A/N: Right so this is my first oneshot. Yes, this will be just an oneshot. Just going to say now, that I went as close to the canon for this part as I could, only making the minor necessary changes. Just to try and prevent any comments concerning that.


Redemption

The Shinigami stood staring at the orange haired boy bound with her kido on the ground before her, having just finished explaining to him the nature of the spiritual world. She was intrigued by this boy. She still wasn't entirely sure why she had even bothered to explain everything to him. When she discovered he could see her, she should have just left and continued her search for the Hollow elsewhere. But something held her back. Something made her stay here with this boy. There was something…familiar.

"Wait a minute." The boy's voice broke her from her reverie and she turned back to him, her eyes having wandered as she thought. "If you came here on your mission, does that mean the thing called Hollow is around here?"

She looked back at him curiously, not seeing where he was going with this. "That would be the case."

The boy looked back at her incredulously. "A..Are you stupid! Why are you loitering in a place like this? Hurry up and go get rid of it!"

Bristling at the boy's insolence the Shinigami tried to answer calmly despite her annoyance, as the boy had a point. "Well you see…I do not know why, but I cannot feel its presence anymore…"

The boy replied confused, "Wh..What the heck do you mean?"

The Shinigami stood in thought, ignoring the boy for a moment as she muttered to herself, "It is as if a great power is hindering my senses…"

She was facing away from the boy as she pondered and didn't see him stiffen in surprise, but only noticed something was wrong when he cried out, "Hey! Hey Shinigami!"

She turned to him mostly confused at his outburst, but admittedly a little worried. "What?" When she saw the panic in his face her worry increased.

"What do you mean what!" He yelled. "Didn't you hear that huge voice just now!"

She began to reply, saying confusedly, "Huge voice? When did–" But she was interrupted when she too heard the distinct howl of the Hollow, and felt it's spiritual pressure pressing on her. This is a Hollow! But it feels dampened. As if I'm sensing it through some sort of filter. Then she turned back to the boy, confused. But how did he sense it before me?

Then both of their heads snapped up as they heard a scream from downstairs. The boy said in panic, "Its Yuzu's voice…!" The Shinigami started toward the door but was stopped when he shouted after her, "Hey! Wait up, where are you going!" Was that voice from before a Hollow's!"

She stopped and turned to look him in his eyes. "Yes! I will go and get rid of it! You stay here!"

But instead of submitting the boy shouted back. "Cut the crap! The one getting attacked is my family! Release this spell! Hurry!" That bold look in his eyes. The fierce desire to protect those close to him, no matter the risk. Again, a chord of familiarity was struck inside the Shinigami. She still couldn't place it; but it was coming back to her.

But she didn't want this boy getting hurt. She knew he couldn't fight that monster. "What are you saying! Even if you come, there is nothing you can do! The number of victims will just rise by one!" His eyes flashed when she said 'victims' and she immediately realized her mistake, but she just continued, hoping he would forget. "Leave it to me and stay here quietly! Got it!" Without waiting for a response she turned and ran out into the hall. But the moment she opened the door she felt a massive spiritual pressure rush past her, as though it were water held back by a dam that had suddenly burst. S..Such spiritual force…! How could I not have noticed it until now…?

Once the rush of spiritual pressure had settled and her senses were cleared the Shinigami saw a young dark haired girl crawling towards the doorway. Her face was crumpled with pain and she appeared to be injured. She ignored the Shinigami, as she likely couldn't see her, but as she pulled herself into the doorway she said haltingly, "I..Ichi…you..ok?"

Upon seeing the girl, who the Shinigami took to be his sister, the boy cried out, "Karin!' and began struggling against his the kido spell that was binding him.

