A/N: This was originally two chapters, but as the story developed they were combined due to their shortness when a general edit was done to the story at large.
The war with Aizen ended as a victory for Soul Society, but not without a few sacrifices. Captains Komamura Sajin and Ukitake Jushiro and Vice Captain Hinamori Momo perished in the battle over the Fake Karakura town. After the war was over, the Vizards, having got their revenge, disappeared without a trace. Ichigo and his friends returned to Karakura to continue their human lives. Rukia decided to join them and was stationed their as the new resident Shinigami. And now, after about a year of peace, something new is brewing on the horizon.
Chapter 1: The Gathering Storm
Dark clouds were gathering over Karakura town. They were coming in from all over and gathering on one point in the sky. But none but a few people in the entire town paid any notice…because none but a few could even see them.
As the clouds grew closer together they became smaller and more dense. They began merging to form a dark cloaked figure standing in the sky. Everything about it was made of an almost intangible, smooth black material. Almost like oil in appearance and texture. But harder; smoother.
Once the last black speck had joined in this figure it seemed to become more solid and some of the colour faded away, leaving its cloak an ash grey and the figure's skin faded to a sickly grey almost the same colour as the cloak.
When the colour faded the figure was revealed to be a man. But he was horribly deformed. He was hunched over, with wispy and frayed grey hair sticking out in all directions from his otherwise bald scalp, and a short scraggly beard with numerous bald patches. His clouded eyes weren't level with each other and his white-lipped and chapped mouth was sitting crooked on his sunken face. One shoulder was lower than the other on his torso and one leg was a little longer. His grey and hole-filled robes hung loosely over his thin and sickly frame as he stood frozen in the air.
"I'm back." He slurred. "After all these years I'm finally back...and now…you'll pay for what you've done–" But before he could say anymore, the man coughed up a large amount of blood and fell from the sky with blood leaking from his orifices.
Orihime was on her way home with groceries for her dinner, (ice cream, a steak, and a tomato) when she saw the clouds. Her first thought was that there was going to be a storm, but when she saw the way the clouds were moving and noticed that no one else could see them, she knew it wasn't a storm.
She watched as the clouds came together to form a man. But when she saw him falling she dropped her groceries and began running to the part of the town where she saw him fall, thinking he might need help. Luckily it was just a couple blocks.
Ishida was training with his Quincy bow by the waterfall, where he had trained so often before, when he sensed a strange reiatsu. When he looked up and saw the clouds he knew right away that something was wrong. He considered calling Ichigo and Rukia, but thought to himself, I can handle this, and he started sprinting towards the strange reiatsu. He was careful to avoid people knowing his superhuman speed might raise some questions.
He reached the park the figure had formed over just in time to catch him when he fell. Shortly after, he saw Orihime run around the corner gasping for breath and he sighed in relief.
"Inoue-san!" he called, "Over here!"
When she reached them he said, "I don't know who or what he is but he's clearly badly injured. Do you think you can heal him?"
"I can try." She replied.
When Sado saw the clouds he felt right away that there was something strange about them. He'd been walking to the music store and when he saw the clouds he stopped to try and figure out what they were.
Just then he saw them start forming into a person and he immediately started jogging towards it. He didn't know what it was, but he felt that he should be there to help in whatever way he could. Especially since, knowing Ichigo, he would be there too.
Ichigo was lying on his bed watching Rukia draw one of her weird bunny pictures when he saw her suddenly stiffen. Before she even turned around he immediately asked, "Hollow?"
A confused look crossed her face and she replied, "I don't know what it is."
"Well let's go find out." Ichigo said as he left his body in the care of Kon.
After they left through Ichigo's window they saw the clouds and Rukia said in surprise, "The clouds! The reiatsu feels like a person's, but its spread over such a large area without any center."
"Whatever it is, it isn't natural."
Then the clouds began coming together to form a person and Rukia shouted, "That is definitely not natural! Let's go!"
When they arrived they saw that the figure was that of a very deformed man. He had been laid out on the ground and Ishida was standing over him while Orihime was crouched at his head using Sōten Kisshun. Sado was just jogging around they corner as they showed up.
When they saw this Ichigo immediately said, "Inoue! Ishida! What's going on?"
"Well since I was about to ask you the same thing, I'm going to assume you know just as much as I do." Ishida replied, "Strange reiatsu. Black clouds that only we can see. Man formed from clouds and fell from the sky."
"His reiatsu feels like a Shinigami's but it's all distorted and misshapen." Rukia added.
"Like him?" Ichigo cut in.
"It almost seems like his reiatsu is trying to move away in different directions. It's tearing him apart." Rukia continued, ignoring Ichigo.
"What should we do?" Ishida asked grudgingly, "Inoue-san is keeping him stable."
"Wait. Haven't you tried healing him?" Ichigo asked in confusion.
