A/N. Here's episode 2! Hope you guys enjoy it and thanks for the reviews!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!


Last time: The many clashing amounts of reiatsu she could sense, even with her poor amount of control left her feeling both very concerned and secretly excited. She however, missed a particularly strange and unfamiliar reiatsu as it snuck up behind her.

"So you are the substitute shinigami, Kurosaki Ichigo."


Episode 2: To Be Truly One


Ichigo turned at the unexpected voice, eyes landing on the odd form of a man, dressed quite strangely in an outfit the twelve year old had never seen before, except maybe in a cartoon with reddish brown hair. The last observation would have had her dying of laughter if she had been anybody else, instead her corners of her lips rose slightly in some small semblance of a smile. The slight change in expression went unnoticed however by the man standing before her, who seemed to examining her just as thoroughly before he finally spoke up, shaking the twelve year old from her thoughts.

"To be honest, I thought you were going to be a bit older." The man commented idly, staring straight into her eyes as if trying to see into her soul. Leaning back a little as his shoulders heaved slightly in what might have been a sigh, he continued, "Shame really. Though it makes things easier that you're so young, I'm afraid it'll ware on my conscious if I hurt you too badly. I'll be sure to be a little less harsh." The man gave a lopsided smile as he finished, reminding Ichigo of a certain traitor that was out to kill them all.

Ichigo's eyes narrowed for a split second, before opening fully again. Quickly drawing her own zanpakutō, she attacked; lunging forward without a single sound as her blade flashed through the air, glinting as it caught the light from the sun.

"Not much for subtlety, are you?" the man said as he backed up, drawing his own blade as he continuously blocked and countered the child's various attacks. "I must say though, for a child you are rather strong. Impressive." Ichigo grunted slightly as she was pushed back, sandal-clad feet skidding across tiled roof before finally digging her heels in to check her backwards momentum, using the sudden stop that would've possibly sent her flying backwards to instead lung at her opponent yet again. "I guess I should introduce myself though. I know your name, but you don't know mine after all." He said as their swords clashed, sparks flying as he continued speaking, "My name is Muramasa. The Zanpakutō that shall set yours free!" He claimed as they pushed apart, Muramasa taking the initiative and lunging towards Ichigo, hand outstretched as if he was going to try and jab her through the chest. He missed however, as she suddenly ran in and under his arm, using the sudden lack of space between them to her advantage as her blade bit into his side, dying the ground red with his blood as she followed up with another attack. Muramasa took a step back, immediately shunpoing to dodge the oncoming attack as he held his side, blood still flowing out from the wound. Undeterred however, he extended his hand, the world beginning to spin and warp before Ichigo's very eyes as Muramasa suddenly vanished from sight. Blinking in shock for a total of five seconds, Ichigo immediately relaxed even further, seemingly putting her guard down as she stood up from her stance to and took a look at her surroundings.

"Yare, yare. This is going to make things a little more complicated." She finally said, taking in the fact that she suddenly felt like she was inside her inner world. The world around her, in some obscene and twisted sense of reality and gravity, had turned sideways so that the walls of the buildings were suddenly the ground and sky while the actual earth and sky had become the "walls". The only real problem that she actually saw with the change in settings was that she could not see or sense her opponent. Muramasa, had seemingly disappeared without a trace. Her thoughts were interrupted for the second time that day as she released a gasp of surprise, suddenly finding herself pinned to the ground and unable to move. Opening her eyes, having shut them out of reflex as she had been all but thrown against the paved ground, she glared at the form of Muramasa, now standing before her with a triumphant smile. "I'd say that was cheating, but this is a battle, not a game of poker. And unfortunately I can't shoot you in the head for it." She replied, her glare dropping as she began speaking, replacing itself with that forever dull look that drove all of her friends up the wall, of which she did on purpose most of the time just to see their reactions. She tilted her head to the side, happy that she could at least move that, "Well, actually I probably could, that is if I could move any single part of my body besides my head."

Muramasa chuckled at her response. His hand reaching out as he began speaking in turn,

"Well, moving will be the least of your worries in a couple of seconds. My apologies in advance for what I'm about to do." He said, before his expression suddenly turned serious. Without warning, Muramasa drove his hand through her chest, her mouth opening in a pain-filled scream as the whole world began fading to black.


