- Trampled King -


Waking up slowly and opening his eyes, Ichigo turned his head. It was the only part of his body that didn't feel like it was put through the wringer. He was in his room, familiar look and scent.

Breathing a sigh of relief that he was in his bedroom and not in his inner world, he tried to sit up, ignoring the protesting screams of his body. The world was fuzzy, as if he saw it through a dirty window. Lifting his hands to his face he saw that they were covered in gentle bandages. His eyes widened as he remembered what had happened and his freshly stitched hands went to his chest as images flashed through his misty mind.

Ichigo was impaled by the white counterpart's sword, his agonized voice ringing throughout the whole world. The sword was pushed into the middle of his chest, all the way down into the building below. Pain in its purest form was clear in the sound if his scream and the hollow only laughed harder, more insane with each passing second. He pulled out the sword and tasted the blood on the tip.

"Not a bad taste for a fragile king like yourself." Turning the blade a quarter he shoved it back into the orange haired teens chest, creating a "+" like wound in the body that was writhing in pain, bleeding frantically and staining the building dark crimson red as the body began twitching as if electrocuted.

"Don't you dare faint on me before I'm done with you!" The hollow growled, annoyed as Ichigo was about to lose consciousness. Twisting the blade while it was still embedded in the body, Ichigo didn't scream anymore – much to the annoyance of the white counterpart and he pulled it out.

It looked like the kid was frozen in fear, not able to move, even without a sword through his chest. Becoming pissed, the hollow went to the flagpole old man Zangetsu always stood on and cut it down, taking the slim pole with him, aimed, and stuck it in the boy's body exactly on the same place the sword had been before. Ichigo didn't move.

'He ain't dead. Or I would be gone as well.' He thought to himself, pulled out the pole and threw it to the side where it cracked the glass and rolled to a stop. The body of Ichigo started to fade slowly, the hollow watching with a satisfied grin as the spilled blood remained.

Ichigo cringed at the memory and pulled his numb body together. He stopped breathing when his fingers met with his chest. Even if his fingers were swollen and numb, he could clearly feel that it was soft where it wasn't supposed to be. He quickly removed his hands, fright spreading through his body.

He stared at the roof as if it knew all the wonders of the world were gone. He knew very well what was underneath the soft skin. Absolutely nothing.

Ichigo wanted to cry again but no tears came, just the way he was breathing and how his face twisted in sadness made it visible that he was sad beyond words. His body began to shake and he leaned forward, his face eventually hitting the soft fabrics of his bed. He cradled his chest with his shaking arms and wailed loudly. He wanted to wake up, wake from this terrible, horrible nightmare that he didn't want to be real.

He didn't know for how long he lay there, staring into the sheets hoping it would all end. But after being in the same position for too long he sat up, his back aching. He leaned against the wall behind him, his chest heaving. He blinked slowly, his mind seemed to be slowly shutting itself down and he wearily looked around himself, not really picking up his surroundings. But he did spot a glass of water on his night stand. He quickly reached for it but felt that his hand didn't do as he wanted. It felt tight and hot, his fingers felt tough and clumsy, but eventually he did manage to get a firm grip on the glass and quickly swept it. As he did, he felt his throat contract and the water came back up and sprayed it over his clothes and bed.

Ichigo gasped for air that didn't want to quiet reach him. He threw the glass across the room, watching it shatter against the wall and sending glass flying. He screamed out in anger and frustration but quickly stopped and clasped his mouth with his hands; his scream had turned into that blood curling howl once again and faintly he could hear all the mumbling accusing voices rise around him once more.

With his heart in his throat he stood, his body shaking , his voice giving out grunts instead of whimpers now. He clawed at his own face, ears, neck and without realizing it he stepped on the shards of glass that covered the floor.

Ichigo jumped in surprise, not very high, but high enough to make the shards that were already stuck in his feet go deeper. He cried out, his voice still harsh, but that was temporarily forgotten as he stepped around in broken glass, his mind not working due to the people in his head screaming at him. Some sounded like his sisters, some like his father, some of his so called friends, some even like his dead mother; all of them yelling accusations and insults at him. He screamed once more at them to shut up, to go away. He begged them to stop, to leave him be. But his plea fell on deaf ears.

