January 18th 2011

… 234, 235, 236, 237, 238 boxes of Pocky; small.

… 141, 142, 143 boxes of Pocky; family size.

"I hate stock room duty so much" Yosuke muttered to himself as he noted down the last totals for this section before moving on to the next. His father was put in charge of running the Inaba branch of Junes when the company finished building it which, naturally, meant the Hanamura family had to move to the small town. Yosuke wasn't as upset about that as he acted. Really, he was proud of his dad and was glad to help out in what his family were considering the 'family business'.

He was, however, starting to suspect his parents' motives in thinking of the place that way. He'd noticed the looks the Inaba natives were sending his family's way. They were seen as interlopers. Invaders. The locals had no desire to see these 'big city folk' come in and ruin their perfect little town.

Yosuke figured it would be another 6 months before those same locals did all their shopping at Junes. At most. They'd still vilify the Hanamuras, of course. Stubborn pride and hypocrisy go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

He sighed to himself. Right. Inventory. Next section: kitchenware. 'Who the hell sorted this section?' Yosuke wondered to himself with a growl as he saw the complete tip that were the shelves of kitchen equipment. He got to work reorganising the shelves to make inventory easier.

Now, in fairness to Yosuke, it's worth noting that his shift was supposed to finish an hour ago. He was tired and somewhat frustrated, meaning he wasn't thinking quite as clearly as he really should be when handling shelves upon shelves of kitchen knives and other potentially hazardous items. If he'd taken a second to realise this, maybe take a break to get a coffee...

But he didn't do that. So what happened next wouldn't take a psychic to predict.

His father found him around a half hour later, immediately calling for an ambulance when he saw his only son lying on the floor. It turned out the majority of the wounds were superficial. Would've healed up fine in a few weeks.

If it weren't for that one blade that managed to find his eye.

'A freak accident', the detective put in charge determined. 'At least it was quick' the paramedics said, with as much sympathy as they could muster.

It was no consolation to the Hanamuras.

"Ahh!" Yosuke yelled as his arms moved to protect his face. "...Ah?"

He blinked in confusion when nothing happened. Looking around, he realised he was no longer in the stock room and was instead standing in some sort of old fashioned village.

"Hey, kid! You new?" a gruff male voice spoke from nearby.

Spinning around to face the new voice, Yosuke tried and failed to understand what just happened. "Uhh, sorry about this, sir, but could you maybe tell me what the hell just happened?"

The man grinned. Yeah. This kid was new. "Well, hate to be the one to break it to ya, kid, but you're dead. Welcome to the afterlife."

January 22nd 2011

"So I was thinking we could head to the electronics store first. I need to replace my cell phone." a light-haired girl announced to her friend.

Chie Satonaka and Yukiko Amagi had decided to spend an afternoon in Okina City since neither had anything better to do.

And it got them away from the general sombre attitude after what happened earlier that week. The town hated the Hanamuras – undeservedly in Chie's opinion – but no one would have wished that fate on them. And Chie had probably been the one to spend the most time with Yosuke aside from his family. If she were being completely honest, she'd admit she was having trouble dealing with it.

So the two of them took an afternoon to get away from it all. Even if Chie wouldn't admit that was why she'd suggested it, Yukiko understood. That's what best friends are for, right?

Yukiko nodded in response to Chie's suggestion but was stopped by her ringing phone before she could offer a more vocal answer.

Chie watched her friend as the phone call went on and saw the girl's face fall further and further.

"Yes... Yes... No, I can't today... Yes, I know I have responsib- No! I won't just-" Yukiko pulled the phone away from her ear and snapped it shut without another word. Chie guessed the person on the other end – most likely Yukiko's mother – had just hung up on her.

"So she's calling you home, huh?" Chie asked, knowing the answer.

"Yeah. But I can ignore it." 'You need me more right now' was left unsaid.

No, no! It's fine! I'll be fine. I'd feel guilty if I got you into trouble with your mom." Chie reassured. Hard to classify it as being reassuring when you're trapping someone in a guilt-based catch-22 but somehow Chie managed it.

"... Are you sure? I could make it up to her some other time..."

Chie actually laughed a little at that. "No you couldn't. She wouldn't let you. Go on, I'll be fine on my own, promise!"

After Yukiko left, offering hurried promises that they would hang out the next day, Chie let the cheerful facade fall. Thankfully, that good-natured grin was the only lie during that conversation. She really was okay on her own. She wasn't looking for comfort, just escape.

Hell, people at school thought she and Yosuke were dating, so she ended up with more people offering kind words (and 'strong manly shoulders to cry on', ugh!) than was necessary.

