Hello there everyone! I'm back :D First and foremost, I want to say thank you to those who reviewed the final chapter of Rebirth, your comments were greatly appreciated! Now, here's my newest fic! Please review guys, I hope you all enjoy it!

01 - Born from the Night

The backwards crescent moon hung in the overcast sky, like a faint glimmer of light on a sea of black. The moon cast a glow across fields of sand, as wide as a continent, but as barren as a dead forest. Out of the dunes, a few quartz trees rose, sand sweeping up in the wind and blowing around in the air. There wasn't a soul in sight. In the distance, the once authoritative and foreboding palace of Las Noches crumbled, it's roof caved in. The pride that once came with it now gone with the ages, the story of the Winter War taking a lot of what is now the past with it. In the centre of the hollowed out dome, a tall, majestic throne sat, slumped in the pearly white sand, cracking, splitting and breaking. As all hope of seeing a living being began to cease, a voice was heard suddenly, low and cold over the wind.

'If you don't kill me now…' the voice said softly, the wind beginning to concentrate in the centre of the dome, atop the only remaining section of the roof. Craters, chasms and cracks were all that remained of the fierce battles waged here. The voice howled again, mournfully. '…it will never be over…' at last, atop the roof, sand began to pour from the cracks, collecting at the centre. The sand seemed to be spawning from the stone itself, scuttling towards the middle, as if being pulled by some magnet. From the mesh of white stones, a figure rose, his enormous, bat like wings folding in and disappearing, his long, flowing black hair drifting away, becoming shorter, his tall, sharp horns whittling away, forming a helmet upon one side of his head.

The being stepped from the sand, his fur coated legs awash with sand, the stones remaining on him, forming a white trouser leg, then a black shoe, his long, whipping tail becoming tailcoats, two of them fluttering in the wind. Pulling a white, clawless hand across his chest, his naked torso was wrapped suddenly in sand and wind, forming a tightly zipped uniform, the collar left undone at the top. Placing his hand into his pocket, he shook the hair from his eyes and opened them, the emerald green coming into focus. Holding his hand out to the side, the sand pulled up, spiralling around his fingers, forming in his palm a katana, thin and proud. Wrapping his bony fingers around it, he looked down at the weapon before opening his thin lips slightly.

'…and you did not kill me.'

Clouds drifted lazily by, the rain thundering down beside them. As it touched the glass, it looked like it would disappear into it, for that was just its reflection. A boy stood on the glass, looking up into the rainy sky. It was thundering, soaking him, the rain running down his face. His bright orange hair was dulled by the grey clouds which cast a shadow over everything. The expression on his face wasn't one of sadness, but a blank expression altogether. The boy's hand was on his heart and he closed his eyes, breathing out heavily. He was standing on a horizontal skyscraper, the clouds floating vertically past him. Opening his eyes slowly, he watched as two figures emerged from the hazy fog before him. The two men were wearing long, draping black cloaks which were torn at the bottom, their jet black shoes making no sound at all as they walked across towards the boy.

Their hair was a mass of darkness flowing out behind them and they had no visible hands as they were in what looked to be pockets. Finally they came into view, the man at the front of the two looking up, his orange glasses flashing in the rain. His face was gaunt and lined with neat, trimmed hair. As he took a step forwards, the other figure stayed back, his head looking downwards.

'Ichigo…' boomed the man at the front, looking down at the boy. '…it rains…' the black clothed man looked around, holding his hand out and letting the water fall into his palm. '…it rains endlessly in here. Can we make it stop?' asked the figure, Ichigo looking away. The second man stepped forwards, looking up. He was considerably younger looking than the first, his wavy black hair flowing around his soft, round face. However, his eyes were piercing and sharp and he looked upon Ichigo with disdain and scorn. The first man turned to him.

'I am concerned we have both appeared here at the same time…Tensa Zangetsu.' he voiced, the young man not replying. 'It tells me that Ichigo's powers are confused.' the man continued, looking down quickly at Ichigo then back up again.

'Old man Zangetsu…' whispered Ichigo, the rain splashing onto his face, his hair dripping wet and matted onto his brow as he clenched his fists.

