The Truth of the Moon
Shintei no Getsuei
by: Metronome's Beat
HOLY SHIT A CHAPTER UPDATE!
HOLY SHIT BEAT WAS PROPOSED TO!
AHHHHHH -queue the author becoming dazed and not knowing what to do and instead settles down to write-
Author's Notes: Ye gods. It's been almost two years?... Holy shit and a half... Sorry sorry, my health took a turn for the worse a few weeks after the last update so I went to the doc and they sent me to an oncologist, shitty shit shit that diagnosis was shitty news...anyway I nearly did something very very bad because, to quote Nozomu Itoshiki, I was in despair, the hopelessness of the situation put me in despair. ((ZETSUBO SHITA!))...ANYWAY! And then of course my lover had to watch over me, because I wasn't in a good place emotionally at that time. It's been a long and hard journey for me, and I still have a very long way to go to pass the point of 'all green', but that's no excuse and hopefully I can keep up my writing, especially because I've got someone special in my corner -glee-.
I apologize ahead of time, this chapter's fight may feel a little rushed and a tad one sided, however, I want to make it clear to those of you reading that Aizen doesn't have the aid of the Hōgyoku on his side, nor does he have the advantage of having Tsukiyomi constantly whispering advice into his ear. His sword is also pretty god damned useless against Ichigo right now.
I'd also like to state that YES. Tsukiyomi's basic properties were based upon Itachi's lines about his eyes and his all powerful genjutsu Tsukiyomi, but lacks whole 'debilitating to user' drawback. I know, I know, Ichigo is getting a little over powered in this fic, but it's not as though he instantaneously knows how to use it all, nor does he really understand the great gap in power between himself and the other Shinigami now, so he's not about to go challenge Yamamoto-Sōtaichō, because he's still of the firm belief that the old man is far stronger than he is (which is erroneous, there is a reason why the rulers of Soul Society think the Spirit King is godly, and even if our little Strawberry is still but the Prince, he's still a helluva lot stronger and junk than even the Sōtaichō).
With that out of the way, let's get this show rolling.
"Spoken word of humans/shinigami/arrancar unreleased," She said.
"Speech of a hallow or Arrancar in their released state," He said.
'Thoughts of a zanpaktō to their wielder or a human,' Tensa Zangetsu said.
((Authoress' Notes: Please. If you read anything of the above note, please take the time to read the following as well...
Beat...The silly child, was supposed to finish and post this chapter a long time ago...As you can tell, he never got around to it. First he was busy simply trying to accept what cards had been dealt to him and he very nearly took his life that week, then he found 'true love' (I am forever thankful to the person who dedicated little over nine months of their life to helping care for him and perpetually accepting and loving him for what he was, and for giving him the best nine months he could ever have. I'm so sorry that you never saw your wedding, that my brother never got to 'put a ring on it'.) and entered into an agonizing battle for his life mere days after. A battle that, unlike Kurosaki Ichigo's many battles, ended in tragedy and the loss of the hero at the end of the day. That chapter note. He wrote that just a few weeks into his treatments. When he passed I lacked the strength of will to immediately start writing. I am sorry, to HIS audience that I took so long. Grief is a heavy burden to carry, and letting go isn't as easy as people would like you to think it is.))
In which the Guardian Wins
The shadow formed smoothly and emerged gracefully from the black fog, appearing to absorb the excess as it solidified. The slight jingle of the shadow's sword tassel against the blade as he lazily brought it up to bear was the only noise that permeated the suddenly heavy air within the replicated Karakura town. Aizen's only response was to keep his oily smirk upon his face, and Ichigo could only glare with hatred at the man, hoping that in his arrogance, Aizen would be the first to move.
"Your parlor tricks will do nothing to help you boy," Aizen claimed, "for not only do I have the Hōgyoku, but mine is the ultimate sword when it concerns illusions. I'm afraid that despite your efforts, it was too little, far too late."
Ichigo appeared to snarl before relaxing as Tsukiyomi calmly spoke him down from his ire. Remember, denka, what Komamura said about Aizen Sōsuke. He is a master at making you loose yourself, the voice whispered in his mind firmly, calm yourself now, or you will have lost the battle before you even attempt to make your first strike. Ichigo gave a small, almost imperceptible, nod of his head as he acknowledged his Zanpakutō's words. He had to stay calm to use what he had learned anyway, so being mad was not going to help him here. Why on earth his Zanpakutō required the utmost calm while performing majority of his (Tsukiyomi was a he after all, and wouldn't you be insulted if someone called you an it?) special abilities and attacks was beyond him, who was often loudly brash and all for dashing headlong into things and beating them until they either didn't get up again for a good while, or saw things his way.
