A Black Heart
EDIT: 23 October 2014. Added warnings and clarifications.
Greetings one and all. Recently there have been a few comments on the direction of this story has taken and I wanted to clarify a few points.
1 – This is not a Dark – Ichigo Story. As the title implies, I wanted a character whose heart was blacker than the night sky, to whom an eternity in Hell would be seen as too lenient a punishment. As such I will continue to push down that road until this story reaches its end. TLDR: This is a Villain – Ichigo Story.
2 – The Warnings that this story will contain. Excessive Violence, Extensive Foul Language, Non-Explicit Sexual Themes, Underage Drinking and Drug Abuse, Torture Physical & Emotional, Descriptions of Genocide.
If you still want to read this after this warning, great. Otherwise please try and keep this in mind before questioning my morals and humanity. This is a fantasy and a work of my imagination. That doesn't mean I want or wish it to be real.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
"Kido/Zanpakuto Attacks/Quincy Techniques"
The soft murmur of steel cables running above him, echoed within the modest sized elevator as sixteen year old Ichigo Kurosaki rode it to the tenth floor, a large cardboard box filled with random belongings in his hands. Hearing the chime indicating that he'd reached his floor, he huffed and walked out the door, careful not to jostle his cargo, or to bump into the other people in front of him. Then again, considering his imposing 5'11" build, dark brown eyes and orange hair, several people already gave him a wide berth as they passed him. Not that he cared about what they did anyway.
Reaching the door to his apartment, he pushed it slightly with his shoulder and slipped into the entryway. Setting the box down next to the others, he rubbed his tired arms and uttered a pleasured groan as he stretched, hearing several of his joints crack. Hearing a grunt from the next room, he peeked around the corner and smirked at the middle-aged man that was currently grappling with a screwdriver and the wooden frame of what was to be there couch. "Need a hand oji-san?" he asked with a hint of mirth, crossing his arms as he stared down at the haggard man.
"And let you get out of hauling up the rest of the boxes…not a chance Ichigo," the man replied as he stood and stretched his back to get rid of the kinks in it. His spiky black hair was matted with sweat, but his light blue eyes held a spark of life in them that hinted at a brash young soul within an aged body.
"Leave tou-san alone and get back down there and help Ichigo!" a stern female voice shouted, causing Ichigo to smirk again as he pushed himself off the wall he was leaning on and poke his head into the kitchen.
"Ruin all my fun why don't you Tatsuki-chan," he teased as he ran a hand through his sweat-soaked hair. "I was just taking a small breather anyway."
Glaring back at her roommate and adoptive brother of the last seven years, sixteen year old Tatsuki Arisawa grabbed a wooden spoon from the box she was unpacking and hurled it at him, growling as he caught it between his fingers and twirled it around innocently. "And if you stand around here taking a breather any longer, we won't be able to sleep tonight with all the unpacking we still have to do, NOW MOVE!" she yelled at him, pointing at the door.
"Fine, fine I'm going," he said as he held up his hands in surrender, placing the spoon down on the counter and walking out the door again. Left alone with the kitchen utensils again, she shook her head to clear her thoughts, her black spiky lochs fluttering slightly. Despite the smile and innocent attitude he portrayed though, she knew that it was just his usual mask up. Hell she was still surprised that her parents were allowing this, but then again she shouldn't be surprised. Ichigo had learnt long ago how to get what he wanted from people and her presence here, was her simply being pulled along for the ride…again. She had to wonder though, if her parents knew Ichigo like she knew him…would they have still agreed to all this? By all appearances Ichigo was completely normal, smart, sociable and athletic high school boy, but it was all a means to an end for him. Then again with a past like his, she really couldn't blame him for turning out the way he did. Thinking back on the week of 17th-24th June 1997, she shuddered as she remembered how Ichigo's life had literally gone to hell.
