Author's Note: Hello, my name is infinityphoenix. Well, not really, but that's what you can call me. This is my first crossover and my first fanfiction, so thanks ahead of time for taking the time out of your day to read through a literary work that may or may not be an absolute failure. Personally, I think it's pretty good, but you can't take my word for it, I'm biased. So see for yourself: read through it and be sure to leave your comments. Thanks again for reading.
As another day came to an end, Soul Society's 12th Division Captain was analyzing the data retrieved from the Hollows that had been defeated during the recent fiasco.
Good, the scientist thought to himself, Very good. These results fall well within my hypothesis.
Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi placed the clipboard he was reading next to a jar labeled "Espada # 8".
Now then, he thought as he turned to a computer monitor, it's time to see whether the activity over the last few days was a mere malfunction or something truly worth my time.
The monitor showed three different images. The largest, which occupied the entire left half of the screen, showed an area in the World of the Living that contained a Japanese high school. Another, in the upper right hand corner, was altering between the cameras placed throughout a dorm for that very same high school. The Captain knew that only three students currently lived in the dorms, and a fourth was scheduled to arrive soon. In the bottom right hand corner was a clock accurate to the nano-second. The scientist watched unblinkingly as the time approached midnight.
By the time Hitsugaya had arrived, about half of the Captains were already assembled. The rest arrived moments latter. There were twelve Captains in attendance; Renji Abarai and Ikkaku Madarame had recently been promoted to fill the Captaincies of the 3rd and 9th Divisions respectively. A replacement for the 5th Division had yet to be found. Some of the Captains were visibly annoyed for being summoned at such a time, some seemed eager for battle. Hitsugaya was among those who kept his expression emotionless. As soon as the Captain General saw that every Captain was in attendance he spoke.
"Captains of the 13 Court Guards, it pleases me to see such a rapid response to the summons I sent in this dark hour. You needn't be afraid, Soul Society is in no danger for the time being."
The atmosphere in the room lost some of the serious edge that comes with mortal peril. A couple of Captains let out a sigh of relief (at least one of them was sarcastic), but many were obviously annoyed. Those who had kept their faces emotionless continued to keep their feelings to themselves. Hitsugaya felt a tad annoyed for being dragged from his sleep to address anything other than an immediate threat.
"I have summoned you here to address a matter of the utmost importance," the Captain General continued, with a tone that demanded the silent attention of the irritated Shinigami. "Or rather, I have summoned you here so Captain Kurotsuchi could explain this matter to you, since it was he who brought it to my attention and it is he who is most familiar with the subject."
The scientist stepped forward with a gleam in his eye.
"About twenty minutes ago", he began, "I made an astounding discovery. The nightly 'malfunctions' that have plauged the clocks of Soul Society are not malfunctions at all. In fact, there is a most intriguing reason behind the phenomenon you have been badgering my subordinates with."
Hitsugaya's anger flared. He had been summoned out of a sound sleep to be lectured on the mechanics of a clock? However, it was Captain Abarai who voiced his frustration.
"So this is your idea of revenge, huh? You thought it would be funny if you could drag us out of bed and teach us why your perfect little machines have been acting up?"
The 12th Captain turned to the 3rd and wagged his finger. "Although I thank you for complementing my machines, Captain Abarai, I don't appreciate your tone. As I was saying, I have asked the Captain General for your undivided attention to explain to the lot of you a 'glitch', not in the mechanisms of a mere clock, but within the very fabric of time itself."
The scientist paused, as if expecting applause. However, when it was clear that his audience would not grant him a prolonged "oooooh" or "ahhhhhh", or any other sign of interest or acknowledgement, he continued.
"You see, for about a week now, Soul Society has been included in an event that has taken place in the World of the Living for a number of years. I am referring to the existence of an extra hour between one day and the next. I first suspected this when-"
"An extra hour?" Renji interjected. "All I got from that is that there's another hour of sleep that your causing me to miss, so explain to me why I should give a -"
"Please, your tone is rather upsetting," the scientist said before Renji could finish his sentence. "I will get straight to the point if that will prevent any further interruptions."