The shadow brought his sword up in a defensive stance as Ichigo assumed a lazy guard. According to Tsukiyomi, Aizen was the type of person who would be insulted if you didn't take them seriously. So he was going to play at the bastard's own game and make him mad. The affront to the man's ego worked, and with a soft snarl, Aizen was on him like red on blood. The blows exchanged were furious and fast, and indeed, Ichigo found himself having to rely on his Shadow to parry a blow more than once. Where the Shadow was, Ichigo wasn't, at times Ichigo would parry a hit for the Shadow, and at others the Shadow would blithely counter a hit that Ichigo wouldn't be able to block. The two worked in tandem, both to keep the blows off the other as well as to try and get in hits of their own. A swift thrust was dodged by jumping up and creating a small platform of spirit particles in the air mere nanometers above the flat of Kyoka Suigetsu so that he was basically standing on the sword, and from within Ichigo's head, Tsukiyomi could hear the outraged screams from the water flower with ambitions to be the moon. From there Ichigo lashed out with a punishing axe kick to Aizen's right shoulder and was well away before the wanna be godling could react due to his focus being on the Shadow while he was attempting a round house on the bastard. It wasn't a blade, but he was pretty sure the fact that the bastard was now favoring his left side meant that a reiatsu reinforced leg could still do a good deal of damage. Sure, he didn't hear the morbidly satisfying crunch of a bone breaking, but with the amount of force he had put into that kick, he could almost guarantee that Aizen's right collar bone was fractured in several places from the stress put on it.
"Now who's too slow, eh bastard," Ichigo asked with a confident smirk. If he wasn't allowed to loose his temper, then he was damn well going to taunt his opponent, despite Tsukiyomi's grumbled complaints of it not being dignified for one of his station.
"You have no idea what you are toying with boy," Aizen nearly snarled. He was positively livid, how dare this child think he could possibly be his equal. He was the one destined to be a god, to destroy and create as he saw fit, and this boy was fool enough to try taunting him!
Ichigo, to his credit, simply rolled his eyes and lightly jumped backwards and away from the sudden slash aimed towards his legs. There was a rule in fighting that Ichigo had learned the hard way, never let your opponent catch you in the air, unless you were a martial artist that specialized in Aerial Combat like that one kid from Nerima in Tokyo, but he said he had been trained specifically in a school that was focused on combat that included many high jumps and aerial maneuvers, so it was basically asking for your opponent to take the giant target you gave them and hit it with everything they've got.
So when Aizen thought he could press the advantage as though Ichigo was some sort of unexperienced neophyte, he was only too happy to demonstrate the nearly reflexive nature of creating a platform of spirit particles under his feet to give him leverage against the sudden downstroke of a sword aiming for his torso and return the slash with interest compounded thanks to his Shadow. He then ducked under a higher slash, blithely dancing away from the blade with a mocking flourish of a twirl, his shihakusho flowing out behind him almost regally. The long nōdachi was not ideal for close combat, but Ichigo was used to having a Melee type Zanpakutō, and so used Tsukiyomi as he would use Tensa Zangetsu, thus his return strike was swift and powerful, utilizing none of his sword's special capabilities. Aizen of course noticed this, but thought he did so for other reasons, since he figured that everyone in their right mind would try out their sword's new capabilities if given half the chance.
"What's wrong, boy, afraid that you can't control the power of such a sword," he questioned tauntingly with an oily smirk.
Ichigo scoffed, deliberately pissing Aizen off once again. "As if I could ever be afraid of ōssan," he paused then realized that this was his chance to set Aizen off his rocker, "I just don't need to rely upon his superior illusion techniques to deal with you. Like I said, me and my shadow are more than enough to take care of the likes of you."
"I will put you in your place boy, and show you that your impudence is ill placed." If Ichigo had been aiming to make Aizen furious, it worked, as the man was now visibly angered, a feat in an of itself, seeing as how the manipulative bastard was tops when it came to self control, something that Ichigo had to grudgingly respect in the bastard. To take jarring things in stride had never been one of his strong points, as evidenced by his regular outbursts with his father and against Rukia when she would do or say something that rubbed him the wrong way. So he did have a respect for Aizen in that sense, but that was it, and killing the bastard wouldn't really eat away at his mental stability, if anything, it'd help the substitute Shinigami sleep at night, knowing that a monster like him had been neutralized and that his family in Karakura, not only his father and sisters, but Chad, Inoue, Ishida, Mizuiro, Tatsuki, and Keigo as well, were safe from his nefarious schemes. Belatedly he also realized that he wanted to keep his Shinigami and Vizard friends safe as well, not just Rukia and the clumsy Hanataro whom he grew fond of, but Renji, Ikkaku, Yumichika, Love, Lisa, and hell even crazy ass bastards like Shinji, Hiyori, Kenpachi, and Byakuya, though he wasn't too sure about Mayuri.
"Exactly Denka, keep that feeling and use it to strike our foe. When you cross Aizen, what do you feel?" The smooth tenor voice of his sword echoed through out his soul, encouraging him to analyze the situation further than just what was on the surface, not realizing that his sword was cultivating in him a skill he would need desperately later down the road.