Seeing that her brother was uninjured the girl, Karin, said with relief, "Good…it hasn't come here…it happened so suddenly…blood suddenly started pouring out of daddy's back and he fell…Yuzu and I were attacked by something huge while we were still in shock…and I thought I had to…warn you…" As the girl talked her brother's face filled with grief and rage. His expression pulled the image of another man to the front of the Shinigami's mind; on his knees before the body of a woman, with that same expression of grief and rage on his face. She was so close to making the connection now. In her pain the girl didn't notice her brother's emotional turmoil and continued speaking, just relieved that her brother was unharmed. "I wonder what that was…I could see it a little…it looked like daddy and Yuzu couldn't see it…Ichi…before it sees you…hurry…get away…" Then the girl fell flat on the ground, limp.

The Shinigami immediately rushed forward to make sure the girl was okay. "Do not worry, she is just unconscious. Her soul is still–" But she was interrupted by the boy yelling and a flare of reiatsu behind her. She turned to find the boy struggling against the binding spell, and attempting to stand. "Stop it! What are you doing! Stop it! You cannot release that incantation with a human's power! If you force it your soul will–" Just then the boy's yelling peaked and with a massive blast of reiatsu the binding spell was shattered.

As the boy ran past her and down the stairs, grabbing a baseball bat as he went, the Shinigami stood stunned. How…to break a kido with human power…? I have never heard of such a ridiculous thing…! Coming back to herself as the boy reached the bottom of the stairs, she cried, "Wait!" and started down the stairs after him. What exactly is he…!

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, the Shinigami saw the boy standing at the threshold of a hole that had been smashed in the wall, the bold look on his face pulling at her heart. As the boy took in the scene before him the Shinigami heard him cry out, "Yuzu!" before charging forward with his baseball raised. She rushed over to stand at the hole where he had before and took stock of the situation. The monstrous Hollow stood in the street; heavily muscled and at least twenty feet tall. There were dark red spots with teardrop-like lines coming down from them marked over his whole body which was unusually coloured a dark purple. But its arms, which appeared to be covered in a layer of bone, were a dark green. The Hollow also had the customary hole in the center of its chest, as well as the white mask of bone covering its face, with the yellow eyes shining through over its sadistic grin. And in its right hand, the Hollow held a young blond haired which the Shinigami instantly knew must be the boy's sister, as well as the cause of his charging forward. She took all this in in an instant, just as she had been trained to do.

As the boy charged, the Hollow slugged him with its massive left hand. The boy attempted to use the bat to block, but the bat shattered and the boy was still sent flying to the side. He looked up to find the Hollow raising its right hand, which still held his sister, in preparation to bring it down and crush him. The Shinigami instinctively leapt forward and carved a deep gash in the Hollow's right arm with her katana, causing him to immediately drop the girl and stumble back in surprise. The boy darted forward shouting "Yuzu!" and caught his sister before she hit the ground.

The Shinigami stationed herself in front of the pair of humans as the boy attempted to rouse his unconscious sister. I will fulfill my duty. I will protect these people. It is just like any other time. At least that was what she told herself. But it was coming back to her now. Another night long ago, but she would never truly forget it, no matter how much she wanted to. Another man filled with rage, grief, and despair, trying to fight a hopeless battle alone. A man she had looked to as a protector, a mentor, and a friend. A man she had loved. But this time she wouldn't let this boy fight alone. She would be the one doing the protecting. She wouldn't let anyone be hurt anymore. Turning her attention back to the boy for a moment she shouted, "Do not lose focus boy! None of your family members have had their souls eaten!"

"None…?" he replied with hesitant hope.

"Yes, even your father lying over there!" She reassured him.

But the boy shouted back with confused uncertainty. "Wa..Wait a minute! Don't Hollows attack people to eat their souls! Then what did it attack my family for…!"

As the Hollow continued to flail its injured arm in anger some distance down the road the Shinigami attempted to answer calmly; remembering her earlier incredulity at the massive spiritual pressure she had felt. "Hollows wander, searching for souls with high spiritual concentration. For that, arbitrary humans are sometimes attacked…"

Beginning to understand, but wanting confirmation the boy asked, "What do you mean…?"

