A/n: …. I refuse to even look at how long it's been since I last updated. I've been busy with schooling, my muse completely fucked me over and abandoned me, and my brain has gone a hundred miles per minute. This story will NOT leave me alone. Thus, I attempt to get it finished. I apologize to my fans at this... utter blatant forgottenness of them. This chapter is almost 6000 words in apology. Renji's ready for another fight and Ichigo's ready to give it to him. (Next Chapter is Kenpachi time. WHOOT! And Ichigo's hollow gets to make his first appearance of many.)

Warnings: Violence, Blood, fighting, Renji (Who's still an asshole at this point in time), More from the ever cryptic Kinen, Insightful/Paying attention to detail Hanataro, and Ganju getting made fun of.

Disclaimer: Do I look like Tite Kubo to you? No? Didn't think so. Kinen belongs to me though.

Ichigo stared around at all the men surrounding her, Ganju, and the young medic they were attempting to hold hostage. How was it always her that managed to get into situations like this? See, while she had been searching for Ganju, she was stupid enough to forget that she was being chased and had called out his name in an attempt to find him. After defeating some thugs that were chasing her, she finally managed to locate the moron when he lit fireworks in the sky. She had chased after the direction they'd come from, only to start getting chased again and while turning corners, she'd bumped into Ganju and both had gotten stuck in the middle of a gang of Shinigami. When one of the soul reapers got pushed forward, Ganju and Ichigo both attempted to hold the kid hostage, only to find out that everyone hated the division the kid came from, therefore told the two to kill him. And thus, lead to their current predicament, being stuck in a middle of a gang of thugs with a young medic, cornered on all sides.

Ichigo looked all around her with a look of sheer annoyance. How she hated groups that fought like this. She reached back unconsciously to grab her sword. She knew they were going to have to fight their way out of this. As she started voicing this however, someone broke through the wall, covering the area with smoke and debris. Ichigo took this time to quickly grab a hold of Ganju and start running, knowing and taking chances when she got them.

Soon enough, when they reached an empty building, both Ichigo and Ganju sat down to rest, that is until Ichigo noticed their new addition, which Ganju had dragged along on accident. Once Ganju released him from his hold, the young man straightened himself up. Ichigo took in his tiny frame, short black hair, and large doey eyes. After a quick lashing out at Ganju for bringing him along, Ichigo turned to the newcomer. "Who are you", she asked curiously.

The young boy perked up as he was addressed and then bowed to them both. "Hanataro Yamada", was who he introduced himself as. The young boy seemed very meek and timid. It wasn't hard to understand why he was being picked on earlier.

Ichigo and Ganju looked at each other for a moment before looking back at the young boy. "It's so ordinary it's hard to remember", they both said in unison.

The black haired boy sat up in surprise at this. "What", he asked incredulously, "E-everybody says it's a good and easy name to remember!"

Ichigo frowned slightly, brows furrowing. "Really? Maybe 'Taro Yamada' or 'Hanako Yamada,' but 'Hanataro'? It just… doesn't stick." Ichigo frowned deeper at her lack of a good expression of her words. Her head tipped to the side slightly.

Ganju blinked a few times before realizing who the young man was that they were talking to. "Hey, you're the enemy! Why are you introducing yourself?" The young kid was so polite and timid, but he didn't know why he was acting as though he wasn't possibly in danger by being with the two.

Hanataro blinked a few times, pondering over that himself. "I don't know", he said after a moment with a cutely confused look on his face. As Ichigo turned and glared once more at Ganju, spitting curses out at the man for being a moron, Hanataro studied them both closely. They soon began to study a makeshift map Ganju drew of the seireitei. As they heatedly discussed what to do, Hanataro's ears perked up as he heard a familiar name mentioned in the conversation. Once drawing attention to himself, the two said that he could just leave. Hanataro looked down for a moment as the two turned back to their map. "The person you're looking for is Rukia Kuchiki, isn't it", the black haired boy asked meekly. He gained a knowing look when Ichigo whipped around to face him. "I thought so... then the white tower you mentioned is the Senzaikyu..." He looked down and off to the side before looking back at the two ryoka once again. "I know... a secret path to that tower."

