I'm Not A Hero

Welcome back one and all. One of the reviewers from the last chapter commented that I was starting a few new stories while not updating my old ones and asked if it was writer's block, To be perfectly honest…I'm just bored. Sometimes I think I would make a better think-tank than author. Anyway read on and enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach

"Normal Speech"

'Inner Speech/Thoughts'

"Kido/Zanpakuto/Quincy Techniques"

"Zanpakuto Speech"

"Hollow Speech"

XXX

I am Loving and Nurturing.

I am Hateful and Destructive.

I am Human.

XXX

Chapter 2: To Be Human

*Scratch, scratch*

There it was again, that god awful scraping sound that seemed to echo in his ears and rattle his mind.

*Scratch, scratch*

'Where is it coming from?' Ichigo thought as his brows furrowed and he grits his teeth in annoyance. His head seemed to be echoing with that infernal racket.

*Scratch, scra…*

"Would you just fucking stop?!" he half-shouted as the sound started again, hearing a soft gasp as the sound stopped.

"Ichigo-san you're awake!" a timid voice said, prompting Ichigo to crack open a weary eye and look around for the owner. Over in the corner of the room he found himself staring back at a frightened Hanataro, the Fourth Division member clutching a broom in his shaking hands.

"Sorry Hanataro, but can you please stop making that noise, my head's killing me," he muttered softly, propping himself up on his elbows as he pinched the bridge of his nose. He soon found himself being forced back into the bed as Hanataro tried to force his shoulders back down.

"You need to rest Ichigo-san," the healer said as Ichigo scowled at him and tried to sit back up again. "You've been in a coma for the last three days. I need to tell Captain Unohana quickly so that she can come see you."

"Wait three days? Why…" he tried to say as he fought of the smaller boy, only to still as he heard the faint click of a door opening.

"I thought I felt someone's reiatsu becoming agitated and here I find an unruly patient wrestling with one of my healers," Unohana said with a beatific smile as she strode into the room, Isane at her side, and causing the two males to freeze. "Now Kurosaki-san, please lie back down. You've given us quite a bit of a scare already," she said gently, but there was a hint of command to her tone.

"Fine, just tell me what happened," he said as he fell back onto his pillow, barely registering as Hanataro moved away and Unohana took his place.

"All in good time Kurosaki-san, but I'm more concerned with why a seemingly healthy, young boy was asleep for three days," she commented, holding a glowing green palm above his forehead. "Are you experiencing any pain or discomfort at the moment?"

"Just a throbbing headache," he murmured as the green glow intensified briefly, blinding his eyes as he watched it. "Can you cut it out with the bright light?"

"No, so I suggest you close your eyes until the examination is over. Now other than a headache is there anything else?" Seeing him shake his head, she frowned and ended her diagnostic. "Well you're physically sound and other than a headache I believe you are mentally fine too. I'm going to have to ask that you remain within the Division Four barracks for another night at least, just as a precaution."

Hearing her words his eyes shot open and his lips twitched as he held back a grimace, ignoring the sound of the door creaking open again, at least until he heard the frantic shout of "Kurosaki-kun!" Turning his attention towards his visitors, he could see Orihime, Chad, Uryu and Rukia crowded around the door, poking their heads in to get a better look at him.

"Stop gawking at the door and come in already," he muttered as he ran a tired hand over his face, before wincing as he felt a chop connect with his head. Looking up with a glare, he could see Rukia nursing her hand as she muttered unintelligibly.

"Do refrain from attacking my patients Rukia-chan, especially so when they are experiencing a form of mental trauma," Unohana said with a gentle smile aimed at the small soul reaper. "I would be most displeased if you complicated the problem," she finished as she strode towards the door, her words leaving the group frozen in fear.

"Tch, yeah Rukia let's beat on the guy that just woke up from a coma," he muttered under his breath, causing Rukia to scowl and raise her hand again, only to freeze and lower it again, a softer expression on her face as she stared at the teen.

"We were worried about you Ichigo, we all were," she said softly, hearing him grunt his understanding.

"So what happened after I was knocked out?" he asked, frowning as they looked at each other hesitantly.

