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A Crossover fanfic by A J

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, but the plot is all mine.

Prequel Chapter 1

Just after the defeat of Menos Grande

Ichigo cursed as he got back to his locker at the end of the school day. The weird lunch with Uryu had given him too much to think about. Tossing in all the books he wouldn't need to take home, he grabbed his reading assignment. The cover tore, and he cursed again. A cheap paberback copy from a secondhand book store, it hadn't been in great shape when he'd bought it for a mere 350 Yen. Less than a week in his possession though, and the poor thing was recycling waiting to happen.

He grinned ruefully at the thought that his things should be casualties as much as his patience – let alone his sanity – to the nightmare his life had become since meeting Rukia. Not that he'd trade the incredible chance to become hero and savior to family, friend, and stranger alike that she'd dropped in his lap. He just thought it was a shame that his random belongings were paying the price.

Carefully wrapping a spare piece of paper around the dilapidated paperback as an emergency cover, he tucked it into the most secure pocket on his backpack. With a sigh, he closed his locker … and jumped back in shock to find Rukia had been waiting behind the door.

"Stop doing that!" he cried, glaring and thumping his chest to make sure his heart was still beating.

She grinned at his histrionics, and turned to lead the way to the wrong exit. "Come on," she said before he could voice the question. "I want to get out the west door before Keigo tracks me down. The clown keeps asking me to the dance, and frankly I'm just too tired from yesterday still to tell him to go to Hell. Again. Not that he'll take the hint …"

"Heh. Maybe we ought to set him and Chizuru up, and give you and Orihime some peace and quiet." Rukia rolled her eyes, and the two chuckled.

"If only, Kurosaki; If only."

Not far away, Chad was listening with a grin as Orihime told Uryu about how she had blown the giant squid hollow away with her new fairy friends. "… and the little bossy one says 'Just do what we say, woman'," she reiterated in a falsetto bass voice, and the two young men laughed to her delight. She'd always liked being a storyteller, and now she had new and INteresting stories to tell. With a grin she went on to describe her three 'Shields' as they walked out the door to head home. The three teens were halfway out of the schoolyard when they saw Ichigo and Rukia come out around the corner of the gym building, headed the long way around to the Kurosaki Clinic.

"Hey, aren't you two headed the wrong way?" Orihime called out innocently. The two started, glancing over their shoulders as the others closed the distance between them.

"Yeah," Ichigo muttered, with a grin. "Rukia's trying to avoid Keigo … still." She was turning to tease him about what she'd heard during lunch with the other girls, when all five of the young psychic heroes became aware of an immense wave of spiritual pressure, closing on them fast.

"Geez, that feels bigger than Menos Grande," Ichigo started to say, just before they were all knocked out by a rush of strange power. The energy crashed over the Karakura District like a typhoon, blowing away all that was before …