When the Heavens Fail.
Right my apologies for those that wanted to see The Bird of Hermes, but I am going to place it under revision for the moment. Looking back at it as my first fic, I want it to be so much more than what it is at the moment. I will leave it up, but I won't be updating it, since I will be going back to the beginning to rewrite it. The basics will remain the same, but it's beginning to drag me down mentally, with how much the first ten chapters compare to the last seven. Again my apologies for this.
This is a little something that struck me due to a particular scene, digital cheesecake to those that can name the source of my inspiration. Events differ significantly from canon.
Chapter 1: Exiled
One hundred years before current timeline.
Within the Royal dimension, a slight breeze wafted into the high vaulted windows of the Royal Palace, a majestic sight with its tall golden towers and open halls. Within the throne room, countless guards, servants, advisors and others, stood or sat in the rafters as they watched the events happening in Soul Society, together with the Royal Family.
The King, Isshin Kurosaki, had the appearance of a 40 year old man despite being over ten thousand years old, with spiky black hair and a full beard. He was clothed in fine golden plate armour, a silver sword hung at his waist. His brown eyes narrowed as he watched Sosuke Aizen gloat about his plans to Shinji Hirako, as he and his comrades underwent a hollowfication. A hand tightened around his own, causing him to turn his gaze to the owner.
His Queen Masaki, a woman that appeared to be in her thirties and who in his mind, was the most beautiful woman in the known universe, with her fair skin and long brown hair and warm loving brown eyes that seemed to flow endlessly with joy. Now though, her eyes were saddened at the fate of the Captains and Lieutenants, as they were mutated against their will. Squeezing her hand gently, he tried to reassure her with a smile.
Beyond her sat his youngest children, twins girls, but as different as night and day. They looked to be about fourteen years old. Yuzu was the shy and caring one, with short brown hair and brown eyes, an almost exact copy of her mother as a child. Karin on the other hand, had inherited her father's black hair, but with dark brown, almost black coloured eyes. Their eyes were fixed on the projection below, while their hands clutched their dresses tightly as they shook.
Behind them all, his son Ichigo stood with his arms crossed. If the girls were considered the symbol of his compassion and empathy, then his son was the symbol of his power. He looked like an eighteen or nineteen year old and stood just over six feet tall, clad in plate armour as black as the night sky, yet when light reflected off it, it gave off a brilliant dark blue glow. His orange hair shadowed his brown eyes, his face scowling as he watched the proceedings. Hung at his waist, was a silver sword like his father.
As the Central 46, the so called 'King's handpicked council' declared that Kisuke was to be exiled and Tessai imprisoned, along with the execution of the infected Captains and Lieutenants, Ichigo, Karin and Isshin's eyes narrowed, while Masaki and Yuzu gasped. The judgement was interrupted though, by the arrival of Yoruichi Shihoin, as she effortlessly freed Kisuke and Tessai. Watching as Kisuke made his promise to try and help cure the mutated soul reapers, the projection was finally cut off. His hands tightening at the events in Soul Society, Ichigo watched his father's eyes for any hint of his plans.
"What will you do now father?" Ichigo asked as he walked from behind the throne to stand before his father. "We have seen that Sosuke Aizen has been sacrificing countless souls to that 'thing', as well as trying to turn other soul reapers into hollows. Surely by now you will allow us to capture and interrogate him?"
Looking his son in the eye, Isshin shook his head and leaned back in his throne.
"It is not our place to interfere in the matters of Soul Society or the Living World Ichigo," Isshin said in a chiding tone, watching as his son clenched his hands into fists. "They will have to sort this problem out on their own."
"And how do you think they will do that father?" Ichigo shouted, his father's laidback attitude grinding away at his patience. "That man has managed to fool his superiors since the first day he met them. Countless lives have been lost and countless more will be added to that list. Why then do you continually tell us to do nothing?"
Isshin sighed at his son's arguments. Ever since they had learned of Aizen's actions, Ichigo had been actively lobbying to deal with him there and then, but Isshin always declined him the opportunity to do anything.
"The soul reapers need to learn how to deal with their own problems Ichigo," Isshin said sternly, his eyes narrowing as they focused on Ichigo. "If they fail to stop him, then we will step in, not before."
