Prologue – Arising Problems

Rukongai

"Get outta the way ol' man!" A rough voice yelled at the man who was trying to defend himself against a gigantic hollow.
Unfortunately instead of running the man was only able fall backwards as the other forcefully approached the beast and sliced it into halves with one smooth swing of his saw-like whip.

As the monster's remains vanished; the Shinigami turned around to look at the victim for the first time, taking in his appearance.
The man had long white hair kept in a low ponytail with a bang on either side of his face. A crown-like metal plate with tiny horns and the word "oil" carved into it adorned his forehead and red tear-like streaks ran down his cheeks starting right underneath his eyes.
He had encountered several weird looking people, but this one was definitely among the oddest ones.
The combination of the short green kimono, the red cloak and the fishnets around his chest, arms and legs made the other look rather funny in his eyes. It was not quite clear to him whether or not his assumption of him being an "ol' man" was correct.

The saved on the other hand was staring blankly up at his savior. Rarely had he seen a man like him. Nearly blood red hair put into a high ponytail along with black marks at the sides of his neck, that could be seen at the hem of the completely black Kimono with a white Shitagi and Obi and a sword tugged into the latter one. Especially the marks on his forehead, which could be seen underneath the white headband though it tried to hide them, where somewhat off putting.
That was something he was surely not used to.

"W-what was that?" Was his first question as he found his voice again, gesturing behind the Shinigami, where his attacker had been just moments ago.
"A Hollow," was the other's rather short reply.
"A Hollow?" Became his next doubtful question.
"You've just arrived, haven't you?"
"Arrived?" He asked confused.
"You've most likely died recently. You're in Soul Society now. That thing was after you because of your spiritual pressure."
As he caught the uncomprehending and disbelieving look on the other's face, he proceeded after a heavy sigh.
"Well, let's start at the beginning..." he tried a new approach, scratching the back of his neck.
"You do remember dying, don't you?"
"Yes, I think I was sinking underwater and slowly losing consciousness." He explained after a pause and while sitting up to a more comfortable position.
"That would explain why you awoke near a river...
Anyway, you died back then, that's why you're here. This is the place most souls come to for their afterlife. I can clearly sense you know how to use the spiritual energy you possess and that's also what caught the Hollow's attention. They usually eat souls with a certain amount of Reiryoku and that's where we come in.", he waved in the direction of three more black clad figures and himself.
"We're Shinigami, the ones able to use our spiritual powers to kill Hollows. With the Reiatsu you're emitting you would probably be able to become one yourself." He ended offering the sitting man a hand to stand up.

"I still don't understand..." the other simply replied.
"Geez...how can I explain this?" The Shinigami thought loudly and seated himself next to the rescued.
After thinking for some time he exclaimed: "Yeah I know! This'll work!" and punched a fist onto his open palm.
"Ok, you probably know ghosts, right?" He asked not waiting for a response.
"We call normal ghosts 'Plus' and if one of them has a strong attachment to the world of the living or simply grieves a lot he probably becomes a Hollow. That means he loses his heart and becomes a desire driven monster that eats Pluses or souls of living humans with spiritual powers - simply put: People like you. In killing a Hollow we cleanse their souls from the sins they committed after becoming a Hollow. If that's done they can return to the circle of rebirth as they are supposed."
Awaiting a reaction he went silent.
"So you cause souls that should not be among living people to go where they belong to?" The white haired man concluded after thinking everything through, one hand at his chin, while the other supported his arm.
"Uhm...basically yeah." The other replied sheepishly scratching his head again.

"Abarai - fukutaicho!" One of the men called for his attention.
"Seems like I gotta go. Maybe we meet again in Seireitei. Take care." The called ended the conversation and stood up.
He turned away to meet up with his colleagues, waving at the still sitting in the process.

"Wait! Where is that place?" The other asked while standing up and putting his hand on the officer's back to halt his movement.
"Ah yes I forgot to tell you!", Abarai replied grinning as he turned around again to explain.
"Well, we're currently in Rukongai. This place is divided in four areas: The north, south, east and west. Each of them is split into eighty districts. Starting with the first in the center and ending with the eightieth at the borders. So you have to go down the numbers of the districts to the very first. There you can already see the walls surrounding the Court of Pure Souls. Good luck finding it." were his last words before he disappeared in a blur leaving only some swirling dust behind.