June 17th was forever immortalised as the day Ichigo's heart split in half as far as Tatsuki was concerned and in all fairness it really was. Hearing that Ichigo's mother was brutally murdered in front of him, she couldn't help but sympathise with him. She had met Masaki Kurosaki countless times and the one thing she could admit without any hesitancy was that the world seemed a little brighter when she smiled at you and the urge to smile back, grew a thousand fold. Therefore when Ichigo began to search relentlessly for her, in the vain hope that she would come back, she understood and left him to it. Unfortunately, life just seemed to have it in for him and less than a week later, his heart was shattered completely, leaving him almost nothing in her opinion.
The day of Masaki's funeral, she along with her parents had attended and she had spent her time sitting with Ichigo under a sakura tree as they watched the mourners leave, while his father and younger sisters sat nearby. She didn't know what had come over her that day, but she had begged and pleaded with her parents to accompany Ichigo and his family home. Privately now, she believed that fate wanted her to have a front row seat for the next tragedy.
As they walked home after the funeral procession was over, her parents walked behind her and Ichigo, ushering them along as Ichigo dragged his feet slowly. Ahead of them Isshin carried the twins in his arms, their faces still tearstained after the service. As they crossed a street, she heard the screeching of tyres ahead of them. Looking up, her eyes widened in fear as she watched a car careen out of control, speeding towards them. Feeling herself being yanked back, she found herself taking shelter in the arms of her mother, while her father grabbed Ichigo and held them behind a corner of a building. To her horror though, she couldn't see Isshin with them and flinched as the dull thunk of metal on flesh echoed through the air. Hearing only shocked gasps and cries from other pedestrians, she saw Ichigo break free of her father's grip and run around the corner, his anguished scream following soon after. Running after him, she soon joined him in his crying.
The car had not simply run them over, but had slammed into them and pinned them between it and the wall, crushing their bodies effortlessly. Seeing a blood pool forming under the car, she didn't resist when a pair of arms scooped her up and turned her away from the scene. Crying into her mother's shoulder, she still remembered how unearthly Ichigo's cries had sounded as he begged and pleaded with her father to let him help, that his father and sisters might still be alive.
In the aftermath of the accident, it turned out that the driver was a drunken teenager that had stolen his father's car and had decided to go for a joy ride in it. Even if Ichigo had harboured a grudge against him, the boy committed suicide a month after the accident, his own guilt too much to bear apparently.
Feeling a hand on her shoulder, she was jolted out of her reverie and stared back over her shoulder at a woman with shoulder length, dark brown hair and even darker eyes.
"Is everything alright Tatsuki?" her mother asked, staring at her with concern.
"It's nothing kaa-san, just thinking about what a big change this is," she replied with a wry smile, which her mother returned.
"It is and it probably would never have happened if Ichigo-kun didn't want a chance at standing on his own two feet. It seemed wrong not to have you two try together after all the support you've given one another," she said with a slight laugh, busying herself with the rest of the boxes in the room.
"We're finally done," Tatsuki groaned as she collapsed back onto her bed, her cool sheets feeling like heaven at the moment. Feeling a towel hit her face, she growled and ripped it off and bolted upright, her arm raised to throw it back. She faltered though when she found Ichigo casually leaning against her doorframe with a towel wrapped around his waist, droplets of water running down his nude form as he smirked at her.
"While the smell of sweat can be arousing at times, I don't think this is the time Tatsuki," he said as he pushed himself off the wall and headed away, baring his back to her and the pale white scars that resided there, scars she knew intimately after tending to them on the days he had received them.
Sighing as she made her way to the shower, she cursed and muttered under her breath at her reaction to him. It wasn't that she had never seen her adoptive brother shirtless, or clad in just his boxers, but no matter how much she fought to suppress her lust-driven instincts, his random appearances like that often left her frozen and mentally drooling at the image he presented. Of course it was worse for the rest of the girls at school since they didn't see him nearly as much as she did. 'Well, maybe not all of them,' she amended, thinking Ichigo and his 'friend' of the last year.
