Hey everyone, this is my first story for bleach and also my first story for fanfiction. So it will not be perfect.
Sorry if I made any mistakes in this chapter.
Please no Flames, but Constructive criticism, advice and ideas are accepted, as it will help me write this story and improve it.
I don't own Bleach, Tite Kubo does, I only own the OCs, plotline and Ideas(some have been inspired though)
Word count: 9159 in 17 and half pages.(OMG this is really a long chapter! XD)
Warning some course language, some sexual reference, and there is violence. Also there are some OCs but they only help the story work and the characters might be oocish but this an AU story.
OMG! I got 16 reviews since I posted the last chappie from 12 different people! I'm so excited!
So thanks to debbiejedigirl, SilverStella, Hatake Tsughi, White Knight, Animelover1993, TAKCH1, M.P.W6795, Cindar, Zangetsu50, and FlourTheCat for chapter for reading and reviewing last chapter. Lotusflower for reading and reviewing chapters 10, 12, 23, 34 and 35. Hellbound Mega Cerberus for reading and reviewing chapter 4. Thanx to all of you for your comments, criticisms advice and mostly patience. Reviews are love and you guys gave me a whole heap. :)
Remember if you have any questions about the fic just ask.
EXPLANATION: (Nothing to do with story also ignore if you read Sanctum): As you all know from last Chapter that I injured myself (If you don't remember just go back to chapter 35), well the injury kept on going and I was also in hospital too, so yeah I've had a sucky, and my main priority besides recovering, was keeping up to date with schooling, so I decided I'd put writing on the back leg until holidays and low and behold despite all the mishaps I've made it through the whole year, passed with rather good marks, got over my depression and I'm finally back to sports. And now it's holidays so I finally back, I... ah think. I just hope I don't jinx myself. lol.
Chapter 36: Rematch
"Urahara get the angels, now!" Alithra ordered, her eyes glinting with worry as she stared down at the prone couple. She ignored Nero's question, refusing to delve into it. Few knew about it since it was a rare occurrence among Marked Ones. Urahara nodded and immediately received replies over the mental link.
"Alithra, God damn it. Tell me what the hell is happening." Nero yelled frustrated at Alithra's fruitless attempt at avoiding the explanation.
"It's the ability to enter the minds of yourself and others." Alithra replied blandly, her back turned to him.
"Isn't that what a telepath does?" Nero counted questioningly, his brows raised in suspicion. He knew she was with holding the whole truth and he wanted to know what that fraction of the truth was. With her, it could be just what they were, what affects they could have on this war or how it tied in with her long and varied past.
"No, telepaths read thoughts and can send thoughts to another in the form of words, emotions or images. Mind walkers are a hell of a lot more complicated. They actually enter the mind and in there they can have control over a numerous things, including the actual person." Orana clarified for Nero's benefit, scowling at Alithra's reluctance. Idly, Orana wondered just how many knew about her.
"But can't Urahara do that too... oohh." Nero petered off, his eyes widening as he stared at Urahara. He shook himself out of his stupor when Orana nodded answering his unfinished question. "So how does someone become a Mind walker?" He asked.
"No one is exactly sure. It just happens. It happens mostly in Marked Ones with physic powers, telepaths, oracles and such and such. However, it can happen in any Marked One, with exceptions. But it does seem to happen more if it's in the bloodline already." Gabriel answered from right behind making Nero whirl, eyes narrowed. Gabriel backed off gleaning just how unhinged Nero still was.
He paced to Ichigo and did the same as Urahara, after a few minutes he shook his head. "He won't let me in. He's saying something, can't let you in, too dangerous. It's a whisper. I just don't know how he's doing it." Gabriel informed his brow furrowed in concentration.
Alithra sighed she knew she had to say something. "Yeah. See there's an answer to that too. Ichigo's one as well... a type of one anyway." She replied shutting her eyes tight.
Orana's eyes bulged to the size of plates, as did the rest. "What! And you said nothing. A demon that has the ability to mind walk, could be catastrophic." Gabriel exclaimed angrily.
"Yes but it's not that bad. As I said, he is a type of mind walker." Alithra answered, her brow creased in a scowl at Gabriel's lack of alertness to the conversation.
"Type of mind walker? There is only one type of mind walker." Gabriel argued.
Orana, Nero and Urahara watched as Alithra's mouth curved into a slyly cruel and cockily superior smile. Gabriel frowned at the sudden change. Urahara scowled in confusion and glanced at Orana who seemed just as puzzled. He turned his gaze onto Nero who seemed absolutely unperturbed, like he'd seen this side of Alithra plenty of times. Urahara didn't like it. Alithra had tendencies to be prideful but this was complete arrogance. He watched her and saw someone else glaring, not just with arrogance but disdain, at Gabriel. It took him a couple of seconds to inclusively register that she was looking down on Gabriel.
Urahara found himself ready to hear the distorted voice of demon speaking through Alithra when she began to speak. "It seems you angels are far less informed than you'd wish us lowly beings to realize." Alithra sneered in her normal voice. Urahara shook himself as he heard her speak, her tone despite having the sneer in it was rather blank not matching her smile even slightly. However, the look in her eyes did. Her eyes gleamed with sadistic superiority and anger.
"Alithra snap out of it." Nero growled, feeling the loosening of her stern hold on her suddenly rampaging emotions. Steadily he calmed and soothed them silently, somehow not becoming enchanted by the pull to insanity.
Alithra shook her head and shut her eyes pushing her feelings back down. She sighed and reopened them the shadow of a personality that had marred her features vanishing instantly. "The most common type of Mind Walker is the one which only goes into the minds of others."
