"Adhara-nee-san~!" yelled Yachiru.
Adhara paused. She was the only other female in Squad Eleven, and she encouraged the lieutenant to call her big sis.
Even though Yachiru was actually ten times older than she was.
Adhara was a bit of an enigma to the other squads. While she was the only girl who had managed to get Zaraki's attention (thereby securing a spot in Squad eleven, to her delight) she was also one of the rare soul reapers who didn't bother fighting with her sword.
She could use her shikai, yes, but she almost never used it while fighting hollows with her captain.
When questioned about that by Yumechika, she would shrug and say that her sword's power wasn't useful fighting hollows.
Besides, since she could crack a hollow's mask with only her fists, she was ranked as the fourth strongest member in Squad Eleven. No easy feat for a female.
Then again, they had mistaken her for a boy for the first two months. If Ikkaku hadn't accidentally knocked her into the small pond in the barracks, they would most likely still think she was a boy.
"What's up, little sis?" grinned Adhara.
Adhara had spiky short raven black hair (she had never been to a barber once) with a cheerful grin. Her rather bright emerald and gold eyes were not hidden by her glasses. She wore the shihakusho casually with her only concession to being a female being the necklace Yumechika had given her after she helped him prank Ikkaku.
Well, that and an intricate chain that she always wore as a good luck charm.
"Can we go get some sweets?" begged Yachiru.
"Fine, but don't go overboard. Unohana-taicho said she would have my head if I let you overindulge yourself with sweets again."
"Awww... Hey, did you hear? They're looking for someone to post in Karakura town for the next twenty years!"
"What happened to the afro idiot?" she asked bored.
"Apparently he wasn't getting to the scene in time to prevent the living from being hurt. They're reassigning him to another district!"
"A post in the world of the living...sounds like fun!"
"I thought you would say that. That's why Ken-chan recommended you!"
Adhara paused in surprise.
"Kenpachi-taicho recommended me for the post?"
"He said you were starting to get really bored keeping the men in line when it comes to the girls, and that this would be a great way to improve your standing with the other squads!"
"Hold up. Why would Kenpachi Zaraki care about my standing in the other squads so long as I keep my position in his?" asked Adhara.
"Because you've somehow managed to improve our squad's reputation!"
"This should be interesting..." grinned Adhara.
"Fourth Seat Adhara. You are hereby assigned to the world of the living, in the district of Karakura town. Your probationary period will last no less than twenty years. Should you prove sufficient in keeping the hollow population under control, you will be permanently assigned to Karakura until further notice," said Kiyone.
"Sounds like fun. Anything else I should be warned about?"
"The hollow count in Karakura is higher than any other district in Japan, so watch out. You are expected to report to your captain once a week at the very least. You'll be carrying a soul pager, but any other items will be on your paycheck."
"Great... which means I have to pay for everything except a cheap soul pager..." said Adhara.
"Not quite... There are a selection of approved pagers that you can look through."
That brightened her mood a bit.
Tatsuki was bored out of her mind. Her double life had finally come back to haunt her. Since she was now stationed in her own town, she no longer needed to rely on her special time turner to keep her other side a secret.
What her classmates didn't realize was that they had a soul reaper/witch working with them for the past eight years. And she had been a witch since she was seven.
She resisted the urge to sigh. While her time turner helped her keep from revealing her rather late nights, it didn't really help her dilemma.
As Tatsuki, she was one of the strongest magical girls to come out of Karakura's exclusive magical academy. Her specialty revolved around wandless magic and channeling her powers through her fists rather than the normal focus. Though she did have a wand at home, she didn't like using it.
The thing was too flimsy to be of any real use.
As Adhara, she was the only female aside from Yachiru who could survive the male dominated environment that was squad eleven. And that was only because she had found a way to channel kido into her fists, which meant she didn't need to use her sword all the time.
Because of her tendency to solve her disagreements with her squad through beating the crap out of them, she had been given the fourth seat. It helped to cut down on her fights inside her own squad.
It was only because her time turner went back one week at a time that she had managed to keep her double life a secret.
One week she was Tatsuki, martial arts black belt and protector of Orihime. With a flip of her time turner, she became Adhara, the protector of the female Shinigami and dispenser of pain to lecherous soul reapers.
It didn't hurt that Adhara wore glasses and she didn't.
"Hey Tatsuki, want to go hang out later?" asked Orihime.
