A/N: Okay, this is in response to this week's manga chapter. It was another one of those that made every fan jump for joy. It's also a type of sequel to "The White Moon Returns" that I did in honor of Rukia coming back. This is my third attempt at this one-shot so hopefully it came out all right. My faithful readers/reviewers will have to let me know.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong by copyright laws to Tite Kubo et al.
Black Sun Rising
Rubbing his face from where she'd kicked him, the once more empowered teen listened while she ranted at him. He should have known that the first thing she'd do upon her return is yell at him. That seemed to be her modus operandi. He couldn't remember a time when he'd heard sympathetic encouragement from her lips when he was feeling down. She yelled, she hit, and suddenly he'd feel better and end up kicking bad guy butt.
Standing tall once more Ichigo Kurosaki, Shinigami daiko extraordinaire faced off against Ginjo and smirked. "Heh, we'll talk later, midget." Hefting his sword down off of his shoulders, the orange haired war hero gazed at the new blade. Looks like you've grown, Ossan.
My shape is only a reflection of your power. The sword spirit's voice echoed in his head once more and it made all the heartbreak of the last seventeen months worth it.
"I'm not a midget!" the thirteenth division lieutenant screeched, earning a wince from her taller partner. "Nii-sama, tell him I've grown," she demanded, looking up at the crowd of Shinigami that had gathered on the ledge of the roof.
"Nii…Byakuya?" Ichigo's voice cracked on the captain's name, hoping that he hadn't been there to see the kiss he'd given Rukia earlier.
"Kurosaki, your audacity never ceases to amaze me. You're just as much of a ruffian now as you always were." The noble gazed down at the two younger Shinigami and sighed internally. Honestly, out of all the men she could have, she picked this one.
Ichigo gazed around at the assembled company, his eyes widening as he recognized everyone. Ikkaku, Renji, Byakuya, Toushiro, and Kenpachi stood in a line, their own reiatsu swirling gently around. "You guys…"
"This is impossible!" Ginjo shook his head in denial, taking a step back while trying to figure a way out. "I took all of his powers."
Kenpachi scoffed; the slight weight of Yachiru shifting as she giggled. She hadn't made her presence known to Ichigo yet but that was just as well. It looked like there were two tough opponents that he could test his blade against. The small girl would just get in the way. "You imbecile."
Rukia smiled; her knowing smirk full of superiority. With the grace and authority that she had learned and earned over the course of her time away, she explained to the dumbfounded villain the truth about Ichigo's powers. She knew that Ichigo was listening, taking comfort in her words. Movement out of the corner of her eye saw Tsukishima trying to make an escape. The others that she had brought along with her would make sure he didn't get far. They'd all been told about the man's power so getting a strike in would be almost impossible.
"Everyone here added their power?" Ichigo whispered in disbelief. They had done that for him? Lifting Zangetsu once more, he took a practice swing, watching as Ginjo jumped out of the way. His Zanpakutou was a little heavier than it had been but it still felt like an extension of his arm.
"Stronger, but not strong enough!" the other man laughed, a hint of insanity entering his eyes. "Your Getsuga Tenshou might have gotten a little stronger but that's not going to stop me."
"Fool," Toushiro muttered almost silently, none of the others catching his comment. Even the newest recruit could have told him that that hadn't been an attack.
"Oh, that? That wasn't a Getsuga Tenshou," Ichigo said, his eyes filling with power and his well-known smirk taking over his lips. "This," he started, his reiatsu climbing higher and higher until it swirled around him once more. "This is my Getsuga Tenshou!"
Ginjo's eyes widened, knowing he couldn't dodge the force that was coming at him faster than a freight train. Where had all this power come from? Is this the power of the Shinigami? He flew backwards, his sword falling several meters from his hand. It returned to its normal form, the cross around his neck chipped on one corner.
Ikkaku laughed, jumping down to stand next to his friend. "Looks like your aim's off, Ichigo," he said grinning.
"Guess you're right," the younger man said. "I'll have to rectify that. First, can you get the others out of the way? I don't want Inoue, Chad or Ishida to get hurt any more than they already are."
"Sure. It's good to have you back." The eleventh division adjunct picked up Inoue from where she'd been tossed by the power of Ichigo's reiatsu and leapt for the ground. Unohana should be done "healing" the others by now and could work on the human girl.
Kenpachi joined his subordinate and took the taller male, using surprise to knock him unconscious. The boy had gotten more powerful during the last year and more and would make an interesting sparring partner. His powers were odd though and he didn't want to take the chance Yachiru would get hurt. She was a brat, but she was his brat.
Ichigo watched as Renji picked up the re-injured Ishida and sighed quietly in relief as the last of his friends got taken out of the way. He'd have to apologize to the Quincy later for not listening to him sooner.
"Pick up your sword, Ginjo," he said, seeing Rukia dash to attack Tsukishima when it looked like he might get the upper hand against Matsumoto. How many people had the old man sent? "Unlike you, I don't attack unarmed people. You hurt Ishida, not even giving him a chance to defend himself. You're no better than Aizen and his Arrancar."
