Disclaimer: Tite Kubo owns Bleach, I, on the other hand... do not.
Chapter 9: Ordinary days. Mostly.
"Come on now, drink it." said Kuukaku Shiba to her guest, who so happened to be Kuchiki Rukia.
Currently, both of them are in Kuukaku's house, sitting opposite of each other and... drinking sake.
Well, Kuukaku was the only one drinking, Rukia could only grab the sakazuki as she's not sure whether or not she should drink it. "Um... I don't think it's..."
The busty woman suddenly slammed her jug of sake, surprising her in the process, "Drink! It's not polite of you to decline, especially now that you're a guest and all. Go on, drink it." she said before gulping the sake rather greedily again.
When Rukia recovered from having the Hougyoku extracted from her, she went to Byakuya in the morning to apologize for what she had caused. There she found that he was not as angry or miffed as she thought he was.
He was... quite kind, surprisingly. He said that she wasn't to blame now that it's clear that it wasn't her fault that it happened, and that she gave her power to the young human out of valid reason.
"And he wasn't someone without honor, so I think that there was nothing wrong with what you did."
His tone was so... respectful, if Rukia hadn't known her brother better, she could've sworn that he admire or even outright revere Ichigo.
She had thought that there's no way that could be true, but his expression was... different, it's as if he truly meant what he said.
After he offered his simple, concise statement that said her apology was not necessary, Rukia went to Kuukaku, to ask her for forgiveness at her inability to say the truth to her and her younger brother.
But as it turned out, the firework artisan wasn't that angry at her, and she said that she shouldn't have apologized because she knew it wasn't her fault in the first place.
Then afterwards, she invited her over for a stiff drink, she reluctantly agreed after a lot of... persuasion, on her part. Well, she coerced her really...
Returning back to her current situation, Rukia took a breather before she sipped the sake, wincing as she does so, she's not really a fan of alcohol in general, but since Kuukaku insisted, she had to drink it.
"There we go! That wasn't too hard was it?" Kuukaku said before she gulped the sake from the jug in her hand once more.
The black-haired shinigami sighed, she could see that it's going to take a long time unless there's some sort of intervention...
Then she heard something from above, the sound of two people screaming, presumably Kuukaku's identical assistants.
"Now what got their panties in a bunch?" spoke Kuukaku with a slight slur to her voice, an indication that she's already drunk.
Then came the sounds of struggle, its as if Kuukaku's assistants, Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko are trying to detain someone, but from the sound of the grunts, they are currently losing the struggle.
After a moment of silence, the door was pushed open...
And Kuukaku's eyes widened...
"Ah, I thought you'd be here Rukia." said Ichigo as he nonchalantly closed the door behind him.
"I-Ichigo! How did you know I was here?"
He shrugged and said; "Lucky guess?'' he asked rhetorically. The truth of the matter was that he remembered where she had gone to after the whole invasion thing was over. "Never know that you're someone that likes to drink though." he quipped.
"I-I'm not! It's just a good thing to do when you're being treated by the master of the residence." she defended herself, "That being said, what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at the hospital or something?"
"I haven't seen you for sometime, thought I come to a place where you're likely to go and this the first place that came to mind." answered Ichigo, "And let me guess, you came here to apologize to... what's going on with her?" asked Ichigo as he pointed towards the seemingly catatonic Kuukaku.
The well-endowed woman's eyes were as wide as they can be and they're staring at one person in the room with an expression akin to shock.
"...I don't know..." answered Rukia.
Then, her eyes began to water as tears came down from them.
"E-eh? Why is she crying?" Rukia wondered.
Then Kuukaku stood up and slowly walked towards Ichigo, who's still as confused as Rukia about her condition.
Then out of the blue, she hugged him. Rather strongly too, as it was rather apparent that Ichigo flinched a little at how strong she was.
'...What have I done to deserve this...?!' thought Ichigo at first.
It didn't take a second for him to finally realize why she's acting this way, however, when it finally dawned on him, he merely sighed, "Of course..." he said out loud.
As they heard her sobbing, Rukia asked Ichigo; "Of course what? Do you know why she acts this way?"
Ichigo looked at Rukia and said; "How much sake did she drink?"
"...A whole... no, two whole jugs actually, why?"
He then sighed again, "That's enough to make her somewhat drunk and do this I suppose..." he muttered out.
"But why?" she asked.
"...She's probably mistook me for Kaien." Ichigo answered.
Rukia's eyes widened at what he said, as the simple answer that he provided is the most possible one, "...Oh..." she mouthed out.
"Kaien-nii..." Kuukaku said, "You came back..." she muttered.
Realizing that there is no easy way out of this, Ichigo decided to play the role of Kaien here, and so, he patted her head affectionately and said; "...I did, Kuukaku. I did." he said with a rather... brotherly smile.
Which Rukia noticed, and it reminded her of Kaien's smile, and how eerily similar they look like right now. She could almost see a phantom figure of Kaien overlapping with Ichigo because of it.
'Kaien-dono...' she thought before her mind returned to the present, 'But... how will he get out of this situation?' she wondered.
Ichigo sniffed audibly before he turned to Kuukaku and said; "Have you been drinking, Kuukaku?"
She nodded, "I have... do you... do you want it as well, Kaien-nii?" she asked with a completely different tone of voice that she usually used, she sounded rather meek and submissive, her current demeanor is the exact opposite of how she usually carries herself with.
He sighed and said; "Sure..."
Kuukaku let her 'brother' go and turned towards Rukia, or to be more exact, towards the jug of sake that she had been using, "Do you want some drinks Kaien-nii?" she asked him.
He smiled and answered; "I'd love to."
He then proceeded to sit right beside Rukia and took an extra sakazuki, "What are you doing?" whispered Rukia.
As a response, he turned to her and said; "Trust me, this is the easier way to deal with her at this current state..."
A couple of hours later...
Ichigo breathed a sigh of relief after a couple of shots of sake, "Well... at least she's asleep now..." he remarked.
But then, he looked down and found the figure of Kuukaku sleeping down rather contently on his lap and it made him smile sheepishly, "Though this would make it a bit harder for us to get out..."
Rukia gave a deadpan stare to the black-haired teenager and said; "You think?", the raven-haired girl then sighed as she felt the sake getting the better of her despite her trying to drink as few as possible, and it was rather apparent due to her flushed cheeks.
She then stared at Ichigo with appraising eyes, as if a cat intently watching a shiny object that caught its interest, "...Ichigo... when Nii-sama and Renji came for me," she began. "I told you that I didn't need you to save me right?" she asked with her head tilted downwards, as if embarrassed.
