"Desire of the Soul" by GuardianAngel07

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I feel really good today! I somehow managed to get ahead of my homework and snatch some free time for myself. I should probably use it wisely though...seeing as how I have a midterm in two weeks.

Anyways, this story is dedicated to my two awesome buddies, Panda-chan and Tear-chan. I wuv you two so much! ♥

Disclaimer: I do NOT in any way own any of the Bleach characters. They solely belong to Tite Kubo (that lucky dude).

A soft sigh managed to slip its way past your lips due to the uneventful day progressing ever so slowly. With a small pout now set on your features, you slouched over in your seat, placing your chin comfortably between your crossed arms lying against the top of your desk. Your attention drifted away from the droning voice of your substitute teacher to cast you weary gaze outside the window beside you. It was a perfect day today, the first day of winter, in fact. You found yourself questioning your resolve for staying indoors on such a wondrous day like today, when clearly, you should be outside enjoying yourself. You absolutely loved the dark and gloomy weather that was often brought to town whenever winter rolled on by. While most people prefer the hot, unbearable summer, you found yourself falling in love with the cold winter front. This was probably caused due to your birth occurring in the dead of winter — not that you had any complaints of the sort. In fact, you were extremely pleased to find out that you were a winter child. It was truly a —

You couldn't help but jump in mild surprise when the sudden sound of a ruler being brutally smacked down on to a student's desk caught your attention, immediately drawing you out of your hazed thoughts. Blinking owlishly for a moment, you glanced over at the student seated beside you only to find the substitute looming over him with an irritated look plastered across her face. "If you're done daydreaming, Kurosaki, how's about you get your act together and actually pay attention to my lecture?!"

Before Ichigo could even open his mouth to respond, the substitute flashed her ruler in your direction, shooting you an equally annoyed gaze. "That goes for you too, Anderson! Honestly, why did I get stuck with teaching you hooligans?"

Deciding it would be best not to rebuttal, you remained silent, allowing the substitute to wallow in her own self pity and anger before she marched her way back up to the front of the class. Once her wrath was no longer solely directed at you and Ichigo (since it was now directed at the whole class now), you released a small puff of air. Why was it that your class always seemed to wind up with the whack-jobs whenever one of your teachers calls in absent? Couldn't they send a normal person for once? Perhaps that was asking for too much…

Lost in your own personal thoughts, you didn't catch the curious gaze Ichigo sent your way. The orange haired boy silently observed your reactions, trying his best to occasionally hide the small smile that would creep on to his face whenever you made a face while debating with yourself. Ichigo often found himself sneaking glances at you whenever he found himself bored with the lesson. Needless to say, he was never disappointed when silently observing you. You always seemed to have some kind of debate with yourself, and when you weren't arguing with your mind, you were either drawing some random doodles (like Invader Zim taking over the galaxy — that one was Ichigo's personal favorite) or gazing longingly out the window to admire life's beauty. Allowing his hand to drift up to the small pendant hanging comfortably around his neck, Ichigo found himself fiddling with the small piece of jewelry, a small, barely even noticeably smile appearing on his lips due to his odd habit.

After yet another grueling hour of hearing your substitute teacher rant viciously about molecules and some other random stuff she threw in there (which, by the way, had NOTHING to do with today's lesson) the bell finally rang, signaling to all that school was officially done for the day. Many students immediately jumped up from their seats and began to animatedly chat with one another while packing up their work and supplies. Meanwhile, you found yourself stretching in your seat, releasing a small yawn in the process as your arms stretched high above your head to release the tension that had built up due to having remained immobile for the past three hours. Moving to bring your arms back down to your side, you paused when you suddenly felt some grabbing a hold of your right arm. Blinking owlishly for a moment, you directed your gaze to your side to find none other than Tatsuki.

"Well, well. Look who finally came back from 'la-la land'!" Tatsuki playfully teased you with a wide grin, earning a rather sheepish look form you in response.

"Eh heh heh. Hey, Tatsuki," you greeted with a weak grin of your own, still slightly dazed from the day's horrid lesson, "how goes it?"

