Disclaimer- I do not own Bleach.
Summary- The Kurosaki children realize that they'd rather have their annoying dad around than for him to be gone forever. But that realization came too late, and they'd have to deal with it.
A/N- Since I just started getting into Bleach about a couple of months ago, I apologize for anything that I may seem ignorant of. I have no idea whether or not Isshin's kids know of his past. For the sake of the story, they do not. I also do not remember if someone could touch a Soul Reaper while they are in their spiritual form. For the sake of this story, they can. I wrote this because Isshin always gives me a laugh, and he kicks ass! I apologize for the unoriginal title.
The house shook. The three members of the Kurosaki clan that resided at the dining table glanced up from their dinner plates as the dishes rattled on the table and the house shook again. Karin glanced at her father, and was actually rather surprised to see a very serious expression on his usually jubilant face.
'Where's Ichigo?' Karin thought as she clutched at her glass of milk tighter. She knew this was no ordinary earthquake or mishap...she knew this had to do with those spiritual monsters she had come to associate her brother with. Karin glanced at Yuzu, and she saw her gentle twin's innocent eyes wide with fright. Yuzu knew enough that she could come to the same conclusion as Karin had.
Again the house shook, and in the distance, they heard a horrible howl. Karin bit her lip and prayed for her brother's return. She knew he fought those monsters--she knew he was able to protect them. Karin could hold it off for a bit--but she knew she would never be able to kill it.
And then there was her father, whom she thought she'd never be protecting in her life. He couldn't see spirits at all. He didn't even know of their existence. And Yuzu, whom could see the spiritual beasts clearly by now, was too gentle to hurt anything.
Suddenly, a strong gust of air blew through the windows and the doors, shattering the glass and showering the rooms with its shards. All three of them ducked, their arms covering their faces as little shards nicked at their exposed skin. Isshin's chair crashed to the floor as he sprang out of it and made his way to his daughters, grabbing both of them under his arms and rushing them in to the living room and away from the damaging glass.
The howling grew louder, and Karin caught a glimpse of a gigantic white mask attached to a serpentine body with long arms and claw-like hands. Her dad slammed the door shut behind him, cutting the monster off from view.
"A Ssoul Reaper livess here," Karin could hear the mask hiss from the other side of the wall. "A sstrong one too--there'ss a lot of sspiritual energy here. Enough to make a tassty meal."
Yuzu let out a strangled cry and clasped her hands to her mouth to stifle it. She was clinging to Isshin's arm--a figure of comfort and security in her world.
"Dad--" Karin began urgently in a low voice, "Dad, we need to get out of here. I can't explain what that thing is now--but we have to find Ichigo or that Rukia girl he's friends with--come on, Dad," she started tugging at his arm. But for some reason, he had a resigned look on his face.
"No," he said calmly, "it'll just follow us." He sounded sure of this.
"Dad, you have no idea what a Soul Reaper is," Karin explained hurriedly throwing all of her strength into pulling him towards the back door, and after another insistent tug, he started following. Karin had no idea why he was so calm about this. "There's a monster out there looking for one—Ichigo is one, but if we leave he won't find any here and it'll leave, you can't see the monster there but it's too strong, it could kill us."
"It's called a hollow."
Karin froze, turning her head abruptly to face his. His eyes were closed, and there was a slight smirk on his face, but there was an anxious crease set between his brows. He kept walking, lifting up the frightened Yuzu, and grabbing Karin's arm instead.
"Did—did Ichigo explain to you about everything?" Karin asked, almost disbelieving. She knew Ichigo would never tell their father anything about this kind of thing.
There was a loud crash that reverberated throughout the house and Isshin started to walk faster, pausing only very slightly in front of the blown-up poster of their mother. He grimaced instead of talking woefully to it, however, and quickened his pace to a jog, his hand clutching tightly to Karin's forearm, dragging her behind him.
"How do you—?" Karin was about to ask, but cut off with a yelp as the wall behind her crumpled, and the monster—hollow—allowed itself in. Isshin tucked her under his arm again and took off in a run to the courtyard just by their house. The hollow had followed them outside.
