When the Heavens Fail.

All right guys, I'm actually struggling with ideas at the moment. My plot outline at the moment calls for several time-skips of roughly 20-40 years. If it isn't to your liking, well I'm going to have to ask you to be patient, since writing over a 100 years' worth of events, will demoralise me. What I will do is go over major events in order, while minor events will be seen as flashbacks. As always, a heartfelt thanks for the reviews last chapter, and now on with the show.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

"Normal speech"

'Thoughts/Inner Speech'

"Kido/Zanpakuto release"

"Zanpakuto"

XXX

Chapter 6: Yoruichi's Match.

The following days in the Urahara Shop were definitely interesting to say the least. Ichigo had been right when he thought that Kensei would be up for a spar, as the man had rapidly donned his mask and charged at Ichigo, his dagger-like shikai at the ready, the moment he asked. Despite their matches with their zanpakuto, Ichigo found he enjoyed their 'Hakuda-only' matches the most. There was just one drawback to this though. Watching their practice, Yoruichi herself had gotten involved, which is why he found himself in a match with her right now. Ducking a fist as it crashed into the rock behind him, he sent a straight kick at her, watching as she effortlessly leaned back, somersaulting away from him. Smirking at her, he marvelled at the grace and flexibility she showed, which didn't help with this match. Not wanting to dwell on it any longer, he charged after her and received an eyeful of dirt as his reward.

"Fools rush in Ichigo!" she taunted from behind him, swinging her leg out to connect with his unprotected neck. An inch from his skin though, his hand reached out to grab it, so that he could spin her around before slamming her into the ground.

"Then we're both fools," he smirked, his eyes still shut and sending his foot crashing down where he felt her reiatsu. Rolling to the side, she was sent a good twenty feet away from the force of his stomp.

Looking up at him, she could see him running a hand over his face, a faint stream of water trailing after it, as it cleansed his vision. Grinning at her again, he gestured for her to come at him, a fact that she was only too happy to comply with.

From their seats, roughly thirty feet away, Shinji and Kensei watched the two spar against one another.

"How long have they been going at it now," Shinji asked, his eyes tracking them as they kicked up the speed, their steps kicking up clouds of dust, while their blows sent light shockwaves across the room, ruffling their hair slightly.

"Almost ten minutes," Kensei replied, idly twirling his shikai in his hand. He had just gotten through his own spar with the unknown soul reaper. In fact the only thing he knew for a fact was that Ichigo was clearly more than just an officer in the Royal Army. Considering that he was able to help Kensei out with his mask endurance training, aided with nothing more than his sealed blade, that put him at least on par with Kyoraku or Ukitake with regards to his skill and power. That only brought up more questions though, since no one of his skill level and power would be answering to others, but was far more likely to be giving the orders. His thoughts were shattered when Mashiro began to whine incessantly once again.

"I don't get it, why doesn't Berry-tan spar with me too," she whined, rolling around on the ground. "I'm also a Hakuda master, but he only seems to find time for dummy-Kensei and Yoruichi-chan."

"Wait, so now you want to spar with someone?" Kensei said in shock, his eyes widening. "Wait…you're jealous aren't you?" he said with a sadistic grin.

"AM NOT!" she shouted at him, her face screwing up in an angry pout, while she put her hands on her hips.

"Sure, of course you're not. So how is it that I'm the dummy here then?" he replied, turning back to the fight, just in time to dodge as Ichigo's body crashed into the rock he was leaning against.

"Sorry Kensei!" Yoruichi called out to him, her body covered in her incomplete shunko, the reiatsu only arcing slightly off her body. Emerging from the rubble, Ichigo rubbed the bruise on his chin and raised an eyebrow at her.

"And just what the hell is that Yoruichi?" he asked, his eyes analysing how her blows seemed to be amplified beyond what normal reiatsu would accomplish.

"What you've never heard of it?" she asked incredulously. "It's called Shunko, an art combining hakuda and kido to explosively increase one's strength."

"And you're using it against me now, because?" he asked her puzzled, seeing her cross her arms and pout at him.

"You're helping them gain control of a new power; can't you at least help me to control my new technique?"

Seeing the sad look she was giving him, he sighed and cursed her ability to manipulate him. "Fine I'll help you to control it, just warn me the next time you're going to try something new."

"LUNCHTIME!" rang Hiyori's voice in the air, putting a stop to any thoughts of further training that he had on his mind, as he and everyone else turned to see her poking her head down the trap door.

Heading towards the ladder, he could see Kensei teasing Mashiro about something, causing the child-like Visored to take a wild swing at him and miss by a mile as he ducked his head, chuckling to himself all the while. Next to him, Yoruichi and Shinji were discussing the technique she had just used and its advantages and pitfalls.

