ICHIGO KUROSAKI groaned as he awoke from bed. He turned to Rukia Kuchiki who was sound asleep beside him. He stepped out of bed and slowly stood up, looking at his dishevelled room.
He walked slowly toward the bathroom door, passing by some empty beer bottles and clothes strewn across the floor. He flipped the light switch and walked over to the sink. He stretched and turned on the faucet.
He washed his face and wiped it. He looked up from the towel he held up against his face and his eyes widened with shock. His reflection stared back at him, his skin turning white from his mouth and spreading around his face. His reflection's eyes were black with yellow pupils and blood trickled from its mouth.
Ichigo punched the mirror and Rukia shot up from sleep.
"What was that?" Rukia yelled.
Ichigo slowly walked out of the bathroom and smiled slightly at her.
"Uh, nothing," Ichigo said, "Just get back to sleep,"
"Does 'nothing' involve punching glass in the morning?" Rukia asked smugly.
Ichigo shook his head at her remark and stepped into the bedroom. Rukia got out of bed, draped herself in a gown and walked up to Ichigo, seeing blood on his knuckles.
"Ichigo, your hand," Rukia said concernedly.
"Huh?" Ichigo said, realizing that his hand was bleeding, "Oh, it's nothing,"
"What's going on?" Rukia asked, "Are you okay?"
"Nah, it's nothing," Ichigo insisted.
"Ichigo, something's going on," Rukia said, "You're not sleeping anymore, you're distant, you're drinking like hell; it certainly isn't nothing,"
"I'm fine, Rukia," Ichigo said.
Ichigo walked up to his wardrobe and wiped his hand with a cloth. He placed Band-Aids on his knuckles. Ichigo started pulling out clothes from the wardrobe.
Rukia turned to the clock at the bedside.
"Ichigo, it's 2am, you should get back to sleep," Rukia said.
"Huh? Shouldn't I be getting ready or something?" Ichigo asked absentmindedly.
"See, this is what I'm talking about, you've been so distracted lately," Rukia said, "Ichigo, something's going on, you shouldn't bottle it up,"
Ichigo sighed and turned to Rukia.
"You wouldn't understand, okay?" Ichigo said.
"Try me," Rukia said.
Ichigo looked at Rukia closely, seeing the seriousness in her eyes. Ichigo sighed.
"I've been having these strange … hallucinations and nightmares lately," Ichigo said, "Like visions and they're happening almost everyday now,"
"For how long?" Rukia asked.
"About a couple months or so," Ichigo responded.
"What type of visions are you having?" Rukia asked.
"I don't know how to say this," Ichigo said, "It's like I have this thing in me that wants to come out. I'm … it's like I'm possessed by something, I don't know,"
"Well, that's odd, coming from the guy who doesn't believe in spirits," Rukia said.
"I don't know," Ichigo said, "Ever since I saved you from the Sereitei, this has been happening. Something's in my mind and it's taking over me,"
"You probably need a break from fighting Hollows," Rukia said.
"It's happening even when I take a break," Ichigo said, "What should I do?"
Rukia walked up to Ichigo and held his cheek gently.
"Look, Ichigo, I don't know what's going on in your mind, but you have me," Rukia said, "You're not alone, I'll always be here with you and I'll do whatever I can to help,"
Ichigo smiled slightly and Rukia smiled back at him.
Rukia pecked Ichigo and held his hand.
"Come on, let's get back to bed," Rukia said.
Ichigo nodded slightly and followed Rukia back to bed.
ICHIGO WALKED down the halls of Karakura College with his eyes to the ground. His mind was overflowing with worry over his state of mind. He felt like he was going mad, but he knew that he was not crazy.
Everyday, he would see things and hear voices in his head. The nightmares were the worst and he feared sleeping, thus having to ask Rukia over severally. The best solution so far was drinking, but he could not live his life drunk and it was taking its toll on him.
