Disclaimer- the usual, I do not own Bleach. Never have and never will

A/N - I wrote this at the same time that I wrote Reincarnation and it's a what-if fic that tells what could have happened to Hitsu's reincarnation had he not been abandoned as a small child. Warning: contains references to child abuse which I personally do not condone. No one should ever take advantage of those weaker than themselves.

What Should Never Have Been

It was a crisp winter morning and two young children, a boy and a girl, were making their way toward their respective schools. The young boy had spiky hair, as white as freshly fallen snow, and vivid, blue-green eyes while the girl who walked beside him had dark brown hair, worn in two low pig tails, and brown eyes the color of chocolate.

"Now remember Sojiro," the young girl called out as she and the slightly taller boy who had been walking beside her parted ways. "Mother and Father said that you have to come straight home from school." A slightly pleading look appeared in the girl's brown eyes at this point. "Please come right home Jiro-chan or Father will be mad and you know what will happen."

"Don't worry Ayana," the boy named Sojiro said, offering his sister a small smile. "Everything will be just fine."

Ayana forced herself to return his smile as she and her older brother parted ways. Brother and sister were only two years apart in age and had, up until today, gone to the same school. Sojiro was a prodigy however and his teachers had decided that it would be better for him if he skipped ahead a couple of grades and so, as of today, the twelve year old boy was a high school student. "Please don't make them mad again Sojiro," she thought to herself as she watched her big brother walk away.

For the sake of his little sister Sojiro would pretend that nothing was wrong, just as he'd been doing for as long as he could remember, however once he was out of her line of sight the young boy paused and tentatively touched his right side with one probing fingertip. His father had been drunk the night before and had once again taken out all of his failures and shortcomings on the son that he had never wanted. Thankfully Ayana had been out visiting friends when the fight had occurred and was thus blissfully unaware of what had happened. "And I have every intention of keeping it that way," Sojiro thought to himself as he pushed the pain in his ribs to the back of his mind and continued walking. His sister was the only innocent thing in his life and he had every intention of making sure that she stayed that way. The horror of their parents' true nature was knowledge that she would be better off without.

For some reason that he couldn't explain, but was none the less grateful for, their parents had never laid a hand on Ayana. Thankfully they reserved all of their anger for Sojiro. His little sister had no idea exactly how brutal their father could be, especially when he'd had to much to drink. She knew that things weren't exactly great for her big brother, which was why she was always begging him to listen to their orders, however she didn't have any idea of the true horror that he faced every day, didn't know that no matter how obedient he was it would never be good enough for them.

Consumed by thoughts of his horrific home life, it wasn't long before Sojiro reached the school building. He heaved a sigh as he made his way into the building and over to the front office. He knew that his teachers had his best interests at heart when they'd insisted that he take the high school entrance exam however Sojiro was slightly fearful about what life was going to be like now that he was surrounded by students much older and larger than himself. He was smaller than most of the kids his own age and really looked out of place compared to all of the high school students. "I have the feeling that this isn't going to turn out so well," he thought to himself as he entered the front office and walked up to the woman who was seated at the desk.

"Can I help you with something?" the woman asked, speaking to Sojiro as though he were some lost and scared little boy.

"Yes," Sojiro said in a quiet voice, pulling a piece of paper from the messenger bag that he wore across his shoulder. "My name is Sojiro Hayata and I was just transferred here." This said Sojiro handed the woman the paper that he'd been given after he'd passed the entrance exam and been accepted as a student at Karakura High School.

The woman briefly scanned the paper that Sojiro had given her and then she turned her attention back to the young boy. She pointed toward a small cluster of chairs that was positioned along the wall a few feet away. "If you'll just have a seat over there Principal Saito will be with you momentarily."

Sojiro nodded and walked over to the chairs that she had indicated. The young boy sat down in the first chair and placed his messenger bag on the floor at his feet. Almost wishing that there was some way to undo this situation that he now found himself in Sojiro clasped his hands together in his lap and stared down at them, lost in thought. He remained in this position for nearly five minutes before he heard a deep, masculine voice call out to him. "Hello Sojiro-kun."