Ichigo merely smirked as he sighed, "Idiot." he said playfully, "Do you really think that I would listen to something that stupid? You shouldn't have tried in the first place."
She smiled at that, she should've known that he would never follow such an order, that's just the way he is after all, "...But..." she started again, "If I did order you to just leave me alone... would you still go ahead and save me anyway?"
Ichigo now grinned, and his response was the one that she had expected, "Of course." he answered, "Why would you even ask that? Have so little faith in me are you?"
Her response was a stifled chuckle, "I guess I should have relied on you a bit more huh...?" she asked more to herself.
But then, she gave off such serious expression as she looked towards Ichigo, "But Ichigo, where did this power come from? I doubt that Urahara had a device that could get you this strong in such a short time."
The self-proclaimed protector then said this; "Rukia, if you must know, I got this power by merging with my Zanpakutou."
Rukia gave Ichigo another deadpan stare and said; "Don't kid with me Ichigo."
Ichigo chuckled and said; "I'm not kidding. Look." he then extended his right hand and summoned his flaming black blade, showing that he needed no incantation to summon his Zanpakutou, "This is not my Zanpakutou, it's a materialization of my soul that is engineered for combat. It contains no spirit that usually inhabits Zanpakutou because... Well, you heard what I said before."
After hearing that little tidbit, Rukia grumbled, "...Alright, let's say that it were true... so what are you right now? A Shinigami or an incarnated Zanpakutou?"
Ichigo ruffled his head sheepishly and said; "Don't exactly know..." but then his lips slowly turned upwards and formed a grin, "Don't exactly care either. I am still Ichigo Kurosaki, son of Isshin Kurosaki, the perverted goat. Despite me having Zangetsu's essence instilled within my very soul, that orange-haired stubborn idiot that you always called me as is right in front of you."
Rukia's eyes softened before she stifled her laughter by placing her closed fist to her lips, "Hm, true... your idiotic self clearly hasn't changed."
Ichigo raised his eyebrows and said; "Did you expect anything different from me?"
"No... not at all." said Rukia with a smile before her expression turned somber and her smile dimmed slightly, "Ichigo... I never properly said thank you for saving me... I guess I owe you that much, so... here goes..." she then took a deep breath before saying, "Thank you. For all that you did for my sake."
Ichigo's grin turned into a more heartfelt one as he said; "I would've done all of what I did here over and over again until the end of time if that's what it will take to save you."
Rukia, unexpectedly on her part, finds herself blushing at his words, "...D-don't say things like that you idiot...!" she said, half-yelling half-whispering as she turned her head away slightly from Ichigo's gaze so that he wouldn't be able to see her blush, hopefully.
"...What?" Ichigo asked, not knowing what he said that caused such a reaction from her.
"...N-nevermind..." said Rukia as she then decided to take another gulp of sake by her own volition. "S-so... you haven't told me why you came here to see me." she stated.
"Right. About that..." Ichigo began, "I have to ask you something. Will you stay here, in Soul Society, or would you rather return to the human world? You know, mingle with my classmates again as Rukia Kuchiki, the new transfer student."
Rukia was about to answer his question, when she remembered that he said he came from the future, so instead of that... "Well, what did I say during your... past?"
Ichigo blinked before he then chuckled, "That you would stay here. This is where you belong."
"...Well, then that's my answer." Rukia concluded.
"Well you also said that you made that decision through a particularly careful consideration. You knew you're going to miss me, but still you put your duty ahead of your friends. And especially ahead of me. And also that it pains you that I have to stay in the human world while you have to be here in Soul Society." he then continued.
Rukia blushed, her eyes widened at what Ichigo said; "...You're lying! I-I wouldn't say stuff like that!"
"Oh really?" Ichigo asked with a grin, "Are you saying that you wouldn't miss me?"
"H-hmph! Who would miss a hard-headed fool like you anyway?!" she huffed as she crossed her arms and turn her head away slightly, but her blush made her look all the more adorable.
"Well, Yoruichi would." Ichigo answered.
Rukia blinked at that, the way he said it made her think that the topic had gone from pleasant talk to a more serious tone, "...W-what?" she asked.
"Yoruichi would miss me if she were in your place." Ichigo repeated his answer before he then took another gulp of sake before he then said; "...There's something that I have to tell you... Yoruichi and I... we... we've decided to have a relationship."
"...What?" she asked flatly.
"You heard me." Ichigo said with a soft smile, "She confessed to me that she might have some feelings for me, and uh... let's just say that the gesture is reciprocated." he finished.
"...O-oh. I see..."
Rukia didn't know how she's supposed to react. Wasn't she supposed to be happy? After all, this is Ichigo Kurosaki, the dolt who's supposed to not be able to get a girlfriend in all of his life even if it depends on it.
But does the fact that 'happy' was not the correct word to describe her current feelings also meant that she didn't exactly appreciate the notion of Ichigo dating someone? So what would that make her? Unhappy might be correct, but she herself is confused as to how she should react to the news that he just broke.
So she returned to her usual self and said; "Hee... it seems that you can get a girlfriend huh, Ichigo?"
"Hey, what does that supposed to mean?" asked the hybrid indignantly at Rukia's impish smile.
"Well... it's just that you always seems like a guy who got a ten-feet pole up your butt." Rukia crudely stated, "Why at times, I thought that you preferred guys, what with how you always ignore Orihime, who practically swooned over your very presence?"
"Then I'm glad to prove you wrong, midget." Ichigo retorted back.
"Hmph. Enjoy it as long as it lasts Ichigo. You'll never get another chance at proving me wrong again." Rukia stated, "Three times is enough."
"Three? What are the things that I've proved you to be wrong besides my sexual orientation?"
"...That I don't need to be rescued. And that I was wrong to worry about your well-being in doing so." Rukia answered rather quietly, "I was placed under a lot of pressure that time and I should've been a lot more cooperative than I had been."
"I understand." Ichigo said, and it was enough for Rukia to know that he didn't hold any ill to her for that. "But you worrying about me feels rather... good. So even if it wasn't necessary, thanks for that."
She smiled, and for the next minute, there was nothing but a rather comfortable silence that both would not dare to ruin.
But a certain third party did not know of this and so she interrupted the comforting atmosphere by entering the room rather abruptly.
It was Yoruichi, her expression was rather playful and energetic, just like usual. However, there was a trace of genuine merriment apparent behind her twinkling golden eyes.
"I thought I'd find you here." she said before she looked at the unconscious figure of Kuukaku Shiba, sleeping with reddened cheeks on his lap, she raised her eyebrows in amusement, "Now what happened to her?" she asked.
