Okay, this is a surprise update because I've decided to turn this into a two-shot instead of the planned one-shot. This is the first of my Christmas Request List for Quetzalcoatls. Because I was struggling a little with the flow of this story, I've decided to post Part 1 so long otherwise I'm going to be stuck on this part for a very long time and I don't have much time left to finish.

I apologize for the abruptness of the ending but sometimes a fic simply refuses to be written. I've managed to beat this one back into submission somehow but it'll take me about 2-3 days to get out Part 2. Unfortunately there is not much happening now because this is only the introduction part but I'm trying to keep this story under 10 000 words so it is bound to be a little shorter than the ones I usually write.

This request is based on a Zangetsu Ossan x Ichigo x Shiro Zangetsu pairing, with an Ichigo that is fairly emotionally unstable after having lost Zangetsu for the second time. I've also included Ichigo's new swords into this so there are a few warnings for this story:

It contains M/M/M lemons, a threesome pairing, emotionally unstable Ichigo, an abrupt ending to Part 1, spoilers for Chapter 247 (where Ichigo was shown in the last palace 'guest room' before the chapter started). I took some liberties with Ichigo's shihakusho this time because on and off he's been shown in his Bankai cloak whilst he was in the palace grounds.

Right, I'll be posting more details of the lemon warnings in the next chapter as I'm still deciding what to do. For now though, I think I covered it all. If I've missed anything let me know. Please enjoy. I'll see you at the end of the chapter.

These deep wounds,
Are like the ocean depths.

These crimson sins,
Become colourless with death.

~Zangetsu...I will never again ask you to lend me your power, or not to be in my way. And I won't tell you 'let's fight together'. I will fight on my own.

Thank you, Zangetsu.

You are me. ~

'Prepare yourself, Chan-Ichi (1*). Because here you'll have to say goodbye to your Zanpactō, Zangetsu.' How does one shatter a soul, break a mind and cause a raging torrent of uncontainable anguish in a single, careless, sentence? For one Kurosaki Ichigo, it would have to be the unspoken message in those few earth shattering words. All it had taken was a single second for him to be overwhelmed by the fracture that had split his heart ever since he had felt Tensa Zangetsu shattering at that long haired Quincy's blade before coming here. With searing, soul-deep, pain it had come rushing forth into his very soul...tearing across the depths of his heart in an overpowering sense of utter loss and helplessness. Completely undoing the iron control that Ichigo had somehow managed to construct around his heart to keep his growing anxiety at bay when his father had finally told him the truth of what had happened all those years ago. It now left a stray orange haired Substitute Shinigami in a bind of emotions that was tainted with a deep despair and uncontained sorrow that could not be shaken from trembling limbs.

Ichigo didn't know what he should be feeling anymore, what he should do to calm the splitting anguish in his heart as he gazed dazedly into the bright skies that were traced above the last palace of Hyōsube Ichibei in the Reiōkyū (2*). Through the open window that was situated on the side of the training room he now found himself in; a soft breeze was sneaking inside to coolly ruffle messy orange locks as a shaky sigh was expelled from parted petal pink lips. Ichigo felt detached, removed from reality and completely out of it. Even the familiar bonds resting once more in his hands from both of his Zangetsus; tracing a path of comfort and belonging across his erratically beating heart, seemed of little help at that moment as the orangette still found it difficult to breathe properly without it turning into a hitched gasp at every drawn in inhalation.

The polished dark wooden floor was slippery beneath his black waraji clad feet, the press of that overwhelmingly thick reishi weighing him down, since he had first stepped foot in this plane, didn't seem to want to dissipate as dulled chocolate brown eyes gazed at nothing in particular now. It was hot here, a sticky heat streaking across his skin as absent black gloved fingertips tightened around two Zanpactōs hilts in an attempt to comfort the out of control sensations that were spiralling wildly around his form. Several seconds later though, in a failed attempt to make his way across the vast room, Ichigo fell uselessly against the wall for support after only having taken two small steps. Messy orange bangs were descending darkly into his eyes; hiding his uncontrolled emotions in shadow and sticking bright strands to the perspiration gathered on his forehead as his breath stuttered unevenly in his throat when his harsh grip refused to let go of either of his Zangetsus now...no matter how much he felt the need to drop them at the heavy pressure that was present in the air.

