So, if you are not up to date with the manga, be warned there will be spoilers. Ever since the reveal of who "Old man Zangetsu" really is I always wondered, what would happen if Ichigo's Quincy powers were suppressed and how would Ichigo grow differently. From there, I wondered how his mentality would be affected if the standard Soul Society dogma wasn't all he knew from the beginning and thus, this story was born. With that said, enjoy the story.
SSJ3 Kyuubi Gohan.
Disclaimer – I don't own anything from the Bleach anime/manga all I own are my original characters and plot twists.
'Hollow, Inner Hollow or Zanpakutou talking'
"Hollow, Inner Hollow or Zanpakutou thinking"
FlashbackChapter 1 – What's Hidden Inside
'It isn't Shinigami it's Rukia Kuchiki.' Stated the petite black-haired girl. Rukia also possessed light skin, with violet-coloured eyes, with a few strands of her hair hanging between them. She was garbed in the standard Shinigami uniform and was extending her Zanpakutou towards an orange haired boy.
'I see, Ichigo Kurosaki, let's hope this isn't the last greeting we share.' Said a fairly tall, lean-built young man, with peach skin and brown eyes.
'Too slow.' Growled the Hollow, as it charged at the pair.'Quickly!' Shouted the downed Shinigami.
'No there isn't enough time, just lunge the blade through my chest. It should hit the Hollow right in its face if you angle it upwards and it won't see it coming with my body in the way.' Said Ichigo desperately, thinking only of protecting his family, as he repositioned himself, so his back was to the Hollow.
'Tch fine, but you better not die Kurosaki.' Said a reluctant Rukia, before plunging the blade through Ichigo's chest, aided by Ichigo himself.
The Hollow, unbeknownst to what was happening, had lunged at Ichigo when he turned his back, mouth open wide in preparation of swallowing Ichigo whole.
All at once, there was a bright flash of light, hiding what was happening on the darkened street.
When the light faded away, only two entities remained, the downed Rukia and Ichigo with a mask on his face, which resembled that of a Hollow's. Ichigo soon collapsed, but Rukia had turned away from the bright flash of light and as such, she never noticed his mask and once he hit the ground, the mask shattered before disintegrating, leaving no indication of him ever having a mask.
'Well at least it worked.' Said Rukia, as she regained her bearings after having lost half of her powers.
A tall and lean-built man with light skin and grey eyes approached the scene. His hair was messy and light-blond with strands framing the sides of his face and hanging between his eyes, he also had a small amount of chin stubble. He wore a dark green shirt and pants, topped with a black coat with a white diamond pattern along its bottom half. To complete his look, he wore traditional Japanese wooden sandals and a striped-dark green and white bucket hat.
'Well, you look like you could use a Gigai.' Said the man, with a hidden glint in his eyes which were shadowed by his hat.
-line break-The next day
-line break-'Wow I still can't believe a truck did that.' Said Yuzu. Yuzu was one of Ichigo's younger sisters and possessed short, light brown hair, with short bangs hanging over the right side of her forehead. She also wore a red hairclip on the left side of her head. Her eyes were a dark brown colour and she wore a green hooded sweatshirt with an apron over it.
'I can't believe they let the criminal get away.' Said Karin angrily. Karin was Ichigo's other younger sister and Yuzu's fraternal twin, who unlike her sister, possessed dark, grey eyes and black hair that was straight and cropped to hang around her face, just above her shoulders. She was currently garbed in a green combat shirt, with a red undershirt along with black shorts and white sneakers.
"A truck? What's going on, they were there when the hollow attacked?" Thought Ichigo in confusion.
'Ah don't worry about all that girls, we're still alive right?' Placated Isshin. Isshin, the father of the three children, was a tall, muscular man with spiky black hair and brown eyes. He had thin facial hair around his mouth and on his cheeks. Isshin was currently wearing a white lab coat over his otherwise, more casual shirt and trousers.
'My dear Masaki, you were watching over us, making sure our precious daughters and delinquent son stayed safe, weren't you?' Asked Isshin, while pressing his face onto a life-sized poster of his deceased wife Masaki.