Ichigo chuckled as he said, "It was a case of mistaken identity." he answered, "While drunk, she falsely assumed that I was Kaien Shiba, her brother."
"Ah. That makes sense." Yoruichi quipped with a touch of mirth. She then turned to Rukia before facing Ichigo again and said; "So? What did she say?"
"She wants to stay here." Ichigo answered, "Just like what she said in my past. And just like what you had told me what would happen."
Yoruichi shrugged playfully, "I did tell you that that's what would happen." she said, "Yet you wanted to make sure nonetheless."
"Yeah well, it makes me feel better." Ichigo rebutted, "At least there's a sense of certainty. Some constants. At least I know that this isn't a changeable variable."
"...Constants? Variable?" Rukia muttered in confusion.
Yoruichi merely sighed, though she still had a smile on her face, "He's taking a shine to how Urahara always thinks and speaks, at least in spirit. Who would've known that beneath that unruly exterior lies a scientist and a philosopher?"
Ichigo merely shrugged, "Well, it's just... I got some time to think about my traveling through time thing and thought that if certain things in certain universes could be different, then there must be some things that will remain as it had or would've been in mine. Constants. Something that would not change at all despite the change in the variables that came before. I just need to see for myself whether or not I'm right, and as it turns out... I am."
"Feel pleased by that, are you?" Yoruichi asked playfully.
"Somewhat, yeah." Ichigo answered with an equally playful grin.
Rukia looked at Ichigo and Yoruichi who seemed lost in their own conversation, and felt a little bit left out. Like a third wheel.
She didn't like that. For some reason that remained elusive to herself, she didn't like the feeling of being left out, especially when it concerned him.
So she cleared her throat and turned to Yoruichi, "Yoruichi-san, I assume you're here to take Ichigo to where he's needed more than here?"
The chocolate-skinned woman raised her eyebrow at Rukia's seemingly cross tone, but she didn't look too offended by how she spoke, "To be honest, now that there's sake here, I'm thinking about drinking a little bit."
"Hey come on now, if we're going to do that we need to get her to bed first." said Ichigo while pointing at the unconscious form of Kuukaku.
Yoruichi grinned mischievously as she said; "That's quite a suggestion Ichigo... I didn't know that you're the one that likes to take advantage of women when they're drunk."
Ichigo looked at her with deadpan eyes and said; "Ha ha. You know I didn't mean it like that. And besides, it'd be wrong of me to do that kind of thing."
The chocolate-skinned woman shrugged as she went and lifted her friend over one of her shoulders while Ichigo responded by carrying her by her other shoulder. "Oh well, let's take her to bed." Yoruichi said.
As she and Ichigo began to drag the unconscious woman to her bed to sleep, Yoruichi asked something while they were in the middle of carrying her, "By the way, why was she sleeping so contently on your lap?"
"...She... thought that I was Kaien... it's a long story, there's a lot of things that I really don't want to talk about." Ichigo muttered, "...And not to mention that I've heard some... disturbing things coming out from her."
"Oh really?" Yoruichi said as she grinned, "With how you're talking about it, I can only assume that it's rather kinky... Tell me."
"Oooooh~ Now isn't that a bit promiscuous of her...?" Yoruichi wondered out loud, "I always knew that she's not exactly innocent, but this? Hm, this brings her to a new light. And not a very good thing either." she added as an afterthought.
Ichigo could only shake his head as they finally got out of Shiba's house after asking a request for her two personal guards to take care of their master and bring her some water when she wakes up.
The hybrid was wondering whether or not this side of Kuukaku Shiba was a constant or a variable, but then again, to prod about it too deeply would require a nearby bleach for the mind because it was not exactly a good thing to know about that side of Shiba's younger sister.
'A blackmail material, sure... But I'm still of the opinion that I better off not knowing...' he thought to himself, 'Well, too late for that now I guess...'
"I just... never thought that Kuukaku-san would have that kind of feelings for... for him." said Rukia, who seemed rather awkward in talking about Kuukaku's... feelings for a certain someone that Rukia's familiar with.
Being drunk can really make you reveal your most intimate secrets... And Rukia swore that she would never drink sake again unless the situation required her to.
"Hey, you never know how a person is like deep inside." Yoruichi said to Rukia, "But I would pay no mind to it. She's a good friend, nothing could change that about her for me."
As they began to walk towards the Seireitei, they were caught mid-way by a group of Onmitsukido, whose arrival made Yoruichi grin, "Hm... what are you guys doing here? Are you here due to Soifon's orders?"
"No Yoruichi-sama." answered one of them, "We are here as ordered by Genryuusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13."
"What does the old man want now?" asked Ichigo.
"He demands an audition with you, Kurosaki Ichigo." said one of the masked Shinigami, "He has an important news to relay."
Grasping the cube-like device on his hand brought some old memories to Yamamoto's mind... Particularly, the one who gave it to him in the first place.
'Hmph... After so many centuries, this little thing could still manage to work. Their craftsmanship and technology is indeed beyond the level of what our most brilliant scientists could concoct.' he thought, 'But still... even after so many centuries, it took Ichigo Kurosaki's power for them to notice this world again... Is he a being similar to him..?'
The Captain-Commander sighed as he placed the cube back to his desk, "Such young existence... Burdened with the world on his shoulders... Truly, he is an interesting boy."
Hearing the sound of one of his subordinate arriving and kneeling down several meters in front of him, he raised his head towards the kneeling person as the said subordinate said; "Yamamoto-Soutaichou! Ichigo Kurosaki is here as per your orders."
"Hm. Bring him in." the old shinigami said, prompting the man to nod and exit the room as quickly as he appeared.
Moments later, the door leading to his office was opened, and there was the young hybrid, entering the room and closing the door behind him afterwards, he looked at Yamamoto, nodded once as a sign of respect and said, "You called for me old man?"
"I did." Yamamoto answered before he motioned towards the seat in front of him, "Come. Sit."
Ichigo nodded as he went towards the seat in front of his desk, sat on it and waited for whatever the old man's going to say. "Kurosaki Ichigo. I've called you here to personally tell you about a certain event that this whole predicament with Aizen had brought forth."
"...Which is?" asked the curious Ichigo.
Yamamoto then picked the cube and handed it over to Ichigo, "Here. Hold this for a moment."
Ichigo complied, and as he examined the strange looking cube, he asked, "What is this thing?"
"It is a communication device. If I were to likened it to something that the humans have made, be it fictional or real, I would say that it is similar to a... an application that allows you to communicate to other people from great distances by ways of having two cameras and microphones on each side."
"Never mind." Ichigo instantly said to avoid further explanation, "I understand the gist of it, but... To whom does this thing connect to?"
