They were six when it began. For reasons unknown to this day, Ichigo Kurosaki, the son of a former Soul Reaper and Harry James Potter, the by now famous Boy-who-lived...switched bodies.
It took all of a week to realize what had happened to Ichigo. And it took four years before the bizarre occurrence mysteriously reversed just as it had begun. But the connection between the two remained. Ichigo and Harry had permanently become linked.
And Ichigo was helpless to help the boy he considered his twin brother.
Harry was in his fourth year of Hogwarts, and he hated it. He would much rather be in Karakura's Mahou Gakuen with Ichigo. It baffled Hermione that he could speak perfect Japanese, yet his essays were so sloppy.
Alas, she didn't accept his excuse of his best friend in Japan teaching him through owl post. Even when he showed the girl his letters to Ichigo.
So in an effort to get her to drop his odd habit of speaking in Japanese at odd times or when he was really upset, he offered to teach her the language.
It did the trick. Fortunately the link between Ichigo and Harry was still strong enough that the orange haired boy corrected him before he taught Hermione.
Ron, in typical idiot creed, declined the lessons. Fred and George on the other hand, joined Hermione...if only to annoy Snape.
Then his year went to hell in a handbasket when his name was announced by Dumbledore.
Instead of following the instructions given to him by the old man, he did something that only the twins would expect after being introduced to Ichigo (Harry had decided to let the twins know about his own double since they had given him the Map).
He started swearing.
"Mr. Potter, you will join the others," said Dumbledore, not very amused in the least.
Harry actually glared at the headmaster.
"Like hell I will! I never entered my name in that damn goblet! Why the bloody hell should I suffer for the actions of others?"
Prolonged exposure to Ichigo over the years had lead to Harry overcoming his original belief that he was a freak. The Kurosaki clan had only sped up the transformation.
As it stood, whatever one of them learned, the other did too.
Which, much to Draco's complete horror, meant that Harry Potter was a black belt with no issue of breaking bones or noses if pushed too far.
Because of his outburst, it was very,very clear that Harry Potter wanted nothing to do with the tournament he had been dragged into.
At least it was clear to everyone except a very jealous red head named Ronald Weasly.
Not two days into the tournament fever (with Harry arguing against preparing for the tasks on the grounds that he had not entered willingly) Ron dropped a bombshell.
He turned his back on Harry, claiming the raven-haired boy deliberately entered for the glory, despite his clear protests against his involvement. Harry, once he got over the initial shock of Ron's betrayal, decided to do some damage control without the redhead to mess him up.
"Come to gloat Potter?" sneered Draco.
"No. I came here to offer a truce. You leave Hermione's and me alone, and I will give you new material to piss off Ronald provided you leave the other Weasly's alone."
Draco did something very unbecoming of a Malfoy. He gaped with his mouth open in shock.
Potter was willing to give him ammo against the one Weasly he truly hated? How could he refuse those terms?
"Very Slytherin of you Potter," said Draco, shaking the boy's hand.
Harry had a smirk on his face as he said.
"Hat's first choice."
"Hmm?" said Draco, not getting the odd remark at first.
"The hat's first choice was Slytherin. I choose to go to Gryffindor instead. Consider me a Snake in the Lion's den."
For the second time that day, Harry Potter did the impossible. He left Draco Malfoy gobsmacked in shock.
Harry left the corridor feeling much better about his year.
Ron had an unpleasant premonition about his year. Like something was really going to ruin the next three years for him.
This feeling was proven accurate when Draco bloody Malfoy waltzed up to him with a cheshire sized smirk.
And then things went completely downhill from there as Draco mocked him for things he shouldn't possibly know, like the mole in a place he definitely had never shown in public.
Somehow, he knew that Harry was to blame for this as Draco out hexed him all the way to the hospital wing.
Things were starting to change in Hogwarts...but no one could pin the reason. Slytherins and Gryffindors had cut down on the hexes in the corridors. Hufflepuffs were slowly trying to mend the broken respect towards the Lions after Harry very publicly gave any points he earned to the Puffs. Which meant that Hufflepuff would definitely win the house cup that year.
Only Ravenclaw seemed to remain the same.
Dumbledore didn't know how to handle this situation. It was clear to everyone that something was very wrong.
He knew it was all centered around the fourth champion.
There was only one problem with Harry.
There was something attached to his soul. He originally thought it was Voldemort...but the first (and for some strange reason only) time he used legilmency on the boy-who-lived, he was thrown violently out by something.
And it wasn't the soul fragment he knew the boy had in his scar. Or the boy himself.
It was something else.
Snape, after his first encounter with the boy in Potions, reported the same phenomena. Only his scan revealed a link that neither of them had known was there.
One that was most definitely not Voldemort in any way, shape or form.
He could only think of one option to fix this mess.
He had to sever the link.
Upon hearing about the mess he found himself in this year, Isshin called in a favor from an old friend...who turned out to be a talking cat.
