Author's Ramblings and story preface:

Well, this is one of the crazy ideas that have been invading my mind for awhile now, and I seriously need a brake from the pure Narutoverse, though I do find this one entertaining.

So, here's the idea. During a particularly nasty fight with a certain Uchiha geezer, Naruto gets dealt the shity hand in life yet again. Three things happen. First, Kyuubi mysteriously vanishes, turning Naruto into a full demon in the process. Second, Madara's Kamui breaks the walls between worlds, thrusting Naruto out of the Naruto world into the Bleach world before he gets destroyed by the rift. Third, he unfortunately appears, severely weakened (read with wounds that hath killed lesser men ), near Karakura town, where he gets picked up by Ishin Kurosaki.

My question was the standard 'What if?' with a Naruto thrust into the story.

Now here are the other premises. Naruto will NOT be a shinigami, but rather remain a demonic humanoid throughout the story. Why? Because it makes things more fun. Also, this will NOT be a harem story for any character, and Ichigo and Naruto will both be equally important characters for the story. Anther detail is that since Naruto doesn't use Reiatsu like the hollows and shinigami, he's next to undetectable to them, unless he starts venting his killing intent and chakra, or they are right next to him... which kinda defeats the purpose. The point being that they can detect it, but are simply not trained to, as the physical component of chakra messes with their detection.

A final premise is that the Naruto I'm using is the Naruto from my 'Determination' story, but from a far later point as a base. It's not necessary to read it, but it will make it somewhat easier to understand his way of thinking and other stuff. I will be posting a full file on Naruto in a few chapters, so for now there will only be short explanations of some of his skills.

Ah, one more detail. While there will be romance for Naruto, at this point and for a while more there won't be anything further than flirting for him for reasons that will be explained soon.

For the record, the storyline begins two days before the Bleach storyline starts. So a day after Naruto recovers and reaches Karakura is the day before Ichigo meets Rukia

Disclaimer : I don't own either Bleach or Naruto. I only own the original ideas presented here

A Demon among Reapers

A Naruto/Bleach Crossover story

Chapter 1 : Somewhere inbetween

Isshin Kurosaki was not a man easily surprised. A veteran Soul Reaper, and former captain of his own squad, he had centuries of experience dealing with the various downright bizarre events around Soul Society. The man was seemingly in his late thirties or early forties, depending on who you would ask, with coal black hair, a short scraggy beard, and a crazy grin that was more fit on a lunatic than a respected physician. Not that he really cared.

Still, the sight before him wasn't something you saw every day.

(An hour ago)

The quiet rumble of a car hummed along the empty street. The vehicle was something you expected in a black and white movie, a rusted old relic from the sixties, but it still worked remarkably well, despite it's age. The red color that once glistened was peeling off, but the metal beneath was in pristine condition regardless.

The driver was apparently no younger than the car, a grizzled old war veteran from World War II, gray haired and scarred on many places, but still virile despite his old age. His companion was the seemingly younger doctor, and old friend Isshin Kurosaki. The reason for this sudden situation in seven in the morning was a curious one indeed, as he explained to the man.

"And there he was, with wounds that killed men twice as big, just lying there unconscious and bleeding", the older man, Mizaku Kataro explained "It's weird I tell ya, but still, I couldn't just leave him there lyin' like that, you know?"

Isshin merely smiled at Kataro's antics. For all his gruffness, the old man had a heart of gold, and his old wife was no better. Whoever the young man was, he was indeed lucky to have reached them instead of someone else.

The ride wasn't a long one, though Karakura was a part of Tokyo, it was along the edge of the prefecture, and near to one of the few wild areas, where a few farms still survived. One such piece of land belonged to the Mizaku family, or at least to it's two members who stayed there, as the younger generation had long since moved to the big city. The homestead was built in the traditional Japanese style of old, a small fortified house, with a blue shingled roof and a small shrine next to it. The car parked just outside, and the two men entered the house, greeted by Kataro's wife Alexandra, an US emigrant from the times after the war. The old woman took to Japan like a fish to water, especially since she was half-Japanese anyway.