'While you're at it, take down that gigantic poster, it's pathetic.' Said Karin harshly, causing Isshin to cry and complain to his poster of Masaki about his 'cruel, heartless Karin'.
'Eh, I'm going to school now, later.' Said Ichigo, before leaving through the front door.
'Wait Ichigo, what about breakfast?' Asked Yuzu.
'Not hungry Yuzu, I'll see you later, enjoy school.' Shouted back Ichigo, before taking off in a sprint to school.
Ichigo was on his way to his usual classroom when he bumped into a girl of average height, reaching around one and a half metres in height. She had brown eyes and long, waist-length, burnt orange hair. Her most noticeable physical trait was her slender, yet curvaceous figure, for a teenager, especially in terms of her large breasts. She wore her hair in bangs tucked behind her ears with hairpins, with a full but parted fringe. Her name was Orihime Inoue.
'Oh, Orihime, hey what's up?' Said Ichigo, being broken out of his internal musings due to the bump.
'Oooh she looks great take her right now.' Said a strange voice.'What, who?' Said Ichigo looking around in confusion.
'Hey, are you even listening to me Ichigo?' Said Ichigo's childhood friend Tatsuki. Tatsuki was only a few centimetres shorter than Orihime, possessing black hair and blue eyes. Tatsuki Arisawa had a very lean frame compared to Orihime's curvier figure, but still possessed a solid C-cup. Her hair which was short and dark, was kept spiked out at the sides, in tune with her less than feminine appearance.
'A feisty one huh, they're great too.' Said the same voice Ichigo heard earlier.'Huh? Oh yeah, sorry about that Tatsuki. Are you alright Orihime?' Said Ichigo before kneeling down and offering Orihime his hand.
Orihime quickly made up an excuse about having volleyball, while assuring Ichigo that she was fine.
"What is that voice?" Thought Ichigo.Ichigo absentmindedly walked to his seat and sat down.
'So Ichigo, I heard a truck crashed into your house today.' Said Keigo Asano. Keigo was a teenager with medium-long brown hair, which flips outwards and was good friends with Mizuiro.
'So, have you finished all the repairs yet?' Asked Mizuiro. Mizuiro had green eyes and short black hair, parted down the middle, with a stray bang in his face and the tips fanning out.
'What are you kidding? It's going to take weeks!' Said Ichigo in exasperation.
'I could help.' Said a deep voice next to Ichigo.
Ichigo turned his head and blanched at how close his friend, Chad, was standing next to him. Yasutora Sado, or as Ichigo calls him "Chad", was a teenager of Mexican descent. He was dark-skinned, with wavy brown hair that generally hung over his brown eyes. He was a muscular and extremely tall man.
Ichigo was saved from responding due to a new voice.
'Nice to meet you.' Said a feminine voice.
Ichigo turned his head to the side and looked over at the desk next to him. Ichigo was momentarily speechless.
"What is she doing here?" Panicked Ichigo internally.
'Oh, Ichigo, this is Rukia Kuchiki, she transferred here today after her family had to move suddenly.' Said Mizuiro.
'Y-you.' Stammered Ichigo.
'It is a pleasure to meet you Ichigo Kurosaki.' Said Rukia, extending her hand towards Ichigo.
Ichigo glanced at her hand and saw that written on it were the words, "Say something and I'll kill you!", which unnerved him greatly.
-line break-'Ok, what are you doing here, shouldn't you have gone back to your Soul Society place?' Questioned Ichigo once he and Rukia had gotten outside, away from any other people.
'Well, I'm not feeling quite up to it yet since you have half of my powers and besides, I have been assigned to the protection of Karakura Town.' Summarised Rukia, leaving out the fact that giving a human the powers of a Shinigami was illegal, in accordance with the laws in Soul Society.
'What? How do I have the powers of a Shinigami? Look, I don't have that robe anymore, where did these powers you're talking about go?' Asked Ichigo, gesturing to his clothes all the while.
