Chapter 20: Confrontation
As Isshin stepped out into the night air, he sensed something was in the air. Looking off towards the right he saw nothing. Even though he still had no powers, Isshin still could sense when something was amiss and tonight something definitely was going to go down. He just didn’t know what exactly. The walk to the park was short. He went to an open area in the woods and waited for Urahara. He knew Ichigo’s powers had finally come forward. As if he couldn’t tell his son apart from a mod soul. The girl he had recently seen hanging around Ichigo and Shiro was obviously a shinigami. She seemed to watch Shiro like a hawk; as she should. Yes, he loved his son, but after what happened to Masaki...he kept Shiro at arms length.
He took a cigarette out from it’s package and placed it in his mouth, but didn’t light it. Masaki hated when he had smoked in the past, so he had quit. However, the electricity in the air was making him antsy. That was when he spotted the familiar man approaching him from the side. Kisuke Urahara really never changed in his looks. Still only wearing the stripped bucket hat and matching haori and pants. Isshin just smirked at the sight of his old friend.
“So,” he began as he turned towards the former genius scientist of Soul Society. “what’s this all about?” The way he said it made him sound arrogant, as if he had better things to do.
Kisuke wasn’t fooled by Isshin’s behavior. It was a defensive tactic Isshin had held for years. "I thought you would like to know I’m training your sons.” Kisuke saw Isshin’s eyebrows raise at this.
“Shiro too?” Isshin inquired, sounding shocked. “You do realize that is dangerous.”
“It would be detrimental if someone didn’t teach him.” Urahara countered before continuing. “Ichigo is an exceptional student, though his reiatsu is a bit wild and uncontrollable. I think in time he’ll be able to keep in under control.”
Isshin removed the cigarette from his mouth before scratching the center of his forehead. “What about Shiro?” he asked feeling his shoulders tense up.
Urahara eyed Isshin for a moment before continuing. “He has potential to become the strongest warrior I’ve ever seen.” Isshin’s eyes widened. “He has perfect control over his reiatsu. His fighting technique is in perfect form, though he’s a bit unpredictable when he does fight. I am convinced he knows his Zanpakuto’s name, though he’s never said so.”
“He’s going to attract attention.” Isshin stated as he flicked the cigarette away. “I told you to seal his powers years ago!” he yelled angrily. “How did he regain them so easily!?”
There was the anger Kisuke was looking for. “I did and I don’t know.” was the answer, one Isshin didn’t want to hear.
“If he gets too powerful, that hollow will kill everyone!” Isshin shouted.
There it was. Isshin truly did see his son as a hollow. Urahara however shoot his head. “I remember that hollow that attacked Masaki, Shiro is not him.”
“Bullshit.” Isshin spat out angrily.
“Do you hate your son?” Kisuke asked. “He didn’t ask to be born the way he was.”
“I know that.” Isshin answered, ignoring the first question because truthfully he’d been asking himself the same question for years. He told himself he loved his boys equally, but was that the truth? He really did love Ichigo, but Shiro? He wasn’t certain any more. These questions were making him really uncomfortable. “I need to go.” he said suddenly, feeling the hairs on the back of his neck raise up.
Kisuke sighed, he knew he wouldn’t be able to keep Isshin here for very long. “Very well,” he said as he came to a decision. “however, I want the boys to stay with me for a little while so I can train them.” That was only partially the truth because he was now convinced that Shiro would be better off staying at the shoten, and where one boy was the other followed.
Isshin narrowed his eyes at Urahara, trying to understand what was going through the other man’s head. “I understand.” he stated, even though he really didn’t. Turning away, Isshin left to return home.
A moment after Isshin left Shinji stepped out from his hiding place. “He doesn’t care about Shiro, but I think he does at the same time.”
Kisuke tipped his hat back back. “It’s a complicated and sticky situation.” he stated as he looked up at the moon. “We’ll have to tread lightly if we want the answers we are seeking.”
Shinji nodded before asking. “What about the boys? Are you going to ask them directly for answers?”
Urahara turned his back on Shinji, his haori swaying with his movements as he did so. “I haven’t decided yet.” he answered unsatisfied with the answers he did get tonight.
