Walking hand in hand with his mom Ichigo felt at peace. He had just left the karate dojo after losing to Tatsuki again, but right now he didn't really care. Right now he was with his mom and to him that was all that really mattered.
Then the rain started to pick up and as Ichigo gave a surprised gasp his mother only giggled at him. "Its ok Ichigo I brought an umbrella just in case" Masaki told her son with a reassuring smile. As Ichigo rushed under the umbrella he started to ramble about how one day he would finally beat Tatsuki and be able to protect the whole family from danger. "… and then after that I will be able to protect mommy and Daddy and Karin and Yuzu" Ichigo finished punching his small fist into the air. He noticed all too late that with that punch he had jumped out from under the umbrella, noticing that his mom had extended the umbrella over him instead of herself he rushed back to her and hugged her leg "Mom you shouldn't be in the rain you will catch a cold" Ichigo told his mom while still hugging her leg. Masaki could only continue to smile at her son who cared more about her than himself, that was her son, Ichigo.
As they neared their home they came to the river that was close to home and started to speed up pace so as to get home out of the rain. Ichigo had became quiet and walked silently content next to his mother. It was then that he noticed it a girl by the banking of the river almost leaning in, Ichigo didn't like the angle she was at. Ichigo released his grip on his mothers hand and started to tear down the slope to save the girl.
Masaki didn't notice her lax grip on her sons hand until he had let go and ran off. She knew he would not do so without good reason, but when she saw no reason for Ichigo to be running for the banks started to run after her son. "Ichigo don't run down the hill or you'll fall in!" Masaki shouted desperately to her son.
Ichigo grabbed for the girl who was about to fall in and noticed his hand passed right through her. Unprepared for this to happen Ichigo began to fall forwards and almost fall into the river himself. Then everything went black. Ichigo started to catch glimpses of a ceiling and a light centred on that ceiling, closing his eyes again his fluttering eyes started to see brown hair all around his face. Closing his eyes and reopening them partially again he could see a ceiling but he felt a horrible foreboding feeling. Closing and reopening his eyes one final time he was met with his mothers body lying heavily on top of his own.
"Mom?" Ichigo asked confused. Noticing that she was not covered by her umbrella he squirmed out from under her and done his best to protect her from the cold rain. "Mom?" Ichigo tried again but there was no response. "Mom… Mom… MOM!…" Ichigo finally shouted wondering why she was ignoring him and turning her over so she was facing him. This image would forever scar him. His dear beloved mother stared endlessly past him and all colour or gleam in her eyes had disappeared.
Through teary eyes Ichigo looked on at his beautiful mother who lay lifeless under him. He closed his eyes and let blackness consume him for a moment. When he slowly opened them he was peaking at a ceiling yet again. He was too traumatised to try and understand instead opting to close his eyes and embrace the darkness again. Ichigo opened his eyes again and hoping beyond all hopes seen that his mother was still in the same position. Giving in to his emotions he exploded into tears and hugged into his mother only too understanding of the fact that he would not get a hug back.
Closing his eyes he started to roar out in despair, he had lost his mother. He had sworn to protect her not half an hour ago and now here she lay incapable of answering his questions. His roars of pain, sadness and despair took off and reached all too new levels racking his body with tremors. With his final confirmation of his mother departing when she still had not hugged him back he screamed out in sheer agony and collapsed onto her torrents of tears running down his face.
"ICHIGO!" the voices got ever more desperately as he continually did not respond to them. Ishida, Orihime, Chad and Tatsuki started to get really worried. He was screaming his head off, roaring at some unbelievable phenomena in his sleep. The image in front of them could be compared to if he were in one of his previous fights screaming and roaring at them. Yet as they saw the tears cascading down his cheeks they knew all too well this was something monstrous within Ichigo's heart. Ichigo then went silent as if finally coming to a rest only every once in a while whimpering for whatever trauma. All of his friends could only look at each other in bewilderment. This was the man who had faced foes stronger than they could have ever imagined. Who had went to the Soul Society in order to save his friend Rukia. Who when Orihime had been kidnapped and taken to Hueco Mundo was willing to single-handedly go and retrieve her from the clutches of Aizen and his Espada. Who while doing this died no less than twice in order to save her. He had faced death at every turn for those he cared for and had finally been able to bring about the end of Aizen. If at a large cost.
