A/N: First, I want to tell you all who read this story: Yes, this story is inspired and at first seemingly imitating Sephy-chan's story "Secret Student". But I assure you, since I've changed the names, plot, etc. It won't be the same. I've said sorry to her for the initial copy writing, though.
Sephy-chan has warned me to change the attributes of my story, namely her characters I use within this story and the way the first chapter being told. I comply for the characters and slightly change in the first chapter.
Revision for everyone who has read my unrevised version (note: Sephy-chan's characters—revised):
-Takahashi Morita—Takaya Koheita
-Nakamura Kentarou—Nomura Kanzaki
-Shirosaki Shinji—Shirosaki Ryo
Here, I revise the first chapter to better accommodate my timeline.
In this story, the Winter War with Aizen is happened prior to the time of the anime fillers (except the Bounto arc) and some of the movies. I mean, those fillers and movies surely make the timeline within the canon story jumbled and somewhat chaotic…
For the clearer reference, I will list my own timeline (ignoring Ichigo's mask gradual metamorphosis, of course—if the fillers and movies followed the true timeline, they wouldn't ignore this important fact, would they?). And this is my version of timeline:
Agent of the Shinigami arc (canon; the first time Ichigo met Rukia)
Soul Society arc (canon; Ichigo and friends tried to save Rukia from execution)
Bounto arc (filler; non-canon; the Bounto raided and eventually invaded Soul Society)
Arrancar arc (canon; the first time Ulquiorra and Yammy came to the living world, followed by Grimmjow's night time attack and Orihime's kidnapping)
Hueco Mundo arc (canon; Ichigo and friends invaded Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime)
Fake Karakura Town arc (canon; Aizen and his cohorts raided fake Karakura Town and fought the SS force)
Real Karakura Town arc (canon; still unfinished and loose story ending by Tite Kubo…I don't want to explore this one, and my story is diverted from this point and so on—Aizen gained Hougyoku's power and started his ascension towards god-path)
Diamond Dust Rebellion arc (movie; non-canon; Hitsugaya was confronted by his dead academy friend, Kusaka Soujirou, who stole the King's Seal and had a grudge against SS)
Amagai Shusuke and the Bakkouto arc (filler; non-canon; though this is happened during the Arrancar arc and Hueco Mundo arc (?), I simply make it happened after the Winter War—the 3rd division got a new taichou, Amagai Shusuke and the riot within Kasumi-ouji noble family ensued)
Zanpakuto Unknown Tales arc (filler; non-canon; Muramasa, the rogue zanpakuto, deliberately freed the zanpakuto spirits of some shinigamis and began his chaotic escapade through SS)
Fade to Black arc (movie; non-canon; in this movie, we can see that Mayuri had finally cracked and been jailed away, allowing Urahara to fill in his initial role as 12th division taichou—I think it's kinda strange and abrupt…Rukia was being kidnapped by two ghostly entities, Homura and Shizuku; with all of her memories sealed away. People around her forgot her and thus forgot who Ichigo was, since Rukia was the one who introduced Ichigo to the SS inhabitants)
I deliberately get past both OVA Sword Sealed Frenzy and first movie Memories of Nobody. I dislike the first BLEACH movie, because I hate Senna with passion. She is useless, no offense.
Sorry for the long introduction; since I receive many protests due to the first chapter. So on to the story and enjoy. Please R&R.
#1: First Day
Kurosaki Ichigo groaned loudly when he felt morning sunlight fell on his face. That; and he also felt he was being poked and prodded by something.
Annoyed, he growled, "What?"
"Wake up. You don't want to be late for our first ceremony, do you?" a merry voice filled his ear; a foreign voice.
Ceremony? He thought when he jerkily cracked his eyes open at sudden announcement. "Wh—what ceremony?"
The voice sighed dramatically and retorted, "Our first ceremony as new student at shinigami academy, you fool! Now come on, we're going to be late if you don't hurry!"
This surely hit Ichigo to full-awaken state. He shot his body up; his forehead hitting someone's on his way up and resulting both of them fell back while groaning in pain.
