Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.

AN : The premise for this story is a different Ichigo going through the events of the Bleach storyline. I aim to make him more cool headed, logical and just generally not a brash teen that rushes mindlessly into things. I would say that he would not become over powered, but then again, in a world where beings redefine landscapes with the swing of a sword, what is overpowered? Anyway, BAMF Ichigo


Ichigo was not unaware of the fond smile currently lessening the usual severity of his resting expression as Yuzu swung his arm on his right side, while Karin acted like she was holding his left hand because he couldn't be trusted to walk by himself.

Up ahead of the three siblings, the lights of the Urahara Shōten beckoned.

It had been two weeks since Ichigo and his friends had returned from Soul Society, and one week since Ichigo had sat his sisters down and explained just what had been going on for the past few months.

Now, with four days left of their summer vacation, Ichigo and his sisters were heading to Urahara Kisuke's home where the girls would be outfitted with special reiatsu bracelets and Ichigo would be able to fulfill a task agreed upon by himself, Tensa, and Zangetsu.

The Kurosaki twins followed their brother as he led them into the store, exchanging furtive glances as their burgeoning senses picked up on the strange spiritual energy permeating the air in the shop.

Ichigo did not hesitate as he tracked down the people his senses had locked onto long before the Urahara Shōten had even come into view – the practice in his inner world paying dividends.

Knocking on the screen before him – out of politeness really – Ichigo slid the door aside and allowed his gaze to rest on the two men, one girl, one boy and black cat arranged around the low table, each with their own cleared plates before them.

Reaching behind him, he gently urged his sisters to step into view and noted how both Ururu and Jinta perked up at the sight of the two girls, though Jinta tried to hide his interest.

"Everyone, these are my sisters, Karin and Yuzu. Karin, Yuzu, from left to right, Urahara-san, Ururu-chan, Yoruichi-San, Tessai-san, and Jinta-kun"

Yuzu and Karin both bowed in greeting while the others offered up their own greeting.

Nodding in satisfaction, Ichigo locked gazes with Kisuke before tilting his head the tiniest bit.

Eyes lighting up with interest, Kisuke spoke up from behind his fan,

"Ne, Ururu-chan, Jinta-kun, why don't you both show Yuzu-chan and Karin-chan around while Tessai fetches their bracelets?"

Tessai grunted in agreement before Jinta could protest being forced to hang out with "little girls" – thus saving the red head from death by Kurosaki Karin – and rose from his position, wasting no time in herding the kids out of the room to give the other three Shinigami some privacy.

Knowing that his sisters were in adequate care, Ichigo turned around and made his way towards the trapdoor leading to Kisuke's underground training grounds, trusting that the other two would follow him.

On the way, he reached for Kon's Gikon and, having swallowed it and left his body, sighed as he watched the mod soul dig out a rolled up magazine from Ichigo's pocket and then hurry to find a secluded spot, a disturbing leer affixed to his face.

Shaking off his unease at seeing such an expression on a carbon copy of his face, he ignored Kisuke's muffled chuckles and dropped down through the trap door.

Once all three of them were situated in the training grounds, and the trap door had been shut, Ichigo turned to face the two captains, offered them a small smile, and then promptly tried to part Kisuke's head from his body.

Eyes widening at the close shave, Urahara had no time to even voice his complaint before Ichigo's foot thundered into his hastily raised guard, launching him farther into the vast field.

Yoruichi, who had dropped her disguise the moment Ichigo had removed a few of her best friend's blond locks, aborted her lunge towards the orange haired teen just in time to miss having a new mouth carved into her throat as Ichigo's katana sang through the air a scant few inches from her now stationary dark skin.

Blurring backwards at maximum velocity, Yoruichi touched down with nary a sound right next to Kisuke who was now putting away his fan and reaching for the handle of his cane.

Ichigo, seeing the two now battle ready former captains, finally allowed the small smile he had been wearing to bloom into something provocatively dangerous as both Tensa and Zangetsu let their bloodlust mingle with that of their wielder and partner.

They began.

Neither Kisuke nor Yoruichi did Ichigo the disservice of attacking him one at a time.

That is not to say, however, that they pulled out the stops from the onset even as they attacked from both sides in a flurry of humming steel and whistling kicks.

Ichigo didn't hesitate to join the dance, blade carving through the air as he intercepted Kisuke's masterful attacks, his senses on alert to pick up Yoruichi's guerilla like strikes as she flitted in and out of his peripheral vision, launching dozens of lightning fast jabs and kicks in seconds before flickering away again.

In the first few minutes of the battle, the two older assailants fell into a steady rhythm of attacking and defending, showing Ichigo – through near misses and shallow cuts and bruised skin – what centuries of teamwork looked like in the hands of captain level opponents.

Ichigo was underwhelmed.

His next word conveyed that quite clearly,

"Byakurai"

Incredulity spread across her face as Yoruichi came out of her Shunpō to meet a bolt of super-condensed lighting, tightly controlled by a teen who wasn't even looking at her but was instead focused on keeping Benihime from tasting more of his blood than she originally had.

Still, Yoruichi wasn't termed the Goddess of Flash for nothing, for before her eyes had actually even registered the approaching Kidō attack, she was already applying the principles of Shunpō, not to her legs, but to her waist and upper body, allowing her to move herself out of the way before the attack had even managed to travel the two inches separating it from her face.

Not one to waste any motion, she built upon her momentum and lashed out with a powerful kick to Ichigo's left.

Kisuke helpfully shoved the teen into its path.

Once the dust had cleared from the impact of Ichigo's body with one of the boulders littered across the landscape, a slightly more ruffled Ichigo was revealed, with his now absent right sleeve allowing both former captains to see the bruise blooming on his forearm.

Impressed that Ichigo had been able to raise a block before her kick had connected, Yoruichi was about to comment when a pulse of reiatsu cut her off and both she and Kisuke stared as the bruise rapidly went from fresh purple to fading yellow before vanishing altogether.

Smirking at the visibly surprised duo, Ichigo straightened from his slight slouch, thrust his sword forwards and raised a single eyebrow in challenge.


Hours later, Karin scrutinized her brother from the corner of her eye, seeing what Yuzu didn't have the experience to see.

Ichigo, who was currently piggybacking his lighter haired sister – knowing that Karin would not want to be babied so blatantly by him – held no illusion that his visible ease of expression had managed to fool Karin.

He knew that she had seen his aborted wince when Yuzu jumped onto his back demanding to be carried since she was far too tired to walk. Fortunately, Karin had known better than to bring it up since that would have only resulted in Yuzu feeling guilty for causing their older brother pain.

