I've begged and pleaded with Dark Forgiveness to be able to continue this story that she deleted some time ago from her account and she so graciously offered me the chance to continue it and change it as I wished. And after nearly a month of pouring over this, I finally decided to brush it up and re-post it.
I took some great inspiration from the Black x White Trippleberry Au Lait fanbook and decided that if I was going to write an intriguing story with a Hichigo x Ichigo pairing, why not change it up a little and make it so that there are three Hichigos to play with Ichigo. Each is a little different than the other but essentially the same.
So an important note: Ryuu & Ichiru are not original characters, they are essentially the same as Hichigo as they are exactly like triplets. They were born when Aizen decided to turn Ichigo into an Arrancar but I won't go into that just yet. There is a lot of history in this story that still had to be explained.
Ichigo may be a little out of character for the first chapter because frankly I think he's been quite traumatized by the events and yes, this story will have an evil Soul Society.
This is set in the same world as Bleach, cannon up to a point but as the time difference the events took place 200 hundred years earlier than in the original story and it is fairly AU considering I'm going to throw the Bleach world upside down.
For now though, please enjoy and remember I claim no ownership over Bleach, it is Kubo Tite's brain child that I only wished I thought of before he did.
Prologue: Whisper In A Dream
The pitter pattering, gentle touch of the rain outside was echoing harshly throughout the darkness of the night where the bleeding sky only illuminated every now and then with flashes of harsh lightning and echoed ominously together with rumbling thunder. The atmosphere outside was so dense and thick that not even the full moon's bright rays could penetrate the thick blanket of dark clouds that swirled ominously throughout the blackened sky.
Deep within the maze of concrete streets and labyrinths of modern buildings, there was a chance that a single strike of lightning could illuminate the top room situated above the Kurosaki Clinic for a single instant in time. And there, within a pillar of briefly shimmering light, towered over the form of a sleeping teen a dark figure's looming presence. Irises the colour of the molten sun's gold, set within a sea of black sclera, were hidden behind stylish yellow glasses that observed the child sleeping form within a small western styled bed. His bright orange locks, feathered across a white pillow drew a small smirk from the lonely silhouette.
Within those seemingly cold, distant golden eyes were a hidden understanding that was saturated with want and possessive instinct. They carefully concealed a secret that only smirking golden eyes knew. The stranger's locks of pure snow white (the complete opposite of the un-suspecting teen sleeping below him) was raggedly cut and fell down a straightened back in two dragon-like tails, where woven within the snow white locks were several small sections that were the exact same bright orange as his sleeping companion.
And for anyone observing the scene it was a bazaar sight that the two of them made. The strange shadow was the perfect doppelganger of the child sleeping so peacefully within his bed, trapped in dreams he would not remember in the morning. Despite the vastly different skin tone and hair colour, the resulting scene was astonishing all the same. And when black finger-nailed fingers brushed stray strands of orange clinging to a pale sweaty forehead, a small smirk tugged at pale lips as the shadowed stranger bent down to allow his lips to whisper across the sweet ivory skin of his victim.
"Sleep well, my sweet Ichigo. We'll all meet again soon and then...the real fun will begin. But for now, sleep well knowing that our brothers are waiting, I am waiting. So sleep untill you can, dream dreams that no human would dare and when awake make a reality out of those dreams just like you always did." A surprisingly soft tenor claimed liltingly as a pale forefinger traced strawberry coloured lips parted in sleep. By the time the next flash of lightning coupled with a crash of thunder and echoed throughout the small town, the white figure was gone. Leaving behind nothing of his presence except the touch of lips against a furrowed brow and a gentle caress tingling across parted lips.
Kurosaki Ichigo shifted restlessly in his semi-interrupted slumber, the small room suddenly heavy with protective reiatsu that crawled across his skin like a blanket of comfort and blissful ignorance as to his life in connection to the creature of the night. But, from his parted lips, a name was whispered that he had never heard before but meant more to him than he would ever know.
'Ichiru...' His breath was so soft that it was scarcely heard, but the creature of the night sitting protectively upon the window ledge, ready to take his leave in the next watch, quirked a smirk at the soft call before a hiss of annoyance left his lips with a 'che'.
'Not quite the right brother, but almost there, Anata.'
When he vanished into the air with a burst of static the stranger's loss of presence left behind a desperate mourning that echoed in the faint final whisper of 'we'll meet again' before a heavy silence settled over the sleeping Ichigo to interrupt his pleasant dreams with a darkness heavy with deep sorrow. Unknowingly the stranger's presence had opened a wound deep within Ichigo's soul that he did not even know he had possessed before.
