Author's Note: Rated Teen for very sparse use of swear words (mostly "hell"). There may be "Lemons" etc., in future chapters, but will be listed as a One-Shot. Multiple Pairings Standard, some O.O.C's and fluff.
Thanks to all who showed interest in this fanfic. This is my first time writing something for Bleach. Main "genre" would be Romance with multiple pairings and some Adventure. My poor attempt at Humor too =[. This story is resumed after he obtains his Shinigami powers back from the Xcution Arc. Story mixes Anime and Manga elements.
Chapter One: Reflections and Flashbacks
"Captain Kurosaki, I've completed my mission successfully! I've already submitted my report to Lieutenant Kuchiki" the Shinigami spoke. The man he was addressing grabbed the Shinigami to a standing position. "Uh…Ca-Captain?"
"I told you idiot," Ichigo sighed, a hint of annoyance in his voice. "You didn't have to bow down to me. Makes it feel awkward, but good job. If you don't have anything else you're dismissed."
As the Shinigami excused himself, Ichigo took an uncharacteristically long sigh as he walked back into his office. He slid his chair into his desk and leaned against it, looking out the window. Outside, he saw the main courtyard of his barracks where his squad was training. A small smile forming on his lips, Ichigo grabbed his giant Zanpakuto and walked towards the door.
Ichigo stepped out of the Captain's office as he walked to a secluded part of his barracks, arriving at a small patch of grasslands with a stream flowing through it. It wasn't much, but this place was one of the few places that Ichigo could find himself truly at peace. Since his inception as a Captain and the new division, he needed a place to escape from the judgmental eyes and politics of Seireitei during work hours. This small area was his little oasis in the barracks.
"What are you thinking, Ichigo?" a deep voice rang out through the silence.
"Nothing really," Ichigo spoke mentally to his Zanpakuto. "Just reflecting I guess…"
"Mmm..." Zangetsu's voice echoed through his mind. "…you know that you can speak to me anytime, Ichigo, but don't stress too much, it's not as bad as you think it is…"
As Zangetsu's voice faded away, Ichigo placed his Zanpakuto down on the ground. He took off his Haoir and folded it roughly over his sword before lying down on the grass. As he cushioned his head with his hands, his mind went back to the thought of his squad; it would be the centennial celebration of the 14th Division as well as his Captaincy. It was a tough journey for him and his squad, but they have managed to pull through the years with high honors from the Captain-Commander and the newly established Central 46. Ichigo pushed the thoughts aside as he felt weight on top of his chest, a hand on his chin. As he opened his eyes and raised his head, he was greeted by a woman with long, raven black hair, her arms covered with a fingerless white tekkou that covered her forearms. Ichigo gave a slight smile as he reached out to the woman's cheeks with one of his hands, causing her to open her eyes and smile as well.
"Well, good afternoon Captain Strawberry," the woman spoke playfully. "I see that my Captain is working very hard."
"Well hello, Lieutenant Midget," Ichigo replied, a hint of irritation in his voice. "What you want?"
"Ahhh, it looks like the 'Hero of Soul Society' is getting grouchy." The woman spoke as she kept the playful demeanor. As Ichigo started to scowl, she cleared her throat before continuing. "I thought I'd let you know that you have to head to the Shinigami Academy soon…"
"Ah hell…I have to do that again!" Ichigo complained as he pushed himself to a sitting position. The woman had simply slid down, her head resting on his thighs. "Rukia, why can't you go in my place? It's not like you weren't there…"
"You idiot! We were both requested to attend," Rukia spoke, hitting the top of Ichigo's head softly. "And you were the one who told me to do your paperwork!"
"Alright, alright! Jeez..." Ichigo sighed as he tried to push himself off the grass. He would've succeeded in sitting up until Rukia lightly pushed him back down. "Rukia, what -." He was silenced by soft lips. Before Ichigo could react, Rukia pulled back with a small smile.
"We can just use shunpo to get there…" she began. "…and besides, both of us have been busy, I barely get to see you…"
Ichigo didn't speak for a moment; there were truth in her words. For the past 4 months, the 14th Division was berated with preparations for the upcoming Centennial celebration. The 11th Divison's been flooding requests for a celebratory combat exercise, the 9th had been requesting all the seated Officers for an interview, and various Divisions and departments have been requesting Ichigo's presence. Pushing these thoughts aside, Ichigo pushed himself up. Rukia followed suit.
