Note: Hi all, it's been a while. Welcome to the revised chapter 1 of WF! I made a comment in my profile a while back talking about this revision, and I finally finished chapter 1. Took me longer than I would've liked, but chapter 1 is finally done, and eventually, the other chapters will follow. And once all the current chapters are completed, new chapters will start to be added!
If anyone is an old reader of this story, I know you would probably prefer new chapters instead of just revisions, but while looking over this story and planning how it's going to go (especially now that bleach is over – how crazy is that?) I found that for the story to go the way I wanted it to, there were some things that either needed to be added to, or edited for it to work. Especially in regards to the timeline, and for my own sanity, I couldn't continue the story with those errors staring me in the face. So I hope you'll be patient with me as I rewrite this story, maybe give it a reread as it progresses, and hopefully, enjoy the revisions until new chapters come out.
For new readers, you won't know the original, but it's not much different, so I hope you enjoy the story just the same!
This revision has been a long time coming, so, without further ado, I hope you all enjoy the chapter!
Summary: She was a lost soul, forgotten in time and left to wander due to her own decisions. He was the unlucky soul reaper to find her. Fate's a funny thing, but with them, does it truly matter?
-Story starts from around chapters 213 - 222 in the manga and season 6 of bleach and towards the end of Inuyasha on both fronts but this story is an AU. Some things are and will remain canon in both series, but for the most part this story will be AU.
Disclaimer: This is fan-fiction, and as such, all anime/manga/series etc. belong to their respective creators. I own nothing.
Chapter 1: Soul Reaper and the Soul
"Speaking/thinking inside flashback"
When they first met, it wasn't exactly…pleasant.
"No, and I don't care. I have something to do, and I'm not leaving until I can do it."
It was the dead of night in Karakura; quiet, peaceful, and yet Hitsugaya Toushirou had a migraine.
He was on the roof of Orihime Inoue's apartment building, typing out a report for the Soul Society – again – when he felt it. That dull ache between his eyes, the slight prick of pain, and then it was a lost cause, and the captain of the 10th division found himself staring down with narrowed eyes at the white screen of his phone, head pounding, trying to condense all that's happened down into a single report he could send to the Soutaichou.
That was an hour ago, and here he was – still writing that damn report, almost done, but not quite yet – with his head feeling like it was wrapped in a vice.
Too much happened, too soon.
There was he and his team's mission to the real world, the meeting and debriefing of their mission to substitute Shinigami Kurosaki Ichigo, his and his lieutenant's finding of temporary residence, and lastly, the attack of the Arrancar that happened soon afterward.
Which then led to paperwork and cleanup, and the other small incidences of weaker hollow being attracted to the leftover reiatsu and needing to be disposed of.
Ah, and to top it all off, Kurosaki's disappearance after that, as well…
All this happened in two days, but felt something closer to five. Honestly, the work wasn't even the cause. He was used to overworking – to late nights, paperwork, and stress. It was the fact that despite everything; they still had small, close to nothing of information on Aizen, the Arrancar he's gathering, or what the bastard's ultimate goal was.
Toushirou sighed. He finished typing the last of his report and scanned over the contents with his eyes, thumb hovering over the send button while he reread what he wanted to say and hoping that this time he'd get a response.
He sent one earlier, but there was no reply, no orders, only static. All of today, he hasn't gotten any correspondence from Soul Society, which was strange. Usually, there would be some type of response – a note confirming his report was received, or an update from Ukitake on his search throughout the archives and Aizen's old quarters – but as of this morning, there's been nothing.
Part of him wondered if the silence was due to an attack in Soul Society after the one they suffered, but if that was the case, someone would've been sent to get them. 'Maybe like us, they haven't found anything. Aizen still has the upper hand. And after what happened with the Arrancar…if it wasn't for the limit releases…'
The thought left Toushirou with a bitter taste in his mouth and he frowned, but finished reading his report and pushed the send button. He sat there for a while, waiting, watching the screen and listening for the beep that told him they got his report. For news, for anything, from Soul Society.