"Took you guys long enough," Lisa commented, as she, Tessai and Hachi served themselves, while Love and Rose were already seated on a pile of cushions in the corner. Seeing Yoruichi giving the perverted Visored a dirty look, Ichigo was more interested in how Hiyori quickly served herself and then high-tailed it out of the room. Smirking at her actions, he inwardly laughed at how she continued to avoid him even now.

"Where's Kisuke anyway?" Shinji asked, seeing the eccentric shopkeeper nowhere in sight.

"Knowing him, he's probably so wrapped up in tinkering with something new, that he's forgotten all about eating," Yoruichi answered him, seating herself at the table, plate in hand.

"I may as well go get him now, can't have him thinking on an empty stomach," Ichigo said with a grin, and heading off down the hallway to Kisuke's lab.

"Hey Kisuke, stop playing around in there and get out here," he called out knocking on the door. Without warning, the door was blasted off its hinges, sending him and it flying back down the hallway and through the wall of the wooden house.

"Argh my head…" he groaned, rubbing his hand over the spot where the door had hit him. Shoving the steel reinforced door off of him, he gazed back at the wreckage his body had created and winced. Emerging from the jagged hole in the wall was a concerned Yoruichi, her face showing that she was torn between laughing at his impromptu flight and smothering him with affection. She seemed to settle for a compromise as she chuckled and offered a hand to help him up.

Taking it with some reluctance, he wrapped an arm over her shoulder as they headed back into the house, seeing the rest of the Visored and Tessai gathered around the smoking form of Kisuke, his clothing charred and hanging loosely from his body.

"Well that didn't end very well," he coughed, brushing off the soot from his ruined hat and placing it back on his head. "It seems like the Hogyoku really is a handful to get rid of."

"No really, gee I would never have guessed," Ichigo said sarcastically, his arm still hung over Yoruichi's shoulder. "You know what Urahara, I think I need a vacation from you for a bit," he said with a crooked smile.

XXX

Soaring in through the air, Ichigo felt himself floating on an updraft, tilting his wings to the side every now and then so that he wouldn't rise to high. Feeling a shifting below him, he looked down at his passenger, inwardly smirking at the queasy looking feline as her claws dug into the sling that contained their clothing.

"Not enjoying the ride Yoruichi?" he asked, his high-pitched voice making it all the more mocking.

"What does it look like to you Ichigo?" she snapped back, her neck shifting just enough for her to glare up at him.

"Well you know this was all optional, but you did express a wish to see what it was like up here."

"This is not what I meant!" she shouted back at him, shutting her eyes closed as he started his descent towards his secret cottage.

Chuckling to himself, he remembered how they had left the Visoreds with a place of their own. It was just a simple home at the time, but with Kisuke's ingenuity, he was sure it would be like the shop in no time. Seeing that Yoruichi had already shifted into her animal form and was currently snoozing on her pile of clothing, he had, had the brilliant idea to…surprise her. Initially, she had only shifted around only slightly, but when she felt a cool breeze, as well as the caws of a seagull that had flown up to annoy him, she had literally hissed in surprise and yelled at him to put her down.

Now setting the sling down on the ground, he landed himself and ruffled his feathers, only to find his legs being grabbed by a pair of slim hands and hoisted upside down. Staring back at Yoruichi, he could see a vein throbbing on her forehead as she held him immobile.

"Um Yoruichi, let's not do anything hasty now shall we?" he pleaded, his shining eyes and girly voice, seeming to have some effect, since her grip loosened, until he eventually fell from her slack grip. Yelping he transformed back, just in time to spare himself a painful fall.

As he got to his feet, his tirade at her dropping him was short lived as she pressed her lips to his own. "You know we're alone right now," she whispered into his ear, as she broke of the kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Imagine all the things we could do now that we couldn't while back at Kisuke's."

Conscious of the fact that she was in fact pressing her naked body against him right now, he grinned and wrapped his arms around her waist, engaging her lips in a fiery dance once again. Wrapping her legs around his waist, he carried her back into the cottage, their bodies pressed together so that barely any space existed between them. As he opened the door and made his way towards their bedroom, he was interrupted by a polite cough. Breaking apart, he peered over her shoulder to see who was waiting for them, only to rapidly pale before Yoruichi's eyes.

"Ichigo?" she asked in concern, peering over her shoulder and seeing a woman dressed in a light red kimono with brown hair that ran over her shoulders. The woman's presence seemed to radiate an aura of authority that made Yoruichi want to sink into a hole, considering her state of undress and the compromising position she found herself in. Releasing her hold on him, she stood next to him as his arms wrapped around her again.

