Bleach is created by Tite Kubo and distributed by Weekly Shonen Jump, Shueisha, Studio Pierrot, TV Tokyo, Adult Swim, & Viz Media LLC.

Should Kubo, or any of his affiliates, request it, this not-for-profit story will be taken off line as quickly as possible.

Any original characters, however, are owned by me. If you steal them, I shall hunt you down and skewer your nuts.

Feedback is encouraged. That's why I write. Also for the cookies. And The Root Beer. The sweet, nectar-of-the-gods root beer.

Flames are pointless, as the author is a flaming retard.

...hold up, that's not what I meant. Uh, let's just start the story.


Ghostface211 presents

A Bleach Story

Stranger Than Fiction

Chapter One: Strawberries, Tomboys, and Shinigami

Comments, Constructive Criticism, and MST 3000's can go to


7:00 P.M. Saturday. Karakura Town

BAM!

The hard sound of one young skateboarding punk hitting the pavement rang out though the streets as the person who smacked the punk down ran a slender hand through her short, spiky black hair. Her companion, a tall orange-haired boy looked on with slight disinterest.

"The fuck's your problem, bitch?!" the skateboarding punk asked the teenaged youth before him. "You suicidal or somethin? You come here, kick Lil'Yama in the face and order us out like some skank ass hoes?! You know who you fuckin' with bitch?!" The boy glared and began to walk towards the punk as he continued to rain down insults and vulgarities. The punk stopped mid-rant and charged at the orange-haired youth. "Alright you bitch moth-"

POW!

A boot to the face was the only response offered to the foul mouth punk. As the boy began to kick the downed punk, his friends looked at the duo that had downed their leaders with fear and awe.

"No way! He dropped Lil'Toshi!"

"This is so wrong, dude."

"Those two are hard man. HARD."

"Dude. Fuck with them and they'll kill you!"

"SHUT UP! All you losers look at that," cried the orange haired boy. Pointing down at something behind him, the skaters looked to see a cracked glass bottle laying on the ground with flowers inside. "First question! What's that? You," he pointed at a random punk, "Pothead. You tell me!!"

"Me?" Asked the punk in question. "Pothead?" He asked more to himself. Speaking up, he answered the boy. "Ummm... an offering to some dead kid?"

BAM!

"Check out the brain on the toker!" cried the girl as she leveled said punk with a roundhouse kick.

"Lil' Mitch!!"

"NOOOOO!"

"My turn," started the girl. "My question is...why's that vase...lying on it's side?"

Slowly a figure began to form behind the girl as the boy walked to her side. The punks slowly turned to answer the girl's question, trembling slightly. "Itint 'cuz...," One punk began.

"We knocked it over with our... skate...boards?" The other punk finished. The reason he had problems finishing his comrade's statement is because the figure that was behind the school kids had finally finished forming into a small girl. No older than 10, her hair done in pigtails. Nothing terribly unusual.

Save the fact that she was floating above the ground.

And that she was bleeding profusely from her head, covering one eye.

Oh, and that she was as pale as a ghost.

To say nothing of the hole in her chest with a chain sticking out of it.

"Well then," began the boy as a maniacal look crossed his face. "Maybe you should apologize to her, huh?!"

A pause. Then the punks paled and hugged each other.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

"We're sorry!"

"We'll never do it again!"

"Don't steal my soul, bro!"

"Momma!!"

As the punks ran off, taking their unconscious brothers with them. The duo looked towards each other. "Well, they won't be back," the girl stated.

"Think you enjoyed yourself a bit to much there Tatsuki," the boy smirked at his companion.

Tatsuki stuck her tongue out at him. "Sorry, Ichigo. Next time I'll save some for you." She turned to the ghostly girl, "Hey, sorry for using you like that."

The dead girl shook her head. "That's okay, I asked you two to get rid of 'em for me. It's the least I could do. Now I can spend my time peacefully."

"We'll bring you some fresh flowers tomorrow," Ichigo stated. "So you get to heaven already, okay?" Having done his good deed for the day, Ichigo turned and waved behind him as the young apparition faded away. Tatsuki smiled and ran off to catch up to the orange-haired boy.

"So that's it? One good deed for the dead and you're scowling again?"

"I'm not scowling," Ichigo huffed, scowling.

"Or is that a grin? Sometimes with you I can't tell the difference," Tatsuki hummed, amused at Ichigo's demeanor. "Poor, poor fightin' boy. He sees ghosts, can talk to 'em, touch 'em, and even channel 'em. Must be a pain to be in such high demand."

"It doesn't happen that often."

Tatsuki raised an eyebrow in feigned interest and turned away, "Ah, is that so? Am I overrating your popularity?"

Ichigo stopped, turned and faced her. "Eh? You jealous or somethin'?"

Tatsuki turned back to Ichigo, a small grin appearing on her face, "What if I am?"

Ichigo grinned back at her. "Oh, I dunno... Maybe I'll just have to do something to fix that."

