Note: I tip my hat to some other Anime and things, See if you can name them all.
Slowly, and with great care, Rukia helped Yohko's spirit to her prone body. Her feet shuffled along the ruin heavily, and she stumbled here and there; yet Rukia's gentle hand guided Yohko with confidence.
Ichigo meanwhile, hoisted Yohko's flesh and blood shell of a body onto it's knees, holding it steady by the shoulders. Her head fell limply to the side, ear resting on his rough knuckles and little strands of hair tickling his flesh.
Yohko paused, before kneeling down into her own body.
The Laws of Physics state that no two objects can inhabit the same place at the same time, else they would explode. This however, does not hold true when combining the physical and spiritual planes of existence.
Everything felt cold, and then warm, a sluggish wave of pins and needles wiped across Yohko's body as senses re-awoke. Her vision was doubled and it caused the girl to blink. When her eyes refocused themselves, and with her head now upright on her shoulders, the first thing Yohko saw were pale eyes. In the dark they were gray, but when light shifted, they took on a brown hue. They were narrow and locked in a permanent, but dedicated scowl. It wasn't a scowl of anger, rather one of concern. Yohko looked into these eyes for many seconds.
Ichigo could see his reflection in Yohko's large, spirited, brown eyes. They were red-rimmed by crying and exhaustion.
"Thank you." She breathed to Ichigo, before letting out a long exhale.
The boy helped her to her feet, and his gaze turned solid, the scowl narrowing. "Ok. I think you need to start explaining things."
Yohko was taken aback. "I have to start explaining things?" she cried, swatting away Ichigo's hands on her shoulder. "How about you start explaining things. Like what are you doing in my house?"
"Yeah? How can you see us, huh?" Ichigo demanded. "Explain that!"
Yohko let out an exasperated growl. "Tell me why you're in my house!"
"HEY!" Rukia barked out, with a loud clap of her hands. "We'll all have a little talk and everything will be explained. Where can we sit where it will be safe?"
Yohko paused, then began to speak reluctantly. "I...guess the shrine room. Oh..oh no...GRANDMA!" Yohko suddenly bolted, heading to the shrine room, where she was previously hidden. Ichigo and Rukia watched Yohko disappear in to a hole in the wall.
"Ichigo, take care of clean up, then meet us in that room."
"What? I have to clean up this mess?!"
"Yohko's mother." Rukia responded to the outrage quietly, and with a solemn voice. "...It's not something Yohko needs to see anymore."
Ichigo calmed. Rukia was right. The death of one's mother was a hellish experience. He gave a little nod and Rukia headed for the hole in the wall.
It was dusty in the room, two of the walls were supporting books that were piled to the ceiling. On the far wall were displayed the linage pictures. In the middle of the room knelt Yohko, throwing a dusty rug off of a bloody and prone body.
"Grandma. Grandma...?" Yohko spoke gently, stroking her grandmother's forehead.
Rukia starred down at the pare with her dark, serious eyes, little eyebrows folded into a "V" of concern. "Can't you heal her?"
"I don't know how. I know the ring can, but I don't know how."
Rukia set her jaw; this Devil Hunter was quite young in her training it seemed. "Ok, move aside." The woman knelt by the elderly form, and placed a hand upon the wound. Green energies caused the hand to glow, a slight hum sang pleasantly, soothingly through the air.
Yohko jerked up to her feet when she heard the sound of rubble being disturbed, but she noted it was just the boy entering the shrine room. "Ok, I want to know what's going on." He demanded in an exasperated, yet level tone.
"Ichigo, we're in the domicile of the Devil Hunters. They're like us- Hundreds of years ago, a Demon broke the barriers that separated his and Earth's dimensions. A girl of great power was able to fight them off. And her daughter took up the oath, and her daughter, and her daughter for generations."
"And you are...From the Soul Society?" Yohko reaffirmed what Rukia had said earlier. "But why are you here? How did you know we were attacked?"
"Yes, we are Soul Reapers." Rukia explained. "And we had been told that a Hollow, that is, a dark spirit, had been here and not a Devil. Regardless, your mother had to be laid to rest. Had she remained walking the Earth, the Hollows could have turned her into one of there own. She's safe now."
"And Grandma Chiaka and Ayoko?" Yohko questioned. "Their souls are-"
"Also in the Soul Society." Ichigo finished the line of thought. "We sent them there too."
"And when I had chains on me?" Yohko continued her barrage of questions.
"That was my doing." Supplied Rukia, focus still on Madoka's healing body. "We didn't have time for an attack, much less Devil Hunter interference, so I knocked your soul from your body. That chain you saw was called the Chain of Fate. As long as it was whole, you were technically still alive."
"What I don't get," Ichigo interjected, his hand running over the back of his spike-y orange hair while his eyes narrowed in confusion. "is why you had two chains, one whole and one broken."
The young Devil Hunter appeared to be perplexed for a moment, before realization slowly seeped in. "It must have been from the fight with Tokima. First Ancestor healed me and brought me back to life."
"Ok," The boy sighed. "So there's us, the Quincy, and now the Devil Hunters? How many more little clubs like this are there?"
"The Quincy?" Echoed the hunter.
"Yes, the Quincy." Croaked a husky and well used voice. Yohko jumped, before promptly turning her attention back to her grandmother. "Don't tell me you thought we were the only ones, Yohko."
Stubbornly, Madoka Mano pushed herself up to sit, letting out a long exhale after succeeding. Her dark eyes seemed to darken even more as they gained a sort of seriousness.
"There are many strange things in this world. Devils, spirits, yes," She seemed not to be speaking strictly to Yohko, but to Ichigo as well. "But there are more. You mentioned the Quincy- killers of the Hollows. There's also the SOLOMON Organization, Ajo Heavy, The Night Warriors, The Towa Organization, whole towns that make people dissapear, the Bermuda Triangle, Areia 51, that group in England that hunts vampires or some such nonsense..."
"Vampires?" Yohko cried, before letting out an overwhelmed sigh. "Next you'll be telling me that Sailor Moon is real."
"Peh!" Spat Madoka, crossing her arms across her chest. "Silly comics and cartoons are all those are." A wince, and instead of crossing her arms, Madoka pressed a palm to her shoulder, the arm below it tensing with pain. The memories of the battle resurfacing in her mind.
"Ms. Mano," Rukia once again donned that authortive, assured voice. "can you describe what attacked you?"
"A monster burst through our front door, and Azusa transformed. She lunged at it before I did, but another came in through the ceiling. I chose to attack that one. A..." Madoka stuttered. "A third came from nowhere and before I knew it, I was down. Two more came, but these were unlike any Devils I had ever encountered. Their faces were..." Arms now calm, the elderly hunter slowly moved her hand over her face, from forehead to chin. "like masks, but skulls."
"Skulls?" Yohko repeated. "Are those the-...?"
"Hollows." Rukia answered boldly.
"Grandma," Yohko's eyes turned dark as concern and urgency filled her voice. "where did they take Azusa?"
"I don't know." she sighed. "But you can bet that the beasts that took her are waiting for you."
"Yeah," Ichigo once again breaking his silence, now stood at the broken opening of the room, effectively perched in the living room. The boy's eyes were towards the floor, and his arm flexed as he moved his blade from it's resting position on his shoulder, to outstretched, pointing the end towards the decimated front door. A puddle of blood painted the mortar and splintered hardwood, mixed with little torn swatches of red fabric. The blood and silk trail headed down the walkway of the Mano house.
"And they left a trail for her to follow."