Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach, Tite Kubo does. I'm just borrowing them for a bit of fun. I do, however, own the characters I made up.
Feedback: I'd love to hear what you guys think, don't hesitate to leave a review. No flames though.
I'd like to thank PhoenixSong4232 for betaeing this chapter and AznVKai for helping me.
This is my first foray into the world of Bleach. I just had a little idea that wouldn't leave my mind so I decided to try my hand at Bleach fanfic. I apologize ahead of time for any OOCness of the characters and misuse of Japanese terms. I'll try my best. Also, I just wanted to say I've always been more into anime rather than manga. It's just recently that I've finally gotten around to reading the latest Bleach manga chapters. Yeah, I know I need to start from the beginning which I'll do eventually. With that being said, this story contains spoilers up to chapter 382, which means that it's AU after that point. Anyways, let's get on with the story.
Edited 1/22/18 Bleach terms and Japanese words were italicized. Minor edits.
A brilliant full moon shone on the remnants of the Fake Karakura Town. Kurosaki Ichigo had to give Kurotsuchi Mayuri and the Twelfth Division credit; they sure knew how to replicate everything about his hometown without missing a single detail.
At the moment, he was standing atop a building that housed a couple of shops and a restaurant near the outskirts of town. He remembered occasionally visiting these places years ago, back when he had time to roam the city and have fun. From his vantage point, he could see that the familiar red and tan paint of the shops, the multitude of advertisements adorning the shops' windows, and even the tilted shutter of the old candy shop's window were all perfectly replicated.
This part of the town still remained intact whereas the areas near the center of the town and the four pillars were severely damaged leaving all but rubble. He'd done his part in causing the damage when he'd arrived on the scene thanks to Kurotsuchi's Garganta. He had been fighting Yammy, the Zero Espada, when Kuchiki Byakuya and Zaraki Kenpachi showed up to take over his battle and order him to Fake Karakura Town. Reluctantly he left the scene only to find himself in a raging battle in the latter. Along the way towards the fake town, Unohana-taichō, who accompanied him, explained that he was the only one that could defeat Aizen because he hadn't seen his Shikai.
Immediately upon arriving in the artificial town, he had noticed the destroyed buildings, the Shinigami scattered across the town, and to his surprise, the Visored. Shinji was the first person to notice him, crying out "Ichigo" with a certain blonde haired Visored in his arms. He rushed over to them and for a split second, he'd seen Shinji's eyes shift from a look of despair to one of hope when he demanded to know where Inoue was. He had replied that she was still in Hueco Mundo and that was when the Visored let out an anguished cry that sent chills throughout the Substitute Shinigami's body. It was only then that he noticed the blood dripping from Hiyori's waist but he didn't really have an opportunity to ask Shinji anything when he heard someone call him from behind.
Turning quickly, he found himself staring at none other than Aizen Sōsuke.
"Well, well if it isn't the Ryoka boy, Kurosaki Ichigo," Aizen had declared.
He then proceeded to talk about how he was genuinely impressed that Ichigo had survived his trials in Hueco Mundo but that ultimately he, along with everyone else, was going to wind up dead just like Hiyori. Ichigo almost launched himself into a battle with Aizen right then and there but he waited. The battle eventually erupted between him and Aizen while Komamura continued fighting against Tōsen (Hisagi was knocked out early on) and Hitsugaya threw himself into battle with Ichimaru. But just like in his previous fight against the man, Ichigo was unable to put a scratch on him. The good news was he was able to call upon his mask unlike during the fight with Yammy which helped him move fast and evade many of Aizen's attacks but in the end, he received a slashed shoulder for his trouble. Aizen, Tōsen, Gin, and Wonderweiss left the fake town destroying two other pillars on their way out. Fortunately, emergency rods were placed to maintain the fake town in the real world.
