DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BLEACH
Looking out over the city with the last rays of the dying sun, the petite shinigami examines this new world. It is the first night of her first solo mission. It's also her first mission to the human world and being trusted to carry out her duty alone brings her a sense of accomplishment. She is glad she has the night shift. Her daytime partner refused to go out with her on her first patrol. As she looks down at the all the humans scurrying about their lives completely oblivious to her presence she thinks back to the 150 years it took her to get this assignment. In soul society, 150 years is not very long at all since your soul can live on for eternity unless it is destroyed. She thinks about how these humans go about their little lives thinking that there is nothing beyond so they put everything they have into making their mark on this world in the 80 or so years they get to live. If they only knew what waited for them in the afterlife.
She suddenly snaps out her thoughts when she feels a hollow not far away moving slow. She hurries towards it jumping from rooftop to rooftop until she hears it holler.
Here we go! Stay calm, this is what you came here to do. She thinks to herself. It's not the first time you have fought a hollow. But it is the first time you have done it alone so don't screw up stay focused.
She comes to a little park and sees a spider like hollow chasing after a young boys spirit. She quickly draws her zanpakotu and jumps in front of the hollow. The hollow immediately changes targets and goes for the shinigami. It charges at her with its mouth open but she easily evades and retaliates with a slash that removes two legs off the left side of the spider like body. The hollow bellows in rage and steps back preparing its next attack. She doesn't give him a chance and quickly goes airborne bringing down her zanpakotu. The creatures mask is sliced in half and then its body begins to disintegrate. The girl turns to the young soul and, taking a knee, places the hilt of her weapon to his forehead.
"Don't worry, you will find peace and happiness in the next life," she says stoically. Showing no emotion she just watches as the soul is consumed in light and disappears.
She stands and lets out a sigh as sheathes her weapon. She closes her eyes to try to calm herself when she feels something strange. Her eyes immediately snap back open and she turns. Her zanpakotu is back in her hands while she looks for that reaitsu she just felt. She felt it coming from directly behind her and it was close. Way to close for comfort. But as she looks around she sees nothing and can no longer sense the reaitsu. She looks closer and stays on guard for a little while longer before chalking it up to too much excitement and continues her patrol. Randomly throughout the entire night she feels as though someone is watching her and it gives her the chills and completely stresses her out. A little before dawn the feeling dissipates and she heads back to wake up her partner for her shift.
"umm…captain, I can do that. No Sentaro, I'm taking care of him. I'm his favorite."
Rukia watches Kyone sleep for a moment wondering why she is arguing with Sentaro in her sleep. It's not like she doesn't do it enough when she is awake.
"Kyone…Kyone…" Rukia says softly. Seeing no response she tries another approach. "WAKE UP KYONE!!!" she yells giving the girl a kick in her rump.
"OW! What was that for Rukia?" the newly awakened girl asks while sitting up and rubbing her now bruised butt.
"You wouldn't wake up so I tried to give you a little incentive." Rukia says sticking her tongue out at her. "It's your shift. I only had one hollow last night."
She thinks about asking her about the strange reaitsu she felt but decided it's just her imagination and not wanting to look weak in front of the third seat she decides to keep her mouth shut. She watches as the other girl gets out of bed then she heads back out into living area of Urahara's shop. She sits waiting for everyone else to awaken. She doesn't have to wait long until Urahara comes in trailed by Uruu and a black cat.
"Oh, good morning Ms. Kuchiki. How was patrol last night?" Urahara asks as he takes a seat opposite Rukia. "did anything interesting happen last night?" he asks with a gleam in his eye.
"No, the patrol was fine. I only had to engage one hollow. It was a nasty one, looked like a spider and was chasing after a young boy." She replies.
"Where was this at?" he asks looking extremely interested. "A park not more than two miles from here." She says trying to hide her confusion at his overly interested queries. She knows that Urahara was once a Captain in the 12th division. Why is he so interested in such a low level hollow? She wonders. She was about to ask just that when Kyone walks in and sits as Uruu comes from the opposite direction bringing food. Rukia and Kyone both look at it hungrily.
"Have you heard of the ghost of Karakura town?" Urahara asks the ladies. They both look at him in confusion. "I guess not. Allow me to share the story with you. About 20 years go, the shinigami that were posted here began to notice a drastic decrease in the number of hollows that show up. They use to see an average of 20 to 30 a day but that dropped to less than 20 in one night. That's not to say that more wouldn't be detected. The shinigami would be informed of a hollow or feel one but by the time they got to the area there was nothing. About two weeks, the events continued so they called for a complete over haul of the detection system in Soul society."
"I think I remember that. They had all of Seretei on alert for about a week while diagnostics were run. They didn't find anything wrong with the equipment." Kyone says.