Giving a small roll of her eyes, Tatsuki jabbed her thumb over her shoulder towards the snappy sub's direction. "Knowing you, you probably zoned out when dragon lady over there decided to torture us by assigning us some brutal homework due to the fact that she just doesn’t have a life," your friend informed in an irritated tone, "apparently we're supposed to memorize the periodic table of elements and chemistry by next week."

You blanched, your brain crying out in agony at the mere thought of cramming it full with any more information. "What?! I don't think I can do that right now. I still have so much homework from all of my other classes — there's NO WAY I'll be able get everything done on time now!"

Tatsuki gave you a reassuring pat on the back, laughing at your obvious discomfort. "No worries! How's about we go and grab ourselves something to eat? I'm starving!"
Opening your mouth to respond, you were immediately cut off when someone instantly popped up out of nowhere beside you and slung their arm over your shoulders. "Why, how kind of you, {Name}-chan! Inviting us to lunch with you…how sweet is that?!"

You blanched, staring oddly at the brown haired boy who had managed to squeeze his way in-between you and Tatsuki while also managing to successfully get his hands on you. Now, while you were somewhat tolerable with the boys of your class, Tatsuki was a whole other story…

"Get your slimy hands off of her, Keigo!!"


"Ow! There's no need to be so abusive, Tatsuki!!" Keigo wailed pathetically, gripping his head like some kind of small child, a good bruise was beginning to form on his cheek where Tatsuki had nailed him. Wincing slightly from the pain, the young man shot your friend a wary look before slowly inching closer to you to hide behind your form. Rolling your eyes at the naïve boy's nature, you released a small puff of air at the turn of events.

"Don't go inviting yourself when no one even bothered to invite you in the first place, ya creep!" Tatsuki growled, shaking her fist in Keigo's face, earning another pathetic whine from the young man in response.

"No need to get so riled up, Tatsuki. Keigo's just being his old lame self," Ichigo came to his friend's defense, instantly attracting your raven haired friend's wrath.

"No one asked you, Kurosaki!!" Tatsuki snapped irritably, shaking her fist at the older boy who merely rolled his eyes in response to the girl's 'threats'.

"T-take it easy, Tatsuki…" you advised your dear friend with a sweat drop, shooing Keigo away with your right hand. Once the boy was out of your way (but not before making a big scene by crying out in disbelief at your lack of attention towards him), you slung your book bag over your shoulder and nodded your head in the direction of your classroom's entrance. "How's about we just take our leave and get some lunch like you said?"

Ichigo watched on with a sweatdrop as Tatsuki's mood changed from sour to sweet in an instant after hearing your proposal. Why were girls so hormonal?! One second they're ready to rip your head off, and the next they're as sweet as a kitten! Just thinking about how a girl's logic even worked made Ichigo's brain hurt, causing the carrot top to grasp his head while flinching inwardly at the mere thought of having to guess what was going on through a girl's mind. That was the last thing he'd ever want to ponder over. It was like comparing a penguin to —

"Awwwww…I can't believe they left without us!" Keigo's insistent whining broke Ichigo out of his train of thought.

Blinking owlishly for a moment after realizing that he had been too wrapped up in his own thoughts to take in his surrounds, Ichigo finally noticed that both you and Tatsuki had disappeared. A small frown appeared on his face. He had hoped he would have been able to squeeze a goodbye out of you before you left, but apparently that was out of the question now. Then again…you two weren't exactly 'chummy' with one another to officially reach the level where you would cheerfully greet Ichigo like you did with Tatsuki. Okay, that thought just made him feel irritated…

"They never invited you to begin with, Keiko," Mizuiro bluntly pointed out to his friend with a shake of his head, "so stop whining. The ladies don't like guys who whine."

Ichigo blocked out the sound of his two friends' conversation, his attention solely focused on both yours and Tatsuki's forms as the two of you left school grounds while animatedly chatting with one another. Ichigo's hand drifted over to grasp his pendant again, fiddling with the piece of jewelry in acknowledgement when a wave of nostalgia hit him like a sack of bricks as he watched your receding form.

