TITLE: Shining Heaven
DISTRIBUTION: Twisting the Hellmouth, anyone else please ask.
SPOILERS: up to season 2 for Buffy, all Bleach season just in case
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Bleach. Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Bleach belongs to Mr. Kubo. No infringement intended.
A/N: Hello to all. I know I shouldn't be starting another story, but I couldn't get this plot bunny out of my head.
A/N: Instead of Buffy starting in their sophomore year, it was freshman year. Willow is 16. Buffy ran to LA after Becoming, but came back after a day or two.
Willow would like to pretend that she was shocked as she watched her parents gather their suit cases and carry-on's.
What she was really surprised at, was the fact that it had taken them this long to leave again.
The Dr.'s Rosenberg had handed her a credit card and had made sure their daughter had what ever she would need to live in her new home and were now planning to escape to their year long tour of Far Eastern and European Diagnosis. The two would be traveling to different hospitals and conference halls, meeting other psychiatric doctors and doing whatever the hell it was they did when they were gone.
It had been a whole eight days since Willow and her parents had arrived in Karakura Town, Japan. The house they had moved into was a decent size and there was a clinic next door. She and her mother had gone to enroll her in school just the day before.
She had had to take an entrance exam to place her scholastic aptitude.
And be measured for a uniform.
Willow was so pissed that she was beyond words.
Uprooted months from finishing her sophomore year, from her friends, her first boyfriend, and the only home she'd ever remembered, to move to the opposite side of the globe.
All because her mother, in a very healthy mental display of denial, had warped her ending up in the hospital during the whole Angel/ Angelus thing, into a more palatable memory of god knew what and insisted on moving her daughter to a more safe and mentally challenging environment. If they had to leave on an extended trip, they could not, in good conscience, leave her there in Sunnydale.
Not with all the gangs, and crime running amok.
But apparently, it was ok to leave her alone in Japan of all places.
Since they had already been scheduled for the year long tour, they had told her to pack, handed her a few books on learning Japanese and told her that even though they were a bad influence on her, she could say good-bye to that boy and that Bunny person.
When Willow had demanded to know when she'd be coming back to Sunnydale, her mother had looked at her sternly and said, "You're not."
Temper barely checked, Willow had turned on her heel and stormed out of the house.
The walk over to the library and then the meeting with the rest of the scooby gang was still a tear soaked blur.
Thankfully, she had had Oz, Buffy, and Xander to lean on. She probably would have fallen apart without those three to help keep her together emotionally. They had stayed with her late into the night, until she had to go back to her, all of a sudden loving parents.
The house had gone on the market a week later. Her parents were entrusting the sale to the realtor, who had also set up the deal for buying the house in Karakura Town.
Apparently, it was an excellent time to buy real-estate in Japan.
No amount of begging, arguing, or threatening had changed their minds.
In fact, it had seemed to anger them that she wasn't being more mature about things. Willow's mother had said they had raised her to be more responsible, she should behave her age and stop hassling them.
Willow had been so agitated at their indifferent attitude towards her desire to remain in Sunnydale, she had growled in frustration, "How is it that you never hesitated on leaving me alone before this, but now you care or something?"
How one insolent question could completely change someones world, Willow would never know, but the answer her parents had given to her rhetorical question had definitely changed hers.
Deeming that since she had just turned sixteen, she was old enough to know the truth.
She had been adopted.
From New York no less.
Her parents had been in LA finishing up work for their doctorates, when they had both decided it was a suitable time in their lives together that they should start a family.
After a year of trying to conceive and failing, Ira and Shelia Rosenberg found that they couldn't have a baby on their own, so they had gone to an adoption agency.
Six months later they were bringing a brand new baby Willow home to their house in the suburbs a few hours outside of LA.
According to her parents, the agency had only been able to tell them that she had been found in a small park in New York City, across the street from a museum.
Her age had been estimated. And her birthday had been chosen based loosely by how old the doctor that had checked her over had deemed she was.
So, basically, in the space of a few days, she had lost everything.
Even her damn birthday.
Willow was brought out of her thoughts as her parents finished gathering their things, reminded her to get to school on time the next day and to stay out of trouble, nodded farewell and were out the door. She wouldn't see them in the flesh again for a year or more.