It wasn't until he spotted his bed with wide, frightened eyes that he became sensed enough to limp over to it, the glass pushing deep enough to meet with bone. The mattress moved after his light, frail looking form as he sat down on in, his feet quickly leaving the floor. He moved one of his feet to lie over his knee, carefully pulling out shards with clumsy fingers while breathing through his nose. The voices were slowly rising in volume, screaming worse and worse words at him. He rubbed one hand against his ear as hard as he could in a pathetic attempt to shut out the sounds and begged them to stop.

Raindrops started to play their own melody against the closed windows, but Ichigo didn't hear it, not with the voices that kept blaming him for being weak and unable to protect her. The voice of his mother rang the hardest in his mind.

'I thought you said you would protect me!' He flinched every time he heard it. 'You're a worthless son! I wish you were never born!'

Blocking out the other voices was difficult enough; even if he knew his hollow was just playing with him, telling him he'd take control. But when Ichigo started to wonder why he hadn't done that already, the hollow started giggling inside his mind.

'I enjoy torturing you, and seeing you suffer.' Knowing his white counterpart wasn't joking, Ichigo continued to pull the glass from his feet with his half numb hands that kept hurting each time he moved a muscle. His eyes became even hazier as the drugs were trying to get him to sleep. Ichigo didn't want to sleep, or he would wake up in his inner world where his hollow would just torture him senseless again. He could not allow himself to sleep.

Hearing the front door creak open and the voices of his family, Ichigo was fully awake and suddenly the voices in his head were gone. His eyes were wide as sweat tickled down the right side of his head. Not daring to move a muscle he listened to what is family was doing.

'Please stay quiet, Ichigo is really sick and needs his rest.' He heard his father say in a serious tone, for the first time in his memory. 'I'll go check on him.'

The footsteps became louder as the old man come closer to his room, the first step of the wooden staircase. The wounded orange haired teen panicked, he didn't want to be seen like this, not by anyone. Standing up he ignored the shard under his feet that tore his skin apart, making blood ooze out.

Looking around his room hastily he only saw one method of escaping possible, dump this body and flee as a shinigami. Grabbing the golden shinigami badge from his desk he pressed it against the dent in his chest, grimacing at the tough of what was beneath the skin. Pushing the thought away he heard his body fall to the wooden floorboards with a loud sound and instantly the pace on the stairs increased. Dropping the gold badge on his bed Ichigo leaped out of the window into the dark, rainy night.

Ichigo ran blindly ahead, letting his legs take him wherever they wanted. He splashed through puddles, through slippery grass and over muddy sand. He ran through deserted streets, past locked homes and stores. It wasn't until he glimpsed to the right, his eyes falling upon his own reflection in the glass of a dress store; that he stopped dead in his tracks.

His breathing stopped as he looked down at his hands that he had glanced in the window. His eyes widened in fear at what he saw, his mouth gaping open as he screamed when saw what he feared the most become clearer than reality itself.

His fingers were white. Purest white. His left one had formed into sleek, sharp claws. Claws.

Ichigo held up his hands to his face, as if staring harder would make the whiteness go away until he threw himself to the ground and started rubbing his hands against the ground, in hope to rub the white that was his skin away. He scrubbed and scrubbed, but nothing happened, it didn't even go red. However what did happen made all colour that was left on his face, if any, disappear. His human skin literally fell off. Fell away in gory heaps that floated in the rain water. Ichigo stared at it, not believing his eyes.

His skin hadn't formed rashes. It hadn't been infected, or dry. It had been dying.

Ichigo screamed, screamed until his throat was raw once again, until his face was drenched in his own tears. His head spun, sweat tickled down his skin and his chest hurt as he gasped for air. He couldn't breath, couldn't think, couldn't do anything else but hold his hands away from himself as if they were dripping with acid. His vision blurred as his pupils dilated with panic and he stumbled around on the wet ground.

He wanted to scream for help but no words managed leave him, only choking monstrous grunts. He wanted to run but his legs wouldn't yield, they only wobbled beneath him. He wanted to die right there and now, but death never came.

