Ichigo just cursed his luck. It was the last day of school before holidays, and it happened after he left school. Everybody was already gone and for some reason, he could not find his substitute badge. Meeting the hollow was something he had hoped it would not happened. He took the run to the nearest park with no people in it.
"Come on, you can stop running away now, I got tired of playing cat and mouse." The hollow looked at the patience line. Ichigo was not having a lot of time left to think, so he looked around. And then the idea hit him.
The hollow had looked around the playground, unable to locate him, even thought his smell was all around him.
"Show yourself already. I am going to enjoy eating your soul." At that moment, something jumped at it from the nearby tree. Hollow had caught the thing and tossed it as far away as possible. Only than did he realise, the smell of a delicious person, that he was chasing was on his hand, meaning that he had just thrown his meal away. He started to chase it. But the crack made on his head was starting to grow from the movement, making him vanish.
At that time, Ichigo was lying there, his head having hit the log. He had already descended into the darkness.
He woke up some time latter. There was a headache to be dealt with. He looked around, wondering where he is. But for some reason, he could not remember, nor could he think. He blamed the pain inside his head. There was also some blood there, but he was not bleeding anymore. He was trying to stand up, his hand shaking, unable to hold him up.
"I guess I am lucky today. Such a tasty meal, in such a weak state." Ichigo just looked at the monster. The fear was creeping on him. He could not remember anything like that meeting before, and he did not know what to expect. He tried to go as far away as possible, but the log was on the way. The fear started to paralyse him. He closed his eyes, as he heard the moving forward. He prepared himself.
In front of him, he had heard the thump hitting the ground, and a small tapping. He opened his eyes a little, just to see an albino, in white traditional clouding, hakama and kimono, discharging the light blue blast from his sword. The blast had hit the monster and it vanished.
They were standing there, Ichigo watching the person in front of him, and the other just watching in front of himself.
"Che, Ichigo, do not tell me, you were afraid of a weakling like that." He turned his head, his eyes mocking him and for some reason, he was dissatisfied. "You are really becoming weak, King. I guess, the time when you lose your throne is closer every day."
"Who are you?" Ichigo went over his first surprise, but not his fear. The other now turned around, now irritated.
"You think ignorance will get you out of it?" He knelled in front of him, looking. Ichigo tried to put some distance between them, since the sword on the back of an albino was too close for his taste.
"Ignorance?" There was some disbelief creeping into Ichigo's eyes. "You are the one walking around in dresses in old style, having a sword and spurting a idiotic things. You are the one, that is weird." There was a concern in the black eyes.
"Are you okay? Hit your head or something?" Ichigo remembered his headache and went to grab his back of a head. The albino then jerked the hand away, examining it, then continued on his head, forcing Ichigo's head lower for it.
"What do you think you are doing?" Ichigo tried to resist, but with no result. But after 10 second or so, it stopped.
"It is a bad wound, but at least it is not bleeding anymore." He looked at Ichigo, like complementing what to ask. Then he grabbed him for a shoulders.
"Do you know your name?" Ichigo just looked at him in surprise.
"Of course I know my name." The eyes did not left him, still waiting for something. But Ichigo was at the lost of words. He could not remember his name. What was it again. He was convinced it meant something important. He tried to think about it, and then remembered, how the albino had called him. Worth a try.
"It is Ichigo." But it did not seemed to answer the question, and Ichigo started to feel unease, avoiding the eyes.
"Ichigo what?" Ichigo looked at him surprised. "Ichigo is just your name, I am looking for a family name as well." Ichigo looked down, not getting a voice out of himself.
"I do not know." For some reason, it was hard to admitted. It was because of a person, situation, or was he only like that. But the albino let go of him, sighing.
"I guess you had lost you memory." He put a hand on his forehead. It was cold, like the ice was pressed on it. "And the cold as well. Not to mention a wound on your head." He sighed. "You are always chasing troubles, or are they chasing you, Ichigo?" With that words he stud up just looking at him.
"Can't exactly let you die, now can I?" He flopped him on the shoulders.
"What do you think you are doing?" Ichigo was losing the energy to fight by any passing second, but his stubbornness will not allow him to go down without the fight. Who knows what that person is trying to do to him.
"I am getting you home, for your information. In your condition, you would not be able to came home, not that you remember it." The last part of the sentence was mockery, and Ichigo's anger was inflamed by it. But the next moment, he realised, they were in the air? The albino was doing humanly impossible jumps from roof to roof. And then there was no more roofs and Ichigo closed his eyes, ready to die. But the jumping continued, this time they were bouncing of the air. Ichigo was afraid to even breath. For some reason that made the albino chuckled, so he tried to relax. After a couple of minutes of jumping in the air, they arrived at the house, entering from the open window in the second flour.
