This story starts at Chapter 183 and Episode 110 if I recall correctly. The pace picks up as you go along. Thanks to the Beta-ers for this chapter: Codry and Dashita Tichou. Amazing work and insight you guys. I thank you for helping me in my debut story. Check out their stories, "To Break is All I Know" by Codry and "Ritsu Kurosaki" by Dashita Tichou. Check my profile for updates to the story's status, chapter release dates, etc.
Return to Normality
8:00 AM. 30 minutes before school starts.
Orihime Inoue was in a great mood already this morning. They had headed back from the Soul Society on the 13th of August, but because of the Kotutsu chasing them through the Dangai/Precipice world again, time was shifted and they came out in the real world on the night of August 20th only giving her 11 days to prepare for the new trimester of school. Despite this, she was happy that all the fighting from Soul Society was over along with her regaining a sense of a return to normality even if it was for a short time. She slid open the door to the classroom.
"Hey Tatsuki-chan, Mahana-chan, Michiru-chan!" she said to Tatsuki who was standing up talking to Mahana and Michiru as she saw them.
Tatsuki's eyes instantly brightened as she saw her friend. "Hey Orihime you're back!" said Tatsuki said as she went over to Orihime and hugged her. Michiru and Mahana followed.
"You've been gone so long! I haven't seen you since after Ryō, Mahana and I met up with the rest you at the fireworks festival. Was everything ok at your grandmother's house?" asked Michiru.
"Ehehe it hasn't been that long Michiru-chan, but Tatsuki-chan told you guys where I went after all? Well my grandmother is the one who supplies me with money to keep living in my apartment and I like to visit her. She is really nice, you guys should meet her," said Orihime while the others nodded in affirmation.
Technically, it was a psuedo-truth. Orihime had gone to visit her grandmother on the 21st in Yokosuka, but not during the whole time she was gone. Tatsuki had sensed Orihime's presence fade as if it were behind a wall during the time she went to the soul society, so when she had come back Tatsuki sensed that as well, but she didn't really know how to ask Orihime why her "presence" had faded. It seemed like a weird question to ask.
"Uhh? Have any of you guys seen Ryō?" asked Orihime as she looked around the slowly filling classroom, wondering where the sarcastic athletic bookworm was. She was always fun to talk to whether she realized it or not.
"Typical Ryō," said Tatsuki while smirking. "She's one of the track team's fastest sprinters and yet always gets to school so late."
"Eh, she's probably reading something like she always does. Whenever she does that she walks super slow," explained Mahana.
Orihime looked out the window to see if Ryō was coming, before noticing Chad had entered the room. He exchanged a few greetings with some of the guys he usually hung out with as well as one of his band members before putting his guitar down next to his seat. After making sure it wouldn't fall over, he moved towards the spot where he usually stood before class. That was when he saw Orihime standing there.
"Good morning Sado-kun," said Orihime cheerfully when she saw him looking at her.
"Hey Inoue," said Chad said as he leaned against the wall next to the window.
A normal person after this point would be at a loss for what to say next thus creating an awkward silence as Chad wasn't exactly the most talkative person and came across as hard to talk with to some of the students. Though the fact that he was still facing Orihime while leaning against the wall meant the conversation had just begun. Not to mention the fact that Orihime wasn't what one would call normal and could basically strike up a conversation with anybody, even a rock if she was in one of her overactive imagination kind of moods. She even talked to herself sometimes which was slightly ironic in more ways than one considering the existence of her Shun Shun Rikka with them having different personalities and being part of herself.
"So what did you do the rest of summer Sado-kun?"
"Not much actually. I caught up with the band members and…," Chad paused for a while, "that's...pretty much it," he finished.
"Hmmm. Sado-kun, I get the feeling you're leaving a lot out of that," said Orihime with an innocent questioning look on her face. A small hint of a smirk could be seen on Chad's face.
"Sado, I can't believe your still doing that 'Too lazy to finish your stories' thing," said another voice causing Orihime to turn around to the recognizable voice.
"Yo Ishida," stated Chad simply.
"Ah, Good morning Ishida-kun. Sado-kun why didn't you tell me Ishida-kun was behind me?" asked Orihime.
"I just got in the classroom and walked over here and besides, Chad's not the type to shout to me across the room as soon as I walk in. In fact since it's so early in the morning I'd be annoyed at anyone who made that much noise," said Uryū Ishida matter-of-factly as he pushed his glasses up and took his seat next to the window.
"Hmm." Chad affirmed.
Orihime was about to say how she didn't sense Uryū's reiatsu coming at all and playfully accuse him of sneaking up on her, but then remembered that he hadn't…'been himself'…..so she decided to change the subject in that split second, but Uryū and his skills of perception hadn't missed the change in emotions on Orihime's face.
"Eh? You two aren't much of morning people at all are you?" asked Orihime trying to contain her laughter that the two seemed so easily annoyed in the morning.