Almost angrily – because what else should he have expected, after almost a whole day of silence – the small captain shut his phone. It closed with a snap, and he placed the contraption onto the ledge next to him. There was no use in staring at a blank screen and waiting when he would rather get some rest. Until Aizen either made another move or Soul Society sent them more orders, he and his team where stuck. The most they could do now was keep an eye out.
He had just laid down on the ground too, arms under his head and eyes closed when the air around him pulsed.
His eyes shot open, instinctively recognizing the feeling shimmering through the air and pushed himself up so he could look in the direction where the feeling originated.
It was at this time his phone started beeping and Toushirou looked towards it on the ledge. After a second of thought on whether to look – because someone else may get it, he may have to do nothing at all – he grabbed the silver cell and flicked open the top with his thumb.
An angry, red dot pulsing on the screen not too far from his position met his eyes. Sighing again, he sat up farther and scratched the side of his head with his other hand, looking up from the still beeping phone to sense if anyone was going for it…
…and no one was. Not even Matsumoto…and she was the closest one to the hollow – besides him, anyway – since she was in the building under him. 'She's purposely ignoring it,' he mused, eyebrow twitching at the thought of his lazy lieutenant. He closed the beeping phone and resigned to his fate, stood up.
'Looks like I'm dealing with this one…' the frown on his face deepened. 'Probably expecting me to go after it.' he can't hope for Kurosaki to go after it, or Kuchiki either. Since Ichigo's gone missing, she's been looking for him. 'So it leaves me.' He didn't want to guess where Madarame or Yumichika are, and where Renji is staying is too far away.
'Doesn't matter.' Was his next thought, already grabbing the gikon dispenser he kept with him from his pocket and popping a thing of soul candy into his mouth.
The familiar feeling of weightlessness washed over him before he separated from his gigai. After ordering the gigai to tell Matsumoto that he got this one – in case the woman actually thought about going after it (as unlikely that was) – he jumped off the roof, using shunpo to head towards the direction where the hollow was.
. . .
It wasn't hard to find.
After about two and a half miles into following the directions his phone gave him, Toushirou was able to tell where the hollow was by sound alone. Really, it didn't seem like it was trying to hide, and he arrived in record time to see his target roar up at the sky.
The hollow was humanoid, green, and about two story high, but besides the strange looking horse-shaped mask it had and that its posture was akin to a gorilla, the hollow was a normal sight, right down to the hollow hole he could see located at the base of its neck.
As was the faint glimpse of a soul he could see from his vantage point in the sky when he stopped, the soul running from the hollow as it roared again and tried to grab them.
That was all the prompting Toushirou needed. In seconds, he had his zanpakutou drawn and was already jumping from his spot in the air to kill the hollow.
Before he could get close enough though, a flash came from somewhere beyond the hollow. It was blue, bright, and Toushirou narrowed his eyes in order to see, only to widen them in shock seconds later.
Something, whatever that flash was, was now headed right at him. 'What—?'
Drawing back, Toushirou jumped to the side to avoid being impaled. The attack continued unhindered, moving like a missile and passed by him in a streak of blue and heat, the force of it causing his hair and clothes to whip around his face.
And Toushirou couldn't help but watch the light the entire time it continued up towards the sky, only disappearing with a twinkle when it was too far to be seen anymore. 'The hell?' he wondered, half-amazed, half-confused as he landed on the ground. 'It…came out of nowhere.'
It did, and Toushirou would have continued to wonder over the strange occurrence if it wasn't for the sudden laughter that reminded him of the hollow, now behind him. He turned around expecting an attack, but things only continued to be strange as the hollow remained with its back to him. Interesting enough, it looked like the hollow wasn't aware he was there at all.
""Hahaha! How pathetic!"" with another roar, the hollow raised an arm into the air. ""Don't worry, I'll make sure to devour you quickly! Allow me the pleasure of thanking you now for your soul—!""