If only…

…If only.


"One kid's meal, please~" you ordered with a smile, completely oblivious to the odd stare the person taking your order gave you. Handing over your cash after accepting the red box containing your meal, you turned around and almost (the keyword is 'almost') skipped over to Tatsuki's side by the fountain. Your friend couldn't help but laugh at your childishness. Giving a small shake of her head, she patted at the empty space beside her in a silent gesture of you to join her. So, with a small grin placed on your lips, you plopped down beside your dear friend, eliciting yet another laugh from her in return.

Tatsuki watched on with amusement as you opened your kid's meal, your eyes glistening brightly when you pulled out your prized possession — a small plastic toy which seemed to be included in every small red box that was served at this particular take-out place. "How old are you again?" Tatsuki playfully teased you with a grin when you squealed in delight upon realizing which toy it was you had just managed to get.

With a wide smile set on your lips, your grasped your treasured toy as if it were a rare and breakable china set. Your [e/c] eyes shimmered with glee, reminding Tatsuki of a child just catching sight of their Christmas presents for the first time. "Old enough to still enjoy that giddy feeling people get once they manage to acquire a one-of-a-kind toy~" you responded cheerfully, admiring the small red dragon wielding a gong in one of its claws.

Tatsuki laughed buoyantly, giving you a light slap on the back. "You're too much, [Name]…"

"Am I now…?" you mumbled to yourself curiously, still far too absorbed in your toy to care at the moment.

Tatsuki popped a fry into her mouth, munching on it merrily while observing your awed reaction to the toy you had just received. Now that she actually thought about it…you had begun your weird obsession for toys or anything childish after your father had gotten you started by presenting you with your first comic book and plushie for your 4th birthday. Small figurines, trading cards, posters, video games, movies, DVDs, artwork, manga…you collected it all and so much more. Tatsuki was reminded of those famous toy collectors when it came to you and your odd obsession. She faintly wondered how your own collection was coming along. It had been so long since she last visited you at your house. In fact…now that she thought about it, Tatsuki couldn't remember the last time she dropped on by to check in with you and your family. Normally you were always stopping by her place, or meeting up with her to hang out at the usual spots you two visited constantly. Tatsuki made a mental note to drop by your place for a surprise visit sometime. She was sure you'd love the company — seeing as how you were the type of person who hated to remain on their own for too long.

Tatsuki's brown orbs continued to keep their watchful gaze over you, just like they always have for the past ten years. You still reminded her of that small energetic kid she met way back when your father brought you to her kendo club for your first lesson. Sure, you weren't as athletic as Tatsuki was, but you were able to hold out on your own when you needed to. However, Tatsuki was glad that you allowed her to still treat you like the younger version of yourself she met those ten years ago. It was a trait Tatsuki had managed to develop, and you didn't seem to mind at all. You were still that sweet, innocent, childlike girl she had befriended way back then.

Smiling fondly at the memory, Tatsuki continued to watch you, your form flickering for a moment as her memory flashed an image of your younger self before reverting back to the current and still loveable you.

Blinking in surprise when you felt that subconscious feeling you always managed to get whenever someone was watching you, you turned your head to the right to catch sight of Tatsuke staring at you fondly with a silly grin etched across her face. You observed her rather odd behavior, wondering what on earth had gotten into her system to make her seem so…giddy? Normally she was a little more collected, but recently, you began to notice Tatsuki expressing her feelings a bit more every now and then.

…This being one of those moments.

"Well, now that we're all finished here, how's about I walk you home before I head on over to karate?" Tatsuki suggested with a large grin.

Chuckling at your friend's odd behavior, you shook your head and stood up, carefully stuffing your treasured toy into your pocket. "Nah. You'll end up being late if you do that. You should just head on over to your class, Tatsuki. I'm pretty sure your sensei wouldn't want you to ruin your 'perfect attendance record'," you said with a smile, patting your skirt with both hands to rid yourself of the crumbs from your meal.

"Are you sure?" Tatsuki didn't seem too pleased with your reply.

