A/N: Something that just happened to pop in my head thought I'd give it a shot. I'll continue it depending on how many people like it or if I'm too lazy. It's kinda funny that I'm practically the only one that actually thinks of stories for these two, I don't care I think its fun! :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the characters...
The Shattered Heart
He stared longingly at the sky past Ichigo. He hated his fate and most of all he couldn't help, no matter how much he didn't want to, but to hate his master for he was the cause of everything he did. Everything he did was so that he could reach his goal even if that excluded him. Despite the calmness of the scene he felt immense pain and hate, a grudge that may never disappear.
Muramasa didn't want that; he didn't want to go knowing all that he did was wasted effort. There was nothing in the end. His master made it quite clear that he was nothing but a tool, a disposable useless tool that was now broken. He felt his anger boil again and tried to fight off the urge to let go of everything but even that was useless, he wouldn't be able to sustain his existence for long and if that resulted in absorbing hollows again then the shinigami better end him now and not have to deal with him as an arrancar.
But even though he rationalized with himself about the harsh facts he couldn't help but cling to whatever was left of his life and thus his eyes went over to stare at the girl who had healed him before. He dared not to speak but he reached out to her, her reaction was almost instant; before anyone could utter a word she brought out her Shun Shun Rikka and reversed the effects of the fight, startling everyone.
"Orihime…" Rukia whispered. She understood that her friend did not wish to see anyone in pain but this was kind of pushing it. But the look in her eyes as they focused on sustaining the zanpakutou's life told her she wouldn't give up. She sighed, letting the subject go and see what the result of her actions would lead to.
Her powers seemed to work; Muramasa could feel some of his strength return. He let out a content sigh and closed his eyes feeling tired after fighting against Ichigo and keeping the hollows inside at bay. Before he lost consciousness he murmured a quiet thank you before falling asleep.
"What just happened?" Ichigo asked as Orihime took his place on supporting his head.
"It appears that she has prolonged his existence, but without a shinigami he won't last." Byakuya stated, glancing at the two with mild interest.
"Why? All he did was cause trouble for everyone; he caused all the zanpakutous to to turn against their masters, right? By all means we shouldn't let him live." Uryu said glaring at the unconscious man on Orihime's lap. Everyone else seemed to agree with Quincy but Ichigo was quick to defend.
"Now wait a minute, he was only doing that to bring back his master. I know his actions weren't the best but at the very least he was only as a zanpakutou would for its master." Everyone remained silent, pondering his words on what to think of the situation.
The zanpakutous weren't all that convinced on his words seeing as they were the ones manipulated but nonetheless remained silent.
"Let us discuss this issue with the head captain; I'm sure we'll reach a conclusion then." Seeing no other way everyone agreed to Byakuya's suggestion and with Orihime's shield brought Muramasa back to Soul Society to find a solution.
Once there, all the captains plus Ichigo and Orihime stood before Genryusei Yamamoto, everyone's' zanpakutou standing next to or behind their respective master.
"I assume the mission was a success?"
"Of course." Shunsui said happily earning a whack from Katen.
"The threat to Karakura Town was of course eliminated, however; the cause of it was not." She added calmly.
"So then Muramasa is still alive."
"Do you know of his whereabouts?" He asked assuming he could still be plotting against them.
"He is currently resting at squad 4's barracks." Unohana said as though it were no problem that her squad was taking care of an enemy.
"Resting?" He raised an eyebrow clearly not pleased with the situation.
"Yes, he is far below any kind of threat and has lost most of his powers, so it's safe to say he is actually on the level of a human although with much more strength than normal."
"The reason we are here is to reach an agreement." Ichigo said as he stepped forward catching his attention.
"What sort of agreement?"
"Allow Muramasa to do as he pleases. He is no longer a threat and just as Byakuya said he doesn't have long. Without a shinigami a zanpakutou can't be." He glanced back at his blade resting against his back.
Yamamoto thought about it, going over every detail of the report. For a moment Ukitake and Shunsui actually thought he fell asleep only to be proved wrong when he gave his answer.
"Fine, we will leave him be, however, he has no place here. Take him to the human world; I'm sure you and your friends will be able to handle any trouble he might cause at his level. If that is all you wanted to discuss then leave; we have much work to do in repairing all the damages that sword has caused."
With that the meeting came to an end. Unohana happily accompanied Ichigo and Orihime to her squad to see if Muramasa's condition was well enough to leave.
As they entered one room they found him sitting at the edge of the bed staring down at the floor, a plate of untouched food sitting on a table next to the bed. He glanced up at the people that have entered and frowned. He assumed his punishment for all that he'd done was either execution or imprisonment; whatever the outcome it was bound to be unpleasant. And should he be correct on his assumptions he would simply leave and continue on his path of solitude for as long as possible.