Whether the hollow noticed him or not, Toushirou knew that was the signal to move, and did so, leaping back into the air to strike the hollow from behind. As if on repeat though, there was another blue flash – that this time hit the hollow. The light stabbed clean through, right above the hollow hole placed in its neck.
The hollow froze. ""What—?"" arm extended in mid-attack; the hollow cut itself off to grab its neck in pain. It appeared almost confused by the turn of events. ""How could—?""
"The first…attention…never miss…"
Something that sounded like a whisper was said, too far and too faint for him to identify over the wind in his ears, but whatever it was didn't matter since a few seconds later, the hollow was screaming.
Long and loud, Toushirou listened as the hollow cried out in pain, body disintegrating before his eyes. The yell was grating, and when he landed where the hollow should have been, where he should have killed it, it was with ringing ears, some surprise, and no trace of the hollow.
The small captain looked around. It was empty. In fact, if it wasn't for the fading ring in his ears or that he saw the hollow himself – tried to kill it himself – he'd never have thought a hollow was here. The area was clean, no residual reiatsu. There should be though. There's always a small remnant of reiatsu left after a battle, at least for a few hours, and especially after a hollow's been purified. 'Strange…'
This…how was this possible? Shinigami purify when they kill, but to this degree…?
Surprised as how quickly things went from a simple hollow-killing to something much more complicated, Toushirou furrowed his brows and gave another glance around, as if that would somehow help him figure out what the hell happened and what that blue-light was.
The light that flew passed looked like an arrow, but he can't sense the Quincy around. Besides, it didn't feel like the Quincy, and if it were, there would be a trace of reiatsu left. Even more so because it was a Quincy.
'That light…it was faint, and only for a few seconds…but something was different about it.' He just couldn't put his finger on it. Toushirou narrowed his eyes at the ground where the hollow vanished. 'Almost like a Shinigami's but…off. So who, or what…?'
The hollow was focused on someone, and he assumed it was the soul, but it's gone now; ran at the first chance to escape. Which left him, and he can't sense anyone around. There's no way they could be invisible without him sensing their reiatsu. 'So what caused that light—?'
His thoughts were interrupted by a flicker of movement at the corner of his eye, followed by the sound of someone running at him, close (too close), and he made to look up, to turn, to intercept and then—
—then he was doing nothing. The voice was low, an order, and he froze in compliance. He had Hyōrinmaru gripped tight and raised in what would have been a counter-attack if not for the blue arrow aimed at the side of his head and the same voice, cold and calm, speaking to him from behind the glowing energy. "Who are you?"
The clipped sentence was still more order than question, but Toushirou stayed silent. Where did they come from? 'Why didn't I notice their movement until they were too close? Or their reiatsu?' Toushirou gripped his sword even tighter, resolute to remain quiet as the person moved from his side to in front of him. He didn't want to provoke them into attacking before he could better see who he was facing. 'Patience.'
Is it someone working for Aizen? Another Arrancar?
It can't be anyone on their side, but if it were one of Aizen's they would've attacked already. Not this, not hide away and then demand that he stay still and who he was. 'Even now…' he admitted, 'I can't sense them in front of me.'
No, but he could see their feet, clothed in tabi and sandals, moving around him step by cautious step, arrow aimed the entire time. It felt like an eternity as they moved, but Toushirou forced himself to wait until they were in front of him before he lifted turquoise eyes to see the newcomer.
Only to see the face of a teenage girl staring at him, hand drawn back and holding the arrow. While strange, it wasn't that that had him surprised.
No, it was the fact that she was dead.
Her form was the same transparent like all other souls; she had the chain of fate on her chest, cut, with the chain hanging down in front of her. She was a soul, yet…
His eyes went to the arrow still in front of his face. It was glowing bright blue and warmed his skin, making it tingle. Then his gaze went to the same colored bow she held in her other hand. 'How can she summon her reiatsu like that?'