"Nothing," Ichigo breathed in realization. "Absolutely nothing at all. He's angry, but he can't even seem to put his anger in his sword." Even as he spoke and brought Tsukiyomi up to deflect a thrust, he could feel nothing from the sword of the man with a major God complex. It was empty and unfeeling, devoid of most of the power that a sword should have, the soul of their wielder in perfect harmony.
"That is because he and Kyoka Suigetsu do not trust one another, Denka. She will do as Aizen asks, only because she wants to be the best. And he will demand things of her, but never give his trust to her, because he considers her nothing more than a tool. They fight alone, never together, never in harmony."
"Kinda sad, if you ask me," Ichigo said, loud enough for Aizen to hear, "that even with all your power and your supposed knowledge, you can't listen to something that is a part of you." His head, tilted upwards, to look askance at the man, his honey gold eyes shone with compassion. "I suppose though, that the two of you are perfectly paired, each holding the other back, neither granting full and unwavering support of the other."
Aizen frowned slightly, not liking the sympathetic tone of the boy, nor the implications that he was not as powerful as he should be. "What sort of nonsensical drivel are you spouting about now? Surely you don't expect me to suddenly want for friendship or company. A sword is a sword, even if it is a Zanpakutō."
"And that is why, inevitably, you'll loose this battle," Ichigo said from behind him, Aizen's eyes widened a fraction, as the boy before him slowly lost color, though a smirk was still on shadowed lips. It was only through his honed reflexes that allowed him the continued connection of his head to his body, as he narrowly dodged the wickedly sharp cutting edge of Tsukiyomi, though he did loose that one strand of hair that he always kept from being slicked back. At that his face contorted into a snarl, it had taken him months to figure out how to make that single lock of hair stay together and not look lank and limp.
But before he could growl out a threat, Aizen found himself involuntarily on the move, having been distracted by the loss of his special lock of hair, this time flying through the air courtesy of a snap kick to his jaw from the Shadow, or was that the real boy? The two seemed to shift between roles like mist in the night, and though he would never admit it, Aizen thought that the inability to tell between the two at times was disconcerting. Briefly he wondered if this is what the victims of his shikai felt when they dealt with his dopplegangers and for a single instance the man felt something aside from contempt for other people, he actually sympathized, but just as fast as it came, that moment was gone and he was focusing on the battle before him once more. Righting himself, Aizen turned his most glacial glare towards the boy, and damn did he hope this was really the boy and not that damnable shadow, "Such arrogance is unbefitting someone of such a lowly station," he growled, "let me remind you of your place."
Holding Kyoka Suigetsu before him he prepared to unleash his Zanpakutō to even the playing field. "Kuda-" but before he could finish the release command, he found a fist implanted firmly in his face. It was a rather uncomfortable sensation, and then time caught up with him and he found himself flying through the air.
"What's wrong bastard? Can't see me? Surely you can follow my movements. You who touts the title of wielding the most powerful sword of illusionary capabilities," Ichigo called, his voice taunting, smirk mocking, his eyes brightening to a cold topaz and glittering with sadistic amusement, this man deserved every ounce of pain he was meting out on him, no he wouldn't feel bad about kicking him around.
Angered now beyond belief, Aizen snarled, "WHY?! Why can't I feel your spiritual pressure boy?!"
Now Ichigo snorted, his smirk turning even more aggravating, if that was at all possible as he dodged a furious slash, blithely dancing from Kyoka Suigetsu's cutting edge and batting it away when a thrust was aimed at his torso with Tsukiyomi's abnormally long blade. "You sure you want to know the truth, you might not be able to handle the truth bastard."
Another growl and a series of efficient slashes and thrusts, all of which were dodged or parried by either the boy or his Shadow, Aizen found himself loosing ground against the duo, and with every inch he gave he found himself growing more and more desperate. Perhaps now was time to use his trump card, if the boy would not allow him to unseal Kyoka Suigetsu, then he would utilize another tool he had within his grasp. "I mean, I could tell you, but then it may end up breaking your brain, and it seems that brain of yours is the only selling point to you right about now," Ichigo stated between dodging and parrying, though Aizen couldn't be sure which figure it was coming from.
"It matters not, ryoka boy, I have already won this fight, from the moment you stepped out of that portal you were fated to loose against a God," he declared surely, eyes unwavering, showing his absolute belief in his words. As he spoke he held out his hand, and as though reaching between the very fabric of space itself reached into a hole that formed from the spirit particles in the air. He palmed something in the pocket and brought it out to hold before his face between his thumb and forefinger.
"Well, if you say so, but I don't understand how this little marble will help you at all," Ichigo declared from besides him, eyeing the luminescent little orb with the interest a young child would exhibit for their father's watch. Before Aizen, the one that had been speaking slowly shifted once again to the Shadow, and he found his ire rising as the boy seemed to peer at the ponderously powerful, priceless pink pearl in Aizen's hand with unabashed curiosity.
