A/N: I don't own shit all copyrighted material belongs to its respective owner.
Confusion, complete and utter confusion was the only thing that was coursing through his mind. Groggily he registered that he was in a bed, but where he was that was a different matter. He began by trying to recall his most recent memories, brief glances of tearful eyes, destruction and blood so much blood. Aizen had kidnapped Inoue he remembered him and his precious nakama storming Los Noches in a bid to retrieve her. After that he remembered confronting an Arrancar with a name he couldn't quite remember, but what he could recall about that Arrancar made him even more confused bad dancing around, being called Nino and oddly enough Panini. Why he thought of a sandwich when he tried to remember his name, he had no fucking idea.
He was then assaulted with images of a tiny girl with the remnants of a cracked ram's skull atop her green haired head… Nel the name had the corners of his mouth tipping up a little bit. He remembered finding her and her companions in the desert of Hueco Mundo playing some idiotic game of tag.
Later he protected said girl from Ulquiorra, several unpleasant memories appeared along with the name. The first one was being severely beaten trying to protect Nel, he was outclassed, at every turn Ulquiorra had the upper hand. At the time he believed whole heartedly that the green eyed bastard had to be the strongest in Aizen's army. Beaten to a pulp after receiving a massive kick that knocked him out of the skies of Los Noches, he pulled himself from the rubble that was formerly a random column that dotted the area under the dome. He used the last of his strength to make a stab at his assailant, the result was less than expected, and all his effort was rewarded with was tearing the black haired man's coat. An old English 4 on his left pectoral was what greeted him under the slit his blade made.
That number could have torn his heart out on its own, even without the stoic arrancars explanation he knew what it meant. He was fucked! The fourth Espada had just made him look like an insignificant fly. Hope fled his body along with the life from his eyes as he stared down at the albino white hand with black finger nails sticking deep into his chest just below his neck. Looking up he caught a glimpse of emerald green emotionless eyes accompanied with matching tear like streaks that ran down the Espada's face, he also heard his calm and even voice as he fell.
"Even if you managed to defeat me there are three stronger Espada, if you are able to run away do so, if not lay there and die, either way your attempt to rescue your friend has come to an end".
Sweating heavily Ichigo sat up in the unfamiliar bed looking around still having no fucking clue where he was. Taking note of his current condition he was amazed that he was not in any pain whatsoever, he was wearing his black hakama pants with white sash leaving his torso and feet bare. He was in a massive room (massive compared to his own bedroom) observing the room with the assistance from the light of the moon, he noticed that it had waxed wooden floors, the walls were adorned with tasteful tapestries and there were even ancient and very expensive looking vases. He also noticed two sets of shoji doors.
'Well if I am every going to figure out where the fuck I am I need to get out of fucking bed' the orange haired teen mused.
Softly padding across the room to the first set of doors the young man cracked it open to have a look, hoping for a sense of familiarity. Having no such luck and not really wanting to talk to anyone at the moment, he slowly slid the door closed. Turning on his heel he made his way to the other set of doors. That's when he noticed his powers were still intact, but he could not feel his partner, the one who was always by his side encouraging him when he needed it.
"Zangetsu" the name left his lips before he even realized it.
Another wave of memories overtook him, they were so intense that they nearly brought the hybrid to his knees. He was in his inner world battling a person that wore a tattered hooded cloak that concealed his face from the world. In the mysterious person's grasp was a replica of the young visored's bankai. After trading blows for a short amount of time, the mysterious figure finally revealed himself to be a young man around the same height and age as Ichigo with black hair.
"Who are you? Where is Zangetsu!?" the bewildered substitute shinigami demanded.
"Who am I" the man replied with a unnervingly calm disposition "What is the name of your Bankai"
"Tensa Zangetsu" the brown eyed teen replied a little confusion still leaking into his voice.
"Correct, so who does that make me?" the slightly agitated zanpakuto spirit questioned a little frustrated with the denseness of his wielder.
Finally getting where the spirit was going with his line of questioning, Ichigo answered back confidently "You are Tensa Zangetsu, and you already know why I am here"
"You have come here to seek out the Final Getsuga Tensho, but you are mistaken, I will never teach you that technique"
With a ragged breath Ichigo stood to his full height trying to regain his composure. He remembered the battle in his soul. Tensa ripping the hollow painfully from his chest, only to fuse with it a few seconds later and resume the battle of dominance. He remembered accepting the fused zanpakuto/hollow's blade threw his heart. The look of utter sadness he received from his sword before they parted ways seemingly forever.
