The Protector's Temptation.
Welcome back once again. And this story has a new title, thanks to those that sent in suggestions, but this one will make sense in the long run. Thanks to everyone that reviewed and some of them need to be addressed;
The pairing: At first I was going to say no there will be no romance, but then I found my mind wandering down an interesting path. For now I'll say that their relationship will extend beyond just master and zanpakuto, but not lovers or whatever you want to call it. More on this as the story develops. Also Kyoka Suigetsu is too long to repeatedly use, what should her nickname be? Kyoka or Suigetsu or even Kyo or Sui?
Lemons: I don't know, highly unlikely though.
Kageroza Inaba/ Oko Yushima's shikai: From what I remember, only two people actually used their bankai against him, Ichigo and Renji. The rest of the Captains just used their shikai. Let's not forget that Aizen took on three bankai and seven shikai at the same time, before transforming and didn't even get scratched.
Rant over, read on and enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
Staring back at the tall figure in front of her, Tatsuki was pretty sure that she needed to have her ears checked, because Ichigo Kurosaki surely did not just ask her to spar with him once again, nor did he ask to have further matches with her in the future.
"Uh Tatsuki, you still in there?" Ichigo asked, poking her on the forehead, only to have her slap his hand away.
"Of course I'm still here," she said with a glare on her face. "And what the hell are you doing here? What happened to 'you wouldn't be coming back here'?"
"Well, I just thought," he said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, "…I just thought it's time I sort of got back into it, as something to keep my mind off you know…" trailing off with a pointed look so that she would understand.
"Oh," she muttered, understanding that he wanted something to get his mind off of his old hollow hunting days. "Well I'm sure we can get you signed up again, but that can wait until after practice. For now get your ass back there and change into a gi so that I can kick your ass," she finished with a wicked grin, pointing to the locker room in the back of the room.
"Now, now Tatsuki, don't let your mouth go writing a check that your fists can't cash," he said with a smirk, backing away as she lashed out at him with a punch. Chuckling at getting a rise out of her, he made his way to the back, getting a uniform his size from the woman at the counter before heading into the locker room. Changing quickly, he headed back out to see Tatsuki tapping her foot impatiently waiting for him.
"Took you long enough, I was beginning to think you chickened out," she said with a grin, seeing him scowl in response.
"As if Tatsuki," he scoffed, "but are you sure you want to test me yourself? I'd hate to embarrass you in front of everyone here." Cracking a grin at her, he could see that his words had struck a nerve, as she stomped over to him, grabbed him by the top of his gi and dragged him over to an empty space so that they could begin. Bowing to one another, they took their stances and watched the other, neither wanting to make the first move.
Just as it seemed that nothing would happen, Tatsuki charged into Ichigo, a fist aimed for his gut, which he deflected with an open palm. Quickly moving into her next attack, she brought a leg in from the side, aiming at his now vulnerable ribs. Her blow was halted when he had the presence of mind to lift his knee up and block the blow, retaliating by grabbing the extended leg and sweeping out her remaining limb faster than her body could react. Once she was down on the ground, he sent a straight fist at her face, stopping a finger's breath away from her nose.
"My point Tatsuki," he said with a smirk, flicking her on her nose, before holding his hand out to help her up.
"Since when did you get so good?" she grumbled as she stood, rubbing the bruise that was forming on her back.
"Well you know," he said half-heartedly, shrugging his shoulders at her, "you can't help but learn a thing or two when people actively seek you out for a fight." In his mind though, he was recalling his encounters with hollows, arrancar and other soul reapers and the enhanced strength, speed and reflexes he retained from his training. Even now after so long without his powers, he was still physically superior to most other humans.
"Best out of three!" Tatsuki shouted at him, breaking him out of his reverie and bringing him back to reality. Seeing that she was already in her stance again, he smirked and settled back down again.
Fifteen minutes later and Tatsuki was grumbling to herself, as she found herself face up on the floor once again.
"Best out of seven Tatsuki?" Ichigo taunted her, standing on either side of her head and smirking down at her.
