Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Bleach or Harry Potter. They belong to Tite Kubo and J.K Rowling, I'm just borrowing them for my amusement! I also don't own any of the song lyrics that are used, they belong to their respective owners!
Warnings: Slash/yaoi (male/male pairing), post DH (no epilogue), MAJOR AU, violence, language, dark themes, Stockholm Syndrome, mental/emotional manipulation, attempted rape, sexual situations, some OOC and other things that I'll list later.
Pairings: Ulquiorra/Harry, one-sided Nnoitora/Harry, might be more later
Sparkling angel, I believed
You were my savior, in my time of need
Blinded by faith, I couldn't hear
All the whispers, the warnings so clear
I see the angels, I'll lead them to your door
There's no escape now, no mercy no more
No remorse, cause I still remember
The smile when you tore me apart|
Two weeks, it had been two weeks since they arrived in Karakura and any hope they had of finding Harry was dwindling fast. Their leads were all but dry and they hadn't made any further progress. It was frustrating and certainly taking both a mental and emotional toll on the pair. Not to mention that their friends back home were beginning to ask questions. It would probably be only a matter of time before the truth came to light. But the last thing Hermione felt was needed was for an army of wizards to come storming Japan, brandishing wands as they demanded answers.
"What do we do Luna?" Hermione asked her friend as they once more sat on a bench in a local park, taking a short rest from their searching.
"I don't know Hermione," Luna admitted, her voice like that of a lost child, "I really don't know."
The bushy haired witch had never heard her companion sound as fatigued and defeated as she did. Usually it was Luna who offered them hope and courage, that continued to believe when all else was bleak. Yet to see the normally vibrant witch dismal and perplexed was heart breaking. Hermione also knew that she was blaming herself for not seeing anything more useful in her visions; although she was honestly contributing more than enough. Without her visions, they wouldn't have gained as much ground as they had.
Reaching over, she hugged the younger girl to her side offering them both comfort. There was little else they could do at the moment, they felt discouraged. Hermione wished they could have some sort of sign or at least one clue; one little thing that could direct them on the correct path because Harry needed them. His life was in danger and they had to save him. He had already given up more than any could ask for them.
"Just one sign is all I'm asking," Hermione thought hugging Luna tighter as she prayed, "Just one!"
"Hey, are you two okay? Do you need any help?"
Both females looked up and turned their gazes toward the owner of the voice. They were surprised to see an orange haired teenager standing several feet away from them, dressed in his school uniform as he held his bag under his arm. He was staring at them intensely, but not in a threatening fashion; more like he was trying to figure out something.
Hermione jumped up, "You!"
"Me?!" he blinked, startled by her proclamation. Luna stood as well and walked over to him, offering a calm smile. Ichigo relaxed sensing that the blond in front of him meant no threat. The brunette following her was a different story, but it seemed like she was restless rather than angry. Studying them closer, Ichigo realized that they looked like they barely slept lately.
"You're the boy from my vision," Luna stated.
"Vision?" Ichigo questioned, confused and slightly wary. It would just be his luck to run into some crazy nuts.
Luna nodded, "Yes, you were with Harry."
"Harry? Sounds like an English name. Sorry, but I don't know anyone named Harry."
"What about Shinigami? Or people in white?" Hermione questioned, desperation peeking through her voice.
Ichigo tensed, his eyes narrowing, "What do you know about Shinigami and Arrancar?"
"Arrancar… the people in white," Hermione murmured to herself, the gears in her head turning.
Luna stepped in, "We don't know much. All we know is that I've been having visions of these Shinigami and Arrancar fighting a war. And for some reason, our friend is in the middle of it. He went missing a few months ago and we fear that perhaps he was kidnapped by these Arrancar."
"Why would they take him?" Ichigo asked, studying the pair of young women before him. He could tell that they were being truthful, their words and movements gave them away. They were frantic to find their friend and worried sick for him.
"We're not sure exactly," Luna admitted, "But Harry is powerful. He's even conquered death twice. If fighting in a war, he would be a great asset to any side."
"Shit," Ichigo hissed. The kid had to be strong in order to warrant Aizen's attention. And if he was kidnapped by the traitor, it could mean even bigger problems for Soul Society. But if this Harry was that formidable, why didn't he just escape from Aizen? Why stay for months?
