Inner Demons
Chaper Three
Hollow Intentions
by alterego94

Naruto loved making entrances.

Well, more accurately, he loved pissing people off, and that's what his entrances usually accomplished. Hell, that had been a trait of his since way back in his living days. But recently - well, actually since he had escaped about an hour ago - he had discovered that he enjoyed something even more than that.

He loved making an entrance, and seeing the hair stand up on the back of the neck, the breath get hitched in the throat. It was laughable, seeing how Aizens lapdogs cowered and backpedaled before him. Not that he particularly blamed them. Those poor bastards had just been subjected to a Genjutsu for the first time, he wouldn't be surprised if they had pissed themselves.

Aizen himself stood his ground. He was determined to keep that damn arrogant air about him it seemed. Naruto wasn't fooled though, he could see the way that cowards eyes widened at the sight of him. He was scared, and it looked like he wasn't used to it.

Yeah, that feeling again. Loved it.

Naruto had made sure they could see him as he approached just for that. Yoruichi apparently didn't feel the same way he did, she quickly flashed ahead, aiming for the silver haired Shinigami that was separated from Aizen his other lackey. Naruto ignored her and turned his attention to Aizen. He was still clutching the girl by the throat and didn't seem to have any interest in letting her go. In fact, it looked as if he was make a pointed effort to keep her between Naruto and himself.

Naruto grinned.

Without a second thought he brought Kyubi to bare, slicing in an arc that would have cut the two of them in half. Aizen promptly chucked the girl away and managed to bring his sword up in time to keep himself alive. The blind soul reaper by this time had gathered the nerve to attack. He came at Naruto with an overhead slash that was quickly avoided and rewarded with a knee to the gut and a sword pommel to the teeth, sending him sprawling.

Ah, it was too fun. Naruto sat back and enjoyed the moment as he gave the two Shinigami a chance to recover. Lapdog spit out a nice bloody hunk with what looked like a tooth or two hidden within, while Aizen observed Naruto with a surprised gaze.

"What?" Naruto asked tauntingly, "Thought having some cute little thing to hide behind was going to protect you?"

Aizen ignored the goad and kept both hands on his Zanpakuto.

"Let me tell you something," Naruto twirled Kyuubi in his right hand, the sword danced in circles at the prospect of blood. "These good-willed, sweetheart Shinigami you've been toying with? I'm not one of them. I don't give a rats ass who dies or not."

Aizen returned the grin smoothly, "Of course you aren't, Naruto-kun. Quite a quality. My offer does still stand you know."

"Heh, if I decide I want this place gone I'll do it with my own damn hands. As for now, my blade's thirsty, care to oblige?"

Aizen pushed up his glasses with a free hand, "You really think you can take two of us on by yourself?"

"Oh yeah," Naruto cracked his neck, "I think you two will make a nice little work out."

"Very well." Aizen's calm answer was followed by a quick dash and strike, swinging in a pendulum down upon Naruto as Tousen came stabbing in from the side.

Naruto raised his sword, blocking Aizen's sword and twisted to the left avoiding Tousen's by inches. Aizen quickly followed with a sideways sweep of his sword, at a moderate speed. Naruto kneed the still exposed Tousen in the gut, laying Kyubi across his back to avoid being chopped in half. Tousen recovered and lashed out with his blade as Aizen kicked out one of Naruto's knees.

Shit.

He leaned back with his momentum, somersaulting away, but not before Tousen managed to catch him on the shoulder with the tip of his zanpankuto. So, maybe it would take a little bit of effort. All the better he supposed, though he did not savor the thought of expending too much energy. Obviously he wasn't in the best conditioning of his life, being locked up and all. After all this he knew he was going to have to deal with the old man and his lackeys as well.

The day just kept getting more and more interesting.

It was shocking how so little could happen over the last 500 years yet so much in a single afternoon.