"Kurosaki-san, good to see you again" she greeted "I hope Kataro-kun hasn't been annoying you too much with his war stories" she near-cheerfully asked, while Kataro simply laughed at his wife's worries.

"He's a good sport, right Isshin?"

"Right... now where's that patient of yours. I have a few others waiting back home"

The smile on the old housewife immediately weakened a bit, and she quietly guided him over to the guest room, where a young man, seventeen at most was lying on his back. Isshin took his time to take a look at him, noting the spiky blond hair, and unblemished face. Unlike the face, the rest of the body was covered in a multitude of scars, barely visible under the bandages which covered some of the most visible wounds. With Kataro's help, he removed some of the bandages revealing a sight that made him nearly choke. The torso was covered with a combination of tattoos and certainly lethal wounds that seemed to have healed up just a bit. Most of them actually stopped bleeding, a few obvious ones still remaining. The arms and legs were no better, equally crisscrossed by scars and wounds, along with another set of strange tattoos. Lifting him revealed a wound that had essentially gone through his heart and lungs, along with severing his spine. The body was of lean build, ideal for a combination of speed and strength. If he had to guess, the young man would easily fit the shinobi of his time by all accounts, except for the amount of battle he had obviously seen.

By all accounts, this man was clinically dead... except that apparently he didn't get the memo. But that wasn't what worried the veteran doctor. No, what worried him that most of these were sword wounds, accompanied by a plethora of burns from both fire an acid, signs of frostbite, electric shock, poison, blunt trauma... pretty much every single type of damage you could imagine hitting a body. And those were only the fresh ones. A number of old scars were visible beneath, some of them he was sure would be lethal. After all, one does not easily survive being stabbed though one of the parts that he knew as 'fatal spots', a detail that he picked up during his military training while he was still alive a long time ago.

To sum it up, the boy in front of him had sufficient combat scars for an army... and was still alive.

But that's not where the weird parts finished. His breathing was unnaturally calm and slow, like he was in hibernation, along with a slow pulse, but at the same time, the wounds were slowly but surely patching up, there were no signs of an infection anywhere... Also, the man had no spiritual presence, but up this close, he could feel something else, something that he was utterly unfamiliar with.

"How was he when you found him?"

"Ehm... that's the strange part. He actually dragged himself from our field to the door, barely alive and breathing. He managed a few knocks and lost consciousness. If Alexandra here wasn't taking a last look over the chickens, she wouldn't have found him." Kataro commented in a sad voice. He seemed to be sorry for the lad. If anything, as one warrior to another he respected him. Isshin himself wasn't feeling much differently.

"The poor boy was still bleeding when I found him.." Alexandra started, but stopped as a loud groan was heard from the body.

Another groan came soon after as his eyes opened, revealing two calm amethyst spheres that looked up into the ceiling.

"Where am I?" he slowly asked, groaning out the words through the pain he felt everywhere.

"Right outside of Tokyo, Japan" Isshin calmly offered. He had a very strange feeling about him, and he calmly decided that he needed the advice and wisdom of two or three others who would be able to help.

"Tokyo? Japan?" he asked in a confused voice, trying to move "Crap" he added as a surge of pain went through his body, before he forced his body to sit up in a upright position, ignoring the protests of all three present, and staying silent for a moment.

"Thanks" he added quietly, meeting a slightly confused silence "for helping me out, I was sure I was going to die. If there's anything I can do..."

The offer was met with a kind smile from both the old woman and the old man, something that deeply surprised him. He took a cursory look at his wounds, then nodded with a small grin. He could work with this. Still, no need to worry his saviors, regardless of his current spatial predicament. The moment he had stirred, his deeply ingrained instincts made a quick Friend-or-Foe scan of the area, gladly identifying the three present in the first category, with a complete blank on the second, much to his relief. Though the good 'doctor' seemed to be a strange one, at least compared to the old couple. It was curious what a man with twelve years of ninja experience could deduce from a few small and nearly insignificant details within a few moments.

