A/N: So this is my first story, and I have to give panzerraptor a great big THANK YOU for allowing me to use his chapter to start it off. So, here is the first chapter of Desert Nocturne, enjoy!
AA/N: Sorry I have been gone. In all honesty, I had lost my will to write. I got this terrible review from a man named Ppsh, and, much to my dismay and sadness, he was right. I am in no way accepting how he put that review because that just ruined me. But also, thanks to TheDemonKingNaruto and his fantastic writing style (seriously, check his stories out), I have regained my will to write. So, Here is to my re installation of my personal series, Desert Nocturne. P.s. I still owe my thanks to panzerraptor for giving me the idea of this story and his chapter to work off of.
The wind of the eternal desert night blew lightly as Tia Harribel, previous Tres Espada from the fallen Sosuke Aizen's army, stood on a dune overlooking the barren white landscape. Her blond hair blew in the breeze as she overlooked her home, Hueco Mundo. It was a silent world under a night sky. Though many other hollow found this place a mundane wasteland, she was one of the few to truly enjoy it's silent beauty. Towering behind her stood the giant and impressive fortress known as Los Noches.
She glanced at the enormous foundation, her blue eyes scanning it's walls and the skies above it. It was good to see that this land had returned to normal after it's previous lord's defeat. However, she still wished there were some things that could have remained. "So many memories…" she mused. Memories of the old days came into her mind. The days when her fraccion would squabble with each other. She would watch over the trio as if they were her daughters, and loved them as such. Even with the racket and banter, it was still peace to her.
But that was before the battle at Fake Karakura Town occurred which changed her world forever. She, her fraccion, and her fellow Espada went into battle against the enemy shinigami. She watched as both Stark and Barragan died in the midst of their battles. But before that, she witnessed the tragedy which befell her fraccion. Her daughters had been incinerated by the Head Captain's power by just a swing of his burning blade. She wanted revenge and was ready to fight him and all who stood before her to the bitter end. However, any chance for vengeance at that time was robbed of her by the very man she served, the man who made her who she was: Aizen Sosuke.
Being a hollow, she felt that it was her duty to follow the path of the strongest being. Not because of simple pride, but because of fear. Aizen was the only person she feared because of the power he possessed and lack of fear he had. However, he was also a skilled manipulator. The man made her and her companions believe that he would usher in a new age. Allow them to roam a world with unrestricted freedom. "What a fool I was," she thought. "I should have known that we were nothing more than his pawns."
That was when she remembered his betrayal. The pain and blood from Aizen's sword slicing through her chest before she felt his blade literally stabbing her in the back. He then said that she and the other Arrancar were not strong enough to help further his goals. To her, this was a sad irony. The man who gave her life as a newly evolved being, sought to dispose of her with just as much ease. The last thing she saw was the smile on her former superior's face as she fell to the ground below, blacking out before she made impact.
Looking back on the events which turned her world upside down, she clenched her fist and shut her eyes. She felt hatred for the man she served and guilt for the fraccion she lost. For her, the deaths of Mila-Rose, Apache, and Sun-Sun were on Aizen's hands just as much as Yamamoto's. From their demises, a large piece of her soul broke that day. She wished there was something more that could have been done. However, every time she replayed both scenarios, no matter what action she took, Tia knew nothing could be changed.
Of course, that was not the only thing that she had on her mind. Ever since that day, she wondered why she was still alive. She was supposed to have been killed, yet for some reason, Yoruichi decided to take her body to Orihime in order to heal her. Why they would risk being attacked by the enemy they revived was still perplexing. Of course, Tia was not one to resort to such instinctual tactics. If anything, the phrase 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' was heavily implied in such a situation. That being said, the now indebted ex-Espada decided to join them in stopping Aizen once and for all. "Never did I think I would aid the opposition. The only reason I did so was in order to exact my revenge on that bastard for what he did. That was the idea in the beginning at the very least."