Orihime Inoue was her best friend, but her sense of taste was completely out of whack. Tatsuki had vowed a long time ago to never eat anything of Orihime's without someone else (namely Ichigo since he was twice as wary of eating the girl's concoctions) trying and approving of it first.
Tatsuki was about to reply when she heard her pager go off. Only Ichigo seemed to hear it...then again he was the cause of the large number of Hollows appearing in town to begin with.
"I can't. I have to go to cram school later," said Tatsuki.
Which, while true, was not the complete story. Tatsuki was only able to maintain her double identity because her cram school (classes at the magical academy) doubled as a school for kido. It was because of the school that she had been able to become a soul reaper in the first place.
Orihime looked disappointed, until Tatsuki told her they could hang out tomorrow. She could use her time turner to keep that promise.
Adhara responded promptly to the summons, and killed the hollow before it could properly damage anything. She didn't realize someone was behind her until afterwords.
It was Uryu Ishida, one of the rare people in her class who could see ghosts properly. She didn't know why his spirit control was so good, but she knew he was trouble.
It was a very good thing she only resembled Tatsuki at the moment, otherwise it would cause uncomfortable questions she didn't want asked.
"How about a challenge, Soul Reaper?" he asked coolly.
"Not a chance."
He seemed surprised by that.
"Why not? Afraid to take on a Quincy?" he shifted his glasses again.
"It would be my ass on the line when a Menos is summoned because of that orange haired idiot's spiritual pressure. I would rather not fill out the paperwork from that mess..." she growled.
Uryu clearly caught the hinted fact that Kurosaki had zero control over his large amount of spiritual pressure. He was also surprised that the soul reaper (who he didn't recognize in the dark night, thankfully) hadn't done something about it.
"It's not my problem how the idiot deals with his powers, but I'm the one currently in charge of the town. And if you think for a second I'm going to risk my probationary spot in the world of the living for some stupid contest, then I'll have to deal with you the same way I deal with the idiots in my squad..." warned Adhara.
Uryu took a step back. He sensed something about the female soul reaper (though how he knew it was a girl was a miracle, considering her hair was so short) that warned him of impending violence.
He was almost tempted to crush the hollow bait just to annoy her...or force her to fight against him.
Until he saw her eyes gleaming in the moonlight. They were emerald with streaks of gold that made them glow, hidden behind sensible glasses.
Out of all the opponents he had faced over the years, hollows, his father... this girl terrified him in ways he couldn't imagine.
Adhara watched Uryu make a run for it, clearly intimidated by her spiritual pressure. It was leaking her clear intent to kick his ass if he tried anything.
It was a good thing she wore contacts to school. Her eyes were so noticeable he would have figured it out pretty quick.
"I hate May."
"Why?" asked Ichigo.
"Spring cleaning. It's a total pain in the ass!" said Tatsuki.
In more ways than one. Unohana had suggested a few years ago when Squad eleven finally had a second female member (other than Yachiru, who didn't count because she was so young) that the squads cleaned out their barracks by themselves.
Apparently one of the squad four members had heard about spring cleaning from the world of the living. He was now in hiding from the various soul reapers who were now forced to throw away random trash they had accumulated over the centuries.
Since Adhara was the only female with any idea of how to clean properly, she had enforced the new suggestion with a steel fist.
"If I have to suffer through this crap, you have to suffer," were the by now infamous words.
Unohana didn't seem to mind the rather large increase in bruises, bloody noses and broken bones caused by Adhara's actions.
As a result, the weaker members learned to clean their barracks without making a complaint. It was the only reason they were even alive.
"I don't think spring cleaning is that bad..." said Ichigo.
"I have to help my...classmates...clean out the rooms. Students at the cram school I go to have to clean out the dorms, whether they live there or not."
Which was partially true. The students at the magical academy did clean out the school every May. They just volunteered for it for extra credit. (On the plus side, they were permitted to use magic, provided they didn't destroy anything in the process.)
Tatsuki went straight home from school. She had cleaned her room a week early to avoid doing it in May.
"Welcome home dear. How was school?"
"Boring, as usual."
"I'll have to dispense a serious amount of pain to get those lazy bums to clean. It'll be great stress relief," said Tatsuki smirking.
Her parents not only knew about the fact that their daughter was a soul reaper, they encouraged her. Even though she wasn't their own flesh and blood.
(Confused? Let me give you a proper back story...)
A couple on vacation were traveling through Surrey when they found a small girl abandoned on a cold doorstep with little more than a thin blanket to keep the cold away.
Being kind people, they took her in and later adopted her as their own, naming her Tatsuki.