You waved your right hand back and forth to dismiss the matter. "Of course I'm sure. You don't need to worry about me, Suki. I can take care of myself just fine, you know that."

Tatsuki seemed to be debating with herself for a moment, only to release a small sigh in defeat when she realized you weren't going to accept her offer. "Oh all right. I'll just head on over to my class then. So I'll see ya tomorrow, right?"

Your eyes glistened with mirth. "It's the weekend. We don't have school tomorrow, silly~"

Tatsuki rolled her eyes and gave you a playful shove. "I know that! I just meant we can make some plans for tomorrow. It's not like we should just waste the day away, right?"

Laughing softly, you nodded your head in agreement. "Right. Well then, I guess I'll be seeing you later."


You slowly began to make your way back home, in no rush at all seeing as how you had a rather tiring day. Besides, the thought of rushing back only to find yourself doing homework for the rest of this evening wasn't really all that appealing to you at the moment. You'd rather mousy around before resorting to slaving away on overrated subjects your teachers decided to force upon you. Releasing a small puff of air at the mere thought of all the work you had to do only made you slow your pace even more in a tiny effort to prolong your arrival home.

"Why did we have to be assigned so much homework, anyway?" you muttered dejectedly under your breath, lazily blowing your bangs out of your vision in a small attempt to amuse yourself.


Startled by the sudden outburst, your head whipped around to see what all of the commotion was about. Your answer was soon solved when you caught sight of a soccer ball hurling your way, causing you to yelp in surprise before immediately ducking to avoid a head-on collision. Once your racing heart finally decided to calm down, you slowly began to ease yourself back up into a standing position, casting a brief glance behind you to see what had become of the 'weapon'. Your sight was met with an unconscious male teen who happened to end up as the poor victim since you had oh-so-graciously given up that position to save your own hide. Chuckling nervously to yourself, you slowly began to etch away from the unconscious teen who was now earning some odd looks from the passerby.

"H-hey! Are you allright?!"

You turned your body slightly towards the source of the voice, your eyes widening in surprise when you caught sight of Ichigo's younger sister, Karin. Apparently the feeling was mutual as Karin returned your expression of surprise, however, that didn't seem to last for long considering that her look of surprise quickly began to morph into one of pure joy.


You couldn't help but laugh when you suddenly found yourself being 'glomped' by Ichigo's younger sibling. Giving the raven haired girl a fond pat on the head, you shot her a grin. "Hey, Karin. What's up?"

Giving you one last squeeze before finally releasing you from her hold, Karin stepped back and shot you a grin of her own — one you found extremely similar to her big brother's. "Nothing much. The guys and I are just practicing soccer to try and beef up our skills."

Casting yet another fleeting glance over your shoulder to the 'victim' who has now earned a considerable amount of attention from the gathering crowd, you laughed softly, giving your head a small shake. "Yeah, I can see that."

Karin laughed sheepishly, a light blush of embarrassment appearing on her face. "Y-yeah. Like I said, we're practicing."

"Any particular reason? Do you have a game coming up or something?" you asked curiously.

Karin placed her hands behind her head. "Nope! We're just playing around for the heck of it. Might as well try and beef these guys up — not like its gonna hurt 'em or anything…"

You followed Karin's gaze back to her friends, watching on with a sweatdrop as they fumbled around with an extra soccer ball they had brought along — probably Karin's doing since she knows how clumsy her male friends can be. It was rather humorous, you found, knowing that Karin was the leader of this delinquent group. She was just like her older brother, Ichigo. Always watching out for others, whether they're strong or weak, so long as they needed someone, Karin and Ichigo were always there. You found it to be a wonderful trait that the two had inherited (something they mostly likely got from their mother).

"Well, kudos to you for practicing for the heck of it!" you praised the younger girl, giving her another fond pat on the head which managed to earn a rather humorous stare from the girl in response.

"And what about you? Are you procrastinating again?" Karin asked, her eyes glistening with mirth when she instantly noticed you wince at her accusation. "Ha! I guess you are! Man, you're so lazy, [Name]."

