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Fan Fic: A Protector's Pride
A Protector's Pride
is a Bleach Fan Fic
The premise: Ichigo decides to handle his inner Hollow like every other problem he faces: fighting it head on instead of running away. Things quickly snowball from a seemingly minor change.
This fic contains examples of the following tropes, in addition to those already present in the source material:
- Action Girl: Unlike canon, Orihime takes a far more active role in defending Karakura.
- Affably Evil: Hell seems to spend most of his time in combat complimenting his opponents when they impress him, such as with Hachi's barriers and Yamamoto's bankai.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Ichigo begs for Yamamoto's help after his mother is kidnapped.
- Apologetic Attacker: Some of the togabito will ask their opponent to surrender and will apologize for what they have to do before fighting.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- Zangetsu asks Ichigo one when he fears becoming a monster if he embraces his inner Hollow.
Zangetsu: What makes a person a monster?
- When Momo tries to defend Aizen's actions, Unohana stalls her with this:
Unohana: If it had been anyone else, say, Kurotsuchi-taicho who had done such things, would you have argued against killing him for treason?
Unohana: Perhaps, but do the ends justify the means. Where is the limit, Hinamori-chan? Thousands of people? Millions? Billions? How many until it's worth it?
Momo: (falters and quietly whispers) I...I don't know.
- A lot of Asahi no Kagami's illusions ask these.
- Chad gives Hell one:
Chad: I channel that desire [to hurt others] into my left arm, and I've used it to protect others. What is better? To be born perfect, or overcome your flawed nature through great effort?
- Asskicking Equals Authority: How Hollows determine who's in charge.
- The Atoner: Many (if not most) souls in Hell.
- Awful Truth:
- Hell's zanpakuto forces a person to face the "devastating, unadulterated truth" about themselves.
- Quincy arrows don't erase souls from existence. They send people to Hell.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Ichigo being able to use his Hollow's zanpakuto in Shikai is noted as increasing his attack power but decreasing his agility and preventing him from casting kido. In Bankai, however, it compounds the normal effect.
- Dual Wielding both swords during Bankai counts. Twice the power and twice the speed is negated by the damage done to Ichigo's body and him not really being used to fighting while Dual Wielding.
- Back from the Dead: Zommari Leroux comes back as a Togabito. Grimmjow was presumed dead, but it's revealed he actually ate a Togabito and inherited its chains.
- Badass Boast:
- Orihime of all people gets one.
Orihime: This is my power. You may be able to rot away flesh, bone and sinew. You may be able to decompose earth and metal and even dissipate reiatsu. But my technique is based on none of those, nothing but the eternal force of my will to protect! This is my power, Baraggan, Lord of Hueco Mundo! This power that intrudes on Kami's territory! The power to reject and reshape reality! And I reject you and your power! Tsubaki! Koten Zanshun! I reject!
- Yamamoto gives a brilliant one to Hell.
Yamamoto: Allow me to tell you exactly whom you are dealing with. My name is Yamamoto Genryusai Shigekuni. I have lived for millennia, in times of war and in times of peace. I have made damning mistakes. I have won impossible victories. I have committed terrible atrocities, ordered and led utter genocide, not once, not twice, but thrice in the name of world balance, in the name of sanity, in the name of the human soul. I am he who conquered Soul Society and united the strongest under my rule! I am he who fought and survived the First Quincy, Yhwach, one thousand years ago, destroying his powers! I have had one thousand years since then to increase my powers, Hell! Now taste the ever-burning flame of my soul! Bankai! Zanka no Tachi. Now... can the fires of Hell compare to me?
- Yamamoto gets another one the following chapter.
Yamamoto: Enough talk! No Togabito will distract me! No attack will faze me! No defense will stop me! I came here to end the threat you pose to all the worlds, and you will not escape me!
