A Bleach Fanfic
belongs to Tite Kubo
And if anyone asks; this is all GenocideHeart's fault
The Psychopomp and The Fragaria:
Only the waning crescent Moon hanging heavily over the town of Karakura bore witness to the black robed figure standing primly atop of the Old Town Karakura Station as it gazed to the southeast.
"I see." The quiet, feminine voice of the figure was lost quickly in the sounds of the sleeping town. "Most curious…"
As the figure prepared to move, the soft sound of a violin being played caused the figure to pause and withdraw what appeared to be a cell phone from their left sleeve. With a flick of their wrist, the cell phone opened and the figure consulted it for a moment before closing it with a snap.
"Very well." The figure said, replacing the cell phone in their left sleeve as it turned to the north; moonlight gleaming off of their glasses. "Another time then."
And with that, the figure leapt gracefully into the night.
"What the!?" the skateboarder yelled angrily at the bleached haired youth. "You suddenly appear and kick over Yama-chan then tell us to get out of here!? You wanna die? Huh!? Say something, you puHU!"
Whatever else the skateboarder was going to say was cut off by a foot viciously connecting with his jaw; dropping him like a ton of bricks. Said foot continued to kick him in the side as the three other skaters watched in shock.
"Ahh! Toshi-rin's down!!" one of the skaters shouted in surprise.
"D-don't know what's going on, but this is dangerous." another one croaked out.
"I've never seen such irrational violence!" the third uttered with shock.
"This guy's definitely one of those…if we fight him, we'll be killed for sure!" the first one cried out.
"Shut up already!" the bleached blond yelled angrily as he ground his foot into the back of the head of the downed Toshi as he pointed to something behind him. "All you guys look over there!"
Seeing that their attention was fixed where he wanted it, the bleached haired boy began his tirade. "Question 1! What the heck can that be? Ok, you over there! The stinky looking one!"
"Me? Um…an offering to the kid who died here recently?" the 'stinky' skater replied nervously; only to revive a kick to the face.
"Great answer!! Question 2!!" the bleached haired boy said enthusiastically; only to look coldly at the two skaters still standing. "Then why is the vase knocked over?"
"T-that's cuz…we knocked it over…skateboarding?" one of the skaters answered with a shaky voice.
"I see…then, shouldn't you apologize to her?! "
Their eyes going wide; the two skaters suddenly noticed the girl with blood covering one side of her face floating behind the bleached haired boy.
Screaming like little girls; the two skaters still standing quickly grabbed their fallen friends and fled; calling out apologies as they ran.
With a sigh, the bleached haired boy shook his head in disgust. "If we scared them this much they probably won't come around here anymore." He turned to look at the spirit floating next to him as he bent to straighten the fallen offering. "Sorry 'bout that, using you this way."
"Nah." The girl replied with a smile. "I'm the one who asked you to chase them away, so I have to cooperate at least this much."
"Well, ok then." The bleached haired boy said; turning to walk away. "I'll bring you new flowers soon."
"Ok. Thanks, onii-chan. Now I can spend my time quietly."
"You're welcome." He said walking away, a hand waving lazily in parting. "Hurry up and go to heaven."
Watching the bleached haired boy walking away down the street and around a corner; the girl sighed heavily and drifted slowly back to the spot of her death. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something flutter by. Turning to look, she saw a black swallowtail butterfly floating away.
"Interesting." A voice said quietly behind her.
Startled, the girl turned around saw a woman dressed in a black kimono and hakama with a white obi tied around her waist standing where no one was a moment ago.
"Wh-who are you?" the girl asked of the stranger. There was something about her that felt…different.
"I apologies for startling you." The stranger said, bending down slightly to look her in the eyes. "I am a Shinigami; sent here to see you on your way."
"Oh." The girl said sadly; looking over her shoulder in the direction that the bleached haired boy had went.
"He's interesting." The shinigami said; following the spirit girl's train of thoughts. "Your onii-chan, that is."
"Oh!" the girl startled; a small blush on her cheeks. "He…he isn't my real onii-chan. He's just been real nice to me ever since I died."
"I see." The shinigami said with a small smile; her eyes looking at the girl kindly from behind wire framed glasses. "Do you know his name?"