"I'll tell you what," Ichigo started, placing his hand above Rukia's, squeezing slightly. "After this whole thing ends, you and I can take couple days off and visit Karakura Town and other places for a couple days." Rukia gave a small nod and a smile. They haven't visited Ichigo's and Urahara's families in a while. With that promise, Ichigo stood up first, donning his captain's Haori and Zanpakuto. The two Shinigamis walked towards the Shinigami Academy, their fingers interlaced with each other.
"…so it is a privilege to announce Captain Kurosaki Ichigo and Lieutenant Kuchiki Rukia to the Academy today!" an instructor exclaimed. As the Captain and Lieutenant walked into the amphitheater-like lecture hall, every trainee cheered enthusiastically as if it was some rock concert. Once the pair stood in the middle, Ichigo had raised a hand, immediately silencing the crowd into dead silence. It was Rukia who spoke first.
"Thank you for your warm welcome, students!" Rukia exclaimed cheerfully. "Obviously, we are here to talk about the history of the 14th Division, as well as my Captain's past! Your instructor tells me you've already covered the part where my Captain was just a Substitute Shinigami…right?"
As she finished her sentence, most of the students mumbled in agreement. The mumbling stopped as soon as it begun, mostly because of the scowl that Ichigo was wearing. Rukia elbowed the Captain "lightly," giving him an incentive to force a smile and to speak. After recovering from the surprise elbow, Ichigo recovered and stepped forwards.
"Alright, I guess it makes things easier. I'll answer couple questions before I go into the next part I guess…" As he finished, there were quite a few hands up. "…oh by the way, if it pertains to my love life, I won't answer it." Ichigo began to smirk as he saw most of the hands fall back down. He picked a male student in the middle area of the lecture hall by shunpo'ing next to him. The boy was startled but managed to ask his question.
"Is-is it true that you-you've reached Ba-bankai in 3 days Captain Kurosaki-dono?" the boy stammered.
"First of all, Captain Kurosaki is fine, I don't care for honorifics. Secondly, yes, I have achieved Bankai in 3 days." Ichigo remarked. "Oh yea, I forgot to mention, I may or may not use shunpo to you so…next question?"
As Ichigo looked around the lecture hall, he didn't notice anyone's hands up. Sighing to himself, he shunpo-ed back to the stage.
"That's kinda funny, I say don't ask me anything about relationship questions and they don't really have anything to ask me…" Ichigo spoke half-mockingly to his Lieutenant. "Am I that popular around Soul Society or something?"
With this, Rukia couldn't help but kick her Captain in the shins 'enthusiastically.' Grabbing his shin in pain, Ichigo leaned against the desk, his scowl returning to his face.
"What the hell was that for?" Ichigo yelled to his Lieutenant.
"Captain Strawberry-dono, I must make sure your head doesn't get too big," Rukia said mockingly in the exaggerated sweet voice.
"Listen, Lieutenant Midget, it was an honest question!" Ichigo retorted. As Ichigo and Rukia went back and forth with their bickering, the entire lecture hall had developed a blank, confused expression. After a little while, the head instructor cleared his throat loudly and the arguing duo had stopped; their cheeks were slightly red.
"Damn it, whatever…" Ichigo trailed off, as he scratched the back of his head. Facing the gathered class, he took a breath and sighed. "Alright, so let me tell you what happened after I got my powers back…"
Flashback, Approximately 100 Years Ago
It had been a month since Ginjo Kugo's burial in the World of the Living. As promised, Ichigo had been working as the Substitute Shinigami since the end of the Xcution incident. It had been reasonably quiet during the month after Ichigo had regained his power as a Shinigami, with only a few Hollows lurking about. The Substitute Shinigami would usually bounce between school, slaying Hollows, and train with Urahara Kisuke. Today was a minor anomaly, for Ichigo had been summoned to Seireitei to meet with the high brass of the Gotei 13 Divisions.
"Kurosaki Ichigo," a gruff voice called out. The voice belonged to an ancient of a man, his beard passing down his waist. The old man's eyes were closed as he spoke. "Thank you for your timely arrival for this meeting."
"Not like I had a choice, gramps…" Ichigo spoke while he scratched the back of his head. "So why am I called to Soul Society?
"…hmph, well to business," Yamamoto spoke, discarding the fact he was called gramps. "Kurosaki Ichigo, due to your service to Soul Society, I am offering you to a spot as Captain of the 13 Protection Squads, as well as residence in Seireitei!"
"So you need help in Soul So—wait WHAT?"