A Shadow of What Was

BY : katami
Category: Bleach > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 49311
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Author’s Notes: I’ll take a moment to post some warnings and hopefully save myself some pain and aggravation. This story takes place after the current arc, Orihime was rescued and the Winter War has started. Most of this story will take place in the future, only the prologue occurs in the present.

Now to address the big thing, this prologue will be traumatic; it is supposed to be. And yes, Urahara does die. He will be back so don’t worry too much. Most of this story will take place in the future after Urahara is reborn. This story will contain action, humor, plot, and violence but it will also contain yaoi. If any of that irks you, then don’t read it.

One last thing, if you like this please review because praise makes Kisuke eager to seduce my muses into writing for him.

* * *

He watched Benihime fall from suddenly slack fingers and all he could do was scream. He rushed to Urahara’s side cradling him, tears spilling over his checks as his lover’s blood spilled over his robes. A long fingered hand reached up to caress his cheek and Ichigo’s heart stopped as he caught the sweet sad smile on the other man’s lips. “I’ll miss you,” whispered Kisuke, his hand falling away as his eyes grew vacant.

Ichigo howled, a scream of pure rage and denial torn from the back of his throat as he felt Urahara‘s soul chain snap. He could feel himself shaking, energy whipping through his body. He would kill the people who’d done this. He would leave nothing but destruction in his wake. He would make the people who had hurt Kisuke pay.

A mournful wail filled the air, a high counterpoint to the howling of his reiatsu. He laid his fallen lover on the ground, kissing him softly before turning back to Aizen and his Espada, his eyes pure silver. Kisuke was dead and the people before him had been the ones to kill him. Kisuke was dead. They had taken the blonde from him, taken his heart. For once his soul and hollow were in complete agreement, both were screaming in rage for what the things before him had done to his lover. He didn’t have to reach and didn’t have to fight for control. He wanted exactly what the hollow wanted. To kill. To destroy. They would pay for taking Kisuke.

He reached out automatically for the sword on the ground next to him, his lover’s blade, Benihime.

He grasped the sword and instantly found himself standing in his inner world. The wind howled ripping at everything and rain poured from the sky. He could feel the foundations of his world shaking and took a moment to brace himself, trying to keep the pain at bay. The buildings stopped swaying but the fury of the storm raged on unabated . Then again, he didn’t think his soul would even be peaceful again. Kiuske was dead and he had taken Ichigo’s peace with him.

It took him a moment to realize the that keening song that had filled his head since his lover had fallen continued in his soul world. Once he recognized it the song was impossible to ignore it. It ached and tore at him even through the rain and the wind. It tore at the fresh wounds to his soul and made the older ones feel as raw and vulnerable as when they‘d first been dealt. He fell to his knees, unable to stand under the sudden onslaught of pain and grief.

A pale hand caught his arm and he glanced up into the sympathetic face of his hollow self. Ichigo stared into Shirosaki’s solemn golden eyes, almost unable to believe that this grim faced creature next to him was his rebellious hollow. There was no sign of the being who had tried so ruthlessly to consume him so many times. Instead he saw his own loss mirrored on Shirosaki’s face and suddenly he wasn’t so alone.

“This way. There isn’t much time. She’s over here,” murmured Shirosaki.

“Who?” he asked as the hollow grabbed his elbow and dragged him along when he didn’t move fast enough.

Shirosaki shook his head and glared at him like he was a particularly dense and stupid student, muttering darkly about what sort of a fucking king didn’t know what was going on in his own fucking kingdom. Not so different from the Shirosaki he knew and loathed then, he thought with relief. He resisted the urge to snarl at the hollow, more interested in learning what was going on than in trying to teach his inner hollow some respect.

They made their way through the rain, a dark shape condensing before them, a shape that seemed to be the source of the mournful song. “Zangetsu?” he asked figuring it had to be the only other person who shared his soul, although he‘d never heard Zangetsu sing and didn’t think the mournful soprano could belong to the zanpakutou. The dark shape turned revealing his zanpakutou and another person. A woman. The source of the wailing song.