"Good," Willow muttered bitterly. "A year would be too soon, in my opinion."
She rolled her shoulders to ease the tension all her pent up anger was causing, and headed up the stairs to the second floor to finish unpacking her stuff and make a list of what she was going to need from the supermarket.
Entering her new room, she eyed the last of her unpacked boxes with distaste, grumbled and got to work.
A couple of hours later, and her room had started to look some what inviting. The late afternoon sunlight streamed in the lavender curtained windows and bathed everything in a warm, purple tinted glow.
Willow gave the room one last critical look and went to her desk to turn on her computer.
As she listened to the familiar sounds of the machine coming to life, she couldn't help but think of the numerous times she had searched the net for information for Buffy or Giles.
Needless to say, the scoobies hadn't been thrilled when she had told them she was moving. Outrage and tears had been the general consensus that wonderful afternoon.
Finished with loading up, the computer chimed to let her know that she had mail.
Steeling herself for the inevitable, she double clicked the envelope icon that had a small 36 in the corner and watched as the screen that popped up, filled with letter after letter from the Sunnydale crew.
Oz's letters were short, sweet, and painful. She could tell he missed her, but Willow was glad that she had been mature enough to break it off with him before she moved.
Buffy's were mainly themed in outrage and anger at Willow's parents. How could they just rip her away from them? The blonde had just gotten back from running away to LA, how was she going to cope without Angel and her best friend? How dare they be so callous about telling her about her adoption! How could they, after moving all the way to freaking JAPAN, then leave their daughter alone for an unholy amount of time?!
Though she completely agreed with the Slayer's frustration, Willow moved on to Xander's letters, in hopes of reading something that would help cool her own anger and agitation.
Bittersweet feelings filled her eyes with tears as Xander's attempt to cheer her up and tell her that she was missed made pangs of homesickness overwhelm her.
Abruptly, she scrolled over and closed her mail, making all the painful but treasured words disappear. Willow wiped the tears from her eyes and sat back, trying to think of something to distract herself.
Her eyes roved the room a bit restlessly.
And landed on the old black leather trunk that sat at the foot of her bed.
It had been rather hard to ship this over with the rest of her belongings, but, some how she had smuggled a good chunk of her occult paraphernalia under her mother's suddenly too interested in her life nose.
She had to replenish some of her supplies, though. Unfortunately, she'd had to leave her herbs and athme with Giles.
She couldn't think of a good enough excuse to be able to bring the dagger overseas with her, so she had entrusted the ceremonial weapon with the Watcher until she could get it back from him.
Willow turned her attention back to the computer and opened her web browser. She plugged in a search for rare herbs and items shops in the area.
She scribbled down a couple of address's and realized she recognized one as being on the same street as the supermarket a few blocks away. She could see what they had to offer, then hit the market.
She changed out of the comfy maroon Sunnydale High sweatshirt and pants she had been wearing, into a nice pair of jeans and a pretty, dark green three-quarter length sleeved top. The material was soft and she liked the small added touch of satin that lined the collar.
As Cordelia would say, "Buffy had finally had an impact on her wardrobe. Thank God."
Willow smiled softly as she slipped on a pair of soft, brown leather boots, that had a touch of heel and a square-cut toe. Buffy had given them to her as a going away present. The blonde had said that it was Willow's duty to bring a touch of Californian fashion to Japan.
The girls had giggled when Buffy had shown her the hidden dagger sheaths in the tops and said, "Fashion and function, a slayer or slayerettes best defense."
She grabbed her purse off her desk and made sure she had the credit card her parents had given to her to buy groceries and such. She also made sure she had her secret knot of cash she had been saving and adding to over the years, in her hidden zipper compartment next to a couple of extra stakes and bottle or two of holy water.
Willow sighed in exasperation and brushed her long hair back behind her ear, then sighed again as it refused to obey and slithered forward again. Rolling her eyes at herself for making that ridicules promise to Buffy to not cut it, she grabbed her house keys and headed out.
The store was only a few blocks over and the weather was absolutely beautiful, so the walk was quite pleasant. She turned to look as she came upon the address she had written down and gave a little start to see that the shop was a quaint looking house, with it's front section set up as store.
Her eyes slowly read the sign hung above the door.