Afterwards, the Shinigami, Visored, and Ichigo were left to nurse their wounds and assess the damage dealt by Aizen and his Espada. Much to Ichigo's surprise, he was called in on a Gotei 13 meeting and was given a full explanation of Aizen's Zanpakutō, Kyōka Suigetsu, as well as briefly questioned about his Visored powers. He expected Yamamoto Genryūsai Shigekuni- sōtaichō to be displeased with Ichigo's Hollow powers but he merely paid attention to Ichigo's explanation of how he obtained them. It looked like the current situation had calmed the old man down a bit since his main goal was making sure Aizen's plans failed.
Despite the defeat of all the Espada including Yammy— Byakuya along with everyone else arrived at dusk that same day— there was a nervous tension among all the Gotei 13. It was pretty clear Aizen was up to something; he always had a plan up his sleeve. For now, it was decided that everyone currently in the fake town would remain there and the Soul Society was placed on high alert. It wasn't exactly clear what Aizen was planning but regardless both locations were aware of the looming danger.
Damn it, Ichigo scowled as he remembered Aizen fleeing. He hated that once again they were reduced to waiting for his next move. He was itching to continue their fight but it was obvious he still wasn't strong enough. Nonetheless, now that he knew about Aizen's Zanpakutō he made a vow to bring the bastard down. He was sick and tired of falling into Aizen's schemes and now more than ever, he was determined to avoid being used as a pawn in Aizen's game plan.
This time he was going to keep an even more watchful eye over his friends and, of course, train harder than ever in the time available before the upcoming battles. He was going to make sure he defeated Aizen.
His mind drifted over to Ishida's words the following night after his friends arrived from Hueco Mundo. During the day, Ichigo and his friends had attempted to catch up when they were finally free from helping the injured and helping the Shinigami settle into the Karakura Hospital building. Much to Ishida's chagrin the hospital was being used as the Gotei 13's treatment center and base of operations for the time being. He finally revealed his Visored status to his friends since by now most of them had witnessed his Hollowfication except for Renji and Chad. He also explained to them about the month long training he had undergone at the Visoreds' hideout. He had seen the look in the Quincy's eyes that indicated he wanted to tell Ichigo off but then Ichigo was summoned by the taichō and it wasn't until that night that the Quincy had an opportunity to speak to him.
"Kurosaki," the Quincy had called out to him as he was leaving the hospital room inhabited by the former.
"Yeah?" Ichigo had responded, not bothering to turn around.
"About the battle with Ulquiorra," Ishida began.
Ichigo's back stiffened.
"I realize that you're a Visored now, but during that fight you were not in control. Your Hollow took complete control, you almost…"
"I know," the orange haired teen snapped. He was aware of what had happened through what he had seen when he regained control and the details provided by Ishida and Inoue.
"You need help."
"I know," was all he said before stepping out of the room.
He knew he did and he was going to get it but right now he hadn't dared to approach the Visored. After the battle with Aizen, it was confirmed that Hiyori had died. Through his shock he was able to offer his condolences but after Inoue had arrived and healed Hachi, the injured Visored received treatment and then disappeared. He supposed they went back to their old hideout but he hadn't attempted to seek them out.
He hadn't thought that the Visored would be the first to suffer a fatality. Well in truth, he had never let his mind run that far. He would have died if not for his Hollow and Rukia also practically died during her fight with the Ninth Espada. He couldn't allow himself to dwell on those thoughts. He was alive and so were his friends, and for that he was truly grateful but they had to continue the fight against Aizen. He knew the Visored knew that as well, and he would soon go to them.
A sudden flare of Reiatsu appeared in the area jolting Ichigo out of his thoughts. What? Ichigo thought as he scanned the area for the person or creature that had intruded his brooding. It had been an unusual blast of Reiatsu but he didn't see anyone. As a matter of fact, he almost felt as if it had vanished. Glancing upwards towards the sky, he spotted a snake like Hollow with wings.
A grin formed on his lips; he had needed a distraction. He reached over and pulled Zangetsu from his back, the bandages immediately disappearing behind him. The Hollow's tongue darted from its snake like mouth as it flew straight towards Ichigo.
