Disclaimer: This story has nothing to do with the series of movies based on cheerleaders. There may be some cute Bleach girls in sexy cheerleader outfits at some point in the future though.
Merry Christmas to my fellow Catholics and brothers/sisters in other Christian faiths. And Happy Holidays to everyone else.
This is mainly for me to have fun. "Not Quite as Planned" is and will remain my primary focus.
Rukia Kuchiki stood on top of the highest skyscraper in Karakura. From here she could see almost to the outskirts of town. She scanned the horizon, using her reiatsu sense as much as her eyes, searching for the telltale sign of a Hollow entering the Living World. This time it's mine!
Now, most Shinigami, when they heard that Karakura was the Jureichi, a location in the Living World with a spiritual concentration on par with Soul Society, would think it would be easy finding Hollows to slay. When one unseated Shinigami made a remark on how low Rukia's kill count was despite the large number of Hollows, he awoke the next morning to find himself frozen to his futon. People quickly learned not to tease the petite Shinigami.
Rukia's distinct lack a Hollow kills was not a reflection of her skills. If Captain Ukitake had his way (and could get her brother to lay off) she likely would have been one of the higher seated officers in the 13th Division, possibly even up for promotion to Vice-Captain in a few years. No, Rukia's poor success rate was due to someone (or something) killing the Hollows before she could reach them.
At first, Rukia had thought it was a glitch in her Soul Phone's Hollow tracker. Almost two-thirds of the orders she received seemed to be duds, with no Hollow appearing where it was supposed to be. However, a system check showed the phone was in proper working order. A call to the 12th Division confirmed that the Hollows had indeed been slain, but not by her.
So someone had been beating her to the Hollows, killing them, and disappearing before she could arrive. That annoyed Rukia. Not only because it was her sworn duty as a Shinigami to purify Hollows, but also because whoever the mystery hunter was, they were doing a better job than Rukia.
Rukia had redoubled her efforts, honing her ability to track Hollows without the use of her Soul Phone. The practice was paying off. She had closed the gap, and was now able to reach half of the Hollows before her unknown competition.
And now she had a chance to catch whoever it was. Tonight had been completely dead (no pun intended). She had yet to detect a single Hollow emerge. Her mysterious competitor was likely watching just as carefully for any sign of a Hollow. If she was lucky, she could…
Rukia's head whipped around as the Hollow reiatsu brushed against her reiatsu sense and she flash stepped toward the source.
The Hollow screamed in pain, its left arm crashing to the ground. The monster's retaliatory punch missed by a mile, and an arc of black separated fist from wrist. The Hollow stumbled back, trying to escape from its attacker. It failed, due to its legs being sliced off below the knees.
"Bad luck for you, ugly. If you weren't about to die, I would suggest looking both ways before you leave the Garganta next time."
"Quit fooling around. The Shinigami is on her way. I'd rather not deal with her."
The Hollow's attacker scowled at the white clad figure behind him. "I really don't see why you insist on staying under her radar."
Light glinted off a pair of glasses. "Soul Society has a habit of eliminating anything that doesn't fit its worldview. I happen to like living."
"And Hollows mysteriously being killed by someone other than the posted officer will not draw their attention at all…"
"Will you just slay it already?"
"Yeah yeah." The Hollow screamed again as the ethereal blade split its mask, finishing it off. "Well, see you in class tomorrow. Tell the old man I said "Hi"."
No no no nonononono! The Hollow's reiatsu was dissipating. Did the stupid thing come out right on top of them or something?
Rukia struggled to move faster. There was still a chance she could catch who ever it was before they got away.
The Shinigami cleared one last house, finally getting a view of the park the Hollow had appeared in. Rukia stood in the air, searching for any hint of something that was out of the ordinary. She could sense a small concentration of Hollow reiatsu, which was getting smaller by the minute. That's what's left of the Hollow. She moved to the spot. If she was lucky there would be traces of the slayer's reiatsu clinging to it.
The Hollow's body was disintegrating quickly, but Rukia couldn't help the smile that spread across her face. She could feel the lingering reiatsu on the Hollow's wounds and she triumphantly summoned the spirit ribbons. Eeny meeny minny moe… Her hand shot out and grabbed the ribbon that matched the reiatsu signature. "Found you~," she sung. The adopted Kuchiki took off, tracking the ribbon to its source.
Rukia's quarry seemed to have noticed her. The trail led her on a merry chase, up buildings, across rivers, through smelly alleyways, and into a particularly dense patch of thorny bushes. Rukia picked thorns out of her hair as she ran, refusing to give up. She was extremely miffed half an hour later when her target stopped, in the exact same park the chase began.
"Well, you're certainly persistent, Shinigami…" a male voice taunted.
Rukia glared at the figure standing on a tree branch. She couldn't make out much about him. Most of his form was obscured by the pitch-black cloak he wore, which waved and fluttered in a breeze that didn't exist. A hood was pulled low over his face, hiding his features in shadow.
"Guess that's what I get for leaving this thing on to cut down on travel time." He gestured to the cloak.
"Who are you? What do you think you're playing at, doing my job?"
The cloaked figure scratched his chin. "Now if I wanted you to know that, would I be hiding my face?"
Rukia's glare intensified. She dropped her hand to Sode no Shirayuki. "Your actions are interfering with my duties. If you do not answer my questions, I'll arrest you and take you to Soul Society for interrogation."
She couldn't see his face, but Rukia could practically hear his smirk in his voice. "What's the problem? I thought you would be glad for the extra help. Besides…" The figure raised his right hand and a blade of black reiatsu appeared. "I've been wondering lately just what a Shinigami can do. So go ahead, midget. Try to take me in."
"Fine." Rukia drew her Zanpakuto and pointed it at the figure. "By the authority of the Gotei 13, I'm placing you under arrest."
And that's the end of the teaser. :P
What do you think? Any guesses on who the mysterious hunters are (as if it isn't obvious)? Who is the "old man"? What is the item the cloaked figure uses to manifest his Fullbring? What happened differently in the past to cause the current changes? Why am I asking you these questions? Because I want to hear your guesses of course.
Have a Happy New Year, folks.