A/N: I had a request for a crossover. As I had been working on one on and off for months, I decided to try my hand at it. This one won't be updated nearly as often as the others until at least one of those is finished. Please let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach and Inuyasha characters, mangas, animes, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al. and Rumiko Takahashi et al. respectively.
Part One: The Substitute Group
Going to a shrine was not Ichigo and Rukia's idea of a fun time. There were plenty around Karakura so neither Shinigami saw the necessity of traveling to the heart of Tokyo just to see another. However, their history teacher had found out about the Sunset Shrine through a relative and as it had several legends surrounding it that she had never heard about before, she had found it the perfect place to take them for a cultural outing.
Participation was a must and since Ichigo and his friends had missed a great deal of class lately thanks to the Winter War, their advancement to second years was contingent on them going. Rukia had tried to argue that she had no real need to as she wasn't a teenager but the others had just overrode her objections and steamrolled her into going. Using the memory modifier was not an option.
"Shunpo would have been faster," she grumbled as she sat in the third train seat of the day. Karakura was a suburb of Tokyo but in order to get to the heart of the large capital, they'd had to switch trains twice.
"I have a feeling driving would have been faster," Ichigo returned. They had started out at the earliest possible moment, taking the first available train into the city. In his opinion, taking a bus would have been more logical but their teachers had never seemed logical to him.
"What is so important about this shrine?" she asked, glancing over at the Quincy across the aisle from them.
"According to this, the shrine boasts a tree that is over five hundred years old and a well that was said to eat the bones of demons." Ishida looked up from the brochure in his hand long enough to answer her before going back to his perusal. "I doubt the validity of the latter, but it is quite possible for the tree to be that old."
"An old tree and a dry well, is that it?" Ichigo asked. He'd been slaying a Hollow when their teacher had told them the tales and no one had bothered to fill him in on the details.
"Oh, no Kurosaki-kun!" Orihime said, leaning over Ishida. The archer's face turned red at her proximity. "Sensei said that demons protect the shrine and have since the Sengoku Jidai. The Sunset Shrine is said to have been the place where the Shikon no Tama was kept until an evil demon stole it and tried to use it for, well, evil. The priestess at the time gave her life to protect it and it disappeared for years. No one knows just where it went but the story says that it reappeared decades later and another battle was fought over it. The jewel shattered into hundreds of pieces and each shard could grant strength and power to whoever possessed it. Only gathering the shards together and purifying it would take it from this world forever. It says here that only the right wish could to that but it doesn't say what that wish was. Maybe the priest tells the whole story as part of his tour. I bet there's a love story involved." The Rikka wielder sighed longingly, still not noticing the Quincy's embarrassment.
"No doubt you are correct, Inoue-san," Ishida said just so that she would move.
"I bet there were fights, and friends, just like what we went through," she continued, finally sitting back in her seat.
"It would be a sad thing if another group of friends had to go through something like what we did," Ichigo said, putting his headphones on and turning his music up. "This world really doesn't need two Aizens."
"True," Chad agreed, his seatmate silent the entire time. Tatsuki hadn't been as outgoing as she had been after facing the madman.
Rukia, who had turned quiet at the mention of the Shikon no Tama, pulled out her pager and sent a query to the Institute of Research and Development. The mention of the jewel had rung a vague bell but during the Feudal Era many things had been left out of the records in favor of getting as many souls crossed over as possible. Far too many had been lost.
Ichigo, used to her pensive moods, merely raised a brow at her actions. When he would have asked why she was sending a request for information to the Soul Society, the train pulled into the station and the class started to disembark. "Let's go, Rukia. That can wait. If you don't stay close, you'll get lost or hurt trying to get through here."
The petite young woman gave him a glare that would have made anyone else quake in fear but the daiko merely grabbed her hand and pulled her along. Exiting the station, the first years of Karakura High School stopped on the street while their chaperones, which merely consisted of their homeroom teachers, discussed the best way to the shrine.
"Do you feel that, Kurosaki?" Ishida asked, straightening his jacket.
"Yeah, there's some sort of reiatsu in that direction," he said, unable to pinpoint it. The energy radiating from the south wasn't like that of the Shinigami and Arrancar that he had met over the last year.
"I've never known the shrines and temples in Karakura to actually have reiatsu," Rukia murmured.
"They don't, but then again, there's nothing really special about them either. This is different. Maybe you ought to call the Soul Society and have them investigate the situation." Sighing, Ichigo began to follow the rest of the group. He really wished he didn't have to get involved in anything dangerous at the moment. The orange haired war hero had been hoping for a day without fighting or Hollow extermination.
"I have already sent in the information on the jewel and the legend it has. No doubt they will investigate thoroughly."
Ishida exchanged a look with Ichigo that stated they doubted it but didn't say anything to disillusion her confidence in the R&D department. "Well, I guess the only thing we can do is keep an eye out."
"Indeed." The group, now on high alert, stretched their senses to take in what information they could until the Soul Society consented to give them something else to go on. There were no ill intentions that they could determine in the strange aura but as they came closer to the shrine, the energy rose tenfold.
An old priest, reminding Ichigo of the soutaicho in the way he stood, waited at the top of the stairs for them when they arrived. No reiatsu came from him and he was slightly surprised. He would have thought that a priest of a famous shrine would have at least a little power.
"Listen up you lazy kids, this is Higurashi-san. He's the priest here at the Sunset Shrine and the one that will be giving us the tour. Make sure to be respectful." A chorus of "Yes, ma'ams" followed Ochi-sensei's order and she turned back to the old man in satisfaction.
"He doesn't have an ounce of reiatsu," Rukia said, confused.
"The aura I'm sensing is further back," Ishida answered. "Just because he's a priest, doesn't mean he'd have any spiritual power. While it does tend to run in families, it has been known to skip generations or siblings. Kurosaki's sister Yuzu is a perfect example. She has some but not nearly as much as this fool and his sister Karin."
While Rukia agreed, she was secretly glad that Yuzu wasn't as spiritually aware as her brother and sister. The young girl got frightened enough by what she couldn't see, there was no telling how terrified she'd be if she was actually able to see the Hollows and other monsters that came after her family.
Sticking close together, the gang wandered further onto the property and gazed around expectantly. In the middle of the courtyard was the famous tree, towering above every other thing. A throat being cleared drew their attention back to their host.
"This is our most prized possession. Over five hundred years old, this is our tree. It's known most appropriately as the Goshinboku." Some of their classmates clapped and "ooh'd" appreciatively but the Substitute Group merely stared in awe. The power emanating from the ancient tree was unmistakable.
Before they could question the priest, a tall young man dropped down from the nearest branch, his silver white hair blowing in the breeze. "Oi, Jijii, I thought you promised Kagome you would wait for her."
While the priest turned to argue with the stranger, Ichigo and the others began to feel the pressure of another kind of energy, this one entirely foreign in nature. "Ichigo…" Rukia murmured, clutching at his sleeve when she felt him stiffen beside her.
"I know," the daiko answered. Whoever this person was, he most definitely was not human.
What in the world had they gotten themselves into?