Adopting his trademarked smarmy look of superiority, Aizen proceeded to teach the ignorant young ryoka just how the doom of Seireitei was now held in his hand. "You could never begin to perceive the true nature of the Hogyōku, it's powers to grant what the user wishes are nigh unlimited, I believe that your friend Orihime's powers are very much like it, though in a different spectrum of course."
Ichigo made a face, "A little pink jewel that grants wishes? Tch, sounds like something from a late 90's shonen manga with too many pretty boys and a girl that wears stupidly short skirts, but if you say so."
((Authoress' Note: As a reader, I hate notes that appear halfway through a chapter, but I'm going to put one here anyway because I feel that you, as the audience, have a right to know this... This is where Beat stopped writing. He couldn't focus for too long without crippling headaches or getting nauseous and throwing up, part of the reason he went to the doctors... From here on out, I'll be the one writing, but everything is based off of the hand written notes and outlines that Beat left in my care. I'm sorry if the style is different, I'll try to stay true to how he writes, but as it is, I'm not my little brother.))
Aizen sneered, re-pocketed the Hogyōku and held Kyōka Suigetsu to the side, readying his release phrase. Ichigo, unsure if the illusionary power of the moonflower would have any hold upon his mind and not at all willing to take the risk, acted quickly and shunpō'd directly into Aizen intent on bowling the man over bodily. Or at least, that's what he had planned on doing. Ichigo forgot to take into account how much faster he was moving now. What was supposed to be a shoulder tackle had transformed Ichigo into a veritable wrecking ball, and had the young man been relaxed enough, he would have cackled at the sight of Aizen tumbling arse over kettle through the air until a conveniently placed wall ended his trip rather abruptly. There was no time to snicker over the 'Aizen shaped hole' in the wall, but he did allow himself a snort of amusement.
"Oi, Aizen, I thought you were going to do something about my impudence," he called down cockily, smirking as he quirked a brow in challenging question.
Aizen narrowed his eyes at the substitute shinigami in hatred, and as he pulled himself from the wall, he tried to retain his dignity by brushing a bit of cement dust from his shoulder nonchalantly. "Kuda-"
Again, Ichigo didn't let him release his Zanpakutō, this time going in and slashing with his blade towards the middle of Aizen's head, having no time to completely dodge, it forced the man to quickly bring up his sword to block. "If you think I'm about to let you get one up on me, you're fucking insane," Ichigo snarled, going from arrogant and almost playful to seething and stormy in his anger in just half second. When Aizen seemed about to speak, Ichigo retaliated, pushing Tsukiyomi roughly against Kyōka Suigetsu, forcing the wanna be god to take a step back through the sheer difference in physical strength. Ichigo took a grim pleasure in seeing Tsukiyomi's sharp edge bite into the moonflower's steel and, at the gleefully howled urgings of his Hallow, pressed harder, smirking almost viciously when Tsukiyomi bit into the other blade's tempered steel even further. "The world has too much at stake, I have too much at banking on me being able to either capture you or, failing that, lop your head from your body, and honestly? I'm hoping for the latter, because a living and spirit world without having to worry about your plots in either will give me a large chunk of peace ...of mind!"
Aizen hardly had time to jump away as Ichigo punctuated his last two words by pushing forward with a sudden and vicious swing. His eyes widened as Kyōka Suigetsu was cleaved in twain, the Ryoka boy's sword ripping through a screaming moonflower like so much paper. His hand now held something that looked less like a standard Zanpakutō and more like Ichimaru's Shinsō. So surprised was he that he momentarily forgot about the boy's maddening shadow puppet, which now darted inside his guard and raised it's sword, energy flowing up the tip with the upswing and condensing into a blazing corona of black and silver. This was not a polished and refined technique, just raw, roaring, unrestrained power. The shadow swung downwards and Aizen found himself on the run as he dodged whistling swings, roaring energy, bone breaking punches, and devastating snap kicks from either the boy himself or that annoying shadow. It was as if the boy was slowly learning and adapting to him, anticipating his moves and figuring out where he would be next. It was as if he were slowly attaining not just heightened awareness, but omnipotence of the battlefield and his enemies. The boy really had turned into a threat. He cursed his arrogance, lamenting how should have exterminated him months ago on Sōkyoku Hill. To think, one of the members of the Royal Family, right under his nose the entire time. He could have had the throne that very day had he known. 'Months of planning, and it could have been simple as killing a single boy, and now that very boy stands before me as an impassible wall,' Aizen bitterly realized.
