Hollow Rising

Chapter 2

Ski Mask Style (continued)

"Things are going to start getting interested round' this place with that Guy here. Slade and Blood might have a little competition with this Ichigo around. Jump City might not be the only place affected though. Wonder if he's going to make a few trips to Gotham. Seeing how he's got to be Jimmy's new protégé I wouldn't be surprised. It's gonna be fun to watch what path you take Ichigo. You're sure to make many enemies and allies along the way. It's going to be a fun ride."

As Ichigo walked into the pawnshop he was greeted with the familiar sight of Jimmy's wife, Naomi sitting behind a desk with a laptop taking phone calls. Naomi was an attractive woman with a sun kissed body from when she lived out on the islands, with long blonde hair. But with that beauty came a fiery temper as well.

Ichigo chuckled to himself. It seemed Naomi was truly the only person Jimmy feared. It was about a month ago when he had found this out.

Flashback

"Damn it where is everybody at? It's not like Jimmy and Naomi to leave the damn shop unattended."

Ichigo had just walked in and found the entire place seemingly deserted. He was getting a bad feeling about the whole thing but he walked from one end of the shop to the other looking for any sign of life. When he came up empty he decided to go to the heart of the store, Jim's office. He slowly turned the knob and found surprisingly, it was unlocked. He walked in to find the phone off the line, papers scattered all over the place, and a day old pizza box.

"Well this is normal. Jimmy? Where the hell are you at Boss man? "

"SHHH!"

Ichigo nearly jumped out of skin. Where the hell had that came from. He looked all over until he noticed some movement under Jimmy's desk, and crouched down to find his boss cowering like a little kid afraid of the boogeyman .

"Uh Jim? I'm probably going to regret asking this but, what in the hell are you doing underneath your desk?"

It was a moment before his boss gave his answer. "…hiding."

Ichigo looked amused. "And dare say who, is the great Jimmy Jay so afraid of?"

"…Naomi."

Ichigo nearly doubled over from laughter. "Naomi wouldn't hurt a fly Jimmy. So why don't you come out of your hiding spot?"

Ichigo had to drag his boss who in turn was scratching and clawing with all his might to stay undercover.

"Listen to me Ichigo! You don't know Naomi like I do! That woman can be downright evil if she wants to be…"

Ichigo just shrugged. "You just described every woman on this earth Jim. I don't see the big deal."

Jimmy scoffed. "You remember a while back, that day I had a swollen jaw?"

Ichigo nodded. He remember that quite clearly, Naomi was deathly sweet that day. And Jimmy seemed to flinch every time she came into the room. Ichigo had just ignored it though.

"Well you see what had happened was. We were at the mall, she wanted to get some shopping done right? Well she left me to myself and told me to meet her in the electronics department in an hour see? Well I was just minding my own when this lady came up to me and needed some advice on about which bikini looked better on her…"

Ichigo simply shook his head. "I think I'm going to need some taller boots after hearing all that bullshit."

Jimmy jumped up. "Hey I'm telling the truth! That's how it all went down! Honest!"

Ichigo had finally sat down in one of the client's seat. "And how did Naomi react to this?"

Jimmy sighed. "Well the woman's hair ended up stranded all over the place, we're not allow to be on the premises of the mall now, and you saw my jaw… lets just say Naomi packs one hellofa left hook."

End flashback

Naomi sighed as the phone ranged again. "Hello? Oh! Mr. De Luca! Yes, yes, we've been waiting for your call. I'll put you right on through to Jimmy's line! Yes you to! Have a nice day!"

As soon as she hung up she let out a loud sigh. Things were about to be bad. Jimmy and Alessio De Luca had been at each other throats lately. And De Luca being one of the bigger bosses in Gotham meant he had friends in high places. What he wanted was to muscle in on the profits of the store. Even sending two of his enforcers a while back to show why the shop needed "protection" as they put it. They hadn't been back since surprisingly. She could only hope De Luca had called to bury the hatchet so to speak with Jimmy.

She instantly perked up when she saw Ichigo. "What's up Ichi?"

"Not much Naomi. Got a call from Jim earlier today about a potential job. Just wanted to see if he was free, but I guess not huh?"

She twirled her hands up in a "I don't know what's going on" manner. "Well he should be off the phone in a few minutes, guess you'll have to me company for a little bit huh?'

