Blurb: Ichigo Kurosaki. Occupation: Student, Shinigami... Mental patient.

Warning: Spoilers for Bleach series, non-major. Extrapolation. Disturbing themes.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. Don't bother suing me.

Written To: The insanely annoying sound of the person next to me tapping away very loudly on the keyboard. The only consolation is that I'm not working.

AN: Apologies for the lateness, but this is the last chapter of Psych. It seems likely there'll be a sequel to this, under a different name, since I don't think further chapters will really come under the domain of this story any more. Please, enjoy.

Tatsuki Arisawa glanced out of the window as she scribbled down some answers to her maths homework distractedly. It wasn't good, but then how could it be? It wasn't as if she could concentrate on it properly, anyway.

Not when her best friend since the age of 5 was now in a psychiatric ward, and one of his best friends was dead.

Trauma counselling was what he needed, they'd said at first. He must be traumatised with the events of the past few months, and with his delicate state (Tatsuki actually choked at that description), who knows what damage might have been done to his mind?

Then they came up with the idea of a brain tumour, something pressing in the wrong places. Long-term lesions on the cerebellum. Cancerous growths. Schizophrenia. Multiple personality disorder. CAT scans and psychiatric counselling.

Then they started poking. Asking questions about her personal life, what kind of relationship she had with Ichigo, whether she had had any knowledge of the activities preceding to Sado's death, whether Ichigo had been taking drugs at any point. It had been quite tempting for her to just yell at them all that her friend wasn't insane and would they just stop trying to find something wrong when there was nothing to find?

Explanations that she could see spirits wouldn't have gone down well. Isshin couldn't help. And even Urahara wasn't able to make all the people forget about everything.

And then… they stopped asking.

That was probably worse. She'd ask when she could have her friend back, and was brushed aside with a vague 'soon' from the doctors or 'as soon as we've found the root of the problem'. They couldn't even give her a vague description of the problem he didn't have. All she could do was suppress the increasing urge to beat up his doctors and force them to release him.

Hell, even she wasn't sure he didn't have problems any more, with everything they'd done.

Algebra. You have algebra in front of you.

She focused on the numbers in front of her, grabbing a pencil to begin.

She glanced up, then did a double take as she saw a white figure in front of her.

The window shattered.

"Heya, Tatsuki-chwaaan! Long time no see!"

Tatsuki stared.

Crouched on her desk with a shit-eating grin was a hollow. Or, to be more precise, a certain Hollow looking like the twin brother of –

"Ichigo?" she whispered.

He winced. "Ah… he ain't in righ' now. They kinda screwed him up a little at the hospital, see. I'm jes' takin' over for now."

"What - but…" Her brain processed the entire thing. "Let go of him. Now."

"Ain't gonna happen."The grin faded. "He's pretty messed up. Almost dead now, actually. I jus' came ta say bye for him."

"Bastard. You think you can come here with that face and that I'll just let you go?"

"…not really… but ya won't be seein' us again – OW!" he yelled angrily, rubbing the place where she'd just hit him. Hard. "The hell was that for?"

"How can you just leave like that?!" she shouted at him, cradling her wrist. "Besides, what the hell is your skin made of, rock or something?"

"It's hierro, dammit! The only reason I came here was because you're prob'ly the only person I thought would listen to sense! ICHIGO. IS. DEAD. He ain't comin' back. Ever. And people need to know that."

"That's all you came to say?" Nothing else? You think you can just walk in here, tell me my best friend of twelve years is dead and LEAVE?

He hesitated. "…pretty much. I ain't stayin' here any longer than I have to, the shinigami'll be all over this shit soon's they've dealt with my little present." Reaching out, he drew a jagged line in midair, tearing open a garganta.

"Say hi to everyone for me, willya, Tatsuki?"

"No." She stood up, glaring at him.

He did a double take. "What?"

Bastard. "You're not leaving me." Tatsuki folded her arms.

"Like hell you're comin' with me."

"Then stop me. I'd like to see you try."

He stared at her, before pulling Zangetsu down from across his back. She didn't move.

"I could cut ya open before you'd even notice."

Tatsuki continued to meet his gaze, glaring back at him.

In the end, Shiro was the first to look away. "Tch. If you're so damn stubborn about dyin', I ain't gonna stop ya."

"I'm not going to die. But I'm not going to let you go, either. I can't just – " Her voice broke, and she bit her tongue angrily.

"…fine," Shiro said grudgingly. "But ya ain't my responsibility here on out."

He stepped through into the darkness, and, after a moment's hesitation, so did Tatsuki.

The garganta slid shut once more, leaving no trace behind.