"Aaahhhh, fuck! That hurts!" he yelled.
"Do you think I'm not hurt? It's damn painful! You have hard head!" the voice whined in pain.
Ichigo finally managed to open his eyes despite the tears welling; and got a better look at the voice owner.
There was a young man with… shockingly, bright orange hair grabbing his head and wincing painfully on the floor. He wore white kimono-shirt with wheel-like emblem on the both sides of its front, blue stripes on its sleeves and blue hakama. Ichigo also noticed another presence nearby, and he spotted a black haired young man with large puppy eyes and childish yet intelligent visage wearing same uniform like the orange-haired one, watched all the commotion with an amused expression. He was reminded Ichigo of Mizuiro somehow.
The orange haired young man raised his head and glared at Ichigo before finally he yelled, "Who are you any way? I didn't see you in this room yesterday! Where do you come from? Furthermore, your clothes are weird."
Before Ichigo could express some reaction to his outburst, the room's door banged open and someone walked in. Immediately, the room went silent.
Ichigo glanced at the newcomer and barely waved his greeting, "Ah, Ukitake-san, lo—" when the older man pointed at him swiftly.
"You! Come with me!" And he literally dragged Ichigo out of the bed without giving him any chance to even voice his protest.
When they finally arrived at the room which Ichigo considered an office, they went in and Ukitake closed the door quietly.
Ichigo was confused; and Ukitake wasn't being himself in his eyes by the way. There wasn't any trace of neither gentleness nor merriment within the older man's attitude; things usually radiated naturally from him; just strictness and serious, stern demeanor. Ichigo questioned his sanity somehow; or that he was hallucinating…
"So, Ichigo-kun, I'm sorry for suddenly dragged you all the way and confused you." The gentle and kind, old-self Ukitake was back; he smiled apologetically at the bewildered Ichigo before him. He had walked towards the chair behind the large wooden desk at the office and plopped down, making himself comfy.
Ichigo raised his brows. This was Ukitake-san he knew. "Ukitake-san, please explain what the hell exactly happened on the first place? I feel kinda disoriented…"
Ukitake laughed softly while shaking his head at Ichigo's bluntness. The boy still reminded him of Kaien in one way or another. "Firstly, Ichigo-kun, make yourself comfortable. Actually, there is a ceremony I have to attend but… it can wait. This will be quick."
He pointed at the chair in front of him and Ichigo nodded, taking the cue and sitting down.
"You know, we're kind of lacking higher-up shinigamis within the Gotei after the war. Though, the casualties aren't so many, still… we're lacking three taichous and two fukutaichous; not to mention, the damages due to the war has influenced some of remaining officers.
Komamura-taichou, for example, is still under 4th division's complete care because of his gravely wounds during his battle with Tousen. Not to mention, the commotion caused by the rogue zanpakuto, Muramasa and fellows…his wounds don't recover fully even after a couple of years…" Ukitake sighed sadly, while Ichigo only nodded solemnly.
Oh, he knew about the damages, the wounds, the pain… he knew exactly; for Ichigo fought in the same war and witnessed everything. He also fought Kusaka Soujirou, Amagai Shusuke, Muramasa, Homura and Shizuku…they were less strong than Aizen, but still they could be considered tough opponents.
He still remembered the gravely wounded canine-head taichou; he was barely alive. He still remembered haunted look from Kira when he tended for Rangiku-san's mortally wound. He still remembered sorrowful howls Hirako released when he hugged Hiyori's lifeless body, torn and bloody… hell; he still remembered all; like they were freshly happened yesterday.
How painful war could be… so much loss, so much pain, so much death… today we still laugh happily; but tomorrow, all you could see is blood and more blood… the bodies of they whom you held dearly… tears which streaming down your cheek… it was sad and painful. Ichigo knew all of that, with the worst ways possible.