It was all happening too soon, too suddenly and too fast.

Back in the Kurosaki residence the door to Ichigo's room flung open as his father stormed inside, worry written across his face as he had heard his son move. Upon seeing the inside of the room he only got more worried about what Ichigo could be doing or what was going on with him.

He was shocked when he saw the body of his son lying in broken glass shards, face down, surrounded by water that had been inside the glass. Fatherly instinct kicked in as he pulled his son from the shards and turned him around to see how bad the damage was.

A young face with blood across his face, shards everywhere on the boy's front. Carefully removing the shards of glass he noticed that his son wasn't breathing. Panic quickly followed as he tried to feel the neck and wrist to see if there still was a heartbeat, he felt nothing. His eyes grew wide as the thought of the possibility his orange haired son could have died from those strange rashes. It was like someone squeezed his heart, his throat, he couldn't think, couldn't breathe.

A gentle breeze blew across his face, cooling the tears that had started streaming down on his bearded face. His mind kicked back into gear as some air made it to his brain. He had closed the window before he left, he was sure of it. He had closed it to prevent his son from getting a cold or some other infection that travelled through air. The window was open, but no one had entered the room after he left. Looking back to the body in his arm he realized there was no soul in it. Looking further around himself he found the golden badge fast enough, and he was relieved to think almost certain that his son was indeed alive and outside. Having calmed down enough he pulled out a few of the bigger shards that were still stuck in his son's face.

One of the pieces went through the right cheek and had damaged the inside of the mouth. The biggest one of them had a triangular shape and was stuck in the boy's open left eye... His expression became sad as he pulled the red stained glass out. The clumsiness of his son's resulted in permanent blindness in one of his eyes. The wounds the shards caused would hurt him for a while when his shinigami son came back to continue his life in this body. If he came back.

Still worried about the strange skin condition on Ichigo's now lifeless body, he started to worry if the rashes would be in his shinigami form as well. He gently pulled out the last small pieces of glass and placed the limp body on the bed and made his decision. He would find his son and find out what was wrong with him, even if it meant he had to reveal his hidden past. Which his son would hate him for, for the not telling, for the lying about everything, the not helping. With any of his problems.

Ichigo on the other hand, didn't have a decision on anything what to whatsoever, his mind still in turmoil. His body was having cramps and the human skin on his face was painfully falling off, leaving white skin behind. He groaned when the skin fell off his cheeks, leaving them with a thin slit across from lips to ear, enabling him to open his mouth wider.

Unfortunately it didn't stop there as his jaw cramped, its muscles contracting painfully. The boy wanted to scream again, the was pain intense beyond any compare when his teeth where literally starting to force their way out in his mouth, the roots being slowly pushed out of their places. His mouth bled heavily and he gurgled loudly in an attempt not to choke on his own blood.

He was on all fours, his head supported by the wet ground, blood flowing from his mouth staining the dark concrete. White teeth fell away as Ichigo moaned loudly in pain. His teeth looked like lumps of blood in the red thick substance that smeared across his torn face... He eventually lost all his teeth, all of them falling to the ground. Ichigo's hands shook at his face, his fingers almost touching his lips, he wanted to press against the skin to cradle the pain away, but he didn't dare. The fright of his own limbs was still too great.

As suddenly as it had all started, Ichigo fell to the ground completely paralyzed. His spine burned so intensely it left him unconscious on the pavement as it literally shot in length, out of his body. It grew and grew, past his legs and muscles crept slowly over it along with white bone hard skin, forming into a perfect black tipped tail.

Isshin had managed to calm himself down despite his inner worries about his son, but even more so about how said son left the house. Putting on his normal somewhat hyperactive face he took the girls to their room and wished them goodnight. Once he exited the room and closed the door, he leaned back against the cold wall of his home. His facade broke as a single tear flowed across his cheek where it became tangled in the short black beard. Confusion was written all over his face and invaded his system as to why would Ichigo be so careless in leaving his body behind like that.