Still, Ichigo believed that Karin would understand why he was currently sore and bruised, though the latter was thankfully hidden by his clothes.

He was never one to lie himself, and after a discussion with Kisuke and Yoruichi, he and his friends had come to the understanding that they had gotten lucky during their well-intended but ultimately ill-advised invasion on the millennium old militant Society.

The enemies they would be facing in the near future would have no intention of treating them as children.

That said, Ichigo wouldn't ever be going home visibly battered and bruised; an endeavor Zangetsu was more than capable for seeing to successfully.

After fending off his father's assault, which was noticeably more focused and driven than before, Ichigo retired to his room for a discussion that has been days in the making.

The transition to his inner world, when it came, was as smooth as ever. That however didn't mean that he was unguarded as he faded into view of the other two beings present in his inner world; being welcomed one too many times by a white fist aimed at his face was more than enough insight into Zangetsu's battle loving personality.

This time was different though, and Ichigo could only conclude that it was in respect – a part of him balked at associating such a word with his doppelganger – to the seriousness of the discussion they were to have.

Sending a warm pulse of wordless greeting to the other two via their shared bonds, Ichigo waited for Tensa to begin speaking.

Inclining his head in return, Tensa took a single step to the side, placing all three teens in a triangular formation and allowing each to view the other two easily.

Then he began,

"First, allow me to express gratitude for doing as I asked you a few days ago; refraining from significant expenditures of reiatsu while also keeping alert to ensure that no reiatsu spikes were released."

Ichigo nodded to indicate that no thanks were needed – Tensa had asked it of him, and that was enough.

Smiling in appreciation of the sentiment, Tensa continued,

"I will now explain the reason behind my request. Remember when I mentioned how reiatsu is generated and stored in a soul. In the case of a regular Shinigami, the reiatsu well can be shared by both the Shinigami and his Zanpakutō but due to the nature of the bonds between the two, it is mostly used by the Shinigami alone. However, as a spiritual being itself, the Zanpakutō keeps a portion of that reiatsu for its own use, and so, in times of great need, it is able to lend that power to it its wielder."

Ichigo nodded to show that he understood what Tensa was explaining, and Zangetsu's bored expression showed that he had already heard all this before.

"We, however, are very different. The nature of the bond between us means that rather than you being the Shinigami Kurosaki Ichigo, who has the Zanpakutō Tensa and the Hollow Zangetsu in his soul, we are instead a Shinigami, Zanpakutō, and Hollow who share a human soul named Kurosaki Ichigo. This is an over-simplification but it will suffice for our purposes."

Giving the redhead a chance to digest what he was saying, and also taking the time to gauge his reaction, Tensa proceeded with his explanation once he saw that Ichigo was perfectly fine with all this,

"The purpose of explaining all this becomes clear when you consider what the nature of our bond means for the reiatsu pool in your soul. We three all draw from that pool at the same time, in little amounts to keep us functioning, but in greater quantities when exerting ourselves."

And here, Ichigo's eyes lit up with dawning understanding, prompting a fond smile from Tensa and a smirk from Zangetsu as their partner once more revealed his often underestimated intelligence,

"Good, you understand. I asked you to limit your reiatsu expenditure because Zangetsu and I have been sparring constantly over the past few days, trying to understand Zangetsu's power some more."

It was at this point that Ichigo cut in with a leading statement,

"Ah, I got it…and seeing that you've called me here now, then…"

"Tch, it took us long enough, but we finally figured it out"

At this, Zangetsu stretched his right hand out towards Ichigo, causing said teen's eyes to drop to the appendage just in time to widen as an aura of red reiatsu tinted with black at its edges began to emanate from the white hand.

Before Ichigo's fascinated gaze, a white mask with red highlights began to form above Zangetsu's palm.

Ichigo's reiatsu senses easily picked up on Zangetsu's now familiar reiatsu – reminiscent of Tensa's, save for the undertone of insatiable bloodlust.

With a surge of power, the mask finally finished forming and Ichigo beheld it in all its glory.

It was shaped as an oval, with slits where the eyes would be, a jagged slasher of a grin across the mouth region, and decorated with tastefully placed red highlights.

All in all, it appealed to Ichigo on a deep level though he knew that anyone else staring at it would be wary at best, terrified at worst.

A muted sigh from his side had his focus switching to Tensa with a questioning tilt to his head.

In response to the silent question, Tensa replied,

"We've been working on hiding the change to your reiatsu signature whenever he summons his powers but progress has been slow, so I've taken to forcefully suppressing it for the time being."

Understanding just how much of a bad idea it would be to broadcast the change in his reiatsu, Ichigo sent waves of gratitude to Tensa for the consideration and to Zangetsu for his understanding – knowing just how irritating it must be to the albino teen to have his reiatsu suppressed to preserve their secrets.

A scoff from said white haired teen had Ichigo turning to him to find Zangetsu's head turned away from the duo with his hand still stretched towards Ichigo.

However, Ichigo didn't miss the almost completely hidden feelings of anxiety and barely there tension coming off his pale doppelganger.

It seemed Zangetsu was still not sure of the permanence of their bond.

A small smirk curling upon his lips, he didn't hesitate to pluck the mask from Zangetsu's grip and without so much as a fortifying breath, attached it to his face.

The difference was immediate.

Where before Ichigo had always been peripherally aware of the reiatsu of his two companions, now that awareness sharpened into something so deep that he could actually taste the power coming off of them.

Tensa's smoky yet spicy red tinged black reiatsu bringing to mind a blade whispering through the shadows of a moonlit night

And Zangetsu's tangy yet spicy black tinged red reiatsu tasting like blood spilt in the darkness of an overcast night.

As soon he was able to get over the distraction of his new and improved reiatsu senses, Ichigo marveled at how his body now felt.

His muscles hummed with explosive power and he found himself fighting the urge to fidget in a bid to burn some of the excess energy now saturating his very being.

When he had first grasped his Zanpakutō in its true form, he had been inundated with feelings of speed and finesse…the epitome of the blade he wielded in Tensa's Bankai form.

Now, he had visions of mountain crushing blows and the raw savagery of a berserker in the grip of blood lust.

Before he could be swept away by the thirst to carry out the ultimate act of domination on all around him, he felt the reiatsu around him twist in a way that was wrong wrong wrong.

Ichigo gasped and stumbled forward as the mask shattered before dissipating into thin air.

His hands gripped his thighs while his lungs worked overtime to provide oxygen to his brain.

Once he felt settled again, he straightened up and met the guarded gaze of his whitewashed doppelganger.

