A/N: Well, hello! It's been a long two years since I've touched this story. Much has happened much has changed, and my writing skills have improved immeasurably since then. But before we step back into the story, I thought I'd clarify a few things. First, and I'm only going to say this once: Ichigo is NOT one of thos shitty twilight vampires that sparkle in the sunlight. He. Is. Not! Sunlight + Ichigo = painful firery death. His strength equated the time he can stand under the sun and no, won't die right away but he WILL burn beneath sunlight, hell, he'll even be weaker during the day which may become a major crux when he's in the living world. Obviously he'd feel more at home in Hueco Muendo, but Soul Society? I'm not entirely sure how to clarify that. I mean, they have the sun too, but would it be any different than that of the human world? Also, after further thought that bit of a vampire having to be torn to pieces like the Twilight vamps? THAT IS OUT. This fic shall not be associated with Twilight in the slightest!
I apologize for the miscommunication in the last chapter and would appreciate your thoughs on that matter, my friends. One last thing, before we begin: I'm growing rather weary of hearing from all these anonymous reviewers flaming me for not updating my older stories while constantly writing new nones. Proved you wrong, didn't I? Now, with that being said, let us brush off two years of dust and step once more...
...into the pages of Curiousity!
"This...is going to take some getting used to...
Daze of Lust IV
You are a vampire.
Whatever Ichigo had been about to say in response to Halibel's statement, was subsuquently swallowed as Halibel's garaganta snapped shut behind them. Halibel did not have such fortune. The youth's yowl of disbelief tore through their ears like the cry of a menos grande, subsuquently leaving her, alongside most of the party, deafened and dumb.
"YOU MADE ME A FREAKIN' VAMPIRE?!" he exclaimed aghast, gawping at the mocha-skinned arrancar. "How could you?!"
"Would you rather I let you die?" Halibel asked archly.
"Well, no...but still!"
Ichigo faltered, his fury flickering beneath the starrk reality of her words. Because Halibel spoke the truth. Had she refused him her blood in Hueco Muendo, had she not poured her own power into him, he'd surely have perished at Ulquiorra's hands. It certainly didn't help that said arrancar stood only a few feet from him! With that realization he was suddenly tempted to push the hollow from the reaitsu path upon which they stood; to cast him into the darkness and have him be lost forever. He wasn't the least bit sorry for what he'd done, for what he'd made her do to him!
"Ichigo, its alright." Neliel soothed, tenderly touching a hand to the quivering hybrid's cheek. "We understand." She whispered softly. "You didn't ask for this. Any of this...
A harsh laugh cut off whatever else he might've said.
"This is freaking hilarious!" Grimmjow guffawed, clutching at his gut in a vain attempt to stifle his mirth. "So are ya gonna sparkle in the sun, too, Kuorsaki?!" He couldn't constrain his glee, even as Halibel and Ulquiorra pinnioned him on their combined gaze. The Tercera and Quarta espada silently shared their disdain, at the Sexta's superfluous outburst, but he continued to snicker nonetheless. It was only when he sensed a unfamiliar aura of doom that the azure-haired espada finally realized his own peril; what with being surrounded by a vizard, an irate captainess and three arrancar, each of whom were several times stronger than him.
"Espada-san," Unohana smiled softly, her voice breaking the silence left by his own dread. "Would you kindly be quiet?"
For a moment-a very brief moment-Ichigo considered warning the azure-haired espada about the horrors that was Unohana Retsu. Reconsidering, the fact; a slow, vindictive smile stole its way over his face. Why should he warn him? And as made evident by the ever-throbbing vein visible in the arrancar's jaw, he was about to get his wish. Payback's a bitch, Grimmjow...
"Why the hell should I listen to you, shinigami?!" Grimmjow growled, his own fury returning with the force of a raging tempest. "Come to think of it...why did we bring your sorry ass with us anyway?! In fact..." Pantera flew free from her sheathe with a mournful howl; it tapered tip screaming down at her head before anyone could think to stop him. "Why don't you do us all a favor and disappear!"
"Grimmjow!" Neliel cried! "What are you doing?!"
Blue eyes bulged as the zanpaktou found itself stopped, trapped, wedged firmly against a single finger. Grimmjow balked as that single finger clicked over the blade, a holdfast preventing him from extricating the blade out of her grasp. What's more, he could feel the reaitsu behind her hold, and it chilled him to the bone. No way! How could someone-let alone a soul reaper-be this friggin' strong?! It was almost as if she were stronger than Aizen! At that very moment he half-expected a sword through the throat for his
"I think that's enough for today, espada-san." Unohana's mellifluous word wafted over him like a cool breeze, her pleasant smile and expression never wavering in the slightest. "We wouldn't want you to injure yourself before the battle now, would we?" Grimmjow opened his mouth to reply, but no words came. He had the strangest sensation in his chest, right where his heart ought to be. It was...fear? No, that wasn't quite right. He supposed it was more akin to admiration. Not fear, not respect, but admiration. This shinigami...she knew the rules of badassery to a T! Unflinching in the face of danger, of his anger...
