Ichigo jumped forward, slicing through the hallow’s mask without effort. It disappeared, and he waited a moment before straightening. He sighed, resting Zangetsu on his shoulder. This was the fifteenth one today, and they seemed to just keep coming. It wasn’t like it was too difficult, since they were all low level hallows, but… Kurosaki didn’t understand where they were all coming from. Especially when some of them looked kind of familiar…
Ichigo flinched, then whirled around as a garganta opened up behind him At least, it looked like a garganta, but… there was almost ten times the amount of energy of a normal garganta. Ichigo braced himself against it, pulling Zangetsu to the ready for whatever appeared…
A girl stumbled out, falling to the ground hard. She was panting, covered in blood and bruises. The biggest wound seemed to be a large gash in her side that she was pressing her hand to. She had a sword in her hand, and wore a shihakusho. The garganta closed behind her, and she seemed to be a bit delirious.
As Ichigo approached her, he saw that her eyes were glazed over. She was struggling on the ground, but it was hard to tell what she was trying to do. She managed to writhe onto her back, and Ichigo lowered Zangetsu as he leaned down next to her in shock. She squinted up at him blearily.
“…Kuro…saki…?” she asked, and Ichigo flinched in surprise. Before he had a chance to ask, the girl’s eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out. Ichigo stared dumbly for a minute, then sheathed Zangetsu and carefully picked the girl up. She whimpered.
“…shit,” he said, then took off for Urahara’s shop, hoping he made it in time…
“I don’t recognize her, but with how long I’ve been gone, there are plenty of new faces in Seireitei,” Urahara said, putting a damp washcloth on the girl’s forehead. She was feverish and muttering in her sleep, but all her wounds had been cleaned and wrapped, so all there was to do now was wait. They’d put a message out to Soul Society, but no one had been reported missing.
“It’s very strange,” Rukia said, worn out from using kido on the girl’s larger injuries. “I don’t recognize her either, but her reiatsu feels somewhat familiar, doesn’t it?”
“I agree,” Urahara said. Ichigo was off fighting more hallows that had appeared, leaving the girl to the shopkeeper and shinigami. “But there’s something… off about it, as well. It reminds me of a vizard, yet there seems to be some kind of disconnect.”
“You’re right,” Rukia said. “When I was trying to heal her, it was as if my kido kept slipping off. I had to force it work, or I would have been able to do more.”
“It’s all very strange…” Urahara said. Suddenly, the girl gasped and opened her eyes wide. Urahara and Rukia jumped in surprise, and the girl leapt to her feet and away. She drew her zanpakuto, panting as she glared around the room. Rukia and Urahara made to get to her feet, but suddenly the girl paused. She seemed confused, lowering her weapon as she stared at both of them.
“Urahara and Kuchiki…? But… I don’t understand… why do you two look so…” the girl stopped midsentence, her legs giving out on her. Rukia rushed to her side, but Urahara staid back, eyes calculating.
“Hey! Don’t wear yourself out, you’re injured,” Rukia said, supporting the girl on one side. The girl, refusing to let go of her sword, stared dumbly as the shinigami helped her back to the futon she’d been resting on. Consciousness slipping, she stared up at her saviors through half-lidded eyes.
“Kuchiki-san… what… happened…?” she asked, and slipped away again. Rukia stared, dumbstruck and horrified, as if she’d seen a ghost. Urahara made her flinch when he put a hand on her shoulder. He gave her a reassuring look.
“We’ll know more when she’s had time to rest,” he said. Rukia swallowed, then nodded, backing away.
“I’m returning to Seireitei to report this,” she said, and Urahara nodded. Pulling out his fan, he sat down next to the girl. He replaced the fallen washcloth, watching the girl with interest.
“Just who are you…?” he wondered.
“Hey, any improvement?” Ichigo asked, stepping into the back of the shop. He blinked in surprise. “Oh, hey Unohana-taichou.”
