Here it finally is! The first chapter of On the Wings of an Angel (formally known as Windows to the Soul) (Thanks to my other half for help with the name). From now on, I hope to have semi-regular updates, hopefully a chapter in the first week of every month. I shall try. The first few months might be a little hectic because (shhhh, she doesn't know it yet!) but I plan on overloading my beta with chapter after chapter so that I always have one ready. (it's out little secret!)
I was going to put a prologue in this story, but have since decided against it because I don't want people to know what is happening too fast. Everything will be explained, it will just take some time. And now that I have another half of my story brain, things will go much smoother.
In other news, I'm keeping my beta very busy. Haha I need to thank HibiscusAngel15 for putting up with me and my ever changing mind. And we're only on chapter ONE!
And, as always, I need to thank my love, my life, and my other half, PersonalRiot, because I love her and basically write for her. And she knows it. RERE LOVE RIA LONG TIME.
So, without further ado, here we go! Enjoy, my loveys.
*Large blocks of texts in italics are flashbacks.*
Rukia woke up to the harsh pitter-patter of rain drops on her window. She slowly opened her tired violet eyes and turned to stare at the drops that fell steadily against her window.
Of course, it was raining. It was close to winter after all.
She let out a sigh before glancing over at her clock. It read, 2:34 a.m. She sat up, giving another sigh. She knew she wouldn't be able to sleep again until Renji got home. She shook her head a little to wake herself up, her tousled black hair whipping her face.
Rukia swung her legs over the side of the bed, her bare feet feeling the soft white carpet of her room. She then stood, wobbling a bit, and stretched her arms above her head. The night shirt she was wearing rode up just over her belly button. She let her arms drop and walked out of her bedroom, grabbing her fuzzy white robe off a hook by the door. She slipped it on and left it untied.
She heard a clattering noise coming from Renji's room. She sighed and went in without bothering to knock. The room was dark, the only light coming from the open window. The carpet around it was soggy and it squelched under her feet. She shivered a little at the cold temperature and pulled the robe closer around her. The blinds were crashing noisily against the glass due to the wind of the brewing storm outside.
She jerked a string to pull them up and pulled the window shut. Renji probably left it open when he left…
Giving a loud, rather obnoxious yawn, she strolled into the kitchen of her shared apartment and opened the fridge. She looked around before grabbing the milk. She poured some into a glass and stuck it in the microwave, hitting the buttons for a minute and thirty seconds before walking to the couch and plopping down. She snatched one of the many blankets they had lying around as well as the remote, turning on the TV for background noise. She wrapped the thin sheet around her and let her mind wander, gripping a nearby pillow and staring blankly at some guy blabbing about how much his product was better than other stores.
She guessed Renji was out running through the woods outside of Karakura. There was a full moon out and werewolves had to Change during the three nights of the full moon, whether they liked it or not. It was only the first night.
Kuchiki Rukia had lived with her guardian, Abarai Renji, before she could remember. Although that wasn't saying much, seeing as how she couldn't remember the first nine years of her life.
Renji explained a few things to her on that faithful morning she awoke from her coma. Some things made perfect sense to her. She got caught in an explosion, suffered brain damage from the impact, and fell into a comatose state. Simple and to the point.
The things that didn't make sense? All those monsters and fantastical creatures from fairy tales? They were real. And Rukia could see them.
When she walked to school in the morning, she would wave to the mermaids, water nymphs, and sirens that played in the river. She would always give leftover scraps to the bogarts, trolls, and ogres that lived under the bridge and in the woods. She would even stop and talk to the lonely ghost or two that happened to cross her path. At night, she would hear the ominous howls of the werewolves and banshees that roamed the streets and spot the glittering trail any small fairy left behind.
According to him, she had always been able to see these creatures. One fact that particularly disturbed her was that she wasn't necessarily…human. There was a specific name for her kind.
She was a Fay. She had one magical parent and one mundane, human, parent. Fays were considered banes of the magical world. Freaks of existence. It hadn't always been like that. In the past, Fays were considered to be great beings, as they had a foot in both the human and magical realms.
"Well, what happened to them?" Rukia had asked.