It was impossible, Ichigo just could not seem to calm down. His heart was racing agonizingly in his chest, droplets of sweat trailing down his temples uncharacteristically as dazed brown eyes observed every ripple in the fabric of his black hakama that the whimsical wind created. Every shimmer of sweat that was present upon the skin of his partially exposed chest from beneath his Bankai cloak; the torn trail of soft black and white fabric falling flowingly down his hips to brush against the floor irritably, Ichigo felt the trace of intimately against his flesh with every passing second. The torn edges of a ragged cloak-like kosode, kept secure around his form with thin crisscrossing strips of black fabric that traced across a white clad chest, spread unevenly around his form in several evocative folds now as the orange haired Shinigami eventually slid to the floor helplessly without support.

He was shivering softly. The drag of his blades scratching harshly against the floor creating a deafening sound in the air that forced a hitched sob to lodge itself in his throat when Ichigo failed to keep back the uncontained noise of despair from spilling past his lips. He couldn't breathe...it was simply too much. Everything that had been happening around him was happening too fast. He couldn't keep up anymore...not after that. Not when Ichigo had been sure that he had lost him again, had lost the both of them after only regaining them a few months prior in the first place. Back then, even now with Soul Society in ruins beneath their feet and the world becoming unbalanced, it still remained a terrifying nightmare in his wavering thoughts. Something that Ichigo's heart simply refused to acknowledge because of the unbearable pain it burned into his flesh irrevocably.

The mere thought of living without Zangetsu; it was utterly unthinkable.

Ichigo simply couldn't do it. Not again. Never again would he ever be able to do it and he had vowed to himself on that day that he wouldn't lose his Zanpactō after finally having regained his powers through the help of his friends and allies. However, to have one's blade shattered in Bankai state by an enemy mere months later, everything seemed to have come crashing down on him in a torrent of panic and uncontainable fear at once. It was agonizing as he was reminded of it now, especially when it had felt like there was no hope left...only a dark swirl of regret and self-loathing at one's own weakness when several people all told him that Zangetsu could not be mended. That alone had been enough to break Ichigo's soul little by little, his heart crumbling to pieces in an instability that he was only allowed to show now because he was locked away in a room all by himself.

Surely this uncontainable brush of need within him to confirm that they were both still with him, that they had not been lost, was justifiable to his very soul as chocolate brown orbs gazed intently at the two swords that were standing upright, driven into the floor, a few millimetres away from his gloved hands. He had to touch, to confirm that this was not the dazed dream that he thought he had been drifting through for the last few hours unknowingly. The orangette was startled though by the bitter, near hysterical, chuckle that escaped parted petal pink lips several seconds later when he brought the form-fitting sleeve of his kosode upwards to swipe away at the wetness that the trickle of a relieved tear traced down his cheek without his notice. Fuck! Since when did he allow his emotions to get to him so much? Now was not the time to be overwhelmed or to be interrupted in his current task, Ichigo scolded himself harshly. He had other important things to do...

Reaching for two familiar hilts decisively several seconds later, Ichigo struggled to drag his Zanpactō closer to him through the heaviness the was pushing down upon his form from all sides. He was probably losing his mind, he thought absently. To be affected by useless emotions of helplessness and fear to such an extent when they were already thrumming and teeming with awe-inspiring power in both his hands...it was utterly unnecessary but still Ichigo couldn't seem to shake the flood of unsettled sensations. He desperately needed something to tether him to reality, to burn into his heart and soul that he would not be alone again. That he would never again feel the excruciating crack in his soul when he had seen Tensa Zangetsu shattering before his very eyes.

So, with a final glow of sheer determination saturating the depths of chocolate brown orbs, Ichigo drew the two blades into his lap tenderly. Zangetsu's larger form, the form that belonged to the hollow portion of his power, rested across his knees first as black gloved fingertips briefly traced the deadly sharp edge of the pitch black blade lovingly. The colour, the density of thrumming power, it reminded Ichigo now of the first time he had glimpsed Zangetsu's Bankai form almost three years ago. As he carefully took in the changes to the length of the hilt, the small gap in the blade than ran vertically down the centre of the blade before stopping halfway in the middle to become whole again; he was sure that this form was much more suited to both him and the more erratic power that was present in Shiro Zangetsu. It remained deadly even now in its rested state, destructive and utterly overpowering as it shot sparks of reiatsu across his fingertips in heady recognition.

