76 Kurosaki Clinic
Tatsuki bathed in her own sweat as she laid, heavily breathing, in the middle of the dojo. It didn't cross her mind that no one entered the place while she was sparring with Itsuki. Remembering back to her spar, she marvelled at the fact that she couldn't land a hit on Itsuki throughout the session while he continuously hit her weak points. She felt that she had improved more with this spar than the whole past year.
Irritation masked her face as she remembered the apathetic yet carefree look in Itsuki's eyes. At that moment she made a promise to herself. Clenching her fists and gritting her teeth she mumbled,
"I'll get you next time!"
Itsuki didn't know of this as he was casually walking back to the Urahara shop when an Onmitsukido member appeared right next to him.
"Captain, the people responsible for the seal have just arrived and it will take a few days to reinforce it."
Itsuki didn't stop walking and just nodded while dismissing the Shinigami.
'Might as well meet an old friend.'
Itsuki spontaneously changed directions from the Urahara store to the Kurosaki clinic. Knocking on the familiar door, a cute voice yelled out,
Along with a click, the door opened to nothing. Looking down he saw a young girl about the age of eleven. She had light blonde hair, with short bangs covering the upper right side of her face, just above the eyes. She wore a red hairclip on the left side of her head. Her soft, dark brown eyes looked up at Itsuki as a bright smile masked her face and a subtle blush on her cheeks. She currently wore a green hoodie with an apron on top.
"Who are you, Onii-chan?"
Noticing that the pretty onii-chan was wearing a similar uniform to her brother's, she let her guard down before another voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Who is it, Yuzu?"
Shiba Isshin came out from a door as a surprised look surfaced on his face upon seeing Itsuki.
"Cap-I mean…who are you?"
"It's been a long time, Shiba Isshin."
Ignoring Isshin trying to act like they didn't know each other as Yuzu welcomed Itsuki in. Itsuki didn't glance at Isshin who was down on his knees and hands, starting a monologue about himself. Yuzu tried to cheer him up with a helpless expression.
"Who is it?"
Masaki's voice was heard while Itsuki entered the living room. There was a kitchen to the right while a dining table in front.
Masaki was currently preparing to cook when she noticed the visitor.
Isshin quickly rushed in as he put an arm over Itsuki's shoulder,
"Ah, Masaki, this is my colleague and friend…"
Masaki seemed to understand Isshin when he quietly emphasised the word 'colleague'. She quickly remembered back to when she first met her husband, when he mentioned that his colleague was fighting. She suddenly jolted up and bowed before anyone could react. A thankful expression was on her face, remembering the night six years ago.
Itsuki interrupted her before she could say anything. Masaki got up from her bow with an awkward look. Luckily, Yuzu's voice destroyed the atmosphere,
"Mum, dad, why are you standing there for, and can you tell me who is this onii-chan?"
Yuzu had a cute pout and an accusing look in her eyes as she called out to her parents. She was angry that her parents didn't introduce the pretty onii-chan. Before they could say anything, another young girl walked in,
"Who are you talking about?"
Yuzu turned around, only to see her twin. The girl looked around Yuzu's age but was the complete opposite. She looked the same, but she had a tomboyish disposition. She had straight black hair that was cropped round to hang around her face, just above her shoulders. Her dark grey eyes hovered at her family then to the unidentified visitor. She wore typical sportswear and knee length black leggings.
She seemed shocked at Itsuki but was more attracted to his unusual eyes. She had been having a weird feeling about her brother and knew he was hiding something. Her instincts told her that the youth in front may have some relation with her brother.
Sitting on the couch, Masaki made some tea while Yuzu handed him tea. Karin, who was sitting on a chair leaned on the back of the chair with her chin resting on top of her hands.
"So, who is he, dad?"
Thinking up a story, Itsuki became the son of Isshin's colleague and a guest that was visiting. Somehow his story became more and more tragic the longer Isshin spoke.
"…and one day, when he was visiting, his family was in a car accident. Apparently, the doctor's said that he watched his parents burn alive, screaming and asking for help as he was pinned down beneath the car…"
Itsuki spit out the tea that he was currently drinking, while Yuzu covered her mouth with tears threatening to come out. Masaki was also shocked at her husband's antics while Karin had a bored look, she knew when her father was lying.
