BETA-ED by Faroush and Orchamus all thanks for good grammar, punctuation and spelling should go to them.


Prologue: Waking up.


A groan escaped his mouth. He was in pain. It felt like all of his cells were on fire. He groaned again and tried to open his eyes. He was dripping wet. His hands and legs were numb, a fiery numb. As soon as he opened his eyes he winced, nearly blinded by the brightness of the light. He silently cursed all the gods that existed as his head rung like an old church bell, while he tried to move to sit up.

It was useless; he couldn't move anything except his eyelids. Thus, all that was left for him to do was trying to adjust to the harsh light around him. What he could feel of his left hand was rather sharp, probably a fracture or broken bone, and his left leg felt like something was sticking from it.

After a short while his eyes adapted to the brightness around him and he could see that the sky was blue without any clouds. He could see leafless trees above him. A few minutes later he regained most of the feeling in his legs, and after half an hour he could even move his body to some extent. Then he noticed something - he was cold, freezing even. He slowly sat up and saw that he was lying at the edge of a small lake, with his legs submerged in the water. And somehow he had a tree branch stuck through his left leg.

Well, first things first.

Leaning forward, he pulled the tree branch out of his leg with a grunt. The young man discarded the bloody branch and looked around while leaning back on his right hand. The landscape seemed to be similar, almost ridiculously uniform in every direction. He tried to remember what had happened to him, but nothing came to mind and thus he soon chose to abandon that train of thought. And yet, there was something even more disturbing than the fact that he couldn't remember what had happened to him. No, the most disturbing thing the he had noticed since his awakening was that he couldn't even remember his own face. The teen groaned while shifting himself so that he was parallel to the water's edge. He needed to know it, more than anything. He needed to know what he looked like.

It took a couple minutes, moving slowly so as to avoid aggravating his injuries. He looked into the surprisingly clear water and his reflection stared back at him with a lone red eye. The teen removed the hair from in front of his face to look at the other eye; it was as red as the first one. The red eyed-teen had long hair; it was somewhere around three feet long, not quite reaching the middle of his back. It was white. He frowned at his reflection, deciding to cut it the first chance he got. His skin was pale, almost white. In other words he looked like an albino.

While he might be considered young, he could just as easily be mistaken for being older due to his dirty, haggard appearance, his rather gaunt appearance giving him a weathered and worn look. Apparently whatever he had been previously doing had worn him out a lot.

He grunted in pain as he somehow managed to lift himself off of the ground and stumble away from the shore, being careful about how he put his weight on his injured leg. As soon as he stopped to take a break, a sharp pain erupted in his chest, nearly causing his eyes to roll up into his head. The young man fell to the ground, unable to handle the intensity of the pain. He laid there for almost an hour, unable to move from exhaustion.

Slowly, the sun disappeared behind the horizon. He knew he had to move if he didn't want to freeze to death, it was already very cold, and after nightfall it would be even colder. The cold had become a bit more bearable now that he was out of the water, but only a little, and it would be far worse once it got dark.

The white haired teen sighed heavily. Lazing around in this cold weather wouldn't do any good to his already exhausted body. He needed to get moving if he wanted to live. He got up on his shaky legs once more and almost fell over a few times while standing up. Looking around, he decided to move from tree to tree so that he could use them for support if the need arose. The pain in his left leg hadn't disappeared but was now accompanied by numbness which made it slightly more bearable. Strangely enough the blood flowing from the wound had stopped almost immediately after he pulled the branch out. If his head hadn't felt like a new year's firework display going off, the white haired teen might have even been coherent enough to notice.

Several hours passed in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The nameless youth wasn't getting anywhere in particular and was about to collapse again when he spotted several people in black clothing not too far away.

He tried to call out to them but instead of his voice all that came out was a set of dry coughs. His throat was dry, and he wondered why he hadn't noticed it earlier. Fortunately the coughing worked just as well since one of these strangely clothed persons heard him and was pointing in his direction. Unfortunately the coughing hadn't subsided but gotten worse and the red-eyed young man collapsed and fell to the ground while his body was shaking in pain.

