Ichigo was walking home from school in the middle of winter when a storm came up and the 8 year old boy lost his way in the snow. The strawberry boy was searching around for the right path for what seemed like hours before the tears began flowing from his soft nut colored eyes. He was definitely lost now, everywhere he looked all he could see was endless white snow.
"Maybe if I just stay here someone will come find me," he hiccupped through his tears. The sky was beginning to turn black and Ichigo was shaking, though he wasn't sure if it was from the cold or the terror welling up inside of him.
Just as it was looking hopeless, a man dressed all in black approached from out of nowhere.
"Are you lost little boy?" he asked in a regal voice. Ichigo whipped his face and looked up at the man with hopeful eyes and nodded. "Then I shall walk you home."
Ichigo gave the raven haired man a huge smile of gratitude as he got up from the ground. The man held out his hand and Ichigo took it.
The man led him silently through the storm. Ichigo couldn't see where they were going but he felt he could trust this man to lead him home.
It didn't take long for them to arrive at the Kurosaki clinic. Upon seeing them coming up the path, Ichigo's mother, Misaki came running outside of the house. Ichigo released the stranger's hand and let his mother embrace him.
"Oh Ichigo! We were so worried!" she cried.
"I'm sorry Kaa-san," the orange haired boy said as he clung to her. "I got lost but this nice man walked me home." he told her as he looked over at the raven haired man.
"Honey there's no one there," she said in worry. Maybe the cold had him hallucinating .
Ichigo realized his Kaa-san couldn't see the kind man. That's when he knew that this man must be an angel sent there to guide him in his time of need. Ichigo just smiled at the man as he allowed his mother to lead him inside.
"So Nii-sama, I thought you didn't care about humans," Rukia asked her brother when he returned from walking the boy home. They were in the world of the living on a mission to keep the number of hollows down.
"I do not," he denied. "the child was making a racket." Then with that he turned his back to the smaller raven who was grinning ear to ear at him.
Seven years later Ichigo stared into the cold steel eyes of the man he once thought of as an angel. Over the years this man had appeared before him several times. Once when Ichigo's mother had died and several times later Ichigo caught the man watching him from afar. Once the boy started middle school, however, his angel had disappeared entirely. This man, Byakuya Kuchiki, was standing before him and telling him that he was going to kill his own sister. Ichigo refused to believe that the man really could. These past months Rukia had become Ichigo's friend and the strawberry teen knew that this man who had watched over him during his darkest childhood hours could not be evil. That was the only thought in his mind as he raised Zangetsu in front of him and called forth his bankai for the first time.