"So you want us to keep waiting," Ichigo said, it was not a question, more a statement. "Waiting as that madman robs even more people of their lives. You say that the soul reapers need to learn how to deal with this on their own? Why is that father?" Ichigo asked as he strode around the throne room, his plate boots echoing through the halls.
"We were charged with overseeing the worlds and providing guidance to them," Ichigo continued. "Yet ever since you decided that we should allow them greater freedom and the ability to rule themselves, they have decayed." Looking around the room at all the gathered residents of the Royal dimension, he spread his arms out as he continued his speech. "Under our guidance, the worlds prospered, they learnt the ideals of love, friendship, justice, sacrifice and many more. Under our guidance they experienced the greatest period of peace for centuries." Turning back to face his father, he dropped his arms and his voice acquired an almost accusatory tone to it. "Until you decided to withdraw all our support for them father. Now the only contact we have with them is when we find a promising member within the Gotei 13 and induct them into the Royal Guard. Our sole interaction with them is the theft of innovative and determined individuals, from their world to our own. How then can they govern themselves father, when we pluck those that could bring change to their order, away from them?"
"Watch your tone with me Ichigo," Isshin said as his patience was also quickly disappearing. "Whether you agree with my methods or not, they are my decisions to make. You'd do well to remember that."
"So you would hide behind your crown at a time like this, why am I not surprised," Ichigo scoffed. "We have the power to save countless lives and here you say we shouldn't? That they will handle it when clearly they will not. What use is having this power when it is not used to better their lives?"
"ENOUGH ICHIGO!" Isshin roared, his reiatsu flaring slightly about him as his anger built. Next to him, the Queen and his daughters shifted uncomfortably. "This matter is over," he declared and stood to leave.
"No it isn't father," Ichigo said softly. "For with every word you speak, the clearer it becomes to me that a coward sits upon that throne."
The room fell dead quiet at Ichigo's words, while Isshin halted in his stride. When he turned to look at his son, his eyes were revealed to be full of rage. With a roar he flashed across the room, grabbing Ichigo by his throat and lifting him into the air.
"You should know your place my son," he said as he drew his zanpakuto, morphing into his shikai of a long bladed spear.
Immediately the majority of the servants and advisors left the chamber to avoid the coming fight, while the Royal Guard spread out around the room to contain the rampant reiatsu. Tossing Ichigo into a pillar, Ichigo's body struck it, sending it crumbling down on top of him. From where they sat near the throne, Karin and Yuzu ran to their mother, tears in their eyes as their brother and father fought. Masaki though, only looked on with no hint of tears in her eyes, focusing solely on calming her daughters.
Breaking free of the rubble, Ichigo stood unscathed and looked back at his father, his face showing no emotion. Stepping out of it, he closed to within a few feet of his father and stopped.
"Not going to draw your zanpakuto son?" Isshin asked irritably. "You're going to get seriously hurt if you don't."
Ichigo showed no signs that he acknowledged or even heard his father, as he continued to stare unemotionally at the man. Growing tired at his son's attitude, Isshin charged in again, bringing his zanpakuto down in a vertical slash. Ichigo stood unmoving, his hands moving like lightning to catch the blade, as it neared his head. Stunned momentarily, Isshin watched as Ichigo shifted his blade to his side and ducked in with a dual punch to his chest, sending him flying backwards into another pillar.
Relaxing his posture, Ichigo waited for his father to make his next move. He did not have to wait long, as soon a powerful Sokatsui erupted from the rubble, scorching the marble floor as it raced towards him.
"Tenran," Ichigo chanted, bringing his hands up in front of him as a whirlwind spun from them, smothering the flame as it neared. Ducking his head, he narrowed his eyes as his father reappeared behind him. As he rolled forward, he brought his foot up to catch his father on his chin, sending the man flying once again. This time though, he followed after him, bringing his clasped fists together down on Isshin's back, sending him crashing into the floor.
Growing agitated with his son's actions, Isshin stood uninjured, despite taking a number of attacks to his body and began charging his reiatsu into his blade. Knowing what was coming, the members of the Royal Guard erected Bakudo no. 81 in front of everyone, while Masaki did the same for herself and her daughters. Ichigo showed no reaction to the attack and stood with his hands out in front of him once again.