Ichigo playfully replied. "Oh joy."

The two burst out laughing but their jovial moment was cut short once Jimmy began screaming back in his office.

"Vaffanculo! Andate tutti a 'fanculo!"

Ichigo sighed. "I can never tell what he means when he goes off in Italian like that, but from the tone he sounds royally pissed off."

Naomi shrugged. "He only speaks that way when he's talking to those douche bags in Gotham, but I must say it was a very colorful conversation on his part. He just basically told De Luca and all his boys to fuck off. I do wish things would of went better then that."

Jimmy walked out in a huff to see his wife and protégé speaking. Seeing them he quickly began to calm down. After Naomi saw him she rushed over to him.

"Are you alright hon? What did De Luca say?"

Jimmy Jay was a tall, lean man. Short black hair with a five o' clock shadow growing on his face. He wore a suit yet he had dismissed his jacket, only wearing dress pants, loafers, and a long sleeve shirt with each of the sleeves rolled up. His purple tie was now dangling. He scratched the back of his neck before speaking.

"That cunt De Luca. He's sent more of his cronies. They should be showing up anytime."

Naomi was shocked. "Babe what are we going to do?"

Jimmy in turn narrowed his eyes. "We? Not uh, there's no we. You're going to lock yourself into my closet with my gun case just in case. Then I'm going to take care of these pricks."

Naomi shrieked. "Are you out of your damn mind? They'll tear you apart!"

Jimmy surely didn't help the situation when he chose to laugh at the moment.

"Baby girl I feel offended. De Luca is just a miserabili pezzi di merda! I can handle a few of his little lackeys. No worries."

He then noticed Ichigo. "Ah Ichigo! Looks like those jobs I had lined up for ya's gonna have to wait."

Ichigo shook his head. "Not if we take care of these guys quickly. I say we send this De Luca guy a message."

Jimmy's eyes brightened up. He knew there was a reason why he liked this kid. It was only a few months ago he found the guy in need of work. He gave a small job for practice and Ichigo passed it with flying colors.

Jimmy smiled as he kissed Naomi. "See babe, that's why I fucking love this guy! He's like a younger brother whose always down and got my back, no matter what shit is thrown at me."

As Jimmy broke the embrace Naomi walked to Ichigo. "Ichi, please don't let him get hurt."

Ichigo nodded as he put his hands on her shoulders. "Don't worry. I'll make sure he comes back in one piece. Now you need to get in his office and keep out of the line of fire."

She nodded and turned to see Jimmy holding out a 38 pistol. She hesitated at first but eventually took it. Jimmy and Ichigo watched as she locked herself in Jim's office.

"Ichigo lets go. We gotta get ready for these stronzi."

Ichigo nodded and followed him through one of the side doors, and what he saw made his jaw drop. Any and every weapon , all shapes and sizes were standing before him. Rifles, Shotguns, Pistols, RPGS, and all other types of firearms. What caught Ichigo's eyes were the vast amounts of blades. He picked two curved daggers which he placed by his sides. Jimmy chose a small caliber pistol and stuck it in his shoulder holster.

He scoffed. "Ichigo you might want to pick something a little more 21st century. Highly likely these guys are packin' heat."

Ichigo shook his head. "I don't know Jim. Those guys are coming thinking they only have to deal with one guy. No way their thinking that it's going to come to the use of their firearm. Sure they'll be carrying but I say we don't give'em a chance to clear leather."

Before Jimmy could respond they heard the screeching noise of a car halting to a stop right outside the shop's doors. They quickly walked outside to find two men. The first one was a heavyset man while the other was very lanky. The bigger one was Arturo De Luca while the smaller one was Aldo De Luca.

The heavyset man was balding who had a mustache that went into a goatee. Wearing a shirt that seemed a little too tight, with only one of it's buttons buttoned, you could see the chest hair protruding out. His grey slacks had grease stains on the left pant's leg.

The skinny one's hair was dark and slicked back. The only facial hair he had was a soul patch. He had sunglasses and was chewing diligently on a toothpick. He wore a white sports coat with a pink shirt underneath. White dress pants and white loafers.

Both were leaned up on a slick black Rolls' Royce. But before Ichigo moved he heard laughter, and it was coming from Jimmy. He looked at him like he had grown a second head.

