Fade to Black: I'm Still Here!
Pairing: IchiSen in the Style of 'Memories of a Nobody'
This is going to be a series of 'Books' as it were. This one will not be complete, and will leave you hanging—If you want more, then come ask for it!
It was an early Tuesday morning in Karakura, Japan, and if you looked closely, you'd probably see a 16 year old kid. He was going so school, like most other kids this time of year, early spring, but if you were a resident of Japan, you would pick him out in a crowd. He was muscular and he had orange blond hair that stood out in any section of the city. Someone less notable, however, walked beside him. She was someone who you probably wouldn't see unless you sought her out, or maybe you'd been going to go check out the taller orange blob. Her hair was shoulder length, and a raven black that didn't offset her violet eyes much. She carried a Chappy bag over her shoulder, and was talking to the other kid beside her as she did every morning and night—they did live together.
"Ichigo, I'm just saying…" She shrugged, her bag moving with her shoulders, "Hollows over homework. I thought we established this."
"I wasn't disagreeing." He retorted, "I just need to get through High School, unlike some immortal Shinigami…"
"We're not immortal." She corrected him, "Our lifespan is just much longer than that of a human."
"Then where does that leave me?" Ichigo inquired, honestly wanting an answer. The million dollar question that had popped up after the winter war.
"I've been thinking, actually, and I have an answer!" Rukia announced, stopping and holding up her finger as if she was about to give him a lecture, "Your body will get older, but you're soul will age much slower. Once your body dies, we'll get you a Gigai." She promised, nodding at her own explanation.
"Great." He grumbled. "I'll be dead, but still alive? How does that work? I'm still human, so I should die with my body."
"But outside of your body, you're a full fledged Shinigami." Rukia corrected once more, catching up with the blond kid that hadn't waited for her during her rant. "So, outside your body, you've got all the perks."
"Ah." Ichigo muttered, understanding a bit. "Ugg. I'll worry about that when I die." He decided, re-adjusting his own bag that was slung across his shoulders. How funny something so serious had become a trivial matter. "We're going to be late if you don't hurry up." Ichigo pointed out, extending his stride.
"Yeah, yeah." Rukia muttered back, breaking into a slight trot that she regularly used to keep up with the tall strawberry. "Did we eat this morning?" she yawned, out of context.
"…I think so." Ichigo replied, unsure himself. Things had blurred together into one massive 'middle' since the War. They could normally remember if they ate, but this morning had been different, since numerous Hollow appearances had occurred within the last few days, leaving their body or Gigai rested, but their soul exhausted. Luckily, Ishida was in the area and helped cleanse a vast amount. "Toast, I think." Ichigo specified.
"Then why am I so hungry?" she asked him, not really paying attention to the conversation.
"Because you eat everything." Ichigo replied, equally as absentmindedly.
"Are you calling me fat, strawberry?" her voice an icy calm. Ichigo realized his mistake too late, and burst out into a sprint in an attempt to get to the safety of the school. Rukia took off after him, if only for the humility of making him run. Another win for the Chibi.
As soon as they arrived at the front gate, Ichigo dove behind a nearby wall, panting, and hoped that Rukia wouldn't check for him. He didn't know why he was hiding—he wasn't afraid of her—maybe it was just the thrill of the game they played every now and again. He sometimes considered it training for the moment when he really did tick her off. Rukia walked in, her hair only a bit frizzy, and she escaped Ichigo's vision.
"I win." Rukia told him, punching him in the jaw from the right, which was in his blindspot currently.
"NO FAIR!" Ichigo complained, knowing that she'd used Shunpo. He rubbed his jaw, which was resistant to bruising from all the battery it had endured from Grimmjow back in the day.
"All's fair in love and war!" Rukia quoted, jumping back and smirking at him.
"Fine then." He replied, getting up and shoving her head downwards with surprising force. "Two words…"
"NO FAIR!" Rukia yelled at him, struggling to free herself. Ichigo smirked down at her,
"The tables had turned, midget." He proclaimed dramatically, letting her up.
"Ha ha." She mumbled halfheartedly. "So very funny, strawberry."