Sojiro glanced up to find a middle aged man smiling down at him. "Hello sir," he responded in his quiet voice.

"If you'll come with me I'll get you a copy of your class schedule and then show you where your homeroom is located," Principal Saito said in a kind voice.

"Yes sir," Sojiro said, getting to his feet. Sojiro had learned early in life to obey orders quickly, in order to avoid violence, and he quickly stood up to follow the principal, pulling the strap of his messenger bag over his head as he went.

The principal led the way through the front room back to several smaller offices that were situated in a semi circle. He opened the door of the last office and led the way inside, followed closely behind by the young, white-haired boy. Principal Saito walked over to the desk that was positioned near the far wall, opened a drawer and pulled out a manila file folder. He opened the folder and pulled out a sheet of paper, which he offered to Sojiro. The young boy took the piece of paper and glanced over it, learning that it contained a detailed list of the classes that he would be attending in his new school.

"I must say that I was very impressed with your test scores Sojiro-kun," Principal Saito said as he led the way out of the office and back toward the front. "They were some of the highest that this school has ever seen."

"Thank you sir," Sojiro said quietly, his gaze downcast. He knew that the principal was being modest on his behalf when the man said that his test scores were some of the highest in the school's history since he knew for a fact that he had aced the test however he made no comment about this fact. In the grand scheme of things it didn't really matter anyway.

The boy's behavior seemed slightly odd to the principal however he decided that it must have something to do with nerves. After all, putting the kid's high intelligence aside, this was a twelve year old boy who had just entered high school for the first time. That had to be difficult. Deciding to forgo the forced small talk Principal Saito led the way to the boy's assigned homeroom class.

When they arrived at the class the principal knocked on the door once before sliding it open to reveal a class filled with first year high school students. The students, as well as their teacher, all gazed up as the principal stepped into the room, followed a short distance back by Sojiro.

"Koto-sensei I've brought a new student for your class," Principal Saito said, gesturing toward the young boy who came to stand in front of him. "This is Sojiro Hayata, the new transfer student that we discussed."

As he spoke the principal placed what was meant to be a comforting hand on the young boy's shoulder and Sojiro had to fight the urge to pull away. He shuddered at the unwanted touch but gritted his teeth and forced himself to endure it. He had never liked physical contact with others, due to his rather traumatic childhood, but realized that it would be disrespectful to pull away and therefore forced himself to deal with his discomfort.

"I see," Koto-sensei said, his gaze going to the young boy who was standing in front of his boss. The teacher walked over to a small bookcase and picked up a textbook, which he offered to Sojiro. "Here's your text book and welcome to Karakura High School Hayata-kun."

"Thank you sir," Sojiro whispered.

"You may take that vacant seat over there by Kurosaki-kun," Koto-sensei said, pointing toward an empty desk beside which sat a young boy with spiky black hair.

Sojiro nodded and quickly made his way over to the desk that had been assigned to him. He stowed his messenger bag underneath his chair and sat down, hoping that all of the curious eyes that had been watching him would focus somewhere else now that he was seated and no longer on display in the front of the room.

"Hello," the boy sitting beside him whispered, offering him a friendly smile. "My name's Kaien Kurosaki."

"Hi," Sojiro said softly, not really used to interacting with people. He hadn't exactly been popular at his old school, owing to the fact that he was so much smarter than everyone else and the other students had all viewed him as a little freak. On top of that, the only people he had any regular contact with were his parents, his sister, and occasionally his Aunt Shiori.

"You must be really smart if you've been transferred to high school at your age," Kaien said. "You're like what, ten?"

"Twelve," Sojiro hissed, slightly offended by his new classmate's words. He may be small for his age but there was no possible way that he looked like a ten year old.

"Still," Kaien said with a shrug, seemingly unaffected by the anger that his comment appeared to have aroused in his new classmate. "Twelve years old and already in high school. Don't get me wrong, I make good grades and all, but damn."

