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Substitute In Flames arc

It was quiet. Night had fallen over the city and this really seemed to be a night where nothing exciting could possibly happen. Of course, anyone who thought that would be dead wrong, especially if they saw the three figures running in the night.

"Stop, Muruiyama!" The first figure, a male, called out to the fleeing female figure.

"Does it make any sense for me to stop just because you ask?" She called back, turning on them and jumping high into the air. She placed both her hands on the "surface" of the air. "I can't let you catch me, boys." Her hands began to glow red.

"Shit!" The second figure, also male, hissed. "A spell!?"

She grinned as the red light exploded in a mass of red smoke, concealing her from their vision.

"No! Sekienton!" The first figure seemed aghast. As the smoke cleared, she was nowhere to be seen. "...Damn, she got away. The higher ups won't be pleased..."


Standing on the school roof were a small group of people. Whether they were all friends was debatable, but they seemed to all be there for a reason. Two of them stood out the most. The boy with long, raven hair tied in a ponytail, and the girl with bright crimson hair tight in a plait.

"C'mon Ahatake, show off!" The girl said, goading Ahatake. Her voice had a slight accent, it was obvious she was foreign to Japan. She prodded him. "They already know what I can do."

"You brought them up here just to show off?" Ahatake asked incredulously. He sighed. "You're insane."

"Do it, please?" The girl asked, sounding rather pitiful.

Ahatake groaned. "Fine, fine Kayla, just stop bugging me." Ahatake snapped his fingers, generating a burst of flame, before moving his arm in a wide circle, creating a hoop of flames. "As long as I'm playing circus man..." He dissipated the flames, and turned his head towards the sky, shooting a massive stream straight up. If anyone was watching, it was a wonder what they thought.

"...Awesome!!!!" One of the kids in the group exclaimed. "You' a pyro!!"

The stream dissipated as Ahatake sighed. "You could say that. I'm not one to show this off, but since Kayla somehow felt the need to drag me right into it..."

As the bell rang, Ahatake, Kayla, and the rest of the students made their way back to their classroom and took their seats. Kayla and Ahatake sat next to each other, and had actually become friends this way. Since Ahatake never talked to anyone without them speaking first, and Kayla talked to almost everyone, their friendship would seem inevitable.

"See?" Kayla whispered in his direction. "They like that you can make fire. It's not good to hide things from people."

"Ha." Ahatake uttered a dry chuckle. "Says the dead girl masquerading as the foreign exchange student."

"Hey!" Kayla's voice was filled with mock indignation. "I can't very well tell everyone I died years ago, can I?"

Ahatake couldn't believe what he was hearing. "So, freakish powers are ok, but being dead isn't? I fail to see your logic, Kayla."

"That's because there isn't any." She replied, smiling.

Before they could continue their conversation, Ahatake and Kayla both shuddered. The spiritual energy of a Hollow was near. "Shall we?" Ahatake asked, and Kayla nodded. They quickly ran out of the classroom with a muttered "Restroom!" excuse. The teacher looked at them as they passed.

"..D-does anyone know why they do that?" She asked, stupefied.

"Well, I heard they live together!" One of the female students said in a carrying tone. "Maybe they do i-!"

"Ok, I've heard enough!" The teacher replied. "Let's continue with the lesson and pretend like nothing happened!"

A blonde girl sitting in the far back room was looking at the door in which Ahatake and Kayla had exited, her gaze was meaningful.

Ahatake and Kayla were running through the street, Ahatake having grabbed his sword from here he usually kept hidden in school. From halfway across the street, the roars of Hollows were audible.

"Tch!" Ahatake drew his blade, and his feet began to glow green as he leapt into the air. "Lightning Strikes Twice." His blade crackled with lightning and his sheath transformed as well, becoming an additional blade. Both blades crackled with massive amounts of electricity, connecting by an electric rope. He slashed the nearest Hollow in two, evenly cutting it.

"Nice one, Ahatake!" Kayla cheered him on as the end of her ponytail transformed into a gleaming silver blade. Like a snake, it lunged at a Hollow's mask, and destroyed it.

"You're good." Ahatake called out to her. However, this distracted allowed for a Hollow to take to his back.

"Ahatake!" Kayla shrieked.

WHOOSH! The sound of spiritual energy being charged resounded through the air, as a slightly husky voice muttered, "Heilig Pfeil." That was it- all that spiritual energy was compressed to its utmost limit, before being released in the form of a crescent arc-shaped blast of spiritual energy that tore through the Hollow, bifracturing it without any problems. For a brief moment, it seemed as if nothing had happened...though by the moment the two looked around, the Hollow was in two parts which quickly fell to the ground, decomposing into spiritual energy.

Standing over them, resting on a streetlight was a young woman who had a tall, slender and toned figure; with glistening ruby eyes and dirty blond hair which is bleach-blonde at the tips with one greenish tip standing out. She looked just maybe a little older than Ahatake, but it was clear that they could possibly be in the same age group. "...You should watch what you're doing, kiddies." What was with the condescending tone? "Remember that a Hollow's bane isn't a Fullbringer, but a Quincy."

