And Happy Holidays everyone! Here it is…. The second book in the Bleach-Harry Potter Crossover Trilogy. It's based on Book/Year Six, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. While it isn't absolutely imperative that you have read the first story, Harry Potter and the Order of the Bleached Phoenix, I will be referring back to things that happened in it, so if you haven't, you might get a little lost. The story begins during the summer in between the Fifth and Sixth Years… And needless to say, I do not own either Harry Potter or Bleach; those belong to their respective authors, without whose genius we wouldn't have the original characters or stories that we all love so much.
Secondly, don't expect my update schedule to be the same as it was for the first story; this is not finished the way that was when I started publishing it, and I don't want to have to go back and delete chapters if I change my mind about something.
||Characters are speaking Japanese||
:Inner Hollow speaking:
=Hell butterfly messages=
The scene at the Burrow, home of the Weasley family, was one of utter chaos as dawn broke. Luggage was stacked near the door haphazardly; people were running around, bumping into each other as they suddenly remembered this, that or the other and tried to do last minute packing. In other words, it was the usual last minute, right before you leave for vacation chaos.
"Now, don't worry about Hedwig, Harry dear," Mrs. Weasley was saying to one of the teens trying his best to get ready. "We'll take good care of her while you're in Japan…"
"Thank you," Harry Potter said gratefully to her, knowing his beloved Snowy Owl was in good hands. He had hidden a few Galleons in the house (tucked down between cushions) so the Weasleys would think they had been dropped out of a pants pocket; he knew they were too proud to accept them otherwise. He thought the oldest son, Bill Weasley, or the visiting Remus Lupin might have spotted him doing it, so he had no worries about them not being found. He was also going to be leaving his things for the upcoming school year in Ron's room, and Hermione would be leaving hers in Ginny's. It would save them time and effort before returning to Hogwarts, and Harry had no desire to return to Privet Drive, not for a day longer than he had to.
"What time are they supposed to be coming?" Mr. Weasley asked Fred as he ran past him.
"Ah…" the twin slid to a stop in order to look at the clock, "Soon. There's an eleven hour time difference, or something like that…"
"Eight – there's an eight hour time difference," Hermione Granger corrected, "there is nothing eleven hours difference from Tokyo; the closest you can get is Newfoundland and Labrador, in Canada. That's eleven and one half…" (AN)
"Fine, Hermione, Fred was off by a few hours," Ron rolled his eyes as he rechecked his bags. "Do we know who's going to be coming for us?"
"Dunno – Tatsuki said it takes a lot of energy – that reiatsu stuff – to hold the gate open on the other end, so I don't think it will be Ichigo coming," Fred replied, scanning a list and going through his bag to make sure everything was in it.
"Why is that?" Ron asked, baffled.
"Well, it stands to reason that he'd be the one to hold it open on the other end if he has the most, doesn't it?" Hermione rolled her eyes back at Ron. Harry just shook his head and hid a grin. He was used to the banter between his two best friends. It reminded him a lot of Ichigo and Rukia, actually.
"Oh, right. I suppose…"
Harry grinned. Next to going off to Hogwarts and learning how to be a wizard, and fighting off the dark wizard Voldemort, this upcoming trip to Japan was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to him. During their fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they had been lucky enough to have been joined by several exchange students from Japan that they'd become friends with – or in Fred's case, very friendly with. Had it not been for them, Harry thought, he and the others might not have survived the disastrous encounter at what was now becoming known as the Battle of the Ministry. This battle had cost the life of his godfather, Sirius Black, something that still grieved him deeply, and for a time he thought they had also lost Ichigo, one of the Japanese teens, when he had stepped in between Harry and Voldemort. The other boy had shown up at the end of year feast however, turning what had been a depressing day into a much happier event. The Japanese knew magic that he and his friends did not, plus some of Ichigo's mother's spells – he was still translating and recreating them, from what he had written to Harry – had proven to be extremely beneficial. Speaking of which… (AN)
"Oh, hey guys…" Harry dug into his bag, and pulled out a handful of electronic devices in assorted shapes and colors which he put on the table.