They all looked on as Ichigo fell silent finally and went back to his rhythmic breathing. "I have never seen Kurosaki act like this before" Ishida contemplated pushing his spectacles up the bridge of his nose
"Me neither" Chad added looking down at his loyal friend in concern "Ichigo has never been like this around me" he finished
"Kurosaki-kun…" was all Orihime could slowly say
"I think I may know why he is acting like this…" Tatsuki croaked to the others noticing all eyes on her she continued "I've known Ichigo since we were very young and there is only one thing I ever knew him to be like this over….." Tatsuki stopped not wanting to finish the sentence.
"What is it Tatsuki-chan?" Orihime asked finally looking up from Ichigo to look at her best friend
"Well … I really don't wanna say it in case it starts him off hearing it again"
While they all looked at Tatsuki they were oblivious to the auburn eyes that had started to open and peer through the moist of tears. As Tatsuki was struggling to find a way to tell them he decided he would help "My mother" he said calmly.
Every one of his friends turned their heads to look in his direction stunned by his sudden words after such a prolonged time of silence in his coma-like state.
"Kurosaki-kun… are you ok?" Orihime asked cautiously aware that Ichigo's eyes were very wet from unshed tears.
"No, Inoue-san, I am not" he replied somewhat formally taking note in the surprise displayed in her face he decided that was a tad harsh "I mean no Orihime I'm not ok" he said again noticing Orihime relax after he used her first name.
"Ichigo?" Tatsuki asked worried he may be angry at her for almost divulging something so important to him, to all of them "I'm sorry but I thought they deserved to kn…" she was cut off by Ichigo
"Tatsuki, don't worry I'm not mad, these are all people who I trust and care about" Ichigo finished. Tatsuki didn't feel any better and then made a request that surprised everyone "Hit me Ichigo, I deserve it for disregarding such an event even if it is to those you trust, hit me now" Tatsuki finished tensing up for an impeding hit. Nothing came.
"Come here Tatsuki" Ichigo asked sitting up properly in his bed now. Tatsuki done as asked forgetting he was probably bed-ridden and unable to get up. As she got to the side of his bed she dared to look into his eyes expecting to see malice displayed clearly. She was surprised. Not only did they show no malice, but they showed kindness and caring. That stopped her in her tracks. The rest of the group were unsurprised they knew how long they had known each other and knew Ichigo would be unable to hit his oldest friend for anything.
Ichigo pushed his body upwards and allowed his bed covers to fall from his body revealing his chest to be completely bare. Orihime could not drag her eyes away from the body of a god she was in the presence of, she had even seen him like this before in his fight with Ulquiorra , even if he was in a berserk rage and was not even himself. Tatsuki on the other hand was unable to look at his chest because of the mahogany eyes that bore into her own. He was now standing up straight and she had to crane her neck backwards in order to look at him in the face. Ichigo's eyes were softer than usual the scowl had gone, for now at least.
Tatsuki noticed movement in his arms and instinctively closed her eyes and tensed up all of her muscles again waiting for the attack, again nothing happened. She opened her eyes slowly and was looking directly at his pectorals and noticed they seemed stretched horizontally. She fully opened her eyes and noticed he was standing in front of her with his arms wide open almost as if asking for an attack from her. She wasn't going to attack him, he hadn't deserved it the last time she did. It was only when she looked up at his face and saw the hint of a smile and then reassessed the open arms did she realise the purpose.