Tatsuki came closer to him, "Interesting. How are you gonna do that?"

"Maybe I'll try something like this", he finished as he closed the gap between them. When he bent his head down, Tatsuki looked up at him and smiled, closing her eyes...

She suddenly felt a presence, Opening her eyes again she sighed. "Don't look now Ichigo, but you got company."

"Yeah, I know," he grumbled, left eye twitching.

"Don't mind me, youngster," Reassured the sprit. An older man that looked like he had died in his late 50's. "It's like I'm not even here."

"Beat it. Now. Please."

Tatsuki let off another disappointed sigh and she hefted her schoolbag over her shoulder. The mood was pretty much ruined now. "Later Ichigo, I'll let you and your new friend get acquainted."

Ichigo glared at the older sprit for a moment. "Ah, Tatsuki. Hold up. We're still on for tomorrow, right?"

Tatsuki mimicked Ichigo and waved behind her in a mock disinterested fashion, "Yea, of course. No special guests though, right?"

Ichigo scoffed at that as the sprit floated down near him. "Hmm. How Disappointing. Can't perform under pressure?"

"Shut up."


And here comes fun time at the insane asylum, Ichigo thought to himself as he unlocked the door to his home. Idly, he wondered how his father would handle him being late this time. "I'm home," he announced.

"NO NOOKIE KICK!"

CRACK!

Ichigo went down like a ton of bricks as his father leveled him upside his head with a powerful kick. Satisfied, Isshin stood tall over his son.

"Do you have any idea what time is you sexual miscreant?" Isshin asked, "Or where you too busy knocking the boots with your girlfriend to remember that dinner in this house is always at seven o'clock sharp?!'

"Goddamn it old man, Tatsuki and I weren't doing anything except helping a ghost find peace! And besides, what father makes his son come home by seven o'clock on a school night anyway? Your rules are way too strict!" Ichigo yelled, leveling a glare at his father. "And for god's sake who the hell says 'knocking the boots' when talking about sex anyway?"

"Don't try to distract me with your 'gifts', boy," Isshin glared back, "It was bad enough when you where rubbing them in my face before. But now your girlfriend can see ghosts when before she was as blind as me! Why can't I see ghosts, huh? Why don't I have the gift? What she got that I don't?! What's wrong with me, huh?!"

"You want the full list?" Ichigo asked sarcastically. "Besides, how the heck should I know how Tatsuki can see ghost now?!"

"Probably because you're giving her 'special injections'!"

Ichigo flustered for a moment before cold cocking his father, "GO TO HELL, OLD MAN!"

Isshin responded in kind with a fist to his son's stomach, "THAT'S THE SPRIT, KID!"

"Both of you, please stop fighting! Dinner's getting cold," cried Yuzu.

Sadly, this seemed to have no effect upon the father and son who's fight seemed to shift between UFC, Wrestlemania, and Virtua Fighter.

"Just let 'em get it out of their system, Yuzu," Karen said. Clearly more interested in her empty bowl than the latest, greatest battle between father and son. "Can I have some more rice?"

"Karin-chan!"

Finally the battle was decided. As Isshin went for a clothesline, Ichigo avoided it and landed a powerful haymaker, sending Isshin into the wall. Satisfied that his father was done, Ichigo huffed and climbed up the stairs to his room.

"Ah, Ichi-nii! Your dinner..." Started Yuzu.

"Not hungry!" shouted Ichigo. Yuzu flinched as he slammed his room door closed.

"God! Why does pops have to be so weird?" Ichigo huffed as he flopped unto his bed. Putting a hand over his face, he let out a deep breath of air, "Stupid old man." Frowning, Ichigo removed his hand from his face. It wouldn't do to get mad at the old fart now anyway. He was too old to change anyway.

Looking over to his dresser near the bed, he picked up a picture of Tatsuki and him last summer. Shortly after they had started dating. His arm was draped over her shoulder and he had an incredibly rare smile upon his face. Tatsuki's hand grasped his arm draped over her and had a similar grin on her face. Tracing his finger over the picture, Ichigo ruminated on how such simple things could become so complex.

It seemed like yesterday that he and Tatsuki where in that dojo. Him training, hoping to be strong enough to protect his mother and sisters and live up to his name. Tatsuki was just some girl who never acted like a girl for some odd reason. To him she was his best friend and greatest rival, as she was the pillar he had to overcome to be strong enough to protect his family.

Then his mother died, and everything changed. And then came middle school and...

"Ah geez, look at me," Ichigo huffed placing the picture back on top the dresser. "Reminiscing like and old man or something."

That being said, he sat down near at his desk, and began to get to work on his homework.. Tomorrow he would be out all day with Tatsuki, celebrating the anniversary of their first date. So he let his thoughts about her idle in the back of his mind while he started his English assignment.


10:00 A.M. Sunday. Karakura Town

Ichigo rang the doorbell, letting off a sigh. He was pissed at himself for forgetting his gift for Tatsuki. And despite her tomboy ways, she was still girl enough that such things were important to her. And that meant if he forgot to give it to her by the time they went back to his place for dinner, an ass kicking was in his near future.