"Are you just going to brake into a random house." He just looked at him.
"I don't have the key, but do you by any chance remember, where you have put yours?" Ichigo did not have any comment on that. His normal facial expression had came back.
"At least you remember, how to make that face. I never manage to do it." Ichigo tensed a little and the albino laughed.
"Do do not need to be so tense. I am not going to eat you." Ichigo now looked surprised, losing a grip and falling down on the flour.
"Eat? Not exactly what I had in mind. Where did you get that idea?" He took the white hand to stand up. "I mean, the monster before tried to eat me as well, so what are you, a group of man-eaters or something?" The albino looked at him, now smirking.
"That is one way of putting it." Ichigo fall on the flour.
"You are going to get hurt even more, if you fall every single minute." He tried to pick him up, but he back away until he hit the bed. The albino looked at him amused.
"I won't eat you, if that is what you are worried about." Ichigo just eyed him suspiciously.
"I mean, there is no fun chasing the prey that can't even run away properly. I will just wait until you recover and then eat you." Ichigo had a really scared face on.
"That look was priceless." He was laughing. "The great Kurosaki Ichigo, being scared to death. That is not something you see everyday." Ichigo was now angry, and in his anger, he tried to push the albino away, but loosing his balance, he ended on top of him. Their faces were just inches apart and they did not move for a while. Then the white hand brushed some of the hair away, looking at Ichigo's eyes, witch were open wide. There was the red that was coming on his cheeks. There was a lingering sadness in the way the albino looked at him, and it made Ichigo even more uncomfortable.
"Are you going to move, or I have to help you." The sadness was gone and there was a playful tone in it. Ichigo just jerked away, stumbling over himself. The albino was watching him. "You still did not explain the part with the eating." Ichigo now pointed out the previous talk, that went unanswered.
"Shouldn't you take care of the head wound first." Ichigo looked at him, his eyes penetrating him. "I doesn't even hurt anymore. Now, answer the question." With this words, albino scratched his head, looking around.
"The things from the park, they are called hollows." He looked at Ichigo, seeing him listening. "They are fallen human souls, and because they had lost their heart, they eat human's souls, to replace it." He paused for a second. "Their characteristics are the hole in the place of their heart and the mask. They normally don't have a human appearance."
"So, you are trying to tell me, they used to be human souls and they eat other human, that is why you guys kill them? A little hard to believe." He had a disbelieving look at his face, his arms crossed. At that, the albino smirked.
"Not us, it is your job, Ichigo." At that, he looked like he remembered something and put him bridle style up. "If you have anymore question, you can ask them after a bath." Before Ichigo could even react, they were already in the bathroom. Ichigo was put on the ground.
"What do you think you are doing?" The question was left unanswered, as albino went to the bath, filling it with water.
"You are having a cold, so you have no right to complain." He checked the water quite some time, until he was satisfied.
"You are checking quiet a lot, aren't you?" Now Ichigo was smirking at him, but he did not get even a glance.
"The water at the body temperature helps the most against frostbite, so it should work in your situation as well. If we make the bath to hot, it won't help, if some part of your had frozen. But too cold, it won't heal you." Ichigo, now sitting down, was annoyed at this words.
"So you can just eat me, while I am in a better condition, or something?" His voice had a sign of bitterness in it, and the yellow eyes had looked at him. He was just looking at the wall in front of him, sitting in a protective ball.
"You are a hollow, aren't you. Even thought you do not have a mask or a hole..." Ichigo trailed in his thought, like he did not intended to say the last part. The albino could not help but sighed.
"I am a hollow, that is true." Ichigo reacted only by making the already small protective ball even smaller. "But I have no desire to eat you." Ichigo looked at him with the corner of his eyes.
"You better get to bath before it cools down." With albino's eyes on him, Ichigo slowly got up, but lost his balance. He was intercepted before he could meet the ground. The white hands slowly placing him on the toilet.
"Why..." The albino looked at him, "I guess it does not really matter." He only got a weird look in return. And than he was getting undressed.
"What do you think you are doing now?" The albino stopped, stepped back and smirked.
"I does not look like you can do it yourself." Ichigo become red, but while it was from embarrassment or from anger, he personally did not know.
"That does not mean, you can just undress me, at least warn me before! Plus, not being able to stand does not mean I can not undress." He looked frustrated, because the smirk still would not disappear from the others person's face.
"And being undress, how do you plan to go to the bath?" Ichigo wanted to hit his head somewhere, but there was not a suitable place. How could he had forgotten about that?
"I have an idea, so you won't died from embarrassment." Ichigo looked at him suspiciously.
"It is simple. You get in bath while still dressed a little and then you can undress until the end while in bath. That way, it won't bother you. Not like I had not seen all of that before." Before allowing any complain, he started to put his plain into action. Ichigo growled in complain, but otherwise did not resist. Even when he was only in his underwear. He was placed inside the bathtub.
