Careless Wonder

A girl with strange light red hair, borderline pink, appears out of nowhere from Ichigo's past and demands that she speaks with his father... and why is Urahara looking for her? Ichigo/oc

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7. Chapter Seven: I Rather Die

Careless Wonder

Chapter Seven: I Rather Die

Hollowfied Aria laughed hysterically when she saw the worry in Ichigo's face intensified. Her nails racking the side of her exposed face making blood pour down and off her chin. She laughed again, her face distorting from one that wasn't human. She held her head high in the air, face staring up to the sky. Then, she suddenly stopped, her arms falling slack to her side and her head drooping to her left. But her wicked smile was still plastered on her face as she stared Ichigo down.

She flung forward, not giving him a chance to react as she brought her right sword up and sliced into his shoulder. Ichigo gritted his teeth and jumped away, holding onto his left shoulder. She laughed again, watching the pain in his face shift. "What's wrong, Ichigo? Can't fight back? Don't wanna hurt your friend?" He growled but she didn't let him speak. "Too bad you already broke your promise to her. Too bad you betrayed her."

"And how did I betray her? You haven't taken control yet, and I plan on helping Aria defeat you no matter what it costs me," he said rather calmly, but hollowfied Aria didn't let it deter her.

"You're growing weaker by the second. The longer you are in your Bankai, the quicker your energy dissipates. Poor, poor Ichigo. At this rate you won't be of any help when it's all gone." She launched forward again, slower so she could speak. "Let me kill you so you don't have to go through the pain of never seeing your friend again!" Her sword came down, but Ichigo brought his up effectively blocking it. She swung her other sword, he flashed stepped away with her following close. "You'll never see Rukia again! You're wasting away your energy and at this rate it's only a matter of time until she goes bye-bye."

That hit the spot she was looking for. He hesitated, his eyes growing wide at the realization. He wouldn't allow himself to think of it, but hearing someone say it… it hit a sore spot.

She appeared in front of him, crouched low and her sword already swinging toward his abdomen. But she didn't make contact. Instead, she was hit from her right and was flung out of sight though the trees. Hisagi rested next to Ichigo. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah." He looked in the direction she disappeared to and frowned. "Just don't hurt her, I know she'll come back to her senses." He paused, then nodded his head to confirm it. "She has to."

She appeared a couple of feet away, her smile never leaving her face. The hollowfication was spreading, the white mask already reaching over to her left side, he could see it slithering as it tried to reach its destination. Her whole right side of her body was hollowfied, spikes protruding from her shoulder and half her back. One blue line went down her arm, and another line was underneath her hollowfied right eye.

"I have two play toys now?" she laughed, her shoulders shaking from the adrenaline of it. "Still too easy."

Again, she flung her body forward, laughing a shrill laugh that would make anyone cringe.

Hisagi intercepted the attack aimed for Ichigo. He appeared in front of Ichigo and let his sword take the blow for her two swords. He grimaced as he held his hilt with two hands, trying to fend off her attack. He heard a crack. He looked down at his sword and saw the middle where the two swords hit was indeed cracking his own katana.

"Dammit," he said under his breath. He pushed forward on his sword and to the left, her own swords following. He flipped backwards away from her, but that momentarily loss of sight was enough for her to disappear when Hisagi eyes landed back at the sight she was formally at. He swore again as he looked around him, trying to sense her spiritual energy. Why couldn't he sense it?

He heard a laugh below him. As he looked down he was already preparing his sword to counter her attack. But to his dismay she didn't attack him with her swords. No. instead, when he finally looked down her feet where facing him, her body was in a crouched position and was upside down ready to kick him. She did. Her feet made contact with his chest forcing the air out of his lungs, and his body flying up through the air uncontrollably.

High up in the air he regained control of his body, stopping himself and took a large breath of air. She wouldn't allow him any time to catch his breath. Again, she appeared in front of him, her white mask gleaming in the sun, her mouth distorted in an inhuman smile. He brought his Zanpakuto up to block when he saw her swinging, both of her Zanpakuto's aimed for him.