If he could feel his power he couldn't have lost his partner. 'I didn't lose him I absorbed him and the bastard hollow' Looking around he spotted it, on a small decorated table displayed with reverence and the upmost care. A long black daito that had a small broken chain dangling from its hilt, the cross guard had four prongs bent out to form the shape of the manji. What surprised him was the smooth black sheath complete with a crimson Rosario like shoulder strap. With a heavy sigh of relief he made his way towards the manifestation of his soul, once he gripped the hilt he felt a sudden surge of completeness.
He was still troubled though, he felt complete, his mind was clearer than it had ever been and he felt if he dared say it indestructible. As troubling as it sounded though he missed the voices in his head (yes plural). The hollow was a bastard no way around that, but without the bleached copy he would have never reached his goal of protecting everyone.
Opening the second set of doors slowly to once again try and determine his whereabouts, he was meet with the cool night air and a shining full moon that completely illuminated a beautiful garden. The garden was not like anything that he had ever seen before, there was a long cobble stone walkway through the center, on either side of the path there were intricate flower beds that seemed to be immaculately cared for.
Still curious he decided to wander down the path for a while, about hundred yards into his journey the intricate flower beds gave way to Sakura Trees, peeking his interest more was the sound of running water. Finding the source of the sound, Ichigo found himself staring at enormous pond complete with its own waterfall, only upon closer inspection did he notice several species of Koi fish swimming in its depths. So caught up in the serenity of the moon reflecting off the rippling surface and the soothing sound of running water, did he fail to notice another presence sitting on a bench by the pond.
"Kurosaki, it is interesting to see you wandering around" the voice that called to him was calm, reserved, completely fitting the man it belonged to. The man who appeared to be in his mid to late twenties wore a simple midnight blue yukata, he had straight black hair that hung down to his mid back it was lacking its usual kenseiken that denoted his nobility, he was slender yet at a glance you could tell he was built for speed. His facial structure was well defined one could go as far as calling him a pretty boy. Slate grey eyes scrutinized the orange haired teen before him.
"Byakuya, well that answers the question of where I am" the young substitute began absently walking to the bench and taking a seat next to the head of the Kuchiki Clan "I can only assume that I am at the Kuchiki Manor judging by your sleeping attire".
Calming himself after the blatant disregard for his title not only as Taicho but a noble as well he responded "Indeed, Inoue-san's healing abilities are quite amazing for you to be walking around this soon" the older man stated with his eyes never leaving the pond before him. Adjusting his position to look at his companion he continued "Do you remember the end of the war"?
He did, ever since coming in contact with Zangetsu again everything in his mind cleared like a heavy veil had been lifted. He could see the look on Aizen's face when he showed him what true power meant, the uncomprehending horror when he realized he was in the presence of a true transcendent being. The realization that even with the Hogyoku he was no match for Kurosaki. That was the last thing Ichigo seen of Aizen alive, after the final strike he succumbed to his own wounds inflicted on him in the final battle.
Looking down at his left arm that he clearly remembered losing in a particular fierce onslaught of blows from the megalomaniac. A lot of things could be said about Aizen insane, god complex, and dictator… all those could never compare to what he really was and that was a true monster in combat. He lived and breathed fighting in every sense of the word careful planning, learning his opponents weaknesses, and the decades of training to hone his skills in every area. Ichigo had to begrudgingly respect him for that part of him, it gave him a goal to work for. Not the god part, but honing his own set of skills to a razors edge. He couldn't help but believe that he would've been far better off (and less dead a few times) if he was well rounded in all areas of the Shinigami.
Snapping out of his reverie he replied back "Yeah, I didn't at first but once I touched Zangetsu everything came back to me" sitting up straight as if struck by lightning "Where is everyone Inoue, Rukia, Chad, Ishida, and Renji!" he couldn't believe that he was so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he had completely forgotten about his friends, the people that had fought and bleed with him in that fucking desert!
"Lower your voice Kurosaki, everyone is accounted for and doing fine" holding up a hand to silence the incoming questions he continued "Thanks to the efforts of Squad Four and Inoue-san everyone is healed. You have been asleep for two days suffering from fatigue due to severe reiatsu depletion. As for their location they are at a party being thrown by Matsumoto Fukutaicho at the Squad Ten barracks."
"Well what the hell are we waiting for let's go!" the over excited teen urged he really wanted to see his friends now that he had his head on straight. If he was being totally honest with himself he wanted to see Geta-Boshi so he could ask about Zangetsu and his powers.