Shaking her head to rid herself of such thoughts, she entered the bathroom and shut the door behind her. Turning the shower on and adjusting the temperature, she peeled her sweat-soaked clothing off her skin, tossing it into the hamper with Ichigo's dirty laundry. Entering the shower, she let out a small hiss as the hot water sprayed against her skin, before letting out a groan as she became accustomed to it and felt it soothe her aching muscles.
Reaching for her sponge, she lathered it up with some of the lavender scented soap Ichigo had gotten for her the last time he had gone shopping and began to scrub at her skin. With her mind already back on his half naked body, she allowed herself to indulge in the fantasy for a moment, her eyelids fluttering slightly as she caressed her breasts lightly, her imagination playing it up as Ichigo's own calloused fingers. As the phantom-Ichigo's fingers drifted lower to her womanhood though, she jerked back in shock and slammed her fist against the wall of the shower, the dull thud echoing in her ears.
Taking several deep breaths, she growled and pounded her fist against the wall several more times, before sliding down it and resting with her back against it, her head clutched in her hands.
"Tatsuki you okay in there?" Ichigo asked, the volume of his voice dimmed by the sound of the shower, but the concern in it was still as clear as day to her.
"Y-Yeah," she stuttered out as she stood up and shut off the water. "I was just…thinking about how I forgot to let sensei know that I was going to skip out on practice today," she replied, mentally cursing her pathetic sounding excuse.
"O-kay…" he replied, not sounding fooled at all by her answer. "Well…it's not like he'll get mad at his star pupil for missing out on one lesson now will he?" he said with a chuckle. "Now stop trying to drown yourself and get out, we still have school in the morning after all.
Hearing his footsteps pad away, she reluctantly stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. Staring at her reflection in the mirror, she took in her hazy eyes and flushed face, holding a palm to her cheek to feel the warmth of her skin. 'I can't keep thinking of him like that…I won't!' she shouted inwardly, slipping out of the bathroom and heading to her room.
Lying down on his bed, clad in nothing but a pair of boxers, Ichigo stared out at the moon as it shone brightly in the night sky, an uneasy feeling crawling up his spine. These feelings…these instincts, had saved his life countless times before, but now he couldn't understand why they were flaring up now of all times. 'It's not nothing, but nothing's happening that I know of and I haven't had a slip up at all these last few months, plus I'd know if someone was watching me. So what is it?'
Grumbling to himself, he adjusted his pillow so that it was more comfortable to him and fell back onto it, closing his eyes, slowing his breathing and trying to clear his mind. He had learnt this technique to shut out the nightmares when he was younger, therefore it should be more than enough to at least help him fall asleep now.
The following morning found the pair of them heading to school as per usual, but along a completely different route than the two of them were used too. Milling along with the other early risers, Ichigo stiffened momentarily as his instincts flared again, followed by the sound of a deafening explosion. Looking up, Ichigo's eyes widened in shock at the grotesque, centipede-like creature that had ripped its way through the building ahead of them, rearing up on its hind legs and uttering a high pitched screech from its white, mask-like face.
Feeling someone knock into his shoulder, he jolted out of his frozen state and grabbed Tatsuki's arm, pulling her away from the carnage that was unfolding. Seeing people blindly running from the creature, he had to guess that they could not even see it, a fact confirmed as a young ghost fled from it, the chain on her chest tinkling softly as she ran.
Frustrated at the idea of a spirit being the cause behind all this, he ducked into a narrow alleyway, dragging Tatsuki along with him. Pressing themselves against the wall, they watched as the young ghost ran past them, her expression fearful.
"Ichigo…she's just a little girl," Tatsuki whispered, preparing to run off after her. Before she could though, she felt herself being yanked back and pinned against the wall.
"A little girl that's beyond our help Tatsuki!" he shouted at her. "What are you going to do against that monster huh? This is not our fight Tatsuki and it's not even one we can win. We need to leave ghosts to their fate." As his words struck home, she bowed her head and her shoulders slumped, before she felt Ichigo lift her chin up. "It's not wrong to put ourselves first Tatsuki-chan, now come on, we need to get out of here."