"I know." Ichigo replied, walking farther into the courtyard. Something caught his eye, however—the top of his vision. A small colorful dot. He turned to get a better look, but he couldn't remember where he'd seen it. It was just up somewhere. After giving it a good hard look, he continued his morning rambles with Rukia as Ishida, Inoue, and Chad showed up. The first bell rang, and everyone rushed inside, pushing and trampling each other mercilessly. Everyone somehow managed to get situated into their desired classroom, and the teacher began the lesson, starting off the day with a lecture over the planets and a quick astronomy review.
4 hours went by, and finally a release came. The lunch bell sounded after about 15 kids willed it too for the past 30 minutes. Ichigo waited for his usual group, and then they all snuck out to the rooftop, a place they commonly had lunch together if they weren't caught. Everyone sat down and began to chat about topic they all knew well, school, Soul Society, Karakura in general, and the girls engaged in the usual High School gossip while the guys sat in a comfortable silence, sometimes interjecting when they knew something to add to the rumor.
After they'd finished their lunches and were just talking, Ichigo looked over to where the Japanese flag flew high, just a few feet away, hanging out on a flag pole that jutted out of the roof hanging over the main yard. There was something right on the edge of it, something fluttering on the edge. Ichigo, at first, took it to be a tattered piece of the flag, and 'They need to replace that.' Briefly drifted through his mind. He continued to observe it, bored as he was, and realized it was a separate piece of material, much smaller than the flag.
"What's that?" he inquired to the rest of the group, pointing over to the small thing.
"…The flag of Japan." Ishida said, slowly. Ichigo glared at him and retorted,
"No dur. Over there."
"You didn't move your hand." Ishida observed again. Ichigo looked like he was about to blow a gasket, but Rukia squinted and proceeded to intervene,
"That?" she asked for confirmation, pointing a bit above the flags edge. "The red thing?"
"Yeah!" Ichigo assured, lowering his hand. "What is it?"
"A string?" Guessed Inoue, also squinting at it. "It's so tiny! How did you notice it, Kurosaki-kun?"
"Yeah… but so's the middle of the flag." Rukia pointed out. "You must be really bored."
"Maybe." Ichigo shrugged. It was the blob of color he'd seen earlier, for sure. "I wonder if I can get it…"
"You'd be stupid to even try, baka." Rukia told him firmly. "It's a 30 foot drop to the ground, at least." She reasoned, peering over the edge.
"So what?" Ichigo brushed it off, "I've been battered half way around this town and I was fine. Plus, if I fall, Inoue can heal me." He summarized, standing up.
"Idiot." Rukia titled him, standing up as well to make sure he didn't teeter over the edge.
The roof didn't have any railing, so it was easy to get to the base of the pole. "Betcha I can get it." He taunted her, "5 bucks."
"Without falling? Doubt it." She argued, agreeing to his bet. "5 bucks."
"….Kurosaki-kun…" Inoue mumbled, sweatdropping. He was always such a daredevil…
Ichigo reached out to grab the fluttering piece of cloth, but was half way over and only half way there. "I'll go out on it…" he informed the rest of them, testing the strength of the pole, which was excellent. It was at least solid, and the bolts seemed firm.
"Ok, Ichigo, this is stupid." Rukia said, worrying a bit now.
"You just want my five dollars." He reasoned to himself and her. "I'll get it." Rukia, not wanting to egg him on, remained quiet. If he had an ounce of common sense, he'd back off after a foot.
Ichigo got about 3/4 ths of himself out over the overhang, then managed to get a grip on the pole. He was hanging upside down, hands and legs wrapped round the only thing keeping him alive.
"Ichigo, get back here." Rukia ordered, suddenly fearing he might go all the way. "At least let Kon do it. He can jump." She insisted, sitting on the edge of the roof, her legs hanging over as her nails grinded against the side of the building. "Seriously!"
"Yeah, now that I'm hanging upside down 30 feet in the air, let me just reach into my pocket and get out an impossibly tiny Soul Candy and then expect Kon to know what I'm doing." Ichigo replied sarcastically, going out an inch further. A small group had formed below, cheering his rebellion on. After 5 painstaking minutes on the bystanders part, Ichigo actually managed to get past the flag and to the small red string. "It's a ribbon." He called back to the others. The pole was about 8 feet long, so he was a distance from them.
"Great. Dandy. Get back here." Rukia instructed, her heart pounding with the anxiety. How could he be this stupid? How could he let him be this stupid?