Before Ishida could snap back, Orihime replied, "Well I tried. But he started turning all black and fading away, so I stopped." She shuddered, thinking about what happened to Ulquiorra.
"What should we do?" Sado asked, looking at Ichigo.
Ichigo just sighed and said one word. "Urahara…" (A/N:This is where the two chapters initially split)
"Of course!" Rukia shouted, slamming her fist into her palm. "If Orihime's healing isn't doing anymore than keeping him alive, this man's only hope is Urahara."
"That's…what I was…going to say." Ichigo muttered before continuing. "So we need to take him to Urahara's shop. Since Inoue needs to be constantly healing him to keep him alive, Sado might as well carry him since we need to move at her pace. Ishida you should run ahead and tell Urahara we're coming."
"You can't tell me what to do Shinigami," Ishida said, before doing it anyway.
As they started running to Urahara's at a slower pace Ichigo muttered, "Why does he always do that?"
Orihime spoke up, surprising Ichigo a little bit as he hadn't known she could hear him, "He's actually fine with the fact that you're a Shinigami since your friends now. But he still does it because he likes to annoy you."
Even though she said it in such a cheery voice Ichigo still got a little pissed off. That Ishida! He thought angrily. I'll kick his ass!
But with the seriousness of the situation, Ichigo decided it was best to put aside his anger for the moment. Ichigo turned to Rukia as they ran, "So who do you think this guy is anyway?"
"Well like I said before," Rukia began, "his reiatsu does feel like a Shinigami's, even though it's distorted. But it's not distorted like an Arrancar or Vizard's, so I think he is a Shinigami." Rukia paused for a moment.
Ichigo spoke up, "But what was all that with the clouds? I haven't seen anything like that before."
"Neither have I," Rukia agreed, almost sounding a little scared. "But whatever it was, only someone powerful would be able to do something like that. Which doesn't make sense because his reiatsu is so weak; I can barely feel it at all."
"Anyways, I thought we knew all the strong people. All the Captains and Vice-Captains over in Soul Society, Urahara and his people, Shinji and the Vizards, whatever is left of the Arrancar, and our group."
"I guess we don't know all of them like we thought. Well hopefully Urahara will be able to tell us who he is." Rukia paused a moment before adding a little smugly, "By the way Ichigo, you seem to be forgetting again, that I actually am a Vice-Captain now."
"As you frequently enjoy reminding me," Ichigo replied in annoyance.
As Rukia and Ichigo continued bickering Orihime watched, feeling a little jealous of them. She'd gotten over her feelings for Ichigo a year ago after the war when she finally saw how he and Rukia felt about each other. About a month later Ishida asked her out and she said yes. But the thing she's jealous about is how casual and relaxed they are with each other. She and Ishida have been dating for months now and things are just starting to feel less awkward, while Ichigo and Rukia are still denying how they feel about each other and yet are so casual.
When they got to Urahara's shop he was standing outside waiting for them, Ishida a bit behind him and off to the side. When they came in view Urahara stepped forward and said, "Ah, so this is our guest from the sky I presume?" gesturing towards the man on Sado's back.
"If you knew, why didn't you come and help!?" Ichigo said angrily.
"Well I thought that if it was worth my attention it would find me. And lo and behold it has! Now I've set up a room in the back for him so follow me." Everyone filed through after him to the back of the store with Ichigo taking up the rear muttering angrily about Urahara.
When they got to the back room Sado laid the stranger down on the bed. Then Rukia asked the question that everyone had been thinking, "Urahara-san, do you know who this man is?"
Urahara studied him for a moment before saying cheerfully, "Nope! Not a clue."
Everyone was stunned. Up until now Urahara had known about everything they'd come across; the Arrancar, Aizen, the Vizards, the Hougyoku, (A/N, the Bount).
"You don't know!" Ichigo shouted.
"Nope! But I am very keen to find out now, this man is rather curious."
"Umm…" Orihime spoke up, sweat dripping from her brow, "Mr. Urahara-san could you help? I'm getting tired, and I don't know how much longer I can keep this up."
"Certainly! ...What's the problem?"
"His Reiatsu is distorted and it's almost like it's trying to tear him apart; he can't control it." Rukia explained. "Orihime tried to heal him but he just started turning into the cloud again, which didn't seem like a good idea since taking a human form seems to have nearly killed him. So the most she's been able to do is keep him stable."
"Hmm…." Urahara considered a moment before shouting, "Tessai! Would you prepare a Reiatsu sealing gigai for our guest?"
"Of course." Ichigo started at the voice coming from directly behind him. He hadn't noticed the big man come in.
As Tessai left Urahara began explaining, "It is a similar model to the one I had given Miss Kuchiki over a year ago but I've done some tweaking. It is untraceable like hers was, but rather than drain Reiatsu, this will seal it completely. It won't drain, but it also won't regenerate. This is probably best, as with the state of his Reiatsu, he would probably die were it not completely sealed. Also since we don't know who he is, he may be hostile, and so aside from keeping him together, with his Reiatsu sealed he won't be able to fight us, even were he in the condition to."