"Are there even such people Inoue-san?" asked Uryū with a completely serious face. Chad's face was no different and they looked at Orihime together as if they sincerely wanted to know if people could actually be happy and fully awake in the morning. This was one of Orihime's rare awkward silences.
"O-Of course there are!" said Orihime incredulously, "I am obviously one of them!" Orihime said posing with her hands on her hips and smiling with her eyes closed and head tilted up to the ceiling as if saying she was proud of it causing Chad and Uryū to sweatdrop. She continued trying to tilt her head back until the back of her head hit the window with a really loud thud.
"Orihime are you ok?" asked Tatsuki from a few feet away with Michiru and Mahana exchanging knowing glances.
"Y-Yeah I'm fine Tatsuki-chan. Don't worry," said Orihime rubbing the back of her head.
"You need to be more careful," said Tatsuki with a worried face which quickly turned into a smirk. "I thought your clumsy-streak was finally starting to ease up," she said teasingly, causing Orihime to laugh.
"Yeah, but I think I'm going to calm down now and join the "Gloomy-Type Morning People" club with Ishida-kun and Sado-kun now. I think hitting my head like that is going to give me a headache," said Orihime making a overly forced scowling face similar to the one she had used to impersonate Ichigo in the past to emphasize her point that she was gloomy.
"Wh-what Inoue-san? We aren't gloomy we just prefer less excitement in the morning right after waking u-", Uryū stopped as he saw the window Orihime's head had hit and his face turned white. There was a crack in the window. This wasn't the effect of the school having cheap windows. Those were new high quality windows. This was none other than the power of Orihime's hard head.
Combining that attribute with some of her clumsiness had created some accidental head butts that Ichigo, Chad, and he had been on the receiving end of back in the Soul Society. It was not a pleasant memory. Chad took notice of the window as well and turned away with similar flashbacks probably going through his mind.
A depressing aura clouded in over Chad and Uryū.
"Whats up with you guys? I was just joking! Do you see what I mean?" said Orihime pointing an accusatory finger and with the expression on her face to match. "Gloomy!" she said to answer the question for herself gesturing with both her hands towards Uryū and Chad. This snapped Uryū out of his melancholic daze as he sighed and admitted defeat.
"Alright, alright Inoue-san," the Quincy said waving his hands back and forth. "I'll admit I'm sometimes 'gloomy' in the morning….Well, for your standards anyway, but…today isn't one of them." He the last sentence with a smirk which Orihime reciprocated with a bigger smile.
"Hmm. Well that's good. I know my grandma in Yokosuka is a horrible morning person based on the fact that she never wants to wake up. Sometimes she stays in bed so long that I sometimes have to fight her to drag her out of bed even though I always lose and I even thought she had died one of the times she didn't wake up, but in the end she was just playing dead to mess with me or something like that," said Orihime nonchalantly causing Uryū and Chad to immediately sweatdrop.
"Inoue's grandmother must be as…..amusing as Inoue herself...," thought Uryū to himself picturing Inuoe fighting someone to get them out of bed.
"Wait… she said she always loses? Didn't she tell me she was black belt level in soul society? She even beat those shinigami up by herself so we could take their kimonos and disguise ourselves...," Uryū thought nervously.
"I tell her to stop watching TV so late at night so she can wake up in the morning, but she says mornings are for orange-juice addicts and it made me wonder if people can actually get addicted to something like orange-juice. So later when I went to look into refrigerator and she had like 3 cartons of orange juice in there! I thought it was really funny, but when I asked her about it she said she didn't know where they came from and asked me why I brought them and if I was trying to make her into a 'juice-convert'. She has a weird way with describing things."
Orihime continued her trademark rambling and use of a lot of hand gestures as Tatsuki, Mahana, and Michiru looked on with amused looks.
"Leave it to Orihime to strike up a conversation with the quietest people in class. It's easy for her to make friends with people after all," said Mahana.
"Yeah, was she always that close with those two or is she just making conversation?" asked Michiru.
"Well, Ishida and Orihime are in the handicrafts club together," said Tatsuki suggesting a reason.
At that moment Ichigo walked in the room with Keigo and Mizuiro flanking him from behind.
"Good morning Ichigo!" said Orihime.
"Yo," said Chad.
"Morning. Looks like your hair's as messy as always," taunted Uryū to Ichigo's annoyance.
Orihime then went back to her story where she caught her grandma drinking out a huge carton of orange juice at 12:00 AM motioning with her hands the size of the carton and how that time was technically morning, thus making her an undercover morning person, just in the early morning hours instead of the later hours where everybody else wakes up.
Meanwhile, Keigo was in utter shock and confusion at the scene.
"Ichigo!, Ichigo! That combination!" he said as he said motioned towards the three near the window. "Don't you think it's a bit weird? Why is Chad with Inoue-san and more importantly Ishida! Were they this close before summer? It's like Beauty and the Beast plus glasses! What happened between them over summer?" asked Keigo with way too much emotion and decibels for the newly formed 'Easily irritated in the morning club'.
