As with Chapter 1, this is the new and improved Chapter 2. The changes in this chapter were mostly focused on Kisuke's fight with his opponent (no spoilers up here for you new readers!) When I wrote this chapter, Kill la Kill was only on episode 17 or so, which meant a lot of the relative powers and abilities of the characters were still mostly unknown. Now that the anime is finished (which is both a shame and a relief to me as a writer), I have gone back and rewrote EVERYTHING in the fight. From the beginning to the end is completely new dialogue and action. I even managed to make Kisuke even more Kisuke-ish then before, which is surprising.

As a callback to my original author's note. I hadn't expected the reaction to this story to be as great as it was. Even 18 chapters later, the amount of reviews, favorites and alerts continues to grow more and more each day. Thanks to each and every person that takes the time to review my chapters.


Chapter 2 - If You Don't Know Me By Now


From where he was standing in his front door Ichigo sighed. As the shouting coming from his friend, Keigo Asano, drew closer, he waited until the last second before stepping to the side and holding his arm out. Keigo, enraptured at seeing Ichigo, was unable to notice the arm until the last second and was harshly clotheslined. Ichigo, while still a normal human, possessed greater than normal physical strength and easily stopped Keigo's forward momentum.

While the teen's head and neck were stopped abruptly, the laws of physics dictated that the rest of him continue to move forward. Keigo's legs flew into the air before his entire body crashed to the ground in an undignified heap.

Lowering his arm, and looking at his friend with annoyance, Ichigo said, "Hey Keigo, Mizuiro."

Mizuiro Kojima stepped on the prone form of Keigo, eliciting a groan of pain from the teen, and waved back to Ichigo, "Hey Ichigo. Tatsuki said you were throwing a farewell party, right?"

"Unfortunately," Ichigo grumbled and folded his arms, "My idiotic dad wouldn't stop bugging me until I agreed to this. Then he had the nerve to try and hang out with us."

"Ah," Mizuiro muttered knowingly, "I suppose that is an issue."

As Mizuiro walked into his house, Ichigo turned and closed the door just as Keigo was about to follow them, causing the teen to slam face first into it and fall back onto the ground. Ignoring the cry of pain from outside, Ichigo walked back to the living room where everyone was either waiting for him to return or talking amongst themselves.

"So Ichigo," Tatsuki Arisawa grinned at him and punched his shoulder hard enough to make Ichigo wince, "Just when were you going to tell us you were transferring schools?"

Rubbing his sore shoulder, Ichigo scoffed, "It's not like I had a choice or anything. I only found out about it last week."

"That's no excuse for waiting five days before telling us," Tatsuki argued back. Before Ichigo could even retort, she reached to the side and pulled a bewildered Orihime Inoue in front of her body, "Did you even stop to think about how any of us would feel about it? Orihime was devastated when she found out you were leaving!"

"Come on, Tatsuki!" Orihime blushed in embarrassment and tried to desperately pull herself out of her best friends grip, "Don't say things like that. If Ichigo wants to go to another school, I'm fine with that. Really! He shouldn't have to stay here because of me!"

"Damn it, Orihime!" Tatsuki turned Orihime around until she was face to face with the well-endowed girl and began shaking her like a rag doll, "It's been over four years! Tell him how you feel before it's too late!"

"How I feel? I…but…Ichigo…" Orihime's face turned a deep red from embarrassment before she managed to escape Tatsuki's grasp and ran out of the living room, her friend hot on her heels.

Watching them go, a bewildered and confused expression adorning his face, Ichigo just silently shook his head, "Damn it, I'm confused."

"You cannot possibly be this dense," Uryu sarcastically asked from where he was sitting.

"Oh shut up," Ichigo snapped back, "I don't see how this is any of your business."

"It is my business when you are so oblivious to what is right in front of your eyes," Uryu adjusted his glasses, a knowing smirk on his face, "I knew you weren't intelligent Ichigo, but I never thought you were this stupid."

Reaching to the nearby table, Ichigo grabbed the first heavy object he could and threw it at Uryu. The quincy opened his eyes just in time to be beamed in the forehead by a coffee mug, propelling his body backwards along with the chair he was sitting on.

"Excuse me," Mizuiro casually stepped over Uryu's unconscious body. Sitting down on the couch, his cell phone once again in his hands, he asked, "So Ichigo, did you find out anything interesting about this Honnouji Academy?"

"Not much," Ichigo admitted, "Uryu seems to know a lot about it, but he's being awfully quiet about it. Most of what I know comes from that weird guy that came to the house last week. I think his name was Sanageyama or something like that."

"Weird," Mizuiro typed something on his phone before turning to look at Uryu's prone form, "Uryu's been out for a while now. Are you sure you didn't kill him?"

"He's fine," Ichigo walked over to Uryu's body before gently, to him at least, kicking the quincy. Sputtering back to the realm of consciousness, Uryu coughed and glared at Ichigo.

"That was completely uncalled for Ichigo!"

"I see you're awake," Ichigo replied, completely unbothered by Uryu's glare, "You know anything else about Honnouji Academy that you failed to tell me already."

