[A/N: Happy New Year! This is the last chapter! Enjoy!]
The last week had been the most exhausting of my life. Last Monday began with my best friend getting kidnapped and discovering that a psychopath was opening a tunnel between the human world and the Demon World and it would be open in three weeks.
Tuesday, we discovered a band on insane humans was behind the tunnel.
Wednesday I endured the worst break up of my life after discovering that the tunnel which was supposed to open in three weeks was now going to be opened in a week.
Thursday we discovered that the master mind behind the tunnel was the Spirit Detective who I had replaced who then proceeded kidnap another of my best friends to use him as a tool to help insight Armageddon, I was chased through the forest and nearly killed by and oil tanker, and I went underground and watched my cousin have the magnificent of mental breakdowns after killing a human child.
Friday morning was the worst of it. It began with watching my partner, best friend, fight to save humanity and his own life—and then fail. I then had listen as my insane predecessor explain to me why Yusuke had been hired in the first place, and then chase him through tunnel to Demon World, nearly defeat him before my partner returned from the dead (for a second time) and punch me into the ground and defeat our predecessor himself. Following our return to the Human World and discovering that Sensui had been right about why Yusuke was hired and that these same assholes were now ordering me to kill him because he was "dangerous," I'd had enough of Spirit World bullshit and quit my job as Spirit Detective.
Friday I spent with my team determining what was next. All we knew for now was that we all needed to stay close, and stay under the radar. Koenma had gone AWOL from Spirit World after disobeying his father and not allowing Yusuke to be killed so we had no one in Spirit World on our side at the moment, save for Botan who we loved to dearly to send on the run.
Friday night I spent apologizing to Trunks who told me to "fuck off" but in more words. And then there was Hiei who helped me to further my display of hormone driven, bad decision making skills.
I hadn't actually labeled that incident as a bad decision until I woke up Saturday morning and he was gone. I hadn't seen him since. It was my own fault for getting mixed up with an emotional terrorist who didn't like feeling things.
So here I was in a new week, Monday. "Dumped" again, with what I thought was my true calling behind me in the past, much of it having been a lie, and now I was at school in the city where it had all happened. The sky was still thick with Demon energy, bugs still swarmed, but every second I stayed there I could feel the tunnel slowly shrinking away as the SDF closed it.
And now it was lunch time and I was explaining to my new found supernaturally gifted schoolmates, one of whom had been right beside me assisting with the incident for a time, what happened when we went underground and faced Sensui and what had occurred topside in the early hours of Friday morning.
"I think you did the right thing," Ichigo said, in reference to me quitting. "Took guts."
"I think it took part of my soul actually," I said. "That's seven years of my life just. . . gone. Like it was nothing and I'm getting treated like the bad guy for doing what is clearly the right thing."
"We've been there," Orihime said.
"Yeah, the Soul Society's not all it's cracked up to be," Ichigo said.
"The Soul Society's go to method of handling their problems is usually genocide," Uryu said.
"The difference is that if we stopped helping them, they'd definitely just get worse, but Spirit World was using you to make things worse and without you they're going to just be sitting there doing nothing, and when they need you what will they do?" Ichigo asked.
"Probably find someone else to take advantage of," I said.
"But they won't, because they've already made that mistake three times before and look where it's gotten them—recovering from the brink of Armageddon and having their strongest allies turn on them," Ichigo said.
"And no one is going to come after you and Yusuke and the rest of your friends because the one person they don't want to upset is your dad which they've already done by threatening you," Orihime said. "And your dad seems like such a sweet guy that if Spirit World even tried to pull another human into the trap of becoming Spirit Detective then he'd have something to say about it."
"And so would you," Chad said.
I sighed. "You're all absolutely right. I think I just need. . . I need time to adjust. It's been a very long week. New school, new dimension for dead people to exist in, Quincies and Soul Reapers. . . And then doomsday."
"I think you might just need a hug," Orihime said wrapping her arms around me. I smiled.
"Thanks. I've been needing a lot of hugs recently. I doubt this will be the last time," I said.
"Well, I'm a hugging machine!" Orihime declared. "And so is Chizuru actually! She hugs me all the time!"
"Not for the same reasons," Uryu said.
"Chizuru is the red head with the pixie cut and glasses right?" I asked.
"Yeah. Just avoid doing anything that she can possibly view as cute around her," Chad said.
"She's aggressive," Ichigo said.
"Luckily we've got nothing to worry about," Uryu said.
I wasn't quite sure what the meaning behind all of their warnings were, but I took note of it anyway.
