Shunpo to the Future! – That damn Sandal Hat… !
Disclaimer: Bleach is the property of Tite Kubo.
It was a quiet night on the outskirts of Karakura Town. A gentle breeze flew through the corners of the town, soothing anybody who felt it against their skin.
Well… except for Izuru Kira. The breeze felt like the touch of Death against his skin. He can't really say if Hisagi-sempai, Abarai-kun or Hinamori-kun felt the same but they probably did.
It was supposed to be a simple field exercise in slaying some dummy Hollows. The students of Advanced Class One were putting their zanjutsu and kido training to the test in teams of three. There wouldn't be a need to worry about real hollows being attracted to the reiatsu in the area since a group of sixth year students were maintaining a spiritual barrier to prevent detection.
Plus the class would be supervised by Hisagi Shuuhei, one of the most infamous sixth year pupils in the Academy. His skills were so advanced that he was already being sought out by some of the Gotei 13's Divisions. According to student gossip, he seemed to be leaning towards the Ninth one.
In any case, what should have been a routine field exercise turned into a nightmare.
The students maintaining the barrier were killed along with Hisagi's two teammates, Aoga and Kanisawa by a Huge Hollow (at least that was how sempai had described it). It took a team effort to block what would have been a fatal attack on an already wounded Hisagi Shuuhei and get it to temporarily retreat with the three first-year students using the same hado spell. Then it gave an earth-shattering roar and called for additional Hollows to come to the now-unprotected exercise field.
And the extra bad news? Hisagi-sempai told them that when he barely dodged the Hollow's surprise opening attack, his communicator to Soul Society had been badly damaged before he could send out a distress call.
"I don't want to die..."
A part of him wondered why he didn't obey Hisagi-sempai's orders to flee in the first place. Damn Abarai-kun for convincing him to go back!! And damn Hinamori-kun for rushing back to help sempai in the first place when he specifically ordered them to run!
"I don't want to die..."
So much for his dreams of getting a division placement before he got out of the Academy.
"I DON'T WANT TO-" Kira's voice froze when he felt a huge amount of spiritual pressure flood the area. 'This reiatsu... ! Did Soul Society send a Captain to help us?!' He couldn't give it too much thought because his body was forced against the ground due to the spirit power this individual was leaking.
He couldn't see anything and all he could hear were the battle cries of a young man and a zanpakuto slicing through all the Hollows like they were nothing. The fight only lasted for a minute and then there was silence.
Footsteps were approaching the group of four. Then an annoyed voice rang out. "Oi... I save your asses and this is the thanks I get?"
"Y-your... power..." squeaked out Hinamori.
"Hm...? Oh, right! Just like that time Kenpachi... my bad." The spirit pressure dropped to allow the group to breathe easier and to get up from the ground. In front of Kira stood a man with orange hair, Shinigami robes and a large... 'cleaver' for lack of a better term in his right hand. The youth then zeroed in on one member of their group. "Renji? What the hell happened to you and when did you get so scrawny?"
"Scrawny?! I'll have you know that my sensei considers me one of the physically strongest students of our class..." He then paused since he recognized it wasn't a good idea to shoot his mouth off in front of his saviour. "... sir."
The minute that Abarai Renji said that word, Kurosaki Ichigo had confirmation that there was something very wrong with this picture. 'Note to self: kick Sandal-hat's ass for getting me into this mess…'
For Ichigo, it all started out rather innocently enough. He had made a trip to the Urahara shop to ask the eccentric shopkeeper for a way to get to Hueco Mundo to save Inoue-san. Two surprises turned out to be waiting for him there.
First were the appearances of his two comrades from his trip to Soul Society. They were intent on accompanying him to Hueco Mundo as well. Ichigo had been reluctant to let them tag along but he quickly changed his mind when Chad demonstrated his new and improved 'Brazo Derecha de Gigante'.
Second, was a new invention that Urahara had come up for him. "Before you venture into Hueco Mundo, Kurosaki-san... you will undoubtedly need an ace up your sleeve."
"But I can already use my... other power for 11 seconds..."