"Onii-chan!" shouted a pair of voices from somewhere in the cottage, as a pair of young girls rushed into the lounge, halting abruptly as they stared at the two of them. As their faces rapidly turned bright red, Yoruichi felt the sense of dread return. Not because she was wrapped in Ichigo's embrace and being stared at by two young girls and a powerful woman, but because she recognised them now from Ichigo's memory as being his mother and sisters.

"ARGH CLOTHES; PLEASE JUST PUT ON SOME CLOTHES!" Karin screamed, as both she and Yuzu covered their eyes with their hands, trying to erase the sight of their brother and another woman standing before them stark naked.

Turning just as red, Ichigo flashed out the house again with Yoruichi, appearing next to the sling of clothing and rapidly dressing both of them, before rushing back into the house again.

"Uh mother, Karin, Yuzu; how nice to see you again," he said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "Uh this is Yoruichi Shihoin. Yoruichi, this is my mother Masaki and my two sisters, Karin and Yuzu," he said in a strained voice, gesturing to each of them in turn.

"Uh hi," Yoruichi greeted them hesitantly and offering them a slight wave of her hand.

"Well, I would ask how you know my son Yoruichi-chan," Masaki said with a twinkle in her eye as she smiled, "but from the way you two just entered I think I can guess."

"MOM!" all three Kurosaki siblings shouted, their minds still trying to erase the embarrassment from a few minutes ago.

"What? It's only natural that I'd assume that considering that there's very little a man and woman would do with each other, especially in that state of dress. Or should I say undress?" she said, holding her chin thoughtfully. "Anyway, I just made a pot of tea, so please do come in and sit down. Oh and Yoruichi-chan, please do go change into something a little more appropriate, you too Ichigo-kun."

"Of course, right away mother," Ichigo replied, dashing off down the hallway to the room they shared and shutting the door behind him.

"So…" Yoruichi began, staring at him with a look of embarrassment. "Your mother and little sisters, just saw the two of us, with our hands all over each other and our intentions quite clear and now she wants to have tea with us…how is this normal?" she almost shouted, sinking to the floor with her head in her hands.

"We can ask them all about that later, but please for now just get dressed," he implored her, tossing her a formal kimono as he rushed to don his own.

Several minutes later, a red-faced Ichigo, Yoruichi, Karin and Yuzu were seated at the table, idly drinking from their cups, while Masaki worked on something in the kitchen.

"So you and my brother are…dating," Karin asked, fishing for a word she could use. "How long have you known each other exactly?"

"Uh well," Yoruichi began, falling silent as Masaki entered the room with a tray full of sandwiches.

"Now, now Karin, we can hear all about their story later," Masaki chided her daughter. "For now eat up and no complaints," she added with a steely glare, watching as her children gulped and ate without complaint.

XXX

After lunch, Masaki had directed her children to tidy up the dishes, leaving her alone with Yoruichi.

"Come now Yoruichi-chan," she said standing and offering her hand to the former noble. "Let's go somewhere more private to…talk."

Gulping, Yoruichi took the offered hand hesitantly and allowed herself to be led out into the backyard, where they sat on a bench in the small garden.

"You know I haven't seen Ichigo's eyes stare at anyone like that since he was a baby," Masaki said as she stared off into the garden. "He kept a glimmer of life in them during his childhood, but it seemed to disappear when he took command of his father's forces. It made me wonder whether he would die alone on some obscure battlefield without ever having learned what it was like to love someone." Turning back to Yoruichi, she could see the woman absorbing her words. "Do you know that you're the only woman that he's really looked at like that? Despite all the other girls that have sought his hand in the past, only you seem to have captured his interest to actually progress beyond a simple greeting."

Now this was not something that Yoruichi wanted to go over. She was aware of how stifling marriage proposals were for a noble; she could only imagine the woman that Ichigo had been offered before he met her.

Seeing the dark-skinned woman's head dip down in thought, Masaki continued. "Thankfully none of them would even be able to hold a candle to you. After all, none of them would even think about abandoning their position for the sake of others. In that way you and he are very much alike."

"Thank you…for you kind words Kurosaki-san," Yoruichi said with a smile, seeing the older woman wave a hand at her.

"Oh please Yoruichi-chan, if you're going to be sleeping with my son, you could at least call me by my first name," Masaki quipped, seeing Yoruichi blush at her words.

"Make no mistake about it though," she said, her voice taking on a dark edge to it, "you leave my boy with a broken heart and you'll be begging for death before the end. Now then let's get back to the others, after all I want to discuss something with the Ichigo and his sisters would love to bond with you," she said her tone becoming cheerful again, while Yoruichi was unnaturally pale.