He was jostled out of his thoughts as the door opened and a slender woman was revealed. With long brown wavy hair that flowed down to her waist, violet eyes, a fair complexion, and a small mouth with full lips that curled into a smile. "Ah, Ichigo-chan! How nice to see you!"

Ichigo gave a light smile at the woman, "Hello Arisawa-san. Is Tatsuki ready to go yet?"

Mrs. Arisawa shook her head, "Not just yet. Come in, please come in."

Ichigo did just that. Idly taking off his shoes, he looked around a bit at the living room area, "Is she gonna be ready soon? The movie starts in a bit."

Mrs. Arisawa smiled at Ichigo, "I'm sure she'll be ready any minute. Why don't you watch some T.V. in the meantime."

Even though there was nothing on T.V., Ichigo decided to humor his girlfriend's mother by sitting on the couch and turning the T.V. on. Idly flicking through channels before a newscast caught his eye.

-'Once again, reporting from the scene here at Katakura station. Where service is stopped for the day as you can see, due to what appears to be a terrorist attack. Several witness claim that at midnight, there was a large explosion that caused severe structural damage to the building. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but officials say...'-

Ichigo frowned. That's not to far from my own place he thought to himself. So wrapped up in the newscast, he failed to notice the figure behind him.

"Kurosaki Ichigo."

Ichigo tensed a bit at the voice and turned to look behind him. It was a man that seemed more mountain than anything human. Standing at 6'2"with a well-defined and thickly muscular build, long black spiky hair that went to his mid back, square glasses, a tan complexion and goatee, He loomed over Ichigo and gave off a vibe that might make a lesser teenage boy crap their pants.

Ichigo simply smiled warily at the man, "Uh, hi Arisawa-san."

Mr. Arisawa glared down at the young man, "Today is the day, Kurosaki Ichigo."

"Today is the day... for what?" Ichigo asked, although he was pretty sure what was about to come.

Mr. Arisawa flexed, ripping his shirt to shreds in the process. "TODAY IS THE DAY WE FINALLY BATTLE, KUROSAKI ICHIGOOOOO!"

Ichigo sighed, if it wasn't one nut case father it was another. Mr. Arisawa and he had never really gotten along. And ever since he had started dating Tatsuki, he had started trying to challenge him, as if he would never accept him unless they actually did fight. "No, Arisawa-san. For the 10,000th time, we're not."

Mr. Arisawa smirked, "So, you continue to show yourself as a coward to the end."

Ichigo frowned as Mr. Arisawa continued to smirk at him, he knew the man was needling him, waiting for him to bite. "I really don't think either of us has time for a fight anyway Mr. Arisawa."

"Nonsense," Mr. Arisawa stated, his smirk growing to an infuriating level. "Now is no better time for me smack you skinny little bleached ass down."

Ichigo's eyebrow twitched, never had he imagined that he'd have to keep his nerve to punch a person so much like his own father. "Seriously, Mr. Arisawa. You know that no matter what you do, I'm not gonna fight you. Especially in your own house."

"That's fine, That's why we have a back yard."

Ichigo palmed his face into his hand, "I'm not gonna fight you inside or outside your own house. So stop this. Please."

Mr. Arisawa suddenly frowned, as if in deep thought. "I know that you're a crybaby, but I never would have though you'd be this much of a coward," Suddenly, his face lit up as if coming to a grand revelation, "Or Is it...? Can It be...?"

Ichigo was almost afraid to ask," Can what be?"

"Can it be that..." Mr. Arisawa suddenly struck a pose, "YOU'RE PARALIZED WITH FEAR BY MY BEAUTIFULL BODY?!"

If it was possible, Ichigo's jaw would have dropped to the basement at that statement. "WHAT?!"

"BEHOLD THIS MAGNIFICENT BODY!" Mr. Arisawa said, striking a strong man pose. "A BODY THAT HAS TAKEN FOURTY-SEVEN YEARS TO HONE TO PERFECTION! THIS IS THE TYPE OF BODY A MAN WHO DATES MY DAUGHTER SHOULD HAVE TO PROTECT HER!"

"Shuya."

Shuya Arisawa gulped and slowly turned behind him to find his wife giving him a glare that could have given a glacier chills," How many times have I told you to stop bothering Ichigo-chan?"

Shuya instantly deflated, turning to his wife looking like a toddler about to have a temper tantrum, "But Tomo-chaaaannn! That little punk hasn't proven himself worthy of my Tat-chan!"

Tomoko Arisawa let of a sigh at this tired song and dance routine, "I think at her age, Tatsuki is more than able to choose who is and isn't worthy of being her boyfriend."

Shuya suddenly straightened up, pointing a finger at Ichigo. "BUT WHY THAT LITTLE PENCIL-NECKED CRYBABY?! I JUST CAN'T ACCEPT IT UNTIL HE PROVES HIMSELF TO ME IN MAN TO MAN COMBAT!"

