"Big brothers... you know why they're born first?"
It didn't help the natural bright orange hair that he donned, or the common bully who messed with the innocent. Those were just day-to-day things that could be considered normal, what wasn't normal was the ability to see the dead. Yes, the dead. Spirits that have not moved on and often popped into Ichigo's life at the most inopportune times, although the ones that belonged to children often got special attention from the teen.
Life was simple. Fight off bullies, get work done, help the lonesome spirit from time to time, and repeat. There wasn't much difference in his life of constantly fending off his father's wake up attacks, chilling with Chad, and just pushing through the days like any other teenager. The thing with Ichigo, life wouldn't remain simple. It couldn't for someone like him and when a strange spirit popped up through his bedroom wall one night...no one could have known that the entirety of his world was bound to change, right?
Ichigo didn't take too kindly to this spirit appearing out of nowhere and had the gall to ignore his questioning. He didn't hesitate to take the offensive side and eventually learn of a whole new world known as the Soul Society and threats known as Hollows.
A very real threat that was coming for his family. In his impulsive rush to fend off an attack, the spirit known as Rukia, had jumped in the way saving his life which resulted him having to take her powers...and save them all. He didn't hesitate, protecting was always second nature to Ichigo and given that it was his fault she couldn't fight, there was no other option. He defeated the hollow and acquired an unwelcome roommate all in the same night.
"I'm not a punk who can sit back and do nothing while somebody is going to die for his sake."
Anyone with an outside perspective could tell that Ichigo's life changed simply because of this one meeting and for the best at that. He had a new purpose to his every day routine and he couldn't be more proud of himself.
Things didn't last. This time it was because he encountered two people from the Soul Society that were tasked with bringing back Kuchiki Rukia for her breaking the law because of the transfer of power she sacrificed in order to allow Ichigo to save his family. They were Kuchiki Byakuya and Abarai Renji, her brother and old-time friend. Sadly so, when Ichigo gave it his all to fight back to stop them from taking Rukia, he was cut down and nearly killed by Byakuya - only spared because, once more, Rukia had pleaded for his life. He struggled watching them drag her back through the gates that led to the Soul Society.
Given that he didn't die from his injuries, the teen no longer held the power of a Shinigami and was approached by Uahara, a shady shopkeeper, that offered his aid to Ichigo. When he awoke from his injuries, he learned the Uryu's injuries had been treated on the spot and the Quincy was going to live. Ichigo was grateful that his "friend" was okay despite grieving at the fact that he couldn't possibly save Rukia given where she was dragged back to. Urahara admitted that he would be able to get Ichigo there but only if he trained with the older man for ten days. It would take seven days to open up a gateway to the Soul Society and if his training was successful, Ichigo would have thirteen days to save Rukia.
Ichigo wasn't some punk-kid who just stood around and let someone die for his sake. He needed to get stronger...he needed to reach that potential to save the person that has saved him more than once now.
He accepted Urahara's offer.
When Byakuya injured him, it broke the link that made moving around in his Shinigami Form easier so when he was released from his body it was hard to move. He learned that if he could move faster than he could as a Human he would have successfully recovered their Reiryoku (spiritual power) and therefore his true training would begin. It didn't take long for Ichigo to pass that part of the lesson and before long he was moving forward. Out of surprise, Ichigo's soul chain was shattered as he took in the Urahara's words that if the corroded soul chain reached his chest he would become a Hollow, but if he was quick enough he'd become a Shinigami. He was then dropped into the bottom of a shaft bound and force to fight off the corruption.
After seventy hours, Ichigo still believing that everything was fine, a whole starts to develop at his chest as well as a Hollow's mask started to cover his face stating the fact that he's resisting the transformation, Hollowfication.
When things started to look bleak, Tessai (Urahara's companion) issued the next stage of binding kido against Ichigo, the shaft exploded revealing the teen in Shinigami get-up donning a Hollow's Mask only to break it apart with the broken hilt of his Zanpakuto. The next phase of his training starts with the goal of knocking off Urahara's hat proves to be difficult when he learns that the older male was, in fact, a Shinigami who's blade was able to cut the rest of Ichigo's down to just the hilt. Fearing for his life, the teen ran only to be chased by the older male still attacking only to learn that he needs to know the name of his Zanpakuto to truly achieve Shikai - Zangetsu.
