A.N.: This is a request by Draxon.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.
Kurosaki House; Ichigo's Room
Ichigo stared at the stranger in awe. She looked like nothing Ichigo had ever encountered in his life. Her head of wild, blonde hair heavily contrasted against her mocha-dark skin. Eyes as green as emeralds stared at the boy at the window. Her outfit though, was what caught Ichigo's eye. She wore a white Hakama as well as black boots. Her top exposed her belly and the underside of her breasts while the top reached all the way up to her face, obscuring the lower half of the woman's face.
Behind her mask, Halibel smiled at Ichigo's reaction. "What's the matter, boy?" she said, cocking her head playfully. "Cat got your tongue?"
Shaking off the shock, Ichigo turned to his closet and saw that Rukia was still asleep. Turning back to his visitor, he began to speak. "Just who are you?"
"Didn't you hear me?" the woman replied. "My name is Tier Halibel." She pointed to the glove on Ichigo's desk; it was the glove Rukia used to push Ichigo out of his Human body. "Discard your Human shell, Ichigo. I don't wish to speak to you from halfway across a building."
Cautious of this strange, exotically dressed woman, Ichigo complied. He grabbed the glove and popped out of his Human Body, now garbed in his Soul Reaper clothes. Climbing out of his window, he jumped through the air and landed on the rooftop, facing the woman. As he got closer though, he started to feel uneasy about her. He couldn't put his finger on it but…this woman…reminded him very much of a Hollow. "Who are you," he asked again.
Halibel rolled her eyes. "Are you deaf, Ichigo? I told you my name already." She crossed her arms and shook her head.
"No, I heard your name, Tier-"
"Call me Halibel." She offered her hand which Ichigo shook.
"Halibel then. It's just…" his eyes turned to the sword strapped to her back and he became more confused than ever. He could tell that the weapon was a zanpakuto but this was clearly no Soul Reaper he was dealing with if Rukia was any measure to go by. "What are you?"
"I see," Halibel tipped her head back and surveyed the boy. By most standards he wasn't much; his spiritual pressure was weak and feeble. In fact, Halibel had to dial down on her own pressure or she might risk hurting the boy. 'All in good time….' "I suppose that's to be expected. You've only been a Soul Reaper for…what, twenty-four hours?" She put a hand on her chest. "Make no mistake, Ichigo, I am no Soul Reaper. I may appear to be Human but I am a Hollow."
"Hollow?!" Ichigo gasped, thinking he'd just walked into a trap. He drew his large zanpakuto and pointed it at Halibel. "Are you here to avenge those two Hollows?" he demanded to know.
Halibel took a step forward, forcing Ichigo back. Ichigo tried to be brave but Halibel's intimidating look unnerved him. She kept advancing until Ichigo was at the edge of the roof. Holding up a finger, Halibel touched the tip of Ichigo's bulky zanpakuto and pushed it to the side. "Do you even know how to use a sword, Ichigo?" she asked out of curiosity.
"Of course I do!" Ichigo responded. "Answer my question!"
"Very well…" Halibel shook her head. "I don't care about mindless Hollows you've slain, Ichigo. I'm here for you."
"Yes. You…" Halibel paused for a moment to choose her words, not wanting to give the boy the wrong impression. She didn't want to come across as a whore who merely wanted to share his bed. She'd take it one step at a time. "You intrigue me. A Substitute Soul Reaper." She looked him up and down before smiling behind her mask. "I must say, you'd look better in white."
Ichigo blushed from how she was sizing him up. He didn't know what this Hollow-woman wanted but he was starting to get notice. He put his sword back up and scowled. "Back off! If you're really a Hollow, then why don't you have a mask?" he asked.
Still unintimidated by Ichigo's sword in front of her face. Reaching down, she grabbed the zipper to her top and slowly, almost seductively, started to pull it up. As more of her bosom became exposed she saw Ichigo's cheeks turn pink in the moonlight and chuckled. "A mask, you say? You mean…" she reached the top and opened her top, exposing her mask fragments. "This?"
Ichigo's eyes widened when he saw the Hollow mask fragment on her face, the wicked teeth obscuring the lower half of her face while keeping enough of her nipples hidden. "Your mask…is broken?" he asked, unable to take his eyes off her. He noticed the black gothic tattoo of the number three on her right breast and absentmindedly wondered what it signified.
Halibel chuckled again, cocking her head. "I am an Arrancar. We removed our masks to gain the powers of Soul Reapers. What's the matter, little boy? Disappointed?" she teased before zipping her jacket back up.
"Shut up!" Ichigo shouted, keeping his huge zanpakuto at the ready. "What exactly are you? Rukia never told me that Hollows can remove their masks,"
Crossing her arms, Halibel looked at Ichigo amused. "Yes, because after one day of being a Soul Reaper you know everything there is to know about Hollows," she said sarcastically. She turned to the sword in her face and asked her question again. "That's quite the hefty sword. Do you even know how to use it?" she asked, her eyebrow raised.
"Of course I can!" Ichigo said indignantly.