The look of peaceful restraint that had settled before now tugged into a deep scowl that often marred tanned features and left the teen gasping for a breath in his sleep. Brewing within him, deep inside, it was as if at any given moment his life would succumb to a panicle before he would fall from the precipice of defeat and shatter into a thousand crumbling and uncontrollable emotions below...
Chapter 1: Hell's Three Kings
"III-CCCHI-GOOO! GOOD MORNING MY SPIRITED SON!" A deafening loud voice suddenly erupted throughout the tiny home nestled atop the Kurosaki Clinic. The abrupt but not unexpected noise startled a tired teen from his morning lay-in. Where the rapidness of the morning attack causing a yelp to resound from lips parted in surprise as Ichigo fought off his father's insane hyper-activeness. Fingers stubbornly curling across the top of his covers to keep them in place as the playful tugs of his father attempted to drag his sheets away from his body. When he lost the fight of strength against his father's pulling in fear of ripping his sheets, Ichigo merely lifted a leg lazily and smashed it into his attackers face.
A scowl, marring sleepy features, the only warning Goat-Face got before he was being stomped into the ground by his son's angry foot.
"What the hell, Goat-Face! It's barely even six in the morning! I'm tired, I couldn't sleep and there is no school today!" Ichigo yelled incredulously, his voice rising higher than his attacker's as his foot pushed his father's face into the cracked ground with every word. After that he forcibly removed the immature man, secretly smiling at Isshin's antics as they somehow managed to cheer him a little from the pain gnawing at his chest. But just in case, he cautiously locked his door, window and any other form of entry his father could wriggle in from.
Swearing beneath his breath quietly for the rude wake up call, Ichigo haphazardly threw his covers over his bed and climbed beneath their comforting warmth once more. It was still way too early for this shit but somehow his father had known that he was drifting into a nightmare and had awoken him before it could have gotten much, much worse. The bastard, Ichigo thought fondly.
"Shut up, Bastard! Go back to sleep." Ichigo finally yelled when he could no longer stand the increasing level of noise his father made. He was thankful when the ruckus ceased and Isshin retreated to the kitchen. Leaving Ichigo to burrow back into his little nest of warmth. Surprisingly, despite the brightness of the morning sun and the subtle, excited beating of his heart, the eldest child of the Kurosaki family easily drifted off into slumber once more. His brow abruptly furrowing in sleep as he dreamed of warm calloused hands resting in his and soft but chapped lips brushing against his forehead in a gentle manner. A warm body completely shielded his vulnerability from the world and for reasons he could not guess, there was nothing but comfort and affection within his sleepy embrace.
"Hi-chi-go..." He breathed softly, his lips unconsciously parting with the softly spoken name and just like before. The name was like a part of him that his heart was desperately yearning for but could not recall a face to go with it or recollect within him the comforting presence it always represented to him. By the next time Ichigo ascended into proper consciousness, uninterrupted by his father's booming voice, he blearily opened his eyes to a muffled overcast light creeping in through the gaps within his curtain.
His body was unusually aching and tired from the day before's practice in the kenjutsu(1*) dojo and his collision with a gang in the streets afterwards. The subtle aches and pains caused him to grumble to himself in seething anger as he cursed his father's increasing tests of 'courage' and 'alertness' that had affected him twice before bed last night and once that morning as well.
Ichigo felt unusually tired that morning though. For some reason he didn't think it had anything to do with the fact that his father was tiring him out or his budō practice was getting too straining. No. This desperate feeling of exhaustion was completely different than anything he had ever experienced before and coupled with the unusually cool weather for the height of summer, it was almost as if the summer skies and jovial attitude of school break did not reach him at all.
Something was missing...
There was no way that the sixteen year old Ichigo could shake the feeling. Somehow, somewhere he had lost something very important to him that he couldn't regain it no matter how hard he had searched and yearned for it. And when he stepped into the warm family kitchen, now fully dressed for a day out in the summer heat, he was ready for his father's flying kick despite his misgivings. Sidestepping the attack aimed for his upper torso, Ichigo did not even glance back as the older Kurosaki crashed into the hallway wall behind him. A dark sneer split the teen's lips as he hissed in suppressed anger at his father's energetic and over the top behaviour.