It was near the end of the second semester and Ichigo was unsure of how to spend his holiday. Things were different since Chad Sado's death at the hands of Shunsui Kyoraku when they went to save Rukia in the Sereitei and there was a hole left in Ichigo's circle of friends. His death hit the group hard and Orihime Inoue took it the hardest. It was very difficult to explain what happened to his friends. He did not need to hide the secret about his Shinigami powers, but he knew that his friends would not understand and that it would be best to hide it from them for their safety. Orihime, who knew what happened, found it the difficult to keep the secret from the others. It was nearly a daily thing for him to try to encourage her not to divulge the secret to the others.
Since two months had passed, things changed slightly. With Rukia's powers having returned, she was able to find her Shinigami Station in Karakura and was back doing her duties as a Hollow hunter. With the help of Urahara's tech, she used a patch called a Gigai that enabled her to turn into a human temporarily so that she could hang out with Ichigo and his friends. With the time that had passed and with Rukia's addition to the group, it helped them to accustom slowly to life without Chad.
"Morning, Ichigo," A familiar voice called.
Ichigo turned and saw Orihime walk up to him.
"Oh, hey, Orihime," Ichigo said.
"What're you up to today?" Orihime asked.
"Nothing much," Ichigo said.
"Oh, well, Keigo and I thought we'd try out this new restaurant that opened up," Orihime said, "You in?"
"Yeah, sure," Ichigo said absentmindedly.
"Are you ok ay, Ichigo?" Orihime asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Ichigo said.
Orihime looked at Ichigo closely and could see that something was bothering him. Bags were beginning to form around his eyes.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Orihime asked.
"I'm fine," Ichigo insisted, "Just a little tired, that's all,"
"Okay," Orihime said, disbelieving him.
"Ichigo!" A shrill voice came.
Keigo Asano ran towards Ichigo with arms open wide and Ichigo simply walked passed him.
"Huh?" Keigo said to himself in surprise.
Keigo turned and saw Ichigo and Orihime walking on.
"Weird," Keigo said to himself.
Keigo walked up to Ichigo and Orihime.
"Ichigo, you okay?" Keigo asked.
"Yeah," Ichigo said.
"You know, it's kinda odd, but I'm surprised; you didn't even hit me this time," Keigo said.
"Yeah, whatever," Ichigo said.
"Did you eat some bad sushi or something?" Keigo asked.
"No, I'm fine," Ichigo said.
"Really? Wow, you must be in a really good mood then," Keigo said, "Did you do good on an assignment?"
"No," Ichigo said.
"It's a girl isn't it?" Keigo asked.
Ichigo ignored him.
"It's totally a girl," Keigo said excitedly, "Who is she? Is she hot? She got big –,"
Ichigo pushed Keigo, knocking him off his feet.
"That what you wanted?" Ichigo asked.
"That's the Ichigo I remember," Keigo said with a groan.
Ichigo and Orihime walked on.
ICHIGO, ORIHIME, Keigo and Tatsuki had lunch at a restaurant near campus.
"Something's off about that Rukia girl," Tatsuki said.
"What makes you say that?" Orihime asked.
"Well, have you seen her go to any school, work or anything?" Tatsuki asked, "It's like she just pops outta nowhere,"
"Are you stalking her or something?" Ichigo asked.
"All I'm saying is that something doesn't make sense about her," Tatsuki said.
"Like what?" Ichigo asked.
"Well, where'd you meet her?" Tatsuki asked.
"I met her on campus," Ichigo said.
"Really? Because I've asked around and nobody's heard of a Rukia Kuchiki hanging around," Tatsuki said.
"Well, she doesn't go to Karakura," Ichigo said.
"What was she doing there?" Tatsuki asked.
"I don't know," Ichigo said.
"See, something's up with her," Tatsuki said.
"You're just being paranoid," Orihime said.
"Well, she comes over from time to time, right? I've never seen her leave after Ichigo goes to his classes," Tatsuki said.