"That is the reason why I called you here." Yamamoto stated, "This device hasn't been utilized for quite a long time. That is, until several hours ago. Where this person immediately contacted me because of what they detected from you."
"Yes. Your energy, your Reiatsu." Yamamoto said, "You might not notice this, but your energy readings are not what one would say as a Shinigami's signature energy. It feels different in a way that it conveys both the raw, unadulterated Reiatsu of a hollow and a refined Reiatsu of a Shinigami."
"And what does this have to do with this person?"
"Your energy readings, to him, was something that he knew really well." Yamamoto began, "It's an energy that could only be produced by a being that had transcended the boundaries that was placed on everyone from the moment they were born in their respective worlds. Or universes, to be more precise with the term."
"...Wait, are you suggesting that this thing right here," Ichigo said as he pointed to the black cube that he was holding, "is something that connects you to a person residing in another universe or something like that? And that he wants to meet me because of my Reiatsu output?"
Ichigo blinked twice as his mind digested that information. And after a second, he created a response befitting that of a sane man, "Oh. Well, alright. So who is this person and when is he going to be here?"
The young hybrid then saw Yamamoto smiling a bit as he said; "He is the one who saved Soul Society from certain destruction some thousand years ago. I was but a child then, haven't even grown into a proper teenager yet."
Ah, a young Genryuusai Shigekuni Yamamoto. Now that's something that one just could not picture no matter how hard one tried. Unless one had actually seen what he looked like when he was young.
"Sounds like an important person." Ichigo said, "So he's pretty old then, even older than you."
"The rules of inter-universal travel are... complicated, Kurosaki Ichigo." Yamamoto said, "Though it has been a few thousand years for me and this world, the streams of time of this universe does not concern his at all."
"...So I can expect him to look young?"
"To say the very least."
"...Fascinating." Ichigo said as he cupped his chin in thought. "You still haven't told me when he's going to be here though old man."
"He'll be here in two weeks time. Though it won't surprise me that he would come even sooner than that. Considering his unpredictable nature." Yamamoto informed him, "In the meantime..." he grunted as he stood up, "I have a proposal for you to consider, Kurosaki Ichigo."
Ichigo raised his eyebrows in response to his statement, "What kind of proposal?" he asked.
"One that will determine your role in the world. Whether this one, or the one that you've known for as long as you live as home."
Waiting outside the office of the Captain-Commander was one Yoruichi Shihouin, who's leaning her back against the wall and crossing her arms together as she's patiently waiting for Ichigo to come out.
When they arrived at the building, Kuchiki Rukia was called to pay her brother a visit. And Yoruichi noticed that she didn't look all that pleased. It was as if she's reluctant to leave something, or someone behind.
Yoruichi grinned, already noticing the pattern that the young Kuchiki girl had exhibited, 'So that's how she feels about him, huh? Hm, must be eating her inside out when she found out. That is, if she had realized it yet.'
She knew the look that Rukia Kuchiki had unconsciously shown to her. It was the look that she was unhappy about leaving, but not knowing the real reason as to why she's upset and trying to find other reasons that could explain it.
Her grin faded a bit as she realized something, 'Come to think of it, Kuukaku always had that kind of behavior around... huh.' she then looked at the ceiling and said; "How come I didn't see that one coming from a mile away?" she asked herself.
When the sound of footsteps echoed from behind the door leading to the office, Yoruichi turned to look at it. And moments later, Ichigo came out, looking as if he's contemplating something, his gaze looked rather tense and serious, not to mention a bit grim.
As the door closed, he walked over to Yoruichi and said; "Hey, sorry if it took too long, the old man just wanted to explain some things to me."
"What kind of things?" Yoruichi asked, genuinely curious about what the Captain-Commander wanted to inform him so badly that he requested one of the Onmitsukidou to call him.
"...Well, to explain it here would take an equally long time. How about we talk about it on the way to Inoue and the others?"
Some minutes later...
"...Wow, I can't believe that the old man had that kind of thing on him the whole time." Yoruichi muttered out in shock and surprise, "And... a man from another universe? Soul Society's savior from thousands of years ago? It's as if everything that I've been taught was a lie."
"Aw c'mon, it can't be that bad, right?" Ichigo asked with a smirk.
Yoruichi took a moment before shrugging, "Eh, well... While I can't deny that it's really something that just changed my perspective about the whole world in general, it's not really world-breaking. You're right, I'm just overreacting. Still," she said as she lifted her right index finger up, "that doesn't change the fact that I don't exactly know the whole details of Soul Society's history. So everything that I've been taught was, in a way, a lie. Seeing that it's the incomplete truth."
"It's still the truth." Ichigo argued with a grin.
"But. To certain people, telling only parts of the truth can be considered as telling a lie. So..." she trailed off as she procured a grin of her own.
"Alright, I get your point." Ichigo conceded, "By the way, what do you think about all this? About this mysterious figure, supposedly from another universe?"
Yoruichi mulled over it for a few seconds before she shrugged, "It's... surprising, sure. Unexpected even, but when I got over the initial weirdness that comes with the knowledge that other universes does exist., I can easily accept it as a fact."
She then grinned as she said; "I mean, hell, I know that you came from the future. Having the information of other universes is not that far of a stretch for me to believe after knowing when you came from."
Ichigo smiled as he chuckled, "Can't say that I'm surprised by that." he then shrugged as he continued; "Still... as if the life of being a hybrid wasn't enough, I got this thrown into my lap. Quite a life I'm living, huh?" he asked rhetorically.
Yoruichi's smile turned rather somber as she said; "Quite. But at least... you're not going at it alone."
Feeling her hand squeezing her shoulder good-naturedly, Ichigo turned to Yoruichi with a smile. Curious at her gentle tone, but feeling that it would not be appropriate of him to tease her about it, knowing that she's really concerned.
So, he settled with saying; "And thank you for that."
At this, Yoruichi's smile turned into a playful smirk, "Hey don't worry, I'm sure it'll be a blast considering who I'm talking about here."
"Now, what's that supposed to mean?" Ichigo asked.
"Wherever you go, trouble always follows right behind you." Yoruichi answered in a mischievous tone, "And sometimes, it's even right in front of you, waiting for your arrival. It's... exciting, to say the least."
"What? Facing evils at every turn?"
"Precisely." she answered without missing a single beat.
Ichigo shook his head out of amusement and sheer disbelief, "You are just too much sometimes, you know that?"
Yoruichi pouted as she said; "Hey now, that's not true." she denied before she grinned, "I'm like that all the time." she finished before she chuckled and intertwined her arm with his, "Can I trust you to keep up with me, Ichigo?"