Jimmy finally calmed down. "Uh sorry about that. I can't believe I was worried. De Luca, the arrogant bastard actually sent you idiots? The two bumbling nephews? You gotta be kidding me!"

Arturo growled. "Watch ya fuckin' mouth talking about our uncle like that! Unless you want to get ya jaw wired shut!"

Before the giant of a man could move, Aldo stepped in. "Now, now Arturo. There's no need for that. No reason why we's can't settle this civilized is there? We were sent to deliver a message that's all."

Aldo smile disappeared when he eyed Ichigo. "So Jimmy, Whose the carrot top? You went behind Uncle Alessio's back and got protection? Now you know this isn't how that works. So you tell me what we're going to do about that?"

Jimmy grinned. "Well he's here to help me, send a message back to Alessio."

It was tense for a moment, only to be broken when Aldo jerked his pistol out of the holster but as he lined up the pistol's sights and before he could fire off a shot Ichigo thrust kick the man's wrist causing the firearm to fly a few feet before it hit the ground.

As Aldo dived for the gun Jimmy also jumped and landed on the smaller De Luca's back and proceeded to beat the hell out of De Luca.

Arturo had simply been watching until he realized he was being watched by Ichigo. The two had a slight staredown before the Bigger man's hand started to inch toward his holster. He and Ichigo took action at the same time. Before Arturo could clear leather Ichigo's left hand clamped down on the De Luca's wrist.

With his right hand Ichigo grabbed his opponent's throat and with a feat of strength smashed Arturo's head through the window of the Roll's Royce.

Now back with Jimmy and Aldo, the tide had turn with Aldo gaining the upper hand. As both men scrambled to their feet Aldo connected with a haymaker flush, that rocked Jimmy. Before Jim could react his face was met with Aldo's shoe.

Aldo wiped the blood from his lip as he brandished a switchblade. Jimmy was out of it though as Aldo brought the blade down. It never connected . Ichigo had caught the man's wrist and with one swift motion of his hand snapped Aldo's wrist.

Ichigo didn't know what sound was worse. The human bone snapping or a grown man screaming.

"You shouldn't play with knives. Take your friend and leave. Don't come back."

Aldo merely nodded and got in the car where Arturo had finally dragged himself in the passenger side. Then they were gone.

Jimmy had made it back to his feet and though he was in pain and bleeding slightly from the mouth, he smiled from ear to ear. Before he could take another step he was thrown to the ground by a colliding Naomi. She was all over him checking for injuries and whatnot. She then turned to Ichigo with a scowl.

"I thought I told you not to let him get hurt!?"

Ichigo just brushed it off. "It's just a little blood."

Naomi smiled and then rushed him grabbing him into a hug. "Thank you Ichigo, thank you so much."

Jimmy grinned. "I ever tell you we're going name our firstborn after ya?"

After they had gotten cleaned up all three assembled in Jimmy's office awaiting to hear what Ichigo's job was.

Jimmy sat down and began searching through multiple files. He finally brought out two, both in a vanilla envelopes. He looked to find the first one with a red label, and the second had a blue label.

"Alright. I got two jobs I need you to do. Now whatever order you do them is fine. Both high priority, and both well paying. One is the Jump City Museum. The other is in Gotham. Which one you want first?"

It was an easy choice for Ichigo. "Jump City comes first. I'm more familiar with the landscape so go ahead and get the easier one down so I can have all my focus on Gotham in the future."

Jimmy handed him the file. "The artifact your after is a diamond called the "cat's eye" and should be in the western side of the Museum. My sources tell me it's been a pattern, that patrol is weaker on the second Wednesday every month. Something about all the veteran guards getting together. Meaning tonight, basically nothing but newbie security which shouldn't be a problem."

Ichigo raised a brow when he heard the name of the diamond.

Jimmy shrugged. "Let's just say our client has very unique tastes, if its got anything to do with felines she wants it."

Ichigo chuckled. "Sounds like someone I know. So will I get to ever meet this client?"

Jimmy nodded. "Oh believe me, in your kind of work you'll be meeting her soon enough."

Ichigo watched as Jimmy pulled a bag of equipment out and handed it to Ichigo. Ichigo rummaged through it and brought out a small pair of goggles and glanced at Jimmy.

"Their new top of the line. Any kind of vision, you can think of, it's got it. Heat, night, whatever you need. Blueprints of the museum are in the bag as well. It's getting dark out, might want to get dressed. Take your earpiece with you and I'll be in contact within a few hours."