"You see Tatsuki I could never hate you, you're too damn important to me" Ichigo told her with a smile. She almost melted right there the first recorded smile he had made since his mother's death and it was aimed at her. "Come on Tatsuki lets hug and make up, its been far too long since we last hung out"
"What?… but why? I mean remember I am a girl yes?, what about your friends?" Tatsuki asked happiness evident in her tone
"You are my friend also and I cannot help but feel I have neglected you in the recent years since that day, you have my most sincere apologies and I hope we can go back to being such good friends?" Ichigo asked his arms still open to her
"Yes , that would be great Ichigo" Tatsuki answered happily tears welling up in her own eyes. What's going on I am not that happy am I?. Just as she was pondering that thought Ichigo brought his arms around her shoulders and squeezed her gently to his chest. Yes I am.
Ichigo was still plagued by his memories of the night his mother had left the world forever. Yet right now he wanted to fix a friendship that had gone askew ever since that night. Ichigo wanted his old best friend back and was willing to go to almost any length to get it.
Ichigo had lost his Shinigami powers over at least three years ago. At first this was a major draw-back for him he was unable to protect those he loved from danger and felt weak and helpless against any kind of power. Yet he knew there was at least some good to balance out the negative effects this had for him. He knew that Ishida was easily capable of taking control of any hollow activity and if not there was still that afro Shinigami that could do it. The best part however was that he had his old friend back, Tatsuki. Ever since the night they had hugged and made up per say, they had been even closer than they were when they were kids. He knew many people thought there were other reasons to their blossoming closeness, yet Ichigo could not understand why. Tatsuki was a tomboy and in the last three years as far as he knew never showed any affection towards a man or woman for that matter.
Well it didn't bother him, let them think that. It was by far not the worst thing that they could think of him. The fact that she had came into her own in the last three years becoming more woman-like in figure and attracting almost as much attention as Orihime. Ichigo did not need to save his best friend from any men because he knew she could probably kill them herself. He would not deny he thought she was becoming cute as well for fear of losing limbs. Her longer hair made her seem more feminine, her height also adding to her lovely appearance. Ichigo would not think on other things about her anatomy because one this was his best friend and two he thought that was highly unfair to her being scrutinized by him in secret. Yet if people wanted to think of them as a pair or not did not bother him so long as he got to be her best friend for now on.
Tatsuki over the last three years had been happier than in the other sixteen in her life. She had her best friend back, Ichigo. He was wonderful to her and was not in his usual protect everything mode with her, he was happy to let her look after herself. She took great pride in that respect. However a dark feeling had been creeping up on her for the last few months that she knew would have the capability to destroy everything that they had. She had slowly come to become more affectionate towards him and would shout down any other girl who would try to say he was hot. At least save for Orihime, she couldn't shout at the person who had loved him for a long time now. The fact that people actually thought they were seeing each other made her heart skip beats at some times but she kept her composure, unsure how Ichigo would take it. Realising he did not care what people thought of them she allowed herself to at least think they were seeing each other.
Ichigo had many times contemplated finding a way in order to get his shinigami powers back, but when he thought about that he had to painfully remind himself that he would need to leave behind everything that he had. And no way was he leaving Tatsuki now he had her back as his best friend and he knew he could be content for the rest of his life if he were at least with her from now on.
"Bori-sama, we have located the person that you wanted…." a male voice boomed out to a man sitting atop a throne of thorn bushes
"And what have you to report Yuka?" was his slow reply
"Unfortunately sir, he has lost all of his shinigami powers and will be of no use to you in his current state" Yuka replied
"Whaaaaat?, this is not good enough Aizen was not supposed to be that much of a problem for him to handle, ugh this is pathetic!" Bori said as the room around him shook from his anger "YUKA!" he shouted
"?" he stammered in fear
"Go to the Karakura town and find something most precious to him and bring it here" Bori shouted at Yuka
"But why sir?" Yuka again stammered
"WHY! Because then it will give him reason to find the means to recover his shinigami powers, thus getting me what I want!" Bori put most emphasis n the last word.