XXX

As they tidied up the kitchen after their mother's cooking, Ichigo watched her lead Yoruichi out of the house and into the backyard. Watching him, Karin smirked and nudged him.

"Worried that mom's going to do away with your girlfriend Ichi-nii?" she asked, chuckling at the expression on his face.

"Of course I'm not worried, she's done absolutely nothing to warrant mom to worry about me."

"I don't know about that, after all who knows what would've happened between you two if we hadn't been here already," she said with a grin, ducking as he tossed a dishcloth at her. "Touchy aren't we? Does that mean that you've already done it, or that you've been denied for so long that your frustrations are just now making themselves known?"

"Karin-chan!" Yuzu scolded her sister. "It is none of our business who onii-chan…'warms his bed with at night'," she said, trying to not think of her brother and his sex life.

"Would you both just stop!" he shouted, his face cherry red at their topic. "God you two have been hanging out with dad for too long if you're having these thoughts."

"But onii-chan, this is what mom told us on the subject," Yuzu told him, making his jaw hit the ground.

"Now, now Yuzu, there's some things that need to stay strictly between girls," Masaki said from the doorway, smiling down at her children, while Yoruichi chuckled behind her. "I'm leaving you two alone with Yoruichi for a moment, try not to break her like you did your brother," she added, leading Ichigo out of the room.

Once the two of them were gone, Karin turned to stare at Yoruichi. "So," she began looking Yoruichi up and down slowly, as if she was appraising her, "you and my brother are fucking each other?"

"KARIN-CHAN!" Yuzu screamed in shock, clapping her hand to her twin's mouth, while Yoruichi openly laughed this time.

"Not enough for my liking. After all there always to be some interruption to our fun," she said with a wink, making the twins sputter.

XXX

"Your father is worried about you," Masaki said, as she sat across from Ichigo, while he idly ran a hand over his desk. They were seated in his office and now she broached the subject that she had been dreading.

"Is he now? That's strange considering the fact that he did toss me around and cut my hands open," he replied nonchalantly as he stopped rubbing the surface of his desk. "So why don't you tell me why you're here, since you obviously didn't come to see me just because of father's worries." His tone, while polite, showed that he was suspicious of her.

"Your sisters missed you, they wanted to see their brother again and I wanted to see how my son was doing," she replied, seeing him nod his head. "I must say that I am surprised that you've entered into a relationship with the young Shihoin, how long has it been since you two…?"

"Got together? No more than a week or two," he answered a smile on his face as he remembered their time on the beach.

"And she makes you happy?" she asked, watching her son's eyes as they stared off into nothing.

"Being with her is the only joy I have at the moment," he said sadly, the life in his eyes being extinguished. "The more I come to learn about Aizen, the more I realise that he has weaved such an intricate web, that the slightest misstep will alert him and give him time to prepare. Now to add to my worries, I fear what will happen to her when it comes time to fight against the bastard."

"You know you could return with us if you wanted," she said, watching his head snap up and his eyes narrow at her words. "The two of you could come back with us and live free of that worry and go back to the old way that you got something past your father."

"And why should I mother? I know that it will be years, decades, maybe even centuries before I can defeat Aizen, but why should I go back to the one place where I am chained to an ideal I do not share anymore," he shouted at her, his anger at her tactics enraging him. "Yoruichi has friends and family she cares for here and in the Soul Society, what would happen if they were killed before we could intervene? She would live forever with the guilt that she had forsaken them to simply save herself. I've already started helping those that he twisted, and as such I consider them my own friends too and I will not leave them to fend for themselves. Now if that is all you wish to say to me, I would like to request that you leave me alone for the moment."

Standing, his mother nodded at him, seeing the protector within him emerge and takeover the little boy that he had been for most of the afternoon. To her eyes, she could see his power simmering below the surface, showing anger and hurt at her actions, but she had resigned herself to at least try and bring her little boy home.

"If you are set on this," she said as she walked to the door and opened it, "I will send someone with a report of anything of note happening in the Seireitei. It should prove helpful to you in your mission." Seeing him nod at her in thanks, she turned on her heel and headed back to the girls.

Once the door shut, Ichigo released his hold on his frustration and punched the desk, destroying the ornate piece of furniture in his rage. Holding his head in his hands, he tried remembering the good times with his family, hoping the images would calm him down enough before he returned to the others.

XXX

Okay I know that I used the interruption gag last chapter, but this is literally the one thing that would scare the shit out of me if it ever happened. Also I'm going to cut this cycle off here, since I want the next three chapters together since the action will pick up and I reveal my choice to you guys.

So what did you like, love or hate? Let me know please.