SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT
I recently read chapter 423 of Bleach and was so captivated by it I just had to write a story based on it. The first chapters will have extreme spoilers so if you aren't completely up to speed with the manga then please stop reading. This chapter is mainly a recap of the final battle between Ichigo and Aizen, just to set the scene for what is to come. Ichi-Ruki fans will be very pleased, in fact I am hoping all Bleach fans will be pleased. Read on, enjoy and dont forget to review.
Black Fang, White Moon
The air went still. The rustling breezes died. The clouds of dust settled instantly. The world stood still as two great foes faced each other.
Aizen was a distorted creature. A monster of unimaginable strength. The strongest of warriors had met defeat at his hands and with each glimpse of hope, he had evolved further. He was now barely recognizable. Four wings struck out from his back and his eyes, as black as coal glared at the few who remained in his path.
He was unstoppable; he had only to deal with the foolish children who had crossed paths with him. But now there was a new foe. Creeping up like the shadows themselves. It was the Kurosaki boy.
Aizen's lips curled up into a sinister smile. He was finally going to crush the little upstart and with it any hopes of impeding his creation of the Oken and slaying the king of Soul Society. Ichigo was the last stepping stone on the path to victory.
"Hmm, I did not sense your reiatsu..." Aizen mused out loud.
"Aizen." Ichigo tightened his grip on his sword, a jet black katana. "It is time to finish this. Let us go somewhere else. I don't want these people to get hurt."
Aizen laughed. "Why move? You won't last more than a few seconds anywa-"
Ichigo slammed his palm in his face and took hold of him. It happened so fast that he never even saw it coming. Ichigo's expression was one of utter contempt. "I said move!" And he did. He travelled far past the town to a bare wasteland a long way away. He then let go of Aizen's face and threw him into the dirt.
Aizen choked on the dust that filled his lungs.
What on Earth just happened? I never felt his reiatsu. I never sensed him moving. How?
Aizen dragged himself to his feet and cursed. "You were lucky that time! I won't let you do that again."
"Enough talk Aizen! I'll finish this in an instant!" Ichigo sounded confident yet furious at the same time.
Aizen rose back to his feet and grinned. "I understand now...The reason I did not feel your reiatsu was not because you lost it...It's because you abandoned it. You understood you could never defeat me in terms of reiatsu, so you converted it into physical strength. But you are a fool. Even this newfound strength is but a grain of dirt in comparison to mine. Prepare yourself Kurosaki. I shall show you the true meaning of despair!"
Ichigo remembered a seemingly unstoppable foe who had once said that to him. A pale, expressionless face with eyes dripping with black blood. A horrible monster that had nearly claimed him, yet even he had succumbed in the end. He had defeated Ulquiorra and now he was ready to defeat Aizen.
Aizen vanished. Before his image had even disappeared he was already behind Ichigo. It did not affect the boy in any way and he parried the blow. The two swords clashed and resulted in a widespread explosive shockwave. A mountain beside them was sliced clean in half creating a rockslide in the surrounding area.
The two foes stood their ground.
"Can you see Kurosaki? My blade can shape the entire landscape. Such is the scale of my power. I never thought I would become this powerful, but thanks to you I can finally test the extent of these powers! I can see just how far I have ascended above hollows and shinigami. I can show you how I have risen to the heavens!"
Aizen charged again. The two crossed swords once more.
"Hmm, it seems in a way we have both evolved, though I am in a different dimension to you. My power eclipses yours; in fact if I wanted to I could shatter your blade in one blow!" Aizen reared up and swung his sword in a horizontal arc.
Ichigo raised his hand and caught Aizen's sword mid-swing. As flesh and steel collided a great explosion went off, bringing everything around to them to rubble.
Aizen's eyes widened and his jaw dropped.
What? I don't understand! He shouldn't have even been able to dodge my attack...But...but he stopped it...Bare handed!
"What's wrong? You look surprised. Is it that unbelievable that I stopped your blow? Are you scared because something is happening before your eyes which you can't understand?"
"Bah! Do not speak so arrogantly. Your strength merely passed mine for a second. It won't happen again! I will destroy you before you get the chance!" Aizen started chanting. He roared the incantation for a spell and then extended his arms to point at his foe. "Hado 90, Kurohitsugi!"
Ichigo was completely unfazed as the world around him was shrouded in darkness.
Aizen grinned wickedly. "Ha! A level 90 kido with a full incantation coming from one such as me! You are finished Kurosaki! Finished! HA ha ha ha!"
Ichigo glared at the over-confident fool as the darkness overwhelmed him. A few seconds later the entire black coffin shattered into tiny pieces which rained down over the stunned Aizen.
"You just don't get it do you? I'm stronger than you Aizen. It was not your sword that cut the mountain, it was mine." Ichigo used Shunpo to reach Aizen and then, with lightning speed he hacked through Aizen's chest.
Aizen leapt back, horrified. He stared at the blood which oozed out of the massive gash. To him it was not possible. He had never foreseen this happening.