At first, Tia was a distant member of the group. She rarely spoke and usually kept her distance. Then again, she used to be their foe, after all. She didn't trust them just as they barely trusted her. However, there was one person who she felt some relation toward. That person was the substitute shinigami, Ichigo Kurosaki. She knew all about him when he fought through Las Noches on his quest to rescue Orihime Inoue. It was truly awe inspiring to watch him battle. The power he possessed was impressive. To Tia, the orange-haired swordsman was not that different from herself in terms of hollow ability. Even so, there was another aspect of Ichigo that she found intriguing aside from his skills. She learned that the warrior was willing to sacrifice himself to keep his comrades safe even in the heat of battle. Watching him reminded Tia of what she would have done for her fraccion. "Ichigo… I would never have thought I would find my equal in a shinigami. Especially one as special and intriguing as you. Perhaps if you had been an arrancar, we could have became something… more…"
Looking down at her hands though, she cracked a small grin. "At least I got to make that bastard pay for his follies." Remembering the end of the fight, she was happy that she got the final blow in, severing that treacherous head clean off his shoulders. "I hope that you will forgive me Sung-sun, Mila-Rose, Apache. While I may not have been strong enough to save you three, I hope I made you happy by killing that man."
Suddenly, a loud zipping sound broke Tia out of her thoughts. The brown-skinned woman whipped around and watched as a Garganta opened up in front of her. Her hand wrapped around the hilt of Tiburon as she watched the incoming shape of an individual approach. Among the arrancar, she was one of the three evolved hollow who still existed that were among the previous Espada, the others being Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez and Neliel Tu Oderschvank. Though she was in good standing with Nel, it was the blue-haired arrancar that she was wary of. She may be stronger than him, but Tia knew that his power, coupled with his feral disposition, was not to be taken lightly. "Is it that bothersome panther again?" Tia thought as she stood ready.
However, once she made out the figure, Tia instead relaxed her guard and released her grip. Jumping out of the portal and landing in the sand before her stood the strawberry-haired shinigami, Ichigo Kurosaki wearing a captain's haori over his regular shihakusho. A few days after Aizen's defeat, Ichigo was given the honor of becoming the captain of Squad 5. He, when offered the position, almost immediately accepted it, with few conditions. "It is good to see you, Captain Kurosaki," she said with a smile under her shirt.
"Hey, you don't have to be so formal," Ichigo replied as he scratched the back of his head. "It's not that big of a deal."
Tia shook her head from the teenager's reply. Even though Ichigo acted like this was nothing, she knew that the warrior was proud to have attained such a position. "Of course it isn't," the ex-Espada said wryly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Under her collar, the Espada still smiled. "So, Tia. Why are you here anyway? I thought the Seireitei dropped the crimes or whatever."
"That may be, but this is my domain," Tia replied. "It isn't as lively or loud as your precious Soul Society, which is why I returned here. This is where I feel must comfortable. And it is also where I can gather my thoughts about the past and the present."
"I know what you mean," Ichigo said understandingly. "Your fraccion… You miss them, don't you?"
Tia nodded. "I do. I know there was nothing I could do to stop what had happened, but that doesn't mean I'm over there deaths. I just hope that they are at peace." Ichigo turned his gaze to the grained white ground. He knew by experience how the arrancar was feeling. He had also lost someone dear to him. Tia glanced at the strawberry-haired teen next to her and saw his expression. She didn't like it when he was depressed. It wasn't his fault that such events had taken place. Wanting to lighten the mood, the chocolate-skinned woman decided to change the subject. "Now that you're captain, I believe you're on the lookout for a lieutenant. Do you have anyone in mind?"
"Oh… Well…" True Ichigo still had no lieutenant after Momo was assigned by Yamamoto to work under Toshiro. It had been only a few days since his captaincy, and still he hadn't announced anyone yet. He did have ideas about Rukia or Orihime. However, Rukia was already promoted to the position by her own captain and Orihime was in the living world trying to have a normal life. Still, even with these choices obsolete, Ichigo did have more options. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about," he began, earning the arrancar's attention. "I mean, there are so many strong people who want to be by my side, but it's so hard to for me to pick." "I also have narrowed my squad very precisely on who I want in it, so that doesnt help" he added as a mental note.
Tia shook her head. "Or is it something else?" she asked.
"I hear most of them are the women you've met on your adventure." Hearing this, Ichigo's cheeks became cherry red. It was true that most of the hopefuls were of the female variety, including a few who were already lieutenants and wanted to get transferred. To top it off, they all seemed to be having their own contest over who would take the position under the young and powerful captain's wing. Seeing Ichigo's reaction, Tia made a low chortle. "I knew it. You're having the time of your life."
"I am not!" Ichigo replied defensively. "It's just… too difficult to decide."