Looking at the shinigami uncertainty, the girl asked "Are…are you going to hurt him?"
"No. I just want to talk to him for a bit." The shinigami smiled.
"Oh. His name is Ichigo. Kurosaki Ichigo."
"Kurosaki Ichigo. I see. Thank you very much. Now; it's time for me to send you on your way." The shinigami said, reaching into her left sleeve. With the soft sound of steeling being drawn, she reassured the spirit. "Now don't worry. This won't hurt a bit."
With that, the shinigami pulled out a small wakizashi with a square tsuba from her robes and held it with the base of the hilt facing the girl. Moving the wakizashi forward; the shinigami tapped the forehead of the spirit lightly.
Watching the Hell Butterfly begin its journey after the successful konso; the shinigami had a thoughtful look on her face.
"Kurosaki Ichigo." She said slowly with a nod of determination.
And with that; the shinigami disappeared.
Throwing himself onto his bed face down, Kurosaki Ichigo scowled as a warm breeze gently blew into his dark bedroom threw the open window.
'Stupid Pops.' He thought, 'Why does he have to keep acting like a moron? Besides, there're probably grade schoolers who have later curfews than I do.'
Rolling onto his back in frustration, Ichigo looked up at the ceiling. 'Couldn't help being late anyway. I don't want to see spirits; but I can't help but giving them a hand, especially against idiots like those.'
As he looked up at the ceiling, a black swallowtail butterfly slowed fluttered across his line of sight from the open window and into his room.
'What the…' he thought as he sat up in his bed and watched the butterfly float around his room.
"Kurosaki Ichigo-san." A soft voice said from behind him.
"WHA!" Jumping off his bed in surprise, Ichigo turned around and saw a figure kneeling on the windowsill.
"Are you Kurosaki Ichigo-san?" the soft voice repeated, the faint moonlight causing the figures' glasses to gleam brightly.
"Yea." Ichigo defensively said. "Who the hell are ya and what the hell ya doing here?"
"I am a shinigami and I am here to talk to you." The figure said, shifting her head to look Ichigo directly with her dark blue eyes. "And my name is Ise Nanao."
Storming across the room, Ichigo angrily flipped the lights on. "What the hell are ya talking about?! Look, I don't know who the heck you are, but I ain't in the mood for whatever crackpot religion you're selling!"
Looking started for a moment, Nanao shook her head. "I am sorry, you seem to misunderstand." She said, standing up and walking into the room. "I am here to speak to you on a very important matter."
"I ain't interested! Just take your paraphernalia and get out of here!"
Whatever else might have been said was suddenly interrupted by the sudden intrusion of the patented Parental Dropkick of Concern.
"Be quiet Ichigo! Don't make such a ruckus on the second floor!" Kurosaki Isshin exclaimed.
"You be quiet!" Ichigo responded with the Adolescent Left Cross of Pique (patent pending). "How can I not make a ruckus?! I got some religious weirdo in my room! What the heck is going on with the houses' security system?"
"Hum? What are you talking about? What weirdo?" Isshin asked in confusion.
"Normal people can not see me." Nanao interjected, tilting her head so the light caught her glasses. "As I said, Kurosaki-san, I am here to talk to about an important matter."
"Fine." Ichigo growled out before using the Adolescent Roundhouse Kick of Frustration (patent pending) to kick his father out of his room. "What do ya want?" he scowled, crossing his arms across his chest.
Nanao began to say something before pausing. "Perhaps a practical demonstration is in order to convince you." She said before cupping her hands before her and chanting.
"Bend low and bare thy neck to thy masters' yoke! Bakudou #3: Osaetsukeru!"
A look of shock crossed Ichigos' face as a sudden, immensely heavy pressure fell across his body; driving him to his knees. "What the?!" he blurted out as he tried to struggle to his feet.
"I mean you no harm, Kurosaki-san. I merely wish for you to accept the truth of what I am." Nanao said as she turned to face the middle-aged ghost that Ichigo had been ignoring since it had appeared when he got home.
"It is time for you to move on." She said as she reached into her left sleeve and advanced on the spirit.
"W-what are you talking about? I don't want to go to Hell!" the ghost protested fearfully.
