Notes: Heartsbond fans never fear. I'm still working on it. Buuuuuut, I had this fic sitting in my storage for so long I couldn't just leave it there!
Spring in the 10th Division usually sent anyone without breasts who lived within its walls running for cover. /ANY/ excuse to get away. Because the first day of April, every year, Rangiku Matsumoto would happily blast whatever loud, bawdy and rowdy music she had been able to find in the living world over the last year, roust the other female members of the division out of bed, and place the boombox right next to the ear of one Hitsugaya Toushiro, then use the remote control to activate it at top volume.
"AAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII MATSUMOTOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" Poor Hitsugaya shrilled in shock as "Dirty" by Christina Aguilera made him shoot straight up in bed.
Rangiku whispered. "You're right Rukia, this music /is/ fun."
"Actually, for some reason its dropped out of style in the living world." Rukia frowned. "Christina and Brittany spears. The humans don't like them anymore for some reason."
"But I /like/ it!" Rangiku giggled. "Taiiiiichooouuu…… oh dear, how did that get there, and so loud too." Rangiku said innocently.
Hitsugaya's eyes were still squinted shut. "Matsumoto……"
"Aaaaaw but Taichou, you know the tradition. Every division holds a building wide clean up the first day of April."
That /is/ hard to forget, especially considering that some of the things that the twelfth division, not too far from them ended up throwing out had once been preserved in Formaldehyde and reeked of rotting flesh, and that most of the things cleaned out from the nearby eleventh division's barracks smelled like a brewery.
Hitsugaya instead made his way to the night hearth, a central point where shinigami coming in late from patrols in the living world could get tea, water, and usually some kind of soup or noodles. Sushi was sometimes laid out too, covered up with a glass bowl, or onigiri.
Grabbing a handful of onigiri Hitsugaya then realized he was in his nightclothes, and still trailing one of the light blankets that he layered when spring came. "Matsumoto. What time is it?"
"I'm usually awake four hours prior to this, why didn't you wake me up before now?" Hitsugaya demanded.
"I don't think I want to know."
"Taichou, you're always working too hard. You need to stop and rest now and again. I even held off starting the clean up. Now…. You head out now taichou. I hear that Kira fukutaisho's convinced some of the male captains and vice captains to go on a picnic. They've even convinced Kurosaki-kun and his friends to come."
"I'm coming too. Kiyone said not to worry about helping out at the thirteenth, since I don't get to see Ichigo too often I should go along for the ride." Rukia added.
"Alright, fine." Hitsugaya growled. He went to dress and groom and get his hair /properly/ spikey. Then he made it to the door.
Izuru was leading a still weakened Momo. After awhile Aizen's illusions had worn off, and she'd been able to be reasoned with, but her health has suffered greatly and she still needed help to walk. Unohana had measured her for a cane and was having one made. But it looked like she wouldn't be able to go back to her duties for a long time.
For once, Hitsugaya didn't mind being called by his first name, it was the first time Momo had left the Fourth Division since her injury. She was so pale, but leaning on Izuru her face was weakly lit with excitement.
Zaraki was healthy and hale. "Momo! Yer feeling better. Kira-fukutaichou, lemme take her. Yachiru wanted to stay behind and order the boys around. So my back has free space to carry a passenger."
Momo squeaked as Zaraki scooped her up and put her on his shoulder. "Thank you. I feel like such a bother making everyone worry."
"Nonsense, last time I heard fresh air was healthy. Yeh just have to work hard and get stronger." Zaraki said patiently. "Alotter the fellows in my division make that mistake, they get hurt and rush their recovery and end up weaker than they were before. You just focus on getting better and trust in Unohana taichou. You'll be right as rain."
The walk to the picnic grounds in the orchards above the Rukongai was beautiful, all the trees were in bloom and the grass was covered in big fragrant fluffs of pink, peach and white. The wild roses peeked bright white eyes out of the bushes, forsythia were bathed in golden yellow. It was like the whole world had woken up from the darkness of winter. Summer flowers like daisies and black-eyed-susans were opening or blooming. Ichigo joined them, with Sado, Uryu and Orihime in tow. A streak of black and purple in the other direction and Yoruichi sprung away with a grin and a "So long!" to go see Soi Fong.