He took one hand off, grasping for the ribbon with a well aimed strike. He got a hold on it, but then the strangest thing happened,
"Is that you?"
The voice was melodic, but it gave him an instant migraine, seeming to buzz and whistle at the same time.
There was nothing after that, except maybe the brief sensation of lightheadedness that occurred right after he noticed the ground was about to hit his face. He closed his eyes and anticipated painful impact, unsure of why he'd let go in the first place. He heard a gasp, presumably from the people below him, and in an instant reaction moment, he attempted a flash step, his body not reacting to the soul-only stimuli.
"Do you remember me?"
Ichigo was too busy to mind the voice that cut through the chaos. His mind was trying to force a flash step, which was fizzing up everything even more. After 30 seconds with no impact, he finally opened his eyes. He was standing at the gate of the school, looking at a ton of kids huddled around the flagpole area looking confused and shocked. Rukia was looking down from the roof, her eyes wide, Inoue not to far behind, her hands on her barrettes.
"Don't worry, Ichigo. I'll help you remember~,
"…" Ichigo was awestruck. Autumn leaves were scattered about the ground, but it was spring… He picked one up, flipping it over, and let it flutter back to the ground. Everyone was freaking out over where he had just been, and Rukia didn't seem to register that he wasn't there anymore, and he heard her scream,
"ICHGIO! I TOLD YOU, BAKA!" her voice on the verge of distressed, "YOU BETTER BE OK DOWN THERE!"
"I am." He said back at her, knowing she couldn't hear. He didn't know that voice that he'd just heard—he'd never encountered someone like that before. The leaves, though… they were a hint? It was spring, the polar opposite of Autumn. The ribbon was still in his hand, and he pocketed it. Ichigo decided it would be pretty fun to just go over and surprise them all, even Rukia, who had never been fooled by his stunts before, knowing when he used flash step. Whatever had just happened, it was faster than even Rukia could see. That was saying something.
Ichigo eventually decided against it, and pulled out the small flashing device that Rukia had loaned him for such occasions. He whipped it out and as soon as he made it near the blob and all attention was around him, he simply clicked the button and the crowd dispersed accordingly. Rukia glared down at him with a malice and anger,
"Ichigo! Why'd you.. how'd you…!" she yelled down, jumping to his level when no one was looking. Inoue, Chad, and Ishida all descended the stairs.
"Dunno'." He replied, shrugging, as confused as her.
"Why on earth would you let go!" Rukia continued her relentless scorning.
"…I let go?" he inquired, not remembering doing any such thing.
" You ok in there?" Rukia wondered aloud. "You looked all shocked for a second, and then boom, falling." She recapped for him, doing a downwards motion with her hands.
"Huh." Ichigo muttered, not remembering anything of the like. "You owe me five dollars." He remembered suddenly, holding out his hand. Rukia was about to say something, but abruptly cut herself off to scavenge for the money, which she promptly handed to Ichigo before continuing,
"Fine, but are you sure you're ok?"
"Y-E-S." Ichigo emphasized, spelling it out for her. He began walking back towards the main buildings, followed by basically everyone else. The bell rang seconds after they entered, and everyone continued the school day, Inoue constantly telling Ichigo that she was so glad he was ok.
The day ended, and everyone parted ways, excluding Ichigo and Rukia, who walked back home much the same way they'd come. Ichigo was continuously checking his pocket, making sure that it was still there. Ichigo could see the Ferris Wheel a while away, the permanent one in the center of town.
"I'll give you a hint."
"I like high places."
Ichigo stopped mid-stride. So it wasn't his panicking mind imagining it. A brief flash of a girl doing the impossible, balancing on the lit wires in the mall's plaza, balancing perfectly flashed by his minds eye. The girl was barely there, though—a ghost lit by the lights.
"Ichigo, come on." Rukia called, beginning to wonder if he'd actually hit his head. He didn't move, but instead locked his gaze on the very top of the Ferris Wheel.
"If you can find three places that I liked because they were high, I'll give you another hint." She promised,
the voice buzzing and whistling at the same time and giving him a headache again. "Ow…" he complained, moving his hand to his forehead. This alarmed Rukia greatly, since the last time he saw him do that, it was during the fight with one of the espada.
