Soul of the Blade

#With time, the ages pass; a shooting star passes without a sound#

Ichigo wasn't in the greatest of moods. He had to wake up earlier than usual, just to go somewhere with Suì-Fēng. And she wouldn't say where she was taking him. He had to lie to his family that he had to meet someone earlier today and had to leave before breakfast, that was another thing, Yuzu always made a great breakfast. He would have to get something to eat on the way instead.

He and Suì-Fēng were dressed in their school uniforms, she said that it might take a while and that they could be late for the first few classes. Of course, Ichigo was already thinking what would happen because of that, maybe the teacher would call his dad to ask about Ichigo?

Hopefully not, that would be a mess.

He was pulled from his thoughts by Suì-Fēng.

"We're here."

"Urahara shop..." he read the sign, the shop itself stood out greatly, surrounded by tall buildings. Ichigo already guessed that it was a home of some lunatic who liked traditional Japanese stuff.

There were two kids in front, one of them sweeping and the other playing around. When they saw Suì-Fēng the girl bowed and the boy opened the door quickly. Ichigo smirked, Suì-Fēng must have made quite an impression on the kid before, since he was trying to get out of her way quickly.

"Jinta-kun, it's still too early to open... ah, Suì-Fēng-san, you have arrived, I'll go wake up the manager."

The tall man with glasses was wearing what seemed to be a store uniform with an apron over it. He had a rough appearance but seemed like the calm type. Behind him another man emerged, wearing all green with blonde hair covered by a striped bucket hat, he sure seemed like the slightly crazy type Ichigo was expecting.

The blonde yawned and dropped into his geta clogs.

'He's wearing geta? Definitely the crazy type...'

Ichigo kept his face straight but he noticed that Suì-Fēng was showing a lot of hate towards the man, and considering her control he must have done something really bad to piss her off this much. He decided to be a bit more careful around the guy from now on.

"Suì-Fēng-san, what a pleasant surprise, what can I do for you?" He walked a bit closer and pulled a fan out of his coat, covering more of his face.

"I need a gikongan, 4 bottles of Soma fixers and one D-rank fuel rod." Suì-Fēng was obviously rushing through her 'shopping list', Ichigo attributed her eagerness to her fear of hurting the man if she stayed here any longer.

"We just got a new shipment recently, we have all that ready, I assume you need the gikongan for Kurosaki-san?" The green-clad man said, briefly looking in Ichigos direction.

Ichigo had decided before that he would wait and see who he was dealing with before he said anything, but seeing how they already knew him, he threw caution to the wind.

"You know my name, but I have no idea who the hell you are." He crossed his arms in front of him to make a point.

"Ah, my apologies, my name is Urahara Kisuke, I am the owner of this poor candy store. This is my assistant Tsukabishi Tessai, and these two are Jinta Hanakari and Ururu Tsumugiya." Uraharas smile was a happy one, but on him it just looked plain creepy. Tessai, Ururu and Jinta all bowed slightly.

"I'm Kurosaki Ichigo." He left it at that, he had a sinking feeling that this Urahara knew a lot about him, he eyed him carefully.

Urahara snapped his fan shut, noticing how Ichigo was careful around him.

"Now, Tessai-san, I would like you to get one standard gikongan and instruct Kurosaki-san in it's use, after that prepare the rest of the supplies Suì-Fēng-san requested." He turned towards Suì-Fēng, "I would like to talk to you briefly in one of the back rooms, if you don't mind of course."

She narrowed her eyes,

"About what?" her annoyance could clearly be heard, Urahara turned serious.

"About that condition you set..." He turned and Suì-Fēng followed after him, not saying a word.

Tessai bowed again,

"Kurosaki-dono, if you will follow after me."

Ichigo had no choice but to follow, he glanced at the closing door that just hid Suì-Fēng in one of the back rooms.

Tessai left Ichigo in a room alone for a few minutes to get the package. When he returned he returned with something that looked a lot like a candy dispenser on a tray with two cups of steaming tea.

Ichigo accepted the tea with a simple 'thanks' and eyed the candy dispenser. Tessai took a seat across from him.

"I assume Suì-Fēng-san has used the glove we gave her on you?" He waited for Ichigo who simply nodded in response.