Later in the Seireitei

"Renji. You have to concentrate." Came the advice in the usual monotone voice of Kuchiki Byakuya.
"Ha-hai, Taicho, but it's not easy with everyone talking in the background and ... stuff..." the lieutenant replied sheepishly.
He was referring to the group of Shinigami that had gathered to watch him train Kidō .
The Kuchiki had offered him the chance to become his instructor, so he "would not put his division into shame any further."
To not upset his Taicho, Renji accepted immediately.
Though as he was a rather well known member of the Gotei 13 his colleagues caught wind of it and wanted to give their own advice as well.
As he was not told about this the Kuchiki saw this as a nuisance and informed them that if they were to disturb the training he was to make sure of their leaving, personally.
Which caused the group to gulp and shudder in fear for a moment, but settle down anyway.
They just wanted to see their team-mate suffer.
For this the lieutenant of squad ten brought in addition to the ones of the third and ninth some bottles of sake which were passed among them and the eleventh divisions third and fifth seat.

Their laughter resounded throughout the training area and kept distracting the red head.
The encouragements of the fifth's lieutenant and his childhood friend didn't help him controlling his spiritual powers either.
Looking around he caught glimpse of his captain being rather annoyed by the situation, so he decided to try it once more as a harsh voice interrupted him again.
"The hell? Now it's our fault you suck at this?" The now enraged Madarame Ikkaku yelled, after just realizing what has been said.
"Of course it is idiot!" Renji yelled in return, losing his concentration once more.
"Silence." The Kuchiki ended the argument.
Glaring at each other the two Shinigami mumbled curses under their breaths, but kept quiet as to not enrage the sixth squad captain any further.

"Once more." Was all he said after a moment of complete silence.
With some effort Renji tried to gather Reiatsu into his palms to create the Kidō spell.
While he was doing so the door to the training room burst open and the angered captain of squad ten entered yelling: "MATSUMOTO!"
In the very same moment an explosion erupted from the trainee and enclosed the room and everyone in it.

When the smoke subsided no one was to be seen. The officers had simply vanished without a visible trace.
Soul reapers nearby who witnessed the accident reported it immediately and the search for the missing began as soon as possible.

Somewhere in between

In the depths of his soul Renji slowly opened his eyes only to be met with a pure whiteness surrounding him.
Being disturbed by the brightness he closed his eyes again.
"Renji." "Renji." Came the calls of his Zanpakutou spirit.
Lethargic he sat up rubbing his eyes mumbling "What happened?" Before he was able to comprehend the situation.

In front of him was a large cell door parting him and the Nue spirit, not the vast forest he was so used to seeing in his inner world.
"The hell happened to ya?" He exclaimed grabbing the bars and shaking them violently.
"Dunno," answered the snake.
"From one moment to the other our world faded and we had been trapped in this thing. We are not able to open the door." The baboon explained.
Shaking the door even more and trying to open it forcefully he couldn't help but curse at his inability to do anything for his soulmate.


Author's note:

Originally this was a story idea with an OC, but I decided that I wont do that and instead try it with the original cast.
Nevertheless, a lot of people might not like the idea, so I am asking you to not start flaming the story.
Even though this story is now betaed I still would like constructive criticism, like people being OOC-ish and especially spelling and/or grammar errors AuthorSwimmerPoet and I didn't catch.
But flaming would just ruin the sense of this story, so please refrain from doing so or do it per personal note if you can't keep it to yourself.

On an side-note: I know that the title isn't really originally, but it does have a double meaning...

And one more thing: I have chosen Gaara next to Renji as he does have a bigger role than Jiraiya in the following chapters.

Anyhow, I neither own Bleach nor Naruto and I'm quite happy about that, as the stories would not be that great without their respective creators.

Well, this concludes the prologue.
Hope you liked it and don't forget to review if you did or didn't.
In either case I would like to hear your opinion.

The first chapter is by now posted and second is in the making,
but unfortunately my time is limited currently,
so I don't know when I have time (and motivation) to type it.

So far: Thanks for reading. =)

Edited the story a bit thanks to AuthorSwimmerPoet's corrections and suggestions.