With that the Captain produced a remote and pressed a button that caused a projector to display the images received by the surveillance equipment placed throughout the World of the Living. On the left half of the screen an enormous tower inhabited the space normally occupied by a Japanese high school. Eerily silhouetted against a green sky, the tower appeared to have been haphazardly clumped together with pieces of the school and several bizarre structures. In several places the tower was gushing what appeared to be streams of blood. The upper right hand section of the screen was altering between images provided by surveillance cameras placed throughout a high school dorm. There didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary other than one of the rooms that appeared during the sequence. An abnormally large computer, along with several bookshelves and lounge chairs, occupied the room. A teenage girl with long red hair seemed to be fiddling with something that resembled a radio. Hitsugaya also noticed that the girl was the only person inside the dorm. In the bottom right hand corner was a digital clock afflicted with the same problem as every other clock in Soul Society: it was flashing 0:00 repeatedly.
"Can you tell us exactly what we are seeing?" Hitsugaya asked.
"Normally I would be upset by your impatience, 10th Captain," the mad-but-evidently-not-upset scientist replied, "however, you more than any other Captain here, except perhaps myself, should become familiar with what you see before you."
Before Hitsugaya could question the 12th Captain's ominous statement, the scientist had resumed speaking.
"Now then, I would greatly appreciate if you would refrain from any future interruptions, time is of the essence. For now you must be content with a summary of the situation. Tomorrow, each of you will receive a folder containing my complete findings."
The Captain gestured to the image of the tower behind him.
"As you may have guessed, the tower is of great significance. During any other hour of the day this area is occupied by a Japanese high school. However, during this nightly anomaly the space around the school is warped, resulting in this monstrosity. But," the scientist said with a grin, "the real value of my discovery lies within the tower's walls."
The Captain pressed another button and the left side of the screen divided into twelve different sections. Replacing the tower were ... Hollows? No, not quite, Hitsugaya mused. They're missing the holes in their chests and their masks aren't right.
"As you can see," Captain Kurotsuchi resumed, "these creatures have a certain resemblance to Hollows, but are missing a couple of the characteristics needed to qualify for that title. First: they lack the cavity in their torso. Second: there is a contrast between their conveniently labeled and uniform masks that are worn by the twelve subdivisions of these creatures and the skull masks that are unique from Hollow to Hollow, excluding the Menos Grande of course. Last, but certainly not least, these creatures were never human souls, and seem to have always existed in the state you see before you."
"If they aren't Hollows then why should we -"
"While they are not Hollows," Captain Kurotsuchi continued before Renji could finish his sentence, "they are responsible for a curious phenomenon: the rapid Hollowfication of the souls of the living"
The 12th Captain pressed a few more buttons on the remote. The clock disappeared from the screen and was replaced by a stream of images altering between different humans. The humans appeared to be brain-dead.
"What you see before you is the most common symptom. The Hollowfied soul is incompatible with the body and neglects its care. The body continues its basic functions, but is incapable of any activity that requires any level of awareness. In some cases the soul leaves behind a weak imprint of itself behind, allowing the body enough control over its vocal cords to moan or whine. If the soul was particularly strong willed the person might form entire words or wander around aimlessly. But I digress, based on their similarity to Hollows and their effects on the human soul; I have concluded that these creatures are some kind of primal Hollow. Now," said the scientist, his grin receding, " the tests have only begun and the data is not as concrete as would have liked, but I have a theory that implies that the very existence of these creatures is 100 percent responsible for the Hollowfication of every human soul."
The significance of this statement was self evident to every Captain in the room. The Shinigami were now wide-awake and listening closely to the speaker's every word: the reason they were summoned was now obvious.
"This being said, it is possible that we may be able to prevent the future production of any and all Hollows." the 12th Captain said, stating the thoughts of said Captains.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Captain Madarame yelled. "Those things aren't going to slaughter themselves!"
"Patience, 9th Captain, we don't know exactly what we're up against and it would be unwise to charge in without a strategy. Besides, rampant violence can't solve all of our problems, can it?" the 12th Captain asked.
