Summary: Sequel to The Black Wrangler. A strange string of thefts in the Soul Society prompt an investigation that leads into one of the most nefarious schemes ever concocted. Multiple Parings. Slight AU
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo, (who is da man!), but Kaichou "Black Wrangler" Kurosaki is mine.
A/N: I've been thinking about writing this fic since about halfway through writing "The Black Wrangler" and I finally decided to write it. The fic takes place about a year after the events of "The Black Wrangler" so things are a bit different. To see what the changes are I suggest that you make sure that you have read the aforementioned original story. Also I am writing things with as little Japanese terms as possible out of courtesy to the English readers. If I do use Japanese, I will add a translation of it. I'm writing this story where the "Weird Zanpakuto Tales" arc has already happened. I translate as all the filler Arcs occurring before the Hueco Mundo arc(s) so the Zanpakuto arc has already been over for at least a year.
During the writing of the Black Wrangler, I had opened a poll regarding whether or not I should include music from the Bleach Rock Musicals (BRM) and the final result was in favor of the music's addition. The music will be in the original Japanese but it will include English translations next to it in parenthesis and the name of the song will be listed at the end of the chapter along with which of the Bleach Rock Musicals it came from.
One final note, I am not using the officially correct names for the Arrancar/Espada in this fic for continuity reasons, instead using their originally Romanized names. Whereas Stark would be Starrk, and Halibel would be Tia Harribel, and etcetera. The only exception is the use of the new first/last names that have recently revealed, e.g. Coyote Stark.
The pairings in this fic are Ichigo/Rukia, Uryu/Nemu, Yoruichi/Soi Fon, Karin/Toshiro, Ukitake/Kaichou (OC), and Orihime/OC. There are also a couple of secret parings that I'm not listing here for the sake of avoiding spoilers. They will be revealed in later chapters.
…A peaceful metropolis, despite the "Town" part in its name, bustling with life, and really a pleasant place to live in all fairness. This city is home to over ten thousand souls, living, breathing, and working. But the serenity of this Thursday afternoon in Karakura was disrupted by a sound that only the spiritually aware could hear. A sound that belonged to a soul twisted in torment and hunger…the sound of a Hollow's roar.
The Hollow bulldozed its way through a filled parking lot as it chased after it's pray, the soul of a young teenage boy who had recently died.
"RAWR! Come here you little snot!" The Hollow roared as it chased after the fleeing teenage boy.
"Please don't eat me! SOMEONE! ANYONE! HELP!" the boy shouted tearfully as he continued running. The Hollow then proceeded to spit out a massive wad of strange black ooze at him. The ooze hit his legs and bound them to the ground as if knee high in cement.
"Now then…it's time…TO FEAST!!!" the hollow roared as he reared back his head before lunging forward towards the petrified soul.
"Santen Kesshun! I REJECT!"
Suddenly the Hollow smashed its face mask into a glowing triangular shield of golden light.
"Wha-what is this?!" the Hollow asked in anger.
"Hey ugly, over here!" a voice called. The Hollow turned its attention towards where the voice called and he instantly saw a young teenage boy with orange hair wearing a black hakama with a white haori and holding a large curved buster sword. Behind him was a small group of teenagers and two young girls, the two girls and one of the teenagers were also wearing a black hakama but the teenager had a white armband on her left arm.
The one with the matching uniform had raven black hair with a single stray bang dangling down between her eyes and a hand on the hilt of her sword. One teenager had orange hair and a noticeable bust size as she stood with her hands pressed up close to a pair of hairclips. Another teen, a tall Hispanic looking man had his entire right arm encased within a black and maroon colored sleeve with strange wing like attachments. Yet another teen, a young man with glasses stood holding an elaborate bow made of glowing blue energy in his right hand. A woman, also with raven hair only spiky, was glowing with a strange orange fire that strangely had no effect on her clothing. There was another woman with a noticeable bust size only taller and wearing a white hakama and with a white skull like mask resting on her head atop her flowing light green hair. Her face had a strange pink mark that ran underneath her eyes and over the bridge of her nose. The two kids looked to be the same age. One of them had raven colored hair kept to a length just below her jaw line. The other had short blond hair and a single red strawberry shaped hairclip on the left side of her head.