"You have been stalking me," Ichigo said angrily.
"No, no, it's just –,"
"Are you jealous?" Keigo asked with a silly smirk.
Tatsuki looked at Keigo disapprovingly, shaking her head.
"Shut up," Tatsuki said.
"You need to mind your own business, Tatsuki," Ichigo said.
"I'm just saying, something's creepy about that girl," Tatsuki said.
"Well, let her be creepy then," Ichigo said.
A waitress brought Ichigo a tumbler. Ichigo guzzled it down and ordered another.
"You do know that's like your third?" Tatsuki asked.
"It's the fifth," Orihime corrected.
"I know you're a drinker, but maybe you should slow down a little," Tatsuki said.
"I'm just fine," Ichigo said.
"You wanna end up with a beer gut, bro?" Keigo asked.
Keigo chuckled and tapped his stomach.
"I was thinking of getting myself a gut, but your method's too complicated," Keigo said, "Do it the fun way; meatball subs dipped in honey,"
"That's gross," Tatsuki said.
"It's the fun way to get a big belly," Keigo said.
"It's the easy way to get sick," Tatsuki said.
"You should try my oyster ice cream," Orihime said.
"That's disgusting," Tatsuki said.
"Well, I like it," Orihime said, "You should try some,"
"Yeah, if I wanted to get sick," Tatsuki said.
"You won't get sick, Orihime said, "Sea food is good for you,"
"What happened to you, Ichigo? You never used to be like this," Tatsuki said, trying to ignore Orihime.
"Relax, I'm fine," Ichigo said, "Just got a lot on my plate right now,"
Tatsuki looked at Ichigo concernedly. Keigo looked at Ichigo's plate then raised an eyebrow.
"Aren't you done eating?" Keigo asked.
Ichigo left the table.
ICHIGO WASHED his hands in the men's room and closed the faucet.
"That Rukia chick's pretty good," An ominous echoing voice came.
Ichigo looked around the room and saw a figure leaning against a wall.
"I understand why you picked her," The figure said.
The figure walked toward Ichigo and it was a human being with no features and completely white skin.
"What the hell?" Ichigo said stepping back.
"What, are you scared?" The being asked.
The figure's face morphed slowly and features formed. It's face transformed into Ichigo's. Ichigo fell on the ground and backed away from the being.
"You're scared of me, that's good," The being said with a smirk.
"Wh-what are you?" Ichigo asked.
"You don't remember me?" The being asked smugly, "Come on, who do you think I am?"
Ichigo breathed tremulously, trying to mouth out words, but too afraid to say anything.
"You're the king and I'm the horse, but we will soon switch roles," The being said.
White cloth appeared and slowly wrapped around the figure, forming into a Shinigami kimono with inverted colours. A sheathed Zangetsu appeared on the being's back. The being looked exactly like Ichigo, except it had a battle attire and a Zangetsu in inverted colours, had completely white skin and black eyes, black teeth and tongue and yellow pupils.
The being grinned.
"Don't worry, this is just a warning," The being said, "I am coming for you Ichigo and there's nowhere to hide,"
The being laughed and disappeared.
Ichigo looked around the room and blinked repeatedly to make sure that he was not dreaming.
Ichigo got to his feet and saw that his hand was turning completely white. He shook his hand and it turned back to normal. Ichigo frowned.
A GIRL walked down the street, holding her mother's hand. She licked her ice cream and dropped it on the ground. She ran away from her mother, moving toward the ice cream cone.
"Brianne, come back here," Her mother called.
Brianne picked up the ice cream and looked at it.
"No, don't eat that, it's dirty," Her mother said.
Brianne's mother walked up to her and took the ice cream from her. Brianne's mother raised an eyebrow and was confused. The ice cream had blood on it.
"What the hell?" Her mother said.
Blood dripped on her arm and her mother tossed the ice cream away, stepping back. Her mother looked up and saw a Hollow perched on a roof above her, eating a man's arm.