"Hey! Those are those uh, whatsits that Ichigo had…" Neville Longbottom said, rubbing the side of his nose. He had also been invited by the Japanese and was joining them on the trip. It was very exciting for him to be included in this; he hadn't been expecting it, even though he'd accompanied Harry to the Ministry, and managed to stay conscious, unlike everyone else. To have been invited – included – when he'd always been considered something of a laughing stock – was a milestone for him. His grandmother had wept over this, that he was actually friends with Harry Potter, and when Ichigo had written a long, and very polite letter (he suspected Rukia had heavily edited it) to her, she had not been able to say no.
"Yes – my cousin, Dudley, was throwing them out – he breaks them quite frequently – so I've been grabbing them when they go in the bin. Reparo works quite nicely on them, fixes them right up. I also tested Ichigo's power spell; they all work. I don't think much of Dudley's choice of music, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose…"
"Who cares?" Ron immediately picked up an orange one. "Cool! Thanks, Harry!"
"Really? They're for us?" Luna Lovegood asked, wide eyed as she handled a pink one as if it would vanish on her. She had originally planned to go away with her father to search for the Crumple Horned Snorkack; but then decided to go with them to Japan instead when her father's paper business became very busy and he couldn't go. Ginny had already picked up a purple one, the twins two identical silver units.
"Thanks, Harry!" Neville said, just as wide eyed as he stared down at the unexpected gift of a little green iPod. This was truly more than he had expected.
"Well…." She hesitated as she stared down at the iPods, "I actually already have one… but…" she picked up a pretty blue player, "I know this one has a voice recorder in it. Most useful for taking notes…" They all just grinned at her.
"Now Fred – Don't forget…." George said – for what everyone thought was the hundredth time.
"I know – I need to look for product. Tatsuki and Ichigo have already done a bit of scouting for us, and have found a couple of places to bring me that look promising." In addition, and to their pleasure and surprise, Ichigo had invested in their joke shop; and with the amount of money he had, and with some of the spells and potions he was finding, they were doing quite well with him as an investor. He was funneling the funds through Bill at Gringott's. When Mrs. Weasley had expressed some doubt over his involvement, Ron and Harry had told her it was because of Tatsuki – she was Ichigo's oldest friend, like a sister, or cousin – so if she and Fred were as close as they all thought they were, there was a very good chance that Ichigo and the Weasleys could one day be 'related' – and he wanted to be sure that Fred was able to provide for her financially. Not, Ron had said, that Ichigo would ever hint to Tatsuki that anyone needed to take care of her – that was a sure way of ending up with broken bones. It was something Mrs. Weasley could understand, however, and it caused her to have a soft spot for the boy she had only seen once, at the train platform – the one who had also stepped in front of several killing curses to protect Harry...
"The stakes are placed," Bill said, entering the house. Several days earlier, a large familiar Japanese Fish Owl had arrived, with a wrapped package; that package had contained two fancy ground stakes, with instructions… they were to drive them into the ground, ten feet apart, where they wanted the gate to open. Bill had just been out placing them. Because of the eight hour time difference, the teens had to get up early in order to get to Japan by mid-day. Bill had also changed their spending money for them the day before, into yen, as the wizarding population in Japan did not hold themselves apart from the Muggles, or mundanes, but rather blended in and hid themselves in plain sight. Like Poe's Purloined Letter, Hermione had said, but only Harry had understood the reference. Japanese wizards used Japanese yen, went to mundane Japanese stores, mingled with regular mundane Japanese… lived next door to them, talked to them, spoke like them, even worked among them, without them ever knowing the difference. They were quite excited to see how they lived over there; it was quite possible that some of those ideas could be brought back to England. Mr. Weasley, who had a fascination for all things Muggle, in particular was fascinated by the idea.
"Are you all set?" Bill smiled at the assembled group. They all nodded with various degrees of yawns, grins and excitement.
