Summary: Please don't stop reading after this or the second chapter, because it does get better after chapter 2. I do plan on coming back and fixing the first two chapters when I have some time. So please don't pass this story off because of the first two chapters!
EDIT: Ok this is the new and (hopefully) improved chapter 1.
A/N: Ok, this ff takes place after manga chapter 315 (if I had to guess I'd say that in the anime this would be around episode 197-200ish). By the way the original concept was created by vinrylgrave of deviant art. Also, please take a look at these pics before you read(copy and paste them since links don't work here and replace the [DOT] with a period) vinrylgrave[DOT]deviantart[DOT]com/art/Rise-Tenshagaigyaku-Zangetsu-80048645and vinrylgrave[DOT]deviantart[DOT]com/art/IchixNell-Here-to-Protect-You-79888165 . Just to set the scene, all the captains and the main group (Renji, Rukia, Ishida, Nel, ect.) are all gathered by where Ichigo and Kenpachi are. Also in this chapter Nel is in her child form and I won't be trying to imitate her lisp because it's a little too hard with us only having a few lines of dialect to draw from. And there will be OOC'ness. Also Orihime wasn't kidnapped again by Stark, that NEVER happened in this story. Just as a disclaimer, I sadly don't own any of the characters as of yet.
Ichigo was lying on the ground with Orihime's Sōten Kisshun glowing above him; he had been pretty seriously injured from two back to back espada battles. Ichigo had been cut up, bruised, broken, suffered mental and emotional trauma, and drained of will and reiatsu. His life pretty much sucked right now. On the bright side, his pain was lessening with each second spent under Orihime's Sōten Kisshun, as well as his body getting patched together again. Retsu, along with Isane, were tending to the other injured, while the other shinigami were talking about something. A few moments later Orihime had finished healing Ichigo. Ichigo got up and said "Thanks Inoue." Ichigo then went over to where the other shinigami were heatedly discussing something.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean!?!" shouted Renji, obviously the hot-headed one.
"What's what supposed to mean?" asked Ichigo as he joined the group.
"Freaking clown face over there just said that we're trapped here!" Renji shouted at Ichigo. At the name clown face Ichigo chuckled to himself. He hated clowns.
"So now what do we do?" inquired Ichigo.
"We wait," replied Mayuri.
"Why can't we just make another garganta?" asked Ichigo, still out of the loop.
"We can't because we're shinigami, and it would be nearly impossible to create another artificial garganta because we would need very large quantities of hollow reiatsu and the necessary reflectors and focusers," said Mayuri.
"Couldn't we just force any old arrancar or menos to open one for us?" asked Ichigo, having the same idea as Byakuya, though half an hour later.
Mayuri sighed, "We can't, because only an espada of rank, at the very least mind you, five would be able to open one strong enough to support several captain class spirit beings."
"Hmm, that is a problem," said Ichigo, while trying to think of a way to get back to the human realm. While Ichigo was thinking the other shinigami continued to debate about what they should do. A few minutes later, Ichigo glanced around the area hoping, but not expecting, to find some sort of inspiration for an idea. All he saw as was miles of sand, broken buildings, and a few intact structures, that is, until his gaze fell on a sleeping child, Nel.
"That's it!" said Ichigo slamming his fist into an upturned palm.
Now it was Renji's turn to ask, "What's what?"
"I just had an idea of how we can get out of here!" said Ichigo with a smug grin plastered on his face.
Mayuri sighed again, "And what is your brilliant plan?"
"We can use her," Ichigo said pointing over his shoulder to Nel's sleeping form.
"Ichigo she barely has any reiatsu, so how could she possibly open a garganta strong enough for us?" asked Renji after sizing up the child's power.
"Because," said Ichigo ignoring Renji's outburst, which entailed that that didn't answer his question, Ichigo continued on with his idea. "Mayuri," just his name sent a shiver down Ichigo's spine, "if Nel was transformed into a child because her mask was cracked open, then would it be possible to change her back?"