"Good, that means you already have a somewhat clear picture of a relationship between a body and a soul." Ichigo nodded again.

"Now..." He took the candy dispenser and pooped a single candy out from it. "...this is a gikongan, it is an artificial soul that is used by Shinigami. Once it is swallowed the soul inside this candy will take over the body and push out the original soul. Making you able to fight Hollows without the risk of your body ending up in a morgue, or in the worst case, underground."

Ichigo paled, he didn't think of that, once his soul leaves the body, he is clinically dead, and if someone finds him, they would report it. That is not something that would be easy to explain to people.

He swallowed hard and nodded to Tessai to continue.

"The gikon is a simple soul and is mass-produced, so it comes only with some basic instructions already memorized, you will need to program it to follow your instructions in order to avoid raising suspicion." Tessai put the gikongan on the table between them. Ichigo took that as a sign to try it out.

After eyeing it for a few seconds he popped it in his mouth. He immediately felt the strange feeling he always felt when Suì-Fēng would use that red glove on him. He looked around and saw his body twitching a bit before getting up and turning to him.

To say that he was freaked out would be a big understatement; seeing his own body moving around was creepy, but that was expected. What he didn't expect however, was that creepy smile on its own face.

"Urahara gikongan series 4 reporting for duty, sir!" Ichigo was getting even more scared by now. His own body was saluting him.

"Now, if you would both please sit down, we can begin."

Suì-Fēng was standing on the dirty ground of the training area under the store, looking bored, but on the inside she was wondering,

'How did he build this place in the middle of a city! Bastard has so many tricks up his sleeve...'

"Now, as for what we are here for..." He trailed off, pissing off Suì-Fēng even further.

"You're going to tell me everything." the tone she used was somewhere between a question and an order, he just gave her a smile.

"Oh, I must have forgotten to explain it properly, how silly of me," he shook his head from side to side, chuckling, "we are here because of your second condition."

Suì-Fēng gaped at him, this was not what she planned... the bastard got her again. Urahara walked past her and towards the ladder. While he was next to her, he pushed the tip of his cane through her making her soul fly out of her body.

"You said 'as soon as possible', this is as soon as I could have arranged it all; I'll be back in about half an hour."

She looked at him, still gaping, not being able to decide if she wanted to kill him now or later. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard someone walking behind her.

It could be only one person, the person she wanted to kill for the last 100 years, the same person that abandoned her, the same person that taught her everything and then left. The only real motherly figure she ever had in her life.

She wanted to run away, to run away and hide, after all these years of chasing after her, she wanted to run away and cry.

She felt her own reiatsu, it was minimal, she doubted that she could use her shikai effectively, she wouldn't be able to use shunpo for too long, she could fire off a few kido spells, but that was it. She was pretty much helpless... unless...

That was it, that was her only chance, she could use her trump card, probably for only a few seconds, but it was better than nothing, she had to make it count.

She was still turned around, not looking at Yoruichi, when she tried to get rid of her haori, mostly out of habit.

She wasn't wearing one, she was in her usual uniform with her back revealed.

Yoruichi was still standing there, not moving from her spot. Suì-Fēng turned around and prepared herself.

Other than her clothes, Yoruichi hasn't changed at all, she still had the same face, and the same figure.

With hands on her hips and a mixture of both happiness and sadness in her eyes, Yoruichi waited for the inevitable attack. She was expecting either Hakuda or Kido, not both at the same time.

When Urahara entered the room in which Tessai was teaching Ichigo all about artificial souls he was greeted by an amusing sight of two completely identical people in different clothes.

Both Ichigos had the same scowling look on their faces,

"Old man will often attack, whenever that happens, retaliate with enough force to stop his attack but in the worst case only bruised bones are allowed." the 'fake' Ichigo repeated.

"I see everything seems to be going well here." Urahara said, interrupting the two.

"Where's Suì-Fēng?" the real one asked.

"Oh, I left her in the back room, there are some things that she needs to deal with, no need to worry." Ichigo narrowed his eyes at that, not knowing what to do at the moment.

"There really is no need to worry, once we are finished here, we'll go and check on her together." Ichigo was less suspicious by now and decided to just go with it for now. Urahara sat down in the corner of the room and silently watched

They continued with Ichigo explaining his part-time replacement everything about his friends.

