Chapter II! Yay!
Harpygirl91: Yes, it is awesome!
Taeniaea: Sad? yeah...it is.
Ariela Titan: Demand granted.
moifah: Hooked, you say? Well, let me feed that hooked-ness.
lil-saturn-goddess: WHy, thank you
Hoshiko Megami: Here-I updated. :p
"Feeling better?" Ichigo asked as Hotaru sniffed back the aftermath of her breakdown.
She nodded, wiping her eyes. "Yes, I do. Thank you. I don't know what made me break down like that. All my friends turn to me and see my mask, thinking that's the real me."
"But it's not, is it?" The Soul Reaper earned a "no" with a head shake. "How can you tell what someone is by just looking at them?"
"Don't really know myself. It was just a talent I was born with." Hotaru shrugged. "It's like how I know your Astrological sign and year you were born. Not to mention, what level your crystal is at. It's hard to die and come back repeatedly and I do it for a living now as I have for centuries before."
Ichigo was surprised by that remark. "What do you do for a living?"
"I'm not from around here. I may live here on Earth but my home is really far away. It's the second star passed the belt." Hotaru pointed up at the sky. "It's home but it's also hell. I'm the last of my kind and my home is covered in graves and monsters. And those monsters are after my blood. They believe that if they consume my blood-they can blend into human society and feast till they've had their unlimited hunger."
"Feast?" Ichigo asked, leaning on his knees. "What do they eat?"
Hotaru's eyes hardened as her arm dropped slowly. "They feed on human flesh-the fresher, the better. And the living flesh can give them greater powers. I've had to fight them in the dead bodies of my fallen comrades. It's not pretty to spill their blood. It's acid and it reeks. It makes you sick and its scent never leaves your memory. It also clings to your aura. No matter how many times I've died and come back, it's still there. I can't smell it but I can feel it. It's a disgusting, foul feeling that cannot be washed away."
"What are these 'They'?" He inquired as Hotaru flopped back onto the grass of the lawn next to the cemetery. "Are they like Hollows?"
Hotaru stared at the night's sky, her eyes colder than ice. "No…they're nothing like Hollows…they're a whole lot worse…they make Hollows look like sweethearts and angels."
"Hollows looking like sweethearts and angels…" Ichigo repeated, imagining it. He couldn't help but laugh. "That's just too funny."
Hotaru sat up and looked at him. "What's so funny? Hollows aren't that nice either."
"Yeah, I know but can you imagine what a Hollow would look like helping a little old lady across the street or wearing wings, a halo and a choir robe with a harp?" Ichigo asked. Hotaru thought about it and started laughing herself. "See? That's just something funny."
"I can see what you mean." Hotaru's whole mood brightened up. "I needed that. Thanks, Ichigo."
Ichigo gave her a big smile. "Don't mention it. I'm glad I could bring a smile back to your face." Hotaru got off the grass and dusted off the back of her dress. "You know what? I think I've figured out who you are."
"Really?" Ichigo nodded. "Okay, Ichigo, who am I?"
"One of the Sailor Senshi." That surprised Hotaru but she smiled again with a laugh.
"Well, would you believe that? A deputy Soul Reaper figured out half my riddle." Hotaru gently crossed her arms with a kind smile. "But the question is can you finish my riddle and say which one I am?"
"Yep, I can do that, too." Ichigo nodded again. "You're the one in purple with the Glaive. You're Sailor Saturn."
"I'll be damned in the after life. You actually got it. I'm proud of you, Ichigo. You're the first one to get my name right the first time." Hotaru laughed, a little more relaxed. "Bravo, I'm proud of you. Can you tell me how you got to that conclusion?"
"Oh, that's easy. You told me you weren't from Earth and that your home was really far away. You didn't say from Tokyo or this district so that meant you weren't from this planet or the Moon. You're too dark haired and eyed as well as too naturally pale to be from Venus or Mercury. And you're not a hot head so that ruled out Mars." Ichigo explained, pointing out the clues she had left for him. "And I assumed by 'the belt' you meant the Asteroid Belt and the 'Second Star' is Saturn. You and her have the same hair and eye colors as well as the same body structure and the way you talk about dying-it matches the way Saturn talks about it. And 'They' that you kept mentioning had haunted Saturn's memories for years; that's why you take extra special care in destroying the enemies' bodies. Oh, and let's not forget that you told me about your 'born-with' gifts."
Hotaru clapped her hands. "I like you, Ichigo. You're a real Terran after my own heart. I'm proud of you. You figured all of that out all on your own and in less than 10 minutes. You should be proud of yourself. Not many can tell me who I am after moments after meeting me."
"Are you headed home, Hotaru?" The part time Soul Reaper asked, noticing that Hotaru was beginning to walk away.
"Yes, I am. I'm afraid I was supposed to go home after getting off my rounds of Patrol." Hotaru nodded. "I saw your inner light and I just had to come warn you about the Grave Lurker, even if that ghoul wasn't a complete idiot."
"I'll walk you home. You maybe a Sailor Senshi but everyone has their trade offs for powers like ours." Ichigo told her getting up himself. "I have to be dead and I'm betting you're not all that physically strong." He offered her his arm. "So, shall I have the honor of escorting you home, my lady?"
"Oh, knock that off, Ichigo. You're being too silly for words."