With a small sigh in contemplation, the teen wondered just what he was going to with himself when things fell quiet again. His fingers, showing a slight tremor he had yet to notice himself, curled lazily around his chopsticks as he savoured the quick stir-fry Yuzu had made for him because he had slept through breakfast. His mind strangely turning to the wind outside. It was unusually harsh and heavy for the summer weather. This was a day where most teens would sensibly stay home and play video games but despite the darkness of the weather, Ichigo felt the need to escape the shackles the house had instilled upon him throughout the struggling night.
So with a quick goodbye and a promise to return for dinner, Ichigo slipped his beige jumper over his short-sleeved shirt and headed into the gloomy streets with wavering thoughts. For in the single moment that he stepped outside, it was starting again. The unbearable pain that erupted across the walls of his heart, the outside air burning a path of pain through his straining lungs as every step he took was weighed down with suppressed despair. The winding streets and curving pavements that he knew like the back of his hand, eventually leading him towards his wayward friend's apartment.
The fifteen-year-old was strangely breathless by the time he reached the violent red haired idiots door. Leaving Ichigo trying very hard to ignore the sense of 'wrongness' that settled deeply within his bones as he stared at the shut door. His knuckles unsteady and trembling against the wood of the door as he knocked uncertainly. Wondering if perhaps Renji had left on one of his 'spiritual journeys to another dimension' as he called them.
Abarai Renji though, the man that opened the door ten minutes later, cut quite the impressive figure with his arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the doorframe. He was tall and muscled, his vibrant red hair, much longer than Ichigo's locks, stood out brightly against bold tattoos of pitch that decorated his tanned skin indiscriminately. This man was definitely his best friend, the one that was two years above him in high school and the man that had saved his life from wandering thugs many years before.
But now, there was definitely something that seemed off in his defensive, aloof attitude, causing Ichigo to cross his own arms across his chest in retaliation of defensiveness.
'Yo Ichigo, came for a visit?' Renji breathed in his deep calming voice and Ichigo blinked back his surprise. Renji was frowning deeply, he seemed to be more withdrawn from Ichigo lately, even more so today. As if there was something he could not share that weighed upon his shoulder that he did not wish to acknowledge himself. But even though Ichigo too felt as if something was wrong within himself, he was more concerned for Renji's health. He knew full well that the red head got into all kinds of trouble he was not supposed to, he just hoped this time was not the same.
'Sorry.' Ichigo apologized, feeling as if he had interrupted something but Renji said nothing, merely invited him inside with a wave of his hand. 'I thought we could play some video games for a while, it looks to be quite a boring day with the coming rain.' The redhead smirked but Ichigo froze the moment his shod feet touched the threshold into Renji's home. He could not move, something was holding him back inside. A small noise of distress spilled from his lips at the sudden fear that crawled across his skin and conflicted his mind. He was sure there was someone behind him, holding onto his jumper and whispering of an unknown danger in his ear but when he cautiously glanced over his shoulder, there was only a flicker of white and yellow before there was nothing but empty air in return.
"I really wasn't expecting you today, Ichigo. So besides pilfering my game collection, what brings you around?" Ichigo, caught unawares by his question, stuttered a well practised answer nonchalantly as he accepted the glass of orange juice from his friend without complaint. It was true that he had been planning on visiting his friend since the holidays had started but for some reason he had been ignoring it for a long time. He just knew, if he was alone that day, his mood would only worsen and Renji was the only one that could usually calm him from these bouts. But Renji didn't need to know that, so Ichigo instead, told him that he just wanted to spend some time with his friend. With the redhead by his side, the pain that he had been feeling within his chest since that morning had at least slowed to a dull throb that wasn't as painful in comparison to before.
However much he struggled against the sensations though, it was still detectable just underneath the surface of his trembling skin. Waiting to be let loose at any given moment of distress.
"Ichigo? What's with that distressed face? It's your birthday the day after tomorrow, you should at least look happy if not exited." Ichigo merely shrugged at the question and returned to sipping the drink that rested within his hands. The soothing coldness seeping through the glass was a great distraction to his wandering thoughts but it did very little to distract him from the icy ache brewing within his chest the more he looked at Renji's scowling features.
Despite the quite obviously fake smile he offered in return, at least Renji did not seem to notice as he merely patted Ichigo on his back and told him 'that's the spirit' in a loud booming voice. It was only after a long afternoon spent raging through the redhead's game collection and enjoyable laughter that Ichigo was left quite surprised when he was invited to stay over for the night and finish the newest one. The offer was something which did not happen very often, but when it did, fun times were sure to be had as Renji seemed to come alive only at night fall.
