The Sons of War
Can someone please silence the voices in my head? They're being mean and not letting me work on my other stories in peace. Here now is the latest product of their twisted whispers. Hello? Anyone? No? *whimper*
In the final clash between Ichigo and Aizen, someone takes a special interest in the outcome of their battle. Ripped away from their world, they are forced to make a choice that changes them irrevocably, no longer soul reapers, but the Sons of War. AU after episode 309. Rated T for now may change later.
Undecided at the moment, feel free to offer suggestions, but I won't promise anything.
Disclaimer: All characters etc. are property of their respective owners.
Chapter 1: The King's Command.
On the outskirts of Karakura Town Tatsuki, Keigo, Mizuiro, Chizuru, Don Kanonji and Zennosuke watched the battle that echoed across the land with no small amount of fear in their system. The memories of Aizen chasing them over the town, his eyes holding a predatory gleam the entire time, still haunted their thoughts, only dispelled by the arrival of their saviour Ichigo.
When he had crashed into the ground near them, his father slung over his shoulder, and his features noticeably different, they felt the terror and despair wash away, replaced by a feeling of calm. His words reassured them that they would survive this, for if Ichigo wasn't worried, they would trust him and do as he said. Faster than any of them could comprehend, Ichigo and their pursuer vanished into thin air.
"Do you think he'll make it?" Keigo asked his voice shaky. Looking at him, Tatsuki could only shake her head, before turning back to face the direction she felt Aizen's reiatsu coming from.
"It's not a matter of 'if' Keigo," she said simply, "but a matter of when Ichigo beats that guy." Looking over at the prone forms of the strawberry blonde woman and the silver haired man she sheltered, she felt a shiver run down her spine at the thought that Ichigo might be in the same state as him. 'No Ichigo promised that he would take care of it, no matter what he won't fail.'
Several miles away, Ichigo and Aizen battled back and forth, their blades creating shockwaves that reduced the area around them to dust. There was no room for taunts or insults between these two powerhouses. Separating from each other briefly, they stood metres away from one another, observing their opponent in silence.
Aizen had been morphed beyond recognition by the Hogyoku, as he now stood clothed in a long white robe with a hole in the middle of his chest, the Hogyoku pulsing and swirling within the centre of it and a black diamond embedded in his forehead. He had three sets of butterfly-like wings that were tapered to points and his zanpakuto melded into his right arm. His eyes burned into his opponent, the purple sclera like a deep pool that sought to swallow everything it saw.
In contrast, Ichigo was clothed in his bankai coat, but it was noticeably more form fitting, with its right sleeve torn away. His zanpakuto hadn't changed from the black daito it was, but was now attached to his hand by a black plate glove. The prongs of the cross-guard extended further out and were slimmer, while the chain extended to wrap around his hand and running up his arm until it met his shoulder. His longer hair hiding his eyes from view, but his posture showed that he was growing bored.
"I must admit Kurosaki, I did not expect you to be able to stand up against this form for this long and for that I congratulate you," Aizen said as he broke the silence. "I'm afraid though that it is time I end this."
"Anytime you're ready Aizen," Ichigo said calmly as he still held Tensa Zangetsu in a guard stance. Smirking Aizen charged forward once again, Kyoka Suigetsu, clashing with Tensa Zangetsu. With each strike the shockwaves continued to reverberate off their blades, reducing the environment to rubble.
"Hado no. 63, Raikoho," Aizen chanted and a wave of yellow lightning burst from his palm, point-blank with Ichigo's chest. A grin formed on Aizen's face as the shockwave from the explosion passed over him, the smoke rising into the sky. His grin vanished though as Ichigo charged out of the smoke, unharmed and still impassive. Raising his zanpakuto in front of him, Aizen grunted at the force of Ichigo's momentum crashing into him, forcing him back with ease. Unable to stop himself, Aizen kept his guard up as they neared a mountain, his body being driven through it as Ichigo kept pushing him. Breaking down into a cloud of reishi, Aizen vanished, leaving Ichigo to keep pushing through and reappeared behind the teenager, his blade closing in rapidly on his opponent's neck.
