Sonido to the Future! – The Strawberry Who Folded Himself
Disclaimer: Bleach is the intellectual property of Tite Kubo.
'…… seriously, what the hell was that?' It was the only thought Ichigo could come up with while he felt himself falling. So far, he's met up with a wacky religious guy, a Michael Jackson fan and Darth Ulquiorra. At this rate, Aizen will probably come and tell him that the reason he assigned those Fracción was so that he could get laid and vent his hormones while staying focused on fighting for his cause.
Then he noticed something strange in that it was taking so long for him to hit the ground. He also didn't feel the familiar weight of the Hollow mask remnants on his face. 'Wait a second!' He opened his eyes to see the weary black and white inner world moving as he was in freefall.
'If I'm back here, then…!' Ichigo didn't have too much time to ponder on this as his ears picked up a distinct static sound. Without wasting a moment, his right hand grabbed the hilt of Zangetsu on his back and whipped it out in time to block the strike from the Zangetsu of his rather angry looking Arrancar counterpart.
"How dare you. How DARE you… do you have any idea what you have done to my image?!"
That last bit about the image caught Ichigo off guard, giving Fresa a small opening to get in one good blow. Unfortunately for him, a third Zangetsu flew from below to break up the two blades. A quick glance to the source showed his Hollow self had thrown the sword like a flail, with his white hands holding tightly on to the black wrapping.
Without wasting a moment, Ichigo grabbed on the hilt of the Hollow's sword just as it was pulled back to its wielder to get some distance from the Primera Espada. He didn't have the most graceful of landings when he fell on his butt right beside his Hollow self as soon as he released the hilt but at least now he has some breathing room. "Were you trying to take my head off back there?!"
The Hollow merely laid his blade lazily across his shoulders. "Not particularly but you happened to be in the way. The question is why the hell are you back here already?"
Before he could answer, Fresa phased into view in front of both of them. "I'll kill you for this insult!! You… just used my body and made me watch that horrid dancing of Luppi's… and got me caught up in that idiot Zommari's religion to Aizen-sama!! Even though I think he is the greatest being to have come into existence, I'm not crazy enough to get involved in that religion and touch the Holy Manhood!!"
"You were seeing all of that?" asked Ichigo.
"Uh… yeah? Well, not everything but we just got bits and images. Speaking of that Holy Manhood thing, I'm starting to get a bit concerned about which way you swing-"
"I'M NOT GAY!! How the hell was I supposed to know that sculpture was supposed to represent… that?!"
"ARGH!! The image I took years to build up is gone!!" screeched Fresa as he gripped his head in frustration.
The Hollow raised an eyebrow at that statement. "He… had created an image? Geez, what's with this fucked up role reversal?"
"What do you have to complain about?! At least I'm not a perverted mod soul who goes around giving kisses to others!" The idea of being compared to Kon was unbelievably insulting from Ichigo's point of view.
"YOU GAVE KISSES?!"
"It's in one ear and out the other with you people, isn't it?! I said that I'm not-" He didn't get a chance to speak further as Fresa's spirit pressure flared up. Then he heard that static sound again and felt himself flying back by the sheer force of simply blocking the Espada's charge. There was no help from the Hollow as he merely grinned at Fresa's revived offensive.
"Heh…… so he's starting to get a little serious, eh? Looks like fun…"
'Didn't that Hollow bastard say he was going to keep him busy and soften him up or something?! Dammit!!' Maintaining his defence against the pressure of the Espada's power and strength was taking every ounce of concentration he had and required him to keep both of his hands on his sword, much like the time he had to defend himself against Urahara when he had trained under him briefly prior to his visit to Soul Society.
That's when he noticed the posture of the Arrancar who was pressing the attack. It was the same one-handed posture that Urahara had used when he pressed his own offensive. 'The left hand's free?! That means…!' He could see traces of spirit energy being gathered in a concealed location on Fresa's body and quickly remembered this particular tactic when he and his Hollow temporarily bonded to fight his father. His old man managed to squeeze out of the jam by using a spiritual shield of sorts. Unfortunately, he didn't have his own shield but he still had one ace up his sleeve to get him out of this mess.
Fresa stretched out his left hand, fully charged with a cero. "SURPRISE!!"
Focusing his spirit power into his sword, he felt the white cloth quickly wrap around his right arm. "BANKAI!!"