Sojiro paused to contemplate what Kaien had said. The young boy had never given much thought to his intelligence. He'd always been ahead of the other kids his age, for as far back as he could remember, and had even been called a prodigy by most of his teachers. "How proud your parents must be of you Sojiro-kun." The young boy shook his head as this commonly heard phrase flashed through his mind. His parents had never been proud of him and likely never would be. It wouldn't matter to them if he were a twelve year old college graduate, he still wouldn't be good enough.

"Are you alright Sojiro?" Kaien asked, a slightly concerned expression on his face.

"Fine," Sojiro said shortly, turning away from this overly friendly boy. Friendship had never worked out well for him and he had no desire to go down that particular road again. The only person whom he'd ever called friend had only been using him in order to pass his classes and after he found that out Sojiro had given up on trusting people. People lied, it was an inevitable fact, and the only thing trust brought was more pain and Sojiro had already had enough of that in his relatively short life.

"Alright everyone," Koto-sensei called out, having finished his discussion with Principal Saito. "If you'll get out your books and turn to page. . ."

The day progressed much better than Sojiro had anticipated. The other students seemed wholly uninterested in the scrawny young transfer student and, much to his relief, they mostly ignored him. The only exception to this was Kaien Kurosaki. The black haired boy seemed determined to befriend the newest student at Karakura High School and he was most persistent. During their lunch period he made his way over to the table where Sojiro sat alone and, without asking permission, sat down across from the younger boy.

"Yo Sojiro," he said in a voice that carried across the entire room. "So how are things going on your first day?"

"Fine," Sojiro said shortly, hoping that the older boy would take the hint and go away.

"Hey Kaien," a soft, feminine voice called out from across the room. "Who's your new friend?"

Both Sojiro and Kaien turned and watched as a young girl made her way across the room toward them. She was just slightly shorter than Kaien and had bright orange hair, which she was wearing pulled back into pigtails. With a smile the girl sat down beside Kaien and gazed at him expectantly.

"This is Sojiro Hayata," Kaien told the girl. "He just transferred into my class."

"Really?" the girl said, her gaze going to Sojiro. "You mean to tell me that this little kid is actually a high school student?"

Kaien nodded. "Yes and watch what you say on that particular subject. I think he's somewhat self-conscious about his age and appearance."

Sojiro sighed and rolled his eyes. "You do realize that I can hear you right?"

"Can you really?" Kaien asked, a shocked expression appearing on his face as his gaze returned to the young boy who was sitting across the table from him. "Wow. The way you've been ignoring me all day I thought for sure that there had to be something wrong with your hearing. I'm glad to know that I was wrong."

Sojiro shook his head. There was definitely something not quite right about his classmate but he couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was.

"Anyway Sojiro this is my little sister Masaki," Kaien said, interrupting Sojiro's internal musings and gesturing toward the girl who was sitting beside him.

"Little sister my ass," the girl exclaimed, punching Kaien lightly on the arm. "Just because you were born like two minutes before me does not make you my big brother."

"Uh technically it does," Kaien said with a roguish smile.

"How about I technically kick your ass?" Masaki threatened, glaring at her brother.

Kaien smirked and leaned toward Sojiro, holding his hand up to shield his mouth. "In case you haven't noticed Sojiro, Masaki isn't someone that you want to make mad. She has quite a temper."

"Keep it up," Masaki warned.

Sojiro listened intently as the two siblings sitting across from him argued. They sounded angry and yet he could tell that the two of them were merely giving one another a hard time. It was obvious to him that they cared a great deal for one another and would take on anyone who caused their sibling pain. He felt this way about his little sister and was thus able to pick up on the signs.

"So what do you think of our school so far?" Masaki asked the young boy who was sitting across from her and her brother. "Is everything going alright for you?"

"I'll go ahead and warn you now Masaki, he isn't exactly the friendliest person that I've ever met," Kaien told his sister, casting a glance in Sojiro's direction as he spoke. "So don't be surprised if he ignores your question and just stares at you like you're an idiot."

"It hasn't been so bad," Sojiro replied in his quiet voice, surprising both siblings and even himself to a small degree.

"Wow," Kaien said, focusing his wide-eyed gaze on his young classmate. "Five words, that's gotta be a record for you. Hey Masaki, he must have the hots for you or something."

