Zayla woke up to find her bandages soaked with blood. Swearing, she leapt out of bed and made her way to her bathroom. Good thing she was taught first aid in the London Institute, otherwise she would be clueless. She took a roll of bandages out of her first-aid kit, turning to the mirror and gaped. What the fuck? Her hair was sky blue, Ichigo wasn’t kidding he said her hair was paler. How the hell did this happen? Then realisation hit her hard. Kieran, his hair was blue like hers but his hair shifted colour reflecting on his mood, sometimes he could even will it to change. However, she mused, my hair changing colour can’t possibly be a good sign. I could never change it to begin with…so what’s triggering it?
She heard a knock on the bedroom door and Ken calling out her name. She locked the bathroom door, before replying.
“I’m going to drop Tomi off at school before I go uni, there’s breakfast on the table if you want it. See ya, Zay.” He said, his footsteps fading away. Zayla breathed a sigh of relief; she better come up with a good explanation before her brother freaked out. Carrying on her morning routine, she stressed over the turn of events. First, her goddamned healing Rune was useless. Then, her hair decides to go and change to an even more blatant colour. What was next, a - ?
She froze. The doorbell sounded, the ring echoing through the room. Who was it now? Reluctantly, she made her way to the door. Before swinging it open, she grabbed a coat off the nearby stand and hastily pulled the hood over her head covering her hair. On her doorstep was Ichigo, frowning at her.
“Hey, why’re you wearing a coat in your house?” Ichigo was refraining from laughing his head off. Zayla was standing with a coat thrown over her pyjamas, her mouth open in a ‘O’ of surprise. “You do realise, you look stupid right?”
“Shut it, strawberry.” She ripped of the coat, exposing her hair. Now it was Ichigo’s turn to look surprised. He pointed at it and opened his mouth to speak. “Yeah, I know, woke up in the morning like this. And, for goodness’ sake, come inside.”
Ichigo and Zayla glared at each other for a few minutes, seated on the couch. The blue haired girl raised her eyebrows at the other, who cleared his throat. “I wanted to check on you. See if your cut is healing properly.”
“It’s completely fine.” She lied. “Aren’t you meant to be in school?”
“Yeah, but you know… came to visit you first.” He finished awkwardly. Nodding curtly, Zayla stood up, making her way to the kitchen. She felt overcome with dizziness, her knees buckled and she felt light-headed. Falling onto her knees, she used the wall for support. In the background, she could hear Ichigo calling out something, but the words were jumbled. Her eyelids seemed to be closing; she just wanted to sleep…
Ichigo watched anxiously as Zayla lay unconscious on her couch, she was burning a fever and the cold cloth on her forehead seemed to be ineffective. He had given Kisuke Urahara a call and asked him to come over immediately after she had passed out, that had been half an hour ago and there was still no sign of him. With Zayla’s condition only getting worse… his head snapped to the side as he heard a sound. The girl took a deep breath as her eyes fluttered open, she tried to sit up but her head felt heavy. Ichigo rushed to her side. “It’s best if you lay down, you’re burning a fever.” He said. Zayla opened her mouth to speak but no words came out, her throat felt dry and hot. Ichigo noted her discomfort, providing her with a glass of water, and observed silently as she sipped from the glass.
“I think I know.” She croaked. Before she could say another word, the doorbell rang, Ichigo held up a hand for her to wait as her answered the door. Kisuke and Tessai walked in, the former was a blonde with a white a green stripped hat which was pulled low to conceal his eyes, and the latter a large man with glasses and an almost comical moustache. Ichigo introduced them to Zayla who appeared somewhat suspicious.
“Ichigo” she called to get his attention. All three of the males turned to her. “I said I think I know why I’m ill.” She took a deep breath, before continuing. “When my friends and I were ambushed, I was stabbed. What I didn’t realise was that there was poison on the blade that inflicted the wound.”
The orange-haired boy tensed, he turned to Kisuke and Tessai with pleading eyes. They nodded, talking amongst themselves and set to work. Tessai performed a kido on the girl, who was too tired to even ask questions. Ichigo looked on as her hair returned to her original navy blue. Maybe, he thought, her hair represents her life force? He relaxed when she opened her bright golden eyes, took one look at Tessai’s face looming over hers, and fell out of the narrow couch onto the floor.
“Wh-what the…?” she stuttered. Ichigo informed her that Tessai and Kisuke had just saved her life by extracting the poison from her body using kido. Sitting up from her position on the floor, she glanced at the pair and thanked them earnestly. “No problem, my dear, anything for our Ichigo.” Kisuke mocked in his silky voice. After the men left, Zayla mumbled her thanks to Ichigo. The teen, pretending her hadn’t heard, asked her to repeat with an amused smile in his face.
“I said thanks, as much as I hate to admit it; you’ve umm… saved my life twice now.”