Urahara went to interrupt but Alithra pursued ignoring him. "The second appears far less. Mind walkers of this type pull others into their own minds, effectively pulling another's consciousness out of their element. The final type is the one who can do both, this is of course is the rarest. It manifests after a great deal of training by Mind Walkers of either of the first two sorts and is difficult to achieve. Ichigo is the second type, he can't walk in others' minds but his ability is none the less dangerous." Alithra replied looking down, she shuddered involuntarily as she thought about his first demonstration.
"That bad." Urahara stated worriedly.
"He was only seven when it first happened and the worst part was I couldn't stop him. He was seven years old and he blew past all my mental barriers as if they were thin air!" Alithra answered sullenly.
"Well it is an impressive feat if not a slightly impossible one." Gabriel said his tone slightly awed. "But still how did you teach him to even control it? How do you even know about the differences? I've never seen any evidence of it."
"Second question is easy, I researched, unlike you I don't assume everything based on the common consensus, especially when it affects my family. As for the first query..." Alithra snapped back before trailing off.
Orana gave Alithra a pointed look. "You've never told them." Alithra shrugged indifferently causing Orana to scowl heavily.
"That's because technically I'm not." Alithra argued, her tone displaying her annoyance.
"Technically? Technically it has to be in your blood for your abilities to have developed like they have, especially with your parents' well renowned bloodlines. " Orana countered, in what Urahara thought sounded like the tone a mother would use to tell off her children.
"My parents' bloodline, you mean my father, since no one knows squat about my mother's side." Alithra refuted furiously.
"Stop. At least tell all of us here what the hell this is about." Nero inserted into the argument trying to pacify it before it excelled.
"I had a theory, which has of late proved itself true. The way her queen commands work, is in a way similar to a mind walkers..." Orana began dropping the previous discussion before Gabriel cut across.
"Impossible, there has never been a werewolf mind walker. Telepaths who've had the ability and turned into a werewolf, lost it. And as a result it's been nigh impossible for a mind walker to enter in a wolf's mind." Gabriel refuted.
"That's why I said technically I'm not. The definition of a Mind Walker is someone who can enter any mind willingly no matter what type of being they are, except the rare exceptions. My Queen commands work in the way of Mind Walking with the difference being I can only walk in the minds of wolves. Orana just thinks that for me to have been born this way, Mind Walker blood needs to have entered my bloodline just before I was born, whether it's true is an entirely different thing." Alithra countered passively sighing as she dismissed the topic.
"One question, why are there exceptions to this rule?" Nero asked curiously. Alithra looked at Nero strangely wondering what was with the million questions when that was usually Rukia's job. He simply met her gaze and shrugged, an answer to her unspoken question. Simply saying 'I just feel like it.'
"They were beings who had specialised duties and if someone gained control of them it would be very... precarious. Wolves, as the protectors of humans were one such group, another were the gate guardians and other minders. It is also the reason why it can't be possible Ichigo managed to reverse Mind Walk in Alithra's mind." Gabriel explained disbelievingly.
"Yes, which proves my theory true. Ichigo can do it with Alithra because her abilities are moulded from them." Orana stated seriously, her tone somewhat gloating.
"Doesn't really mean squat. It still shouldn't be possible." Gabriel cried frustrated, Alithra simply rolled her eyes in frustration.
"Not necessarily. There have been cases where Mind Walkers of rather exceptional ability, who have managed to Mind Walk in the minds of Wolves who were former Walkers. It is entirely possible merely because of the sheer amount of Ichigo's reiatsu." Urahara replied calmly, smiling as Gabriel and Alithra simmered with irritation. For a moment, everyone remained silent, absorbing the situation and information.
Orana stood quietly, pondering everything that had been said. "Alithra, how many times has Ichigo actually mind walked?" Orana asked suspiciously, Alithra shrugged.
"Alithra." Urahara growled.
She sighed defeated, knowing she wasn't going to get away with it. "It tends to happen when Hichigo gains control, when Ichigo's at his most vulnerable. He lashes out mentally and the moment he finds someone he calls out, and the instant he feels their unwitting recognition of it, he pulls them in. But generally that person was me, since I was the only one around."Alithra answered tiredly.
"So he might do it again, especially since Rukia's in danger." Urahara thought out loud, grinning madly. Alithra narrowed her eyes and growled.
"I doubt it. He's only ever pulled one person in at a time. I don't even know if it's possible for him to pull two in." She huffed dismissively.
"Maybe but no harm in trying, plus we don't know whether Ichigo pulled her in or Rukia mind walked." Nero replied looking at Alithra strangely, she seemed cautious of it all.
Alithra sighed knowing again that they weren't going to leave her alone. 'Oh how fun, let the psycho wolf hyped on blood, try go mind walking. Real smart.' She thought to herself as she strode to Ichigo.
Alithra hesitated as she reached them, wondering about what would happen if this worked. After all, she wasn't arcane inclined, what could she do? Obviously, there was something more to this, something they were missing.
"Missing? What could we have missed?" Urahara inquired curiously after scanning her surface thoughts. His outward appearance seemed jolly, but the knot of tension tightened. He'd had the same concerns and the fact that he was not alone in it worried him further.
"Urahara stay out of my head." Alithra snarled whirling aggressively, her emotions flaring. Nero winced as they flowed unchecked across the linking. He felt his fellow wolves' concern radiate to him but he sent a reassurance back.
Orana raised an eyebrow and glanced at the group's faces. Nero seemed rather calm, which relieved her, somewhat. Urahara had his cherry exterior plastered still on himself. Gabriel, however, looked grim as he thought deeply. Whether it was about what Urahara had said or Alithra's reaction, she couldn't tell. She frowned as she queried inwardly about those words. Missing... what were they missing?
"Ichigo hasn't been fighting. If he had we would have realised about Hichigo sooner. The question is why? Why now does he try something? Why not earlier?" Urahara asked confused at Ichigo's lack of action.
Nero looked on the ground thinking, going through everything he knew. He snarled the moment he had a plausible answer. "He's asleep."