Shrugging, Halibel turned away from the boy and walked away a few days. "Very well then, little boy," she said, much to Ichigo's irritation. She reached out and hooked a finger around the ring to her Zanpakuto's hilt, slowly drawing it from her pink sheath. Gripping the hollowed shortsword with one hand, she turned back to Ichigo and put up a stance. "Show me."
Sweating nervously, Ichigo moved slowly, circling around the woman who stayed still. He'd so many questions that his head threatened to explode. 'What does she want with me? Will she die if I cut through her mask like a regular Hollow?' His uncertainty grew from how Halibel stood still, her eyes not wavering as she circled each other. Bracing himself, Ichigo swung his massive zanpakuto at the woman.
Halibel parried the boy's attacks with ease. It was clear that the boy was inexperienced with using a blade. He might've begun to become accustomed to fighting Hollows, but against another armed individual the boy was a novice. She parried Ichigo's attacks with ease. Had this been a deathmatch, she'd have easily dispatched the boy. 'He's nowhere near the level I want him to be. But…' She smiled as he suddenly spun around, chopping wide. Halibel blocked easily but she skidded a few inches backwards. 'He has potential. This might be interesting after all….'
Ichigo became bolder as they continued fighting. He continuously glanced over at his house, wondering if Rukia could sense what was happening outside. He became worried that the woman might suddenly go after her and his family.
But Halibel sensed his distraction and quickly moved in. In a flash, she knocked Ichigo's zanpakuto out of the boy's hand, the huge zanpakuto stabbing the ground. Ichigo froze when he found himself at the pointy end of Halibel's sword, the tip an inch from his throat. "Lesson number one: never take your eyes off of your opponent," the blonde Arrancar chastised. "Your concern for the girl and your family is touching but I care little for ordinary Humans and powerless Soul Reapers." When Ichigo's expression turned to horror, the woman chuckled. "Yes, Ichigo. I know of Rukia's power loss. But I have no interest in her." She lowered her sword. "I'm interested in you. I'd like to extend an offer."
Sweating through his Shihakusho, Ichigo panted while trying to recover his wind. He'd tried his best to defeat her but had been soundly defeated and Halibel hadn't even broken a sweat. "What…offer?" he asked as the woman walked towards his sword. "Why should I believe anything you have to say? Aren't Hollows, you know…evil?" Despite his words and what Rukia told him, he couldn't' help but get the impression that this woman, despite being an Arrancar, wasn't malevolent.
"Are all Hollows evil? That's what you've been led to believe, isn't it?" Halibel said, reaching Ichigo's zanpakuto. Turning back to him, her eyes stared at him like emeralds in the night. "Tell me, Ichigo, is every Human good?" When Ichigo realized what she was saying, she pulled his weapon out of the ground. "I mean you no harm, Ichigo. You intrigue me. You and your power…" Halibel thought of the word to describe her feelings towards his potential. 'Excites me…' was what she wanted to say but instead she said "Fascinates me." She walked back over to Ichigo and offered him his sword. "Here. Your zanpakuto."
His hand hesitantly reaching for his weapon, Ichigo looked Halibel in the eyes. Though he could only see half of her face, he could feel a sense of honesty from the woman and felt that this woman truly didn't mean him any harm. "You said you had a…offer?" he said. When Halibel sheathed her sword, he relaxed and sheathed his own.
"Quite. Your skills are poor. Your zanpakuto may not feel heavy but its size proved to be your detriment. Had I wished, I could kill you with little ease. You've no skill with a sword…but I can teach you."
"You can teach me? Why would you want to?" Ichigo questioned.
"Because I want to. I can teach you how to become an effective swordsman. And perhaps…" she started to unzip her jacket, "I could teach you to be proficient in…other areas…."
"Wh-what?!" Ichigo gaped, knowing what she was offering.
Laughing, Halibel zipped her top up again and shook her head. "I'm only joking. But my offer still stands." She held out her hand. "Well, Ichigo? Do we have an accord?"
"You're offering to teach me but what do you want from me in return?"
Halibel chose her next words carefully. She wanted him to be her companion, perhaps more, but only after he'd proven he was worthy of her. "I do not ask anything of you. My reasons are my own but know this: I do not intend any harm upon you or your family."
Taking her at her word, Ichigo took Halibel's hand and shook it, smiling at the woman. "Okay. Deal. So I guess this makes you my sensei?"
Amused by his wit, Halibel shook her head while chuckling. "No need. Feel free to call me by my name." She turned around and walked away. "I shall leave you for tonight, Ichigo. I'll see you tomorrow at midnight. Meet me here and we'll start you on your training."
Ichigo nodded. "I guess…good night, Halibel."
Turning her head, Halibel nodded in acknowledgement. "Good night, Ichigo. I'll see you tomorrow…."
Ichigo wondered where the woman was going to go when she suddenly disappeared from sight. "What the? Where'd she go?!" He looked around but there was no sign of her. "Wow…" he breathed in awe. He looked down at his hand and flexed it, still feeling the warmth of hers from their handshake. "She's really something…."
Feeling exhausted, Ichigo returned to his room, sliding back into his Human body and got into bed, wondering what tomorrow would bring….
To be continued