Hello FanFiction! This is pain17ification continuing Seitoshi.
Please note: pain17ification doesn't own anything except for the story idea
Chapter 5: Being Human Pt. 2
A blonde man with whisker marked cheeks hummed a tuneless song as he organized the files in his new office at Karakura High School. It was close to the school's scheduled lunch break and he was anticipating a certain teen's arrival.
He stopped his movements when he heard the lunch bell and sat down in his chair to wait. Not even two minutes later, an orange haired teen and a petite black haired teen stepped into his office. He smirked as he waved to the two free seats, which they silently took.
"So, I assume you have questions?" asked the blonde.
"Of course I do!" yelled back the orangette. "Why are you two here at my school?! Why can people see you now?! Just what the hell is going on?!"
"In that order; we're here to keep an eye on you and because we needed a cover, people can see us now because we're wearing gigai, and there's an issue that concerns the three of us."
"Huh?" was the eloquent reply.
Naruto and Rukia sighed in tandem before the woman picked up the conversation. "Look Ichigo, since Naruto gave you most of his power, he's been weakened considerably. You still retain the power he gave you, which means that we need your help in protecting this city."
The response was an immediate crossing of the hands with a yell of, "No way!"
"So, you're just gonna let people get devoured by Hollows when you clearly have power to stop them?" asked Naruto with narrowed eyes. "And here I thought you were actually worth something."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" retorted Ichigo with a frown.
"What I mean is that I can't believe I wasted my time giving my power to someone so selfish and cowardly. You have power – even before I poured my own into your soul – and yet you refuse to help others with your gift." Naruto then stood up and strode over until he stood in front of a still seated Ichigo, his tall physique towering over the teen. "Look at it this way then; this is your chance to repay me for saving your life and giving you the power to save the lives of your family."
"Don't you dare bring them into this!" roared Ichigo as he stood up to face Naruto, though the blonde was still a head taller than him.
"I have no choice but to bring them into this since your power will now attract more Hollows, and they won't hesitate to use them to get to you!" yelled back the Uzumaki, his anger making Ichigo unconsciously fall back into his seat. "Either help us ward off any more Hollows that come, or risk the lives of yourself, your friends, and your family because you were too afraid to take a stand against the Hollows!"
Ichigo looked away with a scowl while Rukia watched the scene play out. This wasn't the Naruto she was used to. No, this Naruto had the aura of a leader, of a soldier, of a man willing to go all the way to protect everyone.
"Fine, I'll do it," Ichigo relented. "But only because you said I'm a target of those things."
"You always were," Rukia commented, making the two look at her. "Naruto's power being given to you just made you a bigger one."
"We'll start after school," the blonde said as he retook his seat. "For now, just go about the day like you normally would and we'll find you when school gets out. Until then," the bell rang, making him smirk slightly, "you both need to return to class."
Ichigo grumbled about "smartass blondes" while Rukia looked visibly excited about learning more about the Living World. Once they were gone, Naruto's eyes darted out the window in his office before he opened it.
"You can come in now, whoever you are," he called out with his senses on high alert.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised you noticed me," a female voice responded before a very familiar black cat jumped onto the window pane and then jumped inside. "Even with your power weakened, you still have incredible sensory perception, Naruto."
His eyes were narrowed down at the cat, and he visibly growled in anger. "So…how long did you intend to spy on me? Why spend years pretending to be my friend when you had plenty of chances to do whatever you wanted to me?"
The cat frowned back at him. "I never spied on you, and I never pretended to be your friend."
"Then why the secrecy? Why disguise yourself whenever you were with me? There are very few things I truly hate and they're people who try to control others, traitors, and liars. So, tell me who you really are before I decide to give into my growing temper."
"Kuro" sighed sadly at him. "I never meant to lie to you. I wanted to show you that I'm not a cat, but I couldn't. I just hope that you can understand why I did what I did after I explain."
The cat before him began to glow before it stretched unnaturally into the size of a human female. Fur disappeared into dark skin, her head gained long purple hair, and her body gained beautiful curves; though she lacked any clothing whatsoever.