"Well Nii-sama and Renji tried to take on Aizen…but they couldn't do much against him. I don't know what happened, but one moment they were on their feet ready to face him and the next they were both on the ground, bleeding heavily. Captain Komamura and the others arrived soon after that, but he too was defeated with ease and with no other resistance, Aizen was able to remove something from within my soul. Kisuke will know more about it," she explained pausing for breath, before she continued. "After Aizen gave Ichimaru an order to finish me, but Nii-sama managed to free me from his grasp and took the blow himself. Like you, he's been in the Fourth Division since that day. As it stands the only reason why we managed to get out of there alive, is because the other Captains arrived and forced Aizen to retreat to Hueco Mundo, the home of the Hollows."

Blinking as he took in her tale, Ichigo tuned out the rest of the story as he thought back to what he remembered about the man they called Aizen. Ichigo couldn't even remember when he was attacked, a feeling that was painfully familiar as he recalled his first encounter with Byakuya. Conscious of the dull buzz that was Orihime's voice as she slipped into a colourful tale of her adventures in the Seireitei, he wondered if he could shut her up by crushing her windpipe, or perhaps breaking her jaw. Stunned at his thoughts, he rapidly shook his head and shouted out, "Enough!" shocking his friends at his outburst. "Look I'm glad you're okay and I'll hear all your stories some other time, but can you leave me alone for now please? My head's killing me."

As the others looked at him sympathetically, one among them was completely surprised at his reaction. After knowing Ichigo as long as he had, Chad was confused at Ichigo's tone and irritation. Of course he was still in recovery after his recent battle, but never before had he let his irritation show, or directed it to his friends in such a way, no matter the pain he was in. Passing it off as a result of the fact that it was a more grievous injury than before, he nodded along with the others and trooped out of the room, leaving Ichigo in peace for now.

Left alone, the teenager clutched his head again as the headache intensified, his own thoughts seeming alien to him as he fell back onto the bed, his head flopping down on the soft pillow with his eyes closed. 'What's happening to me? Why would I even think of hurting Inoue just to keep her quiet?' he thought to himself, before passing out and slipping into an uneasy slumber.

XXX

What seemed like seconds later, but was in fact just over two hours, Ichigo felt a soft weight press down on the bed near his head and cracked an eye open to see his latest visitor. Staring back at him was a mass of black fur and cat-like yellow eyes. "Morning Yoruichi," he mumbled sleepily, seeing her frown at him.

"It's actually past lunch Ichigo," she replied in a slightly stern tone, her masculine voice sounding like an uncle disapproving of their nephew sleeping in so late. "The others told me that you've been a little more…snappish than normal. Captain Unohana is of the opinion that you need more rest and that is the only reason I have not hauled you out of this bed already."

Growling under his breath, Ichigo felt a surge of anger and annoyance at the Flash Goddess, similar to the one he felt earlier with his friends. "I'll apologise to them later Yoruichi, but…" he started to say only to cut himself off. What was he supposed to say? That he was angry at their annoying prattling and just wanted to nurse his aching head alone? It made him seem like a wimp in his mind and he refused to even entertain such a notion.

Opting for silence then, he made to sit up and soon staggered to his feet, surprising the Flash Goddess as she watched him. When he stumbled though, he found a pair of slim hands catching him. Looking down at his side, he found Yoruichi in her human form, her nude body pressed up against him, supporting his weight. Unlike before when he would rant and sputter at her to put some clothes on though, the feeling of anger and annoyance morphed into a primal lust and the urge to give into his deepest, darkest carnal desires.

"Easy there Ichigo," she murmured softly as she helped him back to his bed. "I didn't mean that you need to push yourself if you're not ready to yet." Noticing that he wasn't yelling at her, or blushing up a storm like last time, she looked up at his face, seeing his gaze roaming her body without a care, whilst his eyes seemed dead and lifeless to her. Flash stepping over to the gown in the corner; she quickly slipped into it, hiding her breasts and womanhood at the very least.

As if broken from a daze, Ichigo cursed and clutched his head again, gritting his teeth in agony as the pain returned and continued to intensify.