“Well, aren’t you grateful?”
Zayla smirked in response. “How about we go hollow/demon/ whatever-its-called hunting?” Ichigo frowned at her before breaking into a smile.
“Yeah? Let’s see who can kill the most monsters.”
Soon, both Zayla and Ichigo were running on the rooftops of Karakura searching for signs of hollows or demons. Zayla wore black clothes similar to the ones she had when she arrived, her lethal bracelet glowing a deep red. Ichigo was in his soul reaper form; his body was in school with Kon taking over. Kon, he explained to Zayla, was a ModSoul which was an alternative to leaving your body lying around with no soul, in other words, dead. ModSouls were souls that were designed to take over your gigai, in this case, body, when there was a need to assume Shinigami form.
Ichigo felt sympathy for the Hollows and demons within a mile radius. He and Zayla fought like they never fought before; his partner was swift and slaughtered any hollows that dared to come close, Ichigo taking the side that she was most vulnerable and Zayla doing the same. After an hour or so of killing Hollows, they sat exhausted near the edge of a building.
“I was wondering, wouldn’t it just look odd to see a girl swinging something about and slicing through air. I’m pretty sure that’s how humans see it.” Ichigo said, panting.
“I guess it would, but I’m using a Glamour Rune. So anyone without the Sight can’t see me.” Zayla replied, leaning back on her palms. “I was wondering why we didn’t come across any demons. I feel like they’re avoiding us. And that’s not something that demons would naturally do.”
“Really? That sure is odd. How comes your sword can slice through Hollows, though? I thought only zanpaktos can.”
“Mm… well, I doubt many seraph blades can do that. But my sword was made by Wayland Smith himself, it can cut through anything.”
“Anything?” Ichigo breathed.
“Yeah, anything. With enough force applied. There is only one other sword I know of that can do that, and that is Cortana- the Carstairs family blade.” Ichigo looked like he wanted to ask another question, but Zayla cut him off. “Look!” She exclaimed, holding out her accessorised hand. The bracelet changed shape, instead of it transforming into a sword, the girl was now holding a metre long spear that had a blade on either end. It changed form again until an axe was being held.
“H-how are you doing that?” Ichigo asked, astonished.
“I just think it, really. It reacts to my thoughts and displays the weapon I want to wield.” The axe reformed into the sword. “Oh, and remember the time you touched it? It doesn’t react to anyone other than the family its ‘assigned’ to.” She traced the symbol of a scythe and sword crossed over.
“You mean that’s why it turned back into a bracelet when I touched it?”
Zayla nodded. “Amriel” She whispered and the sword flared a blinding white.
Ichigo was entranced; the weapon emitted a strong but comforting spiritual pressure. He was so engrossed in the weapon that he did not notice the spider-like demon that slashed at him from behind, by the time that he did, he had lost his balance and tilted forward, towards the ground fifty feet below. Had it not been for Zayla’s quick reflexes he would’ve fell to his death. The Shadowhunter laid her friend on his front carefully and in one rapid move, had cleanly cut through the Shax demon. She rushed to him and gawked at the large wound which was oozing blood. No demon poison, she thought, still, they were miles from his house and body. There was only one thing for it…
She murmured her prayers to the Angel and shaped her bracelet into a stele. Her hands were shaking as she drew the iratze – healing rune – onto his forearm. She held her breath, hoping against hope that it would work. If it didn’t, he would turn into Forsaken and she would have to kill him. She held onto his arm, please work, she begged whatever supernatural being there was, please.
“Would you let go of my arm, you retard.”
Zayla dropped Ichigo’s arm hurriedly and stood. Holding, out her hand to help him up she stared down at him. “How do you feel?” She asked him.
“Like fucking shit, I’m shattered.” He replied taking her hand and letting her help him up. “My back hurts like hell.” The Nephilim girl twisted around to take a look at his back, it had stopped bleeding and the wound was closing up quickly too. The boy shrieked and Zayla jumped back.
“What? Are you alright?” She questioned nervously.
“You drew a Rune on my arm?!”
“Yeah, it’s a healing Rune. That Shax demon attacked you and slashed your back, so I had to.”
“But you said only people with angel blood can bare Runes?”
“I know, but it worked on you somehow. Maybe you have angel blood in your veins…?”
“How did you know it was going to work on me?” He looked at her curiously.
“I didn’t know. There was a chance you would become a demon, if – ”
“What?!” Ichigo was fuming now
“Ichigo, I didn’t have much choice. I wasn’t going to leave you here to bleed to death. Look, there was a chance you would become Forsaken, but you didn’t. And the Rune is taking effect, you’re healing up nicely.”
The Shinigami seemed to be calming down now. “Thanks, I guess.” He asked for Zayla to explain what a ‘Forsaken’ was and teach about the different types of demons.