She let go of her Zanpakuto's, both hovering in the air which only confused Hisagi, but his eyes grew wide as he saw her next move.

She crossed her arms, grabbing her Zanpakuto's in opposite hands, her white hilt now in her right, her black on in her left. She sliced an "X", blood spraying from his chest, his eyes wide in disbelief. She laughed hysterically as she watched him fall down. When he was close to hitting the ground Ichigo caught him, landing on his feet and gently placed Hisagi on the ground. He began to cough up blood.

"Hisagi…"

"I'm fine," He coughed out, more blood spraying out.

"Like hell you are."

"I've been through worse, believe me." He looked up into the sky and grimaced. "She's coming."

Ichigo stood up and turned around with his sword in both hands and his eyes set to determination. She wasn't too far away, her head titled to the side as she stared down toward Hisagi's body. She was still smiling which made Ichigo grimace. Did he look like that when he lost control?

"What's wrong, Ichigo? Déjà vu?" Her shrilled, two-toned voice broke the silence that recently hung in the air.

He visibly winced when he heard her speak. She looked upon him with a smug smile when she saw it. "I guess you could say that." Ichigo replied, his voice strong and unwavering.

"Are you scared, Ichigo? Do I scare you?" she was leaning forward, her head tilted far to the left and her arms swinging limp at her sides.

"No. I'm not scared."

"Then why do you wince every time I talk? Or when I'm laughing, having fun killing one of your friends."

"I'm not scared of you," he began, the confidence in his voice evident. "To tell you the truth, I feel bad for you. Like my own inner hollow, all you want is to be set free. You fight with everything you've got, but when you're free your freedom is short lived when your queen takes control again. Every time I hear your voice it only reminds me of what I had to go through when I defeated my own hollow, and as I think about it all I imagine is Aria going through the exact same thing. I don't want to put her through something like that. She's my friend, but nonetheless, I will help her fight you. I promised to help defeat you and I plan on keeping that promise." Again, his voice didn't waver and that made the hollow hesitate.

The hollow actually hesitated.

But, it began smiling again. "No, you're not, because I'm going to kill you right here, right now."

"STOP!" A voice boomed over the two. They both looked up as soul reaper after soul reaper appeared. They began surrounding the two, a couple appeared behind Ichigo to assess Hisagi's condition.

Aria narrowed her dark eyes at the old man above her. Head captain Yamamoto was there and he was staring right back at the hollowfied Aria, but what mostly caught his eye was the all too familiar pair of swords she was wielding, particularly the white hilt one.

She took a step back, her eyes darting over the bodies of the soul reapers. She frowned. Someone with a captain's haori over their Shihakusho began to fall down slowly until he was at a pretty good distance away from the two, staring at Aria's hollowfied form. Now, the only parts of her body that wasn't covered was her left forearm and the bottom left of her jaw and mouth. She had almost completely hollowfied.

"Shinji…" Ichigo began but stopped. What could he say about the matter?

"This… is interesting. Her hollow side has more control over most. Usually, they would continue attackin', but you…" he drawled out as he stared at Aria with interest, his right hand scratching his chin. "You have more self-control."

She smiled. "Are you so sure about that?" She pointed her left sword at him, her head tilted to the side as her smile grew to insane levels. "Wanna test it?"

"I rather not." He gave her a pointed look. "You're out numbered. You have no hope of winnin', especially since Aria didn't call on her Shikai. Right now, you're weak."

She growled, her eyes growing wide with fury. "You think I'm weak!?" she yelled out making everyone around her tense. Her eyes roamed around her. Many of the soul reapers had regular Shihakusho's on, but she noticed others that had white haori's on. She counted five captain's. He was right, she was outnumbered.

She smiled again. "So you want me to let Aria have control again and when she calls on the power of her swords, I'll take control again?" Shinji didn't answer, so she guessed that was a yes. She flat out laughed. "Do you think I'm stupid? What if I rather die than let her take control of this body I deserve?"