In that moment of epiphany, Ichigo pressed his advantage and delivered a brutal upwards roundhouse kick to Aizen's spine. This kick was profound in it's effect, not only did it send Aizen flying, there was a loud series of crunches originating at the point of contact, AND the sudden attack loosed a particular pink jewel from the confines of a certain man's spiritual hold and onto the pavement. It chimed innocently as it bounced once. Twice. A third time. Rolling slowly back towards it's 'master' only to come to a full stop upon hitting heel of the single foot that the shinigami substitute was standing on after he had delivered the kick. Had the young substitute been less focused on the battle, he would have noticed it pulse once upon its contact with him. Instead the little jewel was unintentionally kicked away as he leapt up towards. The Hōgyōku rolled under the collapsed ruins of a house, but it was here in the deep shadows that revealed the subtle change that had overcome the stone. Where before it had simply shimmered with the light of it's power, it now pulsed delicately, so much so, that it was almost lost in it's very own aura, in time with the beating of a heart. A very specific heart in fact. But now wasn't the time for contemplating jewels and auras and synchronistic tempos that were forged.
With a short kiai Ichigo thrust Tsukiyomi's point through Aizen's back, the tip slid between ribs like butter, slicing through arteries, puncturing a lung, and bursting from the man's front with only a small splatter of blood. They both knew that he wouldn't die with just this, but without time to heal and regenerate what had been damaged, the man was in no position to retaliate. As Ichigo supported the would be god upon his sword he spoke quietly. "For what it's worth, Aizen, I'm not sorry you had to die, but I am sorry that it was by my blade."
"Foolish...Ryoka..." Aizen managed to gasp, eyes staring at the bright blue skies as he had lost all feeling and ability to move anything below his mid back. "You can not even imagine stopping me...I. am. a. GOD!" He held his hand out, as though calling something forth. But despite his grasping hand and look of concentration, whatever he was calling did not come forward nor appear. Suddenly his face contorted in frantic rage. "WHY DO YOU NOT ANSWER MY CALL?! HŌGYŌKU, COME TO YOUR MASTER'S HAND!"
Ichigo scoffed, "Looks like your hidden ace is more of a joker than you are, Aizen." With a twist of his hand, Tsukiyomi's blade tore through the lung it had punctured, the bones of the ribcage blocking it, and skin and muscles of the chest and back, erupting from Aizen's side in a spray of blood. The man fell to the ground, landing harshly against unforgiving asphalt and was unable to move even as Ichigo slowly made his way to stand over him. His shadow figure joined him on the other side of Aizen's body and began to channel spiritual power through it's sword, raising it above it's head, but did not strike. All the man could do was gaze up at the gleaming edge of the sword with mounting apprehension.
Tsukiyomi spoke to Ichigo in that second, rising up from the blade as a misty figure that was visible to all, his right hand resting upon his wielder's shoulder in a show of loyalty and support. "Denka, it is our Imperial duty to pass judgement upon him. To let the courts attempt a farce of a trial would only make it annoying to get them to listen when we need to exercise our authority in the future. We shall pass judgement before the audience here. They will relay to the Council of 46 and the High Commander what has befallen Sōsuke Aizen."
Concealed in the shadows, a proud smile adorned the lips of a goateed man as he watched his oldest listen to his Zanpakutō with a grim nod. "Good boy Ichigo. Listening to our partners is one of the most important things to remember in our positions," the man congratulated his son quietly, proud of his maturity and growth. Next to him, two others exchanged glances. They knew exactly what was going on, but hadn't realized that the one they had called student for a short time had harbored so much power. Potential, yes, they both knew and acknowledged that the young man they now watched had a nigh bottomless ocean of potential to grow into. But even limitless potential had to be nurtured into power and skill.
From the sidelines, people could only watch in amazement. Hiyori, just barely patched up to the point where she wasn't in immediate danger, looked on in tired disbelief. Shinji was openly gaping. Hitsugaya scowled slightly, muttering about how he wanted to kill Aizen and how unfair it was that Kurosaki Ichigo had made it look foolishly easy, but was still smirking, at last that bastard would pay for what he had done. Kyōraku whistled appreciatively once again, wasn't every day one got to see the true form of a Royal Sword after all, not that anyone else currently conscious was aware of just what or who Ichigo Kurosaki and his Tsukiyomi were. Those who knew of Zangetsu were confused because that was /not/ him. Despite that they were still in as much awe as the rest. This regal figure was really part of Kurosaki? That boy obviously had hidden depths that very few had ever glimpsed apparently.
Ichigo nodded, heeding Tsukiyomi's words, and relaying to the would be god what consequences his actions have reaped using words his Zanpakutō supplied to him. "Aizen Sōsuke," the young man solemnly pronounced, "for your actions against the entirety of the Seireitei, the Imperial Court finds you guilty. For having hand in the murder of several officers of the Goteijūsantai, including Shiba Kaien, Heir Apparent to the Noble House of Shiba, and over one hundred aspiring Shinigami students, the 3rd Imperial Court finds you guilty. For your treasonous acts against the 3rd Imperial Family, the 3rd Imperial Court finds you guilty. For conspiring to murder the Spirit King, the 3rd Imperial Court finds you guilty...For the attempted murder of the Imperial Prince and his consort, the 3rd Imperial Court finds you guilty."