"Do not fear." Nanao said, pulling a small wakizashi from her sleeve turning it so the blade pointed towards her. "The place I am sending you is not Hell, but to a place called Soul Society. It is a place many would consider as Heaven." She said in a reassuring tone as she tapped the spirit's forehead with the butt of the weapon.
A bright light filled the room as the spirit sunk into the glowing circle that appeared at its feet. Once the ghost had fully sunk into the circle, the light suddenly disappeared; leaving Ichigo blinking at the spots in his eyes as he saw another black swallowtail butterfly drift slowly out the open window.
"W-what happened to that ghost?" Ichigo asked with uncertainty.
"As I said, I sent him to Soul Society." Nanao said with a nod of satisfaction as she sheathed the wakizashi in her sleeve. "It is the place that those who have not committed terrible sins during their life go once they have died."
Turning to look at Ichigo, Nanao tilted her head and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "Are you willing to listen to what I have to say now, Kurosaki-san?"
"Yea…" Ichigo gulped.
Smiling, Nanao lifted her right hand and snapped her fingers. "Kai!"
The pressure suddenly disappearing, Ichigo relaxed his tense body and shifted into a cross legged position. "Well, get on with it." He scowled, motioning with his hand.
"Very well." Nanao replied as she gracefully knelt into seiza. "As I said earlier, I am a shinigami. I am currently assigned to patrol the area of the living world that you know as Karakura Town. Numbered among my duties is to perform the konso; the soul burial; upon the souls of the departed who have yet to move on, sending them on to Soul Society."
Scratching his head in annoyance, Ichigo looked at the shinigami. "Yea, that's great and all; but what's that got to do with me?"
"Ever since I began my patrol of the area," Nanao continued, "I have sensed a strange spiritual presence. At first, I discounted it, since it posed no threat to my duties. However, I soon realized that not only was it moving, but it was also masking the area it was in; making it difficult for me to sense any other spiritual presences in its area. When my duties permitted, I began to track the source of the unusual phenomenon. However, I found that, due its shear presence, I was not able to pinpoint it precisely. After several days of observing its movements; I was able to uncover the source of the phenomenon. The identity of the spiritual presence, Kurosaki-san, is you."
Ichigo blinked in surprise. "Wha?"
"Tell me, Kurosaki-san, how long have you been able to see and communicate with spirits?"
"Um…for a long time now." Ichigo said, scratching his chin as he looked off to the side.
"I see." Nanao nodded, as if confirming something. "While exceedingly rare; there is precedent of humans being able to harness their reiatsu; their spiritual energies; and using them. However, I have never heard of a human having such an abundance of reiatsu like you do. In fact, just by being here with you, I find it difficult to sense anything outside this room. Which is part of the problem." She finished with a small sigh.
"As I said earlier, one of my duties it to find the spirits of departed humans; what we call a plus. Another duty is to hunt down and purify what is known as Hollows."
"Yes. A Hollow is…" Nanao paused for a moment before beginning again, "A Hollow is a creature that is consumed by the need to fill its empty heart. It often does so by feeding on others that have a strong spiritual presence such as pluses, other Hollows, shinigami such as myself, and others with an abundance of reiatsu; such as yourself."
In the silence of the room, Ichigo blinked in confusion for a moment. "Wait a moment. You mean to say…"
"Yes." Nanao confirmed. "To be honest, I am quite surprised that you have apparently yet to encounter a Hollow. I can only surmise it is because, even though your reiatsu is quite powerful for a human, it is also extremely unfocused; diffused, if you will, around yourself. It is most likely because of this that a Hollow has yet to find you."
"Look," Ichigo interrupted. "I don't know where you're going with all this crap. I mean, I'm willing to buy into all this 'shinigami' stuff after what you did to that ghost; but come on! I ain't never seen one of these 'Hollow' things before; and you're telling me they go around and eat people?" Ichigo said in disbelief.
"I'm trying to help you here, Kurosaki-san." Nanao said, adjusting her glasses. "Just because you have never seen them, does not mean that Hollows do not exist. And because of your reiatsu; you are a potential target for…"
"What the hell was that?!" Ichigo said, looking around.
Startled at the interruption, Nanao looked at Ichigo with surprise. "What was what?"
