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a/n I've made a few changes to the story here and there so I urge you to re-read this story, it has been months since I last updated and you all probably won't remember the plot anyways. Speaking of the plot I've received a few PMs with questions regarding my plot. Remember, in this storyline, Ichigo never saw Rukia again because he died before she had a chance to re-awaken his powers.
Secondly, Tensa Zangetsu or just Zangetsu never died. Ichigo didn't have the reiatsu to speak to him/manifest him within his soul and he simply went into a state of hibernation.
Plenty of people don't really like the idea of RenRuki but this unfortunately won't change, I have something in mind for it which is vital to Ichigo's character progression.
While I have to agree that Ichigo's kido ability in canon is next to nothing, I always thought that it was due to his naturally higher reiatsu. Since I cut his reiatsu level in half for this story so far (It used to be greater than twice that of a normal captain) and readjusted it so he is about on par with someone like Soi Fon. The reason for this is I don't want Ichigo to be so stupidly powerful that there really isn't any plot at all. While he will gradually become amongst the most powerful characters in the Gotei, I don't want this story to suffer from the Superman cliché. If you do want him extremely powerful however I can just completely badassify him...
Sorry, sorry, sorry I haven't been around in a while. I've been busy with Student Council planning dances and funding clubs. It has been very hectic the last few months for me and I hope you'll forgive me.
There's gonna be a few time skips here and there btw.
Familiar Faces; Old Memories.
Two Months Later
"The Final Getsuga Tensho; if I use this technique, I will lose all of my shinigami abilities. That is what 'final' means."
The man raised his hand, black reiatsu forming a blade.
Kazuma woke up startled, tears threatening to escape his encrusted eye lids. This had been the ninth day in a row. That dream still haunting his every thought. Though the visions themselves he could tolerate, the feelings they elicited, he could not.
It had been a month since he had first experienced these 'dreams'. As if he was being struck by some strange sense of Déjà-vu. At first he had just passed it off as his living life. Dreams of one's living life weren't all uncommon. In fact, mostly everyone experienced them. No, the fact that made them odd was that they were visions of battles over war torn cities, deserts, even the Sokyoku hill.
Hesitantly, he got up, walking towards the mirror in the bathroom. He frowned as he stared at his right shoulder. The crescent moon 'tattoo' had begun to fade, slowly albeit still noticeable.
His zanpakuto had stopped visiting him, though his messages were still clear in the young shinigami's mind.
"You child, are not my wielder."
"I am not your zanpakuto, I am the Zanpakuto of ****** ****ki, my name is T***** Za******."
"I want you all to form partners and begin you're sparring exercises!"
Ryoto groaned audibly. Maede-sensei's 'exercises' were famous for being inhumanely brutal. She was infamous with the fourth division, sending more people there than any other squad in the Gotei, save for the eleventh of course.
As per usual, Ryoto and Kazuma partnered up, leaving Katsumi to once again partner up with the new girl, Senna.
Senna joined the academy only two months after Kazuma. Strangely, Kazuma seemed to open up to Senna instantly, as if the two were once great friends or even siblings. Although extremely rare, it was possible for family members, friends or even lovers to meet again in Soul Society. Although the mind wouldn't remember the bond, the heart would never forget.
That being said Katsumi secretly hated Senna, a lot. She, like Kazuma had been a prodigy. While not possessing his immense reiatsu or pure brute strength, she was graceful in everything she did. She even bested Kazuma in the Zanpakuto department, having attained Mirokumaru's shikai even before she came to the Academy.
"Kazuma hasn't yet developed shikai?" The though struck Katsumi like a tonne of bricks. He was amongst the greatest genius' of the Academy. He was even being compared to frickin Hitsugaya Toshiro, the youngest and one of the most powerful captains in the Gotei. The white haired prodigy was known to have attained Hyourinmaru in his first and only year at the academy. If it was any normal person, it would have been completely normal. Actually it would be unusual to attain shikai as many shinigami would go their entire after lives without ever learning their sword's name. Kazuma Kitagawa was, however, as far from normal as one could get. Captain level reiatsu already, Zanjutsu master already, Hoho, Kido, and Hakuda, expert already.