Ichigo nodded and quickly left.

Several hours later, top of a building opposite of Jump City's Museum

Ichigo was now donned in his new all black outfit. He blended well with the shadows, on top of the building. He wore baggy black pants tucked into his combat boots. A skin tight shirt whose sleeves stopped a couple inches before the wrist. Gloves that covered his whole hand, and last but not least a ski mask.

"Ichigo, you there?"

Ichigo cocked his head to the side after hearing the voice come from his earpiece. "Naomi? Where's Jimmy?"

"He'll be here shortly. Are you in position? If so put your goggles on and search for heat signals."

Ichigo complied and scanned the museum that was visible to him.

"Tell Jim, that his sources were right. Only picked up on four guards so far. Very light security compared to last time. Alright I'm going in."

As Ichigo stood up from his crouching position he let out his breathe. But before he moved there was a loud explosion, so powerful it sent the unprepared Ichigo flying backwards.

"Ichigo!? It's Jimmy. Ichigo? Are you there? What the hell was that noise? Ichigo for God's sake answer!"

The dazed Ichigo pulled himself up and groggily stepped around trying to get his shit back together.

"Oh man. Anybody get the license plates of that damn truck that ran my ass over?"

"Finally Ichigo… What the hell was that noise?"

As Ichigo looked over the edge at the museum his eyes widened. "Ho…ly Hell."

The entire eastern side of the museum was blown open, while little flames danced around.

"Jimmy, there's been an explosion."

Silence…

"The hell you mean, explosion?"

"The museum went fuckin' boom is what I mean by explosion!"

Ichigo turned his goggles back on and growled. "So much for just four guards. It just jumped up to eleven signatures ."

"Ichigo get out of there! Forget the mark!"

Ichigo chuckled. "Sorry Jim, but I've never failed at this new job of mine yet, and I don't plan on starting now."

"Ichigo! Wait-"

Click.

Ichigo had just disconnected.

Jimmy sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. This was not going to plan. He could only hope and pray, it was out of his hands now.

Naomi walked in and saw the worried look on her lover's face. "Jim, what's wrong?"

"Ichigo just went dark."

Her eyes widened. "How? Was he caught!?"

Jimmy took a swig of his drink. "The stubborn bastard decided to go lone wolf on us."

"Oh this was just a splendid idea Ichigo. Oh I'll just get in and get out without any problem what so ever."

Ichigo was berating himself out loud. See he had gotten through the museum without a hitch and even got the diamond, with no problem at all. What he failed to do, was ask himself what could have caused such an explosion and because of that little error he found himself stuck in a ongoing battle between the Teen Titans and a group of three he had never heard or seen before.

One was a short baldheaded kid who had somehow attached his backpack with creepy ass mechanical spider legs. The other was a mammoth of a man who was tied up in a struggle between himself and a large green gorilla. And last but not least the titan known as Robin was having his hands full fighting against a girl with pink hair. The girl had some impressive moves and was keeping the boy wonder on the defensive with a large array of acrobatic moves.

"Okay as soon as they move a little farther away I'll make a break for it…wait a minute I thought there was five titans? Well it doesn't matter now, their loss is my gain. Okay now!"

But before Ichigo could move, Cyborg sent the pink haired girl flying back who in turn gracefully flipped and landed on her feet. As she turned she locked eyes with the masked Ichigo.

"Ohhh Shit!"

Ichigo quickly flash-stepped out of the building before gaining anymore unwanted attention, and made it to the rooftop of a apartment that was about 200 yards away from the museum. He finally stopped to catch his breath and did a little victory dance as he let out a laugh. Look like it was another successful mission for him. Another payday to go to his family.

"Well time to go back to Jimmy's place. I'll more then likely get a ton of shit for going on with the plan, but I'll do what I have to, to make sure of my family's survival."

Ichigo took the "Cat's Eye" out of the bag and place it between two of his fingers, holding it up to the moon, getting a better look at it.

"It is beautiful, wonder how much cash this little baby will bring in?"

Ichigo gently wrapped it back up and placed it in it's bag. He was tired, drained mentally and physically. Good night's rest was long due. As he turned to jump off the building's ledge he froze. There floating before him, was the dark titan herself, the one known as Raven.