AN: The author does not claim ownership of Bleach or Highschool DxD; they are the property of their respective owners. The author has no desire to profit off of the publication of this fan work and does not endorse any attempts to do so. Preliminary notes:
Thanks to all of those who have been favoriting, following, and reviewing. Your metaphorical pizza rolls have been sent in the mail, those living in the United States should expect them in a few days; for anyone outside the country it may take longer. Previous notes from Chapter 1 remain in effect.
Everyone go thank general zargon for being a beta this chapter. In addition, this author has been a great idea-bouncer. Go check out his/her Bleach/DxD/Gamer crossover, Game of Life and Devils, which I had the pleasure of helping out on!
He had just said goodbye to Tsumetai after school two days after their date when something lunged at Ichigo, prompting him to dive out of the way. A clawed hand narrowly missed his face, and instead made three jagged cuts along his shoulder. Ichigo's reaction was swift: he struck at his attacker's head, forcing it down onto the sidewalk, where it lay. With this move came a lull from the fighting, and Ichigo got a good look at his latest opponent.
Long black hair was the most obvious defining feature, along with what looked like a dress. Her hands seemed to be oversized claws, with enlarged blood red nails. But what intrigued the Substitute Shinigami the most were the bat-like wings protruding from his female adversary. The wings seemed to sag slightly, and were marred horribly by varicose veins. Something sounding like sobs emanated from the girl.
"What the hell was that for?" Ichigo demanded.
He was only greeted by something sounding like a sniffle, and he turned away, considering his next move.
"I killed him."
Ichigo froze upon hearing the comment from the girl. Deciding to resolve this quickly, he repeated his maneuver that he had used on his mortal body after defeating Kalawarner, albeit with the girl. He exited his body via the combat pass, before collecting his limp body and the girl's barely moving form. Her only movement as he shunpoed above the city was to clutch his shihakusho harder and to intensify her sobs. He looked down in response to this, before continuing on his way to a certain shop. She was pretty, and well-endowed, now that he had a look at her from the front. Her dress was more ripped there as well, showing off her breasts through tattered cloth. The sight caused Ichigo to avert his eyes, embarrassed.
Settling down, he shouldered his way through the shop's door, placing his body on the floor near the entrance. Making his way once again to Urahara's workshop, the storeowner gave a surprised look at the girl.
"Yeah, although I don't think this is a Fallen Angel, Hat-and-Clogs."
"That's right. Based on the wings, I would say that you've got a devil in your arms," Urahara noted, appraising Ichigo's attacker.
"She said she killed someone."
Urahara stepped forward and gently pried the one of the girl's hands from Ichigo's shihakusho and then inspected the claw. His face seemed to become more somber.
"A Stray Devil."
The girl's sobs stopped abruptly, and her hand returned to Ichigo's shihakusho, clutching even harder.
"What's a Stray Devil?" Ichigo asked, confused.
"You could consider them like the devil equivalent of a Gillian-they are hungry, violent, and far from humanoid as time goes on. They usually kill their devil master and lose the power that gives them their sanity. Their master provides the power, in exchange for servitude in the Evil Pieces system."
"Evil Pieces?" Ichigo asked, eyebrow cocked.
"A way of producing more devils from non-devil entities. They're red chess pieces-" Ichigo froze. He almost didn't catch Urahara's next words. "-that provide power and ensure loyalty to those who wish to serve a devil."
"So what do we do with her?"
"I'm afraid we are most likely going to have to kill her. They kill innocent humans to feed themselves in many cases, and she's most likely wanted for murdering her master," Urahara explained.
The girl's sobs returned, unlike before when they had been more like soft hiccups upon being proclaimed a Stray Devil. Both Shinigami looked at her, Urahara with a mixture of distaste and pity, while Ichigo's face seemed stony and concentrated.
"If she were given a new Evil Piece, would she go back to normal?" Ichigo asked.
"Most likely. But none of the devils in the suburbs will accept her."