He was brought out of his musings as Tousen leaped toward him, slicing with Suzumushi. His swordsmanship was pretty good, Naruto had to admit. If he wasn't at such a sluggish pace he might be worth fighting. Naruto grinned, blocking his attacks effortlessly, before he was forced to duck under an Aizen swing toward his head. The blond spun, whipping out with his legs, sweeping Tousen onto the ground. He raised his sword to block another attack and advanced on Aizen with cold efficiency. He disarmed, the glasses wearing Shinigami with a few fell swoops of Kyubi, the oversized Katana moving faster than the poor bastard could follow. Naruto left a shallow gash across Aizen's chest, leaving the point of his blade against his neck.

Naruto grinned, "Ah, not as much of a work out as I hoped. What a shame."

Aizen's eyes narrowed, "I don't understand." His gaze was questioning, disbelieving. "Who are you? Someone with this power surely could not be unknown to the Captains of Sereitei."

"Haha, well, you can thank the old man for that. He doesn't like his failed projects getting out of the box." Naruto met Aizen's gaze coldly.

Aizen kept his disgruntled expression for only another moment, before falling back to his self-confident smirk. "You are an interesting one, Naruto-kun. It's a shame you won't join my cause."

"It's tempting belie-"

Blood.

It was like Naruto had just noticed it for the first time. Staining the front of Aizen's kimono. Staining the ground. Staining everything. What else could it stain, what else could that dark devilish color overcome?

He wanted to find out.

Give me more...

He must find out.

Aizen's neck, veins fool of it. His blade was right there. So close. Flowing and pulsing, just waiting for him to extract it. To expose the lustrous substance inside to the world.

DO IT!

Ugh, He had to snap the fuck out of it. Aizen was now staring at him with a look of interest. Kyubi was vibrating in his hand, humming, begging. Seemed after all these years, his zanpankuto was still the same.

Fine.

"Sorry, I've had my fun." He said evenly, "Time to end this."

Aizen's eyes suddenly flashed.

"Indeed."

Naruto planted his foot in the Shinigami's chest immediately, punting him away as he spun around. He caught Tousen's blade on it's way to his gut with his bare hand and returned the favor.

He plunged Kyubi deep into the blind Shinigami's ribcage.

The sword howled with delight, heating up in his hand to almost unbearable temperatures. The blood splattered his face, his clothes, soaking everything with the life giving liquid.

Perfect.

He dislodged the Shinigami from his blade and stared down into the gathering pool.

He smiled.

More. More. More.

It had been so long, so much time to make up for...

But he just stood there, basking in the fucking glorious moment. He was losing it. He was well aware of that. Fuck, he lost it a long time ago. He shook his head and closed his eyes, trying to forget. Forget the blood, ignore the screaming, the howling, humming blade tenured to his very soul. But there was no forgetting, the emotions that drove the sword were his own, it was as much a part of him as his arm or his leg. Whatever, he wanted to kill these bastards anyway. It wasn't just that other part of him.

He opened his eyes and turned to Aizen.

If cutting down the blind shithead had bothered him at all, he sure didn't show it. He held the now-unconscious girl by the throat again. He had cast some sort of kido, and his right arm had an ethereal glow about it.

"Sorry, Naruto-kun," Aizen's tone made Naruto snarl, "It's been fun. But I'm afraid it's time for me to finish my business here."

"Put her down!"

Naruto noticed the orange haired idiot to his left, somehow still conscious. He was on his hands and knees, not having the strength to make any more advances.

"No!"

Aizen plunged his glowing hand into the girls chest. But it was different. There wasn't any blood, her flesh simply parted before his intruding hand, leaving a gaping hole in the center of the girls abdomen. In the middle of the opening lay what looked like a small stone. Aizen plucked it from its resting place and tossed the girl to the ground nonchalantly.

Suddenly the Shinigami were there. They surrounded the clearing, easily thirty in number. The remaining Captains of the Gotei 13 were at the forefront. Yoruichi appeared, flash stepping behind Aizen and placing her blade at his throat. She was joined by another Captain, a fierce - and damn good looking too, if anyone were to ask - woman with two long dark braids down her back.