"Hey, isn't the water a little too hot?" Should Ichigo had enough strength to jump out he would, but he could only complain. That got the albino thinking.
"Well, the best temperature would be the body one, but I was shore it was not higher." He tried it.
"No, it is not higher. Your senses are a mess, so deal with it. After some time it should get better." They were just there for some time.
"I will get you a towel and something to dress up into after bath." He looked at him, "Do not leave, otherwise..." The eyes looking at Ichigo just made him nod. After the doors closed behind him and Ichigo was be able to breath again. For some reason, he could not trust the albino at all, but he had a feeling that he have nothing to hide from him and it was a scary. And while he was just making fun of him most of the time, the sadness from before and the eyes from now, he could not understand him at all. All this thinking had made his head hurt again, so he just decided to drop it for now. The temperature was more pleasant with every passing moment. So Ichigo just relaxed inside.
He did came back after a couple of minutes, having a bundle of clothes and a towel with him.
"Well, if you had worm up, you can came out now, you know." Ichigo tried to stand and the albino looked prepared to help him as soon as he would lose his balance.
"Can you get me a towel. And if you could looked the other way." The albino turned around, but he looked ready to move. The towel was in his arm, stretched towards the bath. Ichigo took in and wiped himself dry, covering his body. He then took the rest of a bundle, dressing himself.
"You can turn around now." He did not have to say twice ant it was a good thing because the tide of dizziness had flown through him and he would had fallen down.
"You might have worm up, but you are still sick." He put him up bridle style again and by this time Ichigo had already realised that complaining won't work. They had descended to the down flour, and Ichigo was carefully placed down, getting him under a pile of blankets. Ichigo had just allowed the blackness to envelope him.
He got woken up by the commotion in front of his house. It sounded like the whole neighbourhood in getting destroyed. He got up, feeling some of his strength returned.
Outside was not in the best condition. Among the holes on the ground were his albino saviour, that was smirking at angry looking archer. There was also a orange haired woman, but she was away from the main battle.
"You aren't going to scare anyone with that kind of weak power." He only replied by releasing some more arrows. The woman was looking determent, but there was a smell of fear from her.
Not knowing what he is doing, he stepped in the middle of battle in attempt to stop it. He felt a wind, and at the next moment, he was meters away and in the hand of the albino.
"You are out of your mind." It was only a whisper and he did not even looked at him.
"What are you doing, Kurosaki?" Ichigo looked at him.
"Are you talking to me?" Ishida and Inoue gaped, not moving at all.
"What did you do with him?" Ishida had managed to compose himself first.
"He hit his head. Inoue is free to try heal it." With that words Inoue came to them, slowly, but the albino give no indication to move.
There was an orange field surrounding Ichigo. He might started to panic, but all three were looking at him with expectation.
"I did not know, you could do this. Thank you, Inoue." She looked happy, but the archer seemed disappointed.
"Well, at least some of the memory came back." He was having a grin pasted on his face.
"It is your fault, right?" He put his hand up.
"Well, he did save me, so he can't be the bad, right?" Ishida stopped.
"From something called a hollow. It tried to eat my soul, or at least it said that." He looked at albino, but he was looking up, worried.
With that, the great pressure had come down.
"What is that?" Inoue had covered her head, Ichigo tried to get away and the other two looked around.
"It feels like a hollow, but it is so big." He looked at albino, that had a worried face.
"A Vasto lorde, to be exact." Ichigo looked puzzled, but Inoue and Ishida looked at him, scared? It was the closest to that. Then, the hole had appeared in the house, and the four inside could see for the first time their enemy. The albino took his sword.
"Ishida, get Ichigo away from here. I will try..." A couple of second, he was looking at Ishida, the Vasto lorde get to the quincy and made a hole inside his stomach. The albino reacted and pushed the intruder away, but the damage had already been done. Inoue started to heal Ishida, while the two hollows took the battle in the sky.
Ichigo looked at the sky, only seeing the white and red blasts on the sky. He thought they were evenly matched, since the battle didn't ended yet, but he could not tell from the ground.
"Are you worried?" Ichigo looked at him, denying an accusation. But he only got a badge with the skull on it.
"Tatsuki had it." Ishida had trow it at him, and Ichigo just looked at it. At that time, the blast had came from the sky.
At the same time, the battle in the sky was evenly matched, and none did gain any advantages. They stopped for a moment, just looking at each other.
"Why are you battling in a behalf of some humans and death gods? Shouldn't they just be your food?"
"Do I look like, I am doing it on the behave of death gods and humans?" He looked at him, like he is disturbed by his question.