"You can bet your life on it, Yoruichi."
Once again, Rukia found herself sitting rather formally in front of a person that she deemed as important to her.
Byakuya, her adopted brother, was sitting in a seiza position rather regally. His eyes were closed, his expression unreadable and calm, and he looked as if he had something to talk about with her.
Though she wanted to get this matter over with, her brother's presence was just too overpowering that she could not gather the courage to be the first to speak her mind.
So she could only look at the cup of tea placed in front of her as if it was the most interesting thing in the world while Byakuya was drinking his.
After a silent sip of the green tea, Byakuya placed it on the tray in front of his sitting location and said; "Rukia."
"Y-yes Nii-sama?" said Rukia as she straightened her back again after who knows how long she had been in a humpback position due to her brother's intimidating presence.
"Do you know the reason why I called you here?" he asked of her.
"Um..." she mentally chided herself for not immediately answering, but she composed herself to say; "No, I do not know, Nii-sama."
"It concerns the behavior that I exhibits during the time of your imprisonment and impending execution." Byakuya answered, "I hope you understand that I acted that way to serve the Kuchiki clan's best interest. None of it was personal."
Rukia already knew that. She knew where her brother stood during Ichigo's personal attack upon Seireitei, and she did not blame him for it then nor did she blame him for it now. And she was sure that Byakuya had known that as well, so why was he speaking about this thing now?
"However." he added, "Kurosaki Ichigo's action made me rethink my actions at that time. And I found that I had a slight relapse in my ability to determine what I should have done in the first place.
"The man might be hot-headed, and his mind might be chaotic in nature... But his heart is in the right place." Byakuya praised Ichigo, something that shocked Rukia, "He did what I should have done, and for that, I envy him."
Rukia was quite shocked at how her brother suddenly being so open. Not to mention that the person that he's praising and envious for was Ichigo of all people. She idly thought that she was having a weird dream.
"But he has my gratitude. For he had fixed my mistake and gone far in securing your safety." Byakuya continued, as if not noticing his sister's shell-shocked state, "And as for you, Rukia... I owe you an apology."
Aaaand Rukia was convinced that she had lost her damn mind. Either that or she's having a lucid dream that was so strange in nature.
"Should there be a situation arise in which I must make a choice between family and family name once again... I shall not make the same mistake that I did." Byakuya finished and sipped his tea once again.
Rukia, she just sat there, staring at her brother with blank eyes that conveyed her befuddlement.
"Do you have something to say, Rukia?"
Rukia was gotten out of her reverie by that question, but due to how open he was being, her response was less than stellar, "U-uh...! N-no, Nii-sama." she stuttered out.
Byakuya nodded as he closed his eyes and sip his tea again. After he's finished, he said; "Very well then. If so, then let us move on to another topic of conversation."
'There's more?', thought Rukia. still reeling from what she had heard from her brother just before.
"This time... it concerns my wife... Hisana."
Rukia noticed that her brother's serious disposition was accompanied by a slight melancholy. Hisana Kuchiki was the late wife of Byakuya Kuchiki, this Rukia knew. But her brother rarely talked about his wife to anyone, let alone with her. So what was this all about?
"She was the reason why I bring you into the Kuchiki family." Byakuya answered, "That time, I chose the right decision between family and its name. And it was why I acted as I was when you were arrested in prison for your so-called crime."
Rukia was silent, not able to speak anything, captivated by what her brother was saying to her.
"Hisana asked me to take care of you the night she died." Byakuya answered, confusing and shocking Rukia at the same time, "She told me to find you and bring you into my family as my sister. To repay all those times when she left you back at District 78 of Rukongai."
"...R-repay?" Rukia couldn't help but utter out.
"She told me that you were but a baby when she left you and so there was no possible way that you would know." Byakuya continued on, "Though she rationalized her decision because she wanted to survive, she came to regret her decision... And I decided to honor her last wish."
Byakuya then looked straight into Rukia's eyes and said; "To have me take care of her little sister in her stead."
Uryuu looked upon the window that overlooked a part of Seireitei with a frown on his face.
Despite the lack of raw power and technique that Ichigo exhibited multiple times during their invasion of Soul Society, Uuryu managed to maintain the pride of being a Quincy by defeating many of his race's sworn enemies.
One of them was a captain, in fact. Which was quite an impressive feat in itself.
But due to his lack of aforementioned raw power and experience, Uryuu had paid the price to be able to do such a thing.
And the price was his Quincy powers. The one thing that truly defined him that he inherited from his lineage. He sacrificed it to amplify his power several folds and kill the mad-looking Shinigami that had experimented with his grandfather's corpse and the one that let him die.
The worse part was that the Shinigami was not even killed. Uryuu knew that the creepy bastard was still alive. And he felt that he had sacrificed his powers for nothing.
However, he's somewhat relieved to still be alive. And that the main purpose of him coming to Soul Society with Ichigo and the others was achieved. Rukia Kuchiki was no longer in danger of being executed due to helping a family survive a Hollow onslaught.
Still, he had to live with the consequences of his actions. From now on, no more Hollow hunting for him.
He's a bit annoyed at the fact that Ichigo would be the only one to exterminate Hollows in the proximity of Karakura town from now on, but then again, what could he do now that he's thoroughly de-powered?
'...Just had to live with the consequences I guess.' Uryuu thought to himself somberly, and slightly bitterly.
Still, as of now, he must continue with the task at hand.
Mainly, fixing the ruined clothes that his friends had worn when they first came in. Though Ichigo didn't need one, Orihime's required some stitching, and Chad's needed some major modification for his tanktop.
And with that, he also busied himself a little bit more with creating a simple sundress, designed for Rukia in case she wanted it.
One thing that a person could do to take his mind off from some unpleasant things was to invest himself in something more productive than moping around. And for Uuryu, it was sewing.
He was good at it, and he also brought some sewing materials along for the rescue mission, and now that it had gotten quiet, he might as well occupy himself to prevent himself from going into a fit of depression.
it's the most useful thing that he could do for now...
Time sure flew by quickly when it was peaceful. Despite how relative that statement was, several days have passed ever since the problem with Aizen came to a temporary close.
And now, it was time for Ichigo and his friends to go back home, to the world of the living. Despite the fact that Soul Society had offered its hospitality to them, they simply did not belong in the land of the dead for now, and thus, it was only a matter of time before they had to leave the place.
Ichigo, Yoruichi in her feline form, Uryuu, Orihime and Chad were now standing in the front of the official Senkaimon of Soul Society, along with Yamamoto Genryuusai and his lieutenant, Chojirou, his two disciples Ukitake Juushirou and Shunsui Kyoraku and their respective lieutenants, and Byakuya Kuchiki and his lieutenant, Renji Abarai.