With each charge listed, Aizen felt a strange sensation growing in him. It was cold and hot and quavering. It urged him to scream and run, to come to his knees and beg. It was more than simple fear. It was pure unadulterated terror. There was something different about the boy as he spoke. He possessed a power unlike any other Aizen had ever come across, it wasn't just the quantity, but the effect it was having upon the very essences of those within it's sphere of influence. It was an omniscient cloud of soft light that threatened to erase him from the very pages of history.
"In lieu of an individual punishment for each of these charges, the 3rd Imperial Court Decrees that Aizen Sōsuke, and all that he was and shall ever be, shall be expunged absolutely from the annals of time. We cannot change what has happened in the past, but no physical evidence shall remain that one Sōsuke Aizen ever existed. Your holdings will be burned and leveled, your zanpakutō shall be thrown to the void and your soul shall henceforth reside eternity in the nothingness between dimensions where it will be unable to interact with any universe. Any allies you have retained in this defeat shall have their memories completely erased. Records containing your name, your actions, your words shall be altered and destroyed. You wished to leave your mark upon this world, so We have decided that your punishment shall be the exact opposite. It shall be as though you never existed. So We have spoken, so mote it be," the young man stated with finality, and gave a short nod to his shadow. His shadow, whose face mirrored his own, gave no hint of what it's master was thinking, planted it's feet and with a soundless shout, released the gathered energy straight into Aizen's chest. At this Ichigo closed his eyes and turned away, refusing to watch what was happening even as Tsukiyomi told him what would occur and his hallow gave him a gruesome 'blow by blow' as it were.
To the ones watching, it was as though nothing happened at first, though those hidden in the shadows winced ever so slightly. Aizen himself was about to laugh at the foolish boy, his fear vanishing at his non-death, but then a terrible sensation overcame him, it was like being on fire but freezing at the same time. Like knives were biting into his skin and salt water being dripped into the cuts. It was like all the noises of the world decided to assault him all at once, but also like an oppressive silence was smothering him. His body slowly started to disintegrate into spirit particles. It started at where the energy had hit him moving outwards slowly, agonizingly. By the time he had the strength to scream, his vocal chords had gone. The particles hung in the air as a shimmering gray orb then it began to fold in on itself, smaller and smaller until there was nothing left.
For a long moment there was silence and then...
Everyone who still had their legs still attache jumped.
"THAT BASTARD DID IT! I TOLD YOU HE COULD DO IT! DIDN'T I TELL YOU ASSHOLES HE COULD DO IT?!"
Madarame Ikkaku. Ever the elocutionist. Only to reel forward from a slipper thrown at the back of his head.
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? I ALMOST DIED! AGAIN! FROM FRIGHT!"
Enter Hiyori. Even half dead she wasn't one someone could joke lightly with.
"WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM SHRIMP?!"
"MY PROBLEM IS YOU SCARING THE LIVING FUCK OUT OF ME IS MY PROBLEM!"
Ichigo watched in amusement as the two argued further, before turning to the three conscious Captains. His face becoming serious in an instant."Well, I know that you probably wanted to take him back for questioning and to undergo a proper trial...but Aizen could-"
Kyōraku held up his hand and shook his head, speaking before the other two could question the young man. "It's okay Kurosaki-kun, really. You were well within your rights, and the Council of 46 cannot overturn a sentence to the Between once given, much less so any sentence given by the High Imperial Court."
Ichigo half frowned, ruffling the back of his hair in either annoyance or distress, either could fit his current countenance. "Yeah... About that, I was just saying what Ōssan told me to say, so-"
Again the captain of the Eighth division cut the young man off. "And you were right to follow in his lead. You have permanently insured that Sōsuke Aizen can never again threaten the balance of the Universe, without bloodying your hands or risking him ever being released from his prison had Central 46 been the ones to sentence him. There is no escape from Between, and only the most dangerous souls even get considered for it, but I can assure you, for what that man did, Aizen deserves every second of the rest of eternity in the nothingness. You did the right thing Kurosaki-kun. You should be proud of your levelheadedness in the face of what you have experienced and how you've changed. I know I am. And Kurosaki-kun? ...Thanks."
Slowly the scowl softened into a smile and sharp topaz colored eyes lost their serious edge, warming to a glimmering honey. "Any time, Kyōraku-ōssan. It's my duty after all."
Over the sound of Hiyori and Ikkaku yelling at one another, there was a loud scream. "ICHIGOOOOOOOOOO! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" Instinctively, Ichigo turned around house kick into his father's face. And then froze. His...father? His face slackened comically in surprise, eyes going wide and mouth dropping open as he pointed at the man that was on the ground cradling the impact crater that had become his face. "WAAAHH MASAKI OUR SON IS SO VIOLENT TO HIS FATHER!"