The amount of energy coming from the final release of Ichigo's sword and the accompanying smoke coming from the release of power forced Fresa to back off from his attack. He fired the cero blast anyway and an explosion occurred somewhere in the smoke. The Espada frowned, knowing very well that his opponent wouldn't be downed by such an attack. "…… come out, come out wherever you are…"
Fresa then swung his sword to the right, blocking a strike from a long black nodachi. He managed to take a quick glance at the invader, who was now wearing a black coat, before he phased out of view. "No more games…" Just as the next strike came from Ichigo, the Arrancar grabbed the end of the blade with his left hand. Although small traces of blood leaked from the palm of his hand, the Espada showed no sign of pain or discomfort.
The youth had a look of surprise at how quickly it took his opponent to read his movements. "Shit!!" Just as he cursed out loud, Fresa used the opportunity to yank the wielder of the black blade a bit closer before kneeing him in the stomach. Then Ichigo felt a strong fist hit his cheek and sent him plummeting to the ground.
At this point, something a bit more practical like a Gran Rey Cero would have been more efficient in terms of dealing more damage but as far as Fresa Abismo was concerned, this mockery deserved to be cut into tiny pieces. With a sonido burst, he landed near the hole made by Ichigo and prepared to strike while his opponent was still feeling groggy until he felt a thin blade pierce his right shoulder. "What?!"
"Haven't they taught you to mind your surroundings? How the hell did you become one of the Espada in the first place?!" A flick of the wrist and the Arrancar was sent flying in the air just as Ichigo crawled out of the hole and saw his Hollow self in a similar outfit to his own tapping a white long nodachi on his shoulder. He looked up and saw this timeline's counterpart up in the air open for an attack.
"I ain't saying thank you," grumbled Ichigo as he glared at the smug face of his Inner Hollow.
That didn't wipe out the smug look as he simply gave a casual warning. "Quit spacing out."
As for Fresa, he was cursing himself for forgetting about the white abomination. Before he could correct his posture, he heard a 'swish' sound and managed to see the black robed youth gathering spiritual energy on one side and the white one on the other doing the same thing while cackling maniacally. Then, they both struck at the same time.
The simultaneous blasts of spirit power muffled any scream that may have come out of Fresa's lips as he was sent crashing down below. As smoke rose up from the ground as a result of the impact, the Hollow stared down below at the scene and spoke. "That's not gonna keep him down for long so get going!"
While his King flew back to the waking world, the Horse merely waited for the Arrancar to get up. 'I'd been hoping that he wouldn't have gone bankai early but I guess it couldn't be helped. You've got the advantage now, Arrancar-san. Don't blow it…'
The first thing Ichigo felt when he returned was a cold metallic sensation wrapped around his neck. He reached up to take it off when he heard a voice interrupt him. "Please don't remove that collar yet, Fresa. I have yet to complete my analysis."
He turned his head to the source of the voice and managed to see a group of freakish looking Arrancar scurrying about the room, getting read outs and other such materials for their pink-haired master, who was seated near a pair of blades resting on an examination table. The youth easily recognized the long black nodachi but the other blade looked a lot like his first oversized zanpakuto except it had a larger guard separating the blade from the handle along with jagged edges along the sword itself. In a strange way, it reminded Ichigo of a chainsaw.
Before he could try and get a closer look, the effeminate face of Luppi got in the way. In his hands was the paper fortune teller that he had folded. "Yo!! How's it going?"
A scowl immediately appeared on the time traveler's face. "What is he still doing here?"
"He still wants to do that fortune thing on you. Besides, I owe him for protecting my equipment from the black flames that were dancing around you," murmured Szayel.
This grabbed Ichigo's attention. "Black flames?"
"Yes… it was shortly after you fell unconscious back in the corridor. It seemed that the contents of my experiment that spilled on you acted as a catalyst of sorts to increase your spiritual powers… although I can't see how that would have worked since that wasn't the intention of the original formula. The flames had engulfed both of the swords you were carrying with that cleaver on your back turning into this black katana and your normal blade transforming into this…… chainsword, for lack of a better term." He gave a small sigh of regret. "You really are quite a fascinating specimen. A shame I can't study you and your powers extensively."
The way Szayel casually said that seriously reminded Ichigo of that Clown in Soul Society. He tried to come up with another question but the flapping of the fortune teller started to annoy him. "Would you stop it?"
"Not until you select a colour between red, blue, green and orange!"
"How about you go pay a visit to Darth Ulquiorra? You know the one from the planet Vulcan who can melt your brains out?"
Luppi blinked for a bit at that strange statement before deciding on a colour. "I guess I'll go with your hair colour as a reference. Orange it is!" He started flapping while pronouncing the syllables distinctively. "O-ren-jii! Now please choose a number between one and eight."