Not bothering to reply, she forced herself to her feet again and took a few steps back. As she engaged him once again, with a cross aimed at his chest, he bent his legs so that he could twist his body and toss her over him. Just as he was about to grab her though, her gi abruptly vanished before his stunned eyes, making him falter just enough for her to hit him and follow up with a throw of her own. As she tossed him over her shoulder, he felt the wind knocked out of him as he was slammed into the floor. Staring back at her, he rubbed his eyes as her gi reappeared once again.
"Ha, not so cocky now are you!" she said with glee, pinning him to the ground with her knee.
"Uh yeah, good one," he muttered, his mind still reeling over what he thought he had seen. Taking his stance warily, he started the fight this time, rushing at her with a fist at the ready, dodging to the side just as she lashed out with a kick.
Before he could take advantage of the opening and counter, he was stunned once again as her uniform vanished, torturing his mind with images of her nude body, drops of sweat sliding down her curves with excruciating slowness. Just like last time, he faltered long enough for her to recover and pin him again.
'KYOKA SUIGETSU!' he yelled inwardly, hearing his zanpakuto chuckle in response. 'Explain what the fuck you're doing right now, or so help me…' he threatened.
"Relax Ichigo. Watching you dominate her was obviously not helping train you, so I'm making it a little more…interesting," Kyoka Suigetsu said in a mischievous tone. "So here's your options, get over her body, or face defeat as she pins you over and over again."
Grumbling inwardly, Ichigo could say no more as Tatsuki was on the offensive once again, a barrage of kicks, punches and elbows being thrown his way. Each time he would try and mount an offense, Kyoka Suigetsu would again strip her down, forcing him onto the defensive, as his mind faltered.
He was just thankful that he was able to explain his red face as simply being a result of exertion and not because he was struggling not to blush like a strawberry. During a particularly intense set of blows, he found that he zeroed in on one strange feature.
While Tatsuki normally had dark brown eyes, what was staring back at him was a pair of cerulean eyes. Startled at the change, he watched as the illusion seemed to shatter before his eyes, allowing him to duck in and knee her in the gut, winding her and giving him the opening he needed to pin her.
Huffing deeply, he held a hand out to help Tatsuki up, while he could hear Kyoka Suigetsu applauding him from within his inner world.
"Well done Ichigo," she said with a smile. "You've taken the first step in improving your mind and concentration. If you truly want to use my power effectively, you need to be able to look past what is in front of you and exploit every weakness of your enemy."
'And using the nude image of their friends is supposed to do that?' he asked in disbelief.
"Not unless they're a massive pervert," she replied her tone serious for once. "But I did it simply to help you get over your prudish ways when it comes to naked or immodestly dressed women."
'THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING RESPECT FOR A WOMAN'S BODY!' he yelled back at her, a tick mark forming on his head at her perverted methods.
"The way you react around Yoruichi and Rangiku would suggest otherwise. Although, the way you stared at me this morning, I can't help but feel that maybe they're just not your type" she chuckled, watching as his mind remembered their encounter that morning.
'Okay not listening anymore,' he shot back, trying to supress her image in his mind.
He was spared any further matches with Tatsuki as the sensei called a halt to the sparring and had them run through their various katas for the remainder of the session. After he had changed back into his casual clothes, he found a sombre looking Tatsuki waiting outside for him.
"Something wrong Tatsuki?" he asked, seeing her look up at him, some hesitance in her eyes.
"Were you serious about getting back into this again Ichigo?" she asked, her tone filled with equal amounts of hope and fear.
"What?" he said in shock. "Of course I meant it, since when have I made a decision and not stood by it?"
"You're right, it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens," she answered with a smile. "See you at practice tomorrow right?"
"Yeah…" he muttered, watching her disappear out the entrance, before making his own way home.
As he lay back on his bed, Ichigo sighed in content, his mind and body relaxed after his eventful morning. When he returned, Yuzu and Karin were surprised that he had actually gone back to the dojo to practice, but neither thought too much of it. Karin brushed it off as him simply needing a new punching bag, while Yuzu thought it was wonderful that he was at least getting more involved in extracurricular activities again.
Closing his eyes, he could feel himself dragged into his inner world, fumbling to right himself in mid-air so that he wouldn't land on his back again. To his surprise, his feet landed on the soft grass that covered the back of the cottage he had found Kyoka Suigetsu in. The zanpakuto in question was reclined back on a deck chair, her eyes closed and wearing a green bikini, sunbathing under the bright sun that shone overhead. Averting his eyes, he walked over and sunk into the chair next to her.