For a heartbeat, there was nothing but silence and stillness before, as one, both Ichigo and Zangetsu began to grin, slowly-spreading teeth-baring smiles of bloody anticipation.

Without wasting a second, Ichigo instinctively reached for his face and rent the air before his eyes with his fingers.

The black tinged red curtain of reiatsu hadn't even fully cleared before Zangetsu's fist smashed into the porcelain mask hidden behind it.

Ichigo stabilized himself with his reiatsu before he could take more than a step back, peered through the slit in his mask and met the similarly masked face of his partner, and then slammed a knee into said partner's gut.

And they were off.

Wearing an exasperated smile, Tensa flickered and vanished from his position, materializing in one of the many gardens that existed within their shared domain.

Dropping down with his back against a tree, one leg outstretched and the other crossed over it, he closed his eyes and began to meditate, ensuring that none in the outside world were aware of anything amiss with his wielder…his partner…his brother.


Miles away, in a dimly lit room, four former captains sat around a table, warm cups of sake placed before each of them.

Hooded cool gray eyes observed the conflicted man sitting across from him, wondering what the recent revelation from his best friend would mean to the distraught father before him.

"Isshin, there's no point dilly dallying about it. If Yoruichi said that she saw hollow eyes and felt hollow reiatsu from the kid, then we can't just let him do whatever he wants."

Gritting his teeth at his inability to refute what his friend was saying, Isshin released a gusty sigh before nodding.

However, before a pleased smirk could cross the other's face, he added in a stern tone,

"Just because I'm allowing you to meet and assess him doesn't mean you can overdo it. I want it to be you and not…Hiyori."

The two blonds present shivered at the thought of introducing the homicidal former lieutenant to the substitute Shinigami.

Nodding in acquiescence, Hirako Shinji, former captain of the Fifth Division and present leader of the Visored began to mentally plan out a meeting with a soon to be unfortunate source of amusement.

Allowing a too-wide grin to grow on his face, he mused out with a laugh,

"Hey, you guys think I could pass for a student?"


Ichigo once again thanked his lucky stars that one of Zangetsu's abilities was high speed recovery – as opposed to regeneration which mainly affected recovery from injuries – thus allowing him to attend school Monday morning after days of back to back battles with Zangetsu and from time to time, Tensa as well.

Dropping down into his usual window seat, he exchanged greetings with his friends, glad to see Ishida responding far less stiffly than ever before; who knew that near death experiences were all he needed.

Morbidly amused by the thought, he tuned out the rest of the discussions around him and glanced – for lack of a better word – into his inner world, where he found both teens slumbering away in the main garden which surrounded the central skyscraper of their domain.

Unconsciously, a serene smile spread across his face, leaving those around him stunned silent for a few seconds at the once in a lifetime sight.

Noticing the sudden silence, Ichigo's gaze snapped back to the here and now and he took in the gawping and in a handful of cases, dazed blushing.

Thankfully, before he was forced to bring them back to earth…violently…their homeroom teacher stepped in with another person in tow.

"Now class, listen up. I'd like to introduce a new student to you. He's transferring over due to family issues. Young man…"

Noticing his cue, the blond with the pageboy cut partly covered by a newsboy cap and a disturbingly wide grin, stepped up and greeted his new classmates,

"Yo, da name's Shinji, Hirako Shinji, pleased ta meetcha."

Bowing at the end of his introduction, Shinji straightened and began to make his way towards the only empty seat in the class, which just so happened to be behind Inoue and thus beside Ichigo – a seat only a handful of people remembered was used by one Kuchiki Rukia, rumored main squeeze of Kurosaki Ichigo…gossip at your own risk.

Settling into his new seat, Shinji directed his gaze to the orange haired teen next to him and with a strange glint in his eye and a weird note in his voice, he said,

"Kurosaki Ichigo…we're gonna be the best o' friends."

Seeing Ichigo's eyes narrow a tad, Shinji's already wide grin widened even further, now seeming to stretch from ear to ear.

Meanwhile, Ichigo's suspicion rose as his now better tuned senses detected the tightly leashed reiatsu coming from the blond next to him.

The Shinigami reiatsu, with undertones of Hollow energy

Noticing the glances the other members of the Seireitei Invasion Group – or as Inoue prefers, The Save Rukia-chan From The Old Meanies In The White And Black Robes With Their Swords And Magic And…well, you get the idea…Group – were throwing the new student, Ichigo resolved to be ready for when the shit inevitably hit the fan.

The moment the final bell rung, Ichigo, Inoue, Chad, and Ishida were up and out the door in eerie sync, feet leading them off the school grounds and on the way to a nearby park which promised to be empty at the time of day.

The moment they arrived, they spun in the place to face the entrance, faces completely unsurprised when their eyes fell on the form of Hirako Shinji.

Figuring that there was no need to prolong the issue, Shinji took a single step forward, locked gazes with the orange haired teen in the middle of the formation and spoke, voice soft and void of its previous joviality,

"I'd like to speak Ichigo…alone."

On the last word, his reiatsu crashed down onto the teens, causing their eyes to widen as pressure, far more than most of the captains in Soul Society could bring to bear, slammed into them.

Narrowing his eyes as the sudden display of power caused him to rapidly re-evaluate the other's threat level, Ichigo glanced to his right at Chad, before doing the same to Inoue and Ishida on his left.

Getting the message, the three teens, though reluctant to leave, knew that Ichigo would still be able to hold out if things went sour.

They wasted no time in leaving, displaying their tremendous faith in their friend by actually turning their backs on the blond haired man currently flaring his potent reiatsu in wordless warning.

Eyes widening at the gall of the teens, Shinji allowed a pleased smirk to form upon his lips before he once more met Ichigo's eyes, only to still in surprise as he found himself now staring into orbs gone sky blue with power.

Having no desire to draw this out, Ichigo tilted his head and said,

"Well? What do you want?"

Abruptly cutting off his reiatsu output, Shinji rolled his shoulders as his centuries' earned control clamped down on his powerful spiritual energy.

Once he was sure that there was no longer any risk of inviting hollows to interrupt their little get together, Shinji refocused on Ichigo and responded, smirk widening in tandem with the widening of Ichigo's eyes as his words registered,

"I'd like to talk to you about that little hollow growing inside your soul."

Mastering his surprise, Ichigo felt both Tensa and Zangetsu go from the half asleep state Shinji's reiatsu had prodded them into all the way to full alertness at the blonde's words.

Seeing that no other reaction was forthcoming, Shinji huffed, mildly irritated at the boring response.

"C'mon kid. Ain't no need to make this more difficult than it has to be. Here, I'll even show you this, just to help ya along."

