Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or any of the characters created by the author of the series. I'm just borrowing them to make my own story. All references to manga are property of Tite Kubo and/or Weekly Shönen Jump.

A/N: Well, this is the first chapter of my first story in the bleach section. I really hope you like it. Tell me what you think about it and if I should go on with it. Of all the stories I have planned, this is the only one which hasn't a complete outline, so maybe it will take a bit to update.


Behind the White Mask

Introduction

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The sunset in Karakura was as quiet as always. Dinner was being served the same way it was served every other day and the inhabitants were eating it as they always had. The typical Japanese suburb, as normal as ever; The almost identical houses, the perfectly clean pavement... Only the wind dared to defy that display of order blowing through the streets taking a few leaves and making them dance with the rhythm of nature. The human world, showing off blatant normalcy, blatant ignorance, blatant boredom...

But as always, things are never what they seem to be. Despite the apparent tranquility, the boring normalcy of this little town in the outskirts of the big city, in another plane, invisible to normal, untrained eyes, war was brewing. A war that would affect not only the future of mankind, but of the afterlife as well.

For if you don't know, ghosts do exist. Souls are palpable, real beings. A part of our conscience fused with reiatsu, or spiritual energy, which must pass on the afterlife, with help, and enter 'heaven' or the realm of the dead; 'Soul Society'. Those who help the souls in the trip to heaven are Shingami; death gods, guardians of the death. Their job is to maintain balance between planes, and to eliminate the menace of Hollows; miscarried souls, transformed into skull-masked monsters. Two sides of the same coin; black and white, good an evil...

Rumors were travelling fast among the spiritual community. They talked about death and war. War between these two factions, crude and hard. Not subtle,a s it always had been, but out in the open. The spirits carried the news about strange happenings in Soul Society. 'Defection', 'Shinigami', 'betrayal' and 'Captain' were the words that one would hear the most if he could be able to sense them, to listen to them. The Thirteen Divisions of the Seiretei in an uproar, betrayal wasn't taken well among the shinigami... A pity though, that they seemed to be so prone to it...

But between black and white there always are different shades of gray. Those who hide from both factions waiting for their moment to come out, to reveal their presence, to fight the war and if possible, to win it. For revenge is a dish best served cold, and those who were once betrayed are always watching, always making their group bigger and stronger, preparing themselves to fight.

Little did all the factions know, that war brings surprises, along with unexpected enemies, and even more unexpected allies...

In Karakura, the silence in the street was broken by soft steps advancing through it as smoothly as possible, as if they didn't want to disrupt the calmness of the ever-present scene in the little town. A lone tall figure kept walking in the middle of the road. However, the figure wasn't as lonely as one would think. Another presence made itself known as the former passed detecting it just above its head, pacing in the air.

"So..." soft spoken, the voice of the latter broke the silence. Not quite high pitched, but not too deep either. It came out almost like a whisper. Not that the neighbors could hear it even if they wanted to.

"So what?" retorted the other one, a little louder than it should have. It came out with irritation.

"Have you found it? The first voice asked, descending to the same level as the first one.

"Stop bugging me you bastard. It's not that easy. I've seen humans easier to track than this presence you kept talking about... The reiatsu here is almost overflowing... I think I even detected a Quincy and I thought those were extinct...·

"Ha!, I knew you wouldn't find it. As always you suck at detecting presences" The first voice snorted with laughter.

"Shut up! It's not that you're any better than me. At least I'm doing something important... You, on the other hand, have been buying those crappy hentai magazines for Lisa for the last two months... Been doing anything useful?" Came the acidic response.

"Well, excuse me Mr. Important. I thought we were equals in this."

"Who said we weren't? I' was just stating a fact. My mind in the matter has the same value as yours, even though I was the last one to join, doesn't it? Asked again the deeper voice.

"Yeah... whatever you say"

"Now, that sounds like something I would say..."

There was a moment of silence. The wind blowing between those two figures.

"Listen, it's not that hard. I know what I had detected, and if the spirit pressure was that high it could make a fine addition to our ranks. It was just like us, just like our reiatsu. It has to be one of us..." Came the first one again.

"Whatever... By the way, you haven't told me what are you doing here in the first place..." The second silhouette eyed the first one suspiciously.

The first one put a hand on the back of his head and laughed nervously. "Well, you se... I've been buying the magazines for Lisa and..."

"HA! I KNEW IT! That's some "leader" we have... Stuck buying shameful porn for a shameful pervert" Interrupted the other one, pointing at him and laughing.

"Shut up! I would love to see you withstanding a Cero blast from her... Or having to be two full hours with Hiyori guarding the entrance in that hellhole with that temper of hers. I'm better off buying porn" Said the first one indignantly.