Closing his eyes and contemplating if he get away with murdering Kurosaki without getting caught, Byakuya shook his head reasoning that he couldn't pull it off. It wasn't that he hated the boy anymore it was that he found his company… unpleasant. He didn't want to attend the party and his damn curiosity kept him from shunpoing away when he seen him approaching. That was another thing that disturbed him about the transcendent sitting to his left, he didn't sense him coming. Usually you could feel Kurosaki's uncontrollable reiatsu a mile off, now it was like sitting next to a void.
"I am not going"
"What WHY" practically yelled Ichigo
"I am not required to give you a reason. You may go if you wish, but you may want to make yourself more presentable first." Replied the cold noble
Looking down at himself he had to nod in agreement, being bed ridden for a couple days he had to admit that he had quite the funk going on. A shower and a toothbrush definitely sounded like a damn fine prospect at the moment.
Following behind his temporary benefactor as they made their way back up the cobble stone path, he couldn't help but let his mind drift about what was next for him. Reaching the main house and avoiding nearly running into the back of the Squad Six Taicho, they proceeded to twist and turn through the halls of the mansion before he was shown to a restroom that had everything that he required. He thanked Byakuya (which nearly gave the noble a heart attack) before stepping into the bathroom going their separate ways for the evening.
The bathroom surprisingly was fairly modern decked out in pristine white ceramic tile that had faint grey swirl patterns, the fixtures where solid gold, and not to mention you could probably fit six people in the bath tub. Stepping out of the shower about ten minutes later and quickly drying off before brushing his teeth. He nearly shouted in surprise when he seen his reflection his hair was the same as when he left the Dangai, that wasn't the only difference he still retained his height, and muscle mass from the intense training in his inner world. A knock at the door startled him out of his self-examination.
Quickly wrapping his waist in a towel he answered the door to find a young maid that looked no more than twenty. She wore a standard maid's outfit an ankle length black dress with white cuffs and a white apron over the top. Her golden brown hair was tied up in a simple bun on the back of her head, she had big brown eyes not exactly the same shade of his own, and she stood about five foot two with a slender build with modest B-cup breasts. Overall he had to admit that she was very attractive especially with the blush that stained her cheeks. Right then his mind came screeching to a halt, when did he start sizing up girls the way he just did to this maid. The word 'instinct' flashed in his mind and he understood, his hollow that he absorbed was all the instincts that he neglected, apparently that involved the instinct to find a mate.
"G-good evening Kurosaki-sama, Kuchiki-sama informed us that you would need fresh clothes" The young maid stuttered out, which she admonished herself for, she worked for the Kuchiki family dammit! She should have better composure then that. She reasoned in her defense that it wasn't every day that you meet the man dubbed the Hero of the Winter War, she also had to admit that pictures of him didn't do him enough justice.
"Ah, thank you very much…" he trailed off not knowing her name
"Akina" the brunette supplied for him
"Right thank you very much Akina" he replied with a warm smile "by the way what time is it"
Blush increasing a little from the smile and the fact that he was still half naked she replied "It's a little past ten Kurosaki-sama"
"Thank you and thank you again for the clothes Akina" with a small smile he took the clothes and re-entered the bathroom, leaving behind a blushing maid to stare at the closed door.
"He's so much nicer than I thought he would be, and way more attractive" she mumbled to herself as she started down the hall to resume her duties.
The party was going full tilt and the sake was flowing at an impressive rate. It wasn't the only party going on in the Seireitei, but it had the most notable Shinigami in attendance. The table set up for the guests of honor was lined with several Taicho consisting of Kyoraku Shunsui, Hitsugaya Toshiro, Unohana Retsu, Kenpachi Zaraki, and Ukitake Jushiro. Another notable table consisted of the young teens from Karakura Town Inoue Orihime, Sado 'Chad' Yasutora, and Ishida Uryuu who was looking a little pissed being surrounded by so many Shinigami. They were joined by several of their Shinigami friends Kuchiki Rukia was sitting between Abari Renji and Orihime, who had Matsumoto Rangiku to her right who was trying endlessly to make her drink sake.
Even though there was wild dancing, loud music, and infectious laughter all around them the Karakura kids couldn't relax especially with their unofficial leader absent. Well Orihime and Chad couldn't relax for that reason, Ishida on the other hand was flat incapable of relaxation in his current predicament.
"I think I'm going to go check on Kurosaki-kun" stated the Auburn haired healer sliding her seat out to stand up.
"Oh no, you are staying right here with us" came the slightly slurred speech of the busty Rangiku latching onto the young girls wrist.
"Rangiku's right Inoue you should relax, after all you have spent the last two days healing people nonstop" agreed the red headed sixth division Fukutaicho furrowing his tattooed eyebrows "Besides the Strawberry is fine he's just being lazy" he finished with a dismissive wave.