The doctor had military training, and by his build a lot of it. The build also suggested martial arts or melee weapons of some sort, by the shoulders and arms, most likely the second, and a two-handed weapon at that. He made a mental note to thank his tenant when he realized something unpleasant feeling of emptiness, like a part of him was missing. He was no longer there.

"What's your name?" came a friendly interruption from the old woman, whom he by now identified as Alexandra according to what he heard them talk. With a short rub on his eyes, he decided to answer, and probe for a reaction

"Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki" he shortly stated "I'm afraid I was unable to hear your names...?" he tried, but was once more surprised when he felt the utter lack of any recognition from all three of them, especially the 'doctor'. The old man decided to go first

"My name is Mizaku Kataro, and this is my lovely wife, Alexandra" he offered. Naruto made a short smile before commenting

"I would gladly kiss your hand kind lady, but I'm afraid I still have a bit of blood on me. I understand you were the one to find me? Once more, my thanks for saving me" he spoke again in a kind and polite tone. The old-timer grinned, before giving him a friendly slap on the back, right before he could have been stopped by both Isshin and his wife. Naruto merely chuckled

"No problem kiddo, just glad to see you alive" Kataro gleefully commented. Naruto decided to raise a finger to his chin, taking a contemplative position.

"Did anything of my clothes survive?" he asked. Alexandra got up and walked off, returning a few seconds later with a tattered white coat. The happy smile on Naruto's face that followed was contagious. As soon as he got it back, he quickly began rummaging through the pockets, finally stopping when he found what he was looking for. He pulled out a small metal canteen, battered through the years, but still whole. With a grateful smile, he pulled the top open and took a short sip, enjoying the divine taste of the plum sake within. Without ever wiping the smile from his face he offered it to the others

"I know it's not much, but I'd like to share this. It was made by monks back home, and is the finest sake I know of" Naruto curtly stated. Curious, Kataro took the canteen, and after a short sniff, took a gulp.

Isshin stayed curiously quiet throughout the whole exchange, a fact not lost on either of them. Naruto was an enigma to him. He fit several equally weird scenarios in his head, but none of them could actually explain everything. The surprise at the two separate subjects of Tokyo and Japan were equally interesting, as if he didn't know what the two were. It was a curious situation, he had to admit, and the normally crazy man stood perfectly quiet at that moment, studying the weird phenomenon in front of him. But his doubts were beginning to build, and the only scenario that now made sense. This boy was from another world.

Even with all the issues of such a statement, nothing, absolutely nothing else made sense. Three centuries of life taught him one thing. Every power that existed in this world was in one way or another connected to the subtle or not-so-subtle manipulations of Reiryoku. This boy had none, and unless he was some sort of mutant, the rate at which he was healing was impossible. There was also the subject of the strange energy that he felt, the way he acted, the fact that he was awake seconds before showing it, and the fact that he was sure that he had signed him off as a danger after a short, but serious study. Those weren't the marks of a normal teen, but that of a veteran warrior used to fighting at any time. So what the hell was he?

"Kataro, would you mind giving me a few moments to discuss something in private with Naruto here?"

"Uhm? Sure... come on Alexandra" the old man agreed. He had a feeling something was strange about the kid, it was the very reason he called Isshin Kurosaki here. Not like he didn't know any other doctors.

A few moments later the two were left alone in the room, and the atmosphere visibly tensed. Naruto's face turned from friendly to downright emotionless and a large zanbatou popped out of nowhere, and was now placed at Isshin's throat

"Who are you and what do you want?" were the questions that Naruto decided to ask.

"No need to get so aggressive" Isshin countered, pushing the blade slowly away with a finger "My name is Isshin Kurosaki, I'd say I'm just our average doctor..." he started

"...but that wouldn't be true now would it? I don't know how, but you aren't just human, are you?" Naruto responded, but since he decided he didn't feel any threat from the man, he sent another pulse of energy to the seals on his palm, resealing the weapon once more. One of the things Naruto was good at were quick judgments based partly on information and partly on instinct. Isshin gave off the feel of a decent man, if a bit eccentric. He felt he could trust him. At least for now.