"You all enjoy yourselves and have fun!" Molly Weasley gushed as she stared at the assembled group of excited teenagers, "But be careful!"
"And watch your money, don't spend it all in one place!" Arthur Weasley cautioned. Since the Weasley funds were very slim… that caution was well founded. Bill and the twins had slipped Ron and Ginny a little bit, and another brother Charlie, had also sent them some. Neville's grandmother had been so happy and proud over the way he had performed during the Battle at the Ministry that she had bullied the rest of the family into donating to his cause; and since The Quibbler's circulation rate had shot into the stratosphere since that same event, her very proud father had been very generous with a spending allowance for Luna. Her father had always been a supporter of Potter and Dumbledore, and was very pleased that his Luna appeared to have become a member of Potter's inner circle.
"How much longer do we have?" Ron asked again, starting to get impatient to leave.
As if in response, Remus Lupin stuck his head in the door. "They're here!" he called out. Everyone grabbed a bag and raced outside to see Japanese Shoji doors sliding open, revealing two female figures, the first athletic one clad in a lightweight tee and cropped cargo pants, and the other very curvy and in a flowery skirt and an unintentionally tight tee. The first stepped out and approached the house quickly, while the second stayed just inside the gate.
Fred rushed forward to scoop up the approaching girl in a tight hug, eliciting an "oomph" from her and a good-natured chuckle from everyone else. Mrs. Weasley had also hurried after her son, ready to embrace Tatsuki as soon as Fred let her go.
"Tatsuki dear, how are you?"
"I'm fine Mrs. Weasley, and you?" Tatsuki smiled back at Molly with a faint blush, and was grateful she was able to turn and happily greet the other girls who were also overjoyed to see her. Hugs and kisses abounded as Hermione, Ginny and Luna swarmed over her. Everyone of course had to say hello, and give greetings to the others who had not made the trip. Lupin in particular wanted to send greetings to the others whom he had instructed the summer before in DADA, and Bill sent a hello to Ichigo, the only one of the group he really knew. George had wandered over to the gate to start chatting with the girl standing there, who was now blushing…
"Is everyone ready?" Tatsuki asked, "Holding the gate open on this end won't be hard for Orihime, but it could start to drain Ichigo on the other end…"
There was a chorus of excited yeses, as everyone hurried out to the gate, yelling hasty farewells to the adults grouped together to see them off.
"We do need to hustle; he has some help, but it still rests mostly on him," Tatsuki threw back over her shoulder as she led the way back into the gate.
Orihime smiled pleasantly at the group still watching. "Please remove the stakes when the gates have closed completely. Arigato, and sayonara!" she said with a cheerful grin.
"We will," George assured her as she turned around and let the doors close. The second Weasley twin sighed and turned to look at the others hanging around. "That," he said, "Is one sweet, foxy lady!"
"George!" his mother just shook her head as she went back into the house to start her housework.
"How long is the trip?" Hermione asked as she hurried along just behind Tatsuki.
"It takes about fifteen minutes if we dawdle," was the reply, "it's not instant, like Apparition; or even as fast as you all say Thestrals are. But it works for us."
"But you need someone on both ends holding it open…" Harry said, puzzled. He had wondered about the gates when he first saw them, but he had other things on his mind at the time. Like Sirius's death, and thinking Ichigo was also dead… and he'd never gotten a chance to ask about them. Of course, the only time he had spoken to Tatsuki after the Ministry disaster was when she had broken his nose. He did not expect her to apologize for it, nor did he want her to. He had deserved it.
Tatsuki shook her head. "Only in this case. I can't open the gate by myself, or even hold it open. Orihime can hold it open, but she can't open it. It was actually a logistics thing…" Tatsuki shrugged, "Ichigo can do both, so can Toshiro, Momo and Rukia." Of course, she didn't mention the fact that only the Soul Reapers could do both, because they didn't know about Soul Reapers yet. She also didn't want them to have anything to do with the creepy mad clown that ran Urahara's former division… even if the gate had been a collaboration between the pair of them.
