A Time Not So Remembered

Chapter 37

Learning to Fight Back PT. 2

(A/N I am so sorry for that previous short chapter. I hope the make this one a good bit longer here. Wow, okay, let's see what happens in this chapter! Good stuff!)



Telepathy/disembodied voices

(Last Time)

"Wonderful, now we have no idea where he is or that youkai either," Satoshi grumbled, turning back around to face forward. "I don't get it. How can he be in a physical body? I mean someone's working on that concept right now but it's nothing more than theory, right?"

"I thought so too but then how can he…?" Akito trailed off seeing faint showdown move out of the corner of his eye. "What was that?"

"What was what?" Satoshi replied quickly.

"This fog is really getting me," Akito grumbled, rubbing his eyes. "Come out, kid! Stop this hiding and fight us! That's what you wanted to do, right? Then do so!"

(Present Time)

"Oh, man, I don't like this," Satoshi muttered under his breath. "Something is seriously not right here."

"Quit that! You'll get us both worked up talking like that," Akito replied bitterly, keeping a watchful eye out. "We just need to remain calm."

"Yeah, sure," Satoshi snorted, gripping his zanpakuto harder. "I still saying something is really wrong with this whole thing. That freak's got one powerful zanpakuto to disrupt the weather like that."

"What did I just—HUH?" Akito jerk his head to the left seeing a large shadow out of the corner of his eye. "What in the world is that?"

Satoshi quickly turned to see a large looming shadow with glowing red eyes staring down at them. Akito was right, what was that thing? This didn't look good at all. Suddenly the large shadow lunged at them. They barely had time to register it was a large blue dragon. The dragon hit the ground and then scattered along the ground freezing everything around them, including the very tops of the trees. They landed on the solid ground in amazement. It was an ice based zanpakuto? A very strong one from the damaged it caused. Now that area was frozen over they were literally in a lion's den.

"I told you something wasn't right," Satoshi bit out.

"Shut it," Akito barked, punching his friend in the arm. "Okay, you brat! We know what you're up to. This is your playground, right? Don't think you've got us! We've got more battle experience than you do! For example!"

Akito took his Hibiki and thrust the end of trident into the ice. The a large portion of the ice instantly evaporated as the molecules sped up, which only add to the density of the fog; perhaps not the smartest move after all. Visibility was poor before but now it was barely non-existent. The air was so saturated that even their own hair and clothes were becoming damp.

"That was a stupid move," Satoshi grumbled, barely able to make out his comrade. "Now we can't see at all!"

"I didn't think about it, okay?" Akito hissed, moving closer to Satoshi. "We just have to stay together. We can't get separated in this fog."

"I wish you hadn't done that," Satoshi huffed.

"Sorry! If I could disrupt this fog I would but Hibiki can only transfer sound through solid or liquid objects," Akito bit back.

"I know…" Satoshi said, through his clinched teeth. "No need to point it out."

"He's smart. Maybe too smart," Akito stated. "He used my own zanpakuto against us. We have to be careful."

"Tell me about it. I'm scared to use Raiden right now," Satoshi said, looking at his dimly glowing blade. "We are certainly in his playground, no doubt about that."

"He's got some sort of cover over his spiritual pressure," Akito sighed in aggervation. "I can sense him of course but the air is saturate with his energy. It's hard to get a location on him."

"Couldn't we use Bakudo number 53 to track him?" Satoshi questioned.

"I don't know… Kakushitsuijaku would be good but it takes time to trace and leaves one of defenseless to cast," Akito groaned. "We don't have that kind of time."

"Well, we can't remained huddled like this either," Satoshi stated. "He's scheming something out there."

"Where are you, you little freak?" Akito bit out into the dense icy fog. "C'mon and finish this fight! Stop sneaking around!"

No sooner did those words leave his lips Akito felt something sharp and icy rip into his right side. He looked down to see blood running out his side coating a thick layer of ice that had radiated out the wound. Ice covered one whole half of his body. He couldn't move and his zanpakuto was frozen in his hand. To make matters he never saw or heard the kid approach.

"DAMN THAT BRAT," Akito cursed out in pain, reaching around to his wound with his free hand. "He's playing with us! NGH! I don't think he's strong enough to face head to head! So he's resorting to these types of tactics."

"So what should we do then? I didn't even see him hit you," Satoshi stated, looking at how deep the wound was. "The wound is very deep. We need to—HM!"