- Yamamoto again, a few chapters later:
: I am the sōtaicho of the Gotei 13! There is no Shinigami stronger than I! What does it matter if you understand one technique? I have dozens, hundreds of techniques
that I have mastered in the millenia I have lived! Your armor may have saved you from my flame, but do not presume to think you have defeated me! ... I may not succeed in sealing you, but I will
keep you from getting to Kurosaki Ichigo. I will buy him the time he needs
to tear your soul apart!
- Badass Family: The Kurosaki family naturally.
- Batman Gambit: Hell fully expected Zen'i would try to convince Ichigo to reabsorb him. Then Ichigo would be vulnerable to Hell's chains again and made into a general in Hell's army.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ichigo has this to say when looking at Hiyori and Shinji's relationship.
Ichigo: [to Rose]
You know, it sounds like there's a lot of repressed sexual tension between them. Maybe that's why they fight—hoping for some good make-up sex? Hiyori and Shinji: [kick Ichigo in the face while showing a Luminescent Blush]
Baka-Strawberry! It's not like that. Ichigo:
So quick to deny and you reacted so well in unison. It's like you're in tune with each other. Is anyone else here seeing what I am? Lisa: [giggles]
Hey Shinji. You wanna borrow my manga? Might give you some ideas. Shinji:
No! I'm not into little whiny brats like her! Hiyori:
Says the man who makes faces when he knows he's lost a verbal war! Ichigo:
Definitely an old married couple
. They know each other way too well, push each other's buttons too easily. If they really hated each other, one of them would have killed the other by now. It's been over a hundred years of living together, for crying out loud. Betcha anything they don't act like that with other people normally. Rose:
He's got a point. Hiyori:
What? You only get that pissed off at Shinji, and we all know Shinji does those antics just to get a rise out of you.
- Shinji later turns this back on Ichigo, suggesting he has this situation with Rukia.
- Big Damn Heroes: Gin prevents Soifon from killing Momo.
- Blood Knight: Cazador de la Luna (Ichigo's inner Hollow) of course. He insists Ichigo is as well. Also per usual, Zaraki Kenpachi and Madarame Ikkaku.
- Boring, but Practical: Ichigo uses Sai, the weakest of bakudo, against Aizen. Though it only holds him for a second, that's long enough for Soifon's attack to connect.
- Boxing Lessons for Superman: Tessai trains Ichigo in kido after the latter acknowledges that he's functionally helpless against them.
- Break the Cutie: Poor Momo. Aizen redeems himself in her eyes with a tale of Well-Intentioned Extremism, then uses Kyouka Suigetsu to make her see and hear Ichigo telling her that he's going to cut off Aizen's head, hang it on his wall, and kidnap Momo and rape her in front of it daily.
- Breaking Speech:
- Zen'i gives Ichigo one about how for all his power and experience, he has no idea what to do with himself if he's not fighting.
- Hell gives one on the nature of humanity, which leads to a Shut Up, Hannibal! from the heroes.
- Brought Down to Badass: After sealing away a significant portion of his power, Ichigo can still bring captains to their knees.
- Brutal Honesty: When Karin starts developing powers of her own, Kon explicitly tells her that if she tries to fight in the current crisis, she will die. Not might die, will die.
- Call Back: Hell's barrier is pierced in a similar manner to how Ichigo and Uryū attempted to defeat a Menos back in the Substitute Shinigami arc.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ichigo and Ishida point out to Orihime that the only reason the Gotei 13 haven't done anything to them before is that there was the threat of Aizen to worry about and they needed the help.
- Way earlier in the fic, Hitsugaya accuses Ichigo of distrusting the Gotei 13. Ichigo retorts that if Aizen wasn't the bigger threat, the Gotei 13 would be coming after him and his friends.
Ichigo: Soul Society might tolerate me long enough to put Aizen down, but guess who'd be next? Especially since I'm just a human being living here. Soul Society might tolerate the existence of a human who could defeat some of their best Shinigami, since we humans live a short time anyway. But a human who could defeat some of their best Shinigami and then have the additional power to push him beyond Taicho [captain] level? They'd assassinate me!