"Quite correct again. I am what you'd call a Shinigami" he shortly stated "And you my friend aren't from around here, yes?"

"Understatement of the century." Naruto muttered "Fine. Let's cooperate for now. I'm not from around here obviously. But Shinigami?" he asked with a bit of disbelief. He had seen the Shinigami back home, and the man in front of him lacked more than a few of the rather... unpleasant traits old grin and fangs had.

"Surprising, I know" Isshin answered "From what I gather, you seem to believe there is only one Death God. And wherever you are from it just might be the case. Here, there is a multitude. It's kinda complicated to explain, though I may know someone who might be able to do it a bit better than me" he offered. Naruto stood quiet for a few moments, before offering a friendly grin to the man.

"Why not?" he stated "What do you want to know?"

"For starters, how did you get those wounds? Or better yet, survive them?" Isshin asked.

"It's kinda complicated. And it will take a while" Naruto shortly answered, a frown marring his face now "Before you know anything else, you should know that where I come from, we were at war against a single man, and the powers he wielded, both men and skills. I, regardless of my age was the leader of a ninja village, essentially a group of highly trained mercenaries that answered to a feudal lord. Now, said man was Madara Uchiha, probably the most powerful entity of my world. Fast, deadly, skilled and powerful beyond reason, and with over a century of war experience to back him up"

"Shortly, that man destroyed everything I held dear. My wife, my children, my home. Everything. And in a final act of petty vengeance for destroying him, he ripped open a hole between worlds, sucking me in. Before that happened, I was already half dead from all the wounds I suffered. As you likely noticed, they come from a variety of different attacks, all mastered by that monster. The wounds were insufficient to stop me from killing him though" Naruto added with a sickening smirk.

Isshin was shocked by the story so far. And worse of all, it made sense with what he had seen.

"Don't be so shocked. I am a shinobi, a living weapon that willingly takes lives. I strive not kill unless necessary, but I've already killed thousands of enemies. Taking the life of a bastard like him, that was personal, though." he casually responded, slightly misinterpreting the thoughts "Regardless, by the time the battle was over, I was badly injured, with just enough time to strike one final blow through his skull before being pulled in. The next thing I know, I'm in a field right next to a small farmhouse, bleeding to death. Even with my insane regenerative capabilities, if it wasn't for them, I would have been dead" Naruto solemnly finished, a note of genuine gratitude in his voice as he spoke of the old couple.

"I don't suppose the term Elemental Countries means anything to you?" a short shake of the head was his answer.

"Crap once more... though not like I had anything left to return to" he mumbled, a single tear breaking from his eyes. He couldn't tell why, but he no longer held his emotions back. Perhaps because he had no reason why anymore. Anko was long dead, little Minato and Kaize, his son and daughter too, along with his sister and mother, all killed by the same treacherous bastard. Every single thing that made his life worth living was stripped from him. Even Kyuubi, his oldest companion and friend seemed to be absent, as a short visit to his mindscape revealed. The seals were there... but there was nothing to hold in. He wasn't particularly sad, nor grieving. He passed that phase over a year ago when they died. Now he was simply empty, no purpose, no drive to guide him. He had failed. He couldn't protect those he loved from a monster.

Isshin had once more adopted a sad look to his face. He knew the look the, man in front of him held, the look of one who had no reason to keep living any longer. It was something he had seen many times in his years as both a doctor and a Shinigami. It was never good, nor pleasant for that matter.

"I know nothing I say will bring them back. And I know that you likely won't find them in the afterlife, being where you are. But would they have wanted you to sit around mopping?" he asked in a calm, but compassionate voice. It earned a jerk from Naruto's head, and a look of surprise

'What would they have wanted? They would have wanted me to be me. The crazy bastard that loved them more than his own life and was willing to move mountains for them, just to bring a smile. To never give up regardless of the situation. And to live on for them'

"You know, you're right." Naruto stated in a shaken, but determined voice "Ehm... would it be a problem to set me up with that 'friend' of yours?" he asked curiously, bringing a soft smile from the older doctor

"None whatsoever."