Ichigo's eyes widened. She couldn't believe this. How did this kid know Rukia? How did he know a way to the tower? All her questions were soon answered as the black haired youth led them through the Seireitei quietly and down a hidden latch. As Ichigo and Ganju oogled at the vast expanse of the tunnels down below, Hanataro explained about the fourth division having to use the tunnels at lot and knowing each of them. Ichigo nodded as the young boy explained but one thing still plagued her mind. "Hanataro, why are you helping us?" The young boy, along with Ichigo and Ganju stopped. "We're the enemy... Is it because we want to go to the white tower? Is that why you're guiding us without asking any questions?"

Hanataro was silent for a few more minutes. "I've heard a lot about you from Rukia-san, Kurosaki-san." The reply was soft a meek. The young man turned around with a soft yet hopeful look on his face. "I hope you can save Rukia-san." He looked off to the side meekly. "Before she was taken to the Senzaikyu Shi-shinro, she was held in the sixth company's detention area. I was assigned cleaning duties there." The group all sat down near the wall and listened to Hanataro's story intently. "At first I was afraid of her", he admitted meekly, "Because she was an aristocrat." He smiled lightly. "But... The first time I called her Kuchiki-sama... she corrected me... She told me to call her Rukia." His smile brightened, a light flush to his cheeks. "Her voice was kind. I was so relieved. From then on, I couldn't wait... to clean her cell each day. Then, little by little... Rukia-san began telling me all kinds of things. And much of it... was about you, Kurosaki-san. She said... that you'd only spent two months together... but for some inexplicable reason... she felt she could trust you completely." He paused and looked down. "But she said... That because of her... your fate had been twisted. She felt she'd hurt you terribly.." His eyes softened before he looked up at Ichigo. "She said she could never make up for what she'd done to you. She would say that... and always at the end... her face would be sad."

Ganju listened to all of this in turn, staring over at Ichigo to gauge his reactions. "I don't know", he said quietly, rubbing his head tiredly, "She's a strange shinigami too..."

Ichigo sat in silence for a moment. "Yeah, she's strange all right." Ichigo stood up abruptly. "That's why I came to save her!" She took off quickly away from the two. She could hear Ganju and Hanataro scrambling to get up and follow after her, telling her to wait. Her eyes narrowed as she ran, thinking through what the young shinigami had told them. "That idiot," she breathed in irritation, "I'm the one that owes her!" Her face twisted into one of her faces of determination. "I won't let you die, Rukia!"

Hanataro finally managed to keep up, giving directions to Ichigo as she ran. He soon enough climbed up one of the ladders and popped open a hatch, scrambling out. "It's clear." As soon as Ganju and Ichigo crawled out of the hole, taking in as much fresh air as possible from being down in the sewers for so long, Hanataro pointed to the tower they were even more near to than before. "There is where Rukia is..." The whole group looked at the mess of white buildings in front of them.

Ganju whistled under his breath. "We're close but... it sure looks forbidding. Think it's gonna get tougher from here on." He had a light smile on his face, trying to lighten the tense and tough mood. He noticed Ichigo tense and made to move after him before a hand was held up, telling him to stop. "What's wrong, Ichigo?"

Ichigo looked in the direction of the steps, the dust swirling around the base. "There's somebody on the steps", she said quietly. Her eyes narrowed as the dust settled and the outline of a very familiar, cocky ass redhead came into view. She grit her teeth in irritation. Here she was hoping she wasn't going to have to put up with the bastard again, only for her hopes to be shot down.

Renji took up a tensed, battle ready stance. He lifted the goggles that were over his eyes and rested them on his forehead once more. "It's been a long time... Do you remember me?" The redhead's speech was formal and almost mechanical. He still didn't understand how the irritating bastard of a substitute shinigami was still alive, much less a shinigami again. He had thought his captain had finished him for good. Apparently not.

Ichigo's eyes narrowed as she reached back and put her hand on the hilt of her sword. "Renji Abarai", she spit out in a virulent tone. The man made her blood boil, as did his prick of a captain. How she hated the two with a burning passion. She knew from her dreams that she would in time, get used to them, but for now, she would stick to her absolute annoyance and hatred.

Renji smirked, stepping down the last few steps and stepping onto the ground at the bottom. "What a surprise. You even remember my name. Excellent." His tone was mocking, and full of absolute arrogance. He knew the outcome would be in his favor, he just wanted to mess with the ryoka a bit. Ichigo's eyes narrowed in annoyance. As Hanataro explained who Renji was to Ganju, Ichigo made her way closer to the redheaded bastard, as she so kindly dubbed him for now. Ichigo's lips curled into a sneer of disgust as the redhead stepped closer to her as well.