The smaller blade; resting atop the larger Zangetsu, was no less significant in power and elegance as Ichigo laid his fingertips across the surface of the smaller sword tenderly. Allowing the familiar reiatsu and power to pour into his fingertips from depths of the blade itself, Ichigo shivered unexpectedly in delight when he realized that he felt much calmer. More composed and in control, this was how Zangetsu Ossan always felt to Ichigo. It was already a small comfort for his unsettled heart as Ichigo allowed black gloved fingertips to curl around Zangetsu Ossan's more indiscernible hilt, the orangette shifting a bit to drive the smaller sword into the floor that was unoccupied between the gap of his crossed legs. Black hakama were flaring sensually down his legs, spreading around his form like his cloak-like kosode was as the orange haired Substitute Shinigami breathed deeply several times to calm his ragging emotions and leant forward so that the blunt side of the smaller Zangetsu pressed against his abdomen intimately.

His palms were laid flat against the larger blade that was resting across his knees as Ichigo groaned softly at the new proximity that they had to his form in this position. Like this, it was the closest that Ichigo could come without mixing the press of their separate power and confusing his senses more than they already were. It also helped to set a more controlled sense of calm around his trembling limbs as chocolate brown eyes eventually fluttered shut and the orangette prepared to pull himself into the depths of his Inner World. After having spent three months in Jinzen(3*) to learn the Saigo No Getsuga within himself, Ichigo found that slipping into his consciousness was much easier when one was calm and unaffected by the flow of emotions and distractions. However, this time...it took much longer than he thought it would, especially because of the upset emotions that were still racing across his skin and tainting his heart so deeply.

When the air finally stilled headily within his expanding lungs, his head stopped spinning at the rapid descent his form was taking into a detached world; dark brown eyes clenched shut unexpectedly at the feeling of concrete and glass spread beneath his seated form. Instinctively drawing his legs closer to his chest and resting his forehead against his knees despairingly, Ichigo dared not open his eyes to observe the world he knew was alive around him. He was too afraid of what he would find, of what had happened to his Inner World since the last time his emotions had affected it so irrevocably. It was odd though, he was sure that there was a cool brush of falling rain swirling intimately around him, stilling the unbearable heat that had been flowing into his veins for a while now rather soothingly as Ichigo was finally allowed to draw a proper breath of relief into his lungs. Here, away from the world and safely cocooned in his own consciousness, the heavy press of overpowering reiatsu in the training room no longer sought to consume him whole just as the flow of reality no longer mattered to his soul.

It was soothing, an escape for his weary mind as Ichigo became headily aware of the warm presences that lived in this world when they drew closer to him at his unconscious call. Forcing a soft whimper to spill past his lips when two presences closed in on his seated form a split second later, much faster than he expected them come, Ichigo valiantly kept back the flood of utter relief from saturating his veins in a dizzying rush as they enclosed him completely in a brush of calming reiatsu. He hadn't even been given a chance to open his eyes when one was already behind him, allowing the orangette a pillar of support by offering long legs as a place for Ichigo to rest his back against. Soft fingertips reaching forward unexpectedly to card through messy orange locks, forced Ichigo to shudder blissfully when another powerful presence knelt in front of him instead. This one seemed less unsettled and overpowering as a soft sigh drifted in the air around them and tickled the top of Ichigo's head with a gust of air.

'Ichigo.' A soothing baritone called sorrowfully. Warm and calloused fingertips resting against his cheek tenderly as they forced the orangette to lift his head so that a stray thumb could swipe soothingly against his cheek to capture the trail of his unsettled emotion when Ichigo tugged his bottom lip between his teeth in unexpected distress. In the darkened vision of his closed eyes, Ichigo merely bathed himself in their headily familiar and soothing presence as he attempted to draw as much of their reiatsu back into himself as possible. Chocolate brown eyes were eventually forced to flutter open when a calloused thumb passed softly across his bottom lip, dragging the tender flesh away from his biting teeth before Ichigo found himself staring at the familiar form of his Zanpactō spirit. Sharp blue eyes hidden behind wraparound yellow sunglasses, an exceptionally tall form kneeling before him with the edges of a ragged red and black cloak brushing against his form, enveloped Ichigo tenderly when both his and Shiro Zangetsu's close proximity chased a heated flow of peace into his veins unexpectedly.

'Why is your heart so unsettled, Aruji(4*)? Are we not faithfully by your side again? Are you not content with the return of your true power or are you still unsettled because you've never understood the power that flows through your veins?' The older spirit asked tenderly, wizened eyes gazing into chocolate brown depths concernedly when Ichigo did not answer his questions right away. A heady daze seemed to have saturated Ichigo's heart instead, the orangette left shivering softly under the unfamiliar flow of comfort and something indiscernibly hot saturating his skin as he tried to keep back the soft flush of pink tinting his cheeks at the soft brush of undeniable belonging and rightness that streaked across his heart at their inherent closeness to him.

