Jinchuriki Rising

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Bleach

Previously on Jinchuriki Rising

The battle between the Shinigami and the members of the Bijuu Corps reaches its peak as one by one, Ichigo's allies slowly fall. With his allies captured, Ichigo is the only one who remains. With his allies now in the hands of the Corps, Ichigo now faces off with the head of the Bijuu Corps, Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze.


Chapter 5: Naruto vs Ichigo

Roshi leaned back against the stone wall behind him, puffing on his oriental style pipe. He exhaled releasing a stream of smoke into the wind. Unfortunately, the winds carried the smoke in the direction towards Yugito.

She coughed waving her hand to disperse the smoke, "Do you have to do that while I am right here?"

"What? I just finished a worthwhile battle. I think I am at liberty to enjoy my pipe."

Yugito just glared at him, "You know those things can kill you"

Roshi glared right back, "How would you know? Is that even possible? I mean as spiritual beings we are already technically dead. Therefore, smoking a pipe should not be doing any possible damage to my system so that throws your logic out the door."

"Well tough shit old man we can still die so that throws your theory out the window!"

For a while both of them just stared at one another, neither one's glare backing down. Finally Yugito tsked in annoyance and turned away. "Annoying geezer."

"Bitchy cat lady"

Yugito suddenly stood behind Roshi, her form covered in shadows and her eyes glowing bright red. She would have struck him down were it not for Killer Bee holding her back. "Easy now old man, right now she ain't your biggest fan."

"Understatement of the century" Utakata mumbled a few feet away from them sitting on the ground cross legged in front of a shirtless Yagura. Utakata brought his zanpakuto to his lips and blew into it. From the mouth of the pipe a thick, white and gooey bubble emerged and flew over to Yagura separating into smaller bubbles landing on several wounds on his body. Upon landing the bubbles bulged as their froms changed shape transforming into tiny white slugs with stubby arms. The slugs shifted their bodies, getting a good grip on Yagura as they latched onto his body placing their slimy mouth on the wounded areas. After Utakata performed a few hand signs, the slugs released a light green aura, causing Yagura to sigh in relief.

"You know I must admit that it's been a while since any of us had this much fun. To be honest I was worried that we were becoming rusty. It's a relief that those guys came along. My opponent may have been only a child, but he really demonstrated that he was worthy of having the title of captain. It was really fun." Yagura could not help but smile in excitement as he praised Hitsugaya.

They grey haired man along with his teammates glanced over to where said opponents were resting. Lying on their respective futons where Rukia and the others, their bodies covered with the same slug like creatures as Yagura.

"Yo Utakata you sure they won't get up anytime soon?" Killer Bee shouted randomly poking Komamura with a random stick. The action causing the wolf man to growl and make his ears twitch.

Utakata did not even turn his head as he answered Killer B, "Saiken is currently healing their injuries but to avoid further confrontation I also asked him to pump a bit of anesthesia into their bodies. It won't put them in danger, but it will knock them out for a while and….. What the hell are you doing?"

He looked at Killer Bee who was about to poke Rukia in the chest. "Just checking to see if she's a chick."

Suddenly he released a very high pitched shriek and collapsed onto the floor in the fetal position with both hands on his groin area, which was smoking and glowing red. Behind him, Yugito was growling in anger, her left foot was smoking.

"Keep your hands and your perversions to yourself ass hole. Don't ever think about invading a women's personal space ever again you got it?" She roared with her eyes now white circles and her teeth serrated. In the background, a giant nekomata with blue flames for fur hissed angrily, causing all men to step away from the angry woman.

Yagura chuckled as he observed his allies antics. He blinked when the slugs stopped glowing. Their bodies were bloated making them look like big white balloons. They jumped down from Yagura's body and quickly waddled away from him. He six slugs bumped into each other and merged together, becoming a giant slug the size of a grey hound. The slug reared its head up, belching out a cloud of corrosive mist that quickly dissipated. Its task now complete the slug popped like a bubble, its reishi returning to Utakata.

"Thank you for the treatment Utakata-san"

The one eyed man waved him off and stood up to go check on the others. As Yagura put his clothes back on, he blinked when he felt a presence enter the area. He turned around and saw Gaara jumping onto the ground from the sand cloud he was standing on. With quick precision, he used his hands to gently bring the other two sand clouds behind him to land side by side with the other shinigami. The sand under them changed their shape becoming futons to provide a comfortable position for them to rest. One was a bald male who looked worse for wear while the other was a women with long strawberry blond hair and large breasts. Unlike her comrade she did not have much injuries on her.

The whole group gathered around them, "You sure took your time getting here Gaara. What took you so long?"

"I was caught up in memories from the past and I got sidetracked." He answered vaguely as Utakata summoned more slugs. They immediately got to work on healing his new patients. Yugito bent down to stare at the beautiful women.

"It really is Rangiku-chan, I almost did not recognize her. She really let her hair grow out."

"So I guess all that's left of our little group is Naruto. Where the hell is that little brat?"

At that exact moment they all felt a large burst of power and rushed to the entrance of the cave the were currently hiding in. There, they witnessed the form of a pillar of dark red light rise out from the forest some leagues away. "Never mind, I found him. From the looks of it, it looks like his battle is currently underway."