"Alright, maybe I'll help you," Tia thought as she and the orange-haired captain took a seat on the soft sand. "How about that one woman. The loud one with the large breasts who fought my fraccion."
"Are you talking about Rangiku?"
"So you have been paying attention," the arrancar quipped.
"Wha-!? Shut up!" Ichigo replied with a profuse blush. Tia only shook her head lightly. "Anyway, she's already a lieutenant…"
"Who wishes to be transferred under you."
"True. But the only reason she wants to is so she could slouch around my office instead of Toshiro's."
"Point taken. Alright, how about the female Vizard. Lisa, I believe it was."
"Well, she was an ex-lieutenant before she left the Seireitei…"
"But I already had the Vizards join my squad, and seeing that she isn't my lieutenant yet, I just don't see it happening. Besides, I'm sure that the big drawback would be her leaving those porn magazines all over the place."
"That's a drawback?" Tia asked with a cocked brow. "I would've imagined you to be interested in such things."
"For the last time, I'm not like my dad!"
"Don't be so blunt, Ichigo. It's perfectly natural for most young men to be curious about the woman's body."
"Would you drop it already? Geez. You're starting to sound like Yoruichi."
"Speaking of which, what of her? I'm sure the Goddess of Flash would make an excellent second-in-command."
"Not going to happen," Ichigo said quickly. "The last thing I want is to have a lower blood count as she constantly transforms into a naked woman. Even if I wanted to, something tells me Soifon would try and kill me if I ask."
"I see. Then what about that other woman? The one who looks like Lisa that works under the perverted sloth?"
"That's Nanao. Yeah, she does do a lot of work under Kyoraku and I do have an extra amount of forms I need help with. But I'm pretty sure it would be the same thing with her captain also."
"Well then, I don't know what to say," Tia replied with a shrug. "We've analyzed your top candidates, but it seems we're back to where we started."
Ichigo groaned and he threw his body back. The young soul reaper knew that he needed someone fast. If only Uryu and Chad were here. However, the Quincy still took a stand against joining his 'mortal enemies' while Chad was too busy with school and taking odd jobs for Urahara. "This is going nowhere fast!" he thought. However, his ideas were put to rest as he laid eyes on the blonde arrancar before him. "Hey. I think I know who would make a good lieutenant."
"Really?" Tia asked. "And who, may I ask, would that be?"
"You," Ichigo replied. Tia was taken back by the response. Still, she hid her surprise in a composed, nonchalant glance. "You're strong, smart, and reliable. 'Not to mention beautiful." You would be perfect."
Tia turned away from Ichigo as she tried to hide her reddened cheeks under her collar. "I appreciate the thought. But you forget I'm a hollow. If I remember correctly, Soul Society's main objective is to destroy enemy hollows."
"Look, I know that. But you're not an enemy and you're not like those monsters. Besides, if they wanted to hunt you down, then I wouldn't be here talking to you and the Vizards would have been killed off a long time ago."
Tia thought over Ichigo's logic. It was true that if the Seireitei were to have made a move on Hueco Mundo, such steps would have already been implemented. "Besides, you're one of the few people I actually trust," Ichigo continued. "Someone who I can meet on common ground with. I would be honored to have you by my side."
"Ichigo…" a speechless Tia responded. "But what about my home? Will I ever come back?"
"Of course!" Ichigo said. "I won't let keep you from where you feel you need to be. In fact, I was able to talk the old man into making you both an ambassador and my lieutenant."
Tia thought over the proposal. In a strategic standpoint, the arrancar would be able to make preparations if the Seireitei were to attack her domain. And being a lieutenant would give her insight in its operations. But on a personal note, this would also give Tia the chance to serve under the only person who had peeked her interest. Someone that didn't make her feel like an outcast. She was also drawn by his compassion and innate innocence. It was something that was so hard to find. Returning to her feet, the blonde arrancar gave Ichigo a nod. "Alright, I will take you up on your offer."
Ichigo smiled. "Thank you, Tia. I owe you one."
A smile grew under Tia's mask. "Indeed you do, (even if I owe you a big one for that opportunity you gave me)." she said as she opened a garganta and walked inside.
