Part 11 So Cold

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 Natsu walked beside Lucy, eying her silently. She still hadn't spoken one word to him after leaving Xcution. Neither had he reported on his training session nor his Fullbring. He wanted to know about hers first, it was their first time training separately.

A cold breeze lifted Lucy's short hair into the air. She needed to cut it soon; short hair fit her better in her opinion. Her brown eyes flicked to her partner's person, his hand clenched around his scarf.

"So...how was your training?" Lucy tentatively asked. Her voice coming off as breathy and soft, almost as if she didn't want to disturb him with her questions.

Natsu's brows scrunched in confusion, Lucy was never one to disturb him too much. At least with him, she wasn't. His question registered in his mind and it was as if she had sparked something within him-pun not intended.

"I was able to activate my Fullbring during training! It was just like my old magic but different and it was so cool! Although, Riley forced me into her Fullbring DollSomething and I had to fight this insane pig stuffed animal. Speaking of pigs, please don't make me anything pork based for a while. I'm going on a pork protest." Natsu pouted, his arms crossed.

Lucy sweatdropped. She had no clue why battling a stuffed pig was weirder or requiring such a ban when they had also gone against several other stuffed creatures. Then again they still weren't quite up to par with what passed as bizarre in Xcution.

"I'd show ya but Gujo told me to recover for a few days. Maybe next time I'll ask him if we can train in the same room so you can see it. IT'S AMAZING!" Natsu promptly blew out her eardrums.

"GCK! URRGGHH!" Lucy turned her glare to Natsu, her leg lifting itself into the air as she swung on the balls of her grounded foot. "Luuuuuuuucccccyyyyy Kick!" Her raised leg struck Natsu in the middle of his chest. The pinkette was sent flying into the air Team Rocket Style.

Lucy dusted off her hands with a pleased smile...shit...well there went her No Kicking Anyone streak. Oh well, he deserved it. With that Lucy pranced home with a sickly innocent smile on her face. Anyone who saw her in passing shuddered at her appearance. Nothing like an overly pleased blond skipping down crowded streets in oversized men sweats. Haunting imagery.

Lucy continued on her way home, contemplating whether or not she should have Rukia trim her hair with her zanpaktou. It worked last time with Ulquiorra, why not this time?

Her new house came into view as she flash-stepped the last few miles-being a soul reaper definitely had its benefits. Her hand hadn't even touched the jamb before it flew open with a ferocity she didn't expect.

On the other side stood Yuzu with puffed out cheeks in a cute chipmunk pout. Lucy could feel fluffy pink clouds and rainbows and ice cream cones floating around her as she flung herself at her cute sister. She could not deny such adorableness.

"There's Lucy alright. Release my sister now." Lucy ignored that gruff voice. She needed her little sister cuddles.

"Oi!" That gruff voice hollered when he found she ignored him.

Lucy flicked her eyes to Ichigo's from Yuzu's shoulder. Orange Idiot hadn't changed in her absence-not that she expected him to after all-although he did need a hair trim as well. Or maybe not...longer hair definitely suited him as well.

Stop oogling. Mukai's reprimand had her face screwing up.

Oh hush, Muk, you did the same with Hichigo last time you two were in the same mind-scape. Lucy shut her hollow self up.

Isshin's throat cleared from his place in the entrance way with a stern look leveled at her. Lucy sighed but released her cute little sister. Looks like she was in trouble...which was weird in and of itself. She was not used to living with a parental figure anymore. Maybe she shouldn't have taken his quick approval at face value-or screen value- after all. Oh well, nothing she could do about it now.

Lucy followed after the man when he stalked towards his office. As she went she saw red and raven from the corner of her eye, her pace quickened just slightly. She didn't want to see them at this moment in time. She could feel their gazes on her back, probably plotting their next attack on her.

She shook her head fiercely. They wouldn't do that! They were my friends! Some part of her didn't believe that one bit; friends were capable of betraying friends; nothing was sacred.

Isshin plopped himself in his office chair, Lucy perched daintily in one facing his desk. His throat cleared again.

"Look, Lucy, I know you were living by yourself for quite some time and had no reason to report your goings-on to any parental or adult figure; that is not the case with me. Usually, I am not one for restrictions upon a teenager as responsible and mature as you but I would like you to know one thing; you are still a child in the eyes of the law and as such you need an adult looking after you. I am your primary guardian, I may not be able to force you to attend school but I would appreciate it if you gave me advanced warnings if you were going to be absent.

"Also, though this rule isn't applied to Ichigo, you are a girl as such I would like to meet your friends. I know you are capable of taking care of yourself perfectly, however, I happen to see you as one of my daughters. Next time I would love it if you would introduce your friends to me so I know who you are with when you are not here.

"Usually I'm not this strict but you need to be aware of this since you are living under my roof. And if you could also give advanced warning when you will not be present for meals I'd also like that. You may go."

Lucy nodded her head and left. There was nothing she could say to counter any of Isshin's statements, she wasn't used to having to report anything to anyone. Though she would have to have Ginjo meet Isshin, she didn't like it but she could understand it. If she had any kids she'd want to know who they were hanging out with too.

A warm feeling bubbled in her chest at Isshin's statement. In all honesty, she saw Isshin as a father figure herself.

Lucy turned away from the main part of the house preferring to lie in Ichigo's room while reading his textbooks. Just because she didn't go to school didn't mean she couldn't review herself over such material.

She climbed into Ichigo's bed after changing into one of his t-shirts, they were rather comfortable.

Lucy jolted upright in bed when a heavy thump on the mattress had her bouncing up unexpectedly. Ichigo's irritated sigh filled her ears. Somewhere between chapter fifteen of Ichigo's textbook and her jolting she had fallen asleep. His annoyance caused her brows to draw into a frown for she was not the cause. Bothering her Carrot Idiot was her job! It was about the only job she took seriously.

The least I can do is find out why he's so...rumpled? Briefly, an image of Ichigo with feathers and a tic mark filled her vision...a smile graced her mouth. That image of Ichigo with pink feathers and a golden beak did wonders for her mind. Maybe I'll use it again when I'm feeling down. Yes, that brought her immense pleasure. Poor, poor Ichigo had no idea that he was the butt of a joke again.

"So what ticked ya off? Besides me of course." Lucy cheekily asked. Let it not be said the blond never had a sarcastic, cheeky side.

Ichigo spared her his special glare-so far he had only used Death Glare number fifty when she was on the precipice of being involved in one of their special intense spars-to which she gave me a grin her own favored smile-over half sarcasm while still maintaining innocence; basically, her grin spoke of her mischevious side.

"Besides you hogging my bed-" Ichigo scooched her right thigh out of his spot to prove his point. "and the drool on my English textbook," said like he had not done the same last week. "nothing. Aren't I entitled one grouchy evening, Her Ladyship of grumpiness?" He smirked at her.

Lucy's eyes glinted with hidden emotions. Oh, poor, poor Ichigo had no idea what he had just done. Ichigo Kurosaki must have forgotten how slamming through the ceiling's and roofs felt. Lucy brought it upon herself to re-introduce them. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it.

That night Lucy had the whole bed to herself and had no nightmares. Ichigo wasn't seen again until the next day.

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