Quickly standing up, the blood that was trailing down from his forehead mysteriously gone, Uryu fixed his glasses and began speaking, "There is not much that I could add to what Sanageyama told us last week. The only thing I can think of is that the number of stars affixed to your Goku Uniform determines more than just your ranking in the school. The more stars you have, and therefore the more power, the better your standard of living is. One-Star students live in standard dormitories while Two-Star students have houses all to themselves."

Their conversation was interrupted when Isshin's head appeared from the kitchen, "Ichigo, there's someone on the line for you."

Uncaring as to what his dad wanted, Ichigo waved him off dismissively, "Tell them to call back later."

Isshin disappeared back into the kitchen, and for a moment Ichigo and his friends could hear him talking to someone on the phone. When he reappeared a minute later, he said, "Come on Ichigo! This girl sounds rather interested in speaking with you."

Ichigo had no idea who his dad was talking about, and judging by the looks on his friends' faces, no one else did either.

"Who the hell is your dad talking about?" Tatsuki asked as she walked back into the living room, a noticeably less embarrassed Orihime following her.

"I have no idea," he answered with an annoyed sigh, "I better go answer the phone before he decides to do something stupid like putting it on speaker. Hey dad, what line's the phone on?"

"None!" Isshin walked out of the kitchen, his new cell phone in his hand, "The girl called on my cell phone! How she got my number I'll never know. She's going to call back on the video phone!"

Ichigo's breath hitched in his chest as his dad just said the worst thing he could. A few weeks after defeating Aizen, Kisuke stopped by their house alongside his assistant, Tessai, and said they were there to work on something Isshin had asked them to do. After being shoved out of his own house for nearly two hours, Ichigo returned to find a new television in the living room. When he saw nothing else changed, he pulled Kisuke aside and asked what he did. The former captain, with an insufferable grin on his face, told him that he installed what the living call a 'video phone.' Using some of Soul Society's technology, they managed to adapt it for normal usage. Ichigo had asked Kisuke why the hell they would need it in his house, to which the shopkeeper had said:

"Because Yoruichi wouldn't let me put it in my shop."

When the television turned on with an all too familiar crackling of electricity, Ichigo turned and saw a stern-faced girl appear on the screen, "Ichigo Kurosaki I presume?"

Ichigo stared at the girl for a couple of seconds in absolute silence. With neatly cut black hair that fell to below her shoulders and a stern expression on her face, the resemblance between her and Byakuya Kuchiki frightened Ichigo. After taking a moment to assure himself that he hadn't somehow stumbled into a parallel universe where Byakuya was a woman, he crossed his arms and asked, "Who are you?"

"Hey Ichigo," Tatsuki squinted her eyes slightly and pointed her thumb at the screen, "You know her?"

"Satsuki Kiryuin," Uryu stared at the screen, "I did not think we would speak again."

"Uryu Ishida," Satsuki turned toward the quincy, "It is a pleasure to speak to you once more. I was unaware that you were familiar with Ichigo Kurosaki."

Uryu adjusted his glasses with his index finger, "Must I repeat what I told you while I interned at Revocs? I prefer to keep my private life separate from my work. I'm sure someone such as yourself appreciates such a believe, or was I wrong in my understanding of you?"

Satsuki gave Uryu a barely-noticeable smirk but did not say anything. Turning her gaze across Ichigo's living room, making sure to make eye contact with each and every one of Ichigo's friends, she said, "You keep interesting company, Ichigo Kurosaki. Inumuta prides himself on being able to gather information, but it seems he failed to find out quite a lot about you."

"Am I supposed to be flattered?"

"You should be," Satsuki reached off the screen and when her hand came back, it was holding a cup of tea, "I'm going to be perfect honest with you, Ichigo Kurosaki. I do not appreciate having someone like you, who gets through life solely on the deeds of their parent, attend Honnouji Academy. It is a disgrace and I will not tolerate your presence for one minute in my academy!"

"Oh please," Ichigo rolled his eyes at her veiled threat, "You think I even want to attend your stupid school? I was more than happy to stay in Karakura until I finished high school, but my idiot of a father enrolled me in Honnouji Academy without even asking me about it first. Just hearing your voice is making me wish I didn't have to go even more."

For a moment it looked like Satsuki was about to snap at Ichigo's defiance but instead, a smile graced her face, "Bold words Ichigo Kurosaki. It seems the information about you was indeed correct, but all you have done is bluster meaninglessly. Are you able to stand upon your two feet like a human or do you cower behind those with true power like a dog?"

Ichigo was about to reply when he realized that her anecdote made absolutely no sense. Sure the meaning was clear as day, but the way she phrased it just threw him off balance. Looking towards the only source of information in the room, he asked Uryu, "Do you have any idea what she just said? Is there anything I can say to make her go away?"

Purposely avoiding looking at Satsuki, Uryu answered, "What you just asked is as impossible as having Orihime keep herself from blurting out whatever exists in that nightmarish imagination of hers. The best course of action would be to listen to what Satsuki has to say. Anything else would most likely not be in your best interests."

"Fine," Ichigo sighed in defeat. Turning back to Satsuki, he said, "What do you want from me?"

Satsuki narrowed her eyes, "What I want from you is inconsequential, as I have already obtained all I needed to know. Watch yourself upon your arrival at Honnouji Academy, Ichigo Kurosaki. Not everyone will be a tolerant of your presence as myself."