Getting up suddenly, Isshin smiled at his son, it wasn't the exaggerated and exuberant smile it normally was, but rather a calm, proud smile that made a world of difference, turning the eccentric man's normally outrageous face into a regal and benevolent visage. He was dressed in a shinigami outfit with a few alterations, which was a far cry from his standard hawaiian print shirts and khaki slacks. "Ichigo, you have triumphed in the face of adversity time and time again, I am sorry I could not tell you each time you came home battered and bruised from defending the innocent from hallows, just how proud I am to be your father. Your mother is so proud of you, I am so proud of you. You have not only cared for your sisters as best you can, going as far as putting your body on the line, but you have cared for people you didn't even know. You have shown leadership and a level head in times of great stress, compassion and concern where others are apathetic and willing to turn their heads. While you have made mistakes, you are young, it is expected of you."
"Wh...how," the orange haired teen ever so intelligently stuttered. "You..knew? The entire time, you knew?"
"Yep! Ever since Rukia-chan transferred her powers to you, which was really unnecessary because had you been in any real danger that night, Tsukiyomi would have awakened and taken care of the problem. But since she did, it gave you some time to see how the Shinigami work and operate in the living world, which, to be honest, was pretty damn convenient for me and the rest of the Court. We suddenly didn't have to wait years for your Spiritual Power to grow on it's own!"
"So..You knew that Rukia was sleeping in my closet, that Geta-Bōshi and Yoruichi were training me, that Kon was the one in my body whenever I had to take care of a hallow..." Ichigo pointed out with a deadpan face to match his tone.
"And when the Shinigami came over?"
"Well of course I knew what they were! How terrible would it be for me to forget what makes a Shinigami in a gigai different from a human!"
"...And Shinji and the rest of the Vizard?"
"I am one of the people who helped Kisuke and the other hide away from Central 46."
"...GODDAMIT GOAT-FACE I SPENT SO MUCH EFFORT INTO TRYING TO HIDE ALL THAT FROM YOU AND YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT I DIDN'T HAVE TO," Ichigo roared before launching his father into the air with the same kick that had launched Aizen just minutes before. He wasn't angry that his father had been hiding a dangerous world from them for so long. He wasn't angry that his father was a Shinigami. He was angry that all of the times he had to shove people back into closets, fight off stupid old men raving about him doing illicit things with Rukia in his room, all of the times he had to shove Kon in a dustbin to- okay no, that was fun, he wasn't complaining about that. But still. Almost ALL of those embarrassing episodes could have been avoided.
"WAAAAH! MISAKI OUR SON HATES MEEEE!"
"Idiot," came a soft baritone voice from over Ichigo's shoulder. Turning around he saw a misty figure that looked very much like Tsukiyomi, but very much unlike Tsukiyomi. "I told the dolt that he should have waited until later if he didn't want to get launched into L.E.O. but he didn't listen, probably wanted to give you something familiar to hold onto as your world is turned on it's head. Your dad loves you kid. Don't doubt that."
Tsukiyomi appeared then, giving a short bow to the older looking man. "Father."
The man smirked at his son. "So, finally ditched the old man costume, eh? It's about time. Your kid is going to need all the help he can get. There's trouble brewing on the horizon, and the second and first courts have been having a hell of a time keeping the third out of it. With this sentencing everyone will know that the Third Imperial Court is back in action, something that hasn't happened since Izanami and her partner ascended to take full responsibility of the First over nine hundred years ago. They'll all be eager to meet the newest Heir Apparent and everyone will be wondering who's soul is hiding your counter part. Exciting and trying times are ahead of us son, take care of him, yeah?"
Tsukiyomi snorted derisively, "I don't need you telling me that, I have always cared for Ichigo, even when he didn't know I was here..."
Ichigo blinked. Once. Twice. Rapid blinking, eyes sliding from Tsukiyomi to the spirit he had called father, then back. "Did I...miss something?" His hallow was laughing hysterically in the background, though why the young man knew not.
The moon god smirked, "Ichigo, as your father is Kurosaki Isshin, this is my father, Izanagi-no-Mikoto...he is the spirit of Isshin's Zanpakutō."
"Wait. That's Wait wait wait! I STILL don't get how you went from Zangetsu to Tsukiyomi. And now you're telling me that my DAD'S Zanpakutō is YOUR DAD?! And what is this about Imperial Courts? Is the Spirit King involved in all of this? Why is Izanagi, a GOD of all things, HERE EVEN?! What the HELL is going on," Ichigo demanded agitatedly. He didn't like being unsure of things, everything was happening too fast. He wanted an explanation. Now. Tsukiyomi and Izanagi looked at each other, the elder cringed at Tsukiyomi's withering glare. Perhaps the child should have been allowed to remain ignorant a little longer. At least then he wouldn't have his son AND his son's partner's ire directed at him. Aizen could have been sealed up by the scientist man...that dolt Isshin! This was all his fault.
A melodious female voice broke through the awkward and oppressive silence, "Language, Ichigo!" Said teen's head snapped up so fast one would have thought that he had given himself whiplash. Honeyed eyes widened looking around frantically. That voice. He knew that voice. The air fifty feet in front of him seemed to shatter, creating what looked to be a glowing doorway of colored glass. There was a feminine silhouette behind the glass door, and as it slowly opened, Ichigo witnessed a person he thought he'd never see again, step forward into the world of the living.