Naruto turned to see the silver haired traitor a little rough for wear after his run in with Yoruichi. He was being held by a busty Shinigami off to his left. The brute with the fox face appeared closest to Naruto, peering down at the motionless body at his feet.

"Tousen... how could you?"

Naruto ignored him and tried to make sense of what was in front of him. He had known the Shinigami were coming, surely Aizen did too. He narrowed his eyes. There was also know way those two could have subdued him.

He'd let them.

"There's no where to run Aizen."

The traitor pushed his glasses up and looked to the two shinigami ready to kill him, then to the orange haired moron on the ground, then to Naruto, and he smirked. That usual, arrogant, I'm-fucking-better-than-you smirk.

"Get back!"

A flash of light in the sky, and Yoruichi and the other girl leaped away, just as a beam of light shot down from the heavens. Naruto moved too as a similar thing happened above him, the bright light coming down to envelope the blind Shinigami at his feet. He noticed the same thing had happened to the other traitor as well, all three of them surrounded by it.

So that was it.

"Heh, Negation." Naruto scoffed to himself, "So that's what the deal was. Fucking morons."

"YOU WON'T JUST GET AWAY!" One over-zealous shinigami readied his zanpakuto and started to charge.

"No!" The single booming word from Yamamoto stopped him in his tracks. The old man was leaning heavily on his walking stick, but that was just for show. Naruto knew his injuries were considerably less than severe. Hell, his face had to be a bit bruised though. He had wailed on him quite a bit.

Naruto realized that Yamamoto had not even addressed him yet, his focus being on Aizen. It occurred to him that this would be his best chance to slip away unnoticed. But something kept him rooted to his place.

Aizen and his lackeys were raised into the sky slowly as the clouds ripped open, revealing the wicked faces of the menos grande.

"You even joined with the menos." Jushiro. That sickly fuck. "For what?"

"To exceed to new heights." Put Aizen simply, as he began to rise.

"How low."

Aizen grinned again, and removed his glasses. He dropped them to the ground, where they shattered. "You don't get it," He said, "No one has ever stood with the gods. But soon, that throne will be mine."

And that was all that was said. It was a strange sight, dozens of shinigami gathered around three beams of negation, helpless as the untouchable traitors raised into the sky and disappeared. The skies closed as if nothing had happened within no time.

When the skies closed and the first priority was firmly sealed away, it took the remaining Captains just a couple moments to move on to the next pressing matter.\

"Bastard!" Fox-face drew a zanpakuto "Now you will pay for Yamamoto-sama!"

Naruto laughed. A dozen or so other shinigami gathered behind the captain, another dozen circling behind him, all with zanpakutos drawn. Few stood back. Naruto noticed Yoruichi was one of them. She was staring at him with a look that he didn't want to even go into right now. That idiot needed to get out of here before they turned on her too.

The rest stood back, anxiously awaiting an outcome.

"Hehe," Naruto bared his teeth, readying Kyubi, "Let's go then, you bastards."

"I'm afraid not!"

A flying shape came swooping out of the sky, it looked somewhat like a floating sting ray.

"Unohana-sama!"

Naruto flinched. Unohana pushed her way through the crowding Shinigami, "Put your swords away fools. It's time we focus on healing our own injuries, rather than go looking for more!"

Um, what? Now that didn't sound right.

Under her unwavering glare, and a consenting nod from Yamamoto, the Shinigami sheathed their weapons, and were immediately directed to various areas to help with the recovery effort.

"We shall discuss this further. Soon."

With that Yamamoto limped away.

Unohana seemed to find a break in directing traffic. She strode up to Naruto and stood before him for a long moment. She stared into his eyes. It seemed as if she was looking for something. Or hoping. It was strange, and it was throwing him off.