“Good evening, Kurosaki-san,” Unohana said. She had the girl’s head resting in her lap, using kido to finish healing her. The girl was calm and peaceful for the first time since she had mysteriously appeared, and that at least was a relief.
“So, who is she?” Ichigo asked, walking in and sitting down next to Urahara. The shopkeeper shrugged.
“We still don’t know. There’s no record of her in Seireitei,” he said. Ichigo blinked, then looked around the room.
“Well, that explains why everyone’s here…” he said. There was Unohana, Renji, Rukia, Byakuya, Shinji and Ukitake and his lieutenants.
“Captain Commander wanted to find out who she was as quickly as possible, so he sent Unohana and a couple Captains to question her,” Shinji said, shrugging. Ichigo scratched the back of his head.
“Well, I understand Unohana, but why are the rest of you here? It seems kind of like overkill, don’t you think?” he asked. Renji snorted.
“That’s what I thought, but have you tried feeling her reiatsu?” he asked. “It’s all unbalanced. If she wakes up and starts trying to fight the way she did last time, she could do a ton of damage just by throwing her reiatsu around on accident.”
“We’re only here as a precaution,” Ukitake said, smiling pleasantly. “Hopefully, things won’t turn out that way, and we’ll be unnecessary.”
“Oh, I see, I guess,” Ichigo said, turning his attention back to the girl. The question was on everyone’s mind. Just who was she…?
“The healing is done, I’m waking her up now,” Unohana said. There were various acknowledgements, and the captain nodded before using her kido to gently wake the girl up.
The girl blinked, then opened her eyes wide and sat straight up. She looked around in a panic, reaching for her missing zanpakuto.
“Calm down, you’re alright,” Urahara said, and the girl’s head whipped around to look at him. She panted for a few moments, looked scared as all hell, and then her eyes fell on Ichigo. He flinched as she stared, and gradually she calmed down. Then after a moment, she glared.
“Who are you?” she demanded. Everyone stopped.
“Who am I?” Ichigo asked. “Shouldn’t that be my line? I mean, you seemed to know me when you first showed up.”
“No! That was…” the girl sighed in frustration, covering her eyes with her hand. “I mistook you for someone else, okay?”
“Who? I don’t know a lot of guys named Kurosaki with this hair color,” Ichigo said, starting to get irritated.
“Ichigo…” Rukia said, a warning. Ichigo sighed, and the girl looked at Rukia. She pointed.
“And you! Who are you, and why do you like Kuchiki-san?” she asked. Rukia blinked.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean,” she said. “I’m Kuchiki Rukia.”
“No! You can’t be! That’s-!”
“Don’t raise your voice to a member of the Kuchiki family like that,” Byakuya said. The girl had to twist to see him. When she looked at him and Unohana, her eyes grew impossible wide and she scrambled away.
“No… but… you two are…”
“Please, young miss, calm down…” Ukitake said from where he was seated. The girl turned to stare at him.
“Ukita… no! No, this… this isn’t real!” she yelled, pulling her knees to her chest and burying her head in them. “It… it’s just a dream… or… or one of Aizen’s illusions…”
Everyone in the room flinched at the name. Slowly, like approaching a wounded animal, Ichigo got up and crouched in front of the girl.
“Aizen was defeated,” he said. The girl flinched.
“You’re lying, that’s just what you want me to believe,” she said, muffled. Ichigo sighed in irritation.
“Listen, I almost lost all my shinigami powers beating that guy, I should know that it happened,” he said. The girl very slowly titled her head up just enough to look his in the eye.
“You defeated him? When?” she asked. Ichigo blinked, then thought.
“After he’d fused with the Hogyoku and was trying to destroy Karakura,” he said. The girl paused a moment, seeming conflicted. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. She considered a moment more before asking her next question.
“And what about Grimmjow Jeagerjaques?” she asked. Ichigo’s eyes widened marginally in surprise.
“I defeated him before I beat Aizen,” Ichigo said. The girl bit her lip.