"Che, you think that just because you have your powers back that you're all powerful again. What's going to happen when their little boost runs out?" Ginjo picked himself up, panting heavily.
"I'm not all powerful," Ichigo argued, looking at the two remaining captains. "None of us are. I only ever attain enough to protect my friends and family. And those that need my help. That's why I allowed Rukia to pour her powers into me in the beginning, and that's why I trained extensively every time after that. I will not stand by and allow you to hurt anyone again. You murdered a Shinigami daiko before to get his or her powers and got away with it until now. Whether the Soul Society judges you or the humans judge you, I don't care. I'm just going to destroy your Fullbring!"
He saw his dad and Urahara smiled proudly before turning and leaving the field to him. Toushiro and Byakuya moved away, obviously wanting to witness his return to battle. Ichigo didn't care what they did as long as they let him have the win.
The Black Sun was rising again.
Long after everything was over and the villains punished, Ichigo sat slumped on the roof, every part of his body hurting. The rain was still coming down but it had slowed to a gentle sprinkle. No doubt by the time he found the energy to move, it would have stopped. "Damn," he murmured, looking at the destroyed building he was perched on.
"It wasn't as easy as you thought it was going to be, was it?" Rukia asked from behind him. Her strong alto washed over him, sending a gentle shiver down his spine.
"I could have used bankai and made it easier but he wasn't worth it. Byakuya really did a number on Tsukishima." The noble had nearly torn the human to pieces.
"He might have allowed me to become a lieutenant but he's still overprotective sometimes. Just like someone else I know." Smiling, she sat next to him, leaning her head on his shoulder. "Ichigo…"
"I know. Congratulations, by the way. You deserve it, Rukia." He placed an arm around her, shifting her shortened locks through his fingers. "I'm not sure how I feel about you cutting your hair though."
"Blame Renji. He was helping me train for my bankai when Zabimaru sliced some of my hair off." She shrugged to let him know it didn't matter. "I kind of like it, actually."
"I'm sure it'll grow on me." Leaning down he kissed the top of her head, simply enjoying having her next to him again. "I missed you, Rukia."
"I know." He might have denied it to anyone who asked but she knew the truth. "I missed you too. Ichigo, there's something we have to discuss. Your body…"
Looking over his shoulder, he spotted it, face down in the rubble. "Yeah, I figured that it was ruined the minute I saw it torn up. It's okay, Rukia. I never did know what I wanted to do after high school. Guess now I have my answer. Do you think Gramps will let me graduate in a gigai though?"
Puzzled, the raven haired pushed away from her beloved and frowned at him. "You're taking this awful well, Ichigo. You're dead, you know that, right?"
"I was dead the minute I had my Chain of Fate cut by Urahara two years ago. I don't care. I think I was always meant to be a Shinigami, Rukia." Standing, he pulled her up with him, lowering his head to kiss her.
"Would you care to die a second time, Ichigo Kurosaki?" a harsh voice asked from several meters away, startling the couple.
"Nii-sama!" Rukia exclaimed, pushing away from Ichigo.
"Byakuya," the teen gulped, letting the girl he loved go but not letting her out of arms' reach.
"It seems, Kurosaki that you insist on pushing the boundaries of what is decent. Perhaps you need a lesson in manners." Byakuya, while not happy with their closeness, was relieved that his sister was alive once more. If it meant that he would have to put up with the brat around for the rest of his life, he'd restrain himself from actually killing him. But not before teaching him a lesson on how to treat a Kuchiki princess. "Scatter, Senbonzakura."
Tired though he was, Ichigo wasted no time in making a run for it. He heard Rukia call his name and that of her brother's before her delighted laugh echoed over the predawn light. Turning smug, he looked back at his pursuer and taunted the older man. "Is that all you've got, Byakuya? I haven't shunpo'd in nearly a year and a half but I could swear that you've gotten slower."
"Insolent brat," Byakuya returned. If the boy had that much energy, he would go a step further than he had originally intended. The others were gathering around, some on the ground, and some in the air to watch the spectacle. They called and cheered, enjoying what was no doubt the first of many spars with the orange haired teen.
Rukia watched as Ichigo ran away from her brother and couldn't help the laughter that rose in her throat. Intentional or not, the man she loved always had a way of making the head of the Kuchiki house angry enough to pull his sword. Watching the sun rise over the horizon, she caught her breath as the orange glow hit Ichigo just right. For a moment he was backlit by the giant star, making his hair shine even more brightly.
"Are you happy now, third daughter?" Isshin said from beside her.
"Aa, look at him." As one they watched as the Black Sun shone once more.
"Indeed." Isshin hugged her with one arm, not even bothering to ruin the moment with his antics. "And with the White Moon there to light his way through the darkness, the Black Sun will never fade again."
As he rose ever higher, those that bore witness to his shining knew that he would continue to do so forever.