Tatsuki was described as tough, hardheaded and the best friend he could wish for. The artificial soul was to act with care around her in order to not drag her into any trouble or get beaten up.

Mizuiro was the innocent-looking womanizer who was a good friend. He was probably the most normal of the group.

Keigo was too enthusiastic and trying too hard to be 'friends', all his suggestions of friendly activities are to be shot down instantly.

Chad was Ichigos best friend and the guy who watched his back. Ichigo explained all about the promise and the base of his friendship with Chad.

Inoue was the clumsy wannabee chef who seemed really shy.

Urahara was intently listening to Ichigos explanations about locations, routines, people and everything else that was said. Tessai was listening as well, sometimes pointing out things that should be said, mostly details Ichigo overlooked.

After almost 20 minutes of Ichigo talking and the soul remembering everything it needs to, they were done. Urahara then stood up and began,

"Kurosaki-san, how much do you know about the zanpakuto?"

Ichigo was now coming down a very long ladder, above him was Tessai, and under him was Urahara. He had no idea where they were going, Urahara said that it was a training room, but he thought it would be a small room with mats on the floor and racks of wooden weapons in the wall.

Once they climbed down, he was surprised; this really was unexpected. The room was enormous, filled with rocks and had, what seemed like, a fake sky painted on it.

After letting the surprise in Ichigos eyes go away, Urahara started talking,

"Well, this is where we will be training. I hope you like it."

"Where is Suì-Fēng?" Urahara wasn't really surprised at the question, he was expecting it after all.

"She's behind there, however, I would advise against disturbing them..." Ichigo wasn't wasting much time, he almost ran to the edge of the rock that was blocking his view.

What he saw next would stay in his mind for a long time, Suì-Fēng was holding onto a woman and crying into her shoulder. They were sitting on a rock and the woman had her arms around Suì-Fēng protectively while she sobbed into her. They didn't see him despite the fact that he was close enough to hear the sobbing.

He turned and quietly left them to rejoin Urahara.

"Oh, you aren't going to ask her if she's fine?" was all he got once he got back.


"No?" Urahara was practically trying to drag the answer out of him.

"It seems personal, I don't wanna butt in."

"That's surprisingly mature of you, Kurosaki-san." Urahara had a grin on his face that he tried to hide with his fan.

"Whatever, lets just get this done." Ichigo walked past Urahara to a calm spot where he could in no way intrude on Suì-Fēng.

He had noticed himself getting more relaxed around Urahara, he attributed it to Uraharas careless and goofy attitude about everything. He still decided to keep his guard around the man.

"Now, allow me to demonstrate." Urahara lifted up his cane in his right hand, making it parallel to the ground, he then grabbed it by his left.

Ichigo looked on, he was a bit confused, he thought that he would see a sword not a cane, Urahara pulling out his sword from the cane left Ichigos mouth open.

'He had a sword on him the entire time! Shit... he definitely isn't just a crazy person...'

"See, a fairly normal blade. It's used as a regular sword too, nothing special about it... yet."

"Awaken, Benihime."

Ichigo looked on in awe at the straight blade in Uraharas hand; it was, for the lack of a better word, beautiful. It was ornamented, nothing like the bland cane sword Urahara held before. It felt powerful too.

"And this is one of the abilities it has; Call out Benihime." Urahara said as he pointed the tip of the sword towards the ground in front of his feet, a thick red shield appeared in front of the sword.

After a few seconds the shield disappeared and Urahara sheathed his sword turning it back into its original shape.

"Now that you have seen it, it's time to see what yours can do."

"What do I do?" if someone asked him he would deny it, but he thought Uraharas small demonstration was awesome and it made him a bit apprehensive, hoping that he would be able to do something like that.

"It's simple, meditate. Sit down and place your sword in your lap."

Ichigo did as asked, slightly relieved that it wouldn't be something life-threatening, he had a strange feeling that Urahara would gladly put him in a dangerous situation without a second thought..

"Calm down, clear your mind, find your heart and push it inside your blade." Uraharas voice was calm and quiet, surprisingly calming.

Urahara kept repeating the same thing while Ichigo calmed and got closer to his goal. Slowly Uraharas voice was even more quiet and then it was gone. After a bit of silence Ichigo felt a strange pull on himself, when he opened his eyes he was no longer in the underground training room.