"…the 10th division taichou however suffers such big wounds. Toushiro-kun is, well, after the war and Kusaka incident, you know…some years don't seem enough to heal the wounds… especially the non-physical ones…" Ukitake's grim voice brought Ichigo back from his reverie.
The human boy frowned, both in dismay and concern. "Toushiro… but he will be alright, won't he? I mean, he used to be…"
Ukitake nodded. "Unohana-senpai told me that he will be fine after some moments, except that we don't know when…well. He becomes more severe with Rangiku concerning paperwork, though, much to her chagrin." He chuckled. "You know, how much Rangiku hates paperwork."
Ichigo smirked. Oh yeah, Rangiku-san and paperwork couldn't stand in one line together.
"However, the 3rd, 5th, and 9th divisions are also in big chaos. Hisagi-kun has gotten back to his role as fukutaichou and representative taichou, but still…he and the division need a commander, a leader. It's no difference with Kira-kun and the 3rd division. The 5th is the worst… well, let's say that they lost both their taichou and fukutaichou… again; and, most likely, it's permanent this time."
Ichigo was shocked. "Why? There's still Hinamori-san, isn't it?"
"Hinamori-chan is unable to perform her duties as fukutaichou because of …some issues."
Ukitake shifted uncomfortably on his seat. "Well, let's say that the war and her reunion with Aizen made her breaking down… fast."
Ichigo gaped in disbelief. "Was she able to function well during Muramasa's raid?"
"Yes…but her condition plummeted after. She is now in the coma state, Ichigo-kun. Even Toushiro-kun couldn't make her awoken; nor any of her other friends can. Kira-kun, Rangiku, even Abarai-kun… they have tried their hardest to bring her back, but to no avail. Genryuusai-sensei finally ordered her to be fully discharged from her position—for now. Still, the division needs leaders and with both taichou and fukutaichou unable to perform their duties, the 5th division experiences some kind of degradation."
Ichigo bowed his head. He remembered Hinamori; such a sweet girl she was. Sweet and meek. She reminded him of Orihime somehow, minus the willpower and inner strength.
"Our main issue now is the lack of the taichous within Gotei, like I have told you before. However, the 3rd and 9th divisions have been refilled with new faces as taichous, so they won't be our concern here—"
"Eh? The 3rd and 9th taichous have been available? Who are they?"
Sigh. "You don't know them, Ichigo-kun; for you haven't met them before. The new 3rd taichou is a female shinigami named Kuroyuri Reina-san; she was formerly worked under Yoruichi-san within Onmitsukidou. Despite that, she is quite capable in both zanjutsu and kidou, not only in hakuda and shunpo. The new 9th taichou is a formerly rogue shinigami named Kanou Ashido—"
"Ashido! I know him! We met him at Hueco Mundo, when we fell into Menos Forest!" Ichigo exclaimed in both shock and excitement.
Ukitake looked stunned. "So you've met him… I remembered him… somehow. He was one of seated officers within 1st division, working directly under Genryuusai-sensei's order before he went missing. The Soutaichou however claimed him to be dead, but a year ago, he came back to Seireitei along with some random shinigamis, which were sent to Hueco Mundo to scout, battered and wounded. He explained that he has helped them to finish off Las Noches and its remains."
"So the old man decided to forgive his rogue action and instead made him taichou of 9th division?"
Ichigo shrugged and grinned. "Ashido-san is good and strong person; even if I don't know much about him since I met him only briefly there, I am sure he is capable of becoming taichou."
Ukitake smiled warmly. "You think so?"
Ukitake smiled wider before continued, "Now the only problem is we're still lacking 5th division's taichou and fukutaichou. Though, the fukutaichou problem is for later.
When the last taichou meeting was held, I… well, not only me, though… several taichous, suggested that the one who suitable enough; the only one suitable, from my point of view, though; to fill in the position is …you, Ichigo-kun."
If now he heard about Byakuya laughing loudly in most lewd way while dancing polka around Seireitei stark-naked, he wouldn't be too shocked than when he heard of …this shocking news. "You—WHAT?"
