My Name is Death and The End is Here...
Bleach and all related characters belong to Tite Kubo.
"The concept of Death as a personified being is timeless, being as old as time itself... The ghostly phantom of Death, known to many as the Grim Reaper, has inspired terror all throughout history, and although a neutral force was as feared in the past as it is today. Today the Grim Reaper is viewed a needed being, just as death is necessary to keep humanity from overpopulation... But it's nothing personal... It's just his job.
"Don't move, don't try to follow me." Her words while harsh, spoke of a deep hidden pain.
"Conserve your energy and try to linger in this world a little longer." She continued, tears falling from her eyes. And with that she turned, carefully removing her foot from his crippled hand as she did so and slowly began her walk towards the door, the door that shone with warmth and a continued light.
"Rukia" Ichigo yet again begged, only for his face to hit the ground bellow, and a further part of himself smash.
"Your one stubborn idiot you know that right?" Ichigo growled into the tarmac as he recognised the voice, it was the red head, Renji Abarai.
"Stop making so much noise and die quietly." The ponytailed man said.
"LIKE HELL I WILL!" Ichigo managed to roar out in rage
"You may yet live, so be quite now." Rukia said, trying to comfort the orange haired teen if just a little though she kept her voice cold. Ichigo winced at her cold dead tone, it sounded so much like her brother's.
"Live your life and survive, do not follow me, for if you do...I'll never forgive you." And with that said Rukia left through the blinding portal, with her two comrades, to face her fate in the other-world. The gate slowly shut, taking Rukia to the other side away from him, and with it a little bit of himself. The blood loss immense, his injuries so great... Ichigo Kurosaki was dead.
Ichigo floated in the a void as he heard a voice echo.
"I was there from the beginning. A power that exists at the end of all things. I walked the world long before even the first Shinigami reared their heads and shaped the world's deepest beliefs. An executioner at the gallows. A lone hunter. A soldier on a battlefield. A criminal in the shadows. Fields become burial grounds in my wake. Every great atrocity and every feeble passing, I stand witness. In their strife, their revolutions, and in their wars, I have left my mark. And in the end, mine will be the last face they will ever see..."
Ichigo looked around the black space he found himself in, attempting to find the source of the voice. Suddenly he saw a black cloaked figure... With a skull for a face underneath a hood as black as it's cloak. In it's hands was an ornate scythe, which seemed to drip a black oil-like substance from the blade.
"Ichigo Kurosaki. I... Have come... FOR THEE!" The figure said, as the pitch black eyes of the skull began to burn with white hot fire and stare into his very soul. Ichigo's blood ran cold. This was it, not a shinigami to ferry him off but the actual Grim Reaper himself had come for him this time. He had a million questions, namely on how much he had to have screwed up to get a personal visit from the actual personification of death, but here he was. He clenched his eyes, waiting for the inevitable slice from the Reaper's scythe... Only to hear faint chuckling... Then full on gleeful laughter.
"HA HA HA HA HA! Had ya going didn't I?" The figure said as it whacked Ichigo with the blunt end of its scythe. Sucking in a rush of air from between his teeth in a hiss, Ichigo rubbed the sore spot, as the cloaked figure fell over as if he had seen the funniest thing ever.
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR?!" Ichigo yelled indignantly as the cloaked figure took off the skull mask, to reveal a middle aged man. He seemed to be about as old as Ichigo's father, give or take a few years, but had thicker stubble which nearly formed a full beard, and heavy bags under his completely black eyes which blended in with his pupils. In short he looked like a disheveled workaholic, the kind you would see on a bus or in coffee shops getting their much needed caffeine fix.
"Well for one? It was funny. Seriously, this job? You don't get much time for laughs usually." The man said, the foreboding dark voice now gone, replaced with a slightly grizzled if not friendly tone. Ichigo, still rubbing the sore spot on his head, glared. This could not be the actual death, if anything Ichigo thought it had to be some kind of shinigami with a cruel sense of humor. Reaching for his zanpakuto, Ichigo was ready for a fight now.
"Sorry kid, but that ain't gonna do much against me. Namely since, I can literally kill you now without much effort... Like any effort. Little tap of this scythe and you're done... Gone... Not coming back." The man said as he dropped the mirthful front and got right down to business. To prove his point, he casually grabbed Ichigo's sword and shattered the entire blade with one hard squeeze. Ichigo was stunned to say the least as he stared at his broken sword in utter disbelief.
"See that's why we don't go waving swords at Death." The hooded man said as he again whacked Ichigo on the head with the blunt end of his scythe. Ichigo again hissed in pain, the shock of his sword's destruction gone, as he looked ready to throttle the man in front of him.
