Chapter 1: Angel Massacre
"Daddy! I'm bored~! I wanna play!" Nagged an eight year old Uryuu, clinging to his father's leg, the tall man glancing down at his son.
"Uryuu, I have work to do and you have your studies to attend to, we have no time for playing," the tall man chastised his son sternly.
Uryuu's face dropped, lower lip sticking out as he looked up at his father, "I'm sorry, Father," he mumbled, removing his arms from his father's leg and twiddling his fingers behind his back, playing with the half formed wings that the Quincy clan bore. The wings were nothing more than decoration, they couldn't be used for flying, they felt nothing, and when cut they grew back like hair, but despite their apparent uselessness, they were a sign of coming of age, and Uryuu felt immense pride toward his.
Ryuuken softened his eyes with a sigh, reaching down to place a hand on his son's shoulder, "Go on then, you want to become strong to protect our people, don't you? You have to study for that, these things never come easily."
Uryuu's face brightened, breaking into an innocent smile, "Un! I want to be big and strong like you, Daddy! I want to protect the people I love, just like you!" he cried, hugging his father's leg tightly before running off, looking behind him as he waved to his father gleefully, slipping on the wooden floorboards and landing on his bum with a thud. He scrambled up from the floor, face colouring as he ran off again, leaving a slightly smiling Ryuuken behind.
Uryuu ran outside, stuffing his feet into his shoes as he ran, making a beeline for the huge hedge maze. His father had meant study by reading the material his tutor had given him for the day, but reading all that stuff was boring. Too boring.
Dry old manuscripts about the history of the Quincy clan, and the origins of their techniques were no fun at all... and ever since his tutor had shown him how to materialise spirit particles, he'd been imagining himself as a hero. He dreamt that his clan was attacked by a hoard of demons, and everyone was running scared, but he wasn't afraid.
He could see it now, in his mind's eye. The garden was chaos, shrubbery strewn over the yard as demons ravaged his family home. Silently he strolled round the corner, as tall and cool as his father, a great blue bow in his hand. The demons could feel his spiritual pressure before he rounded the corner, one charging at him. Uryuu shot it down with ease, raising an eyebrow at the remaining demons in challenge.
The demons bolted for it, terrified of Uryuu's strength, but Uryuu was too fast for them, shotting streams of arrows until not a single beast remained.
He felt the glow of pride swell in his heart; someday that would be him, he was sure of it.
Uryuu shot round another hedge maze corner in his home's expansive garden, shrieking when he ran into a wall of flesh, toppling them both to the ground.
His eyes widened when he saw who it was he'd run into, blood pouring into his cheeks. The girl before him was the very girl he'd had a crush on for as long as he could remember. He had always tried to look cool around her, tried to be sophisticated like his Dad, but the harder he tried, the more of a fool he looked. She never laughed at him when he made a fool of himself, but he could see it in her eyes: she didn't think he was cool.
"Uh-S-Sorry! I'm really sorry, are you okay?" he asked the girl sitting in the grass beside him; her wings had only just begun to develop, though she was only half a year younger than Uryuu.
The girl who stared back at him with large doe eyes was also powdered with blush, her voice young and cute, "Uryuu-kun... Uh... I'm very sorry, that was my fault, I was-"
"No, it was my fault, I was running and I-"
"It wasn't your fault!" she cried out, eyebrows curved into her forehead in the perpetually worried look she always wore.
Uryuu and the girl stared at each other before bursting into a fit of giggles, the girl pulling her long black hair out of her face, trying in vain to clean herself up.
"What were you doing out here?" he asked.
"Burying treasure!" she chirped.
"Treasure?" brightened Uryuu, "You mean like coins and jewellery and crowns and gems and ancient scrolls and- uh... what kind of treasure?"
"It's a secret!" she told him seriously, her large eyes boring into him, "Um, Uryuu-kun, what about you?" she asked tentatively; as far as she'd known no-one else knew how to get to the middle of the maze, and those that did were older and had no patience for it.
"I'm going to go practise materialising spirit particles!" he explained a little too enthusiastically.
"Woah, really? I always wanted to be a Quincy fighter, but... well... you know..." she mumbled.
As a girl she hadn't been allowed to learn any spirit techniques, Quincy men preferred their wives subservient.
"You can come watch," smiled Uryuu hopefully, he couldn't make any weapons yet, but he was a natural at gathering spirit particles, "If you want, I mean."
The girl's eyes widened as she nodded enthusiastically, pulling herself up and skipping to the middle of the maze, followed closely by a still blushing Uryuu.
