Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any of the characters.
Chapter 1: What's this feeling?
As Kurosaki Ichigo was lying on his back in his small bedroom, the events of the previous days attacked his brain, making it impossible to get even a few hours of sleep in. He stared at the ceiling in his little bedroom, while thinking back at his adventures in Soul Society. In a few days time he had battled Captain level Shinigami's, together with his friends and rescued Rukia from death.
Ah, yes, the fights. His battle with Zaraki Kenpachi was one of a kind. Raw power against power. After he'd gotten over his fear from the massive Reiatsu coming from the battle crazy Kenpachi, Ichigo had truly enjoyed the fight. He still wondered just how much blood the captain had in his body, though.
And then there was the fight he'd had with Kuchiki Byakuya. Only thinking back at the fight gave him the shivers. What was that insane power that took control of his body, when he was losing? It had felt very odd. Could there be a connection between that rare power and the Hollow mask he had found after his fight with Abarai Renji?
And then there was the conversation he'd had with Urahara Kisuke when they finally returned to Karakura Town…
"Urahara, can I ask you something?" Ichigo asked, while sitting on the flying carpet bringing him home. Enjoying the light breeze on his face.
"What's on your mind, Kurosaki?" Urahara asked, already knowing what the boy wanted to ask him.
"Do you know what that small orb was, that Aizen took from Rukia?"
"Ah, you mean one of my first inventions! Yes, I know what that orb is, this story goes way back when I was still a captain in Soul Society." Urahara began, while thinking back at the missing soul case 101 years ago. "Before I went to the real world, strange things were happening in Soul Society. Aizen Sousuke was conducting experiments to see if it was possible to make the Shinigami stronger. He was turning Shinigami into Hollows."
Ichigo's eyes widened at this piece of information. "Turning them into Hollows? Why would somebody even want to do that?"
"He did that, because he wanted to go to the true heaven, as he called it. But, anyway, as I was saying he was conducting experiments with the souls in Rukongai. We had sent a few people out to investigate this so called 'missing soul case'. Then suddenly the Reiatsu from a Captain and his Vice-captain disappeared. I had sent my Vice-captain out there to help them, so I was starting to get worried and decided to go after her"
Urahara sighed as he closed his eyes for a moment, the images that soared through his head, whenever he recalled these events were never pleasant.
"When I got there" He continued as he opened his eyes again. "I saw several Captains en Vice-captains who were in advanced stages of their Hollowfication. Together with Tessai I moved them to my living quarters and attempted to reverse the Hollowfication with the small orb I created known as Hougyoku. This orb can breach the barrier between Shinigami's and Hollows. I hoped I could save them with it. It didn't go as I had intended, though." Urahara said with a wry laugh.
" I couldn't reverse the effect with the Hougyoku. But, before I could try anything else I got arrested together with Tessai. We had been accused for all the crimes Aizen Sousuke had commited. Yoruichi saved me and Tessai and moved us to our secret playground, similar to my basement in the Urahara Shop. I made several Gigai's and we escaped Soul Society. I hid the Hougyoku in an unsuspecting soul in Rukongai and arrived here in Karakura Town a few moments later."
Ichigo, who had been silent throughout the whole explanation, could merely stare at him while going through everything he had just been told in his head. A few minutes later they had arrived at his house and Urahara ushered him in.
While returning to the Urahara Shop, the owner was smiling to himself. The boy didn't know what was coming to him just yet. Urahara wanted to go straight to bed, but he had to contact some of his old friends first. Yes, it would be for the best if they did it.
Ichigo was still deep in though about everything that Urahara had told him 3 days ago. He couldn't help but notice a few similarities between the people Urahara had saved and himself. That strange power… and the mask he had found. Could it be?
A loud noise distracted him from his musings. What the hell is he up to now? Ichigo didn't think he would be getting any sleep tonight anyway, so he got up and threw on some clothes. He went to the loo to relieve himself and after he was finished, he went downstairs to see why his dad was making this noise. It's always the same with that man.
When Ichigo got downstairs, he found his poor excuse of a father on the couch, jumping up and down like a three year old.
Upon seeing his son, Isshin leapt in the air, moved his arm back ready to punch his son in the face, only to receive a size 10 shoe in his face almost breaking his nose for the second time since Ichigo got back.
"Ouch! Why'd you kick your own father?" Isshin asked with a small pout on his face, while making his 'puppy eye' face.
"Oh, please! Stop that, it looks disgusting on an old fart like you." Ichigo said, with a scowl on his face.
"Yes, disgusting. Anyway, why where you making all that noise? It's freakin' 5 in the morning!"
"Ah, yes, I wanted to lure you down, so we could have a father-to-son-conversation." Isshin said, with what had to be an attempt for a fatherly smile on his face.
"Right, and it didn't enter your mind, that a simple knock on my door would be better?"