Katsumi shook her head, clearing her mind and stopping herself from complimenting her black haired rival. She hated him but had to respect his power and skill. Besides, fighting another prodigy wasn't necessarily easy. Already she was on the defensive, dodging punches and kicks. Instinctively, she widened her stance, not letting herself be pushed back any further. She summoned her strength and began a brutal counter attack.
"Kazuma can have Hoho, Kido and Zanjutsu, Hakuda, however, is mine."
Senna's eyes widened at the spectacle of awesome strength and speed her classmate was exhibiting unknowingly to the entire class. Everyone stopped to watch the fight, their jaws threatening to drop.
Why was it that there were people who existed that just had it, had talent? She hated the word and the concept. Where was the equivalency in talent? People with talent never had to work hard for anything. Everything came naturally to the talented, allowing them incredible feats, like skipping five years of school.
Katsumi saw an opening as Senna's balance waned. With speed not possible for a normal soul, her fist came up to strike the small teen. Senna's eyes widened as the fist stopped only a hair's length away from her nose. Breathing heavily, the two bowed and went off to the side to get water.
"I didn't know she could move that fast."
"Wow, who knew..."
She smiled at the comments the crowd was murmuring. Finally she was getting some recognition.
Katsumi looked up towards Kitagawa, she blushed slightly as he saw his familiar scowl. He seemed a tad off, his usual domineering presence was slightly hesitant and his scowl, though still a scowl was slightly pensive. It was clear that he was contemplating something serious. She also noticed the bags under his eyes and the slightly pale tint to his skin.
"You're pretty good, you know that?"
"Thanks Senna, you're not too bad yourself."
The two looked at each other with a sense of understanding; somehow both understanding each other's thoughts without really having to think. They nodded deafly and turned around to find different partners. Though Katsumi didn't yet know it, she had found a friend in Senna.
Kazuma stretched slowly, waking again from another fight in which he never remembered fighting. Each night a different fight, a different struggle to overcome; what he didn't understand however was why.
In his general applications course he had learned that recurring dreams typically signalled the revelation of one's zanpakuto. Kazuma's, however, had stayed ever silent. If nothing were to be done, he would soon be outpaced and lapped by his classmates, an increasing number of whom were already wielding shikai.
That said, he couldn't say he was jealous of his friends either. They had, after all, achieved shikai before anybody in the class. Senna had Mirokumaru, Katsumi had Tengoku no Danmaku1, even Ryoto had almost made his partner spill the beans. To be frank, he had achieved squat in regards to learning his sword's name.
Today Kazuma would not submit to his self antiquated depression. Today was special, today was the day that the advanced class was taking their annual field trip to the world of the living and since this was their graduating year, rumour was circulating that since theirs' was a successful year, they may have the chance to confront real life hollows.
Their destination this year was noteworthy as well. It was the spiritual center of the world. Karakura town was well known as the main battle field for the infamous winter war. Aside from the real possibility of confronting hollows there was also the possibility of finding real war heroes.
All this culminated into a trip that the young Kitagawa would not want to sully with bad temperament.
The sixth year advanced class stepped out of the Senkaimon eagerly. The fifth squad lieutenant closed her eyes and scanned the surrounding blocks for any hollow reiatsu signatures. Incidentally, the spiritual capital of the world held its name well. Multiple very low class hollow were in the surrounding vicinity.
As per previously discussed, many of the former ryokas' reiatsu signatures were currently slowly bringing the hollows together for a quick demonstration before the main curriculum for the night. Guiding her class towards the river, the Hinamori gazed upon the familiar sight of Sado and Orihime.
Orihime waved cheerfully while Sado gave his signature thumbs up.
