A/N: This is my thanksgiving gift to all my readers. I've had this idea for a very long time but it took me a ridiculous amount of time to come up with a title for it. Plus, I haven't really got a chance to write anything because I've been hard at work. Anyway enjoy. -Xinn
Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable.
Musical Inspiration: Broken Crown by Mumford & Sons
Gathered in the Kurosaki living area in the home/medical practice of the Kurosaki family, Ichigo and his close friends, family, and allies discussed and debated over the recent news that they were being confronted with. "The new temporary Central 46 has been plotting," neither Ichigo nor his nakama, and family surrounding him so much as twitch at the bad news being laid at their' feet. War might have ripped the world apart, but Seireitei politics slept for no one.
It was a true testament to the bonds forged between Ichigo's nakama and the Gotei 13, that Hanataro was there at all, in a most assuredly illegal gigai, and on an unsanctioned mission to give them the heads up regarding their' position in Soul Society state of affairs. "They're planning on going after you first Ichigo-dono, in hopes that holding you hostage will in turn subdue your allies. They're hoping you are still in a worse shape than the free agents they're sending are." The now fifth seat of fourth division couldn't even bring himself to look upon the faces of the people whom had saved all of Soul Society.
Uryuu's snort of distain cut through the silence as surely as one of his Quincy arrows. "How is this anything new? The supposed heavenly courts, and Central in particular have proven on more than one occasion that they will take any advantage they can get, either put us under their' thumb, or kill us in order to eliminate any threat to their' precious order. The only way we're going to be completely free, is if we kill the bastards first." Next to him Orihime ever kind, and unfailingly cheerful, grimaced daintily down at the steaming bowl of hojicha cradled in her hands.
"Is there nothing we can do to stop this Yamada-kun?" Her subdued plea was met with depressed silence. There wasn't anything anyone could do to stop the Central 46 plot to bring Ichigo and his friends under heel. Despite Aizen's treachery being exposed, Arrancar defecting to their' cause, and Vizard siding with them even though Soul Society's betrayed them before, even the support of the nobles in Ichigo's favor wasn't enough to sway the majority. Worse, there was nothing Ichigo's supporters within the Gotei could do either. If they weren't still recovering themselves, then they were in no position to argue against the ruling, either from lack of time, lack of energy, or lack of authority.
"Sorry to break it to ya love," Hirako nonchalantly sipped from his own bowl of tea across from her, "but the boy wouldn't be here if there was anything done for it." The blond slouched casually over the table between himself, Uryuu, Orihime, and the Kurosaki sisters. Behind them, Isshin sprawled just as casually across the overstuffed blue couch, next to, from what Hirako understood to be Isshin's wife's ridiculous portrait.
The Visored was hardly fooled. Hirako might not have known the old captain of the tenth division very well during their' Shinigami days, but he was familiar with this Shiba's particular flare for the dramatic. And a calm and quiet Isshin usually meant the former Shinigami was ready to murder something. As if confirming his thoughts, the doctor sent him a grin that contained all teeth. "I hope you two are suggesting that we start another war? The kids have school after all." And Hirako could hear the threat all too clearly in Isshin's tone.
"You got ta better plan Captain?" the dig was as juvenile as it was deliberate, a blatant invitation to violence. The dark eyed exile returned the wraith-sharp grin, silently wondering where the sloth like Isshin got off telling these kids what they should be doing. It didn't matter if the Vizard agreed that going to war was a bad idea, as far as Hirako was concerned, the former reaper lost the right to play father the moment he let his son run off to war without even the good sense and barest sentient dignity of telling his own son who and what he truly was.
But just as it looked as if the older Kurosaki was going to take him up on his offer, a rusted voice intervened, "Stop it." Almost automatically Hirako's hand flinched away from Sakanade's hilt. And every eye in the room turned toward the table occupied by cat Yuroichi and Urahara. And there between them Ichigo sat, resplendent in a curious mix of strength and vulnerability. No one could've foreseen the dramatic changes Ichigo's human body would undergo once his spirit reentered it.