With that last warning given, Satsuki's image disappeared from the screen. There was a pregnant pause before Tatsuki said, "God, what a bitch."

"Tatsuki!" Orihime cupped her hands over her mouth in shock, "That's not a nice thing to say. So she was a little mean…that doesn't mean you can call her that!"

"I have to agree with Tatsuki, Orihime. Satsuki Kiryuin was quite rude to Ichigo."

Everyone jumped slightly as Yasutora Sado, known as Chad to his friends, appeared out of nowhere behind Orihime. None more so than Orihime, who literally leapt in the air and into Tatsuki's arms out of fright.

"Chad," Ichigo's mind was trying to piece together how Chad had appeared out of thin air, "Where the hell did you come from?"

"The front door," Chad pointed behind him, "I was walking by when I saw Keigo crying near your house. I asked him what was wrong and he said you locked him out, but when I tried opening your door I found it unlocked. After that, I just let myself in. I hope you don't mind."

"It's not a problem," Ichigo didn't want to think about how such a large person could be so stealthy.

"Hey Chad," Mizuiro frowned and put his phone away, "Anyway, I don't know about the rest of you, but I got the feeling that Satsuki was threatening Ichigo."

Mumbling to himself, Uryu began explaining to the rest of them what he knew, "Satsuki Kiryuin holds a tight grip on Honnouji Academy. Ichigo's acceptance to the school and reluctance attendance has thrown a wrench into her plans that she has not yet begun to account for. This call was a way for her to gauge Ichigo's personality and intelligence. There is no doubt in my mind that she purposely called when we were all here so as to see how Ichigo would react in the presence of those close to him."

Ichigo rubbed his face in annoyance, "This is just great. I haven't even left home and I already have an stalker. Hey, did any of you notice that she looked and acted a lot like Byakuya?"

Uryu nodded, "I noticed a passing resemblance."

"A little, although she had blue eyes," Chad answered.

"Oh! Do you think she's his daughter from an illicit affair with a human woman?" Orihime asked. In her head she was already imagining Satsuki as a shinigami, cutting down hollows while Byakuya and Rukia watched on with pride and awe. As Ichigo saw the glazed look in Orihime's eyes, signaling she was going to be gone for a while, he could have sworn he heard his dad suddenly choke and cough.

"Who?" Tatsuki asked.

Ichigo flinched subtly as he remembered that Tatsuki had never actually met Byakuya Kuchiki. Out of all his friends, she was the only one to have little experience with the Soul Society apart from when Aizen had arrived in Karakura Town after defeating the captains in the fake Karakura Town.

"It was just someone from the Soul Society, Tatsuki," he admitted. Turning to leave the room, he looked at Uryu, "I'm going to go kill my dad. Ignore everything you may hear."

"That will not be a problem," Uryu responded, "I was not too pleased to speak with Satsuki once more myself. Our last encounter did not end amicably."

Stalking out of the living room into the kitchen, where he knew his dad to be hiding, Ichigo was considering just what he was going to do him when he heard his father's voice speaking to someone on the phone, "Are you sure about this? It's not too late you know."

Leaving the living room and entering the kitchen, Ichigo looked around for where his dad might be hiding but, to his surprise, he found the room completely empty. Scratching his head and looking around, he noticed the back door was slightly ajar. Walking over and looking outside, he saw nothing and was about to turn away when he heard his dad's voice.

"I know but…"

Ichigo frowned at the exhausted tone in Isshin's voice. When he tried and failed to hear whoever his dad was talking to, his dad spoke again, " I see your point. Are you sure about this? I mean…fine. I suppose I'll talk to him and send him over as soon as possible. Bye."

Pulling his phone away from his ear, his arm falling to his side, Isshin said, "Ichigo, you really need to learn some manners. It is impolite to eavesdrop on other people's conversations."

"Yeah, well," Ichigo put his hands in his pockets and walked outside, "You're one to talk. How many times have I caught you trying to listen in on me?"

"Too many to count," Isshin admitted with a chuckle, "But as your father, I am entitled to stripping you of your liberties and rights if it helps make you safe. Who knows what type of illegal activities you get up to when I'm not around to stop you."

Ichigo groaned and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "You know exactly what I was doing last year. Anyway, what was that all about?"

"It was Kisuke," Isshin's voice was somber, as if he had just heard a piece of bad news, "He wants you to come to his store as soon as possible."

"Why?" Ichigo was confused. Ever since he lost his shinigami powers, Kisuke had said that he didn't need to come by his shop anymore. It wasn't that he was no longer permitted to come so much as he didn't want Ichigo to remember everything he had lost in the process of saving both the Soul Society and the World of the Living. While he was initially incensed at that, he had quickly realized his point when Kisuke said that Rukia had stopped by when he was there. The fact that one of his closest friends, shinigami or not, was right next to him and he was unable to see or sense here gave Ichigo all the incentive he needed to leave Kisuke's shop.

"He wouldn't say," Isshin groaned and rubbed his chin, the early makings of a beard already apparent, "But he said it was very important that you come over as soon as possible."