"Good. I'm not sure if I have any money that would pass here, but I do have some gold if that works." Naruto shortly stated "I think I'll need a few things. An apartment would be nice, some food, clothes. That kind of stuff." he continued, while Isshin kept nodding.

"Kisuke will be able to get you all that, and maybe even help you out with fitting in a bit." Isshin added. Naruto stopped for a moment

"You seem to be taking this rather nicely..." he sarcastically stated, the first bit of genuine emotion slipping through. Isshin, who was at the time walking out, turned with a crazy smile

"I've seen weirder things" he jovially added as he walked out, leaving Naruto to dress in peace.

A few hours later found him in Karakura town, being left of in front of a back alley shop. along with Isshin Kurosaki, who proceeded to knock. The door opened to reveal a kid who was about ten or twelve at most, with bright red hair, and an oddly fitting scowl. The store seemed to perfectly fit in the area, the front had stands that held fruit and vegetables that seemed oddly out of place, and a large sign declared it as 'Urahara Shop'. He argued that Urahara was probably the man they were coming to see

"Hey Jinta. Is Urahara home?" he asked in a voice that to Naruto seemed faked, as if the man was acting... or maybe it was just a second side of his personality. He tuned out the short conversation the two of them had to go through the short bit of memories since he left the farm. His coat was thankfully one more in pristine condition, thanks to the seals he had personally stitched into it, along with his pants. Kataro had graciously provided a pair of boots, much to his pleasure, so at least he had a full set of clothes, minus a shirt. The trips had been an uneventful one, though the strange landscape intimately reminded him of some of the more prosperous communities back in Fire country. Karakura town seemed like a nice enough place. He turned back to reality as soon as he heard Isshin speaking to him

"Urahara is a good man, sly as a fox and just as clever, but I'd trust the man with my life" he stated in a rarely serious tone "Though be careful about buying some of the stuff he tries to peddle. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he's a trader by heart" he added with just a bit of mirth. The two of them were guided inside to a small room where the were greeted by apparently Urahara Kisuke, a blond man in his late twenties, judging by his appearance, who was dressed in what seemed to be traditional Japanese clothes, along with his signature green-striped hat and clogs, combined with a cane and a fan held in one hand.

"Why hello Isshin, what brings you here? And who is your young friend?" came the enthusiastic voice

"Naruto, meet Kisuke Urahara, an old friend of mine who usually gets things done. Kisuke, this is Uzumaki Naruto. Let's just say that he needs some help for now." Isshin shortly explained, the voice hiding a serious undertone that the curious shopkeeper instantly picked up. Closing his fan, he guided the two to one of the rooms in the back, offering them a place to sit down, and calling for someone named Ururu to bring tea. A few moments later, a small girl of about the same age as Jinta entered the room. She was extremely timid, though for some reason, Naruto got the strange feeling that she could easily kick anyone's ass. Shaking the feeling off, he turned to face Urahara, whom he by now figured out to be far more than a simple shopkeeper, and began to retell his story.

Kisuke Urahara considered himself a man of science, first and foremost. Being a pervert, merchant extraordinaire and former shinigami came second. He had a deeply ingrained curiosity about the things around him, and when introduced to a complete unknown, he tended to be completely ecstatic. The fact that the boy oozed power when you stood next to him, but that he couldn't feel a signature when he was more then ten meters away was... intriguing to say the least. Still, he noticed the hesitance to speak of certain subjects, such as the boy's dead family, and his combat skills, which were probably impressive. He understood both perfectly. It's not like he was telling him his own skills, regardless of how nicely he asked. But the act of telling itself was an act of trust. Trust he didn't mind repaying. At least he would make things interesting for a while. Putting away all the information he gathered for future reference, he began speaking.