And with that, that mysterious woman dissapeared without a trace, leaving the two completely and utterly confused. That certainly was...unexpected; and it was certainly foreboding.

Robes of Black

"What was that?" Ahatake asked Kayla as they got back to their house and slid out of their shoes. He took Kayla's bag, and his own, and chucked it over into a corner as Kayla walked into the kitchen to start cooking.

"Honestly?" She asked, turning on the fire in the front range as she placed a filled with water onto it. It would take awhile to heat, and a bit longer before the water began to boil. She hated waiting on that. "I haven't a clue. I saw a silver item on her wrist, where her bow was emanating from. Perhaps she was a Fullbringer, like us? She even seemed to know what we were."

Ahatake took a seat on the couch, keeping his sword as close to him as possible. "But she said 'Quincy'." He frowned. "I'm sure I heard the term before though..." Ahatake was mulling it over. "Something Father said to Mother once..." He suddenly looked downcast.

"Ahatake..." Kayla looked concerned. "You shouldn't keep on about that. It's not your fault. Besides, your parents are technically doing fine. They're in the afterlife. Trust me, I've been, I know that they're fine there."

"And yet you're here." Ahatake replied, slightly icy. Kayla flinched, but Ahatake took notice. "I'm sorry...I'm grateful you're here. And we both need each other. The lost little soul and the boy who can see the dead...we're a weird duo."

"We are." Kayla smiled as she turned back to her cooking, starting to work on a roux. They were silent during the cooking, but chattered during the meal like the friends they were, before heading up to their joint room. As would be expected, there were separate beds, and they each pretty much collapsed on their beds, still clothed but fed and tired, homework forgotten.

A fluttering sound. A soft thumb. The silhouette of a woman had jumped through the window and landed on Ahatake's bed, before leaping onto the floor. Ahatake, even in his sleep, could feel her spiritual power and woke up. However, he watched her carefully.

"They're finally gone..." She murmured. "However, it's near..."

In a second, Ahatake slammed his knee into her back, sending her spiraling across the bedroom. Kayla immediately jumped awake, looking around.

"Wh-what's happening?!" She shrieked.

"It's nothing." Ahatake replied calmly. "You're not a very good burglar, if you're going to talk to yourself while you're stealing from my house."

"I-I'm not stealing!!" The women insisted, looking extremely upset as she sat up, wincing. "W-wait! How can you see me?"

Ahatake frowned. "How can I see you...oh. You're dead, aren't you?"

The girl reacted to this, seeming struck. "You're half right. I'm a Shinigami."

Ahatake sat down for a second, frowning. "A Shinigami...yeah, a Death God. Sure, I'll buy that. That's why I could kick your ass half-way across my bedroom."

The girl gritted her teeth. "Why you...!"

Ahatake walked over to her and flicked her in the forehead. Despite being equal in height, he was obviously looking down on her. "I can understand if you're lonely from being dead, but I'm not trying to be a magnet for lonely souls."

"Heeeeeeyyy..." Kayla seemed miffed.

Ahatake shook the girl's head like it was a bobble head. "Run along now, little god wannabe." He chuckled. Despite his normal aloof demeanor, Ahatake was definitely a snarker.

She gritted her teeth and batted Ahatake's hand away, pointing her pointer finger dead center at his chest. This surprised Ahatake, and the words that escaped his mouth were "Objection?"

"Shō!" She released an invisible force that shot him straight across the room and into his own wall.

"What...was that?" He groaned, rubbing his head.

"Um...I hate to interrupt said "Shinigami"?" Kayla asked, looking at her closely. "I've met them don't look anything like one, your clothes are far too different."

"What is a Shinigami?" Ahatake shot at the girl. "You say you are one, if Kayla knows what they are, fine, you're not playing around, now what is a Shinigami?"

The girl took a seat in the chair next to Ahatake's computer, crossing her legs as she looked frustrated. "I've never had to explain myself to people longer than it took to perform a Konsō..." She frowned. "Shinigami are what most humans equate to the Grim Reaper. Our job is to guide normal souls, Pluses, to the Soul Society through Konsō, the soul burial. Our secondary job is to destroy bad souls, or Hollows. As a matter of fact, I'm looking for one now...I just can't seem to find it."

" can feel the presence of these things, can't you?" Ahatake asked her incredulously. "How can you not feel what you're looking for?"

"I don't's as if some great power is disrupting my senses..."

"'WwwOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!" A large voice sounded in Ahatake and Kayla's heads, but the girl seemed to miss it.

"That...I know that roar! Ahatake shuddered and turned his attention to the Shinigami. "OI! SHINIGAMI!!! THAT HUGE VOICE!!!"

She looked at him, her eyes narrowed. "Huge voice? Wha-?"