Meanwhile with Naruto and Ichigo

Ichigo grunted as he jumped far above the tree line just as a large serpentine pillar of dark red energy exploded from the ground below and the tip of the pillar separated into a set of jaws that would have crushed him had his reaction time been slower.

"Getsuga Tenshou" Ichigo unleashed a small scale Getsuga tenshou and used the recoil of the attack to enter into a barrel role, narrowly avoiding the jaws of the energy construct. Ichigo exited his barrel role and using his reishi created a platform in the air to stand on. From above he saw Naruto follow after him, his zanpakutou giving off an eerie glow. Ichigo was shocked when the air around Naruto shimmered before multiple copies of the blond charged after him. Ichigo raising his Tensa Zangetsu charged after him. They clashed and Ichigo was surprised when the copies attacked him and instead of disappearing, the copies remained. Within moments Naruto, his copies and Ichigo were no more than barely recognizable blurs. Ichigo parried and deflected the strikes but the sheer number of clones were beginning to overwhelm him as some of their attacks pierced his defense, cutting parts of his body. The dark energy from the blade burning his skin.

Ichigo roared and his sword arm went into a wild dance of sharp slashes temporarily stopping the copies assault and forcing them back. Their hesitation was all he needed and he rushed at them, striking down each and every clone until all that was left was the original. He shunpoed above Naruto trying for an overhead strike but he shunpoed again and reappeared to Naruto's exposed left side. Naruto saw this tried to dodge the attack but Ichigo's increase in speed caught him off guard and his blade slashed his cheek.

He pushed forward and delivered a palm strike to Ichigo who blocked it, but the force behind the blow sent him flying away. Naruto's grip on the sword tightened as he swung his blade unleashing an energy tendril that shaped into a clawed hand. Ichigo landed on a tree branch and dodged to the right as the arm flattened where he was previously standing, but to his surprise a blob emerged from the energy tendril and with frightening speed fired out of it heading straight for him. The energy took on the form of a demonized version of Naruto made of dark-red energy with long rabbit ears. The demon construct raised its arm and swung it down on him. Ichigo used his sword as a shield but the impact of the blow was so great that he blasted down into the earth creating a crater. Ichigo was surprised by the force of the blow and he looked up to see the demon falling down and taking in a huge gulp of air causing its stomach to bulge. Ichigo's eyes went wide as he realised what was going to happen. He jumped out of the crater and ran like hell to make as much distance as possible. The demonic construct roared and a small sphere of red energy was sent his way. Unable to dodge the high speed projectile Ichigo, spun around and focused his power into his blade generating wisps of black energy with red outlines.

The two opposing forces clashed causing a large shockwave as Ichgio and the projectile battled for dominance. Ichigo grunted as he was pushed back from the force behind the attack but with a yell, he persevered and using his blade, he swung the projectile away like a baseball were it caused an explosion of light overhead. Ichigo looked up to see that the demon construct was slowly vanishing. Before completely dissipating, it gave Ichigo an eerie toothy grin.

Ichigo blinked and he ducked just in time to avoid the overhead swing meant to sever his head. He rotated and jabbed forward with his blade piercing Naruto through the stomach. The blond hissed and kicked Ichigo away. He placed a hand and put pressure on the bleeding wound. Ichigo was surprised when the energy from the blade began to turn into an orange transparent mass of bubbling energy that traveled the length of his arm and went down to his wound encasing it. The energy entered the wound and he watched in fascination as the wound started to steam and close up.

"That's one interesting ability you have. I don't think I have ever seen something like that."

"Really? Well Kurama has always been sort of a show off."

"Kurama, that's your Zanpakuto's name right?"

As if it heard him the blade released a small burst of dark red energy. The sudden outburst caught him off guard and he entered a fighting stance, but Naruto raised his hand in a placating manner. For a while Ichigo watched as Naruto closed his eyes and his breathing slowed down and he could feel both his and his zanpakuto's energies temporarily become in sync. Naruto opened his eyes and the feeling ended. "Sorry about that, Kurama doesn't really like it when I throw his name around like that. He doesn't really trust others and thinks most people are beneath him."

"He kinda sounds like an asshole." Ichigo's bluntness caused Naruto to chuckle.

"Well I will admit he can be kind of a handful. However he is a really good guy once you dig beneath the layers… many…many layers. He and I have been partners for a very long time, even from before my death. He is my most trusted ally and one of my closest friends."

Ichigo was shocked to hear that, "You've known zanpakuto since before you died?" How is that even possible?"

"Well for starters, Kurama was not always my zanpakuto. You see it's been quite a while since I died. In truth, I was born and died within a separate timeline from yours."

Ichigo was stunned to hear that, but before he could ask more about that, Naruto raised his hand to silence him. "In said time line, I was born as a Shinobi, a trained master of stealth and assassination. In fact all the members of my corps come from the same timeline. Like me all of them have known their zanpakuto spirit when they were alive. Before they became our zanpakuto… they used to be demonic entities called Bijuu, 'the tailed beasts'!"