"Unless," he thought glancing at the young women once more, "Aizen knew where to hit him. I wouldn't put it past the guy to threaten Harry's friends to get him to cooperate. It's his style after all."
"So… can you help us?" Hermione inquired softly, eyes full of hope and anguish. Luna placed a hand on her shoulder in support. Hermione glanced at her then took a deep breath to calm herself. Ichigo observed feeling sympathy for them. He understood the emotions they were experiencing. He had encountered the same when Rukia had been taken to be executed. There was nothing more devastating than fighting for a friend in need.
Sighing, he nodded, "I know someone who can help. I'll take you to his shop."
Hermione's shoulders sagged in relief, tears welling in her eyes. Finally, after weeks of fretting and searching, they found a bit of good news. And it felt wonderful. Gazing up at the teen with vibrant orange hair, she smiled softly, "Thank you."
"Don't mention it," Ichigo smiled back, glad he could help them, "I'm Kurosaki Ichigo by the way."
"I'm Hermione Granger and this is Luna Lovegood. A pleasure to meet you Ichigo," the bushy haired witch introduced.
"Nice to meet you to, just wish it was under better circumstances," he paused to glance at his watch, "We should get going then. The sooner we get to Hat and Clogs' shop, the sooner we can have answers." Hermione felt herself begin to relax and faith was renewed within her as Ichigo led them to away. After countless weeks of searching, they had finally found a link to Harry and hopefully Ichigo's friend would truly really be able to aid them. Things were beginning to look up.
The walk to Urahara Shoten was relatively quiet, each lost in their own thoughts. But the moment they stepped onto the property of the establishment, the door slid open revealing a rather eccentric looking man. He had straw blond hair which shadowed his playful yet intense charcoal eyes. His outfit consisted of greens and deep grays along with a pair of clogs and a strange white and green striped bucket hat. He held a fan in hand which he flicked open and wafted himself with.
"Ah! Kurosaki-san! Lovely to see you as always!" the man greeted smiling, "And it seems you brought lovely young guests with you."
Ichigo huffed, "Urahara-san… they need help."
"Oh? Well I'm sure I have something in my shop that can help them."
Brown eyes narrowed faintly, "They need help against Aizen."
Urahara paused in his fanning and gazed intently at the pair of witches. Both stood their ground, staring back. Snapping his fan closed he stepped aside, "Come in then. I'll make some tea."
Without hesitance, they ambled in sliding the door closed behind them. Following Urahara toward the back, they reached a room where they arranged themselves to sit. Not a moment later a large, muscular man with an impressive mustache and apron stepped in carrying a tray of tea. He carefully set it down in the middle of the group.
Urahara smiled, "Thank you Tessai."
The man, Tessai, bowed and slipped away quietly. The three teenagers watched as Urahara served them all tea, brief introductions being exchanged once more. When they were settled, he sipped his tea slowly and sighed as the warmth settled into his abdomen. Turning his head, he focused on Hermione, "I'm curious to know why two witches from England would travel half way around the globe just to seek my help. Especially considering there is a war stirring on the horizon."
"Wait, what? Witches?" Ichigo interrupted, confused.
"Indeed Kurosaki-san and wizards as well! There are many hidden societies of magic users all over the world. But I digress, that explanation will have to be for another time. We have a more important matter to discuss don't we?"
"Yes, I agree. Can you tell us what's happening?" Luna inquired, her voice soft and sad.
"Well, it's a lot to explain. What knowledge do you have of the afterlife?" Urahara questioned.
"Only what I've researched," Hermione replied, "I know of Shinigami and their purpose to harvest good spirits to Soul Society while sending the bad spirits or hollows to hell. They also wield swords call zanpakutos which are extensions of their souls. But rather than using magic, they use energy called reitsu."
"Very good, you're quite bright Granger-san," Urahara praised, "Due to your basic knowledge, this will be a little easier to explain. Many months ago, the captain of the 5th division Aizen Sosuke betrayed Soul Society. He's a rather egotistical Shinigami who believes he is above others and therefore should take his place as god among men. We believe that his plan is to overthrow the King of Soul Society, but in order to get to the king he needs the Oken. It's a key that allows one to pass through to the dimension of the King of Soul Society. Whether he plans to steal the Oken or not remains to be seen for Aizen is an intelligent and a masterful strategist. We can't even begin to guess what his next move will be. He also stole an artifact called the Hogyoku, a creation of mine and has used it to convert hollows into Arrancar."