"Hey guys!" Ichigo leapt into the trees next to the other Shinigami making their way to the picnic orchards. "So where is this place?"
Byakuya grunted. But Renji grinned. "It's an Orchard way back in the woods. It was a joint effort at a garden and fruit orchard between the Kuchiki's and the Shiba's a while ago, but when Kaien-fukutaicho bit the dust and the Shiba's fell from prominence the thing was left to the mercy of the woods!"
"And it didn't just grow, it ballooned!" Momo chorused from below where Zaraki was running along with her on his back. "Its so beautiful in springtime! I really wanted to go back and see it!"
"There it is!" Shuhei called from the front of the pack.
"You're going to like this place Ichigo! Its like somebody uprooted a few acres of Eden and fed it steroids and growth hormones!!" Renji had a boyish grin on his face. "YEEEEAAAAY!" He leapt out of the tree and landed with a roll in the bright carpet of blossoms.
Orihime let out a pleasant cry of surprise and jumped Rukia as she came to a stop. "ACK! Orihime-chan! Watch the breasts, please!" Rukia flushed deep red. She liked Orihime, she just didn't admit it. She didn't have the courage to tell her, but maybe someday soon…
"Sorry!" Orihime blushed. "Oh wow! Its so bright!"
That was one way of putting it. Cherries, plums, apples, and roses all lent their fragrances into the air.
Momo let out the first genuine laugh she'd uttered since the incident and flopped onto her stomach in the grass.
"WHERE'S THE FOOD??" Demanded Renji.
"Yeah yeah, keep your shirt on." Hitsugaya grunted.
"I'm sorry we're late!" Ukitake and Kyoraku made it at a fast walk. "You were going to leave us behind?"
"They didn't mean it." Shunsui grinned as he uncorked a giant bottle of sake and pulled out the picnic baskets. "Aaaaah, I'm almost glad that Nanao-chan bodily booted me out of the office. It's a wonderful day!"
I can tell you're happy Ichigo, the sun is shining bright! Zangetsu said, though his tone was still stern Ichigo could sense he was enjoying the sunshine inside as much as he did the sunshine outside.
It had been pretty tough rescuing Orihime from Hueco Mundo. But she'd come out none the worse for wear. Rukia had started training for her bankai, but her current promotion had been enough for her. The brand new lieutenant's badge for the thirteenth sparkled on her shoulder in the sun. Orihime had squealed when she'd seen it on Rukia's shoulder for the first time.
"So how big is this place Toushiro?"
"The Orchard is acres in size." Byakuya explained. "Its mostly overgrown, and the path winds between it." Byakuya looked over at the biggest tree, an enormous sakura that seemed to be snowing pink petals. Then without warning he turned and walked towards it, settling in its shade.
"Hisana planted that tree." Rukia whispered. "Niisama swears he can hear her if he sits under it sometimes."
"no kidding." Ichigo chuckled. "She must have put a lot of love into that tree." He flushed. "When my mom died, dad said that in places where somebody's put a lot of love and care, life flourishes."
"Isshin Kurosaki was a very accomplished Soul Reaper." Shunsui smiled. He put a hand on Ichigo's shoulder. "I was his mentor over a century ago."
"No kidding! So I got my powers from him?" Ichigo gawked, jaw dropping. "I always thought it was an accident."
"Yeah, but from what I hear, after Masaki died, he swore that his children wouldn't know the pain he did from fighting hollows. I was really surprised to hear you'd shown up in the Soul Society. When I heard Sado say who had lead him here, I almost couldn't believe my ears." Shunsui replied.
"I'll get stronger than he was."
"That'll be pretty hard," Shunsui laughed. "Isshin Kurosaki was the best of the best, and the biggest character. You know, one time on Valentines day he sent me and Joushiro each a gift, and labeled it as being from the other. That was his idea of a prank."
"And it worked, didn't it." Ukitake smirked, wrapping an arm around his koi.
