"Quick, this way!" Cried a man, his subordinates following closely behind. They were in the middle of the city, chasing a suspect. Although he was much too fast, they could track him due to his sinister energy. They turned into an alleyway, a dead end. There He was, a jet black haired teenager in a black overcoat, completely expressionless. "So, you've given up running huh?"
"Your gigai are useless, I know you're angels." Said the young man, approaching the head angel. He glanced at him walking by. The angel tried to stop him but his eyes rolled over, his heart racing and his veins on fire. Suddenly his head exploded, unable to handle the corruptive energy installed within him. He walked straight through the ranks of angels, their bodies mutilating. The young man frowned, he hated hell.
On that same night, at a nearby home, the Kinenbuke had come to the human world to get a rest from running from both the Order of the Vizard and the Gotei 13. Ryan Getsueikirite was sitting on the roof of the little house, breathing in the cool spring's night air. "I'm so scared.." he whispered to himself as he glanced in the window of the small cottage. He saw his teammates there sleeping soundly. It warmed his heart to see them all peacefully asleep despite what was hunting them. He sighed, "I will protect all of you..with my life." he muttered again to himself, but he was instantly drawn to a presence of pure darkness. It was walking towards the house, making his eyes wonder to a shadowy figure coming down the side walk.
Echo leaned up against a building wall, needing a moment to think. this point at his life was the most complicated yet, he was under the services of the prince of darkness, but he had a heart, and it belonged to his newfound friends; Dahie, Ahatake, Alice, and most of all, the love of his life, Akiko. He knew his profession greatly endangered them, but leaving hell might cause a war with results he didn't want.
Ryan kept his eye on the boy, he was young, yet even through the darkness in the boy's power, Ryan could sense the boy's immense pain. It was one that rivaled his own. He was confused on whether to approach the boy or if he should instead sit and watch. he decided to sit at watch, but this time he involuntarily began to release his reiatsu into the air.
Echo blinked out of his trance, sensing a post-captain level force. He looked upwards to see a man on a roof, who seemed to be quite distressed. Strangely enough, the man was looking straight at him. Echo didn't really know what to say, still in his thoughts, so he just stared at the man with his usual layer of apathy.
Ryan felt awkward, the boy had noticed him and yet he still refused to break his gaze. The boy's eyes were flooded with killing intent and a slight dose of pain. A deadly combination. Though he could say the same for himself, the pain in his chest had numbed his physical feelings. He stood up and looked at the moon that had just appeared from behind a cloud. The truth was he hated this world, because even after death there was still fear and loss. Just then there were headlights and sirens in the vicinity as Chiyo appeared, making a beeline for the front door as police helicopters and cop cars drove by, completely oblivious that she had escaped. "That woman..." Ryan said laughing to himself.
Echo sighed, he now noticed several high spiritual levels, all around the are of the man, with one running full speed for the building across the street from him. ""He shrugged, he didn't have anything better to do until Satan called him to the rendezvous point. He walked across the street, not caring that a police car was passing. The cop honked his horn, going too fast to stop. Echo, already in a bad mood, stepped on the front bumper of the vehicle to send its tail straight up, plunging his fingers into its steel and effortlessly tossing it in conjunction with it's built momentum, sending it spiraling through the air. If that weren't enough, the steel in the automobile was corrupted and and eroded in mid air, disintegrating from the energy as well as the officer within it..
Ryan made no move to stop the stranger, in fact he seemed to not even flinch. He simply watched, only to end up laughing when he heard Chiyo from inside the house, "That's right! That's what them Po Po get for chasing me!" she hollered from inside. Ryan chuckled and leaped down onto the earth, "You have an odd reiatsu about you, and this isn't Imperial Japan where every kid caries around a katana, so you must be some sort of shinigami." he said to the boy, "May I ask your name?"
Echo looked as focused as ever, yet disinterested. "I suppose you may call me Echo."