"This here, is for you, Kurosaki Ichigo." said Yamamoto as he gave him a pentagon-shaped badge.
When he grasped it on his hand, Ichigo took a moment to appraise the object. It looked normal enough, but considering the things that were made in Soul Society, Ichigo assumed that it meant more than what it appeared to be.
"It is a badge reserved for those who are a Shinigami yet not affiliated with the Gotei 13. It is able to separate your Shinigami form from your human body should you find yourself in a dire situation and to alert you of nearby Hollows." Yamamoto explained, "And it is to identify your status to other Shinigami within the region of your town if they ask you to identify yourself. Always keep it close by and do not worry yourself over it being seen by other humans. Only those who can see spirits are able to perceive the badge."
Ichigo had already heard this from the old man's white-haired disciple, Ukitake. But out of respect for the old man, he let him explained and in the end, he said; "Thank you for this, old man."
Yamamoto nodded, already used at Ichigo's way of showing respect, which did not entail the use of his rank.
"Kurosaki Ichigo." said Byakuya, earning his attention, "Rukia wished me to relay this message to you for she is rather occupied."
"Really? Alright, go ahead."
"She wishes you the best of luck, and her gratitude." Byakuya said, "And that she will come to you again one day. Soon, if she had her way. But for now, it will be a goodbye."
Ichigo smiled at that, but he couldn't help but be curious as to what's keeping her busy, so he asked Byakuya; "Thanks for relaying that. By the way, what is she so busy about that she couldn't come and tell me that herself?"
At this, Byakuya seemed rather proud and worried at the same time, "She has enforced a harsh regimen of training upon herself as per her wish."
Ichigo's eyes widened, caught by surprise at his answer, "What? Why would- Why would she do that?" he asked, rather bewildered, "She's not that healed yet, right? Why does she want to train after just a few days?"
"Because she feels the need to." Answered Byakuya, "That was all that she told me, and I accept that reason. But if I were to assume... she has a deeper reason than that."
Ichigo wasn't sure whether or not he should feel angry, frustrated, or confused at what Rukia had chosen to do. But nevertheless, it was her choice, she should stuck by it, if anything. And he should support her decision.
"In any case, I too wish you goodbye, Kurosaki Ichigo." Byakuya said before he left.
Renji offered his farewell as well, even if it was a rather short one, "Goodbye Ichigo. I'll make sure Rukia doesn't push herself too hard."
Ichigo smiled and nodded, "Yeah, you do that. Thanks."
After a little handshake, the only Gotei 13 Shinigami left in front of the official Senkaimon were Yamamoto, Ukitake, Juushirou and their respective lieutenants. "Well, Ichigo-kun... Though it was brief, it has certainly been a pleasure making your acquaintance." said Ukitake with a slight nod.
"You're a really interesting kid, you know." said Shunsui, "We should have a drink sometime. Any kind of celebration party for any occasion is okay with me, you should come by sometime."
The 8th Squad's lieutenant cleared her throat as she said, "Please ignore him Kurosaki-san, he has neglected his duties for long enough as it is, he doesn't need anymore distraction that could keep him from doing so."
"Oh come on, Nanao-chan~!" Shunsui begged his lieutenant, which did not work at all for the stoic bespectacled woman.
"Well... while I did got off on the wrong foot, I hope that I've regained my footing, so to speak." Ichigo began his parting word, "Until the next time we meet, old man, Ukitake-san, Shunsui-san."
And with that, the hybrid went to Yoruichi and his human friends, looked at each of them and said; "Let's go home shall we?"
All of them nodded, and then Yoruichi led the way, "Alright. All of you had already experienced this before, so this one should be a piece of cake. Let's go people."
"You know, one would think that we would be more than capable of avoiding situations such as this after experiencing it beforehand." Ichigo remarked with a deadpan tone without any fear in his eyes, unlike his human friends.
"Agreed." Yoruichi said with as much deadpan tone of voice as Ichigo's, "Still, I think that this was the same day that the Koutotsu is scheduled to clean up and that we are not led by an official Hell Butterfly, so I guess you can blame it on Soul Society's oversight."
"Can we please just focus on running?!" Uryuu yelled at the two as he struggled to keep himself level as the cleaner of the Dangai were hot on their tails.
"Still, why didn't Soi Fon show up? I thought with you leaving, she might want to say goodbye or something."
"She spent many hours yesterday in lamenting the decision that I made." Yoruichi answered, "She accepted it, but nevertheless, she's still somewhat sore about it. But we talked a bit. Sure, it doesn't exactly act as an instant cure, but in time, maybe."
"Hm. Anything I can do to help?"
Yoruichi looked at Ichigo, and despite her feline form, he got the impression that she was smiling, "Well... I had this idea in mind..." she said rather mischievously.
"Talk about it later after we're out of this?" Ichigo asked.
An explosion in the sky would've been something that no one would miss, even at nighttime. At least, that what it would've been had someone were to look at the right place.
The exit that Ichigo's group made was quite bombastic, not unlike their arrival at the Rukongai, this one was also accompanied by explosion and a burst of brilliant light that would've attract attention if they were able to see spirit particles.
Luckily, only few were able to. As it was, Ichigo and the others were able to be discreet.
That is, if some of them weren't screaming as they fell due to the lack of something that they could plant their feet on.
However, Orihime, Uryuu, Chad and Yoruichi was held by Ichigo, who grabbed the former two with his hands and the latter two with his shoulders. As for himself? Well, he was more than capable of supporting himself up on the sky with the blackened flame wings that he had gotten from Kikouou.
"Nice catch, Ichigo." Yoruichi remarked.
"T-thanks, Kurosaki-kun." Orihime said with reddened cheeks.
"Ah, there you are!"
Then came the bucket-hat wearing candy salesman along with his assistants, riding on a carpet that was floating in the air as if it were a magical object from one of the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.
"Hey mad scientist." Ichigo greeted Urahara without any rancor in his voice despite the nickname that he used to call him. Dropping his altitude a little bit to be at the same level as the carpet, Ichigo then dropped Orihime and Uryuu first before he tilted his body a little bit to allow Chad to come down.
Yoruichi, in her feline form, stayed on his right shoulder.
"Ah, a new ability yet again, Kurosaki-san." said Urahara with his perpetually impish-looking smile of his. "Can't say that I'm surprised, seeing that you seem to make impossibilities happen."
"Yeah, I suppose so." he then looked at Yoruichi and said to her, "So, do you want to talk about that thing now or later?"