"Eh, what the fuck do you want?" He crossed his arms and huffed.

BAM!

Without a word she slapped him straight across the face and walked away.


Naruto lay in the grass.

He'd been like this for a while now. For once, it was nice to just settle and be calm. To gaze at the stars and pretend he was in a different time, a different place. He tried - futilely - for a while to remember his living life, but those memories were too far gone. He could see shapes, outlines, faces, expressions even. But the people and the meaning they held to him was all but lost.

All that he held from that life were the things that kept him alive in this one. The shinobi fighting styles, techniques, jutsu. He'd always had a headstart on other shinigami. He already had lived a lifetime dedicated to being the strongest.

It kind of made him sick to refer to himself like that; shinigami.

Useless scumbags.

Too many foul words came to mind, but none did it any justice. He tried to avoid that particular train of thought, however, lest he end up brooding again. He was pissed off, and about ready to kill all of those fuckers, but he'd just rather not think about it now.

The night sky had him feeling...

A figure came stepping lightly along the grass. The shadow stood over him for a moment, before settling down into the grass next to him silently. They were there for a long while without words. Naruto laying down, her sitting up. Not that he cared, but he wondered just what the hell she was up to.

"What will you do?" Yoruichi asked softly. A whisper.

That took him back a bit. He turned to gaze at her for a moment. Her eyes were downcast as she sat with her knees to her chest. He couldn't help but notice that the years had been good to her. Her olive skin glowed in the moonlight, her long vibrant hair pulled back how she always wore it. She wasn't a little shit anymore that was for sure.

God it had been a long time.

"I don't know what you're asking." He said, grumbling.

He knew she knew. She knew he had every idea of exactly what she was asking.

"He won't let you leave this place."

"Heh, I'd like to see him stop me."

"You can't fight off them all..."

"No but I can take that bastard with me to hell."

"..." She stopped at that. He could no longer see her face, she had buried it in her knees.

What the fuck was up with her? He could smell the tears, even if he couldn't see them. But he didn't understand them. Where were all these sympathies while he was locked up? Forgotten. Just like him.

Typical.

"Stop your crying."

Still no response.

"I said stop."

She shuddered now, and covered her face with her hands.

"Fucking stop it!" He reached over and grabbed her arm, pulling it from her face. She looked up at him with wide eyes. Wet eyes. Then she pulled away like a poor little child afraid to be beaten. "Ah, you're a pain in my ass.."

She looked at him for a while longer. Then she laughed. It was a good laugh. A pretty, throaty laugh. And she didn't stop for a long time, like she was in on some secret joke that only she knew about.

He didn't know what to think. She must be fucking nuts.

"You always used to tell me that, you know?" She didn't look at him now, but up at the sky. She was still smiling. "I don't know how you put up with me back then, but you did. You were the only one." She closed her eyes. "You've been gone for so long. It's like a dream, you being back here."

He didn't respond. He didn't have to. He didn't have to cater to her pleasantries. Just because she was feeling nostalgic didn't mean he had to join in on some big fucking sob fest. She wasn't there either, nobody was. He wouldn't forget.

She stayed for a while, talking a lot. She had always been good at that. He didn't say another word for the time that she was there. Eventually he must have proven too rough for her, because she stood to leave after a while. She started to walk, but turned and said,

"The gate will be open in four days for the ryoka to leave."

Then she left. Without another word. Or at least, not any that she thought he could hear. But he did:

"Please..."


The next day went by slowly. Mostly because Naruto didn't do anything.

It was a strange situation. The Shinigami still wanted him in prison, and they knew where he was. They just wouldn't come get him yet. They didn't want to risk the manpower, they were worn out from the invasion/betrayal, etc. Either way, it was tense at best and he knew damn well the old fucker had spies on him nearly every second of the day.

Still, it was nice being able to stroll about in the sunlight. He stayed away from everybody, obviously. Just toyed about in the woods. Laying, lounging, strolling. It was quite relaxing.