Masaki rolled her eyes in the direction of her brother and then turned her attention back to Sojiro. "Feel free to beat the snot out of him if you want to Sojiro. He definitely has it coming and I promise I won't say anything. I'll even look the other way if you want."

"Hey!" Kaien exclaimed.

Despite himself Sojiro found himself smiling slightly as he listened to the antics of this rather odd set of siblings. "These two are both out of their minds."

When the final bell rang, dismissing the students for the day, Sojiro grabbed his messenger bag from the floor and pulled the strap across his shoulder. Losing no time the young boy made his way downstairs and exited the school building. Then, once he was outside, Sojiro paused briefly under a large cherry tree that was in the center of the courtyard, debating what he should do. His parents had once again ordered him to come directly home from school and Ayana had begged for him to listen to them so that he didn't get into trouble however Sojiro knew something that his little sister did not. It wouldn't matter if he somehow miraculously managed to make it home five minutes after school was dismissed his parents would just find something else to punish him for. Didn't really make a difference to them what it was.

Sojiro sighed, deciding that his little sister's feelings were more important than avoiding the hell that awaited him at home, and made his way to the spot where he and Ayana had agreed to meet one another once the school day had ended.

"Do you think he's okay?" Masaki asked her brother in a quiet voice as the two Kurosaki siblings watched the young white-haired boy walk away. Both had picked up on the sad expression that was only partially hidden in Sojiro's blue-green eyes.

"I'm not sure," Kaien replied, his gaze focused intently on his young classmate. "There is definitely something not quite right about that boy."

"Well," Masaki said, grabbing her twin by the hand. "You should make an effort to find out what it is or at the very least try to become his friend. He looks like he could really use a friend."

"You think?" Kaien said, gaping at his sister. "To me he looked like, or to be more accurate, he sounded like friendship was the last thing in the world that he wanted or needed."

"It's a front," Masaki said, her tone certain. "He's put up a wall to protect himself from something and he's learned not to let anyone or anything breech that wall. It doesn't mean that he doesn't want a friend, it just means that he's afraid of friendship."

"You are so nuts," Kaien told her, shaking his head.

Masaki rolled her eyes and shoved her brother. "Like you have any room to talk. Now come on, we should probably get home before Mom and Dad freak out and send out a search party."

Kaien nodded and together the two siblings made their way across Karakura town toward the house that they shared with their parents.

Sojiro jogged the short distance to the spot where he and Ayana had parted ways that morning and when he arrived he found his little sister waiting for him. The young girl smiled as she watched her older brother running toward her. "Thank you Jiro-chan."

"For what?" Sojiro asked, a confused expression on his face.

Ayana shook her head. "Don't worry about it." She leaned forward and seized her brother by the hand and pulled him in the direction of their house. "Come on Jiro-chan."

Sojiro sighed as he allowed his sister to lead him in the direction of the house that they shared with their parents. It was with the utmost reluctance that he followed her however Sojiro knew that if he did not, if he disobeyed their father's orders, then not only would he get into trouble but far worse than that he would make Ayana cry. The abuse from his father he could take but the mere thought of causing his sister to cry made Sojiro shudder; causing her pain was something that he'd always strived not to do.

When the two children arrived home it was to find their father standing out in the front yard, as though he were awaiting the arrival of his two children. Akira Hayata focused a loving gaze on his daughter, who ran up to him and threw her arms around him. "Hello princess. Did you have a good day at school?"

"Yes sir," Ayana said, smiling.

"That's good," Akira said with a smile. "Your Aunt Shiori called earlier and asked if you could come over and help her out with something. So what do you say?"

"Okay," Ayana said, turning back to face her brother. "Come on Sojiro."

"No," Akira said, his gaze going to the boy and his eyes narrowing. "Sorry Ayana but I have a few things that I need to discuss with your brother. Why don't you go ahead? Maybe Sojiro can catch up with you later."

Ayana glanced over to her older brother with a questioning look in her brown eyes and, after receiving the barest hint of a nod from Sojiro, she nodded. "Okay Father. I'll be home later."