Training completed, all that was left was waiting for the gateway to the Soul Society and therefore Ichigo had a relatively normal summer holiday. Seven days later, Ichigo was summoned back to Urahara's and met up with his friend Inoue Orihime, realizing that he didn't know she was coming along until that moment. Once at the shop, he finds his long-time friend Sado aka "Chad" there waiting to journey with as well. Ichigo asked about Uryu only to find the male in his Qunicy getup. He'd wish for no other team to help him save Rukia than what he was seeing before him.
They left for the Soul Society with their guide, Shihoin Yoruichi, another Shinigami and companion of Urahara's who has the ability to turn into a cat and randomly appears naked in front of Ichigo when he least expects it - which he doesn't appreciate - at all.
"If I cannot protect them, then give me a strong blade, and enough strength... to shatter fate."
Upon arriving to the Soul Society, Ichigo and company run into the barrier stopping them from reaching the Gotei and in up meeting the Shiba Clan members, Kukaku and Ganju. Using Kukaku's Firework cannon the company with the addition of Ganju, successfully making it into the Seireitei only to be separated from his friends being tagged along with the additional male. They run into Madarame Ikkaku, in which Ichigo battles and wins only to be warned by the defeated male, that given he was the strongest, Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, would hunt him down for a battle.
After the battle, Ichigo runs into Ganju after losing him and they ended up taking a member of one of the squads hostage, Yamada Hanataro, who offered the advantage to lead them through the sewers in order to reach Rukia's cell. They escape the sewers only to be confronted by Renji in which Ichigo is badly injured but after a struggle he learns "Getsuga Tensho" using it to defeat the male. Renji begs Ichigo to save Rukia as he disappears back into the sewers to be healed by Hanataro. It was the first instant of Ichigo's Hollow Mask appearing without any idea how but he had bigger things to focus on.
Once more leaving the sewers, Ichigo is encountered by Kenpachi Zaraki given him a task with cutting the crazed Captain of the 11th Division. When his blade actually marks the Captain, he is viewed as an equal and is quickly cut down by the older male having to rely on Zangetsu to find his resolve ending the battle with the both of them incapacitated and leaving Yoruichi to come in with a rescue.
When Ichigo is healed, he takes off going to save Hanataro and Ganju from Byakuya only to be incapacitated by Yoruichi knowing that Ichigo wasn't ready for this fight and promises the 6th Captain that she would make Ichigo stronger than Byakuya in three days. It was during these three days that Ichigo trains to learn "Bankai" in order to be strong enough to save Rukia. He succeeds and makes it in time to stop the Sokyoku from killing Rukia and enters a battle against Kuchiki Byakuya, after Ichigo gives Rukia to Renji to protect.
Tensa Zangetsu was immediately used after not being able to keep up with Byakuya's own Bankai and effectively changes the battle for the better - only for it not to last. He starts to slow down enough in speed for the Captain to strike him down only for his Inner Hollow to pop up and stop it from happening. The teen regains control of his body back after Byakuya is injured effectively ending their battle.
A conspiracy breaks through when Aizen Souske reveals to be a traitor along with two other captains, and also the events of what has happened to be all a master plot to gain something known as the Hōgyoku. The Hōgyoku was hidden within Rukia which is torn from her and soon after the three traitors leave for Hueco Mundo.
During the events of rescuing Rukia, Ichigo changed a society that held its crude rules for many, many centuries - for the better. He was officially donned the title Substitute Shinigami, a title he wore with pride and returned home.
"If you're an enemy I have to defeat, I will. That's all."
Appreciative of everything, he learned to better himself in ways of protecting others and those he cared about both during and outside of battles. After his group returned from the Soul Society, Ichigo learns that Uryu had lost his Quincy powers due to going to Soul Society. Later that evening, he is encountered by a man name Shinji Hirako, learning that the both of them were something known as a Visored and he offered his aid to help train Ichigo in the ways of his Inner Hollow before he completely loses control. The teen shrugs off wanting to join the group, repeatedly. He soon starts to become depressed after constantly listening to his Inner Hollow.
Later on, Ichigo rushes off at feeling the spiritual pressure of two new enemies and coming upon a scene to an injured Sado. Wanting to protect his friend, Ichigo battles an Espada known as Yammy only to be taken over by the Hollow within and immobilized effectively being defeated by the Espada being saved by Urahara and Yoruichi. He eventually learns that the new enemies are known as something called Arrancars, Hollows who gained a human form, which required a task force from the Soul Society with the goal of getting rid of the Arrancars.