So without second thought, Ichigo accepted the offer despite the dread that settled in the pit of his stomach just then. It was a show of his uncharacteristic behaviour as he had already promised to return home for dinner but he felt that if he returned now, then his family would be in more danger than he was. But why he thought that, he could not tell. So instead, Ichigo chose the lesser of the two evils.
Something was building on the horizon that he could not see yet, something that made him balance on the edge of a precipice of danger.
Before the teen could blink his unusual exhaustion away though, the time had already passed way into the early hours of the morning and when Ichigo finally laid down his head for the night, the uneasiness in his heart was enough to make him feel sick to his stomach as it twisted and turned through his body. He couldn't understand this sudden adverse feeling that crept through his gut but no matter how much he turned in Renji's spare futon, he couldn't fall into a peaceful slumber to rest his fatigued mind.
It was eventually the slide of the shoji doors opening that startled Ichigo from his thoughts. Chocolate brown eyes flickering over to the figure standing in the doorframe ominously, reluctantly leaning against it with strong arms crossed over a chest defiantly. Scarlet eyes, hidden behind long red bangs seemed to stare right through him and it frightened Ichigo almost instantly. This man, so intimidating and tall, was nothing like the eighteen year old he knew as his best friend. No, Renji looked so different, like he had aged a hundred years over night as he stood there hovering over the threshold in traditional black clothes and a sword strapped dangerously to his side.
'What are you—.' Ichigo was quickly cut off as tabi clad feet slid across the tatami mats, wild red locks, undone from their usual tie, flowing behind the man like a halo of blood. His eyes never once pulled away from Ichigo's gaze as the younger teen sat up in fright, ready to defend himself if need be. Even though he was frantically wiping at his eyes to clear his vision, Ichigo could not help but feel as if what he had been dreading that whole day was finally upon him with deadly intent.
"Renji? What is it?" Ichigo asked confused, eyes widening as the brown hilted katana was drawn with an easy grace that came from not only a few meagre years of practice. It was a split second later that Ichigo's world was completely turned upside down and flipped inside out. The redheaded warrior had moved so fast that Ichigo hadn't even seen him move and now, he somehow found himself pinned back onto the sheets of the futon as Renji's considerable weight kept him completely immobilized. His wrists were held tightly in Renji's larger hand and pressed to the floor in a tight restraint. The katana's sharpened tip resting right above his heart as the redhead leant down so that their foreheads were pressed together.
Ichigo was valiantly struggling against the grip but the very real fear of just where the sword tip was resting left him somewhat fearful of just what his friend would do if he moved too much. No, not his friend. This was not the Renji that Ichigo knew. This person was cold and distant, despite the deep regret shimmering within scarlet orbs..this was not his Renji. So instead Ichigo tried to hastily regulate his breathing, his mind running through a thousand ways to escape the pain of betrayal stinging his chest and the tears that prickled incessantly at the corner of his eyes.
"Please, Ichigo, do not struggle. I cannot escape this, nor can you. I was sent from Soul Society to scout out the possibility that the Three Kings' consort had been reborn into this generation and when I saw you, I had known that one day it would come to this. I have to return with my mission completed the day after tomorrow, please do not hate me for this." Ichigo frowned at the words that spilled from the redhead's mouth, his head tilted to the side in search of a way to escape but he did not have time.
Something had exploded within him the second the sword had been thrust forward and straight through his heart.
'Now come forth, light in the darkness so that I can destroy you before they come to reclaim you.'
'Renji!' A cry of despair roared in the form of his friend's name as Ichigo's mind and body was completely engulfed in a heady pain so strong and intense that his entire being shook with the scream of death that echoed throughout the night air. Despair, longing, need, want and rage... Ichigo did not know what emotion to feel, what to expect and he had no idea what was happening to him. It felt like his entire body was rearranging itself from the inside out, his show of defiance in not dying quietly by his friend's hands reared its ugly head as Ichigo easily dislodged his friend's heavy form by slamming his head into his captor's forehead.
The harsh impact made Ichigo stumble away as Renji reeled in pain simultaneously. Ichigo's own hand went to the bleeding wound dripping blood into his eyes as he wiggled free from the tight grip around his wrists and stumbled towards the back wall and the open window. It was difficult to breathe, his heart was painfully tight within his chest and there was no mistake that it was his body that was laying in that blood soaked futon before him and the pool of blood was only getting larger. He was shivering in fear and desperation because Renji's eyes were following his form and not the body that was laying on the futon.
This was not over yet...
Ichigo slipped into a defensive position, his vision blurring and his heart racing against his chest as he warily observed his now moving opponent. Ichigo was now more than aware of the fact that he missing a familiar weight across his back and his form was completely vulnerable to katana.