"Dad, stop that!" cried Tatsuki.

Shuya flinched at his newly arrived daughter's tone. He turned to face her, tears streaming down his face, looking like his family was stabbing him in the back by supporting Ichigo instead of him. "B-b-b-but Tat-chaaaannn! Daddy was only looking out for you!"

"Well you can stop looking out for me old man," Tatsuki frowned. Folding her arms and giving her father a glare that equaled her mother's for intensity, "Stop bugging my boyfriend for a fight."

Shuya looked like he was about to tell his daughter just who was the parent when Tomoyo cut him off, "Yes, I must insist you do as your daughter says otherwise..."

Shuya paled, "No... you wouldn't...You couldn't!"

"I could and I will. If you don't at least try to be civil towards Ichigo-chan, I'm cutting you off."

"You can't cut me off! How would I get through the day without my fix?!"

"Well if you apologize to Ichigo-chan, I won't cut off your cookie supply."

Shuya convulsed, wracked in agony over what was more valuable to him. Suddenly, he stood straight and turned around to face Ichigo. Ichigo jumped back a bit, stunned at the pain in his face.

"Kurosaki Ichigo," Shuya growled out, "I am sorry for trying to goad you into proving you aren't a crybaby who is full of chicken shit."

Tomoyo stomped her foot, causing Shuya to jump, "THAT'S IT! YOU GO SIT IN THE CORNER AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE! NO COOKIES FOR YOU!"

Shuya pouted and proceeded to do sit in said corner. "Why does she have to side with that stupid little crybaby anyway?" He mumbled.

Tatsuki then turned to her boyfriend and gave him an apologetic look. "Sorry about that, Ichigo."

Ichigo waived it off, "It's Ok. I'm just ready to go. Now."

Tomoyo frowned at her daughter, "Just a moment." Looking her over, her daughter wearing a white dress shirt over a blue baby tee with a decal of a grinning smiley face, skinny blue jeans, and sneakers. "Oh, Tatsuki-chan. Pants? What's wrong with that cute little skirt I gave you?"

Tatsuki blushed," I just wanted to wear pants, today momma. Besides, I wear a skirt to school every day."

Tomoyo sighed and put her hand on her face, "But I even got a pair of matching panties."

Ichigo blushed as Tatsuki's face tuned a deeper shade of crimson. Grabbing her boyfriend's hand, she dragged him to the door, "Goodbye, mother!"

As Ichigo was dragged out the house, he idly wondered what normal parents where like.


"Remind me to never pick you up at your house again."

Tatsuki smiled, as they had been walking long enough that she could regain her composure. "Like your dad is any better."

Ichigo shrugged, "No, but at least I can hit him."

"Well, I'd fight him for you, but that would just make him right in his eyes." She shuddered, "Him being right about anything in regards to you is just... WRONG."

Ichigo couldn't disagree with that. "Well, now that that's over with are you...?"

Suddenly a deep blood-curling yell echoed through the sky. The reverberations sent chills up the young man's spine, and felt like it was stabbing his soul. It was one of the worst sounds he had ever heard in his life.

He turned a worried look to Tatsuki, "Did you hear that?"

Tatsuki nodded in the affirmative, and held Ichigo's hand tighter. Her eyes darted around, looking for what ever caused that sound as well as if anyone else noticed. Seeing that no one had reacted to the sound, she turned to her boyfriend. "Well, whatever caused that definitely wasn't human."

Ichigo frowned. What the hell could cause a sprit to scream like that, he wondered. Suddenly, he heard the scream again. This time however, there was a definite reaction as windows shattered, sending glass fragments down to the ground and more importantly, the people on the ground.

Predictably, people stopped what they were doing, and attempted to avoid the falling shrapnel. As that was happening, deep rents suddenly appeared in a building near Ichigo, sending plaster and cement to fall upon the masses, creating a panic amongst the people as dirt, rock, and rubble surrounded them.

"What the hell is happening?" Tatsuki asked.

"I dunno," Ichigo stated. He then pulled on Tatsuki's hand and started to run, "But we're not sticking around to find out."

The pair ran off into the crowd, running from whatever it was that was causing the random destruction. As they ran, Ichigo turned to look behind him. Then his eyes caught hold of a sight that would be burned into his mind for a long time.

It looked like a cross between a mime and a praying mantis. It's eyes where pupil less, but Ichigo felt as if that thing was looking directly at him. An unfamiliar fear rushed through his body as their eyes met, as if he was prey that was being hunted. And it was only a matter of time before he was caught.

"FoUnd YoU..." the thing said.

Ichigo's eyes widened in panic and his pace quickened in response. Tatsuki's grip on his hand was loosening, "Ichigo, what...!"

He re-tightened his grip, "Don't look back!"

Curiosity got the better of the girl, and she proceeded to ignore her boyfriend's request. "What the hell is that thing?!"