It was then that Isshin stopped, carefully setting down both of his daughters onto their feet. He straightened, and gave them his usual goofy smile that seemed out of place.
"Didn't think it was possible that your old man used to be cooler than he is even now? " Karin stared up at him in shock, as he closed his eyes, smile wiping off his face as a look of utmost concentration took over his features. Yuzu screamed as his body suddenly collapsed to a heap on the ground. Karin however, looked at the figure standing behind the heap.
It was her father.
He wore black robes, the same kind that Ichigo wore. He even had a sword sheathed at his waist.
But her eyes widened when she saw the white robe that was slung over his left shoulder. Ichigo had told her about the Soul Reapers that wore white outer robes...they were called captains, and they were the strongest kind of Soul Reapers there were. Ichigo's exact words were "insanely strong and the most arrogant and stubborn of the bunch."
Her dad...was a captain.
She barely had time to register it as her father suddenly unsheathed the large sword at his side and leapt at the beast coming towards them. More howls sounded throughout the night and Yuzu gasped, grasping Karin's arm and pointing towards the sky.
More hollows were coming from a black hole in the sky. They were all heading towards their home...towards her father.
No sooner had Isshin destroyed the first hollow with one fell swoop of his sword, that two more had come, the first one he managed to dodge, while the second clawed at his shoulder, blood shooting out of the wound and spattering the ground. Karin didn't realize that she had been gripping Yuzu's arm until her sister let out a soft whimper. She immediately softened her grip.
She needed to help him...if all of those hollows kept coming to fight him, he'd be overwhelmed. And Karin couldn't lose the only parent she had left...
"Stay here, Yuzu!" she ordered her sister before taking running forwards. "Hey Ugly!" she shouted towards the nearest hollow, which paused in its pursuit and leapt towards her. Karin suddenly felt a stab of panic as she realized that her father's original body still lay crumpled between her and the hollow.
"Karin! Yuzu!" Karin nearly collapsed to her knees in relief at hearing her brother's voice and running footsteps. He would help their dad.
"Ichigo!" she shouted, "Help Dad!"
His eyes widened dramatically as he spotted the heap lying on the ground, but upon seeing their father fighting the hollows on the other side of the court, his draw nearly dropped to the concrete below. His friend Rukia was behind him, taking out an odd looking glove from the bag she carried.
The hollow had noticed Ichigo. It swatted Isshin's body aside as if it were a speck of dirt in his way. The body slammed against the building of the wall with too much force before once again crumpling limply to the ground. The force from the hit against the building had sent part of the wall crumbling down, landing on the former body of her father.
Karin could hear Yuzu screaming, the normally, gentle girl running towards the pile to try to pull the rocks off from the corpse. Karin vaguely became aware of someone else screaming---moments later she realized they were her own yells. She snapped her mouth shut, grinding her teeth together in an effort not to make any more noise. She couldn't lose it...Yuzu needed her.
She kept glancing over her shoulder as she helped Yuzu pull the rubble off of their father. Ichigo had blood on his face, and their father...he was bleeding so badly...
Why did all of the hollows seem to be concentrating on him?
"Karin, help!" Yuzu's cry brought her back and she turned to see her sister tugging at her father's arm, scrapes along her small hands bleeding. Karin rushed to help pull the body from the wreckage. It was just as bloody as the soul body of Isshin; his entire lower half seemed to be crushed.
Yuzu started crying. Karin felt an odd lump in her throat.
How was he going to return to his body if it was broken?
Slowly she raised her face to look at the battle raging before her. She saw the short girl, Rukia, in her Soul Reaper clothes, sword out, defeat the smallest hollow; she seemed to want to stay close to Karin and Yuzu, as if protecting them. Ichigo cut down another hollow, but he had a gash on his arm that looked painful. Three hollows surrounded Isshin, and he severed the arm off of one, but as he did so, another one that resembled a porcupine shot a spike through his stomach.