"Indeed it did. At the time I wanted to be with you so bad, but I was worried that I might hurt you by mistake because you were ill."
"And he managed to bring us together. Even after all of that."
"That was the best Valentines Day ever." Shunsui agreed.
"Get a room you two." Muttered Renji with a low growl.
Ichigo blushed. "I was….. hoping I could speak with you two, /alone/." He muttered in a low voice.
"Yes, I got your message. Loud and clear. You need to learn that the volume you /speak/ a message to a hell butterfly in, is the volume the hell butterfly delivers the message in." Ukitake teased.
Ichigo growled. "I said I was sorry."
"That's alright, it takes practice." Ukitake smiled and led Ichigo away.
He settled himself on the grass with the two men. "I…. I think I'm attracted to men…. I…… but I haven't even had a girlfriend, let alone a boyfriend…… and……"
Shunsui chuckled. "you know, I kinda guessed, the way you've been looking at some of the male shinigami lately."
"Well…… for starters the way you keep trying to get Hitsugaya-taichou to smile. And the way you keep trying to get Kuchiki-taichou to look you in the eye, just once, and the way your eyes shine when you and Renji practice……" Ukitake chuckled. "I tell you what…… I'll give you a hint with Hitsugaya," He handed Ichigo a container.
Ichigo opened it. "Watermelon balls?"
"Yep, the little guy can't resist!" Ukitake chuckled. "And you know……" He whispered in Ichigo's ear. "He's a virgin too!"
"WTF?" Ichigo blushed furiously, spine tingling as he got a bodily shove towards the little white haired taichou.
"Think of it as practice flirting." Hissed Shunsui.
Ichigo plunked himself down next to Hitsugaya with the container of watermelon balls and a fork. He simply started eating. Screw flirting, he'd try this /his/ way!
Hitsugaya for the most part ignored him, until Ichigo noticed he was glancing sidelong at the container. "Want some?" Ichigo asked with his mouth full. It came out all wrong! He'd accidentally sprayed watermelon juice.
Renji snickered from a few feet away, deep in conversation with Uryu and Sado. Well, Sado was just sitting there and offering a word every now and again. But Uryu actually seemed interested. Some kind of discussion of "human sports" Renji wanted to know if the Red Socks' "green monster" was actually a monster and if the Yankees weren't soldiers why were they called "the Bronx bombers?"
"Did Ukitake taichou give you those?"
"Uh….. yeah, they're really good, want some?" Ichigo repeated, feeling a little awkward.
"He's tried that ploy before. He's been trying to get me a boyfriend and bed partner for a decade now, and he's not succeeding today. You can have them." He got up and walked away, nose in the air.
"Shot down." Shuhei snickered as he and Izuru flopped down next to him. "Now, if you drop by mine and Izuru's apartment some night, /we/ could show you a good time."
It was Ichigo's turn to fume, he got up and walked back over to Renji. "So what's up?" He asked, staring into his container of watermelon.
The perfect curls had started to melt from the heat of the day. Ichigo felt like wilting too. "Shot down by old icy." Renji snickered.
"You have no idea." Ichigo inched closer to Renji.
"Hitsugaya taichou is a total prude. Just like Ishida-kun. Speaking of which Ishida-kun, you're a heshe, why don't you show Kurosaki a good time." Renji suggested.
Ichigo blushed hugely. He was… mildly… attracted to Uryu, but all it was was physical. Renji? Renji was intoxicating to Ichigo. He loved the Lieutenant deeply.
"I wouldn't have sex with Ichigo if he was the last bipedal humanoid alive." Uryu said coldly. "Because like YOU, Abarai, he's an IDIOT!" Uryu snapped, he got up and walked over to join Orihime and Rukia.
Ichigo stung. "Actually Renji I'm more intere……." He was about to tell Renji 'i'm more interested in you.' But what Renji said next shut him up quickly.
"I'm more interested in women. Or effeminate men. And Ichi, you're way too young anyway. Enjoy being a gay virgin. Eventually you'll have to come to the Soul society and TRUST ME. I've seen my share of mindless orgy nights in the barracks. Of course, I wouldn't turn Kuchiki-taichou down. He needs a good fuck after Hisana. But he's…….. Ichigo?"