"No and nothing happened," Ichigo answered simply as he went to join his 'nakama' symbolically in their apparent 'newly formed club'. Though Keigo missed that the symbolic reference was being applied to him.
All of this while comically giving Keigo the cold shoulder much to his dismay. He complained about being lonely while ironically ignoring that Mizuiro was right behind him.
"Tch. As soon as Kurosaki arrived, it got noisy," said Ryō with an apathetic scowl sitting at her desk reading a magazine without looking up.
"Maybe she should join the club," thought Tatsuki to herself.
"Eh! Ryō when did you get here?!" asked Michiru.
"Just got here," replied Ryō.
"Wait a sec," Tatsuki thought to herself. "Not only does Ryō hang out with her, but they are also neighbors and so she walks to school with 'that person'. So if Ryō is here than that must mean so i-"
"GOOOD MORNING HIIIME!" shouted Chizuru as she interrupted and provided an answer to Tatsuki's thoughts at the same time. The enthused redhead groped Orihime's chest from behind as the girl finished up her story. Her frantic lunge ended only in her face being impacted by the heel of a shoe. Tatsuki's to be exact. It sent her careening a few feet away.
"Ahh looks like our Tsukkomi is going strong even though summer vacation is over," said Chizuru with a grin while getting up off the floor.
"I thought I told you, this isn't a Tsukkomi!" shouted an annoyed Tatsuki.
Chizuru and Tatsuki continued their humorous talk for a little bit, then Ichigo began talking to Tatsuki after Chizuru went to her seat. Orihime finally finished her story to Uryū and Chad after getting interrupted and distracted so many times. Uryū began getting materials out of his bag as he knew Ochi-sensei would be there any moment. Seeing the opportunity, Orihime began talking to Chad again to revive the original conversation she had wanted to have.
"Sado-kun," said Orihime in a serious tone that quickly got Chad's attention.
"What I really wanted to know when I asked you what you did the rest of summer after we got back was if you did any more training or not?"
"Why would you want to know that Inoue?" Chad was confused and caught off guard by the spontaneous question and sudden change of demeanor in his classmate.
Orihime's demeanour changed back. "Oh, I was just wondering becau-"
"GOOD MORNING! Take your seat brats!" shouted Ochi-sensei with a smile on her face in her usual easy-going voice as she walked into the class, slid the door shut, and began taking roll .
Chad quickly went to his seat right behind Ichigo and Orihime went to her seat two seats behind Uryū next to the second window. She begun getting the assignments they had over summer out of her bag. She had managed to finish all of it while she had been in Yokosuka. It had been daunting at first. She had so much to do and so little time due to the time-consuming Soul Society and time-distorting Dangai/Precipice world, before she had one of her brilliant ideas and brought out her Rikka for ultimate multitasking. Since the Rikka were part of her soul she had the idea they could all probably read different things at the same time and then she would get all of the information much to Tsubaki's chagrin.
"You brought us out for WHAT WOMAN!" shouted Tsubaki at the closed door while rubbing his newly injured nose from the slamming door.
"Tsubaki," started Lily. "She said it five times already, she needs us to help her with her homewo-" but was cut off by Tsubaki.
"Stop right there and listen to what you just said," said Tusbaki with a uncharacteristically yet noticably forced calm voice.
"HOMEWORK!" he shouted again.
"Actually I only said 'homewo-' since you cut me off Mr. Manners. You shouldn't put words in other's mouths," grumbled Lily under her breath.
"Am I the only one mad that this is one of the rare times we get called and it isn't even for fighting?" said Tsubaki looking at Shun'ō. Shun'ō simply smirked to Tsubaki's ire.
Lily responded with a smug look on her face, "Tsubaki, don't try to make it sound like you have our interests at heart. We all know that what you mean by 'fighting' is offense which is understandable with Koten Zanshun being your ability and all. Add that with the fact that most of the time when we are used, only Shun'o and Ayame are used for Sōten Kisshun and then Hinagiku, Baigon, and I for Santen Kesshun," she continued in a teasing tone while gesturing towards Baigon and Hinagiku; alluding to Orihime's pacifist nature.
"It's nothing to be upset over though, really. Just consider yourself as 'the ultimate last resort-final technique'," said Lily. It was so easy to mess with Tsubaki.
At that moment, Shun'ō speed blitzed Tsubaki from behind and pulled his bandana tight over his mouth to prevent him from making an inevitable heated retort towards Lily.
Struggling to contain Tsubaki and talking over his shouts of protest, Shun'ō continued the conversation. "Actually Lily, what I think Tsubaki meant by fighting is to use all of us whenever we are in a actual fight like when we first were awakened," said the top-knotted Rikka yanking on Tsubaki's bandana cloth.
