A/N: I haven't written for Bleach in ages! There isn't enough Keigo love out there, and I feel bad that the current filler arc is embarrassing him to the point of no return.

All characters © Kubo Tite

Neighborhood Watch

Clouds that were filled to the brim with skywater loomed overhead, dark and gray, dampening Asano Keigo's spirits. If he didn't return home soon they would dampen his shirt as well, and it would all be the fault of that querulous sister of his. Mizuho was always ordering him to pick up the groceries. As if he had nothing better to do (which sadly, he didn't).

Keigo turned the corner, and what little sunlight was left in the sky reflected off of something shiny to his left. Upon a slight glance in that direction, he saw that it was one of those aluminum signs. WARNING: NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, it read. Underneath was a picture of Boris the Burglar with a red line crossed through his black silhouette. Report all suspicious persons and activities to the authorities was printed below, in slightly smaller characters. We look out for each other!

Keigo continued walking. His brown eyes had become dulllike dusty marbles, so unlike the frenetically cheerful disposition usually seen at school. Keigo thought about the sign with the orange frame, now a few feet behind him, and sighed. "Suspicious persons and activities,"…it wasn't like he hadn't seen them.

The first time that something of this nature had occurred had been a few months ago. He had thought it to be a prop for some television show they must have been shooting nearby, since nothing like that could ever appear in real life. Keigo had talked to Mizuiro about it, but his classmate had just waved him off as usual, saying that he wasn't aware of any movie production.

For a while Keigo stuck to his theory about the TV shootings. He found it strange that no one else had taken notice of it, and that there didn't seem to be any camera crew present near the scenes.

Sometimes he would see…things. They would give off these roars, cries that shattered through the neighborhood silence like a rusty knife through cheese. They always sounded the same; Keigo heard them not wit his ear, per say, but with his mind. When that happened he would jam his fingers into his ears and wait for the noise to abate.

It was scarier when he couldn't see the things that made the sounds, only hear them. In those instances he would go into his room and lock the door, staying inside for hours until the sun went down and the roars had ebbed. When he heard them in school, little dewdrops of perspiration would begin to form at his temples, and he would start doodling in his notebook with trembling fingers. No one else seemed to hear them, but on occasion Arisawa would throw a troubled glance toward the window. Keigo knew that he wasn't exceptionally talented nor a genius of any sort, but for some reason he could hear phantom sounds that nobody else could, and he could see things that others seemed not to take notice of. He tried to dismiss the idea that he was losing his mind, but there wasn't much of an alternative. The sign, now a few meters back, did him no good. If he were to report anything, what would he say? Hello, yes—I see strange creatures flying in the sky. I think they are part of some movie set, but no one else seems to see them. They are very noisy, and sometimes they bother me…?

Walking through the neighborhood, Keigo, on occasion, would see…people. But sometimes they were funny-looking. The black kimonos they all seemed to wear were fine, but most of them carried swords, katanas, or other weapons. And they could fly. Sometimes bright lights, brighter than the sun it seemed, erupted from the weapons they brandished.

Every now and then, when Keigo was out for a walk, he would stop to watch these flying people. He would just stand in the middle of the sidewalk, staring up at the sky. He would remain like that for more than an hour at times, completely captivated. Those people attacked the screaming creatures with their weapons, sometimes so violently that the creatures would spurt incredible amounts of brackish blood before vanishing into thin air. Keigo didn't really like that part, because he could hear the sounds of the swords slicing into (flesh, would that be the right word?). It was always the same, a distant thock-ing sound that was far too loud.

Usually the black-clad people would win, but sometimes they didn't. Occasionally they would get swatted like flies, falling from the sky and crashing to the earth somewhere nearby. Then Keigo would hurry inside, locking all of the doors and shutting the windows so the giant roaring thing wouldn't get him too.

"Nee-san, I'm home," Keigo called as he opened the door to his apartment. Luckily the rain had just begun to fall, and he'd made it home in time without getting an extra shower incorporated into his daily schedule.

"I got you those cookies that you wa—"

"Geez, took you long enough!"

He sighed, dropped the bag of groceries in the kitchen, and slinked off to do his homework. That evening the rain escalated into a downpour, beating on the roof of the building indignantly. To Keigo it sounded like scraping claws. There was plenty of thunder too, but at times he couldn't tell if it was thunder or a roar coming from some leviathan in the sky that only he could see, if he dared look outside his window.

In the morning, Keigo set off for school like he always did. If there had been any rain the night before, the only indications of it were the puddles everywhere and that fresh, damp smell in the air. Slinging his backpack nonchalantly over one shoulder and stepping over one of these puddles, Keigo rounded the corner at the end of his street.

A metal pole had been broken in half, he saw, and the aluminum sign that normally capped it lay facedown in the wet grass some feet away. The pole looked as if it had been ripped… or even bitten off. Keigo paused, bent down, and lifted the sign. WARNING: NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH. We look out for each other!

Keigo dropped the sign in the grass, wiped his fingers on his pants, and continued on his way.