Aizen cursed. "You...You think you are so powerful...Just because you blocked my sword...You broke my kido...And because you cut me...But you are just a lowly human!" Aizen roared, a sound that became less human as it stretched on. A rift ran down his face and in an eruption of blood his skull split in half. The Hogyoku embedded in his chest glowed as black tar spewed over the mess of his head and formed a featureless mask of pure evil. Glowing yellow eyes stared out from the dark mass of his head and razor sharp fangs lined his thin jaws. The wings thickened and mouths grew from their tips. A tail extended from each of the six wings and his right hand no longer ended in a hand, but an extension of protruding bone, shaped like a sword.
Aizen scowled at his foe and charged up a cero from each of the six mouths of his wings. "DIE!"
The combined cero created an immense explosion, creating a blazing pillar which stretched up to the clouds. The smoke and dust spread all the way over to Karakura. Hails of rocks rained down endlessly, pushing the dust aside, slowly revealing Ichigo. He was mostly fine, but one arm was horrifically burned.
Ichigo glanced up at his foe who suddenly appeared beside him. He didn't resist, even when Aizen's hand wrapped around his throat and lifted him high up above the crater until he was standing on air.
"Kurosaki Ichigo...For a moment you transcended both shinigami and hollows, but now not a shadow of that power remains. You are no longer a threat to me...You are nothing but another victim to die by my hand! Can you hear me Ichigo? It is over!"
"Over?" Ichigo snarled. "Is that all you've got?" He swatted Aizen aside and held out his sword. "Fine then. I'll end this. I'll show you the final Getsuga."
Aizen stared at the boy who suddenly became lost in a sea of darkness. The entire world around them became a hellish abyss of nothingness as if a wave of pure darkness had washed over them. When it passed, Ichigo no longer looked like Ichigo.
A wild mane of black hair extended down to his feet. His upper body was as pale as a corpse, wrapped up in grey bandages. Cold unblinking eyes glared out from under a think mask which covered his mouth. Black reishi swirled around him.
"What?" Aizen rasped.
"For the final Getsuga...I must become him. In doing so I will lose all my shinigami powers. That is why it is called the final."
Aizen was about to speak when Ichigo cut him off.
"Farewell Aizen. Mugetsu." The world disappeared. Everything became nothing, light became dark, and the air began to have a suffocating thickness about it. Aizen could not see, all he could experience was the pain as he was torn apart by the shadowy tendrils that surrounded him. He did not know how long it lasted, but it felt like an eternity when at last he was thrown out into the world of light again.
His broken body struggled to piece itself back together but Ichigo took his time to return, giving him a chance to become whole again.
When the boy did appear again his mask was gone. The bandages were unfurling by the second as well. Even the colour was draining from his hair, returning to the vibrant orange it had always been. In a matter of seconds Ichigo was back to normal.
Ichigo fell to his knees and stared at his hands. He could feel his powers slipping away and yet Aizen was still alive.
"Ha. Even with the final Getsuga you were unable to defeat me! The Hogyoku will not allow me to fall to a mere human! Your battle is over! I shall kill you once and for all and- Huh?" Aizen felt a stabbing pain from within. Blades of light burst forth out of his flesh in various spots all over his body. He cursed under his breath when he realised what was happening. "Kido..."
"So, it has finally started to work..."
That voice was instantly recognizable. "Kisuke! This was your doing?"
The former captain appeared before Aizen and nodded. "I implanted that kido within you while you were most distracted, sealed inside another kido."
"Aizen scowled at him.
"You see, I knew it would be impossible to kill you once you fused with the Hogyoku. The only other way to end this was to create a powerful enough kido to seal you away. This is the end result."
"Ha...You think Kido can stop me? I am still evolving further. You pathetic little tricks are no match for-" Aizen's face-plate shattered revealing his regular face beneath. The un-natural colour drained from his eyes and his skin returned to a healthy flesh colour. "What...what is happening to me?" He let out a roar of anguish as his body returned to normal.
"The power...It is disappearing! Why?"
Urahara stared straight through Aizen. "The Hogyoku has refused you as its master."
"The only reason the seal activated was because you got weaker. The Hogyoku no longer acknowledges you as its master. Without it you cannot stop the seal."
Aizen snarled like a wild beast. "Never! I am the Hogyoku's master! I will never – AAAARRGH!"
Great spears of light pierced his body. Pale white tendrils closed around him, sealing him inside. He let out one last roar of unrelenting outrage before he was sealed away.
Ichigo and Urahara stared at the empty space before them for a while before either of them spoke.
"Ichigo, you did the right thing."
Ichigo frowned and looked away.
"You saved everyone's lives. There is no reason to be sad."
Ichigo overheard running footsteps. He glanced over his shoulder to see his friends rushing up to him.
"Ishida, Sado, Orihime, Renji, Rukia. You're all safe..." Ichigo sighed contentedly.
"We're fine. It's you we're worried about." Rukia snapped.
"Ichigo...It really is you..." Orihime whimpered.
"Huh? Oh yeah, my hair is a little longer, but it's still me." Ichigo smiled. He rose to his feet and made to approach them but he ended up toppling over. They assumed he was just exhausted but when he started screaming they knew something was wrong.
Ichigo writhed about on the ground. His body contorted in agony and he let out a scream of utter pain. "AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHH!"