Just as Urahara finished Tessai walked back in with the gigai. It looked identical to the stranger, except the gigai was wearing a nondescript white gown.
"Wow, that was fast." Ichigo said, surprised. "It's almost as if you were expecting prisoners."
"First, he's a guest. And secondly, I like being prepared. Now Tessai would you help our guest into his gigai, as he appears to be unconscious."
Tessai laid the gigai down next to the stranger and then carefully lifted him and slowly lowered him onto the gigai. As the man was set on the gigai he lightly drifted into it until all that was left was the white gowned gigai lying in the bed. Once the man was in the gigai Inoue promptly collapsed.
"She must be tired after having to constantly heal him and run across town." Ishida said, concerned. "I'll take her home." And he picked her up.
"Alright, well bye then." Ichigo said sarcastically. "Don't try anything while she's asleep."
Blushing, Ishida quickly said goodbye to everyone before walking outside, still carrying Orihime, and using Hirenkyaku (A/N Quincy version of shunpo and sonido) he left.
"I need to get home too." Sado spoke up, "I got to feed my cat." Then after saying a quick goodbye, he left as well.
Ichigo quietly muttered to himself, "He has a cat?" before turning back to the stranger lying on the ground.
"Well it seems he may be staying awhile, so we may as well move him to the guest room." Urahara paused for a moment, staring at his guest, before turning to Ichigo and adding, "Would you mind Ichigo? It's just through there." He gestured to a door off to the side.
"Why don't you take him?"
"Because it's my store."
"That doesn't make any sense! If anything that's more reason as to why you should do it."
Then Rukia interrupted the argument saying, "Just do it idiot."
Ichigo just sighed and said, "Fine midget." Before lifting the unconscious man and carrying him into the next room. Urahara just sat and stared, stuck between amazement and amusement, at the control Rukia had over the young man.
After Ichigo laid the man on the bed and he began walking back to the room where the others were waiting. As he was just about to walk out the door he heard a groan from behind him and he stopped in his tracks. He walked back over to the bed and looked down on the man's misshapen face. Then…the eyes opened!
A/N: This is an introductory author's note so it will likely be rather long.
[Edit]I will start by saying that at the time this was written I was going by who appeared to have died during the war. Although it has since been shown that these people lived as Kubo just refuses to kill off any of the 'good guys' in Bleach. It also turns out Ichigo's Final Getsuga Tenshou causes him to lose his powers, which doesn't exactly fit with my story. So, just to clarify. My story diverges from the actual series during Ichigo's final battle with Aizen. In my story Ichigo's final Getsuga Tenshou will be the final form of his Bankai (just like Byakuya has that ring of pink swords, Senkei) that he had at the beginning of his final battle with Aizen. (with the chain going up his arm, and the different guard etc.) Also my explanation for it is that it's like he's holding one powerful Getsuga Tenshou. He takes all his spiritual power into himself, greatly increasing his physical speed and strength, but he can't use any abilities involving spiritual force. But he can release all the stored up spiritual force in one massive Getsuga Tenshou (like Mugestu). It's far more powerful than usual but it would cause him to revert back to unreleased form and almost completely drains him of spiritual power. This is the explanation I had come up for it while reading the manga when I saw this new form, and so this will be the explanation I use in my story, as I need him to keep his powers. Also for my story, Aizen died during the final battle with Ichigo.[End Edit]
Next I will say that the main character is going to be an OC. (yes the man who fell from the sky.) I planned for two other OCs as well but after realizing all the gaps in the Shinigami's ranks there will likely be more. I have ideas for promoting certain people to Captains but there will still be gaps. Also this is the second story I've written (the first being a novel I'm working on) that wasn't an assignment so it may not be the best work but I'm trying. The characters from the anime/manga may also be a little OOC, but I will try my best. And anyways, it has been a full year and so there may have been some character development in that time. Also if anyone notices some errors, either grammatical or having to do with the Bleach universe, or just have some suggestions, feel free to review.As far as reviews go I'm very open minded, so I'm okay with flaming, so long as you give some suggestions as to how to fix the problem. Putting an M rating just in case because there will likely be a good bit of violence and some deaths (No lemons). And just so you know, I take my time with things so while for now I do intend to continue writing this story, I do not know when the next chapter will come out. Also I'm going to need some translations from English to Japanese, as I know almost no Japanese at all, and I would rather not rely on Google translate. So any help would be much obliged.
Lastly, as everyone knows, Bleach and all the characters and ideas in it belong to Kubo Tite. Who I am not. I don't much see the point of this disclaimer and so I'm only putting it in this chapter, so just consider it done for the rest.