Renji smirked lightly towards the teen. "I don't know how you survived... but, my compliments." He began to draw his sword as the smirk disappeared and a serious look overtook his face. "But it ends here. Didn't I tell you that I'd kill the one who took Rukia's powers? As long as you live... she can't get her powers back." He shifted his sword grip and took up a fighting stance, ready to spring into the fight at any given moment.

Ichigo began to pull Zangetsu off her back swiftly. "What do you care? You were ready to kill her just to bring her back here!" She gripped Zangetsu with both hands and began to rush forward to attack. "You're gonna let me pass," she shouted at him, "Or you're gonna have to kill me!"

Renji smirked once again in amusement. "Come. We'll let... strength decide, eh?" The redhead brought up his sword to take the brunt of the swing of Ichigo's sword. The two knocked each other away before resuming their clashing of steel upon steel. They parried each swing the other made, synchronizing their steps unknowingly in the process. Soon, Renji was forced back against a rock wall, pushing back against the behemoth, meat cleaver of a sword the teen now carried. Somehow, he figured it not much different than the teen's first Zanpak-to: large, heavy, and virtually useless. "Oi, Kurosaki. How do you intend to save Rukia?" At the sharp look from the teen, he continued. "Even if you beat me, there are eleven more lieutenants... and thirteen more captains to deal with. If you want to save Rukia, you'll have to defeat us all. Do you really think you can do that?"

Ichigo stared at the redhead with a look of light shock, really realizing what she would have to do, and who she would have to face. Her eyes narrowed once more. "I have to!" Her patience was wearing thin now as she glared hatefully at Renji. "Who the hell fucking cares who I fight? I'll crush you all! Anybody that gets in my way is going down!"

Renji stared at the teen, a grave look on his face. He was a hopeless case, Renji knew that now. "Where does this bravado come from", he asked with narrowed eyes, now comprehending how this kid had managed to get this far, "You may have escaped death a few times... But don't delude yourself." He paused for a moment and gave a scoff. "Your zanpakuto changed? I hope you don't think... that made you stronger." He pushed the teen back with a fierce push and blast of spirit energy. He closed his eyes and called out his zanpakuto's name. "Howl, Zabimaru!"

Ichigo braced her sword up as the linked zanpakuto rushed forward, slamming into Zangetsu roughly. 'I can't counter it', was the only thing she could think as she was roughly slammed through one of the surrounding walls, splitting her head open once again. 'Oh fuck me. Not this going through walls shit again. God damn it that hurt! Motherfucker, I'll kick his sorry fucking ASS!'

Renji clicked his tongue as Zabimaru came whirling back towards him. "So, you thought you knew me because we had fought before, eh? But, I'll let you in on a little secret, for your own good." Once his zanpakuto was fully reigned in, he began to move closer to where the teen went through the wall. "When shinigami that are ranked lieutenant or higher go to the human world, in order to avoid influencing the humans unduly... our powers are suppressed." He stopped, cocking his head to the side in a cocky manner. "I'm five times more powerful than I was then! No matter how much stronger you're gotten... there's no way you can defeat me!"

"Oh, so this is your real strength huh? Well, it ain't enough!" Renji only stared in light surprise as the orange haired teen clambered out of the hole, giant sword resting on shihakusho clad shoulders, blood running down the right half of the young teen's face. "Not even close. But, thanks for the F.Y.I! If the other lieutenants are like you, I may just have a chance."

Renji could only smirk cruelly. This kid really was completely hopeless. "Fool."

Ichigo stood firmly, though her sight was beginning to waver. 'Fuck, I'm dizzy. That one rocked me... My legs feel rubbery. I lost too much blood when I fought Ikkaku... Stop swaying damn it!' She couldn't help her own body as it began to sway uncontrollably, trying to lose its balance and fall to the ground. She couldn't just give up right now. She'd already come this damned far and she wasn't going to stop because of a little lightheadedness from bloodloss. She'd been in worse fights than this in the human world, so she needed to stop being an idiot and focus all god damn ready. She hardly noticed when Renji began to move forward.

