DAMNIT! Someone HAD to suggest this to me, and before I knew it, BAM! here it was. I'm going to try and start each chappy with a poem, but well, uh, not all of those are mine, they're just supposed to symbolize the emotions in each chapter. Not really the best poet.

My mother groaned, my father wept:
Into the dangerous world I leapt,
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's chest.


Kurosaki Ichigo cried.

"Mom...Mommy! Don't die! Please don't die!"

"I can save her."


"I will not repeat myself." The voice inside his head sighed, unravelling as the blood soaked into his windbreaker. "Now, come to me."

Ichigo blinked in dismay and surprise as the rainy surroundings of the riverbank disappeared only to be replaced with another, less than appealing landscape. He tried to scream, but the words, and his voice had already deserted him. Ichigo gasped and covered his face with both hands as a dark shadow swept overhead. This was a dream, it was all just a dream! He was going to wake up soon, he was going to wake up to his nice, warm bed, and, and and...

However, this was not the warm, watery world of he'd often seem in his dreams, in fact, this place was the exact opposite of the vibrant and lively world, as was its owner. This place stank of death and decay, of dried blood and perfume, as opposed to the minty, syrupy sweet smell that always emanated from that place, that a aquatic realm. Indeed, if this horrid place could even be described as a home, then only a monster straight out of a horror film could ever call it such.

He stood in an open plain, but that was where the resemblance began and ended. There were no clouds, no mountains in this bloody red sky, from which a full moon, black and ominous shone down. There was a tree, but it was a hideous, deformed oak, from which a thousand crows were perched, giving it the appearance of actually retaining leaves. The fowl stared at him with their blood red eyes, as if daring him to come closer, daring her to approach one of the many corpses that lay scattered about this blood red field. It cawed at him, laughing when he backed away.

"W-What is this place...?"

Scattered about the ashen field were thick splotches of blood, darker than the red sky, nearly opaque in their coloration. Somehoe, Ichigo knew, he just knew they weren't just stains, they reaked of blood A warm breeze, thick with the scent of malice, blew across the field, and Ichigo shivered quietly, not even bothering to turn around as the sound of footsteps crunched across the dead skulls of warriors, long since deceased.

"I wanna go home!"

"Welcome, boy."

"W-Who's there!" He tried, then failed to hide the fear in his voice, and was unable to conceal the way he quailed at the thought of turning to face the apparition that was drawing steadily closer toward him. "Th-This a dream, right? None of this is real, right? This isn't happening to me, is it?"

"Boy." The sound of footsteps paused, slowed, stopped. "Everything you see before you is very, very real." A hand, sun kissed in its tan, clasped his shoulder briefly, then roughly shoved him forward, causing the boy to stumble a few paces before regaining his balance. He tripped over something flat, and fell face first into the mire. Immediately, he began to sob, which only earned an exasperated retort from the woman.

"Honestly, to think that you're my wielder."

Ichigo sniffled and rubbed at the grime covering his eyes.

"Where's my mom...I wanna go home...

"Cease your bawling and stand, boy!"

A hard object crashed into his skull, bouncing off his soppy mane of orange hair. Whining, Ichigo rubbed at his scalp, then bent down to pick up the object that had injured him so. The child quailed once he recognized the oblong object in his hand. He'd seen daddy with something like this before, but the memory was faint and fuzzy, escaping him when he reached for it. However, he'd watched more than enough cartoons to recognize the sheathe for what it was, and what was contained within it.

"Nani? A sword? What am I 'sposed to do with this?"

"Draw your sword, boy." The softness was gone, replaced by the steely bite of a stern woman as she stepped into the light. Ichigo whimpered, realizing that this was, not the kind, loving voice that Ichigo had known for all of his life, nor was this his mother, though she could easily have been mistaken as such at first glance, if not for the aforementioned characteristics. "Your true test begins here and now. And I suggest you hurry. If you don't, your mother will most certainly...die."

"What?" Disbelief flickered across the boy's delicate features "What did you just say?"Now, Kurosaki Ichigo did turn, and for the second time within a day, beheld the grim visage he'd seen in his nightmare's. Fierce crimson eyes glittered out of an even fiercer visage, long tresses of ruby red hair framed her face, and the necklace of black pearl beads she wore. The red, ragged kimono, completed the appearance of a woman born solely for the sake of battle, and nothing else. She wielded a strange, rectangular katana, one that dripped red with blood. She smiled, coldly, approaching.

