Now, my knowledge of Bleach is INCREDIBLY limited, which is one of the reasons this idea died really quickly. What little i have written was helped along by a certain Assassin friend of mine (you know who you are). Plus I do so love screwing with teh PTB's plans.

Disclaimer: I own about as much as I did about minutes ago. Meaning absolutely freaking nothing.

The first time Buffy Summers met a shinigami, it was completely by accident.

The recently dead Slayer was standing next to her body as the Master of Aurelious, after successfully completing the prophecy, happily dug his way out of his former prison. She tugged at the chain that connected her to her body thoughtfully.

"Well," she commented. "If this is death, then I'd say I pretty much got screwed over."

"You're not entirely dead yet," Buffy turned to face the newest player in the game. He was tall, with brown hair and hazel eyes staring at her from behind square rimmed glasses, a long white jacket of what seemed to be some sort of black gi, sandals on his feet and a long katana by his side. "The Chain of Destiny still holds you to your body. Depending one what happens next, I will send you to the Soul Society. Heaven, I believe most human culture call it."

"Soul Society?" Buffy asked, narrowing her eyes. She was so fixated on him she didn't notice Xander and Angel enter. "Who ARE you?"

"Sosuke Aizen," he answered. "5th Division Captain. Shinigami, or Death God."

"So... the Grim Reaper?" She said flippantly. "I thought you'd be skinnier," Aizen gave her a smile that somewhat creeped her out.

"I suppose you could call me that," he said. "It is my responsibility to see souls onto their final reward, whatever that may be. Though it would seem that it is not yet your time to go," he nodded passed her to wear Xander was trying to get angel to help with CPR. Buffy fumed when the vampire said he couldn't breathe, and thus couldn't help.

"What kind of bullshit is that?" she demanded. "Hey! You're talking, that means you have air going through your vocal cords, even I know that! He is so going to get it," Aizen chuckled. What an interesting girl, and her spirit power... yes, she could be a promising recruit, later in the game.

"It seems your battles in life are not done yet, Slayer," Aizen said. Buffy looked at him for a moment before giving him a wry smile.

"Right, Grim Reaper," he said. "Of course you know. So... I guess I'll see you around?"

"Oh, most assuredly," he nodded as her chain tightened, pulling her spirit back into her body.

Buffy's eyes opened as she began breathing. "Xander," she whispered. "thanks."

"Hey, no prob," the boy said. Angel chose this moment to step forward...

...Only to receive a kick in the shins.

"No breath my ass," she glared at him as Xander helped her up.

"How did..."

"Lo..." Buff looked over to see Aizen still standing there. Wait, see? How...

Aizen noticed she could still see him and chuckled before leaving. Yes, this girl was definitely someone to keep an eye on in the future.

Since her near death at the hands of the Master, Buffy discovered she could now see things far beyond the regular creepy crawlies that inhabited Sunnydale. There was a different kind of monster.

A monster that the Slayer just isn't equipped to fight.

A spiritual monster.

Thankfully, it seemed Eyezeen (Azan? Whatever) wasn't the only 'Grim Reaper' in the area. She'd seen several around, usually fighting big bad ghosts or sending innocent shades to their final rest. She knew, after miserably failing the first time and escaping (barely) to tell the tale that she couldn't fight these... creatures, so she settled with trying to lessen collateral damage, keeping those that couldn't see out of danger and herding innocent spirits away from the big bad thingios which, apparently, liked to snack on (she'd watched on, helpless, as this had happened. She'd vowed it wouldn't happen again. Not on her watch).

This went on for two years. She and Angel had never really recovered from his apparent giving up on her, while she and Xander had started getting closer.

And then Buffy discovered she wasn't anything even remotely resembling a regular Slayer.

Just my luck, Buffy thought as she looked up at the... thing. It was massive, topping 12 feet easily with four tentacle-like appendages with a massive claw on each one and a snake like tail running out the back. It's eye glared down at her through it's mask as she looked the the hole in it's chest, wishing that whatever had done this had killed the damn thing.