"What?" Orana asked looking at Nero strangely. Urahara did too. Alithra stared calculating. Gabriel simply swore violently.
"I've seen it done before. With hosts that are more resistant, a demon will place them asleep within a nightmare as punishment. I'm betting Hichigo's done the same with Ichigo to have control. It's rare for the host to wake up by themselves but given the right circumstances it can happen. And Ichigo being able to unconsciously use his abilities makes it likely he'll be able to." Nero explained, glancing down in order to avert his eyes from the others. Shame filled him but he refused to let it show.
"Yes that sounds fitting. How do you know about it Nero?" Gabriel asked curiously.
Alithra smiled grimly and answered for Nero. "When we were still Cruor, one of our pack mates was possessed. He was a fighter and abhorred being controlled and since he was linked with the pack, we were able to sense the demon put him to sleep. We connected with him and managed to snap him out of it, after that we were able to drive the demon out." Nero glanced up at her, a ghost of a smile forming on his lips in thanks.
Urahara watched them meticulously. He went to comment on their strange behaviour regarding the subject at hand, as he did he felt Orana's slim hand grip his shoulder. He turned his head to look her in the eyes. She shook her head. The message was clear, 'Not now.' He nodded and left it at that.
Gabriel frowned, also sensing the lie mixed within the truth. As far as he knew forcing a demon to flee the host was difficult, something the Quincy were extremely proficient at. However, he didn't doubt the possibility of their ability to. He wouldn't underestimate them like that. It was just that something was off. A something which was enough to make them unwilling. He would not push... yet.
Clearing his throat, he left that train of thought alone to concentrate on the task at hand. "Alithra try getting him to pull you in. If you can, you and Rukia should be able to end his sleep." Gabriel ordered calmly.
Alithra snarled lowly as she turned back to Ichigo. Gently she laid her hands on either side of Ichigo's head and waited."See noth..." She began but was interrupted as she flinched in agony.
"Alithra." Nero shouted, sliding to catch Alithra's limp body as it fell. "What happened?" Nero growled furiously.
I awoke abruptly and saw Hichigo's true form beside me and thankfully still unconscious. I jerked away rapidly and looked around frantically. Then I realised one thing, I had no idea where I was. It was so strange, so very strange.
The sky, was vertical instead of horizontal, and around me were... buildings, I think. They were tall, with many windows, I stood on one now. I felt like I should be falling but I wasn't, simply because this world was like that.
I scanned around and my eyes locked on a certain area, it was different, a strong malice radiated there. In that direction I could see swirling walls of darkness, and I began to walk there. My mind screamed no, but my heart and instincts said that was where I was needed, it was why I was here. I followed my instincts, followed my heart, daring to hope this was what I thought it was.
My heart began to pound as I began running, I needed to get there before Hichigo awoke. I ran for what felt like eternity but I knew it was only a few minutes. I skidded to stop, my body becoming numb as I saw Ichigo lying there. From a distance, he seemed peaceful, as if he was having a harmonious sleep, but his face showed the truth. His face contorted in torment and anguish, yet no sound left him.
My desperation welled, what was I to do? How could I help him? I was nothing but an inexperienced child compared to the others. My heart pounded faster in fear when I heard the scream of rage signalling Hichigo's awakening. I could feel him moving closer, his very presence a dark malevolent being that poisoned everything around him.
The moment he came into sight my body reacted and jerked my mind into working. The air around me chilled and I threw up ice shields, they moulded around us and became a dome. The ice thickened protecting us further. I didn't know how I did it but I did and honestly, I didn't care because for now we were safe.
The dome shook violently as Hichigo's first assault hit the side. The wave of white and red energy swirled against the barrier causing the ice to hiss angrily as the attack seared the ice. The dome began to weaken, fractures crawled across the translucent surface. I threw myself into rebuilding the damaged dome. I let my anger burn and fuel my power but not just that, all the pain, sorrow, and hatred I'd ever felt went into it. Everything I'd forced down in order to be the perfect princess my family required. I threw it away and followed my instincts.
More followed, everything I was, everything I wanted, needed, felt and forgot. It all washed over me, fuelling me, and most of all reminding me of who I was, of why I had to do this. Eventually I found myself gasping and I collapsed onto my knees. My breath, what little I had left, was taken away from me. The ice gave the flashes of light from Hichigo's attacks a wonderfully and eerily beautiful appearance. It would have been truly amazing if I didn't remember just how lethal those attacks were.
I turned away and crawled to Ichigo's side. I rested my head gently on his shoulder, looking at his pain stricken face, I ran my hand through his mess of mandarin tresses. I smiled at him as his face softened, almost as if he knew it was me beside him. I waited, too exhausted to do anything more. Hoping he would once again turn out to be my saviour. Sadness panged deep inside me, I couldn't save him, after everything I'd learnt, I still could not return the favour.
"Poor little Rukia. So utterly exhausted, so very weak. A foolish girl like you should learn her place is not one of interfering." Hichigo cooed delightedly from outside the dome. He danced around predatorily, his cruel gold eyes glinting as he felt my waning strength and despair.
I hated it, resented how easy it was for me to curl up and break. When the hell did I get like this? Why was I mourning long before the battle was over? I snarled at how pathetic I must look. I stood up shaking violently and I scowled. The ice dome was holding strong, I'd thicken it immeasurably. Yet that wasn't going to be enough, now it was time to give it some offensive capabilities.
I smirked as Hichigo walked within a metre of the ice and laughed as he jerked away from the ice spike I sent out of the wall. I noticed the coolness of the air and relished in it. And it gave me an idea. Outside I concentrated on the still air and began exciting it and enticing it to my bidding.
The blue sky remained blue and I frowned, it wasn't working. I sat next to Ichigo and clasped his hand, there had to be a way to do it. I gasped as memories from Ichigo's past assaulted me, dark, angry and painful memories.