Ichigo looked down at the crying figure that seemed unwilling to detach herself from him, brow furrowing in thought. He began setting her down on the wooden floor of the shop, attempting to get her to let go of his clothing. Eventually, a mixture of gravity and a gradually weakened grip led to the girl tumbling to the floor. Ichigo drew his two swords before uttering a single word.
His swords morphed in seconds, and this time the chess pieces morphed up from the tiles, fifteen pieces once again. Urahara raised an eyebrow as Ichigo looked at the pieces, wondering which to choose. While he had no idea whether this idea would work, the superficial resemblance of his chess pieces to Evil Pieces as described by Urahara made him wonder if their purpose was similar. The idea of 'servitude' was most likely the 'connection' described by Zangetsu. Fortunately the seal on is sword held, leaving Karakura Town without any large craters.
The girl had merely lain on the floor and curled up into the fetal position, shielding her head with her oversized, clawed hands. A slight whimper escaped her as Ichigo took a step forward, while Urahara's attention focused on the chessboard that floated at his side.
After a minute's pause, a pawn began to levitate above the chessboard. It drifted towards the girl, striking her in a flash of light. She began to scream as her wings seemed to flex out as far as possible. The ugly varicose veins seemed to fade from her wings, resulting in a pair of strong wings unmarred by anything. The girl's hands began to shrink, assuming a normal proportion. Claw-like fingers retreated inward and oversized nails were seemingly trimmed down. The girl was left there, normal in appearance with the exception of her wings, and a black knife that reminded Ichigo of an animal claw beside her.
"Interesting…and those are part of your bankai?" Urahara asked, a grim expression on his face.
"Fascinating…." Urahara trailed off, hand on his chin as he thought.
"Will you be able to keep her here?" Ichigo asked, looking on at the girl. She had gone limp, her eyes staring blankly at her surroundings.
"I think that's a question best posed to your dad about keeping her at your house, Ichigo."
"W-what!" Ichigo spluttered. "My dad will-"
"-Have no problem with you taking in a pretty girl," Urahara interrupted, a smile on his face.
The voice was nearly inaudible, but it was heard. Ichigo and Urahara's necks seemed to move at lightning speed to look at the girl. Shakily moving to her knees, the girl wobbled, nearly collapsed, and then steadied herself.
"Viser. Name," Viser croaked.
Back in his normal body, Ichigo supported an exhausted Viser as they walked towards his home. She had been silent since giving her name to him and Hat-and-Clogs, which had led to a fruitless fifteen minutes of questioning. Now Ichigo was stuck taking the former Stray Devil home. While his dad would most likely know something about her species since he had been a Shinigami Captain, his sisters would be confused by her presence.
The knife Viser had been found with after the chess piece had touched her was currently in her right hand, which also grasped the blanket that allowed her to keep her breasts covered. Urahara had effectively cheated him over the piece of cloth. It was either a few favors or risking getting arrested for public indecency. Not to mention Ichigo had no desire for his friends to see him as he was with Viser.
Thankfully, the streets seemed to remain unfilled that evening, and he arrived home unsighted and (hopefully) his reputation untarnished. Unlike most days, his father didn't come attacking right out the door on the way home, instead opening it and looking sternly at his son.
"I hear that you've got a guest to look after," his face was grim.
"That's right," Ichigo replied.
"This isn't quite what I meant by 'bring a girl home', but..." Isshin paused as his son guided their new resident inside, and as he shut the door, his tone changed. "YOU'VE CERTAINLY BROUGHT HOME A THIRD DAUGHTER!"
Ichigo's hand came into contact with his face in a mixture of exasperation and disappointment.
"I bring home a devil, and this is how you respond?" he shouted.
"Devil?" Yuzu's head poked around the corner in confusion. Karin walked down the stairs as well, most likely curious as to the reason for the outburst. Yuzu's face showed mixed emotions, whereas Karin looked on in bored curiosity. In response to Yuzu's inquiry, Viser's wings appeared from her back, eliciting looks of interest.
"We'll talk about this later, OK?" Ichigo dodged, taking Viser to his room.