"I most certainly am NOT!" you defended yourself with an irk mark, "I just…prefer to leave my homework till the last minute, that's all…"

Rolling her eyes at your lame excuse, Karin waved her right hand back and forth in a dismissive manner. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say, you lazy bum."


Karin laughed joyously, ducking out of pure reflex as you swung a poor punch her way. Seething silently while watching the young girl make a straight beeline towards her friends, you released a small huff, a bit miffed that you had just been called a 'lazy bum' by Ichigo's younger sibling. You were in NO WAY lazy! You were just…really evasive when it came to your own homework. Other than that, you were extremely responsible when it came to your other duties — your will, however, would always waver whenever it came to school studies. Perhaps it was just due to your dyslexia? Yeah, you'll go with that excuse.

"See ya later, ya bum!" Karin's cheerful voice called out to you, instantly drawing you out of your own thoughts.

It took you a moment before you were finally able to register what she had said. "H-hey!! Don't call me that!!"

Your only reply was the sound of Karin's laughter.


"Ugh, what a day!" you groaned pathetically, still extremely put off by Karin's earlier taunts. You were currently walking through your neighborhood, taking no particular notice to the darkening skies above or the decreasing dip in the weather. You appeared to be oblivious to the people around you who were currently rushing home while pulling their coats closer to their bodies to try and warm themselves up as the weather continued to drop in temperature.

"Wonder what I should make for supper?" you mumbled to yourself, furrowing your brows at the thought. "Maybe stew? Nah, I had that last week. Hmm…curry? Nope. How about stir-fry? Eh, never mind — that seems like too much effort right now. Uh, eh?!"

You cut yourself off from your rant, pausing to direct your attention to the small particle of frozen water that had just managed to fall upon your nose. Gazing crossed eyed at the 'culprit' responsible for dragging you out of your thoughts, you paused when it finally hit you that it was a snowflake. Blinking owlishly for a moment, you allowed yourself to focus on your surroundings. You were just a few steps away from your home now. Directing your gaze up to the sky, your eyes widened in surprise at the gentle snow fall that was now beginning to set over Karakura town.

"Whoa…" you watched on in fascination as your breath appeared in a white puff of air, causing a childish grin to appear on your lips. "How cool~"

You turned your attention back towards the pathway before you, intent on reaching home to build a fire to help warm up your house while also brewing yourself a warm cup of hot chocolate to enjoy. The thought only caused your grin to widen. Screw the homework! You were just gonna rush home and watch the first snowfall of the year. Extremely pleased with the idea, you took a step forward only to find yourself coming to an immediate halt when you suddenly took notice of an unconscious form in front of your entryway to your home.

"W-what?" You watched on in disbelief as people rushed on by the poor person without even acknowledging them.

Feeling a small bubble of anger welling up inside your stomach with the people's lack of compassion, you rushed forward to try and help this poor person. Falling to your knees once you reached their side, you ignored the beautiful snowfall and the continuing dropping of the weather to focus all of your attention on the person in need of your help. Placing a hand on their shoulder, you gave the person a small shake to see if they would stir. "Hey, are you okay?" When you got no response, a small frown appeared on your face. Concern instantly flooded your body as you began to try and wake the person up. After another minute or two of unsuccessful attempts to stir the person, you paused a moment to take in their appearance.

The person was about your size, their eyes closed, yet somehow they expressed their discomfort through their uneasy expression on their face. Upon closer inspection, you noticed it was a young man. You blinked in surprise when you caught sight of his oddly colored hair. It was pure white, like the snow. His skin was tan, causing you to wonder about his rather odd complexion. Pushing your curious thoughts aside, you directed your gaze to the young man's strange attire. He was wearing a black kimino which was then covered with a white cloak with the kanji "10" written in bold on his back. How strange…

"Wha…?" you glanced down upon feeling a sticky substance on your hand placed by the young man's side. Lifting your hand up a bit, your confused expression morphed into one of horror. The sticky substance…was blood. Panic overtook your senses as you jerked your head down, only to feel your stomach drop when you noticed the newly fallen snow on the ground below began to slowly turn crimson.

He was hurt.

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