That comment earned him several wide eyed stares and rather nasty assault on his toes courtesy of the petite, violet eyed, raven haired Shingami sitting next to him.
First thing he was going to work on when he got home was tracking people's reiatsu. Already having stopped at several of the wrong parties was bad enough, but the attention he received at those parties was worse in his opinion. He was an introvert by nature so having so many people heap praise upon him was a little more than he could handle. What pissed him off more was that a part of him was relishing all the attention especially the responsiveness from the opposite sex.
He has never had so many females ask him out or flat out just offer to bang him in his life. He had to get these hormones under control before he just ended up fucking some random girl silly in an alleyway. 'Well I only have myself to blame for this after all, probably shouldn't have neglected that side of me, but I'll be damned if I'm going to turn into a pervert like Geta-Boshi or Goat Chin over night I still have some morals dammit'
So lost in thought he didn't even realize that he had passed by squad ten and was aimlessly walking until he literally ran into a very inebriated Ikkaku piggy backing an unranked female squad eight member. After a lot of cursing and some laughing Ikkaku finally locked his sight on the person who sent him and his date sprawling to the ground. The first thing he noticed was the mop of bright orange hair.
"I thought we made it clear that anyone who dyed their hair orange trying to copy Ichigo was ending up with a haircut like mine." To further emphasize his point he ran a hand over his smooth bald head just as it gleamed in the moonlight. "You will make lucky number thirty, Atsui get my clippers"
Atsui for her part just stood there with her mouth slightly agape. She wasn't nearly as drunk as Ikkaku and she could definitely tell that the Shinigami in front of her was no imposter, he was the genuine article.
"Ikkaku" he paused to get the spear user to look back at him, satisfied he continued "If you try and shave my head I will personally beat your ass all over this fucking dimension, just like the first time we met."
Finally getting a good look in the dim lighting, the third seat from the eleventh couldn't help the shit eating grin that split his face "What the hell did you do to your hair its long as shit"
"Yeah yeah I know it is" the young transcendent replied grabbing a strand of his orange locks that fell between his eyes "Oi by the way where the hell is squad ten"
Coming out of her slight stupor Atsui dead panned "It is literally twenty feet behind you Kurosaki-san"
Rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly "R-right thanks" he finished with a nervous chuckle.
Turning on his heel he threw a lazy wave over his shoulder and continued on his way. He was completely unprepared for the shit storm he was about to walk in on. There were people running all over the place it was literally a free for all. The first person he noticed was Kyoraku in his straw hat and pink flowery design kimono. Swigging directly from a large bottle of what he could only assume was sake, while talking flirtatiously with several younger female shinigami. Directly behind him was his ever faithful Fukutaichio Nanao Ise looking nearly ready to brutally beat her taicho with the thick book in her grasp.
Seated at the front of the party were Unohana, Ukitake, and surprisingly Zaraki, all having what looked like a normal conversation casually sipping there drinks without a care in the world. He did notice the absence of a certain diminutive white haired taicho. 'Probably couldn't handle Matsumoto' nodding to himself at his assumption his eyes found the busty strawberry blonde dancing, drinking and singing with Inoue and Rukia who both looked drunk. 'Tatsuki would swing at me if she found out Inoue was drinking' he chuckled at the scene anyway it was good to see Inoue smile after everything she went through in Hueco Mundo.
Even though he seen several men leering at them he let it slide, he knew that none of them had the balls to actually try anything with them. He almost fell over laughing when he saw Ishida, the almost exclusively white clad bespectacled teen looked insanely uncomfortable, even though he was talking to the human tank otherwise known as Chad.
He felt his mood lightening up the sting of not feeling Zangetsu in his soul had lessened somewhat. Subconsciously he reached over his shoulder to touch the smooth handle of his daito, which was another thing he wondered about. Was he always going to be stuck in bankai? He was kind of glad that nobody could sense him, he got to sit back and observe without being noticed as he took a seat in a dimly lit corner. All was going well until he found himself being stared at by a set of dark pink eyes, the owner was none other than Yachiru, the pintsized Fukutaicho of the eleventh. Like a pink haired blur she came barreling straight for him.
"ICHI" came the crowd stopping squeal from the chibi girl before she full on tackled him.
He almost groaned when the music stopped and everyone turned to look in his direction. It started with a few whispers and disbelieving stares, it quickly escalated into roar of drunken cheering with people clinking bottles together while looking at him as if expecting some kind of speech. His agitation grew when he tried to slink out of the lime light for the comfort of obscure shadows, only to have people follow him.