"Well, it did, actually, but I didn't want to disturb my son with his closet-girl, during the mating season. So I decided to use my perfectly toned brains and come up with a brilliant idea to lure my favourite son from his room, to his beloved father."
"Closet-girl?" Ichigo asked, looking at his dad like he was barking mad.
"Yes, that Rukia girl that's living in your closet for the last few months."
Ichigo's eyes widened for a moment as he looked at his dad who sported a huge grin on his face. He knew Rukia was living in his closet? Maybe he wasn't as crazy as people believed him to be.
"For your information dad, Rukia is not my girl, she's not even living in my closet anymore. And why didn't you tell me if you knew?"
"I didn't want to disturb you, the mating season is a fragile period for a teenage boy like you, after all. And why's Rukia gone?" He asked with a shocked expression. "Did you two have a fight on your vacation?"
Ichigo covered his face with the palm of his hand and sighed. "Ugh… dad it's adolescence. And no, we didn't have a fight. There wasn't even an us to begin with, but you said you wanted a 'father-to-son-conversation', right?"
"Yes, that's right" Isshin said while his grin faded from his face. "Urahara wants to see us this evening, he said it was something about the conversation the two of you had, when you got back from rescuing Rukia in Soul Society."
Ichigo's eyes widened in shock upon hearing this, what the hell? But before he could ask his dad just what was going on, his two sister's walked into the living room with droopy eyes complaining about the noise at 5 in the freakin' morning.
Ichigo was still thinking about everything his dad had just told him. Urahara wanted both him and his dad? It must be very important, if even his dad was going to be there as well. There was nothing he could do about that now, though so Ichigo went upstairs to take a quick shower in an attempt to clear his head.
After eating some breakfast, Ichigo went out to take a stroll. He couldn't stop thinking about his dad and how he seemed to know everything he had tried to hide from him. Just who was he? He also seemed to know Urahara Kisuke the shopkeeper of Urahara Shop, who had requested a meeting with the three of them. Why had Urahara told his father everything that had happened? And what was this meeting about? Could it be that Urahara had noticed something about his rare power? Something that might be similar to….
"Oow, look out where your walking you…oh, it's you Ichigo" a female voice rang out near his feet.
"Oh, sorry Tatsuki" the boy said while helping her get up. "I didn't see you."
"Yeah, I figured as much. What's on your mind, Ichigo? Your frown is even bigger than yesterday" she said with a slight smile, trying to lighten his mood. He could be so depressed at times. Sometimes she felt like punching some sense into his head, like she used to do years ago. After his mother died, he had needed it a few times to get out of his bad mood, but she wasn't sure if she could still beat him. She had seen weird things since he'd come back from his vacation. She decided not to bring it up now, but she wanted to hear everything about it eventually. Only one way to find out who's stronger, though!
"Oh, uhm, nothing really. I was just, you know taking a walk"
Now it was Tatsuki who was frowning, since when did Ichigo go for strolls on the morning? It seems he is very troubled indeed. I'll just have to get him out of this mood then, she thought with an evil grin playing on her lips.
"Want to train a bit with me, for old time's sake?"
"Oh, sure, why not? I'm going to get my training clothes at my house, I'll meet you at the training grounds in a bit, okay?"
"Sure, Ichigo" Tatsuki said with a dangerous twinkle in her eyes.
Twenty minutes later, Ichigo was already regretting his decision to help Tatsuki with her training. Why, oh, why did I agree with her! She's so fast how does she do it without using Shunpo? And the punches and kicks she can give aren't bad either. I ought to work more on my Hand-to-Hand combat if I want to keep up with her, without using Shunpo.
"Do you really think you have time to be daydreaming, Ichigo?" Tatsuki yelled at the orange-haired boy, while kicking up some sand in his face to obscure his view. "You would think you'd learned by now you need your full focus to even stand a chance against me" she continued as she kicked the boy across the training grounds with all the strength she could muster. "It's just like old times, isn't it Ichigo? I had to kick your butt every time you were in one of your famous grumpy moods then, as well"
Ichigo smiled when he thought back at the times he used to spar with his friend, yes it's just like old times indeed. Just when he wanted to jump into the offensive again Ichigo noticed two Hollows not too far from where he was now. Deciding it would be for the best if he got rid of them now, he jumped into action told Tatsuki he had promised his dad he'd help him in the afternoon, and ran towards the two Hollows, while grabbing the amulet which resembled a skull from his pocket.
"Ichigo helping his dad huh, I think not, he has never done that before so why start now? And what's with this tense feeling in the air?" Tatsuki mumbled while walking home to get showered.
While she was walking home Tatsuki heard a deadly screech and the sound of steel against something solid, Ichigo's blade if she had to hazard a guess. "I knew it, that boy brings nothing but trouble since he's back in town." She said to no one in particular.