Thankful she had taken to reading and speaking Japanese better that she could write it, she walked down the driveway to the front and noticed that the door was slide open to allow the late afternoon sun in. She hesitated just inside the doorway to let her eyes adjust to the dimness.
There was no one around, so once she could see properly again, she walked over to the side and looked the merchandise over.
To an untrained eye, this store seemed to offer a quaint selection of rare herbs and trinkets, candy and simple groceries. But as she really looked closer, little things started to pique her curiosity.
They had all manor of plant life, dried, freshly picked, whole or cut, that she needed to replenish her own supplies. A nice selection of crystals for making elixirs and focuses. Even the 'tea' selections were put together in a manor that the herbs would be well suited to do a number of different decoctions.
Pleasantly surprised, Willow let out a deep sigh of relief as it became clear that she had hit pay dirt in finding this place.
An amused chuckling sounded behind her and she spun on her heel to see two men, who looked like complete opposites, standing in front of a doorway that lead deeper into the house.
The taller of the two towered over the other and had dark hair pulled back in a small ponytail. He looked to be in his late thirties to early forties, but he was still thickly muscled. He had a serious mustache attached to thick sideburns and glasses that were pushed up on his nose with a hand large enough to palm her face.
Trying not to gulp visibly, Willow looked over the other man quickly. He was half a foot taller than her, and still a good head shorter than the other man, and he had a slight build. His hair was blond and shaggy down past his chin.
He wore a semi-traditional black over green robe over loose fitting black pants. The weird, to her anyway, outfit was accompanied with a number of accessories that had her suppressing a grin.
Tall wooden slat-platform type sandals, one of the ugliest, stripped white and green hats she'd ever seen, a white fan stenciled with crimson and golden cherry blossoms, and a cane held in the hand without the fan.
"Um, hi," Willow said nervously as the two just continued to look at her. "I like your shop."
"Thank you. How can we be of service to such a pretty young lady?" the blonde replied.
"I noticed that you had a few things that I would be interested in buying. You have a great selection," she said with a smile.
Hat-guy just inclined his head in thanks and motioned to the tables, "What did you need?"
She turned and bit her lip as she studied the table. Willow knew exactly what she wanted but hesitated to answer, she felt like this guy was going to weigh what she said, and it made her uncomfortable.
She shook her head at herself ruefully, surprised at how weird she was being.
"Hmm, well, I needed," she began as she eyed the table, "thyme, rosemary, fever few, marigold petals, sage, thorn apple, lavender, a few silver ferns. A piece of rose quartz, amethyst, and citron. Oh, and clover, chamomile, and ginger and some clothe bandages," she finished with an absent nod.
The two men traded a quick glance with each other and the taller of the two moved forward and started to gather her order as the blonde said, "My name is Kisuke Urahara, the propitier of this fine shop. That was a very interesting shopping list. Not many people order those plants and crystals together. Are you interested in herbal healing?"
Giving him a soft smile for his effort to dance around his questions, she said, "Sort of. Some is for healing potions and elixirs, some is for protection charms and some is for tea. I'm Willow Rosenberg, by the way."
The tall man chuckled at her response, and Urahara smirked at her.
Remembering that she also needed an athme, she looked around the shop, but didn't see any blades. She wondered if they could recommend a shop to her. "I was wondering," she started, but hesitated. The blonde raised an eyebrow at her and she continued, "Would you know where I could buy an athme?"
He startled at her question and the big guy turned to look at her.
After an uncomfortable moment of him staring at her, Urahara said quietly but firmly, "Tessai."
The tall man, apparently Tessai, put down the bag he had gathered her purchases into and walked over to a cabinet set in the corner of the room. He motioned her over to take a look, and she slowly joined him. Their odd reaction had made her pause. Maybe she shouldn't have asked.
Her weirdness meter was starting to go off, and she didn't like it. She may have only helped Buffy for a couple of years or so on the hellmouth, but some things were already ingrained in her.
Keeping one eye on hat-guy, Willow stopped next to Tessai and looked into the cabinet. About a half dozen daggers were hung up on hooks on the back wall of the upright chest. There was a variety of different styles and lengths, but as soon as she saw the one hanging in the upper right corner, she knew that it was the one she wanted.