Ichigo didn't see any reason why he shouldn't go. Kisuke wasn't one to drag him to his shop in the middle of the day without a good reason, "But what about my friends? I can't just ditch them."

"Don't worry," Isshin pat his shoulder in a comforting gesture, "I think I can take care of your friends while you're gone."

Ichigo stood there, thinking about what Kisuke wanted, as his father walked back into the house, a mischievous grin on his face. As he stood there, thinking about what Kisuke wanted, Ichigo heard his father shout, "Who wants to see Ichigo's baby pictures?"


Nearly half an hour after Kisuke called, Ichigo found himself standing outside the former captain's shop. It had been so long since he had come by that Ichigo was confident that Kisuke had done something strange to the shop, like perhaps adding another floor or two.

"Hey Kisuke."

When Ichigo's greeting went unanswered, he frowned and knocked on the door. Didn't his dad say that Kisuke was waiting for him at his store? If that was the case, then where was that idiotic shopkeeper.

"Damn it, Kisuke," Ichigo growled and slammed his hand on the door, "This better not be another stupid joke."

Kisuke never left his shop unattended for even a minute. There was always someone there to manage the business of catering to shinigami and humans. It had originally been because if Aizen somehow managed to locate his hideout and came by while Kisuke was away, there would be no telling how much damage the traitorous captain could accomplish with everything hidden inside. That did not mean Kisuke always made the right choice. When he and Yoruichi went on their 'vacation' last fall, he had left an irritated Tessai in charge. After Ichigo received several subtle and several not-so-subtle threats by the behemoth of a man to volunteer at the shop after school or else, Ichigo had wisely decided to stay out of the way until Kisuke got back. That, however, was not nearly as bad as when he left Hiyori in charge for a few days.

Ichigo still did not comprehend how Hiyori set normal water on fire like that.

Slightly disturbed by what he might find inside, Ichigo braced himself and, to his surprise, managed to slide open the door without any resistance. As he stepped inside and his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he stopped and muttered, "What the hell…?"

The neatly organized rows of merchandise interspaced with items from the Soul Society hidden under weak illusions that would cause any human without the proper knowledge to skip over them lay in broken and destroyed piles on the ground. Ichigo carefully stepped over several opened cans of food and noticed something odd on the floor. Every few feet there were several strange gashes cut into the floor. Kneeling down to inspect them further, Ichigo ran a finger over one of the gashes and quickly drew his hand back. Whatever had created the gashes had been sharp enough to leave the edges jagged and razor sharp.

"What happened?" he muttered before quickly leaping back as the sound of something crashing to the ground startled him. Eyes looking around for the source of the sound, his mind assuming that it belonged to whoever did this to Kisuke's store, he let out a breath of relief when he saw it was simply the door to the back of the shop falling off its hinges.

Cursing his inability to sense spiritual pressure, Ichigo cautiously crept towards the back of the store where Kisuke lived. Pressing his back against the wall near where the door had fallen off, he peered around the corner, his eyes darting through the darkness for any unexpected surprises. Seeing no one inside, he walked into Kisuke's room and flicked on the lights.

From just that one glance it was apparent that a fight had taken place. There were several spots of blood on the ground that led across the room towards the back door, which Ichigo noticed had been blown off the hinges from the inside.

As he carefully stepped across the room, Ichigo nearly tripped on something strewn haphazardly on the ground. Quickly regaining his balance before he fell, he looked down at what tripped him and saw that it was a pink umbrella cut neat in two. Reaching down to pick it up, he was surprised when it took both of his arms to lift it off the ground and even then Ichigo didn't think he could hold it for more than a minute or two.

When his cell phone rang, Ichigo nearly had a heart attack and dropped the umbrella, almost hitting his foot in the process. Fishing his phone out of his pocket and looking at the caller id, he was relieved when he saw it was Kisuke.


"Hello Ichigo," Kisuke's voice came echoed out from the speakers on his phone, "By your tone of voice I assume you've seen the state of my shop. I would apologize for the mess but unfortunately I'm a little preoccupied at the moment."

"What's going on? Where are you?"

"Oh nothing much," Ichigo heard Kisuke wince over the phone, "I'm currently hunkered down in a construction building in the eastern part of town. If you're wondering why, it's because I had an uninvited guest arrive at my shop just a little while ago."

"Guest?" Ichigo might not have been able to sense spiritual pressure anymore, but he could feel something off about the whole situation.

From where he was leaning against a concrete support pillar twenty-three stories above Karakura Town, Kisuke looked at the trail of blood cascading down his left arm with a grimace. He supposed he should consider himself lucky that the injury to his shoulder was not deep enough to reach the tendons. Taking a deep breath and leaning his head back until it was resting against the concrete, he adjusted his hat and began explaining, "Before I say anything, I would like to point out that I had never seen this person before in my life, and that is saying a lot."

Kisuke's shinigami senses picked up movement nearby. Quickly turning his head, he let out a breath of relief when he saw it was just a rat. Focusing back on the phone, he began explaining, "I'm sure by now Uryu has mentioned where he was last summer. What he might have failed to tell you is that when he came back, he may have absconded with something that didn't belong to him. It wasn't like I expected him to bring me a bundle of Life Fibers, but he was quite adamant that there was something strange about them."


