Disclaimer: Not mine, Tite Kubo's.
A/N: I'm usually not a big fan of Alternate Universe stories, but having stumbled upon some really well written ones lately sort of inspired me to give this idea a go. My daddy loves Westerns, especially Silverado and as a result during my childhood I was forced to endure numerous viewings. This story is inspired by some of my favorites, Winchester '73, (Jimmy Stewart, always fabulous) Silverado, (Kevin Kline's character Paden had a great influence on Ichigo), and of course The Duke and Dean Martin in Rio Bravo. (If you don't know that The Duke is John Wayne then leave, now). So here it is the brain child of a Bleach fan and the romanticized American West. Scared, you should be.
Yet another annoying A/N: I forgot to add that I'm also a fan of HBO's Deadwood and so this story will contain violence, action, coarse language, and sexual situations. Read accordingly.
Pairings: Ichigo/Rukia, Uryuu/Orihime, and slight Chad/Karin
Spirits of the West
Rogue Amazon Boo
"The story that I want to tell you cannot be found in a book. They say that the history of the west was written from the saddle of a horse, but it's never been told from the heart of one. Not till now. I was born here, in this place that would come to be called the Old West. But, to my kind, the land was ageless. It had no beginning and no end, no boundary between earth and sky. Like the wind and the buffalo, we belonged here, we would always belong here. They say the mustang is the spirit of the West. Whether that west was won or lost in the end, you'll have to decide for yourself, but the story I want to tell you is true. I was there and I remember. I remember the sun, the sky, and the wind calling my name in a time when we ran free. I'll never forget the sound and the feeling of running together. The hoof beats were many, but our hearts were one."
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - Spirit
Ichigo Kurosaki had always known he was going to die young but he sure as hell never thought it would be at the end of a noose. To add insult to injury the bastards who were about to make him swing where playing a quick hand of poker for his favorite hat.
They had already divided up his hand tooled saddle, his custom fitted boots, his leather duster, and his horse. He wasn't even going to think about his custom made Colt Peacemakers given to him by Samuel Colt himself.
He watched the ignorant asshole who had won his boots and swore that if he got out of this alive that bastard would be the first one he hunted down. The old log they had him balanced on shifted and he felt the rope around his neck bite deeper. It was taking all his concentration and balance to keep his toes in contact with the only thing keeping the noose lax.
His pitch black horse Zangetsu whinnied in protest and shuffled away from the trail scum trying to throw his hand tooled saddle on his back.
He hoped his horse broke the bastard's neck.
Fucking bandits and how the fuck did they get this close to Karakura? Where was that fucker Kenpachi when you needed him? Kenpachi Zaraki was the Sheriff and Ichigo already knew where the fuck he was but the situation called for a little bitching. He'd had some business in Dodge City and his useless deputy had taken over for him while he was gone.
What really pissed Ichigo off was the fact that he had let these smelly bastards get the drop on him. He blamed Ishida. If the noble fucker hadn't gone and gotten himself thrown in jail over a fucking whore he wouldn't have this problem.
Of course, Orihime wasn't your average whore and Ishida had this thing about men hitting women. He completely ignored the voice in the back of his head telling him he would have done the same damn thing and gunned the fucker down had he been there.
He didn't have time for this shit. He needed to get into Rukongai in two days or else the idiot Quincy was going to hang.
Hanging seemed to be a problem that was going around these days.
Asshole number one lost to asshole number two and he watched the greasy fucker claim his hat with a rotting grin.
"Luke I swear you play poker like a fucking dickless blind man. You're about as lucky too."
Luke threw his cards down in disgust. "Shuddup you cock sucking bastard."
"You're just sore cause you lost that fancy hat, now fork it over."
Luke, also known as, asshole number one threw Ichigo's silver banded black hat into asshole number two's face.
"Fuck you, Diamond."
Diamond grinned and Ichigo watched him smooth the lapels of the black leather duster with the red wool lining his sister Yuzu had made him and put his newly acquired hat on his head.
"You two worthless prick lickers stop fucking around and get the horses. The boss is coming."
Ichigo watched asshole number one and two turn to the third man still at camp, or asshole number three.
"Shit Jackson, he weren't s'pose to be back before sundown," Diamond mumbled. Jackson glared at his two subordinates.
"Well shit for brains he's back now." He turned to Ichigo and smirked. "Guess you're time is up Nancy-boy."