"Demons?"

"Well, I guess demons would not be the correct term. I would tell you more, but unfortunately we are still enemies. I only told you this much because I can sense that compared to other people the Gotei 13 has sent to find us, you have the aura of someone who can be trusted."

Ichigo scoffed, "That's pretty lame of you. You go and drop that bombshell of info on me and then just cut me off. That's a pretty dick move."

Naruto smirked, "Well if you feel that strongly about it, then why not make a bet. If you manage to survive our fight then I will tell you my story. If I win… well at that point you'd be pretty much dead."

Ichigo smiled and a second later he engaged Naruto, "Deal!"

Ichgo slashed Naruto at his chest, but he bent back avoiding the blade. Naruto then kicked upwards sending ichgo's sword hand upwards. Back flipping, he spun in the air swinging his sword in a circular arc, creating a tornado out of the dark red energy.

"Kyuubi no Arashi/ Ninetail's storm" the tornado howled and twisted slamming into Ichigo. He grunted in pain as he took the brunt of the attack and was sent hurtling up into the sky by the power of a demon's wrath.

"Hado #4: Byakurai" Holding his palm and sliding it over his blade, Naruto channeled the power of his spell into his zanpaktou. Bolts of red lightning danced around the blade, He jabbed the blade up towards Ichigo and a bolt of red lightning faster than sound rushed forward.

"Special technique: Kyuubi Akuma no Yari/ Spear of the Nine Tailed Demon"

Ichigo recovered and tried to doge the bolt of lightning flying towards him. The bolt grazed his side as he flew down towards Naruto.

"Hado # 58: Tenran…"

Ichigo watched as red winds emerged from the blade and flew towards him and circled around him trapping him within a cage of wind. The cage was spherical and surrounding it were nine rings of wind colored blood red.

"Special Technique: Kami no chi keimusho o makimasu/ Wind God's Blood Prison"

Naruto turned his blade clockwise like a key and the cage of red wind compressed. Inside the sphere Ichigo observed as the sphere grew smaller and the winds touching his blade created sparks as the rapid winds closed in to shred him. With a yell, Ichigo, spun around while releasing a stream of the Getsuga tenshou. His spin went faster and faster, releasing wave after wave of energy. Eventually the amount grew too much for the cage to hold and it burst open and dissipated.

Naruto watched in fascination, the energy Ichigo released appeared as if he were creating a whirlpool out of dark energy. Ichigo started spinning faster and faster. He heaved the attack at Naruto creating a spiraling tower of dark energy.

Naruto flew to the ground with the spirals flying right behind him. He added a burst of speed making contact with the ground and without losing momentum he kicked off of it. The resulting impact caused the ground to shatter and avoid the spiral tower of the Getsuga Tenshou as it reached the spot he was in moments ago. The resulting explosion forced him to shield his eyes from the shockwave. Suddenly Naruto was taken by surprise when Ichigo shunpoed above and dive bombed him. Naruto raised his blade and was pushed back by the forced behind the blow. He shifted his body causing sparks to fly as Ichigo's Tenza Zangetsu slid along the blade's surface. When Ichigo passed him Naruto spun around and cut through Ichigo's body. His eyes narrowed when he noticed that he had cut through an afterimage. Closing his eyes Naruto expanded his senses. After waiting a couple of seconds Naruto bent backwards avoiding a two pronged attack from Ichigo and an after image, their blades crossing into an X-pattern over his chest. Going into a handstand Naruto spun his legs into Ichigo's arm forcing him back several feet. Ichigo forced through the pain and with two hands on his sword he unleashed another powerful Getsuga Tenshou. The energy made contact and the blast continued past Naruto incinerating whatever it touched to ash. As the wave died down, Ichigo was on high alert in his attempt to find his enemy. His frowned deepened when the smoke and debris cleared revealing his opponent.

He had one knee on the ground with his sword in front of him acting like a shield. He was for all intents and purposes unharmed. Surrounding him like a barrier was a large energy construct. The construct was made out of the same dark red energy released from the blonde's zanpakuto. The construct resembled the skeleton of a giant fox with horns on its head that resembled a crown and wisps of energy from Ichigo's attack still lingered on its form, further adding to its demonic appearance. The construct was only manifested from the waist up and had six appendages. Two of those appendages had its fingers interlocked making it look as if it was praying while the other four arms were crossed in front of it. Ichigo watched as the four crossed arms shattered and the remaining two arms, as well as the front of the construct, developed large cracks.

"Mao no Yosai/ Fortress of the Demon King"

Naruto released the technique and the construct vanished. Naruto and Ichigo took to the skies where they stopped to observe the state of one another. Up until now, their battle had been so intense that their surroundings were now completely devoid of any trees, leaving a large barren wasteland with a large radius. However, even though both shinigami were locked in a very serious battle that could probably result in one of them losing their life, they both shared one distinct feature. Plastered on both of their faces, they sported matching grins. Even though both they were enemies, they could not help but feel joy in fighting one another.


