A/N: So, hi. I've lately fallen headfirst in love with the Avengers crossover section, and I noticed a distinct lack of fanfiction pertaining to Bleach/Avengers. There's only one story, and it's abandoned! So I asked permission to take up the banner, and here we are.
You'll probably need at least basic knowledge of the Bleachverse to understand some of this, but I think it doesn't really matter either way. This is after the Thousand Year Blood War arc, and if you don't know what that is, then go look up some of the latest Bleach manga online. It's really easy, trust me. Anyway, just read it, and if you like it, drop me a review.
Disclaimer: Don't own shit.
Chapter 1: The Deathberry's Lament
The young man stood alone in the devastated ruins of Karakura-cho, staring forlornly at the memorial made of sekki-sekki the shinigami had been kind enough to raise to honor those who had fallen in the Karakura Massacre. He no longer wore the shihakusho of the shinigami; now, his jagged hair, the color of an autumn sunset, tumbled down his shoulders and rested in the hood of his long, black greatcoat, while a katana hung from the leather belt which held up a pair of baggy, faded blue jeans. His amber eyes were filled with a sadness so great it would send a lesser man spiraling into insanity.
It had been the Vandenreich, of course. It had been during the fighting in Seireitei, in which countless shinigami had been killed, that the leader of the Vandenreich, Ishida Ryuken, had released Aizen Sosuke from his restraints in the Maggot's Nest. The two of them then formed an alliance and forced the shinigami to abandon Seireitei for the first time since their creation.
The battles that followed had been devastating. The Quincy, having undergone partial Hollowfication, had grown more powerful than many of the captains, destroying the souls of countless victims, including Kuchiki Byakuya and Kurotsuchi Mayuri. Slowly but surely, the Vandenreich and Aizen's new Arrancar army whittled away at the shinigami's defenses. One by one, the captains fell until all that remained were Yamamoto Genryusai Shigekuni, Unohana Retsu, Hitsugaya Toshiro, and Hirako Shinji. Even the vaunted battle prowess of Ukitake Jushiro and Kyoraku Shunsui had not been enough to survive. And all the while, Ichigo had trained, learning Kido from Soul Society's most accomplished masters, refining his swordplay and unarmed combat against Soifon and Kenpachi Zaraki before they were overwhelmed during the fighting in the Menos Forest, and becoming nearly untouchable in his skill with Hoho thanks to Shihouin Yoruichi until she failed to return during a mission deep undercover.
But even that hadn't been enough, and Ichigo had fallen in battle against Ryuken's superior power. However, when his spiritual form had been extinguished, Ichigo had woken up in his human body with Zangetsu cloven in two at his side and his mask broken in pieces on his chest. The remaining captains and the former exiles, Urahara Kisuke and Tsukabishi Tessai, convinced Ichigo to go into hiding, having literally lost his soul, to protect him from Aizen and his truly fearsome Bankai. It had been Aizen who had cut down Kyoraku, Ukitake, and the others with his Absolute Hypnosis, and it was Aizen who had spearheaded the next attack on Karakura.
Every human in the vicinity of his old hometown was dead. Ochi-sensei, Keigo, Mizuiro, Orihime, Chado, Ishida...his sisters and Tatsuki. Even those punk skaters who'd knocked over that poor girl's shrine were gone, obliterated by the kido Aizen had created just for the specific reason of drawing Ichigo out of hiding, thinking that as a human, he would be easier to destroy, once and for all.
Oh, it had worked, at least the first part had. Upon learning what had happened, what he had lost, Ichigo had risen from the ashes of his town as nothing short of pure, unadulterated power, his anger manifesting itself to such a degree that he was even more powerful in this theoretically weaker form than he had ever been. Anything that tried to attack him, be they Hollow, Arrancar, Quincy, or otherwise fell to his unstoppable, unfathomable fury. Even the upper echeleons of the Vandenreich were no match for his might.