"Then we'll stop you and lock you up for however long it takes until you release her body." He was beginning to rush, he tried his best to keep his cool, but he felt the sweat already forming on his face. Her hollowfication was growing faster than he ever seen it grow before. Aria was almost out of time and this wasn't the time for her to try and defeat her hollow side. He wasn't even sure if she was conscious at the moment.

"Well, that doesn't sound fun." She stared him down, her wicked smile never faltering. For what felt like a century, she shrugged her shoulders. "Fine. Besides, I rather be at my full strength when I kill everyone in the soul society anyways." She watched the lower ranked officers clenched their swords with anger. That made her excitement grow. Shinji visibly sighed making Aria laugh. He looked up at her with question. "But, I have to do something first."

"You better make it quick."

"It will only take a second." She turned her attention back to Ichigo, her eyes growing wide with excitement. "I'm going to kill him."

Before anyone could react she was already on the pursuit. She disappeared from sight, but in an instant she was underneath Ichigo, her right sword poised for his chest as she thrust her sword forward.

Sword tearing into flesh was heard like an echo. Everyone's wide eyes stared down in disbelief at what they were witnessing.

Ichigo stared ahead of him, not understanding why he wasn't feeling pain. There was a fluid filled cough and he felt something slump against him. He looked down seeing the remaining of her hollowfied form diminishing from her body. He almost smiled but stopped when he saw the sword protruding from her back. He instantly crouched down to her form, holding her in his arms as he pushed her forward and let her lie back into his arms.

She coughed again, blood forming in the corner of her mouth. Her breathing was labored.

Ichigo was still shocked, his eyes wide as he looked her over. The hilt of her white sword was pressed against her chest, the blade cleanly cut through her left chest where her heart should be.

She coughed again and took a weak breath of air. She opened her eyes and looked up at Ichigo to see his… frightened eyes staring back down at her. She smiled.

"Why?" his voice shook, tears threatening the corner of his eyes.

She closed her eyes and chuckled, but was soon followed by a small fit of coughing. "Because," she began weakly, her voice sounding raspier than usual. "I rather die… then kill the only friend I have."

Ichigo shook his head. "You're an idiot! This wasn't…"

"Ichigo…" she began, her eyes slowly closing. "Don't blame yourself, jackass… because if I die… I'll haunt you for the rest of your existence if you do…" She finally closed her eyes and let the darkness take over with its calming grasp.

~*~

Ichigo paced back and forth in front of the room Aria was currently occupying. Shinji and Ichigo both took her instantly to the fourth division barracks with Hisagi close behind. When they arrived, Unohana was already waiting for them, like she was expecting this sort of thing to happen. When he handed over, her still breathing body he was refused to follow, so now he was pacing back and forth with Shinji sitting in a seat not too far from Ichigo with his arms and legs crossed and his eyes closed as he thought.

"What's taking so long?" Ichigo growled out, not liking the wait.

"Calm down, Ichigo. I'm sure she's just fine. I have a feelin' she's more stubborn than she looks. She wouldn't die from a little stab wound," Shinji stated calmly, his eyes still closed.

Ichigo just growled further but didn't reply. He thought back on how he was holding her, as she looked up at him with those eyes… like she didn't care she was going to die. She looked happy. Why was she so happy?

Finally, the door slide open, Unohana slipped through and closed it behind her. She turned to the worried boy. "Well?" he couldn't help but ask.

She smiled sweetly at him. "She'll be fine. The sword… how should I put this in words." She thought about it, her expression showing a bit of concern. "When you brought her in she was impaled by her white hilted sword. It went through cleanly and her aim was perfect, the blade did go straight through her heart."

Ichigo looked shocked beyond words, but he managed to ask the simple question. "Then – how did she survive."

She smiled her sweet smile again. "That sword is very unique. It pierced the skin and lung, but passed through her heart without damaging it in the least. Her sword somehow immaterialized itself around the area of her heart."