Ryan gave a warm smile, almost completely contradictory to the emotions he was displaying a few moments earlier, "Echo, that's a good name. It's nice to meet you. Look I know we only just met, but you look tired and hungry. Would you care to come in? You could stay here for the night." Ryan offered gesturing to the house behind him.
"I have much more..." He caught himself, unable to turn down the offer. Not because of a neccessity for food or shelter, but he could see that the man was facing a crisis similiar to his own, and for whatever reason his presence seemed to cheer the other man up. "...Alright, I see no problem." His darker intuition. sneered in his head, calling him soft and letting Akiko hold him back.
Ryan felt the hurt within the boy and felt his zanpakuto spirit, Mirā-Fōsu Doragon pull on his mind, "Be careful young one. He reeks of an awful reiatsu. Be generous, but be cautious." the spirit warned. Ryan shrugged him off and motioned for Echo to follow him in. Both of them entered the home, which appeared to be a mid-90's American household. There in the kitchen, Chiyo was making sweet potato pie while the others slept. Ryan leaned in to whisper to Echo, "Watch out for her. She looks young, but she's really an old woman with hell for an attitude." he said laughing at his own words. Chiyo had overheard and yelled at him, "You better watch what the hell you say or I'll sneak somethin' into your portion of this." she threatened waving her wooden spoon.
"No kidding." Said Echo, fairly surprised to hear those words come out of a young girl's mouth.
Ryan led Echo upstairs, "Like I said, she looks young but she is nearly 500 years old." Ryan explained to the shocked Echo. He walked into the room at the end of the hall and made a pallet for Echo. Two other people were asleep in that room and Ryan saw the uneasiness in Echo's eyes. "It's okay, this is my family's room. The other members of my group are in individual rooms across the house." he explained. "Now you can put your stuff, weapons, or anything you feel comfortable leaving here on this pallet and then come down stairs and get some food." he said standing up. Before leaving the room he walked over and kissed his sleeping wife on her forehead and then checked on the young boy nearby her, his cousin. Pushing his hair out of his face and turning up the fan in the room when he noticed they were sweating. He then closed his eyes and sighed before leaving the room.
Echo noticed the exchange and assessed that they must be fairly close, the little one being ill for one reason or another. He took off his overcoat and headed downstairs, not used to or willing to leave his weapon.
Ryan and Chiyo were seated around a table in the kitchen when Echo walked in. Ryan got up and gave Echo a plate with sweet potatoes and two biscuits before sitting down again. He didn't really eat much of his own food, mostly he just played with it with his fork. He seemed lost in thought. Chiyo was oblivious as she got up from her seat and went upstairs to sleep. "So what brings you to the human world?" he asked, finally breaking the silence.
Echo really didn't think the man would believe the truth. "Just business, as always. Speaking of which, if I may ask, is your group stationed here permanently?"
Ryan pondered the question for a moment, "Most likely not, but I wouldn't know, cuz I'm not the leader." he explained. He fiddled with his food a little more before speaking up again, "We are here because we are being hunted. I'm a former captain of a squad from Soul Society, but during an incident last year, I renounced my title and joined this group to defend the innocent without the Gotei's laws and restrictions. We're also being hunted by the Order of the Vizard because we are vizard who won't join with them. We are vizard who prefer our shinigami powers and the will to protect those we love, not being worried about upholding an ancient order like them." he said to Echo.
"This order seems to be much more similar the Soul Society than they would admit." He added. "But why haven't you just fought back?" Asked a curious Echo.
"Because..." he started in a whisper, then he met Echo's gaze, "Even though I'm as strong as I am, there are always those stronger than me. He is one of those people. I'd be putting my friends and family in danger if I attacked. This may seem like the cowards way out, but it is the best way to protect them at the moment." he replied.
"I wish I wasn't in my situation, Vizards are my specialty." Said Echo, exchanging his former curiosity for a wall of emotionlessness.
