A/N I am back! Anyway, not much to say but thanks to those of you who at least read the first chapter, and a big box of chocolates to those of you who reviewed. I don't think I mentioned before but this is the first fanfic I've actually published. I made a few changes to how I've been writing, because when I was editing the first chapter (Again) I found some things that were confusing. Alright, enough said. Wait! I for got! Here is your DISCLAIMER. I own nothing. Okay. All good.
Flash backs will be in simple italics
'Ichigo's hollow (Shiro) talking'
The well-house doors squeaked faintly as the raven-haired schoolgirl slid them shut, checking to make sure the latch was in place before darting down the path that lead to her house.
"Mama, Jii-chan, Souta, I'm home!" she hollered upon entering. No reply. 'They must be out.' She dropped her oversized yellow backpack in the corner and walked to the kitchen. There was a note on the fridge. "Dear Kagome," it began, "I have taken Souta and Jii-chan into town to run a few errands. There is a bento in the fridge for you in case you get hungry. We will be back around noon. Love, Mom."
Kagome glanced at the clock. It was about 10:30, so she had a good hour and a half or so until her family got back. She grabbed the lacquered bento box out of the fridge and went to join Buyo, who was having a nap on the sofa. "Move over, you lazy cat." She playfully shoved him over to make room for herself.
"Itadakimasu!" Once settled, she grabbed the TV remote and started flipping through channels between bites of onigiri.
At around half past twelve, the front door opened and Souta burst in. Catching sight of Kagome sitting on the couch, he made a beeline for the living room. "Neei-chan! Nee-chan! Guess what?! You have a-" Kagome didn't catch what he said at the end, for at that instant Kagome's mother entered, folowed by a boy whom Kagome had never seen before.
Kagome was shocked at the strength of the aura flickering around him, though she moved those thoughts to the back of her mind as she took in his appearance. He looked around her age, with raven hair and piercing blue eyes, much like herself, though he wore glasses. Standing around 5'6", he towered over her petite mother.
"...and this is the living room-" Masumi paused her tour of the house to greet her daughter, whom she had just noticed sitting on the couch. "Ah! Kagome-chan! You're back!" Kagome smiled at her mother, then turned her questioning gaze upon the teen, who was currently looking at her with the same expression.
"May I ask who this is?" Kagome asked.
"Ah, yes. Gomen, gomen, I should have introduced you. This is Ishida Uryu, your twin brother." Kagome stood stunned until the the teen, now dubbed Uryu, bowed in greeting. Kagome returned the gesture, before turning a questioning gaze to her mother.
The sky had now completely disappeared, and still Ichigo had not found a place to stay the night. His long strides, once so full of energy, had become more mechanized, and the strawberry often found his thoughts wandering. How had he come to this place, wherever 'this place' was? And why was it that though the road he was walking on had seen a lot of traffic, he hadn't seen hide nor hair of another human being?'
As if on cue, he was dragged from his ponderings by the the faint sound of- was that a child crying?
Immediately on alert, he picked up his pace and it was not long until the figure of a small girl became visible to him. Disregarding the fact that he was in spirit form and normal people wouldn't be able to see him, he hurried to the girl's side.
"Oi." he said, standing kneeling down next to the girl, in his concern forgetting that she couldn't see him. The fact that he was supposed to be invisible was forgotten and replace with concerned as she looked up at him, emotions conflicting in her eyes, puffy from crying, before a slight hopeful light filled them.
"You okay?" he asked. It was a stupid question, he admitted, but the concern in his voice seemed to reach the girl and convince her that he meant her no harm.
"Samurai-san!" she choked out. "P-please- my village- the bandits! They came and-" she started sobbing uncontrollably again. "My outu-san and jii-chan and Oka-san- they beat them and said that if everybody didn't come to the center of the village, they'd burn it down and kill everyone!" she finally managed to choke out between tears.
"I see.." Ichigo said. Scowling, he lept to his feet. "Which way?"
The little girl stared up at him, a disbelieving look on her face. "Y-you're gonna help me?" she sniffled, wiping one of her doe-like eyes on the sleeve of her torn kimono.