Naruto, being a medic and having seen some patients without clothes due to necessary healing procedures, wasn't as affected by her nudity. Although, he couldn't deny that she was very beautiful and that she had flawless skin. Wordlessly, he took off his white coat and tossed it to her, the size of it being big enough for her to button it up and cover her form.
"So…this is your true form," stated the blonde with a straight face.
She nodded. "Yes… My real name is Shihoin Yoruichi, the ex-Captain of Squad Two, ex-Head of the Stealth Force, and ex-Heiress of the Shihoin Clan."
"I've heard that name from Unohana Taicho… She said that you, some man named Urahara Kisuke, and many others escaped the Seireitei after Urahara was accused of cruel experimentation on his fellow Shinigami."
"That's not completely true," the woman began. "It's true that Kisuke came up with a way for the 'barrier' between Shinigami and Hollow to disappear, but he never used it. Someone else did and they framed Kisuke for it."
"Who used it then?" asked the blonde. He'd heard from Unohana that she didn't see Urahara as the type to so carelessly use something on his fellow Shinigami. Yoruichi's words were starting to prove his Captain's thoughts to be true.
"The man who did it was Sosuke Aizen, along with Ichimaru Gin, and Kaname Tosen."
"Aizen; brown hair, glasses, and a calm smile?" She nodded. "The Captain of Squad Five who's so friendly to everyone?" Another nod and Naruto frowned at his desk before he slammed his clenched fist on it. "I knew it!"
"I knew something felt…off about him. Everyone in the Seireitei has their own natural aura; a way for you to tell them apart from others when you're sensing reiatsu."
"Where are you going with this?" asked Yoruichi with a raised brow.
"What I'm saying is that Aizen's aura feels…shifty. It's like he has one aura blanketing his own and concealing it, making him more approachable. I'm not sure how I can sense it, but I can. Gin and Tosen feel the same and I always feel on edge around any of those three. Maybe…it's like they're under a genjutsu, and I can sense it because I'm so used to techniques like that."
"I'm sorry; genjutsu?"
"It's the art of illusionary techniques from the Elemental Nations; the place I lived in when I was still alive. They were used so much that most experienced ninja were able to feel them out easily with enough practice. Add in the fact that I had a…condition that made those kinds of techniques almost useless on me, and you have someone who can see through practically any illusion."
The Shihoin narrowed her eyes in thought as her hand cupped her chin. "If that's true, then that means that you won't be affected by his Zanpakuto."
"I'm assuming it's the source of the aura cloaks that he and the other two have?" asked the Uzumaki.
"Yes… If you're unaffected by it, then we have a better chance at stopping him. He's after the Hogyoku (Crumbling Orb) that Kisuke made after his prototype was taken from him. Aizen will want both so that he has a much stronger one for his plans; whatever they are."
"Aizen plans to make a Ōken (King's Key) so that he can overthrow the Spirit King and be seen as a god," answered a female voice, making Naruto and Yoruichi turn to see Harribel sitting on the windowsill with her eyes looking out to the city.
"Harribel-chan," Naruto greeted with a smile, making Yoruichi's eyes widen slightly.
"You're friends with a Hollow?"
"I assure you that Hollows are not as simpleminded as you Shinigami take us to be," Harribel said as she turned to face them. "We have feelings of our own, along with desires, dreams, and fears." Her eyes flicked over to meet Naruto's, and he kept the smile that was on his face. Her eyes warmed at that before they returned to Yoruichi's golden ones. "You Shinigami just didn't bother to try and understand us."
"Maybe because the Hollows try time after time to devour the souls of others," retorted the purplette.
"Enough!" yelled Naruto. "That isn't the issue now! What we should try and figure out is how to stop Aizen." He then turned to Harribel and asked, "I'm guessing you know because you work for him?"
She nodded with regret in her eyes. "Yes, I do… But it's only because he can kill my friends if I do not. They're the only people I could even consider being close to; besides you, Naruto."