Without looking behind him, Ichigo raised his own blade to his neck, steel grating against steel as their zanpakuto strove against one another. With a flick of his wrist, Ichigo parried the blade, sending Aizen flying back and causing the mountain they were in to crumble around them.
"Impressive parry Kurosaki, but can you do it again?" Aizen said and vanished once more.
As his eyes darted around, Ichigo felt Aizen behind him once again and parried once more.
"The definition of insanity is repeating the same action, but expecting a different result…so tell me Aizen, are you insane?" Ichigo said as he looked up at the power-hungry ex-captain.
"Is anyone truly sane Kurosaki? It matters not, I simply was testing a theory," Aizen said nonchalantly. "As similar as our zanpakuto's appearance may be, do not hold any hope that you can hope to match me, for if I willed it…" Aizen trailed off as he disappeared again, appearing in front of Ichigo. "I could snap it like a twig!" he shouted and swung down, intending to cleave Ichigo in two from head to groin.
Ichigo's eyes remained lifeless as he reached out and grabbed the blade as it neared him, the force behind it going on to uproot the ground behind him, sending it flying into the air.
"I-Impossible!" Aizen stuttered as he stood there, eyes wide at the sight before him. 'Dodging it I could understand, even though he shouldn't be able to do that to begin with. Even so dodging it I could understand, but to catch it…to catch my blade. Just what the hell are you boy…'
"Now's not the time to be surprised Aizen," Ichigo said dispassionately and reared his plate covered fist back, sending a straight jab at Aizen's face. Unable to dodge the blow, Aizen's head snapped back as his neck broke, blood pouring from his broken nose. Looking down at Aizen's slumped form, Ichigo tossed his opponent into a mountain, causing it to collapse onto him.
"Get out here Aizen, that was nowhere near enough to kill you," Ichigo said as he started to walk towards the rubble. He paused though as he heard Aizen's voice.
"…Hado no. 90, Kurohitsugi!" was all Ichigo heard before he was surrounded by a black and purple reishi that rapidly trapped him.
"That was a good punch Kurosaki, but you simply allowed me too much time to set that up," Aizen said with a smile as he emerged from the rubble, cracking the joints in his neck as he stood in front of the box. "I'd commend you, but you are no longer alive to hear it, or at least conscious enough to understand."
For the second time that day though, he was silenced, as an unnamed Getsuga Tensho ripped through the box like it was made out of tissue paper and struck him, carving deeply into his torso as it forced him into the rubble once more.
"Do you even plan on making this entertaining Aizen?" Ichigo asked as he was revealed to be unscathed once more. "If this is all you can do, then I will end this soon."
"Don't you dare…" Aizen said lowly as he broke free of the rubble again. "DON'T YOU DARE LOOK DOWN ON ME HUMAN!" he roared and suddenly the black diamond on his forehead cracked, blood pouring from the wound. Uttering incomprehensible sounds, Aizen's eyes seemed to slip out of focus, before he was suddenly engulfed in a torrent of purple reiatsu, hiding him from view as it roared into the sky. As the sound of the vortex tore into the area around him and sent dirt and debris flying everywhere, Ichigo could hear the sound of Aizen's scream within it all. As the vortex reached its peak, it cracked and showered the area in blood, revealing Aizen crouched down, his body mutated once again.
Each of the wings now bore a hollow-like skull at their tips, while Aizen's hands and feet were transformed into black claws, his zanpakuto being twisted as well. His torso had three holes within it, the Hogyoku hovering within the centre of the top hole. The feature that earned Ichigo's disgust though was that the skin of Aizen's face seemed to have been split down the middle, exposing a black demonic-like skull, with fanged white teeth and three pure white eyes.