This was my third full day of school here in Karakura Town and even though everything else leading up to this day had been absolutely horrible, as I looked at my four new friends (or rather, three new friends, and Uryu who was now being forced to tolerate me) I started feel like trying to find a way to be normal when I was so definitely not normal didn't need to be my goal. Orihime had magical fighting fairies that she summoned forth from her hairpins, Chad's arm was apparently a force to be reckoned with under the right circumstances, Uryu was the last Quincy and could materialize a bow and arrow to destroy monsters at will, and Ichigo was a substitute soul reaper who protected humans, protected ghosts, and helped keep the world in balance.
And they were here every morning, bright and early pulling A's and B's in school and spending their free time just doing what they wanted.
I was Super Saiyan. I could use my energy to fly or shoot bullets and blast from my hands. I'd saved the world a couple of times. I was amazing.
And these guys were amazing and I'd still be amazing not being Spirit Detective and being here with them at school instead.
Hopefully, I'd be able to actually get used to it soon, before the emptiness I'd felt inside started to bring me down more.
With my powers back, Kurama was free to stay at school as long as he liked without having to walk me home, and I didn't have to wait for Trunks to come and pick me up (not that he was speaking to me anyway). So I was free to walk home without worrying about demons hunting me down or psychics trying to take over the world, or even a pack of teenage boys coming to ruin my life.
As I walked home, he popped into my head.
Hiei. He'd just popped back up and saved me from being savagely assaulted by a group of thugs and despite being bloodied and bruised and damp from the rain, he still thought "what the hell, I'll kiss her." And then he disappeared and made me angry and showed back up and saved me from being killed by a crazy teenage boy with a gun and an oil tanker and decided, once again, he decided that it was okay to kiss me. And then after I saved the world and quit my job and was told by my ex-boyfriend that I was a terrible person (and I kind of was), Hiei took it upon himself with no encouragement from me to, once again kiss me.
And then kiss me some more in my bed and run his hands over my bare skin. . .
And then he disappeared again and I hadn't seen him since. As I was walking home, my eyes glanced upwards to the roofs of building just to see if I might glance him keeping an eye on me, but I didn't need protecting anymore. And I was sure that our fleeting glances, and all of our conversations filled with subtext, and impromptu make-out sessions was more emotional involvement than he ever wanted to have with anyone, let alone a human girl, and that he was going to avoid me until he was over it, my feelings be damned.
Still, I kept looking until I felt something drop into my eye.
Water. It was starting to drizzle. It had been overcast all day, but the skies were turning much darker and I could head the subtle rumble of thunder in the distance.
The drizzle wasted no time getting heavier and I sped up my walk, debating on whether or not I should just chance it and fly back to my room at Kurama's house since I was, again, without a jacket or umbrella.
It had been raining on my walk on my first day of school here when everything suddenly went to shit. This rain was starting to feel like a bad omen.
And then it stopped.
It of course, kept raining, but it was no longer on me. I looked up and walking next to me holding a large, black umbrella over my head was Ichigo.
"You don't check the weather often do you?" he asked.
"Is it that obvious?" I asked.
"Well, you were pretty water logged that day you came to my house and you're well on your way there again," he said. "Hope you don't mind me sneaking up on you like this."
"I never mind tall people with umbrellas when it's raining, especially if they're sharing," I said. "Thanks."
"It's no problem," Ichigo said. "You kept looking up at the sky like you were waiting for it to happen."
I chuckled uncomfortably. "I wasn't looking at the sky. I was. . . looking for someone I guess. I was being stupid."
"Who were you looking for if you don't mind me asking?" Ichigo asked.
"Someone who isn't looking for me and I'll leave it at that," I said. "I think I of all people should know that wasting time on people who aren't going to respond is pointless."
". . . Is this about that same guy you said before and that everyone was calling you an emotional terrorist?" he asked.
"No. We 'broke up' for lack of a better word. He think I'm a heartless bitch now and I totally deserve that," I said.
"So you weren't an emotional terrorist because you don't like him, it was because you liked someone else?" he asked.
"Both, actually, and as it turns out, which I knew from the start, he's an emotional terrorist or maybe I'm just an idiot with bad taste," I said. "I haven't got a clue when it comes to relationships. I should just get started on being an old cat lady. No one is ever going to date me."
"Could you be a little more cynical?" Ichigo chuckled.