Then thoughts of Yoruichi's visit came to mind. Unohana's slap - which hurt like a motherfucker by the way - came to mind. The sad looks from Jushiro and Shinsui at the demented family gathering that had taken place.

It was enough to make him want to scream. Or kill someone. Or both.

Which he just might do.

That, at least, was a pleasant thing to think about. Much better than all of this convoluted politics he'd unknowingly thrown himself back into. Fucking women. Fucking assholes.

He sighed.

All of this was making him so anxious.

He knew what she wanted. She wanted him to run. To run away, into the living world. To hide himself until the gate opened and he could sneak away. He wasn't even going to consider what intentions she might have beyond that. Maybe he just didn't want to.

But fuck that.

What did the living world have to offer him? Just more people. More and more useless, useless people. Why go waste his time with more of them when he hated all of them here? That's a long list to be adding to.

With a pang he remembered his thoughts from the night before. The blurred faces of his loved ones from the living days. Scarred by the woes of memory. He couldn't even remember a god damn name. His precious people...

But those days were long gone. The days of people caring, giving a fuck what happened to him.

Right?

"Please..."

Ah, shit.

Later that night, when the Shinigami came for him to issue an audience with the counsel of the Gotei 13, he was no where to be found.


"HAHA! C'mon you pussies who's ready to fight!?"

Ikkaku smiled, "Ah, none of you crybabies?"

The third seat of the 11th division stood in the center of a large gathering of his squad members. Most of which were cowering or sporting bruises thanks to his brutality. He had already defeated the strongest of their non-seated shinigami without a sweat, breaking the mans nose and knocking him out in what was supposed to be a training bout.

They could only imagine what he would do to a weaker opponent.

"Hey cue ball!" Ichigo called out. He hoisted a wooden katana over his shoulder as smirked as Ikkaku snarled at the nickname.

"Shut your mouth, moron, before I shut it for you. I won't go easy on you just because you're recently recovered!" Ikkaku shouted, swinging his own wooden sword.

"Hey, you were injured too!"

"Yes, but I'm not a pussy!"

"What did you call me?"

"Pussy!"

"Baldie!"

"ARGH!"

"GAH!"

The two were swinging at each other in no time, both spewing insults. Ichigo would start to gain the upper hand, only to be forced back by Ikkaku's unpredictable blows. The two brawled for several minutes, neither one willing to concede despite both still hurting from the battles prior.

That is, until a familiar face stepped onto the training ground.

The man stood a solid head taller than anyone else within sight, his features were adorned by various battle scars and wounds. His sharp chin and features gave him fierce, shark like appearance. Not to mention he was the size of a bear. The Captain of the 11th division, Kenpachi Zaraki lumbered right up to the fierce arguement/fight before either of them noticed.

As Ichigo looked over and recognized the spikey hair and the signature eye patch his heart sank. Kenpachi caught his eye and spoke, surprisingly calmly.

"Ichigo... you look fully recovered..?"

Ichigo nodded.

Oops.

A smile instantly broke out over Kenpachi's face. A baring of teeth that showed what looked like all incisors. The man had the teeth of a wild animal. A killer intent suddenly spread over the field. Ichigo realized what he had done and resisted the urge to palm his face.

"Ah, damn."

Kenpachi ripped his Zanpakuto from its sheath, "GOOD YOU CAN FIGHT ME THEN!"

Ichigo was running before he had said the first word. "Fuck that, I'm never fighting your crazy ass again!" He called back, sprinting for all he was worth.

"Hey, what the hell?" The Captain took a second to gain his bearings, before he started chasing after Ichigo, the other members of his over-zealous squad following behind him like a pack of bloodhounds. "Get back here and fight!"

They chased him for the better part of five minutes before Captain Kenpachi lost his way and the group had to spend the afternoon finding their way back to headquarters.


Three days later the gate opened, just as promised.