Soon all three of the black clothed people had reached him and started asking questions. He couldn't do anything but cough in response. Despite his immense headache the white haired boy could hear one of them say something about some spiritual thing. The words sounded oddly familiar, but he couldn't place from where he had heard them before.

The small group decided to take him to a local doctor, since 'such high spiritual power was very rare', and they couldn't leave someone as suspicious as him out there without any surveillance. In the beginning one of them tried to make him stand on his own, but immediately an intense pain rushed through the teen's whole body, and he coughed up some blood. One of the men in black who had been holding him hadn't been ready for something like that and accidentally let go of him, causing the red-eyed teen to fall. Fortunately, the other two hadn't been so unprepared and had caught him in mid-air.

The young man had only been barely conscious before, but those sudden movements of falling, getting up and then almost falling again finally allowed him to sink into the comfortable darkness of unconsciousness.


Two years later.


"Shirou, wake up!" The voice that brought said Shirou back into the realm of consciousness was neither really loud, nor really bossy; just very confident. There was also a certain sharpness to the intonation of this female voice: it sounded like someone was cutting someone in two with a single clean slash. The young man called Shirou could see her face as she said it without even opening his eyes. She would either say it with that neutral everyday expression, or with a light scowl announcing her annoyance. Once he thought about it, he decided that she was probably annoyed and in this case her lips were curved down, her eyebrows scrunched together and eyes lidded as they glared down at him.

Despite the danger of annoying the person the voice belonged to, Shirou continued to lie on his bed for a bit longer. He was a morning person, but he like his sleep too. Either way, he didn't want to try Lisa's patience for too long. Lisa was a woman with a short fuse, but oddly enough, not every spark could ignite that fuse. In most cases the words she said just didn't register with him. Shirou wasn't a person to calmly obey others, so he tended to ignore those who ordered him around, but today wasn't an ordinary day. Today was what could be called his 'birthday', the day he had awoken at the shore of that lake. Thus Shirou didn't want to quarrel with anyone, at least not too much.

He still couldn't remember anything before waking up at the shore; his head was as empty as a blank sheet of paper. Soon after being dismissed from the hospital he had been adopted by one of the smaller noble families. The patriarch of the family had seen his levels of reiatsu and had had high hopes for him. The name they had given him, 'Shirou', was purely symbolic. He was the fourth son of this man, adopted or not. The family patriarch also had several daughters besides his sons. One of them was standing right above him now with a slightly annoyed expression on her face. Her name was Lisa. Lisa of the Yadomaru clan.

Still, even if his so-called 'father' had had high expectations for him, Shirou had been a disappointment up until now. Even with his high levels of spiritual pressure he couldn't form connection with an asauchi. Thanks to the influence of his family he had been offered to adopt the zanpakuto of a deceased shinigami, but Shirou had refused and showed no signs of changing his opinion soon. The young man's attention was diverted from his own mind when Lisa addressed him once again.

"Get ready. Shiba-sempai said he wants to throw a party for you." She went silent for a moment and then continued "And before I forget, someone is waiting for you outside." After saying that she made sure he got up before she left to take care of her own business.

Shirou sighed. Shiba-sempai, or Shiba Kaien to be precise, was a good person, someone he could even call a role model. Yet he always did unnecessary things which grated on young man's nerves. They had come to know each other only because of their looks. While their hair, skin, and eye color differed, they otherwise looked like two swords forged from the same mould. Well, other than the way they wore their hair, of course. While Shirou opted to have his hair pulled-up in a short pony-tail, Shiba-sempai's hair resembled a hedgehog's back, spiking wildly all over.

Yet someone was waiting for him and he was taking his time. As rude as he sometimes was he didn't do any of that on purpose. So clearing his mind of the strange people surrounding him, the strange people who did strange things for even stranger reasons, he began readying himself for another day of doing his own strange things for his own even stranger reasons.


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