"You talk big, but you can barely stand." He jumped up, preparing Zabimaru to strike out once again, a wide smirk on his face. "I'm finishing this!" With that, the deadly sword crashed through the building behind the teen. Once he saw Ichigo moving out of the line of fire, he began chasing the orange haired teen across the rooftops. He lashed out time after time against the teen, trying to make Ichigo slip up. Once they were back on the ground panting heavily from the constant blows and parries, Renji started in again. "You're tough. So you really want to save Rukia?" He sneered down at the orange haired teen, wanting nothing more than stomping the brat into the ground and putting him out of his misery.

Ichigo scoffed lightly, gripping her sword tightly with one hand, leaning against the wall, trying to catch her breath. She looked up at the crimson haired lieutenant with a determined look. "You idiot... I don't want to save her. I'm going to save her!" She was forced back, more wounds littering her shoulders as Zabimaru cut through her bandages.

"Silence!" Renji's teeth gnashed together tightly as he snarled ferally at the orange haired brat, shouting at the top of his lungs. "Rukia was condemned because you stole her powers! Don't you realize that? Rukia is going to die because of you! And you have the audacity to show your face here and say that you're going to save her! It's all your fault!"

Ichigo was quiet for a beat. "I know... that Rukia was sentenced to death because of me!" Her eyes opened as she too began screaming at the top of her lungs. "That's why I've come to save her!" She knocked away Zabimaru once again, Renji spitting cusses at her as he rushed forward to attack once again. She began analyzing his attack style, recalling what Urahara had told her about consecutive attacks. 'he can swing Zabimaru in its normal state one time. When it's extended, he an strike two more times... for a total of three attacks. After the third attack, Zabimaru returns to normal.' She recalled Urahara in her minds eyes telling her as she blocked off his three attacks that between the first set of attacks and the next is when your opponent is most vulnerable. As the third attack was deflected, she rushed forward, raising her zanpakuto to strike out at the lieutenant. "It's over Renji!"

Renji, side stepped to the side, surprising the orange haired teen. "I told you... You have no chance of defeating me." With that, he slashed the teen from the left shoulder down across his chest. As the teen fell back, Renji almost sneered at the surprised look that crossed the teen's face as he fell back. "You're wondering how I dodged it? It's good to strike between serial attacks. Your timing was perfect, So why didn't you kill me?" He strode forward, standing over the orange haired teen, a blank look on his face. "The answer is simple. You're too slow. I'm too far out of your league. Very simple. Brutally so. Understand?" As the orange haired brat continued to stare lifelessly at the ground, Renji lifted his zanpakuto once again, ready to deliver the final blow. "You can't save Rukia... because you're already dead!"

A flash of light blasted through the area. Ichigo was back in her inner mindset, reliving her training with Urahara underneath his shop. As the memories replayed through her head, her getting kicked around like a rag doll with her screeching at the top of her lungs every time Urahara called her one of the ridiculous pet names he'd created for her, she began to remember one of the final points of Urahara's lesson. 'Miss Ichigo, you sword only resonates with fear. When you evade, it's "I don't want to be killed!" When you attack, its "I'm afraid to kill!" When you are trying to protect someone, it's "I'm afraid she'll die." Your sword speaks only of fear! That's all wrong. Fear won't bring you victory in battle. Nothing is born of fear. If you evade, it should be—"he's not going to kill me!" If you're protecting someone, it's—"I won't let her be killed!" If you're attacking, it's—"Kill!" See? Do you hear what my sword resonates with? It's the resolve... to kill you!"

'I see now. Thank you, Urahara.' Ichigo grabbed onto the end of the redhead's sword with a frown of determination. She looked up with hardened eyes, determination shining through with her resolve firmly in place. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Renji. I've resolved... to kill you." The sword in his hand was thrown back, along with Renji as raw power radiated from her.

The crimson haired lieutenant couldn't believe his eyes, however. 'What the? How did he..?' He moved to attack once again, only to be rendered motionless as a shockwave of power rushed over him and slices were made to him now, cutting up his torso badly and breaking the goggles resting on his forehead. His hair tie broke, his crimson hair falling around him and fanning out in the air as he fell back. The only thoughts going through his mind was of his defeat. He stared across the way at the orange haired teen, wondering what the hell had happened and why this kid had won. A sharp, piercing, agonized cry left the red haired man's lips. Thoughts plagued his mind of the raven haired girl that was to be executed soon. How they'd met, the times they shared in Rukongai, entering the academy, and their breaking apart. He began to muse aloud how much of a coward he was, not having the courage to try to reach impossible goals rather than admire them from the background.