So it was that she spent the day window shopping, lost in her own little world.

She never saw the car coming.

"What the? Where am I? What just happened?" Chie wondered aloud. All her stuff was gone and she wasn't in Okina anymore, that was for certain. Though where she was, she couldn't guess. Except maybe it was some kind of feudal reenactment.

"Oh, dear." she heard an old woman mumble before she addressed Chie directly. "Are you alright, dearie? You look lost."

"Umm, I'm sorry. I think I am? I was in Okina shopping and... I don't know how I got here. Or where here is."

The old woman sighed. Such a shame. The girl was so young! "I'm sorry, dear. You passed away. This is the afterlife."

April 11th 2011

Seta Souji's day was going quite well, all things considered. A mild concussion was all that had gone wrong so far during this move. Worse things had happened during others, after all. The carjacking in Texas, for example.

As he took his seat on the train, he began to wonder what the people he would be staying with for the year would be like. Supposedly they were his family. Well, related by blood, at least. He'd learned long ago that family requires more than that.

His thoughts were interrupted by a pale, dark-haired woman in equally dark robes speaking to him. "Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?"

Glancing around, Seta noticed there were many seats completely empty. Still, it would be rude to refuse. "No, go ahead.", he answered with a gesture.

"Thank you."

A few minutes into the journey, the woman pulled out a box of what looked like candy. Eating one, she leaned the box in Seta's direction, offering him one.

"Thanks." he said, taking one himself. It tasted vaguely like aniseed and something he couldn't place. Almost instantly he decided he didn't like them but spitting it out would also be rude.

She spoke up again the moment he swallowed as she seemed to write something in the air. "Bakudo #9: Strike!"

Seta's eyes widened as he saw a red glow at her fingertips and a symbol appeared. Suddenly, he found he could no longer move at all. "Ngmnnngm!" Including opening his mouth to speak.

"Ahh. Perfect." She spoke with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. "So I should probably explain why I'm here. I'm what is known as a Soul Reaper. Or I was... Sorry, that's not important and I should really be explaining this faster. So anyway, what Soul Reapers do is basically deal with lost souls and send them on to the afterlife. We're good at it, too. Anyway, there was a war, stuff happened and our forces have been severely depleted. What we need are new recruits. Preferably ones with greater than normal spiritual pressure. That's where you come in, sweetie!

"See, most people can't actually see Soul Reapers. Or lost souls, for that matter. That takes an amount of spiritual sensitivity and that requires spiritual pressure. By seeing me, you've proved you have both."

"That's why I just fed you poison."

If Seta's eyes were capable of widening at that moment, they would have. Instead, he chose to try to fight against whatever force was holding him.

"Oooh! Not bad! You're actually making progress on breaking the seal! I knew using number 9 was the right call. If I used number 1 you'd have broken through it already like Kurosaki did. So glad I read that report. Given another few minutes you could probably break through this, too. Unfortunately you should be losing the strength to fight it in 3... 2... 1..."

Her countdown was off by four seconds. Not that Seta could inform her of that.

Don't worry.", the woman, Soul Reaper, drawled. "You'll be fine! Well... actually, you'll be dead. But fine! And trust me, they'll love you at the academy. Probably try to fast track you so you can take over a Captain position, too. With that training place of Urahara's we could have you eligible in only a few years. Or rather, they could. Argh, sorry! Still getting used to being all 'rogue' and stuff. So far, the hardest part is the pronouns."

_\_Yasoinaba. Next station is: Yasoinaba._\_

"Well, this is my stop!" the woman grinned. "Good luck with the academy! Say 'hi' to Iba for me!" With that, she walked off the train and Seta was left to die alone, unnoticed.

A/N: Okay, first: HOW HAS NO ONE DONE THIS YET? Seriously! Fits together like a glove! Souls and personas and inner selves and... Oh, wait. That'd be more like a hollow, wouldn't it... Maybe I should re-tool this idea a little...

... NAH! Screw it! Let's see where this idea goes!

So yeah. This is my side project. And for the sake of the story, the arrancar war ended in December 2010. Ichigo is powerless, Aizen is 'contained' (Kubo, if you bring him back for ANY reason I'm gonna find you and kick you in the McNuggets), the Seireitei decimated and the 13 squads are recruiting HARD.

Oh, and it'll be English terms for almost everything. As in 'everything I find a preferrable translation for. Zanpakuto, moves and names might be an exception. Also, no honorifics. The dub didn't use them so neither will I.

Chapter two is already written. It'll be up at the end of the week.

Thanks for reading!