"Getsuga Tensho!" Isshin yelled and swung his staff upwards towards Ichigo, a blue crescent moon of energy firing from the blade. As it struck Ichigo, the wave came to an abrupt halt as the two strove against one another. Slowly but surely, the wave began to overwhelm Ichigo, before finally exploding against him and sending a shockwave outwards. It passed harmlessly though, as the force was absorbed by the shields around them. Ichigo's body however, fell to the floor, landing with a thud and smoking lightly. As Isshin walked over and stood over him, he regarded his son dispassionately.
"It is still too soon for you to be questioning me Ichigo," he said and turned to leave. He had only moved a few steps though, before he found his feet swept out from under him, landing with a muted thud on the floor. Standing above him, he noticed Ichigo for the most part unharmed, his bleeding hands holding his staff to his throat.
"You may have desired to mark me father," Ichigo said as his golden blood flowed down the staff and dripped onto Isshin's armour, "but I have no intention of harming you. Know this, I surpassed you a long time ago and the only reason you did mark me, was because I needed to see if you would. You've confirmed that you're not just a coward, but filth that has lost sight of the charge he was given and taught." Turning to look at who was still present, he could make out only the guards and strongest of the advisors left.
"What do the rest of you think? Do you really believe that we should allow the soul reapers to handle the mess that they cannot even see? Or do we act like the protectors we call ourselves and step in to aid them? Speak your minds now!" he commanded.
Despite that though, they all remained stubbornly mute, their gazes turned away from him and his father. Noticing his friends since childhood Tatsuki Arisawa and Yasutora Sado standing near one of the pillars, he looked at them imploringly, only to feel disheartened as they shook their heads and averted their gaze. Switching his gaze to his mother and sisters, he watched as they had tears in the corners of their eyes, but remained silent. Lastly he looked down at his father, seeing the smug grin spreading across his face at how no one would speak out in support of Ichigo.
"Face it son, no one will follow you. They believe that we should allow them to make their own mistakes and face the consequences of those mistakes," Isshin said as he tried to rise, only to find his blade stabbed near his ear, keeping him pinned down.
"Cowards, the whole lot of you!" Ichigo growled as his eyes burned into each of them. "If your orders are to do nothing, then I will abandon my position if that is what it takes, to do what is right!"
"What do you mean Ichigo?" Isshin asked in confusion, his tone indicating his anger returning. He was silenced though as Ichigo kicked him towards his throne.
"Listen closely for I do not intend to repeat myself father, in fact…I no longer consider you to be my father," Ichigo said as he held the bladed staff out in front of him, his sisters actually crying now, while his parents and everyone else watched on shocked. "I abandon my position, my inheritance…my NAME in the pursuit of helping others. I will be the protector that you are all too cowardly to be." Ripping his chest piece open, he revealed his torso, tattooed with the Royal Sigil on it. Bringing the blade to it, he infused it with his own reiatsu, before touching it to the mark and screaming in agony as it was burned away. A massive shockwave originated from his body, overwhelming the barriers protecting everyone and sending them flying back, while the pillars cracked and windows shattered.
Within the centre of the blast though, Isshin and Masaki watched as Ichigo's armour cracked around his body, while his black reiatsu flared wildly about him. In the midst of this vortex of power, a slim beam of golden reiatsu plunged into Ichigo's chest, causing him to cough up a mouthful of blood. Unlike earlier though, it was now a deep crimson colour, no longer its rich gold glow. The beam then lifted Ichigo's body and began to glow brightly, signalling that it would soon expel him from the Royal dimension. Sharing one last look of defiance with his father, Ichigo offered a tentative smile to his mother, before the beam snapped and his body disappeared. With a sigh, Masaki held a glowing palm to each of her daughter's foreheads, sending them into a dreamless sleep, before standing from her seat and walking towards her husband. As Isshin struggled to his feet, he turned to face Masaki as she neared him.
"Masaki I…" he was silenced as his wife slapped him across his face, his head snapping to the side from the force behind it. Turning back to face her, he saw her eyes pouring with tears and filled with equal amounts of rage and grief.
"Your pride and arrogance just cost us our son Isshin!" she spat venomously. "It was your arrogance that you are always right and your pride in your own abilities that led to this mess. Until you can fix this mess you've made, don't even bother talking to me." With that said she walked back to her daughters and with the aid of a servant, carried the sleeping girls to her room.
Looking around him, Isshin watched as everyone left the throne room, their eyes downcast. Grumbling to himself, he picked up his zanpakuto from where it laid and walked back to his throne. Stabbing the blade into the ground, he sank into his throne, with his head in his hands, his son's last words echoing in his head.