Her hand itched to hold the black hilt, with its thin silver wire twining down to the pummel cap. Her flesh yearned to see if its surface was as smooth and cool as it looked. To see if it's long, curve tipped blade was as sharp as it promised to be.
Every fiber in her called out for her to take the dagger, but she knew better than to just go grabbing at it. "May I?" she whispered to Tessai and gestured towards her dagger.
He reached in and took it up gently, then turned to her and held it out for her to take.
Her hand came up and grasped the hilt loosely, and as it settled into place, she felt as if it had always belonged there.
As if she had found a piece of herself.
Willow knew two things as soon as it came into contact with her skin.
One, that this blade would hold and store her energy, much better than the one she'd left in Sunnydale, and two, that the hilt was made of hematite. A stone that appeared to be pitch black with an odd off-silver shine, but in reality was a red so dark, it was like looking at dead blood.
She had always been sensitive to hematite.
As a child, she had gone to natural history museums, fascinated with the sections about minerals and plant life. She had loved learning about the amazing things that occurred in nature. But when they inevitably came to the part about crystals, she would be drawn to the hematite samples. Not the emeralds, not pretty rubies or diamonds, but hematite.
When she got older and started learning about the mystical arts, she had put her interest in plants to good use. Many of the same things people use in a normal, everyday capacity, she was learning to use in spells and healing potions.
If only she had known when she was a child that she would learn to use the pretty lion head looking marigolds she loved so much, for making a tincture to help ease a migraine or tooth ache, as well as make a protection charm that helped against psychic attack.
How to use lavender, sage and an amethyst to protect your home from invasion of evil spirits and intent.
So many things that could be used in an extra-ordinary way.
So of course she had researched the crystal that had always seemed to call to her. And she found that hematite had a trait it was very well known for in certain circles. It was always used to, "Surrender to your shadow self."
"That is correct," Tessai rumbled next to her, making Willow startle. She hadn't realized that she had said that last part out loud.
"So, how much for everything, including the dagger?" she craned her head around and asked Urahara. He gave her a mischievous smile, which he tried to cover by snapping his fan in front of his face.
When everything was paid for, Willow declined to have the dagger wrapped.
With both men watching curiously, she lifted her pant leg to expose the top of her right boot and slipped the blade into the holder like the damn thing had been made for it.
Thoroughly freaked out by this point, the red head gave a burst of nervous laughter as she lowered the material back down to hide the blade, then thanked the two frowning men, grabbed her bag of herbal goodies and left as quickly as she could.
"Kisuke...," Tessai murmured worriedly as he watched the young red haired girl flee down their driveway.
"I know," the blonde responded equally as worried.
The next morning Willow woke up just before the sun crested the horizon.
When she had gotten home the night prior, not wanting to deal with that days weirdness, she had put her groceries away, cooked herself a quick and light meal, cleaned up and went to bed.
But the first thing she thought of as she opened her eyes that morning, was of her reaction to her new athme. She'd read about some witches that had bonded with their ceremonial blades, but she had never thought to experience it herself.
She would have to bless and bind the new blade to herself before she could use it in any spell casting, but once she did, somehow she knew it would be a great help to focusing her power.
Unfortunately, she was still having problems controlling her magic. It seemed the only things that she didn't screw up with her spells, was her herb lore, potions, and restoring Angel's soul.
Willow glanced at her alarm clock and groaned to see that it wasn't even five yet. She rolled her eyes, and flung the covers off of herself.
She walked over to her trunk and opened the lid. After she retrieved the athme, she gathered up what she would need for starting the blessing for her new blade. And since she decided to do a full bonding with it, the ritual would be an all day thing.
The sooner she started, the sooner she could use it to help lay a protection ward around her new house. As it was, she'd have to carry the blade with her all day to keep it soaked in her energies, and before bed tonight, she'd have to do another circle to close the bonding.
So the boots Buffy had given to her, were going to come in handy today.
She padded down the stairs in her bare feet, and went to the door that lead out back. There was a nice little garden set up to the right and a sitting area to the left. A privacy fence encircled the whole house, so she shouldn't have to worry about anyone seeing her.
Willow went over to the grass in front of the flower garden and set up her circle.
She sat at the center, facing towards the rising sun, with her blade, a box of wooden matches, a candle, two small dishes that had salt in one and water in the other, and a small braided whip of sage set in front of her.