Ichigo ran to the sakura tree, sitting on the other side of it from Byakuya. He was on the edge of tears, one more embarrassing comment from someone he had a crush on and he'd start to cry.
Byakuya looked up at his approach. "Don't mind Renji Ichigo. He's insensitive and an idiot."
Ichigo didn't say very much. "Hitsu shot me down, Renji was mean, and I…… I guess if you had a wife you aren't interested in me at all."
"I'm not interested in /anyone/ Kurosaki. It hurts too much to think of having another after her. Though, you are pretty enough, if I were younger, I might have been mildly interested. Kurosaki, eventually magic will happen and you will find the right person. You simply need to be patient."
Ichigo wiped the tears out of his eyes. "I'm sorry. I….. shouldn't have bothered you. I'm going to go get some air." He got up and walked away from the clearing.
"Don't go far." Byakuya said absently.
Ichigo didn't go too far, but as soon as he was out of sight he headed for a nearby cave to just… hide, and cry. Suddenly, a light caught his eyes. "What the heck?" The blast of energy made Ichigo's head hurt, his body was itching, twisting, writhing in pain and pleasure. And then Ichigo saw nothing more.
Rukia got up a few minutes after he left, "Niisama. Where's Ichigo?"
"He went to get some air. Abarai said some things he found to be… painfull. He also was, I think the expression is 'shot down' when he tried to flirt with Hitsugaya-taichou."
"That's not good. Nii-sama wait here. OYE!!!!!!!! RENJI!" Rukia yelled. "Renji you brat! Get over here!"
"Huh? Rukia what is it?"
"You OWE Ichigo Kurosaki an apology!"
"About /what/?" Renji demanded. "What did I /say!?/"
"For being such an IDIOT!"
"What did I do that was idiotic?" Renji asked. "I just told him what I THOUGHT!"
"HE LOVES YOU DUMBASS!" Rukia smacked Renji upside the head. "When you said you'd rather fuck the feminine gender and the effeminate masculine form, he ran off somewhere to cry! GET your butt over here."
"Cry?" Izuru blinked. "Oh dear. Renji WHAT DID YOU /SAY/???"
"Nothing too horrible. I just said I go for women or effeminate men and that he's about as effeminate as Kenpachi." Renji replied. "Now Uryu, Uryu was the one who said 'I wouldn't sleep with you if you were the last bipedal humanoid on earth.'" Renji laughed. "And Hitsugaya-taichou was just brutal."
"HITSU YOU DIDN'T!" Momo shrilled. "I know he's a human but BE POLITE!" She flicked a watermelon ball at Hitsugaya, which stuck to his forehead before the white haired captain plucked it off.
"I was just being honest."
"WELL YOU'D BETTER GO RIGHT NOW AND APOLOGIZE! You can be the wits end!" Momo shrilled.
Shunsui sighed, standing. "Kuchiki-fukutaichou, Kuchiki-taichou, Abarai-fukutaichou, I think its best we go get Ichigo. He could get lost." Hitsugaya put down his meal and prepared to go as well.
"Of course." Byakuya stood.
"Go enjoy yourselves." Renji made crying motions with his hands. "oh Kyouraku-taichou! I'm so sorry I got lost. Renji was being a big meanie and Uryu was so cold. I had to find someplace to cry and work off my anger issues."
"THAT'S ENOUGH RENJI!" Izuru growled. "I'll go Kyouraku-taichou."
"Alright. It shouldn't take too long. Come on. I sense his spiritual pressure a mile or so off."
"Race you Rukia-chan." Izuru offered.
"After you Izuru-kun." Rukia got along with Izuru very well since her promotion. Aside from Renji he was the one male lieutenant she got along with the best.
The run was quick by Shunpo, and when they entered the cave Rukia saw the sprawled form on the ground. "Ichigo!" She cried, hurrying to the substitute. "ICHIGO!"
Kyouraku inspected the ground. "Kuchiki-taichou, the ground. This is a mark left by a Kidou yes?"
Byakuya bent down. "yes, it is. Someone attacked him."
