Pass on the Number
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The last chapter!
And I hide behind something strong in advance.. Read to find out why.
I had fun writing this fic, though it was difficult an hard.. for the few who left a reviews. I thank you!!
I'll be somewhat more relaxed after this is posted, now I won't have to try and figure out when to put up the next chapter
Last chapter – Planning was 6, now it's 8 chapters.
Disclaimer: I do not own bleach, Kubo-sensei does.
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-- -- -- Chapter 08 -- -- --
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It had taken a little more than a full month for the anti-healing potion to wear off so his arms could grow back. Complaining inwardly at the time it took he made his way towards the cafeteria in the middle of the night; not wanting to be disturbed or found when he was raiding the food supply. Arriving in the kitchen he quietly broke the lock and went inside - there he searched behind the counter and found several raw soulburgers – which he started eating. Once his stomach was pretty full he quietly left the white palace where he opened and stepped through a garganta that led to the real world.
Unknown to the orange haired boy his master had seen right through him and had told the always loyal Cuadro Espada to keep an eye on him. In case the boy would do something stupid.
Stepping out of the garganta Ichigo stood already in front of the place he once called home; the Kurosaki clinic. Walking through the wall he arrived in his own room, he was certain that no one would be there. First he went to his sisters room and watched as they slept in peace. 'You'll be safer when I'm not around..' he said to himself.
"Onii-chan..." the blond girl, Yuzu, mumbled in her sleep as she reached to grab something in the distance. The Espada turned around in shock as he was called by his sleeping sister, "Don't leave me..." tears flowed from here eyes as she slept, "Onii-chan come back!" She had been able to see ghosts for a while now and also saw her big brother hang and mope around in his room – eating nothing but those strange candy bars with the white and green wrapper.
Ichigo knew he couldn't go back to this life – he was dead, they were still alive. He felt his heart break (if he still had one) at the sight and squatted down on his knees next to her bed and gently took her hand, not wanting to wake her up. "I'm sorry, Yuzu..." he whispered at the girl. "But if I stay here I'm afraid I'll hurt you and Karin."
Yuzu twitched when her hand was touched by something, opening her eyes she could see the bright orange hair that could only belong to her brother. Sitting up she rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn't dreaming, "Onii-chan!" she said happily before jumping at Ichigo's bandaged chest. "Where have you been?" tears still flowed freely from her eyes. "I missed you," her arms wrapping around his neck. "You came back to live here with us again!" she sobbed happily.
"I can't..." his voice was sad, he didn't want to leave – but he had no choice. "I almost hurt dad real bad... I'm a monster..." staring at one of his hands, as he held Yuzu with the other.
The blond girl starts giggling thinking her brother is joking – but one look at his partly masked face told her otherwise. "Onii...chan?"
Karin had woken up and got out of bed. She ripped away the bandages covering Ichigo's torso – revealing the perfect circular hole. "It's the same hole those monsters have," she said slightly accusing. "What are you?"
The blond let go of her brothers neck and stared at the hole, and reached a shaky hand at the circle – thinking it was a (very) realistic tattoo. But when her hand went 'into' her brothers body she pulled her hand back quickly, wondering why there was no flesh or blood on contact. "Onii-chan?" he voice was shaking.
"Tell me what happened!" Karin yelled, her eyes filled with worry as she spoke. "Goat-face refused to talk about it or explains who are the people in black or white!"
Ichigo sighed as he thought about what to say to them. "The people in black are called shinigami. They're supposed to protect the living humans, the 'good guys' so to say. The ones in white are called Arrancar, the 'bad guys'." he decided it wasn't needed to tell them that the 'bad guys' would need to eat human souls.
"But you're a shinigami, just like dad – so why the white clothes?" Karin asked, finally she was getting some answers.
"I once lost a fight and the bad guys took me prisoner and used me as guinea pig – tried to make me one of them." He touched the hole in his chest. "...and they succeeded," he said, looking away, showing the mask-free side of his face.
Both his sisters hugged him tightly, "I don't really care about the whole good/bad situation," Karin said suddenly as Yuzu just started crying again, "You're still my idiot brother.."
"Go back to bed," Ichigo told them as he pried their hands from around his neck and chest, "You'll have school in the morning," he tucked them in and kissed their forehead, "I doubt your teacher will believe you if you say your dead brother kept you awake. I still need to talk to dad. Sweet dreams." Closing the door behind him he headed downstairs, '...and Goodbye.' Sensing Isshin downstairs in the living room he went there. "Dad, I..." he began quietly, not wanting to startle his father.