Yoruichi raised a brow at the last afterthought. "Am I missing something here? Why would she-?" Her eyes then noticed how comfortable the two were around each other before she gave a feline smirk. "Oh~! So that's the reason, huh? I didn't know you two were so…close."
The two blushed at that before Naruto coughed to try and regain his composure. "A-Anyway, we still need to figure out a way to keep the Hogyoku away from Aizen so that he can't make a Ōken. …How would he make one anyway?"
"I wouldn't know since I never looked into that," answered Yoruichi.
"I only know of the Ōken from passing rumors from the other Hollows in Hueco Mundo," added Harribel.
"Damn… This situation is just getting more frustrating by the minute." His blue eyes were narrowed in annoyance and thought as he asked, "Does Kisuke still have the Hogyoku, Yoruichi?"
"I'm pretty positive he does. He said something about hiding it, but I'm not sure how he plans to do that."
"Then we'll have to ask him soon. For now, I need to play my part as a 'school medic' and you two need to wait for me to finish with Ichigo after school. Rukia and I need to show him how to harness the power I gave him."
"So that's the reason why your reiatsu felt so low," noted Harribel. "I was wondering why it seemed to drop so suddenly last night."
"I gave two thirds of my power to Ichigo so that he could save his family. Mine will slowly return, but it'll take a while since I had such high natural reserves."
"Kisuke may have something that can help," Yoruichi offered. "Maybe you can ask him later when we discuss about the Hogyoku."
"Right… Until then, I'll just play my part." The two women nodded and Harribel left in a Sonido (Sound Ceremony) while Yoruichi resumed her feline form. As the cat jumped on the windowsill, Naruto called out, "I'm still upset that you didn't just come to me earlier, Yoruichi… I trusted you and let my guard down around you. Now, I honestly don't know how to act around you."
She looked to him regretfully and asked, "What can I do to make it up to you?"
His eyes closed in thought as he sighed through his nose. "I don't know… I just hope that I can come to trust you again. I'd like to get to know the real you, and not just have some cat as a friend."
To his surprise, she smirked at him. "Then get to know me later. I promise to tell you about me – the truth – if you do the same."
He chuckled and nodded. "Alright then…"
Still smirking, the cat left in a flash of speed much faster than the average Shunpo, leaving a slightly smiling Naruto to relax in his office and wait for the day to end.
Naruto was leaning against a tree near the gate, nodding to a couple of students who bid him a good night as they left for home or wherever they planned to go. After Yoruichi had left, Naruto was visited by some students who had some easy to fix illnesses and he was able to fix them up without issue.
Some of the students even asked him some questions about himself. They asked about where he lived, how he liked Karakura, and one bold senior girl even asked if he was single.
He told them that he grew up in a small town known as Konoha – seeing as he couldn't tell the whole truth - and that Karakura was "big, but not overwhelming". As for the senior who asked him, he told her that he was seeing someone, though she still slipped a note card with her phone number into his back pocket when she surprised him with a hug.
'I was wondering why my ass felt groped,' he mused with a chuckle.
"What's so funny, Naruto?" asked Rukia, getting his attention.
"Oh, nothing… I'm just thinking about a couple of my patients that I had today. So, shall we be off then?"
At her nod, the two Shinigami led the enlightened human to the park where Rukia used a special glove to pull Ichigo's soul out of his body while Naruto and she used gigai. Of course, this freaked out Ichigo who couldn't get over how his uninhabited body looked "dead".
"Relax kid; this is completely normal if you don't have a gigai. We'll have to get you one so that you can work effectively," Naruto said in hopes of calming the teen down.
He then watched and listened as Rukia explained about the details of being a Shinigami, including info about Zanpakuto, Konso, different fields of battle (zanjutsu, Kido, etc), and about how Hollows were once human souls. At first, Ichigo was horrified that killing a Hollow meant killing a soul, but Naruto stopped that train of thought by telling him that they weren't being killed. When a Hollow is made from a soul that has committed no harsh or heavy sins, "killing" them means absolving the sins they made as a Hollow, allowing their souls to go to the Seireitei.