"If you're going to pick on innocent Souls, then you have to deal with us." The orange haired man in the haori said.
"What are you boy? Dinner?!" The Hollow asked angrily.
"I am Captain Ichigo Kurosaki, Karakura Defense Squad of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads." The man replied.
"The Hollow is weak Captain. One of us can take him alone." Lieutenant Rukia Kuchiki said as Ichigo nodded in agreement.
"Right. Nel, you want him? You haven't eaten yet have you?" Ichigo asked.
"Thanks but I ate earlier." Neliel Tu Oderschvank, the former Tercera Espada, replied with a smile.
"I'll take him." Karin Kurosaki, one of Ichigo's younger sisters, replied as she drew her Zanpakuto.
"He's all yours Karin." Ichigo replied with a smile
Karin instantly leapt into battle and brought her Zanpakuto down on the Hollow. The Hollow split in two and immediately disintegrated. The ooze around the soul's feet even melted away.
"Nice one Karin." Ichigo said as Karin sheathed her Zanpakuto.
"Thanks Captain." Karin replied wryly.
A little over a year had passed since rescuing Orihime Inoue from Hueco Mundo and the destruction of the Hogyoku. A few months after her rescue, Ichigo and his family met his long lost Aunt, a former Soul Reaper Captain named Kaichou Kurosaki. Kaichou however went by the nickname of "The Black Wrangler." Following her arrival, they discovered that Ichigo's sister, Yuzu, was being used as a vessel to carry a powerful key that could open a portal to the world where the Soul King lived. Yuzu was also being hunted by a race of creatures that had been inadvertently spawned by the arrows of the Quincy's, known as LeBlancs and they hunted her for the same key within her soul. When this was discovered, Yuzu and Karin both were taken to the Soul Society to learn to become Soul Reapers. During this time they discovered that a small number of Sosuke Aizen's former Arrancar soldiers had appeared in the world of the living and had surprisingly pledged their loyalty to the Soul Society. Yuzu was later kidnapped by the LeBlancs and taken to their secret world. Ichigo, along with his friends and family, then proceeded to infiltrate the LeBlanc world and rescue Yuzu but with the assistance of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads as well as the Visoreds and the Arrancar. Upon their successful return to the Soul Society, they were paid a visit by the King's Royal Guard. They proceeded to remove the key from Yuzu's soul, unintentionally removing her Soul Reaper abilities in the process which they later restored to a degree, even giving her a new Zanpakuto. They also announced the creation of a special squad to protect the Spiritual Nexus of Karakura Town, giving command of the squad along with the full rank of Captain, to Ichigo who immediately assembled his closest friends, his sisters, and his girlfriend, to form this squad. Aided by his father and Aunt (Both retired Soul Reaper Captains), Ichigo and his Squad have protected the city for a full year now as the Karakura Defense Squad.
"Who-Who are you people?" the teenage soul asked.
"We're Soul Reapers. Where you're going, there's going to be a lot of us." Ichigo replied as he and the squad approached. His haori was modeled after his Bankai coat except white on the outside with a red interior. The ends were frayed and torn like his Bankai but it had no squad insignia.
"Soul Reapers?" the soul asked.
"Yep. So you ready?" Ichigo asked.
"Ready for what?" the soul asked back.
"To pass on to the Soul Society. It's a nice place, really!" Yuzu explained.
"Oh…Alright. I guess I'm ready, but won't my girlfriend wonder where I am?" the soul asked.
"Well that depends. Is your girlfriend dead too?" Uryu Ishida asked as he pushed up his glasses.
"Oh heavens no. She leaves me a vase of flowers where I had my accident. It was kind of an embarrassing way to die too." The Soul explained nervously.
"Don't tell me, you were the guy who got killed while driving stupidly and recklessly down a narrow street on a motorcycle right?" Rukia asked.