"Seriously. I've known Trunks forever, literally, which is the only reason he ever liked me. And he's super jealous and a larger nerd than I thought anyone ever capable of being and he's arrogant and spiteful and can be dick if he wants to. And Hiei does not comprehend complex emotions the way normal people do and so even if he was interested, and I know for a fact that he was, he thinks emotions are weak and I make him feel emotions, ergo it was never, ever going to happen," I said. I let out a deep breath. "I only attract emotionally unstable guys. . . And also street thugs, which isn't much better. So, I'd better just start collecting cats."
"Wow, you're really kind of sad," Ichigo said. "And I don't mean that you probably feel sad you're just. . ."
"Kind of really pathetic?" I asked.
"Yeah," Ichigo said.
"Way to kick a girl when she's down, Shinigami," I said.
"You've just gotta get over it. You probably won't be alone forever. The first two guys you went out with just aren't for you," Ichigo said. "Grow up and move on. Move on from them. Move on from being Spirit Detective. Just move on."
"Move onto what?" I asked.
Ichigo shrugged. "Figure it out. No one's gonna hold your hand and tell you what to do and complaining sure isn't going to help and coming down on yourself for not knowing what you want and making mistakes isn't going to either."
". . . You are blunt, my friend. Like. . . You're blunt like. . . Like something really blunt," I said. "That sentence kind of got away from me."
"Clearly," he said.
"But I guess I do need a kick in the ass," I said. "But where do I begin moving on? What does moving on entail?"
"Doing things with your life that don't involve the things you left behind," he said. "Don't look to the past. It distracts from the now."
Ichigo stopped walking and I looked back up at him. He was very tall, or at least taller than me. Most people in general made me feel short with the exception of Genkai and Hiei. He was definitely taller than all of my friends, and probably even taller than my dad.
"Why'd we stop walking?" I asked.
"This is my house," he said pointing.
I sighed. "Well, thanks for keeping me dry while it lasted."
Out of nowhere, a tall, brown haired man in a lab coat came flying at us preparing to drop kick Ichigo in the face. Ichigo quickly put the umbrella into my hands before ducking and punching the man square in the face and knocking him to the ground.
"What the hell is your problem?!" Ichigo scolded him.
The man jumped to his feet quickly and composed himself.
"I had to make sure you were on your guard, as usual and you did not disappoint," the man said. Ichigo was still fuming, but the man in the lab coat seemed to be somewhat amused by the situation. "You never know when some street thugs are going to pop up and try to harass this beautiful young lady you're talking to."
"The only creeps she has to be worried about around here are idiots like you!" Ichigo said, still irritated.
The man placed a thoughtful finger to his chin and seemed to quietly ponder for a moment.
"This is the second time I've seen this girl here," he said.
"So?" Ichigo asked.
"You never have any friends over," the man said.
"Is there a point to this?" Ichigo asked.
The man turned and stared at me for a moment. The he approached me and started to shake my hand excitedly.
"I always knew the day would come when Ichigo finally brought home a nice girl," the man.
I didn't know what was happening, but things had gone from weird to uncomfortable in an incredibly short amount of time. The man was still shaking my hand and was possibly crying and Ichigo was standing behind him shouting about how I was just a classmate and not his girlfriend.
I looked the man over and saw that in addition to his lab coat, he had a stethoscope around his neck, and as I examined his face I could tell that it definitely bore resemblance to Ichigo's.
"Oh! You must be Ichigo's dad," I realized.
"Yes, I am. But you can call me Isshin," he said.
"It's really lovely to meet you, but I'm not Ichigo's girlfriend," I said. "I'm just a classmate without a jacket he was sharing his umbrella with while he walked home, that's all. Really."
Isshin let go of my hand and then turned to attack his son once again. Just as before, Ichigo blocked and countered his father's assault and he landed on the ground.
"You were just going to let her walk all the way home by herself without an umbrella in the rain?! Now she'll never go out with you!" Isshin declared before attacking Ichigo again.
My family was actually starting to feel refreshingly normal compared to the display before me.
When the father and son were done dueling, Ichigo left his dad laid out on the sidewalk.
"You can come inside until it stops raining," Ichigo said.
"Umm. . . Thanks," I said looking back at his dad. "Um. . . Is he okay?"
"Yeah. He'll be back to being weird in a minute," Ichigo said. "This happens all the time. . . Sadly."
Ichigo walked me inside where his sisters were sitting and after a brief hello to them, we took off our shoes, he led me upstairs to his room. It was sparsely decorated. He had a guitar and a band poster here or there. His bed was made, his things were neat and orderly. It was the first time I'd been in any teenager's room where it looked like this (with the exception of Kurama who I decided didn't actually count).