"Muramasa-san you are free to go." Unohana announced happily gesturing to the two beside her. "These two will escort you to the world of the living. Captain Yamamoto has exiled you from Soul Society I'm afraid, so it may be best you stay with them."
Such news weren't surprising but he couldn't help but flinch at the fact. Even so he remained silent for a moment, standing and placing his hands in his pockets.
"And where am I to go once in the human world?" He asked looking at Ichigo; he didn't quite want to stay with him for the remainder of his time.
"Due to your condition I find it best for you to remain with Miss Inoue. I assume that won't be a problem?" She asked looking at the two to see if they would object.
"Oh no, that's perfectly fine with me. It would actually be nice to have someone to talk to." Orihime said rubbing the back of her head nervously. "Um, that is if that's ok with you Muramasa-san." She added looking back at him curiously.
He thought about it. To say the least about this girl she was interesting. First she healed him despite the fact that they were clearly enemies and now she was offering him a place to stay, but even so he wouldn't mind having a conversation with her at all.
"Thank you." He bowed slightly in respect.
"Oh, it's no trouble. Please don't mind it." She said waving her arms slightly.
With that they soon departed back into the human world. It was night at the time and since there was school the next day, Ichigo and Orihime thought it best to call it a night. As soon as Ichigo was no longer within sight Muramasa decided to ask Orihime a question.
"Why did you decide to prolong my existence, girl? You are not a shinigami, thus you had no involvement in Soul Society's battle, so why did you help me?" He asked not even bothering to remove his eyes from what was ahead of them.
"Well, it didn't seem like you wanted to go just yet. I mean, you reached out for someone; I might have read your actions wrong but that's what it seemed like to me. And the look in your eyes…" She trailed off, trying to find the words that would accurately describe what she saw.
They soon arrived at her apartment, Toshiro and Rangiku won't be back for a while because of all the work that was piling up at Soul Society so that allowed them to talk in peace, without any interruptions.
Orihime had took some time to prepare some tea and sat with Muramasa as soon as it was done. She offered him a cup but he didn't show any interest in it; he was waiting for her to finish explaining her actions or the cause of them.
"Your eyes were a mix of hate, sorrow, and longing." She said looking at her cup. "Am I correct?" She asked.
Muramasa's eyes widened slightly, she was right but he was afraid that if he explained why he would feel that way then it might just be a confirmation of being a hollow of any sort. He removed his gaze from her to the liquid in his cup. His hatred for being betrayed and stabbed by the one whom he trusted and cared for the most. All that he held, whether it be admiration, pride, anything that had strengthened his bond with Kouga, was warped and twisted into rage and hate. His sorrow stemmed from the realization that he was deaf to his master's voice and could do nothing to aid him and even when he was reunited with Kouga, he was falsely accused of being a traitor. And from what he witnessed from his battle with Kurosaki alongside his own zanpakutou, he longed to return to the days where he was the one who supported his own partner, fighting for their own goals, but no matter what he wanted nothing could reverse time, not even this girl's power.
"Muramasa-san?" Her voice brought him back to reality. "Are you ok?" He shook his head.
"What you said was true. A zanpakutou's meaning is to help our masters in achieving their goals. We are, in a way, a mirror image of their soul. We exist only to help them grow stronger, however; if he or she's heart corrupted by darkness then we will no longer be able to hear their voice." He suddenly felt a hand touch his own making him snap his head at her in surprise. He never noticed that he was gripping the tea cup so hard that if he added a little more pressure it would no doubt shatter. He didn't even recall himself reaching for it.
"So, is that what happened to you?" She asked uncertain if she should ask. He lowered his head slightly and whispered a small "Yes.".
"I see, so you lost someone important too." That seemed to catch his attention.
"You see, I've lost someone too, when I was younger." She smiled but it was only used to hide her own sorrow.
"I said something mean that day before he left for work and then…" She stopped, not trusting herself to continue lest she start crying which was something she really didn't want to do.
She really did surprise him, here she was with a complete stranger and yet she was sharing something quite personal with him. He found he couldn't help but feel accepted by her. She didn't seem to judge him on his actions or hold anything against him, at the very least someone understood him and that was enough.
"You don't have to continue, I understand." He would rather not have her cry and it was getting late; if she stayed up she would be late for school and he assumed that would not be a good thing.
"You should probably get some rest now. Your friends might worry if they find you are not there tomorrow."
She couldn't deny that she was tired but she felt that she couldn't just leave him alone to think of the past. Besides she found that talking to him relieved her of some stress and maybe if she could get him to talk some more he would feel better too.
"Actually, if you don't mind, I was hoping we could talk more." She smiled softly and even as he uncomfortable he decided to humor the girl. He sighed and leaned forward a bit, placing his elbows on the table to rest his chin on the back of his hands.
"What would you like to talk about then?" He asked closing his eyes as if content.