Brianne's mother screamed and grabbed Brianne's hand, running away with her. People panicked as the Hollow jumped onto the road and smacked against a car.
ICHIGO WALKED down the street and had left his friends at the restaurant. He needed some fresh air and somewhere to think clearly.
Was he going mad? Was he possessed? It all felt so real, but these visions both appeared in dreams and in real life. Why did it look like him? He knew that he could not run away from it, but he needed to know what was going on.
His phone rang and he picked it up the call.
"Hello," Ichigo said.
"A Hollow attack, I'm en route," Rukia said on the other end, "I'm sending you the coordinates,"
"Got ya," Ichigo said.
Ichigo looked at his phone screen and pocketed it.
Ichigo ran down the street and into an alley. Ichigo summoned his Zanpakutou and went into Bankai. Ichigo flew away.
A HOLLOW whipped its tail at Rukia, who jumped back and cut it off. The Hollow clawed at Rukia and she dodged the hit. Rukia cut the Hollow's arm off and slashed its forehead. The Hollow's corpse collapsed.
Several Hollows charged at Rukia, knocking over cars in their wake.
"Getsuga Tenshou!" Ichigo yelled.
A huge wave of black energy with a red trim swept through the street, washed over the Hollows, and left their corpses on fire. Rukia turned and Ichigo landed on a sidewalk nearby.
"That was a bit much," Rukia said.
"Gotta be quick if we want to save people," Ichigo said, "Where are they all coming from?"
"I don't know," Rukia said, "This is probably the largest Hollow attack I've ever seen,"
"Well, we'd better spread out," Ichigo said.
"Yoo-hoo!" A voice called.
Rukia and Ichigo looked around and an orange-haired female Shinigami landed nearby.
"Who're you?" Ichigo asked.
"Is that any way to greet me, Ichigo?" The Shinigami asked.
Ichigo furrowed his brows.
"Have we met before?" Ichigo asked.
"You haven't told him of me?" The Shinigami asked.
"No, I don't think I've had the pleasure of liking you in the first place," Rukia said angrily.
"I'm Rangiku Matsumoto, 10th Division Lieutenant," Rangiku said.
"Well, whatever, just help us take down these Hollows," Ichigo said.
"Well, that was rude," Rangiku said.
A Hollow charged at Ichigo and a wave of ice washed over it, freezing it whole.
A white-haired Shinigami Captain walked up to the guys.
"Rangiku, what's your status?" The Shinigami asked.
"I just got here," Rangiku said.
"We have to be quick, there're Hollows all over the city," Shinigami said.
"And you are …?" Ichigo asked.
"You're too ignorant, Kurosaki," The Shinigami said, "I am Toushiro Hitsugaya, 10th Division Captain,"
"Why do you all know me?" Ichigo asked.
"You invaded the Sereitei, you've made yourself known already," Toushiro said, "Let's get moving,"
Toushiro flew away.
"Well, he's fussy," Rangiku said.
"Yeah," A Shinigami said.
Ichigo turned and saw a bald Shinigami holding a staff seated on the hood of a car. Ikkaku Madarame.
"Heh, thought I killed you," Ichigo said.
"It takes a lot more than that to kill me," Ikkaku said.
"We don't have time for this," Rukia said, "Let's split up and cover more ground,"
"Got it," Ichigo said.
Ichigo flew away and Ikkaku jumped away from a Hollow that clawed at him. A Hollow bit at Rukia and she blocked its teeth with her Zanpakutou.
PHIL COULSON sat in the back of an assault vehicle. A SHIELD agent handed a tablet over to him. On the tablet was a live video feed from Daisy "Skye" Johnson.
"Just got word that SHIELD ops discovered wormholes opening up in Karakura town after the Krei Tech incident. A bunch of monsters have been coming through and there's an attack right now," Skye said, "There seems to be men fighting them on the ground,"
"Do we know who they are?" Phil asked.