"I don't think that I've ever been in a boy's room where there aren't any pictures of scantily clad women on the wall," I said.
"Are you disappointed?" Ichigo asked with a chuckle.
"No. But if you did have pictures of naked girls on your wall, I would instead be judging you based on their attractiveness," I said.
I turned away from him for a brief moment to examine his desk and he suddenly slammed something down onto his bed. I looked over at him and he was doing his best to be nonchalant, but was definitely trying with all his might to keep his book bag pinned to his bed.
". . . Is everything okay?" I asked.
"Yeah. Fine," he said. But his book bag was actually fidgeting and muffled sounds were coming from it.
"Your bag is, um, moving," I said. "Is it supposed to do that?"
"No. It's supposed to shut the hell up and be quiet," Ichigo said punching the bag.
Then the zipper unzipped and out popped a small, stuffed animal, a lion to be exact. It stood on Ichigo's bed and glared at him.
"What's the big idea hitting me like that?!" the toy shouted. "You could at least let me out of the bag!"
". . . It talks," I said.
The lion looked over to me. "Oh. . ."
"I've seen a lot of weird stuff in my day, but talking stuffed animals. . . Well, I guess that doesn't actually rank very high. All things considered I don't know why I'm even confused," I said. "But here we are. You have stuffed lion that talks and responds to being physically assaulted. Are they standard issue for all Soul Reapers or did you just get lucky?"
"She knows you're a Soul Reaper?" the stuffed toy asked.
"I'm Kairi Son. Former Spirit Detective," I said.
"Oh, I get it. You're the girl Rukia told us about," the toy said. "I'm Kon. I'm a mod soul."
"A mod soul?" I asked.
"When I become a Soul Reaper, I have to take my soul out of my body, so my body is just left to kind of lie around. Kon is a soul that goes inside of my body while I'm off dealing with hollows to make sure I don't get into any trouble," he said.
Ichigo picked Kon up from the bed and he immediately started fussing until Ichigo reached into his mouth and pulled out a small, green bead. Kon had stopped moving.
"Technically, this is Kon. He's an artificially created soul," Ichigo said. "Without this inside of the toy, it's just a regular stuffed animal. Also, he's less annoying."
I giggled as Ichigo returned Kon to normal. I picked him up from the bed.
"I think he's kind of cute, though, I've never really been much of a fan of stuffed animals," I said.
"Thanks, Sweetheart, you're not too bad yourself," Kon said.
Kon then leapt from my arms and onto my chest, and as he nuzzled his tiny, stuffed lion head between my boobs, I couldn't help but begin to realize why Ichigo might have been punching his book bag.
I ripped Kon from my chest and threw him clear across the room and against the wall.
"Are all mod souls incredibly perverted?" I asked.
"Nope. Just Kon," Ichigo said. He picked Kon up from the floor and he tossed the complaining mod soul into his closet. "Sorry about him."
"It's all right. I can't help that I'm so damn attractive," I said, sitting down in his desk chair.
"Weird—not too long ago you were convinced that you were going to have a cat menagerie," Ichigo said.
"Oh, I probably still will. My looks don't really make up for my terrible personality," I said.
"I don't think you have a terrible personality," Ichigo said.
"You're also not dating me. If you were you would know," I said. "And then you would rue the day that you met me. And that's why I'm going to have a thousand cats."
"That's your prerogative," Ichigo said.
"It's not. I'm just accepting my fate," I said.
"I don't believe in fate," Ichigo said. "What happens to you happens because you let it happen."
"I'd really love to agree with you, but as someone who predicts the future accurately 100 percent of the time, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that most things in life aren't predetermined somehow," I said. "I have come to accept, however, that everything happens for a reason. The really big, really life changing things all happen for some important reason."
"Like what?" he asked.
"Like on Friday when Yusuke died, that's horrible, but that's what pushed me to become a Super Saiyan and it's what made him discover his demon ancestry and it's how we stopped Sensui," I said. "I'm going to be emotionally scarred from the experience for many years to come, but it helped me. I bet there's even a reason why I ended up here in Karakura Town, going to school with a Soul Reaper and why I'm sitting in his room waiting for the rain to die down."
"What reason is that?" Ichigo asked.
"I'm not sure. Maybe it's to help me move on from the bad stuff that happened last week," I said. "Maybe, I came here to start over and maybe, Shinigami, you're supposed to help me."
"I guess we'll see," he said.
[A/N: New Series will be up soon. Currently it's still unnamed, but keep an eye out. Happy New Year! See you in 2013! Don't forget to review!]