"Umm… I don't know."
Great, here she was refusing some much needed rest and making him talk when she didn't even have a topic in which to have a conversation about. Without opening his eyes he asked her a question just to start her off.
"Earlier when I became a hollow, why did you approach me when it was obviously dangerous?"
"Because I could tell you were in pain." She stated simply as if it were nothing.
"And what told you I was in pain?" Now it sounded as though he were interrogating her for a crime.
"My heart." Simple as that and for a moment he thought she was playing with him when in fact she was not.
She nodded looking as though nothing was wrong with her answer. Yet he could not seem to grasp it entirely. He knew the heart was another way of speaking of emotion, somewhat like instinct but that was an impulse. Yes he knew that the mind was all about rationality and logical thinking while the heart dealt with emotions. Unfortunately what he knew of that was based on Kouga's relationship with his wife that was severed when he had succumbed in to his own humiliation and rage.
He shook his head, feeling slightly frustrated. This girl was puzzling him and he felt that this 'talk' had gone on long enough. He stood and faced away from her, not allowing her to continue. "You really should get some rest." Orihime quickly took the hint that he did not want to talk anymore but she couldn't find out why. After taking the two cups and washing them she said a quick 'goodnight' and disappeared into her room, leaving Muramasa to sort out his own thoughts.
Yes now he knew her cause of helping him but now he wanted to find out what a heart was. Clearly his master didn't seem to have a genuine heart if he was blind to the pain he caused others. He left his wife in his own pursuit of power and destroyed innocent lives that had nothing to do with him he but couldn't care less as long as they would regret ever turning their blade against him.
Muramasa didn't see any reason why he should bother with this silly curiosity; it's not like it would actually help him in any way and certainly it can't heal what has been done. The heart did not possess the power to change his path now did it?
But even so he found that it was something worth knowing fully. Perhaps it would ease the hollowness he still felt. Tomorrow he would like to continue their conversation after her business with school. For now he was content on being by himself under the moon's glow that entered through the window.
The next day Orihime woke up late, a result from staying up later than was necessary but it didn't seem to bother her all that much. She made break fast, ate quickly and was soon out the door. Muramasa watched silently through all the noise she caused just by getting up and found it oddly amusing. But now he was left on his own and since there wasn't much to her home, aside from the picture of her brother that had caught his attention momentarily, he was bored. He could sleep but he did not feel a need to, he thought he should just wait for her to return but when you're bored time tends to torture you into thinking it'll take a century.
He lasted an hour before he decided to just leave and find something to do; a walk was more pleasurable than boredom and since he was a zanpakutou being no one else would be able to see him. Satisfied with that he walked out the door and made his way down a random path. He remembered being here before, but it has been quite a while since he last visited not counting Kouga's sealing location. Although he did find a few things interesting such as the transportation people used to get to places that would normally take them quite a while to get to. The stores also caught his attention as well but he didn't have enough curiosity to actually go see what was inside. He seemed to enjoy the breeze of the wind as he continued walking.
He wasn't sure how far he had ventured or very certain how long, but soon he felt fatigued and would need to be healed lest he disappear. He came upon a much larger building and from it he could feel Ichigo's and Orihime's reiatsu from within. He felt relief at being able to find their location but it didn't mean he was happy about it. He needed to accept his fate.
Even so he entered the school building and aimlessly roamed around, looking at whatever seemed interesting; anything to distract him from the dull ache in his chest that would occasionally grow.
As he came near a classroom the bell rang signaling the time for lunch. Slightly alarmed by the sound he stood still as some of the doors opened where some students came out to enjoy their lunch period. Among them was Tatsuki who was talking with Ichigo until he noticed Muramasa's presence that was clearly not hard to miss considering he was taller than most of the students that casually went past him.
"What are you doing here?" He asked clearly shocked to see him around here.
Tatsuki looked over to where Ichigo was looking and quickly found the person that was out of place among the walking students.
"Is that a friend of yours Ichigo?" She asked.
"You could say that. Wait, you can see him too?"
Ignoring his question Muramasa approached them as if nothing was wrong with his presence. "Where is the girl?" He asked glancing around to see if he could actually find her despite the crowd.
Ichigo continued to harass him with pointless questions and it was beginning to annoy him. He glanced over to Tatsuki and repeated the question.
"You there, do you know where I can find Miss Inoue?" He asked politely.
Unsure of this new guy she dodged his question with one of her own. "And what does someone like you need with Orihime?" She glared at him; she didn't know what his business was with her friend and didn't want to take any chances.
"I simply need her help." He could feel the tickling of a cough at the back of his throat but tried to suppress it as best he could.
Now knowing why he had came in the first place Ichigo quickly tried to help in finding their friend who had left a little before them.
A/N: This was originally just going to be a one shot but well things change. It's not even that long but laziness seeps in~