Author's Note: I've finally written my first AU story and I'm really excited to share it with you all! I hope that you all enjoy it and any suggestions to make it better would be greatly appreciated! :D Just a little back-story before you get confused: this is taking place in the feudal era so things will be a bit more traditional in terms of dress and other things. There will be clans although I won't be going into detail of every single one because that would take forever and a day. However, there will be a two or three clans that will be incorporated into the story itself.
I'd like to give a special thanks to my amazing beta, Madhvija, for helping me out with this and giving me so many good suggestions! I'd also like to thank copperheadfightingninja for giving me some good advice and encouraging me to actually write this! You guys are the greatest! :D
All my life things were simple. My obligations to my family, duties and honor – all were clear-cut and I performed them without fail. I was born to a noble house, the heir of the Kurosaki clan. While I had my familial duties to perform, I was secretly trained as an assassin by my father. When I reached the age of fifteen, he was unable to instruct me further so he brought in someone from another noble family to teach me. Her name was Shihoin Yoruichi, the head of the Shihoin clan. Although she was an odd woman, her skills were unparalleled and I learned much from her, both in weapons and stealth. On my eighteenth birthday, I was given my first assignment.
Today I am second in command of our forces and while I am relied on during missions, I am still obligated to participate in celebrations and other affairs organized by my father. My life was peaceful until I received an assignment that would turn my world upside down.
Kurosaki Ichigo squinted against the bright light streaming through his open window. His brows knitted together and he rolled onto his side, hoping to be able to fall back asleep. An involuntary yawn escaped him as he nestled deeper into his futon. He just started to drift back to sleep when his bedroom door was flung open, the wood crashing loudly against the frame.
"Ichigo! Wake up!"
Ichigo grimaced and poked his head out from under the covers just in time to block a swift kick to the head. He glared at his father, who smiled goofily in return, before roughly shoving the older man away. Kurosaki Isshin was known for being over-dramatic and eccentric at times, and it wasn't a secret that his favorite hobby was to annoy Ichigo. If there was one thing he knew that irritated his eldest child the most, it was waking him up after an assignment.
"What the hell do you want?" yelled Ichigo.
"Come now, son! It's a beautiful day and you're still in bed!" announced his father as a wide smile spread across his face. "Why don't you join your old man for a game of shogi?"
Ichigo flopped back onto his bed with a huff and rolled onto his side, his back facing his father. "No thanks."
"Ichigo, you're so cruel!" sobbed Isshin, tears streaming down his cheeks. "Why won't you spare an hour of your time to play your father?"
"I have better things to do than play that stupid game," muttered Ichigo.
"It is not stupid!" cried Isshin. "It's a wonderful way to spend some quality father-son bonding time while improving your strategies!" Grabbing the foot of Ichigo's bedspread, he quickly yanked the fabric away from his son, exposing him to the chilly morning air.
"What the hell?!" yelled Ichigo as he sprung to his feet. "What did you do that for?!"
"Why won't you spend some time bonding with your own father?" demanded Isshin.
"Who the hell would want to bond with a crazy old man like you anyway?" retorted Ichigo. "And give me my blanket back."
Isshin's gaze flickered from the blanket in his arm to his son's outstretched hand and up to his son's infuriated gaze before a mischievous grin appeared on his lips. He held the blanket out in front of him, as if appraising the value of thefabric, before eying his son.
"I'll give it back if you play a game of shogi with me," he declared.
"Tch, I'm not wasting my time on that stupid game," growled Ichigo as he took a step towards his father, his hands curling into fists at his sides. "Give me back my damn blanket."
"Not until you agree to spend some time bonding with your loving father!"
Ichigo's eyes narrowed as he watched his father taunt him by holding the blanket out so that it was just barely out of his reach. All he wanted to do was go back to sleep, but of course his father wouldn't allow that. He watched in horror as his father hugged the blanket and twirled around in a circle, declaring that he would finally get to spend some quality time with his son. Gritting his teeth together, Ichigo bit back a growl that threatened to escape him and glared at his father. Isshin grinned and shook the blanket, as if taunting Ichigo to try and retrieve it.
