So the break over Christmas fucked up my writing, and I've been having a bit of writers block. I hope this turned out decent enough.

And since a few people still complain about the formatting, I tried the whole new paragraph thing when someone different speaks. Personally it feels and looks weird to me, but if it's easier for you to read why not. I'd appreciate feedback on what you like better.

Next chapter you'll learn what my decision regarding Tatsuki was. Hope you guys have a great week.

And as always: I don't own Bleach or any of it's Characters. I only own the ideas for this story.

A Taste of Power

Tatsu Arisawa

6 days earlier...

It sucked... easy as that. It sucked. Not the training of course, that was amazing. What sucked... was the fact that I was alone. How is it possible for a person, surrounded by people, to feel so alone? Granted, Shiro was gone for a year, but I didn't know he was gone then. Now I did, I missed the sunrise there, I missed having breakfast together with them. I missed being able to talk to them. I had never especially considered myself to be ahead of my peers. But something had profoundly changed in the week I'd been gone from the human world. Everyone in my class seemed childish, a waste of my time. The only outlet I had was Yoruichi. She had gone for shock factor and done what Ichigo had warned me about. She had flashed me her naked body. No doubt she was beautiful, and if I hadn't been picky I may have taken it all as an offer. Alas, I am picky. What happened with Tia would only happen with one other girl, Nel... and even then only if the girl managed to calm her tits a bit. I loved her carefree attitude but she had no right to grab any part of me whenever she damn well pleased.

Let's start from the beginning. Yoruichi did as she'd promised and had come to pick me up from school terrifying me in the process as for a couple of seconds I stared down at the ground. Talking black cat? Aha...

We didn't actually go to Urahara's shop, she said if we were to train her techniques properly there was a different training area she'd in mind. As far as design went it had to be similar to what Shiro had trained in to become a Shinigami. On our way there I made sure to ask Yoruichi about training, I was very keen on staying a virgin. Even if for some reason it didn't turn out to be my childhood friend who made me a woman in the end. I'd been raised a certain way and wanted to be sure she understood how important it was to me. She assured me that if I followed her instructions it would be fine. Naturally, however, just like in Karate, movements of the body were necessary. And therefore tears were possible. I accepted that much, just like I had accepted it when I was a child and my mother had explained... carefully, what it could mean.

Much of the first day was centred around meditation, feeling the spiritual energy I seemingly possessed. She used Kido... a kind of Shinigami spell to make it materialize and help me get a feeling for it. It wasn't a very exciting first day, still I got to rest in a hotspring that she'd build right in. This was the evening she exposed her self. When I wasn't faced she asked me why and I explained the decision I was faced with making. I tried my best to relay who Shiro was now, what he was trying to do and how he was connected to the people there.

I was told that control of the little Spiritual energy I could summon was paramount. It was on me to try and feel it all throughout second day, until the end of school where she told me, ready or not. We would begin body exercises. I hadn't exchanged a word with either Chad or Orihime ever since I'd come back, all they did was eye me suspiciously like I was about to grow a second head and eat them, which I guess was an actual possibility for them, after all I was a monster now. At least that's what they thought. Yoruichi put me in a kind of machine, supposed to loosen up my joints. It hurt like a bitch and I may have screamed once or twice. We then started on lessons how to channel energy to parts of my body.

The third day was all for practical application. We'd covered theory and she wanted me to do Shunpo now. High speed movement. After running into rocks and being hit with a couple of very painful pebble's that my teacher was throwing at me, I finally managed it. Moving a couple of feet, the feeling was strange, and it's hard to describe. It's not really teleportation, but it's close enough. I couldn't even pat myself on the shoulder because the moment I realized I'd moved, was also the moment I fell unconscious.

The pressure on my body had been a bit too much. After she'd managed to help me get up we went again, in fact we went nearly all night. Yoruichi insisted that I grasp the feeling of moving of that speed as quickly as I could. The same for my body. To get used to the energy rushing through me.

"Good." The purple haired woman told me proudly. "You remind me of Ichigo you know. He learned the Shunpo faster than anyone I've ever seen."

"Really? How long did it take him?"

"A day." She said leisurely.

For a moment I remained silent, I was surprised... no shocked. "The fuck, how?" I finally asked.

"Well you have to know he was already a Shinigami at that point. And while I'll readily admit that his kido control was non existent. He'd learned to channel it with his sword attacks." Right, he'd told me about the Getsuga. Though I'd yet to actually see it.

"Let's go through the Hakuda kata's again." Yoruichi suggested taking her stance.

