It had been 3 days ever since the end of the winter war.

3 days, since Aizen had been defeated. A lot could change in 3 days. A lot had changed in those 3 days. Ichigo sighted. Sensing the hollow he had tracked down coming from behind, he turned around, and his hand moved to his left hip, were zangetsu was in its black sheath. That was something he wasn't quite used to. Being a captain, he had undergone several last-minute training sessions, including sealing his zanpakutou, and mastering kidou.

The latter had been, much to everyone's surprise, really easy for Ichigo. Sure, it had exploded in his face several times, but he had already mastered most of the kidou spells. It wasn't that much different when he compared it to his getsuga tenshou. It was the same principle. And both Tessai and Hachigen had taught him well. Like all his other skills, he had mastered it awfully quick. 36 hours. That was all it had taken him to complete all kidou techniques up untill 60. Of course, he had trouble remembering all those incantations, and sure, it had exploded in his face a couple of times. But then again, he had time to improve. Plenty of time.

He swung down his sword, and the monkey like hollow started to disintegrate.

He turned around, and another memory came. Renji and Ikkaku. Both had been appointed captain. Renji was now the captain of the 9th division, while a very pissed Ikkaku was now in charge of the 5th division, to the dismay of Hinamori, who was, and rightfully so, slightly afraid of her new captain. But Ikkaku was doing just fine, even with the paperwork. Then again, a certain teal-eyed captain had treathened to turn him into an icicle if he heard but the slightest complaint from Hinamori. Renji was doing fine as well, he got along with Hisagi pretty well, so no problems there.

Ichigo's thoughts were interrupted by a deep, masculine voice.

'Ichigo'

He looked up, and saw his friend, Sado Yasutora, better known as Chad.

'Yo, Chad. What're you doing here?' the orange haired captain asked his friend.

'Felt the reatsu of the hollow.' was the only thing he got for an answer.

They walked home.

'So Ichigo. How are things going in Soul Society?' his question puzzled Ichigo. Chad wasn't really the type for some iddle chit-chat.

'Fine. I guess. Kira called it quits though, he decided to join the kidou corps, so I'll have to find myself a new lieutant.'

Chad merely nodded.

While talking, they had reached Ichigo's house. Chad waved, and left.

As soon as he opened the door, Ichigo was greeted by his dad, the same way as usual.

'HELLOOOOOO ICHIGOOOOOO!!!' Ichigo sidestepped, and his dad flew past him, crash-landing in the garden.

Ichigo slowly entered.

'I'm going to my room.' he announced to his sisters.

'But what about your food?' Yuzu asked, adopting a worried tone.

'I'm not hungry' he merely replied, and walked up the stairs.

As soon as he entered his room, he noticed something strange; Kon was pressing his ear against his closet. When he came closer, he heard the moans coming from it.

"Aww damn, not my closet" he thought. No matter how happy he was for Rukia and Renji for getting together, making love in his closet was more than he could handle.

He grabbed his shinigami badge, and pressed it against his chest, releasing his spirit form. He opened the window, and jumped out of it.

After flashstepping aimlessly around Karukura town, Ichigo's thoughts started to wander off.

Everything seemed save. But it wasn't. There was still someone, or rather, somehting, out there that was dangerous to both soul society and the human world. Ichimaru Gin. After stealing the hougyoky from Aizen, he had fled, and with most of the captains severly wounded, nobody had been able to follow him. Of course, search parties had been sent after him. But personally, Ichigo very much doubted that any captain below captain class was able to find, much less defeat Ichimaru.

For the third time that day, his thoughts were interrupted. His feet had subconsiously brought him to the place were the battle had taken place 3 days ago. A powerful gust of wind send his haori rippling in the wind, making the sign of the 3rd squat almost hypnotizing to look at. But that was not what had disturbed him. Below him, in the small speck of trees, he felt spikes of reatsu, around lieutant class. Without a second thought, he dashed off towards it.

Ichigo landed in the woods. Infront of him were tree figures, obviously arrancar, standing around something.

'Is this her?' the first one asked. He had short blond hair, and half his face was covered by a white mask, that resembled a bear.

'I think so. She matches the description master Ichimaru gave us.' The second said. This one's hair could not be seen; it was covered by the back of a hollow mask, that was attached to his face with several stripes.