Those rashes he had on his hands, they weren't any normal type of eczema. It almost looked as if the skin was dying, but how? Why? He shook his head, trying get rid of the negative thoughts as he walked downstairs and got some materials to help him clean his son's room for when he came back, something which Isshin started to doubt after Ichigo's real body was left with one blind eye laying in glass shards. He quietly walked up the stairs, making sure not to wake his daughters who were hopefully asleep. Opening the door to Ichigo's room Isshin used a broom to collect the glass shards Some were slightly stained red from where they had been in the boy's body.

A quick glance at the body made him sad, confused, closely followed by rage. Who had done this, why? Why Ichigo!? He didn't understand and shook his head while he wrapped the glass in old newspapers before putting them in a trashcan. Looking back he saw the small crimson stains on the floor, blood from his son who was still missing. Walking over to the orange haired body he used alcohol to clean the cuts. His face was filled with sadness at the thought that he was cleaning his son's lifeless body. It felt like he was preparing him for a funereal. He didn't want this and he clenched the sheets until his hands became white. Isshin came to the conclusion that he would find his son, and bring him back.

Squatting down on the floor, he removed the last of the stains before putting the used materials back in the storage room. First he went back to Ichigo's room where he picked up the shinigami badge and lay down his own bed he pressed the seal against his chest. The powerful ex-captain of the Gotei stood proudly beside his own bed, but his face was resolved, he would search for his son, he would find him and tell him everything. With that goal in his mind he leaped out the window and disappeared into the night.

His strong legs pumped along the ground, the rain making him worry even more about his son, for if his human body was off this bad; what could then have happened to his soul? The horrible thought that perhaps it was even worse there made his stomach turn.

'The world as you know it just died, Ichigo!' A bright, twisted voice boomed among many others inside an orange haired head. It jolted Ichigo awake, his eyes widening as the hundred of voices returned.

'You couldn't even protect yourself! Your own flesh and bone!? No wonder you let me die! DIE! I hate you!'

In panic he shot up, his mother again, her voice far more cruel than he had ever heard her. More voices came, louder and louder and soon it all mixed into one combined enormous, hideous laugh. Ichigo immediately fell back on the ground, his mind defeated. He couldn't stand the voices anymore and something told him that this time they would never still. He begged for it to stop, but like always – mercy never came.

When he moved to get away from himself, he stumbled back down as he felt something, something where something wasn't supposed to be. His right hand quickly trailed over his back, traveled to his hips and met with a form between his buttocks. Something thick that he felt himself touching as if he was touching his own skin. In the back of his mind he could hear voices hiss what it was over and over, mixed with the taunting laughter, but he refused to believe it. Ichigo raised his bloodshot eyes in front of himself, refusing to look or acknowledge his own body, refused to think it was real. But when long heaps of his own hair fell in front of his face, it was hard.

'We're beautiful, can't you feel it!?'

'No.'

The screeching voices called him a liar for denying what was beautiful, what was real, what was right. It was he who had been ugly, the faulty; he had been the deformed one, the defenseless, the impure and broken. But now he was going to become perfect.

"Shut up! Shut up! I hate you!" The boy screamed out loud, his voice a deep grunt and slurry due to split cheeks; his mouth opening too much as he cursed the maggot that had infected his soul like cancer.

'You can scream but there's no rescue, Ichigo!' The voice of the monster inside boomed.

He wanted to end his life, to get away from what he could not run from, to hide away in the darkest place of the world before he was lost.

'You are already lost!'

Ichigo screamed again, but this time a roar bubbled up in his sore throat, his long hair flying up like a mane as he tried to run on numb feet with a tail he wasn't supposed to have, dragging over the ground behind him.

Jumping from rooftop to rooftop Isshin looked everywhere his eyes could reach, icy cold raindrops kept falling into his dark brown eyes which were filled with worry. A few times he saw something that resembled his son, his heart was relieved and his body started to relax as he jumped down. But it turned out to be normal humans who couldn't see him. Some dyed their hair while others wore a black jacket with an orange vest underneath.

A loud howl echoed through the many busy streets of the center of Karakura.

"A hollow? Why now…?" The ex-captain complained as he sensed the origin of the cry. But something felt off about this hollow. He couldn't name it, but his insides, his fatherly instincts told him something was very wrong, far worse than he expected to find.