"Yeah that was me. I was trying to show off for her. Then a cat ran out into the road and I swerved…the next thing I know I see my body just laying there with my head split open and this chain on my chest." The soul explained.
"Well you won't have to worry about motorcycles in the Soul Society. So are you ready for the Konso?" Ichigo asked as the soul nodded. Ichigo then pressed the bottom of Zangetsu to the soul's forehead. The soul then immediately began to disappear into a blue light beneath his feet, before disappearing completely and releasing a Hell Butterfly.
"This is the one part of this job that always…I dunno, warms my heart." Tatsuki said as the others nodded.
"Uh-huh, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy." Orihime said with a smile.
"Speaking of warm and fuzzy. Shouldn't we be getting back home? Your dad said he had some news for us." Rukia said as Ichigo nodded.
"Right. Unless you guys just want to tag along, then I guess I'll see you all tomorrow." Ichigo said.
"But Ichigo, I was preparing dinner for all of us! Aunty Kaichou was even helping me!" Yuzu pleaded.
"Well then scratch what I said earlier, we're all heading to my place." Ichigo said as they walked off towards the Kurosaki Clinic.
At the Kurosaki Clinic…
Isshin Kurosaki was keeping an eye on the four mod soul possessed bodies of Ichigo, Rukia, Yuzu, and Karin. Ichigo's body was being possessed by Kon, Rukia's body was being possessed by one of her Chappy Gikongan spirits, Yuzu's body was being possessed by Lirin, and Karin's body was being possessed by one of Kisuke Urahara's specially made mod souls. Noba and Kurodo (both in their plushy forms) were in charge of protecting Nel's Gigai. Kaichou was over at the kitchen area, preparing dinner.
"So you think they'll be surprised?" Kaichou asked as Isshin shrugged.
"Beats me. Perhaps they will." Isshin replied.
"Well it's only for Yuzu and Karin but it still affects the whole Squad." Kaichou said as Isshin nodded. Just then the door opened.
"We're home." Ichigo said as he entered.
"YOU'RE LATE!!!" Isshin shouted as he attempted to kick Ichigo in the jaw but instead Ichigo caught his father's leg and tossed him across the room and into the wall.
"WOULD YOU GIVE IT A REST?! IS THAT ANY WAY TO GREET YOUR OWN SON AFTER HE HELPED KILL A HOLLOW AND HELP A SPIRIT FIND PEACE?!" Ichigo yelled.
"Well done my son! You may have mastered your old man in terms of hand to hand combat, but you still can't handle your old man as a SOUL REAPER!" Isshin shouted as he leapt back up and charged at Ichigo. However he didn't expect Rukia to raise her hand.
"Bakudo number four! Hainawa!" Rukia shouted as Isshin instantly found himself bound by a glowing yellow rope made of Reishi around his feet, causing him to fall flat on his face.
"Excellent timing as usual, Lieutenant." Kaichou said as the rest of the squad entered and the Reishi rope vanished.
"So what's the surprise dad? The suspense is killing me!" Yuzu asked.
"Well I've got some good news for you. Since tomorrow is the last day of the School year, for all of you, your aunt Kaichou and I have arranged to have the two of you spend the summer in the Soul Society!" Isshin announced as Yuzu gasped in excitement.
"You mean we get to spend the summer in the Soul Society?!" Yuzu asked excitedly.
"Just Yuzu and Karin?" Ichigo asked surprised.
"Yep. Naturally I'm going with them. Yoruichi's agreed to stay and keep an eye on my place here while we're gone." Kaichou said as Karin pumped her arm in the air.
"Alright! Two solid months without the "Captain" breathing down my neck." Karin snickered.
"I do not breathe down your neck." Ichigo groaned.
"She's just teasing you Ichigo. You're not at all pushy." Yuzu replied.
"Thanks Yuzu." Ichigo said as he returned his attention to his father.
"Which brings up the topic, what do we do to fill in the gaps? Yuzu and Karin are important members of the squad and I don't want to have to burden everyone else in trying to fill in for them." Ichigo said.