And at that, with absolutely no other warning, Shinji reached up and Ichigo's breath stalled as the blonde's hand flexed in a familiar way, and while he didn't claw down as Ichigo was wont to do, the results were still the same.

A concentration of hollow reiatsu pulsed in time with the white mask forming over the blonde's head, held back from resting on his face by the hand gripping the bottom of said mask.

Under Ichigo's incredulous gaze, a bone white mask which brought to mind Egyptian mummies formed in Shinji's hands.

Pleased at the slightly more entertaining reaction, Shinji proceeded to capitalize on the other's momentary loss of composure,

"You understand now, right? Me and you, we're kin, practically cousins in fact."

And here, Shinji abruptly killed the grin that had been ever present on his face, startling Ichigo at the sudden grimness in his features,

"If ya don't let me help you kid, it'll take ya over, and before you know it…well…"

Trailing off, Shinji's free hand twitched and Ichigo's gaze was drawn to the sword which materialized in the blonde's grip, leaving no doubt in his mind as to what the end of that statement entailed.

On the outside, Ichigo looked unruffled, unmoved even by Shinji's veiled threat.

Inside, however, was an entirely different story.

Zangetsu's ever potent reiatsu howled like a horde of demons baying for blood, his wrath manifesting as a hurricane of death and destruction.

Where Zangetsu was the raging of the storm, Tensa was the stillness of a blade that had already struck; the ringing silence left in the wake of a fatal and elegant silver flash. He had gone so far past rage he had emerged from the other side.

Ichigo was frozen simply because his human body was unable to display the depth of emotion currently raging through his inner world; for all intents and purposes, he was currently displaying a blue screen.

Shinji, taking Ichigo's unchanging expression as refusal, released a frustrated sigh before trying to make one final play,

"Look, brat, both Kisuke and ya old man agree that –"

Shinji, interrupted by the sudden narrowing of Ichigo's eyes, trailed off while Ichigo took a single step forward, gaze focused in a way it hadn't been even when Shinji was subtly threatening him.

Rather than speaking to the blond, Ichigo turned to the side, whipped out his phone, and with the masked Shinigami staring on blankly, he dialed home,

"Oyaji…yeah…some blond weirdo –" cue scowl from said weirdo "– telling me that…yeah…you and Urahara-san? Got it…yeah…okay."

Snapping his phone shut, Ichigo spun until he was facing the direction of the Urahara Shōten, glanced over his shoulder, tossed out a casual,

"You coming?"

And then flickered out of view as he slipped into a decently fast shunpō.

Biting off a curse, Shinji followed after the orange haired teen.


Ichigo sipped on the provided tea while around him, the tension mounted as the seconds ticked by.

To his left, Isshin cast occasional glances at his son, wondering at the ease of expression he was seeing, while a part of him trembled with fear as he recalled similar deceptively serene expressions once worn by another orange haired Kurosaki.

Seated across from the father-son duo, Kisuke traded looks with his childhood friend, before drawing down his ever present hat, casting his gaze into shadow. Having recently been reminded of his blond companion's penchant for never letting things go, he was starting to regret having a hand in the present situation. Still, if Yoruichi said she sensed Hollow reiatsu, then he would ensure that his student didn't come to harm from the darkness lurking within him.

Beside the Shopkeeper and his friend sat two blonds whom despite sharing the same hair color were as different as night and day. The taller of the two, Shinji, had long since moved passed his irritation with Ichigo and was now getting a kick out of watching his companion get wound up by the orange haired teen's continued nonchalance.

Said companion, however, was not so amused…

With a thunderous crack, the table all six people were seated at split into two, rent apart by the smallest of the gathered Shinigami.

"The fuck you wasting our time for, you stupid berry?!"

This was Sarugaki Hiyori.

Ichigo, who had honestly not been paying any attention whatsoever to the people around him – having been working on convincing Zangetsu that no, the expletive expletive expletive didn't need their expletive expletive ripped off and well, you understand. As for Tensa himself, the less said about that the better.

All in all, once he realized that he was no longer sitting at a table, he blinked up at the short female before him who was visibly and pointedly breathing through her nose, and inquired, tone bland and underwhelmed,

"Hmmm? Say something, Shorty?"

Silence descended with a speed that was just this side of unnatural. It wasn't so much the calm before the storm as it was the silence between the flash of light from a detonated bomb and the wave of searing concussive radiation filled force obliterating everything in its path.

When the response came, it was in the form of a foot to the face.

Shinji who had moved to prevent Hiyori's response – considering what he knew of her violent tendencies and the fact that Ichigo was still in his human body – blinked in confusion with his hands half way to said blonde hothead.

He wasn't the only one who was confused.

Both Kisuke and Yoruichi, who had taken to sparring with Ichigo whenever he was free, wondered at the speed he had just displayed while still in his human body. Kisuke's surprise didn't last however as he began to draw up theories to figure out what he was seeing.

As for Isshin, well, he was suffering something of a proud parent's blind spot…the one where a parent knows their kid is amazing so even when he does something way out there, they just shrug and go with it.

Ichigo, from his new position at the door stared down the feisty former lieutenant, posture loose but ever ready.

The minute his eyes picked out the subtle tensing of her right leg, the one still placed on the floor, he was off like a shot, a blond missile hot on his heels.

Shinji, having had decades to learn the ins and outs of Hiyori's nature, wasted no time in giving chase, closely followed by an amused Yoruichi, a cautious Kisuke, and a grim faced Isshin bringing up the rear.

In a flash, Ichigo materialized in the expansive desert landscape of Kisuke's training grounds already facing the entrance and the short blonde frowning thunderously at him.

"Hey, berry brat, show me your Inner Hollow."

Rolling his shoulders to limber up a bit, Ichigo tilted his head a fraction and replied,

"I refuse"

Much to his surprise, a triumphant smirk spread across Hiyori's face and with a rising sense of caution, Ichigo realized that she had been hoping for his refusal.

Her next words reinforced that conclusion,

"Funny, 'cause I wasn't asking."

And with those words, she exploded into action.

The floor beneath her feet cratered as she went from a standing start to full speed in zero point nothing seconds, her speed allowing her to launch a thunderous roundhouse kick on a course to pulp Ichigo's brains.

Having gotten a taste of Ichigo's capabilities even in a human body, she was significantly less reserved in her bid to beat some sense into him by means of applying her foot to his ass…repeatedly.

Her foot met no resistance, doing nothing beyond ruffling her target's hair as he ducked out of the way.

Not one to be deterred, she moved smoothly into a drop kick then kicked off the ground when that one also missed and punched, twisted, swiped, jabbed, and even tried a head butt.