As Ichigo told Mayuri this, he got where Ichigo was going with this. If Ichigo was right then the shrinking of the spiritual body would cause a drastic dip, no, not just a dip, but rather a plummet in power. So it was feasible that she could be powerful enough in her adult form to open a strong enough garganta. "It depends, it may or may not be possible, if it was just the physical act of the mask breaking then all you'd have to do is fix the mask, if the reiatsu was leaking out then you'd have to 'inflate' her with reiatsu, but if it was something deeper then it may not be possible."
"She did transform back temporarily before," Ichigo said absently while thinking.
"If she transformed back then we just need to inflate her," spoke Mayuri still contemplating of how this could work.
"Perfect, how do we do that?" questioned Ichigo.
Mayuri said "All you'd have to do is find an opening to, for a lack of a better word, shove tons of reiatsu into her. The best place to do this would probably be the crack in her mask."
"Got it," commented Ichigo while walking over to Nel, who was still sleeping.
Mayuri just thought of a major insurmountable problem, "Hey, we would need a combination of shinigami and hollow reiatsu to even have a chance of making this work!"
"So…" said Ichigo oblivious, in the eyes of the others, to the obvious problem. Maybe he wasn't oblivious to the problem, maybe the obvious problem, wasn't a problem.
"So? We don't have said hollow reiatsu," Mayuri said while simultaneously being amazed by the orange haired kid's stupidity.
"So?" replied Ichigo.
"Are you touched in the head boy?!?" shouted Mayuri getting frustrated with the boy.
"No, besides it'll work. My reiatsu is quite similar to an arrancar's," said Ichigo as he walked over to Orihime. "Orihime, could you heal Nel's mask just so that there is a small crack left about the size of my index and middle finger?"
"I can try," said Orihime a little unconfident in her own abilities.
"Good," said Ichigo as he nudged Nel awake.
Nel glanced up at Ichigo with weary eyes, "Itsygo,"
"It's alright, Orihime will fix your mask," replied Ichigo in tender big-brother tone.
Nel didn't reply instead looked to Orihime and asked incredulously "You could really fix my mask?"
"I think so," answered Orihime, "Sōten Kisshun, I reject!" The golden light of the oval engulfed Nel, for a few moments the mask was unresponsive to the healing and Orihime was going to stop, then it started to bubble at the crest of the crack. Nel looked up at her mask crossed eyed trying, but not succeeding, in seeing the crack. The oozing liquid filled down the crack slowly, closing the fissure in her mask as it went. Orihime stopped when the bubbling white fluid started to get close to the end of the break leaving just enough room for two fingers to fit inside, somewhat.
Ichigo stepped up to Nel and explained to her what he was about to do. He didn't mention exactly why, since she didn't have any memory of her time as an adult, even the short time when she fought Nnoitra on Ichigo's behalf. Nel just nodded and agreed to it. Ichigo then took his middle and index fingers and lightly jammed them into the remaining part of the crack; he then started to pump his own reiatsu into Nel. "Hey how much reiatsu should I put in her?" asked Ichigo.
Mayuri sighed, then said "If you're going to waste your reiatsu th-"
"Just answer the damn question!" shouted Ichigo.
Mayuri yet again sighed, "Just keep going until she transforms back."
"Alright," replied Ichigo. "Oh yeah, all of you go try to find some clothes for her."
The main group* just nodded and did their various versions of shunpo and went off to the surrounding buildings in search of clothes. The captains just stood there. One of the captains, Byakuya, asked why they should go too. Ichigo just responded with eloquent sarcasm "Hmm I think it's because a small robe that barely fits a child will fit just perfectly on a fully grown adult." The captains just replied with a reluctant 'Fine' and then shunpoed off.
For some reason Mayuri didn't go with the rest of the captains and instead walked over to where Ichigo was, "I know you aren't a shinigami, and when I prove it I will so enjoy experimenting on you." And with that ominous remark shunpoed away. Now Ichigo really hated clowns.