Just for a split second there was a metallic sound in the air. Satoshi quickly held up Raiden and to his surprise a crescent shaped blade with a chain wrapped around the blade. So that's how he did it. That attack was just out of their vision and it was fast making nearly silent. It also didn't help they were gabbing so much. He really was just too damn smart. This kid was something else.

"So that's how you did it," Satoshi snapped, pulling hard on the chain with Raiden, hoping to drag the child out of the fog. "Come out of that fog and fight me like a man!"

"Be careful he's got something else planned," Akito warned, wincing a bit.

"I know he's on the other end of this chain," Satoshi said, looking at the chain wrapped blade. "I'm going to drag his ass out and then I'm going to fry it!"

Satoshi gave another hard tug and felt boy pull back against him. The chain end leading off into the fog suddenly changed direction. The boy was on the move. Satoshi just snorted. He felt like he was fishing. He'd just have pull in his catch. He didn't know how long the zanpakuto could extend it chain but there were always limits. He kept pulling and chasing but his patience was about spent with this brat. If he didn't end this, there was a chance Akito could bleed out. He had had enough.

He gave one good tug by running opposite the boy. He felt the chain tighten followed by a small shriek and a shadow just visible to him appeared. So that's where he was! Raiden charged up ready for the attack! This was the end of that brat for good this time! He aimed the point of the sword at the dim shadow. Oh, yes, this was going to be sweet.

"Bye, you brat!" Satoshi grinned, letting loose a lightning bolt at the shadow.

He heard a scream and he knew that voice. It was Akito. Oh, no… He suddenly realized that wasn't the kid but his friend. The bastard had actually got him to leave Akito's side and even made it seem like the shadow was… Had he really just electrocute…?

"AKITOOO," Satoshi used Shun-po to where his attack hit and to his horror it was Akito. Well, what was left of him. "NOO! AKITO! YOU BASTARD, I'LL REALLY KILL YOU FOR THIS!

When Satoshi looked back down at Raiden he noticed that the crescent blade and chain were gone. So, he was ready to change tactics again? He was actually surprise that the energy going through the chain didn't reach the boy. He must have been wise enough not to hold it at the exact moment. This kid was really getting to him and he didn't like that one bit.

"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! You just made me kill my own teammate! When I get my hands on you I'll snap you like a damn twig," Satoshi snapped, his temper was at full force. "How dare you make me do this to my friend! You little freak!"

"Yeah, yeah, so you want to fight me head on, right?" Toshiro grinned, walking into Satoshi's sight and held up his blade. "Let's see how this goes. After all, water and lightning don't mix."

"This time I'm going to make sure you're dead," Satoshi bellowed, charging at Toshiro.

Toshiro deflected the oncoming blade and watched as little electrical sparks erupted from Raiden. Honestly, he was hoping to get rid of Satoshi first but it didn't happen that way. At least now it was one on one. This was a lot more doable. He just didn't like that zanpakuto. He knew he could use that ability of the lighting zanpakuto again against its wielder. Or maybe he should be just as direct as the man had wanted him to be? Toshiro thought on that idea as he kept up his defense dodging and blocking.

One major flaw that he did notice about Raiden was once he shot off an attack it needed a couple of minutes to fully recharge. Any attacks with it in between were much weaker. Satoshi was most likely buying time attacking him this way to wait for a full charge. So would it be best to attack now or wait after his next full discharge where the blade would most likely be at its weakest? Only problem was as so as Raiden discharges it instantly start building up again. A tough choice to make. It had already a couple of minutes since the last attack, meaning his was most likely ready for his next full attack.

Use my ice power NOW!

Hyorinmaru? All right…Toshiro replied mentally noticing that Raiden was fluorescing brightly. But why right this second?

He's actually been charging that zanpakuto for much longer than you think. That attack will take out a large radius. You won't be able to avoid it. Nip this in the bud! If he lets out that discharge…

Okay, I got it, Toshiro groaned, holding off Satoshi with all his strength. "It's about time to end this!"

"That I agree on," Satoshi said, jumping back as the air became think with ozone. "I'm going to show just how—WHAT?"

He stopped dead sentence as Toshiro slashed his blade sideways and a large jet of ice erupted from it, completely coating Satoshi, Raiden, and the ground in thick heavy ice. Satoshi had a truly shocked look frozen on his face. What exactly just happened?