He was standing on a blue surface but he couldn't see any details of it and couldn't even remember standing up. He looked around and saw the sky in front of him, it looked strange but it was really blurry just as everything else.

Except him, he could see himself just as clear as it was normal for him, everything else in this world was blurred. He turned around to look behind him but couldn't see anything that would tell him anything else. All he saw was that whatever he was standing on was long and that there wasn't a sky behind him, only greyness.

"Look forward." he almost jumped at the sound of the deep voice and turned around again to see the person talking at him.

It seemed to be a man with long hair, dressed in something black and fluttery, he couldn't see anything else since he was blurry as well, he seemed to be standing on thin air.

"Go forward Ichigo."

It was definitely a man, although he still couldn't make out anything else about him. Deciding that there was no imminent danger he walked slowly towards the man; He almost stumbled a few times, not noticing that the surface below him had some sort of steps, although they would repeat in a pattern.

After getting closer he stopped, opening his mouth to speak,

"Never stop Ichigo, it is still too early..." there was sadness in the voice.

Ichigo felt the same pulling sensation and was back at the training room after opening his eyes.

Urahara was no longer alone, Suì-Fēng was now standing a bit behind him looking like nothing happened, although she was displaying visibly less hostility towards Urahara.

"So, how did it go?"

"I have no idea."

The walk to school was uneventful, Ichigo was curious as to what had happened exactly with Suì-Fēng but didn't want to pry. Suì-Fēng however was acting slightly more human, it wasn't much but she actually looked like she belonged in the human world.

Suì-Fēng was deep in thought. A lot has been resolved in the past few hours, she finally reconciled with her former master who, despite all her protests, wouldn't allow to be called with the formal -sama honorific. Other than that, Yoruichi-san, after they calmed down, returned to her former self. There was teasing about Ichigo, a lot of it, and even some about her losing her never existing crush on Urahara.

Speaking of the blonde, she couldn't find it in herself to hate him as much anymore. She finally understood him a bit better and couldn't blame him, they were framed, it wasn't their fault. She didn't know any more about the subject, Yoruichi was avoiding it.

One of the most 'enlightening' parts of her conversation was the question... oh, the question.

'Do you like him?' Youruichi asked it completely serious, no hint of joking, nothing.

Suì-Fēng just stared at her, at first not knowing what Yoruichi was talking about. She was sure that she didn't like him, he was a human after all, she couldn't like him, right? It wasn't even possible to like him. Yoruichi was surprisingly compliant to her objections and stopped asking about Ichigo...

'How do you like the human world so far?' when the topic changed, Suì-Fēng gladly took it and explained how stuff was strange at first but she managed to adapt fairly quickly.

'Must be because you had such a good guide...' Yoruichi had a huge grin on her face.

Yoruichi kept teasing her about things and before she knew it, everything was back to normal, just like it had been 100 years ago, she didn't care much about the fact that neither would probably ever step inside Soul Society without the Soukyoku waiting for them.

She shook her head, this was no time to think of these things.

They walked into the classroom together during break, getting more than a few glances thrown their way, neither of them seemed to mind.

"Ichigo, where were you? You never skip class just to spend time with someone!" Keigo caught himself before saying something that would embarrass and probably infuriate Ichigo even more.

Ichigo however caught on to his feeble attempts at hiding his true 'worries' and was about to say something, but was interrupted.

"Are you implying something Asano?" Suì-Fēngs voice was cold, very cold and Keigo was gone to his seat before Ichigo could blink, muttering something like, 'no ma'am, sorry ma'am'.

"Suì-Fēng-san, good morning." Suì-Fēng turned to see who was talking to her.

It was Tatsuki, she had a small smile on her lips.

"I was wondering if you would be up for a rematch sometime, it's not easy to find a challenge in this school, you know."

Suì-Fēng contemplated just shooting her down and saying that she had better stuff to do but when she actually thought about it, it wasn't that bad of a suggestion.

"I think I might do that actually, I'm sure Kurosaki would be delighted to come too."

"Wait, what?" Ichigo. who was already taking his second step towards his seat, turned his head around with incredible speed. Suì-Fēng was already glaring at him menacingly. A lonely bead of sweat rolled down his forehead and he gulped, he was sure that he felt some reiatsu rolling off her in waves.