All the while, Ichigo's focused gaze never left her, allowing him to just barely slide out of the path of her rage assisted blows.

Hiyori, much to the amusement of the spectators, was steadily getting more and more irritated as she chased Ichigo around the training grounds.

Things finally came to a head when Hiyori noticed, to her own consternation and disbelief, that rather than being worried or even afraid, Ichigo seemed to be using her as practice.

She snapped.

The sound of a sword being unsheathed rang out through the air, drowning out Shinji's startled cursing even as a bone mask began to form over his volatile companion's face, but it was much too late.

Hiyori sighted her target, Ichigo noticed the change, her Zanpakutō cut through the air, and his eyes narrowed.

The battling duo vanished under an explosion of dust, rock, and clashing reiatsu.

The spectators had barely moved when another explosion of reiatsu dispersed the dust obstructing their view.

Beside him, Shinji felt Isshin draw in a startled breath and the creaking of wood as Kisuke tightened his already splintering grip on his cane.

He couldn't really blame them.

A couple hundred yards from them, Ichigo's right hand was gripping Hiyori's blade, having stopped it a scant few inches from his neck.

A tiny stream of blood trickled down his wrist, staining his skin and eventually soaking his sleeve.

On the other end of the sword, Hiyori's fist shook slightly hinting at her failed attempts to dislodge Ichigo's grip.

Or maybe it had to do with the red accented white bone mask currently staring at her from a short distance away.

With significantly more caution than she had displayed ever since meeting Ichigo over an hour ago, Hiyori carefully felt the area around them, gauging her opponent's reiatsu to see how far gone Ichigo was.

What she found there only tightened her already grim frown.

Impossible, her mind raged, his reiatsu…it hasn't changed at all!

Indeed, though the visual evidence was before them all, their reiatsu senses told a different story – that of a normal human teenager broadcasting a regular, if particularly potent, flavor of Shinigami power.

Completely ignorant of the incredulity coloring the thoughts of the blonde haired demon before him, Ichigo was facing a problem of his own.

Even though he had been practicing fighting through the nigh overpowering bloodlust that threatened to swamp him whenever he donned his mask, the fact of the matter was that it had always been inside his Inner World, where his connection to and command of his reiatsu was always the best it could be.

Now, he was in his human body, and regardless of the ease with which he used reiatsu in said body, it was still asking a little too much a little too fast to have his body manage hollow reiatsu.

He was on a timer, and Zangetsu's strained voice let him know it,

"Thirty seconds partner…"

He had to make this count.

Ignoring the sting from his palm, he flicked his wrist, sending the blade in his grasp away. In the same motion, he grasped her hand where she held her sword, drew her in, and then rammed his knee straight into her center mass.

Surprised at the sudden increase in Ichigo's strength and speed, Hiyori took the knee to the stomach while already beginning her retaliation.

She twisted away from Ichigo's descending elbow and leveraging his grip on her hand, lashed out in an overhead kick.

Ichigo tossed her hand aside, causing her kick to brush past his ear.

Taking that as their signal, the duo erupted into a blazing fast exchange of blows, knife-edge chops, kicks, jabs, sword swipes and thrusts.

Through it all, Ichigo fought to ignore the steadily worsening feeling of having lava flow through his veins as his use of Zangetsu's power pushed his relatively frail human body beyond the limits of his endurance.

Still, he was Kurosaki Ichigo and his will was not a thing to be underestimated.

He ignored the leaden feeling in his limbs, the burning pain originating from his chest, and the strained voice that bit out,

"Twenty seconds"

He continued to trade blows with Hiyori, though at a disadvantage now that she had gotten over her surprise.

He paid no heed to the wounds beginning to pile up on his form except to shake the blood from his eyes.

Unfortunately, with just under ten seconds left, the situation changed.

Hiyori, perhaps sensing Ichigo's worsening state, launched a sudden blitzkrieg of attacks at him, culminating in a double stomp connecting with his chest, right at the point under most strain from his Hollow reiatsu.

Ichigo stumbled as his eyes widened from choked off pain even as he frantically tried to recover before it was too late.

Hiyori smirked as her eyes shone with triumph just as she slid in to deliver the blow to end their battle.

Zangetsu swore as his control on the power he was feeding Ichigo slipped momentarily, causing a fracture to run across Ichigo's hollow mask.

Tensa grunted as Zangetsu's loss of control forced him to shunt more of his energy into keeping Ichigo's reiatsu signature stable and unaffected.

Ichigo, knowing that he had a fraction of a second to act, dumped all of his energy into one shunpō, launching himself back and away from Hiyori's descending sword so fast that he felt the muscles of his leg tear and his bones creak from the strain.

He didn't get away unscathed.

See the state of his son, Isshin managed to swallow down the furious hiss trying to make its way passed his lips though he couldn't stop popping of his knuckles as his hands tightened into pale fists.

Ichigo panted a few feet away from a smug Hiyori as his shirt, already tattered and torn from the battle so far, finally gave up the battle owing to the long gash going from his right thigh to his left shoulder.

Below him, Ichigo's blood was already forming a puddle at his feet even though he had been standing for less than three seconds so far.

However, there was no trace of pain or even defeat in his eyes or posture as he stared back at the still masked blonde in front of him, feeling pieces of his mask crumble away into spirit particles before dissipating altogether.

He was completely done with this.

Any reservation that he might have once had – understanding well that although their delivery left much to be desired, their intentions were to help him – vanished along with his patience.

He was tired of having to deal with someone who was trying to tell him how the bond with his two soul brothers was meant to work.

In the depths of their soul, Zangetsu and Tensa stilled as they felt their partner's resolution firm and then set into something more unyielding than diamond.

They knew that he was finally going to tell it as it was to the two masked nuisances.

Turning his attention inwards, Ichigo spoke,

"Tensa, I need you to –"

A wave of frustration – hurriedly stifled even as it formed – from Zangetsu had Ichigo pausing for just a moment before understanding dawned on him.

During their practice sessions, whenever he felt himself succumbing to his Hollow mask, he would seek Tensa's help in subduing the wildly surging Hollow reiatsu flowing through their Inner World.

He knew that Zangetsu hated the fact that Ichigo was unable to fully sync with his powers the way he seamlessly did so with Tensa, and added to his lingering – though significantly diminished – fears of rejection, it led to him feeling like he would never attain the closeness that Ichigo shared with the other occupant of their soul.

Ichigo was having none of that.

Going off the flash of enlightenment that he had just gotten in the midst of battle, Ichigo continued,

"– need you to stop trying to maintain my reiatsu flow –"

Ignoring the surprise his words caused, and knowing that the trust they all shared would see both Tensa and Zangetsu doing as he asked without question, he finished,

"– and come join Zangetsu and I."