"I'm not listening to you monologue, thank you very much," Toshiro replied dully, looking at the shinigami ice sickle. "You wanted to go head to head, so here I come!"

Toshiro charged the man and slashed at the man! Hyorinmaru cut through Satoshi with hardly any resistance. Toshiro came to a sliding stop on the ice and turned around to look at his handy work. He cut right rough that bastard. The ice began to fracture and brake apart. It then started to evaporate quickly, taking the shinigami with it. Soon there was nothing of Satoshi left.

Toshiro let out an exhausted sigh. It was over. It was actually over. He had actually managed to fight off two well-seasoned shinigami. There was no doubt that he felt proud of himself at that moment. That practice with Sesshoumaru-sama had really paid off. Not only that but after actually going into real combat he had remembered a good bit about fighting. It was literally second nature to him now, which meant he was a veteran as well. But somehow, he felt like… He really should have been able to do a lot more damage but something was holding him back. He didn't know what. Maybe it was this gigai of his?

Yes, your Gigai has a limiter on it. It was designed to keep you hidden from other Shinigami. Had there not been a limiter I guarantee the outcome would have been far more devastating. You are strong, Toshiro. Those men you faced may have only been low seated officers. They may not have even been seated at all. Now that you remember your fighting skills and how to wield me, another skirmish like that will take you no time to resolve.

But I thought you didn't want me to use you in the first place, Toshiro quested, looking down at his zanpakuto. Now you seem rather delighted about all this. What gives?

I guess I was being over cautious. That was my mistake and I apologize. However, please call on me only as a last resort like you did this time. Word of this will circle back to the higher ups and you will be facing higher seated officers.

I take it that's not a good thing… You mentioned that I was pretty strong, hence the limiter. Where exactly did I sit before all this happened? Toshiro asked as Hyorinmaru reverted back and the fog began to lift. And please don't hem and haw about this either. Be truthful with me this time.

Very well… I guess you deserve this much but I believe Ichigo blurted it out once to you just before you attacked him. Don't you remember?

Not really, Toshiro hummed, trying to remember. Wait! He said something about a Squad Ten?

Yes, you are the captain of Squad Ten.

I'm a captain? That's high, isn't?

Yes. It is very high. However, there are still those that are seated above you.

But if I'm seated as high as you say, why doesn't anyone know I am except those two? I don't understand.

I knew it would lead to this. To put it bluntly... You are not of this era and neither were Abarai and Kurosaki. They were sent to find you and bring you back to your proper era. You don't even exist here.

"You've got to be kidding me!" Toshiro snapped at Hyorinmaru, gripping his hilt hard.


Toshiro turned to sound of his name to see Sesshoumaru not standing too far from him. The clouds had parted and the fog was just about gone. The demon lord didn't look too worse for wear. He notice that Hyorinmaru suddenly pulled away from him. That was the end of that. Toshiro put the blade back in its sheath and hurried over to Sesshoumaru.

"Sesshoumaru-sama," Toshiro said, coming to a stop in front of the demon lord. "I finally got some more memories back. I remembered how to fight properly."

"I see. Come. We must catch up with Rin and Jaken," Sesshoumaru said, looking down at Toshiro and then turned.

Wow... I don't even get a 'good job' or 'way to go' from him, Toshiro grumbled to himself flowing after Sesshoumaru.

"I suppose you were looking for some sort of acknowledgment from me," Sesshoumaru said dully.

It would have been encouraging. Toshiro thought looking up at Sesshoumaru. "I don't find you to be the type to do so. So I didn't really expect any."

"You did well. Better than I had expected," Sesshoumaru answered just a dull as before.

"Oh, uh, arigato," Toshiro said, looking a little surprised. "I do mean that."

"I know you do," Sesshoumaru replied. "Now let's hurry."

"Yes, sir," Toshiro said, picking up his feet a bit more.

Ichigo yawned and as he sat up from his bed of leaves and a couple of blankets. It was just after sunrise and everything was covered in thick dew, even him. Every bit of clothing was damp and clung to him a bit. He knew it wouldn't last though. Once it started to heat up… He decided now was a good time to get moving. He got up and a shook out his blanks before packing them. He a few small food items that he could munch on this morning and pulled those out.