'We're lucky she is wounded though. Otherwise she just might have killed us.' the third one said. This one was female, with a bird like mask covering most of her face.

Ichigo's thoughts raged. They were going to kill a defenseless person. Not if he could help it. And he could. He flash-stepped right into their midst, picking up the person that was lying on the ground, unconscious. He flastepped back to where he had landed.

'you pieces of trash. Don't you have any shame? What person would cut down someone who can't defend himself?' he snarled, putting down the figure. He stood back up, and unsheated his sword.

'A shinigami.' the first one said, sounding surprised

'Who thought that Someone -' the second one started.

'Like you would save someone like her.' the last one finished

'Enough with the talk already! Give us the girl, shinigami!' the first one shouted.

'And if I don't?' Ichigo asked, a smirk forming on his face.

'We'll kill you and take her ourselves.' the bird-like arrancar said.

Ichigo continued to taunt them, by saying: 'you and whose army?'

In response, the tree arrancars raised their swords

'Fly.'

'Crash.'

'Dive.'

Before any of them could complete their resureccion phrase, all three of them were cut down, an X sliced across theirs chests. They fell to the ground, and disintegrated. Ichigo resheated his sword, and walked back to the girl lying on the ground.

He looked down at her.

She wore white arrancar attire, and her jacket hung open, revealing the mask covering her jaw, and that went down dow her breasts. She had a tanned skin, that contrasted with her clothes. She had blonde hair in 3 small braids. Her eyes were closed. But what really caught his eye, was the number tattoo√ęd on her right breast. 3. She was one of the espada. But the other ones had wanted to kill her under Ichimaru's orders. She might know something important. Deciding that they needed her, he picked her up again, and flashstepped away.

Ichigo arrived at Orihime's house, and ringed the bell.

Her happy voice sounded from the intercom.

'Yes, who's there?'

'It's me, Ichigo. I need a huge favor of you, Inoue.' Ichigo replied

her tone turned serious when she heard that.

'Come in.'

The door was opened by none other than Uryuu Ishida.

It didn't surprise Ichigo much. The two had been together ever since they had returned to the human world.

'Ah, Kurosaki, come in. Inoue told me it's urgent.' he said, looking at the girl Ichigo was carrying.

They walked to the living room, and Ichigo laid down the girl on a bed.

'Kurosaki, have you gone mad?' Uryuu exclaimed, pointing at the figure on the bed.

'What?'

'That's an arrancar. The enemy. Why shoud Inoue heal her?'

Ichigo sighted, and quickly told the quincy about what he had seen.

'So, I came to the conclusion that she has some kind of crucial knowledge.' he finished

'I understand. But do you have taken the fact into consideration that she might attack us as soon as she is healed?' Uryuu asked.

'that's why I am here.' the orange haired shinigami replied, impatiently

'It's okay. I trust you, Ichigo. ' Orihime said, as she started healing. The well known yellow force field hovered over the girl.

After about 2 hours of healing, the force field dissappeared. All the wounds were gone.

'She will wake up shortly.' Orihime announced. The atmosphere tensed up.

The girl stirred, and opened her eyes. When she did, Ichigo's train of thoughts came to an abrupt end. Her eyes were a blueish green, like the sea at a white beach, andd equally dangerous when it came to drowning.

The girl blinked a few times, and sat up.

'Where am I, and who are you?' she asked, in a calm voice, that didn't betray any emotions.

'My name is Ichigo Kurosaki, Substitute shinigami, and newly appointed captain of squad tree. And to were you are, you are in a friends house in Karakura town.'

Ichigo watched the girl carefully while he said that. When he mentioned shinigami, her hand shot to her sword, but it wasn't there.

'Relax, we won't hurt you, I promise' he said, his voice gentle.

'Where did you put my-'

'Your sword?' Ichigo held up the short, broad sword in it's pink sheath.

'Sorry, but we had to take it from you. We couldn't risk you attacking us all.'

She merely nodded in response.

She turned to Orihime. 'were you the one that healed me?' she asked.

'Yes.' Orihime spoke, a bit timidly, while grabbing Uryuu's hand

'Thank you.'

She turned to Ichigo

Before she could ask something, however, he asked her:

'So who are you?'

'My name is Tia Hallibel. The 3rd Espada.'