"You son of a bitch…" growled Ichigo as he lunged at his father. His hand nearly closed around the fabric before Isshin calmly side-stepped him, causing Ichigo to crash into a wall.
"Now, Ichigo. You should know that it's not polite to lunge at someone like that. No wonder we haven't found you a suitable bride yet," chided Isshin as he wagged a finger at his scowling son. "You're too violent."
"No one asked you to meddle in my love life!" snapped Ichigo as a light blush spread across his cheeks.
"Ichigo, I'm shocked!" cried Isshin as he gasped dramatically. "I can't believe that you wouldn't trust me to pick out a suitable bride for you!"
Ichigo's eye twitched as he glared at his father. While he knew it was becoming close to the time that he should take a bride, he would never trust his father to pick his mate. He would most likely end up with someone who, while being beautiful, would be boring and have no imagination. Although finding a bride was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment, he couldn't help but wish that he would be allowed to choose his own wife and on his own terms.
"Damn it, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep!" yelled Ichigo in frustration as he rose to his feet. "I don't need a lecture about finding a wife or spending time with you, you crazy old man!"
He lunged at his father once again, this time hitting the older man squarely in the stomach. Isshin doubled over in pain before dodging a left hook to the head and dealing a swift kick to Ichigo's side, causing him to stagger back. They glared at each other for a moment before Isshin tackled Ichigo, effectively taking the young man down in a matter of seconds. The two men rolled across the floor, dealing punches and kicks to each other. They were so engrossed with their fight, that they never heard the timid footsteps that approached the door, nor the sound of the door sliding open.
"E-excuse me, Kurosaki-sama, Ichigo-sama," came a fearful voice from the doorway.
Ichigo spared a glance away from his father, whom was currently pinned to the floor, to see who was at the door. He sighed inwardly when he realized it was just one of the servants.
"Ah, Akanna-chan!" cried Isshin happily. Blood trickled down his chin due to the bloody nose he now sported, but he didn't seem to notice. "What brings a pretty girl like you here?"
"I…I was sent to summon you to breakfast. Yuzu-sama is becoming worried that you have not arrived yet," murmured Akanna as she averted her gaze to the floor.
"Very good!" Isshin pushed Ichigo off of him and calmly strode towards the young girl in the doorway, not bothering to wipe the blood away. "Say, how would you feel about marrying my insolent son?" he asked as he pointed to Ichigo, who sported a split lip.
"K-K-Kurosaki-sama!" stammered Akanna, her cheeks turning a brilliant red at the thought.
"He may seem like a rough hooligan, but I'm sure with your gentle touch he could become quite the gentle-" Isshin was interrupted when Ichigo's fist connected with his face, sending him flying across the room.
"That's enough out of you," he muttered before turning his attention to the young girl staring up at him. His scowl relaxed somewhat and he clapped his hand onto her shoulder briefly. "Thanks for informing us about breakfast. Tell Yuzu that I'll be there in a minute."
"Ah, y-yes sir! Right away!"
Ichigo watched in amusement as she ran down the hallway, stumbling over a floorboard in her haste. Returning his attention to his father, he frowned before turning on his heel and walking out of the room. He wiped the small amount of blood trickling from his lip off on the back of his hand, not caring if he stained the yukata he wore.
After several minutes of wandering around, he arrived in the dining area and found that his sisters, Yuzu and Karin, were already present. He silently took his spot at the end of the table, facing the head where his father usually sat. Karin sat to his right and Yuzu to his left.
"Onii-chan, there you are!" cried Yuzu. "I was getting worried!"
"There's no reason to be worried about him Yuzu," said Karin in a bored voice. "He can take care of himself."
"But…I always get so worried when he gets another assignment!" protested Yuzu as tears invaded the corner of her eyes.
Ichigo smiled gently and ruffled his younger sister's hair. "Yuzu, do you really think I would be sent out on those missions if they didn't think I would return home safely?"