'They are inside you, your soul to be precise, not your body. Since you now possess half of my powers, it is your duty to assist me as I'm not sure how I will cope in my Hollow slaying duties at half strength, furthermore you can't refuse as you were...' Said Rukia before Ichigo cut her off.
'I refuse.' Said Ichigo, stopping Rukia in the middle of her monologue.
'I'm not doing it, the only reason I could yesterday was because my family was in danger, I refuse to fight those monsters on a daily basis.' Said Ichigo.
'Hey I'm not a monster you pansy.' Shouted an angry voice."What is that voice?" Thought Ichigo desperately.
Ichigo was brought out of his thought's courtesy of Rukia slamming a gloved hand into his face, forcefully separating his soul from his body.
'What the hell did you do?' Asked Ichigo, more angry than confused.
'Come with me.' Said Rukia, completely ignoring his question.
Ichigo and Rukia now stood on the edge of a park. Ichigo was clad in his Shinigami garb, while Rukia was fiddling with a mobile.
'What are we doing here?' Ichigo asked.
'Do any souls come by here?' Questioned Rukia vaguely.
'Hmm, sure, a small boy, maybe five years old comes by here around noon.' Stated the new Shinigami.
'Friend of yours?' Asked Rukia.
'Hardly, I've only seen him about four times.' Replied Ichigo.
'What does that mean anyway?' Asked Ichigo, pointed at the message on Rukia's phone.
'It says that a Hollow is going to appear here at noon, most likely due to that boy.' Said Rukia, before the sound of a child screaming grabbed their attention.
'HELP!' Shouted a child of around five years of age, who was being chased by a spider-like Hollow.
'Where are you going?' Asked Rukia, seeing Ichigo had stood up and begun to walk towards the Hollow.
'To save that kid.' Said Ichigo.
'Does that mean you will do the same for other souls? If not, you would be better off not saving that kid.' Stated Rukia harshly.
'Pfft don't be so heartless, I'm saving him because I want to, that's all the reason I need.' Said Ichigo, before jumping over the railing surrounding the park.
'Stop!' Shouted Rukia.
Ichigo paused momentarily, before continuing onwards. Ichigo jumped over the fleeing child and stabbed his blade straight through the Hollow's mask. Ichigo then slammed his sword into the ground, scaring the soul, due to almost having his head driven through by a sword.
'I'm not making any commitment here, I may not stay and fight all the time and I might run away. However, I'm not the kind of person who can leave his debts unpaid. So, since you helped me out, I guess I need to help you out with this Shinigami thing.' Said Ichigo with a smile.
Rukia smiled before responding, 'Thanks.'
-line break-'Hmm, I wonder what happened to Ichigo.' Said Orihime thinking aloud.
A car beeped its horn from behind Orihime. Orihime turned around, eyes widening in fear, as she realised, she wouldn't be able to avoid the car in time. She closed her eyes, before she was nudged slightly to the side as the car drove past, clipping her arm.
"Strange, what was that feeling?" Thought Orihime, clutching her leg momentarily.
The next day
Orihime was walking home from the supermarket when she saw Ichigo and Rukia at a park.
'Hi Ichigo!' Said Orihime, jumping up behind him.
'Ahh Orihime!' Said Ichigo in fright.
'What do you have there Orihime?' Asked Ichigo, noticing a grocery bag in her hand.
'Onions, bananas, butter and gelatine.' Chirped Orihime.
"Uh I wonder what she's making." Thought the Shinigami-in-training in trepidation.
'Who are you?' Asked Rukia bluntly.
'You idiot that's Orihime Inoue, she's in our class.' Whispered Ichigo fiercely.
'Oh Orihime, honoured to make your acquaintance.' Said Rukia quickly, while giving a little curtsy which Orihime returned.
"So that's how she's going to act around my classmates, strange." Thought Ichigo.
'Hey Orihime, what happened to your arm?' Asked Ichigo, seeing her bandaged arm.
'Oh, I was hit by a car.' Said Orihime embarrassedly.
'What!? Orihime that's a serious injury, why aren't you angry?' Asked Ichigo in shock.