"Yeah. 'Course I will. I can't just leave a little girl like you all alone in the middle of the road, now can I? C'mon, lets go. We haven't got all day." That said, he started jogging down the road. The girl took this as her cue and got up to follow him, struggling to keep up with his long strides. They hadn't been walking for long when Ichigo saw a plume of smoke drifting into the sky. They would have to hurry.
"C'mere." he stopped, and waited for the little girl to catch up. Once she was within reach, he knelt down and before she could react, slung her over his shoulder, careful to avoid knocking her head on Zangetsu. "I am going to run now, so hold on tight!" He gathered his reiatsu and started Shunpouing in the direction of the smoke.
It did not take long for Ichigo to reach the village, thanks to the speed of Shunpou, and the fact that he had the plume of smoke to guide him. By the amount of smoke hanging in the air, it didn't take much to convince the strawberry that it would be best if he left the girl here in the woods, where she would not be put in danger. Setting her gently down, he explained to her what he wanted her to do. "Wait here." he said, patting her on the head. She nodded in understanding and Ichigo left, pondering what exactly he would do. He knew that he could get into serious trouble with the seireitei if he killed a human. With luck he could walk in, knock enough bandits unconscious that the others got the message not to mess with him, and leave. Unfortunately, he should have realized by now that things never went simply for him.
The village was eerily quiet, aside from the crackle of flames, though as Ichigo got closer to the center, he could hear laughter. His scowl deepening, he realized it must be the attackers, for he could see no reason that the villagers would be laughing given their predicament. 'Cruel bastards.' he thought, and rounded the corner only to stop dead in his tracks.
They were despicable, the lot of them, he decided as he cast his disapproving gaze around the scene before him. The bandits were lounging around, laughing as the terrified villagers huddled together in the center. The men had been separated from the women and children, and as he watched, one little boy tried to run to his father, only to be knocked to the ground by a jeering bandit. Ichigo had seen enough. Fierce scowl in place, he stepped out from behind the building he had been standing, unnoticed next to. "Oi!" he hollered. Immediately all eyes were upon him. Confident he had their attention, he said, "Leave him alone."
The bandit who had been torturing the poor boy laughed. "make me," He leered, and took a step towards Ichigo, thus creating an opening for the boy, who took it as an opportunity to run into his mother's outstretched arms. The man began advancing towards Ichigo, sword drawn. Without warning, he lunged forward, a triumphant grin plastered across his ugly face as he brought his sword down in an arc that he was sure would slice his foolish opponent in half. Only, Ichigo wasn't there anymore. The triumphant expression was wiped away and replace with one of confusion. 'Where the hell'd that damn boy go?' he was so sure he had been standing there moments before.
The bandit wheeled, and came face to face with Ichigo, who watched with mild amusement as the man gaped at him, before knocking him unconsious with a well aimed punch to the face.
Ichigo glanced down at the unconcious man before turning back to the crowd of bandits and villagers, both staring at him in shock. "So, who's up next?" he asked.
The bandits stared, shocked that he had defeated one of their own so easily, before a few drew their swords and charged. With in seconds and a blur of orange and black, they joined their comrade on the ground.
After seeing this, all the ones who had at least some sense fled, while those who put up a meager attempt to stand against Ichigo were quickly dispatched.
thinking that was all, Ichigo started to turn to tending the villagers when a voice spoke behind him.
"Well well. What have we here?" Ichigo turned in time to see a man with sharp features dressed in what he recognized from his school textbooks as traditional samurai armor. The man had a powerful reiatsu with a strong killing intent, much like that of his inner hollow. Speaking of the hollow, he felt him stirring in his conscious.
"He has a weird reiatsu, king."
' Want me ta deal with 'im for ya? I ain't got out in a while' Shiro asked hopefully. Ichigo sighed. Ever since the incident with the zanpakuto rebellion, the hollow had been more willing to accept his role as 'horse,' a fact that Ichigo was relieved about. He had never hated the hollow, and now found that there were some benefits to having a bloodthirsty monster on your side. The two had actually developed a friendship, if you could call it that.
'No. you'll scare the villagers.'
'Keh. Fine, but if you need me, you know how ta find me.' Shiro said before sinking once more into the depths of Ichigo's mind.