Before he realized, he was running through the rain, his feet soaking in the water with every step, but he didn't care. His brain didn't work as it should, ignoring the fact that he could use shunpo or jump onto the roofs and reach his destination faster.

Getting closer to the source he could feel the hollow's presence getting stronger with each step. Arriving at the scene, his hand covered his mouth, not even all his years as a doctor or shinigami were enough.

The rain had washed away most of the thick red substance called human blood, but even with this much blood here the human who this belonged to couldn't be alive, that much was certain. Investigating the puddle better he could see small pieces of bone, picking it up he held it closer to his eyes for a good look at it, eyes widening as he recognized the material; this were teeth. Managing to keep his lunch in his stomach he noticed the large pile of... something he didn't recognize. Walking closer his sandals and socks turned red as stepped in the puddle. Something in the back of his mind told him that he knew what it was; but he just kept denying it to himself.

Picking up handful of the substance he quickly felt it was human skin. But where was the rest of the body? When he looked better at the piece of skin in his hand he saw holes in the hide that resembled hands, and some sort of... rash.

At the thought alone he felt more bile rise in his throat and slowly he recognized the hand and the wounds on them, they were the same on Ichigo's hands. Isshin's mind went blank as his face lost all color and rage followed soon after. He would find the sick freak, the hollow he sensed earlier and he would make it suffer just as it had made his son suffer. There was no place for a single rational thing in Isshin's mind, only revenge.

Scanning his surrounding he caught sight of a trail of limping bloody footsteps.

'So he can't be far… ' he thought to himself as he followed the trail which was half faded by something that dragged behind him, like a tail that couldn't be use anymore.

The owner of the tail was indeed not far, only a few blocks away.

Ichigo had curled into a tight ball, white knees against his white chin. His jaw was still hurting as sharp fangs grew in a steady pace out of where his human teeth once had been. His eyes were shut tightly with thick tears streaming out of them and he was rocking slowly back and forth in a small tight, dark alley. His tail curled itself around himself, his long hair stuck to his face and body like glue. He was cold and shaking, his teeth clattering against each other.

The voices inside his head had changed for the worse, now they were wailing, sad and loud, crying for a cure against a burning hunger that Ichigo couldn't understand. They cried and cried, blaming him for it, blaming him for making the hunger come, for destroying their perfect ways. It was his entire fault that their beautiful ways were shattered. They kept rising in volume, blocking out all else.

Ichigo didn't know what to do, all he did was to sit and mumble to the voices to go away.

Isshin on the other hand wanted to cry and kill the monster that had killed and mutilated his son's body. It had to be what was happening, the thought that a hollow wouldn't come back to just hurt a human a little bit over time was erased from his mind, as he did not want to see anything else. When he drew closer to the faint strange feeling, sensing the source just behind a few houses, he sprinted into a quick jog but stopped dead at what he saw once he entered a tight alley.

The ex-captain stared, knowing at once who was sitting curled up into a ball in a wet corner. The hair was color too intense to not be been seen, or recognized by his eyes. He dropped the sword he had held in a battle ready stance, his heart breaking at what he saw.

Ever so slowly he walked up to his son, doing his best to appear calm and collected. Before he was next to him, he squatted down to sit on his feet, not daring to go too close, afraid that the boy would flee. But his eyebrows furrowed as his only son did not seem to notice him.

Ichigo was rocking back and forth, his eyes open but starring into nothing and a faint whisper escaped his clattering teeth.

'Go away, go away, go away...'

The shinigami crept closer to his son, but he still stayed at a safe distance, unsure on what to do.

'Go away, go away, go away...'

The orange haired, white skinned boy kept repeating the words as a mantra, hoping the voices would stop eventually. He just sat there, chanting in a trance.

Isshin was at a loss for words. His son was alive and... What was he now? He lost his human skin like a snake; his new skin was pale, no almost pure white. Quietly, slowly he took another position on the wall across his son and sat down on the cold, wet ground. Making sure he didn't make any noise he looked over the shaking figure that was his son, not wanting to believe it really was him.