"Anyway let's get down to it. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" The man said as Ichigo glared at him.
"Okay bad news, and if it involves you hitting me with that thing again I swear I'm gonna..." Ichigo began to threaten as the man began to swing it down onto the red headed teen's skull. Ichigo dodged this time, but received a harsh jab in the stomach with the end of the scythe for his efforts. Gasping for air, as the wind was knocked right out of him, Ichigo fell to the ground and slowly got back up.
"Done with the smart remarks? Good. Anyway the bad news is, and I think you already gathered this... You're dead. As in you will cease to exist and your soul will go on in the cycle, to be reborn later without your memories or personality along for the ride." The reaper said as he gave an apologetic smile, which grew into a smug smirk after a few seconds.
"And what... Could possibly... Be the good news then?" Ichigo said, regaining his breath as he stood up.
"Well as luck would have it? I'm ready to die." Death said as Ichigo almost fell over from the shock of hearing the personification of death itself say that. Quick as a whip, Death explained before Ichigo could short circuit from the statement.
"What I mean is, every personification can 'die' as it were, or at least the current incarnation. Yeah there's more than just death kid, get used to that one. See the thing is, we can't just up and die without going with a replacement. Someone to carry on in our place, because without that? Well the world would be a lot more screwed up than it already is, like dogs marrying cats kinda stuff. And there comes a time when we get so old, that we just... Want to call it quits. I've been at this job for 10,000 years and sweet retirement is calling my name kid. And I figured with you being a substitute shinigami and all, you'd have a vested interest in this offer. So what do you say? Take it and you get to live basically as long as you want... Technically. If someone does manage to kill you? THEY become the new Death. But anyway that's the long and short of it. So what do you say kid?"
Ichigo thought and was stunned... He just had one question.
"If I do agree, what do I have to do? Would I just be stuck doing the same thing? Would I have to kill people, innocent people?" Ichigo asked as Death laughed a little.
"Kid, don't believe everything you hear and just half of what you read. Death is gonna happen no matter what, but having someone over it like me? Or in this case you? Means it runs smoother. A personification causes death by just existing, but it's a needed part of life. You'd need to show up for certain things, keep in mind there's a reason shinigami exist in general for that meeting people to carry them off thing. But a part of you will appear instead, kinda like a broadcast to people, it's you but a version of you acting of its own accord. That's how we're talking right now. Death is the last thing someone sees if they're scared or just need the little push to help them accept it. And if someone just flat out doesn't appreciate life? Well that's when you get the fun part of the job, putting the scare into them. You work your own beat, but that can be anywhere in the world, it's more flexible than you'd think. So we have a deal?"
Ichigo still didn't look convinced, after all if he was Death he could be too busy to save Rukia.
"Oh and don't worry, this job has some perks... Like keeping shinigami in like. They may not want to admit it, or just chose to forget it, but they answer to Death before the Spirit King. After all... I'm the one who made them when hollows became a problem. So come on... We got a deal?" Death said as he stuck out his hand.
Slowly... Ichigo took it. With that the old Reaper faded as Ichigo's shattered zanpakuto reformed... Into an exact copy of the scythe Death had wielded.
"Look up Kisuke Urahara... He's a friend... He can fill you in on what happens next..." A voice called out, Ichigo assuming it had to be the last words of the previous Death. With a bright light he was out of the void moments later.
A figure stood where the dead body of Ichigo Kurosaki once was... Where his old body was... The figure wore a black hoodie, black jeans, and black boots. On his back, held in place by a single white strip of cloth, was an ornate scythe which was fastened securely. In his right hand was clutched a skull mask which he held so tightly his knuckles had turned white. He put the mask on, and in the pitch black confines of the eye-holes... His eyes glowed yellow. He grasped the handle of his scythe, slashing the air in front of him and opening a pitch black portal. He stepped inside it, exiting into the shop of one Kisuke Urahara.
"Hats and Clogs... I think we need to have a long talk about how the Shinigami treat their own." The hooded figure said as the man in the hat before him just chuckled.
"It's been a long time Death, or do you prefer Ichigo now?" Kisuke said as the hooded figure took off his mask, which disappeared with a small flash of smoke, and took off his hood to reveal the orange hair of Ichigo Kurosaki.
"I know what the deal is old man. I'm Death now, and Shinigami answer to me... And yet here they are trying to kill their own... Now this sort of thing may have been fine with the old Death, but me? Yeah... That's not going to fly." Ichigo said as he looked at the shop owner with a stern eye.