After Ichigo had defeated the two weak Hollows, he walked back home at a slow pace with his Zanpakuto Zangetsu resting on his shoulder. He wondered what this strange Reiatsu was. It felt similar to a Hollow, but he was certain it wasn't a Hollow, it was similar but still different. And he had been feeling it ever since he came back, but he was sure if it was a Hollow he would've heard it already, but Ichigo still got a bit worried. Even though he was quite certain it was not a Hollow he just couldn't pinpoint it's location so he couldn't find out where this weird Reiatsu was coming from. Ichigo figured he shouldn't worry too much, though, if it was something dangerous Urahara would've contacted him already, he had very good sensing abilities after all. Much better than his, anyway.
And he was right about that, because when Ichigo jumped through the open window in his own room, he failed to notice the two people who had been watching him fight the two lowly Hollows and had followed him home when he had defeated both of them in less than ten seconds.
Those two people where now returning to their hideout they had used for more than 100 years.
"What did ya think about the kid, Shinji?" A small blonde-haired girl with pigtails and three freckles beneath each eye asked the larger of the two, frowning as always. Despite her appearance she has lived in the real world for over a hundred years now. What she lacked in size she matched up by her temper and strength, she directed to everyone who was stupid enough to tell her she was a small girl.
"He seems alright" The longer boy with jaw-length blonde hair and overly large teeth said, "I can tell he's very powerful, but he can't control his Reiatsu very well, he couldn't even tell we were watchin' him, but if Urahara thinks he is worthy of becomin' a Vaizard, he probably is. We owe him one, after all. And it's not like we can let the kid rot like an ordinary Hollow, we should at least learn him how he can control his powers before it's too late." Shinji finished sighing.
"Yeah, we probably have ta help him, if Kisuke told ya he was Vaizard material. Do ya think we should tell the other now, or let them have a surprise? It's not often ya hear about untrained Vaizards runnin' loose"
"Nah, let's wait. I'd like ta see their faces when this fellow comes barging in cryin' for help. We'll just return to our base and tell the lot we just had tea at Kisuke's place." Shinji said with a big smile showing his oversized teeth.
The blond-haired girl called Hiyori merely scowled at Shinji. Did he really think they'd fall for that? He could be such a daft at times. She had a better plan to cover up their spying mission. She thought, when a wicked grin formed on her face, showing off her fang-like tooth, in the left corner of her mouth.
When they neared the barriers of their hideout, Shinji wanted to call out to Hachigen to let them in, but before he could even utter one word he caught a glimpse of Hiyori with her sandal in her hand and an unpleasant grin on her face.
Before he could even do as much as turn around he felt a stinging pain on his right cheek and he was launched forward straight through 3 layers of the barrier protecting the hideout and the front door. Why does she always have to do that for no reason at all? And how can she have such insane strength with those tiny arms. Shinji didn't have much time to think about the mystery that was Hiyori, though as he skidded across the floor on his face and ended in a small heap on the floor, moaning, as he always did when Hiyori aimed her wrath at him.
The other people in the room barely looked up when they saw Shinji flying through the barrier. They were pretty much used to it by now. Hachigen sighed and got up to restore the barrier that had been destroyed, yet again. Sometimes he wondered just why he put up with them.
Lisa, who couldn't stand the bickering of Shinji and Hiyori anymore, got up while glaring at the two in question. She grabbed her manga's and went down to the basement. She had always found it relaxing to read and train downstairs on her own. She always did it when all the other Vaizards where making a ruckus like the hounds of hell where on their tails. She had wanted to know what Urahara Kisuke had told Shinji and Hiyori, they probably would come up with some lame excuse, so she decided to ask them another time and force the truth out. I should've spied on them after all, Lisa thought regretting staying at the hideout. She'd wanted to follow them when they left, she was curious as to what Urahara would want from them, but she had decided against it and stayed at home. Much to the surprise of Aikawa Love who knew her best and had thought she would let her curiosity get the best of her.
Not much to do for it now, though she thought wryly. And she grabbed her Zanpakuto in her left hand and her scabbard in her right hand and started her training, before she went to read her manga's.
As Lisa was practicing with her Zanpakuto resembling a nodachi, Ichigo was working on his Hand-to-Hand combat skills. After his fight with his friend Tatsuki Arisawa, he decided it was for the best if he learned how to fight properly with his bare hands. You never know when it could be useful and it certainly didn't hurt to be able to beat Tatsuki for once.
As Ichigo was walking towards Urahara's Shop together with his dad, he wondered, yet again, why Urahara wanted to see him with his dad. His dad seemed to be getting more serious. His goofy smile was nowhere to be found on his face this time, just like that very morning, before his sisters came down the stairs. For Isshin to get serious twice a day, was a very rare sight indeed.