Yoruichi agreed to teach Isshin's son in England.
And found the boy rather quickly. Like Isshin's biological son Ichigo, Harry had spirit energy flowing out of him in waves. Unlike Ichigo, Harry had begun to control it, though she doubted the boy did it intentionally.
She waited until the boy was alone, relatively speaking.
Harry sat up with a start. There was something on his bed. And for once it wasn't Dobby.
He almost thought it was Sirius...except it was far too small to be his godfather.
He reached for his glasses.
And found a stereotypical black cat on his legs.
"Oh what now?" groaned Harry.
The cat was amused.
"Is that anyway to speak about your new instructor?"
Harry stared for about four seconds before he said "Who sent you?"
Harry popped his neck and said "Right. So where are we going, and how are you going to keep the alarm from being raised if someone realizes I'm gone?"
The cat quirked an eyebrow.
"Why are you not more shocked?"
Harry grinned evilly. He made a show of looking around.
"Where are we, Neko-san?"
"A school. Why?"
"A school of what, Neko-san?"
It dawned on her what he was getting at.
"Ah. I see your point."
"Let me guess. You can turn into a human too, can't you?"
"Actually, yes. Shall we go? I had an old friend of mine build a time stop that I could move."
"What are we waiting for then?"
Harry watched in amusement as the cat laid a doppelganger in his bed. He knew of time stops. They were supposed to be illegal...but only to an extent.
It wasn't illegal to own or create one. It was just illegal to use it in proximity of another within a five hundred kilometer radius. Luckily for them, very few people had the power or know how on how to create them, let alone use them these days.
Harry entered the swirling vortex without hesitation.
The cat, who's name turned out to be Yoruichi, swiftly outlined what they would be doing until a day before the time stop's limit was reached.
Essentially she (and Harry wasn't fooled for a minute by her masculine voice) was going to turn him into what was known as a Shinigami, or Soul Reaper.
Harry blushed fiercely when she transformed into a human...with no clothes. To her utter amusement, he didn't even try to look away. She poked him once, and he blinked, twice.
"What's the matter boya? Cat got your tongue?"
Harry, to his credit, didn't stammer.
"No, just wasn't expecting a black cat of all things to turn into a beautiful woman in her prime."
Yoruichi grinned fiercely. She was liking this kid even more!
Fortunately for Harry, Yoruichi at least put some clothes on before she even considered training him.
Her first lesson? Increasing his spiritual energy enough to handle manifesting his sword.
So she literally knocked the soul out of him. And found an unexpected surprise.
He wasn't fully tied to his body by the Chain of Fate. There was some bizarre baby thing tying his soul to his body. It gave her the chills just looking at it. It felt wrong on so many levels she couldn't describe it accurately enough.
She shook her head. It would be separated from her new student soon enough.
"First lesson is simple enough. Don't get hit by my attacks. When you can move as freely as you did in your own body, then we'll move on."
"This chain won't tangle me up will it?"
"I haven't heard of anyone getting tangled by one, so I assume not."
"Good. I've always wanted to try a few things, but my body never cooperated with me."
Yoruichi grinned at him.
"Warm up if you like. We begin in forty minutes."
She watched as he did basic warm-ups. While he was pretty good at hand to hand, it was obvious he was lacking a decent partner to hone his skills.
Once he popped his back, she smirked. The best way to do this was a surprise attack.
Harry had very good reflexes for someone unused to fighting. He sensed she was there a fraction of a second before her foot caved his skull in.
Her smirk widened. Now that his spirit pressure was up, she would help him in his hand-to-hand.
"What do you say to an all out sparring session before we move on?"
Harry was grinning now too. He always craved a proper sparring session. Shadow boxing simply wasn't cutting it.
For the next ten hours, Harry and Yoruichi fought. She was pleased with the progress he made in a short time. Even if the kid had relatively poor stamina.
Finally, Harry fell to the ground, worn out.
"You did good, boya. I think you can handle lesson two with little problem."
Yoruichi laughed at him.
"If it makes you feel any better, we can wait on lesson three until tomorrow."
"Our next lesson...begins now!"
Yoruichi used her favorite technique to destroy the chain connecting the warped soul to Harry.
Something in the flash of light that followed screamed in such a manner that it haunted her. The light had been blinding!
When the smoke cleared and she could see again, her jaw dropped.
It looked like she wouldn't need the Shattered Shaft after all.
Harry stood before her proudly, his new sword and outfit announcing the change. He was no longer an ordinary wizard with borrowed spirit powers. He...was a soul reaper.
"Well that certainly is a surprise. I was sure I would have to drop you down a certain hole before you could manifest those powers."
Both turned when they heard a roar.
Yoruichi cursed. The corrupted soul had become a twisted snake like hollow!
"Is that...the thing attached to my soul?"
"Yeah. It kept you alive from what I could tell."