Ichigo encounters one particular Espada, one that causes him to want to become stronger in order to defeat him: Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. The 6th Espada stabbed his hand through Rukia during a confrontation which caused Ichigo to rush in blindly attacking the blue-haired male with a black "Getsuga Tensho" which damages the other minimally. The battle ended prematurely and afterwards the teen felt inadequate against his Inner Hollow and left to find the Visored in order to control it before it became too late. He trained and gained control of his inner beast and even trained longer to be able to keep the Hollow Mask present but only for eleven seconds. He ended up in another fight against Grimmjow one month later, able to finally overwhelm the Arrancar only for his mask to crumble and allowing the male to counterattack.
When Ichigo wakes up from resting at home, he realizes that his wounds have healed completely and learns that Orihime has left to Hueco Mundo joining the Espada. Not believing it one bit, the teen decides it was up to him to go save his friend and ended up joined by Sado and Uryu (regained powers) with the help of Urahara, the trio left for Hueco Mundo.
"Because he attained so much power, he could only be controlled by it. And in the end, maybe his only option was to destroy himself."
Shorty after arriving, the trio save a young girl known as Nel Tu by three hollows and learns that she was an Arrancar herself. Their expanded group of Nel and her two "brothers" travel towards Las Noches (Espada Home Base) are attacked only to be saved by Rukia and Renji, who had refused direct orders from interfering and wanted to help out their friends which was more important. The group splits up once they entered Las Noches with Ichigo accompanied by Nel Tu. Soon Ichigo encounters the 4th Espada, Ulquiorra Ciefer, after being told that Rukia had been killed and effectively stabbed through the chest by the Espada and left for dead. Grimmjow appears with Orihime with the intent of fighting Ichigo at his full power and orders the girl to heal him.
The battle starts shortly after and it shifts from fighter to fighter, Ichigo summons his mask in time to protect Orihime and Nel from a Grand Rey Cero causing the fight to really start as Grimmjow's Resurrección activates and the other attacks relentlessly. Ichigo wins the fierce battle only for the former to not want to give up and ended up incapacitated by the 5th Espada which led to Nel's true identity as the former 3rd Espada. Others from the Soul Society arrive with the task of aiding Ichigo and company as things become more serious.
Ichigo ends up in a battle with Ulquiorra and quickly learns that even with the aid of bankai and his hollow's mask, he was extremely outmatched especially against the Arrancar's Resurreccion. When questioned why he just wouldn't give up, Ichigo states that nothing thrown his way would stop him from fighting. It ends with the Espada releasing a powerful attack that strikes the teen through the chest, killing him with it witnessed by Orihime and Uryu. Uryu takes over fighting against Ulquiorra as Orihime tries to heal Ichigo, only for the latter teen to develop into a new Hollow Form, Vasto Lorde. He has no control nor aware of this form as he attacks the Espada quickly defeating him by causing severe attacks one after another not allowing the Arrancar enough time to regenerate the lost limbs.
Only after he impales Uryu with his blade and being attacked by the Espada, was Ichigo reverted back to his normal self. Shocked by what destruction he caused, Ichigo watched the Arrancar die before them.
After recovering, Ichigo sets his sites on returning with the task of defeating Aizen with the aid of 4th Division Captain, Retsu Unohana who taught Ichigo the ways of Aizen's Shikai before he arrived to the fight to come. The teen comes to learn more about Aizen's plans as well as learned that his father was a Shinigami. When Aizen and Gin left for the real Karakura Town, Ichigo was dissuaded from following after his father talked him down telling him he would need to reach a power in order to win against Aizen: the final Getsuga. An ability that was difficult to learn even by his Father's standards.
Ichigo trained, and trained, and trained until he gain the secret knowledge of his zanpakuto that would allow him to be even stronger than the threat of Aizen - only it came with a heavy cost. To obtain this power would require one to lose all power once it wore off, he didn't even think second thoughts when he summoned that power - "Mugetsu". He went off after Aizen with one sole task in mind - to win. He had the power now to over-match that of Aizen's Hogyoku enhanced powers.
It was either lose himself, or lose everything he's known to care for...and he went with the former. He wasn't selfish enough to put himself before others.
Kurosaki Ichigo won.