In the back, Orihime was introducing herself to Neville and Luna… and the three were now discussing Blibbering Humdingers, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, Umgubular Slashkilters, Nargles and Wrackspurts. Only Luna knew what they were; they could be creatures from outer space, for all Harry knew. From the sound of their discussion, it appeared as if the cheery girl believed Luna… and might be cut from the same mold as the younger Ravenclaw. It took Ron and Harry a few minutes to remember she was the one who had baked the rather interesting brownies early in their fifth year, that Toshiro had given to Professor Snape to classify as a new form of poison… as for Fred, he was just happy to be near Tatsuki again as they all discussed what they thought their possible grades were and how many O.W.L.s they might have gotten. Tatsuki thought that Uryu was going to ace all of his O.W.L.s; she was pretty sure that Ichigo was going to pass with several as well. They all laughed over her description of their Japanese exam the day after their arrival home in June…
"Did Ichigo really do that?" Ron asked her, his eyes going wide as he listened to her describe the test.
"Oh, yes; that guy had been bothering him all day about his hair color, so when he was told by the proctor to do the hardest Transfiguration spell he knew, he couldn't resist turning the idiot into a rabbit…" she frowned, remembering. "That guy was really asking for it; he was making fun of Ichigo and Orihime's hair; and making passes at both Rukia and Momo. If he hadn't done something about it, I would have. You all saw how possessive Rukia is; you haven't had a chance to see Ichigo in action, because he'd already scared everyone in Hogwarts off who might have been interested in her." She didn't mention that Momo was now his Vice-Captain, and as his subordinate, Ichigo was responsible for her… that was a whole other kettle of fish.
"And he didn't get into any trouble for it?" Hermione asked, amazed.
"Nope – in fact, the examiners appeared to be rather impressed. I understand he and Uryu scored the highest on all of the tests out of everyone," Tatsuki smiled proudly. Payback was a bitch, she thought.
"Even Charms?" Harry asked with a grin. Everyone laughed. The easier the charm, the more Ichigo struggled with it; however, he had no trouble with the harder ones. Give him a First Year level Charm, and his wand would stubbornly remain silent, resembling nothing more than an ornate piece of wood. Ask him to perform a NEWT level Charm, however… and no one else in the school except for maybe Uryu or Hermione was near his level. In fact… his wand sometimes had a mind of its own, and would decide to perform spells when it was in his pocket, if he was only discussing them with someone. He'd learned to be very careful just how he put his wand away… and where it was pointing.
"He was very thankful when he heard the words, 'do the hardest spell you know,'" she laughed, and the others laughed with her. "In fact, I know the Ambassador wanted copies of our grades sent to him… so I wouldn't be surprised if more Japanese students start showing up at Hogwarts in the future, since we all did so well! I understand he was very pleased with the results, and even sent a letter saying so to Professor Dumbledore."
The group's excitement level grew when they saw light; it grew more when they saw two figures leaning in the open doorway. One of them was wearing glasses, and the other had bright, spiky hair. Without realizing it, they started walking faster.
"Hey there," Ichigo gave them a lopsided grin, "Exit for Karakura Town, Japan, this way."
"Please watch your step on your way out," Uryu added with a faint smile. Apparently he had stepped in to help Ichigo with the gate and take some of the strain off of him.
They were the last two to step out of the gate, allowing it to close behind them. The group of visitors looked around them; they were in a dusty yard, in front of what appeared to be a deserted general store. A plaque swung gently in the breeze, and they saw that it said "Owl Post Restricted Stop." They had to blink, as the letters kept changing and shifting back and forth from Japanese characters into English… magic, they thought, wondering what a muggle (or mundane, the preferred Japanese term) would see if they looked at it.