"I…have never seen or heard of a human who can see Shinigamis and defeat a kido on their own…or a human with such high spiritual concentration…" Then she turned and fixed him with her gaze; sad to have to say it, knowing what it would do to him. "Most probably its target…is you!"

The boy's face fell and his grief was replaced with more anger. Such guilt-filled anger that the Shinigami had never seen on the face of the man she had known. The man that this boy reminded her so much of. "Wait a sec…he came for me…? So does that mean this is my fault…? The reason my dad's over there almost dead…the reason Karin and Yuzu are covered with blood…it's all…"

Seeing where he was going with this, and not wanting him to feel guilty she turned back to him and began, "Wait. I did not mean–" but was cut off when the Hollow took advantage of her distraction and punched her, launching her to the side where she smashed into a wall. While they had talked the Hollow's arm had healed and he had returned, unnoticed by either of them.

Glancing over to where the Shinigami had landed the boy said with concern, "Shinigami…!" But he quickly brought his gaze back to the approaching Hollow. As the Hollow howled into the air the boy glared at it and gritted his teeth in anger and shouted, "That's enough already!" and he started forward.

The Shinigami picked herself up out of the rubble from her impact, scolding herself for letting her guard down. When she looked up she saw the boy standing in the middle of the road with a small smile on his face, right in front of the Hollow. The scene was so similar. The lone man facing down the monster, preparing for a battle they all knew he would lose. Yet there he stands despite it.

The Hollow licked its lips and the boy said, "Hey…you want my soul right…?" Then he through his head back and stood tall, shouting, "Then fight me face to face! No one else has anything to do with this! Try killing me and taking my soul!" Then the Hollow lunged its head forward like a snake, with its jaws open wide.

Time seemed to slow for the Shinigami. This is just what she had feared. Just what she had sought to prevent. Yet here she was again; sitting off to the side while he strode forward to fight his hopeless battle alone. But things would be different this time. This time she would help him. This time she wouldn't let him die!

The Shinigami dove in front of the boy with her sword before her, so that the Hollows strike hit her rather than him. Blood sprayed from her shoulder and ribs as the monster bit down on her torso, but her raised sword dug into the monsters gums between its teeth like some twisted toothpick; preventing it from fully biting her in half. Then she slashed down making it stumble back clawing at its mouth, trying to make the pain go away.

The boy remained standing there for a moment stunned. It had all happened so fast that he didn't have time to react. But as the Shinigami fell to the road, the blood soaking her kimono, he sprang forward and crouched over her saying with concern, "Shinigami!"

She lay on the ground, nearly addled by the pain. She coughed up a mouth full of blood before huffing out, "You…idiot…." After recovering a bit she continued more steadily. "I already told you that your power is no match for it…Or did you think that everything would over if you gave him your soul to eat…? Either way you're an idiot…"

The boy hung his head in shame; hating that he had been the cause of her pain. "I'm sorry…I just–"

But she cut him off not wanting him to start blaming himself, and knowing any words would be useless now anyways. "Do not worry about it…is what I would like to say…Unfortunately I am no longer able to fight the Hollow…Now all we can do is wait…until we become its food." She saw the anger and despair that crossed the boy's face at her words. His hatred at being helpless and unable to do anything. And more than anything else how he blamed himself for what had happened. He was so similar to the man from her memories, yet at the same time so different. But the differences were made her like him all the more. She hated that they would likely die here without a chance to know one another. But she had tried, and would die with him. She was glad, at least, that it wouldn't end the same as it had last time.

Her eyes widened at that thought. She knew how they might survive this. The cruel irony of it nearly made her laugh. It would have to end much as it had last time, in order for them to live. She spoke softly, but she knew he would hear her. "Do you want to save your family…?"

He looked up, hope dawning in his eyes, and yelled, "Is there a way! A way to help them! Tell me!"