When Urahara and Shinji returned to the shoten they were greeted by an unusual sight. Hiyori was on the ground with her head in a headlock. Ichigo was the one holding her down and boy was she mad, raging and cursing kind of mad. Shiro sat between Kensei and Rose looking bored as everyone else seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Shinji rolled his eyes at the scene.
Looking towards Lisa, Shinji spoke to her. “How did this happen?” he asked as he took a seat next to her, actually enjoying that somebody finally had an upper hand against the she-devil that had terrorized him for way over a hundred years.
Lisa looked up from her hentai male on male book. “She tried to get Shiro to fight her, to prove he was more hollow than human.” she stated. “However, it was Ichigo that took the bait; not Shiro.” Pushing up her glasses she continued. “Shiro wasn’t interested in fighting, which is why he’s over there and not there with his brother.”
Having heard the conversation Shiro butted in. “Actually,” he began as he leaned forward to look at the two causing them to turn their attention to him. “I don’t like to fight. Ichi does. I don’t like seeing him hurt though. So when Ichi needs me I’ll step in, otherwise I’ll let him have his fun.”
Kensei spoke then. “You’re a bit odd, aren’t you kid?”
“Isn’t everyone here a bit odd?” Shiro shot back at the older man. “She likes to instigate fights.” he stated as he pointed at Hiyori. “She rubs herself in her sleep.” He pointed at Mashiro. “She likes to read porn stories.” He pointed at Lisa and would’ve continued if he hadn’t been interrupted.
“We get it.” Rose said not wanting to hear this. “Kensei just means that you’re odd in the fact that you don’t like to fight. Boys your age do.”
Ichigo looked up from his fight and answered this. “Shiro doesn’t fight because of what happened when we were nine.” Hiyori finally got her fist free and punched him in the chin causing Ichigo to loose his hold on her and fall backwards against the floor.
Everyone looked at Shiro but it was the she-devil who asked it. “Okay, what happened when you two were nine?”
Ichigo answered with a smile. “Shiro saved Mom and I from a monster.” Shiro looked down at his hands feeling sad about the incident that had caused their mother’s current condition. “Mom got hurt because of some falling debris afterwards but it wasn’t Shiro’s fault. He killed that monster.”
Shiro fisted is hands. “I didn’t kill it.” he spoke quietly. “I just scared it away.”
It was then the Visoreds put two and two together. The incident that had brought Shinigami investigators to the area six years ago. “IT WAS YOU!!!!” Hiyori yelled with a dropped jaw.
“We looked for weeks for the source of that energy.” Love said with a shake of his head.
“Well,” Urahara began as he sat down. “that ends that mystery.”
All the Visoreds glared at him. “YOU KNEW!” Hiyori accused him.
“I never said I didn’t.” he countered, a smile hidden by his paper fan that he’d pulled out of the sleeve of his haori. He turned his attention to the exhausted looking Ichigo. “How did Isshin react to this?”
Ichigo looked at Shiro who was once more looking at his hands with shame. “Pop began ignoring Shiro a bit.” he answered. “He’d yell at him once-in-a-while, but he’s not really a violent type of guy.”
“Except for his morning wake up surprise punches slash kicks.” Shiro mumbled at his brother.
“Yeah, but that’s Pop being an idiot.” Ichigo countered. His brother shrugged his shoulders. “Why are you asking this Getabushi?”
“We’re just concerned about you two.” Shinji told the teen.
Shiro eyed them both carefully before looking at Ichigo and giving him a subtle nod to confirm what they both were thinking. “Pops doesn’t abuse us, if that’s what you guys are worried about.” Ichigo told them before sitting up to stand. “He’s an idiot who doesn’t pay attention is all.” Standing he helped his brother to do the same. “We have homework.”
After the two left Hiyori piped up. “Do we believe them?” she asked everyone who stayed quiet.
Shinji spoke first. “We train them, watch over them and keep them out of trouble.”
“What about the Shinigami girl?” Mashiro inquired, curious as to what they were going to do about her.
“Let me worry about her.” Urahara said. “I believe Miss Kuchiki won’t be staying much longer anyhow.”