"Hm, maybe later." Yoruichi replied in the most mischievous tone of voice that she could muster, and that meant something, considering it's her, "Tomorrow would be good, wouldn't it?"
"I have school tomorrow." Ichigo said to Yoruichi, "Start of the new semester, remember? I have to go to school, I'm still a high-school student in this world after all."
"Hm, not to worry about that. I think I can make some adjustments." Yoruichi said rather cryptically.
Ichigo merely shook his head with a smile and said; "I'm not sure if I want to know what you have in mind, Kitty-cat."
"Well, just wait and find out bird boy." said Yoruichi as she hopped on to the carpet.
"Bird boy?" Ichigo asked, rather confused about the sudden nickname.
"Your wings." said Yoruichi, as if it were obvious.
"Would you mind if you come to the shop, Kurosaki-san?" Urahara asked of him, "I would like to hear how you got those wings."
"Maybe tomorrow Geta-Boshi. I don't mind it, but I've been gone for quite some time now. I have to see my family first." Ichigo answered.
Urahara's smile turned rather soft and sincere compared to his previous one that seemed more trickster-like, "Very well then, Kurosaki-san, I understand. Will you be joining us in this little ride of ours? Who knows, we might go on and venture on to whole new worlds!" and with that jovial statement, that impish smile returned again.
Ichigo shook his head in amusement before saying, "Nope, I think I'll go by myself. I'll see you around Yoruichi, Chad, Ishida, Inoue." he said before he turned... and flew off to the direction of his house.
Seeing him flying off instead of using Shunpo, Urahara became even more interested at what Ichigo had gotten. He turned to Yoruichi and asked, "So how did he acquire those wings anyway?"
Yoruichi sighed rather wistfully before saying, "I'll explain on the way."
"Ooooh...! It must be interesting!" Urahara exclaimed rather giddily, "Very well then, let us away!"
The first thing that Ichigo saw through the window of his room was himself... Sleeping in bed and drooling at his pillow with a stupid expression plastered on his face.
So it made sense that the first thing that he did after entering was to instantly pummel himself in the stomach, bringing out the pill that contained Kon from inside and made his body unconscious.
Putting the pill on the nightstand, Ichigo entered his body.
And he was subsequently hit by slight agony that lasted for about two minutes that rendered him temporarily immobile in his bed. "Must be the changes made by Kikouou..." Ichigo muttered after the pain subsided, assuming that was the case.
He then examined himself for a bit, and after finding that there were little to no changes, he let the issue go. Returning to the pill that was Kon, he decided to bring him back to his usual body, the lion plush doll.
Which... was nowhere to be found.
And so his first hour back in the world of the living was spent in searching for the Mod Soul's body.
And when he did find it... Ichigo was at a loss for words for a moment. Though he knew that this would still happen, the extent of disarray that the lion plush doll exhibited was more than it was before.
"...The hell happened to you? You look so messed up."
"Oh gee! Thank you for pointing that out to me, I barely noticed it myself!" Kon replied indignantly, which looked rather creepy, weird, and funny at the same time due to how his face was ruined and disarrayed, the eyes were hanging by their threads, the cheeks were ripped, and the lower part of his mouth was slightly hanging.
Ichigo's brain found it hard to decide whether he should be laughing, creeped out, or befuddled, so his expression conveyed the combination of those three things in such a way that it seemed that he's pitying him.
"And wipe that look from your face!"
"Alright, alright... I'll get Ishida tomorrow, ok? For now, you just... stay like that."
"Oh hell no! I'm not going to stay like this! You have to call him now! This look really bothers me!" Kon yelled out, "And one more thing, where is Nee-san? I thought you're going to bring her back?!"
"Well she decided to stay in Soul Society." Ichigo answered the Mod Soul's question, "And that's her decision to make, I'm not going to force her to go back here if she didn't want to."
Kon looked rather sad at that, but then he sighed, respecting Rukia's wish to remain. "Oh alright... Still, she's safe now though, right?"
"Yeah, she is."
"Good, that's... that's good." said the Mod Soul rather despondently, "By the way, could you call the brooding guy now please? I couldn't stay like this, I just couldn't."
"Tomorrow." Ichigo reiterated.
"Oh come on!"
"Gooooooood Mooorning! Ichiiiii-urgk!"
It was the usual morning at the Kurosaki household, which began with Isshin opening the door leading to his son's room and announce his arrival in the most bombastic way possible and then receiving the retaliation given by his son in the form of a physical attack to his person.
Mainly, his stomach.
"Hnnnnngggg...! You have grown strong, Ichigo...! I've taught you we-!"
"You taught nothing of the sort to me, old man." Ichigo said with a deadpan tone of voice as he used one of his hands to silence him and then using the other to throw him out of the room, finishing that, he closed the door, ignoring his father's yells.
He then went on to change his clothes, opening the wardrobe, he found Kon, who was still in the form of the messed up plush lion doll.
"I'll get him today, okay? So for now, you just have to stay here."
"Yeah no need to tell me. There's no way that I can attract many women with this look, why should I go outside?" Kon grumbled.
Hearing that statement, Ichigo then said; "You know, maybe I should keep you this way if it guarantees your lack of desire to go outside." seeing the Mod Soul looked rather terrified of the notion, he continued, "In fact, I think I'm going to do just that."
"W-w-wait! Please, don't do that! O-okay, okay, I promise that I won't go outside for an extended periods of time after this is fixed." he begged of Ichigo.
"Three weeks." Ichigo said, "If you try to lessen it a bit or if I find you outside during that given time, I will multiply that number by two." he said with his right index finger pointed up as if to make his point.
"C-can't we make it to two instead?"
Kon's innate instinct to speak at a moment's notice of his liking was mightily suppressed by the realization that Ichigo meant business. And so, he relented and say; "F-fine, s-six weeks it is."
"Then I'll be sure to bring Ishida after school's over." Ichigo said as he grabbed his school uniform and closed the wardrobe.
"...Tyrant..." Kon said under his breath.
"Do you want to make it twelve?" Ichigo's voice could be heard despite the fact that it was muffled a bit.
Kon immediately shut his mouth with his hands. Now he was as equally scared of Ichigo as much as he was scared by his nee-san. Except that he did it in the most passive way possible that, in a way... made him a lot scarier compared to his nee-san.
'Geez... what the hell happened to the aloof, temperamental short-minded guy that is so easy to rile up?'
The breakfast was not an overly dramatic affair, Yuzu's perpetual chipper attitude, Karin's lack of interest in what went on and Isshin's constant proclamation of love and such that were always rebuffed by Karin every step of the way, Ichigo felt back at home.
A bit of normalcy was a remedy for a life filled with extraordinary things that might tire one out after a while.