He stumbled forward clumsily, getting near the orange haired teen, grabbing him up by the collar and saying what needed to be said. "I've never been good enough... to beat Captain Kuchiki... Since Rukia left... I've trained every day to no avail... He's just too good... I'm not strong enough... to save her! Kurosaki... I'm asking you, knowing that I shame myself... Save her! Save Rukia!" By the end of his speech, he was kneeling over, still gripping the other's shihakusho. His voice was pained and grief stricken as he spoke. He knew... he knew he wasn't good enough. This kid was the only chance Rukia had at living... so he would have to trust him... just this once.

Ichigo watched the red haired lieutenant, a softness alighting in her eyes. She understood a bit better now. He had no choice but to do this... no matter how much he hated to hurt Rukia. Ichigo could only nod solemnly at the lieutenant, her voice firm and determined, and comforting, almost taking on a softer voice. "I will." A moment later the redhead's grip on her shihakusho loosened as the crimson haired lieutenant fell limply to the ground. Ichigo's body fell seconds after, laying face down n a pool of her own blood next to the lieutenant.

A smile flitted across the seer's face as she watched the scenes play out below as Ichigo was hauled away back into the underground tunnels and Renji was taken away for treatment of his injuries. She hummed a familiar tune under her breath, eyes slipping shut. As her eyes opened once again, she looked up at the sky with a wistful smile. "What was once weak will now be strong, and you will need to prepare for the battles that lie ahead. When crimson mixes with crimson on the ground will you begin to understand." She repeated her words directed at Byakuya in the earlier Captain's meeting. He would understand once he saw Renji once he was brought back from the fight. Crimson mixed with crimson on the ground. His hair and his blood representing the change in power that Kurosaki Ichigo now possessed.

"And she will continue to become stronger and stronger." The silver haired woman hummed wistfully before turning and disappearing from her perch once again.

Ichigo's eyes fluttered open slowly. She winced mildly as the blurs around her slowly began to focus. Her head hurt like fuck and the rest of her body felt like absolute shit. She could tell she was back in the tunnels again, but that was as far as she knew. She shifted slightly, hearing an "Oh" in surprise. Her eyes finally registered the medic that was tagging along with them now. "Hanataro?" Her voice was a bit scratchy, but she managed to deepen it enough to sound normal.

"A-ah, Ichigo-san, you're awake." Hanataro smiled lightly down at her. "Please, try not to move much, your wounds aren't closed yet. A l-lot of them are much shallower that I thought they'd be due to your excess amount of bandages on you already during the fight. They lessened the damages immensely, but there's still a lot of damage even so. You're shoulders took the worst hits. So, please take it easy Ichigo-san. I've almost finished bandaging you wounds." He was working methodically as he spoke, being firm but gentle with the bandages as he applied them to the teen.

Ichigo nodded lightly, almost sleepily. "Thanks for patching me up..." Her eyes shot open after she registered moments later that Hanataro had bandaged her upper body. 'Well shit. I'm fucking busted.' She tried sitting up during this, only to get pushed down again by a meek Hanataro saying how she didn't need to be up yet. As she laid back down, she looked at the meek medic and a concentrated look came over her face. "Hanataro?"

Hanataro looked down at her with a curious expression on his face. "Y-yes, Ichigo-san? Is... s-something wrong?" At the silence that came a moment afterwards, the young medic smiled a bit nervously down at the teen. "I-if you were wondering, I d-do know that y-you are female and n-not male." His voice was quiet so Ganju wouldn't overhear outside of where they were. "Though, I-I knew before I b-bandaged you up. I-I promise th-that I didn't look, o-or anything!"

Ichigo shook her head lightly. "I didn't think that you would." The young medic wasn't like that from what she could tell. She paused before shooting the medic a confused look. "Knew before? How?" She couldn't of done something that gave her away, could she? She went through everything she'd done since he'd joined their party... No, she hadn't done anything that could have given her away... So how?...