"Even so, it's not like every fight or situation is the same. Not all of our abilities are needed for every situation we could run into. Like I said the most used are you and Ayame for healing," explained Lily.
At hearing her name, Ayame peaked out from under the red hood made of her appendages from where she and Shun'ō were before he went over to subdue Tsubaki. "Um..yeah, well as long as we are around Kurosaki-kun and the others, I'm sure not only will Shun'ō and I be used, but all of us. Even Tsubaki." said Ayame quietly.
Just then Tsubaki broke free of Shun'ō. "That's just it though! We shouldn't need to rely on Kurosaki or anyone else for our own development. We should be able to fight together because we want to fight!" he shouted.
"Agreed. Though there is a difference between relying only on yourself and shouldering your burdens alone, or depending fully on somebody else and not believing in yourself, as opposed to middle solution of being confident in yourself, but not shouldering burdens all by yourself," said Baigon breaking his silence up to that point.
"Oh? Poignant as always Baigon," said Hinagiku.
"Tch..yeah I guess you are right," said Tsubaki to what Baigon had said in a rare tone of acceptance. Baigon being the one of the only Rikka who even rarely received such a tone. He then turned to Hinagiku.
"'Poignant as always'? What are you some kind of artistic critic now Patchy?" questioned Tsubaki. "Why don't you go write some poetry or something and let the leaders discuss the battle strategies without distractions," he taunted with a grin behind his bandana.
A vein pulsed on Hinagiku's forehead. "What? I can't even use basic vocabulary around a simpleton like you and exactly who are you referring to as leaders? Certainly not yo-WAIT WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT MY EYEPATCH?" Hinagiku raged.
Shun'ō face palmed and Ayame retreated into the hood of her dress. Baigon looked indifferent yet entertained if you looked close enough and Lily looked highly amused with a full grin on her face and crossed arms as she floated in the air.
Tsubaki continued. "I'm asking what's the point of that eye patch? Does it even do anything or have any special abilities because there's no way you're wearing it because you lost an eye. That doesn't even make any sense and why does it stretch into a horn above your head? You don't do any stabbing as you aren't offensive like me. It's almost as pointless as Ms. Four-Eyes over there he said pointing his thumb at Lily who was caught off guard.
"Don't play dumb! You know good and well that these are goggles, not glasses!" said Lily adjusting her transparent yellow goggles as if she was defending them, "Do you not see the swimsuit theme going on here? You're just trying to point out other people to compensate for your goofy bandana cloth which is what really serves no point!"
At this point, Baigon, Lily and Ayame kind of went and sat down on the table next to the closed door to the room that Orihime had went inside to get her books.
Tsubaki was surprisingly holding back his comebacks during Lily's rant despite the vein pulsing on his forehead, though when Lily brought up the bandana paradox you could see multiple pulsing veins form on his face at the same time to Hinagiku's amusement.
"….and you say how there's no way Hinagiku losing a eye could be the reason for him having having a eyepatch horn, but why do you even have scars? It's not as if you got them during the fight with Jidanbō's brother in the soul society. You had them as soon as we awakened!"
Tsubaki calmed down as the edges of a smug smirk appeared on his face above the bandana, causing Lily and Hinagiku to exchange confused glances before looking back at Tsubaki.
"Eh? Firstly, how do you even remember that no name scum Jirōbō Ikkanzaka? Secondly Hinagiku actually has more scars than me and looks like an alien with elf ears to match and if those things are goggles and not glasses, then they must be polarized goggles Lily," said Tsubaki. While some of the other Rikka liked messing with Tsubaki, Tsubaki liked messing with Lily and Hinagiku the most. They were the easiest to mess with after all.
"Polarized? Why would anyone ha-" but Lily was cut off by another.
"Helloooo! Down here!" Shun'ō called out from his spot on the table next to Ayame with his eyes closed, hands on the back of his head head and usual grin. "Alright, it's my turn to play! Firstly Tsubaki, how can he be 'no name scum' if you remembered his full name and even got the pronunciation right? Secondly, are you guys really asking questions like that? I'm pretty sure we all know why we ended up looking the way we do."
"Way to ruin the jokes you killjoy!" shouted Tsubaki as he zoomed over towards Shun'ō and covered his mouth as payback for what he did earlier with his bandana.
"That's my job!" Shun'ō said muffled through Tsubaki's hands while laughing trying to get him off.
The door opened and Orihime came outside the room.
"Woah you guys have been outside the whole time? You could've come inside you know..."
"It's because you ran in and closed the door in our faces woman!" shouted Tsubaki kicking Orihime in her own face as payback.
"Oh, haha I guess I forgot you guys were following me since I had you out all day today and I'm used to just having you in the hairpins. Plus I guess I thought you would just fly through the door since you're like spirits…and Tsubaki-kun, I said you could call me 'Orihime', you know? Why do you always act so unfamiliar?" asked Orihime comically snatching Tsubaki out the air with ninja precision with a pout on her face.