"No, we don't have any data on 'em," Skye said, "Never been used to saying that,"
"The world's changing and it's getting a little hard to keep up," Phil said, "But it's still our job to be the line, just like everything else, these attacks on Karakura will remain hidden from the public,"
"Yeah," Skye said, "May and I are already en route,"
"Thanks for the info, though I was already told that before I started off," Phil said.
"Just wanted to make sure you're not falling behind," Skye said with a chuckle, "How's your hand?"
"Just fine," Phil said, clenching his right hand, "Feels a bit twitchy, but it's fine overall. The Cradle's quite a marvel,"
"Hey, since Helen gave you a hand, you should ask her out," Skye said, "She might be available,"
"I've got more important things to do," Phil said.
"No, you?" Skye said sarcastically.
"See you on the field," Skye said.
"Yeah," Phil said.
A QUINJET flew over the Karakura town airspace. Melinda May was at the wheel and Skye sat beside her. Bobbi Morse, Lance Hunter and Mike Peterson prepped for combat.
"What's the ETA?" Skye asked.
"About three minutes," May said.
"That's gonna take too long," Skye said, "Open the hanger doors, I wanna do something cool,"
Skye got up from her seat.
"We're supposed to rendezvous with Coulson," May said.
"And I'll catch up with you guys there," Skye said, "Or, you'll catch up with me,"
"We're two hundred feet in the air," May insisted.
"Which will make this even more fun," Skye said.
May shook her head and opened the hanger doors. Skye walked passed Mike and Lance on her way to the doors.
"We're here already?" Mike asked.
"Nah, I'm just making a stop," Skye said.
"A stop? We're like a hundred feet in the –," Bobbi tried to say.
Skye jumped out of the Quinjet. The guys looked out and watched as she fell toward the street below.
"She's gone mad," Lance said.
ICHIGO KICKED a Hollow and slashed its head in half. Rukia blocked a Hollow's paw and slashed its arm off.
A Hollow charged at a woman and Ichigo flipped over a car and slashed its neck.
"Get out of here!" Ichigo yelled.
The woman ran away and Ichigo looked around as people ran off.
Toushiro slashed a Hollow's torso and swung his Zanpakutou, sending a wave of ice out of it and freezing a Hollow that attacked a man nearby. A Hollow lunged at Rangiku and she blocked it, her blade grinding against its claws. Rangiku pushed the Hollow back and slashed its neck. Ikkaku smacked a Hollow's head with his staff and spun around, dodging its bite. Ikkaku twisted a part of the staff, released a blade on one end of the staff and stabbed the Hollow.
Ichigo and the others looked around, seeing that they killed the Hollows in the area.
"Looks like splitting up didn't work," Ichigo said.
"They just keep on coming," Rukia said.
A Hollow lunged at her and she jumped out of the way. Ichigo slashed the Hollow when he heard a loud explosion nearby and the ground shook.
"What was that?" Ikkaku exclaimed.
"An earthquake?" Rangiku asked.
"Let me check it out," Ichigo said.
Ichigo flew away from them and Hollows amassed.
THERE WAS a small crater in the middle of a street and people slowly rose to their feet. Skye walked out of the crater and looked around.
"Skye! That was reckless, you could've killed people!" May yelled on the other end.
"Relax, I controlled the vibrations so people are safe," Skye said into her earpiece, "It's no big deal,"
"You better have, because we don't want a bigger catastrophe than there already is," May scolded.
"So a measly crater is much bigger threat than an inter-dimensional monster invasion?" Skye asked smugly.
"Just be careful and don't do anything stupid until we arrive," May said.
Skye chuckled and looked around as Hollows stirred to their feet.
A Hollow clawed at her, she rolled out of the way and shot a seismic beam out of her hand and through its skull. The corpse fell over.
A Hollow roared and charged at her. Skye ran on a car, flipped off its roof and landed on the Hollow's neck. Skye clasped the Hollow's neck and vibrated her hands. She jumped off the Hollow and its neck exploded, letting its head fall on the ground.
