Disclaimer: Do not own Bleach. Do not get money off of it. Not passing "Go" and collecting $200 either.
AN: Fridge Logic finally kicked in and I had this brilliant realization about Ichigo.
Another Symbol for Infinity
Ichigo was sleeping soundly in his bedroom after 40 hours of being awake and studying for his University admission exams. Hey, even world saviors and all around heroes need to make a living and for that they need to study – and that doesn't connect well with a hero's busy schedule, so, to put it in the rather memorable words of one Kurosaki Ichigo about 5 days earlier, "cramming it is, then".
It should therefore not come as a surprise that he was so far gone into snoring land – to the exasperation of his currently non-sleeping sisters – that he couldn't possibly have been woken up even by a canon blast. He was gone, temporarily dead to the world, his head resting on a notebook written in blue ink and a bit of drool escaping his mouth erasing said ink. If he had known about it, he'd have panicked – it was Inoue's notes, not his, that he was destroying. Neither of them had gone to school much, but she'd copied everything from her non-skipping friends. Ichigo didn't have the patience to do the same.
Funnily enough, neither of them had considered using a copying machine, which spoke about how tired they actually were.
So it should come as no wonder to us that Ichigo didn't feel the Hollow that killed him until it did, in fact, kill him – he wouldn't have felt it if it had announced itself with canons and trumpets. Once he was out of his body the usual way, though, he brought it down easily.
After the incident was finished, he stared at his mangled body with great unease – it's quite uncanny to see yourself dead, sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood. He wondered what he was supposed to do with the present situation, wondered what was going to happen to him, then made a great decision, wrote a "Do NOT Disturb, Karin, Yuzu, DAD, this means YOU" message, posted it on the outside of the door and proceeded to clean his room up.
He shouldn't have bothered with the message. He was done cleaning up by the next morning and he'd pretty much disposed of his body by mincing it to pieces and feeding it to the fish in the river.
And then wondered if he wasn't some sort of psychopath for doing that.
He showed up at Urahara's the first thing in the morning and asked for a gigai.
This was Kurosaki Ichigo's first death.
Ichigo's second death happened when he was fighting Aizen. It was much more impressive. It was a hero's death. It was everything it was supposed to be – grand, epic, allowing him to give his all, to turn into his hollow form and go with everything he had against the former captain. It was also quite unfortunate that it wasn't enough – that Aizen was too strong, too great, too powerful.
Before he could become exhausted, before his mask could fall to pieces, Ichigo was cut in half by Aizen's sword.
And found himself in the 15th district of Rukongai, completely bewildered. He looked around, trying to figure out what was going on and also discovered, to his shock, that he was dressed in normal clothes and that all his powers were sealed. So, instead of using shunpo, he simply walked to the nearest gate to Seireitei – and that took quite a lot of walking, he now realized – and demanded to be let in. After stating his name a few times, he finally gained admission, only to be met with a few very surprised friends and a tearful Rukia, who announced that she'd thought he'd died.
"Yeah, so did I," Ichigo replied. "I have no clue what happened."
A bit later on, Mayuri appeared, studied the situation thoroughly and came up with a simple enough explanation:
"You were killed in your hollow form. A shinigami's sword is used to purify a hollow and send them to Soul Society in their original form."
In other words, he had been purified and sent back as a normal sort of soul. But he remembered whom he had been and how he'd gained his powers, so he enrolled with the Shinigami Academy and, this time around, actually learned to use kidou. He evolved faster than most of his colleagues, given his history and became, in a relatively short amount of time, a captain.
Afterwards, he confronted his father about Isshin's own shinigami-ism and took the habit of pretending he'd run away from home and was now holding a small job in China, so that he'd be able to visit his sisters in a gigai every now and then without questions asked.
Ichigo's third death was getting swallowed by a Menos during a fight against an army of them in Las Noches. Nobody thought they'd ever see him again and, as time went by, they were more and more convinced of this. A thorough search of Rukongai revealed that he was not, in fact, there. They missed him, they mourned him and they moved on – the three great m's of death.
They were contacted by Urahara ten years later, when he announced that he'd been found and was not happy about his experience.
"Don't talk about it," he urged. "It would appear that the human souls swallowed by hollows actually become mindless parts of that hollow, pretty much in the same way in which the hollows in the Menos Grande form a single almost mindless entity. He managed to gain control of the hollow, become a Menos, then an Adjuchas, then a Vasto Lorde, then an Arrancar. He says he doesn't particularly want to come to Soul Society now."
So his dearest friends went to see him and they discovered that there was very little mask on his face, that his clothes were white and his expression pissed.