"You are absolutely right, but even after the system checks, it still continued to happen. Then one day a very powerful hollow appeared, it injured the day shift bad enough to render him unconscious and luckily the night shift was awake. He ran to the area and attacked the hollow. He was injured as well claiming that he felt a power reaitsu coming up behind him that was the source of his distraction. Before losing consciousness he claims to have seen another shinigami defeat the hollow. When he finally awoke, not only was the hollow gone but he and his partner had been healed and they had been moved into the shade of a nearby tree. Since then, the patrolling shinigami often have reported that they a felt like they are being watched by something with reaitsu but when they turn to face it, it has already gone. Many have tried to use kidou on it when they felt it but no one has gotten close." He looks at the two girls who are staring at him in disbelief while silently urging him to continue.
"Then about three years ago, even more hollows were disappearing. It went down from 20 to merely 2 or 3, rarely more than that. And every now and then a shinigami is rescued by a man in black robes, supposedly looking very similar to your shinigami robes. The last one was about two years ago. The man was described to be tall, muscular, have a rather large zanpakotu, and there was one other very distinguishing feature…ah, I cant remember." He says, shrugging his shoulders.
"Did soul society try to do anything about this ghost? I mean ghost don't exist, they are just souls who haven't past." Rukia asks looking down while thinking about the strange feeling she had last night.
"Ghosts don't exist but if they did the man would be as close to one as they come. No one knows who he is but he is almost always around even when you can't see or feel him. I have no doubt that the ghost is out there watching. Probably watching us right now wondering why Kyone isn't out on patrol yet." He glares at Kyone as she stands, sighs and heads outside. "Maybe we shouldn't refer to him as a ghost but maybe a guardian. I know of at least 13 shinigami that have been saved and the hollow activity has decreased so much that we can bring younger shinigami here for missions to help them gather much needed experience. Soul society noticed that the ghost would help shinigami in trouble so they tried to fake a shinigami getting hurt but apparently he saw through it and wasn't seen or felt. They tried many times but to no avail." Urahara replies.
"Do you believe in this ghost?" Rukia asks looking directly into his eyes.
Urahara just looks back into her eyes and with all seriousness, "Yes."
With that Rukia heads into the room her and Kyone share and collapses on the futon. As she closes her eyes she tries not to think about the possibility of a ghost watching her. She tries to remember what that reaitsu felt like as she drifts off into oblivion.
Rukia is once again out on patrol but this time she is continuously trying to remember it so she might be able to pick it up. No hollows have showed up so far so she has spent the better part of the night looking for it. After 4 hours of sitting there focusing she decides to take a break and head out onto the sidewalk for a walk. She enjoys watching the few people who are up at the time of night remembering that this is what Urahara called a weekend so a lot more people would be out than usual. She looks at the faces of those who walk past her and she studies the different facial expressions and the displayed emotions. She sees a man whose face makes a grimace every time he steps on his right foot. She also looks at a man and woman who are pulled together in a tight embrace, kissing. She continues her walk and is startled when she begins to feel eyes on her. She quickly spins around searching for those eyes but again comes up with nothing. She feels irritated and begins her walk again still feeling those eyes upon her.
Maybe it's not this Ghost. She thinks then starts to become furious. My brother better not have sent someone to watch me.
She is so deep in her own thoughts that she doesn't notice that her hollow alarm has gone off or that the eyes are no longer upon her. She instead gets yank out of her thoughts by feeling that reaitsu growing immensely. She stops trying to pinpoint it when she notices her hollow alarm. She quickly pushes the reaitsu out her mind and begins heading to the hollow at top speed. When she arrives at the scene it's not what she expects. She first notices the amount of reaitsu residue around the area. It's the same reaitsu I was feeling earlier. She looks around the area to see the last of the remains of a giant hollow disintergrate and a small girl looking to be about 5 is standing about 50 feet from the hollows remains. Rukia jumps down in front of the girl and puts on her best smile. It surprises her that the girl didn't show any kind of fear at seeing the shinigami.
"Do you know who I am?" Rukia asks the girl.
The girl shakes her head and grins. She turns on her heel and begins to skip away until Rukia stops her.
"What happened here? Who stopped that hollow?" she asks trying to keep her voice sweet.
"Hollow? Oh you mean that monster that was chasing me? Someone dressed just like yo-" the girl stops as she puts her hands over her mouth. "I can't tell you, I made a promise not to tell anyone."
Rukia rolls her eyes and tries to keep the irritation out of her voice. "Can you tell me what this person looked liked?"
The girl shakes her head. "No he told me, 'I need you to promise not to tell anyone that I was here.' Then he gave me this scary scowl then a smile, so I promised." With that the girl turned and ran away smiling.