"In that case what do you want from me? I mean yeah, it would probably take the Spirit King himself to stop you if you really wanted to kill every Shinigami... But something tells me this new you isn't one for gigantic shows of blood and gore." Kisuke said as the Reaper scowled a bit.
"That's the thing, you can sense how powerful I am right? But... I don't exactly..." Ichigo began as he mumbled the rest of his sentence. Kisuke cocked his head to the side and cupped his hand next to his ear.
"I'm sorry what was that?" The shop owner asked, as Ichigo looked really uncomfortable.
"I... Don't... Know how to use my powers alright?! I mean even the teleporting thing is mostly just instinctual! I just KNOW I can do it! Everything else I'm supposed to be able to do? Nothing." The new Reaper said as Kisuke hummed in thought, fanning himself.
"Hmm... All that power but no idea how to use it. Well I can think of worse problems, but as the old Death told me it's going to take training. And part of that? Is relying on the spirit in that scythe of yours." Kisuke said as he tapped the ominous blade with his cane.
"From what Death told me it houses the knowledge of the old Reapers... But mixed with your own soul, making it a completely new being. A type of zanpakuto, the first one actually. It took Shinigami a while to catch on, but once we did it was simple enough to mimic. The problem being you've got a lot of power and not a lot of time to figure it out in... And that also means you'll need help when you do get into Soul Society... So let's get started." Kisuke said as Ichigo looked down at the skull mask sitting in front of him
Ichigo Kurosaki stood atop a tower. He had made it into Soul Society and made it to where they were holding Rukia. Ichigo had gotten his friends from the world of the living to help in the rescue, and had even finagled a shinigami medic by the name of Hanataro to help. The little medic had managed to get Rukia out of her cell, but was soon caught. The new Death looked down from his perch and onto the bridge below. In the middle of the bridge, were two Captains, their haoris gave them away. Of the two, Ichigo instantly recognized Byakuya Kuchiki. The other one had waist length white hair, and had stopped Byakuya from trying to kill both Rukia and Hanataro.
Ichigo had seen enough as he raised his newly enhanced spiritual pressure so it slammed down on all of them, nearly crushing Rukia and Hanataro. Byakuya and Rukia's eyes widened at the spiritual pressure, because it felt familiar to them, a tinge of something else to it, but stronger than ever before. It was a spiritual pressure they knew was extinguished nearly three weeks ago. The white-haired Captain nearly had a heart attack when he felt the spiritual pressure slam itself on him like several tons. It was easily beyond Captain level!
A shadowy figure flew high above the bridge, causing all on it to look up. Rukia saw the one man she was secretly in love with, despite the glare of the sun. Byakuya looked up with a frown as he saw the one man he believed should be dead. He saw the figure now, as it was dressed in a black hoodie, black jeans, and black boots with a white skull mask over its face giving the impression it was some form of Hollow. The figure landed in between the two captains, right in front of Rukia and Hanataro.
"None can tell if I open the door to heaven or hell...No wealth, no land, no silver, no gold... Nothing satisfies me but your soul... On death I come to take the soul, leave the body and leave it cold..." The masked figure drew the scythe from his back, it was clear to all this was somehow Ichigo... And he was not in the mood for negotiation if his small recitation of that particular song was any indication.
"Why are you here boy, I thought I ended your shinigami career when I brought my sister back here." Byakuya said with his usual stoic facade and bored expression. He was still trying to figure out the enigma that was Ichigo Kurosaki. Ichigo gave a small chuckle and took off his mask, leaving no room for doubt as to his identity, the mask disappearing in a flash of black.
"Have you ever met Death?" This caused everyone to stiffen a little, unsure of where the teen was going with this.
"Have you ever seen Death's face? Felt his touch? Stared into his pitch black eyes?" Ichigo continued, doing a great job of making everyone think he was crazy.
"What are you babbling about? Are you trying to say that Death gave you a second chance? Childish nonsense." Byakuya said as he drew his zanpakuto. Suddenly Ichigo burst into laughter, again making everyone present think he was insane.
"I'm not saying Death gave me a second chance, because that implies I died. No Death did so much more, and I have the power of Death on my side!" Ichigo said after he was finished laughing.
"And how does a pathetic ryoka gain the power of death?" Byakuya said as he drew his sword. Ichigo looked the other man square in the eye, a smirk on his lips.
"Quite simply actually... My name is Death..." Ichigo said as his skull mask reformed on his face, as he rushed faster than the Captain could react and slashed his shoulder, leaving a gaping wound that nearly brought him too his knees. This caused everyone's eyes to nearly shoot out of their heads, even the eternally stoic Byakuya Kuchiki.
"And the end... Is here..."
PLEASE REVIEW! The scythe and skull mask are the same as the cover image.