The red head's expression darkened. He then recounted an event three hundred years to the date about a man named Aizen Sosuke who deemed Fays to be a disgrace to the magical name. His band of followers grew larger in number and they started a large-scale massacre against the species. Soon, the Fay became an endangered race. Renji told her that now there were only five known Fay in both realms.
After a pregnant pause, Rukia had asked about the other magical creatures. The werewolf explained that in order for the magical realm to not intermingle with the human realm, and therefore preventing mass hysteria, the creatures would put themselves under a glamour, shadowing them from the human eye.
Since she wasn't human, she could see through these glamours. The things she saw scared her for the first few weeks. Rukia had no idea how to act when she saw a mythological creature or if they were going to hurt her.
She spent two years being home-schooled by Renji in regular subjects, such as math and reading, and some not-so-normal subjects, like the different creatures that roamed about the Neutral World, as Renji had called it. She remembered the day she asked if there were other worlds beyond this one.
The red head glanced up from his book to the small girl. "Yes?" he inquired, raising an eyebrow.
She cast her eyes downward and scuffed her feet nervously against the floor, twining her hands behind her back. Finally, she squared her shoulders and raised her head to look at the werewolf dead in the eye. "You called this the Neutral World. Does that mean there are other worlds besides this one? If so, what are they called?"
He stared at her in surprise before narrowing his eyes. Frightened, she shied away from him and her eyes returned to the floor. He exhaled sharply, making her flinch.
"Rukia," he began softly. She slowly raised her head to look at him. He gave her a reassuring smile. "Look, there are two other worlds: Las Noches and Soul Society. They're also called The Underworld and the Upper Plains. I don't like talking about them too much because they're way more dangerous than the Neutral World. The creatures from either place are dangerous. They might even kill you on the spot. Sometimes, a creature from either world will come to this one. If you ever encounter one, I want you to run as fast as you can and don't look back. And if you find a way to The Underworld or the Upper Plains, don't go. I don't ever, ever, everwant you to go to either of those damned places."
Rukia looked thoughtful for a second before looking at Renji and smiling toothily. "No problem, Wolf Man," she said, using her favorite pet name for him. A vein became transparent on his head as she laughed at him. "I wouldn't want to leave you, anyway. You're the only one I can call family."
Renji grinned and got up from his spot on the sofa. He grabbed her around the waist and lifted her in the air, swinging her around. Her high-pitched squeals of laughterechoed around the apartment.
Rukia was dragged back into reality when the microwave beeped, indicating her milk was heated. Throwing the blanket off of her, she went to grab her cup and some hot cocoa mix. She hit the release button, carefully grabbed the steaming cup of milk, and turned around.
Suddenly, the cup slipped out of her hand as she noticed something sitting on the island in the center of the kitchen. It crashed onto the tiled floor, spraying shards of sharp clay in front of her and spilling her hot milk everywhere.
There in front of her was a hunched, pitch-black figure leaning forward and gripping the edge of the counter as it examined her. The eyes were circles of pure white, empty holes that held nothing in them. She felt its hot, disgusting breath prickle her skin and she shivered. Rukia had never seen such a creature before. She knew it wasn't from this world.
She backed up against the counter slowly, wincing as she stepped on a shard of glass. The creature tilted its head at her and then opened its mouth, revealing its gleaming, sharp teeth. She wanted to scream, but when she opened her mouth, no sound came out. The thing gave out a high-pitched wail before launching itself at her.
Rukia ducked to the right, finally giving out a scream as the creature smashed itself onto the space she had occupied only seconds ago. It shook its head and seemed to glare at her as it crouched for another attack. She darted into the living room, looking wildly around for any form of weapon. She spotted one of the heavy dictionaries they kept on the coffee table and rushed over to it as she heard the creature give another wail behind her. She quickly seized the large book and swung around, catching the lunging beast on the side of the head.