"Have fun," Akira called out after her as he watched his daughter run off down the sidewalk. Then, once she was out of sight, he turned a loathing gaze toward the young boy who was standing a few yards away from him. "Get your ass over here Sojiro."

"Why?" Sojiro asked, his normally quiet voice even softer as he addressed the father who had made his life miserable for as long as he could remember, wondering what exactly he'd done to incur the man's anger on this particular occasion.

"Don't you dare question me boy," Akira snarled, taking a menacing step toward Sojiro. "You will do as you're told without question."

That was how he'd been raised, to do as he was told and to take whatever abuse the old man dished out, however Sojiro was tired of it. He briefly debated what he should do, weighing each of his choices in his mind, and then he made his decision. Turning on his heel, Sojiro dashed off down the street as fast as his scrawny little legs would carry him. He knew that running wouldn't really solve any of his problems and yet at the same time he was tired of simply taking the abuse of his parents, the two people who should love him and protect him from the pain of the world.

The young boy could hear his father shouting after him however he didn't slow his pace or even turn to glance back at the man. He knew that he could easily out run the older man and there was absolutely no way that he was going to heed his father's orders to stop and come back.

"This is probably the worst mistake that I've ever made in my life," the young boy thought to himself as he ran down the street, away from the place where he had lived for twelve years and yet had never once called home. "But I can't think about that now."

The young boy continued to run until he had reached an area of town that he was unfamiliar with. Only then did he drop down into a walk and, after a few more steps, came to a complete stop. Sojiro leaned up against a tree, fighting to catch his breath and attempting to ignore the stabbing pains of protest that his deep breathing caused in his injured ribs. He began to cough and as he did so he tasted blood. "Great," he thought to himself as he spat the blood upon the pavement. "I think I've managed to cause even more damage."

Sojiro sank to the ground, his back pressed against the tree. This wasn't how life was supposed to be. Life was supposed to be all about ups and downs, joy and sorrow, not an unrelenting torment that could not be overcome. "This isn't fair. What did I do to deserve this?"

The young boy remained under the tree, lost in thought, for about fifteen minutes however at that point he was jarred back to full awareness by an otherworldly, ear piercing scream. "What the. . ." Sojiro jumped to his feet, gazing around wildly for the thing that had made the noise and after a few minutes he saw it. The beast was huge and looked like a cross between a human and a lizard. Now any normal person would be scared out of their mind by this sight however Sojiro had been able to see beasts such as this one for as long as he could remember and although he was frightened he managed to keep his wits about him.

His family had been plagued by these monsters his entire life, although none of the others could see them, and due to this fact Sojiro knew that there were other supernatural beings, these appearing as regular humans, whose job it was to kill the beasts. Sojiro had been saved by these strange people more times than he could count and he gazed around his surroundings, expecting to see someone coming to his rescue.

Unfortunately no one came and Sojiro gasped in pain as the beast swung its arm and struck him across the chest. The young boy was knocked back several feet and he landed on the ground with a sickening thud. Fighting to catch his breath and feeling as though his insides had been crushed, Sojiro managed to pull himself to a kneeling position, coughing up blood with every movement that he made.

"Poor little thing," the beast whispered in a raspy voice, walking toward the bleeding boy who knelt on the ground a few feet away. "If only you could harness all that power that's sleeping inside you. But alas, you can't, and soon all that power's going to be mine."

Sojiro glanced up as the beast stopped above him and his eyes widened in horror as the lizard man raised his hand for a second blow. "I don't think anyone's going to save me this time. At least this way I may be able to find peace at last." This was the last thought that flashed through the young boy's mind before the beast standing over him struck, stabbing him through the chest with it's long claws.

"Kaiya do you feel that?" Captain of Squad Five Ichigo Kurosaki asked his third seat officer, glancing in the direction of the energy that he felt.

"Yes sir," Kaiya said, her gaze following that of her captain. "What do you suppose. . ."

"There's only one way to find out," Ichigo said. "Come on. We have to go and check it out."

"Right," Kaiya said with a nod.

"What the hell?!" the beast exclaimed as he watched the soul emerge from the body of the brat that he'd just killed.