He wasn't mad at the people enjoying themselves he knew they deserved it, the war was brutal on everyone. No what he hated was that everyone made him the face of the war by dubbing him some kind of hero, it was true that he struck the final blow, but he hardly could've pulled it off by himself. Everyone played their part in the war, if it wasn't for Yama-Ji sending reinforcements to Hueco Mundo he would have died in that waste land with his friends following him to the grave. Shaking those negative thoughts away he gave a small smile and wave simply saying "Yo" before making his way towards Chad, Renji and Uryuu.
"Looks like everyone is cutting loose tonight, well except for a stuck up Quincy that is" Ichigo smirked when his jab at the teen Quincy hit its mark.
"Blow it out your ass Kurosaki" was the simple reply from the lean built archer, while he adjusted the glasses back to their proper resting place on his nose, the use of his middle finger to do so didn't go unnoticed by the Zangetsu wielder.
He was taken aback by the venom laced reply, until he caught a glimpse of the saucer of sake and the faint flushed look his friendly rival was sporting. Turning his attention to his half Mexican brother in arms, he noticed that Chad was also drinking, albeit at a slower and more responsible pace than others around him. The giant teen just gave him an almost imperceptive nod and pushed a saucer in his direction, quickly refilling his own glass he raised it in a silent salute to the man he considered a brother. The action was quickly mirrored by the other three men at the table, it was almost a silent vow to always have each other's back. Ichigo couldn't help but cough a little bit as the liquid burned the back of his throat.
"You will get used to it eventually Strawberry" a laughing Renji remarked as he slapped Ichigo on the back during his coughing fit.
"Fuck you Pineapple, this shit is terrible"
The four men quickly fell into comfortable banter, laughing and telling each other about their different experiences in the hellish dimension. They were unaware of the crowd that seemed to have gathered or the eerie quiet as the audience listened with rapt attention. Then the question came that Ichigo was severely hoping to avoid was asked.
"So what happened in your fight with Aizen" it was asked by a random person in the crowd, but the expectant eyes on him were kicking in his fight or flight reflex. He was beginning to choose the flight option when a high pitched slightly insane voice cut in.
"There is no need to answer that Ryoka, as luck would have it my security cameras caught it on tape" the voice belonged to a man who for lack of better words looked like a clown complete with black and white face paint, blue hair, and golden eyes that practically radiated madness.
"Kurotsuchi Taicho I don't think that is something that you should be showing to people" Unohana gently tried to persuade him with a serene smile that all but said 'do what I want or I will fucking murder you'
"Tch" Mayuri scoffed never a man to be deterred he casually replied "It's not really a big deal anymore, I've shown it at several different parties already. NEMU have you finished setting up that monitor yet you worthless failed experiment!"
"Yes Mayuri-sama" was the reply from the emotionless Fukutaicho as the monitor flickered to life.
The scene panned in on the barren and mountainous landscape of the Rukongai, with a lone figure hovering in the sky. With a smug smile he could already taste his victory, ready to start the world anew. So caught up in his musings he didn't sense the executioner coming from behind, until he felt the bone shattering punch that sent him soring into the deserted wastelands. Dazed and confused as to what just hit him Aizen didn't try to right himself before he slammed into the ground. From the newly formed crater he got his first hint at who his new opponent was when he heard a chilling phrase.
"GETSUGA TENSHO" the energy attack ripped from his blade sending a highly condensed black and red crescent moon at the downed man. Not content with one attack Ichigo pointed his index and middle finger at his opponent forming an ominous red orb that steadily grew in size. "CERO" the second attack screamed in the wake of his signature getsuga impacting the ground and Aizen a split second after.
'How did he manage to man handle me like that' mused Aizen as the feeling of real fear crept up his spine for the first time in centuries. Crawling out of the smoking crater his regeneration was already underway replacing his lower half from the naval down along with his left arm.
"I see Kurosaki that you have managed to become stronger in the short time we've been apart" smirked Aizen after his healing was completed "I don't know how you did it, but I can't feel an ounce of reiatsu coming from you. If you have discarded it somehow to alter your physical attributes then you have lost already"
Before Ichigo could respond Aizen was already on him raining down blows, it felt like he was being attacked by a buzz saw. Each blow they traded drastically reshaped the land scape shattering mountains with ease. His purple eyed, human/butterfly hybrid opponent found an opening in his defense, before he knew what happened his left arm was already falling uselessly to the ground. 'HOLY SHIT, I still can't keep up with him… FUCK THAT he can't stop me I WONT LOSE!' Charging a Getsuga in his blade he brought it up to his bloody stump and cauterized the wound…with a string of mumbled curses he unleashed the pent up energy in his blade. Much to his and Aizen's surprise mixing his blood with Getsuga Tensho made it extremely fast and more compact. Barely able to dodge the god wanabe still lost his leg, but what was more shocking was when the attack detonated with equivalent force of a low yield nuclear bomb.