"That actually hurt." The red haired man mumbled and Ichigo shivered with the nonchalant dismissal. "I really don't want to do this but orders are orders. I was sent to make sure the Dark Kings' Consort never sees the light of day past his sixteenth birthday. Yours is tomorrow Ichigo. I won't ask that you forgive me for this but I have to do it, you'd be much better off in Rukongai than Las Noches." Something inside Ichigo screamed and snapped at that, making him snarl in rage at the words that raced through his mind.
He had to run, to get away, get away, get away, get away...run, move, don't look back!
I don't want to die...
That thought was all Ichigo needed as the small room was suddenly bathed in black and red flames so potent that his attacker was startled as they poured from his fingertips and ignited anything in sight. It was the only moment of distraction that Ichigo needed as he leapt out of the window and onto the cold street below. Not even noticing that he had jumped three stories without sustaining even a single jolt of pain. In the corner of his eye Ichigo could warily make out a blur of white that rushed past him and leapt towards the window that he had just exited.
'Run! Hichigo will find you!' The tall white figure shouted and Ichigo took off without second thought. Knowing that he had to listen to those words. In the precious few seconds of danger Renji had put him through, Ichigo had unknowingly awoken a side of him that has been sleeping for more than fifteen years. As he raced down the rain washed streets and lowly lit street lamps, Ichigo never once noticed that his appearance had completely changed underneath the pale light of the moon.
He was dressed in a white hakama, bound to his hips by a long, thick sash of pure black silk. His torso was covered in a pristine silk Chinese style shirt with long bell-sleeves that covered his hands and fluttered with the rushing wind. His eyes, deep glowing amber was a startling prelude to the bright orange locks that now flowed down his back like a waterfall of bright colour. Just beneath his left eye ran two curved lines in the deepest shade of red, standing out like a bright tattoo upon his moonlit pale skin like flowing blood.
"Bastard!" Ichigo shouted his frustration, his eyes stinging with the betrayal as his heart went out to the man that had come to his aid to fend off his attacker. Renji was a man that he thought he could trust with his life and he had been proved completely wrong instead. He had no idea what Renji had been talking about, no idea of his orders or Soul Society, but one thing Ichigo knew was that the killer intent that had been pressed upon his shoulders was no joke. And that had been what had hurt him the most.
For what reason would his best friend want to kill him?
Several blocks away twenty minutes later, leaning heavily a building for support, Ichigo tried desperately to catch his breath. Resting his back against the brick wall of an abandoned alleyway, he cursed his luck as it started raining again. The torrent of water had already soaked through his clothes and plastered his long bangs to his forehead. He could not recall exactly how he had managed to escape but he now cursed himself for feeling so terrified. Ichigo never ran from a fight but something inside of him had told him that if he was to take on Renji as he was now, he would definitely die in this form too.
'Fuck!' He swore uncharacteristically. His lungs were hurting from the suddenly frozen air and no matter how he clenched his hands, they would not stop trembling. In fact, his entire body was shivering constantly, the pain in his heart that he had felt before was now enough to make him double over and clutch at the fabric of his shirt just to try and relieve some of the pain. Why did it have to hurt so much, was he missing something? Even though the pain was so familiar, even though it seemed to have doubled over one night and in that sense Ichigo already could feel shameful tears threatening to squeeze from between his clenched eyelids.
Everything around him seemed to be shattering and rebuilding itself and it hurt, god it really hurt. It was like there was a huge gaping hole in his chest that never stopped aching and reaching out for something he didn't know he was missing. It was unbearable, unforgivable and mind numbing with sensations chasing through his veins and trembling within his limbs. Calm down, calm down...he chanted internally, but it was far from helping as a cry suddenly rushed past his lips and his amber eyes snapped open hungrily.
Glaring boldly at the presence now daring to trespass upon his hiding place.
"Heh! I should have known that sweet little Ichigo would cause the world to tremble beneath his feet the very first night he awoke." A tenor chuckled almost insanely as the figure shrouded in darkness passed beneath the light of a streetlamp in his lazy saunter. The sound of his laughter made Ichigo's head shoot up from where he had been staring at the ground, amber irises colliding with gold that were hidden behind yellow sunglasses. He shuddered against the cold wall digging into his back, Kurosaki Ichigo knew this being, knew him intimately his heart said but his mind refused to acknowledge the bizarreness of the situation.