Isshin's head snapped up at the voice and tightly embraced his son, leaving the almost empty sake bottle on the couch, forgetting to turn off the home video's he had been watching. The son he thought he had lost forever was here! Back home! Remembering that said son was missing his arms last time he saw him, he was very surprised to see them firmly attached to his shoulders. "Your arms..." He said unbelieving before tears began to well up in his eyes.
"They grow back after that silver potion wears off, it's my hollow ability." He looked away, he knew what he was and that there was no way back. "Dad, I'm sorr-"
"You're here to stay right!?" Isshin said happily, interrupting his son "Please tell me you are.." His voice was serious and filled with sadness. "I'll give you as much blood as I can spare, or even my arm or leg – I'll do anything. Anything at all! Please don't leave me again..." he sank to his knees, real tears flowing down from his dark brown eyes that radiated nothing but the helplessness he felt.
Ichigo hadn't realized he was crying after seeing his father act – beg like that. "Don't say that..." His own voice was shaking as a single tear rolled down his face from his normal brown eye. "I don't understand... Why would you go so far for a monster who lives on the flesh of others?" He didn't know what to think anymore.
"You're NOT a monster – you're my son!"
"I almost killed you – twice!"
"But you didn't!"
The orange haired Arrancar shed even more tears. "I don't belong here anymore! I should have stayed in Las Noches – I can't harm anyone as long as I'm there,"
"They cut off your arms!"
"It's a small price to pay for everyone's safety... I won't follow Aizen-sama, just forget about me and let me suffer..."
"What kind of father would let his own son suffer?"
"Dad.." Ichigo stood back up as he wiped away the water on his face, "Remember the 'if' we talked about after you brought me here after breaking out of Soul Society?"
Isshin looked a bit confused before he remembered – Ichigo asked to kill him if things took a turn for the worst. "You can't be serious..." his heart was squeezed tightly inside his chest.
"I am." the ex-Espada spoke serious, "If Aizen-sama brainwashes me again or I lose myself to hunger – kill me."
"I refuse to kill my only son!"
"You'll have to!" Ichigo yelled back, "I'm a hollow! Hollows go after their family first! As a former shinigami captain you should know that better then most!"
"I believe in you, Ichigo." Isshin stated full of confidence.
Ichigo sank to his knees in the ground, "I don't even understand human emotions anymore..."
Isshin sat down next to his shaking son and embraced him as only a father could, "You're still human inside – if you weren't, you wouldn't be able to cry like this," rubbing his sons back he could feel him calming down, "Just rest here for a while – this place will always be your ho-"
Isshin stopped talking the moment he felt a slim cold metal object was thrust through his back, exiting at the front where it pierced his son's chest. He could feel his warm blood leaving his body – staining his own and Ichigo's clothes crimson.
The orange haired one didn't really feel the blade but smelled something deliciously, looking at his fathers widened eyes he saw they were shocked in fear. Looking behind Isshin to see why he looked straight into bright green eyes. 'Ulquiorra.' His chest felt wet and when he looked down he could see the blade and a lot of blood, 'Oh no...' Slowly his eyes turned hazy as he started to lose control – fast. That blood already on his body, just one lick and it would become one with his body.
"Eat," Ulquiorra said coldly at the Diez Espada, "Aizen-sama's order." He pulled his blade back and shook it free of blood before sheathing it.
Ichigo's eyes regained their focus at the mention of Aizen's name – and what he was ordered to do. Releasing his father quickly he covered his nose and mouth in the hope to block out the sensation. If he hadn't eaten before coming here he would have lost it already. It had already been too late – his clothes stained and smelled like the spicy food he loved when he had been alive. Drawing his own blade he slashed at the intruder and 'chased' him outside where the the smell was almost gone, thanks to the rain and mild wind.
"I'll kill you for this," the angry teen growled at the green eyed one before using sonido to hurry towards Urahara. Ulquiorra followed him – much to his annoyance. "Get lost asshole!" he yelled firing a cero at his pursuer, who canceled the incoming shot with a cero of his own.
The blond shopkeeper was already standing outside, zanpaktou drawn, released and ready to fight the Espada's that were coming his way, fast.
The orange haired one noticed this too and started yelling at the dark green clad man, "Urahara! My dad's wounded and -" Blocking Ulquiorra's blade with his own he shot a bala and missed the other. "I can't get close!" Somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered why he came to this man first. Isshin's wounds weren't life threatening. But his mind was far from calm and collected at the moment. "I'll keep him here – GO!" He was glad to see Urahara was gone,
"You think this will change your need for your fathers soul?" Ulquiorra asked simply as he dodged another rage-induced slash. "Impossible. He is living family – something that is impossible to have as a hollow – you can't function normally as long as they are alive."