"Don't tell me that you managed to do this all by yourself?" The man asked, gesturing to the unconscious men lying around.
'Yeah, that was me.' Ichigo could hear the villagers, who had been shaken out of their shock at his appearance start muttering fearfully behind him.
The man smirked. "I see. Worthless scum, the lot, though I must admit they were loyal pawns in my raids." He tsked. Then, without warning, he lunged towards Ichigo faster than was humanly possible, katana drawn and aimed for the strawberry's head.
Ichigo dodged the attack, adrenaline coursing through his veins. 'At last- a proper fight.' Though he was not nearly as bloodthirsty as Kenpachi, captain of squad 11, his excitement heightened at the prospect of an opponent with whom he could stand against and not have to refrain from going all out. He felt Shiro chuckle at the back of his mind.
The man continued striking at Ichigo, but each time the shinigami-daiko dodged easily. Finally the man lowered his sword and stood, a slightly maniacal grin stretched across his face. "Not bad for a ningen. Not many can keep up with me in this form, and you still haven't even drawn your sword. Impressive." He chuckled softly. "However, I don't know about you, but I am growing tired of playing around. How bout we end this quickly, ne? I wonder how long you can continue dodging when I give you a taste of my true power." The man sheathed his sword, and suddenly his reiatsu flared. The villagers, who up until now Ichigo had forgotten about shielded their eyes from the bright light that emanated from the man. Ichigo, however, was unaffected, though his scowl deepened. When the light died down, Ichigo stared at what the man had become. His hair, which had been shoulder length befor, now reached his waist and was pale green in color. His eyes were a blood red, and his ears had become become elvish. He smiled, revealing pointed fangs for teeth, and when he unsheathed his katana, Ichigo noticed his fingers were clawed. And then there was his strange reiatsu. It flickered around him, practically glowing with killing intent.
The hollow nodded in understanding.
Ichigo unsheathed Zangetsu, the large cleaver-like blade glowing eerily in the combined light of the embers of the burning houses, and the full moon. The villagers cowered in fear, and a few of the children started to cry. Ichigo realized that if he were to unleash his full power, which he knew was inevitable for the fight to come would require the use of his shikai at least, he would risk injuring and potentially killing the bystanders. "Oi." he turned to look the creature, for he was now realizing the man was very much not human, squarely in the eye. "Let's move elsewhere."
The creature raised an eyebrow. "Very well. After you then."
Ichigo nodded and turned, then began jogging off down the road away from the village. Once he judged they were a safe distance away, he turned and faced the creature.
"One more thing- before we fight, I just want to ask you one question."
"Very well." The creature surprised itself by even allowing a human to speak to him. However, he had a feeling that there was something more than met the eye to this boy. For one thing, he had held his own against him, while many couldn't even meet his first swing.
"What are you exactly?" Ichigo asked.
The creature's surprise was evident. 'He doesn't know what I am?... Strange.' collecting himself, he replied. "I am a youkai."
Ichigo nodded. Frankly, he wasn't all that surprised. Ever since learning of the fact that hollows and shinigami existed, nothing really fazed him any more. "Soka."
Ichigo lifted Zangetsu and pointed the tip of the lethal blade at the demon. "Now then, let's get this over with."
The demon charged, and Ichigo braced himself as the swords clashed together, half expecting the normal katana to shatter. He was rather surprised when it didn't. He planted his feet and shoved forcefully back against his opponent, who grinned slightly as he jumped backwards. "Not bad not bad. For a little while I was worried your sword there was only for decoration."
In his mind, Ichigo felt Shiro bristle. The provocative statement seemed to have gotten under the hollow's skin. 'Oi, king, This guy's really gettin' on my nerves. '
'I know. I feel the same.'
'I'll take care o' 'im if ya just lemme take o'er yer body.'
'Dammit Shiro- Ichigo narrowed his eyes in concentration as he blocked another strike from the youkai. '-For the last time I've got this under control.' Ichigo winced as he felt the blade slash through his shoulder, drawing blood.
'Shut up.' Ichigo hissed, and shut out he smug hollow, his attention now solely fixed on his attacker. It was time he put an end to this. He knew bankai may be a bit drastic, but he had a feeling the youkai was still holding back. It was now or never.
