Thanks to RocketDwarf, RandomAsRainbows, IceAbyss1037, and Orange3WhiteSkew for reviewing this story!

RandomAsRainbows: Harry is currently about 7 years old now. Also, Ichigo, Orihime, and Tatsuki are about 14.

AN: Yes, Ichigo is FEMALE in this fic. Bear in mind that Harry is 7 and seeing someone with short hair, wearing jeans and a t-shirt at this age, and having a lower voice makes kids think that the person in question is male. Or at least my brother thought so at that age.

Also! I'm messing with cannon as to when Orihime meets Ichigo, and that Dudley will be the same age as Harry.

Warnings: future hinted shoujo-ai/hinted light femslash (neither actually occur, it's just what people think), some language, Fem!Ichigo.

Key:

"Harry" Native language spoken (English in the UK, Japanese in Japan)

"Harry" Native language thought/emphasis on a word in narrative or speech

"Harry" Foreign language (Japanese in the UK, English in Japan)

"Harry" Foreign language thought

"Harry" Shiro/Zangetsu in Ichigo's mind

Enjoy!

Chapter 1: Death, a Dragon, a Knight, and a Princess

The Dursleys switched trains once (nearly leaving Harry behind) before reaching Karakura. Double-checking their orientation against the map provided by the invitation and the enlarged map on the wall of the train station, the Dursleys and Harry made their way to the funeral home. Apparently Sora had, for whatever reason, desired a Western funeral.

They quietly entered and found a closed casket surrounded by many Asian people, presumably all Japanese. The man's sister was off in a corner accepting condolences with two other teens. Neither of her friends would have been welcome within the Dursley home, but since they were they for moral support, Vernon and Petunia felt that an exception could be made for the normally cheerful girl.

One appeared to be a tomboy, with longer, spikey black hair that framed her face quite nicely. She wore black slacks and a lighter, grey blouse, looking uncomfortable but at least formally dressed. Her counterpart was a slightly taller male with vivid orange hair cut short, which also spiked out on its own accord. He, however, wore black jeans and a t-shirt with white Japanese characters on one sleeve.

Together, the two masculine teens seemed to stand guard over Orihime, like a dragon and a knight protecting the princess from the rest of the world instead of fighting each other. "Well," Harry thought, "at least she has people to care for her here. I would hate for her to be like me at the Dursleys, even if they seem to like her now."

The girl, when she caught sight of the Dursleys and Harry, rushed over. Her guardians trailed after her, as their titles that Harry gave them suggested was their duty.

Reaching the British family and their ward, Orihime said tearfully, "Thank you for coming. I know it was a very long trip. S-s-sora-niisan w-would have b-been very hap-py that you all c-came…" That was as far as she got before she broke down completely. Hugging the person closest to her, who happened to be Harry much to Petunia's displeasure, she held him like a lifeline and sobbed. Her friends looked on awkwardly. They were her guardians – they were supposed to prevent events like this from happening to avoid dealing with the tearful aftermath. No princess that had been protected by such forces should ever be forced to deal with such sadness, but life isn't the fairy tales Harry has read in his Sanctuary and he knew that all too well.

The orange-haired teen scratched the back of his head and moved forward to relieve Harry from the weight of the mourning girl. He proceeded to rub her back in circles and whisper something to her in Japanese. Whatever he said calms her down slightly, enough that she could regain her feet and sobs no longer wrack her body, though tears still fell.

Harry gave the other male a grateful look. He has no experience comforting anyone, only animals, and even less experience of receiving comfort. He has vague impressions of the nurse or his teachers once telling him he would be fine if he skinned his knee back when he first started school, before the Dursleys had made him seem like a bad child. Now even the teachers blamed him for his cuts and scrapes and bruises.

The other boy dipped his head in acknowledgement of Harry's gratitude and led Orihime from the room. This seemed to prompt the tomboy into speaking in accented English.

"Thank you for coming. I am Tatsuki Arisawa. Please feel free to pay your respects. Ichigo will be back with Orihime-chan soon."

Although the speech seemed partially memorized, the Dursleys nodded and left Dudley and Harry with the newly introduced Tatsuki.

Awkward silence reined while the trio waited for Orihime to return due in part to the language barrier, in part to the fact that Tatsuki was a girl, and in part to the other fact that no one is really comfortable at a funeral.

Puffy, red, and tear-stained though his cousin's face was, Harry was relieved to see her when she returned.

"Hey, Orihime. Are you gonna be ok?"

She sniffed and nodded slowly while the boy threw his arm around her shoulders. Orihime gave him a timid smile in return. He just ended up looking embarrassed.

"I think so. Eventually. Tatsuki-chan and Kurosaki-chan will help."

Dudley, with his usual (read: nonexistent) tact, interrupted Harry's response.

"Why are you so quiet and teary. Go back to being your bubbly self, chatter box self, you ditz. Suck it up."

Harry, Orihime, and Tatsuki froze. Ichigo, however, glowered at Dudley. The air thickened with palpable tension from the teen's fury, enhanced perhaps by some small amount of supernatural power.

"Exactly." The teen said in a slightly rough voice. "She just lost her brother. Her only remaining close family. She has the right to grieve. It would be odd if she did not. I am not sure how Inoue-chan came to know you, but you are very rude and I wish you had not come. It does no good to disrespect the dead or the living by telling those that remain to, as you say, 'Suck it up.'" Anger laced every word the teen spat at the seven year old, finishing with a disgusted, "Ahou."

The teen looked as if he would expound upon the insults, for that was obviously what it was, but Orihime tugged at his shirt and whispered something into his ear. He shook his head, but backed off, some fury abating from his chocolate colored eyes. The other girl looked as if she would willingly take the boy's place, instead beating up Dudley with her fists, but Orihime stopped her, too.

Suddenly the elder Dursleys appeared and ushered Dudley out the door after bidding Orihime a hasty farewell, leaving Harry to be literally dragged behind them as he attempted to also say goodbye.

That would be the last Harry would see of his Japanese cousin for the next eight years.

Ending it there because it works.

Translation:

Ahou – literally means idiot, but in Tokyo has a worse connotation than Baka (stupid, fool) (conversely, Baka has the worse connotation in the Kansai area, while Ahou has the less harsh connotation). Or at least that's what my dad told me in a slight rant a few years ago.

If Ichigo, Orihime, and Tatsuki seem to have advanced skills with English, I'm chalking it up to the fact that all three are quite smart (see the ranking in volume 3 or 4, somewhere in there). Also, Orihime lived for a summer in England for this, so that'll help her, too.

I will likely start making the chapters longer after this one, but it will really depend on where good stopping points are.

Thanks so much for your reviews! They made my day (and seriously distracted me from studying, but hey, you got another chapter out of it.) I'm also really impressed by the number of hits my two stories have received thus far!

Leave a review please!

~InfinityIllusion~