The Shinigami had been searching for him. The 3rd division had been on his ass for the last few days, but it was child's play to keep them chasing shadows. Sad how pathetic the talent pool around here was as of late.

But yeah, anyway, the gate was open.

He kept his eye on the proceedings from afar, watching as the kids all said their goodbyes and gave hugs and kisses and all that shit. The girl, Rukia, Naruto had heard her called, seemed to be staying behind. He found it pretty funny that this whole ryoka business was to save her, then her ungrateful ass stays behind? If he'd been Ichigo he probably would have drug her out of the place.

But whatever.

Quite a few Shinigami captains were present. Which was surprising, as well as irritating. It could make things a little more difficult. Not that he was worried about the possibility of him not getting out. Hell, he could shunpo to the gate and be through it from here before anyone could blink. But that wasn't dramatic enough. He wanted them to see him leaving, and not be able to do anything about it. And once he was in the real world, there was no catching him.

Yeah, that'd really piss the geezer off.

The Shinigami conversed for a while, before Jushiro handed Ichigo a small pendant. The group spoke for a while longer, before they said their final goodbyes and the ryoka slipped through the gate. The crowd stood for a moment to watch them go, before dispersing. Leaving just Rukia and Jushiro before the gate.

Ukitake. Perfect.

Now was his chance to move, but he hesitated. There was no guarantee that he would ever come back if he left. This could be his only chance to go over and hand Yamamoto what he had coming. Revenge, it was all he'd thought about while imprisoned. It drove him crazy, sure, but it was the driving force behind his existence. It was all he'd had in there. He wouldn't have lasted without a purpose, Naruto wasn't a person that could do that, live a meaningless existence.

He hadn't fulfilled that purpose yet.

But before it was different. He had never seen a way to leave, to escape the Soul Society. Now there was. He didn't have to kill the old man and then die in peace like he had planned.

He had no clue what his plan was now.

If he went through with this.

It would be like starting a new life.

"Close the gate!" Jushiro called and the massive doors started to slide shut as he and Rukia stood there to watch.

"Well," Naruto said to himself. "I guess this is it." With that, he took a moment to himself, then shunpo'd away to the gate. It took a moment for the two Shinigami to register his appearance. That didn't surprise him. They wouldn't be able to follow his shunpo very well.

Rukia looked somewhat disturbed, though Naruto didn't think she understood the gravity of the situation, being that she had never laid eyes upon him, being unconscious for the duration of his intervention. Jushiro, on the other hand, looked like he might pass out. His eyes widened, and he shook like no ailment his sickness had ever brought upon him.

"Naruto..." He called, extending a hand. "No!"

It was confusing, seeing Ukitake like that. His eyes held something in them... Sadness. Remorse? Fear? He couldn't tell for sure. Reaching for him made it seem like an old friend, begging for him not to go. Funny. Naruto cast his eyes down. That may have been the case before. Maybe before it would have mattered, he would have waited around to hear an explanation. Accept all the bullshit and pretend they all didn't walk out on him.

In the end, Naruto simply grinned. He mimed one long, sarcastic bow, before he raised himself up. He dusted off his haori, ridding himself of the place, and then slipped in between the doors an instant before they closed upon him.


Ichigo came sprinting out of the gateway. Only to be met with... air.

"Ahhhhhh!"

His cry out came to late for the others to hold back, and they all came tumbling out right behind him only to notice the same thing. They were fifty feet off of the ground. Despite this, and the carnage that came along with it, Ichigo made a mental note to himself. He would have a talk with those Shinigami next time about where they opened these damn gates. Internally, he calmly thought of various ways he would make the Soul Society feel his displeasure.

Outwardly, though, he screamed like a little girl.

"Ahhhhhh!"

Suddenly a large.. something? A sheet. Shot out and enveloped the whole group, midair. Ichigo could make out some shouting exclamations from some boy down below, and started to get a sinking feeling.

"Alright here we go, Jinta home run!"

Boom!