As the sun was starting to set, the pair stood to part ways. Ichigo hesitated, looking as if he was about to say something, Zayla noted his hesitance. “What’s wrong?”
He shifted his feet, clearly uncomfortable. “Rukia said that my reiatsu was laced with yours…” Zayla frowned as he spoke. “Even today, Kisuke said the same thing, not only about my reiatsu, but also yours.”
“Reiatsu…okay. Is that bad?” Zayla was confused, whatever he meant by that, it was obviously making Ichigo awkward and uneasy.
“Rukia said it’s like umm… soulmates?”
“Yes, you know, we fight pretty well together. And seeing as I can bare Runes - ”
“You want us to be parabatai?” Ichigo nodded. “That’s not such a bad idea, considering you’re such a dimwit.”
“Hey, who you calling – ”
“But, thing is, a pair of Nephilim train for years before becoming parabatai, not just one day.”
“Still, you can’t deny that we work well together in combat.”
Zayla tilted her head to the side, considering this. “Alright, but how am I meant to get someone to perform the ceremony? You’re not exactly Nephilim.”
Ichigo’s face fell. “So it can’t happen?”
Zayla sighed, as much as she Ichigo to be her parabatai, it wasn’t going to be easy. There’s no way the Clave will agree a substitute Shinigami and Shadowhunter to be parabatai. Anything that the Clave weren’t aware of, they found a threat. One that needs getting rid of. She peered at Ichigo, who was gazing at the horizon, lost in thought. In this case, that threat would be him. She could pull it off… but she would need a Silent Brother to do the ritual. Brother Zachariah. Yes, Brother Zachariah, he did owe her a favour.
“Ichigo” She called, her friend turned his head towards her, a glint of hope in his eyes. “You can’t take parabatai lightly. It’s a bond till the death. It binds our souls together.” Ichigo nodded, without missing a beat.
“So you think we can be parabatai?”
“Yeah, I’ll have to find the nearest Institute so I can send a fire-message.” She told him that Institutes are like the head-quarters of all the Shadowhunters in the country. “So the Institute in Japan should be in Tokyo as it’s the capital.”
“How do these Institutes look?”
“Well, they normally appear as abandoned buildings to normal humans without the Sight. But we should see it as a large building of…some sort, really.”
“That hardly helps. Be more specific.”
“The Institute in London looks like a cathedral. The Los Angles Institute is a modern mansion. It can look like anything. Big enough to house at least fifty people.”
“Mmm, I think I have an idea of what you’re talking about.” Ichigo signalled for her to follow him. They ran for a few minutes, until Ichigo stopped abruptly with Zayla bumping straight into him. She swore under her breath and looked up to see him pointing at the tall modern building that stood before them. It had floor to ceiling glass windows, some were tinted a mint green others a deep blue, the metal that lined the edges shone brightly. “Let’s go.” He said poising to jump. Zayla caught the back of his kimono and pulled him back.
“Who said you’re coming. You stay here.” He opened his mouth to protest. “Actually, get back to your body; make sure no one sees the iratze on your arm. Especially, anyone who wears the same Shadowhunter uniform as me.”
“Wait – ”
“Please, it’s for your own safety.”
He rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” She watched him run off into the distance, taking a deep breath she hopped down from the roof. Landing steadily on both feet, Zayla eyes skimmed over the building before her. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea; her relationship with the Clave wasn’t exactly friendly. If she entered the Institute, the inhabitants were sure to ask questions and she would be under suspicion. I’ll just have to get it done and over with.
Zayla strolled grudgingly to the front door, placing her hand on the brass handles and pulled the door open.
A knife flew past her ear, slicing through a few strands of hair, and planting itself onto the wall next to her. Amriel transformed into a sword, which she held up defensively.
“We weren’t expecting visitors.” Said a voice. She glanced up to see a boy, only slightly older than herself, with black hair and amber eyes, holding a throwing knife in his hand. He glared daggers at her, quite literally.
“I take it, you threw the knife.” She said, the boy responded with a brisk nod. Zayla realised she was still standing behind the door, holding onto the handle. Quickly, she hurried inside and shut the door by leaning against it. “I’m Zayla. Zayla Krieger.”
He narrowed his eyes, suspiciously. “Kreiger, huh? So to what do we owe the pleasure?”
“Cut the shit. You should know, I side with the Clave against my father.”
“Alright, warrior” Zayla grimaced at his sarcasm. “I would like to know what you are doing in Karakura. Last I heard, you were based in London with the Lightwoods.”
“I came to visit family, my brothers live here. I was advised to keep my whereabouts hidden from others so Tomasz would have trouble finding me.”
“And you expect me to believe that?”