It howled in pain and sailed into the kitchen through the alcove window. Rukia held the book in front of her chest, gripping it tightly in both hands, pausing before she cautiously approached the alcove, taking her time and stepping lightly. She then peered over the side, her heart thumping hard against her chest. She wondered if the whole room was filled with the noise of her terrified heartbeat. She couldn't see anything in the harsh storm outside. There was a moment of silence and she sighed in relief. It was dead…
Suddenly, she heard it squeal and was suddenly thrown back onto the floor. She hardly had time to scream. The thing was on top of her, drooling and gnashing its teeth. It tried to reach her jugular but she pushed its head back. Her arms struggled with the pressure and she stared in horror as its eyes grew darker until they became a blood red color. The creature gave a howl like she had never heard before, even from a banshee. She screamed as her hands slipped and it lunged toward her throat. She anticipated horrible pain and prayed that her death would be quick.
It never came.
She heard a small grunt and the thing's shrill cry. The place shook a bit as it was tossed back into the wall with a loud crash. Rukia snapped her eyes open. The creature picked itself up again with a growl. She followed where its red eyes were glaring and saw a man dressed in a black kimono. She sat up and stared at him in wonder, though he was ignoring her. He clenched his hands into fists and launched himself at the creature. She sat up quickly, screaming as the creature jumped at him. It gave off another wail as the two made contact.
The beast and the muscular man grappled on the floor. She watched, frozen in horror, as it rolled on top of him, clawing at his face. It then opened its mouth in a screech, lunging down to try and tear open his throat with its teeth. The orange-haired guy cursed before reaching up and punching the monster in jaw, hard. The creature flew off of him, but twisted itself so it would land on all fours. The guy propped himself up on his elbows and wiped the blood dripping from three deep scratches below his right eye, scowling at the blood that stained crimson on the backside of his hand. Rukia was surprised that he hadn't been more injured than that.
He jumped up and pulled a large sword off his back, charging at the black beast with a cry. The creature lunged, trying to attack the man with its long, wickedly sharp claws. The man blocked the attack but was being pushed back by the monster. It growled deep in its throat and then let out a frustrated, shrill scream. It reverberated in Rukia's eardrums and she fell to her knees from the harsh noise. She couldn't help but stare as the beast charged once more at the man. He expertly side-stepped the assault and then plunged his sword into the monster's chest.
The scream that came from it was loud and blood-curdling, sending shivers down her spine. It staggered back, writhing in pain, and fell to the ground, where it finally lay motionless. Rukia watched as the man pulled a scrap of cloth out of his pocket and wiped his sword. She grimaced when she saw the cloth come away black. There was a knot in her stomach that wouldn't let up. She slowly dropped her gaze to the floor, trembling. She hugged herself in an attempt to stop.
She jumped when she felt his hands on her shoulders. She stared at him as he knelt next to her.
The man had unusually bright orange hair. Rukia wondered if it was dyed before looking at his eyebrows, which were the exact same color. His eyes held a sort of warmth, as if he were trying to comfort her. They were the color of warm honey, and she could see the underlying worry he was trying to keep hidden. His jaw was set. She wondered how she could notice these details from someone she hardly knew.
"Are you okay?" he asked. His voice was deep.
Rukia didn't trust her voice, so she just nodded before pushing herself up to her knees.
She heard the man let out a breath before he did the unexpected. He yelled, "What the fuck were you thinking?! You can't take on a fledgling with a dictionary! You could have died, idiot!"
Rukia turned to stare at him, bewildered by his sudden change in attitude. After the night she had, she couldn't help but snap at the man, al trace of her tears and fear gone.
"How dare you yell at me after what I just went through! I had no idea what that thing was or why it was after me! One minute, I'm making myself hot chocolate, and the next, I'm hitting some black thing with a dictionary! Then you come barging in with your sword and superior attitude and stab the thing through the heart right in front of my eyes. Now it's bleeding all over the carpet! How the hell am I going to get that out? I'm sure they don't sell demon blood remover at Wal-Mart!" she snapped, her breath coming out in a huff.
Suddenly, the fledgling's corpse started to fold in on itself. Smoke rose from its body and soon the carpet had a disgusting, black stain that reeked of sulfur. Rukia shrieked at the sudden transformation and put a hand to her mouth to prevent from throwing up her dinner from several hours earlier.
He stared at her for a couple of seconds before he threw his head back and burst out laughing.
"What are you laughing at?!" she screeched angrily.
"You...You almost died, or worse, got your ass turned into a fledgling, and you're worried about your carpet?" he managed to get out.