"Ugn," Sojiro groaned, as he pulled himself to a standing position. Slightly dazed the boy glanced around his surroundings and gasped as his searching gaze fell upon his own body, lying bloody and mangled upon the ground. "This isn't. . . So I can't find peace even in death. I truly am cursed."

"If it's peace you're after boy you'll have it soon enough," the beast growled as he raised his hand for another strike.

Feeling completely powerless Sojiro watched as the beast ran toward him however as he watched his impending doom approach the young boy heard a voice echoing in his head as though from some far off place. "Call out to me and I can help. . ."

Completely confused and yet somehow knowing what he should do Sojiro faced the approaching enemy and called out, in a voice that didn't really sound like his own normal soft-edged voice, "HYOURINMARU!!" Sojiro was surrounded by a vast, glowing aura and his blue-green eyes widened in surprise as he watched a sword form in his hand.

The beast made a move to strike the boy however was repelled as Sojiro swung the sword that had miraculously appeared in his hand. "What the hell are you boy?"

"Your guess is as good as mine," Sojiro said, swinging the newly formed sword furiously.

"Fight all you want boy," the beast snarled as he blocked Sojiro's attacks with his claws. "Your only drawing out your own death but if that's how you want to play it then have it your way."

The battle was furious and Sojiro, not being an experienced fighter, suffered many injuries however with the help of the mysterious sword which was able to produce some truly amazing attacks, the boy managed to emerge from the battle victorious. He watched as the beast that had attacked him fell to the ground and then disintegrated and then the young boy heaved a sigh. The battle had been hard won and Sojiro knew that if it had dragged out for any longer then he wouldn't have been able to persevere but luck was on his side for once.

"Thank you for your help," the young boy whispered as he fell to the ground, the mysterious sword still clutched in his bloody hand.

"What the hell happened here?" Ichigo asked his third seat officer as the two of them arrived at the scene of the battle. Both Shinigami could still feel the presence of an Arrancar's reiatsu however the only signs that a battle had been fought here was the bloody corpse of a young boy and his equally bloody soul.

"Poor kid," Ichigo said in a quiet voice as he walked toward the boy's soul. The chain of fate had been severed so he knew that there was no chance of saving the boy's human life however there was still the possibility that his soul could be salvaged.

As he reached the child Ichigo gasped in surprise, his eyes widening in surprise. "I don't believe it. . ."

The bloody young boy who lay on the ground was an exact replica of the late Captain of Squad Ten, Toushirou Hitsugaya, not to mention the fact that he held in his hand a four foot long zanpaktou that was eerily familiar. "What does this mean?" Ichigo thought to himself as he knelt down and pulled the bleeding child into his arms. The child's grip loosened as he was pulled into Ichigo's arms and the sword that he'd held so tightly fell to the ground with a clang. As he held the boy and watched Hyourinmaru fall to the ground Ichigo realized that he didn't have time to debate the situation. If this kid was to be saved he had to get him to Squad Four immediately.

"Kaiya," Ichigo said as he grabbed the sword that had fallen to the ground, used the cloth that was attached to the hilt of his own zanpaktou to tie it behind his back and then quickly got to his feet. "Take care of this kid's body. I have to get him to Soul Society before it's too late."

"Yes sir," Kaiya said.

Ichigo nodded in the direction of his third seat officer and then used his flash-step to quickly make his way back to his home. Without wasting any time the Squad Five Captain raced down the stairs to the permanent Senkaimon that was located in his basement and once he arrived there he used his reiatsu to open the portal to Soul Society. As soon as the portal was activated Ichigo stepped through and, once he arrived in the Seireitei, he made his way to the Squad Four barracks.

"Hang in there kiddo," Ichigo whispered to the bloody young boy who was lying so still in his arms.

The only response from the boy was a moan, as a sudden wave of pain hit him. Unconsciously he wrapped his hand in the cloth of Ichigo's shihakusho, gripping it tightly in an attempt to fight off the pain.