While Ichigo and Naruto were duking it out, the members of the Bijuu Corps observed the fight from afar. They stood in silence, their clothing being blown from the backlash of Ichigo's last attack. Bee's neutral look then morphed into a smirk, "Oh Yeah! Can you suckas feel that? Naruto's enjoyin his fight with the shinigami brat!"

Yagura sighed, "What are you going on about now?"

Gaara elaborated for the former Mizukage, "It is true. Even from this distance, due to our bond, Bee and I can tell that Naruto is enjoying his fight. It would seem that this shinigami is posing quite the challenge for him."

"Really? You can tell?"

Bee moved forward moving around in his usual style, "Listen up ya fools! Me and number one have known Naruto, longer than any of you! Our bonds tighter than glue, so trust what we tell you! Fool ya fools!"

Before anyone could comment on Bee's rather poor rapping, a soft moan got their attention. They all turned their heads to see Orihime waking up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she gave a lazy yawn. Yagura rushed to Utakata, whispering harshly into his ear, "What happened? I thought you said they were out cold?"

Utakata hummed in thought, "Well considering that she is the only human among them, I did not think she would be much of a threat. Besides, from what I observed she seems more like a healer than a fighter."

Orihime looked a little disoriented as she tried and failed to stand back up. Yagura shunpoed and caught her before she collapsed. "Take it easy there young miss. We just finished treating your injuries so you shouldn't be moving around so much."

Orihime blinked as Yagura set her down. She looked at the young grey haired man and gave him a warm smile. Then much to the surprise and amusement to everyone there, she patted him on the head, like one would do to a child. "Thank you very much, yoji-kun (1)"

For a while everything was silent, not even the sounds of the currently ongoing battle could be heard. Bee, Yugito, Utakata were doing their very best to hold in their laughter, Roshi was smirking and Gaara merely observed with a neutral look. Orihime looked confused when she saw Yagura's body tremble and his hair overshadowed his eyes.

"Why... In what universe….?" Then without warning Orihime was blown backwards as Yagura's head grew three times its normal size as he yelled at Orihime.

"DO YOU GET OFF CALLING ME LIKE THAT?!"

Orihime, completely taken of guard by the small man's reaction, quickly hid behind the tall frame of Bee's body. By now he had thrown caution out the window and was laughing hysterically while holding his sides.

"D… did I do something wrong?" Orihime asked slightly afraid as Yagura's breathing became heavier and a fiery aura was being released from his body.

Yugito chuckled as she held her stomach, "Sorry it's just what you said to Yagura. He may not look like it but he is actually an adult."

"HUHHHH?! I thought he was just small like Hitsugaya-kun! Is that true?" Orhime asked genuinely shocked.

Yagura glared at her, his head now normal size once again. "You're damn right I am. Honestly people of your generation have no respect for your elders. I mean I was in my thirties when I died. Not to mention that I have the body hair to prove that I am far from being a child!"

Orihime sweatdropped as she felt overwhelmed, by Yagura's ranting, "G-gomenasai. I did not mean to insult you."

Yagura looked like he wanted to continue, but stopped when he saw Orihime's apologetic expression. She had her arms clasped together, an action which actually caused her large breasts to perk up. On her face she looked at him with big puppy dog eyes and her facial expression showing nothing but pure innocence. Also he could tell that she was not even trying to act all innocent and that her reactions were actually sincere.

'CUTE!' Yagura couldn't help but blush, when he saw her expression.

However to save face he turned around so that she would not see his face, "Well so long as you don't let it happen again, we are okay."

Orihime smiled, happy that her apology had been accepted. She looked at her friends noticing the tiny little slugs on their bodies.

"What are these?" she asked to herself, but was heard by everyone. She got in close to one of the slugs who appeared to be sniffing her out of curiosity. Orihime gathered her courage and slowly with a pout of concentration that made everyone sweatdrop, gently poked one of the slugs in its fat belly. The contact sent ripples through the slug like jello, making it chuckle as it hugged its body.

Orihime smiled as she tickled the little creature with her finger sending it into a bigger laughing fit. "It's pretty cute."

However all thoughts she had on the slugs adorableness disappeared when it turned around and belched out a cloud of green gas. The gas flew into a rock where upon contact the stone began melting into a bubbling puddle of sludge.

"Interesting is it not?" Orihime turned around to see the kimono wearing man, Utakata if she remembered correctly, addressing her confusion.

"My zanpakuto, Saiken can be summoned into those little avatars you see before you. An interesting ability that Saiken has is that he can absorb and is immune to all forms of poisons and toxins. He can also heal injuries by treating wounds as if they were a form of poison or toxin. He latches on to the injured area and absorbs the damage into himself by converting it into a type of poison. That poison becomes gas that he later expels from his body."

"That sounds… interesting" Orihime replied with a confused smile, unsure whether to be impressed or disgusted.

"Thanks, its my own unique healing method. I developed it after meeting a certain old geezer who owns a special type of hot spring."

Suddenly an explosion caused them to look into the direction of the ongoing battle, where large tendrils of dark red energy began to lash out at a flying figure in the distance. Orihime recognized the flying dot by the spiritual pressure being released.

"Kurosaki-kun" she looked on with a worried expression.

"Indeed, the battle is not going well for your friend." Gaara said getting her attention.