I got back home at 4 in the morning, after apologizing to my mother for forgetting to call her I went to bed. It didn't go over so well, I'd been having trouble sleeping ever since leaving Hueco Mundo. It wasn't much better that night. Apart from a few minutes I didn't get much sleep in at all. But I wasn't gonna be so clingy and call him here. I wasn't that weak willed. Even if I had to force myself, I was gonna get through this week just fine. And next week when he would come over to spend some time together I could sleep with him.

On the fourth day it was once again time for theory, this time was the Shunko. A powerful Kido attack and a sort of... permanent cloak of energy. We repeated the kata's slowly, having it all sink in. I was told to Shunpo a few times per day. Even if it's just a couple feet to the side.

When I got home I had dinner, it wasn't as late as the day before. Yoruichi had told me to get some rest. I tried to sleep as best I could but I just couldn't. After rolling around for a while I tried the only thing I figured might work. I went into my mothers room.

"Eh... mum?" She smiled at me turning around a bit sleepily.

"What is it sweety?"

"I can't sleep. Could I sleep with you?" She laughed, I hadn't slept with her since I was 5.

"Is everything okay?"

"Missing Ichi I guess." She chuckled and pulled her blanket to the side letting me climb in. "Mum?"

"Mh?" She asked sleepily.

"Wherever I end up... don't worry okay? I can look after myself." This was important to me. I never wanted to be the cause of her worries. I'd leave some day, but even then I would visit. Even then we could see each other. So there was no reason for either of us to feel any sort of loss over when it did.

"I'm not sure I know what that means?" She said questioningly, she looked at me at waited for me to explain. But I just shook my head.

"For now it means I love you." I hugged her, it really helped a lot. The closeness with her washed away some of the loneliness I felt.

"I love you too sweety."

The training went on to get harder, I was now expected to Shunpo at least a hundred feet. And Yoruichi made me do it over and over until I got there. She told me my Reiatsu was growing, and I had the feeling she was right. I could feel her now.

And not just her, Yuzu and Karin felt... not quite just human. But it was very weak, I would need to ask Shiro about it. They had had come over the fifth day to pick me up from school and spend some time together to speak about their brother. Yoruichi was nice enough to give us half an hour to an hour depending on what they needed to speak about. I'd always been their only chance to talk about anything girl related. I'd been the one to tell them about their period and that it would be coming soon now, including everything that that would entail. I'd also been the one to go bra shopping with them. They were my family and that they missed Ichigo too made us closer than ever.

As for my feeling others, I also felt Orihime and Chad. All of my previous best friends energy seemed to be flowing into her hair pin. It did make sense, her ability was focused on that pin. I'd even seen her use it. Trying to attack Shiro. They weren't really training, their Reiatsu felt... asleep and disturbed. All of Chads Reiatsu seemed to be only flowing around his upper body. I was pretty sure by now I could take him.

I learned to channel more of the Shunko during the sixth day. I had grasped how to control the Reiatsu inside me, to strengthen my kicks and punches. Just a little more training, a couple of weeks and I would be strong enough to take on a hollow if it came for me. Of course by that point, I had no idea that the normal hollows were nowhere near as strong as the one's I had encountered in Hueco Mundo.



"I want to fight you." He repeated again. I wasn't entirely sure what was going on. I really thought things had gone fairly well but here was Starkk not asking Shiro for training or sparring. But for an actual all out battle. I knew how Shiro felt about this... he hadn't brought him back to kill him. "Why?" Shiro asked again.

"To learn of your strength, to understand what the others already seem to grasp."

"You realize... that in an all out battle, you could die." That was his way of saying that usually when challenged, Shiro didn't leave those that had done the challenging to try a second time.

"Or you could." Starkk stated. Adorable I thought... no really.

"Yes, or I could." I saw Lily looking towards Shiro, a pleading expression in her eyes. This seemed to be important for Starkk so that was her way of helping.

"If you want it so badly... when?"

"If you're willing, now." He rubbed the back of his head. There was no doubt Shiro would take the challenge he had never backed away from anything since he'd come here. His schedule was free the entire day.

His eyes narrowed on Starkk, the temperature around us dropped. "Have it your way then..."

We all met in the sparring room. The one with a spectators booth. We used it to critize each other. A training tool if you will. Starkk and Shiro were already inside facing each other. "Stay close Lily." Starkk put his mask on, the pressure was... strong. I didn't know much about him, seeing how Tia had taken my place as an Espada at the time. But I could see why the lower ranks were terrified of him. Without a doubt he could kill some Menos and even Adjuchas with that much Reiatsu. "Shouldn't Shiro put on his mask?" Lily asked making me smirk.