Walking up the stairs past Karin, Ichigo guided Viser into his room and shut the door behind him. Digging into his dresser, Ichigo brought out a pair of sweatpants and an old, loose shirt.
"You really should change into these," he advised.
Wordlessly, Viser mechanically began to remove the ripped remnants of her dress, causing Ichigo to panic. He was no Keigo or Kon, and had no desire to see the nude or even half-naked girl in front of him, even if she was pretty. Bringing a hand over his eyes, Ichigo turned and fumbled around behind him for the doorknob. Eventually finding it, he stepped outside and removed his hand.
"Let me know when you finish," he called.
He received no response for the next few minutes until his door opened. Stepping inside, Ichigo found his new charge scanning his room, slowly swiveling her head as she seemingly appraised every minute detail. While she did this, Ichigo left and brought out bedding from a small closet off the hallway. He re-entered, finding Viser unchanged, and began clearing his closet and then preparing the small space for someone to sleep in it.
"And, uh, you'll be sleeping in here with me, I guess," he said, attempting to get a conversation started.
Viser continued looking around the room, face passive. Ichigo felt weird showing her his room. He had no idea if she even understood what half of the things inside it were. Most Shinigami he knew had only rudimentary knowledge of modern technology, and most rank-and-file troops of the Gotei 13 didn't understand anything electric, perhaps with some exception to the Twelfth Division.
"This is a lamp." Cue flipping light switch for emphasis on its purpose.
"You can talk?"
"Of course," she replied her face still blank.
Ichigo sat on his bed, and Viser followed suit right next to him.
"Why did you save me?" Viser asked, her voice sounding hoarse. Ichigo froze, but began to think.
"I don't know…my name means 'he who protects one thing', though I really want to protect everyone who is important to me. You just latched on and it felt like you wanted me to protect you. Just sort of instinctual, I guess," he answered.
"Thank you." Viser leaned her head against his shoulder, and closed her eyes.
"It's getting late, and I have school tomorrow. You'll be sleeping in my closet, alright?" Viser gave a small nod, and moved off of him.
Ichigo had excellent reflexes. He was a light sleeper owing to years of ambushes by his questionably sane father. So that night, when his sleep was interrupted, he sprung out of bed ready for combat. The disturbance was a wailing Viser, who was crying out from his closet. Sprinting over, he opened the door to find her clutching the sheets he'd set up for her.
"Shhh!" he hissed.
Viser stopped, looked around, and tackled him with a hug. This was met by a painful silence, and Ichigo attempted to release himself from the Devil. Viser slackened her grip, but began to rock back and forth on the floor. This stopped Ichigo's movement to get up, and he stayed there for the next half hour, waiting for the Devil girl to fall asleep.
"How did you meet Ichigo anyway?"
Karin could only watch as her fraternal twin sister interrogated the Kurosaki household's latest guest. The Devil, Viser, had been quiet all morning. She was clad in what appeared to be a set of her older brother's retired clothing, while Karin and her sister were dressed in their school uniforms. Ichigo was already on his way to school, leaving Yuzu the ability to ask any questions, since their father was getting the clinic ready for its usual hectic schedule.
"He's already got a girlfriend, so why does he go and stick his neck out for some strange Devil like you. Demons are always the bad guys in the horror movies!" Yuzu continued.
Viser visibly stiffened at the girlfriend remark, and then her eyes narrowed at being called a demon.
"Not primitive demon. Devil."
Karin watched as Yuzu gave a withering look at Viser, but the long-haired girl just stared at her plate. Viser had eaten very little so far and had done so slowly. Yuzu seemed to be contemplating on her next choice while Viser took another slow bite of food.
"Yuzu, we don't have all day for this, so let's go. We'll be late for school."
Karin caught a thankful look from Viser for her interruption. She herded her seething sister towards the door, thankfully avoiding some altercation that would anger the two girls' brother. Unfortunately, Yuzu refused to leave without a final shot.
"Hey, Karin. Isn't Ichigo's girlfriend coming for dinner tonight?" Yuzu asked, deliberately raising her voice.