"No!" Karin yelled, crawling clumsily before she stumbled to her feet, and she ran towards him, but someone caught her around the waist.
"No, Karin," Rukia spoke in a low voice, and the arms around her waist tightened. "You'll get killed, and then this would all be in vain."
The words were harsh to Karin's ears, and she heard regret in Rukia's voice as she muttered an apology, but Karin knew that the small Soul Reaper spoke the truth.
She heard Ichigo's anguished yell, as he killed the hollow that looked like a porcupine, and the other that looked like a centipede. Isshin himself, with one hand clutching the spike in his stomach, swung his own sword straight at the mask of the last hollow. The mask cracked, breaking off slightly, before Isshin stabbed it straight in the middle. The mask crumbled, and the hollow dissolved in the air. No more came.
Isshin dropped his sword, his other hand wrapping itself around the spike, and he pulled. An odd squelching sound filled the air, along with a loud spattering on the concrete as blood spurted forth from the wound. Ichigo hurried to him, wrapping his arm around him as he tried to bring him back to his body.
"Come on, Dad," Ichigo urged, "Just get back to your body and everything will be fine." His voice shook slightly.
Rukia's arms unwrapped themselves from Karin, and she sprung forth, wanting to help them. Slightly behind Rukia, Yuzu got to her feet and ran towards them too.
"Put me down," Isshin rasped. "That gigai's broken beyond repair."
Ichigo's eyes widened dramatically, but he stopped walking and slowly lowered his father to the ground. Karin and Yuzu soon met them. All three of the Kurosaki children kneeled beside their father, while Rukia stood a little ways away, respecting that they needed to see their father alone.
Ichigo's face was scrunched up, as though the sun was blinding him. But there was no light. It was night, and the world could not be any darker. "I'm sorry—I came too late. It's my fault just like it was with Mom."
A pool of blood started to form around them, soaking the knees of Ichigo's robes. "No it's not," Isshin rasped. "It was mine."
Yuzu was crying even harder, her face already blotchy. Karin could feel herself shaking, but she willed herself not to cry. She was on the opposite side of Ichigo and Yuzu, and it was as though from her vantage point, he seemed much worse.
Isshin gritted his teeth, which were stained red with blood. "I knew it was a hollow that killed her."
Ichigo's fists clenched. "I failed to avenge her," he said, his voice shaking even as he talked through his teeth to sound calmer, "I couldn't kill the Grand Fisher."
"No," Isshin agreed, and he reached out and grabbed Ichigo's hand. His son looked startled for a moment, his first instinct was to rip his hand from his father's grasp and punch him in the face, but he clenched it back instead. "No, you didn't. But I did. I killed him. And those hollows? Those hollows were after me. Aizen must've found out I've been regaining my powers—he needed to wipe me out before I became too powerful again…knew I wouldn't join him."
Ichigo's hand compulsively tightened around his father's in shock. He found himself lost for words.
A trickle of blood oozed from the corner of Isshin's mouth. His eyes landed on Yuzu.
"Yuzu…Yuzu you look so much like your mother," he said, gasping in pain as he brought all of his energy to stay alive, to say goodbye to his children individually. Yuzu gasped down sobs, crawling forward slightly so she was nearer. She hiccupped.
"You be a good girl, take care of your brother and sister," he smiled slightly, taking his hand from Ichigo's hold to grasp her chin. "Your mother would be proud…I'm proud, of my precious princess."
Yuzu smiled back, although tears still leaked from her eyes. "I love you, Daddy," she told him.
"I love you too," he smiled. He turned to his left, and this time his eyes caught Karin's.
Karin willed herself to remain calm. She was tough. She wasn't a crybaby. She wasn't going to cry.
"Karin, you look like me," he told her, but with a teasing note to his voice. "But much prettier…and girlier."
She wanted to retort back that she wasn't some girly-girl, and that he deserved a well-placed kick for that comment. But for some reason, she couldn't get the words to come out of her mouth.