Skye looked around and dusted her hands.
"Well, that was easy," Skye said, "Wonder why we even needed to come here,"
"There's a lot more than that," May said on the other end.
"Well, bring it on," Skye said.
Ichigo landed on a car roof and Skye turned to him.
"Guess Halloween came early this year," Skye said.
Ichigo walked off the car and up to Skye.
"Hey, did you walk out of a manga or something?" Skye asked smugly.
"How'd you do that?" Ichigo asked.
"That's classified," Skye said, "What caused you to dress like a distraught geisha?"
"Did you just call me a hooker?" Ichigo asked angrily.
"You tell me," Skye said, "A man in a black dress who flies around with a sword,"
"You little –,"
A Hollow smacked Ichigo, hurling him into a store. Skye shot a seismic beam at the Hollow and Deathlock crashed near her.
"Took you long enough," Skye said.
"Well, it seems I missed all the fun," Deathlock said.
"That's nothing," Skye said, chuckling, "There's this guy who –,"
A Hollow charged at Skye and a Quinjet opened fire on it. Skye turned to it and saw May piloting it.
"How is everyone late?" Skye asked.
"Just make sure the people are safe," May said.
"You do that and I'll show Mike this weird guy I found," Skye said.
Skye walked up to the hole in the store and Ichigo was nowhere to be seen.
"Where'd he go?" Skye asked.
Quinjets arrived at the scene, battling the Hollows on the ground and SHIELD agents began evacuating people.
A HOLLOW pinned Ichigo against a wall and he stabbed its chest. Ichigo pushed the corpse off him and Toushiro ran up to him.
"Ichigo, have you seen Rangiku?" Toushiro asked.
"No," Ichigo said.
"I've lost contact with her and I can't sense her reiatsu," Toushiro said.
A Hollow flung Rukia passed them, sending her crashing onto a car. A Quinjet descended and opened fire on the Hollow. Ichigo and Toushiro looked at it in confusion.
"What is going here?" Toushiro asked.
"I don't know," Ichigo said, "Maybe they're the cops or something,"
The Quinjet turned to Ichigo and Toushiro.
"This is SHIELD, lay down your weapons and stand down," The pilot said.
A Hollow lunged onto the Quinjet and broke a wing off it. Toushiro shot ice at the Hollow and its frozen body crashed on the ground. The Quinjet plummeted and a Hollow jumped into it, resulting in an explosion.
Another Quinjet few by and shot the Hollow down.
"They seem to have this handled," Toushiro said, "We have to find Rangiku,"
Ichigo nodded and ran up to Rukia as she got off the car.
A HOLLOW stalked toward Rangiku who was lying unconscious in an alley.
A soldier shot the Hollow using a sonic disrupter cannon, knocking out the beast. The soldier turned to Rangiku. His helmet's interface showed high-level energy readings.
The soldier pressed his earpiece.
"We have a specimen," The soldier said.
"Alright, bring it back to base," A man on the other end said.
"Roger that," The soldier said.
An assault vehicle drove up to the soldier and more soldiers came out of it. The soldiers grabbed Rangiku and moved toward the vehicle.
Phil ran into the alley and shot a soldier down. The soldiers opened fire on him and he hid behind a dumpster. The soldiers boarded the vehicle with Rangiku and drove out of the alley.
Phil got to his feet and looked at the downed Hollow. He pressed his earpiece.
"Seems we've got a problem," Phil said, "An assault vehicle just took off with an unregistered gifted, couldn't see who they were. Put a trace on my coordinates and track down the vehicle,"
"On it, sir," A SHIELD agent said on the other end.
A HOLLOW walked around an empty street. The Hollow growled and shook its head. A portal opened before it.
Urahara Kisuke entered the street and grabbed a small gun from his pocket. Urahara shot the Hollow's back and the small device sunk deep into its skin.
The Hollow entered the portal.