“Come home with me.”
From anybody else, that would have been an outright stare of disbelief. “Kurosaki. I know I’ve said this before, but – are you insane?“
“Hollow bait,” Ichigo enunciated. “You know my magic sense is lousy, and I can still feel you flaring all over the place.” Not a bright flare, not yet, but he’d hate to see what happened if Ishida really panicked. “C’mon, it’ll be fine. Yuzu can make extra and fuss over you ’cause you’re so much cooler than me, and Karin can snark at both of us, and you can hang back and snicker while I get pummeled by my Dad. Only fair.”
Ishida snorted. “I don’t snicker.”
Yeah, sure. But there was just a hint of interest in blue eyes. For Ishida, that was relaxing. “Just hang with us for the night, okay? We get through that, we get through school tomorrow – and then we can all go pound Sandal-hat ’til he fixes you guys.”
The archer stiffened. “All?”
Ichigo gave him a look. “Same spell. Same portal. What do you think?” That’s it. That’s it, I’ve got him thinking about the others now, he’s gonna get through this….
Ishida sighed. “One condition.”
“Yeah?” Ichigo said warily.
The archer’s fingers plucked at shadow silk. “Get me out of this!”
Easy enough. He hoped. “Hand on the amulet,” Ichigo instructed, putting one hand on his own and the other on Ishida’s shoulder. “Try to follow my feel. Reach into the gem, just like reaching for a shadow. It’s part of your shadow. Part of your soul. Reach… be calm… let the fight flow away, you don’t need it. Step out of the shadow, into warm sun….”
Eyes closed in concentration, Ishida shimmered.
Visible and solid again, Ichigo grinned. Picks it up quick. Wonder how he’d do with kidou? “Not bad.”
“…We’re on a roof.”
“Now you notice?” Ichigo shoved his hands into his pockets, and waited for Ishida to figure out his options. Based on his own past experience, it was either flash-step down or risk tangling with the temple wards. Doable, but not fun. “What the hell was that thing, anyway?”
A grim pause. “I don’t know.”
And cue the drama. Ichigo rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well, unless somebody grew a brain and put some stuff on githyanki and weird undead on the shelves, libraries aren’t going to be much help.” Not that they’d be much help anyway, if Aizen was using the Orb of Distortion to make all-new monsters. Brr. And asking any of their teachers was right out. Which led to the inevitable, head-banging conclusion. “We’re going to have to ask Sandal-hat.”
Even Ishida winced at that one.