She didn't realize she was crying until she felt the tips of his fingers wipe away the trail of fresh, salty tears from her cheeks. Upon seeing the liquid that had come from her face mix with the blood on his fingers, she didn't care anymore that she was crying. Karin couldn't hold it back, no matter how much she wanted to.
"I'm proud of you too," he told her, his voice hoarse, and she could see he was crying too, "and it's okay to cry. And you tell your brother that, and you make sure he's happy and not so moody all of the time, and you take care of Yuzu, and make sure she doesn't overwork herself taking care of you."
He coughed suddenly, and blood poured from his mouth, some of it sprayed on Karin's clothes. He lay still and silent for a moment, wheezing.
"I give you the honor of keeping Ichigo on his guard," he said, his voice more hoarse and his words slurring slightly. "Someone's got to make sure he doesn't turn into a soft chump."
Karin nodded, knowing that if she tried to speak she would only reduce herself to a useless bawling lump. She didn't want that to happen.
"I love you Karin," he said, "You're still my princess, even if you don't like girl things."
She opened her mouth to tell him she loved him to, that although he acted like a perverted idiot all of the time, he was still the world's best dad. But all that escaped from her lips was a whimper. Karin bit her lip hard; her body had started to shake. He smiled slightly, as if he understood.
"Ichi-Ichigo," he coughed again, "It's almost time. M-my zanpakutou, please."
Ichigo nodded, standing up and hurrying over to pick up the fallen weapon. When he returned, Isshin reached out and grasped it firmly, resting it on his chest. He raised his right arm, again, as if to ask Ichigo another thing.
He elbowed him hard in the stomach.
The man's orange-haired son doubled over, wheezing slightly as he glared at the dying man in front of him.
The man only offered his obnoxious, albeit bloody, grin. "You're g-getting soft again….chump."
Instead of picking him up and tossing the man across the courtyard like he would normally do, he smiled. "I'm not soft," he muttered.
Isshin coughed again. "One-one last th-thing," he said, his body trembling more visibly. "C-captains are cov-covered w-with their robes, wh-when they—when they d-die."
Ichigo leaned backwards, letting out a startled noise. His brown eyes spotted the red-stained white robe that lay under Isshin. His eyes widened.
With shaking hands, he gently tugged the white robe from underneath the broken body and held it up in wonder.
"Ichigo," Rukia gasped in shock, her naturally big eyes even wider, her eyebrows shot up towards her hairline.
"I'm pr-proud of you, Ichi—Ichi—" Isshin gasped out, his face white, "Y-your mo—moth—not your fau-fault. I l-love you, s-s—I'm pr-proud to-to die for-for m-my kids li-like M-Mas-"
Suddenly, peace overcame Isshin's features, and one soft, last utter, was heard before he entirely stopped breathing.
Mechanically, Ichigo covered his father's true body with the white captain's robe, his sisters helping him. Yuzu was crying again, and Karin was now bawling loudly, something she had been fighting ever since she felt that first lump in her throat.
Rukia stood back, tears freely running down her face. "We can put him to rest in Sereitei. As a captain, he deserves to be put to rest with honor."
Yuzu was the only one that openly acknowledged her, turning her head towards the small woman and nodding and smiling sweetly in thanks. Karin was now clamping her teeth together, but it did nothing to keep the sobs at bay and made her jaw hurt.
Ichigo's head was bowed down, his hands clenched so hard that his knuckles were white. He was shaking. He was crying.
He was crying just like that day by the river…
The day their mother died…
And now their dad was gone too…
And it was all his fault.
A/N- Well, hopefully this is good enough for my first Bleach fanfic. They might be a little OOC, but hopefully not too much. You really have to imagine how they would react if their dad died. They might be annoyed by Isshin (he really cracks me up) but they love him. He's their dad.
So it kind of went from sort of Karin's point-of-view to Ichigo's. Oh well. That's ok.
I made up the tradition where they're covered by their captain's robes when they die. Unless, of course, somebody else did that and I remain ignorant of the fact.
Please drop in a review, and let me know what you think. What would've made it better? What exactly made it good? Stuff like that...constructive criticism if you will.