Urahara interrupted the youth at this point. "Which if I recall was used earlier against one of the Arrancar. It's safe to assume that Aizen is already aware of your new ability and will take proper measures to compensate for it. You need something that he won't see coming. Like how Ishida-kun has regained his Quincy power with some extra surprises. Then there's Sado-kun's increase in power as well."
"So you're saying you have something for me to use as an Ace?"
The shopkeeper gave his usual cheery grin. "Bingo, Kurosaki-san! It's a device I've cobbled together which would allow the user to travel far larger distances when using shunpo. All you need to do is concentrate some of your reiatsu into the device when using shunpo. The spirit device would trigger the kido stored in its core and increase your distance. Of course, it's far from perfect but I believe this can come in handy when you need to make a quick getaway once you have retrieved Inoue."
This caught the youth's attention. "Will I need to do some incantation or something?"
"This isn't like hado or bakudo. There'll be no need." Urahara then reached into his jacket's pocket and presented Ichigo with the item.
The teenage Shinigami simply stared at the item for ten seconds. "... why does it look like a mini De-Lorean?"
"There's a very specific reason for that, Kurosaki-san," said Urahara in a very serious tone. Ichigo carefully awaited the shopkeeper's next words since his life may very well depend on them.
"The reason is... because it's cool."
This earned Kisuke the infamous Kurosaki kick, a technique developed to deal with a psychopath of a father. "QUIT MESSING AROUND!!!!"
"What's taking Kurosaki so long?"
A slight shrug came from the other teenager (who seriously looked like a man almost twice his age). "You seem eager to go to Hueco Mundo, Ishida."
The teenage Quincy merely adjusted his glasses. "I'm simply concerned for Orihime-san's well being."
Chad nodded, recalling the story that had been told by the Quincy about his own adventures in Soul Society. He could understand Ishida's reasoning behind the strong urge to protect her. "Urahara-san is confident that she will be not be harmed by Aizen since he perceives her as someone with valuable power. We must believe in her ability to survive long enough until we reach her."
The look on Ishida's face did not change in the slightest. "I'm also concerned about the type of prisoner garb the Arrancars will provide for her. Their fashion sense leaves much to be desired."
The moment of awkward silence was interrupted when they both felt a large shockwave of spirit energy on the other side of the large chamber. Both males quickly shot up and moved towards the source. When they got there, all they could see was a pair of blazing lines stretching from Urahara's position to the very end of the chamber. "What happened here?!"
"Well... Kurosaki-san was testing out a new device that I had created for him as a trump card in Hueco Mundo and..."
"DaMn yOu tO HeLl, SaNdAL HAt!!"
Upon hearing their comrade's disgruntled and distorted shout echo throughout the chamber, both Sado and Ishida gave a look at the shopkeeper which clearly read 'I want an explanation'.
"... maybe I should have carried the 1 over after all?"
It had been very difficult for Ichigo to yell out that final curse to Urahara as his spirit body felt like it was being ripped apart in every direction. That painful sensation lasted for exactly fifty seconds until he felt his chin slam into a tree.
He fell backwards on to green grass that surrounded the forest area he had apparently reappeared in. After taking some time to regain his bearings, he hopped up on to one of the tree's large branches and looked around for any familiar landmarks of Karakura Town to see if the test had worked out.
But at some places that were supposed to have buildings, there was undeveloped land. That was a pretty bad sign right there.
He then noticed that something was missing. That mini De-Lorean that Urahara had handed to him was nowhere in his possession. 'Probably flew out of my hands when I hit that tree…'
Before he could go search for it, he heard the familiar howl of a Hollow and the damn annoying sound that his license made when it detected Hollows. 'Shit…' He looked around for a bit and saw the silhouette of a Hollow that was at least two kilometres away. As much as he would like to go search for the device so he could try and use it again to get back to the shop, he knew he had to take care of that Hollow. At least it would be a good way to vent some frustration off.
He slipped off the white rag which served as Zangetsu's wrapping and flash stepped in the direction of the Hollows.
And this brings us back to where the first segment left off…
"Um... on behalf of our group, I would like to thank you for saving our lives," said Hinamori somewhat nervously.
Ichigo simply blinked once before scratching the back of his head nervously with his left hand. "It's no big deal. I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time."
"If you don't mind me asking, what is your name and what Division do you belong to?"