She was beautiful, pale and delicate, with skin like a porcelain doll‘s and features to match. Her hair was long and loose, torn from intricate clips so that it fell around her like a silken veil. It was a brilliant crimson color, like fresh blood. She was dressed in a flowing sheath that matched her hair and was patterned with gold. Her arms were wrapped about her thin frame and she was sobbing brokenly. Zangetsu held her from behind and she was sagged against him, as if her grief was simply too great to bear. When she raised her head, noticing him, he saw that her eyes were the same amazing red as the rest of her and that they were clouded with grief. She saw him and choked on a whimpering sob, reaching out weakly with one hand.

Shirosaki muttered something like ‘asshole’ and shoved him forward toward Zangetsu and the woman. His arms went awkwardly around them and he was shocked as Shirosaki embraced all of them. “Kisuke,” moaned the woman softly and suddenly Ichigo knew who she was, who she had to be.


“Took you long enough,” muttered Shirosaki giving him a dark look. “Who the hell else is it gonna be here?”

“Stop it. We don’t have time to deal with the two of you fighting and Benhime doesn’t need to see it,” scolded Zangetsu with a sharp look for each of them.

“What is she doing here?” asked Ichigo, feeling his own heart ache as Urahara’s sword sobbed harder. Her grief reminded him all too much of his own, circling like a vulture, just waiting to once more be acknowledged. He didn’t want to face Kisuke’s loss, there would be long lonely years in which to drag it out and torture himself with it. At the moment he just wanted the balm of denial.

“We brought her here,” murmured Shirosaki running a hand over the zanpakutou’s hair, gently soothing it. The gesture was so out of character for the Shirosaki he knew that Ichigo just stared at him, amazed.

“I can help you find him,” whispered Benihime, her voice soft and beautiful despite the hitch in her words and the choking breaths she took. There was a desperation in her eyes and delicate, long fingered hands gripped his arms with surprising ferocity.

“Kisuke?! You can find him?” demanded Ichigo, a sudden hope buoying his heart. There was a way to find his lover. Kisuke wasn’t lost. “We have to find him then! We have to!”

“I’ll sense when his soul returns to earth,” whispered Benihime and Ichigo could feel her trembling as fresh tears began to fall. The heartrending song began again and both Shirosaki and Zangetsu held him more tightly.

“Return to earth? But…,”

“His soul is human,” Zangetsu reminded him. “He will have entered the cycle of rebirth. Without Benihime he would be lost to us completely, Ichigo.” Ichigo felt his heart contract in instant denial, a life without Urahara was no life at all. He couldn’t go back to the mere existence his life had been after his mother had died and that’s what a life without Kisuke would be.

“Isn’t there some other way? Can’t we find him sooner?” Benihime made a small sound of anguish and Shirosaki glared at him, but Urahara’s zanpakutou gently pushed him away, pushed them all away. She took a breath, swaying unsteadily, before drawing herself upright. In that instant it was easy to see the deadly beauty she would be in the right hands. “No, no, Kurosaki Ichigo. My lord is lost to us until he is reborn. Only his desire and your strength permitted me to remain and offer us this chance. I will permit you to carry me if you swear to bring me to Kisuke. I will give you your love if you give me my lord, Kurosaki-dono.”

He nodded numbly.

When he returned to the real world he found Aizen gone and his lover cold, his blood forming a ghastly pool around them both. Ichigo felt bile rising in his throat and his mind freezing, the enraged madness threatening to overtake him again. His beautiful love had come to this. He wanted to howl, to find Aizen and his dogs and rip them to shreds, but then Shirosaki and Zangetsu where there, shoring up his mind and keeping him from falling. A soft mournful song reached his ear, soothing his soul and promising an easing of the pain, Benihime’s contribution. He smiled faintly down at the sleek beautiful sword in his hand before noticing the crowd around him.

Ishida, Renji and the others where standing around him, watching him with wide solemn eyes. They hadn’t known about him and Urahara. No one had. They had never told anyone. He wanted to say something, knew he had to, but the words wouldn’t come. He sheathed Benihime, attaching her to his hip, before carefully lifting Urahara’s body. His limbs trembled and blood continued to fall, soaking into his robes, but he stayed on his feet and kept a firm grip on his lover.

“I need to take him home,” he finally managed to whisper, shocked at how weak his voice sounded.

Renji and Hitsugaya were nodding gently like they understood and as he caught their eyes he realized that they did. “Of course. I’ll open the gate and call ahead. No one will trouble you,” murmured Hitsugaya.

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