"Sounds like Voldemort all over again," Hermione sighed, cradling her cup of tea in her hands.
"Believe me when I say that compared to Aizen, Voldemort is a kitten," Urahara explained, "He was a dark and powerful wizard yes, but he's nothing when standing in the shadow of Aizen."
Luna clenched her skirt, remembering her visions. She had to agree with Urahara. Compared to Aizen, Voldemort was a child throwing a tantrum. She remembered the power, she had felt it in her very bones and it frightened her to the core. And to know that her friend, someone she loved dearly was trapped with such a monster made her weep inside.
"Which is why it's imperative that you help us," Hermione hesitated, licking her lips as she pressed forward, "We believe that these… Arrancar have kidnapped a friend of ours."
"Oh?" Urahara questioned, fan tapping at his chin, "And what makes you think that it was the Arrancar?"
Hermione gazed steadily at Urahara who returned the gesture. He wasn't mocking her or disbelieved her words. Rather, he wanted to know what brought her to such conclusions. Steeling herself, she replied, "Because Luna was very clear and specific on the visions she's received. And Ichigo confirmed that the perpetrators were indeed Arrancar."
"I see. And why would they take your friend?"
"He's… a very gifted and powerful wizard Mr. Urahara, perhaps the strongest in a century."
"What is the name of this wizard if I may ask?"
Luna and Hermione glanced at each other before the blond sighed softly, "His name is Harry Potter."
Urahara's eyes widened, a spark of shock and perhaps fear burst in his bosom. He certainly hadn't expected that. If their theory was indeed correct and Aizen had, for reasons only known to him, kidnapped the Wizarding World's savior, then they were in trouble. Things had just become a lot more complicated.
Ulquiorra observed Harry who was currently settled upon the rug centered in the room, his legs tucked under him and his hands folded upon his lap. His eyes were closed, his breathing calm and steady in time. Slowly tension drained from his shoulders as tranquility set in; it seemed his method was working. The pale Arrancar had developed the theory that in several ways magic was akin to reitsu although not completely alike.
While reitsu held more of a destructive force, magic was more versatile when it came to use. Yet due to their similar natures and compositions, magic could be harnessed in an analogous fashion as reitsu without the use of a wand. Hence the teen wizard's current task, meditation. The first step to training how to harness any energy source is to search for the core. Once the core was located, it would be easier to draw out the necessary power.
"Of course it is a mere theory as of now. It will take time to see if this test will beget any fruit," Ulquiorra thought as he sat upon the couch, his gaze never wavering from Harry. Said wizard seemed oblivious to his scrutiny at the moment which was a plus, indicating he was no longer distracted. Meditation required full focus and concentration, nothing more and nothing less.
A jolt of movement drew Ulquiorra's attention toward Harry's hand. A few seconds passed before his fingers twitched once more. His face began to scrunch up as awareness returned to his senses, vibrant green eyes fluttering open behind delicate glasses. Shifting, Harry focused his gaze upon Ulquiorra, lips parting to speak. His chance was taken from him as the door to the room opened.
A flood of heavy reitsu brushed at their senses, their heads turning toward the source. Aizen stepped through the doorway, poised and relaxed as a charming smile settled on his features. Ulquiorra immediately stood and bowed while Harry took his time, eyeing the former Shinigami with wariness and barely hidden rage.
"I hope I'm not interrupting your training," Aizen apologized though his face betrayed none of his regret.
"Meditation Aizen-sama, I've developed a theory of training the boy to use his magic in a similar manner that we use reitsu," Ulquiorra explained.
Aizen appeared intrigued, nodding, "I see."
"What do you want?" Harry questioned, his voice strained with resentment. He had no time for idle conversation, he'd rather that Aizen state his business and leave. His patience when it came to the infuriating man was limited.
Smiling, Aizen replied, "I thought you would appreciate an update on the condition of your friends. After all, it's been some time since you've seen them and I'm sure you're concerned for their wellbeing."
Harry felt a chill creep down his spine, further tension gripping hold of him. He stared at Aizen, attempting to assess what he knew but the man had an excellent poker face. Which infuriated the young wizard all the more, yet he had no time for his anger. It was fear that was at the forefront of his mind. He could only imagine why this situation was coming to pass.