"What do you mean? Didn't you hear that loud voice just now?"
Nanao gave Ichigo a curious look before she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She remained still for a moment as she frowned in concentration when, suddenly, her eyes flew open; shock written plainly on her face.
"Kurosaki-san," the shinigami said briskly as she quickly stood and moved to the open window. "Please remain here."
"What's going on!?" Ichigo demanded as he stood up.
Stopping at the window, Nanao looked over her shoulder. "This is important, Kurosaki-san. I need you to remain here; otherwise I can not guaranty your safety."
And with that, Nanao vaulted out of the window.
Landing in the street in front of the Kurosaki Clinic; Nanao was shocked to see the Hollow so near.
'Of course,' Nanao realized, raising her right hand as it began to glow as she faced down the Hollow that was only a few feet away from the house.'Assuming that Kurosaki-san spends at minimum of six hours a day in his room over a period of at least a decade…' Cutting off her thoughts, she quickly snapped out a quick incantation.
"Lay beneath the blooming Ume and rejoice; flee the barbs of jealousy and exact retribution! Hadou #29: Shiden'issen!"
A flash of white lighting flew from the shinigami's hand and streaked down the street accompanied by a roll of thunder towards the Hollow; only to miss as it suddenly leapt high over the lethal kidou and landed behind her.
'It's after Kurosaki-san!' Nanao realized as she turned to chase after the Hollow.
"What the!?!" With a gasp of shock, Nanao saw Ichigo standing just outside the door of the Kurosaki Clinic; frozen with fear as the Hollow approached.
"Kurosaki-san!" Nanao shouted as she ran up behind the Hollow as it raised one of its arms to strike. "Please remain inside! Bakudou #4: Hainawa!"
As the energy rope wrapped around the upraised arm, Nanao braced herself and pulled; trying to throw the Hollow off balance. Unable to move its arm, the Hollow roared in anger and turned quickly; it's free arm flaying wild, smashing a large hole in the side of the clinic.
Stumbling at the sudden slack; Nanao didn't notice as the Hollow grasped the energy rope and pull. Nanao had just a moment to realize her predicament as she flew through the air towards the Hollow; only to have its free hand slam into her stomach. Her concentration broken, the binding spell dissipated and Nanao was flung back into the street by the force of the blow.
Struggling to her feet as bile rose in her throat, Nanao looked up and saw Ichigo's father along with two young girls who bore a striking resemblance to Ichigo looking out the large hole that, to them, had suddenly appeared for no reason. Fighting down the pain as she struggled to her feet, Nanao absently notice that while the father was looking at his son; the two girls seemed to be trying to see something that wasn't there.
'The girls…they can sense the Hollow too?'
Nanao had no time to dwell on that thought as she wasn't the only one to notice the rest of the Kurosaki family.
Turning again, the Hollow reached into the house and pushed its way in; causing the hole to widen. 'It's going after the weakest prey!' Nanao realized as tried to rush towards the Hollow as the sounds of crashing furniture and cries of panic reached her ears.
With a hungry growl, the Hollow pulled itself out of the hole; a girl with sandy blond hair clutched in its hand who cried out a panicked "Onii-chan!"
"GAHHHHHHH!!!!!" Nanao blinked in surprise as Ichigo shoulder rammed the Hollow and followed up by hitting it with a broken piece of wood.
The beast stumbled several feet before swatting Ichigo with a backhand. While still stunned by Ichigo's attack, Nanao made her move. Quickly drawing her wakizashi in a reverse grip, she leapt onto the Hollows hand behind the girl and, reaching forward, slashed the inside of its wrist.
Howling in pain, the Hollow opened its hand and backed into the street. Letting go of her perch at the same time, Nanao grabbed the falling girl and held her close with her left hand as they fell while her right arm came up; the forefinger of her hand coming off of the hilt of her wakizashi and pointing at the retreating Hollow.
"Hadou #4: Byakurai!"
Rolling with the impact of her fall; Nanao quickly looked up and saw that her attack had pierced the Hollow just below its throat. 'Missed.' She grimaced.
"YUZU!!" Ichigo cried out as he fell to his knees before the crouched Nanao. "Yuzu! Are you alright! Yuzu!"