"Szayel, can you hand me my sword so I can cut Luppi into five pieces?"
'FLAP, FLAP, FLAP, FLAP, FLAP' went the fortune teller before Luppi spoke again. "Now choose from the numbers one, three, six and eight!"
"Unfortunately, we can't kill off fellow Espada on the basis of them annoying you. And before you bring up how you killed off Nnoitra, he was the one who acted like an idiot when he tried that sneak attack on Neliel and Halibel to prove that belief about women being in their rightful place and to provoke you into fighting him at full power so he can experience that death wish of his."
That was when one of the lab assistants spoke up. "Um… I thought Master had given Nnoitra-sama a little-"
He was cut off by Szayel's sword quickly slicing into his vocal chords. "Honestly Verona, can't you stay focused on your task instead of jabbering on and on?"
"Just what did that guy mean earlier about you giving Nnoitra something?"
Szayel sheathed his blade before pushing up the rim of his Hollow mask glasses. "I merely gave him a warning about not acting so foolish. Anyways, it would be bothersome for Aizen-sama to have to find a new Sexta Espada so Luppi will have to stay in one piece."
"I heard the number one so I'll go with that!" Luppi pulled back the flap to read Ichigo's fortune out loud according to the paper. "Your fortune Fresa is as follows…… you will face powerful obstacles as you travel towards your goals but the Power of Love shall save you."
There was an eerie silence in the lab except for a quiet, wistful sigh from Lumina, the sole female Fracción under Szayel Aporro Grantz. Luppi frowned as he reset the fortune teller. "That doesn't sound right. Let me do it again."
Szayel immediately objected. "No. I've tolerated your presence long enough and now I must discuss matters of extreme importance with Fresa. Please leave at once."
Luppi casually put away the teller and got up from his seat. "Fine… I'll just beat it." At that cue, the Fracción that accompanied him immediately had their jackets turned to red as they accompanied their master singing and dancing towards the exit.
"Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it!
No one wants to be defeated!
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight!
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right!
Just beat it…!"
"OUT!!" It was a clear indication on the limits of Szayel's patience as he forcefully tossed the three Michael Jackson fans out into the corridor before slamming the door shut.
Ichigo had a bit of a nervous feeling as he looked at the fuming scientist. "So… what did you want to talk about?"
Szayel straightened up before responding. "I'll get to that in due time but first…" He headed back to his desk and rummaged through a stack of papers in one of his drawers before pulling out a few cube-shaped devices. With a flick of the wrist, the devices were thrown into the visible holes of each of his Fracción and they vanished without a trace.
It took the youth a moment to register what just happened in his head. 'That's how it works? It's a good thing to know but it won't be easy to use on those who don't have a visible hole.' He filed this information away for later as the metallic device around his neck was removed by the pink haired Arrancar.
After the scientist placed the device away in his desk and sat down on his chair, he casually addressed his companion who was now sitting up on the examination bed. "Let's step back and look at this scenario for a moment. Your medical history has not been out of the ordinary except for your spirit power's rate of growth. Even then, the growth would be gradual as you fought and aged over time. Then all of a sudden on two separate occasions, you black out and your power shoots up even further which I find rather peculiar."
"I know that already!" mumbled Ichigo as he tried to stay in character of his counterpart in this timeline. "It's not something I can explain you know! I don't remember if there's any particular link between the two events that may have acted as a catalyst for this growth! If anything, that's something you can probably figure out since you're the brains, right?!"
"You seem more agitated than usual, Fresa," replied Szayel with a hint of amusement.
"Of course I'm agitated! On one hand, we should be reporting this incident to Aizen-sama assuming that Luppi hasn't done so but if we present incomplete information, we would look like fools!"
"And of course, this would look poor on our service records. Since that's the case, I will need you to be completely honest with me during our investigation. Are we in agreement?"
Ichigo gave the scientist a weary look. "You'll keep what I may say here to yourself?"
"Aizen-sama respects the confidentiality between a doctor and a patient. If there is something pertaining to your health or power that you do not wish to be reported, I will respect your wishes."
"…… in that case, I have a condition of my own before I volunteer any information."
He waited a moment before he finally knew what he needed to do. "If I'm going to tell you information, then you need to tell me about the work that you're doing in here."
Szayel had a slightly confused look on his face. "You've never taken an interest in my work before."
"I've been trying to figure out what type of potential abilities that can come out from these new powers. Your instruments could be the key to finding out for certain what I can do." 'And with any luck, one of these new instruments can serve as a new time travel device since I don't have that train on me…'
"So an exchange of information?"