The silence was broken by dogs barking loudly. Chiyo came downstairs in her night gown, carrying a handgun, completely oblivious to Echo and Ryan as she walked past them and out the front door. A few moments later, three gunshots were heard and then silence. Chiyo walked back in the door, gun still in hand and walked back upstairs to her room. It took a moment for Ryan to refocus as he had to hold himself back from laughing hysterically. He soon regained his composure, "What is your situation?" he asked smiling slightly.
Echo's eye twitched, this broad was clearly crazy. He shook out of his daze of confusion and lowered his head. "If at all believable, I work for Satan, as a general and assailant. At first when I was recruited, it seemed as if my dreams had came true. I had a job perfectly suiting the power hungry, I was treated like a god, and literally held the perfection of beauty in my arms...But things changed, I met people outside of hell...friends. When I met Satan, Lucifer's other half, he threatened the existence of Lilith and Akiko, both girls I held more than an average friendship towards, so I declared my resolve to destroy him. It was then that I figured out that despite me believing in Lilith, caring for her..." His eyes narrowed. "More than Lucifer ever has or will, that with a single command from him she would kill me. At this point I lost all purpose in my missions, eventually meeting a kindred spirit of mine, Alice Kimura. She seems to hold me as more than a friend, something I'm unsure how to respond to...But regardless, it was my mission to capture her, until I heard her side of the story. I promised I would protect her, never letting anyone take advantage of her again..." His eyes wanted to tear up, but crying like a child wouldn't help, so he shook it off and resumed his usual attitude. So I took my punishment, and a few missions later, here I am, unable to stay and unable to leave hell."
It took a moment for all this to sink in. He then sunk his head, "I see, that is a horrible situation. You see, I believe you because I've fought Lucifer before. He threatened to rape my wife and further progress the disease my cousin suffers from." he explained, gritting his teeth. "I can't blame you though, his lure is strong but you can beat him. These friends of yours...if they are important to you then I understand your situation." he then stopped as he actually noticed Echo holding back his true emotions on his situation. "You don't have to be afraid to show how you really feel..." he whispered, "Trust me, I'm not one to tell or show people when I'm truly hurting inside, but if you can find one person to show your true feelings to, you won't feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders." he said.
"Perhaps you're right, but we both need a plan, you can't live a content life running to ensure your safety, and I can't fight for something I cannot respect." Echo pointed out.
Ryan nodded in agreement, "Yes I agree, we do both need a plan. The only question is...what is that plan gonna be?"
"If I knew that, I surely would've already executed it. I suggest we handle your problem first, it's a bit more, physical, and can be solved with physical means. Like I said, Vizards stand no chance against me."
Ryan nodded, "Okay, we'll decimate the Order first. How will we do this? I know where they are based, but thats about it."
"That depends, is your group as powerful as the Order on any level?" Said Echo.
"Yes, it is on even grounds with the Order." he replied.
"Excellent, with my added anti-hollow abilities your organization will regain its place in society, you can go home." Echo stated confidently. "Though I always plan ahead, I'll need the layout to their base."
"Well their base is a city called Reiji Maigo. It is in a layout similar to the Rukonagi. They live at various points in the city but the seem to meet in a central building to discuss tactics and plans." he explained.
"Excellent, I've even been to this place before, and fought some fool named Seireitou. I'm not sure if he is in the Order, but I made sure not to reveal my Vizard negating abilities, yet still fared with excellence." Said Echo, recalling his first visit.
Ryan appeared shocked at the mention of Seireitou's name, but then he began to chuckle silently, "It's funny you should mention his name..because he is their leader." Ryan revealed silently.
Echo's eyes widened. "You must be joking, he is the best they have? This is going to go excellently." Things suddenly looked a lot brighter.
Ryan nodded, his excitement rising, "Is there anything else you need to know?" he asked. Though as he did, it seemed as though he wasn't focused. He appeared to be trying to sense something, but within moments his attention was re-focused.