The groups direction suddenly changed directions as the were shot sideways. They were stopped suddenly. Very suddenly; the jarring made Ichigo's stomach queasy. And the large sheet was unrolled before anyone said a word. A familiar form was sitting cross legged at the head of the sheet. Ichigo didn't bother to wonder how on earth he managed to appear so quickly.

"Welllccoooommeee hoooooooomeee!" Urahara sang, ever-present smile upon his face. He gazed over the group, apparently beaming when he saw that everyone was okay.

Most of the group seemed happy to see him. Chad was always quiet, but Orihime was very excited. And Uryu was... well whatever Uryu always was, he had that expression. Ichigo though... He wasn't sure what to think anymore.

He would have taken any opportunity to go save Rukia, true, but Urahara sent them on a seemingly death sentence with no warning whatsoever. He said nothing about what it would be like, what they would see, who they would fight. Nothing. The whole thing had turn out to be one big shitfest and though he would never admit it, he was surprised they all made it out alive. Especially himself.

The Hogyoku, Rukia's body, his exile, so many lies.

"Urahara."

"I see you've made it back." Now there was a look in his eyes, "Kurosaki-san." With that he turned to Ichigo and removed his signature bucket hat, placing it over his chest a bowed his head, "I imagine that you've heard a lot of things about me... I'm truly sorry."

Heard a lot of things. That was putting it lightly. Very lightly. Ichigo should deck him one for lying to them all. At least for Rukia he should. But he didn't, he couldn't, looking at Urahara bowing there before him. It was shocking to him. Urahara was always so composed. This apology seemed so out of character. He guessed that meant it must be sincere.

At least it better be, otherwise he really would give him a piece of his mind.

"Stop it." Ichigo said finally, "You've got nothing to apologize for. It's not like we're mad at you or anything. You've helped us out, so what if you're motives were questionable? You made us stronger. We're grateful. So don't apologize."

The rest of the group nodded in agreement as Urahara remained silent, placing his hat back on his head. His eyes were hidden by his sunglasses, no visible emotion slipped through those dark lenses.

"I do have a question though," Ichigo added, pointing a finger at the man, "Why didn't you just tell me the truth in the first place. You didn't think I would get all scared and run away did ya?" He asked rhetorically.

"Uh..." Urahara smiled once again, "That's exactly why!"

This time he did deck him.

"Bastard." Ichigo grumbled. Urahara did really get under his skin sometimes. And here he was just being nice to him and everything. He should take back his big impressive speech and give it to someone more worthy.

Still, Urahara just smiled at him and rubbed the developing bruise on his face.

The group laughed burst into laughter at the situation. All of them. It seemed as if returning to the world of the living had released a great weight off of their shoulders. There was a point during the trip where none of them truly thought they would all make it back. Now that they did, it was nice to laugh about it. Even Ichigo couldn't stay mad for long.

When the laughter died down Orihime spoke up for the first time, "Say, where is Yoruichi-chan?"

The group blanked.

"Uh... good question."


Naruto brushed himself off indignantly.

Seriously, who puts the open end of the gate to Sereitei so fucking high in the air? Stupid. It was not a good introduction into the living world, it pissed him off. That emotion didn't last very long however, when he finally got around to taking in his surroundings.

Everything was so... different.

Tall buildings that touched the sky were erected in various places as far as he could see. The ground was covered in some gray rock-like material that he had never seen before. The houses were different, in various shapes and sizes. The streets were covered in a similar material to the rest of the place, and adorned with painted lines across them for some obscure reason.

It had been foolish to expect nothing would have been different he realized. Time changes everything. He had lost count, but it must have been close to 500 years since he had walked among the living. Surely some things had to be different.

He sighed, now he would have to figure everything out.

Looking to the lines on the street again he ambled over to take a look. The material was hard and brittle. The lines were a bright florescent yellow and white. It was a rather ugly piece of work. And he didn't get it. Who the fuck wants to walk on rock all day? He shrugged, somethings he just couldn't understand.