Rukia opened her mouth to shoot back a snappy retort and then realized that he was right. She frowned at this and crossed her arms with a scowl.
Suddenly, her knees buckled under her and she felt a sharp pain on her legs. He sucked in a breath when he looked down at her and he rushed over to her before she hit the floor.
Before she knew it, Rukia was somehow in his arms. "Oi! What the hell!?" she yelled at him, looking at him in confusion.
"Your calves…." he trailed off uneasily.
She glanced down at her legs and noticed that they were cut up and bleeding profusely. She guessed it was from the ceramic cup she dropped earlier.
"Oh..." she whispered with wide eyes.
"Now," he began calmly, "where do I get some towels to clean those wounds up?"
She pointed down the hallway to their right. "There's some in the bathroom, second door on the left," she directed him. He headed over there without another word, Rukia still in his arms.
He pushed the door open and set her carefully down on the counter. She gestured to a small closet door behind the open one. Ichigo peeked around the bathroom door and saw it, an eyebrow shooting up. He opened the tiny closet and grabbed a white towel from one shelf. He went over to the sink and ran it under the cold water. He then kneeled before her to start cleaning the blood from her legs.
Despite his rough exterior, he was being gentle in wiping them, so she decided to relax. The cuts weren't too deep, but there were a lot of them. She leaned back and closed her eyes to think, trying to get the events that just occurred to sink in her mind. It seemed so impossible, but was it really? I mean, after all, she saw mythical creatures every day. This wasn't too different, was it?
After a minute, his voice interrupted her train of thought.
"Kurosaki Ichigo," he muttered and looked up at her. Her eyes snapped open and she glanced down at him, puzzled. He frowned a bit but then replied, "That's my name."
Rukia stared at him before tentatively answering, "Kuchiki Rukia."
Ichigo's head shot up almost instantly. His strong gaze held her captive. "Did you just say…Kuchiki?" he choked out.
She nodded and raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, so?"
He stared at her like she had grown a second head. After a minute of silence, her eyes narrowed and a vein in her head twitched. "Hey, Kurosaki, take a fucking picture. It'll last longer," she snapped.
Ichigo gave a violent shake of his head before straightening. He soon disappeared, seemingly into thin air.
She stared blankly at the space Ichigo had once occupied, startled. Her ears pricked up when she heard fumbling and cursing from the living room. She glanced at her now-bandaged calves and slid off the counter to see what he was doing. When she entered, he was nowhere to be seen. She inspected the place with a confused expression. "Kurosaki?" she called out.
"Where is he?" His desperate question came from behind her. She made a startled noise in her throat and spun around. He was slightly out of breath and had a somewhat crazed look in his eyes.
"Where's who? I don't know what you're talking about!" she replied, a bit annoyed.
He gave a low growl in the back of his throat. "What do you mean, who? Where is Byakuya?" he asked again, his fists clenched and shaking.
Rukia stared at him, wondering if he was crazy. She tilted her head in confusion. "Who is this 'Byakuya'?"
Ichigo's eyes widened in disbelief. He then scowled and began furiously, "Wait…what? You're a Kuchiki and you don't know who he is?"
Before she could answer, they heard the door opening and Renji calling out, somewhat suspicious, "Rukia?"
Ichigo swiveled his head to the door that was opening. Before she could even blink, he was in front of her, sword drawn and pointed at the door. Renji slowly walked in, his shoulders stiff and stance defensive. She noticed his eyes were becoming a pale red tint.
"Kurosaki, wait! You don't understand! That's the man who's taken care of me for the last eight years!" she protested.
Ichigo blinked in surprise and lowered his sword. His eyes widened in some sort of realization and she saw his jaw working, trying to form words.
"Wait…I know you. It's been a while, hasn't it, Kurosaki?" her guardian asked, his tense stance relaxing, only slightly. He allowed himself a casual smile, making Rukia's jaw drop. They knew each other?
Ichigo smirked and asked, "How many years has it been since we last exchanged pleasantries like this, Renji?"
The werewolf shrugged good-naturedly. "Dunno. But it's been a long time…."
"Honestly, I didn't think I would ever see your ugly mug again," he joked lightly, making the other male scowl.