Hanataro rubbed the back of his head a shit sheepishly. "C-call it paying attention t-to detail... b-but it was the way you walk." At the next confused glance, he elaborated what he meant. "Y-you hide that you a-are female quite well, Ichigo-san. I w-wouldn't have guessed you were female i-if it hadn't been for the way y-you walk. You see, a female's legs a-are attached different than a man's and-"

"Oh, right. Duh. When girls walk or run, the legs rotate at the joint causing the hips to sway from side to side. Men's hips don't do that. That's also why men can run faster because female joints slow down the friction by milliseconds." It was Hanataro's turn to look surprised now as he stared down at her. It was Ichigo's turn to look a bit sheepish. "My father's a doctor... all his rambling and owning a clinic has taught me a lot about the human body. It's how I learned how to hide how I was a woman. Old man's good for something, I guess."

"O-oh." Hanataro laughed softly. "W-well, that explains a bit." He smiled at the teen again. "I a-also apologize... Ganju-san kn-knows as well, s-since he c-came in while I w-was working on y-you."

Ichigo sighed heavily. "Of course... Oh well... The dipshit was bound to find out anyways." She looked back over at Hanataro silently again. "Just... promise me you won't tell anyone?" Her brows furrowed lightly, voice quieting down.

Hanataro only nodded swiftly. "O-of course... but... w-would you tell me why? Wh-why you dress as a b-boy, I mean? O-once y-you're feeling better, th-though!"

Ichigo nodded slightly, relaxing back and closing her eyes. "Yeah, I'll explain it in detail then." With that, Ichigo slipped back into the blissful unconsciousness of her dream.

Running. She was running again. This time, she was alone, running through the Soul Society almost frantically. 'Got to run and get the fuck AWAY from this psychopath long enough to get a grip and make a plan!' She continued running at full speed. Out of the blue, a giant of a man lashed out powerfully, knocking his smaller, jagged looking blade against hers, knocking her back and away, almost off her feet.

'Is running away all you can do?' He called out before running after her again. His captain's robe billowed behind him as he matched her speed easily. Black spiked out hair with bells in it jutted out behind him. The man's rough face was terrifying as was, though she couldn't of help but thought that the little pink haired girl with him earlier mellowed out his ruggedness with her own tiny cuteness. Aside from the fact she was a little terror.

The man burst forth through the wall to her side jumping in front of her. "Stop running. I don't enjoy chasing rabbits." With that, he lashed out at her again, their swords clanging together as Ichigo was forced back. She hit the wall, sliding down it and onto the ground with a grimace of pain.

Ichigo's eyes shot open once again as she sat up abruptly, panting heavily. It was her next fight... she knew it. She would have to face... that terrifying man... Kenpachi Zaraki. She felt he upper abdomen and found she was all bandaged. She was sore still but it seemed she was healed and ready to go. 'Hanataro did a good job on patching me up.' She tested her limbs and checked how Hanataro did her bandaging, pleased to find the young medic had done a good job of replicating how she always did her chest bindings. As she stepped over to the large opening, she smiled wryly at the sight that met her. Ganju was laying down against the wall with Hanataro splayed out across his lap asleep, drooling on Ganju's pantleg. She smirked as Ganju began to wake up, flailing around when he found Hanataro drooling on him. "He's exhausted. It's only a little drool."

Ganju turned abruptly, beginning to stand when he heard Ichigo's voice. His eyes went wide with surprise seeing the teen standing there, leaning against the wall. "Ichi- Ichigo! Are you better already?" He couldn't believe the teen was up and moving around. She should've still been down for the count after all she'd endured from that last battle.

Ichigo nodded lightly. "Yeah. Thanks to Hanataro. He did a good job. You're feeling better too, aren't you?" At the confused look sent her way, she jerked her head in the still sleeping medic's direction. "He healed your wounds even after being woozy from healing mine." As Ganju looked over where his own wounds once were, he found the teen's words rang true. "Come on, idiot. Wake up Hanataro and let's get going."

"Before that..." Ganju stared hard at the teen as she stopped and turned, throwing him a questioning look. He picked up one of the pebbles on the ground and chucked it at the orange haired teen's forehead, making Ichigo cuss darkly. "YOU are a fucking idiot." As Ichigo opened her mouth to make a snappy, snide remark, he cut her off and continued. "Why the hell didn't you say something before, you little shit? It would've kinda been a nice warning rather than finding out while Hanataro was treating you!"