It was then that Aizen unleashed the power of his Bankai while empowered by the Hogyoku for the first time. Ichigo tore through the illusion as though it were rice paper and cut the Hogyoku straight from Aizen's chest with such finality and conviction that the Orb of Distortion recognized Ichigo as its true master and abandoned Aizen Sosuke to death.
He then went to Soul Society and eradicated the rest of the Vandenreich, helping Ishida Ryuken find the cold embrace of Death as well.
And now, here he was, standing before a piece of rock that meant little to nothing in the long run. His family was gone, his friends were gone. The remains of Karakura seemed to be the perfect analogy to his life now; ruined, desolate, and filled with nothing but ash and smoke and the blood of the dead.
"Abandon your fear, Ichigo," came a voice from behind his left shoulder. Ichigo didn't have to turn to know it was Zangetsu, his cloak and hair more ragged-looking that usual, and his visor cracked in a perfect horizontal line. "Look forward. Move forward and-"
"SHUT UP, OLD MAN!" Ichigo exploded suddenly and violently, shoving the spirit of his blade back with the expansion of his reiatsu. "How the hell can I look forward when everything that I know is only in the past!? They're gone, don't you understand that?" His eyes stung, and he angrily forced himself not to shed any tears. "They're all gone," he repeated in a smaller voice, sinking to his knees
"So you're just gonna bitch out and die, then, King?" a second voice demanded. He turned around and found himself staring at his Inner Hollow, a white-washed version of himself but for the eerie golden eyes that seemed to mock him even now.
"What else am I supposed to do?" Ichigo asked helplessly, turning his eyes to the turbulent, cloud-filled skies. "I don't even have a damn soul anymore." The soot and fire had tainted the clouds a dark, murderous red, and whatever rain that fell was burned away by the remnants of his reiatsu, which even now, a week after the fighting had ended, was still stronger than ever.
"I believe I might have a solution, Kurosaki-san." As the spirits of his power dissipated, Ichigo whirled around, his hand already pulling Zangetsu's unreleased form from its sheath. His eyes landed on a blonde-haired man who wore a green-and-white-striped bucket hat that sent his eyes into shadow. He bore a straight cane and had a dark green cloak draped across his shoulders.
"Geta-boshi," Ichigo grunted, turning back to the memorial as he slowly stood once more, allowing Zangetsu to drop back into the scabbard. "What is it that you've cooked up now? Time travel?" He didn't want to admit how much irrational hope was in that last sentence.
"Dimensional travel, actually," Urahara Kisuke responded, his voice devoid of its usual humor and flamboyancy. "Time travel is still impossible...for now. Regardless, I believe that you need something of a vacation from yourself."
Ichigo was silent, so Kisuke continued. "This device," he said, withdrawing a small cube that seemed to be made of steel from within his cloak, "will send you away from...this place. It might be good for you, you know."
"Why should I willingly send myself to a different dimension?" Ichigo asked gruffly. "I mean, who's to say that I won't just end up in Soul Society or Hueco Mundo or...or even Hell? They're all separate dimensions, aren't they?"
"You're smarter than you look, Kurosaki-san," Urahara said lightly, a bit of his old mannerisms reappearing as he pulled out a fan and fluttered it before his face to hide a grin. "The device doesn't send you to different dimensions, per se, but rather, it pushes you sideways through the multiverse and into a parallel reality. You will arrive on the planet Earth, which I hypothesize will have the exact same countries, societies, and technology. The only difference is that there will be no shinigami, Hollows, or other spiritual entities you are familiar with. It will truly be a clean slate for you."
"Wait, you said 'hypothesize'," Ichigo said slowly.
"Well, of course!" Kisuke said, snapping his fan shut and tapping Ichigo gently on the forehead. "This is still the prototype. I wouldn't do it myself, naturally, but you're the perfect candidate to become a test subject. You dislike this reality, have no emotional ties to it, andyou've got incentive to leave."