'Use them.'I heard Ichigo voice whispered in my mind.
I looked at him, not sure if I'd even heard him. It had been so quiet and fleeting I couldn't be sure if it was real or a desperation induced delusion. But even now I could sense those memories, that if I pushed slightly I'd be able to see them.
Well it was worth a shot, it's not like I had any other bright ideas. Plus, I'd rather do this than sit and moan, hoping someone would come and save me. I clasped his hand even tighter and pushed through that thin veil that separated me from those memories. It flooded into me and I howled in agony as they tore through me like a rabid dog. I fought for focus but the pain was excruciating. With my free hand I clutched my head.
I fell into memory after memory flying passed them too fast to see what they held. I felt nausea wash over me, followed by a splitting headache. Then everything was painfully clear. It irritated my aching head.
I turned and stood shocked as I saw where I'd stopped. It was when Ichigo had tried to push me away. I felt his uneasiness as he glared down as if it was mine to feel.
"You know very well what I mean. I'm no toy, which you can play with to satisfy yourself." Out of everything in the memory those words stuck out. It wasn't just the words, it was the pain Ichigo had inflicted on himself and the loathing for himself he felt. He'd hurt himself more than me with those words. This memory was one of the strangest by far. It was filled with pain, hatred and anger followed by confusion, frustration, happiness, love and ending in a strong sense of belonging and thankfulness. However, there was an overlying emotion, one that didn't occur at the time but was most likely felt when he looked back on that day. It was an agonising regret and sorrow not for himself but for me. For putting me in danger.
My anger soared, the damn bastard strawberry, will he ever see that I don't regret it, that I don't care about the danger. Damn it! I nearly began laughing when I realised that my fury had washed all away the painful distractions. I used the moment of clarity to focus and rise up from the memories, pulling them with me. I looked behind me and saw the destructive storm of emotion form behind me and I smiled. It seemed every horrible emotion Hichigo had caused for Ichigo was going to bite him in the ass.
My eyes shot open and saw how outside of my ice dome, the blue sky had turned a dark grey and in some places it was pure black. The wind blew violently and on it and the clouds were Ichigo's memories. They flashed far too fast to see what was happening inside them. The storm was mainly volatile winds with some lighting. Everything about it was unnatural, as if it was alive and aiming for Hichigo. Deep inside I felt satisfaction as he dodged precariously around the storm's strikes.
I frowned at his success and then smiled. Well I was going to have to make it harder. With Ichigo's emotional storm, I added my elemental abilities. A blizzard surged from nothing, obscuring my view and dashing any chance of Hichigo's success. Ice whipped in the winds, dangerous projectiles on their own but even worse when combined with lightning.
Hichigo's roars were barely audible above the raging winds. I remained focused, knowing somehow that the storm needed me to channel it, as well as keeping it away from the dome. It seems so did Hichigo.
The dome shook dangerously as he sent a cero at it, igniting the already static air and ripping the tenuous authority I had over it from me. It absorbed the energy from Hichigo's cero and took a life of its own.
The wind howled its defiance and became more vicious and wild. Lighting struck randomly, ice and snow churned dangerously. The storm had become more than a storm it had become a wild beast refusing anyone as its master save itself. It reflected the inner turmoil between Hichigo and Ichigo perfectly. Both wanting to be free, refusing to be the servant of the other.
The snow hid everything, it was opaque. I couldn't see anything through it but I could still feel Hichigo's fluctuating energy and something else, something new and dormant. I wasn't sure what it was or if it was a part of the storm.
Soon it arose, for a few moments it was idle, seemingly getting its bearings. When it did, I shivered jerkily from the trepidation of what was coming. Its energy rose becoming wild, in seconds, it matched the storm in its animalistic rage and wild feel and then an instant later it surpassed it. I shook more and more as it neared. Oh god what had I done?
I covered my head as it smashed into the dome. Thankfully, it didn't break through, though it sent tremors across the surface. Howling rose eerily close and at first, I thought it was the wind again but I quickly recognised my error. It was that newer presence. It tried again seemingly desperate to get inside and I didn't understand nor did I want to find out. I kept thickening the dome. Somehow, my strength had returned but I didn't delve into it. There wasn't time enough to spare.
I stood up and ran to the point where a massive crack had begun to form. I placed my hand carefully, knowing direct contact would speed up the process. I healed it but went flying back from the force of another one of Hichigo's ceros. I slid across the ground and looked up at the wall, it still held but one more attack would shatter that section.
I ran toward it slowly building it up again in an effort to buy some time but I was too slow. The wild presence slammed through and I was forced to protect my face from the ice. I covered my face with my arms and felt myself swept up by someone.
"Seal it." It ordered in familiar voice after we'd landed. I glanced up daring to hope and met a set of very familiar eyes. One silver and one gold signalling Alithra's most dangerous mood but I didn't care, because her eyes shone with concern. I hugged her, relief filling me.
"Rukia dear, you have to seal the wall before Hichigo gets in, you can always hug me later if Ichigo doesn't call dibs on it first." Alithra commanded sternly. It brought me to immediate attention and instantly I began recreating the wall. Hichigo howled in frustration as he came to the wall but it turned to a pain and surprise filled yelp as the ice wall turned offensive on him.
I glanced at Alithra, the random flashes of lighting allowed me to see that she was covered in bruises and deep gashes. It seemed the storm and the wall did a number on her. "Are you..." I started before I realised how different she looked here. She was literally more wolfish. She was relatively human, save for some distinctly wolf features. She had pointed wolf ears instead of human ears. Her nails were elongated to sharp points. She had a tail which constantly flicked from side to side and her wings were visible. Even what she wore was altered. Her top was a halter neck, which showed her shoulders, it covered her whole stomach but left her lower back bare. Her arm guards and clumsily stitched pants were the same and she appeared to have no weapons.