A vein twitched on Rukia's head. She stumbled over to stand in the middle of the two men. "Someone better start explaining things right now." She glared at Renji and pointed at him. "And you better start first."
Renji sighed in defeat. He knew that once Rukia wanted to know something, she wouldn't stop until she got some answers. "I can't, Rukia. I can't involve you in matters that deal with the Soul Society…."
Her eyes narrowed at her guardian. "And why not, Renji? Aren't I old enough to know about them already?" She knew she was being stubborn, but she didn't want to be kept in the dark about this.
He scowled at her attitude. "Hey, don't take that tone of voice with me. You know well enough why I don't tell you about the worlds, Rukia. Just because a guest's here doesn't mean you can pressure me to get what you want."
The two engaged in a silent battle of glares before a chilling howl ripped through the night. Rukia's eyes widened and she twisted to the door of the apartment's balcony. She saw a dark, hooded shape emerge through the swirling black curtain. The two males instantly got into fighting stances.
Renji's eyes glowed red, the tell-tale sign that he was about to Change. Ichigo shoved Rukia behind him, making her stumble. She peered around him cautiously and caught a glimpse of a being walking calmly into the living room before Ichigo stepped in front of her view. Beside him, the werewolf gave a low growl from deep in his throat.
"Well, well, well," a quiet voice said. "Isn't this delightful? A little reunion between the two troublemakers of Seireitei Academy. It's just like old times, isn't it, boys?" the person's voice asked in what would have been a thoughtful manner had it not held hidden sarcasm.
Rukia stepped to the right and stared quizzically at the hooded figure. Ichigo's eyes enlarged in recognition and he let out a gasp of surprise. Renji growled ferociously at the figure, making the Kuchiki look at the two of them in bewilderment. The orange-haired male stiffened and he took several steps forward to stand directly in front of the stranger.
"Aizen…." The name sounded like a curse as it left his lips.
The hooded figure chuckled and pulled back his hood. His shaggy brown bangs fell in front of his eyes. "Kurosaki Ichigo…I'd say it's a pleasure to see you again, but then I would be lying. I'm not here for a heartfelt reunion with you two idiots, however. I'm only here for the girl."
She made a startled noise in her throat. Renji's body rippled slightly and he crouched low, ready to burst into his werewolf form to rip Aizen apart. Ichigo laughed, though there was no mirth in it.
"That's funny, Aizen," he said dryly. "You aren't taking this girl anywhere. She's mine." Ichigo glared at the man in front of him, daring Aizen to challenge his word, ignoring the small gasp Rukia let out and the soft growl from Renji.
Aizen cracked a smile, one that sent chills down her spine. "She is…yours, Kurosaki? So you aim to protect her then?" Rukia anticipated an attack, but all the strange man did was shrug. "I'm feeling merciful tonight. It also seems as though one of my beloved fledglings has failed." He eyed the dark stain on the carpet where the creature had disintegrated.
He turned around. "I will leave for tonight, though be warned. I will take her to Las Noches eventually, whether you breathe or not." He quickly vanished, making the people left in the room tense.
Rukia saw her guardian relax slightly after a few seconds, though his eyes stayed alert. She noticed Ichigo had gripped the hilt of his sword so hard that the whites of his knuckles were visible.
She watched as the two men glanced at each other, then at her. Self-conscious, she gripped her hands hard in front of her body and tilted her head to stare at an interesting dust puff in the corner of the room.
"We're in trouble now, aren't we?" Ichigo's low voice rumbled across the room and caused her to shiver. She glanced at his now cold amber eyes, staring at her although his question was for Renji.
She thought back to what he said earlier: "She's mine."
What did he mean by that?
And we're done! My beta convinced me to bring the page numbers from 14 to 8, so it actually gives a cliff hanger and will make you all want to read the next chapter. That, and I think she was overwhelmed by my awesomeness *creepy winky face*
So yes. She has chapter two already in her grasp and I am currently 4 pages into chapters 3 and 4! I hope to see you in about a month!
Reviews are always loved, friendly criticisms are better, but please, don't diss or just be plain rude. I have feelings and those weaklings get hurt easily.
Until next time!