Disclaimer: The only character I own so far is Shirataki Rika. I merely borrow and play with the ones you recognize.

Chapter 1: Fitting Into Karakura Town

"Rika-chan!"

"Hello Orihime! Heya Tatsuki! Sorry I missed you guys this morning, I woke up late." I said as I walked towards my two best friends.

"Riiiiiiiika!" That voice could only belong to one person. I turned just in time to see Asano run towards me with arms wide open. Step to the left, stick out the foot… THUD!

"Oh! Hello Asano… almost didn't see you there in the grass. You should be more careful, someone might step on you." I grinned innocently down at him.

Kojima approached holding his lunch and looked down at Asano. "When are you ever going to learn not to intrude on Shirataki's personal space Kiego?"

"But it's so fun teasing her." Asano replied as he lifted himself up.

I just rolled my eyes at him as I sat down under the shade next to Tatsuki and Orihime and started to eat my lunch. Moments later, Kurosaki and Chad arrived to join the group. This was shaping up to be another normal lunch at school, surrounded by my friends. I could still remember back to when I first met them…

--Flashback--

"Well… this is as ready as I'll be…" I mumbled to myself as I stared into the mirror.

An 18 year old girl, of about 5'3", with long black hair pulled back into a ponytail, stared back at me with nervous dark green eyes.

"Rika! Come down to breakfast or you'll be late, and on your first day too!"

"Coming mother!" I called as I raced downstairs.

My younger brother, Teison, was already downstairs and in the process of finishing his breakfast.

"So, are you two ready for your new schools?" Mom asked as I started on my breakfast.

"Yeah!" chirped Teison while wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, "I hope I make lots of new friends!"

"I already don't like mine." I mumbled, wishing that I had some of Teison's optimism and enthusiasm about new schools.

"Oh come on… I'm sure the school won't be that bad." said mom.

"Won't be that bad!? Have you seen this uniform? I'm wearing a skirt! A SKIRT! And a freaking short skirt at that!" I complained for the umpteenth time while tugging at the offending material.

"Hahaha! Rika's wearing a skiii-rt!" Teison's sing-song voice came from behind me. "Rika's wearing a skiii-rt!"

"YOU!" I tried to take a swipe at him as he scampered away upstairs, laughing all the while.

"Now, now Rika… a change now and then isn't so bad. Besides, you can't be a tomboy forever…" Mom stated as she tried to calm me down.

"Oh yeah? Try me." I grumbled as I stomped up the stairs to get ready to leave for school, and of course exact some revenge on a certain sibling of mine.

Lunchtime found me sitting under the shade of a tree, munching on my sandwich all by myself. I sighed, missing all the friends that I had left back in America when we moved here to Karakura Town this summer. While I was glad that dad had gotten a promotion, why in the world did it just have to be a promotion to this branch here in Karakura? And just why did my parents decide to take this job and move here? Sure, both of them were born in Japan, and mom actually grew up in this town. But did dad really have to take that as a sign from whatever fates were out there and agree to take the job? I mean, the both of them immigrated to the States for the colleges and opportunities, became American citizens, met, got married, and raised a family there. Weren't they content with their life there? I sure as hell was.

So glad they consulted the children on this move… not!

Maybe this was why mom was so adamant that Teison and I attended Japanese school on the weekends and kept in touch with our Japanese culture. Guess she wanted to make sure that we wouldn't flounder and drown if she and dad ever decided to move back to Japan. So what? Maybe I wasn't floundering in the language and cultural area of my life, but I sure as hell was drowning in the social area. I had been looking forward to starting my senior year of high school with all my friends back home, but now we were separated by the whole entire Pacific Ocean! And if that wasn't the worst part, it didn't look like I would have any friends here in Karakura Town, what with everyone else in my class already having their established groups of friends, and my being too timid to take the first step to get to know people.

"Hey!" A voice came from in front of me. "Aren't you Shirataki Rika? That new girl?"

Startled, I looked up from my lunch and saw a girl that I vaguely recognized from the dojo I had joined a couple weeks ago.

"Oh! Hi, um... Arisawa-san, right?"

"Yeah, but you can call me Tatsuki. Arisawa-san is a bit too stuffy for me." She grinned, "You look kind of lonely sitting there by yourself, wanna come eat with us?" She gestured towards a group of girls sitting under a nearby tree.

I nodded, happy (and relieved) that someone had approached me and offered to be friends.

Even though she was two years younger than me, Tatsuki and I quickly became close friends. After all, we were the only two girls at the dojo, and both of us were tomboys. Of course, one couldn't be close friends with Tatsuki without becoming good friends with her best friend, Inoue Orihime. As time passed, I gradually settled into my new life in Karakura Town. I usually hung out with Tatsuki and Orihime when I wasn't in school or in the dojo. Every once in a while, Tatsuki's long-time friend, Kurosaki Ichigo, and his group of friends would join us. My first meeting with a certain Asano Kiego was… interesting… to say the least.

"Shirataki Rika? So you're the new upperclassman from America that Arisawa was talking about? Usually, older girls are more Mizuiro's thing, but you just let out this irresistible sparkle." He grabbed my hand and knelt down on one knee. "Asano Kiego, at your service! Should you ever need a manly knight in shining armor, I'm the one to call out to!"