"Ah, don't act with me. We all know why you go out to buy Lisa's Porn" Said the second in a mocking voice elbowing the first in the ribs and holding out his pinky.

The former went completely red. "Shut it you! That's not true! Damn kid! I liked you better when you were a crybaby. Children these days..."

"Now I'm a child. I would love to see you telling that to Hiyori. She would obliterate you" came the response.

"Well, technically, Hiyori is older than you. Much older"

"Yeah, yeah, but at least I've grown up, haven't I?"

"Tche... 'I've grown up' he says... You were small and defenseless as a puppy crying like a banshee when I found you near the river, with an enormous load of reiatsu flowing through you. You would have been eaten by the nearest hollow and that's how you repay me..."

"Whatever..." retorted the second. His gaze lost.

Silence reigned again in the little street. Random voices could be heard from inside the houses, laughing or arguing. Humans were all oblivious to their presence. The sun had already set, and the dark alleys were full of the yellow light from the street lamps. The air, now cold and chilly, aggressive, was blowing steadily through the little streets.

"Mashiro told me you used to live here. She said you didn't like to come here" Said the first one, this in a more relaxed and steady tone.

"Yeah... I used to. That's why I don't want to be here much longer... I don't remember much of my life, and I sincerely think I'm much better off not knowing... Almost all of my memories are with you guys."

"How old were you? Eight? Nine?"

"Nine"

"Yes, I remember... Anyway we should get going. Hacchi must be waiting for us. He's cooking dinner. We'll continue searching tomorrow." Said the first one while starting to walk.

The other followed... "Dinner..." he snorted "you only want to see Lisa again, eh Hirako!"

"SHUT UP YOU ASSHOLE!"retorted Hirako red in the face "If you don't shut that big mouth of yours I'm gonna beat the crap out of you, Kurosaki!" Grabbing kurosaki by the collar he began shaking him.

"Pse, as if you could" came the response of the younger, detaching himself from the clutches of his friend.

Suddenly, the banter was interrupted by a huge explosion nearby. Rubble and smoke were everywhere, and a couple of car alarms sounded loudly. A high pitched scream accompanied with another explosion followed along by a huge amount of spiritual pressure. The eyes of both speakers widened at such levels of raw power and admired the similarities between the reiatsu they were perceiving and their own.

The smoke was watering their vision and making difficult to breathe. Then, another sound came from the same place that had been blown. The sound of metal clashing against metal added to another wave of crushing spiritual pressure.

That excited the two bystanders even more. Kurosaki was almost fidgeting impatiently, as if waiting to be released.

Hirako jumped up in the air, followed by Kurosaki. "Hey, Shinji! Have you felt the same I've just felt? This must be it!"

Kurosaki drew his hand in front of him and a sword appeared out of thin air, forming itself above his hand. It seemed like a traditional Japanese Ninjato, albeit a little big longer with a silver-colored blade and a black sheath, slightly wrapped in white cloth and a black hilt lined with white.

Once the sword was summoned, Shinji's eyes widened in alarm, already expecting his comrade to do something harsh. Without thinking it twice he mimicked the other, summoning his own sword in his hands. This time, a Katana in a red sheath and with a hilt of the same color appeared before him just after he began pursuing his companoin

"Wait, Ichigo, you dumbass! there are other presences too. We must not reveal ourselves until we are sure of what or who is emitting this pressure. I don't want shinigami after our asses"

The two figures ran fast through the air disappearing in the darkness. Only the sound of the car alarms remained while a third unknown person had been watching eyes wide the entire conversation. The bystander dusted his hat and his green robes smiling slyly, before turning around and following the same path that the others had followed while humming an unknown song.

A black cat made its presence known before the green clad person, who just picked it up and smiled at it. The cat purred in the arms of the stranger.

"So, you've heard it too Yoruichi-san"he said with the cat in his arms. The cat looked at him and seemed to nod at his question, which earned another smile from the green-clad man. "How do you feel about going to see a fight?"

Again, he began humming and walking to wherever the first pair had gone, this time with the cat relaxing in his arms, until they disappeared into the night. The alarms stopped and you could only perceive the sound of the night, almost in silence. No metal clashing and no explosions. Nothing.

Again, to the rest of the world, night in Karakura was as quiet as always. The inhabitants sleeping soundly, the same way they had always had.. The typical Japanese suburb, as normal as ever; The almost identical houses, the perfectly clean pavement... Only the chilly wind of the night dared to defy that display of order blowing through the streets taking a few leaves and making them dance with the rhythm of nature. The human world, showing off blatant normalcy, blatant ignorance, blatant boredom...

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AN2: Well, I know it's been short, but it was just an introductory chapter. Tell me what you think about it and if I should continue writing it. All criticism is accepted.

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The Mysterious Nobody