He had taken notice that he now had a survival guide in his pack. He figured that Kagome remembered he was lousy at discerning what fruits and veggies were edible. That girl was rather bright. He had already used it a couple of times. He was thankful for that book. Not to mention the 2 bottles of sunscreen. She had made sure he was set.

He felt bad about what happened between them but he didn't need to get anymore attached or get mixed up with their agendas. He let out a sigh making sure he had everything. Once that was settled he began moving again. He had no idea where the next closest village was. He did also worry finding Toshiro and Renji of course. He had no idea about where they were or really where to start looking. He was literally starting from the ground up.

He hadn't been walking for long when he heard something not too far from him. He sounded like a woman's scream. Great, just what he needed. It was coming up from behind him. He quickly turned around to see what the trouble was. He hadn't seen anyone when he walked by that area. He paused noticing that scream seemed to coming at him and fast. There was also a distinct sound of horse hooves. He started moving again up the hill only to nearly run down by a crazed ginger horse just cresting the hill. He landed into a thorny patch of bushes.

"HELP MEEE!" she screamed as Ichigo pulled himself out of the shrubs and gave chase.

He was fast in his gigai but he didn't know if he could catch up to a galloping horse. She looked like she was clinging onto that horse for dear life and she most likely was. There was not telling how long the horse had been running but he seemed to be losing some of its energy. It was just enough for Ichigo to try for the reins. He lunged forward, grabbing the leather straps but in all honesty he knew nothing of horses. He tried to bring the horse to a stop by pulling hard on the reins but only managed to get dragged instead.

However, the extra weight did seem to bring horse down some more. It finally came to stop but was make all sorts of racket as it reared up and back down again and again; even bucking a couple of times. Something must have spooked it. Ichigo made sure to try not to get under those hooves as held onto the reins. He didn't want to have survived this long only to get taken out by a pack animal.

The horse reared one more time and the girl finally lost her grip of the horse neck, falling off the back. At that point Ichigo just decided to let the beast go and let it calm down on its own away from them. The horse gladly took off farther down the road. Ichigo was huffing from that little fight when he finally turned to look at the girl. She was lying face down in the dirt and moaning. However, something wasn't right. Tawny colored hair? Actually from behind she looked a great deal like…

"Owwie, that really hurt," she wined suddenly sitting up and put on hand on her back and another on nose. "Ow! Ow! Ow!"


She froze at the calling of her name coming from behind. She knew that voice. She slowly looked over her shoulder to see someone standing not far from her. Her grey eyes widened as did his chocolate brown eyes. They just stared at each for a few moments in silence. Suddenly she let out shriek, got to her feet, and catapulted herself at him. He didn't even have to register what happened until he was flat on his back with girl squeezing the life out of him.

"KUROSAKI-KUN, I FINALLY FOUND YOU!" she screamed with delight, holding her friend tighter and tighter. "YOU'RE ALIVE! I'M SO HAPPY!"

"Not if you keep squeezing me like this," he said, pulling at her arms. "Inoue, let go! OW!"

She finally let up her grip a bit but her smile didn't fade and she looked like she was just about to cry and knowing her the waterworks were just about to start. At least they were the good kind. She finally got off of him so he could sit up and sure enough she started crying right after. He put an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to him. At least he wasn't alone anymore.

Suddenly and idea hit him. There was no way in hell Inoue would or could have traveled here by herself. Someone, had to have come with her but who? He didn't have to guess as he suddenly found Kuchiki Byakuya mounted on a dapple grey horse not far from them. Byakuya looked down dully at them as Inoue cried into Ichigo's shoulder. Ichigo waved at him briefly before Byakuya dismounted and walked over to them.

"I see you two found each other," Byakuya said, dully.

"That's one way of putting it," Ichigo shrugged, letting go of Orihime. "I can't tell you how happy I am to see you both. You really have no idea."

"I figured as much," Byakuya said, looking Ichigo up a down. "Abarai had managed to return to Soul Society and reported what happened. I was sent in his place and Inoue was sent with me to help heal you and maybe even return Hitsugaya's memories if it can be done."

"Oh, I see," Ichigo nodded. "So Renji is okay?"

"He's fine," Byakuya replied, quickly. "He was a little weak when we left but in good spirits."

That was certainly a weight lifted off his shoulders to know that Renji did make it back. Now they just needed to find Toshiro and everything would be set right. He couldn't wait to go back home and see his family again. Things were suddenly looking up for him.