“Because he was working for Aizen…?” Ichigo said, not sure what the girl was after. She seemed to debate a moment before uncurling slightly.
“And you’ve never met me before?” she asked. Ichigo blinked.
“No,” he said. “Should I have?”
The girl sighed.
“I don’t know.”
“Who are you?” Ichigo asked. The girl glanced around the room. Everyone’s eyes were on her. She returned her gaze to Ichigo.
“My name is Tiamut Bast, revizard and a fukutaichou of the resistance,” she said.
“The resistance?” Ichigo asked, shifting as Urahara moved to sit next to him.
“The resistance against who?” the shopkeeper asked. The girl fixed them both with a hard stare.
“The resistance against Sosuke Aizen.”
“Get real,” Renji said, making everyone jump in surprise.
“I’m serious!” Tiamut said, glaring.
“We already said Aizen was defeated, so how could you expect us to believe that?” Renji continued, crossing his arms.
“I’m telling the truth, dammit!” Tiamut yelled, slamming her fist into the ground hard enough to break through the floor.
“Alright, let’s just calm down…” Urahara said, looking at the hole in consternation.
“He fucking started it!” Tiamut yelled, pointing at Renji. The redhead flinched, then glared.
“I was just asking how you expected us to believe something so stupid!”
“So, what? You just assume someone you just met is lying?” Tiamut stood, all five foot two inches of her. Renji moved to glare down at her.
“I’m not just gonna believe some bullshit-“
Renji flinched, then looked over his shoulder at Byakuya. The man had a look on his face that let the redhead immediately know he was in trouble.
“Do not engage in such childish behavior,” the captain said. Renji frowned, but backed off.
“…I kind of see it now,” Tiamut said, looking at Byakuya as if seeing someone else. The captain looked back, but said nothing.
“What do you mean?” Ichigo asked. Tiamut flinched, then shook her head.
“Nothing,” she said, sitting down and looking around the room again. She was still wary, but far less tense than she had been.
“You mentioned a revizard,” Shinji said, drawing the attention of the room. “What did you mean?”
“Well, it’s short for ‘reverse-vizard’,” Tiamut said, looking bored.
“Reverse… what do you mean?” Shinji asked, face flickering from shock to anger. Tiamut gave him a level stare.
“I’m an Arrancar that was infused with shinigami reiatsu.”
“Impossible!” Shinji said, more in shock than anything. “Who would do such a thing…?”
“Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Szayel Apporo Granz,” she said. “Szayel was the first one, and then they did it to me’n Grimmjow, so Kurosaki kicked them out cause they didn’t ask us first and it hurt like a bitch, and then while they were exiled they did it to Ulquiorra, too.”
“Wait, what do you mean ‘Kurosaki kicked them out’…?” Ichigo asked. Tiamut sighed, trying not to look at anyone in the room while fidgeting.
“Kurosaki Ichigo is the leader of the resistance,” she said. “Under him are Kuchiki Rukia-taichou, Ukitake Jyuushiro-taichou, Grimmjow Jeagerjaques-taichou, Hirako Shinji-taichou, Urahara Kisuke-taichou and Abarai Renji-taichou. Under them are me, Matsumoto Rangiku-fukutaichou, Ichimaru Gin-fukutaichou, Aikawa Love-fukutaichou, Outoribashi Roujuurou-fukutaichou and Ulquiorra Schiffer-fukutaichou.”
“What about the rest of the Gotei 13?’ Ukitake asked, surprising everyone. The man wore a serious expression, and Tiamut glanced at him then shook her head.
“What? What does that mean?” Renji asked.
“Are you saying they all died?” Renji continued, ignoring his captain. Everyone was silent, waiting for Tiamut’s answer. The girl took a deep breath, but kept her gaze at the ground.
“Yes. Where I’m from, those are the only members of the Gotei 13 that survived Aizen’s attack.”
“Where did you come from?” Urahara asked quietly, trying not to unsettle the tension in the room. Tiamut bit her lip, then looked miserably up at the man.
“I don’t know.”