"Yes," Aizen said as he stood, taking in his new form. "This is inexcusable, isn't it Hogyoku? That I let a human get the better of me." Without warning one of the heads whipped its head back and hurled a small purple sphere at Ichigo, detonating and creating a mushroom-like inferno, as it melted away the earth around it and sending a shockwave tearing across the area.
As Tatsuki and the others watched, the inferno expand, they were knocked away by the sheer force of the wind. Wave after wave crashed over them, sending them hurtling back until they found their journey brought to an abrupt halt as they all slammed into something. Looking over her shoulder, she was shocked to find Rukia, her arm bandaged and in a sling with a death grip on the collar of her shirt as she wrapped her arm around a light pole. Looking around her, she saw that Chad had grabbed Keigo and Mizuiro, while a red head she vaguely remembered as being Renji, clutched Don Kanonji and Zennosuke. Orihime had taken shelter with Uryu and was helping him hold onto Chizuru as they hid behind a car.
"Where the hell did you guys come from?" was all Tatsuki could think to ask as the wind finally died down, allowing them all to breathe a sigh of relief. She could say no more though as she was tackled into a hug by Orihime, the buxom teen crying into her shoulder. Despite all her questions, Tatsuki could only smile and wrap her arms around her friend as tears threatened to spill from her eyes as well. The moment was cut short though as another wave ripped past them as several more infernos sprang up in the distance.
"Ichigo!" she yelled, as they all stared at the whirlwinds of flame as they rose up into the sky, their dread for Ichigo's fate building with each passing second.
As the explosions kept erupting around him, Ichigo gritted his teeth in frustration as Aizen's aim became even more erratic. Pretty soon he was sure that a stray Cero would be sent towards his friends, destroying anything and everything in its area of effect. Weaving through the barrage, Ichigo clenched his left hand, the skin was singed, but he still retained its full use. A low buzz behind him told him that Aizen had teleported behind him. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched as another Cero was thrown in his direction. Slicing it in half with his zanpakuto, the separate halves went on to land behind him, exploding in a similar fashion as the others.
"ENOUGH!" Ichigo yelled and flash stepped behind Aizen, severing the wings on the left side, the thin white appendages crashing into the ground as the heads weighed them down. With a howl of rage, Aizen spun around, his blade screaming as it sailed past Ichigo's face, slicing into the bridge of his nose. The teenager ignored the wound though and brought his blade down on Aizen, slicing him from shoulder to hip and following up with a kick that shattered several of the monsters fanged teeth, sending him crashing into the ground. Rushing off into the dust cloud, Ichigo stabbed aiming for Aizen's head, missing narrowly as the man rolled out of the way. As the ground shattered under the force of the blow, Ichigo ripped his blade out just in time to parry another strike from Aizen, striving back and forth as their blades locked. Out of the corner of his eye, Ichigo noticed one of the remaining heads charge a Cero. Reaching out with his injured left hand, Ichigo clamped onto the head and shut its mouth, forcing the explosion to rip through Aizen himself as well as Ichigo.
As the smoke cleared from the explosion, Aizen was panting as his right side was scorched and bleeding. Ichigo fared no better as his left arm hung limply at his side, bleeding profusely, dressed in only his hakama now.
"I'm sick of this Aizen," Ichigo said with venom in his voice. "Let me show you…" he said as he raised his zanpakuto in front of him,"…the Final Getsuga Tensho." With those words Ichigo was engulfed in a pillar of black reiatsu with a blue tint, hiding him from view. As the reiatsu flared around him, Aizen recoiled as it lashed out at him, carving into his already injured form.