She was clothed in resplendent silks of glimmering silver and dark grey patterned with the red-crowned cranes flying through cloudy skies, her outer most robe billowed in an unfelt wind, sleeves and hem fading into a thick mist that rolled around her feet. Her auburn hair was done up in the back with an elegant three strand loop that curled and twisted around a golden ornament, though a few strands had escaped their bindings and fell forward in gentle waves to frame her heart shaped face. Kind coffee colored eyes were framed with long lashes and glittered with love and pride for the young man they were fixed upon, and her light red painted lips were curved into a gentle smile.
"MASAAAKIII! YOU'VE FINALLY COME TO RESCUE ME FROM OUR ABUSIVE SON!" Just as instinctively as before Ichigo planted his foot in his father's face, all without breaking his gaze from the woman.
Metronome: ...Yeah. I just did that. I just left ended in the most cliche way possible. Beat would be so proud of me... I miss him. I wish he could write the rest of this. My style is totally unsuited for the action genre. I'll put a link up of how Ichigo currently in...well I suppose it's profile now. -insert heavy sigh here-
Dictionary of terms ((This is Metronome, I've updated Beat's Dictionary to be more in depth so that you can further understand the titles and the exact weight they carry, my alterations will be in bold...))
Fukutaichō - Vice-captain This word is a combination between fuku and taicho. Fuku is 'assistant' or 'duplicate'. It does NOT mean Lieutenant as the english dub would have you believe.
Taichō – Captain This is not specifically captain, it is used by those under the command of an officer to address them or refer to them. Taichō means simply Commanding Officer. In American military you'd call them your "C.O."
Sōtaichō – High Captain or Captain Commander Again this is not an exact term. Sō is a term that is usually applied to another word to refer to it as a /whole/. By tacking it onto the front of the commanding officer it denotes that this person is the commander of /all/ of the forces and answers to none but their king or president.
Denka – Your Highness. Tsukiyomi uses it as an affectionate term as well, but generally it is used as a term used to address a (young) prince or princess. Denka is a word used for a non-ruling royal family member. While we do not have these differentiating terms in english it is important for the japanese, since they follow very rigid societal structures.
Ōu-sama – King or Emperor This term is used strictly to refer to a Sovereign ruler. It is not used to address them.
Heika - Your Majesty Again, this is a word that we don't really have a good enough definition for. But it is only used to address Kings, Queens (who are the true rulers and not just consorts), and Emperors/Empresses.
Ryoka – interchangeable to mean intruder, rebel, invader, or outsider (can also loosely be taken to mean deserter)
Zanpakutō - Soul-cutter. (if you don't know what that is, I demand to ask you what you're doing in the Bleach genre)
Seireitei – The Soul Society ( When I refer to the Seireitei I mean the entirety of the Goteijūsantai )
Rukongai – The Wandering Soul City (where the non-shinigami residents of the afterlife are sent) With 320 districts (80 in each cardinal direction), the higher your district number, the worse life gets.
Goteijūsantai – The Thirteen Division Imperial Guards aka: The Gotei 13
Jigokuchō – Hell Butterfly, used to relay messages between Shinigami as well as guide souls to and from the World of the Living and Seireitei.
Nōdachi – "field sword" A looooong sword. Unohana's own Zanpakutō is considered a nōdachi, as it is some inches longer than the standard Zanpakutō. Ichigo's Tsukiyomi is a nōdachi, with roughly seventy inches (yes 70", metrically that's 1.8 m) between the top of the tsuba and the tip of the blade, Tsukiyomi measures out around seventy eight inches (78" that's a perfect 2 meters, basically, think Sephiroth's Masamune)
Tsuba – Hand guard (the guard at the top of the hilt) Most of you will note that Zangetsu's shikai does/did not have a tsuba.
Ōssan – Old man (Ichigo calls Zangetsu this, the term has continued on to refer to Tsukiyomi as it has turned into an affectionate nickname of sorts, though he doesn't appear as old as he did when disguised as Zangetsu)
Geta-Bōshi – Sandal hat. Ichigo's name for one Urahara Kisuke.
Raikōhō – Thunder Roar Cannon
Hiryugekizokushitenraihō – Flying Dragon-Striking Heaven Shaking Thunder Cannon (that's a mouthful, try saying that five times fast both in English AND Japanese)
Kaikinisshōku: Kagebōshi – Total Solar Eclipse: Shadow Figure (This is what happens when the moon is positioned perfectly in front of the sun so that all we see is the shadow and the coronary filaments, it is very rare in real life and really freakin' amazing to watch. *further note please do not watch a solar eclipse without the proper eye protection*) As you may have guessed the Kaikinisshōku has multiple variations that Ichigo will explore/learn/utilize later.