"You do. Why else would you be fighting me right now?" The albino just smirked.
"Why am I fighting you? Ichigo would die, if he fought you right now. And that would mean problems for me." The hollow just looked at him for a while, and than looked back on them.
"Ichigo or whatever, is he the clueless orange head? The one with the biggest spiritual powers?" He than looked back to albino, who gave no indication.
"I see. A visored and an inner hollow. But why not just take advantage?" The sword was hold more tightly, so the white hand become even paler.
"I would advise you, to no speak about things, you can not comprehend." At that, the white getsuga tensho came from his sword, but it was easily blocked.
"You are getting controlled by your own emotion." The Vasto lorde grinned, his hand pointed to the people on the ground.
"Cero." Before the blast had hit them, the albino managed to negated it with getsuga tensho, but it left him wide open for an attack. The hit he had gotten was not fatal, but it was bad. It forced him to retreated up, giving Vasto lorde the free way down. To at least try to stop him., he thrown the sword in front of Ichigo. But he changed his target to the albino, stabbing him.
"For a hollow, feelings are the death, no matter what. Die, knowing, you would have survived, if not for that reason." At that words, he thrown the now limb body away.
Meanwhile, Ichigo had approached the sword, and taking the grip on it. The feeling had started to came back to him, and he remembered the name, like it was a part of him. Se simply whispered 'Zangetsu', the ribbon on the end warping around Ichigo. Ichigo just smiled, getting ready. The Vasto lorde now turned to them, but Ichigo managed to part the first blow. He used getsuga tensho for distraction, jumped a few meters away and using the badge, he forced himself out of the body. He used flash step, to stand in front of lying albino, trusting his sword next to the white man's head.
"Do not tell me, that is all you got? You can't eve use instant regeneration anymore." The albino on the ground turn his head, looking at him.
"It might be my power, but where do you think, I get the energy to use it?" Ichigo scowled at that, but he did extend his hand. Just taking his hand, the instant regeneration trigger, making the albino look ready for round two.
"It is really interesting. death god, saving his inner hollow? I have not heard of such a union before. It just make you two even a better prey. But tell me.. Why save him?" Ichigo, turned to him, grabbing his own Zangetsu.
"Why I would not want to save a part of my soul." He placed his sword parallel to the ground, his white counterpart mimicking him. The two cry 'Bankai' were heard and the smoke came. But before it cleared, the clashing was heard for far above. Ishida in Inoue, that were watching so far, were once again unable to see anything.
After a couple of minutes, two patting, but barely hurt individuals came from the sky. The only difference between them was, that one was all white and one was in colours.
"Did you kill it?" Ishida knew the answer to the question before the smile came on their faces. He sighed, knowing he would not stand a chance against them.
"Well then some explanation would be in place." Ichigo nodded.
Inoue started fixing the hole, the albino prepared the tea and everybody was sited around the small table in front of the TV.
"So, your memory had came back?" Inoue looked really happy about it.
"Aah, I remember it. And before you ask, I tried to battle a hollow inside my body, since I did not have a badge or Kon with me, and the hollow..., well, you know." He had red cheeks with his hand in the back of his head.
"So, who is really him?" Ishida pointed at the albino with him look.
"My inner hollow."
"Inner hollow?" Ishida jumped up, glaring.
"Something had to go wrong somewhere. But I have it under control." Ishida looked unconvinced.
"Look, if I lose my mind, you can kill me." Inoue looked from one to another, scared.
"But why are you willing to harbour the hollow inside of you?"
"You get used to it. And it did get born from my soul." Then the clock was heard and they realised, how late it is. Inoue jumped up and clapped her hands.
"I think we better get some sleep, Ishida. Kurosaki did say, he will take care of it." At that words, Inoue bowed and went, but at the door waited for Ishida.
"If anything happens because of him," pointed at the albino that just smirked, "I am holding you responsible and will consider you a threat." At that words, he left. Inoue hurried after him.
After they left, Ichigo had turned to the albino.
"I do not have to worry about that, right?" The hollow side of him had not even turned to him.
"I do not feel hungry and I only like fighting strong guys, so probably not." He looked uninterested int he conversation, so Ichigo tried to call him, realising he does not know his name.
"So what is your name exactly. You know mine but I do not know yours." The albino sighed.
"Maybe, one day I will tell you" The sadness was back again for a moment.
"So, how am I supposed to call you?" For some reason, he wanted to know the name, but he could not explain that feeling.
"You had no problem calling me hollow until now." Ichigo jumped back, when he realied the hollow's face was right in front of his. He took a deep breath to relax.
"You should go to sleep, Ichigo." His face was now uncomfortably close, so Ichigo back away.
"Don't bother yourself with that. Just not get killed." With that words he started to disappear and he returned back inside the Ichigo's inner world.