'N-no...that's not it. I-I don't understand it myself,' Ichigo responded weakly, saddened eyes gazing into the wizened depths of Zangetsu Ossan that was kneeling before him protectively. 'I should be fine, damn it! You're finally with me again, stronger and more overwhelming than ever before and yet...' Ichigo trailed off with a hitched breath, averting his eyes from Zangetsu Ossan's sharp gaze as he unconsciously leaned upwards into the caress of soothing fingertips as they cupped his cheek tenderly. When the wavy brown haired male seated himself in front of Ichigo to bring them closer comfortingly, the gentle rain falling from the sky suddenly became a torrent of soaking wetness. An annoyed 'tch' resounded through the depths of his Inner World several seconds later though as Ichigo startled abruptly when the fingertips in his hair, gave a sharp tug so that his eyes were forced to collide with the gold and black depths of his frowning white haired doppelganger.

'Stop it! It's fucking raining again, King. It's sickening for it to rain in this world. Don't you understand? Your pain, your emotional upset...it rocks this plane to its core the worse that it gets. You are not one to be affected by useless emotions, Ichigo. Not when―.'

'That's enough, Zangetsu. Give Ichigo a chance to settle himself, he's not here to get scolded. Can you not sense that he came here for reassurance? Even our Master has a right to seek comfort from us, which we will give freely because he seeks to strengthen the bond with our newly forged form. He seeks to know irrevocably that we will not leave him again when he was forced to sacrifice his power to protect his family. Even you should understand the pain of him not hearing our voice not once, but twice. He has finally been given a moment of reprieve. To finally collect himself. It is our duty to provide him that which his heart desires the most.' Zangetsu Ossan pointed out fairly harshly. Leaving Ichigo; frowning deeply at those word, to shudder when he was suddenly yanked forward so that he sprawled between warm thighs and his forehead collided harshly against a infinitely soft cloaked form and strong arms wound around his waist protectively.

'Z-Zangetsu! Ossan...what're you doing?!' Ichigo yelped in surprise, a flush tainting his cheeks at the older male's unusual display of both emotion and action to his usually stoic, distant form. He was startled though when a heady shadow fell over his form, brown eyes glimpsing the lazy grin that spread across pale lips and chased away the angered scowl drawn across a pale brow as Shiro Zangetsu moved behind his brown haired counterpart so that he could dismantle Ichigo's heart and soul through his intense gaze alone. The tall figure that was a reflection to himself, lent down in front of Ichigo now. His white shihakushō fluttering around his form when a sudden gust of wind echoed into the depths of Ichigo's Inner World and the large, bound black blade settle across a back, scraped against the side of the building as Ichigo found his gloved fingertips gripping Zangetsu Ossan's shoulders to steady his uncertain form. His white haired doppelganger didn't seemed to be fazed by Ichigo's deadly glare though, merely ruffling black nailed fingertips through soft orange locks teasingly before a surprisingly gentle touch traced a black nail down his cheek teasingly to rest against the corner of his mouth intimately.

'Silly, King. There's no need to get so wise, old man.' Shiro Zangetsu retorted to his Zanpactō counterpart, leaning forward so that lips whispered against the top of an orange head softly despite the outcry that stained the air around him at the shock that was starting to descend upon Ichigo's heart. 'You're fairly talkative today, Ossan. Can it be that you are finally showing your true personality? Ah, but it doesn't really matter. If you wanted a deeper bond, King, all you had to do was ask. Do we need to prove to you that both of us will never again leave your side? Your heart, I can read it just as the old man can, Ichigo, and just this once will I allow you this emotional weakness because you are here to seek consolation.

'Next time, I won't be so gentle.'

1* - Chan-Ichi – It's hilarious I know, but that's how Ōetsu Nimaiya refers to Ichigo in the Manga.

2* - Reiōkyū – Reiou Palace

3* - Jinzen – Sword Meditation

4* - Aruji – Master, how a Zanpactō usually refers to its wielder.

Right, that's all my notes for now. If I've missed anything I'll come back to add it in later. For now though, I'm done. I apologize for the abrupt ending but part 2 will be posted in the next few days. I hope you enjoyed it Quetzalcoatls, hopefully part 2 will be a bit more interisting and that this was what you wanted.

I'm off for now though, it's dinner time here.

Chocolate Carnival