She brought herself up to a sitting position, wincing as a lance of pain shot across her ribs. "There is a way…No to be exact, I should say there is only one way." She paused and lifted her sword before her, so that it was pointing at his chest. "You must…become a Shinigami!"

The boy looked at her stunned. "Wha..What are you saying…how can I–"

"You can!" She held up the sword so that he could see it more clearly. "Pierce the middle of your chest with this zanpakutou…and I will insert half of my Shinigami power! That way you will attain the power of a Shinigami temporarily…and will be able to fight the Hollow on equal terms!"

The boy hesitated a moment. "Is it really okay…to do something like that?"

A bit of uncertainty crept into the Shinigami's voice. "I do not know. Of course this is a plan set up anticipating your high spiritual pressure…The percentage of success is not high…And if it fails you die." She glanced over and saw the Hollow beginning to recover. So she said stronger, "However there is no other way! There is no time to deliberate!" For a moment the boy looked anxious and uncertain, but then a girl's voice cut the air.

"Ichigo..." It was the blond haired girl the Hollow had been holding that the Shinigami had taken to be the boy's sister. She was talking while she was unconscious. "Where are you…Ichigo?"

The boy's face softened, and he tried to comfort her. "Yuzu…are you having a scary dream?"

But the girl still sounded scared and she said, "Don't come…it's dangerous…hurry and get away…Ichigo…"

His expression hardened again for a moment before his mouth curled in a cocky grin and he turned back to the Shinigami. "Give me the sword Shinigami! Let's give your idea a try!"

The Shinigami smiled and said, "It is not 'Shinigami'. It is 'Kuchiki Rukia'."

The boy smiled back and replied, "I see…I'm Kurosaki Ichigo. Let's pray this doesn't become the last greeting for both of us."

The Hollow roared and started charging towards them. As Rukia positioned the sword and they both grasped it she thought, It seems it will end much as it had last time. Once again she would have to stab through the heart one she had come to care about. But it is not raining this time. And now I will be giving life rather than taking it. Perhaps with this… I might redeem myself.

Ichigo looked into her eyes and said with conviction, "Let's do it."

"Yes."

Then together they plunged the sword through his chest.

A blade through the heart. Life taken, Life given.


A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed it. The idea just struck me randomly a few days ago and I just wanted to write it. I'm aware that other people may have written similar fics around this idea but…well I haven't and I don't see the fact that other people have written similar things as a reason for me not to write it. As long as one person finds enjoyment or satisfaction in me writing this then it was worth while. And since I already found enjoyment and satisfaction in writing and finishing it, then it was worth while!

As I mentioned in the introduction I was trying to stick very closely to the canon scene (manga version) and so the dialogue and much of what happened is straight from the manga. I was just trying to portray Rukia's thoughts, make a comparison with what had happened with Kaien, and overall put a new spin on it. So I will just say here: "The characters, story, dialogue, and all references and things pertaining to Bleach are owned by Kubo Tite. The idea for the story, and the story written here are owned by me."

Another thing. When I told my Beta reader that I had this idea for a oneshot, she responded by saying (in her words exactly. [seriously copy and pasted]), "I propose a oneshot competetion. I've had a oneshot idea brewing all day. Whoever comes up with the cheesier, more mushy oneshot wins." So the exact grounds for comparison are supposed to be the, "mushy sappyness" (her words again). Heh. She's going to kill me for quoting her like this. So anyways, for those of you who haven't read my story 'Emptiness' my Beta reader is MisplacedSanity. The oneshot she wrote for this random competition is 'He said, She said'. So if you're willing to help us decide this competition I would ask you to go find her story and read it. Then review the one you think is more mushy or sappy (?) and say why you think it wins. And remember length doesn't matter, as I know mine is longer. (Over 3000 words! When did that happen!...well whatever…) And by the way this also means she didn't Beta this story, so it is not as good as it might have been. But I think it still turned out pretty well in my opinion.

Even if you don't want to take part in the competition, still feel free to read and review. Tell me what you think! Well again I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time then!