"Energies to the North and Essence of Earth, hear me," she murmured quietly. She took some salt from the little dish and sprinkled it over the dagger, and watched the tiny white particles disappear into the grass.
Next, she took out a match and struck it off the box's edge and lit the small, white candle. "Energies to the South and Essence of Fire, hear me," she said as she passed the flame over the blade.
She then picked up and lit the end of the braided whip of sage in the candle's flame, and after it had a good cherry on it, she blew it out. As she passed the whip gracefully back and forth over the dagger, smoke trailing lazily into the air, she said, "Energies to the East and Essence of Wind, hear me."
Lastly, she took up the little bowl of water and sprinkled droplets down as she intoned, "Energies to the West and Essence of Water, hear me."
She put down the bowl, and held the dagger up on the flat of her palms and whispered, "Bless this blade and guide my hand. Let this tool be one with my energy and be the compass to lead my way. Blessed Be."
A small breeze began to rustle the leaves of the tree's, and birds who had been welcoming the new day with song, burst out with cascades of soaring notes.
Willow thanked the four Corners and lowered her arms to cradle the athme in her lap. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind, and began her morning meditation exercises.
An hour later, she took down her circle, and after she gathered everything up, she headed inside and upstairs.
She had to get a shower.
To get ready for school.
She had to wear a uniform.
She was thrilled.
If something could be good and crappy at the same time, Karakura High School was it.
It was crappy because she had to finish out her sophomore year in a foreign country.
It was good, because the school year here was shorter than in Sunnydale, so she would only have a little over a month before summer vacation.
What she was going to do over the summer, she had no idea.
It was homeroom and Willow stood in front of the chalkboard, being introduced to her new classmates. She gave a shy wave and was allowed to take a seat.
The row closest to the windows had a desk open behind a pretty red headed girl who was looking at her curiously. She hoped she wasn't taking anybodies seat, but from the looks of it, there weren't any other open desks. Willow gave the girl a friendly smile as she walked past and slid into the chair.
The girl turned around and introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Orihime Inoue, are you really from California?"
Willow nodded shyly. "Yep. Good ol' Usa, land of the free, home of the... not me," she finished with a blush.
"Oh, how sad! Do you miss it there very much?" Orihime asked sympathetically. When Willow nodded again, she said, "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll like it here in no time."
Willow smiled her thanks, but before they could talk any more, the teacher called the class to order. She sat back and paid attention as roll call was taken, so she could learn the kids names that were seated around her.
The morning wore on and Willow found that she didn't have any problems keeping up academically with her new classmates. Her relief was short lived though as lunch time came around and everyone started to either leave or break into groups.
As she stood to gather her things, a shiver worked its way up her spine and Willow twitched her shoulders to dispel it. She raised an eyebrow as the tall orange-haired boy who sat next to her, Itchy something, who had been talking to Orihime, shot out of his seat and bolted from the room. Even stranger, the black haired girl who sat next to him, also ran out.
She stared after them for a couple of moments, then looked to Orihime to see her reaction to her friends just suddenly running off, but the other girl was looking out the window intently.
Following her gaze, Willow looked out in time to see Itchy run across the gym field, but he was dressed differently. He had some how changed out of his school uniform and was now wearing a traditional looking black robe.
And what looked like a huge damn sword slung across his back, wrapped in a odd white, binding sort of clothe.
"Ichigo," Orihime whispered worriedly.
"Why is he wearing a sword?" Willow murmured. "And where is he going?"
"The sword is his...," Orihime started to answer absently, then jerked in surprise and whipped around to look at her. She hissed,"You can see him?!"
Willow recoiled from the other girl's reaction and warily said, "Yeah. So what? He supposed to be invisible or something?"
Orihime frowned at her, but didn't say anything, so Willow shrugged her shoulders and muttered, "Whatever." She picked up her back pack and left the classroom to go and try to find someplace quiet to have her lunch. She didn't think she could handle getting to know any more of her new classmates today.
By the time she had found a nice shady spot under a tree and had finished her lunch, she had managed to push the strange encounter with her fellow red head from earlier, out of her mind.
The rest of the school day went sort of smoothly, except for a few odd looks between herself and Ichigo.