"So...I really died thirteen years ago?"
"We can talk about that later. Right now your first job is to kill that damn thing. Cut the mask in two, and it will be destroyed."
"That's all you need to kill a hollow, even one as twisted as this one."
Harry went after the thing with a vengeance. It took him a bit to get the hang of the sword, but once he did, he cleaved it's mask into two neat pieces that faded into nothing.
"Not bad, boya."
"I hate those things. Talk about a pain in the arse."
"Agreed. Do you want to continue to lesson three, or wait until tomorrow when you've recovered?"
"Tomorrow. How shall we spend the next four days in here?"
"How would you like to learn a trick called 'Flash Step'?"
"Sounds like fun!"
It took Harry right up to the point where Yoruichi told him the time stop was about to break to get the hang of Flash Step.
Since Yoruichi was very interested in magic, Harry had the brilliant idea of having her play the part of a pet cat. With full permission to bite anyone stupid enough to mock the fact that he now had a black cat.
This amused her so much that those who still hated him now gave him a much wider berth.
The next night (after learning to his horror that they would be facing dragons thanks to Hagrid) Harry joined Yoruichi in the time stop again.
Tonight they were learning Shikai...the first release of his new soul slayer.
Harry found himself in the most bizarre and twisted place he had ever seen. It looked like an upturned toy box, and the ground was covered in at least six inches of water in all directions.
And sitting precariously on a house that had been sheared in half, was a cat person. Two long arms ended in sharp looking claws. He (and Harry just KNEW it was a he) had a single red eye that stared at him. Two long scarf like things flowed from his back and had large bells at the end.
Around his neck was a ribbon with a gold bell.
"Who are you?" demanded the cat.
"I'm Harry. What's your name?"
The cat went to reply, but paused. A large white rabbit doll hovered by Harry's ear.
Who is this? It giggled.
Harry slowly turned.
"My name is Harry. What is yours?"
Somehow, he knew this Alyss was a rather lonely person.
"Would you like to play?" asked Harry.
The insane grin that had formed on the rabbit vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
For what felt like days, Harry played with the girl in white and the cat spirit.
When he finally went to leave, the cat spirit bound up to him.
"My name is the Cheshire Neko. You may use me in battle...for now."
"I hope the three of us become friends, Cheshire."
Harry's emerald green eyes sprang open. Yoruichi waited patiently for him to release the sword.
Harry grinned as he cried out "Claw apart the boundaries, Cheshire Neko!"
His sword became a pair of claws.
For the rest of the time in the dimension, Harry practiced with his Shikai. Much to her amusement, Harry was an assassin-type wielder. His power revolved around vanishing completely and reappearing without a sound.
"You know if Isshin hadn't told me that he was adopting you, I would have taken you under my wing."
"Can I still call you Yoruichi-nee-chan?"
"I can live with that. Now, to perform Shunko..."
Harry crept in the halls. He had gotten an alarm earlier through Dobby that someone was about to wake him. There was only one problem with that.
He wasn't in his body at the moment.
Even with shun po, it was highly unlikely that he would make it in time.
"Why don't you take a shortcut through the Abyss? Alyss likes you enough that she won't warp time that much."
Harry blinked, then looked at his sword.
"And how the hell do I do that?"
Cheshire purred...and the air in front of him split open. He trusted his sword enough that he went through.
And popped out in his dorm.
Right as Neville was about to 'wake' him up.
Neville looked at him oddly.
"You alright Harry? You didn't hear me calling you. It looked like you weren't breathing for a minute there."
"It's fine Nev. I just have sleep apnea."
"It's a condition that makes you temporarily stop breathing in your sleep."
"Oh. Okay. Night Harry."
He breathed a silent sigh of relief. He knew that eventually someone would notice he wasn't breathing...which was why he had asked Madam Pomphrey about sleep disorders that disrupted normal sleeping patterns.
He had no idea that Percy had suffered from the same problem.
Harry went to sleep, and let the new information sink in.
Cheshire, his sword, had the strangest ability to disappear and reappear without warning. Every time Harry used that power, he learned more about it. So long as he had a destination in mind, he could leave England and never come back.
He was about to fall asleep when he heard giggling. He opened his eyes to see Alyss' rabbit avatar above him.
"Hey, Harry...can I come play with you in your world?"
Harry smiled. He had an idea about that.
"Maybe. But I don't know if letting you out of your room is a good idea just yet. How would you like to see this world through the doll?"
Alyss giggled again, and the 'doll' cocked it's head.
"Why can't I come out?"
"The old man in this castle would try to hurt you if you appeared. Can you wait a little longer until we leave this island?"
"But I want to play with you!"
"Alyss, can you shrink that doll enough that I could carry you like a key chain? Then you can see this place without people becoming frightened."
Alyss turned the doll into a small one that could fit into Harry's hand.
The next morning Harry could be seen with a new charm on his bag...