"Yessir" came Yuka's reply quickly
"Once you have shinigami powers you never lose them, they only become dormant and over time they grow stronger, oh Kurosaki over three years of neglect just imagine how much more powerful you have become" Bori talk to himself quietly as he watched Yuka leave
"Yes I believe you shall be instrumental in my plan" Bori finished as he started to smile.
Yuka gave a grunt as he landed on the ground outside a small apartment building, he instantly controlled his spiritual pressure to a level where he could easily conceal himself from any other spiritually aware beings. "Well Kurosaki seems Bori-sama needs you to have shinigami powers this seems to be your lucky day" Yuka told himself. He looked upwards and notice the sun almost directly above him in the sky "Midday he should be in school with his friends should he not?" Yuka asked himself. Well he guessed he might as well go and watch him, find out what makes him tick, what he likes what he hates and who he cares about. Yuka was very analytical that way he wanted to know every aspect of his enemy and use that to his best advantage to beat them. Walking in the general direction of where he guessed the school to be he slowly but purposefully walked onwards.
After a small amount of time he came across a pair of women who had just came from a house on he left. He was only able to see their backs and knew one had long flowing orange hair, the other had black more jaggy hair. They both ore a school uniform and appeared to be going the same way as him. "Excuse me!" Yuka shouted after the two, both of them turned around at once the black haired girl slowly scowled at him whereas the orange haired girl looked at him confused.
"Whaddya want?" the black haired girl asked him, while her friend nodded her agreement to the question
"Do you know where Karakura town high school is?" Yuka asked trying his best to sound unsuspicious
"We're going there just now!" the orange-head squealed at him with a smile on her face
"Orihime! We don't even know this guy" the black haired girl reprimanded her friend
"But Tatsuki-chan! We have to help someone who asks us a question" the orihime girl replied to her friend pouting
"I do not wish to be a burden upon ladies so I'll ask one more question then move on if that is ok?" Yuka asked trying best with his deceptive skills to appear more friendly to them.
"Sure ok" Tatsuki answered
"Just how close are you to Kurosaki Ichigo?" he asked them grinning widely
"Yo, Ichigo" Yuka asked the man in front of him
"Yes?" Ichigo asked turning around to see who had interrupted his thinking
"I have a proposition for you" Yuka told Ichigo plain to his face his own smile hidden "I suggest that you un-earth those shinigami powers you got otherwise methinks my master may get bored of his prisoners"
"What?, I'm sorry but you must have the wrong man" Ichigo answered him scowl prominent on his face
"Unfortunately for you I have got the right person, I believe that both inoue-san and Tatsuki-san could agree with me there" he replied his evil smile cutting across his face.
Yuka could see Ichigo's face turn from one of confusion to sheer hatred and rage in an instant. That's it Kurosaki give in to your anger, it shall speed up this process much more and I cannot be bothered waiting long. Ichigo was furious, again he was the reason for someone getting kidnapped. Not only was he of no use to anyone but the fact that two people had been taken away from him only added to his fury. Right there and then he wanted Zangetsu back in his hand in order to strike this man down as fast as he could possibly muster. With his growing rage he could also feel another emotion growing in his mind this one was of bloodlust and excitement. As he dwelled on these thoughts he thought to himself how much he would love to give in to these urges. Right there he wanted to annihilate this man in front of him who dared take two people away from him. Ichigo started to rush towards the man still standing watching him with a smile still prominent. As Ichigo closed the gap he swung his right fist around in a wide arc, picking up momentum as it passed through the air, he aimed it straight for the mans face. His fist was all of a sudden numb and pain throbbed down his hand all the way up his arm. Ichigo's anger dissipated instantly as pain enveloped him. He looked down to his hand and noticed what had caused the pain to surge in his hand. There was what Ichigo almost instinctively knew was a zanpaktou his blood dripping down its sharp edge. Ichigo retracted his hand and ripped off his shirt in order to cover his bloody hand.
"Like I said Kurosaki you would be better off learning to bring back your shinigami powers otherwise Bori-sama will be angry with me, and I don't want him angry with me" Yuka told Ichigo smiling.