I blinked.

"Err… nice to meet you too, Asano-san…"

"She speaks! The goddess speaks! Oh, what a sweet voice… The voice of an--"

"Urusai!" Kurosaki Ichigo smacked him on the head. "You need to stop doing this with every new girl you meet."

And that was the end of that. Of course, it didn't stop him from acting the same way whenever the two groups hung out together.

A few months after that, I was jogging back home from the dojo, adrenaline from an earlier sparring session still pumping through my veins, when I turned the corner and saw Kurosaki standing next to a lamp post, talking to a little girl.

"Fancy running into you, Kurosaki!" I called out as I approached.

He whirled around at the sound of my voice.

"Oh! Hello Shirataki. What are you doing here?" He rubbed the back of his head and attempted to smile at me. It looked unnatural on his usually serious face, and I wondered why he seemed so nervous.

"I was just heading home from the dojo." I smiled at the girl standing behind him, "Is she your sister?"

Kurosaki's hand fell to his side as he stared at me dumbfoundedly. "Y-You can see her??"

I raised my eyebrow at him. "No Kurosaki, I'm actually asking if that lamp post behind you is your sister…" I shook my head. "Why wouldn't I be able to see her? Is she supposed to be invisible or something?"

"No… it's just that she's a spirit…"

"Yeah, right… and I'm Einstein." I smirked, "You do know that those ghost stories that our parents told us when we were little are just stories, right?"

"I'm being serious."

I turned towards the girl with a frown. "Is he alright? He hasn't eaten anything odd today, has he?"

The girl just shook her head as she approached. Then, without any warning whatsoever, she aimed a punch towards my stomach.

Immediately, my right hand shot out to seize her wrist, only to grab onto thin air as I watched her arm slide through my midsection. It felt like someone had jammed a huge block of ice into my stomach, minus the pain.

It was my turn to stare in shock, eyes wide open, mouth moving, unable to form any coherent thoughts.

"W-What the hell?! What did you do? Who are you??"

She withdrew her fist, leaving no mark behind. I shuddered at the cold sensation of her arm pulling out of me.

"I told you, she's a spirit, or ghost, whatever you want to call it."

"A spirit? But how--"

Kurosaki sighed. "Remember that girl who died here a couple days ago? This is her…"

"But… a spirit?! Even if she is a ghost or a spirit or whatever, I'm not supposed to be able to see her, right? But I can, so she can't be one." I turned towards the girl, "You just can't!"

"Onii-chan is right. What else can I be? Some random girl who can somehow stick her arm through your stomach? And it's not just my arm either. I can walk right through you if you want me to…"

I shivered. "No, that's okay. Your arm was enough, thank you very much!"

"So do you believe that I'm a spirit now?"

"No! That idea is just plain preposterous!"

"It ceases to be preposterous after a while… You'll get used to it." I turned back towards Kurosaki. "At first you think that it's not possible, that it just can't be possible. You're seeing people that others can't. You're talking to and interacting with people who don't exist for others. But then you realize that there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to accept it. And come on, she stuck her whole arm through your body! I'm guessing that you felt the iciness? That's a trademark feeling of when spirits touch you."

I couldn't do anything but stare at them, eyes shifting between the two. I was unable, perhaps unwilling, to accept that the girl standing in front of me was a spirit. It defied everything that I knew to be true in this world. It made me feel like I was going insane. And who wouldn't, what with being able to see and talk to people that no one else could!

But when I looked closer at her, I realized that she was paler, more transparent, than a normal human girl, and had a waist-length chain attached to her chest. All this, combined with the earlier arm-through-stomach episode, ultimately convinced me that what they were saying was actually true. I could do nothing, but to finally accept that there was more to this world than what I had originally thought.

"But why can I suddenly see spirits? I mean, I've never seen anyone like her before, but she can't be the only one in this town…"

Kurosaki shrugged, "It's probably been happening for a while, you just never noticed. The ability to see spirits doesn't just pop up overnight."

I frowned as something clicked inside my head. Over the past few months, I had been noticing shimmers as I walked around the town, as if there were very faint shadows of people just outside my line of vision. Sometimes, I could swear that I heard a faint whisper and a metallic rattling sound accompanying them. But when I tried to get a closer look, nothing was there.

And here I thought I needed to get my eyes checked…

"Anyways, let me introduce the two of you…"

After a while, Kurosaki and I got up to leave, promising to come visit her again. As we walked away, I turned towards him. "Since when could you--"

"See and talk to spirits? Ever since I was little. It took me a long time to realize that they were just spirits and not real people."

"Do you know anyone else that can see them?"

"My younger sister, Karin."

"That's pretty cool…" I grinned as I teased him, "Well, I guess that even if I am going insane, at least I know that there are other crazy people right there with me!"

"Urusai…"

I laughed. "I gotta go. See you later Kurosaki!"

--End Flashback--

A/N: So there you have Shirataki Rika, my OC. This story is basically going to be a retelling of Bleach, but from her POV. This first chapter starts out a bit slowly, but hopefully you guys will find the next couple of chapters more interesting.

Also, big thanks to Inazuma Akai who's just recently agreed to be my beta. I look forward to working with you!

Anyways, what did you guys think? Reviews/comments/constructive criticisms are always loved as they inspire me to grow as a writer!