"Che." He ripped Pantera away from her-rather, she allowed him to-and slammed it back into the sheathe. "She's got a point...I guess. But I sure as hell ain't following no sparkly ass vampire!"
"There will be no sparkling." Halibel deadpanned severely. "Sunlight is harmful to me and my kind, and as I pointed out earlier, we do not glitter when we burn to ash. As I possess the body of an arrrancar, however, it poses little threat to me at present. Although...
All eyes fell upon Kursoaki.
"We're going to have to do something about you." She turned towards him with intent. "Kurosaki Ichigo, I ask that you stay still. Very still."
"Oi oi oi!" Ichigo stepped backward nearly falling off the reiatsu path in his haste to escape. "What're you going to do?" Halibel's hand secured him by the head, holding fast to his face, lest he fall. Even as he struggled, he felt a pair of arms secure him from behind, locking around his shoulders in a full nelson. Nel?! Ichigo thrashed in surprise, but to no avail. The terceira's strength was far greater than his own, and he'd yet to recover his reiatsu. He wanted to buck, needed to break free. Instead he stood rooted upon the trail of reishi as Halibel cupped his cheek in her hand; her fingers holding an infinite gentleness, her eyes boring deep intently into his own.
"Do not worry." She whispered, her teeth brushing at the nape of his neck. "I will not allow you to die."
"It's not dying that I'm worried about-
"Is that so?" Halibel blinked her surprise, momentarily drawing back from the vein to look him square int he eye. "That is good to know."
"If you do not fear death, than I no longer have any reservations about doing this."
"We'll take good care of your body." Unohana reassured him calmly. "Be sure to knock some sense into your self."
"Whaddya mean by-
Before Ichigo could protest further, Halibel's fangs plunged into his neck. Her lips cupped his skin, not draining him of his blood strength, but rather, burgeoning it. Ichigo froze, motionless and powerless as raw reaitsu poured into his soul. And then there was pain. Raw, agonizing pain. Fire in his veins and lava in his blood. It was excruciating. Heart-wrenching. Oh. Right. He didn't have a heart, not anymore. The first time he'd been exposed to her powers he'd been-thankfully-unconcsious; his soul dangling at the preipiece between worlds, hanging between life and of death. This time was different. This time Kursoaki Ichigo was concsious. He was acutely aware of the changes taking place in his body, of her power, her very essence coursing through his veins. He'd never been lent this much strength at one time before even by Zangetsu. Hell, he felt like he could conquer the world!
"Ha!" An eerie familiar voice cackled in his head. "That's more like it, king! Good to see some ambition out of ya!"
Brown eyes flew wide open.
Kurosaki needn't have looked but he did so anyway, flinging a glance over his shoulder; alarmed to find his world subemerged in water. Bubbles burgeoned past his lips engorging the soaked skyscrapers with life-giving and unneccesary oxygen. It was a mistake. Scarce had he spared his attention for his surroundings than he found a massive blade careening toward his head!
Zangetsu lurched from its wrappings, its ascent not at all slowed by the ocean's embrace. Black met white, two giant cleavers crashing againstone another with gusto. Ichigo nearly lost his grip on the tang when he saw his attacker's face; nearly lost the battle outright as his opponent strove against him.
Ichigo's other half, his hollow half, sneered back at him. Gone was the pitch black of the garaganta. Gone were the faces of his comrades; of Halibel of Neliel, of Unohanna, replaced by a bone white visage he had come to fear and dread over the last year. Golden black eyes blazed back into his own, cruel white teeth arching upward in an arrogant affront to his pride. Garbed in white, standing in stark contrast to his black, the ghoulish spectre leveled a bone white finger and pressed it into his chest in silent accusation. Ichigo felt a cold current whip through his body, his brown eyes bulging as a swirl of shadow sizzled at his chest.
The deadly doom blast roared forward and tore against Ichigo's body. The attack had been too close for him to block, much less avoid; he had no choice but to take the strike directly to his chest. He flew back in agony as the bright wave ripped at his face and chest, his shihakusho burning away from his flesh, the sleeves of his black kimono sizzling from the heat. The blast seemed to last for aeons, before blowing past him as gravity took over, his body spiraling towards the skyscrapers limply.