Ichigo knew he was right he had a zanpaktou and without one of his own Ichigo could not hope to beat him. Ichigo looked deep into his soul searching desperately for Zangetsu in order to bring back his shinigami powers, which he knew he desperately needed. Ichigo could not find the old man anywhere and started to worry deeply without his help right now Ichigo would be killed right now and his two friends would be lost to him forever. In one desperate attempt Ichigo screamed out to the depths of his soul searching for anyone anything in order to beat back his enemy. He gave in to despair. As soon as he did that a fire seemed to burn his soul as he heard malicious laughter echo throughout his being and felt waves of anger hatred and excitement wave over him.
This was not what Yuka had expected to happen. He was supposed to get his powers back and summon his zanpaktou, but this is all wrong. Ichigo's body started to lose its pigmentation as white seemed to spread from his left breast all over his body. Yuka looked to Ichigo's face and saw two horns protruding out from his long orange hair and noticed the mask that was covering his face, exactly like that of a hollows. One thing remained essential however, he did not have a hollow hole anywhere he could see anyway. Ichigo stood up straight again his body fully encompassed in white skin and looked at Yuka with red eyes displaying malice and rage. Ichigo then released his spiritual energy which had been finally pushed to its final barrier and caused much of the surrounding area to disintegrate from his furious spiritual pressure. He then charged in Yuka's direction fists clenched tightly as his arms pumped back and forth propelling him towards Yuka. Yuka decided he may as well enjoy this and swung his sword in order to cleave off Ichigo's head only for him to simply catch the blade in his left hand. With one swift movement Ichigo had pulled the blade from Yuka's grip with his left hand and with his right hand he aimed his index finger and middle finger towards Yuka's face. The shirt that had been used to cover Ichigo's injured hand only moments before slowly disintegrated revealing a perfectly healed hand. The build up of spiritual pressure on the pointing two fingers finally took physical form. A ball of a pure black energy with a crimson outline started to form and quickly built in size until it was at least three times as large as Ichigo's hand. Yuka done one swift movement and leaned back until he was in the crab position watching as the ball of energy turned into a beam an fired right above him. He could feel the heat of the attack and knew that would have atomized even him. "So you can use cero ae?" Yuka asked smiling. His enemy just stood watching him.
Yuka grew bored of the waiting game and decided he would knock out this thing and take it back to his master as soon as possible. Yuka then brought his zanpaktou back to his hand through telekinesis and grabbed the handle. Throwing his zanpaktou up in the air he shouted "Reveal yourself, Chamelos". As the zanpaktou dropped to the ground Yuka disappeared from view completely, then as Chamelos neared the ground it was caught and also disappeared from view. Ichigo just stood there, eventually he raised both of his hands and facing both his palms in the direction that Yuka had disappeared from. The spiritual pressure pooled to the palms of both hands creating the crimson outlined black ceros. But as they reached three times the size of Ichigo's hands he brought his hands together the bottoms of his hands touching each other and pooled all of the spiritual pressure into one. This singular cero became even larger than Ichigo himself and he fired it off in the direction of his enemy. Ichigo watched as the beam of energy he had created cascaded through his hometown and blasted through all in its path of destruction. Yuka reappeared after the cero had dissipated further down the pathway that Ichigo's cero had created. Blood dripping from the stump where his left arm once used to be attached to his shoulder. He thought he'd be able to escape it but he had seriously misjudged the power behind the attack and had paid with his left arm. Yuka decided he had better get back to headquarters or else face almost imminent death. Trying desperately to open a passageway he realised that all of the soul particles in this certain area were being drawn to Ichigo as if they were simply being controlled by him. Yuka decided to go for broke and tore down the pathway behind him hoping beyond hope that he would at least be able to outrun Ichigo in this state. Ichigo seen this movement and his body went into full blast mode in order to catch up with his prey he was not going to allow his quarry to get away quite so easily.