Title: Restructuring Life
Author: Saigo no Hajime
Full Summary: After the war ends, Ichigo receives a startling offer from the new Central 46 and sets to work completing his training as a Shinigami. Rukia also begins working towards her future. But what are these new feelings between them, and what happened, on the day Aizen died, to trigger them? And as the two begin the restructuring of their lives, who is this new warrior destroying hollows in Karakura Town? IchiRuki future fic. There will be a few hints of one-sided IchiHime (on Inoue's part), and the beginnings of IshiHime. NOT a Captain!Ichigo or Academy!Ichigo story.
Disclaimer: Bleach is not mine! I wish it were, though...
Rating: T (I think this is appropriate, since the violence isn't overly graphic and the profanity isn't over-used. However, if anyone feels, at any point, that the rating should be upped to M, PLEASE let me know!)
Author's Note: Yay! My first non-oneshot story is finally being posted! I hope you enjoy! All comments, especially constructive criticism, are very much desired. I respond to all signed reviews, because I appreciate hearing from readers so much. Anyway, without any further ado, the prologue and the first chapter!

The nighttime stillness of the neighborhood was shattered in an instant as a wailing roar tore through the air. A tree was violently uprooted and tossed into the air. It landed heavily on the roof of a parked car, crushing the hood. A silent figure, slim and short-haired, jumped onto the fallen tree and watched as a huge wasp-like creature loomed into view. The white light from the street lamps reflected coldly off the bone-white surface of the creature's masked face. Anyone seeing the monster as it moved into full illumination should have retched instinctively. One side of the mask was bizarrely deformed, almost melted, and a pale brownish-green liquid was dripping slowly down its chest.

But the figure on the tree didn't vomit. Instead, it coiled its legs and sprang, catching hold of a wing that looked like gauze but felt as hard as steel wire. Using the wing as a pivot, the figure swung upward, lashing out with a foot and connecting solidly with the undamaged portion of the mask. The creature let out a howl and shook itself violently, dislodging its attacker. Tumbling to the ground, the figure's features were briefly lit up by the street lights, revealing the features of a young human female with fiercely glittering eyes.

As she fell, she threw herself into a headlong roll, twisting lithely at the end in order to regain her feet without trouble. She paused for a moment, holding one hand out before her. Slowly but surely, the hand started to shimmer with an electric blue light. The masked monster, recovered from its initial surprise, roared again and lunged toward its assailant. The girl didn't flinch, but calmly shifted her stance into a half-crouch. As the giant wasp threw its stinger forward, she moved, jumping easily over the strike and pounding her glowing fist into the bone mask. It shattered instantly, and the monster was thrown backwards, hitting the ground several feet away.

The girl took a steadying breath and started to relax, as the monster began to disintegrate into small glowing particles which drifted steadily into the sky above. Suddenly, she tensed again, her head snapping to the side as she searched the shadows for movement. Turning on her heels she took off running, disappearing around the corner just as another person dropped down out of the sky onto the street.

This new figure made no attempt to conceal himself, and stepped directly into the circle of light cast by the street lamp. He was wearing a traditional black kimono, black hakama, and waraji sandals, and on his back rested a cleaver-like weapon as tall as his body, with a blade as wide as his head. His hair was bright orange and spiky, and appeared messy, as if he had just jumped out of bed. He looked around for a moment, seeing the uprooted tree resting atop the totaled car. His already scowling face twisted into an even angrier expression.

"Dammit!" He exclaimed. "What the hell is going on with these hollows! That's the third time today! Is someone destroying them, or are they just jumping in and jumping out that fast? Man, waking me up out of a sound sleep after everything Geta-boushi has been putting me through lately!"

He stalked a few paces away from the light, muttering irritably, before jumping easily to the roof of the nearest house and running back in the direction from which he had come. Within seconds, the neighborhood was quiet again.

To Be Continued.

Author's Note: Yes, there was something that was wrong with the hollow. But I'm not going to be telling you what until much later!