"Hinamori-chan!" Orihime waved emphatically. Over the course of the ten years since the love of her life and one of her greatest friends had died the Shinigami Women's Association inducted her as an honorary member. The group had truly helped Orihime acclimatize and heal from the tragedy that had occurred just under a decade ago.
Sado, on the other hand didn't take his best friend's death so lightly. He was the one who was always supposed to have his back, the one he was supposed to rely on. What were his promises worth now that the orange haired shinigami died a lonely death? During the ten years since his death, Sado had begun a nonstop training regime in order to somehow ameliorate the emptiness he felt and to protect everyone that he could. Somewhere, deep within he felt that this is what he would've wanted.
Hinamori Momo stared at the duo that she had not seen in almost three years. Time hadn't aged them one bit. Standing tall at 6'6", Yasutora Sado's formerly long, streaking hair was cut shorter revealing determined eyes. If it was possible, he looked like he had gained even more muscle mass and his reiatsu was noticeably heavier. If Momo was to guess, she would say that he would likely be able to give a low level captain a run for his money.
Inoue Orihime on the other hand had largely stayed the same. Her eyes were still the happy and gleeful stormy grey, however one could detect, just barely, an underlying hollowness and experience that screamed tragedy. Like Sado's her reiatsu had also grown significantly, it was clear the even the Adjuchas would have to be weary when crossing Inoue Orihime.
Over the river, a large, golden, inverted pyramid had five low class hollows trapped within. Orihime exhibited little effort in keeping the barrier erected.
Slightly awed at how much Orihime had progressed, Hinamori quickly turned into professor mode and instructed her students to form up.
Whispers raced through the crowd at the sight of some of the most powerful humans in existence. The two humans simply smiled awkwardly at the attention that they were garnering.
Ryoto's eyes bulged at the sight of Orihime's rather large set of assets, most of the male population did actually and for a reason he could not explain, this made Kazuma extremely angry.
"Have you no shame?" Kazuma asked quietly yet still heatedly towards his friend. His considerable reiatsu rose until most of the class was no looking at him. Noticing his uncontrolled reiatsu, he quickly steeled himself and lowered it consciously. Ryoto simply shrugged, unaffected by the display of power and asked back, "Have you no balls?"
Despite himself, Kazuma couldn't help but snort rather loudly. This unfortunately gained the unfavourable attention of Hinamori-sensei.
"Kitagawa-san, would you care to tell me what is the most efficient way of dispatching hollows?"Kitagawa's face grew stoic as he answered back serenely, "Why the mask of course." Gesturing with her hand that he should continue the explanation, Kazuma cleared his throat, "A hollow mask is the projection of one's desires that manifest from the human heart. During the hollow transformation, the heart is rather painfully ripped from the chest and transmuted into the iconic mask that a hollow is so easily recognizable by. This mask acts as a sort of shield, protecting the hollow from the reality and pain of not having a heart and studies are showing that it may also strip away part of rational thought. In destroying this mask, what is considered the most important organ of a hollow, the hollow's true face, his true character is once again exposed killing them in nearly all cases."
"Impressive, Very impressive. Bonus marks for a near perfect explanation of the anatomy of a hollow's mask." Hinamori was truly impressed with her pupil. Despite having known him less than a year, she was intelligent to know that he had the potential to become a powerful shinigami and perhaps even surpass her someday.
Katsumi snorted audibly, "Bastard's such a show off." Even she had to admit that that display was impressive. She turned to look if Senna had any reaction to Kazuma's display however her face was stoic as ever. Sometimes it seemed like that girl was bipolar. Sometimes she would be cheerful, other times she would just blank out.
Kazuma honestly had no idea where that knowledge had come from. It was pretty much common knowledge that a hollows mask was one's best bet to defeating it, however the knowledge he just showed felt like it came from a deeper source; as if he learned this many years ago. He had no prior knowledge of anything he just said. This unsettled him. These flashbacks had very recently started to occur, blanks memories, unexplained relapses, terrifying memories. In the ten years he had been in the Rukongai, nothing of the sort ever happened and this sincerely frightened him.