"You friend has been forced into his bankai state since the start of the fight. However, Naruto has only used his shikai. Up until now he has been holding back, so while your friend may be strong, the outcome of this fight is inevitable. He will lose."

The way Gaara spoke with such apathy in his voice made her feel a twinge of fear as it brought back unpleasant memories involving a certain teal eyed arrancar. This change in emotion did not go unnoticed by Gaara.

"I apologize if I have frightened you in any way. That was not my intention. You may rest assured that I and my comrades have no intention of further hurting you or your friends. For now we will have to wait for the outcome of this fight. You need not worry, our leader will bring him back to you alive."

Orihime relaxed somewhat and returned her attention to the fight in the distance. She could not help but worry for the man she secretly loved.


"TAKE THIS" Ichigo shunpoed above his opponent, swinging his Tensa Zangetsu down with both hands. Naruto saw this and spun his sword to gather momentum and at the right moment he used the blades rotation to counter the blow with even greater striking power. The impact caused a recoil sending them both back. Naruto recovered and jabbed his blade forward with the intent to pierce Ichigo through. Ichigo shunpoed away moving to Naruto's left attempting to enter his blindspot. He aimed for a swing to his head, forcing Naruto to bring his sword up to block. However at the last moment Ichigo dropped his blade catching it with his other hand in attempt to catch him off guard. Naruto retaliated by gathering his reiatsu in the palm of his hand. An orb of red energy quickly formed and Ichigo gasped as the close range Shakaho blasted into his stomach, burning his skin and causing him to cough up blood.

Ichigo flinched in pain, clutching the burned area surrounding his abdomen. He never removed his eyes away from his opponent, which was the smart thing to do as Naruto continued his onslaught, putting Ichigo on the defensive. With only one hand, Ichigo was barely able to keep up with Naruto's rapid series of attacks, costing him a cuts, though thankfully nothing to deep. However if things continued at this pace Ichigo knew that he would either bleed out or drop his guard as a result of fatigue.

'It looks like I have no choice. I am going to have to resort to using that' Ichigo removed his hand from his stomach and brought it up to his face, gripping it with his hands in a claw like motion. This forced Naruto to momentarily stop his attack and put some distance between them, preferring to be cautious of what the orange haired shinigami had planned.

Suddenly Naruto felt a large spike in Ichigo's power, as his reiatsu suddenly gained a much darker quality. Naruto was surprised when Ichigo pulled his hand down, releasing black reiatsu over his face. Before he could understand what was happening, he felt a fist bury itself into his gut taking his breath away. The unexpected blow sent him flying into the air, only to fall back down as a Getsuga Tenshou wave slammed into his back. Naruto fought through the pain and rolled away from his spot on the ground as something came flying from the sky, landing on his former location and creating a deep crater. Naruto stood up, waiting for the smoke to clear, however nothing could have prepared him for what he saw next. He watched in shock as Ichigo walked out of the dust cloud, but his attention was focused on the orange haired teens face. Instead of his normal scowling face, Naruto was surprised to see a hollow mask instead. The mask was white with red outlines tracing the mask and his eyes that were once brown were now golden surrounded by a black sclera. He resumed his battle stance as he finally understood why Ichigo's reiatsu suddenly felt like a cross between a shinigami and a hollow's.

Naruto's eyes widened when Ichigo suddenly materialized in front of him. At the sight of his opponent he reacted on instinct and swung his zanpakuto at him, only for the orange haired shinigami to vanish. What happened next was something that Naruto would never forget. Ichigo began moving at speeds that even he had trouble seeing. To him and anyone watching it looked like dozens of mask wearing shinigami were surrounding the blond moving at inhuman speeds. Recovering his composure Naruto fought back by using his own speed to create afterimage clones. They clashed against the Ichigo lookalikes narrowing down his search for the real shinigami. All of a sudden he froze as he locked onto a certain area. He shunpoed away and in almost slow motion he appeared in front of Ichigo as he just finished materializing. He swung his blade down releasing a crescent arc of vibrant dark red energy. However this proved unsuccessful as Ichigo vanished revealing it to be an afterimage. A second after the impact cut through the clone, the real Ichigo materialized in front of Naruto, leaving him gaping in surprise of how the younger shinigami had surpassed his own speed and heightened senses.

"Getsuga Tenshou" Naruto was too slow to bring Kurama up to block the attack so he concentrated his reiatsu in front part of his body, just as Ichigo released his attack. Naruto yelled as the attack pushed him along the ground, digging his body into the dirt in an extremely painful manner. Naruto, in a feat of superhuman strength, grabbed onto Ichigos's Getsuga Tenshou struggling against it and digging his feet into the ground. With all the strength he was capable of, Naruto roared as he changed the direction of Ichigo's attack, throwing it into the sky.

Naruto was panting, his body covered from the neck down to the waist up in severe burns. His hand not currently holding his blade was bloody and extremely burned. His chest had a diagonal gash from his left shoulder to his right hip. The gash was cauterized releasing waves of smoke as the smell of burnt flesh wafted through the air. Bubbling red energy spilled out of Naruto's zanpakuto, coating his body. The energy morphed until it had an animal like appearance with a tail thrashing around wildly and long pointed rabbit like ears. Naruto's cloak began repairing his damaged body, the burns and other injuries he had endured were quickly healing.