They made it the middle of the maze in no time, taking a seat on one of the benches there. The grass was slightly overgrown and there were weeds shooting up through the gravel path, but that was what Uryuu loved about this maze so much, it was like his own little world, nobody bothered him here... well, not usually, though his tutor had recently become annoyingly aware of the place.
He had no problem with the girl sitting beside him being here though, it was like a shared secret now, like... Uryuu blushed furiously at the thought of this being "Their place", blushing even more when he realised he'd been staring at the black-haired beauty all this time.
"U-Uh, sorry!" he cried louder than necessary. He spluttered for a moment, not knowing what else to say before trailing off.
Without another word be set to his task, trying to relax himself, his hands hovering in front of him as he tried to accumulate the spirit particles in the air. After a minute of staring intently at the air beneath his fingers he finally saw a spark of blue light flash, sputtering dangerously before growing in size.
Particle by particle Uryuu gathered the blue light, creating a warped, almost circular ball between his hands. He glanced up at the girl proudly, looking away hurriedly when she met his eyes. Uryuu's concentration swayed, eyes widening as he lost control of the ball, feeling it drop from his invisible grasp to land on the bench, searing a hole through the wood.
The ball of spiritual particles fell to the ground with a thud, scorching the dirt before spluttering out of existence.
Uryuu couldn't look away from the bench, mortified, but before he could say anything they were interrupted by a stern male voice, "Uryuu-sama, this is why I told you to read the manuscripts when you're alone and practise spirit particle gathering during our lessons."
Uryuu looked down, face scorching as he was scolded by his tutor who had magically appeared from the shrubbery, he glanced apologetically at the girl beside him, who was looking down embarrassed, "And you young lady, don't you have somewhere you ought to be right now?"
The girl jumped in surprise, her face suddenly moulding into a look of horror, "Uh-uh, I've gotta' go! Sorry, Uryuu-kun!" she cried, scampering off into the maze, her baby blue dress fluttering behind her.
"Uryuu-sama, you have to have read all of those scrolls I gave you by tomorrow, I suggest you start them now."
"Yes, Sir." Replied Uryuu, head down.
Shamefaced he bowed to his tutor, breaking into a run as soon as he was out of sight, not missing a single turn as he bolted for the house, running along the wooden flooring of the veranda, slowing to a halt as he rounded the corner. He leant against the wall, catching his breath. God, his tutor was such a slave driver.
"Uryuu-kun! Good morning!" called a man from a bench amid the shrubbery. Uryuu brightened as he recognised his Grandfather, running over to him.
"Good morning, Grandfather!" chirped Uryuu, his previous embarrassment and current instructions already forgotten. He rushed over to the older man, bowing politely before jumping into his arms, giggling when his Grandfather's beard tickled his neck.
"Look at you! Your wings sure are growing quickly! How's my favourite Grandson then?" asked the old man. At one point in his life, he had been known for being one of the most merciless warriors of the Quincy clan, but in his old age he had softened, holding a particularly soft spot in his heart for Uryuu.
Uryuu giggled, pride glowing in his face at the first comment, "But Grandfather, I'm your ONLY Grandson."
"That you are! Well, I think my favourite and only Grandson has something they should to be doing right now," intoned the old man knowingly, "Do you perhaps have something schooling related you ought to be doing?"
"H-How did you know!?"
"I can see into your mind, young one," explained the old man seriously, looking into a face lit with wide-eyed awe, "That, and you're tutor's standing right over there giving us a very stern look, if I do say so myself."
Uryuu glanced over his shoulder to find his Grandfather had been telling the truth, his tutor was leaning against a tree about 10 meters away, staring at him warningly.
The old man leant in to whisper in Uryuu's ear, "Well, I think it's about time for you to attend to your studies, before I get pulled in as well."
"Okay!" agreed Uryuu easily, he didn't want his wonderful Grandfather to be pulled into his mess too. He slid off the old man's lap, turning to give him a quick bow before running off again, kicking his shoes off messily as he ran into the house.
A second later he returned meekly, lining the shoes neatly by the door before disappearing inside again.
"Honestly, you shouldn't encourage such nonchalance" the tutor told the old man, walking over to sit beside him.
"I don't know what you're worried about, that kid has more talent than us old farts put together" replied the older man cheerfully.
"That's exactly why," he mumbled, almost to himself, "he has so much talent, so much promise! At such a young age he can already gather spirit particles together strong enough to burn through a hunk of wood, but he lacks all the discipline required for a warrior."
The old man simply smiled, "I have faith in him."
He gave a sigh, it was no use reasoning with his pupil's number one groupie, you could never win.