Ichigo raised an eyebrow before throwing him a look that said he was stupid. "Do you really have to ask? If I wanted you know, I would have said so, dipshit. Besides, how could I have just slipped it into conversation? 'Yeah, let's go out to our next almost death match. Oh, by the way, just so you know, I'm actually a girl pretending to be a guy.' Are you fucking retarded?" Ichigo rolled her eyes, arms crossing over her chest. "Pretending to be male for a reason, moron. I don't just let everyone know I'm a woman. Most people that do know either figured it out by themselves or found out by accident. Chad was the only person I ever outright told, but the occasion was different and called for it."

"Wait, so the rest of your group knows?"

"No shit, Sherlock. You sure catch on quick. Even your sister knew."

"How the hell was I the only one who didn't know? WAIT. What the fuck do you mean Kukaku knew!"

"Exactly what I said, or are you too stupid to understand." She was mainly goading him now, just to piss him off. It was rather fun. Plus, he was too easy to annoy. "Actually, I think Yoruichi-san was the one who pointed out who I was and made her realize it. Besides, you honestly should have guessed it. You got the perfect clue that night Kukaku and I were talking." Ganju blinked repeatedly, just staring at her. "Think about it, Ganju. Why would Kukaku sing that song around me?"

Ganju looked up at her in surprise. "You-... You're the one! The one in that prophecy!"

It was Ichigo's turn to look upon Ganju in blank confusion. "Prophecy? What prophecy?" At the silence she was met with, Ichigo glared over at Ganju, stomping over to him, grabbing him up by the collar forcefully. "WHAT prophecy, Ganju? What are you talking about?"

Ganju bit his lip lightly before conceding and giving in. "There's... there's been a three part prophecy in the Soul Society for a very long time... Passed down by the seer herself. The first bit talked about the formation of the Soul Society and its state of being. The second portion talked about the incident that happened one hundred years ago, losing so many captains and lieutenants all at one time on a mission gone bad. The third part predicts the rise of the great evil, which will rise about this time, and says it will be stopped by two opposing forces from both sides of whatever war gets started. I can only guess it's the land of the hollows and the Soul Society fighting. I never completely understood the prophecy but I know... you're a piece of it."

Ichigo stared at him hard few a few long moments. Her stare was almost blank but calculating. When Ganju waved a hand in front of her face, both of her hands shot up. Ganju immediately ducked back to he wouldn't get hit, only to stumble backwards unexpectedly as the orange haired teen hugged him tightly for a brief moment. "Thank you. You've been the most helpful so far. Everyone else has led me in circles, besides your sister. But you've given me a place to start looking once this is all over. So thanks." She released him just as quickly and stepped back. She smirked in amusement as Ganju coughed, face turned a pale pink. "Wake up Hanataro already and lets get going. We've still got a ways to go before we hit the Senzaikyu. This time, I'll make it. Let's go!"

-- Oh Jesus Christ in heaven why did it take me so long to finish this? UGH. Well, it's done. FINALLY. Afteraboutwhatayear? Ohohohohohoho. –Shot- Dx Anyways, read and review.

Oh, and as a side note, personally, I like constructive criticism, I really do. And I love people giving me ideas to work off of, because I've added SO much just from some of the ideas people have offered (Ichigo's inner hollow a prime example). But seriously, don't be rude JUST because I have pairings in this story you don't like. There'll be some very random pairings (most near the end), I admit. If you have a problem with it, don't read this story. And most Yaoi coupling will be mentioned in passing, with a bit of banter and idiocy along with it.

And trust me, everything I put into this story in the way I put it, has a purpose and I won't change it just because you drop hints or say I should put certain things in there. There's a specific direction this is going and I am sticking to ideas. However, I am open to people's thoughts because this story is still open minded outside of the main plot.

As another note, seriously, if you have a problem with the way I write this, don't fucking read it. I got a rather rude review a while back wondering where I got some of my terms. FYI, I'm using the manga I purchased here in America. You don't like it? Fuck off and don't criticize. I'm taking it straight from there. Though, I'm tiring of half the words and going back to Japanese terms out of annoyance. Like Shinigami (seriously, Soul Reaper sounds retarded), Reiatsu, the honorific terms like –san, -kun, -chan (but those come and go depending on the character).

Alright, rant over. Have a nice day.