"Come on," Ichigo said, beckoning them to follow as he walked to the entrance of the store. A man wearing a green coat, wooden clogs and a green and white striped bucket hat stepped out; Harry actually recognized him right away as Urahara. He had met the blond haired shopkeeper when he had traveled to Hogwarts with Ichigo's father and grandfather, and the Japanese Ambassador, to question Harry and Ichigo about the ill-mannered Ministry plant, Professor Dumbridge…er, Umbridge. Ichigo had taken to calling her Dumbridge, and the whole school – even the professors – had picked it up as well. Harry's jaw had dropped when Ichigo had told him that even Professor McGonagall was using the nickname. Of course, he'd also come up with some rather appropriate names for Voldemort and the Minister of Magic as well… names that even Harry had found himself using. He wondered what names Ichigo would come up with the next school year.
"Welcome! Welcome!" the man said jovially. "Please, come in!"
"It's really too hot to hang around outside," Uryu said, "We got an unexpected heat wave the other day, and it hasn't broken yet."
"Thank you, um…"
"Urahara Kisuke – or as you English would say, Kisuke Urahara."
Hermione gave an unexpected girlish squeal and threw her arms around Rukia, shortly joined by Ginny and Luna. Tatsuki and Orihime laughed at the reunion, which Tatsuki had already endured.
"Girls," Ron muttered. Ichigo snorted.
"Don't let them hear you say that. Not if you want to live."
"Sit, sit!" Urahara urged, as iced tea was served. The group was introduced to Chad, a very tall, silent teen they had seen briefly with Orihime at King's Cross Station in the middle of May – Ichigo's best friend, Rukia whispered to the girls – and for several minutes the room was a loud babble of voices as they all caught up with what they had been doing since they'd parted ways.
"Where are Momo and Toshiro?" Luna finally asked, looking around.
"Ah…" there were a few looks at each other, "They're preparing your afternoon activity…"
"What?" everyone leaned forward eagerly to find out what they had planned the day.
"Well, it's so hot…"
"We figured we'd cool off…"
"By going to the beach!"
"Normally it would be really crowded because of the heat wave; however…"
"Someone has enough money to rent the entire beach for the day."
At this, everyone turned to look at Ichigo, who just rolled his eyes.
"The beach…" Luna said dreamily, "I don't think I've ever been to the beach…. I mean a real swimming beach…"
"I know I haven't!" Neville said, excited, "Do we need bathing suits and all that?"
"Don't worry, it's been taken care of; this is a store, after all," Urahara smiled at them all.
"How are we getting there?"
Everyone laughed as their visitors bombarded them with questions; they finally stopped, and laughed also.
"What about our stuff?" Harry asked with a glance at the pile of bags that had been dropped in the corner of the room.
"Don't worry – it will be perfectly fine, here with Tessai," Urahara waved a hand, "Not a problem."
"Um…" This was Ginny, "I know you said you made all of the arrangements, but we can't all crash in one place…"
"Oh, didn't we tell you?" Rukia blinked at her, and the group all shook their heads, "Oops, sorry. Guess we got excited…"
There was some more laughter at that; it had been pretty obvious the way the girls had all greeted each other that they had been extremely excited and happy to see each other.
"Well, Miss Weasley, you are correct – even I can't fit everyone here – especially if Abarai-kun unexpectedly shows up the way I expect him to," Urahara smirked at the group; Ichigo rolled his eyes and cast a sideways look at Harry and Ron, who both laughed at his expression. Yes, they both thought; Ichigo also expected Renji Abarai, who worked for Rukia's brother, to show up at some point, sent by that same brother to keep an eye on them. Although Ichigo was unable to tell them that Renji had gotten a promotion and was now a Captain, the same way Ichigo was; they wouldn't understand, not knowing anything about Soul Society.
"So – you and Miss Granger will be staying with Miss Arisawa; Miss Lovegood will be staying with Miss Inoue; Misters Weasley will both be staying with Sado-kun – sorry, Mr. Weasley, Miss Arisawa's father said that if you stayed with them, you were going to find out how good he was at Transfiguration (this caused quite a few chuckles); Mr. Longbottom will be staying with Ishida-kun; and Mr. Potter will be staying with Kurosaki and Kuchiki."
Several sets of eyes swiveled towards Ichigo and Rukia.