"Okay, here's what I can do. Let's see. For starters you need a place to stay, right? Right. I know a place that has a free apartment, fully fixed up, just have to keep it clean. Also, I can enroll you into Karakura high school, it would help you fit in a bit, and help you understand this place a bit better. Aside from that, I can provide a bit of advise every now and then. Maybe some clothes, until you can buy your own" Urahara explained his offer

"And in return?" Naruto asked. He knew all to well that nothing in life came for free. Kisuke took the chance to smile at his clever new friend

"A small favor here and there. Nothing special" he quietly added, a short laugh escaping him in the end. Naruto sat quietly for a few moments, considering the pros and cons of the situation. He could get settled, but he had a very weird feeling that the 'little' favors would be anything but. Still, it's not like he had a choice. He needed the help, at least until he acclimated himself to this strange new world

"So be it" he answered with a tone of finality

"No need to be so glum about it Naruto-kun!" Kisuke offered a friendly smile "It's not like I'm going to ask you to do something bad. I'm not that kind of a bastard."

With a short shake of his head Naruto gave up. Whatever happened, happened. His old life was dead and buried,and he seriously doubted that he could ever return there. So he decided to do what he did best. He improvised

An hour and a lot of sake later, Isshin guided him to what was the apartment building where he would be staying. It was a quaint little place, three stories high, and near the river along with the high school he was supposed to enroll into which was just a few blocks away. He had the entire route they passed so far on foot perfectly memorized, along with the position of the Kurosaki clinic. Peace time or not, Naruto was a shinobi. To know what resources he had at his disposal was instinct. To his pleasure, Urahara offered to exchange an amount of gold for local currency. The rate seemed fair once he told him how valuable the yen was compared to certain everyday goods.

The apartment was a decent one, he had to admit that it seemed even comfortable. Modern technologies aside, it had a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room. Even a small balcony right beneath the roof with a decent view of the river a few blocks away. Just about everything he needed to live and train. The first thing he visited was the kitchen, as he hadn't eaten in what seemed to be two days. The fridge and pantry were filled to the brim with various foodstuffs, including, much to his pleasure the necessary ingredients to cook ramen. As he prepared his food and sat down to eat, he went over the most frequent thoughts that ran through his head.

Urahara had mentioned enrolling him in something he called a 'high school', though he seriously wondered if he could stay sane in another school after the ninja academy years back. Still, meeting new and perhaps interesting people was something to look forward to. And in his spare time, Urahara did promise to let him use the basement in his shop to train. He didn't know why, but the way he had said the word made him... curious? The man was hardly what you'd call normal.

There was another source of confusion for him, and that was the language. While it appeared that this 'Japanese' was in fact the very language used by the elemental countries, there were a lot of subtle differences and slang. He didn't really mind that much, he could easily pass himself off as someone who lived in the countryside, or was raised at a martial temple of some sort. What worried him was his complete lack of knowledge about the world. A raid to the local library could and would fix that. That is if he could still create shadow clones.

He wasn't overly concerned as he had more than a few tricks up his sleeve. It was finally time to make a short test of every more subtle skill he still remembered. Things with heavy firepower or a strong signature would have to wait for now.

(Tomorrow morning, Kurosaki family home)

The day was going slowly for one Ichigo Kurosaki. The oppressive moisture in the air spoke of a rain that would fall later. Ichigo would consider himself a generally normal kid, were it not for a few factors. He went to your average high school, one that was very much reminiscent of a former prison block, had a number of friends, and lived a generally boring life. That however is if you take away the fact that because of his completely natural bright orange hair he was the target of various bullies and other idiots... most of them got properly beaten. Then there was the fact that he could see ghosts. Not exactly your everyday occurrence. Still, apart from occasionally helping them out, or hearing them out, it had little effect on his life.

The day had started normally enough. He got up, completed his morning rituals, dressed in the usually uncomfortable school uniform and started walking down the stairs when he realized something was missing. There was no psychotic father to greet him.