"Barra, Blanca Demonio" Ichigo whispered threateningly as he released his true form, pulling his mask to the side he moved his tail to see if it was really there – swishing it from left to right as he silently counted the seconds before attacking. A blood curling howl was all the preparation the green eyed one got before two strong claws and tail restrained his movement.
Moving his head to the side the orange haired Espada bared his teeth – ready to feed on the skinny body he was holding in his grasp. This would be his punishment, his death.
Isshin came running into the street, shinigami uniform and zanpaktou drawn, Urahara following closely. "Ichigo!" said boy's father yelled upon the sight of his son's released state. His wound had already healed, it wasn't lethal – but Ichigo had panicked (for obvious reasons) and everything looked far worse than it was.
Upon the sight of his 'healthy' father Ichigo relaxed his grip for only a second – which was enough for Ulquiorra to cut off the tail which was holding him. Screaming the tail quickly regrew as the cut off part vaporized. Even more enraged the orange haired one charged Cuadro again. The the wind and rain died down, allowing Ichigo to smell the blood on his soaked clothes again – the scent seemed stronger than before. Cursing he opened the garganta back to Las Noches making sure he dragged Ulquiorra with him by wrapping his tail around the others pale neck. As he stormed through the gate closed behind them
"Ichigo!" Isshin yelled even though he knew he wouldn't be heard. Turning around he saw Urahara hiding his face behind his trusty fan looking glum. "What happened?" he asked the shopkeeper seriously, despite he knew the answer almost for certain.
"He came to my shop in a panic – saying you'd been hurt." the shopkeeper knew he shouldn't joke or act 'funny'. "Kurosaki-san also said that he couldn't get close. I suppose he meant his 'need',"
The black haired ex-shinigami captain knew this – but even after hearing someone else confirm it wasn't enough. His mind lost in deep thought he left – back home. The girls would wonder what was going on with his lifeless and bleeding gigai.
'You can no longer help him, Isshin-san,' Urahara said downcast in his own mind before going back to his shoten.
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In Las Noches Ichigo started attacking Ulquiorra with all he had, he just wanted to say goodbye – but Cuadro had to turn it into a disaster. "Get here Ulquiorra!" He roared as he was chasing the green eyed one through the eternal white marble hallways. Lower ranked Arrancar stepped aside or hid when the two Espada came storming past.
"Coward!" The released Espada roared as he missed his target yet again. Growing more furious by the second he started firing cero's – hoping to catch him while he dodges.
Ulquiorra had other plans; by taking a detour to his destination he let the enraged teen believe he was being chased in a random direction. It had become somewhat troublesome now that the boy had started destroying the hallways. Aizen had foreseen Ichigo's actions and had ordered Ulquiorra to take him back here and make the teen see that it was useless to flee.
Arriving at the door the green eyed one came to a halt and drew his sword, "So you finally decide to fight me-" Ichigo's eyes shone with eagerness that he finally would be able to kill him. Tail swishing happily as he dug the claws on his hands and feet into the ground.
The door behind Ulquiorra opened and Ichigo stopped all movement, "Aizen-sama..." his voice shaking as he realized he had been led here on purpose. 'Shit..' Turning back into his 'sealed' state he bowed for his master and left with sonido – going back to his room.
"Shall I retrieve him?"
"No need," Aizen said calmly, "Even he must see that it's useless to go back. Knowing Muerto he'd stay in his room refusing to eat,"
"Sent a few disposable Arrancar to try and force-feed him. That should be somewhat amusing to watch." He turned around, back into his room. Ulquiorra left to follow the order given to him.
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Ichigo hadn't eaten in months – killed everyone who tried to force feed him. Aizen didn't mind – the boy would pass out from hunger and do what all hollows do when hungry and acting on instinct; Kill their family. And that was exactly the point Ichigo had now reached.
The pain in his body seemed to be killing him mentally – the hunger unbearable. He had refused to eat, wanting to die – too ashamed to do it himself. Drowning in his own trouble he forgot the tiny little fact that hollows attack their own family first, otherwise he would have eaten the burgers in the cafeteria to prevent that.
The world turned black and the orange haired Espada fell to the ground, twitching in unseen pain. As the tremors lessened the body body got back on his feet – eyes hidden under his unruly orange hair. His arm moved forward and clicked open the air, creating a garganta to the real world. Sword sheathed and in his sash he stepped through.
Arriving on the other side he looked at the building with empty eyes, his brain out the window, his body controlled by hunger and instinct alone. Walking over a unseen path the Arrancar passed through the wall of the Kurosaki-clinic, his reiatsu non-existent. It would be troublesome of his food sensed him and got away.