- Chain Pain:
- Though not used as weapons, Ichigo has been shown to have an affinity for chains. To the point that all of his binding kidō appear as chains.
- The Togabito can use their chains as weapons or shields.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ichigo's budding skill in kidō becomes important more than once.
- Color-Coded Armies: When Uryuu makes note of the canon red (Shinigami) and white (ordinary humans and quincies) colorations of spirit ribbons, he also mentions that Hollows appear black and Togabito appear purple.
- Combat Pragmatist: When Orihime is kidnapped, Ichigo makes another deal with Cazador (they fight for control a week early and if Cazador wins, Ichigo won't challenge him again). Unlike their previous fights, Ichigo refuses to banter and immediately goes for the kill.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Zommari's over-reliance on his Amor comes back to bite him when Uryuu uses Gritz to entrap him in stone walls too far away for him to punch and then shoots him before he can charge a Cero.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: When it's learned Ichigo's mother is a Quincy, Yamamoto asks that information be suppressed lest Captain Kurotsuchi decide to "commit suicide by Kurosaki."
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Kido Corps are charged with creating a kido to deal with Hell. Their possible solution is so dangerous that they plan to destroy all records of it after it's used along with making the underlying principles forbidden to anyone but the Kido Corps captain.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Cazador and Zen'i are merely parts of Ichigo's soul.
- Deader than Dead: The blue desert in the fourth layer of Hell is made of Togabito that have died permanently or have been killed by Hell (who can also revive them from this state). Shuren was on the receiving end of the latter and has not been revived as of yet.
- Deal with the Devil:
- Ichigo handles his Hollow by making a deal to fight for control every two weeks with the loser helping the winner until their next fight.
- The source of the Quincies' powers.
- Death by Adaptation: Subverted with Grimmjow; they thought he'd died, but he actually became a Togabito by eating one and inheriting its chains.
- Death Is Cheap: Hell can revive within seconds of being killed.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- Aizen of all people seems to go through this shortly before his death.
- According to Ulquiorra, this is the secret to unlocking Segunda Etapa.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Orihime kills Barragan by rejecting his existence.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Chad twice. First against Ulquiorra and again when Hell invades the living world.
- Enemy Mine: Though not necessarily enemies, Soifon and Ichigo can't stand each other on principle. However, they understand the need to cooperate until the current crisis is over.
- Earlier Ichigo mentions that Harribel "isn't so much with us as against Aizen".
- Epic Flail: Ichigo learns to use Zangetsu as one by throwing it while holding onto the cloth/chain.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After Chad asks Urahara a few questions they realize that Hell (the person) has been sending Togabito specifically to be defeated so the reishi left behind would eventually merge the living world and Hell (the dimension).
- Face Death with Dignity: Barragan, after seeing that his struggling is pointless, congratulates Orihime for killing him and gives her advice.
- Friendly Enemy:
- It's theorized that this was Aizen's end goal with Ichigo.
Ichigo: I believe that what he wanted above all else, was a companion who would stand with him at the top. Maybe he felt that after a century or two, our battles to the death would evolve into rivalry, and then perhaps into a friendship of equals, because who else could we turn to? Touch is such a huge part of human affection. Can you imagine not being able to receive even a simple pat on the shoulder? To play around with your friends? Can you imagine complete physical isolation? To Aizen and I, our evolutions kept us from doing that to any save each other. To us, it would be such an enormous gift to be able to actually touch one another, be it in combat or in friendship. It would be a sign that we are not alone. That was why Aizen made the deal to leave Karakura alone. He didn't want to alienate me completely, I don't think.
- Likewise Zen'i.
- Ichigo and his Hollow, Cazador de la Luna. They playfully banter when they fight.
- Head Desk: Uryu starts hitting his head against a wall upon learning Ichigo's mother is a Quincy.
- Heel-Face Turn: Ulquiorra, Harribel, Starrk and Lillynette change loyalties to Ichigo. Tousen and Amagai return their loyalties to Soul Society after realizing they were misguided in turning against it.