'Well it's not like they did it on purpose, besides I get hit a lot anyway I tend to zone out.' Said Orihime quickly.
"So, she's just an air head then." Concluded Rukia mentally, before noticing Orihime's leg.
'That mark on your leg, can I see it?' Asked Rukia.
'Oh yeah, I think I got that from the car as well.' Said Orihime.
Rukia closely examined Orihime's leg.
"That mark... it looks like the wounds that Hollows inflict." Thought Rukia.
'What's with the scary face Rukia?' Asked Orihime.
'Oh nothing... just that it looks painful.' Said Rukia quietly.
'Wow you're right, my leg hurts much more than my arm.' Said Orihime.
'What, Orihime why don't you go see a doctor, are you sure you're okay?' Asked Ichigo in concern, while moving closer to look at Orihime's leg, causing Orihime to blush.
'Why is your face flushed do you have a fever?' Asked Ichigo stupidly.
An entity inside Ichigo's mind face palmed.
'Oh look at the time I need to get going.' Said Orihime quickly rushing off.
'Do you want me to walk you home?' Asked Ichigo.
'No, no I'm fine.' Said Orihime.
Ichigo was about to say see you tomorrow, before a voice in his head shouted for him to insist.
'I insist, besides you're hurt and should take it easy. We're done here right Rukia?' Said Ichigo.
'Huh? Oh yeah, sure, I'll see you later.' Said Rukia, still deep in thought.
-line break-Ichigo and Orihime were walking in silence, Ichigo because he didn't really have anything to say and Orihime because she was too shy to speak to Ichigo alone.
'Would one of you bloody say something?' Ranted a voice in Ichigo's head.'So Orihime, how is your leg feeling, does it hurt to walk?' Asked Ichigo.
'Oh not really, it stings a little, but I can manage fine.' Said Orihime, while rapidly waving her hands in front of her.
'If it hurts to walk too much you can come lean on me.' Said Ichigo, causing Orihime's face to light up like the sun in the morning which, thankfully for Orihime, Ichigo missed, as he was looking in front of him, with his hands behind his head.
'T-thank you for the offer Ichigo but I'm fine, really.' Said Orihime, while internally cursing her lack of assertiveness.
"Damn it I'm fighting a losing battle with this girl she is too shy." Mused a voice in Ichigo's head.'Well Orihime this is where you live right.' Said Ichigo, gesturing to Orihime's apartment which they had just arrived at.'Oh, um yeah, thanks for walking me home Ichigo.' Said Orihime shyly.
'No problem, later.' Said Ichigo, all the while walking away.
-line break-Ichigo was lying in bed, having just had a shower and was considering having a nap, but postponed it, in favour of trying to figure out what was the voice he had been hearing infrequently throughout the day.
"I don't think it's possible to go senile at fifteen. Maybe a spirit then, although this would be the first time I can hear but not see them." Thought Ichigo.
'Well I guess you could call me a spirit, but there is a lot more to it than that.' Said the same voice from before."Who are you?" Asked Ichigo.
'That's not important right now, although, you might want to roll to the left in a second.' Said the voice."Wha-" Thought Ichigo, before he became dimly aware that Rukia was shouting at him.
Ichigo quickly rolled off his bed, before Rukia separated Ichigo's soul from his body with her glove.
'Quickly, aim for the head!' Shouted Rukia.
Ichigo slashed downwards from right to left and cleaved through a small portion of the Hollow's mask, on the left side of his face. The Hollow gave a bloodcurdling scream while Ichigo's eyes widened. Moments later, the beast sunk back into the void it had initially emerged from.
'Tell me, what did you see?' Asked Rukia, upon seeing Ichigo's flabbergasted face.
'That was Orihime's brother. Tell me, what are Hollows?' Asked Ichigo.
The black haired Shinigami sighed, before levelling a serious look towards Ichigo.
'There is a reason I told you to strike for the head from behind, it isn't solely because it is the safest method to killing them, but rather, it is to ensure you don't see the identity of the Hollow because Hollows, are the souls of formerly normal humans.' Said Rukia.