While Isshin walked besides his son on their way to his old friend, Urahara Kisuke, he kept stealing glances at Ichigo. He couldn't determine what his son was thinking about him, but it was obvious he was deep in thought. And Isshin assumed it was about their meeting with Urahara this fine evening and to some extent also the conversation they'd had this morning.
"C'mon Ichigo! Cheer up, there's nothing to worry about with good old Kisuke" Isshin told his son with more confidence than he felt. He already had an idea what Kisuke would be discussing with them, he just hoped he was wrong.
Ichigo merely grunted, but his frown lessened to some extent, although it didn't fade. It was very rare to see him without his famous frown on his face. The only time he could be seen like that was when he was sleeping.
Urahara Kisuke watched as the two Kurosaki's entered his little shop, he could see that both of them didn't like to be here, afraid for what they might hear from him. Urahara knew they wouldn't like it at first, but after a while they should get used to it and even thank him. If everything went alright at least. He sighed as he led them to the table where they sat down and had some tea before beginning the meeting he dreaded to begin, even though he was the one who'd requested it.
"So, I guess we should get this over with now." Kisuke said without his sing-song voice, earning two similar looks of dread from the Kurosaki's. That didn't help him gathering courage at all. He sighed before he continued. "Ichigo do you remember what I told you, when you asked me about the Hougyoku?"
"Yeah I do, you told me about your time as a Captain in Soul Society, where you helped some friends of yours who were in advanced stages of Hollowfication."
Urahara nodded. "Yes, that's correct, Ichigo and you have with no doubt found some similarities with yourself and those friends of mine, have you not?"
"Yes, I did. When I was fighting Byakuya in Soul Society, I noticed a strange presence within me. It felt very similar to a Hollow. I've felt it ever since I came out of the Shattered Shaft where I regained my Shinigami powers, but when I was losing my battle with Byakuya, the presence within me stirred and I lost control of my body. It was very strong, but I managed to take control of my body, after a while."
Isshin looked at Urahara and received a nod, so it was true. Ichigo's inner Hollow had come to life after the Shattered Shaft exercise. "Ichigo was that the only strange thing you noticed?" He asked while he looked at his son intently, as if trying to see the Hollow inside him through his eyes.
"No it wasn't." Ichigo told his father, surprised he had asked the question and not Urahara. "After the fight I had with Abarai Renji, Hanatarou healed all my injuries. He said that I was lucky to be alive however, because I had a Hollow mask in my Shinigami robes. The mask had protected my vital organs from Renji's attacks."
Isshin and Urahara nodded at Ichigo, there was no doubt anymore. Ichigo was a Vaizard.
Ichigo who looked positively scared at the stares from his father and his teacher, he was getting very worried now. "What's with those faces?" He asked with a voice that was about one octave higher than his usual voice.
Urahara couldn't keep from laughing at the face the terrified boy had just shown him. "Yes, that's the Kurosaki face I remember, alright. Your dad used to give this face to me when he was afraid as well." Urahara said, chuckling. "Like father, like son, huh."
"We're not alike!" They both cried in unison with identical scowl on their faces, which caused Urahara to laugh even harder.
"Alright, alright" he said. "Anyway, Ichigo. When I escaped to the real world together with my friends, we found a way to control their inner Hollows. If you can't control them, they will keep growing stronger and stronger until you completely turn into a Hollow. You're showing the same symptoms, you are one of them. Your inner Hollow must be controlled before it controls you. I asked you to come here today to explain your situation to yourself and your dad, and to make a proposition."
"What kind of proposition?"
"I want you to let my friends, also known as Vaizards help you control your inner Hollow and train you for when Aizen strikes. I'm not sure what his exact plans are but in one year the Hougyoku fully awakens and he's bound to do something with it, but I intend to find out what he wants to do sooner, though."
Before Ichigo could process everything he had been told in his mind, he felt two huge forces of Reiatsu near the training grounds where Tatsuki trains every night. Are they Hollows? No the Reiatsu coming from the two were too big for Hollows This is much worse! Ichigo didn't have time to think however, Tatsuki was near those forces, he had to help her! Without saying a word to Urahara and his dad, he rammed the amulet that resembled a skull against his chest and dashed away grabbing the hilt of Zangetsu.
Urahara immediately sprang to action. "Isshin help your son, I'm gonna get Yoruichi and follow you towards those Arrancar. This is the big deal, he can't defeat them in his current state, yet!
Isshin nodded at his friends and ran after his son, after Urahara had kicked him out of his Gigai, with his walking stick.
And there's the first chapter!
First of all: thank you all for reading it. I'm still very new at this, as this is my first Fanfic I've written so far.
I would also like to ask you to please review my story to help me improve my writing skills. Tell me what you like or dislike. If you have any comments, tips, suggestions or anything else about my first chapter, please don't hesitate to tell me. And don't be afraid to criticise my work, as long as it's constructive I appreciate all the reviews I get!