- Heroic Neutral: Post-Aizen, Ichigo wants to be this. The machinations of multiple factions prevent it, however.
- Honor Before Reason: Averted. Ichigo decides that protecting others is more important than his honor or his pride.
- Hope Spot: For a brief moment, it seems as though Hell has been resealed and everything will be alright. Then Hell regenerates and mocks Ichigo and Yamamoto's attempts.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Ichigo when he releases his seals against Hell
- I Gave My Word: Subverted. Ichigo agrees to let Aizen go in exchange for sparing Karakura, but then decides that stopping him is more important than keeping his word.
- I Have Your Wife: Well, "I Have Your Mother" in this case.
- How Aizen tries to force Ichigo's compliance. It ends how you'd expect.
- The Berean clan are more successful, at least until Ichigo goes off to save his sisters.
- This is why Zen'i doesn't try to break his own Hell Chains.
- Ignore the Fanservice: Unlike canon, Ichigo is not remotely interested in Rangiku's attempts to let her stay at his place. He even notes that while she could probably give him the night of his life, 1) he's way too tired from training to be interested and 2) he's the son and occasionally assistant of a doctor. She doesn't have anything he hasn't seen before.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Ichigo and friends' excuses when they have to deal with spiritual matters.
- Becomes something of a Brick Joke with their teacher, who comes to believe that Ichigo and Chad are off dealing with an escalating personal war against the criminal underworld of Karakura. So far she believes that Chad was kidnapped and held hostage for days, that Ichigo spent days rescuing him and extracting retribution, and that Ichigo was later shot and put into a coma in retaliation for this.
- Instant Expert: Uryuu figures out the basis of firing arrows one-handed after a single fight with his father.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Ichigo is not amused that it's always up to him to save the world(s).
- Leave Me Alone: One of the lessons Ichigo learns from the trials of Asahi no Kagami is to not let his pride invoke this and instead to let his friends to help against Big Bads.
- Logical Weakness:
- Zommari needs direct line of sight to use his Amor, can't control inherently immobile objects, and is immobile in resurrecēion. So, Uryuu puts a barrier between them and then shoots Zommari through it.
- Toshiro realizes that Barragan's time dilation field won't work against Tier's water attacks.
- Hell's illusions don't affect someone who's at peace with themselves.
- Lonely at the Top: Ichigo believes this is why Aizen manipulated his life to make him as strong as possible.
- Loophole Abuse: Ichigo isn't allowed to attack Seireitei nobles for sending his mother to Hell. Byakuya, however, can hire Ichigo to investigate said noble family.
- Magnetic Hero: Ichigo. Makes Yamamoto very suspicious of Ichigo since he has a Quincy, a human with Hollow-like powers, a girl with Reality Warper powers, the Vizard, Urahara, Yoruichi, Tessai, Ulquiorra, Harribel, Stark, and Lillynette, and several of Yamamoto's own high-ranking officers willing to fight for him.
Yamamoto: [thinking] Is Kurosaki trying to build an army?
- Mama Bear: Masaki once she regains her Quincy powers.
- Marked Change: When Ichigo reenters his body after performing Jinzen, Ichigo's body changes to match his new spiritual form.
- Marshmallow Hell: While talking to Matsumoto and Rukia, Renji says something that prompts Rukia to Dope Slap him. Unfortunately/Fortunately Rukia applies a bit too much force and Renji stumbles forward head first into (a very amused) Matsumoto who has her chest confidently puffed out at the time.
- Me's a Crowd: Hell can split himself into weaker clones.
- Mundane Solution: In order to prevent future clashes between Ichigo and Soul Society, Kyoraku attempts to make Ichigo a captain. However, the attempt fails.
- To keep the Central 46 off of Ichigo's back, Kyoraku hands the Central 46 the task of designing and implementing a justice system for every district in Rukongai (all 320 districts) with the justification being that they'll fix the problems that made Aizen want to change Soul Society through any means.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Soifon thinks that Ichigo becoming a captain would insure that he's loyal to Seireitei but Momo's fear of Ichigo prevents it. Her solution: kill Momo; though she doesn't succeed.