As he pulled away, his injuries began to heal slowly, but considering the reiatsu that continued to lash out at him, it wasn't fast enough. Dodging to the left as a tendril shot out at him, his jaw hung open in shock as it carved into the ground, leaving a deep crevice. Turning back to face Ichigo, he watched as the pillar began to thin, revealing Ichigo in his new form. His hair had grown down to his waist and was now jet black, while his torso, right arm and lower jaw was wrapped in light bluish-grey bandages. Spreading out over his left shoulder was an intricate flame marking that curled around his left arm. Turning to look at Aizen, his eyes were shown to be a rich ruby shade, devoid of all emotion. If this wasn't enough to frighten Aizen, the same black reiatsu billowed around Ichigo and seemed to be emitted from his right arm, while his hakama seemed to be made of his reiatsu as it crackled and flared similar to the flares around him.
"This is the Final Getsuga Tensho Aizen," Ichigo said calmly. "It is what you could call the pinnacle of my zanpakuto, the point where I become Getsuga itself. Using this technique will cost me my powers, but I plan on using each and every ounce of it to destroy you." Ichigo paused in his speech to gauge Aizen's reaction. Seeing the man grit his teeth and his fist shake, Ichigo continued. "You've been asking for this ever since we've met Aizen, from the moment you set your eyes on me, you signed your own death warrant. You may want to talk about your last wishes now…" Ichigo said as he held out his right hand, gathering the reiatsu to his hand, "….because in a moment, not even ash will be left of you." At his words Aizen finally found his voice, his rage higher than ever.
"NEVER! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING, A MERE HUMAN CANNOT SURPASS ME!" he raged, shutting up as Ichigo closed his fist around the blade he had created and raised it high above himself.
"MUGETSU!" Ichigo yelled, bringing the black blade down in Aizen's direction, engulfing the area in darkness, as a wave of monstrous proportions charged at him. Aizen couldn't even scream as he was engulfed in the attack, each and every cell in his body felt as if he was being burned alive, while his body began to dissolve under the strain of the attack.
As the attack dissipated, the sun returned, bathing the area in light. Turning away from the devastation caused by his attack, Ichigo landed on the ground below him and fell to one knee, panting heavily. As the bandages disappeared, Ichigo's ears perked up at the sound of something crashing into the ground. Searching for the source, Ichigo's eyes widened as Aizen's body started to regenerate despite his wounds. Flash stepping over to his enemy's body, Ichigo grabbed the would-be-god by his collar, jerking him up to his eye level.
"Why won't you just fucking die?" Ichigo raged, throwing the man back down to the ground and pinning him there with his knee, while he summoned what reiatsu he could, to try and finish the man off. The blade shattered in his grip though, shocking Ichigo as he looked in horror at his hand. Throwing Ichigo off, Aizen struggled to his feet and smirked at Ichigo, before giving him a vicious backhand, sending him skidding away in the dirt. Struggling to his feet, Ichigo fell to his knees as his form fully faded, his reiatsu drained. Looking up, he watched as Aizen walked over to him with a smug look on his face.
"It's over Ichigo Kurosaki," he said with a grin as he held out his right hand holding his zanpakuto. "See how it disappears, the Hogyoku has decided that I no longer need a zanpakuto. Now just like you once were, I shall become a zanpakuto and rise even higher," he said as he began to laugh maniacally, only to stop as a beam of red light erupted from his chest.
"What, what is this?" he asked in confusion as even more beams spawned in the pattern of a crucifix. "Kido? But when was I attacked?" he said as he staggered backwards.
"So it's finally taking effect," said an unknown voice as it landed near them. Both Ichigo and Aizen turned and were shocked to see Kisuke appear.
"Urahara-san," Ichigo exclaimed his relief showing that someone was here to help.
"Kisuke Urahara, is this your doing?" Aizen asked as he stared in hatred at the man.
"Yes," Kisuke said solemnly, "before you were fully able to transform, when you were most vulnerable, I placed that kido in another and implanted it in you. I figured that killing you would be impossible once you fused together with the Hogyoku, so I created a new kido to seal you off."