"That's right," replied Ichigo without a trace of hesitation.
The other Arrancar nodded. "I understand now. Skid row bro."
"It's from a story that I recall prior to my life as a Hollow about a human who viewed others as lambs waiting to be eaten or something like that. You know about how I tell you something and you tell me something? Skid row bro."
"Don't you mean quid pro quo?" asked Ichigo as he wondered how this apparently bright minded individual could bungle up a Latin phrase so easily and mess up the mood of the moment.
At least Szayel had the decency to look embarrassed from his faux pas. "Shut up!! Like I know anything about the culture of inferior beings!!"
Chapter 5 Preview
"This is it. Szayel's my only shot at getting home and restoring everything to what it was!!"
"Fresa, who the hell are you talking to?"
"Uhhhh… myself. I'm a paranoid schizophrenic, Grimmjow."
"I'm happy for both of you. Now would you make your fucking move already?!"
"Okay… I'm attacking myself in Chinatown."
"Trying to commit suicide?! You won't take away the glory of my army vanquishing yours, Fresa Abismo!!"
"Szayel-sama, please don't be so hasty!!"
"Your strategy has taken too long, Verona! There is one course of action left to take!!"
"So I won this game of Risk? Sweet ass!"
"I'm still here, guy."
"I have to deal with Luppi's wussy army?! Goddamn!!"
OMAKE – Ichigo and Ogichi's Excellent Adventure
At the mention of the word chicken, Ichigo's attitude complete changed to one of pure determination. "Nobody calls me chicken!! I'll show you that I'm no yellow bellied coward!! Hang on!!" He pressed his foot against the gas pedal to accelerate the De-Lorean even further.
As hot sparks flew around the vehicle, Ichigo blinked. "Just what time period are we going to anyway?"
That was when the Hollow realized that he had totally forgotten to set the time circuits while arguing with the King earlier. "Oh, shi-"
That was when the darkness surrounding the vehicle disappeared and sunlight filled their vision. Outside, he could see that he was approaching some sort of primitive village and could make out the astounded looks of the villagers. And straight ahead was a teenage girl dressed in a school uniform of sorts stomping on something. She didn't even seem to notice the vehicle. "Dammit… watch out!" He slammed on the brakes as hard as he could but it didn't seem that it would be enough to stop.
If it weren't for a strange woman dressed in a mix of silver spandex and armour (the left shoulder plate reading 'Heaven Wolf') with a pair of horns on her head stopping the vehicle, they probably would have ran over the girl. As soon as Ichigo got out from the driver's side, he winced as he felt the cold vapour rising off of the exterior. "Ow…"
He looked down to see that the vehicle had thoroughly crushed a green snake like creature except the head looked a bit more like a demon with a single large horn coming out of the forehead. "Uh… sorry?"
The teenage girl pouted. "And I was just going to learn the demon's name!"
"What shall we do with them, Urara-sama?" asked the other horned woman as she kept a sharp eye on the two who exited the vehicle. Ichigo was startled to see that her legs looked like a pair of rear legs belonging to a horse. And as for the girl named Urara, she looked quite similar to Tatsuki except with her hairstyle being slightly different. There were also strange drawings on her legs and neck.
"Just hold on for a sec, Kenso. Hmmmmm… what are your names?"
"I'm Ichigo… and as for him…" He pointed a thumb over at his Hollow counterpart. "He's my tagalong."
"Well… I guess it's lucky for me that Kotono finished my new rune!" said the girl with a sunny smile before she started removing her top to reveal more drawings on her upper body.
"Oi!! What are you doing?!"
"If she wants to flash her tits, that's her call."
That was when she started making strange hand gestures around the drawings on her bare breasts. "Open the runes! Open! Heed the voice of the one who seals you! The two gates… obedience and death! Enter the gate that shines on my flesh! Rune demon! Ichigo!!"
"…… the hell?" That was all he got out before both he and the Hollow felt a vacuum effect coming from the teenage girl's body. Before they knew it, both of their faces were now glued to one breast each.
"Eeeekkk!! What just happened?!" shrieked Urara.
Kenso carefully examined the two strangers stuck to her master. "It appears that their soul power greatly exceeds yours. Even if they were demons in the first place, you cannot seal them in."
"…… YOU PERVERTS!! You knew this all along, didn't you?!"
Ichigo was barely able to get out a muffled "Wait a minute!" before his head was hit repeatedly by the girl's fists.
(I'll be doing a mini omake story for a bit. The segment here is part 2 with part 1 available at the end of Sonido chapter 1.)