This War's not Over

Ichigo stood in shock in front of Aizen as the betrayer began to speak to him. The young teen couldn't stop himself from shaking. Don't listen, he told himself. Aizen was only going to tell him lies to make Ichigo lose his only advantage.

Why did I listen?

"Because you are a human and a—"

"Goooooooood Mooooorning Ichigooooooo!"


Ishin went abruptly silent as his face connected with Ichigo's foot. The orange haired teen sighed, his teeth gritted with silent anger.

"Why are you still doing this, goat face?"

His hands made a grab for his uniform, not bothering to spare his father another glance.

"Ichigo, let's go," Rukia said, hopping over Ishin.

It had been a month since he'd regained his soul reaper powers again since his battle with Aizen. He carried out his soul reaper duties like he always did, just like the good old days. It's good, like this.

While Rukia jumped out the window, he raced down the stairs, grabbed a toast and ignored his younger sister's cries to come back and properly have breakfast.

Ichigo walked out onto the pavement, absentmindedly watching the cars as they rolled back and forth on the driveway. The weather was welcomed and the sun felt good as it shined over the teen's head. He then noticed Rukia's petite form running up to him, her stray bangs bobbing up and down as she did so. Then they walked quietly side by side like they always did, in silence, as they made their way to school. It's nice to spend time like this. But fate loved to toy with Ichigo. These moments never lasted.

"Hollow! Hollow! Hollow!" his badge screamed.

Without hesitation, he pressed the badge to his chest and let his soul rip free from his body. Rukia immediately joined him by leaving her gigai, leaving Chappy to take care of Ichigo's body. As they leapt through the air, Ichigo couldn't shake this uneasy feeling he was having. He knew he was no good at sensing reiatsu but—something was definitely wrong.

"Rukia…Don't you sense anything…odd?" Ichigo asked.

Rukia frowned. "No. Why?"

"It's nothing," Ichigo replied hastily, shaking his head to clear it.

Ichigo and Rukia continued to spring with ease after that onto the rooftops, Ichigo trying to hone his weak senses on the hollow. But there was no need for it in the first place. It was already shrieking for all it was worth. Ichigo landed lightly on the cool green grass, which was rippling from the breeze that was passing over Ichigo's head. He almost stopped to relax and enjoy the welcome freshness, when the hollow's roar snapped him back to reality.

He took it down easily, cleaving its head in half before it disintegrated, disappearing from view. See? There's nothing to worry about.

"All of that's about to change!"

Ichigo froze. The voice. It was talking to him again. His inner hollow. He'd recognize the warbled voice anywhere. Ichigo hadn't heard it in ages since he'd lost his powers. He'd even started to wonder if it would ever return.

"Looks like Kingy's shitting bricks. Thought you were rid of me?"

Ichigo snarled. He hadn't forgotten how the hollow had relentlessly tried to take over his body.

"If you're here to take over my body, then you can forget it," Ichigo replied, his voice filled with hostility.

Ichigo could hear Rukia's distant voice. "Ichigo, what's wrong?"

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that. Why don't you look up at the pretty sky?" Ichigo could practically see its insane smile.

Ichigo felt the hollow's influence recede, so he stood up, his strength returning to him. His brows knitted together in confusion. Why hadn't his hollow tried to cease control?

"Ichigo!" Rukia repeated in frustration.

The teen's attention whipped back to the raven-haired girl. He blinked.

"Sorry, just… thinking about something."

That was when Ichigo dared to look up. And almost immediately, immense reiatsu began to flood over the bewildered duo as the Senkaimon opened up above them in the cloudy sky. Ichigo felt his heart leap into his mouth. He recognized that reiatsu. The same reiatsu that made him tremble in fear. The owner in which could make Ichigo doubt himself to the extent that he would stop fighting. Ichigo eyes were as wide as his mouth. He took a step back, his chocolate orbs wide with dismay. This can't be happening.


There was just no mistaking it. But how did the traitor escape from his prison? Everything was there. The brown hair, the cruel and calm eyes along with his sardonic smile—and the Hogyoku—in the middle of his chest.

As soon as Ichigo laid his eyes on the powerful object, he felt this sickly feeling he had never felt before. Ichigo's head began to throb with pain. His nails dug into his orange locks and he winced in pain. What was this?

"Ichigo?" Rukia turned her violet gaze towards him. She seemed to be slowly recovering from her own shock.

She blinked her relief as Ichigo seemed to be recovering from his pain.

"I don't know what's going on with you, Ichigo, but get it in gear. If this is really Aizen…then we have to be on our guards!" she murmured, readying her zanpakuto.

Ichigo knew that Rukia recognized the hopelessness of the situation. Ichigo didn't know how the hell Aizen had gotten out of prison, but Soul Society should hopefully be on his heels. And with Aizen's monstrous reiatsu, the Subsitute team would probably be making there way to the scene too. But Ichigo wasn't sure how long he could hold until they made it. Sure, Ichigo used to be as strong as Aizen. But now, even if Ichigo had regained his previous powers, Aizen's strength only seemed to have sky-rocketed since there last battle. Is it—is it the Hogyoku?

Ichigo was still puzzled by his feverish reaction at the sight of the Hogyoku. What was wrong with him?

"Well?" Aizen's voice threw him out of his thoughts. "Aren't you going to attack me? Kurosaki Ichigo?"

There was no time for thinking now. If Ichigo was going to stop Aizen, it was here and now.


Aizen smiled. "Good. Let's finish what we started."

But it wasn't Aizen's comment that made Ichigo freeze.

"Watch out. If he touches you, it's all over."