"Wha- Let go of me wom-HMmmMMmm".
"Now I know you guys are probably wondering why I've had you out all day?" asked Orihime pulling out a chair and sitting down at the table ironically ignoring Tsubaki whose mouth was covered by Orihime's thumb.
The Rikka sans Tsubaki all gathered around Orihime.
"It's because while in Soul Society I…well, we learned that a Shinigami's zanpakutō is a spirit inside of them and part of their soul. And how the closer they get to the spirit, the stronger and more coordinated they get right as they fight together right?
"There's more to it than that, but in general that's correct," said Shun'ō as he flew in and landed on Tsubaki's head without a second thought.
"Right, and Shinigami have inner worlds can where they can talk to their zanpakutō any time if they want depending on how close they are with it and sometimes they can talk without even going to the inner world. That's what Isane-san told me during the time we were helping heal people together in the 4th Division after the betrayal of those three captains," Orihime continued.
"So while I don't really have a inner world or anything like that, I can still bring you guys out anytime I want and I could talk to all of you from the very start unlike a zanpakutō. So I figure the same rules apply in that the closer I get to you, my powers being you all, the stronger I will become and the more in sync we are, the more we can grow. Not to mention getting used to having you all out for a long time can help me so as not to tire out easily in a fight because of reiatsu loss or something like that."
"Wow, I have to say, I am impressed you've thought that far through Orihime," praised Shun'ō.
"Well at the start, you helped me learn how to use you and the rest of the Rikka Shun'ō, and now I feel I have to start contributing and trying to lead myself. We've already mastered doing our techniques without the kotodama, but I know I can get much stronger than I am now. There's no way I've reached my limit of all possible growth even if I am just a human!"
"In Soul Society, even though everyone said I was useful I felt there were times when I was just dead weight and I hate that feeling," said Orihime. She found it easy to voice out her deeper feelings to her Rikka since they were part of her after all.
"I want to work so that I won't be a burden to Kurosaki-kun or anyone and most of all, never feel that feeling again!"
Lily and Hinagiku looked pumped up by Orihime's speech as energetic flames appeared in their eyes.
"YEAH! You can totally get stronger Orihime! We're just getting started! It's barely been two months since you first awakened us and you've already come this far! That's amazing!" said an enthused Lily.
"She's right! And that's the spirit Orihime! There's no limit to what we can do if you just believe in yourself!" shouted Hinagiku.
Shun'ō looked on grinning but was suddenly pushed off by a writhing Tsubaki who escaped Orihime's grasp.
If Tsubaki was moved by Orihime's speech he didn't know how to show it as he wasn't good at conveying emotions besides anger.
"Women are you trying to kill me! Or did you forget I was in your hand?" Tsubaki said with giant throbbing fingerprints on his face.
"We all know you are just saying this stuff to get us to do your stupid schoolwork for you-GHAAH" said Tsubaki as he was kicked in the face by a ticked off Lily.
"Actually Tsubaki this 'schoolwork' thing is part of my plan," retorted Orihime. Ayame poked her head completely out of her hood to show interest at hearing this.
"It may seem ….um what's the word…oh ok I got it! Unorthodox! It may seem unorthodox, but this is just a test. You see, since you all are part of my soul and I'm able to talk to you all so easily, our bond is stronger than even an average Shinigami and their zanpakutō, if I can be compared to a Shinigami. So I figure that if we all worked together on this schoolwork with each of us covering different things that I could learn faster through all of you guys…um sort of like a shared consciousness thing. Then we could develop that further for other things like fighting," she explained, placing her fist in her palm in finality.
"Hmm I never thought of something like that. We are like separate personalities, yet still part of you and we haven't really tested the limits of this ability like for example how far apart can each of us be from each other?...Hmm...Yeah, you guys are right," said Shun'ō with growing enthusiasm.
"We still have alot to learn but this idea of yours should be a good start Orihime!" beamed Shun'ō.
"Yeah….whatever sounds cool I guess," said Tsubaki with his barely noticeable rare smirk of approval thanks to his bandana. Despite his seeming approval, what really won him over was when he heard the word "fighting".
Ayame still had her head outside the hood and had a smile on her face and Baigon was nodding in approval with a smile on his face as well.
"Alright let's get started!" shouted Orihime imitating Ochi-sensei as she opened up several books of various subjects and placed them at different points around the table. Then she looked at all the Rikka with a cartoonish sly look and suddenly said, "1!,2!,3! NOT IT FOR MATH!"
"'1,2,3 not it'? Tch, does it looks like we're playing 'tag' woman?" asked Tsubaki in a bored voice, but failed to catch on until it was too late.
"NOT IT!" screamed Shun'ō, Baigon, and Lily simultaneously in a rushed panic.