"I'm not quite sure myself," Kisuke admitted. The attack could not have come at a worse time. Yoruichi was back in the Soul Society helping Sui-Feng with something completely unrelated to her job as a captain while Tessai had taken Ururu and Jinta out somewhere. If even one of them were here, Kisuke was certain he would not have had to retreat, "But whatever the case may be, I'm fairly certain that my current predicament is related to the Life Fibers. I am unsure as to how she managed to find out I had them or even where I was. Luckily I was able to escape with only minor injuries."

"Who attacked you?" Ichigo demanded to know what happened. Even if he was currently powerless, it tore at him that he was unable to do anything to help.

Kisuke sighed and tipped his hat forward, casting his eyes in shadow, "To be perfectly honest I'm not quite sure that whoever attacked me was even a human. There was something…off…about them, but they were strong. At least at the level of a captain."

Back in Kisuke's shop, Ichigo's heart plummeted at that piece of information. He didn't know anyone, apart from the arrancar, that could fight a shinigami captain evenly. Who could have attacked Kisuke with enough power to not just injury the former captain, but also cause him to flee for his life? Nervously swallowing the bile rising in his throat, he asked, "Are you sure about that?"

"There is no doubt in my mind as to their purpose for attacking me," Kisuke answered seriously, but Ichigo could tell he was distracted by something, "I'm sure you want to know what I did with the Life Fibers. To be honest, it was just something I worked on in my spare time. Whatever they are, Life Fibers are something else. It took me months just to figure out how they work and up until a few weeks ago to get them to actually do anything. In retrospect, that might have drawn her attention to me. Perhaps there is some sort of security built into the Life Fibers that acts as a sort of homing beacon. Whether that is true or not, I'm pretty sure she didn't appreciate my answer."

Ichigo was just about to open his mouth to ask something when Kisuke interrupted him, "Ichigo, I need you to do something for me."

Biting his lip, Ichigo responded, "What do you need me to do?"

Kisuke was silent for a few seconds, "I need you to go into the Secret Training Room under my store. Once you're down there, walk straight away from the ladder and look behind a funny looking rock to the right. There will be something there that I think you will find to be of great use when you go to Honnouji Academy. I would say more but – "

Whatever Kisuke was about to say was cut off as a large explosion reverberated through the phone, "Kisuke! What the hell happened?"

There was silence before Kisuke's crackling voice came through, "Sorry about that Ichigo. It seems that she's managed to find me sooner than I anticipated. I'll talk to you later. Do not try and find me, and make sure she does not find what I left you."

"Kisuke!" Ichigo shouted at his phone but the former captain had already ended the call. His numb fingers quickly lost their grip on the device, causing it to fall and bounce off the floor. Ichigo stood there, in the middle of the darkened shop, for what seemed like hours before he took a deep breathe and headed towards where the entrance to the underground training room beneath the tatami mat was.

Kisuke was counting on him after all.


In a burst of shunpo, Kisuke leapt over the rooftops across the industrial section of Karakura Town.

The sheer remoteness and lack of witnesses made this part of Karakura Town the best place to make a stand against his pursuer. While a battle between shinigami and other supernatural spirits weren't usually seen by normal humans, his opponent was quite different. Kisuke had seen her stop following him for a few seconds just to kill a potential witness or two. Even Aizen wasn't as callous and amoral as to kill people left and right, but the girl chasing him already racked up a body count in the double digits.

"I have to keep luring her away from any more innocent bystanders." Kisuke jumped off the edge of a warehouse before tucking his knees up and breaking through a glass window. Rolling to a stop inside an abandoned factory, he quickly turned and began moving across the catwalk above the rusty and broken machines dozens of feet below.

"I also have to stall her long enough for Ichigo to get to my shop," Kisuke slashed Benihime forward, slicing the steel door blocking his path to the roof in two. Quickly ascending the stairs and noticing he was alone, at least for the moment, Kisuke carefully took a couple of steps outside, "This girl's sensory abilities are frightening. If she is so easily able to follow me, than it is no stretch of the imagination that she could easily track Ichigo."

When she first appeared in the front room of his shop, Kisuke has sensed something off with her but chalked it down to his agitated nerves. He was still getting over Aizen finally being defeated after nearly a century of plotting and scheming against the Soul Society. When he saw her head towards the section where he kept his sweets, Kisuke decided to go into the backroom to check on some of his experiments. His shop was quite infamous for giving away candy at a large discount to children, so he didn't really think much of it. As he looked over the numbers coming out of one of his experiments, only years of training with Yoruichi saved Kisuke from a potentially fatal stab to his heart. While dodging to the side at the last minute, Kisuke didn't escape unharmed. Instead of piercing him through his heart, his adversary instead managed to cut deeply into his shoulder.

As Kisuke cautiously walked across the roof, his ears picked up the subtlest of changes in the air behind him. With his mind already analyzing his opponent's fighting patterns, he grimaced and leapt to the side just as a purple blade sheared through the concrete roof like it was butter. Skidding to a stop across the roof from where his opponent was now standing, Kiuske raised Benihime in a defensive position. Going on the offensive against such a strong and unpredictable opponent would be tantamount to throwing his life away.