Shuuhei gave a disapproving look to the blonde male. "Kira, we don't have time for that. I need to find Kanisawa and Aoga's bodies and see if their communicators to Soul Society are still intact. If we're lucky, we can be back in the Academy within 24 hours. Stay here with our new friend and I'll be back in a bit."
When he saw that his sempai was a good distance away, Kira nudged the orange-haired Shinigami again. "He can't hear us now. Now back to my earlier question..."
"You really want to know my name that much?"
"Well, we can't really keep calling you 'Shinigami-san' now, could we? Just to be fair, I'll introduce our group. I'm Izuru Kira. The man who just left is Hisagi Shuuhei. That's Hinamori Momo and apparently you know Abarai Renji. How do you know Abarai-kun anyway?" continued Kira.
A drop of sweat rolled down Ichigo's cheek. "Uh... it's a long story. I'll tell you about it later. As for my name, it's Ichigo. Kurosa-"
Renji rudely interrupted him. "Hold on a second? Ichigo? As in... strawberry? That's such a girlish name! You have this badass aura around you and yet you have such a wimpy name! Hell, even Kira's got a manlier name than yours and he's not exactly the prime example of a man!" He paused and noticed the other man glaring at him. "Uh... no offense, Izuru."
Ichigo's grip on Zangetsu started to tighten. 'Must... not... slice... Renji...'
Kira ceased his glaring and addressed the orange-haired youth. "Abarai-kun does have a bit of a point. Your intimidation factor will be reduced drastically by not having a name which strikes fear in the enemy."
He mentally added Kira's name to his previous mantra.
"Would you two stop teasing him?! I think it's wonderful that Ichigo-dono is so in touch with his sensitive side! I bet he's proud to live with such a cute name!"
Renji blinked at her outburst. "Ichigo..."
"... dono?" lamely finished Kira.
That last comment from Hinamori was the last straw. With a grunt, he slammed Zangetsu's edge into the ground so he could have both hands for his upcoming tirade. "Would you guys can it?!? It's 'Ichi' for 'one' and 'Go' for 'Guardian'!! My name means 'he who protects' just like how I protected you just a few minutes ago!! Got it?!?"
"Okay, okay!! We get it!" said Kira defensively.
"... are you fond of strawberries by any chance?" Renji snorted once in laughter. "Heh... strawberry..."
Ichigo updated his note-to-self to include finding Renji and kicking his ass once he got back. "Hardy har har… I'm really laughing my ass off, Renji."
It was at that moment that Hisagi Shuuhei came into view again and rejoined the group. "So much for their communicators. They're damaged as well."
"So what do we do now, sempai?"
"We should meet up with the other students that fled, Hinamori-kun. Then we can probably… wait a second!" Shuuhei turned his attention to Ichigo. "Do you have a way to communicate to Soul Society?"
"Well… not really. I'm considered an independent Shinigami. All I got from them is this little trinket." He pulled out the license that Ukitake had given him.
"A license to hunt Hollows? I see. In any case, we should go find the other students first and then go from there. Eventually, Soul Society will notice our absence and send out a search party. We'll have to hold out until then."
"Where are we even going to start looking for them? Last I checked, they were scattering all over when the Hollow attacked," pointed out Renji.
"It's not like they know shunpo so they couldn't have gotten too far," added Kira.
Ichigo pulled Zangetsu out of the ground and slung it over his shoulder. "In that case, I'll take a look around. Shouldn't take me too long to round up the students."
Shuuhei didn't even get out a word before the other youth vanished from their sight. "So that's shunpo? Wow!!"
Kira sighed. 'Great. Hinamori has that star-struck look in her eyes again.'
About fifteen minutes later, the remaining students who had fled earlier when Hisagi had ordered them to were all assembled. It hadn't been too difficult to find them but he did have to spend some time convincing a few of the students that he was a friendly ally.
There were only nine students left out of the twenty seven that had fled and they were surprisingly all young women. The male students had been able to buy time for their female team mates to escape from the other Hollows which had appeared suddenly but it didn't take long for them to fall. Had it not been for the Huge Hollow's roar to get them to approach its location and corner Hisagi's group, the female students would have certainly been hunted down and devoured.