When she turned around, she flared her wings, allowing me to see her mark of being a werewolf but as she stretched them unconsciously, she shocked me as she revealed a second mark on her left shoulder. Except it wasn't a normal mark, it was like it had been burned into her skin. It was the symbol of infinity, except it was shaped by two snakes devouring one another. Through the middle was an X. On the side ends of the X were arcs enclosing it, giving it the appearance of an hourglass complete with stands that was on lying on its side. I'd never seen anything like it and I was tempted to ask about it and her appearance.
"Alithra," I called and she turned in answer. I stopped myself from prodding and asked something I should have earlier. "Are you okay?" I asked.
"Forget about me, I'll be fine."
"Yeah, for how much longer?" I asked bitterly at the fact that I'd worked us into this situation.
"Rukia you've done well considering the situation, so stop beating yourself up. We're going to get out of this, all you have to do is wake Ichigo." She replied her stern ton turning motherly.
"How will that do anything?" I screamed at her frustration. "How will that stop the storm? Or Hichigo? Or get us out?" I ranted angrily looking up at the ceiling, utterly exasperated. She had to have some better idea.
"Rukia relax. Ichigo's the cause of the storm and the reason why we're stuck in his mind." She paused there and I took it as incentive to speak.
"Ichigo's the cause? How can you be sure?" I exclaimed rebutting her outrageous arguments.
"Rukia, this is Ichigo's inner world. That storm is his out of control emotions, he's unconsciously doing it..." She started but I interceded.
"But I started it and I lost control of it." I argued angrily. She didn't have all the facts she couldn't know for sure.
"Rukia look around you. You created this dome, defended it and started this storm, by all rights you should have collapsed from exhaustion. You're still relatively new to this and there is no way your body and mind could handle this kind of strain yet. I'm guessing you made the dome by yourself but then made the storm through Ichigo without realising it and while doing it you would have absorbed some reiryoku from Ichigo. That's why you're not tired." She replied convincingly.
I opened and closed my mouth several times trying to find some massive flaw in her logic. I growled when all I came up with some minor things that didn't quite refute it. I scowled and moved to our next problem. "And Hichigo?" I asked sceptically.
"That's why I said you not we. While you're trying to wake up sleepy head over there, I'll be distracting the maniac." She answered me, pointing to Ichigo as she said sleepy head. I gaped at her, her... I don't know. Was it how she made it sound so simple or the insanity of it or both?
"Are you insane? Going out there against that storm and Hichigo is suicide. And that's even if Hichigo will fight you." I argued when I finally decided. Alithra smirked and laughed at me.
"Are you kidding Rukia? It's Hichigo, he's a madman who loves a strong challenger. I'm just that plus our last fight got interrupted, he'll want finish it. As for the storm it'll hurt him as much as it'll hurt me." She answered calmly, even shrugging when she mentioned the storm as if it was nothing.
"That's it! You went through it, didn't you? God, how did you get through?" I asked finding myself confounded again.
"Yes and the big deal is?"
The coyness in her voice made me take a step back. "How could you even manage it?" Alithra rolled her eyes and shrugged. "This is not the real world Rukia. Things don't act the way they should."
"What the hell does that even mean?" I shouted, she really had lost it.
"We're in Ichigo's mind Rukia. That storm isn't physical, this world isn't and neither are we. It's psychological. That storm is made of Ichigo's rampaging emotions. Emotions stronger and more focused than it can pass through it... relatively unharmed unless it's purposely targeting you." She explained flippantly.
"Oh so you won't be harmed when you fight Hichigo. You could have said that earlier." I growled thoroughly annoyed at her lack of complete answers.
"I said what I said earlier because it's true. I won't be able focus nearly enough to cancel majority of the storm out." Alithra snapped back equally as aggravated.
"And you're still going out there." I screeched horrified at her apparent lack of sanity.
"I am still hyped up on demon blood, so yes that is a logical assumption which is most probably correct." She answered smiling, at that moment lightning struck near us, illuminating the dome brightly. The light hit her eyes highlighting the rather palpable red rings surrounding her irises and the strange glint they held. I shuddered as for the first time I truly meet the darker side of the twilight wolf.
Her eyes had held concern and kindness when she'd crashed through the barrier detracting from what she was really suffering, making me miss it till now. Now, her eyes shone with the demented joy of bloodlust, with a malicious mischievous streak of a person, who relished in playing cruel games, thrown into the mix too. It made me wish, I was dealing with Hichigo instead. It wasn't the fact that Hichigo was weaker or less malevolent than Alithra's present self. It was just... I had no idea what to expect. Hichigo was Hichigo, his personality hadn't done a 180 like hers had. It was that fact that absolutely terrified me.
She smiled ruefully at my expression. "Open the barrier." She ordered before turning on heel and walking to the ice. I paused in opening up a passageway as she reached it.
"I don't know if I can do this. I have no idea how too." I moaned confused, I hoped it would be enough to mask my worry and fear but as she looked back I knew it wasn't the case.
She smirked knowingly. "Neither do I, but hell if he'll wake up for anyone it'll be you. God knows how many times I failed at waking him up when he was a child." She laughed shrugging it off. I swallowed nervously and nodded. She noticed it. "Rukia you can do it. Focus on this."
"I'm worried about you too." I whispered suddenly turning hollow.
Alithra's face softened losing some of... the darkness. "Rukia, don't be. I'll turn if that makes you feel better. I'll be covered in think fur." She replied reassuringly. I smiled weakly feeling somewhat better. She slid out of the temporary opening I'd made hurriedly and just as quickly I closed it. Despite the comforting words, I still prayed that I hadn't just done something horribly wrong.
End of Rukia's POV
Hichigo smiled as he felt a gap in Rukia's ice wall appear, he rushed for it knowing he only had a small opening. He growled angrily when he felt it close as quickly as it had opened. He began charging a cero but seconds after he'd started it something slammed into him. He swore viciously as he hit the ground and slid.