"How many members compose their ranks?" Asked Echo.
Ryan thought for a moment and then replied, "Eleven."
"Really now, I would have guessed that such a powerful organization would have a higher census..." Said Echo, deep in thought.
Ryan nodded in agreement, "What are you thinking about?" he asked, wondering what Echo had come up with.
"We can't just attack on a full scale, not in their territory." Said Echo, folding his arms.
"True and we are gonna need a place to operate. I'll find that. What are your plans for the actual attack?" Ryan inquired.
"I suggest we don't attack abruptly, rather draw their attention elsewhere then wait." Said Echo, swiping his hair to the side.
Ryan nodded, his head now down. "Echo, I know we've only just met, but I want you to know. No matter how foolish or stupid Sei may seem, he was one of my first mentors and he always helped me in a tight spot. Slowly my comrades are starting to fall left and right, ever since the attack by Akujin years ago." by now tears were dripping down his cheek, "Two of the most important people to my heart are asleep upstairs at the moment, and one of the others is now running around like a mad man. I don't know if you understand my feelings in your line of business or if you feel like I do under that wall of apathy, but please...I don't want to watch another comrade like Senka Kururugi, fall again. She may not have noticed me, but she was a friend and I couldn't bare to lose another. They are far too precious to me." he sobbed.
"If I didn't wish for your suffering to end I wouldn't have ever accepted your hospitality. I know the promise I made myself, to never allow my heart to be broken again by shattered bonds. But lately it seems that bonds seem to form through the thickest of walls, and the key is rather, not to break my heart by neglecting bonds that are destined to be forged." Echo lost his emotionless expression for a moment and took on a serious face, staring so solidly at Ryan it seemed as though he was reaching into his soul. "From this moment on, we are brothers, your family is my family, your friends, my friends, and I will do whatever it takes to protect the things important to me." He spoke the words so confidently it was almost frightening to ponder what such a dangerous person like himself could mean.
Ryan stared at Echo for a moment as if he wasn't believing what he was hearing, but then he broke into a huge smile, "Then welcome to the family Echo." Ryan said choking on his words a bit, because he was still sobbing some. He dried his eyes, and allowed silence to fill the room for a few minutes, "Okay, so what's out next move?" he asked once he was calm.
"Research what you can about finding a new location for our militaristic operations, and I will deal with recovering the blueprints of their headquarters." Said Echo, realizing the difficulty of his mission, yet unfazed due to his past experience.
Ryan nodded, but before turning in for the night he turned to Echo, "Do you need a gigai? It would help mask that massive power of yours, so as not to alert the enemy while you snoop for blueprints." Ryan offered.
"I suppose one could come in handy when trying to employ stealth." Said Echo hesitantly.
Ryan walked over to a nearby coat closet and began to rummage through it. He returned to the kitchen with a gigai that resembled a boy about Echo's age with dark black hair and emerald green eyes. "This should do, and should you ever need to release your power, just use the hilt of your zanpakuto to separate yourself with the gigai." he explained, tossing the fake body over to Echo.
"...Thanks." He said, not liking the idea of using a fake body, but realizing his choices were limited.
Deciding it was time to turn in for the night, Ryan drew his zanpakuto, " I can't sleep in a gigai, they greatly annoy me." he mused as he pressed the bottom of his sword's hilt to his forehead and instantly the fake body dropped revealing his true spirit body, his reiatsu now flooded the area. "Ah, I love this body so much more." he laughed to himself before telling Echo good night and running upstairs to join his wife in bed.
"Hmph." Said Echo with the faintest hint of a smirk before frowning. His journey out of hell had only began, he thought while walking upstairs, grabbing his things and leaving without a trace, but he wasn't gone for good, he had a true home now, if only a temporary one. He entered his gigai and stalked off, fading into the shadows of the city, on a true mission.