He won against Aizen at the cost of losing his powers that were awakened due to Rukia's sacrifice from the beginning. He learned it was going to be a slow, painful process and he reminded himself that it had been for the greater good. As time went on, Ichigo slowly felt the power that he held dear slip from his grasp as the last thing to ingrain itself into his mind was the sad look that Rukia gave him as she faded from his line of sight. There would be no more spirits, hollows, shinigami, or anything that he could see that dealt with spiritual energy. Every danger would be relied upon his friends to handle from that point onward.
He was completely human.
Ichigo told those that asked if he was alright after everything that happened, he was completely okay with it all. Truth be told, he was far from okay, but his problems were his own.
"The difference in ability... What about it? Do you think I should give up just because you're stronger than me?"
He was miserable for seventeen months.
He continued life as a normal high school student pushing through his classes day-to-day bored out of his mind but did his best to hide it. Things didn't remain at peace for long, they never did, and Ichigo was grateful for that. He came across a group known as Xcution, a secretive organization full of Fullbringers, humans who manipulate souls that resided in physical matter and who's powers were constituted from a Hollows. The man that recruited him was known as Kugo Ginjo They had the goal of returning Kurosaki Ichigo's Shinigami powers to him in order for him to help them return back to normal humans. He had believed he would have a purpose in his life - to be something that was meant to be here.
Ichigo didn't give up no matter the obstacles he jump through in order to get what he wanted: his powers. He did earn his full Fullbring potential only for it to tragically be ripped away from him. Once again he lost his powers only this time it was from betrayal strong enough to open his eyes to the truth of the matter.
Everything he had thought was a lie.
Everyone turned against him because of Shūkurō Tsukishima, ability to alter memories to further Xcution's task at making their powers stronger instead of using Ichigo to get rid of them altogether. When he felt himself at his lowest, rain poured from the sky, only to find himself looking down as a blade pierced Ichigo from behind. He officially had a look of despair as he thought his father had been influenced by Tsukishima's ability only to realization dawn on him that he could actually see Rukia after all this time.
She had returned his powers...just as she had lent him her's all those months ago in the first place. The power that flooded through Ichigo's veins was his own and he was determined to not lose them again. The teen had showed that not even despair would keep him down as he defeated Ginjo. He came to learn after the battle that selected Shinigami helped forge this mythical blade knowing that Ichigo has earned the right to be among their ranks. He couldn't be any more grateful as he made it his task to honor Ginjo, a human, a proper burial in the World of the Living.
This time, Ichigo left Soul Society on a lighter note and feeling whole once more.
"It's meaningless to just live, it's meaningless to just fight. I want to win!"
When you live a life like Ichigo's - nothing stays peaceful for long. There was always some trouble brewing that ends up bringing the young man into a world of chaos, or in this case...a war.
A Thousand Year Blood War between the Shinigami and the Quincies. In time Ichigo learned that the Wandenreich was ruled under a man name Yhwach, the head Quincy of all Quincies and the man who ordered the destruction of Soul Society. Enraged, Ichigo takes off after Yhwach only to get beat down by the Quincy and nearly stabbed if a hidden quincy ability known as Blut Vene had not activated in time - saving the teen's life. He learns that the cage he was trapped in prior to arriving to the Soul Society wasn't meant to hold those of Qunicy Blood making the male second-guess his heritage.
He tries to stop Yhwach from leaving only for his blade to be cut down by Jugram Haschwalth, the Quincy's leader second-in-command, thoroughly destroying Tensa Zangetsu. A broken Bankai could not be fixed which left a devastated Ichigo who ended up meeting the Royal Guard aka the Zero Division. He is invited by the latter division to train at the royal palace in order to reforge his Zanpakuto. He had three days to complete that task in which he failed and was sent back to the Human World were he learned from his father, Isshin, that his mother was actually a Quincy and learned the truth behind her death all those years ago.
Ichigo eventually returns to the Royal Palace and chooses an Asauchi that resembles his inner hollow therefore completing the task needed to reforge his Zanpakuto. He learns that who he believed was his true zanpakuto spirit was actually a being that resembled his Quincy powers and in fact, his inner hollow was the true Zangetsu and came to an agreement to accept both sides of his power. During the reforging of his blade, when he felt the timing was right, Ichigo pulled forth his reforged swords - those known as the true Zangetsu and raised them outward as the sea that surrounded the island dried up.
One large, one small...both a part of his very soul. Both his Zanpakuto.
In preparation to return to the Soul Society, Ichigo never makes it down the large spiral staircase as he ends up in a whole new reality - forced to forget about a war he'd never return to.