"A little warning would be nice next time," he grumbled, crossing his arms behind his head as he leaned back.
"And you should be prepared for anything to happen to you, at any given moment," she answered, not bothering to look at him. "Now, we're going to continue with control like I said. First off, what do you see around you at the moment?"
"Um," he muttered, looking around at their surroundings. "Grass, sun, you and the house behind us," he replied, only to get whacked on the top of his head by her sheathed sword.
"I meant radiating off of you, you idiot!" she yelled at him, her arm outstretched, while her eyes were still closed. Calming herself with a sigh, she continued, "You're leaking reiatsu again, it's making you glow slightly right now."
Looking down at his body, he could see the truth of her words, since all around him; he could see the faint traces of purple energy he was giving off.
"Now then," she picked up again, reaching down to the side of her and brining up a sketchpad and pencil with her.
'Oh god please don't let her drawings be as crappy as Rukia's, just please god no,' he thought, cringing when she turned to glare at him.
"I heard that," she said, her tone slightly angry and affronted at his assumptions, while her hands stroked gracefully across the page. Once she was done, she turned the page towards him so that he could see. On it was the outline of two human bodies; one that was completely shaded in and was surrounded by flares of, what he assumed was reiatsu. The other meanwhile was mostly blank and only had a small circle in its chest shaded in. "This is what you are at the moment," she said pointing at the completely shaded figure. "While this is what we want you to become," she said pointing at the mostly blank figure.
"And how am I supposed to do that?" he asked, remembering that he was just told to try and force his power down before and had been told nothing different since then.
"I'm getting to that," she answered, flipping the page over and beginning anew. A few minutes later and she showed him the next slide. The figure with only a circle in its chest was back, but this time linked to the circle was a line linking it to the image of a dam. "Imagine in your mind an empty dam. Now the contents of that dam will be your power. As you grow stronger, that dam's level will rise higher and higher. What's important about this is that you never let your power spill over the walls of said dam," as she said this, she began to slowly trace her pencil up from the bottom of the dam, all the way to the top.
"I see," he said, reaching out for the sketchpad, which she handed over. "And this is common knowledge then is it?"
"I don't know about that Ichigo, most soul reapers find a method that works for them and then pass that on to others," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. "While Sosuke didn't teach his students this technique, he used it for the greater part of 150 years. I won't lie it will get complicated as we go on, but the control it offers is amongst the best out there."
Grimacing at the idea of already having to use one of Aizen's own techniques, Ichigo nodded his head at her. "So how do I get started with this exactly?" he asked, only to be whacked over the head once again. "Dammit Kyoka, what the hell was that for?" he asked, rubbing the sore spot.
"I've given you the framework, now figure it out for yourself," she spat back, returning to her sunbathing position, while he grumbled next to her.
Thinking back on her words, he stood from the chair and moved off to another corner of the grassy space. Sitting down in a position similar to Jinzen, he took several calming breaths to steady himself, before visualising the empty dam like she told him too. Once he was satisfied with the basic shape and size of it, he began to reach out for his power, channelling it like he remembered doing so with his zanpakuto, except this time, he poured it into the dam. To his chagrin, he barely managed to fill it more than a metre and from what he could feel; it was just barely a seated officer's level. His control was abruptly shattered when he felt a pair of hands begin to run through his hair. Opening his eyes, he found himself at eye level with Kyoka Suigetsu's bikini bottoms. Sputtering incomprehensibly, he fell over backwards and rolled to his feet, glaring at his zanpakuto.
"Don't do that!" he shouted at her, fuming as she smirked at him.
"You need to be able to hold that power in even if you're distracted Ichigo, especially while in combat," she said crossing her arms over her ample chest, making his mind dip into the gutter for a moment before he caught himself. "If me simply touching you was enough to cause it to slip, what happens when you meet someone unexpected or need to concentrate on more than one task?"
"Just…ARGH, what did I do to get such a perverted zanpakuto," he groaned. "Were you always this bad with Aizen?" he asked.
When she failed to respond, he turned to see a sombre look on her face. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have brought him up."