In other words big, ugly...

...And Untouchable. To her at least. And wouldn't you know it, not a Reaper in site. And here's me trapped in an alley with tall dark and gruesome and my only weapon is the sword I used to send Dru to hell with, she thought, tightening her grip on said blade. She wasn't sure why she carried the damn thing. It just felt more comfortable in her hands then any other weapon.

"Alright, ugly," she said, shifting her weight, ready to launch herself at the thing. "Let's get this over with," as she charged, swinging her blade, her thoughts turned to Xander. They'd gotten really close, closer than she'd thought they could ever have gotten. Make out sessions with a warm body were much more fun.

And his hands...

And she was never going to see him again. She was going to die, probably get eaten.

And there was nothing she could do.

I'm sorry, Xander.

She never noticed the faint blue glow of her sword. She did, however, notice that it left quite a nice clean cut through the creature.

Wait, back up there...

She looked at her still glowing sword, feeling a slight difference. As if it were... a part of her. Like an extension of her arm. Yeah, sure, during training Giles always said a true master felt like this, but... she wondered if this was what he meant. It was hard to tell where she ended and...

A loud roar broke her focus as the creature swiped at her.

Right. Slay now. Figure out what the hell's going on later.

She blocked an incoming claw, rolling back as another approached her, ramming her sword in just below here the blade began. The creature roared in pain...

And then split right down the middle. Buffy blinked as it faded away, seeing a familiar figure behind it.

"Wait, you're... Eyezeen!" The bespectacled chuckled, pushing his glasses up his face.

"Aizen," he corrected, looking a the blade in her hand as the glow faded. Not a zanpakuto, like he'd suspected at first. Still... "Charging your spiritual power into that sword... a good idea," she blinked up at him. "You don't even know what you did, did you?"

"Kicked ass?" He really did like that spirit of hers. It would be a shame to break it.

"You were channeling the power from your own soul into that sword," he explained. "Without any training, going only on instinct," of course, he's been pushing her to this point over the past 2 years. He just hadn't expected it to be so soon. Another year at least. Extraordinary. "And to injure a Hollow... most impressive."


"Yes," he nodded. "Hollow. A human spirit that has fallen, corrupted by it's own memories or another Hollow. They have no emotions other than hunger and hatred."

"So a spiritual vampire?" She asked. Aizen nodded. An apt explanation. "The other half of your job?"

"Yes," Aizne confirmed what she'd guessed. So, sending souls on and killing those that got left behind. Sounded almost Slayerish.

"So, what now?" She asked.

"Given the amount of Hollow activity around Hellmouths," Aizen began, turning away. "I would suggest practicing with that skill of yours. You keep this up... you might get recruited."

"Not for a few more years yet, thanks," Aizen chuckled as he vanished in a blur. Buffy shook her head as she hid the sword under her jacket.

Why can I never do anything the normal way?

When they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, they really had no idea how right they had it, Buffy thought, as she dangled over the hole below her in what she was sure was her own mind.

Looking at the desert/Sunnydale scene with the gaping hole where the high school/Hellmouth should be, she really needed to have her head shrunk, cause she had issues.

Not the least of these was the insane Slayer Spirit that wanted to kill her.

Confused? So was Buffy. Let's review.

Things had started simple enough: the gang, including Xander was going to college. Xander was surprised too, but somehow he'd managed to scrape through enough for some architecture and building classes, so he was right along with Buffy and Willow when they met Clean Cut Cornbread Man, aka Riley Finn, secretly a member of a clandestine government agency that studied demons for a way to stop them.

Someone forgot to put limits on that as the groups leader. Dr Maggie Walsh, who was also Buffy's Psych teacher, tried to build a Frankenstein-style monster out of machine, human and demon parts which ended up being too powerful for either group to control.

Until they found The Ritual.