I…

'What the-?' Ichigo blinked in shock, a surprised gasp leaving her lips as she found herself suddenly floating in a sea of pitch black darkness, not a living thing or building in sight.

Ichigo…

'Instincts…'

'W-What?' Her eyes narrowed as her mind tried to catch up to what was going on, brain feeling unusually fuzzy as she grasped at any single thought she could.

'Follow your instincts…'

Ichigo…

'Zan-Zangetsu?' Chocolate brown eyes widened in surprise as images suddenly began dancing across her mind. Scenes of past battles, of those she had crossed swords with in an attempt to protect something she had seen as precious danced across her vision as if she were watching a movie.

'Your instincts…'

Ichigo…

'My instincts?' She found herself gulping for air, a strange, violent craving suddenly overcoming her senses, screaming for blood, for battle, for the rush and exhilaration that came when she knew that her life and so much more were on the line, and one little slip-up, one single miscalculation could cost her everything that she held dear and actually cared about.

N… Ichigo…

'Yes…'

The feeling, the emotion, the hunger and craving grew, turning into a violent maelstrom that threatened to engulf her very existence and swallow her whole, once bright and very aware chocolate brown eyes fading into the sweet abyss of nothingness, dulled for only a few mere seconds before they brightened into sharp, storming blues maddened and crazed with the very hunger she was struggling to keep down. The emotions she had so carefully buried deep within the shadows of her soul, in the precipices of her heart that she refused to even entertain the thought of going near. It all screamed for one thing and one thing only, and as the dark, pitch black world swallowed her the word that had so insistently been repeated beforehand, that had awakened the primal instincts she refused to acknowledge, she couldn't help but notice the faint emotion of complete and utter hate and distain that lay hidden just beneath the fiery thirst for battle; a hate for the shinigami and their oh-so-privileged lives.


"What?" Muramasa gasped in shock as he suddenly found himself being pushed back by a huge and rampant torrent of reiatsu, the practical storm swallowing its owner whole and trapping her within a cocoon of blackish red energy as the sheer power of it all forced him to jump back in order to stay safe. He had not seen this coming. True, the reiatsu of his victims would occasionally run rampant and surge forward like a geyser before dying down just as quickly, but it was nothing to this extent. Nothing to this level of raw, uncontrolled power that threatened to tear the whole world asunder before it was done.

He found himself staring on in silent awe as it continued to grow in intensity, before finally dying down, the cocoon seeming to come undone as the reiatsu retreated back to its source.

"What's this?" he whispered under his breath, an eyebrow quirked in elegant curiosity as he gradually took the sight before him in. Standing there, where once there had been one, twelve year old substitute shinigami, now stood two zanpakutō spirits; a middle aged man and a young girl, somewhere between the ages of ten and thirteen. Immediately, Muramasa was able to identify the older of the two as Zangetsu, the zanpakutō spirit of one Ichigo Kurosaki, but the girl, though striking in resemblance to the aforementioned human-turned-shinigami, was not familiar. It took the zanpakutō a few minutes to realize that the girl was indeed the substitute shinigami he had indirectly dragged into Seireitei, but the girl's reiatsu was different. It was the reiatsu of a zanpakutō, without a single doubt, but the last he remembered, that was not what the child was.

He couldn't help the pleased smile that slowly crawled its way onto his face, barely able to contain his joy at the unexpected event as he finally realized what exactly had happened. Zangetsu had been resisting him to some degree when he had tried to pull him out from within his wielder's soul, and that very resistance coupled with the sudden surge of Ichigo's own reiatsu mixed temporarily with his and the hidden emotions that the child had apparently buried deep within the confines of her soul had resulted in an unexpected reaction that ended with the child fusing with her own zanpakutō, becoming one herself. So instead of there being only one zanpakutō spirit for the blade known as Zangetsu, there were now two, much the same as a certain red haired lieutenant's. The prospect filled him with a well hidden glee that he only just managed to keep from showing in his expression as he examined the newly turned zanpakutō spirit.