- Earlier when she's worried about Ichigo turning on Seireitei, Soifon starts planning how to narrow the gap in their power levels so she can kill him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ichigo and the other Vaizards kill so many Kushināda that they accidentally revive Hell.
- No Endor Holocaust: Justified given that before Karakura was put to sleep, Ryuuken announced both on the radio and on television that a "contagion would put everyone to sleep for a few hours" and warned everyone to get to a safe place. Squad 4 members were brought in to both heal anyone who was injured anyway and keep an eye on hospital patients.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: The author has made it very clear that there will be no pairings.
- No Place for Me There: Hell feels this way about the perfect world he's trying to create.
- No Sell: Uryuu's Ransotengai allows him to completely negate Zommari's Amor. Also, the Hell Armor from the fourth movie absorbs Getsuga Tenshou attacks.
- Hell's illusions can't affect Yamamoto at all since they're powered by a person's insecurities and Yamamoto has made peace with all his decisions.
- Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: Unlike his friends, Chad doesn't even try inventing an explanation for why he's running out in the middle of class. He just asks if the teacher really wants to know.
- Not Me This Time: Soifon may be the loudest proponent of acting pre-emptively to prevent Ichigo becoming a threat to Soul Society, but she's not the one who is holding his mother hostage. Her past actions make it very easy to frame her, though.
- Not So Different: Byakuya says this about Ichigo and Yamamoto despite their dislike of each other. Both will fight viciously for their beliefs, goals and True Companions. Byakuya, however, notes that this must hurt Yamamoto more since Ichigo might remind him of his younger self but years of compromise and dealing with the (corrupt and xenophobic) Central 46 made him Lawful Stupid.
- Likewise, Ichigo realizes this about his relationships with both Cazador and Zen'i.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Yamamoto is this to Ichigo and causes the very thing he wished to avoid: reviving Hell and causing a new war.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Orihime loses her temper, even Ichigo and company are scared of her.
- Person of Mass Destruction: In Ichigo's words, he doesn't have to beat Yamamoto to destroy Soul Society. A fight between the two of them would accomplish that just fine.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- Yamamoto's refusal to tell Ichigo why he won't help him break into Hell to rescue his mother and sisters results in Ichigo gathering allies and doing it anyways, without realizing that killing many Kushināda in close succession may result in reviving Hell.
- As in the anime, Amagai is working to kill Yamamoto for killing his father because Yamamoto never explained that they had been investigating the Kasumiōji clan against Central 46 orders and he'd been forced to Mercy Kill him when he'd been taken over by a Bakkōtō. Luckily, Yamamoto unknowingly tries to recruit Amagai for the exact same mission as his father and the truth comes out on both sides before things can get any worse.
- Power Limiter: Ichigo wears two after performing Jinzen.
- Precision F-Strike: Orihime vs Yammy.
Orihime: Trying to kill my friend again... was a very big mistake, you cocky little bastard! Koten Zanshun! Tsubaki! Kill the son of a bitch!
- Later, Chad vs. Ulquiorra
Chad: It doesn't matter what you look like, I'm going to rip that scrawny head of yours from your fucking shoulders!
- Rape as Drama: Played with. Aizen makes Hinamori think Ichigo threatened to keep Aizen's head as a trophy and rape her in front of it daily.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
- Chad is not happy when he finds out his grandfather has been tortured.
- Ichigo threatens this when Seireitei nobles kidnap his mother.
- Ichigo when Aizen reveals he had Ichigo's mother killed to push him to get stronger.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ulquiorra leaves as soon as he decides that Ichigo will defeat him and thus has a chance against Aizen.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: As it turns out Hell is both a dimension and the name of its ruler that was sealed away there.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ichigo. His dad tells him to unwind after "The Winter War" or he might go insane. He proves his point by pointing out that Ichigo's posture is always in a defensive stance.