"Where is your horse?" Byakuya asked, looking around.

"That way," Orihime point farther down the road. "He knocked me off when Kurosaki-kun tried to get him to stop."

"Oh, great," Byakuya sighed, looking up the road.

"What caused that by the way?" Ichigo asked, looking at Orihime first and then at Byakuya.

"Actually, I was hoping to know that story as well," Byakuya said as both men turn their attention to Orihime. "What did you do? I told you that horses aren't something to play around with."

"I know. It wasn't my fault. Honest," Orihime said, rubbing her waterlogged eyes. "I was waiting around like you had ordered, while you scouted around. All I know is that a couple of really large dogs came out of the woods. I freaked and then the horse freaked and we both just took off down the trail. They didn't follow us for long though, thank goodness."

"How big are we talking?" Ichigo as worry seeped into his face.

"Really big! They were brown and grayish," Orihime emphasized spreading her arms out.

"I don't think those were dogs… Oh, shit…" Ichigo said, suddenly getting to his feet. "Let's find your horse and get out of here. Those were wolves."

"Why so worried?" Byakuya asked as Ichigo stood back up and started grabbing the items that fell out of his pack. "Surely a couple of wolves couldn't be much of a bother to you."

"Not those but who they follow is a different story," Ichigo said panicked, haphazardly stuffing everything back in his bag. "Let's just hurry and find that horse and keep moving!"

"Who did you anger this time?" Byakuya asked, helping Orihime on to his horse and then followed right after. "After all, you have a real gift for it."

"Hey, look, I was only defending myself," Ichigo snapped following beside them on down the road. "But it just got a little out of hand."

"That's nothing new," Byakuya drawled, putting the horse into a trot. "But you still haven't answered who you angered."

"A small wolf demon pack," Ichigo grumbled, keeping up with the horse. "Well, mainly the pack leader Kouga."

"Only you," Byakuya scoffed, looking at Ichigo, shaking his head.

"Yeah, yeah… Come to find out I can see the shards of the Shikon no Tama," Ichigo added as they saw the horse in a small clearing grazing a bit. "Kouga has a couple in his legs that he uses to increase his speed and agility. I discovered them and things turned down hill. Even after telling him I had no interest in them we had a bit of a fight."

"So did you get in bad fight with him?" Orihime asked, looking worried.

"When does he not get into a fight?" Byakuya added as they neared the ginger horse. "I'll see if I can't get my hands on him. You two wait here."

Byakuya dismounted and carefully started to approach Orihime's horse. It spotted him and starred at him. When Byakuya got a little closer it moved away but didn't go far. It was still a little skittish. Even if he did get his hands on the horse he didn't want anyone to ride him until he was calmer. Byakuya was hoping it being a former war horse it wouldn't spook so easily but given what happened he couldn't blame the animal. It took him a couple more attempts until he got a hold of it. It pulled him back a bit but Byakuya wouldn't let it. It took a little while but he did bring the horse around and back to the others.

"Don't ride him for a while," Byakuya warned, rubbing the horse on the side of the neck. "He's still a little worked up."

"Okay," Orihime nodded, looking at her horse. "Awe, are you okay, baby? Did those mean old wolves try to bite you?"

"So she baby-talks it?" Ichigo asked quietly, looking at Byakuya's eye twitch.

"Every single day," Byakuya grumbled, keeping a firm hold of the horse's reins. "Well, let's get moving before your wolf friends appear and make a bigger mess of things."

"Haha, very funny," Ichigo snorted as Byakuya got back on his horse behind Orihime.

"Now all we need to do his find Hitsugaya-taichou," Byakuya sighed, ready for this mission to be over and done with.

"Finding him isn't so much the problem as it is getting a hold of him," Ichigo said with a groan as Byakuya started to move with the horses on down the road. "With that inu-youkai watching over him you're really asking for it. Sesshoumaru is not one to play around with. It also didn't help that Toshiro was aiding him against us."

"Yes, I heard through Renji about what happened that day," Byakuya said, turning to look at Ichigo. "However, I want to know a bit more about this wolf pack you got riled up."