He had shown up, dressed in his uniform again, before the bell had rung to signal that lunch was over. Both he and Rukia, the dark haired girl who had run after him, had had a quick, whispered conversation with Orihime, and ever since then she could feel them staring at her off and on throughout the rest of the day.
When the final bell rang, Willow kept her head down as she gathered her belongings, she didn't want to invite any conversations.
Some of her new classmates acted a little too weird.
And she grew up on the hellmouth, so that was saying something.
The whole walk home, she felt like she was being watched, but when she looked over her shoulder, no one was there.
She felt freaked out, frustrated, and if she was honest with herself, a little frightened.
All of which was making her kinda cranky.
It felt like it took an eternity to walk the last two blocks to her house. If who ever was staring at her had had lasers for eyes, she would look like swiss cheese before she made it to her front door.
Willow unlocked her door, got inside, shut and re-locked her door so fast, she thought she must have set a land speed record or something. She crept to the window in the front den and twitched the curtain back every so slightly. She peered through, but didn't see anybody.
She let the curtain fall back and bit her lip in thought. Was she being too paranoid? If not, did this have to do with Ichigo? Or Urahara? What the hell was going on?!
She felt so isolated.
Alone in a house that was much too big for just her, more than half-way around the world from anybody that she called friend or family.
The red head wrapped her arms around to hug herself and she went upstairs to change out of the horrible gray pleated skirt and white button-up shirt.
After she slipped on her pair of favorite, worn, practically faded to white jeans, and a cute little pink t-shirt, that had a large red star on the chest, she slipped her athme out of the boot holder and went to do her homework.
She'd have to wait until later to finish the ritual that binded her to the blade. It had had to be initiated in the rising suns light, and it had to be finished under the brilliance of a rising full moon. Which was good, because she could lay a protection ward around the perimeter of the house afterward.
Willow spent the next couple of hours doing her homework, and when she finished she set up her bag for the next morning and left it by the front door for her to grab on her way out. She had a bit of time until she had to get ready, so she made herself a light dinner.
It was a little over an hour later and she had just finished setting her circle. The moon was rising into the beautiful purple tinged night sky. She knelt at the center and started invoking the four corners and their corresponding elements.
"Let my strength be as unbending as this blade. May I be as true and sharp as its edge. Be of me and I of you," she whispered, then pricked the tip of her right-hand index finger.
She watched as a bead of blood welled to the surface, then pressed her finger to the cool metal of the blade and smeared a trail of red from the tip to the hilt. She grasped the athme in her right hand and thrust it up to the night sky.
"As above, so below. As I will it, so mote it be," she murmured and stabbed the blade into the ground.
She felt a shock run up her hand as a connection to the earth's energies snapped into place. Willow sighed in relief and shifted to sit flat on the ground, never taking her right hand off the dagger's hilt.
Once she was settled, she closed her eyes and centered her mind. She started at the crown of her head, and moved down her body to her feet, opening her chakra points along the way, infusing the glow of her energy with her body and blade.
She sent her will and essence down into her athme, down into the ground that cradled it. Then, after she had absorbed some of the steady and constant flow that filled the earth, she sent everything up into the cosmos, creating a link of power that connected her with nature and the essence of the universe.
Willow let a small smile stretch her lips as she said the final blessing on her new athme, "Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit, I claim this blade as my own. Strengthen my arm so I may be worthy to wield it. Blessed Be."
She closed down her chakras, and thanked the Corners before she pulled the dagger out of the earth and took down her circle. She had one last thing to do before she could go in and relax before she had to go to bed. But walking the perimeter with the burning sage and amethyst in one hand and her newly blessed athme in the other, wouldn't be hard.
When that was done, she collected the little bowls, the candle, matches, and the little stump of sage that was left, and brought everything inside. She'd have to go to Urahara's to get more, but she didn't need it right away, so it could wait a couple of days.
That night, as she was washing up before getting into bed, if she had looked out the window, she would have seen a sight that would have had her screaming for Buffy.
A monstrously huge creature with a bone white mask covering its face stood at the border of her front property. It kept a good couple of feet from the ward she had lain earlier, but that was the only thing keeping it from coming closer.
It's long, serpentine tail gently whipped back and forth behind it, but the creature didn't seem agitated.