It was dangerous, the true limits of what it could do unknown. Basically, though, it should allow them to combine into one being, capable of defeating ADAM. And it was their last chance. So they gave it a shot.

And it worked. A little TOO well. Buffy still wasn't entirely sure what that sword that finally sliced through ADAM's power core was, or where it came from or why she'd heard a voice afterwards.

'Close, my girl. So very close. We'll be seeing each other soon, I think.'

That should have been the end of it. Apparently the Slayer Essence didn't like being woken up like that. It attacked each of them in there dreams, until only Buffy stood alone, in some warped mindscape she didn't entirely understand. And the Slayer, pure spirit that it was, was too much for a person used to facing physical threats (even fighting the Horrors was usually a physical battle, just requiring a spiritual charge) had defeated her, claiming that it had been because Buffy had weakened herself by relying on others.

"The only reason..." Buffy choked out. "You won... is because it's a spirit battle, one I'm not used to fighting. That... and your BO is distracting. Deoderant. Use it, bitch," the Essence snarled and dropped Buffy into the hole, turning away. IT was the Slayer again. IT would defend the earth as it was meant to. Alone.

Buffy looked up as the light that was the top of the hole shrank, closing her eyes. "I really need to learn to keep my mouth shut."

'But you had a point, my dear Slayer,' Buffy opened her eyes, noticing the woman floating above her.

She was slight, with a dress that seemed like it was made of silk, nearly translucent. Her hair was coloured streaks of dark brown and golden blonde, with eyes that shimmered between hazel and green. Her skin was tanned, not entirely pale, but seemed to glow with some inner light.

"Who are you?" The woman smiled at her.

'I am *********,' Buffy blinked a couple of times in confusion.

"Wanna try repeating that?"

'No, you're not ready to unleash that power quite yet,' the woman said with a shake of her head. 'Still, I think you're ready for something more than what you have.'

"Huh?" Buffy asked. The woman smiled, pulling closer, taking Buffy's hand. There was a strange sense of belonging, like this woman should be by her side, always. She wasn't sure, but it almost felt...

'Familiar?' She asked. Buffy's confusion grew. How...? 'We are one, Slayer. One and the same. Nothing can ever change that. The Essence believes a Slayer fights alone. She is wrong. We have ever been at your sides, the True Weapons of your very Soul. You wielded me, earlier, with your friends,' Buffy's eyes went wide in realisation. She was... 'It awakened me as it did her. I waited, hoping, watching... and now it is time,' with a flick of her arm, she spun Buffy one hundred and eighty degrees until the Slayer came face to face with a simple sword. It looked like the sword she had wielded against Drusilla and Acathla, but she knew, unlike that one. This was hers.

And it was in two places at once. That was odd.

'Go ahead, Buffy. We need to show that old ghoul what we are capable of,' Buffy nodded, reaching for the sword...

The Essence stopped, looking at the hole as it was filled with a golden glow. It growled angrily. What the hell was that damn weakling do...

The glow exploded, sending dust and power out in shock waves that forced the essence to cover it face. It annoyance turned to shock, however, when it uncovered it's eyes and saw Buffy standing at the edge of the hole with a new weapon, glowing with pure spiritual power. The Essence snarled. Where had THAT come from?

"You know," Buffy said conversationally. "It occurs to me we got off on the wrong foot," the Essence charged, Buffy meeting it half way with a blade through it's shoulder. "This is my body and you? You're a hitch-hiker that pays rent so I don't kick you the fuck out," the Essence growled. Buffy headbutted it into silence. "Shut up," she snarled. "Now here's the deal. We work together or I throw YOU down that God damned hole. 'Cause you know..." she moved the blade of her sword slightly, causing the essence to grunt in pain. "With the three of us, it's a little crowded in here, wouldn't you say," the Essence growled.


Buffy's eyes fluttered open looking around as her friend slowly crawled back into waking. "Well, that was..." she stopped, feeling out her mind until she touched across a familiar intelligence which warmly 'smiled' back. "Interesting."