The entire thing all began when Ichigo Kurosaki was sent to Sarayashiki Junior High. He was only fourteen at the time, but he had already been labeled a punk by his last school. Since no one wanted to deal with him he was sent to a school that had the highest number of delinquents in the surrounding prefectures. The only person he even knew there was Chad, and that was because the two had struck up a friendship after dealing with a group of thugs.
Ichigo didn't mind befriending Yusuke, the punk kid of the neighborhood. While Ichigo didn't respect his ability to lead others, he did respect the fact that Yusuke never picked on those much weaker than him and didn't tolerate bullies. He was an idiot, but one with a good heart. The only exception to this was Kazuma Kuwabara, but that was because the guy really underestimated his own strength and challenged Yusuke to fights all the time.
Then everything changed when Yusuke finally proved he wasn't a two bit thug by saving the life of a little kid. It was then that Yusuke learned some very, very important facts that he hadn't known about his best friend.
Ichigo could see ghosts.
Ichigo was close to snapping at Yusuke, because he was making it very hard not to laugh at the idiot teacher. As it was, Ichigo already hated the man because of the things he said about the teen at the funeral.
Finally the bell rang and Ichigo went to the roof. Keiko had been hit pretty hard by Yusuke's death, but until he needed a voice Ichigo wasn't going to mention the boy was still around.
"So where's blue girl?" asked Ichigo.
"Meh. Botan went to iron out some details with a runt named Koenma. Apparently he's in charge of souls that need to be judged instead of Enma who runs Hell."
"How do they judge people?"
"If their crimes aren't too bad they send them off to some place called the Soul Society, but since I died before my time they want to offer me a deal in exchange for something."
"Dude, if this involves some sort of Kiss of Life, count me out unless you don't have another option. I like ya, just not that way."
"I'd let you punch me if that were EVER the case," said Yusuke in agreement.
Ichigo enjoyed his free time and was half tempted to skip class. The rest of the lessons for the day happened to be with teachers who looked down on Yusuke simply because of his drunkard mother.
As it was, once he had proven trustworthy around the twins, Yusuke had gotten an invitation to crash at the Kurosaki clinic whenever he needed to, no questions asked. He didn't even bat an eye at the oddity that was Isshin Kurosaki.
"Ah, to hell with it. I'm going to pull a Urameshi today," said Ichigo.
"Urameshi?" asked the ghost amused.
"Yeah, to hell with the rest of classes. The only teacher I even like is the one who actually gives a damn that you skip all the time. Maybe Chad will join me."
"Give Kuwabara an ass-kicking for me will ya? He's been deprived of the greatness that is a beatdown," said Yusuke grinning.
"I would but I heard his sister would kick my ass if I did it before a test. You get away with it because you don't have to study for them."
Yusuke laughed as Ichigo went to the library to study instead of class. It was quieter there. Isshin had made it clear he didn't mind the skipping (after meeting the rat faced teacher who complained and then seeing how he treated Yusuke) so long as Ichigo kept his grades up and did something constructive with the free time.
As such, half the time he skipped he went to the library or did his homework.
Yusuke wandered off while he read books, and didn't reappear until dinner. He found it funny that the Kurosaki clan could all see him, except for Isshin. Yuzu could sense him, but it was Karin and Ichigo who could see and talk to him.
A few days later Yusuke went missing, but this wasn't entirely unexpected as he had used Ichigo to speak to Keiko for a minute. Ichigo had a feeling it would happen, which was why he had told the girl he had been speaking to him and that he had a message to pass to her.
Fortunately it was somewhat well-known Ichigo could see ghosts, he just didn't care too much. Though of course some of the idiot teachers didn't believe him, so when Ichigo proved he could, they shut up rather fast.
It was kind of hard to dispute it when a poltergeist started to harass you nonstop.
Ichigo skipped class and headed to Yusuke's new apartment, since the last one had burned down due to a serial arsonist in the neighborhood. Ironically it happened to be right across the hall from the one he lived in during school days. It was too expensive for him to ride the train at four in the morning (well that and he hated getting up that early) so he rented an apartment and studied like mad so he could go to Karakura High after he finished Junior High.
He still didn't know how the hell he ended up in Sarayashiki Junior High when he was always in the top ten of his class and lived a prefecture away. He eventually concluded that his refusal to dye his hair black or any other color had been the cause, and moved on.