Ichigo was puzzled by the response, but soon followed suit. "Thank you, Tia. This means a lot," the young captain thought. Then, he remembered the rest of his reason of why he was even here, his eyes widening in remembrance. "Oh yeah, while I am here, there is something else I have to do before we leave. Do you mind leaving later? I would like a guide around here." When he said this, the young boy gave an uncertain smile.
Sighing, Tia accepted to help him. "So what is it that you need to do?" "Well, The old man Yamamoto has agreed to let me recruit arrancar with intelligence as subordinates, granting them with amnesty and safe passage, so I wanted to go get other people to join me."
Nodding at this, Tia took Ichigo around, their first stop to Melony and Loly. "Mistress Tia, how may we be of service to you?" Menoly said, bowing down to her, while Loly just stared at Ichigo. "And what the hell is a Shinigami doing here!" shrieked Loly. "This shinigami here has a proposition for us that I have already accepted." stated Tia simply. "He has come with an offer for a seat in his squad that gives amnesty to any hollow that agrees to obey him, as long as we follow their rules."
Gasping at this, Menoly was the first to bow down to Ichigo. "I will follow you sir, for you were so kind to offer this, and strong enough to defeat Aizen. I see you as worthy." With this said, Loly, who was shocked beyond belief at this bold action, stood in defiance, until she got forced down by her friend into a similar position.
"Good," said a thankful Ichigo, "Thank you for making us that much stronger. If you would, wait for me by the North end of Sekkiseki wall, and don't bother anyone. I would also like you to hide your hole and energy as to not freak out the residents around the Rukongai." At this, he opened another Gargantua at that location, which he closed when he saw them properly across.
With them taken care of, Tia led him to Neliel, who managed to keep her return to her adult form due to Orihime's healing. Dressed in her Espada uniform, She ran up to Ichigo and glomped him off his feet. "It is so good to see you again Ichigo! I though you were dead once you left to fight Aizen and didn't come back!" As she cried tears of joy, Ichigo's face was getting pressed deeper and deeper into her bosom.
Irked, Tia yelled at the woman. "Get a hold of yourself Neliel! He is dying right now with you crushing him in your breasts!" She questioned herself on this outburst silently, no one else taking notice. As if she didn't notice, Nel let him escape from her death grip. Breathing fresh air in, he regained his senses, fighting back a small nosebleed. "Nel, how would you like to be a part of the Gotei 13, with me as your captain? It would bring you safety from the other Shinigami and you can be able to talk to me more often!"
At this, her mood seemed to brighten considerably, before diminishing. "Wait, can I bring my friends Pesche and Dondochakka as well? I don't want to be without them, because I owe them my life." Have you been listening to me Nel? I mean any hollow is willing to listen to me! So you can go grab them and join the rest that are waiting at this predestined spot as well." He opened a Garganta for the spot. "Just cover your holes and your friends faces while you wait with Menoly and Loly, while sealing your pressure. I don't want to scare the other shinigami or the townsfolk. And remember to close the Garganta when you're done, okay?" Nodding, The green-haired girl took off for her friends, the excitement within her barely contained.
The energy that was produced attracted Grimmjow as well, as he remembered the way Ichigo's energy felt. When he approached, the first thing he noticed was the Haori. "What the hell is this bullshit?" the blue-haired man asked. "What the hell are you doing here dressed in that cloak?" "I am recruiting arrancar for my Squad back in the Soul Society. Would you be willing to listen to me and join us?"
"Like hell I would!" laughed the crazed panther. "What the hell would you have to offer me to make it worth my time?" "How about every week, we go all out in Hueco Mundo sparring."
"I'm in." was the immediate response, pulling a laugh from Ichigo's mouth. "Ok, good. All you have to do is enter this portal with you powers concealed, preferably with your hole covered, just to not scare any shinigami or townsfolk. Wait with the others till I am done, then I will tell you what to do. And tell the rest that they may NOT kill anyone who is dumb enough to attack them." With this, Girmmjow entered the portal while Tia and Ichigo recruited 4 more arrancar who accepted the terms, when they all went to the rendezvous point, where they all followed Ichigo into the Seireitei.
So ends the first chapter of the story so graciously given to me by my benefactor. And I used the chapter from Ballads of a Strawberry, that is because I found that it was the perfect way to begin it. Of course, I made some changes to fit my story idea, but the base is his.
I thank you or reading this, and I hope you continue to support me. And feel free to tell me any ideas that you think might help in this process of story telling!