Hinamori drew Tobiume and whispered to Orihime to let a single hollow out. Leaping into the air she focused her reiatsu and cast a perfect Shitotsu Sansen, binding her target to the ground. The advanced class moved closer after receiving the safe signal from their teacher.
"This is a real life hollow," Orihime began, "Hollows like these are the most common and are the ones you will most likely face as a shinigami who patrols cities and towns all over the world."
Nodding her head, Hinamori began to explain the reason for exposing them to the real thing. "This class is the most prominent class the academy has seen in several decades. I have spoken with the Captain Commander and he believes that you are proficient enough to face the real thing in combat." Many gasps were elicited from the group of students, was their teacher actually pitting themselves against real hollows. They have slain quite a number of fake and dummy hollows, but those were cannon fodder compared to the real thing. Even the weak hollows were much harder to deal with than the machines supplied by the twelfth. Despite having much of their rational thought stripped away, they retained their human tenacity and their instinct was also increased seven-fold.
Ryoto began panicking, he was well aware that he wasn't exactly the sharpest in the shed. Many believed that some in the regular class could out class him. His admission into the advanced class was largely due to his noble heritage. He looked at Kazuma and noticed that his mind seemed completely preoccupied with something else. Leave it to the black haired prodigy to be clueless to the fact that they would soon be facing real hollows.
Hinamori sensed the distress coming from many of her students. Disappointed, she continued with her explanation of the upcoming challenge. "For those of you worried about being hurt or dying, Sado Yasutora, Inoue Orihime and I will assist if you need further assistance."
This bit of info instantly lifted much of the pressure. Two winter war heroes and a Vice captain too? This exercise would be as safe as breathing.
Hinamori divided the groups into four groups of five being sure to split up any good friends so that the experience would be a little more genuine. Setting up a four layer barrier just for good measure, the first group was allowed to step forward. Ryoto and Katsumi were together with three others. Clearly Hinamori-sensei believed their friendship wasn't actually a friendship and more like a constant feud. That being said she honestly said she was pleasantly surprised as the group rather easily dispatched the hollow.
The next two groups finished nearly as easily as the first, the only injury being a concussion caused by a hollow backhand. This proved negligible enough that Orihime had healed him within seconds. Many debated if he allowed it so that the rather stunning twenty-three year old would gush over him.
The final group, Kazuma's was next. Their foe was a lizard faced humanoid that stood roughly eleven feet tall, rather small for a hollow. Sighing deeply Kazuma withdrew his sword and stepped forward.
Orihime's breath hitched in her throat, there was no doubt a resemblance to her late love interest within the young academy student. Clearly Sado saw the resemblance and stood up from his seated position.
"Do you think..." Orihime began quietly
"It's impossible, his reiatsu his different but most importantly his hair is black. You and I both know that is one thing he would never change, with or without the memories of his human life." Sado also didn't mention that since he was stabbed through the heart with a weapon capable of doing damage to souls that meant that there was a likely chance that the former substitute shinigami died that night. Nobody except Urahara and the older Kurosaki knew exactly what happened that night. They simply walked out the candy shop and announced that their friend and hero had died, body and soul.
Orihime and Sado slowly sat back down, both still staring intently at Kazuma. Even though he wasn't who they thought he was, it was still clear he was powerful and probably a prodigy. It was very possible, that, in twenty years time, he would be wearing a white Haori.
Hinamori released the Kido on the hollow. In a flash step even the Hinamori had difficulty seeing, the hollow was cut clean in half, Kazuma standing between the bifurcated body of the hollow. Kazuma sheathed his sword and walked past his rather pissed off classmates.
Dropping the barrier Hinamori sighed and stretched. She walked towards the two fullbringers. It was the first time any academy class went on a field trip to slay real life hollow. Right now, she was just glad nothing too bad had happened.