Feeling confusion, then dawning understanding from Tensa, and wary curiosity from Zangetsu, Ichigo refocused on the outside world, glad that no time had passed since he began communicating inside their soul.

Rolling his shoulders, straightening his back, and taking a deep breath in preparation for what was going to happen next, Ichigo closed his eyes and felt a small smile growing behind his mask.

When it began, it started as a trickle … which then became a tsunami.

No one knew what hit them.

Ichigo's reiatsu, which had not changed in feel even with the addition of his mask, underwent a very sudden and unbelievable transformation.

A curtain of almost tangible hunger hate despair rage bloodlust death death death descended upon the entire training grounds, causing the others present to tense.

The situation wasn't helped any when a demented cackle echoed from the air all around them, bouncing from rock to boulder to wall to floor until it seemed like they were all surrounded by an army of raving psychopaths.

Then just as it seemed like Ichigo's reiatsu was really about to go full Hollow, his signature morphed again and dozens of feet away, Kisuke felt his eyes widen and his jaw drop a fraction as his senses picked up on the feeling of Ichigo's reiatsu.

Unlike his masked acquaintances who came across as having Shinigami reiatsu tainted with flavorings of Hollow reiatsu, Ichigo had two distinct signatures, both Shinigami and Hollow standing out as though coming from two separate beings.

No, Kisuke thought to himself, that's not quite right.

Ichigo had three reiatsu signatures, and before his focused gaze, the three flows of power manifested themselves as coronas of energy swirling around Ichigo.

Black reiatsu outlined by a barely there red glow sang through the air around him, curling and twisting upon itself with something that at once looked like the grace of a dancer and the subtle motions of a panther about to pounce.

Red reiatsu outlined by a solid black tinge roared around Ichigo, shredding the ground he stood upon and choking the very air around him, leaving the area about him looking like a hurricane of claws and fangs had swept through it.

Together, the two reiatsu types rose above the teen, twining and clashing against each other chaotically.

In the center of the mess, reaching towards the skies like a tower of light and power, Ichigo's own signature sky blue reiatsu provided a perfect meeting point for the two raging sources of power around him.

And with his father, his mentors, and his aggressors looking on, the three pillars of energy began to twist and braid closer together until with a final surge, they latched onto each other, leaving the result looking like a double helix made up of black and red ribbons twined around a blue-white rod reaching for the skies.

Once the storms of power died down, Ichigo was revealed.

Nothing much had visibly changed with him except for the fact that he now held a katana in a deceptively soft grip and the red highlights which had previously decorated his mask had now gained thick black outlines, further increasing their visibility against the white background.

Internally, however, the changes were staggering.

The burning in his veins, which had been nearly debilitating earlier, had now been soothed by Tensa's cool and dark reiatsu.

Where before he had been struggling to keep from succumbing to the madness immanent in his Hollow reiatsu, now he felt Tensa's level-headedness balancing out Zangetsu's bloodlust; allowing him to breathe a sigh of relief, fully in possession of all his faculties for the first time since he had put on the mask.

For his part, Zangetsu, who had always borne the greater part of the sanity warping effects of his own power, felt as that same berserker-rage was tempered by Tensa's cool calculating battle-lust. He was struck speechless as a clarity of thought he had never known descended upon him, silencing the once ever present howls for blood and battle that had been his companions since his waking moment.

Tensa, whose bond with Zangetsu was a little more substantial than that between Ichigo and his pale doppelganger, felt the connection with his fellow spirit deepen and then set into permanence. Via that now fixed bond, he felt his connection with Ichigo stretching down along it, reaching out for Zangetsu, and moments before the sensation reached its destination, he drew the attentions of the other two to what was happening.

Ichigo, Zangetsu, and Tensa all held a collective breath as with a clicking sound – rather more felt than heard – their trinity was finally truly established.

They exhaled as one, and when next Ichigo drew breath, so too did Tensa and Zangetsu.

Rolling his shoulders one final time, Ichigo opened eyes he hadn't been aware of closing, and spoke in a musing sort of tone,

"I guess I should be thanking you; it would have taken us far longer to get here otherwise."

With that cryptic statement delivered in Ichigo's normal voice – no hollow undertones, Ichigo locked gazes with Hiyori and she hardly had the time to even take in the wine red orbs now staring out of the mask across from her, before said eyes were suddenly looking at her from less than a foot away.

Though surprised, she wasn't to be underestimated; her hand was already swinging up, sword moving to intercept Ichigo's own thrust blade.

Steel clashed with steel and her blow, backed up by over a century's worth of a lieutenant's honed hollow reinforced strength, halted.

Ichigo's arm was as steady as his gaze.

Hiyori couldn't fight the widening of her eyes at the meteoritic rise in strength she was being given a taste of.

With a deft twist, Ichigo opened up her guard and allowing no pause between one movement and the next, slapped his free hand smack dab into the center of her chest, blithely ignoring the proximity of said hands to a certain part of her body, and spoke one word,

"Cero"

Things only got worse from there.


Just under an hour later, Hiyori gulped down dust speckled air as Ichigo finally deigned to remove his knee from where it had been planted into her back, allowing her to get her face out of the ground where he had held it.

The final fragment of her mask shattered into oblivion, her limit far since reached and only surpassed by her sheer bull-headed determination to not lose to a brat who had been doing this Shinigami thing for about the same amount of time it typically took her captain to do his paperwork.

Through various rips and tears in her track outfit, skin which was purpled in some places and bleeding sluggishly in others was revealed.

One of her hair bands had snapped, leaving her with a lopsided hairstyle, which was further worsened by the patch like dye job it had received from a head wound.

Ichigo, who had stumbled backwards as he fought to retain his footing, was not faring that much better.

One of his eyes was already swollen shut and his jaw kept giving off a funny clicking sound whenever he moved it.

His torso was littered with bruises and cuts, the worst of which was one running from just under his left arm to the middle of his chest.

His back was a patchwork of similar injuries.

With a weary gesture, he dismissed his sword and mask, allowing himself to collapse backwards into the arms of the person he had sensed behind him.

Isshin fought warring emotions of pride, concern, and fury as he slowly lowered his son into a seated position, taking care not to further aggravate his injuries.

Ichigo, seeing the turmoil in his father's eyes, sighed to himself at getting so carried away in the fight earlier and forgetting that for all his emotional constipation, his dad really cared about him.