Rukia decides she needs to have another talk with Urahara.
A Month Later
Rukia is rather pissed that in the past month, she and Kyone combined have only killed about 100 hollows. And Rukia only got 30 of those. It seemed the ghost was more active at night. Every time she got an alert, the thing was destroyed before she got there. One night she decided to see how long it took for the alert to sound indicating a hollow and stop indicating that it had been destroyed. That was the night she felt very stupid. She ended up having to kill 11 hollows in one night. Not once did she feel eyes on her or did she feel the mysterious reaitsu. She had gone to bed that night wondering where the ghost had gone. Maybe he saw I could take care of myself and didn't feel as though I needed to be watched. She immediately felt a little down at the thought that he wouldn't be watching her anymore. She pushed it out of her mind and went to sleep.
The following night though, all those thoughts she had disappeared as she felt the familiar eyes upon her. She almost smiled. She continued on her patrol and would occasionally do a soul burial to a soul that didn't have much left of their soul chain. She felt a few hollows and each time she would rush to the area only to find a soul looking bewildered and a disintegrating hollow corpse.
After about the fifth one that night she couldn't control herself and screamed at the top of her lungs to the ghost she was sure was watching her, "CAN YOU AT LEAST LEAVE ONE FOR ME?"
She left the area and walked solemnly back towards Urahara's shop. She felt another hollow and quickly ran to it. Bound and determined to get there before the ghost. She thought she did until she felt the familiar reaitsu not far away. She decided to hide her own reaitsu and see if she could draw him out. After a few minutes he just stayed hidden so she decided to finish off the hollow herself before it devoured the soul it was chasing. She quickly did a soul burial upon the terrified soul then stood and yelled again. "WERE YOU JUST GOING TO STAND AROUND AND WATCH THAT SOUL GET EATEN?"
She huffed as she waited for an answer. When none came she resumed her walk toward Urahara's fuming, her anger evident on her face. She was surprised when she turned a corner and saw writing on the sidewalk. Rukia froze as she read the words.
You asked me to leave you one. If you couldn't have defeated that hollow I would have, Shinigami.
Rukia ran straight to Urahara's not stopping for anything. She burst through the door and quickly looks for the blonde haired nut. She finds him asleep and she doesn't even hesitate to kick him.
"Get up I have to talk to you! He communicated with me! Can you believe it?" Rukia begins as Urahara is sitting up.
"What do you mean he communicated with you? Wait, who is he?" he asks.
"The ghost who else." Rukia states excitedly.
"Did he talk to you? What does he look like? Wait start from the beginning and tell me everything." Urahara says.
Rukia immediately begins to recount all the events leading up until now. She is so engrossed into her story that she doesn't even realize the black cat stealthily walking toward the door. Before it leaves it gives one last glance toward Urahara where it receives a slight nod and the cat is gone.
When Rukia finishes her story, she looks to Urahara who seems to be deep in thought. He notices her looking at him so he immediately puts on a smile.
"That is truly amazing Rukia. It appears to be obvious that he is watching out for you. You should feel flattered; the ghost has never communicated to anyone before." Urahara gives her a wink. "Maybe he is taken with you. You are a beautiful, young and rather petite shinigami. Yep I would definitely say he is interested."
Rukia gawks at that last statement. She is thinking up something to say when Urahara speaks up.
"Anyways," he begins again, changing the subject, "summer will be over in another month. Then you will be probably killing more hollows every night. I don't know why but the ghost kills more hollows during the summer than any other time of year. It's almost like he gets busy with something else."
The black cat enters the house through an open window and appears to be wandering around the house looking for something. She sees the young girl in the kitchen and immediately walks over to her.
"Oh hey kitty. Long time no see." The little girl says with a huge smile spreading along her face. "But you know you're not supposed to be in here. If sister gets sick she isn't going to be happy." With that the girl picks up the cat and heads towards another part of the house rubbing her face against the cats' fur. The cat lets out a soft purr. They come to a room that looks like a waiting room in a clinic and sets the cat down. "Dad, you told me to tell you if the black kitty ever comes back."
"Ok thanks Yuzu," a deep voice bellows from the back. "Remember don't tell Ichigo or Karin. Here kitty kitty kitty."
The cat jumps toward the sound and stops to make sure Yuzu is leaving the room. Once Yuzu is gone she continues her walk to see a man crouched down with his arms open and a stupid smile on his face. "Aww…such a pretty kit-" he is cut off by the cat scratching his outstretched hands. "Oww… why did you do that?"
"Cause I have told you before not to do the whole kitty kitty kitty thing. Never mind that anyway, we need to talk." The cat says.
The man doesn't seem to be surprised that the cat can talk and gets a serious look on his face. "What did my idiot son do this time."