"Yuzu…" Ichigo looked at his sister weakly before meeting Nanao's eye angrily. "What the hell's going on! What is that thing!!"
"That is a Hollow, Kurosaki-san. As I told you, they hunt down those with a strong spiritual presence and…" Whatever else Nanao was about to say was cut off as she shoved Yuzu into Ichigo's arms and pushed him away as she brought up her wakizashi as the Hollow lunged forward; its mouth open wide.
'Too shallow' Nanao thought as the wakizashi sliced into the Hollow's mask; only to choke down a cry as pain exploded across her body as the Hollow bit deeply into her.
Roaring in pain and clutching it mask, the Hollow released Nanao from its jaws as it stumbled backwards. Falling backwards, Nanao hit the side of the house and slid to the ground; her left arm hanging uselessly as blood ran freely from her wounds. Raising her right arm, she quickly adjusted her glasses and looked to make sure that Ichigo and his sister were all right.
With a sigh of relief that brought a lance of pain through her body, Nanao saw that Ichigo was kneeling nearby; unharmed; cradling his sister tightly. "Are….are you alright?" he asked; a stunned look on his face.
"I'll…be fine." Nanao winced as she reassured the boy.
"That…thing is after me, ain't it?"
Nanao nodded; which caused Ichigo to look down at his unconscious sister with determination. Gently laying Yuzu; Ichigo stood and turned in the direction of the still wailing Hollow. "If it wants me, then it'll get me!" he said; smacking his right fist into his left palm as he stalked forward.
"Kurosaki-san! Stop!!" Nanao commanded; seeing exactly what was going through the bleached blond boy's mind.
"WHAT!?" Ichigo yelled angrily, turning to look at Nanao over his shoulder. "You expect me to do nothing when my family is in danger!?"
"No." Nanao replied softly; before her voice took on a more lecturing tone. "However, there is no way that you would be able to defeat the Hollow as you are. And even if you were to sacrifice yourself to the Hollow, it will still go after your family."
"Then what the hell do you want me to do! There is no way you can still fight that thing!"
"You are correct. However, there is one way." Nanao winced in both pain and the realization of the consequences of what she was about to do as she saw Ichigo's face light up with hope. Lifting her wakizashi up to eye level, she tried to convey the seriousness of what she was suggesting with the tone of her voice.
"This is my zanpakuto. In many ways, it is a reflection of my own reiatsu. I can use it insert a portion of my own powers into you; causing you to become a shinigami."
"How?" Ichigo asked as he walked back to Nanao and knelt next to her.
"By piercing you through the middle of your chest." Nanao replied; turning the wakizashi so it pointed directly at Ichigo.
"You…you sure it'll work?" Ichigo asked with a gulp.
Taking a deep breath, Ichigo nodded sharply as he reached forward and with both hands and grabbed onto the hilt of the wakizashi; covering Nanao's hand as the sound of the Hollow rapidly approaching reached both their ears. "All right. Let's do this, shinigami-san."
"It's Ise Nanao."
"Ichigo. Kurosaki Ichigo."
"I know. We've already been introduced." She said with a twitch of a smile.
Taking one more deep breath, Nanao gathered a portion of her reiatsu; channeled it down into her zanpakuto; and pushed forwarded both mentally and physically.
And . .
. . .the world . . .
. . . . exploded . . . . .
To Be Continued
Shinigami's Cup: Golden!
"Nanao-chan? Nanao-chan? Where are you, my Nanao-chan? Kawaii, kawaii, Nanao-chan? Lovely, lovely Nanao-chan?"
"What are you doing?! Ise-san ain't you're Vice-Captain here! Heck! She ain't even in the 8th Division!"
"Really? Hum…I guess I need to find a good Vice-Captain. I know! Rangiku-chan! Her beauty is quite…bountiful. Hehehehe."
"Gah! What's wrong with you! I'm your Vice-Captain!"
"No, no…Rangiku-chan wouldn't work; she has Toshiro-kun wrapped around her little finger. Maybe Isane-chan…or Momo-chan…or Kiyone-chan…or Nemu-chan…or perhaps Rukia-chan…"
"That's it! Howl! Zabimaru!"