"Didn't I tell you not to look back?!" Ichigo shouted.

"Don't you know by now not to tell me to do something like that?!" Tatsuki shouted back.

They avoided a falling chunk of wall, "Are we about to argue about this?! Now, of all times?!"

"Oh, shut up and run!!"

Suddenly, a black flash appeared in front of the couple. It disappeared and Ichigo turned to look behind him again, and saw the monster pause in it's charge towards the pair before letting off a scream even louder than the first one. Suddenly, a deep line appeared in it's center and it dissolved into nothingness.

As the crowd began to settle down after it was clear the destruction had ended, Ichigo continued to stare at the area where the monster had vanished into nothingness. A single though continued to circulate in his head.

What the hell had just happened?


"Ichigo."

Ichigo frowned in thought as he and Tatsuki left the theater. What the hell was that monster that had chased them and those sprits earlier?

"Ichigo."

It had to be what caused the damage to Katakura Station that he saw on the news. Question was why was it here in the first place? And why was it hunting that sprit? Was it some sort of sprit eater? And how the heck did it disappear?

"Ichigo!"

Ichigo flinched as the hand that was held by Tatsuki was squoze painfully. Turning towards his girlfriend, he let off an apologetic look. "Sorry. What is it?"

"'Bout time. I've been trying to get your attention for a while now. Honestly, what where you thinking about, anyway?"

Ichigo frowned. "Nothing."

Tatsuki smirked, "Liar."

"It's nothing, really. At least I hope so."

"Ichigo, I saw that monster too, remember. It's gone now, so why are you still worrying about it?"

Ichigo stopped walking and looked around to make sure that no one was paying attention to their conversation. "That's just the thing. You know I've been able to see ghosts for a long time. But I've never seen something as fugly as that thing was ever. It's probably what tore up the station last night too."

Tatsuki nodded. She had heard something about that on the news this morning before Ichigo had picked her up. "So what? What does this mean?"

Ichigo frowned, "I dunno... and that's what worries me."


"I'm home." Ichigo announced

"NO BABY BOMBER!"

Ichigo put his forearms up and blocked the attempted clothesline, glaring at his father. "Dammit, what is your freakin' problem old man?!"

"Not bad my son," Isshin complimented. "But you're still open!"

Ichigo yelped as he was tripped. Rolling the moment he hit the ground, he barely avoided his fathers downward chop.

"And what about you?" Asked Tatsuki as she leveled a kick towards Isshin's stomach.

Isshin suddenly bent forward, shocking Tatsuki with his speed. He stayed hunched over, his waist bent all the way forward and his hands stretched out to keep his balance. Tatsuki's foot was no more than an inch away from his stomach. Isshin roared, "You and your striped panties are one hundred years too early to get the best of me!"

Tatsuki flustered, wondering how he had correctly guessed what her panties where, "You damn dirty goat beard!" Surprising herself with her speed, she dropped a fist at Isshin's unguarded back,"DIRTY OLD MAN BASH!"

Isshin crashed into the floor, causing a hole to be formed around his stomach where he landed. "OooohHHHHH!! How dare you hit an old man in his back!! It's proof positive that you need to cheat to have any sort of victory! Oh my son! What a wife you have chosen for yourself!", Isshin wailed into the floor.

Ichigo palmed his face in his hand. He was really sick of dealing with crazy people for the day., "Damnit old man, stop saying she's my wife!"

"And I'm not a cheater," Tatsuki huffed folding her arms "You're just not at fast as you like to think you are!"

Isshin suddenly popped up, arms akimbo. The bones snapping into place caused both Ichigo and Tatsuki to wince at the sound. "As my son, it is I who knows you best! So I knew from the moment you brought her home she was the one! And from that day forth I knew I would have to stay on my toes and look out for her cheating ways!" Both glared at him before noticing that he hadn't moved an inch from his stand up position.

"That took everything you had left, didn't it pops?"

"Close enough," Isshin conceded.

Ichigo sighed and poked his father with his finger. Isshin, in turn, grimaced in pain and fell over. "Well, that should keep you quiet for the night."

From the floor, they could hear him painfully whisper. "I...will rise... again!"

Tatsuki sighed, "Yeah, you do that y'dirty ol' man."

"But...I will...do it...the...right...way...cheater..."

Ichigo tuned his father out after that, "Yo Tatsuki, I gotta get something I left upstairs. Keep an eye on zombie-man over here ok?"

"No problem," she responded while cracking her knuckles.

Isshin gulped, "You..wouldn't hit...an old man...while he's..."

Tatsuki cracked her neck, "Save your breath old man," letting off a feral grin, "You might need to scream."

Isshin's face contorted in fear, "Ichigo! I leave you and your sisters behind! Beware the cheater! MASAKI! I'M COMMIN' TO JOIN YA BABY!!"

Ichigo let out an exasperated breath and continued upstairs.