"Yes, Yuzu," Karin replied, finally getting Yuzu across the door's threshold.
While they didn't see Viser's face, a loud thud could be heard, reminiscent of a knife striking a cutting board. Both of which were tools that had been used by Yuzu to make breakfast.
"You want to be a manga artist?" asked Tsumetai.
Ichigo froze up and tried to cover up his doodles. However, his friend's hand managed to slide one of the half-sheets in her direction. She appraised the panel. A stylized figure in a black figure raising a sword occupied the panel along with a blob that he had intended to be a Hollow.
"No...just doodling out an idea I had," he explained. "It's about a high schooler who gets supernatural powers to fight evil monsters. It's nothing serious."
"Sounds like a bunch of different manga I've heard of," Tsumetai noted playfully.
"All right, all right," he said, somewhat embarrassed. "Can I have it back?"
Tsumetai handed it to him, and Ichigo packed it up with the others after sticking it back in its proper place. He had some explaining to do for Viser, and with any luck his drawings were better than Rukia's.
Ichigo seemed to tense up as they approached his house, making Kalawarner wonder what was wrong. He'd warned her beforehand that his dad was a little on the 'unusual side' (those were her words, Ichigo had called his father downright crazy at times). So naturally, she was interested in meeting him. It was important to find out which of his parents was a Reaper. She knew Ichigo had two sisters, and his mother was dead, unfortunately. Since her boyfriend had been very vague on the death of his mother, it was very likely that she was the Reaper of the family. It didn't matter that Ichigo was only half Reaper, as perfectly strong individuals could come from half-human and half-supernatural being unions.
Ichigo slowly opened the door, holding it for her. Kalawarner gave a nod of thanks. She entered a modest house, Ichigo right behind her. They were both still in their school uniforms, and the house remained silent.
A man in an ugly floral print short and lab coat seemed to leap in from the houses kitchen, a joyous look on his face. He seemed practically bounded towards them, until a hand snapped out and grabbed his arm firmly. The man let out an anguished cry as he slipped off his feet and landed on the ground.
"I told you my dad was bad," Ichigo whispered in her ear. Kalawarner chuckled. Apparently Ichigo had been right.
"Hi. I'm Karin, Ichigo's sister."
The responsible party for Ichigo's father's fall stepped out and introduced herself. Karin was dressed casually in a set of sports-related clothes, her hair set up in a ponytail that reminded Kalawarner of her current hairstyle, except Karin's hair was black, and as she turned, it was obvious that Karin's ponytail was much shorter.
"Yuzu! Ichigo's girlfriend is here!" Karin called.
The sound of footsteps on stairs was heard, and a very different girl appeared. Clad in a dress with brown hair, this sister seemed to be the opposite of Karin. Yuzu appraised her with a serious look, and then promptly nodded.
"Hi!" Yuzu's tone was cheerful, but sounded forced.
"C'mon, I'll show you around in a bit," Ichigo said. Kalawarner stepped over the prone body of the Kurosaki patriarch, who had merely groaned dramatically throughout the introductions. It was rather disconcerting to see Ichigo move one of his father's sprawled arms with his foot in a manner that suggested disgust.
More footsteps confused Kalawarner. All members of Ichigo's household were there, so who else could be here? Perhaps the candy shop-owning uncle from a few weeks ago? This question was answered by a girl about Ichigo's age with incredibly long hair. Stepping down the stairs, the girl was clad in what looked like a guy's clothes. The t-shirt she wore seemed to have been modified into a crop top, though it didn't reveal much.
"Who's this, Ichigo?" Kalawarner asked, suspicious.
"Tsumetai, this is Viser. She's the daughter of one of my dad's old friends," Ichigo introduced, stepping between them.
Viser glared at her like she would prefer to see her mangled corpse rather than how she was now. So, she had a little competition. In her current state, Viser outclassed her in terms of assets, but it would be interesting to see how Viser would stack up against her real form.
"Nice to meet you, Viser," Kalawarner said, trying to get a response.