"Relax Ichigo; we've taken care of everything. The Soul Society is sending a couple of temporary replacements. Captains Ukitake and Unohana are personally selecting them." Kaichou reassured.
"I mean no disrespect but I get the feeling that there's more to your going than just to supervise these two." Uryu said as Kaichou chuckled.
"I doff my hat to your deduction skills Uryu, but yes there is more to it. There's been a suspicious string of thefts from the Soul Reaper Institute of Research and Development and they've asked me to come in and help investigate. They believe a fresh pair of eyes might find something the others have overlooked." Kaichou explained.
"Someone's stealing experimental Soul Reaper tech?" Uryu asked surprised.
"Yes but curiously all indications are that the stolen items have not left the Soul Society. Or even the Seireitei for that matter. It's like they've all just vanished into thin air." Kaichou replied.
"So you need Karin and Yuzu to help?" Chad asked confused.
"No-no, for them, this is vacation. Some of the Squad Captains have caught wind of this and have offered temporary membership of their respective squads, namely Captains Ukitake, Unohana, and Hitsugaya." Isshin replied.
"So you kids interested?" Kaichou asked as Karin and Yuzu both nodded eagerly.
"I would love to go. Maybe they can teach me how to use my Zanpakuto more effectively. Maybe I can even learn some Kido spells too!" Yuzu said excitedly.
"Perhaps. It would be nice to not be the only Kido practitioner on the team." Rukia said as Karin smirked.
"I wouldn't mind honing my skills a bit more. No offence but sparing with just Dad, Ichigo, and you gets kinda old…oh excuse me, "Captain" Ichigo." Karin snickered as Ichigo's eye twitched.
"How would you like a demotion?" Ichigo asked with a taunting gaze.
"Relax Ichigo. Think of it this way, two whole months without your sister prodding fun at your rank." Rukia said with a smirk.
"It looks like we're both going." Karin said with a smirk.
"Good then pack your bags. We leave after School gets out tomorrow." Kaichou said as Karin and Yuzu quickly reentered their bodies and raced back up stairs to their rooms. Ichigo, Rukia, and Nel each reentered their bodies respectively.
"I wonder who we're gonna be stuck with without Yuzu and Karin on the Squad." Tatsuki said as she plopped down on the couch.
"Not sure. They said only that they were sending someone from Squad Four and someone from Squad Thirteen." Kaichou replied.
"Squad Four? I can probably tell who it is they're sending." Ichigo said with a chuckle as Rukia nodded knowingly.
"Hanataro Yamada. Maybe, maybe not. But he has more familiarity with the area than the other Soul Reapers in Squad Four. Or they may send someone else." Rukia said.
"I think it will be nice to meet some other Soul Reapers." Orihime said with a smile.
"True. My only concern is that they don't try to kill me on sight." Nel said as Kaichou chuckled.
"Oh don't worry about that. According to the message I got, they're already giving both of the temporary replacements, a quick rundown of the Squad layout." Kaichou explained.
"You really think of everything don't you Sensei?" Tatsuki asked as Kaichou chuckled again.
"It kinda comes from being the Captain of a Squad for several centuries, you learn to consider all the angles. But anyway I've got work to do back at the house. I'll be next door if you need anything. Enjoy your dinner; I made Onigiri, hope you all like it." Kaichou said as she headed for the door.
"Do you need anything else Ichigo or may we be dismissed?" Nel asked as Ichigo nodded.
"You don't have to ask me that, just go. If I need you to stay for the moment I'll say so." Ichigo said with a friendly smile as Nel smiled, nodded, and headed out the door.
"I guess I better be going too Ichigo. We're still on for regular practice on Saturday right?" Tatsuki asked as Ichigo nodded.
"Good. I'll see ya later then." Tatsuki said as she headed out the door with Orihime in tow.
"Bye Ichigo! Call us if you need anything!" Orihime called as she left.
"I better go home too." Chad said as Noba teleported onto his shoulder.
"Take care Chad!" Ichigo called after him.
"I'll be going as well." Uryu said as he followed after Chad. Ichigo and Rukia then started heading upstairs.