"Prepare yourself, my master-to-be."


The crows shrieked and scattered into the skies as the sound of steel striking steel filled the graveyard. The woman gaped, her eyes widening, narrowing, at the thin slice in her neck, not even a centimeter deep. Touching a delicate finger to the wound, it came away with a droplet of red.

Ichigo lay there, weakly gripping the hilt of the sword.


Ichigo squealed and scampered backward on his hands and knees.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Please don't kill me!"

"Coward." She chided sternly. "I have no intention of harming you."

"You tried to chop my head off!"

"When you say try, that means I attempted to remove your head from your shoulders." She startled him now, by sheathing her blade and performing an about face, bringing her glaring visage a mere centimeter from his own. "As you can see, boy, I have done no such thing. Had I been willing to use my full strength from the beginning, you would have perished. Now, cease your bawling and stand."

"Gah," And here little Ichigo furiously scratched at his head. "I don't understand any of this!" His protests were abruptly silence as the woman placed both hands upon his shoulders and lowered herself to his level. Ichigo blinked, flinching away from her stern visage.

"Y-You're weird. Who are you?"

"Your princess."


"In due time, boy. The red princess smiled and drew herself up."All in due time. Now, you must leave my world. Your mother will yet live, but the time has not yet come for you to learn my name. Your father is trying to rouse you, and I have kept you long enough."

"But I-

A soft pair of lips pressed against Ichigo's cheek, silencing him.

"Farewell for now, my prince."

With a violent scream from his lungs, Kurosaki Ichigo came gasping back to the world of the living. A pair of strong arms embraced him, hauling him into a chest that reeked of cigarrete smoke and oranges. The room was a blur of white, and it took the lad quite some time to realize that he was no longer at the riverbank, but in a hospital bed, his father, Isshin Kurosaki, speaking to his only son now as he pulled away.

...alright, Ichigo?"


Ichigo blinked, blearily rubbing at his eyes. He tried to sit up, but a weight was keeping his legs pinned in place. Confused, Ichigo glanced down for the source of the burden, and upon noticing it, shouted loudly in exclamation. It was the same sword from before! And it was in his lap!

"W-When did this get here?"

Isshin seemed to notice the crooked handle of the blade as well. He gazed at it for a moment, irises shrinking as his eyes widened in surprise.

"Ichigo," And here Isshin's tone darkened. "Son, where did you find that sword?"

"Um...I dunno." Ichigo instinctively curled a hand about the blade's darkened sheathe. "A lady in red clothes gave it to me. I was in this really wierd place and she kept trying to-

"Did she mention her name?" Isshin asked abruptly.

"Nu-uh...Confused, Ichigo shook his head." She said I couldn't learn it yet. She also said something about Mommmy being okay if I managed to convince her 'bout something. She also called me her prince? Dad, what's going on here, where's Mommmy? I remember the river, and-and-and...

Isshin paled, the words of his son falling upon deaf ears. Ichigo had just accurately described the zanpakutou of his oldest rival and closest friend, Urahara Kisuke. The last time he had checked, that crazy bastard had just become the captain of the twelfth division. So what was Kisuke's zanpakutou doing in the hands of Isshin's son? Was that the reason Masaki's wounds had simply closed themselves up, before his very eyes?

The reason why such a powerful hollow had fled from such an easy meal?

A cold knot of dread began to form in Isshin's stomach. Either Urahara was dead, or Ichigo had somehow, miracously, obtained the very same zanpakutou as one of Soul Society's most infamous captain's. And if the latter were the case, and the Gotei Thirteen was made aware of it...

"Oh, kami."


"Oh, It's nothing, my son! Nothing at all!" Isshin laughed boisterously, struggling to maintain a cheerful facade in the face of his inquisitive offspring. Leaping from the bed to the door, Isshin flung it open with excess enthusiasm, nearly disloding the plaster from its hinges in the process of doing so. Ichigo stared after him in disbelief, only to squeal in delight as Isshin swept back around and scooped him up in one arm.

"What say we get you out of this bed and go pay Momma a visit, neh, Ichigo!"

A/N: Next time: Friends.

Um...if anyone knows any good poetry, I'd appreciate the help.