AN: just something that hit me the other day, and begged to be typed. also, my forst foray into writing bleach, so please let me know how it went. i may add to it one day, but for now its complete.
"Urahara-san, did you finish those things for me?"
"Ehh? Kurosaki…san?" Urahara asked, not quite awake yet. "Yeah, they're done….but did you really have to show up at six in the morning to get them?"
"Sorry, it's kind of important," Ichigo replied.
"You sure the school will let you let you in with those?"
"They said it could be anything, so long as it met the requirements. These fall under the category of anything," Ichigo replied, as he picked up the case.
"Let me know how it goes will ya?"
"Will do," Ichigo replied one last time as he walked out of the shop.
The walk from Urahara's shop to the school was pretty uneventful, at least until he got to the grounds themselves. After all, it isn't every day that a student walks into the school carrying a two meter long equipment case.
He has a little trouble navigating the crowded hallways, but managed to make it to class on time.
"Yo! Ichig- what's with the case?" Tatsuki immediately asked.
Ichigo remained silent until he sat down, placing the case next to his desk. "You'll just have to wait and see, Tatsuki," he replied quietly. "Besides, some of the people here have seen these things before, and I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't."
Ichigo sat patiently with the rest of the senior class as they all listened to what their fellow students were presenting. The purpose of the presentation was somewhat vague, with the only real instruction to show their fellow classmates a few items of personal importance.
Soon enough, though, it was Ichigo's turn. He calmly made his way to the teacher's desk, and gently placed his case on it. As he opened it, a thought struck him, and seeing as how the windows in the room had been covered up for a previous student, decided to give himself a somewhat dramatic opening.
He reached out with his reiatsu until he found the light switch, and turned it off, plunging the room into darkness. The class let out a collective gasp at the unexpected move, but Ichigo started talking.
"It's ok. I did that. I'll leave you all to wonder how though." As he spoke, the class could hear him opening his case, the slight rustle as he picked up whatever it was he had in it, and then a gentle thud as he set it down.
"Before I turn the lights back on, I'd like to ask that nobody screams when they see what I have," he said quietly, holding the full attention of everyone present. "Whatever it may look like to you, I'm not going to hurt anyone."
Before anyone could question the odd statement, Ichigo turned the lights on, and the class let out another gasp. Ichigo was crouched down next to the teacher's desk, holding onto the hilt of a massive sword. He stood up slowly, and hefted the blade onto his shoulders.
"This is a symbol of my resolve," he said, "to protect those who are important to me."
The entire class was in shock; though not all for the same reasons. Those who didn't know Ichigo were amazed that he had brought such a massive sword in for their glorified show and tell, and those that new him were shocked by the fact that Ichigo had brought Zangetsu to their classroom.
Moving the sword in front of him, Ichigo continued speaking. "He can be a right bastard sometimes, but this blade has never steered me wrong. Saved my life more than a few times."
Sensing that Ichigo had finished, the teacher spoke up, "Uhh…thank you…..for sharing that with us. Do you have anything else?"
"I do, actually, two more," Ichigo replied, as he turned to lean his blade against the wall. With his back to the class, he began to unbutton his uniform shirt, revealing his bare chest. With his back to the class, he began speaking again. "This is the price of my resolve; the lengths I'm willing to go to in order protect those close to me."
As he finished, he turned to face the class, revealing his scarred upper body for all to see. His friends all turned away, the sight of those scars bringing back unpleasant memories to all of them.
The rest of the class was in total shock. Long slashes down both shoulders, a quarter-sized mark on the right shoulder, two stabs to the chest, one of which was perilously close to the heart, and a final slash that went from hip to hip, right above his waist.
"I bear these marks as a constant reminder, of the times my resolve faltered, and as a reason to get stronger."
He gave the class a few moments to digest what he had said, before he walked back over to his case. "The last thing I have to show you has many bad memories attached to it for many people, myself included. Inoue, it holds the most pain for you. If you don't feel comfortable seeing it, then you just need to say something, and I won't show it."
The confusion of his friends died immediately, as they only knew of one object that affected Orihime to such an extent.
"No, it's ok, Kurosaki-kun," she said quietly. "I'll be alright. I appreciate the concern though."
He them pulled his last item out of the case, revealing a mask. He was holding it facing away from the class, though, so they didn't know what the design was. He turned away from the class again, before placing the mask over his face. Those few who realized it were stunned further when it stayed there without any visible means of attachment.
Ichigo them retrieved his sword, once again placing it on his shoulder, before once again speaking to the class.
"This mask represents my power, as well as the risks that come along with it," he said, the creepy drowning echo he spoke in sending shivers up the spines of all present.
Turning finally to face the room, several of the students pulled back, a combination of shock and terror driving their movements.
The left side of the mask was colored in lines of blood red, while the mask itself resembled a skull, with its large teeth exposed for all to see. To complete the image, yellow irises on black sclera were visible in the eye sockets. Coupled with the massive sword on his shoulders, and the fact that his shirt was still open, it made for quite the terrifying student.
"I suffered greatly in learning to control the power I have, as did those around me. The mask is a constant reminder of that. It also serves as a reminder of what will happen if I ever lose control of that power."
"What do you mean by losing control? It's your power right?"
Ichigo just went quiet for a minute, trying to find a way to answer the question. Eventually, he came up with an answer. He pulsed his reiatsu for a moment, and then asked if everyone could feel it. Getting a positive confirmation from everyone, he continued speaking, after taking the mask off.
"Understanding my power isn't that easy. It's mine, but at the same time it isn't."
He trailed off for a moment, placing the mask down in the case on the desk. He flared his reiatsu again, and continued. "What you feel now is all me; it's the power of positive emotion."
Ichigo took a moment to look at his classmates, while they were all surrounded by his energy. Most of the class were taking it in as feeling weird, while his friends all found it quite relaxing. Inoue even had her eyes closed, and a small smile graced her features.
With his hands still in the case, Ichigo closed his eyes, and formed his real hollow mask, since he had confirmed that his whole class was spiritually aware, and he figured that they could all see it. He also made it a point to form it looking the same as the fake one, so as not to shock the class even worse.
Pulling the mask up to his face, he spoke, "This part of my power is from negative emotion, and it much harder to control."
Once again, he placed the mask on his face, opening his now yellow eyes. He took in the class again, and noted that just about all of them looked rather uncomfortable. His friends did too, though most of them hid it better. Inoue had a rather pained expression, though, and he cut off the hollow reiatsu, much to everyone's relief.
Surprisingly enough, another student asked a question. "Why did you call your sword a 'he'?"
Ichigo smiled; he had been wondering if anyone would pick up on that. "The people who taught me how to fight have tradition, of sorts, of naming their swords." He then turned, and hoisted his blade back onto his shoulder, before continuing. "My sword is named Zangetsu, that's why I called him 'he'. They also believe that each sword has a spirit that lives inside of it, and I believe that mine can be a right bastard, so that's why I called him that."
Just then the bell rang, signaling then end of class. Ichigo calmly put his things back in the case, and buttoned his shirt, before following them out, all the while wondering if the Soul Society would allow any of his classmates to remember it.