Viser gave only a nod, her murderous look never leaving Kalawarner. Evidently Viser wasn't going to let it rest. Something also felt off about the guest of the Kurosaki household. It was hard to place, but Kalawarner felt that Viser wasn't human. Fine, she could deal with that.
Ichigo eventually led her past the silent guest, leading her up the stairs. From there, a tour of the house began. It was a little cramped, especially since part of the house was devoted to serving as a clinic. Ichigo's room was one of the more spacious in the house, though by looking at his closet he was sharing the room with someone.
"Ichigo!" Yuzu called from below, interrupting Kalawarner's appraisal.
"Hang on for a bit," her boyfriend said, leaving and moving to the stairs. Kalawarner quickly moved to the closet, finding little more than a mattress and a bed setup. A little more searching nearby revealed the remnants of a dress. No travel bags only confirmed Kalawarner's suspicions that Viser wasn't a normal guest.
"Hey, Tsumetai?" Ichigo poked his around the corner, and Kalawarner pretended to be looking through his bookshelf.
"Yes?" she responded.
"We're ready for dinner," he said.
"Alright!" Kalawarner replied, and followed him down.
The dinner was fairly standard, though it was well-cooked and prepared for a Fallen Angel. She and the other Fallen Angels usually ate out due to their current base of operations poor conditions. Throughout the meal, Kalawarner realized she had three gazes settled on her. Isshin, Ichigo's father, seemed to watch her carefully. Yuzu tracked every move and statement, making it feel as though she was going through an evaluation rather than dinner. Viser's mood remained unchanged, and she continued to glare.
Eventually, dinner ended, and a further hour of conversation followed. This allowed her to learn quite a bit about their family, from Yuzu and Karin's school life and extracurricular activities to Ichigo's latest complaint about a former employer by the name of Ikumi Unagiya. When questions were directed at her, she answered as vaguely as possible, but said that she lived with an uncle (Dohnaseek) and two sisters (Mittelt and Raynare) in the suburbs. She mentioned Ichigo's encounter with the Perverted Trio to laughter from Isshin, and overall the night was pleasant. Viser had dodged any questions leveled at her with help from the Kurosakis, piquing her curiosity further.
Like all good things, it came to an end, and Ichigo walked her to the Karakura station and bid her good night. With her deadline expiring, Kalawarner decided perhaps it would be best to be honest with Ichigo.
Viser continued to wake up at night under the same conditions throughout the week. Lacking even more sleep than usual, Ichigo had been ready to fall asleep in school since the third day. As he looked around the classroom with a bored expression, the teacher's lecture seemed to lull him into shutting his eyes. Laying his head down on his arms, Ichigo attempted to sleep.
"Mr. Kurosaki, please pay attention."
The chastisement brought him back to attention, and Ichigo gave a bleary-eyed nod of acknowledgment. Tsumetai gave a concerned look from her seat several desks away, before turning back to focus on the lesson at hand. This mood continued throughout the day, until he finally stepped out of Kuoh with Tsumetai.
"Just didn't sleep well."
"You've been having sleep problems all week," his girlfriend noted.
The two students walked in silence, awkwardly, on their usual route to their respective homes. Eventually, the two arrived at their normal separation point, and they stopped.
"Ichigo, you know, there's something I've been wanting to tell you." Tsumetai leaned in, her face edging towards his.
The girl who he'd come to know over his first two weeks at Kuoh leaned in and kissed him. And a pair of black wings erupted from her back. Blue hair extended, breaking from the confines of its ponytail. Her school uniform seemed to shred to pieces, leaving an embarrassed Ichigo with a naked girl very close to him. New clothes went on to replace the old ones-a revealing violet jacket and exceptionally short skirt, and Tsumetai ended the kiss by jumping back. She withdrew a golden necklace from her jacket and placed it around her neck. However, his girlfriend's bag and the long, wrapped up object that she had brought with her that day remained undamaged.
This proclamation was followed by a Kalawarner adjusting her hairstyle, brushing her hair over one of her eyes. An almost sad look on her face did nothing to dissuade Ichigo from bringing out his combat pass and slamming it against his chest.
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