"You have no idea how it feels to be in a hollow's digestive tract," he said. "And I've been waiting for so long to complain about it."
The fourth death was a pity kill from Renji. Ichigo was despairing over the loneliness of Las Noches and wanted back in Soul Society. Once back there, he noted to his satisfaction that only most of his powers were sealed away and he was dressed in black like a shinigami.
He went through the Academy yet again, took a Seat in the 6th division under Byakuya, whom he actually had to call "taichou" now, became the vice-captain, then captain again, then told Yamamoto that he could stuff his schooling somewhere the next time his death came around.
And that was when most people realized that they'd started thinking of Ichigo as a "recurring character" now.
After 200 years of happily being one of the best captains, he was killed off accidentally in a training with Byakuya, who was greatly blamed for his mistake. In his defense, the noble commented that he'd never had believed Ichigo would die from his combination of attacks. The younger man had proved to be quite resilient before.
Then, since he felt guilty anyway and many demanded his punishment, he planned his own seppukku to prove his good intentions.
He was stopped by a breathless Ichigo who had just come in through one of the gates and barely managed to shunpo there in time.
"You baka!" he cried. "Do you realize this means you'll have to be my captain again, as atonement? Yamamoto just said so – it's either the Academy or you and I sure as hell ain't going back to school again!"
So, back to training, gaining a seat, then a captainship. You know the drill. He knew the drill, too.
Ishida died of old age, then came to Soul Society, where he was found by Ichigo, who was quite surprised and then amused to see him there. He dragged Ishida to the Shinigami Academy, stating that if he'd had to go through that torture, Ishida would have to do it, too. Inoue and Chad soon followed, along with all his former friends and they were subjected to the same treatment.
Ichigo died when Mayuri conducted an experiment badly. Because he hadn't been killed by the man's sword, though, he was sent the way of all dying shinigami – almost all, anyway – to the real world. He had a good, if slightly short life (car crash) and then came back to Soul Society, where he regained his former Ichigo-looks as soon as he remembered who he was – which he did fairly quickly.
And then he was trained and became a....
Well, a captain in the end. You know the drill.
Yamamoto moved on, eventually – to protect the emperor himself, not to the great unknown – leaving his seat to Shunsui. Shunsui held it for a short while, then passed it on to Ichigo, just in time for the Great Arrancar Hollow Plot to happen and to get eaten – again – by a hollow. And Shunsui became Grand Captain again.
He returned fairly quickly as an Espada-level Arrancar and asked to be murdered, which turned his clothes into black again and, after the now annoying training, got his position back from Shunsui, who retired "until Ichigo's next death".
[deleted scene about dating Rukia]
[deleted scene about dating Byakuya]
[deleted scene about dating Ishida]
[deleted scene about dating Orihime]
Ichigo had his share of affairs, the nature of which shall not be disclosed, since the author would rather not offend the readers' sensibilities, had his share of adventures, had his share of mostly everything and one day, captain Ishida asked him what he was doing perched on top of a building with his eyes closed.
"I became a practising Buddhist in order to escape the cycle of reincarnations," the greatest man in the Gotei 13 answered.
"There's an easier way," Ishida pointed out.
And that's when Ichigo was shot dead with a Quincy's arrow. That was the beginning of the Quincy Revival Traitor Arc, which Ichigo didn't participate in for obvious reasons. Well, more or less obvious. It turns out that a Quincy's arrow doesn't destroy a soul, but sends it to the real world to reincarnate – and that was precisely what had happened to Ichigo, who, on getting all his memories one by one at various times up until age 12, became a practising Buddhist for the same reason as before. But he got distracted on the way.
And when, to his annoyance, it turned out that he hadn't practised enough and ended up in Soul Society, he discovered that at least nobody could recognize him anymore. And he stayed far, far away from Seireitei and tried to live happily ever after. Until he ran into....
Time: 30,000 years into the future.
Location: The Elite Shinigami Academy.
Teacher: So, can anybody tell me symbols for eternity?
Student: Horizontal '8'!
Other Student: A ko situation in Go!
Third Student: Kurosaki Ichigo!
Fourth Student: Don't you dare put me into the canon of infinite symbols! It's not my fault! And why am I a student again, anyway?!
Teacher: Because you love me, Ichigo. Admit it. You've loved me for all these years and more. I know. They know. Your love is another symbol of infinity.
Fourth Student: If you know that, then why am I still here?
Teacher: I don't know. Let's have a drink after class?... Oh, no, wait, you're currently underaged.
Fourth Student: **** you. * frowns moodily, then turns to the class * Now I know how captain Hitsugaya used to feel.
AN: That's all. A fic written on pure crack, I think.
Please review! :D