When Ichigo arrived at Squad Four he quickly entered the medical complex without bothering to knock. He made his way down the hallway, keeping an eye out for anyone who may be able to help the child that he held in his arms, and he hadn't gone very far when he ran into the vice-captain of Squad Four, Isane Kotetsu.

"Captain Kurosaki," Isane said as Ichigo hurried down the hallway. "Is something. . ."

"This boy needs help," Ichigo said, walking close enough for Isane to see the child that he held in his arms.

"Ichigo. . ." Isane gasped, her eyes widening as her gaze fell upon the boy.

"I know," Ichigo said. "But before we have the great debate over how the hell this happened and what exactly it means this boy really does need your help. He's already died once today and I'd like to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Isane nodded, immediately shifting into business mode. "Right. Bring the child and come with me."

Ichigo nodded and quickly followed Isane down the hall toward one of the small treatment rooms.

A couple of hours later Ichigo found himself in the office of the Head Captain of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, Jyuushirou Ukitake, and surrounded by the other captains and vice-captains. This emergency meeting had been called in order to discuss what was to be done with the young boy who now lay in a recovery room in Squad Four. Isane and her Captain, Retsu Unohana, had assured Ichigo that, although the boy's injuries were indeed quite severe, he would pull through and now a place had to be found for him inside of Soul Society.

"We can't just dump him in the Rukongai and say that's that," Ichigo said, his gaze shifting around the room, falling upon each of it's occupants in turn. "The boy's suffered enough, not to mention the fact that he's obviously Toushirou's reincarnation."

"Be that as it may," Captain of Squad Six Byakuya Kuchiki said in a calm, detached voice. "This boy is not Captain Hitsugaya and the proper place for him is the Rukongai."

"You can be such a jerk sometimes Nii-sama," Rukia said, glaring at her brother.

"Calm down guys," Ukitake said. "I have a proposition that I think will satisfy everyone. Now I was thinking. . ."

Epilogue- Two Months Later. . .

The first year students of the Shinigami Academy were all gathered in the outside training grounds, listening as their instructor gave out directions. They had spent the last couple of weeks in a classroom, learning the basics of how to be a Shinigami and now they were going to get some practical training. "Alright everyone," the instructor called out. "We're going to practice kidou. First up Toushirou Kurosaki."

A young white-haired boy emerged from the crowd of students, bowed to the instructor and then walked over to the line that his teacher had indicated. Raising his hands the boy began to chant, "Ruler, mask of flesh and blood all things in the universe fly. That which names all in nature, gathering of heat and war. Beyond the seas in reverse, take steps to the south. Hadou 33, Shakahou Red Flame Cannon!"

A ball of red energy shot from the young boy's hands, flew toward the center target, and completely destroyed it.

"Excellent shot Kurosaki-kun," the instructor said.

The young boy offered the instructor a small smile as he took his place back among the students. As he did so his thoughts flashed back to how he had came to be here. After the Hollow had killed him he'd been found by Ichigo Kurosaki, who had brought him here to Soul Society. The members of Squad Four had patched him up and then a meeting had been held to decide his fate. Head Captain Ukitake had suggested that if Ichigo and Rukia didn't want him to end up in the Rukongai then they should take him in themselves, which surprisingly enough they had agreed to do. So, much to Sojiro's shock, he'd came to live with Ichigo, Rukia and their two children, whom he already knew. Ichigo had made it a point to explain to the young boy all about Soul Society, as well as his former incarnation, Captain of Squad Ten Toushirou Hitsugaya who's powers Sojiro somehow seemed to possess. After a couple of weeks the young boy had adjusted to his new life and, in an attempt to forget the life that he'd left behind when the Hollow had killed him, the boy had taken the first name of his former incarnation, Toushirou Hitsugaya, along with the last name of his new family.

An old chapter, that of his former life, had came to an end and now it was time to move on to the next, and hopefully happier chapter. Sojiro Hayata, the cursed and unwanted child, was dead and in his place was Toushirou Kurosaki, beloved son, little brother and Shinigami.

A/N - and that's the end of the first version of this fic. I'm not sure which one I like the best so if you could, review which ever one you think fits the best. Thanx, Hitsu-taichou