This was met with grunts of disagreement from Captains Madarame and Kenpachi.
"You see, I have my own plan which has recently been approved by the Captain General. It's an infiltration mission designed to gather vital information, one that demands skills of the highest caliber. Therefore I have handpicked a Captain and an Assistant Captain that I believe have the greatest chance of success. This is where you come in, Captain Hitsugaya."
As his fellow Captains turned towards him Hitsugaya felt as if he should say something. "I am honored to have been chosen for this mission." he began. "I promise that my lieutenant and I will-"
"Before you begin making promises, Captain, don't you think you should know what you are saying?" the scientist asked. "Because by the sound of it, it seemed that you were under the impression that your lieutenant would be joining you on this mission."
"I'm sorry", Hitsugaya said as he raised his eyebrows, "but I could have sworn that I heard you say that you choose the Captain and Assistant Captain that would be most likely to succeed. I would have thought someone as smart as yourself would know that a Captain can fight easier and more efficiently with his own lieutenant than with someone else's."
"Again, you seem to have not heard me correctly. I am beginning to have second thoughts on your ability to collect information," Captain Kurotsuchi began. "I said this was an infiltration mission. I clearly told the 9th Captain that mass extermination was out of the question, at least for now. Combat is not the quality I chose the Soul Reapers to excel in; otherwise I would have chosen a more senior Captain. As I was saying," said the 12th Captain before the 10th could object, "you seem have thought that the tower was your target. You must have forgotten that I have shown you one other location."
The Captain pressed another button on his remote and the screen changed yet again. This time the tower and the victims disappeared completely and the screen showed every room in the dorm from the upper right corner.
"Although I have not yet explained them in detail, you couldn't have possibly imagined that I would allow these rooms to take up space on my screen without having a reason to, could you? This is your target, Captain." Before Hitsugaya could open his mouth, the 12th Captain said "No questions, please, time is of the essence. Besides, a little cluelessness will help with the acting. This dorm", he said loudly to prevent Hitsugaya from asking what kind of acting he would have to do, "is home to a very peculiar group of high school students. While most humans enter into a state of hibernation during this hour, these students are perfectly aware of their surroundings. What's more," the scientist added, his grin returning, "is that they use a device that can externalize their zanpakuto spirits, which they use to defend themselves during this hour."
A silence followed the 12th Captain's statement as the other Captains contemplated what they had heard.
"Does that mean they can become Soul Reapers like Kurosaki could?" one of the Captains asked.
"As far as I know they can not," Kurotsuchi stated. "In addition, the device only seems to work during the hour between days. They have taken it upon themselves to investigate the anomaly. In fact, much of this data has been taken from their files. Your mission," the scientist said, addressing Hitsugaya, "is to infiltrate their organization and discover everything you can about them and these masked monstrosities. Now, I must remind us all again that time is of the essence. Captain Hitsugaya, please follow me to the room where you will be further briefed and meet the subordinate who will assist you on this mission."
Author's Note: So, that's chapter one. Just so you know, I think I'm going to begin each chapter with an author's note and finish each with a commentary/ review/ behind-the-scenes info about why I wrote that chapter the way I did. Oh, and I might also answer any questions I think desirve an answer (no promises that your's will be answered). I basically got the idea of a Bleach/Persona 3 crossover from the simularity of the Hollows and Shadows, as well as the role that death plays in both stories. When I began, I had to decide who Soul Society would send on this "infiltration mission" and decided they would both have to be high ranking Shinigami (in case you haven't noticed I may use the terms "Soul Reaper" and "Shinigami" interchangeably, as well as the terms "Assistant Captain" and "Lieutenant"). I chose Hitsugaya because I really couldn't picture any other Captain in a highschool. Also, I figured it made sense because he entered Ichigo's highschool wearing a school uniform while leading the advance team into Karakura town. I already know who the other person entering Gekkukan will be, but I won't spoil the surprise for you by explaining why I choose said Soul Reaper. Thanks again for reading, and don't forget to comment.