Kazuma was walking towards Senna, Katsumi, and Ryoto before he felt a hand roughly pull his shoulder back. Glaring at him was a boy he never really liked at all Kuchiki Kohaku. The noble belonged to a branch family of the famous and extremely powerful Kuchiki clan. Unlike Ryoto, his claim to the advanced class was backed by a significant reiatsu and impressive talent.
"Who do you think you are? You just walk in there and steal all the glory for yourself. Do you think you're strong? You're nothing but dust beneath my feet, a stupid Neanderthal with a whore for a mom."
Being close enough to hear the exchange, Katsumi and Senna gasped. Katsumi was quickly closing the distance so she could bash the bastard's face in before Kazuma raised his hand for her to stop.
Kazuma's reiatsu sky rocketed as he focused the full brunt of it at Kohaku. The noble was thrust to his knees, trying to keep his whole face from planting into the soft dirt. Crouching low enough so his face was only a few inches away from Kohaku's, Kazuma scowled.
"If you ever, ever insult my mother again, I'll kill you."
With a final pulse of reiatsu, Kohaku's face planted deep into the ground.
The rest of the day passed by uneventfully with the class practicing some soul burials before finally returning back to the Academy. Katsumi was silent the rest of the day, mulling over what had happened with Kazuma at the river. Sighing, Katsumi opened the door into her dorm that she shared with Senna.
"Ne Senna. Why do you think Kazuma is so sensitive about his Mom? I mean, Kohaku's a bastard and he deserved that completely, it's just..."
"It's just whenever someone brings up his mom he goes cold," Senna replied, closing the book that she was reading and facing her roommate.
Katsumi rolled over on her bed to stare at the sealing, "Yea. I mean, if someone told me my mother's a whore, I would be pretty angry myself. But I actually know my mom since I'm a noble and all."
Senna nodded, "That's not all though. Whenever anyone brings up anything of his past or even asks him a question about his Rukongai days, he goes completely blank. It's like he's not even there sometimes."
"Do you think something might've happened in the Rukongai?"
"The 78th is an extremely violent district but I don't think Kazuma is a stranger to violence."
Katsumi turned her head to look at her roommate, "What do you mean?" Senna closed her eyes and thought back to every single time she saw the young prodigy fight. "You can see it in his posture and his fighting stance. It isn't exactly orthodox yet it compliments his fighting style. He's able to anticipate attacks. That's something that can only come from real battle experience."
The second squad captain walked through the halls of the famous Shinigami Academy. She hadn't attended herself, getting special training to go straight into the Omitsukido to serve the Shihoin clan. Today however she would be supervising the rising talent in their current six years, a group that was said to possess great potential to become high ranking officers. She never bought into the budding potential and talent crap. Success was through hard work and perseverance. She was however excited to see Kitagawa Kazuma. His fighting ability was said to already be at a captain's level. She would surely have to test this theory.
She strode into the Hakuda dojo right on time and waited 'patiently' for the scum who came in a few seconds late. People like these would never go far.
Maede-sensei greeted the second squad captain cordially. Despite her diminutive stature, the Hakuda teacher knew better than to show any sign of disrespect to the female Death God. Class started as per usual with stretches and light sparring. Occasionally Soi Fon would bark orders and corrections to any students who's feet or hands were a few centimetres out of position.
After hearing the fourth tirade in four minutes, Maede-sensei decided to move onto the real sparring. Matching students based on their grades, she began dictating students to the center mat in which they would spar until a winner was declared. Senna stepped up, facing Kuchiki Kohaku. Understandably, the majority of the class cheered on the rich Kuchiki since they wanted to get on his good side, i.e. his money side.
The two bowed to each other.
"After I beat you what do you say to me treating you out for some sushi?"
"I'd rather die."
Kohaku's eyes narrowed as he glared daggers at Senna; insolence from a commoner, how outrageous. Kazuma and Katsumi both smirked, the truth was that Kohaku would probably win due to his larger male body and marginally better technique. That, however, didn't stop the two from enjoying Senna get under the Noble's skin.