"Hey, what the hell are you doing?"

A lone man walking along the side of the street exclaimed, drawing Naruto's attention. He looked at the man with a blank look on his face.

"Get the hell out of the road!"

Naruto frowned, "Hey watch how you talk to me you-!"

Beeeep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Naruto looked to the source of the sound and his eyes widened as a monstrous... thing charged toward him, making that horrendous noise. It had glowing eyes and a metal grating in its mouth. He couldn't spot any recognizable features about the thing, no hollow mask, arms, or legs, but it bore down on him as quickly as anything he'd ever seen.

Without a seconds delay he leaped, sailing into the air as the monster wailed and screeched a blew past harmlessly underneath him.

He landed back in the street and took a second to look back at the monster as it ran off into the distance. How strange that there seemed to be no damage to the town from such a terrible beast. What was it doing there anyway? The thing was pretty fucking weird that was for sure. But it didn't seem to leave the street...

BEEEEEEEEEEP!

No fucking way, Naruto was shocked to see another monster! Wailing toward him again. This one had the same basic shape, but it must have been a younger one, for it was much smaller, but every bit as fast. Naruto cursed and rolled off the street onto the gray, rock-like side. Watching as the thing paid him no mind, passing right by.

Now he noticed the man from earlier was still there, staring at him with an incredulous look, opening and closing his mouth.

Naruto growled, "What is it, punk?"

"Y-Yo-You jumped over that semi!? How, wh-what are you?" The man was so shocked that he fell flat on his ass. He scooted himself back away from Naruto, afraid.

Naruto simply laughed. Looking at the man with a devilish look in his eye he walked over and leaned down to his level. He bared his teeth at snapped at the man,

"Boo!"

The middle aged man nearly pissed himself as he scuttered to his feet and scurried away as fast as his pudgy legs could take him. Naruto chuckled to himself as he turned and watched the things(semis?) go by harmlessly.

A familiar voice spoke out from behind him, "Didn't take you very long to go harassing the townfolk did it?"

He turned to see Yoruichi standing back with a mischievous smirk on her face. A dangerous smirk. Her eyes had a look, and she sauntered over to him in such a way that... well, enough of that.

"Don't get so excited to see me," Naruto huffed. Turning his back on her and looking at the street again. "I don't even know what the fuck I'm doing here. Or why. I haven't even thought about anything since I got out of that damn cell."

She was still walking towards him. He could hear her footsteps. Suddenly there were arms across his shoulders, and she was whispering huskily in his ear, "Oh, but I'm so excited to see you."

"You really are a pain in my ass." He turned and pushed her away. He looked at her. She was still a goddamn troublemaker. Hadn't changed at all. Guess she was a lot like him... Or at least how he used to be.

She smirked at him some more and turned around. Walking a couple of steps before turning, "Don't get so excited to see me."

For the first time in a long while, Naruto truly laughed. No sarcasm, no promise of death. Just a simple, pure, laugh.

"So are you going to show me how the fuck this place works or what?"


A/N: Wow, right? Back from the dead. An update in TWO different stories within a months time? Craziness.

Anyways as always I hope you guys love the chapter. I can't apologize enough for the hiatus so I won't even go there. All I can say is that I really enjoyed writing this chapter, and I plan to continue with my stories. So all of my loyal fans still hanging in there and (hopefully) new ones to be found, I'll do my best to keep this up.

As for notes on the chapter... I liked it personally. The scene with Ikkaku and Ichigo was a bit... unnecessary but I felt like I had to lower the mood a bit after these gruesome last 2.5 chapters. Naruto chose to leave the soul society. He's still a bit of a dark asshole, which to be honest he will be for the duration of the story, but I hope I properly portrayed a little of the changes he's going through in this chapter.

Oh and yes, Tousen got the shit stabbed out of him.

Good stuff.

As always, R&R. Speak to me.