"Bankai!" The shout rang through the air, and Ichigo's reiatsu exploded outward in a tidal wave of red and black energy. The youkai, much to his disgrace, found himself struggling to stand as what felt like a wall of air pushed down on him. A moment later, the pressure was lifted, and he looked up to see that Ichigo's appearance had changed drastically. The loose kimono-like outfit he had been wearing had been replaced with an even stranger garb- the black material clung to his upper body, until it flared out around his lower half. For a moment the youkai thought he had lost his cleaver like katana, until he noticed the long, thin blade that had replaced it.
"W-what is this?" the youkai stuttered, at a loss for words. Never before in his existence had he seen anything of the sort. The orange haired boy did not reply, only lifted his sword and vanished. The youkai turned his head from side to side, trying to see where his oppenent had gone, but to no avail. Suddenly, a voice spoke behind him.
The youkai whirled, bringing his sword up to meet the strike that he knew was coming, but for once in his life he was too slow. A look of shock crossed his face as he felt something cold pierce his skin, just above his heart. A moment later his katana clattered from his hand, and he sank to his knees, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. "How-"
Ichigo slid the sword from his chest. He hated inflicting such injuries, but he knew that in this fight it had been inevitable." I will let you go, but before I do, I feel honor bound to inform you of my name. I am Kurosaki Ichigo. Next time we meet, I won't spare you." That said, the now Ichigo released his hold on the demon, who was bleeding heavily. Turning, Ichigo sheathed Zangetsu and started walking back to the village, his appearence reverting to normal as he walked until he was once again wearing the loose fitting shihakusho, with his cleaver like zanpakutou strapped to his back. "Ja-ne!"
The youkai crumpled to the ground, panting heavily as he watched the strange boy walk away. Never before had he met a human quite like him. It was his aura, he realized. It felt like that of no human he had ever met. Darker, but not in the way most would think. It felt dangerous, but in a primal sort of way. Definitely powerful. Sighing painfully, he lay back and stared up at the star-lit sky, waiting for his healing powers to take action. 'Until next time.' He thought as he closed his blood red eyes.
Dinner at the Higurashi household that night was nothing short of awkward. Uryu had never been a very sociable person, mostly keeping to himself, so he found it hard to start any conversations, and ate in silence as the others around him conversed, answering the odd questions thrown his way.
After dessert, Mrs. Higurashi announced that she had to pick up Jii-chan, who was at a meeting of the heads of old shrines. Souta excused himself not much later, explaining that he had some math homework. Only Kagome and Uryu remained at the table. The two stared at each other for a while, until Kagome plucked up some courage and broke the awkward silence that hung heavily in the air. "Do you.. Um... Want to study a bit? I've got an exam coming up that I need to study for."
"Sure. Why not?"
Kagome looked rather relieved as he got up to follow her upstairs to her room. Uryu pulled up a chair next to her and sat down, then reached down and pulled a notebook from a book bag that Kagome could have sworn hadn't been there when they first came into the room.
"What is the topic?"
Kagome started upon hearing him speak. Through dinner he had been quiet for the most part, only answering questions when he couldn't avoid them and only once asking one of his own. "Uhh-" she paused to think for a moment. What had Eri said they had an exam on? Math? literature? no... Ah! History! "History." She told Uryu, and he nodded.
After 15 minutes or so, Uryu had reviewed everything Kagome said they needed to know. He had found everything quite simple, as they had been required to study Japan in the middle ages only weeks before at his school in Karakura to Kagome he asked, "Are you sure that is it?"
"I see. I think I will go then. Arigatou, Kagome-san" he got up to leave, but was stopped as Kagome called out to him. "Wait!"
He turned back. "Nandato?"
"I was.. Um.. Wondering if you could maybe help me." Kagome blushed and lowered her gaze. "You see, I was, erm, sick recently so I missed quite a bit of school, and I don't really understand this." She gestured to the almost completely blank page of notes.
"Really?" Kagome suddenly looked much happier.
Uryu sighed. The more time he spent with his new found sister, the more she reminded him of Inoue Orihime. "Yeah." He walked back over and once again sat down next to her, then began explaining to her the impact of trade with European countries during the Middle Ages.