"Well I guess it's just you and me now Captain. Just the two of us." Rukia said as she followed after Ichigo. She didn't notice as Kon and Isshin followed after them.
"Yeah…just the two of us." Ichigo said as they paused at the end of the hall, staring into each other's eyes as they leaned in for a kiss. Suddenly they found a stuffed lion plushy shoved between their puckered lips.
"What the-KON?!" they both growled in anger as they saw the doll between them.
"IT WASN'T ME!!!" Kon screamed. They then noticed that Isshin's arm was holding him up.
"Not until you're older Ichigo! You've got your school studies to think about as well as your duties as a Soul Reaper Captain! So save it until after you're graduate-UGCK!!!" Isshin grunted as Ichigo delivered a kick to his father's jaw.
"Damn it dad! How's a guy supposed to have a healthy romance with his girlfriend when you keep interrupting?!" Ichigo yelled angrily.
"Yeah! In case you haven't noticed, Ichigo and I are in LOVE!!!" Rukia yelled angrily as she grabbed Isshin by the back of the collar and hurled him towards the end of the hall. He bounced off the wall and started tumbling down the stairs.
"OOH-ACH-EEH-OH-GACKT-DAH-BUH-ugh." Isshin groaned as he landed at the bottom of the stairs.
"I'm okay!" Isshin whimpered from below.
"It's a good thing his Gigai was made extra durable." Ichigo said.
"Kisuke Urahara really knows how to build 'em." Rukia said as Ichigo nodded.
"Now then, where were we?" Ichigo asked as they finally kissed.
Meanwhile in the Soul Society…
Fourth Squad, Seventh Seat, Hanataro Yamada was hurrying down the hall of the Squad Ten Barracks until he finally reached a room at the end of the hall, the Captain's office. He opened the door to see Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya along with his Lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto as well as Captains Retsu Unohana and Jushiro Ukitake. Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu and Thirteenth Division third seats Kiyone Kotetsu and Sentaro Kotsubaki were present as well.
"Fourth Squad, Seventh Seat, Hanataro Yamada reporting as ordered!" Hanataro exclaimed as he entered dropped to his knees in respect.
"You're early Seventh seat Yamada, how very good of you." Captain Unohana said approvingly.
"I'm…I'm early?" Hanataro asked surprised as he stood up. Isane and Unohana were nodding in agreement.
"Now all we have to do is wait for your travel partner and then we can begin the briefing." Ukitake said.
"He should've been here by now." Sentaro said.
"Yeah, he's never been slow to report. He's almost always early." Kiyone said as they heard footsteps down the hall.
"This must be him now." Toshiro said as the door opened and a young Soul Reaper entered and dropped to his knees like Hanataro had earlier.
"Thirteenth Squad, Fourth Seat, Arupejio Zaine reporting as ordered!" the Soul Reaper said.
"You're right on time Zaine." Ukitake said as Zaine stood up onto his feet. He was young looking, a little older looking than Ichigo and had short orange hair like Ichigo and Orihime but styled very plainly with his hair combed down in a very similar style to ex-Captain Ichimaru's.
"Is this everyone?" Toshiro asked as the other Captains nodded, "Good, then we may now brief you on who you will be serving with and serving under in the Karakura Defense Squad."
End Chapter 1.
I own Arupejio Zaine.
This chapter starts off our first Arc in this fic. The "Summer Mysteries" Arc. The Theme Song for this arc is "Mad Surfer" by Kenichi Asai.
Like with my previous Bleach Fanfic, I will include Omake segments at the end of most of the chapters. Some chapters may go without them however, but here's a list of some Omake's you can expect to see.
Soul Reaper Illustrated Guide – The basic Omake, spawned in reference to the Shinigami Cup segments.
Zanpakuto Encyclopedia – A special Omake designed to introduce or reintroduce the Zanpakuto of certain characters.
Radio Kon!!! – A special one on Kon interview with everyone's favorite Mod Soul (Cough whipping boy cough) as he interviews various characters in the story. Producer: Hanataro Yamada.