'Hmph. It's because of the Hogyoku's ever lasting influence.' Tensa Zangetsu concluded, clicking his fingers, Ichigo's shadow black sword appearing in his hand with a crack of light. He caught it fast, bringing it around in front of him. Looking down on the sword, the young man looked up at Ichigo in expectance. 'Well? What do you think?' the two sword spirits looked at the boy, waiting for an answer.

'I…' Ichigo began. '…I can beat the Hogyoku's influence.' he grumbled, Zangetsu raising an eyebrow. Tensa Zangetsu took a defiant step forwards, appearing suddenly in front of Ichigo, the boy's eyes widening in surprise.

'Kisuke Urahara's device is unstoppable.' the man whispered darkly.

'You're wrong. I defeated Aizen didn't I? That in itself is like defeating the Hogyoku…' Ichigo babbled, Tensa Zangetsu about to argue back when Zangetsu rose up into view, his black cloak spreading outwards like the wings of a great bat.

'Enough!' he boomed, looking down on the two of them. 'Ichigo…I understand what you are saying, but you cannot deny the presence of the Hogyoku. It is still alive. It still beats within you.' with that, Ichigo looked away, unable to find an appropriate answer amongst the clouds. Tensa Zangetsu turned from him and glided back towards Zangetsu, the two of them stepping next to each other. With that, the two spirits began to fade away, Ichigo looking down at his own reflection in the puddle that dribbled down the sheen of the skyscraper. All around him, the rain pounded ever harder until the world burst into shards and fluttered all around him, lifting up into the sky. Then, his eyes opened. Looking around, he phased in and out temporarily, rubbing the back of his head.

'It feels like the sun hasn't been out for days…' Ichigo thought to himself, looking out at the moon hanging lazily over a sleeping Karakura Town. '…Dad…I want you to come back…'

It was the next morning and Ichigo was making his way through a short alley, turning out into the schoolyard. His shirt wasn't fully tucked in and his bag hung loosely over his shoulder, a solemn look on his face. He reached the school gates and placed one hand on the wall, looking in. On the courtyard, Inoue, Uryu and Sado were talking, smiling, laughing with one another. Sighing, he smiled weakly for them, his eyes dreamy.

'At least they are happy again. But…' he thought to himself, turning, looking down at the space where Rukia would always stroll beside him. '…how can they forget so easily?' Turning, he walked away from the school, his head hung, his hand gripping his bag strap tightly in his hand as he made haste back to his house. The sun was barely in the sky, casting a large shadow across the boy. A short while later, there came a pattering of footsteps and Orihime Inoue came sprinting around the corner, her hair flying around the place as she panted out of breath, looking around quickly.

'Kurosaki-kun?' she asked. Then, she took a small step around the corner and came to a set of stairs with a railing down the centre. Ichigo was sitting on the bottom step, his bag tossed on the ground in front of him, his head in his hands. Orihime recognised it as the place where Ichigo explained to her about Rukia. She tiptoed slowly towards the boy, Ichigo stirring. She backed up a little, Ichigo's hand twitching.

'Inoue…' he whispered, looking up at her. His eyes were slightly red and he looked tired and frustrated. The girl didn't say a word. Instead, she walked over to him and perched herself down next to him, placing her bag by the wall.

'Kurosaki-kun…are you alright?' she said sweetly into the boy's ear. He sat in silence, remembering what happened between them a few nights ago. '…Kurosaki-kun has been very distant lately. Like, he doesn't want to talk to us, to his friends…' she suggested, looking up into his eyes. '…to me?'

'I…' Ichigo began, the girl moving closer. He clenched his fist and shuddered, Inoue's breath almost on his neck now as the wind blew through his hair. '…I…I don't understand how you…' she touched his hand slowly with her fingertips. His eyes shot open and he leapt to his feet, the girl crying out, a look of fright on her face, unlike when she looked upon his mask. '…I don't understand how you can be happy!' Ichigo snapped, Orihime's hands up to her face now.

'Then…let me help you…Kurosaki…-' she began, but Ichigo cursed, running a hand through his hair.

'I don't need your help okay?' he said darkly, his hand over his face. The boy turned sharply, walking briskly back towards his home. 'I'll see you some other time.' he scowled, the girl backed up against the wall, her eyes wide open in shock. The wind passed between the two of them, sweeping leaves up into the sky and pulling them, causing them to dance between the floor and the heavens. But, despite everything…Ichigo did not look back.

Ichigo's Rising