Ichigo brought up his sword quickly, easily slicing through the creature's tongue and breaking its mask, effectively destroying it. Behind him he heard another Hollow's cries and immediately he shunpoed away from his position, just in time to avoid the Hollow's gaping mouth.
The orange haired Shinigami reappeared in the sky, taking a moment to study the new Hollow. It resembled a huge, gaping worm with skeletal arms jutting out from its sides and its hole centered on its back. Massive teeth erupted from its large jaws as well as saliva. Disgusting, Ichigo thought as he charged with Zangetsu in hand, aiming for its head. The Hollow roared angrily as it began to shake its large body. Just as Zangetsu was about to make contact with its mask, one of it skeletal arms grabbed Ichigo.
Immediately, he began to struggle against the white, bony fingers holding him in place. In response the Hollow tightened its grip; nonetheless Ichigo continued to struggle. He could feel his lungs starting to protest as the Hollow's grip started to crush his chest. Ignoring the burning sensation, he stilled for moment, and swung his Zanpakutō downward cutting the arm that held him in place. Reishi flew in the air as he was once again free. Wasting no time, he brought his sword down on the Hollow's shoulder, earning him an angry shriek from the Hollow, then he cracked open the Hollow's mask.
Panting, Ichigo landed on the ground and took a moment for his lungs to regain air.
"Don't you guys know when to quit," Ichigo muttered as five more Hollows appeared.
As glad as he was to have some Hollows to fight, he didn't want to draw attention to himself and have the other Shinigami show up. He didn't want their help nor did he want to be scolded about causing a ruckus; it was the reason why he wasn't using his Getsuga Tensho attack. It was not like it could be helped; Hollows were appearing all the time due to the large amount of Reiryoku in the area.
A tall, gangly Hollow attacked first, extending its arms and reaching for Ichigo. He easily avoided them but as he flew from them, he felt another Hollow's claws graze his shoulder. He shunpoed away from his second attacker but he could feel the blood seeping away from the wound. It wasn't bad but it still stung.
Okay, I have to end this quickly, he decided. A large Hollow with a mask akin to something between a lion and an ox charged at him and he killed it problem free. Next he regarded the four remaining Hollows, but unfortunately for him they decided to attack at the exact same time. He zipped through the various gaping mouths and appendages trying to get him but he couldn't land a good hit because he was too busy avoiding them.
"Damn it," He swore as he felt a Hollow's claws pierce his leg.
He immediately slashed the offending Hollow's claws but it disappeared before he could deliver a final blow. A second later, Ichigo brought his sword up sharply behind him blocking another attack from that same Hollow. These Hollows were too fast, faster than an average Hollow. Why hadn't he noticed the extra Reiatsu flowing from them?
All of a sudden, he felt the gangly Hollow's arms grab him but before he could even make an attempt at escape, he noticed a mist start to descend in the area.
Taking advantage of his captor's momentary surprise due to the mist, Ichigo slipped out of its grasp and killed it. He noticed that the other Hollows were confused as well and with that he quickly hacked away at both of them.
The mist was already beginning to dissipate as quickly as it had arrived. Ichigo looked everywhere to see where that mist had come from. There was no one, but he had a sneaking suspicion it had been a Shinigami. For a moment, he had thought it was Rukia but he hadn't felt her Reiatsu. He may be terrible at recognizing Reiatsu but hers was one he knew very well. Even so, he hadn't felt hers yet there was always the distinct possibility the girl was masking it. He peered over his surroundings, half expecting the dark haired midget to appear out of nowhere and smack him for being out alone and attracting Hollows but she never showed up. Deciding it was time to call it a night, he quickly shunpoed away
Note: Japanese words do not have a different plural form as in English.
Shinigami- Soul Reaper
Visored (Vizards)- Shinigami who have Hollow powers
Sōtaichō- head captain
Reiryoku- spiritual power/energy
Reiatsu- spiritual pressure (spirit energy released as an aura)
Reishi- spirit particles