The child now wore a dark red, low-cut dress; a simple and plain, long-sleeved, button-up, white collared shirt underneath, the cuffs of said shirt overlapping the edge of the long sleeves of the dress. On the girl's feet were a pair of midnight red, patent leather shoes and jet black, knee-high stockings that stopped just a few inches from the frayed hem of the dress, a simple, white, though frilled petticoat peeking out from underneath the mid-thigh length skirt as well. Once chocolate brown eyes had now turned a striking electric blue, edges glowing red with the violent reiatsu that was so carefully hidden underneath the aloofly calm and calculating façade that she so perfectly kept up even now, and strawberry blonde hair that had once barely made it past the girl's chin, now fell a few inches past her shoulders in the front, while the back fell to the base of her neck, kept tied and out of the way by a huge, midnight red bow.

Further examination was interrupted however, along with the zanpakutō's thoughts, as he caught the tell-tale signs of captain-level reiatsu nearing their location, along with a few lesser in strength as well. It appeared that the little incident with the rampant reiatsu had drawn unwanted attention from his enemies, and they were now closing in fast. He couldn't help but chuckle as he found himself admitting that the shinigami of the Gotei 13 were a lot more skilled then he had originally given them credit for.

"It appears that we are short of time." Muramasa stated calmly, eyes observing the two spirits for any reaction they might have while also keeping track of the shinigamis' progression. "I'm afraid that your arrival has drawn some rather… unwanted… attention. We'll have to continue introductions at a later date, we won't have time to get any pleasantries done considering who we may have to face in the next couple of seconds." He quirked an eyebrow as the newly turned zanpakutō gave a derisive snort, expression remaining blank otherwise, her eyes drifting up to look at her older, male counterpart when he placed a gentle hand on her head. Further conversation was stopped as the shinigami finally arrived, powerless zanpakutō drawn and ready for combat as they stared in shock at the girl.

"Ichigo?" one of them, a rather voluptuous woman with dark skin and yellow, cat-like eyes asked, those very same eyes widened in surprise as she slowly approached the child turned complete stranger. The girl continued to stare at the wall across from her for a few moments before it finally seemed to dawn on her that the woman was actually talking to her, slowly turning to face the woman in acknowledgement as she began observing the woman for a few seconds. "Ichigo! What happened to you?!"

A strange smile slowly crept its way onto the girl's face, eyes suddenly seeming very interested in the people standing before her as she held her hand out, their shikai form suddenly appearing in her hand as her smile turned sardonic.

"Ma~a, ma~a," the child began, hand slowly raising the blade up and pointing it at the woman, "Which one of you's the strongest?" she questioned, eyes taking on an almost animalistic, crazed look.

"What?" another of the shinigami, a boy with white hair, questioned; eyes wide in surprise and confusion at the strange and unexpected question.

"You heard me. Which one of you is the strongest?"

"Ichigo, what the hell are you talking about? What happened-Agh!" her question was cut short as Ichigo suddenly attacked, blade almost taking off the dark-skinned woman's arm, "Ichigo!"

"There's no 'Ichigo' here."

"What?"

"There's no Ichigo here. I don't really have an individual name. I share it with the ossan over there." She explained, jabbing her thumb in the original spirit's direction, the older between the two of them having been silent through the whole entire exchange so far. "What's with the confused looks? I'm not speaking French here." She quipped, once again lifting up her blade in preparation to attack,

"But you're-"

"Ichigo doesn't exist any longer." She said, her tone vehement as she shot a cold glare at the speaker, a girl with deep blue eyes,

"So if you're not Ichigo, who are you?"

"I told you before. I'm the same as that guy." She said, pointing at the man behind her again, "We're both Zangetsu. But if you really must call me by something… You can call me Zan." She quipped after some thought, looking pleased at the name, even if it was a little on the unoriginal side. "Which I guess makes the old man Getsu-ossan." She called, suddenly leaning back, eyes staring at the sky for a few seconds before she suddenly lunged forward to attack.

"What the-!"

"Now I'll ask again, which one of you is the strongest? I want to fight!"


A/N. Ok, so what do you guys think of this ending? I didn't like the old one so decided to come back and edit it. Hope you guys liked this one all the same, if not better. See ya!