“Why don’t you ask the Inquisitor about what I was ordered?” Zayla knew the Inquisitor, Robert Lightwood, would agree to her staying in Karakura. After all, the order to go into hiding, during the attack, had some from his son.
“I will, but pray tell, why will the Krieger princesses grace us with her presence?”
This guy was really pushing it. Her patience was running out and it didn’t help that his words were dripping with sarcasm. Gritting her teeth, and answered with as much politeness as she could muster. “I need a few resources, stele and uniform. Also, I need to send a fire message to Brother Zachariah.”
“Lucky for you, Brother Zachariah is here, treating one of us.” At the voice, Zayla turned to face an old lady, with a bob of white hair. “I’m sure you can discuss with him soon after he tends his patients. I’m the head of the Institute, Fuyumi Asato, and that is my son Noritaka.”
Zayla nodded her head in greeting and introduced herself. Fuyumi showed her the way to the store room where Zayla can find what she needs. Casting a scowl at Noritaka, she started down to the store room. She found a stele, grabbing an empty backpack; she stuffed some of the black combat clothes made of the strange material in it. Making her way back to the main hall, she felt a fluttery feeling in her stomach. She wasn’t so sure about asking Brother Zachariah to do the ritual anymore, what if this just ends up getting Ichigo caught? What if Brother Zachariah was punished for aiding them to become parabatai? What if Ichigo couldn’t bare stronger Runes and becomes Forsaken during the ritual? Deep in thought, she crashed straight into Brother Zachariah himself. Zayla’s back hit the wall; she massaged her shoulders, squinting at the Shadowhunter before her. He looked just as she had remembered, deathly pale skin, shaved head with his eyes and mouth sewn shut.
I was told you wanted to speak with me, Zayla. His words echoed in her mind.
You said you owed me a favour. I recall it now.
What is this favour? Mind, it must be within my power.
Yes, it is, I need you to perform a parabatai ritual. The other is not Nephilim, though he can bare Runes.
That is against the Clave.
But you need to know, our souls are linked already. A long pause stretched out, the Silent Brother must be searching her mind.
What you say is true. This boy, if he is not Nephilim how can he use Runes?
I don’t know. But I can tell you what he is. Zayla let her thoughts wander to her conversation with Ichigo when he explained that he was a Soul Reaper, she could telepathically feel Brother Zachariah listening and watching he memory.
Very well, I owe you. And you have called upon it, I cannot turn it down. What you are about to do, defies the Clave. Are you willing to accept punishment for your actions if the Clave finds they cannot accept this?
Yes. Will you be able to perform the ritual now?
Certainly, the boy will need to be present, of course.
Zayla beckoned for Brother Zachariah to follow, she walked to the door with him, noticing the dirty looks that Noritaka was giving her. They walked out onto the road; the evening air was chilly but relaxing and the sky was a pale lilac, indicating that it was going to be dark soon. She would have to walk all the way to the other end of town to Ichigo’s house.
“Hey, Zayla!” She looked up to see Ichigo standing on the stairs in front of them, he was inside his body. She frowned; the orange-haired boy was a pain, she had told him to go home, but here he was waiting for her. She waved at him to come down.
That is the boy? Brother Zachariah questioned. How had he known? Reading her thoughts he answered. I can sense it; his aura is very similar to yours, as you said your souls are already bonded. The parabatai bond will only make it stronger.
To Ichigo, Zayla and the man next to her seemed to be staring at each other. When the substitute Shinigami looked closer, he clocked that the figure next to her wasn’t human, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. He shuddered, it was creepy.
“Ichigo! Come, this is Brother Zachariah, he will be performing the ritual.” Zayla shouted. The boy jumped down from his position, making his way towards the pair, and then abruptly stopped. He and the Silent Brother appeared to be conversing telepathically. Once their conversation supposedly ended, Brother Zachariah set to work; he placed his hands on the grassy ground and three rings of fire appeared.
Zayla, step inside the left ring. Ichigo, the right.
The two glanced each other, Zayla smiled nervously before doing what she was told. Ichigo watched her take her place, before doing so himself. The blue-haired girl took her stele from her pocket and fingered the shape anxiously.
Now, both of you - step into the centre ring together.
The Nephilim and Shingami entered the ring, staring at each other. Zayla swallowed hard, she brought the stele to the exposed skin on his chest right above the heart. Here goes everything. She drew the symbol, her hands moving on their own, until a dark Rune was Marking Ichigo. The other gently took the stele from her and drew the same Rune onto the girl, who could feel her heart beating soundly against the chest. Ichigo brought his eyes to meet gold orbs, then said the words the bound them together against all odds.
Entreat me not to leave thee,
Or return from following after thee—
For whither thou goest, I will go,
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.
The Angel do so to me, and more also,
If aught but death part thee and me.
There is a flaw in this oath, thought Ichigo, because not even death will separate us.