"What did you do?" he swiftly accused, making an effort to fit the limited pieces together in his head. Not once since his arrival to Las Noches had Aizen, or anyone else for that matter, told him about his friends. And a small part of Harry didn't wish to know. After all, it wasn't hard for him to imagine how they had reacted to his disappearance; panic, fear, sorrow, anger perhaps. Yet now Aizen suddenly felt it prudent that he tell Harry of the life he left behind. The sadist did enjoy his mind games it seemed.
"I have not done anything to them," Aizen placated, "Although I have been observing them since I fetched you. Quite a dedicated and intriguing group of companions you have Harry."
"They're my friends," Harry stated, his hands clenched white at his side, "There's nothing we wouldn't do for each other."
"So I've noticed. In fact, they're rather determined and driven to gain you back. Enough to figure out the mystery of your disappearance and travel all the way to Japan to find answers," the former Shinigami explained.
The color drained from Harry, his eyes widening behind his glasses. The pieces rapidly clicked together, forming the whole picture and it frightened him. Despite the urge to shake, Harry held himself together. He needed to remain strong and in control, he couldn't afford to show weakness before this man who already knew too many of his secrets.
"You're lying," he murmured, "This is just one of your little mind games."
"I have no reason to lie to you Harry. As we speak, your companions Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger are searching Karakura for Shinigami. I will admit, Granger-san is far more intelligent that I had anticipated to uncover the connection between your disappearance and the Shinigami. But of course, it helped that Lovegood-san gave her the proper clues. She's a seer is she not? Quite a rare and exceptional gift I must concede, one that could hold a distinct advantage if used properly."
"Don't you dare touch either of them Aizen!" Harry ordered firmly, his cuffs warming with magic, "They're not your pawns! They have no part in this!"
"Oh but they do Harry. The moment they began to follow the trail of bread crumbs to Japan, they've became pieces on the board. Now, whether they are truly a threat or not remains to be seen."
"You said you wouldn't harm them! If I came with Ulquiorra and vowed myself to your service, you would leave my friends and family alone!"
Aizen nodded, "Indeed I did promise this. And I remain bound to that promise. But understand this Harry, if their actions in any way hinder me I will not hesitate to dispose of them. I have no need for oppositions to stand between me and my goals."
It was taking all of Harry's strength just to remain upright. A weight settled upon his shoulders and his knees begged to give out. He wished to laugh yet wanted to cry and scream at the injustice of his situation. There was even a small amount of fury lingering in his breast, burning brightly as it rattled its cage demanding release.
He was angry at Aizen; angry at Luna and Hermione for coming after him. In his mind he knew it was ridiculous to be upset, that he would have most likely done the same in their shoes. But surely they must have realized that this was something far greater than them? Aizen was ten times more powerful than Voldemort could ever wish to be and certainly just as insane. They wouldn't be able to stand a chance should they even figure out how to get to him. Any hollow, Arrancar or Espada could tear them apart without breaking a sweat. Just thinking about it made him ill.
"They have nothing to do with this," Harry whispered, his head throbbing and his chest tight. He wanted to gasp for air, it was hard to breathe for him. In the back of his head, something was yelling at him to calm down. But he couldn't focus, he wanted to scream and on an unconscious level, he realized he was most likely having a panic attack. He hadn't had one of those for a while now.
"Perhaps for now," Aizen conceded, his fierce eyes trained on Harry. It was like being inspected by a predator, a hungry predator that was waiting patiently for its prey to wander into his trap.
"Don't touch them," Harry growled, his cuffs nearly glowing white with contained magic.
"There's little you can do to stop me Harry," Aizen stated as he smiled, "But rest assured that I will keep my word as I stated before, so long as they do not significantly interfere."
It was tempting to cock his fist back and slam it into Aizen's smug face. Unfortunately, Harry was pretty sure the other man could dodge it or most likely Ulquiorra would stop him. Either way, he wouldn't get the satisfaction which made it all the more bitter and aggravating. His emotions were also bouncing all over the place providing little help in the matter at hand.
"Feel like I need to lie down," he thought.
Focusing on Ulquiorra, Aizen ordered, "I shall take my leave. You will continue his training."
Ulquiorra bowed, "Yes Aizen-sama."