Wordlessly querying an already half-asleep Zangetsu, he received an irritated grumble before a surge of paradoxically revitalizing hollow reiatsu swept through him, Tensa lending his focus to Zangetsu who was suffering the equivalent of a spiritual concussion paired with bone deep fatigue.

Isshin startled inhale let Ichigo know that they were successful in their bid to mitigate his injuries.

Opening his eyes – before he even got a look at the rest of himself – let him know that his injuries were healing as the previous swelling keeping one of his eyes shut was nowhere to be seen.

Now, rather than looking like someone who had experienced a close shave with a particularly vicious wood chipper, he merely looked like he had come out of fight with a bunch of knife-wielding Yakuza.

Beside the father son duo, Kisuke paused momentarily, his green reiatsu clad hands halting inches from Ichigo's side, before he resumed his motion.

Ichigo relaxed further into Isshin's side as Kisuke set about tending to the now much less grievous wound in his side.

Footsteps approaching from behind the trio announced the arrival of the other people present in the training grounds.

Ichigo didn't need to look to know who let loose the salvo of furious curses and swear words which erupted from beside him.

Shinji's irritated retorts just served to confirm his guess.

After finally patching up the worst of his partner's injuries, leaving the more in-depth healing to their resident kidō expert, Shinji turned to face the Kurosaki pair and the blond shopkeeper and found himself stilling as Isshin fixed him with a look.

In that moment, under the gaze of a very pissed off father, Shinji found that he had to remind himself that Isshin was both younger than him and not in possession of his Shinigami powers.

He didn't even bother trying to brush off the glint in Kisuke's eyes or the feline grin spreading across Yoruichi's face – braver men than him had tried and all of them, to the man, were all buried in unmarked graves.

He realized, in that moment, that perhaps he and all his comrades should have reconsidered stonewalling the shopkeeper and his ilk regardless of how much they were hurting after their escape from Soul Society.

For Shinji knew without a doubt that while the bond forged between the former captains was one of unity against a shared foe, the teen currently staring back at him from calm brown eyes had already been claimed by Urahara Kisuke as his student, not to mention the fact that this was Isshin's son.

Once upon a time, and in another century, that wouldn't have counted for much, but having gotten the chance to observe the interactions between Ichigo and both former members of the Onmitsukidō, Shinji was under no delusion as to which way the cards would fall if he kept on stubbornly pushing the matter.

Sighing at the wry grin Kisuke sent his way, the other blond having read something in the lines of his face, Shinji tipped a look at the orange haired teen who was sitting up now that things seemed to be happening.

"Tch, I guess that could have gone better. One more time…Yo, the name's Shinji, Hirako Shinji, nice to meetcha."

To that, Ichigo smirked, accepting the offer of a fresh start.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Not.


Fujibayashi Taki was in his twenties with a full head of silver white hair. In his younger years, it had served as a cause for constant teasing; children, in their careless ways, could often times be so cruel.

Still, he had never once been ashamed of it, given that it was the only part of his father he still had with him. And even though it sometimes made his mother smile softly with something that tasted like bittersweet sorrow, he cherished his unusual coloring.

Now, he was staring down at that head of unique hair where it rested at his feet, and about a dozen yards away from his other feet.

He opened his mouth to scream.

He never had the chance to make a sound.

Callously wiping his mouth on his white sleeve, the scarred brown skinned giant turned his gaze down and to his right, towards his sable haired companion.

"Hey, Ulquiorra, these humans don't taste like anything at all,"

Yammy Llargo grumbled somewhat petulantly.

Dead green eyes glanced at him, before their owner's monotone voice slid into the silence like a blade, at once rigidly cool and viciously cutting,

"Why would you expect such trash to have taste? They barely have enough energy to qualify as souls."

Smirking at the response given, Yammy made to turn back to the macabre scene before him, missing the slightly widened eyes of the smaller male beside him.

He only had enough time to take in the purple on black fist hurtling towards his face before he was lunched away, vision whitening out temporarily as the force of the blow overloaded his pain receptors.

With a roar of rage, Yammy righted himself in mid-air, his furious gaze flitting from place to place in search of the soon-to-be-lunch who punched him in the face.

Back on the ground, Ulquiorra Cifer panned his gaze from the tall black haired dark skinned giant standing in a boxer's stance before him, to the orange haired buxom girl waiting a few feet behind said teen with her hands in a deceptively relaxed position by her sides.

Even knowing that the bald haired hollow was currently pissed at him, Chad still kept his eyes focused on the still silent man before him, trusting his recently honed reiatsu senses and not letting his attention stray from the green eyed man.

Behind him, Inoue waited with well-hidden tension for back up to arrive because she knew that while she and Chad could probably take on the bigger of the two enemies before them, the smaller one would kill them so fast they wouldn't even know they were dead.

Grunting to himself in disgust, Yammy touched down beside his partner with a query,

"Say, is that the one then?"

In lieu of a response, green eyes just slid to the side until Ulquiorra was giving Yammy a look.

Fighting the urge to take a step back and break out into nervous twitching, Yammy swallowed and hurriedly racked his brain for the description of their target.

Exclaiming in realization – and not a little relief, he swung his meaty fist at Chad, gun-barrel like finger extended,

"You, brat, you got a friend with orange hair?!"

Mouth firming and eyes narrowing at the confirmation that the duo were after his best friend, Chad steeled his resolve into steel and prepared for the fight of his life.

Yammy, unusually perceptive – or more likely just looking for an excuse for payback – snorted at Chad's steely expression before speaking once more,

"It doesn't matter anyway. After I kill you we'll just move on to others until we find him…Keh, like hunting down a rat…You just gotta kill 'em ALL!"

Ending his words with a roar, Yammy lunged for Chad, murder in his eyes and madness in his toothed grin.

Chad met him like he had learned to.

Weaving past the thundering punch sent towards his head, he launched a salvo of machine gun punches into his opponent's stomach, each blow backed by his not inconsiderable strength.

Yammy, for his part, was unpleasantly surprised at the amount of damage a mere human could dish out.

Once more finding himself sailing through the air, but this time with considerably more damage than just a bruised face, Yammy had only one thought,

Oh Hell No


Ichigo had sprung to his feet the instant he felt his friend's energy spike in preparation for a fight.

He ignored the painful twinge his lower back gave – if it wanted his attention, it'd have to get in line behind his throbbing shoulder and bruised ribs – and flung his senses towards the fight which was beginning to escalate from what he could feel.

Behind him, Kisuke slanted a look at Yoruichi, trusting the centuries of camaraderie to convey what he wasn't saying.

Smirking at him to show she had gotten the message, she stretched her body out to loosen up for what she knew was about to come.