"Oh, get your minds out of the gutters," Rukia glared at them, even as she blushed, "I'm sharing a room with his sisters."
Before anyone could think to try to tease the pair further, a house elf appeared with her arms full of brightly colored pieces of fabric. She was wearing a little blue skirt and white blouse, and a bright blue scarf, all clean and neatly pressed. Her large eyes were bright and twinkling.
"Ah, thank you Winky," Ichigo said, smiling at her. The house elf dipped a quick curtsy.
"Does Master Ichigo need anything else?" she asked in a high pitched voice.
"No, that's fine, thanks."
"Winky will return to Miss Yuzu, then," she said with another quick curtsy, and vanished.
"Wow," Ron said, his eyes wide, "That was Winky? She looked – wow."
Winky had once been the house elf of the Crouch's, and had been charged with being the keeper and jailor for Barty Crouch Jr., after his mother had swapped places with him in Azkaban. She had died there, and Crouch Jr. had for many years been kept at the family home by his father, who had been notorious for his sentencing of Death Eaters to Azkaban. He had shown no mercy to his own son, but in a moment of weakness, had given in to his dying wife. Jr. had eventually escaped back to Voldemort, poor Winky had been sacked for failing at her job, and Jr. had ultimately killed his father, imprisoned and taken the place of the current DADA Professor – Mad Eye Moody. Junior had been caught trying isolate Harry from Dumbledore, but before he could be forced to tell all, then-Minister Fudge had had him given to the Dementors and the truth had been unrevealed. Alone and distraught, Winky had been given a place at Hogwarts, but the poor house elf had been full of self-loathing and despair, getting drunk on butterbeer, and despite Dobby the elf's best attempts, had made no improvements.
Until Yuzu Kurosaki had found her and taken an interest in her plight.
During the course of the year, Yuzu's care and friendship, and Ichigo's gratitude to her for looking out for his little sister when he couldn't – had done what all of Dobby and Dumbledore's care couldn't – Winky had started to pull out of her funk.
At the end of the year, the three Kurosakis had approached Professor Dumbledore about bringing Winky back to Japan with them. He had contacted Ambassador Watanabe, and they had explained to Winky how house elves lived and behaved in Japan – and less than a day after they had gotten home, Winky had joined them – just in time to protect Karin and Yuzu from an Arrancar attack.
Kisuke did not know if it was just Winky's devotion to Yuzu that had given her the strength, or if all house elves had the ability to destroy an Espada. He was still looking into it.
"Winky's done very well since she's been here," Tatsuki agreed, her expression saying just how proud she was of the little house elf's recovery.
"She still takes a step back every now and again, and has a butterbeer," Ichigo sighed.
"But she has several really good nursemaids," Orihime said, her face full of compassion. "They just tuck her away in Kurosaki-kun's closet…"
"It's a very comfortable closet," Rukia sniffed with indignation. Since Winky had co-opted it, she was no longer able to use it. "He hid me in there from his family for… two… months…" her cheeks flamed as her voice trailed off when she realized what she had just said, and that everyone's eyes had swiveled in her direction.
"Um, it's a long story…" she said weakly, looking over at Ichigo for help – but he was staring up at the ceiling, whistling softly. She was the one who had stuck her foot in it; she could get herself out of it.
"A very long story," Orihime nodded, trying to help her friend while she fiddled with the language bracelet that Urahara had given her for the visit.
"We have time!" Neville insisted, leaning forward eagerly. He wanted very much to hear this story!
"A very, very long story," Uryu shook his head. Chad just nodded his agreement while Urahara smirked behind his fan.
"Please?" Ron begged; he also really wanted to hear this story. Ichigo had hidden Rukia in his closet? From his whole family? For two months? How had he managed that? And more importantly - what had gone on between them during that time?
"Maybe when we're all old and gray," Rukia hedged, her cheeks flaming.
||Or dead and buried,|| Ichigo added, which caused a few coughs and smirks, which their British friends did not quite understand.
"But still – a closet?" Hermione frowned. How could they consign a house elf to a closet?