However Naruto was still exhausted and it was evident that while his wounds were healed, his stamina was another had also noticed Naruto's exhaustion and attempted to go in for the kill, when something made him stop. From out of nowhere, eerie low whispers echoed through the area, mumbling something that he could not make out. He looked all around him, until his eyes landed on Naruto and realized that the whispers were coming from him, or more specifically his zanpakuto.

'What is he planning?'

The whispers were not clear coherent sentences and had a drowsy tone to it. It almost sounded as though whoever was talking sounded as if they talking in their sleep. While Ichigo could barely understand the whispers, Naruto could understand them perfectly. He had a surpised expression on his face but that quickly vanished as he understood what needed to be done.

'I really do not like the idea of using this technique. Although it would be overkill to bring out my bankai at this point in the fight. If I did Kurama would just bitch about me wasting his time. Damn it, this is going be a huge pain in the ass.'

Naruto raised his sword arm up pointing it to the sky and the air became dense as a powerful force descended upon the area. "That's a pretty impressive trick you got there. I will admit that I was not expecting you to showcase that kind of power. But now that I understand how it works, it's time to show you a bit more of what I can really do."

Ichigo watched as Naruto's cloak began to bubble more and more causing his skin started to peel off and his blood was starting to leak off of his body into the cloak causing it to grow less transparent and much darker. "Get ready cause I am about to blow your mind. Dattebayo!"

In a matter of seconds Naruto was encased in a cocoon of energy. After several seconds past, Ichigo began gathering power for another strike, when the cocoon shattered and a wave of power washed over him. His black cape flew behind him flapping at the fast paced winds. Ichigo remained impassive his eyes narrowing as he tried to get a lock on his opponent. It was then that he heard it. The sound of fierce low growl, like a predatory beast anxious to tear apart its prey, coming straight at him. The tension was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Finally out from the cloud emerged something that Ichigo would never forget for as long as he lived.

He watched as Naruto walked out of the cloud in a form that could only be described as monstrous. Naruto's whole body was now covered in that blood like energy giving him a demonic appearance. His ears were now long and pointed like a rabbits; his eyes were now round and pure white that appeared bottomless; around his neck, two streams of energy were floating in the wind, almost like it was some type of sentient scarf; his feet were now animalistic, resembling that of a canine humanoid and as with one of his hands, they were tipped with white claws made from pure energy. However the most noticeable change to his body was that his sword had now fused with his arm, with veins of red energy running along its length.

"You like it? I call this form my 'Asura Cloak'. It works a lot just like your mask and boosts my power drastically. The only side-effect is that using it hurts like a bitch."

"Why the hell would you use it then? Why not just activate your bankai and get it over with?"

Naruto smirked, showing sharp teeth and a mouth that, like his eyes, was an endless white void. " Well for one it wouldn't be any fun to just wipe you out like that. Also I already told you, Kurama is an especially picky zanpakuto. Even though he enjoys fighting, he gets pissed off if my opponents are not strong enough for him. If I summon him only for you to be defeated shortly after, he would be really pissed."

"Well now, acting pretty smug aren't you? You sound as though you've already won this fight?"

Naruto clenched his fist, "Enough small talk! Let's get back to our fight Kurosaki!"

Naruto threw his fist towards him and Ichigo instinctively jumped away just as the spot he was in was decimated by a very powerful shockwave. Naruto jumped after Ichigo, leaving behind a crater from the power of his jump. Naruto then spun his body three times before he fired a disk of pure energy at Ichigo. Its form spinning around like a shuriken. With every bit of new distance covered the attack got bigger and bigger until it was ten times the size of Ichigo's body.

"Oni Arashi no Shuriken/ Demon Storm Shuriken"

Ichigo fired a Getsuga Tenshou at it, stalling it long enough for him to barrel roll out of the way and flew like a bullet towards Naruto. Naruto took a deep breath before he shot out a small red sphere forcing Ichigo to stop and dodge it. Naruto then ran on the ground taking off at superhuman speeds firing shot after shot at Ichigo who went on the defensive, dodging and weaving his way past every sphere that blew up when they came into contact with anything. Naruto suddenly stopped running and changed direction faster than Ichigo could process. Shunpoing in front of him were five Naruto's each one carrying a violet sphere that gave off bell like shrieks.

"Asura Rasengan Barrage"

Ichigo was unable to stop them and was forced to take the full brunt of the attack. The spheres drilled into his flesh up until the point where their power was released in one final burst, sending him flying through the air back into a green zone that had not yet been destroyed.

