Chapter 5"

So even in death…they are meddling with other's affairs," the guy said in seething anger as he watched from where he is the fight between Hyuuga Neji and the two from Sound village…of course the two could not win against Neji…

"Well…what do you plan to do now?" someone asked…

"Watch first…to see what they can do…"

******************

He felt awkward being with the two who are now busy talking about Tenten and her escapades in the Living World.

But what really surprised him is how Neji fought a while ago…he did not even have to draw out his zanpaktou…it was enough that he merely used his hands…

Yet he felt like there is something in his hands…would that be the chakra Tenten was talking about?

He shuddered…thinking how it would be if he decided to draw out his zanpaktou…it seems those who were lost here are forces to be reckoned with…seems stronger than the Vizards with their reaitsu alone…

"So you mean you keep popping out everywhere?" Neji said.

"Yep…by the way…he is Kurosaki Ichigo…I met him some months ago," she introduced with a smile while Neji observed the said guy. It was his first time to actually come face to face with him…

So this is the infamous Kurosaki Ichigo…proclaimed hero of Soul Society…his hair is unusual in color…

"Ah…heard a lot about you…" he said and Ichigo just grinned sheepishly.

"Well…"

"Kuchiki-taichou and his fukotaichou were about to come here before to actually lash out on you for what you have done to the princess," he said casually.

Ichigo's face flushed with embarrassment…he hated being reminded about that mistake…damn his mouth when he gets annoyed…

"How is she?" he rather asked.

"Fine I guess…she's in that store…one owned by Urahara-san…"

Ichigo immediately stopped in his track and faced Neji while Tenten watched curiously….knowing the short girl is the subject…she heard her name a lot when she had been chasing her…urging her for soul burial…had she known she would see Neji there…she would have agreed…

"She's…here?" he choked.

"Ah…"

"Serious?"

"Yeah…it would be wise to keep distance though…I think she is still mad no matter how hard she tried to hide it…" Neji advised. "You'd be surprised by how much she had gotten stronger."

He gulped and was about to speak when someone interrupted them.

"Kurosaki-kun?"

It was Orihime…she was looking at Neji with question…

"Inoue."

"I'm glad you are alright," she said softly.

"He came and helped…no harm done," was his curt answer. "He is Neji, vice-captain of the 5th division."

"Eh?"

Neji nodded his head politely. "Pleasure meeting you Orihime-san…I heard a lot about you as well."

She flushed and smiled shyly while her eyes bored on Ichigo.

"Would you like to come? We are going to Urahara-san."

She nodded gleefully while Neji gave Tenten a curious glance and the latter just shrugged her shoulders.

Nothing seemed to have changed about him from the last time she saw the guy…still scowling as ever with his orange hair…

They just stared at each other as they entered the store while Urahara smiled behind the fan…Sasuke and Lee had gone out on patrol somewhere and the former ordered her to stay behind…she realized the guy could be demanding if he so wanted….

"Rukia…"

"Ichigo," she said curtly then nodded. That was the time she spotted Orihime looking at them with sadness. "Orihime."

"Hello Kuchiki-san…"

And then she zeroed her gaze on the lady behind Neji who was grinning at her. "You…"

"Hi…" Tenten said with a wave of a hand. "It has been a while since I saw you…I've been bored watching this guy over here…"

Rukia shrugged. "You made me run around…"

"Because you are both fun to tease…but have you told me Neji and Lee are in the place you called Soul Soeity…I would have willingly gone…" she said and sat down while Neji just stood outside….wondering where the two others have gone…

"Hmm…had I known I would have told you," she answered and glanced at Neji. "Are you going to take her with you fukotaichou?"

"Of course…like I would let her wander here recklessly…she and Ichigo were almost killed by a past enemy…from our world…I wonder really how we could have come here…"

"Well then….that is a nice question worthy for research…don't you think?" Urahara piped in gaily.

"You're starting to act like Mayuri," Ichigo snorted which earned a soft glare from the merchant.

"Yare…that was mean," he said in fake hurt and laughed. "Welcome here Tenten…nice to see another unusual one…"

"well I can say you are unusual yourself."

"Now here is a lively one," he said and smiled.

"Rukia…how are you?" Ichigo asked softly and awkwardly as he stared at her.

"Breathing," was her sole reply.

Ichigo sighed and looked at her with plea…as if telling her to talk with him alone…not in the earshot of these people around especially Urahara who would most probably joke around things.

"We have a special assignment here to check on the disturbances in the atmosphere," Rukia said casually. "So it would seem there are a lot more we have to investigate."

"So that means you're staying longer?" he asked and she misunderstood as she sighed.

"Don't worry…as soon as this mission is finish I'll go…" she answered sternly much to Ichigo's surprise.

"W-What the – hell that is not what I mean Rukia!" he snarled.

Rukia stood up furiously. "At least try to pretend that you are not so excited at the prospect of me going back."

Ichigo stood up as well. "Wait! Rukia…it is not what you mean…"

"Yeah right…the last time I remember you shoved me away…what made you believe I would believe otherwise?"

With that she stormed out of the room leaving the audience in shock. Ichigo could only watch the door with open mouth…

Urahara chuckled. "See what I mean Ichigo?"

Said guy did not answer back as he stormed out as well to follow her.

*************

She kicked the nearby post in fury as she walked down the street. How dare him…did he think she would come to the Living World as enthusiastic as before? Of course ever since he shoved the fact that she does not belong here…she had made a promise to herself that she'd never come back…

Only she was forced by the sotaichou so she had no choice..

But he did not have to make it obvious that he wants her gone…

"Rukia!!"

"Go away!! I'm not in the mood to talk!" she growled without looking back.