After breakfast, Ichigo went to school, his hair styled into a ponytail due to how long it was, Ichigo attracted some weird looks from many passersby. The combination of his delinquent-llike, -if not cool-, hairstyle, his impressive physique that was not covered fully by his summer school uniform made many people look his way.
But Ichigo opted to ignore them, as he had done many times back when he was thought as a delinquent thanks to his previously brightly colored hair.
Once he entered the school courtyard however, he decided to listen to the things that they said when they looked at him. After all, these were his fellow schoolmates, in which, he would at least spend a lot of time in, so he might as well know what they thought of him now.
Most of who spoke were girls, he found to his surprise.
"Hey hey, look at that."
"He looks like a samurai with that hair..."
"His body's so... Mmh!"
"Do you think that he's a new transfer student?"
"He's so handsome!"
So he was considered a stranger now. A handsome transfer student that looked like a samurai thanks to his long hair. Not bad, at least he's no longer a delinquent in their eyes, an improvement even. But...
He felt a little bit awkward at how they're looking at him now. Still, there's no way around that, so he decided that he would weather it until he got used to it.
Entering his class was... a tense experience for almost everyone involved.
Because Chad, Uryuu and Orihime weren't there, no one recognized him, and this he knew from how they were looking at him. Not unlike a stranger he was, despite the fact that he belonged there as much as he belonged in Soul Society.
Still, he remained undeterred. He walked towards his seat, placed his bag beside his chair and sat down.
For a moment, none spoke to him. But they did talk about him, mainly of how Ichigo would be angry at the prospect of his seat being taken by a new student, not realizing that they were speaking about the same man.
He crossed his arms, and waited until either Chad, Orihime or Uryuu came by and greet him to clear the confusion. Even Keigo and Mizuiro were wary of him and dare not speak to him.
After a moment or so, Tatsuki Arisawa entered the class, and with that, Ichigo knew who would accompany her.
She entered the classroom, smiling brightly, and then, she noticed the tension within the room. She looked at the source, making her smile even wider than before, and then she responded with waving her hand and said.
"Good morning, Kurosaki-kun!"
Many people turned to look at Orihime and then looked at him. He responded kindly to Orihime by lifting his hand and greeted her with a smile, "Morning, Inoue."
At the span of a second, the class burst into mutterings and whispers. The thought of this long-haired man was Ichigo Kurosaki never crossed their mind before. Especially when the color of his hair was black instead of the blinding orange that he had before.
Orihime looked a bit embarrassed for causing the slight ruckus. But then, her attention was diverted when Tatsuki, who stood beside her asked the one that she was greeting, "T-the hell...? What happened to your hair?"
Ichigo, thanking Zangetsu for giving him the ability to procure the best poker face that one could ever hope to have, said to her, "Overnight growth spurt. It happened sometimes."
It took a moment for Tatsuki's eye to twitch at that answer, and she responded with; "Oh ha ha, pretty funny, funny man. It's not just that, your eyes too, they look... well, a shade brighter too. Are those eye contacts or something?"
Ichigo's eyes had changed from its amber-shaded ones to a light shade of orange. A unique eye color, one that he only noticed just now, thanks to him never paying any attention to himself in the mirror, even after the changes that he had gone through.
"Look Tatsuki," Ichigo began, "Sometimes, extreme changes does happen, and when that does, one just has to accept it."
Tatsuki Arisawa was slightly annoyed at his nonchalance. A wild vein appeared on her forehead after she heard what he said, "Oh who are you kidding here Ichigo? You expect me to believe that?"
"No." Ichigo answered before he smirked, "Of course not, you're smarter than that. I just want the conversation to be over."
The sheer cheek of it made Tatsuki grit her teeth. But when she was annoyed into silence, Keigo took the stage.
"Ichigo, what the hell man?! You've been gone for quite sometime, and you returned like... like this?! What the hell happened to you?"
He looked at Keigo and said with the same jovial smirk as before, "Oh just some things. It doesn't matter really."
"Wha? That's not even-"
"That's not a proper answer you ass!"
Tatsuki beat Keigo to the punch and punching Ichigo on the top of his head with as much force as she could muster. The end result was her huffing continuously for a few seconds of silence before she knelt and pulled the hand that hit his head closer to her body as it began to swell.
Ichigo merely rubbed the spot that he was hit on before he sighed, stood up from his seat, and went to Tatsuki, saying... "Are you alright?"
This time, his tone of voice was not filled with sarcasm nor condescension, it was genuine concern. Tatsuki replied with, "What the hell was that...? It's like hitting concrete..." she groaned.
"Let me see your hand." Ichigo said as he grabbed her hand and examine it.
The action surprised Tatsuki somewhat, he was gentle in how he touched her hand so as to not make it painful for her. While he certainly tested to see where it hurts and how much it hurts her when she applied some pressure to several spots on her hand, he did it in the least painful way possible.
"You should not be using this hand for writing or lifting in the next few hours." Ichigo said after a few moments, "Don't try to shake it off or repeatedly opening and closing it either. If you have any trouble writing with your left hand, just borrow Inoue's notes when it feels better, okay?"
Tatsuki found herself stuttering her response, "Y-yeah. I, I will do that.", thanks to how serious he was and how close he was being.
"Good. Here we go." Ichigo said as he helped her stood up. He then patted her back twice and returned to his seat.
Thanks to the previous hubbub and how most of the people in the classroom were focused on Ichigo, they failed to notice two people entering the class. But Ichigo didn't.
"Chad." he said with a lift of his hand.
The gentle giant of a man lifted his hand, reciprocating his gesture and nodded slightly.
"Ishida." said Ichigo with a slight nod of his head.
The Quincy fixed the position of his glasses and replied with a cold but cordial tone of voice, "Kurosaki."
And with that, the three people that accompanied Ichigo to Soul Society took their respective seats. Orihime did so a second after Ishida had seated himself.
Then, to Ichigo's relief, the home teacher came and her gusto diverted their attention. "Hello everyone! Please take your seats!"
The hybrid could only hope that the rest of the day won't be so complicated. But then again, like what Yoruichi said, trouble always followed him.
So he's not keeping his hopes up at least.
To be continued...
Forgive my tardiness if you'd be so kind, but after a long time, this fic has been updated.
Now let's see how long the next one would take... shall we?
P.S.: To those of you who might want to know and are interested enough in this story to read this, I have been working on Naruto: Unorthodox Change of Fate reboot and will post its first chapter in the near future. Before its release, I will update the previous one with a chapter that will inform you of the reboot and to change its status from 'On-going' to 'Complete', just in case.
Until the next update dear readers.