"Ichigo?! What's wrong?" Yoruichi asked as she rushed back to his side, grabbing the teen by his shoulders and pinning him down as he started to thrash about on his bed, while shouting for assistance at a passing healer. Once he was sedated and given another brief check-up by Unohana, it was decided to simply limit his interaction with others until they knew more about what was ailing him. For Yoruichi though, she had a vague suspicion as to what was causing him the mental trauma and it all led back to that damnable mask she found on his person.

XXX

Within his inner world, Ichigo's hollow and zanpakuto watched the events unfold with detached ease, barely appearing ruffled at their wielder's distress.

"And so it begins. I believe you are going to leave him alone to deal with your 'gift'?" the zanpakuto spirit asked, seeing the hollow nod his head. "Very well, let us hope that your gamble has paid off then."

XXX

Waking with a start that evening, Ichigo bolted upright in a cold sweat as he recalled everything that had happened since he initially awoke. From his violent thoughts towards his friends and his lust fuelled trance, he stumbled out of bed, collapsing on his knees as he struggled to stand.

'I need to get away from them for now. Somewhere far away where they cannot trigger these…feelings,' he thought as he staggered to his feet, fumbling for his zanpakuto and heading towards the window in his room. Peering out of it, he cursed as he found himself on the topmost floor of the six storey hospital, but refused to let it stop him as he leapt from the window sill, pushing his reiatsu into his limbs and flash stepping away. Heading towards Sokyoku hill, he sneaked into the underground training area, convinced that at least for now he would have peace. As he sighed in relief, his nose wrinkled in annoyance as he finally caught a whiff of his own odour. Looking down at his skin, he could see that some effort was made to keep him relatively clean, but he still felt the need for a hot shower to get rid of the days offending smells.

Walking over to the hot spring within the training area, he carefully set Zangetsu down and began to disrobe, before slowly easing himself into the steaming pool. Relaxing into the water and letting it soothe his aches and pains, he scooped up some of it with his hands and brought it up to his face. When he caught his reflection though, his entire body stiffened and he stared frozen in shock at it. Staring back at him was his own reflection, but its expression was not his own. As looks of loathing, rage, lust, despair, cruelty and other such emotions flashed across his reflection's face, he let the water drop back and shattered the reflection.

'What…what is happening to me?' he thought in despair, looking up as he felt a familiar presence in front of him.

"Isn't it obvious? You're giving in to the emotions that make you human," his hollow told him as he appeared in front of him, grinning like a madman.

"Make me human…why the hell would I want to feel these feelings to begin with? To make me human? Isn't it a sign of being human that we deny these urges and act in a more beneficial way?"

"And how did that work out for you huh?! Living in such a way weakened you 'partner'!" his hollow shouted at him in anger. "Those who believe solely in the good or evil within themselves will fall to those that understand and accept both sides within them as part of their nature. You chose to follow only what you believed to be good and it almost killed you. You don't get to be an idealist 'partner', for there is no place in this world for such people and the sooner you realise that, the easier it'll be."

Silence reigned in the underground area as Ichigo digested his words and moments later he looked up again with a stony expression on his face. "Even if I agree with you, that still doesn't explain that they're doing to me now."

"What do you think is happening to you 'partner'? You've supressed these emotions for so many years and now that you've finally embraced them, they're running free within you, influencing your every thought and action."

"But how do I stop them? I don't want to become a monster fuelled by his instincts!"

"This is not something you can stop and simply put a lid on and ignore 'partner'. You wanted power and this is the price of it. You either learn to control them and keep them in check, or you go from a self-righteous do-gooder to an incarnation of evil. Remember 'partner', giving into these emotions now and then is acceptable, even enjoyable," he finished with a smirk, disappearing and leaving Ichigo alone with his words.

XXX

And we get another glimpse into what I'm trying to do. Now I know that Hollow Ichigo seems to have a big part here, but who better to explain his situation to him, but the being that put him there in the first place.

Time for some review responses or what I like to call my Insight Corner.

Hybrid: Well he is a hybrid in a sense since his hollow was born back in the Shattered Shaft, but he has not tapped into or accepted his hollows power yet. Hell he doesn't even know who the Hollow is.

Merging: I don't think that there needs to be a merge in the future. Guess we just have to wait and see.

Powers: Hmm, I don't know about giving his Bankai multiple forms, but his powers will be different to what normal stories normally use though.

Till next time guys and girls.