Pulling his hat down to shade his eyes and blatantly ignoring Shinji's focused stare, Kisuke spoke up in a vaguely chiding tone, drawing Ichigo's attention from monitoring Chad and Inoue,

"Now, now, Ichigo-kun, you're not in any shape to be taking on opponents with that kind of reiatsu."

Clenching his fists at the irrefutable truth in that statement, Ichigo swallowed down whatever he was going to say and waited, knowing his teacher well enough by now to know he had something up his sleeve.

He was correct. And though he had been expecting something, he was nowhere near prepared for Kisuke's next words,

"Yoruichi and I, though, have been getting bored recently all cooped up inside and all. It would be such a shame to miss this chance to get out and paint the town the red."

The way Kisuke's tone changed as he ended that's statement lent a new interpretation to the way his hat cast his gaze into shadows.

Ichigo was reminded in that moment that though he had taken to throwing even his Bankai at the man for the past few weeks, their bouts had never once ended with him not on his back with Benihime being reluctantly pulled away from his throat.

Still, for all that he was getting one of those rare glimpses into his teacher's nature – thus explaining how his Zanpakutō could be what it was – Ichigo was perceptive enough to understand what was really being offered.

And so, he scowled back at the blond haired shopkeeper while making sure the gratitude and understanding in his eyes were as genuine and obvious as could be,

"Then I'll just have to make sure the next time we fight, you guys get a real workout."

Offering an amused smirk to his student, Kisuke spun on his heels, Yoruichi not even a step behind him, before making his way towards the ladder leading out of the training grounds.

Behind him, Ichigo offered a nod to Shinji who returned it – wordlessly promising to pick this up at a later more convenient time.

Turning to his dad, he said,

"Come on Old man, Karin and Yuzu should be finishing their club activities in a bit."


Inoue suppressed her flinch as the sound of bone breaking cut through the cacophony of grunts and pulverized rock.

Seeing a shape go sailing out of the cloud of dust before her, she transformed that aborted flinch into a sigh of relief.

Chad wasted no time in also exiting from the cover of disturbed sand and dust, though in his case, it was under his own power.

With a thunderous ground shaking boom, Yammy landed right next to his green eyed companion before his residual momentum had him carving out a trench until finally coming to rest a few feet away.

Contrary to Ulquiorra's expectation, Yammy was completely silent, staring straight ahead at the few fluffy clouds floating in the otherwise clear blue skies, looking almost serene.

Yammy couldn't have known that he was in a situation once experienced by another Hollow that had dismissed Chad on account of his humanity.

And much like that hollow of cursed memory, he snapped.

With a roar, his reiatsu, which had been boiling within him ever since Chad's first punch, exploded out from him in a tidal wave of incoherent rage rage rage.

His left arm snapped into place as his potent reiatsu forced it to heal from its broken state.

Propelled by the force of his spiritual power, he went from horizontal to vertical without even moving a muscle.

He reached for the sword hanging at his waist, locked gazes with Chad, inhaled a barrel's worth of air, and then roared out the beginnings of a command.

Pause.

The events which transpired next, need to be broken down frame by frame.

Yammy's roar, fueled by rage so absolute that he was tasting red to say nothing of seeing it, stripped the leaves from their branches, the barks from the trees, and even shredded the ground immediately in front of him.

The first part of his words, borne along by the powerful shout like leaves in gale, reached Chad and Inoue in a fraction of a second,

"Buchikirero…"

A few feet in front and to the side of him, Ulquiorra's eyes widened slightly – the equivalent of gaping and pointing in shock for anyone else – as he began to turn towards Chad and Inoue, pale hand already curling around the green and black hilt of his sword.

Inoue, who hadn't dropped her guard, brought up one of her now signature golden domes, shielding both herself and Chad from the reiatsu shockwave a scant second before it hit.

Ulquiorra tensed, flicked a glance towards his right and then fast as lightning but far more deadly, he swung.

Yammy's mouth began to morph around the next set of words, preparing to finally unleash all his power,

"...Ir – ahrk!"

A shrill piercing sound, like the cry of a bird of prey, tore through the air, belatedly announcing the presence of a newcomer to the battlefield.

The ground around Yammy's feet sunk in before erupting in a shower of pulverized rock and sand.

His eyes rolled up into the back of his head, the storm of reiatsu originating from him went from 60 to 0 in zero seconds flat.

He swayed once, and then collapsed backwards, blood beginning to leak out from his eyes, mouth, nose, and ears.

In the air above his now supine form, the figure of an orange and black clad woman materialized like smoke, lightning reiatsu occasionally sparking off of her four limbs.

Behind her, Ulquiorra's sword clashed with the black blade of an already released Benihime, and before he could react, a mountain of force was transmitted along his sword until he found himself airborne, two fingers broken, and momentarily dazed.

However, his impressive high speed regeneration kicked in in short order and his injuries faded.

He blinked once, opening his eyes to find a blond haired man beaming at him from inches away with a smile that would have been called cheery if not for the abundance of teeth on display and the sword already swinging for his neck.

Gaze narrowing a tad, he flicked the fingers of his right hand towards the green clad man, observing the way his smile became strained just before the air between them detonated with a flash of black on green reiatsu.

Leveraging the force of the point black Cero, Ulquiorra flickered away from Kisuke in a flit of Sonido, opening up some breathing room and allowing him to observe the new arrivals.

Touching down next to his orange clad friend, none the worse for wear despite receiving the Fourth Espada's attack to the face, Kisuke waited for a response.

Acid green eyes observed from the four people standing before their owner, Ulquiorra already having been briefed on their identities.

He spared a moment to study Yammy's still form, tasting the reiatsu around him to confirm what his eyes were telling him.

Refraining from visibly expressing his irritation at the deviation from their mission, he sent one last glance to those gathered there, promising to payback their interference later, before he nonchalantly turned his back on them, ripped open a hole in the fabric of space and strolled through, disappearing from view.

Back in the now devastated park, Kisuke allowed himself to relax, knowing that for now, the threat was over.

Turning to the two teens behind him, he beamed at them and completely ignoring their confused questions about what had just happened, began to move them along, determined to get them back to his store where he knew that his student would be waiting.

Behind him, seeing that Kisuke had the teens well in hand, Yoruichi wasted no time in hauling Yammy's cooling corpse out of the area, hurrying to get him back to Kisuke's lab before he decayed into reishi particles now that there was no reiatsu keeping him together.

They had an autopsy to perform.


Oh My God…

As in, Good Lord, what is this even? Like, what is my life even?

This chapter…Ugh…Just UGHHHH

Anyway, Happy New Year.


Prince Mikhail here, and as always, thanks for reading