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No Beast or Beauty

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Ichigo’s curse was his fault. Urahara knew it. His chest twisted, guilt and grief both filling him. He was part of the reason that Ichigo had been targeted like this. The only surviving one as well.

Not that Urahara would have changed anything. He was standing next to Ichigo’s bed, looking at the magic swirling around the redhead. It was enough to give one a headache. The way swirls of brightly colored motes spun around the unconscious man. Part of them were sickly, a sheen of dark iridescence on the motes as Aizen’s magic worked on trying to transform Ichigo.

Most likely into a beast. Who Aizen would likely place somewhere where he could pull the magic off the situation. Ichigo and the poor girls who ended up driven by the Tradition towards him would produce massive amounts of power. Beast and beauty, a traditional story if there ever was one. Rarely did people think about what happened to the girls who did not actually find the beast, or the beast who did not get the love of a maiden.

But something Aizen obviously had not counted on was Ichigo’s own magic. It was a pale, vibrant blue, trying to press the curse away from the heart of Ichigo.

That magic, of course, was Urahara’s responsibility. Something he and Masaki had planned. Though he hadn’t expected it to play out like this.

He knew Aizen had been drawn to Ichigo because of the amount of magic that the younger man radiated.

Urahara did his best to try to keep dark magic users away from the prince of the kingdom. Thus the charm that Ichigo wore around his throat. It was a seal that kept his magic hidden for the most part.

Aizen’s spell pretty much blew that magic of the seal apart, burning Ichigo’s throat as the magic had torn it apart. The magic inside the seal, Urahara’s own crimson color, released to mix with Ichigo’s pale colors. Both together were working to keep Aizen’s powers at bay for now, so that was enough for now.

It gave Urahara time.

He wished Masaki was alive. Of the two royal partners, she had been the more level headed and willing to listen. But, she was a Godmother’s daughter herself. She had known far more of the Tradition than Isshin. The king trained in it, but he had his focus. As the son of a king and his fairy queen, his focus had been on the fairy part of fairy tales. He had only cared enough to start learning the dangers facing royal lines when his children were born.

In fact, she was the one who had come to Urahara and came up with an idea when she first found she was pregnant.

Something that had marked Ichigo with magic. An idea that gave them an out if something happened. If something brought a dark wizard or sorceress to their little kingdom.

Though he was pretty sure she might stab him given the current situation between him and her son. That had been very unexpected, but Urahara admired pretty things. It was in his blood to do so, and Ichigo seemed to admire him back just as much. Masaki would still have been put out, even as she tried to make sure Urahara was good enough for her precious oldest child.

He really did miss that woman.

Urahara was certain it was Aizen who had laid the curse that eventually killed the beloved queen of the land. Shinji and the others, victims of curses of their own, had been sure of it. Which was more than enough evidence for Urahara. Not that he could do much about it.

Dark magic users were as important to have as light ones. It was all about balance. Something his cohorts did not always agree with. But Urahara had done his research, and had seen what happened when a kingdom went one way or another too heavily.

Godmothers were light with their interference, after all. Only a few did more than guide events, and one of them going bad was a terrifying thing.

A little grey, well, that might not be so bad.

That was not for here or now, though. Right now, he had to think of a way to fix what Aizen’s curse was doing to Ichigo.

The young prince was fighting the curse off for now. But the longer he was down, the more power the Tradition would add to the curse. A traditional beast and beauty story was well worn into the stories of the Five Hundred Kingdoms.

Urahara had several issues with that story. One, it put Ichigo in danger of hunters who dealt with beasts. Two, those usually had a time limit that ended with madness or death. Definitely something he didn't want for Ichigo.

Three, Urahara did not share well. Ichigo was his, and he did not like the idea of other people putting their own claims on him.

Reaching down, he laced his fingers with Ichigo’s. He felt an unconscious pull of his power as Ichigo soaked it up trying to fight the curse. He’d have to make a move soon, but right now, he had a moment to mourn the fact that danger had come to Ichigo like this. The way it was going to play out likely was going to drive Ichigo mad with frustration, but it was important.

His next birthday would be the oh so important eighteenth birthday. In magical terms, things would come to a head then. Sixteen, eighteen, twenty one. Such important dates, but the eighteenth was only a year away. Urahara rubbed his thumb along the back of Ichigo’s hand.

“We’ll fix this,” he murmured, pressing more magic against Ichigo, helping feed his own magic. “I swear we will fix this.”

It was the only way he could deal with this.