Ichigo scowled back and didn't say anything.
"Looks like the little pussy is speechless, huh Jackson."
"Hey cocksucker I'm talkin' to you." He said and kicked the log. Ichigo adjusted his stance and managed to keep the log under him. His scowl deepened.
He didn't bother to point out that he wasn't half Chinese he was half Japanese but this inbred asshole wouldn't have known the difference anyway. All oriental people or even half oriental people were Chinamen in their eyes.
Jackson turned away from him in disgust and greeted the rider who was just entering camp. This was the head asshole, Davis, and the one responsible for his current predicament. Strapped to Davis' back was Ichigo's most prized possession, his father Isshin's katana. The sheath pinched tight on the bandit's frame having been custom fitted to Ichigo's slimmer, more muscular body. His gaze dropped down to the distinctive belt and holsters where his second most prized possession, his beloved pearl handled pistols with the innovative swing loader, lay nestled. This fucker was already dead and he didn't even know it.
"You lazy bastards get saddled up or we're gonna miss the damn stage."
Luke and Diamond grumbled but they made sure to do so under their breath. Talking back to the boss was a good way to get a bullet between the eyes.
"What about slant eyes over there," Jackson said with a jerk of his thumb. Davis looked at Ichigo with all the interest a mountain lion gave an attacking prairie dog.
"Leave him. He won't last much longer."
"That's right cocksuckers, leave me here. It will make it easier for me to find you and kill you."
All four men laughed and a dangerous glint entered Davis' eye.
"I was gonna be generous and let you enjoy whatever moments of life you had left but now." He kicked the log out from under Ichigo and he felt the noose go taunt. "Swing fucker."
The four bandits dug their heels into the flanks of their horses and left him swinging. His face rapidly turning a shade of puce no human should ever turn.
All he could think as his bare feet dug for purchase was that this was all Ishida's fucking fault.
This was all Kurosaki's fucking fault Uryuu Ishida thought and pushed his glasses up higher on his aristocratic nose. He was suppose to meet up with him two days ago so they could head to Seireitei and broker the deal for the horses they had promised the Kuchiki Ranch. Their foreman Chad and their sisters Karin and Yuzu would be pissed when they found out what his bastard brother had let happen.
Of all the families that could have been adopted him it had to be then one that had Ichigo in it he groused, disgusted. Karin and Yuzu he loved, but Ichigo was a pain in the ass when he met him at twelve and he was still a pain in the ass nine years later.
If the bastard hadn't been late then Uryuu wouldn't have been in the saloon winning at cards and he wouldn't have heard the commotion going on near the top of the stairs. He sure as hell wouldn't have seen that bastard Mayuri hit Miss Inoue hard enough to draw blood.
He then wouldn't have had to draw his custom bow and put an arrow through the soulless bastard's heart.
But Ichigo had been late and Uryuu had been forced to kill Mayuri. Not that he was complaining. Mayuri Kurotsachi had been a stain on society. He liked to pass himself off as some sort of genius and had brutally tortured a number of helpless people in his quest for knowledge.
If Uryuu had killed the bastard anywhere else they would have shook his hand and given him a medal, but this was Rukongai and unfortunately Mayuri was the valued underling of the man in charge, that corrupt bastard Sosuke Aizen. Everyone knew Aizen was as low as a rattlesnake and just as deadly. How he came to be mayor was a fucking mystery.
It was all Kurosaki's fault he groused again and rested his head against the stone walls of the jail cell he currently occupied. They had taken his bow, his throwing knives, and his moccasins into property when they had thrown him in here and his feet were cold.
"Hey Nancy-boy, you got yourself a visitor."
Uryuu lifted cool blue eyes and regarded the greasy deputy as he spat on the floor. Disgusting bastard, he thought and then his eyes wandered to the gray eyed beauty behind him. Orihime Inoue still sported a deep ugly bruise on the side of one smooth cheek and her lip was puffy and swollen. She was looking at the floor and avoiding his eyes. The deputy turned to the girl and leered at her chest.
"You got fifteen minutes." She nodded and the deputy left them alone.
"Miss Inoue," he said softly and she looked up surprised.
"I didn't think you knew my name," she whispered tentatively. He smiled gently at her.
"I make it a habit to know peoples names, especially when I travel through a town often." She bit her lip and looked away.
"I've seen you before, you usually play cards in the saloon and you never…" she blushed, "You never seem to want to be…entertained. So I didn't think…I didn't think you even noticed me…us."