Aizens face betrayed his emotions the instant his last obstacle displayed such devastating power. Fear, regret and confusion managed to slip by before he schooled his features "Come now Kurosaki so you can see the futility of your effort…"
Quickly being cut off from his one sided conversation as the obsidian blade of Tensa Zangetsu tore clean through the side of his stomach and out the other effectively disemboweling him. Embracing his hollow nature he showed no pause in mutilating his nemesis.
Desperate to stop the vicious onslaught Aizen had to go on the offensive "Hado thirty one, Shakkaho" the red ball of flame had its desired effect catching Ichigo mid swing in the center of his chest. Wasting no time as Ichigo landed on his back, he launched another spell at him forgoing the incantation to save time "Hado 90, Kurohitsugi" the massive black box enveloped Ichigo soon spears of black energy slammed into the sides eliciting a scream from within.
With the Kido finished, the coffin like box disappeared revealing an extremely fucked looking hybrid, but he was still upright. Gritting his teeth in pain he focused all his anger and frustration into his blade. The combatants stared each other down like mad dogs neither backing down an inch. With each swing mountains in the surrounding areas were reduced to rubble, mighty winds blew accompanied with sonic booms. Each combatant landing a blow on the other, was when the very real fact that Aizen's regeneration was no longer as effective, he was losing, fear tightened its hold on his heart.
"It seems Kurosaki that the Hogyoku has decided it no longer has a master. It feels the winner of this fight will be its new owner, so it has stripped me of my regeneration." Azien stated in a disturbingly calm voice "It matters not you are still no match for me"
With that Aizen was on him, pressuring Ichigo leaving him with no room to breathe. Side stepping a downward slash Aizen countered with a vertical slash once again landing a critical strike. Showing the tenacity that made him legend the orange haired teen fought on after the nasty gash that was delivered to his face costing him his right eye.
Seeing an opening in Ichigo's defense, Aizen lunged with his blade aimed for his opponent's heart. A split second later he felt the satisfying feeling of his blade sliding through Ichigo's breast plate, missing his heart by millimeters, but still a mortal wound. The smug smile never left his face even after Ichigo used a vertical slash to cut him in half from his crotch to the crown of his head, effectively bisecting the Hogyoku, shattering it in the process. As Aizen fell in two different pieces he began to break down into reiatsu almost completely gone before he hit the blood soaked dirt.
That last thing that played on the monitor before it turned black was the Hero falling to the ground succumbing to his grievous wounds. Only to be caught by the squirrely thin arms of the fourth divisions seventh seat Hanataro Yamada, who immediately went to work binding his wounds essentially saving his life.
Silence, uncomfortable and heavy silence everyone in attendance thought they wanted to see the fight. Figured it was going to be one hell of a show like in the great tales of warriors of the past. For the viewers that hadn't taken part in the actual war it was an eye opener, this was not some fantastic tale it was infinitely more brutal than they could have imagined. Soft sobs drove the nail home for those that still didn't get the picture of the devastating toll war had on people.
Turning their heads towards the sound they were unsurprised to see the gentle hearted healer Orihime with her hands to her face with tears in her eyes. What they were surprised about though, was when the star of said movie pulled her into an embrace to try and console her. He hated this, he tried to warn her that they should leave before it started, but she put on a brave face and insisted.
Now once again he kicked himself for not listening to his instincts and stopping the movie before it even played. What was worse was the fear he seen in the eyes of others, the same eyes that danced with mirth and joy only a hand full of minutes before. A large firm hand landed on his shoulder bringing him back to the world around him, not relinquishing his hold on Orihime he craned his neck to look at the owner of the hand. He was surprised to see it was Kenpachi trying out of everyone to lend him support.
"You did the right thing Ichigo" he reassured him looking at him with his only uncovered eye. Even though he personally didn't mind killing an enemy he knew it took a heavy toll on those that did, especially one as young as Ichigo.
With his piece said Kenpachi left heading for his own division a large smile splitting his face with every step he took. That fight got his blood flowing he wanted nothing more than to challenge Ichigo, but right now was not the time…soon though he promised himself.