"Is that so?" Aizen said as he stood straighter. "Then forgive me for disappointing you, but watch as I evolve to another level. You can't possibly hope to seal me away with such a kido!" he yelled.
Instead of evolving though, his form shattered as his features became more human once again, with the exception that his left eye retained its purple colour.
"What now?" Aizen said in disbelief as the rest of the shell peeled away, leaving him powerless.
"The reason that the seal I used is starting now, is because your powers have weakened," Kisuke said as he watched Aizen reel in pain. "It's thanks to Kurosaki-san and now the Hogyoku has rejected you as its master."
With another scream of pain, Aizen doubled over as the beams grew, now resembling swords impaling his body. As he was about to say something, a blue beam shot out of Ichigo's chest, causing him to scream in pain. A look of horror crossed Kisuke's face while Aizen stood there in shock as the beam approached him, piercing his chest as well.
"Urahara-san?" Ichigo asked weakly, hoping to find some explanation in his mentor's eyes. His hopes were dashed though as all he found was confusion. Turning back to the beam from his body, Ichigo could feel it dragging him closer to Aizen and soon, Kisuke's kido was beginning to swallow him as well.
"ICHIGO!" a female voice screamed, causing the three to turn their attention to the new arrivals. Ichigo could see all his friends from the living world and soul society staring at him in shock as the grey ooze continued to swallow him whole.
"Guys…I…" he could say no more as with a final pulse he and Aizen were sealed away and the seal itself shone brightly, before vanishing into thin air.
Tears falling from their eyes, his friends either fell to their knees or remained standing where they were. Regaining some sense, Rukia turned to stare at Kisuke, her eyes full of grief.
"What happened to him Urahara?" she asked her voice shaky.
"I…I don't know…" Kisuke trailed off, staring at the spot where the seal should've been.
When Ichigo woke up, he found himself floating in a black void, weightless. Trying to move his arms and legs, he found them stubbornly immobile, no matter what he tried. Giving up he looked around himself, his eyes falling on Aizen's prone form next to him. He continued to watch as the man's eyes opened, taking in their position and location in curiosity, before his eyes landed on Ichigo, his eyes filling with rage instantly.
"YOU! What have you done?" Aizen demanded.
"ME? You're the one that went and started this whole thing, what did you do?" Ichigo shouted right back.
"Silence," said a voice from the darkness, startling them both.
"Who's there?" Ichigo asked cautiously as he couldn't make out anything in the darkness around them. A faint chuckle was heard from above them, prompting them to look up, but find the same black void staring back at them.
"You won't be able to find me here, or anywhere for that matter," the voice said with some amusement as it watched them try to struggle. "But as for who I am, well I am simply your King."
That got their attention as they stopped looking around trying to find the voice and laid there in awe.
"Impossible…" Aizen whispered the first to break out of their stunned daze. "How did you bring us here? Why did you bring us here?" he rattled off.
"Hmm how is rather simple and requires no explanation, the why though, well that might actually deserve an answer," the King said in a calm tone. Ichigo could swear that he could almost imagine an old man sitting on his throne with his fingers stroking his chin as he thought about their question.
"I guess the simplest thing I can say is that I wanted to congratulate you," the King said as if that was the most normal thing to do in the world.
"Congratulate?" Ichigo sputtered. "What for? This fucker was trying to kill you and take your place goddammit!" he yelled only to be silenced by the crushing force of someone's reiatsu. Thinking back to his fight with Aizen, Ichigo knew that this power made the two of them combined look like nothing more than children before it, a conclusion Aizen also seemed to be reaching.
"I will not tolerate such language from you Ichigo-kun," the King said in a serious tone, shocking Ichigo that he was the one being reprimanded. "And yes despite what Sosuke-kun's intentions were, I still want to congratulate you two. You have both reached a level unheard of among all my children."
"What exactly do you want?" Aizen asked, his mind racing through possible scenarios and their outcomes, none of them were pleasant for him.