Back in his room, Ichigo shook his head in annoyance. "Man, does pops have to encourage her like that?" Sighing again, he opened his desk and pulled out a pair of tickets to a K-1 show next month. He figured Tatsuki would get a kick out of the show, seeing that it was a martial artist competition and all.

As Ichigo looked down upon the tickets, he suddenly felt a presence. "Not again," he muttered under his breath. Although he had to admit to himself that this sprit was unlike any other he had encountered. Seemed to be setting a trend today.

The sprit was female and was short, that much he could tell. If they where standing side by side, she would barely come up to his elbow. That wasn't the most remarkable thing about this sprit, however. She was dressed in a dark hakama and carrying a sword that had to be as tall as she was. Her eyes where cold and calculating, surveying his room, as if looking for something and knowing she was very close.

She stepped off his desk, methodically and calmly. Walking towards his door, "It's close!"

"What's close, exactly?" Ichigo asked.

The sprit paused and turned slowly to Ichigo, a look of awe gracing her face. "You... you can SEE me?!"

Ichigo sighed, yet another sprit not aware that they where dead, "Look, I got no time for this now, so please Mrs. samurai ghost lady, kindly get the hell outta my room before my girlfriend shows up, eh? Last thing I need right now is another sprit killing the mood."

Before the sprit could respond, a knock at Ichigo's door interrupted. "Ichigo?"

"Oh shit! Sorry, but you gotta go, samurai ghost girl!"

That said, Ichigo grabbed the sprit by the hakama and...

Proceeded to throw the girl out the window.

"WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLLL?!" The sprit cried as she was rudely tossed out the house.

Sighing in relief, Ichigo opened the door to see his girlfriend standing there, a slightly confused look adorning her face, "Ichigo, what was that?"

"What was what?"

Tatsuki looked at her boyfriend oddly , before shaking off his response. Lightly smiling up at Ichigo, she grabbed his hand, "Well, Yuzu-chan sent me up here to get you for dinner."

Ichigo smiled back down at her, "Did she now?" He started to play with her fingers, "Are you gonna make sure I don't hide up here all evening?"

"Yep, though I think they'll be upset if we both end up hiding here."

Ichigo's grin grew wider, "I got something for you."

Tatsuki blinked, not expecting that. "Really?"

"What, you think I forgot what today was?"

Tatsuki's grin widened, "You jerk! Why'd you make me wait so long, eh?"

'Whoa. Not expecting that.' "Well, um, sorry about that, I didn't mean to".

"Easy there, big guy. I'm not gonna bite this time." She came closer to him, "So what you get me?"

Ichigo grinned. "Close your eyes and hold out your hand"

She proceeded to do so. Ichigo went back to his desk and pulled out the tickets. Placing them in her hands, he grinned confidently, "Ok, go ahead and open them."

Tatsuki opened her eyes and stared into her hands. She began to tremble as a huge smile broke across her face, "K-1 tickets? But how...?"

"I have my ways", he smiled back.

Tatsuki then pulled Ichigo's head down and proceeded to give him a deep kiss. Shocked, Ichigo could only respond by leaning into her, wrapping his arms around her. After a moment, they released each other. Ichigo blankly staring forward. Tatsuki smiled at Ichigo's dazed look, " You are the best boyfriend ever."

Ichigo barely heard her. "A...ah heh..." was all he got out.

Tatsuki smirked, "Well when your mind gets back online, make sure you clean up, Ok?" Standing on her toes, she kissed Ichigo's cheek and proceeded to go downstairs.

"Y..yeah...". Finally snapping out of it he played back the last few minutes. After confirming what had happened his face gave a smile that would outdo his father's on his best day.

Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice snapped him out of his daze, "What the hell was that for?"

Ichigo turned around and saw the sprit he had tossed out earlier, "Oh, you're back."

"How did you do that!?" she demanded.

"Do what exactly?"

"How is it you can see me?! For that matter grab me?!"

"Oh that," Ichigo shrugged. "I dunno, I just can."

But that should be impossible for a normal human!" The sprit cried.

"I ain't exactly normal", replied Ichigo, pinkie finger rubbing his ear.

A vein popped on the sprit's head, "I suppose not."

Ichigo then frowned at the sprit, "Besides, what makes you so special?"

"Special"?

Ichigo shrugged, before flicking whatever he had cleaned off his ear into the sprit's face. Another vein popped on her head, "Well, whatever little Mrs. samurai sprit. I've got dinner to worry about so if you could just go on and go do whatever you sprits do when I'm not around I'd be more than happy to deal with you tomorrow." That said, he pushed the sprit upon the back of her head and towards his window," Later."

As he turned towards his room's door, he missed a third vein pop up on the sprit's head, "You've got some real nerve there boy." Her jaw clenched, and she pointed her index and middle finger upwards towards Ichigo's backside, "Bakudou #1! SAI!"

Ichigo froze as his arms moved behind his back as if they had a life of their own suddenly and painfully. He fell to the floor of his room, his back arched out and his head on the floor, "Freakin' OWWWWW! What the hell did you do to me you crazy sprit?!"