That changed as a figure dressed in black robes, with orange hair, leaped out from the shadows and cut a slice in the creatures bone mask.
Even though the monster was easily defeated, the man with the sword noticed something odd.
As the creature dissolved and float away into nothing, it kept its face turned towards the house it had been staring at, not looking at him even once before it died.
The next day at school was a bit quieter for Willow.
Mainly due to the fact that the students who had been wigging her out yesterday, had left at lunch and hadn't come back yet.
At the end of the day, as she was gathering her books and things to go home, Willow couldn't help overhear an interesting conversation.
"Orihime, do you know where we're supposed to go?" a tall and muscular boy asked the red head who sat in front of her.
"I think Yoruichi said that Mr. Urahara wanted us on the foot bridge. But, Chad, we have a little time before we have to be there."
"All the same, we should go."
"Do you think Ichigo will be alright?" Orihime asked worriedly.
"I hope so."
Willow couldn't help but to perk her ears when she heard them mention the strange blonde who ran the herbal shop. And maybe if she snuck along, she could see what Ichigo did with that ginormous sword of his.
Mind made up, she followed at a discrete distance behind her fellow classmates, trying to not let them see her behind them.
She was a couple of blocks away when she saw the pair go up a flight of stairs and onto a foot bridge that lead into a park. They stopped and rested against the rail and were staring up at something.
Willow looked, but didn't see anything at first.
Then, she couldn't help but notice a thin crack in the sky, as it started to be pushed open from the other side.
Willow's heart felt like it was going to stop, as she stared in horror as bone white hands seemed to grip the tear on either side and start to rip the sky open.
She stood, frozen in terror, as the things black hooded head began to push its way into their reality.
As it's body came into view, she saw that it was freaking huge!
It opened its mouth and let out a roar that reverberated in her bones.
Willow looked around for help, but she soon noticed that nobody else seemed to be seeing the creature the size of a sky scrapper as it stomped its way into their reality.
A flash of blue light hit the creature in the face, but only seemed to nick it.
She looked to see where the light came from and gasped as she recognized two of her classmates standing in front of the beast. The one who had shot the blue light was that skinny guy with the glasses, who sat at the front of her class, and the other was unmistakably Ichigo.
The two appeared to be arguing something, and then the guy with the glasses did something that nearly had her giggling, even with a twenty story monster howling above.
He tied Ichigo's huge sword to his head and held out his arms like he had thought of the perfect solution.
Willow wasn't sure if she was having a crazy dream, or if what was happening in front of her, actually was.
Before she could decide if she should pinch herself, the creature opened its mouth and a strange red energy started to gather between its teeth. Ichigo grabbed his sword off of the other guys head and ran toward it.
As it started to release the pent up blast of energy, Willow cried out in horror and started to run towards the scene. She didn't know what she would do when she got there, but she had to do something to help.
Even if, it was to pull the dead bodies of her classmates out of the way.
She stumbled as the energy blast hit Ichigo, and she felt a backwash of power as he met it head on with his blade. Stunned, she watched as he held it back, and began to push it away.
With a roar of his own, Ichigo snapped his sword up, and a brilliant slash of light blue energy ripped up the front of the monster.
It howled in pain and started to back away, towards the tear in reality it had come from. It grasped the edges and started to pull the sky around itself, to close up the hole.
Willow didn't stop and watch as the thing disappeared, she rushed forward to see if the two boys were alright. Ichigo had collapsed on the ground and the other boy was staring at the retreating monster.
She skidded to a halt next to Ichigo, and knelt down to look him over for any obvious damage, but she didn't see any blood except for on his face.
"Are you alright?" she gasped a bit breathlessly.
He looked up at her, startled and asked, "What are you doing here?"
Before she could answer, he let out a shout of pain and she felt a huge burst of energy rip through her.
She screamed in agony as the power arched her back and nearly raised her off her knee's with the force of it slamming into her over and over again.
It felt like she was being burned from the inside out, but at the same time a great pressure was crushing her from the outside in.
Helplessly, she flailed her arms, trying to find something to hold onto, something to stop the pain.
There was a biting sting on her hand and Willow felt something deep within her swell and then snap, and she fell into the blessed blackness of being unconscious.