Hichigo flung whoever was on him away, kicking for extra measure. He heard a ferocious growl sound out through the storm. Momentarily, he was stunned at the newcomer but that shock soon evolved into delighted satisfaction as he realised who it was. He whirled and slammed his fist into the oncoming jaw. He heard Alithra yelp painfully and smiled manically.
Hichigo leapt toward her and she pounced out of reach snarling deep in her chest. It should have been inaudible above the raging storm but he heard it clearly. As he paused in consideration, Alithra launched herself at him. He managed to divert the claws before they hit anything crucial and kicked her viciously off him again. He drew his white Zangetsu and stalked over to her as she stood gingerly up. He knew he'd broken ribs.
He slashed moving forward but was forced back as a cold ice fragment filled wind ran past him, hissing as the ice bit into him. The ice wasn't the only thing to bite him, she did too latching onto him and hurling him off to the side. He cursed angrily as he stared at the solid beast in front of him. A part of him admired her, despite what all those goody two shoes thought they knew of her, it didn't even measure to the truth. The tales spread around were mere fairytales to the truth. Inside her was a part far darker than those younglings understood. Surprisingly, only a small part of him loathed her and that was for how well she'd managed to help Ichigo. He wondered why all those pathetic Marked Ones never ever questioned how she truly understood the battle of a demon and it's chosen soul. Or did they really believe that it was similar to the compulsion.
He chuckled lowly, his laughter remaining silent and Alithra eyed him as he did. Not really understanding what was so funny. She growled and leapt at him again, fearlessly. Hichigo dodged and fired a bala, it ignited with that static air around, becoming quickly erratic. Alithra snarled as she failed to evade all of the random bolts, flying into the snow. Her snarl quickly turned into a gasp as she phased involuntarily out of werewolf form. She hissed as the ice penetrated her bare skin.
"Oh lookie here, doesn't someone look different." Hichigo shouted over the raring wind and pelting snow and ice. Alithra glanced at him and glared as she panted, blood trickling down her shoulder as well as down her cheek.
"Don't get cocky because you got in a lucky shot." Alithra yelled back angrily. "I would hate to embarrass you again." Hichigo hissed and shunpoed forward and slashed, Alithra dodged narrowly. A second later her legs were wrapped expertly around his sword arm and she twisted it forcing him to drop it. She loosened them quickly and just as rapidly, he was flying back as she kicked him with vicious precision. Hichigo cursed again and ran forward charging a cero, he let it fly but Alithra was one step ahead, already behind Hichigo as the cero flew sparking out randomly.
Hichigo whirled and punched as Alithra came from behind, she ducked slashing with her elongated nails. Hichigo hissed as they glided unimpeded over his bare arms. Alithra spun kicking hard, Hichigo blocked and flung her away. He went to retreat back to Zangetsu eyeing her carefully. He growled as she vanished only for her to land a hit to his lower back, she spun elegantly around him and jabbed hard on Hichigo's exposed throat.
Hichigo gasped struggling to breath, he clumsily dodged Alithra's next series of jabs, hooks and kicks. He waited for a gap and the moment he got it, he took it even though it was small. He took the opening as she kicked, grabbing her leg and delivering a solid punch to her stomach, he twisted her leg as he flung her away. Using the reprieve he shunpoed to Zangetsu, picking him up and brandishing it threateningly.
Alithra growled annoyed that she'd slipped up, but she didn't have much time to dwell as Hichigo came howling through the blizzard, swinging Zangetsu gleefully. She blocked using her armguards to ward off his slices and thrusts. Hichigo feigned to the right before spinning to the left, hoping to catch Alithra off guard. Alithra smiled as she saw the predictable attack. She stepped back and launched herself skyward, disappearing from Hichigo's sight. She faintly heard Hichigo roar in frustration and took that as the signal to dive.
The winds battered her and she fought to stay on course. She knew it would be easier to focus her reiatsu but that would take away the element of surprise. She saw Hichigo's silhouette and deftly landed letting a small flash of reiatsu out. She tucked her wings close and sprinting off ten metres to the side, she crouched close the ground and waited.
Hichigo felt the flash and whirled. He thought he saw something running but couldn't be sure, the damn snow was too thick for him. Warily he wandered closer to where the pulse had originated. Alithra stayed quiet letting the snow obscure and cover her as Hichigo paced closer. She could see he was alert and knew one move too early, her ambush would fail. He came closer barely registering her there, as she kept her reiatsu down. It allowed the elements in and she could feel the pain they caused but she resigned herself to it. While both their eyesight was strong, she was more capable of making things out in the blizzard. This was her hunt.
Hichigo was barely a metre away when she pounced, hurling herself into him, grabbing his sword arm and digging her nails in. She pinned him into the snow and slid the sword out of his weakened grasp and pressed it to his throat. To her surprise, Hichigo smiled.
She glared suspiciously. "What?" She shouted angrily.
"You must be itching to kill me. You must hate that killing me means killing Ichigo." He replied back over the storm, she'd struggled to hear it but focused carefully. Alithra simply rolled her eyes and made the mistake of taking her eyes off him for that single second. He'd used it quickly and had her pinned under him, clasping her throat, however, she still held the sword to his.
"You mucked up." He gloated loud enough for her keen ears to hear.
"Mm, thought I'd give you a little break. Wouldn't want you to be completely humiliated, again." She spat back. Hichigo scowled furious.
"No need to be nasty."
Any further barbed insults remained unsaid as the explosion of reiatsu from the ice dome stole Hichigo's attention. Alithra used the slack and kicked him off her. She stood and smirked down on him as the storm became even more wild. Ichigo was up and he was furious.
"I take it back about the total humiliation, I'm so going to enjoy it."