Ichigo gasped from the intense pain coming from his stomach where five new swirl shaped indents were burned into his skin. Suddenly his instincts kicked in and he lifted his sword just in time to black a stab from Naruto's zanpakuto. Ichigo and Naruto growled as they tried to overpower one another. Naruto was slowly wining ground as his blade inched closer and closer to Ichigo, his blade slowly piercing his mask creating tiny cracks. Ichigo yelled as he forced Naruto back and grabbed him by the shoulder, slightly burning his skin, delivering an earth shattering head butt to his skull. Thanks to the extra power provided by his reinforced hollow mask, Ichigo's headbutt managed to temporarily disorient Naruto. He took advantage of his confused state and delivered numerous slashes sending the red energy flying off him like sprays of blood. The droplets of energy that separated from Naruto's cloak burned everything it touched like a corrosive acid. Naruto growled forcing the streams of energy to be absorbed, returning back to his cloak. After reabsorbing it all, he crossed his arms and then opened them wide releasing several energy spears out of his body at Ichigo. The orange haired shinigami acted fast and dodged the spears as they impaled and burned through a tree trunk.

Ichigo cut through the spears severing their connection to Naruto causing them to evaporate. He went into a slashing frenzy forcing Naruto away from the green zone back towards the destroyed field. Naruto noticed gaps in Ichigo's movements and took advantage of it. Focusing his energy into his blade arm, he waited for the right moment and swung it at Tensa Zangetsu. When both zanpakuto came into contact with one another, the impact not only knocked Ichigo back, but the resulting backlash also put him off balance sending him back flipping through the air. Ichigo recovered quickly and charged Naruto who let his zanpakuto take the blow and let it slide along the length of his blade generating a shower of sparks. He then kicked Ichigo with enough power to force the air out of his lungs and make him cough up blood. Ichigo barely dodged a strike to his left shoulder, resulting in a deep gash along the length of his arm. Ignoring the pain he charged forward delivering a solid uppercut to Naruto's chin forcing him back and leaving some distance between them. Ichigo followed up with a Getsuga Tenshou, but Naruto broke through it by releasing a red energy wave that struck Ichigo, catching him in the epicenter of a devastating explosion.

"Akuma Okokkiba/Demon's Raging Fang"

Naruto did not stop his attack and flew after the injured shinigami. Ichigo gasped when he felt a powerful punch to his gut that also burned his stomach like acid. Ichigo roared in fury and went on the offensive. Shunpoing behind Naruto only to disappear and reappear in front of him bringing down his blade with both hands. The blow was stronger than before and Naruto tried to attack him, but Ichigo did not offer him the slightest reprieve and continued to strike at Naruto's arm until they had both flown to the ground where Naruto's body was being forced into the earth from Ichigo's powerful blows.

Naruto growled but soon realized that despite the power behind them, he noticed something of critical importance regarding Ichgio's attack pattern, 'His attacks carry a lot of power but they are started to lack the speed he had from before. Looks like using that hollow mask of his carries a side effect. Looks like I am going to have to end this fight as soon as possible.'

Naruto breathed deeply in concentration as two appendages grew out from his scarf like streams and slowly started to dig their way into the earth. Ichigo who was so focused on his current assault failed to notice this and the way he was slowly forcing Naruto into the ground, only helped to shield them from his point of view.

"Hado # 33: Sokatsui" Naruto pulled his arm back focusing his reiatsu to the palm of his hand until blue flames merged with his cloak created indigo flames and then thrusting it forward. Ichigo jumped just as a torrent of indigo flames chased after him. At the last moment he jumped above the fire stream, however Naruto smirked as he did just what he expected him to do.

Ichigo heard a crash but did not notice as two appendages erupted from the earth, both using the stream of flames as cover to get closer. By the time he realised that two giant hands were jumping out from the indigo flames Ichigo was too late to stop them as they grabbed and restrained him. Ichigo yelled in agony as the corrosive properties of Naruto's cloak burned his skin. He struggled against them and tried to force them apart in order to escape but they were just too strong. Naruto willed the hands to lift Ichigo up and then abruptly bring him back down hard. Ichgio gasped as he was slammed into the earth over and over again, each slam causing his mask to crack more and more. Finally the arms stopping smashing him and then started to drag him across the floor head first damaging his mask even more.

Finally, Naruto threw Ichigo into the air releasing him from the grip of his claws and prepared to take aim, pulling his sword arm up and concentrating a large quantity of energy into the blade. The blade shone with a strong vibrant crimson light as it gathered power before moving it to the tip. Bringing the hands from his scarf forward he used them to focus them energy into a single point and helped to stabilize its form. The crimson energy forced itself out from the swords tip and started to concentrate into a sphere in front of the blade as blue transparent spheres materialized from thin air and began to merge with the red energy, accumulating and condensing it into a black sphere the size of a basketball. Naruto raised the black energy towards Ichigo who in a last ditch effort gathered his remaining power into his zanpakuto, preparing one massive and final attack.

"TAKE THIS! BIJUUDAMA!" The sphere hummed with power until it could not hold anymore and it released it into a giant white beam that sucked the light from the surroundings.

"GETSUGA TENSHOU!" Ichigo yelled as he actually charged straight towards the beam much to Naruto's utter disbelief. Time seemed to slow down as Ichigo and the beam came closer and closer to one another. Both of his hands grasping his zanpakuto so tightly that blood poured down the hilt. Ichigo and the beam finally collided causing a massive explosion as attacks from heaven and earth fought for dominance. From the ground up everything was bathed in a bright white light, while the entire sky was covered by a giant wave of darkness.