"Good morning, IchiŪ”nii! Breakfast is on the table" came the cheerful voice of his sister Yuzu. Ichigo's family consisted of himself, his father Isshin, and his younger sisters Yuzu and Karin, who was currently nowhere in sight.

"Good morning Yuzu" came the still sleepy response "Where are dad and Karin?"

"Dad got called this morning for work, and Karin's still sleeping" came the answer from the kitchen. Ichigo remained silent, opting to instead quietly eat breakfast. The toast was as perfect as usual, and the thin film of blueberry jam, combined with a morning tea. He ate quickly, as his classes would begin in a little over half an hour. After he finished, he picked up the plate and cup, carrying them over to the kitchen. He placed them in the sink, turning to give a short hug and kiss on the head to his sister

"Thanks Yuzu. Good luck in school. And say hello to Karin for me when she wakes up." Ichigo gently spoke to his younger sister. Normally the young man held a tough guy image, but if anyone, his sisters knew his other, caring side, the one he rarely showed since their mother Masaki died. To all apart from his friends, he wore a scowl or frown, but those he held close had a chance to meet the real person beneath.

With a short sigh, he picked another piece of toast, placing it in his mouth, while taking the school bag and slinging it over his shoulder. With brisk, long paces, he left his home and went towards school.
The path he normally used rarely deviated, though today, he needed to pay a visit to someone. Walking through the small streets, he finally came to the crossroad he was looking for. Near one of the streetlights was a small bottle, filled to the half with water, along with three flowers placed in it. It was something of a tribute to a girl that had died over a week ago in a traffic accident

"Ichigo!" he heard her voice. She was a child, no older than eight, twin ponytails dropping to her sides as she peeked from behind the corner, a beaming smile on her lips "You came!"
Despite himself, Ichigo could do nothing but chuckle, and place a warm smile on his face.

"I said I would, didn't I?" he calmly returned "I brought you fresh flowers. I'm sorry I can't stay much longer"

"It's okay. You came" she smilingly answered, giving him a ghostly hug, before seeing him off to school, both unaware of a pair of eyes watching them.

It took him another ten minutes to reach the school. Karakura high was about the usual high school, several stories of a white building, with several side ones used for some of the classes. A bunch of other students at the same school were just entering, wearing identical uniforms. Schooling his features into their usual state of indifference, he gave a slow nod in salute to the school security before entering. He had classes mostly on the second floor, so without much bother, he got up as fast as he could while still walking casually, reaching for his locker only to feel a familiar presence approaching. At lightning speed, Ichigo raised his left foot to meet the face of one Keigo Asano, a fellow student. Keigo is very much a hyperactive knucklehead, though a general good guy. He simply annoys him at times

"Ichiguhhh!" came the greeting shout right before foot met face

"Hello Ichigo" came the voice of the other boy, Mizuiro Kojima, self-proclaimed (and successful) ladies man.

"Hey Mizuiro" Ichigo replied as he slammed shut the locker door, and proceeded into the classroom, ignoring the fact that they both stepped over Keigo

Inside, they were greeted by a number of familiar faces, such as Inoue Orihime, Sado Yasutora, alias Chad, Tatsuki Arisawa, and a number of others. He gave a lazy wave in greeting, and sat down in his place, right next to the window. A few minutes later, everyone had quieted down, and the teacher, a relatively young woman by the name of Misato Ochi walked in with her usual smiling face, leading along another teen with her.

"Good day class. Today, a new transfer student will be joining us. Why don't you introduce yourself?" she greeted, and turned to the teen.

"My name is Naruto Uzumaki. Pleased to meet you" Naruto said, with a mild bow towards the rest of the class

"You can take that seat over there" Misato pointed towards one that was in the back, right next to Chad.