Orihime was walking towards one of the buildings and when she got inside it was very dark. She stumbled around in there until she found the light switch**, which she turned on. The new light revealed that she was in some kind of warehouse/storage building. All around her there were wooden boxes stacked on top of one another in a grid pattern. As Orihime walked through the warehouse she began to notice that the wooden crates were labeled with various things like "Vases" and "Tiles". When she worked her way around to the other side of the building she came in she found that a large portion of the wall was blown inwards by some sort of blast. The blast had caused vast amounts of debris and sand to flood into the otherwise clean and orderly building. Orihime gingerly picked her way through the debris field and when she got past it she stopped paying close attention to the floor, instead fixing her gaze on the 20 yard high walls of wooden crates. She tripped over a rock that was thrown over to its current position, she face planted. When Orihime got up again she noticed a broken crate that had tumbled over here, its label was partially snapped, but was clearly meant to say "Neliel." "Yay!" said Orihime as she peered inside of the crate. She found a whole lot of torn and battered clothes, probably caused by the ruff tumble it took; she dug through it and eventually found a shirt, pants, shoes, and a sash for her zanpakuto. Orihime gathered up said items and headed back to where Ichigo was.
When Orihime arrived she found that in a medium sized sphere around Ichigo and Nel the spiritual was utterly crushing, the concentration of reiatsu was so high that everything inside looked like it was under water. Even the captains didn't' stray too far close to the sphere. Orihime at first made the mistake of entering the sphere, as soon as she entered she felt her chest tighten to the point of her ribs creaking, she then collapsed to the ground dropping the clothes she was carrying. Ichigo noticed her and between pants of exertion called Byakuya to take her out of the area. Byakuya hadn't gone into the sphere yet and when he did, he felt like an enormous weight was pressing down on him, his movements became sluggish and he was winded after just 3 seconds within the sphere. Thankfully he could still move, albeit very slowly and jerkily. Byakuya grabbed Orihime and staggered out of the reiatsu field, after which he collapsed. Retsu shunpoed over to were Orihime and Byakuya collapsed, gave them a once over and told everyone they'd be fine, just an overdose of reiatsu. Ichigo let out a sigh of relief, he wouldn't be able to forgive himself if Orihime was hurt, especially by his own reiatsu. When Renji came back he saw that Orihime had actually found better clothes than he had, the disappointment showed on his face that Nel, whatever she may look like as an adult, wouldn't have to wear a pair of Habiel's clothes that he had found. Shortly after that, Ichigo could feel Nel start to hum with power, she continued to let out a high pitched drone, then suddenly without warning a large pink explosion was loosed from Nel.
The resulting shockwave knocked everyone, save Ichigo, back 10 or so feet. Ichigo went 25. As the dust settled a lone female silhouette started to form. When the figure was revealed, it was adult Nel in a tattered two-piece. Nel scanned the group calmly, mentally flagging each individual as friend, foe, or unknown. Her gaze then fell on Ichigo buried head first in a sand dune up to his waist, leaving his flailing legs above the sand. Nel sonidoed over to where Ichigo was then pulled him out of the sand. As Nel flew by she was so fast that the captains lost track of her until she stopped by Ichigo pulling him out of the sand. Nel then proceeded to hug the life out of Ichigo while rapidly apologizing for blowing him into a sand dune. Everyone sweat dropped at the seemingly mature and stoic arrancar's present behavior. Someone even went as far as to say "Eh…"
It was then that a strong breeze blew through. This seemingly innocent force of nature caused a chain of events that would put other natural disasters to shame. The wind picked up Nel's hair and raised it off of her back, in the process revealing her "3" tattoo in all of its ominous glory. At first it didn't register with the shinigami, Chad, and Ishida. A split second later they all drew their various weapons on Nel and told her to step away from Ichigo.
A/N: *For all intents and purposes the main group consists of Ichigo, Chad, Ishida, Rukia, Renji, and Orihime. **Yes Las Noches (the land of nachos) has electricity and lights.
Alright, here is the completely rewritten chapter one, hope you like it. Anyway, when I wrote that Nel began to hum with power, I didn't mean that she started to hum a song, but rather a drone started to emanate from her. Please R&R!