Finally, after many strenuous hours and long explanations from Uryu, Kagome completed her notes. "Arigatou, Uryu-kun!" She breathed a sigh of relief and shoved her books back into her school bag. "I think I might actually pass the exam now!"
"Hn." Uryu stood to leave, as he was hoping to have a walk around the city. However, Kagome had other ideas.
"Wait- Uryu!" She reached out and grabbed his hand. The moment their skin touched, Uryu felt something close to an electric shock. His eyes widened slightly, but seeing as Kagome appeared unaffected, he ignored it and replied. "What?"
"I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions."
He sighed. "Sure."
"What is dad like?"
The question took Uryu completely off guard.
"He is..." Here he had to pause. How would one describe his father? Definitely cold and stoic. "Rather inexpressive, cold, stoic..." He trailed off. "I honestly don't know how he and y-our mother got along so well together." Uryu dropped his gaze. "I don't see much of him, and when I do he always has to have a reason."
"Oh." Kagome immediately felt bad. judging from the sudden flare of his aura, the question seemed to have caught him off guard. "I'm sorry."
Seeing her downcast look, Uryu expression softened a little."Don't be. It is better than having a father who wakes you up each morning with an attempted kick to the face." He mentally smirked, remembering Kurosaki Isshin. It was a wonder Ichigo managed to stay sane with that man as a father. Speaking of the strawberry, he wondered how he and the other Karakura residents were doing.
Kagome wasn't sure what he meant by that, but she decided not to question him.
"Well, I should get ready for bed now..." Kagome trailed off, but Uryu got the message.
"Hai. I will go now. I have had a long day and could use some sleep. He took his bag and left her room.
"Good night, Uryu-kun!" She called behind him.
After Uryu's footsteps had faded down the hallway, Kagome flopped down on her bed. "ahh." She sighed happily. While she enjoyed her travels in the Feudal Era with Inuyasha and the gang, she couldn't help but miss her real bed. "I wonder everybody is," she thought to herself. "I can't wait to get back. I hope Uryu won't feel like an outsider while I am gone..." She trailed off, and found her thoughts wandering to her twin.
What was with that strange aura of his? She frowned. Though up until now she hadn't put much thought into the subject, she realized that it was like nothing she had ever felt before, and she had certainly felt some strange ones. It was nothing like the aura of a monk, nor miko for that matter. Certainly not youkai or hanyou. It seemed pure, but with a huge destructive force mixed in. "Strange.." She thought. Maybe there was more to the boy than met the eye. 'I'll have to keep an eye on him.' she closed her eyes and gave a small contented sigh before the realm of dreams claimed her.
Upon reaching his room, Uryu locked his door, then opened his window and gave a small pulse of his reiatsu. Good. Everyone was sleeping heavily except for... he frowned. Kagome was a light sleeper, like himself. 'I'll have to be careful not to create any noise.' he decided, though he didn't see how that would be a problem.
He slid out the window and stood suspended in air, silhouetted by moonlight before landing easily to the ground due to the stepping stones of reishi (For some reason the shrine grounds were loaded with the stuff) he made for himself.
With one hand he adjusted his glasses, then walked to the large tree he had noticed when he arrived with his outa-san and half brother. As he approached, the ancient reiatsu flared slightly, causing a slight shiver to run up his back. It was powerful, but strangely so. Purer than any he had ever felt before. He walked around the trunk until he found the place where the most of the pure reiatsu emanated from- a large, pale scar in the otherwise smooth bark. His curiosity somewhat quenched, he turned back and re-entered his room, quickly changing before sinking into bed. Tomorrow he had school, and from what Kagome had said an exam, and he wanted to be in the best shape possible.
A/N: Sorry I took forever to get the next chapter up- All my soccer and school work caught up with me and I had little time to write. Then of course, I had to keep going over and editing my writing until I was satisfied. I will try to have the next chapter up on Saturday, Sunday at the latest, though no guarantees. Thanks for reading and if you feel like it, please leave a review- they are greatly appreciated, as is constructive criticism. Oh, and lastly, I am interested in finding a beta reader to help with this story. If you are up for it, please PM me. Thanks! until next time.