The bright orange hair was definitely that of Ichigo, it couldn't be anyone else. It hung downwards, heavy from the rain. The usual short spikes of unruly hair were gone, just as his trademark scowl. Isshin's heart died inside when he got a clear view of the others face; eyes were not the same as they once were, the chocolate brown had faded into bright yellow irises, the white surrounding it looked poisoned, infected, it had turned into inky black darkness. Those eyes reflected nothing, the will to live, was gone, the eyes spoke more clearly than the voice ever could.

'I want to die...'

But what scared him even more was the boy's mouth. From both corners it had been brutally torn all the way to his ears, knowing Ichigo lost his teeth a few blocks back along with his more than half his blood and complete skin. Fangs, sharp fangs were busy growing to replace the human teeth that had once been there.

Blaming himself was all Isshin could do; he couldn't release his son from his suffering, not when it meant killing him. But what happened to Ichigo make him like this? Isshin wanted to see his son; the one that would laugh, cry, scold him and even beat him up. Every other emotion was better than this helplessness he was seeing, but looking the circumstances he couldn't really blame his son either.

He didn't like the way the reiatsu Ichigo was leaking sensed, with each passing minute it became less human and more that of a hollow.

The voices in Ichigo's head were giggling now, in some sad twister manner, far too loud for his liking and he screamed at them.

"Be quiet!" His voice didn't even sound like his own anymore, just the cry of a hollow. Isshin was startled by the sudden outburst and knocked over a trashcan which fell over with a lot of noise.

'Shit!' Isshin thought as he looked from the trashcan back to his son who was staring at him with those dead black and yellow eyes.

Isshin froze; he didn't dare to move, afraid of what his son would do, those black unblinking eyes looming over him. But suddenly Ichigo stiffened, his face distorted in pain, as the white skin on his feet singed and deformed, bone shooting out of them.

Isshin himself screamed, not as loudly as his son, but shot up from his position on the ground, rushing over to the agonized form. He leaned over him, but didn't dare to touch the bone pipes, or any part of his son's body. His eyes widened and he wanted to throw up when he saw the blood, flesh and nerves move out over the bone and finally getting covered with white flawless skin.

The boy fell to the right, his head slamming hard into the ground, sending tears flying. His body shook once more and his feet felt as if they had been crushed when they formed into three long sharp claws. Ichigo screamed and the voices in his head once again sheered, their begging cries and distorted giggles gone for the moment.

Isshin heard the creature that was once his beloved son laugh. Even when he laughed hideously, the utter and complete sadness was still clearly there. Isshin didn't know how to react, seeing his son in such a mad state, seeing him so broken and yet laughing. He wanted to cradle his son, comfort him, hold him tight and wipe the tears away, make him like he used to be.

He bent down beside the twitching form and grabbed his son's bony, spiked shoulders and shook them gently and called his name. He wanted his son back now, not this… monster. But what once was his son only gurgled and twitched more on the ground when Isshin's strong arms shook him, so the ex-captain quickly released him, fear clear on his bearded face, he didn't want to make his son suffer more than he already was.

Eventually the laugh died down and the wailing voices returned in Ichigo's mind, they cried along with him, but in a different way, distorted cries that all seemed to accuse him for causing the raging hunger in his soul. Ichigo whimpered, curled his tail closer around himself and more tears fell down ice cold cheeks.

"Go away, ssshh, go away, ssshh, quiet… be quiet please… quiet…please… go away…"

But the voices wouldn't listen and without any warning they started screeching in his mind once again. Ichigo slammed his hands over his ears and pushed his clawed fingers into his ears, desperate to make the voices quiet down. He clawed at his ears, tearing his own white skin, even if it hurt, he didn't stop. He pushed them in further as he begged and begged for mercy.

Suddenly Ichigo felt something pull at his deformed hands and he huddled closer together in twitch like manner, more than afraid of what touched him. He needed to make the voices go away, needed to claw them out of his mind even if it meant cutting his brain open, he didn't care, not anymore. When thinking it was his hollow that tried to stop him, Ichigo lashed out and screamed, tear filled eyes moving upward.