"It's stuffed with very comfortable futons, it's double wide, and if he leaves it open, he can see it from his desk and his bed, so he's able to keep an eye on her," Rukia argued, "A fluffy blanket and a few pillows and it's really very comfy. If I can fit in it, a house elf can."
"I've actually found Winky in it even when she was fine," Ichigo shrugged, "taking a nap. It's her closet now. All of her things are in it."
"Hermione – she likes it," Uryu interjected, "The first time she woke up in it she started bawling that it was way too nice for the likes of her. And Dobby has been to visit her, and he's seen it – he was totally overcome with how well she was being taken care of. If he was pleased with it, I don't think you should have any arguments." He had actually been there for that episode; a bawling house elf had a very high pitched penetrating voice that hurt the ears…
"For a house elf, it's like a little apartment," Tatsuki added, "And Ichigo sits with her the entire time, and takes care of her…" by now the teen's face was flaming as bright as his hair normally was; normally, because he had lost control of his metamorphmagi powers and his hair had started to shift several different colors. He was saved – sort of – by the arrival of two women, one of whom Harry recognized: she was mocha skinned, and had purple tinted hair – Yoruichi, the woman his cat was named after. The second was younger, with an equally generous figure, and short cropped blond hair. (AN)
"Uh oh," Yoruichi teased as she reached out to ruffle his blond-streaked hair, "someone's embarrassed."
"Shut it," Ichigo muttered struggling to get his hair and eyes back to normal. Everyone laughed at him.
"Everyone, this is Yoruichi Shihoin," Yoruichi dropped down next to Kisuke and gave them a saucy grin, "And this is Midori-chan," Midori gave a cheery wave and the rest were introduced to them.
Since Harry was the only one who had ever seen Yoruichi before, she in particular drew interest, since they all knew that Ichigo's 'cat' was named after her… not knowing that she was in actuality the same cat. They didn't know that she had accompanied them to Hogwarts in her cat form, spying on everyone, keeping an eye on Harry when they couldn't, and her mischievous nature had caused her to terrorize the caretaker's cat, Mrs. Norris, to the point that she had had a nervous breakdown.
"So how was the trip over?" she asked them, grinning at them.
Everyone started answering at once, with answers that ran the gamut of 'cool,' 'neat' and 'interesting.'
She laughed. "Good. So, is everyone ready for the beach?" she was rewarded with eager nods. "Ichigo's father is already there with the twins, Momo and Toshiro getting set up…"
"Maybe – you really don't know my dad yet," Ichigo groaned, already picturing the disaster that was bound to ensue because of Isshin's involvement. The only thing he could hope for was that Byakuya, Ukitake and Unohana would be able to keep him in line. He had literally begged Yamamoto to send the other three over for a day in order to maintain the 'illusion' for their friends…. When he'd finally admitted he needed assistance keeping his father in check – Yamamoto had agreed very quickly. He had tried to keep Isshin un-involved… and had failed. So he had actually gotten down on his knees and begged a rather surprised Yamamoto for the help. However when the old man had heard that Isshin was planning on involving himself… he had ordered the three Captains to go over to maintain appearances – and ride herd on the Kurosaki patriarch.
"Orihime-chan, do you want me to bring Luna's things back to the apartment? I'm heading back there now," Midori offered.
"Oh! Would you? That would be great!" Orihime gushed. She looked over at Luna. "Midori-chan is my roommate. She isn't really around much, though."
"You're not coming to the beach with us?" Luna asked her.
Midori shook her head. "No. I have to work…" only the Karakura Town residents knew she was the Soul Reaper assigned to the area, and her 'job' was keeping the town and its citizens safe from hollows.
"Oh, hey – Ichigo…" Harry looked at him, "I don't suppose your mother had a spell for erasing the hard drives on these, or transferring music, did she?"
"Hmm?" Ichigo raised an eyebrow, puzzled, until they all put their music players on the table… and he gave a lopsided grin. "Ah… well… it was a little before the days of iPods…" he picked up Harry's in order to scroll through it, and grimaced at the content, "Let me guess - your cousin?"