Noticing something out of the corner of his eye, Kisuke looked at his sleeve and frowned slightly at the small cut along the length, "She nearly got me that time. While I am getting used to her speed and strength, it appears that she has something else up her sleeves. I'll need to be more careful from now on."

A flash of light from the sun glinting off purple metal let Kisuke know that he needed to focus. Ducking and strafing to the side, he began parrying the precise and deadly strikes from his assailant. Whoever taught her how to fight was very skilled, if the difficulty he was having keeping up with her was any clue. Parrying the purple blade off Benihime and to the side, Kisuke spun around and swung his zanpakuto only to once again hit nothing but empty air.

"She's too good."

Kisuke's eyes widened as he was quickly forced to brace his forearm against his zanpakuto in order to block the overhead strike that came out of nowhere.

"As much as I am getting used to her incredible strength, it's her speed and reaction time that makes everything so much more difficult. No one of her size and stature should possess the power to give a shinigami captain a difficult time. If she were a quincy or a bount, then I wouldn't be surprised, but I'm feeling nothing from her."

Jumping over the purple blade that nearly bisected him in two at the waist, Kisuke quickly stabbed his zanpakuto into the roof and spun around. As his sandaled foot shot out to connect with his assailant's face, he grimaced when he once against missed. Landing awkwardly on the roof to avoid leaving himself open to a counterattack, Kisuke pulled Benihime out of the roof and turned to his opponent.

"How very interesting."

Ever the scientist, Kisuke's mind began analyzing his opponent's abilities as best as he could, "Even with less than a second of warning, she still managed to not only avoid my attack, but also widen the distance between us to lessen the chance of another surprise attack from me. The question that's bugging me is how she keeps managing to do it. It is illusions, clones, or some other type of technique?"

Feeling a slight breeze through his hair, Kisuke reached up and noticed that his favorite bucket hat, the same one Yoruichi had given him many years ago as a gift, was missing. Looking down at the roof, Kisuke saw that it was neatly split in two from front to back.

"Well now," Kisuke drawled as he knelt and picked up the pieces of his hat, "I do believe you killed my hat. That wasn't very nice of you. While I would love to chide you about such rudeness, I must admit that I did not think you would track me down so quickly. Your ability to sense my location is truly frightening. If you don't mind me asking, how did you manage to find me so quickly?"

Kisuke's opponent looked oddly at him before smiling cutely, "That's easy! Nobody can stop me. I can go wherever I want to!"

"You don't say…" Even though he was smirking on the outside, internally Kisuke was grimacing. If this girl could track him, someone who Aizen couldn't find even if he wanted to, then he was going to need some extra help if he wanted to get out of this fight alive and in one piece. With both Yoruichi and Tessai gone, and Shinji's group either back in Soul Society or out of town on personal errands, it seemed as if Kisuke had picked the worst day to get into a fight.

Glancing at his injured shoulder, which was still bleeding quite heavily, Kisuke decided to stall for time, "It's been quite some years since I fought someone able to keep me on my toes. It looks like I'll have to take this fight seriously or I might actually die."

"That's quite the funny word – might," Nui Harime beamed happily at the praise Kisuke was giving her. Clapping her hands together and sticking her tongue out in a cute gesture, she added, "But that's a bad choice of words. You actually believe I'm not going to kill you? I didn't know you were delusional, Mr. Urahara."

"And you know my name. That's both disturbing and flattering."

Due to the lull in the fight, Kisuke took a moment to more carefully analyze Nui Harime's appearance. With exaggerated and long blonde hair pulled up into twin drill-style pigtails and a pink Lolita-style dress, she looked to be the epitome of what kids nowadays call a princess. It was odd, now that Kisuke thought about it, that Nui's attire reminded him of what Ururu had tried to pick out for herself a few months ago. While Kisuke wasn't against the idea, if you consider cheering her on to be neutral, Tessai had been the voice of reason and explained to Ururu the fallacies of such scandalous clothing.

Focusing on Nui's blue eyes, one of which was covered by an eye patch consisting of scrunched together katakana that he couldn't make out from where he was standing, Kisuke thought back to the moment he realized how dangerous Nui Harime truly was.

When Nui first appeared at his shop, she had been carrying a pink parasol that had been sturdy enough to initially block his zanpakuto. It was only after he released Benihime's shiaki and sliced the parasol in two that Nui had brought out her current weapon. If that wasn't strange enough, Kisuke had noticed a dark look flash across Nui's face for the barest of moments after he destroyed her parasol.

The purple blade Nui wielded was perhaps the most dangerous variable about her. While she possessed superhuman speed and strength, her blade is what gave her a distinct advantage over him. Even Benihime's shikai cannot stand up to it for extended durations without developing chips and cracks along the edge.

"Do you mind answering a simple man's curiosity, young lady?"

Nui seemed to think about it for a moment, her finger tapping against her nose, before answering, "Sure!"

"It's about your name," Kisuke knew what he was about to say might be dangerous, but it should also give him some valuable information depending on what she said, "Nui Harime. That is quite the odd name if I do say so myself. Nui means 'sewing' and Harime 'stitch.' Those would be quite odd names in a normal situation, but given the fact that you seem to be after whatever Life Fibers are, I would have to assume there is a connection between you and them. Am I wrong?"