"The doctors also said that because of the traumatic experience, he barely talks, such a pitiful child…"
Sending a fist at her father's face, Karin immediately distorted his right cheek and sent him flying to the wall. Itsuki just calmly sipped his tea, while Masaki let out a small laugh and Karin explained to Yuzu that it really didn't happen.
"It didn't really happen, did it?"
She seemed unsure so she turned to Itsuki who just shook his head. Karin suddenly noticed, Itsuki's eyes would glance towards one direction from time to time. Looking in that direction, a pile of apples entered her view as she moved to offer them to him. Itsuki coughed in embarrassment, as someone as young as Karin noticed his sneaky looks towards the forbidden fruit.
He, however, looked to the side but still reached out and accepted the fruits from the girl. A smile appeared on Karin's face as Itsuki accepted the apples.
'He looks like a normal teen…"
Karin's thoughts came to a sudden halt as she looked at Itsuki. It wasn't just her, but the room descended into total silence with all their gazes attracted to Itsuki. Itsuki didn't know yet, but he would have an extremely satisfied and natural smile whenever he ate apples. They seem to relieve him for a moment.
Although, Masaki was slightly immune to his normal charms, but she wasn't against his smile. In fact, no one was. He was forbidden to smile in front of Hisana, unless it was a menacing one, that was ok in the eyes of Byakuya. The three girls had a slight blush and Isshin had a despairing expression, he felt that he could hear his family slowly break apart. Though, it was only his imagination.
The silence was then broken by the sound of a door opening,
Rukia walked in only to see, Itsuki.
Noticing Ichigo's family sitting around, she held herself back,
"Ah, uncle and aunty, it seems we have a visitor."
Isshin nodded as he began to retell Itsuki's story. Rukia started to cry, not because of sympathy, but the absurdness of the story itself. It worked well as Karin and Yuzu felt that it was a normal reaction from her, while Isshin and Masaki already knew her real identity. There was, however, a subtle look of admiration as she faced Itsuki,
'Captain Minamoto, can come up with such a good story…'
Once again, the door opened,
This time it was a male voice but that was ok, what shocked Itsuki was what followed,
"Dad, Yuzu, Karin, Mommy!"
Itsuki's eyes widened as he desperately held his laughter back. Although one couldn't tell through his stoic face, the occasional tremble gave it away. He didn't even try to bite the apple in front, just in case a laugh slipped out, ruining his image of someone being apathetic. This was however a complete shock to Itsuki, it seemed the butterfly effect also had its advantages.
Ichigo was unaware of two, not one, uninvited guest in the house. Rukia had left earlier with Orihime so he thought she was still with her so the latter part of what he said came out naturally.
Rukia was also shocked, as she tried to hide her laughter in a similar fashion to Itsuki. It seemed that it was the first time she heard this as well.
Ichigo walked in with Karin sitting on a chair and giving a look of disapproval, Yuzu with a helpless expression, Masaki with her usual motherly smile but with a hint of embarrassment and Isshin who was blatantly laughing out loud.
However, what he saw next turned him to stone. Two figures refused to look at him as they trembled slightly. Rukia couldn't control herself as she covered her mouth, letting out a muffled laughter here and there. Seeing the familiar white hair, a chill never went through his spine like usual, but a lifeless look was present in his eyes.
Turning away, he made his way to his room. No matter how many times Yuzu called for him, he was too embarrassed to come down. With Masaki's insistence, Itsuki found it difficult to refuse having dinner with them while Ichigo had his inside his room.
Upon finishing, Itsuki then made his leave, with Isshin and Masaki seeing him out. Rukia was helping Yuzu and Karin clean up the plates.
Concluding that no one was listening on them, he turned to the two with a serious expression. Sensing the atmosphere, the two also had a serious expression.
"It seems that you two have had your powers restored."
The two looked at each other as Masaki spoke first,
"It started to return by itself, I still don't know how it happened."
Isshin looked at Masaki as he once again felt thankful for Itsuki saving them. Itsuki then looked at Isshin who also put on his shoes and made his way outside with Itsuki. Knowing that the two wanted time to talk alone, Masaki just smiled before excusing herself.