"Oh?" Ichigo asked skeptically. "What incentive is that?"
"Yamamoto-sotaicho has demanded that you become a captain of the Gotei Jusan, what with there being a very limited supply of captain-class shinigami after...well, after what happened," Kisuke replied smoothly. "A task force is on its way as we speak."
Ichigo glanced down at the stone memorial once more, burning the names inscribed upon the rock into his memory, then held out his hand to Kisuke.
"Give it here, then," he said finally.
"So hasty, Kurosaki-san," Kisuke admonished lightly. "First, you'll need these," he pulled a small, scanner-like object from his cloak, as well as a sheaf of blank paper. "This is a currency-maker. You simply find a sample of the money of whatever country you land in, put it through this little slot, then put some of this blank paper in and it copies it perfectly, right down any special qualities the money may possess. And don't worry about running out of paper, you can put any old kind through the scanner and it'll still turn out like the official currency."
"Okay," Ichigo said. He'd always wondered how Urahara had managed to find himself a premises so quickly after being exiled from Soul Society and ending up in the Human World. This explained so much. But it didn't explain why Geta-boshi was such a miserly weirdo.
"Also, here's a bag full of other stuff that you might need, which I have no time to tell you about," Kisuke said, snapping his fingers. Tessai suddenly appeared at Ichigo's shoulder with a duffel bag. "Needless to say, if you ever find yourself in a strange predicament and need a little something, it'll probably be in the bag."
"Ah, thanks, I guess," Ichigo responded, taking the supplies from the hulking man with a grateful nod. "Anything else?"
"Just this," Urahara answered, holding out a hand after the Western fashion. "It has been an honor training you, Kurosaki Ichigo. I am so terribly sorry that it all ended the way it did, but I am incredibly proud of the way you handled yourself. I know your parents would be, too."
Ichigo sighed, then took the offered hand and shook it once. He suddenly felt warmth in the palm of his hand, and when Kisuke smiled, Ichigo knew that he'd activated the device. The last thing he heard before he was whisked away was, "Good luck, my friend."
The last thing he thought before he was whisked away was, At least he didn't have me say some stupid activation phrase...
[HEY, CHECK IT OUT! IT'S A PAGE BREAK]
Tony Stark had been having a rough couple of months. Granted, that was a gross understatement, but Tony always like to think on the bright side, so a rough couple of months it had been, rather than the worst couple of months he'd ever experienced.
He glanced down at the pale blue circle of light that indictated his arc reactor was still functional. It glowed slightly in the shadowy desert night, almost imperceptable over the calming rays of the crescent moon in the sky. The reactor reminded him of Dr. Yinsen, and a pang of deep guilt and shame thrilled through the billionaire industrialist. Even with that badass suit of armor, he had been unable to free the man who had saved his life and made those long weeks of toil and squalor in a dark cave somewhat bearable.
"C'mon, Tony," he said to himself. "No use dwelling on the past. Gotta put one foot in front of the other if I'm ever gonna make it out of this damn desert."
And so he trudged on through the night, stumbling a bit every once in a while, but continuing on regardless of his fatigue. He could rest during the day, find some crags nearby and take shelter from the blistering sun.
At least, that was the plan until Tony saw a brief flash of light and felt a tremulous shockwave slam into him, nearly knocking him on his rear. Both had originated from behind the sand dune on his right, and he hurried toward it, hoping that there was a phone somewhere.
When he reached the disturbance, he found the most unexpected sight one can find in the middle of the Afghani desert. A young Asian man who could've been anywhere from eighteen to twenty-three was sitting in the sand, rubbing his temples in an aggravated manner. His hair was shoulder-length and so orange that it had to be a dye job, while his dark, hooded coat and baggy jeans added to the whole punk-style the kid seemed to have. What surprised Stark the most, however, was the elegant sword tied to his belt.
"Geta-baka," the orange-haired stranger grunted, then looked around him and, with a growing expression of confusion, muttered, "Watashi wa Hueco Mundo de gozen?"