This calmed down the teen immensely. Seeing that she had it covered, Naruto told Rukia he was going to get Ichigo a gigai and some other supplies. She nodded in understanding as Naruto made his way to the only place where he felt the reiatsu of both Yoruichi and Harribel:
The Urahara Shop.
[Half an Hour Later (Shop)]
Naruto's eye twitched a mile a minute as he sat before the jovial ex-Captain who had a fan opened in front of his grinning face. Yoruichi sat next to the weakened Shinigami in her cat form while Harribel leaned against the wall behind him.
"So, you're looking for a way to stop Aizen, huh? Well look no further because I'm sure we can come up with something here in this very shop!" exclaimed the bucket hat man.
Another eye twitch was the response and Naruto asked the cat, "Is he always like this?"
"Most of the time… I'm sure you'll get used to it."
"I don't believe I can take another minute of this tomfoolery," Harribel noted with her own visible eye twitch.
Urahara kept his grin before his fan was split in two from the middle while Naruto had a hidden knife in his hand. "I believe we need to be serious here, Urahara-san."
All sense of childishness and overexcitement left the atmosphere of the room as the shopkeeper nodded with a calm face. "Very well then. What did you need to know?"
"The Hogyoku… Is it hidden well enough to be kept away from Aizen?"
"Not at the moment, but I believe we'll find a place by the end of this session."
Narrowing his eyes in suspicion, the whiskered blonde asked, "How sure are you that Aizen can make his plans work with your second Hogyoku? And why haven't you tried to talk to Yamamoto-dono about this?"
"I'm around 94% positive that Aizen will succeed in continuing his plans with the second Hogyoku. As for going to Yamamoto; do you honestly believe he'd even give us a chance to begin explaining?"
Naruto sighed at the returned question. "No… The old man wouldn't even wait to have you guys killed or arrested. But I still need to ask," he began as he turned to Yoruichi, "why me? Why come to me of all people?"
The cat moved to the table so that she could sit between Naruto and Urahara. "I stuck close to you because I knew you were different from the others. Never before in all my time serving the Seireitei have I seen a Shinigami so easily liked by all of the Gotei Thirteen. Everywhere I turned when I was around you, I'd see Shinigami look to you with respect. You even cleared the rift that was between Squad Eleven and Unohana's because you proved that a healer can still fight. You proved your worth to them all, and I knew that you were the perfect choice to help us."
"I have to admit," Urahara added, getting his attention, "that when Yoruichi told me about you, I was a little skeptical. But seeing you now, I can tell without any doubt that you are who she made you out to be. Now, I believe you need some supplies to help young Ichigo."
"I assume Yoruichi told you about that," deduced the younger blonde.
"What do you think?" retorted the shopkeeper as he tossed his fellow blonde a bag full of needed supplies. He then lifted up what looked to be an inhaler and handed it to him. "That device has a small canister filled with reiryoku. It should help restore your lost power, but I only have that single dose. It would take too long to make more, so you might as well use it now."
Naruto nodded and used the device, making a face of disgust at the taste of the reiryoku filling his body, before he tossed the empty canister aside and dry heaved. "Oh Kami-sama above, that was awful!"
Yoruichi grinned and teased, "Aw c'mon, you big baby. It wasn't that bad."
"Says the cat who regularly coughs up her own filthy fur," retorted the blonde with a glare while the cat's grin just grew.
"Not a bad comeback there, Whiskers."
After he finished coughing from his dry heaving, Naruto asked the shopkeeper, "Any chance Harribel could get a gigai too, Urahara?"
This surprised the others, especially the Arrancar. "Why do you want one for her?" asked the sandy blonde.
"It's mainly for selfish reasons, to be honest. I just want to be able to talk to her out in the open instead of having to hide to do so. Besides, we still haven't gotten to know one another fully, and I'd like to be able to do that."
The three smiled at that, though Harribel also had a small blush that was hidden beneath her mask.
