Mr 96 here, back with a new fic! My goal here is to try my best to push out a new fic since none of my older stuff is really catching attention! Anyways, this fanfic started when I RP'd a day or two ago with a friend of mine via text messages. He was Hollow Ichigo, and I RP'd as Shana. Don't talk about it! It's embarrassing for a guy to admit he had a lot of fun RP'ing as a girl! Enjoy!

Oh, wait...The editor wants me to say that Shakugan no Shana is owned by Geneon and Funimation and Bleach is owned by Tite Kubo through ViZ

Our human world, which we know as Earth, is the only truth we know. We see, hear, touch, and feel this world, and to us it is the only world. But it is not. I'm not talking about another planet—those are part of our world, and you could get to them if you traveled far enough, as C.S. Lewis stated in the Chronicles of Narnia, but an actual other reality. There are in fact two such worlds of great importance. The first, the Crimson Realm, is the stage of existence outside of ours. Beings called Crimson Denizens and Crimson Lords call this place home, although there are some Denizens who escape their world in order to consume humans in our world. When that happens, keepers of order called Flame Hazes step in and temporarily fix the damage by replacing the casualties with beings called "Torches" who are granted a limited period of existence, at the end of which they fade, leaving no memory of their original selves ever existing in the minds of those they knew. The other is called the Soul Society. This world is much more closely connected to our own world than the Crimson Realm, for the residents there are far more actively involved in our events—they escort souls of the dead out of the human world. These people are called Soul Reapers. Just as many people are unaware of there being any other world outside of their own, most Soul Reapers and Crimson Denizens have no knowledge of each other.

In Karakura Town, there exists a boy named Ichigo, who transformed into a Soul Reaper in order to save his family's life. Ever since then, he's balanced his normal human life with protecting the living and sending the dead off to the afterlife. But today, he didn't need to worry about that—after all, he was off on vacation. "Ahh," he yawned, getting up from his bed, "Wonder what I'm gonna do with two weeks off?" "GOOD MORNING, ICHIGO!" a voice called in from outside the door. Ichigo simply angrily kicked the door closed, causing his father to be knocked onto the ground. "Aw, come on, Ichigo," Isshin Kurosaki said, rubbing the bump on his forehead. "This house is old! Be a little easier on it!" "Says the guy who jumps into my room and onto my bed every morning!" Ichigo said, a vein bulging in anime fashion. "Oh, but this time is special!" Isshin sang, hugging his son and spinning him around, "Meet me in the kitchen! We're going to have a family meeting!" Ichigo walked downstairs, trying to go the kitchen. "Okay, guys!" Isshin said, "Since we're all on break, I decided it might be a good idea for all of us to go down to Misaki City!" "Wooow!" Yuzu said, "It's so big! I always wanted to go there!" Ichigo sighed. "Hey, what about our plans?" Karin said. "Yeah," Ichigo added, "Some of us wanted to spend time with our friends over the week!" "Okay, we'll put it to a vote!" Isshin shouted. "Yuzu and I vote that we go to Misaki City!" "Yeah, right, old man!" Ichigo and Karin shouted, voting against it. There were now two votes either way. "Okay! It's settled!" Isshin said, "We're going to Misaki City!" "What the hell, Dad?" Ichigo shouted, "There were two votes against you!" "But since I'm the head of this family, your vote is overruled!" "What a load of crap!" Karin said, and she and Ichigo tackled Isshin. In any case, somehow they ended up going to Misaki City anyway. "So that's what's happening this week," he said to his friends, "I'm probably not going to be around most of the time, so…" "Don't worry about it," Chad said, "We can handle things while you're gone. And we meet just about every day at school, so there's not much for us over the break anyway." So, Ichigo managed to tolerate the trip for the most part. "Maybe we could come with you!" Orihime suggested. Uryu said that he had better things to do, and Chad said that while he'd like to, someone had to keep Karakura Town under control. They said that they would try to come if they could, but it would probably take them a while.

What Ichigo didn't know about Misaki City was that it was also connected deeply to another world—the Crimson Realm. A boy named Yuji Sakai was killed and replaced by an artificial construct called a "Torch" which had the original being's soul put into it. Yuji was a special type of Torch, called a "Mystes," which had a special quality to it, prompting a female Flame Haze which Yuji named Shana to stick close to him. There were others who wanted Yuji's power, and it was Shana's chosen role to protect him, as well as keeping up with her duty of balancing our world and the Crimson Realm.

Ichigo wandered around town, by himself. Each member of his family decided to go someplace else on their lonesome. He finally went to an arcade, and stepped inside. "Argh! Dammit!" Ichigo shouted, "What the hell? I'm fighting a big fat white mouse?" A brown-haired boy walked up to him, followed at a distance by a small girl with black hair. "If you could keep it down, please, that'd be nice," he said. "Oh, okay, sorry," Ichigo said, laughing. "I've never seen you around here before. What's your name?" the boy asked. "Ichigo Kurosaki. You?" "Yuji Sakai," the brown-haired kid said, "and this is Yukari Hirai." He gestured to the short girl behind him. She had long black hair, with a Fullmetal Alchemist-style antenna sticking up. "Hi," Ichigo said, extending his hand. Hirai just crossed her arms and made a "hmph" sound. "Don't worry, she's always like that," Yuji said. "You're not from here, are you?" he asked Ichigo. "Well, not really," Ichigo said, "I'm just here on vacation." "Oh! Well, I hope you like it here!" Yuji replied. Just then Isshin drove up. "Hey, Ichigo!" he shouted, "Time to go to the hotel!" "Sorry, I gotta go," Ichigo said, rising from his chair. "Bye, Ichigo! Hope I see you again!" Yuji waved, as Ichigo started to walk out. Hirai simply mumbled "Strawberry bastard" under her breath, something that Ichigo heard. "Okay, moe girl!" he said, suddenly turning back and grabbing her by the antenna. "My name's not Strawberry! It means 'one who protects'!" he shouted. Shana suddenly kicked him in the, um, testicular region, and he cringed in pain. "Dammit, girl…" he said under his breath, "That really hurt!" "So did pulling me by my hair!" Hirai said. Ichigo rose. "Don't think I'll forget his, Edward Elric-hairdo!" he said, running out. "Okay, that was weird," Yuji sighed. It was like he could see Shana instead of her Hirai disguise, he thought.