"Ichigo?" She asked, her voice a bit strained and fast, "You doing ok?"
"Yeah." He replied, rubbing his forehead. "Ow… Lets get home. I need some ice… and Aspirin…" Ichigo decided, continuing his walk. "And for the record, I'll tell you if I'm not ok. You've asked me like….10 times today. I'm fine."
"If you say so." Rukia gave in. How silly of her—of course he got a normal headache from time to time.
They arrived at the Kurosaki home, and as soon as they entered, Ichigo was upstairs. Yuzu called him down to dinner, but he continued doing what he had been doing under the table. He hardly touched his dinner, and as soon as Rukia was done, he was 'finished' as well. He went back upstairs quickly, to fast for Rukia to see what he was doing, but not fast enough for him to get away from her. She put her foot in the door as he attempted to close it, and threw it open again. Ichigo had apparently jumped on his bed soon after giving the door the momentum and proceeded to write whatever it was he was writing.
"You have a diary?" she asked, snickering. Ichigo glared at her and shook his head,
"Of course not, baka." Ichigo told her firmly. "I'm just taking notes… on stuff." He explained in a vague way.
"Ichigo, you're not on drugs, are you?" she asked, serious for a second. Isshin had asked her to do that every so often, what with the percentage nowadays.
"No!" he retorted quickly. "I mean high as in height."
"Like the Karakura clock tower?" she asked, thinking of the highest point possible.
"…Yeah…" he muttered as he scribbled the name down, seeming to circle it. He'd decided to pursue the mysterious happenings today, if not just to see the outcome of him finding the three places. It was there, in the back of his mind—he'd known since he saw the ribbon on the flag pole that morning. "Anything else you can think of?"
"What's this for?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips in a rather feminine stature.
"Nothing, really…" Ichigo compromised, not really wanting to tell her of the vague memories that seemed to dance in and out of his thoughts. "I'll take that as a no, then." He said, flipping over and going over what he had so far, which was about 15 places, including the crest of the Ferris Wheel and the Plaza, both of which he'd remembered when he'd heard the voice again. "Soul Society didn't do anything to me, did they?" he asked suddenly, closing the book. It would be something they'd do, and it would explain a lot.
"…What's going on." She said, her voice toned as if she knew that something was amiss all along. "And as far as I know, they didn't do anything to you."
"… never mind then." Ichigo told her, rolling over to his back was to her and continued to scribble. "The Karakura bridge!" He whispered to himself, remembering that as well. He seemed to count up specific places. "1…2…3." He added a slight flourish to the three, poking it with the pen. "All of them."
"Great. Ichigo, you can count to 3." She congratulated him sarcastically. "I'll ask you tomorrow, then." She decided, knowing he wasn't listening to her anyway.
"Fine with me." Ichigo replied, closing the book and setting it on his nightstand where Kon was located. As soon as Rukia was inside her closet and Ichigo was sure she was asleep, he popped the Soul Candy into the lion plushy, and before it had time to make any crazy comments, Ichigo put his hand over Kons mouth,
"Act exactly like me tomorrow, you understand?" he whispered, making sure the mod soul understood. He didn't normally keep it a secret from Rukia, so Kon slacked on acting like him most of the time. "Exactly like me. Remember that, because I'm not going to have time to tell you tomorrow morning."
Kon nodded inside the lion doll, eyes wide in shock. Ichigo instructed him to get some sleep, which he did without further question on the basis that Ichigo would toss him out the window.
Ichigo, on the other hand, got back into his bed and set his wristwatch to 4. A.M. He'd have enough time to check out most of the list before school, and Rukia hopefully wouldn't notice Kon's erratic behavior. He had to see what this entire thing was about—he knew that there was someone on the other end of the messages and voice- it wasn't just his own mind. The problem that was daunting him more than anything at this point, however, was the fact that this person must've been important, and the simple truth that he couldn't, for the life of him,
remember who it was.
This Fic is going to be different from the rest in the fact that I'm going to be going by days. Such as this is 'Day 1' the next chapter will be 'Day 2' and I might do a time lapse, such as 'One Week Later' Which will fast forward to a week from that day, when something else important happened.
I hope you enjoyed, and you can expect an update soon. School's out!
Please, if you READ it, take a second and REVIEW IT. I allow anonymous reviews, do you don't need an account!