Still bathed in silence Ichigo decided it was his own time to make an exit disentangling himself from Orihime he began to move only for her to latch securely on his arm walking in stride with him. He regarded her with a slightly furrowed brow, but didn't actually mind the embrace. Eyes landing on a rather short shinigami with blue eyes and chin length black hair he decided he really should show his gratitude before he left.
"Y-yes Kurosaki-san" replied the timid male, fidgeting with his hakama to abate some of his nervousness
"I don't know how you made it there, but thank you for saving my life" the transcendent being stated while offering his hand for a handshake.
"Right place right time I guess heh heh" He replied accepting the handshake albeit nervously.
The effect was immediate being thanked personally by the hero of the war definitely caught the attention of several nearby female shinigami…oh yes Hanataro just got a lot more popular.
Raising his hand chest level much to the confusion of the people at the party, Ichigo with the swipe of his arm tore open a garganta making everyone go wide eyed at what they had just witnessed. Turning back to his friends he gave them a slight nod towards the garganta, which they started walking towards. As for his shinigami friends he turned to them with a warm smile.
"I think it's about time we got home. We have a whole lot of people waiting on us"
Orihime letting go of him for a second so he could say good-bye, he stepped towards Rukia wrapping her in a hug promising that he would see her soon. A handshake and punch in the face from Renji wasn't totally unexpected, it just delayed the trip a little for them to finish their skirmish. Caught by surprise from a Matsumoto hug as she buried his face in her impressive bust battering his already frayed restraint on his instincts, he gently pried her off turning to leave. Only to once again get caught in a hug this time surprisingly enough by Unohana not aggressive like Rangiku hers was more motherly and warm which he found himself returning. With kiss on the cheek and soft 'thank you' she released him. Orihime reclaiming her spot by his side as they all waved before disappearing inside the garganta.
Three Years Later
Three years found Ichigo in a small two bedroom apartment of his own, attending his first semester at the local college to study medicine. Loathe he is to admit it he respected his father and his chosen practice. Deciding that he wanted to take over the family business after a long discussion with his old man, Ichigo stayed in Karakura. That was not the only promise he kept, true to his word he spent many hours in the cavernous training grounds underneath the Urahara Shoten developing his powers to an amazing degree. One of the other reasons he turned to medicine was after he learned healing kido from Tessai. He found great satisfaction in treating people after spending the early part of his career bathed in blood and battle.
He was amazed at all of the uses for kido, he felt like a fool for never learning it before. Though he could easily reason that he never had the time between his constant battles. One of the uses that intrigued him was kido massage, which was surprisingly a technique that Tessai himself created.
There was a reason why it was never offered in training for ordinary Shinigami, it was extremely temperamental. Not enough power and it was ineffective, too much power and you could severely hurt the recipient, maybe even cripple them for life. So of course it was the first thing they decided to teach him, true to Urahara training methods it was cruel and inhumane.
He would practice on Yoruichi, of course he had to wear a shock collar. If he started using too much power she would shock the living shit out of him and not enough power, you guessed it she would shock the shit out of him. When he finally got the technique of using the right amount of power down, he found it extremely mentally taxing to keep it up for significant amounts of time.
Which of course led to more practicing. Most men would cry to the heavens at being able to touch the Flash Goddesses' dark supple skin every day. Not Ichigo it was a chore to him, but the results were worth it (Well except when the Shinigami Women's Association raffled of a chance for him to give the winner a massage, then later forced him into complying). One of the benefits was when Orihime surprised him by asking for one, he always thought she was out of his league so he happily accepted, even though it tempted him severely with very improper ideas. The other benefit was it gave him amazing control over his reiatsu (which Urahara happily proclaimed as the very reason he suggested it was the first thing he learned).
The biggest change was when he returned to his human body for the first time, it was extremely painful as his body was forced to expand and change to match his spiritual appearance. Like everything in Ichigo's life the complications didn't end there, a week later his body in a last ditch effort to contain his power merged with his soul, once again a horrifically painful experience. It came with some perks though he was able to summon Zangetsu at will, his body also became as resilient as his spirit form and he could use all of his abilities without problem. The one drawback though was that he had to be careful of where he used his power because he no longer had the ability to become invisible to normal humans.
The Karakura Four (Orihime's idea that managed to stick) spent the rest of their high school days as a tight nit group that not many could understand. The class president (Ishida), the princess (Orihime), a gentle giant (Chad) and the delinquent (Ichigo) always looked like an insanely odd group when they would do things together, Tatsuki never minded though because Orihime was always surrounded by her protectors.