"I'll see what I can do then," replied the shopkeeper before Naruto and Harribel left the shop. "Y'know I saw that, right Yoruichi?"
"Whatever could you be talking about?" asked the cat innocently.
"So you mean to tell me that you weren't staring at his ass the whole time he walked out of the shop?"
"Of course not. Only you would do something like that to a woman. Perhaps I should warn those two about you, especially with how well endowed Harribel-san is?"
The man waved his hands in surrender as the cat jumped out the window into the city…and to spy on a certain whiskered Shinigami.
[Three Days Later]
Naruto sighed as he sat in his office chair. Just last night, Ichigo had battled the soul of Inoue Orihime's older brother, Sora, who was turned into a Hollow due to grief. The Hollow had regained enough of his old sanity to cleanse himself of the taint the Hollow side of him caused.
He looked to his right palm and clenched it tight, producing a small outline of reiatsu around it before he released the power. 'So far, so good… I can already feel my power being up to near halfway. Another couple of weeks and I should be at three quarters, and my Zanpakuto should come back to me.'
He felt naked without his true Zanpakuto. The nameless sword in his hand felt foreign and unnatural to him, and he hated it. But, he was slowly getting it back. He also rubbed the spot where the Shiki Fuiin (Dead Demon Consuming Seal) used to be in life. Now, it housed the dormant Hogyoku that was meant to be hidden from Aizen.
'I still don't think this plan will work… But, whatever works to keep Aizen away from making an Ōken…'
His office door was opened and he saw a dark skinned blonde step in. From the bottom up she wore a pair of black shoes with knee high white socks. Over that, she wore navy blue jeans that reached above her ankles with a black belt holding them up. She wore a black shirt with a white shark symbol on the front of it with a gray jacket lined in blue colored fur over it. Around her neck and lower half of her face, she wore a dark blue scarf and she wore a necklace with a shark tooth pendant.
He smiled as he greeted, "How nice to see you, Harribel-chan. How's the gigai?"
She pulled at the collar of her shirt slightly as she answered, "It feels…different, but it's not a big issue."
"Good," he replied as he lowered her scarf, revealing her beautiful face, and kissed her. "I wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable around me."
She smiled slightly at that before she took off her gray jacket and put on a white coat like his. Looking to him again, she noticed that he was clean shaved and that his hair's tail was shortened to his shoulders instead of his mid back. Personally, she preferred this look and she hoped he'd stay shaved.
The two were brought out of their comfortable silence by the feeling of a Hollow signature chasing down two souls; one more powerful than the other. Naruto narrowed his eyes as he called upon the soul ribbons and grabbed the two that were being chased.
"It looks like Sado-san and some younger soul are being chased down," he commented. He then stretched his senses again and felt Rukia following them while Ichigo carried another powerful soul towards his home. 'Must be one of his family members, or someone who got hurt…'
"What is it?" asked Harribel.
"Rukia is gonna handle the Hollow and Ichigo is taking someone to his family's clinic. They have the situation handled."
She nodded and began to help him organize the files of the school's faculty, staff, and students. As they went through the files, they put six into a stack of their own that included Ichigo's and Rukia's files. With them were the files of Inoue Orihime, Yasutora "Chad" Sado, Ishida Uryuu, and Arisawa Tatsuki. The reason for this was that Naruto sensed spiritual power – whether dormant or awakened – coming from them.
'They need help if they want to use their power; though Ishida-san seems to be doing alright. I remember seeing him a few days ago when Rukia and I came here. The others will need help drawing out their power…and I think I can help them out with that.'
And there's chapter five for you all! I hope you all are excited for what will come next!
I need help with this idea I have. Tatsuki was an awesome character, though she wasn't really touched on. I want to include her more into the challenges her friends will face, so I need help in deciding on a power for her.
I'll place a poll up for this, so please place your votes there. The poll will be closed on Valentine's Day (02/14/14)!
Notice (2/14/14): The poll has ended with Tatsuki's power being a Fullbring! Thanks for your votes and Happy Valentine's Day!
Next Time: Part 3! Stay Tuned!