- Shout-Out: "What is better? To be born perfect, or to overcome your flawed nature through great effort?"
- Side Bet: Though the exact terms of the bet are unclear, Shinji collects money from Rose and Kensei when they hear Yamamoto say, "If Kurotsuchi-taicho finds out [that Ichigo's mother is a Quincy], then I can see no scenario where he does not commit suicide by Kurosaki."
- Spanner in the Works: Kenpachi almost ruins Unohana's attempts to keep Ichigo from becoming a captain when they decide to fight.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Gin, Tousen, Ulquiorra, Harribel, Starrk and Lilynette.
- Stating the Simple Solution:
- Uryuu regains his powers after Ichigo wonders if Orihime could reject him ever losing them.
- When Retsu is worrying about how to keep Ichigo from becoming a captain, Gin suggests simply asking him to decline.
- Stealth Mentor: Zen'i seems to be one.
- Take Care Of My Sisters: Kon explains to Karin that when Ichigo rescued Rukia from Soul Society, he was trusting Kon to take care of her and Yuzu if he died.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Uryuu snipes Harribel's fraccion while they argue.
- The Tease: Nelliel.
Nelliel: [After Ichigo binds her with reiatsu chains] I've got no problem with it, but people are going to wonder about you if you keep chaining me up in public.
- These Hands Have Killed: Chad has a temporary Heroic BSOD after killing several of the thugs who tortured his abuelo.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Used almost verbatim by Ichigo about fighting an even stronger Hell.
- Title Drop: "My life's purpose has been to protect. I have thrown away a protector's pride. My humanity compels me."
- To the Pain: Chad's description of what he'll do to the thugs that tortured his grandfather.
- Took a Level in Badass: Everyone.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Unlike canon, Ulquiorra seems less creepy and more honestly trying to understand human emotion.
- Tranquil Fury:
- Often the only way to tell Ichigo is thoroughly pissed is his reiatsu driving captain class fighters to their knees.
- As mentioned above, Chad when he sees his Abuelo armless and about to be tortured.
- True Sight: Karin develops this ability.
- The Unfettered: Zen'i will do anything to protect those he cares about.
- Up to Eleven: Ichigo can become transcendent and thus impossible for any other character to sense. [[Spoiler:Hell can transcend beyond what Ichigo can sense.]]
- Walking Spoiler: Hell
- Warrior Therapist: Ichigo uses a shinigami's ability to read each other's hearts through their zanpakutou to convince Hinamori he's not a threat to her.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ichigo thinks Aizen might have been one before developing a god complex.
- Wham Line: "Zen'i was Ichigo's desire to protect."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Yamamoto calls out Ichigo for trying to go to Hell to save the soul of his mother and sisters, saying he's placing three people over the safety of the world.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Ichigo learns different methods of using Getsuga Tenshou: namely, spinning Zangetsu by its cloth to increase its charge or not unleashing it and instead throwing Zangetsu to increase its penetrating power.
- Worf Had the Flu: When Ichigo beats Renji's bankai using just his shikai, he quickly learns that as they're in the living world Renji is wearing his limiter (which seals away 80% of his power).
- Worthy Opponent:
- Xanatos Gambit:
- Hell sending Togabito to Karakura turns out to be this. If his minions kill the defenders, he can more easily invade. If they don't, the reishi left behind when they lose will eventually let him merge the Hell dimension and the living world.
- If Ichigo and Zen'i don't rescue Masaki from the second arc's Big Bad, then he maintains leverage over them. However, in order to rescue her they end up having to blast through the seal imprisoning him in order to escape his realm, and in doing so allow him to enter the living world himself.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Though Ichigo kills him after rather than before, during his first fight with Cazador, Ichigo claims his Hollow's zanpakutou as his own.
- Later, Ichigo becomes the king of Hueco Mundo after killing Aizen. He then has to fight a lot of Hollows to prove his strength so other contenders won't attack him in the human world and cause a lot of collateral damage while trying to become king themselves