The sprit smirked and planted a foot on on Ichigo's back, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Did I hurt you?" She asked in a mocking tone. "It's just a simple Kido. A high level spell only shinigami can use."

"Why you dirty little... Let me go!" Ichigo cried in fustration.

She grounded her toe into his back, " I should kill a disrespectful fool like you, but the law forbids unauthorized executions. I will let you off with a case of minor paralysis this time."

Ichigo continued to struggle, "Goddamn wannabe samurai... If I could get my hands free, I'd show you some disrespect."

"Now then," The shinigami unseathed her sword. Quickly turning her hilt she struck something behind Ichigo's head.

"What the...?" Craining his neck, Ichigo turned and spotted the young sprit he and Tatsuki had helped out yesterday. "What did you just do?"

"No... no, I can't go yet!" The sprit cried.

"Do not worry little one, what awaits you is the Soul Society. A peaceful place," The shinigami sheathed her blade and a soothing white light surrounded the young ghost as she sank into it. Soon the light faded and a Black Swallowtail Butterfly appeard where the girl was, quickly flying out the room.

Ichigo looked at the shinigami, confusion and shock etched on his face. "Who... who the hell are you? And what did you just do?"

The shinigami looked down upon Ichigo's face with a calm look, her composure regained. "My name is Kuchiki Rukia, young man. And what I just did was perform Konso. It's what you would call 'Passing on' in your language. That's one of the duties of a shinigami." She reached into her hakama, pulling out a pen and paper. "I shall explain things so that even a brat like you can understand."

Ichigo frowned. This was gonna be a long night.


The Prey was near, that much it could tell.

Soon, the feast would begin.


"So let me see if I got this right. The ghosts I've been seeing most of my life you call wholes and you perform that konso business to send them to this Soul Society place. And you also hunt these bad sprits you call hollows and vaporise them so they can't eat souls. Am I getting you right?"

Rukia nodded in the affrimative.

"Ok. Two questions," Ichigo started, frowning. "One, Why are you bothering telling me all this when you could be out there hollow killing? And two, why do your drawings suck so much ass?"

A vein poped on Rukia's head as she calmly walked up to Ichigo," Therein lies the problem." She paused and bent down to Ichigo's face, pulling out her pen. "I haven't been able to sense it's presence for some time now."

"Hey! What the hell are you drawing on me, you little jerk?!" Ichigo resumed his struggles in a futile attempt to stop Rukia from drawing on his face, "Stop taking advantage of my helplessness, you damn midget!"

Suddenly a deep blood-curling yell echoed through the house. Ichigo shuttered as he remembered hearing the same kind of yell earlier in the day. "Oy! Chibi-gami!"

Another vein popped on Rukia's head at the insult," What?! What's wrong now?!"

"What's wrong?!" Ichigo screamed, "Didn't you hear that howl?! Are you deaf or something?!"

Rukia's irritation gave way to confusion. "Howl? Then that means..."

She was interrupted by a second deep blood-curling yell that she clearly heard this time. Surprise filled her eyes as she turned to the direction the howl came from and back to Ichigo. How could this one have heard it before I could even sense it, she thought.

A sudden crash, and a young female yell broke her question. Ichigo's eyes suddenly filled with worry, "That was Yuzu!" Suddenly Rukia broke into a run towards his door. "Hey!! Are you going after that hollow?!"

"Yes, I'm going to kill it! Stay here!"

"No way!," Ichigo growled. "That monster's attacking my family! My girlfriend! Let me go, NOW!"

"Do you have a death wish, boy?!" Rukia shouted, " There's nothing you can do except lem me do my job and vaporise that thing! If I let you go, all I'll be doing is adding to the body count! STAY HERE!"

Rukia then opened the door to a sight that stopped Ichigo's heart. Yuzu was crawling towards him, bleeding from her forehead. "Oh good... you're still... fine... oniichan."

Pain was obvious on Ichigo's face, "Yuzu..."

"...I don't know how it all happend, but daddy's back exploded... and then Tatsuki-neechan... told me and Karin-chan to go find you... to warn you... to tell you to... run..."

Rukia checked on Yuzu's prone form. A small smile graced her face, "It's ok, she just fainted." She turned back to Ichigo, and frowned as he struggled to break free once more, " How many times do I have to tell you to stop? There's no way you'll..."

"GRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

SNAP!

Shock and awe marred Rukia's features as Ichigo broke the kido and ran past her downstairs. She quickly regaind her composure, "Stop!"

Ichigo ignored her and grabbed a bat nearby as he rushed downstairs. His body pulsed with adrenalin as his eyes caught glimpse of his father hunched over, blood pooling at his abdomin. A cold sweat pored down his brow as he forced himself to run past hisfather into the living room area.

He was greeted with a familar sight. Like the monster earlier that day, it was a mixture of things that didn't belong. It was a mix between fish and a human. It's eyes where pupil less as it turned in his direction.