"No, but I still worry about you! Mother would be so upset if she knew that something happened to you…" she murmured as she wiped away a tear that managed to escape.
"Then I'll just have to make sure not to upset mom, won't I?" whispered Ichigo as he glanced at the portrait of a young woman sitting on a small table.
The table was small, but intricate carvings decorated the dark wood. Wild flowers, no doubt picked by his sisters, stood in small vases on either side of the picture while a single stick of incense burned, filling the room with a warm, fragrant scent. Ichigo's smile fell when he gazed at the woman in the small painting. The colors had faded somewhat, but you could still see the pink that tinted her cheeks as she smiled lovingly upon her children, as well as the caramel colored locks that fell across her face. While looking at that picture, Ichigo could remember his childhood as clearly as if it had happened mere days ago. The innocence that graced his life, the times when he frolicked in the meadows with his sisters while his parents looked on, smiling quietly at one another…they were all engraved in his mind.
When he was six years old, his quiet world came crashing down when his mother was taken away from them. Murdered by a rival clan, she had been unfairly taken from them. It was on that day that he had sworn to protect his family and seek revenge on the monsters that ruined their happiness.
"Ichi-nii, are you okay?"
Ichigo turned to look at Karin, torn away from his thoughts when her small hand tugged on the sleeve of his yukata. "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just…thinking."
Karin nodded, knowing that it was best to not pry into his thoughts when it came to their mother. She glanced around the room and frowned. "Where's the old man?" she asked.
"Onii-chan, you didn't beat up father again, did you?!" exclaimed Yuzu.
"Tch, he deserved it," grumbled Ichigo as he reached for his chopsticks.
"Onii-chan, you know we have to wait for father!"
"Yuzu, if we don't eat now, the food will be cold by the time he gets here," interjected Karin as she picked up her chopsticks as well. "He should know better than to piss off Ichi-nii this early in the morning anyway."
"Karin-chan, that's not how a lady is supposed to talk!" gasped Yuzu as she stared at her sister in horror.
Ichigo shook his head as Karin waved off Yuzu's concern in an off-handed manner. Their father did not make an appearance until the end of their meal, which Ichigo was grateful for. After some complaints about how his children hadn't waited for him, Isshin began eating, discussing what they were going to be doing that day. Yuzu would be resuming her training in calligraphy while Karin blatantly refused to attend, saying she would be better off learning archery.
"I'm not into that girly sort of thing," she said flatly.
Ichigo set his empty bowl down, resting his chopsticks on the edge of the dish and glancing around the room. He opened his mouth to excuse himself from the table when a messenger arrived at his side.
"Ichigo-sama, we have another assignment for you," he said as he handed Ichigo a small piece of paper with the family seal on it.
"I see," murmured Ichigo as he took the paper and unfolded it. His amber eyes scanned the paper quickly before glancing back at the man beside him. "You're dismissed."
The man quickly rose to his feet and exited the room, leaving Ichigo to read over the paper once again. His brows furrowed in confusion as he re-read the letter again and again.
"What is it?" inquired Karin as she attempted to peer over his shoulder. "Another super-secret mission?"
"If you want to put it that way…" muttered Ichigo as he folded up the letter and tucked it inside his yukata. He eyed his father across the table before rising to his feet. "I wish to be excused. I need to prepare for my mission tonight."
"Go on then," said Isshin as he waved his hand at his son, signaling for him to leave the room. He watched as Ichigo quickly exited the room, and a small smile formed on his lips. "Make me proud…son."
Ichigo slowly returned to his room, his brows knitted together in thought. He was used to receiving orders at breakfast, but it perplexed him as to why he was chosen to be sent on this one in particular. Throwing himself onto his futon, he fished the letter out and re-read it once again before crumpling it into a ball and tossing it across the room. Rolling onto his side, he closed his eyes and exhaled heavily. As he drifted back to sleep, one line continuously ran through his head.
You must kill the priestess of the Six Flowers.
Well…there it is. I hope you liked it, and I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions from you guys! :D Feel free to leave a review; it makes me more motivated to write!