Nodding her head, she followed after him as they headed further down the alley, missing the appearance of a girl in a black kimono and her execution of the creature.
That evening, Ichigo and Tatsuki walked home from the grocery store, both clad in their respective uniforms still as they trooped home with their hands full.
"How'd your study session with Ryo go?" Tatsuki asked now that they were out of earshot of others, seeing Ichigo smirk.
"It was a productive…practical session. We'll probably deal with some theory next time," he said with a grin, while she huffed and turned away from him. "Aw come on Tatsuki you asked, what did you expect me to say?" Seeing that she wasn't going to answer him, he let it drop for the moment. As they walked though, a new thought popped into his head, along with a devilish grin.
"How did your teaching session go? I'm sure a few of the newbies absolutely loved the way you used your fists on some of them," he commented, sidestepping away from her as she swung the packet with bread and other fragile items at him.
"I'm the assistant sensei at our dojo, not some fetish masseuse that guys get off to," she growled at him. "God knowing you though, you'd be one of the first to line up if I was!"
Before he could utter a retort though, he felt a flare of danger, similar to their earlier incident and gasped as a fist collided with his torso, sending him flying backwards to slam into a nearby wall. Hacking up a glob of blood, he looked up as he heard Tatsuki scream.
Through dazed eyes he could make out a hulking figure standing a few feet in front of him, hunched over as it held Tatsuki in its left hand. As his vision came into focus, he could see it had the same white mask for a face that the previous creature had, but had a row of spines along its back that gave it a distinct fish-like appearance, despite the fact that it walked on its hind legs. Ignoring what it looked like, he reached behind his back, searching for the small sheath he kept hidden under the back of his shirt and slid the ceramic knife from it. Looking at it, he cursed as the impact of his body against the wall had shattered the blade, leaving him weapon less. Looking around him, he spied a long metal pole lying nearby and grabbed it.
Seeing where his thoughts were going, Tatsuki struggled in the monster's grip and screamed, "No Ichigo, don't do it!" only to feel the monster squeeze even harder and elicit another scream from her.
"Oi, let her go!" he yelled at the monster, ducking under its fist and driving the sharpened point straight down into its foot. To Ichigo's horror though, the pole barely scratched the surface, before the monster was able to backhand him away, sending him crashing into the wall again. Feeling something warm trail down his neck, he reached around and felt for the liquid, pulling his hand back to see it dyed red with his blood. 'Just fucking great,' he thought, seeing a shadow fall over him as the monster now stood in front of him.
"Found you…" it hissed, raising its fist up high and sending it straight down at him. Shutting his eyes as he waited for the blow, he winced as he felt a new liquid splatter over his face. Cracking an eye open, he found himself shocked as a young girl with shoulder length black hair, dressed in a black kimono stood in front of him, a sword in her hand as she blocked the monster's fist with it.
Howling in pain as the sword cut into its flesh, the creature dropped Tatsuki's limp body to the ground, her body landing with a muffled thump.
"TATSUKI!" Ichigo yelled, struggling to get up and stumbling as his injuries flared in pain. Seeing the monster pushing the girl back, he gritted his teeth and forced himself to move, grabbing Tatsuki and rolling out of the way just as the monster's foot connected with the ground near them.
"Stop getting in the way!" the girl shouted at him. "Get as far away from here as you can and don't look back."
Suppressing the urge to snap back at her, he lifted Tatsuki up into his arms and started to make his escape. Seeing its meal disappearing and knowing what an exceptionally tasty soul it would be, the monster pressed its attack, knocking the young girl back with a kick and sending her flying past Ichigo and Tatsuki.