Dead as she was, she shouldn't be able to summon any reiatsu, let alone have enough control to shape it into actual form. Plusses aren't able to do such a thing. At least, he's never heard of anything like this before—
"Answer me," came the voice of the girl again, causing his eyes to turn from her weapon and back to the cold blue of her eyes. When he still said nothing, she frowned and moved the arrow closer to his face. "I said…who are you?"
Recognizing the movement as the warning it was, and not wanting to cause a fight in such strange circumstances, he lowered his sword a bit and replied, "Hitsugaya Toushirou, captain of the 10th division in Soul Society."
"Soul Society?" the girl blinked and the cold look on her face and eyes was gone with it, replaced instead with surprise. "10th division?" she drew her weapon from his face and took a few steps back to give him space, eyes looking at him with a hint of curiosity.
She tilted her head, taking in his appearance. He felt her eyes on him move from his face, to his hand where he brought Hyōrinmaru to a rested position at his side, then towards his clothes and what he was wearing. Unable to help it, he shifted under the scrutiny. The movement made his captain's haori move in the light breeze, and he noticed the moment when she saw it, the way her eyes slightly widened.
Then those eyes were back on his in an instant, and it was like a zap to his system when he saw the change in them. They were no longer cold and distant, but bright, warm, and surprisingly – embarrassed. The rest of the change was immediate after that. Her once tense form loosened and she actually gave him a bow, dark hair falling over her shoulders at the quickness of it while the glowing arrow and bow both vanished like things of smoke from her hands. "So sorry about attacking you!"
She stood up straight and gave him a nervous grin while a hand raised to scratch the side of her head. So different than she was just a few minutes ago. "I didn't notice you were a shinigami till I actually looked." she looked behind her where the hollow once stood. "I was chasing that hollow for a while, and after finally being able to kill it, I guess I lost my focus. I mistook you for an enemy once I noticed you…and well, action first, words second, right?"
Cobalt blue eyes met his turquoise with apology as she sighed. "I also haven't seen a shinigami for a while…this is my first night in this town, so I don't know whose who, or where you guys patrol…" the soul trailed off with a small nibble of her lips. Her eyes were dark again. "Especially because of all the spiritual energy and those spikes over the last few days. I think it's what brought the damn thing here." she finished saying, the sentence no more than a murmur as the darkening of her eyes got more pronounced. A serious look was back on her face, but it lasted only a second because with a shake of her head, the soul's cheery persona was back and she smiled at him. "Really though, I am sorry."
He opened his mouth to speak, but the soul had already turned around and started walking away, waving behind her. "Anyway, I need to head back, but it was nice meeting you—!"
"Wait," he called out, taking a step towards the strange soul. When she stopped and turned her head to look at him, confused, Toushirou shook his head. "Where do you think you're going?"
He got a blank stare. "Um, back where I came from?" was the response. She turned around completely to face him, and she was now looking at him as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"No, do you think I'm going to allow you to roam around?" he answered back, voice filled with annoyance. "There's hollow everywhere and you," he pointed at her with the tip of Hyōrinmaru, "need to be sent to Soul Society."
That seemed to be the wrong thing to say because immediately, her eyes hardened as if she was preparing for another fight. "No, I don't," she replied. She shook her head and pointed at herself. "I am not going to Soul Society. Yet anyway." the last two words were lost on Hitsugaya though as she turned and started walking back the way she came again, pace faster. "See ya."
"I am not going to Soul Society."
The second wave she sent him was also lost on Toushirou as he stared, wide-eyed, at the soul that so casually shrugged him off. He's had to face souls like this before, but this one was strange, probably one of the strangest he's met so far.
Not only can she summon her reiatsu and use it as a weapon, but from the look of things, also had at least some knowledge of Soul Society. She recognized what he was by his clothing, seemed familiar with the use of the divisions, and knew what to call the hollow by name.