"He will. Don't worry about him." All I could think about was why Starkk would possibly want to do this. After everything we'd told him.

"Give Chase, Los Lobos." Lily glowed for a moment. Shiro's guesses had been right on point. She could use the sword as well.

She groaned as the pressure hit her even through the glass. Tia stepped closer to her, putting her hand on the little girls shoulders. He was powerful, there was no doubt about that, if I was to judge his rank only by the amount of Reiatsu and it's density. He was the fourth strongest around, ahead only by a small margin.

"Impressive." Shiro said observing how Starkks Reiatsu coiled around him. "My turn." The mask appeared and his eyes began to change. With every second the pressure climbed higher and the orange Reiatsu swallowed Starkks blue whole. It didn't take long for the orange to begin to change as I knew it would. I'd seen it happen in training before. When it was about control not force. The black, blood red energy licked about the room. Lily was now on the ground where Tia and I had thrown up a barrier for her.

Starkk's expression had long since lost it's calmness. The energy was... not evil but laced with malice. And it was stronger than his, even now when he was just going full strength with his mask on, the release was yet to come.

I didn't want Shiro to reach for his sword, the pressure alone might have killed Starkk. And even if Lily wasn't really Starkks daughter I would've liked to think that he still cared about her like she was, this... was not healthy for her.

Shiro grabbed tight hold of the hilt of his sword. I guess Starkk had a point. We'd all stood against him at some point for training, for comparison and to train ourselves to withstand enemy Reiatsu. But we'd never challenged him to an all out battle. Shiro wasn't Ichigo, by instinct he reacted as any Hollow would. He was challenged so he would fight for himself.

His eyes were now completely gone, and all that remained in them was the violent Reiatsu of the man that was without a doubt the King of Hollows.

"Eviscerate... Lunaferoz."

The glass window burst and I buried Lily beneath me as the rest of us formed a circle. Shiro was holding nothing back and even I, now had trouble breathing as the howling filled our ears. I heard Starkk yell something about wolfes, before the sound of cutting and Sonido movements filled the air, blades swinging, splitting the air around the room where I was sure Starkk was fighting for his life. I wanted to look, but if I had raised my head or reached for my mask, Then that meant exposing Lily. Which in turn meant her death. "SHIRO, YOU'RE KILLING HER!" Tia yelled towards him making him stop just about as he'd crossed his blades around Starkk's neck. "Getsuga..." "SHIRO!" I yelled too.

Shiro Kurokami

I looked down at him, and felt the satisfaction that came from seeing someone's complete and utter submission. The horror that came with knowing they were outclassed as the blades I had cross before his neck were glowing, threatening certain death. I could smell his blood, the trash that had the gall to challenged me. And had Tia or Nel not yelled for me to stop, I would pulled the bladed noose around Starkks neck to a swift close. And with it my attempts to see him join our family. The girls saved his life.

The blades potruding from my hands retracted the moment I took a step back. I brought my right hand up and grabbed the upper part of the wolf mask, shattering it quickly making my energy take an instant nosedive. Weakening it so that Lily had an easier time dealing with it. "Nel, Tia?" I heard their relief. "Better, she's breathing again." Starkk was still staring up at me, on his knees certain the last strike was sure to come any moment.

I went to pick up my robes. Tia jumped out at me positively purring as she rubbed her face against my naked chest. She enjoyed the way I smelled when I was 'resurrected'.

The way I looked wasn't unlike Grimmjaw in his own resurrection. My body was covered in the bone like substance that our masks were made of while my legs grew thinner. More like humanized wolf legs than anything else. My mask covered only the upper part of my face, showing the long skull of a wolf. My sword split, and was used as two. I could really have them materialise wherever I pleased, any part of my body or of course, I could use them by normally gripping them with my hands.

"How is she?" I asked carefully stepping inside. Having my right arm around Tia now.

"Let's not do that again..." the girl groaned groggily.

"We'll have to help you get used to that."

"Coyote?" She asked, her voice trembling of fear. She was afraid I had ended him.

"I'm here..." He said stepping into the booth behind us.

It would be the same night that he would seek me out to explain himself. Just like the rest of us, Starkk was scared to loose what he was starting to gain. A family, friends, comrades. He fought me, not to challenge me, but to be convinced that I could protect all the things he was coming to enjoy being with us. We walked through the town, barefoot to feel the grass with our feet. Enjoy the little things. Bonding over what this new world and everything in it, meant to us.