"So... you're a hollow,eh?" Ichigo asked trying to build up some confidence. The arm holding the bat began to shake and tremble, and he forced himself to swallow the bile forming in his mouth. 'Stop shaking, damnit! Stop shaking!', he thought to himself angerly, as the hollow slowly made it's way towards him. 'It's just another goddamn ghost! I'm not gonna be gaught by surprise by a thing like that again!'

His gaze turnd towards the hollow's hand and his heart dropped. In it's hand it held Tatsuki cradling Karin's unconsious form. "TATSUKI! KARIN!"

Tatsuki turned to Ichigo, and he could see a deep cut over her left eye, forcing it closed. "Ichigo... get out of here... please..."

Ichigo ignored his girlfriend's plea. Letting out a battle cry, he charged at the hollow prepared to save his family. The hollow backhanded Ichigo away, sending him crashing into the wall near his house. Ichigo growned in pain as he tried to regain his bearings.

His eyes widen as the hollow suddenly appeard before him, raising his free hand to strike him again. Before it could, however Rukia suddenly appeard and gave a deep cut into the arm holding Tatsuki and Karin. It's grip upon the two girls loosened, and Ichigo allowed adrenilin to surge him foward and catch them. "Tatsuki! Karin! Are you two ok?!"

Tatsuki gave Ichigo a pained smirk, "She's fine. Just... passed out... you hardheaded idiot..."

Ichigo gave her a relived smile, "Yeah, hardheaded to the core. Now you leave it up to me, ok?" He then turned to Rukia, "Hey, Chibi-gami! You said that hollows attack people to eat their souls! So why's this thing attackin' us?!"

He couldn't see Rukia's face as she placed herself between him and the hollow, but he imagined he wouldnt' like it. "Hollows are drawn to levels of high reiatsu. I have never known of a human like you, who can see a shinigami, break free of a kid, or so full of reiatsu. I belive..."

"...That he was after me, right?" Ichigo finished, his vioce full of anguish, "My pops is dying, my sisters are unconsious, and my girlfriend's bleeding... all because of me?"

"Wait..that's not what I..." Rukia never finished her statement as the hollow attempted to smash her into the pavement. Rukia dodged the blow, but the hollow showed a suprising burst of speed and lunged at Rukia. She barely got her blade in front of her as the hollow took a huge bite out of her. She chocked off a scream as the hollow released it's bite, the blade cutting into it's gums.

"CHIBI-GAMI!" Ichigo cried, as the hollow let off a pained cry of it's own. Rukia slumped to the pavement, her life blood pooling around her. "Are you alright?"

"No," Rukia stated. "I am hurt to badly to help you and your loved ones... It's only a matter... of time... before it eats us all..."

Ichigo pounded his fist into the pavement out of helpless fustration, "Goddamnit!! We... we can't die like this! Isn't there anything you can do?"

Rukia frowned, before crawling towards the wall Ichigo had found himself implanted in moments earlier. Getting into a sitting position, she pointed her sword at the young man before her, "Well... there is one way... to save us all. And ONLY one way."

"Spare me the drama and tell me!" Ichigo growled.

Rukia nodded, "If you allow your self to be pierced by my zampakuto, I can infuse half of my reiatsu into you and temporarily gain the power of a shinigami. With that, you can stand a chance against the hollow."

"But if you're wrong, we're dead anyway right?" Ichigo frowned. Rukia's eyes closed and her jaw set. Ichigo closed his eyes. His thoughts turned back to Yuzu, bleeding and crawling for him. Her eyes filled with far and worry for him, and her only thoughts where for his safety.

His eyes opened and he turned his gaze towards Tatsuki, still holding Karin. She had passed out as well, and had protected his sister like she was her own, her only thoughts as the hollow attacked them was his safety. For his life t continue.

He turned back to Rukia, eyes blazing with determination. "We're not gonna die here, chibi-gami. Let's do this damn thing!"

"My name's not chibi-gami. It's Kuchiki Rukia," Rukia gave off a small smile up at Ichigo, "You know... I never even got your name, boy."

Ichigo let off a small chuckle, "It's Ichigo. Kurosaki Ichigo. Nice to meet you."

That said, Ichigo inhaled a deep breath, let off a silent prayer...

And proceed to push himself forward, impaling himself upon Rukia's zampakuto.

And the world exploded into a blinding white light.


End Chapter One

Author's Notes:

Yeah, if you couldn't tell before this is clearly an alternate universe. To be honest, I wrote this after I read an idea of someone's on The Fanfiction Forum and the thought just wouldn't leave me alone. So here it is, my attempt an Ichigo/Tatsuki pairing story. I'll be getting into the spefics of how Ichigo and Tatsuki even got together in the first place pretty soon, so if you're worried about that don't.

Special Thanks to Windwave for pre-reading this and helping me out with some scenes. As always, the pleasure was all yours.

Now if you'll excuse me, Smash Bros. is calling me. See ya next time...