Off To The Races

So this is my first bleach fic and my second overall fic! I had this plot bunny stuck in my head and wrote it down so I decided to type it up when I had the chance.

Summary: Ichigo is a horse trainer/owner getting ready to race his three year old Zangetsu in the Kentucky Derby. When a string of sponsors are scared away by his rival stable, Soul Society, Ichigo is left in desperate need of someone unafraid of the strong rivals and who has enough money to support his horse. When help comes from an unexpected source, can Ichigo prove his horse is the best in the field or will the Soul Society obliterate him?

Pairing: ?/Ichigo

Rating: T for now, will go up!

Warnings: Um, maybe language for this chapter?

So the possible pairings are Aizen/Ichigo, Grimm/Ichigo and Shiro/Ichigo! (though I am partial to Aizen/Ichigo lol) Please vote as the story goes on in the poll on my page!

Ichigo ran his hands over the beautiful black stallion's back. He noted every slope with a practiced hand, his brow creasing at every rough patch in the silky hair. Giving the gorgeous creature a pat on the neck, he trailed his hands up to the long silky mane and started to braid it. In the dead silence of the barn at midnight, Ichigo Kurosaki, trainer and owner of his very own race horse, prepared his prized beast for the young stallion's first race.

"Zangetsu… you shipped well for your first time boy. Your hair is a bit rough from sweat but nothing a good soaping won't help. I was worried about you boy…" Ichigo smiled softly as he finished the braid which held most of the main against Zangetsu's neck till his shoulder where it fell fully. The horse was around 16.5 hands tall, perfect for a Thoroughbred though compared to some of the colts his age, he was tall. Ichigo knew he would be around 17 hands total which put him on the upper side of the scale yet Ichigo wouldn't have it any other way. The reason he was so tall was the breeding that Ichigo's mentor, the original Zangetsu, had painstakingly done. When Zangetsu Sr. had helped Ichigo, a mere apprentice at the time, birth the great colt he had told Ichigo the horse was his to raise. A year later, the man had died prompting Ichigo to name his first horse after his lost mentor.

Now, at three years old, he was training for the Triple Crown races. They had traveled to Kentucky from New York where they had won the Wood Memorial Stakes which clinched their chances for the Kentucky Derby. Giving the horse a final pat, he turned away only to jump back at the sight of a black clad figure standing directly behind him.

"Tensa! Shit, don't sneak up on me, what did I say about that?" Ichigo clutched his chest, a scowl forming on his previously relaxed face. "We have a problem Ichigo…" The boy flipped off his hood revealing medium length black hair and piercing blue eyes. "What's up?" He motioned for Tensa to leave the stall and together, they locked up while Tensa spoke in a soft even voice, reaching over the half door to stroke the colt's nose when it was thrust towards him. "One of our sponsors backed out…again."

Ichigo frowned, running a hand through short-ish bright orange hair. "Same as last time?" he growled. At Tensa's nod, Ichigo slammed his fist into the wooden wall causing Zangetsu to snort and stamp his foot. "Dammit! Why don't they just leave us alone!" At the incredulous look in those blue eyes, Ichigo answered his own question. "Because the Gotei 13 know we have the better horse compared to the ones they own at their Soul Society Stables and we turned them down when they asked us to join them because we actually respect our horses instead of treat them like machines." The teen nodded and Ichigo growled knowing they were screwed if they didn't find funding. They had given every cent they had to getting into the Kentucky Derby and if they won, they would have nothing to go to the Preakness with!

"Come on Ichigo, we'll convene with the others when they get here tomorrow and talk this out. If anything…we could always sell some of dad's older horses. They may not be in top shape but their racing record and breeding will fetch at least 5,000 in a claims race." Ichigo shook his head. "No way, those horses are yours when you turn 21, I am not taking them away from you. Besides, they are the only breeding stock we have. If we sell them then we have no way of producing more colts and fillies to race. At least if Zangetsu wins two of the three races, people will be pouring in to breed with him."

Tensa nodded, giving Zangetsu a final pat before walking away, Ichigo following. The barn was pitch black, the only sounds were that of horses moving restlessly around their stalls. Ichigo walked the 17 year old boy to the pitch black motorcycle he had ridden over to the stable. "Ride safe Tensa, I need you back here at 7:30 for workouts. Drink lots of water and take a nice bath to relax your muscles. You have to ride with everything you have in the derby."

The short teen was his only jockey, the only person who could ride that amazing stallion besides himself. Once the boy had ridden off, Ichigo headed towards his own car, a deep black Ford F150 with bright orange lettering that read 'Karakura Town Stables', and pulled out of the parking lot. He didn't know what he was supposed to do about the sponsors but until everyone was gathered the next morning, there was really nothing he could do.


Line Break


Ichigo tightened the girth and checked the bit-less bridle. Zangetsu's hair was tied in a net like style over his neck so Ichigo could trim the bottom easily. Each hoof was checked and rechecked for cracks as well as to make sure the shoes stayed in place. Taking a final brush over the four white socks on his legs, he turned to Tensa who was dressed in a black button up and bright white riding pants.

"Alright, mount up and take him through his paces to get him warmed up. When you think he's ready I want you to breeze the quarter and then turn him up at the half. After that, work him as you feel, I don't want you to bring him back unless you feel something wrong or he is sweating. Last thing I need is him over strung right now." Tensa nodded silently and with a boost from Ichigo, he walked the horse out onto the long dirt track.

The orange haired man leaned against the outer railing where the rest of the crew stood. From right, down he ticked off those who had showed up. Chad Yasutora, his friend and groom whom he had known for years, Orihime Inoue, another friend and his PR girl (she made sure all the fan mail and paparazzi were given statements and taken care of), Ishida Uryuu, his financial manager and silk designer who came up with their team colors and slogans and Shiro Hisaki, the freaky albino who kept all the bad news away but also dealt with the shipping of the horses and had been Ichigo's friend since he first arrived at his Mentor's stable where the silver haired boy volunteered.

All of them were wearing matching black and orange jackets with their names on the front and the stable name embroidered on the back. He turned his chocolate orbs back to Zangetsu who was fighting the reins as Tensa forced him to go through a trot to a canter then a loping gallop.

"He looks amazing Ichigo!" Orihime said with a bright smile, her long chestnut hair pulled into a tight pony tail. "Yeah, he traveled well thanks to Shiro." He sent the albino a thankful grin though all he got in return was a wink before the man walked away, cackling. "Yes, he does look rather nice though I feel I should mention that regardless of if we win, we barely have enough money to feed him right now, let alone think of the other two Gen Races." Uryuu pushed up his square framed glasses causing the sun to reflect on them.

"I heard…and I have no clue what to do. Even if we all get part-time jobs, we could never afford the food, board and track time. Only thing we could do is have Shiro drive in Mugetsu but I don't want to risk his leg right now; that quarter crack hasn't healed yet." Mugetsu was the large, coal black stallion that was Zangetsu's sire. "We could talk to Urahara, maybe he would let us borrow Benihime, we could split the earning 50/50." Orihime spoke up again, her large eyes watering slightly. Ichigo shook his head. "Nah, I got an email from him last night, she is with foal again so she can't be raced right now."

Everyone went silent for no one knew what to do. They didn't have the money and none of them would ask even their parents for it. They had too much pride for that.

"I think I can help you." A deep voice spoke up behind them making everyone turn to face the unknown speaker.

Okay, so I know I have to work on my Black Swan story which I promise I am working on but while I was on the plane to San Diego, I wrote this and decided to type it up. I hope you all like it!
Constructive Criticism would be lovely since I have never written a Bleach fic before and this is only my second fic ever!