Five years after adopting the child, they were delivered a double shock.
Not only was the girl a natural magic user...she was also quite dead. She had died the same night they had found her, only a few hours earlier.
Thanks to spurts of accidental magic through the years, Tatsuki had remained corporeal enough to fool even the soul society. Two years after she began her studies in magic, she was given a rare treat for bizarre cases like hers (apparently this had happened before, and more than once).
They sent her to the soul society to become a soul reaper. In order to protect her identity in the world of the living, the child was given two things.
One was a rare and powerful version of the time turners that the English used. It had the power to reverse time for one week increments.
The other was a new name that she would only use in the soul society. She choose Adhara, after looking up the constellations in the sky.
Adhara paused when she felt the wave of power hit her. Then her phone rang.
"I'm soooo sorry, Adhara-san! There was a mix up in the paperwork and Kuchiki Rukia was sent to Karakura town by mistake! Could you find and alert her to the problem?"
Adhara felt a sense of foreboding.
A mix up in paperwork. A wave of unexplainable power that comes from the direction of Ichigo's house. And the second hollow which she had been trying to find for the last two hours was suddenly gone completely.
"I'll tell her..."
She had a sneaking suspicion that Rukia had run afoul of a hollow and had given Ichigo her powers to save their lives.
Which meant her days just got infinitely more complicated.
The Next Morning...
Tatsuki heard the excuse of a truck hitting the Kurosaki home, and knew it was the work of Rukia. Having her suspicions confirmed when the announcement of a sudden transfer student didn't improve her mood either.
At least she got some entertainment from watching the noble girl beating up Ichigo.
Though she actually couldn't wait to see the look on Rukia's face when she told her there had been a paperwork mix up.
"Hey, your name was Rukia, right?" asked Tatsuki, trying to keep a straight face.
Rukia nodded. She was still getting used to the gigai she was in.
"I have a message from Kiyone in 13. Did you know there had been a paperwork mix up?" said Tatsuki.
They were completely alone in the hallway, and there wasn't anyone nearby below.
Rukia's face was a mixture of shock, horror and disbelief. Tatsuki took a picture of the noble girl having a poleaxed look on her face.
"You... You know who I am?" she finally asked.
Tatsuki's grin did not inspire confidence.
"Squad Eleven, seat Four. I won't tell anyone about your little...mishap and illegal transfer if you keep your mouth shut about the fact that I lead a double life in the world of the living. Deal?"
Rukia nodded. The last thing she wanted was for Ichigo to be killed so soon after gaining his powers.
"How have you managed to keep it a secret for so long?" she asked.
Tatsuki smirked, and put on her glasses. That was when Rukia finally recognized her.
"Fourth seat Adhara?"
"Now you see how I managed to keep up a double life. I've found that if magic is present in the air, souls become visible. And it turns out that I happen to be a magical girl, so I can pretend to still be alive when I'm not."
"How...how old were you when you died?"
"Exactly eighteen months, apparently. My mother and father found me on a doorstep with only a thin blanket and adopted me a week later. I didn't find out I was dead until I was six, and went into the academy a year later."
Rukia had heard the tale of the now infamous Adhara of Squad Eleven.
The youngest person ever to be accepted into the Academy, she made a name for herself by beating the hell out of the other soul reapers without her sword.
It took her four years to graduated, and she was immediately accepted into Squad Eleven.
Zaraki had caught her beating the crap out of ten of his men, and had been suitably impressed she had beaten them all without her sword.
A year later she was appointed the fourth seat, and had been there ever since.
"Are you going to tell Ichigo?"
"No. I have been living a double life for so long that someone finding out about my secret terrifies me."
Rukia could acknowledge that.
Adhara approached Lord Kuchiki. She didn't like doing this, but she had been attending his calligraphy class for years, and she was quite possibly the only person outside his clan he could tolerate for more than twenty minutes without being forced.
Despite her reputation for being the most violent girl in the Gotei 13, Byakuya had caught her a few times reading old books quietly, ignoring insults that would normally have someone walking away with broken bones or a black eye.
When he had finally asked why she had been so quiet and calm, she had shocked him by admitting she was only that violent so her squad would respect her and leave her alone.
Byakuya looked up when she approached. She bowed respectfully and told him point blank...
"Your sister was the victim of a paperwork mix up, and was gravely injured. She's currently hiding in the world of the living until her powers get back up to a level where she can return."
His eyebrows shot up.
"Thank you for informing me."
She bowed again, and left.