With hair the purest of white, short and messy, like his, there wasn't much of a difference to his pale skin but it was his face and body, perhaps a few years older than him, which threw the teen completely. It was like he was looking at some strange, two year older, twin of himself that was more wild and insane than he was. And his eyes, god those eyes...so beautifully gold were set within a sea of swirling black. This being was more like a demon than anything else he had ever glimpsed and Ichigo was sure that he had never seen eyes that were so intense. The entire aura that was rolling off and swirling around his doppelganger was dangerous and wild. However, there was something inside of Ichigo that knew he would never hurt him.
He was not afraid...merely curious.
"Who are you?" Ichigo finally asked, taking a step forward with outreached hands, as if to make sure he was not dreaming this like how the pain in his heart was almost instantly satiated. However, because of his miscalculated strength, Ichigo instead found himself with the embrace of strong arms as his feet stumbled in the inability to find his balance. The man's white and red trench coat was warm against his shivering body and Ichigo looked up just as black finger-nailed fingers pushed his chin upwards so that their gazes could collide. The grin he saw dancing on those pale lips made Ichigo shudder, it was gentler than ever before. But, it was still like looking into a weird mirror with a demon's face.
But even the trembling spirit could not deny the gentleness of his captor's touch that was oh so soft and unthreatening.
"Me, I have many names and also none. I'm one of the three Mei-Ou(2*) of Hueco Mundo, and you little Ichigo are our beloved consort. I have no name but..." The demon breathed huskily, his voice chuckling insanely at the confused expression that his consort made as he brushed orange locks from a sticky forehead. "You, my little Ichigo can call me Hichigo. Like ya always did in the past." Ichigo frowned deeply at those words. Just what was going on and why did everything feel so different from before? Just how the hell had his hair grown so long and how did his clothes change? And that power that he had used in Renji's apartment...
There was so much to ask, to confirm that this was not some bazaar dream but before Ichigo could part his lips to ask he was promptly silenced by a long forefinger pressing against his lips to keep him silent.
"Questions later, Ichigo. We need ta leave before the Shinigami show up, Ryuu can only hold them off that long." Shinigami?! What the hell did death gods have to do with this? He shuddered, not even once protesting since he had been caught in Hichigo's arms from the shock of all the events that happened in such quick succession. The sudden tilt of his world though, sent shudders through Ichigo as a yelp squeezed past his lips. His body cradled against a strong chest as if he weighed nothing more than a feather, Hichigo's lips pulling into a deadly smirk as they both defiantly glared at each other for a few seconds in a silent battle of wills.
'I win,' it said and then Hichigo started running, causing Ichigo's entire world to freeze as everything became a blur of noises and undistinguished shapes. Biting his lip until it bled so that he wouldn't let out an undignified sound at the racing sensations. The thoroughly confused teen and proclaimed consort could feel his stomach start to protest at the hasty movement, wondering not for the first time just what the hell Hichigo was and why he was quietly going along with this. Ichigo's mind was reeling but never once did he feel fear towards Hichigo. Only a gentle understanding and a warm feeling that took away all the concerns he had felt before and lightened the darkness within his crying heart.
"Yo! Urahara! Ya here?!" Hichigo suddenly shouted as they came to a screeching halt outside a rundown building. A black booted foot kicking down the front door of the Urahara Shoten without so much as a shred of regret and in return his violent action made the newly docile Ichigo flinch at the action. What the hell could a demon want within a shady candy store?
"Jesus! Shirosaki! Calm down, you're going to wake the children." A rumbling voice announced irritably from the back of the store as they stepped inside. A shoji door, dividing the store front from the back of the private home, slid open to reveal a very suspicious older man. Dressed strangely in a dark green haori, geta and a cane tapping by his side ominously, Ichigo could only gape as the shaggy blond locks hid lazy grey eyes from the world. They glimmered with intelligence that Ichigo could not discern and when they finally landed upon his form, the orange haired teen instantly stiffened.
Ichigo barely noticed as Hichigo put his feet back on the ground, but his finger unconsciously hooked around the white belt loop of Hichigo's white trench coat in search of safety. He really did not like the way the candy store owner was looking at him or the fact that a white fan seemed to have appeared out of nowhere to hide the man's leering gaze and a lecherous smile.
"Aww, would you look at that.' Urahara cooed in a sing-song voice. 'His majesty, the little Prince Ichigo had finally awoken? He's even cuter than I remember, Hichigo." Urahara teased and Ichigo felt Hichigo stiffen in front of him, hissing dangerously at the older man before he gripped Ichigo's hand within his and started dragging him towards the back of the shop without restraint. Not even once looking back to make sure the older man was following him.