Nui blinked owlishly once before smiling. If someone who didn't know her saw the smile, they would assume she was happy about something. Kisuke, on the other hand, saw something extremely dangerous in it. He needed an avenue of escape.

"While I have enjoyed the time spent playing with you, I am a businessman. If I don't get back to my store soon, hooligans and ruffians are sure to break in and steal all my stuff. Do you mind if we continue this little play date of ours at another time? I know some people that would love to meet you."

Nui Harime plucked at her lip with her right thumb in an attempt to look cute. Kisuke, however, noticed something disturbing and odd about her movements. Whenever she moved or attacked, it was always her right arm or head that moved normally. Everything else seemed to not look quite right. Her legs seemed to bend stiffly at the knee and her left arm seemed to be perpetually stuck in the same position unless he looked away. It was as if she was trying, and failing, to mimic a human.

"Nope!" she said cheerfully, a smile slowly forming on her face, "But you already knew that, didn't you?"

"I thought as much," Kisuke answered, a cold sweat breaking out across the back of his neck. There was something incredibly unsettling about that smile.

"Well…" Nui planted her purple scissor blade into the roof, the sharpened blade easily piercing through the concrete. Leaning upon it, she propped her cheek on her hand, "It's cute that you're trying so hard to run away, but I'm going to need those Life Fibers back."

"Life Fibers?" Kisuke focused everything he had on predicting Nui Harime's next move. He knew without a doubt that she was about to attack him. Every single fiber of his being agreed with him on that, the only problem was that she was too damn unpredictable for his genius mind to figure out what it was she was going to do, "I must insist that I don't know what you're talking about. I am but a simple purveyor of goods and sweets. I wouldn't happen to know a thing about Life Fibers."

"Hmm…" Nui blinked before smiling widely, "It's so adorable that you're lying directly to my face. I'm going to have to punish you now."

Kisuke blinked once and found Nui in the air directly in front of him with a psychotic grin on her face. Jumping back to avoid being hit, he quickly found himself rapidly exchanging blows with Nui's Scissor Blade.

"Amazing!" Nui's infuriating girlish voice announced with glee, "This is really fun, but are you going to tell me where the Life Fibers are?"

"I thought I told you already," Kisuke ducked beneath Nui's purple Scissor Blade before jumping straight up in the air. As he waited for Nui to follow him, as he knew she would, Kisuke added, "I don't know what Life Fibers are."

Disappearing in a burst of shunpo, much to Nui's surprise, Kisuke reappeared behind her and purposely swung Benihime at her neck. Easily dodging the beheading strike, as Kisuke anticipated, Nui was unprepared for the equally fast sandal to the face that threw her through the air and into the side of a nearby building with enough force to create an audible boom.

"That should buy me some time to think of a more permanent solution for dealing with Nui." For as much strength and power Kisuke put into that kick, the former captain knew that his opponent wasn't even hurt. It was quite strange dealing with an opponent who was either much more durable than a shinigami or arrancar, which was looking more likely by the second, or whose regeneration was so staggeringly fast that the moment his foot left her cheek, Nui was already completely healed.

As Kisuke waited for Nui to come bouncing out of the rubble and debris with a smile on her face and completely injured, he went over his limited options, "Kidou is out of the question. I've already tried to cast a level 90 binding kidou on her and she didn't even feel it. Perhaps it has to do with the strange feeling I feel coming from her. Spiritual energy may simply not affect her. I need to get to Isshin as quickly as possible and inform him about what's happening. As long as Nui is allowed to run freely through Karakura Town, Ichigo will be in danger."

"What are you thinking about Mr. Urahara?"

Kisuke's eyes widened in surprise as he felt Nui Harime appear directly behind him. Slowly turning around, he locked gazes with her single blue eye, which was filled with an unholy mirth. With a sickeningly sweet smile on her face, Nui swung down with her purple Scissor Blade and cut a large gash across Kisuke's back.

"Huh?" Nui looked at the blood dribbling off her Scissor Blade before looking at Kisuke, "How odd. I could have sworn I bifurcated you. You are really full of surprises Mr. Urahara."

"Ha…ha…" Kisuke breathed raggedly as he stared down Nui. What she did just now to get behind him was impossible, strike that, merely implausible. There should have been some warning before she appeared, but yet it was almost as if she simply imagined herself behind him. If Nui's abilities were actually based on imagination, it would be nearly impossible to beat her.

"You're still alive, huh," Nui pouted childishly and rocked on her heels, "This is becoming really boring, so I'm going to have to wrap things up now. Try not to die too quickly, Mr. Urahara."

Spinning around and laughing girlishly, Nui threw her hands out and exclaimed, "Mon-Mignon Prêt-à-Porter!"

As Kisuke found himself surrounded by copies of Nui Harime, as weak compared to the original as they may be, he recalculated the odds of his survival and found it to be dropping by the second. As the Nui copies laughed and leapt at him, Kisuke smirked and ruffled his hair.

"So, you're going to zerg rush me huh?" Raising Benihime up, spiritual energy coursing through the blade, Kisuke prepared himself for perhaps the last fight of his long life, "That's fine by me, but you're going to have to work for it."