"NOOOOT IT!" shouted Hinagiku.
"NOT IT! NOT IT! NOT IT!" shouted Ayame from inside her hood where she had retreated after Orihime started the game.
"Well Tsubaki, looks like you have to study the maaaath," teased Lily.
Tsubaki went wide-eyed in realization.
"WHAT? NO! I want a recount! I was cheated! You are supposed to count to 5 not 3! That's basic knowledge woman!" shouted Tsubaki to no avail as the Rikka all fled to the various stations Orihime had set up.
"Eh? Don't worry Tsubaki. I'll help you out with the math anyway," chirped a happy Orihime.
"What? That's even worse.." a defeated Tsubaki said under his breath, sulking as he flew over to the dreaded textbook.
8:31 AM. The school day has now started.
Orihime smiled at the memory as she finished getting out all of her materials with that same math book being the last. Then frowned when she remembered what happened when she called the Rikka back into hairpins and tried to access any possible memories of things she knew the various Rikka had studied, but was dismayed when they ended up feeling like faint memories from a dream. She even had to concentrate extremely hard to recall even those details at first when she recalled the Rikka.
Though at the same time, she was still happy that her theory had even been correct. She could barely recall bits and pieces as it was, and ended up just doing all the work herself while still activating the Rikka out of her hairpins to continue getting used to having them out. She hadn't really expected it to be perfect on the first try anyway and didn't know how exactly to make it work, but she just had to keep trying.
She smiled again at the memory of her grandma passing by while she had the Rikka out, wondering why Orihime was talking to herself and told her "This is what orange juice does to the mind!".
Occhi-sensei had just finished taking roll.
"AH! Everyone is here today! Nice! Very nice," said Ochi-sensei. "Well, Ooshima and Sorumachi aren't here, but they don't count because they're slackers and bad students. Eh, I'm sure they're healthy, not sick or anything and probably having fun somewhere," said Misato Ochi matter of factly.
The students still had yet to get used to their teacher's reactions to certain things.
"'They're slackers so they don't count'? First time I heard a teacher say something like that." "Shouldn't she be more worried about her students?" "Is that what a teacher should be saying?" various kids from across the class murmured.
"Good news everyone. Today there's a new transfer student!" announced Ochi-sensei. A few kids perked up at this while others like Ichigo and Ryō didn't even look up.
Orihime smirked again at the return of the sense of normality of being in class again and getting random transfer students before she heard a loud screaming voice and saw that Uryū heard it too. It was coming from Ichigo.
"HOLLOW! HOLLOW! HOLLOW!"
"WHAT THE?" shouted Ichigo holding the source of the noise. It was the strange badge Captain Ukitake had given him.
Mizuiro asked Ichigo what was wrong to which ichigo replied, "Um… my stomach!" before Chad asked, "Is it a hollow?" and Ichigo answered "Yeah", got up and saw Ochi-sensei hadn't noticed the commotion and was actively looking for the transfer student outside the classroom door. He and took the opportunity to run away saying he was going to the bathroom.
Orihime and Chad got up and followed with the same lame excuse since they didn't have time to make up a better one. Once they got outside the school they saw Ichigo had simply deposited his body in plain sight and was running across the track field next to the side of the building their classroom was on.
"Inoue, I'll put Ichigo's body in a safe spot, you go ahead. I'll catch up," said Chad.
"Right!" replied Orihime.
Chad caught up in no time.
"Hey Sado-kun, do you really think Kurosaki-kun needs our help?" asked Orihime.
"If he does we'll be there and if he doesn't we'll be there anyways," said Chad.
"I guess you are right. Better safe than sorry," said Orihime as they closed in on the hollow's spiritual pressure around the corner and saw Ichigo unwrapping Zangetsu facing a hollow with a pig-like mask when he turned around.
"Huh you guys followed me?" asked Ichigo confused.
Orihime and Chad sweat dropped.
"He didn't even sense us coming," they thought.
"That's right we came to help you out Kurosaki-kun!" proclaimed the Rikka wielder.
"Wha—but this is just a weak hollow! It's even weaker than the one that attacked my house and hurt Rukia. Everyone doesn't need to leave class for every low level hollow that comes," said Ichigo gesturing his arms and pointing at the hollow that had just spawned pulsing veins on its forehead from Ichigo's comments.
The hollow jumped into the air screaming "BEEF!" and began shooting small energy blasts which Ichigo blocked with Zangetsu.
"So the hollows are still around Karakura after all," stated Orihime in contemplation.
"Yeah," said Chad. "As long as there are humans there will always be hollows."
"I just wonder where they are always coming from?" asked Orihime.
"PORK! BEEK!" The hollow said as it saw the blasts weren't working and came down to crush Ichigo itself, but he dodged out the way and jumped into the air, arcing Zangestu in a position to swing down.
"Beef?, Pork?, make up your mind!" shouted Ichigo as he swung Zangetsu clean down the middle of the hollow's mask destroying the hollow as it disappeared and went to Soul Society.