Just after Alithra left.
Rukia stared at the former portal to the raging storm. She was at a loss unsure of how to proceed, gingerly she paced back to Ichigo and sat beside him. She laid her hands on his forehead and felt the swirling memories just under it.
She felt something, something inexorably dark and tainted, instinctively she followed it. Her vision changed and she was walking down a dark passageway made up, seemingly from the darkness itself. She soon found herself in front of a gaping hole. She took a step back and stopped. She sensed Ichigo... down there. She gulped and looked down, the hole seemed to go, on and on, never ending. It pulled at her and she felt herself take a shuffling step forward. She tried to stop but couldn't, she kept moving until she was right at its edge. She fought herself, trying to get away but it still pulled at her, still dragged at her. Something told her to jump. That Ichigo was down there and this was the way. Without realising, she leapt and found herself not for the first time today falling down and down.
When she opened her eyes, she could hear a child crying and she could feel Ichigo. Rapidly, she glanced around to find him and she did. He stood there frozen staring ahead. She followed his gaze and as soon as she saw it, she glanced away, unable to look. She'd seen red splashes and didn't want to know anymore. She trudged close to Ichigo, and shook him. He didn't look at her, didn't even seem to register that she'd touched him.
"Ichigo." She cried, frantic. Nothing, nothing at all. He didn't register Rukia at all. His eyes focused ahead and the look they held was one of guilt, pain and fear. Rukia tried pulling him away but he didn't budge. He was fixated on the bloody scene in front of him.
She swallowed and glanced at it, steeling herself. She immediately saw orange. It was Ichigo, just a younger version of him. He was crying and completely hysterical as he pulled at a brown haired women. A women whose body was mangled viciously. Three men laughed and instantly, Rukia knew what it was. The night his mother died.
A minute later the scene stopped for a few seconds and then restarted. Rukia heard Ichigo whimper. She shut her eyes and clasped his hand tightly. She didn't know if he felt it but willed him to be strong. "Ichigo, I'm here." Rukia whispered. He stayed silent. She stayed like that next to him, giving him what comfort she could.
The memory ended and there was that intermission again. Ichigo glanced down at his hand and shifted silently. Rukia felt it and glanced up, she saw him go to look up but the moment a new memory was up, he was fixated on it.
It was gap she had to use, the only time he could feel what was around him. She waited patiently but this memory went on longer than the last one. When it finally ended Ichigo glanced down again and Rukia twirled in front of him, squeezing his hand tighter. His eyes followed and he glanced at her.
"Rukia... what are...?" He didn't finish, his sentence died on his lips as the gap ended. He looked past her, wincing as it began again. She noticed, though she didn't know how that the intermissions were getting longer, just slightly. It wasn't really fact just instinct.
She glanced behind her and gasped in fear and turned away. This memory wasn't Ichigo's it was Hichigo's. It was going through every single memory. Going from the most recent to the oldest. Including Hichigo's. Minutes later the memory finished.
"Ichigo I'm here." She whispered, coming close and hugging him.
He pulled her chin up and looked down horrified. "No, you shouldn't be. Rukia run, please..." He replied fearfully, before the whole cycle started again. After several more times they were able to get about three sentences out each but they were mostly him telling Rukia to leave.
Finally, Rukia was fed up. "NO." She growled the moment he went to speak. "I'm not leaving you here alone."
"You have to. Rukia please, if he finds you he'll hurt you, damn it." He growled, still sounding so desperate and defeated. Rukia shook her head stubbornly.
"I don't care. If I leave here without you, he'll just follow and finish what he started. Alithra can't fight him forever." She argued.
"What?" He growled sounding more like himself. "What did he start and Alithra is what?"
Rukia went to answer but he was gone again, engrossed in the horror of a demon's mind. She sighed, for once they were getting somewhere. Rukia waited what felt like forever for the next break, the next time she could talk to him.
The moment he shifted Rukia spoke. "Alithra is fighting him outside in your mind... in the storm of your emotions and he..." He growled shutting up Rukia in surprise. His expression was dark. Rukia took a step back.
"Out." He snapped.
"I don't know how and I said I'm not leaving."
"Yes you are." He snarled, Rukia was going to argue again but everything spun as he touched her forehead. The next moment she was back inside the dome staring down at him.
"Damn it, Ichigo." She cried. Rukia sat depressed, seeking away back but it was blocked off. She didn't understand it. She began to become aware of Alithra's and Hichigo' fight. She felt the swirling of reiatsu, of pain and rage.
Eventually, she felt Alithra's reiatsu disappear in the storm. She felt Hichigo but no Alithra. Her heart beat wildly and she crawled to Ichigo. "Ichigo wake up. She's gone. I can't feel her anymore. Hichigo killed her." Rukia whispered, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Ichigo I need you."
Rukia felt something in him stir, a primal anger that rose, bringing him to life. She sat shocked as he twitched, his reiatsu beginning to flood around her. Vaguely, she felt a spike of reiatsu, Alithra's reiatsu. Confused Rukia simply watched.
I watched the scene play out ahead of me, it was the final thing I wanted to watch. When I saw Rukia I was afraid that she was going to get hurt, now I was angry and I wanted answers. She'd broken me out of the cycle and I'd manipulated it to get what I wanted. Passing everything else in flash. It was how this all started, how Hichigo became a demon. I saw the girl that uncannily resembled Rukia, I felt everything he felt and I understood why. He had done something noble and been punished for it. Forced to leave the person he cared about most then tortured by demons. It was enough to drive anyone insane, drive anyone to what he'd become.
I watched intently and while I did Rukia's voice wafted down. "Ichigo wake up. She's gone. I can't feel her anymore. Hichigo killed her." She whispered distraught and terrified. "Ichigo I need you." My rage rose and something snapped inside me. She was dead. Alithra was dead and God knows what Hichigo would do to Rukia.