Tony didn't know what language that was, but decided that a kid with a sword wasn't someone he'd like to meet up with in the desert, so he started to move away slowly.
It didn't work. Within seconds of his first backward step, the kid's head snapped up and he was on his feet, the katana in his hand as his amber eyes glared at Tony who chuckled nervously. "Bit quick with your sword there," he said, trying for levity that he surely didn't feel. That sword had been in the boy's hand so fast it seemed like he'd skipped the in-between part.
The kid's face scrunched with recognition, and in slightly stilted English, he asked, "Who are you?"
"I'm Tony Stark," the genius replied almost boastfully. When the stranger's face expressed nothing but blank confusion, he got a little stroppy, saying, "You know, weapons manufacturer, genius, philanthropist, genius, industrialist, genius..."
"You said 'genius' three times," Ichigo deadpanned. "Anyway, where are we, do you know? Is this Hueco Mundo?"
Tony mentally translated that into Empty World. He knew Spanish, at least. "This is Afghanistan, kid," he finally said, "not the empty world, but the name is kinda fitting. Say, what are you doing here, anyway?"
The boy winced, and Tony practically saw the gears turning in his head. "Uh, I...got lost?" he finally said, more of a question than a statement.
"Right," Tony's answer dripped with sarcasm. "And I'm a superhero. Look, I don't really care. I'm about this close to dehydration, and as we're in the same boat, we might as well help each other out. So, what's your name?"
There was a pause, then, "Ichigo Kurosaki."
"Well, Ichigo, I hope this is the start of a beautiful friendship in which you don't kill me with that sword of yours," Tony said with a grin. It faded quickly as Stark's eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out, flopping onto the sand like a puppet with its strings cut.
Ichigo stared at the unconscious man incredulously for a moment or so, then rolled his eyes and grabbed the man up by his sweat-stained shirt, tossing him across his shoulder. As he began to walk in the direction of the lightening horizon, Ichigo wondered what the hell kind of omen it was to meet this guy right off the bat.
He just hoped the rest of this world wasn't as sandy as this place; he still had Hueco Mundo sand in very uncomfortable places, after all.
A/N: Cool, so you made it through the first chapter. Before any questions start pouring in, let me get some things straight.
Firstly, in my mind, this is about four years after the current events, which at this point is just after Yamamoto finally shows off his Bankai. The Vandenreich's ability to steal a captain's Bankai seems to be pretty freakin' serious (they killed Byakuya, for crying out loud!), and bringing Aizen back was just a quick and easy solution for me to bring about the utter destruction of Karakura Town, which was the only way I could think to get Ichigo out of his home dimension.
Secondly, yeah, I just destroyed Ichigo's soul. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? This is actually going to be a major plot point. I'm not going to give out any spoilers, but suffice it to say that having one's spiritual form destroyed will definitely have some side-effects for a human like Ichigo. Yes, he still has Zangetsu; the reason his zanpakuto is sealed is because he learned quite a few tricks from the various captains before the end of the war/before said captains died. And yes, I'm a bastard for killing off all the cool captains and Yoruichi...whatever. He can also use his mask; not sure whether or not I'll give him the ability to resurrect or not, can't have our little Deathberry getting too overpowered now.
Thirdly, yes, Ichigo can speak English. Not only is Ichigo's fondness for Shakespearean works canon, but I also figured that, as a Japanese student, he would naturally have an English course in school. He's also pretty intelligent, scoring near the top of his class despite his extracurricular activities as a substitute shinigami.
Fourthly, I want this to span the entirety of the Earth-199999 Marvelverse (i.e. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, Avengers), so as you can probably surmise from the end of this chapter, it'll start from about the time of Iron Man and go from there.
So...I guess that's it. Review, if you're not too busy or whatever. I don't care (I'm lying, I actually really care).
Regardless, I'm glad you came and read my thoughts. Have a nice day!