Shinji stood up and casually strolled over to his fellow captain. "How is that even possible?"

"You may have to ask her that yourself. You can go see her if you like, she's awake now."

"Well, why didn't you say so?!" Ichigo walked passed her and slide open the door. In the far corner of the room was Aria sitting in a medical bed with an IV in her right arm. Her bed was up, letting her sit up and stare out the window. Ichigo sighed in silent relief. When he began to move, Aria turned her head slightly to see who entered her room.

"Ichigo…"

He stopped and looked at her. She noted the serious look on his face when he simply stared down at her. His eyes were searching hers, looking for answers for whatever turmoil was going on in his mind.

Finally he spoke.

"You're an Idiot!" he yelled out, startling Aria. He stomped the rest of the way over and actually grabbed her by the collar of her white robe and brought her face to face with him. "Don't you ever do that again!"

The door slide open and both Unohana and Shinji walked in. "What are you doing, Ichigo!" Shinji couldn't believe the way he was treating someone who almost died. When he took a step forward to stop him, Unohana put her hand on his shoulder and shook her head when he looked back at her. He grunted but stood his ground nonetheless.

"Don't do what again?" Aria asked calmly.

"Don't you ever try to kill yourself to save me. I'm the one who made a promise, not you. If you try a stunt like that again I'll beat the friggin' crap out of ya no matter what condition you are in! Got that?"

Aria looked at with stunned disbelief. She regained her composure and glared at him. "And why the hell should I listen to you?"

"Because I'm the one who's helping you not the other way around."

"Sorry Ichigo, but I can't agree to that." She reached forward and grabbed one of his hands. "Can you let me go, you're making the IV pull on my arm and it's making me feel sick to my stomach."

Unohana whispered in the back of the room, but everyone could hear when Ichigo fell silent. "To tell you the truth," she whispered to Shinji. "The last half hour was me trying to convince her that she needed an IV. It seems she has a very high fear of needles."

Aria's face paled. "Don't say that word…"

Ichigo finally let her go and she fell back to her bed. She brushed her robe down and glared up at the teen boy, but his eyes were overshadowed by his bangs. "And why can't you agree?" his tone was serious, more serious than she ever heard him before. He almost sounded grim.

She sighed and turned toward the window to look out it once more. "Because Ichigo, I have no one. You, on the other hand, have a family, two sisters you have to protect, and friends that love you. I'm not going to take you away from them."

Silence filled the room. Everyone in the room stayed quiet as they waited for Ichigo to respond. Thankfully, it didn't take long.

"You say you don't have anyone? Well, you're dead wrong." He leaned down on one knee and finally looked at her with a level stare. "You've got me, and as long as I'm breathing I'll do everything in my power to protect you, no matter what you think or what your thoughts are about the matter."

Aria glared down at him, but he didn't wince or falter. He was still staring at her with that look of his…

She punched him. "You jackass!" she just realized she hated that look on his face, especially when it was directed at her.

He fell onto his back, his head hitting the ground with a crack causing his eyes to swirl in the back of his head. She tried to stand but Unohana was by her side instantly, restraining her from doing so. "I've never asked you to be my knight in shining armor! That little speech may work on your other friends that are girls, and they probably get all like," she said the next part with a high pitched voice. " 'Oh Ichigo, your just so coooool, I'll open my legs for you any day!' Well, I'm not like that! I can take care of myself and I'll make my own decisions thank-you-very-much. And if I want to die to save your pathetic ass THEN I"LL DIE AND THERE"S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!"

As she was yelling, Ichigo sat up and held onto the cheek she punched. He was staring at her incredulously, his eye twitching. Usually, his speeches always worked, but she was different she was… "You're a bigger idiot than I thought! And what the hell did you mean…" his face went red as he repeated her words in his head. "Do you think I'm some womanizer or something?!"

"What do you think!?"

Ichigo's face grew redder by the moment. Shinji had his hand on his mouth as he stifled a laugh. He was actually starting to like this girl.

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