"Yeah, I will..."

The rest of the class went by peacefully, only with glances thrown in Ichigos general direction. He, of course, didn't pay any attention to them even if his friends were the ones mostly throwing them.

Soon, rumors would start around the school about a girl keeping the famous thug, Kurosaki, in line.

"Remind me why I'm doing this." Ichigo asked as he stretched his shoulders in his loose t-shirt.

Suì-Fēng was acting strange, to anyone else it wouldn't be noticeable, but he spent a lot of time with her so he knew. Whatever happened with that woman made Suì-Fēng... less of a bitch.

"Because all you know is how to swing that oversized sword of yours and brawl. You need to hone your skill, or do you intend on going against me on this?" she replied with a smirk.

'You midget. Wait... is she... teasing me? No, that's not all, she's... having fun. She's actually happy!'

He felt a bit saddened for a moment, seeing how long it took him to figure out Suì-Fēng, but threw it aside, she's happy, nothing else needs to be said.

With a small smile he walked on to the mat.

"Since Arisawa will be late, we'll spar for a while, I need to see how far below me you are exactly." Ichigo was prepared for this, he trained for countless hours against Tatsuki and his dad, though, in the case of his dad it wasn't really training.

"Bring it, shorty." her glare threatened to make a hole in his head but he didn't back down, he doubted that anger would be enough to cloud her mind in a fight but he had to try.

"You'll regret that." her voice was cold, really cold; he managed to hit a sensitive nerve with her.

"Make me regret it." He dropped into a loose stance that would allow him to react to almost anything she could throw at him.

Almost. Because he didn't expect her to jump in the air and kick him in the side of the head. He managed to duck under it but barely; the second kick caught him in the center of his chest, she extended her other foot in the middle of her spin and sprawled him on his back.

She stood triumphantly while he gathered himself off the floor.

"Lucky shot..." he grumbled; he had hoped to last a bit longer.

He got up and went into the same stance as last time, this time he was sure he was prepared for anything.

And he was, a few punches and a few kicks later, he had a smile on his face. A fight with no risk of real injury in it. He hated to admit it, but he enjoyed the thrill it gave him.

Suì-Fēng dropped low and started circling him, throwing kicks and punches all the time, she would jump up to try and catch him off guard, he would soak in any hits she got in.

'He can absorb damage well enough, his height and strength are his advantages in a fight, he is a bit sluggish in his performance, but it's nothing that can't be fixed. He is not very agile, that needs fixing, stretching exercises maybe?' Suì-Fēng thought to herself, analyzing the fight and Ichigos movements during their fight.

Once again she got into a routine, a kick to the ribs, a punch to the gut a few swift kicks and another punch, once Ichigo got used to her routine he could predict her movements and block her attacks, after a bit more time, he placed a few counter attacks to slow her down; she would just change the routine and start over.

This lasted for another 5 minutes and most of the people in the room were now watching them, including Tatsuki, who arrived earlier and saw them sparring.

Ichigo was on the floor, getting up slowly.

"That's enough. Find someone to help you with kendo, I'll be there soon."

Ichigo would have argued but he was tired and wasn't in the mood to anger her further; he did, however, notice that she was tired too, it wasn't much, but it was there.

And just as he had started training kendo with some guy that was trembling at the sight of him, he heard something he didn't like, Suì-Fēngs phone.

He groaned and left the training for later while he walked to Suì-Fēng. They left the gikongan to walk himself home while he ran with Suì-Fēng towards the place where the Hollow appeared.

#Close your eyes and listen hard, maybe you'll hear a "Goodbye".#

Authors note:

Thanks you all for making this story my most reviewed story on fanfiction!

45 reviews and more than 6 000 hits!

About the shinigamithat will be sent to the human world, I might have said it in a wrong way; There will not be 5 people sent, you can vote for 5 people maximum, that is just for me to see what you want, it will affect my final decision, but it will still be MY decision.

music watch : Ahaha! You didn't expect the Suì-Fēng-Yoruichi encounter this soon, now, did you? :D

Yes, this chapter is quite slow, the next one won't be much better, but after that Grand Fisher is making an appearance!