Flashing one more smile at Harry, Aizen spoke, "I look forward to seeing you progress soon Harry. It should certainly be a show worth attending."
Harry said nothing, mustering all his energy to glare at the older man while everything in him slowly crumbled. Turning, Aizen departed as silently as he came, the door sliding shut with a hiss. And the rage bubbled over. With a snarl of fury, Harry grabbed one of the throw pillows on the couch and chucked it at the door with all his strength. It hit the solid surface with a pat and fell to the ground, a tear in the fabric as it spilled forth its intestines of feathers.
"Your anger will gain you nothing," Ulquiorra stated.
"Fuck you! It makes me feel better!" Harry shouted glaring at the other male before turning away, "I can't meditate like this. There's no point in training."
"Then we shall work on your physical training," the Cuarto Espada offered.
"Look, I get your Aizen's little lap dog and you're eager to jump at his commands but I am really not in the mood for any bullshit today Ulquiorra. So either you just leave me alone or stand there like a git. Either way, I'm going to lie down and sleep. I'd rather not be conscious right now," Harry hissed as he stormed over to his bed.
Ulquiorra was annoyed by Harry's lack of cooperation although he would concede that he made a valid point. In his current condition he could not train. He wasn't mentally balanced enough to perform even the simplest task and to attempt to do so would be foolish. He could harm himself if luck wasn't on his side.
Ignoring his jailor's presence, Harry sat onto his bed and fumbled to take his glasses off, his hands shaking. He was a mess. Whatever resilient front he had been displaying earlier was rapidly crumbling like a sandcastle in the wake of a tide. And by god did it piss him off more. He nearly spat fire when his glasses slipped between his uncoordinated fingers and tumbled to the floor.
Frowning, he bent forward to retrieve them. Before he could grasp his prize, a rather recognizable hand plucked them up first. Ulquiorra stood before Harry inspecting the eyewear carefully for any scratches or cracks while said wizard observed. Satisfied that they weren't damaged, he held them out to Harry, "They appear to not be broken."
Gazing at the offering, Harry tentatively reached out and curled his fingers circumspectly around his glasses taking care not to smudge the lens with finger prints. Yet in his caution, his fingers chose instead to graze Ulquiorra's palm. The action stilled them both, startled for a breath of a moment. Warmth mingled as life pulsed under their finger tips. And then the moment was shattered as they swiftly pulled away, Harry glancing to the side while Ulquiorra flexed his hand curiously.
"Sorry," Harry murmured, nearly silent in his apology. Subconsciously he noted that Ulquiorra's skin had been indistinctly cooler than his own.
Dark green eyes trailed from his hand to his charge and scrutinized him mutely, studying his reaction. He took in the soft pink that dusted Harry's cheeks and wondered what emotion the action expressed. But ponderings of that nature were for another time. Returning his hand to his pocket, Ulquiorra turned away striding to the door.
"Rest, your meal will be brought to you at a later time," he remarked, sparing not a glance back as he passed through the entryway and disappeared down the hall.
Sighing when the door closed once again, Harry set his glasses aside and fell into the downy cradle of his bed. He suddenly felt exhausted beyond belief and his body craved nothing more than rest. Closing his eyes, he quietly prayed that he would not dream. He did not want to witness a past he could not change or a future where his nightmares are real. Harry would focus his attention on the Luna and Hermione predicament later, perhaps figure out a plan or solution. But for now, he just wanted to sleep and lose himself in the shadowy stillness of oblivion.
Goodness I just can't get enough of the drama. Though it's a good thing isn't it? But I digress, we have more development going on! We finally meet Ichigo and of course Urahara as well. Aizen's being a douche and then there's that tiny bit of Ulquiorra/Harry interaction going on. And as usual, our poor little wizard is suffering on his emotional rollarcoaster from hell. All in all, a very productive chapter I say!
I would also like to take this time to once again thank all you wonderful readers for your support! I know I constantly repeat myself when it comes to this matter, but I just feel like I should express my gratitude toward you all. You've all just been so wonderful and it makes me so happy to know that you're enjoying reading this story. So thank you very much for everything! And of course, I must you wish you all a Happy New Year! Let us make this a good and productive year that we will look back on fondly. And I wish for our happiness and prosperity!
Now I shall leave you. I hope you enjoyed the chapter and I shall have the next one out soon. Please remember to review! Thank you!