"Shut it ya old pervert, he's ours, you cannot have 'im. And we really don' have time for this! Karakura will be crawling with Shinigami in a moment, Ryuu and Ichiru have already left for Hueco Mundo and Ichigo's pulsing reiatsu is sure as hell to draw the Captain Class and higher within moments. We're only here for Zangetsu no Ossan(3*)." At the angered words, the man dressed in green too stilled his teasing. His entire body becoming so eerily calm and tense at the same time that Ichigo was beginning to question his sanity and why he hadn't run yet or wasn't fighting back at all.
Without a second wasted though, Urahara disappeared into the back room within a blink of an eye before he came walking out with a beautiful black daitō nestled within his hands. He was handling the katana as if it was a precious treasure that should be protected and Ichigo found himself completely mesmerized as the shop keeper moved towards him with a set purpose. The hilt of black and red and a beautifully crafted hand guard, so dark and intense in colour that it drew the young teen in at the superb workmanship, ignited something familiar within his chest.
It felt like the pulsing of that sword was a part of himself and the moment it came close to his skin, his heart was singing with a settled completeness.
"Here ya go, King." Hichigo said with a smirk as he handed the unsheathed katana to the teen without second thought. His golden eyes taking in his consort's awed expression with no amount of hidden glee. The King of Hueco Mundo had known that Ichigo would be happy to have Zangetsu by his side again and that was why he had placed it under the care of Urahara Kisuke within the Human World where the Shinigami would never think to look for it. He had also known Ichigo would be docile in the next few moments, still wavering in his shock and awe and with the return of Ichigo's portion of Zangetsu, the teen would feel comfortable around him and getting him to Hueco Mundo safely would be a lot easier.
"Is it mine?" Ichigo asked with an innocent tone and Hichigo laughed incredulously.
"Yup, now we better get goin' Ichigo, Ichiru is getting irritated.' Gripping fingers that had finally stopped trembling, Hichigo dragged a finger from his free hand across the empty air as a rip appeared in the fabric of time and opened a gaping hole into the oblivion of darkness. 'Urahara come visit sometime and bring that damn Shinigami with ya too, and Ichigo's little sisters." Dragging a now violently protesting Ichigo over his shoulder as he leapt into the darkness, he smiled to himself. There was only one Shinigami he would allow close to his little Ichigo and that was the man that had been assigned to protect him since he had been brought into this world for a second time.
"Hichigo?" Said creature that had been staring at the large shut double doors of black with unhidden irritation turned towards the trembling form of his Ichigo with concern shimmering in his black and gold eyes. Watching quite jealously, with his arms crossed over his chest, as his two brothers (that were just like him except for some notable differences in their facial markings and different hairstyles ) comfortably settled themselves on each side of their newly awakened consort without care to his uncomfortable shifting.
Ichigo looked so lost, confused and begging for comfort that Hichigo could not help but join them and settled in front of Ichigo's curled up form. His hand reaching out to rest mere millimetres from the softly glowing skin of clenching fingers. Ichigo, startled at his close proximity, did not pull away though. His amber eyes widening in shock as he mulled over the boat load of information the three of them had just given him.
And the sight he made there...Hichigo shivered. It had been two hundred long years since he had seen that vibrant orange hair and pale skin against the pitch black silken sheets of their shared bed. The film of tears that threatened to spill from glazed amber eyes were quickly wiped away by Ryuu's soft fingertips as his raggedly cut hair, like two tails of a dragon falling down his back, slipped over his shoulder and brushed softly against flushing cheeks as he pressed a kiss to a sweaty forehead.
"Hmmm?" Hichigo hummed nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the small display with growing interest and rage. He was now quite jealous of Ichiru's fingers that were running through silky soft orange locks in retaliation to Ryuu's trespass of 'no touching on the first night'. Their entire attention was all captured completely by a single little strawberry that was proving too provocative for his own good despite their years of immense self control.
"I-I-is all that true?" The question, not uncharacteristic to all the information Hichigo had just provided, left the one to be born first of their little trio to sigh deeply as he briefly closed his eyes and tilted his head back. He should perhaps have kept quiet and allowed Ichigo to settle into his new surroundings first. For, damn it all, he could not stand the pain that shimmered in those chocolate brown orbs as the teen was barely even aware of Ichiru and Ryuu's presences so close to him and their gentle petting fingers.