Ichigo had taken his few moments to study the newcomer to the school, mostly because the class was boring as hell, and he needed something to keep his mind from collapsing. He was about as tall as he was, athletically built. The normal school uniform kept most of his skin covered, but he noticed the faint ends of a few scars towards the neck and hands, along with several tattoos. He had short and spiky blond hair, a haircut much similar to his own, a relaxed, if a bit indifferent face, and a strange smile that seemed oddly out of place. He moved strangely as well, it was more of a stalk than a walk, like a man who spent far too much time hunting.
He immediately gave up on the study, opting to keep his mind busy with something else.

Nearby, Naruto took his designated seat next to Chad, giving the dark skinned giant a friendly and curious look, not in the least intimidated unlike many others

"Naruto" he said in a jovial tone, offering his hand to the teen, who looked at him strangely for a moment, before shaking his hand

"Sado Yasutora." he replied, a calm and relaxed tone, not really bothering to show much emotion, unlike him, who hid them. He sat down, taking his place... and so began one of the most tiresome days in his life.

The lunch break found Naruto dozing off on the roof, spread out in the early summer sun, and looking blissfully unaware of a few bullies who decided to inform the newcomer of 'who ruled the 'hood'

On the other side of the roof, just getting up were Ichigo and his group, curiously watching one of the students jumping around while holding his foot, while the new guy was on the ground, sitting backed to a pole, and loudly snoring.

"God damn it, what is this guy made of?" came the voice of one of the two, while they tried to bail, only to encounter a number of fists coming from Chad and Ichigo.

Naruto woke up with a stretch of his arms, and a loud yawn, much to the surprise of others

"Man, that was a good rest. Uhm? Why does my side tingle?" he asked no one in particular."Oh hey" he greeted once he figured out that there were others present "What are those two doing on the floor?" Naruto asked, bringing a number of sweat-drops from those present.

"You mean you didn't feel them trying to kick you?" Keigo asked incredulously.

"They were trying to kick me? Ahh, so that's why... how bothersome" Naruto responded, giving up on the subject and pulling himself up. "Thanks Sado, and you... uhm, I'm afraid I don't know your name"

"Ichigo" the carrot-haired teen offered

"Pleased to meet you Ichigo-san." he responded, a kind smile covering his face."Care to join me for lunch? I'm afraid I haven't got much to offer though.."
Ichigo chuckled in response as he and the others sat down in a semicircle forming on Naruto, each of them pulling out a bento filled with various foods. Naruto took a moment to study those that were now sitting around him. To his left was Sado, often called Chad by the others, specially Ichigo. The man was a lumbering giant compared to him, but he seemed to be of the gentle kind, because while intimidating, he was also polite and kind to others. Ichigo, obviously the one Isshin mentioned (he asked himself for a moment how many orange-haired people named Ichigo could there be) was mostly indifferent or scowling, though he seemed like a good guy beneath that face. For the others he managed to pick out names during class. A black-haired girl, apparently a martial artist by her build, named Tatsuki Arisawa. Two kids who pretty much stuck together named Keigo and Mizuiro. A girl with bright orange hair, much like Ichigo, and endowed well enough to put Tsunade to shame, while at the same time being mostly clueless, but sweet, named Orihime Inoue. His initial check told him that they were a good bunch, rowdy and crazy, but good.

"Might as well introduce all of us." Ichigo started, right before they started eating "This is Inoue and Tatsuki" he said, pointing to the two girls "and Keigo and Mizuiro" all of them waving hands as they were called out. The group soon descended into pointless banter, though Naruto had trouble keeping up in most areas, when it came to food or martial arts, he was like a fish in the sea. When Keigo began arguing about weapons, he also had little problems countering his arguments. However, once the talk entered popular TV shows or recent events, he was completely lost, opting to listen, absorb and ask whenever things seemed interesting. He was sure that some of them noticed his lack of knowledge, Sado and Ichigo most likely, but at this point he really didn't care. He realized that he liked the bunch he was sitting with. It was as good a start as any.

That's pretty much the first chapter folks. I hope you liked it. I will keep updating all three stories, as chapters for the two others are nearing completion. They'll be up in a few days.

So, how did you like it so far? Read, review, but please avoid flaming. I seriously don't have the will to bother with flamers now