I awoke to a very confused and scared Rukia who stared at me. I growled and launched myself through the ice dome. I ran as fast as I could leaving Rukia behind. I could feel him, I might be horrible at sensing reiatsu but his I could never not feel. I snarled as I flung myself at him, caring little about whether I had a weapon or not. I wanted him dead. I wanted this over. How could I ever look any one in the eye after this.
"You Bastard. I'm going to kill you." I screamed wrathfully charging a Cero. Hichigo looked at me shocked and mildly interested in whether I was bluffing or not. Before I could show just how serious I was, I felt myself knocked away. I glanced up uncomprehendingly and furious.
"You...You... You're supposed to be dead!" I shouted flabbergasted over the storm which I just realised was raging.
"Who in... gave... that idea." She replied shouting so I could hear, some words were stolen by the winds. She stared at me and I saw Hichigo shift slightly. He wanted to take advantage of her distraction. Next second Alithra had the white Zangetsu at his throat while she still looked at me. I gaped, seemed she wasn't as distracted as she seemed.
"Rukia said your reiatsu disappeared." I yelled back.
"Oh that. I'll explain... jus... stop... storm." She shouted back and I glanced about and realised what it really was. I concentrated deeply, focusing on leashing all my raging emotions and memories. I thought again and again, Rukia isn't hurt, Alithra's Alive, everyone's okay. Eventually the whole thing settled clearing into the blue sideways sky.
Alithra nodded approvingly, her eyes glinting proudly but they were off and she looked different. I didn't care I took those steps toward her and hugged her. "I was scared. Scared you died because of me. I wouldn't know what to do." I said pulling away from her.
"Well you can start by not committing suicide because that would be a poor thing to do in my memory." She countered, easily. Her tone mockingly stern and I found myself chuckling. She gripped my hand and passed me Zangetsu. It turned black at my touch. I stared shocked and she slapped my head. "Time to deal with a certain trouble maker."
I nodded meekly and turned to Hichigo. She left me there heading for Rukia. "Well, well King, you're awake." I growled pointing the sword at him, my anger bubbled slightly but I forced it down.
I shrugged it all off and stayed neutral. "I saw how you became a demon." I saw Hichigo stiffen his face darkening.
"That was a long time ago." He snapped but there was sorrow in his words. I went to speak but he cut across me. "So now you know about me but who don't you know about?" He laughed cruelly, eyes glinting maliciously.
"What the hell do you mean?" I growled put off by his sudden confidence, immediately the image of how Alithra looked flickered in my mind.
"You know very well what I mean but then that's not the question you should be asking." He countered easily circling me. My sword tip followed him and I never took my eyes off me.
"Then what is?" I spat, scowling deeply. It was... troubling.
"What is she?"
"Is she really." I blanked as I looked at him, he smiled cruelly knowing he'd gotten to me. Gotten some flicker of doubt. "You really thought you knew her all this time. She's lied to you, to all of you. I doubt any of them really know what she is." He stated coldly stepping closer, I backed away. No it wasn't true, I couldn't believe him over her.
"Still the denials. How much have you onlyjust learned in the past months? How do you know there isn't so much more...?" He prodded gleefully and I interceded.
"Shut up. If she hasn't told me there's probably a reason."
"A reason. Oh yes there's a reason, it's simple enough." He continued to coo darkly.
"Shut up." I growled refusing to listen.
"Fine but there's just one more thing I want to say." He chuckled maliciously, pausing and waiting for my answer. I didn't want to know. I didn't want to know. I shut my eyes as my curiosity got the better of me. I nodded.
He smiled widely. "All the older beings know her name, Ichigo and they fear it. For good reason too, even I'm wary of her." He cackled madly, but there was something in it. Something that confused me, I didn't know whether he was lying or telling the truth. I gulped, what had she done?
I flashed to the ice dome on the way I released Zangetsu. As I made it to the dome I walked to Rukia, hugging her closely and kissing her. "Ichigo are you alright?" She asked noticing something was wrong. I shook my head and forced a wavering smile. She frowned not believing but left it at that. She was exhausted.
"Alithra?" I called turning to her.
I wanted to ask her about everything Hichigo had said but it wasn't the right time, not now. "Um..." I started lamely and she turned to face me, eyeing me carefully. She could tell something was wrong too. "Uh... what happened? I mean why did your reiatsu disappear?" I asked.
"Oh that. I hid it to chance ambushing Hichigo." She answered waving it off but the concern never left her eyes. "You mind getting us out?" She asked and I nodded. Within seconds, I was gasping and staring up at many worried faces from my position on the ground. I shrugged away all the concerns and shunpoed away. I needed time to think.
END of Ichigo's POV
So what did you think. An excessively long chapter on my excessively late update, so I hope you enjoyed it. Please do tell me.
Next Chapter: Have no idea haven't written it.
I have no clue what I'm going to do next. Reveiw and give ideas, it'll make me feel a whole lot better.
Important: I have two polls going on my profile both concerning Cataclysm, that are ideas I'm kinda toying with and I want all your opinions on it. (Uh only one can be put at once, and I hav no clue how to embed them into my profile, so they're under the story updates under POLLS with their answers, so uh if u can be bothered just PM your answers, or just wait for a couple of days until I put poll 2 up. If of course you can be bother.
Also if you guys have any ideas that you think would go really well with Cataclysm or things you want to see happen (ie characters I haven't added, pairings you want to see more of or added.) just review or PM me and I'll give it my best shot, plus it'll help me get out my damned rut I've been stuck in all year. Plus it'll be good fun and awesome to see some of your ides. Of course any ideas you put forward belong to you and recognition and thanks will be said at the start and end of the chapter that I use it in, plus multiple messages from me saying thanx again and again for getting me writing again. lol.
Note: I've written 36 chapters and about uh less than 1/4 of 37.