Urahara-san doesn't know who that "Ivan Azgiaro" was, or his possible connection to the Quincy. Of course, he could just be lying, but Ichigo suspects his old mentor/sometime-antagonist might actually be telling the truth this time.

Whatever the case, it doesn't bode well for the near-future. If whatever group Ivan was working with is trying to develop something that will cause Bankai to vanish...well, then their target is probably the Soul Society and that the fate of the world is in danger. Again.

Ichigo realizes this should probably upset him more. And well...he's a little annoyed. Finals are coming soon and if this turns out to be another one of those skipping class for two months straight things, he's probably going to fail out of university, which would not only be completely embarrassing, but also really inconvenient.

But he's spent the last two and a half years without his sword and God, did it feel good to get in a proper fight again, even if his opponent wimped out at the last second.

The whole concept of his Bankai being destroyed does freak him out a little though, especially right after he got it back. Ichigo can still feel the sensation of...whatever the thing Ivan used crawling up the back of his neck and it brings back the completely unwelcome feeling of bone-deep fear that he hasn't felt in a while and hasn't ever wanted to feel again.

But besides the annoyance, what he mostly feels is overwhelming relief. Though they haven't spoken a word about their fight after his clash with Ivan, Ichigo knows Rukia will not leave now. Too many things are up in the air and even though she'd planned to abandon hi...to go before, she won't leave with what is possibly another war on the horizon.

That knowledge, however, doesn't make him any less furious with her though.

He knows it's irrational. It's her life and he doesn't have any say in what Rukia's choices end up being.

Unless, of course, they are throwing herself in the path of danger to protect him choices, in which case he fucking does have a say.

But Ichigo knows...he knows these past few years can't have been much fun for her either. She's a shinigami, no matter how long ago she left the Soul Society, and working as a shopgirl isn't what she's built for. Even working for Urahara-san isn't ideal, because as much as Rukia plays the part of the loyal soldier, Ichigo knows her well enough to know she despises him.

She has every right to go if she wants to, he can't stop her, she's not his to keep. He knows this, but the feeling of horrible betrayal won't leave, instead, it stews in the pit of his stomach, like a cancer, poisoning his thoughts. He's only spoken to her when absolutely necessary since it happened, because he's afraid he might explode into a truly pointless rage. Part of him still can't believe Rukia would do this to him, that she'd leave him after everything that they've been through, even though he knows it doesn't make any sense. Ichigo guesses he thought...he doesn't know what he thought. That she'd always be with him? That nothing would ever change?

So he's an idiot, which he hates, and luckily enough, when he goes out to patrol to avoid thinking about it, a perfect distraction literally falls out of the sky in front of him.

"Huh," Chad says eloquently when Ichigo calls him to tell him the news.

"Look, I have no clue what's going on, but-"

"You think it has to do with that Ivan guy," Chad finishes solidly.

"Yeah," Ichigo says, watching Rukia's expression become increasingly bewildered as Nel clings to her arm. It had taken twenty minutes to convince her to let go of him so he could make the calls to his friends and she had immediately latched onto Rukia afterward. From what he remembers, Nel had been extremely suspicious of Rukia for the short time they traveled together in Hueco Mundo, but she seems to have forgotten that in her desire for comfort.

Ichigo's hand tightens on his phone as he watches Rukia awkwardly pats Nel on her shaking back. What was going on in Hueco Mundo? Who would want to kidnap Dondochakka or any of the other Arrancar? And what did it have to do with the Quincy? He guess they're probably out for revenge on the Soul Society, but why involve Hueco Mundo? Was there even anything there after Aizen fell?

Ichigo has no particular attachment to the Soul Society and if the Quincy were just going to war against them for, you know, trying to wipe them out two hundred years ago, he's not sure he'd want to get in the middle of that. But the Qui-whoever they were got Nel involved, were tearing up Hueco Mundo and kidnapping people for purposes Ichigo knows cannot be good, not to mention they specifically came after him. And well, if they want a fight, he'll sure as hell bring it to them.

"I think you guys should come over here so we can figure out what to do about this," Ichigo continues, drumming his fingers against the plastic counter-top in the small kitchen. "It sounds pretty bad."

At his words, Rukia abruptly turns to look at him, something Ichigo can't quite decipher flashing in her eyes. It could be surprise, annoyance, or even guilt, but Ichigo can honestly say that he does not give a fuck. He is so done with her bullshit right now...

Ichigo grits his teeth as the dull throb of anger starts to burn in his gut again, but holds her gaze. Thankfully, she glances away, back down to Nel again before Ichigo can do something he regrets.

"Alright," Chad says easily. "I get off work at seven, so I can-"

There is a loud crash and Ichigo whirls around to see Pesche leaping away from the pile of Ichigo's school books that he has knocked off his shelf to the floor.

"Hey!" Ichigo yells irritably, bringing down his cell phone so he can yell at Pesche properly. "Be careful with those, they're ex-"

"Sorry, sorry!" Pesche exclaims, looking terrified, or as terrified as a Hollow can possibly look.

"Howabout I call everyone else?" Chad offers helpfully, sturdy, reliable Chad and Ichigo sighs in relief.

"Thank you," he says gratefully, glaring at Pesche. He knew he shouldn't have let him into his apartment. Pesche gulps audibly, even from across the room.

"Alright, alright," Rukia says, slinging Nel over her shoulder and marching over to the shelf. "Pick those up and put them back!"

Pesche has obviously never seen a book before and picks up his physics textbook by one corner. Rukia rolls her eyes and orders him to do it the right way, arms crossed over her chest like a general surveying her troops. The image is only slighting ruined by Nel drooling on her hair.

"Ichigoooo!" Nel calls happily, scrambling around Rukia's shoulders to see him properly. "What's book?"

"What the hell is all this nois-" Kon yells irritably, climbing in from the window in teddy bear form. "Gah, who the hell are you?!"

Nel's eyes go extremely round and wide, her face splitting into a terrifying grin. She lets out a shriek of glee and throws herself at Kon, who screams and dives behind the TV.

"Hey!" Rukia shouts, hurtling after them. "Don't-ugh-Ichigo, get over here, they're going to-"

"Right, talk to you later," Ichigo says quickly and hangs up, hurrying over to intervene before this recipe for disaster leaves his apartment in ruins.

A/N: Ugh, I really don't like this part, but I didn't know what else to do with it. Anyway, this brings an end to the stuff I've already written, so I really have no idea when the next part is going to come out. Hopefully something in the manga will happen soon? Anyway, please review!