Kohaku immediately went on the offensive, sending fast, powerful jabs towards the midsection of Senna. Focusing on intercepting or dodging the punches, Senna waited for an opening in which to utilize. Gritting her teeth in pain, Senna knew that Kohaku was going all out from the bruises she began feeling in her forearms. Glancing back at the captain, she noticed her near imperceptible smile towards Kohaku. In the second of course, ruthlessness was a valuable asset.
Kazuma's fists clenched harder every time Kohaku landed a hit on Senna. He knew that for the much larger Noble, pinning Senna wouldn't be hard. No, he was just show boating for the captain which, infuriatingly, she was accepting.
Senna began to panic as she was pushed near to the edge of the mat. Losing her footing, she stumbled back only be pushed down by Kohaku. Kohaku aimed a powerful jab towards her forehead, stopping only a few millimetres away.
The young Kuchiki walked off the mat with a triumphant smile on his face. He happily received the praise from his peers and sat down next to Kazuma. Trying to refrain from vaporizing the noble where he stood, Kazuma walked towards the mat, facing Katsumi. The two currently had the highest marks in Hakuda and were therefore the last to fight.
The majority of the class adjusted their seats to a more comfortable position; this was going to be a good one.
Soi Fon analyzed the two students. The girl looked to be anywhere from sixteen to twenty-two and stood at a balanced 5'5". She had an athletic build that any guy would notice and her silvery hair was shortened by a band to her shoulders. The man looked around to be the same age and stood at an optimal 6'0". He was muscular in the way that granted the greatest speed and flexibility without sacrificing much for power.
Soi Fon identified the man to be the fabled Kitagawa Kazuma, the prodigy. Studying his stance, she was somewhat appalled by the unorthodox stance that he took, more akin to a street brawling cretin than anything else. The girl, on the other hand, adopted a much more recognizable Karate stance. Judging by the girl's spiritual pressure, Kazuma was her rival.
Kazuma opened with a furious barrage of powerful kicks and punches. To anybody but a master it would seem he was going all out. Soifon, however, could tell by the expression on his face and the neutrality of his reiatsu that at best this was a tenth of his actual ability.
Katsumi's eyes widened as she blocked a kick to her midsection swiftly followed by a punch to her temple. So far, she had lost every fight they had had since his acceptance into the academy. This fight would be different.
Seeing a slight stall between punches, Katsumi began a furious counter attack. Kazuma immediately went on the defensive. His eyes widened noticeably at the ferocity of his classmates strikes. Not anticipating such an increase in intensity, Kazuma stumbled back and fell to the ground, Katsumi pinning him immediately. Looking up, Kazuma saw the slight, triumphant smile in Katsumi's face and felt his cheeks warming in the compromising position they were in with Katsumi's legs on either side of Kazuma's pelvis. Seemingly also aware of the position they were in, Katsumi blushed red and quickly stood up giving Kazuma a hand while coughing awkwardly. The class cheered loudly, this was the first time they had seen Kazuma lose a fight of any kind.
The young prodigy dusted himself off and adopted his trademark scowl. He was clumsy, careless, and severely underestimated his combatant. In a fight he should have won, he lost in front of a captain.
Deciding there was no point in regretting what had happened he had congratulated his classmate and returned to his seat.
The small captain thought pensively about the black haired prodigy. Clearly he was pissed off himself over that lack lustre performance and Soi Fon really wanted to see the boys true potential.
Cracking her knuckles, Soi Fon took off her captain's Haori and approached the Mat.
a/n I'm ending it off here somewhat disappointed in how the chapter turned out. That being said I hope it wasn't too bad that it dissuaded you from the story. The Vasto Lorde thing will be further expanded upon next chapter.
I have a few poles for you all to consider:
When should Ichigo's seal break?
a)Sooner (Next chapter)
Should he be pissed to high hell with the Gotei 13 for abandoning him for nearly two years?
Should Ichigo become FGT powerful?
Finally post some possible pairing and I'll decide which ones I like.
Until next time...