Seeing the girl fly past him in shock, Ichigo turned to look over his shoulder, fear taking hold of his body as the monster charged at him, jaws open wide as if to devour him. Shielding Tatsuki with his body as best he could, he waited for the blinding pain that would be those teeth sinking into his flesh. Feeling himself being shoved out the way though, he watched in horror as the girl in the kimono shoved him out of the way and sunk her blade into the monster's jaw, just as its teeth sank into her shoulder. As the creature howled in pain and retreated into what looked like a black hole, Ichigo watched the girl collapse to her knees, before resting against the nearby wall.
"Idiot, couldn't you have at least moved a little faster," she coughed out, her arms hanging limp at her side.
"Forgive me if I can't run as fast as normal with a girl in my arms and a few broken ribs to speak of," he growled back at her, hearing her chuckle softly.
"So angry in the face of your death, you might become a hollow like that," she said, coughing as her wound flared in pain.
"Hollow? What the hell is that?" he shouted at her, seeing her grimace at his words.
"That…" she said pointing at the monster as it reappeared, "…is a hollow."
"Well then how do we kill it? I can't run for the life of me and it doesn't look like you could either," he said as he set Tatsuki down next to her and crouched down in front of her.
"There is and I don't have much time to explain, but I'll need to stab you with my sword, my zanpakuto and give you my powers," she said weakly, gesturing to the blade at her side.
"Great so you're not human either," he said with a sigh, seeing the hollow was making its way over to them again. "Well quit stalling little girl, we'll figure out the rest of the details later," he said as helped her pick up her blade and held it over his heart.
"My name is Rukia Kuchiki you ingrate, not little girl," she shouted at him, preparing to thrust her blade into his heart.
"Tch, whatever. If we make it through this…maybe I'll tell you mine," he said, just as she thrust it forwards and the world was bathed in a bright white light.
As the wind howled in both Rukia and the hollow's ears, the pair of them struggled to see through the blinding light. Hearing a screech of pain, Rukia looked over to the hollow, finding it lying on its back, thrashing about as it was now missing its left arm and right leg. Looking past it, her eyes widened in shock as she found Ichigo standing at its head, his eyes ablaze with rage as he clutched a blade as long as he was tall in his hand. Seeing him raise it above his head, she watched in stunned disbelief as he drove its tip through the hollow's right shoulder, pinning the hollow to the ground.
"Not so tough when your food fights back are you!" he spat at the hollow, stomping on the hilt of his blade and sending it even deeper into the ground, causing the hollow to release a pained howl as it glared hatefully at him. "You're lucky I can't squeeze you like you squeezed the life out of Tatsuki, but I'll think of something to repay you for touching the only family I have left. In fact, I think I have just the thing."
Confused at the meaning of his words, she watched stunned as he grabbed his zanpakuto and placed the tip on its mask, before pushing it down ever so slowly.
As fragments started to break off, accompanied by the unearthly shrieks of pain from the hollow, Rukia finally found her voice. "Stop it! Just finish it off already!" she shouted at him, seeing him turn slightly to face her.
"This bastard almost cost me what little family I have left Kuchiki…and since it's up to me…I say he dies a slow painful death," he spat at her, continuing to press his blade down slowly into the hollow's mask. Before he could continue for much longer though, a dark green blur appeared behind the teen, knocking him out with a chop to his neck and purified the hollow with ease.
Standing next to the knocked out teen was a man that looked to be in his late twenties with platinum blonde hair, hidden under a white and green striped bucket hat and wearing a dark green jacket over a light green gi and hakama. Abandoning the teen on the ground, the man made his way over towards her, his wooden clogs echoing through the night air as he finally came to a stop in front of her, a grim expression on his face as his grey eyes bored into her own.
"You have no idea what you've just done…do you?!"
And a very different story has just begun as you can see. I've dropped some hints about how Ichigo is like in this universe and I plan to build on that in the next chapter, but we can already see that this is not a kind and compassionate Ichigo, hell almost all fics feature that so why not mix it up a bit?
Anyway let me know what you think please and for those that want to know the status of my other projects, I have finally updated my profile with their relevant statuses.