The night before he had an odd dream where he had to kiss Yusuke in order to revive him. Why, he had no idea, but the jerk owed him something for this, since his mother was going to be out for a few days...again.
He made periodic stops at the apartment and it wasn't until noon that his suspicions were confirmed.
Ichigo looked outside where he saw the Grim Reaper named Botan, and growled.
"You're the Reaper girl right? Is this some sort of trust exercise for Yusuke or what?"
Botan blinked, surprised Ichigo could even see her. His spiritual sense must be off the charts.
"Actually since he used up his only other shot at revival by saving Keiko, this is the only chance he has to be brought back."
"...(bleep). That slacker owes me a monumental favor for doing this. And I mean MONUMENTAL!" he growled.
Ichigo went in, shared some of his life energy and glared when he saw Yusuke wake up.
"Dude, you have no idea how much you owe me for this," said Ichigo flatly.
"Like I care! Your breath reeks!" said Yusuke.
"When I realized this was in fact real, I ate some garlic," said Ichigo smirking.
Yusuke yelped and went to get a drink of water. Ichigo cackled and went to make something to eat.
"You hungry?" he called out.
"Ramen, yakisoba, onigiri or other?"
"I don't care! Just give me time to wash my mouth out!"
The two continued this playful banter all the way to the Yukimura Ramen stand, where Ichigo calmly told Keiko's parents that Yusuke had woken up from a coma that the doctor's couldn't detect with all their fancy machinery. Considering he was the son of a doctor, they believed him. So it wasn't too surprising that Yusuke came in starving.
Ichigo's excuse for Yusuke was later used by his mother to get him back in school, since it was entirely plausible and much more believable than the fact that he had been dead and was revived by the leader of the dead. Considering they couldn't disprove it, they reluctantly allowed him back.
"Man, it's great to be back!" said Yusuke cheerfully.
"Agreed. It was rather annoying to talk to you while pretending to be on a cell phone," said Ichigo.
Ichigo had learned the greatest trick to avoid looking like an idiot while speaking to ghosts. He just put a phone up to his ear and anyone who saw him assumed he was talking on it.
Chad had opted to skip school that day since the only classes were the ones full of idiot teachers who hated Yusuke and those who associated with him
"So did Kuwabara thank you for kicking all those guys asses for that week?"
During the time Yusuke was a ghost, Kuwabara got into trouble with one of the more prejudiced teachers who wanted an excuse to kick him out. Too bad for him Yusuke alerted Ichigo to the scheme, so he went out of his way to follow Kuwabara and then proceeded to beat up anyone who tried to take advantage of the agreement. Chad helped, since he rather liked the odd boy who had a sense of honor. His strength was for situations like these.
Ichigo even took time out of his studying to help the boy pass the exam, to the fury of the teacher. Kuwabara had gotten almost all of them right and even an idiot would have seen all the erase marks on the test.
The guy had no choice but to pass him, even more so when he overheard what the two other teachers had planned to do in order to get rid of Kuwabara.
If he had attempted it anyway, Ichigo wouldn't have let the fact he was a teacher save him. He would have kicked his ass and dragged him to the Principal and have him explain exactly what the agreement was and the way the man had tried to break it.
Ichigo knew that the amount of thugs after Kuwabara that week weren't a coincidence. Someone had to have let the agreement leak.
The three walked along the side-walk, enjoying the fact that Yusuke was now among the living again, when they passed by a fortuneteller. When she started to speak directly to Yusuke, Ichigo's eyes narrowed. He recognized that voice.
"Reaper, why are you trying to pretend to be a fortuneteller?" he asked.
"Botan?" said Yusuke.
The girl huffed, annoyed she had been caught so quickly.
"Koenma has a job for you. There's a demon he wants you to catch as part of a test. It's a really weak one, but a real pain to find," said Botan.
"Is this part of the reason why he allowed Yusuke to come back?" asked Ichigo.
"He wants Yusuke to act as his new Spirit Detective."
"What exactly does this job entail anyway?"
"Mostly hunting down demons and solving any crimes that mortals can't. You won't have to deal with Soul Reapers, but you'll be able to see them," said Botan without hesitation.
"They're the ones in charge of the more pleasant afterlife, and they're the primary ones in charge of soul retrieval. We just pick up the slackers and help out the spiritually aware people who know about Koenma. Soul Reapers don't exactly encourage interaction with humans unless they're wearing a fake body to walk around in," explained Botan.