"But who? I'm fairly certain Aizen couldn't…" said Hitsugaya with a frown.
"They did more than that!" Rukia pointed, turning Ichigo over. "Loook!"
"Huh? OH. MY. GOD." Shunsui about had a nose bleed. Ichigo had breasts, they weren't little ones either! Ichigo's chest was almost as buxom as Rangiku or Orihime's. And his normally slim hips had rounded slightly. "How on earth?"
Someone at the back of the cave started chanting. Then they heard. "Betrayel of Venus and Adonis!" Rukia and Izuru collapsed, and as the attack blasted Shunsui and Byakuya, the icy Kuchiki sent up the flare of Riatsu that meant 'DANGER! SOS!' "Abarai…. Fuku…… tai…. chou…….." He voice sounded alien, faint, lighter.
Ukitake rushed to the scene, along with the rest of those at the picnic. By then their attacker was gone. When he turned his lover's body over, Ukitake gasped. "No…. way….." Shunsui had breasts! His /koi/ his /male/ koi had breasts? What was going on?
"Dude, how did Ichigo get a rack?" Renji demanded. "His boobs are almost as big as Rangiku's! They're Orihime sized. Oooooh, that perverted pet modsoul of his is going to have a field day!"
Shuhei was amused, inspecting his boyfriend's changed body. "The biggest womanizer in the Seireitei becomes a woman, interesting." His eyes sparkled at Shunsui's changed condition.
"Dude, this is like something out of a human soap." Renji exclaimed.
"Orihime-chan, can you reverse…. Whatever was done?" Uryu asked, as Orihime pulled Rukia close to her, tears pouring down her cheeks. Rukia was a /man?/ It wasn't fair! Orihime liked her as a girl better!
Orihime shook her head. "Not without knowing what did this."
"The scorchmarks are from a kidou."
"Ukitake…. Taichou….." Ichigo stirred, exhausted.
"Ichigo, rest. You were attacked. We'll get you back to Unohana immediately."
"Thanks…." Ichigo said drowsily. He fell asleep again. Shuhei was on the phone with fourth, telling them he had an emergency.
"Unohana says she's on her way. Along with emergency staff. Thank Kami her bankai is a living ambulance." Shuhei cradled Izuru in his arms, "Its okay Izuru. You're gonna be okay."
"There's no doubt that Aizen is responsible somehow." Kenpachi growled. "Robbin men of their manhoods. 'Im an dat Gin are perverts both."
"Maybe he and Gin wanted to have babies." Momo blushed. "I mean… Gin is sadistic but he's very feminine. And if you're going to test a medical kidou that changes genders you'd want to test it on someone who didn't matter to you first. Just in case it went wrong. And they were /both/ shinigami, they would know where we're headed for the April 1st picnic." She blushed. "Poor Shiro…" Momo sobbed, clinging to her brother/sister and crying.
"Easy Momo-chan." Shuhei said gently.
"Hitsugaya-taichou is very… possessive, of you. For you to cry over him, would make him most upset. Comfort him, care for him. But above all he doesn't want to see you cry."
Ukitake was looking down at his longtime on and off lover. "This has to be the biggest irony in the history of the soul society."
"I think Momo's perception of the attack is accurate." Unohana said calmly. "To have three captains, two lieutenants and a guest caught in this is most serious. All of them have been transformed into the opposite gender. And from what I can sense of their energy fields, they are also fertile."
Yamamoto sighed. The remaining captains and lieutenants had gathered to report. "Kurotsuchi-taichou?"
"I need to… research… how this may have happened, if I am to come up with a cure. I do rule the research field of body alterations. It shouldn't be too hard. Though sir, I'd like to bring Urahara in to consult."
"What do we do?" Unohana asked the Commander General.
"Set aside a place for Ichigo and the others affected to rest, recouperate, and get… used… to their change in circumstances. Send Soi Fong to retrieve Urahara, Yoruichi, Tessai and Isshin. Explain to Isshin what has happened to his boy and that he's needed urgently."
"The rest of you are… dismissed."
