Woo for a chapter with some action BESIDES Ichigo holding Renji's hair back so he can puke in a trashcan! Finally! Sorry for making you guys wait, but I've been trying to figure out just HOW to get to this particular point for a while now and I finally did so yay! I shaddap now, k?

Toushiro sighed and picked himself up off the ground. He had missed the soccer ball by an inch when Karin sent it whizzing by his head into the goal.

She's getting better, he thought as he dusted himself off. He looked over to see her standing there with a smirk. He gave a light smile and tossed the ball back to her. She tucked it under her arm and laughed.

"I used to go after Hollows with this ball," she said, looking at the dirty old thing, her name scribbled in one of the hexagons.

"Hollows?" he asked, bewildered that she was still alive and speaking after going after a Hollow with that thing.

"Yeah," she sighed, "But now Ichi-nii is back so I don't have to worry about it anymore."

Toushiro chuckled under his breath.

"You are not like other girls, Karin," he said.

"You're not like other guys," she retorted.

"It wasn't an insult," he laughed.

He noticed her cheeks turn a shade of pink before she laughed and threw the soccer ball up into the air and kicked it hard in his direction. This time he was ready. He caught the ball with one hand and brought it to his side. He looked up at the quickly darkening sky.

"It's getting late," he remarked, "We should be getting back home."

Karin nodded and thought to her self, He called it "home".

They began walking towards the entrance of the park when Karin yawned.

"Tired?" asked Toushiro.

"N.........o," she said through a gaping yawn as she stretched.

He chuckled again and she shot him a glare. That laugh of his was both getting on her nerves and drawing her in all at the same time.

Just then Karin felt dizzy and she lost her balance. Toushiro caught her in his arms before she hit the ground.

"Karin!" he said, setting her on a park bench, "What's wrong?"

"Toushiro…" she whispered.

Then he felt it as well, a rush of spirit energy and a feeling of doom in the pit of his stomach. Without warning, Karin leaped to her feet and stared over his shoulder up at the sky. Slowly, he turned to look at the newcomer.

It was a Hollow, the size of a skyscraper, standing in the middle of the park and looking down at the captain.

Karin felt the blood drain from her face as she looked up at the beast. It was huge and apelike, with giant arms and looming red eyes. It stared down at Toushiro with murderous intent. She was felt an overpowering sense of déjà vu as she saw him shed his gigai and face the hollow, sword drawn. She recalled that sense of worry she had felt for him as well, only this time it was worse, bordering on anguish.

She reached forward and grabbed his fingers.

"Don't leave me…" she whispered, pleading.

"Don't worry," he said, "I wont."

Her hand was empty and he was gone.

Her heart pounded in her head as she watched him lunge at the behemoth. The great beast swatted him down as if he were a fly. Her hand flew to her heart, clutching her chest as he hit the ground and a plume of dust and rubble rose up all around him.

"No! Toushiro!" she gasped.

"It's OK," came his cool, calm voice as the dust began to clear. Her eyes strained to see through the cloud and his figure slowly came into focus. He stood there, Hyourinmaru at his side, and large wings of ice on his back. He looked into her eyes as if it might be his last chance to do so, and was off again, slicing against the new and very powerful hollow. He managed to freeze and remove one of its legs before he was pushed into the ground with incredible force, wings shattering under him and blood flying up from where the shards cut into his body.


"You'll die here, Soul Reaper!" boomed the hollow and it pushed down on the Captain. Toushiro looked up into its red eyes and saw his vision go blurry before passing out.

"TOUSHIRO!" cried Karin.


A wave of powerful spiritual energy blasted into the hollow's head, sending it toppling over. The last thing the hollow saw was a figure in a black cloak before an ebony sword was plunged into its forehead, killing it.

"Ichi-nii!" cried Karin.

"Karin?" said Ichigo as he looked up, a Hollow Mask distorting his voice. He removed his mask and jumped off of the beast as it dissipated with a shriek.

"What are you doing here!?" he asked, "It's not safe! This is the second one of these monsters I've dealt with so far!"

"S-second?" asked Karin, bewildered. Then her thoughts gathered.

"TOUSHIRO!" she gasped, running to his limp body which was lying in a puddle of half melted ice and blood. She took him into her arms and looked down at his pained face.

"Touhsiro…" she whispered, tears falling onto him. Suddenly, he drew in a shuddered gasp and his eyes opened, looking up at her.

"Karin?" he asked, "What happened."

"You lost," said Ichigo, standing over them.

"Damn," said the defeated Captain as he laid his head back onto Karin's arm, unable to hold it up any longer.

"Teach me…" said Karin.

"What?" asked Ichigo.

"If you can to it, then so can I," declared Karin, looking up into Ichigo's eyes with tears running down her face, "Teach me to fight so that I never have to stand by and watch the people I love get hurt again!"

She held Toushiro close, as if he would vaporize if they broke contact.

"Karin…" whispered a stunned Toushiro as the she broke down into tears.

"Alright…" said Toushiro, "But not me. There's someone else who will teach you."