Uryuu pushed the scroll he'd been reading away. It felt like he'd been here for hours, pouring over this boring, useless information. Somewhere from the other side of the house he heard a woman's scream. He pouted to himself, someone was probably out pulling pranks and having fun without him, while he was stuck inside.
He stood up, stretching his back as he fought a yawn, padding over to the window, surprised to find the sun was setting, casting vibrant orange shadows over the garden; he must have been reading that scroll longer than he thought. A brighter flash of orange registered in his vision. His eyes straining to see the colour that blended in so well to the scenery.
"Is that... a fire...?" he wondered out loud, but it had disappeared as quickly as it had come. He whirled in shock when his bedroom door was pulled open abruptly, admitting the little black haired girl.
"Uryuu-kun! Uryuu-kun, we have to leave!" cried his crush, running into his room as she grabbed his arm roughly, pulling him along with her.
"Wha-What's wrong? Where are we going?" he asked, shocked at the usually meek girl's panic as they ran.
Dumbly he finally noticed the tears trickling down her face, before noticing the blood streaked over her clothes and hands.
He gasped, "Are you okay!? You're bleeding!" he cried, still running.
"It-it-it-'s not m-mine!" he cried, her sobs picking up, small hiccups and ragged breaths falling from her mouth, "Th-There's a demon! He came and he-he-he k-killed-" that was all she managed before her sobs overtook her, wracking her body as they ran hand in hand.
"Who!? Who did he k...kill?" asked Uryuu, his legs trembling as they hit a down-hill at a sprint, his brain finally understanding that they were headed for the secret passage out of the house. He could hear the yells of dying men now, the sounds of death, fear, and destruction filling the night air.
"He told me-hicc!-he told me to-to find you and run-"
"Who told you!?" demanded Uryuu desperately, terror building in his throat.
"You-Your Grandf-father," she managed through the sobs that were coming even stronger now.
Uryuu felt as though he'd been struck in the face. He stared dumbly at the girl, her glossy hair stuck to her wet face, "G...Grandfather...?"
He felt a cold ball grow inside his sternum, tightening as he ran; abruptly he stopped running, falling to his knees as he wretched into the grass, tears blurring his vision. It was too much. It was all just too much.
"We have to keep running!" begged the girl, pulling at his arm, "we have to-"
Nothing but silence.
A silence that tore at his ears.
Fiery hot and ice cold all at once.
Uryuu stared in horror as she went very still, a terrified whimper escaping her mouth as her dress bloomed with blood, steadily spreading over her front.
"U...ryuu...kun... I..." Slowly her eyes glazed over, so slowly, yet all too fast.
Uryuu felt the terror curl in his chest as he stared at the man standing behind her, his face grim as he loomed over the pair, his eyes cold. Merciless.
Uryuu jolted awake, a scream dying on his lips, breathing heard, his clothes soaked through with sweat. He shook his head as he tried to forget the awful memory, pushing his fingers into closed eyes as he battled the tears that threatened to fall.
He'd thought he was finally done with those dreams, the terrifying night his clan had been murdered, and the girl whose name he had never been able to remember since, as though her very name would bring forth the events of that night all over again, so his brain had locked it away to protect him.
He fought against the image of her dulling eyes, the blood that had bubbled from her mouth as she had said his name for the last time.
A loud, careening sound filled the room, pulling him from his thoughts. Uryuu clapped a hand over his mouth to muffle it, sobs shaking his body as he cried for the people he would never see again. He hadn't been strong enough. He hadn't even been able to protect a seven year old girl.
"U-Uryuu-tan!... what's wrong?" asked a small voice beside him, jolting him from his breakdown. Of course, he had the kids to worry about, he didn't have time for this.
"Nothing Yachiru, go back to sleep," he murmured as he swiped the tears from his face, offering a tragic attempt at a smile to the pink haired girl, glancing around the small room at the other kids to make sure he hadn't woken them.
"But you're crying! Are you hurt?" she asked, crawling over to hug him, running her hands over his body to check for wounds, eyebrows pulling together in worried confusion when she found none.
"Shhh," he soothed here, pulling her close to him, "I'm fine."
Gently he lay down, pulling the girl with him, wrapping her in his arms, as much for his sake as for hers. These children needed him, they had no-one else in this world. They were his reason for living, the only reason he hadn't taken his life all those years ago.
"Shhhh," he whispered again, allowing himself to relax, "everything's gonna' be just fine."
So... What'd you think?
This is a request fic for the wonderful Isame Kuroda who has the most amazingly creative, messed up little mind. I'm truly grateful to be able to write this story for her, I'm getting really excited about it ^_^ I really hope you like it Isame Kuroda!
Please review, I reply to all PMs and reviews :)