In the Soul Society, Yoruichi Shihoin leaned back in a tree as she watched the stars above her. Not too long ago, she watched as her two best friends along with the eight victims of Aizen's hollowfication experiment, slipped into untraceable Gigais and departed for the World of the Living. Now she merely had to think of how she would escape the Soul Society. She was brought out of her thoughts by a shooting star in the sky. Smiling at the sight, she sighed.
'Ah it couldn't hurt to ask for some Divine intervention now could it,' she thought with a smirk, wishing for some sort of help with her situation. As she continued to track the star, she grew alarmed as it grew larger and larger as it neared her. Just before it struck the area she was near, she flash stepped away as it crashed into the ground, burning anything and everything in its path as it rolled.
"Dammit I wanted help, not a near death experience," she groaned as she stood up, brushing the foliage and dirt from her hair and uniform. Flash stepping down the trail of destruction, she was surprised when she found the passed out form of a young man with bright orange hair, clad in broken plate armour and bleeding from several wounds to his body.
'This day just keeps getting better and better,' she grumbled, picking up the man and heading back to the underground training area. When she finally reached it, she thought of how to treat him, settling quickly on just placing him in the hot springs and letting it heal his wounds. A mischievous grin formed on her face at the thought of stripping the stranger, but was quickly dispelled as she gazed at his body. He was lean and muscled, but not overly built like some of the soul reapers she knew. What shocked her most though was the large burn across his chest, the skin blistered and bleeding.
Not wasting any more time, she slipped off his armour and sword, and placed him into the hot spring. Expecting him to wake up and flail about the minute he hit the water, Yoruichi was confused when nothing happened. The only sign that he was in the water, being the few bubbles that floated to the surface every now and then. Panicking, she dived into the water after the strange man, supporting his head so that it was at least above the water level. Making sure he was breathing evenly, she breathed a sigh of relief, before groaning once again at the fact that her clothes were now soaked.
Shifting her gaze back and forth between the unconscious man and herself, she quickly divested herself of her clothing, throwing it next to his where it landed with a loud splat. Free of the restricting clothing, she continued to support her charge, her breasts pressed into his back while she held him, her chin resting on his shoulder. Idly tracing his toned muscles, she watched as his wounds sealed over and yet he still didn't wake up.
'Guess this might take a bit of time' she thought, bringing them closer to the edge so that she could at least sit down. Minutes later, she passed out with her arms still wrapped tightly around Ichigo, missing the signs that he was stirring.
When Ichigo opened his eyes, he was dimly aware that he was in a hot pool and his wounds stung slightly, while his head swam, trying to recall everything he did. His words…the duel with his father…and finally…the moment he threw away his life to come and aid the soul reapers. Now that he was fully aware once again, he was aware of a warm body pressed against his own, notably a female body judging by the 'fleshy globes' he could feel pressing into his back. Turning his head back slightly, he beheld the sight of a naked Yoruichi, the woman that had helped Kisuke and Tessai escape, with her body pressed up tightly against his own.
"Uh miss," he said gently, touching her hands to try and wake her up. She stirred and seemed surprised to find Ichigo awake.
"Oh good you're up," she said with a slight yawn, stretching her arms above her and giving Ichigo a full tour of her body, making the exiled prince blush. Noticing this, she chuckled. "Don't tell me a hot guy like you is such a prude," she said with a grin, making Ichigo scowl.
"Oh please," he said rolling his eyes. "First off where are we? And why are you naked…better yet why are we both naked and in this hot spring?"
"Well nameless wonder," Yoruichi said poking his forehead with a slim finger, "you were all cut up and burned, so I placed you in this healing spring. Only you decided to stay passed out and force me to leap into the water to save your sorry ass," she said with a grin. "So tell me, how did you get those injuries?"
"My name is Ichigo, Yoruichi," he said shocking her that he knew her name, "and it's a very long story."
"Well you'd best get started then," she said with narrowed eyes. "Starting with how you knew my name."
And that's the end of the introduction. Honestly I get ambushed by ideas without warning. Maybe I should start giving them away. *Recoils as a wave of plot bunnies pour into the room armed with carrot pistols and the like.* Or not…help…
Anyway, this will be updated last now and I will resume with my updating cycle (The Red Sun Sets finally gets its turn).
So what did you think of this, like, love or hate? Let me know please.