"Ugh…this used to be so much easier when I could just jump down."

It was times like this that Ichigo realized how much he took his shinigami powers for granted. Kisuke's Secret Training Room was nearly a quarter mile below the surface with the only way down being via jumping or taking the ladder so conveniently provided. In the past, Ichigo had taken the easy way down and simply jumped while using his spiritual pressure to soften his landing. Now that he was just a normal human, he was forced to take the hard way down.

Landing on the dirt with a soft impact, Ichigo massaged his hands to get the blood circulating through them once more, "When Kisuke gets back, I'm going to have him install an elevator. This is just ridiculous."

Huffing in frustration, Ichigo looked around the training grounds. It looked just as he remembered it. The artificial sunlight emanating from some unseen light source kept the giant room in a state of perpetual afternoon, the painted clouds overhead only seeming to add to the fakeness of the room. Taking a few steps forward, his eyes surveying his surroundings for any surprises, Ichigo tried to remember where Kisuke told him to look.

"He said something about a funny looking rock…" he mumbled and began walking away from the ladder, "What could that mean?"

Ichigo's question was soon answered, much to his eternal annoyance. Kisuke had said it was a funny looking rock. What the bastard failed to mention was that by that, he meant it was a rock in a terribly bad caricature of Ichigo. It even made Rukia's drawings look like the work of a master.

"That bastard," Ichigo growled. If Kisuke survived whatever was happening to him, Ichigo was going to kill him for this terrible insult. Putting aside his completely rational hatred for the man, for the moment at least, Ichigo looked around the rock for whatever it was Kisuke had left for him. When he found it, Ichigo was caught completely off guard by what it was.

"The hell does that bastard take me for?"

Carefully wrapped in plastic and tied neatly together with string was a school uniform. Turning it over, in case Kisuke was playing mind games with him, Ichigo noticed a piece of paper fall gently to the ground. Ignoring the uniform for the moment, he reached down and picked the piece of paper off the ground. Unfolding it, he saw it was a letter addressed to him from Kisuke.

Dear Ichigo,

If you are reading this note then I am either dead or missing…just kidding! I'm joking so wipe that frown off your face. Anyway, you may be wondering why this uniform is so special or why I hid it behind this funny looking rock in my basement. Well, this uniform is quite special since I designed it using the Life Fibers your friend Uryu procured for me. If you see Uryu before I do, please make sure to thank him for his wonderful donation. The applications of Life Fibers are tremendous and I fear I have only just begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities.

Onto more serious matters, this uniform is made purely from Life Fibers, which Uryu claims make it a Kamui or something. I would have chosen something more awesome like Super Amazing Uniform of Unbridled Power but Yoruichi thought that sounded stupid. I feel I should mention that Uryu warned me about the inherent risks of attempting such a feat, but I think I managed to negate all possible ramifications.

This Kamui is tailored specifically for your body. You might be asking yourself how I was able to accomplish such a wonderful feat. The answer, my naïve pupil, is quite simple. I merely snuck into your room in the middle of the night, stripped you down naked, and measured each and every aspect of your body. I also took a few blood and DNA samples because you can never have enough of those lying around. Once I was done, I used a marker to doodle all over your face in ink that you cannot see.

That was another joke…or was it?

Actually, your father was kind enough to give me every detail about your body. So make sure to wear this special uniform when you go to Honnouji Academy. Oh! Don't forget the most important aspect about this Kamui…it's hand wash only, so be sure to brush up on your laundry skills!

Your Superior,

~Kisuke Urahara~

P.S. – I should probably mention that you shouldn't get blood on it, but it's not like you're going to get into a fight to save humanity or anything.

P.P.S. – Don't tell anyone what this is. Pretend like it is a normal uniform.

P.P.P.S – Oh, I almost forgot, you should begin thinking of a name for your uniform. I know what you're thinking, 'why the hell is crazy old Kisuke Urahara making me choose a name for a uniform?' Well, that is a stupid question Ichigo. Everything I do has a purpose, even something like what I just wrote. Didn't you say the same thing about your zanpakuto once? Stop thinking stupid questions Ichigo. And yes, I can read your thoughts even though I wrote this letter days ago. I am THAT good.

"Idiot," Ichigo spat and tucked away the note in his pocket before looking at the uniform.

At first glance it looked like a normal school uniform except for the odd color scheme. It looked similar to the grey blazer and trousers that were standard at Karakura High School except that instead of being grey, it was white with black highlights along the legs, arms and near the collar. Tearing the plastic off the Kamui, he was not going to call it that, it just sounded stupid, Ichigo unfolded it and held it up at arms length.

There was something else strange about the Kamui, but it took Ichigo a few moments to realize what it was. Located near the collar, situated near the front of both shoulders, were designs in the shape of closed eyes.

"What's so special that Kisuke risked his life to hide you?" Ichigo flipped the Kamui around and even inside out, as if there was a secret he could only find if he looked hard enough. Not finding anything, he eventually gave up and began heading back to the ladder, the Kamui tucked firmly under his arm, "Ah, screw it. I'll find out from him when he gets back. It's not like anything can kill that man. I mean, if Aizen couldn't take him out, then who can?"