Harry nodded. "Pretty bad, huh?"
"Well, I personally wouldn't let my cat listen to it… or even my owls," he sighed. He passed it over to Chad, the resident music expert. The lack of expression on his face, accompanied only by a grunt, told Ichigo a great deal. This was music that Chad wouldn't even allow in his massive collection. "Let me think a minute…"
Erasing a hard drive would be like erasing memory – and they already had memory modifier spells. Adding content to it should be just like modifying someone's memory of an event – the same way Kingsley had done to that little tattletale friend of Cho Chang's in Dumbledore's office last school year…. The only difference being he was dealing with hardware, not bio-ware. He stood, his brows drawn in a scowl, as he walked out of the room with the little player. Everyone stared after him as he closed the door softly behind him, and Rukia's eyebrows shot up when she saw he had protected it with Danku…(AN)
"What…" she shot up out of her seat, but Yoruichi grabbed hold of her arm.
"He put that up for a reason," she told the smaller Soul Reaper, "He doesn't want what he's doing to affect anyone out here…"
There were a tense few minutes before the shield spell was lowered, and Ichigo walked out of the room. Rukia immediately jumped on him and started hitting him. The others sweat-dropped as they watched the merciless beating she was giving him.
"Don't you ever, ever…!" she yelled at him, finally getting in one good kick that had him staggering backwards.
"Geez, midget! What are you trying to do, cripple me?" he hobbled over to his seat and dropped down into it, massaging his shin. "Here," he handed Harry's player back to him. With Ron hanging over his shoulder, Harry looked through it – to find that the only thing left on it was the iPod's original programming. All of Dudley's horrible music and video had been erased.
"How… what did you do?" he asked Ichigo, amazed. Even Hermione looked astounded.
Ichigo shrugged as if it was no big deal. "Modified the memory modifier…"
Uryu nodded, understanding immediately what he had done, and Hermione gave a soft exclamation.
"Of course! The music players operate on memory… how very clever! I should have thought of that!"
Tatsuki patted Fred on the knee when he looked confused. "Don't worry about it; you would have to have an understanding of mundane technology in order to have figured this one out…"
"YOU IDIOT!" Rukia smacked Ichigo over the head. "You could have wiped out your own memory if it had gone wrong!"
Ichigo sighed as he held her off, and gave a meaningful look over at Orihime, who had coughed delicately; Rukia sat back down in a huff.
||You ass; she won't always be around to save your bacon, you know.||
Their visitors could only smile faintly; some things, it seems, never changed.
When it is 2:13 AM on a Sunday in London, for example, in Tokyo it is 10:13 AM. It would be 1:13 AM in Casablanca and Reykjavik; the next time zone is St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada on Saturday at 10:43 PM. For more on dates and times around the world: http:/www dot timeanddate dot com/worldclock/custom dot html?sort=2
For those of you who have forgotten, Ichigo and his sisters came by their ability naturally – Masaki was a witch, a Hufflepuff prefect and Head Girl at Hogwarts. He is currently translating her work journals (with her assistance, since she's turned up in Soul Society) so that her spells and potions can finally be used. One of those spells was the power spell which allowed small electronic devices like iPods and other music players to work in the Hogwarts environment – via magic, of course.
Bakudo 81 Danku (Splitting Void) — Danku creates a defensive energy barrier in the form of a rectangular wall. Byakuya says it is capable of stopping destructive spells up to #89; Aizen uses it to block Tessai's Hado #88 during the Turn Back the Pendulum arc. The incantation is unknown, although Tessai has stated that there is one. It probably wouldn't be strong enough to stop one of Ichigo's combined wand/kido spells, however. Actually, any one of them could overwhelm the shield spell by using even a lower level kido through their wands.
Also remember – they think that Yoruichi is the Kurosaki family cat… not Yoruichi herself… (they would call her an animagus). They also believe that Unohana and Ukitake are really related to Momo and Toshiro.