"Ichigo," The Dark King breathed softly, rising to his knees as he leaned over Ichigo's reclining form and tipped the orangette's chin upwards so he could look deep into those eyes with imploringly concern. Pale lips connected with the tip of Ichigo's nose playfully and with soft assurance that he was not alone. Where he could only smirk at the feeling of two glares resting on his back as Ichigo's hand curled in the sheets at the unexpected pleasure. Good - that little reaction meant that Ichigo hadn't lost any of his hyper sensitivity towards Hichigo or Ryuu or Ichiru for that matter.
"I have no reason to lie to you. Everything I told you is the truth. You are our consort, reborn into the human world after the Shinigami killed you without mercy before our very eyes two hundred years ago. Your sword, Zangetsu, left in his Bankai form since your last fight, will change back to his own shape in time but for now there is too little time to explain to you about the Winter War, how we killed Aizen, we all came to be and why you died.' His voice was soft, quite unlike him but it at least seemed to calm Ichigo into relaxing back into the impressive spread of pillows.
'You should listen to him, Ichigo.' Ryuu said softly, his voice a bit deeper than Hichigo's but just as gentle.
'We'll tell you everything tomorrow. You've had too much shock for one night.' Ichiru cut in and Ichigo, strangely just nodded sadly in agreement.
'Don't look so sad, Ichigo.' Hichigo said sternly. 'I assigned Kurosaki Isshin to look after you when you were born into this world through his blood again and I won't keep him and your sisters from visiting whenever they want. Urahara may look like a useless pervert but he can at least open a gate far them to come through.' Those words at least seemed to have a positive effect on Ichigo as he closed his eyes tiredly and nodded softly again.
'However, we cannot return you to Karakura Town. Now that you have been awakened, your flesh body has already died at their hands. The town will soon be filled with Captain Class Shinigami and I'm afraid that you don't know enough about our world and theirs to fight and survive just yet." Hichigo sighed when Ichigo shivered against his body, he'd said too much again and Ryuu's glare told him as much.
'W-why? Why would they kill me, though?' Ichigo asked innocently, no matter how his mind was spinning and his vision blurred, he still could not understand why he was killed in the past and even now at they tried to take away his life again. And he almost regretted his question at the feeling of regret when three pairs of deeply pained golden eyes set in a sea of black gazed at him sorrowfully, as if they blamed themselves for what had happened all that time ago.
'Because with you by our side, not only did we all become unbeatable but our control across the night and spiritual realms stretched further than any Shinigami was ever capable of.'
"Sleep now, King. We'll be 'ere when ya wake." Hichigo said as he pushed Ichigo's stubbornly tensed shoulders back into the dark sheets. Luckily Ichigo was very sensitive towards their combined aura and when he raised his reiatsu even a little, those beautiful eyes closed behind creamy eyelids and he finally fell into a sleep of desperate exhaustion.
'Wow, I thought he would never sleep.' Ichiru mumbled.
'Tch, he's just as stubborn as ever.' Ryuu returned and Hichigo said nothing, knowing just as well as his brothers that when Ichigo woke up the next morning he was going to be spitting fire and ready to tear apart anyone in close proximity that did not give him satisfying answers and threatened his protective instinct. He chuckled to himself, Hichigo couldn't wait to tame Ichigo into their consort from the beginning again.
"What is it Ulquiorra?" Three voices barked in tandem as the double doors were pushed open cautiously. Three sets of glaring eyes zeroing in on the emerald eyed fourth Espada with barely suppressed rage. They had just managed to finish pulling the covers over their beloved and were quite wary of exposing their consort's newly awakened form to any eyes besides their own. But luckily the fourth Espada showed no form of interest at all to what they were doing.
"Shirosaki-sama,' He bowed respectfully to the Triplet of Kings. 'The other Espada are getting restless because of the presence of a newly awakened Vasto Lorde. Can you come set them at ease before they lose control and try to attack Kurosaki-sama whilst he is most vulnerable?" Hichigo sighed in annoyance and brushed his lips against Ichigo's forehead softly before he gripped Ryuu by his white lapels and dragged him from the bed despite his vehement resistance.
'Why can't I stay?!'
'Because you looked after him last night, besides it's Ichiru's turn to watch him. With only me there. it isn't going to be enough to settle the Espada.'
1* Kenjutsu – The art and practice of sword fighting.
2* Mei-Ou – Dark King
3* Zangetsu no Ossan – Old Man Zangetsu
Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed it, a lot more things will be explained in the next chapter but if you have questions please ask through a PM and I'll answer as well as I can. Please leave me a review or a rating or both, I would be really happy about if you did, this will also be going up on my AFF account under the name UchihaMadara of you wish to read it there as well.