"That's okay," she said with a sad smile. "Truth be told, he detested that aspect of me. It was just as fun to tease him, but that meant that he eventually stopped visiting me simply to stop those moments."
Unsure of what to do in this situation, Ichigo slowly walked up to her and clasped her on the shoulder. Looking up at him, she could see a feigned look of disinterest from him, the only give away being the light blush to his cheeks.
"Well I'm not going to be like him," he began slowly. "Just don't take it too far, okay?" he asked, turning to face her once again, falling back on his ass as she tackled him in a hug, her breasts rubbing up against him uncomfortably. "THIS WOULD BE CLASSED AS TOO FAR!" he shouted, hearing her chuckle in response.
"Sorry it had to be done," she said standing and dragging him to his feet. "You should go now; your sister just entered the room to call you down for lunch."
Giving her one last look, he nodded at her and pulled himself out of his inner world, his mind still lingering on the hug.
"Uh, onii-chan it's time for lunch," Yuzu said tentatively, poking her brother on the shoulder and jumping back when his eyes snapped open.
"Oh hey Yuzu, I'll be right down," he said, swinging his legs over the bed.
Once she had left the room, he focused on trying to supress his power again, struggling mentally to keep it in check and go about his daily life.
The next day he kept to his promise and showed up at the dojo once again, warming up in a spar with Tatsuki, before going over more advanced forms with her. Kyoka Suigetsu picked up where she left off and worked to distract and force him to see through her illusions, but unlike yesterday, he wasn't as affected by them and managed to notice the differences, whether it was a change of eye colour, a birth mark on her neck or even that she had painted nails. He was also forced to keep his power under control, a task he was failing miserably at while under attack, but was manageable enough while flowing through several katas.
After practice, Tatsuki surprised him when she hung around afterwards waiting for him and the pair of them walked the majority of the way home together, idly chatting about his newfound interest again or some movie that was due to come out next week that she wanted to see. When they reached the crossroads, they split up calling out their farewells to one another. Unknown to either of them though, a raven haired soul reaper with violet eyes was watching them from her perch on a roof above them. Watching them disappear, Rukia then made her way back to the Urahara shop, her mind vaguely settled at seeing him once again.
"Ah Kuchiki-san what can I do for you today?" Kisuke asked in his jovial tone, whipping out his fan as he greeted her.
"I came to discuss the outbreak of hollows that you had here the other day and inform you of the reasons behind it," she replied in a crisp tone. "It seems as if some of the seals we placed to contain the lingering reiatsu in the area, were damaged and inadvertently leaked out enough to attract them here. The situation has been resolved and I'm told that the Twelfth Division will be monitoring the rest of the seals more closely so that we can repair them before something like that happens again."
"I see," he replied, tilting his hat to the side slightly. "Did you visit anyone while you were here?"
"No, there isn't really much time to do that," she said with a sad smile. "I have several more seals to check before I head back tomorrow."
"Not even Kurosaki-san?" he asked again, his eyes watching her like a hawk.
"He…he seems to be doing well enough without us," she said softly. "I saw him walking home with Tatsuki from what I assume was some sort of practice. He's moved on with his life and we shouldn't interfere with that."
"I see, well if you're sure then," he said, his tone returning to its playfulness, while his mind digested Ichigo's actions.
The end of another chapter, it's always a sad moment in my eyes.
Longer than normal AN below, but it is crucial to explain some of the changes that will happen in the future.
For the purposes of my story, these assumptions will be used.
Ichigo and Kyoka Suigetsu will begin influencing each other's personality; this effect will grow stronger as their powers grow stronger. I am not rewriting them completely, but I will add little bits here and there to help this story go in a certain direction.
When a soul reaper learns the shikai of their zanpakuto they gain access to their zanpakuto's own reserves of power. In the beginning they might only gain about 10% of that power, while with training, time and understanding that number could rise to as much as 50% or more. While their bankai would not only increase their own power by 5-10 times, it bumps the power gained up to 60% at the start and closer to 100% as they learn to master it.
Again even if these assumptions are not canon, they will hold for this story. My thanks to quietreaper, Genericrandom, DarkJason, Lucas Bane and Maverick14th for their opinions.
So what did you like, love or hate? Let me know please.