"Ah Sosuke-kun," the King said and Aizen could almost feel someone running a hand through his hair, causing him to flinch. "You're right that there's more to it than that, indeed I am here to make you an offer."
This really was too much for Ichigo now. Here they were, in the middle of…hell he couldn't even call it nowhere, because at least nowhere was somewhere…wait what?
"What are you offering?" Ichigo asked as he shook his head to try and clear his thoughts.
"The return of your powers, to both of you of course," the King said nonchalantly.
They both fell silent at the magnitude of the offer and Ichigo couldn't understand what was going through the King's head. Why would he grant someone, who wanted to and probably would try to kill him, their powers back? Not to mention everything Aizen had done to what the King considered his 'children'.
"They deserve that Ichigo," the King said as he read the teenagers thoughts. "If a single man was able to bring them to their knees so easily, then they deserved all the pain and humiliation that went with it."
"But…how…HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?" Ichigo shouted at the unknown being, feeling a finger press itself against his lips silencing him.
"Quite simply Ichigo, I gave them the tools to maintain the balance, but it is up to them to effectively put them to use," the King said as he removed the phantom finger from Ichigo.
"What do you want in return?" Aizen asked curiously, knowing that he wasn't about to killed on the spot calming him somewhat.
"Oh that's easy, you two will serve me personally," the King said in the same uncaring tone he had spoken in earlier.
"I refuse!" Aizen spat, his pride not willing to serve the one being he wanted to replace.
"You seem to think you have a choice Sosuke-kun," the King said in a quiet tone. "I assure you that you either choose to work for me, or you stay here and float endlessly for the rest of eternity."
As Aizen grumbled incoherently, Ichigo couldn't help but wonder why the King wanted them to work for him. Didn't he have the Royal Guard at his beck and call? Not to mention that the guy was already powerful enough to effortlessly bind and control them.
"Why?" Ichigo repeated, making the King sigh.
"I will tell you what you need to know for now," he said gravely. "There is something that is beginning to threaten all of the worlds under my care and despite the fact that my soul reapers should be able to handle it, they will not prove effective in the long run. As such I need someone to be there to get to the bottom of it. You two are simply the most powerful individuals, excluding myself that exist across all the dimensions and for that reason I chose you."
Ichigo twisted his head to the side and could see Aizen grumbling to himself still. Honestly he didn't know what to think in this situation; here he was lying next to his greatest enemy, being told that they would have to work together to protect all the dimensions under the Spirit King's care. Maybe Aizen knocked him out and this was all a dream…yes that had to be it.
"I assure you this is no dream Ichigo-kun, now what is your answer? Am I granting you a second chance, or am I taking my leave of this place?" the King said getting impatient. The silence only lasted a brief moment before Aizen spoke.
"Fine, I'll do it," he spat anger and embarrassment warring within him. Ichigo only nodded his head to show that he agreed. The next moment they felt a hand placed on each of their heads, followed by the worst pain imaginable to them. Aizen could only grit his teeth as every fibre of his being screamed in agony as his soul was changed. Alongside him Ichigo was no better and his body was beginning to spasm uncontrollably. After a few minutes, they both passed out unconscious and the King removed his hands from them.
"A festering darkness seeks to rise up and take my throne from me, and you two will lead the charge against this darkness. My very own Dogs of War." The King paused in his step as he said that. "Hmm no that is not appropriate, not dogs but sons… my own Sons of War," the King said with a smile, vanishing back into the darkness.
And that's the introduction finished. My apologies for changing the fight from what it was in canon, but I really wanted more from it and well this is just the tip of the iceberg really when it came to my dreams.
Anyway so yeah, I got ambushed by ideas again and this one grabbed me and started to choke out all my other ideas. I haven't decided yet how it will go, I've just got vague ideas to continue beyond the next two or three chapters.
So yeah, what do you like, love or hate here? Let me know please.