"Damn it! Will you listen to me?" he snarled and grabbed her arm but Rukia jerked away.

"Don't lay a finger on me Kurosaki."

Said guy flinched at her tone…it is so cold…and…she is using his surname…not his name anymore…that really shows she is boiling mad…

"You've misunderstood what I mean a while ago!"

"Yeah right…now go away."

He held her arm tightly. "No. you will have to listen to me."

Rukia sighed to calm herself and looked at him…gave him the coldest look she could muster and Ichigo flinched again…this is not Rukia…this one is the ice princess…

"Just let me go…and don't follow me either…"

With that she jerked and strolled away leaving Ichigo confused…

"That was such a nice scene…" a voice said with amusement and Ichigo looked to find an unfamiliar soul…dressed weirdly…a black cloak covering him…

"Who are you?" he asked.

"The name is Hidan…immortal one…" he said and Ichigo raised his brow. Immortal huh? Blast him…who the hell would claim he is immortal?

"I see…now go away…"

Said guy stood on the post with a crooked smile. "This is getting way interesting…I shall kill you all…we I should say…especially the Konoha ninjas…"

With that he vanished leaving Ichigo confused again…what the hell was that? Who the hell was that? And why the hell does he seem strong by the looks of it?

And when he said Konoha ninjas…did he mean Neji and the rest?

"Why did you not finish him off? He seemed a small fry," Deidera asked Hidan as they now stood on top of a post…masking their energy…

"For the fun of it…"

"Hmm…this world is interesting…"

"Yeah…I can only say…"

"Wonder if the rest are here…"

By the time he got back to Urahara's shop, he saw Sasuke and another guy whom he surmised as Lee…they were all gathered together with the rest and were talking about something…

"Oh…you are back…" Urahara said with a warm smile. "Did you and Rukia-chan reconcile?"

"No…"

"Where is she?" Sasuke asked casually noting that Rukia is not with him…Ichigo scanned the place…

"She did not come back?"

"Obviously that is why I am asking," he retorted then stood up. "Lee…"

"Well…I think she's just near us…" Lee said and smiled at Kurosaki…feeling sorry for him for what is happening…

Then Sasuke's eyes widened again…

"Oh shit!!!"

He left the room with a lightning speed even before they could actually react. Neji and Lee stood up as well…

"What the hell was that?" Neji muttered and glanced at Tenten. "Stay here for a while Tenten…"

"But – "

"You are from Konoha right?" Ichigo rather said…wanting to inquire about Hidan…

"Yeah I believe I told you that," Tenten said while still trying to hold Neji off.

"Someone appeared in front of me a while ago…he felt dangerous…"

"He?" Neji stopped and looked at him with a frown and a disturbing look.

"Ah…"

"Did he tell you his name?" Lee asked as well…

"Hidan or something…he claimed he is an immortal and would finish all of the Konoha ninjas here…"

Temperature dropped to zero as they processed his information…it did not take long for the three to finally realize what it means…

And this time…they cursed altogether and he would have been amused if not for their troubled looks…

"That's it…this feeling…aw shit!!!" Lee jumped out from the window. "An Akatsuki is near Rukia."

"Akatsuki?"

No one answered as Neji and Tenten had already vanished as well…he wondered how easily they have done that…

"Well…are you just going to stand there?" Urahara pried. "I'm going…I am interested to see how these ninjas could actually fight…and this thing about Akatsuki…"

***************

Rukia held her shoulder as she panted hard while looking at the young guy…a master of puppets? How is it possible for a soul to do that?

And she would admit she had no chance even if she learned one or two from Sasuke…the guy is strong…just who the hell is he?

"Rukia!"

She snapped and saw Sasuke charging towards him at a fast speed that could match her brother's or that of Ichigo's…just when will he ever stop surprising her?

"Are you alright?"

She would say yes but her vision started to blur… "S-Somehow…"

Sasuke glanced at the man…he never saw him when he was alive but he sure as hell could note the cloak he is wearing…

"Akatsuki."

The puppet master looked more surprised than him though and took a few steps back…wondering if it is for real…to find him there…

"Uchiha…what are you doing here?" he asked.

"I should be asking you that. What are you doing?"

Said guy shrugged. "Hunting for souls?"

"I see…" Sasuke said…his hands already moving…

"W-What are you doing?" Rukia asked as she could hear a screeching sound and as light…blue light started to form on his hands…this was her first time to see this…how can he possibly be hiding such strength?

"I see…you look rather strong just like your brother."

"Don't start running away Akatsuki…" Sasuke warned and in a high speed appeared in front of the puppet master who used another puppet to shield himself from the attack. He stumbled backwards at the impact though…

"I'm not running…but well…I have to tell the rest that you are here as well…" he said and turned to leave.

"Wait!"

But Sasuke did not catch him up as one puppet blocked him again…

This time…he turned to Rukia who was looking at him with shock. Her amethyst orbs were apparently wide with surprise…

"What was that?" she asked casually and winced in pain.

"Chidori…a technique taught to me by my sensei…you look hurt…" he said and held her shoulder.

"Actually…I'm about to – "

"Everything okay?" Lee asked as he stopped a few feet from them.

Sasuke did not answer when Rukia had collapsed in front of him.

"Poison…" Lee said.

"We need to tend to her…" he said. Healing is not his thing actually…and he wished someone with medical knowledge would just pop out like these guys…

"What happened to her?" Neji asked. Sasuke looked at him and the others who have arrived.

"Encounter with an Akatsuki…" was all he could say. "Let's go…the poison must be drawn out…or at least an antidote…"

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As I have said, the ninjas did not forget their past lives because it is just the way I wanted it to...this is a fic where we could twist everything for the sake of a story...

Review please....