Spotting something above him, something black, something tall, Ichigo shot up from his place on the ground with a scream, his body pumping burning adrenaline through his veins. He needed to get away, away from the demon that infected him, away from the world and all its horrors. He ran on all four, his feet and claws pushing against wet pavement. He stumbled and fell several times, his new formed limbs not completely complying. But he kept on running, his mind was panicking and when suddenly the voice of his hollow boomed above all other voices like a god, Ichigo fell, skidding across rough stone covered pavement.

'You're mine now!' It boomed, as Ichigo felt his eyes sting and something make its way up his throat, out of his eyes and smear across his face where it slowly hardened.

Isshin's worst fear became reality as he ran after his son, who was screaming out in pain as he covered his mangled, white skinned face with his hands. The older of the two didn't know what to do anymore, his son, his precious and cherished child was becoming a heartless monster. What had happened? He didn't know, he didn't even dare to guess, but it was certain that Ichigo had wanted to fight and beat it alone.

"Foolish boy, it's almost impossible to win against a heartless being that has nothing to lose..."

Isshin whispered to the figure that was writhing in agony on the floor as the last of its sanity disappeared like snow in summer.

Isshin couldn't bear to look at his son's pain, he wanted to hold him, drive the pain away. But last time it only led to more pain and fear of the things the boy couldn't remember anymore. Thinking things over Isshin could guess that Ichigo had been fighting this problem longer than just the last few days, far before his skin started dying and he hadn't even know for how long that had been going on.

The lack of agonizing screams stopped his train of thought and he looked back to the white creature that had once been his son. Long orange coloured hair had stopped growing at the base of his strong tail that moved from left to right, like a cat, decorated with a pitch black tip and waving lines which had the same colour as the tip. His shoulder blades extended and had formed spikes that were white like the rest of the body. Muscular arms bore the same wavy black patterns which ran from the shoulder to the back of his clawed hand with sharp and powerful nails. The skinny legs became muscular and covered with the inky black tattoos.

The monster turned around and stared directly at the black haired male shinigami with his bright yellow and black eyes. Those eyes showed no reflection, no similarity to who he once was. The mask completely covered its face, hiding it from the world's eye. The mask's left side was covered in inky black stripes and razor sharp teeth, fangs ran from ear to ear, laughing at Isshin.

Laughing at his victory over the now broken and helpless teen, the sound the hollow made was high pitched, insane. Looking at the chest Isshin saw a perfect circular hole, the sign that it was definitely a hollow that had given up on life and becoming a slave to his instinct to survive.

The orange haired hollow stopped laughing suddenly. Isshin stiffened and got ready to fight if it ever came to that, but he wasn't sure if he could, not after seeing his son's pain, feeling it through the screams.

"Ya lost..." The hollow suddenly hissed, confusing the shinigami. "I told ya I wouldn't bow before a pathetic King like you." Isshin didn't know who the creature was talking to, but quietly circled the hollow, standing behind it, evading the tail and hiding his reiatsu. He knew it wasn't his son talking anymore; the mask was complete on the pale face, the reiatsu nothing but hollow.

"You see, Ichigo. I am stronger, better, not weakened by those filthy human emotions. I am perfec-" His hissing voice suddenly died when a cold metal object was pushed through his hard skull from behind. The blade exited between his eyes, its tip red. Crimson red dripping down the blade onto his white mask.

"I don't know if you can hear me, Ichigo... But I am truly sorry for not being there when it mattered the most. I am sorry for not stopping you when you were hiding your pain. Please forgive me." Isshin's said as he pushed the blade upwards, the mask breaking along with his son's skull. Thick tears fell down his face, his grief worse than ever.

The hollow turned around when the blade had been pulled out completely, his limbs starting to fade, dissolve. To the shinigami's surprise the hollow pulled off his mask, revealing the boy's original unharmed face and a weak smile.

"I wasn't strong enough..." he whispered faintly before fading away completely, disappearing from the face of the earth.

Isshin dropped to his knees, screaming in agony, screaming for his lost son. He had killed his own son, his flesh and blood. And Ichigo didn't care. Looking up to the full moon, Isshin begged for forgiveness that would never come.

- The End -