isshin looked, and it was only through sheer force of will that he was able to keep a straight face. Standing the behind Ichigo with a solemn, assured expression was a pale girl wearing a uniform he knew all too well. And absolutely sure he saw nothing, by the look of her.

Well, he'd feigned ignorance of shinigami for twenty years; he saw no reason to stop now. "What do you mean? Look at what?"

He knew the kick would come, but that didn't make it hurt any less when it did. At least it gave him an excuse to head down to the clinic for some of Yuzu's doctoring; he wasn't sure how much longer he could've kept the act up.

So, a shinigami. A cute one, too, and in his son's room. As Yuzu rushes to wet a cloth for Isshin's bleeding nose, he can't hold it in anymore and bursts into a fit of very unmanly giggling. He'd known for years that his past was likely to affect his family at some point—his children's ability to see spirits pretty much promised that. But he hadn't expected it to happen like this. He supposed he should be more concerned about Ichigo's reaction to this sudden shock, as well as worried about the sharp thumps he heard from upstairs, but somehow all Isshin could think of was a night twenty years ago, when another shinigami entered the home of a spirit-sensitive person…and met a beautiful girl named Masaki.

Ah, Ichigo. She'll change your world. And for a moment, the world seemed to click into place.

It was a few minutes later that the hollow attacked, and that was no fun at all, but the last thought that crossed Isshin's mind before he passed out was that he was going to have a great story for Urahara when they went drinking this weekend.