The former Shinigami's once spiky mop, seemed to have sprout like wild jungle vines, growing long enough to easily put Ukitake to shame, and fast enough to give his feline teacher whiplash. His body, already toned from years of practicing martial arts in one form or another, could never compare to his spiritual form. Yet when the all but dying boy's spiritual body merged with his mortal one, it was like he went through ever battle, torture, and or training he'd ever experienced as a Shinigami within a five minute period. The pain was so great that the teenager had to be knocked out. But even unconsciousness couldn't stop the steady flow of tears from carving a crusty path down his chiseled features.
And when the boy woke, it was like a switch was flipped. Not only was Ichigo's power gone, but everything that made the substitute a force of nature was gone too. Often harangued scowls and rash actions were replaced by blank stares, and eerie stillness. Personally, the blond preferred the moody teenager, to the seemingly automatons young man he had become. The changes were so sudden and so startling that it was impossible to hide from Yuzu and Karin, but it didn't stop their' fool father from trying. And after three days of explaining the changes away with all manner of ridiculousness, it was Ichigo who caved, and told his sisters the truth.
Now months later they watch their' brother scolded their' father like an errant child, and couldn't be gladder for it. "We have enough shit to worry about without one more pissing contest to add to the pile we're currently trying to crawl out of. If you two want to kill each other, fine! But before you do, pull up your big girl panties and help us survive this." The sight of Ichigo's trademark glower made everyone in the room positively euphoric. Even Ryuken, who only knew the boy through his volunteer work at his hospital, and Isshin's intrusive gossiping, cracked a microscopic smile.
"What do we do then?" And just like that, the strings of marionette were cut, and Ichigo went back to being a shade cohabitating the strawberry blonde's body. Uryuu immediately looked repentant, but that didn't save the Quincy from the menagerie of glares now aimed his way. He fidgeted under the combined glower of the adults, and his fellow ryoka, but didn't back down. The truth of their' situation bore repeating, and the archer would keep driving the point home until it sunk in. "The Soul Society isn't going to just leave us alone. We're all clear on that point? They will find us and they will kill us all."
"Yare, yare Ishida-kun, Ichigo-kun, there is no need to be so dramatic," Urahara finally interjected, before the room could descend into chaos with everyone throwing their' own 2 cents in. The shop owner deliberately snapped his fan open, hiding the grimace that graced his usual easy smile behind its folds. It took all the centuries of accumulated self control not to flinch when his protégé' didn't even look at him. "I have a plan after all." The blond felt only minutely like himself at the incredulous glares he received in return.
Suoh Yuzuru chairman of Ouran Academy looked over the latest batch of applicants with his usual fare of due diligence. It doesn't matter if the millionaire had to review a few dozen or a few hundred; he was determined to have at least half of the stack sorted by the end of the day. The mild-mannered businessman determinedly ignored how high the pile was upon his 15th century English antique desk. Quietly shifting through the files with assorted transcripts, recommendations, and background checks, Yuzuru wasn't even a third of the way to separating those that didn't pass Ouran's vigorous background checks from those that the chairman would examine more in-depth, when he came upon 2 transfer request in particular that caught his eye.
Ishida Uryuu was a shocking enough candidate on his own, being the yet to be presented to high society heir of the mysterious Ishida clan. The very same clan that was confirmed to have Japanese Imperial blood flowing through their' veins, and rumored to have that very same blood going back as far as the Kojiki. But it was the second appeal, also made by Ishida-kun's father, which had the usually placid businessman's well maintained sharp brows rising in incredulity.
Kurosaki Ichigo was the only son of Kurosaki Masaki, the scion of the long thought extinct Kurosaki clan, a family that also shared close ties with the Imperial family. The woman had survived long enough to marry a commoner and have 3 children; Ishida-san's letter of recommendation informed him. The eldest of which, showed promise as a trauma surgeon. This more than anything clinched his decision. Despite the often distant attitude of the Ishida clan head, Ishida Ryuken's perfectionism in his field was well known.
And looking at the records of the boy's academic and volunteer history, Suoh could see what the noble saw in Kurosaki. His eyes narrowed upon the less than stellar history of violence attached to the report, along with the list of associates besides the Ishida heir. Kurosaki was one step away from being a thug, and administrator had a hard enough time convincing the parent board to allow Ritsu Kasanoda, a yakuza heir to attend. A quiet smirk tugged incessantly upon Yuzuru's. He always did love a challenge.