"Oh, boy… It started off believe it or not with a large boar. It turned out two of the wolf demons had been hunting it. Together we managed to bring it down. Things were going fine between us for a while. We started talking and I ended up at their camp. That was okay," Ichigo stated as both Orihime and Byakuya look interested. "A little while later their leader showed up. He was already in an ill mood and my presence there didn't help. He grilled me a little bit and found out that I knew he had jewel shards. We started arguing and I wanted to leave. Suddenly he thinks it's a good idea for me to stay when he found I can see the shards. I declined of course. That does go over well. His friends try to get him to leave me alone. Finally it got to a point where things turned from bad to worse."

"Oh, that sounds horrible! I'm sorry that happened," Orihime said, making a bit of a pouting face. "So what happened during the fight?"

"Yeah, about that part… It didn't go over well at all," Ichigo sighed, scratching the back of his head. "After I told him no…"


"No," Ichigo said, walking around him.

"What?" Kouga looked a little lost.

"I'm not helping you," Ichigo stated, picking up his feet a little faster.

"Now wait just a minute," Kouga said, getting in Ichigo's way again. "Just hear me out, won't cha!"

"First you want me to leave and now you want me to stay? I've got other things I need to do!" Ichigo snapped at him, putting a hand on the hilt of his zanpakuto.

"Kouga, that's enough, please, just let him go," Hakkaku said, running over to Kouga with Ginta behind him. "You have no idea what he can do!"

"That sword of his rather unusual," Ginta added, biting his lip.

"Unusual, huh? And just what can ya do?" Kouga questioned with a sneer. "Come on, carrot top! Draw your sword! Let's see what ya got going for ya!"

Ichigo let out a snort and took his hand off his zanpakuto. There was no need to really get violent. In fact he had something else he could use to get his wolf off his back but at the same time it could also backfire. He was trying to limit the use of Zangetsu so he might as well try this idea.

"You really want to see?" Ichigo asked in a threatening voice as he put a hand to his face. "That can be arranged."

In a flash a toothy white boney mask appeared on Ichigo's face. Kouga stumbled back caught completely off guard. That wasn't something the pack leader was expecting. Kouga and the others took in the sight before them. Were they actually seeing what they thought they were seeing? I living empty one?

"Now will you leave me alone? I have no intentions of fighting you," Ichigo stated clearly to them. "I'm telling you to back off. It's that simple!"

"Now I know why I didn't like ya," Kouga growled out, flexing his clawed fingers. "What are ya? Some weird half-breed?"

"What part of 'I don't want to fight' do you not understand?" Ichigo asked, reaching back for Zangetsu. "I was hoping this would be enough to just deter you."

"Well, carrot top, ya guessed wrong," Kouga snapped, charging at Ichigo.

"KOUGA," Ginta and Kakkaku called out as Kouga to a swing with his claws at Ichigo's.

Ichigo ducked and quickly ducked again. He was really getting tired of fighting as of late. He would love to take one hell of a long break from all this. Kouga was indeed fast. Ichigo was keeping up with him but just how fast could Kouga actually move?

"Fight back, ya coward," Kouga demanded, taking a round house kick at Ichigo.

Ichigo grabbed his ankle and then spun around before letting go of Kouga. Kouga was lifted off his foot and went sailing through the air. That bastard just grabbed him and then threw him like nothing. Kouga quickly got back to his feet and took off after Ichigo. He wasn't going to let this strange being get the best of him.

Ichigo really was getting tired of this. He just wanted to just walk away from the start. No such luck. He was tired and not in the mood. Kouga seemed rather headstrong and wanted to show off. Ichigo wasn't immune to his own ego but he wasn't really feeling it. He could just bolt but Kouga would catch up to him in no time. Someone's ego was going to get hurt tonight and Ichigo wasn't going to be the one.

"Ya're not really putting up much of a fight," Kouga snorted, stop his assault as Ichigo just glared at him. "What's the matter? Scared ya might lose?"

"Hardly! Look I didn't want to do this," Ichigo said, reaching for his sword and drew it. "Those two have seen what this blade can do. I don't wish to use it on you, it's not meant for you, but if you keep this up I will use it."

"Kouga, he's being serious," Ginta stated, looking nervous. "Just leave him alone!"

"Please, just listen to us," Hakkaku added. "That blade is like… I don't know some other weird Tetsusaiga or something."

"Hey, my Zangetsu is far more powerful that idiot's sword," Ichigo bit back proudly.

"Zangetsu, huh?" Kouga smirked, looking at the thin blade. "Strong name. Show me if it's really worth it."