For some reason, one of them looked somewhat familiar. She was dressed in the standard female Academy uniform and had shoulder length black hair and sharp blue eyes that were shielded with a pair of black square framed glasses (sorta like Aizen's when he saw him the first time in Soul Society). One of the lens had been damaged though.
'There's something about her that seems so familiar,' thought Ichigo as he continued searching his memory.
"I'm glad that everyone's okay," stated Shuuhei. He then paused when he saw the female with the cracked glasses. "Lisa, will you be alright?"
"Yes but my vision will be partially compromised."
"In that case, I'll assign Hinamori-kun to keep an eye on you and give you a hand in case you have troubles due to your vision problem."
She sighed. "I suppose it can't be helped…"
'Hold on a bloody minute…!' Ichigo zeroed in on the girl again and started replacing her current look with a Japanese fuku, a braided hairstyle, a pair of red framed glasses and an erotic manga in her hands.
No doubt about it… standing in front of him is the younger version of Yadoumaru Lisa, one of the Vizards who helped train him in controlling his inner Hollow.
While pondering what to make of this new fact, another female student spoke up. "So who is the guy with the orange hair? He's really on our side?"
"Ichigo-dono saved our lives from the Hollows that had surrounded us. There had to have been at least eight Huge Hollows and he took them down in a minute!" gushed Hinamori.
As soon as she said that statement, Ichigo found himself surrounded by the other female students who peppered him with questions about how strong he is, what type of power his zanpakuto contains and if he has a girlfriend. Thankfully, Shuuhei stepped in to get the ladies to cease their rapid questioning since they had other things to worry about like returning home.
The subject reminded Ichigo that he had to go find the device back in the forest. He started to walk away from the group until Kira spoke up. "Where are you going?"
"I just need to go find something that I dropped earlier."
"Does this mean you're leaving?" asked a female student in a sad (as in fangirlish sad) tone.
Ichigo had a slightly annoyed look on his face. "Do I look like a guy who would just go on his merry way after doing what needed to be done?"
A split second later, Ichigo was rubbing his fist against Renji's head for a very painful noogie. "Owowowowowowowowow!!!!!"
He let go of the redhead and replied to the earlier question. "Normally, I try not to cross paths with Soul Society matters but I ain't gonna leave a bunch of rookie Shinigami out here where they'll be easy targets for Hollows. After I find that item I dropped, I'll be back to protect you. After all, Ichigo stands for 'he who protects'…"
For the last part, he got right in front of Kira and Renji's faces. "… AND NOT STRAWBERRY!!!"
Both young men merely whistled innocently.
Chapter 2 Preview:
"Greetings everyone! It's your favourite lovable mascot, Kon! Since the author doesn't have a current plan to insert me into the story, he's letting me do the preview sections instead!"
"Why do you get to do the previews?! I'm the super heroine of the entire franchise. Not Rukia… but the legendary Hiyori and if I can't get a meaty role here, I may as well get to do the preview section myself!"
"Nee-san's a lot prettier than you!! And who died and made you boss?!"
"You really want a piece of me?"
"… WAH!! It's no fair that you have that transformation of yours!"
"Life ain't fair so you just have to deal. Now where were we?"
"We have only a few words left to describe the chapter."
"WHAT?! But that's not fair!! Kon, you are such a motherfu-"
OMAKE: Shinigami's Cup Golden!
"Abarai-fukutaichou? You've returned from your mission?"
"Stop with the formalities when we're off duty, Kira. And the only reason I'm back is because Yamamoto-soutaichou ordered it," mumbled the vice-captain for the Sixth Division. He downed another helping of sake before passing the bottle over to Kira. "How's life in Third Division? You doing okay?"
"To be honest, morale has taken a huge blow since the men heard that Ichimaru-taichou is a traitor and in league with Aizen. I'm at a loss on how to keep things running the way they're supposed to."
Renji wasn't sure how he could cheer Kira up before something just magically popped into his head. "Strawberries."
"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!" The two vice-captains laughed heartily, ignoring the weird glances they were getting by other Shinigami passing by.
After the laughter died down, Kira spoke up again. "Um… why did I laugh when I heard that word?"
Even Renji was dumbfounded. "I have no idea." Another chuckle escaped his lips. "Strawberries."