Most plusses don't even realize they're dead in the first place (at least, they deny it so fiercely they refuse to believe it) let alone figure out what hollow are and gain the ability to protect themselves like this one could. Is it some fluke? A rare issue that happened to a few plusses after they've died? As for her knowledge, is a stationed shinigami going around releasing information on Soul Society?
And with that knowledge, this soul didn't want to go?
Finding himself faced with questions he had no answers to yet unwilling to let the soul stop him from doing his job, Toushirou jumped and landed in front of her, forcing her to a stop as she came face-to-face with his shorter frame.
Hitsugaya tightened his hold on his sword and lifted it up, preparing to perform the soul burial and force her to go – questions or not – whether or not she wanted to. It's clear to him now that while weird, she's no threat. She's still a plus though, a soul that shouldn't be roaming around as she was. "You have no say in the matter. If you stay here, you will call more hollow."
Before he could place the pommel of Hyōrinmaru on her forehead however, the girl used her hand to knock away his, eyes narrowing. "I know." She took a step back and sighed. "I've heard the whole thing before," she replied. Her hand waved off to the side. "'If you stay you'll cause trouble', 'Soul Society's a nice place', 'you're in danger if you remain', and blah, blah, blah."
She sidestepped another of his attempts and this time grabbed the hilt of Hyōrinmaru and his hand to stop him, glaring now. "Will you stop? I've already told you, captain," she spoke his title with mocking, "I'm not going to Soul Society. And nothing you do will make me."
He glared back at the soul and removed her hand from his own. "Do you think I'm asking you?"
He can't believe this girl. Does she really believe she has any say in the matter of her staying here or not? He's been sending souls to Soul Society a long time, and she will not be any different.
The girl snorted and took another step away from him. "No, and I don't care. I have something to do, and I'm not leaving until I can do it." she glared at him a moment longer after she spoke, but only a moment, because the next thing Toushirou knew, the girl had side-stepped and was already walking passed him and away, leaving him to blink in bewilderment at the casual dismissal. Again.
"Like I said, nothing you say, do, or try will stop me. I've been waiting a long time and I'm so close." while she spoke, the soul sent him a look over her shoulder as she walked, a smirk coming to her face when he turned his own to look at her. "I'm not going to let some Chibi-taichou stop me."
His eye twitched at the 'nickname' and Toushirou faced back forward, hand clenching around Hyōrinmaru tighter. "I am not short, nor am I a 'Chibi-taichou!" the last word he spat out in disgust. Chibi-taichou, really?
"I never actually called you short." Her voice was almost warm with amusement, and Toushirou heard her come to a stop, followed then by laughter. "But sure, sure," she continued, a humor to her tone now Toushirou felt he wasn't going to like. "Whatever you say, Chibi-taichou." There it was.
Bristling, he whirled around to yell at the infuriating soul but when he did, it was already too late.
She was gone.
Note: and that's the end of the chapter! hopefully with some improvement from the original chapter, haha. Not gonna lie, it's been a while. Hopefully it's not horrible.
Also, before I completely end this chapter, I want to say thanks to everyone who's alerted/favorited/reviewed this story over the years, wanting an update and for me to continue this story. This story was never abandoned, but I still want to say thank you, because even if I always had a plan to come back to this story, it's those reviews/alerts/favorites that kept me motivated to make sure that it wouldn't ever be abandoned. So thank you, thank you, thank you! I've read every single review, seen every single alert and favorite, and for those that have enjoyed reading this story over the years, I hope with this revision, you'll only continue to enjoy it, maybe even more so.
I'm excited to get back to this story, I really did miss it. Chapter 2's revision has already been started, and once that's done, I'll post it up here, and so on and so forth until all the old chapters have been posted and new chapters can start being added.
Anyway, that's it for now. Feel free to leave a review, I'd love to hear what people think of this edit!
Thanks for reading!
Reviews are loved, flames stared at, and advice appreciated! Until next chapter!