Walking through another few walls he arrived in a large room with in the middle a king-sized bed with a adult male. His chest was bared – probably because of the summer heat, the Espada didn't care.
Crawling onto the bed the Diez Espada stuck out his tongue and ran it along the muscular chest – tasting his prey before devouring it. Opening his mouth to bite down and sink his teeth in the deliciously spicy flavored flesh he didn't see the fist hitting the side of his head.
Isshin had been sleeping until something wet traveled over his body, as he opened his eyes he could see the bright orange hair of his son hovering above his chest, mouth opening wide, without another thought he had slammed Ichigo against the wall of his room. The girls were still fast asleep – he had mixed some strong sleeping pills with their drinks so they would get a good nights sleep, which they didn't get after Ichigo rushed off last time. "Ichigo...?" He wasn't completely sure what was going on.
But the moment said son looked up, his life-less eyes trained on his father, waiting to see who would move first. That moment Isshin felt his heart break, knowing his son had become nothing more than a slave of his own instinct. As fast as he could he reached for the shiny golden badge that allowed him to free himself from his gigai. Standing next to the bed in his black uniform there was no sign of the hungry Espada.
Ichigo had gone to his sisters room and released along the way, his tail swishing happily as he saw the two sleeping girls, the grin behind his mask grew as he walked closer. But he howled loudly when the shinigami had cut off a large part of the tail to redirect the attention to himself.
Turning around the Arrancar growled in annoyance at the shinigami, his tail already regrown, the one on the ground already disappeared into nothingness. A blood curling howl was all the warning he gave before rushing at the man in black.
He didn't know what to do, his son had lost his mind – he was about to be killed. His zanpaktou seemed to move on his own accord – protecting it's master – as the cold metal pierced the mask right between the mismatched eyes - which widened in shock before turning gentle and peaceful. "No..." Isshin's voice shook in disbelief of his own actions. "I didn't want this..."
"Thanks dad," Ichigo said in his own gentle voice – he sounded relieved, relaxed. The striped mask fell away, revealing the boy's original face – even his black and yellow eye returned to normal.
"Ichi...go..." Isshin's voice broke as he watched at his son's face at peace, his zanpaktou still between those gentle chocolate brown eyes he had been proud of since the boy had been born. Too afraid to pull out the blade. Too scared the peaceful look would disappear again.
"The chains are finally broken, and everyone is safe again..." he was happy, glad that it was all over. The pain and all the memories had been too much for him, the constant fear of harming those he wanted to protect not helping much in that aspect. "Now I can rest,"
"B-but... You're..." the words became stuck in his throat as he saw the legs slowly starting to vanish.
"Dad, it's okay," his voice was comforting as he spoke to his father, not even noticing the blade that went straight through his head. "I'm just a danger for you and everyone else," He chuckled a bit. "I'm just a monster,"
"You're no-" but he stopped talking when Ichigo's arms wrapped around his neck in a loving manner, like only a child could.
"Hush... I'm tired." Ichigo said as he closed his eyes, "Please let me sleep for a bit..." He placed his head next to Isshin's on his shoulder and his body faded away completely, Tears started flowing freely from the shinigami's eyes, the blade falling to the ground with a loud clatter.
"This isn't what I wanted.." Standing up he kept crying – wobbling downstairs and walked to the small memorial altar of his son. Lighting a strawberry scented candle and some incense, before clasping his hands together and started praying; praying that Ichigo wouldn't have to suffer this much in his next life. He sat there for hours – just praying, even though he knew he would probably go to Soul Society or be reincarnated somewhere on earth.
As the sun peered through the windows a few hours later Isshin was laying curled up into a fetal position clutching a photo of his son like it was his life – which in a way it had been. Even if he was asleep he kept repeating 'I'm sorry' over an over again like mantra. He had kept praying the whole night for Ichigo's next life and for his own forgiveness – forgiveness that might never come.
-: The End :-
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(x) No number thingy's!
My Ramblings/Sort of Diary;
(1)Isshin won't get a number and lose his mind – Aizen's 'fail-safe' doesn't work on shinigami.
(Even if he made a better one, Ichi wasn't 'injected/modified' with it)
(2) I do like ending, it's something else aside from the 'happy' ending (n.n)
(3) It's done! I can't believe it!
(4) Please don't kill/flame me for killing Ichi!
(5) Don't expect anything new for a while, even if I have chapters. Cuz FFN changed some things and now the layout of fic's look like crap - so I'll be fixing that first.. See my profile for more info.
Please leave a Review for the last time!!