He hit the street with a thud, his limbs trembling slightly as Zangetsu struggled to support his weight itself within his hand. He immediately struggled to rise, jabbing the tip of his zanpakuto into the ground and forcing himself up from his back. He had to get up. Had to stand up, had to-
The bone-white spectre appeared before him with a buzz, immediately slamming the now deadly white daito down at the prone vizard. Ichigo growled in rage and pain and frustration, as the massive cleaver shrank into the fearsome form of it second release and slammed into his unprepared hand, pinning the still-twitching limb to the floor against the deserted ciity streets. floor. The doppleganger peered down at him with emotionless eyes its golden-black orbs completely calm in the face of Kurosaki's fury.
"You..." He gasped, his chest rising and falling harsly as he struggled for breath. "I though I got rid of you!"
The hollow cackled cruelly.
"Fraid not, partner." It pushed the blade deeper into the wound, eager to end their rematch."Looks like I get to be king this time."
Cold fury burned the world white. Pain burned through that white as Ichigo tore his hand free from the pinnioing pole, staining the waters crimson with the effort. Uncaring for the gaping orifice adjouring the length of is palm, he reached for the weapon. Broken fingers grasped, fumbled, touched the white blade, burnishin the pristine steel with a bloody smear for the faintest instant. The hollow jerked back as if it'd been burned, golden eyes wide as it ripped itsself and its weapon away; flinging both backwards, skipping in retreat in recompense for this sudden temerity.
Ceasing its maddened glower at the sinister stain of shadow etched into the steel's surface, the hollow curiously regarded its once fallen opponent. A look of irritation crossed the its golden eyes as it regarded the slowly recovering Shinigami before him. Shadow and flame burgeoned the depths between them, engorging the boy's aggrieved muscles with renewed power as he stood, woodenly. He swung the now released black bankai in a perfunctory slice, severing the waters that stood between them.
"Stubborn bastard." It growled. "Looks like you've managed to find a bit of resolve this time."
If Ichigo was at all fazed by the hollow's outburst, he did little to show it.
"Why are you here again?" He demanded, the black flames of his bankai flickering briefly as his shihakusho formed. "Where's old man Zangetsu?"
"I am here, Ichigo."
Brown eyes snapped to the right, alarmed to find themselves face to face with a far younger version of the grizzled zanpakutou standing several feet away. Severe and stern, the bankai form of his sword stared back at him, those cold blue orbs betraying nothing, not even concern.
"O-Old man Zangetsu?"
"I am Tensa Zangetsu."
Ichigo reeled in surprise.
"That's right, you've never come to your mindscape while in Bankai, have you?"
"Oi oi oi!" Hichigo growled sullenlly. "This chapter ain't about you, idiot! It's about me!" He grinned roughly, levelling his blade at the current king."I told ya , didn't I, Ichigo? If ya want to learn ta master my powers...
He flung himself forward!
...then ya ain't allowed ta die!"
A/N: Well, Imma back! Hollow Ichigo returns! And in the latest news of Bleach...NO! WE LOST OLD MAN YAMMA! NOOOOOOO! Friggin Vandenreich! I hope Ichigo kicks your asses to kingdom come and then some! I know this chapter is painfully short, and for that, I apologize. It's been two years since I've touched this fic, but a recent review spurred me to start writing this again. I hope you enjoyed the hint of GrimmjowxRetsu (now ain't that a crack pairing) I left for ya'll. But anyway, back to the review that spurred me to start writing this story again. Ironic, isn't it? Words have power; you never now just how they might inspire you. Speaking of prhases...Halibel, if you would so kindly?
Halibel: Oh, very well *ahem*...
...REVIEW OR I'LL BITE YOU.
Nz: On second thought...Halibel-san?
Nz: I think some of the readers might actually ENJOY being bitten by you heywhyarelookingatmelikethat -
H: You were saying?
Nz:...Halibel-sama knows best.
Now, a preview of the battle against Aizen coming up in the next chapter!
Even as he issued the orders for his three elite espada and their fraccion to appear, he was curtailed. A deep, sonorous roar sundered the air, taking shape as a single, massive garaganta, the giant maw of black teeth splitting open to expose itself on the side of the Soul Society's forces. Gathered within, Kurosaki held a small army of his own, flanked by the former and current Tercera, alongside Grimmjow and Ulquiorra. The former wore a shit-eating grin of the most massive sort. Sneering, he unsheathed his zanpakutou and pointed it toward the aspiring god, the one man he wanted to kill more than anyone else, including the hyrbid at his back.
"Oi! Aizen!" He bellowed, unsheathing his sword. "Consider this my letter of resignation! I friggin' quit!"
"I respectfully resign as well." Ulquiorra drew his own blade.
"I never really liked you, either." Neliel stated politely as possible, slipping Gamuza free from its sheathe.
Aizen sweatdropped. How had he not seen this coming? He turned to find Starrk and Barragan at his back, both espada-as well as their fracccion-each wearing their own gobsmacked expression.
"This...was not part of my plan."
Yamamoto wasn't quite sure whether to incinerate these new arrivals or welcome them!