'What, why didn't you tell me!? I thought Hollows are evil creatures that need to be destroyed!' Asked Ichigo.
'They are evil and they must be destroyed!' Shouted back Rukia.
'Wait...' Began Ichigo, before Rukia cut him off.
'There is no time, that girl, Orihime, will die.' Declared Rukia ominously.
'Well let's go then.' Said Ichigo, who took off after Rukia jumped onto his shoulders.
'Can I ask, does Orihime have any other family members?' Asked Rukia, as they hopped along the buildings.
'Hmm, I think she gets money from some distant relative, but she lives alone if that is what you are asking.' Said Ichigo, while internally trying to make sense of what Rukia had told him.
'I see.' Replied the Shinigami, before becoming pensive.
'So why did you say Orihime is going to die?' Questioned Ichigo.
'Well I had my suspicions, but you just confirmed it now. You see, Hollows are souls which weren't guided to Soul Society, by extension, meaning, souls that weren't protected from Hollows and as such, have become fallen souls. These souls are full of suffering and pain due to no longer having their hearts, which is the reason they turn into Hollows. However, to fill their empty hearts, Hollows go after the souls of those who loved them the most in their previous life. That mark on Orihime's leg was a Hollow mark and if you are right about this brother being her only family; there is no doubt Orihime will be attacked.' Explained Rukia.
Ichigo quickened his speed upon hearing this but had one nagging question on his mind.
'If Hollows are full of pain and suffering, why do Shinigami kill them?' Asked the fifteen-year-old.
'We don't kill them, you see, a Shinigami's Zanpakutou purifies the soul and enables them to go to Soul Society.' Said Rukia.
'So are there any Hollows which aren't in pain and suffering or who don't need to feed on human souls?' Asked Ichigo voicing the last thought in his mind.
'I-I can't be sure, but I have never heard of a Hollow which didn't need to feed on human souls.' Said Rukia hesitantly.
'Heh if only she knew.' Said the voice from within Ichigo's head.
-line break-'What!? I can't believe you Orihime are you stupid?' Asked Tatsuki outraged.
'How rude, I'm not stupid.' Pouted Orihime.
'Yes you are, you wasted a golden opportunity!' Ranted Tatsuki.
'Y-you think so?' Asked Orihime.
'Yep, at times like that you have to just go for it.' Said Tatsuki.
'Go?' Questioned the large breasted girl while taking a drink from her soda can.
'He said you could lean on him, you should have used that offer and allowed him to walk you home while leaning into him, then, when you were all alone, with him outside your apartment, you should have TAKEN HIM DOWN!' Said Tatsuki, shocking Orihime who quickly crushed her soda can in surprise, getting drink everywhere and causing her to spit out the soda that was in her mouth.
'Yeah, just let him squeeze your breast, then it's his fault.' Said Tatsuki happily.
'Breast?' Said Orihime in confusion.
The room rumbled slightly and Orihime's teddy bear fell off Orihime's tallboy.
'Oh poor Enraku, he fell down. Are you okay Enraku?' Said Orihime.
'What's an Enraku?' Asked Tatsuki, as she walked over to Orihime.
'Aww why is he ripped, wait is this… blood.' Said Orihime, before a spectral claw from Enraku burst through her chest, causing her to fall backwards, much to Tatsuki's shock.
Tatsuki was then struck by something she couldn't see and sent across the room bleeding from her shoulder.
Orihime sat up and felt a bit lightheaded, before noticing a long chain sticking out from her chest. She looked around and noticed a hulking figure looming over Tatsuki.
'Hey, get away from her!' Said Orihime, before the figure turned to look at her.
'Is that anyway to talk to someone who you haven't thought about for years, Orihime!' Shouted the figure.
'Who are you?' Asked Orihime hesitantly.
'It has only been a few years since my passing and already you've forgotten about me, Orihime. The one who saved you from our abusive parents and gave you a new life.' Said the figure in anger.
'B-brother?' Questioned Orihime fearfully.
