Chapter 2

Tatsuki woke up in a small house that she did not recognize. She quickly hopped up from the covers that she laid in and surveyed where she was. A green floor, wooden edo style walls with a door built into it. To her right, there was a tray with some food. How did she get here? This didn't seem like a dangerous spot. Tatsuki thought for a moment to recall what happened last.

"Orihime!" She remembered now. The assassin, the power, all the blood…and Ichigo?

Tatsuki fell to her knees tears once again filling her eyes as she struggled to understand what happened. Why would anyone want to hurt someone as sweet and perfect as Orihime? And so ruthlessly, with no explanation whatsoever. Tatsuki felt so angry, hurt, and most significantly, broken. It made absolutely no sense to her why her best friend was murdered. This whole tragic ordeal seemed like a nightmare that Tatsuki couldn't wake up from.

"Tatsuki…" The door slid open and Tatsuki's eyes lifted up to see the person who entered the doorway and spoke to her. It was Ichigo Kurosaki. He had a depressed expression and long face, it was evident that he was grieving too from this unjust turn of events.

"Ichigo…" Tatsuki spoke through sobs, and then was filled with rage towards her friend. "Ichigo….It's your fault!"

The girl with short black hair jumped up and lunged towards Ichigo and punched him square in the face. He didn't move, flinch, or even react. Tatsuki didn't care, she still was boiling with anger and screamed in his direction. "She was involved with whatever she is involved in because of you! You and your, sword, random journeys to who knows where….Orihime always followed you on these endeavors and someone from YOUR life came in and took her from mine!"

Tatsuki kept smacking Ichigo, who stood and took them with no reaction. She didn't care, whatever his reasoning was, whatever he was feeling, she just didn't care. "If it wasn't for you….if it wasn't for you…"

"I know…" Ichigo spoke solemnly and softly. "If it wasn't for me, Orihime would never had known anything about the spirit world, shingamis, hollows, and she would still be alive. You're right, it is my fault and I am so sorry."

Tatsuki's punches ended, and she fell towards her childhood friend and began sobbing in his arms. Her anger quickly absolved to brokenness. She knew Ichigo cared for Orihime too and would never want anything bad to happen to her. After sobbing for a few minutes, Tatsuki composed herself, backed up, and sat back down on the sheets on the floor that she was asleep in.

"Ichigo I know that it isn't your fault directly that Orihime is dead." Tatsuki spoke, her voice low and quivering as she looked to the floor, unable to look the orange haired youth in the face. "You didn't stab her in the chest that other man did. I know that, and I know you are hurting too. But the fact remains, if she wasn't wrapped up with you and this crazy world you seem to be a part of that involves terrifying monsters and men with swords coming in here and killing others…she'd be safe with me today…I want to know everything Ichigo. I want you to tell me what happened to Orihime, and what you all have been up to for all these years…I HAVE to know…but I can't right now. At this moment, I can't even look at you. Please, for now, just leave."

Ichigo listened closely and nodded as Tatsuki finished speaking. Without saying another word, he turned around and left his friend to her mourning. He gently closed the doors and walked into the living room, and sat next to the home's owner, Kisuke Urahara. The candy shop owner, former captain in the soul society, sipped his tea and looked at Ichigo with compassionate eyes.

"How's your friend doing?" Kisuke asked.

"She's awake, and still processing all of it." Ichigo responded as his eyes were unable to meet his mentor's. "She's right though…Orihime is dead because of me. I don't know who that guy was, or what exactly happened last night. But had she never met me, she'd never be introduced to all this spirit world stuff, and she'd still be alive with Tatsuki today. Tatsuki is one of my oldest friends, and last night because of me she lost her very best friend."

"I wouldn't be so sure." Urahara sagely responded. "I've been thinking of everything you told me about last night and reflecting on it. You said the man used a glove to remove some stone from Orihime's dead body. That reminds me of when Aizen extracted the Hōgyoku out of Rukia's body back when you were in the soul society. I placed that in her shortly after she was born, and that makes me believe that this stone that the man took from Orihime was put there long before you two even knew each other. Do you hear what I'm saying Ichigo? Orihime has faced much danger in your name in her days…but I do not believe that this one was you're doing."

"What was that red stone anyway?" Ichigo asked, still confused on the whole turn of events.

"I have no idea." Urahara spoke plainly, "I was thinking of taking a brief trip to the soul society to do some research on just that. I was thinking you could watch over the place in my absence."

"What me?" Ichigo asked, taken off guard by this strange request, "Why should I stay here and watch your dumb house for you? I should go to the soul society, I want answers just as bad as you!"

"Yes but I do not believe you know where to look." Urahara spoke plainly, "Besides the content of the red stone and the mysterious assailant is only one half of the mystery. Don't forget the other half."

"You're talking about Tatsuki's spiritual pressure we felt earlier?"

"I am…I have never felt anything like that, and I don't mean the intensity. Everything has different types of pressure. Soul reapers, hollows, the Bounts, even your Quincy friend…they all feel distinct, and we can tell them apart. That girl though, the energy she released last night…I have absolutely no idea what it is. It was very powerful, and I have absolutely no idea what it is. That's very disconcerting. And if we noticed it here, you can assume also that people in the Soul Society caught wind of it too."

"Tatsuki…" Ichigo put his finger on chin considering the situation, "But she's just a human? Like me, and the others."

"You should know better than anyone that humans aren't always what they seem." Kisuke responded, "I want you to keep an eye on her, Ichigo. Protect her, help her through the grieving process. Her power, it seems that rage is what awakened it, and that means rage is going to be something that has the most control over her right now. There is one more thing Ichigo…"

"What's that?"

"While I'm gone, I want you to start training her to become a Shingami."

"What!? Why?" Ichigo exclaimed, the daunting task seemed like nothing at all he was equipped with.

"She has the potential to be really strong…and there is one more part of this situation that really bothers me." Urahara stood as he spoke and begun walking out the door, "That man's Zanpakuto…the description you gave me was very disconcerting. It sounded like something dangerous that I am praying is not what I think it is."

"What do you think it could be?" Ichigo asked as Urahara was now out the door of the candy shop.

The owner responded with three words right before he flash stepped away so fast that even Ichigo didn't catch which direction he went. The third words Ichigo heard were, "A forbidden Zanpakuto."

A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed my story so far! I will keep updating as I am writing and I hope you will keep reading. Feel free to let me know what you think.