It was a near apocalyptic scene as both sides battled for dominance over the other. Both sides appeared equal in terms of strength and neither was able to truly overpower the other. Finally having enough, Naruto brought his arm up and placed it on his sword arm stabilizing it for what would happen next. He cried out as sudden large outburst of reiatsu flooded his system shrouding him in a golden aura and forcibly blew away his Asura Cloak. The increase in power transferred into his attack, quickly overcoming Ichigo's. Ichigo was shocked at his opponent's sudden increase in power and tried to fight back, but it was clear that he had reached his limit and was no longer able to continue fighting. Ichigo tried to draw on more power from his inner hollow, but at the last moment it shattered and he watched with wide eyes as Naruto's attack finally overpowered his Getsuga Tenshou, enveloping him in a wave of light. When it finally came to an end, Ichigo fell from the sky his clothes were now rags, severe burns covered his body caked with dried blood and he was currently falling at full velocity towards the cold hard earth. However, Naruto caught him before he could hit the ground and gently laid him on his back, before collapsing right next to him.

Naruto observed the injured state of the young shinigami and cringed a little at the severity of his injuries. He also noticed a faint dark aura surrounding his body. The aura felt like a hollow's and he deduced that it had materialized just before his attack hit, helping to reduce the damage from his attack. After doing a quick check up of his own body, he saw that his skin had been burned away revealing, sensitive flash that was still bleeding in certain areas. Naruto was clearly in extreme discomfort, but he had expected this knowing about the unfortunate side effect from using the Asura Cloak. In exchange for a massive power boost and other abilities, using the cloak involved the constant destruction and regeneration of the body's cells, causing extreme pain for the user. Currently Kurama lay by his side. Feeding him its reiatsu in order to speed up his healing process. Naruto carefully placed his fingers on the side of Ichigo's neck and gave a sigh in relief that he fund a pulse.

"He is still alive, that's good. Would have been really troublesome if he had kicked the bucket like that. Still, this guy is something else. Even towards the end he refused to give up, even though I was clearly stronger than him."

"…. Kinda reminds me of another idiot I know." Naruto blinked in surprise when he heard a familiar demonic voice coming from his zanpakuto.

"So you're up huh furball? Not that I am complaining, but what brings you up and about?"

The voice scoffed in mock amusement," Oh, please! You think I could sleep with the ruckus you were causing? I almost woke up several times because of your fight with that orange haired brat! Not to mention I would have been really pissed off if you decided to go bankai on him."

Naruto rubbed the back of his head with a somewhat sheepish expression, "Still, I won't deny that I am a little curious about this boy. A human with the powers of a shinigami and a hollow… You don't see that everyday… unless you're an arrancar of course but even then. Also besides his incredibly strong will to live this brat possesses another ability."

"What's that?"

"Like you, this kid has the ability to influence and change people. A unique trait that is present only in those who have the potential to be great leaders. In fact I would say he even managed to change you."

Naruto seemed genuinely surprised by this, "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Naruto for as long as we have known each other, counting both the time we were alive and currently, I have gotten to know you better than you know yourself."

Naruto scoffed, "So says you."

Kurama growled in exasperation causing Naruto to smile a bit, "The point I am trying to make is that fighting him has changed you. After that incident with the Gotei 13, it was like you became a completely different person. Fighting this kid has brought back a side of you that I haven't seen or felt in a very long time."

For a moment Naruto was speechless. He wanted to argue against Kurama, but when he really thought about it, he realized that he may have a point. Every time he clashed with Ichigo he could read his soul and he learned a little more about just who Ichigo was. He shook his head to regain focus on his current objective. He had finished his fight, now it was time to meet up with the others and hopefully heal both his and his opponent's wounds. Bending down and placing Ichigo's body over his shoulder, Naruto once again donned the face of the Bijuu Corps leader

"Even if what you said is true, it doesn't change what happened in the past. One kid is not going to change that."

He could hear the loud sigh from Kurama, "Fine, be that way… Stubborn jackass. But I keep telling you this kid is something else. In fact, I sense there may be something else that is unique about him."

"And that would be…?"

Kurama hummed in thought for several seconds, "Hmmm? Ahh well… You know what never mind. It is not important right now."

Naruto could not help but face plant, "Are you kidding me you keep up the suspense for nothing?"

"Whatever. I am going back to sleep. Wake me up when something interesting happens."

With his final word spoken Kurama reverted in a flash of light back into his sealed state. Naruto flinched as he felt his wounds open up slightly when he positioned Ichigo better on his shoulder.

"Well then let's get you patched up Kurosaki. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night."


Chapter End

(1) Yoji= Young Child

A/N: Wow at long last I was finally able to post this chapter. I had this fight scene on my mind for a long time and it took a lot of trial and error before I was comfortable with it.

Thank you all for your patience and I apologize for the long wait. My first year at University has kept me busy and I did not have the time or energy to do much writing. On the plus side, I was able to come up with new ideas to help improve this story, so I am really looking forward to applying them in future chapters.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this chapter, so thanks for reading and don't forget to review.