All good things had to come to an end though the inevitable happened… college. Ishida was the first to leave like Ichigo he chose to pursue a career in medicine, but unlike Ichigo he'd be damned if he worked with his father, opting to study in America. Chad also opted to study abroad in Spain he wasn't sure about a career to pursue, but he was glad when he got accepted. Orihime and Tatsuki moved to Okinawa for school, Tatsuki on an athletic scholarship and Orihime with a partial scholarship because of her high grades all through high school.
Ichigo was having a shit day after three years of training he still couldn't beat Yoruichi in a pure Hakuda match, he caught her in the speed department though, but refused to be called the God of Flash. On top of that he lost another game of chess against Kisuke, so he had to put up with the ridiculously dressed man's antics and that stupid fan (Oh how he hated the fan). It also meant that he would have to do a favor for Geta-Boshi at a later date. He was surprised by how much he enjoyed Chess though he always believed it was for nerds, but it engaged the more analytical parts of his mind changing his demeanor from hot headed teen to a somewhat level headed adult.
The young transcendent being casually strolled through the streets of Karakura with the sun brightly shining on his shoulders and hands stuffed in his pockets, he never begrudged staying home. He loved spending time with his sisters, who were becoming quiet lovely young ladies in their own right. Yuzu as no surprise was becoming more beautiful like their mother, while Karin had a rougher tomboy like beauty like Tatsuki or Rukia.
Aside from Goat-Chin occasionally sneaking into his apartment to attempt a sneak attack, things were surprisingly calm for him, only dealing with a few hollows a week. He had become a representative of the Thirteenth Division for Karakura, part of the reason was the newly appointed Central Forty-Six were scared shitless of him after seeing a certain video, they were more than eager to form an allegiance with him. He liked the arrangement because he actually got a salary for all the shit work he does for them, it wasn't a lot of money but he always had a roof over his head with spare money for the things he needed.
That's when he felt a familiar warm and comforting reiatsu at the edges of his senses… Inoue he thought with a slight smile which immediately turned into a scowl 'What the hell is she doing back in town during the week? She should be at school'. Always the inquisitive one and slightly (enormously) overprotective person he was he decided he wanted an answer. Fumbling through his pocket for his sleek black cell phone, then scrolling through his short list of numbers he placed his call.
Startling her out of her daydreams that consisted of little blue men fighting evil elves, was none other than the Haha song she made up in high school, later to record it on her phone as a ring tone. Eyeing the name curiously while biting her bottom lip in a mix of excitement and trepidation.
'How did Kurosaki-kun already know I was in town' confusion clearly written across her beautiful face, she was trying her best to suppress her reiatsu so she wouldn't worry him. 'Of course Kurosaki-kun has gotten a lot better at sensing reiatsu, he even told me he had an Inoue sense once' she giggled at that thought, quicksilver eyes dancing with amusement when she compared Ichigo to Spiderman. She finally picked up after the fourth ring.
"Hello Kurosaki-kun" she sing-songed.
"Yo Inoue how are you doing" he was trying to act as laid back as possible.
"I just got back in town what are you doing" she decided to just confirm what he already knew, she knew he was curious. He never just called, it was always a text to check up on her which she had to admit she loved about him. Once again she giggled thinking about when he said that he would tear a garganta open to Okinawa and kick some ass if anyone messed with her.
"Nothing I'm off school today. Do you want to grab lunch?"
"Of course Kurosaki-kun, do you want to meet at that little ramen shop by the school in about half an hour!?" she was excited, spending time around Ichigo always made her feel really funny inside, sometimes it made her feel like her whole body was overheating!
"Sounds good I'll see ya there bye"
"Bye bye Kurosaki-kun"
Just as she hung up, a black van pulled up tires screeching to a halt. Her heart fell into pit of her stomach as two men in black suits with dark sunglasses hiding their eyes proceeded to pull her into the van and speed away. She immediately felt handcuffs fastened securely to her wrists, tears immediately built up in the corners of her stormy eyes. She tried to use her powers to extricate herself from the captors but no matter what she did she couldn't call on them. Looking at the bracelets on her wrists she noted that they looked odd and strangely similar to the one Soul Society used on criminals. Just then a screen turned on in the van catching her attention admits her continued attempts to kick, bite and claw at the guards.
"Welcome to the Sekirei plan, so good to have you back number 90, Orihime!" came the eccentric voice of a man whose mannerisms reminded her uncomfortably of Kisuke.
A/N Well that turned out a lot longer than I expected questions, concerns, and helpful advice all appreciated hope you enjoyed the chapter. This is my first fic so if you could give any helpful advice it would be appreciated