"I, Shunsui, Zaraki, Unohana-senpai, even Toushiro-kun and, most shockingly, Byakuya; we all agreed that you're the only candidate suitable for 5th division's taichou. With majority of six taichou's voices, Genryuusai-sensei eventually agreed; even though he was a bit reluctant knowing your …hollow nature. But don't worry about that, Ichigo-kun, since you have proved yourself in the war that you can control your inner hollow well."
Ichigo was at lost in words. No, actually he was too shocked his mind had blanked out.
"Wha—what was…I mean, why? How? When?"
Ukitake laughed heartily looking at pale-faced, stuttering Ichigo. Boy, he was so much fun to tease with. He reminded himself to give Rukia credit for telling him 'tips and trick to make Kurosaki Ichigo flustering'. Ironically, he was now telling the truth; and not pulling some pranks towards the poor boy.
"Not right now, Ichigo-kun. You will be assigned as taichou after you finish at least a year in academy. We ponder that you most likely lack of basic knowledge of Soul Society; the laws, history, and whatever. And kidou… you have to learn kidou somehow, along with reiatsu control, since you are sucked in both subjects."
Ichigo had calmed down even though a bit; reddened hearing Ukitake' statement. Yes, the fact that he was sucked at kidou and reiatsu control was somehow infamous among his comrades.
"Ukitake-san, you didn't even ask me about my willingness to take the position." He grumbled.
Now, it was Ukitake's turn to be paled.
"Y—y—you d—don't want to?"
Ichigo's turn to laugh; and he laughed hard at that.
"1-1, Ukitake-san! Jeez, I don't say that! I just said that you didn't ask me about my willingness…"
"Do you accept the assignment, Ichigo-kun?"
Ichigo smiled. Hell, he would be in for so many troubles if he accepted the job, but… with becoming taichou; maybe—just maybe he could protect more people. Just like he always wanted to.
"I accept it, Ukitake-san."
Ukitake beamed a sparkling smile at him; honestly, Ichigo could see the heavenly aura emitted from the other man. "Good! Now we'll talk about your time in academy..."
"Wait a second! I remember something… how did I get in here? Last time I recalled I was sleeping in my room…" Ichigo piped.
"Did Isshin-san tell you about it before?"
Ichigo frowned, recalling his memory. And then he shook his head in denial. "Nope. I don't remember him telling me someth—wait! He told me about 'vacation from usual education' or something!"
"Hmm, it's typical of him anyway."
"He told me to cancel the proposal to enter the medical school in Karakura University; for another 'important thing' to do. The entrance exam is… today…" Ichigo slumped. He couldn't believe it! He had studied hard for today! His entrance exam!
Ukitake scrutinized him with pitying eyes. "Well, it seemed that Isshin-san, along with Kisuke, managed to transport you here… secretly. Your belongings have already been sent here anyway; I kept them within my closet."
Ichigo walked towards the closet and opened it. He found his sport bag; white and black with orange '15' embedded on its sides; and Zangetsu, wrapped in white cloth. He took and brought them to Ukitake.
"It seemed that old senile has packed most of my basic things; let's see… undergarments, some notebooks, pens, pajamas? T-shirts, shorts… isn't it a bit weird when others see me wear those clothes here?"
"Indeed. Your clothes now are quite unique, by the way."
Ichigo looked down at his attire and blushed. He wore Chappy-patterned pajama Rukia had brought him; the shocking pink and orange one. Hell, he didn't remember wearing that ridiculous outfit last night. It might be his father; or worse, Urahara. He recalled the young man he met earlier yelling at him that his clothes were weird.
"Shit… this is embarrassing."
"Actually no, Ichigo-kun." Ukitake chuckled when Ichigo glared at him. "It's quite nice on you, really."
"Anyway…" the older man cleared his throat; though he still snickered here and there; and continued, "You can take the uniforms I have prepared for you on the other closet and change your attire. You have several spare uniforms to change with; five spares for exactly. Along with uniforms, books, writing tools such as pens and notebooks are provided by the academy; you don't have to worry about them. This is your bag; similar with the other students here. Your sandals; you have two spares. Oh… I also give you some casual yukatas for non-school days; these are personally from me."