'You don't even recognise my voice, how sad, ORIHIME!' The hollow once known as Orihime's brother, attempted to impale his sister on his claws before something intercepted it.
'You fool, do you even know why the older brother is born first?' Asked Ichigo, as he pushed against the claw which had just tried to end Orihime.
'It is to protect the little brothers and sisters that come after him! What kind of brother tries to kill their little sister?' Shouted Ichigo, before he pushed back Sora Inoue's Hollowfied form and slashed his hand off with a lower right to upper left diagonal slash.
'You, you dare talk to me! This is all you fault, because of you, Orihime stopped praying for me and only talked about you, Ichigo Kurosaki!' Spat out Sora, as he brought his tail, which was covered in scales, forward, which slammed against Ichigo's sword and sent him into the wall.
'It is your fault Orihime stopped caring about me!' Shouted Sora, as he opened his gapping maw and tried to tear into the bane of his hollow existence.
Blood was split, it was Orihime's.
'But I stopped praying because I didn't want you to feel bad for me, I wanted you to be happy that I had moved on and made friends. I wanted to tell you about all the good things in my life, the food I liked, the games I liked, the people I liked… I never realised that I was making you sad brother!' Confessed a teary Orihime, who then collapsed to the floor.
Rukia had climbed up the drain pipe and arrived to one of the strangest things she had ever seen. A hollow, in tears, looming over a soul, while a Shinigami stood by watching.
'Uh, what is going on here?' Asked Rukia genuinely confused.
Ichigo was about to respond before he felt his sword being taken.
'Hey what are you doing?' Shouted Ichigo, as he tried to hold onto his sword.
'I'm only hurting Orihime as I am now, it is better I kill myself now before I come after her in a rage again.' Lamented Sora sadly, looking at the form of his injured sister's soul.
'That doesn't mean you have to kill yourself!' Shouted Ichigo.
'It is alright Ichigo; remember, a Shinigami's blade purifies souls. You won't die, brother of Inoue, but you will go to Soul Society, as that blade will also cleanse you of your sins that you committed while being Hollowfied.' Explained Rukia.
'One last thing, Shinigami.' Said Sora, directing the question to Rukia as he held Ichigo's blade near his mask.
'Can you help fix her?' Asked Sora, referring to Orihime's soul being out of her body.
Rukia nodded, before explaining that as long as the soul chain was still connected to the body, Orihime could be returned to normal.
'Good.' Said Sora in relief, as he prepared to plunge the blade into his mask before hesitating.
'One last request, Ichigo Kurosaki, since I can no longer fulfil the duty of an older brother, can I trust you to look after Orihime for me?' Asked Sora.
Ichigo nodded and placed a fist over his heart.
'I give you my word I will protect her just like I would my sisters, from one older brother to another.' Said Ichigo, causing Sora to smile slightly.
'Thank you, Ichigo Kurosaki.' Said Sora, before plunging the blade through his mask, thus, purifying his soul.
As the spirit particles of Sora Inoue faded away, Ichigo turned to Rukia.
'I suppose you can't say all hollows are mindless, huh Rukia?' Questioned Ichigo, getting a firm line to form on Rukia's face, as she questioned one of the most basic things she had been taught.
"Damn straight." Thought a being in Ichigo's mind smugly.
I was going to try and get up to my unique idea for changing Ichigo in this chapter, but I realised that it would become way too drawn out, possibly another 10-15K words. I will definitely try to get up to that point soon, but there is quite a bit to get through.
Would you all prefer for me to somewhat gloss through the intro parts including Sado's parakeet and Kon so I can get to the better stuff quicker, or would you rather I go through them in detail?
Additionally, from the tags, you can gather this is a small harem, with some of the most underused, at least, as far as Ichigo is concerned, characters in Bleach, Riruka, Nel and Rangiku. What I would like to know, is if you would also like Orihime added to that.
In any case please let me know how you would like me to proceed, as far as glossing over early events, Orihime and Ichigo's relationship being romantic and also, what you thought of the chapter. Until next time.
SSJ3 Kyuubi Gohan.