"Now as I was saying," stated as Ichigo regained his footing. "It's just a normal hollow. I can handle these on my own. You guys didn't need to sneak out with me or anything."
"Yeah, but I've always wanted to sneak out of school using, 'I have to go to the bathroom' as an excuse," said Orihime jokingly.
"I think that's stretching that low a level of an excuse too far Inoue," said Chad.
"Hmm.. Now that think of it, where is Ishida?" asked Ichigo looking around.
"Um…Ishida-kun hasn't been doing too well," said Orihime in a hesitant voice.
"Huh? Really?" asked Ichigo as if genuinely surprised.
"Yeah, he's been like that since before we left Soul Society," she continued.
"Huh? Chad did you notice anything?" asked Ichigo.
"No," he replied.
"I don't think he wanted you guys to find out or anyone for that matter. He's the type that he doesn't want others to know that type of thing," said Orihime.
"What? Then why are you telling us then?" said Ichigo, confused once again.
"Woah you're right!" Orihime said suddenly embarrassed with her hand covering her mouth.
"What am I going to do now?" asked Orihime as she basically began freaking out.
This caused Ichigo to sort of freak out himself, trying to calm her down.
"Huh! Wait Inoue, we'll just pretend like we didn't hear anything! Alright?" said Ichigo in an assuaging tone.
"Really?" said Orihime as if the thought didn't cross her mind and relief crossed her face. Chad looked amused by the scene and to the surprise of the others started another conversation himself to change the mood as they walked back to class all while neither of them noticed a figure hovering upside down in the sky drinking from a upside down water bottle.
The man had a blonde hair with a haricut that resembled a bowl cut, but was different in style with the bangs in the front cut more. He wore the casual school uniform of Karakura High reserved for spring and summer time; just a normal dress shirt and grey pants. However, it was customized with a tie and when he took a sip of water, a tongue ring could vaguely be seen in his mouth along with slightly protruding teeth.
"Kurosaki Ichigo, huh?" said the stranger as he took in the scene below him.
"Tsubaki!" Orihime called out the Rikka and only him alone as he appeared out of the hairpin.
"What do you want woman?" said Tsubaki.
"Huh? Are you going to ask that every time I call you out? Even in the middle of a battle?"
"I'd know whether we are in battle or not woman and stop avoiding the question!"
"Oh yeah I called you out since I want to practice Koten Zanshun some more."
"Hmm? Finally some real training, instead of that psychic garbadge she was trying to pull before."
"Would it be easier to increase your strength or speed first?" Orihime asked innocently?
"The speed of course," answered Tsubaki .
", but speed doesn't matter if I can't cut through anything," thought Tsubaki remembering the battle against the 4th seat punk from the 7th division in soul society where he had been injured. It hadn't mattered how slow or fast he was going, if he was strong enough combined with killing intent he would have cut straight through that guy's zanpaktou when he tried to slice him.
"Aright then!" said Orihime causing Tsubaki to look back up at her.
"We'll definitely increase strength first since speed would be the obvious thing to do! Then eventually strength and speed at the same time one we get more advanced!"
"Now your speaking my language woman! said Tsubaki, though he sweatdropped as he silently questioned her reasoning of doing it just for the sake 'not doing the obvious thing' instead of having a better or more noble reason.
"Right so I plan to cut through things of increasing hardness and densities to see what the limit is for your cutting power. Then we can improve from there," said Orihime forming a first a slamming it down on her palm.
"No need for that woman, I can cut through anything if you want me to! Get the hardest, toughest things you can find!"
Hikaru obaa-san had just came back from the local grocery store with some pretty ironic orange beverages along with other food for cooking for her grandaughter's crazy tastes. She sure was glad to see her granddaughter again after so long, not that she would admit it anyway. It was horrible what happened to Sora, and she hadn't even gotten to Karakura until a day later after he had died. It was so nice to see Orihime had grown into such a nice young lady, but she grew up so fast.
She turned the key to open the door and pulled to her surprise as the door came apart as if it was split completely in half. Hikaru's eyes widened in shock.
"What the…! That's sure is some omen!" She walked inside and found almost everything had been split completely in half as her eyes twitched.
"Okay. This is just a dream. There's no way I can get this many bad omens in one day. One week maybe, but never a day. I'm going to walk down the street and come back and everything will be 'whole' again and not 'half'," she said as she backed up out of the house slowly..then turning away and running away screaming "I'm not senile!" to some kids who were staring at her who always thought she was crazy.
Orihime popped out from behind the door-frame from where she was hiding.
"Oh man! Obaa-chan came home early! Shun'ō, Ayame, come on we need to do some rapid rejection quick!" said the frantic girl.