"You really want this, don't you?" Ichigo grumbled, letting out a long sigh. "Okay but you asked for it. Slice the sky, Zangetsu!"

The average sized blade started to glow and quickly took on a new form, a large form. It was a large black cleaver with a silver edge. There wasn't even a guard on the monster sized blade. It looked extremely heavy but the boy was holding like it barely weighed anything. There was a smug look to his body posture when he saw Kouga's surprise but the surprise didn't last long.

"So, that's it?" Kouga mocked but Ichigo's smirk didn't waver. "Kind of ugly if ya ask me."

"You're really are asking for it," Ichigo grumbled in annoyance.

"Kouga, that's enough," Hakkaku said, pulling on Kouga's arm. "Let's this whole thing go. You really are asking for it like he said. He's being reasonable! "

"No, I wanna see just what this thing has to offer," Kouga bit back, pulling his arm back. "If ya don't want to stay, by all means leave."

"You're more headstrong than Inuyasha," Ichigo muttered under his breath.

"Don't we know it," Ginta and Hakkaku nodded.

"Don't cha dare agree with him! I'm nothin' like that damn puppy," Kouga bit back at them before facing Ichigo again.

"No, you're worse," Ichigo drawled, shaking his masked head slightly. "By leaps and bounds."

"That's it, carrot top! I've had it up here with ya," Kouga growled charging at Ichigo his claws ready to tear into him. "I'll show ya to mock to mock me!"

There wasn't much time to react. Ichigo had to think fast on this. It was a stupid move and dangerous one but if it got Kouga off is back… He would let out small Getsuga Tensho that if he aimed right would just miss Kouga. He really didn't have time to aim but here went nothing. He raised his blade quickly.

"GETSUGA TENSHO," Ichigo called out, bringing the blade down with one powerful swing.

A blast of dark energy lined in crimson exited the blade and headed straight for Kouga. Kouga was a little too close to really dodge it. He quickly covered his face as the blast went right past him, taking out several trees and putting a large crevice in the ground. He hit the ground holding his left arm in pain. The blast had clipped a bit. That hurt like hell. There would be no telling what would have happened to him if it was a direct hit.

"KOUGA," Ginta and Hakkaku called out running over to him.

"Damn him," Kouga growled out in pain holding his bleeding arm. "I'll kill that bastard!"

Kouga looked up to see that the orange haired empty one was missing. He quickly got back to his feet knocking his friends back. Ichigo was no were to be found. He had actually run away? That coward! Kouga's blood was boiling at this point. He wasn't going to let this one slide.

"That coward! If ya can still hear me, carrot top, I'm going find ya and finish this," Kouga yelled into the dark woods. "I swear it! I will get back at ya for this!"

"He's going to carry this grudge for a while," Ginta sighed.

"Yes, and unfortunately we're along for the ride," Hakkaku moaned.

(End Flashback)

"I've just been running from his pack ever since," Ichigo said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "He must really be determined to have a rematch with me."

"You literally just ran away," Byakuya didn't seem too keen on that. "How unlike you."

"Listen! I didn't feel good and I've been in fight after fight here," Ichigo clarified with a sour look on his face. "Also I was following orders; keeping my nose out of the jewels shards. It hasn't been easy. Kouga's two pack mates seemed kind enough. I couldn't just waste their leader."

"So I take it you've also met Sango and the others from your story," Orihime asked as Ichigo looked a little dumbfounded. "We met them the following day after you left."

"Wow it is a small world after all," Ichigo joked as Orihime giggled a bit. "What are your thoughts on them?"

"Nice but maybe a little rough around the edges," Orihime pondered.

"Nosey, headstrong, arrogant," Byakuya said, bluntly.

Ichigo chuckled a bit. He guessed that about summed it up in some ways. He knew they had a lot of stories to trade off and plenty of time to tell them. There was not telling when they would find Toshiro but things were starting to look a little better now. Ichigo wasn't alone anymore, which he was grateful for. He looked up at Byakuya and Orihime and shook his head. How Byakuya managed to put up with Orihime was beyond him. He knew there had to be a few good stories they were keeping. He just sighed and took in the summer sun. What a whirlwind adventure this had turned out to be.

(A/N Yay, good things happened in this chapter but bad things are still to come. You know I have to write Naraku in here at some point. I have to! It's rule! So, let me get to bed. It's late and I have a long class tomorrow. Good night. Please review!)

Millie M. Banshee