"What's the difference between a Reaper and a Soul Reaper?"
"Soul Reapers carry swords. In fact I think most of those swords have demon souls in them," said Botan.
"What makes you say that?" asked Ichigo.
"The fact that we rarely see any demons in the afterlife," said Botan bluntly.
"Anyway, about this demon?" asked Ichigo.
"Right...here's what we know about him," said Botan, and she explained. Ichigo and the others would keep an eye out.
Hunting demons sounded a hell of a lot more interesting than dealing with the morons who taught at the junior high school.
In the end it was Yusuke who found the demon first, and a fun fact he could tease Kuwabara about. He honestly had no idea the idiot was an avid kitten lover.
Even so, he accepted the Detective job once he learned how much he would be paid for each case he 'solved'. The fact that the job mostly entailed brute force and the occasional diplomacy didn't hurt either. Ichigo and Chad joined him, since while Chad could only just sense ghosts, he could see demons quite well and his absurd strength would be a big help later.
Botan still couldn't figure out why Ichigo was practically spilling reiki all over the damn place, or why he couldn't sense that fact even when she mentioned it.
The next case ended up being a surprise to all, because it was so sudden. Someone had taken advantage of the fact Enma was out to steal some important artifacts.
Ichigo joined Yusuke while Chad studied for a test. While he disliked most of the teachers, he still had problems studying. Hence why he didn't skip nearly as often as Ichigo did.
Ichigo hung back and allowed Yusuke to try out his reiki for the second time, only to realize the idiot had used it already that day. Ichigo came up from behind this 'Goki' creature and landed a rather painful haymaker on him.
Needless to say the demon wasn't pleased by the interruption of his snack.
Even less so when he figured out that Ichigo had far, far more spirit energy and was more than happy to beat him black and blue if it meant helping Yusuke out.
Botan managed to distract him long enough for Ichigo to rescue the unconscious Yusuke. This was going to be a long week.
Yusuke eventually figured out how to beat Goki. However Ichigo was more interested in the red head who passed by him and mentioned he would return the Forlorn Hope after the full moon.
Ichigo was inclined to believe him, but followed him anyway. The second he recognized the school, he repressed the urge to whine.
Kurama met him at the gate, looking somewhat amused.
"Now that is just unfair. How the hell is it a fox demon ends up in a prestigious school like that and I end up in a hellhole like Sarayashiki despite always being in the top ten in my class?" complained Ichigo.
Kurama couldn't help his amused laugh.
"Karma?" he suggested.
"That can't be it. I've never beaten up anyone who didn't at least deserve it and I'm overprotective of my twin sisters."
Kurama grinned. He could grow to like Ichigo, if he survived.
Ichigo quickly sympathized with Kurama when he learned of why he had stolen the mirror. More so when he found the fox was willing to die to insure that his mother lived.
He quickly shared some of his life with the mirror so the fox wouldn't have to give up his, as did Yusuke who had experienced the grief of a mother who had lost their child too early first hand.
It was the first time in his life that Ichigo had ever felt his spirit energy noticeably drained.
'How very interesting. I cannot wait to see how your power develops in the coming months, little shinigami. With the amount of reiki you possess curing that woman was pathetically easy,'the mirror said amused.
"What did you call me?" asked Ichigo. He was holding the mirror while Yusuke went with Kurama.
'You didn't know? Your spirit power is that of the Soul Reapers that inhabit the Seireitei. From the feel of it, the power must be inherited by a parent. It would certainly explain why a mere human has at least C class in power pouring out, yet has the reserves of an A class,'commented the mirror.
"Is there any way to unlock that power?"
'You'll have to ask the Reaper girl. I wouldn't know the first thing about how to go about it, and my ability is spent for the next year.'
Ichigo handed over the mirror to Yusuke and decided to chat with Kurama some more.
Hiei was somewhat impressed by the level of energy the orange haired kid was letting off. It dwarfed his own, and to have reserves that you didn't instinctively keep so much energy in said the kid was either a B or A class in power. For some reason the kid didn't even blink at the large amount of eyes on him, and when he finally wrestled the sword from him he seemed perfectly at ease with the sharpened piece of metal in his hands.
Too bad the kid was crap at controlling it, either that or he didn't know how yet.