Uryuu stared at the girl before him impassively. Not notice her? Orihime Inoue was beautiful. Her rich auburn hair and gray eyes made her unique. Her generous bosom made her popular, but it was her innate kindness in a profession that hardened most women that really caught his attention.
He would have had to be dead not to notice her and they hadn't hung him yet.
"No, I know who you are Miss Inoue. Now, how may I be of service?"
She flushed red. "You don't have to do that."
He blinked in surprise.
She flushed even more.
"Address me as if I were a lady. I'm a whore Mr. Ishida, and whores don't get treated as if…" She trailed off.
He frowned and prompted her. "As if what, Miss Inoue." She met his gaze her eyes both defiant and shameful.
"As if they matter. Call me Orihime." He frowned and shook his head in the negative.
"It would not be proper for me to use your Christian name especially since you wish me to do so to shame you, Miss Inoue. As for you not mattering, well…that is just plain not true."
She was looking at him now as if he had grown another head and he couldn't help but smile. She answered with a small smile back.
"Mr. Ishida…I just wanted to…that is…I want to know why you did what you did. Most folks won't so much as speak kindly to a whore much less…do what you've done."
Uryuu tilted his head to the side and regarded her solemnly. She was looking at him but he could tell by the way her fingers shook that she was still nervous. He also understood the unasked question. She wanted to know exactly what he hoped to get out of saving her. In her world everything had a price and she wanted to make sure it wouldn't cost her the rest of her soul.
He answered her unspoken query with one of his own.
"Miss Inoue, why do you give money and food to the children on the streets?"
She started surprised and flushed again.
"Maybe I'm trying to atone for my sins," she mumbled. He smiled.
"So last month when you offered that cowboy from the Double E a free spin to keep him away from Sally it had nothing to do with the fact that Sally is thirteen, amazingly still chaste, and scared to death of the men who solicited your services?"
He didn't think she could turn any redder but he was wrong. Sally was one of the runaways that Rangiku employed to keep the saloon clean. She was a tiny thing and deathly afraid men in general. Orihime had seen that cornered look too many times to not know what it meant. She figured Sally use to be beat on by someone male, probably her pa, but she didn't talk about it. Rangiku's girls didn't pry. Privacy was something highly coveted and valued around the saloon. Usually too Rangiku would keep the men away from Sally but she had been away from the saloon during the incident Uryuu was referring to.
"How do…how could you know about that. You weren't even there."
He didn't so much as blink.
"I was there but on that particular day I didn't wish to be seen. I've been brought up to blend in and notice things. As for why I killed Mayuri…well, some men just need killing and he was one of them. Besides I can't abide men who prey on those weaker than themselves. He was a thoroughly loathsome blight on the human race. Does that satisfy your curiosity, Miss Inoue?"
Orihime was looking at Uryuu like she had never seen his like before. He continued to calmly meet her eyes.
"You're a strange sort of man, Mr. Ishida." He ginned.
"I believe I will take that as a compliment."
She graced him with another rare smile and looked as if she would have said something else had not the deputy interrupted.
"Time's up. If she ain't made your cock twitch yet you're fuckin' out of luck."
Ishida's midnight blue eyes that had regarded Orihime with such gentleness and patience went as hard as polished diamonds.
"You need to watch your mouth in front of the lady."
Orihime flinched and started to protest but the deputy ignored her. His face had gone molten and he glared at Uryuu with building anger.
"She's a fuckin' whore dick licker and I can talk however I damn well please."
Uryuu rose gracefully to his feet and walked towards the bars. The deputy was so close he could smell his rancid breath. He had been drinking and he stunk of old whiskey and sweat. In a movement so quick it seemed unnatural he grabbed the back of the deputy's head and slammed his face against the bars. The larger man's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Orihime turned three shades of white and looked at the fallen man with wide eyes. She looked back up and met Uryuu's piercing gaze, her mouth moving but no sound escaping her lips.
"Goodbye, Miss Inoue," he said, respectful and dismissive all at once. She could only stare back at him as he sank back down into his meditative pose. The last thing he heard, beside the rustle of her petticoats as she left, was, "Perhaps you should start calling me, Orihime."
She didn't see the purely masculine smile that twisted his lips or hear him whisper her name like a prayer.
Now if only Kurosaki would get his ass in gear and get him out of this hell hole it promised to turn into a very good day.