"Hmm, it should be easy rejecting all the damage to this stuff since it is all physical objects and not made of spiritrons(reishi) and on top of that was cut by our own reiatsu. Let's go Ayame and heal all of this with the kotodama to get it done faster."
"Right" answered Ayame softly.
Hikaru obaa-san finally came back to a nicely whole door and nervously opened it to a home that looked shockingly cleaner than it was before and saw Orihime sitting at the counter.
"Oh hey obaa-chan, do you want some red bean paste** and orange juice?" asked Orihime as she got up and helped her with the rest of her bags.
Hikaru's face immediately squinted. Usually only older people ate red bean paste, but this girl loved it.
"Eh. Sure, why not?" she said smiling at her granddaughter.
Chapter Started: Sunday, July 31st, afternoon
Chapter Finished: Friday, August 12, 2011, 6:56:02 PM
Revisions: July 31st-August 12th. October 1st, 2011. January 6th, 2013(minor edits with changing Uryuu to Uryū and Ryo to Ryō)
Finished first chapter is finally finished!
This is my first time writing any kind of fanfiction for any site or even just in general, and I don't know how others do it. This is a lot of work, but I have a story to tell, and I hope to eventually get it all told, though because it is so time consuming, I am going to write a lot of chapters ahead of time. The story should follow the timeline but then eventually get AU. You could say it's AU now, but it's only AU in the sidestory with Hikaru and Orihime helping Isane heal people in the 4th division. Oh and the reason Hikaru is from Yokosuka is because that's the place I stayed at when I went to Japan at the end of 2010. It's really beautiful and was just what I expected from the first place I visited in Japan.
I wanted to write this because; there are barely any Orihime and Chad stories that focus on their development and instead focus on some crack pairing or are just Ulqi-hime stories(I use to think it was a crack pairing until I saw the power of the fandom and got scared. Lol). Especially with Orihime. Don't get me started on the drought of stories with the shun shun rikka even having dialogue. There's so much comedic potential with those guys.
While writing this chapter I was looking for more inspiration and found a story by debbiechan of the "bleachness" live journal community featuring the Rikka called "Shun Shun Rikka Does the Math" and it's on this site as well.
I also imagined how the story of Bleach would be if they developed further because in my opinion, Orihime and Chad kind of got left behind in terms of development in the actual Bleach plot in terms of fighting.
Sure Orihime did improve a lot. She went from not being able to do her abilities without kotodama to doing them without kotodama and increasing her abilities in each technique. Her shield went from being broken by Yammy to stopping Segunda Etapa Ulquirorra for at least a second. Her range from how far away she could cast the healing shield seemed to go up along with the size of which she could make it along with the ability to restrain people inside the shield as shown with Ichigo burning his hand when trying to escape it.
She went from taking hours to heal Jidanbō to healing the arm of Grimmjow, an arrancar's(which like Visoreds in the case of ichigo, has been proven to be harder to heal because of conflicting reiatsus) arm in only a couple seconds to even bringing people including arrancars at that back from the dead(Loly and the shinigami guards in the dangai that Ulq killed). So her healing shield has dramatically improved exponentially. It's just that people don't realize how much Orihime improved in the plot of Bleach.
Then Chad increased the abilities of his right arm before realizing it was a defensive arm and progressing it to the next stage along with getting a new offesnive arm and fighting on par with a ex-espada without sonido or any high speed movement.
Though I still imagine that they have barely touched the surface of their potential and have potential for rapid growth like Ichigo as Chad was already around more than VC level when he fought the ex-espada and he had just gotten his powers no less than 3 months earlier. Plus he's just Chad.
I like imagining Chad and Orihime in fights a lot with the powers I imagine for them. So I plan to bring some of that to anyone who comes across this story.
This is my first chapter to my first story ever so please for my sake be brutal in the reviews. Tell me thing you didn't like, kind of didn't like, hate with a passion, etc, but also tell me what you like, love, want me to improve on, want to see, or any questions for the future of the story in general. Was it boring? Stale dialogue? Too long? Too short? I need your help. I can't do it alone.
(Just going to say right now, I pretty bad at punctuation for dialogue so I know I made tons of mistakes there).
Stay tuned for next chapter. Next chapter, both Chad and Orihime's point of view on things will be featured. Check my profile for updates to the story's status, chapter release dates, etc.
- **Orihime loves red bean paste as stated by Kubo himself. She also is a black belt level in karate and has a comically hard head.
I think during the series, Uryū calls Chad both "Chad" and "Sado-kun" or "Sado". I also make very subtle references throughout the chapter to subtle things in Bleach for example. Mahana says how easy it is for Orihime to make friends and how it was with the quietest people in class is a reference to Bleach chapter 70 where Ichigo remarks the same thing and points out how it is the opposite for Uryū and Chad. There are lots more references throughout the chapter from where Orihime, Uryū, and Chad sit, to mixing dialogue from different translations of the manga along with dub and sub dialogue from the anime and adding some original dialogue on top of that.