Meanwhile, on the ride to the hotel, Isshin turned to Ichigo. "So, that girl with the pigtails kicked your butt, huh?" he said. "Ichigo, what have I told you about harassing girls?" Karin yelled. "Owww..not so loud…" Ichigo started to say, and then paused. "Wait, pigtails?" he said, confused. Hirai wasn't wearing any pigtails! "That girl didn't have any pigtails! She had black hair, with that Edward Elric antenna!" "Now, now, son," Isshin said, "Your father's eyes are still as sharp as the owl! I saw that girl, and I tell you she had violet hair and eyes and had pigtails!" "Ichigo, I think you've been staying up too late at night watching anime! She didn't look anything like that!" Yuzu giggled. Ichigo grumbled. I only did that once, and that was because Rukia forced me into doing it! he thought. How Rukia could ever think that anime was a good aspect of human culture was beyond him. But still, he couldn't believe that his dad and Yuzu thought she looked differently than how he saw her. Maybe it was because he could sense spirits…? But then how could they have seen her in the first place! "Oh, I get it," Isshin laughed, "You've been hanging out with so many girls, you get them mixed up sometimes!" "Are you crazy, Dad?" Ichigo yelled, "She was twelve!" "Once again, Ichigo, my eyes are better than yours," Isshin said, "and I tell you she was not twelve! On the contrary, she was around the same age as her companion!" Ichigo sighed. Maybe Karin saw her the way he did…? Judging from her silence, he thought maybe she did, but didn't want to say anything about it. Well, that answers that question, he thought, sighing. She'd always be silent like that whenever she saw a ghost. It was because of her refusal to believe in them. Wish I could use denial as easily as that, he thought.

Elsewhere, Yuji and Shana returned home. Since Shana had no place to stay (due to Hirai's parents being Torches and losing their existence, it was often assumed Hirai was an orphan) Yuji let her live with him. "Well, that Ichigo guy certainly was nice! I hope we get to meet him again!" Yuji said, laying down. Shana crossed her arms. "I don't trust that strawberry guy!" she said. "It's like he could see me normally!" "Oh," Yuji said, suddenly rising, "You noticed that too?" "Hmm," Alastor, the Crimson Lord who communicated with Shana through a pendant, said, "I also noticed something about him. He's not a Torch, or a Flame Haze, or even someone from the Crimson Realm, but he certainly isn't human either. It felt like his existence was pouring out of him, waiting to separate from his body." "I'm telling you he's bad news!" Shana said, "We have to keep an eye on him!" Yuji sighed. "Alright," he said, "I guess he is a bit mysterious. I mean, I wanna know what's up with him too, but…" "Then it's settled!" Shana said, "We'll tail that guy and find out what the hell he is!" "Now hold on, Shana," Yuji said, waving his arms at her, "We don't want to rush this—I mean, isn't it a bad idea to—" Shana then took off, dragging Yuji with her. "Hey, Alastor? Can I ask you something?" Yuji suddenly asked. "Why there's no stopping Shana whenever she has a bad idea?" the Crimson Lord asked. Yuji nodded. "I don't know either." Alastor said.

Meanwhile, Ichigo decided he couldn't take any more of his family's bravado and he went out on a nightly walk. He would never admit it, but he was actually quite glad, to get away from his duties as a Soul Reaper, for just one night. Just as he was breathing in Misaki City's air, enjoying the night along with more than a few other people who were walking around, suddenly he felt something like a tremor. Before his eyes, it happened. Ichigo couldn't ever describe it in words (Note: I can't either. It's like the part in episode 1 where everyone but Yuji is frozen, the background turns red, and then those Denizens came out). It looked like reality was warping before his eyes. Something glowing traveled along the ground, and everyone froze in their tracks—not literally, they simply stopped moving. He looked around. "What's going on?" "Well, well, well," a voice from above him said, "Looks like we missed one!" Ichigo turned and looked above him. Hanging over the sky like something out of a child's nightmare was a marionette hanging on strings and a clown mask floating in the air. "try not to damage him too much," the clown mask said in a voice that was awfully piercing (Note: think Mitsuhide from Sengoku Basara) "this guy's not too normal!" "You don't know how right you are," Ichigo said, pulling out his Substitute Soul Reaper badge. "Okay, tough guy," the puppet said in a high-pitched, shrieking voice that tended to grate on one's nerves (G1 Starscream/Cobra Commander) "Here's where you get yours!" He opened his mouth wide and began sucking blue flames out of everyone. Ichigo could feel it—like his entire soul was being pulled out of him. He thought he couldn't take any more of it, when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. "Is that…the girl from before?" he said, trying to look. "Dammit," Shana said, looking down at the event, "I was going to get him to fess up, but those two had to go and cause trouble."