She shuddered, her eyes widened. "I heard it! That's undoubtedly the voice of a Hollow!! But it still sounds like there's an invisible filter out there...what is this madness!?" Then it hit her. "Wait...this...a human heard the roar of a Hollow before me, a Shinigami? This..." However, the roar sounded throughout the night air again, and the Shinigami got up. "Stay here!" She ordered, and immediately ran out of the room.

Ahatake and Kayla looked at each other. "Stay here?" Kayla repeated. Ahatake looked at the door she left through. "Oh fuck that shit, Kayla let's move!"

Flames of Death

"GWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!" The roar of the Hollow shot through the air as the Ahatake and Kayla had reached the Shinigami before she left the house.

"I told you to stay!" She snapped.

"No chance." Ahatake replied as he picked up his sword by the door and busted out of his house, into the cold night hair, Kayla and the Shinigami following. "I thought this is a Hollow..."

The Hollow was monstrous, humanoid, with a fish-like mask and a dorsal fin on his back. His shoulders and arms are plated with what appears to be a part of his mask and his body is covered with dark gray stripes, resembling the scales of a fish.

"Let me go first!" Kayla insisted, her braid manifesting into a long cleaver. The Shinigami looked at this with wide eyes. "That...what is that power?"

Ahatake urged her. "Alright, you go. We've killed enough of these things to know what we're doing."

She grinned and her feet began to glow green, Bringer Light, as she launched herself forward.

"What is she?" The Shinigami eyed them curiously.

"We're Fullbringers. According to others who share similar powers, our parents were attacked by demons...and the some of their power ebbed off on the child. It was a vague explanation, but you've shed more light on it. As Fullbringers, we can manipulate the souls of objects to work with us. When we have an object we're close to, a soul we understand, we can morph it. Kayla understands her own soul better than anything else. She is the object of her own Fullbring."

The Hollow reached out, catching the oncoming blade and pulling her in by the hair. It opened it's mouth, and released a condensed blast of spiritual power, knocking Kayla back and causing internal damage. It then slammed it's fist into her flying body, sending her hurtling away at a faster rate.

"KAYLA!!" Using Bringer Light, he increased his speed, catching her falling body. "Kayla! Kayla!!! Are you alright!?" She was unconcious. "Dammit!!"

"GWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!" The Hollow roared and charged at Ahatake, who, furiously, placed Kayla down and drew his blade, sheath in hand. Lightning began to crackle furiously around him. "Lightning Strikes Twice." With zeal, he charged forward, gripping both swords and concentrating all his energy. Swinging both blades, he released an X-shaped blast of electricity. With a roar, the Hollow dissipated it, making Ahatake realize one thing. This Hollow was on a different level from the one's he'd fought.

"Dammit!" He raised his blades, but the Hollow was already coming, it's mouth ajar to devour him.

"You idiot, move!!!" The Shinigami pushed him out of the way, her blade raised to meet with the Hollows mouth. It's jaw closed around her, but the blade had done it's job, causing it immense physical pain and it took that moment to retreat, leaving the Shinigami bleeding on the ground.

"Is it gone?" Ahatake was glowering in the direction where it had vanished.

"No..." She groaned, slumping against a wall, bleeding out. "It will be back...and if we don't do something fast..we'll...all end up as it's food..."

"Then what are we supposed to do!?" Ahatake growled as the Hollow reappeared a ways away from them, letting off a loud roar.

"There is a way..." She raised her sword. "Take my Zanpakutō's a Shinigami's weapon...and stab it through your chest...I will channel half my reiatsu into may gain Shinigami powers..."

"May?" Ahatake noticed the word.

"You could die, if it fails..."


"GWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!" The Hollow roared and charged at them. Ahatake gripped her sword. "Fine...I'll take this offer, Shinigami."

The girl chuckled. "I somehow knew you would. And it's not Shinigami..."

The roar was getting closer and the Hollow lunged.

"It's Harumi Muruiyama."

"Ahatake Kurosaki." He took the sword and plunged it into his chest. He began to glow and expelled a massive amount of spiritual energy that stopped the Hollow dead in it's tracks. The reiatsu caught flame and spiraled high into the air, before dying down quickly. Clad in the Shihakushō, the robes of the Shinigami, and gripping a katana the size and thickness of the average claymore. With one swipe, he cut off the Hollow's leg, making it roar in pain.

On the ground, the Shinigami known as Harumi Muruiyama was sitting, a shocked expression on her face, clothed in white robes. " is this? I only intended to give him half my spirit power....why is it that he managed to take it all? Him! He must have been what was clogging up my senses before...I've never seen a human who could see spirits...I've never seen a human with powers like his..."

Ahatake raised his blade, grinning manically. "You're going to see what happens to those who lay a hand on Kayla. I may have to stop by the patent office, because I'm about to bring down a new type of pain on your ass!" He swung his giant blade down directly, cutting the Hollow in half.

"...And I've never seen a Shinigami with a Zanpakutō as large as his!" Harumi was bewildered by the entirety of the nights events. Ahatake, with one final grin, collapsed on the ground.