Ichigo mumbled his thanks before changing his attire with the uniform he had been provided with. The yukatas were dark colored with simple patterns; he was thankful that Ukitake's fashion sense wasn't as bizarre as Rukia's or his father's.
"Thank you, Ukitake-san."
The white haired taichou smiled warmly and Ichigo felt compelled to smile back. He always looked up to Ukitake like his own uncle; if not somewhat, other father.
"You're welcome, Ichigo-kun. I'm glad you're satisfied with those trivial things." He smiled wider. "Oh, I almost forgot, Ichigo-kun…"
"Well… since the war, you, as Aizen's executioner—" Ichigo winced hearing it; he didn't like the fact that Aizen truly died by his hands, honestly. "—have been infamous as war-hero. Your appearance, zanpakuto, and moreover, your name is the most infamous one. No one here doesn't know Kurosaki Ichigo. They also know that you have bright orange hair and big sized kitchen knife as zanpakuto."
Ichigo couldn't help but laughed when he heard Zangetsu being called 'big kitchen knife'. "You mean…like I have some kind of fans club or whatever?"
"Uh-huh. Like the boy who waked you up earlier. Did you see his hair color?"
Ichigo remembered that the young man had orange hair color. "He had orange hair…"
"Yes, his name is Takaya Koheita and it isn't his real hair color. He dyed it, so he could be similar like you, Ichigo-kun; well, since you are his idol…"
The somewhat horrified look on Ichigo's face was priceless, Ukitake couldn't help but laughed.
"Don't be terrified, Ichigo-kun. You'll be accustomed to your fans' antics somehow. Relax."
"O—oh, o—okay, I see. So I have to change my name and appearance to mix in. But what about Zangetsu?"
"He will be saved here along with your other belongings until you learn to seal him. When he has been sealed, you can carry him with you, pretending him like an asauchi. Oh, and your name is Shirosaki Ryo now."
"Okay. Shirosaki Ryo isn't that bad; it isn't sounded too simple either. …So, how can I get my hair color changed?"
"It seemed that someone has done it, Ichigo-kun. You no longer have orange hair. Here, take a look at mirror." Ukitake shoved a small mirror to him.
Ichigo took it and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Ukitake was right; he had white hair now instead of orange one. Maybe his father or Urahara did this when he was sleeping. Somehow he felt uneasy seeing it; since he remembered that his inner hollow had the same hair color.
"Ichigo-kun, something's wrong?" Ukitake asked, concerned when he saw that the younger man seemed zoning off.
"Oh, no. I just… my inner hollow; he has same hair color so… it's just …disturbing, somehow…" Ichigo trailed off.
Ukitake looked at him concernedly. "Do you want me to change the color, Ichigo-kun?"
"No, no, white is fine, thank you. Besides, it suits my new name very well. Shirosaki, since shiro means 'white', right?"
Ukitake nodded. "One last thing, Ichigo-kun. You mustn't talk or act casually with me in public; since I'm the headmaster and I'm known as a strict one. You know, the students won't listen unless you have them disciplined well."
Ichigo nodded slightly. "I see."
"You surely don't want to be labeled as 'headmaster's pet', do you? Because if you do, other students may pick on or bully you."
"I just have to smash them right on their face." He saw disapproval on Ukitake's face, so he quickly added. "It's indeed better if it doesn't come to that degree though."
"Great. That's all you have to know. Now, let's go attend the ceremony." Ukitake stood from his chair and strode towards the door after taking Ichigo's bag and flinging them into the closet once more. Zangetsu was placed within another closet, closely positioned beside Sogyo no Kotowari, Ukitake's zanpakuto.
Ichigo shrugged before trailing Ukitake to the field.
"Well, here I am within the academy. I hope my life here will be easy and fun."
He sighed; he knew that the reality wouldn't be as kind to him as that.