Ichigo groaned, slowly sitting up. His body felt… different. It felt… wrong. Ichigo patted himself over, and about midway down his chest he reached… breasts? Ichigo's mind ground to a halt, as he remembered that flash of blazing white and pink light. Ichigo started patting himself over. When he reached his crotch he found… "OH. MY. GOD." Ichigo realized he had a woman's sex organs. He started screaming. And screaming. And screaming.
A pillow hit him in the side of the face at the same time someone entered the room and threw arms around him. Ichigo shoved. "Ichigo its me! Its me Orihime!" Ichigo was going a little crazy, pushing at the other girl. "Its alright its me Ichigo." Ichigo settled down. But he was still breathing hard and his heart was pounding.
"Orihime, what the hell happened??" Ichigo demanded.
"Aizen used some kind of Kidou, changed you into the other gender." Orihime looked nervously across the room.
A woman with long black hair and deep blue eyes sat there glaring at them both. Orihime blushed, and giggled. Ichigo's jaw dropped. "Byakuya?"
"That's…" Her voice broke for a moment. "That's Kuchiki-taichou to you. This is all your fault. If we hadn't gone looking for you to salve your ego, Aizen wouldn't have hit us with the kidou."
"Who else?" Ichigo paled.
"Rukia, Kyouraku, Hitsugaya, Kuchiki-taichou." Orihime looked nervously over at Byakuya. "And Izuru."
"Dayum." Ichigo shook his head. "That's not right. I mean, Kyouraku as a girl? That's a total and complete irony the way he chases women."
"Yeah, he's the only one who's amused by the situation. I passed his room, he was cracking jokes to Ukitake. And laughing."
"Glad someone is amused by the situation." Ichigo sighed. Orihime chuckled. Suddenly a scream went up from the next room. "RUKIA!" Orihime wailed, standing and hurrying off to see to the Kuchiki girl.
"Are you alright Kurosaki?" Byakuya asked sullenly. Ichigo looked up, and he saw tears rolling down Byakuya's cheeks.
Ichigo closed his eyes, trying to keep from crying too. "My body just feels… wrong." Ichigo growled. He got up and walked over to Byakuya, sitting next to him.
"I feel… the same." Byakuya said quietly. He hesitated a moment, before looping an arm cautiously around Ichigo's shoulder. Ichigo blushed, leaning against Byakuya quietly. "Its… disgraceful."
"I wouldn't go that far but I do have a sense of feeling…. Robbed…. This is probably what a… a heshe feels like. Trapped." Ichigo realized he was shaking. Byakuya pulled Ichigo into his arms, sobbing softly.
"what the hell are we going to do?" Ichigo asked after awhile.
"Dunno." Byakuya growled. "Unohana and Kurotsuchi are trying to figure this out."
"I'll bet they are… I'm going nuts… I can feel Zangetsu getting restless."
"Senbonzakura is sympathetic, but she thinks its amusing." Byakuya growled.
Byakuya hesitated, but then leaned in to kiss Ichigo gently. "It will be alright." Byakuya said softly.
Ichigo responded to the kiss, gasping in pleasure. The total confidence in Byakuya's voice calmed him. But at the same time Ichigo was a little sad. Byakuya had made it clear, that he could give Ichigo physical pleasure, but never emotional involvement. Even if Byakuya was comforting him now, Ichigo would never hear an "I love you" from Byakuya Kuchiki if he decided to get together with the quiet, intense captain.
But king? Can I just say… WHO THE HELL NEEDS 'I LOVE YOU?' Demanded Ogichi. If you need to fuck, then goddamnit! FUCK HIM.
I'm surprised you aren't calling me 'queen' right now.
Because even if you are physically a queen Ichigo. Do you /feel/ like a queen?
I don't understand…
Its simple. You are a spirit. /i/ am a spirit. Your spirit is male. Its that very disharmony that is causing you such anguish. As long as your spirit, your mind, your heart is male, even if your body is not, you will be /KING./ Ogichi growled, his tone fervent.
Thank you Ogichi.
For what? I'm just sounding off my mouth. Since when do you thank me for anything?
Ichigo smiled, "Thank you Byakuya."